[HSP RO] Ohmen Villa
Dark Jedi Knight Shadow Nighthunter
Priest Evant Taelyan
Any other posters must obtain permission from Shadow Nighthunter, as this is her mission.
Cold mountain air rushed along the spiral streets in the upper tiers of the capital city of Judecca. The shadow of the massive peak upon which the Imperial Palace stood blocking the morning light of Imperius just breaking the horizon. Carved deep into the stone was a magnificent villa owned by a wealthy merchant and friend of House Scholae Palatinae. Its windows still dark, doors shut tight, no signs of life within as it had been for several weeks. Only now the anomaly had caught the attention of the Dark Jedi who called the city home.
Footsteps echoed from the stone streets as three hooded figures approached, their breath freezing as it emerged in the warming morning air. Glancing up and down the streets to ensure they were alone on the private street as they reached the main gate of the villa. Few held the privilege of access to the upper tiers of the city and their presence would certainly raise questions. The nobility of Ohmen didn’t take kindly to interference from the Brethren and Sistren of Scholae Palatinae.
Removing his hood, most of his features still shaded by the massive central spire, bright green eyes scanned the property for abnormalities. The Force itself revealing nothing within the villa. The Priest let his focus wander as his eyes glanced up at the massive Imperial Palace above them. His mind was thousands of miles away on the planet of Rhelg where he had faced the challenges of the Dark Crusade.
Something about the conquest waged by the Brotherhood had changed the Krath. It could be felt at his core. The past, thousands of years of Dark Side history, yet still fighting the same battles as the Sith Lords of the past. Even a powerful Sith Lord like Darth Plagueis had not conquered death.
As a hand reached his shoulder, Evant quickly took a step back and moved his hand to his own lightsaber hilt. Breathing heavily, a look of pure terror in his eyes as they met the golden eyes of Shadow Nighthunter. The newly minted Dark Jedi Knight confused by the unnaturally aloof nature of the normally well grounded Krath Priest. His eyes gravitated to the emerald glow of her newly crafted lightsaber already drawn in her own defense.
“I … right... it’s this damn war,” Evant struggled to get the words out as he let his body relax.
“It’s a wonder you Krath ever manage to accomplish anything. This is my first mission as a Knight, not only do I not need a babysitter, I don’t need the extra challenge,” Shadow spoke with as much authority as she could manage, a tinge of uncertainty hanging in her words.
Behind her the third of the Dark Jedi on the mission still maintained her focus. Her long dark hair under control in a braid in the cold streets. It was the first time that Aquarius had walked the streets of Ohmen since joining Scholae Palatinae yet its magnificence didn't seem to interest her. The Novice was seeking tutelage under the new Knight. However, her demeanor gave no impression of uncertainty as she patiently awaited her orders.
“My reasons for presence on this mission are mine alone. I will stay out of your way Sith,” Evant responded in an annoyed tone, before he pulled up his hood to protect his face from the cold air and unlatched the front gate to the villa, anxious to get out of the cold streets under the shadow of the Imperial Palace.
Aquarius paused outside the gate of the villa, watching Shadow and Evant walk the path up to the main entrance. The air seemed to be getting colder by the moment and a fog was slowly thickening, even as the sky began to lighten with the coming of morning. She knew they were on a mission but Shadow had given her little information about it and, although she didn’t betray it on her features, Aquarius found herself unusually tense, unaware of what to anticipate.
She had joined the Dark Jedi a while ago, although it seemed at the moment like it had been a lifetime. Shadow was now her closest friend and she was her protégée, a relationship that somehow worked out smoothly. There was something about Shadow that Aquarius connected with, something she couldn’t quite understand. Evant, on the other hand, was overwhelming to her. Although he wasn’t large, there was an atmosphere around him that was powerful. Or maybe it was simply her inner acknowledgement of his superiority.
Sucking in a breath and breaking out of her thoughts, Aquarius sprinted forward, catching up with Shadow and Evant in a moment and taking in her surroundings. The villa oozed of wealth with its plethora of massively growing vegetation and withering flowers, their colors pale in the dim light of the sky, lining the path to the grandiose building ahead. The building itself was extravagant in the least but it failed to impress Aquarius; she cared little for material wealth, a part of her forged from her past.
They made their way up the steps and stopped at the door to the villa. Evant lifted his hand and knocked on the large door three times, stepping back to wait. When there was no answer, Evant exchanged a glance with Shadow, knocking again. Yet again there was silence.
“We have to get in,” Shadow murmured, frowning and pushing heavily on the door to no avail.
“Maybe there's a back way or a secret entrance,” Aquarius suggested, glancing around instinctively.
“No, that would be too risky. We must find some other way to enter,” Evant replied, an edge in his voice.
Shadow suddenly straightened and gestured at them to follow her. Stealthily, the Dark Jedi made their way around the right corner of the edifice and out of sight of unlikely, but possible, passersby. Shadow placed a hand on the side wall and stepped back.
“We can slice through here,” she announced solemnly, her face already narrowed with concentration. Evant nodded once, retrieving his lightsaber along with Shadow.
Aquarius’s eyes constricted as she watched Evant and Shadow slowly burn their lightsabers, blinding glows of green and silver blue, into the wall, the humming of the weapons loudly and conspicuously filling the air. The tips slowly moved up and then met at the top, crackling as they met briefly. Evant nodded at Shadow and the two used the Force to push the wall piece into the villa. It fell with a heavy thud that seemed to vibrate the ground they stood on.
They had found a way in.
The sound of the crashing wall piece reverberated throughout the villa. Had anyone been present, they would have heard it for sure and probably would have investigated the cause of disturbance. However, Shadow wasn’t surprised when no one did. The individual who had owned the villa was obviously not at home like she had suspected. The only inhabitants of the grand residence were the furnishings now lit by the rising sun.
Ignoring her companions as they entered from behind, the Knight observed her surroundings. She found herself standing in a spacious living room dominated by a sofa and decorative accessories, all of which looked to be untouched for some time. Walking over to the sofa, she slid her finger across the edge picking up dust. The only explanations she could some up with were either the owner didn’t keep up with the cleaning, or he had been gone for quite a while. Shadow chose to side with the latter.
“Anything unusual?” Evant’s voice cut in, interrupting her thoughts.
“Nothing that you haven’t noticed already,” the Sith said. “Maybe we should split up a bit. See what we can find.”
“Sounds like a plan,” Aquarius chimed in as Evant nodded in agreement.
“Right then, I’ll go upstairs. Aquarius, check out the left wing. Evant, I want you to search the right wing. If you two discover anything, just let me know through the Force or even yell if you want.”
“What is it we’re looking for exactly?” Aquarius inquired. “You still haven’t told me everything pertaining to why we’re here.”
“You’ll know everything all in good time,” Shadow said smiling. “You Krath are always asking questions. Can’t say I blame you. You all love knowledge that you just can’t get enough of it. Right now, let’s get on with the search.”
Ignoring the young Krath’s annoyed look, Shadow headed for the stairs leading up to the second floor. The Sith enjoyed leaving others in the dark. To her it was a game, one in which she enjoyed the suspicion of others. The Knight had experienced much change due to the crusade. She now resorted more to keeping to herself, only once in a while opening herself up to those she trusted. Keeping others enshrouded in the shadows of mystery was something she found comforting and humorous. A game of shadows was a game she could win.
As she began to climb the stairs, her thoughts returned to the mission at hand. The person they were looking for had been a great supporter of the House, and now for him to disappear was quite concerning. All contact with the merchant had ceased during the Dark Crusade, which seemed all too coincidental to the Knight.
Her thoughts wandered to her companions. The young Krath, Aquarius, was an eager, but merciful individual. Shadow, though annoyed by the Novice’s weakness, enjoyed the Krath’s company. As to Evant, Shadow found the Priest to be helpful and also furtive. However, she took note of his behavior recently. He was a bit jumpy, and as to his personality she couldn’t quite figure it out. All she knew was that the war was most likely the primary culprit.
A pungent odor of alcohol hung in the stale air of the massive dining hall. The ornate table was completely empty, its polished surface still reflected the sun beaming in through the windows despite layers of dust. Tapestries from all over the galaxy hung motionless against the piercing silence.
Moving quickly, and with purpose, the Krath Priest crossed the room to exactly where anyone would expect him to be. As he reached the bar he began to scan the labels with his eyes. It had almost been too easy to find himself alone in the villa. His mind clear of a million simultaneous plans to reach isolation wiped away as the sweet taste of Doth brandy touched his lips. Anything to take the edge off the stress holding every inch of his body.
Evant could sense his companions elsewhere in the house, yet their stress levels were low, indicating nothing was amiss. He finished the small glass already regretting the decision to loiter in the dining hall longer than he should have. The Krath continued across the room, he knew exactly where he was headed.
He had never met the Sullustan merchant Dien Nep who occupied the villa but his past had brought him through this door in the past. Reaching the far end of the hall and ducking into a pantry closet, at the far end pressing into an indentation in the wall expecting it to slide open but getting no response. Confusion set him back as he pressed again harder this time to activate the door as he had done many times in the past but again nothing.
True distress finally reached the Krath at the unexpected result. Unconcerned with Aquarius he tried to control his emotions with the Dark Jedi Knight exploring the floor above him. Reaching out through the Force he tried to detect what uncertainty lie beyond the tunnel behind it leading to the markets in the city below.
It was quiet. There really was no other way to describe the situation of the inside of the villa. The furniture had gathered thick layers of dust until the original color underneath had faded into a dull gray and there was a desolate stillness in every inch of the building.
Aquarius slowly made her way down the hall, her steps resounding quietly against the walls. She gripped her DL-44 as she walked, her entire body tense. Pulling her braid over her shoulder, her attention was caught by an ostentatious mirror positioned at the center of the hall. Large green eyes in the reflection stared back at her and she blinked. There was a glow on her face and dark strands of hair fell gently from her head, brushing her cheeks. It was a face that had been familiar to so many long ago and to one particular person who had been too special. Someone she’d left. Her face suddenly hardened and she turned away, continuing on her search.
Aquarius stopped in front of a door, reaching out and pushing on it. It creaked open and Aquarius peered in, squinting in the dim light of the room. Slowly, she took a step inside, her fingers brushing across her gun instinctively. She couldn’t sense anyone inside and she moved in deeper slowly. Aquarius slipped her gun back into its holster and took out a glow rod, brandishing it over her head to cast light in the room.
It was a study room. A massive table was set in the center of the opposite room and Aquarius half-smiled, moving quickly and lithely towards it. Setting the glow rod on the surface, she bent over the papers, shuffling through them, and then leaned down, opening the drawers. They were all empty and Aquarius frowned, returning her attention to the papers.
She gathered them up and retrieved the glow rod, leaving the room and shutting the door behind her. Aquarius made her way back and headed for the east wing to find Evant. She didn’t know if the letters in her hand would help them with their mission but she needed to do something. It was frustrating to be considered the lower rank when she knew she could do so much more and she couldn’t help the constant pinch of annoyance at being considered the inferior.
Shaking the thought away, she continued searching for Evant and her brow wrinkled when she couldn’t. Finally, she spotted him near a closet and she stepped forward, her head cocking to the side.
“Evant? What...are you doing?” she asked. There was no accusation in her voice, but, nevertheless, he stiffened. He straightened and started to speak but, at that moment, Shadow stepped into the room, suspicion on her face at Evant and Aquarius standing together.
Annoyance crept slowly into the Sith. She had told them to search in their assigned sections of the mansion and to contact each other if they had found something. Seeing Aquarius and Evant together caused her to question whether they had listened to her at all. However, she resisted the temptation of yelling at them. There was no point in getting all uptight over something silly.
“So, you two decided to have a party without inviting me?” Shadow asked smiling. “I’m hurt.”
“I wouldn’t call it a party exactly,” the Priest said, still looking tense.
“Is that right?” Shadow said amused.
“Yeah,” Aquarius answered. “Actually, I was coming to show Evant these letters that I found in the west wing.”
“Letters? Let me see them.”
As Aquarius handed Shadow the letters, the Sith couldn’t help but to admire the Novice. The young Krath was obviously determined to help out with the mission. Through the Force, Shadow sensed feelings of pride and accomplishment swell in the girl. Aquarius was starting to show some more progress just as the Sith had hoped.
Going through the letters, she casted a glance towards Evant. She found it hard to sense his feelings, but felt edgy about the Priest. She had known him for some time, and had come to trust the Krath. She had much admiration for Evant in fact for his wit and even his humor. However, suspicion gnawed at her mind. Something about the man was off, but as to what exactly she wasn’t sure. Instinct told her to keep a close eye on him, and that was exactly what she would do.
Unfortunately, none of the letters were of any significance, and when she revealed her results to the Novice the Krath was a bit crestfallen. No one likes to be disappointed, but Shadow knew this would encourage Aquarius to try even harder.
“At least you found something,” Shadow said to Aquarius, glancing back at Evant. “Huh, I wonder if Evant found anything.”
Before the Priest could answer, Aquarius quickly interrupted. “When I came in, he was looking at something in the pantry closet.”
“Really?” the Sith said now eyeing the Krath. “Mind showing us what got your attention, Evant?”
For a minute the Krath didn’t move, but then gestured for Aquarius and Shadow towards the closet. Inside, he showed them an indention in the wall. He explained that he suspected it to be some sort of door, which perked Shadow’s interest. Feeling the edges along the indention, she tried to find a way to open the secret door. However, she couldn’t quite get it to open.
“I wonder if we could cut into it with a lightsaber?” the Sith asked. “I don’t think it would hurt to try.”
Igniting her lightsaber, Shadow began cutting into the door. For a moment she thought she sensed panic from the Priest, but decided to ignore it. Already, she found her suspicions to be ridiculous and plus, she had no proof to back her suspicions. Besides, her curiosity of where the door led along with a growing secret of her own seemed to push the suspicions aside.
Smoke slowly filled the small closet, illuminated by the emerald blade burning into the rich wooden door in the back of the closet. Evant pulled up his robes to cover his face to block the smoke as real worry lingered in the back of his mind. Someone had locked the door. Someone knew they were in the villa.
Instinctively the Krath Priest’s blue blade hissed to life and deflected a red blaster bolt back into the empty dining room. The bolt burned deep into a tapestry before going out, the brief flash illuminating the figure of several security droids that found them. The heat of the lightsabers taken as a sign of aggression. They obviously intended to attack first and ask questions later.
“Take cover!” Shadow shouted almost instinctively as she abandoned the locked passageway and pulled her body against the wall out of the light of sight. Her emerald blade going dark as she pulled out a blaster and returned fire. Across from her Aquarius heeded her advice and took position at the opposite side of the closet frame pulling her own blaster as well.
The Priest rushed out the door like a blur at amazing speeds into the darkness of the dining room. Flashes of emerald and red lighting up the room as the Dark Jedi engaged in combat with the security droids. As Shadow struggled to properly take aim, her shots landing on the far side of the dining room burning into the wall, her apprentice began to score hits burning into the armored droids and starting to inflict damage.
Across the dining room a blue blade whirled through the air, and the molten glow of metal flooded the dining room in light as the Krath Priest cut down one of the two attacker droids. Immediately taking the defensive position as several additional droids cut in from a door across the hall separating him from his companions. He watched Shadow’s emerald blade light up as she emerged from the closet just before he turned to deflect several bolts himself and move back to the foyer.
Separated now from his companions, the Krath Priest felt out through the Force, and could tell they were well defended on the far end of the dining room. Several automated turrets opened fire from the ceiling above him raining down a torrent of blasts. The human rolled to the ground and pulled himself up behind a large ornate statue, the smell of melting metal filling the room. Whatever hope they had of not attracting attention had obviously vanished.
Rapid blaster fire sliced through the air around Shadow as she went on the offensive. Her newly appointed apprentice still firing from the closet and Evant now nowhere to be seen, the Knight became the center of attention in the dining room. With her skills with a gun having proved to be inefficient, she had resulted to open combat with her lightsaber. However, she knew they worked a lot better as a group.
“Aquarius!” Shadow shouted to her apprentice. “Find Evant and see if you can help him out!”
She saw the Krath dash out of the closet firing at the droids standing in her way until she was no longer in the dining room. All Shadow could do was hope that the young girl wouldn’t run into too much trouble. While she had been searching the second floor, she had received a call on her comlink informing her that the young Krath had been appointed to her as her apprentice. She had yet to break the news to Aquarius.
Her focus returned to the security droids still fighting her. The emerald blade of her lightsaber deflected the oncoming fire and then slashing into metal as she held the oppressors at bay. The thrill of battle fueled her fury every time her blade came in contact with the enemy. Even when she had disabled the last droid, the passion of battle lingered.
Feeling a presence behind her, she realized there was one more droid left. She spun around to find what was once a droid aiming for her head, now falling on the ground as a blaster shot made contact with it. At the entrance to the dining room were Evant and Aquarius, who was lowering her blaster.
“Looks like I just saved you,” Aquarius said smiling.
“Oh just shut up,” the Sith replied sarcastically, annoyed with her carelessness. “If you don’t tell anyone, then you’ll live long enough to see me successfully guide you to knighthood.”
She saw the puzzlement cross the young Krath’s face. “Wait what?
Shadow smiled. “You’re my apprentice now. Meant to tell you that earlier, but I forgot. I was just recently informed myself. I’ll go over the details later.”
The Krath contemplating what she heard, Shadow’s attention turned to the Priest. Like Aquarius, he bore no wounds.
“Glad to see you made it out alive,” the Sith remarked jokingly. “For a few minutes I thought you abandoned us.”
“Didn’t intend to do that,” The Krath said. “Just got separated.”
Nodding, Shadow began towards the closet with the others following her. Her curiosity had returned as to what laid beyond the secret entrance. There was only one way to find out. Kicking the remains of the door, she saw a dark tunnel extending into the beyond. Taking out a glow rod, she descended into the shadows, not knowing what to expect in the darkness ahead.
Aquarius stepped into the tunnel, her glow rod lighting the way in front of her. The tunnel was roughly made, simply a path through soil and dirt rather than a clean smooth tunnel. A cockroach scuttled across the organic floor and Aquarius blinked, stepping further in. Shadow was ahead, her glow rod bright in the distance and Evant followed behind Aquarius.
“Congratulations,” he said, smiling. “You have a master now.” Aquarius returned the smile stiffly, nodding. She had been surprised, to say the least, at the news and yet she wasn’t sure how she felt. A part of her was glad that she was being noticed and paired up with someone more experienced. Having someone to guide her would only help her in the future.
Nevertheless, that stubborn part of her refused to be overjoyed at having a Master. It wasn’t a personal grudge against Shadow but rather the idea of a Master. The entirety of her life she had depended on herself and survived. It seemed that she was being undermined now, told that she wouldn’t be able to carry on without someone to hold her hand. She couldn't even voice the thoughts aloud for she could see just how excited Shadow was about having an apprentice now, someone to pass on her experience. All she could hope was that the feelings would slowly ebb away.
Deep in thought, Aquarius tripped over a thick mound of dirt on the ground and caught herself immediately. Shadow turned to see what had happened and frowned sternly.
“Careful Aquarius,” she warned and Aquarius resisted a snort. Apparently, someone was already enveloping the role of Master. Evant shot her a sympathetic smile and passed her as she leaned down and picked the fallen glow rod and she followed him as she straightened. Suddenly, ahead, light peeked through a far opening.
Strong violent odors filled the small cramped corridor as warm orange light began to replace the dark cold visuals on the walls with beautifully carved stonework. The mechanized hums of a power generator drown out any sounds in the room ahead as the trio of Dark Jedi cautiously approached. He felt a hand reach out and grab the back of his robes, startling him as he quickly turned to meet the golden eyes of Shadow glowing brilliantly in the bright lights behind him. Evant immediately recognized what it was the Sith wanted and responded immediately saving her the trouble of asking, a twinge of annoyance in his voice, “By all means ma’am, after you.”
She slipped past him ignoring his remarks, either anxious to find out what lie ahead or to diminish the Priests’ role in the mission, perhaps both. Behind her followed Aquarius, looking up at him as she passed, already her blaster drawn at her side ready for what lie ahead. The Tetrarch of Caliburnus let out a sigh as he took several steps away from the entrance and pulled out a data pad.
Not at all anxious to figure out who occupied the hidden tunnel network between the upper echelons of the city and the markets below, Evant began to scan his network for information to try and understand more about what was going on. His eyes darted around the screen scanning for information on what might be moving in the tunnels.
Why access would be locked from inside a secure villa? What was it that was being moved? Who locked down the access?
There were far too many questions spinning in the human’s head, his mind moving quickly through scenarios sorting out what might happen. It was obvious he would need more information to logically piece together a conclusion. Realizing the information he was after wasn’t available on his network he turned his attention back down the hallway.
Brilliant blue light pierced the hallway as the Priest ignited his saber, the hum of his saber replacing a silence that wasn’t there moments before. He rushed towards the darkness at the end of the hall before emerging into the room. Spinning his head around looking for Shadow or Aquarius but unable to locate them.
An explosion rocked the tunnel network as brilliant orange torrent of flames illuminated a passage on the far end of the room. Shortly following was the obvious sound of two lightsabers locked in combat echoing around the chamber. He could sense Shadow was in trouble as he rushed in her direction.
Aquarius tightened her grip on her blaster and pulled the trigger again, her hands trembling from the continuous intensity and pressure of the past shots. The laser flew out and disappeared into the thick gray fog suffocating the air around her. She didn’t know if the shot had been effective for the smoke from the blast had fogged the air with dirt and rubble and she was now shooting at an opponent she couldn’t see.
A yell in the distance behind her distracted her and, as she turned her head for the split second, a single shot appeared from the fog and pierced her shoulder. An agonizing scream slipped past her lips and she gritted her teeth, her hand flying to her arm which was already turning red with blood. Another shot came at her but she stumbled to the right, grunting with pain as she kept running.
Finally, her steps stopped pounding against the ground and she fell to the ground on her knees. Her breath came out in exhausted and struck pants and, as she removed her hand from the injury, she paled at the blood that trailed down from her fingers.
Her head was whirling and somehow in that half-consciousness she spotted the door to her left. Aquarius stumbled forward and pushed through the door, stumbling forward and falling heavily on the solid ground. Evant and Shadow crossed her mind in the midst of the pain and she blinked, her vision gray and dizzy for a moment before she collapsed completely and her vision succumbed to the compelling darkness.
No reply from her apprentice answered her call as Shadow was engaged with the adversary. The smoke continued to obscure her vision as she looked for Aquarius and fought off her attacker. Frustration began to set in as she parried her foe’s orange blade and looked for an opening. The man’s companion continued to fire at the Sith, which made the whole situation much more difficult.
As if on cue, she saw the familiar blue blade of the Priest cut down the man with the blaster. Distracted by his cohort’s cry of surprise, Shadow swiftly sent her lightsaber into her opponent's chest killing him. Satisfied with her kill, she retrieved the man’s lightsaber and began scanning the room for her apprentice. As the smoke cleared, she saw that Aquarius was no where to be found.
Annoyed by the disappearance of her apprentice, and the fact that she had lost her, the extinguishing of a lightsaber from behind reminded her of Evant’s presence. Already, she had many questions to ask the Krath, but her concerns for Aquarius’ whereabouts were her priority. The questions would have to wait for another time. Finding her apprentice was more important.
“Where’s Aquarius?” Evant asked as Shadow turned to face him.
“That’s what’s I’d like to know,” she responded. “It seems I've already lost my apprentice. We might as well go looking for her, and hope that nothing bad has happened to her.”
“Alright, there are two paths,” Evant said gesturing towards two entryways leading into the room. “We should split up.”
“I was thinking we’d stick together.”
“We’d cover more ground if we split up,” the Caliburnus Tetrarch insisted.
“ You've got a point,” the Knight sighed. “You take the right passage while..."
Evant had already taken off down the left passage before Shadow could even finish.
Pushing away her former suspicions, Shadow made her way down the other passage. Thoughts of Aquarius returned to her as she mulled over the possibilities of what might have caused her apprentice to get separated. The most obvious one was that in the confusion from the smoke and the ambush, Aquarius must have wandered down one of the passages by mistake. Another possibility was that she ran out of sheer panic, but Shadow chose to ignore such a notion. As far as she knew, Aquarius wasn't that kind of person.
Returning from her churning thoughts, she found herself at the end of the passage. Before her was something she had never expected to find. Small stands and rooms covered the area with people going to and fro as a fight broke out between a two individuals. The best thing, Shadow decided, was to keep out of sight and to continue looking for Aquarius.
What the hell is this place?
Red light bathed every surface of the storage room hiding the sight of blood. A body lay on the ground helpless as the unassuming figure of a rodian rose to greet the Dark Jedi. Without speaking the Priest rose his hand and approached, as the rodian did the same reaching out for a handshake.
A smirk crossed the human’s face as his hand gripped the cool reptilian skin of the unknown humanoid. Without even a greeting he began to speak in his own thickly rodese accented basic, “Dien Nep has quite an operation selling the Imperial Palace’s goods back to itself, it has made him quite wealthy and untouchable even by you, Dark Jedi.”
Even through the persuasion it was apparent in the inflection in his voice the disdain he had for the Dark Jedi. Evant felt it more ignorance and fear of the unknown. His green eyes pierced those of the weak minded opportunist before him.
“Who was your pathetic friend with the lightsaber toy in the other room?” the Krath spoke in a tone almost demanding an answer. His patience for their disregard for the authority of the Dark Jedi in Ohmen beginning to thin.
“Talio Rind, a reject from your academy, and the perfect business partner.” the Rodian answered quickly without hesitation, still in a Force manipulated friendship with the Krath before him.
Chuckles echoed off the far walls and containers in the storage room, Evant was amused at the arrogance of the fallen journeyman though he didn’t recognize the name, “I am surprised he didn’t cut off his own head with that lightsaber. Foolish of her to engage in combat with a fully trained Knight wouldn’t you say? Unfortunate he didn’t live to learn from the lesson.”
The humans eyes fell to the figure on the floor, though he didn’t have to ask the question. He could feel pain on her lithe figure curled up and unconscious. The Priest lacked the skills to heal her but he could most certainly protect her. Their fun little money making operation had now begun to hurt the House in more ways than one.
The Rodian’s eyes began to dart around the room confused. He took several steps back before looking up again and staring directly at the Dark Jedi before him. Fear and confusion stirring in his head as he reached for his blaster. Pulled from his grasp and tossed across the room as the sound of his weapon hitting the ground echoed back into his ears.
Anger now on the face of the Krath Priest as he silently moved towards the rodian with a firm grip on his lightsaber. No illusions or mind tricks now so the could fully comprehend what was about to happen. As the blue blade mixed with the red light to cast a brief purple hue as the blade of pure plasma separated his legs from his body.
White wisps of fog swirled around her as she looked around, blinking in astonishment. Somehow Aquarius had wound up in some mysterious place with only whiteness all around and, yet, there was no fear. Someone or something had switched her into a pale white dress.
She twirled around, looking for someone else, anyone else, but there was no one there. She was alone. Or at least that's what she thought until she suddenly noticed a dark figure in the distance and her heart sped up. She knew who that was.
She took a step but, for some reason, her feet were stuck to the deep abyss that her feet were stuck in, a foggy abyss that she couldn’t see. Frowning with what was beginning to be panic, Aquarius pulled on her feet, but to no avail, and she looked up at the figure slowly coming closer.
She called out his name but that was a mistake because abruptly, the figure stopped and after a moment, began to dim, as if moving away. Aquarius tried to run after but her feet refused to move and she screamed at the disappearing figure, shutting her eyes in frustration and a dull pain began to whisper in her shoulder and....
Aquarius opened her eyes, her heart fluttering and sweat heating up the back of her neck, and looked around at the place she had collapsed before. The dream had been so vivid--too vivid-- and a heaviness set in her stomach as she thought about the person she had seen. Or rather, unfortunately, not seen.
At that moment, the pain in her shoulder deepened as if spurred by her attention, and a small, pained hiss escaped her lips. It was only then that she noted movement near her.
Even in her injured state, Aquarius had her blaster out in a split second, but, relieved at the sight of Evant, she let it fall to the ground and gripped her shoulder. Her eyes trailed to a body on the floor, cut in half, and she curled her lips, moving her gaze away.
“Who’s that?” she asked tightly, hardly able to speak from the excruciating feeling emanating from her shoulder; it was spreading slowly to her collarbone and down her arm.
“Not an ally,” he answered lightly, barely sparing the corpse a glance. Aquarius gritted her teeth and got to her knees, making to get up. Evant noticed and moved towards her leisurely as if unsure whether she needed his aid. Aquarius stood, but her knees felt like rubber and, stumbling, her knees gave way. Evant’s hands shot out, winding around her elbows and she forced herself to keep standing, fighting the numb feeling in her legs. She pulled away and he let go simultaneously, regarding her with a frown.
“That looks serious,” he said, his eyes falling to the bloody injury.
“Yeah, thanks for the help before,” she said quietly, unable to execute the full effect of her sarcastic comment but he noted it and his brows wrinkled.
“I was caught up before,” he defended himself and Aquarius’s eyes fell to the dead creature to her left. She looked at him again, her green eyes narrowed, and he looked distracted, but focused on her when he caught her peering at him. He nodded her forward. “We need to get you help.” Aquarius nodded and glanced around at the small shack they were in. Another door led to the outside world. The Black Market.
Aquarius inhaled deeply and took a step forward with Evant’s hand hovering slightly near her cautiously, and she kept walking, matching her steps to his.
So, this is the Black Market.
Listening to some of the local dealers and traders, Shadow discovered that the huge complex that she found herself in was the underground Black Market of Ohmen City. Smugglers, pirates, and tradesmen came here to sell and trade illegal goods. By what she had overheard, Shadow discovered that drugs, beverages, weapons, animals, and even slaves were on the market.
With her hood covering her face, Shadow acted normal and just leaned back against the wall listening and watching. As long as no one here was Force sensitive and her lightsaber was hidden, the Sith had a chance of blending in. She even created an alias using her old name and her business in the Black Market was buying animals for fighting purposes. Anything she could do to get information on Dien Nep and to reunite with Aquarius and Evant, she would do.
“Are you going to just stare at my goods or actually buy something?”
A man who was selling exotic animals approached her. The Knight realized that the merchant must have caught sight of her looking at his small zoo. She had taken interest in one of the critters that lay unmoving in a cage.
“Depends on whether or not you actually have something good,” Shadow replied. “For all I know, you got all of these animals from a petting zoo.”
The man laughed. “You have quite the humor, ma’m. Actually, I had a friend steal them for me from quite a few zoos from many worlds. Take this fine nexu here. He was actually captured illegally from its home planet.”
“Really now? And your friend hasn’t been caught yet?”
“Nope! He’s the best in the business!” the man exclaimed.
“Amazing!” Shadow said, hiding her annoyance. “What can you tell me about this furry guy here in the cage?”
“Oh that’s a Vornskr from Myrkr. The devilish thing has been a hassle and really has proven to be nothing but a useless beast. I’m selling him for 130 credits.”
“By what you tell me, he’s not even worth that much,” Shadow said frowning. “If I do recall, is it because of the poisonous tail?”
“Yeah, that’s it. When you take into consideration about how lethal it can be, then you can see why it would be worth 130.”
If I had the money, I’d buy the poor thing and let it loose somewhere. Dammit! Why do I have to be so poor! Too bad the Force can’t turn 20 credits into 130.
“If I had the dough, I’d buy him and make him into some fierce fighter for some arena fights,” Shadow said, as a plan began to take shape. “Maybe another time.”
“Ah, suit yourself. If you do ever change your mind, just let me know.”
No longer interested in Shadow the man left his stock to talk with another customer. Quickly shadow focused on the latch of the cage with the Force as she walked by the Vornskr. With ease the latch came undone and the cage door opened slightly. The animal slowly got up and looked at her, obviously sensing her as a Force sensitive.
Be free. Get away from here.
Hesitantly, the Vornskr left its imprisonment and took off into the crowd. Shadow smiled, happy to know that she had freed at least one of the animals. As screams of surprise filled the air, Shadow made her way into one of the dark passage ways leading into the rest of the Black Market.
Only having gone a few meters into the passage, Shadow felt something stalking her. With her hand on her dagger, she whirled around and saw red eyes looking up at her following the black form of a canine. Immediately, she recognized it as the Vornskr she had saved earlier.
“Stalking me now, are we? I thought you escaped this place,” Shadow said kneeling down. “What brings you this way, friend?”
The Vornskr approached her, and without warning licked the Sith’s face in reply. A new idea arose within Shadow.
“I’ll let you come with me if you can do me a favor. I heard your species hunts using the Force. Maybe you can help me find my companions.”
Through the Force, Shadow sent visualizations of Evant and Aquarius to the Vornskr’s mind, allowing its consciousness to become familiar with the faces and auras that she normally felt from them. The Vornskr at first seemed confused, but the more she showed him, the easier the animal understood. This was what the Knight had hoped for.
“I think you got the idea,” Shadow said patting her companion on the head. “For now on, I’ll call you Fenris.”
Fenris growleld playfully in approval.
“Alright then, Fenris. Let’s go find them.”