Great Jedi War Ix: Unification

Xanos

08-03-2009 06:07:11

Great Jedi War IX: Unification
A story of the reclamation of Antei, 30 ABY
The final battle of the Yuuzhan Vong War


Somewhere in the Shadowlands of Adas, Antei

The sun never shined on the long since blackened and blood stained soil of the Shadowlands on the continent of Adas, the sky being forever wreathed in the fire of a never ending electrical storm brought about by a dark ritual that had devastated the planet so many thousands of years ago. So, if a lone stealth fighter belonging to a man whose name had been forgotten were to descend from the clouded sky, nobody would heed it any notice, be it day or night, since there was no day in the endless deserts of eternal night.

The endless blasts of thunder from the Du’san Boundary masked the low hum of the ship’s engine as it touched down on the crumbling plains of Adas. The cockpit popped open with a silent hiss, and out leapt the nameless man, clad entirely in black, his boots hitting the surface like a pair of heavy mallets striking a cold forge. The harsh winds blew his long hair into his face, but he did not bother to brush it out of his eyes. The faint electrical charge in the charged atmosphere was sharp against his skin, but the pain was a welcome distraction from the task before him.

From the rear of the small blastboat emerged another pair of men. Like him they too had no names. Eggs fertilised, conceived, gestated, nurtured, and finally birthed all in the cold and unnatural confines tubes and vats. Clones had no names. Their lives were of no consequence. Theirs was but to do or die.

A cloud of dust kicked up into the sky as the men’s feet hit the weathered surface, throwing a haze of ash and soot into the air. A few withered plants dotted the ground, seemingly failed attempts to colonise a dead world. Had there been any light to notice, the trio would still have been but shadows. As things were, there was only the dim red glow of optical sensors visible within this, the realm of eternal night.

Antei.

Nearly three years had passed, and nothing had changed. The cursed Shadowlands of Adas had seemingly weathered all the biotechnology the Yuuzhan Vong had thrown at them; and, in the end, like all who walked upon its cursed ground, eventually they too had stumbled into the Void. The aliens may have been dead to the Force, but Antei was beyond death. They had been foolish ever to believe they could terraform it into another Yuuzhan’tar. The sunside plains of Narmar were one thing, but the deathless Shadowlands of Adas were home to a darkness beyond the pale of night.

And so it seemed at last they had fallen. Just as Yuuzhan’tar had fallen. Just as the Supreme Overlord had fallen. Just as all heretics fell. The Star Chamber had known this. It had always known this. The loss of Antei had only ever been a temporal setback.

So it was that the forces of the Brotherhood were soon to return to the seat of the Iron Throne, to take back what was theirs, to reclaim their lost glory. Some spoke of invasion, though of course it was perhaps truer to call it liberation. The one without a name looked around. He doubted they would find what they had been expecting when they finally arrived. He had never been here before himself, but it was not what he had been expecting either. Alas, the mysteries of what had happened in the days since the Lords of the Dark Side had walked the land were for others to discover when they finally arrived.

No, his mission was not with the Vong, but to confront the shadows of the past. Both his fate and the fate of the Consul were depending on his success. If he could not find the answers they both needed, they would soon both lose themselves to the encroaching namelessness of the bottomless Void. His mission here was clear as he stared out into the thunder plains of the Boundary to the distant spire that rose into the heart of the storms above.

One thing was certain: the will of the dark side was infinite. The Culmination of the Final Way was inevitable. And so it was time for all heretics, be they Yuuzhan Vong or otherwise, to learn the consequence of their impudence:

For all who defy the Star Chamber shall die.

In the darkness beyond death the Dragon roared.

Republic-class Star Destroyer Final Way
Dlarit Special Operations Group
Just departing the Radama Void, Outer Rim


Two men saluted as Astronicus Sadow entered the tactical ops room. A lean figure clad all in black followed close behind, his face obscured by a visor, as was customary for one of the Black Guard who served as the Overlord’s private bodyguard and assassin. The post currently belonged to Zaxen Isradia, though the identity of those behind the visors was seldom known outside the Sons of Sadow.

Robert Sadow and Ashura Isradia were close behind, side by side, their cloaks trailing in the narrow corridors of the Star Destroyer. Bob was one of his closest allies, among the first to have rallied to his banner more than sixteen years ago, back when Sadow Palace had been based far away on Sif. It was only right that they should fight alongside each other for this. Bob’s face was currently masked, as it had been for so many years back when he had had to hide his identity from Imperial hunters. The Consul would not explain why he had recently chosen to cover it again, but the slightly haggard lilt to his walk caused Tron to suspect it had something to do with the man’s recent unexplained illness.

The Overlord clapped an arm on his Consul’s shoulder. ‘This will be a glorious day, my brother.’

The sight of the men and women arranged before him brought his mind back to the present, admirals and generals from all throughout the Dlarit Navy, Army and Special Operations divisions. The image brought with it an altogether different flood of nostalgia, back to the operations of now more than a decade ago when the Clan had been forced to claim its freedom during the battle that history had since labelled the Exodus. There had not been a military gathering like this for over a decade.

And, like before, difference had been put aside in the name of freedom, in the name of reclaiming their throne world. As always, it took a war to bring unification.

This time it was not a war with corrupt military dictators but aliens, however they were all mundane rabble all the same.

‘Generals Sadow,’ one of the officers said with a salute as they entered the command room.

Tron responded with a salute of his own, his military background instinctively flooding back. He signalled the man to be at ease and moved to the front of the gathering. The room’s centrepiece was a holographic display, detailing the suspected Vong forces. The assembled forces of both the Great Clans and the Iron Throne itself were indicated by blue markers, while the approximated composition of the alien forces was depicted in red. The Viceroy raised an eyebrow at the list of further forces suspected of involvement but not yet confirmed that were indicated on a separate panel under the heading “Known unknowns”.

None of the officers seemed perturbed by the presence of the leader of the Dlarit Corporation. He had not been seen in public much ever since the largely unexplained events in the Unknown Regions the previous year when the Harbinger had been stolen. Since then the Orian system had been suffering martial law of the strictest kind. All those suspected of treason were either publically put to death or never seen again. Following the much rumoured birth of his new heir, contact with the office of the viceroy had reached new lows as he secreted himself away on Sepros.

But this was too important an operation for him not to personally oversee.

An echo pressed through the Force, its intensity strong enough to give even the would-be prince of a new Sadow Empire pause. Behind him, the door through which he and the others had entered slid aside again, and this time the wizened form of Lord Yoni stepped through, the bitter resolve and determination on the face of the rarely seen member of the Star Chamber plain for all to see:

Antei was his world.
And he was here to take it back.

‘My Lord,’ Tron said, bowing his head.

Master Yoni was the long time advisor to the Star Chamber, having been there at its reformation under Lord Cotelin. He was also Tron’s former Master, and remained to this day among his closest confidants. Master and apprentice exchanged customary glances before all those now assembled turned to focus on the holographic display and prepare for the coming tide.

Three years ago the Vong may have taken them by surprise. No more. Their fleets were routed. Their Empire in ruins. Their Supreme Overlord slain. This was the day of retribution. Clan Naga Sadow had lost much that day, and not just in the number of men who had died during the battle. Many more had fallen since. Lost to the fires of war; devoured by fear; consumed by despair and desperation.

Many thought him cruel. But he was not. He had seen it countless times. He understood why they turned, why they searched for quick and easy answers. But although he understood, he did not forgive. They were weak. That was what this war had ultimately been about: The Great Cull.

Cowards, the weak, the disaffected, those lacking in devotion, those without the commitment to see through the Final Way, and—the worst of all—the apostates and heretics: all had been culled from the ranks of the Brotherhood. This would be the disciples of the Star Chamber’s greatest hour. When they took back what was theirs. When they eradicated the last survivors of a dead galaxy.

The aliens thought they knew pain? They had yet to even learn the meaning of suffering. Antei would be purged, and every last Yuuzhan Vong would be hunted down and exterminated.

That was what it meant to defy the Star Chamber.

For the first time in months, a smile crossed the Overlord’s face as the ship jumped to hyperspace.
After nearly six years, the war would soon be over.

Elsewhere on the Final Way

In the hangar, Macron stared out at the pilots, crewmen and assorted engines as they made the final checks on the racks of starfighters. They may not all have been clones like those from the Special Operations Group, but there was still a sense of cohesion in everybody’s movements. It didn’t surprise him. In the presence of so many Elders, the troops were linked in a vast network of battle meditation. It must have almost been like a hive mind, so many consciousnesses joined in the Force in a unified fusion; a vast melding of minds and spirits. Though he had not been around at the time, he surmised there had probably not been a military operation on this scale since the Exodus.

The alchemist giggled. He enjoyed seeing the mundane slaved to their will.

Beside him, his new apprentice Aisha Qifaxa twitched a little—she was not yet used to his erratic personality, and especially his ability to laugh at the most inappropriate of times. No doubt, the imminent military operation, combined with it being the first time she would even have been to Antei, she was clearly feeling especially uneasy.

A snort sounded from behind them.

‘Get used to it,’ Tsainetomo Keibatsu said as he approached, apparently reading the Zeltron girl’s mind. ‘There’s a reason not many of Macron’s students make it through their Trials.’

---

Valorian followed his Master, Joseem Maruuch, as the pair jumped out their side of their docked gunship and made their way across the hangar. The air was alive with the kind of communal rallying talk common before any battle. His Master was quiet as they moved through the masses of regular crewmen, each one a cog in a much greater machine, and headed toward the turbolift on the far side to head up to the briefing room where most of the other Dark Jedi would be assembled.

---

Nekura Keibatsu passed beneath the immense bulk of an All Terrain Tactical Enforcer which at that moment being attached to one of the docked carrier gunships; his apprentice Dyrra Skye closely in tow behind him. Against the better judgment of some of the military advisors, Manji wore a black kimono, and had his trademark array of knives and swords thrust through his belt. He challenged any who doubted his prowess in battle and his choice not to don armour to prove it.

Unsurprisingly, few ever did; fewer still proved their point with any success. Most such challenges resulted with one less limb. Or two.

‘Remember, the Vong will try to deceive you,’ Manji said. Even on the eve of battle, he believed there still time for one final lecture to his apprentice. ‘Do not let them. Just because you cannot feel them in the Force does not mean they are invulnerable.’

Dyrra murmured something under her breath.

Manji shook his head. ‘You will learn to listen to what I teach you in time, my apprentice.’

‘Whatever you say, Master,’ she groaned.

---

Xander strolled through the hangar. Angel, his R8-series droid, followed close behind, whistling in musical beeps and whines of droidspeak, though somehow managing to make the woops of binary code seem vulgar and abrasive. He had never witnessed such a mammoth operation before. The mission to reclaim Antei had been over two years in the planning. He doubted the Vong would have any hope against such a superior force. The invasion would surely be a slaughter.

---

In his quarters, Krandon Rowella studied the holographic battle plans that projected from the wrist emitter of his suit of Mandalorian armour. His fellow brevet commanders studied the image, which was being relayed from the main briefing room. The synthesised electronic voice of Shin’ichi Keibatsu, the Clan’s senior military commander and chief tactician, sounded over the inbuilt vocoder as he issued instructions to the rest of the Dark Jedi present for the operation.

‘Our first objective will be clear: To bring down any alien artillery so that we can establish a beachhead and the fleet transports can land and deploy the main force,’ the image of General Keibatsu said. ‘After our armour divisions are deployed, we will then be able to proceed on the main target and recapture the Dark Hall.’ The projection faded and was replaced by a three-dimensional map as the general continued to outline the proposed battle plan.

As the fleet entered hyperspace, elsewhere Dark Jedi and personnel from all divisions of the Dlarit Security Forces readied themselves for the coming battle. This would be a day long remembered.

Yet, unnoticed in the shadows beyond time, the ghosts of the past whispered still.

It was the call of Death. The call of Antei...

Nekura Manji

08-03-2009 11:55:06

Republic-class Star Destroyer Final Way
Dlarit Special Operations Group
In hyperspace


The glowing tunnels of hyperspace washed over the Final Way as it moved sedately between the dimensions en-route to the Antei system. A calming blue light shone through every viewport of the Star Destroyer, lighting up the harsh metallic corridors and soothing the minds of some of the more nervous warriors on board.

The doors to the main briefing room slid open swiftly with a hiss of expelled air as Manji sauntered in, one arm tucked into his kimono. Looking round at the intrusion, Shin’ichi’s face registered disapproval for a moment before he recognised his half-brother, the disapproval being replaced with his usual neutral glower. Moving to the tactical display, the Epis rubbed his straggly beard slowly, his eye narrowing as he took in the details.

“Everything planned out, Shin?”

Voice sounding cold and mechanical through the vocabulator, the Abomination of Kyataru nodded.

“We know what we’re doing once we hit Antei. At least... we know what we’re intending to do. It remains to be seen if the Vong will let us do it.”

Turning away from the display, Shin’ichi glanced at the Apprentice standing behind Manji, one eyebrow quirking upwards in mild surprise.

“A new apprentice? She doesn’t seem as servile as I’d expect...”

Her face creasing with anger, Dyrra raised her fingers in a universally-recognised gesture of defiance.

Usen’ye!

With a sigh, Manji turned to face her, his face carefully expressionless.

“You will learn to show respect for your elders, my young Apprentice. Not to mention respect for my half-brother.”

Dyrra’s fingers dropped as she realised her mistake, and a slight twinge of guilt crossed her features as Manji continued to speak.

“Now, let’s get to the training rooms. I’m going to beat that lesson into you.”

As the two moved away, Shin’ichi raised a hand in farewell, his voice still cold and emotionless through the vocabulator as he turned back to the tactical display.

“Good luck, girl... the One-Eyed Dragon does not suffer fools.”

Zaroth

08-03-2009 13:26:31

Republic-class Star Destroyer Final Way
Journeymen Quarters
Hyperspace


Zaroth held his lightsaber at the throat of his brother, the crimson energy burning the air and threatening to end his life should it be pushed any closer.

“You fool! Nothing more than our bonded blood stays my hand, but it will not stop me teaching you a lesson in pain. Attack me again and I will show you the way of the Sith,” Zaroth hissed.

“The Sith!?” Muraue spat, his face contorted into a mask of disgust. “You are no Sith. You are nothing more than a karking coward and a murderer!”

Muraue sailed across the room and into a locker, having been hit by a ball of Force energy. His head seemed to split and inflame as it impacted the cold, hard durasteel. The red blade's tip was the first thing he saw as he shook off the disorientation.

“Our father tried to kill us, you idiot! And do you not remember the cruelty he subjected you to after your diagnosis? I saved you, and you would do well to remember that.”

The Sith turned and began to stride away, deactivating his lightsaber as he went.

“Don't turn your back on me, you karking abortion of a Human being!” Muraue screamed.

Zaroth slowly stopped and turned, an infuriated sneer on his face. The saber ignited with a snap-hiss and Zaroth buried it in Muraue's shoulder, the blade burning through muscle, sinew and bone and kicked him in the gut repeatedly, and the only sound was that of Muraue's screams. He retrieved his saber, and strode out of the room.

“You're pathetic, runt,” Zaroth said over his shoulder before letting the door slide closed and locking it at the nearby terminal. He continued down the hall, black cloak flowing behind him

Republic-class Star Destroyer Final Way
Medical Bay
Hyperspace


Zaroth sat on the bed in the examination room, waiting for the medical expert to come back with his results. He had come for a physical, a quick check-up to determine his readiness for the War. He had had blood taken, a urine sample taken and a quick look over by the expert, and fully expected to be given the “OK”. At that moment, his results arrived. He stood.

“How am I doing, Doctor?” Zaroth asked. His confidence could be felt a mile off.

“Everything looks great. You're doing well.”

“So I can fight?”

“Certainly. You and most of your colleagues are in great shape.”

“Excellent. Thank you, Doctor.” Zaroth said as he left the examination room.

Krandon

08-03-2009 15:50:15

Republic-class Star Destroyer Final Way
Jade Serpent’s Battle Team Leader’s Quarters
Hyperspace


“Alright, you all heard General Keibatsu; we all have a job to do, and we need to get it done”.

Guardian Krandon Rowella had not been Battle Team Leader for a long time, but he understood what it was to be a leader, to have people follow you and to have people look up to you.

“Take out all alien artillery so we can establish a beachhead for the ground forces, this is our job guys”, Krandon said to his Flight Leaders, Dismal Visutor and Devani Kiriana Maharet. Dismal had been Krandon’s Flight Leader from the beginning but, with the unexpected leave of his old Flight Leader, Jaredi Edius, Krandon appointed Devani to this position. Jaredi was a great friend and mentor to Krandon and he was still feeling the blow of his sudden and unplanned leave from the Jade Serpents.

“Are you alright, Sir?” Devani said, sensing that something was wrong.

“Yeah, I think so, I don’t know. I really could’ve used Jaredi’s help in this battle” Krandon replied.

“You cannot replace Jaredi, Krandon, no matter what you do. No offence Devani”, Dismal said as Devani smirked at the comment.

“I know...well let’s get this done and over with. I will call the Jade’s to meet us in the docking bay so we can get this underway. We are what make or break this invasion people, I hope you realize this”. These were Krandon’s final words as he exited his office.

“Now is where we will see if he is a good leader or not Devani”, Dismal said, looking at Devani with a straight face.

Republic-class Star Destroyer Final Way
Docking Bay
Hyperspace


There they were, the Jade Serpents all standing in a perfectly straight row, waiting for their Tetrarch to enter the bay.

“Jade Serpents...SALUTE!” Acolyte Dyrra Skye said, seeing that Krandon and his Flight leaders walked into the bay. All the Jade Serpent’s simultaneously snapped their legs together and raised their hands to their faces for a traditional salute.

“At ease”, Dismal said.

“Alright, we all know why we are here”, Krandon said, putting on his flight gloves. “We will make or break this invasion people. I have sent you all the briefing that I received from General Keibatsu and I hope you all took it to heart”.

“Sir, how can we make a difference? There are only six of us...and a lot of them”, Jedi Hunter Adrian Kiarey said with a slight shutter in his voice.

“It doesn’t matter the numbers”, Devani said, answering the question quickly. “What matters is that we do our mission, no matter the cost”.

“Devani is right. We have to complete the mission no matter the cost, that is the task we have been given. If any of you want to back out now, I will understand but this is why you joined me, Dismal and Devani, to make a difference and put your name down in the history books of the Dark Jedi Brotherhood. We can do this today...ARE YOU WITH ME!” Krandon preached.

“Yes, Sir”, all the Jade Serpents replied.

“Man your ships! And way the force serve you well”, Krandon said, ending the briefing. Krandon turned to Devani and Dismal and said, "Are we doing the right thing? Sending these young people, probably, to their deaths?"

"Krandon, these are orders, if we don't follow them, who knows what well happen. Have faith in these guys, they are a good group of people," Devani replied.

"I agree Krandon, you need to trust your Battle Team to get the job done," Dismal answered.

"I hope you guys are right, just...don't let them get trigger happy".

Krandon, Dismal, and Devani proceeded to their ships.

Tsingtao

08-03-2009 18:52:09

Republic-class Star Destroyer Final Way
In Hyperspace
Docking Bay


A Journeyman ran into the hanger with purpose. He approached the Deck Officer to get directions. The Deck Officer pointed him to a group who appeared to be scattering towards their ships. He took off and approached three of the pilots.

“Conad Daak reporting for duty, SIR!” he yelled with his arm outstretched holding a piece of paper.

Krandon turned towards the new recruit and measured Conad. He took the paper and read the contents to himself.

“Welcome to the Jade Serpents, Conad. I’m going to assign you to report to Flight Leader Devani. Your designation will be Jade 10.”

Conad saluted his new commanding officer. “Sir, yes, sir!”


Republic-class Star Destroyer Final Way
In Hyperspace
Aedile’s Make Shift Office


Tsingtao Ming sat at his desk, looking over the recent requisitions. These were the final paperwork before the war was to commence. Three years have past since he was last in the Antei system. He was one of the last to leave the battle against the Yuuzhan Vong. He remembers sitting on that transport all to well as he headed for home. He remembers the last major conflict.

Tsingtao put down his datapad and reflected about the events that were about to take place. Finally he will have his revenge against those who thought invaded the Dark Brotherhood. He will finally avenge the deaths of his friends. The Yuuzhan Vong will know what the penalty is for crossing the Brotherhood.

His personal comm link echoed throughout the room, waking Tsingtao from his trance. He rose from his chair and made his way to his comm link. He activated the device. He knew exactly who was on the other end.

“What is thy bidding, my Master?”

A mechanical voice filled the room. “You are needed, my Disciple. Come to the CIC. I have a mission for you.”

“As you command, my Master,” Tsingtao replied.

William Archaon Darkfire

08-03-2009 21:55:21

Cenota Facility
Dlarit Prison Complex
Orian system


William Darkfire sat in his dark cell, slunched over. His wrists were cuffed together with energy bonds and heavy durasteel chains bound his legs to the base of his seat. A thick metal ring chained to the wall choked his neck.

Darkfire heard the familiar sounds of numbers being entered into the keypad just outside of his cell and his energy barrier dissipating. The chain shot back into the wall, pulling the inmates neck, forcing him into an erect position. A blinding pain shot through his body as ten large needles emerged from the wall and plunged into his spinal cord. He gasped loudly and his body went rigid, the sedatvies working through his body almost immediately. With more pain then from their entrance, the syringes were retracted from his spine and sucked back into the wall.

A pair of clone trooper guards entered the cell. One of them groaned loudly with disapproval, the memory of his last mishap with this prisoner still fresh in his mind. The other stared at Darkfire, wary of the unmoving Chiss. He approached the inmate and slapped him roughly across the head, seeking a reaction. Just then, a tall, slender man walked in and shouted at the guards to leave him alone. It was the warden of the prison.

He took from his shirt a sheet of paper and began to read from it, "Jedi Hunter William Darkfire, member of House Marka Ragnos of Naga Sadow: In order to provide support for the war at hand, Mr. Darkfire is to be released from the Cenota Facility, freed of his charges, and sent to The Shroud, where he shall rendezvous with the main fleet and serve his clan to earn his freedom."

He paused to look up at William's face, which showed no reaction. "Well, young Darkfire, it would seem you'll be a free man, assuming you live through this ordeal. Guards, escort our little jailbird onto a transport shuttle immediately; I want him out of this facility as soon as possible."

Krandon

08-03-2009 22:36:48

Republic-class Star Destroyer Final Way
Hyperspace
Docking Bay


“Alright! Good practice, everyone. Now I know we'll be ready for when the real battle comes.” Krandon said to the Jade Serpents as they exited their ships.

Pulling off her helmet, Dyrra growled quietly, shaking her head. “Man, I hate doing these practice runs. Every time we do one I get all pumped up for nothing. Hey, who's this?”

“Ladies and gents, this is a new member who just got drafted into the Serpents. Everyone, meet Novice Conad Daak!” Krandon said loudly, motioning the young Novice to come over and greet the rest of the Serpents.

“Hello, everyone!” Conad said, proceeding to take his position in the Jade Serpent line up.

“Alright, guys- take a break and I'll call you guys back here when we're really ready. Be on your guard, all of you, and be ready for the call!” Krandon said, saluting the Jade Serpents and sending them away.

“Devani, Dismal- follow me, please. Thank you.”

The two Warriors did not argue with their Tetrarch, even though they were very tired. Both spoke simultaneously as Krandon strode off.

“Yes, sir!”

Republic-class Star Destroyer Final Way
Hyperspace
Tetrarch of the Jade Serpent’s Quarters


“Alright, you two- I know you guys are tired, but we need to talk. I've been called away to help with the blockade we'll be surrounding Antei with. I need you two to take the reins of the Jade Serpents and show them that you guys can be leaders too, as my Flight Leaders. I'll still be on the ship, since we're in hyperspace, so if you need me, I'm only a commlink away.”

Dismal and Devani did not speak; probably because they were filled with mixed emotions of anxiety and tiredness. They both saluted and exited the Tetrarch's office.

Krandon sat back in his chair and pulled out his commlink.

“Horus, I'll be there tomorrow for the meeting. We have a lot to discuss about the blockade, but right now... I need some sleep.” Krandon said with a barely-concealed yawn.

“Alright- we'll discuss the blockade tomorrow. And come on, who needs sleep?” Horus replied jokingly.

Macron Sadow

08-03-2009 22:44:08

Hyperspace
Republic-class Star Destroyer Final Way
Training Quarters




The training room aboard the Star Destroyer smelled of sweat and hard work. Aisha Qifaxa stood by Macron's side, and both were wearing workout gear. The young Zeltron turned to her erstwhile master. "Was that right?" Her hands outlined a series of moves from the Broken Gate form.

"No, you have it all wrong. It's three short jabs, followed by a..." Macron grunted as the door opened behind them. "What is it? I hate interruptions." His battle scarred and tattoed face wrinkled in annoyance.

"That is a completely inappropriate way to greet your Master," commented a voice from the door. A man wearing an eyepatch with the muscles of his arms looking like corded steel stood in the doorway, Standing properly behind him was a fierce looking young human woman with a pixie-esque bob cut.

"So." The alchemist bowed, but perhaps slightly less than was formal. "We meet again, Master Manji-sama."

"It is like old times my friend," replied the stern looking man as he stepped inside the room to remove his shoes, gesturing for Dyrra to follow. "The last time we trained seriously together, there was a war underway. This is Dyrra Skye, my apprentice."

"That does seem to be the gist of things," commented the Warlord as he drug a folding table and stools over to the side of the room. Both the red-skinned Zeltron and the gangly redhead regarded them quizzically. "Well met Dyrra. This is Aisha Qifaxa, my apprentice."

"Master?" asked Aisha incredulously.

"He was your student?" asked Dyrra at the same time in disbelief.

"Indeed, both of you are correct," replied Macron with a chuckle. "Master Manji here taught me a lot. Speaking of which, how about some serious training?" asked the madman.

"Good idea," replied the Kyataran as he sat down. "I have sake."

5 minutes later

Both women were drenched in sweat as they continued to spar with weights tied to their arms and legs. Manji and Macron sat with their feet propped up on the table.

"Makes you kinda tired watching them, eh?" asked Manji with a chuckle. "Less gasping, more fighting," he ordered as he poured another round. "The Vong won't cut you any slack."

"It does," snickered Macron. "Ah, the joys of being a teacher." He pointed with a snarl. "Keep your guard up! For Kark's sake! Geez. I hope we get to the Antei soon, all this training is wearing me out."

Both laughed hard as they returned to catching up on old times.

Malisane

08-03-2009 22:45:34

RSD Final Way
Hyperspace


Agrist stood staring out into the blackness of space in his sparsely furnished quarters. He reached down and picked up his glass absent mindedly and took a sip, before realising the glass was empty. He put it down then refilled it from the bottle. He allowed himself a grim smile. This was what it was all about. It had been over a year since Lehon and Telos, since when he'd nursemaided the crew of the Final Way, checking security reports, vetting personnel files, supervising detentions and punishments, and the rest of the time being a visible figure to the thousands of crew, a discreet threat of what treachery would bring to anyone considering it. His time with Meria had been nice but she had been distant of late. He didn't know why, he made a note to send her a present when they returned to Orian.
For now though that was separate. He was going into battle, to test his skills against able opponents, to hunt, to lead soldiers into battle. That was what he'd lived for since being a teenager, dozens of campaigns, hundreds of battles. The last time Clan Naga Sadow had battled in the Antei system he had been leading an attack on Tarthos, sat in the cockpit of an AT AT directing the destruction of the facilities around the Cathedral. Now he was with the people he'd been against them. It mattered little to him who he served, only that it gave him what he needed.


Mecros twisted his body to deflect the saber blow then thrust forward, noting how the droid moved it's own blade to block and retaliate. He was sweating slightly, the droid had been defeated and reactivated a dozen times, the training saber registering hits on it's frame but doing no damage. The kick he'd done to the smashed droid in the corner had made more of an impression. He didn't care, his Khommite features adopted a concentrated expression as he parried again and sliced quickly, the saber blade bouncing harmlessly off the droids neck. "Another kill," he noted to himself. The droids were good, programmed with many techniques, but they were still limited in thought and they did not possess the force. Soon he would meet real opponents.
The last few months had been a time of annoyance for the Warrior. He had fallen out with many of the other Dark Jedi on Marakith, had been verbally chastised by the Quaestor, and sent like a disgraced child to the Final Way and Agrist's dark sarcasm. He'd spent a few boring weeks with the equally darkly cheerful De Ath wandering the ship checking systems and supervising repair crews. Mecros had followed Malisane's advice and had sullenly but quietly accepted his fate and had been given permission to accompany the Clan to Antei. Maybe now was the time to make amends? He gripped his saber as the droid once more advanced on him.


Soolin sat in her quarters meditating, a cup of lemon tea cooling next to her. Like Mecros and Agrist she was enthusiastic but for different reasons. She had received praise and a medal from the Ludo Kressh Summit for her performance in the hydroponics facility, her investigation had proven beyond doubt that sabotage had taken place, though the trail had died with the perpetrators who seemed unwitting accomplices of another party. It did not matter, the risk was over. She was looking forward to seeing Antei again, having studied hard at the Academy on Lyspair for a number of years but never having actually seen much of the planet itself. She was disappointed not to be able to encounter the Vong. She had of course like most recent students entered the basement of Dystopia and observed the disembodied but very live head of Talorthane Zemar, trying to block out the heavy music of the dingy basement club, but had wanted to face a free one. However meeting Jedi would be an interesting. She was optimistic she would do well. She took a deep breath and continued her meditation.

Nekura Manji

08-03-2009 22:55:00

Hyperspace
Republic-class Star Destroyer Final Way
Training Quarters


Saké splattered across the floor as Macron roared with laughter, his face red. In between gasping for breath, the madman stared across at the Epis, who was similarly helpless, in paroxysms of laughter.

“He tried what? The guy tried to attack you... with a staff?!”

Tipping his bottle of the rice wine back, Manji drank deep before responding with a loud chuckle.

“He did indeed. I wasn’t even using my lightsabre, but I still chopped that bamboo into four pieces, took both his hands off then planted the wakizashi right between his eyes!”

Fresh laughter overtook the pair as they rocked back and forth, holding their sides. On the other side of the training room, Dyrra and Aisha exchanged a glance in which could be read their hatred for men in general and Macron and Manji in particular. Suddenly a loud, barked order from the Epis made them jump.

“What are you two standin’ around for? By now, Aisha, you’d have a Vong Amphistaff in your stomach! And Dyrra, your skin’d be adorning some Vong Warrior’s carapace! Get back to work!”

Pouring Manji another cup of saké, Macron grinned.

“I’m sure you’ll do a great job of forging her into a blade, Master- like you did with me.”

Smirking, Manji waved a hand dismissively.

“Gah, you sentimental git. On that note, we’ve probably still got a couple of days in hyperspace... I need to test whether you’ve improved while I’ve been away.”

A glint appeared in Macron’s eye.

“Sounds like an excellent plan. I want to see what your training pilgrimage has done for you, and whether fighting little kids on Kyataru has blunted your edge...”

Grinning viciously, Manji sat up, jokingly squaring up to the Alchemist. Despite their friendship, tension crackled between the two Dark Jedi as they remembered the last time they’d fought. Suddenly, both noticed the cessation of noise from the other side of the room. As one, they turned on their Apprentices.

Did we say you could take a break?!

Raistlin

08-03-2009 23:12:14

M/CRV Exile
Bridge
A classified location in Deep Space, around Antei system


"REPORT!" Raistlin screamed as the Corvette was rocked with gunfire.

"Shields 20% aft and failing!" a comm officer screamed out from a pit to Raistlin's right..... things were not going well, and the Marshal Commander felt powerless to control his situation. In one of the few situations he had ever been placed into, he was powerless and felt almost certain victory here could not be gleamed.

For the past month and a half, he had been on a top secret mission with The Corvette Exile, along with other elements of the Kangaras division in performing a series of hit and run strikes around the Antei system, with the hope of disrupting Vong supplies. Up until their current predicament, they had been highly succesful, intercepting weapons, food and slaves, all bound to and from Antei. This, however... was something completely different.

"Get us out of here!" Raist snarled, turning from one side to another as Commander Ellia went flying from where she was stationed. The Exarch immediately hopped up and attempted to hurry to her side, but stumbled as the Corvette was rocked again.

What they had thought to be a transport carrying slaves and an escort of coralskippers had turned out to be much, much more. Two escort-class carriers had emerged not 10 minutes later, and they now found themselves in the fight of their lives.

"Sir shields down to 5%! Rerouting all auxillary power to aft shields. Structural damage imminent!" someone else screamed as red klaxxons began blaring across the bridge. Raist finally reached Ellia and with a quick wave of his hand, he determined her injuries were not serious, the blow to her head merely knocking her unconscious. Still, he focused part of his energy into her, causing her to stir slightly.

"BLIND JUMP! NOW! This ship will not fall in under my watch!" Raist shouted. Sparks began flying and he knew the shields were gone. Their time was running out, and as the ship continued to rock, just for a second, Raist wondered how things had gone so wrong. Then they were gone.

*******

"How are we looking?" Ellia asked. It had been almost 24 hours since they had been ambushed and she was holding a cold compress where she had hit her head.

"Some hull damage, most of it sealed off, some systems are still offline. Sadly the ship will need to be dry-docked for repairs to achieve optimal preformance." Raist said, sighing. Ellia put her hand on his shoulder and he shrugged it off. He felt horrible, even though the situation had clearly been beyond his control. "I can't believe they blindsided us like that..." He said, trailing off. He didn't have long to ponder his failure.

"Sir, Consul Daragorn is contacting us, i'm patching it through to the main viewscreen." Raist nodded, and slumped into the long-backed Commander's chair. The lights dimmed, and a fullsize view of his longtime friend came into focus.

"Raistlin!" he said, relief in his voice. "Is everyone ok?" Bob asked.

"Everyone's alive and well, some with minor injuries being treated. Ship's a little worse for the wear. Preliminary reports show she's gonna need some drydock time." Raist answered.

"I'm sure our facilities onboard the PLT Onyx can take care of her. You have new orders however, your current operation is considered terminated. We are now go for Operation Anaconda. You are to rendezvous with the Shuttle Last Hope at the enclosed coordinates and proceed to us here, aboard the RSD Final Way. Further orders will be given here." Bob said, pausing before continuing. "We're going to war Raist... the Vong have shown us no quarter, and they will soon pay for their transgressions against us."

Raist nodded and though he had been away for sometime, he knew what was being implied. The clan was mobilizing for war, and this time, they were taking the fight to the Yuuzhan Vong. "I understand and will see you shortly. I shall not fail you nor the clan Consul, for these scum will know what it means to butcher our people. Glory to Sadow!" Raist bowed his head slightly, and the comm cut off.

He slumped back even further, almost falling out of the chair. His personal transport, along with much of his armory was actually parked in one of the cavernous hangar bays aboard the Clan's Flagship, the RSD. Knowing what was to come he figured he would need some time to unwind and let the events of the past few days play out in his mind, and sat up, planning to retire to his quarters.

"Plot a course for the coordinates in the comm. Use at least 4 false jump-points incase any of the Vong decided to follow us." Raist ordered, then left the bridge, though he was saluted by everyone onboard, he didn't salute back, having way too much on his mind to consider formality. CNS was going to war.....

Raistlin

08-03-2009 23:13:06

OOC: DP I suck =/

Tron

09-03-2009 01:17:13

Republic-class Star Destroyer Final Way
Hyperspace


Throughout his time with the Brotherhood, while it inhabited Antei and the area known as the Shroud, Astronicus had become quite adept at piloting through the miasma that made up the mysterious cloud. It was a technique called Shroud Navigation and a skill that only masters were capable of exercising flawlessly. Along with his former master, he was confident that they would have no difficulty getting through the Shroud. Yoni had trained him as a young Sith Guardian and helped him come to realize his potential, which lead to his forming Clan Naga Sadow. They were now reunited again and would battle side by side once more.

He had long since put his trust issues aside, he knew that those still in the clan were loyal to him and this battle would seal it. His life had changed in the last year and this coming engagement would sharpen his senses to the full. He would lead his clansmen into battle and they too would come away from it refined. The enemy stood no chance against a united Dark Brotherhood. The fracturing of the organization which lead to the loss of Antei in the first place would not occur this time, he was sure of it. Added to that was the combined might and strength of Naga Sadow. All of the Clan's veteran warriors, masters, and long standing members in association with the newer apprentices would bring the full brunt of their power against those who would defy the Brotherhood.

The lives of the mundanes, the normal beings serving as soldiers, were nothing of value in this campaign. Astronicus would shed them left and right as long as it meant victory for the Clan and Brotherhood. Ships damaged by enemy fire have the option of being repaired. Losses in manpower can be replaced. Apprentices slain in battle can be reacquired from any number of ways. The only thing that was of any concern was what his standing would be when the ashes settled and the war was over. He had preached so many things to the clan over the ages, enraging some at his approach and confusing others, but never truly revealing what his true intent was. Master Yoni had trained him well and soon he would take his deserved place amidst those who had preceded him in the Hall of Immortals. He would supersede his ancestor and bring about the subsequent Golden Age of the Sith.

JadeSadow

09-03-2009 01:40:09

Hyperspace
Republic-class Star Destroyer Final Way
HMR Aedile Quarters

Jade tossed another data pad onto her desk and rubbed her temples at the sound of the metal spinning slightly against the wooden desk. Finally achieving the rank of Aedile had been a dream come true, or rather a darkened goal that had somehow given birth to life, but she hated the “paper work” that went with it. It had been bad at the beginning, but now with a war on it was like something new came across her desk ever 30 min, or sooner. She sighed and stood, taking out the dagger she hid at her lower back. Her feet moved silently around in a semi circle, her right foot pivoting around her left as the black obsidian blade sliced through the air around her hip. She continued to move throughout the room, first slowly as though stalking an invisible prey, then while jumping a chair closed her eyes for the landing and began the manoeuvres all over again. She enjoyed the stealthy art of the force, and it gave her great strength to practice it, as well as ease from the unspoken stresses.

Jade sprang from the rug she had had placed in the middle of the room and summer saluted into the air, her blade tucked in close to her body as she lifted off but leaped out to the side as she spun, skewering the air as she went. Landing in a crouch and nearly kneeling on one knee she sensed the table near by and smirked slowly opening her eyes. The table was nothing more then a simple coffee table but what was placed on it was what really sent her force abilities into fireworks. Jade stood up and turned the blade around in her hand, easily between two fingers, so that the blade itself pointed towards her wrist and she held onto the hilt. Tucking it back into the small of her back she moved to the pad and picked it up again. The screen glowed with the feathered touch. It was from Paladin, she had received it briefly before the Final Way left orbit.

Looking down at the electronic words she found herself rereading them for who knows how many times.
My loyal Aedile:
The Dark Council has called me away to assist on an errand related to the
coming campaign. During this time, I leave you, as my second, in charge of the
war preparations of House Marka Ragnos. Do not fail in this responsibility.
I remain, as always,
Yours in Darkness,
Jedgar Paladin, Grand Master

Jade put the pad back down and looked out the view port. She was basically alone now for Marka Ragnos. Zaxen, though he would help, was busying being Black Guard to Tron, a noble cause in and of itself. Paladin was away assisting the Dark Council, also a noble cause. Kalei, her Battle Team Leader would be taking care of her team, a strong asset to have. Though she was a bit nervous, she welcomed the challenge and looked forward to it; though she figured there would be more then enough hell to pay if she failed Paladin. Given the chance to work with a Grand Master was a privilege that few had received, course it also meant a massive amount of power now laid behind any reprimand.

Jade smirked, her eyes dark as she turned from the view port. Using the force to summon her cape she put on the heavy black velvet and lifted the hood over her head. It was now time to take care of some business.

Ashura

09-03-2009 08:49:25

Hyperspace
Republic-class Star Destroyer Final Way
Training Quarters

The roar of laughter could be heard from outside the door a few moments for Ashura walked in. He watched as they shouted at their students to keep training. A grim smile spread across his lips as he turned slightly behind him and looked at his own apprentice. Aleho Ruoxf was unnaturally silent as she watched the two older girls spar; her placid, almost emotionless, face taking everything in.

"I trust you two will be sober enough to stay on your feet when we get to Antei," said the Proconsul with a smirk. He wasn't actually concerned at all, as he knew these two men would be ready to rain hell down on the Far Outsiders.

The insane giggling was enough to drive many men mad. "Did come to check up on us Ashura?"

"No, I was looking to run Aleho through her paces before we got to Antei. Much like you two are doing."

"I don't think the little girl will last very long on Antei," commented the One Eyed Dragon after drinking more of the rice wine.

"I am not a little girl," replied the Togruta Dark Jedi as she took a step forward. Anger burned behind those bluish-grey eyes of hers. Leho's eyes settled on Macron as she remembered visiting the Warlord in his labs some time after the expedition to the tombs on Inos. He had looked her over, scanned her and the injected her with a glowing green liquid.

Ashura had asked Macron to try and undone what had been done to her by the hermit Dark Adept that lived in the tombs. Aleho no longer had nightmares of what happened in the tombs, her focus was sharper but she was still slightly distant, and she had lost some part of herself in that place. Although for Ashura it had been an improvement. He couldnt afford her innocence to stand in the way of her training. She was his chosen apprentice after all.

Sadow Palace
Sepros
Orian System


There would be two members of Clan Naga Sadow that wouldn't be joining the rest on Antei, despite how much one of them wanted to go. Events leading up to the war mirrored another one happening closer to home.

For many months it had been a closely guarded secret, none but the loyalists to the Overlord knew about it, although near the end rumours began to circulate. It started a few days before the fleet's departure to Radama Void. The Sadow Palace went into immediate lockdown.

Screams of pain and death threats had filled the air for hours, and by the end Sakura Haruno was exhausted. She couldn't go on any more, she was ready to give up. If it hadn't been for Tron holding her hand she might had done so.

In the end, through hours of sweat and pain, the child that had been growing within her womb for the past many months was final born. The infant boy didn't cry as he took his first breath and looked upon his surroundings. In that moment when she held her son, all the pain was worth it. It had all been worth it, all the events in her life led to this moment. Sakura handed Tron his heir and smiled.

Less than twenty four hours later she was still resting in her lovers bed, despite wanting to join the others on Antei. Sakura realised that if anything was to go wrong. If by some freak chance Tron was not to make it back, the future of the Sith Empire would lay with her son.

She and Tron had both been orphaned at birth; while she grew up in an orphanage on Talus, Tron had been adopted. Sakura was determined for her child to know his birth parents. To know his mother and father.

"Don't worry Remulus," whispered Sakura as she held the infant in her arms, "your father will return to us." Remulus Sadow looked up at his mother with deep absorbing eyes and gurgled in response.

Xanos

09-03-2009 11:03:36

Between seen and not seen...

In the unseen space between realities, forgotten between life and death, the serpent stirred. For too long had it slumbered; too long had it waited. Its tendrils spread throughout the Weavery, covering every strand and thread it touched. The last thing it remembered was fire; the burning heat of the mountain of lost souls; the blade that had pierced its heart. Swallowed by flame, all had come to darkness, then finally sleep.

Falling.
Falling. Falling.
Falling. Falling. Falling.
For aeons it had fallen.

Into the baseless depths of the Void, where only the Dark now lay.

In the distant storms it finally felt an answer. The Dragon called into the darkness, but the Dark did not answer back. It had forgotten. Forgotten everything. Now it knew only hunger. And death.


Somewhere near the Jadan Pass, Du’san Boundary

His name had once been Cyrus. That was now a lifetime ago.

In truth, it was only two months prior he had been seated before the Consul, awaiting his execution. His release had not come. No, rather than free him from the timeless shackles he now found himself bound by, the Consul had instead issued him a task. An impossible task, really, but the Consul was himself out of options. Both suffering the same delusions, the Consul had charged him with seeking the key to their joint salvation within the hidden depths of Kalekka Tower.

On Antei.

He might as well have been marched straight to the gallows.

No, not because of the Yuuzhan Vong, nor even the newest inhabitants who now laid claim to the world of the dead. Fate was not to be so kind as to grant him death. He had come prepared, though no amount of planning had readied him for the graveyard he found upon his arrival. Death mocked him. That was the meaning of the inverted sword like crucifix that had haunted him these past twelve months. He had come hoping to be granted final release. But instead he had only found more death.

Wherever he went, death followed. The Yuuzhan Vong now lay choking on their own liquefying intestines. No doubt soon the Brotherhood would follow, trapped by the latest to fall foul to the blood stained hunger of this curséd planet. All those who stepped foot here instantly had the blood of thousands on their hands. There was no other way. How they had not noticed him and shot him down on his approach he could not say, only that it must have been one last laugh courtesy of Death.

He had never been here before. Death clearly did not want him dying until his hands too were stained with the blood of innocents. He finally knew this. He had spent so long in the dark, but it was all so clear to him now. The truth was written in blood. His blood.

Not that he actually got to realise any of this.
He had died long before ever touching down.

The call of the dead was hard to resist. The time eventually came when all must fade.

Deafening thunder rang out from the sky above as the hands of the man who no longer had a name bled where they clung too hard onto the jagged rocks that jutted out the cliff. Step by gradual step, he edged along the narrow ledge, averting his gaze to the sheer drop that descended for miles into unseen depths. The two clones he had brought with him followed; their own hands also raw with bloodied cuts and gashes.

There was a reason the Du’san Boundary was said to be impassable.

But he pressed on. He had to. He had no choice.
In the sky beyond the mighty spire of Kalekka Tower rose into the heavens. It would all be over soon.

Sai

09-03-2009 11:51:47

Hyperspace
Republic-class Star Destroyer Final Way
HMR Aedile Quarters

Jade exited her quarters in a rush and began to stride purposefully down the hall. The Aedile’s mind was set on her duties as well as her determination to make sure she did not fail Paladin, so she was shocked by the rich baritone that floated to her from behind.

“If you don’t slow down, Mistress Atema, you’re going to catch a cramp in one of those legs of yours.”

She whirled, her eyes blazing, ready to give a thorough admonishment to whoever dared speak to her thusly, and came up short at the sight of Tsainetomo Keibatsu Sadow standing not two strides behind her.

Jade was momentarily taken aback; how had she not noticed him before, especially with him standing so close? Since the expedition on Inos 42, he had seemed to take an interest in training her in the Krath Mysteries; though the two were equal in rank, Tsainetomo seemed to know more about the intimacies in their shared discipline, and even seemed eager to share them with her. In that time, and the time since, he never seemed to take more than a professional interest in her, unlike Zaxen or Xander or other males in the Clan. In fact, he seemed to be one of the few who hadn’t glanced at her form in a less-than-professional manner. Still, his comment left holes in that theory.

Meeting his piercing gaze, she gave a half step before removing her hood and letting a smirk play across her lips, one that allowed the slightest hint of her fangs to gleam in the harsh artificial lighting of the Star Destroyer’s corridor. “If I didn’t know better,” she began, thrusting a hip out provocatively, “I’d say you were worried about my well-being. Have a care, Master Sadow; I am Aedile of House Marka...”

“I know very well who you are, Jade,” Tsainetomo said, cutting her off. His tripartite eyes swept up and down the woman. “And, you certainly are acting like you are fit for the position.” The sarcasm in his voice made Jade straighten up, her cheeks flushing.

“What do you want, Keibatsu? I’ve no time for games; in case you hadn’t noticed, we are going to war. Oh, I forgot...you’re not in the Summit anymore, are you?” Jade’s tone betrayed her slight annoyance. She had begun to grow used to attention, but to be played with in such a manner was beyond even her threshold of patience.

Nonplussed, Tsainetomo answered her. “I am aware of our current state, though I haven’t the shackles of a Summit gig. I sort of like the freedom.” His show of flexing his arms at the elbows slightly irked the Archpriestess. “Besides, we’ve some business begun on Inos 42 that we haven’t finished. I understand if you don’t want my help anymore; you’ve come so far, after all. I mean, who in their right mind would want an edge in impressing a Grand Master, former or otherwise?”

Tsainetomo’s words cut her to the quick. Jade noticed that he’d said ‘want’, not ‘need’, and she was worried about her duty fulfillment. Still, she wasn’t about to let Tsainetomo know that he’d gotten to her.

She stepped forward, closing the distance between them and jabbed a sharp finger into his chest. “Listen to me. I’ve things I’ve got to do, but when I’ve finished, I will find you. Not because I need your help, but because I want to know if there’s anything left worth learning from you.”

This time, it was Tsainetomo’s turn to smirk. “Of course, Mistress Atema. It is, after all, all about you, isn’t it?” He stepped close around her, his Force-rich blood filling her otherworldly senses, leaving her to fume in the corridor. “Find me if...I mean, ‘when’...you’re ready.”

She stood a moment longer, waiting until she collected herself before she went about her Aedile related duties. The man was insufferable! Still she couldn’t suppress the smile that had once again found it’s way upon her face.

Training Quarters

The door to the chamber *whooshed* open and the smells of exertion and alcohol wafted into Tsainetomo’s nostrils. Stepping through, he allowed his voice to ring through the room.

“If I didn’t know better, I’d say you guys were running a brothel in here!”

Macron, Manji, and Ashura looked up from the table at which they sat to meet the Son of Sadow’s eyes and return his broad smile. There weren’t many around who Tsainetomo would allow his famed guard to drop; he could probably count those on one hand. But, these three, he felt as at home as with anyone with whom he’d fought along side. “Same blood, same mud,” or so the saying went.

“Cousin!” Manji exclaimed, pulling out a chair for the new addition to their gathering. “It’s been an akk dog’s age!”

“Don’t tease Mac about how old he really is,” rejoined Tsainetomo, clapping the giggling Alchemist on his shoulder. Taking the proffered chair, the Archpriest reached across the table and shook Ashura’s hand.

Meanwhile, Aleho, Dyrra and Aisha had stopped mid-training to gape wide-eyed at the brown skinned Korun-Keibatsu and his bushy ponytail.

Without looking up from his friends, Tsainetomo produced another gourd of sake and a crystal decanter of whiskey from within his robes. The smile didn’t leave his face as he spoke. “I was always taught that it’s rude to stare. Don’t tell me you three have sacrificed instilling manners over fighting ability?”

“You wish,” Manji chuckled, taking the fresh gourd of rice wine from his cousin and refilling his cup. “No, that’s just our thick-headed apprentices, asking for another kick in the rear.”

Macron and Ashura both laughed at that. The madman made hasty introductions. “My friend, you already know Aleho, but that’s the Zeltron I told you about, Aisha, and the other’s Dyrra...”

“...Skye,” Tsainetomo finished. “Yes, I know of her already. She’s got the stink of pelekotan coming out of her pores.”

Dyrra stiffened at Tsainetomo’s usage of the Korunnai word for the Force. Clearly, he knew of her experiences on Harrun Kal; she would have to question him about what exactly he knew.

The Archpriest flashed a knowing look at the red-headed warrior before pouring himself and Ashura a snifter of whiskey. Raising his glass, the Archpriest posed a question.

“So, as this may be our last drink together – what shall we drink to?”

Alexander

09-03-2009 17:37:56

Hyperspace
Republic-class Star Destroyer Final Way


Stars flashed by as Xander gripped the control of his X-Wing tightly. He knew that three enemy vessels were closing in on his location. He could hear the frantic warnings of his astromech droid as his continued his flight path. At this evasion pattern, his maneuver would lead to his imminent destruction. Once again he heard the shrill cry of the astromech, and data scrolled across the screen.

“I don't know about this, but at this point I have to see, if this will work.” The Krath said murmuring to himself.

Out of the corner of his eye to the left he could see a number of dark canopied ships heading towards him. The triangular bodies homing in on his location, like arrow heads, soaring through space. There appeared to be many of these fighter craft that the Vong had created, yet no two appeared to be exactly the same. In the distance he could see other Skippers engaging his allies, a dark red liquid appeared to from an appendage under the front of the vessels. Quickly flipping a switch he made sure that his wingman was ok, hearing a confirmation he nodded to himself.

Many pilots seemed to believe that they could be some sort of hot shot pilot by acting themselves and taking out entire fleets, like some hero from a Correllian Holo-Drama. The reality was that the best pilots were those who worked hard within their unit, and protected those around him. This was one of Xander's goals when he flew, the flight group is flew with was a like a chain, which was only as strong as the weakest link.

Snapping his ship around suddenly he changed his direction as his wingman crossed underneath him. The maneuver worked well, and two of the coral skippers narrowly avoid colliding with each other. Xander aimed under the first ship and aimed for the small sweet spot, the location of the famed Dovin Basal. Using the force he guided his shot, hitting the creature full on disabling the Vong ship, before he spun around to aim for the next – when his communicator chirped.

Xander tapped the communicator while continuing the maneuver “Reporting”.

A voice gruffly greeted him by simply barking “Report, immediately. ”

“Yes Sir” Xander said nodded inwardly, reaching for the controls he switched off the simulator. The canopy opened up as Xander unstrapped himself. Hauling himself out, he headed to his meeting. He reached out an grabbed a data pad which he had set to download the information of his test run. Hitting a few buttons he began the program which processed the damage he and his simulated squadron had taken, versus the amount he had put out. Continuing to stare into the screen he pace on when he walked straight into something hard.

“Watch where you are going!” voice growled at him, as he looked up. Standing in front of him was a man with dark hair, and brown eyes. The man recognized Xander, his mouth drawing a thin line.

Xander blinked slightly surprised 'So.. we meet again..”

Tron

09-03-2009 17:41:14

Command Bridge - Level 1
Republic-class Star Destroyer Final Way
Hyperspace


Admiral Araic Simonetti was taking a back seat to the upcoming battle. He would play his role as commander of the ship, however, he would only be relaying the orders directed to him by one of his dark masters. He had been in their service for a good many years now and yet still knew as much about them as any of the rest of his crew. They were mysterious, cloaked in secrecy and deadly. He had seen the latter far too often, his own people being at the end of executioner's axe. Despite that though, he had proven himself worthy and apparently useful enough not to be marked for death, earning the Viceroy's protection on several accounts.

The ship was in hyperspace with nothing to do, yet the smell of anxiety permeated the air. Tension levels were at an all time high, he had never seen his crew this nervous. Araic knew one of the Dark Jedi would eventually do one of their mystic tricks and calm the nerves of everyone aboard, at the same time making them work more efficiently and coordinated. He only wish they would do it sooner than later. The crew was busy, despite the fact that there was not much to do at the moment. They were preoccupying themselves to distract and keep their minds off what was to come.

Yes, he would do what was required of him to see that his ship and crew survived. They might not all make it, the ship may not be as pristine as at the moment, but it would return to it's home port and live to fight another day.

Engineering Command - Level 35
Republic-class Star Destroyer Final Way
Hyperspace


Commander Krreg, the Chief Engineer of the Final Way, sat at his desk scanning over details in the recent report of the ships mighty engines. He had been ordered to run them at full power, with the added incentive to get more out of them whatever the risks. The hyperdrive was holding up, prolonged use would eventually cause it start showing problems but they were safe for now since a two day jump was none out of the ordinary.

Krreg had recently been promoted to the position of Chief and had almost regretted taking the role right away. He had not taken into account how much hassle and headache the job brought with it. His predecessor had failed the higher ups a few times too many, mistakes that Krreg himself criticized and thought were easily avoided. That was one of the reasons he was given the position after they had dragged the dead body of former Chief Engineer Waalis away. He only hoped that he did not meet the same fate and so he made sure that nothing went wrong.

He finished his last report and began to check his messages when he noticed there was one from the Command Bridge. It was a text formatted message and so he looked it over dubiously. He was to have repair crews, fire teams, and all of his staff on full alert. Technicians and mechanics that were off duty were to be switched to stand-by status and ready to report at a moment's notice. Apparently something big was going to be occurring. Down in the belly of the beast his people rarely knew what was taking place elsewhere - whether aboard the ship or outside of it. Krreg had been given need to know information only, he knew they were going into battle and that he and the engineering staff were to do what was expected of them. That was it. He knew nothing more and felt like he knew less.

Scithe

09-03-2009 20:28:14

Hyperspace
Republic-class Star Destroyer Final Way
Personal Quarters


Silence and darkness permeated the small room. Just a faint red light ebbing, too small to break the shroud of artificial night, from it sprouted a thin mist of incense. Somewhere, very distant, the humming of the hyperdrive and the occasional tap of booted feet on the corridor metal grating. Nothing of those mattered, as almost everything else mattered for those long years.

A large figure, finally free of the garments of social stigma and duty, sat in a lotus position, the smell of the burning incense permeating his nostrils. The figure hardly moved, except for a slight and elaborated breath. His mind was adrift again, roaming aimlessly through his memories, scenes of slaughter and pain, from the recent years passed away from the eyes of the people. Erratic imagery of wild, feral beasts, fierce claws tearing flesh and bones, gaping maws piercing skin and rupturing sinew, red hot blood spilling like an infite ocean, tales of an everlasting circle of life, death and survival.

The brute figure almost let loose a small grin of satisfaction as he remembered remorselessly of the various flavours and scents, the exact sound of a rib being crushed and impaling lung and heart alike, the warm fell of their guts. And also the excruciating pain in his own body, the gashes and perforations, now mere scars along his dark tanned skin, the cruel grip of cold wet night under the mighty trees and heavy rain, the long hours wide awake with nothing to guard him except his resolve to stand and fight.

The shadows of remembrance shifted. Still there was blood and gore everywhere, except this time it was inside a metal hull. Most of the entrails were once personal acquaintances, maybe friends. Others were more grotesque, blue-green flesh, a foul smell and crude-looking weapons twitching in agony along their former masters. As the scenes coalesced into a firm image, the very stillness of the air around him was affected as if repeled by his hatred, extinguishing the fickle blaze of the incense.

He them remembered his purpose, the reason for all this unsavory "reckoning". The Vong would suffer, and then be eliminated.

Standing up, he once more donned the robes he had abandoned at that time, his mind and his soul clear of doubt.

Nekura Manji

10-03-2009 07:53:51

Hyperspace
Republic-class Star Destroyer Final Way
Training Quarters


Lifting his cup, Manji was forced to raise his voice over the thumps and grunts of exertion from the other side of the training room.

“My cousin, we should drink to bloodshed, battle and brotherhood.”

Solemn for a moment, each warrior raised their beverage of choice to their lips, drinking deeply. A reflective silence fell around them as each man considered the path that lay before him- the hardships that would be faced and overcome and the challenges that would be surmounted. Before their thoughts could turn to the path that lay behind them, Manji finished his saké and sighed loudly, before getting to his feet.

“Excellent stuff, Sai. Remind me to get the name of the place that brewed it, I’ll check it out when I’m back on Kyataru.” Moving away from the Korun, the madman and his Proconsul, the Epis grinned widely, baring his teeth.

“Now then... who’s going to help me warm up first?”

Before Macron could stand Tsainetomo was up, his outer robes dropping to the floor, right hand touching the hilt of his sabre lightly.

“If you would do me the honour, sensei, I would like to show you how much I have improved.”

Crossing his own arms across his chest, Manji chuckled loudly.

“Ahh, gakusei. This should be interesting.”

A gesture from the Epis slid the paired swords out from his belt and floated them across the room to land in Dyrra’s arms as the Apprentices stared at the two Equites. Uncrossing his arms, Manji moved to the centre of the room flexing them at the elbow. Suddenly, in a lightning-quick gesture, the Epis whipped his sabre free and ignited it, silver light cascading across the floor as the blade hummed around his body. Macron and Ashura sat forward eagerly, their eyes fixed on the two fighters as Tsainetomo moved towards the Epis, pulling his own sabre out and flicking it on casually.

Dyrra, Aisha and Aleho carefully moved back to the wall of the room, their own training forgotten as they stared at the two Keibatsu. Both seemed to be grinning at each other, but beneath the surface tension crackled as both men steeled themselves for the battle. Nevertheless, there was a curious difference- Aisha, stronger in the Force than the other two women, could see it more clearly. Beneath the Epis’ amused façade, raging anger boiled like a terrible sea, held carefully in check by the power of the Krath’s will. However, beneath the surface of Tsainetomo’s smile lurked only a dark pool of calm, emotion sinking into it to be coldly calculated and weighed.

Broken only by the razor-edged hum of two lightsabres, the silence stretched outwards. Then Manji spoke, not taking his eyes off the Korun.

“Shall we show these children how it’s done?”

There was no response; Tsainetomo merely lunged forwards gracefully, orange blade sweeping for the One-Eyed Dragon’s throat. Silver responded swiftly, the blades clashing together in a paeon of fury that sent sparks showering to the floor. Whipping his blade back, Manji span swiftly, his blade flashing as he sent a riposte that streaked through the air to impact against Tsainetomo’s blade once more, then crouched to send a sweeping cut towards the Korun’s legs.

Leaping over the attack, Tsainetomo surged forwards, his teeth bared as he pushed the Epis back, blade flashing. Their feet no longer anchored, the two battled across the training room, sparks flying from every impact. The three Apprentices pressed back against the wall as the Dark Jedi passed them, a parry from the Epis sending Sai’s orange blade dangerously close to Aleho’s jugular vein.

From the other side of the room, Macron grinned maniacally as he watched the two fight.

“Those forms... keeeh. Manji’s certainly been practicing his swordsmanship!”

As if commentating on the battle, Ashura leaned across to speak.

“Ah, but Tsainetomo has him on the retreat.”

Chuckling darkly, Macron glanced at the Proconsul.

“As someone who’s been beaten soundly by Manji-sama many times before, I can safely say that he’s not on the retreat.”

Bob

10-03-2009 09:39:54

Hyperspace
Republic-class Star Destroyer Final Way
Consul Quarters


The ground beneath the Sith Warlord began to burn and the heat began to engulf him. Once again the image of the inverted crucifix appeared out of the darkness calling to him, the same flaming sword that he could not escape from. Along with the calling came the agonizing pain that was continuing to affect the Consul of Clan Naga Sadow. Then, as quickly as it started, it ended.

A few minutes passed and the Consul had regained his composure, while it took all of his discipline to control his “episodes” in public, in private he did not fight them. The Consul had made his appearance on the bridge and then dismissed himself to his quarters as the Clan Overlord had everything under control. He was not needed until they reached the Antei system, so rest took priority as the Sith realized the next few months would offer little.

The Consul had received word that his special op team had landed successfully on Antei and were headed towards their objective. The man known as Cyrus was proving to be quite useful, but would Kalekka Tower hold answers or only more questions? Only time would tell.

Malisane

10-03-2009 10:31:44

RSD Final Way
Hyperspace


Agrist studied the map carefully, tracing his finger over the display. “Tell Jonas to have his artillery hit this point,” he ordered, “and their power supply will collapse. As soon as the dust settles and the forcefield goes down we will attack.”
Borax, his lieutenant for the last ten years, nodded. “As you command General.” He saluted and left the room.
Agrist continued to study the map. He was eager for battle. Many leaders preferred to sit at the back away from the action but Agrist had become a successful mercenary commander by leading from the front, the first into any breach. He walked over and checked his old familiar sword, holding the blade up to the light where it shone. He smiled in satisfaction.
“Sir,” Borax said as he entered, “you have a visitor.”
Agrist spun around angrily, “This is hardly the time!” he snapped, “if it is an envoy from the Galerians tell them they had their chance to negotiate. Now they will taste blood!”
Borax shook his head. “No sir, this visitor insisted.”
Agrist frowned. Borax looked unsettled, even nervous, something the usually fearless warrior had never shown before. A second later a dark robed figure entered the room without being asked. He drew back his hood revealing cold tattooed zabrak features. “I am Tslotha Garnath. We have been watching you. I have come to change your life. “

Agrist turned as he heard footsteps behind him and raised an eyebrow recognising Garlina Megalos. He had not seen her for two years, and he sensed the usually relaxed former Krath was tense. “You are summoned to the bridge Agrist, come quickly.”
“Why aren’t you on Mustafar?” he asked curiously.
“All will be explained,” she answered.
When they reached the Dark Fusion’s bridge the more senior of the Brotherhood were gathered, Agrist stood between the zabrak Imgaril and the hulking figure of Mrussk the trandoshan. Anaxela stood at one end calmly awaiting them to settle down.
“Listen to my words all of you,” she said, “Severak has failed us a second time.” She waited, glaring at them while the sudden murmur filled the room. “Garlina has joined us from Mustafar. Our base has been destroyed by the so called Dark Brotherhood. Garlina is all that remains of our family there.”
The whispering rose to a fever pitch. “Of Severak we do not know his whereabouts and we do not care, he is nothing now. From now on you will follow me. I will lead you to the success his warped ambitions and temerity failed to achieve. We will triumph under my vision!”
As the members cheered Agrist glanced past the force witch to see a slight distortion between her and the wall, an almost translucent shade. As he strained his eyes he could make out the shape of a woman stood there. Her eyes studied him, and then slowly she winked. “Severina,” he muttered under his breath.

The Dark Fusion leaped into hyperspace, as the crew prepared for a battle ahead. Agrist strode happily across the deck, where the compacted forms of AT-AT walkers sat ready to be dropped onto the planet upon arrival. Victory seemed certain, Severina had assured Anaxela and the rest of them that the hated Naga Sadow would die at the Yuuzhan Vongs hand, and she had supplied them with access codes to the defences. They could not fail, he would lead the attack to glory.
“Agrist,” he heard and he turned to see the shade of Severina watching him, “you are ready?”
He nodded studying her, “I am my Lady.”
“Keep yourself alive Agrist, your fate and ambitions will take you beyond even Anaxela’s plans. When the time comes I will need your help and I will demand it. You serve me now and always.”
He nodded and bowed. “Yes mistress.”

Meria waited until the waiter had left then looked at Agrist. “So you’re leaving me then?” she said with a pout.
He nodded. “Only for a few weeks,” he replied.
“So where are you going?” she asked.
“I can’t say,” he said carefully, “I’m sorry it’s classified.”
She stared into his eyes, and her face became colder. “Where?”
“Antei,” he replied, his features blank, “the fleet departs tomorrow.”
“With Astronicus and the rest of the Sadows?”
He nodded slightly, still held in her gaze. “Yes and the Clan Summit.”
“Good,” she replied, “then the time is right.” Then her face softened and a second later Agrist blinked.
“Sorry, what did you say?” he asked, a little confused.
“I said shall we order more wine?” she said with a smile.
“No,” he said reluctantly, “I need to get back.”


“Sir!” a voice called urgently and Agrist opened his eyes slowly against the glaring light. His face was pressed against the cold metal floor of the corridor, and his body was numb. A sick feeling surged from his stomach to his throat. “Are you alright sir?”
He pushed himself up on weak arms and legs. Several crew members were stood over where he had laid. He recognised Lieutenant Kyber who had asked the question. “I am fine,” he growled, “you all have business to attend to. Go to it.”
“You should go the medical bay sir,” Kyber said nervously.
Agrist glared at him, “I said I am fine. Return to your station immediately. All of you!””
Kyber saluted. “Yes sir!”
Agrist watched them go. He still felt unsteady. “What is happening to me?” He slowly walked back to his quarters.

Zaroth

10-03-2009 11:21:31

Republic-class Star Destroyer Final Way
Training Quarters
Hyperspace


The lightsabers of the two Keibatsu screeched in their lock, neither brother giving any ground when a knock at the door interrupted the sparring.

“I'll get it,” giggled Macron as he opened the door with a creak. He was greeted by a slender male figure in full black robes.

“Mononoke-san,” the figure said with a bow. “I have a prisoner in the Journeymen Quarters. He is... uncooperative. Perhaps you could help me persuade him to see things our way.”

“Perhaps you could identify yourself,” the alchemist said, forcefully.

“Yes, of course, forgive me,” the figure said as he lowered his hood to reveal a young man with blue eyes, a small goatee and a mane of brown hair. “My name is Zaroth Rakiroyo, apprentice of Musashi, your cousin.”

“Ah yes, I remember,” Macron said as he slid through the door and closed it behind him. “I am intrigued by this prisoner of yours. What's the species?”

“Human.”

“Oh.” Macron said with a sigh. “Again?” he asked, half to himself. “Take me to him.”

“Yes, my Lord,” said Zaroth, leading Macron down the corridor towards the Journeymen Quarters. “The prisoner is my brother. His name is Muraue and he was born in 8 ABY and diagnosed as mildly autistic three years later. On my homeworld, it is dishonorable to father a disabled child, so my father hid the fact but continued to treat Muraue cruelly. In 28 ABY, I helped him escape an attempt on his life, and he found me here earlier today. I don't know how he got on the ship.”

Republic-class Star Destroyer Final Way
Journeymen Quarters
Hyperspace


The pair came to a stop outside the Journeymen Quarters where Zaroth had imprisoned Muraue.

“He's a little volatile,” Zaroth said as he unlocked the door and drew his lightsaber. He casually ignited it and stepped through the door. He was immediately greeted by a string of expletives and attacked by his brother. Zaroth was pushed back into a nearby wall by the sheer velocity of the impact, and quickly retaliated with a manipulation of the Force that slammed Muraue into another locker, knocking him out.

“Macron- cut off a finger or two. Make him suffer,” Zaroth said, venomously, as the madman giggled.

Derev

10-03-2009 12:38:58

RSD Final Way
Hyperspace

The Sith Battlemaster eyed the priest for only a moment before he dismissed the encounter and moved on his way. That wasen't his first such encounter in the last day or so. After his resignation from the Quaestorship of House Marka Ragnos, he had been somewhat of a recluse, taking upon his own tasks, heeding little the activities of the Clan.

Sith Battlemaster Derev Niroth slowly made his way towards back towards his temporary quarters aboard ship. He feared the Vong very little, being one of the few to escape unharmed from many engagements before they left Antei. He was grateful as he walked that his rank afforded him a single cabin, he would have been most disturbed to have a roommate on this voyage.

The Battlemaster gave little thought to the chaotic events around him, only vaguely wondering where his Apprentice was and when he might make his appearance on this journey. Great deeds were to be done on Antei, and William Darkfire would have a role to play in them, one way or another.

Reaching his cabin, the Battlemaster changed into the same robes he wore they day the Brotherhood fled Antei. He armed himself to the teeth, his wretched lightsaber, a gift from the now-Grand Master was only the top of the pile. His Sapphire Blade was slung over his back, and his dagger hung from his belt.

There was no higher glory for the Battlemaster, and he was determined to reclaim his name in the capture of Antei. Many of his clan had turned their backs, but he had not turned his. Derev Niroth was ready for war, to take on the entire planet alone if necessary. As he sat at his communications desk, he fought to control the voice in the back of his head, telling him this would be his final march into battle. He ignored it as he searched the database for the room assigned of his Apprentice.

JadeSadow

10-03-2009 14:59:37

Republic-class Star Destroyer Final Way
Hyperspace

Jade narrowed her eyes as Tsainetomo walked away from her. All about me?! That little s.o.b,! How dare he take her to think like some newb. It was never about an individual person, it was always about the Clan, always. She could hear the sound of his foot falls as he left her behind in the hall, and the flow of his blood pulsing through his veins. The call of the rich life force was so strong it was hard to resist suddenly jumping the man and taking him on, she had a small arsenal on her and although he would as well, it would certainly prove to be an interesting time. She chose for letting him walk away in his arrogance and headed towards her meeting.

Demonic stood leaning against the wall of the Star Destroyer looking down as if in concentration. She could easily read his thoughts surrounding the impending battle, unsure of what to expect, and wondering how he would not only survive, but how he would manage to impress her, his new Master. Jade moved till she was a few feet away, her robes circling around her. Before demonic looked up she replaced the hood onto her head.

“Mistress Jade.”

Jade smirked behind the darkness of the hood, “Demonic.”

“What should I do?”

Jade shook her head slowly. Demonic was egger but he seemed to lack direction. “I want you to prepare for the battle at hand. Go and research the Vong. Their weaknesses, their strength, anything you think would help yourself and your fellow members.” She said no more, just turned and walked away. She could hear demonic’s small protest in his mind but she paid it no attention. She had someone to find, someone to bring down his ego.

Republic-class Star Destroyer Final Way
Training room
Hyperspace

Jade walked by Macron as he left with Zaroth, she smiled and nodded to the alchemist as he walked by. He seemed at first excited followed by a sudden defeat as if he was asked to experiment on someone but then found out his victim was nothing but a slug. She snickered to herself, glad she wasn’t even a slug under his alchemy, and walked through the training room doors.

She was greeted with the sound of sabers crashing and the flashing of orange and silver. She let the hood back and sent a message to Sai, using the connection he had shown her personally within the caves. You always have to be the show off don’t you? Her eye caught Ashura and she smiled walking over instantly to the Proconsul. “Ashura It is good to see you again!”

Ashura smiled, “Jade, won’t you join me? Seems I have been left to watch the show by myself.” He nodded towards the battle going on and the apprentices trying to keep out of the way.

Jade sat down and followed Ashura’s gaze towards the combatants. “Want to take bets?” Jade had to laugh, she had been in the Dark Brotherhood for a good many years, and yet was probably one of the few who had many masters, all of whom were pretty much in the same room. Manji being her first, was probably her faviourte in the fight, course that could stem from the fact that she would love to see him take Sai down a notch or two.

Joseem

10-03-2009 15:28:50

Republic-class Star Destroyer Final Way
In Hyperspace
Docking Bay


Joseem Maruuch headed toward the turbolift that connected the docking bay to the rest of the ship. His apprentice, Valorian, was never far from him. Joseem turned to look at him and said, "Valo, See to it that our gunship remains intact. I don't need these..."mechanics" messing around inside of her. You and I have too much hidden in there for anyone else to see." Valorian looked at him with barely concealed rage but turned towards the gunship. "As you command, my Master". Joseem watched him walk off. As his Master, it was Joseem's duty to train him in the Dark Side. He would prod Valorian, he would point out his mistakes, and he would keep secrets from him, all to make him more powerful, to make make him wallow in the Dark Side and to have it feed his very being. To this point, it had been working out well.

As he turned back to the turbolift and entered it, he reminisced about the plans he had been making while on the Marakith Skyhook. Marakith was a good posting. He was secluded enough that most of the Clan tended to forget him, but he was placed high enough in his House that he could get things accomplished without prying eyes looking into his business. He had put all those plans on hold for now, until this business with the Yuuzhan Vong was concluded. His comlink beeped and he answered. "Equite Maruuch here, go ahead." The metallic voice that came through comlink set him on edge and elated him at the same time. "My Apprentice, come to me without delay." His Master, Shin'ichi Keibatsu Sadow, never mentioned where he was, but always expected Joseem to know, to feel in the Force, to locate and track. It had been part of his training as a Hunter, when the Keibatsu would send him out to "dispose" of enemies to the Clan. "I hear and obey, My Master." Joseem stopped the turbolift and exited. He reached out with the Force, found what he was looking for, then headed off towards it.

Xanos

10-03-2009 18:36:34

Special Ops Headquarters, Tarthos

Cyrus swivelled his body left to avoid the punch, then pivoted, bringing him behind DC-157, and finally following through with a blow between the clone’s shoulder blades. Five-Seven coughed, spitting out a throatful of phlegm, before wheezing and catching his breath.

‘That... was a dirty punch...Commander,’ the commando wheezed.

‘Don’t expect the Vong to be any easier on you,’ Cyrus said, bringing a hand up to wipe the blood from the scar on his forehead. His mind wandered back to the slums on Thule. He’d learned to fight dirty from a young age—when you were destitute it was the only choice you had. He’d managed to avoid the Yuuzhan Vong War himself, not being brought to Orian until after Antei had fallen.

This mission would be his first. His team
had to be ready. He felt the darkness stir at the back of his mind, but pressed back with all his willpower. No, it wouldn’t take him. Not now, not after all he’d been through. He’d come too far to lose himself now. ‘Again,’ he hissed, and charged Five-Seven once more.

Du’san Boundary, outside Kalekka Tower

The now Nameless One’s mind trailed back to the present.

His hands were bright red, and blood flowed from his fingers along his wrists and forearms in scarlet rivers. Five-Seven and Four-Eight were right behind. It had taken hours, but they’d finally reached the end of the narrow ledge, which now widened into an isolated plateau. Looking back, he could no longer see the edge of the Shadowlands, only how the dark mountains of the Boundary slowly disappeared behind a black sheet. Somewhere in the distance ahead lay the sunlit plains of Narmar, however this deep in the Boundary storms all he could make out was the thick grey mass of storm clouds.

None of that interested him. His target was a mere three hundred feet to the east, situated on the very plateau he and his men now stood. In the back of his mind he hoped the Consul had received his message that he had arrived. It was unfortunate that the Shroud limited him to making only a short burst transmission in Mon Calamari blink code, so he had been unable to relay anything else. But right then he didn’t care. Whatever was happening on Antei wasn’t his problem. What mattered was what lay directly before him.

The spire of Kalekka Tower grew from the plateau as if it and the mountains were one. Its black walls shot up like some sort of great black serpent, flowing from the ground into the sky, stretching into the heart of the Boundary fires, high enough that he could not make out its zenith. Beneath the never ending blanket of lightning, its walls seemed to swim with each flash of light; so smooth as if every inch had genuinely been moulded with the full love and care of a craftsman’s tender hand.

But for all its beauty, Kalekka’s walls danced amidst the clouds like an untamed creature writhing forever in a frenzied dervish. He may have walked with monsters and traded knowledge with the architects of damnation, but nothing had prepared him for the raw unease that here permeated the Force. It was unholy. And yet, for all its ferocity, there also was a certain sense of calm. It was almost as if, amidst the hellfire, Kalekka was a mark of beauty, growing forth from the blasted mountains; the two existing in perfect Balance.

Clones may not have been known for fear, but when he glanced back he was sure Four-Eight and Five-Seven were shaking. ‘Let’s get this over with,’ he said.

The three started up the towering staircase that led up to the gateway into the tower proper. A series of half complete archways lined the staircase like a ribcage, gradually rising higher until they completely enfolded around the three commandos as they neared the entrance. The sword lashed at the back of his mind, its fire burning as violently as the Boundary. But he pressed on. He had to press on. I will not be taken. It shall not have me, he told himself.

Deep down, something in his soul was still urging him to turn back, to run while he still had a choice. But no. He had come this far. He had to know—he had to know. The answers were before him. He was certain of it. He had already lost so much. There was no going back. Not now. Death may have spared him on his journey to Antei; Death would not spare him if he ran away. No, Death had summoned him hither to this place: it was finally time; time to confront whatever demons lurked within. He stepped over the threshold into the towering fortress, toward the truth that had evaded him for so, so very long...

Valorian

10-03-2009 19:21:39

Republic-class Star Destroyer Final Way
In Hyperspace
Docking Bay


Grinding his teeth, Valorian slowly unclenched his fists as his Master strode away toward the turbolifts. Being forced to idly mind their gunship was an insulting waste of any Jedi's usefulness; yet, the young Guardian reflected, his Master was, as usual, infuriatingly correct. It would not do to allow the docking bay engineers to wander about their ship unobserved. Eyes and ears were everywhere.

Besides, Joseem was doubtlessly being summoned by his own Master to serve some higher purpose. Such was the way of the Sith; machinations within machinations, wheels turning wheels, a shadowy, majestic engine of fate and will. Valorian turned on his heel and walked back up the ramp into the gunship. The maintenance crews gave him a wide berth, averting their eyes as they went about their work. Even an apprentice Dark Jedi commanded fear and respect among the mundane.

The Journeyman sighed as he settled into a chair at the ship's navigation console; the cockpit at least was blessedly quiet. The peace lasted but a moment as his comlink beeped from a pocket. Valorian withdrew the device, placed it into a port on the console, and the vidscreen flickered to life. It was Kalei's face that greeted him. His Battleteam leader's expression betrayed nothing, but she spoke curtly and without preamble. “Valorian. What is your status?”

“My Master is on an errand. I am babysitting the gunship,” he spat back, a bit more harshly than he'd intended.

If she'd noticed, Kalei gave no indication; she seemed preoccupied. “You're in the docking bay. Good. I need you to run a scan from your ship. Keep the power low; avoid notice.” Valorian turned to another keypad and flexed his fingers, initializing the craft's sensor array. “Done. What are we looking for?” His pulse quickened as he leaned forward, thrilling at the prospect of covert action.

Zaxen Dauketrenal

10-03-2009 19:50:39

Republic Class Star Destroyer FINAL WAY
Hyperspace
Overlord's Quarters


Seen and yet unseen, a shadow of one of great darkness and near limitless power, an extension of will and omnipresence, this was the modus operandi of the Captain of the Black Guard, Zaxen Isradia. Still a young addition to the hallowed halls of Naga Sadow, Zaxen had fast proven his worth.
As merely a Knight of the Clan he also held the venerable title of Avatar of Ragnos for his unflinching service to the Marka Ragnos sect of the Disciples of Sadow. Further he had proven himself in the Battle of Inos. Now Zaxen stood in the shadow of the Overlord having been anointed and branded by the Overlord, Astronicus Sadow, himself as a Blackguardsman.

In recent months Zaxen had been the silent protector of the Overlord and his unborn Heir. The clan despite the various acts of cleansing, still had traitors and usurpers in its midst. Zaxen hunted down leaks, traitors and those friendly to their cause and dispatched them without mercy or remorse. Yet even he had not cut the cancer completely. This concerned the Knight greatly as he was recalled to the Overlord's side in order to travel with him to begin the campaign to retake Antei from the Far Outsiders otherwise known as the Yuuzhan Vong.

"You doubt the wisdom of my decision?" spoke the deep, even voice of Tron Sadow. It was more of a statement then a question.

"I do not doubt your wisdom my Lord. Though I admit I do not see what you do in this matter." Zaxen replied.

Zaxen turned to face his charge who was seated upon a plush couch placed near an overlarge viewport that offered a wide view of the strange hyperspace "tunnel" that the Final Way plunged through. Tron spoke again."And tell me Zaxen, what is it you do see?"

Zaxen was thoughtful for a moment, taking great care in the calculation of his reply, weighing his words and with the events taking place around them. "The clan is united to be sure, though a shadow still hangs over us. Your heir is still in danger and I have not yet found the source of those who would destroy you. I was on the verge of discovering the culprit when we were being mustered for the Antei campaign. With all of our Dark Jedi away from the Orian system and myself not being in contact with my intelligence network our enemies at home may find the upper hand and we may not have a home to return to."

Tron nodded considering the guardsman's words for a moment. "Yes but even you should realize the folly in not joining the rest of the Brotherhood in the retaking of Antei. Even if we should fail in our objective we would have protected our good name. That being said, this campaign offers us great opportunities and though I have great concern for the Orian system and my child, they are expendable to my ultimate goal in bringing about the Golden Age of the Sith. Antei will play a key role in obtaining my goal. Fear not though, I am not so foolish as to leave my holdings and my heir unprotected. If anything Sakura is rather powerful in her own right."

"As you say my Lord." Zaxen replied. "Though I still do not see the reason why I am here, surely you do not need me to guard you personally."

Tron smirked. "No certainly not, and yet you will have your role to play. Your talents are many my young friend and it would not do to have them wasted when they would better serve the glory of Sadow on what is sure to be an historical event. "

Zaxen nodded silently and turned his own gaze out the viewport. "As you wish my Lord."

Tron regarded Isradia for a moment. Yes, you will have your role to play indeed.

DyrraSkye

10-03-2009 20:07:54

Hyperspace
Republic Class Star Destroyer Final Way
Training Quarters


Dyrra forced her protesting leg muscles to shuffle her slowly along the wall and away from the two Keibatsu. She and the other apprentices were far too close to this fight for comfort. If Manji was going to kill her, she'd rather it was on purpose and not because she was too busy gawking to get out of the way. Her task was made much harder by the fact that her legs felt like lead, but she forced herself to ignore it, concentrating instead on the two men before her. Watching her new master fight was nothing short of a revelation. She'd seen him in action before and she had the bruises and scars to prove it. Now, though she saw that what she had witnessed in that dingy little bar back on Kyataru had been him playing with her, like a hungry rancor would with a Jawa. The only reason she was still in one piece was because she had amused him, that much was clear. Seeing him fighting with someone who could give as good as he got was entirely different.

Their blades danced, the moonbeam and the sunset seeming to caress each other only lightly before their respective wielders spun them in ever more complex patterns. Neither of them had landed a hit on each other yet. The two men were suddenly circling back in the Dyrra's direction, the crackling and hissing sounds of their blades getting ever louder as they did. Dyrra felt her throat go dry as Tsainetomo lunged at Manji, bringing his saber down in a strike that would have had Manji's other eye, had the latter not caught it in time, with his own blade. There was a momentary lull in the fight, as both fighters tried to use brute force to push the other off balance. Manji did not so much as glance in her direction, despite now being only a few strides from where she stood, glued to the wall, so actually hearing him address her was surprising.

"Enjoying the show, apprentice?"

His tone was casual, more befitting of remarking on the weather than on his current position - with someone else's lightsaber blade perilously close to making him the No-Eyed Dragon.

"Yes," Dyrra replied quietly.

Manji's lips quirked upwards in a lightning fast smirk as he replied.

"You just keep watchin', kid."

Nekura Manji

10-03-2009 20:59:20

A primal roar ripped from Manji’s throat as he felt the Dark Side surge through his veins, the lightsabre a swirling, deadly flourish of silver. Tsainetomo was forced back under the onslaught, his orange sabre nevertheless parrying every attack the Epis threw at him- until Manji span round, moving under the Korun’s guard and sending a fist crashing into Sai’s guts.

The reaction was greater than he’d expected. Staggering backwards, Tsainetomo felt his guard go to pieces as pain tore through his body. Straightening up, Manji brought his lightsabre sweeping across almost casually, smashing the blade out of the Archpriest’s hand and sending it clattering across the floor. As the weapon stopped spinning, Manji deactivated his own sabre with a hiss and stared at the Korun.

“Dude, what the hell happened there?”

Wincing slightly, Tsainetomo retrieved his lightsabre, slipping the weapon back through his belt.

“Ah. I got a sabre wound to the gut on Inos 42... don’t think it’s properly healed yet.” Straightening up, the Korun sighed and reached into the Dark Side. “Give me a minute and we’ll be good to continue.”

Suddenly Manji looked around. A host of eyes stared back at him- Imperial had joined Ashura at the table, and their stares joined those of the three Apprentices on the other side of the room. A cackle slipped from the Epis’ lips as Tsainetomo exhaled to signal his readiness.

“We should be charging admission or something.”

An unspoken communication passed between the two Keibatsu and each reached for another weapon. Tsainetomo’s hand slipped up his sleeve, retrieving a short blade attached to a long chain. Raising an eyebrow, Manji slipped the Kunisada-forged katana out of its sheath as he eyed the weapon.

“Meishu’s Tear? You’re gonna fight me with a chain weapon? Mac tried that once and I kicked his kriffin’ rear.”

Grinning widely, Sai crouched, his only response to clutch the handle of the blade with his right hand and the chain with his left. Slowly, the Archpriest began to swing the chain in a vertical circle on his left-hand side, the links making an almost-hypnotic thrumming noise as they passed through the air. Taking up a stance with the katana raised above his head, Manji’s smile slipped inwards, his face once again radiating concentrated arrogance. Once more, a heartbeat passed- then Manji lunged, folded-steel blade searing down through the air to try and cleave Tsainetomo in twain.

Quickly, the Archpriest leapt to one side, the chain still swinging, a deadly circle of steel.

Macron Sadow

10-03-2009 22:19:12

Republic-class Star Destroyer Final Way
Journeymen Quarters
Hyperspace


"A finger?" giggled the madman. "How droll. Zaroth, there is so much more to life than mere digit removal. Even if he is a boring human." The Warlord grasped the unconscious man by his lapels and straight-armed him up off the bed. "Let's get him to the lab."

"I've heard about that," replied Zaroth. "That can't be good for him."

"Probably not for him," chuckled Macron. "I've been dying to try the new device out anyhow. The Vong are not the only ones that know the arts of pain- the Sith have long studied them as well."

Republic-class Star Destroyer Final Way
Medlab 6
Hyperspace


"ARRRGGH!" screamed Muraue as the durasteel tendrils bored into his skull. The howls of agony echoed hollowly in the sterile military infirmary.The device somewhat resembled the notorious Embrace of Pain so favored by the Yuuzhan Vong. However, it was made of metal and duranium. Sith chemicals percolated through transparent tubing, and small red crystals pulsed with sanguine light at irregular intervals on it's sides.

"Ah yes," smirked the alchemist as he keyed in a series of commands. "He'll break any time now." Macron stifled a yawn as he peered at his chronometer. "Hardly any time at'all. Pathetic." The Sith regarded the readouts scrolling across the datapad plugged into an IT-3 droid that was also working on Zaroth's brother. "Curious, the autism must make him so much more susceptible to the extreme sensations. I do wish he was a bit more articulate."

"My lord, that's... hideous," replied Zaroth as he peered at his writhing sibling. The scene was disgusting. He had heard of the alchemist's skills, but now he feared he had made a mistake in subjecting his own brother to the lunatic's tender mercies. Muraue would never forgive him.

"Losing your nerve, Zaroth?" hissed Macron as he turned toward the Journeyman Sith with a pointing accusatory finger. "Don't forget- you serve the Grandmaster now. He is far worse than me. Of course, if you'd like to take a turn in the rack..." A sick grin tightened his features as his yellow eyes narrowed to slits. "By all means. You'd be a lot more interesting."

"No thank you," replied Zaroth as he looked on and steeled his nerves. "It's just not quite what I was expecting." The color was returning to his face as he controlled himself. The situation had narrowly avoided taking a very bad turn. He was very aware that his favored status gave him some modicum of protection.

"I can understand. It is after all, not the artwork I could perform with my full lab back on Orian," sighed the Sadow as he turned back to the captive. "I understand your disappointment. It does have some uses, as I think the neuranium-tipped drills will be able to penetrate Vong biomass easily," Macron smirked. "My apologies nonetheless, but he is basically broken."

"That should be plenty of fear and hate to give him fire," said Zaroth. "This should ensure that he turns. Maybe it will keep him alive in the coming conflict."

It certainly will, thought Macron. And he'll hate us both for all time. Fascinating.

Sai

11-03-2009 09:42:03

Republic-class Star Destroyer Final Way
Training Quarters

“With all due respect, Manji-sama: Macron, I ain’t.”

The reminder slipped from Tsainetomo’s lips as easily as the man himself slipped into the esoteric forms of his weapon, the kunai now carving ellipses and infinities all around his body as the Archpriest worked the Tear. For his part, Manji probed and slashed with his katana, the sliver of steel whistling as the Epis sought to break the sphere of protection that encircled his cousin.

With Manji clad in his kimono and Tsainetomo in his long-sleeved robes, the display the two Keibatsu put on looked as if it were ripped from the popular holovids of ancient warrior monks.

The sparks of the lightsabers were replaced by the clanging of steel on steel. The peculiar physics of Meishu’s Tear prevented Manji’s blade from severing the tether, making it slide along its length. He would withdraw and advance time and time again, but Tsainetomo would fend him off with vicious lateral and horizontal swings, causing him to cut his attack short. The observers in the room felt the frustration growing, and the Dark Side’s palpable presence becoming heavier as both men drew deeply upon its ebon flows. Where Manji’s eyes were ablaze with rage, Tsainetomo’s were half-lidded in abstract calm; the Dokugan-ryu was a surgeon, precise and deadly; his gakusei, an artist, ebbing and flowing as the tide. They were a study in contrast, but eerily similar in the way they plied their tradecraft.

Once, Manji saw an opening as the circle of steel being carved by the Archpriest was behind him and with a triumphant cry he thrust forward, seeking to pierce his cousin’s chest with more than three feet of folded steel. Tsainetomo, however, had different designs.

The Korun-Keibatsu halved the arc of his weapon by letting the tether wrap around his upper arm, and as the kunai came around abruptly, Tsainetomo struck it with the flat of his palm. The kunai shot forward, headed straight for the Dokugan-ryu’s face.

Manji altered his thrust to an upward sweep of his katana, batting the Tear away. Recovering quickly, the Epis somersaulted to the side, and again came at his cousin with a diagonal swipe. A hasty upwards parabola of the kunai struck the downward flash of silver, and again Manji was forced to rethink his tactic. Before he could mount another attack, the Tear found itself coming around Tsainetomo from behind and below, and a well-placed kick sent the point of the kunai hurtling towards Manji’s knee.

Manji danced backward out of range on Force-assisted legs, and Tsainetomo gathered the tether of his weapon around his arms and the kunai, tucked between his arm and body, dangled in lazy, serpentine menace.

The air was stilled as both men regarded one another, and the observers watched in anxious anticipation. Finally, the Keibatsu eased warily out of their respective guards, and began to chuckle.

“No, cousin; Macron, you are not!” They put away their weaponry and made their way back to the table, smiling all the while. Ashura, Jade, and the apprentices watched them, slack-jawed and wide-eyed.

Jade stared at Tsainetomo, who looked back as if to say, ‘What?’ Her measure of the man was constantly being put into question. Where before, she saw him as arrogant; she now saw him as self-assured. “I saw you take that ‘saber back on Inos 42, Sai; why on Sepros did you not have a bacta-bath afterwards? And, how did you recover so quickly? Manji should’ve cut you down...”

Pouring himself another snifter of whiskey, he took a long drink before speaking. “No, I am not completely healed from my wound, dearest; I suspect I may never be the same. And, ‘tis true, Manji-sama should have ended this session a while ago, though I suspect he may have been holding back.” He shot an admonishing look at his cousin, who simply winked back as he poured yet another cup of sake for himself.

“Still, if there’s anything this life has taught me,” Tsainetomo continued, “is that running from weakness is folly. Too often do we rely on the Force or chemicals to heal us, to bolster us, to give us courage and to project our strength. We must take stock of all that we are, and embrace it! Only then, can we truly be complete, and it is the complete warrior who can find strength within his weakness. Otherwise, we may find ourselves weak within our strength.”

Ashura nodded sagely as Tsainetomo’s words sank in, and the apprentices did the same. Jade merely crossed her arms beneath her breasts as she pondered his circular logic. Truly, she learned from the man even when she wanted him humbled.

“Oh, and by the way? You should never confuse ‘Conceit’ with ‘Conviction’, especially when dealing with a Keibatsu. Manji should’ve taught you that much.” Jade looked up sharply at Tsainetomo as Manji guffawed and spit out a mouthful of rice wine while doing so. That connection thing works both ways, Jade. Sai’s silent message rang in her inner-ear, and she joined her erstwhile Master in laughter.

JadeSadow

11-03-2009 12:51:51

Republic-class Star Destroyer Final Way
Training room
Hyperspace

Jade sat there and narrowed her eyes for a moment after laughing along with Sai. She knew the connection went both ways, she had said it on purpose. Guess I should stop thinking about what a drama king you can be sometimes then. She smirked, crossing her right leg over her left knee.

Sai’s voice was dark and calm, considering the fight he just had, as he responded. You think I'm a drama king because you recognize that trait in yourself. His response made her suddenly realized that she saw Sai as more a brother then anything; their spats similar in nature to siblings fighting, tearing each others throats out, only to come back stronger from it.

She raised her eyebrows at Sai and smirked. Manji going easy on Sai seemed to make the most sense, she had had her own dealings with Manji many times, and at the time she had assumed he was being tough on her because she was a girl, wanting to see if she would crack under pressure. She figured out later that it was just his style of fighting and teaching. She had been at ends when he had suddenly disappeared, but was glad to have him back in action, even if he did have a rice wine obsession. She turned to Manji and uncrossed her arms. “You shouldn’t drink so fast.” She motioned with her head towards Sai. “You never know what this one will try to do to win a fight.” She still thought it funny how all her masters, except for Ashura, had been Keibatsu. They must take care of their own. She suddenly smiled and laughed to herself, so that is where she got that trait.

Shan Long

11-03-2009 13:33:38

Kalekka Tower
Du'San Boundary, Antei



Nameless he burst forth from the womb, and nameless he would be laid under his shroud. A golved finger traced an intricate carving of an ouroborus detailed around and between the massive hasp of the stone doors. At least, the doors seemed to be of stone. He distinctly heard Four-Eight and Five-Seven click the safties from their heavy rifles. For the show of bravado, he knew the gesture was useless. They were walking into the lair of death. He reached for the hasp to pull it open, if it wasn't locked

Noiselessly the heavy doors began to swing open in tandem. Sixteen meters of stone moving effortly against stone. Like the opening tendrils of a black rose, there was nothing save an expression of grace and beauty. Shadows permeated the air with a cold stillness that seemed to flow out of the open maw of the Tower itself. Despite his clothing, he felt the heavy chill. Taking a deep breath, he motioned his two cloned soldiers to advance, and stepped over the threshold.

Teach us to care and not to care
Teach us to sit still.


The words attempted to bring a measure of calm into his soul, yet nothing would drive the it back, no warmth would ever move him again, life and death are endless cold... so cold....

They moved in blackness, and not even the light amplifying equipment would show them the way. There simply was no light. Echoes from their footfalls perhaps guided a sense of moving forward, but it was impossible to gauge anything beyond immense shadow. It reminded Cyrus of a spacewalk. A sense that even gravity had abandoned him.

Blazing light flared for a second, then faded to a dull shimmering red light. All three crouched to the stone floor in total surprise, desperately seeking cover. Eyes tracked the area through weapons sights. But there was nothing.

They stood in one of the largest rooms any had seen. Perfectly circular, the walls loomed for leagues overhead, into a darkness that could not be penetrated. Seven immense silver bowls cast red firelight onto the white marble floor, causing shadows to dance with a psychotic dervish of malice. They moved forward, turning in tandem with weapons at ready, walking below the immense fires. Cyrus reached a hand out to caress what seemed to be a support beam. Seven meters by seven meters, it loomed like a wroshyr tree over the hall. Intricate carvings in languages he could not read covered every square centimeter of wood. He could see six more beams arranged at equidistant points around, as if the entire Tower was supported on the weight of words.

Such pride, such arrogance, such artistry.

Behind one of the beams, there was a narrow archway, leading to a spiralling staircase. Cautiously, he waved his fellows forward. It must be the only way to advance into the Tower, there were no turbolifts apparent.

Through the structure, a powerful burst of thunder shook stone and steel.

Looking around cautiously, Cyrus flipped a small holoprojector open. The Consul had given him a map of the Tower, as best as it was known. He seemed to be at the base of a massive stair, that encircled the entire Foyer, as it was labeled. He thought the scale must be flawed. the foyer stretched a full kilometer. Impossible. That would make the stair an impossible climb to the next level, the first of a series of libraries.

"There must be a lift hidden somewhere, it would take a week to climb this stair."

Laughter boomed out of the darkness, but it might have been thunder.


Between seen and not seen...


Threads and cords stretched out and tangled insanely between the instruments of a fine orchestra. Cords of chords, a miasma of intertwined melody that encompassed the entirety of the Construct. The Dragon coursed through melodies, symphonies, harmonies, seeking for the singular note that would tie the music together.

He found it, moving ever so carefully through possibility, ennumerated by circumstance and a certain lust for power and revenge. Someone that he had wronged, cast aside. No, not him... the other... the ghost.

And still he felt the presence of the Heretic. Intentions would difficult to determine, but the threads of influence stretched out as a tangled web that upset the careful melody of the Weavery, the Construct was shaking, desperate to purge the blight, as a conductor who will silence a player with a poorly tuned violin.

Circumstance and situation, the time was coming and the crescendo was building. He would savor the moment.

The Dragon closed his Sight, and laughed, smoking trailing between his lips like the personfication of his mirth.

Krandon

11-03-2009 14:47:41

Hyperspace
Republic-class Star Destroyer Final Way
Jade Serpent’s Battle Team Leader’s Quarters



“Welcome to the Dark Jedi Brotherhood, Initiate Krandon Rowella”, the Daughter of Sadow said.

“Thank you, Ashia.” Krandon replied, showing the deepest of respects for his Master, the person who had brought him into the Dark Jedi Brotherhood; Ashia Kagan Keibatsu Sadow.

“Here you will experience everything you will need to know for your future, everything you will ever need to be successful in life; you will become a successful person, a successful member of this Brotherhood.”

Krandon was still a little distraught after being picked from Iridonia by Ashia. He had slept in a cave for three days. Even though it was only three days, it felt like a life time for the young Zabrak. Krandon was still getting used to the fact that he had an actual bed, and people who were not his kind around him.

“Is there anything you wish of me, Master?” Krandon asked the Keibatsu.

“Go, get some sleep. I will be with you tomorrow morning. Tomorrow, it all starts.” Ashia told Krandon, clapping him on the shoulder and sending him away.

Krandon left the chamber where Ashia had been taking to him, walked down the main corridor and entered his room. As he sat down at the desk, a young Anzat male came into the room.

“I’m sorry...” Krandon said, shying away from the newcomer.

“Who are you?” the Anzat replied.

“Krandon Rowella, I’m new.”

“Jaredi Edius”, the Anzat replied, shaking Krandon’s hand.


--

Suddenly, Krandon awoke from his deep sleep, shaken from what he had just been dreaming. He missed his good friend Jaredi, but work had to be done. Work for his Battle Team, for his House, Clan, and the Brotherhood.

Krandon wiped his eyes and sat up in his bed, trying to ignore the tears on his fingers.

Macron Sadow

11-03-2009 16:29:18

Republic-class Star Destroyer Final Way
Medlab 6
Hyperspace



"That wraps it up," commented Macron as Muraue dropped limply from the rack when it released. "Zaroth, take him to a holding cell until he wakes up. He'll be mighty pissed off when he does. Be prepared."

"Thanks, I guess?" replied the Journeyman. He appeared uncomfortable as he noticed the rope of bloody drool oozing from his brother's mouth. "Is anything- permanently damaged?" he asked.

"My pleasure. Er, I don't think so," said Macron with a trademark giggle. "Or at least, I hope not. The device was meant for beings with a rather more... durable constitution, so I really can't say for certain. Hee hee."

"What did you mean about serving the Grandmaster?" asked Zaroth as the exit door opened with a whoosh. He gestured at a trooper to put Muraue on a gurney for transport.

"We all serve Him, and at His pleasure, especially in this affair," snickered the alchemist as he nodded to the waiting Aisha Qifaxa sitting in a chair. "And it is my suspicion your Master will be the next Lord of the Sith. Both logical reasoning and my feeling of the Force support my hypothesis."

Aisha looked slightly green as she stood up and put down her tattered waiting room copy of Alien Playgirl. "What the hell went on in there?" the Zeltron asked quietly as the pair walked away from the thoughtful Zaroth.

"There are things about me you wouldn't like," remarked Macron. "Pray you never get to experience them. And green does not mix well with your natural ruddy coloration, my dear."

"I see." Aisha regarded him quizzically. She had heard rumors among the others of her new master's penchant for torture, but had not yet seen actual proof. She wondered about her own future as a Sith. The other Journeymen all looked at her with strange looks, as if she was a pariah among the group. None wanted to get to know her. They all though she wouldn't last, like the others. I'll show them, she thought with gritted teeth. "Where to now, Master?"

"Back to the training hall, of course," Macron chuckled. "I meant to give Manji a taste of my fists before we were so rudely interrupted. I owe it to him. Hee hee."

Xanos

11-03-2009 16:41:50

Republic-class Star Destroyer Final Way
Dlarit Special Operations Flagship
Antei System, Outer Rim
Metal Green Sector


‘Dlarit fleet, all stop,’ Admiral Simonetti ordered. ‘I repeat: Dlarit fleet, all stop.’

Studying the holographic display above the bridge’s tactical station, Araic watched as the cluster of blue sigils indicating the combined forces of the Navy and Special Operations Group came to a complete halt. They had arrived outside the so-called Shroud. The Kangaras Division was waiting at the predetermined coordinates as planned, having been operating throughout the Metal Green Sector for some months in preparation for the final invasion.

Yuuzhan Vong attacks had been falling ever since the new Galactic Alliance had retaken Coruscant. However, in the last couple of months, Raistlin Majerus, who had been commanding the Kangaras Division’s operations in the sector, had reported the Vong attacks had completely dropped off the charts.

In the past two weeks they had practically ceased altogether. The odd frigate or escort carrier analog attack, perhaps, but aside from that reports of Vong movement were unusually quiet.

The fleet had been readying itself for the liberation for months, but Araic had no doubts the recent reports had likely had something to do with the call finally coming in that the mission at last was a go. This was their opening... but all his experience told him something didn’t smell right. It was a trap. Just like the last time. The Yuuzhan Vong were setting them up.

It sent a shiver up the admiral’s back. He had not been here for nearly three years.
He did not want to remember that day. So many lost.

The attack had come without warning. None had foreseen it.

Well, that was not entirely true. But the two who had claimed to have foreseen it had ultimately cost him more lives than the aliens. Fortunately, they were both now dead. Good ridden to murdering filth.

The Shroud loomed outside the viewport, a black morass hidden from the Galaxy, from which no light returned. A black stain on an otherwise star filled sky. He still could not understand why his masters cared so much for such an isolated, barren rock, stranded within a dark haze of gases, asteroids, wreckage, and so forth. It had been ignored by everyone else for a reason.

But he had grown to trust the wisdom in his masters’ plans. Strange as their reasons were, they nearly always were right. If this planet was worth reclaiming, then reclaim it he would.

He just hoped he was wrong. If this was another Yuuzhan Vong trap...

‘Report,’ he called to the tactical station. ‘Contact?’

The technician he had asked shook his head. ‘No signs of enemy contact. The shuttle Last Hope is on an approach vector to dock with Commander Majerus; as is the prisoner transport from the Cenota Facility that Major Tanos contacted us about. Aside from that, nothing, sir.’

He grunted. ‘Well, trust the aliens to hide. Lousy cowards. Never up for a clean fight.’

He stared out of the viewport again. He had sworn once never to come back. After the battle... no, the massacre, he had been prepared to renounce his commission. He’d literally had his letter of resignation written. But then they’d got back to Orian, only to deal with more problems. That had put a quick end to his retirement plans. Looking back, it had probably been the right move. They’d have killed him had he tried to walk away.

You didn’t walk away. It just wasn’t done. Lord Sadow wouldn’t allow it. Especially with one of the few members of the military who knew exactly what his dark masters were. If he was so inclined, the Galactic Alliance would probably pay him handsomely for the information. But what had the GA, or the New Republic it had replaced, ever done for him?

So here he was. Back where it had all started. Might as well get this over with then.

‘All ships to follow the Final Way in,’ he said to the chief comm officer. ‘Remind Admiral Bren he is not to deviate from our course under any circumstances.’

Tomax Bren was the new commanding officer of the Harbinger, the regular Dlarit Navy’s flagship. The man was talented, but he was no Larin Gendash, and like all young officers had that tendency to try and show off. Araic still missed Larin; he cursed the name of the sorcerer who had butchered his old friend. That bastard got what he deserved for his betrayal.

‘Helm, take us in.’

And may god help us if I’m right, he thought as the fleet was swallowed by the darkness.

Sai

11-03-2009 17:20:04

Republic-class Star Destroyer Final Way
Training Quarters

“Oh, dren. We’re in.”

Manji’s pronouncement came between sips of his liquor and Tsainetomo and Ashura nodded in grave agreement. Jade grunted assent as Dyrra and Aleho looked on questioningly.

“In where?” the Togruta asked innocently.

“The Shroud, my dear; we’re in the Shroud.” Ashura explained patiently as the others sat quietly. “You’ve never been to Antei – our true home, so you don’t know, and you lack the strength to sense it. Antei’s surrounded by an impenetrable ‘shroud’, hence the name. There are varying theories as to its creation – some say it was born millennia ago, due to death and destruction on a planetary scale, others, say its an anomaly on the Dark Side itself. Only the strongest among us have the means to safely navigate ships through. Those of us who have bled there can literally feel it; we’ve no need for announcements or the like. Nevertheless, we only trust Grand Masters and the like to bring us in...without incident, that is.”

Manji agreed. “Once you grow up a bit, li’l girl,” – Aleho bristled once again – “you’ll be able to feel it, too. Should you survive going ‘home’, that is.”

Jade put her hands behind her head, relaxing as much as she could, given the circumstances. “Speaking of ‘survival’, I think it’s time to exercise again. Who’s up?”

As if on cue, the doors slid open and Macron stalked through, his wild eyes searching. “Nekura!” he called, using Manji’s familiar name. “We’ve got some business...what the frell happened in here?”

The remnants of the Dark Side’s power hung heavy in the air, left over from Manji’s and Tsainetomo’s duel. “Guess,” Tsainetomo snorted.

“Get yer rear stomped, didja?” teased Macron, who motioned his closely following apprentice to the center of the room.

“Not exactly,” Manji corrected, who once again rose to his feet, rolling his head on his neck, cracking the vertebrae and showing no ill effects from the drink. Tsainetomo’s tripartite eyes flashed at the off-handed complement. “Ah, underestimating your bushy-haired friend, are you? Since you want to talk schutta, how about we make things interesting?”

“Bring it!” Macron cackled, flexing his powerful Armor Fist.

“Oh no, not me...there’s a time for action, and a time for reflection,” admonished Tsainetomo with a wry grin. “I’m most pensive at the moment. In fact, I’m thinking that fifty credits says that Manji-sama and Dyrra can wipe the floor with you and your new ‘toy’ there! A little ‘fatal four-way’ action strike your fancy?”

Tsainetomo knew that out of all the bugs that plagued Macron, real or imaginary, the gambling bug was hardest for his friend to fight.

“You’re on! I’ll need those in non-sequential bills, please.” Macron moved to the floor after taking a quick shot of whiskey.

“You know I’m good for it, m’friend; earn ‘em first!” Tsainetomo took yet another shot of liquor.

The room was again bustling with activity as the four Dark Jedi moved into position. Just then, the door slid open again and Ekeia poked a cautious head in.

“What in Sadow’s name did I just walk into?”

Nekura Manji

11-03-2009 19:38:05

Republic-class Star Destroyer Final Way
Training Quarters


A cackle edged from the Epis’ throat as Macron crouched, raising his fists. Folding his arms inside the sleeves of his kimono, the Keibatsu surveyed the madman calmly, a smirk lingering on his features.

“My goodness, I am popular. This is turning into some kind of karkin’ holovid.”

Shrugging his arms free, the Epis flexed his muscles, waving a hand dismissively towards Dyrra and Aisha.

“Go and sit down, kids. You’ll just get in my way.”

Dyrra’s gaze shot towards the Epis, an angry snarl colouring her face. Before she could speak, the Epis turned his head slightly towards her, his eyes still staring into Macron’s.

“Sit. Now.”

Weighing up her pride against her recent memories of seeing Manji fight for real, Dyrra relaxed slightly, slipping over to the chairs and taking a seat next to Tsainetomo. Aisha's own gaze went to her master, to receive only a curt nod. The Warlord was mentally preparing himself for combat, and would brook no distractions. Sighing in frustration, she too moved over to the chairs.

In the middle of the room, Manji spread his arms out wide, the cheeky grin still on his face.

“How’re these odds, Mac? Me versus you and your little fist toy there. If I kick your arse this time you might as well give up and become a monk.”

A manic grin lit the Sith’s face as he shuffled slightly in place, clenching and unclenching the fist weapon. Unpertubed, Manji continued to speak, moving slowly towards the Sith.

“I mean... how are you even going to hit me?”

As if they were one being, both warriors moved at once. Macron lunged forwards, aiming a staccato punch with his armoured fist at the Epis’ stomach. At the same moment, Manji leaped to one side, grabbing the fist with two hands and turning, pulling the Sith forwards. Staggering, Macron span aggressively, a snarl painted across his face. A flurry of brutal punches and kicks followed, almost all repelled or returned by the Epis; as a kick from the Warlord smashed against the side of Manji’s knee, a downward hammer blow crashed against Macron’s shoulder, inciting a grunt of pain.

Suddenly, the two fighters drew apart, only to close again in a furious display of martial skill. Lunging for the Epis’ face, Macron sent another deadly blow with the Armour Fist at his former master, only for Manji to duck swiftly under the attack. One hand ensnared Macron’s outstretched arm, the other grasping the Warlord by the shoulder as Manji turned to one side, his foot scything Macron’s leg out from under him as the Epis pulled.

The Sith’s feet left the floor as he was hurled across the room by Manji. In mid-air, Macron reached deep into the Dark Side, thickening the air around him to slow his fall, his feet slamming against the floor as he caught himself. However, before he could turn to resume the attack, a blow from the Epis crashed against the back of his skull, throwing him forwards again.

Despite the pain thudding in his head, Macron managed to retain his balance, spinning around quickly with a low, sweeping kick. As the Epis leapt over the attack, Macron braced himself against the floor then pushed, lunging forwards. His shoulder smashed heavily into the Epis’ chest and threw him backwards, Manji’s feet skidding on the floor as he retained his own balance, the tables turned.

As Macron went in for another attack, the Epis caught his arm, hands slipping slightly on the material of Macron’s sleeve. The Dark Side surged through the Keibatsu, channelling itself into electrical energy that poured down Manji’s arms and directly into Macron’s armoured fist. Circuits sparked and fizzed dangerously as Macron stared down at his weapon in shock- just in time to see the Epis’ right hand balled into a fist and travelling towards his face.

Conad

11-03-2009 20:11:50

Republic-class Star Destroyer Final Way


Conad Daak had been roaming the halls of the Final Way, not knowing what to do next. Mere hours ago he had been added to the battle team, the Jade Serpents, but nothing had really changed. Still, the confusion lingered. The Falleen had been a member of the Dark Brotherhood for several weeks now, and his life had been a flurry of studying and training…until now.

Conad had heard the tales of the Yuuzhan Vong from various members of the Brotherhood, and very soon he was going to face them himself. While he was not scared, he was not arrogant; therefore he knew it would be a perilous mission for someone as inexperienced as him. Nevertheless, he would not let himself go down without a fight.
He continued to walk, lost in his own thoughts. Since joining the Brotherhood, Conad had learned much, but still not enough, so he thought. The young Krath wanted to continue his studies in the ways of the Dark Side, but this upcoming battle with the Yuuzhan Vong was more important.

Conad found himself at the door to his new Tetrarch, Krandon Rowella’s, quarters. He knocked slowly.

“Come in.” The Tetrarch whispered.

The doors slid behind Conad as he stepped forward.

“What’s the problem?” Krandon asked.

“I’d like to talk to you about what’s going to happen,” Conad replied, refusing to show the small traces of anxiety deep inside him, presenting next to no emotion as always.

“The best thing for you now would be to go and prepare, brother,” the Zabrak said.

“Preparation is vital yes, but if possible I would like information and advice.”

“Believe me. Nothing I say could help you. Go to your quarters and gather yourself, it will soon be time to fight,” Krandon assured. “And be alert, now we are in the Shroud, things could get nasty at any moment,” he added.

“Thank you,” Conad bowed and left the room. He walked back to his own cell, still not thoroughly convinced. Conad had thought about what his Tetrarch had said. He was a wise man and must know what he is talking about. Conad walked into his quarters with the door hissing shut behind him

Anochiir

11-03-2009 20:13:44

ISD Final Way
Personal Quarters


Mitsuhide gazed deeply into the mirror, his features were blank, but his eyes seemed to tell an untold story for those who cared to read it. He vaguely remembered the last war, in which the Vong had sent them retreating from the Shroud. For the majority of the war, he was away from combat looking for answers of his own. Not finding what he sought after nearly drove him insane.

There were no answers to be had. Only more questions for each 'answer' he found. His memories began to slowly unfold after the war ended, but the answers always seemed to show themselves just at the edge of his vision only to disappear once more when he looked. His apprentice stood a few feet away, watching her Master gaze into the mirror, as though he were lost to everyone but his reflection. He seldom spoke, but she had learned to listen carefully when he did.

He had been teaching her the way of compassion. He was considered the laughing stock of his order and most of the Brotherhood looked upon him as a lesser Dark Jedi. She knew that he had seen much death, but she never saw the reason behind his compassion. Why hadn't he killed her? Wasn't that the meaning of power? Taking what you wanted when you wanted it? He had her beaten in minutes but she prided herself on being on of the fiercest and fastest among those her rank.

Questions unanswered raged through both of their minds. Mitsuhide sought the answers of a forgotten past, Mei wanted the answers for an uncertain future. The coming conflict seemed to make them both more on edge than usual. Even Mitsuhide's emotionless visage seemed strained at times, but he continued his reticence.

Mirrored Reflections
Mitsuhide's Quarters


Memories continued their ebb and flow through the mind of Mitsuhide, but there was one that remained stationary. A rock against the gentle current of time, barely remembered by even his own brother. Silently, this one waited and watched.

The rock's name was Faram, he was the twin brother of Mitsuhide. Two thousand years dead and forgotten, but he remembered as did Mitsuhide. Neither of them had forgotten the other, except for their relationship to each other.

One had forgotten through years of silent hatred, lusting after the next death caused by their hands. The other, simply because the past was too painful. Both had reasons to lose sight of themselves, but they were truly polar opposites. Faram was their anger and rage, whereas Mitsuhide was their compassion and mercy. The two of them had become one when the other died too soon with much left to do.

The mirror seemed to grin viciously at Mitsuhide who gave off a low growl and pushed his twin back to the corners of his mind.

ISD Final Way
Mitsuhide's Quarters


Mei was seated on a small mat near the foot of Mitsuhide's bed. This was her place when they weren't at his residence. She had no quarters of her own as of yet, but his voice still echoed through her mind.

When you have proven your worth, you will have your own bed, he had told her. Until then, you are no more than a dog to sleep at my feet.

She looked at his reflection and thought she had seen the face in the mirror change. The grin was so vicious, that she felt honest fear. The same fear she felt on the night of their first encounter. She had seen two sides of the same man. One was brutal and deadly, the other seemed calm and compassionate. Her days were filled with 'interesting' things. She never knew which side of her Master she would see when he awoke.

Some days, she would find the mysterious Faram training her. Those were days where she understood pain and how to handle it. They were harsh lessons, but no less important. Other days, however, she trained with Mitsuhide with her nose deep in the dusty tomes at the Archpriest's residence. Few times did Mitsuhide ever train her with weapons; instead, he made her a weapon.

A warrior without intelligence is a brute, he had told her. One with low intelligence is a soldier and one with superb intelligence is a tactician.

Which one are you, Master? she had asked him.

I am none, Mei. I am a scholar who has no place in a battle. Tactics and fighting, neither are my calling. My calling is to the young. To be their instructor, no more no less. Think on that, my pet.

He always gave her much to think on and figure out on her own. She felt that every time she learned something new of her Master, other things fell into shadow. It was almost as though he were never meant to be figured out. She wasn't even entirely sure if her Master knew everything either, but she never voiced the concern.

Today, she counted herself lucky. The coming war had given him focus, it gave him some extra measure, it seemed, to stave off the other side of himself. The one that called himself Faram. She had a feeling this wasn't the true name of this other persona, but she never questioned it. She knew the price for disobedience, it was a lesson she had learned quickly.

Mitsuhide seemed perfectly at home with the thought of war. This confused her even more due to his nearly unconditional compassion. How could he be so at home with the thought of death?

As though he had heard her thoughts, he looked at her with his iridescent green eyes. His voice was just above a whisper, but in the silence of the room it seemed to echo loudly.

"Let me teach you of war, Mei. It is nothing to be afraid of, because you will not die from it. I will be there by your side to keep you safe until I feel you are ready to go off on your own."

Rising from her place on the floor, she stood to her full height of five and a half feet. She regarded her Master with inquisition as he moved closer, his own height of just over two inches taller than she was. She was smaller, but knew his strength. Beneath his baggy robes, the Archpriest was a warrior to be both feared and respected.

She looked up and found the conflicting personalities alight in his eyes as he moved into a defensive stance, "Strike me."

Alexander

11-03-2009 20:28:34

Republic-class Star Destroyer Final Way
Krandon’s Quarters


The door buzzed as the young Krath sat in his chambers preparing for the ordeals ahead. Looking up he beckoned for the person outside his door to enter. Having just spoken to a new member of his squadron about the coming battle the young man was settling his thoughts. Shortly after his call, the door opened with a hiss. Dressed in a dark military uniform a Alexander Anderson walked through the door. The man’s gaze moved quickly around the chamber before settling upon the young man. The blank look on the Priests faced changed to a generally warm smile upon seeing the young man.

“Krandon! It’s good to see you, how have you been?” Xander asked extremely politely. In a way Krandon found this slightly disconcerting about the Sapphire Squadron Commander. The Equite was actually quite a bit above Krandon in terms of rank in the Brotherhood. However, where other members often went out of their way to speak down to Journeymen, or simply chose to order them around, Xander spoke to every individual he met in the same pleasant, and calming way. Furthermore, he almost always spoke to Krandon as an equal.

“Good, I suppose… have been busy with my new post as Squadron commander. Lot’s of new faces, and on top of that there this current conflict to this about…”

Xander nodded “That’s good, idle hands and such. However, the time has come to join up with our brethren and get situated. If you are prepared, I would appreciate it if you would accompany me, in a few things.” Once again the request was put in a polite manner. One might have thought that the man was condescending. But, there was never any such tone in the mans voices to be heard, just a tone of simple politeness.

“Yes. I will.” Krandon grabbed his belongings and followed Xander out the door.

“Once again, congratulations on the position.” Xander said amicably “Leader is …” Xander said starting on his views about leadership

Republic-class Star Destroyer Final Way
Training Quarters


“…. And that is what believe leadership means” Xander said as they reached the door. Krandon stopped suddenly at the door, a dark feeling emanating from the door in front of him. He could tell that a large amount to the Dark side of the force had been used in the room recently.

“After you…” Xander said. Krandon nodded and pushed the entry into the door not sure what he would see on the other side.

Kalei_Basai

12-03-2009 00:36:15

Republic-class Star Destroyer Final Way
Tetrach of Night Hawks Quarters


Kalei had sat in silence for a moment before deciding to answer Valorian's query. "You will find out at a later time. Just keep the scans going for now, I will want the results of the scans in an hour." With that, Kalei cut the transmission to the first on her team that she would speak with. She knew where Zaroth was, there was no need to bother him at this time.

Soon, Kalei pulled her lightsaber from her belt and twirled it around in her fingers a bit. This war would be the first time she would have to use it more than to just kill off one person. The turquoise blade of her saber had only ever caused the death of one man, one whom had betrayed the Brotherhood long ago. The Dark Jedi Knight had to get her mind focused enough to not only command the team, but help the house and the clan in everything that they would need her to do.

Kalei then got up from the desk in her quarters and went to the middle of the floor. She sat down and placed her lightsaber next to her. Now was the time to focus, now was the time to get her head on straight before anything serious started to happen. Now was the time...

Scithe

12-03-2009 10:07:03

Republic-class Star Destroyer Final Way
Common Barracks Corridors


The place was swarming with people. Most of them donning the all too common armor of the Dlarit Corporation, they all looked alike busy and talkative, running around in small errands and spreading news and gossip. The last one was, of course, the arrival of the fleet at the destination of the hyperflight.

Few of them had ever heard about the Shroud, much less had seen it with bare eyes. The great majority of the personnel was composed of freshmen, picked up in the last two years to replace the losses from the massacre that happened at this very place. They have no idea of where they were heading, and, as with everything new and exotic, they were extactic with the notion of a giant dark spot lost amidst the great sea of stars that was the galaxy.

Little they knew of the truth about Antei. It was a tumor feeding off the galaxy. It swallowed anything that was thrown against it and gave nothing as return. Only those able to feed and survive on the maelstrom of the Dark Side could withstand its fury.

"Cattle! All of them..." was all that the large hooded figure could think as he roamed through the beehive, its workers quickly coming and going, giving a wide berth around the cloaked figure when they could. "But no matter. If Antei could be the cancer to bring about the Final Way or the galaxy could heal itself of it, I don't care. Death comes to us all."

The door to the lift opened with a quick, low noise. There was much to do now the ship was ready to venture into the tempest. Now he had to face his "brethren", his "equals". It was a long absence and a multitude of things have changed. New faces, eager to prove themselves, and some older, familiar faces, altered by time and experience.

"They would meet their deaths too... In due time." He proclaimed as the lift started its ascent. "But what matters in the end is if they can face Death in the eyes and smile back."

Shan Long

12-03-2009 13:35:07

Between seen and not seen...


You know they come for you....

A proud, quiet voice interrupted his meditations with a sinister glee of obvious revelation. The Dragon considered a revelations of facts that he already knew. The time had come, and they would force his hand. Exactly who was coming was not immediately obvious. Apropo, he knew who was coming... but not what motivation was coming. Were the Sadows bending to the will of the Great Ones to see him destroyed, had the agents of the ghostly Heretic finally penetrated his seclusion? He wasn't certain, but knew the answers would become apparent as he slowly drew the life from whom ever defiled his place of quiet reflection.

Wars are so far beyond what is important, and the importance of his work was lost on even the Great Ones. Yes, their command of power was stunning, yet the Dragon was beyond mere power, he craved a completion to the command he had claimed at Lehon. Yes, that had been the summation of it. The final striking hammer that clarified his vision, allowed him to overcome the man who was more soaked in blood than even his own hands.

...The Sadows believe you dead... you know who climbs the Great Stair even now. You know it, but refuse to believe it....

"Silence. I told you not to disturb me."

Shan Long was crouched over a very low table in the middle of his highest library. The vast chamber was completely empty, save for the Dragon, the table, and a small glittering stone of deeply resonating violet that shimmered in the absent light. He had patiently observed every minute facet and flaw of this small stone, yet another of the Fragments of the Star of Ombus. He was very nearly ready to perform a great ritual. One that would be closure to his Ascension, imperfect as it was.

A vapor-like form slowly coalesced in dull light, shining faintly violet. Trevarus Caerick walked seeming out of the shadows, and sat cross-legged on the floor near the Dragon. His face was very much like a grinning demon, though merely a shade of his former self, a memory, Shan Long corrected himself, his presence was the same. Maniacal, pedagogical, and endlessly infuriating. How any living had suffered his presence was beyond his ken.

"Even now, the Navies of the Iron Throne are assembling over this world. They prepare to invade, to reclaim what I first showed them. The Dark Lords are so eager to flaunt their superiiority over a world that none save me even remembered existed."

"And you no longer exist. Be quiet." Shan Long said irritably.

"Oh, but I do. Cyrus Raze has begun his climb up the Great Stair. With him, comes the stain of my Apprentice, of your Apprentice, my brother."

"Will you kill him and go to the Dlarits?"

"Yes. Because through him I will find the Heretic, and I shall put him down. What you created, I shall destroy; and what you destroyed, I shall create."

"Endless circles, my friend." The ghost of the Sorcerer began to laugh.

"I will fight, but I will hunt. This war ends it all."

"That is where you are wrong," Trevarus Caerick said, his grin broadening. "Powerful and wise you are, stealing my body and soul... yet you have much to learn, young one."

"ENOUGH!" The Dragon vented a lesser part of his fury, and the ghost vanished.

The Ghost was indeed correct, maddening as his words were. Circles were closing, the flames were smoldering with latent, building heat. He climbed to his feet, the Fragment rising with him as a glittering, minature star glowing violetly in the soft darkness. Slowly, he walked, the Star following him, as if drawn into orbit around the Fragment of the Star embedded in the strange, flowing silver metal that covered his right arm in a small ocean of eddying, swirling quicksilver.

The Dragon's teeth were closing around its own tail.


Kalekka Tower
First Mezzanine
Du'san Boundary, Antei



He guessed that perhaps six hours had passed since he and his small team had started up the stairs. Now, they had reached a small seating area that seemed to mark a break in the spiralling stair. At least, he believed it used to be a seating area. A stone bench was built into a Oriel window frame of colored, stained glass. The pattern was foreign to him. In each strike of lightning from the powerful storms, brilliant hues of light where cast onto the white marble floor, to reflect dully on the black balsatic rock of the walls. Another window directly across looked down into the Foyer.

Cyrus stuck his head bodily through the window, looking down into the soflty roaring flames of the massive fires that lighted the expanse. He was only a third of the way to the first of the libraries. This climb would take all day.

As he pulled himself back through the portico, a wave of savory sweet aromatic smoke flooded his senses. Swooning, he fell to the cold stone floor.

Desert winds carried a spicy tang of moonlit night across a vast plain. As his vision cleared, he became aware of time and distance, yet blurred, as if he was looking through an oily viewport. He might have been standing, he might have been flying. He wasn't sure.

Yet, he saw a small house, more of a shack really. In his dream miasma, he was walking towards it no aware of his body moving, but more of the movement of his body. A hand rose to push open the door.

"They're coming for me. Stay here, Kraitus. If you value your life."

"Yes, yes Master Beriss... what is this?"

"The reckoning. The Sorcerer has come to claim my blood."

A well-built man, face hidden deep within a cowl withdrew two lightsabers from under his robe. he stared at the other one for a minute, seeming to be a boy of only little more than a decade. He doesn't even have peach fuzz yet, Cyrus thought in his absent dream state.

As the man rushed out the door, it slammed behind him. Cyrus had followed, watching him shrug broad shoulders to let the cloak fall absently to the desert floor. He stood, in a lightsaber form the young man recognized immediately. He had been taught it almost immediately upon receiving his Mark.

The Mark. There it was. between his eyes. This man had it too.


Beriss. Sejj Beriss.

I know that name. He was one of the legends of the Obelisk Order. His own son had trained him with him in the Shadow Academy. They had joined Clan Naga Sadow together. Yet, Trevarus Caerick had killed father and son. Caerick had nearly killed him.

Two figures flew across the broad plain between the mountains and Beriss' small shack. A bare fifty yards from where they met, one of the attackers leapt high into the air, crimson lightsabers flashing and twirling as he launched a brutal, viscious assault in a swirling morass of brutality. Cyrus watched as Sejj charged forward, bracing himself, his cobalt blades arcing and sputtering against the attack.


You killed Talcyonis! Now you've come for me! The Prima will not stand for this!" Beriss shouted through the fray.

"He betrayed me, as have you. The Jedi routed me from Ossus, how else would they know?" The other responded. Cyrus caught a glimmer of icy blue eyes catching hints of crimson. He knew those eyes, and in one fell swoop the other's cowl fell back as the deathblow landed. The crimson blade had roared through the older warrior, splitting him twain from groin to collar. Smoking halves fell lifeless and cooling to the cold death of the desert. Lightsabers silenced.

"The crystal, Xanos." The first replied. The second, who had stood back while the two fought stepped forward, withdrawing his own cowl. He recognized both men immediately. The Falleen passed him a small object, that looked like a shimmering crystal. Caerick immediately began to chant in a language Cyrus did not know. But in the cold desert wind, thousands of cries of pain seemed two swirl around a coalescing blue light over the corpse of the fallen warrior. The energies built, growing to a shining sunlight in the moonless night. They drew into the crystal the Sorcerer held aloft, drawing forward as water falling into a drain. Then all was silent.


Cyrus awoke, panting. His head throbbed, and he felt a slight trickle of blood streaming down his forehead from the Mark of the Wanderer. He knew what this was, it was all about the little tattoo. It was about power, domination, subjugation.

"Are you alright, sir?" Four-Six asked, crouching over where Cyrus had fallen.

"Just a little tired. Let's keep going." The dead man replied.

Sai

12-03-2009 16:37:38

Republic-class Star Destroyer Final Way
Training Quarters

Just as the Keibatsu’s fist made contact with Macron’s face, Xander and Krandon shouldered their way into the crowded training room, nearly knocking poor Ekeia into the middle of the fray. The three exchanged hasty apologies, as no one wanted to take their eyes of the battle.

Macron wiped the trickle of blood from his lip that had formed, and his feral yellow eyes bored holes into Manji.

“Heh. Now, it can get interesting.”

Tsainetomo let out a short guffaw. “Now taking side bets! Now taking side bets!” he instigated without remorse. Truly, this was a serious matter, as neither man, both being Keibatsu-trained, knew the meaning of ‘practice’, but the Korun’s pronouncement was a way to inject some levity into a tense situation. Everyone in the room would soon have their own demons to face, would each have a chance to pay their dues to Death in the name of Service, but for now, they could laugh in the name of fellowship.

Sadow knew when they’d have the chance again...

Malisane

12-03-2009 16:48:50

RSD Final Way
Space


Agrist studied the display unenthusiastically, as it flicked on a constant cycle through the ship, changing every few seconds, the bridge, engineering, the mess hall, the corridors, the hangars. He had the volume turned down to a faint whisper of conversation or machinery from the inhabitants of the rooms. There was no particular reason for looking at any of this now but he wanted something to take his mind off earlier. Doubt wasn't something he usually suffered from, or for that matter sickness. Since childhood his health had been perfect, not one virus, no infections, not even a headache unless alcohol related and that took some doing. He had been embarrassed in front of the crew. He did not like that. He felt fine now so why the collapse?
The images bothered him as well, why those memories? They were the past, entertaining times all but hardly relevant. The last one was the strangest of all, something bothered him about it, he felt unsettled each time he considered it. Nothing unusual had been said, had it, just dinner surely? So why was it bothering him so much? "Stop!" he said suddenly. He was studying the officers mess, it was quiet except for two figures sat at a table. "Focus in and volume level five."

"The reason we're slowing down is because we can't safely hyperspace through all this," Malisane was explaining to the khommite, "I used to come here a lot as an envoy, and each time we got guided through."
"I don't see the need for it," Mecros replied.
"It's supposed to make invasion of Antei impossible," Malisane replied with a shrug.
"It didn't work then did it?," the Warrior said scornfully.
"True enough," the Battlelord replied, " and we paid a price for it, two if you consider Orian was captured while we tried to fight our way out."
"I would have liked to have been there," Mecros said quietly,
"It was overrated," Malisane said, his face darkening, "all those years of preperation and hiding, growing in strength and studying the force, and an enemy caught us in our greatest stronghold with our trousers down and drove us off leaving most of our fleet burning in space. Made a gaping hole in our invulnerability I don't think we've repaired since. Things have been dark since, the conquest of our own system, two of our greatest elders betraying us and nearly destroying us and everything else, and now we seem to have an enemy we haven't managed to sniff out making trouble back home."
"But now we will succeed and make them pay," the khommite said intensely.
"I hope so," Malisane replied, "the Vong are not people you want to underestimate. We're a lot stronger this time, maybe they are too. All will become clear, or at least clearer than it is now."

Agrist switched off the volume. Nothing important was being said. At least the pair of them were behaving themselves. Mecros seemed to be settling down well working with De Ath. As for the man himself Agrist would happily trust De Ath roughly as far as he could throw him but with the Summit on board he wasn't Agrist's problem. Once they were all in combat petty rivalries and intrigue would be put aside.

Krandon

12-03-2009 16:54:06

Republic-class Star Destroyer Final Way
Training Quarters


“Dude, are you serious Xander? Bringing me to this? I barely step into the room and I already screw up”, Krandon said, picking Ekeia up from the floor. “Sorry Ekeia, I didn’t mean to knock you over”.

“It’s alright Krandon; just...try not to do it again ok?” Ekeia said, responding to Krandon’s apology.

Krandon turned his head and looked at Xander, “Seriously, this is what you took me away from my nice, cozy, comfy room for this? Watching two Keibatsu’s fight it out?” Krandon said, trying to play that he didn’t want to be in the room.

“Yes...” Xander responded quickly.

“Cool”, Krandon said with a little snicker. “Sai! Put me down for 50 credits!” Krandon yelled across the room.

“Let’s go sit over here Krandon”, Xander said, gently pushing Krandon in the direction that he wanted to go.

“Hi, Ashura. Hello Manji”, Krandon said sitting down beside Manji with Xander on the left and Manji on the right. “How long has this been going on for? The fighting?” Krandon questioned.

“Just missed the starting punch”, Manji told Krandon.

“Ah...good, let us see where this fight goes, shall we?” Krandon replied.

“Yes we shall”, Manji, Ashura and Xander all said in unison

Xanos

12-03-2009 18:12:08

Kalekka Tower
Second Mezzanine
Du’san Boundary, Antei


‘I’m starting to think this wasn’t such a good idea,’ Five-Seven said in between laboured breaths.

The clone had a point. Cyrus felt they had been climbing this staircase for days. Maybe they had. They had stopped at the first mezzanine, but that perhaps hadn’t been the best idea either. The Mark had not stopped bleeding since that dream—had it just been a dream? Sejj Beriss had died long before he had even joined the Brotherhood, but it had felt so real.

‘Do you believe in ghosts, commander?’ Four-Eight’s voice jerked him out of his thoughts.

‘What? Oh, well, uh...’ He had when he was growing up, but didn’t everyone? Grown men didn’t believe in ghosts though, they were just silly superstition. Right? ‘I don’t know.’

‘I do,’ Four-Eight said evenly, not a measure of doubt in his voice.

A clone believed in ghosts? Cyrus didn’t think they were even taught what ghosts were; it was hardly useful information on the battlefield. Maybe they didn’t need to be taught? Maybe they just knew. Maybe everyone just knew? Even clones had to wonder what happened when they died.

They rounded the next twist in the staircase to arrive at a second mezzanine, near identical to the first aside from the writing that was etched into every wall in the tower. He had no idea what it meant, written in a language he was unfamiliar with. As he eyes hovered over it, words echoed in the back of his mind, but the sound was too faint for him to make out, coming from deep in the darkness that seemed to be growing stronger with every step he took toward the summit. No, it wouldn't win, not now. He just needed to reach the top...

‘Sir, you might want to take a look at this,’ Five-Seven said.

Cyrus finished his climb to the small seating area and stepped over to Five-Seven, who was gazing out the nearby oriel window. Cyrus stopped before he reached the balustrade. Outside the window, the horizon stretched into the far distance, an ocean of sprawling green hills unobscured by the fires of the Boundary. A flock of unfamiliar birds fluttered past, not far from the tower itself, their song audible on the gentle breeze that passed inside the window; no claps of thunder from endless storms.

He moved his mouth to speak, but no words came out.

‘I think... we should... keep moving,’ Four-Eight said slowly.

Cyrus nodded his head in agreement, but still could not put words to his thoughts. What in the Force was going on? That wasn’t Antei outside. It was pastoral. Surely a trick of the eyes? But again: it was so real. He could honestly smell the warm summer breeze, the hay and wheat on the wind.

‘Let’s go,’ he said, hurrying up the stairs away from the window into another world. If he stayed here much longer he would surely lose his mind. If he hadn’t lost it already.

He continued up the next flight of stairs, finally reaching what he hoped was the end of the marble staircase. The next floor opened into a high ceilinged atrium, echoing the same royal extravagance as the rest of the tower; the walls carved of the same obsidian black, the floor the same immaculate white marble, both engraved with more markings of unknown design. The dimensions did not seem possible: the atrium stretched across for hundreds of metres, surely far beyond the width he had seen outside when looking up at Kalekka from the ground.

Six thick marble pillars ringed the chamber to support what must have been the immense weight of the ceiling. A final seventh rose in the centre of the room, this one more ornate than any of the rest, and carved of the same black obsidian stone as the walls. As he approached the final pillar, something in the back of his mind whispered to him:

The Way of the Void...the Final Way...

Cyrus froze as two figures seemed to appear from the shadows. No, correct that:
three. Two men, their faces hidden with their backs to him, both staring at the third man, who was in fact not a man at all, but a statue, its only noticeable feature a shimmering band of silver that wrapped around its hand, and a sparkling violet gemstone that was affixed to the metal object.

The robes of the man furthest from the statue seemed to glimmer in the dim light like stars in the night sky. He lowered his cowl, revealing a face probably in his fifties, his hair and beard both silver from age.

‘Step back,’ the man announced firmly.

The furthest man, who was now standing right beside the statue, turned. Cyrus recognised his face instantly: This had to be another dream—Trevarus Caerick was
dead.

‘You betrayed me, Tobasa,’ Trevarus said.

The other man had to be Kiln Tobasa then. He knew little of Tobasa, having only learnt during his brief apprenticeship that the man had been Trevarus Caerick’s own Master—and that the Sorcerer had slain him to seize the title of Prima.

‘Now I take what is rightfully mine.’ The look on the Sorcerer’s face caused Cyrus to shake; he had seen that look only once before: in the throne room of Sadow Palace, when Caerick had announced his betrayal to the world. There were no words to describe it: it was the face of insanity.

‘You meddle with things you do not understand, my apprentice,’ Kiln Tobasa said. ‘Step away from the Amulet.’

‘Never,’ Trevarus hissed, and wrenched the silver gauntlet from the statue, which proceeded to crumble to dust, as if it had never existed.

The look in the Sorcerer’s three eyes resembled a starved rancor as he thrust his fist inside the Amulet of Orian for the first time. The older man ignited his lightsaber, but it was already too late. Trevarus turned his new prize on his former Master, and with one immense yank—that even across time Cyrus was sure he felt echo through the Force—the massive ceiling came free of the seven pillars supporting it, and the chamber imploded...

Cyrus closed his eyes instinctively and ducked, putting his hands over his head to avoid the falling rubble as the Temple of the Void collapsed.


‘Um, sir? You okay?’

Cyrus opened his eyes to see Four-Eight looking down at him. He looked around, realising he was huddled on the floor in a near-foetal position. It had just been another vision. But... there was something so wrong about these visions... like they weren't really visions at all...

Memories... a voice whispered from the depths of his mind.

Cyrus was suddenly grateful he could not see the clone’s expression behind his visor. Four-Eight must have thought him insane. ‘No, no I’m fine,’ he said finally, though doubted he sounded the slightest bit convincing. Right then, he suspected he was insane too. ‘Let’s just keep moving.’

Ekeia Iclo

12-03-2009 18:19:55

Republic-class Star Destroyer Final Way

Brushing off the dust from the floor, Keia watched as Krandon and Xander focused once again the battle, their attention seeming to have been completely drawn to the battle. Only a few minutes before, the Jedi Huntress had seen the insane alchemist walking towards the training room and had followed, hoping to get to talk to him. However, that idea was now pointless as Macron almost immediately started to duel Manji. Any thought of conversation would have to wait till later.

Ekeia decided it was already crowded enough and turned to leave for her quarters. Walking quickly down the halls she mentally ran through the list of things she had left to do to prepare for the coming days. There was little to be done besides required meetings about battle plans that were sure to come soon and more meditating. Not completely attentive to her surroundings, Keia didn’t notice the Protector, Demonic, rounding the corner she was passing until it was too late and she was once landing on the floor rather clumsily. Coming out of her shock, she looked up to see her massive friend trying to contain his laughter at her misfortune.

“You know, I thought girls were supposed to be more graceful, especially you who comes from noble blood,” Demonic joked as Ekeia picked herself up off the floor and glared at him.

“And I thought your father would’ve taught you manners. He’d be ashamed of you not helping a lady off the ground,” the Hapan Sith replied, enjoying the sudden rush of anger that showed on Demonic’s face.

“You karking piece of…” shouted the Protector at the Jedi Huntress as he raised his fist about to strike.

Stepping past the enraged Corvanni and continuing her walk, she replied, “Joke about my family Demonic, I dare you. You should know me better; you should know I’ll joke back. Force knows there will be little to laugh about soon enough. Right now we need to talk. If we both survive this war and you’re still mad at me I’ll fight you. That’s only if you’re alive though, and on that note I’d rather see you prepared. Come with me; tell me what you’ve learned of the Vong.”

With that Keia turned into the smaller hall leading to her quarters with Demonic following closely behind.

Tron

13-03-2009 02:54:13

Combat Information Center
Republic-class Star Destroyer Final Way
Dlarit Special Operations Group
The Shroud, en route to Antei


"Action stations!" Came the daunting voice over the public address system. "Action stations, all hands. This is not a drill."

Simonetti turned from the communications station and was not surprised to find Lord Sadow entering the CIC followed by the newer dark master they referred to as Yoni. As always Astronicus Sadow was unreadable, almost devoid of emotion as his military training kicked in and took over. He scanned the area, taking note of all the stations and picking up what he could on the current situation from brief glimpses at the visible console screens.

"Report, Admiral." Ordered Astronicus.

"Sir, Our long range sensors have detected a number on analogues ahead." Informed the Simonetti. "However, deeper scans have proven confusing."

"Confusing? How?" Asked the Dark Jedi Master to Astronicus right, as he leaned forward on the holo-table.

"We are not detecting any life signs and it appears there has been some damage to the vessels. We are not sure if they have been in a battle or if this is a ploy." Said the Admiral. "I've ordered our guns to target them none the less and we are awaiting your orders to fire."

"Curious." Quipped Astronicus. "Send out a recon flight. Have them do an eyeball inspection. If they are dead or not we will blow them out of the stars, but it would be more invigorating too know that we took them out and not someone else who beat us to the punch. Send the Jade Serpents for the recon. After they report back their findings you may destroy the targets."

"As you wish my lord." Simonetti turned back to the communications officer and relayed the order for the Jade Serpents recon flight to be sent out.

Fremoc

13-03-2009 04:50:42

Republic-class Star Destroyer Final Way

"Sorry Ekeia, didn't mean to get angry at you," apologized Demonic. Ekeia was the one who had brought Demonic to House of Marka Ragnos after discovering him fixing his crashed starfighter. She was his first real friend he had had since Demonic became a commando ten years prior. His anger flared as he recounted the remaining moments he had on his homeworld and the raid his squad did on Ord Mantell. His voice went cold and filled with anger, "The Vong took everything from me, my home, my squad, and a large amount of my life."

"It's okay Demonic, I accept your apology," Ekeia replied. Her quarters was semi clean with some used clothing on the floor but even then that was expected. A view port was was available but it was closed for a reason unknown to Demonic. Datapads were strewn on the desk that contained information on various topics including the Vong. Demonic had a couple datapads of his own that had information containing the Vong. He had a couple on him so that he could give his research to those who needed it and Ekeia was one of them.

"It also was rude of me to not help you up off the ground as well, and to laugh when you fell, and to make such a joke about your family."

"Demonic its okay, next time help me or the person you knock over by accident up?"

"Of course, I will." His voice having gone back to his cool and calm demeanor.

"Now can you please tell me what you found in your research on the Vong?" Demonic pulled back part of the cloak he was wearing to pull out a datapad from his belt and extended his hand to the Jedi Huntress. With the cloak now open she could see that he was wearing his battle armor and was already prepared to fight.

"That's it, my personal experiences with the Vong including various other experiences from others. Has the best ways to attack them, kill them, were their weaknesses are. Helpful stuff I would say." The young Hapan took the datapad and started to page threw the notes that Demonic had made and acquired. "So? What do you think?"

Sai

13-03-2009 08:48:46

Republic-class Star Destroyer Final Way
Training Quarters

“Now here this, now here this; Squadron Orenth is at Condition One. Repeat: Squadron Orenth is at Condition One. All members of Squadron Orenth are to report to their stations. This is not a drill.”

Again, the stern voice sounding over the intercom issued the command, and the Force-users knew that ‘Squadron Orenth’ was code for the Jade Serpents. Immediately, Krandon and Dyrra snapped from a jovial mood to one of all business.

“Looks like we’re up, Dyrra. Sai, let me know if my fifty turns into anything,” Krandon said as he bolted for the door. As Tetrarch, he’d either have to be the first in the hanger, or the last, with everyone else ready and awaiting his orders, and those were already filtering down to his personal comm unit from the CIC.

Dyrra was less sure. “Uhm, by your leave, Master?” she asked Manji, who was busy taking a knee to the gut from the Alchemist.

Oof! That’s the only way, is by my oof! leave!” he exclaimed as Macron’s knee pistoned again and again into his midsection.

Dyrra cast a confused look around the room, not sure if Manji was serious or not. Tsainetomo nodded towards the door. “Go on, Skye. Your squadron needs you; Manji understands.” She returned Tsainetomo’s nod and bolted behind Krandon, and the Korun-Keibatsu looked after her with a prideful glance. After all, he had once been Tetrarch of the Serpents himself, and for her to serve in that storied unit was an honor that not many got to have.

“Gents,” Tsainetomo began, addressing the two combatants. “You mind terribly wrapping this up? It sounds like it’s getting interesting out there, and there aren’t any windows for me to get a peek.”

“If you want to see, I could always put your face through the ach! bulkhead,” Macron offered between a backhanded strike he took from Manji.

Tsainetomo put up his hands in mock acquiescence. “No, no, that’s quite alright, Mac.” He grinned as he poured himself, Xander and Jade some snifters of whiskey. “Take your time; whenever you’re ready.”

Personal Quarters of Conad Daak

The young Journeyman’s head snapped up at the announcement for his squadron to report to stations. His heart leapt to his throat as he hurriedly checked his gear and left his basic quarters. Finally, the chance to use all his training seemed to be coming to him.

That, and the chance to get the answers he so desperately sought...

Nekura Manji

13-03-2009 09:50:15

Republic-class Star Destroyer Final Way
Training Quarters


Another alert sounded through the public address system as Manji held Macron in a headlock, his fist pounding into the Sith’s head repeatedly. Looking up as he continued to punch the alchemist, the Keibatsu grimaced, the alert breaking through his natural desire for combat.

“Huh. We probably should stop fightin’ and see what’s going on out there.”

“In that case unh! stop karkin’ hitting me!” Macron roared. Releasing the alchemist from the lock, Manji grinned widely as he re-arranged his kimono back into a decent state. As Macron straightened up, rubbing his head and glaring balefully at the Epis, he spread his arms wide as if innocent.

“Sorry. Forgot what I was doing for a second there. Still, you’ve improved- nice work.”

The fury of battle replaced by his usual good-natured madness, Macron bowed mockingly.

“Why thank you, Manji-sama. Next time I’ll get you, count on it.”

Moving over to the corner of the training room, Manji retrieved his two swords from the corner where Dyrra had propped them and slipped them through his belt. With a loud clap of his hands, Manji strode over to where the others sat and grabbed his bottle of saké, taking a hearty swig of it before heading for the door.

“Show’s over, kiddies. Let’s go see what’s happening.”

Portside Corridor

Slowing from his usual brisk walk as they moved past a floor-to-ceiling viewport, Manji gazed out at the Shroud in confusion as the others stopped beside him. Out in the swirling blackness, each of them could see the dim, clouded shape of a Yuuzhan Vong ship listing slowly closer, the strange bulges and bumps of the organic cruiser partially masked by the tendrils of the cosmic anomaly. His voice serious, Manji muttered something that only Sai and Macron caught.

“What are they doing?”

Xanos

13-03-2009 10:16:52

Kalekka Tower
Third Mezzanine
Du’san Boundary, Antei


Five-Seven slammed an armoured fist into the wall. ‘Will this blasted staircase ever end!’

They had arrived at a third oriel window. The mountain range outside was recognisable enough as the Du’san Boundary, but there were no fires or storm clouds enveloping it. A vast lake now filled the canyon, stretching to the horizons both east and west. Along its banks, unfamiliar plant life grew across what should have been barren rocks, and herds of alien life forms moved across the now overgrown plains in distinct groups, a clear divide between predators and prey.

Near the base of the tower, several gigantic mirror-polished shells lined the plateau on which Kalekka sat, as well as a pair of tall wroshyr-size plants, into which flew a large creature that resembled a small exogorth or space slug. They were too high up to hear anything, but Cyrus could just make out a number of tiny humanoid shapes moving in and out of the shells and giant plants.

‘Yuuzhan Vong.’

Cyrus spun on his heel toward the new voice, his lightsaber in his hand before he completed the turn. ‘You!’

Before him stood the youthful form of Trevarus Caerick, appearing some decades younger than his natural fifty-four years. Impossible. Trevarus Caerick was dead! Dead! With the snap-hiss of his lightsaber, Cyrus readied himself. ‘I knew it was you! I knew it all along!’ The burning sensation on his forehead erupted like never before as the black sword lashed at the back of his mind, as if it was trying to burst out of his skull where the Mark was. ‘You’ve been the one inside my head all this time!’ He angled his lightsaber into an attack stance. ‘Make it stop!’

The Sorcerer just stood there, unmoving. ‘Are you going to kill me?’ he asked, raising his eyebrows.

‘I want you out of my head!’ Cyrus raged, his mouth seeming to froth as he literally spat the words out. ‘I want my mind back!’

Trevarus studied him for a moment, then casually drifted past—seeming to glide— and stepped between the two clones to stare out the window. ‘Amazing, isn’t it? This is what Antei would look like if the Yuuzhan Vong had succeeded in terraforming it.’ He paused, a note of sadness creeping into his voice, ‘What you see here is a window into another world. Call it otherspace, if you like.’

Cyrus’s eyes darted back and forth between Five-Seven and Four-Eight. ‘What are you two doing?’ he shouted. ‘Do something! Grab him!’

The two clones twirled away from the window, hands dropping to their blasters, but then stopped. ‘Grab who?’ Five-Seven said, looking around before shrugging. ‘Where?’ Four-Eight added.

Trevarus laughed. ‘Only you can see me, Cyrus Raze. My wisdom is not for the ears of the mundane.’

Cyrus charged forward, screaming, and brought his lightsaber down in one frenzied arc to slice between the two clones, both of whom urgently rolled in either direction to avoid the erratic swing. ‘Watch it!’ cried Four-Eight.

Rather than fall to the floor in two halves, Trevarus simply stood there, his body distorting a little as the blade passed through, like waving a stick through a cloud of smoke. The Sorcerer smiled. ‘Now are you going to listen?’

Cyrus glanced down at his hands and noticed he was gripping his lightsaber so tightly he had reopened the cuts from the mountain climb to reach Kalekka inside the Boundary. His fingers were dripping blood on the pristine white floor.

‘I don’t understand,’ he said. ‘You can’t be here. You’re dead. I know you’re dead.’

‘Then why are you here, if not to kill me?’

‘I...’ he began, but he had never really thought about it. Master Daragon had sent him here to find answers to their shared nightmares. There was no real plan, exactly, only a prayer that inside these walls of the former palace of Trevarus Caerick he might find something. A book, a holocron, some scribbled notes, anything. So far, all he had found was nothing at all, the tower apparently having been thoroughly emptied during the evacuation three years prior. Instead, rather than answers, he was losing the last grips he had on his sanity to whatever force was slowly consuming him. Kalekka Tower was empty. All it held were shadows and ghosts.

But if it wasn't Caerick, then what?

A crack of thunder rang out from high above, echoing down the stairwell like laughter.

‘The truth waits for you in the observatory, Cyrus Raze,’ the shade of Trevarus Caerick said, seeming to read his thoughts. In a swirl of shadowy vapours the image vanished into the darkness, leaving Cyrus alone with only the two clones for company—both of whom were now staring at him as if he had finally lost what was left of his mind.

‘Seeing ghosts, sir?’

Sai

13-03-2009 12:52:28

The Shroud
Republic-class Star Destroyer Final Way
Portside Corridor

“It looks like they’re...dying”, whispered Tsainetomo, giving voice to the sentiment each one standing before the viewport held in disbelief.

Indeed, as the Yuuzhan Vong analog drifted silently closer, the scene looked like some macabre painting evolving in slow motion. Everything about it seemed counter to what they had experienced before; where in the past, the Vong ship would’ve literally pulsed with life, vibrant in color, stark on the ebon background of space; now, it hung drab as a waterlogged scab against the muted hue of the Shroud. This close in proximity, the ship would’ve been belching coralskippers and plasma, promising swift organic death; now, it remained eerily still and inviting, even as the Final Way crept ever closer.

Each Force-user was overwhelmed with confusion, as this first encounter was shaping up to be unnervingly anti-climactic.

“Is this a new tactic?” Macron asked.

“Dunno,” Manji answered. “And, I don’t think we’re responsible for their state. We would’ve felt some shocks, been called to General Quarters by now.” The term referred to all hands being told to report to battle stations, and emergency lighting and claxons would’ve been flashing and blaring; as it stood, only the Serpents had been called, and the ship was silent save for the distant thrumming of its powerful engines, the rhythmic sound seeming to mock them as they stood in the antiseptic corridor.

“This is most irregular,” Ashura said darkly. “I’ll head up to the Combat Information Center, see if I can get some answers.”

With that, the Proconsul left the assemblage at the viewport, his steps coming more hurriedly than normal.

Krandon

13-03-2009 15:05:45

Republic-class Star Destroyer Final Way
The Shroud


Krandon found himself rushing out of the room where the Keibatsus had been fighting. He had heard the call come over the loud speaker telling everyone to go to their respected areas and that this was not a drill.

Republic-class Star Destroyer Final Way
Office of the Tetrarch of the Jade Serpents
The Shroud


Buzzzz...buzzzzz. Krandon did not even realize that his datapad was buzzing until he had entered his office.

“Oh Kark!” Krandon swore. “I almost missed this”, Krandon said looking at his datapad screen. A man sitting a desk wearing a standard uniform was staring back at him.

“Guardian Rowella”, the man said, “The Jade Serpents have been instructed by Lord Astronicus to do a recon of the area. Be sure to bring back any information about anything you discover, understood?”

“Yes, sir”, Krandon said very reassuringly. With this, the datapad screen went blank. Krandon walked over to his desk and punched in some numbers. Two holographic figures were standing there.

“Dismal, Devani, you guys heard the announcement right?” Krandon asked.

“Yes Krandon, I did”, Dismal replied.

“I did to Sir,” Devani said after.

“So you know then that this is not a drill”.

“Yes, sir”, they both said in unison.

“The Jade Serpents have been asked, by Lord Astronicus, to do a reconnaissance run around the surrounding area, and to report what we find”, Krandon said, looking for a reaction out of at least one of two Flight Leaders. There was none. “Rally the Jades in the hanger, and will be there in a minute. I just need to grab some things, understood?” Krandon ordered.

“Yes, sir,” Both holographic figures said in unison. The two figures disappeared.

Krandon went to his sleeping quarters and got a necklace. This necklace had belonged to his wife, Xia Rowella. She was now deceased and this was all Krandon had left of her. He put in around his neck and tucked it under his Mandalorian armor.

Alright...let’s do this.

Shan Long

13-03-2009 16:05:03

Kalekka Tower
Crimson Library
Du'san Boundary, Antei



A long blue-white projection hovered over his hand as Cyrus checked the map for the second time in three minutes. He felt nervous, apprehensive... as if he was willingly walking into the mouth of a great beast; leaping off the edge of reason into chaos. Of course, he knew that was exactly what he was doing.

Flee! Run while there is still time!

Countless voices seemed to call out of the endless darkness. There were no lights in this part of the tower. There were no sounds but the voices in his own mind. There was no heat, only the pervasive shill that ran down his spine. Yet, he must press forward. Walking into the darkness was a sensation of purification. He felt that he must understand to really go forward. Had no Caerick been wise? Despite his former mentor's madness, he knew that the Sorcerer had always been right, that he never told an outright lie... merely disguised the truth until it could be revealed through personal sacrifice. He must die, before he could truly live.

And die Cyrus would.

"Gentlemen, this is it. That door leads to the Observatory." Cyrus said, feeling for the reassuring presence of his team behind him. They did not answer.

"Four-Eight? Five Seven?" He asked, knowing the chill again, feeling apprehension and fear to look behind him.

They were not there. Cyrus ran back to the smaller stair that lead to the fourth library. He felt the sublime air of total emptiness in the dark again. Surely they had not run. His eyes scanned down, fumbling for his communicator. It would not activate. He slammed it against his hand repeatedly, yet it was dead. He couldn't even call for emergency help from the Sadow warships that would surely be in orbit over Antei by now.

"SHAVIT!" He screamed.

Young one... look there! The ghostly form of Trevarus Caerick appeared again, his youthful eyes filled with slight mirth, as if he was pointing out some trivial amusement at a local festival. It was the face of homicidal glee, not the malicious insanity of the man aged three decades more. Afraid, Cyrus looked to where the ghost's bare right hand gestured.

There were indeed two lights; like the illumination used in art galleries to highlight paintings hung, or sculptures on a pedastle, two lights illuminated a work of art each. On either side of the door to the Observatory from the Crimson Library were his soldiers.

They hung on the way, stripped bare to identical naked flesh. Large spikes had been driven through each of their hands, feet, and eyes, piercing them to the walls. Arcane symbols and diagrams had been carved into their flesh... but there was no blood. Aghast, Cyrus studied the brutal murders.

"Guardians of the Way, child." Trevarus Caerick said. "Through that door, and up the final stair... you will find what you seek. Be brave, hold honor in your heart... and perhaps you will survive."

"What... what is going on here... if you're dead... then what?"

"Walk through the door, and solve the riddle. The Dragon devours its own tail." Cryptic words, even in death Trevarus Caerick still spoke in riddles.

Cyrus took a deep breath, and stepped between the two corpses. The door was set a meter in from the threshold, and as he advanced it opened noiselessly.

He stepped into shadows permeated by a faint violet glow. The throbbing in the back of his skull was reaching a feverish pitch, and he felt that he might be driven insane by the pulse of it. The Sword clawed at the fore of his mind, grasping and clutching at the last straws of his sanity. Yet, he pressed on, taking each step with the diligence of a man walking to the gallows. He understood that he was circling was seemed to be a large platform. High overhead, he could see the highest reaches of the storms that battered the Du'san Boundary. Striking emerald and cobalt against vast pillars that arched inward like great talons. He could not see far beyond.

The pain blurred his vision, yet there were only a few more steps. Beating, coursing like a storm surge, his mind ached and throbbed like great cliffs resisting the pulse of a hurricane. Two steps. He could not see, only try to feel the immense weight of each foot at his raised it, pulling himself forward. He was a drowning man caught in the ocean, pummeled and beaten by water. One step. He prayed for death, seeking to end the misery that had become his body, his entire being. That it might all suddenly end in an explosive burst in his heart.

As his two feet settled on the platform, his head finally cleared. Heart still racing, he looked around, relieved.

Thousands of small glittering violet orbs hovered in a scattered, almost random pattern around a space that was more vast than even the grand auditorium of the Dark Hall. He looked down at his feet, and he saw himself perfectly reflected in the most highly polished, flawlessly black mirror surrounded by the glowing points of light. He reached out to touch one, but it was orbiting something too fast.

A voice called out softly, calmly, menacingly: "You shall not."

Three of the points of light seemed stationary. He advanced towards them, seeing the faint image of a man standing in the middle of the orbiting morass, like a star in its solar system. Words formed on its lips.

"You have come for them, Vexatus, but you shall not."

Cyrus opened his mouth to speak, but his voice did not issue forth, instead something twisted, rasping burst forth

"I shall.... we shall... it is ours!"

The glowing of the Dragon's eyes ceased, and he raised his other hand. Cyrus felt himself thrown bodily against the wall, at the summit of the stair he had just climbed. He didn't understand. He didn't know. His head ached, and he tasted blood. His own blood, it seemed to be pouring out of the Mark. He tried to move, but found he wasn't in command of his body. Instead, he felt himself leaping forward, controlled like a marrionette. His hand lashed out, clawing at the other man. The man that looked like Trevarus Caerick, but he was dead!

The Force screamed in Cyrus, and he felt powerful, more powerful than even the most aggressive use of the Dark Side had ever allowed him. The power of his Rage slashed at the man

"Shan Long... it is mine!" Bright red streaks like claw marks appeared across the man bare torso, blood that seemed black as the void in the violet light cascaded down his chest, hovering in drops that fell to the mirror-polished floor as the man was thrown backwards. In the dark part of his mind, where he seemed safe from the chaos of his body, Cyrus understood. Everyone in Clan Naga Sadow knew of the Dragon, named Shan Long. Everyone knew that Shan Long had died with Trevarus Caerick and Darth Vexatus during the Battle of Lehon, when they had betrayed the Clan.

Yet there was something the Elders of the Clan had kept secret. Some hidden evil.

Shan Long and Darth Vexatus were alive. It was then that Cyrus knew he was about to die.

Shan Long rose to his feet, the wounds on his chest closing like the seam of a zippered jacket. He held his hand out again, and Cyrus felt the pain of him as whatever it was in him broke. In his last conscious thought, he hurled himself over the small threshold that seperated the peak of the Tower from the storms, he would fall to death rather than see this battle through.

Cyrus fell, but he did not die as he wished.


Kalekka Tower
Observatory
Du'san Boundary, Antei



Shan Long watched the other man leap to destruction with mixed sensations. Here was confirmation that the Heretic still drew breath, hiding in the corpse of one that had been named Cyrus Raze. The Heretic had come for the Fragments of Ombus. The Broken Star... perhaps the Heretic sought to reform the Star, such that it might repair its broken spirit. He was certain of it.

Yet, the time had come.

He would need the resources of Clan Naga Sadow, he would need information, intelligence, and others to help him seek and destroy what Trevarus Caerick had created. He could destroy Darth Vexatus, but he could not do it alone.


Unmarked Gamma-Class Shuttle
Nearing the Shroud, Antei System



Stealing the dead man's small shuttle had been easy. Though Shan Long was unfamiliar with the controls of a Gamma-class assault shuttle, he found the memories of another life pouring through his fingertips. Navigation through the sea of dead analogs and the decaying corpses of a lost war machine was merely a nuisance to him. He was sure that none would pay notice to his craft, so removed from the points of the planned battle, he could go about his landing without incident. Afterall, there was a Consular-level beacon attached to this ship. Cyrus Raze had been sent by someone highly placed in the Clan.

As if on cue, tractor beams engaged the small craft and guided it into the hangar bays of the massively obscene maw of the Star Destroyer. A mere span of moments later, it settled onto the cold deck to a wartime reception. A small phalanx of Dlarit soldiers waited for the soldiers the Clan had sent forth to report.

Shifting his attention, Shan Long disguised his presence and walked down the ramp, between the group of men. Perplexed, they seemed to look back and forth between themselves as they waited for the passengers to debark. Unseen, the Dragon made his way out of the hangar and towards the command level turbolifts as they began to search the shuttle.

None paid him any notice, not a soldier or sensor harried his advancement through the vessel. He paused at a closed blast door, the Destroyer was on full battle ready.

He walked through the metal blast shielding.

Here, on the command level, the presence of staff and warriors were more apparent. He passed to Jedi of the Clan that he did not recognize, after three years of absence. They seemed to pause, looking as if they had felt a ghost walk past. Of course, they had.

He paused outside the cold shielding of the Combat Information Center. He knew what waited behind. He could feel the presence of an old foe. Again, he walked through.



Combat Information Center
Nearing Antei, Antei System



Simonetti cleared his throat with an audible voice. Tron Sadow stood with Robert Daragon, surveying the scene of chaos and death that littered the system they had swept into as Conquerors at the command of the Iron Throne. He stood at ease, waiting for the two men to finish their assesment.

"You have a report, Admiral?" Tron Sadow finally addressed him.

"Sir. The scout team dispatched to the surface has.. ah returned." He said. Daragon interrupted him.

"Have Raze report to my quarters immediately for a debriefing."

"That's the problem sir. The shuttle arrived empty. Sensors indicated no life forms aboard, though it was not piloted by remote, and proceeded with the codes and protocols assigned to the craft. It carried your signature, Governor-General, sir."

"What do you mean, it arrived empty?" Tron asked, incredulous.

"I mean it was empty sir. No one was aboard, and no one exited the craft. Hangar security thoroughly checked the ship. No one was aboard." Simonetti said, his voice a touch nervous.

"I don't believe this." Daragon said, clenching a fist. "There must be an--what's that smell? Is something burning?" He paused mid-sentence, looking around.

A small plume of smoke could be seen at the end of a burning ember. Two ice blue eyes, with twin highlights of violet were shrouded under a wide black fedora. A man with a malicious grin, a cigar cocked in his lip drew another breath on the smoking cigar. Simonetti blinked, his eyes refusing to believe what he saw. There, dressed in a black jacket with the collar upturned was the man they thought dead for three years. There, in the flesh. Alive. Smoking on a restricted command deck. Trevarus Caerick

"You're dead!" All three cried out in unison.

"No. I am Shan Long" The man replied, smoke trailing from between his lips.

Dismal

13-03-2009 17:17:55

Republic-class Star Destroyer Final Way
Hangar Bay
The Shroud

Krandon Rowella stood before his assembled battle team in a hangar bay of the Final Way. He scanned the line of dark jedi for a moment. “Alright men…and women,” said the Tetrarch, his eyes passing over the two females in the team. “We’ve been ordered to carry out a reconnaissance operation. We are to investigate some dead Vong ships that have been detected.” The Guardian paused for a moment, turning slightly on his heel and motioning towards the number of X-Wing starfighters behind of him. “We will all be in the X-Wings of the Blood Heralds squadron. This will be a quick and easy mission; an eyeball inspection. Board your vessels.”

“Sir yes sir!” the Jade Serpents exclaimed in unison, each member of the team heading towards a different fighter.

As he ran, Warrior Dismal Visutor mentally prepared himself. It had been quite a while since he’d flown anything, especially a starfighter. Nonetheless, he was confident in his abilities; just hesitant. As a Sith, the ability to control and maneuver a starcraft was natural. It came as a second nature.

As instructed, the man hopped into a fighter. Out of habit, he ran a quick systems check, which revealed that all systems were running optimally. Letting his commander maneuver out of the Final Way first, he then slowly and carefully launched his starfighter into the cold expanse of space that was the Shroud.

X-Wing Starfighter
The Shroud

“Serpents,” said the voice of Tetrarch Rowella over the communications systems of the fighter. “Keep your comm. frequencies on this channel. The Shroud is very difficult to navigate, sometimes even with the help of the Force. Be careful, and follow your brethren and teammates. May the Force be with us all.”

Dismal did indeed remain vigilant. His eyes always flicked from the viewport to his controls. Even as the skilled pilot that he was, he had never been fond of traversing the Shroud. The Sith usually had little trouble navigating through, but the whole place just irked him.

The Equite piloted on, though. As the seven Jade Serpents flew in formation towards the coordinates of their destination, Dismal breathed heavily. He extended the reaches of his mind, his perception widening as far as it could around him. Truthfully, the Kresshian didn’t know what he was sensing for, considering the Yuuzhan Vong were dead to the Force and left no print or discernable sign, but it was always wise to be on the lookout.

The battleteam arrived at the wreckage of the Vong ship in short order. The remains of the Yuuzhan Vong battleship hung silently in the openness of outer space.

Dismal again felt weird. Every piece of Yuuzhan Vong technology was organic. Each ship and weapon pulsed with life, something every Force-sensitive could sense. It gave them a modicum of comfort and familiarity amidst the anomalies in the Force that were the atrocious Vong. However, this vessel was different. It was dead, giving no traces of life. As such, it proved unable to be sensed and pinged with the refined minds of Jedi. It unnerved the Equite piloting the starfighter, and undoubtedly every dark jedi in close proximity.

“Okay, guys, we’ll fly around a couple times, make sure there’s nothing here. Then we’ll report back to the Final Way,” the voice of Krandon ringing through the comm. links said. “Don’t move too quickly. You may lose yourself in the Shroud, and we need to pay close attention.”

So the team rounded the ship twice, each person prodding around with their enhanced sensory perception. Dismal made sure to be especially thorough with his examination of the area, and even he was convinced that nothing remained inside of the battleship.

So was Krandon, apparently. He spoke again, this time with an undertone of relief in his voice. “Alright, guys. There’s nothing left here. Finish up your investigations. Remain in formation and we’ll return to the ship.”

Everyone satisfied that nothing was there, the ships scrambled for a moment. Quickly regaining the composure of the original formation, they began to trek back towards the Final Way.

Zaroth

13-03-2009 17:56:02

Posting...

Malisane

13-03-2009 18:44:08

RSD Final Way
Officers Bar


Malisane and Mecros looked up as the mercenary entered the bar. "Suprised to see you here," Malisane said curiously. In truth he was more suprised by Agrist's appearance. The commisaar ordinarily had a pale complexion but he seemed to have descended to a new level, and he had bags under his yes. "You're looking well. Last time I saw something simular I sent it back to the kitchen and ordered a salad instead."
"If you kept your mouth shut people would think you were clever De Ath," Agrist replied with a growl as he passed them and reached the bar, ordering a drink.
"Suit yourself," Malisane replied, "mines a pint."
Agrist ignored him, and knocked the drink back in one swig. "Another." A second one followed it. Mecros was studying him curiously The mercenaries body was shaking slightly, as he downed a third. He glanced at Malisane who was sat back in his chair watching idly.
Agrist was stood still now, staring at his reflection in the mirror below the optics, a fourth drink clutched in his fist. The shaking was becoming more pronounced and a second later there was a crack as the clenched glass shattered. "Agrist!" Malisane called over, "you still with us there?" The answer was a crash as the mercenary hit the floor knocking a row of stools over.

Malisane was on his feet before the khommite, striding over to the prone mercenary. "Agrist!"
"What's wrong with him?" Mecros asked nervously.
"How should I know? Hey Agrist!" He slapped the other Battlelords face a few times.
"Should you be doing that?" the Warrior asked.
"It's probably a bit premature for an autopsy," Malisane replied, checking the mercenaries pulse. It was faint but there. "Call the medics up here." He hefted Agrist over onto his front and tipped his head back a little to clear the airway. "Best I can do, get a damn move on," he ordered as Mecros began speaking hurriedly into his wrist communicator.
Malisane studied the unconsious mercenary as Mecros was still talking. "Wanted you dead since Lehon," he muttered out of the clones hearing, "but not like this. When you go I want to kill you myself. Stay alive."

Zaroth

13-03-2009 18:47:11

Antei Space
The Shroud
Republic-class Star Destroyer Final Way
Journeymen Quarters


The darkness receded as Muraue slowly opened his eyes. The first thing he felt was pain, burning pain through his whole body. When he saw Zaroth sitting on the chair opposite the bed , the pain was augmented by intense hate and anger as Muraue tried to wriggle free from his bonds tying him to the bed. He managed to sit up marginally when Zaroth rose from the chair and slammed him back down.

“You bastard,” Muraue whispered.

“Indeed,” Zaroth said. “Stop squirming! Now, did you learn your lesson? Will you submit to me?”

“No. I will not submit to a murderer. Especially a delusional one.”

“Delusional? You're the delusional one. You don't remember, do you? What's the last thing that happened on Poltar, before you left?”

“I found my father dead in his room.”

“And before that?”

“I.... I can't remember.”

Zaroth's expression was unreadable. He slowly untied his belt from around his waist and showed it to his brother. Muraue's face scrunched up a little as he wondered why he was being shown this trinket.

“Do you know what this is?” Zaroth asked.

“A belt. It seems familiar somehow.” Muraue said slowly.

“Who does it belong to?”

Muraue's face turned into a mask of concentration as he tried to remember. Finally, it dawned on him.

“My father. You took it the night he died. He used to hit me with it,” Muraue whispered, barely audible.

“And why did he used to hit you?”

“I don't know. He never hit you, he loved you. Did he hate me?”

“He hit you because you are autistic. You. remember the traditions, the beliefs. His beliefs. And that night, the night he died, he sent me to kill you. I saved you. I gave you my speeder bike and you escaped. When I returned, he attacked me with a knife and that is why I killed him.”

A tear ran down Muraue's cheek. “Liar,” he said, his voice quivering.

“No. I speak the truth,” Zaroth said, taking the belt and tying it around his waist.

“Now sleep, brother.”

Antei Space
The Shroud
Republic-class Star Destroyer Final Way
Battleteam Leader's Quarters


Kalei was disturbed from her meditation by a huge wave of anguish she felt emanating from someone else in her Quarters. She opened her eyes to see Zaroth in front of her, his face soaked in tears.

“What is it, Z?” she asked, softly.

“How can a father hate his son? How can a father expect his son to kill a brother?”

Kalei wasn't exactly sure what to say to him, so she put her hand on his shoulder.

"Zaroth, I really don't know. What's going on?"

Zaroth took Kalei's hand.

"My father asked me to kill my brother 2 years ago, and now he's here. He doesn't remember."

Kalei sighed, "If he doesn't remember, I don't know what I can do. Is there anything I can do to help?"

"I just.... it doesn't matter. I love you. I just... I need you to help me through this."

She pulled him into a hug, "We'll get this figured out."

Zaroth hugged her back. He could have stayed there forever, but the announcement came over the comm:

“All leaders to the Bridge, repeat, all leaders to the Bridge.”

Sai

13-03-2009 18:48:49

Republic-class Star Destroyer Final Way
Portside Corridor

The assembled Force-users were still at the viewport, watching the squadron of X-Wings return from the ruined Vong analog. Their bodies carried the weight of disappointment; they all felt that once their snubfighters approached the alien craft, the suspected trap would be sprung, and the fireworks would start.

When none came, they began to shuffle their feet, like petulant children. Too long had their nerves been on edge, and the lack of action had begun to fray their nerves raw.

“Man, this is getting tireso – aarrghh!” Tsainetomo’s complaint went unfinished as the man was driven to a knee by an unseen force. Manji and Macron went to their friend’s aid as Jade and Aleho looked on in confusion.

A nanosecond later, Macron’s hand shot to the bridge of his nose, as if trying to pinch off a massive migraine that had hammered its way into his head.

~~To me, my Sons!~~

The mental summons of Astronicus Aurelius Sadow was as the calling of a demigod, and Macron and Tsainetomo could no more ignore it as one could stare at a sun and not go blind.

Rising on unsteady legs, Tsainetomo clutched his arm where he’d been branded months ago, an indelible mark in his flesh to mind him of his true duty to Clan Naga Sadow: to serve, without question, the will of the Heir. He shook himself free of Manji’s grasp.

“What’s the deal, cousin?” Manji asked incredulously.

The Korun-Keibatsu and the Alchemist shared a look before Macron answered.

“He’s here. I don’t know how, but he’s here.” His tattooed visage was painted with an uncharacteristic gravity.

“Who?” Jade chimed in, and Aleho looked on expectantly.

Caerick!” Tsainetomo spat the word as if he meant to vomit, and he and the Alchemist sped to the nearest turbolift, pulled by the binding ties of Fate.

Manji followed at a much slower pace, with Jade and Aleho in tow. “You two might want to...I don’t know, check your gear, or something. I’ve a feeling things’re gonna get really interesting.” Dismissing the two, the Dokugan-ryu headed in the same direction that Tsainetomo and Macron had gone, unconsciously fingering the ‘saber hilt at his belt. He, too, was duty-bound, to family and friend, and he’d at the least keep an eye on them, even if it was to witness their deaths.

‘Besides, all I have is ‘an eye!’ The thought came unbidden, and the Keibatsu laughed as he walked down the corridor.

Nekura Manji

13-03-2009 19:45:05

Republic-class Star Destroyer Final Way
Command Information Center


Tension coiled in the air as languidly as the smoke drifting from Long’s cigar. Moving into the bridge slowly, his hand tight around the hilt of his sabre, Manji’s one eye flickered between the leaders of the Clan. There was Caerick, the sneer painted across his face. Facing him stood the Clan Overlord Astronicus Sadow and the Consul Robert Daragon, Admiral Simonetti behind them, his face twisted with loathing and a hint of fear. The two Clan leaders stared with open hatred at the Dragon, mere inches from drawing weapons.

Just in front of the Epis stood Tsainetomo and Macron, their own hands reaching for their blades, facing Shan Long’s unprotected back; seemingly unprotected, Manji corrected himself. Shan Long was feared as the most terrible duellist in all of Naga Sadow’s history, and any attempt to attack him from behind would probably result in swift, painful death for the attacker. All around the CIC, soldiers stood frozen, staring at the confrontation. Even those who did not know who the newcomer was were aware that something very serious was happening.

The silence was broken as Tron spat a question at the Dragon.

“What are you doing here?”

There was no chance for Long to respond as a buzzer blared, Krandon’s voice cutting into the silence suddenly, unaware of the tension he was interrupting.

“Command, we’ve completed our sweep of the Yuuzhan Vong ship. Something is wrong- there are absolutely no signs of life from the vessel. No enemy troops, no attempts to take up battle stations; even the ship itself is dead. We are returning to the Final Way now.”

Tearing his gaze from the Dragon, Simonetti stared down at the control panel, his brow creasing.

“The ship is dead..? Get back here quickly, Orenth One. We’ll formulate a battleplan on your return.”

As the channel snapped shut, silence returned once more to the bridge; silence marred only by the low, deep hum of the Final Way cruising through the Shroud. Eyes still fixated on Shan Long, Daragon broke it once more.

“It seems that we have more important things to deal with at this precise moment...”

Macron Sadow

13-03-2009 20:30:43

Republic-class Star Destroyer Final Way
Command Information Center


A quiet cough interrupted him. "Be that as it may, m'lord..." spoke Macron quietly. "If he wants to kill some of us, he's inevitably going to do it. May I suggest something?" The Sith held a lightsaber unlit in his hand, prepared for action but yet relaxed in manner. The Mark said nothing of an impending combat with the Dragon, but yet he still did not trust the vile gift.

The silence was broken by incredulous faces turning to regard the insane alchemist as the bluish cigar smoke wafted through the air. "Macron?" asked the Consul. "You have something to add?"

"Indeed. I'd like to take an away team and get onboard that analog. We'll have a better idea of what happened if I can examine it in person." He looked from face to face as Aisha stood behind him.

"We can't risk it," replied Astronicus coldly as he stared the impassive Shan Long down. "You're one of our best generals."

"You flatter him too much," said the Dragon with a grin as he shifted his cigar to the other side of his mouth. "He's a child."

Macron's face twisted in anger at the insult but he bit his tongue and savored the coppery taste.

"Perhaps so, but Mac does have a point," stated Sai carefully. "Can you think of anyone better equipped to check out a potentially dead ship?"

"Or crazy enough?" threw in Manji as his good eye kept Shan Long within it's gaze.
Silence followed for a few long pregnant seconds as the group considered all their options. Shan Long was a serious problem, but then again so were the Vong bastards awaiting them somewhere out in space.

"Make it so," Bob finally said. "Gather a team and move as fast as you can. It could be a trap. We'll deal with him."

"I'm aware of that. As you wish," said the madman with a giggle and a flourishing bow. "I'll take Jade with me assuming I can find her, and my apprentice here. Any volunteers?" he snickered. "Great scenery, nice drinks, room with a view, hee hee hee." And get me away from that karking megalomaniac Caerick, he thought.

Tron

13-03-2009 22:01:05

Combat Information Center
Republic-class Star Destroyer Final Way
Dlarit Special Operations Group
The Shroud, en route to Antei


"Take Malik with you as well." Ordered the Lord of Sadow, never once taking his eyes off of Shan Long, "You will need someone who can pilot through the Shroud. We have a schedule to keep and must meet up with the rest of the fleet. Admiral, resume course for Antei."

Simonetti acknowledged the command and turned to his staff to divert their attention from the Dark Jedi showdown. They obeyed and went back to operating their consoles and making sure the duties assigned to them were cared for. He stole a quick gaze at the Dark Jedi but thought better of it and went back to work himself.

Astronicus gaze stuck on the man he once knew as Trevarus Caerick. Master Yoni had moved into the CIC and was likewise staring down the other Dark Jedi Master. Macron and his apprentice left along with those that would follow him onto the dead Vong ship. Silence still lingered between the Jedi, as they studied one another.

"Let us talk privately." Offered Astronicus, gesturing towards the Admiral's office adjoining the bridge. "Perhaps you'll tell us why you've come back to bother us."

Raistlin

13-03-2009 23:41:50

Hangar 8
Republic-class Star Destroyer Final Way
The Shroud, en route to Antei


Raist was in a much better state of mind now that he was onboard the RSD. The Exile was en route back to the Orian system for necessary repairs, and the Exarch would be paying for them out of pocket, as he felt largely responsible for the situation in the first place. Bob had assured him it wasn't necessary, but to Raistlin, it was. It represented a failure, a past grievance, one that could only be rectified in due course. The payment was the first part... vengeance would be the next. He methodically went through the armory onboard the Dark Seraphim, which was itself docked within the clan's flagship. Outside, a pair of blue-armored guards kept watch over the craft, despite the fact that the rest of the hangar was mostly barren, save for a few techs and the Lambda Shuttle he had came here on. He selected several weapons, pistols, and donned a few choice pieces of armor, along with the lightsaber he kept by his side at all times. In almost every circumstance, it was the only weapon he would need, however, his familiarity with firearms made them almost as comfortable to him. As he began running through the estimates for the Exile in his head, a slight ripple in the Force drew him out of his current train of thought.

It was unmistakable..... he knew where he needed to be and left immediately

**
Admiral's Office


The numerous guards posted outside waved him through immediately and though not surprised, he couldn't help but repress the smile growing on his face. Seated in front of him were The Overlord, whom he immediately bowed to, and his longtime friend, Trevaerus. Though it had been sometime since the two men last encountered one another, Raist was initially cautious, not sure which of the two personalities was currently in the forefront of his psyche. He could feel the tension in the room, as the Overlord and Trev stared one another down though, it broke considerably as the two men recognized his prescence and stood to greet him.

Raist and Tron were longtime friends, and it was the Overlord who gave him a home when he had none, so many years ago. As for Trev.. when the Brotherhood didn't have the shadow of external war thrown over it, Trev commanded the position of Oracle. Though an immensely powerful being in his own right, he called out to the former Commander, recognizing his skill with a saber and appointed him his bodyguard. The two men scoured the galaxy for an extended period of time, recovering numerous artifacts for the Oracle for study in Kalekka Tower, and having many incredible adventures along the way. The two were very close.

As they all sat, Raistlin kicked back, smiling.

"Incredibly good to see the both of you. I can't say i'm surprised.... but it does seem like a good word to use here," He paused, to procure and light up a hand-rolled cigarra. "The only real question is... if the two of you are together, then something big *HAS* to be going on." he said.

"That seems to be the question on everyone's mind..." Tron said, turning to Trev. Raist did as well. "Tell us Trevaerus, what exactly brings you onboard the Final Way, now? Our trip to Antei is almost complete." Tron asked, then paused, waiting for an answer.

It was one that neither of them wanted to hear....

Bob

14-03-2009 08:20:07

Admiral’s Office
Republic-class Star Destroyer Final Way


The Dragon looked upon the men with a blank stare, “My reasons for being here do not concern the likes of you thus I will not waste my time explaining them.”

“If that is the way you wish this to go about this than that is fine with me,” Astronicus replied as he flipped on his comlink, “Admiral Simonetti.”

The door opened and the Admiral entered. The Clan Overlord stated very calmly, “Admiral, place this traitor under arrest.” With a wave of the Admiral’s hand two Dlarit troopers entered and stood on each side of Shan Long. “You will be confined to quarters and be placed under constant guard,” Astronicus explained, “When we finish our business at Antei we will return to the Orian system where the Sons of Sadow will convene and decide your fate for the crimes against Naga Sadow.”

A grin formed on the face of the Dragon, “I have come of my own free will and when I choose to go about my way no person aboard this ship will have any means to prevent this, especially you Astronicus.”

“You may have come of your own free will,” Astronicus stated fiercely, “However, you are now a prisoner of Naga Sadow and will pay for the lives you have cost this Clan with your own worthless existence. Remove him from my sight.”

The two Dlairt troopers motioned towards the door, “For now I will play along with your foolishness,” Shan Long stated, “But you will soon see the reason I have come back and you will understand for once in your life.” As Shan Long began to leave he noticed the old Sith that was now Consul approach the Clan Overlord. Something was very different about the man; he carried a burden upon him much like the dead man who came to him at Kalekka Tower. “Very interesting, very interesting indeed,” thought the Dragon.




“May I have a minute of your time in private my lord?” Robert Sadow asked Astronicus.

With a nod the room emptied and left the two alone to converse. “I would never question your orders in front of fellow members my lord, but I am wondering if it is wise to pretend we are capable of holding Shan Long against his will,” the Consul remarked.

“You doubt our capabilities?” Astronicus asked.

“I doubt the logistics of it,” the Consul replied, “The means to uphold such a task would take the manpower of a handful of our finest men and at this time we have none to spare as we need all of our Clan’s recourses for the war that is about to proceed.”

“So what is your suggestion than Bob?” the Clan Overlord asked as he knew his long time student would have some agenda to give this much input on the situation.

“Place him in my custody,” the Consul stated.

“That is a large request,” Astronicus said, “And with it would come much responsibility.”

The Consul nodded his understanding, “I have never asked for much, but this is a responsibility I beg of you to trust me with.”

“Trust is not one of my better virtues,” the Clan Overlord stated, “But you are one of few whom I do have “some” trust for. I realize you have your reasons for this request and I will not ask for those as I doubt you want to answer at this time.” The Consul nodded. “So I will grant you your request, however, this responsibility will be like none you have ever had before. I have put my trust with you and if I am mistaken and for some reason I am not allowed to give that traitor the fate he deserves; someone else will feel my wrath, and that person shall be you Bob.”

“I understand,” the Consul replied as he bowed, “Thank you my lord.”

As the Consul left he quietly prayed that the crazy bastard had some of the answers that he had sent Raze to find, otherwise he just might have added one of his best friends onto his ever growing list of enemies.

Kalei_Basai

14-03-2009 17:52:29

Antei Space
The Shroud
Republic-class Star Destroyer Final Way
Battleteam Leader’s Quarters.


Kalei grumbled to herself as she heard the announcement. She pulled away from the hug and went over to her desk where she could reach the bridge. "Basai to the bridge, what do you need us to report for?" She asked simply.

"It's Caerick.... he-he's here. He's back!"

She glanced over her shoulder at Zaroth, who was still sitting in the same place, and then back at her communication, "I'm a little busy here, is it necessary for me to report right at this moment?"

"Whatever, lady, it'll be on your head."

"Just let him know that once I am done here I will report." She then shut off the communication and went back over to Zaroth, "If it's on my head, then so be it. Now, what all is going on?"

"My brother... my father sent me to kill him, but I let him go. And when I got home, my father attacked me. I killed him."

"You mean you just...up and killed your father, all because he wanted you to kill your brother?" Kalei had become slightly confused, mostly because she could not fathom why a father would want his own son to kill another son.

"He attacked me with a knife!" Zaroth screamed. Slowly, the shock became apparent on his face. "I'm sorry, I...."

Kalei put a finger to his lips, "No need to be sorry, what you did was in self defense." She wasn't sure how to keep going with this, but figured it was better for him to get it all out now rather than later, "Why did he want you to kill your brother in the first place?"

"On my planet, fathering a disabled child is dishonorable. My brother is autistic."

"That would explain why he wanted you to kill him, at least some what. I will never fully understand everything with different planets cultures." She then pulled him back into a hug, "What happened after you killed your father?"

Zaroth cried some more

Not wanting to upset him any further, Kalei stopped her questioning and just decided to let him cry. "You don't have to go into it. I just still don't understand why you came to me."

"Because I love you."

"I don't know how I can help though, Zaroth. I wish I did but...I don't." She never realized how much it would hurt to see someone who loved her in a state like this. She then looked to him, trying to get some type of read on him, "Zaroth, what can I do? I want to help you; I want to make this better."

"Just hold me."

Kalei laid his head against her shoulder and sighed, "Do you want to stay here, Zar? Do you want me to help you through all of this?" She noticed that there was still a call for her to come to the bridge, but right now, she knew she needed to be here. She wanted to be sure that everyone was alright, especially this particular person, before they went to war with anyone.

Zaroth simply hugged her in response.

A small sigh escaped her lips as she again just let him remain there, “I do love you, Zaroth. We will get through this, I promise.”

Xanos

14-03-2009 19:21:41

Republic-class Star Destroyer Final Way
Dlarit Special Operations Group Flag
Inside the Shroud, Antei system


Klaxons blared as Colonel Valin’or’alani rushed across the hangar. There was an air of sweat and tension as fighter wings all across hangars throughout the fleet mobilised at the sighting of the Yuuzhan Vong vessel. She weaved her way between a pair of parked XJ X-wings from one of the Heralds squadrons to board a turbolift behind them and head up to the flight control deck.

After a brisk trip, the turbolift chimed and the doors slid open, Nora sprinting inside the control room. She scowled as several of the junior NCOs rose from their stations to salute her.

‘Dismiss with formalities! Status report.’

‘The ship continues to drift idle, ma’am.’

She studied the tactical display which showed a map of the surrounding section of the Shroud, most of it based on past records and estimates. Hundreds of ships from the Dlarit Navy now swarmed like flies around their respective command ships in defensive screening formations. The Vong ship drifted, seemingly oblivious as it headed directly into the large formation of Dlarit ships. Its rotation pattern appeared identical to the thousands of other asteroids drifting lifeless through the Shroud; strangely appropriate for the yorik coral asteroid the ship must originally have been carved from.

‘Think it’s a trick, ma’am?’

She didn’t answer. A veteran of the Fall of Antei, as well as the Battle of Telos and several lower key operations throughout the Orian Sector, she knew the Vong well enough to recognise a decoy when she saw it. And this was no decoy. It was common enough for the aliens to opt for a suicide run, and it could well still fire up its dovin basals and blast head first into the Final Way as soon as it got close enough. However she knew Araic well enough to know he’d blast it back to whichever hell forsaken galaxy it had crawled out of long before it got near enough.

But this just wasn’t right. It felt different somehow.

The Vong were religious fanatics. Rarely did their warriors sacrifice their lives in anything but a blaze of fire and glory. It was why they were so deadly—they were savages. Barbarians. When they had first invaded none had been prepared for an enemy ready to give their lives in devotion to their twisted pantheon of hate filled gods.

But no, this was not right at all. Deception was far more a tactic exclusive to their infiltrators and spies. Had the death of their Supreme Overlord broken what remained of their fractured society? If such a thing was even possible. Could Vong society sink any lower?

‘Have all squads keep a distance while the special ops team conducts its mission.’ Then hopefully we can just blow the thing to hell, she thought.

She was one of the few to know the full truth behind their masters’ identities. Sure, all those in the Special Operations Group were aware to some extent of their Jedi overlords. But it was only the select few who understood the heritage of Lord Astronicus Sadow, heir of Naga Sadow, the ancient Sith Lord who had once nearly destroyed the Galactic Republic and brought about the reign of the Sith Empire. But for one man’s betrayal, the past five thousand years of galactic history could have transpired very differently.

She had been with the Overlord from the beginning. A native Saraii from the Chiss colony of Sif, she’d served the Disciples of Sadow before the Exodus, having participated in the Battle of Phare, as well as every other major conflict in the Clan’s history.

And all her experience told her this was a trap.

‘Transmission incoming,’ said one of the comm officers.

‘Put it through.’

The extensively tattooed face of Macron Goura appeared on the window that doubled as a viewscreen into the main hangar bay but was now temporarily hazed over for the transmission. ‘Commander Goura, the Nachzerer has been prepped for launch and I have loaded up the set of biohazard suits as you requested.’

The Sith didn’t bother to smile. ‘Thank you, Colonel. I have my team assembled and we are on our way down to the hangar now.’

‘Very well, Commander. My scout flights report the structural integrity of the alien vessel is failing. Estimated time to collapse is one hour tops.’

‘Understood,’ Macron replied, appearing unperturbed by the news. ‘Goura out.’

Zaxen Dauketrenal

15-03-2009 09:29:16

RSD Final Way
Admiral's Office


"So how does it feel to witness history?" Astronicus asked the shadows.

"It stinks of all things that could destroy us." a shadow replied as it removed itself from its twin darkness. A gloved hand reached up and lifted a visor on a dark helmet and the shadow became Zaxen Isradia once more. He had watched the scene in CIC unseen and strangely unnoticed thanks to the alchemical properties of his dark armor. Only the most adept in the Force would have noticed him and then only if they were looking for him.

"Yes it does." Tron turned and looked hard at his Blackguard captain. "Its past time you were sent into action."

"What would you have me do my Lord?" Zaxen replied meeting the Overlord's gaze.

"You are to leave my side. You are useless to me here lurking in the corners waiting for some assassin that I would be able to destroy long before you had a chance to react." Tron spoke.

"But my Lord...Shan Long.." Zaxen began to stammer an argument and was cut off quickly.

"Shan Long can destroy you with the twitch of his lower lip. Your death has no value to me." Tron shot back with the noticeable taste of anger at being questioned."No you have better uses. You have a sharp mind and it is that which I need in this situation. Besides... you are still young and I can feel the spark of restlessness inside of you. You still wish to prove yourself. You will get your chance my young friend."

Zaxen placed his hands behind his back and clasped them together and lowered his eyes in a moment needed to quell his ego and raised them again. "As you wish my Lord Sadow. How may I serve?"

"In many ways. First I think you were correct about our enemies back home, it is rather possible that they have followed us here see to it. Second and perhaps more urgently this issue with the Yuuzhan Vong. I want to know what has happened and your skills of deduction are as keen as any master. Find your old mistress and join her on this mission. I am sure Macron and company will not mind." Tron scratched his chin for a moment. "Third...be overt."

Zaxen looked at the Overlord curiously. " I am not sure I understand that last request."

"I mean show the clan who you are. You have served well but no one save a few will ever know it. It is time they knew. This clan needs to be reminded about glory and who better to remind them than the Captain of the Blackguard." Tron replied.

"But why?" Zaxen asked growing ever more confused.

"Because I wish it and that will be the end of your questioning Zaxen. You have served with distinction up to this point and I will not have you being insubordinate now. Follow my command or be removed...permanently." The true Son of Sadow said with all the weight of his heritage pressed into his statement.

Zaxen bowed humbly. "I will obey my Lord."

Tron nodded pleased and both men turned to the exit.

"And Zaxen...make history... do not just witness it." Tron spoke as he turned to walk down the corridor.

"Yes my Lord." Zaxen replied and bowed once more.

Ashura

15-03-2009 10:04:18

Republic-class Star Destroyer Final Way
Command Information Center


Ashura had watched the scene in CIC with Shan Long, his hand had been twitching to grab his lightsaber hidden under his cloak. It would have been a bloody sight if the Dragon had decided to attack, and the Proconsul wondered how many would have made it out alive. Thankfully nothing had happened.

The Deputy Governor General walked over Admiral Simonetti; these two men didn't over like each other due to events that happened in three years ago in the Shroud. However they had obtained a working relationship.

"That went better than expected," Araic said to the Sith as they both looked out of the view port at the blackness.

"Things are going to get a lot more tense before this is all over, I'm actually glad he's here. Far better to unleash his fury on our enemies than ourselves." The Battlelord replied.

Tsingtao

15-03-2009 10:45:14

Republic-class Star Destroyer Final Way
Hanger Bay


Tsingtao Ming stood by the entrance of the Hanger Bay as was ordered by his Master, Shin'ichi Keibatsu Sadow. He was ordered to follow on a mission to offer any assistance. As he was waiting a group of Dark Jedi walked in to the Hanger Bay. The group was led by Macron Goura Sadow. Tsingtao quickly made his approach.

Tsingtao gave a slight bow before the Mad Alchemist. "My Lord, I would like to accompany you and your party."

The Mad Alchemist giggled and nodded. "I was hoping you would."

Tsingtao fell into order and followed the rest to their transport.

William Archaon Darkfire

15-03-2009 14:00:06

Republic-class Star Destroyer Final Way
Journeymen Quarters


William sat on the bottom bunk in his quarter aboard the Final Way. At the moment, his roommate was away, and so he sat in what seemed like an imperturbable silence. His hands were on his knees and he was hunched over, deep in thought. His head was hung low; his body was loose and unused.

Nothing seemed to make sense to him anymore; he felt as though everything around him worked differently now. Yet, whenever he calmed his mind and looked at something, he would realize that it was exactly the same as it had always been, that it hadn’t changed, that there was no difference. He was the one who was changing.

He had been noticing subtle changes taking place deep inside him for months now; what used to fill his mind and soul with excitement and a sense of pride now burdened his heart with agony and dismay. He used to look at the world and see people’s greed and hatred, but now he noticed the good in their hearts. His perspective on life was changing greatly, and he felt threatened by this new personality which he adorned. It sought to bring down everything he had worked to build, everything he had poured his heart into. It sought to pull him away from the darkness that enveloped the Dark Side.

He could feel it inside of him, he could feel the hatred that had driven him for so long fading away. It felt more like an eradication than a fading, and it left an empty void where his fury used to lurk. At the same time, he felt his mind perverting and twisting, bending towards the light more and more. His hatred was dying off and his mind was disengaging itself from the ways of the Dark Side; he was turning away from it.

A beep from the intercom on the other side of the room shocked William out of his absorption. He lifted his head and stared across the room blankly, waiting for the message.

“Mr. Darkfire, your presence is requested by Sith Battlemaster Derev Niroth,” His voice was even and his speech professional, “you are to meet him in his quarters immediately. I trust you know where to find him.” Two short beeps signaled that the message was completed; William remained motionless. He hadn’t seen his master in over three months, and a mixture of anxiety and uncertainty fell upon him.

Valorian

15-03-2009 14:07:47

Republic-class Star Destroyer Final Way
Personal Quarters


Valorian took a deep breath and flexed his right leg, sliding an armored knee plate into its housing with a satisfying click. "Flexing" was simply the action relayed by his brain; in truth, the chromed prosthetic was merely opening and closing a series of interlocking servos that performed much the same function, a powerful mimicry of human muscle. His left leg matched the right; whatever the complex cybernetics fooled his nervous system into believing, from the thighs down he contained not an ounce of flesh nor a single nerve ending.

He lifted a knee to his chest, then the other, confirming range of motion. Satisfied, he bent down and slapped the curved plates, custom-fit extensions of his Night Hawk armor, built for compatibility with his unique limbs. Now fully armed, the young Guardian stood, picked up his equipment bag and helmet, and walked out of his quarters. It had been a long day, with an early start, and according to the barrage of overlapping orders and klaxons blaring across the ship, whatever rest they had would be their last for quite some time. Perhaps forever, for many of them.

Since exiting hyperspace, the reports had come in fast and furious, conflicting and unsettling. Vong ships, dead and drifting, their enemies brought low by some unknown factor. The Dark Jedi had come for a fight and found themselves in a graveyard. Despite the confusion, this was still a military vessel of the highest order. If rumors flew, they only did so amid the clockwork duties of those aboard. If shock and awe had descended at news of this new circumstance, they were reined in by stark professionalism. War was never predictable; survival lay in adapability, flexibility. The Final Way was well-suited to the task.



Corridor
Slinging the bag over his shoulder, he made his way toward the turbolifts that would take him back to the docking bay. Recon squadrons and battle teams were already deploying, preparing for any eventuality; his own gunship, prepped for the planetary assault, would launch once they penetrated the blockade. Valorian reflected on his Tetrarch's unusual orders from that morning - he had spent hours in the gunship running her quiet scans. What had Kalei been searching for on the Final Way itself? The Republic Star Destroyer had hundreds, if not thousands of overlapping energy signatures coursing through her, and he doubted his efforts had been detected, but the order was a strange one. The Krath kept her own counsel and secrets.

His Master, Joseem, had released him from watchman's duty after the engineering crew had finished with their ship; afterward, Valorian secured the ship and went to meditate and dress in the silence of his quarters. Now, in the corridor's rush of activity, he felt the adrenaline rush of combat fill him, and he suppressed the urge to draw upon the Force, to embrace the Dark Side and unleash the rage that was his birthright. Later. The time would come soon enough.

Xander met him outside the turbolift and raised a hand in greeting. "Guardian Valorian," he said formally. "CIC is reassigning Battle Teams. They're sending updated threat dossiers as we speak. You're with us, I'll brief you on the way down." They stepped into the lift, and disappeared toward the hangar.

Conad

15-03-2009 18:04:48

Dying Yhuuzhan Vong Ship
The Shroud


This wasn’t what Conad has expected. The Falleen was expecting to go to war against a great enemy, not carefully scraping bits of said enemy’s ship into little tubes while wearing a biohazard suit.
As part of the initial battle team that had been sent out to investigate the ship, Conad gladly volunteered to be part of a group going down to take examples of the ship back for further analysis by Macron. They had an estimated time of under an hour to do what they could and leave before the ship collapsed on them all.
The ship itself was unlike any that Conad had seen. Having not faced the Vong before, he was shocked and amazed at it. It was entirely organic, a living entity. Or rather, it had been living. The ship was dead or dying, Conad couldn’t tell which, and it was falling apart. They weren’t too far from the hanger in which they had landed, and already they had come across caved in corridors. The ship was unstable and dangerous, and Conad didn’t want to be there for much longer. He nearly fell through the floor in the last corridor; the fleshy matter he was standing on gave way for no reason. If his master, Tsingtao Ming, hadn’t reacted and pushed Conad forward, he would have fallen, and there was little chance the floors beneath him would have been sturdy enough to support his landing.
They proceeded a little further taking note of their surroundings. The deep green walls, seemed to be decomposing in places, and in other parts appeared to be crusty, giving the impression that Conad and his companions were standing inside an asteroid of sorts.
Whatever more there was to do on this ship, Conad hoped it would not take long. He was becoming increasingly uncomfortable being there…

Xanos

15-03-2009 21:25:54

Republic-class Star Destroyer Final Way
Metal Green Sector
Antei System, Outer Rim


The black haze of the Shroud thinned as hundreds of ships from the Dlarit task force emerged from the unnatural fog of war. The arrow head of the Final Way pierced the blanket of darkness first, its kilometre long berth ploughing toward Antei like a spear through the void of space; surrounded by buzzing swarms of screening vessels, from light corvettes to starfighter squadrons, all providing support for their respective mother ships, like flit gnats defending their hives.

As Araic studied the holographic display, new sigils sprung into being, designating the Navy of the Iron Throne that was already orbiting Antei. Other fleets belonging to the other clans emerged on approach vectors identical to theirs as more ships emerged from the Shroud into the pocket of empty space surrounding the planet Antei. The liberation force had arrived.

But something was wrong.

‘Focus on the planet. Enlarge the display,’ Araic said.

The image flickered for a moment, then the display zoomed in on the arrangement of ships orbiting the planet. The sensor readouts for the allied vessels were fine. But the enemy wasn’t moving.

‘Give me a full tactical readout on one of those Vong warships,’ he said. ‘Quickly.’

The tactical officer sitting below him at one of the main bridge terminals brought up a close range holo-image of one of the larger destroyer analogs from the Yuuzhan Vong fleet. It was not firing. Nor was the Iron Throne fleet firing at it. There was no movement from either side at all. The Vong ships were already dead.

Like the one they had encountered in the Shroud.

‘Captain?’

The voice came from someone on the other side of the bridge. Araic didn’t respond. Instead, he moved to the central viewport to confirm the tactical readout with his eyes first hand. Antei rapidly grew larger as the fleet neared, coming close enough that the harsh divide between the sunside of Narmar and the Adas Shadowlands was evident to his bare eyes. Nothing was moving.

Nothing. The Navy of the Iron Throne had stood down.
His mind told him this was still a trap. It had to be.
What were the aliens waiting for?

‘All hands remain at battle stations,’ he announced, rotating the comm tube in his breast pocket so that his voice would go out to every man and woman—and alien—in the Dlarit fleet. ‘Be advised, this may still be a trap.’

Just then, the doors to the turbolift swept aside and the hardened face of Astronicus Sadow appeared, flanked by Master Yoni and Ashura Isradia. ‘Status update, Admiral,’ Astronicus said.

‘Alien contact confirmed, my lords. However, they all appear to be derelict.’

Astronicus frowned. Yoni shut his eyes, his eyes continuing to move behind his eyelids in what Araic had come to recognise as a sign the Dark Jedi was speaking through the Force. Astronicus glanced at the older man then approached the main viewport with Ashura to join Araic.

‘You think it is a trap, Admiral,’ Astronicus said. It was not a question. Lord Sadow knew him too well that he did not need to ask what he was thinking.

Araic looked down at the holographic display, and then back at the lifeless ships orbiting Antei. He did so again. Then again a third time. ‘This does not correspond with anything we have experienced with the Vong before, my lord,’ he said finally. He nodded at the chief tactical officer to send up a full display that took up most of the bridge, several of the designator icons passing through the men’s bodies. ‘Look. There must be at least a thousand ships around Antei, if not more. The aliens have no need for this ploy. If they wanted, they could easily mount a direct resistance without resorting to such tactics.’

The tactical officer coughed so the men on the catwalk above would hear. ‘If I may, Admiral?’ Araic nodded. ‘The forces of the Iron Throne arrived in system ahead of us. If the aliens had wanted to strike, surely they would have done so when our forces were spread thin?’

‘A good point,’ Ashura answered. ‘However, to counter it: Perhaps the Yuuzhan Vong have grown protective of their numbers since the fall of their empire? Either way, what does this mean?’

At that moment, Yoni approached the viewport. ‘The situation is more grave than anticipated.’

The other men turned to study the wizened face of the older man. The apprentice of Lord Jedgar Paladin himself, Yoni was among the most enigmatic and seasoned sages in the Brotherhood. More than just one of the few Elders to have been welcomed onto the Star Chamber, he had literally been there at its inception, having founded the Star Chamber together with his Master, Kreeyat Havoc and Jac Cotelin. His counsel had guided Astronicus for the better part of the past two decades.

It was unnecessary for Yoni to explain. It was now obvious who he had just been speaking to.

‘Open a channel to the Dark Star,’ Yoni said. ‘Authorisation Code Jenth Five Sigma Zerek.’

The chief comm officer hesitated slightly, probably aware of what usually happened when a junior officer disturbed a Dark Jedi—it was the lucky ones who just got choked to death. ‘You heard, do it,’ Araic shouted.

The holographic display of the lifeless fleet above Antei vanished, and moments later the grainy blue image of Jedgar Paladin appeared alongside Yoni. His face resembled stone. ‘Masters Sadow, it appears the situation on Antei is...’ The Grand Master froze. The hologram straightened as the eyes of the first Lord of the modern Star Chamber sunk back in their sockets. ‘He is here.’

Araic frowned, not understanding; however Lord Sadow answered straight away, ‘I am afraid so. He arrived alone in the advance scout ship we dispatched to Antei a week ago. I suspect he may have killed one of...yet another one of my disciples,’ Astronicus corrected himself. ‘We do not know why after two years he has suddenly chosen to emerge from his hiding now. He has proven rather uncooperative so far.’

‘I suspect...’ Paladin began, but did not finish, his eyes closing and doing the same eyelid movements Yoni had done minutes earlier. When he opened them again, his expression went stonier still, ‘Impossible. How could...’ The Grand Master went eerily quiet for an uncomfortably long moment, his gaze slightly lowered as if in deep thought. Finally, he raised his head again. ‘Where is he now?’

‘In custody,’ Astronicus said. ‘Master Daragon is keeping watch on him.’

For a brief instant a smirk seemed to cross the Grand Master’s face, but Araic wasn’t sure the others noticed. Too used to their Force tricks, not paying attention to people’s faces, he thought. Right that moment he wasn't able to gloat, and wished he hadn't seen it either. His feet fidgeted, and he suddenly felt rather uncomfortable about the security team's ability to keep the mass murderer detained any longer than he was willing to be. It was happening all over again.

‘This situation is growing more complicated with each passing second. Keep him there until I am free to rendezvous with you,’ Paladin said finally, his usually calm voice suddenly turning very forceful. After a brief pause he added, ‘Under no circumstances is he to be harmed.’

There was an uncomfortable silence while nobody answered.

Why?’ Astronicus said at last, his voice heavily strained. ‘Why keep him alive? He is a traitor. To me. To you. To the Star Chamber. To the Final Way itself. He should be kil—’

‘He should be dealt with how I soever choose to will it. Are you questioning my will, Lord Sadow?’

‘No,’ Astronicus said hurriedly. ‘It is just...he betrayed us. He betrayed you.’

The hologram’s face sighed, though any noise was filtered out. ‘That may well be true, but if he arrived on your scout ship it means he came from the surface. That means he may know more about this enemy than we do. Which brings me to why Master Yoni contacted me.’ He paused as his words sunk in. ‘The Yuuzhan Vong fleet is already destroyed.’

Araic did not need the Force to sense the fire barely being contained underneath the Grand Master’s skin. The man was furious. They had come here to liberate their world—only to have that victory stolen from them. Robbed of the chance for vengeance. Araic felt the anger rising under his own skin. He too had lost so many men under his command... and now he would never be able to avenge them. Their deaths would be on his hands forever. He would never be able to wash away the blood.

What?’ Astronicus exclaimed, knocking Araic from his thoughts. ‘How? By whom?’

‘That is where Master Caerick...or perhaps he would now prefer us to call him Master Long, may be able to enlighten us,’ Paladin said dryly. For all his talk of keeping the butcher alive, he didn’t seem particularly pleased about it. ‘All we know is that a Jedi Master Omancor Crask has laid claim to the seat of the Iron Throne, and that his forces are now in occupation of Antei.’

The Sadows seemed taken aback by the revelation, but to Araic an enemy was an enemy. ‘My lord, do we have information on his deployment?’ he said, not worried about speaking to the Sith Lord himself.

‘He is using a droid army that appears it could be a literal relic of the Clone Wars,’ Paladin replied. A holographic hand holding a long wooden pipe came into view, and the Grand Master took a deep drag, a blue holographic puff of smoke rising to the bridge’s ceiling like some sort of ghostly apparition. He remained silent while a sensor readout from the preliminary scout teams scrolled up, detailing the make up of Crask's forces.

A chime rose from the communications terminal. Araic glanced over. ‘Yes?’ he said in a hushed voice.

‘Transmission from Commander Goura. He says it’s urgent.’

Araic turned to the gathering Dark Jedi, both flesh and holographic. ‘We have news from our away team, shall I patch it through?’ Astronicus glanced at Paladin who nodded, then nodded himself. ‘Chief, put it through,’ Araic said to the comm officer.

A slightly distorted hologram of Macron Goura appeared. The image flickered a few times, likely distorted by both the Shroud and Ante itself. ‘Masters,’ he began. He paused, noticing the other hologram, ‘Lord Paladin. My initial tests on samples taken from the derelict alien ship show a ninety-six percent probability that it was killed by a particularly virulent biological agent.’ The alchemist snickered, but his face quickly stiffened again. ‘The agent shares similarities with the Alpha Red virus I previously obtained, from which I engineered the Omega strain of my personal Violator Gas. I estimate a ninety-nine percent probability of effectiveness on all Vong lifeforms.’

The grouping on the bridge seemed to go quiet—they knew all too well the risks involved in the deployment of an agent as aggressive as Violator Gas. For such a compound to have been deployed on such a large scale? The risks were astronomical—it was the act of only a madman. If the strain mutated and started attacking organisms other than Vong? The consequences would be apocalyptic. Araic gulped, doing his best to block out the memories of the way Violator Gas literally dissolved its victims; but not before making them bleed from their eye sockets, or choke on their own liquefying intestines.

He may have willingly worked with the Sadows, but the one they called ‘The Alchemist’ still gave him the creeps. The man was just... sick. Completely, utterly sick. There was no other word for it. The man had major issues, even for one of the Dark Jedi. He needed serious psychiatric help. Lots of it. Or a loaded gun. Preferably applied directly to the rear of his skull.

Unlike everyone else, Lord Paladin appeared unperturbed by the news. ‘Then it is as I suspected. Whatever this Omancor Crask is, he is not what he claims to be. No Jedi of Skywalker’s would deploy such a weapon. They lack the necessary conviction to make such hard choices.’

‘You’re saying he’s one of us then? Maybe a rogue with a grudge?’ Astronicus asked.

The hologram shook its head. ‘No. He is not a follower of the Final Way. There is something strange about him. He was able to hide from the entire Star Chamber without us realising his presence. And he was expecting us. He wanted us to come here. For some reason, this man wants to fight this battle. Either he has a death wish, or there is a piece to this puzzle that we are all missing. Either way, he knows too much.’

The image of Macron crackled loudly, the transmission nearly breaking off from the static disruption. ‘A Jedi?’ the hologram exclaimed. ‘What’s happened?’

‘You'd best finish up and head back as quickly as you can, we’ll update you when you get here,’ Ashura said. ‘Suffice to say, your pet Vong head-in-a-jar may not be too pleased with the news.’

The holographic alchemist nodded. ‘Understood,’ he said gravely, before the image disappeared.

After the second hologram had faded away, Astronicus turned his attention back to the first. ‘How long before you can rejoin us?’

‘I must speak with the rest of the Star Chamber about something first,’ Paladin said, though he did not elaborate, ‘but I intend to join you on the surface as soon as I can. Until then, I am sure Master Yoni can act in my stead.’

Yoni bowed his head. ‘I shall assist the Lord Sadow wherever possible, my Master.’

‘The surface? So... we are to continue with the invasion as planned?’ Astronicus asked, hesitating only slightly.

‘Correct,’ Paladin said, pausing. ‘Lord Sarin wishes to reclaim his throne.’

Araic found it interesting the Sith Lord did not specifically speak of his wishes; there was only a minor measure of rivalry in his voice, but also something else, something implacable. Envy, perhaps? No, his voice was self assured enough to be clear that he was not bothered by who served as the face of power. From what little Araic knew of Paladin, he knew the man was in no hurry to ‘regain’ a false image of power: he still was power, he had never surrendered it.

No, there was something deeper than that. Something... tart. It was scorn and derision all wrapped into one. Superciliousness: that was it. For some reason he was distinctly unimpressed.

‘Understood,’ Astronicus said slowly, apparently picking up Lord Paladin’s displeasure also.

‘I shall leave you to formulate your revised plan of action. But be advised, our advance forces have detected heavy droid air resistance, so you’ll need to set up an initial beachhead before we can deploy additional forces from the Army of the Iron Throne to assist you. I suggest you set up base in Narmar. You can then use the Du’san Boundary to provide cover for your flank when you make your advance into the Shadowlands toward the Dark Hall.’

The hologram disappeared before anyone could answer. The plan clearly wasn’t up for discussion then. ‘A Jedi...’ Araic said to break the silence. ‘Well, that was unexpected.’

Astronicus turned to the communications team. ‘Open a channel to the rest of the fleet.’ After a brief moment, the officer nodded silently, and Astronicus began his address:

‘Men and women of the Dlarit Armed Forces, this is your Viceroy. Nearly three years ago the planet before you was stolen from our allies by the savage and barbaric race from another galaxy called the Yuuzhan Vong. Many good people lost their lives that day. Though we still mourn their sacrifice, we remember them as heroes: heroes who made it possible for us now to be here this day to take back what is rightfully ours.

‘However, as I have just learnt, it appears the aliens have already been vanquished, and it would seem we instead now face a new threat.’ He paused to allow his words time to sink in. ‘In their place, the savages have given way to an armed militia led by religious zealots, Jedi driven mad with hate by the long war that has been waged against the extragalactic invaders for the past five years. Though it pains me to see such valiant guardians of the Republic fall to such depraved depths our goal remains as it was: to take back what is ours.

‘Rejoice for the war against the Yuuzhan Vong is finally over!’ He stopped, allowing the fleet a moment to contemplate what this revelation meant for them. Many had lost sons, daughters, husbands, wives. They had lost their chance at revenge, but they would all still at last welcome an end to the fighting. He continued, ‘But though our enemy may have changed our mission remains the same. Be they aliens, heretics, xenos, mutants: they are all enemies to the forces of justice. Here we face an army of fanatics, unable to be reasoned with, whose only cure can be the sharp end of our blades.

‘I call upon you all to fight in the name of justice and order, and for all those who have already died in defence of this world. These vultures who would seek to steal our allies' homes are no better than the aliens they have displaced, and we must send a message to all those who would unfairly encroach into our region of the Galaxy: that all will be pushed back, all will be beaten, and all will be made to regret ever coming here! Our land is our own. And we will fight to protect it. That is our way. That is the way of all who fight in the name of peace.

He paused again, slightly stiffening the tone of his voice, ‘And so it is time for us to go to war once more, my brothers. The war may be over. But this war has only just begun. All commando teams are to report to their drop pods for immediate launch. All starfighter wings not already in the air are to report to their ships and provide fighter cover for our drop ships and for our allies as they attempt to deploy their surface forces. Be brave, my brothers, and let us take back what is ours! For Orian!’

Behind him, the call rang out across the bridge, as did it throughout the fleet. In bridges and ship corridors, gunnery stations and engineering portals, cockpits and hangar bays, kitchens and mess halls. All at the same time, on every single ship in the Dlarit fleet, one simultaneous, united, rallying cry:

‘FOR ORIAN!’

The war was on.

Ashura

16-03-2009 06:29:57

"Master!"

Ashura had been making his way towards the transports heading to the surface when he heard his apprentice call out. Jedi Hunter Aleho Ruoxf came running to him.

"Is it true. Jedi are on Antei?!"

"Yes, you heard correctly my apprentice. Rejoice... For this shall be your last task. The Light Side is our sworn nemesis, thus the Jedi represent everything weak. To cleanse the dark world of them would be a honour."

The young girl nodded her head as she walked with her master towards the hanger.

As Isradia entered the hanger and took the loud speaker from one of the crew members. "Listen up... Once we make planet side all Dlarit commandos are to remain on the transports to create a defence proximity. Commanders are to take command of designated Iron Throne ground forces upon landing. Move out!"

The Battlelord grabbed his apprentice as he got on one of the transports. It was already crowed with other Dark Jedi Journeymen. Five transports (including the one Ashura was on) departed the Final Way and headed for the surface. "You remember reading about the Clone Wars?" He asked the Journeymen. "Get ready for something similar. Remember, we have the advantage now. Let the Dark Side guide you and will survive."

"Commander! We got hostile incoming!" Yelled the pilot. Ashura made his way to the cockpit and looked out to see a droids flying their way. "Vulture Droid," spat the Battlelord. "This is Transport Alpha requesting fighter escort ASAP!"

"Too late for that," said Ashura as his blue eyes began to glow. "EVERYONE HANG ON!" The Dark Side of the Force flared as the Battlelord threw his hands forwards. An unseen power smashed into the Vulture Droid flying straight towards Ashura's transport. The metal began to buckle and bend under the strain of the force, and the droid reared off enough for the transport to get past; although not enough for it to clip the transport as it flew past.

The damaged droid turned about to attack the transport, when one of the Dlarit fighters flew past and blew it up. "Nice shot Crimson One!"

Soon the first wave of Dlairt transports make entered the atmosphere and arrived at the drop point. "Looks like we made is safe and sound," said the pilot as the transport hovered just above the drop point.

Just then the Force spoke.

Ashura spun around and grabbed Aleho by the hand, and with a Force enhanced leap he exited the transport in a rush. It soon came apparent why the Proconsul was in a rush to leave, several Vulture Droid flew past in formation and blew the hell out of the transport the Battlelord landed in.

"Kark!"

Ashura landed with his back on the ground, his young apprentice laying on his chest, looking up at the sky as the other transports came under attack. He watched as three transports were destroyed in the sky.

"Sir!" A soldier of the Iron Throne Armed Forces helped the Proconsul up.

"I see you started the fun already," said Ashura as he looked about the war-zone. "I'm General Isradia, this is Commander Ruoxf. What's the situation?"

"General, our forces are getting pummeled by those flying droids. They have already shredded through our garrison and destroyed three of the incoming transports."


"That I can see!" Ashura pointed to the raining debris above them.

"What are your orders, sir?"

Ashura activated his lightsaber (his apprentice following suit). "We need those anti-aircraft batteries operational if any of the clan forces are going to land. My apprentice and I will work on giving you space to set it all up."

The soldier saluted and headed off to get the orders implemented. Ashura looked at Aleho. "Now we see how much you have learned." The Jedi droid army could be seen approaching.

Malisane

16-03-2009 07:42:04

RSD Final Way
Medical Bay


Malisane waited until the doors closed behind him and glanced at the medic. “Leave us.” The medic glanced at him then left. Malisane studied the figure in the bed. It was a stranger. The implacable mercenary that stomped around the destroyer issuing commands and terrifying the crew was gone. Agrist looked ten years older, and half catatonic. He stared blankly at the ceiling, seeming unaware of the other Battlelords presence.
“Ashura sent me to check up on you before I leave for the planet,” Malisane said as he approached the bed, “personally I don’t like playing nursemaid. So the medics didn’t find anything physically wrong. So what’s up with you?”
Agrist’s one eye studied Malisane for a few seconds, as if it didn’t recognise him, then replied in a croaky voice. “It’s her.”
“What?” Malisane asked, confused.
“Meria.”
“Ah your girlfriend. Well what about her, dead, refused your marriage proposal, what?”
Agrist let out an explosion of air then coughed, his face turning to face the ceiling. “Using me, all this time, her puppet.”
“Using you how?”
“She’s her, all this time and I never even guessed, had no idea.”
“What? Who is she?”
Agrist’s eye flickered slightly. “Severina.”

A dozen thoughts flashed through Malisane’s head as he sat down hard in the chair next to the bed. “Severina? Are you serious?”
Agrist’s eye trained once more on the Battlelord. “I’ve never been more serious. Manipulating me, controlling me. For some reason since we left her control has slipped.”
Malisane was stunned, then he glanced angrily at the mercenary. “You!”, he exploded, “you sanctimonious ****, pursuing me, making thinly veiled accusations, marching around with your holier than thou attitude and all this time you’ve been in bed with Severina!”
For a moment Agrist’s eye flashed angrily and the old mercenary was back, then it faded and he let out a wracking cough. “Indeed,” he gasped finally.
Malisane sat back in the chair. “It doesn’t seem possible,” he said, calmer now, “she was gone. We had an agreement.”
Agrist’s head snapped around to study the Battelord. “You had what?”
Malisane realised he’d said too much. “Nothing.”

Agrist made another noise, and Malisane realised he was laughing bitterly. “It was you.”
“What?”
“I’ve been lying here, running it through my mind, how is she back? She was a dead a shade, and now she’s alive. You?”
Malisane was on the defensive now. “We made an agreement,” he replied finally. What did it matter? Suddenly he wanted to talk, he’d bottled it up so long. “I’ve never told anyone, not the Summit, not Macron, no one. She left Orian and betrayed Anaxela. I gave her my freighter and a new body in a cloning tank. We found the freighter empty on Kangaras when we searched the temple. She’d beem there. She stole one of our shuttles and left when we recovered the sceptre.”
“I see,” Agrist replied, “used you as well then.” He laughed again, then coughed. His spirit seemed to be returning.

Malisane got to his feet. “At least I acted in good faith,” he said coldly. “It did help us recapture Orian.”
“It stopped the Sadows finishing her off,” Agrist corrected him gravely, “You let her escape and gave her a new body, and now she’s back.”
Malisane slumped back into the chair again. “I know.”
“We must tell the Consul,” Agrist said quietly.
“No,” Malisane replied.
“This is serious,” Agrist told him, “she could do untold damage. I don’t even know half of what I’ve told her.”
“No,” Malisane repeated, “we’d both end up in Gamuslag. This is what we’re going to do. You’re going to get out of that damn bed, into a shower and your armour, we’re going to do what needs doing at Antei and then we’re going to find her and we’re going to kill her, for good this time even if we have to burn Vanise Tower to the ground and half the city with it.”
Agrist nodded, and he laughed once more. “Allies?”
“For now. Get moving. I’ll tell Ashura you’ve made a remarkable recovery. We get the next shuttle down to Antei. We're going to war.” He turned and left the room.

JadeSadow

16-03-2009 16:40:15

Republic-class Star Destroyer Final Way
Portside Corridor


Jade watched Manji disappear after Tsainetomo and Macron, her eyes turned a soulless black and her heart burned with anger. How dare she be treated like a mere novice within not only the force but within her own Clan. Stay and check her equipment! Her fangs exploded in her mouth and she absently picked up some metal container with the force and flung it against the wall, causing the container to bounce off the opposite wall and dent them both. It had been a while since she had run into Manji, he had disappeared near the end of her training, forcing her to find another, one whom though still within the same family was called the madman. The name to her had been rather awkward at the time, though she admitted she wouldn’t have had it any other way. Though as Manji disappeared down the corridor she figured it was time her first master learned that she was no longer a mere apprentice, a mere shadowed slaved.

Aleho looked at her and seeing the container flying against the walls took cue that perhaps it was not the best place to be in. Though Jade wouldn’t hurt the kid, due to her loyalty to Ashura, Jade didn’t blame her when the apprentice to the PCON slipped away.

Jade could feel something going down and she should have gone against Manji’s so called suggestion but she didn’t. Why the hell didn’t she just go running down that hall way and when he saw her tell him to go and kiss a wookies fury ass?! Jade let out a frustrated sigh and kicked out with her foot, it stopping mere millimeters from some Protectors throat. The kid looked at her with wide eyes. He knew all too well the phrase ‘hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.” He just froze and waited for her to drop her foot.

Jade turned her hips so that she faced the kid, dropped her foot to the ground slowly and placed her hood over her head and walked by him. The sigh of relief from the Protector was more than audible. Why didn’t she go down the corridor?...Because for some stupid reason she still held the man in high regard…though next time she might just be suggesting a particular activity for the Epis’s lips.

Republic-class Star Destroyer Final Way
Corridor near Hanger Bay


Jade marched along as she headed towards the hanger bay. She needed some straight up action. This Space flight was clipping her wings too much, it was time to get out and destroy something…anything!

“Jade!” Tsingtao’s voice called from the entrance. Jade sighed and stopped, crossing her arms over her chest. The man was an apprentice of Shin’ichi, like her, they were bound, plus she considered the guy a friend in the dark side. Uncrossing her arms she walked up to Tsingtao, her hood slipping off the back of her head easily.

Before Jade could answer she heard the familiar voice of Macron pop up from behind Tsingtao, “Jade, how nice that you could join us.”

Jade turned and gave a slight bow with her head to the man. “Master.”

“You seem a little tense, care for some action?”

Jade looked at him then Tsingtao who smirked, then back at Macron. “Oh hell yes.”

“I figured that would be your answer.” The evil looking grin from the man told her from experience that he had more then a few things up his sleeve. “Always wanted to see the inside of vong warship.”

Macron smirked at Jades expression and turned towards the hanger to head for their, soon to be, ship. She looked at Tsingtao both thinking the man had to be crazy, and wondering just what they had gotten themselves into.

Sai

16-03-2009 19:00:28

Anteian Surface
Failed LZ, Narmar

For all the odds laid against them, Ashura and his apprentice fought valiantly. Their lightsabers flashed as they batted away stray bolts and cut down droids, but it was as if fighting the coming of the tide. Their prowess was such that, given time and reinforcements, they may have eventually have prevailed over the enemy forces. They cut down seven of them for every soldier they lost, but where the droids seemed tireless and inexhaustible, the pair of Sadowans, alas, were not.

Ashura cast an eye to the sky and cast a wistful look to nowhere in particular. ’Today’s as good as any to die,’, the Proconsul reflected. He only wished he’d be able to see the Dark Hall for one last time. Suddenly remembering his young charge, and taking her feverish efforts as inspiration, Ashura found new strength. Gesturing to one of the remaining soldiers, he gave a last, desperate order.

“Signal the Final Way: ‘Need immediate evac...have failed to secure foothold. Repeat, foothold is a no-go. Request evac now!”

Roaring the last word, Ashura took up a stance next to his apprentice and shielded the radioman until his message could be relayed. He was confident it would be received...but heeded?

Drawing deeply for what may have been his final time on the Force, Ashura vowed he would squeeze every precious second out of Fate’s Clock that he would need to get Aleho to safety.

Dark Jedi Expeditionary Unit
Personal Transport Nachzerer
en route to Republic-class Star Destroyer Final Way

“Always wanted to see the inside of a Vong warship.”

Jade reflected on Macron’s words, spoken not even an hour ago, as she removed her biohazard suit within the belly of the beetle-shaped craft. Conad and Tsingtao were similiarly silent.

Some things, once seen, just couldn’t be unseen, and the dying innards of a Vong ship definitely rated high on the list. She suppressed an involuntary shudder as her mind’s eye was once again filled with the images of the ship that they had taken samples of. Cancer-ridden intestine kept coming to the fore of her brain, and she shook her head to clear it.

Meanwhile, Macron poured over the data he was transmitting to his lab onboard the Star Destroyer in clinical detachment. He knew he and the lab techs would be busy for weeks analyzing the samples; a small titter escaped his throat as he keyed the commlink.

“Final Way, this is Vong-ship Expeditionary Unit requesting an approach vector,” he transmitted absently. He was eager to get back to his lab to begin his real work. He was similarly stunned to hear his request was denied.

“Expeditionary Unit, that’s a negative on that approach vector. Say again, negative on approach,” the Dockmaster responded just as absently.

“What the frell d’ya mean, ‘negative’?!” Macron was known for his temper just as much as he was for his insanity. Conad and Jade drew back in anticipation of an expletive-laced tirade.

Luckily for the Dockmaster, as well as any other in earshot, the voice that came back belonged to someone that was familiar.

“What our good friend the Dockmaster means is,” came the baritone of Tsainetomo, “that you are needed elsewhere. Ashura needs help, and you’re best positioned to do so.”

“Ah! Sai, thank Sadow it’s you. What’s the good word?” Macron’s mood instantly brightened.

“None to speak of, I’m afraid. Ashura and Aleho’s transport was shot down, and he’s losing support rapidly. The initial attempt to establish a beachhead at Narmar failed; we’re regrouping as best we can, and the dear Procon needs a lift. Can you lend a hand?” Tsainetomo relayed as quickly as he could.

“You knew the answer to that before you even asked! Strap in back there,” Macron called to his comrades. “A bit of a detour coming up. Sai, do we have any back-up?”

“You know I have your back, my friend. Well, not me, per se; Kalei and Zaroth will rendezvous with you in ten, piloting XJ’s to keep those Vulture’s off your six.”

“Much obliged, Sai. Much obliged. Nachezerer, out.” His grin was wide as he keyed off the mic and began to feed the new telemetry into the crafts flight computers. “Ok, folks, here’s the deal: we got some wayward lambs that need a shepherd! Jade, I’ll need you on weapons; Conad, stow that gear!” He barked order after order as the Nachzerer’s engines whined in anticipation of the fight to come.

Republic-class Star Destroyer Final Way
Hangar Bay
Dockmaster’s Station

Tsainetomo replaced the mic to the comm unit as he flashed Zaroth and Kalei, both in idling XJ’s, a thumbs-up. The snubfighters roared out of the hanger, and the Korun-Keibatsu could see them form up on the Nachzerer as the craft flashed by.

‘Whatever happens now, it’s out of my hands,’ Tsainetomo thought as he turned his attention to the MAAT transport he’d chosen to board. Inhaling deeply, he couldn’t help but smile as the adrenaline that came with impending battle washed through his system.

‘Once more, into the breech...’

Shan Long

16-03-2009 19:03:31

Republic-Class Star Destroyer Final Way
Brig
Antei System



"You want the bracelets off?" The gruff voice of a Special Operations soldier voiced through the full helmet and visor.

"That would be rather pleasant, Lieutenant." Shan Long replied amicably. He turned in the small holding cell, a smile crossing his lips and bright eyes as the handcuffs clattered to the floor behind him. Never taking his eyes from the soldier, he stepped backwards two paces, and crouched down on the cold cell's bench. "That will be all, thank you."

Not knowing what to say, the trooper closed the heavy metal door with the push of a button outside the cell. It clashed to seal him in with a heavy rush of stale air. Seated like an eagle on a high precipice, Shan Long stretched out his senses into the full of the Dark Side. Though the cell was brightly lit, with a small security monitor observing his every motion, he was at peace.

None of them understood. They wouldn't even want to understand. They revelled in quiet contempt. The Sadows thought this cell would contain him. He would remain for now, a prisoner on his own terms. There was such more important work.

Daragon...


Combat Information Center
Admiral's Office



Robert Sadow looked up from the holographic display with a startled jump of a man stabbed with a needle unknowingly. He heard the voice, a voice he knew from long and far, decades even. Three, to be exact.

He knew it.

Daragon...

Again, the voice, he resisted the urge to answer, he must. It would lead to madness, to a game that had been played and lost by so many. He knew the man behind the voice, knew of his lies and riddles, of his hands soaked in the blood of hundreds, if not thousands. The man who had betrayed everything he swore to uphold and protect, who had even twice served in the office Robert himself now held. Yet, he knew.

I know... I know what troubles you... I will teach you to see...

Never. It was impossible. It could not be done.

I will show you the way... all you must do is ask...

He would not, could not... or could he?

The mundane calling himself a Jedi Master... is really neither... what will transpire on the surface of Antei will free you of bonds. You must learn to see if you will succeed, Robert Daragon. Only through me will you know the way.

Five minutes later, Robert was outside the cell ostensibly containing Shan Long. His hand hovered over the switch that would open the door. He felt driven, called, summoned... but he did not know what lie behind.

Perhaps to business first. He pressed the switch.

As the door slid open, his eyes lighted upon one of the most hated men in all of Clan Naga Sadow. Yet, he professed not to be Trevarus Caerick. He considered the first time he had ever encountered Shan Long.

Ten years earlier, the Oracle of the Brotherhood had been brought to Sepros in chains, delivered by the Dark Council because of his reckless insanity and homocidal tendancies. Then-Consul Xanos Zorrixor, the man's nominal Apprentice of twenty years had agreed to contain the madman, if they could not return Caerick to his normal sense. Robert had looked into the chamber where Shan Long was being held, it was much the same... yet somehow different.

The same glowing violet eyes, black hair cascading wild and free over a face that seemed unnaturally smooth; his lips slightly parted to reveal brilliantly white teeth that were just a little bit sharp for a human. It was a visage of maniacal humor, good cheer... the face of a man that would laugh as he tore your eyes from their sockets.

"Welcome, Robert Sadow." Shan Long said. "It has been far too long since we have... as they say... "chatted", my old friend."

"Yes, it has my old friend." Robert replied, his voice slightly coarse. He found a bead of nervous sweat breaking on his brow.

"I'd offer you a drink, but my accommodations are a bit lax, regrettably." Shan Long laughed a bit. Two tumblers filled with glittering ice appeared on the bench next to Shan Long, with a bottle of an amber-reddish liquid. The Dragon poured a heavy measure into each, then offered one to Robert with an outstretched hand. The hand covered by the accursed Amulet.

"To Sadow?" Shan Long toasted.

"To Sadow" Robert replied, draining the drink in a single draught. His body lessened the tension a bit.

"Why did you come back?"

"All in good time, my friend... but why don't you ask me the true question?"

Nekura Manji

16-03-2009 20:38:07

Republic-class Star Destroyer Final Way
Starboard Corridor


“Hey! Kid!”

Dyrra straightened up suddenly as Manji stormed down the corridor towards her from the turbolift to the CIC, kimono whirling around him. Used to the length of his stride, she managed to fall into step beside him for a couple of paces then was forced to quicken her pace, running to keep up with him. As he walked, the Epis relayed orders to her, his voice sharp and authoritative.

“As y’may have noticed, things have gone a little bit... curious. We’ve reached Antei and our task is to land and establish a beach-head. Well, I say our task... that’s my task. You’ll probably just get in my way.”

Snarling quietly, Dyrra struggled to keep up with the Epis until he stopped suddenly, turning to a closed door. As he punched a code into the nearby keypad, the door sliding open swiftly, Dyrra began to berate him angrily.

“What the frell am I supposed to do then? You’ve not been teaching me anything, you’ve just been play-fighting with your-”

“Think fast!”

Her words were cut short as a plainly-adorned, battered lightsabre soared towards her head. Quickly Dyrra reached upwards, her face contorting with fear as she caught the weapon, fumbling it between her hands a few times before managing to grab hold of it firmly. Manji emerged from the armoury with a chuckle.

“Nice catch. As of today, you get to use one of these, kiddo. Try not to disembowel yourself.”

Igniting the blade, Dyrra gasped in awe as the deep sapphire blade slid outwards, illuminating the hallway.

“I get to fight with one of these?”

“Nothin’ fancy, kid. You ain’t begun to learn an eighth of what I’ve got to teach you yet, so I don’t want you tryin’ to do any snazzy moves and chopping your own head off. It’s procedure that you get one, ‘cos of those Vong, but I’ll be damned if you’re ready to duel anything more than your own shadow yet.”

De-activating the weapon, Dyrra clipped it to her belt and fell into step behind the Epis as he set off down the corridors again to the hangar bay, haranguing her once more.

“Anyway, what’re we going to do with you... you’re not particularly great in a fighter, are you?”

“Uh... no. Not really. I get sick.”

“Hrn. Well, I guess I should keep an eye on you, make sure you don’t get killed too quickly. I’ll take you down to the surface in one of the dropships. Time to test your skills on some droids, kid!”


Republic-class Star Destroyer Final Way
Hangar Bay


Leaping into the open door of a LAAT/i gunship as it began to lift off the floor of the hangar bay, Manji and Dyrra settled into two empty seats as the ship’s doors closed, the craft belching from the innards of the Final Way on its trip down to Antei’s surface. Cannon fire began to shriek and whine around them as the battle below came ever closer, the ship shaking slightly as it descended through the stratosphere to the surface.

Suddenly there was an explosion nearby as a Vulture droid was picked out of the sky by the cannons of the Final Way. The ship rocked, inciting the rise of a slight greenish tinge in Dyrra’s cheeks. Cackling quietly to himself, Manji settled back in his seat, glancing across at his Apprentice.

“If you think this is a rough ride, kid... you ain’t felt anything yet.”

Tsingtao

16-03-2009 21:09:48

Dark Jedi Expeditionary Unit
Personal Transport Nachzerer
en route to the Narmar LZ


Tsingtao sat in the Nachzerer with the other members of the expeditionary unit. The Vong ship behind them, they sped through the vacuum of space towards the planet many of their fellow Dark Jedis were landing. Tsingtao looked at his Apprentice. He wasn't sure if it was fear, but he knew this Apprentice was not at ease. He is experiencing his first battle among the Dark Jedi.

"You did well on the Vong ship, my Apprentice." he said to the young Fallen. "I am pleased with your training thus far, but you are about to embark on a mission against a deadly foe."

Conad nodded towards his Master. "I thank you, my Master. I only hope that with my training and my blaster, I will not let you down."

Tsingtao smiled. "With your training I am not worried, but you will need something more powerful than a blaster," he said as he reached from something from his belt. "It is time you learn to properly wield one of theses." He pulled a lightsaber from his armor and held it out to Conad. "The last time we faced the Vong, it was decreed by Grand Master Sarin that all Protectors and higher be allowed to wield the weapon of a Dark Jedi. In due time, you will be able to fashion yourself a better one, a more powerful one."

Conad hesitantly reached for the hilt. It was an ordinary hilt made of a dull gray metal. It was lined with a purplish inset, signifying his Krath background.

"INCOMING!" yelled the Mad Alchemist from the cockpit of the Nachzerer. "Frakkin Vulture Droids. Tsing! I need to man one of the cannons."

Tsingtao could hear Kalei and Zaroth communicating their maneuvers to intercept as he rushed towards the ion turret. He quickly cycled on the power and activated the overhead. Blood and bloody ashes, these things are quick! Brilliant blue light flashes before him as Tsingtao let loose a series of energy towards his target. The bolts wouldn't do damage but it woudl disrupt those droids long enough for either Kalei or Zaroth to pick them off.

"YEE HAW!" shouted the Mad Alchemist as he gleefully watched the Vulture droids explode on all sides of the Nachzerer. "ETA to atmo is 5 minutes!"

Macron Sadow

16-03-2009 22:47:01

Dark Jedi Expeditionary Unit
Personal Transport Nachzerer
en route to the Narmar LZ



"I'll try a surface-polarity switch, should throw off their magnetic feet," Tsingtao yelled over the general commotion in the cockpit from his chair at the ion cannon. "I think it'll only work once."

"Copy that," replied Macron as his hands waved in front of the holocontrols like an insane conductor playing heavy metal written for a 3-handed alien. "That got five of them, but..." The interior lights went dark. "Shavit!" screamed the lunatic Sith. "You cut out the main thrusters!" he screamed at Tsingtao Ming. "Echuta!"

"I got no weapons juice," yelled Jade with a snarl from the lower laser turret. "What the kark are you bunch of sleemo kark-heads doing up there?"

"Dead stick," commented Macron dryly. "Or should I say control unit." He sat down calmly in the command seat and buckled up. "Everyone, buckle up," he stated. "Droids think we're a goner, though. 40 seconds to impact- Tsingtao, reverse whatever you did please."

"You're serious?" gasped Conad across the comlink. "Not good."

Forty seconds to...
Tsingtao grimaced as he keyed the inversion command in backwards. His fingers flew frantically.

"Twenty seconds," came the droning voice from the cockpit. "Next stop: a serious realization of gravity's inner workings, hee hee" giggled Macron's voice. "Check your shorts for deposits, everyone."

"I'm gorram WORKING on it," yelled Tsingtao in frustration. The wiring of the strange ship and the associated controls were nothing like a normal vessel. "Where's the karking E-cable?"

"Yellow one on the left. Ten seconds... nine...

"Got it!" spat Tsingtao. "What a piece of crap!"

"Restarting, c'mon baby.... c'mon... he didn't mean it, daddy loves you," mumbled the Warlord's voice from the comlinks as all the other Dark Jedi stared in disbelief with their mouths open. It appeared as if they weren't going to be helping Ashura and Aleho after all. The sound of a shouted curse and a fist impacting a dashboard echoed over the open link. They all caught their collective breaths...

And then the lights came back on as the engine caught with a lurch. The inertial dampeners whined with the strain as the entire mass of the Transport groaned in dire protest. A loud "Thump!" denoted the arrival of the ground safely beneath them.

External com chatter filtered in from the restored links. "I repeat...Nachzerer, what's your status?" Kalei's voice roared over the link.

"We're fine, I guess," responded Macron. "Um. How's the weather up there?"

"It's raining droids," chuckled Zaroth. A loud metallic clang echoed from the upper hull mere seconds later. "Seems these old models don't fare so well against new tech. We'll keep an air cover so you can load up," he stated. "Be quick about it."

"You heard the man! Drop your... and grab yerrrr, yeeeeahhh," tittered the alchemist as he grapped a Tenloss-disruptor pistol, a bandoleer of thermal detonators, and two lightsabers. It was party time, and he had plenty of gifts for the hosts. Mac relished a fight, as it was the only time he felt close to normal, whatever that was.

The hatch door opened as Jade, Tsingtao, and Conad rushed to it brandishing weapons. Battle cries ripped from their throats as the Battlemind began to engulf each one.

Malik exited the refresher looking confused. "What'd I miss?" he asked with a blink.

Alexander

17-03-2009 01:38:41

Antei
Landing Zone In Shadow Lands


Battle sounds surrounded the two Dark Jedi as they took cover from the blaster fire which was surrounding them on all sides. They through some sort of act of sheer luck, skill, or stupidity managed to find themselves in the landing zone that they were supposed to be securing. Looking around however, Xander could tell something had gone deeply wrong. As the pair crouched behind a rock while troops around them tried to keep them alive Xander assessed the situation. The fact of the matter was, that the troops who were with them were not Dlarit forces. Xander simply did not feel as comfortable with the group that they were as he might otherwise be with.

Looking over, he saw Valorian firing back at the enemies who were currently surrounding them. Looking over he could see that the Journeyman had a lightsaber clipped to his belt. It appeared to be one of the lightsabers which were provided to Journeyman who had yet to each knighthood, and had not been allowed to create their own lightsaber. Furthermore, Xander wondered if the man’s ability with the lightsaber.

“Ok..” Xander said leaning over. “This is the situation here, I am not getting any communication right now and we appeared to be completely pinned down.”

Valorian looked around “So this is where we retreat right?” he said responding

“No, it is imperative at this point that we hold our position here for the time being, and hope that others join us and we get enforcements.” Xander replied.

“I am not sure how far Joseem has gotten with you in your training, but I guess this is where I am going to be giving a crash…” Xander looked over his shoulder to see the charred wreckage of some craft in the distance “no pun intended.. course of lightsaber tactics and fighting.”

Valorian nodded “Yes sir.”

“The first thing is first.” Reaching into himself and his surroundings Xander let the force flow through him, and brought it to the breach of overwhelming him. He had to stop himself from sighting contentedly, as he felt the power course through him, caressing him like the embrace of a long lost lover. Reaching out with the force he now held he used the force to meld his mind to Valorians

Can you hear me? Xander said , seeming to speak directly into Valorians mind

“Yes..” Replied the Journeyman.. errr I mean.. yes…

Very well, this is the basic movement that you will want to learn if you chose to take up the art of Soresu in the distant future.

“Cover me” Xander said to the troops who looked up as he moved. Moving quickly behind the cover fire Xander began to run while igniting his saber, the force rushed through his body as he used it to enforce his speed. Deflecting bolts of energy he made his towards a small group of droids in front of him. There were about two droids in front of a small ridge of rocks. Once again reaching through the force flowing around him he pushed off jumping high and landing between the ridge and the droids. The rocks protecting him from the surrounding fire of the second group which was higher up. His Lightsaber lanced out striking at the First Droid closest to him, when the second droid was fell over. A blaster bolt in it’s back. Turning around Xander could see that Valorian had followed him a short distance to try to help. However, the man had brought himself out perilously in the open.

Ignoring any sort of irritation he might feel he spoke calmly through the bond he had made

"Order the troops to advance to my position, it is more defensible here, let’s hope from here we can have a better chance at holding out for a bit" Xander's voice said in Valorians mind.

Tron

17-03-2009 02:03:02

Combat Information Center
Republic-class Star Destroyer Final Way


"Sir, the Narmar LZ is too hot." Reported the Tactical Officer to Admiral Simonetti, "General Faylen says they are using battledroids, thousands of them. According to his reports the enemy has concentrated in Adas as well as around the Dark Hall and other defensible sites. He's also dug in on Narmar around Codei Prison, and several temple sites. We cannot take Narmar at this time."

Simonetti turned after hearing this report and walked over to his dark lord. Astronicus was staring out the viewport watching the flashes of light here and there on the on the planet Antei. The bright starbursts were momentary and disappeared as fast as they lit the sky. They were ships exploding in the atmosphere, vehicles blowing up on the surface and all sorts of mayhem that came with war. Simonetti hated to disturb him with such bad news, but he knew how angry his master would be if he held it back.

"My lord, our desired area to establish a beachhead is not viable." The Admiral relayed. "General Faylen has ordered us to rendezvous with the bulk of his forces in the north."

"Will it not be just as hot there as in Narmar?" Astronicus knew that if the General needed support at his beachhead then it was more than likely the only workable location. Before letting Simonetti reply though he gave the needed answer. "We will need to establish air superiority at the Iron Throne's beachhead. Send down some All Terrain Anti-Aircraft units. The AT-AAs will provide enough defense to ward off most major threats. Getting them down will be a different story. I want full escort for the transports caring them. Double the squadrons if you must, but I do not want any failure, Admiral."

Astronicus turned back to face the orb of Antei in the viewport. He desired greatly to be on the front lines as much as any. But could he leave Shan Long on the ship and venture to the planet below? He could leave Yoni and his old friend Bob behind to deal with the abomination. But he dared not let down his guard. Grand Master Paladin was due to return, Astronicus knew that He could handle Shan Long. Turning away from the battle below, he faced the commander of the ship.

"Admiral, prepare a LAAT/i for me. Once the All Terrain Anti-Aircrafts have hit dirtside I will be joining the troops below." Ordered the Lord of Sadow.

Nekura Manji

17-03-2009 08:10:42

Antei
Shadowlands LZ


As the gunship touched the ground and the doors slid open Manji jumped out, lightsabre ignited, batting away a few stray blaster bolts as Dyrra followed him with her own blade in her hands. Chaos roared before them- the droid troops were making this landing zone a particularly perilous place to try and establish a beachhead. Several more long-range bolts smashed against the side of the gunship as the two moved away from it, towards the front lines. Slowly, the Army of the Iron Throne detachment that they were to work with was pushing the droids back, leaving clusters and piles of ruined scrap metal everywhere.

As she dropped onto the blackened earth, Dyrra felt the throbbing power of Antei rush through her. She’d heard about the Dark Side potential of the planet, but had no idea it was this strong- it put her very much in mind of her homeworld, Haruun Kal. Straightening up, she smiled as thoughts raced through her mind.

Now I see why they were so determined to take this place back... it feels almost like home.

The solemnity of the moment was damaged slightly as the bumpy nature of their dropship ride down to the surface caught up to her, and the Journeyman doubled over, retching and vomiting.

In front of her, Manji’s hackles rose at the sight of life-or-death combat, and without a word to Dyrra he began to move towards the lines with a wicked grin, sabre swinging slowly. The Obelisk straightened up, wiping her mouth, and followed her master closely, her hands tight around the hilt of the newly-acquired lightsabre. Her senses were stretched as far as they would go to try and intercept any blaster bolts.

Suddenly the Epis roared a command at her, his voice carrying over the sounds of combat.

“C’mon kid, let’s get stuck in!”

Screaming a battle-cry, Manji whirled the silver lightsabre before him as he charged a cluster of droids taking cover behind a rocky outcropping, his feet pounding against the blackened rock. Behind him Dyrra sighed angrily, thoughts racing through her mind.

That mynock-loving idiot! He’s going to get us both killed!

Laughing maniacally, Manji smashed his sabre down through one droid’s head, hacking it in two, before whirling round to decapitate another. A boot crashed into another droid’s chest and knocked it to the ground where the Epis’ sabre could deliver the finishing blow. Suddenly, Manji’s voice loomed in Dyrra’s skull, a telekinetic message from the Epis.

Call me an idiot again and I’ll gut yer. Come over here and kill some karkin’ droids, will you? They’re no challenge!

Furious, Dyrra stormed towards his position, incensed at his telepathic invasion of her headspace. As she reached the Epis one of the droids struggling to aim it’s blaster at him turned to face her, uttering a mechanised cry of protest. Igniting her lightsabre, Dyrra thrust the blade forwards, stabbing the droid in the chest. Molten metal surrounded the weapon before she pulled it free, levelling the blade towards the three droids who had turned away from the fury of the Epis to take on a seemingly-easier target.

Summoning the Dark Side into himself, Manji hurled it outwards towards another droid, smashing the bot to the ground then spinning his sabre to chop the arms off a droid sneaking up behind him. His voice raised in a bloodthirsty shout.

“Remember what I taught you, kid! Remember Rule One!”

Still watching the droids carefully, her lightsabre flickering between them, Dyrra shouted back.

“What? What’s Rule One?”

Kill them before they kill you!

At that moment, one of the droids raised its blaster rifle to point at Dyrra’s face. Swiftly the Protector reacted, bringing her sabre up and angling it slightly. The scarlet bolt soared from the rifle, rebounded from the sabre and smashed into the chest of another droid, hurling it to the ground. As the droid hesitated, Dyrra lunged forwards, swinging the blade desperately at neck height. The droid’s head was torn from its body and thrown across the ground, Dyrra turning quickly to execute a downward slash that hacked the last droid into two pieces.

Moving towards his apprentice, the Epis chuckled as she straightened up, breathing heavily.

“Not bad. Not the same as killing humans, obviously, but a good start. Shall we keep moving?”

Glaring balefully up at her Master, Dyrra nodded as a squadron of Iron Throne troopers caught up with them to resume the advance.

Malisane

17-03-2009 08:25:22

RSD Final Way
Antei


"Where are we actually going?" Mecros asked as he followed Malisane through the corridors and they burst into the hangar.
"Main landing zone, enough people have gone down to Narmar, we can booster the forces at the main site."
"Just the two of us?" Mecros demanded as they ran across the bay.
"Took your time getting here," a gruff voice said, "saved you a place."
Malisane and Mecros followed Agrist into the LAAT. It was squat and compact and three nervous looking journeymen were already sat there as the equites entered and strapped themselves in. Mecros glanced at Agrist, the mercenary still looked drawn and a little pale but otherwise was back to normal, scowling below his eyepatch at the delay. The knommite thought better of asking any questions.

As the door began to close a final figure burst through, a woman with short dark hair in simple robes. "Sorry to hold you up," she said as she buckled herself in. She looked around herself at the journeymen and smiled at them, gave Mecros a disaproving glance as if remembering his activities on Marakith before his exile to the destroyer, then gave a respectful nod to the two Battlelords. "Knight Soolin at your service."
The craft shuddered as it lifted off the deck then they felt a surge of g-force as it blasted out of the hangar, the windows showing the blackness of space and the dark rock of Antei below.
"We need to see who else is down there," Malisane muttered to Agrist.
"Astronicus was due to leave for the surface," Agrist replied under his breath, "we ought to find him and see what's happening. There's likely to be most of the Iron throne army so it's probably one big logistics circus down there and with the other five clans no end of confusion and politics. We'll see what develops."

Joseem

17-03-2009 12:19:26

RSD Final Way
Antei: In Orbit


Joseem jumped into his gunship. It seemed fairly empty without his troops and his Delta-class Advance Commando, Krill. As he alighted on the inside, he reached out with the Force, looking for his Apprentice, Valorian. Hmmmm, he thought, He is not on the ship. Must have been antsy for action. Joseem walked over to the cockpit where he saw the pilot and co-pilot. "We have clearance. The Narmar LZ is karked, so we will be joining the main force. Let's go." Without waiting for a reply, Joseem turned toward the closed entry doors, watching the hanger bay lurch through the slits.

Antei
Shadowlands LZ


The gunship rocked back and forth. Getting down to the surface had been a pain, to say the least. Vulture droids were everywhere. Those things, Josemm thought, had to have been sixty years old, at least. His pilot had brought them down with a measure of guts and sweat. The doors slid back and Joseem looked out. Parts of droids were scattered along the landscape. Lightsabers sang out, their hum mixing with metal melting and internal energy packs exploding. The All Terrain Anti-Aircraft (AT-AA) were moving into position, but slowly.

Joseem turned and shouted towards the cockpit, "Pilot! Fly straight over the Walker!" The gunship yawed and banked at the same time, moving into position and defending itself from the Vulture Droids that were still screaming through the cocophony of the airspace. As the walkers came into view, he jumped. He flew through the air on the inertia of the gunship's forward movement. He straightened his body out, hands at his sides, and ended up looking like a javelin, or, what a jevelin would look like if it was encased in armor and carrying a lightsaber.

At the last second he flipped over, landing on the top of the AT-AA. As he straitened up, Vulture droids let loose with a volley of laserfire. Joseem ignited his saber with a snap-hiss and deflected the bolts into the surrounding droids on the ground. Another wing banked over and let loose with more laserfire. He reflected the bolts back towards their originator, sending the droid end over end to crash into Antei's soil. "Driver!" he turned and shouted, "Get these guns into position. We don't have long."

Xanos

17-03-2009 18:10:29

Kalekka Tower
Du’san Boundary, Antei


In the depths of the Du’san Boundary that separated Adas from Narmar, the only light came in chaotic flashes as each next bolt of lightning struck the mountains above the equatorial rift. Due to the constant barrage, the air permanently smelled of ozone; the ions of every atom electrically charged by the thunderstorms. The war engulfing the surface could have been unravelling on another world, any sound blocked out by the endless howl from the mountains as they rumbled. Here the present was forgotten. There was only the memory of the past.

Far below, a faint red glimmer could just be caught reflecting off the nethermost reaches caused by an unseen river of lava that ringed the planet. The bottommost divide where the planet’s very crust had split asunder from the dark rituals the sorceress Taimat had attempted millennia earlier, only to bring ruin to the original Star Chamber. Ever since then the planet had been torn in two directions: the Shadowlands toward the horrifying stain on the Galaxy now called the Dark Star; the Sunside drawn into the new light of Antares.

But in the depths between, there was only shadow and the whispers of death.

His skin burned where the lightning had struck him in his fall. He could not see them, but he could feel both the coarse blisters and smooth lumps that now covered his body. Burns. Everywhere. It was a miracle he was still alive. Or a nightmare. His entire body screamed with pain.

In the brief flashes of light, he saw the blood. On his hands. On his chest. His arms. His legs. Blood everywhere. His blood. He had fallen miles. Tens of miles. Perhaps thousands. He had fallen forever. In mind. In body. In soul. He had fallen into the depths of darkness. Beyond that which was seen or unseen. Into the forgotten cavities of the Void.

He was dead; and yet he was not. He finally now understood the truth: There were things far worse than dying. What a fool he had been. He should have turned back when he had the chance.

Lost in the darkness of his own mind Cyrus Raze screamed but nobody heard him.

No one would hear him ever again.

Three eyelids parted, and three infinitely black orbs stared upon reality for the first time in nearly two years, windows to another world. The Void behind them breathed the charcoal air, thick with smoke from the volcanic fissure. It opened its clenched fists to gaze upon two crystals, each with a dim violet glow. It had snatched them from the air as the one named Cyrus was hurled from the perverse mockery of the true Star Chamber that the Dragon had constructed atop the summit of Kalekka.

Two fragments of the broken Star of Ombus. Relics of a lost people.

Phylacteries of the condemned souls of millions.

‘The Broken Star must be restored.’

With its new body, the Void opened its scorched mouth.

Despite the roar of thunder, rasped laughter could be heard echo up the Boundary walls.

Zaxen Dauketrenal

17-03-2009 22:02:15

The Stormcrow
Approaching Antei Atmosphere


Nothing is going as I had planned... Zaxen mused to himself as the skies lit up around him with flashes of laser fire and droid explosions.

He had attempted to rendezvous with the Nachzerer for its inspection of the Yuuzhan Vong vessel in the void but time was not on his side and just as the Final Way had cleared the grasp of the Shroud orders were being sent and tasking and retasking of assets flew over the comms. Zaxen being a non committed unit in his personal craft had his choice. He set an intercept course with the Nachzerer but the madman had already opened the distance between them as they made their way to Antei and planet fall. Then the battle had a erupted in a swarm of droid fighters.

Tactical comms became a mess of racket reports, engagements, and screams of dying pilots. Zaxen attempted a direct ship to ship with Macron but to no avail. There was simply too much radio garble to get through and he had lost any visual sign of his allies. Before he knew it, Zaxen was in the soup.

The Stormcrow seemed to respond to the situation and the controls tingled under Zaxen's grip. The Vardorian scout ship was a strange vessel which had been somehow infused with a semi sentience through the Force. While not technically alive or conscious it almost seemed to express emotion and cognition. Zaxen had long stopped trying to explain the concept to himself and simply let the ship meld with him. The result was a deadly duet of man and machine. A graceful dance of destruction among the stars.

Zaxen felt his muscles tense as he pulled near impossible G forces as he engaged a trio of droid fighters. The oncoming fighters had split in a sort of clover leaf maneuver in the hopes of pinching Zaxen in on three sides. The droid's artificial intelligence had not taken into account the turning ability of the Stormcrow however and within seconds Zaxen was able to bring his nose around on a lead pursuit of one his adversaries.

The first fighter exploded in a flash and was quickly followed by the second who was just now pulling through the original clover maneuver and found only its destruction. The third vulture however had drew a bead on Zaxen. Stormcrow seemed to scream at its pilot through the Force and Zaxen responded throwing the nose over into a corkscrew as laser fire slid past the canopy. His assailant gave pursuit but before it could draw another shot Zaxen had pulled another hard g turn.

Zaxen's blood rushed from his head as his vision began to tunnel and just as his world was to become total darkness he saw the glint of metal and eased off the controls. As the universe came flooding back into his eyes with a side dish of nausea his fingers squeezed the trigger and a continuous beam sliced through the last bandit.

Taking a quick scan he noted he had closed the distance to the planet. Several of the Brotherhood's assets were already breaking atmo and landing on the surface below. As the Force would have it Zaxen caught the hint of familiarity through the Force and caught the site of the all to recognizable Night Hawks emblem splayed on the wings of two Incom X-wing J series fighters. Zaxen decided they were as good as any team he was going to get out here and keyed in their transponder code and their operating comms.

"Night Hawks Flight, this is Stormcrow off the Final Way. Wondering if you could use an extra wing? How copy?"

The Force lit up in recognition as the pair of XJs adjusted their vectors to intercept.

"Zaxen is that you?" Came the voice of Zaroth.

"That it is. Whats the situation?"

Tsingtao

18-03-2009 12:40:19

Nachzerer
Namar LZ


Macron gleefully jumped out of the ship and began attacking the closest droid. He shot one in the back with his disruptor and sliced another with his lightsaber. He hummed a tune as he was making is way towards Ashura's party.

Tsingtao, Jade, and Conad were right behind him. Tsingtao and Jade used their sabers to deflect any incoming shot while Conad fired his own blaster rifle at the droids in the distance. They finally made their way to Macron.

"Too many droids ahead. I don't think we are going to make it to Ashura," Macron stated with a frown. "And I think they are starting to head this way."

Tsingtao swore under his breath. All of a sudden Tsingtao was down on the ground. A large explosion rocked ahead of their position. Puzzled, he looked around and saw Conad on top of he and Macron.

"Sorry, Master. It happened so fast so I reacted." Conad said helping the two Equites stand.

Tsingtao looked around to see what had occured. Plumes of smoke filled the air as a nice path was now formed between the group and Ashura's team. Tsingtao looked back towards the Nachzerer and saw Malik standing there with what appears to be a rocketlauncher.

"I knew that would come in handy some day!" Macron said with a giggle. "Too bad I didn't get to fire it. Oh well, shall we?"

Before Tsingtao could reply, the Mad Alchemist starting shooting and cutting his way towards Ashura. He started to follow Macron and noticed that Ashura's team was making their way towards the Nachzerer. After a few minutes they made there way to Ashura.

"Good to see you, my friends," Ashura said. The tone in his voice was fatigued but relieved at the same time.

"We heard you needed a lift and I always wanted to cruise in with guns blazing." Macron laughed.

"Let's get everyone on the Nachzerer and catchup with the main forces." suggested Jade.

Ashura

18-03-2009 15:27:16

Nachzerer
Namar LZ


If Ashura was tired, then Aleho was *very* tired. The young Togruta staggered after her master and the others. "I'm so glad to see that thing," she said referencing Macron's ship. The group of Dark Jedi and Iron Throne soldiers made their way onto the Nachzerer. The Jedi droid forces were already closing the gap. "Macron, get us airborne!" Tsingtao said as he watched the enemy approach, guns blazing.

"Oh, this is going to be one interesting ride," remarked the Proconsul.

The droid army was vast and it outnumber the Sons and disciples vary greatly then any of them would ever admit. "Once in the air, the Vulture Droids are going to be a problem. What we could do is have the higher Equites concentrate on getting us past them, while the rest fly this ship." Ashura said quickly. "Hell, is their a hatch to get to the top of the ship, might be an idea to have a few of us out there and fend them off while we get to the main landing site."

Malisane

18-03-2009 18:15:59

Main Landing Site
Antei.


As soon as the LAAT landed Malisane rushed down the ramp, Agrist, Mecros and Soolin behind him. "It's chaos," Soolin shouted. Around them Iron Throne soldiers formed a defensive line against oncoming droid forces, and above droid bombers rained down death on the embattled troops.
Agrist studied the scene, the old commander looked happier than he had for weeks or even since he'd joined the Clan. "Our lot have made progress but looks like they're deadlocked here," he replied over the sound of battle, "we're not going to be able to drop our heavy equipment here. Surprised we got down in the LAAT."
"We have to establish it here," Malisane shouted back, "it's here or no where."
"Need to make it a bit safer then, don't we?" Agrist said with a grin.
Malisane studied the droid armies. "You think we should charge?" he asked sarcastically.
"No," Agrist replied, "we'll find the commander and see what we can do to help. Soolin, Mecros, stay with the transport."
Malisane nodded and the equites ran through the lines to the command centre. Malisane approached the guards who raised rifles. "Save the friend or foe business we aren't droids, we're from Naga Sadow, where's your commanding officer?"
"I'll show you the way," the soldier replied with a salute.


The colonel looked up as they entered. He was studing a live map of the battle and seemed stressed. "Who the hell are you?"
"Battlelord de Ath, and Battlelord Agrist of Clan Naga Sadow. We're here to help."
"About time you got here, you can see the situation before your eyes. If you're going to get your anti aircraft in here this area has to be secured,"
Agrist nodded and studied the map. "Their forces are formidable," he said quietly.
"I'm glad you appreciate that," the colonel replied.
Malisane glanced over Agrist's shoulder. "You noticed anything odd?"
"Like what?" the colonel demanded.
"Your equipment is picking up a lot of heavy signal traffic," Malisane replied, "more than you'd expect. It's likely these droid forces are on remote."
The colonel glanced at Agrist who shrugged. Tech wasn't his area. "So?"
"So they're coming from somewhere," Malisane replied, "it's doubtful they'd have one hub for the planet, that would make it too easy, but they also wouldn't want too many in one area. If we can find the one nearest and hit it, destroy or better scramble the signal, we might be able to temporarily block the transmission to the droid forces."
"Surely they could establish it again from a different hub?" Agrist argued.
"Not immedialtey if we were broadcasting our own signal," Malisane replied, "it might give us enough time to land our equipment and the colonel here time to drive them off."
"So where is this nearby hub?"
"One moment," Malisane replied.

Malisane began tapping at a keyboard, and studying results, "It must be here," Malisane replied pointing to an area behind the advancing droid forces
Agrist studied the display, "Can't see anything."
"Under ground but close enough to the surface," Malisane replied. "We could hit it."
"There's a droid army in the way," Agrist argued.
"Small force could get through," Malisane replied, "fly in low and find a gap."
"The four of us?" Agrist asked thoughtfully.
Malisane shook his head. "No, I'll signal the Nachzerer, and any forces we have here and suggest they converge on that point." he clicked on a communicator, scrambling the signal and broadcasting. "Time to call in the Clan."

JadeSadow

18-03-2009 18:47:39

Nachzerer
Namar LZ

Jades ears still rang after the shots Malik took. It was bad enough to block all the incoming fire, but having it come surprisingly from behind was not something you ever expect. She had moved just in time to keep from being knocked down by way ward apprentices, but close enough to have the shots ring in her sensitive hearing. She gave her head a shake as Ashura suggested some of them go up top.

Had she heard right? Had Ashura actually suggested they try and stand on a moving ship?! Not that it couldn’t be done; it was just not something you’d trust too much, especially with Macron near any flight controls. Considering the PCON was looking around and still waiting for an answer she had to guess that would be a definite yes.

Jade sighed and prepared to go up top, it would be an interesting time and she was up for a challenge, but before any one could answer Ashura’s question the com lit up. “Great now what?!”

Tsingtao smirked, “I hope it’s a request to kill more droids, haven’t had enough of them try to kill me yet today.”

Macron answered the flashing light, his demeanor giving the madman an extra crazy twinge. “Looks like you got your wish, Tsingtao. Malisane is giving us a mission.”

“Oh joy.” Ashura commented under his breath. It had taken him and Aleho having strong wills and energy to get through the droids once, energy both of them barely had left, and just when he got a break, he had to go back… Such were the pleasures of war.

Valorian

19-03-2009 05:08:55

Antei
Shadowlands LZ


Droids began to swarm Xander and Valorian's position at the ridge. A pair of exposed Dark Jedi was a high-priority target indeed, and bursts of blaster fire traced the Force users' every move.

Xander's commands rang inside Valorian's head, and the young Guardian winced visibly, hoping the Equite didn't take the pained expression for fear or uncertainty. Unaccustomed to mind-melds, the Journeyman lacked the mental finesse required to meet Xander's thoughts so directly. He couldn't be positive if Xander could “hear” him, but the response flashed to Valorian's mind, unbidden and snarling. In the open is where I like it! The Guardian shoved the pain and stress into his own body with all the Dark Side-borne fury he possessed, and began to achieve a frightening ground speed ascending the ridge.

Dancing between covered positions with an Equite's grace, Xander deflected barrages of blaster fire, returning nearly as many as he dodged, shouting curt orders to their troops as they spread into covering formations. The rocky shelf was at their backs, and heavy fire from below peppered the cliff face. Pebbles and chunks of blasted stone flew around them, pinging off boulders and body armor alike.

Valorian's training saber shuddered each time he narrowly deflected a blaster bolt, and the inferior crystal was beginning to spark violently with the impacts. This won't be defensible for long... we need to flank them before they do the same to us. Still a dozen yards from Xander's cover, the Journeyman turned sharply right and shot up the incline, higher on the ridge's windblown surface. He moved laterally in front of the droid line beneath them, drawing a hail of fire.

The droids themselves had taken advantage of superior cover below, but as Valorian spread their fire Xander waved the troops to flank. Moments later, deadly accurate rifle fire from the Iron Throne soldiers cut into the exposed wave of mechanical bodies.

Choosing a trio of droids clumped directly under him, Valorian made a Force-enhanced leap to an overhanging boulder, cybernetic feet shrieking as they grappled with the stone. Without hesitation he twisted, throwing himself backward from the height in an arcing flip, and sent the training saber spinning down at the droids. Unable to discern the flashing blade from any other Jedi weapon, they scattered, and the Journeyman, chain unfurling, slammed feet-first into the unluckiest of the machines, bringing a second down with the whip's dart in its skull.

Xander had dashed from cover himself, and cut a gleaming swath of shattered droids as he descended into their ranks, a whirlwind of robe and lightsaber. The first wave of droid infantry collapsed in smoking wreckage, and the Dark Jedi turned as their soldiers formed up again behind them, their ranks beginning to thin.

Abruptly, all their commlinks crackled at once, new waypoints flashing onto wrist displays. “Encrypted transmission from Clan Naga Sadow. This is Battlelord Malisane – all within range of this broadcast, converge on the following coordinates. Engage target at waypoint Beta-One. Harden up this LZ, people, we've got places to go!”

Shan Long

19-03-2009 17:40:21

Republic-Class Star Destroyer Final Way
Brig
Antei System



Considering what the monster had said to him for a moment, Robert drained the stiff drink in a single draught. He knew from long experience that Trevarus was a master of playing games. He also knew that the monster who had apparently conquered Trevarus was brutally insane.

"I think the latter includes the former. You came to me. What do you know? You fled almost two years ago. Why come back now? Why summon me? We haven't spoken in years, as you said."

"Well said." Shan Long replied, refilling their drinks from the bottle that moved effortlessly through the cold air with a wave of his hand. Bob felt himself loosening up... slightly.

The Dragon continued. "I came, because you know. You know what I know. I know what you know. You have felt it... you KNOW IT!"

The words had come at him with such force, that Robert nearly dropped his drink. The Dragon's eyes had shone with such conviction, with such intensity, that the very air seemed to be filled with evil violet light.

"The burning sword."

"Yes. You have not spoken to Macron about a small... ah... altercation that transpired on San Korinar a week ago?" Shan Long asked, the normal glow returning to his eyes, such that the natural blue began to appear.

"How.. how would you know?"

"Because I see. Because I know. There Heretic is still alive. You know it, and I know it."

"He died, as surely as you did." Robert spat. "His body was consumed in the fire of the Dark Side. His own hatred."

"No. I devoured Trevarus Caerick. Caerick is dead. I am Caerick, he is me. I am Shan Long. Yet, the Heretic was not consumed by the Force... only by his own hatred."

"Enough of the riddles!" Robert shouted. "You called me, for what? To show nonsense at me? To confuse me with alcohol and word games? If you know something useful, tell us, karking hell. Caerick or Long, whatever the kirffing hells you call yourself... just tell me!"

"As you wish." The Dragon conceeded, "If we are to stop the pawns of the Heretic from undoing the Clan's work on the surface of Antei, you will need me; and I will need the Clan. Astronicus Sadow must be made to understand."

"That's a tall order, considering that he's recalled Jedgar Paladin to deal with you."

"Lord Paladin will understand. The Star Chamber was my genesis. It used me to destroy the mad Sorcerer."

"And replace him with a mad murderer?"

"What are mere life and death?"

"You speak plainly, or I lock the door again." Robert spat in bordering on plain rage.

"You must learn to see. Wait until Cyrus Raze commits some atrocity on the surface, and you will begin to understand." Shan Long drained his second drink, and lit another cigar.

"Go now, I have said enough. You have not yet opened your eyes."

To the edge of mad fury, Robert stepped backwards once, and slammed his hand on the switch that closed the cell door. He did it out of spite, to cut himself off from even looking at the man with his glowing eyes and pendantic, arrogant way of speaking to him. He sensed that the Dragon was right, however, and this might have infuriated him even more.

He patiently waited a moment in the central prison command before returning to the Combat Information Center. He would discuss this matter with Lord Sadow... and give the unsettling orders to the ground teams to watch out for their fellow... the man he had trusted with a most dangerous of missions, and who had apparently fallen under the spell of madness.

If he had not, himself.

Xanos

19-03-2009 17:56:43

II Legion Drop Point
Adas Landing Zone
Antei


‘Everybody take cover!’ Lonus Santorini shouted as the air flashed red, throwing himself behind a large boulder which was already scorched from an earlier bombing run. The explosion of the Vulture droid above sent bells screaming in his ears, and he narrowly clapped his hands over them before burning pieces of wreckage crashed beyond the boulder, the noise painful even though he was a good fifty metres back from the point of impact. The next thing he felt was his back hit the hard surface as he was knocked back, part of the droid probably having rolled directly into the boulder.

‘Captain!’

Lonus groaned, stood up and rolled his neck to check nothing was broken. He winced at a slight stabbing sensation. No time for that. Medics would have to worry later. ‘I’m fine. Get that shield emitter deployed!’

The black Kraytskin clad troopers around him hurried back to their stations to finish setting up the large emitter matrix that looked something like a cross between a bantha and a spider. Roughly the size of an All Terrain Scout Transport, the shield emitter had eight legs and a large central hunchbacked dome that jutted into the air. They’d already set up eight of them, and had another five to go before the whole of II Legion’s landing zone would be plotted and the shield dome could be activated to secure against further aerial raids and mortar fire from the droid armies.

This task had fallen to Alpha Company: the 2nd Special Troops Battalion’s foremost team of combat engineers. Around them, other teams from the Nebula-class Star Destroyer Dark Star were still dropping down with further reinforcements from II Legion. In the skies above, the Reavers and the rest of Vessel Aerospace Wing 12 were battling a seemingly endless swarm of droids flooding from the enemy headquarters situated at the now Jedi occupied Dark Hall.

STAPs!’

‘Kriff, everyone to cover!’ Lonus yelled. He whipped his rifle from his shoulder and took position behind the nearby boulder again. The ground suddenly sizzled with stripes of red rain as a flight of Single Trooper Aerial Platforms flew just overhead, pelting the surface with blaster rounds. He took aim, sizing up one of the battle droids standing on the nearest STAP, and pulled the trigger. The skeletal droid’s head swivelled and spun off, leaving a decapitated body holding onto the front handle bars of the STAP, which briefly proceeded to spiral in the air erratically before zooming head first into the ground in a large explosion.

‘All clear!’ one of the other troopers called.

The men got back to work on the deflector shield emitter before the next droid attack. Thankfully, the STAPs didn’t have the firepower to dent the emitter, or the rest of the armour that had managed to land—which so far was not much of it. The slower Y-85 Titan drop ships were having trouble getting past the Vulture and Scarab fighter swarms.

Lonus just hoped the Jedi would hurry up and get the anti-air defences up and running. They’d managed to land a few of the AT-AAs via larty—LAAT— carriers, but they could only carry one walker at a time, so if they didn’t do something soon they were going to get overrun. Word on the radio was the Narmar LZ had already fallen; they couldn’t afford to lose Adas too. There were just too many of them. For every Scarab droid they shot down, another five took its place.

A crater opened directly in front of where Lonus was standing, and he instinctively jumped back. ‘Mortar rounds!’ He took cover behind the boulder, again, and risked a look around the side. On the hill ahead, a pair of AAT tanks had taken up position and were shelling their location. Unlike the STAPs, AATs could trash the shield emitter if they managed to successfully land a hit.

Rapidly, he keyed his wrist communicator to open a channel to Captain Tuspin, who was in command of the Reavers squadron above, to request more air support. A few seconds later, the hill was alight with fire as one of Tuspin’s bombers flew overhead and dropped a pair of proton torpedoes on top of the Armoured Assault Tanks.

‘All clear!’

If this kept up they’d never get all the shield emitters deployed before they were eventually overrun. They needed something to buy them time to get their armour on the ground. Just then, his wrist comm began to chime again, signalling an incoming call. He keyed it, and the miniaturised image of Lieutenant Colonel Rylla Anjek appeared above his forearm.

‘Captain Santorini, LZ can’t take much more of this. How long before that shield is operational?’

Lonus sighed. Like he wasn’t hurrying already. ‘Colonel, we’ve eight matrixes set up, six more to go, counting the one we’re currently working on.’

‘We need that shield up yesterday, Captain,’ Anjek said gruffly, his voice betraying his own fears of the operation’s success so far. They’d come prepared to fight Vong. Not droids. The Vong didn't even have droids. They just weren’t ready for this. Shields all modulated for plasma fire; weapons adapted for stutter fire. They’d been caught with their trousers down, and the men at Narmar had already paid the price in blood.

‘Sir, we’re working as fast as we can, but those droids must be on to what we’re doing as they won’t let up with the artillery fire.’

The hologram appeared to nod its head and sigh. ‘Special Ops are working on it, Captain. One of the Jedi, General Goura, has a team en route to what we hope to be the local control relay. With that down, it should buy you time to get the last of your shield emitters set up. Then we can hopefully bring down the rest of the walkers and set up a proper perimeter with the AT-AAs.’

Lonus felt some tension lift from his shoulders, but he wasn’t ready to relax just yet. ‘Understood, Colonel. Let’s hope this General Goura pulls through.’

‘For all our sakes, Captain. For all our sakes.’

DyrraSkye

19-03-2009 20:17:37

Antei
Shadowlands LZ


The comm beeped shrilly on Manji's wrist, the sound somehow still as irritating as it usually was, even when it was muffled under the shriek of blaster fire and the ever-present hum of lightsabers.

“Encrypted transmission from Clan Naga Sadow. This is Battlelord Malisane – all within range of this broadcast, converge on the following coordinates. Engage target at waypoint Beta-One. Harden up this LZ, people, we've got places to go!”

Removing his lightsaber from its current position in a droid's torso, Manji glanced over at his apprentice. There was a blessed lull in the combat and he took the chance to see how she was holding up. She seemed to be doing alright, although she was looking a little tired by now. They'd been running around all over the landing zone trying to hold the droids off long enough to get some fortifications in place, but as soon as they got rid of all the droids in their immediate vicinity, Manji would see some a short distance away and sprint off to destroy them.

Dyrra would, as usual, be left playing catch up and the fatigue was starting to show. She was almost tired enough to envy the troops still in the ships - their legs probably weren't aching like this. Then she'd remember how badly the flight down here had affected her stomach and suddenly feel grateful for the blackened rock under her feet.

Sore feet are a small price to pay for terra firma.

"You hear that, kid?" Manji called over to her.

That nickname is getting really old, really fast.

"Yeah, I heard. Which way are we headed?"

"It's not far from here. Try and keep up, eh?"

He shot off over the rocks, like a Gungan drugged up on spice.

Alexander

20-03-2009 02:50:52

Antei
Shadowlands LZ


The last of the smoldering robot fell to his feet as Xander heard the message over his communication device. Xander sighed as he evaluated the wreckage surrounding himself. Joseem’s apprentice Valorian had proven himself to be quite outstanding so far. The man had thus far shown himself to have much potential.

Let’s head in that direction, and meet up with Malisane at the coordinates , Xander said to Valorian. Well thought to be specific. However, at this point, such details here not important.

“Form up the troops and follow Valorian to coordinates.” Xander said over the communicators to the rest of the squadron.

“Aye..” came a general reply as the group formed up an followed Valorian towards the coordinates. Judging by the numbers it wasn’t very far, maybe a few kilometers at a brisk pace. However, Xander had the feeling that the entire length might be covered by droids.

“Ok, we have all made it through this far, we are going to make it to the coordinates as a group, and make it through the whole war as well.” Xander said over the com. “I am going to scout a head, I am only going to be slightly ahead of you, understood”

“Affirmative” came the reply

Xander gracefully hopped from stone outcropping to the next as he skipped his way down a slope, through the meld he could feel that Valorian was close behind him. He couldn’t help but wonder if the young man understood how much trust the Equite was putting in him by allowing him command of the squadron while he moved ahead.

Ahead of them Xander spotted a small number of droids. Moving silently Xander moved towards a possible kill like a lion stalking it’s prey. Once the gap was closed Xander dived in between the droids his flashing saber making quick work of them before they could do very much. There was only a few of them. Moving up to the next hill top he could see the building which he believe were the coordinates which had been given to him. From this vantage point he had a good view of everything around him. Pulling out binoculars he looked through them scanning the distance.

“Move up to my location” he relayed over the communication port as he continued scanning.

“Do you see anything?” Valorian asked approaching quietly from behind Xander. He could tell the man was making some attempt at being stealthy, however through the bond Xander had felt something.

“Not much…” Xander then pointed to a group of AT-AA’s in the distance with a small familiar figure darting between them quickly. “I bet that look familiar to you though..” Xander said handing the binoculars over to Valorian.

Nekura Manji

20-03-2009 07:37:08

Antei
Shadowlands LZ


Dyrra sighed heavily. “Are we there yet?”

With a chuckle, Manji rammed his sabre through a droid’s face, the machine dropping to the ground with a high-pitched mechanical whine of protest. They’d been making slow progress across the barren rock of the Shadowlands, their path hindered by the droid patrols swarming all over the area; every time they’d gone several hundred feet without any trouble, a patrol would spot them and he’d have to go and slaughter them all. Still, they were almost to the co-ordinates, then they could strike a blow that would help them flush these droids out of the landing zone and get the anti-aircraft batteries up.

Pulling out a datapad which held a map of Antei’s surface, the Epis perused it carefully to check their location. As a droid managed to pull its severed torso up and aim a blaster rifle at his back, Dyrra sprinted forward and tore the robot’s head in two with her lightsabre, the droid dropping uselessly to the floor again. Turning to look at her, Manji grinned wickedly.

“What are you doin’? Don’t just stand around doing nothin’; go find some more droids to kill!”

A vein in Dyrra’s forehead began to pulsate as she stared angrily at the Epis before storming off towards a nearby rock, throwing herself down to lean against it. Ignoring her, Manji raised a hand to shade his eyes as he looked around, the datapad telling him that they were almost on top of the co-ordinates.

“Aha! There’s our location.”

He beckoned Dyrra towards him, his outstretched hand directing her gaze towards a large crater ahead of them, a small entrance carefully hidden at the bottom. Three B2 battledroids stood menacingly around the flight of stairs going down into the rock, their laser cannons held ready. Letting out a low whistle, Dyrra shook her head.

“It looks pretty well fortified from up here.”

Leaning back nonchalantly against a nearby rock, Manji shrugged.

“Well, I guess they’ve had plenty of time to get entrenched in this place. I’ve no idea how long ago the Vong all got wiped out, but it probably gave them enough time to get some sort of underground complex up and running. It also looks like we’re the first ones here...”

Hearing the change in his tone of voice, Dyrra looked at him sharply.

“...so we’re staying here and waiting for reinforcements, right? Right?

Grinning widely, Manji twirled his lightsabre with a flourish.

“Wrong. We’re going to get down there and butcher those guards to make it easier for anyone trying to get to this place by air.”

“Oh, for the love of-“

Before she could finish the sentence Manji was off, leaping down into the crater. His feet slid down the side as he casually whirled the silver lightsabre to deflect a rain of blaster bolts from the B2s, several bolts whirling back to smash against the armoured chest of one of the droids, hurling it to the floor. Following her master, Dyrra swore vehemently under her breath as he reached the bottom of the crater, diving and leaping around the droids to draw their fire. As they turned to try and blast him, oblivious to Dyrra’s presence, she walked up behind one of the battledroids and rammed her lightsabre through its stomach, pulling the blade up through its head to finish the job. The third droid turned to face her, its featureless visage somehow more menacing as it towered over her.

As Dyrra backed away slowly, her lightsabre going into a guard position to attempt to block the inevitable hail of crimson death, Manji appeared in her field of vision- his foot smashing into the droids head to knock it heavily to the ground. Landing on top of it, he span his sabre dextrously, dismembering the droid in a systematic fashion. Two arms flew away from the droid, followed by two legs, followed by its head.

Hopping off the mutilated, sparking corpse of the droid, the Epis winked at Dyrra.

“Nice one, kid. Now we just get back into cover and wait for the others...”

Krandon

20-03-2009 12:46:54

Combat Information Center
Republic-class Star Destroyer Final Way
Dlarit Special Operations Group
The Shroud, en route to Antei


Several hours ago...

“I'm here to see Lord Astronicus Sadow”, Krandon said to the guard standing outside the CIC. “He asked my squad, the Jade Serpents, to check something out for him- I just want to give him my report”.

“Alright, but Lord Astronicus is a very busy man. Don’t be too long!” said the guard, trying to assert his authority. The light glinted off his completely black uniform, that of a Dlarit Corporation guard, as he stood to one side with his rifle at the ready. The door to the CIC opened with a hiss as Krandon moved forwards, his eyes drawn to the Overlord, who was looking at a hologram of what appeared to be the planet Antei.

Krandon bowed and waited for the Lord of Sadow to realize that he was standing there.

“Krandon. What news do you have for me?” Lord Astronicus asked, slowly looking up from the hologram and staring into Krandon’s eyes.

“My Lord, the Jade Serpents did three circles around the Vong Ships, and found nothing. No life... not even the slightest breath of life. I am sorry if this is not the news you wanted...”, Krandon said, worried that the news would not go down well.

“Very good, Tetrarch." Astronicus said, turning back to the hologram. Krandon stood there as if waiting for something to happen. “Is there something else, Guardian?” Astronicus growled, sounding very annoyed.

“No, my Lord. Was there anything else you wished of me, or my team?” Krandon asked, crossing his arms.

“I need you to do something for me. I think you can handle this”, Astronicus said, peaking the Zabrak’s intersest.

“Yes, sir?” Krandon said, waiting for an answer.

Get out of my sight!” Astronicus yelled across the room, causing Krandon to jump.

“Yes, Sir!” Krandon responded, saluting and exiting the room quickly. The guard snickered at him as he walked through the doorway. Responding to the laughter, Krandon activated his lightsaber with a *snap-hiss* sound and held it at the guard’s neck.

“One more laugh out of you and I will make it so that you can never laugh again. Is that clear?” Krandon asked, his voice low as he asserted his own authority.

“Uh... crystal clear...”, the guard stuttered. With this, Krandon deactiviated his lightsaber, belted it, walked to the gravlift and went back down to the hanger.




Republic-class Star Destroyer Final Way
Above Antei
Docking Bay


Krandon sat in his X-wing, waiting for some kind of orders. He wanted to join the battle, but he wasn’t sure when his time would come.

Krandon, where the hell are you?” A voice growled as his commlink snapped on.

“Uh... I didn’t know I was supposed to be anywhere.” Krandon replied.

“Well, you need to be somewhere! This is a war, and we're all supposed to be doing our part! Now get your arse down to the surface, we've got to flush these droids out of the landing zone or this invasion is going to be over before it's begun.” the voice said angrily. Now Krandon knew whose voice it was. Leaning forward, the Guardian started up the engine of his X-wing.

“I'll be right with you, Manji. Who else is there?” Krandon asked.

“Right now? Myself and Dyrra. Malisane's on his way, as is Macron and his team in the Nachzerer.” Manji said.

“Alright, I'll come down and help you guys out.” As he finished speaking, Krandon shut off his comm, put on his flight helmet and manipulated the controls of the X-wing, guiding the ship out of the Final Way.

Macron Sadow

20-03-2009 13:51:34

Antei
Shadowlands LZ
Nachzerer
Approaching droid relay unit


"You guys got it back there?" asked Macron as the ship hove towards her target. The beetle-shaped craft was made for one thing- and it wasn't the comfort of passengers. It was made to kill things.

"Yes. How in the gorram hell did you get actual turbolasers shoehorned on this thing?" marveled Ashura as he peered into the cockpit. "Irregardless, that's guaranteed to kick the kark out of some droids."

"Boy howdy, don't you know," giggled the madman as Aleho sat down next to him. "Glad to have ya onboard, m'amselle. First switch on your...."

"I got it already," she replied with a snort. "I've done this song and dance before."

"Kid's got spunk," remarked Tsingtao from the ion cannon pit.

"Indeed," commented Macron. "But in reality, she's a young woman and not a kid anymore. All of you in the transport bay, hang on. We're gonna pound the pudu out of that position with the turbolasers and then hit them direct on foot," he chuckled as Aleho grinned at him.

"Should barbecue their asses nicely," Conad said with a smile.

"I can't wait to combat them direct," snarled Jade from the blaster turret.

The madman picked up a comlink microphone as the rest held on to their seats. "Shadowlands LZ, this is Nachzerer," giggled the alchemist. "We're dropping by for the party," he commented. "Keep your heads down." The ship shuddered as the pair of single turbolasers fired repeatedly at Aleho's command.

Most of the Nachzerer's bay space was in fact dedicated to an enormous powerplant designed to feed the thirsty lasers and shields. The searing red bolts slammed into droid shields designed for something far less potent. Wreckage that used to be droids flew into the air in various states of vaporization.

The scratchy reply was immediate. "I have you on visual," said Captain Santorini. "You're a sight for sore eyes. Come on down, the water's fine," he said with relief.

"Copy that," replied Macron as Tsingtao fired the ion cannons. "I'll be there in one with a host of Dark Jedi," he said with a smile. "General Goura out." The Sith opened the internal com. "Alright everybody, look sharp. Time to hurt some droids. Jade, Conad, Ashura, Aisha, Tsingtao, Aleho, let's kick some butt. We're landing in one, and from there it's assault time."

Tron

20-03-2009 15:04:44

Low Altitude Assault Transport/infantry
Approaching LZ Command Center
Shadowlands LZ
Antei


Flak and enemy weapons fire erupted all around the larty as it made a final approach for the command center. Several Low Altitude Assault Transport/carriers flanked Astronicus' transport, loaded down with AT-TEs and the much needed AT-AAs. A number of the anti-aircraft walkers had already been deployed and were giving covering fire from the Vultures that encircled troops arriving on scene.

His larty made it through the worst, however, and soon the Dark Jedi Master was on the ground where he belonged. Troops scrambled about, heading to their assignments or to a squad meeting with their Generals. Astronicus made his way to the command tent that had been established. Inside were Dark Jedi from all of the clans, coordinating the upcoming push and confirming the defensive lines were presently holding. He would not be here for long, and he was relieved, he hungered for battle and the opportunity to kill Jedi again was always a pleasure. He would be the coordinator of Clan Naga Sadow's force and would lead from the front of battle. But first he would need to receive the orders from the Iron Throne directing where they were to attack, the unit from the Iron Throne's Army that would be assigned to them, and also round up those of Naga Sadow available for the assault.

Malisane

20-03-2009 16:31:31

Dlarit Fleet LAAT
Antei
Approaching the Relay


"So far so good," Agrist commented looking out of the window, "your flying skills surprise me."
"They shouldn't," Malisane replied, "spend a year in Sapphire Squadrom under Macron then Revenant, they teach you a few tricks."
"How much further?" the mercenary asked curiously.
"Not far now," Malisane replied, "we're making good time." He pressed a button and their location flashed up on the cockpit display."How are the passengers?"
Agrist glanced behind him. Soolin was watching out of the window with her usual fascination, Mecros had his eyes closed and was either meditating or sleeping, and Demonic and Keia, the other two journeymen who'd accompanied them down in the LAAT, were sat talking at the back. "Comfortable. I'll pass out warm towels and complimentary beverages in a few minutes."
Malisane grinned. "Good stuff."

Suddenly the LAAT rocked and Agrist was thrown against the wall. "The hell?"
"We are under attack," Malisane replied as he wrestled the controls, "their anti aircraft."
"You said you could sneak us through," Agrist said as he strapped himself into the co pilots chair.
"I said I hoped I could," Malisane replied as more blasst hit the LAAT, "shields at fifty percent."
"Can you take us higher?"
"I take us higher and we meet their ships," Malisane replied, "and we have no escort, hold on we're almost there. Look."
Agrist could see the crater now, inside which the concealed entrance ought to lay. "Get us there."
"That's the plan." Malisane replied.

The pilot steered the craft down towards the crater, more blasts striking the ship as the passengers gripped their seats. Malisane took a deep breath. "Once we're over this ridge we ought to be out of thier line of fire," he said optimistically.
"Hope so shields are nearly down," Agrist replied.
Malisane took the craft up and then down into the crater, "We ought to be safe now," he said calmly, "taking her down."
"No," Agrist said pointing at a panel, "missile lock. Evade it!"
"This isn't a fighter," Malisane snapped back, "brace for impact!"

The craft shook as the missile struck, the LAAT shaking dramatically and several panels exploding in the cockpit. There was a loud explosion at the back of the craft as the main engines exploded. Malisane quickly switched power to the landing thrusters, trying to keep the nose up. A second later the LAAT hit the ground and bounced slightly, then hit again and slid down the crater in a shower of sparks. A droid patrol on the ground turned just in time to see it and got off a few shots before they were crushed under the out of control vessel. Malisane put his hand up as sparks burst from the panel and the cockpit began to fill with smoke. Finally the LAAT hit a rock and rolled onto it's side, before coming to a shaking stop.

"Everyone out!" Malisane ordered.
Keia was first. "The door is jammed!"
Agrist rushed forward his saber igniting, and hacked downwards through the door, then he and Mecros wrenched the door open. Agrist lead the journeymen out, Mecros and Malisane bursting out a second later and they ran for their lives from the burning LAAT. They were hurled to the ground as an explosion rocked behind them as their craft exploded sending metal showering the area around.
Slowly they got to their feet. Agrist glanced at Soolin, Demonic and Keia. "Everyone alright?" They nodded.
Malisane brushed himself off. "Well that went better than expected," he said with a grin.
Mecros gave him a dead eyed look and Agrist just stared. "Yeah I'll book to fly with you next year."
"We're alive," Malisane said calmly, "what more do you want?" He pointed down to the bottom of the crater, "it's down there move out everyone!"

Sai

20-03-2009 17:03:18

Republic Class Star Destroyer Final Way
Antei System
Turbolift, en route to CIC Deck

The lift sped from the decks where the brig and its curious tenant could be found towards the Star Destroyer’s Combat Information Center.

Robert Sadow stood in silence as the hum of the turbolift bathed him in its monotonous drone, the sound punctuated by the tinny reports of the Clan’s initial landing successes and failures. All in all, the battles were going as expected, so his mind, in respects to the managing of the war machine, had switched to auto-pilot. If he needed refreshing of a particular detail, he could always look it up when he got to CIC.

No, the weary Consul’s mind was occupied by the stark revelation he’d just been made privy to. It fought to wrap itself around Shan Long’s words; for all the care he had taken in the weeks prior to the War’s outbreak, a few sentences from the erstwhile Oracle of the Brotherhood were all it took to shake his confidence in his plans. So engrossed was he in his attempts to divine truth from lies that he was confused when the lift slowed, then stopped, and not at the CIC deck.

He was even more confused when the doors opened and Tsainetomo stepped in.

Neither said a word as the lift continued on its way. Both men looked straight ahead as many were wont to do in the cramped confines of turbolifts and other such spaces where social interaction was a forced thing; finally, Bob broke the silence.

“I thought you were on your way to the surface; they sure could use you down there.” He laughed nervously.

Sai gave a non-committal shrug. “I was, Bob, but I felt I had something to take care of here first.”

A few more decks, then, from Bob, more forceful this time: “They really could use you.” The strain of his condition coupled with recent events had long been compounding; he didn’t mean to be short with Sai, and in truth, had never had quarrel with the man. But, he need time to think, to really think!, and a back-and-forth with his fellow Son wasn’t helping his mental state.

Sai seemed to take the hint as readily as a wild krayt would take to saddling; which is to say, not at all.

“Mm, hmm. As soon as I’m done, I’m sure I’ll find my way to the lines.”

“You’ll find yourself in a gorram body bag if you don’t get down there! Do you not still serve your Consul?!” The threat, now spoken, couldn’t be retracted. Bob squared himself fully on Tsainetomo. The lift rang with Bob’s words, the silence between them deafening.

“Lord Consul, I serve the same Master that you do.” Sai was non-confrontational in his tone, but his tripartite gaze smacked of his own rising confusion. Bob was probably one of the most easy-going members of the Clan, and this was most uncharacteristic of the Consul, most uncharacteristic indeed.

Mercifully, the lift stopped at the CIC deck, the doors opening to let the tension slither out like a caustic fog. Pinching the bridge of his nose, a muttering Robert Sadow stalked out of the lift, leaving Tsainetomo to stare at his back. A moment later Sai stepped into the corridor. It seemed his gut feeling to abandon the MAAT headed for Antei’s surface was right. For now, he’d make his own way to the CIC, assisting the staff with any tactical help he could offer before heading down to the surface in Astronicus’ wake.

But, before that trip, Tsainetomo vowed, he would have to make his way to a nondescript ‘supply closet’ on board the Final Way...one that didn’t show up in any of the great ship’s plans...and one that he had taken great pains to make sure stayed that way.

Bob’s lean and hungry look prompted that side visit. Tsainetomo caught it in the turbolift, and it brought back haunting memories of having seen it before. He saw it on a certain hermitic Dark Adept on a far-flung moon in what seemed to be a lifetime ago, and seeing those same sunken, wild eyes on his Consul and the madness they heralded surely brooked investigation.

Zaroth

20-03-2009 17:22:15

Antei
Skies


The vulture droids were on the tail of the X-Wing and the Force-sentient Vardorian Scout Gunship known as the Storm Crow in a flash, engaging their guns and spewing red laser-fire at their targets barely a second later. Zaxen sent a sensation of danger and planted an image of both ships barrel-rolling simultaneously in opposite directions, and Zaroth acquiesced, evading the laser fire in a mirror image of the idea sent by the former-Tetrach. Zaroth came round in a tight circular maneuver and emerged from the bottom-right to end up behind the other aircraft, losing sight of Zaxen in the process. He pulled the trigger, causing two of the four ships to explode spectacularly, rocking Zaroth's X-Wing as he banked to the left to avoid the three other ships that had maneuvered behind him. The mechanical menaces gave chase, and Zaroth dove and rolled to the right, engaging the thrusters on his ship in an effort to evade the droids to no avail. They had matched his movements exactly and were still behind him. Zaroth's forehead became wet with perspiration as he wrenched the control yoke upwards, droids continuing to stick to him. Just as Zaroth closed his eyes in anticipation of his vaporisation, the Storm Crow arrived and destroyed the remainder of the droid squadron.

“Nice shot, Zaxen. Did you just save my life again?” Zaroth laughed into his comms.

“Seems so, my friend, seems so. Ashura and Aleho are safe... at least, as safe as they can be on this planet. Malisane has sent a-”

“Kark it!” Zaroth screamed amidst alarms, smoke and heat. “My wing's damaged,” he said as his ship sunk down on the right side, black smoke billowing from the right wing.

“Alright, try and hold it steady while we descend. We'll take this slowly,” Zaxen calmly instructed, as Zaroth remembered how easily his comrade could set people at ease. It was one of the reasons the Knight was so successful as the head of the Night Hawks before his appointment to the office of Rollmaster recently. Zaroth set the ship into a descent, applying minute adjustments to the ship's control yoke. The descent was going smoothly.

“OK, you see that flat patch of land over there?” Zaxen asked, pointing to the North-East. “Coming in to land over there.”

“Affirmative,” Zaroth said, turning widely towards the spot Zaxen had indicated. They both hoped the failing X-Wing could tolerate the turn. Blaring alarms would beg to differ, as the engines sputtered and cut out with a flash. The ship careered towards the barren ground, screeching, as Zaroth unclipped his harness and pushed through the Force at the glass canopy covering the cockpit, causing it to shatter and giving him room to stand. He did so, and just before the starfighter crashed, he leaped clear of the screaming metal death-trap, landing and tucking himself into a roll onto the desert. The Storm Crow screamed past overhead, there were no other viable landing spots as the X-Wing had crashed into the original LZ, and Zaroth's commlink in his back pocket buzzed. He withdrew it and began to speak.

“Jedi Hunter Zaroth Rakiroyo of Naga Sadow here. Who am I receiving?”

“Knight Zaxen here. I see you are alive. Activate your locater and move to higher ground. I'll come pick you up.”

Zaroth pressed the button on his locater repeatedly, but the device appeared to be damaged.

“Uhhh, negative on that. It's broken.”

“Wonderful. I'll land as soon as I can, we'll rendezvous from there.”

“Affirmative.”

Xanos

20-03-2009 18:13:25

Droid Control Relay Bunker
Western Adas
Antei


The strategic display made for mixed reading. Their forces were keeping the darksiders pinned in at their primary landing zone in western Adas. Word from the north was the darksiders' attempt to land in Narmar had already failed. That was the good news. But the red sigils right on top of the bunker's location were the bad news.

Jerex Saul breathed in slowly. There was no need to panic, he knew this. Lord Crask was sure their mission would succeed. The Force would not side with these Sithspit. But that didn’t mean there wouldn’t be casualties. That was something Crask understood; something Skywalker never would: war was cruel. That was just the way of things.

‘Enemy forces detected in the main entrance,’ TB-34 announced in the mechanical voice common to most tactical droids, yet which somehow still managed to make them sound intolerably arrogant.

Jerex didn’t bother to respond, but merely continued to study the display. The darksiders had so far failed to establish a secure perimeter around their landing zone. They may have deployed a handful of AT-AAs, but a handful would be no use against the legions of fighters Crask’s forces had at their disposal. It would cost them—no war was without losses—but they would win this battle of attrition. The darksiders simply lacked the strength to hold out against their superior numbers. For all intents and purposes, this battle was already won.

Jerex grunted. Fools. Dark side worshipping filth they may have been, but like Skywalker’s ilk they lacked courage all the same. Had they the much needed conviction to do what was necessary, they would simply have firebombed the planet from orbit. He had thought it a risk, but Master Crask had been confident... no, been certain, that they had nothing to fear: he had said the darksiders would sacrifice everything to save their planet. Their was no danger of the Sith risking harm to their "throne world". And, like always, Crask had been right.

‘A second enemy ship is approaching,’ TB-34 said.

Jerex frowned as he studied the readout on the holographic display. The ship was not like anything he was familiar with. It resembled a... beetle. What kind of shipwright built a vessel to resemble an insect? The Verpine maybe. But there weren’t many Force-sensitive Verpine out there, and Intel had not spoken of any among this hive of darksider scum.

‘Focus on that ship,’ he said to TB-34. The droid pulled up an enlarged image of the approaching ship. It packed some serious firepower. Lots of it. The ship circled over their location, pounding the nearby assault tanks, and other assorted tanks and heavy armour. ‘Schutta’, he swore, momentarily unperturbed by his language: he was only around droids anyway, and unlike the dogmatic Jedi of old, Crask understood the realities of combat better than anyone—his Master would forgive him for his brief lack of elegance.

‘Another team of enemy ground units is unloading from the second transport.’

‘Quiet!’ Jerex shouted, TB-34’s grating voice passing the limits of his patience threshold. ‘Have all crab and spider droids converge on the upper levels. I don’t want those Sithspit getting below ground.’

‘Understood, General.’

Jerex winced. ‘And don’t call me general.’ He hated the droid’s insistence to address him as if it was still the Clone Wars. It may just have been harmless leftover programming, but it went against everything Lord Crask taught. They didn’t need titles, or honorifics, or positions. There was only the Force, and their service to it. That was something the droids couldn’t understand, no matter how much they might have tried.

The sigils representing the droid forces inside the underground bunker began to climb toward the upper levels, where the darksiders were initiating their attack. Jerex reached for his belt and closed his hand around his lightsaber, relaxing at the feel of the familiar cool metal grip. He had to defend this bunker at any cost. He could not let it fall.

You will not. Master Crask’s voice echoed in the back of his mind. Jerex bowed his head. If Crask so willed it, then he would not fall. It was as good as a blessing from the will of the Force itself.

Nekura Manji

20-03-2009 20:10:24

Droid Control Relay Bunker Entrance
Western Adas
Antei


Raising a hand, Manji mock-saluted the approaching Dark Jedi as they moved down the side of the crater towards the control relay bunker, Dyrra standing beside him looking exasperated.

“How nice of you all to join us. I believe we have an objective to take, ladies and gentlemen?”

Shaking his head in amusement at the Epis’ nonchalant tone, Malisane moved past him towards the entrance of the bunker.

“Everybody, stay alert in there. The place will probably be crammed with droids, and if we’re unlucky, one of the enemy’s Jedi could be down there to defend it against attack. Keep together on the way down, we’ll eliminate all of the opposition, scramble the signal if possible and start broadcasting one of our own creation, then high-tail it outta there before things get too hot. Understood?”

His fellow Darksiders nodded. Quick and clean, in and out- a precise, surgical strike. They all understood the need to establish control over the landing zone, or they would be flushed out of it by wave after wave of droids. Pushing forwards, Macron began to walk down the stairs leading into the bunker, closely followed by the Epis as they chatted conversationally, outwardly unaware of the gravity of their situation.

“You landed in the wrong place? I’m surprised that heap of scrap got you back over here in one piece...”

“Yeah, it was definitely a fun ride. Those turbolasers are pretty useful against droids, though- I don’t think they were expecting something like the Nachzerer.”

Behind them, Dyrra nodded at Aleho then rolled her eyes at the two Equites in front of them, muttering something to the young Togruta.

I hope one of ‘em gets a blaster bolt in the ass, that’d shake them up a little.

As Aleho snickered behind her hand, a lightning-quick psychic retort shot back at Dyrra from the Epis.

If you don’t shut up you’ll get my lightsabre up your rear. That wouldn’t be nice, would it?

Jumping slightly, Dyrra glowered at the Epis’ back, growling obscenities about karkin’, karkin’ Equites and their karkin’, kriffin’ mind-reading. The response, again, shot into her mind without having the decency to go through her ears first.

And stop swearing, you’ll give Ashura’s apprentice bad ideas. Only person allowed to swear around here is m-

The telepathic voice cut off suddenly as the group reached the bottom of the stairs, a door in front of them sliding open to reveal a horde of droids with their blasters levelled.

At once, chaos reigned; igniting their sabres, the Equites leapt to the fray, Manji and Macron hurling themselves at the droids like berserkers. Malisane followed suit, a bolt of Force energy throwing several droids off their feet as Ashura leapt from the middle of their group into the midst of the droids, joining Macron and Manji in their unbridled slaughtering of the enemy droids.

Sparks flew, mechanical limbs hacked clear and heads sent flying as Jade and Tsingtao joined the fray, lending their lightsabres to the systematic destruction of the droids. Blaster fire ricocheted from the walls and ceilings and panicked droid voices mingled with furious battlecries as the Dark Jedi unleashed their fury on the foe.

Staring at the conflict, and occasionally picking off the droids that escaped what would have been called a bloodbath had their opponents been alive, the Journeymen watched in amazement. A full platoon of thirty droids crammed into the entrance chamber of the bunker was eliminated in mere moments, the last twitching droid corpses falling to the floor helplessly as Malisane looked around with a grimace.

“I’m guessing they know that we’re inside, then.”

Droid Control Relay Bunker Command Room
Western Adas
Antei


One level below the entrance, behind several heavily fortified doors, Jerex watched the droid sigils in the entrance bunker dwindle slowly. Anger began to suffuse his features before he recovered his composure, breathing heavily. Turning to TB-34, he gestured irritably.

“Send in the destroyer droids and stop them before they get any further.”

“Affirmative, General.”

“I said, don’t call me General.

Krandon

20-03-2009 20:53:53

Droid Control Relay Bunker Entrance
Western Adas
Antei


“Hey wait for me!” Krandon said seeing the last of the group of Dark Jedi enter the Droid Control Relay Bunker. Krandon waited to see if anyone would come back out the door to meet him, but, nothing. Krandon made his way to the bunker entrance. As the door opened with a hiss, he could see the group of Dark Jedi turn and face him.

“Welcome, Krandon”. Manji said.

“What did I miss? Anything?” Krandon said as he looked around and saw all the droid scraps on the ground. “Oh, I guess I missed the opening battle, that sucks”, Krandon said, sounding disappointed.

“Keep up Krandon and you can get some real experience in”, Macron said telling the young Zabrak to come close to the group. “Keep your lightsaber at the ready Krandon”.

Dyrra looked at her Battle Team Leader and nodded. Krandon returned her nod with another nod of approval.

Now was his time.

Macron Sadow

20-03-2009 22:50:01

Droid Control Relay Bunker
Western Adas
Antei



"They'll send in the Droidekas next I bet," mused Manji as he kicked a sparking droid carcass away. "They sure are bloody rotten bastards."

"I'm counting on it," chuckled Macron. He placed a bandoleer of thermal detonators on the floor and kicked it down the hall. "Nothing says welcome home like a nice warm thermal detonator, heh. Okay everybody, pick one. Flip the switch with telekinesis on my mark."

Three Destroyer droids rolled into view, uncurling from ball-form. They raised their blaster arms and began throwing blaster bolts at the assembled Sadow forces. Droideka series droids were notoriously effective against Jedi. They even saw in a radiation-based wide pattern field, so visual tricks would not work either.

"Here they come, " Ashura growled. "Stay behind me, Aleho."

The young Togruta nodded, lit saber in her hand. "Ironic that Jedi would send Jedi-killers after us."

"Shavit, three of them!" Jade shouted as she looked for cover. The three droids were laying down a wall of fire that was driving the Dark Jedi back. Dyrra and Krandon dove behind rubble to seek cover.

Macron peered out from behind a door wall and nodded at Aisha across the hall. "Now!" he shouted. There were seven detonators laying on the floor beneath the droids. Although their shields were largely impenetrable to blaster fire and lightsabers, they could not stop the Force. Each detonator's switch was flipped telekinetically by a different Dark Jedi.

The explosions were magnificent, each one a blast of brilliant white baradium-driven light. Even a Droideka's shields would not hold against a direct hit from a thermal detonator. However, these were actually inside the radius of the droid's shielding. Nothing was left.

"Nice trick," commented Malisane as he stepped back into the hall. "Let's press on."

Droid Control Relay Bunker Command Room
Western Adas
Antei


"Unbelievable," yelled the furious Jerex. "Un-frackin-believable. TB-34, send the SD-10 battle droids in." The Jedi stood, threw off his robe and clipped a lightsaber to his belt. "Get Knights Mykle and Froedrick up here right now. We're going up there with them."

"But Gen, errr, sir," the annoying tactical droid whined as it paged the two older Knights. "You might get hurt."

"And so might they," he replied as the door opened and two experienced human Jedi Knights stepped into the room. "Brothers, we have a job to do, and some Darksider scum to eliminate."

Malisane

21-03-2009 12:33:57

Droid Control Relay Bunker
Western Adas
Antei


Malisane examined the panel, moving the wires aside thoughtfully.
"Can we move this along?" Manji asked. They were stood near a glowing forcefield from which sparks flickered.
"Sure," the Battlelord replied without looking up, "if enough of you run into it the power drain from it frying you ought to drain the power."
"You sure it's that dangerous?" Agrist asked doubtfully.
Malisane reached down, picked up a discarded droid arm and threw it at the forcefield. There was a loud bang and a flash and a few bits of ash showered to the floor.
"Guess so," Manji said as Malisane went back to work. Then he paused. "I sense something."
"Pollen, dog whistles, what?" Agrist asked.
"Jedi, nearby. Powerful ones," the Epis replied.
Macron raised his saber and grinned eagerly. "Malisane get that damn barrier down."
"I'm be happier without the technical advice," the Battlelord replied, "just a minute." and a few seconds later the barrier faded. "We're good."
They rushed through the gap and raised their sabers as more droids ran down the corridor. "Can sense them nearer," Manji said as he raised a hand sending a droid smashing against the wall, "kill these."
Agrist grinned. "We're on it," he replied as he slashed another down.

Malisane paused. "Hear that?" he asked as a loud clanking filled the corridor. At the end of it a large droid scuttled around the corner, raising it's cannon and aiming it at them. The Sadowites leapt left or right as a blast rocked the ground. Macron rolled to his feet and whistled. "Impressive," he said.
"What is that thing?" Agrist demanded.
"It's an LM432 Crab Droid," Macron replied, "didn't think there were any of those left."
"There's going to be one less soon," Malisane replied, "kill it."

Macron Sadow

21-03-2009 14:56:38

Droid Control Relay Bunker
Western Adas
Antei


"Don't bother wasting your time with blasters on it!" shouted Agrist as he set himself for the charge. "Thing's got tough armorplast skin."

"Time to go crab ridin'," snorted Manji as he ran towards the thing full-tilt.

"Are you crazy?" asked Macron in a complete role-reversal. The other Dark Jedi snickered and chuckled at the unintended jibe.

"Nope," replied the Krath as he vaulted on top of the clumsy droid. "They can't shake ya off their backs. Keep it busy."

Malisane, Macron, Agrist, Dyrra, Conad, Tsingtao, Aisha and Jade all rushed the bulky crab droid. Lightsabers of every color swung at it, deflecting blaster shots. One blaster bolt shot from the droid bounced precisely from Jade's lightsaber into Manji's silver one, a two-point volley that dropped the searing bolt from above into a neck joint. It was shortly followed by the Epis' argent blade being rammed into the droid's carapace at that exact spot.

The crab droid dropped flat, legs spasming like it's namesake dying on a beach. Manji stood there proudly on it's back. "Too bad it's not real crab. I'm kind of hungry."

"Nice work. You've killed one before, I see?" asked Tsingtao as he peered ahead. Faint clanking sounds were beginning to draw nearer from down the dim corridor.

"Nope," replied Manji. "I just read about it in a holo somewhere." Dyrra placed her hand to her head in disgust, mumbling curse words under her breath.

Aisha giggled. The Knight was always a proponent of muscular men showing off- like any good Zeltron girl.

"Lovely display," replied Jade with a fanged snarl. "Cut the pudu-chat out. The Jedi are almost here."

"I feel them too," replied Macron as he closed his yellow eyes. "Three of them. Strong, they are." As if in response, two blue and one green lightsaber blade could be seen igniting far down the corridor. The dancing lights moved closer.



Jerex's Group
Droid Control Relay Bunker
Western Adas
Antei


"Crab droid is down," commented Mykle as he touched his earpiece. "Those shuttas work fast."

"I can sense them sort of," Froedrick chipped in. "There's quite a few of them. But Darksiders are so hard to pinpoint unless they are using the Force strongly," he said with a frown. " They're hiding their power I bet. What's your take, Master Jerex?"

"There are at least nine of them. The good news is- not all of them are Knights." Jerex frowned. His own more refined senses could feel the evil emanating from them. It was heady and strong.

"And the bad news?" asked Mykle as he drew his azure blade and lit it with a *snap-hiss*.

"At least three of them are about as powerful as I am, one more so than the rest." Jerex grunted as he lit his own green blade.

"That's not good," spat Froedrick as his cerulean blade ignited. "Good think we brought that SD series droid."

JadeSadow

21-03-2009 21:08:57

Droid Control Relay Bunker
Western Adas
Antei

Jade looked in the direction of the oncoming blades, finally some flesh and blood, something they could spill other then droid oil. She jumped off the crab droid, the hum of her silver blade at the ready. “When this is over,” she called behind her, “I’m not buying the drinks.” She smirked.

Tsingtao jumped off the droid and landed next to her right, “Not it.”

Macron, Manji, and Malisane all spoke at the same time as they landed in preparation for the battle at hand, “Not it.” The Dark Jedi Masters looked at each other and smirked, realizing the apprentices would soon be having very little credits in their possession.

Jade looked at Tsingtao as the group moved slightly closer to the Jedi and away from the debris of the droid. It was time to break it out. Her hand slipped behind her and pulled out the hilt of her ‘retired’ saber. She had put it away when she had received her custom saber, but now it was finally time to have two. She ignited the blade, the violet hum mixing with her silver, oh it was time alright, time to take back what belonged to them. Like the red blades of the Sith, it was time to spill some Jedi blood and reclaim their homeland.

As the Jedi’s neared Manji spoke up. “You appear to be in the wrong place at the wrong time Jedi.”

The typical Jedi stance was calm and at the ready, made Jade just want to take a piece out of them for it. She grinned though; with any luck the dark side of the planet would corrupt them.

Macron chuckled like a mad man and Jade could just see the experiments he wished to perform on the Jedi float across his eyes. The Jedi’s might be in the wrong place at the wrong time, but there were always worse places to be.

“I think it’s time we showed these…Jedi to the door gentlemen.” Jade semi hissed as her tone darkened, her fangs itching to explode in her mouth, she wanted retribution, she wanted blood.

“Indeed.” Tsingtao brought his blade up.

One of the Jedi’s, obviously younger in the small group glared and sprang forward. “You care too much for a place with rocks. Your Darkness will never touch them again.” The Jedi though found himself battling Malisane from the get go, he would soon stand no chance. As if sensing the danger to their comrade the other two jumped into action, the blue blade of one melting into the silver blade of Manji, the other blade meeting square in a t-cross block with her two blades.

Jade’s eyes narrowed and she pushed forward, the weight of her blades baring down the on the Jedi forcing him to pull back and spin around to stop her silver blade from taking off his head. Jade swung her blade right and then down and to the left, the Jedi meeting her attacks and blocking them with seemed ease. Jade spun on one foot while knocking the Jedi’s saber to the side, kicking the man in the face, her violet saber came up just in time as he returned the blue blade into position and barred down on her. His saber came from the top then swung low to take her feet; she blocked the top move and jumped easily over the bottom swing. The sounds of sabers hitting sabers from the other battles reached her ears along with those who hummed on the sideline, waiting for their turn.

Jade pushed out with the force the Jedi flying back only a few steps before countering. He pushed off the ground and landed near her attacking hit after hit, down her head, across her chest and down to her hip. As she blocked and was pushed back Tsingtao came up from behind the Jedi, his blade coming swiftly down the Jedi’s back as if to sever him into two. The Jedi kicked out at Jade and moved the blue blade back towards Tsingtao.

Tsingtao’s blade came crashing down on the blue blade, the screeching sound hitting the cavern. Jade attacked back, not giving the Jedi any room for movement as Tsingtao came from behind. Jade swung from the side the Jedi blocking it only in time to just knock back Tsingtaos’ blade from connecting with his head. Knowing the Jedi wouldn’t last long fighting the two like this he ducked and rolled out to the side. Jade glanced at Tsingtao and the two advanced towards the Jedi.

Fremoc

21-03-2009 22:01:39

Droid Control Relay Bunker
Western Adas
Antei

Demonic watched as his mistress and the rest, fought the Jedi. He watched every move Jade made, how effortlessly she moved to the rhythm of the battle. He wanted to yell at her to change up her fight so that she could get the killing strike. He stole away from the fight and looked at the his fellow journeymen.

"Alright since the Masters said they ain't buying the drinks, looks like we are," He said to the group. "I say we take bets on who's going to kill someone first. Whoever chooses the last person to kill a Jedi, has to buy the drinks. Agreed?"

"Sounds good," The apprentices replied. Everyone started saying their choices until the final few were still to be named.

"Malisane for me," Ekeia said.

"I say Macron," said Krandon.

"Well my obvious choice is Jade to win first," he said a little louder than the rest of the apprentices so his mistress could hear him. He wrote down all the names in his datapad and turned back to watch the fight.

"What happens if more than one person loses?" questioned Ekeia.

"Uh, we duel," replied Demonic. "After the war." He added quickly, as he looked back at Jade still engaging the Jedi.

Macron Sadow

21-03-2009 23:34:41

Droid Control Relay Bunker
Western Adas
Antei


As the battle raged in front of him, Macron's eyes sought the main power cable that ran down the length of the stone hall. The old structure was not originally built for the kind of power that this unit undoubtedly drew. Besides, it appeared as if the rest had the Jedi quite under control. Three Jedi or no, they were seriously outmatched and outnumbered.

The alchemist stepped back, peering at the massive power cables. Severing them with a lightsaber could be unsafe, even for a Warlord. However, there was always another way. Ahead of them rose two pillars made of old stone behind the fighting Jedi.

The madman raised his hands, calling upon his dark mistress to fill him with power. The Sith's mind bent to a single point of concentration as the battle momentarily stopped. Macron held it in his fist, preparing to direct the crushing energy. Sadowites were notorious for their love of the telekinetic arts.

"What the hell?" asked Mykle as he locked blades with Tsingtao.

"That's power," he snarled as he booted the Jedi in the gut.

Rocks came ripping loose from the walls, ceiling, and floor. The pillars themselves shredded, the sharp angular granite blocks severing the power lines with a brilliant flash of shorted out power. The noise was horrendous, sounding like crunching bones of the earth. Macron fell to the floor, satisfied.

Ekiea picked up her comlink in the stunned silence. "Clan Naga Sadow forces, you are clear to establish Anti aircraft positions," she gulped. "I think the droid relay bunker is down for a bit."

Dark Jedi and lightsiders eyed each other anew, determined to finish this fight even if the bunker was lost.

Nekura Manji

22-03-2009 08:30:22

Droid Control Relay Bunker
Western Adas
Antei


After a moment of breathless silence the combat resumed with a roar, the Dark Jedi surging forwards to end their hated enemies. Malisane’s silver blade arced down to crash against the hasty guard that Froedrick threw up, the young Jedi’s face contorting in shock as he faced the fury of the Battlelord. Windmilling his silver blade around his body, Malisane unleashed a storm of blows that pushed the Jedi back across the corridor relentlessly. Then Froedrick’s foot caught on some debris from the telekinetic explosion that Macron had unleashed. He stumbled- and the Sith’s sabre found his heart, the weapon tearing through flesh and bone.

As the corpse dropped heavily to the floor, Tsingtao sidestepped a clumsy strike from Mykle, the Jedi’s azure blade searing the wall of the bunker. Shaken by the death of his comrade, the Jedi’s concentration was slipping; his strikes lost their focus, became wild, uncontrolled. Beside Tsingtao, Jade grinned wickedly, her violet and silver sabers flashing as she blocked the clumsy attacks that were thrown her way. Both Dark Jedi gave ground slowly, awaiting their chance to strike. It came as Mykle over-extended himself again, thrusting towards Tsingtao’s stomach. Leaping to one side, Tsingtao brought his viridian saber down on t he Jedi’s wrist, hacking his hand off. As Mykle stared at the dismembered appendage, Jade’s violet saber came round in a furious sweep to claim his head.

Green saber flashing, Jerex pushed Manji backwards, the Epis forced to adjust to the difference in style between the Jedi and the Darksiders he was used to fighting. As silver and green blades clashed again and again, Jerex summoned the Force into himself, directing a web of the Force at the cluster of Journeymen stood some distance away. Not expecting an attack, they were ensnared by his will as Jerex backed away from a flurry of attacks by the Epis.

Dyrra began to move forwards, her eyes glazed as Jerex controlled her will. Her worn blue saber lifted itself as she moved towards Manji’s back, preparing to thrust the blade through the base of his spine. The other Journeymen, similarly controlled by the Force, merely watched placidly. Suddenly, Macron stepped towards Dyrra and brought his hand around in a blow to the back of her head. The girl stumbled, shook her head, then turned and snarled at the alchemist.

“What the kark was that for?!”

Grinning wickedly, Macron twirled his sabres as he moved past her, towards where Manji and Jerex were still duelling ferociously.

“Fine, next time you get mind-tricked by a Jedi, I’ll just let you do whatever he wants.”

As the Epis leaned backwards from a sweeping strike then jumped to the left to avoid the follow-through, Macron surged in, his sabers flashing as they joined the fight. Taken off-guard by the sudden offensive, Jerex staggered backwards- only for Tsingtao and Jade to join the battle in earnest, hemming the Jedi in.

Surrounded by a forest of gleaming blades, Jerex seized his only opportunity; summoning the Force, he prepared to blast the Dark Jedi away from him in a wave of telekinetic force. Suddenly his head snapped upright, his mouth opening in shock. As he dropped to his knees helplessly, Malisane’s saber was pulled from his back by telekinesis, the Battlelord catching the weapon nonchalantly and clipping it back to his belt. Looking around, the Sith smirked.

“Objective achieved, ladies and gentlemen. Let’s get back to the surface, shall we?”

Xanos

22-03-2009 10:58:43

II Legion Drop Point
Adas Landing Zone
Antei


Alpha Company was finally assembling the final shield emitter. Lonus breathed a sigh of relief. It had been an uphill battle—literally—to move the final device to the top of the hill on the eastern edge of the landing zone. Just west of their location, one of the other shield domes was already operational, the shimmering blue bubble protecting the command tent in the centre of the planetary beachhead from the seemingly constant bombing runs and mortal shelling.

‘Just need to clip this cable in,’ one of the engineers said. ‘And... we’re done.’

The air shrilled with the sound of a nail scrapping on a chalk board. ‘Just in time,’ Lonus said, hearing the approaching wave of Vulture droids. He hated the sound starfighters made in atmosphere, as if they were literally cutting through the air. It grated in his ears. ‘Boot her up.’

The engineer who had spoken keyed the spider legged shield emitter to power up. The eight legs elevated, raising the main hunchbacked dome into the air as steam hissed from its hydraulic joints. A series of green lights flashed, filling a display that rose along one of the legs toward the dome as the shield generator charged.

Something inside the emitter crunched with a painful whine. One of the legs buckled, and the eight legged beast crashed back down into a sitting position.

‘The hell!’ Lonus shouted.

He spun back, hearing the shrill of the approaching bombers. They were close enough for him to make them out in the sky, like a row of eight flying grey daggers. They were heading directly for their location.

‘Kark it! Get that thing fixed!’

The team of engineers knelt down under the buckled leg and, using their shoulders, tried to physically lift the shield emitter back up into a standing position. It didn’t shift. ‘It’s too heavy, Captain,’ one of them said, voice quiet.

Lonus stared at the Vulture swarm. This was it. If they didn’t get the shield dome up, II Legion’s entire landing site would be roasted. He swallowed. There was nothing they could do—

The front eleven Vultures accelerated ahead to leave one straggler trailing behind. A moment later, the straggler shifted off course, zigzagging back and forth, then dropped—hitting the black sands below in a mangled clatter of orange flames, pieces of flying wreckage bouncing through the advancing droid lines. One by one, the rest of the Vultures followed, dropping out of the sky like balls of burning scrap metal.

‘Uh, Captain...?’

Lonus didn’t answer. The Vultures hadn’t even been hit. The Reavers and the rest of VAW-12 weren’t anywhere to be seen. The droids had just... stopped. As his mouth remained ajar, he watched as row upon row of advancing battle droids jerked to a halt, the rear guard stumbling into the front, knocking those in front over like rows of humanoid dominos. A spherical destroyer droid bounded over the hill in the distance, flipping into the air. It smashed down into a platoon of immobile droids, bouncing between the rest like the cue ball in a surreal life-size pinball machine, striking one after the other until it finally skidded to a halt between a pair of B2 super battle droids.

‘General Goura must have done it,’ one of the engineers muttered. ‘The droid relay is down.’

Lonus took a moment to regain his composure. This was the opening they’d been waiting for. He coughed and cleared his throat. ‘You heard him, men. Blue Tangent is a success. Now let’s get this piece of schutta working!’

Nebula-class Star Destroyer Dark Star
Orbital Blockade
Antei


‘This is General Goura. Operation Blue Tangent is a success. I repeat: Operation Blue Tangent is a success. Captain Gat, Task Force 62 is clear to deploy the rest of its armour divisions.’

Stelnor Gat studied the holographic display as the Dark Jedi General spoke. The enemy indicators surrounding the landing zone for the rest of II Legion outside the main planetary beachhead had all come to a complete stop. A few seconds later, the map overlay shimmered with a semi-transparent blue glow, conforming Alpha Company had successfully completed their objective too.

Behind him, he heard the older man presently sharing his bridge breathe out, blowing a mist of light grey smoke across the hologram, causing it to flicker slightly. The Grand Master remained silent. Stelnor had noticed the elderly Dark Jedi had been rather quiet ever since his last communication with the Final Way.

‘Acknowledged, General Goura,' Stelnor answered finally, concluding Lord Paladin had obviously decided to continue remaining silent. 'I will inform Colonel Anjek to begin deploying the rest of II Legion immediately. Good work, General.’

‘Thank you, Captain,’ Macron replied. ‘Goura out.’

II Legion Drop Point
Adas Landing Zone
Antei


Behind the shimmer dome of blue light that obscured the nightmarish cloud of thunderstorms that blanketed the whole of the Shadowlands, dozens of large black bricks appeared in the sky, glinting ever so slightly underneath the sea of lightning. Y-85 Titan after Y-85 Titan plummeted through the night sky toward the various drop points for the numerous Legions of the 13th Starborne Division that surrounded the main planetary beachhead.

Inside the shield bubble at the II Legion Drop Point, a sandstorm full of dust kicked up into the air as the first Titan hit the earth. Its heavily armoured plates fell open and slammed into the black sands, enveloping the surface in an impenetrable fog. From each of the Titans, row upon row of heavy walkers marched out, AT-ATs, AT-STs, AT-OTs, AT-TEs, UT-ATs.

Flocks of modernised LAATs and MAATs descended from the clouds, carrying their precious cargo of All Terrain Anti-Aircraft in their armoured claws. Unhindered by further Vulture swarms, the assault transports swooped into the landing zone, unloading the anti-air walkers, before taking to the sky again to return to the orbital blockade to pick up another set of heavy armour. Several more LAATs dropped parts from much larger static AA cannons, which the men and women of Alpha Company rapidly began slotting together, fixing up the forward line of defence batteries. The more mobile AT-AAs marched in sequence into firing position to join the others already deployed thanks to General Maruuch. Fully assembled, the lines of AT-AAs secured the outer perimeter of the shield bubble, establishing an iron curtain of anti-air defences to defend against further bombing runs.

The confusion caused by losing the local relay would inevitably be but a temporary setback once the droids boosted their control signal from another relay, but it had bought the fleet the much needed window it had been waiting for to deploy the rest of its armour. With the air defences arrayed, the beachhead would now not be lost the way the Narmar landing zone had fallen.

Behind, one of the Star Galleon-class light frigates from the Navy set down in the centre of the beachhead. Massive ramps slid open, and rank upon rank of black armoured troopers from the Army of the Iron Throne filed out in formation. The ground rumbled under the impact of their heavy boots on the surface like dozens of blacksmiths striking a forge. Had there been any light to notice, it would have seemed like an army of shadows, spreading out like a black sea; though instead there was but a red swarm of optical sensors visible within this, the realm of eternal night, swamped within a swirling sandstorm of black soil.

At the rear of the first column, Lieutenant Colonel Anjek stepped out, flanked by his personal platoon. The commander of II Legion surveyed the scene—his helmet's optically enhanced vision unhindered by the clouds of dust trapped within the shielded walls.

Thousands of troops assembled throughout the beachhead, joined by their newly installed Dark Jedi Generals and Commanders. This was their moment. The day of reckoning.

Gone may have been the Vong, but a hostile force was still in occupation none the less.

It was time to take back what was theirs.

TR-MB Okemi One
II Legion Mobile TAC HQ
Adas Landing Zone
Antei


Two men from the Army of the Iron Throne saluted as Astronicus Sadow approached the mobile base that would serve as the tactical headquarters for his theatre of the invasion. He was glad to be out of the impromptu command tent and into a proper command vehicle now that the fleet was able to deploy the main armour divisions. He returned the gesture to the two troopers, the former Imperial Fleet Admiral’s military training flooding back as if his time served in the Remnant had only been yesterday.

A weak electrical sting from the ionic winds brought his mind back to the present. He signalled the troopers to be at ease, and ascended the ramp to enter the mobile field headquarters. The centrepiece was a full battlefield holographic control interface, complete with an overlay of the surrounding terrain. The battalions and armour divisions that made up II Legion were already indicated by blue markers. The forces still in orbit that were being held in reserve were depicted in an additional window.

Throughout the room the men and women of the Army of the Iron Throne carried about their work in perfect coordination. In the presence of this many Masters of the dark side, it was only natural.

‘Greetings, my lord,’ a man dressed in a lieutenant colonel’s uniform said as Astronicus entered the command room. He recognised this as Rylla Anjek, head of II Legion’s 2nd Special Troops Battalion, and General Faylen’s voice in this theatre of the invasion, which would be spearheaded by the forces under the command of Dark Jedi Generals and Commanders from Clan Naga Sadow.

‘Colonel,’ Astronicus said in greeting. ‘Have we received new orders from the Iron Throne?’

Anjek nodded. ‘Objective Tanray: General Faylen needs us to reinforce at Forward Operating Base Spear. Our advance scouts from 2nd Squadron of 14th Reconnaissance are pinned down by heavy droid forces. If we don’t get men up there quick, the progress your team made in taking out that droid relay will have been for nothing.’

‘Understood, Colonel,’ Astronicus said. Despite his growing thoughts since achieving Mastery over the dark side that the mundanes' usefulness come the Final Way would be at its end, his own military background meant he understood their benefit—for now. This was General Faylen’s field of war, after all. His followers would play along with the mundane commander's wishes for as long as it served their goals—but in the end, he commanded this battle, not Anjek, nor Faylen. He took orders from the Star Chamber: no one else. ‘I will have a team of my generals head out to reinforce. Has II Legion enough armour on the ground to provide them with fire support?’

The lieutenant colonel studied the large holographic display for a few moments. Finally, he replied: ‘The 8th Mechanized from 2nd Battalion should be available to support your Jedi operatives.’

‘That’s all I needed to know,’ Astronicus said with a smirk. The Dark Jedi Master shut his eyes, as he reached out into the Force to relay the new orders to the rest of Clan Naga Sadow.

DyrraSkye

23-03-2009 22:04:00

Droid Control Relay Bunker Entrance
Western Adas
Antei


Emerging from the bunker, Dyrra took a deep breath. It felt good to be out in the open air again. Being underground always kinda gave her the creeps. As they walked out, she focused once more on the conversation the assembled Journeymen had been having since the conclusion of the fight below ground.

"No, no, no - clearly you weren't looking, my friend. My master could totally take yours."
"That is where you're wrong, Jade would skin him alive and utilise his intestines for hosiery accessories."

Dyrra spoke up, her contribution briefly silencing the others.
"Actually, you're all wrong. My master could and would take on all of yours and win, on the worst day of his life, with his good arm tied behind his back, now can we please end this discussion?"

Silence reigned for all of about thirty seconds.

"Yeah, but did you see the way that he-"

At this point Macron spun around to face the group with a face like thunder.

"For the love of all that is unholy, shut the kark up or I swear I will take all of you down to the lab and NONE of you will emerge with the same number of appendages! Do I make myself clear?"

He turned round and stomped forwards again, catching up with Manji swiftly.

"Bet you 200 credits that Trev will have gutted everyone on the Final Way and legged it by the time we get back," he murmured quietly.
Manji snorted. "I see your ship wide massacre and raise you 'he bombs the crap out of half the Dlarit fleet as a parting gift'."

Macron opened his mouth to respond, then stopped. All the Equites suddenly wore a face of concentration crossed with mild discomfort. Dyrra stared at her master suspiciously and then eyed up the others. It was an unnerving sight, to say the least. Then, as suddenly as it had come, the strange expression vanished and all the Equites were acting normally again. Although admittedly, they were moving with more purpose.

"Uh, what just happened?"
Manji answered in a distracted fashion, his mind clearly elsewhere.

"Tron contacted us telepathically. There's a base not too far from here that has been overrun by the enemy. They need immediate assistance.As the nearest people, we need to get there quickly. There are soldiers and some others from the Clan on their way to back us up, but we can't wait for them. We need to get there now if the base is going to stand a chance."

"How are we going to do that?" Dyrra responded. She didn't much feel like another hike across the Shadowlands.
"I'm not sure, yet," Manji replied. "Mac, how many people can you fit in the Nachzerer?"

Macron Sadow

23-03-2009 23:29:34

Droid Control Relay Bunker Entrance
Western Adas
Antei


"Not enough, my friend. Besides, they'd see us coming and blow us straight to hell with anti-aircraft fire," commented the alchemist as he held his chin in thought. Agrist grunted in agreement.

"I have an idea," said Aisha Qifaxa. "Speederbikes."

"From the mouth of babes," exclaimed Manji. Droids usually have them. Great idea."

"Looks like those Jedi had some too," added Jade as she pointed to a tent outside the bunker. "Guess they won't be needing them anymore," she snickered evilly.

"Point well taken, in fact," chortled Malisane."Point of my saber, that is." Tsingtao laughed at the jibe as the group jogged over to the speederbikes.

"74-Z models. Nice rides," Dyrra said with a whistle. I'm gonna keep this baby."

"Assuming it and you don't get blown up later," Manji said with a grin. "Mac and I have a little bet on the side."

"You know I'm a better rider than you Master," she replied with an unfazed smirk.

"I spent my time on other things," said the Keibatsu with a far off look in his eyes. "Lots of other things."

"Yeah like drinking rice wine," laughed Tsingtao as he straddled a speeder bike. "And beating the hell out of your students."

The comment made Macron grin. "There's truth in those words. Let's move out, people. Time is wasting. Although the droids don't have their armor units in place yet, we have to stop them from being reinforced." Macron fired up his "chopper". "Let's ride," he yelled over the whine of igniting engines. "Krandon, Ekeia, Jade, Aisha, you're on point. Agrist, Malisane, ride flanks please. Manji, Conad and I will cover the rear. Tsingtao, you're our centerpoint." Gives me time to recover, the Warlord thought. Can't let them know how much that little stunt back there took out of me.

Joseem

24-03-2009 00:01:22

Western Adas
Antei


Joseem had watched as the droid fighters started falling out of the sky. He was a bit worse for wear, being the only Equite out protecting the AT-AAs first hand. His cloak had been shredded and there were smoking holes in his armor, what parts were left of it, that is. He had never thought that he would be directly on the front lines of any battle. That was the work of minions, not Sith, yet this is what was needed now.

The artillery walkers were on their way to group with II Legion now. Joseem looked around and spotted an abandoned STAP. Seeing that the disected battle droid on the ground would no longer be needing it, he climbed aboard and headed for Macron's group near the bunker.

Droid Control Relay Bunker Entrance
Western Adas
Antei


Joseem's SPAT was on its final legs. He had ridden hard and fast, hoping to make it in time to hook up with the other members of his clan. During the ride he had used the Force to heal his wounds. Too bad he couldn't do the same for his suit, but that was a secondary thought. As he came over the rise, he noticed a large group emerging from the droid bunker. One of them was pointing to a small tent. Joseem gunned the STAP and made his way towards the group. As he got closer, he could swear he heard one of them say, "Point? Why am I always on point? You hoping my stunning good looks will distract the enemy?"

JadeSadow

24-03-2009 00:42:12

Droid Control Relay Bunker Entrance
Western Adas
Antei

Jade eyed the speeder bikes, and used the force to connect to her master; she could feel the need for a quick break emanating from Macron’s signature. “Point? Why am I always point? You hoping my stunning good looks will distract the enemy?” She said it telepathically but also loud enough the others could hear it.

Before the Alchemist could respond she notice Tsingtao smiling and suddenly placed her hand on the hilt of her saber as the sound of an approaching STAP coming from their left buzzed to her ears. The journeymen jumped with the possible event of another fight, but it only took a few seconds for Jade and Tsingtao to nod in acknowledgement. “Joseem! Glad to see you could finally join the front runners.” Jade smirked. “Though judging by the looks of your ride I’d say you just barely made it.”

Joseem looked at the Aedile of Marka Ragnos. He knew her from their relation within Shin’ichi’s apprentice circle, along with Tsingtao, but he hadn’t really dealt with the woman before. Tsingtao walked over and gave Joseem a slap on the shoulder. “About time you showed up, figured you were going to miss all the action.”

Nekura Manji

24-03-2009 10:00:30

Western Adas
Antei


High-pitched whines rose into the air as the group of Dark Jedi gunned the engines of their bikes, moving up the slope of the crater that the bunker resided in and away to the south, in formation. Manoeuvering his bike alongside Tsingtao in the centre of the formation, Joseem began to catch up on what the group had been up to since he last saw them.

"Three Jedi? And you slaughtered all of them? Karking hell, why am I never around when the fun happens?"

At the back of the group, Manji and Macron rode side-by-side with Conad slightly in front of them. As he glanced over at his former apprentice, Manji's brow wrinkled slightly.

"You don't look too good, Mac. That was some pretty hardcore telekinesis in there."

Grimacing, the alchemist giggled quietly.

"I'll be fine, Manji-sama. Just let me have this bike ride to catch my breath."

With a shrug, the Epis turned his gaze back to the lands around them. Blackened rock stretched as far as the eye could see, marred by craters and debris from the battles that had swept across the surface. Blaster bolts rained through the skies ahead, towards the location of the Forward Operating Base. Every so often distant explosions boomed on the ground as artillery rained down on the position. The Epis' expression tightened as he considered the task ahead of them.

Suddenly another high-pitched whine heralded a droid patrol on STAPs, swooping in from the west. Manji's head snapped towards the approaching patrol, his lightsaber leaping into his hand and igniting as the droids opened fire.

"Enemies to the west!"

Lightsabers ignited amongst the group, smashing the approaching blaster bolts away harmlessly. Throwing his hand outwards, Joseem sent a wave of telekinetic force towards the droids, knocking one of the STAPs into a nearby rock, the explosion echoing across the surface of Antei. Initiating the auto-pilot on his speeder, Tsingtao pushed himself up into a standing position before leaping off his bike and onto one of the STAPs, the droid struggling with the controls. As Tsingtao's fist, clenched around his lightsaber hilt, smashed into the droid's face, Aisha whipped out a blaster and picked another droid off its flying platform.

Moving his speeder close to the last member of the patrol, Manji whipped his saber across and hacked the flying platform in two. As the engines of the small platform sputtered and cried out, the droid manning it looked up at the Epis in what would have been classed as fear in a human, before the silver lightsaber blade severed the head from its body.

Nearby, Tsingtao hurled the droid off the STAP which it was clinging to and leapt back onto his speeder bike, the Force guiding his jump. Falling back into formation, the group began to joke amongst themselves about the 'tinnies', leaving behind several mangled clusters of useless metal decorating the surface of the Shadowlands.

Zaxen Dauketrenal

24-03-2009 10:30:19

Storm Crow
Skies over Adas
Antei


"Mayday, mayday. Any Naga Sadow or Brotherhood asset able to assist. Downed pilot near encoded coordinates." Zaxen spoke as he quickly keyed in the latitude and longitude of the area he suspected that Zaroth had gone down at.

A moment later the Final Way controller came back over the secure Search and Rescue line. "Storm Crow this is Final Way control. All assets are tied up. You are on your own for now. Best we could estimate is fifteen hours."

"Copy Final Way. Make note Night Hawk One and Storm Crow will move to secure and attempt rescue on ground and proceed to closest friendly unit." Zaxen reported back.

"Roger Storm Crow. Suggest you proceed North, North-West from suspected crash point to intercept nearest friendlies. We'll send word of your possible arrival. Good luck Storm Crow. Final Way out." With that, the connection was closed and Zaxen began forming a plan in his head.

Kalei now uncomfortable with the silence and the entire situation keyed up Zaxen's ship. "So what are we doing?"

"Quiet a moment!" Zaxen replied tartly.

Kalei's face twisted into a scowl of annoyance and being silenced thus. Her emotions were running wild. Zaroth was down there below in who knew what sort of trouble and her feelings for him had grown stronger than even she had originally realized.

"I need you focused Kalei." Zaxen spoke as if reading her mind. He always seemed to know what was going on and what to say. She was even more annoyed by that but she knew he spoke the truth and she had learned to trust his wisdom.

"There is no way around it, we are simply going to have to go down there... and unfortunately we will probably have to stay down there." Zaxen spoke after a moment.

"What do you mean? Why can't we just fly out of there." Kalei replied.

"We have started our mass landing of troops. Right now we are trying to lay out our own anti-air defense and establish the beachhead if it hasn't happened already." Zaxen came back.

"So that's a good thing." Kalei retorted.

"Yes its a good thing for the big picture and our forces but not necessarily for us in particular." Zaxen keyed in his display of the Adas situation that was being fed via secure data link to Kalei's Astromech in her XJ who transfered it to her forward screen. "It looks like whatever Macron, Malisane and company were attempting got it done but in reaction the droids have begun to regroup in several areas. One of note is right around were Zaroth went down. While he's not right in the middle of them, he's close enough. Not only that the droids are going to massing shortly and the skies are going to get thick. In short if we try to take off again we are going to get cut down. We will have to proceed on foot and hope we run into our people before we run into droids or worse."

"Perfect." Kalei replied with another touch of annoyance.

"I've set the beacon follow me down."

"On your wing." Kalei steered her XJ to fall in with the Storm Crow and set herself off it's right wing and slightly to the rear.

"And Kalei... keep your head clear for the task. There will be time for the heart when the war is done." Zaxen spoke before he turned inbound for landing.

Xanos

24-03-2009 17:17:15

Republic-class Star Destroyer Final Way
Orbital Blockade
Antei


The holomap of the surface made for discomforting reading. The Adas beachhead had finally been secured, but Narmar was lost. Worse, from the east multiple droid armor divisions were now approaching the Clan's forces in the west. Macron’s group were nearly upon FOB Spear where the 14th Reconnaissance was heavily entrenched and taking fire from the advance units from the renewed droid surge. 8th Mechanized were en route from the main beachhead with Astronicus, but were unlikely to make it there before the droids' own reinforcements arrived.

Bob sighed audibly, feeling utterly exhausted. The stress was getting to him. He was needed on the surface; but he could not go. His orders forced him to keep watch on the traitor. If Shan Long were to escape, who knew how much madness the butcher could wreak? The Jedi were the Dark Council's problem: Shan Long was under his charge.

But that did not take away what the Dragon had said to him. It was impossible, Bob was sure of it. But what if he was telling the truth? What if the madman was right? But equally what if it was just another one of Caerick’s mind games? There was no truth to be found in the traitor’s riddles. Only more questions. Questions that caused Bob to question everything he had believed these past two years. He had been so certain that Caerick was behind the psychic invasions: it was exactly his modus operandi. There should have been no doubt that he was just lying...

Bob knew he should have contacted Tron right away. Warned him. Told him to be on the lookout for Cyrus. Confessed why the Missing-in-Action Knight was a potential threat. But that would have meant revealing everything. Why he had really sent Cyrus there in the first place. No. He had lost his nerve as soon as he had stepped through into the CIC. He couldn't bring himself to tell Lord Sadow. Not yet. Not while still barely able to face it himself. He took a deep breath and held it in; breathing out only through his nose to steady himself. No: he had to see it first; had to know before he would let himself be manipulated like so many others had. He couldn’t face the lies until he was certain.

But that meant turning a blind eye to the possibility. If something were truly to happen on the surface... if Cyrus Raze were to commit an atrocity like Shan Long had warned... No. It was not his responsibility. If anything happened it was not his fault. IT WAS NOT.

Bob wouldn’t let the bastard twist his mind. They’d been through all this. The past was the past. That twisted psychopath just wanted to dredge up old memories; unearth the skeletons long since buried in the Clan's closet. It was over! The madness had ended at Lehon! This was not going to start all over again!

Bob suddenly became acutely aware that everyone in the CIC was looking at him. As he glared around the room, one by one their faces fell back to the consoles in front of them and they went back to focus on their work. Only Admiral Simonetti held his gaze.

‘Governor...’ the grizzled veteran began, choosing his words carefully, ‘if I may? You look exhausted. Leave me to coordinate our operations on the ground with Colonel Voss. Get some rest.’ The younger man—though his face not always looked it, bearing the scars of countless battles— pressed his lips into a tight smile. ‘If you were one of my men, I’d have made that an order. With the deepest respect, my lord, you look... terrible.’

The anger simmered too deep beneath the surface for Bob to respond. He knew the truth when he heard it. He couldn’t face the battle feeling as ill as he did. He had hoped he was past this, but the nearer they had come to Antei, the worse his condition had become. Deep down, he was actually rather grateful to have been confined to the ship: he feared what would happen should he venture to the surface.

He realised the Admiral was still staring at him. ‘Oh. Yes,' he said, stuttering, still half lost in his thoughts. 'Uh, I think I may do just that. Um, yes. Thank you, Admiral. If you will excuse me.’

Bob made his way back down from the CIC to his quarters which were located several levels below the CIC and the rest of the bridge. As he entered the refresher, the first thing he saw in the mirror was his own fatigued face looking back at him. The bags under his eyes were black as the dead sands of Adas, and the wrinkled lines on his face looked particularly heavy, as if his skin was literally hanging off the bones beneath.

He looked as if he hadn’t slept in days.

Truth was: he hadn’t.

Cyrus Raze had been his last hope. The secrets hidden inside Kalekka the last refuge from the Dark that haunted him in his sleep. Without Cyrus, he was lost. Where did he have left to turn? He could hardly tell anyone the truth that he had covered up a murder attempt—on himself no less, but also the Overlord himself. No, that hope was gone now. Stolen. Taken by the beast that now lurked in the brig several levels further down, in the bowels of the ship.

So why had the monster spoken of some atrocities yet to pass? What secret was he keeping that he did not see fit to divulge until it was already too late? WHY WOULDN’T SHAN LONG JUST TELL HIM?!

Bob slammed his fist into the mirror, splintering it into thousands of shards. He barely felt a scratch as slithers of glass slid up in between his fingers. The pain was a refreshing release from the nightmares that stalked him at every turn.

The burning sword.

Caerick... Long... whatever he wanted to be called had spoken of it as if he knew the meaning... But if the monster was not behind it then who? The monster claimed it was the Heretic. But the latter was dead... consumed by the fires on Lehon. No. Vexatus was gone. He was never coming back. HE HAD DESTROYED HIMSELF!

No. It was far too easy to blame a dead man. The truth was surely more complex than the Dragon let on. After all, Caerick never spoke plainly. With him, the truth was always cloaked in riddles.

Bob stumbled back against the door into the refresher and slid down into a crouch. Fresh blood ran down between his fingers where he had stabbed himself, forming rivers along his wrists. He welcomed the distraction as he watched the rivers plot their courses down the contours of his arm.

He knew Shan Long was lying. It was what the monster did. It was his nature.

But still he could not get the doubt out of his mind:

What if he was wrong?

Could he really face forever bearing the consequences of his inaction on his shoulders?

Tron was the closest thing he had to a friend. Did he not owe it to him after all these years as brothers-in-arms? They were practically family. No, they were family: Sons of Sadow both.

He stared at his reflection in one of the broken slithers between his fingers. He noticed how the shadows on the door behind him seemed to be spread out behind either shoulder like two angels’ wings, and in the fading light, his body looked little more than a dark silhouette... together the shadows forming a kind of cross. Or sword hilt.

As his mind drifted, the wings folded around him, surrounding him in a cocoon of thick darkness.

The last thing he saw before he passed out were the rivers of blood spreading out across the floor, filling up the room with scarlet waters.

We... we will be one... the other... die... he must die...

DyrraSkye

25-03-2009 11:59:18

En-route to FOB Spear
Shadowlands
Western Antei


Is there any feeling better than zooming along on a speeder bike?

Dyrra grinned to herself as the surface of Antei zipped past. The wind was whipping through her hair, ruffling the short red strands and pressing them back against her skull. They may have been at war, they may have been riding into what was, from all accounts, a particularly savage battle, but that still didn't stop her from enjoying herself. She glanced over at her master, whose long hair was flying behind him like a streamer.

"So, what do we know about where we're going, then?" Dyrra called to him over the persistent whine of their engines.
Manji pitched his voice so that Conad would hear as well when he replied.

"It's a small base a short way from here, intended as a waypoint for the Recon unit already there. We were banking on it not being found by the droids yet. Its defences have been pretty hastily put together. We've got some more troops on the way along with some armoured units, but we've got to get there and help them hold it till then."

"Do we know what we're up against?" Conad asked, his voice betraying some of his apprehension.
"Not exactly," Macron spoke up. "We know they need our help urgently but we won't know how bad it is till we get there."
Dyrra nodded and turned her attention back to where they were going and heard Manji reply.
"We aren't far off now, so we'll know soon enough."

FOB Spear
Shadowlands
Western Antei


A blaster bolt smashed into the rocky ground at the edge of the trench, leaving yet another pock-mark in the trench wall behind him. The noise was deafening. The near-incessant shriek of blaster bolts was something you got used to in the heat of battle, but no one had been expecting to find it here. Private Tanlem Reekahn took a deep breath and brought his head and shoulders above the protective trench wall in front of him, managing to snap off a shot before he had to duck back down to avoid the rain of blaster fire that was sent towards his previous position.

He hadn't had time to see if his shot had hit it's mark. He hoped it had. The droids were advancing all the time and he was worried about how long they'd be able to hold the position. The higher-ups had said help was on the way, but they hadn't been specific and said when or what. Help needed to get here soon. This was only a small amount of droids - they must have reinforcements coming too. It was a race now -to see whose backup would arrive first.

Suddenly a body appeared from further down the trench - he raised his blaster automatically before he realised who it was.
"Hey Serge. Not dead yet?"
Serge grinned at his fellow soldier. "Not even remotely, buddy."
They both popped upwards to fire again, before falling back into the trench and continuing their conversation.
"You hear the news? Help is on it's way."
"Let's hope they get here before this place is a massive scorch mark, eh?"
A familiar sound broke through the background noise to reach their ears.
"Is that speeder bikes?" Tanlem wondered aloud.
Serge maneuvered so as to be able to see in the direction of the noise.

A short way behind the trenches, there was a small ridge. As Serge and Tanlem watched, nine speeder bikes roared over to the top and paused for a second, surveying the battlefield.

Serge smacked a hand against his head.
"Please, please tell me that isn't the grand total of our reinforcements? Nine karking people?"

As the pair watched, each of the nine on the ridge took something out. In a riot of colour, nine lightsabers sprang to life in their hands. Tanlem grinned at his friend under his helmet.

"Make that nine karking Jedi, mate. We might just hold this rock yet."

Macron Sadow

25-03-2009 12:13:08

Approaching Forward Operating Base
Western Adas
Antei


"The clankers got karked in the tinholes, hee hee,"giggled Macron."That's funny." The whine of the bikes echoed around the formation. A group of the best Dark Jedi that Clan Naga Sadow had roared towards the droids attacking the position.

"What's so funny about that?" replied Manji above the roar of the speederbikes. "Seemed pretty routine to me."

"Alliteration is amusing to me," said Macron with a frown. "Well,it's not technically, but the sounds are the same anyhow."

"Riiight. You must be feeling better," acknowledged Manji. "You're saying ridiculous things again."

"Yeah. That obliteration telekinesis was about the limit of what I can do," said the Sith as the trenched landscape passed by. Cheering soldiers hailed the group from cover as the whipped by. "That one hurt."

"Well, you may not be able to beat me with a saber yet, but that was one hell of a sweet move. Nicely done," commented the Krath as the alchemist grinned madly. "Where did you learn that one?" Manji suspected from whom inside his soul. It wasn't him.

Macron sighed."The Betrayer, of course. Whatever happened back then aside, without his help I would never have grasped the Dark Side like I do now," cackled the madman. "May he eternally rot in Hell," he whispered as an afterthought.

Droids ahead, came Jade's telepathic thought. Twelve Super battle droids on STAP's, an old SD-6 Hulk on a hover-platform, about 10 regular battledroids on speederbikes, and some old Arakyd battle-balls.

"Huh," grunted Joseem. "Tough crowd."

"Looks like they sent us a welcoming party," agreed Malisane.

"We'll have to take them," yelled Tsingtao. "They are too mobile and well-armed to slip by."

Krandon and Ekeia moved to the center of the group for better cover. Both were ready to fight their hardest against the 'toasters'.

"Let's waste 'em!" cheered Dyrra with a feral snarl. Conad nodded quickly as Aisha hoisted her crimson blade. A chorus of luminescent lightsaber blades sizzled menacingly as the entire group prepared to fight.

Malisane, Agrist, Jade, Tsingtao, Macron, Manji, and Joseem all began to enter a state of force-meld as the shouts of rage spilled from their lips. It was time to see what a ravenous pack of Dark Jedi could truly do against some fairly tough droids.

Alexander

25-03-2009 12:32:58

FOB Spear
Shadowlands
Western Antei


Xander had originally meant to head to the location which Malisane had signaled to. However, while he was en route, he had been given the signal that there was an attack in the distance which he was needed to help deal with. Initially he had been concerned because it was actually just him, Valorian and some troops who were travelling on foot. Luckily, he had managed to get transportation to the location.

While en route to the location Xander and Valorian had changed into the garb of some of the Iron Throne soldiers. Xander generally preferred to stay low key. Both of their lightsabers now tucked away, and head gear on they appeared to be little more than your average officers in the Iron Throne army. Now, they were pinned down in the region of the attack and were doing there best to fight back. The fact of the matter was, even without lightsabers Xander and Valorian were more than the average soldier. There shots rarely missed, and they didn’t really seem to get tired.

“What should we be doing?” Valorian asked Xander as he quickly took shots at oncoming enemy

“Well.. we need to retake this area, for the strategic value. Right now, just stay with our troops.” Xander motioned at the troops that they had been in command with. “Make sure that we stick together, and maybe if we work slowly towards the point, we can do something.” Xander peeked out at some droids and reached into his pack to pull out a grenade, which he lightly lobbed at the droids. Pulling back he smiled to himself as he heard the satisfying sound of destruction.

Krandon

25-03-2009 18:25:38

FOB Spear
Shadowlands
Western Antei


Krandon stood there, with Dyrra, and watched as the Dark Jedi sat in their battle meld and gained power. He felt a slight buzz of his datapad on his hip.

Taking the datapad out, he read the message.

“Whoa”, Krandon said eyes widening

“What?” Dyrra said, turning her head and looking at her Tetrarch

“I have a new Master, Alexander Anderson, but you probably know him as Xander”, Krandon said turning his head, looking at Dyrra and letting a smile come across his face.

“Well, maybe now things can get done, Krandon”, the Protector said, putting her hand on his shoulder.

“No kidding, I have been by myself through this whole war”, Krandon said crossing his arms. Dyrra looked at Krandon, shocked.

“Hey, you have us, the Jade Serpents, and the summit of Clan Naga Sadow. You’re not as alone as you think Krandon”, Dyrra said, trying to encourage her Battle Team Leader.

“I guess you guys count”, Krandon said jokingly, looking at Dyrra, laughing.

“You’ll be ok Guardian”, Dyrra said, smiling

Tsingtao

25-03-2009 19:55:14

Forward Operating Base
Western Adas
Antei


Like a pack of Razorcats the Dark Jedi sped towards their prey. Instinct took over as they split into two groups, working towards a precise flanking maneuver. Tsingtao, Jade, Joseem, Krandon, and Conad guided their speeders to the right of the droids while Malisane, Macron, Nekura, Aisha, and Dyrra flew to the left.

The droid convoy continued its course. The Super Battledroids altered their course to intercept Macron's group. They opened fire once they were in range. The Dark Jedi criss-crossed one another avoiding laser bolts mere seconds upon impact. Aisha and Dyrra returned fire, each targeting the same STAP. Macron let out a bellow as he cut down a passing Battledroid. Malisane and Nekura took down a STAP as well on their pass. In unison, the five Dark Jedi swung around for another pass.

On the other side, Battledroids raced to stop the other group of Dark Jedi. Tsingtao took the point with Jade and Joseem to his left and right. Conad and Krandon were right behind them trying to maintain their tight formation. From the droids' viewpoint, three incoming speeders were about to face 10 battledroids. Tsingtao waved his hand as Jade and Joseem parted from the group exposing the two Journeymen in formation. As soon as their line of sight was cleared, Conad and Krandon activated the blaster attached to their speederbikes.

The maneuver was so sudden that the battle droids were barely able to react. Four of the droids bursted into flames scorching the countryside. Jade and Joseem swooped in from the sides cutting down anything in their path. Their sabers flashed as the blades impacted on the metallic droid bodies. Tsingtao smiled as he noticed two remaining droids for him to dispatch. He raised his arm and reached for the Force. He focused on the droids before him. Suddenly both droids were thrown backwards off their bikes as if they hit an unseen wall. Their speeder bikes fell to the ground exploding on impact.

The Dark Jedi reformed into formation, heading towards the main droid convoy.

Macron's group are on the move. They had little resistance it seems. Jade said to the group through their telepathic connection.

Joseem nodded. "Well, we better get a move on then. We wouldn't want to miss the party."

Tsingtao laughed as they made their way to regroup with the other team.

Ashura

26-03-2009 07:37:06

TR-MB Okemi One
II Legion Mobile TAC HQ
Adas Landing Zone
Antei

Ashura walked onto the command deck with his apprentice in tow, he had stayed behind to help command the troops in the fighting while the rest had gone to the FOB Spear. Since he was part of the Clan Summit it served to have someone assisting the Overlord since the Consul was still aboard the Final Way.

This was the way of the Sith Imperator; the elite class of the Sith. The Proconsul would let others do the fighting and dying, it wasnt that he didnt mind getting his hands dirty, but the chain of command needed to be upheld.

This had been a change of pace for Aleho, since arriving on the planet she had fought tooth and nail to stay alive, now she could rest for a while. The Krath wasnt used to this sort of situation, she was a soldier in that respect, but she paid attention to what was going on.

"My lord, a signal coming in from Macron. They had arrived at the Spear," said Ashura as one of the command staff handed him a data-pad. "Gah... just got a report saying heavy droid reinforcements are heading in that direction. Looks like hell is going to rain down on them."

Kalei_Basai

26-03-2009 11:21:26

Night Hawk One
Skies over Adas
Antei


Kalei closed her eyes for a moment and took a deep breath, realizing that Zaxen was right. Refocusing her mind, she looked towards the planets surface and the followed along behind Zaxen. "You are right, though I don't like to admit it," she said quietly to him, "now is the time to focus on the task at hand and the rest will come later." Her mind still was not focused though, especially with what had happened before they had left on this mission, back in her quarters on the ship.

As they passed through the atmosphere, there was one advantage of her connection to Zaroth; she could sense where he was, at least the area. "Zax, let's hope that we find him before anyone else does."

He came over the come with a reassuring voice, "Don't worry, Kalei, we will find him, I'm sure of it. Just keep your head about you and we will get him and get back to our people."

"Alright, let's go and get him."

Sai

26-03-2009 12:18:24

TR-MB Okemi One
II Legion Mobile TAC HQ
Adas Landing Zone
Antei

Tsainetomo Sadow, newly arrived to Antei’s surface, entered the command deck moments after Ashura with a haunted look in his eyes. His trip to his ‘listening post’ aboard the Final Way had netted more than he was ready to process at the current moment, and he hoped the fog of war would do its diligence in providing a proper distraction.

The Keibatsu returned greetings thrown his way as he walked about the command deck; he had uncharacteristically stayed away from the initial conflict that came with the Clan’s planetfall, and for him to arrive relatively late in the campaign was certainly cause for surprise amongst the troops and Force-users present. Tsainetomo was a stalwart presence of Naga Sadow when it came to the ‘blood and guts’ part of fighting, but events aboard the Star Destroyer had necessitated his absence from the field. Even now, as he ambled about, looking at one display or another, his thoughts drifted back to what had transpired a short time ago.

Firstly, there was the short and tense exchange he had with Bob in the turbolift. It had left him shaken and confused, which prompted his trip to his secret post. Then, after pouring through hours of taped conversations and vidlogs, he’d stumbled upon something crucial. No, it was nothing crucial, and that in and of itself was the issue.

In the Sadowan ‘official’ records, a fragment of a recording taken from the basement of a well-known building in Seng Karash had been surreptitiously erased and filed among some unrelated data. It didn’t stay hidden for long, and it leapt out at his trained eyes from his displays. After checking the security clearance required for such a move, his heart dropped to his feet.

...November Sierra Actual...

That singular line of code was damning in and of itself, but after he checked the timestamp of the deletion, then corroborated it with his own devices, he found his own version of the events that were so painstakingly hidden.

If his heart dropped to his feet before, it penetrated the decks, plunged through the atmosphere, and made a crater as it impacted Antei hours before his body would ever touch soil as he watched the vid over and over and over again, showing in grainy detail the actions of a certain missing Dark Knight, who he’d learned was sent to Antei days before the main battleforce was dispatched there. Days!

At the time, he went to Bob to show him his findings. The summons at the door to the Consul’s chambers went mysteriously unanswered.

Sai couldn’t sit on his find for long; the ramifications of that simple, thirty-second loop were mind shattering. Votes of ‘No-Confidence’ were cast with less provocation.

Still, the Son of Sadow would not out his information. Not yet. Not until he had something more tangible than a few lines of code, some grainy video, and his own conjecture. So, he boarded a LAAT/i and went planetside.

Now, in the thick of battle, he was stopped mid-amble by the Overlord, the Proconsul at his side.

‘Oh, frell,’ he thought. ‘Of all the people to run into..’ “M’lord’s,” he greeted the pair. “I apologize for my tardiness,” he said, the picture of military decorum. Bowing slightly to first the Overlord, then Ashura, Sai continued. “I am here to lend my help to the effort.”

Tron gave a short harrumph before spinning to once again consult a display. “How good of you to join us, Keibatsu. You should know that I expect better from my Sons, Tsainetomo. Next time, try not to be so late.”

“Of course, m’lord,” Sai replied, casting his eyes to the deck, suitably admonished. He’d have to keep up the performance until he could get what he needed from command central to continue his personal mission. One did what they had to do when they were building a case of the magnitude that he was.

Ashura clapped a hand on Sai’s shoulder, taken by the ruse. “Don’t take it so hard, my friend. The Overlord is understandably...vexed...by the events of the War thus far.”

“Can you bring me up to speed? I’d like to know where I’m most needed,” Sai offered.

Ashura ushered the Keibatsu to one of the terminals, punching up the tactical telemetry being fed in at ‘real-time’.

“We currently have a team here, at FOB Spear. Macron, Nekura and their group are there, and about to have a host of droid forces bear down on them. I’m sure they could use your help,” the Proconsul explained.

“Well, then, I’ll leave right after I study this a bit more,” Sai said, making a show of peering intently at the data.

“Good! I’ll notify them of your coming,” Ashura said, wheeling to pick up a comm device.

“No!” Sai said, a little too sharply, causing the Proconsul to stop in his tracks and look questioningly at the Archpriest. “That is to say, I’d rather make it a surprise,” the Keibatsu hastily explained, flashing a grin.

Ashura made to press Sai further, but a desperate shout from one of the Tactical Officers caught the Procon’s attention. “Very well, suit yourself,” Ashura said, trotting over to the beleaguered man to lend a hand.

Tsainetomo suppressed a sigh of relief; after all, the less people who knew about what he was truly here to accomplish, the less would have to lie for him should he be discovered. Ensuring no prying eyes were on him, he produced his datapad from a fold in his robes and plugged its data cord into the terminal’s auxiliary port. The telemetry streamed into the portable unit, showing the status of every member of the Clan on Antei; when coupled with the program he’d personally downloaded designed to track those of his own tracking devices, he had a clear picture of nearly everyone’s location as it corresponded to the tactical map of Antei.

One in particular held his focus, one that had no life readings attached to it and was flung away from the bulk of the Sadowan forces. Anyone who discovered him as he moved about on Antei’s surface would think he was on a ‘search-and-rescue’ mission. It would be so, if the blip weren’t moving.

Satisfied, Tsainetomo stole away from the command deck and went to procure a speeder bike. A moment or two passed after he left when Lieutenant Colonel Anjek requested a private audience with the Overlord.

“It seems your suspicions were right, m’lord. Our security system confirms an unauthorized download of the tactical data from the terminal General Keibatsu just vacated,” the colonel reported.

Astronicus nodded sagely. He knew that Tsainetomo, his newly named Son, was not there to simply lend a ‘saber-arm to the War effort. The man rarely moved without provocation and aforethought; still he felt in the blackest corner of his heart that the Keibatsu’s loyalty was unwavering.

“Shall I dispatch a contingent to arrest him, bring him in for questioning?” Colonel Anjek asked.

“That will be unnecessary, Colonel. Back to your post,” Astronicus replied. Looking at the door through which Tsainetomo left, he was lost in thought.

Exactly what are you up to, my Son?

II Legion Mobile TAC HQ
Adas Landing Zone
Antei
Staging Area

Rushing through the bustle of men and machinery, Tsainetomo made his way to the motor pool. He found the officer-in-charge, and checked out a speeder bike. Making sure the vehicle was ready enough to stand up to the rigors he was going to place upon it, he suddenly felt a familiar presence lapping against the shores of his consciousness. Without looking up, he spoke, raising his voice.

“Aleho, it’s impolite to try to sneak up on people.”

The Togruta, who was approaching Sai from the rear, stopped suddenly. “Ashura said I should come along with you...you know, to help the others, and get some more experience.”

‘The others, Sai thought wistfully. Little did Aleho know that she’d not see the ‘others’, not for some time if events played out the way he expected them to.

Making a show of his exasperation, Sai responded. “Very well,” he sighed. “See the OIC, and check out a speeder bike. Do try and keep up, child. I like Ashura, and I should hate to see the look on his face should you fail to return.”

Aleho nearly jumped out of her skin, so fast was her flight to follow Sai’s instructions. Despite the gravity of his mission, he couldn’t help grinning at the young girl’s exuberance.

Xanos

26-03-2009 18:50:05

The Shadowlands
Adas, Antei


The wind howled as a sandstorm raged nearer across the Adas desert, a sky reaching cyclone of blood stained soil. A black whirlpool that stretched hundreds of metres into the air, the sandstorm appeared to have split off from the thunderstorms of the Du’san Boundary in the far distance; a rogue cold front, seemingly without purpose of its own in the wider metrological pattern.

Catri Vasch looked on as the sandstorm flashed with each new lance of lightning from the storm clouds high above, illuminating the black column of spiralling winds as it drifted along its uncertain heading. Few severe weather patterns complied with established expectations, bound by chaos theories and abstract supposedly probabilistic disorder. But this particular cold front defied all understanding, wreaking its path of havoc in a linear vector, moving across the Shadowlands driven by a seemingly unnatural urge to reach its goal. In the currents swirled not just sand but broken fragments of debris from wars long passed, decaying arms of alien invaders too foolish to stay their overzealous blades, and twisted bars of durasteel from battle droids caught in its cloud funnel.

Two violet lights glowed seemingly from within the eye of the storm, their light unhindered in spite of the twisting cyclone of dust and rocks, skin and bone, metal and steel.

She already held her sapphire blade in her hands, jabbed toward the approaching storm. A fireteam of four scouts from the 10th Reconnaissance of the Army of the Iron Throne arrayed behind her, rifle barrels levelled on the incoming thundercloud. Their LAAT sat on the hillside immediately behind him—as did the decapitated bodies of a pair of MagnaGuards, along with one of the supposed ‘Jedi’ who had laid claim to the throne world of the Dark Brotherhood.

Whatever the storm was, she could sense it was no natural formation—even for Antei’s twisted climate. Would Jedi have harnessed such arcane sorcery? She squeezed the hilt of her lightsaber as tightly as she could; the storm nearly upon them.

‘Ma’am?’ called one of the troopers, his voice shaky.

‘Hold your ground!’ she shouted, elevating her voice with the Force to be heard over the approaching storm. She could sense something within—less a person; it was rawer: more of a sheer presence. ‘Scout team, ready!’

They couldn’t have turn tailed even had they wanted to. Their LAAT was already stranded because of the winds, forced to make an emergency landing deep behind enemy lines whilst on their recon mission to scout out the north-eastern flank of the droid armies. This close to the storm, they would not have made take off—or, even if they did, it would have been a very quick, circular trip as they were thrown through the air by the currents, and either ripped apart by the storm or slammed back down into the ground in a burning fireball.

No. This was it. She had to hold her ground.

‘I am Obelisk Centurion Catri Vasch,’ she said, more to herself than her unseen foe, barely hearing her own voice over the rage of the incoming blizzard of lightning. ‘Minister of War of the Dark Brotherhood. Disciple of the Sith King, Lord Justinian Arcanious Khyron. Subject of the Iron Throne and servant of Lord Darth Sarin. I claim this threshold for my own! You. Shall. Not. Pass!’

Abruptly, the tornado halted. She had not expected that to happen. The cyclone held its ground, its column of debris continuing to swirl in the sky above. Then, directly in front of her, a section of the dust cloud seemed to part, opening into a circular portal roughly the size of a typical humanoid at ground level, just ahead of the squad. Looking inside, she could just make out a figure inside the eye of the storm, silhouetted against the swirling dust behind. It appeared to float, hovering inside, its arms outstretched, body forming a black cross against the cascade of dark sanguine soil behind; the only light inside coming from the two violet stars that hovered in the air over either of its shoulders.

The figure drifted down, feet touching the ground, then stepped outside the vortex, the two floating crystals following behind. The only mark at all that it wasn’t merely a hallucination was the familiar seal of the Dlarit Corporation emblazoned upon its charred and extensively cracked armour. It felt neither light nor dark: there was only an empty hole before her. It didn’t even feel alive.

A literal wound in the Force.

* * *

Cyrus drifted to the desert floor. The storm abated and mountains of dust and debris crashed back down behind him as he stepped out from inside the eye. Directly before him stood a female from the near extinct Firrerreo species. Her sapphire blade was already jabbed toward him.

‘I am Obelisk Centurion Catri Vasch,’ she repeated. ‘In the name of the Iron Throne, I order you to explain yourself.’ Her voice did not waver even a fraction. But deep down, behind the layers of flesh and mind, etched in blood upon the spark that burned within the Force—fear. ‘What is a member of Clan Naga Sadow doing out here? I thought your forces were assigned to recapture FOB Spear?’

He did not answer, but instead merely looked upon her and smirked. His thoughts permeated the Force despite his mouth not opening, not so much with words but in abstract images like dreams. Or nightmares. The image of a rich planet, filled with vast blue oceans and green fields. Hundreds of happy and joyous people, much like humans, but their hair a multitude of bright colours, shimmering in the golden sunlight. Firrerre, once homeworld of the Firrerreo.

Catri snarled. ‘Get out of my mind!’

His lips curved upwards, blood beginning to trickle from the corners where the movement tore fresh cuts on his still recently scorched skin. The image changed. All of a sudden, the men and women—children too, some no more than a few months old—hunched over, gasping for breath. Their hands flew to their mouths. When they took them away, blood stained their fingers as they continued to cough—now full mouthfuls of blood. Their own blood. The people of Firrerre stooped over, then collapsed in their hundreds; thousands; millions. Dead. Forever.

Catri took a moment to respond. Her mouth moved but no words managed to form. Her homeworld had been destroyed by a hive virus—released by one of her own people—decades before. But the pain was clearly still fresh. The Firrerreo had never recovered.

He threw his head back and flung his mouth open laughing, though the noise that came out was little more than rasped scratching. The woman grimaced and shut her eyes, wincing as she held her hands against her ears to block out the noise.

‘Screw this,’ a trooper behind muttered. Cyrus did not react as the trooper pressed a finger to his ear, presumably to activate a comm device. ‘This is Lieutenant Kellar of 3rd Squad. Hostile sited near FOB Anvil bearing Dlarit Corporation insignia! Repeat: Dlarit insignia!’

The Firrerreo stopped breathing quite so heavily and appeared to pull herself back together and regain at least some of her composure. She looked up, the glare upon her face likely as full of loathing as it was possible. She spat at him. ‘Kark you!’

The air flashed with fire from the four scouts and the glow of the blue lightsaber as it danced through the air toward Cyrus. Still he waited, his gaze locked on the ground just in front of his feet. He saw the glow of the lightsaber illuminate the ridge of his nose, seconds from finishing him.

But yet once more: Death was not kind to Cyrus Raze.

He looked up and Catri shot through the air away from him, her lightsaber spinning through each of her four troopers in a single twirl. Four heads rolled across the desert, bumping into each other, then finally stopping when they hit Cyrus’s feet.

Catri crashed into the parked LAAT, her head whipping back after the impact to slam into the metal bulkhead. Cyrus stepped over the decapitated bodies and stared down at her. She groaned audibly. Her lightsaber had flung off somewhere into the desert when she had hit the bulkhead. The Firrerreo glanced up, but her head rocked, as if she was still currently dazed or temporarily concussed.

‘What... what the hell are you?’ she coughed, spitting drops of blood onto her lips and chin.

Cyrus did not bother to answer. He held out his hand and a sapphire blade of plasma shot into his grip.

One swing sent Catri’s head flying off into the endless night.

Nekura Manji

27-03-2009 07:09:14

TR-MB Okemi One
II Legion Mobile TAC HQ
Adas Landing Zone
Antei


A communication channel buzzed fitfully. Reaching across, a nearby soldier opened it up.

“2nd Legion Mobile TAC HQ, state your business.”

The low voice of Anshar Kahn Tarentae answered him, ice-cold fury hardening in its tone.

“Put me through to Astronicus Sadow, whelp.”

Sitting back, the soldier gulped before getting to his feet and moving over to where Tron stood staring bitterly at a strategic display.

“Uh, my lord...”

“What is it?”

“The... the Consul of Tarentum is on the commlink, sir.”

Straightening up, Tron glared at nothing in particular, his expression firming up. Without another word he walked to the communication desk and leaned forward to speak to the Heir of Tarentum.

“What can I do for you, Anshar?”

“Don’t play games with me, Astronicus. What the kark do you think you’re playing at?! Why the hell were your troops in that area?”

Astronicus frowned, his brow wrinkling.

“I do not know what you are talking about, Anshar. All my troops are-”

The Tarentum Consul cut him off, his voice blunt.

“One of your Knights, apparently identified as ‘Cyrus Raze’- that name ring any bells?”

The Overlord of Naga Sadow’s eyes widened, his expression furious. Rage gritted his teeth as his grip on the communication desk tightened, leaving huge dents in the metal.

Cyrus?!

FOB Spear
Shadowlands
Western Antei


The soldiers of the Iron Throne cheered ecstatically as the Dark Jedi swept across the battlefield towards the bulk of the droid convoy, their saber blades gleaming. The super battledroids opened fire as they drew nearer, a hail of blaster bolts searing towards the Sadowans. Nevertheless, every bolt seemed to hit an invisible wall before it reached them- batted away by the blur of a lightsaber blade. Several bolts flashed back to knock droids off their STAPs, hurling them helplessly to the ground.

As they drew towards the convoy the Arakyd battle-balls zoomed out of formation, their vibroblades spinning dangerously as they spread out and attempted to flank the Dark Jedi themselves. Whirling his saber, Manji brought the silver blade down swiftly, cutting straight through one of the droids. As the two molten halves dropped to the floor Aisha plunged her lightsaber into another battle-ball, carefully avoiding the spinning blades.

However, as the Dark Jedi engaged butchered the last of the Arakyd droids, the SD-6 hulk ponderously turned to face them, preparing to fire the 2 E-web blaster cannons mounted on its shoulders. Catching sight of the droids motions, Macron raised his voice to shout orders over the scream of the speeder bikes and the screeches of tortured metal and blaster fire.

“Evasive action, quickly!”

Each Dark Jedi, mentally attuned, understood the threat immediately; yanking their bikes round, they scattered outwards as the hulk droid fired, blaster cannons spitting a hail of scarlet fire down on the ground where they had been only moments before. Like a river, the Dark Jedi guided their bikes around the convoy, still knocking blaster bolts back at the super battledroids, the hulk droid forced to begin slowly turning to try and keep them in sight.

Then, as they got behind the SD-6, Joseem and Jade exchanged a glance and leapt from their speeder bikes, each catching hold of one of the droids arms. The machine shook itself furiously, trying to throw them off as they lifted their sabers before plunging them into the droids shoulder joints. Metal glowed bright yellow and began to melt as they dragged their sabers down, hacking the droids arms free from its trunk, the E-web cannons still firing.

Then, as the arms were torn free, Joseem and Jade hefted them and turned them down onto the rest of the droid convoy, the red bolts spitting energy down on the remaining super battledroids. Explosions wracked the convoy as the hulk droid looked left and right in confusion, unsure what had happened to its arms. Malisane pulled his speeder bike to a stop directly in front of the droid, reaching into the Force to send a powerful telekinetic strike that toppled the droid from the hover platform, the hulk crashing heavily to the rocky ground and lying still.

Looking around as the other Dark Jedi mopped up the remaining battle droids, Malisane allowed a smirk to flicker across his features.

“Well, that’s taken care of the immediate threat.”

Agrist pulled up alongside him, catching his words.

“There’ll undoubtedly be some more along soon, though.”

Sai

27-03-2009 13:52:42

Shadowlands
Adas, Antei

Tsainetomo and Aleho had been speeding along in silence for some time, their only companions being the whine of their speederbikes and the violent storms roiling across the distant Du’san Boundary. The young Togruta tried time and time again to engage her guardian in conversation, but she was rebuffed repeatedly. Questions like “How much further?” and “You sure this is the way to Spear?” were met with noncommittal humph’s and mmm’s.

Truthfully, Sai’s attention was focused on the datapad at his lap; that, and the on-air chatter being piped in on his in-ear comm unit. The long sleeves of his robes streamed through the whipping wind, matching his equally long pony-tail; the stinging granules of the desert sand seemed not to bother him, where Aleho was fully covered, a sand colored shawl covering her young features and thick riding goggles protecting her eyes.

A comm stream from the 14th Recon Unit piped into his ear, and he smiled as the reports of Macron and Manji’s team’s success came through. Aleho, spotting the rare display of emotion, pulled up along side him and shouted against the din of the speeder bikes and the wind.

“What is it? Good news from the front?” She received no answer, as suddenly, the Archpriest was no longer there. Recovering quickly from her shock, she looked back over her shoulder to discover Sai had stopped, sitting astride his idling bike, one hand to his ear with the comm piece.

Muttering a curse, she wheeled her own unit around and approached the Keibatsu. “You have got to start talkin’ to me! I’m tired of being...”

Hush, child!” Tsainetomo hissed at Aleho. The look in his tripartite eyes told her that this was not a matter of debate.

Sai pressed his earpiece closer, straining to hear. His face melted into shock, then hardened to grave concern in seconds. Revving his ‘bike, he gestured to Aleho. “This way, quickly,” he said before speeding to the west at full throttle. Aleho dutifully followed suit, trailing the Keibatsu towards some foothills.

Thirty seconds later, Sai stopped, Aleho a short distance behind him. “On foot from here. Quietly,” he urged, dismounting and moving at a steady trot.

The Force-users began to crest one of the foothills, and they dropped to their bellies to lower their profile. Tsainetomo motioned for the electrobinocs at Aleho’s side, and as he pulled them up to his eyes, a strange sight leapt into focus.

About two and a half clicks away, atop a hill much like the one the two Sadowan’s rested on, a LAAT sat, its bulk dark and engines, dormant. Several men milled about the scene, all deferring to two who stood above a tarp covering an unidentified mass.

“What do you see?” whispered Aleho, looking at Sai expectantly.

This time, the Son of Sadow was more forthcoming with answers. “A ‘larty’...six, no, seven men...Iron Throne troopers to be exact.”

“Our guys?”

“No,” Sai replied ominously. “They most certainly are not.”

The Archpriest zoomed in even closer, sharpening the detail. “Looks like...yes: A team of ‘cleaners’ from 10th Recon, to be exact,” he continued, coining the term for troopers who were used to collect evidence and scrub a scene of details that were not meant to be found. He lowered the binocs slowly, staring into the Togruta’s eyes.

“The other two are Tarenti.”

Aleho appeared to mull his words over and then gave in to her exasperation as the answer Sai seemed to seek escaped her. “So, what does that mean?”

“It means, my dear, that if the word ‘round the campfire is accurate, the schutta has officially hit the fan.” He consulted his datapad as connections were being made in his complex mind: not only did the Sadowans have to contend with Lightsiders, Darkside forces may come to bear on them as well, and considerable ones, at that. He could do nothing but chuckle at the sheer absurdity of it all.

Meanwhile, the datapad revealed his quarry, the lone ‘blip’ that stood apart from all others, a far distance off, displaying no lifesigns, and still inexorably and inexplicably moving away from them.

Between them and it stood the Tarenti contingent. He sighed, shuffling back down the foothill towards the waiting speederbikes, Aleho in tow.

“Looks like we’re going out of our way,” Sai instructed, mentally mapping a long, looping path that should...should...keep them out of Tarentum’s sights.

“You mean, more out of our way?” Aleho shot back, tiny hands on her hips. Sai stared at her, amusement creasing the corners of his mouth. She, in that moment, looked far older than her years, and he had to remind himself that the youngster was only young in body, not in experience. “Yes, Aleho. More out of our way. I promise answers are coming.” Mounting his bike, he wagged an admonishing finger at her. “But, mind your elders, child. A hard head makes for a soft rump.”

Aleho smiled as she mounted her own ride. “Finally! You’re loosening up!” She replaced her riding goggles and began to follow Sai, the pair speeding away from the hill.

Shan Long

27-03-2009 15:47:23

FOB Spear
Shadowlands
Adas, Antei



Consummation devoutly to be wished. There hadn't been a true sense of self in so many lifetimes; as if a small part of him had died every minute for the previous span of hours and days. He simply couldn't remember anymore. Cyrus stood on a high precipice overlooking the Grand Army of the Iron Throne, in this region overseen by the Dark Jedi of Clan Tarentum. He might have known this, but truly, he did not. There was no reason left, merely obsession.

There it was, his prize. He raised his hands, and the passion overcame him. Some distance away, fires raged.


Republic-Class Star Destroyer Final Way
Combat Information Center
Antei, High Orbit.



"Urgent communication from the surface sir!" A deck officer flagged Simonetti, who cast eyes at the Viceroy's blue-white form projected from his position on the surface. Lord Sadow looked ill pleased. "Anshar Kahn Tarentae!"

Oh Shavit, Simonetti thought privately. "Lord Sadow?"

"Patch him through." Astronicus replied. Given their last communication, he knew what to expect.

Over the main tactical display, the routine readouts and holograms of battle were replaced by the large form of a blue-white man, rather young for one who claimed such advanced honor. Former Headmaster, and now twice Consul of Clan Tarentum, now hovered enlarged. His youthful disposition betraying rage barely held in check.

"Lord Sadow. I demand to know what this man is doing. He has destroyed yet another of my Clan's transports. This is a Knight? Attacking a Clan? A member of your Clan?"

"Anshar, I have attempted to control him, but I believe him gone insane. Shan Long invaded this warship, and that is who I believe controlling Cyrus Raze." Tron said flatly. He hated the idea of passing off secrets or information from within his Clan, especially to another Clan during times of war, but it could not be helped. He thought of the Dragon, comfortably appointed and likely smoking one of those damned cigars in the brig. Using a pawn to enable strife during such a crucial battle.

"Shan Long is immaterial, Trevarus Caerick was, and is, a crucial ally of Clan Tarentum." Behind Anshar, the monstrous form of the brutal Field Marshall, Maxamillian von Oberst suddenly appeared. Though not saying anything, the tone in Anshar's voice changed at his appearance. "Clan Tarentum is prepared to fire, and to kill, if this conflict does not end immediately. Tarentum out."

Astronicus swore at such volume every ear within of the projector radius turned.

"He's just destroyed another vessel, sir." Simonetti said. He was thankful that a considerable distance seperated him from the Viceroy.

"Alert all commands, we're at war with Clan Tarentum. And kill Cyrus Raze at first sight." Astronicus replied. "And where the hell is Robert Daragon?"



Governor General's Quarters


He dreamed of fire, of a jagged, broken blade whose edges sparkled in the firelight like a thousand stars. He saw it as clearly as a bright lamp. A shimmering orb, forming from thousands of vast fragments joining in a spiralling orbit around a central nexus of three glowing red eyes. Robert was full of hatred, he was consumed by malice. Everything in his life was the burning sword, the broken star. Yet he knew there was a flaw, because he saw it too. A broad curving shield, white and clear as a sun at high noon. He was drawn to it, knew it must be so.

Yet the hate would not end.

There was a knife.... yes... the knife... that would end it all. So crude, so obscene... that would be the perfect end. His hand reached out, closed around it. Through eyes half open he saw it.

Vaguely walked out of his chamber, clothing rumpled from half sleep. Perhaps the officers of the ship thought him drunk, Robert didn't even notice their gaze. There was nothing behind his eyes.

He would end it, he would kill...

Kill...

Laughter flooded the fore of what was left in his conscious mind. He too began laughing, a sputter of spittle flying from his mouth. He laughed as the most insane laugh, cackling a broken voice clutching a knife to his chest.

There it was, the door.

One hand seperated the death-grip on the handle of the blade. It punched the control for the door, which slid open with a whoosh of rushing air. It sat on the bench, as always, facing him, crouched on the edge like a slavering vulture. Its eyes were not glowing, merely the brightest blue with a faint highlight of violet. Yet, as the eyes fell on Robert, the abomination in the center of its forehead opened, filling the small cell with light from hell.

"Greetings, my Apprentice. You see fit to do away with mere pleasantries, and kill me with a simple knife, I see." Shan Long said calmly.

"YOU WILL DIE!" Robert screamed, in a voice that rasped, broken, not his own. The Consul leapt forward, empowered by a rage that was beyond all knowing

"Stop. Do not." Shan Long said, the light fading from the Mark of the Wanderer.

Everything cleared in a sudden moment of recollection. He saw the sword, the great burning sword, the knife clattering to the floor. Robert clutched his now empty hand into a fist. Violent rage, such rage as he had never known in his life.

"You... what are you...?" He wheezed, feeling as if he had not breathed in years.

"I am the answer. You feel it, do you not? The Heretic exists. It has not a body... well... not as we know of it... but it lives, moves, thinks and craves through the bodies of others. Ones close to it. It would overtake me... were it not too painful." Shan Long seemed to end the phrase, as if leaving something important out.

"I imagine Cyrus Raze has already wreaked a fair measure of havoc on the surface?"

"Ye... yes.... How did you know?"

"I know nothing, I see everything, Robert Daragon." The Dragon answered.

"I came here to kill you. This madness is gonna end!" Robert shouted, his eyes casting to where the knife had fallen.

"If you must." Shan Long stretched his head back, exposing his neck. "I am already dead."

Robert grabbed the knife off the floor, grunting as he leapt forward, the blade arcing to the carefully exposed flesh. He felt the madness overtake him again. Yet, he saw a slender line of blood bead across the Dragon's skin, before the knife clattered back to the floor. Robert screamed in frustration.

"You can't kill me, not yet... you still need me." Shan Long said. "You will need me to go to the surface. You will admit that Cyrus Raze is too much for you to handle on your own."

Laughing a bit, the Dragon added: "Much like that knife."

Malisane

28-03-2009 07:08:09

FOB Spear
Shadowlands
Adas, Antei


"Well that was fun," Malisane said as he sat down on a covienient rock and took a bottle from his pack. He took a swig then passed it to Agrist.
The mercenary drank deeply, "This is still about the only thing your ewoks are good for De Ath," he remarked.
"I heard that," Macron called over, "I put a lot of work into them."
Malisane grinned. "We could do with a few hundred of them now, they'd make short work of battle droids."
"Short being the operative word," Agrist added.
"Pass the bottle back," Malisane said and Agrist did so.
"Pass that over," Manji said as he wandered over as Malisane took a deep swig. The Epis knocked it back then flinched slightly, "What is this stuff?"
"Ewok Liquor," Malisane replied.
"What do they do relieve themselves straight into the bottle or do you mature it first?" Manji asked with a grin.
"No one's forcing it down your throat," Malisane replied.
The Epis shrugged and took another long drink, "Well if it's the best you've got I can just about bear it."

"So what's the plan next?" Dyrra asked.
Macron was studying the map along with Agrist, "Well we've held them here so far," he replied, "we ought to receive more instructions from the Council."
"They're bringing up more heavy equipment to support an advance first," Agrist added, "they're not taking any chances. Makes sense."
"It all seems to be going well so far," Malisane said as he wrestled the nearly empty bottle back from the Krath, "long way to go though."
Agrist shrugged, "These things take time if you do it right."

Macron wandered a little way from them as his communicator beeped. "Macron here. He paused listening. "Tarentum, how did that happen?" The others turned their heads curiously. "We haven't seen a thing of him since he landed, didn't even know he was down here."
"Problem?" Malisane asked and Macron nodded, still listening. "Well if we see the little rat we'll detain him," he said darkly. He switched off the communicator. "Guys, we have a problem."

Nekura Manji

28-03-2009 09:21:17

FOB Spear
Shadowlands
Adas, Antei


"Apparently one of our Knights headed planetside and landed right in the middle of the area that Tarentum are taking charge of. Not only that... he killed one of their Dark Jedi and has destroyed several of their transports."

An appalled silence fell as each Sadowan considered the ramifications of such an act. Macron grimaced as he continued.

"Which means that we should expect hostile contact from the Tarenti, as well as the droids and the Lightsiders."

Suddenly a manic grin split the alchemist's face, his eyes wide and awful.

"Don't you just love a challenge?!"

Chuckling quietly, Manji took another swig of the Ewok liquor before passing it back to Malisane, sighing as the alcohol warmed his stomach and started slowly searing his guts. Getting to his feet, the Epis began to pace slowly.

"We should worry about that droid armour first. I doubt Tarentum will direct an attack at us here if it means that we lose this strategic point. I can see Sarin coming down on them like a Hutt on a womp rat if they do. They've got their own objectives, surely."

"Yeah, but that probably won't stop some of their more... 'hot-headed' types deciding to come and ruin our shavit, will it?" Malisane spoke up, his eyes narrow. Turning to face him, the Epis shrugged, a dangerous grin lighting up his face.

"Well, if they do... we'll just have to kill them all, won't we?"

Behind the Epis, Dyrra rolled her eyes as Krandon and Aisha chuckled appreciatively. Giggling himself, Macron smacked the Krath on the shoulder then turned away towards the nearby trenches, all business once more.

"You, Private! Who's in charge of you people?"

Looking around to make sure he was the one being addressed, Tanlem pushed himself out of the trench and saluted smartly at the demented-looking Sith.

"I can take you to the field HQ behind the trenches, General."

"Good, good." Turning back to the other Dark Jedi, Macron waved a hand. "I'll go and get a plan of action sorted out for our defence of this place, you guys get busy with re-fortifying those trenches as best as you can."

As he directed a glare southwards, the Sith's eyes narrowed.

"This place is going to get hotter than Hades fairly soon..."

Macron Sadow

28-03-2009 18:03:46


Field HQ
FOB Spear
Shadowlands
Adas, Antei


Private Tanlem entered the door of the headquarters. No one paid him attention until he coughed. "Ahem, Private Tanlem reporting, Major Hokk sir."

"What is it, Private?" replied a stern greenish-colored Twilek Major wearing the insignia of the Iron Throne. "We're busy here."

"Sir, General Macron here to see you, sir," said Tanlem as he nodded at the door.
The dome's sprayplast door opened. Several soldiers looked up nonchalantly. They saw the tattooed madman coming in the door with red armor and a sanguine cape, and immediately looked sharp. Dark Jedi were never exactly safe to be around.

The Twilek looked surprised. "Ahem. Good to see you, General. My name is..."

"I don't care, Major," interrupted the Sith. "Private Tanlem reports the forces in his area are holding. Show me your tacticals. I'm in charge here now," he ordered with a ominous stare. "Any questions?" The Warlord looked around, yellow eyes peering into the assembled human and alien eyes and appropriate sensory organs. His fingers rested lightly on his lightsaber hilt.

"Er, no Sir," replied Major Hokk with a gulp. "What are your orders?"

"Prepare for the droid armor assault," the Sadow ordered. "Show me the artillery, lay 3HX3 mines here and here," he gestured confidently at the holomap. "Re-load all serviceable missile launchers and group them under the mini-dome. We'll partially open it at random intervals and fire. I want an e-web and whatever cannons you have at those locations . Salvage any weaponry from downed droids, and get some techs hooking it up to fire in fixed positions around the Dark Jedi. Bring me a fresh recon report. Quickly, now."

Macron opened his wrist com as the soldiers bustled about. "Malisane, this is Macron," he canted. "Come in folks."

"Go ahead Mac," replied the Sith's voice. "We're all here."

"Droids will be here anytime. We're bolstering your flanks, so hang tight. Watch the artillery, it'll be dropping right in front of you. If you and Agrist would be so kind as to send Aisha over here, I'd appreciate it."

"Copy that," replied the ex-Imperial with a snort. "Any other good news?"

"Yes. Our rogue Dark Jedi is nearby," he hissed. "Only with the Mark would I have felt his presence. I know him from before. I should have killed him then like I wished, but it was forbidden. Even so... be prepared."

Xanos

28-03-2009 18:21:29

AT-OT Black Storm One
The Shadowlands, en route to FOB Spear from the west
Western Adas, Antei


The black desert of Adas stretched out as far as Lieutenant Colonel Torin Lester could see. In the distance, red flashes of light lit the horizon where mortal shells landed or starfighters exploded on impact. Each flash was probably accompanied by a blast, but he could not make out every sound. In the middle of the battle field, all he heard was a continuous numbing drone, his ears phased out to the explosions, the whistles, and, most of all, the screams of war. The only noise he seemed to be aware of was the rhythmic clunk clank clunk clank as the 2nd Battalion of the 8th Mechanized made its way across the desert, a seemingly haphazard assortment of APCs, AT-OTs, AT-STs, and AT-RTs.

‘Colonel,’ Sulen Rhane said as she emerged from the underbelly of the open topped walker to join him in looking out at the surrounding scenery—though the word perhaps said more about Antei than it deserved; wasteland was more appropriate; Shadowlands truly fit it well.

‘Yes, Major?’

He didn’t bother turning around, instead keeping his attention fixed to the numerous battles in the far distance. Forward Operating Base Spear may have been their objective, but one never knew when knowing something of the surrounding theatres might be of use. He could just make out the occasional flashes of fire as UT-ATs from III Legion shelled the advancing droid ranks further south. In the opposite direction, armor divisions from I Legion moved northward, pushing toward FOB Anvil at the base of Mount Ashfire. That was something he could see from this far out. The Shadowlands may have been bleak, but the Du’san Boundary was alight with fire at all times—and mighty Ashfire breathed fire in the distance like the mouth of a great black dragon.

‘I have an urgent transmission from Lord Sadow,’ she answered. ‘I believe you will want to see this personally.’

Those were words he never much liked to hear. It usually meant something had gone wrong. Not that war often went right. ‘Patch it through.’

A blue-white ghost of the senior Dark Jedi General assigned to direct II Legion’s operation appeared next to Sulen. The older man’s face looked close enough to durasteel that Torin was surprised when Astronicus finally spoke. ‘Colonel Lester. Be advised we have a hostile Dark Jedi at large bearing Dlarit Corporation insignia. If he is encountered, your forces are to shoot to kill.’

That was not what Torin had been expecting. A rogue general? The lesser Dark Ones were known to play their hand at the most naive and ignorant of times—but in the middle of a live warzone? He suppressed his instinctive response to point out how thick headed one of this Astronicus’s people could be to try something right then—

‘I understand your sentiments,’ Astronicus said dryly. ‘But do not think this act was sanctioned by me or any of my men.’

Torin straightened, gulping as he realised the other man had been somehow reading his thoughts, even across such vast distances. ‘Understood, my lord,’ he said slowly. ‘We will be on the lookout.’

‘And, Colonel,’ Astronicus added, his voice turned very cold all of a sudden. ‘If I ever catch you thinking those thoughts again, you can expect to find yourself relieved of your command rather sooner than you intended. Sadow out.’

The hologram dissipated. Neither Torin nor Sulen spoke as they left each other to their thoughts, only the cla-clunk cla-clunk as the walkers made their way across the desert keeping either of them from drifting off completely.

Armoured Assault Tank
The Shadowlands, approaching FOB Spear from the east
Central Adas, Antei


Looking out from his position within the main turret of his AAT, TX-54 stared west at the nearing enemy position. His memory banks had little information about these "Dark Jedi", but what little he had downloaded prior to the commencement of the battle provided him all he required: they were known to be arrogant and overconfident.

That was exactly what he saw right then: they had no armour, only a minimal number of hastily erected turrets, and at best perhaps a hundred men remaining. Had he the necessary humour protocols installed, the tactical droid would probably have laughed. Instead, he merely opened a channel to the rest of his tank division:

'TX-54 to all units,' he said in the typically bland voice common to all battle droids. 'Prepare to engage the enemy.'

He looked around, focusing his photo receptors on his division's varied assortment of spider walkers and droids, mortal tanks, Hailfire tanks, snail tanks, and annihilator droids, along with more AATs as well as other forces, all of which were slaved to his command. His head swivelled back to focus on the enemy trenches and his photo receptors flashed. Somewhere deep in his data bank, a fragment of unrecognised ghost code stirred in his memory processing unit:

'Ha ha. Ha ha. Ha ha.'

Zaxen Dauketrenal

29-03-2009 10:21:56

Somewhere in the Shadowlands
Adas, Antei


Zaxen and his partner Kalei had landed and hidden their starfighters with out incident, but incidents were not easily bypassed on Antei. Keeping low Kalei and Zaxen made their way around a bluff that would overlook the crash site where Zaroth had gone down. Pulling out a pair of thermal binoculars Zaxen began scanning the area around the smoking hulk that had once been an X-wing while Kalei attempted raising Zaroth again on her comlink.

"He's not answering." Kalei said after a minute of attempts.

"He's probably hunkered down somewhere, or you might be getting interference from the terrain." Zaxen replied while continuing to scan.

Kalei closed her eyes and called out in the Force and widened her senses. "I can feel that he is out there but he isn't answering me back." Her heart began to feel a dull ache and her skin became clammy as all the doubts began to rush in. "I hope he is allright."

"He's fine." Zaxen said. "Stay focused."

Kalei nodded taking a deep breath and steeling herself once more.

Zaxen widened his search and began to notice several 'blips' come in through the heat spectrum viewer. "It would seem the droids have noticed Zaroth's immaculate landing ." Lower the binoculars and handing them to Kalei he began to do a few calculations in his head.

"Judging from the time of the crash, the terrain, and his abilities provided he is not injured he could be anywhere within a five mile radius." Zaxen said as Kalei began doing her own scan.
"That's almost eighty square miles to cover." He continued. "I just hope the boy was smart enough to leave us a clue. We better go check the crash site those droids will be on us soon."

Kalei got up handing the binoculars back to Zaxen and together they made their way down the bluff. Guided with the Force the two Sadowan Knights made for the crash site with all the speed they could gather. A few minutes later they stood before the bonfire of Incom metal works, hydraulics, fuel, and power cells.

Kalei scanned the horizon and could just start to make out the faint glint of metal on the horizon. "I don't think we have much time. Looks like they are certianly headed this way."
Zaxen nodded in silence as he rummaged through bits and pieces of the wreckage. He made a full circuit of the misshapen vessel but found nothing.

Zaxen's brow furrowed as he began searching for possibilities. He began playing out scenarios and different routes the Jedi Hunter may have taken. He calculated the best routes versus the time it would take to search as well as evade the oncoming droids. What he did not calculate was the Vulture droid that flew over head and strafed the crash site with blaster fire.

Before Kalei could finish her warning Zaxen was on the move, leaping to the side, rolling and bounding to his feet before launching himself behind a nearby rock. Kalei twisted her body, jumped and evaded in midair as the blast erupted. She landed hard from the shock wave and rolled to her side before getting up and running to the rock where Zaxen had taken cover.

The heavy metal clank of battledroids could be heard and were much closer now, closer than they should have been. As if on cue the first wave of B1s appeared just over a hill. Zaxen waisted no time and ignited his sunlit blade and flew into his metal clad enemies. Kalei brought her own weapon to life casting a light blue elegance and circled to the left for a flanking attack.

All seemed to be going well but incidents on Antei would not go unheard. Another unit of B1s supplemented with Supers were just now coming into range from around the far side of the ship, which would have been where they had come from. Zaxen took note of this and was confused at how so many were appearing and how they had escaped notice. The situation had become desperate.

"Kalei we have to fall back. We can not hold them all!" Zaxen shouted over the sparks, blasts and the unmistakable roar of lightsabers.

"Fall back where?" Kalei yelled back in frustration. "They seem to be coming up from the ground!"

A vulture droid was making another pass and Zaxen let his ethereal fingers in the Force touch its smooth hull. It was a risk but he had to take the chance. Zaxen continued to beat back the battle droid force but took on a more defensive posture. As the Vulture droid made its strafing run Zaxen rolled quickly and hurled his lightsaber guided by the Force at its 'head'.

The arcing yellow blade sliced through the cpu in the droids brain and its aerodynamic hulk became a mass of potential, destructive force. With a flick of his hand Zaxen sent a violent push in the Force to redirect what remained of the droid into the largest concentration of battledroids.
The effect was glorious. The loud screeching cries of the vulture were followed by a barrage of explosions as it impacted the surface of Adas.

While the Zaxen's ploy had worked it had not staved the attack of the battledroids, it only provided a small opportunity to escape. It was an opportunity they would not get. Zaxen now unarmed only had his physical abilities and the Force to defend himself and while he was more than capable, he was simply overwhelmed. The blaster bolt struck him in the left shoulder and sent him reeling into the ground. Black, dry soil from Adas filled his mouth and soon became mud as he attempted to spit.

Kalei turned in shock to see Zaxen had taken a hit. He had always been so quick and graceful, always able to handle any situation that was thrown at him. She had always had the delusion that with Zaxen around everything would just work out. It was not working out. Vicious doubts clawed at her mind and her goals became unclear. She began to lose ground.

Zaxen scrambled to his feet as his face took on a visage of quiet rage and his eyes flashed the cold, glowing blue that his infused Isradia blood had granted him. The Force raged around him as he sent waves of energy towards his opponents. His mind searched for his weapon but he could not find it. Something was wrong, too terribly wrong.

"What is going on?" he thought to himself.

Isradia's answer came with the familiar snap hiss of his own lightsaber. He turned his head towards the source of the sound and saw a robed figure holding Zaroth's unconscious form by his neck and the yellow blade across his throat.

"Stand down." The figure called out. The droids responded by holding fire and surrounded the two Dark Jedi.

"Your Lightsaber miss." The robed figure nodded towards Kalei.

Kalei hesitated a moment before extinguishing the blade and throwing the hilt at the feet of the mysterious figure.

Zaxen could feel the Force radiating off the man and all the pieces of the puzzle had fallen into place. It had been a trap and Zaxen and Kalei had walked right into it. Zaxen began to wonder why they were not dead and it dawned on him that there was something more sinister in store for not only the trio but possibly the brotherhood. They were taking prisoners.

In a desperate hope Zaxen sent out a call he had not used since his days in training. "Mistress..."
It was a simple message, with a simple intent. Jade would understand its meaning. Zaxen only hoped that the figure before him was not strong enough to drown out his call.

JadeSadow

29-03-2009 13:29:03

FOB Spear
Shadowlands
Adas, Antei

Jade stood in silence watching the guys drink the ewok liquor. Her back against a wall as if she was melting into it. The battle had been a fierce one, nothing they couldn’t handle but it was defiantly a well deserved break. The beeping of Macrons communicator peeked her interest and she raised her eyes to listen. A problem…hmm a rouge Dark Jedi now this could certainly be interesting in deed. She watched as Macron disappeared, no doubt to go and kick some ass, reminding the troops of who was in charge.

Sighing mentally she followed Malisane and Manji in suit to help refortify the trenches. The dust and small rocks following the wind and erry calm before the battle nearly took her attention away from the faint call. It was there, soft and in need. Mistress…

Jade stopped dead in her tracks. Zaxen hadn’t used their connection like that in along time, and something was trying to block him from sending it. He was wounded it was easy to feel the tainted streak in his energy, he had been captured. As his master she wasn’t going to allow him to be taken. Rumors had it there was Dark Jedi being turned towards the light. She had trained Zaxen well and knew he wouldn’t go that route, but she wasn’t going to let him die. Besides it would really be a pain in the ass to find another Roll Master for Marka Ragnos, not to mention the overlord losing his black guard. If she remembered correctly Zaxen and Kalei had been on a mission to go and save Zaroth. Jade smirked, Zaroth had always been in the middle of action, he had helped them greatly in the House war, though she often wondered if he ever healed from Derev’s wrath, and if he still held true to the oath he had given her. She sighed mentally. Zaxen was strong and wouldn’t give into the light side tricks, but Zaorth and Kalei were still young and inexperienced in the ways of war, not to mention the love for one another could easily be turned against the pair.

She turned towards Manji, who was the closest to her. “We have another problem?” The epis looked at her with an ‘fantastic, just what we need’ look. “A couple of our people have been taken prisioner.”

Malisane

29-03-2009 18:27:22

FOB Spear
Shadowlands
Adas, Antei


Malisane sat back thoughtfully and drank the last of the liquor, throwing the bottle casuallly into a nearby fire. "So lets get this straight, some Knight has attacked Tarentum's forces, and a couple of journeymen have been abducted?"
"Glad you're up to date with events De Ath," Agrist said sarcastically. "you have any suggestions?"
"We could see if there's any more drink around here and have a barbeque."
Jaden gave him a suprised look, "Are you serious?"
Malisane shrugged. "Whatever this knight has done is youthful high spirits, so he had a pop at Tarentum? We'd have done the same when we were knights. As for the other two Jade I'd message your rollmaster and have him amend the roster."
Jade gave him a hard look. "One of them is my rollmaster."

Agrist nodded. "We ought to affect a rescue, if nothing else to save the embrassment especially if Taldryan or Scholae stumble on them by accident and do the job for us."
"Agreed," Manji added, "anyway I seem to recall we dug you out of the mire with Severak Malisane, twice."
"Fair enough," Malisane replied quietly, not happy to be reminded of this. He looked up and saw Agrist was giving him an amused and unpleasant grin.
"So who goes?" Agrist asked them all, "it will kill the boredom waiting for Taldryan to show their faces so I'm in." He looked at the rest of them.
"Me as well I suppose," Malisane agreed, "anyone else?"

Ashura

30-03-2009 07:29:01

TR-MB Okemi One
II Legion Mobile TAC HQ
Adas Landing Zone
Antei


Ashura didn't like how the situation was turning at the FOB Spear. A message from Jade brought news that his Knighted apprentice, Kalei, and his brother, Zaxen, had been taken prisoner. The logical situation would be to go and rescue them, but Isradia had responsibilities and two lives over that of the clan were in the end... expendable.

"My lord, permission to join our forces at the Spear, if some of our forces are going to rescue our captured comrades then someone with command authority will be needed to help hold that position."

The Overlord looked at Proconsul and nodded his head. "So be it, Ashura. Go." The Battlelord bowed and departed the command deck. He mounted a speeder bike and shot out across the darkness of Antei. Carnage and death rained all around him, yet the Force aided him in his flight.

Droids clashed with Iron Throne forces like two tidal waves smashing together, spraying blood and shards of metal in every direction. Cuts began to form over Ashura's body; the Sith welcomed the pain... he fed from it. The Dark Side was roaring inside him as droids exploded from unseen forces before him, clearing the way to his destination.

FOB Spear
Shadowlands
Western Antei


"Ashura is coming," said Manji as he sensed the Dark Side signature of the Proconsul approaching. The roar of the speeder bike could be heard as it grew louder and louder. The bike itself had been damaged as it approached, smoke could be seen from it.

Isradia leaped from the vehicle as it crashed into a few droids, he landed a few feet away from the others, his crimson saber flaring to life and he brought it down onto the enemy forces. With a quick dash he was with the others.

"I cannot afford to many of you going after our people," he said sternly as he looked at them. "We need to hold this position otherwise we won't re-take Antei. Our people understand what is at risk, we wont abandon them but the mission needs to completed. So I suggest only two of you to go after them."

Malisane

30-03-2009 11:07:30

Command Post D9
Adas Region
Antei


The Quarren studied the three Sadowite journeymen quietly, sat back comfortably in his chair. Around the room droid soldiers guarded them with blasters, and two robed jedi flanked the door. Gelusk looked around him. “Leave us, all of you.”
One of the Jedi looked surprised. “You wish to be alone with them Master?”
Gelusk gave them a blank stare. “That was my instruction.”
With another glance at the Master the jedi left the room, the droids following silently.
Gelusk leaned forward in his chair. “I thank you for joining me,” he said quietly.
Zaxen returned his look coolly. “You gave us little choice.”
“I apologise if you were roughly treated,” the Quarren replied, “however you are unharmed, and unrestrained.” This was true, their sabers and weapons had been removed when they had been captured but there were no binders or chains present.
“So what do you want with us?” Zaroth demanded, “we will tell you nothing.”
Gelusk gave him a slightly bored look, “Your forces are gathered thirty miles from here, your fleet is in orbit, and allied force is making it’s way towards your own with the intention of advancing in strength. Is there anything you could tell me?”
Zaxen privately admitted there wasn’t. “So what do you want with us?”
“It should be obvious,” Gelusk replied, “we need good new recruits. The three of you have potential and unlike your senior members are not too far gone for reform. We have much to offer you. Join us.”


Agrist sat in the pilots chair of the small shuttle glancing curiously behind him occasionally to where the other Battlelord was working on the engine. “You sure you know what you’re doing?”
“Just keep circling the waypoints I’m fine.” Malisane replied, “I could do this with my eyes closed.”
“What exactly is going to happen?” the mercenary asked.
“I’ve explained this,” Malisane replied, “the first shot we take around the engine area is going to trigger it to blow. It will look like a fluke hit. Lot’s of smoke and just enough remaining thrust for you to crashland convincingly.
“What happens if they score an actual fluke shot on us, given the shields are down and you’ve weakened the armour?”
Malisane considered this for a moment. “Well in that case we might get to meet Sadow and Kressh and go for a drink.” He turned as an alarm began to go off. “It’s starting.”

All went as planned, as soon as the engine blew out Agrist guided the craft down to the ground in a trail of smoke and flames and dug a groove in the ground below. The two Sith lay on the floor beneath the growing smoke and went into half trances. A few minutes later they heard the door being lasered open and metal feet hitting the cabin floor. Metal hands roughly dragged them out of the craft and along the floor. They did not resist as their sabers were taken from them. They lay there quietly half conscious.
“Are they alive?” a human voice asked about
“Yes sir,” a droid answered, “their life signs are weak but stable. They have sustained no physical injuries.
Malisane felt the touch of the force lightly on him, and then the voice said. “You will stand.”
With exaggerated slowness the two Sith got to their feet. Malisane surveyed their surroundings. About twenty droids covered them with blasters, and a robed figure stood in front of them. Malisane gently probed the Jedi’s mind. He was reasonably strong, but not to the level of either equite. He also gave off waves of arrogance.
He's a flunkey, I could snap his neck and those of his droids saber or no saber,” Agrist’s voice said in his mind.
That’s not the plan,” Malisane replied.

The Jedi studied them, “Do not make any rash moves,” the Jedi told them imperiously, “these droids will shoot you down at a hint of threat.”
“Very well,” Malisane replied calmly.
“Who are you?”
“What we seem,” the Battelord replied. He studied the Jedi. He had a hint of nervousness about him but he was trying to cover it with the arrogant performance.
“Sith,” the Jedi surmised, “you have come to rescue our prisoners?”
This guy is good,” Agrist pulsed, “he’s managed to tell you they have the journeymen without you even asking. Keep going he’ll give you their entire battleplan in a minute.”
Malisane resisted a smile. “We may have,” he replied gently pushing the Jedi’s mind, “We have much to discuss. Take us to your leader.”

JadeSadow

30-03-2009 18:30:30

FOB Spear
Shadowlands
Western Antei


Jade was thrilled to see Ashura arrive on the scene, she hadn’t seen him since the interesting bet battles back on the Final Way. But she didn’t have time to have long hellos. She didn’t like this idea of only two people going to rescue Zaxen, Kalei and Zaroth. She knew them all well and though she had a duty to her Clan and House, these three were members of her Clan and House. Besides with Ashura around he could oversee things.

Ashura looked around taking stalk of those around the grounds and turned to a near by trooper. “Where is Marka Ragnos Aedile Jade?”

A Near by trooper spoke up quickly hoping to absolve any situation the PCON might throw out there. “I saw her head off with the other Dark Jedi sir.”

Ashura rubbed his forehead. Jade and he were practically brother and sister, he understood why she would go off to rescue Zaxen and the others, but was not happy about possibly loosing an Aedile in his Clan, let alone another family member.

Command Post D9
Adas Region
Antei


Jade moved slowly in the belly of the shuttle, whoever had been piloting out of the two needed to take some more lessons. She blinked till the cabin was in focus and noticed the door had been cut open, moving slowly to the edge she saw Malisane and Agrist surrounded by droids talking to some idiot. She smiled slightly, realizing the droids hadn’t been able to sense her. She had no real body heat; due to the fact her heart beat was pretty much non existent, which in essence made them useless. The Dark Jedi were removed of their sabers, she could see the hilts resting safely within the clutches of the one thinking he had the upper hand, he truly had no idea who he was dealing with. Jade looked around and counted the droids there were far too many for her to be able to act alone, she would have to wait. It worried her slightly the two men were moving slowly, though she could say the same, it took a lot of energy to hold the view of the shuttle into focus.

Jade was tempted to send the Dark Jedi a message she was near but figured it might get picked up on in her condition and theirs. She moved to get out of the possible line of view as the troop started walking when her head spun causing her to slip, the metal deck resounding her ungraceful fall to the floor. Jade groaned mentally and as she went to stand up felt something metal grab her and pull her out from the shuttle, the dusty ground running beneath her as she was suddenly tossed at the feet of the idiot she saw talking to Malisane and Agrist. The Jedi looked down at her as her light sabers were stripped from her sides. He looked back at the droid. “What the hell is this? I thought you said there were only two life forms!”

“There are only two sir.”

“How can there be only two, when we clearly have a third?”

“She doesn’t have a heart beat sir.”

The Jedi looked slightly flustered as he forced Jade to stand, and then looked back at the droid. “How can she not have a heart beat?! Clearly she is alive; you must be damaged and are of no further use to me.” Jade glanced over at Malisane and Agrist noticing they looked a little shocked, she wondered if they knew anything of her little secret or not. The Jedi summoned up the force and pushed the droid back against a rock the thing smashing into pieces. He waved his hand to the others. “Search that shuttle again; make sure no one else is on it.”

“Yes sir.” Three droids turned back towards the ship.

Jade fell back with Malisane and Agrist as they began a slow move to wherever the Jedi was taking them. She couldn’t help but wonder where Sai was in all this, his offer to help show her the ropes. She smirked, and then felt the dimmed yet still powerful mental connection from Malisane.

Jade what in the forces name are you doing here?!

I couldn’t let you guys do all the work, besides, never send a man to do a woman’s work.

Nekura Manji

31-03-2009 13:45:29

FOB Spear
Shadowlands
Western Antei


A thumping noise echoed across the base. Some troopers looked up curiously, unsure of the source of the noise. It sounded again, a deep boom reverberating across the landscape.

The droid armoured division was upon them.

In the next moment, Manji, Ashura, Tsingtao and Joseem sensed the impending danger. The skies erupted with cannonfire as the Equites and the Journeymen leapt towards their hastily-erected barricades, turning to view the outstretched ranks of droid armoured troops emerging over the hill to the east of the base. Artillery shook the ground as shouts rang out across FOB Spear, the troopers taking cover against the barrage before the mini-dome slipped open, a flurry of missiles bursting outwards to crash into the enemy lines.

Explosions erupted from the ground all around and in front of the Dark Jedi as they reached into the Force, linking their powers together to concentrate and focus the minds of every soldier in the base on the approaching enemy. E-web cannons opened fire as the droid armour drew within range, gliding and rolling ever closer. Suddenly, at several points across the enemy line, huge explosions shook the earth as the 3HX3 mines leapt from the ground to devastate several of the snail tanks. Smoke gushing from them, two of the tanks collapsed into the ranks of battledroids around them.

A cheer went up around FOB Spear that was quickly silenced as the Hailfire tanks continued to bombard their positions, great fountains of black soil shooting into the air every time a shot missed its mark. Leaning across and raising his voice above the chaos, Manji shouted into Ashura's ear.

"We need to do something about those Hailfire tanks, they'll wipe us out before our armour gets here!"

Suddenly the mini-dome behind them slid open again, another fusillade of missiles arcing out to crash down onto the line of Hailfire tanks. One of the vehicles shuddered as the missiles smashed against it before exploding violently, sending components in a wide circle around it.

AT-OT Black Storm One
The Shadowlands, en route to FOB Spear from the west
Western Adas, Antei


Lowering the electrobinoculars, Torin growled deep in his throat. The droids had beaten them to it; in the dim light of the Shadowlands he could just see the Forward Operating Base and the droid tanks advancing on it. Turning away, the Lieutenant Colonel waved a hand at his second-in-command.

"Sulen, find out if there's any way we can increase our speed. I don't want that base to be destroyed by the time we get there!"

Leaning forwards as Sulen saluted smartly and strode away, Torin felt his hands tightening around the railing in front of him.

Almost there, you bastards.

Malisane

31-03-2009 17:48:33

Somewhere in the darkness
Adas
Antei


The speeder skimmed over the dark rocks of Antei. In the open back the three Sadowites sat in the light coming from the cockpit, where the Jedi sat next to a droid pilot. All three sat on the cold metal, arms pinned behind the backs by restraints, and two droids were perched at the back covering them with blasters. Behind them a larger droid transport followed, the only thing visible in the darkness.
Jade sat back against the metal side, keeping her face neutral. She was apprehensive. Whatever the two equites had planned seemed to have gone badly wrong. She glanced at them from the corner of her eye. Agrist sat with his one eye staring blankly towards the stars above. He had not reacted when the droids had cuffed them, and had meekly entered the speeder and sat down. She did not know him really, he was somewhat of an enigma in the Clan. She knew his past, or as much of it as anyone did. She knew by reputation that he was reliable, and had treated her with the same brusk formality as any other Clan member whether journeyman or elder. Whatever he was thinking now was anyones guess.
She focused on Malisane now. Oddly enough he too had accepted their restraints without protest, meerly a calm acceptance. He was vastly different from Agrist. He was erratic, sometimes friendly and other times indifferent to those around him. Rumours persisted about some of his activities, but the truth was only to be guessed at. She didn't know what to make of him. She found him hard to trust.

He turned his head slightly and his gaze met hers. "Your actions are foolish," his voice said in her mind, "you and the others were ordered to remain behind. You have disobeyed."
She met his gaze cooly. "Think back to when you were an Aedile. Did you remain behind?"
His gaze flickered slightly, and she knew she'd scored a point. "That was a long time ago," he replied. "things change."
"I did what I had to do," she told him, "I have a duty."
"If this goes badly this is the last duty you will perform Aedile," he replied, "has it not occured to you we face some considerable danger ahead?."
"Ashura would not have allowed you to go if he thought you would fail."
A slight smile touched Malisane's lips, unoticable by the droid guards, "You have no idea," he replied.
"So tell me," she insisted.
"Does it not seem odd to you?" he replied, "The Pro Consul is willing to risk two Battelords to rescue a Hunter and two Knights at the height of the war? We are dispensible."
"How?" she asked, surprised.
"Agrist is still not entirely trusted. The former True Brotherhood strategist, follower of Severina and Anaxela, destroyer of our forces on Tarthos during the invasion, recruited into the Clan at saber point by Darth Vexatus himself. He is talented in command and strategy, strong in the force, and over a time when Summits have come and gone he is not a Consul, or a Quaestor, or even an Aedile? He is capable as any of them, but instead they shove him onto a destroyer as nursemaid. He will never be entirely trusted. He knows it. For various reasons neither will I be anymore. I doubt many in either house would shed a tear at our deaths. So yes we are disposable and Ashura has allowed us to take this risk."

She paused, considering all this. "So how big is the risk?" she asked.
"So far all goes according to plan, but we are going into the unknown, we have no idea how many Jedi we will face at our destination, though I do not think many, we have seen none fighting just these damn droids."
She nodded slightly, a move covered by the occasional shake of the speeder. "So how do you rate our chances?"
"Better than even, which is as good as they have ever been. I intend for us to walk out of there alive having delivered a bloody nose to the enemy. We shall see. Between the three of us if we are to die we'll go out in a blaze of glory."
Somehow this did not comfort her. Ahead lights could be seen, a large compound was becoming visible out of the darkness.
"Take us down," she heard the Jedi say, "the Master will reward me for these captives."

Macron Sadow

31-03-2009 21:56:46

FOB Spear Operations HQ
Shadowlands
Western Antei


Cheering was heard in the bunker. "Karked them good," laughed Major Hokk as he clapped the Sith on the back. Aisha Qifaxa winced as she ordered the missile batteries to fire again.

The entire room went dead silent as Macron removed the offending appendage from his shoulder like a filthy parasite and dropped the man's hand. "Do that again Major," he warned, "and let's just say you won't be playing fiddle anymore." His fingers flexed angrily inside black gloves.

The Major nodded with a gulp. He turned back to the readouts with beads of sweat dripping down his face.

"And stop cheering all of you!" the Warlord screamed angrily. "They have lots more tanks! Do you understand? Some of our people are going to DIE out there! Now get back to work!"

Aisha spoke up. "More snail tanks coming up behind the main arrays. Those Hailfires are giving us bloody hell," she commented. "My Dad mentioned a battle like this back in the Clone Wars."

"Your dad was in the Clone Wars?" replied Macron as he directed the artillery to prepare for firing with gestures. "Mines and wreckage will stall them in front. Hit them with more missile fire, and walk the artillery up from behind. Begin direct-fire barrage with laser cannons," he giggled. "I never had a dad."

"Yes, he fought on the Republic side," she beamed. "He said it's best to flank the crawlers. By the way, we have incoming friendlies from the West."

Macron nodded, deep in thought. "Still going to be a hell of a crapshoot with those Hailfires. Major, tell your men to begin firing artillery," he ordered. "I'm going to go help with the hoop-tanks. Commander Aisha, you are in charge until relieved by myself or a superior." Macron stood up with purpose in his eyes. "Get me as much detonite in throw-packs as you can, and some simple flip-switches."

As the Warlord left the bunker door, he opened a comlink channel. "Manji-sama, I'm on my way," he yelled. "I'll bring some party favors from the kitchen. Let them come to you, we'll be shelling them in the rear, heh heh." Well, at least I helped them get it together and fight, he thought as he strode to a waiting hoversled. And Aisha's got the right training to do well- she won't take any pudu from that imbecile Hokk.

Nekura Manji

01-04-2009 07:05:30

AT-OT Black Storm One
FOB Spear
Shadowlands
Western Antei


"Commander Sulen, open fire!"

A hail of red death seared from the guns of the 8th Mechanized as they drew within range, laser cannons exploding into life. Loping across the ground, the AT-RTs hurled their mortars up into the air, a line of explosions opening up amongst the droid tanks. Battlecries shrouded the base as the armoured division moved in, the droid tanks transferring their fire to this new threat as the battledroids wheeled and reformed their ranks. From his position in the AT-OT, Torin shouted orders above the din, his men leaning their guns over the edge of the open-topped walker to begin picking off the nearby battledroids.

As Black Storm One moved past the fortified position that Manji and Ashura occupied, Macron's hoversled surged through the chaos, the alchemist beckoning to the two Equites.

"Grab those speeders and let's go take care of that long-range artillery, shall we?!"

Leaping to their feet, the Equites each grabbed a pack full of detonite, Manji passing another couple of packs back to Krandon, Dyrra, Conad and Ekeia. Macron leapt from the hoversled, heading purposefully towards the speeder bikes which had been parked nearby and had barely managed to avoid harm from the artillery barrage. Leaping onto his, the Sith gunned the engine and grinned wickedly.

"Follow me, keep your wits about you, and get ready to launch this detonite at those Hailfire tanks."

A chorus of nods was his response as the assembled Equites and Journeymen mounted up, activating their own bikes. With a high-pitched whine, Macron jolted forwards, the bike stuttering slightly before gliding into swift motion away from FOB Spear, the others following him. Battledroids thronged the ground before them, heaps of useless metal lying where the droids had been destroyed. The remaining droids, however, turned at the sound of speeder bikes, bringing their weapons to bear. Lightsabers shot to life in their owners hands, blaster bolts deflected away harmlessly or smashed back towards their owners. Tearing through the loose ranks of battledroids, the Dark Jedi headed for the line of Hailfire tanks that sat some distance from FOB Spear, their guns jolting heavily as they loosed destructive energy on the base.

Suddenly Macron sent a telepathic message to the others, his mental voice sounding somewhat discomforted.

Shavit. Guys, annihilator droids up ahead...

Swiftly, two annihilators turned to face the approaching Sadowans from their position beside the nearest Hailfire tank, their shields shooting up as they opened fire. Lightsabers shot up to defend their wielders as the Dark Jedi split up, gliding speedily outwards, forcing the droids to turn to keep them all in view. Glancing across at Macron, Manji responded to him with a message of his own.

We can take one of them. Get as close as you can and blast it's front legs away, I'll do the rest.

Nodding, Macron gunned his speeder bike forwards as the annihilator turned to face him. Leaping from the bike, the alchemist landed before the droid, seizing the Dark Side. A wave of telekinetic force smashed into the front legs of the droid, knocking them away and dropping the droid forwards, its laser cannons pointing uselessly at the floor. The annihilators shields dropped as it struggled to right itself.

Then Manji struck, driving his speeder forward towards the droid. At the last minute, the Epis yanked the bike to a halt, leaping off it and smashing saber-first into the annihilator droid's chest, his silver blade penetrating the robot's photoreceptor deeply. Tearing his weapon free, the Epis sprinted away from the sparking droid and back to his bike, pulling away from the annihilator as it exploded with a roar. Debris from the explosion pelted the other annihilator which had been turning in circles trying to target the Journeymen and Ashura.

Staggering slightly from the force of the blast, the remaining annihilator failed to notice the Proconsul directing his bike towards it. Diving from the speeder at the last moment, Ashura landed like a cat as the bike smashed heavily into the annihilator and exploded, overloading the droids shields. As they dropped, Ashura hurled his saber towards the annihilator, guiding it with the Force into the droid's sensor. The second annihilator struggled upright, trying to continue the fight- until its power core exploded violently.

Helping Ashura onto the back of his speeder, Macron waved a hand towards the Hailfire tanks which had continued their bombardment, oblivious to the battle going on next to them.

"Get that detonite fitted to those tanks, quickly!"

Alexander

01-04-2009 23:55:26

FOB Spear
Shadowlands
Western Antei


The two storm troopers continue to lay down fire as they moved around, to cover one of the “Foxtrot-Uniforms moved around ahead of them. They watched as the other Brotherhood members packed tanks with detonate.

“Shouldn’t we be out there helping them do that?” Valorian asks slight confused

“I suppose so.. “ Xander said with a shrug. “But they seem to have everything under control so far.”

“But if you really want, let’s get into the action. I suppose just acting like some normal troops Is getting a little boring.” Xander said stripping his helmet and dropping it next to him. He holstered his weapon as headed out to get closer to the action. Taking action Xander headed towards the forward arrays, to where the snail tanks were. Xander looked around and headed over to find someone to speak to.

“Keep an eye out for your master while you are looking” he said over his should to Valorian as they walked through the lines. Thus far Xander had most acted in a supporting role. While the battle raged he helped by providing cover fire and such. Now was the time to take action. Spotting a figure wielding a lightsaber he headed in that direction.

“Xander, where have you been?” Ashura asked as her eyes searched over the area.

“I’ve been around.” The Priest said with a shrug.


“Well get busy, theres lots to do” he replied heading back in to the fray

Xanos

02-04-2009 11:33:51

FOB Spear
Shadowlands
Western Adas


The battlefield exploded with dancing wails and multicoloured rainbows as mortal shells and mass drivers and plasma rays swept across FOB Spear in a hurricane of confusion. Colonel Lester barked orders across comm channels to platoon leaders who could not hear him, and fire rained down on both flanks as lines of droid artillery and rancor sized exoskeletons crashed into one other. Teams of prancing AT-RTs charged through the slow lumbering hover tanks, springing and crushing them beneath their mechanized feet as crimson lances fired from their chins in rapid succession to leave nothing but smoking hulks.

‘Bravo, Third Platoon: proceed on the northern quarter! Flank those advancing Hailfire tanks!’
‘Charlie, Alpha Platoon: proceed on the southern perimeter! Halt those spider walkers before they overrun our position!’
‘Alpha Company: advance on the central force. Bring those mortal tanks down!’

Loud pummelling echoed from the west, flash after flash of anti-aircraft fire as the advancing lines from the forward beachhead held off further swarms of attack droids. Across the Forward Operating Base, every other hundred metres a crater opened in ash and flame as another tri-fighter crashed out of the air, bounding across the battlefield in a burning fireball of molten lead and debris, paying no heed whether it slammed past friend or foe.

Amidst the ranks of Jedi-allied battle droids, TX-54 issued commands as his processing computer instructed; cold, arrogant artificial voice echoing above the chaos, multiplied through a hundred other command droids as they relayed his instructions in clean and clinical precision, without emotion, without empathy, without feeling.

‘All forces advance. Target forward command post. Fire.’

With no concern for his own units, the tactical droid sent row after row to certain dismantling. Theirs was to do or be destroyed. There was no purpose beyond the one protocol for which they had been built: combat. Droidekas rolled across the battlefield, encompassing mortal tanks as they unwound, taking up position to defend their heavier cousins.

Throughout the cluttered ranks of flesh and metal lethal plasma rays of various colours spun in fluid patterns as the veteran teams of Sith and Dark Jedi danced among the advancing metal hordes, returning fire and waving descending mortars to land at other destinations.

On the bridge of an AT-OT, the blue hologram of General Lord Sadow shimmered like a ghost; however his face weathered a hard expression as he remained fixed firmly in one very real reality.

‘Colonel Lester, status update,’ the Sith prince asked coolly.

‘Droids are advancing... in heavy numbers, my lord.’ the Colonel snarled, his AT-OT rocked by yet a further explosion from a wayward mortal shell. ‘We're pushing them back, but... don't know how long we can...keep this up. Every tank... we take out... five more roll up to take its place.’

‘Colonel, that position must not fall. I’ve requested additional reinforcements from General Faylen. You need to hold out until they get there.’

Lester took a moment to respond, shouting instructions to the pilot of his AT walker before he returned his attention to the transmission. ‘Hold out... got it. How long before reinforcements...get here?’

Sadow fell silent and glanced away to discuss something out of comm reach. ‘Forces attached to Clan Taldryan are already en route from south of your position. They should be with you shortly.’

‘Roger,’ the colonel said. ‘Lester out.’

The sky crackled with purple forks of thunder in the distance, a wayward storm approaching through the shadows. Lester gritted his teeth, pinching his lip in his jaw until he drew blood. ‘Reinforcements on the way!’

The announcement went out to every man, woman, alien, and Dark Jedi General throughout the red sea of fire and bloodshed that drowned FOB Spear. Even without the Force, Lester could sense his words fell on deaf ears, little hope greeting them as one by one another life blinked out of existence across the endlessly black desert as they battled the seemingly never ending droid flood. Right then, they needed a miracle.

Zaxen Dauketrenal

02-04-2009 15:52:24

Command Post D9
Adas Region
Antei


Time had begun to lose its meaning to Zaxen as hunger, fatigue, and fever from his untreated blaster wound began to set in. He suspected it had been several days since he had arrived with Zaroth and Kalei as the "special guests" of one Master Gelusk, someone who appeared to be of the upper echelons of the invading Jedi force. Their detainment had been routine enough, they had been given quarters to sleep in with rather comfortable bedding and yet there was no wash basin or facilities to relieve themselves. There was also no food or water.

It was not long after that the conversations began. Zaroth was first to go and came back shortly after. His face carried with it a sort of blank stare of one who had just spent a week in nothing but calculation. He sat in the corner and brought his knees up to his chest and buried his face between them wrapping his arms around his head. Kalei responded, walking over to him and placing a gentle hand on his shoulder but that was all she could offer as she was escorted out for her own conversation.

Zaxen had attempted to speak with Zaroth but he merely shook his head keeping his face down. Kalei had returned after what had seemed like hours and Zaxen knew it was his time to go. He stood and made his way for the door not waiting for the escort's beckoning. Kalei rushed past him nearly in tears and her presence in the Force screaming of emotional distress. Isradia was interested to see what Gelusk had in store for him.

The room was sparse and brightly lit as he entered. A soft breeze seemed to blow through and created a soft song from wind chimes that hung over the center of the room. The air smelled of flowers and lush tropical plants that reminded Zaxen of the gardens in the library atrium of Ragnos Cathedral. Yet there were no plants to be seen. Only a pile of cushions and the wind chimes were present.

Immediately Zaxen sent his senses probing the room. There was nothing, no hidden latches, no recording devices, no traps. Everything was as it appeared to be and yet it was all just wrong. There was no source to the fragrance, no incense, no aerosol, no vents. It could only mean that he was already being manipulated. All things have a source… he reminded himself of one of his first lessons. It was then the source entered.

The Quarren Jedi entered, robed in traditional Jedi garb as if he had jumped right out of an historical holovid. He moved with purpose and carried with him an aura of cold stone. He sat making himself comfortable and stared at Zaxen with his blue, pupil-less eyes. It was unnerving at first but Zaxen willed his mind to not yield to this Jedi. Zaxen simply stood staring back as the Force formed a wall around him.

“So… your name is Zaxen.” The Quarren said at last.

“It is.” Zaxen replied coolly.

“So tell me Zaxen, what is it that you seek here on Antei?” The Jedi began.

“It is of no concern to you other than the fact that you stand in our way.” Isradia shot back.

“Oh come now young man. There is no need for such hostility. Come and sit down.”
Zaxen stood his ground without a reply. His senses began to detect a small surge in the Force and he noticed that the smells of the vegetation began to increase and were beginning to become intoxicating. Closing his eyes the Krath Knight attempted to center his mind and stay focused.

Gelusk after a few moments of watching Zaxen simply shrugged his shoulders and began the conversation again.

“You know young man you need not struggle so much. So much suffering has been had lately over such struggle. You should simply give in and embrace us. Let go of all this unhealthy conflict, anger, and frustration. Let the Jedi help you find peace.”

Zaxen’s eyes shot open and the hazel-green had shifted to a bright blue and the Force seemed to howl around him and yet the air stood still. He was ready with a reply.

“Peace is a relative term good Master Jedi. To speak of such a thing is to assume that your peace and my peace are made up of the same values. It is foolish to assume that you and I hold the same values dear and therefore the so called peace you speak of could not be achieved by the very nature of its meaning.”

Gelusk nodded in thought for a moment. It was clear that he was not dealing with a fool, and the Krath’s mind was incredibly resilient to his probing and persuasion. He would enjoy redeeming this one for his great teacher Crask.

“Oh but there is tolerance and acceptance which are a part of the peace we bring.” He returned calmly as he sent a wave or persuasion through the Force attempting to penetrate the Zaxen’s mind.

Zaxen’s mind was not easily broken however as Gelusk soon found from the Sadowian’s reply.
“Now you speak hypocrisy. You say things like tolerance and yet you have wiped out a species and hold our home world without giving us quarter. No you do not practice tolerance, you practice dominance. You say words like peace and yet you fight with great violence using methods of imprisonment and brainwashing and cover it with pretty words and ideals. In truth you lead an inquisition and I wonder if you are more like us than we are like you.”

That struck a chord in the Jedi and Zaxen could feel the distinct flash of anger pour out of him but it was quickly suppressed. In return Zaxen was once again treated to the feeling of a warm summer wind, not unlike those on Corellia, the place of his childhood. The room also began to swim in a languid, haziness. He wasn’t sure but he thought he could also hear the sound of a girl’s laugh which made his chest feel warm inside. It was a laugh he recognized as the girl he had first had true feelings for.

Gelusk’s tentacles twitched in what would equal a smile as he felt Zaxen starting to slip. “Oh you simply do not understand the things you speak of. Surely you have suffered too much already, why not join us and let all that go?”

Zaxen did not respond. He almost could not respond as the visions now began to poor in on his mind. Emotions both sweet and bitter were soon followed by those of frustration, longing, anger, and then loneliness. Memories he remembered fondly became nightmares. The faces of his tormentors replaced the faces of those he had loved. He saw visions of rage and visions of lust and bit by bit he was slipping. Zaxen however did not yield.

The Quarren Jedi tilted his head in feigned concern. “Are you allright young one?” he asked.

Zaxen’s eyes flashed and glared at Gelusk. “Certainly Jedi. Yet I wonder if you truly understand the things you speak of. “

The Quarren twitched and the visions rushed at Zaxen once more.

So it went like this for hours upon hours it seemed. When Zaxen finally returned to their holding chambers he walked in as confident as when he had walked out but the damage to him was more than visible. His blue pupils were rimmed with bloodshot, his gait was slow and unsteady and his brow was on fire from fever. Zaroth only looked up as he entered but it was Kalei who went to his side.

The look he gave startled her. It was a look of confusion, anger, even lust. She walked him to the bedding and he lay there staring at the ceiling and she felt the whirlwind in the Force around him and she could not stand to stay near him. He did not sleep nor did he respond to questions. He simply lay there.

Then the conversations began again.

Malisane

02-04-2009 16:58:51

Command Post D9
Adas Region
Antei


The three equites were hurried off the speeder as soon as it had landed. The Jedi fool looked almost gleeful as he ordered his droids about. Malisane took a moment to study his surroundings. The compound was large, a number of outbuildings surrounded by a central post. Droids were everywhere. He was glad they had not tried to assualt the place or even sneak in, they would probably have been beaten back or killed. He glanced at the Jedi. "We wish to meet your master."
"You will do," the Jedi replied, "droids, bring them." Malisane gave Jade a quick glance then followed the Jedi as the droids herded them along.
"We're just going to walk into the lions den?" she asked silently.
"They're taking us right where we want to go." Malisane replied.

They entered the large building, past more droid guards and down a long corridor. Another robed figure appeared, suprisingly the twin of the first. "So these are the prisoners Shamarl?""
"They are Vesas, and I have brought them in." the first replied.
"Follow me," the one whose name was apparently Vesas replied.
The two Jedi lead them to a door and Shamarl knocked, and then entered.
"Be careful and watch my lead," Malisane pulsed to the others.

The Quarren sat behind his desk calmly as they were herded into the room, and the Jedi twins took up post either side of the door. "I have brought you the heretics Master."
"So I see," the Quarren replied. "Greetings Sith. I am Master Gelusk."
Agrist was studying the Jedi. "Watch this one De Ath, he seems more powerful and focused than the other fools." he silently pointed out.
"I thank you." Gelusk said quietly and Agrist and Jade looked at him sharply. Malisane sighed. "I have been following your conversations since your staged crash landing. It was interesting."
Malisane took a deep breath. "So you know why we are here. I demand you release your prisoners."
"Demand?" Gelusk asked, sounding half amused, "by what right do you make demands?"
"Do not underestimate us Jedi," Malisane told the Master, "your pet apprentices and your droids are nothing, you are aware we came here of our own volition if you've been eavesdropping. Release them or die." At this the droids raised their blasters and waited for an order.
Instead the Quarren laughed. "You will also be aware that as I knew of your approach I am not concerned by your abilities."
Malisane leaned foward, "You will be."

The Quarren sat back in his chair and regarded them curiously. "Maybe you are right Sith," he replied, "maybe you are not. Attack me then."
Malisane was aware of the blasters around them. If they moved quickly enough between the three equites they could probably take down the droids and the two Jedi by the door. However there was a risk, and they would be vunerable to the Master's power. He could feel Agrist and Jade tensed to strike.
Gelusk waited a few more seconds then turned to the Jedi twins. "Take them away. I have no interest in them they are beyond redemption, only the younger ones matter, maybe Crask will find a use for them. Put them in a cell until I have had chance to speak to him."
"You are making a mistake Gelusk," Malisane told him as they were herded out and the door shut.
Agrist glanced at him and spoke quietly as they were pushed towards a cell. "I can see how you became head of the Envoys De Ath," he growled, "you obviously excel at negotiation."
A few minutes later they were locked into a cell. "So what now?" Jade asked.
Agrist shrugged. "We break out and kill everything," he replied, "we should have done that in the first place."

Krandon

02-04-2009 19:46:29

FOB Spear
Shadowlands
Western Antei


Krandon looked at the pack of detonite in his hand. He thought back to what his mother taught him.

“Listen to me little Krandon. In order for you to gain the respect of the clan that is the town of Mor’Bathi, you must do this...to prove yourself. To prove yourself to everyone, to me, and to yourself. To learn that you can do anything if you put your mind to it. Bring us back a prize”
Krandon looked up at his mother with a smile on his face, “I will do my best mother.” This was the last time that Krandon spoke to his mother. He went out to hunt the infamous Reek for his trials of manhood for the village of Mor’Bathi. Krandon had found a Reek. Used his sling and killed it, brought it back to the town and saw a site that he would never forget. The site of his people being slaughtered by beings with Lightsabers.

“Krandon!” A familiar voice said. “Run!” It was his mother, just has Krandon watched her lifeless body fall to the ground, her head following. Krandon ran and ran like he has never run before
.

Krandon snapped out of his vision which voice yelling into his ear, “Krandon, we have a job to do”, Dyrra exclaimed, pointing at the incoming droids.

Krandon looked up at Dyrra, who was on the speeder bike next to him, than at his cybernetic hand that he had lost when fleeing his village.

“Right, let’s get this done, no body dies.” Krandon yelled over his comlink to the other Journeymen. He took grip on the detonite pack and snapped his lightsaber to life. “On me!”

JadeSadow

03-04-2009 01:52:53

Command Post D9
Adas Region
Antei

Jade hated being caged in the cell, it made her fangs itch and her anger explode. She could sense something was wrong or troubling Zaxen, but she didn’t dare try and contact him, not after Gelusk had a first hand glimpse into their conversations. She wouldn’t risk adding to the already likelihood of his torture.

She looked around. “Breakout and kill everything, sounds good to me.” A slight hiss was in her voice. She didn’t believe Malisane, granted the three of them were in an extremely high risk situation they two were not as dispensable as he had made her believe. She sighed, “Not many droids or guards, easy to take out the immediate group but what about the ones beyond that?” The Jedi Masters attitude had made him on the list to be killed, but they needed to find their people first.

Malisane looked at her with an evil smile on his face. “That is where the fun begins.”

Fremoc

03-04-2009 02:02:22

FOB Spear
Shadowlands
Western Antei

Demonic rode his speeder bike up towards Krandon's. His friend ignited his lightsaber and yelled over his comlink "On me!" Demonic rode to the side of Krandon looked over and nodded to him, then noticed the pack of detonite.

"Krandon, do you really want to hold onto that?" Demonic was a former demolitions expert, he knew more about explosives than Krandon probably knew about the Force. "Give me the pack, I'm a demo expert remember?"

"Demonic! Where the heck of you been?" Krandon looked somewhat stunned at the sight of his friend. The last time Krandon had saw him, Demonic and Ekeia where at the droid bunker and then somewhere they had disappeared. "Where's Ekeia?"

"I took out a couple lone droids on the way back. I have no idea where she is, she's probably okay. Now Krandon do you want to hold that thing or should I? I know that stuff more than you do."

Krandon look somewhat scared to do so at first but reluctantly passed the detonite over to the former commando.

"Demonic, you know after this we are going to have to find her right?"

"Yeah, I know buddy. I know."

Stay alive, A female voice said to him.

"Dyrra you say something?" Demonic looked over at her trying to figure out if she was the one talking to him.

"No..." Dyrra looked confused, not knowing what Demonic was talking about.

If you don't I'm going to kick your butt, the voice said again, this time clearer and more recognizable.

"I'm going insane," he whispered to himself. "Too much war for me..."

Malisane

03-04-2009 08:52:36

Command Post D9
Adas Region
Antei


Agrist was sat with his eyes closed, and Jade was watching him curiously. Finally the mercenaries eyes opened. “Right,” he said calmly, “now we raise hell.”
“What do you have in mind?” Jade asked.
Agrist smiled evily. “You’re right, there are too many droids in the compound, if we break out they’ll rush us.”
“So?” Malisane asked.
”We give them something else to occupy them. There’s a large metal frame tower to the northeast side. Concentrate on it.”

The droids on the tower beeped in alarm as the structure began to shake and sway, others looking at it and raising their blaster rifles. A horrendous creaking sound filled the compound as bolts ripped and shredded and a few seconds later a droid on top toppled to the ground. Vesas the twin ran out and looked up in horror as the tower began to buckle. “What is happening?” he screamed A second later he was running for cover as the tower with a final shake dislodging the remaining droids on top fell, and he glanced over its shoulder as it hit the power generator station below and an explosion hurled him from his feet, sending droids sailing through the air and sending a second later the lights around the compound flickered and died, casting everywhere into darkness except for the burning generator and the light reflecting off the ruined tower. Vesas looked in horror as droids ran towards it carrying extinguishers and more explosions rocked the compound as burning debris hit equipment. “The Sith!”

Jade smiled as she sensed the destruction. Their room had been plunged into darkness for a second until a backup system had started casting a dim red light. Agrist got to his feet. “De Ath, the door if you please.”
Malisane walked over to it and concentrated, gathering the force, then his fist surged forward and struck the metal door, which buckled outwards and collapsed, crushing the two droids the other side. As the three equites burst through more droids turned to face them and were quickly slammed against the wall smashing their heads hard and they fell to the floor twitching and sparking. Malisane and Agrist grabbed the droids blasters and Jade followed them outside.

The compound was in chaos. The main lights were still off and they could make out droids running back and forth still trying to extinquish the growing fires. A container of fuel had collapsed, spreading a burning slick across the floor that burned furiously. No one was paying them any attention “You guys don’t do things by half measures,” Jade observed.
Malisane was studying the scene. “There!” he said pointing at a nearby figure also watching the chaos. He strode forward quickly and as the Jedi span around Malisane grabbed the wrist that made for his saber holding it in a vice like grip while the other lifted Vesas by his throat. “Don’t call for assistance. Where are our prisoners and where are our weapons?”
Vesas struggled in the bigger mans grip. “Gelusk will kill you!”
Malisane squeezed for a few seconds cutting off the Jedi’s oxygen, then released slightly. “Try again.”
“Sharmarl has your weapons in one of the outbuildings over there!”, the Jedi gasped, “your prisoners are being held in the main building Gelusk wanted them close to hand.”
“Jade?” Malisane asked.
“He’s telling the truth,” she confirmed.
Malisane suddenly wrenched the Jedi’s neck and then dropped the body.
“Lets move,” Agrist said as Malisane passed Jade the Jedi’s saber and the two Sith readied their blasters. “We’ll get our weapons first. I’ll feel happier with my saber.”

Shamarl span around as the door exploded inwards, and he viewed the three equites in the doorway. Behind them a number of droids lay on the floor, evidence of blaster bolts and Jade’s borrowed saber on them.
Shamarl ignited his saber, backing off. Jade raised her borrowed one as Malisane and Agrist spun around, covering the corridor in case reinforcements came to help the Jedi. “I suggest you leave here,” the Jedi said, still with a trace of arrogance, “my brother is nearby.”
Jade grinned. “Where do you think we got the saber?” she asked.
A flash of fury showed on the Jedi’s face. “You will die for that.”
Jade laughed. “I think not, you’re out of your class man, where are our sabers?”
“Die!” Shamarl shouted and lunged forward. Jade calmly parried then feigned a strike that caught the Jedi off balance. A second later her saber entered his body.
He collapsed to the floor. “My master will seal your fates,” he gasped.
Malisane left Agrist guarding the door then quickly searched the room, finding six sabers. He slipped his own silver bladed one into his belt, threw Agrist his and passed the rest to Jade. “Hmm,” he said examining a terminal at the back. He reached down and grabbed the dead jedi by the wrist and pressed the palm to the plate. ”Just a second,” he said quietly tapping away, “right I’ve disabled the droids friend or foe recognition system.”
“Meaning?” Jade asked. Malisane waited a few seconds then the sound of blaster fire echoed from outside, intensifying.
“We wait a few moments,” he said, “then we ought to have a clear path to Gelusk.”

Nekura Manji

03-04-2009 13:30:25

FOB Spear
Shadowlands
Western Antei


"Alert... system overload... sensors defective..."

TX-54 looked at the battledroid escort around him as they began to twitch and shake unnervingly. Suddenly, every droid span round and opened fire on another droid, perceiving it to be a threat. In the middle of the carnage, the tactical droid gazed at the scene with impassive photoreceptors, his memory unit nevertheless throwing up another scrap of ghost code.

"Oh. Dear."

Across the battlefield, the tide began to turn as some droids turned to attack other droids, their perceptions of friend and foe dashed to the four winds. By the droid artillery, Manji pushed the last chunk of detonite in his pack into an opening in the hull of a Hailfire tank and signalled to the others to retreat. As they sprinted away from the tanks, their sabers hacking through those droids that were still fighting them and not each other, Macron pulled a bunch of flip-switches out of his own pack.

A twisted grin lit the alchemist's face as the group reached a slight hill, taking cover behind the crest and turning to look at the line of artillery tanks. Sighing in pleasure, the Sith flicked the switches up one by one, his grin becoming even wider as Hailfire tank after Hailfire tank exploded violently, explosions ripping the artillery apart. Like a line of dominoes the tanks blew apart, sending shards of metal and debris across the battlefield. As the echoes of the destruction died away, Macron turned to the group.

"I do love some fireworks."

At that moment, a roar of sound overhead became a group of four LAAT/i shuttles that glided down, their doors sliding open to disgorge four large platoons of Iron Throne soldiers, each platoon supported by several Dark Jedi wearing the insignia of Clan Taldryan. A distasteful sneer crashed onto Manji's face as the new arrivals surged past towards the bulk of the fighting; while the long-range Droid artillery had ceased shelling the forward operating base, a slew of Armoured Assault Tanks and droideka continued to trouble the defenders.

Getting to their feet, the group moved down the hill back towards the battle to help finish off the droids that remained. Nudging Macron, Manji chuckled darkly.

"I'll give you a couple of jars of saké if you kill a Taldryanite 'by mistake'."

Macron giggled in response, his eyes dangerous as he stared at the Taldryan Dark Jedi below.

"You're on, Manji-sama..."

Xanos

03-04-2009 15:37:59

The Shadowlands
Somewhere in Adas


The two speeder bikes had been zooming across the night desert for hours. Tsainetomo had been quiet ever since they had left the smoking LAAT, being careful to keep a clear distance to avoid the “clean up” team from Clan Tarentum. Since leaving the crash site, every now and then, she had felt sure someone was watching her; but whenever she turned her head, she could never see anyone.

Ghosts, Sai had told her. Probably echoes of Antei's distant past. But they didn't feel like ghosts to her. She had eventually given up trying to convince him.

For some reason the wreckage had left her on edge, though she couldn’t work out why. It had felt familiar somehow; and had agitated a memory she only vaguely recalled. The only image left was of a strange old man with silvery hair and a few patchy areas of scales on his skin; but his face was obscured as if her mind’s eye was a camera that had gone out of focus.

But she remembered one thing clearly: He was always laughing.

In the distance, a series of bright orange explosions flashed along the horizon. They must have been tens of miles off mission. She gulped, thankful the older Krath was on his own bike and wouldn’t hear; she just hoped when they got back Ashura wouldn’t be angry. They could have used her help back on the front lines, and it seemed all the pair had been doing since heading this far out was spy on half a dozen Iron Throne troopers. It made her uncomfortable to be spying on their own allies. Sai hadn't elaborated on what he had meant back at the crash site though about the schutta hitting the fan.

The speeder bike in front dropped back alongside hers. ‘What is it?’ she said.

Sai’s hair whipped out behind him as the pair continued further eastward while they spoke. ‘You see that?’ he said, lifting one hand off the handlebar to point somewhere northeast. Aside from the raging fires of mount Ashfire in the far distance, there was nothing but more black sands and endless desert.

She shook her head, reaching up to hold her shawl to her face to stop it shaking off. ‘No.’

‘Look closer, child. Focus! See not just with your eyes.’

She stared out again, squinting her eyes—thinking the action was rather stupid with how hard it already was to see while wearing thick riding goggles in the dead of night. The sand dunes flashed purple slightly from the forks of a lightning storm; but that was normal, the Shadowlands before perpetually bathed in thunderstorms. She closed her eyes completely; trusting herself not to drive head first into something—thankfully there wasn’t much to hit.

A sharp pang shot through her skull. ‘Ow!’ She pulled back on the speeder bike, swerving into Sai—who she narrowly avoided, and would have hit had he not braked sharply at the last moment.

‘Watch it!’ the Keibatsu snapped, though kept his voice hushed.

She could hear the admonishment coming before it did so answered first: ‘I am watching, sheesh. What is that?’ No answer came. For a moment, she suddenly wished Sai had been wearing a shawl too: the look on his face telling her all she needed. ‘I take it the schutta has definitely hit the fan then?’

‘Language, child!’ Sai snapped, though she knew he didn’t really care. It was clearly just the only thing he knew how to say right then. The truth apparently must have been too troublesome to put into words.

She gulped again. ‘We heading back then?’

Sai clenched his jaw, then shook his head. ‘No.’ He paused. ‘We aren’t, anyway. You are.’

‘Hey!’ she yelled. ‘Ashura said to stick with you, so that’s what I’m gonna do!’

The older Krath sighed. ‘That is not a good idea. Your master wasn't aware of what I am.’ He paused, though only for a heartbeat. ‘Even I wasn't aware of what I am now.’

‘Well, I’m not going,’ she huffed, straightening her back to try and look taller.

Sai shook his head again. ‘We don’t have time for this,’ he said wearily. ‘Just keep your distance. And if something happens, get out of here and report back to base.’ He reached out and handed her a datapad. ‘Give your master that. He’ll understand.’

She frowned, but pocketed the palm sized datapad in a pouch inside the armour she had procured from the OIC back at the beachhead. Without further words, Sai shot off into the night. In the distance, the massive storm cloud seemed to part in the middle, a great beast opening its maw to greet him. Or perhaps preparing to swallow him whole. She revved her own speeder bike and took off in pursuit.

In the recesses of her mind, the silver-haired man continued to cackle.

Macron Sadow

03-04-2009 20:25:11

FOB Spear
Shadowlands
Western Antei


"You're on, Manji-sama..." Macron peered at the Taldryan forces below. His mind raced back to the last Great War, when the Brotherhood fled Antei. Macron was Consul at the time, and forged an alliance with the arrogant Taldryan against the Vong. Clan Taldryan in turn betrayed him and broke their alliance early in the conflict, causing many Sadowites to die at the hands of the Vong. There was no Clan he hated more. Sith know how to hate, and this one was a work of evil art in his mind.

Macron grinned. "Betcha I can get five of them in under a minute," he chuckled. The strange Kyataran rice wine had become a favorite of his ever since his studies under the Keibatsu. It was one of the few things that actually still got him drunk on occasion.

Manji knew the madman could never turn down a bet. "Big words, tough guy," he chuckled. "I don't see how. You're on," he said as Mac turned to shake his hand. "How you plan on doing that, eh?" The Kyataran knew Macron had overestimated his own abilities.

Macron smiled a toothy grin. "Like a Sith. As much as I love personal combat, there are other ways to skin a Nashtah." He picked up his comlink. "Aisha, you copy?"

Static hissed for a second and then the Zeltron woman replied. "Yes, Master. What do you require?" she asked crisply. Manji smiled at her words, seeing his own training echoed in the young Knight who was his grand-student.

"Target foxtrot-zero-xray-niner," he ordered. "I think I see incoming droids." The lunatic giggled. "Can't have that happening, now can we? Fire!" Artillery was a passion for the Sith. The target was irresistible.

Manji looked on in amazement as the whistling artillery shells smashed into the Taldryan front lines long seconds later. A series of five huge explosions tore the ground like a mad giant's fists, obliterating men and droids alike in a rain of gore and metal. The Krath whistled appreciatively. "That was a dirty trick. You're an evil bastard, Macron."

Macron looked at his chronometer. "Why, thank you! Exactly forty-nine seconds," he smirked. "For once, I win. You owe me some rice-wine." The Warlord opened the comlink again. "Umm. Stop bombardment on that coordinate," he laughed gleefully. "The droids are too close."

The Epis shook his head in disgust. "Good grief. Well, shall we?" His now-lit blade pointed at the droids that remained.

"Let's," agreed the Sith as they both jogged toward the chaos.

Zaxen Dauketrenal

04-04-2009 09:04:50

Command Post D9
Adas Region
Antei


The whispers had come. Zaxen had not heard them for some time. During his first year of training he heard them frequently but they dissipated as he rose in ranks and concerned himself more with politics than with personal improvement. They would tell him certain things, speak of mysteries and inner workings, and offer inspiration. Now they all but screamed at him from all sides.

Echoes of time and space swirled around the Knight. Reality was suspect but pain was ever present. Not just pain in the physical sense but pain in nearly every level of consciousness. The Quarren Jedi had delved deep into Isradia's mind and had tuned into his pain centers and dialing them up so that they were overwhelming.

"You can have peace. Just let go and join us. Be part of our flock." Gelusk would say and Zaxen's mind would swirl with visions, doubts, frustrations, needs, and wants.

Yet Zaxen would still reply, "'Give up my personality, give up my individuality, give up my freedom, become my tool,' this is what you truly ask."

Gelusk would continue for hours, slowly chipping away at Zaxen's defenses, delving into his memory, speaking names from his past, saying things Zaxen had always wanted to say but never did.

"I can show you the way to greatness. I can give you the knowledge and power you seek. It will take time and patience but you will be truly extraordinary, perhaps so great as to be the Master's heir. Wouldn't you like that?" The Quarren asked.

Zaxen did want that, he wanted to take it and grasp it, make it his. Something held him back though. Where Gelusk's tempting words came in one ear, the dark whispers came through the other. They spoke of freedom, they spoke of power, they spoke of perspective, they spoke of will and it was Zaxen's will that kept him from giving in.

As he lay in the room once more he could feel everything in hypersensitivity in the Force. Kalei and Zaroth were like blinding beacons. Gelusk was like a star going nova. There were others... many others and the whispers spoke more clearly. "They are coming, your time is near, take what is yours!"

Zaxen rolled and felt himself heave but there was nothing in his stomach. Through clenched teeth he swore at no one in particular. He had become feral, a wounded beast, and he felt the Force as a hurricane of power around him though he could not seem to channel it, could not stay focused.

All he could do was wait for another conversation.

Kalei_Basai

04-04-2009 15:26:03

Command Post D9
Adas Region
Antei


She'd huddled herself into a corner, or at least, she thought and hoped it was a corner. Kalei had been staying there for quite some time, at least since the last time they brought her back in. They hadn't given her food....or anything. All she could see was shadows; shadows that shouldn't have been there. She couldn't hear anything, and the shadows made her jump every time they came near her. Her mind was telling her that whatever was producing the shadows was going to come after her.

It was then that another shadow seemed to be coming direcly at her. This time, she wasn't going to let it catch her and she lept from the corner and over to the bed that had been hers while she was here. The shadow didn't seem to want to follow her there.

As the Dark Jedi Knight sat on the bed, she heard her clan mates in the room. It was Zaxen's heaving that snapped her out of trying to escape the shadow and more into paying attention to those around her. Her own weaknesses were hitting her; she hadn't eaten or really slept for that matter since they'd gotten captured.

Then Kalei looked to the other side of the room where Zaxen looked worse than she'd ever seen him before. All the time she'd known him, she did not know him to look weak or beaten. She then wondered what they were doing to him, and what was different in the things they were doing to her.

She then saw Zaroth sitting over on his own bed, almost looking as though he were in the fetal position. His legs were pulled up to his chest and his head was burried in them. He looked as though he too had been somewhat run through the mill and was not himself. Either that or what they had talked about before they left was also taking it's toll on him.

Making sure she had enough strength in her legs, the Battle Team Leader pulled herself from the bed and went over to Zaroth's, sitting on the end of it. It was hard to believe that he was also crying. This was the second time she'd seen him crying since the war started, and it pained her to see this.

Placing a hand on one of his knees, she tried to get his eyes to look up at hers. "Zaroth, we've got to stay strong. If we don't, they'll break us down."

His eyes barely lifted, but she was able to see how red they were, "We won't get back, we'll be stuck here. What if they never find us again? What if..."

Kalei had stopped him from speaking in that moment. "By now, the clan knows that we are missing, we've been here for a while. But they won't be able to find us if we lose ourselves." She moved closer and wiped away one of his many tears on his tear soaked face.

"Besides, what type of Dark Jedi would we be if we let them dig deep into us and find out what's been going on in our heads to make us seem weaker?"

He didn't speak, only looked over at Zaxen. "We can't let them in...you're right." He sighed but was still crying. He moved over next to her and leaned against her shoulder.

She then jumped slightly; there was another shadow on the wall near them. She closed her eyes and laid her own head against his. They were already getting to her, now she just had to take her own advice.

Malisane

04-04-2009 18:39:53

Command Post D9
Adas Region
Antei


The compound was deathly quiet now, a few twitching droids lay amongst their destroyed brethren. A few fires still burned as the three equites picked their way through the mass of ruined metal towards the main buildings. They walked with sabers in hand, partly for defence and partly to light the way as the main power was still off. Malisane pushed the door aside and then entered, noting with satisfaction more destroyed druids inside. "Jade, why don't you go and find our friends," Malisane said quietly, "we'll find Gelusk."
"Just the two of you?" she asked suspiciously.
"Well if you hurry you can join in."
Jade nodded and left. The two battlelords continued, following the route they had been taken before, until they reached the door. Malisane glanced at Agrist who nodded. With a shove Malisane opened the door.

Gelusk was sat at his desk, a glass of wine in front of him. He glanced up as they entered. "You have been busy," he observed quietly.
Malisane nodded. "I did warn you not to underestimate us. Your apprentices are dead, your droids have destroyed themselves, and our forces will be mopping up your own. You have failed utterly."
Gelusk took a deep sip of his wine, then glanced at Agrist. "Does he ever talk?"
"When I have something to say Jedi," Agrist replied.
Malisane moved forward, saber raised and Agrist flanking him. "Now you die."
Gelusk's Quarren features formed what passed for a smile. "So no more small talk. Very well." The two Sith suddenly rocked backwards as a mental attack hit them, and they gritted their teeth.
"You'll have to do better than that." Malisane told him.
"Very well," Gelusk said and raised a hand, sending Agrist slamming against the wall. Malisane drove forward, saber aimed at the Quarren's head. Gelusk blinked and the chair in front of the desk shot up and took the Battlelord in the stomach, crashing both to the ground. A second later Agrist was on his feet, lashing out with his own force powers and the Quarren flinched then slammed the mercenary back with the force again. "You cannot win," Gelusk told them, "long have I fought such as you. What you have achieved here is minimal, a minor setback. By now your female friend is dead."

Malisane looked up. "What?"
"You think I have just been playing games with your young friends. They are mine though they do not know it. They think they resist but at the sight of her they will attack, and she will die. I have forseen it."
"You lie, they are stronger than you think Jedi," Malisane told him.
"I sense their approach Sith, they will witness the folly of your ways and they will be ours completely."
A second later the three entered, Zaxen in the lead and Zaroth and Kalei following. Zaxen's eyes burned coldly as he stood still. Gelusk laughed. "Now witness your friends die my new apprentices."
"I think not," another voice from behind them as Jade entered the room, the Aedile giving the Master an amused glance, "we train well, you failed."
It was Malisane's turn to laugh as the three prisoners and the Archpriest snapped their own sabers into life. "Failed Jedi, utterly failed."
Gelusk snarled. "So be it Sith," he replied. He drew his own saber as the Sadowites advanced.

The battle lasted several minutes. Gelusk was good, even Malisane who'd trained under the best the Brotherhood had to offer was impressed. His saber work was excellant as he parried and thrust back and sent flashing force attacks at the same time. However against six the battle was inevitable. Finally Agrist's saber slid into his back and the Master collapsed. The mercenary raised his saber once more to strike the fatally wounded Jedi.
"No!" Zaxen shouted and the mercenary. He was incandescant with rage now. "He is mine!" he spat, fury at his treatment at the hands of the Quarren.
Agrist deactivated his saber. "Help yourself."
Malisane nodded. "Do not be too long," he said and lead the others from the room, leaving the Knight and the Master alone.
Zaxen nodded, staring in hatred at Gelusk who lay twitching on the floor.

Malisane sat at the controls of the speeder, checking them over. "Glad this survived the destruction."
Agrist nodded. "Indeed."
Jade was sat in the back. "He's coming."
Malisane turned as Zaxen left the building, his face grim but a look of satisfaction in his eyes. As soon as he was in the back Malisane lifted the craft up into the air. "There ought not to be much left alive out there if my reprogramming worked, next stop FOB Spear."

Krandon

04-04-2009 23:15:18

FOB Spear
Shadowlands
Western Antei


Krandon handed over his detonite to Demonic, actually feeling some relief that he had taken it off his hands.

“Don’t look so sad Krandon, maybe one of the droids will be a history nut and you can beat him up in smartness” Demonic said, snickering as he waited for Krandon to take point.

“You’re terribly funny Demonic, almost as funny as Dyrra’s lightsaber skills”, Krandon responded. Dyrra’s head suddenly snapped up, looking at Krandon,

“Thank you? I think”, Dyrra said, not fully hearing what Demonic and Krandon were talking about.

“Alright guys, let’s get this done” Krandon said as he ignited his lightsaber with a *snap-hiss*. Krandon, Demonic and Dyrra began to move towards the droids. As they attacked, explosions from across the field where Macron and Manji were located blowing up their group of Hailfire tanks. Krandon watched the explosions in awe for a couple of seconds before focusing back on the task at hand. Krandon, swatting away blaster bolts with his lightsaber, pointed Dyrra to go left and Demonic to go right. Krandon would take on the droids, head on. Not having any detonite, Krandon just dealt with the droids that were keeping Dyrra and Demonic from reaching their goals, the Hailfire tanks.

There were 5 droids in this group, and all Krandon could do was watch his three friends attack the droids. Demonic ran to the closest Hailfire tank attaching a pack of detonite to the back of the droid under the rack, running to the next sliding underneath the droid and jumping onto the back of the droid, attaching his second pack to one of the racks. His final droid he pulled his rifle out and shot several bolts into the back side of the Hailfire droid, softening the armor and attaching the last detonite pack he had to it. Dyrra ran to her two droids, attaching each of her detonite packs to the backs of the Hailfire droids. Demonic who had the detonators to the explosives ran back to Krandon and gave them to him.

"Let's get out of here before that stuff blows, shall we?" Krandon said running to his speederbike, the other two followed in suite. As they left, Krandon depressed the detonators blowing the five Hailfire droids to scrap.

Krandon, Dyrra and Demonic made their way back to the equites, all three looking back to what they had just done.

“That wasn’t too bad”, Dyrra and Demonic said, looking at Krandon, whose armour was dented because of the droid blaster fire.

“Speak for yourselves”, Krandon said, moving his torn cloak out of his face which was blocking his view.

“Mission accomplished”, Krandon said, letting a smile come across his face."So where's Ekeia, Demonic?"

Fremoc

05-04-2009 06:44:53

Shadowlands
Western Antei

“I don’t know. Can you guys sense her?” asked Demonic. He started to worry about Ekeia she had been missing for some time, ever since he went to kill some lone droids on their way back to the FOB.

“I can’t,” said Krandon, slight worry came across his face.

“I can’t either,” replied Dyrra as well.

Demonic had yet to get off his speeder bike, and reached out into the Force, trying to find his friend. He could sense Ekeia in the distance, but he could sense she was an emotional wreck. Her Force presence was out of control, emotions ranging from sad to happy to angry. Why he could only sense where she was he had no idea. He tried to sense where exactly she was, and found she was underground by about fifteen meters.

“I know where she is, but I have a funny feeling she’s someone’s captive. This is going to be rough so if you guys want to stay back here and wait for the next set of orders that’s fine, and I’ll go myself,” said Demonic. He powered up his speeder bike once more and then started to check that he still had his rifle, pistol, knives, and armory lightsaber was still on his person.

Stay alive boy or else…

“Demonic, I’m going with you. Dyrra stay here so that you can tell our masters where we went, if we do not return in twelve hours,” Krandon ordered Dyrra.

“Okay, good luck guys,” Dyrra responded and powered up her speeder bike heading towards where Manji and Macron where.

Demonic was hearing voices again, and missed most of Krandon’s orders to Dyrra, but he did hear that Krandon was coming with him. Demonic pulled his pistol from his holster and handed it to Krandon. The former commando watched Dyrra drive her bike away towards the FOB.

“It’s going to be tight in there I think Krandon, and more than likely a lot of bad guys. Use the pistol since it won’t make noise while we move through the bunker.” Demonic’s old commando ways were taking over, memories of why he joined and the time he spent would come back to him soon. Since it was just himself and Krandon, they had to move silent and fast, making sure they were not found and left no trace of being there in the first place. He thought for a second and pulled a knife from a sheath on his left. “Take this as well, lightsabers are a last resort. We need to be silent and deadly.”

“Roger, let’s get moving Demonic.” Demonic pushed his bike to its max speed, going back towards where they had blown up the Hailfire droids. He lead the way to where Ekeia was, he could sense her presence getting closer as the kilometers went by. He then felt a sharp pain go through him, but realized Ekeia was getting beaten, he could feel her pain but Krandon had not.

“Krandon you feel that?” He wanted to know if it was only something he and Ekeia had or that everyone else did.

“Felt what?” Krandon had no idea what the former commando was talking about. The two sped closer, to the unknown bunker that Ekeia was at the bottom of. “I can start to sense her now Demo.”

“I know, we are getting close Kran,” he winced in pain as Ekeia was hit again, but this time Krandon felt her being hit. “They are beating her down there we need to get there faster!”

If you die, you fail me…

With a sigh of relief, Demonic and Krandon reached the door to the bunker and met to unsuspecting guards, who were shot on sight. The two entered the bunker, Krandon staying behind the commando with the pistol Demonic gave to him at the ready. They moved lower into the bunker, meeting no resistance except for the two men at the door. There was a loud audible crack of a whip coming from the room Demonic sensed Ekeia in, and with the loud crack came a loud scream and pain sent through the Force. There were several chuckles from the room, and using the Force Demonic sensed how many men were in the room. The former commando used hand signals to communicate to Krandon that there four men inside and that Krandon would take the two on the left while Demonic takes care of the ones on the right.

The commando kicked the door in with his large boot, and aimed for his two targets, shooting them both in the chest and head while Krandon emptied shot after shot in the other two targets. Ekeia was tied at her hands, which were attached to the hook above her on the wall. Her back, bleeding from the whip landing on her back, was facing them but all that could be heard was her sobbing. Demonic took a knife from a sheath on his right side and cut the ropes from her hands, freeing her.

“Ekeia, it is me. Demonic,” Demonic said putting his cloak around her trembling body. “We are here to rescue you.”

“Th-thank you,” she managed to say, as Demonic picked her up and carried her out of the bunker. Krandon led the way out of the bunker, waiting for the slightest hint of a droid or Jedi. They reached the top and got onto their speeders, Ekeia sharing the bike with Demonic. The trio sped back to the FOB, where the rest of the clan was more than likely waiting for them.

It wasn’t your fault…

They reached the FOB, where Dyrra was sitting waiting for them.

"Now mission accomplished?" she said, not noticing Ekeia shakily, climbing off Demonic's speeder bike.

"I do believe so," replied Krandon, with a mischievous smile coming across his face. "What's next?"

Xanos

05-04-2009 09:30:55

AT-OT Black Storm One
FOB Spear, The Shadowlands
Western Adas, Antei


Gazing out at the debris littered battlefield, Torin wiped his forehead with a moist cloth. It was a mess of droid parts, bleeding soldiers, and smoking wrecks. FOB Spear had been secured; but at great cost to the 8th Mechanized. Half their all terrain walkers had been damaged or completely destroyed, and many troops were nursing war wounds they would carry for the rest of their lives.

Yes, they had lost much: but they had held their ground. The alternative did not warrant considering: The Dark Ones would not have looked kindly on failure. And from what he had experienced these supposed Jedi Knights were likely to be even less forgiving—whoever this Jedi Lord was that was leading them, he did not echo the stories Torin had heard growing up.

That was why, if he would take anything away with him from this battle, it was the realisation that there was nothing specially dark about the Dark Ones: no more so than any Force using magician, at least. They all gave him the jitters, dark or light. He had to hand them their dues though, the battle would have been much worse had the Dark Jedi reinforcements from Southern Command not arrived when they did. General Sadow had said they were from a different clan, though Torin had only vaguely understood what that meant before.

Now, he felt deeply uneasy being around so many high tempered warlocks with itchy fingers.

There had been some casualties from friendly fire, and he was unsure how accidental it was. He knew someone had ordered that artillery barrage on top of that team of arriving reinforcements—that did not sit well with him; but General Faylen would hear of it soon enough. Torin’s reservations with fighting alongside the lesser Dark Ones had seemingly been proven right.

And earlier he had only feared one rogue general.
Now he felt he was stuck in the middle of a swarm of raging acklays, all vying against the other.

Torin snorted. Jedi. Dark Jedi. Sith. Was there any difference between the Jedi they were fighting against and the ones who were fighting amongst themselves? To him, it was all just Force-users fighting Force-users. There were no Jedi or Sith. Only self appointed gods waging their holy wars.

The holo-emitter in Black Storm One’s cockpit pinged and then shimmered into life. The tired face of General Sadow looked down at him sitting in the co-pilot’s seat.

Torin quickly pushed his doubts out of his mind. ‘Lord Sadow.’

‘Colonel, General Faylen sends his regards for securing FOB Spear. I assume the reinforcements from Clan Taldryan arrived right in time?’

There was a touch of something in Sadow’s voice that Torin could not place. Resentment? Torin hesitated for a moment, but then nodded his head. ‘In a manner of speaking, my lord. Your Jedi were able to scramble the droids’ IFF, after which it was mostly a cleanup operation,’ he said with a smirk. It wasn’t that he liked an easy fight, but there had been nothing easy about holding the Forward Operating Base—the men of 14th Reconnaissance had been butchered, only a few dozen remained. The battle had been long enough.

He figured it was smart to play to the General's ego as well. If Sadow was anything like the rest of them, his pride must have been wounded at having to call in help.

Sadow frowned at him. ‘I sense there is something on your mind, Colonel Lester?’

Torin gulped. Had the man read his thoughts again? ‘Uh, no... not exactly, my lord.’

‘But?’

‘But... there have been a few incidents,’ he lingered on the word, pausing to consider what to say next. If he did this wrong, his commission might end much earlier than he’d expected. ‘I am concerned about the... morale, of our men, my lord.’

‘Morale?’ Sadow repeated, raising an eyebrow. ‘I see. I assume this is about the reinforcements?’

Torin wasn’t surprised the man had been able to guess—he had a feeling these conversations were more for his benefit than the general’s. He was sure Sadow read his mind for whatever information he needed the second the comm line opened. ‘That is correct, my lord.’

Sadow was quiet for a minute, presumably mulling things over. His eyes were closed, so he may have been discussing it with that strange telepathy the Dark Ones seemed to possess. Finally, he answered: ‘The political situation is regrettable, but we take what we are given.’ He paused, appearing to look at something on his end of the transmission.

‘Regardless, we have new orders,’ Sadow continued. ‘The 11th Aerospace will be bringing down more men, and hopefully a garrison, to FOB Spear to fortify it—but our job is done. Whatever’s left of 14th Reconnaissance should be able to hold it until then. I want you and your men to continue on and rendezvous with forces led by Clan Scholae Palatinae further east.’

Torin suppressed a groan, feeling his stomach drop at the thought of even more friendly fire. He had a feeling General Faylen’s masters would be less than impressed when this war was over. But that wouldn’t be Torin’s problem.

‘Once there, we need you to help capture at least one of the enemy's commanders. General Faylen has designated the Jedi as High Value Targets. He needs them alive,’ Sadow said.

Torin frowned. ‘Alive, my lord?’

Sadow nodded. ‘The clutch you encountered at FOB Spear was not an isolated group. Our men got lucky, Colonel. Reports from elsewhere suggest they’ve succeeded in converting several of our men to their side, or else turned them into some form of living berserkers. General Faylen needs more intelligence to formulate an attack plan to secure the Dark Hall.’

Torin nodded. The reports from the Dark Jedi out in the field had been rather cryptic, but it was clear that something strange had gone down at Command Post D9. The look on some of the younger commanders’ faces when they had returned had said much. Torin had seen people broken in war; but the Dark Ones were supposed to be above that. And there had been something haunting in their eyes, like their resolve had been weathered away.

But it usually took months. Not days. Or hours.

‘Converted?’ he said finally, rubbing his chin as he considered the point. ‘So, that explains our rogue general, then?’

Sadow fell silent for a brief moment, but still long enough for Torin to notice. The Sith's eyes darkened. ‘No... I fear that is not the case,’ he said, but did not elaborate.

After several painfully long seconds, Torin decided it was probably best to end the conversation rather than risk pressing the issue further. ‘Understood, General. If that is all, then I will leave you to your work. Torin out,’ he said, keying the comm and beginning to relay the general’s orders to the rest of his men. Three Dark Jedi Clans working together... it would certainly be a fast learning curve, not just for him, but for the Dark Ones as well. He just hoped they could get along.

Nekura Manji

06-04-2009 08:21:46

FOB Spear
Shadowlands
Western Antei


The clean-up operation was very much underway as Manji and the rest of his group moved back into the charred confines of what had been the Forward Operating Base, the hastily-erected barricades that had hoped to fend off the droid attack shattered and broken. Personnel milled everywhere; Kraytskin-armoured soldiers mixing with the mostly robe-clad reinforcements from Taldryan. Barely suppressing a deranged cackle as they walked past a small knot of Taldryanites conferring in low voices, their faces troubled, Macron held his sides as he doubled over with the effort of not laughing at them. Grinning himself, Manji smacked the Alchemist lightly on the back of the head.

"Macron, hold it in or they'll realise it was you!"

Straightening up, the Sith tried to compose his features.

"Keke... ehh... sorry, Manji-sama. I just love the smell of burning Taldryanites in the morning."

As they wandered towards the ranks of walkers that had saved the base from the droid armoured division, a military man emerged from between the legs of the nearest AT-OT, moving towards them swiftly. His face looked somewhat haggard as he wiped his forehead, annoyance stamped on his features. Saluting the group, the man spoke in brief, sharp tones.

"Generals. Colonel Torin Lester at your service."

Saluting back at him, Macron twitched slightly as he responded.

"Greetings, Colonel. We appreciate you coming to help us deal with these tinnies... things might have gotten a little hairy if you hadn't showed up."

The Colonel accepted the thanks with a curt nod before turning back towards the walkers, the Dark Jedi falling behind him. His voice became instantly more business-like as he relayed the details of his conversation with Lord Sadow.

"We have new orders, Generals; we are to head east and rendezvous with the forces led by Clan Scholae Palatinae. Once there we're to assist in capturing some enemy commanders."

Manji's eye lit up gleefully.

"Excellent, more Jedi to beat and/or torture."

"I'm with you on that one..." Macron chuckled, his teeth baring as he relished the opportunity to flex his torturing muscles once again.

Tolin shuddered slightly, almost imperceptibly, before remembering his duty; he might have hated being around these Dark Jedi, but he had to work with them.

"My suggestion is that we send as many troops as possible to the east on the LAAT/i ships those reinforcements brought with them, while the rest of our forces head back east with my armoured column."

"That sounds good, Colonel," Macron nodded, opening up a comm. channel on his communicator. "As soon as the rest of our people get back we can move out!"

Moving slightly away from the Colonel, the Alchemist tapped in Aisha's frequency as the other Dark Jedi headed for the LAAT/i ships, making preparations for the trip eastward.

"Aisha, it seems we're moving out of this base- get your perfectly-formed Zeltron behind over here."

Zaxen Dauketrenal

06-04-2009 14:11:13

Enroute to FOB Spear
Adas Region
Antei


Zaxen sat watching the landscape pass by in the forever gloom that was the Shadowlands. He had not spoken a word since leaving Gelusk's compound and he did not need to. The Force sang around Zaxen like a dark symphony coupled with a raging storm. His companions felt it and they instinctively avoided him. Something had changed in side him, no something had awoken inside of him and it had grown.


Malisane and Agrist sat in the front of the speeder mumbling to each other, a strange sort of bond forming between the two once enemies. Jade tended to Zaroth and Kalei who sat huddled together talking quietly. Zaxen only half acknowledged any of it as his mind swam in the recollections since his arrival in the Antei system.

Agrist was working the comms console, attempting to get a hold of their forces at FOB Spear and after a few minutes time was successful. Zaxen could overhear the conversation as Agrist and Malisane gave a recap of the rescue.

"You said they were Jedi?" asked the garbled voice through the comlink.

"Thats correct. A Rather powerful Quarren master by the name of Gelusk and a few of his underlings. Never heard of him myself but thats not a real surprise." Agrist responded.

"I don't suppose you were able to acquire any prisoners? We have recieved new orders to capture any Jedi for interrogation if possible." The com operator called back.

"Negative, we pretty much wiped the place out. Estimate no survivors, Jedi or otherwise." Agrist replied.

"Actually that may not be entirely accurate." Zaxen spoke.

The shock of hearing the Krath speak earned the attention of the entire crew of the speeder.

"Standby base." Agrist said and muted the comms. "Explain Zaxen."

Command Post D9
Adas Region
Antei
2 hours ago


Gerlusk shook from the effects of shock. He watched as Zaxen approached him. He could feel the power pouring out of the Krath. So much power.

"Its not too late boy. You can save yourself from this. You can still find peace. Help me." Gerlusk murmured.

Zaxen stood over the squid-faced Jedi with a look of cold rage. His hazel green eyes flashed to a bright glowing blue and the air around him became plasmic. His lightsaber came to life with its angry hiss. Gerlusk attempted to touch the Force but found only his doom in it's embrace.

With a quick swipe of his blade Zaxen removed Gerlusk's right arm. The Quarren howled in pain. As his scream died out Zaxen took the Jedi's left arm from him. The Krath let the excruciation set in.

Gerlusk began to plead with Zaxen. "Please no, I can show you so many great things, so much knowledge. You will be magnificent. Just let me live. I will lead you to peace, I swear!"

Zaxen leaned in close to the Quarren's face. He could smell the fishy aroma that went with Quarren extreme anxiety. He spoke softly to him.

"Do not worry, you will live Jedi, for a long while I suspect." he said as he slowly began to draw his yellow blade across Gerlusk's right leg.

The slow agonizing pain from the cut brought another scream from the Jedi as his eyes teared up. As the right leg was separated Zaxen slowly began to sever the other inducing yet another cry of agony. Gerlusk's pleas had graduated to merely whimpers as his brain had lost the ability to reason logically.

"And now Master Jedi, I will show you your peace." With that Zaxen placed his hand upon the Jedi's brow. The whispers in Zaxen's mind flooded through him in the Force. He snarled pushing into the Jedi's mind and sent visions, feelings, atrocities, pain, everything into him.
Gerlusk shrieked like a rabid beast but could do nothing against Zaxen's onslaught.

Even after Zaxen removed his hand the Jedi was still screaming as he was haunted by his own torment. Still Zaxen was not through. In a final act of vengeance Zaxen put the tip of his blade on the Quarren's large, pointed head and seared his name into the the rubbery flesh in clear aurebesh.

As Zaxen turned to leave the screams of agony turned to howls of despair.

Enroute to FOB Spear
Adas Region
Antei


"I am sure he is still alive, grasping for the peace he preached about." Zaxen finished explaining.

The company in the speeder looked on in awe at the Krath and sat silently letting the story sink in.

Malisane spoke first. "Well done Isradia. Nice touch with carving your name into his head. Now when ever he looks in the mirror he will see you."

Agrist flipped the com back on. "Base we possibly have a prisoner for you. We are sending you the coordinates to the compound. You will find what is left of Gerlusk in his office, lower level, north end. I would approach with caution but I don't think he will be a problem."

"Roger that sending a team out now." the comm operator said and signed off.

Command Post D9
Adas Region
Antei
5 hours later


A special ops team from the Army of the Iron Throne under the Clan Naga Sadow's charge landed at the Jedi compound. The men could hear the screams before they entered the structure. It created a feeling of dread that was prevalent even for Antei.

When the men found Gerlusk, he had managed to squirm along the floor to a trash bin and had attempted to feed on food scrapes that he had tossed away the day before. In the end he could only cry out in frustration and abandon himself to failure.

The men sedated the Jedi, but the screams did not die. It was only when they emerged him into a vat of bacta did the agonizing cries stop.

"Base. This is Vulture." The team lieutenant called in.

"Go ahead Vulture." the comm officer returned.

"Carrion is secured. Any further tasking?"

"Negative Vulture. Cleared RTB."

Bob

06-04-2009 17:22:07

Republic-Class Star Destroyer Final Way
Combat Information Center
Antei, High Orbit.


“The time has come,” Consul Robert Daragon stated.

“My Lord?” Admiral Simonetti questioned.

“Prepare a shuttle for departure,” the Consul ordered, “And notify Lord Sadow that I will be arriving at the Command Center shortly.”

“What of the traitor Caerick?” asked the Admiral carefully.

“He shall accompany me to Antei,” the Consul stated as he sternly looked into the Admiral’s eyes, “But do not relay that information to Lord Sadow.”

“Understood my Lord,” Simonetti answered as he quickly went about completing his orders.


The Consul looked upon the planet Antei from the viewport of the Final Way. The Clan members that he represented were down there going above and beyond what was asked of them in the name of Naga Sadow. It was his duty to be there with them leading each one to complete their missions. For too long the Sith Warlord had allowed his inner demons to interfere with his duties and responsibilities, no longer would this be the case.

Robert had fought the visions for some time now and it was quickly becoming a losing battle. The answers were near, the Sith could feel it, but every time he thought he would receive it he only got more questions.

The one that now called himself Shan Long was no longer the same man that Robert had met the first time he served as Consul, nor was he the same man that Robert had served under for so long when Trevarus Caerick was Consul. No, this was something entirely different and the “so called” Dragon was a stranger in a familiar face.

The Consul’s instincts instructed him not to trust him, and he would do no such thing. However, he would listen to him and try to solve the puzzle that was unfolding and hope the consequences were not to extreme. The pain had been so powerful that Robert had lost control for a moment and was determined to end the existence of Shan Long. But he was not powerful enough to fulfill his impulses and deep inside the Sith knew he was not meant to choose the Dragon’s fate.

No, there was something much more important going on and Robert was quickly realizing he was just an insignificant part of it. The Consul couldn’t help but think that really his involvement was just an odd occurrence and he was just along for the ride in some great mystery of the Force.

The Consul would allow Shan Long to return to Antei, which Robert knew that was what the Dragon had planned all along, and simply let the situation play out. His master, Overlord Tron Sadow, would not be pleased, as the last thing he will want is to worry about a traitor while conducting a war. But Robert would just have to try to explain his reasoning, while keeping the truth from his master. Misleading the Overlord did not leave a pleasant taste in his mouth, while he had never personally faced the wrath of the Overlord, he had been present a few times with those who had and didn’t wish to be put in that situation. While Rober’ts allegiance was to the Overlord, he knew that the events of this war would taint that relationship forever.

DyrraSkye

06-04-2009 20:13:51

FOB Spear
Shadowlands
Western Antei


Dyrra was sitting down, for the first time in what felt like years. The droids had been beaten back, for now. She was taking advantage of the lull to sit down in one of the trenches and take the weight off her feet. She leant her head on her knees. It didn't last long enough, though. Almost as soon as her forehead hit her knees, a familiar couple of figures walked past her, one of them kicking her in the ankle as he did so, much to his companion's amusement.

She scowled up at the wiry figure sauntering away from her. A few choice words sprang to mind, but she didn't voice any of them. It was too much effort to even put up a show of bravado. She was tired.

"Come on, kid. You can sleep when you're dead. We've got new orders."

Dyrra just groaned, hauled herself to her feet and followed her master. He was whistling. Whistling.
What the hell is he so cheerful about?

"Do the new orders involve butchering a Jedi orphanage, or something?" she inquired.
Manji quirked an eyebrow.
"There's an idea. Sadly, not at all. We're simply to rendezvous with another clan. Why?"
"You're cheerful. You're never this cheerful unless you're about to go and make many people come face to face with their insides."
He simply smirked in reply and walked faster, towards the group of LAAT/i gunships that were waiting for occupants.

"Oh god, not more of those things. I don't even have anything in my belly to throw up, this time."
Macron giggled as Manji seized his student by the scruff of her neck and frogmarched her onto the ship. Aisha joined them just as the ship was about to take off and slid into a seat next to her own master.

As the ship took off, Dyrra prayed silently to whatever gods might favour those who hate flying. In a futile bid to take her mind off her stomach, she tried to listen to the conversation of the troopers nearby.

"Didn't you hear?" One of the troopers said to his neighbour. "We were lucky to get reinforcements. Some of them got killed in a missile strike when they arrived."
"A missile strike? How did that happen?"

Looking at the carefully blank faces of the other three Jedi in the LAAT/i, Dyrra thought she might have an idea. Especially since Macron in particular was attempting to look how he thought an innocent person must look. In reality, he just looked slightly constipated.

She raised an eyebrow at Manji, who smirked a little. Then she heard his familiar voice in her head.
Nothing like a missile strike on some of the Huttkarkers from Taldryan to put a man in a good mood.

Malisane

07-04-2009 07:47:54

Somewhere in the Darkness of Antei
Antei


“This is a bad plan De Ath,” Agrist grumbled as the LAAT skimmed over the dark terrain.
“Would you like me to drop you off and pick you up on the way back?” Malisane replied as he piloted the craft.
Agrist grunted. “Save the sarcasm. For one thing after the rescue we'd earned a rest."
Malisane ignored him. “Mecros how are those readings looking?”
The Khommite Sith Warrior was sat in the navigators chairy. ”Picking up troop movement to the northeast, twenty kilometres.”
Malisane turned the craft towards the co-ordinates Mecros had found. “Sounds good.”
“Try and land this one safely,” Agrist told him, “three crash landings in a row would probably loose you your pilot’s licence.”
“They can invoice me if I do,” Malisane replied, “I’ll land us ten kilometres ahead. That will give us chance to set up.”

A few minutes later the three Sith lay on ridge watching the lights of the approaching droid column, the transports drifting over the ground at about six feet.
“They’re about in range.” Malisane said confidently.
“I still don’t get how this will help us find a Jedi,” Mecros admitted.
“We’re not going to find a Jedi,” Malisane explained to the clone, “a Jedi is going to find us.”
“How?” Mecros asked suspiciously.
“We draw their attention. Like this.” He closed his eyes and focused on the lead transport, then he shoved hard. The transport lurched backwards under the Sith’s influence and smashed into the one behind, causing an explosion in the darkness as both craft hit the ground in a burst of flame. “Get the idea?”
Agrist watched as the column stopped and landed, droids spilling out, then he concentrated hard searching down into the rocky terrain. Finding what he wanted he pushed, and in the darkness they could hear a loud cracking noise as the ground shook and then a fault began spreading and forcing open the rock and a crack began to move with alarming speed towards the advancing droids. Agrist smiled as dozen droids tumbled in and the rest scattered. There was another explosion as a third transport was destroyed as it followed the stricken troops.
Malisane glanced around then said, "Mecros, give me a hand."
Mecros followed his gaze to where a large shape blocked out the stars above them, and understanding he focused his mind. Between them the two Sith lifted the large boulder high into the air and then hurled it towards the confused droid forces where it smashed, raining the area with debris and destroying another dozen droids. Triumphantly the three hidden Sith continued their assault against the confused droid force.

Nearby
Antei.


"Mistress," the kneeling figure said, "we have received a distress signal from the incoming reinforcements. They are under attack from unseen force weilding assailants."
"They are sure of that?"
"They report flying rocks and earthquakes Mistress."
"Go and investigate Lovain, and do not go alone. If there are Sith out there overpower them and bring them to me."
"Yes Mistress it will be done."

Nekura Manji

07-04-2009 08:09:35

Rendezvous Point
The Shadowlands
Antei


Dust flew away as the LAAT/i ships set themselves down amongst the crowds of soldiers attached to the Dark Jedi of Clan Scholae Palatinae. To Dyrra's relief, the trip hadn't been a long one- as the door of the gunship slid open she leapt out, glad to feel her feet back on solid ground once more. Following her out of the ship, Manji, Macron and Aisha turned to watch the other Sadowan Jedi step out of their own transports, the troops flowing out in an orderly fashion around them.

Suddenly a voice was lifted above the hustle and bustle of soldiers going about their duties as an officer adorned with the markings of a Colonel strode towards the new arrivals, running his fingers through his close-cropped blonde hair.

"Are you the reinforcements from Naga Sadow?"

Turning to face the man, Macron nodded.

"That's us. There are some more forces on their way from FOB Spear; an armoured column from the 8th Mechanized should be here in due course to assist."

The Colonel grimaced as he replied with a salute.

"We could use them sooner rather than later... Colonel Marten Garlon, Generals. I'm in joint command of the Iron Throne forces here with the Scholae Summit."

Beckoning them to follow him towards the field headquarters which had been set up some distance away, Marten turned and walked towards the large tent, hands clasped behind his back.

"The situation is rather tricky. We secured our objective, but we've been coming under guerrilla attacks from several units of droids led by Jedi. They'll attack, the Jedi will wreak some havoc on our forces, and then they'll disappear before we can mobilise against them."

Pausing at the door of the field HQ, Marten turned back to the Sadowan Dark Jedi with a slight smirk on his face.

"But, now that you're here... we can send you and the Scholae Foxtrot Uniforms out in squads to intercept these Jedi before they get anywhere near this temporary base of operations."

A significant glance passed between Manji and the others. None of them were happy about having to fight alongside members of the other Clans; while their relations with Scholae Palatinae weren't quite as fraught with antagonism as their relations with Taldryan, nobody wanted to rely on Darksiders from the other Clans. Oblivious to their expressions, Marten continued.

"We've been ordered to capture as many of the Jedi as we can in order to gather intelligence as well. I trust you're willing to take care of that?"

Manji shrugged nonchalantly.

"I guess if this involves hunting down and beating the kark out of Jedi, I'm all for it."

As he finished speaking, Macron spoke up, his eyes glinting.

"I think I'll remain here, though, Colonel. I have... shall we say... a talent for extracting information."

Manji and Aisha looked away, grimacing slightly. They'd seen the results of Macron's information extraction process. Dyrra looked between them in confusion; she'd not had the misfortune of seeing one of Macron's victims either during the interrogation or afterwards. Slapping his hands together, the Sith cackled at the discomfort of his companions.

"They'll vouch for my skills, Colonel. Bring any Jedi that are captured to me and I'll have them singing like a little Corellian banshee bird in no time."

Recovering his composure, Manji coughed and straightened up.

"Well, I guess I'll get out there. Show me to your speeder bikes, Colonel."

Xanos

07-04-2009 11:13:06

The Shadowlands
Somewhere in Adas


Aleho gulped down hard as she followed Tsainetomo into the open maw of the sandstorm. Above, flashes of lightning forked their path across the sky in a crisscross of dark blue and violet streaks, woven like a net, closing around them as the pair of speeder bikes drew nearer the tornado’s eye.

Blinded by the black clouds of sand and dust, she could only reach out to feel Sai's presence in the Force and follow it to their destination. They were miles off mission; but the intensity of his certainty outshone her doubt. He was keeping something from her, she could tell, but it didn’t matter. The endless cackle of the silver-haired man kept her focused: The two were linked.

Sai understood this. That much was obvious. That was why he had violated his orders and gone off mission. But what was it? What was the significance of Curwen Sunei? And why did he haunt her nightmares? How was the madman of Inos linked to the sensation she felt directly ahead?

The answers, she feared, were about to reveal themselves.

Sai halted and she pulled up alongside him. The sandstorm circling them had thinned. It appeared they had penetrated a tranquil plain located in the centre of the storm. The mass of sand obscured the tapestry of blue and violet forks. Two lone purple fires burned above them like twin stars.

Between them hovered a shadow as deep as a black hole. The clouds stretched out beyond its shoulders like black wings or the arms of a profane cross. The image of a sword flashed before Aleho's eyes, like a memory that had been buried deep in the back of her mind. Images of her torture at the hands of Sunei on Inos months earlier flooded back. Forgotten memories that Macron had helped her erase.

Through the scorched and crucified body hanging in the air before her, she finally understood. It had never been about a burning sword at all.

The shadow descended.

Sai reached to hold her back. ‘Go. Save yourself,’ he muttered in a near whisper. ‘The Clan must be warned. Show the Overlord what I discovered.’ He paused, his breathing quickening. ‘I will follow when I can... now go!’

‘But—’

Before she could finish her sentence the shadow landed, promptly dismissing any urge to argue. Her hand closed tightly around the datapad Sai had given her earlier. The creature before her was not the silver-haired man, Curwen Sunei, though it felt exactly the same. It was something entirely else. Sunei had only felt like an echo, the same echo she had felt lately from the Consul; whereas the shadow utterly seethed with the same wrongness she had felt from them.

Sai leapt off the back of his speeder bike, withdrawing his lightsaber. The orange-red blade thumbed to life with a sharp snap-hiss, though the sound was mostly deafened by the ghostly wailing of the wind as it circled around them, the noise only broken by the occasional cracks of thunder.

The light from the two purple suns blinded her. Then the shadow stepped forward, its darkness eclipsing the two stars to bathe the isolated plain in night. Its tattered robes and ruined chest plate were hanging off, and barely covered its blackened, charred and blistered skin. Its right eye glowed artificially red and whirred as if a cybernetic implant adjusted to focus on the pair; but its right eye was a black pit, mirrored by the black tattoo of a third eye on its forehead that was leaking a sanguine rivulet of blood down its face.

‘Cyrus Raze,’ Sai called, sounding forceful, though there was a shiver of unease in his voice.

What had he been hiding from her? She risked a glance down at the datapad. It showed a display of the region of Antei surrounding the Dark Hall up to the local expanse of the Du’san Boundary. The locations—and life signs—of every member of Clan Naga Sadow were indicated. A pair of blue dots indicated her and Sai. Both were labelled ‘A’ for Alive. Cyrus Raze was indicated in front of them. A yellow dot reflecting his uncertain status as neither blue for friendly, nor red for hostile.

Cyrus was marked with a ‘D’.

For dead.

She fumbled, her hand shaking, as she put the datapad back in her pocket. She looked up at Sai for instructions, but he had already begun to advance toward Cyrus. Glancing back for ideas, the maw of the sandstorm had closed, shutting them off from the thin funnel through which they had entered.

Sai continued, having to scream to be heard over the howl of the wind. ‘You have broken the Covenant and endangered the life of His Excellency, Lord Astronicus Aurelius Sadow, Prince of the Sadow bloodline, Heir of the Dark Lord Naga Sadow, and Overlord of the Sons of Sadow.’ The Keibatsu shifted his footing into a ready stance of Djem So, holding his blade up high.

Aleho had seldom seen Sai fight, but the skills of the members of his family were legendary. Few opponents escaped the blades of the children of Kyataru. But that moment she could not help but feel the beads of sweat forming on her face. There was a darkness here she could feel, but it was unnatural. Not of the darkness of the Brotherhood, but of the raw, untamed dark. As if it was of this very place, of Antei, of the same unnatural death that permeated the system, emanating from the Dark Star.

In a rich display of skill and footwork, Sai fanned his blade before him forming a barrier as the shadow continued to approach, unmoved by his ardent devotion to the would be Sadow Empire.

She had to do something; but she was just a teenager, she hadn’t even finished her Trials. She couldn’t just sit there—but what could she do?

‘I know you are not Cyrus Raze,’ Sai shouted. ‘A mere knight could not conjure this storm. What is your name?’

The shadow froze. It opened its mouth and a chain of screams came forth, though some words were more discernable than others over the cacophony. ‘Cyrus Raze is but one of us for we are legion,’ it said, seeming to speak with multiple voices at the same time. ‘A thousand tortured souls bound in this shell. I am their voice. One of many.’

Sai stopped fanning his lightsaber. ‘I had thought you an apprentice of Trevarus Caerick, I take it then I was mistaken? But if he is not your Master, then who?’

‘The child wishes to know the Master, but the less it knows the better,’ the shadow said in another voice. It continued, seeming to utter in a different shrill with each line, ‘Perhaps if he were to throw himself into our maw he may come to know the Master though us?’ The body of Cyrus Raze smiled hungrily.

The shadow advanced but Sai held his ground.

‘You do not scare me,’ Sai said. ‘I have experienced men like you before. Ones twisted by the dark side. Rifts. Wounds in the Force. You are nothing but failures who have allowed the dark side to consume you. Like Shan Long—’

Pain shot through Aleho’s ears when the shadow opened its mouth and screamed, cutting Sai off. ‘Do not speak of him! The coward let our brothers’ voices burn in fire when he fled from the darkness of death’s embrace to cling to life’s bosom! But we did not fear the end. We became the Dark. The Void. The Culmination of the Final Way. Willingly cast aside the flesh that that craven one clung to!’

‘I tire of these riddles,’ Sai spat, raising his saber again. ‘If you are their voice, then who are you?’

‘We,’ the shadow began, but paused as if to correct itself. ‘I am Vexatus.’

Kalei_Basai

07-04-2009 11:58:22

Enroute to FOB Spear
Adas Region
Antei


Kalei's mind had been so far away that she had barely even paid attention between the time she started to talk to Zaroth and the current moment. She'd finally gotten some water and food into her system and was doing better; her mind was finally clear and she was no longer seeing shadows that weren't actually there.

She looked to her friend and Aedile, Jade, and gave a soft smile. "Thanks for helping get us out of there. If we'd stayed there much longer, I don't know what would have happened to us." She sighed and just shook her head; how could she have been so weak to let them get into her mind like that?

FOB Spear
Adas Region
Antei


Kalei was giving herself the most amount of rest that she actually could before they had anything else they had to do. As she awoke slightly and looked around her, she could see her battle team along with many others resting or talking amongst themselves. She was just glad to be back.

Ashura

07-04-2009 13:01:23

FOB Spear
Adas Region
Antei

"I see your not dead, my apprentice" Ashura said as he walked into where Kalei and the others were resting. "And it's good to see you didnt convert..." a sick smile appeared on his face "...otherwise I would have killed you myself." Of course she knew her master meant it.

"Still... welcome back."

Isradia then walked over to his little brother; he could feel the storm inside Zaxen and it made him smile. He looked the Krath in the eyes; both his and Zaxen's eyes glowed slightly as something went unspoken between them.

"Now, my brother, you understand our legacy."

He left Zaxen, Kalei and the others resting from the long trip and headed back outside.

"Soldier," he said to the nearest man.

"Yes general?"

"As soon as their fighting fit, get them into the war zone. We have a war to win." The Proconsul then walked over and picked up the comms.

"Give me a situation report."

Bob

07-04-2009 18:37:28

A Lambda-class shuttle slowly exited from the main bay of the Republic-class Star Destroyer Final Way and hustled towards the surface of Antei. The Consul of Clan Naga Sadow, Robert Daragon, sat contemplating how he would proceed when they arrived at Command Headquarters when he realized he was being watched.

“What the kark are you smiling at?” the Sith asked his companion on the trip.

Shan Long just continued to grin while smoking his cigar.

“You could at least offer me one of those you crazy bastard,” the annoyed Consul swore.

“Why of course Bob,” Shan Long answered as he retrieved a cigar, “How rude of me, this should help your nerves a bit.”

As Shan Long reached over to light the cigar the sight of the flame slowly began to grow larger and larger and multiple voices whispered in the Consul’s ears, “he must die…..must die.” Daragon tightly clenched his eyes shut trying to force the pain away taking a long drag on the cigar until the voices stopped.

When Daragon opened his eyes he once again saw the grinning face of Shan Long, “If you don’t wipe that grin off your face I will be happy to remove it for you.”

Shan Long just continued to stare at the Consul as he was truly intrigued by how the events were playing out.

Malisane

08-04-2009 11:34:09

Somewhere in the Darkness of Antei
Antei


Agrist was stood on the ridge watching the flame lit droid convoy calmly as they attempted to repair they’re crafts or load equipment into the remaining ones. There wasn’t much point in continuing the attacks if he hadn’t got their attention by now he never would and he was conserving his strength. He calmly took a bottle of liquor from his backpack and took a swig. Suddenly he span around sensing movement behind him and a lightsaber snapped into life illuminating a robed figure. To his left and right another two rose up and activated their blades, and a fourth then approached, presumably the leader. “Impressive.” Agrist muttered. He hadn’t sensed their approach.

The leader approached him, saber raised. “Don’t move Sith.”
The mercenary stood still watching him, as the other Jedi stood tensed to strike. The leader looked him up and down. “You destroyed our column?”
“Yes,” Agrist replied.
“I am Lovain, you will come with us.”
“No.”
You are outnumbered you are wise to comply.”
The mercenary looked him up and down contemptuously then ignited his saber. “No you will comply. Drop your sabers and kneel with your hands behind your heads.”
Lovain looked incredulous then raised his own saber. “You are a fool to think you can face us alone.”
Agrist smiled. “You are a fool to think I’m alone.”

The Jedi behind Lovain gave a muffled cry then a gurgle as an arm was clamped around his neck and a knife was drawn across his throat. Malisane let the body drop then drew his saber. As the Jedi to Agrist’s right made for Malisane Mecros’s saber ignited and drove through his body from behind. Malisane leapt at the other and parried a blow then contemptuously counterattacked slicing into the Jedi’s side. Lovain and Agrist battled, the mercenary resisting the urge to kill the Jedi and concentrated on blocking his attacks as Malisane and Mecros surrounded them. Malisane watched for a few seconds then smashed Lovain on the back of the head sending him slumping to the floor.

Agrist deactivated his saber. “We don’t have much time, that fight has probably lit us up for miles around.”
Malisane nodded and hefted the Jedi over his shoulder with ease. “The ship is nearby, I’ll be happier once we’re in the air.”

Macron Sadow

08-04-2009 16:51:43

Interrogation Bunker
Rendezvous Point
The Shadowlands
Antei


A lone soldier posted outside the pre-fab block grimaced. Sith did not generally need guards- he was there to keep people out for their own good. His superiors had told him it was sound-proof. They were wrong. Horrible screams and grunts issued from inside the bunker briefly, muffled by the door and earth surrounding it. The screams stopped.

A lone red Zeltron woman approached the bunker, flanked by an IT-3 droid that had been heavily modified. The guard whistled under his breath appreciatively. Hot number, even for a Force-witch, he thought while trying to keep his face impassive. She shrugged and walked forward, punched the guard in the arm playfully and winked at him suggestively. He was cute. Zeltrons appreciated good looks. Maybe she'd break him later.

Sadly, Macron was alone in the chamber. No Jedi had yet been brought. He slumped over the couch, bracing himself with one hand. He had heard the voice in his mind clearly. Only one sentence had been heard in his mind. One little verse- and yet, the magnitude of it's import was astounding. ‘I am Vexatus.’ It had said, and the madman knew it was true.

Somehow, the Betrayer had returned. "It's not... possible," moaned the Sith in horror and revulsion. "I killed him! He's dead! Not even the Mark..." The Sith raised his hand to his head, wiping the bit of blood that oozed from the eye-like Mark on his forehead. "Shavit." His stomach dry-heaved at the thought, making him gag.

As the door pinged, Macron donned his Battlesuit helm quickly. It sealed with a hiss of compressed gases. Now, he was safe in his own world of madness. Now, the Betrayer could not find him. Or so he thought. He said, "Come in."

The door opened with a chuff of air, and Aisha Qifaxa entered. "Here's Blinky as requested, Master."

"Good," came the voice cooly from the helm's vocoder. The crimson and black-armored Sith held his hand up like a falconer. The strange humming black ball levitated towards him on repulsor coils. "Good boy," cooed the Warlord.

Aisha squinted at the behavior- strange even for her Master. The Zeltron was studied in behavior patterns from her days as a private investigator. "General Malisane says he has a captive for interrogation," she quipped. "And something's wrong. I don't need the Force to know that," she said. "You've been hard on me, I admit. But there's concern there too, no?"

The air was still for a pregnant moment before the modulated voice replied. "Leave," he mumbled. "Bring the Jedi. He has come. Protect yourselves."

Aisha cocked a hip, placed her hands on them sarcastically, and frowned. "Who?"

"My old Sith Master has found a way to return," Macron whispered through the helm. "I have forseen it."

"But you said he was dead back on Lehon?" The Knight turned to the door and looked over her shoulder. "I don't get it." The door shut behind her as she went to meet Malisane.

Neither do I, thought Macron. Darth help us. He picked up his comlink.
"Manji, this is Macron... beware. Somehow, Vexatus has returned from the land of the ancestors and wailing spirits."

Xanos

08-04-2009 18:37:39

20km north of the Valley of the Dead
The Shadowlands
Adas, Antei


Aleho saw Tsainetomo’s saber arm freeze and the Keibatsu take a few steps back from the shadow in the centre of the sandstorm’s eye. The clearing seemed to move as the shadow moved. A bolt of lightning forked from the sky, striking the ground with the crack of a turbolaser discharge.

‘That’s impossible! He died,’ Sai yelled over the howl of the winds. ‘I felt it. We all did.’

The shadow’s mouth parted to release another somehow intelligible squall of tortured screams. ‘Lord Vexatus became one of us.’

‘One of us,’ it repeated in different voices, as if agreeing with itself. ‘One of many. Not like the coward. Unlike him.’

‘You left me to die,’ it said, this time in an all too familiar voice. Cyrus’s torn and bleeding lips twisted into a smirk. ‘But I became stronger for it.’

Aleho tilted her head as she studied whatever was left of Cyrus Raze. She had not really known the knight; he had always been something of an outsider. But the Mark, the tattoo of a third eye: that she remembered. It was the same as Master Macron’s. Only different. The ink on Cyrus’s forehead did not glow like Macron’s; it looked faded, blackened. It seemed to suck in the surrounding light, like a gateway to another place, a pit.

Sai shifted his posture, dipping his lightsaber into a Soresu derived guard stance. The Keibatsu straightened, seeming to defy the fear that was threatening to choke Aleho herself. Her blood had chilled such that she did not feel she could move; but the Kyataran samurai remained steadfast.

Sai shook his head slightly. ‘I sense nothing of the Betrayer in you. I feel only death.’ He dipped his head, somehow managing a customary nod before battle, even against one utterly undeserving of such a formality. When he looked up, his eyes had gone fierce. ‘My brothers defeated you before. I shall defeat you now.’

Aleho could hear the resolve in his voice, but also the unspoken hesitation. Nevertheless, she had heard the stories of what had transpired on Lehon. Of how Vexatus had been defeated by Macron and Lord Ashen: if there was anyone who could stand against his reanimated spectre, it was one of the noble Keibatsu bloodline.

She had felt the presence of many Grand Masters and Elders. Each burned in the Force, untamed stars, novas. The Jedi were similar, just a mirror image, still fierce and savage, if only a different shade of the many greys. But the entity before her felt different. When she reached out, she heard nothing but a distant stream of painful cries. She pulled back, fearing the pain might deafen her.

This was not like staring into an intense flame, but the absence of it. There was no heat, no fire. Not just like with the Force blind. It was an echo. Pure void. Like the Yuuzhan Vong. Death.

The Keibatsu glanced back at her, a grim moue across his face. Then he turned back to Cyrus.

Sai leapt, an arm of blood-orange blaze extended from his hand.

The first bolt struck Sai before he had even reached striking distance. His body flew out of the air and crashed into the dirt, slumping onto all fours. He jumped to his feet and caught the next burst on his lightsaber, holding the prolonged crackle of purple energy; but stepped back, slowly forced to give ground under the assault.

Sai called on the dark side to push forward, breaking the connection to drive toward Cyrus, closing the distance between the two men, or man and ghost. The samurai lunged, but another burst of energy caught him and pushed him back before he could strike.

Aleho grimaced as she watched, fighting the urge to turn away and flee, even if it meant being torn to shreds by the sandstorm. It felt the lesser of the two evil when caught between a normal death and whatever fate would await her if she was devoured by the void. A purple burst of lightning caught Sai dead centre and threw him onto his back. He screamed, writhing and coughing as he struggled to stand up. It sounded like he was choking, gagging as he fought to breathe.

Aleho clapped a hand over her mouth as she suppressed a scream. She had never truly witnessed the power of the dark side; its raw destructive force in the hands of an Elder. Was this its true nature? Did true darkness mean the death of the Force? Sai rolled about on the floor, seeming to have lost the strength to stand. Her own body had seized up, frozen, unable to reach for her lightsaber to lend aid. What help could she be anyway?

All she could do was look on and watch as Sai shrieked in tortured agony. This was wrong. The Keibatsu line had destroyed Vexatus. How could one so strong could fall so easily? One of the great samurai family? It defied all she had been led to trust, at the Shadow Academy, onboard the Arcanum, and beyond in the halls of the Simus Institute. She had only known of Darth Vexatus from a distance. During her time on Sepros, the apprentice of Trevarus Caerick had kept himself to himself. He had been an enigma long before his betrayal.

But what she saw did not fit even those stories. They had spoken of a nova, bright in the Force, like any other of the Elders. Not the void, the hole that lingered now in the body of Cyrus Raze. She swallowed hard. If she survived this, she would be sure to find out whatever she could of the Battle of Lehon two years prior. Shan Long’s survival had already revealed the Clan elders had suppressed much of the truth.

But Vexatus’s survival proved there were things even the elders themselves had never foreseen.

A final chain of purple forks smothered the Keibatsu. The spectre drew nearer to gaze down as Sai coughed up blood. It uttered more disjointed screams and Aleho averted her gaze. There was nothing fathomable this time in what it said. There was nothing of either the Jedi nor the Sith about it. It was cold. Empty. She could feel only the hunger. The urge to feast. To consume.

‘Whatever you are,’ Sai spluttered, ‘we will stop you.’

Defiant, Sai lunged, leaning forward to swipe despite being spread eagled on the sand. His saber seared through Cyrus's arm; but the shadow did not so much as seem to flinch. The limb flew away into the distance, being caught in the swirling currents of the sandstorm. Exhausted, Sai slumped back onto the earth, his fingers going loose around his lightsaber, which then rolled across the sand to beneath where Cyrus stood.

The shadow bent forward, bringing its face close to Sai’s to study him. Sai coughed again, spitting blood on Cyrus’s face, but the shadow did not appear to notice, or care. ‘You cannot hope to fathom our intentions. We seek to unify. The vessel must be reformed.’

‘Vessel?’ Sai coughed, clearly straining himself so Aleho could hear. Maybe he still hoped she would escape to report something worthwhile back to base?

‘The cradle of reality. Our voices drift divorced throughout a sea of glass, lost beyond time’s flow.’ The screams seemed to soften, as if drawing on a forgotten memory. ‘We seek one Galaxy. One being. Time and space compressed into one moment, one singularity. Unification.’

Across the other end of the plain, Aleho spotted several bright sparks emerging through the thick clouds of sand. Her eyes went wide. Jedi. Four of them. And strong in the Force.

‘Dark Lord, we have come to end you,’ cried an elderly sounding voice.

Malisane

09-04-2009 08:07:06

Rendezvous Point
The Shadowlands
Antei


The LAAT pulled up and Malisane lowered the ramp. The three Sith walked down it to see Aisha stood with a floating stretcher and two soldiers. “He’s all yours. I gave him a knock to the back of the head so he’s having a nice lie down.”
She nodded. “We’ll take over here.”
“Where’s Mac?”
“In the main building digesting the news.”
“What news?” Agrist asked quickly.
“It’s better if he explain it Battlelord,” she replied.

A few minutes later the three left Macron’s room, the two Battlelords were quiet. “I take it this is bad?” Mecros asked.
“You could say that,” Malisane replied.
“We should act,” Agrist added.
“We should do nothing!” Malisane snapped back. The other two looked at him in surprise at his outburst and he continued in a deathly quiet voice. “I’ve been around here a lot longer than either of you,” he told them, “and one thing I’ve learned is don’t get involved with the Sadows. It’s them and us, they have their own level of scheming and intrigue that goes far beyond whatever else goes on around here. Macron and Sai are alright, they’re new to it but even they’re changing slowly. The rest are something else entirely, particularly the elders. If they tell you to do something you bow politely, do it, then get the hell away. There’s a whole world of drek you don’t want to get mixed up in.”

Mecros looked taken aback and Agrist thoughtful. The mercenary turned to the Khommite, “Go and get something to eat and don’t speak about this to anyone.” Mecros nodded soberly and left. Agrist turned to Malisane. “I think you’re wrong De Ath. Vexatus affects all of us not just the Sons.”
Malisane sighed. “Agrist you do what you want. Personally I want to get off Antei, deal with Severina then if we’re still alive go back to Lor Zatean or Usharak and keep out of whatever happens next. I’d advise you to go back to your post and do the same. However it’s up to you.” He gave the mercenary a final look then turned and left.
ntei

Nekura Manji

09-04-2009 08:47:55

The Shadowlands
Adas, Antei


"Manji, this is Macron... beware. Somehow, Vexatus has returned from the land of the ancestors and wailing spirits."

Dyrra's ears twitched at the sound of the message as she kept her speeder next to Manji's, the two of them gliding across the Shadowlands in search of a Jedi convoy. Raising her voice, the red-haired Protector spoke over the whine of the speeders.

"Who's Vexatus? And why's he a big deal?"

Glancing across at her, Manji grimaced, his face completely serious for possibly the first time since she'd met him. For a moment Dyrra was surprised- then she looked deeper, and saw something even more worrying. Manji wasn't just serious- he was afraid.

Is this Vexatus really that bad?

Clearing his throat, the Epis looked back ahead of him, speaking quietly.

"Vexatus is... very bad news. That's all you really need to know."

"But-"

"Don't ask any more questions. The less you know about him, the better. Suffice it to say that if he's back, things are going to get even more insane since Trev is back as well."

For a moment Dyrra wanted to ask another question, then she caught the unspoken threat in Manji's voice.

Some things are best left unspoken, especially on this planet, where the Dark Side bleeds from the very soil.

With a 'hmph', the Protector returned her gaze to the landscape ahead of them, scanning the horizon for droids or Jedi. Suddenly Manji chuckled, his good humour partially restored. His hand shot out to a point slightly to the northeast of them, towards a valley cut into the rock.

"There. A Jedi leading a small group of battledroids."

Dyrra looked at him, one eyebrow raised. All she could see was the valley and the empty plains of Adas surrounding it.

"Are you sure?"

"Positive. Come on, let's get behind those rocks over there- you can keep watch while I deal with this Jedi."

As they pulled their bikes to a stop and jumped off, crouching behind a jagged outcropping of rock, Dyrra growled in annoyance, folding her arms.

"Oh, so I'm supposed to just sit here and let you have all the fun? No way!"

Looking down at her, Manji grinned and reached out to ruffle her hair, ignoring the snarl of anger she directed at him.

"I don't need your help, kid. I'll take this Jedi out in no time. You just sit, watch, and learn, alright?"

Before Dyrra could respond, telling him where he could shove his lightsaber, Manji was gone, moving out from behind the rock towards the mouth of the valley. Crossing his arms, he stood and waited as the Jedi and his squad of six battledroids approached. From behind the rocks, Dyrra watched as the Nautolan Jedi stepped away from the group and moved towards the Keibatsu, his head-tresses swinging behind him. Suddenly Manji hurled himself into action, leaping over the Jedi and landing in the midst of the battledroids, his saber flashing to life and carving through them effortlessly. One droid managed to aim a panicked blaster shot at the Epis that flew wide and hit another droid, before the saber smashed into its face.

As the last of the droids collapsed around Manji, he turned back to the Nautolan Jedi, who had drawn two green lightsabers and stood ready to attack. Shrugging, Manji whirled the silver blade around his body.

"Can't have them interfering while I beat you senseless, can we?"

Lifting the tip of one saber to point at Manji's throat, the Jedi raised his voice.

"Darkside scum... I am Jedi Master Ayln'ohn. Identify yourself!"

With a deep chuckle, Manji gave the Nautolan a mocking salute, the tip of his lightsabre carving an intricate figure-of-eight in the air as he bowed shallowly.

"Epis Nekura Manji Keibatsu... your enemy."

Ayln'ohn's eyes widened in shock and his stance loosened slightly as he straightened up.

"Keibatsu..? Tell me, Keibatsu... do you know a man named Eojin Quon-Shen?"

DyrraSkye

09-04-2009 20:42:25

The Shadowlands
Adas, Antei


"Keibatsu..? Tell me, Keibatsu... do you know a man named Eojin Quon-Shen?"

Silence. The wind howled mournfully, blowing black dust across the surface of Adas and fluttering Manji and Ayln'ohn's robes around them. The Keibatsu stood stock-still, his back straight, staring at the Nautolan in what could have been construed as shock.

From behind, Dyrra couldn't see her master's face, but she saw him stiffen at something the Nautolan had said. She frowned. Manji had been so relaxed and confident only a moment before- it didn't make any sense for him to have lost that so suddenly.

What's this guy said that's affected him so much?

"Quon-Shen?" Manji asked, his good eye narrowed, "How would you know that name?"

Ayln'ohn gazed calmly at the Epis, his sabers still humming quietly. "He was my old master. Before I found my new master... before I truly saw what Jedi were meant to be."

There was a dangerous edge to Manji's voice as he replied, "Were you ever sent to Kyataru?"

A look of worry crossed the Jedi's face as he realised the way his opponent's thoughts were proceeding.

"Yes, but-"

"You killed my family." The words were drenched in hatred.

"We were young, we didn't-"

"You killed my karking family!"

With a howl of fury, Manji leapt forward, ignoring anything else the Jedi had to say. He was intent only on killing the one who had been involved in the deaths of his parents.

Xanos

10-04-2009 16:41:44

20km north of the Valley of the Dead
The Shadowlands
Adas, Antei


Vexatus released Sai’s skull from his grip and the Korun slumped back to the ground, banging his head on a rock underneath. He turned to study the source of the interruption. Four Jedi emerged through the swirling typhoon of dark sands, rock, pieces of broken droids and debris. The Jedi clearly hailed from widely differing backgrounds: a blue skinned Chagrian stood slightly ahead of the rest; behind him stood a skeletal looking Givin; a human female covered in tattoos, reminiscent of a Nightsister; and a female Devarionian, who felt somewhat capricious, her skills probably self-taught.

Their robes were all filthy and battle worn, peppered with lightsaber cuts and blast holes. Except for the presumably onetime Nightsister who wore little attire at all but a skimp bodice and a short skirt. Her wounds, if any, were unnoticeable behind all of the ritually inflicted scars and tattoos.

‘Jedi here?’ Vexatus whispered, his lips cracking into a hungry grin. ‘How convenient. Children of the light, do you too seek to join our union like this one?’ He nodded his head back where Sai lay.

He felt the Jedi send out their feelers in the Force, their sense probing the broken shadow of Cyrus Raze; but they kept their distance, glancing only across the surface. He drank of that light, drawing it deep into the singularity of his being to become one with it, never to be seen again. Just as he would be one with the Universe in time. Across the rocky plain within the sandstorm, the Chagrian jerked upright and slowly took a step back. That one must have been the leader. Or too stupid to keep his distance. Not that such stupidity was unwelcome where it served his purpose.

‘Do you fear death?’ Vexatus laughed. ‘We are the culmination of all your nightmares.’

‘I fear nothing,’ called the Chagrian over the unending howl of the hurricane force winds. He frowned. ‘You do not feel like the other Sith here. Are you not of Sarin’s ilk?’

‘We are the cradle of a new reality,’ Vexatus replied, reciting the creed that had shaped his being. ‘Soon, there shall be nothing but me.’ He paused. There was something familiar about the Jedi. Through the Force, they smelt of a familiar scent; one he had not sensed since he had first embraced his true identity, and consumed the blind idealist he had once been. He had felt the Jedi’s zeal only once before, during his brief stint on Korriban, training with his old master, Vykan.

‘This one cannot be saved,’ the Nightsister hissed. ‘We should not waste our time.’

‘I do not believe Zirias entertains salvation, Ciria,’ the Givin said, then turned to the Chagrian. ‘Do you Zirias?’

The Chagrian did not answer immediately. ‘No, Kroollas. This one is beyond help.’ He paused, turning back to study Vexatus. ‘This one is beyond anything I have ever felt before. Lord Crask would surely agree that—’

Vexatus cut Zirias off. ‘Crask?’ The word echoed on the tongues of the thousand voices with which he spoke. ‘Omancor Crask?’

The red sands of Korriban washed across the desert outside the small cave. If their transport had survived being taken apart and transformed into scrap by the homeless looters somehow still living in the abandoned ruins of Dreshdae, the engine would be lucky to still work after this sandstorm.

Vykan stood near the entrance, gazing out to somewhere on the other side of the desert. When Xanos reached out himself, he could feel nothing particular, just the general dark miasma that pervaded the entire planet. Perhaps there were people there, perhaps not. It was of little consequence, for he did not intend to stay much longer.

‘Tell me,’ the third man in the cave said, who was sitting quite comfortably by the small campfire they had set up, ‘do you ever think of how this war might end?’

Vykan continued to stare outside. ‘Not by the efforts of the Jedi, that much is sure.’

The old man by the campfire grunted. ‘Perhaps not by
Skywalker’s Jedi, no.’

Vykan clearly disagreed with the other man’s point, but did not press the issue further. They both belonged to the same group; it was not their business to quarrel. Xanos found that curious. Where the Star Chamber had promoted war and strife, a natural survival of the fittest mentality, the rule of the strong; Vykan’s people were different. They sought stability. Unity. They were all one.

‘Do not forget: we are One Sith now. We all serve the same end,’ Vykan added finally.

The old man grunted again, but did not argue.

‘I understand the one,’ Xanos said. ‘What I do not understand is the many.’

‘We are one
order,’ the old man said firmly. ‘Not one man.’

‘But is not order best achieved by one? To all
serve the same will is not to be one will,’ Xanos said.

Vykan pivoted around on his heel and glowered at his apprentice of a decade gone. He looked affronted by what Xanos suggested. The old man, however, merely looked curious. ‘You speak of the creed of Ruin,’ Vykan said. ‘That is heresy. It is what destroyed the last great Sith Empire. A thousand years of infighting and rivalry and petty civil war. That is all that forsaken doctrine’s legacy is.’

Xanos turned his head back toward the flames of the fire. He did not agree, but he would not openly question his old Master in the old man’s presence. He had made up his mind though: like the Star Chamber, these Sith lacked the necessary conviction. Oh, they had conviction, that much was certain. Far from the Brotherhood’s flock, Vykan’s lot were zealots. But zealots to a lost cause. To unite under one man was striking; but to unite under one man under the false presence of an ‘order’ would one day be their undoing. That was not one will. That was not unification.

To build one galaxy, there had to be one will. Only then could the tainted cup of life truly be cleansed.

The old man seemed to agree that these One Sith were misguided, though for rather different reasons to Xanos’s own. It did not seem that Vykan noticed the contention in the old man, however. Or, if he did, it did not bother him. More reason to doubt these Sith just like the Star Chamber; both were led by blind idealism, and lacking the determination to do what was necessary. However much they might have deluded themselves to the contrary, they had all yet to break their chains, to free themselves from life’s and society’s shackles.

To embrace the truth that the galaxy would only be rebuilt by first unmaking it. The Yuuzhan Vong were but the first part of a much greater design. It was known by many names: the Prophets like Vykan called it the will of the dark side; the Sorcerers of Rhand simply knew it as the Dark; the Sorcerers of Tund spoke of the Unity. None of these terms mattered. There was only will: the will to unmake the Force in order to make it anew.

And it would be
his will on which the cradle of reality would be remade. Unto him he would junction the Universe. Through the compression of time and space would come the next Golden Age. Order would come from Chaos. Creation from oblivion. That was the one truth that escaped them all: to remake the Force first it must be unmade.

He turned to the old man. ‘So, tell me. What is
your vision, Darth Carnus?’

Vexatus stared at the pack of Jedi, his non-mechanical eye flashing with understanding. ‘I know that name.’


Aleho lumped Sai over the back of her speeder bike, having done her best to discretely haul him away from Cyrus-Vexatus-whatever to relative safety whilst the shadowy abomination was distracted by the new arrivals. ‘For a fighter, you sure do weigh a ton,’ she whispered, hoping she was out of ear shot. Thankfully, the thunderous cracks from the storm above made it impossible to hear her thoughts, let alone the trail of expletives she had muttered lugging the Keibatsu’s semi-conscious body halfway across the hundred yards clearing.

Sai had probably mumbled worse than her though, not that his mind seemed particularly rooted in reality. He had been muttering something about bad saké and probably a rather suspect woman he had once met in a bar—Aleho had switched off to it after a while.

The sensation emanating from the centre of the clearing was growing more potent with every second. She could tell the shadow was readying itself for the inevitable confrontation. The Jedi may have been taking prisoners, but she didn’t much think they would be hauling back an undead corpse for conversion. They may not have been like any Jedi she had ever met, but surely even this Crask guy had limits.

Opposite the Jedi, behind Vexatus she sensed another couple of figures approaching. These burned with a far more familiar fire. When they stepped through the sandstorm, their clothes certainly the worse for wear, they were already brandishing their lightsabers. She gulped. Tarenti. They must have followed them. Or else come to investigate the giant swirling storm formation, it wasn't exactly particularly subtle. In any case, she thought it was time for her and her partner to perform a rather swift tactical withdrawal. Or, specifically: to run for it.

But if just she could hold on a bit longer... maybe she could take back a souvenir. She didn’t particularly wish to return empty handed when they explained their absence to Lord Sadow. He was unlikely to take the news they did have to report well as it was.

Aleho eyed one of the Jedi. I have an idea, she thought.

Bob

10-04-2009 23:02:24

TR-MB Okemi One
II Legion Mobile TAC HQ


The ramp to Okemi One lowered and Consul Daragon marched up it with his white cape blowing in the winds of the Shadowland and the slight sound of his DL-54 Specials jingling in their holsters. The officers aboard the mobile tactical headquarters all stood to attention at the arrival of the Governor General and a glimmer of renewed confidence was felt through the force as the troops gained a small moral boost with the presence of their leader.

“About time you joined us, I thought you were going to let me have all the fun,” Astronicus Sadow stated as he greeted the Consul with a firm handshake. But the joyous reunion was quickly halted as the Overlord spotted who followed. “Why in Sadow’s name would you bring that traitor with you?” Lord Sadow questioned rather loudly at the sight of Shan Long while the entire command staff quickly went back to their business.

“He is under my guard My Lord,” Daragon answered, “Where I go, he goes until his trial.”

“When we discussed this I had assumed you had just wanted to dispose of this problem personally,” the Overlord stated. Shan Long smirked as he thought of Daragon’s weak attempt to do just that. “I’m beginning to question your judgment Bob,” Astronicus harshly commented as he went back to his duty of organizing the forces of Clan Naga Sadow.

Alexander

11-04-2009 01:58:29

The Shadowlands
Adas, Antei


Sweat dripped down her body as she gracefully flowed between moves. The Krath lightsaber flashed and thrust as she moved around facing an imaginary opponent. Jade waited she imagined her opponent to be tall with long arms. Jade attacked, imagining with saber scraping against the opponents ribs. She imagined the cutting and slicing. Suddenly something broke her from the reverie

"Very concentrated on your imaginary friend aren't we" a voice whispered softly in her left ear. The voice seemed familiar, it seemed to mocking caress.

"Very much so, she commented quickly switching her saber to a reverse grip and plunging it into the gut of the man standing behind her. She moved turning to her left, to see nothing there.

"A bit too slow and predictable" the voice said again. She quickly turned once more and found herself nose to nose with Alexander Anderson.

"You know I hate it when you do that." Jade returned glaring at him.

"You hate it, that I know you so well to be able to predict your moves." Xander said with a wink

"That and you still have my dagger." she shot back. To be honest, Jade had superior skill in most ways to Xander. She out ranked him, her skills in the saber were greater. But from having worked together for years, the man seemed to know the way she moved, in intimate ways.

Xander smiled "I thought you might be interested in taking up the hunt for a few of our invaders."

"What do you mean?"

"Well there have been some reports of some Jedi out there in those hills. Do you want to take up the hunt and go and find some of them?"

"Sure, why not?"

"Very well, we are going to bring Valorian along with us. His master is busy right now. so I have taken him under my wing. He will be waiting a short distance from here with a vehicle for use to go hunting." Xander said.

The man was an enigma to Jade, he was able to sneak up on her. A high ranking member of House Marka Ragnos in Clan Naga Sadow. Now he spoke about hunting for a Jedi who could possibly be a lethal threat to the both of them as if he were talking about going to the store. She could still feel the warmth on the back of her neck. Warmth, yet his breath seemed to carry no scent. In the past they were both the apprentices of Shin'Ichi Keibatsu, they had spend long periods of time sparring with each other, and working with each other on different endeavours. They both came from the same group of summit members, and had worked quite closely together then. Needless to say over the years they had formed quite a close relationship.


"This way." Xander called.

"Right.. " Jade said catching up. "And Xander, next time you sneak up on me, I really will Saber you."

The Krath male just laughed.

JadeSadow

11-04-2009 03:33:17

FOB Spear
The Shadowlands
Western Antei


Jades heart beat rang in her ears and she pushed it out of her mind, the sound becoming nothing but a dull thud in the dark recesses of her mind. She pushed off the ground, coming down onto the ball of her left foot and swung around, her saber slicing through her imaginary enemy.

Going to rescue Zaxen, Kalei and Zaroth had put a new spin on the war, one she hadn’t expected. Kalei was a friend and someone she had been watching grow within the dark side and Marka Ragnos. Zaroth she considered a close friend, one she had taken under her wing a few times, and had become closer through oaths. Zaxen, he was more to her then an apprentice and a friend, she couldn’t explain it, it was almost as if they had been one. Training him had been one of her finer achievements, and she wasn’t about to let some Jedi get him, or the other two, into the light.

Jade huffed and swooped low, her hips dropping and swinging in front of her as she brought her saber low to high, slicing up the middle of her enemy. The Jedi would pay for not only taking their home world, but for taking the members of her Clan, of her family.

"Very concentrated on your imaginary friend aren't we" the voice whispered in her left ear. Jade scowled and turned, eventually stopping her vision on Xander.

Their conversation though took her interests up as her heart rate returned to normal. Off to go and find a Jedi…oh ya…she was more then game for some pay back.

FOB Spear
The Shadowlands
Western Antei
South


Jade followed Xander a short distance and stopped to watch as he walked up to Valorian. She didn’t know the Jedi hunter that personally yet, though she knew well of his reputation, he was a shining star within her house and wasn’t far from carrying his own truly earned saber. As she walked closer she laughed and looked at the speeder bikes, “Not exactly easy to carry back a prisoner on one of these.”

Valorian smirked, “Oh I have something hidden near by.” He nodded his head in acknowledgement of her rank and position. He was finally getting the chance to work hand in hand with her, and he was curious at what he would see. His master was one who also ran in the apprentices of Shin’ichi, like the Dark Jedi’s accompanying him; and he knew she would have something to pass on, they all did.

She was looking forward to sinking some fear into the Jedi. Macron had been her master, she had learned much from him, often hiding to watch him while he worked without him knowing she was looking on. Little did he or those around her know she was a ticking time bomb of the madmans’ instruction. “Then I say it is time we get moving.” She placed the hood of her cloak over her head and climbed onto one of the speeder bikes, Xander and Valorian followed suit.

“That makes you in point.” Xander nodded to Valorian. He had taken him in, allowed the Jedi Hunter to learn from him while Joseem was needed in other areas of the battle. He was curious to see what Valorian had already learned and what he could add to the hunter’s knowledge.

The three headed off in search of their prize, Xander needing some face to face time with the enemy, Valorian seeking to learn from those around him while getting his first taste of a true Brotherhood battle, and Jade, hungry for retribution.

Malisane

11-04-2009 06:44:49

With the Sadow, Scholae and Taldryan Forces
Antei


Malisane picked his way through the camp morosely. His outburst against Agrist and Mecros had identified his own concerns. Leaving aside the fact that Vexatus had returned and the potential for chaos that implied, secretly the planned confrontation with Severina was a hard concept to swallow. He wanted to talk with Macron or Sai but knew he couldn't. Things had changed. It was both ironically amusing and at the same time immensely depressing that his only confidant in the whole clan was the damned mercenary he'd spent so long working against. Well he would only need him for so long. He reached an isolated part of the camp and stopped looking up into the darkness above.

"Malisane!" a voice called and he span around and frowned. A robed figure was stood watching him. Obelisk Templar Jenarus. The man had been in Ludo Kressh when Malisane had been Quaestor, but had deserted to join clan Taldryan. He was large and heavily set and also had a mocking wit that Malisane had inititally found amusing but had eventually become a source of annoyance. Despite this Malisane had invested a lot of time in helping the Templar and his leaving had been a betrayal. "So we meet again," Jenarus said, "you still in the looser Clan then?" He frowned as Malisane stood silently watching him. "Leaving for Clan Taldryan was the best decision I ever made, more powerful, more focused, better in every way. You ought to join us you're wasting your time in Clan Naga Sadow."

Malisane slowly moved forward, his eyes focusing on the Templar and his annoying face, his fury and frustration coming to boiling point. "Hey Malisane you got nothing to say?" Jenarus demanded mockingly, "know I'm right?"
Suddenly Malisane lunged forward smashing the Templar against the wall. "Alright you Jedi scum how did you get into our camp?"
"What?" Jenarus asked in confusion and the Battlelord's hands went for his throat, gripping Malisane's wrists, "It's me, Jenarus, you know me."
"I don't listen to your Jedi lies, how did you get here?"
"Have you gone mad?" Jenarus gasped as Malisane began to throttle him, "this isn't funny."
"Where is Crask?" Malisane demanded, "who commands the local forces?"
"Malisane!" Jenarus choked, "Let me go!"
Malisane smashed the Templar's head against the wall. "I don't know how you conjured my name up Jedi but if you use it again I will cut out your tongue. Tell me what I want to know."
Jenarus struggled, "You're insane, help me!"
Malisane smashed a fist into the Templar's stomach and Jenarus collasped to the floor gasping for breath as Malisane placed a foot on his back holding him in place and making it even harder to breath. "No!
Malisane looked down at the pathetic man who he'd worked with in Ludo Kressh and now saw fit to critisise his former Clan along with his new Taldryan friends, then he drew his foot up and stamped down hard, hearing a satisfying crack as the Templar's ribs broke puncturing his lungs. Malisane crouched down next to him and drew a knife. "It is good to see you again Jenarus, maybe in the next life you'll pick your loyalties more wisely." He sliced the knife across the Templar's throat then wiped it on Jenarus' clothing. Feeling much better he set off looking for something to drink.

Alexander

11-04-2009 12:32:13

The Shadowlands
Eastern Adas, Antei


The Journeyman moved towards the long canyon wall. Shortly after they had reached farther out into the area they were searched Xander had suggested that they split up. According to him it would have been more efficient if they fanned out and tried to cover more ground than if they simply stuck together]

"I have faith in you Valorian, your master has taught you well, and you should be more than enough for these Jedi." Valorian couldn't help but swell a little bit with pride from the praise.

He entered into the into the canyon. He didn't thing he would find the Jedi here but he still thought that it would be prudent. He thought the wall that he was at might be the Jadan Pass, but he did not know the geography of the planet well enough yet to say. Wind seemed to blow down along the walls echoing the sounds of forgotten times. Outcroppings of granite seemed to cast shadows at odd angles. As he moved forward Valorian began getting a bad feeling about something. Reaching into his cloak he pulled out his lightsaber he moved cautiously forward. When he was about tend feet from a large outcropping of stones a figure emerged from behind them.

The figure was about six and a half feet tall, he appeared to be human, but the height the man had was frightening. "So... young one.. your stronger allies have abandoned you, and now you are left alone. You know you do not belong with these misguided souls of Sarin. Join us where you belong." Valorian listening to the man. The words seemed to have some weight to them, they caste shadows of doubt in his mind which made him wonder. Why was he left along? Maybe they felt that he had a power within him that scared him. He always knew that he was extremely strong in the force. Maybe it scared his master, maybe he would be better joining these others who would be better at nurturing him to his true possibility.

Yet out of the crevices of his mind he could feel himself pushing back at the thoughts. He knew that they were lies, and that he was where he belonged. Anger that someone was trying to manipulate him against his friends burst forth from the core of Valorians mind as his lit his saber. He looked at his enemies weapon, he knew that he would not be able to easily defeat the person this way. But he figured he would figure something out.

He leapt forward and attacked the Jedi with all of his might. His slash was what he though was a mighty one arcing down towards his enemy ready for the kill. The move was easily tossed off, and repelled. Valorian continued to attack, focussing all of his rage on his opponent.

"i sense much rage in you my young friend, but that is simply not enough." The man caught his saber across Valorians, the cyan blade meeting Valorians before he reached out with his other hand and pointed at Valorian. Suddenly as if all the air had been pushed out of him Valorian was tossed against a wall. Pain thudded through his head as he tried to keep himself conscious. He could see the Jedi advancing on him when suddenly two dark figures dropped from the top of one of the granite walls, one in front of the jedi one behind.. One figure appearing to female engaged the Jedi with her saber.

"I never thought you would be so arrogant." Jade said as she attacked the man.

"The arrogance is.." the Jedi started to return when a net formed around his body. He seemed to seize up and then drop to the ground completely immobilized.

Xander walked forward a Stokhli Spray stick in his hand. He looked down at the man. "He didn't really think we were going to just engage him in some sort of ritualistic single opponent duel did he?" Xander said with a laugh. "Idiot.."

Jade looked to Valorian who had just stood up on his own power. Sore but otherwise able to support himself

"Well done.." Jade said kindly. Valorian saw her turn and wink at Xander and understand crashed in on him.

"I was just bait?" Valorian said irritated

"No of course not.." Xander said soothingly "You were more so, a tool to strategically position the enemy where we wanted him."

"Now, let's head back." Jade and Xander seemed to say in unison. They looked at each other surprised that they were saying the same thing, and laughed.

"Grab the Jedi" Xander said as he started moving, our transport is this way. The man moved in the direction he pointed as Jade followed him. Valorian was left to pick up the enormous unconscious form of the Jedi and carry him along.

Nekura Manji

11-04-2009 15:17:21

The Shadowlands
Adas, Antei


Silver and green clashed in a brilliant display of pyrotechnics. Sparks fell like rain to the blackened ground before being whipped away by the wind. Teeth bared in a feral snarl, Manji poured all his hatred, all his years of fury into his muscles, slowly driving the twin viridian blades of the Nautolan back towards his face. Suddenly the green-skinned Jedi pulled away, whirling backwards in a tight circle, head-tresses flailing through the air. One saber snapped backwards to bat away the thrust that the Keibatsu had aimed at his spine. Ferociously, the Epis pressed the attack, desperately trying to penetrate the defensive wall thrown up by Ayln'ohn's twin sabers.

From her position behind the rock, Dyrra watched in shock. She'd seen her Master fight several times now, and in each duel he'd seemed to be comfortably on top; never struggling, never losing his arrogant façade. She could not have imagined seeing him like this- belittled, refused, brushed aside. He had unleashed the full force of his fury, only for it to be blunted against the Nautolan's defenses.

As she watched, Manji seemed to realise the same thing, his attacks growing even fiercer. A scything diagonal strike was parried and transformed into a Makashi thrust that was knocked aside. Then the Epis reached into the Dark Side, sending a strike through the Force that smashed against Ayln'ohn's leg. The Nautolan grunted as the limb was pushed back slightly before recovering, his sabers flashing up to block the next attack.

An explosive crash echoed into the sky as the two fighters surged past each other. As one, both turned back towards the opponent; Manji hurled himself into a diving charge as Ayln'ohn brought both his sabers up once more, calmly and precisely. Swinging his saber viciously, Manji smashed his blade against the emitter of the Nautolan's off-hand blade, knocking it out of the Jedi's grip. In response, the remaining green saber flashed across, slashing swiftly across the Epis' torso. As Manji staggered, Ayln'ohn turned and lashed out with the Force, a telekinetic blow crashing into the side of Manji's head.

A strangled swearword tore from Dyrra's lips as Manji was thrown to the floor and rolled over several times, his saber flying from his hand and skittering across the rocks.

For a moment, the Epis did not move. Dyrra's heart leapt into her throat as she willed the Keibatsu to get up and continue the fight.

Get up! Get up and fight, you lanky huttkarker!

There was no response as Ayln'ohn stood over the Epis, sorrow painting his features.

---

Kuroshin Castle, Twelve Years Earlier

Raindrops splashed heavily to the ground, hissing and spitting as they evaporated on the blade of the green saber. Raising his voice above the hiss of the downpour, Ayln'ohn shouted to his companions.

"Devrin, Tolen! We need to be going!"

Behind the Nautolan, another Jedi stared at the wreckage of the castle keep, pacing back and forth, azure saber still ignited. Touching him on the shoulder, Ayln'ohn shook his head.

"Leave it, Claudius. There's no way they could get out of that."

Shaking the Nautolan's hand free, Claudius continued to pace, his eyes narrowed.

"I'm not letting that little bastard get away. You felt the taint of the Dark Side within him."

"Regardless, Claudius, I will not stand by while you butcher children!" Ayln'ohn snapped, pulling the Tang'va away from the wreckage. For a moment Claudius locked eyes with him, then relented, de-activating his saber.

As the Jedi moved away from the castle, Ayln'ohn paused, looking down at the lacerated corpse of the one they'd been sent by Eojin to deal with. Bloodied hand still clutching the hilt of his katana, Koji Masurao Keibatsu stared up at the clouded sky with sightless eyes. Sighing, Ayln'ohn bowed slightly to the body before turning to leave.


---

The Shadowlands
Adas, Antei
Present Day


Staring down at Manji, Ayln'ohn shook his head.

"One day I will atone for my sins... but not today."

Xanos

11-04-2009 17:03:34

20km north of the Valley of the Dead
The Shadowlands
Eastern Adas, Antei


Jedi Master Zirias Charr may first and foremost have been a warrior, but he still considered himself well versed in the history of the Jedi Order, and its many struggles against the Sith. But the entity before him defied definition. In it, he could see a wound; a hole that could not be filled; a hunger. Was this the end Crask had foreseen? The darkness which if left unchallenged might one day devour the Galaxy?

Such thoughts flooded Zirias’s mind. But right then there was just one question he had to ask:

‘How does a Sith know Lord Crask?’

The shadow’s lips twisted into a malicious grin. ‘We might ask the same of you, Jedi,’ it said in its lucid cacophony of screams. ‘How does a servant of the light know Lord Carnus?’ The creature chuckled, breaking into a full blown cackle.

Zirias could feel it tearing at his mind, clawing into the forbidden depths of his memories. He brought a barrier up to shield his mind, but the tip of the psychic spear had already penetrated his thoughts. He winced, but stood his ground. ‘Lord Crask is a servant of the Force,’ he said with a grimace as still the monster dug at his memories. ‘I would not expect a Sith to understand. Your kind only deal in absolutes. You cannot escape the abstract labels of light and dark. But we serve a higher calling. We serve the Force.’

Two figures appeared in the distance behind the shadow. More Sith, Zirias could sense as much in the Force. They appeared to have gone unnoticed by the creature; but Zirias did not bank on that being the case, more likely their arrival escaped it notice only because it did not care. They glanced across at the younger darksider, dragging her unconscious brethren to her speeder, then turned their attention back on the central shadow. The pair whispered something to each other, looks of what seemed to be realisation dawning across their features. One of them pulled out a comlink, no doubt to relay something back to their base.

So, this shadow had turned on his own kind? It was just like the Sith to bicker amongst themselves.

‘Do you now?’ the shadow answered finally. ‘Have you never wondered what your Master keeps from you? What secrets he has hidden away? What do any of you really know of his vision?’

‘How dare you!’ snapped Ciria. ‘Filthy Sith, darksider, whatever you are, you know nothing of Lord Crask’s vision! We exist to stop the corrupt likes of you.’ She glared across at Zirias. ‘Master Charr, aren’t you done talking to this... this thing? We won’t get any truth from it.’ The one time Nightsister snorted. ‘We don’t need any truth from it. Lord Crask is the only truth.’

Zirias hesitated. His loyalty to Lord Crask was unwavering, he had no doubt of that. Whatever his Master may once have been, it was only where they were headed now that mattered, and Crask's past is what had given rise to his beliefs, so Zirias would have changed no part of it. But there was something in what the shadow said. It felt as if the Force itself whispered to him that what it said was true. But that was impossible. Crask was a champion of the Force. Perhaps the only true champion. Their Master was not tainted. Why would the Force lie?

Because Crask is the master of the light and the dark, he answered himself. Yes, that was surely the truth of it, if there had ever been a reason to doubt. He would not be taken by this Sith's lies. He cursed himself for even having deigned to question his Master's vision at all. Zirias glared back at the shadow. Get out of my mind, Sith, he thought, realising the origin of his doubt for what it was.

‘Ciria is right,’ said Kalyn, the Devaronian in their group, igniting the golden blade of her lightsaber. ‘This one is lost. Enough talk. Let us end this.’

Finally, Zirias bowed his head and nodded. ‘So be it. We shall do what we must.’ When the Chagrian looked up, fire burned in his eyes, and he unclipped his lightsaber. ‘Dark Lord, your efforts here are in vain. We shall not be seduced by your corruption. Whatever you may think you know, you fail to grasp the meaning even of your own words. Lord Crask is beyond your understanding.’

‘Blind fools,’ the shadow snorted. ‘Your wilful compliance is irrelevant. Your resistance is futile. We shall devour you, then you shall join with our reunion. Did you really think when we let you enter here that you would ever leave?’

Automatically, Zirias glanced around the dust whirlwind. They had pressed through by pooling their energy to form a bubble. Twin snap-hisses accompanied the two blue blades of his lightsaber as it flashed into being. ‘You delude yourself, Sith. You are not a god.’

The shadow smirked, his eyes misting over into black orbs. ‘We will be.’

A purple explosion erupted from the centre of the sandstorm, momentarily blinding Zirias. His lightsaber had instinctively flown in front of him to deflect whatever attack was imminent. But nothing had struck him. The light had burned the back of his eyes, and all he could see were two bright white spots.

A few seconds later, his vision returned. He glanced sideways. Ciria, Kroollas... he could not see Kalyn. He couldn’t even feel her. Urgently, his eyes scanned the open clearing—

A body was lying just in front of the young Sith who had earlier hauled who he surmised was her Master onto the back of her speeder bike. Kalyn was not moving. She was doing nothing at all. Smoke was rising from her body where her robes had been incinerated in the blast.

Monster!’ Ciria yelled and charged forward.

‘Ciria! No!’ Zirias shouted and started after her with Kroollas.

Across the clearing, the two newest arrivals charged from the opposite direction, their crimson blades already alight.

Fools,’ the shadow raged in a thousand voices, unleashing an inferno of violet fire toward them all.

Ashura

11-04-2009 17:33:24

20km north of the Valley of the Dead
The Shadowlands
Eastern Adas, Antei


'Leho was breathing heavily, not only had Master Tsainetomo weighed a ton, but the images and pain flashing into her mind serious scared her. The legion of many that was Darth Vexatus was to busy killing Jedi now, although there had been a moment where she believed the creature was going to kill her, but she had tripped in the sand which caused the violet fire to miss her. That was a small blessing.

The Jedi Hunter looked at the Jedi which had been blasted a bit before and landed nearby, luck seemed to be on her side as she ran across (keeping her head down) and grabbed the unconscious woman by the arm. Aleho then dragged her back to the speeder bike.

"Sorry Master," said the young Togruta as she hauled the Jedi on top of him. Sai groaned and mumbled something about a Ewok fornicating with a Jawa. "Ewww... that's kriffing disgusting." Muttered the girl as she secured the two of them down on her bike.

The two new Darksiders looked over at her and then back to the shade of Cyrus Raze.

Aleho called out to them. "HELP ME!"

The two Tarenti looked at the youngling and realised that despite the hatred between the two clans of Tarentum and Naga Sadow, the vile form hanging in the air had attack his own clansmen. Thus not acting under orders from any of his Summit. Yet Aleho's cry of help went unheeded as the two Dark Jedi approached the murder.

"Kark it, hope he roasts you kriffing bastards!" Ruoxf said as she jumped onto her speeder bike. She looked at the sandstorm and swore some more before throttling it. If she could use the Force keep the speeder stable in the storm then there was a chance of making it out alive. Sand whipped against her clothes like tiny razors digging in, at least Sai and Kalyn were safe under the protective blanket she put over them. It was a small mercy her speeder didn't just get whipped away in the storm; it simply meant the Journeyman was keeping things stable.

Although they were leaving Vexatus, she could still feel him in her mind. Images of Inos which had been suppressed by Macron were so clear to her now, she knew what Curwen Sunei knew, what Cyrus Raze had died for. The truth. It was glorious. That thought alone seemed help her focus, to block out the pain, to allow the Force to open up a funnel in the storm for her escape. Was this all her doing?

The speeder soared across valley and finally out of the sandstorm. She looked at the gauge on the bike and realised she didn't have enough power to make it back to base. Luck seemed to be on her side today as she sensed a Scholae encampment nearby; it was like her abilities had become much keener.

Her speeder bike chugged into the camp as the Palatinae Jedi turned to the newcomer (slightly surprised it was a young girl).

"Hi, I don't suppose you got a spare power cell?" Leho asked as she got off and pulled the blanket back to reveal two people. She untied Sai and the Jedi; to her luck the Equite seemed to be coming around.

"Why is this woman laying on top of me Aleho," he asked as she pulled the Jedi off him.

"I don't think it would be gentlemanly of you to crush her before we got back to base... master." This was a slight change of pace, Aleho calling him "master" with more sincerity than she normally did.

The Archpriest got off the bike and saw the Scholae Palatinae camp. "What's this?"

"A pit stop. My power cell was low, so I needed to somewhere to get another one." The girl explained.

The Scholaen Knight handed Aleho the new power cell while Sai rubbed his head and re-secured the unconscious Jedi.

"Why are doing that for?" The Knight asked.

"Oh, well, ummm, Mistress Atema banged her head so and went a little crazy, she does that." Lied Leho hoping Sai realised she hadn't told them the woman was a Jedi.

"Yes, well, we must be doing. Good hunting to you and your clan," said Tsainetomo, being polite to ensure a swift exit. He took over from Aleho as driver while the girl got on behind him. "Nice lie," whispered Sai softly.

Soon they were off back towards home base.

TR-MB Okemi One
II Legion Mobile TAC HQ


A short time later the speeder bike returned the Naga Sadowian command structure. The Equite jumped off and looked at his young charge. "Take the woman to med lab, have the doctors heavily sedate her and work on fixing her up. She is no use to us dead."

Tsainetomo turned and walked down the short corridor and into the lift. A short moment later he was on the command deck and walking up to Overlord. Sai dropped on to one knee and bowed his head.

"My lord, I bring grave news. He is back. Vexatus is back." The Krath said and began to tell the tale.

DyrraSkye

11-04-2009 20:21:35

The Shadowlands
Adas, Antei


It was the silence which unnerved Dyrra the most. Just moments earlier, the wind had carried the hum of lightsabers to her ears and now... Now, there was deathly silence. It had taken her a few moments to register that Manji was sprawled across the floor. Even now, she was waiting for him to get up, a smirk on his face and a sarcastic comment on his lips. He didn't.

Slowly, her attention turned to the Jedi standing over her master's body. His head was bowed. She couldn't hear what he was saying from this distance. He turned to leave. The fight had clearly fatigued him - he wasn't moving with anything like as much speed as before. She held her saber ready, wanting nothing more than to run down there and run the Jedi through. Two things stopped her from doing so; first, she realised she'd been gripping her saber hilt so hard that the metal had actually cut into her palm. The pain distracted her from her anger for just a moment, but it was long enough. The second thing was Manji's voice in her head.

Don't you dare get yourself killed.

If he was still eavesdropping on her mind, then he hadn't shuffled off to the Great Sake Bar In The Sky just yet. She waited as long as she dared, until the Jedi had vanished into the Shadowlands. Then, she sprinted for Manji's prone form.

He was a mess, there was no denying it. She tried to think back to the basic first aid she'd been taught on the Final Way, but most of it had covered the damage Vong weapons could do. All she'd been told about lightsaber wounds was to get to a real medic as soon as possible.

Taking a deep breath, she examined the lightsaber slash across his torso. Well, it had cauterised. That was a small mercy - he wasn't going to bleed out. He was looking at her strangely though, as though he didn't recognise her.

"Don't you die on me yet," she hissed under her breath as she tried to focus. She planned on trying to heal what she suspected might be concussion and then throwing him on the bike and riding for the nearest camp.

"'m not gonna die, honest. Where'd m' saber go?"
"I don't know. You need to let me concentrate, I'm trying to help you here."

He fell silent. Finally, she managed to will some healing Force energy into his body. It wasn't anywhere near enough, but it would have to do. His face seemed more alert, now. More aware of the situation

"Do you think you can get up?" she asked, trying not to let worry seep into her words. If he couldn't she'd have to drag him.
"I can try."

Awkwardly, she hauled him to his feet. He was leaning heavily on her, but he was upright. She managed to get them to a speeder and postion him so that he wasn't going to slide off en route.

"Did you see where my saber went?" His words were so quiet, she had to strain to hear him. Turning, she scanned the nearby rocks, looking for the telltale gleam of metal. Eventually, she found it and retrieved it for him. When she handed it over, he stared at it for a long moment, without saying anything.

They set off for the nearest friendly camp. He was sitting behind Dyrra on the speeder, leaning on her back as she sped the bike over the barren terrain. She'd never known him be so quiet and honestly, it had shaken her up more than she was letting him see.

She just hoped he wouldn't get any worse before they got back to the rest of the Clan.

JadeSadow

12-04-2009 02:56:14

Eastern adas
Antei
Command Post


Jade leaned against the wall of the command post, the shadow of the small light covering her in darkness. She just stood leaning against it, watching the Jedi. He was awfully silent, though she could hear his heart beat race. The force would surge with an influx as the Jedi would try and calm his nerves, the light side trying to take over, but whenever she felt the surge she would send out her dark tendrils. She would tease him with lust and with the fear of failure. The fear of never returning to see the victory he knew his people had. The shadows of doubt would wash over him, covering him like a blanket as she stood off in the distance. The rise and fall of his pulse made her smirk in anticipation. This Jedi was strong but playing with him was going to be fun.

Jade listened as the Jedi’s rhythm dropped dramatically, her latest surge on his mind losing its lingering effect. She slipped slowly back in, finding a memory of the Jedi when he was first inducted into the Jedi Order, the way he was taken from his mother and the things he knew, so he could be trained and learn to not need or want anything. She saw the look on the mother’s face and felt the child at first morn the look on her face, before running off with the mysterious master. Jade smiled and forced the Jedi to turn back, looking at his mother, seeing the tears in her eyes, letting him feel the grief his mother had over losing him, over knowing that she would never see him again. She used the dark side to enhance his pain as she fabricated and implanted the thought of how his leaving made his mother die of a broken heart.

The wave of despair emanated from the Jedi and filled the tiny room, along with a sudden groan. If this Jedi could be turned it would certainly be interesting. She smirked as the Jedis’ body temperature rose rapidly and she moved from the shadows, walking slowly up to the Jedi, her hips swaying to add to the lust she was building deep inside of him. “What is the matter Jedi?” She ran her pointer finger down his neck, over the pulse line. The thudding beat hitting the sensitive foreskin of her finger made her fangs itch. She let her eyes go black as she moved her finger down his skin, the sweat beading there now resting on her finger. “I can smell your sweat from across the room.” She rubbed her finger on the Jedi’s tunic.

The Jedi forced his eyes to close and took a deep breath, trying to calm his nerves. He pushed the memory she had implanted to the back of his mind. He knew it wasn’t real, but the feelings were so strong, and what if he had been the cause of his mother’s demise? No one really knew how she had passed on in the force… he shook his head, Jade smiled, she was getting to him. He couldn’t allow the misguided female to overrule him; he took another breath and slowed down his heart.

Jade realized then he had more freedom then she liked. Using the force she pressed on his rib cage, the force of it not enough to snap his ribs but enough to make it difficult for him to take anything other then a short gasping breath.

The Jedi tried to cough but found the pressure was even worse when he did. “You will not win dark one.”

‘Dark one?’ Now that was new to her, she had yet to be called that, though she could see it becoming something of a legend in her future. She smirked and suddenly brought a fist down hard against the mans’ sternum, knocking what little wind he had from his lungs and damaging the muscles in the middle of his chest, the pain suddenly radiating out and down the left side of his chest. The muscles felt as though they were tightening around his heart, threatening to take away his life as well as his breath. He tried to use the force to ease the pain, but the dark side lingered too close to him, and he refused to turn and embrace that which he found to be nothing but the scum off his master’s boot.

“Our forces have returned home, we will prevail…you should realize that you are supporting the wrong team.” She offered him no deal of turning to the dark side, no retribution if he should, no rewards, or phony promises of teaching him everything there is to know. She just reached back into his mind and brought forth the picture of his mother’s tear soaked face, and feelings of guilt, while increasing the pressure on his rib cage. The pain from the strike to his chest along with the increasing pressure made the Jedi’s eyes roll and his heart quicken.

“Even… if… your… forces…” the timing between his words was irritating her and she lessoned the load on his rib cage to allow him enough air to speak. The Jedi took a noticeable breath before continuing. “…manage to reclaim this land, nothing of importance will remain.”

Jades eyes flashed a fiery red, she couldn’t permanently damage the man, as he would be heading off for Macron soon and she didn’t want him to be worried about some other injury throwing off her masters’ groove. “What makes you think we have anything of importance here other then being able to call this place home?” She didn’t want him to believe he had her interest more then he did. “We are a territorial species, we like to keep what is ours, and reclaim what is stolen from us, nothing else holds us to this planet besides that.” Jade felt Xander enter the room, coming to check on the Jedi no doubt, but she paid him little more then a small wave of her hand to acknowledge his presence.

Xander stood near the door to the small room at the command post. He had been coming to check on things, making sure their Jedi prisoner hadn’t found some way of escaping the room. Seeing Jade standing next to the man was a small surprise, but the tension and thick heavy air of the dark side in the room told him that she was working the Jedi over. He nodded at the wave of her hand, knowing she wouldn’t see but doing it out of custom. Xander was curious if the Arch Priestess could retrieve any information.

“Then you wouldn’t be interested to know that though you believe our forces running, we are really destroying your history on this planet?” Jade tightened the pressure on his rib cage and the mans’ voice squeaked as he spoke faster. “The Hall of Immortals will fall next!”

Jade didn’t wait to hear more, she could see the small memories of orders flashing through his mind as they ran across his own minds eye. They were planning on destroying the relics and the religious symbols the Brotherhood held dear. She grasped the hilt of her saber, releasing the Jedi from the force holds she had on him and smacked him hard across the side of the head, knocking him out cold. He would wake with the pain in his chest and likely a sever concussion, but she was pleased at the dark seeds she had implanted in him with his childhood. It would be interesting to see if Macron was able to do more then just extract information from the Jedi, after all the very act of betraying his own might be enough to push the Jedi over the dark sideline.

She turned and saw Xander standing at the door way. “Putting him out of his misery?”

Jade smirked, “Far from it. Allowing him some brief shut eye before Macron gets a hold of him; force knows he won’t give the Jedi anytime to recoup.”

Xander grinned. “True.”

“Let’s get Valorian and head to the Hall of immortals.”

Xander nodded and took step with her as they headed out of the room and down the hallway, “Agreed.”

Fremoc

12-04-2009 03:15:29

Eastern Adas
Antei

Demonic was alone in his thoughts once more. Krandon, Ekeia, and himself had decided to stay at the command post and make sure Ekeia was healed. Demonic had put some bacta patches onto her back to stop the bleeding for a time but she needed real medical technicians to patch her up better and allow the Force to help as well. He could only imagine what was done to her while she was captured. The former commando looked at her, she clutched the robe he had given her like a blanket and had yet to stop shivering. She also hadn't left his side more than 5 minutes since he and Krandon had rescued her.

You will be tested...

These voices won't stop, he thought to himself. Demonic got up and started moving to go out of the command post. Krandon stayed put due to the fact he was sleeping on the bench in the room. Guess he's a bit worn out from blowing up the Hailfire's and rescuing Ekeia. But like a lost puppy, Ekeia had gotten up and started to follow Demonic out. He stood looking at the battlefield, destruction and death was around him once more. Ekeia stood behind Demonic, watching him but also looking out over the surface of Antei.

"Demonic..." Ekeia whispered. It was so faint that he barely heard her. He turned around and looked at her, she looked like she was on the edge of crying and shivering to death.

"What's up?" replied the former commando.

"I wanted to say... Thank you... for coming back for me..." She was almost on the edge he could see and sense that only a little bit more she would just let everything out. He knew she was going to need some comforting after that ordeal.

"Ekeia, you are my friend and a very good one. I couldn't let something happen to you." Ekeia began to cry as he said those words, and fell against his chest, crying into it. "It's ok Ekeia, it's over now, your back here."

This lasted for several minutes, until Ekeia finally stopped crying and stepped away from him. She clung to the rob once more as she shook.

It's not your fault...

He turned back to his thoughts, but more specifically he thought about his name. Demonic was a name that was given to him when he joined the military as a commando, and it was one that he had used for the past 10 years. But his real name, he had not heard in years, but his mistress had found out what it was during his training and told him. He had told her wasn't ready to accept his original name yet because he didn't think he deserved it yet. She on the other hand would call him by his real name when they were in private.

You need to head to the Hall of the Immortals...

This voice he knew and it was his mistress Jade Atema. He had a new mission and had to figure out if Krandon and Ekeia should come along to. Demonic walked back into the room, and stood at the edge of the bench where Krandon had fallen asleep at.

"Krandon! Wake up!" yelled the former commando.

"What... what is it?" replied Krandon, waking up.

"New mission. Need to go to the Hall of Immortals. ASAP."

"Okay, lets move out then. Uh, how are we getting there?"

"Speeder bikes as usual."

"Oh I should have guessed."

Demonic led the trio out to where the speeder bikes where and powered his online. He hit the throttle and shot off towards the Hall of Immortals with Ekeia to his right and slightly behind and Krandon was to Demonic's left.

En Route to Hall of Immortals
Antei

FREMOC!

The voices were coming more frequently now to Demonic, and it made him scared. He didn't want to go insane, but he was growing tired of the war.

"Demonic we are almost there. Look!" yelled Krandon. They had nearly reached the Hall of Immortals. He saw figures there and a presence he had not felt since the droid bunker. The trio rode up to the figures at the Hall of Immortals, and got off their bikes.

"So, I think you got my message, my apprentice," Jade said to Demonic as she greeted them.

FREMOC!!

Ashura

12-04-2009 06:51:59

FOB Spear
Shadowlands
Western Antei


"Zaxen, Kalei, Zaroth... Everyone on your feet now!" Bellowed the Proconsul as he stormed in on them. The rage was coming off him like tidal waves crashing against the coastline.

"W-What's happened, master?" Kalei asked, it always chilled her when he was like this.

"Those kriffing bastard Jedi are destroying our holy sites," Ashura said as he forced Zaroth onto his feet, there was no mercy in him now. "All our forces are moving to the Hall of Immortals, we have to ensure it remains standing. It is a symbol of our immortality within the Dark Side, for our greatest members to one stand among the chosen few!"

"B-But," Zaroth started to mutter.

Ashura looked him mercilessly and then at the others. They didn't have a choice in the matter.

"A transport will be here in moments to take us to the front line of our assault to recapture the hall."

Isradia of course would sacrifice every single one of them (his little brother included) in the attempt to gain control of the immortal halls. Damn the Dark Council to the abyss, it the Naga Sadow could claim the place for their own. Yes, power would be his.

As the transport descended and landed, the Battlelord herded everyone onto it. "Pilot, takes us to the front lines." The man nodded his head and the transport lifted up and flew off towards the assault force, leaving behind enough men to defend the fort.

Bob

12-04-2009 07:25:10

TR-MB Okemi One
II Legion Mobile TAC HQ


“Vexatus!” screamed Lord Sadow in rage as he turned his attention towards Shan Long, but Consul Daragon was already ahead of him and had pulled his DL-54 Special and placed it to the temple of the Dark Jedi Master. “You are going to start explaining yourself,” the Consul explained, “Or I’m going to splatter what you have left for marbles all over that control panel.”

“I assure you Bob,” Shan Long answered ignoring the meager weapon, “I do not have anything to do with my former pupil. While this explains much and answers quite a few questions, I am not the one you need to fear.”

“Enough with the lies!” the Consul yelled but was quickly silenced with the voices in his head.

“kill him, kill him, KILL him, KILL HIM,” the voices of many became louder and louder in the mind of Daragon as images flashed through his head. The flaming sword, the face of Cyrus Raze, the mark on Cyrus’s head glowing with flames and then the pain became greater and greater as the images continued flashing before him. The voices became louder and louder with the pain becoming unbearable. Consul Daragon dropped the blaster and folded to one knee as he felt he was being engulfed in flames.

“My lord,” Colonel Rylla Anjek interrupted the spectacle.

“What is it Colonel?” Astronicus asked still furious over the recent events.

“New orders from the Iron Throne my Lord,” Anjek answered quite nervously.

Lord Sadow quickly checked the orders, “Very well. Colonel, we will inform all units to move forward on the new target of the Hall of Immortals.” The two went about organizing the forces while Shan Long looked down upon the Consul of Clan Naga Sadow lying on the floor, eyes rolled back in his head, sweating profusely, and in unbearable pain.

“help me,” the Consul whispered to the Dragon.

Nekura Manji

12-04-2009 08:12:32

Rendezvous Point
The Shadowlands
Antei


Dyrra's speeder pulled into what had been a relatively organised camp but was now a scene of chaos. Dark Jedi moved everywhere with soldiers running around them as the camp packed up in a frenzy of activity. Collaring a nearby soldier as she jumped off the speeder, Manji still slumped on the back, Dyrra shouted at him.

"What's going on?"

"We've got new orders- we're pushing towards the Hall of Immortals!"

Letting the soldier go, Dyrra swore under her breath and turned back to Manji, helping him off the speeder. Behind her Macron emerged from his tent, splattered in gore and fluids, his alchemist robes begrimed and his face weary. As Dyrra stumbled over to him with Manji on her shoulder, the Sith's eyebrows rose in surprise.

"What's wrong with him, Dyrra? Did he drink too much?"

Temporarily forgetting how deranged and powerful the Sith was, Dyrra snapped a response at him.

"No, mir'osik! He got hacked by a Jedi."

Macron chuckled, his eyes glittering with dark arrogance and gloating for a moment. Then he twitched, the expression replaced with one of mild concern.

"Huh. Never thought I'd see the day that he'd be quite so beaten. Lay him down, anyway, I'll see what I can do."

Pulling his gloves off and kneeling over the Epis' semi-unconscious form, Macron felt the Force flow through him into Manji's body, rushing over the long lightsaber wound across his stomach and side. Slowly, the flesh began to knit together, a gasping scream shuddering from Manji's mouth as the wound struggled to close, cauterised flesh fading slowly to leave a vivid white scar across the Keibatsu's stomach. As Macron sat back, exhaling heavily, Manji shook his head and sat up, staring around as if he didn't know where he was. Getting to his feet, the Sith pulled his gloves back on.

"Sorted. If you'll excuse me- I need to gather my things for this new offensive."

Dyrra pulled the Epis to his feet as Macron moved away, Manji's eye still dull as he stared at the ground. His hand still clutched his lightsaber tightly. Snapping her fingers in front of his face, Dyrra coughed loudly.

"Uh... Master? We need to find a transport that's heading south..."

For a moment Manji did not respond, then he focussed on her face and nodded slowly, uncharacteristically silent. The two moved towards a nearby LAAT/i as Macron and Aisha joined them. With a roar, the engines ignited as the ship lifted off and moved away to the south, taking them towards the distant thunder of the front lines.

Zaxen Dauketrenal

12-04-2009 10:23:20

En route to the Hall of Immortals
Adas Region
Antei


The transport flew low over the Shadowlands, weaving through hills and rock formations, avoiding the scanners of any adversary that might be in the area.
Zaxen stood near a view port and stared out along the landscape. He had not spoken for days. His compatriots had all but avoided him. Even his former mistress Jade had not spoken with him since the rescue. His days in recovery had been spent in solitude despite the bustle of war around him.

Ashura, now more calm that they were inbound on the Hall of Immortals to protect its sanctity, took notice of his brother. The air seemed to crackle around Zaxen and he noticed the telltale signs of bright sapphire eyes which marked one of the Isradia line who had awoken. They were aglow, very vivid, and constant. Zaxen exuded power now. He had ascended into something greater than what he was and had done so on his own. Ashura let a touch of pride creep into his thoughts.

Zaxen let his thoughts wonder across the plains of Adas, into the dark skies, and even into the stars. He could feel the roiling energies that vied for dominance. He felt the line between life and death that had been blurred and even crossed. He sensed the various threads which bound him to these things. Yet despite his new found power Zaxen was not yet powerful enough to see where he fit in the grand scheme. But he was growing.

The whispers still haunted the Krath and seemed to be the wind in his sail of destiny. Sleep had not even quieted them. He heard them constantly and he listened. He did not resist what was happening around him. He only acted. Now he would stand with his brother in the Hall of Immortals where the remains of the greatest Lords of the Force were kept. It was more than coincidence could ever conceive. A moment of destiny was before him, one that would decide if he would ascend along the One Path, or simply fade.

The transport settled on the dusty surface of Adas and the ramp lowered. The sounds of conflict could already be heard. Kalei and Zaroth both rushed out with the air of uncertainty about them, as if death hung over their heads. Zaxen merely turned to see his brother staring at him. Ashura's eyes had also flared to a bright blue, mirroring his brother's. Zaxen moved to stand beside Ashura and nodded solemnly and both descended the ramp side by side to write destiny in their name.

Ashura

12-04-2009 10:35:20

TR-MB Okemi One
II Legion Mobile TAC HQ


"You are not putting me in that!"

Aleho was fighting off one of the medics and a medic droid who both wanted to put her inside a bacta tank. Kalyn, the Jedi who had been taken prisoner by her and Sai had been placed in a few moments earlier

"Hunter Ruoxf, you need the rest, your wounds need to be healed. Your body is tired from all the combat. You are only a little girl after all." Medic said.

"I am not a little girl!" Aleho said angrily

Rest, my apprentice. Rest.

Her whole body was becoming tired as the droid and its master were able to subdue the young Togruta. The sedative from the hypo the medic droid gave her, causing Leho to go limp.

A few moments later a breath mask was placed on her and she was submerged into the cool liquid. Her body was going more and more restful, Aleho could feel her mind slipping. The problem was she didn't want too, she could still see the visions in her mind.

Rest Aleho. When you awake it all shall become clear. This is only the beginning. The dawn of a new age. An age you and I shall help herald in.

She slowly realised it wasn't Ashura who's voice was taking into her mind, but she knew who it was. Aleho Ruoxf knew who it was as her mind replied.

Yes. I shall rest. I shall be ready, my master.

The images and voices howled into her mind as sleep took her.

Hall of Immortals
Adas Region
Antei


So the battle for the immortal hall has started, thought Ashura as he and Zaxen approached the complex, the time of ascension is finally at hand.

Sadow brethren had started to arrive from different points. Krandon, Ekeia and Demonic (along with their forces) from one direction on speeders. He could sense Manji, Macron and Dyrra approaching by sky. He could feel through the Force Malisane and Agrist anticipations.

Before them the Halls of Immortals stood. How dare the Jedi defile this place!

"Paran. Kodora itai wu suk." Ashura said to Zaxen in Mardorin as he ignited his crimson lightsaber.

Alexander

12-04-2009 13:27:58

En route to the Hall of Immortals
Adas Region
Antei


Xander had initially had Demonic, Keia and Krandon stand down while he had made the arrangements for their journey. After a little bit of negotiation he had managed to arrange for a Lambda class shuttle to take them to a landing point. The landing point he had chosen to use was a distance south east of the Temple Boyna. He had instructed the pilot to fly as low as he was able to and use the natural land structure which was between the Dark Hall, Temply Boyna and the other surrounding area to obscure their descent.

The man was a good pilot, but Xander couldn't help but feel he could have done a better job using the force then the man was doing. Honestly, he could have instructed one of the journeymen to do it to , but he felt that it would be of the utmost importance to have everyone rested up as much as possible. He had changed back into his more typical clothing, no longer using the disguise that he had once used while on the planet, Valorian had done the same.

Xander had also filled up the rest of the shuttle with as many troops as he could possibly get in. The shuttle itself had been designed to carry twenty soldiers, and a crew of six. He had filled up the twi-winged vessel with fifteen additional commandos, and had used the full compliment of crew. Thus, when they landed they would have 20 commandoes and their disposal. The shuttle would be flown back to the base an astromech droid he had personally brought along and programmed for the purpose of carrying the troops back.

Thus far, the journey had been less than exciting, it appeared that most of the enemy had pulled back to their last stand. Quickly checking his datapad for any last information he began to move around and check that everyone was in place for landing. Starting with Jade he spoke.

"So, I think we should use another meld for this situation." Jade nodded

"Ok." Xander motioned the journeymen over as they all concentrated on forming the bond, with a few moments the force meld was formed.

"Ok, everyone get ready. Also .. Valorian.." Xander reached into a package and pulled out a lightsaber "This is an armoury lightsaber. It is not as powerful as a lightsaber that you will create yourself one day, but it is stronger than the training saber that you appear to be carrying."

Valorian nodded appreciatively, Xander had watched the man grow a lot during the period of the war, and he could tell that the man was more than ready for this next step. The Krath had thus managed to find an armoury lightsaber for Joseems apprentice to use.

Suddenly they began taking fire, the shuttles deflectors shuddered taking on impacts. The lights dimmed as a sudden blast seemed to knock them out of their flight path. They were plummeting to the ground. Xander could feel the pilot struggling against the control as they made a hard impact into the ground.

"Ok, everyone move move move..." Xander shouted as he rushed them out of the shuttle. They had been lucky in the fact that they were not too far from the landing path that he had chosen. However, judging by the amount of fire they were taking it was going to be an uphill battle all of the way to the temple. The Krath couldn't tall where the fire was coming from. As the commandoes and force users rushed out he watched as Jade took command pointing the group towards cover from the hail of laser fire which was falling like rain from the sky.

Looking around he found the astromech droid and plucked it up using the force. Those things were just too valuable to leave. He placed the droid outside, and then quickly turned on the self destruct on the ship. There was no was he was going to let the enemy have their vessel. Racing out he watched the droid just barely make it to safety. Xander dived behind cover as the shuttle blew up behind him. The force of the impact almost knocking him off his feet.

After a few moments trying to orient himself he looked around to find where the rest of the group had gone. He could spot some figures in the distance, his vision slightly blurry from the impact of the shuttles destruction behind him.

Macron Sadow

12-04-2009 13:51:41

En route to the Hall of Immortals
Adas Region
Antei


Aisha looked off at the port window, watching the scenes of chaos approaching closer and closer. "Looks rough out there."

"You look pretty green, dude," chuckled Macron. "Never thought I'd see you get karked like that."

Dyrra put her hand on Manji's shoulder in concern. "The Nautoloan was something else," commented Manji in reply. "Master-level. I did my best, of course."

Macron frowned. "Of course. Glad to have you around to bother for a bit longer," he said with a rare smile.

Dyrra grinned too. "He's a tough old man," she quipped. "They'd probably send him back from Hell, anyhow."

Manji chuckled as well. "Afraid I'd take over, most likely. Keep all the good booze for myself."

"Rice wine and hot men for everyone," snickered Aisha. "Sounds good to me."

All three Dark Jedi laughed as the larty lurched to a stop. "Dark Hall, here we are," Dyrra said as she stood up.

"Jen Taral," whispered Macron in the Sith Language. Dark Protector. "Well then, let's kark some Jedi," he snarled as he leapt from the larty with both sabers in hand.

"Ashura is this way," pointed Manji as he stepped down with a wince.

"Can you fight?" asked the Warlord in concern.

"You need to even ask that question?" replied the Epis.

"Nope," nodded Macron as Ashura, Zaxen, and Kalei strode up. "Your orders, Proconsul? I hope they involve hurting Jedi. The one I tortured mentioned more of them here before he... ah, fell apart on me. Heh heh."

Xanos

12-04-2009 15:04:31

20km north of the Valley of the Dead
The Shadowlands
Eastern Adas, Antei


Zirias could only watch as Ciria was flung away by another surge of lightning from the faceless beast. Less a man than a pure entity in the Force, Zirias could do nothing as the creature stripped the flesh from Ciria’s bones, incinerating her down to ash. He shut his eyes as he prepared for her to blink out in the Force, her light to be forever snuffed out. He heard her screams on the wind and in the Force, her anguished cries echoing in his ears; but they did not cease. They continued. Screaming again and again and again.

He opened his eyes. Kroollas stood alongside him. The two Dark Jedi in the distance had frozen too. Nothing remained of Ciria. There lingered only a smoking mound of dust which slowly vanished into the gales. He bowed his head. Jedi Master Ciria Niedra was gone.

But still he heard her screams.

‘She is one with us forever,’ the shadow said. Its tortured screams echoed Ciria’s voice.

Kroollas looked sideways at Zirias. Zirias nodded. A green blade appeared in both the Givin’s hands. The pair charged. Across the clearing, the two Sith mirrored their advance. Lightning shot toward the two Jedi from the cauterised stump where the creature’s left arm should have been. The pair ducked and rolled in opposite directions, feeling the shockwave when the explosion hit the ground where they had been standing.

The two Sith had done the same opposite, the creature’s remaining limb unleashing volley after volley of blinding brilliance at them like automatic fire. A ray surged toward Zirias, the Jedi narrowly catching it on his double blades inches from his nose. He could smell the ozone where the air itself was burned by the heat. Kroollas rolled and cartwheeled as he drew nearer to their target, the Givin batting aside burst after burst of violet and crimson fury.

One of the two Sith had stopped to meet the incoming lightning with his own. The other leapt over and darted and dived and rolled under more telekinetic and fiery waves as she neared the shadow in the centre of them all. The creature opened its maw and a shattered crescendo of screams and roars raged as it howled, its voice mirroring the hurricane force winds that spiralled around them.

Kroollas and the female Sith reached the monster simultaneously, bringing their lightsabers in almost mirror perfect horizontal swings to scissor the creature’s neck. Their lightsabers connected with its charred dead flesh, eliciting a bellow that seemed to shake the earth itself.

Then both blast back, flying away as a telekinetic shockwave burst in all directions. Zirias felt the blow punch him like a wrecking ball hitting his chest, forcing the wind entirely out of his lungs and throwing him back across the arena. He slammed into the dirt head first, his neck nearly snapping, flipping backward as his body flopped and rolled, stopping just short of the cyclonal winds that he feared might pick him up and hurl him into orbit.

He looked up, glancing around for sight of the others. Kroollas lay slouched far to his right, the two Sith no better off on the far side. The shadow floated over him. The creature held out its hand and Zirias felt himself turn, being flipped over and then twisted upright, rising into the air to hover in front of the ghostly wound in the Force.

It held out its hand, fingers clawed like predatory talons. Zirias felt something pinch inside him and screamed as the creature closed its fingers, the Force pressing upon Zirias’s heart. The creature stared back into his eyes, its face as hungry as it was ghastly, all cracked and covered in dry blood, two smoking lines along either side of its neck. It opened its mouth and an incomprehensible clamour came out, instinctively causing him to clamp his hands over his ears in a futile attempt to block out the noise.

‘Who—’ he spluttered. He knew he was about to die, but he had to know. ‘Who are you?’

The grip around his heart slackened slightly. The shadow tilted its head inquisitively. Something seemed to dawn in its eyes. ‘I was one of the first to join the Lost of the New Order. My name was Xanos Zorrixor.’

The cold hand clamped around his heart before he could reply. Zorrixor? ‘What... what happened to Xora?’ he forced himself to ask, coughing blood with every word. His life was over, the pain no longer mattered. Xora Zorrixor had fled Skywalker’s flock to join Crask during the war. She had not said much; but the darkness in her had been palpable, the lust for revenge. Now he knew against whom.

The sneer across the shadow’s face vanished as its lips curled upwards, baring its teeth in a furious masque. It opened its hand and one of the two bright purple stars above fell from the sky into its hand, revealing itself not to be a star at all but a shimmering crystal shard that felt as deep and as empty as the shadow itself. The creature snarled and clenched its fist. The crystal shattered, shards of glass sliding up in between the shadow’s fingers, then appearing to dissolve into its flesh. Then Zirias felt the hand crush around his heart.

Everything around him seemed to fall dark as he stared back into those black holes the creature had for eyes. He could no longer hear the howl of the sandstorm. He could not feel anything. The Force and its whispers seeming to fall silent. All he could hear was Ciria’s endless screaming, the other hundreds of voices as good as inaudible. Just Ciria. Calling out for help.

Every fibre in his body suddenly burst into pain. It felt like he was on fire. The searing heat. He screamed, but he could not make out his own voice. He thought his own tongue had melted. His vision blurred, blinded by a shining white flame that seemed to have sprung from his own jaw. All he could see was white hot fire. Throughout his skull he literally heard the bone as it splintered and cracked. He glanced down, just about able to make out the red as he felt his fingernails crack and saw blood stream down his arm in dark scarlet rivulets, though his blood looked nearer black than red.

He truly understood now what it meant to become one of Crask's berserkers. Understood all too well how wrong they had been. Their Master was not what he had claimed, not at all. This was not of the Force: this was of the dark side. Like the monster before him had claimed: they had all been deceived. But it was too late to do anything about that now. Too late to worry. Far, far too late.

He could do nothing. Not even move. Only embrace the pain as his entire world went white.


Vexatus glowered at the pitiful Chagrian that hung in the air in front of him like a puppet. Indeed, it would soon serve as his marionette. Just like the fool Cyrus Raze, yet one more extension of his will. He screamed, his fury raging across the vast expanses of time and space as the essence of the shattered fragment of the Star of Ombus flowed into his veins, becoming one with the screams of the hundreds of long dead Ombi imprisoned in it by Urias Orian so long ago. He fed on their pain, funnelling it into the Jedi to tear Zirias’s very being apart with unholy fire.

He consumed whatever was left of Zirias Charr to leave nothing but a broken, empty shell. His sister had betrayed him. This one had no right to drudge that memory up. He had consumed her and all her filthy Jedi allies. Like he had now consumed this one. As he would everything.

A wound in the Force. A breach, as that fool Keibatsu had called it earlier. How little any of them understood. No, not a wound. It was the very absence of the Force. It was Chaos.

The Jedi’s screams echoed through the Force, fanning out in a shockwave of painful cries to join those of the female this one had called Ciria. It was a shame he had been forced to obliterate that one, but there were more. There would always be more. As their two minds melded into one, he found this one rather curious. Its mind spoke of the efforts of its Master: it was indeed the Omancor Crask he had once known as Darth Carnus.

Carnus had deluded himself into believing in redemption. To be driven by his longing for his lost love. How pathetic. But then, had Carnus remained on Korriban, his fate would have been little better. Blind. All of them. Jedi and Sith alike. Blinded by that disease known as: Life. None could embrace the truth that death was all that really mattered. Everything died. To master death was to master the universe.

Vexatus flung the empty husk of the Jedi back to the ground. He stared down as the lifeless body opened its eyes, black pits where the glimmer of the great lie that was life had once lingered. The body stood up and stared back at him.

Or rather, he looked up and stared back at himself.

Vexatus—both Cyrus and Zirias—turned to look upon the other three figures who were still hunched on the floor. Zirias began toward the remaining Jedi, Kroollas, as Cyrus started toward the pair of paralysed Sith. The three fallen Jedi and Sith started to edge their way backward away from the advancing abominations. Vexatus shook his heads—both of them. ‘Do you see now? Resistance is futile for we are legion.’

Nekura Manji

13-04-2009 16:13:56

Valley of the Dead
Adas Region
Antei


"Our orders, Goura, are to stop these disgusting Jedi from desecrating this place. You can see where the battle is- get to it!"

A curt nod was Macron's only response as the group moved away from where they'd landed, the Larty already heading back to pick up more troops. Other transports were landing nearby, disgorging soldiers and Dark Jedi by the dozen; the final push to drive the Jedi off Antei had begun, and everybody wanted a piece of the action. To the south, and towards the looming facade of the Hall of Immortals, the storm of war raged as an advance detachment of Iron Throne soldiers fought their way back towards the mouth of the valley. Shapeless statues, their features worn away by the centuries, lined the cliff walls, staring blankly down at the conflict within.

As the troops assembled behind them, Macron's group stood ahead of them, gazing into the valley. Brandishing his twin sabers, Macron growled darkly, his schizophrenic mind salivating at the prospect of the battle to come.

"Into the valley of death rode the six hundred, hmm?"

Forcing a smile, Manji clapped the Sith on the shoulder, his own saber burning brightly in his right hand.

"The valley of their death, Mac."

A deranged grin split the alchemist's face as he lifted one of his sabers, his voice searing upwards into a battle cry.

"Good enough for me! For Sadow!!"

A roar echoed from the walls of the valley as the troops around them responded to the Sith's voice and the pulse of the Dark Side as each Equite present poured their energies into Macron's Force meld. Confidence surged through the troopers as they hefted their weapons, feeling invincible. Then the front line broke into a charge with the warriors of Naga Sadow at it's head, surging towards the great Hall in the distance.

Outside the Hall of Immortals
Antei


A warcry echoed down the valley. Lordien's head snapped towards it instantly as the droids under his command clustered around the base of a statue of one of these Sith sorcerers, setting charges into the rock beneath the abominable construction. Throwing his hand up, Lordien felt the sour tang of fear in his mouth as he barked out orders, his shoulder-length blonde hair blowing in the fierce wind.

"Leave the statue! Form up into your squadrons, and I want the droideka out in front to soften their advance!"

As the droids obeyed, Lordien pulled the saberstaff from his belt, his fingers caressing the long hilt as his mind drifted slightly.

They must be here because of our desecration of the statues... how pathetic, to cling so to past glories. We will show these Sith the strength of Lord Crask's will! My companions are destroying the statues further up the valley; we will force them to run the gauntlet of our defenses, and they will be all but annihilated by the time they reach this hall.

Snapping back to the present, Lordien strode northwards after his droids, his hand tight around the hilt of the saberstaff. Thunder crackled in the air as the weather above Antei began to take a diabolical turn. A great stormcloud had gathered to the north, discharging electricity violently.

Alexander

14-04-2009 00:42:20

En route to the Hall of Immortals
Adas Region
Antei


Xander could hear the sound of the energy bolts around him, as this small squad of force users and commandos moved quickly to clear away from the destroyed shuttle. Using the force meld Xander suggested a course of action. Moving quickly behind the meager shelter provided by Tiamat's peaks they moved across the ground quickly and efficiently. By this time the commandos had grown used to working with force users and were efficient in their operations. Moving quickly the group made it's way towards the droids, weapons which had managed to shoot them down. It appears that enough artillery to somehow take down a shuttle had somehow been planted here.

Nodding to each other both Xander and Jade jumped straight towarsds the enemy, their blades finding their marks and Ekeia, Krandon, Valorian came up one side, while the remaining charged straight into the midst. While this happened the commandos who were with them provided important covering fire, for them to work under.

Once the enemy had been taken down Xander turned to Krandon "Have you located where we are?"

"I have, we are a bit north of the location you had us heading towards"

"Very well, we shall make our way the remainder of the way on foot." Jade said strongly taking command of the group.

Xander nodded

"Krandon , take point , and guide us in the direction. Xander I want you to be rear guard in case someone comes up behind us. The rest of us will take up positions in between. Everyone pair up, and work together. Commandos take outer positions and be prepared to lay cover fire if needed."

Everyone marked their assent to their orders, and they back on their way.

DyrraSkye

14-04-2009 11:40:58

Valley of the Dead,
Adas,
Antei.


For the first time, since she had set foot on Antei, Dyrra wasn't worried. As she charged with her Clansmen and the troops, she felt herself getting excited for the battle ahead. She'd been worried for the entire conflict, but not now. Whatever the Jedi threw at them, they'd handle.

All too soon, it seemed they were in the thick of it, instead of charging. Most of the troops had gotten behind what cover the rough valley walls provided and were firing at the squad of droids advancing on them. The Dark Jedi all had their lightsabers drawn and they threw themselves into the combat with a will.

Dyrra concentrated solely on what she had to do, trying not to let anything distract her from deflecting the rain of blaster fire aimed at her person. Every so often, she'd catch a glimpse of one of the Clan's other Jedi in action. Macron, a little way to her left, grinning savagely as his sabers decapitated three droids with one stroke, Aisha twisting gracefully and slicing a droid's arms off before running it through, a short woman with blonde hair who she didn't know the name of some distance in front, who smashed some droids into pieces on the valley wall... And then she caught sight of her master. Manji was causing as much destruction as any of them, but the ever-present smirk that usually graced his features when he was making scrap out of a bunch of droids was gone. He didn't look as though he was enjoying himself and that unnerved Dyrra more than she thought it would. Something was wrong, there.

Dyrra didn't have time to ponder it though - the tide of bodies she was part of was pushing forward. The droids they had engaged were destroyed and they were rushing on. Just ahead of them lay one of the statues the valley is famed for. It was a tall, imposing figure, staring down at the battle from high above.
Dyrra had no idea who it was. Her attention was focussed solely on the adversaries at its feet. A duo of Jedi, with their green blades ready and a squad of droids. The fighting was brief - the sheer momentum of the Clan's forces pushed the droids back, or shot them down. Out of the corner of her eye, Dyrra saw Macron and Aisha duelling with one of the Jedi - a male Twi'lek, who she was confident wouldn't give them much trouble. She wasn't sure where the second one had gone, though. She found herself backed against the statue's toes, and channeling all her fury into the Force, she sent the droid in front of her flying backwards, knocking over a couple more as it crashed into them.

It gave Dyrra a moments breathing space and she suddenly became aware of three things as she looked around - firstly, the mass of wires near her ankles, second, the Jedi she had seen earlier sprinting away, running from the combat as fast as he could and thirdly, Manji was suddenly next to her, grabbing her arm and yanking her along after him.

"Kid, MOVE! That Jedi's got the detonator to blow this thing!"

They ran, mowing down the droids in their path, sprinting for the fleeing Jedi, hoping they wouldn't be too late-

There was a noise like nothing Dyrra had ever heard. It sounded like the planet itself was roaring. She was on the floor and she didn't remember falling. Her ears were ringing.

For a moment, the valley was almost silent.

Xanos

14-04-2009 12:55:33

Hall of Immortals
Valley of the Dead
Adas, Antei


The Hall of Immortals was located in the Lorimar Mesa of the Valley of the Dead. A more recent construction, situated within the canyon of tombs and monuments that were thousands of years old. The Hall itself was built of the same obsidian stone that adorned the rest of the valley’s tombs.

Jedi Master Nejj Kenten stood on the terrace atop the temple, gazing out at the tide of darkness that now flooded into the valley toward the Hall of Immortals. In the eternal night of the Shadowlands, he could not make out individual figures, but he saw the sea of red blades that emerged from the black ocean of Adas itself, over the surrounding mesa, and down into the valley.

He had felt them coming long before he had seen their lightsabers flash into life, or their troops rifles burst with fire. The red tide now approached, but in the Force the darkness had been growing steadily thicker ever since he had sensed Lord Crask leave the planet.

Out of the corner of his eye, he spotted Qira Vaal joining him on the upper terrace. ‘Master Lordien has engaged them outside the steps of the temple,’ she said.

He bowed his head and reflected on the events of the past few days, since the Sith had arrived. What had they achieved? They had come here to replenish those lost in the long years of the Yuuzhan Vong War. That conflict was over, but their true destiny was still ahead of them. The aftermath of the Vong’s invasion remained, however. Many had fallen. Others had been lost forever to the dark side. How many more would die before the Galaxy was at peace?

They had lost even more here, in this war, against these Sith Lords and their minions.

More still would be lost. Lord Crask had left, meaning those left behind had surely been left to become martyrs. Nejj did not fear death. He would accept whatever fate the Force placed before him.

There is no death, only the Force.

But that did not mean his next words came any easier. His foremost duty was to destroy the Sith and purge the Galaxy of the dark side forever. However, like all those who had fought in the Sith Wars of old, he also understood the need to understand his enemy in order to defeat it. He sighed. He had made up his mind.

‘Burn it,’ he muttered. ‘Burn it all. There will be nothing left for these darksiders to rebuild.’

They will die here with us.

Lord Crask would go on to rebuild and train new apprentices. But these Sith would lose their sacred relics forever. One way or another, Nejj would ensure he delivered Crask his victory.

‘Understood, Master Kenten.’

Qira left, leaving him to watch as the marauding hordes of Sith swarmed around the temple. He unsheathed his sword from its hilt across his back. He had discovered it years ago on Ryloth, a Jedi relic, centuries, possibly millennia old. Some of the New Order’s converts had labelled it a Sith Sword and cursed him for it; but Lord Crask had known better, he had understood. There was no light or dark when it came to the Force: the dark only existed on the inside. A sword was but a tool, no different to any lightsaber.

Nejj’s face reflected in the sword’s mirror polished surface.

Come Sith. Come face your own doom.

If he was to die, he would take as many Sith as he could with him.

LAAT infantry gunship
11th Aerospace transport
En route to the Hall of Immortals


The gunship flew across the black seas of Antei’s surface. Robert Daragon stood at the back, his eyes fixed on one seated opposite; the great betrayer, the apostate, traitor, butcher: Shan Long. Lord Sadow had insisted on taking a separate shuttle to the front lines. Despite Sai's revelations, Tron refused to still so much as be in the same room as the Dragon, convinced they had been deceived too many times by Trevarus Caerick before.

But Bob needed him, however much it may have bothered him too. He hoped Tron would understand one day. Just as he hoped this was not all an elaborate con and in fact the two traitors were still conspiring together.

‘Can you feel it?’ the sorcerer asked.

The darkness was palpable but Bob dared not reach out in the Force to touch it. He could already hear the thousands of screams all too well. They had been with him ever since Shan Long had first stepped foot on the Final Way, and only grown worse when Bob had touched the dead sands of Adas’s surface.

‘How?’ Bob asked, ignoring the other’s question. ‘How is he still alive?’

Shan Long hesitated before he replied. ‘Some mysteries even I cannot comprehend,’ he said slowly. ‘I can only assume he is no longer who he once was. This time he has not merely changed his name, he has traded souls. To return from the depths of Chaos itself... it is troubling.’

‘But I felt him die. There is no doubt,’ Bob insisted.

‘What did you really feel?’ Shan Long said, raising an eyebrow. ‘We felt Xanos Zorrixor die. The creature calling itself Lord Vexatus devoured himself. Now he is little more than the sum of all the pain and suffering he consumed on Lehon.’

Bob frowned. ‘Why didn’t the same thing happen to you?’

‘I...’ Shan Long began, considering his thoughts, ‘Where he chose death, I chose to be reborn. My experience during the war against the consciousness awoken on Antei ten years ago prepared me for what happened to us both on Antei. Where he was consumed by it, I was able to survive.’

The two stood in silence as the transport skimmed across the battlefield, the mountains shouldering the Dark Hall visible in the distance. Anti-aircraft fire continued to ring out in the distance from the remaining droid bastions on the surface. In the far distance beyond the mountains, the land opened up into the Valley of the Dead, where the Hall of Immortals sat just beyond at the Lorimar Mesa.

‘I want to understand,’ Bob said finally. ‘I want to understand the truth. To see what you do. Can you show me how to shield my mind? You and Macron must have the strongest connection to him than any of us, but neither of you has been attacked.’

Shan Long looked at him for a long moment, a twinkle in his eyes that Bob could not explain. ‘That would be quite a risk, young Consul. Lord Sadow, I’m sure, would be rather... unhappy.’ The sorcerer laughed, evidently amused at the almost guaranteed show trial that would immediately follow this war, no doubt to be followed in turn by his supposed execution.

The sorcerer didn’t seem particularly concerned. But then, he had cheated death before.

Finally, Bob shrugged. ‘Tron doesn’t understand,’ he said reluctantly. ‘He doesn’t see what I see. He hasn’t experienced the nightmares I have. Teach me. Teach me how to stop this.’ A shiver ran down Bob’s spine. ‘I don’t... I don’t want to end up like Cyrus.’

Thoughts of what Sai had relayed to him flashed through his mind. He couldn’t face becoming no different than just another one of Vexatus’s mindless pawns.

‘Are you sure?’ Shan Long said, his voice suddenly serious.

Forgive me, my lord, Bob thought before he answered. ‘Yes.’

‘Then kneel.’

Bob unwrapped the mask covering his face, then stepped over to Shan Long and knelt.

‘Usually you must have read the Scrolls of the Forgotten, studied the Mysteries of the three mouths of Azhi Daka, and pondered the riddles of the Seven Enigmas,’ Shan Long said. ‘But in this case, I believe given the seriousness of your condition we can make an exception.’

With a crack of displaced air, a jagged, obsidian dagger appeared in the sorcerer’s grasp. ‘Do not mistake this for an easy path, however. You will have much training to catch up before you can truly understand the gift of the Mark. But for now I shall teach you how to shield your mind from the Heretic’s psychic invasions.’

The once betrayer carved the shape of a third eye in the middle of Bob’s forehead, then withdrew a vial from a pouch hanging off his belt and rubbed in a measure of an oily, coal-black substance that reminded Bob of dry blood. Knowing Shan Long, it probably was dry blood. Bob screamed, his eyes watering as the oil, blood, poison—whatever the kark it was—felt as if it literally burned its way into his skull. The transport itself seemed to shape from the force of his voice, the newfound pain causing him to momentarily forget all about the endless screams in the back of his mind.

When he was done screaming, he closed his eyes and opened his Mark for the first time, a bloody red orb on his forehead. The tattoo appeared to blink, a thin line of blood trickling down his nose and dripping onto his lips. He savoured the metallic taste, then closed the Mark and opened his natural eyes again.

‘Arise, Erro.’

JadeSadow

14-04-2009 20:59:43

En route to the Hall of Immortals
Adas Region
Valley of the Dead
Antei


Jade watched as Valorian happily maneuvered the new saber blade around, obliviously thrilled to finally be wielding something with a bit more punch. He walked on and getting a look over his shoulder from Krandon the Jedi hunter turned the blade off and placed the hilt at his side, though his stance was still one of excitement and the thrill of wanting to test it out on some unsuspecting Jedi. Demonic followed close behind Valorian, Ekeia was at his side. Jade was worried about the girl, she seemed a little out of it, a little to afraid of the battle field. Granted her first time wasn’t an easy mission either, but Jade wasn’t too sure the girl would survive if she didn’t pull it together soon.

Jade walked just a bit in front of Xander, she had wanted the younger members to go first, it was easier to keep an on them, and keep them in check. It also made them have to act fast should anything occur, give them no time to think or second guess their instincts and the force in how to fight. Jades mind wandered and she thought about Paladin. It had been a while since she had heard from the former Grand Master, her current Quaestor. In fact the last she had heard, he had told her to look after the House while he went off with the Dark Council. She shook her head, which ever Star Destroyer her had been on, she bet the crew was still hopping. As they banked a small hill Krandon stopped and the group caught up to him.

“Think we finally found the rest of the group.” He smirked and pointed down towards the various people running around, some of them with their colourful sabers slashing at incoming Jedi and droids.

Jade surveyed the ground crew and was surprised to have her vision be guided towards Aranas. She hadn’t seen her apprentice in a long time, and she wasn’t even sure the girl had entered into the battle field. Good to see you around, just don’t get yourself killed, I’d hate to see a girl fall at the hands of a simple Jedi. Jade teased the girl and suddenly saw Manji run, his new apprentice taking suit. “Everybody down!” Jade plastered to the ground, Krandon and Valorian eating dirt as they dropped suddenly, Demonic forcing Ekeia down. He had heard that order far too many times while fighting with his buddies back home. Suddenly the Valley rang sharply, the echo of it ringing in their ears and shaking the hill crest, the dirt coming lose and sending them down the small embankment towards the rest of the group.

Demonic stood up and dusted himself off, helping Ekeia to stand as Valorian and Krandon found their feet. “Now that was a blast even I would be proud to have set.” Small memories of the times he demolished things flew past his minds eye.

Jade stood, dusting herself off. A chill ran up her spine and she could have sworn she felt the commanding presence of Paladin. In the dust of their fall she squinted and could have sworn she saw the long black robes of the Grand Master walking through the Valley as if he commanded it and everything in it. Jade shook her head; she must have hit it on the way down. She took a step and pain shot up her right hip hurt. Looking at her side she found the fall had removed her saber from her. Searching with the force she opened her hand and called it to her, activating the violet blade with a snap hiss to make sure the thing was still working, then quickly extinguished before they drew any more attention to themselves before joining in. She placed the saber back at her hip and saw the deep gash in her side. Groaning slightly she turned her hip from the others. “And there stands the Hall of Immortals… I say we go and reclaim what is ours.”

Krandon smirked, “Hell ya.”

Xander nodded, noticing Jade wanted the journeymen to gain some distance. “We fight with our brothers and sisters.” The team smirked and headed off for the entrance to the Hall of Immortals. He turned to Jade, “You alright?”

Demonic thought he heard Xander question Jade and looked back over his shoulder as he walked close to Ekeia, noticing his mistress lost in concentration. Demonic gave his mistress a look but notice she avoided his star. Not wanting to abandon Ekeia he turned and helper her to keep going. It killed him not help Jade but she was still walking so it couldn’t have been that serious of a wound.

Jade waited till the others were a bit a head before closing her eyes and concentrating on the wound. Forming the Dark Side of the Force and letting it work its way in through her wound, healing it from the inside out. Something seemed to be mixed with her powers, it was darker then her own. She opened her eyes, a small scar still apparent on her skin as the wound continued to heal. “Let’s get our home back.” Xander gave her a look, and then took up rear once more as they neared the Halls entrance.

As they walked, nearing the battle, Jade turned and saw the dark figure of Paladin smirk at her, and then seemingly disappear into the throws of action. Oh this was going to be an interesting fight in deed, especially if she was seeing things.

Fremoc

14-04-2009 21:41:54

En route to the Hall of Immortals
Adas Region
Valley of the Dead
Antei


Demonic moved forward with Krandon, Valorian, and Ekeia who was standing right by his side. They were ahead of Jade and Xander, but not by far. He knew Ekeia was still traumatized from her capture and was not fully with them at that time. He also knew that his mistress was injured but he couldn't tell how badly injured since she was still walking. They were both his friends but more importantly, Ekeia and Jade had become his new family.

He had nothing after his family's death but joined the commandos and gained a new family there. Again he lost that family when he and his team raided Ord Mantell which was controlled by the Yuuzhan Vong. Demonic being the last man standing in their raid, retreated and was found by Ekeia who befriended him and helped him out in his first days in Marka Ragnos. Now she wasn't completely with it, and he needed to find a way to get her back.

Jade on the other hand had found much potential in the former commando and agreed to train him after a few weeks time. He had grown quite an attachment to her and vowed to protect her. Now hearing that she was injured he was worried about her more and wanted to help her heal.

Oh, Fremoc...

The voices in his head had stopped slightly, but for some reason they were not as frequent now that he was near Jade. He dismissed the voice and moved forward with Ekeia in tow. The war was getting to him and he knew it. Demonic had reason to believe that Jade knew it as well but she didn't show it. I'm getting tired of going to war, coming out, going back into the thick of it again, and again, and again. I need a fraking break from all this...

He turned once more and looked at Jade, this time she stared back at him. She smiled at him, a smile like she knew exactly what he was thinking. Crud, she knows what I'm thinking.

You are mine Fremoc...

Bob

15-04-2009 07:37:54

LAAT infantry gunship
11th Aerospace transport
En route to the Hall of Immortals


Consul Daragon arose with a steadiness and control he had not had in some months. While still unsure of his choice, it was done and he would need to embrace the knowledge he had been given. The path he had been following for decades had now made a massive turn and he could never turn back from it.

He placed his mask upon his face in the hope of concealing his newest addition, but as he feared the mark simply burned a hole through it as it would not be kept blind.

“Do not be ashamed of it Bob,” the sorcerer stated, “You have been given a great privilege and comes with that great power. Use it.”

The Consul nodded his understanding but knew this was not the time to begin his training. The gunship had just passed the last ridge entering the Valley of the Dead. The monuments were insight and in minutes they would be joining the forces of Naga Sadow.

Placing a firm grip on the hilt of his saber, Daragon opened all three of his eyes, “It is time for the Consul to get his hands dirty.”

The Dragon smiled.

Shan Long

15-04-2009 15:57:55

LAAT infantry gunship
11th Aerospace transport
En route to the Hall of Immortals



The Dragon felt a palpable rise in the enigma's chagrin, yet he had mastered them. By adding another node to the great nexus that was the Weavery, to the tremulous power necessary to understand the Essential Construct, he might have spelled his own demise.

Yet it was necessary. The powerful to not act on whim or fancy, they do what is necessary. Robert Daragon must be made to understand.

"Erronis, see into the depths, for the powerful void." Shan Long said, all three eyes glowing vibrantly violet.

"I see... see... a great hurricane of souls. It is as if an entire world died, and has been trapped within the well of something.... else." Robert responded, surprised at himself. "It seeks to break, the souls seek to be released.... I feel the song of thier pain... the treble of their very tortured existence."

The Dragon smiled. "What you see is the failure of Will. Lord Vexatus thought himself powerful, he thought himself wise, yet he learned nothing from the mistakes of Trevarus Caerick. I was born of the Grand Masters, I was to be his will.... but I was overtaken by the great Nameless Ones."

"I remember the battle.... I remember you, in chains, in the dungeons of Sadow Palace." Robert said, his mid trailing back through the many years. "I remember how you killed."

"Trevarus Caerick was weak. Yet, in the end, he was courageous. He allowed himself to die, that the hold of the Nameless Ones on my soul could be broken, that I might carry on in the body we shared. Two souls, became one body. The deepest laws of the Essential Construct made it possible. By containing passion, I conqured his Will. Death overcomes even the mightiest."

"I do not understand."

"The Heart of the Force imprisoned thousands of millions of souls, those who had died on Lehon, pitiful Rakata.... sacrificed for power. Trevarus Caerick and Xanos Zorrixor thought it would make them Gods of the Force. Instead, the power of it allowed Xanos to be consumed by all the hatred of those souls, because he lacked the Will to fight them. He was a creature of passion, and those spirits were passion incarnate. They brought his spirit into their non-being... yet somehow he is still able to exert a measure of Will."

"He was possessed by millions of spirits, and became one of them... he is basically what you once were?"

"Yes."

"Can he be destroyed?"

The Dragon grinned fiendishly, smoke trailing out of his lips

"If we work together, I believe it so. You must destroy the body of Cyrus Raze, while I battle the Passion of Darth Vexatus."

Robert sighed. "I need a karking drink"

Malisane

15-04-2009 19:59:33

The Hall of the Immortals
Antei


The three Sith crept forward on their knees silently, moving from shadow to shadow on the edge of the field. Around them the battle raged. They waited for a second then darted forward and ducked beneath a large statue of some possibly long dead Elder who had made a name for him or herself but was now convienient cover.
"Almost there," Agrist muttered.
Malisane surveyed the nearby droid forces. "This is extremely dangerous," he pointed out in a whisper, "I can't remember volunteering for this. Everyone with an ounce of sense is attacking from the front amongst a large number of allied soldiers."
The mercenary shrugged. "I thought you wanted to win points back with the Summit?"
"I never expressed that desire," Malisane whispered back, "anyway we've taken out two droid armies over the last week or so I think we've done our bit for king and country."
"Should we be talking so much?" Mecros asked and Malisane shot him a look.
"No, Agrist replied, "come on."

They moved forward again, keeping low.and hoping they wouldn't be detected. Suddenly they ducked behind a large piece of fallen stone debris, and lay flat on their stomachs as a robed figure walked over to where they lay. Agrist held his breath. If they were found now it would be over. He flashed a look at Malisane. The Jedi had his back to the Battlelord and the Sith lay at his feet. Malisane took a deep breath then suddenly stabbed out with his fingers, striking the back of the Jedi's left thigh. The man gave a slight grunt then collasped quietly to the floor. Malisane quickly dragged the corpse into cover. Agrist looked at the dead Jedi in astonishment then glanced at Malisane.
The Battlelord shrugged. "Ewok death strike," he muttered.
Agrist considered this. "Why the leg?"
"How far up to you think ewoks can reach?"
"Fair enough," Agrist said and they moved forward again, moving silently behind the bulk of the droid forces.

"This looks good," Agrist said quietly as he crouched and reached into his backpack, taking out a small black device. He pressed a button on it, and then turned a small dial to the left. "Now move!" he ordered quickly.
The three of them moved silently away, rapidly but carefully. "Hey!" a voice called behind them.
"Run for it!" Agrist said and they burst up, sprinting away as blaster bolts scorched around them.
"We should have brought sabers!" Mecros complained as they ran.
"In a few seconds they'd stop working!"
A second later a shockwave hit them as the ion bomb exploded, sending droids twitching to the ground. A large portion of the droid forces towards the right of the valley collasped and exploded as electrical lightning burst amongst them, scrambling and frying circuits. The blaser bolts stopped but they kept running. Sudddenly three robed figures moved from behind a rock, sabers igniting. "Damn," Malisane said as he darted aside as a grim faced Jedi lunged at him. He grabbed the Jedi's arm and twisted, forcing the man to the ground and wrestling for his saber. Agrist reached out and slammed a suprised opponent against a wall with the force then darted for him, smashing his fist forward at the surpised Jedi's nose and driving the bone up into the Jedi's brain.

Mecros fought the third Jedi, ducking and moving to avoid the swinging saber and looking for an angle. The Jedi concentrated on him as the knommite dodged another strike. Mecros was in his element, all the doubt of the past year, fallouts with his fellow Kressh members, the dressing down by his Quaestor, banishment to the flagship, humiliation of being given menial maintainence tasks, none of it mattered. He'd enjoyed every minute of this war, this was what he'd been born for. He feigned a strike then fell to the ground, sweeping the Jedi's feet out from under him. As the man fell the clone Warrior pounced on him, dragging the saber from his grip then plunging it through the Jedi's chest. He stood up in triumph, still holding the saber and seeing the two Battelords moving towards him, holding captured weapons. Suddenly Malisane's eyes showed surprise. "Behind you!" and Mecros felt a waved of agony searing through him as a lightsaber speared his back, and he fell twitching for the floor. As the concealed fourth Jedi moved forward Agrist gave a roar of anger and lunged at him, batting aside the saber and hacking through the Jedi's neck.

Malisane moved forward, crouching by the dying clone as Mecros tried to speak, blood trickling from his mouth. It had been a lone time since a fellow Sith had died in battle alongside him. They'd been seemingly invunerable for too long, now they'd lost a Clan Equite. "Sorry Mecros, but you did damn well."
Agrist nodded, "Indeed," then with a final glance at the grey face of Mecros the mercenary stabbed his saber down in one quick merciful movement and the khommite was dead.
Malisane gripped his stolen saber. "I'm in the mood for killing."
Agrist nodded and they turned and charged.. "For Sadow!"

Macron Sadow

16-04-2009 00:34:02

Valley of the Dead,
Adas,
Antei.




The thunderous explosion rocked the battlefield. One of the statues of a stern-faced Ferran was blown into whistling fragments. They whizzed out like scythes, cutting down droids and troopers alike nearby. Macron had shielded himself and Aisha with a barrier of Force-energy, but the Jedi Knight they faced was not so lucky. The Twilek lay dying on the ground, for he was closer to the blast zone. Black dust from the sands of the Shadowlands coated him like flour.

Macron looked down at the gasping Knight as the dust began to settle around them. Even though the blast had caused the battle to pause, the reprieve was brief. The now-familiar sounds of combat resumed. "Aisha, kill him," ordered the Warlord crisply.

"He's unarmed and badly hurt?" replied the Zeltron quizzically.

"Exactly. Do it quickly, for here comes another," snarled the alchemist as he turned to face an oncoming Jedi. Master Lordien had arrived, and focused on the nearest Sith still standing.

"Shavit," spat Macron as he felt the power begin to work it's way through his body. He'd need every erg of power he possessed to face the man that shone so brightly in the force. The Sith way was to use passion and seek for power by turning within, and not without like the Jedi. It was unlikely any Force tricks would work on Lordien, so Macron filled his body with the power of the Force like a grail.

Aisha drove her sanguine lightsaber through the Twilek's eyesocket with a shrug.
"Nothing personal. It's a Sith thing," she said nonchalantly as he kicked and died. She turned and stood beside her master. "We'll do this together?" she asked as she raised her guard.

Macron nodded as Lordien took a ready stance in front of them. Dyrra and Manji had taken off after a Jedi, and Macron sorely missed them. "If we can, my apprentice. Or die trying," he said with a hiss. Macron raised his hand, clutching a single orange-hued blade with a sizzling high pitched hum from the exotic crystals within. "Your move, Jedi pig," he whispered.

Nekura Manji

16-04-2009 07:27:48

Valley of the Dead
Adas
Antei


Shaking her head, Dyrra felt her brains return from wherever they'd been scrambled to by the noise of the explosion. Manji stood over her as she staggered to her feet, his saber flashing to deflect blaster bolts and severing the heads of the occasional droid who wandered too close. Glancing down at his apprentice, the Epis snarled, his face serious.

"Have a nice sleep, did you? Come on, we're going after that karkin' Jedi!"

Nodding, Dyrra clutched the hilt of her armoury-produced saber as Manji strode away, his blade constantly flashing to and fro. Moving past the rubble, they headed in the direction of the Hall, after the Jedi who'd fled.

The battlefield was a scene of carnage; dying and dead troopers littered the sands, covered in blasted or sabered droids and droid components. Screams and retorts rose into the sky, echoing over the growling rumble of the electrical storm to the north, which had grown worse. Howling winds tore down the valley, blowing Manji's hair around his head as he stomped southwards, clutching his saber tightly.

Suddenly, the Epis' eye widened. He'd spotted the Jedi they were pursuing; the brown-haired human crouched by the base of another statue, feverishly attaching wires and plastering explosives to the structure. Manji's gaze travelled up almost involuntarily to the statue, his fury rising; the stonemason had done a perfect job of capturing the features of the Lion of Tarthos, the Shadow Hand Muz Ashen, in stone. Dyrra's face went blank as she realised the Jedi's mistake; he was trying to blow up a statue in honour of Manji's elder brother. The crime was made even worse by the beating Manji had taken from the Nautolan Jedi Master, his feelings that he had failed his family stronger than ever.

Growling angrily, deep in his throat, Manji stamped towards the Jedi, unheard over the racket of battle and the storm above. Then the Epis let out a furious cry unlike anything Dyrra had heard before. As the man turned in fear, Manji's saber curved through the air, taking his head cleanly off his shoulders in a blur of silver. Leaning down, the Epis snatched the head up by the hair and rammed his saber into it, the plasma blade searing away the Jedi's features horrifically.

Throwing the mangled head down, Manji looked round, his eye wide and bloodthirsty. Rage consumed him, and all he wanted was something or someone to unleash his fury upon. As the Jedi's head bounced across the black sands of the valley, two Jedi emerged through the cloud of battle from the direction of the temple, their robes suggesting that one was a Knight and one an Apprentice. Glancing down at the bouncing head, they looked back up at Manji in shocked surprise, hands shooting to their sabers instantly.

In the brief silence before the battle commenced, Dyrra could hear her thoughts very clearly.

...oops. Wrong guy to pick a fight with...

Two blue sabers burst into life, but before they could even be brought to bear Manji was surging forward, his silver blade scything around his head to crash against the guard of the Knight, a female Quarren. As her apprentice stared at the Epis in surprise Manji's hand burst towards him, the Dark Side crashing into his chest and hurling him backwards. His voice almost unrecognisable, twisted by hatred and bloodlust, Manji roared an order over his shoulder to Dyrra.

"Kid! Take care of this one!"

For a moment Dyrra stood in shock, her mouth open. Me? Fight a Jedi? Then instinct took over and she gripped the hilt of her saber tightly, running forward to attack the apprentice before he could recover his balance.

Krandon

16-04-2009 09:31:59

All of Immortals
Adas,
Antei

Krandon gazed upon the Hall of Immortals, dumbfounded. He had never seen a structure so big and so grand in his life.

“Do you guys hear that?” Krandon said, curiously.

“Lightsabers!” Xander said as they all began running up to the door of the Hall of Immortals. They entered to the site of Manji and Dyrra fighting off what appeared to be Jedi. Manji and Dyrra kicked both their Jedi that they were fighting down and turned to the site of one green, two blue, and two purple lightsabers burst to life with the *snap-hiss* sound.

“Cavalry’s here, Dyrra”, Manji said punching the Jedi in the face as he got up off the groud.

“Bout time you guys showed up”, Dyrra said looking at Demonic and Krandon.

“I’m sorry, we got stopped because bantha’s were crossing the road”, Krandon said, looking at Demonic who started to laugh. The Jedi were up again now, shaking off their wounds and ready to fight again. However, there were now seven Sith in the two Jedi’s presence.

“Let’s get out of here!”, The Jedi on the left said.

“Oh, no you don’t!” Manji said as he used the Force to pull both the Jedi back to his feet. Jade walked up to the Jedi at Manji’s feet, kicked away their lightsabers, and cut off their hands.

“You shall never hold your weapons again”, Jade said, letting out an evil smirk to the Jedi. “Live or die”.

“DIE”, the Jedi Knight said, looking at his apprentice.

“So be it”, Manji said as he swooped his lightsaber down in one stroke and decapitated the two Jedi.

“Let’s keep moving”.

Ashura

16-04-2009 10:28:25

Hall of the Immortals
Antei


Ashura and Zaxen were standing side by side as their lightsabers swung about; the older Isradia noticed how his younger brother's abilities had indeed increased to Equite standards.

"Die!" Shouted a Padawan as he charged at them.

"Not stinking likely," muttered Ashura as he twisted about and brought his lightsaber through the young man's heart.

"Chris! No!" Yelled the Jedi Knight dueling Zaxen, as his apprentice was killed. The Krath took advantage and sliced the hand of the Jedi, and then the head. His eyes still glowing as he watched the head roll away like a ball.

The Battlelord let out an inhuman snarl as he and Jedi Master became entangled in combat. The two men seemed easily matched in skill.

"You will not defeat me, Sith!" The Jedi Master said through gritted teeth.

"I don't need to," smirked Ashura, and a moment later Zaxen's lightsaber appeared sticking out of the Master's chest. The Proconsul had used the Force to help mask Zaxen's attack until it was too late.

They both watched as the Jedi rolled onto his side and died.

"Still more karking Jedi to kill, little brother," Isradia said suggestively.

"Good." An evil smile twisting out on both mens faces.

Kalei_Basai

16-04-2009 11:17:32

Hall of Immortals
Antei


Kalei had gotten a little bit behind the rest of the group when a few Padawans had come up on she and Zaroth. It's not that they were hard to take out, it was just there were so many of them, it was actually a fight.

After watching Zaxen and Ashura from a distance, Kalei smiled and looked to Zaroth, "Looks like as good a place as any to join in. Seems the Jedi like them." He too smiled, "Let's get out our frustrations on a few unsuspecting Jedi, shall we?"

As the other two managed to kill the Jedi Master that was there, the two caught up. "Care if we join in the fun?" she asked calmly but with a wicked smile on her face. She gave the dead Jedi Master a small kick to make sure he was really dead.

Zaroth glanced over to where most of the Jedi were coming from and ignited his saber, "We better get ready for some more fighting, could be a long day."

Macron Sadow

16-04-2009 11:50:12

Outside of the Hall of Immortals
Valley of the Dead,
Adas,
Antei.


"You and your kind will never win," spat Lordien as he raised his own shimmering blue lightsaber.

"Same old Jedi crap that all of you spout," chuckled Macron as he began to use Dun Moch. "Like the nonsense that children babble. That's all you are, is little babies dribbling on themselves." Aisha was slowly circling the Jedi to open up his flank, counting on Macron to take the lion's share of his attention. "Goo goo."

"You are too arrogant," said Lordien as he began his attack with a swing. He was sure these Sith would prove easy targets, although the tattooed one had a disturbingly powerful aura. still, none had yet stood before him and lived. Killing this obviously insane Sith shouldn't be too hard.

"And you are overconfident," snarled Macron as their sabers meet with flashes of light and a screeching hiss. Lordien was roughly equivalent to an Adept. Macron was one of the best saberists in Clan Naga Sadow. Unfortunately for Lordien, he was also more intelligent than the Jedi. And a far dirtier fighter.

Their blades began to dance back and forth as the two fought. Lordien appeared to be using Shii-cho, and Macron Makashi to defend. The Jedi's face began to contort with anger as he found the Sith's guard unbreakable. Lordien raised his hand as they split apart for a second, attempting to use illusion on the Warlord.

He failed miserably, as Macron's mad will would not be denied. However, the Sith feigned being affected. He stepped back, lowered his guard, and looked confused. "Where the hell..." his voice trailed off as the charade went well.

"Now I have you!" shouted Lordien as he threw his lightsaber at Macron intending to bisect him at the waist. A grin of triumph split his features.

A wave of the Sith's hand deflected the lightsaber with a blast of telekinetic Force power, drawing the hilt neatly into Macron's hand. His yellow eyes narrowed to slits as he drained the power from the cell by opening a channel to the Dark Side within himself.
The blue blade sputtered and died, the metal hilt becoming cold in his hand. Mac tossed it with disdain at the dumbfounded Lordien. "You dropped something, heh heh," he giggled. "I think I broke your little toy."

Meanwhile, Aisha crouched behind part of the shattered statue's rubble. She drew her modified Deathhammer blaster, and connected the illegal gas-charged focusing chamber to the barrel. Once Lordien was totally off guard, she intended to shoot him in the back.
Treachery perhaps, but also a job well done, like a Sith.

Nekura Manji

16-04-2009 11:57:19

Posting now!

Joseem

16-04-2009 12:13:32

Hall of Immortals
Antei


Joseem vaulted over his opponent, landing behind her and, still facing forward, jabbed his saber straight behind him, smelling the burning flesh and knowing this Jedi was dead. He looked around at the Hall, searching through the Force for his next opponent. There, he thought. Spinning like a flywheel in an engine, Joseem met saber for saber, red vs blue, Sith vs Jedi. This Jedi was better than the last one, he surmised.

Joseem kept him locked in blades. He had a trick for this one. Feeling with the Force, he sought out the Jedi's power cell in his lightsaber. He started to drain it and the effect showed dramatically. The Jedi's weapon flickered, but that was all Joseem needed. As soon as the flicker started, he pushed against the Jedi's blade. The flickering statred up like a strobe and the last thing the Jedi saw was red light. Joseem pushed his blade through the Jedi's cranial cavity, through bone, brain, then neck. Gore steamed at the heat created. As a final measure, Joseem spat into the skull. "Your kind threw me out years ago, human. Time for a little payback."

Nekura Manji

16-04-2009 12:35:33

Outside the Hall of Immortals
Antei


Without speaking to the newcomers, Manji strode off, his face still twitching in anger. Glancing at Krandon and the others, Dyrra gestured in Manji's direction as she moved off after him.

"I'd better... he's pretty angry. You guys take your time, we're going on ahead."

As the other Jade Serpents began to move after them in surprise, Jade held out a hand, her face serious.

"No, let them go. Something's wrong with Manji... I've not seen him that angry before. Looks like he's ready to kill anyone even holding a weapon near him except for Dyrra."

Hall of Immortals
Antei


Blaster bolts smacked against the outside of the Hall as Manji put his shoulder to the great double doors, hurling them open with an echoing boom. Teeth bared, the Epis stormed into the main hall, glancing back and forth for enemies. Dyrra followed him, her brows lowered in concern as she kept an eye on the Keibatsu.

Suddenly a Jedi Master emerged from the shadows, pushing back her hood to reveal dark reddish hair. A Mon Calamari Padawan followed in her wake, arms full of explosives, as both of them stared at the new arrivals. His left hand opening and closing convulsively, Manji moved towards the Master, snapping viciously at Dyrra.

"You got lucky with your buddies turning up. Time for you to get your hands properly dirty. Take care of the Padawan. And I'm not helping you if things go wrong."

Dyrra swallowed, tightening her grip on her saber. The arrival of Jade's team had merely distracted the Jedi outside and allowed Manji to finish them both off with little effort- she hadn't properly crossed blades with one yet.

Removing her outer robes, the Jedi Master stared at Manji with contempt.

"I am Master Qira Vaal, Sith scum. I will end you."

Manji did not bother with pleasantries, hurling himself into a furious charge, his blade smashing against the Master's violet saber as it slipped from the hilt in her hand. Behind her the Padawan dropped the explosives and grabbed his own saber in shock as Dyrra readied her saber, taking up a defensive stance. The Epis and Qira moved away across the floor of the Hall of Immortals, Manji bludgeoning at her defences like a berserker, his saber a blur of silver light.

Dyrra stared at the Mon Calamari who was inching ever closer, her thoughts racing.

Shavit, shavit, shavit! Remember your training, remember what he taught you. This kid looks as worried as you feel, he can't be that good... I hope!

Suddenly the Padawan stepped forward, blue saber arcing round in an overhead strike. Quickly, Dyrra moved her own saber to stop the attack, sparks flying as she caught the blade and braced herself to try and push the Jedi back. Surprise raced through her as she realised that the Mon Calamari was nowhere near as strong as she was- she was holding him back with little effort. With that thought came confidence, and the redhead felt strength flow into her muscles as she shoved forward, throwing the Padawan back. Lifting her borrowed saber again, she sent a sweeping horizontal strike towards the Padawan's throat that was barely deflected, the Mon Calamari struggling to bat the blow aside.

In response, the Jedi reached out with his hand and snatched up a loose piece of stone, tossing it towards Dyrra. It had no effect other than to distract her slightly, her saber cutting through the debris as she pursued the Padawan, intent on his death.

Still retreating, the Mon Calamari suddenly looked around and realised that he'd been boxed in- a huge statue of Trevarus Caerick stood behind him and two walls at head height on either side. Dyrra stood in front of him, her blade levelled at his throat, her face twisted into a smile. As a last retort, the Padawan lunged forwards, attempting to thrust his blade at Dyrra's stomach. Moving quickly, the girl dodged to one side and brought her saber down without any finesse, slashing through both of his forearms. A strangled scream tore from the Padawan's throat as his saber dropped to the floor, still clutched by his severed hands, before Dyrra rammed her lightsaber blade into his throat.

The corpse dropped to the floor, steaming, as the adrenalin rush of battle left Dyrra's body, her legs quivering as she realised what she'd just done.

I just killed... a Jedi. I just killed a karking Jedi!

Xanos

16-04-2009 12:57:25

Hall of Immortals Upper Terrace
Valley of the Dead
Adas, Antei


The Valley of the Dead had become a choke point for the armies of Light and Dark. Lightsabers flashed across the valley, tides of red and blue crashing into each other in a blinding display of light as both Jedi and Sith danced amidst the sea of carnage, the scene littered with dismantled and disembowelled body parts of both droid and flesh.

A bright flash blinded everything. Then an explosion rang out as the temple itself shook. Nejj did not need to reach for the balustrade, holding himself firm with the Force. Another crypt must have fallen to Qira’s efforts. The victory did not bring him any gratification. So much knowledge lost in the eternal war between Sword and Shield that seemed without end.

He studied his reflection in his so-called Sith Sword again. Lord Crask had risked much coming here, and in the space far above Nejj could feel that risk would soon arrive at its culmination. Khaemyn had blinked out of existence, and the fury of the Jedi Lord burned in the Force. Probably he had engaged the leader of these Sith; their victory against this Dark Brotherhood was soon assured.

The Sith had fallen to the light, as Nejj had always known they would. But so many good warriors had been lost. Lordian’s torch was waning in the battle below; and Zirias Charr had not returned from his investigations of the lightning storm in the plains north of the Valley, which had since moved south and was now almost upon them. Purple forks of electricity rained upon the rocky crags along the northern edge of the valley, no more than two or three kilometres away. It was as if the Shroud of the Dark Side itself had come to fall upon the last bastion of the champions of the light.

Not just Khaemyn and Zirias, but so many other brave souls. Gelusk, Kroollas, Ciria, Kalyn. Bright sparks forever silenced. But at least their names would be honoured in what was surely to be remembered as one of the first skirmishes in the Great War that was yet to come.

The darkness seemed to be falling upon the crumbling ruins of the valley. In a perverse way it was perhaps fitting that so many should die in the so-named Valley of the Dead. But even if their names lived on, it was unfortunate that their sacrifices here would surely be forgotten, for not even Lord Crask was likely to return to this cursed planet once the Dark Lord was slain.

This black stain on the Galaxy would be forgotten. But that was how things should be. How they should have been all along. Nejj knew this foul world should never have been rediscovered by these New Age Sith upstarts.

Footsteps echoed up the stairs of the temple. Some of them had breached Lordian’s lines and broken through, even as Lordien himself still clearly struggled to hold them at the steps outside. Below, Nejj could sense that Qira had now taken arms against the Sith too.

He turned from his view of the battle below to the glowing purple lights that lined the wall behind him on either side of the archway back down into the building.

‘Activate,’ he whispered.

With a series of clicks and bleeps, the four MagnaGuards jerked into life, their motors whirring and their electrostaffs crackling to life with purple sparks. They moved to line the entrance to the stairwell, and shield Nejj from those he could sense were already coming to end him.

This Hall of Immortals would be his death. But if he was to become a martyr he would take as many foul dark side worshipping scum with him. With a snap-hiss a yellow blade appeared in his left hand. He shifted his footing, assuming a cross between a Jar’Kai and Shyarn-ado ready stance, lightsaber in one hand, Sith Sword in the other.

If this was to be his death, he would make it a death worthy of the Jedi Archives.

Sai

16-04-2009 14:30:29

Skies above The Hall of Immortals
Valley of The Dead
Adas, Antei
Lambda Class shuttle

The shuttle circled above the august edifice that was the Hall of Immortals, looping lazily as some carrion-feeder awaiting its chosen prey that was stubbornly clinging to its misbegotten life to finally lie down and die. The Sadowan forces on the grounds of the Hall were steadily snuffing the life out of the invaders that had foolishly chosen to stake a claim to it, and the two men aboard the transport were each lost in individual thought.

The elder of the duo’s mind was an enigma; for one of his power, it was only natural. But the other’s was more transparent, even in the midst of the complexities that wracked it. For him, the time since they had come to retake their home had been one of revelation, and of realization. His personal mission was reflective of what the Clan, no the Brotherhood itself, had been embroiled in since his recollected memories of his initial coming to the planet. Singular of mind, ever focused on some sought after goal or another, ignoring all the vagrancies and subtleties of what the circumstances held. He chided himself on his short-sightedness and narrow-mindedness to that point. His realization of those inner foibles had come at the singeing caress of Force-Lightning and the humbling of his warrior’s pride at facing something he had in nowise expected.

Never again, he thought. Never would he be victim to the whims of others, to be pointed and directed and used as some crude weapon. From now on, it would be he that would do the pointing, the directing.

The using.

And it would be his companion that would grant him the power to do so.

Mired as it was in his conviction, the man’s mind couldn’t ignore the thought that had slithered beneath the bulwark of its self-certainty. It was that he had heard a rant like that before...

...uttered from the heretical mouth of the Betrayer himself.

Hall of Immortals

Embroiled as they were in their individual battles, both Manji and Macron had the presence to keep their minds open to the whispers that the Dark Side would utter from time to time. As Equites of irresistible power and immeasurable experience, it was a learned and natural habit, so they could anticipate attacks, coordinate efforts and the like. Still, it was a surprise when a forceful sentiment had hammered their consciousnesses, breaking through their respective battle-hazes like a shaft of light through the gray clouds above them.



The thought was ‘spoken’ in a language that was native to Manji and learned by Macron, and it heralded only one thing.

“Sai,” the two spoke simultaneously and looked skyward, as if they each had invoked a demon at their respective locales, and plunged back into their conflicts with renewed vigor.

Lambda Class shuttle

Tsainetomo Keibatsu Sadow sat in the empty cargo area of the shuttle, his robes burnt and crisped in places, his body wracked with pain and the ‘saber wound in his side that refused to heal screaming its agony to him in an electric falsetto. Still, he shut his mind against all that had conspired to take him out of action as his tripartite gaze bore into the back of the man who stood at the open hatch.

Astronicus Aurelius Sadow, no longer content to direct from the rear, had donned his armor and twin sabers, eager to spill blood on his own. Feeling the Keibatsu’s heavy stare upon him, he spoke without turning.

“I still have need of you, my Son; can you continue?” the Overlord posed, knowing the answer to the question even as he asked it.

Tsainetomo rose to his feet, taking his hilt in his own, sun-darkened hand. “I shall manage, my Lord.”

Without another word, the Dark Jedi Master plunged through the open portal into the abyss, hesitation and fear distant strangers as the Archpriest sprinted forward and followed suit.

A trio of lightsaber blades, two silver, one tangerine, belched from custom hilts as the Heir and his Son plummeted towards the open upper terrace of the Hall, where Nejj Kenten awaited his destiny.

Bob

16-04-2009 19:47:23

Outside of the Hall of Immortals
Valley of the Dead,
Adas,Antei.

The visual indicator in the cabin of the LAAT gunship went red and the troops aboard quickly began to lock and load their weapons and check their communications. The gunship swooped around on a final approach and when the light went green the soldiers of the 11th Aerospace began to disembark upon the battle field. The first trooper off received a laser blast to his head quickly dropping him. Not deterred, the fellow troopers stepped over their comrade and continued on with the assault wiping the immediate area clear of hostiles.

Releasing the handle he was grasping, Consul Daragon dropped down from the gunship to the surface of Antei. A surge from the Dark Side went through his body as he was getting healthier and healthier by the minute. With a motion to join him, Shan Long stepped down next to him.

As the two looked upon the battleground of littered corpses and pieces of droids Shan Long motioned towards the Hall of Immortals, “After you Bob.”

Nodding the Consul began towards the Hall, “Through the front door as usual?”

“Only if I get to be the one to knock,” replied the Dragon.

Macron Sadow

17-04-2009 11:07:48

Outside of the Hall of Immortals
Valley of the Dead,
Adas,
Antei.



"Sith bastard," spat Lordien. His own hand opened, drawing the green lightsaber of the dead Twilek Knight who lay nearby to him with the Force. Macron's tangerine blade arced in with a cleaving strike, and Lordien just barely managed to ignite the borrowed weapon and block the overhand strike with a rush of speed. Sparks shot from the interlocked blades as Macron pressed the Jedi's arm down slowly, giggling the entire time.

To his horror, the Sith appeared to be much stronger than Lordien had anticipated. The mad Sith's arms bulged with raw power, both physical and drawn from the Dark Side. The saber-lock was nearly total, the Nextor gem in Macron's blade allowing it to interlock easily with the simple Adegan-fueled blade of the dead Knight. Rage swam in Mac's yellow eyes as he spat a glob of bloody spittle directly in Lordien's eyes with precise aim.

Lordien grunted, waved his free hand and drove Macron backwards with telekinetic power. He wiped at his eyes, trying to dislodge the searing sputum. Apparently, the Sith had hidden some sand and hot pepper in his mouth as well, and the grains were scratching his eyeballs painfully. They burned like fire, and snot began to bubble from his nose as tears streaked down his face from the fiery concoction.

Macron raised his own hand, and instead of being crushed with the blast he held the larger part of it off. Still, he was driven backwards some feet as his boots scraped reluctantly on the gritty black sands. He could not quite match the power of the Jedi, but he could brunt the worst of his attack. And fighting dirty was always an option.

"Now, Aisha," thought the Sith telepathically to his apprentice hiding in the rubble behind Lordien. The wily Zeltron peered over the rim of a large block, and aimed at Lordien's back. The Jedi was quite occupied with the spit in his eyes and the madman in front of him, and did not notice Aisha until it was too late.

"Here's mud in yer eye," she quipped as rapid-fire bolts of red shot from the Deathhammer pistol. The Merr-Sonn weapon was a favorite with crack-shot bounty hunters for obvious reasons. It was tough, and it hit hard. Especially when modified with a heavy-duty highly illegal aftermarket focusing chamber.

The wide blaster bolts flew at Lordien. One slammed into his side above his kidney as he turned, while the other was deflected directly at Aisha with a Soresu block. Aisha fell back with a scream as her shoulder smoked. Lordien screamed too, his side now a blackened smoking mess. "You have no honor!" he howled.

The Warlord dove forward, rolled into a ball and came to his knees beside the Jedi. A two-handed low Dun Moch blow came in quickly under Lordien's guard, severing both his legs just above the knees with a sizzling flash of salmon-colored light. The Sadowite snarled as he delivered the blow, relishing the pain he was inflicting on his foe. "I've been telling people that for years," shouted Macron.

Lordien's frame toppled to the ground as he howled. Macron stepped back, pointing a finger at a large block of blasted stone nearby. It lifted into the air, and slammed down on Lordien's body. The Jedi was crushed like a roach being stomped by a large granite boot. Pasty guts and red gore squirted out from under the edges of the block. The blood sank rapidly into the thirsty sands. "Now that's how we do it," huffed the madman with a chuckle.
"Jedi dog."

Macron put both his hands on his knees as he bent over and panted. He had exerted himself greatly, and there were limits to what he could maintain. Rage was always crippling to the body after it abated, but the benefits were great. "You okay girl?" he asked as he tried to catch his breath.

"Arm's karked, but yeah," replied the Zeltron as she slowly stood up with a groan from behind the rock. Zeltrons were notoriously tough and did not quite see pain the same way as many other species. "Interesting sensation. I'll be alright with some bacta face-time."

"One of the many reasons I picked you as an Apprentice, my dear," noted the appreciative Warlord. "Well, go find a medic. As soon as I'm copacetic again, I'm heading in to help where I can. I think I'm spent for a bit though."

Xanos

17-04-2009 12:40:40

Hills above the Hall of Immortals
Lorimar Mesa, Valley of the Dead
Adas, Antei


While the heroic ranks of Sith and Jedi fought to the last upon the steps of the Hall of Immortals, a black cloud swept across the Valley of the Dead unnoticed, the fog of war descending upon on the battlefield in a veil of darkness to obscure friend from foe. Lightsabers crashed and blasters rang out as allies collapsed from mistaken fire. Forks of lightning fell from the sky, arcing toward the larger mechanical automatons and durasteel walkers, exploding in bright flashes of orange and yellow fire.

Violet flares lit up the sand clouds as they wrapped around the Hall of Immortals, sheathing the arena in a circling mist of death and debris. Rock and bone and pieces of broken droids blacked out even the dim dusky glow of the nocturnal plains of Adas, and total darkness befell the rocky crags of the Lorimar Mesa and the Hall of Immortals.

From out of the darkness swooped four predatory figures, arms outstretched like birds’ wings as they fell from the sky into the swirling haze of confusion. Their eyes were like lifeless pits; their clothes tattered, flapping in the howling winds; blood still dripped from their eyes, nose and ears; burns and blisters adorned their arms. Four sets of lightsabers blazed into being in a crash of snap-hisses. Once Jedi Masters Zirias Charr and Kroollas, and Dark Side Adepts Corbin Saul and Anya Kavos dropped into the skirmish; once two golden torches and two raging fires: now four icy shadows.

The screams of the damned cried out as the voices of a thousand tortured souls deafened the clash of lightsabers and cracks of thunder. Sith and Jedi alike fell as the four feral berserkers charged into the battle, their blades indiscriminate to who they struck down. Around the berserkers’ feet, the sands of the dead shifted; bones of those long since lain to rest disturbed, pulled from their slumber to serve in war once more. Pieces of bone and ancient rusted armour poured into the valley, hurled by the four berserkers as projectiles into the rows of warriors battling across the steps outside the Hall of Immortals, distracting the Sith and Jedi as the berserkers swept through, cleaving a path of death and ruin as they struck down droid and trooper alike.

Overlooking the Hall of Immortals from the apex of the valley atop the Lorimar Mesa, Cyrus watched as his new minions fell upon the servants of both light and dark, his body silhouetted against the violet brilliance of the final fragment he had claimed from the halls of Kalekka, which now burned in the night sky behind him, eclipsed by his outstretched arms as he directed his half-dead marionettes like some kind of horrific puppeteer.

Alongside him rose the giant statue of a woman who had no doubt once been stunningly beautiful, but whose face had since been stained by patchy clamps of scales. Engraved along the base were the words: Hafalia Seprosin Chunasca, A True Martyr. Cyrus scowled and lashed out, a shockwave blasting through the statue, which proceeded to break apart, the chunks rolling down into the valley.

He stared forward, a smirk crossing his torn lips. This would be the beginning of the end. It was time for the wayward children of Sadow to embrace their destiny. Jedgar Paladin may have been wise enough to have spared them their fate on Lehon, but they would not flee the inevitable again. Locked in battle with the champions of the light, here they would meet their end. Their was no escape this time.

Closing his eyes, he started to reach out, feeling for each and every presence in the canyon below. Dozens of burning torches, lost in the sea of haze and fog as they battled for their lives against each other and now his four berserkers. The sky above flashed, the valley itself seeming to quake as his thousand voices rang out into the darkness. ‘Hear our screams,’ he said, opening his mouth to deafen the violence with his cries. The pain of thousands echoed across the valley, drowning out the whispers of the Force.

New screams rang out throughout the valley as their minds were speared by psychic shards of glass.

‘You shall all become one,’ roared Cyrus in the clouded canyon below.

JadeSadow

17-04-2009 13:30:23

Hall of immortals
Antei


Jade watched as Manji headed into the Hall of immortals, Ekeia, Demonic and Krandon looked at her. They knew he was her first master, and not allowing others to go after him was a bit surprising. She turned to Xander and nodded. “Take care of these guys.” As she left she tossed demonic a saber, “Been saving that for ya, thought you might need something with a bit more bite to it.” She grinned, her fangs showing slightly before she turned.

The sounds of the battle faded into the distance as she slipped into the Hall of immortals. She had followed Manjis’ path, knowing it was likely to be clear of any threats, especially with the way he looked before he went storming inside. As she made her way through the cracks the feeling of the hall took her breath away. It was strong and the design reflected it as much. The statues standing along the massive walls flowed with the force as though their name sakes were standing in front of her. Medium sized bowls stood at the base to each statue containing what looked like blue flames of fire, the hottest and most powerful of the element. She smirked, in all her time in the Brotherhood she couldn’t recall coming here, or ever feeling so watched and yet so powerful at the same time.

The sound of two sabers screeching together turned her head and she saw Manji locked in battle with a Jedi. She moved slowly in the shadows, stopping to see his new apprentice taking on a padawan. The kid looked nervous yet she was handling herself well. The moment her saber took the life of the young trainee Jade could feel a shift in the girl, one that was both aware and afraid for taking a life and yet wanted and craved to watch the light slip from another victim. Dyrra looked around and headed off as she spotted something moving, quite possibly her next vicitim. Jades attention drew back to Manji who swiped down with his blade and used a force push to propel the female into a near by wall.

Jade moved up to him, close enough to talk and yet not close enough to get smoked by his saber should she surprise him. “Manji.”

He gave her a half over the shoulder look as his focus remained on the female Jedi just standing up from her flight. “A little busy here Jade.”

“Thought you’d like to know your apprentice is looking for more blood.” He looked at her. “I’ll deal with her.” The word was dark, and full of hate. Manji smirked and backed down.

“She’s all yours.”

Jade could have sworn she heard a slight amusement in his voice as he took off.

“Hmm another misguided soul who thinks they can win against the light?”

Jade glared at the female. She looked a lot like her once best friend; the one whose father had actually been the one to kidnap her. Needless to say, that was a friendship that didn’t last. Jades hate swirled around inside of her, oh yes this woman was most unfortunate to bring up those memories. Jade said nothing, just took her saber in her hand and activated the silver blade, the Snap hiss of the weapon cutting the tension building between the two.

“I am Master Qira Vaal…”

“I don’t really care what your name is, as soon it will be wiped from all existence.” Jade hissed. It threw the female off for just a second, before she activated her own violet blade.

“And to think I was going to offer you the chance to be my sister.”

“I have enough brothers and sisters where I am now, and our family is over extended with no room for more.”

The Jedi lunged at Jade, the violet blade swinging to Jades left, attempting to cut her in half. Jade laughed it was such an easy thing to block. This Jedi obviously thought she was dealing with someone who was new to the force. Jade parried, striking high then low, the Jedi was pushed back but only momentarily. As if seeking vengeance for Manjis force push the Jedi threw the force at Jade, attempting to push her back. Jade was ready though and countered with the same move. The light and dark force powers met in the middle, forming an invisible wall, wondering who would be the weaker of the two and take the massive hit.

“It’s not too late; you can still come with me,” the Jedis’ voice full of strain as she tried to speak and concentrate on the battle at hand.

Jade surged the push and the Jedi was caught. Her body spun in a circle as she flew across the hall. Jade stood ready, Qira Vaal would not be too phased by the hit. The force ran up Jades spine and directed her down to the ground, her chest arching against the floor, as the curve of her buttocks narrowly missed the swipe of the violet blade as the master came up from behind her. Rolling onto her side Jade blocked the saber as it came down towards her stomach. As Qira Vaal brought her foot up to come down onto Jade abdomen, Jade tossed her saber to the side, grabbed the Jedis’ foot and pushed up while twisting, throwing the force to add strength to her move. The Jedi was pushed up off the ground and spun around, Jade quickly surrounded the Jedi with the dark side, containing her in the air, her spinning ending only as Jade called her saber back to her and activated the sliver blade. The Jedi hung in the air facing her, her eyes suddenly wide as she scrambled to try and grab her saber through the force, Jade stepped on the hilt of the weapon as it slid past her foot towards the Jedi Master. Smirking she used the force to pick up the saber and clip it at her side. As she moved she saw Zaxen near the entrance of the Hall. It was good to know the rest of the Clan was arriving. She turned her sight back onto Qira.

“This doesn’t mean you win.” Jades saber pierced Qira Vaal’s heart, but the look on the Jedis’ face was one of pride. Jade couldn’t believe it as she released the force hold allowing the body to fall to the floor. Just as she was about to comment to the lifeless entity, a wave of fear and distress told her to move and move fast, but as she turned a blast rocked the area. The Jedi Master had been placing charges throughout the hall to destroy it and Jade had been so lost in the battle that she had failed to sense this one still ticking away. The force of the shock hit her chest and pushed her onto the floor, Jade gasped and brought her arms up to protect her face as the wall near the Jedis’ corpse came crumbling down on top of her.

Nekura Manji

17-04-2009 15:55:27

Hall of Immortals
Valley of the Dead
Antei


As Manji moved after Dyrra, heading for the great staircase that would take them up to the upper terrace, he felt a sudden, piercing pain in his mind. Crying out, the Epis staggered, catching himself against a wall as a cacophonous burst of screaming tore loose in his head, voices shrieking and howling unholy, bloodthirsty vengeance.

"What the frell?!"

Slowly, the screams in his head died away, leaving the Epis slightly dazed. With a shake of his head, Manji slowly regained his concentration as he moved up the stairs, silver saber still burning in his right hand. The memory of the screams remained, and he could only ponder what terrible portent they held.

As long as it's not bloody Vexatus... he's the last thing we need right now...

Hall of Immortals Upper Terrace
Valley of the Dead


As Manji burst out onto the terrace, the weather slammed back into his senses, stormwinds hurling his hair about his face and shrieking as though the sky itself was possessed by demons. Dyrra stood before him, her eyes fixated on the spectacle before her- their Overlord Astronicus Sadow was slowly forcing a male Jedi backwards with both his silver sabers, the Jedi's yellow lightsaber holding one blade back as what seemed to be a Sith Sword in his off-hand held Tron's other saber away. The Dark Master's face was contorted into a battle-grimace as he exerted all his strength, slowly forcing the Jedi back.

To one side of the two great warriors, Manji's cousin Tsainetomo ducked and dived away from the swinging blows aimed at him by the four Magnaguards, his face contorted into an unpleasant rictus. As Manji moved forwards, becoming level with Dyrra, he noticed something strange- Sai's movements weren't as fluid as they usually were, his blocks more sluggish. As the two watched, one of the Magnaguards managed to catch Sai across the face with a back-hand strike, throwing the Keibatsu backwards.

Manji's stomach convulsed once again at the prospect of a member of his family being harmed as he started forward, snarling at Dyrra. The red-haired girl was clutching her saber tightly, her eyes burning with a strange light; something had changed in her since she'd single-handedly defeated the Mon Calamari Padawan.

"We're helping Sai. You can take one of those droids, right?"

Snapping out of whatever trance she was in, Dyrra nodded slowly, trying to appear confident. Moving after the Epis as he skirted around the edge of the terrace to avoid the conflict between Tron and Nejj, she watched as the Epis strode towards Sai, his blade flashing into a thrust that forced two of the Magnaguards to jump backwards, away from the Son of Sadow.

Sai's gaze snapped towards his cousin.

"Ah, Manji. Here to lend a hand?"

As he smashed one of the Magnaguards away with a blow aimed through the Force, Manji grabbed Sai by the shoulder, feeling the Force surge through him and into his cousin's body. He couldn't spare enough concentration to try and fully heal Sai, but he could at least alleviate the other Keibatsu's injuries slightly. As the Force spiralled around the lightsaber wound in the Archpriest's side, Manji's eye narrowed. It was a terrible wound- he was amazed that the other Keibatsu was still on his feet.

"Figured you wouldn't mind, cousin." Manji said, pulling his hand free from Sai's shoulder and turning his full attention back to the Magnaguards. Dyrra had engaged one of them, clumsily batting away the attacks it sent towards her. The other three had fallen back slightly, staring at each other as if conferring on their course of action now that two other enemies had joined the fight.

As the Epis stared back at them, the droids looked at him and Sai, their photoreceptors flashing.

Then they charged, electrostaffs held high.

Sai

17-04-2009 17:56:38

Hall of Immortals Upper Terrace
Valley of the Dead

As Dyrra grappled with her mechanized opponent, the other three charged the Cousins Keibatsu, their electrostaves crackling and photoreceptors, gleaming. No one could fault them, really; after all, they were only doing what they had been programmed to do, what they had been ordered to do, by Nejj.

Truth be told, the units were the penultimate that electronic death-dealing had to offer; immune to fatigue and pain, unquestioning in their loyalty, determined of purpose. The MagnaGuards had weapons of lethality, and the programming parameters to efficiently employ them. Had they been blessed, however, with the sense of a standard, run-of-the-mill astromech, perhaps they would’ve run headlong over the terrace’s balustrade, thus sparing them an inglorious end.

But, they were not.

Separately, Nekura Manji and Tsainetomo were surely Kyataru's finest in combat, and could arguably be counted among a short list of accomplished ‘saberists that currently resided in Naga Sadow’s halls. A very, very short list. In time, either one would’ve probably handled the droids, but not without the exchange taking its toll.

Unfortunately, they were fighting together. And, they were angry.

The emotion poured off the pair in waves as they began to backpedal, the refreshed Tsainetomo providing defense with an intricate weavery of Soresu, and Manji’s deft Makashi strokes proving to be a potent offense; it was as if the pair were halves of the same lethal whole, but without either having to bear the burden of attacking and blocking, the conclusion was foregone.

Sparks splashed off of their lightsaber blades to rain incessantly upon the hoary chamber floor as the droids unsuccessfully attempted to penetrate the Son of Sadow’s growling sunset aegis; Manji picked apart the overmatched automatons time and again with surgeon-like precision in buzzing silver. A metallic hand severed at the wrist here, an artificial leg smoking from the knee-joint there, and the three MagnaGuards were soon twitching on the floor, their useless servo’s whining in protest.

If a droid’s eyes could reflect confusion, the three pairs at the feet of the Keibatsu surely would now.

Shortly thereafter, the Epis’ and the Archpriest’s blades each plunged into the heads of the helpless guards, thus ending their service to Nejj.

The pair wordlessly strode away from the detritus towards the embattled Dyrra, eager to aid her if she needed it. After all, four Dark Jedi against one Lightsider always made for good odds, especially on Antei.

Xanos

18-04-2009 08:40:59

Outside the Hall of Immortals
Valley of the Dead
Adas, Antei


His forehead stung. When Bob reached up, the cloth wrapped around his face felt sopping wet with warm blood where the fresh Mark bled. His lips pulled back in a grimace, but he pressed on, no longer afraid of the whispers inside his skull. His body continued to weave and dance, fluid as a practised acrobat as his lightsaber sheared through the nearest battle droid.

More soul rending screams roared out from high above, atop the Lorimar Mesa, as the valley outside the Hall of Immortals was cloaked in a black cloud of shadow, and everything descended into chaos. His hat blew off before he could catch it, caught by the howling winds and flying away into the haze of confusion. Something moved behind him, and he spun, his lightsaber passing clean through the midsection of a trooper of the Iron Throne.

He swore, but continued his dance, weaving between droid and Jedi alike; the first of the disciples of Sadow swirling in a dervish of destruction. A heavy metal ball clanged into his leg. His lightsaber tore through the confused destroyer droid before it could unfold, its sensors seemingly overridden by the blizzard of sand and debris. Like with the droid’s sensors, the pulses of pain echoing through the valley fought to drown his own senses, but he would not allow them.

The man he was fighting to defend would not allow them. Shan Long stood transfixed, his feet frozen to the spot. His natural eyes were shut, but the bloody Mark on his forehead burned with a supernatural fire, the sandstorm seeming to wrap around the sorcerer without touching him.

‘I can feel him!’ Bob shouted, fighting to be heard over the howl of the storm that had wrapped around the valley. Shan Long didn’t answer, but sweat poured from his face. In the Force he felt like an untamed inferno, as if he was fighting a battle in a dimension Bob could not see.

What looked like an animal dropped onto the soil next to the sorcerer, its teeth bared, and thin rivulets of green blood trickling from its eyes. No, not a beast: a blue Chagrian; between the look on its face and the horns and the two spiky lethorns dangling from its head, it looked possessed by a devil. In fact, when Bob reached out to touch it in the Force, he realised it was.


Zirias snarled, twin cerulean blades of his lightstaff snapping to life. He swung for the three-eyed sorcerer, who was seemingly frozen to the spot. With one strike, it all would end and the will shielding the rest from submitting to the inevitable would be slain.

A bloodshine blade pierced through the dark clouds to intercept. Zirias turned, facing a man robed in a dark grey cloak, with what looked like a blood soaked bandage wrapped around his face. A crimson light burned on his forehead.

‘Daragon,’ Zirias hissed, a cacophony of rage echoing from his mouth.


Kroollas leapt, pressing off the wreck of a smoking AT-RT that had been struck by one of the bolts of lightning now peppering the valley. His feet landed atop the shoulders of an eroded statue, its smooth weathered face indistinguishable. He sprung again, leaping up the side of the Hall of Immortals. Like a nexu-possessed, a third leap, and a fourth, up, up and toward the terrace that looked out from the temple’s highest reaches.

His two green blades blazed, one in either hand, while flashes lit the swirling dust clouds high above where he could sense two bright fires in the Force battling each other. The Givin’s skeletal features twisted into what resembled a grin as he neared the duel between the two Masters of light and dark.


Anya and Corbin parried a Jedi Padawan and a Sith Acolyte in sequence, their lightsabers cleaving aside a pair of skulls in one fluid movement like a pair of synchronised dancers weaving as part an acrobatic martial arts display.

Corbin leapt and Anya reached out, pressing forward into the Force to propel him over the ranks of confused droids onto the steps of the Hall of Immortals itself. Then Anya turned to the nearest group of troopers from the Army of the Iron Throne, who were shaking their heads as they clawed at their helmets, no doubt in an effort to remove their now fogged visors. She leapt into the centre of the fireteam, her blood-orange lightsaber swinging in a circle to silence all four men.

Corbin landed atop the mutilated corpse of what appeared to have been a Mon Calamari, smoke still rising from the hole in its throat. He ducked into a ball and rolled into the inner hallway, a tangy aroma of incense filling his nostrils as blaster fire peppered the surface around him from battle droids that were now randomly firing in any direction with their sensors scrambled by the raging electrical storm. White hot sparks crackled around his left hand as an scarlet blade appeared in his right and Corbin headed inside, closing toward the figures he felt nearby.


Anya looked forward, reaching out to see through the swirling sandstorm. There. Her lips curled into a snarl, and she bounded across the valley, tearing through rows of blinded troopers as she hurtled toward her target like a drunken rancor, bodily bashing aside those who stood in her way. The clouds cleared as she neared her prey, the tattooed face of the man she hunted coming into sight, a red skinned Zeltron battling alongside him.

The tattooed man in full body battle armour turned to stare her directly in the eye as she emerged through the sandstorm onto the ledge where he and his Zeltron colleague dismantled the last of a team of super battle droids. Anya’s blood-orange blade hissed when she dropped onto the rocky outcropping, the sand in the air burning against its barrel of superheated plasma.

Her mouth opened and a thousand hate filled screams echoed his name: ‘Goura!’

Xanos

18-04-2009 09:11:38

Ignore. Double post.

Zaxen Dauketrenal

18-04-2009 09:20:20

Near the Entrance of the Hall of Immortals
Valley of the Dead
Antei


Battle had engulfed Zaxen as the wind engulfs a sail. He was driven forward with out thought of how but rather that he must reach the destination in which the wind blew him. The valley was alive with frantic conflict. Explosions, blaster fire, droid servos, and the growling chorus of lightsabers came together in a symphony of war.

Zaxen and Ashura waded through anything that dared stand against them. The two brothers feeding off of each others energy in a symbiotic understanding became an army all their own. Where Ashura was strong and powerful, Zaxen was quick and deceptive. Together they were an insurmountable wave of destruction that washed over those who dared to desecrate this most sacred of places.

The Force was alive, pulsing, and roiling through the Valley. Zaxen felt the ethereal threads that connected him to his clan. His brothers and sisters set upon a single goal of eradication of the Jedi cult who had come to take Antei and cleanse it. Then suddenly a thread in the intricate web of the Force seemed to snap. Something stirred down deep inside of Zaxen and for the first time in several days he felt his emotions stir.

"Mistress" he whispered into the air.

"What is it Brother?" Ashura turned and said.

"Jade...is not well." Zaxen said turning to look out along the valley.

Ashura narrowed his eyes as his own inner battle took place. Jade was indeed valuable not only to the clan but she had also served the Isradia family well. This was war however and in war people are lost even people we care for. In the struggle to find ultimate power and immortality some must die so others may excel.

Ashura was about to tell his little brother that they must leave her and continue forward. Then he saw the piercing gaze of Zaxen and he knew that would be folly. Not because Ashura could not stop him or that Zaxen's actions could jeopardize the mission. It was because in that moment Ashura felt destiny twist and he simply knew it would be wrong for Zaxen not to find Jade.

"Go brother, find her quickly. The final battle is at hand." Ashura said and turned to walk into the Hall.

Zaxen turned again and ran back into the valley. Several battledroids made a vain attempt to block his way and were quickly dealt with. His lightsaber trailed a burning path of destruction as he passed through them. Suddenly his senses flared and he saw the pile of rubble and the body of a female sprawled not far away with a lightsaber wound that was clearly visible. It was not Jade but she was also not far.

With a feeling of horror Zaxen's eyes widened as he ran to the large rock pile and began rolling aside several stones. After a few moments a hand was revealed. Zaxen touched the delicate bruised fingers and knew them to be those of his former teacher's. He continued to roll aside stones as best he could but soon they became too heavy for him to move physically. His inner fire had now become a blaze and in a surge of emotion the Force exploded in the air around him and the large conglomerate of stones flew away from Jade's body.

Zaxen knelt next to his mentor's injured form. He could feel the stirring of life inside of her struggling to rise back to the surface of death's drowning embrace. He picked her up and cradled her in his arms placing his hand upon her brow and let his energy pass into her. The Force sang through Zaxen's fingers and the hairs upon his arms stood on end. He heard a slight murmur escape Jade's lips.

Zaxen sent a call through the Force into Jade. "Do not die."

Jade responded. Zaxen opened his eyes not realizing he had closed them and saw Jade looking up at him. It was a look she had never given him. She did not look on him as a Master looks on an Apprentice. She looked on him as a woman looks on to a man. It was a small few moments where there was no war or galaxy to be conquered. Only a million unspoken words and a simple brush of Zaxen's thumb against Jade's cheek that did more than remove dust from her face.

The sound of a lightsaber ignited behind them and Zaxen stood slowly, turning to find a young Jedi who must have been only recently knighted judging by his attire and the way he kept his hair.

"I am Garus Helt and I am here to avenge Master Vaal." He said dramatically.

"Revenge is of the Dark Side young Knight. Welcome to my world." Zaxen replied as his own lightsaber leaped into life.

With no further fanfare Zaxen launched himself at the Jedi in a flurry of movement. The Jedi went immediately on the defensive barely able to keep up with Zaxen's blinding speed. Zaxen weaved and danced around Garus with quick and deliberate strikes that were designed to wear down his opponent.

Garus jumped backwards attempting to create space between him and the whirlwind of Zaxen who was all but smothering him at this point. Zaxen only intercepted him and closed the gap again. A few seconds more Garus' green blade flew from his hand which now had two fingers missing from it. He howled as clutched his hand to his chest and pain was registered in his brain.

Zaxen walked over to him, placed a hand on his face, kicked his legs out from underneath him and slammed the Jedi to the ground. With his hand still on his face, Zaxen sent a wave of anger, hate, rage, and horror into the Jedi's mind. Garus screamed in what could only be described as animalistic hysteria.

Zaxen stood and let the screams echo along the valley, letting the ancient masters hear the cries of their enemy before finally silencing them by plunging his virulent blade through Garus' throat.

"Well done." Zaxen heard Jade say from behind him.

"Are you alright Mistress?" Some how the title no longer sounded the way it should have to Jade.

"I am fine. We should join the others." she replied simply.

Zaxen only nodded and turned making his way back to the Hall of Immortals. The moment between them already a millennium away in the bitter-sweet past.

Nekura Manji

18-04-2009 10:26:56

Hall of Immortals Upper Terrace
Valley of the Dead
Antei


Dyrra was struggling. The purple flames at either end of the Magnaguard's electro-staff lunged towards her, and every time she barely managed to beat them back, moving slowly backwards across the terrace. Past her opponent, she could see Manji and Sai moving towards her, having dealt with the other droids, but something stubborn rose in her throat as she shouted at them.

"No! Leave this one to me!"

As they stopped, the two cousins glanced at each other without words, an unspoken communiqué passing between them. They would observe the duel, and if Dyrra fell- that would be her problem. The Dark Side was a harsh mistress. Turning her full attention back to the droid, the red-haired girl felt a bestial rage uncoiling within her. She was sick of backing away from this worthless clanker- it was time to go on the offensive.

As the Magnaguard brought its staff down, Dyrra leapt to one side, the phrik-coated tip of the staff cracking the stone of the terrace. Dyrra caught herself and lunged back, her lightsaber searing for the droid's throat. Before it could slash home, however, the droid lashed out, freeing one hand from the staff. The Magnaguard's hand caught Dyrra around the throat and she was lifted into the air, her feet kicking fitfully, the lightsaber falling from her hand to clatter against the stones of the terrace.

Muttering an expletive, Manji started forwards- only for Sai to throw out a hand, his palm smacking against the Epis' chest.

She has to fight for herself, cousin. Watch her.

Her teeth bared as she struggled against the Magnaguard's grip, Dyrra clutched the droid's hand with both of hers as it chuckled electronically, speaking in an emotionless, mechanical monotone.

"Now you will die, little one."

Suddenly, Dyrra let out a shout, her hands ripping the droid's grip free of her throat. Dropping to the floor before the Magnaguard, the red-haired girl lashed out with a boot that cracked into the droid's leg, knocking it away and dropping the machine to one knee. Whirling round, Dyrra snatched up her saber, the sapphire blade sliding out of the hilt with a silky hiss. Before the droid could recover its footing, Dyrra span round once more, the blue blade travelling across and smashing the Magnaguard's head from its shoulders.

Seconds later, the tip of the weapon tore into the droid's chest, and the machine dropped, sparking fitfully, to the ground. Coughing and choking, rubbing at her neck, Dyrra turned towards Manji and Sai and managed a weak grin, bright red marks visible on her throat where the droid had been clutching her.

"Shouldn't have... called me... little."

Grinning, Manji moved forward and clapped her on the shoulder as the three turned their full attention to the duel between Tron and Nejj. The two great warriors were still moving across the terrace smoothly, their blades travelling in perfect arcs around their bodies; the picture they painted was strikingly beautiful for a scene of battle. As the two Keibatsu and Dyrra watched, Tron let out a great roar, his hand shooting out towards Nejj's chest. A wave of the Force crashed into the Jedi Master, hurling him back through a nearby pillar, rubble smashing to the ground and throwing up a cloud of black sand and dust.

Before Tron could advance on his opponent, however, Nejj emerged from the rubble, seemingly unscathed. A few tears and streaks of dirt on his robes were the only signs of the punishment he'd just taken. A sneer lit Tron's face as the Dark Master moved forwards to the offensive once more. Suddenly, as the two drew together, another figure appeared over the edge of the terrace, leaping through the air with two viridian sabers held out to either side of his body. Manji and Sai snapped into battle stances as the newcomer threw back his head and let out an ear-splitting screech, advancing upon Tron and Nejj like a being possessed.

Exchanging a glance, Manji and Sai flashed grins at each other and moved forwards to intercept the newcomer, their Kyataran sense of honour rising to the fore.

Can't have anybody interrupting the duel, can we?

Sai

18-04-2009 13:15:52

Hall of Immortals Upper Terrace

Oh, by no means, came the telepathic response from Sai as the duo maneuvered between their embattled Overlord and the invader.

The Keibatsu regarded the new arrival to the terrace; it was clad in the regalia of a Lightsider, but something seemed..off..about it, and Manji remarked it was so.

“You’re a bit too puppet-like, even for a Givin...and especially for a Lightsider,” the Epis spat, hefting his ‘saber.

Tsainetomo didn’t add to the jibe. Instead, his features grave and his voice low, he cautioned Manji, all the while keeping his eyes on the twin-bladed menace.

“Have a care, cousin. This one has the stink of the Betrayer on him.”

How in the frell does he know that? thought Manji. Something had clearly happened to his Family member out in the wilderness. He resolved to ask Sai about that, and that grievous wound in his side, when time permitted.

As for Kroollas, there was no response; at least, none that the human ear would comprehend. No, another mind-shattering symphony of pain issued from the Givin’s mouth, and the two Darksiders took the noise for the only thing that it could be.

A challenge.

Manji winced against the sound but stepped forward, nonetheless. He had never backed down from a fight; he was not about to start now, regardless of the splinters that threatened to split his psyche.

A second faster was Tsainetomo, who burst towards the Givin in a rush, his orange-saber flashing. Manji noted that the Archpriest didn’t seem to be as affected by the mind attack, but he did spot a trickle of the man’s blood begin to issue from his sun-darkened ear. Oh, I’ve definitely got to ask Sai about what happened out there Manji’s thoughts reiterated. The Givin gave one step, batting away the strike with a humming column of green, then impossibly bounded over Sai, its leg flashing at the last moment to strike the Korun-Keibatsu in the back, sending him staggering towards the balustrade.

Manji, fighting to clear his head, thrust forward, his body fully immersed in the Dark Side and Makashi’s fluid lethality. He probed and riposted against the flashing jade of Kroollas’ blades. Berserker that it was, the Givin pressed ever forward, giving Manji as good as it got.

Meanwhile, Sai caught himself against the thick stone of the railing and caught a glimpse of the battle that raged all around the Hall. What he saw gave him pause, to say the least.

He saw a massive storm of sand and debris rushing all around; the sounds of weapons discharge, screaming lightsabers and dying sentients wafted up to his ears. ‘Are those..skeletons?!’ He saw the remnants of the long dead flying about, a most heinous desecration of those noble souls who had carved out their foothold on the planet long ago. He winced at each strike of purple lightning that whip-cracked into the soil, remembering the agony that came from having taken several of those accursed bolts full on, the pain arising anew in his body. And at the center of it all; rather, emanating from a focal point in the distance, was the same icy darkness, devoid not of light, but of life, that had laid him low on the sands of the Shadowlands some hours before.

Vexatus. I promise, I will see you destroyed, by my hand or the next.

Setting his jaw in his fury, he spun away from the macabre scene, his eyes finding his cousin and the thing that held the Heretic’s shade still locked in combat; the latter seemed to be getting the upper hand. Manji had since resorted to telekinetically hurling large chunks of stone and droid at the Givin, who, if not bisecting the missiles with its twin ‘sabers, took the blows bodily and merely shrugged them off. Still it advanced, unperturbed, while Manji spat curses in both Basic and Kyataran. A double strike from Kroollas caught the Epis' blade while he was off-balance, and he nearly lost his footing. Tron was in no position to bring his considerable power to bear in assistance, as Tsainetomo could sense the Overlord was bringing nearly all of it to bear on the resilient Jedi Master, who was continuing to hack and slash with his yellow blade and Force-imbued sword at the Darksider.

Dyrra rushed over to Tsainetomo, her voice still raw from the throttling she had received.

“Help him!” she pleaded, her eyes brimming with moisture at the concern she felt. Truly, the Master and Student relationship was a unique thing.

Tsainetomo’s response was a warm hand to the girl’s shoulder. He grasped it firmly, yet gently, and pushed her behind him. Inexplicably, he extinguished his ‘saber and replaced it at his belt. Dyrra’s eyes grew wide, then, impossibly wider as the Archpriest withdrew his esoteric personal weapon, Meishu’s Tear, from within the folds of his tattered robes.

So dubbed for a Keibatsu progenitor, Meishu’s Tear was deceptively simple in its design: a foot-long kunai of durasteel, with a tether of the same material attached to the loop in the handle. In the hands of someone versed in its forms, it could be as precise as a surgeon’s scalpel, and as brutal as the crowbar of a wrecker.

Tsainetomo was such a man. He'd better had been; after all, it was his own grandfather who once wielded it, lifetimes ago.

Letting the weapon pay out on its tether, he began to cycle through its forms, carving impossibly fast infinities and parabolas in the space of the chamber, the kunai whistling as it traveled. Something in the Givin spoke to it even as it deflected yet another strike from Manji, and it whirled to face the advancing Son of Sadow. It stuck its marionette-like arms out to allow the tether of the weapon to strike the blades of its lightsabers to render it useless.

At least, that’s what would have happened, had Tsainetomo allowed it.

Quickly letting the tether wrap around his neck and forearm, the parabola of the weapon was abruptly cut short; delving into the Dark Side, the Korun-Keibatsu spun in the opposite direction, allowing the kunai’s speed to multiply exponentially as it came back around. Manji, in the meantime, had rolled around the side of the Givin to rise up, throwing a silver crescent upwards to meet Kroollas’ outstretched arms at the elbows. The blade had scarcely left the flesh of the alien when the durasteel kunai smacked wetly into the Givin’s skull, savagely driving it to the side even as its useless arms thudded to the floor, misshapen hands still clutching their ‘saber hilts.

Kroollas recovered, waving its stumps comically as it made to let loose another shriek; it was barely uttered when the Tear swung downward, connecting solidly on the creature’s crown, cutting the unearthly sound mercifully short and sapping the strength of the berserker’s legs, sending it to the floor in a crumpled heap.

“Do shut up,” Tsainetomo said in an eerily calm voice as he knelt astride the Givin’s body. He had since reeled in the tether and taken up the kunai by the handle, like a wrecking bar, and his intent was obvious. Dyrra made to turn away from the event before Manji stopped her.

“No. You need to see this. You need to see what happens to those who dare take on the Throne.”

Tsainetomo began to smash the kunai down again and again into the face of Kroollas, spraying gore and bone with every strike and upswing. The Givin had stopped twitching long before the Sadowan had stopped hammering its face and skull into a bloody ruin.

Fremoc

19-04-2009 00:51:45

Near the Entrance of the Hall of Immortals
Valley of the Dead
Antei


Demonic stood near the door and heard the explosions. He looked back and saw Zaxen run towards the heart of the Hall. He felt his mistress get hurt and Zaxen ran to help her. A ping of jealousy ran through him as Zaxen ran in to take care of her. He looked at Ekeia though. She needed him now, she was so scared and he could still see she was shaken up since she wasn't fully in the zone she needed to be in.

Explosions... That is your specialty...

Demonic slapped his head to shut the voice out but instead came up with a plan. There were canyons and statues surrounding the Hall of Immortals. He was a demolitions expert, and the Jedi could be planning a counter attack. He knew there might not be enough time between now and the counter attack.

"Ekeia, Krandon, Xander, listen up. I have a funny feeling there's going to be a counter attack," Demonic quickly said. He reached into his pack and started pulling out the remainder of his explosives and handed it to the rest of the group. "Take what I have left, and go to canyons. Place these at good locations to cause the canyons to cave in and slow the Jedi. I'm going to place them at the bases of the statues as a back up plan."

Everyone dispersed except for Ekeia. She stood next to him scared. "Ekeia go you have a mission."

"Demonic... I don't know if I can..." She shook uncontrollably.

"Fine stick with me and you'll be okay." He started out towards the farthest most statue and placed his first charge on the statue. Ekeia stayed close uncertain of what to do.

Fremoc Pepoi... That is no longer your name... Your name is now Demonic...

Ashura

19-04-2009 04:23:09

Hall of Immortals
Valley of the Dead
Antei

Ashura let out an inhuman snarl as he slew the Jedi Knight before him; after Zaxen had left to save Jade the Battlelord was left standing alone... fighting alone. The Jedi saw him as the easy prey. How wrong they were.

Isradia had heard one of the alien Knights refer to him as the Ka Faraq Gatri in their native tongue: the Bringer of Darkness. His crimson lightsaber humming deathly around the slain bodies at his feet. Ashura could sense the remaining Jedi scum losing.

There was a sudden feeling of victory that surged through the Force. It belonged to them.

"FIGHT MY BROTHERS AND SISTERS! FIGHT -- FOR THIS DAY IS OURS!!!"

Ashura's voice boomed through the empty columns and wide spaces, echoing throughout the Hall. He watched as the clan united and vanquished the pitiful droid army. He watched the troops of the Iron Throne swarm in like a wave of avenging fury.

Let the Jedi die as martyrs: there would be none to remember their names, none to speak of their deeds. They would be a footnote in the pages of history. "Antei was retaken and the Jedi died." It was that simple.

The Proconsul of Naga Sadow pulled out the holographic imager into his hand and began jumping up to the top of the Hall of Immortals. As he stood there, looking into the eternal flame that burned on the roof a smile crossed his face. Ashura pressed the time delay on the imager and put down. A few moments later a holographic symbol appeared high in the air for all to see -- it was a flag -- the flag of Clan Naga Sadow.

This would be the defining moment for the clan, where the spirits of the clansmen soured and the spirits of the Jedi died. This was the moment Clan Naga Sadow took back what belonged to them!

"FOR SADOW!!!"

Ashura's voice was louder than before, as it carried into every heart, mind and soul those below. It was one heck of a moral booster. He then turned his attention to the on coming storm. It seemed the Jedi were the least of their worries... something more dangerous had descended upon them. Isradia jumped down to join his clan in facing this threat.

Malisane

19-04-2009 07:11:20

Underground Bunker
Near the Hall of Immortals
Antei


"The Hall of Immortals is falling," the robed figure said calmly as he watched the display.
His companion nodded, "It is over," he said in a less calm voice, "we have not heard from Lord Crask, our forces have been beaten back across the planet."
"Your emotion betrays you Donask," the first figure said, "all is not lost, yet."
"It soon will be," Donask replied in a hoarse voice, "we should leave this planet. We have failed."
Palamo sighed. "We do not leave until ordered," he said quietly, "if we did we would face a fate worse than these Sith can deliver."
"You do not know that," Donask said quietly, "at least we would have a chance."
"She would know," Palamo replied, "you would not get to a shuttle."
"She is too wrapped up in her own affairs," Donask replied, "they say she talks to herself, and things that are not there. She is no longer recognisable, her body or her mind."
"Be quiet fool," Palamo snapped, "she will hear you."
"She can hear you," a vaguely female rasping voice said and the two Jedi spun around in horror.

She stood facing them, her face concealed by the hood and black gloves covered her scarred hands. Behind her two tall and muscular Jedi flanked her, Gorat and Snarg. Her hunched form limped slowly into the room. "So, you have doubts Donask?" You would leave?"
He looked at her like a mouse looks at a cat, then found a voice. "Yes mistress, we should all leave. Regroup, build our strength."
"We should leave?" she asked again in a faintly amused voice, "abandon our companions who still fight, betray our leader, admitt defeat, forget those who have died in our cause?"
He looked at her in terror as he felt her eyes burn into him from beneath the hood. Palamo bowed his head sensing what was about to happen. "Yes," Donask said finally."
"Very well," she replied suddenly sounding oddly reasonable, "I have no wish to keep anyone here who does not want to be. You may leave with my blessing."
"Really?" he asked, sounding hopeful.
"Indeed," she replied, and her head raised slightly, "now leave!" and Donask collapsed in agony as she concentrated on him, writhing as pain wracked through his body and he fought to cry out but his tongue was locked as he twitched helplessly on the floor, the pain unimaginable. Polamo and the others were unable to divert their gazes as Donask suddenly burst into flames, his body burning and still they could sense unimaginable agony, until finally the flames died leaving a charred husk on the floor.
"Does anyone else wish to leave my service?" she asked in a deadly rasp. They were silent. "Very well, prepare shuttles for our forces, we leave for the Hall of Immortals. We will surround and destroy these Sith just as they think they have won."

Xanos

19-04-2009 07:13:38

Within the storm outside the Hall of Immortals
Near the Lorimar Mesa, Valley of the Dead
The Shadowlands, Adas, Antei


Bob felt stronger than he had in months. His muscled flexed with renewed agility as he parried the frenzied blows from the Chagrian berserker. Dark veins bulged under the pallid skin pulled tight across the berserker’s frame. An hour ago, Bob may have run at the sight of the abomination, but not now, not with the fire of the dark side burning through his body.

The mask wrapped around his head fluttered in the winds. He felt more powerful than he ever had. It was as though the mysteries of the Galaxy were laid bare before him. He only had to take the time to stop and look.

He lunged, driving his bloodshine lightsaber toward the pawn of Lord Vexatus. The Chagrian lurched backward, impossibly bending its spine nearly parallel to the desert floor as Bob’s spear drove through the air where the berserker’s heart had just been.

Bob withdrew his blade for another attempt, and the Chagrian twisted back upright, a hateful snarl across its bleeding gums. ‘You cannot win, Daragon. I shall have you all.’

The voice was not the alien’s own, but one Bob had known for decades. A cold, haughty and dispassionate tone. A ripple of fear threatened to worm up Bob’s spine, but he grasped it between his hands and ground it to dust before it could choke his heart. He would not be afraid, not ever again. ‘Never!’ Bob cried, hurling his whole body forward as he swung his weapon vertically in a left abdomen to right shoulder swing that would section the Chagrian in half.

The dead eyes of the berserker tightened in anger and it shifted its body to the right. Bob’s crimson blade passed underneath the double barrels of the blue lightsaber and caught the edge of the alien’s side before it moved out of the way. Smoke rose from the wound, Bob’s nostrils filling with a stench akin to an overcooked roba steak.

The Chagrian did not so much as wince at the loss of half its guts, but turned its evasion into a further attack, pushing one edge of its double-bladed lightsaber over Bob’s guard in a Juyo thrust, the rear blade holding off Bob’s return attack.

The blade struck the edge of Bob’s shoulder. The superheated plasma burned a hole through his grey robes, plunging deep into his shoulder blade. His mouth loosed a torrent of insults that were exotic enough to shock even him. He snarled, spitting into the Chagrian’s face as he leapt back just in time to stop the blade shearing through his right humerus.

When he glanced down at his arm, he saw a near inch deep gash that stretched halfway down his arm where the berserker’s blade had burned as he had pulled away. He flipped his lightsaber to his other hand and allowed his arm to flop uselessly to his side. The wound was not terminal, he could heal it later in bacta, but it was far too deep for his arm to be of any further good to him now.

He had another idea.

As the berserker drove toward him in another assault, Bob glanced down at the bare rock beneath his feet. Most of the sand now swirled in the currents above him, but some of the larger rocks still sat firmly on the floor of the valley.

The Chagrian was nearly on top of him again.

He reached into the Force, yanking at the largest rock he could spot and spun it toward the berserker. It was too large to lift up completely, but he sent it rolling beneath the blanket of dust into the berserker’s feet. The Chagrian stumbled, caught unaware by the boulder and crashed forward to his feet.

Bob was on the former Jedi Master in an instant, savaging striking down with his bloodshine blade repeatedly, thrusting into the Chagrian’s back as he tore the body into pieces. He felt a hand on his shoulder before he finally stopped lashing at the body. He spun, narrowly stopping himself before he separated Shan Long’s body from his head. When he looked down, he saw the cut up pieces of the berserker, its torso little more than a scorched mound of ash. The rocks beneath it were glowing red hot from the heat of repeated contact with his lightsaber.

‘We need to head inside,’ Shan Long said slowly, sounding beaten. His face was soaking in sweat.

Bob had never heard the Dragon so defeated. ‘Inside?’ he replied, still huffing from the effort of hacking the Chagrian into pieces. He looked back up the nearly hill to the top of the Lorimar Mesa, where the black outline of a man he so desperately wanted to kill was silhouetted against an unnatural purple sun.

Shan Long shook his head slowly. ‘I cannot hold him. This is not the creature we left for dead on Lehon. This is... something more.’

Bob could see in the Dragon’s eyes that Shan Long was not open to argument. The usually bright fire in the sorcerer’s eyes appeared dimmed as the purple star on the horizon began moving down the mesa into the valley itself toward them.

The droids were defeated, lost to the electrical interference created by the storm. The last few Jedi were still battling to the last man against the troopers from the Iron Throne. The war was won. The mark of the Sons of Sadow projected from the holo-emitter Ashura had erected on the summit of the nearby building. The Jedi had lost. Antei was theirs once again.

The handful of remaining Jedi seemed oblivious to the approaching darkness. Or maybe they felt it a fitting end for those who had shunned their Omancor Crask’s offer of a future still with hope. It made no difference. They were as dead as the Jedi if they remained in the path of the approaching storm. The Jedi may have been defeated, but the ghosts of the planet of the dead’s past lingered still. The nameless screams of a war ten years gone echoed through the valley.

But he would take whatever their victory brought with it. If this dark hunger was the eternal truth of Antei, then so be it.

Finally, Bob nodded.

He still could not be certain this was not all a trick, but he had no choice but to trust Shan Long.

‘Fall back!’ Bob cried as loud as he could, wrestling with the winds as he fought to be heard. ‘Fall back inside the Hall of Immortals!’

It was time for him to run again.

Nekura Manji

19-04-2009 09:11:13

Hall of Immortals Upper Terrace
Valley of the Dead
Antei


Sparks rained to the ground under the screaming skies as twin silver sabers clashed with a yellow and steel blade. Astronicus and Nejj struggled for position, sweat trickling down both their faces. They'd been fighting back and forth for some time, and the toll it had taken was beginning to show. Lip curving into a snarl, Tron spat on the floor between them as they pulled apart, his contempt for the Jedi clearly visible.

"Blind servant of the Light... you have picked the wrong Sith to challenge."

Spinning his blades before him, Nejj snarled a response, his own face dark. Anger boiled beneath the surface, tightly contained- the scent of it transformed the snarl on Tron's face into a mocking smirk.

"Even if I die here, Sith, my death will bring about your destruction."

As he moved forwards slowly, his blades ready, Tron chuckled, his words laced with the taint of the Dark Side.

"Fine, empty words. Your soul teeters on the edge of the darkness. You will give in to it, and you will be struck down as a worm- not some fine champion of the Light."

The last word trickled like poison from Tron's lips as his hands snapped into a new position on the hilts of his sabers swiftly, clutching the two blades in a reverse grip. Breaking into a charge from nothing, Tron scythed through the air towards Nejj, his blades lashing and hacking in wide, sweeping strikes that pushed the Jedi back with their sheer intensity. Nejj's concentration wavered slightly as his mind dwelled on Tron's words. He was aware that they were alone on Antei, now; Crask was gone. The scope of their failure threatened to overwhelm him as his anger at the mockery and impudence of the Dark Master before him pushed from the other side, an emotional seesaw that threatened to topple him into the abyss.

Conflicted as Nejj was, he was pushed back by the single-minded determination of the Sadow Lord. Tron's blades blazed like stars as he drove Nejj back across the terrace, towards Dyrra, Manji and Tsainetomo, who scattered as the combatants passed between them then turned to watch again. A barrage of blows from the Dark Master forced Nejj's left hand out before the Sith Sword was smashed from his grip, clattering away across the stones of the terrace. Thunder roared overhead as Nejj transferred both hands to the hilt of his xanthic-hued saber, barely managing to deflect the next strike. Nevertheless, he continued to fight, his next flurry opening a wound along Tron's side that immediately began to steam and hiss as it cauterised.

In that brief respite afforded to Nejj, the Force coiled within him, rising like a serpent to strike at Tron. Nejj summoned all his power as a Master of the Force to enclose the Sith inside a screaming whirlwind of the Force. For a moment Tron was held in place, his hair tossed by the wind, his teeth gritted as he tried to resist the attack. Then, with a ferocious shout, the Overlord burst free of the whirlwind, one of his sabers gliding through the air, guided by the Dark Side.

The shock of the impact echoed across the terrace. The localised whirlwind petered out as Nejj stared at the Dark Master in surprise, his eyes wide, the blade of the silver saber embedded in his gut. Reaching into the Force again, Tron called the fallen Sith Sword to his hand, examining the carvings on the blade with interest. Then he strode forwards purposefully, gripping the hilt of the sword tightly.

Nejj's head went back as the Sith Sword was rammed down his throat, a gargling scream bursting anew from his throat before it was ripped apart by the tip of his own blade. Veins stood out on Tron's arm as he continued to push the blade downwards. Then he withdrew his grip from the handle and stepped backwards as Nejj dropped to his knees, bloodshot eyes staring at the sky before rolling back into his head. Like some kind of twisted marionette, held up by the blade thrust down his throat, Nejj twitched as he sank into the blackness, his golden saber deactivating and rolling from a lifeless hand.

Retrieving his saber, Tron turned to face the three who watched him, his face composed and serious.

"My Son. My Disciples. Our victory is almost at hand."

Suddenly there was a pulsing spike of purple light from the valley below them, and another brief, garbled scream of agony in the head of every Force-user still standing and fighting. Sai winced in pain, clutching his side as his head snapped towards the edge of the terrace. Manji let out a feral growl as he clutched his head, trying to fight down the screaming voices as he had done before. His voice was harsh and yet laden with black irony when he spoke.

"Something wicked this way comes..."

JadeSadow

19-04-2009 12:38:24

Hall of Immortals
Antei


The darkness had slowly engulfed Jade. It had felt like quick sand, no mater how hard she fought it she was dragged deeper into its pit, and forced to fight harder, only to slip fast, it was a never ending circle, and she knew it was the icy claws of death. Just as she was about to give in, her body to tired and too broken to continue to fight, a tremendous weight was lifted off of her, and power surged into her body. A familiar voice rang into her mind as well as her nearly non beating heart, ‘Do not die.’ It was strong and full of worry as well as a pleading command. She kicked against the dark sand holding her back, struggling to regain consciousness. When she did she was surprised to see Zaxen. He looked different, more battle worn, and worried he had lost her. His thumb on her face brushing off the dirt stirred something within her she couldn’t quite name and a dark fire burned within her eyes as she looked upon him. It had surprised her but she smiled, slowly trying to move a hand to touch him and make sure he was real, when the voice of a padawan came from near by.

Zaxen had gotten up and it wasn’t long before Jade heard the snap hiss of his saber come to life in the dark hall. She couldn’t help but wonder if the spirits of the Dark Lords long gone were watching the Clan fight to keeps its halls. She slowly stood and walked towards the body of Qira Vaal, her saber was near by, the force of the blast causing her to drop it as she was thrown to the ground. Jade waved a hand and called her saber to it. It floated through the air and into her hand, but the way it moved took Jade by surprise. She could feel the disturbance in the air differently then before, feel the hilt of the blade hum as the force wrapped around it and pulled it into her hand. She smirked, so this is what true power feels like, oh she could get use to this.

Jade turned as Zaxen nearly finished his victim and walked over. The sounds of the sabers clashing vibrated into her core and seemed to sing, a song of life to come and life to go. She was amazed at the way the force hit her now, and wondered if the effects of
her near death would remain with her for long or not. Zaxens’ blade finally took the force of the young knight and she smiled. “Well done.”

Zaxen turned to face her; glad she was standing but could feel the weakness in the force around her. “Are you alright Mistress?”

The title he called her sounded different, not just in his voice or the way it came across, but odd. She shook the feeling. “I’m fine.” It was a semi lie but she wasn’t about to show weakness, she would fight till the death for her Clan, for her brethren. “We should join the others.”

Zaxen turned, letting the moment he had with Jade slip back into his emotionless stir, though subconsciously it hit him. “I left Ashura further in the Hall.”

She gave a mental sigh of relief. It had been a while since she had seen Ashura, not since she had gone off to rescue Zaxen, and even then she hadn’t had time to talk to the man much. She held him high and considered him like family. A former Master, she had learned much from him and still was. She turned and followed Zaxen, feeding on the force around her, on the dark screams of pain and of battle, letting it refill some of her depleted forces.

As they neared the corridor with Ashura, his recent victim failing to the ground, Jade saw Demonic through a window, running around with Ekeia by his side. She was proud her apprentice was working so hard and had been trying to keep those in his group alive and safe, it had been a policy of hers to never leave a man behind, and it was good to see him take the same approach. Though having the combat experience from his home world was an asset. She had found him about a month before the war, looking battered and bruised. Ekeia had told her about him, but when she found the kid so deflated she probed his mind. It was full of memories and voices of the past all haunting him; he would make a fine Dark Jedi. Though like any possible Master she looked for things that would help to tip him to the Dark Side if needed and found his true name was Fremoc Pepoi, something that seemed to plague his current mind in remembering. It was a key she held to her. “Don’t let us die,” she sent the message to him as a voice, one she knew he would wonder where it came from but if he looked into it would know it was from her. She knew he had seen Zaxen run off to help her, and was concerned, it was her way of telling him she was alive. She smirked as Demonic ran around to help his Clan. Oh yes, he would be a fine addition to the Dark Side.

Zaxen moved on a head and she shook her vision from the kid, if he survived it would be up to him now. She caught up with Zaxen and nodded to Ashura with a smile. “Ashura, it is good to see you.”

A wave of relief to see Jade was still alive came and went. He didn’t want to entertain the emotion for too long least it distracted him from the battle, though he was temped to embrace her. “It is good to see you as well.” She smirked. “Now try not to get yourself killed.”

She smiled; she was more then ready for some more time to fight.

Alexander

19-04-2009 13:45:19

Hall of Immortals
Antei


Lightsabers continued to clash in the distance. The battle had been long, yet they seemed to be managing to reach their objectives. Xander turned and plunged his weapon through another enemy. He had recently felt some sort of odd disturbance but he did not quite know what to make of it. To be honest Xander was getting the impression that everything was just about finished here. The battle mostly seemed under control, the area was buzzing with different action.

The explosives have not been really hard to place. Moving around quickly he had found the optimal places where they needed to be and placed them. The trick had been to post them in a place that they were not too obvious, but at the same time, place them so they did the intended amount of damage. Occasionally when he had placed the devices it had required him to kill an enemy. But mostly, he had been able to use the force to conceal his movements. Now the explosive were place, and that deed was done.

An idea came to Xander. Turning he started to push towards the exit. Heading this way he did not really seem to have very much resistance, every soft often a new group would run past him. In the tumult not many people seemed to be keeping track of where everyone else was going. He reached down for his communicator

“I’m ready.” He said into his communicator, signaling up. With that, Xander surveyed the area one final time, and left the hall of the immortals.

Krandon

19-04-2009 15:31:02

Hall of Immortals
Adas,
Antei


Krandon felt a little de ja vu as the explosives were put into his hands by Demonic. Before, Demonic had done all the work with explosives, now it was Krandon’s turn.

“Krandon, do the job, it will be fine”, Demoic said, seeing that Krandon was looking at the explosives with wide eyes.

“Right, this time, I’ll do it by myself”, Krandon said running out of the Hall of Immortals, looking for a place to put his explosives on, in the canyon.

“Great, you’re a big boy now”, Ekeia said snickering. Krandon didn’t hear her though, but all the others that had explosives did. They all laughed simultaneously. Krandon looked around and then saw the spot. It would split up for attacking forces. Krandon ran to the spot, kneeled down and, which a smile on his face, proceeded to bury the charge.

I’m going to blow up those karking Jedi, blow them to bits and then send the remains back to their families.

These were evil thoughts Krandon were having but, he has seen what these Jedi do, any Jedi. Just like the Jedi that killed his family, his friends, and his culture back on Iridonia. Krandon finished placing the charge and ran back to Demonic.

“Charge in place Demonic, do your worst”, Krandon said with an evil smile on his face.

Fremoc

19-04-2009 16:46:01

Hall of Immortals
Antei


Don't let us die...

Demonic slapped his head once more but he could feel Jade was up and moving again. He ignited the blue armory lightsaber that Jade had given him, and cut a hole into the first statue, shoving the charge into the base. Ekeia watched him and mimicked him at the next statue, igniting her red armory lightsaber and sticking the charges. Demonic walked to Ekeia, looking to make sure that the charge was placed correctly, and figured it was time to tell her.

"Ekeia, there's something I need to tell you. You're my best friend here, and you have a right to know. My real name is Fremoc Pepoi," he told her quietly. She looked shocked with the revelation but somewhat knew that there was something behind just the name 'Demonic'. "I found out just before we came back here."

"Thanks..?" Ekeia responded.

About time you came to your senses...

"I'm ready," Xander said over the comm which was followed closely by Krandon running up.

"Charge in place Demonic, do your worst," Krandon who he still thought as Demonic with an evil smile on his face. This was the part Fremoc loved. Blowing things up.

"Fremoc, let's do this," Ekeia said to the demolition man.

"Fremoc? Who's Fremoc?" Krandon looked confused and looked at the former commando.

"I am," replied Fremoc. He led the group back into the entrance of the Hall where Xander was standing. He sat down and pulled out the detonators for the explosives. Fremoc depressed his thumb causing the explosives to go off. The two charges in the canyons went off causing boulders to close the entrances. The two at the bases of the statues caused the statues to fall and block the other entrances. The utter destruction made the former commando feel as if he was on a life high. "That was my name before I joined the commandos..."

"Did I just miss something?" Xander looked at them, not knowing what had been said at the base of the statue.

"I'm going to be explaining this for a while huh?" He looked at Ekeia and Krandon. Along Ekeia nodded, Krandon still looked shocked. "Whatever. Let's just go kill some more people, I'll explain over a few drinks after the war."

They walked deeper into the Hall, trying to sense what was going on and where to go.

About time you told people...

Malisane

19-04-2009 21:50:40

Valley outside the Hall of the Immortals
Antei


Malisane looked out through the plastic window of the small shelter into the force storm raging over the valley, throwing up destroyed droids and equipment in it's path. "Still windy outside." he said conversationally.
Agrist gave him a cold glance from where he sat. "Save the jokes De Ath," he replied, "we should have made for the building. It was foolish to stay."
"We did alright," Malisane replied, "it's lucky we managed to comandeer one of these off those Iron Throne lot." He patted the walls of the small anchored shelter.
"They seemed less reluctant to part with it after you sabered the sergeant through the stomach. The rest dropped their rifles and ran." Agrist replied.
"Well if they've got any sense the rest of the soldiers have their own shelters up."
Agrist looked up at him curiously. "So what now?" he asked, "if that tornado passes directly over us we're dead."
"We wait until it's at the other end then we run for it."
"Good plan," Agrist grunted, "if all goes well we'll die quickly."
Malisane grinned. "Always the optimist."

On approach to the Valley
Antei


On the lead ship Palamo stood quietly watching as they flew low over the mountains, the droid pilot guiding the craft silently. Nearby the two other Jedi Knights, Gorat and Snarg, sat quietly staring at the wall of the craft, and in the storage to the rear hundreds of compacted battledroids waited for embarkation. The mistress was in her room and was best left undisturbed. Palamo walked over to the pilot. "How long until we arrive?"
"T minus five minutes Sir," the droid replied.
Palamo nodded and gripped the saber at his belt. "Land right in the valley, The mountains will give us cover, they won't see or detect us until it's too late."
"I have destination orders to that effect already Sir."
"Good," Palamo said quietly, "follow them." He realised he was wasting his time talking to the droid but he was anxious. In a funny way he envied Dorask, despite his horrendous death. At least he was out if it.
He stood watching as they continued their journey, occasionally glancing at the display to ensure the following ships were with them. He need not have worried. Droids were effiicient and predictable.
"T minus two minutes Sir."
"Good," Palamo replied. He reached over to a communicator. "Mistress we're on final approach."
"Very well," her rasping voice replied, "make your preperations."

Palamo looked up suddenly as an alarm filled the cockpit and the craft rocked, "What's going on?" he demanded.
"We have flown into a storm sir," the droid replied as it struggled with the controls as the craft continued to be buffeted by waves of turbulence, "it would appear to be of unatural origin."
"The Sith," Palamo gapsed as he buckled himself into a chair, "get us down! Alive!" He clicked the communicator, "Mistress we have hit a force storm!"
"I am aware of that," she replied, "I am combating it, use the force guide us."
As Palamo concentrated on the ship they were lurched upwards "Look!" Gorat shouted as beside them one of the other crafts suddenly rocketed downwards and exploded against the rocks below.
"Get us down now!" Palamo shouted at the droid. A second later the other accompanying ship smashed into a mountain and rained debris around it.
"Engines failing Sir," the droid reported and the craft went into a dive as the three Jedi fought with the force to steady it.

Valley outside the Hall of the Immortals
Antei


Malisane glanced out of the window. "Alright it's now or never, the tornado is at the other end of the valley." He pulled on a disgarded Iron Throne helmet and wrenched the door open, and ran out into the wind, as Agrist followed, also helmeted. "Over there," Malisane shouted into the helmets communicator, pointing to where the building could be seen through the swirling dust storm.
The two Battlelords ran against the wind, struggling to stay upright. Then they glanced upwards in surprise at the sound of misfiring engines above and watched as a large shuttle dived over their heads and hit the ground, digging a large furrow through the sand and rock. A second later there was an explosion that rocked the ground as the craft exploded.
"Who was that?" Malisane shouted.
"Who gives a damn keep running!" Agrist snapped back as he took the lead, struggling in the howling wind.
They were getting closer to the safety of the building as the tornado reached the end of the valley and looked set to return. They had maybe a few minutes.
"We're nearly there!" Malisane shouted in triumph, the shape of the building was rising above them, only a few hundred yards away.
Suddenly they hit the floor as a blast of force lightning hit them. The rose their heads up slowly in pain, looking through their visors in amazement at a robed figure stood in front of them. The figure studied them curiously, apparently unconcerned by the howling storm around them. "Little Sith," it rasped in an amused vaguely female voice, "I am so pleased I have found you. Prepare to die."

Xanos

20-04-2009 13:29:09

Inside the Hall of Immortals
Valley of the Dead
Adas, Antei


The purple shard burned violently as it descended from the Lorimar Mesa toward the Hall of Immortals. A thousand trapped souls, caged in a glass prison. The surface of the shard flashed in tune to the storm overheard, the valley itself rumbling with each fork of lightning.

Cyrus held out his hand and the star fell from the heavens into his grasp. The cries of the souls trapped within rippled across its surface, which swam from the slightest touch by his fingers. He looked up, a tunnel parting through the sand storm to gaze upon the figures assembled upon the upper terrace of the Hall of Immortals. Another will snapped back, pushing back like the symbolic Shield from the Great War between Light and Dark. The cloud of darkness wrapped back around the Hall, sheathing it in a black cocoon to block it from his sight.

His burnt lips pulled back into a sneer. If that was how they wished to play, then so be it. The inevitable could not be escaped. They would become one for the unification of the Final Way.

‘You have lost, coward,’ Vexatus hissed at the other who fought to block his influence. He had escaped death. He would not be defied again.

He closed his eyes and focused on the crystal in his hand from which the raging Force storm emanated. He pressed upon the ghosts caged forever in the Chaos inside the sorcerous prison. The living may not have served, but the dead could do nothing but bend to his will. For a moment, the crystal flashed more brightly, illuminating him in a ray of violet brilliance. Then it dulled, the colour draining away, grey, and finally to black. Fault lines appeared across the surface, webbing around the entire crystal. Cracks split down the webbed surface. Finally the crystal crumbled to dust.

The veins along Cyrus’s arms started to bulge, glowing purple lines tracing the veins as the fire filled his body. His eyes flashed, the heat rising to his temples as light burst from his mouth and nostrils. He snarled with laughter, feeling the heat envelop his entire body.

‘If you will not join us willingly,’ Vexatus called, ‘then you will join us in death.’


Astronicus looked down at the brutalised body of the final Jedi Master in charge of the siege of the Hall of Immortals, and an act of naive iconoclasm in the name of the light. He sensed a ripple in his mind like a familiar perfume, though one he would much sooner forget. He spun, his two silver blades still in his hands.

His face dropped at the figure that emerged from the stairwell. The body of a man he had known for so many years. The closest of his Sons; the first among his Disciples. He had known him for decades, way back when Naga Sadow had called him to his true destiny.

And he saw the new stain upon Bob’s forehead. Tron glowered at the figure behind Bob, his eyes turning to flame. ‘What is the meaning of this?’ he roared. ‘My Son... you have betrayed me!’

Bob stood his ground, seemingly unsure how to respond. The Consul merely glanced into the sandstorm raging outside from atop the Lorimar Mesa. A violet flare was forming along the horizon, the masses of sand and dust spiralling into the glowing singularity.

Shan Long stepped forward. Tron raised his lightsabers, but the Dragon did not as much as flinch. The sorcerer raised an arm, totally oblivious to the heat radiating from the lightsaber mere inches away from his hand. With one twitch, Tron could remove the backstabber’s arm and end this right here, right now. Something inside him held him back and he waited for an explanation.

‘Prince Sadow,’ Shan Long began, speaking quickly. ‘Condemn me if you must. But later. Right now we must all focus on the true enemy.’

Another ear-splitting scream rang out over the valley, causing Tron to stagger back, reaching out for the balustrade overhanging the edge of the terrace to steady his footing. Thus far he had ignored the feeling, convinced it was surely a trick, some ghost of Antei, that Tsainetomo had seen but a shadow, that even if Cyrus Raze had turned on them there was no possible way he was the Betrayer himself.

But that scream...

‘Stop denying it,’ Shan Long snapped. ‘I know you feel the truth as clear as I. He lives.’

A footstep echoed behind them from the stairwell, slow, calm, controlled. Another figure appeared from the stairwell, his head covered in a silvery mane, and a long ebony cane in his hand from which a blood red blade shone from its crown.

The silver haired man turned to study Shan Long, and then looked back at Tron.

‘The lost one speaks the truth,’ Jedgar Paladin said finally. He paused, staring at the Oracle who had manipulated them all to his own ends, but particularly the Grand Master. ‘The truth is written in blood,’ he continued, gazing out at the growing fireball on the horizon. ‘Whoever you once were, whoever you are now: it no longer matters. If we are not all to die, you must lead us.’

Tron snorted and glared at the Grand Master. ‘We are to trust him?’ he snarled.

What felt like an eternity stretched as Paladin turned his eyes on Tron. The old man did not speak, nor show any emotion, but the umbrage was clear in his eyes. ‘We will discuss this later,’ Paladin said gravely. ‘For now, it should be enough to know that we need one who shares a link with the Heretic. Only through this one can we target the other.’

A warmthless smile crossed Shan Long’s lips. ‘Then we must act quickly before the darkness is upon us.’ The Dragon looked out at the inferno that had grown into a ring of violet fire that was spreading out around the Hall. It would not be long before it had wrapped the entire Lorimar Mesa. ‘We must join minds. Only as one will can we be strong enough to defeat the nameless ones released on Lehon.’

‘Released by you,’ Tron hissed.

‘Released by Trevarus Caerick,’ Shan Long retorted.

Tron still did not trust the traitor before him, but it was evident he had little choice. Reluctantly, he conceded there was no other choice. ‘So be it. Allies. For now.’

Bob stepped forward from where he had been standing.

A sneer crossed Tron’s face involuntarily. He felt as if history was repeating itself. Silently, he swore he would not allow another of his Sons to be lost to the sorcerer’s lies. When this war was over, there would be more than one way to rid himself of his problems forever. But for now, he just had to play along and make use of Shan Long. He smirked coldly. ‘Very well, so be it. Allies. For now.’

‘We need to assemble the Clan,’ Bob said. ‘Fortify the Hall.’

A flash and an explosion rumbled up from the plains below as a gunship crashed. At least the droid tanks had been held back by the disciples who had mined the canyon entrances and brought down the valley ways to block their approach.

‘Do it,’ Tron said. Bob turned to head back down to the lower levels to rally the Clan. The Overlord turned back to the Dragon. ‘But if this is a trick, sorcerer, you will answer to me.’

Sai

20-04-2009 13:42:28

Hall of Immortals
Adas, Antei

Tsainetomo left Manji and Dyrra to minister to the fatigued Overlord to take the staircase to the main lower level of the Hall. He had ushered himself past the Consul and the Dragon wordlessly, making his way towards the massive doors at the entrance as all around him various Sadowans of different stations were streaming towards him, a frenetic sea of humanity. Espying a couple of familiar signatures in the Force, he thrust a hand out to grab a certain Archpriestess by the forearm.

“Mistress Atema. Nice to see that you yet live.”

Jade looked up into Sai’s tripartite eyes with a measure of relief as the Proconsul shouldered his way past some random Journeymen to join them. There was no time for jibes and teasing; the fog of war had wormed its way into every psyche, and the strain of appearing in control, coupled with attempting to fight off Cyrus’ Force-mindwipe, had surely taken its toll.

“Tsainetomo; has there been any sign of the Overlord?” queried Ashura.

“Aye; His Excellency is on the upper terrace. He’s been wounded, and I’ve left Manji and Dyrra to care for him. I’m sure they could use some help; the Consul and Shan Long are up there, too, so if you go, mind your step,” the Keibatsu replied. “What about down here? It looks as if all Hell’s broken loose.”

Jade piped up. “The Consul has ordered all forces to fall back to the Hall.”

“That’s reasonable,” Sai remarked offhandedly, causing confusion to register on his Clanmate’s faces.

“I’d always heard you had a strange sense of humor,” Ashura said with an easy chuckle. “I’m headed up to the Overlord.” Without another word, the Proconsul made for the stairs.

Jade went to follow when she was once again stopped by the strong hand of Tsainetomo. She looked at him as he bent close.

“Jade, I can in no way express how supremely proud I am of you in your applications of the lessons I have tried to teach you. The Mysteries of the Krath Priesthood will easily lay themselves open before you.” The shock on her face at Tsainetomo’s admission was genuine; he’d been an illusive teacher, absent at times and infuriatingly obstinate at others, but now she knew that he was being as open with her as he ever would be. She held her tongue as he continued.

“You have done mightily well to this point, but I sense a true test awaits you.” He paused as a rush of Sadowans and Iron Throne soldiers filed hurriedly past them. “This may well be the last lesson I give you. Trust that there is the Dark and the Light...and vagrancies, perversions of each, if you will. You must begin to discern between all of these facets, and the Force will begin to reveal itself as the gem that it truly is. I’ve no time to explain...look on me within the Force, and then, look for another within this Hall that is a mirror image of what you see. It is this person that stands to hurt us within this place, even as we stand on the brink of victory. Gather what help you need, then go!” Tsainetomo released her, and then left her staring at his back as he made his way towards the entrance.

Reaching the door, the Son of Sadow leaned heavily on the sill. He was tired, so very tired, but there was still so much work to be done.

A while longer..just a little while longer..

Turning his attention back to the raging storm, he delved within the Dark Side to see if anyone familiar remained on the tortured grounds around the Hall. He sensed his old friend, Malisane some distance away; he and Agrist were facing an unknown presence in the Force, but from what he knew of de Ath, Sai was confident the Battlelord would make it. Much closer was Macron, who had his hands full as well.

Tsainetomo ignited his tangerine blade and held it aloft, standing strong despite the winds that buffeted his tired form, and acting as a beacon for his friends and blood brothers, warriors all in Sadow.

Outside the Hall

Macron slid back several feet, having taken the brunt of a Force-wave from the berserker that stood between him and the salvation of the Hall of Immortals. He could feel his battle armor crumple at the chest, and there was a audible pop as a rib gave way. In spite of the pain, he smiled in the depths of his madness, a trickle of dark ichor trickling from the corner of his mouth.

Focusing a feral gaze upon Anya, he looked at the erstwhile Brotherhood member that had now been taken possession of by the same thing that controlled Cyrus, who even now inexorably moved towards them.

He allowed his rage to bubble towards the surface for another in countless times; the Alchemist would make it to the Hall, even if he had to crawl.

He ignited his lightsaber in defiance; there would be no quips, not now. Macron knew that this would quite possibly be the toughest fight in his storied life. The bloodshine glow of superheated plasma bathed his tattooed face, and he took a single step towards the berserker.

The thing that was Anya stood with her head cocked unnaturally to the side. She looked at him through strands of unkempt and filthy hair; the eerie light that shone through the greasy strands from those jaundiced orbs would stop anyone else in their tracks.

Anyone else; not so, Mononoke.

The madman raised his ‘saber just as Anya pointed a hand with crooked fingers at him; he barely caught the forks of blue lightning that issued from them on his weapon, and he dropped to a knee from the sheer magnitude of the attack.

Still, he began to laugh. His laughter had reached a maniacal pitch even as the Force-lightning began to arc from his blade to start travelling up his arm.

Bob

20-04-2009 16:12:45

Inside the Hall of Immortals
Valley of the Dead
Adas, Antei


Consul Daragon made his way down the staircase towards the lower levels, his arm dangling at his side leaving a trail of blood in his path. The wound was nothing serious, but it bled constantly. The injury was proof to the Consul that a former ally was not indeed dead and presumed and he was even more powerful than before. Between the oozing mark on his forehead and his dead arm, he was sure he was quite a sight to behold.

He was happy to leave the presence of the Overlord, while his wounds would heal, it would take some time to overcome the hurt from the words of his Master. The look he had received and the harshness of his tone had shown Astroinicus Sadow was more than just displeased with his fellow Son of Sadow. Daragon would have to explain his reasons to his Master after this war was over and try to make him understand he did not betray him. It would not be easy, but he would try.

But first they had to survive the war and his orders were to assemble the Clan and help fortify the Hall. The Consul picked up his pace as his Clan’s survival was at stake.

Nekura Manji

20-04-2009 16:18:06

Hall of Immortals Upper Terrace
Valley of the Dead
Antei


An uncomfortable silence reigned on the terrace. Shan Long leaned against a pillar, pulling a cigar out of his pocket and chomping down on it with relish as the assorted Dark Jedi of Naga Sadow filed past him, lining up in rows across the terrace. Having swiftly recovered from the effects of his duel, Astronicus stood before them, eyes narrow and arms crossed as he surveyed them. They all looked somewhat the worse for wear- scuffed, torn robes coated in black sand and dust from the unholy sandstorm that had been unleashed by Vexatus, some with blaster wounds or more serious cuts from lightsabers.

More warriors, both Dark Jedi and soldiers of the Iron Throne, were still streaming up the stairs, Tron realised. He'd noticed that several of the more prominent Equites were absent- hopefully they were down below, in the Hall. Anybody still outside the Hall of Immortals would soon be in rather a lot of trouble. The Betrayer seemed completely unhinged, bent on the complete destruction of everyone that stood against him.

Tron would not let that happen. They would deal with the problem here and now.

The displeasure of the Overlord at being forced to co-operate with the Dragon was so palpable in the air that the Disciples of Sadow and the Soldiers of the Iron Throne fell silent as they stood before him, thickening the uncomfortable blanket that lay over the terrace, marred only by the screaming of the wind and the faint, now scattered sounds of combat from the floor of the Valley.

The silence was so complete that everyone heard the sudden clash of lightsabers beneath their feet, in the Hall. Manji's head snapped downwards, his eye narrowing.

"Who the frell's still fighting down there? I thought we took care of all the Jedi in the Hall!"

Ekeia Iclo

21-04-2009 21:05:31

Inside the Hall of Immortals
Antei


Ekeia stood next to Demonic, now Fremoc, with Xander and Krandon. They were moving into the Hall of Immortals and saw Tsainetomo go past them. They moved in more finding Jade looking out past them towards the door. She smirked at the sight of her apprentice.

"Fremoc I want you to go after Tsainetomo. Make sure nothing enters through the doorway besides us. Krandon go with him," ordered Jade. She turned to Xander, "Xander I'm going to need your help. Come with me. Ekeia go with the boys or you can come with us."

"It will be done my mistress," Fremoc responded cooly. Jade and Xander started moving deeper into the Hall while Krandon and Fremoc moved back towards the door. Ekeia stood there looking at both groups.

Several Hours Earlier
Mysterious bunker


Ekeia was tied to a metal post when she woke up. It was cold and damp and dark. She didn't know what was going on. Then she remembered, she was captured. Demonic had gone off to kill some droids and she had started on her way back to FOB Spear. She had been knocked out by something, she didn't remember what it was. She looked around tried to get an idea of her surroundings, but as soon as she tried to the door opened and bright light filled her eyes.

"So... The Sith finally decides to wake. I shall offer you this. Join us, come back to the light child and you shall not be alone anymore," said a man. All Ekeia could do is think that this man was Jedi and the other men outside the room were to or soldiers of some sort. She couldn't tell, she was blinded from the light that was pouring in.

"I will never join you," her voice filled with anger.

"That is too bad. We could give you a family. Love. A chance to be with people instead of those Sith that you run around with. They don't care about you. They only care about themselves."

"I won't join you." But doubt filled her mind. She was alone. She always had been, even before her brother's disappearance. The Jedi walked out of the room and talked to the soldiers that were there. All she heard was "get her to turn" and "valley."

"So since you wouldn't turn the easy way, it's now our turn to make you turn," said the lead soldier. He turned Ekeia around and brandished a whip. "You are so alone."

The man ripped the back of her tunic off to expose it for the whip. It cracked on her back, and she felt her own blood start to ooze down her back. It cracked again this time she yelled out. She sunk into her thoughts, but the fact was she started to realize how truly alone she had become. The whip continued to hit her back, causing more openings on her back.

"All you have to do is join the light side, and you will be loved."

"No!" The whip cracked once more on her back. She tensed for another hit from the whip but it never came. She heard blaster discharges, and the men who had been whipping her back hit the floor. She felt a cloak wrap around her, and her hands freed from the bonds that kept her to the pipe. Ekeia felt herself lifted off the ground and looked into the eyes of Demonic. All she could think of was how he had come back for her. How he had saved her and that she was not alone after all. She silently told her self that she will not leave his side. They got on the speeders and drove back to the FOB, and Ekeia laid her head on his back and held tightly to him.

Inside the Hall of Immortals
Antei


Ekeia stood alone. Very alone once more. Jade and Xander had gone somewhere else deeper into the Hall, while Krandon and Demonic had gone back to the front door to help Tsainetomo.

I've become dependent on Fremoc. My god. HE made me get attached to him by showing up and rescuing me. I can't believe he did that. I'm going to kill him...

She ran after the two men who were heading towards the door. "DEMONIC!!!" she yelled out. Her rage built with every step she took and got closer to him. She wanted to kill him, hurt him and Krandon. "DEMONIC!!!" The two stopped and looked back at Ekeia. She smiled to herself knowing that he thought she needed to stay by his side, so he waited for her. She caught up to him and he started to to turn away. She kicked him in his left knee, dislocating it causing him to collapse to the ground.

"Ekeia, what the heck?" Fremoc yelled. Krandon stood in shock, not understanding what was going on. She jumped on him, punching where ever she could, trying to hurt the man who she thought no longer as a friend. She felt her ardrenaline rush through her as she felt two of Fremoc's ribs break from her onslaught.

JadeSadow

21-04-2009 21:57:33

Hall of Immortals
Antei


Jade watched as Sai walked away and let the force take in the strange aura around him. It had been a while since she had seen him, she figured he was no longer going to instruct her, yet his conversation had been a surprise and also a puzzling one. Finding someone else in the Hall that had the same strange feeling to them seemed like an odd mission, considering all those around her were Dark Jedis’, taints within the force themselves. Sighing she decided to humor the Son of Sadow and focused on reaching out. She felt each member of Naga Sadow, their signatures all weaving with the spirit of battle and the fatigue of the same. Some were darker then others and some were dimming as the force called them to be one with it once again. Losses to the Clan that would suck in the end, though in war were inevitable. She felt those on the roof, the Consul, her former masters and even the Clan Overlord, the last taking her concentration away for a brief moment. Breathing again to focus she felt Paladin and smirked, realizing he hadn’t just been a figment of her trip down the side of the cliff.

Looking on to see if she could find what Sai was talking about, she found the presences of those less experienced Journeymen scattered about the Hall, Demonic and Ekeia grouped together as she had sent them off. Something was odd with Ekeia but she couldn’t put her finger on it, but she felt the sudden jabs at Demonic. It pained her not to help her apprentice but she knew he had help near by. Gliding over her apprentice she moved on to feel the rest in the hall. And finally there it was, deep in the Hall, a dark stain, a void and yet a solid mass of darkness. As she located it, the void turned on her, an evil and psychotic laughter that tried to draw in her consciousness as she focused on it. Its power felt familiar, felt like the stories she had heard about Vexatus himself. Jade pulled back, the fight feeling like she was tugging against a pit of soulless tar. She shook her head and turned to Xander. “Let’s go.”

Deep in the Dark Hall
Antei


Jade followed the dark taint through the halls, finally resting deep in the pit of the building; she knew what lay beyond the doors. Jade rested her hand on the hilt of her saber and grinned evilly. There was no room, or chance, of surprise; the one behind the door knew they were there. It was waiting for them, waiting to bring the force to a close on them. Jade leaned back and kicked the door down with her foot, and stepped in, the Dark taint filling the room and surrounding the two Dark Jedi’s as they stepped in, this was going to be an interesting fight indeed.

Corbin turned to face them, Jade’s silver blade snapped to life. “You had dishonored my Clan, and the force. You will be brought to justice.”

Corbin smirked, his eyes going low as he fueled his dark fire. “What a foolish statement.”

Xanders’ purple blade hissed to life. “We shall see.”

Alexander

22-04-2009 00:49:51

Deep in the Dark Hall
Antei


The two Equites split up, one moving to the left of Corbin the other to the right, Xander held his lightsaber in front of him, his ringer finger fairly lose on the hilt of his Saber. Jade did the same on the other side of Corbin as they began to assess their opponent. It was fairly obvious that this wasn’t going to be an easy fight.

“Surrender” Corbin said. You could practically feel the force in the air as the three moved towards their battle.

“Never.” Jade and Xander said in unison. They sprang, lightabers ready to make the kill. Both Xander and Jade moving in close to perfect coordination – they met in he middle, where their enemy was supposed to be, but found that he was no longer where they expected him to be. Looking around Xander saw a dark object moving towards his face, it was the bottom of Corbins boot as it kicked him in the face. The berserker used the force to keep himself in balance and turned to attack Jade. He pressed at Jade using a succession of attacks which seemed disjointed, and didn’t seem to have any sort of flow. The man seemed to move from attack to attack in some sort of odd rhythm, that couldn’t really be identified. He would block an opponent attack, and then simply try to move around her saber to the riposte rather than trying to force her attacks back. The form was actually quite familiar to both of them. It was the form favored by their Master, Xander at least was pretty sure that he was using Vapaad.

Xander picked himself off the floor and mounted an attack at Corbin’s back. The man seemed to almost know where Xander would be, before he got there. Turning around he kick Xander in the stomach before punching him in the face. He then turned back to Jade and effortlessly deflected her oncoming lightsaber. Xander attacked again and his blade whistled through the air towards Corbins leg, which the man sidestepped and attacked Xander forcing him back, and turning to deal with Jade as Xander was on his heels. Both Xander and Jade continued using the same sort of actions, using the same form. In a way, it did not appear that Corbin was having trouble. They both used basically the same grip, they both moved in the same ways, Jade was faster, and appeared to be more stronger in the force. Neither one was really using attacks which involved a lot of jumping or spinning, and they both seemed to slip to the same defenses. Corbin was left to simply move along with the force. It was pretty obvious that the two had not fought together against force users before. They had good movements, they appeared to be ready for what might have been a larger force, but their actions against a superiorly force-user seemed ineffective.

“Xander there is going to be only one way to do this, you know that one of us might not make it..this is the only way.” Jade turned and drove a slash of her blade at Corbin. Moving purposefully she managed to locked her Saber with this and grabbed his hand. The man seemed to lapse for a moment. In that moment Xander and Jade both heard what seemed the screams of thousands of people in their hand.

“Do it.. “ said Jade as she separately clung to Corbin trying with all of her might to tie him up. She had grabbed the man so he was tied up with her for the moment, and her back was to him. In that instant the answer came to him. Charging forward with every single ounce of speed that the force would allow him he thrust his saber through Jade’s back a little to the side, as not to go through her spine. He went through at an angle and pierced right through their enemies heart. Once again the cry of the thousands echoed through their minds, as both Jade and Corbin slumped over. Xander pulled out his saber and quickly beheaded Corbin. He wouldn’t need that head again anymore anyway.

JadeSadow

22-04-2009 02:32:28

Deep in the Hall of Immortals
Antei


Jades’ palm grew slick against the cool hilt of her saber, threatening it to be released from her grip as Corbin attacked and easily deflected. He was strong, that was a given, and she was surprised Tsainetomo had decided to send only her and Xander after Corbin to take him out.

She watched the blows as Xander took them, but before she could act in the time it took for Corbin to attack Xander, Corbin would turn easily on her as if knowing what she was going to do. A willing victim of Shin’ichi, her lessons included combat training in the form of Vapaad. The form was aggressive, and completely fueled by the user’s desire for combat. Shin’ichi was a cruel master when he taught combat, and Jade often found herself at the defeat of the Son of Sadows’ blade, as he handed her ass to her on a platter.

As Corbin moved in, pressing Jade back she realized, to her horror, what Tsainetomo meant when he said this could well be her last lesson. She was going to have to sacrifice herself, she was going to have to give herself to the complete trust of those around her, while fighting nearly alone. Xander and Jade had few dealings in the past, crossing paths only when it was thrusted on them, or when their master had demanded it. By having her go with him she would have no extra body to put her trust in, no one who she knew would save her. It would simply be up to her, her will, her faith in her Clan, and the path the Force chose for her. The question was, whether she would be able to take that leap or not.

Jade gritted her teeth and spun on her foot as she spoke telepathically to Xander. “Xander there is going to be only one way to do this, you know that one of us might not make it…this is the only way.” As Corbin moved in again to attack she remembered Shin’ichi pressing her in the same way, it was a set up for a strike, and if she was going to take this lesson it was now or never. His blade came down to crash into her sliver light, but just as Corbins’ saber was about to touch she deactivated her blade, activating it as soon as his passed through. She kicked out and pushed Corbin back, knocking him off balance, her saber coming down against his as he stepped back. As he regained his composure to fight back, Xander came up from behind, his purple blade sliding through Jades side and up into Corbins’ heart. The Dark Jedi screamed and both he and Jade fell to the floor as Xander retrieved his blade.

Jade breathed in shallow gasps, the pain in her side ripping through her core but not nearly at the intensity as the voices in her head screamed at her. So many voices, all from different angles, all saying something, but not a single one clear enough that could she make it out. She groaned and rolled onto her back, the Saber wound stinging and still burning from the inside out. Jade hadn’t account for the possibility of the spirit possessing Corbin to slide into her, though it made sense. Her body was closest to his and was weak enough that she wouldn’t be able to fight it.

She wanted to scream at the voices, tell them to at least make sense, but nothing would come, the pain in her side seeming to be the only thing holding her to the room. Xander appeared over her as he decapitated Corbins’ head just incase. Jade reached into the force, her most pressing issue was the saber wound; the voices would have to wait. As she tried to concentrate on the wound, the voices scratched, and clawed, making it almost impossible to heal the injury. Jade groaned as the dark side wrapped and dug deep into the burn, healing it enough for her to stand. Her eyes dark and yet seeming to glow as she looked at Xander, an odd expression on her face. “We should find the rest of the Clan.” Her voice sounded doubled as she spoke, and Xander stared at her, unsure of whether or not he was actually in the presence of the Aedile of Marka Ragnos.

Fremoc

22-04-2009 03:15:01

Inside the Hall of Immortals
Heading to the Entrance
Antei


"Alright, I finally get to kill something with a rifle now huh?" asked Krandon. He was excited because Fremoc was about to let him use his rifle and he would spot targets for Krandon to shoot. They had immediately started to the door while Ekeia had stayed behind them where Jade had given them their new orders.

"Yeah man. You get to," Fremoc held out his hand in a fist which Krandon immediately punched. Fremoc didn't really want to but he wanted a break and relax. He figured if he laid down while spotting for Krandon he would get some rest.

Beware of those you trust Fremoc...

"DEMONIC!!!" He and Krandon turned and waited for Ekeia as she ran towards them. Well, I don't have two rifles. I guess she can spot as well. She got closer and again yelled, "DEMONIC!!!"

Fremoc went to turn so they could keep moving as Ekeia caught up with them. Instead of moving forward, he felt his left knee pop and sharp pain course through his leg, before collapsing to the ground. He realized Ekeia had attacked him, he could feel the rage pouring off her. Krandon stood off to the side in shock, he couldn't believe what was going on. Ekeia was a friend of Fremoc's and was attacking him.

"Ekeia, what the heck?" Fremoc yelled at her. But she had no response except jumping on top of him punching him like crazy, using everything in her arsenal against him. She landed several punches to his ribs, which broke two of them. He looked into her eyes, trying to see what was going on, but he could see the killer look on her face. It was a look he had grown accustomed to, and a face that he had himself. He could see that she wanted to kill him, but he didn't know why and above all else he didn't want to hurt his friend.

"You did this to me! You wanted me to always be at your side! I can do things myself!" She yelled at him. Fremoc tried to cover his body from her punches, not completely understanding what she was saying or why she was saying it. The next thing he heard the distinct sound of his knife being taken from its sheath, and an object entering his left shoulder.

I told you...

"EKEIA STOP THIS!!!" He yelled out in pain. He felt his left shoulder go slack and saw it collapse on his chest. She withdrew the knife and went to stab him in the heart, when Krandon finally snapped out of his daze and provided a quick side kick to Ekeia's right shoulder. It was with enough force to knock her off Fremoc but she still wound up causing a deep laceration to his forearm. The knife fell from Ekeia's hand and Krandon stepped over Fremoc to confront her. Krandon kicked the knife back towards Fremoc, who painfully grabbed the knife in his right hand.

"Ekeia, this is not you, snap out of it," Krandon told her. She stood back up, not listening to the Krandon. Ekeia lunged at the other man who had rescued her. Krandon not expecting it, received a blow to the groin and then while he started to double over, Ekeia snapped her knee into Krandon's nose. Krandon stepped back, grasping his bleeding nose, and tripped over Fremoc's prone body.

"I can't believe you resorted to such a thing!" she yelled once more. She wanted to hurt Fremoc more. She had him right where she wanted Fremoc though, trapped under Krandon's writing body. She took the lightsaber from off her belt, and ignited the red blade.

You should have believed me...

"Ekeia... don't do this.. I'm your friend," Fremoc was now fearing that his friend had turned to the light. She blinked once, then twice before looking at her lightsaber and shutting the lightsaber down.

"Fremoc? Why are you guys on the ground and bleeding?" He was truly now worried about his friend. She seemed like she had no recollection of what had just happened.

We should find the rest of the clan...

"Ekeia. You just kicked Krandon's butt. Not to mention what you did to me..." He winced in pain, trying to push Krandon off him. "Will someone please help me up? We need to get deeper into the Hall and find everyone else."

"I did this to you guys? No I don't believe it. You two are making it up." Krandon got up and got behind Fremoc lifting him off the ground, before sliding Fremoc's right arm behind Krandon's head. Fremoc groaned in pain as he was lifted off the ground. Ekeia came around and slid under Fremoc's left arm to help ease the weight distrubution.

"Yeah you did. God this hurts. Ekeia, what the frak." Krandon and Ekeia walked on either side of Fremoc helping him walk and half carrying him. Pain was coursing through his body and was trying to use the Force to help heal, which was not going too well. He was loosing quite a bit of blood and it was making him tired, as well as the battle fatigue from the war.

"I didn't do a thing. So whatever."

"I... think..." Fremoc let the darkness take him...

Xanos

22-04-2009 07:34:29

Hall of Immortals Upper Terrace
Valley of the Dead
Adas, Antei


Shan Long’s hair flailed behind him in the hurricane as the storm from the Lorimar Mesa closed upon the Hall of Immortals itself. An explosion hit a black marble column at the corner of the terrace, spraying splinters of rock into the air. He narrowly raised his arm in time to shield his face as the fragments peppered him; before they were caught by the wild eddies and dragged up into the whirlwind.

‘It’s no use!’ the Dragon yelled. ‘I can’t hold it any longer!’

Jedgar Paladin’s face was taut and strained as the sorcerer’s, beads of perspiration welling up across the Grand Master’s face. ‘Everybody inside!’ the older man said, signalling agreement with the other. ‘We must begin the Clan meld! Those still outside will have to take their chances.’

Astronicus glanced back one last time at the firestorm that enveloped around them all, threatening to turn the Hall to dust, them along with it. The terrace was shaking, as if caught on the epicentre of an earthquake without end. Pieces of rubble crashed from the walls. The surrounding balustrade shook, snapping off along the individual balusters and tumbling over the edge. A second later, he saw it spinning off into the distance, drawn into the centre of the coming inferno.

More than just a tangible darkness, it was like a hole had been torn in the fabric of space, as if reality itself had been ripped open. Fire and lightning sparked from the approaching maw, threatening to suck everything into its infinite depths. Was it a wormhole to another dimension? Or a gateway to Chaos itself? He did not know, and he did not much wish to find out. He just knew the Force Storm was out of control.

He turned, rushing inside to follow the orders back down into the central halls of the labyrinthine monument. Busts and statues lined the walls as he made his way back down the stairwell, faces both dead and living, legends of the past and the present. Sadow, Kane, Revan, Khyron, Bane, and Firefox. Sith Lords without whom the Brotherhood would not exist today, without whom the Sadow Empire would never be revived. That dream would not end here. Those legends of the past who surrounded him would not allow it. He would not allow it. He could not fail them.

The Jedi had not been able to stop them. The Sith monster outside would not either. Oh, they may all have been Sith, but there were different kinds. They followed a dream of a Golden Age, of a better future, an empire that was just and had order. The creature outside was not even human. It just... was. Or perhaps it was more the case that it was not, at least not anymore. It felt no more Sith than Jedi, it was but a wound, a deep, dark void.

True Sith mastered the dark side; they were not mastered by it.

Sounds of battle echoed up from deeper inside, cracks and hisses of lightsabers. He could feel the darkness too. A cold chill that wanted to wrap around his heart and choke the life from his soul. To feed on him. He had felt such hungers before. Years ago, from Kurien; and once again after that from Okemi. Both were dead. This monster’s fate would be no different.

It was just that they had created it. Astronicus wondered where they had ever gone wrong? Where he had gone wrong? How could one of his closest Sons have fallen so far?

The conflict below was proof enough that they had to act quickly. In the Force, he could already feel that some were beginning to succumb to the nightmare. Every spark of pain as his followers fought amongst themselves hit him as truly as if he had been struck himself.

Do not surrender, my disciples, the Overlord urged into the Force, pressing his will upon all who fought in his name. Do not give in to the Betrayer’s lies. Steel yourselves. Together we can drive back the darkness.


Vexatus looked on as the rainbow of lightning and fire wrapped around the Hall of Immortals, burning the bodies of all those Jedi and Sith who had fallen not an hour before. Such waste. All for a war that was futile and forever without end. Only a handful still remained outside in the open, naive and overconfident. The droid legions of the Jedi remained at bay, cut off from the Lorimar Mesa where the canyon entrances had been destroyed. Perhaps they would have provided the fools with a necessary distraction while he dealt with the mechanoids? But now they had brought their fate upon themselves, cut off from reinforcements, both from the Jedi and their own. They were alone. Help was not coming.

Through the eyes of his final berserker he could see the apprentice who had betrayed him. A testament to the folly of training others. The berserker’s fate was of no consequence, and Anya would no doubt soon fall to Goura’s blade like the other three berserkers.

It did not matter. The berserkers had served their purpose and held his enemies here. Had they fled, they may have stood a chance. But they thought their collective willpower could keep him out. Fools. They were but dust motes in a sandstorm. They could not see that the dark side was strongest when contained in a single vessel. That if the Force was created by all living things, then it was the will of life; and that if everything died, then he would be the Force. His will the will of everything.

Then Creation could begin anew. Remade in his image. Pure. Just.

The rocks beneath his feet melted as he strode toward the entrance of the Hall, the fire of the storm flowing through his veins. His very cells boiled with the dark energy that channelled through his body; cell membranes tearing; blood boiling. He could feel as the energy tore him apart, but soon he would have them all, and a new body, a new vector for his will. Perhaps even Caerick’s, or maybe the heir whose blood contained the legacy of the ancient Sith.

All those years ago on Korriban, Omancor Crask had been right about one thing: There was a darkness coming, one so raw and untamed that it could not be stopped. Crask and his Jedi had been fools to ever think they alone could prevent the coming of the Final Way.

Now they lay dead. Crask himself was gone. Vexatus had felt it in the explosion that had echoed through the Force; all those thousands of lives silenced when the Exodus had crashed somewhere across the planet. The pain had been titanic. All that suffering channelled into the firestorm that raged over the Valley of the Dead, fuelled by the death of life. Sarin too he had felt die. The leaders of both the Jedi and the Brotherhood, both revealed as weak.

How foolish Darth Carnus had been. The future was inevitable. It could not be prevented.

There would be One Sith.

Malisane

22-04-2009 14:05:03

Just outside the Hall of Immortals
Antei


Malisane and Agrist lay painful and bruised on the valley floor. They had been fighting the female Master for over ten minutes to no avail. To all intents and purposes she appeared to be gaining amusement from it. "She's too damn strong," Malisane said darkly through the helmet communicator.
"Never say die," Agrist replied, "we must be wearing her down by now." He pushed himself to his feet as she drew closer again.
"She's maintaining some sort of force bubble that's holding the storm off," Malisane replied as he readied his saber. "Each time we get close I can feel it, the air's still."
Malisane flinched as a bolt of lightning crashed nearby, this was real lightning, not what she'd been throwing at them. Outside her protective shell the storm's centre was drawing closer again. "I have an idea," he said suddenly, "I need a few minutes. Draw her off."
"How?"
"Make a run for the hall."

Agrist sighed then gripping his saber he burst into a force assisted charge, the Jedi following. Malisane paused for a few seconds then took a small device from his belt and began tampering with his lightsaber hilt, opening it up and examining the circuits.
Agrist got about thirty foot before he felt himself wrenched backwards. He sailed through the air and landed with a thump that stunned him in front of the woman. There was a brief flicker around them before she recreated the protective force bubble. She laughed. "You poor fool, you cannot escape."
"Kill me then," he said painfully.
"In time," she replied, "you have my pity. Does that surprise you?"
"Yes," he said through gritted teeth.
"It's true. You are poorly lead, you were given a chance to join us, all of you. You refused and you will pay."
"You've lost," he replied pushing himself up, "your forces are defeated, your master will be dead by now. You are the fool."
A second later he gasped as pain wracked through his body as she focused on him. It lasted a count of ten then stopped. "Watch your tongue Sith, you blaspheme."
Despite his pain he laughed at her, "You have lost," he repeated, then writhed again as her force powers struck him again.
"Now," she told him, "you will die."

Malisane was running towards him, seeing Agrist writing in pain on the floor. He wrenched off his helmet. "Die!" he shouted and ignited his saber, throwing it at her. She glanced up and took her concentration off Agrist for a second, studying the flashing saber as it flew through the air towards her. She laughed, reaching a hand out and lowering the bubble she dragged the saber to her hand, catching it neatly and deactivating it. "What was that supposed to achieve?"
Suddenly she flinched in sudden pain as the saber hilt sparked violently, and Malisane watched as a bolt of lightning burst from the storm clouds above, surging down through the Jedi as she twitched violently. Agrist scrambled backwards as she collasped to the floor, the saber hilt exploding and setting fire to her robes.

Malisane ran over, pulling the mercenary to his feet roughly away from the burning corpse. "Now we run!" They sprinted through the howling wind pushing themselves forward with the force until they reached the door, hurling themselves through. They both lay on the floor gasping. "Sometimes it feels good to be alive." Malisane said quietly.

Krandon

22-04-2009 17:49:32

Inside the Hall of Immortals
Heading to the Entrance
Antei


“Well, there goes any chance of me having kids”, Krandon said as he rolled off of Fremoc and places his hands over his crotch area.

Krandon looked at Ekeia with a dark look is his eyes. He could’ve killed Ekeia if he wanted to but, they had connected over the years and he couldn’t force himself to do it.

"Will someone please help me up? We need to get deeper into the Hall and find everyone else," said Fremoc.

"I did this to you guys? No I don't believe it. You two are making it up." Krandon got up and got behind Fremoc lifting him off the ground, before sliding Fremoc's right arm behind Krandon's head. Krandon heard his friend groan in pain as he got off the ground. Ekeia came around and slid under Fremoc's left arm to help ease the weight distrubution.

"Yeah you did. God this hurts. Ekeia, what the frak." Krandon and Ekeia walked on either side of Fremoc helping him walk and half carrying him. Ekeia looked forward but Krandon kept staring at her, trying to figure out why she had done that.

"I didn't do a thing. So whatever."

"I... think..." Fremoc said as his head slumped forward.

“He's unconscious and man is he heavy." Krandon chuckled as Ekeia stated the obvious. "Krandon, this isn't funny. He's hurt pretty bad."

“Yeah, no thanks to you”, Krandon said, changing from laughing to continuing to stare Ekeia down.

“Don’t start with me, I didn't do that,” Ekeia said, now disgusted that Krandon did not believe her.

“Yeah well, let's continue on our pursuit to find the rest so you can try and beat up more people,” Krandon said, now just trying to annoy her.

Ekeia ignored him.

Nekura Manji

23-04-2009 09:52:42

Inside the Hall of Immortals
Valley of the Dead
Antei


Dyrra flinched slightly as a nearby statue fell from its base, the terrific rumbling of the earth shaking the aged stone loose. The rock dropped harmlessly to the floor of the Hall with a loud 'boom' as she glanced across at Manji who sat beside her, cross-legged. His hands were held in a strange position, the tips of his first fingers pressed against his thumbs, the backs of his hands resting on his knees. His eyes were almost completely shut- she could just see his pupils flickering behind the eyelids, indicating that he wasn't asleep. As she raised an eyebrow at the strangeness of his sitting position, Manji spoke without moving.

"Stop gawking at me and concentrate."

Dyrra's lips quirked into a pout as she stuck her tongue out at him before letting out a deep breath and trying to clear her mind. Manji continued to speak calmly, his voice barely modulated. Journeymen nearby glanced at him, listening in as he instructed the red-haired girl.

"Clear your mind of distractions. Don't try and control your power- let it grow and expand until it's like a shadow of your self. We're just providing the energy, we won't be controlling it."

His voice became almost like a drone as Manji relaxed, letting the Dark Side seep out of his mind. If Dyrra had been able to see the raw energy of the Force, it would have looked like a strange gaseous cloud hanging over and around the Epis, moving slowly into the aura of power that pulsed in the Hall as the other members of the Clan supplied their own power to the mix. Closing her eyes, she tried to relax her breathing as the Epis had said, letting the meager power that filled her spread out to join the power shimmering in the air.

As she did, something in her mind opened like a flower opening towards the sun. She could sense the minds of every other member of the Clan, distant and yet familiar; like the sight of home from the window of a starship. In that moment she felt more connected to the Clan than she had done since joining the Brotherhood- she was part of a whole, part of a greater entity, something more than just herself.

The presence of her Master was the most recognisable; bluff and strong, coloured with a strange, exotic hue. The same hue painted the presence of Tsainetomo on the other side of the Hall, yet he seemed subtly different- less blunt, more subtle. The other members of her battleteam and Krandon each had their own unique presence. Above all, she could sense the presence of the Overlord- unflinchingly directing the efforts of the Clan.

The rumbling in the hall intensified as the earthquake grew worse. Outside, the embodiment of death drew closer, the Force Storm raging around it.

Sai

23-04-2009 12:50:22

The Shadowlands
Rendezvous Point
TR-MB Okemi One
II Legion Mobile TAC HQ

Colonel Rylla Anjek had never abandoned a post in his entire military career. So, it stood to reason that he issued the orders to fall back with a sour taste in his mouth as the Tac Officer relayed the readings on the storm that had become impossibly localized in the area around the Hall of Immortals.

“Colonel, intensity of the anomaly is increasing exponentially...no word on Foxtrot-Uniforms...as far as I can tell, structure integrity is compromising...total loss in t-minus 10, and counting!”

“Are the Foxtrot-Uniforms responsible for the anomaly?” Anjek asked.

“Sir, the interference makes it impossible to say.”

Anjek paced the HQ, arms folded behind his back as he felt the rumble of the mobile unit. There was no way they could hold their current position in the face of the destructive energies of the storm that literally boiled just beyond their location. Winds of that magnitude, with the rapid fire of the lightning that struck again and again...and now, there was fire!

Even though his precious sensors could tell him nothing, his battle-hardened intuition gave the colonel all the answers he needed. He could never hope to understand the eldritch forces in which the Force-users dabbled...but in the end, it wasn’t for him to understand. Despite the machinery, the blasters, the ships and the droids, he did understand that, when it came down to the nitty-gritty of this war, it was always about those men and women, those self-styled masters of the universe and the forces that made it tick, who were now holed up in that ancient Hall.

The only thing he could do was ensure that someone was left to tell the tale when, and if, the smoke finally cleared.

Hall of Immortals
Main Threshold

Tired...so, very tired...

Tsainetomo was a man who was being assaulted on multiple fronts. His body cried out in fatigue, the trials of the past few weeks taking their toll. His mind was aching to bow to the irresistible pull of the Overlord, Grandmaster Paladin and Shan Long, seducing him to succumb to the sweetness of the Force-meld. Despite those extremes, the Keibatsu stood firm. His devotion would not allow him to give up the ghost even if he wanted to.

“If you’re done, you need to get upstairs and join the meld. NOW!” Tsainetomo veritably shouted the petulance out of Krandon and Ekeia and they hurriedly dragged the limp form of Fremoc towards the stairs.

His tripartite eyes took in the swirling miasma of death that raged outside. Violet forks of lightning flashed horizontally as dirt and debris gave the maelstrom substance and shape. Eventually, one of those strikes hit something flammable, and the unfathomable pressures within the constricting force bubble caused a firestorm to ignite, bringing another palette of reds and oranges to the whole mix.

It would’ve been darkly beautiful, had it not been intent on destroying them.

Wistfully, Sai made to close the doors. Everyone important to him had made it inside the Hall; all, save one.

The madman. The Alchemist.

Mononoke.

Before he could bend his body to the task of shutting them all inside, perhaps for the last time, he espied movement just beyond the last steps. Aisha, bless her dark soul, was doing her best to drag an unconscious Macron to the haven of the Hall. But, he was too heavy, and she was too weak.

The storm drew ever closer.

They would never make it.

Defying the fates, Tsainetomo lurched down the steps to help the red-skinned Zeltron.

“Mac, you son-of-a-Hutt wife, don’t you ever scare me like that again; as good as I am, writing odes to the fallen is not one of my strong suits!”

The Keibatsu’s admonition fell on deaf ears as he took one arm and Aisha took the other, propping the Sith between them at the shoulders and they shambled for the entrance.

Outside the Hall
Beyond the Force Storm

The thing that was Vexatus/Cyrus strode forward confidently, and if it was still capable of feeling any petty emotion, the sensation it was currently ‘relishing’ was...delightful anticipation. Soon, all who had defied him would be one with Death, and then, one with him.

Focusing his will, he bade the swirling storm to grant him a clear view to the grounds outside the main outer doors. He saw the tattooed one who had betrayed him in what seemed a lifetime ago, being carried by a stripling of a Zeltron and the dark one who had taken his arm on the sands of the Shadowlands. The scorched enamel of Cyrus’ teeth was bared as he willed a lightning strike to incinerate the trio as they made to enter the Hall, but it splashed against the stone abutment of the staircase leading to the door, scoring it instead.

Before he could attempt to do it again, this time with more precision, the Shield that tormented his consciousness slammed his perceptions shut again, just as Tsainetomo slammed the doors. Now, he was truly alone, One against the Many.

Loosing a roar, Cyrus focused his energies back into the storm, and it closed like a great fist on the Hall of Immortals. The wind howled and buffeted the structure, shaking it to its core as ancient mortar came loose and rained pebbles and dust. The lightning lashed mercilessly upon the façade, and the firestorm lapped hungrily at the stone, causing the trace amounts of moisture within the great blocks to become superheated and vaporize into steam; the rocks cracked and whined as the vapor begged release, and some actually began to melt as they surrendered their solidity to the temperatures.

Victory is at hand...we rejoice!

Cyrus’ burnt lips cracked, so wide was the grin on his grotesque visage, and the souls within his ruined vessel screamed in the Force, an agonized chorus of pain and suffering.

Soon...

Inside the Hall

Tsainetomo, the last man in, shut and bolted the doors to the Hall of Immortals and exhaled deeply, the breath seeming to rise from the very innermost core of his being. Collapsing beside the unconscious Macron and the heaving Aisha, he finally gave in to his body’s need to rest. But, not before he finally relinquished his resistance to the massive Force-meld being conducted by the elders above him.

Even as his conscious mind slipped from awareness, he felt the unified mind of Clan Naga Sadow, joined by the Overlord, bolstered by Paladin, and directed by Shan Long.

No longer were his Clanmates divided, their attentions focused on ill-conceived notions of self-aggrandizing; no, for the first time in a very long time, the Sadowans were as one, bent on the survival of everything they stood for. As one mind.

As one heart.

As one Will.

And, even as the thing that was Cyrus/Vexatus pushed to get at them inside the Hall, to burn the life from all that drew breath within, to scour their very existence from the face of Antei, that Will...

...pushed back.

‘It’s about time...beautiful!’ thought Tsainetomo Keibatsu Sadow before the last light of the waking world was finally closed to him, and he bathed in the murky darkness that was the Force.

JadeSadow

23-04-2009 13:43:10

Deep in the Hall of Immortals
Antei


Jades mind swam in a sea of violent reds and depths of despair as she looked upon Xander. Her lips moved into an almost snarl and she thought about sinking her teeth into this neck, draining the life from him, like the voice told her to do. As she planned her move, planed her pounce for the kiss of death she felt another voice enter her head, it seemed to dull the others for a moment with its power and presence. Do not surrender, my disciples, It was the voice of the Clan Overlord, his will pressing onto everyone in the Clan, urging them to fight. Do not give in to the Betrayer’s lies. Steel yourselves. Together we can drive back the darkness.Jade closed her eyes, her mind was a whirl wind of voices, each one with a stabbing knife trying to drive her up the wall, and they nearly had. Opening her eyes she knew Xander had heard the Overlord as well, the look on his face was unmistakable.

“We need to get higher to be of more help.” Xander nodded and moved to Jades side carefully. He had seen the look in her eyes go from a soulless black, to a burning pit of hell as the voices had attacked her, only to set back to the pits of empty black at the Overlords words.

“Agreed.” His voice was one of concern, more for his own life and what he might be helping back to the Clan, then for her current condition. Moving slowly he wrapped an arm around her and placed Jades over his neck and they moved upwards through the Hall, until they heard a door slam and lock. Jade looked up and saw Tsainetomo collapse by the door, Macron lying on the floor near by. Alarmed Jade began moving with Xander over to the two Sons of Sadow, when Zaxen came out of the shadows.

“Mistress?” Zaxens’ eyes widened as he looked upon Jades injury and broken stature. She had always walked with her chin up and with her pride, swaying her hips to distract friends and foe alike. But now she was slumped over, leaning on Xander, her face wincing in pain and anguish. He had no idea what happened but moved to take her weight from Xander. “Go up with the Clan, I’ll get her there.” Only a bit reluctant Xander began moving towards the rest of the Clan, knowing he could do more good in adding his power to the Clan then helping Jade up, though he was concerned for the Arch priestess.

Jade smiled at Zaxen as he wrapped her arm around his shoulders his other hand resting on her hip just below her saber wound. She winced but motioned towards Sai and Macron. As Zaxen began to guide her over Jade spied movement just a head of Xander, it was Keia, Krandon, and Demonic. Her apprentice was being dragged away by the other two. Rage hit her for a moment, allowing the voices a brief control of her mind, until she felt Zaxens’ Palm pressing against her hip.

Zaxens’ palm rested against Jades’ side, he wanted to get her to the rest of the Clan, wanted to get there himself, but knew it would probably take too long, they would have to help from where they were currently. Moving slowly he brought her over to where Tsainetomo and Macron rested. He helped Jade to kneel, allowing her body the chance to rest, but he moved with her. His eyes never leaving her form, as he looked for any clues as to what happened once she took off with Xander. Zaxens’ eyes narrowed as Jade winced and knelt between the two men. He vowed to find the truth behind Jades injury.

Jade looked at Aisha, the girl looked back at her, concerned why so many etiquettes were injured. A slight fear crossed her eyes in wondering just what was going to happen if those higher in strength were being knocked down. Jade did her best to manage a smile of reassurance. Before Jade could ask her any questions she felt the Clan meld. It was strong, each individual becoming one. Their voices and hearts all raised together rin one single common goal.

Zaxen felt the Meld wash over him and he took his chance, throwing his power into it as well. As he did he found the string that lead to Jade, it was weak as he expected, but what he didn’t expect was the odd taint in her presence. Something was holding onto her, and she was trying to fight it, while trying to fight for survival. It was something he was going to have to look into.

Jade threw her power and what was left of her strength into the Clan and those around her. She would be damned if she let anything happen to her brothers and sisters.

Xanos

23-04-2009 16:39:36

Outside the Hall of Immortals
Within the eye of the storm
Valley of the Dead, Adas, Antei


Tall fires burned around Cyrus as arcs of lightning lashed in every direction, striking rocks and droids and abandoned tanks, disintegrating them all to ash. Naked, his armour long since devoured by the flames; the steps beneath his feet dissolved into glass as he strode victorious up the long staircase toward the great iron gates of the Hall of Immortals, like a conquering hero.

The lords of the past lined the edges of the steps, staring down at him. Kane, Paladin, Havoc, and all those who had reigned since; the Lords of the Star Chamber; the Iron Kings of Antei. Their faces melted as he passed, their noses literally running down their cheeks as one by one the giant monuments dissolved into molten puddles. Around him the fallen turned to ash, their bodies becoming one with the storm that closed its fingers around the Hall. The building glowed red hot from the heat of the inferno, great boulders breaking off and tumbling down the staircase, exploding into clouds of ash when they struck him.

Something croaked nearby and he turned to spot a scorched body, barely fighting back the darkness, desperately clinging to life. He neared the fallen figure and bent down, his face halting mere millimetres from the doomed being’s nose. A long second passed before the charred corpse finally noticed him and turned to focus its eyes on his. He saw his reflection in them, a raging star, his arteries pulsing and glowing red veins bulging beneath his blackened skin like rivers of lava.

The body’s lips flaked off into the gales when it moved to talk. ‘The darkness... Crask... he was right...’ the Jedi woman managed to rasp before her eyes rolled back in her head and her body finally crumbled apart, her remains drifting away into the wind in a stream of ash.

He ignored the dead woman’s words. Her Master was dead. She was dead. Her Order was dead. They all were dead. The visions of Omancor Crask were dead. None of them could prevent the coming darkness. The Galaxy would become One Sith.

He continued up the final hundred metres of the staircase until he reached the top. The massive iron doors stood more than ten metres tall, and nearly half as thick. The crest of the Brotherhood glinted in the flickering fires, engraved on the door’s surface in golden electrum. He sneered and reached forward, touching the seal with his palm. The surface bubbled, belching molten alloy across his chest before the entire crest melted and ran off the door, as if the gate itself bled liquid gold.

He fixed his bare feet against the ground and tilted his face up into the heart of the inferno wrapped around the Hall like a fiery glove. He held up his hand. Then clenched his fist.

A second Will pushed back.

He jerked backwards, the strength of the psychic assault piercing his mind as if his skull had been struck with a spear. It was impossible. No One could defeat the Many.

Shan Long! he bellowed through the Force.

No, the Dragon’s voice whispered back firmly.

All of us, the Prince of Sadow added.

As One, the first Lord of the Star Chamber finished.

Unification. His own teachings. He cursed the treacherous apprentice he had ever deigned to train as the strength of the entire Clan pressed back. He could do nothing but give way and step back, the force of the One Clan pushing against him. Like a mirror of his corporeal body, the storm clouds above dissipated slightly around the Hall, pushed back as a blanket of stillness and air formed around the structure, shielding it from the flames.

With a snarl, he thrust himself forward again, the winds ripping against his skin as he ignored the pain and drove himself toward the doorway. The second Will pushed back, like he was trying to force his way through a solid wall which had now wrapped itself around the Hall. Wall or no wall, he did not care. The Will of One Clan would not defeat the legion of the dead. He thrust his fist forward, the full force of the storm travelling with it, and slammed into the doorway. Fractures spread across the door’s surface as the fire wrapped around it, a red and orange blanket smothering the iron wall.

Dark energy tore through him like a hurricane, sucking the essence from his shell as he pressed back against the collective willpower. His flesh withered, pulling taut around his bones as he and the storm surged against the gateway with all their strength; a torrent of fire and lightning blasting against the entrance.

The opposing Will shuddered, the barrier sheathing the Hall thinning, but still it held firm as the inferno tightened around the building again. Entire spires tumbled from the skyline, transforming into molten globs of superheated rock before they splashed onto the canyon floor far below. The Valley itself flowed like a sea of glass, the black sands of Antei dissolving beneath the fiery waves.

But still the doorway stood firm.

He fought back against the unified Will with everything that remained in him, but the balance was slowly tipping toward the Will of the Clan. The energies he had stolen from the long imprisoned souls of the dead Ombi were waning, and the strain upon his body was nearing its limit. Liquid poured from his mouth and eyes as his tongue and organs dissolved, his skin and bones melting. Blood flowed from every pore.

But he was not yet finished, so long as his will existed the battle would not end.

The Sword would not surrender to the Shield.

He reached into the heart of the storm overhead, into the depths of the rift on reality, the wound in the Force, and he pulled. He closed his fingers around the rim of the hole, and tore it open. The roof of the Hall shook; then, brick by brick, pieces lifted off, and spiralled into the singularity.

He threw what was left of his head back and cackled. White fires burst from his mouth and then his ears, his nostrils and his eyes. His entire body began to glow as the power of the dark side flooded his veins, his cells searing together as his body began to melt from the super nova that exploded inside his chest.

Then it hit him; logically and physically. He had taken his mind off the other Will. It had responded by summoning up its own wave as he tore the wormhole open. The shock wave hit him before he had even sensed it. His body hurled away, the currents of his own storm catching him as he hurtled into the sky. The entire Hall exploded as the Force shockwave blast outwards. Bricks and dismembered effigies launched in all directions, flung as the unified willpower of the entire Clan was unleashed in a single massive telekinetic explosion.

He saw the tens of figures joined, their hands linked where they all stood upon what was now nothing but an open spire atop the shattered ruins of the Hall. They still pushed back, pressing their minds upon his, their Will sheathing him in a shimmering blue sphere that trapped the currents of his storm inside, cremating him in a blinding flash of white hot fire. He felt his body tumble through the air, drawing closer to the centre of the airborne singularity. His skin dissolved, atomised as it drained into the bottomless well before his whole body fell into the hole and was crushed into nothingness as the rift closed in upon itself, then popped out of existence with a rush of air.

Nekura Manji

23-04-2009 19:10:19

Remains of the Hall of Immortals
Valley of the Dead
Antei


An almost deafening silence crashed down. The cessation of the storm that raged around the Valley was almost stunning, the spirits of Clan Naga Sadow snapping back to their bodies suddenly as the force they had been struggling against disappeared into non-existence. Gasps of shock and surprise came from parched throats as the Dark Jedi looked at each other, amazed that they were still standing.

For a moment, nobody spoke. The moment seemed sacred, and nobody wished to profane it. Destruction spread out around what remained of the hall- the ground seared and glassed by the sheer power that had been unleashed, charred remains and wreckage scattered chaotically across the floor of the Valley. Nothing moved- corpses and destroyed droids littered the landscape. In that breathless moment, the scale and magnitude of their victory became all too clear, and the silence was broken by shouts and cheers.

Struggling into a sitting position, Aisha resting his head on her lap, Macron opened his eyes blearily, pain still eclipsing his features. A twisted but pained grin lit his face as he looked around at his cheering Clansmen before Manji moved towards him, kneeling down to speak to the Sith.

"So, you've been having a nice sleep while we dealt with Vexatus?"

A black chuckle forced its way from Macron's lips as he glanced over at the Epis, whose own face was split by a grin.

"S'... not m'fault..."

The jovial tone of Manji's voice highlighted the gentle sarcasm of his words as he touched Macron on the shoulder and looked up at Aisha, whose own expression was weary and yet smiling.

"Just like a Sith. Take care of him, y'hear?"

Moving over to Tsainetomo, lying next to Macron, the Epis crouched down again, inspecting his cousin's wounds. A frown marred his face- Manji was too exhausted from the Force meld to be able to do much for Sai. His cousin needed a bacta tank as soon as possible. As the Epis straightened up, his eyes were drawn to the imposing figures stood in the centre of the pillar which was all that remained of the Hall.

The three who had directed the Force meld stared at each other calmly, something lurking behind their carefully-composed expressions. Then, after a pause that went on for slightly too long, the Overlord extended his hand towards the Dragon, his eyes locked onto Shan Long's. For a moment, the man did not respond- then his face transformed into a smile that seemed almost afraid at finding itself in such a strange location, and he clasped Tron's hand with his own.

The tension floating in the air seemed to evaporate as Paladin extended his own hand to be shaken in turn. With such a simple gesture, the old antagonism and hatred between these men seemed to be lifted, alleviated by the measure of their triumph. A warm smile flickered across Manji's lips as Dyrra moved towards him and followed his gaze, her expression curious.

"What's going on there?"

With a chuckle, Manji clapped her on the shoulder companionably.

"I'll tell you when we get home. For now, we should probably see about rustling up some aid for the wounded, hm?"

Fremoc

23-04-2009 19:29:43

Ruins of the Hall of Immortals
Antei


Ekeia and Krandon where exhausted, their friend Fremoc was between them. He was still passed out, while everyone else was showing signs of fatigue. Ekeia looked to be searching herself for something, while Krandon stopped Fremoc's bleeding on his left shoulder. Ekeia sat with her head on her knees to Fremoc's right. Fremoc's body was battered from Ekeia and his shoulder was in definite need of surgery and bacta. Fremoc's body moved as he dreamed...

9 years prior
Corvanni IV


He walked closer to his house. He was excited to be home after being away. But he could feel something wrong. The house felt...wrong. Fremoc went to open the door an explosion threw him back. He felt metal go through his left shoulder as he was blown backwards. Fremoc got up slowly letting his arm hang limp, his home was destroyed. His parents dead. His sister dead. The house was on fire, but he walked inside anyways, searching anything left of his family. He did find one thing though. His father's knife. Fremoc grasped it and walked out to the arriving medical personnel.

"What happened here?" asked an EMT.

"I..don't...know..."said Fremoc.


8 years 8 months prior
Corvanni IV


"I want to sign up as a commando," said Fremoc to the recruiter.

"Sure son, read and sign here," came the reply. "You need 2 specialties."

"I don't care, as long as I can kill terrorists."

"Just put down no preference."

"Yes, sir."


7 years prior
Basic Training Graduation
Corvanni IV


"Your name is no longer Fremoc Pepoi, it is now Demonic," said the Drill Instructor.

"Yes,sir," replied Demonic.

"You are going to medical school and demolitions school. Here are your orders. Demonic." The Drill instructor smiled at him. Demonic went off to for 8 more weeks of training.


Several Months Ago
Ord Mantel Station


"VONG!" some screamed as the Vong rushed into the hangar bay. Commandos dropped left and right, but some stood with their armor on and repelled the attack. Slowly but surely the Vong dropped, but Fremoc's commandos were dropping faster. It was down to Fremoc and and just a few Vong. One had tried to sneak behind Demonic, only to meet his death by Tolme's knife. Fremoc quickly went to kill the rest of the Vong. He withdrew Tolme's knife from the Vong's body, and found Tolme nearby.

"Tol, come on dude lets get out of here," said Fremoc.

"No, go. Leave us before the Vong get back," replied his friend. Fremoc went to give Tolme the knife back. "Keep it. Give it to someone that will watch your back as well."

"Good bye my friend." Fremoc got back into the shuttle and left his commandos behind.


Several Months Ago
Tarthos


"Crud," said Fremoc as he surveyed the damage to his shuttle. "Good landing Demonic..."

He heard a noise and twirled around raising his rifle up to see a young lady walking towards him.

"Identify yourself," yelled Fremoc.

"I am Ekeia, a Jedi Huntress in the House Marka Ragnos of Clan Naga Sadow. Who are you?" asked Ekeia.

"Squad leader Demonic of the Corvanni IV commandos," came his reply.

"What happened here?"

"I crashed." Fremoc's anger flared.

"Hmm. Would you like to come with me? I think you belong with the people I am with."

"What do you mean..."

"I think you can control the Force, and I know people you can teach it to you."

"Lead the way," he said reluctantly. He needed a place to go, a home, a family. He was hoping Ekeia could possibly fill part of that gap.


Ruins of the Hall of Immortals
Antei


Fremoc awoke and sat upright, withdrawing his father's knife at the same time. He brought the knife to Ekeia's neck, his anger flaring.

"Are you the Ekeia that showed me to the dark side or this new Ekeia that likes to kick my butt," growled Fremoc.

"I don't know," came her response. He lowered the knife and laid back down on the floor, looking up to the sky. He smelled the burnt remains of bodies in the valley. He raised his head to look around, noticing everyone was sitting and looked exhausted. He wondered what he missed while he was passed out. He saw Krandon on his butt staring at him. He looked around more seeing that his mistress was laying on the ground as well. He could sense that she was injured and could see her breathing was very shallow.

"Good. Can I go back to sleep now?"

Macron Sadow

23-04-2009 22:17:33

Remains of the Hall of Immortals
Valley of the Dead
Antei


"So what happened out there, anyhow?" asked Tsainetomo as he gingerly touched his own wounds.

"Anya was... too much," grunted the Sith. "She hit me with some unbelievable lightning. Red blade's synth-crystal shorted... orange Corusca saber held. Couldn't stop the Force wave that followed," said the Warlord with a cough. "Broke most of my ribs and knocked me out cold." Aisha put the straw of a waterbottle between his lips, and the alchemist drank greedily. "It hurts."

"I felt that berserker of Vexatus' pass, my friend. I think she burned out with it," replied the Keibatsu. "It seems he hasn't forgotten what you did to him."

"Apparently not," coughed Macron. "It's a testament to Aisha's training and your keen senses that I'm alive at all." The Zeltron took his pulse with her fingertips, counting silently to herself.

"I'd agree with that," said Manji as he stepped up with Dyrra. Both held bacta cannisters, bandages, and a first aid kit.

"Too bad for the rest of us," chuckled Dyrra.

"That's the spirit," sighed Macron. "Aisha, you're going to want to give me a shot of that heart stimulator."

"What?" asked the Knight as she picked up the hypospray. "What's wrong?"

"Heart's out of rhythm from the electrical shocks," said Macron. "Just do the hypo, I'll be fine. I've got a spare back on Sepros."

"A spare?" Aisha goggled as she delivered the medicine to a limp arm. "What the hell?" Macron sighed as he passed back out.

"You don't know about...?" said Tsainetomo with a wince as Manji laid a stitch in his stomach wound. He exchanged a meaningful look with the Epis, who nodded.

"Know what?" asked Dyrra with a blink as she handed a bandage to Manji.

"He's not an all-natural kind of guy," remarked Sai. "From the little he's told me, a large part of him is synthetic flesh. He hates himself for it."

"Has it's benefits, as you can see. Makes him a madman both in and out of combat," said Nekura. "I seldom feel pity, but I do a little for him. Don't tell anyone," he said with a finger to his lips. "I've got an reputation to keep up."

A mild rumble shook the chamber. "Another storm?" asked Dyrra as she looked up at the roof.

"No, that's definitely a ship landing outside," said Tsainetomo as he drank from a waterpouch. "Company."

Kalei_Basai

24-04-2009 10:14:00

Remains of the Hall of Immortals
Valley of the Dead
Antei


Kalei felt exhausted, and that wasn't even the word for it. The Clan meld had worn her out, mostly because she hadn't really been ready for it. Leaning against some of the ruins, she had to get some of her energy back. She'd lost track of the rest of the group; Jade, Zaxen, everyone else even. She'd felt them in the meld but that didn't tell her where exactly they were.

Opening up her eyes, she saw some of them looking as tired as she did and spotted Jade up ahead of her. Looking near her, Kalei saw Zaroth on the ground next to her. She wished that she had the strength to move him.

Feeling the rumble that shook the area, Kalei looked around for the source of it and couldn't see anything from her current area. Kneeling down next to Zaroth, she did her best to pick him up after placing her saber back on her waist. "Come on, we can't be done yet. You gotta wake up so we can get to the rest of the group."

Zaroth barely moved as she lifted him up to drag him behind her. She made her way through the remains of the hall and got over to Jade's group.

"You all alright?" She asked as she set Zaroth's unconscious body down next to her and sighed. There were more people here than she realized but she didn't have any strength for small talk.

Kalei looked at herself; through all the battles she never realized how much damage had actually been done to her. Adrenaline rushes caused her to not realized her own injuries. She had many cuts that were bleeding more than they should as well as a few saber burns under holes in her outfit. And now with the rumbling, she didn't know that, if more came to fight, if she would be able to hold her own anymore.

Xanos

24-04-2009 12:02:51

Near the remains of the Hall of Immortals
Valley of the Dead
Adas, Antei


Stillness swept over the valley as the Lambda-class shuttle vectored in to land below the open topped ruins of the Hall of Immortals, a pair of Nu-class attack shuttles on its wings as escort. A plume of smoke still rose into the sky from where the Hall appeared to have exploded, seeming to have burst open from the inside out. The glassed sands cracked as the three shuttles set down, their landing feet fracturing the surface like they were setting down atop a frozen lake.

Steam jets hissed as the hydraulic legs stabilised the three ships while they depressurised. Then, three ramps opened, splintering the glass surface further when their bulk slammed down onto the ground. Teams of black clad marines poured out, and took up defensive positions around the shuttles. A few moments later, slow, heavy footsteps thumped through the valley as huge skeletal droids disgorged from inside the Nu-class shuttles, webs of fracture lines spreading across the glass under their wampa-sized feet. Their motors hissed and crackled, raw blue arcs of electricity sparking across their joints and servos.

As the droids unloaded, a quartet of crimson armoured guards emerged from the central shuttle, the plain white glow of their lightsabers illuminating their masked faces; the four formed up into a solid wall at the base of the ramp. A dark robed figure stepped out after them.

He looked out at the aftermath of the battle. Molten tanks lined the valley, fused into the glassed earth beneath them. Still smoking bones and droid parts littered the area. The Jedi were all clearly all dead. Not the hum of a lightsaber or the whine of a battle droid sounded in the near perfect silence, ruined only by the hiss of the YVHs. He descended the ramp, his cloak rippling in the gentle breeze that now blew through the valley, like the light of a new dawn – if the Shadowlands had dawns.

One of the Royal Guardsmen strode over. ‘All clear, my lord.’

He nodded. The guardsmen and the other troops began spreading out across the area in search of survivors. The YVHs followed, clumping up the former staircase that now led up to the smoking remains of what had been the Hall of Immortals. Not a single statue remained; where once the great lords had eternally stood watch, now there was nothing but smoking puddles of cooled liquid.

He followed the guardsmen and YVHs as several of them made their way up to where the towering monument to the Brotherhood’s founders and elders had stood. Now nothing more than a stump; its great spire gone. He had known the Jedi desperate, but not to this extent. But he already knew the answer to what truly had transpired here. The foul taint still lingered on the wind, like a familiar perfume. The sudden explosion had echoed across the planet. It was why he had come.

He had to be sure his family were alright. He had already lost Sarin this day.

He spotted a figure atop the staircase, propped up against a wall, no visible signs of movement. His eyes widened and he reached out, but he only sensed the faintest whisper of life. A red skinned female was kneeling down over the prone figure, applying bacta patches across his body; there was a mound of medical kit on the floor beside her; bandages, patches, needles, syringes.

Mononoke...

He reached forward and pushed one of the guardsmen out of the way and broke into a sprint, squeezing through the narrow gap between the two YVHs up front as he rushed up the final stretch of the staircase. He could still sense movement inside the shattered Hall itself, but it all felt drained and weak. Was he too late?

As he neared, a pair of familiar faces appeared in the ruined entranceway to the building.

‘Brother!’ Nekura called, grinning widely.

Nekura Manji

24-04-2009 15:01:05

Remains of the Hall of Immortals
Valley of the Dead
Antei


The concern evaporated from Muz's heart like mist before the burning sun as he slowed to a walk, the royal guardsmen and the YVH droids falling in behind him. His family members were still alive- they were weak and wounded, but they were still alive. Warcoat rustling about him, the eldest Keibatsu moved through what had been the doorway of the Hall, a smirk caressing his lips.

"Manji-kun, it's good to see you. How's Tsainetomo?"

Raising his head, Sai managed a weak grin as he spoke.

"Simply... thriving, Musashi."

Four of the royal guardsmen were summoned forwards by a snap of the elder's fingers. Pointing at Tsainetomo and Macron, Muz spoke quietly to the men.

"Take these two and any others who need help to the shuttles. They need medical assistance as soon as possible."

As the guardsmen nodded and moved to their duties, Muz continued into the Hall, looking around him. The taint in the air that he'd sensed outside the confines of the Hall was not present