The Enemy Within
The figure hidden in the small bathroom just off the Consul's office stood transfixed for a moment, then continuied to empty the baskets and clean the sink. It seemed to be no more than a middle aged woman with a worn out face and tired eyes, and to top it off, she was known as half deaf and slighly mentally challenged. The shout of the Consul seemed to have startled her, but the summit didn't consciously notice her. As the summit left, including the Consul, the woman finished her work and walked off to dispose off the waste. After that, she returned to her quarters, which were located well outside the Clan's headquarters. She was but a simple serving woman, after all. although she only served the summit since a few weeks, she was already known as dependable and harmless.
The house she lived in was no more than a hut, with two rooms made up of kitchen area and a bedroom with a holovid display. Most of the time, she took her meals with the other servants in the Clan's cantina, and thus did not make much use of the kitchen facilities. Not for cooking, that was. But at times, things were not as they were supposed to be.
Slipping into the hut, she activated the holodisplay. The local news spoke of a theft and a murder, but she didn't pause to listen. Quickly she moved into the kitchen and opened the hearth' cover. What was releaved under it was no kitched equipment at all, but a fully equipped hyperspace communication device, of the type you would usually expect on a larger starship. Within seconds, she typed up a short message and then activated a pre-entered code and established a connection. The transmission only lasted a split second. After that, the woman hid the comm devide again and returned to the holodisplay, which was now showing the latest news about Arcona's new laws against tax evaders. Settling in a rather uncomfortable chair, she put her hands together in a contemplating gesture, awaiting new instructions.
"We got news from Arcona," Proconsul Brujah grinned as he entered Dakari's private chambers. "It's as we suspected. They plan to retaliate on their own, risking to anger the Council."
Dakari looked up from his paperwork - a Consul's work never ended - and lifted an eyebrow. "Is this definite, or just Arania's suspicion?"
"She overheard it herself." Handing his Consul the short printout he had brought, the Sith sighed. "I still think it's a waste to have someone of her profile sitting in Arcona to..."
"I know, I know. but she picked the assignment, not me. Remember, she was the one telling us she neded a break from routine." Spreading his arms, he sighed as well. "Some weird break it is, but whatever. The question is, what are we going to do about the news now? We need proof to bring this to the Council, and we need to be able to present this proof in a way our spy won't be compromised."
"We could always call her back..." Brujah suggested, but he was cut off.
"Call Arania back? Heck, that woman is more stubborn than a room full of young Obelisk. She'll do whatever she thinks right, whenever she thinks it's time. And there's nothing at all to be done about that."
Brujah straightened himself and clasped his hands behind his back. "If she's discovered..."
"...then we'll send the self destruct signal to her comm and otherwise know about nothing." The Consul got up and came towards his second, grabbing Brujah's shoulders. "Right now, we need to keep Arcona under even stricter supervision. You know as well as any of us that they will blame everything on us if they can. Especially since they discovered the weapons..."
"As well as we would blame everything on them." Brujah relaxed visibly, and the two men grinned at each other. "We might not be the strongest clan in the Brotherhood, at leadt not right now," Brujah admitted. "But we seem to get plenty of opportunity to weaken the others right now."
"Indeed," Dakari agreed. "And we might emerge stronger afterwards."
"It is an outrage", Consul Sarin of Plagueis exploded. "Someone is trying to make us look bad for recruiting, but I can assure you, we do not need any..."
"Please, Consul!" The DGM felt his sanity evaporate quickly. "I've heard those words so many times by now, I can hardly take them serious anymore. Have you ever considered the possibility that someone from your Clan really IS recruiting? Not as if that was illegal, first place."
Noticing the immense anger, Sarin took a step back. "My apologies, Excellency, but Braecen sure did not..."
"And just what does it matter? Everyone recruits from somewhere sometime. Distrust in that regard has always been a reality. Maybe you should be happy about every member gained that way instead of bothering me. And now, excuse me, I have important matters to attend..."
Sarin stormed out of the DGM's office after a hasty bow. It was happening again, he could feel it. Not only was his Clan now blamed for something they did not do, his Clan would be blaming him for not being able to stop it. Not because he would have any real chance to do so, but because he was still the outsider for some. And it was not even that he did not know who was to blame. But what to do about an allied Clan playing such kind of supposed pranks - because that was what they usually called such happenings when confronted - when everything he did would be held against him?
If only the assassins would have done their work properly. The only consolation he had was that CSP had needed the help of the Royal Guards to fight their attackers off. But it did little to calm the rage inside him, and he was in dire need to let out the anger he had to conceal within Antei.
His personal pilot - a Protector this week - was already expecting him in the hangar. "Back to headquarters, Milord?" she asked respectfully.
Sarin hesitated for a moment. "No," he then decided. "I will need to talk to the Arcona Consul."
"Very well. Shall I announce you, Milord?" the pilot wanted to know.
"Actually, no." Sarin smirked as he put up his hood. "I want it to be a suprise." He left open if the suprise would be a ncie one or not.
"And there's all the proof we need," Phoenix concluded his investigation results. "Not only was it coming from Tarentum, the Tar people were also too dumb to hide their traces well."
"As usual," someone in the back of the room said, and the assembled Clan members chuckled.
"So, to make a long story short," Mune spoke up, scratching his tail, "Tarentum tried to damage the Excidium - but why? It's not like we actually pose any thread to them."
Phoenix sighed. For a Krath, he thought, Mune was exeedingly naive at times. As a Sith, Phoenix was able to look at the bigger picture, something he would expect a Krath to do as well. "We pose a subtle thread to their alliance with Naga Sadow. Remember, we have a treaty with them, too, after all, and..."
"A treaty which originals are missing - at least from Naga Sadow's domains," Rasilvenia interrupted. The Sith woman was obviously impatient, tapping her feet and slapping the back or her chair every now and then, and come to think of it, Phoenix noticed most of the Clan to be in the same state of mind. He supposed most of them would have loved nothing more than go into war with Tarentum right away, and he was partly sharing the sentiment.
"That might be as it is," their Consul reminded them. "But right now, we do not have the resources for a counter attack. We should definitely prepare for one, though."
Supportive mumbling came from the members, and Brujah spoke up to prevent any real disturbance. "Of course, to achieve this, we need to make them feel secure. They can't know we are onto them, nor planning anything. Hence, I suppose we concentrate our obvious activities on..."
"Arcona!" several people shouted at once.
"No." Brujah grinned. "They are our old time enemy, and even forced training sessions brought onto us by the DC cannot change that. Everyone knows we are always watching them. it needs to be a different target, and that is..."
"Taldryan," Uzbad blurted out.
"Yeah, indeed." Dakari, arms folded, went up to the front of the podium area and looked at his Clan's members assembled in the main hall. He was proud of them, and he knew they would go with the plan. "After all, they keep messing with our sensors and can be blamed for the death of one of our own." He spoke with so much certainty, the room erupted in more shouts and cries of committment. "There will be war again shortly, we can be sure of that," he said. "Just as to who wars with who - that remains to be seen. Best is we keep out of any direct conflicts."
"But, Milord..." Rasilvenia, of course. The young Sith was eager to prove herself and get herself a saber. "We need to show them what we are made of. We..."
"...would probably open ourselves for destruction," Brujah cut her short.
Raidoner stod up and coughed. "I would like to be among those who are picked for retaliation missions," he stated.
"Yeah, me, too...." "...and me..."
Realizing they had not understood yet, Brujah made a cutting gesture with his right hand, and the noise died. "No open actions," he repeated. "We are known as the Clan of stealth and secrecy, so that is what we'll be once more. Do not disappoint us by acting in a rush."
Silence fell over the crowd, but then the summit and the senate could see them nodding, talking to themselves as Dakari signaled the assembly to be over. For now, they would listen and follow the plans - any plans they would come up with.
"I have a bad feeling about that," Saitou stated behind Dakari.
"You always have bad feelings about anything, even about the colour of your underwear," Cooch claimed, and the two Krath walked off laughing.
A foreboding feeling also settled on Brujah. He tried to place it, to grasp it with the Force, but no luck. All that was left to do was to follow through with the plans the Clan's Senate had come up with earlier. "Phoenix, I have a job for you," he announced.
Not All That Glitters
"I'm sorry to report that our fighter never made it to the Excidium, Sir."
Welshman looked at the messenger with a frown. Not sure if he had expected it to work or to fail, the Tarentum Consul decided not to show any outward sign of worry. The plan had not been his' - on the contrary - but he would have been mad to fight it, given the troublesome politics within the Clan. "Thank you, Knight," he waved, indicating an end of the meeting. "We will take apropriate steps."
In truth, he had no idea what those steps would be. He could only hope the fighter could not be traced back to them, yet, all of a sudden, he realized this might have been a blatant attempt to remove him, concieved and planned by his adversaries in the Clan. Which, of course, meant the fighter could be traced, and he had to act as soon as possible. "I wish I was somewhere else," he mumbled. "Like, on Antei talking with the Council." But Tarentum was not the Clan to come crying to the Coulcil with every little problem. No, he would have to deal with this himself, and he had just the idea. He activated his Clan internal comm. "Get me an appointment with the Lord Hegemon," Welshman demanded. "I have some news about the situation about the natives on our worlds."
Of course, there were no such news, but he expected Arania to be present at the meeting - she was the Lord Hegemon's Praetor, after all, even when Welshman could not see any reason why she was putting up with the dark skinned man. And talking to Arania to diffuse the situation was likely the best course of action.
As most of the clan members filed out of the room, Dakari caught Rasilvenaira’s eye and nodded toward his office. The Sith acknowledged, and slipped toward the door, arriving just behind the Consul. He leaned against his desk as the door closed, and looked at her, his expression showing the strain he was under.
“Rasilvenaira, normally I don’t delve too deep into members’ past, or their reasons for being here. However…” he paused
“However what?” Her dark eyes studied him as she met his gaze.
“I’m aware of some of your skills, those which your previous occupations taught you. The clan is in need of those particular talents now.”
A slight smirk flickered across her face, “I’ll do whatever is necessary, you know that by now Dakari.”
He nodded, “Can you get in and out of Arcona or Naga Sadow space without being detected, or if you are spotted, can you do it without being connected to Scholae Palatinae?”
Grinning, “The getting in and out without being detected would depend on what I’m flying, and what the end result needs to be, however, I’m sure I can do it without jeopardizing our Clan. If I have to, I’ll go land on Plagueis’ home planet, let them trace me there.”
“I don’t like risking you going alone, Ras, but it would probably be better for you to be solo.”
She laughed, “If I have to, I’ll take someone along for the ride, maybe Raidoner since he wants to help. What did you have in mind?”
“Recon and surveillance run, try to gauge defenses, weaknesses, anything else that may present a tactical advantage for us, when it comes down to full scale assaults. I know this will only end in war; I feel that very strongly, we’ll need every advantage we can get.”
Rasilvenaira nodded, the glitter of bloodlust lighting her obsidian hued eyes, “Very well, I’ll go talk to Raid, and having an Equite along may actually be useful in the event we do run into trouble.”
Dakari nodded, “Good idea, you two be careful, cause, if anyone catches you, I don’t know anything about it.”
“Of course not, the Clan Summit would never sanction such actions.” She grinned and left the office in search of the Battlemaster.
Raidoner was in the Clan’s library pouring over charts when Rasilvenaira found him. He looked up as she entered the room, “Ah, hello Ras.”
“Hi Raid, feel up to flying with me?”
He straightened up, a silent question on his face. “Where to?”
“Oh, just a little sight seeing run, need to stretch the wings as it were.”
Grinning, he nodded, “Oh, I imagine I could, not doing anything else really.
“Wonderful, how long do you need to get ready?”
He considered for a moment, “Hmm, any idea what we’re off to “sight see”?”
“Visiting a couple neighbors.”
“Ah, right, give me about a half hour and I’ll be ready to go.”
She nodded, “Good enough, I’ll meet you at the southern landing platform in a half hour then.”
Rasilvenaira landed the Kanashimu on the platform, and climbed out of the cockpit, to perform one last preflight check on all systems. The modified R41 bore no markings of any sort to identify its origins. She had it stripped and totally repainted when she had acquired it many years ago. The Kanashimu was an older ship, but the modifications made up for its age.
Hearing the sound of booted footsteps, Rasilvenaira turned to see Raidoner approaching. “Hmm, nice ship, was actually expecting one of the clan ships.”
She laughed, “Well, I’d rather not take a clan marked ship where we’re going, besides, the Kanashimu and I have been through a lot, I know her well enough to fly blind if I have to, I know what she can take.”
“Fair enough, let’s get going then.” He climbed into the second seat, one of the various modifications to the ship, and settled in.
Rasilvenaira took her place, running down the final checklist as the cockpit closed around them. The engines engaged with a low roar, and slowly the ship lifted off the platform. As they gained altitude, the Hunter increased the throttle and aimed the Kanashimu spaceward.
“So tell me, Ras, where are we really going?”
She smiled, “Arcona space first, then Naga Sadow, unless we hit trouble. Someone wants us to take a look around, without being noticed if possible, scouting, recon, and spy mission all in one.”
“Fun, glad I get to come along.”
“Indeed, if we do run into trouble, I figured it wise to have someone with a few extra tricks available to them.”
“Mm, true, but hopefully we won’t need those.”
As the kanashimu entered Dajorra system right away Rasilvenaira and Raidoner encountered an Arconan security space station at the Dajorra Hyperspace route that requested a clearance code that would ok their presence in the Arconans system.
Rasilvenaira uses a code she obtained from an Ithorian merchant ship that had flown off course and requested to land in Ptolomea’s moon of Mascheroni, turns out the rollmaster was not in the greatest mood that day and well……..
Let us just say that Ithorians are said to be strong beings, they sure did not seem strong once Rasilveneira decided to interrogate them, even less by the time she was done.
“Security code cleared, but we expected those mining supplies 96 hours ago” Said the voice of the head of security at the Dajorra hyperspace route station.
Raidoner picks up a voice altering commlink jammer and answers in the Ithorian tongue “We ran in some trouble and had to make a stop at Lyspair to replace our ship which was attacked by space pirates that were after these mining supplies, they called themselves tantrum…traterum..or something.”
As a protocol droid translates to the head of the space station he quickly replies to Raidoner;
“You mean Tarentum?”
“Why yes I believe that was the name on their fighters, funny on how these pirates did not seem to be looking to disable our ship they rather seemed bent on destroying us with the cargo, these were indeed stupid pirates!” Raidoner says in Ithorian.
At that point the head of the space station asks, “And that is why you are flying such a ship?
“Indeed, despite being peaceful beings we Ithorians like all living intelligent life do have a right to defend ourselves and our cargo of upgrades for your mining droids” Raidoner replies in the native Ithorian tongue.
“Indeed you do, as long as we need those supplies” answers the Arconan head of security.
“Make certain that you take those supplies directly to Arconae Prime, if you stray off course our fighters will destroy you and its cargo regardless of is needed”
Raidoner and Rasilvenaira stay on their permitted course route towards Arconae Prime and have their flight computer begin to secretly scan from above the atmosphere looking for signs of any military gathering.
Indeed the Arconans where gathering up for some sort of military strike.
Raidoner, attempted to log into the arconan mainframe with an old access code he kept back when he was in arcona but it no avail.
“I think I will try to log in to the House of Oriens Obscurum’s main frame, the main terminal’s security access must have been switched” Raidoner say.
Once again his access code is denied.
“Best be careful, you don’t want to raise their attentions with the access denial” Raselvenaira says.
******ACCESS DENIED, ALERTING SECURITY******
Right away Raidoner switches the system and manages to slice into the information system of his former squad “Pandragon”.
“Now to download their issued orders” Raidoner says as his data pad begins to receive the needed information.
“Sounds like we are gonna have company” Rasilvenaira says.
“Not just yet” Raidoner replies as he redirects some orders to the all the Squads in the house of Oriens Obscurum and sets the main arcona Obelisk transport as their main target.
“Now lets try to jump towards the next hyperspace route before they realize their systems where sliced” Raidoner says to Rasilvenaira.
The house of Oriens Obscurum and Galeres were in a recent feud that had halted because of the tension that was building among the clans, Raidoner, aware of the bad blood among the arconan houses took advantage of the situation and set the stage for confusion, by the time they all realize that they had been duped the Sith Battle master and Jedi Hunter should be in the next space sector.
Railvenaira flew back to the hyperspace security station and attempted to get clearance to exit the Dijorra sector, but the Dijorra security station was also in shambles despite the orders they received to not allow any transports to enter or exit.
Both members of the Palpatine order were able to leave with out any resistance as they hyper to the Lyspair sector.
“I can have this information transmitted from the Shadow Academy safely to the clan summit” raidoner tells Rasilvenaira.
“How so?” she asks.
“Dakari has an apprentice still mastering the wisdom of the dark side here, Tyno, a young mandalorian who is in constant contact with our Consul reporting his progress at academy. We can encrypt the data in Tyno’s progress report” Raidoner explains.
Upon landing at the academy platform Raidoner identifies himself to the academy guards and request that student Tyno of Scholae Palpatine be hailed, the guards report to the administration office with Raidoner’s request.
“Maximus, it is indeed good to see you again, may I ask the Reason for your request to see the guardian?” asked the administration officer.
“Likewise, I am a relative to young Guardian and I was in the area on my way back to Correlia, so I wanted to look into my cousins well being and progress” Raidoner replies.
Tyno walks out to the platform in his formal guardian robes and greets the Mandalorian Patriarch, Raidoner signals Rasilvenaira to wait at the ship while he talks to Tyno, she complies with an evil yet beautiful smile that lit her face.
As both Mandalorians walked towards the garden, Raidoner asks Tyno for his datapad.
Tyno, with a confused look on his face hands it to the Sith Battle Master and reminds him that his scores are always on display in the main halls of the clan.
Raidoner looks at the Guardian and nods as he inserts a data strip to the guardian’s datapad.
“I only wanted to get information on you before anyone else could get a chance to read it in the halls, you know how much I like to praise your accomplishments!” Raidoner replies as he pats Tyno on the shoulder for reassurance.
“I must admit to you that my visit here was not entirely all a compliment to check up on your progress, but rather to maintain your wellbeing” Raidoner says to the young guardian.
“What do you mean?” Tyno asks.
“There is reason for me to believe that with in the academy there are some students that have been issued orders to assassinate the future students of Clan Palpatine, I suspect that Arcona and Naga Sadow are working in conjunction to destroy Scholae beginning by destroying its future. Raidoner explains.
“Should we not notify the headmaster about this fiendish plot?” the young guardian says.
“No, we can not risk a leak with in our intelligence, the headmaster would only confront the perpetrators as they deny everything, thus giving them a chance to pinpoint our informants, something we can not afford to do, it would place the entire clan in jepordy” Raidoner explains.
“I will need to assign you to not only look into this matter but to also quietly and discreetly neutralize anyone that would pose a threat to any of our Shadow Academy students, this task will be your chance to prove your stealth and skill as a Mandalorian, in fact you should do fine being that you are Dakari’s apprentice and as his apprentice you should never speak to him about this mission for it would put him in a tight situation with CoJ” Raidoner explains.
Tyno looks at the Sith Battle master and nods.
Raidoner grabs the back of Tyno’s neck and playfully shakes the guardians head as the both walk to the landing platform from the garden, Tyno only salutes in the Mandalorian fashion as Raidoner entered the ship and departed.
“Well Rasilvenaira, I just killed two mynocks with one stone” Raidoner says.
Rasilvenaira gave the Mandalore a smile with an evil look deep between her eyes that displayed the fire with in her soul that was ready to burst out in the battle field, sometimes even Raidoner felt uneasy as the jedi hunter’s bloodlust was so apparent.
"now on to the Sadow sector" Rasilvenaira said.
Raidoner only grinned as he nodded.
Welshman was buzzed through to see the Lord Hegemon by a bored looking Acolyte. His eyes scanned the office when he entered and he was surprised to see that it only contained Kaiann Yetaru Entar. Where was Arania? He bowed to the Lord Hegemon and took a seat opposite Kaiann.
"Your office informs me that you are having troubles with the natives on your worlds?" He asked. Welshman nodded in reply and told Kaiann of his problems, all the while wondering where Arania could be.
"Alright, we have Rasilvenaira and Raidoner gathering intel in both Arcona and Naga Sadow. We have stated our intended targets to be Taldryan, and we have some intel, but not enough." Dakari said.
"So," Brujah continued, "We need to send people to gather intel on Taldryan."
"Yeah, but who? We sent our best scout pilot to Arcona and CNS."
"There's always Predator."
"Yeah, but we need someone who can blend in. Someone people don’t know." Dakari replied.
Bujah thought for a few seconds,"How about Thran Occasus?"
"Seems like a good choice."
Dakari pressed a button on his desk and almost instantly an Acolyte burst into the room.
"Yes milord?" The Acolyte asked obediently.
"Have Thran Occasus report to my office ASAP."
The Acolyte bowed and backed out of the room.
Uzbad walked from the Clan assembly and spoke into his commlink, ordering the members of Ebon Cloak to meet in his office in 45 minutes. It was going to be the first time many of them would be facing combat in the Dark Brotherhood, and he didn’t want the assortment of Apprentices, Novices, and Acolytes getting themselves into trouble before the fighting even began.
Thran hurried to the Consul's office as soon as he received his summons. He hoped it wasn't something about what happened in that bar last week. He entered into the office and bowed deeply.
Dakari motioned to a chair in front of his desk and waited for Thran to sit down before speaking, "You're a pilot Thran, am I correct?"
"We have an important task for you. We have a team gathering intel on both Arcona and CNS. You know that we are intending on attacking Taldryan?" Thran nodded and Dakari continued, "As such, we need someone to gather intel on Taldryan. We need someone who can get in and out without being caught. Just a recon and surveillance run. Think you can do it?"
"When do I leave?" Thran said, smiling.
RevengeX yawned, he was so sleepy after hanging out and drinking at the Brotherhood’s Lounge all last night. Breathing in the still night air, he was unsure on what he was doing awake. He stretched his arms up in a “raise the roof” fashion and pulled off the bed’s covers. The Templar suddenly got a little prickly feeling in the back of his head and started to scratch the area. His fingertips brushed against a small metal object and quickly tried to pull it off, but it stayed clamped onto his scalp. It moved slightly and tickled the Obelisk’s head to ‘readjust its sensors,’ thought Revenge. Getting out of the bed and moving towards his old mirror quickly, he turned slightly and got a better view of what he suspected to be a “thought bug.” [OOC: I don’t think there are any such things as thought bugs in the Star Wars Universe, but I’m trying to be creative here. If you don’t like this post somehow because of it, I suppose I can edit it to change things.]
These devices were supposedly created by Jedi Masters, submerged in politics of course, who needed to know what others thought of them quickly and efficiently. The bugs were strangely shaped like an average sized cockroach and were made entirely out of a thin metal like substance that provided slight protection from the victim’s flailing hands. The bugs essentially were able to inject a small bit of what usually was a type of drug that would allow the bug to access the brain’s higher functions such as thought and memory as well as destroying any defenses. The bug would then use its own tiny datapad to shift through the brain’s “data” and record any sounds emitted from the victim after accessing certain parts of data, whether that be reliving a memory or reciting a password.
RevengeX was already frightened of bugs and frantically called his lightsaber to his hand through the use of the Force. Memories of screams and giant insects gnawing at human flesh forced the Templar to take action. Precisely, he cut off the bug in one motion and extinguished the azure blade of his lightsaber. Almost crying with relief, he stooped down at the fallen remains and began to examine them. Looking over the metallic covering, he almost yelled when he saw a purple, red and blue symbol.
The Obelisk Templar sprinted down the corridors of the Clan headquarters, looking for the familiar office of the Clan’s Consul. Revenge skidded to a halt outside the ominous door and was just about to knock when Thran Occasus walked out with a creepy grin on his face that could only suggest that it was time for blood. Revenge stepped in quickly and slipped past some of the other members who were waiting to see the Consul. The Templar quickly opened the door a bit and side stepped inside and sat down at a chair opposite that of Dakari Tamalar, Consul of Clan Scholae Palatinae.
“What do you want, Revenge?” inquired the Tamalar in an exasperated tone.
“I’m here to report a little… incident regarding what I believe to be a thought bug from Taldryan,” replied Revenge.
“What makes you think it was Taldryan?” asked Dakari.
“The thought bug had a purple, red, and blue sym-”
“Arcona!” interrupted the Consul. “That’s their clan logo! A triangle with a purple, red and blue side surrounding a white circle! Those blasted little-”
“Yes, and because it has the Arcona logo on it, we can suspect that it wasn’t Clan Arcona. However, this brings up a huge logic problem. The people who sent the bug obviously wanted us to attack and suspect Arcona for the intrusion. Or, Arcona sent the bug and were too lazy to cover up their logo on it. I doubt that Arcona would be too lazy to do that now that the Great Jedi War has officially begun, so, I can suspect Taldryan because the two clans were involved in the Selen Incident on opposing sides.”
“Hmm... I see your point, but, we cannot be absolutely sure that it was Taldryan until our ‘data collectors’ come back…”
The Kanashimu slowed as it approached the planet of Sepros, Rasilvenaira activating the long range scanners, searching for the best course of action. A small beep announced a blinking dot on the radar. Pressing a few more buttons and controls, they were able to tap into communications.
*…just taking a shuttle over to deal with matters on Aeotheran…I’ll be careful.*
“Hmm. That’s interesting.”
“What do you mean?”
“Ah, I recognize that voice, its Xayun, Naga Sadow’s Envoy.”
An evil smile spread over the Jedi Hunter’s features. She pulled up the ship’s datapad, swiftly typing in a series of coded commands.
“Calling for reinforcements.”
“Hm, think that’s wise? And, what are you planning that we need reinforcements for anyways?”
“Don’t worry, transmission is coded and encrypted five times, no one but the intended destination would be able to understand anything from it. Xayun’s in a small shuttle, thus vulnerable, he’s their clan envoy, he may no something useful. I trust you can handle him, and I can deal with the pilot.”
Raid sighed as he considered, “Who are the reinforcements?”
“Before we left, I left a series of pre-coded commands with my droid, onboard my other ship, Verlassen will fetch Xan and bring the NyghtFyre along soon. We’ll wait a bit, then make our move when I know they’re on the way.”
Verlassen was checking the Nyghtfyre’s systems for the hundredth time since Rasilvenaira had left. The com unit buzzed and beeped relaying the coded transmission. The instructions given were simple, find Xan, and bring him and the NyghtFyre to where ever the Kanashimu was.
“Oh dear, I do hope she’s alright.” He muttered as he hurried off to find the Templar.
R5 beeped as Verlassen went by, informing him of Xan’s location. Then set about checking over the navigation systems, pinpointing the Kanashimu’s location as of the moment the transmission had been sent.
Xan was in his office, staring at his desk full of paperwork when the knock came at his door.
“Yes?” He looked up as the door opened.
“Master Xan, I need to speak with you.”
The Obelisk smirked and nodded, “You’re Rasilvenaira’s aren’t you? What is it?”
“Yes, yes sir, it is on my Mistress’ behalf that I am here, she’s requested that I bring you and the NyghtFyre to her. I do hope she’s not in danger.”
Xan stood, clipping his lightsaber to his belt, “Well, what are we waiting for you bucket of bolts? Get moving.”
Verlassen sputtered, but decided against saying anything further, and led the way back to the ship.
As they got on board, Verlassen took his seat, and Xan settled into the other pilot seat, casting a wary eye at the controls.
“Whoa, wait, you’re flying this thing?” he looked over at the droid.
“Well, sir, yes, unless you would prefer to.”
“No, that’s fine, just be careful.”
“Of course, my Mistress would be most displeased with me if I damaged her ship.”
“Heh, you should worry more about the fact that I will be even more displeased if damaging her ship involves damaging me.”
The Nyghtfyre’s engines screamed to life quickly lifting the ship skyward. Verlassen sent a return coded transmission to the Kanashimu.
Rasilvenaira was growing impatient, the shuttle was moving slowly, seemingly at minimum speed, while on one hand that told her that the Kanashimu’s scanner jamming systems were functioning properly, she was getting tired of waiting for them to move into position for her attack.
“At this rate, the Nyghtfyre will be here before we’re ready for them.”
Raid chuckled, “Will attacking a little sooner make that much of a difference?”
“Not really, was just going to try to nail them closer to the planet, force them off course so that we’ve time to do what needs to be done before anyone shows up. We’ve got to make sure he doesn’t know who attacked him.”
“Yeah, we’re going to have to work fast once we make our move.”
Finally the shuttle was in position, Rasilvenaira grinned, flipping on the communications jamming system, rendering the shuttle mute as well as blind since the Kanashimu didn’t show on their scanners. Increasing the throttle to attack speed, the Hunter aimed her first attack run, ion cannons targeted the shuttle and she opened fire. Coming around for another attack, the laser cannons did considerable damage. The shuttle increased its shield power and speed, heading for the planet’s surface.
Relentless yet careful attacks finally forced the small shuttle to land in an unpopulated area of Aeotheran. As the cockpit opened, Raidoner and Rasilvenaira moved into position, the Battlemaster had his lightsaber drawn and reached out to the force, causing total darkness to fall around the shuttle, then subtly he suppressed his own force signature, effectively becoming invisible.
The shuttle’s hatch opened and Xayun stepped out, his own saber lit, “Cowards, who are you?” His taunt was ineffective, and fear swept over his senses, unable to sense the enemy. Raid moved in, landing a swift blow to the back of the Envoy’s head. A dull thud from within the shuttle told him that Rasilvenaira’s target had also been dealt with. He removed Xayun’s saber, clipping it to his own belt as he bound the young Knight and blindfolded him.
Inside the shuttle, Rasilvenaira was transferring data from the shuttle’s computer to her own datapad. Satisfied, she further disabled the shuttle, removing her traces from its memory. Stepping back out as the force induced darkness faded, she smiled at the sight of the Naga Sadow Envoy.
Between the two of them, Xayun suffered an exhausting and rather painful interrogation. He lay whimpering, as Rasilvenaira made notes of what they’d learned. Not nearly as useful as she’d hoped he’d be, but still, considering he had no clue who had attacked him, there was still one use left for him.
The NyghtFyre came into view, Rasilvenaira smiling at the sight. As the ship landed, she moved to board as soon as the hatch opened. Raid followed close behind her.
Rasilvenaira grinned at her Master, “What took you so long?”
He scowled, “Your droid, not my fault.”
“I need you and Raidoner to finish the necessary recon work here. I’ve got a present to deliver to Plagueis.”
“Wait a minute!” he started to protest.
“What? I do not trust anyone to fly the Kanashimu, at least on the NyghtFyre I’ve got Verlassen to keep you out of mischief, and I know Raid can fly if need be.”
The Templar’s expression darkened, “What? You don’t trust me?”
She shook her head, “I trust you, just not to fly. Master, I know you too well, you’re better at killing things than flying them. As soon as I’m done visiting Plagueis, we’ll rendezvous back together near Aranna. I’m sure we’ll be required to wreck more havoc on the other clans before we head back home.”
He shrugged, “Aight, but be careful.”
She nodded, “Of course, this will be easy. Besides, if you admit it, you were getting bored just sitting around doing nothing.”
He chuckled, and headed back onboard the NyghtFyre, along with Raidoner. Rasilvenaira checked to make sure her unconscious passenger was still secure. Then climbing into the cockpit of the Kanashimu, she watched as the NyghtFyre lifted off.
Grinning wickedly, she considered the reactions of Naga Sadow when they found the shuttle and the altered data memories indicating the attack was perpetrated by a fighter hailing from Plagueis. That coupled with whatever happened after Plagueis was found to be in possession of Xayun amused her. Launching the Kanashimu skyward, she set a course for Kapsina
Mune growled lightly as he padded silently out of the council chamber. He had enough on his mind as it was, he thought to himself. Due to his recent absence, he had grown somewhat out of the loop of things he realized, and was only now beginning to get back into the flow of things. If he had not been lost in his own mind, he would have been quicker to regain his feet, he knew.
The fox stopped abruptly, his thoughts quickly retreating to the back of his mind to bring him back to the present things at hand. Shifting his gaze he saw Laurus stood a few feet to his left with a look of concern painting his features.
“Something is on your mind, Mune, is it anything I can help with?” Laurus inquired.
Laurus had seen his Quaestor in thought many times, but never as brooding as only moments before he had interrupted. Something nagged at the canid, and he was not sure if it was even wise to ask. With a studious gaze he watches the fox for any changes in his rather neutral expression, when none came, he wondered if he had angered him somehow. “I apologize, it was rude of…”
“Do not be foolish…” A smirk crossed the fox’ muzzle and he gave a dismissive gesture to show there was no rudeness to the inquiry at all. “I have many things to think about, and further thoughts seem to likewise pile atop the ones yet to come to conclusion.”
“If things grow to be too much…” Laurus began but was quickly cut off.
“No such thing.”
The fox took up his walk again with Laurus following near his side. Mune did not think much of it as he moved through the halls. His eyes scanned slowly as he moved until they fell upon Braecen walking in their direction. “Laurus, if you would, please tae your leave so I may speak with Braecen in private.”
Laurus seemed hesitant for a moment, not sure what it was about he decided best to listen without argument and left Mune to his own devices. The fox watched Braecen for a moment then gave a slight smile. “How do you fare, Braecen?”
The smile hid behind it anger that he felt compelled to bury in the face of recent events. He had no desire to visit what he felt upon his first apprentice. He watched Braecen with a calculating gaze, knowing well enough what he was capable of, and knowing well enough there could likewise be so much more yet unknown. Even with emotions buried, he could not help but draw blood with fist clenched, claws digging into his own palms. Braecen, from what Mune could see, remained oblivious to it all.
“I fare well, Mune. I am glad to see your return from Vardor. I am sure you still do well in the nobility of Isradia?”
Forcing down a growl he was able to soften his voice so as to not snap at his apprentice. For having the nerve to even mention the family he abandoned. Even so, he had remained one that stuck to the middle of things, uncertain as to why Braecen would have done so to begin with. He felt betrayed, but knew well enough there had to be reasons he remained unaware of. “Things have gone well… considering your having taken leave of the family unexpectedly…”
“I apologize, have I made you uncomfortable?” Braecen offered a rather smug grin.
“As it were… We have more important matters to discuss however.”
Braecen gave a nod. “The meeting… right? What is it you are thinking of the matters at hand?”
“We’ll stand by, for the time being. I believe Brujah and Dakari know what they are doing, I am no pilot, I am not necessarily a spy either… I am an assassin. I believe there will be work for us to do given time.” The fox seemed thoughtful for a moment, thinking on those thoughts in the back of his mind. “Just exercise some patience for the time being, however, remain prepared…”
“What is it you expect you or even I would have to do?”
“What is it an assassin normally does?” The fox grinned widely, showing his sharp fangs that glinted viciously with the lighting of the hall. His tongue draws over his fangs slowly before he adds, “We kill those that get in our way when the opportune time arises… and we do it with none the wiser.”
Braecen had seen Mune in his regular training routines, never having understood his taste for the katana. The weapon did not seem all that practical, lacking what a lightsaber could accomplish. He wondered if he would ever understand the fox that had trained him to the rank of dark jedi knight, or if anyone would for that matter. Braecen could not help but break into his own grin at the expression on his Master’s face however, one with the drive to kill if that is what it took for victory for the clan. “You’ve been waiting for that chance, haven’t you?”
“Not waiting… however, I am always prepared for the time when I need to do so again.”
Mune’s grin vanished. With a bow of his head he turned away, “I must be getting on to other things, Braecen. Get rest while you are able…”
Ood rushed through the halls of Acclivis Draco’s headquarters on Antenora. Why his Quaestor had him come all the way from the Academy was an enigma. It probably had something to do with the unrest between the Clans.
When Ood arrived at the Archpriests Office he was almost out of breath. The Guardian paused a second to regain his calm, straightened his robes and polished the SA crest on it. He still wearing his official Academy robes, the ones he normally had on when he was teaching.
When the Neti entered, Mune Metsukai Isradia looked up from his papers. “Have a seat”, the man said. Ood sat down without further delay.
Before Ood could start talking, Mune had started the conversation. Though they where equals at the Academy, now Mune used his leadership voice.
“Bnar, I need you to do something for the Clan!” the leader of HAD started. “The Academy will be pulled into the war soon”, he continued: “I want you to be there; ready to intervene when the going gets tough! We have students there; protect them with your life!”
“Sir, I shall look after our students, as I shall look over all students.” Ood replied.
“Your allegiance is with Scholae Palatinae! Need I remind you of that?”
“No Milord, but may I remind you that I have pledged my allegiance to the Headmaster as well? The Academy comes first in my eyes.”
“Ood, do you want to be marked a traitor by the others? Do you want the Clan despising you? Is that it?”
“No sir! But it seems I haven’t got a choice. We Neti hang on to our honour. Don’t ask this of me!”
“So you won’t help your Clan in its hour of need?”
“Only if it doesn’t mean I have to break my promise to the SA.”
Slowly the Quaestor got up from his chair. He didn’t even seem to notice the intercom was still active. The fire in his eyes startled Ood.
“Then you are a coward and a traitor mister Bnar.” Mune slowly remarked. “When this war is over, we will have a discussion about this. But for now my time is limited. So get the hell off of my planet and I wouldn’t set foot in Clan controlled space if I were you. Got the hint?”
“Yes sir! I’ll get my stuff and leave. Farewell.”
The Quaestor followed the Guardian out of his office and told his assistant to place a Clan-wide warrant for Ood’s life. “Everyone’s allowed to kill him if he is found on clan terrain. Issue the notice in five hours, let him get away!”
Ood walked towards his ship, knowing that the gossip had spread the rumour of his betrayal. The technicians looked at him with bloodthirsty eyes. He looked at his briefcase and smiled. If he could reach the Academy safely, this would be worth it.
As soon as Ood left Mune’s office, the Quaestor activated a secure channel with the Proconsul. Brujah looked up from his work as soon as the link was established.
“He is in place!”, was the only thing the Archpriest said before he closed the channel. It was better not to go into detail, who knew who was listening in.
On Judecca, Brujah smiled before he continued his work. The pieces where set and the game could begin.
Tyno sat in the main garden meditating on what Raidoner had told him. He had been keeping an eye out for anything unusual from the Arcona and Naga Sadow students, but had turned up nothing more then a few fools attempting to build illegal lightsabers and trying Force powers far beyond them.
As Tyno got up to leave, he walked by two other students both with their hoods up and walking rather quickly as they went into the deeper meditation areas of the main gardens.
This was odd, since most preferred to meditate alone. Tyno went around the nearest corner, so they would not see him, and reached out with the Force to track them.
Following them from about 50 meters back to insure not being seen. Tyno followed them nearly to the end of the garden where they stopped. Hiding behind a large Bushy plant, he attempted to use the Force to enhance his hearing.
“Do we always have to come so far out here?”
“Of course we do you fool, do you realize what would happen if we got caught?”
“Now to business, the latest transmission said that pair of spies have been seen in Arcona and Sadow space.”
“Any idea what Clan?”
“They don’t know, but I am sure it was Scholae. Therefore we are accelerating our plans and will begin with the assassination of several key Scholae students”
“We should get rid of that Tyno guy first he has been snooping around for something.”
“I don’t think so, or he would have told the Headmaster.”
“We will meet in your room tonight and begin setting up the poison injectors.”
Just then one of them turned his head swiftly. “Hold on, did you sense that!?”
“Were not alone.”
Tyno wished he had been taught to suppress his force signature and reached to the force to find anything he could use. In the nearby bush, he felt a small animal that had been living in the garden. Tyno realized this was the perfect opportunity to use his clan’s animal control powers. Using all his concentration on the Force he convinced it to that one the two smelt like food.
“Hah. It’s only an animal. You paranoid fool!” Tyno heard squeal as one of the assassins kicked the poor creature away. “Let’s go.”
Waiting until they had both reached a significant distance from him, Tyno sighed. This might be slightly more difficult then he had hoped.
As Ood Bnar shuttle landed Tyno approached the secure platform and waited for the ramp to open. The ramp descended and Ood walked down to meet Tyno. “Here is both the dagger and robe,” he whispered quietly.
“They both bear the crest of Clan Naga Sadow?” asked Tyno.
“Yes, they were taken in one of the recent feuds” Ood answered. “Now I must go Good luck.” They bowed to each other and went to their quarters.
Tyno had followed the Arconan assassins later in the day to his quarters, so he knew were they were going to meet. In his quarters Tyno donned the Naga Sadow robe and dagger Ood had smuggled to him and began to walk to the meeting. Walking down the corridors, he came to the Arcona room and pressed the Keypad to notify him of his arrival and raised his hood. The door opened, and Tyno walked in and stood opposite to the assassin.
“You’re early” snapped the Arconan. Tyno said nothing as the Arconan turned around and began taking something from a key coded box. “These devices can be put in our targets beds and will inject them in their sleep.”
Tyno Nodded as the Arconan continued.
“You’re being oddly quiet is something wrong?” said the Arconan as he walked up closer to Tyno. As he came up close enough to see under the hood “Wait your not...”
His words where quickly silenced as Tyno put the Sadow dagger through the Arconans gut. Throwing the worthless corpse on the ground, he picked up the Arconan dagger off his desk and put it in his robe. As Tyno was examining the injectors, the door opened and it took only seconds for the real Sadow to realize what had happened. He drew his dagger and leapt at Tyno, who moved at the last second, narrowly avoiding being stabbed in the shoulder. Tyno tackled his opponent, causing him to drop his dagger. In the scuffle, the Arconan dagger fell from Tyno robes, and he was flung back by the stronger Sadow. Tyno grabbed the Arconan dagger and threw it at the Sadow only to cause a small cut on his leg.
“Now you die Scholae scum,” snarled the Sadow.
Then as the Sadow stepped toward Tyno he fell over and curled over dead. Tyno picked up and examined the Arconan dagger to find it was laced with an extremely fast acting and deadly poison. Examining this perfect scene, Tyno walked out of the room and went back to his quarters to send a message to Raidoner, informing him of his success.
Headmaster Anshar sat in his office looking at his reports. “'Two students dead,' he thought.
Kromtal, his Praetor walked into the office of the Headmaster and bowed.
“What do we know?” asked the Headmaster
“The evidence on the scene suggests that there was a fight between two students, an Arconan and Sadow member, and”answered his Praetor“We found the Arconan with a dagger still in him, bearing the Sadow crest, and it appears the Sadow was poisoned from a cut of the Arconans dagger,” he continued
“Is there anything to show what may have provoked the fight?”
“Both were found in the possession of assassination tools.”
“So it may have been an assassination attempt gone badly,” inquired the Headmaster
“That is what we are assuming,” agreed the Praetor
“I will have to notify their respective clans” sighed the Headmaster
“This is going to cause tension between Arcona and Naga Sadow for sure” noted the Praetor as he turned to leave.
The Nyghtfyre had just lifted off when Raidoner received a message from the Shadow Academy.
From: GRD Tyno
Subject: progress report
The Stealth training has been completed with a score of 100.
“Perfect,” muttered Raidoner as he deleted the message.
The Plagueis Consul descended from his ship, bowing slighly to his Arconan equal. Halcyon Arconae responded likewise, and the two of them vanished into Arconan's facilities.
A good distance away, Arania Lawakiro stood in the shadows of a large trash collector ready to lift of. In her disguise as service worker, she had all reasons to be here, and when she had heard of Sarin's impending arrival, she had not hesitated to come to the landing field. It would have been too dangerous to get to close to the other two Dark Jedi Masters, of course. Despite her natural ability to adapt her appearance, and despite of the Shapeshifter Ring she wore - a Force artefact enabling anyone with sufficient ability to create an illusionpertaining to race and appearance of it's bearer - she was aware that Sarin would have seen through the disguise immediately. It had already been almost impossible to fool Halcyon, only his preoccupation with the current troubles all Clans were going through had enabaled her to get so close to actually be able to spy on him.
She burned to know, of course, what the two of them would talk about. Sarin, of all Consuls, was the least likely person she had expected to meet with the Arconan Consul. Nominally, Plagueis and Scholae Palatinae were still allies, despite the incident at the Shadow Academy. Arania still wasn't sure what to think of that one.
There was only one way to get to Sarin and Halcyon right now, and Arania hesitated. If she would be discovered, she would not get out alive, that was almost certain. But there was little choice if they wanted to learn more. Slowly, she moved into the Clan's facilities and grabbed a service car, almost stumbling over one of the few mouse droids. As most Clans, Arcona used little droids, native labour was not only cheaper but also more effective. When someone got sick, you just employed a new person. Droids, you had to repair and update too much. Also, most Dark Jedi disliked droids, and Arania was among them. A travesty of life, they were.
Pushing the service car towards the conference area, she could easily senseHalcyon and Sarin ahead, plus what seemed to be most of Arcona's other summit members. They did not even try to conceal their upset moods. Arania smirked. She imagined Sarin would have prefered to talk to Halc alone and wasn't pleased with this situation.
A door close to the conference rooms opened as she approached. The service area doors were programmed to open automatically on the arrival of service cars just as hers - maintainance tools mostly designed to service the ventilation system. Of course, the disguise she was using here did not include the handling of such equipment, but hardly anyone paid attention to the servants first place, and the woman was sure she would be able to deal with any questions.
In the service bay, Arania locked the door and typed in the out-of-order info for the door display, then she quickly undressed. Even the ring she took off - immediately losing her chosen appearance - and placed everything neatly on top of the service car. Then she begun to change her appearance once more, but this time, black hair started covering her body, and her size diminished quickly. From her sides, additional appendages grew, and she suppressed a cry as hot pain shot through her body. It had been a while since she had used this ability, and she had almost forgotten how painful it usually was. And this was one process she could not help with the Force in any way.
It seemed to take ages until the morph was done. The Tear Of Freedom, the pendant usually permenantly ingrown in her chest, clattered too the floor as well. Once more, Arania was sorry about not being able to shift back to humanoid form without it growing into her again. The damn thing had become a part of her, and she was actually unable to morph back without it now, a dangerous situation.
Arania was now a spider the size of a large hand. As usual, it took several minutes to readjust to the different sensory input, especially from her eyes and sensory hairs. Also, the inability to touch the Force as she could usually do bothered her a bit. But she regained her bearings relatively quickly and rushed up the wall towads the ventilation system.
It was easy to find the conference room the meeting took place in. The ventilation shaft vibrated from the loud voices. Her whole body seemed to shake from it. Again, it took her a bit to adjust her mind to the different input, and then she began to understand what was being said. Imediately she knew her decision to risk a morph had been right.
The halls were still excited from Dakari's meeting, and it was obvious everyone was happy to see a war coming. All the Obelisks were showing off their toys, the Sith were talking about who had the biggest engine, and the krath were all sitting in a corner planning attacks, on who they think should be our enemies. Aksle strolled in with his hands in his old grubby black robe to notice that everyone was wearing a new robe... a nicer robe at least. the Rogue Knight walked right through the main rooms and to the office of the consul.
"He said before I left they were making him Consul, let's find out if they actually did." Aksle muttered to himself as he opened the door. Inside waited an empty chair, but behind the desk was a warbanner of a decayed hand holding a holocron. "That's Dak's alright. Never could understand his obsession with the sith." Just then Aksle noticed a datapad on Dakari's desk that pointed out that he was in a meeting with Brujah. "Well I guesss I wasn't around to be Dak's right hand man so he picked a new one. I'll just have to accept the fact that my only power will now be through Dak himself, instead of the positions he gives me. Anyways, guess I should go looking for him." The Zabrak wandered the halls and couldn't help but notice all the people carrying sabers were looking at his robes and all the underlings were staring at his saber. He realized that soon someone would make a move, and that it probably wouldn't result in his own death. As a rather ambitious Krath Acolyte was beggining to get too close to him he recognized Morrigan. "Hey, Morrigan, what are you doing?"
"Aksle, what are you doing?" Morrigan replied quickly. "You dissappear, then return 6 months later and have the gall to ask me what I'm doing?"
"That's great now where do I find Dak and Brujah?"
"Are you kidding me? You're really not going to tell me what happened?"
"I will as soon as we find Dak and Brujah. It is really important that I find at least Dak, and I think I know where the are." With his last word Aksle heads off down towards the council chambers with Morrigan trailing behind him.
As the two rounded the last corner the clan and house summit could be seen exiting, the meetings took place daily because of riseing tention between the clans, and Aksle found Dakari in the mix. "Red robes!" exclaimed Aksle, " you switched back to the sith path. And I thought I had made an impact on you." With that Dakari, who was looking rather tired, turned to face his apprentice to see him smiling with his usual gleam. "I have some rather strange information I think you should look into."
"Why do you think I should care?" said Dakari with a rather decieving smile.
"Well I was attacked in a Paltinae ship."
"Yeah I was wondering where it went."
"They were from the Brotherhood."
Dakari looked around before continuing, "Follow me to my office, this conversation can continue in private." As they walked towards the Consul's office Dakari asked, " So what have you been doing?" Morrigan perked up waiting for the answer.
"Well you know, bar crawls, fighting pirates, seeking treasure." Aksle replied.
"Did you find anything?" questioned Morrigan.
"Nope." Dakari opened the door and they walked inside. Aksle grabbed a datapad out of his robes and handed it to the Consul. " I found that on one of the saber wielding corpses, its got a tag on the back that says taldryan."
"Alright, let me discuss this with my staff." And with that Aksle and Morrigan walked into the common room.
"I need to get new robes." Stated the Rogue knight as he sat down on one of the couches.
Morrigan just snickered slightly at Aksle's comment. She grinned evilly, knowing what trouble that they could cause after all this silliness with a war is over. "I think that look is better on you anyhow."
"Oh gee thanks" Aksle said with a slight growl.
Morrigan just sat there in silence, trying to hear what Dakari was talking about behind closed doors, when she smelled something funny. She glanced up, and noticed an acolyte that she's never seen before. She flattened her ears, watching carefully.
Aksle poked her slightly. "What you watching?"
She just shrugged slightly. "Theres something off about that acolyte. But its probably just me."
Aksle glanced up. "whats so odd about……"
Mid-sentence, Dakai comes out of his office. He first looks at Aksle and then at Morrigan. With a shake of his head, he motions them both into his office. After they are both in his office, he closes his door and takes a seat at his desk.
"I have reviewed what you brought me with Brujah and have decided to send you on a mission conserning it. Against my better judgement, I am going to send you with him, Morrigan."
Morrigan just looked between Aksle and Dakari, wondering what she just got involved into.
The warm night’s breeze had a sweet scent to it as it crossed a small grassy valley on its western direction. Throughout the meadow, the grasses and other native plants swayed with its gentle touch as some released their seeds and petals to journey to places unknown. Despite the natural flow of the wind, no clouds amidst the night’s sky were visible; leaving a bluish-purple skyline filled with tiny yellow dots and two enormous white spheres to fill the sky. The experience was breathtaking if who were to take the time to acknowledge the beauties of the natural world; something the Obelisk Prelate Linkin never had known before his re-entry to Scholae Palatine.
As a sudden, but small, gust of wind rocked his body and pulled at his robes; Linkin “Warhunter” Camulos closed his eyes and left his mind to wander the meadow’s night-time beauty on the flow of the wind through his Jedi mental exercises. He was accustomed to during this more and more recently as he took an unofficial leave from politics and sought to take some time to fix and better himself before he returned to doing the same for the brotherhood. The Prelate had even surprised himself in feat, as though he was an unofficial champion of combat with experience far surpassing most Equites; he never really knew how limited he was until his began exploring his weakness. Now, several months since he had drifted underground and hide from the politics of the brotherhood, the Obelisk had managed to develop new talents and strengthen little used abilities like his clan’s power of Animalism. He had made himself known to his strength in this ability earlier as he controlled the fierce fight of a cone bug and its rival; a stinging ant, while he gambled on the outcome on a future conversation.
Remembering his visions of night’s prior, the Prelate snapped back to attention as his mind came upon a distant individual approaching him from the direct of the Clan Headquarters. Knowing full well that the intruding individual knew his location, the Prelate remained in his seated position and waited patiently for the man to arrive.
The approaching individual was a man of enormous proportions, as he stood two metres in height and weighted in as much as eighty-six kilograms. His mass was of ripping muscle, a feat that created a lack in agility for the man. But despite his large, masculine appearance; the individual was no more than eighteen years of age and had the voice of someone just out of pubity and not yet familiar with the experiences of the universe.
“You missed the clan’s meeting, once again.” The sharp, but relatively low voice stated as calmly as the wind was. “How does a man who asked me once, ‘How do you expect to be involved in the clan if you do not participate?’ get away with such actions?”
“By being strong enough in the force for it to inform and direct him.” The Prelate answered coldly, knowing full well that the individual processed the knowledge that Linkin knew to outcome of the clan’s meeting.
“Then I suppose you know full well what has come to be expected of you in conclusion to this event, eh Warhunter?” The individual asked after sighing and shaking his head at the Obelisk’s arrogance.
“Don’t ask stupid questions, Xen. You might be attractive to some poor individuals of your race, but stupidity has a tendency to ruin that.” Warhunter jeered as he recalled his vision of his conversation.
“Right, well then you know that we are to be unofficially at war with Taldryan and acting in the ways of Palpatine as we do so.” The Prelate’s silenced acknowledged the fact. “Are you aware then, that as the eldest Obelisk of the clan and an individual who’s survived not only more combat then most of the Masters in the clan but the last Great Jedi War as well; you are asked to take an honorary leadership role in the coming events and prepare and lead our ground forces along side the clan summit?”
An acknowledgement was released from Linkin’s lips as he remembered the fight of the cone bug and the stinging ant. “And what say you?” Xen’Culo’s words disappeared from existence as Warhunter’s mind recounted the cone bug’s vicious attack on the stinging ant with his claws. Having been the underdog of the fight, Linkin’s influence on the small minded creature had brought it victory as it squeezed the limbs and eventually the head off of the unfortunate ant.
“I’ll do it.” The words escaped from his mouth as if they were painful.
"You understand you are under direct control of the clan summit and are in sense only a advisor?"
The Prelate's acknowledge left his mouth and drifted across the darken meadow under the night's sky, as if to carry on his freedow while he was to be tied down for the coming months.
*The nightfyre swerved around a large meteor then bursted upward in a twirling spiral, something Templar Xan Be’lakor Azytzeen could not stomach. The Obelisk was more accustomed to troop transports rather than the fancy flying of Sith Battle Master Maximus Raidoner Mandalore*
“For Darth sake’s Xan, your smell is bad enough with out you regurgitating all over the cockpit, get a hold of yourself already” Raidoner said to Xan as the templar could not hold his last nourishment in his stomach.
“Must you fly as if we are dodging an entire fleet of A-wings?” Xan yelled at the mandalorian pilot.
“I am merely getting a feel for this ship in case we do, so quit acting like an old rodian woman and start cleaning this mess up, I know Rasilvenaira is your apprentice and all but she has the temper of an insane starved rancor in heat so I truly would not want to her to see this mess.” Raidoner responded.
Xan only nodded as the mandalorian leveled the ship and kept its course, both jedi knew the importance of their mission and the major set back they had caused to both, clan Naga Sadow and clan plagueis.
Raidoner felt a certain pride in the fact that everything was going as planned but he also knew that Tyno’s mission back at the Shadow Academy was far from over, somehow he had to have Tyno discover who had issued the assassination orders to both cadets.
Was it someone from Arcona working alone? Was it someone from clan naga sadow? Or was it a freelance that from another clan that somehow managed to persuade these Shadow Academy students?
No matter who was responsible Raidoner was certain that they would try once more and this time they will not make it so simple.
Time could be our best ally or are most gruesome enemy.
As Xan finally wiped up the last of his stomach acid off the passenger seat then reclined his seat and began to doze off, Raidoner used his commlink to communicate with Rasilvenaira.
“How is our passenger?” Raidoner asked.
“Sleeping like a krayt dragon after feasting on a bantha herd, how is my master doing” Rasilvenaira asked.
“Well let us just say he is a bit on the lighter side and I don’t mean jedi wise.” Raidoner replied.
“Well please don’t do any fancy flying cause Xan is just not used to all the sudden moves” Rasilvenaira said with great concern.
“Hmmm, you don’t say…..I will be on my best behavior I promise” Raidoner replied with an evil grin on his face while he watched the templar drool while sleeping.
The Kanashimu was on its final approach to Kapsina, and Rasilvenaira increased the power to the jamming systems as well as the shields. This would be the most difficult part of her part of the mission, getting down close enough to Plagueis’ headquarters to drop off the still unconscious Sadowan Envoy, and get out without being noticed.
Breaking through the atmosphere, she aimed the ship for Ellesmeria, and was pleased that it was on the nightside of the planet. Setting the Kanashimu down gently a few yards from the city’s outskirts, she hauled Xayun out of the ship. Dropping the Envoy unceremoniously to the ground, she smirked as he groaned, indicating he was beginning to wake up.
Leaning close to his ear, she whispered, “Welcome to Kapsina, Envoy. Hope Sarin likes his new pet.”
Xayun struggled against his bonds, nearly whimpering in fear, knowing what the twisted mind of the Plagueis Consul could dredge up. Rasilvenaira turned her back on the young Envoy and climbed back into the cockpit up the Kanashimu. As she took off again, the Hunter spotted a small patrol fighter closing in on her starboard side.
“Oh fine, you want to do things the hard way, fine.” Rasilvenaira wasn’t about to risk the patrol ship being able to identify or mark her, so she pulled her fighter around, arming the weapon systems.
The small TIE Scout attempted to follow her rolling spiral, but the Kanashimu’s jamming systems were causing havoc for the TIE’s instrument array. Rasilvenaira maneuvered around behind them, locking the laser cannons and a proton torpedo on the craft. Grinning, she opened fire and laughed as the TIE became a fireball and plummeted to the planet surface.
Rasilvenaira quickly turned her ship spaceward, and began preparations for the next leg of her journey. As she set the coordinates for the rendezvous point on Aranna, the Sith couldn’t help the sudden misgivings she had over trusting Raid and Xan with her other ship.
“I swear, if they mess up my ship, I’ll skin them both.” She growled.
Rasilvenaira arrived to Aranna first, setting the Kanashimu down on a flat area large enough for both ships. Climbing out of the cockpit, she stretched and looked around. Settling herself on the wing of her ship, she pulled out her datapad, and typed in a few last notes and checked the information they’d gathered from Xayun.
“Need to get this back to Dakari, he’ll find it interesting.” Scanning the sky, she began to wonder if the NyghtFyre had encountered trouble. “Hmm, wonder what’s keeping those two.” She muttered.
Finally the com unit beeped, and Rasilvenaira slipped back into the cockpit to answer it.
“We’ll be there soon Ras, we’re approaching Aranna now.”
“Good, I’ve got a nice landing spot; just lock in on the Kanashimu once you break the atmosphere.”
As she turned the com unit off, she shook her head, “Why do I have a bad feeling about this?”
The NyghtFyre finally came into view, and Rasilvenaira’s dark eyes instinctively began scanning the hull for signs of damage. She approached as the ship landed, and walked around it. Raid and Xan strolled down the ramp as Rasilvenaira continued her inspection of the NyghtFyre. Slipping inside, the Hunter concluded her post flight inspection, and as she came back down the ramp, her eyes narrowed. Xan and Raid looked at each other, and then back at Rasilvenaira.
Her voice held the hint of a low growl, as she slipped a dagger from its sheath. “There are scratches on my ship.”
Dark eyes locked on Raid, “I trust you for one mission, and not only do you torment my master deliberately, you scratched my ship!”
“Oh, wait, I can explain.” Raid offered as he backed slowly away from the angry Envoy.
Rasilvenaira snarled and lunged after the Battlemaster. Raid’s eyes went big and he took off running, not wanting to actually fight her. The Hunter chased Raid around the NyghtFyre four times.
Finally Xan, who was having a hard time breathing from laughing so hard, managed to yell, “Silver, stop!”
Rasilvenaira stopped, muttering curses under her breath, but she returned the dagger to its sheath. Giving Raid one more dark look, she shook her head and walked back over to the Kanashimu.
“Really, I don’t know how you managed to forget both droids on board, as well as the security systems. You honestly thought I wouldn’t know what you two were up to?”
Xan and Raid both shared a look reminiscent of two kids getting busted for pulling pranks.
“Alright, Xan, my dear master, I need you to take the NyghtFyre back and give this datapad to Dakari.” She handed it to him. “It has the information we gathered from the Naga Sadow Envoy, and don’t worry, Verlassen will fly the ship from here.”
Xan nodded, “Aight, but what are you two going to be doing?”
“Hmm, not sure yet, but there’s a few things I want to check out, so I’ll take Raid with me.”
The Templar nodded, “Be careful.”
Rasilvenaira smirked, “You too, try not to get into any trouble, it’s a straight jump from here back to CSP.”
She watched as the NyghtFyre took off again, and then turned to Raid. “And you get to pay for repairs to the NyghtFyre when we get back.”
The Battlemaster looked at her, stunned, “Me? But…”
“No ‘but’ about it, she didn’t have a scratch on her when I left her in your care, and Xan’s no flyer.”
“Oh, alright, so where are we off too then?”
Rasilvenaira grinned, “Antei. Need to check on a few things.”
Recently returned from Plagueis, the Archpriest had become an authority on their inner-workings, geography and ultimately... their weaknesses. So it was a rare surprise that Braecen Kunar was continually assaulted with requests about the newly inhabited star system that played home to Sarin’s Clan. In fact, the Krath Equite was most surprised that no one had come to him demanding he lead a one-man war against his former home. “Though it would be all too sweet,” the Corellian chimed to himself as the notion crossed his mind. He could see himself diverting errant bolts with his silver blade, absorbing others before redirecting them and ultimately claiming the Dark Tower as his own. A small grin turned into an evil, foreboding smirk that split the man’s otherwise pale face. Then his face grew serious, his eyes clouded dark; he could almost see himself ascending the platform before the Throne of Plagueis. To his right the ‘Di Plagia’ would bow, upon his left the desperate leaders and behind him a Clan worth ruling. Suddenly, a knock at the door pulled the man from his reverie, his daydream.
“Come in,” he whispered. Then with greater skill he pressed outward in the Force, inviting whomever stood upon his doorstep. A familiar presence pressed back inward, almost mocking the Krath for his attempt to scare off a younger member with such trickery. But there was no malic at work here, for the man that appeared as the door slid open was a friend, an ally and a brother to Braecen. A square jaw framed the man’s face and it was all-to-noticeable that his hands were rough from honest work as a warrior, a leader. “Dakari, Old Friend.”
The Consul held up his hands, miming an attempt to hold those words at bay. “Who said anything about ‘old’?” Then he reached out, grasping the forearm of his fellow Royal Guardsmen before he pulled him in close. It appeared an all-too emotional moment to any bystander, though seldom few could hear as the two men exchanged almost silent words. “The time draws near for you to serve this Clan.”
“How can I serve?” The Archpriest’s words carried uncertainty, self-doubt. “These men and women have no reason to trust in my loyalty.”
“Then they must trust in my faith in you.”
“And if not that?”
With urgency and conviction, Dakari spoke, “Then they must understand you are one of my most celebrated warriors: hand-to-hand and tactical combat. If you are not in a position to lead during this conflict, it only weakens the chance this Clan has to survive against some of the other Clan’s combined military might.”
“Surely it will not come to that...” The Krath Equite allowed his voice to fall into nothingness.
“For too long have we rested in the Judecca system undisturbed. Soon, that could all change. Very soon.”
The Consul pulled apart from his comrade and the exchange went unnoticed. Slowly the two worked into a comfortable dialogue, designed to throw off the cleverest of spies. While the conversation would include several keywords and a very distinct rhyming pattern, it was part of a misdirection ploy. If any spies did exist within the Clan infrastructure, it would be a necessary step into uncovering the assailants identity.
Finally the Consul concluded with the keyword ‘Blue Star.’ A comment designed to designate a moveable base. Or rather, a star ship within the yard orbiting Judecca. A slight wink was exchanged between both me before they departed from the room, each heading in an opposite direction. While the work of a Consul never ceased in the form of paperwork, administration and policy - the life of a warrior constantly stayed in motion.
And Braecen Kunar’s life, and destiny, were continually in motion as the dawn began to break over the War that would soon be upon them. Yet, for now, Kunar awaited additional orders from his Clanmates.
The Library of the Shadow Academy is one of the biggest libraries in the known galaxy. It contains the ancient lore of the Dark Lords of the Sith, Philosophical texts about the Force and most importantly: Everything there is to know about the six clans.
Ood Bnar wandered through the halls in search of the chief librarian. Everywhere around him, students where eyeing him. The Sith Tactics professor usually didn’t leave his quarters and it had been ages since he was seen in the library. One of the Assistant-librarians saw the Neti approach and ran off to find his master.
The office of the Chief Librarian was the stage of a heated debate. The Headmasters Magistrate Dranik was almost yelling at the Librarian. His words seemed not directed at the man but seemed more thrown in his general direction.
“You shall do as I command you!”, the Magistrate continued, “those books should be locked away, you hear me!”
“But Dranik, you must understand. We are a house of learning, not a warzone, those files won’t be used as a means to win this upcoming war, how would it seem if we lock them away? The Academy would send out the appearance of being weak!”
“Two students have died already, I’m telling you, those books pose a clear and present danger to the neutral stance of the Academy! What would happen if one clan got hold of them? The others would think we have chosen a side, they would call their students home and we would have to close our doors, is that what you want?”
At that moment an Assistant-Librarian knocked on the door.
“We’ll continue in a second Dranik, Enter!”
The Assistant enters and after seeing whom he has disturbed, he turns red: “Sorry to disturb you sir, but master Bnar is here to see you.”
“What would he want? Dranik, do you know why he would want to see me?”
“No idea, but go talk to him and you will find out. I’ll wait here.”
Ood grinned as he saw the chief of the Library approach. The man was starting to look more and more like a badger.
“Professor Bnar, what brings you here? Anything I can do to help?”
“Yes, you heard of the Arcona- Sadow incident?”
“Of course, I was just talking about it with Magistrate Dranik.”
“Were you now? You also heard about my little problem with my clan?”
“Yes, very regrettable indeed. I hope I never have to chose between my clan and the SA.”
“Yeah well, that doesn’t matter. I am concerned about a certain section of the library.”
“What do you mean?”
“The Tactical database and the books on clan-tactics. I believe they aren’t safe in here. What if a student steals them for his clan? We could get into trouble.”
“I was just discussing the topic with Dranik, he agrees with you.”
“I suggest moving them to my chambers until further notice.”
“I need the books to teach my course. And since I am neutral, I can’t give them to a clan.”
“Excellent idea. I’ll have my assistants move them to your quarters immediately. But if you will excuse me for now. I am in a meeting.”
The Neti gestured the librarian away and walked out of the library. It seemed to guardian Tyno, who was studying there that his pace was more cheerful than normally.
Dranik looked up as the librarian entered the office again.
“And? What did he want?”
“Our problem is solved, Bnar will keep the books in his chambers.”
“Ok, if you really believe that will help?”
Dranik got up and walked out the office saying: “I have matters to attend to.”
Rasilvenaira had just finished checking the Kanashimu. When she received a message from the Academy.
From: GRD Ood Bnar
Subject: hope you feel better!
I hope you are almost over that cold.
Hope the healers are feeding you enough
Get well soon!
P.S.: Found that book you where looking for! Seems it was just lying in my chambers.
Rasilvenaira smiled as she read the message. He had succeeded!
As Dranik left the library grounds, his face was expressionless. It was not that the tactics books would be that much of an advantage, considering the Clans were keeping the most valued tactics in their headquarters, and especially because tactics changed a lot, based on who joined and left the Clans. But it was a political desaster waiting to happen. All that was needed was another rumour about the Academy - there were already movements to abandon the Shadow Academy and leave training to the Clans entirely, despite the fact that the Shadow Academy had been the one stable factor during the whole mess with the infection a while ago. The Clans would happily jump at the chance to blame the Academy, especially Anshar. Anshar was, after all, another Headmaster from Tarentum, and Tarentum's enemies had begun to call the Academy the Tarentum Academy already. That was not much different to members claiming the Grand Master position was a Taldryan position.
All in all, Dranik did not trust the Neti, and he wasn't that sure about ood really being at odds with his Clan to begin with. No, Dranik wasn't born just this morning, and he would find a way to secure those books before the Neti could do any harm. Even if that meant the loss of a professor.
Plots And Ploys
"...so we could not attack openly due to them being our allies, at least officially." The voice of Sarin admitting to the Arcona Consul about their attack on Scholae Palatinae sounded weird in Arania's spider brain - it was more that she felt the sounds actually. It had taken her a long time to be able to really use a small spider body like this - things were easier with some larger spiders, especially those from her homeworld - but she was glad she had gone through the trouble.
"So, why are you telling me this?" Halcyon's voice had a mocking touch, it was obvious he was doubting Sarin's motives.
"You are CSP's number one enemy, are you not?" Sarin snorted, as if to show he had to explain the obvious. "And in the past, our Clans haven't really gotten along either. It is unlikely Dakari or his minions would think of us allying with you, of all Clans."
Arania could not see anything that happened in the conference room, but she imagined Halc was smiling now. "Indeed," he replied. "Yet, what security do I have that this is not just a ploy by your two Clans to frame us?"
"None, obviously." Sarin's voice was tense now. "Yet, I come to you as a Master to a Master. We share the same power, so it is not likely I could easily deceive you. Mind you, I do not ask you to trust us completely, or indefinitely. All I am suggesting is Arcona and Plagueis joining to diminish and maybe completely destroy Scholae. After that, we can see who of us is stronger - or deal with the other Clans."
"I see. I will need to discuss this with my summit. I trust your summit supports the idea?"
The woman-turned-spider was sure that Sarin's summit has no idea yet, and was also sure the Arcona Consul knew, yet she heard Sarin grunting an affirmative. He was thus assuring Halc he was capable of controlling his summit no matter what. as the other two Masters exchanged some half hearted good wishes, Arania retired. She had heard enough, and not counting informing her Clan about the development, there was something else she had to do now.
A few hours later, the Scholaean was on the way to Antei do do two things - prove the attack dispelled by the Royal Guard had truly come from Plagueis and talk to the Lord Hegemon. The situation was troubling, and Kaiann was known to have sympathies towards her Clan. It would be good to assure the quiet assistance of some of the Council members.
At the Antei, Raidoner was still giving Xan hell over the commlink about getting him in trouble with Rasilvenaira, then he started to nag the Clan Envoy herself.
“It is not my fault that he can not handle flying, so why on earth should I have to pay for his weak stomach?” Raidoner nagged at Rasilvenaira.
Rasilvenaira took a deep breath and sighed as she tried to walk quicker away from the Mandalorian as Raidoner followed.
“And another thing, you could have had both of us pay for damages since he was the one vomiting .” Raidoner nagged as he noticed Templar Phantom Mandalore walking towards them.
Raidoner with a joyful smile opened his arms to greet Phantom but the Templar was in no mood.
“Save the greetings for later, we have a mission of utter importance that needs tending to immediately!” Phantom said quite hastily.
“I need to head to the Shadow Academy right away” Raidoner replied.
“I have direct orders from Brujah to depart right away to the Cocytus system, we are to land at Caina at the Dorimad Sol station.” Phantom hastily explained.
“That station has been shut down until further notice” Rasilvenaira said.
“I do not know what Brujah has in mind, I only follow orders and those are the issued orders.” Phantom said as she pulled Raidoner to a VT49 Decimator, Rasilvenaira was to follow in her Kanashimu.
Raidoner’s eyes opened wide as he saw the ship they where to board!
“Praise be to Brujah!!!!!” Raidoner said as he dashed to the cockpit.
“I always wanted to fly one of these and today is my day!!!!!!!!” Raidoner says as he opens the cockpit door.
“Not today your not!” a voice says calmly yet firmly.
“What the…” Raidoner said in disappointment.
It was Sith Battle Lord Phoenix Olkyssagh Palpatine one of the clans eldest and most skilled pilots.
“Your lucky to get to get copilot at best” Phoenix said.
“First I get slapped with the maintenance bill for the nightfyre and now this….meh!” Raidoner said with a disappointing sigh.
Rasilvenaira was just thrilled that she was gonna get to fly along side Phoenix, she knew his reputation as a pilot and was hoping to see him in action.
“Don’t look so happy miss Clan Envoy, Phoenix stunt flying is what earned him his rank so strap yourself in and try to keep up” Raidoner said to Rasilvenaira via commlink as he took the copilot seat.
“Damn straight” Phoenix said with an evil smirk on his face.
As the Decimator entered the Cocytus system via the Caina hyperoute, they noticed a squad of Z-95 Headhunter that spotted them enter the system.
“Looks like we have company” Raidoner alerts Phoenix.
“Raidoner get on the top turret, Phantom, get on the bottom one, I will keep the shields at full power” Phoenix yells.
All eight Z-95’s break formation and spread out as they begin to close in from all directions.
At that very moment a Corellian corvette enters the sector with four X-wing fighter escorts.
“Corvette armed with full turrets just entered behind us!” Raidoner alerts Phoenix.
Phoenix only nods as he maneuvers away from the corvette as fast and as far as he can, the Z-95 fighters follow.
“We are definitely in a tight spot” Raidoner says.
“Nothing I can’t handle” Phoenix replies with confidence.
Suddenly the Kanashimu enters the system dead behind the Corvette.
"What on the Dath lord is going on here?" Rasilvenaira asks.
"Seems like we stumbled upon a full scale siege on Caina" Phoenix replies.
The X-wing escorts immediately open fire on the Kanashimu but Rasilvenaira takes em head on launching two of her proton missles taking out two of the four escorts.
The two remaining X-wings dive oppositely from each other in order to catch the Kanashimu from both sides, Rasilvenaira pulls up while boosting the engines headed in a backwards loop twirling as the corvette's rear turrets fire upon her and miss.
The Kanamishu is manuevered directly above one of the X-wings firing directly into its cockpit, sparks fly as the X-wing floats away into the abyss of space.
Rasilvenaira then begins to chase the remaining X-wing whose pilot decided to close to the corvettes turrets in order to find refuge from the Kanashimu.
Rasilvenaira keeps her distance from the corvette.
Watching the Z-95's beginning their assault runs, Phantom let a smile cross her face as she took her position in the turrect and brought the weapon to life. Quickly taking aim on the closest fighter, the Templar opened fire, tracking the ships path as it changed course to avoid the barage of laser fire set by the Obelisk. Watching the fighter make a last ditch effort, Phantom watched the ship explode just as Pheonix manuevered the Decimator to avoid a barage of laser fire laid out by a second of the Z-95's.
Raidoner quickly engages the second fighter as it passes a few meters above the turret.
"This is odd. That ship came close," remarked the Battle Master," but the markings on that ship do not belong to any of the Clans or Houses within the Brotherhood. Looks like some one managed to hire themselves some mercinaries."
"Some one is really going out of their way to keep their intentions unknown," replied Pheonix.
Just then, the ship lurched around as it was hit by laser fire from one of two fighters that had managed to maneuver themselves to the rear of the Decimator. Breaking engagement from a retreating ship, Phantom spun her turret around to engage the threat.
"Ras..... I think you really need to get up here..... Raid and I.....really.....have our hands full up here." The concentration could be heard in the Obelisk's voice.
"On my way," replied the Sith. "I'm getting tired of playing cat and mouse with this jerk, anyways."
Rasilvenaira brought the Kanamishu around just in time to witness a second Z-95 meet it's demise.
"Nice shot, Phantom!" the Sith Hunter exclaimed in surprise. "Not bad for a trooper."
"Well, there's more to my history than I let on," replied the Templar. "I used to be a pilot before I joined the Brotherhood. Now get your backside up here before you miss out on the fun."
The Kanamishu flew above the decimator with three Headhunters on her tail whose pilots did not seem to release their firing button.
“Rasilvenaira is in trouble!” Raidoner yelled.
“Well you guys best get these other three off of us, we have that darn corvette head straight for us and these Headhunters are trying to keep us pinned down until it gets in within firing range!” Phoenix yelled back.
With that said Phantom directed Rasilvenaira to swing under and around the Decimator via the commlink.
As the young Hunter did just that the three Head hunters came within target range of Phantom’s turrets blowing up the lead one as it followed the Kanamishu, the other two pulled up giving way for Raidoner to execute his turrets and destroying a second Headhunter that trailed the Hunter, both explosions caused debris to bounce off the Decimator.
“What in the name of Bane are you guys trying to do? Blow us up too?” Phoenix yelled at both the Templar and the Sith battle Master.
The kanamishu swung around and quickly dispatched the third Headhunter.
“Ok we are down to three on the Decimator, Rasilvenaira, try to cancel these pilots contracts as I head towards the corvette” Phoenix says via commlink.
Working in conjunction with the turrets the Headhunters are quickly destroyed.
“We going to destroy this thing or merely capture it?” Rasilvenaira asks.
“Capture! we need to know who is trying to infiltrate our system” Phoenix replies.
“Capture it is then!” the Hunter says as she closes in on one of the Headhunters.
“The corvette is down to one escort but it sports a full shield, we will need to take that down before we can disable its turrets, so I suggest we you do a hit and run maneuver from its rear since the its thrusting engines will grant you some cover from the rear turrets while I work it from the right flank, once its rear and right flank turrets are out we can
Both work its left flank sneaking from under its hull.” Phoenix says.
“Affirmative” Rasilvenaira says as she boosts her engines and swings under and behind the corvette.
The remaining X-wing fighter escort follows the Kanamishu, a mistake that pilot will not live to regret.
“These guys never expected to encounter the likes of us” Raidoner says arrogantly.
The Decimator swung around to the right flank of the corvette as it avoided heavy fire.
“Guys make sure you get a secure locked target on those turrets because we are limited on how many times we can swing around this flank, we can only take so much firepower” Phoenix says to both of his crew members.
“Target locked, rear thruster defensive turret” Raidoner yells.
“Target locked, mid section twin turret” Phantom yelleds.
“Ok here we go ladies and germs!” Phoenix yells back as he dives into the right flank
Ood smiled as he sent Rasilvenaira the message informing her of what he had done. He then began to put the books under his bed when a familiar voice sounded from his doorway, "Hello Ood." Dranik said.
"Magistrate." Ood replied nodding.
"I don’t think you need those books for your course."
"Actually, I do. If you look in the course outline you can see that—"
"Yes, that's quite a convenient little cover story isn't it?"
"I don’t know what you're talking about." Ood said, still quite calmly.
"I think you do." Dranik continued, "I think you want those books for your clan."
"I told you, I'm neutral in this war. I am loyal to the Shadow Academy."
"Bull[Expletive Deleted]." Dranik said, his anger visibly rising. "Give me those books."
"What do you need them for, precious Tarentum?"
Dranik paused for a moment, "No. I just don't want them falling into the wrong hands."
"Then we have the same agenda."
Uzbad met with his battle team briefly, before he was called into a meeting with his Quaestor. A special meeting had been called for the Leaders of House Acclivis Draco. All battleteam leaders as well as RevengeX the Rollmaster, Laurus the Aedile, as well as Mune were to be present.
When Uzbad entered the small boardroom, he found that he was the last to arrive. The others were already seated and appeared to be waiting for him.
"My apologies for being late." Uzbad said, bowing to Mune. The fox waved a paw at Uzbad, motioning for the Zabrak to take a seat. The Archpriest then spoke, "Now that we are all here, let us begin."
An evil grin spread across Rasilvenaira’s face as she felt the x-wing closing in behind her. Pulling the Kanashimu around, she heads straight for the corvette’s engines. Flipping a switch, Rasilvenaira laughs as the jamming systems become active.
Behind her the x-wing pilot knows a momentary flash of fear and uncertainty as his sensor and instrument arrays go down. Desperately he tries to visually track the rolling Kanashimu as it opens fire on the corvette’s engine bank. The x-wing opens fire on the Sith’s fighter.
The Hunter closes in on the corvette, grinning even more as the x-wing accelerates in an attempt to close in on her. Pulling up suddenly, the Kanashimu rolled backwards, Rasilvenaira firing on the x-wing. As her lasers ripped into the fighter’s cockpit, she veered off. The Kanashimu came back around just in time to see the x-wing crash head on into the corvette’s engines.
The impact destroyed half of the ship’s engines causing it to lurch slightly to port. Rasilvenaira smiled, noticing that the Deciminator had accomplished destroying the corvette’s main weapons as well. The corvette was effectively crippled now; and a brief scan indicated that the vessel was running with the minimum as far as its crew was concerned.
The NyghtFyre had safely returned to Scholae Palatinae’s head quarters. Xan was glad to be back on solid ground as he made his way into the compound.
“Blasted Sith and their crazy flying.” The Templar muttered as he headed off in search of Dakari.
Rasilvenaira held the Kanashimu in firing range on the corvette’s port side, while the Deciminator covered its starboard side. If need be, they could still destroy the ship, however, they needed to know who was behind the attacks. Rasilvenaira sent a narrow coded transmission to the NyghtFyre.
Verlassen sighed as only a droid could as he received the message. “Well, it seems the Mistress needs us again R5.”
Firing up the NyghtFyre’s engines he guided the ship skyward. R5 beeped and whirred.
“Somewhere near Caina according to her message. Something about needing the NyghtFyre’s tractor beam.”
Ood was glad when Dranik left. That bloody Tarentae gave him the creeps. Whomever promoted that ass to his current position had to be blind or stupid. Couldn't the man understand that tactical manuals should be best kept by the tactical teacher?
"That man is just pissed because he wanted this job and I got it. I'll have to watch out with him nearby. Maybe Tyno can distract him somehow.", Ood said to himself.
Suddenly the guardian realised that his quarters might be bugged and the Neti stopped talking to himself. Instead he wrote a message to an old friend and Tetrarch. Uzbad would know what to do ...
in the midst of his meeting, Uzbad's commlink started to beep. everyone looked at him and even Mune stopped speaking. Embarrassed, the Zabrak got up, stepped to a corner and activated the device. It seemed an encrypted message had been sent to him. After a few minutes, Uzbad recognized the encryption.
"Damn you Ood, Damn you! Couldn't you have sent this message some other time?"
Now everyone stared at him.
"I got to quit talking to myself!"
With a single gesture, Uzbad opened the decryption file.
ID: 3317 [EP Bnar]
Subject: What we didn't talk about last time i was there!
Hey Uzbad, just wanted to know if the command was still mad at me.
If you have some spare time, could you come and visit me? We need to talk!
fgdsgh g2h35h4d5g3dh354s sg6s5gdh5dsghhb
After decrypting the second part of the message with a different code-key, the message read.
ID: 3317 [EP Bnar]
Subject: What we didn't talk about last time I was there!
Hey Uzbad, just wanted to know if the command was still mad at me.
If you have some spare time, could you come and visit me? We need to talk!
P.S.: Bring a Spy-kit and a Contra-espionage pack. You know, the usual reconnaissance set! I am experiencing some problems with Tarentae Rats.
See you soon!
After reading the message, Uzbad deleted it and sent a message to the armoury. after that he sat back down as Mune continued the meeting.
“Now, back to business,” Quaestor Mune said after Uzbad had settled back into his seat. “As we all should know, a group of Dark Council members were attacked and the message brought distinct cheer among the six clans of the Brotherhood. It is obvious that the group was attacked because of their recent… stubbornness concerning the affairs of the clans. Right now, we have a mere few members of our house dispatched to various parts of the galaxy for reconnaissance and sabotage, as ordered by the Clan Summit. We, as the main leadership body for one of the Houses, should remember that it is us who lead the members of the house.” Mune got up out of his chair and began pacing. “They must not lead us. They are our mere pawns, they are expendable. As a collaboration effort with Caliburnus, we will be providing some of us, who are assembled here, to lead small squads of spies to collect data from the other clans. Now, we as a Clan have already been… harvesting information from a few members of Arcona and Naga Sadow. All we need to do is gather information from our other rival clans.”
Metsukai sat down in his chair. “Any ideas?” he asked, waving his hand in an almost dismissing fashion. Nobody quite knew what was supposed to happen nor did anybody have any feasible ideas that could be implemented. “As we know, the other clans are already on high alert, waiting for anything that could be counted as an assault, and then they will counter with an equal or greater damaging strike. That’s why we need someone fast to get in and out before they notice what information we were able to gather.” Mune eyed his Rollmaster carefully. “Templar Palpatine, would you be up to such a… maneuver?”
“Hmm… that really depends on what kind of ship I get to fly,” replied RevengeX, almost chuckling if the situation hadn’t been so dire.
“Good, I would like you to move to Taldryan’s territory. Karufr to be quite exact. The planet houses the headquarters and I’m quite sure you’ll be able to learn something of use there. What with the assassination attempt on their Consul, Duga Taldrya Arkarso, the Kr’Tal system will be on especially high alert. You can choose any craft you like to get there, except for my own ship. You may go,” Mune addressed the entire assembly of current and former leaders now. “Now that we’ve ‘nominated’ a member to infiltrate Taldryan, we’ll need to make sure…”
RevengeX walked out of the meeting and closed the door behind him as he heard Mune’s words trailing off about alerts, reports and news concerning the current conflict between the Dark Council and the six Clans. The Templar walked quickly to the hanger, hoping that he’ll be able to fly a good ship as his robes swayed with his legs.
Braecen was not entirely sure why the Consul had ordered him to his office in the depths of the night, it was brutally early and the Krath’s mind yearned for the release of sleep. But he was not about to stray from his Lord’s command, he sprinted with extreme haste down the corridors before sliding to a halt before the Consul’s office. The door slid open, admitting the Archpriest into the personal office of the Clan’s Leader. Immediately, Dakari began to speak, “Quickly, hide! Arania is coming with wild abandon across the galaxy to deliver unto me dire information about the status of our aggressor… she has found out whom is plotting against us. I need you to be here…” the Sith let the last word remain unspoken, ‘unofficially.’ Calmly the Equite moved towards the rear of the office, sliding into a secret compartment designed to hide the Consul’s bodyguards from prying eyes.
Moments later an exasperated Elder came racing into the room. Her hair was disheveled and her eyes wild with conspiracy as she quickened her pace across the room to stand before Dakari Tamalar. “Mi’lord,” she began, “I have pressing news about the identity of our aggressor.” Braecen was on the edge of his seat, as was the Battle Master, with anticipation. In fact, one could physically feel the emotion pressing in on the room and creating an almost claustrophobic environment. The Krath Equite refrained from revealing his presence, even though his every fiber was urging him to demand the name of their perpetrators. Dakari spoke first, “Proceed.”
Over the course of the next half-hour the Krath Elder divulged the entirety of her covert mission within Arconan space. She completely debriefed herself in record time, showing the veteran leadership and presence-of-mind that Clan Scholae Palatinae had long depended on , from her. Finally, she ended with the tale of Sarin’s visit to Halcyon and how it was foretold that the two Clans would act in accordance to destabilize and destroy the Royal Clan.
“Do you believe this is an equal attack?” The Consul queried in hushed tones. Surely the Clan that depended on espionage and stealth could not defend itself from the might of two, united Clans. Even if Dakari could consolidate his forces… splitting himself and his Proconsul to manage the two battlefields. ’No,’ he thought, ’they could not possibly trust one another in such a prolonged battle.’
Arania allowed the Sith to finish his thought before answering. “I believe that Sarin, Consul of Plagueis, has masterminded this entire scheme. For some reason he has deemed Our Clan should be wiped from the planet of Judecca and removed from the Brotherhood.”
“Does this have anything with our ties to the deceased Clan Exar Kun and her former members that we harbor? Is this tied to Mune, Uzbad, Braecen, Xan, Thran… the list is seemingly endless.”
“I believe not.” The Krath stated simply, absolutely. “What do you recommend for our course of action Lord Consul?”
“Continue to send teams on reconnaissance missions, but send fewer capable individuals. I want out most able bodied warriors to begin infiltrating Arcona.”
“What of Plagueis, Tamalar?”
“I believe that situation will solve itself.” Coyly the Sith smiled, knowing that his most loyal aide had already departed the room. It would only be a matter of time before Braecen assembled a team of loyal warriors to begin spreading dissension and chaos across Plagueis’ members. The ex-Proconsul knew the system and her organization as well as, if not better than, the Clan Summit that currently convened in the Dark Tower.
Braecen wasted no time after exiting Dakari’s office via a hidden passage way. In his mind he was already calculating the supplies and individuals he would need to begin scouting the planets and seeding chaos. The Krath began to speak aloud, to himself, “First, I need My Apprentices: Xan and Korbin.” With determined resolve the Equite headed down the passage ways to recruit additional members.
Ultimately, he was surprised at the number of individuals that volunteered to join him… but then again, it was for the glory of Scholae Palatinae.
Removed Per Braecen.
I guess my posts don't fit...
Quaestor Impetus approached her standard issue Assault Gunboat with her Aedile, Xen’Culo. Only on the way to a meeting with the Clan summit not too far away, a jump to light speed was not necessary. The Twi’lek knight and Zabrak warrior entered their ship, expecting a routine journey. Xen took off from the landing platform, and activated the forward thrusters. Their journey should only take half an hour.
It was not long before a large ship and 2 smaller ones could be seen from afar. Increasing speed, a Corellian Corvette, the Kanashimu and a VT49 Decimator became clearer into view. Raidoner’s voice sounded through the commlink. ‘The Caliburnus summit. We were attacked by this Corellian corvette. We’re keeping it pinned down so we can bring it back with the Nightfyre’s tractor beam. It should be here soon.’
‘Have you any idea where the ship came from?’ Impetus’ soft voice returned with a certain tone of concern.
‘No Quaestor. We were hoping to run an analysis on the ship once we bring it back.’
‘Got it commander, we’ll meet you back at Cocytus.’
Just as she finished speaking the Nightfyre cam into view. It didn’t take long to reach the planet. The quicker of the two, Impetus alerted the Clan summit as to what had happened. She brought them back to the planned landing bay and waited for the Nightfyre’s return.
The 'game' was beginning to wind up from simple probing into more direct action. The Archpriest could begin to see threads of possible futures, each spanning and twisting in on themselves, the possibilities ever-shifting as the individual actions of Dark Jedi within the Brotherhood began to plot and scheme. What concerned the Corellian was not the survival of his own physical body, though self-preservation was of high priority, but to ensure that the Clan would succeed. If not gain from the ensuing conflict.
Already, he could sense that Arania would play a prominent role in shaping the destiny of the Clan, yet again. In fact, the individuals whom had talked with the Krath Equite were surprised how quickly he had encouraged them to join under the 'banner' of the leaders. Not the physical Summit, but the Heroes that were rising up to meet the dangers and challenges presented. It would be under the direction of Commanders in the 'field' that would win this conflict... not individuals immersed in policy. 'Well,' the Krath thought, 'Arania might prevent our political death during this conflict; however, one could also die many times in politics before giving up.'
The Guard Captain rounded a corner, nearing the Obelisk barracks on Judecca. He fully expected two individuals to be in that room, the most loyal of his allies: Obelisk Templar Xan and Obelisk Knight Korbin. As he neared the barrack's entrance two guards stepped forward to block his path, "Your identification, Sir."
Rolling his eyes and refraining from using his Force powers to simply knock them from their feet, the Krath produced his I.D. card that permitted him access to the barracks. To prevent terrorist attacks where the members slept, Dakari Tamalar, now Consul, had implemented a 'secure-lockdown' utilizing the ground forces under their contol within the Cocytus System.
"Access granted," the guardsman grunted, "carry on as you like Archpriest."
The Corellian's tone was gentle as he adknowledged their work, "Thank you, gentlemen."
The door slid open and gave way to a hallway with many doors lining it's length. The barracks of Scholae Palatinae's Obelisks. Passing the first three doors on his right, he pounded solidly upon the fourth. The door opened, two silhouettes outlined in the dark, each holding their saber hilt in hand, unactivated.
"My Apprentices, there is work to be done..."
The attack on the Council members changed everything. With Kaiann out of the loop for now, she could not work on getting him on CSP's side, and that had been the key element of her plan. However, she would still be going to Antei to sort a few things out. It would probably be good to spy on several other people, especially Trouty, who recently followed them from the Hammer.
But there were also other people to take into account, among them several Council members. Some had behaved strange lately, mainly Jac Cotelin himself, and Arania would not be herself if she would not do her best to figure out what was going on.
On the way to her private transport, the woman noticed that the buzz in her Clan's headquarter had changed. There was a tension to it she usually didn't feel. That was good, of course, she would have been worried if the Clan members had chosen to ignore the upcoming - and already ongoing - battles. Yet, she also sensed a confusion she didn't like. Yes, there were things to be confused about, especially in regards to the latest news of the Grand Master behaving strangely. Something more was going on than just a regular conflict between the Clans.
"May I speak to you for a moment?"
Arania stopped and turned towards the voice she knew so well. Her adopted son Voldemort was rushing from the mess hall, probably on his way to the hangar as well. He was scheduled to return to his House today. "Of course. what's up, son?"
Voldemort grimaced, he didn't like to be adressed as son in matters of importance, but then, his mother couldn't know what he was about to say. "Marr and I have been talking and... well, it seems time for the Obelisk to do something to secure us an advantage, yet the summits do not seem to want to act. Warhunter is supposedly in charge of us, I heard, but... well, we have a plan..." He hesitated to continue, insecure about what he had in mind.
"So, which House do you want to sabotage this time?" Arania smiled coldly, she knew her children all too well. Marr, adopted earlier than Voldemort, was so predictable, he always wanted to kill and destroy stuff, and Voldemort was even worse.
"Ektrosis. They killed our pilot." Voldemort's voice was clearer now. "We request permission to go to Antei with you to get our plans in motion. We, that is Marr, me, Cem and Trewbacca."
Arania's eyebrows shot up. "Almost all MY children on a personal vendetta against Ektrosis? How come you didn't get your sister into this as well?" Sarcasm was clearly evident in her voice, and Voldemort blushed. "Do you have any idea, son, how this would look if you were found out? Do you think I want to risk any of you at this time? The Clan needs all of you."
"Is... is that a no?" Voldemort inquired, his hand closing on the grip of his lightsaber.
"It is definitely not a yes." Arania paused for a moment, folding her arms. "However, if my kids all - and i mean all - want to visit antei again, they are free to come along, of course."
It took Voldemort for a moment to understand. His Mother thought them too impulsive, even Trewbacca, to let them do anything without his sister's supervision. He blushed, more of anger than of embarrassment. But it was true that Aliena, who was a sucker for rules lately, would find problems in their plan more easily. "When do you leave?"
"Whenever you are ready." Arania stared into Voldemorts eyes as he nodded and left, rushing to contact his sister on Acclivis Draco's world. She herself would know nothing of any plans to sabotage anything, of course, especially not of something to do with her obedient and well brought up kids. She chuckled as she she continued towards her transport, aware that she would have to make an extra stop to pick up her daughter.
Quite some time later, Arania exited her ship, not paying attention to her children anymore. They would have to watch for themselves. but she would have to find a way to find out what was really going on, and to influence as many people as she could so they would support Scholae Palatinae instead of, for example, arcona and Plagueis. And she needed to talk to the Justiciar about what she had heard about the attack on her Clan the Royal Guard had thwarted.
Finding Firefoy was the easier task. He had not managed to leave his office very often or for very long lately. The justiciar politely listened to her evidence, and then flashed her a cold smile. "I'm well aware they were behind it, Arania. As most of you were, no doubt. But the evidence you have is no evidence. Just how would you explain that you have been to Arcona's headquarters to spy? Frankly, I am suprised you are even telling me this, as in theory, it could get you in trouble."
"You don't have to tell them where you get your information from, Firefox." Arania had trouble not to explode, her anger was about to get the better of her. "But I will get better proof, if you wish."
"That would be helpful, indeed." Firefox leaned back in he seat and sighed, folding his hands. "I am not sure what is causing the current provocations, but we'd prefer it to stop. but war is about to begin in any case, I think."
Arania nodded. "I'll keep you posted." Without another word, she left. It had been obvious for her that the Sith was not all that sorry about the Clans attacking each other and thus solving their own problems for now. It was likely good that she had allowed her children to come along.
The Rollmaster looked up at the A-wing, its hull relatively clean compared to the other star fighters that littered the hanger’s wide space. He used the Force to pull a couple of PK and asp droids away from their previous work and instructed them to make sure that the ship was refueled and ready to go. The droids quickly refueled the ship and opened the cockpit of the ship, the smooth sound echoing throughout the hanger. RevengeX jumped onto the ship and then lowered himself into the cockpit, grabbing a helmet a droid was handing to him in the process. He closed the cockpit’s small canopy and tucked his robes underneath him, feeling the controls on the familiar A-wing model.
He signaled the droids to get off and away from the ship and powered the engines and repulsorlift. The fighter pushed off the ground and Revenge applied a bit more power to the sublight drives, causing the ship to fly out of the hanger slowly, making sure he didn’t crash into anything as he flew across. The planet’s shield lowered temporarily after the Templar told flight control his mission and source of authorization. He sped through a small gap in the shield and saw the energy fill in the once blank spot, looking somewhat like a giant soap bubble from close up.
Revenge inputted the coordinates for the planet Karufr, the host planet of Taldryan’s headquarters, sporting magnificent seas and little land, into his navigation computer and planned a couple of hyperspace jumps to get there. Because the A-wing and most other ships in the Scholae Palatinae hanger did not have cloaking devices, he would have to be extremely fast getting in and out. ‘Time to neutralize Tal,’ thought Revenge as he reviewed a few sheets of paper detailing his seemingly easy mission. ‘I just gotta disable a couple shield generators, plant a couple bombs and fly back without being seen or intercepted. It’ll be easy.’ The A-wing sped off through the darkness, the pilot’s hand beginning to sweat.
Events were spiraling out of control and the Equite could not help but feel consumed in the darkening tide that had fallen upon the Brotherhood. Arania had departed from the Clan only a few days ago, carrying with her information that would prove guilt of Clan Plagueis as an aggressor. However, the Archpriest was unsure what had come of the Krath Elder - she had been on Antei when the Civil War had broke out. In fact, if sources proved accurate there were now two Jac Cotelins overseeing the Brotherhood.
Braecen gave a thought to a grim moment, if he had rushed head-long into his self-imposed mission he could be stranded within Plagueis territory without this information. 'Blue' Jac versus 'Red' Jac. 'Which will we allign ourselves with?' the Krath contemplated carefully - not wanting to rush another decision. Of course, his Apprentices had each chosen separate dualities of the Grand Master, instigating continuous fights between the two when Braecen's back was turned.
Braecen hastily turned his azure eyes upon his pupils to find them glaring daggers at one another, again. "ENOUGH!" The Krath cried out to his Obelisk tag-a-longs. "If you wish to kill eachother, go ahead and do it already." The two turned their eyes toward the ground, momentarily abashed by their actions. "Now..." The Heir of Kun began, "we still need to engineer a mission to Plagueis." His eyes drfited back over the two padawan learners to ensure their compliance. "However, we are in dire straits here... there will be no supplies from the Lord Hegemon. He seems overburdened with supply requests. Additionally we do not know where his loyalty lies... just yet."
The trio made their way to the hangar bay, an array of ancient ships and several new ones spanned the deck. The Crew Chief on duty approached, inquiring about their need. The Krath picked out a ship that would maintain their journey, hauling the appropriate amount of supplies and warriors. Lastly, he ordered a departure time that was late in the evening... hoping to avoid notice from the Clan inhabitants.
"Xan, find me Thran Occasus - I will need his 'eccentric' persona on this trip." The Templar rushed to comply with his Master's orders, causing the Archpriest to raise an eyebrow. It was rare when he was given such compliance.
Turning his attention to his other pupil, Korbin, he dictated him several tasks as well. The Obelisk Knight disappeared with a silent mission - he would not return until time of departure.
Leaving the Krath alone for several hours before his trip. Not wanting to waste a precious moment during the conflict he made his way to the ship, finding a small recess in which he could meditate on several possible futures that lie before him. Such was the way of a Krath...
“Sir, there’s a ship that has just recently come out of hyperspace and it’s coming in towards Karufr,” gasped a junior lieutenant as he looked up towards an executive officer of the Dark Prophet, formerly the Cantor. He had sprinted down several corridors from the command bridge to the mess hall and was now very tired. “It’s been identified as a former Dodonna-Blissex manufactured A-wing. Its pilot is Force-sensitive according to one of the Jedi aboard. Shall we intercept its course?”
“Interesting,” mused the higher ranked officer. “Do not intercept its course right now. We first need to know what it wants at Karufr and then relay the information to Consul Duga Taldrya Arkarso and Proconsul Benevolent Taldrya Whiner. Prepare Keirdagh squadron and make sure they are ready to leave immediately if needed. Keep close tabs on the ship’s whereabouts and activities by relaying the information to nearby security outposts. Do not let the ship slip out of our sensors. You’re dismissed.”
The junior lieutenant sprinted back towards the command bridge, unsure of what his commander’s intentions exactly were and whether or not his legs would hold up.
Revenge moved his hand slowly, turning his ship around so that it faced the massive planet of Karufr. The Templar felt uneasy as he reached out in the Force, trying to get a sense of things of the activities on the planet. Feeling nothing, Revenge felt quite suspicious, trying once again to reach out in the Force as he ignited the ship’s twin Novaldex J-77 Event Horizon sublight engines. He maneuvered the craft through the atmosphere, the ship jerking around because of the numerous jet streams.
The Rollmaster checked the navigational computer as he lowered the engine’s power to only about 60%. Looking through his cockpit’s canopy, he examined the numerous lights that designated outposts throughout the planet. ‘Time to take them out,’ thought Revenge as he rolled his craft down towards the planet, making sure that he wasn’t going too fast.
Landing in an uninhabited area of a land mass surrounded by trees not too close from the headquarters, he clipped his lightsaber to his belt and pulled on his cloak after jumping out of the cockpit. Hopefully this would be a quick mission, but just in case, he tucked a couple thermal detonators in a pouch on his belt while stretching his legs, getting ready to take off at an extremely fast speed. RevengeX crouched and examined the most direct route. It was clear. Breathing in deeply, the Obelisk sprinted out of his hiding place and exhaled his breath slowly, making sure that he didn’t make too much noise.
After about seven hundred meters of running, he skidded to a halt as quickly as he could and lay down so fast that you would have thought that a B-wing in attack mode was coming close to him. Peering into the darkness, he breathed in sharply as he watched two figures in cloaks putting several detonation packs inside numerous bags.
‘I’ve gotta tell Dakari about this,’ he whispered as he recognized the all too familiar insignia on the front of the bags.
Things had developed fast. In the last few days, Arania had not only beeen permanantly bothered by supposedly concerned members regarding Kaiann's health, she had also found out about the background of Sarin's visit to Halcyon by intettogating a waitress at the bar the attackers of Scholae used to hang out at. Her investigation had shown that it had been Strategos talking to these guys, not Sarin or anyone else from Plagueis. This had come as a suprise, but later investigatigations and some trickery on her side had shown that Strategos had merely tried to recruit them. Sarin had cunningly used the opportunity, having convinced the former members - probably with the help of some mind tricks - that they'd be let back into the Clan they had been kicked out of. After they had been killed as expected, he could easily propose an alliance with Arcona, aware that he could blame them anytime for this incident because he knew someone from Scholae would investigate, if not the Chamber of Justice itself. But he had not bargained for such a well done investigation. It was something Arania congratulated herself on, and her Clan had been well pleased indeed. *
Another thing had come up which disturbed Arania deeply. By now, it was confirmed that there were two Jacs. How this could be was not quite clear. A clone seemed to be the most logical answer. In any case, no one knew who was the real Grand Master. They were now nicknamed Red Jac and Blue Jac and people were taking sides. Of course, facts and rumours were mixed and it was impossible to pick a side just from the evidence presenting itself. As people came to different conclusions, sometimes based on the wildest rumours, there had been conflicts even among members of the same Clans.
As Arania returned to the Lord Hegemon's Praetor's office after talking to several unhappy underlings of the Brotherhood, she was pleased to know the dark skinned man back at his workplace. That was the one thing that was positive in the latest development. The Ralconian was sure the Clans were heading into an outright war once more, and while this in itself was not something to worry too much about - Dark Jedi were Dark Jedi after all - the circumstances were bad. The situation had the potential to split the Brotherhood.
A message symbol was blinking on her screen. She touched it and smiled at the news. In the private family code of the Lawakiros, the short message read "Got a ship cheap. Enroute to the wampa's den."
A banging noise and a disturbance in the Force almost knocked her off her feet just then. Steadying herself with difficulty, the woman rushed out of her office and almost bumped into Kaiann. At first, she didn't know what was going on, but a look into Kaiann's angry face made her realize what was taking place. "It happened," he growled and confirmed her thought. "The two Jacs have met each other and are about to wreak havok in the Dark Hall."
* See story for the Investigation topic
The transport jerked wildly as it entered the atmosphere of Jusadih's first planet, Sigil 1. The planet was a desolate land... forcing it's inhabitants to rely upon an industrial economy, utilizing materials mined from the planets rich resource base. This planet also held a deeper secret, it was host to the Dark Jedi of Clan Plagueis. The newly empowered owners of the Star System... and a great majority of her resources.
"Chop back the throttle!" A Krath Equite screamed over the alarms that rung throughout the ship. "All of this madness is going to draw unecessary attention to our mission, Thran!" Braecen was gripping the co-pilots seat so hard that his knuckles began to turn white from the pressure. A targetting claxon began to wail in the cockpit... the Scholae Palatinae vessel, while sporting new transponder codes, was still under distress from it's turbulent entry.
Thran Occasus reached out against the inertia pressing him in the command couch, his hand slammed down on a flashing, red button. The action seemingly squleched the alarm, leaving only a slight ringing in the ears of those aboard the ship moving planetside. "Yea," the Sith Warrior began, "it seems we have compnay." Switching several levers and bringing his mouthpiece to bear with his free hand, the Sith called out to the Obelisks riding in the back. "Korbin and Xan, take the turrets! THIS IS GONNA GET MESSY!"
Braecen appeared hagard, his robes ajar, dirt and soot covering his face. Rolling his neck left and right, he felt the collar bones slowly pop back into place as his spine re-aligned itself. The Archpriest lowerd himself to the ground, grimacing with each step. Finally, with great remorse, he turned around to see the ship... or rather, what remained of it after the hard landing. "I'm a Sith, I can fly anything." Braecen chirped after Thran.
Heris glared at his counterpart, as he helped the two Obelisk from the smoldering ship. While he had been piloting during the ship's demise, it had not been from inferior piloting skills. In fact, Thran had saved most of the ship and the lives of the four occupants. Several salvo's of projectiles and a constant barrage of laser fire had depleted the ship's shields immediately, before rendering it defenseless. Great chunks and sheets of metal had been torn from the transport from that point, venting gases and fluids needed to keep it aloft.
"You can thank me for saving your hide, later." Thran grunted as he heaved Korbin through an emergency exit. The two tumbling down the side of the ship as the Dark Knight came free. Xan tossed a wink to his Master, then quickly signalled that he had used the Force to propel the two onward. The Corellian chuckled and began to round up the supplies the quartet would need to begin terrorizing the Jusadih System.
"We move out in four hours... avoiding the Dark Tower at all costs, for now. Bring all of our pertinent supplies next to this tree - we depart for the nearest space port and the Headquarters of House Satal Keto."
Ood watched the unmarked transport leave Lyspair after it's short visit. to everyone in the academy it seemed like a normal mail-run for the members of Scholae Palatinae. To Ood it was much more than that. He had gotten the opportunity to talk to his old mentor and friend Uzbad Zol Tamalar and he had received his special equipment. During the course of this war, Ood had made sure he had spies in every office. who would suspect the secretary from being a spy. Now, with the new spy-gear he would be able to have bugs placed in the offices of the other Consuls and in the headquarters of the respective Blue and Red Grandmaster.
On his way back to his quarters, Ood caught up with one of his students. The Guardian Tyno watched as his Tactical professor approached him.
"Tyno, can you do me a favor?"
"Depends on what it is sir."
"Well, i need to know more about Templar Dranik."
"The Special Magistrate to the Headmaster?"
"One and the same. He has been bugging me alot lately and i want to know his agenda. Place these three bugs in his office, quarters and private ship. make sure they are placed so i can hear and record anything that is said in there!"
"Yes sir! Have you got any news about that murder between apprentices."
"They think the two killed eachother. you are in the clear my friend."
The Arconan transport was clear for landing on their main world. But the youngsters in it were not Arconans. Voldemort, Marr, Aliena, Trewbacca and Cem were in it, ready to strike at their enemy's heart.
For being under alert during the war, the Arconans did very little to assure no one unauthorized was entering their space. Even as Voldemort landed the ship, no one approached them, or even looked at them. Even when they were now dressed in civilian clothing as to pass as servants. It didn't take long to find out why. On the other landing platforms and hangars, the Arconans were preparing for war in the big way.
"Who do you think they will attack first?" Aliena asked as they sneaked out and towards the back entrance her mother had given them clearance for.
"Us, of course," Cem said.
"Depends on if we will be on the same side or not," Voldemort said.
"I sure hope not," Aliena replied. "We need a good reason to smack them."
They got in through the servant's door alright, without anyone seeing them. It was a long corridor filled with mouse droids and other mechanical things. But a living being could come along anytime soon. "What now?" Aliena asked.
"Blow things up?" Voldemort suggested.
"A bit early for this, don't you think?"
"It is never to early for things to go boom."
"We'd be found out immediately."
"Voldemort is right," Marr interrupted. "We need to sabotage their computers first. Aliena and Trewie are the right people for that, I think."
The Wookie grumbled agreement and the group went to see where they could strike first.
Tyno walked into the Shadow Academy hanger and approached his ship while mulling over what Ood had spoken to him about. Tracking bugs are absolutely worthless he thought to himself as he reached his starfighter, a modified Eta-2 Actis interceptor that had been used in the clone wars. Crushing the tiny trackers in his hand he awakened Wisdom his R2 class astromech. “Need your code my friend” spoke to his old droid. Wisdom Acknowledged his request with several short beeps as Tyno enter his half of the code to open his small cargo hold. If either code was entered incorrectly the fighter would activate its shields to prevent access. As the codes verified the hold opened revealing some of the rarer and more expensive Bounty hunter tools in the galaxy. Fortunately Tyno only needed one device as he removed a rectangular object and closed the compartment once more.
The device was a high tech canister of a rare neurotoxin with several custom modifications. Specifically the neurotoxin which showed no symptoms other than sleepiness and guaranteed death in 60 seconds or less depending on the size of the victim and would dissipate after 5 minutes but more interesting was the precisely turned thermal charge that would almost no noise and vaporize the device and all trace of its existence without leaving any evidence. Perfect for eliminating an unsuspecting dark jedi. This was most likely one of the most expensive weapons he had ever purchased and he made a mental note to bill Ood for it.
After tracking the Templar for several days to note his habits he planned his mission.
Dranick spent a large quantity of time sneaking around the area of Oods Quarters and this provided perfect time to plant his trap. As Dranik left on another prowl Tyno approached his personal quarters with Wisdom and checked both hallways. As Tyno examined the security lock on the templars quarters he was marginally impressed.
“This lock would probably keep anyone with out advanced high tech anti-security devices out for a long long time, but not for you Wisdom” He whispered to his companion. Wisdom had been modified with some of the best decryption and anti-security tech in the galaxy another bonus from his bounty hunter trade. It took Wisdom only a few minutes to unlock the door and deactivate all of Dranik security protocols after which Tyno was free to walk right in and shut the door behind him. Tyno looked over Draniks somewhat lavish quarters and thought “Wow this guy deserved to die before I got here. “Get to work pal “Tyno said to Wisdom. As Wisdom sliced into and downloaded every bit of data on the templars personal computer Tyno planted his deadly tool in the rooms’ air refresher and programmed it to reuse the rooms’ air alone to keep the toxin from leaving the area. As he finished setting the device to release the next time body heat enter then room he knew he had only a few minutes before Dranik returned. Tyno walked over to his R2 “Hurry up buddy time isn’t on our side” he told the astromech. Wisdom beeped an Affirmative and disconnected from the computer and followed Tyno to the door. Tyno opened the door as he and Wisdom slipped out and relocked it. Just as Tyno was about to leave Templar Dranick walked around the corner. “You stop there, what are you doing here!” said the Obelisk . “Just out for a stroll with my droid exercise you know” reapplied the Guardian. “I bet you are. I have seen you with Ood I know all about your little plan and you can go tell your master I am going to expose him” yelled the templar. You know our plan huh thought Tyno as he imagined Draniks death from the poisons. “I really have no idea what you are taking about and Ood is a traitor to my clan why would I consult wit him” Tyno calmly responded. “I am watching you scum and don’t let me catch you near me again”. I am sure you won’t you Obelisk fool mused Tyno as he walked away and stopped down the hall for a moment as he felt the life in the room fade. Wow that took longer he thought as he cursed merchants for not holding up to there claims and walked away.
Tyno had heard that they found Dranik dead in his quarters with apparently no cause of death other then he died in his sleep. Suspicions aroused and rumors spread or course but nothing came near the truth. Wisdom had gone over all of the computer data and found everything that would be of interest to the Jedi Hunter and compiled it into a small data disc. That’s my last spy mission. As Tyno approached Ood he could tell he was not happy” I thought I told you to spy on him not kill him!” muttered Ood. “Hey you want spying hire a spy besides my approach was much better” Tyno coolly replied. “How was killing him better now I have no info on his contacts or dealings!” Ood almost yelled. “That is not entirely true” spoke Tyno as he took the data disc from his robes. “Everything you need should be there” Tyno smugly told the Jedi Hunter as Ood stared at the disc Tyno had put in his hand. “How?” muttered the Neti. “If I told you it would ruin the trick” said Tyno. “Oh by the way Ood you owe me 2 million credits” Tyno said in dark voice. Ood just stood there gaping as Tyno turned and left.
As the battle on Antei drew ever closer, Krath Knight Impetus became swamped with stacks of paperwork and war plans. Plans of the clan HQ on Judecca, Antei, and anywhere else anyone decided to send to the Quaestor. The house was hectic, no-one seemed to stay put for more than 2 days without going out on some kind of mission.
She sighed as she picked up a defence plan of a space station from Arania. The master’s view of the facility was an optimistic idea, but would work if the side could get the resources up together. The door of her office swung open. Tiberius Wolf stepped into the office. “I have brought plans for the -”
“On the pile” The twi’lek waved her hand at the ever increasing stack by the door.
Her attention drifted back to the space station plans in the Negiran system from Arania. It was quite an optimistic defence plan, but one that would work well with a lot of resources to spare. Tapping a data pad, she forwarded the plan to the summits, ready to glance over more plans.
A woman of action, all Impetus wanted was the battle to come, and put an end to all the planning.
"Ood Bnar is still shocked by the death of Templar Dranik. I think it is better if you go over Dranik's possessions Kromtal. I think we are missing something, spend extra attention to the relationsship between Dranik and Ood. It seems they where friends, Dranik went to Ood's quarters on a daily basis.", the Headmaster said to his Praetor.
"Yes sir!", Kromtal answered as he was walking out. I'll start right away.
Ood had been up all night. He was looking through his old accounts. Tyno may have been a bounty hunter before he joined, but Ood had lived for four centuries before he joined the Brotherhood. 400 years was a long time to earn a fortune. Back in a long forgotten time he had smuggled almost everything. He had also been a trader of exotic goods on the Outer Rim trade routes. So finding the two million credits hadn't been a problem, wiring them to a nearby bank and changing them into hard currency without anyone growing suspicious: that was the difficulty. Ood had, to be sure, wired a lot more credits than the asked price. If the Guardian would prove to be this expensive he would need it. And his spy-net was waiting to get paid. Maybe he should convince the Clan Summit that a working spy-net should be maintained during peaceful times as well. When the sealed box containing 10 Aurodium-bars, with a combined value of one billion credits, and 2 smaller bars ,with a market value of one million credits each, would arrive, the Neti would be able to pay everyone whom he owed.
Two Days later Ood rushed to the spaceport. His money had arrived on a vessel from the banking collective. When he approached there Ood saw the Headmaster standing on the main platform, the two squadrons of soldiers stood firm to his right and the other pedagogues and the students stood on his left. Quickly Ood jumped in line and watched the Lambda Shuttle descending into the Atmosphere of Lyspair, escorted by 10 TIE-Fighters. By the time he had reached his position in the centre of the line, the ship had descended and six senior members of the Royal Guard walked out. After them, none other than the Grandmaster walked onto the platform. The Headmaster bowed and waited to greet his fellow councillors who were also leaving the ship. Ood recognised the Master at Arms and the Herald. Before going into the academy Lord Cotelin decided to address the assembly.
“As you are probably all aware, the dark hall is in chaos. A pretender has risen to claim my throne but I believe we can defeat this other me! Hereby the Seneschal, the Lord Hegemon and my Deputy are marked as traitors. It will be our task to destroy them before they push this Brotherhood into an open civil war! I hereby appoint one of my most loyal friends and supporters, Anshar Kahn Tarentae to the position of Deputy Grandmaster. With him by my side I am certain we will prevail.”
After saying this, the group walked inside and Ood saw an unmarked vessel preparing to land on the Eastern plateau. His money had arrived!
Laurus strolled around the Scholae Palatinae HQ, watching his clan-mates prepare for war, mainly the younger, less experienced members. His master, Mune Metsukai was off elsewhere and so the Wookie thought it prudent to help out where he could.
Inside, Laurus had been craving for a chance like this, a chance for him to prove his worth and earn honour. He was sure in his heart, that this was what he lived for – war.
Rushing into battle, the atmosphere around you suddenly tangible, the adrenaline rushing through your very body as you sped towards your foe with or without comrades following.
He looked around at the younger members, taking them in with his thoughtful gaze. He wagered many of these ones had never truly tasted battle, never heard the screams of friend and foe and the clashing of weapons… never stared into the eyes of a dying sentient as they lived out their final moments before being rushed into the afterlife by their hand.
And so he worried that these young ones would be too eager and thoughtless as they went off to fight. Many of these he looked upon may never even return.
He began to wonder what fate had in store for him, he wondered where his placing in the War would be. Wherever it was, he would be doing his utmost to boost the clan and house that he loved to victory. When fighting, Laurus was ferocious and his angry, towering form was a terrifying sight to behold, but he was equally loyal and dedicated.
He spotted three members in Acolyte robes slightly to his right practising lightsaber techniques. He smiled gently to himself and walked over to show them how to truly wield a blade in war.
"for some reason this was posted twice"
Apologies, JH Laurus
A small encampment in the wilds appeared dingy and ill-constructed. But it was built for efficiency, not luxury and was home to only four travelers that had no intentions on staying very long. It was the temporary base of operations for Braecen, Thran, Korbin and Xan. The men appointed to give grief to their former Clan until Scholae Palatinae could muster a large enough force to either defend itself or strike out against the merged Clan; created from Clan Satal Keto and Clan Exar Kun.
The sabotage against Plagueis had gone accordingly for the small strike team placed in the Jusadih System. Their covert training and delight in stirring chaos and mayhem were well placed for the mission. Thus far they had brought fire and brimstone against the House of Satal Keto - laying down exotic traps, false leads about the war and unusual 'happenings' throughout the House. In fact, the job had been so well executed that Sarin, Consul of Plagueis, had been forced to send his Proconsul to investigate the odd occurrences.
While it did lessen their wartime efforts upon Kapsina, it was only a hiccup in the war machine of Plagueis. However, with the Proconsul stuck moderating the House honored with the crest of Satal Keto; the Consul was trapped upon the Clan planet to oversee the tedious day-to-day duties. Leaving them spread out, even more susceptible to a strike on Kapsina... or, perhaps, Aerun.
"Gentlemen, I would like to congratulate each of you for your efforts thus far," Braecen Kunar spoke through the cold morning breeze, "however, we are not done - not even close - we have a dance with the House of Exar Kun next." The group shifted in their seats, uncomfortable about bringing wrath upon the House and Clan they had all served. Sensing their tension, the Krath Equite continued, "I know most of us do not wish to dishonor the Tradition of Clan Exar Kun, but we are attacking Clan Plagueis now."
Hoping to resolve everyone's fears, Thran piped up. "Then we will only attack non-House, military and economy targets?" He tossed a slight wink at his former Quaestor, in a hope that the Krath would hear him out. Seemingly, it worked, Braecen outlined how they would amplify the damage surrounding the House. Yet, no attacks had been planned on the Diadem Fortress or her nearby training grounds.
"When do we leave?" The Obelisk, Dark Knight Korbin, grunted after the groundwork was laid. "I do not think I can keep living in this filth..."
The group gave him a puzzling look, as if expecting something more in response. Finally, noting the group maintained their attention on him he flashed a wicked grin.
"I was not a fool... when Plagueis was relocating from the Acarr system to Jusadih they offered me compensation for my old flat." Puffing out his chest and bring his finger to his head, before tapping it several times, he continued, "It was obviously good thinking on my part, lads."
"So it was," mused Braecen, though the Corellian appeared to be strained in conceding that one of his own pupils had been smarter than him. "Alright, begin packing... I want to jump on the next outbound transport."
"Yea, yea." Xan muttered under his breath.
Thran began to laugh with a hysteria that forced the entire group to stop in mid-action. "What is so damn funny, Occasus?" Korbin seemed less than amused with the Sith Warrior.
"I was just recalling that host of troopers that tried to stop us from planting those detonators... they looked so stupid when they started diving for cover." He broke into more hysterical laughter. "Then Braecen, oh man it was spectacular, he pulled them out from their cover and I sliced them all down!"
The rest of the group muttered in unison as they shook their heads, "Sith..."
All the way back to the headquarters, Arania had been thinking about how to proceed. The Grand Master confusion, the loss of the Dark Hall plus the Shadow Academy taken by the red fraction was problem enough, but not having any news from her kids other than that they had arrived and were fine was making it worse. She should not have let them go, maybe. But then, they were Dark Jedi old enough to survive on their own. Protecting them all the time would mean a weakness for both them and herself.
The Red Jac - Blue Jac conflicts went from bad to worse in the Clan. Almost every hour, one summit or the other had to call the lower ranks to order - if they weren't fighting themselves. It was high time to identify the right jac, Arania knew. Part of her went into what she called hero mode and dreamt of doing so herself. The other, more prominent half of her, knew what was better for her and her Clan and decided to keep out of it.
Raidoner and Silver had recently returned, and for some reason, it seemed the Envoy was not so keen to talk to the tribune. Whatever had happened had to do with space battles, damage to some ship or the other and one or the other party not listening. Such infights were more now, too. All the tension needed an outlet, and so Arania almost hoped outright war would begin. Which brought them to another point.
Arania knocked at Dakari's door and entered without having been told to. "We need to decide," she told her Consul. "We need to pick a side, and then explain our reasoning to the Clan and unite them again. It matters little who we follow, both red and blue are out of it if you ask me. We need to stabilize this situation."
Only now Dakari looked up. His face showed his inner torment clearly. "I am very well aware. And I have been trying to make that decision since your report about the Dark Hall incident. But i don't know which side to pledge to." Straightening himself, he stared right at the woman. "You say it matters not, but what if that's not true?What if the other Jac, the one we won't pick, wins? clone or no clone, we'll be in big trouble."
"Not necessarily, but I know what you mean. Our lower ranks are already investigating the matter. But in any case, I suggest we see where Taldryan goes."
Dakari blinked. "And then join them, you mean? The stronger forces?" Slowly, his face lit up a bit. "I see, good point. I'll keep that in mind."
"I just hope they decide fast," Arania sighed. Then she turned and left Dakari to his own devices.
Decisions and Desasters
Voldemort was waiting impatiently. It was already an hour that Aliena had claimed to be able to deal with the computer controls in Arcona's basement. They were controlling several not so impotant things, like doors and air condition. But Marr had said that everythign could be used against them. Plus, the other Obelisk had brought gas grenates which would likely keep them busy for a while.
The wookie roared. "Shhh," made Cem. "With your low voice they could detect us.
"He says he is hungry and it's too cramped here," Marr translated.
"I know," said Cem. "But that does not make him less loud."
"Got it." Aliena jumped up and waved to Marr to give her the grenades. She carefully connected them to the air conditioning system. Then she looked at the others. "What now?" she asked.
"I don't know," said Cem. "Marr is the genius here."
"Hey..." Voldemort wanted to protest, it had been his idea to come here. But Marr was faster. "I say we go and drop laxative in their water supplies. And then steal all the toilet paper," he said
Aliena stared. "Not really, huh? Stealing their toilet paper is stuff for boring times. This is a serious affair," she said.
Trewbacca roared. "He wants to know how to carry all that paper out," Aliena said.
"Still, laxative, no paper... let's just burn the paper supply then."
Voldemort looked at Marr and took over. "OK but we need to hurry to get back. Maybe we can put a time bomb in some other area. Their communications?" he asked.
Marr nodded and lead them out of the room. He had been there before and knew the way. "I don't know if this is a good idea," Cem said but followed along.
Thran dashed through the fray, swirling in Makeshi, as he combated several enemies that pressed in upon the group's flank. The Sith Warrior snarled in contempt as the Journeymen of House Exar Kun tried to bolster their line, a pitiful attempt to shore up a broken defense. Occasus watched as several more stormtroopers crossed the courtyard and began to kneel, looking for openings to fire at the intruders. Pulling deep from a well of unseen energy, the Equite focused his powers and flicked his wrist - the Guardians and Jedi Hunters flew across the distance into the soldiers.
"Too easy," the Sith cooed.
"What is too easy?" Korbin shouted as he worked diligently against two foes of greater rank. Korbin, while only a Knight, was a Master of his craft: war. Deftly he whirled the saber through several loops, not contacting either opponent's blade before lashing out. The emerald saber flung itself against an opposing Knight's throat, blood dribbling before the wound could cauterize. Pivoting on his left foot's ball he swung around to take on another foe - this one a Krath.
Thran observed the combat before reaching into the Force, yet again. The tendrils of the Force stretched out before pulling an ankle in an odd angle; the result forced Korbin's foe to falter. A warrior not to waste opportunity, the Obelisk Knight spun around before lopping off his combatants head. The Sith mocked, "As I said... too easy."
Xan and Braecen stood together, the Obelisk Templar standing before the Krath Equite. Menacingly the Obelisk waggled his blade to and fro to create space, his Master over his shoulder manipulating the Force in obscene manners. A warrior jerked forward, clutching his throat, all thought about defense fleeing from his mind; Braecen dropped the man before Xan whom willing snuffed the man's life out. Several more times the process was repeated until the warriors broke ranks, retreating back to the confines of the Diadem Fortress.
The Heir of Kun sighed in exasperation. "Did I honestly train such pathetic beings as the Quaestor of this House, as the Proconsul of this Clan..." He let the words trail off, none of the men beside him dared to fill in the blanks - fearing not his response, but his reprisal. Discussion about the Lost Clan, Exar Kun, tended to bring out a vicious, nasty side of the Krath. "Alright, we have a mission - lets blow the perimeter of the Ash Citadel."
"Charges primed!" Xan slid behind a massive boulder, hoping it would protect him while he remained within the blast radius. The rest of the group squatted nearby, protected by the Force and natural barriers surrounding the Citadel in the jungle. Xan could hardly believe how quickly they had moved.
Only mere moments ago they had beaten back the initial defenses, leaving a litter of soldier's bodies behind. Sparsely spread amongst them rested the limp body of a Force User. After the foes broke ranks, the strike group moved fast immobilizing the defensive turrets and placing mines and explosive charges that would leave the secure libraries of the House temporarily indisposed. The effort to clean away the mess would require the members of Plagueis to devote time and manpower; two items in high demand.
The blast rocked every individual within ten klicks, setting off speeder alarms in the Plagueis complex. The echoes of the alarms could be heard through the dense jungle. It was enough to amuse the Krath Leader so, that he gave a rather large smile and healthy slap on the back to each individual that had accompanied him this far. "Now, gentlemen... we set our sights upon the Dark Tower on Kapsina - perhaps to our deaths."
Thran's secured comlink chirped that it had received a message. The sound drew the attention of the entire group. Only a select few personas in Scholae Palatinae knew how to tight-beam an urgent message to the strike group. The Sith flipped open his datapad and began to peruse the message. "It is from Dakari..."
"And?" Braecen tried to coax further response.
"He says that I am to lead this mission."
Kunar balked at the blatant slap in the face, "My previous experience with this Clan has NOT clouded my judgment, you tell him that I will not resign my command."
A twinkle erupted in Thran's eyes. "He said you would say that, so he also included that if you did not willingly return to perform this mission, that we were authorized to 'take' you back under our combined power."
Scowling, Braecen snatched the data pad away from his former Aedile and began to scan. Intrigued by the concept and intricacy of the plan he began to formulate how he could carry out the task set before him by the Consul. "Maybe.. just maybe..."
Thran watched with analyzing perception, noting that the Krath was to be lured away from this mission. He did not have to concern himself with hauling Braecen back, he knew the man would serve his duty. Now he had to find a way to pull off the original mission with only two companions.
Ever since the Red Jac and his administration had moved into the academy, Ood had been more careful with his espionage activities. Tyno had been paid the royal sum of 4 million credits and the intelligence network was also paid. Ood hadn’t done anything wrong since the Grandmaster arrived so he was genuinely surprised when Praetor Kromtal had told him Jac wanted to speak to him. Ood had been escorted to the chambers now occupied by His Darkness, and had entered to find Jac sitting by a fireplace.
“You asked for me Sire?”, Ood asked while kneeling down before the Dark Lord.
“You Neti are a strange race indeed, I never met one before.”
“that would be difficult Sire, as I am the last known specimen.”
“Maybe I should put you in a bottle of alcohol and preserve you? It would expand my collection sizeably.”
“But Sire, then you would miss out on the knowledge of the Neti!”
“I’ve read about your kind, Bnar. A very illustrious race, the Neti.”
“We aim to please Sire.”
“Let’s see, every Neti that was recorded into history was a Jedi Master. Why aren’t you?”
“The Jedi couldn’t satisfy my lust for knowledge Sire.”
“Not only where they Jedi Masters, they where amongst the most powerful Jedi of their time. And it seems the Neti only surface when they are needed.”
“This could be so Sire.”
“Your uncle, Ood Bnar, lived on Ossus. He saved knowledge from Kun and by doing so he gave jedi Skywalker the tools to rebuild the Jedi order.”
“If you think so Mylord.”
“And that other Neti, Tr’a Saa, she surfaced before the clone wars. She had only one Padawan, and what a Padawan was that. Not many Jedi could have trained Mace Windu!”
“Right as always Sire”
“So it seems the force likes you Neti, you are all chosen by it to create opportunities. If you weren’t there, Windu wouldn’t have been the powerful Jedi he was. Or Skywalker wouldn’t have been able to forge his order.”
“Sire, why have you called me?”
“Oh yeah, I almost forgot. We must meet again to discuss the Neti further. I’ve heard of your little problem with your Clan.”
“My loyalty lies with the Academy.”
“Scholae Palatinae are going to join forces with the Blue Jac. I want you to go to Judecca, make up with your clan and spy for me! Can you do that?”
“Of course milord, give me a ship and I’ll be on my way.”
“There is an unmarked freighter awaiting your arrival in landingbay ten. Have fun!”
Ood left the quarters and rushed of to collect his belongings. It was time to go home and tell his masters what had just occurred. It seemed that Red Jac thought his clan where traitors.
Ood had always hated flying, his back was soar when he landed on Judecca and rushed towards the office of his superior.
When the Neti entered the office, Brujah Tamalar looked up from his papers and smiled.
“So young one, you have returned!”
“Yes lord Proconsul, I must ask something.”
“Have we sided with the Blue faction?”
“Not that I am aware of. Why?”
“Because the red faction thinks you have. They’ll attack every CSP vessel that approaches them. I was sent here by the Red Grandmaster himself to spy on you.”
“Thank you for the information! I must inform Dakari of this news at once, follow me.”
In the halls everyone stared at the traitor walking behind Brujah. Some Apprentices from House Caliburnus tried to attack him with vibroblades but the Neti easily scared them of by using the force to send their swords in the opposite direction.
When they entered Dakari’s office, the Consul just pledged loyalty to a hologram of the Blue Jac.
“Don’t get too close,” quietly cautioned a holographic Dakari as Revenge slowly began to inch backwards on his belly. “If my theory’s correct, these guys have some kind of alliance with Tal, and we don’t want two Clans hunting you down. Maybe one, but not two. Also make sure that your ship is not being tracked when you leave the planet. But first, find out what they’re doing at Karufr. Contact me when you’ve got results.”
“Sure thing Mister Consul.” Revenge shut down the small holo-projector and looked around, just to make sure that he wasn’t being watched. Putting the small device in a pocket on his robe, he moved through the grass like a silent tiger, waiting for its chance to strike.
As the Templar neared the two, he could hear them talking, their voices muffled by a dark covering over their mouths.
“We should get this shipment to their headquarters.” The man smiled. “Help me with that big box over there.”
“Don’t you want to test out some of this though? I mean, just to make sure it’s working?”
“Of course not! Are you crazy or something? We could kill ourselves, and if we don’t, Consul Halcyon will! I just want to get this over with.”
“Fine, you win… this time. Let’s get the big box loaded first and then move the smaller ones. Remember that we’re going to Sector A3 first and then moving along to Sector D8. We’ll be using a pre-programmed approach vector, alright?”
The two stooped over the box with the purple, red and blue symbol, lifting it up with the Force and moving it towards the transport.
I’m outta here, thought Revenge as he moved away from the two Dark Jedi. Revenge grabbed his holocam out of his pack filled with strange things like exotic flavored nerf jerky and proximity mines. Moving backwards while using the Force to suppress his Force signature, he quietly turned on the holocam and began to report quietly to Dakari.
“Arcona?” said Dakari after Revenge reported what he saw. “So, Taldryan’s most probably innocent. Arcona’s been fighting on too many fronts. We may be able to strike at them easily if we get in their fast enough. Let the information slip to Duga that Arcona’s been playing little pranks on them. About how many kilos of explosives were there?”
“I estimate 350 after seeing how many boxes there were.”
“Ouch, that might hurt if they’re able to succeed. Contact Duga immediately after I shut down this transmission.” The image of the Consul faded away and Revenge was just about to get direct contact with the Taldryan Consul when someone whispered:
“Just what are you doing here, Palpatine?”
Looking up, he saw the face of one of the two Arconan Dark Jedi who had been loading up the transport with explosives.
“I don’t have time to play with you, silly child,” he whispered in response. “I was just about to contact the Taldryan Consul to warn them of your attempts to take control over the headquarters on Karufr.”
The Force warned Revenge of another Dark Jedi who had a very large stick. Revenge waited and then ducked at the last fraction of a second so that the stick, instead of hitting his head with a loud thunk, hit the other Dark Jedi directly in the face. Bleeding profusely from the nose and several scratches, the man screamed:
“You are such an imbecile! You were supposed to hit him, not me, you nerfherder!” Slapping the other man on the face backhanded, he stood up, but was almost immediately kicked back down by the man who had received the slap.
Slipping away from the two men struggling with keeping the other on the ground, the Templar moved out of sight towards the transport.
**A week before the naming of the Dark Council and the pledge of fealty of Scholae Palatinae to the 'Blue' Jac**
Braecen nudged the throttle of the commandeered ship to give himself additional acceleration as he approached Judecca and her primary capitol. He flew the fighter with little, actual attention focused on watching the panels as they flickered messages and navigational coordinates. He had long ago given up on piloting, giving himself over to his confidence, understanding and, of course, the Force. His hand automatically pulled the ship into a high orbit, banking across countless constellations that dotted the planet's night skyline.
A tightbeam message came across his comlink, "Unidentified fighter, announce your intent."
Braecen chuckled, assuredly it was the Obelisk Warhunter, the man in charge of rallying the defenses and eventual offense of Scholae Palatinae. "Warhunter, be at ease. This is Archpriest Braecen Kunar, of House Acclivis Draco."
"You ignorant Krath," the Prelate shouted over the channel, "don't you know we are at war?! I could have shot you down!"
The Corellian broke into a broad grin, it was good to be home - albeit it might be a temporary stop along a more arduous road.
There is no place like home. There is no place like home. There is no place li-
Braecen could not shake the moment from his mind, before him stood the Consul, Dakari Tamalar. His ally. His brother. But the words churning from the Sith's mouth were not his own... the Archpriest could feel Arania's influence in the Clan Summit. Yet, the Krath Equite could not question the logic that was being presented before him. Like so many other Dark Jedi, he would have to sacrifice for the benefit of his Clan - to help their cause, to strike when the moment proved ripe.
"As such, since we will be pledging our allegiance to the Obelisk-tendency Jac Cotelin, you will be required to infiltrate the Sith Jac's camp. While you are there, you must act like the very capable Krath I know you are. This means you must do what you do best: connive, politic, and scratch your way to the faux Cotelin's side. Whatever... the cost." Dakari looked upon his friend with a moment of compassion, "Even if it means your life, Brother."
Not wanting to mix formality with friendly, the Corellian made his most elegant bow before the Consul. While he had relished in his revenge upon the Clan Plagueis, it was time that he stepped to the plate and shouldered the responsibility he now had laid before him. As his eyes rose from the floor they locked, for only a moment, with those of the Battle Master; the exchange was no coincidence. Each knew it may be the last time they laid sight upon one another. "Farewell, My Lord."
Garbed in his finest Grand Master's Royal Guard gear, Braecen approached the moon of Lyspair. Antei had about her two moons, one reserved for the operations of the Royal Guard, the other, Lyspair, reserved for the Shadow Academy. There, the Head Master oversaw the tutelage of new Initiates - weeding out the filth before it had a chance to corrupt the pure, those in the Clans. It was a vital process and one with renowned gratitude and respect, for whomever held the Keys of the Shadow Academy: currently, Dark Adept Anshar Khan Tarentae.
His ship was hailed immediately, then forced to the ground under a heavy fighter escort. The Guard Captain was severely pushed and shoved as he was escorted before the temporary Grand Hall of the Dark Council. The Krath never broke eye contact with his captors, and several times he promised retribution for underhanded blows and remarks. "When I do come free... your life will be mine!" He shouted violently at one Arconan Guardian, whom took the rebuke seriously and dashed away, afraid. The others laughed at the foolish Journeyman before continuing their prodding. The humiliation lasted until the seeming renegade was placed upon his knees...
Looking up Braecen found himself in close proximity with the Grand Master. He had never been this close to the man before, not even as a Guard Captain. And it seemed a good reason, the two had scarcely seen eye to eye... apparently this Dark Lord had not forgotten it either. "What brings you here you meddlesome traitor and brigand?!" The bestial snarl that erupted froze the Corellian's heart for several beats.
"I come to serve the Iron Throne," he simply responded when his will found it's resolve.
Cotelin appeared amused, "Do not mock me, Guard Captain! I know that Khobai has pledged allegiance to the opposing side. You serve THAT Iron Throne, not this one - I cannot be fooled by your trickery."
"My Lord," the quick thinking Krath began, "I heard it true that Khobai serves the opposing side... I wish to take his place - I wish to be your Commander of the Guard. That is what brought me here today: loyalty, desire and greed."
"All things I am very well aware of... Equite." Cotelin paced the stage before him, lost in deep thought and contemplation; plagued with an unseen test of wills. Finally, he stopped. "So be it Braecen Kunar - I have found alternate uses for Nekura Manji, the rightful Heir to the Grand Master's Royal Guard. But you... you will serve me in that role now. Stand, Commander of the Guard."
Braecen beamed, his fortunes could not have been better. He had just been thrust into an Elite inner-circle of access to the Dark Lord.
The air was cool and moist, something that was usual for being inside, but the matter was not concerning. Every individual that sat or stood within the room knew the purposes for why their environment had to be so, and weeks ago they had learned to adjust to the matter. Presently, the only things that were to concern or distract their minds was the small characters that scrolled across the screens before their faces; which cast them into the blue glow that was emitted.
The sounds of computer alerts were as common to this room as the environment, each beep or other forms of alerts was the announcement of new information gathered to be sorted. The paced had slowed since the beginning, when the large figure had first arrived his orders were quick and endless which caused all sorts of havoc. While it had been frustrating and at sometimes scary as they found out when the Prelate’s temper was lost, it had been exciting as well. Not since the days of the legendary Consuls of Scholae Palatinae had the command centre been a hive of activity, but from the Obelisk’s action it had seemed as if they were back in those days as they ignored the outside in search of their inner workings. Due to unreasonable sloppiness it was necessary for this to happen, inventory had failed to be counted and not just defence structures had been ignored maintenance as they found searching through the foundations of the clan headquarters. But nonetheless, they had succeeded and been justly rewarded with the long absences of the Obelisk Prelate as he retired back to his studies.
Now, as the defences of a tired but ready clan were set and the wars and politics outside pressured action a new phase of operation was about to begin. All that remained was the announcement. Not the only of allegiances though, days prior that had been made as Scholae Palatinae had aligned itself with the “Blue” Jac as had been the commitment of its forces to the Dark Lord’s will. What the officers of the command centre waited for now was the announcement of their new command in chief of operations. A title that really only declared the clan summit’s new bitch.
As the crew waited for the event, they had the moment to reflect more on the past few weeks. With the ground forces assembled, the soldiers trained and drilled, and the Scholae Palatinae complex enhanced; there really was no place to criticize the Prelate and yet for whatever reasons the Prelate had taken his leave this day and opted not to do a traditional act of handing over the command of the CSP forces to the new commander. As their thoughts of the new development within their own lives take prestige, they found themselves quickly enlightened as a trio of Equites entered the room at the main door.
As the crew honoured their arrival they found themselves in a state of awe and shock. The veteran Dakari was quick to settle their minds as he let his booming voice fill the room. “Greetings Brethren, I will not waste your time on such petty matters as this so I will be quick.”
“For several weeks now under the careful charge of Prelate Warhunter, you have served our clan greatly in assembling our forces against the threat of attack. While some of you have more scars on you from the event then our field combatants, you should be glad in the fact that you pumped the life back into a dying body.”
“Aside from that matter, the time has come that we take a more aggressive role in brotherhood politics and assist our Dark Lord in his revenge against the traitors and though Brujah and I will retain overal command it has come the time to place a new individual in charge of our war plans. While we were hesitate to hand over this situation to him, we found his actions in assembling our defences amazing and deserving of recognition. So in honour of that, Prelate Warhunter will continue his command here; now as War coordinator.”
The angry, panic, and fear busted from the minds of the room’s members in such greatness the force seemed to scream opposition in the Prelate’s mind. But the event had no effect but to cause the slightest grin against the Obelisk’s face. Even beneath his bone helmet, the expression of delight acknowledging the new challenged was expressed to the crew. It was clear, whatever horrors they faced in the past wouldn’t compare to the future torment.
As the clan summit retreat out of the room, hastily moving back to more pressing matters, the sounds of their hard leather heels on the metallic surface seemed to disappear under the growing volume of an animal’s growl. It wasn’t long before they realized it was the Prelate himself.
“You! You frosted [Expletive Deleted F-word], get out of my command chair!” The Obelisk snarled at the acting commander but turning his attention to the senior operator. “Upload program titled ‘The squirrel’s revenge‘.”
As the reptilian Obelisk settled himself into his command chair, the sounds of his scaly skin on soft leather was muffled by the many sounds of alerts popping up on every monitor. It was time, the lines had been drawn and CSP was ready to thrust themselves into the heat of battle.
**Three days before the naming of the Dark Council and the pledge of fealty of Scholae Palatinae to the 'Blue' Jac**
The Commander of the Guard paced his personal quarters, an informant sitting before him. "Tell me what you know, once more..." Sneered the Corellian Archpriest as he pressed for more details - searching for the slightest 'slip' in the man's testimony. "You cannot hide your thoughts from me Apprentice," Braecen cooed to his former pupil, "I know your mind all-to-well, Scorpius."
Fighting the restraints, the Krath Priest of Clan Plagueis fought to free himself; however, the leather straps were tied more permanently with the Force. "You are no longer my Master! Just a traitor to the true Dark Lord of the Sith - a lapdog of a fake, a phony!" The younger Krath's mouth snapped shut as Braecen brought his backhand through in a single motion. Scorpius spat blood upon the floor, attempting to clean his mouth of the rich fluid that was gushing from his tongue. He leveled an evil glare across the room at Braecen Kunar.
"You were telling me that another traitor was in our midst, a superior." Again with the pacing, Kunar circled his prisoner with measured steps. "I will also conclude that the member is of Clan Plagueis - as you have never been one to fraternize with outside Clans." Click. Clock. Click. The boots droned the same tune, driving the prisoner to a point of insanity. "Sarin would never send you to serve a man lesser than yourself... the one I seek has to be of equal or greater status." The list narrowed in his mind: Sarin, Salth, Aabsdu.
"He would never jeopardize himself or his 'lapdog'," Braecen emphasized the last word, "to betray Jac Cotelin. Therefore it must be the Sith, Aabsdu." The prisoner's eyes grew wide with panic, the conspiracy had been uncovered.
Scorpius scrambled to prove his worth, a last-ditch effort to preserve his life. "Aabsdu will only strike if this Dark Lord loses, so Plagueis does not lose favor regardless of the outcome!" Again he was silenced with a physical blow.
"My apologies, Apprentice. But there really is only one punishment... for treason." Braecen pulled his lightsaber from the depths of his cloak, activating the blade in quick motion - the white gout of flame leapt from the hilt and spun through the vacuum. The prisoner's head rolled across the floor...
Aabsdu's blade locked with the Krath Commander's - a thousand sparks radiating from the violent contact as a thunderous crash echoed throughout the alley. It was where Braecen had chose to confront the sleeper agent; albeit in the middle of Lyspair, it was the most private location afforded these days. The two Guardsmen separated, one in perfect command of his form - the other wavering from shock. The robed figures darted forward once again, batting at one another's defenses, all-the-while combating the opposing's strikes.
A flurry of parries and whip-like blocks flashed, several of them angling too far from their intended vector - the molten blades scarring the duracrete walls as they easily chewed through them. The newly minted Commander of the Guard snapped his blade back into his inner-most guard, catching the crimson blade of his opponent. A most un-Krath-like snarl escaped his throat, a guttural growl of sorts. Riposting the attack he brought his silver shaft around in a move meant to cleave his foe in half. This time it was the Sith's chance to pick up a lethal blow in his inner most defenses-
Braecen brought an elbow over the locked blades into the man's face, a blow that elicited a 'pop' as the nose split. A dark crimson stream began to run from the cavity, sprawling onto his robes. He swooned with the blow, staggering in an attempt to regain his balance before he could be overcome.
Pressing his advantage, Braecen moved in to capture his now wounded opponent...
Though the man was missing a leg and his saber arm, it was still - in the majority - Sith Battle Master, Aabdsu Dupar di Plagia al'Tor. And the room he was lying in now was no dark alley, but the newly constructed Grand Hall and theatre of Darth Cotelin. By his side, standing proud, was the Commander of the Guard. "I confronted him shortly thereafter, he was rather... intolerant, to questioning. He immediately chose to fight, only confirming what we had already been told."
Sarin, whom was a regular attendee of the Grand Hall on Lyspair, interjected immediately. "This is all heresy, ill-founded conjecture of a man that has been... countless times... kicked from the Dark Tower upon Kapsina-"
"A tower I constructed, mind you Sarin."
"ENOUGH!" Jac's hand slammed down upon the Iron Throne, bringing silence between the squabbling allies. "You two, still do not see eye-to-eye. You will have to resolve those difference on your own time, but not a moment before this conflict is resolved." The Dark Lord rubbed his temple, the grind of the war was beginning to wear him down. "However, Aabsdu was already a suspect of foul play, Braecen. Sarin contacted me last week with his concerns - I believe Nekura will soon provide information that shows him in collusion with the 'Blue' Jac."
Sarin seemed smug as he looked down upon Braecen. The Krath could only glare at his once Consul.
"Sarin... you might wish to resign yourself from further comments unto the Krath. After his incredible display of initiative, combined with his prowess in administrative duties. Yes, Braecen, I did note your skills when you worked along side Grand Master Emeritus, Chi Long. I have decided to finalize the replacements within my Dark Council... and the Corellian shall be named Lord Hegemon."
Braecen beamed. If he had not been close as the Guardian of the Grand Master, he would be so much closer to the man as his Lord Hegemon.
Examining the boxes filled with explosives that had been unloaded from a nearby transport, RevengeX deduced that Arcona had been planning on sabotaging a couple of Taldryan outposts. I’m not really a friend of Taldryan, thought Revenge as he looked around the transport. And, if I’m caught in here, they’ll probably think that it was Scholae Palatinae who was trying to sabotage them. Revenge hastily picked up one of the smaller boxes and carried it to his A-wing, passing the two bodies of the men who had killed each other simultaneously.
Opening the cockpit of the ship with the Force, Revenge pushed the box of explosives into the small cargo hold in the back of the ship. Unclipping his lightsaber from his belt, the Templar began cutting words into the ground. After carefully drawing the words “BSDPOB – dtq” into the ground, he walked back towards his ship. As he climbed up and into the cockpit, Revenge began the engine warm-up while getting out a holocam out of his small pack. The engines started and the repulsorlifts pushed the ship away from the ground and towards the atmosphere of Karufr.
“Glad to have you back, Rollmaster,” welcomed a hologram of an officer working at the control tower. “The primary hanger, 34, is busy right now, but there is another docking bay available just a little bit away from there. The number is 357. You may descend when I say that the approach vector is clear.”
“Yea, whatever,” responded RevengeX as he pushed the ship’s nose down towards docking bay 357. Turning the throttle up to 33%, the Templar impatiently shot down and landed in the bay, despite the officer’s numerous warnings and threats. The Rollmaster shut down his engines, rummaged around in the cargo hold for his pack and pushed the windshields up so that it opened. The cockpit’s air was let out with a small hiss and Revenge got out.
It’s good to be home… well, at least this time it is.
Cuchulain lifted his head from the table. The cantina was deserted around him, just as it had been for the last couple of weeks. The string of drool and snot that had linked him to the alcohol soaked surface broke, and swung freely for a moment before getting stuck to the Primarch's chin as he belched and got to his feet, wiping his face with a dirty sleeve of his robes. As he stumbled the first few steps from his chair, kicking bottles over the floor and banging the table with his thigh he belched again, rubbed his eyes with the same sleeve and looked about to take account of the carnage that surrounded him.
The Clan Cantina was mostly clean everywhere else, that is, clean for the cantina seeing as it had hardly been used for the last few weeks while this whole Jac situation was happening. Images flickered back into his head as he looked at different areas. Mostly everyone else had been off on some quest or another, and although Cooch had been given access to all the reports that had been returned he had chosen to ignore them and get on with the serious job of getting rid of the Clan's stock of Alderanian Ale and Chiss Brandy.
Just on that spot was where the squirrels had been set on that blue Twi'lek who had turned the ex-Consul's advances down. That served her right. The blood marks had left a faint stain even though the bar-tending droid had been trying to clean it for the last three days.
As he slumped over while walking to the door Cuchulain tried to remember if he'd been drinking alone. That wasn't something he'd specifically made a habit of, and even if he'd entered a bar alone there would normally be a female of some species on his arm within a few hours. Let’s see now... it was 11am now, and he'd started drinking last night at about 5pm, so there must have been a few ladies about even if they were just the dancers. Where were they? Even the dancers, with Cuchulain's guidance, had built up a slight immunity to alcohol, enough at least that 12 hours drinking pints of Ale followed by double brandies wasn't too much of a drama.
That's where that one dancer kicked Saitou in the nuts for swinging on her leku.
Saitou! Where was he? Apart from Cuchulain and Timbal he was the old-skooler and Cooch had a faint recollection of the (slightly) younger man from the night before. The ex-Consul looked around the cantina for other clues concerning the other ex-Consul's whereabouts. What he found was better. there was Saitou slumped in much the same position as he had been several minutes earlier, the puddle of alcoholic soaked drool almost spilling onto the floor. Cooch made his way over to the table and slammed his hand hard onto the cheaply laminated, beer and nicotine stained surface next to the shorter uglier man's head. Saitou bounced up, his eyes fighting both for focus and against the light that ripped at the back of his retinas.
"Whassafugginprolemhereyamupped?" His own string of drool slapped into his chin as his slowly came to. Cuchulain knew exactly what was needed and called for the waiter droid to come over and serve up another round.
A telling hastily-repaired hole in the droid's chest showed that this was not the first time he had been forced to give bad news to hung-over Dark Jedi before. If it was really unfortunate it was probably Cuchulain who had inflicted the wound.
"Can't serve us at this time? How about you tell me why before I rip your head off and stuff it up your Refuse Egress Nodule!"
The droid almost showed the human emotion of fear as it leaned back, trying to make a slow exit, stammered out the answer, expecting what the response would be.
"Close?” The KPN’s face started turning red. “CLOSE?” It was beyond red now and had his metallic eyes been able they would have watered in fury. “DON’T YOU KNOW WHO I AM!?!?" The silver haired man's silver sabre blade erupted with a snap-hiss, passing through the droid’s chest leaving a similar mark on the droid's carapace to that of the several already etched onto its surface. As the droid hit the ground and the sabre was deactivated, some of the colour drained from the Primarch’s face, leaving it the normal white pale complexion, but he still stood towering over the prone metal figure. “OP Warhunter. OP! That’s a feckin Prelate! I’m a feckin Primarch you stupid, stupid droid. I outrank him and what I say goes, not him!”
“Saitou, before you talk to me take those Twi’lek’s underwear out of your mouth.”
“Don’t you remember, Cooch? Warhunter wanted everyone to come back to Clan HQ, cos he’s been tasked by Dakari to sort us out with missions.”
“Yeah, but that was last night. It’ll be a couple of days before some of those Muppets get back.”
Saitou looked at the older man in surprise. Surely he hadn’t been out of practice for that long, had he? Cuchulain had only just returned to the Clan from the Force knows where – had it been so long since he had been on a proper drinking session with Acclivis Draco?
“Cooch, that was three days ago. That’s why we stopped drinking a couple of hours ago…”
Cuchulain looked at the chrono on his wrist and grinned. In about three seconds he had detoxified the alcohol out of his system and was looking his normal pale picture of health. “Oh yeah. Best we go see what WH wants then!”
(continuing from Kaiann's last plot update)
Just another conflict in yet another variation. And assignments weren't what they used to be when she was younger. It was all turning into a boring blur at times, despite the fact that you still had to fight for your life and the honour of your Clan. But when you were around for so long, power and glory had a different meaning, and everything was really just the same old song carried by thousands of voices.
They had arrived on Antei, most of the newer members being edged on by Saitou's and Cooch's tales of past glories (some of them exaggerated, others toned down to hide embarrassing moments) just a few hours ago, and already, the battle was in full swing. Warhunter had not given them any time to review the situation - which was bad - but thrown them into the middle of the action so even people like Cooch, Saitou and Arania had no time to think about it - which was good.
They were in the Dark Hall, having entered through the hangar as ordered by Kaiann. Only 7 of them were left - well, 6 right now, as revenge X had been hurt after the little attack on the Tarentum team, and would take a moment to catch up with them.
"Haha, I like this!" Saitou rejoiced behind her.
"I will only enjoy this if we've safely made it to the Seneschal's office," Arania mumbled, but no one heard her due to the shaking ground and rumbling explosions. The latter seemed to ahve come from somewhere within the Dark Hall.
"We might not be the only blues to have gotten here," Cooch stated. "I'd not wonder if we'd run itno some wannabe-heroes trying to take their chances."
"Right, we need to go up," Arania said. her voice a bit louder than necessary, betraying her dislike for the situation. "And we are not taking the access tunnels, we'll take the lifts. It is unlikely any red team has been faster than us, not after we just dealt with the Tar... cover!"
The Force had already warned most of the others as they darted back behind the corner. The 3 thermal detonators bounced off the walls and rolled towards them. No time to reach a safe distance. Cooch, Saitou and the woman all pointed a finger at a grenade each, their conenction allowing them to each pick a different one. By their will, the explosives melted, split seconds before they could explode. Of course, by the lack of explosions, whoever their foe was would now be aware that they were not only a random bunch of journeymen.
They were already up on their feet, sabers and whip drawn, as the group of fighters led by no other than Naga Sadow Proconsul Kat Pridemore rounded the corner. Kat was the only Force user in the group though, and noticing who she was facing, she waved for her team to retreat.
A wicked smile spread across Saitou's face. "Get them!"
Before Arania could say something, both he and Cooch followed them. The sound of sabers and blasters was heard, and Arania didn't have much choice to follow them. Waving the remqaining team to follow, she set for the sound of the fight, now seemingly in the corridor leading towards the lifts.
Saitou had already cut down 4 opponents, and cooch was playing around with two of them. Pridemore was nowhere to be seen. She had abandoned the others to get to safety. But she would undoubtedly be back with reinforcements. Arania's whip lashed out and splitted a head while her saber throw decapitated another enemy. a moment later, blood all around them, they surveyed the carnage. "Now they know where we are. Let's change paths and hurry up."
"Does this mean.... the access tunnels?" Saitou asked with an unhappy grimace.
"Yup. We just need to wait for..."
At that moment, Revenge X came running up towards them. "I missed a skirmish? Aww."
"Seems we are complete. "Into the tunnels, then." Arania pointed to a knee-hight hatch a bit down the corridor. "Me first, Saitou brings up the rear."
"Yeah figures. Always me last..." Saitou waved his hands to open the hatch in a way he could later fasten it again. "After you, my fair lady."
Rolling her eyes, Arania went in. She had a bad feeling about this.
“This place is so gross,” Revenge said as the group continued down the tunnel, bits of slime still hanging on the circular walls. Arania’s rear end was in the Templar’s face so he couldn’t see a thing in front of him in the small tunnel. Saitou and Cooch were talking behind him, but all he heard were snippets about beer, bathes and stupid droids. It seemed to take forever to get through the dank, cramped tunnel, but soon, they saw a light ahead of them.
Each of the group’s members reached for the Force, sensing if anything was just beyond the tunnel. They each radiated a feeling of concern as they began to crawl faster. As they neared the end of the tunnel, each of them soaked with the Dark Council’s waste products, Arania whispered to them to stop for a moment. Noticing that the end of the tunnel had already been opened, and forcefully so, she peeked her head out of the end.
A flurry of blaster bolts coming from her left told her that the group was not alone in the next corridor. Igniting her lightsaber quickly, she deflected the blaster bolts with the blade while holding it with one hand.
“We got company!” she shouted to the others over the piercing scream of energy bolts. “I’m going to get out and see if I can cover you guys, but, get out of there quickly so you can help me!”
Before the others could acknowledge what she said, she pushed herself out of the tunnel with her feet. Mounds of strange goo were thrown at RevengeX. ‘I really need to take a shower now…’
When Arania had moved away from the exit of the tunnel, Revenge pushed himself out of the tunnel in the same manner the Dark Jedi Master had. Cuchulain managed to push Revenge’s feet with his hands, knocking the younger Dark Jedi off balance and onto the floor of the corridor next to Arania.
“Should we help them?” Cooch asked the other Pontifex as he looked out before having to withdraw back into the tunnel to avoid another few blaster bolts aimed at the exit. But Saitou was already squirming with delight at the prospect of fighting, and so the Squirrel Master pushed back his brother Palpatine and jumped out of the tunnel, lightsaber ignited and twirling around to deflect bolts back at their starting point.
‘Oh well, if I stay in here any longer, I won’t get anyone at the pace those guys (and gal) are going.’ Jumping out of the tunnel, Cooch ignited his lightsaber and was ready to deflect blaster bolts when he realized that the attackers had already been downed. The rest of the group was examining the bodies, but only noticed that they did not carry any Clan insignia.
“There were no Jedi among them. They must have been an expendable force.” Arania observed as Revenge and Saitou looted the bodies for anything they could find. Cooch ran over to them as a familiar snap-hiss sound rang throughout the corridor.
"So you thought we'd forget about you." Korras' voice boomed through the corridor. "I knew you'd take the access tunnels after all." The Obelisk flashed a brief smile at Arania. "You didn't bother to mask your presence all that well."
The Ralconian stared at her former student, then returned the smile. "I was sure it would be you to find us. And you came here all alone? Not counting all those expendables, of course."
"He didn't." Another saber was ignited, and Kat Pridemore stepped out of a small door leading to a storage room. "We were just curious to see how you would fight."
Cooch snorted in disbelieve. "You mean you were too coward to face us right away and rather had your troops killed."
"Yeah, besides, the two of them against our superior group? Haha." Saitou took a step forward, ready to charge.
Korras and Pridemore went into a defensive stance. "Oh, but there is more of us."
More doors opened around them. From storage chambers, tech stations and a small mess hall, more non-Jedi troops and several more Naga Sadow members spawned. Saitou groaned as he recognized Horus, Kaylesha and Talon Jade. They were likely here to take revenge on their former Clan mates - which wouldn't change the fact that they'd lose. Seeing how Horus wasn't that good a fighter on solid ground, he should not have come here first place. The only other Dark Jedi they recognized was Xayun. All the others were new faces, most of them not having their own sabers yet.
"Now, wouldn't you agree that we are in a better position here?" The Dark adept made a gesture encompassing his clanmates.
"Better position?" Cooch giggled. "If that would be true, you'd have attacked us already instead of wasting time with smalltalk."
Even while he was speaking, the Scholae team went into action. With blurring sabers and a fast lightwhip, they opened the fight. Arania went for Korras and Kat while Saitou took on Horus and Talon, Revenge had a go at Kaylesha and Xayun while Cooch was providing cover for their remaining support team, reflecting blaster bolts and melting a frag grenade thrown at them so they could concentrate on their own aim. The first casualties weren't from their group, and it brought a smile to Arania's face. There had been a time when she had been reluctant to enter the heat of a battle. But not anymore. The Dark Side was flowing through her and guided her moves, and the fact that she had to fight her former student just made it all that more interesting.
Kaylesha and Xayun were obviously relatively new to the whole lightsaber fighting thing. The two were each trying to attack RevengeX separately, but they kept knocking into each other and throwing the other off balance. Kaylesha, a Dark Jedi who trained in the defensive art of Soresu, was not used to taking such a blatant offensive as this one. Xayun however, was smiling with delight as he brought his Makashi experience into the fray, the simplicity of the form making it one of the deadliest. However, Xayun, being very slow compared to his opponent, was unable to land any hits.
Revenge was getting rather bored at only defending their attacks minimally and took a swift glance at how his former Proconsul was doing. Arania attacked with her signature Shien prowess against former Consul Korras and Proconsul Kat Pridemore. Her two opponents were unable to stand fully against a Dark Jedi Master of such experience. After all, five Dark Side Adepts could barely defeat a Dark Jedi Master as detailed when the fight in the Dark Hall erupted during the Fifth Great Jedi War.
Sneaking a peak at Saitou while sidestepping a quick jab from Xayun, he noticed the Pontifex taunting and gesturing at his opponents with his Dun Moch state in full swing. The Battlelord and Warrior were barely able to keep up with the mastery of Makashi being used against them.
Feeling a sting in the Force, RevengeX dropped to the ground to avoid two successive slashes and jabs from both sides. So, they started working together… he thought as he rolled out of the way and turned to face him, his back being covered by Cooch who deflected several blaster bolts coming from numerous points in the hallway. This will be interesting. Revenge, having only little experience in fighting more than one opponent was unable to go on the offensive as he dodged and blocked attacks with his well-known speed.
Sneaking one more peek at his fellow Clan-mates, he noticed that none of them had fallen just yet. Saitou had suffered a minor cut, Arania had no wounds whatsoever and Cooch was too busy deflecting blaster bolts and melting thermal detonators with the Force to be observed fully. Another sting in the Force encouraged Revenge to roll backwards as a downward diagonal slash was brought upon him by both opponents. This is getting really stupid, he thought as he pushed both of them aside with the Force after extending his arms into their lower chests. Both of them had the wind knocked out of them as they fell over. Calling both of their lightsabers to his hand after making a small gesturing motion, Revenge clipped them on his belt and went to help Saitou fight off the former members of Scholae Palatinae.
Outside the Dark Hall, Rasilvenaira sat in command of a spider droid. Sounds of explosions could be heard all around her. The ground shook beneath her tank, an alarm sounded from inside the spider. In a split second decision, she drew her lightsaber and cut her way out of the spider droid as flames could be felt below her. As she leapt out of what was slowly becoming a burning wreckage, it collapsed behind her. She looked around quickly for cover as deflecting blaster bolts with her saber. Her eyes rested on the closed hangar entrance to the Dark Hall. Breaking into a sprint, she managed to make her way to a protected area behind the hangar, 2 blaster bolts grazed her back.
After a minute of hiding, she heard a mechanical sound from the hangar. 4 technicians with Tarentum markings on them rushed out to the ATTE, trying to salvage any parts they could. Silver smiled at the foolish Tarentum guys and made her way though the open Hangar door. The door closed behind her just as she made her way inside. Piles of metal lay blocking her path to help the others in the Dark Hall. She used the force to amplify her strength and speed, and climbed over the blockade. She noticed a mark of blood on a corridor. Guessing this is the way the others went, she went down the walkway. After a little while, she noticed an access tunnel leading to her left. ‘Guess there’s only 1 way to go’ Silver sighed to herself, her eyes on the tunnel.
The envoy had not made it far yet, her stomach rebelling at the stench, when the sound of battle ahead and a strong warning through the Force caused her to speed up. She could feel the other members of her Clan ahead, and while they didn't seem to be in danger of losing the conflict, she was aware they were outnumbered.
Coming to the end of the tunnel, the woman noticed the opening - no one had bothered to close access again. Her blaster was in her hand already as she scanned the Force for more details. Lots of support troops, around 20, she guessed, not able of using the Force. Some low level Force users, probably all barely out of Apprentice stage. A really strong signature who was engaged in fight with Arania. And a few others she didn't bother to check out.
Carefully looking out, she saw Cooch reflecting attacks. Some reflected bolts had already caused injuries and casualties on the enemy side. Just as she noticed Cooch also melting explosives, she saw the Krath reflect a frag grenate and a thermo detonator back to their foe. No wonder he got bored with those stupid people keep trying the same thing over and over with someone of his power.
The explosions were followed by cries of agony and suprise. A smile appeared on Rasilvenaira's lips as she took aim. Cooch had been fooling them so none of them had been ready to evade. Probably half of the non-Force folks were out of commission now. Just the right time to join in.
The woman's blaster took out 3 opponents in a row, all of them low ranked Naga Sadow members. Then she noticed Xayun, who left a confused Kaylesha's side, going after Revenge with drawn dagger. While Revenge, who was now engaged in a duel with Horus, could clearly take care of himself, she wasn't about to miss this opportunity.
Xayun felt the shot coming and tried to evade, but he was not completely successful. Hit in his right shoulder, he tumbled towards the wall, his face a display of pain. As Kaylesha rushed towards him, he was already controlling himself, looking for his new foe. Rasilvenaira aimed at him again, but this time Kaylesha reacted fast enough to pull him into an open room.
As the Envoy went back to shooting low ranks, Talon fell down with a cry, Saitou's saber penetrating his left hip. A split second later, Horus cried out as Revenge kicked him in a certain spot and then knocked him out with his saber hilt. Things were going well.
"No one left?" Cooch sounded disappointed as he lowered his saber. The few remaining low ranks and support troops were fleeing in disarray.
Rasilvenaira climbed out of the access tunnel just in time to watch Arania lift and throw Pridemore with the Force. The Naga Sadow Proconsul slammed into the wall down the corridor and lost consciousness for a moment. Almost at the same time, an explosion of red, blue and purple energy hit Korras' body. The Adept had already lost his sabers somehow. To Rasilvenaira's disappointment, Arania didn't bother with killing either of them as she stepped back. Korras was breathing heavily but was still conscious, and Kat was coming to again.
Saitou had Talon at the point of his saber, but it was clear the man was too heavily injured to be a threat any time soon. He was, in fact, barely able to control his pain. "I think this battle is over, no? Advantage? You?"
Talon snared at Saitou's words and threw a helpless look at his former Consul. But Korras knew when to surrender, and this was one such situation. "Let them go. The rest of us will get them later," he said, his voice still a resemblance of his usual might.
"We just.. let them live?" Rasilvenaira asked, unbelieving.
"For the moment, yes, but they better won't get in our way again," Arania answered. "Cooch, Saitou..."
The Pontifexes went to Horus and Talon. Saitou took great pleasure in touching Talon's forehead, inflicting enough pain to render him unconscious after what seemed a lifetime while Cooch picked up Horus with the Force and threw him through the door behind which Kaylesha and Xayun had vanished. Cooch threw Talon in there, too, a moment later. Then they sealed the only exit to the storage chamber with the Force, melting the frame completely. "It will take them a while to get out," Saitou said as they finally deactivated their sabers.
A new spark of Force lightning, and finally a badly burned Korras dropped to the floor unconscious. With a wave of her hand, Arania pushed him into another storage chamber and sealed it in the same manner her clanmates had done. Finally, she turned to Naga Sadow's Proconsul. "Kat, I'm giving you a choice here. You either get into the next storage chamber by yourself and I'll just render you unconscious, or you could risk serious injuries and..."
Before she could finish, Pridemore, eyes spitting fire, walked into the remainig storage room. Arania followed her, and a moment later, the sound of a falling body was heard. As the Master came out again, she grinned. "Now, I believe we wanted to get to the Seneschal's office."
Saitou took the lead without any further word. He was elated, but he wished he'd not stink like a dead squirrel. "The lifts are just ahead."
"If they are clever, they will try to control them first," Revenge mused.
"They have Tarentum on their side, and you talk of Clever?" Saitou laughed.
"Yeah well, but then, we have to fight with Arcona..."
"Point." Saitou reached out with the Force, but to his suprise there was no one around, and there didn't seem to be any danger either. "Road is clear."
"This seems to be too easy," Arania mumbled. "Despite our recent encounter."
A moment later, they could see why there was no one here. It looked as if the lifts had been attacked with a rocket launcher, and the laser turrets and cameras had been shot.
"Seems they want to block our way and also make sure we can't have control over all areas so easily," Silver stated.
"Yeah but in case they get control, this is good for us."
"I don't intend to let that happen. Silver, check the lifts," Arania ordered while she kept throwing suspicious looks around.
Saitou folded his arms. "Please tell me we can still use one lift and not have to use access tunnels again."
"Lifts are all dead, but we should be able to climb up this shaft," Silver said, pointing to the last lift on their elft.
"Oh, well, then, let's get going. Me first," Arania said.
As they climbed in, Cooch and Saitou looked at each other. They both thought it, but refused to say out loud that they had bad feelings about this.
The climb was uneventful. With the help of the Force, they levitated their remaining support troops and themselves upward for most of the way. No lift cabin was blocking their way when they finally exited on the level of the Seneschal's office.
Their supporting fighters were shaking and looked pale - never before had they had such a direct contact with the Force. "Leave them here to guard the entrance?" Saitou asked.
"W..w...we'd prefer to stay with you, sir," one of them whispered.
"He has a point," Revenge grinned. "Without us, they will likely die fast."
"Let's just keep moving. Tarentum is somewhere around, so we can't waste any more time." Arania strode off towards the Seneschal's office, and Saitou followed her, shrugging.
At this moment, Arania's comm unit came to life. "Arania? Dakari here. I just got words that some Arconans and Taldryanites have made it into the Dark Hall via the underground tunnels. You'll get help soon."
"Thanks, Dak." Arania grinned. "Arcona will be no help but Taldryan will likely prove useful."
"I believe that when I see it," Revenge growled, taking up the rear behind the support troopers.
At the same time, Dakari was giving orders to have their troops go around a Naga Sadow blockade. His mind was slightly distracted by the fact that Kaiann had deemed it fit to send Arcona trops to the Dark Hall, even if most of them were only support troops. Saitou and Arania especially weren't likely to cooperate well with them.
An explosion ahead showed where an AT-ST had succumbed to their lasers. "We are slowly getting through," someone shouted from behind. "But headquarter signals there are bombers coming our way."
Just what they didn't need. "Any air support for us?"
"Taldryan fighters on the way, but they aren't sure they can make it in time, as Tarentum ships are pursuing them."
Another AT-ST from Naga Sadow went up in flames. "Can we get close enough to the Dark Hall to use it as aprtial cover?"
"If we can take out that AT-AT and the remaining tanks and AT-ST in time, I believe so, sir."
"Let's work on it, then. And, let's use the Froce for a change." Dakari closed his eyes and tried to find the AT-AT's pilot, and the AT-AT itself. Minds could be addled with if Naga Sadow had not placed someone of high ability close, and matter could be changed to cause failures. Scholae had anticipated this and was scanning the Force for any betraying ripples. He hoped Naga Sadow had not.
Unfortunately, a moment later his hopes were thwarted. The AT-AT was well guarded. His attention turned to the remaining AT-ST. The pilot's mind was easy to fool with this time, and the vehicle turned to fire at it's own forces. It wouldn't last long, he knew. And manipulating the Force like this was not easy for him on such a distance. He was no master, after all.
"The bombers are almost here," he got reminded.
"Let's pull the dead man trick," Dak decided. "Steer us into the trench over there, let the ATTE sink to the wall as we've trained, and deactivate all power. Laurus - take care of the disguise explosions. The higher rankeds of us will provide the cover in the Force."
"What about bodies? Shouldn't we provide some?" Laurus reminded in his native tongue.
"Right. Kill one or two of the less able support troops and throw them out of the hatch so it looks like a hull breach. Good thinkiong, Laurus."
Laurus growled happily and went to work.
"Boss? We are in the office now," Arania's voice was heard right then. Maybe things weren't looking that bleak after all.
"We have control over lots of things now," Saitou grinned.
"Could you be more specific?" Arania asked.
"Well, the, uh, cameras and turrets and stuff. Those still existing."
"And the codes to most doors," Cooch said. "We could close them all off, trapping our enemies for a bit. Changing them, too. So even if they know them..."
"Good idea. But please let me trap the Arconans as well!" Saitou seemed all happy.
"Great, then do that," Arania said, staring at the office interior. "But if I catch whoever designed this office, he or she will die. No taste at all."
Cooch and Saitou argued about codes and settings for turrets while Revenge and the troopers kept watch at the door. Rasilvenaira seemed tired watching the two Krath bother with the codes. If they would just let her, it would be so much faster. "Done," Saitou finally said. "Now let's watch the show."
"If there is any," Silver said, frowning.
"We'll see, we'll see," Cooch grinned.
Dakari and his crew, minus the two unlucky sacrifices, had foold their attackers rather easily. No one in this battle seemed to take the time to stop and check if the enemy was truly dead. Too much anger and impatience was in the air.
"So what now?" someone asked.
"Let's try and get to the Dark Hall as well. Most of the action seems to move inside now, and I heard Kaiann mention that the two Jacs are on their way, too?"
"Seems like it. And I am not sure if I like it or not."
A long while later, having lost two Guardians and lots of support troops, Dakari finally saw a familiar face among another group of Scholae troopers. "Warhunter!"
The man's face was invisible behind his armour, but he lifted an arm for a quick wave of acknowledgement. The Obelisk's group was just done cutting down a group of Naga Sadow troops, together with some of the Taldryanties, which also seemed to follow Warhunter's lead.
'Into the Dark Hall,' Dakari sent through the Force. 'I can sense the end is near.'
Another affirmative wave, and Warhunter led his troops towards the heart of the Brotherhood. Dakari followed with his own, much smaller group as a bomb exploded a few hundred clicks away. The battle seemed to have quieted down somewhat. Everyone sensitive to the Force seemed to have the same goal. The Dark Hall could never hold so many people, especially not when fighting, and Dakari intended to be among those making it in. They had to hurry even more now.
Arania and her team only vaguely noticed Dakari, Warhunter and the others making their way in, past several battling groups and through fighters from both sides who had stopped duelling. The two Jacs had arrived in the Dark Hall. It was impossible to tell who was who, as their robes were torn and unrecognizable, but they both radiated power and confidence.
"Could it be..." Cooch started, but then stopped himself and shook his head.
"Yeah, could be," Saitou agreed, having followed his friend's train of thought immediately.
"You two don't think..?" Arania mumbled.
"Could someone tell us what you are on about?" Revenge X growled angrily, watching the Grand Hall's security cams. The two Grand Masters had intervened in the duel between Kaiann and Muz they had been watching since a while. Now anytime, they would fight it out between themselves.
"They are both real," the three said at the same time.
"Somehow," Cooch added.
"Despite one body being cloned," Saitou explained. "It wouldn't be the first incident."
"This could be very very bad," mused Arania. "Or it could make it all simple."
The duel started, and the group watched, transfixed. It seemed to be endless. Half of the Grand Hall had come down before the two of them had even truly begun. It pained everyone watching - through the Froce or cameras - because the heart of the Brotherhood was of utmost importance to all of them, and it had not been too long ago that it had been finished in the first place. But such damage could be repaired. It remained to be seen if the damage to the Brotherhood could be fixed.
Almost all hostilities had ceased by now. Dark Voice reporters, Clan spies, summits - well, basically everyone tried to get as close as safety and space allowed. It could not take much longer, now, both Grand Masters were beginning to look exhausted. Not often they could fight someone with their own power, and it begun to show.
At that moment, the cameras were hit by a storm created of pure Force. A second later, all images were gone, and the Clan members had to rely on their intuition and conenction to the Force. Another minute or so after, a shock wave went through the weavery and made most elder members gasp or even faint. They had just felt the death of a Grand Master. Everyone's eyes fixed on the monitor connected to the camera close to the Grand Hall's exit.
As the dust slowly settled, they could see a figure emerge from the remains of the Grand Hall. Arania strained to see which Jac it was, but as before, it was impossible to tell.
"Members of the Brotherhood, loyal followers of the Final Way," Cotelin's voice boomed, amplified by the Force and also transmitted through it. "I am whole again. The two halves of me, parted in a split yet unconprehended, are reunited. The battle is over now." A short pause, while the news settled in with some. Most of Cotelin's audience was still too shocked and confused to understand a thing. "There was no right and no wrong in picking sides. You all did what you had to do. I cannot fault any Clan for picking either half of me. In fact, you ahve all shown immense loyalty, as you believed to follow the real me."
"Or just the one with better opportunities," Saitou mumbled, but he was ignored.
"Let's reunite and rebuild now, and not forget that from unity comes strength, as long as we do not cease to test our abilities and consolidate our powers."
Cries of agreement, suprise and actual relief broke out everywhere. Arania sank back in the Seneschal's chair and sighed.
"So, that is it? All done?" Saitou inquired. "If that is so, we should get the hell out of here before the Seneschal finds out how we entered his office."
Getting out of their stupor, the others laughed. "He's right," Revenge said. "And actually, I just want to go home."
"Can't argue with that," Arania agreed, causing Ras to snort. "Let's go home."
The Seneschal never found out who blew half of his office to pieces, but he got a tip Arcona was involded and thus wasn't too pelased with them for a while.
Oh yeah--- THE END (insert creepy music here)