Return to the Phare System
Sadow Palace, Sepros, Orian System
"M'lord, we've received signal from the fleet, they are holding position just outside of the Phare System" reported one of the navel lieutenants assigned to rear guard reported.
"Have they received any signal from the advanced party?" Muz asked
"No M'lord, there is no sign of any of them"
-Two Days Earlier-
Frigg, Phare System
Former Headquarters Planet of House Primus Goluud
Current Location of the Emperor's Hammer Corporate Division Complex
Derev busted up laughing as Malisane walked out of the small bathroom in their rented room, wearing a TIE Corps Uniform.
"Shutup, right now" Malisane barked, not at all humored to be in the uniform.
"Aye, aye Lieutenant" Derev smirked as he made his way to the bathroom to change into his own costume. Malisane may've been uncomfortable in his uniform, but it was no match for what Derev felt as he changed into his old Corporate Division uniform, a uniform he'd worn for many, many years. Coming back out into the main living area of the room, Malisane in turn cracked a grin of his own.
"It suits you a little better, Ass Admiral" Malisane grinned as Derev adjusted his old decorations. "Military, ugh, I couldn't stand wearing all those decorations".
"Haha, it builds good upper back strength" Derev replied, sliding his lightsabre and blaster pistol onto his belt.
"How do you think Malik and Trev are doing?" Malisane asked after a few moments of silence.
"Hard to tell, but we'll know soon enough" Derev responded, and paused for a moment, "I hope".
"Lets go find some scouts" Malisane announced, as the two made their way out of the room into the common areas of the spaceport. "So, did you have a habbit of walking around the Spaceports with a Naval Lieutenant?"
"Well, someone might wonder why a Command Officer is just pacing around the civilian sectors".
"Aha, no, I went out often enough, I had a uhh taste for some of the locals." Derev responded "Besides, I think I've grown just a wee bit with the force, I'm not too worried yet".
Phare System Boundaries, VSD Covenant, Bridge
"Sir, we're receiving a coded message. Master Shan Long has established contact with locals on Loki, and he has acquired transportation".
"Very well. Xayun, what do you think?" Shikyo asked
"We should go, it's four hours past the agreed time, either somethings happened, or they don't have the ability to contact us. Both Malik and Trev have accomplished their first objectives" Xayun responded.
"Very well. Signal Malik and Trev, lets get the ships here. Captain Rineval, you have the bridge. Hold position and await further orders. Defend the fleet at all costs if you are discovered" Shikyo ordered as he walked towards the lift with Xayun.
"Aye Sir, I have the Bridge"
"Lets go suit up" Xayun grinned, a little too eager to jump into some mischief. Both Aediles made their way to the rooms they'd been assigned, leaving behind their robes, replacing them with traditional clothing to befit buisnessmen and traders. A little under an hour later, small fleets of shuttles, transports, and other vehicles began to land on the shuttle deck of the Covenant, a few at a time, seemingly timed to be normal routes. The long relationships with the locals of the Phare System had not been forgotten, nor was the power of the Clan. Many older members of the clan found themselves exchanging greetings with people they had known many years ago, the process of aging not so kind to these non force users.
Over the next twelve hours, the bulk of Clan Naga Sadow's forces were transported into the Phare System, disguised on transports and corporate ships, slowly amassing in key locations in the system.
Sif, Phare System, Former Location of Sadow Palace
"My god" Shikyo said to himself as he stepped off the shuttle that had brought him to Sif. To his knowledge, this was the location of the Sadow Palace Compound. Every briefing and report he'd been able to find indicated all structures had been destroyed. Clearly, this was not the case. Despite the many years that had passed, you could still clearly make out where the Sadow Palace had once been. Deep within the pit, you could still see tunnels and subterranian passages, still intact.
"Wow" Xayun remarked, stepping up beside Shikyo. "Lets get everyone together and figure some things out". About an hour later, two the Aedile's stood in the center of a small room, in an abandonded building that may well have once belonged to Clan Naga Sadow.
"Clearly someone must be watching this stuff" Malik announced matter of factly. "We saw it on both Loki, and Ullyr. Subtle, but there is an Imperial precense, I doubt this place is unguarded".
"And still there is no word from Malisane and Derev. Clearly something has gone wrong, someone may well already know we are in the system" Trev added.
"Doubtful" Shikyo added "They would've put the system on alert and checked incoming vessels. No, thus far, I think we are safe, the question is, why have Derev and Malisane remained in hidi-"
Before Shikyo could finish his sentance, one of the local sympathizers came running into the room. After quickly bowing, he broke into speech. "My lords, a large detatchment of IWATS trainees have landed just 7 clicks away, and they are moving this way!"
"A Training mission?!" Shikyo blurted out
"I highly doubt that, it seems a little too convienant" Xayun replied. After closing his eyes for a moment and probing the force, Xayun spoke again "No, it's not a training mission. Alert the Clan, it appears we've been discovered!"
Muz Ashen Keibatsu grew more nervous by the moment as reports continued coming in. The final report left him feeling no better. Apparantly, a large compliment of IWATS trainees had been landed very close to the clans position on the planet, and apparantly, it was no training mission.
His initial hesitation at beging asked by Jac to come to the Sadow Palace for this operation seemed silly. Now it was becoming all to clear why Jac had asked him here. The Field Marshall he was, and it looked as if he would soon be going to battle against the Emperor's Hammer. The mere thought caused the excitement to rise. He ordered the Spear to be ready for immediate departure at anytime, it's deadly cargo also on alert.
Having made their plans, the forces of each house split up, each now under the sole command of their Aedile - the assumption already made that both of the Quaestor's may very well be gone. The mysterious mission being undertaken by Manesh and Kat Pridemore on Antei was now painfully becoming a mistake, the lack of sound leaders in the field did not bode well for this mission.
"Talon, have Maol take charge of your squadron, and get them back to the Covenant immediately. We're going to need air support in a hurry." Shikyo ordered as he prepared the rest of the house for battle. Talon nodded and ran off to find his executive. Shikyo issued more orders to the troops around him, painfully aware they would soon be very outnumbered. In the distance, he saw his counterpart making similiar arrangements with his forces. The Aedile's certainly had gotten more then they bargained for.
Anticipations were running high. This would be a big battle for House Marka Ragnos on its own. Talon was back on board the Covenant, preapring the squadron and making preparations for bombing raids. Raven and Vladek were standing beside him, anticipating their orders. The Aedile turned his focus on the two Battleteam Leaders.
"Alright, we gotta find a way to knock out a vast amount of their forces with little effort. This is where the two of you are gonna come into play. Vladek, I want you to scout the area and check out their forces. Report back to me with strengths and weaknesses. I wanna know where to destroy them."
Vladek smirked and nodded, heading back to his team and relaying the information. Raven was the next to speak up.
"What do you have in mind for me, Shik?"
"Get your team ready for demolitions but go light. I don't want you guys to be weighed down by too much equipment. Take whan ya need. As soon as Vladek has something, I'm sending you guys to hit them. Give them something to remember us by."
A chuckle left the Knight's lips.
"Can do, Shikyo."
Raven made his way back to the Night Hawks, making sure everything was clear to them. Rurouni turned back towards the opposing forces on the other side. Running his hands over his weapons, the Keibatsu caught the movement of his Black Guard, Ashia Kagan Keibatsu quickly approaching. He knew this would be a conflict of interest on her part.
"Sis, you sticking with the Serpents?"
"That's what I planned on."
"Good. I figured this would be a bit confusing. Stick to your team and give 'em hell for me."
"It's what I do."
She ran back toward Ludo Kressh ranks, with Shikyo on her heels, making his way towards Xayun. The two Aediles stood together and looked at the masses ahead of them. Shikyo would break the silence between the two of them.
"I have my guys looking for weak spots. I figured we hit them and make our way through."
"Sounds good. We've got things handled on our side."
The Keibatsu nodded and extended his hand towards his friend, shaking it firmly.
"Take it easy and don't get killed, Cajun."
"You too, Shik."
Rurouni walked back towards his camp, looking around. Everyone was preparing for the battle, everyone was in a hurry, and everyone was jittery with anticipation. Now, the only thing there was to do was wait for the reports and the right time.
Loki. A desolate iceball of gas to some, home to others. The farthest point in the Phare system, and home to one of the largest complexes of Imperial training in the entire sector. If you knew where to look. Someone once said that if you are looking for the best place to hide from someone, then you should look right under their noses.
A lone TIE Phantom sat on a mostly barren field of ice. In the years since the destruction of the Cathedral, the ice had claimed a good porition of the remains. There was still that odd sense coming from within, however... that space that noone had been able to identify. It's deflection of all senses of Force detection leaving many puzzling after it's secrets.
One person sat within the Phantom, designed for two. The rest of the craft was occupied by documents recovered from the ruins already. He sat, as he had done for so long, in the pilot's seat, holding the document of today's study and reflection in his clawed hand, with the wooden staff Da'tharnas in the other. Beneath the pre-Exodus robes of his order, the Krath Priest noted every fact, every detail about the document that he could perceive. The hood of his robe was pulled low, resting on his extended nose. He had no need for eyesight; the Force told him all he needed. It told him this document's age.. the relative power of the one who had transcribed it... even the location of it's creation, if he focused hard enough. This particular one was from... Sif, he decided.
Lips curled into a smile - a furred grin that would most likely give others the impression that he was thinking of them as a snack, with his fang-like teeth protruding from his upper jaw. He had not been so distracted as to fail to notice the arrivals. Strong in the Force, and yet... somehow a familiar feel about them. Hard to make out at a distance, though. He assumed that the Emperor's Hammer's own Dark Jedi were finally getting around to investigating Phare, to see if they could find clues from the past. They would find nothing of signifigance, of course, unless they started to dig. He had gathered all that he could find, and wasnt about to give up the last vestiges of the Library he once oversaw to them.
Turning up the heat just a little in the Phantom, StarLion returned to the document, waiting for whomever was to come...
After he and Raven had arrived on the surface Command Center, Vladek stood at the head of his assembled Battleteam, watching the blank faces of his cleanly robed members. He raised his voice to a cruel, deep tone.
“Your clean robes will soon be splattered with the blood of conquest, my brothers.”
Looks of apprehension flew across the faces of the young Journeymen, but Vladek dismissed their uncertainties.
“Do not run from battle. Embrace death and become one with the force. Now go, and scout the area for the enemy.”
The Battleteam gave murmurs of assent, and set off to do their assigned task. Vladek trod towards the Command Center, where he found Raven giving his Battleteam orders. As the Night Hawks set off to prepare for the battle, Vladek approached the Knight.
Raven gave a small grin.
“Indeed, my friend. I take it the Raptors are scouring the area?”
Vladek nodded, as he seemed to be lost for words. An explosion broke the short silence between the Tetrarch’s. Vladek instinctively went for his Training Saber, but picked up his beeping comink at the same time.
“Vlad here, what in the Force was that?”
“Kemp here, sir. We found an Imperial scout, and destroyed it, but it got a message to the Hammer. There’s a large strike force headed our way, what are your orders?”
“Hold them off for as long as you can, then fall back to the Command Center. Vladek out.”
Vladek turned to Raven with a slight smirk on his face.
“War just moves too fast.”
A voice resonated out of nowhere an everywhere all at once. He looked through the canopy, across the fields of ice and methane-driven snow. Searching the Force, he looked for a presence. A ghost perhaps, this planet was full of them. At last, he remembered.
"Greetings, my brother. It has been some time."
Starlion focused for a moment, preparing his body for the cold. He hastily debarked his fighter, almost inured to the driving winds. Some hundred paces forward, he barely made out a dark shape. This was the source of that penetrating voice. The figure started walking, and the Priest followed.
They did not talk until the looming ruin of the Dark Cathedral jutted out of ice. Slipping into a cracked archway, they stood inside a rubble-strewn antechamber. The room itself seemed well protected from the cold. The figure pulled back his fur-lined cowl, and for the first time in many years, StarLion looked his former Quaestor in the eyes.
Trevarus held out his hand, StarLion returned the clasp.
"It is very good to see you, my friend." Trevarus said.
"Likewise, Trev. I just left here, why did you want me to come back?"
"Another old friend passed me a bit of information a few cycles ago. The Imperials have begun to dig through the glacier under their facilities on this rock. We are here to ensure they fail to recognize an ancient structure."
"You mean that Krath hangar from the Great War?"
"Yes. While Xanos and I destroyed most of it, enough of the facility remains, that the Imperials may discover what we did not destroy. Its time to collect the remnants. A certain passageway remains inside this ruin."
"Well, lead on."
"Ready your lightsaber, there are many fell dangers lingering... from both the living and the dead."
Both brought lightsabers out, allowing their blades' light to cast their way through the first of many dark passages.
The Priest's blade hummed to life in his hand as the two descended further, the Cathar stowing away the staff on his back. It was all the same... and yet so different.
"The question arises.." he began, continuing to walk beside the superior member of the Brotherhood. "Why now? I mean... if one of the defectors was going to talk, the Hammer would have been here years ago. No one has disturbed this site except for myself in seven years..." he ducked under a low hanging beam, which pulled back the hood from his head, revealing his now sightless, pupiless purple eyes.
"What isn't being said, Trev?" He didnt actually know if the Dark Jedi Master was actually keeping anything to himself, but his nature was to seek knowledge, even when descending into the ruins of their old base with the potential of danger in every step.
"What the frell was that?"
Shikyo walked up towards the two Tetracrhs, furious to see Vladek still around and his team gone.
"It was an Imperial scout. The Raptors took care of it but they've already relayed a message back to their base."
"And why weren't you with them?"
A slight studder left the Guardian's lips before the Warrior cut him off.
"The last time I checked, you were in charge of them. I want you amongst their ranks A.S.A.P. and if you have issues, you know how to get in contact with me. Don't be afraid to fight to face them. It's just a bunch of Hammer amas."
Only Raven had some understanding of the last word, but with a bit of a snarl and grunt, Vladek was quickly making his way towards his team's position. Shikyo moved quickly towards Xayun, preparing to make a slight change of plans.
"Cajun, we have a slight situation."
"The Raptors have compromised our position. It seems they had a scout looking for us too."
"Frell... What do ya have in mind?"
"I'll take my house and move towards their position, help them out. I'll send Raven in the backdoor and cripple their communications. Maybe that will get them to shut the frell up."
The Kresshian Aedile chuckled and smirked.
"No problem. Don't get killed too quickly."
"Hey, it'll take more than that to finish me off, trust me."
The two split off, leaving Shikyo to find and talk to Raven.
Something screamed in utter darkness. If merely light could describe such a beast, any description would suffice. Falling back behind his robes as a tornado rips through mere structures, Trevarus flung the Cathar behind him.
"Stay still!" Trevarus shouted a whisper.
The very air seemed to come alive with a cold dampness, the kind that draws the hairs on your arms and neck to pinpricks of antcipation. The Master crouched, his blade replaced on his belt, muttering words in a dialect the alien Dark Jedi could not comprehend. A red-violet light flickered out of nowhere, and in the haze, StarLion perceived a certain disturbance, a wrongness with the situation.
Violet thunder crackled from the Master's fingertips. In a howl of anguish, a body fell beyond his visual senses. Trevarus stood, and brushed invisible dust off himself.
"The Krath entombed many secrets here. Our purpose is to find them."
"But why now?" the Priest asked.
"At one time, I was not equiped to travel any further down this particular corridor."
Visual cues once again faded to obscurity, and both Jedi followed the raw intuition their senses provided.
"Master... why?" StarLion asked again.
"I'm looking for another Anexhexeton." Trevarus said, truth transparent in his voice.
"All will be made clear in a matter of hours... if we live that long"
The pair travelled through another series of twisting corridors, broken archways. Travels even carried them past the remnants of broken vessels, their techology long since obsolete. Trevarus stopped outside of a twisted metal door. With a wave of his hand, it slid soundlessly open. He stepped inside, and StarLion followed.
"I once attempted to slay Xanos Zorrixor in this very place." A mass of broken stone, steel, and howling winds betrayed the emotional turmoil that billowed from the corrupted planet. The remains of ancient fighters, supports, and computer termnials were arrayed in a oddly logical pattern.
"This was almost a lifetime before our current incarnation."
The Priest did not understand what that meant, but he followed his Master out of that desolate chamber, down even deeper corridors, into the genuine hell of Loki.
StarLion hissed as he was shoved behind the Master... no easy feat for a human, but that was not on StarLion's mind at the time. Trevarius' lightning quickly downed the shade... a being whose presence seemed to follow StarLion. So... there hadnt been just one.
Somewhere in his head, the thought occured and was filed away for later postulation: Was the creature that attacked me years ago the same as the spirits down here?
That one was quickly followed by another obvious question. Why if he had spent all his life walking the halls of the Cathedral had he never even sensed this place, or the spirits dwelling within?
These things he knew would become clearer in time, as Trev had said. He didnt particularly like the feeling of this section of the hall, and yet it's ancient mysteries tugged at his scholarly nature.
"Where is the object located, Master?" he asked, his unseeing gaze continuing to look through the Force, watching for any sign of impending attack.
All of a sudden Vladek hated himself; he hated himself for the stupidity of what he had done. Without notice, he stormed from the command center, jumped onto a speeder and powered off. Now on his way, Vladek tracked Kemp’s coordinates on his navicomputer, and found his Battleteam forming a defensive line.
“Kemp! What’s the situation here?”
The Krath Acolyte turned to face his leader.
“Vladek, sir! The strike force is closing in; they’ll be here in approximately two minutes!
Vladek gave a small sigh. They’d have to fight now.
“Take this shuttle back to the command centre! Get reinforcements ASAP, then come back here and kill some Imperials!”
Vladek shook his head.
“Enough with the ‘sirs’. When we die, we’ll all be equal.”
Kemp gave a faint grin, then took off at full speed. Vladek then set to the task of sorting his Battleteam for the now inevitable confrontation.
“Kayvana, get out your training saber; we’re going to need it! Kill, do to the Hammer what your name implies! Alright, the rest of you, form in stagger formation, it will keep them from using heavy explosives and knocking us all off.”
The Raptors nodded in agreement, and set out into their ordered positions, as Vladek thought to himself.
“Hopefully I can redeem myself from what I did before, by doing well now.”
Vladek felt a light tap on his shoulder. He turned to see Raven's familiar grin, the Night Hawks behind him.
"Call your battleteam back, we're going to lay them out the carpet," Raven said quietly. His fellow Krath gave him a quizzical look, then called the Raptors back.
"How long do I have?" Raven asked.
Vladek stared, "A minute."
"Right. Hawks, Lets give these bastards a welcoming mat!" The Knight shouted, gapbbing a pack of explosives in each hand, hollering at Vladek to fortify the command center wall as fast as possible.
Raven sprinted with the rest of his Phyle, looking to his Tyros with an evil smile. They stopped 10 meters out, and all of them began moving dirt with telekenisis, creating small holes. Raven dropped one explosives into each of the two holes he had 'dug,' and kick the dirt back over them, and ran back to the Raptors, his Phyle following suit.
A flaming beam of scarlet light flashed past his cheek, close enough for him to feel the heat eminating from it. The Knight ran into the line of the Raptors, ducking for cover.
"I need a weapon," Raven growled, and turned to find Vladek holding out a blaster rifle in his hand. The fire burned it both their eyes as they turned their guns on the Hammer troops.
"Don't shoot," Rave called to the twin Phyles. He produced a small device with a green switch on the top, and flipped open the cover protecting it.
He sneered, and depressed the switch, as the fourth rank of Hammer troops marched over the detonators.
Shikyo couldn't help but smirked as the fireworks of Raven's explosives seemed to tear a hole through the ranks that dared to engage the Hawks and Raptors of Ragnos. The Aedile walked up on his Tetrarchs with a major amount of the forces behind him. Raven and Vladek turned towards the Warrior, returning amongst the ranks of the House.
Smoke settled from the explosion that seemed to decimate a pretty good size of their force. More Imperials were making their way to the last sighted enemy position. It was suprising to the Platoon Leader that a force of maybe 20 men was doing so much damage. He was making his way towards the smoke, when a beam of red light broke through the soot and dust. He raised his hand to halt the movement. The patter of feet stopped, awakening the many banshees their enemy seemed to have.
That was theo nly word Shikyo needed to say, as the demons of Marka Ragnos ripped through the unaware Imperials. The Warrior couldn't help but bask in the anger and fury of his Housemates. This motivation seemed to move through everyone amongst the Brotherhood ranks, as the Dark Jedi continued to push through these "trainees". It was becoming more and more apparent that these troops had never seen war before, as the Disciples of Ragnos had split the platoon in half and were making their way through the remainder.
As soon as the first group was almost completely dissolved, Shikyo caught a glimpse of a larger force, maybe a little more than a company, make their way towards the Dark Jedi. Shikyo grabbed his commlink, getting on contact with Talon's squadron.
"Talon, this is Shikyo. We.... have a situation. Would ya mind clearing the field for me?"
Static cleared the mic before the sound of Talon Jade's voice found its way towards the Aedile's ears.
"No problem. I'll make sure to close the backdoor on them."
Rurouni put the commlink away and prepared himself for Round Two.
The rain was of blood and ash. Shin'Ichi looked skyward, his hand smearing the fallen across his cheek. The grizzled soldier barked a command, but the words came out silent, the screaming of recent explosions deafening all close enough to hear. He shook his head, blaster fire seething past him as he repeated himself.
The brethren began to bellow their names in response, to tell the others that they still lived as much as they did to remind themselves. Shin spun abruptly, a sneer upon his face as he swung his blade up to intercept a blaster bolt.
As the violet sheared away the crimson bolt, the face of the Epis paled. Throwing himself aside, the bellowing resonance of heavy arms fire echoed after him, the cold metallic trot of walkers playing a rhythm of destruction.
"Walkers?" Shikyo sneered, disbelief writ large across his face. "In this narrow of a pass?"
Raven handed the Aedile his electrobinoculars, pointing up the stony ridge. "They're just MT-STs and MT-ATs, but still..."
Shikyo swore as he handed the binocs back, flipping on his wristcomm as he stepped around a dead stormtrooper. "Shin, you recall any weak spots on the Mike Tango walkers?"
The scream of blaster fire filtered through the tiny speaker, followed by an exasperated bellow from the Keibatsu. "If I frelling knew, do you think we'd be pinned down, otouto*?"
Shikyo swore again, flipping the commlink closed as he yelled to his snipers. "Take cover, and aim for the joints, Ragnos!" Shikyo turned, his hands finding solace on the stock of a tenloss disruptor. He went prone, sighting along the rock to take out one of the spider walker's many legs, muttering to himself. "Like Muz always said...if a man can't stand, a man can't fight..."
Maol spun his ship into a barrel roll, evading the anti-aircraft missiles from below with some difficulty, the Force wrapping around the ordnance and pushing them off target. "Bloody dren, mate... This is getting crispy. Ylith, you have an ETA on our backup?"
Horus shifted sideways in his seat, forcefeeding a mobile anti-aircraft unit a torpedo as he jogged the ship out of harm's way. "I have no idea, they ran into some Tartans Cruisers on their way out." Horus spun the ship lower to the ground, his trigger finger expressing his destructive will across the Hammer's troops, splaying their ruined forms across the rock of Sif.
"Tartans?" Maol chuckled, pulling his ship up some, avoiding the small arms fire from the troops below. "That won't take the Covenant but a few minutes..."
Horus smiled as he watched the foes of Sadow burn, the silence enough of an acknowledgement for Godo.
"We are in the dren. Situation normal..." Shik snarled as he spoke into his wristcomm, the encoded frequencies of the Kuroshin holonet carrying his message lightyears away. Blaster bolts perforated the rock inches away as the metallic spiders clawed their way down toward the ancient ruins. "I can't believe we came down here without any armour...and we're already running low on ordnance."
The voice of the Lion of Tarthos came across tinny. "I'm already getting the Spear prepped, brohim. Just stay alive, reinforcements are on the way."
Shikyo sneered as he peeled back from the rock, firing at the spiderwalker as his apprentice covered him, the pair moving in tandem as the razed the durasteel skin of the beast. Rolling to the ground, he cradled the commlink. "Will do. Get here asap, willya?"
"I got a stop or three to make, but I'll be there as soon as I'm loaded for bear." Muz's voice got stern all of a sudden, abruptly terminating the link.
"I hope he gets here soon...I've got a bad feeling about this."
Muz stepped into the hangar, motioning with his hands to the scarlet-armored guardsmen to get aboard his alien ship. The Guardsmen moved with celerity, the trainign of the Royal Guard evident in their very movement, each stride betraying the expenditure of dozens of weeks in tutelage. Muz stamped aboard the ship, making his way up the ramp as his eyes fixed on the crates of supplies and the heavy weaponry.
The Adept cracked his neck as he made his way to the bridge, his mind racing as he cursed the situation. They were a long journey away, even for a ship as fast as the Fallen Spear. And the itch in his palm always seemed to foretell a duel. He clamped his hand shut. The last time it itched was when he had faced Kaiann on... but that was different then. There wouldn't be anyone quite that dangerous with the Hammer any more. With the latest defection, all the remaining duelists of worth had come to Antei.
Yet this wisdom still did not dull the doubt in the Krath's heart.
*little brother in Kyataran
"If a man can't stand, a man can't fight. It is at this moment that you should take full advanatge of his weakness and destroy him."
This phrase continued to echo throughout the mind of the Aedile, as an explosion provided him with the answer to this new "situation". Shikyo turned towards his right to catch Raven firing off one last rocket towards the walking pieces of armor.
"Raven, how many explosives do you have left on you?"
The Knight began to scoure through his pack, not wasting anytime.
"Three. The last one was used to take care of the manned forces."
"That'll be enough. I need your team on that Walker. Find a way up its legs, plant the explosives and blow that thing to hell. I'll set up the strike team for you."
With a nod of his head, the Krath signaled his team to follow and watched them disappear into the smoke. Rurouni grabbed his commlink and patched it in to reach as many of the commanders as the signal could fit. He had an idea and hoped that it would work.
"This is Ragnos to all available commanders. Aim for the joints of the Walkers. I don't need them all destroyed, just enough. When they start to fall, send in a team of Knights and higher; anyone with a lightsaber. Open up those bastards and give them hell."
The first to respond was Maol, then Xayun, then Vladek. The Aedile grabbed for his lightsaber and listened to the banshee inside howl out for him. He opened the commlink to any and all Disciples of Ragnos and hoped they heard the call.
"Knights and Equites, I need your sabers at once. As soon as the spider is trammpled, I want that thing destroyed, got me?"
The confirmation sound was that of multiple howls and shrieks of sabers awakening for their masters. Turning his attention back towards the few that dared to challenge him, Shikyo brought his saber across the torsos and throats of his enemies. The only thing he needed now was to see the metallic arachnid fall towards its doom.
Smoke and mist drifted across the battlefield, obscuring the vision of those struggling within it. Only gleaming lightsabre blades provided some respite from the confusion, marking out the location of the Dark Jedi.
Suddenly, an unsuspecting Imperial straightened up in shocked horror, his eyes wide as a razor-sharp blade protruded from his chest. Gore spattered from his mouth as the blade was withdrawn, the corpse dropping to the floor as Manji emerged from the smoke, katana in his left hand, his lightsabre unignited in his right hand.
As he looked around quickly, there was a huge explosion from behind him- several well-placed blaster bolts had smashed into the knee joint of one of the walkers, toppling it. Screams and cheers in equal measure rang through the valley as the walker fell, crushing a squadron of Imperials heavily.
Turning towards the fallen walker, Manji slipped his katana back into it's scabbard and ignited the lightsabre, grinning wickedly. Leaping onto the metallic arachnid, the Epis dragged his sabre through the neck joint to expose the control room inside the head, several terrified Imperials looking up in shock at the sight of his demonic grin.
"Welcome to the party, kiddies..."
As Manji disappeared into the control panel, screams and cries for mercy burst from it. Then they were silenced, and sparks and flames began to billow from the head as Manji jumped out and ran away from the fallen walker moments before the head exploded, a great cloud of black smoke billowing up into the air. Tapping his commlink, the Epis spoke into it calmly.
"That's one walker down, Shik... and damn, this is fun."
The Aedile smirked as he could imagine the workings of his older brother.
"Thanks, Manji. Sake's on me."
He clicked off the commlink and continued to make a run towards Raven's location. As he arrived, he could see that they were in a bit of a struggle, as Imperials seemed to slow their advance. Looking towards the men he had brought along, he made a movement with his head towards the enemy. The rest needn't be said. The sound of blaster fire emitted from behind the Warrior, as he watched the bolts blast into opposing forces that dared to stop the Tetrarch. Shikyo unsheathed his sapphire blade and drew it across of the Imperial before him, enjoying the fact that the weapons presented to him was not just a ceremonial item.
With a quick draw on his katana, the Keibatsu ripped open the abdomen of the next soldier, working his way to the Krath Knight. The two fought their way together, giving Rurouni a chance to talk to his friend.
"We have the situation under control here. You get to the next Walker and get rid of it."
"What happened to the other one I was after?"
"Manji wanted to play."
A smirk washed over the Knight's face as he nodded and ran off. The Keibatsu impaled the throat of a charging opponent and yelled out to his brothers in arms, rousing their spirits. As he withdrew his blade, a thought passed through Shikyo's mind:
We're almost done... we're almost done...
Screaming soldiers fled as the foot of the great walker stamped down, crushing several without pause. Staring up at the machine as it's head tilted from side to side, as if sniffing for enemies like a huge steel predator, Raven grinned wickedly. A bundle of explosive charges nestled in his right hand, and he began to toss them up and down meaningfully as he stared at the walker.
Ripping his way out of the melee behind his former student, Manji moved to stand alongside Raven and shaded his eyes with a hand, looking nonchalantly up at the machine.
"Hmm. You okay to take this one by yourself?"
A brief shadow flickered over Raven's face, prompting the Epis to continue.
"How about if you blow that sucker up and I drag the commanders out for a beating?"
The thought appealed to Raven and he nodded, clutching the explosives tightly. On an unspoken signal, the two darted towards the walker, moving swiftly with the aid of the Force.
Leaping into the air, robes flying about him, Raven grabbed onto one of the legs of the walker and shinned up it quickly, towards the unprotected underbelly. Calmly, methodically, his hand went to his new sabre and slashed upwards, cutting a gash in the bottom of the walker. The explosives went in. Raven dropped back down to the ground.
At the same time, Manji leapt up towards the body of the walker and made his way along to the head, cutting down with the sabre to open up a hole in the top of the head. One Imperial turned and quickly reached for a blaster, the searing red bolt winging past Manji and up into the sky before the Epis delivered a brutal kick to the man's face that knocked him out. Another Imperial piloting the walker received the same treatment, as the mechanical beast juddered to a halt.
Tucking his lightsabre back through his belt, the Epis grabbed both men by the back of their clothes and clambered out of the walker, leaping down to where Raven stood. Dropping the unconscious bodies, he nodded ceremonially to the Knight, who nodded and then pulled out his detonator.
The explosion rocked the battlefield and sent chunks of jagged metal flying everywhere, hacking through soldiers and into the ground. Hearing the blast, Shikyo turned and noticed the sudden lack of enemies. Dispatching one more Imperial who was attempting to flee, the Wolf of Kyataru grinned widely as the fog that was blown apart by the force of the exploding walker began to reassemble. His voice lifted to call together the warriors of his House.
"Marka Ragnos, assemble!"
Deep within the bowels of Loki, StarLion stood next to Trev, waiting for him to lead on. Suddenly, his head tilted upwards, eyes open wide.
"The drums of war beat loud, and clear... the net closes... So completes the Salar Ploy... the Brethren are not alone."
Minorly cryptic at best, the Cathar says no more for a few moments before lowering his gaze once more to the more powerful Dark Jedi, who looked somewhat confused at the words.
"The Salar Ploy..." StarLion explained, "it was a tactic developed while I was a part of the Hammer. Being Tactical Officer had it's advantages.... I assume that there are teams of Brethren on the other Naga Sadow planets. They will have been met by a small force, disguised as something they were not. Assuming further that that force was quickly dispatched, the standard response is that the cover has been compromised, and so plans move on to phase two... Divide and Conquer. Use overwhelming force, which is hiding either out-of-system or somewhere it can be hidden, behind a moon or something, to cut off the ground troops from their air support. Once done, the strength of either half of the Brethren will be crippled, and it makes it easier to pick them off."
A longwinded explanation, perhaps, but the Priest was quite known for doing such.
"Wherever they are, they need air support, fast. Let us get your artifact, and be gone from this place, before we join the shades."
Dark Jedi and troops began to pull themselves back towards the Aedile, blood covering their faves and soot from the destruction covering their outfits. The One-Eyed Dragon approached with the Night Hawks, smirking as he wiped the dust from his kimono. Shikyo continued to look around to find his other Battleteam Leader, catching a glimpse of Vladek approaching from his side. His team looked a little tired but was glad to see that they had received blood-stained robes as their sign of honor. A signal from his commlink caught the Keibatsu's attention, as he turned away to answer it.
"This is Shikyo."
"Shikyo, this is Xanos."
"Xanos? What's going on?"
"I'm with the Ludo Kressh force. We've routed the rest of the Imperial forces, however, we have some bad news."
"What is it?"
"Look to the skies."
Rurouni looked up into the sky and saw what Xanos was talking about. Darkness was creeping in from the skies and it was not the one that brought about rains. It was the darkness of steel and metal. It was the TIE Corps moving into formation high above.
"I see what you mean, Xanos."
"I'm sending you a hologram of the sword. Be adviced that there may be copies around the area, but when you find it, you'll know. When you have it in your possession, report back to me."
"Gotcha. I'll have my men scout the area and start looking through the ruins. Thanks for your help."
"No problem. May the Force serve you."
"May the Force serve you too."
Manji walked up to his brother, taking a swig from a bottle of sake.
"So, where to, little brother?"
"We're heading to the ruins. We're to retrieve the sword and give it to Xanos."
"Do you have any diagrams of the ruins?"
It was at this moment that Raven and Vladek caught up with the Warrior, attempting to gather more information for their own battleteams.
"Yeah. I'll make sure to send it to you guys. Just to let ya know, they aren't without security systems. According to the information I got aboard the Covenant, they'll have droids in there to guard the area, so keep your blasters and sabers close."
The three Krath nodded to Shikyo's words.
"So, what are our orders, Shik?" Raven said.
"I want you and Vladek to take your teams and investigate the Eastern side of the ruins. If you find anything, please let me know. Manji and I will take a part of the forces and check out the West. I'll make sure to send Reyn here to keep the forces in line while we check it out."
With the commands given, the four sent each other off, gather themselves together and prepared to make their way into the ruins. As Shikyo and Manji approached the ruins, he looked over to see Ludo Kressh's forces preparing to enter the ruins as well. The two brothers saluted in their direction, certain that they were saluting their friends and family. Rurouni looked up into the skies before he entered the remains. A thought washed over as he saw the TIEs above them.
Hurry up, Muz. We're not gonna be able to handle that on our own.
Noktar Jameki let his E-11 rifle hang by the sling around his shoulder, contentment spread across his face. The battle was a good one, and while he had never been in one himself, he found it comforting to know that he had survived. Not only that, but took down 10 of them. I could get used to this bloodshed, he thought to himself. Looking down at his Scrath on his left side, he beamed with pleasure at the site of blood dripping off of it. Macron would be proud.
The Protector was quite aware that this group of Raptors he followed were far superior than him in combat. With time, he would change that. He was getting used to the formations, the heat of battle, the chaos that ensued in close combat. He was adjusting and he loved it.
"Not bad, eh?" an Acolyte remarked as he nudged Noktar.
"Not bad," he replied with a thin lipped grin. Flipping open his canteen from his belt, he took a swig and passed it to the man. He happily accepted, while Noktar watched an exchange going between the four men in charge. They suddenly seperated and he watched as Vladek moved toward his group.
"Time to move, men. Follow us," Vladek said, motioning to himself and the one called Raven.
Grinning again, he took the canteen from the Acolyte, clipped it back onto his belt and readied his rifle. They took off at a good paced jog towards the east, never slowing down. Noktar had little difficulty keeping up, though he noticed that a few of the others did until they used the Force.
The group reached the eastern end of the ruins and slowed down to a halt. Vladek turned to them and said, "Men, there are droids in these ruins. Shouldn't be a problem compared to those imps, but be ready nontheless."
Noktar's grin faded as he realized he wouldn't be able to take a life for a while. My time will come again, he thought as he entered with the rest into the ruins...
(Sorry didn't know how else to get in)
Maol Nor Lexu
Maol's eyes were wide open when he saw the dark skies full of the TIE Corp. He tried to reach for Horus, but it seemed Horus was already in contact him through the comlink.
"Holly sh*t, Maol, we've got company" Horus yelled.
"Yeah, I know. Hang in there man, and get your team next to mine" Maol ordered. "Do the diamond formation, we'll open attack the TIE Corp".
"That's madness, we can't go through the Corp. by ourselves. We need some backup man." Horus said.
"It's too late for that, I'll inform the Covenant to give us some backup. But for now we have to handle these ourselves." Maol answered.
Both teams flew straight to TIE Corp, and suddenly Maol's voice was on every squadron com.
"All units engage the enemy in front." Maol ordered.
Just then Horus turned over his ship and lowered it just above Maol. All his team followed both Flight Leaders.
Manji and Shikyo approached the ruins first with a group of Journeymen. It would be a shame to leave them behind and not have a chance to experience the ruins of their home. Vladek and Raven were close behind with their battleteams, slowly moving off to the right side of the Equites. Rurouni nodded at the two and began to drift away towards the left. The two groups parted ways and began to scourge around the area for the sword, stopping every now and then to collect on some kind of artefact that was left in the ruins.
Explosions rocked the ceilings, as it was appeared that there was conflict going on in the skies. The Sith could only hope that reenforcements would arrive in time to assist the Falcons. Manji approached an area that seemed to be a large area that provided quarters to people. This was the perfect place to look around, as the Journeymen began to pick through the ancient items. Dokugan-Ryu and the Wolf of Kyataru exchanged glanses to one another. Watching the newer members seemed like an image of children running for gifts; a sight they had not seen in a while, if at all.
Rurouni began to scout around the room, checking for anything that would create more trouble for them than what was needed, while Manji took a swig of his bottle of sake and watched over the younger ones. The Aedile caught an object out of the corner of his eyethat seemed familiar, yet foreign. Moving cautiously, the Sith approached the object and leaned down to examine it further.
As he did, a red light was activated from within the object, springing to life and grabbing at the Aedile. Grabbing for any kind of weapon on him, Shikyo felt the handle of his Sapphire Blade brush against his fingertips. Rurouni pulled it from its sheath and sent the blade through the red light, quelling the beast of a machine. Nekura chuckled at the actions of his brother, as the Warrior coughed for a few moments to regain breath. Dusting himself off, Shikyo kicked at the large piece of scrap metal, giving the Epis more reason to laugh.
"Did the droid give you a bit of a startle, Shikyo?"
"Just a bit."
Looking down at his ceremonial weapon, Rurouni smirked and sheathed the gem of a weapon.
"It's nice to see this thing is handy. Come on. Let's move on and see what else there is here."
With that said, the Journeymen began to gether themselves up and get ready to move on.
Arms tucked behind his head arrogantly, Manji walked alongside Shikyo through the ruins, projecting an outward image of utter calm- as if he was kicking back in the cantina, not trying to retrieve a priceless artifact. He jabbered on to Shikyo as though not paying attention, but the Wolf could see the glint in his brother's eyes. Manji may not have appeared alert, but if anything came at them the One-Eyed Dragon would have it for breakfast.
"I was wondering whether I could get Macron to refashion my Sapphire Blade. I mean sure, it's nice and hefty, but there's enough material there to forge it into a pretty badass katana, huh?"
Chuckling, Shikyo kept his gaze on the younger members before them as he replied.
"You've got a katana fetish, bro."
"Damn right I have. And I'm proud of it too-"
Suddenly, a siren burst into life. The corridor through which the Ragnosians were passing shook slightly as two huge stone slabs thumped down from the walls, revealing small chambers- out of which two particularly large defense droids stomped, turning to face the Ragnosians and raising their blaster cannons.
Grinning, Manji whipped his lightsabre from his belt and strode forwards through the Journeymen, followed closely by Shikyo. Idle banter flowed from their lips as they approached the droids.
"Hah, they look pissed."
"Well, you would be if someone was trying to plunder your mausoleum."
"Nah, I'd just kill them. I wouldn't get particularly annoyed about it."
Twirling his sabre skilfully, Shikyo grinned widely.
"Speaking of which... shall we dispatch of these two?"
A nod was all that Nekura had to give in order to start the battle between the droids and the Disciples of Ragnos. Shikyo watched as the Journeymen hit their knees and began to give fire to the droids. It was a formattion straight out of the Marksmanship textbook, which brought a smirk to the Warrior's face. Using his saber to send the bolts back towards the life-like scraps of metal, the Dragon and Wolf closed in on the droids, moving fast and keeping their defenses up. With their own shots being sent back towards them and more bolts coming from the younger members, the armor on the droids began to faulter then fall before the might of two lightsabers.
The sirens continued to blare and it wouldn't be long before more droids decided to crash the party for everyone. Rurouni grabbed his commlink and patched it through for both Raven and Vladek. Hopefully, it would find either of them. Static filled the device before the voice of Vladek answered the Aedile's call.
"This is Vladek, what's going on, Shikyo?"
"We accidentally triggered the party favors. Would you mind shutting them off for us?"
"If we can get to the control room. We've had droids all over us since we got in."
"I figured that. The room should be a few meters in front of you and to the left."
A pause filled the system, minus the blasts emitted from the rifles and the hum of a saber or two. After a few seconds past, the sound of an explosion echoed throughout the commlink, as well as the halls of the ruins.
"Vlad, what the frell was that?"
"Raven was making a solution for a pretty bad problem."
As soon as the rummbling of the ruins ceased, the alarms seemed to have been silenced, if only for a moment.
"Thanks a bunch. That should help you guys out also."
"Hopefully. Vladek out."
The Sith placed his commlink back into his robes and looked at the Journeymen. He gave them a nod and continued forward. There had to have been a second control room on their side of the ruins. If there was, Shikyo began to wonder if he could lower the rest of the security systems there and maybe receive some more information to help them out with their mission.
StarLion sighed a little to himself, sight scanning across the ruined expanse that lay before them. "Odd..." he murmered to himself, stepping past the Master and into the room.
Seeing only through the Force can only truly be described in terms of colors... shapes and energies moving back and forth, each unique enough to be distinguished. What then presented itself in front of the blind Priest's eyes could only be described as giving off a distinct impression of being ancient, and steeped in the Dark Side. Though that could be said of the entire ruin, this object stood out, even behind the stone doorway which barred the path across a gap.
As he neared, StarLion could tell that the gap had once been a rectangular balcony, looking down on a floor of the ruin below. Remarkably similar to the cathedral built atop it, really. Though he could sense no spectres present, his lightsaber was still ignited, and in his hand as he levitated himself up, and over the gap.
"The object, I believe, is in this direction." he stated simply as he floated towards the door.
Vladek cut through two more droids, and a satisfyingly loud explosion told Vladek that his mechanical counterpart had been reduced to a pile of rubble. The coast was clear. Vladek signaled for his Battleteam to follow him. Raven did the same. As they turned into the door Shikyo had told him about, Vladek saw two heavily armed and shielded droids.
“Damn,” thought Vladek as the machines cranked its head to the direction of Vladek and Raven’s Battleteams. The droids released a relentless storm of laser’s forcing Raven’s saber into action. Training Sabers wouldn’t be any good against those blasts, they were too high-powered.
Cursing the failure of his saber, Vladek flipped out one of his two Westar-34 Blasters. He fired at one of the droids. The shot bounced off the surface of the shields activated on the droids. Vladek swore loudly. Raven threw him an Ion Grenade; Vladek prepared it and chucked the ball at the firing machines.
It worked like a charm. Within seconds of the grenade exploding, the mechanical adversaries of the two Battleteams lay in ruins. Vladek signaled Raven to deactivate the sirens, and a dying hum from the control computer told the Krath that his friend had succeeded. The Jedi Hunter moved his comlink to his mouth.
“Your problem’s gone, Shikyo. Give them hell from us.”
Vladek heard the scratchy voice of his Aedile come through the comlink.
“I think I can do that, Vlad. Shikyo out.”
A sigh of relief passed through the lips of the Aedile's lips, as the thought of lowered defenses calmed the mind ofthe Aedile. Manji approached his brother, resting his hand on the hilt of his katana.
"What's the word, Shik?"
"Vladek took down the first control room. We'll have to finish what's left over in the second control room."
"Sounds fine by me. Plenty of targets ripe for the picking."
A smirked washed upon the face of the Warrior, as they slowly approcahed the door leading into what should be the room they wanted. The Journeymen pulled out their blaster rifles, some grabbing swords, approaching the door with caution. They set up a formattion outside, preparing to use anything they had to clear the room. Shikyo and Nekura took either side of the door, counting to three to open the doors. One... Two... Three.
The doors slid opened to reveal four droids patrolling the area. As they turned to the noise that came from behind them, blaster fire and the cackle of lightsabers filled the room, as the Equites charged out towards their targets, ending their "lives" with a swing of their sabers. Multiple marks from blasters hit a thrid droid, penetrating its defenses and sealing its fate. Next, they turned towards the final mark, watching as Dokugan-Ryu impaled the droid with his silver blade.
Shikyo grabbed his datapad and plugged it into the nearby terminal, navigating through it to shut off the systems for good. He found what he was looking for, executing the command of halting the defense systems.
"That should do it."
Manji walked up behind the Wolf of Kyataru, looking down upon the terminal.
"That will get rid of the droids?"
"Oh frell no. This just halts any more of them coming. We'll still have plenty to encounter."
A smirked found its way upon the Epis' face.
"Now, to finish updating the map."
With a few security spikes, the Warrior was able to download the rest of the schematics of the ruins. It did not provide an accurate location to the map, but it provided a better detail to what was going on. Grabbing his commlink and patching it through to his Battleteam Leaders, Shikyo began to upload the map for them.
"Guys, I have a better map than before. I'm uploading it into your datapads."
After a moment of silence, Raven was the one to respond through the commlink.
"We got it, Shikyo. Raven out."
As the commlink clicked off, a rumble echoed from all around the ruins. It was becoming quite apparent that a battle was ensuing outside and a dangerous one at that.
Maol Nor Lexu
At the other part of Sif, Maol and his squadron tried to handle the Tie Corp.
Maol wiped the perspiration from his brow, and drop his Interceptor into a steep nose-dive, hoping to lose one of the Tie Corp.'s pilot in Tie Defender. He pulled up and spun out of the way of craggy mountain. The Tie Defender careened into the mountain and exploded, sending the junk made by the Sienar Fleets in all directions.
"Nice one, Maol" said Schisca, one of his flight member. Horus pulled up and did a corkscrew to face another Tie Defender. He fired a pair of missiles at it, sending them screeching at their target. The Tie Defender was completely obliterated and Maol took his Interceptor right through the smoke.
"Horus, I need help man! I can't shake this Defender!" yelled one of Horus's flight member from the comm.
"Hang it there man, I'll be right there" Horus found his men and fell in behind the Tie Defender. "Damn, I'm too close man”.
Horus flipped the switch on his control stick and let his laser rip loose the Tie Defender.
"Thank you man, I'm really scared there" called the flight member
"No Probs" Horus said.
The commlink on Shikyo's person sounded its alert for him to answer the call. The Aedile activated the call.
"This is Shikyo."
"Shikyo, this is Xanos. I have retrieved the sword. Muz has arrived with the Spear and the Covenant. Pull your team out of there and head for the ships. They should be arriving soon."
"Understood. Shikyo out."
Wasting no time to get the word around, Shikyo patched in to his commanders.
"Vlad, Raven, Maol, it's time to get outta here. Xanos has the sword in his possession and Muz has arrived with reinforcements to get us outta here."
Raven was the first to respond.
"Understood. We're exiting the ruins now."
"Roger that, Shikyo. I'll get the Falcons outta here. Take care everyone and I'll see you spaceside."
"Understood. May the Force serve you all."
Rurouni tunred his commlink off and looked back at his own team.
"Well, let's get outta here."
Sprinting down the halls as fast as they could, the Keibatsus and Journeymen made quick speed out of the ruins, hoping to see a bright light emerge soon.
As the Night Hawks and Raptors exited the ruins, five hooded silhouettes became visible. The Dark Side radiated from them. They were strong in the Force. Raven flicked out a red lightsaber blade, the light contrasting strongly with the Knight’s purple robes.
Vladek flicked out his Training Saber, while keeping his litch blade close. Vladek stared intently at the hooded strangers, not blinking, as they prepared for battle. Two of the five had their own lightsabers; but the other three seemed to be poorly equipped, and had few decent weapons.
Vladek signaled his Battleteam to draw their weapons, and his fellow Tetrarch did the same. They outnumbered the strangers, but there was a feeling in the air…
They would not come out of this Battle unscathed.
StarLion landed on the far side of the small chasm, moving immediately towards the door. His life spent here... and yet now he stood, discovering something that had been left unseen for a long, long time. He paused before the doorway, blind eyes scanning over the stone slab. Unusual... there seemed to be writing there.
"To those who would seek entrance be known... this way comes only those who seek the knowledge of..." he frowned for a moment, not understanding the wording. "... something...he should speak the incantation of lifting, and enter. Be warned, you who are not ready, and have not heeded the... First Lesson of Sarai." another pause, before bending a little to brush his hand over some dusty words carved there too. "The incantation....bet that pissed off the Masters something fierce." Smirking to himself, the Kathar straightens to his full height, the Master behind him obviously having fallen asleep in the process. Must be boring him.
Holding his hand to the door, StarLion closed his eyes, and began to speak the words to grant him access.
Vladek narrowly dodged two strikes from one of the opposing Force adepts with a lightsaber, and then rolled to the side, knocking over one of the weaker adepts, and within seconds of him falling over, the clumsy adept had been stabbed by a Journeyman from the Night Hawks.
Vladek watched another one of the Hammers adepts fall to Raven’s lightsaber blade, then resumed his duel with one of the stronger adepts. The young Tetrarch parried several vicious strikes with his Training Saber, but the blade began to disrupt. His weapon was shorting out.
His opponent, took advantage of Vladek’s problem, and delivered a strike to his left eye. The red blade cut through the iris, and blood began to spit everywhere. Another strike - Vladek’s right leg came off. Vladek, his face contorted with pain, threw his loose Litch Blade wildly at the adept. A body fell to the side of the Krath. The blade was lodged in the adept’s neck.
Vladek lay on the floor, listening to the beating of swords and the swinging of sabers. He heard several thumps. Raven came into sight. Vladek’s fellow Tetrarch helped him up. The group continued onward towards the transport, a half blind Vladek hopping behind, just fast enough to keep up.
The stone slab drew upwards as the ritual was completed, the priest taking a moment to examine the room inside. While parts of the room had collapsed, the pedestal remained upright in the middle. Atop it, sat an object that pulsed and glowed with the essence of the Force itself, though it was peculiar in and of itself.
Light bent around it, warped an disfigured, decaying the closer it got to the surface of the thing. He knew instinctively that this was what Trevarius sought.... and at least part of why. This was certainly a powerful artifact.
Reaching out, the Priest took up the leather-bound object from it's place, warmth wrapping around his hand as he did so. It was quite noticeable, on a planet of ice and snow. turning his nearly 8' tall frame around, StarLion looked back out across the gap as he stepped from the vault. "I have what you desired, Master Trevarius. Now we must be away. We will not be alone for much longer."
Thoughts raged in his head.... Loki was his home, in more ways than one... but if the Hammer had finally come down on Sif, the Cathedral would be next on their list. As he passed Trev, heading back up the shaft/hallway, he couldnt help commenting. "All these years, only to finally abandon it...." He knew the Phantom above awaited him, and his cargo, to head off to whatever place the Brotherhood had fled during the abandonment of the system.
Vladek plodded behind, balancing himself on the handle of an upright sword. The Ragnosian was using it like a walking stick, but he still struggled to keep up with the rest of the group.
Light streamed into Vladek’s right eye from a short distance, and the image of a transport and its lights came into his sight.
“Only a couple more meters,” thought a distressed Vladek, as he heard Raven and the others board the transport. The half-blind Tetrarch managed to force himself down on a passenger seat, and threw the sword he had been using to balance onto the metal floor.
The transport closed its doors, and began to take off. Vladek began to shake, but managed to remain on the seat, until the transport left the atmosphere, and the shaking stopped. Out of a small window, Vladek watched the shuttle fly closer toward the Covenant. The shuttle landed in the main hangar of the Covenant. Vladek let out a deep sigh and remained on the passenger seat. He’d lost his litch blade; it was still embedded in the neck of the dead force adept. With that thought in his head, Vladek’s right eye slowly began to fall. The room was fading into blackness, and with an audible thud; Vladek hit the floor, and fainted.
Silver and crimson blades vanquished the lives of a couple of force adepts, before turning back to see the transports touching down. Calling out for his housemates, the Aedile summoned them inside the ships and to prepare to take off. Shikyo looked over at Xayun, who issued his own housemates the same command. The Journeymen rushed into the transports and settled in, while the Equites finished off what was left in the area. Bolts of light slowly died down, as they were sent back towards their originators by the "rogue" Dark Jedi.
Two more transports landed on the planet's surface to collect the last of the Sadowians. As the ships unleashed their defenses upon the remaining troops that dared to impede the mission they were on. As the Aediles loaded up the last of their fellow Dark Jedi, they looked at one another and stepped onto their respected shuttles. Providing them with a bit of cover, the Sapphire Squadron and Night Falcons laid down some cover fire for the shuttles to take off. As soon as their cover was laid out for any unfortunate soul, the House of Naga Sadow took off into the darkness of space.
Explosions erupted all around them, slowly dying out as the tide of war seemed to shift towards the side of the Disciples of Sadow. As the ships landed onboard the Covenant, Shikyo made his way to the bridge, checking up on the situation. The Captain saw the Warrior approaching and called out to all officers.
"Attention on deck! Commanding Officer aboard!"
Everyone around stood and saluted, bringing themselves to attention. The Sith waved them off and made his way to the Captain.
"No time for formalities. Captain, what's the situation?"
"Commanders Derevko and Malisane have taken control of the Relentless and are on their way out of the ship to rendezvous with the Spear."
"Good. Make sure the squadrons are refueled and rearmed. I want them to help us secure an exit."
"Patch me through to the Spear."
The Captain snapped a stern salute and made his way to the communication terminal. Rurouni followed him and grabbed a headset, putting it on with anticipation. A crackle popped through the miniature speakers before the voice of the Adept came through.
"This is Muz."
"Muz, this is Shikyo. I have control of the Covenant. Do you have Malisane and Thorin onboard?"
"Yes,. They just came in after a hell of a skirmish. Pull your fighters back in and let's get the hell outta here."
"Roger that. Xanos has the Sword. Regroup at Sepros, alrighty?"
"Alright. Sounds like a plan. Muz out."
The Aedile of Marka Ragnos turned towards the Captain, issuing out commands.
"Captain, put in the coordinates to Sepros and call back all squadrons. It's time to get the frell out of here."
"Roger that. All squadrons-"
Xayun walked up behind the Keibatsu and smirked at his friend. Shikyo turned back towards him and nodded.
"Did you have fun, Cajun?"
A chuckle left the lips of the Aedile of Ludo Kressh, as he displayed a number of lightsaber hilts inside his robes. Shikyo nodded and patted the shoulder of his friend, making his way back towards his quarters. He figured he would interest his friends and family with a drink once they were all back together. However, rest seemed to be priority number one for him. As he entered the room, the first thing the Warrior did was make contact with the bridge. The visage of Xayun appeared.
"What's going on, Shik?"
"I'm taking a break. You're in charge of the ship, ok?"
"Alright, man. Thanks!"
Xayun turned towards the Captain, informing him of the situation as the link closed. The Keibatsu collapsed onto his bed, feeling the stress rush from his body as soon as he touched the mattress. Space seemed to slow down and everything seemed to pull in one direction. It seemed as if they were preparing to enter hyperspace; to go home. The thought brought a smile to Shikyo's lips, as his eyes closed and fatigue took over. The battle was over, the sword was retrieved, and all that was left to claim was the simple rewards of victory.