Team Lance: Clan Naga Sadow
Team Lance: Clan Naga Sadow
1. KPN Xia Long, #194
2. DP Darth Vexatus, #188
3. SW Shirai Ryu Dupar, #6174
4. PRT Yuriko, #13341
5. DJK Amagon, #13006
6. SBM Ylith Atema, #6092
Bantha-class assault shuttle Reclaimer
Entering Khar Delba's upper atmosphere
Even before the team had arrived on the planet’s surface, tension already filled the cockpit of the assault shuttle where the six members of the expedition were cramped together. Three of them, Yuriko, Amagon and Ylith, sat crowded in a row against the starboard wall, strapped into their chairs by crash webbing as the shuttle shook and creaked as its pilot navigated through the misty upper stratosphere. Up front, Shirai had the helm and had both of his hands clamped around the flight yoke as the ship wrestled against the unusually fierce winds of Khar Delba’s atmosphere. An astromech droid was plugged into the navigation console next to Shirai and whistled in surprise.
“Son of a Murglak,” hissed the white-haired Sith Warrior as more turbulence buffeted the ship.
The last two members of the expeditionary team were by themselves in the back, the blind witch strapped into her own harness next to one of the viewports, though the tattooed Falleen Elder beside her was simply on his feet looking out at the clouds as if nothing out of the ordinary was happening, presumably because the Dark Prophet was anchoring himself to the surface of the durasteel floor using the Force, or else because he already knew what was about to transpire. Why Darth Vexatus and his sorceress apprentice had chosen to accompany the four Sadowans remained unclear; not that that was anything to be unexpected from the pair.
A bank of striplights illuminated the cockpit from overhead, casting shadows down everyone’s faces and the crates that were stacked along the portside wall. Every time Shirai leaned the shuttle to one side to compensate for the unexpectedly strong turbulence, the ammunitions and other survey equipment shuffled a bit on the floor, though their mag-clamps kept them upright and there was no actual danger of them toppling over. The Dlarit Corporation wasn’t exactly known to cut corners when it came to freight transport, and the team’s excavation equipment was critical to their mission to the original homeworld of Clan Naga Sadow’s lord and namesake.
Darth Naga Sadow. The last true Emperor and chosen Dark Lord of the Sith Empire.
Khar Delba was his homeworld. Which made it their homeworld. They were the rightful heirs to the empire, the ones who would reclaim this world as their own. None would take it from them. Especially now that a Son of Sadow sat on the Iron Throne, with another serving as his Fist, and one more as his Herald. This was the day the Sadow Brotherhood reclaimed its birthright.
The Sadow Empire would rise again, as Astronicus Sadow had foreseen all those decades ago.
For more than five thousand years, the answers to the empire's return had remained buried on the planet below, waiting, for them.
As that thought and others like it drifted through the expedition team members’ minds, a fresh blast of heavy turbulence struck the shuttle, this time hard enough to hammer the entire transport up, like a dewback that had been forced to rear up onto its hind legs. The overhead lights flickered on and off and the domed head of the astromech next to Shirai spun in circles as it beeped in alarm.
It was Yuriko who answered the droid’s warning first: “What the kriff’s going on?”
Ylith had already started unstrapping his crash harness when the Sith Lord accompanying them raised an arm in the younger man’s direction and held him where he was. “It begins,” the Dark Prophet said, without elaborating, as the invisible hand that had closed around Ylith released him again. The Sith Battlelord stared back at the Falleen he had once tried to kill what now felt like a lifetime ago. On Ylith’s left, Amagon looked back at the Dark Prophet, then across at Ylith again.
But the Sith Lord did not seem to pay either of them any further notice. Instead, Darth Vexatus’s mercurial eyes drifted up to the ceiling -- a moment before the Reclaimer’s lights shorted out.
The witch’s voice filled the dark void: “My Master suggests everyone hold on.”
Bantha-class assault shuttle Reclaimer
Entering Khar Delba's upper atmosphere
Something was wrong, he and the Prophet knew before anyone else. One, because he was controlling the shuttle and it was becoming impossible to control the ship as the systems were failing one by one. With a quick warning from Sildrin saying, "My Master suggests everyone hold on." Shirai held on to the railing above him as the ship took an unexpected free fall into the atmosphere. There was no time to panic.
As everyone braced themselves tightly for what now seemed an inevitable, Shirai yelled out, "Brace yourselves!" They hit heavy turbulence as they race towards the planets surface. Their ship blossoming in flames as the heat of the atmosphere began to do its worse. Everyone, reached out into the Force to try and slow the ships racing descent. He could hear Yuriko and Amagon grunt as they tried with their might to stop the ship. Sildrin, Xanatos, Ylith were braced for what lie ahead. He was not. It seemed they were used to these situations. Shirai slapped a hand against the hull as the entire group called upon the Force. The ship shook with forceful jolts back and forward, thrashing the Sadowans around the air.
It rocked with such force as it began to sail past the lower atmosphere still a heated missile. Darth Vexatus realized the situation as they veered forward, even with their combined effort they would not be able to stop the ship from this high of fall. A crash was going to happen, but they had the means to minimize their losses.
"Damnit we're into deep right now!" Dark Jedi Knight Amagon bellowed over the wailing of pressure against the Bantha class shuttle.
It certainly felt that way as they broke though the atmosphere at last, but their ship showed not signs of stopping its acceleration. The view in front of them changed from a fiery blaze on the heated shield, to the snowy weather. There they also saw silhouettes. It was hard to see through the haze of snow without Force. But there they saw the obvious silhouettes of mountains. They had to make this thing land now. Or suffer crashing into them. A Force meld was created immeditately by Shirai. A specialty of his.
Their added Force power strengthened each others as they made one more push on the ship. It tilted forward towards a snowy plane but they could not tell if it was devoid of any structures. But it mattered not as the ship took a further tip downwards, changing its angle. Then they crashed.
Bantha-class assault shuttle Reclaimer
Khar Delba's surface
Sildrin sensed the Force Meld of her apprentice Shirai. Good - she thought as she reached out with her mind - she found the control over the force far easier than weeks ago. Her connection to the Force had been cut by the disease. But it had started recovered - much to her displeasure, but also relief at the same time. She hated it - she loved it.
The screeches of metal pulled her out of her thoughts. They were only a heartbeat away from the crash.
There was a moment of terrible silence.
There was a moment of terrible noise.
There was a moment of terrible silence.
It had happened so quickly - but still it had happened in slow motion in front of her new eyes. Her red and green eye widened at the visual sensation as the Force unfolded its power - reflexes enhanced by the force - watching the scene during the crash within the shuttle:
A crate moved into her direction - right at her head. With a nudge of the force she pushed it away. Items - usually harmless - now turned into deadly projectiles. Everyone did their best to protect each other. Only Prophet Xanos Sadow seemed the only unaffected at all. His eyes were closed as if being asleep or listening to the voices within his head again. Only once a finger of his betrayed the apparent torpor - it twitched slightly as a sharp piece of metal was about to hit his forehead. The metal froze, falling apart, leaving the Falleen untouched.
Finally the moment was over. The timeline slowed to its normal pace.
Smell of burned oil and metal filled Sildrin’s noise. Snow crystals peacefully descended into the remains of their ship. She breathed in, letting her lungs get filled with the cold air of Khar Delba. Shirai turned his head: “Everyone alright?”.
Bantha-class assault shuttle Reclaimer
Khar Delba's surface
Panic, alarm, fear. All words that crossed Yuriko's mind. She regained her composure long enough to review the scene around her. Through the ringing in her ears, she faintly heard a voice call out.
Shirai turned his head. “Everyone alright?”
Yuriko slowly turned her head to the sound of the pilot’s voice. With a slow head nod she said "I believe so." All the events started to rush back to her. The turbulence, Ylith being Force choked, the lights going out, and the crash. This all started with the Dark Prophet and the witch. She was reminded of why she never liked reptiles.
Slowly the ringing died and and she regained her composure. Now the Falleen was in some sort of trance. He seemed well enough to freeze the crate coming at his head. Amagon's voice was next to speak and he seemed alright as well albeit a tad dizzy. Shirai was making his way toward what was left of the back of the ship.
"What happened?" Amagon inquired with a palm to his forehead.
As he tried to take his first step, he almost stumbled over Ylith who was still laying on the ground. Shirai knelt to him to check his neck for a pulse. It was becoming colder and the grey steel was turning white. For a few short seconds, there was nothing but silence and the wind howling the background.
As Amagon and Yuriko waited in anticipation they were slowly aware of the witch coming up behind them.
Khar Delba's surface
Tension between teammates, sabotage, crash landing, and getting hit in the head. What a way to start a mission. Amagon thought, head throbbing from the effects of the crash.
As he and Yuriko stood watching Shirai tend to a head wound that had knocked Yilth unconscious, Sildrin approached from behind. The newly appointed Dark Jedi Knight and Guardian turned. “Someone should let command know what has happened.”
Amagon wearily started for what was left of the shuttle, he began sifting through the wreckage hoping the communications array was still intact. Soon the other members of the team were helping, Amagon and Sildrin cutting through the wreckage while Yuriko and Darth Vexatus used the Force to move the debris out of the way.
Finally with a sudden flexing of effort with the Force they managed to uncover the array. “Great, it’s a big hunk of slag now!” Yuriko said seething with anger, while kicking the melted remains of the communications array.
“Now what?” said Amagon, turning towards the rest of the team. Sildrin and Darth Vexatus were off to the side talking quietly, while Shirai supported an obviously woozy Ylith.
As everyone gathered around what remained of the excavation supplies, Darth Vexatus nodded to Sildrin. “My master says the taint of the Dark Side is blocking our telepathy,” Sildrin said while everyone started passing around the supplies. No one spoke while the implication of what they just heard sank in.
Amagon looked at the team, taking the time to examine his feeling towards them. He had never heard of most of them and had worked with fewer still. Most appeared to be focused on the mission at hand, but something about Darth Vexatus did not sit well with him. The Elder was distant and seemed to be focused on something else entirely.
“We must move,” said the Elder as he stared outside across the icy tundra towards their original rendezvous point in the distant mountains.
When the team first set out from the wreckage of their downed shuttle, they had been unable to make out much more than a few dozen meters ahead as everything was blanketed by the same heavy fog that they had experienced during the Reclaimer’s ill-fated entry back up in the skies above.
“Something about this weather isn’t right,” Yuriko had said as the journeyman Sadowan pulled the thick cloak she was wearing around her tighter. Beside her, Amagon and Shirai did the same, and Ylith, who was following behind at a cautious distance so that he could keep each of the other five members of the group in his sight at all times, grunted an agreement of his own, although his voice was largely lost as another blast of wind buffeted them as they trudged through the frozen tundra.
Despite not having been able to see much at first, every now and again a window through the fog opened wide enough for just long enough to make out where they were. As it turned out, their ship had crashed into the middle of a large sheet of ice, which stretched as far as the eye could see. But in one direction—the direction that the Darth Vexatus had set them on back at the shuttle—it was just possible to make out the outline of a large shape jutting up from the earth toward the clouds. Like a mountain.
When Shirai had asked the Dark Prophet where they were heading, the Falleen had predictably remained silent, and instead it had been his apprentice who had answered. Like her Master, Sildrin did not seem affected by the weather; though the cold-hearted witch clung close enough to the Elder that his own protective shield was probably brushing off on her, too. Not that the other four Sadowans appeared to be particularly bothered by the arrangement; if anything, most of the group probably felt better that the Sith Lord and his votary were, for now at least, keeping to themselves.
Nevertheless, “The Spire,” had been all that Sildrin had replied, as if the expedition team’s original landing site was all that any of them needed to know. It still did not explain how far away it was or how the Dark Prophet had known which direction to set off in, but Shirai knew from the time he had recently spent with the pair during the strike to capture the late Archibald Zoraan’s flagship that it was a lost cause trying to make sense Darth Vexatus or his apprentice’s real purpose for being there.
“Does anyone else get the feeling that they’re being watched?” Ylith said, moving up nearer to the other Sadowans so that they could hear him as a howl of wind swept through the frozen expanse.
Before any of the others could answer, another howl blew through the freezing wasteland, only this time, rather than just wind, it sounded animated, like a voice, or rather a growl.
They were not alone.
“Irony” The Valheru thought to himself, the growls were becoming deeper and darker in their meaning, yet the beasts remained at a distance, sniffing the scent on the air, weighing their prey, stalking. He tried to gaze through the snow, only seeing dark figures the size of Nexu. The group continued moving, on their guard, not provoking an attack to avoid being ambushed.
The Battlemaster rose his sight and cast a quick glance at Vexatus, his mask properly covering his entire face other than the slits for his eyes. He was grateful for the mask, not only because it kept him sane, it also meant he could stand around the Falleen without showing his murderous intent, though he was certain he would only welcome it. It was a long time since they clashed on the World Ship, the betrayal in Arconae space and the breaking point on Lehon of which the Valheru still bore the scars.
“Ylith, keep moving, this is no time to stray.” The voice of his Mistress cut through the winds like a saber through skin. He complied and when he caught up he moved his fingers past a crack on his mask, damage from the crash. His gaze moved to Sildrin, his Mistress, though he pondered the word before thinking it. She had a new apprentice now. He cared not for the pups, not at this time.
Suddenly pain shot through him and he brought his hand to his mask as a voice entered his mind. It was a harsh voice, like his own but twisted, darker, he spoke as if his was dancing around him, the voice echoing from a distance then becoming clear as if right beside him. ‘He is right there, we can cut him, break him, we could easily dispose of the two little ones. Your Mistress is weak now, she can’t stop you. You will have it. Revenge! Take it!’
He shook his head violently for a moment and just as the silence returned he was startled by the sounds of lightsabers snapping into life. Shirai gesturing the others to come closer.
“They are coming.”
Shirai Ryu's blood began to pump wildly as the situation took a turn for the worst. His red lightsaber glowing like a beacon in this ballistic like snow. Their shadows were massive to behold. But as they drew nearer the stranded Dark Jedi got a glimpse of a four gigantic creatures. The blizzard had hid them well and it seemed as if the crash caught their attention.
The Sith Warriors eyes narrowed as he realized how much of a jam they really were in. The behemoths had sensed the large pool of potential dark side energy and was drawn towards them. "Now what exactly is that?" Shirai yelled over the wind pounding against his soot ruined white hair.
His master stepped closer to him with her hand held slightly in the air, blocking some of the snow from blowing across her face. "They are Sith War Behemoths. They feed off of Force users."
Ylith seemed out of it for just a second before returning to normal and reacting to the situation at hand. His blade also sprang to life as the group looked upwards at the Behemoths. As they came closer Vexatus became aware of the sound they were making as they walked. He relayed a message to Sildrin and she said with haste, "Master says that the Behemoths may be on a giant sheet covering a body of water. They must be stopped here before they get closer."
Time was of the essence if they wanted to stop the creatures from devouring them. The Sadowans rallied together as they knew what they had to do.
The Valheru examined the beasts who were drawing near. He eyed the company he was in and grinned under his mask. “Prepare your trap, I’ll keep them busy…” He said and he deactivated his lightsaber and threw it to Shirai. “Cut the ice and be ready…I will keep them off you.”
The Battlemaster removed his outer robe and unsheathed a long thin blade, edges curved like a scimitar yet carried a longer edge. The blade was pitch black with red markings on the side, the hilt was fashioned with leather and cloth and ended with a chain which had enough length to bind it to his arm. A fitting blade for a Scorpion.
He moved his mask into position and then ran towards the beasts and as he vanished into the storm howls could be heard. Ylith looked back and saw he could not see them, maybe it was for the best. Before he knew it he was slammed backwards by an invisible force, it did not hurt yet it weakened him.
Suddenly he heard a running charge and before the Valheru could act he was punched back, the ice cracking. He groaned as he rose to his feet and noticed his mask feeling broken, chunks of it falling onto the ice.
His fingers trailed the broken edges of his Mask, the left side around his eye was completely fractured and chunks kept falling off. He had trouble suppressing himself as the madness he had thought controlled slowly sunk in again and his sanity began to fracture as his mask did. He had no time to worry about it as the beasts became aware of his position and as they neared he felt the Force sucked away from him, and he remembered Lehon again. Shaking his head he decided to run back, avoiding attacks and slashing his blade toward the beasts, drawing blood, yet not enough.
“I hope you’re ready…”
Sildrin stared in disbelief at the snow storm that was about to engulf them all. “He just.. didn’t do that... did he?”. She murmered. Shirai nodded: “He did.”
“Quick” Sildrin screaming against the rising howling gusts, gesturing with her hands. Amagon, Yuriko and Shirai understood. They started their work on the frozen surface with their sabers. Amagon groaned as he pressed his saber deep into the frozen water: “It is too deep!” Sildrin turned her head sharply around: “Use the force to enhance the cut!!” Her voice whipped at him.
Amagon cringed under the woman's stern voice. His head turned to the Dark Prophet Xanos - he sighed as he found him once again in a kind of torpor. Was this all what Elders were about? He had imagined Elders tossing around evil Sith Lightnings, flying through the air, throwing rocks as huge as mountains, killing their enemies with the wink of an eye - but this Elder did... nothing. Amagon gritted his teeth as he continued to crack the frozen shell.
Next to him Sildrin also helped with her two blades. The ice beneath them gave frightening cracking sounds. It echoed through the frozen surface for miles. Amagon searched for Yuriko - she was setting up explosives close to them.
A sudden roar made them flinch and something bursted from the howling snow storm towards their direction - Ylith staggered towards them. He was followed by a couple of Sith Behemoths. The weight of the creatures would be their ending. “JUMP!” Yuriko screamed! With a mighty leap, Ylith jumped. Shirai and Sildrin raised their hands - sending forth a force blast to finish their work and the ice gave away. Ylith landed close to them with a roll on the ground.
A grin appeared on Sildrin’s face as she saw the Behemoths sink into the deep water; unable to swim - but the grin quickly faded. One beast had made it. One beast that was heading directly for them.
It wasn't enough that their ship had crashed, stranding them? It wasn't enough this planet was a frozen bitter wasteland? Now the team had the local wildlife to deal with. Yuriko was definitely the odd woman out on this expedition. With her master Mirus Cavataio, she was just learning to use her powers and obtain a saber. She was determined not to let this hinder her or the rest of the team. Although she was powerless and weaponless for the time being, she could still use her mind.
Everything happened so fast. The team was working well together. Ylith had jumped away just in time, ice had collapsed under the behemoths. The beasts were drowning. Sildrin had a pleased look across her face that quickly faded. Yuriko followed the witch's gaze to see one last behemoth coming toward them.
Immediately Amagon charged in lightsaber blazing, determined look on his face, distracting the massive beast by going for quick attacks at it’s legs. All he needed to do was buy a few more precious seconds her to set the charges. Suddenly the beast violently kicked up its back legs, sending the Knight flying past the Guardian. Stunning him.
“Get its attention! Now!” Yuriko yelled. The rest of the team started to draw the beast’s focus from the downed Knight, throwing rocks and yelling.
The Guardian knew it was now or never. She had to act quickly. The explosives she had recovered from the wreckage were now in place. Yuriko disabled the safety switch and
quickly glanced at the charging beast. Setting the timer on eight seconds, she armed the bomb. With haste she backed away, counting the seconds down in her mind.
“Get ready and brace yourselves everyone!” Yuriko called out.
If the Dark Jedi Knight wasn’t already stunned by the kick of the war behemoth, the explosion would have done it. To say that it was big would be putting it mildly, all along the mountain ranges surrounding them you could see the thousands upon thousands of tonnes of snow rushing down the rock faces crushing everything in its path.
Still dazed Amagon was helped up by Sildrinn and Yuriko, standing unsteadily on his feet the Knight took in the situation. Crash landings, uncomfortable trek through a frozen wasteland, and an attack by massive war beasts. only someone with connections to Clan Naga Sadow could have moved all the pieces needed for this level of sabotage. That meant either someone was making a power grab or wanted one or all of the recon team dead.
When Amagon told the rest of the of the team about his theory everyone nodded in agreement.
“We are losing light, we need to setup up camp.” Sildrin yelled over the sound of broken ice falling
into the no longer frozen lake.
“Anything still left alive in the area is probably running for their lives from the sound of the detonators.” Yuriko said as she started to get the camping gear and ration packs from what was left of the expedition’s supplies.
The group of Dark Jedi agreed and began setting the heavy duty shelters packed for just this kind of emergency. As the team gathered around the the heat source in the shelter Amagon suddenly felt a chill across his spine. He was sure it has nothing to do with the planets harsh weather.
The Dark Jedi Knight decided to take first watch, suddenly he felt the chill again. This time he scanned the hills surrounding the campsite. On the far hill he thought he spotted a cloaked figure, black as obsidian against the sparkling white snow.
The lone figured stood silhouetted against the Khar Delba horizon. With hands clasped behind his back, the dark warrior canted his head to the side, before reaching to the communicator attached to his ear.
"The Witch and Prophet are on Khar Delba. Should we intervene?"
The lone figure waited silently and then the response came.
The Naga Sadow team would move unhindered until the fortress of their namesake, but the One Sith would be waiting for them within.
Come morning, though the freezing cold winds continued to hammer against the expedition team’s tents, the unnatural storms that had brought down the Reclaimer had cleared enough such that the mountains that had been their original destination were no longer hidden behind low lying clouds. As the other members of the group yawned from their collective lack of sleep and double checked their surviving gear for frost damage or other problems, the Prophet remained standing where he had been all night, staring up at the spire that poked toward the heavens at the mountain summit.
Darth Vexatus hadn’t slept. But then, the Dark Prophet never did; sleep... let them in.
“Master.” He did not need to turn to know that it was Sildrin. “The Nightmares again?”
The Falleen did not answer. His new apprentice knew the Nightmares plagued him all the time. It was why he had agreed to come to this desolate world; after all, the glory of Naga Sadow had long ago ceased to be any concern of his. But his body was growing restless. Trevarus had disappeared after the plague and the death of his own master so was no longer of any help. The Dread Council continued to serve a purpose with the access it had given him to the archives on Antei, but not even studying the combined works of Okemi and Lady Tiamat had turned up anything that had proven applicable to his condition.
But perhaps the Great Library Spire of Khar Delba would prove different. Like Marka Ragnos and Tulak Hord before him, Naga Sadow had been a Sith Sorcerer first and a Dark Lord second, so there was always the possibility that something had all these years remained unrecovered, forgotten…
Or perhaps not.
Darth Vexatus did not like being rendered blind to the reflections of possible futures that sparkled across the crystal surface of the rivers of time by the dark blanket of energies that swirled across this planet. Khar Delba was a dead world, and it had remained forgotten all these years for a reason. The Force did not flow here steadily. It was restless. That which was unseen remained unseen.
A prophet did not like being without his sight.
One of the tents behind the pair peeled open.
“Frack,” a voice hissed before they withdrew back inside again from the harsh landscape. “I hate this place.” The voice was sharp and unrecognisable by itself, but Vexatus could sense it had been Ylith.
“I don’t like this,” Sildrin said in a hushed voice, too soft for even her master to hear, but the Witch knew well enough that he was reading her thoughts before she had even spoken them.
“See that the others are ready,” the Sith Lord said to the woman behind him, his eyes never moving from the ancient fortress atop the mountain summit.
Camp Site to Mountain Bass
It felt good to have rested for the first time since crash landing. Though the sleep was short, Yuriko felt a renewed sense of vitality. She spotted Darth Vexatus as she emerged from her tent. The Falleen appeared to be in the same spot as she remembered. He stood silent, steadfast as if on edge. Sildrin was close behind him with a troubled look on her face. The bond between them was true and undeniable. Ylith was dismantling his tent spewing obscenities under his breath. Who could blame him? These weren't the best of circumstances. Bitter winds were continually stinging at their faces. Towering war behemoths roamed this frigid tundra freely. Another encounter with the beasts could prove costly for the six Sadowans.
Amagon was finishing up his meager breakfast, but he couldn't quell the anxiety he felt. No one else had reported anything out of the ordinary. The shadow figure he had seen, vanished as quickly as it appeared. "Did anyone see anything suspicious during their watch last night?" he asked. "Nothing of importance." Shirai shrugged as she packed up the last of her supplies. The Dark Jedi Knight wondered if his mind had been playing tricks. There hadn't been anyone on Khar Delba for thousands of years. How could someone have survived out there? He disregarded it at the possibility it was a mere hallucination.
The sky began to clear as the morning went on. Anticipation gradually formed as each of them looked on. Their goal revealing itself to them just over the horizon. Though it lie ruin and disrepair, Naga Sadows decoy fortress was evident. "My master is most anxious to begin this journey." Sildrin purred. Everyone grabbed their packs and followed the Dark Prophet. An uneventful hour passed as they made it to the base of the mountain. The easiest part of their journey was behind them. A defined but rocky path snaked its way to the top before them.
"I suppose we should continue." Ylith groaned. Something told him he would dread this ascension.
It was odd. Not being able to use the Force as adequately as usual. The Dark Side was indeed strong on this planet, he actually thought that it could not be purged. Not all Dark Side energy was good. No, some of the energy can be at times poisonous and dangerous to behold. But was that the bad feeling Shirai was getting as they progressed closer to their objective. Such a feeling was now becoming routine in the daily life of a Dark Jedi. Just the way he preferred.
The snow was merciless against them, yet it would not hinder them in the slightest. Most of their injuries had been attended to and it would not be much of a problem anymore. The Sith Warrior trudged along beside his new master. He was most intrigued by their suspicious fall and their failed attempts at contacting the Brotherhood. So that made him ask Sildrin, "Master, what can we expect to find there?"
She did not turn around, but merely tilted her head to the side and said, "Answers."
"Some of the most well kept secrets by Naga Sadow."
Power? What could have been left on this planet, and what was source of the intense Dark Side energy. Maybe these two things were one and the same. They would find out either way sooner or later. The Sadowan's had now traversed well enough with no interference's from any more Sith War Behemoths. As long as I don't have to deal with those horrid creatures again.
En route to citadel
If I ever see snow again it will be far too soon. Thought Amagon as the team of Sadowans neared their objective, and hopefully a working comm system. Along the way Amagon couldn’t help but go over what he saw the other night in the distance. A figure cloaked in shadow, he hoped it was just his imagination and not the alternatives. Either they were being watched or perhaps more worrisome, the massive amount of Dark Side energies were causing him to go insane.
“We should see the citadel after the next rise” Ylith said with a large amount of relief in his voice.
This force-forsaken planet was taking a tole on the whole team. Some still bore marks from the crash landing and the attack by the war behemoths. Darth Vexatus’s grueling pace was not helping matters at all, and he allowed for few breaks if any. The only decent rest was during the few hours spent in a suffocating tent that was clearly designed by someone who had never spent a night outside in anything but chilly weather.
Not long after Yilth had spoken the team finally reached the rise that hid from the team the reason they were sent to this planet in the first place. The citadel of Naga Sadow, the last true Dark Lord of the Sith. It stood shining as light reflected off of the surface, surrounded by sinister looking ice formations.
As the team approached the entrance to the great citadel Amagon heaved a sigh of relief and broke the silence; “Finally, now lets just collect what we can and call command for extraction.”
The first thing that Darth Caecus had encountered upon entering the forgotten archives inside Naga Sadow’s ruined citadel had been the cobwebs. From every holocron to every book and data crystal, cobwebs had been woven throughout the ancient library of artefacts as thick as vines in a forest. The arachnids that had spun them had died centuries ago and their hardened exoskeletons remained clamped around the lanterns and cauldrons where they had retreated and eventually passed on.
Nobody had clearly walked these hallways for generations, and they had remained forgotten all the way through the reigns of Palpatine, Bane, possibly all the way back to the first days of the Great Hyperspace War itself when Ludo Kressh had been tricked into attacking Naga Sadow’s already disused former base of operations on the planet of Khar Delba itself.
Behind the furnishings and shelves, the lanterns and even occasional statue, shadows danced across the walls, as if animated by some unseen hand. And perhaps they were. Ever since first being sent to this misbegotten world by Darth Wyyrlok, the Togruta had felt the beckon of the dark side, nearly as strong as it was on Korriban or Dromund Kaas; maybe like the Dragon himself it was sleeping, but sleep was not the same as death, as Darth Krayt himself proved all too well.
Like the Dread Lord, perhaps one day the secrets of this world would reawaken from their slumber, and help restore the Sith to their rightful place as the lords and stewards of the entire galaxy.
As Darth Caecus ran his hand over one of the dusty holocrons on the shelf in front of him, he heard the door behind him creak open and the heavy metallic thump as one of the assassin droids strode inside to report as he had ordered. More dust fell from the other datacrons lined higher up the shelving before him as he turned around to inspect the stolen Galactic Alliance YVH hunter-killer.
The red lights in the skeletal droid’s eye sockets bore back into Caecus’s own like twin lasers.
“Statement: The Dark Brotherhood targets have reached the summit of Spire Mountain,” the Yuuzhan Vong Hunter droid said in its smooth and entirely out-of-place voice.
Caecus’s single surviving lekku on the left side of his head, the one on his right having been cut off back during the Vong Wars, curled a little at the stolen hunter droid’s voice, which sounded more like a smuggler or casino gambler than something befitting of military grade hardware.
Sometimes the Togruta wondered just who the Galactic Alliance, and the New Republic before it, had on their payroll. It was no wonder Coruscant and the rest of the galaxy was in the state it was. That was why things needed to change, and the Jedi Order be brought to an end.
But that would not happen while the Dark Brotherhood still existed.
It was an impediment to the goals of the One.
Shaking his head a little and shrugging his private thoughts aside, Darth Caecus looked over to one of the damaged windows that overlooked the citadel’s central courtyard. The fountain in the centre was frozen over, and the head of the statue of Naga Sadow broken off, no doubt from Ludo Kressh’s attack all those aeons ago; it was a wonder that any of it survived at all.
“Have Lamina and the others take up their positions,” Caecus said, as his eyes flicked to the places outside down in the courtyard below that he and the Sith assassin had agreed upon back when they had first landed. The female Bothan may have been a bit rough, and her attitude a little too coarse for the Sith Lord’s tastes, but Lamina had proven herself already in sabotaging the Brotherhood ship and causing it to crash land—with a little help from his and his apprentice’s harnessing of the already unstable weather, of course.
“Acknowledgement,” began the YVH droid in its frustratingly refined accent again, “I will inform Assassin Lamina and Apprentice Vates to assemble as ordered, Darth Caecus."
As the assassin droid rotated back toward the door and began to leave, the Togruta held up a hand. "One moment, Six-Two," Caecus said. The Sith Lord paused for a moment before he continued. "Is the Prophet still with them?"
The Yuuzhan Vong Hunter took a few seconds to answer. "Confirmation: Yes, the grey-green meatbag remains with the others, master."
And with that the droid continued on its business, leaving the Sith Lord to his own thoughts.
Gates of the Citadel
The citadel’s gate rose high above the approaching Dark Jedi - as if attempting to demonstrate its towering majestic grandeur. Yuriko stepped closer, her eyes searched for any hints of mechanic to open it as suddenly a crack between the doors of the gate appeared. Without any sound the gate swung wide open. Ylith jumped nervously forward, his saber prepared to defend his team; foremost his Mistress. But dust particles were the only attackers to come forth the opening gap. Shirai was about to pat him on the back but a fluent turn of the masked Ylith made him freeze. He rose his hand, showing his empty palm. “Easy..”
Emerald serpentine eyes stared at Shirai through the mask.
“Ylith.” Sildrin’s cold voice stopped the masked Battlemaster. The masked head turned to his Mistress. Eyes met and the Masked lowered his purple saber - pointing away from Shirai’s chest now. Yuriko felt uneasy - tension lay heavy on them. She ran her fingers nervously through her long raven hair, mumbling: “We all had a bad night, I guess”.
For moments they nervously stood, wondering who would take the first step - as suddenly Yuriko realised the Falleen was missing. “Where is Darth Vexatus...?”
The Falleen’s mercurial eyes wandered over endless cobwebs, arachnids crawled along what was now their kingdom. Cocoons all over the place marked the spiders’s properties. His prophetic powers were tainted by this place, leaving him blind - like his Apprentice once had been. What he sought would not be easily found.
The Dark Jedi finally reached the Elder, lead by Sildrin’s instinct. She somehow knew where her Master was. A squishing sound beneath Yuriko’s left boot made her flinch. No.. no.. I won’t look what has been squeezed beneath my sole... no .. I don’t want to see. She resisted the urge to lift her boot.
Sildrin stepped closer. “Master?”, she whispered. But she did not expect an answer.
“We are not alone.” The voice of her Master made her flinch. She grabbed for her sabers. Shirai gestured them to take cover and secure their current position.
Inside the Citadel
Great, Just what we needed more surprises. Amagon thought as the team of Sadowans entered the crumbling citadel of Naga Sadow. They readied their weapons and their minds as they searched the long abandoned corridors.
“If we split up we can search faster, It will also make it harder for whoever is here to catch us by surprise if we can split their focus on five groups rather than one.” Shirai said as the team left what looked like an old cafeteria.
“I agree.” intoned Darth Vexatus in that distant way that made you think he was miles away.
“OK.” Sildrin said. “Amagon and Yuriko, you will come with me. The rest of you pick and wing and get searching.”
When everyone nodded their acceptance they started down their chosen paths. Amagon, Yuriko and Sildrin decided to head for the Comm Center, hoping to find a way to call command for reinforcements. Soon the group stood at the doors to the Comm Center, before going in they paused to check their equipment and go over the plan.
“Ok we go in, call Command, and get back to the others. If anything is waiting for us me and Amagon will hold it off while you see if you can get a signal out.” Sildrin said to Yuriko as she and Amagon checked their gear and readied themselves for whatever might await them in the next room.
“Go!” Said Sildrin as she pushed open the door.
The group bounded in, weapons drawn, prepared to cut a path thru any obstacle. As they entered they saw a group of figures, the one in the center was female Bothan but th other wore masks that made it impossible to determine species or gender.
The Bothan in the center looked up and grinned. “Well, well, well look what i’ve found. two lowly journeyman and one tired old Equite.” pausing to laugh, “And here I thought I might finally get a challenge. Oh well you will have to do.” The Bothan then drew and ignited her lightsaber and smiled one last time, “This should be fun.”
Inside the Citadel
It may have been the force or just her instincts but an uneasiness had come over Yuriko early on in this expedition. The trek to the mountains base was too quiet to begin with. Their ascension up had gone even smoother. Entering the decoy fortress had been eerie to put it mildly. Everyone had the feeling they weren't alone here. The reasons for their foreboding became clear as Yuriko entered the room behind Amagon and Sildrin.
With her eyes narrowed, Xia let a barely audible hiss. "Traitor!" The Bothan had called them Journeyman and Equite, terms only used within the Brotherhood. She stood on guard with what appeared to be lackeys at either side. Yuriko glanced over the drawn lightsaber in their would-be attackers right hand. They wouldn't be able to reason with her. The Bothan then raised a hand, paralyzing Yuriko in place. At this very moment, Yuriko was appreciative of Xia for accompanying them. She was without question the most experienced and skilled of the three. "Amagon, you take the guards. This traitor is mine." she said.
Raising her left hand, she summoned the focre to place a Whirlwind on the right guard. He remained spinning in place as if he were he a toy. The Bothan tried to Force Push Xia backward, but she remained firm. The witch was light on her feet. She leaped foward and directed both sabers at her enemies knee caps. The traitor tried to swing her saber wildly but couldn't keep balanced any longer.
Amagon Pulled the left toward him. His lightsaber met the henchmans sword just as he swung. The broken sword hit the ground with a clang. The Jedi Knight dispatched of him quickly and ran for the one that had been stunned. He plunged his lightsaber into his back and straight through to the heart. The second henchman went down, his sword landing a few feet away.
As the Bothan went down, so did her concentration. She was alive but her grip on Yuriko had been released. Amagon and Yurkio hovered over the enemies body. What are we going to do with her? Yuriko mused.
Inside the Citadel
The Battlemaster trailed his finger over the stone markings of the inner hall. He had not bothered with the Falleen nor the sibling-apprentice, he played around in the shadows, There were others present, he could sense it, small flickers, nothing more. The Scorpion moved cautiously, slowly, through the halls alone.
His eyes narrowed and his instinct made him push himself back into the shadows. An enemy patrol marched by, first the leader, then another, then another and the last one muffled a yell when the Valheru grabbed him by the throat and squished it so hard within his hand the man couldn’t breathe.
“How many of you are here?”
The guardsman remained silent, looking the Valheru in the eyes, the broken mask hiding most of his face. He started to increase the grip on his throat. The guard smiled, as he rose his hand, a transmitter activated.
The Sith crushed the man’s windpipe with his hand and left him to choke on his own blood. He ran, quickly without hesitation. He suddenly stopped in his tracks and jumped back to avoid a vibroblade. ‘A low footsoldier responding to the alert’ Ylith thought as his sword cut slightly through the man’s arm as he passed him, causing the man to fall down, crying in pain. Simple Force powers used as a full contact weapon Ylith thought with a smile. As the steel of his blade touched the man, memories of the Embrace of Pain would flow from the Battlemaster’s mind into the weaker man, having him relive the terror of pure pain. Causing him to flinch and become easy prey. As the soldier lay there the sword of the Scorpion was plunged into the man’s chest, silencing him.
The Sith quicly resumed his path as the citadel began to stir. ‘Bloody maze…’ he thought and he moved right again, turned left, right, a bright light, the sound of combat, he must be near.
As he reached the opening a familiar voice echoed through the clearing, stopping the Battlemaster in his tracks. “Ylith?” Sildrin’s voice rose as the sound of men moved towards them. Amagan turned around and Yuriko moved from the Bothan's body. A small group, three men moved quickly from the halls. One of them used a force push to fire a pointed rock at the formerly Blind Dragon. Before she could react her apprentice moved in front of her and ignited his saber, cutting the rock in half, one blunt part slamming into his mask, the other flying past Sildrin.
As the carbon mask started to crumble the Valheru turned his head. The left half of his mask falling completely off, a leather strap underneath his eyes keeping the other half from falling from his face.
“Mistress, we have company” His voice sounded different, weird, instable, as if he was badly hurt, but other than a small cut on his forehead he was fine. His mistress looked upon him with worried eyes. She knew what he was hiding underneath the Mask and considered it a blessing he was not with the Falleen at this moment.
Inside the Citadel
For many, the maze like hallways of the ruined fortress would have been easy to get lost in, with the corridors regularly circling back around, heading back to where the party had first entered. In this respect, Naga Sadow’s lost citadel was much like its forgotten namesake, a mystery, forever hiding its secrets behind walls and illusions, always right in front of someone, but just out of reach.
A sound rang out from the next turning off to the left, but the Prophet already had sensed the one that was approaching. When the Sith Warrior stepped out into the hall, a sanguine wash fell over the corridor from Shirai’s already lit lightsaber as he nearly strode straight into the silent Elder.
It took Shirai a moment to realise someone was there.
When he finally did, the Sadowan started upright slightly, the tip of his lightsaber narrowly missing the Falleen’s chin. “My… lord, I didn’t see…”
Of course the Warrior didn’t. None did.
Not even the Prophet could see through the haze that clouded this ruin.
Without acknowledging the Sadowan, Darth Vexatus turned his attention back to the wall opposite the passageway where Shirai had emerged. The surface was engraved with various sigils, some in the old tongue of the Sith, others that predated even the Korribani natives that had migrated to Khar Delba all those millennia ago. But the glyphs represented in two engravings stood out in particular:
“I dream victory,” the Prophet said in the tongue of the ancients, as he pictured the entrance to their destination in his mind’s eye, conjuring up an image of a doorway in the wall directly in front of him.
Right as the last details of the intricate engravings and assorted runes and sigils were forming in the image in his mind, the actual stones began to shake, throwing centuries worth of dust up into the air, before the masonry right where Darth Vexatus and Shirai were standing ground aside to the left, to reveal an opening that moved into a new chamber stacked high with shelves and bookcases, that hummed with the gentle resonance from dozens of holocrons, and which was already lit by lanterns.
Shirai stepped in front of the Falleen and stuck a finger into one of the lanterns directly inside.
“These were only recently lit,” the Sadowan said carefully.
Darth Vexatus did not answer, but simply moved inside and laid his own hand on one of the many holocrons. A new voice whispered in the back of his mind, causing the hand to clench, as his muscles convulsed by their own accord. The midi-chlorians in his arm blinked out, expiring as the power of the dark side surged through the Elder’s skin, which he readily drank, welcoming it, using it to restore energy into his dying cells, and force his flesh to knit back to life again.
The Force would not take him, not yet.
“Our target waits inside,” Darth Vexatus said, raising his hand when the muscles in his arm had ceased convulsing to gesture Shirai to follow him. “This way.”
Inside the citadel
Sildrin frowned, raising her sabers. “Mistress, we have company.” Ylith’s words let her snap into a defensive stance. She licked her lips, wondering how stable The Masked was at the moment. His mask was fractured, and with that also Ylith’s control was. How long would he last without falling apart? Turning into a mindless predator. The Sorceress reached out with her senses, attempting to lend Ylith strength to keep up his reposure, but the strong dark emanations disturbed her control. She struggled, but the Force Thread rippled apart with no possibility to keep it from doing so. It had to work this way.
Ylith snarled, his free serpentine green eye seemed to burn, even the tear that ran down his cheek from the sudden exposure to the cold without the mask appeared as venomous poison. The YVH droid that was with the group of hostiles targeted its minicannons at Yuriko and Amagon. Sildrin turned her head to Ylith, but before she was able to shout, he was already attacking the droid, his saber danced around the droid, disabling the cannons. “Useless meatbag,” said the droid. Was there frustration in this cold artificial voice? Ylith grinned, he would take care of this thing.
Sildrin turned to the female Apprentice Vates. Yuriko and Amagon were already attacking the blonde haired woman. Sabers clashed, ecstatic sparks of lightning dispersed with every slash parried. But this Apprentice would not last long against Vates. Sildrin contemplated to join in. But she decided otherwise. It was time to test these two members of Naga Sadow.
Amagon slipped on spilled droid oil on the ground, seeing Vates’s saber stabbing towards his neck. Bending his knee he just made it, but pain surged as the blade brushed his skin. Yuriko gasped hard, her eyes sought for anything to give her advantage over that Vates. At Vates’s belt she found what she had looked for. She rolled in close to the enemy, lifted her saber to parry a downwards directed strike. She grabbed at the whip at Vates’s belt and pulled. The momentum made her trip but she flipped backwards uncoiling the whip with a cracking sound.
Vates’s eyes opened wide as she saw her beloved whip in the hands of another. “No!” She screamed out. Yuriko smiled. For a moment she examined the whip. Long, with five snake-like heads at each end. Dark emanations surged within her. This must be an artefact, she thought. She cracked the snake heads towards Vates who attempted to avoid the slash. A snake head missed her, but the next bit into her saber’s hand. Vates cried out, knowing well of the numbing poison. Her hand cramped desperately around her saber’s hilt. Three more heads made it for her, biting into her cheek, shoulder and leg. Vates stumbled, dropping onto one knee. Amagon kicked the woman into the back of her head with a boot, sending her into darkness.
Yuriko tightened her grip around the whip, she had a dark smile on her lips: “I like this.” A clapping sound made them look up. Sildrin nodded: “You both have done well.”
Inside the Citadel
The Droid stopped in his tracks as it lead Ylith away from the others, close enough to be seen, but far enough not to interfere. The Valheru breathed heavily, the mask seeming to weigh heavy under the strain of his own psyche trying to escape.
“Meatbag, you have 0.00001% of victory against me. I am programmed to disable and dispatch of Yuuzhan Vong. Your hope is meaningless.” The Droid unfolded and activated an Electrostaff, humming on both ends. Whirling it around with great precision. “An elegant weapon from a more elegant time.”
Ylith smiled, the edges of his mask were still crumbling. “You shall be and always will be a mere machine. Come then, let me educate you on the ways of the Sith.”
“Meatbag, - The droid went into a fighting stance, servos could be heard coming to live and the body started to glow with energy – a demonstration is in order.” The droid had barely said it or it shot forward. Ylith eyes widened and in reflex brought his sword up to his to block the droid’s hand from slamming into his face, instead, the hand pushed through the power of the blade, pushing it full into Ylith’s mask and sending him flying back. As he landed on his back he saw Sildrin looking at him, her eyes widening at the sight.
The Valheru rose, his nose bleeding, his mask fully shattered. By the time he noted this he groaned and as the Droid approached he was screaming and writhing on the ground.
“Meatbag, you would be wise to…” Before he could finishes his sentence he was slammed back by the Sith. His eyes were widened and a sickening smile was on his face, a grin that delighted mayhem and chaos. His stance was aggressive but relaxed, as if he did not care what would happen. The Assassin droid attacked quickly, the Electrostraff whizzing as it was moved in circled attacks, utilizing both ends of the weapon perfectly. Ylith remained silent, laughing. Avoiding the staff and blocking some strikes with his swords. Then he struck hard, his sword slamming onto the staff while his other hand mustered the Force and made a punching movement into the abdominal region of the droid before releasing a Push. The combined force of the already moving arm and the Push of Force energy enough to create a severe dent within the armor.
The Droid staggered and Ylith continued to press the attack, laughing wildly at each turn, even when the electrostraff pierced and electrocuted his left shoulder the Scorpion used this to stab his sword through the chest of the mechanical monster before being pushed away completely. The Droid removed the blade easily and threw it aside.
Sildrin, Yuriko and Amagon watched from a short distance, from the three, the Sorceress looked most worried for her apprentice. “What the hell is wrong with him?” Amagon asked and Sildrin smiled to hide her worries. “His mind was warped, torn apart, to such an extent that the Force itself was no longer available to him. His mask is what keeps the remnants of his mind from falling into darkness. “
The droid kicked Ylith against a pillar, barely able to push himself out of the way before another kick shattered the rock he just stood against. Ylith’s left arm was useless now, his shoulder was burned and bleeding. He grinned, an evil smile. His breathing heavy.
“irregular fighting pattern detected, no form found, switching to defense mode..” The droid staggered as Ylith pressed the attack again, the Electrostaff whizzing past his body, small cuts made everywhere yet he kept coming, at one point the Valheru ducked to avoid an incoming blow, and grabbed the droid by the head and slammed it onto the ground using his own weight as leverage. As the droid landed, the Valheru used his sword to stab it into the chest, at that same time the electrostaff stabbed him into the same shoulder again, but this time fully piercing him.
“Meatbag, your life is forfe… - Before the droid finished his sentence the crazed Sith activated his lightsaber and cut through the chest region of the droid, then pushing his hand through the still boiling cut, pulling out vital systems with his bare hand, cutting and burning his entire lower arm in the process, The droid sputtered until the main powercell was pulled out and exploded just as the Batllemaster threw it away, sending him flying back.
Weakened and barely conscious he tried to get up groaning in an unnatural way. Sildrin eyed the other two. “Yuriko, bring what is left of his mask, quickly! Amagon, make sure that droid is fully deactivated.” Sildrin moved beside him and wrapped her arms around him, moving her hand over his face, simulating a mask.
“My apprentice, heed my voice and be still. Regain your mind. “ Yuriko placed some pieces on the ground. “This is all I could find. “
Sildrin moved her other hand over the pieced and started to use what power she could to restore part of it, restoring a cracked but intact 1/3rd of his mask and placed it upon his face.
Amagon returned to find Ylith unconscious and Sildrin stained by his blood. “The Droid is gone, probably destroyed by the explosion. “ He noted and the Sorceress nodded.
“Signal Naga Sadow – She said – We have cleared enough of the Citadel to maintain a base of operations, have them send reinforcements and also some medical supplies. “ He nodded and left them to make the call while Yuriko stood behind Sildrin. “What made him like this?”
The Dragon smiled. “Not what, who…”
Inside the Citadel
It was obvious. Even highly apparent that their true target lay ahead, it was hard not sense it. By himself had been extremely nervous, there just some opponents he could not match. But nevertheless Shirai had moved on. His only solace was the ever silent Darth Vexatus who led the way. The Dupar had never been alone with the man before and it couldn't have been plainer why.
The Sith Lord wasn't without experience and it showed that instead of idle he choose to focus on the task ahead. Something inside of Shirai wanted to ask him what he knew of the Sith and its way. Only for understanding of the dark side, in which he believed would increase his hold with the Force.
But alas there was no such chance. For they had reached their destination, it was a large oval room dimly lit, but from what was seen it used to be largely decorated. This however was not caught the two Sadowans attention. It was a silhouhette that stood vigilant in front of them. Clad in elegant black and red robes, the Togruta looked at them with his crooked eyes.
"So you have arrived. But you are alone, with nothing but an insect by your side. I Darth Caecus will be your executioner."
Shirai did not say anything as usual with his witty responses. But this time after hearing the Darth title. Just my frakking luck. He took a fleeting glance at the Sith Lord next to him. So he had a chance but most likely he would be caught in the crossfire and be killed instantly. He half suspected Xanos to say something just as menacing to Darth Cacecus.
But he said nothing, this was no time for idle wordplay as so many of the One Sith Lords happen to perfect. "Nothing to say? No matter, if you want a death with no last words. So be it."
A lightsaber produced itself from within the Togruta's robes, it was a color Shirai did not suspect. A silver light emitted itself from the blade, he held it in a form that was unbeknownst to him. Nor was he willing to find out. What he was aware was that a Sith Lord, with a single strike of his liguhtsaber, could fell almost any Equite.
Darth Vexatus slowly lifted both of his arms towads the other Sith Lord. Caecus knew what was coming even if the Sith Warrior was not aware. It happpened almost immediately. No need for bragging of who's stronger, or who belonged to the greater Force. It was simply the destruction of another, Vexatus traveled that long distance only their for one purpose. And it was not to talk.
Bolts of lightning sprang out like wildfire, it tore through the air front of Shirai and Xanos. Truly something to behold. Darth Caecus was unimpressed with the dangerous light show tearing its through his defesnes as he threw the lightsaber in front of lightning. The lightning batted against the lightsaber as he stood his ground against it.
There was something else....
Pain is not a question. It is an answer.
Caecus did not react at first for he was unware of the attack. But soon it was apparent that there was something within his mind. This mind was built to respond to mental attacks, and even persist against physical attacks well. But he never taken into account of actually good Vexatus was at what he does best. There was no need for a lightsaber when his foes could hardly compete with his mastery of the Force.
It took Caecus all of his willpower, to stop the Prophet from completely destroying him from the mind within. Also simultaneously trying to attack Xanos's mind. What was unseen was a battle of Sith Lords mental prowess in the Force. However the Sith Warrior was no longer by his master's masters side.
While the epic battle raged on, with the Force Lightning being shot intensely at Caecus who was doing all he could to battle Vexatus at such an intense level. He did not see him. He did not hear him. For it was certain who was winning in the mental battle, as the One Sith roared, "You are nothing!", but no belittling of the Brotherhood as he would usually do.
His head began to shake mildly at first, before it began to shake with frustration. He was losing the battle before it had even begun! He, a Sith Lord to the One Sith! It seemed as if the Brotherhood did not care for the titles the One Sith bestowed on such Dark Jedi that was not deserving of it. Madness began to singe his eyes as they burned with anger, Vexatus working the Force against him.
Shirai or now Aku, had taken over with Shirai's initial fear. He had dove behind the Darth in a barrell roll. His lightsaber still alive, he plunged it without hesitation through the Darth's chest. The Togruta felt the blade burn through his lungs as a sign of surprise rang through his eyes, but no yell came. He attempted to turn backwards for his final look his killer, before he dropped his lightsaber.
Xanos stopped his mad lightning barrage on him as the Lord fell with his knees to the ground, still in disbelief that a hole was burned neatly into his chest. Shirai stepped back as Aku tried to come into control over his motor functions. The Falleen walked up to the dying Sith Lord, saying in a distilled tone, "Darth Caecus?" He stared back at the Togruta blankly. "You are no Sith Lord."
It seemed a final retort was on Darth Caecus's lips before Shirai plunged his saber back in his chest for his last breath. Suprised at their victory. He spoke to Xanos who was now standing beside him, "What now my Lord?"
"We have attained what we came for. The citadel is ours."