Team One: House Odan-Urr
Team One: House Odan-Urr
KP Morotheri Mithfaron - 12049
OP Raiju - 9121
DJK Mar Sul - 13009
DJK Doku - 4764
KPN Elleron Morakei - 307
Welcome to the run-on for the second stage of the Vendetta. A re-post of the current rules is provided below.
The event itself can be viewed here:
1. Teams will consist of five players from within their House or Clan.
2. Teams will begin their run on by posting their team name, the members of their team (pin and rank). The subject line of the initial post will consist of your team name and your House or Clan. Example: Team Fleshstache: Clan Naga Sadow.
3. 250 word minimum per post.
4. 1000 word maximum per post.
5. Players must post a minimum of 2 times per phase.
6. Players may post as many times as they desire.
7. Edits may occur on a post until a follow on post has been made (follow on posts include "reserving" a space). Only the author may edit their post on the forums. Admin use on the forums during the run on is expressly prohibited for participants.
8. Members may reserve post, but no posts can occur until after the reserved post is written.
7. The event will be graded by Raken, Sarin, and Muz using a rubric that focuses on creativity, plot development, realism, and grammar.
8. Your team will be disqualified from Nova contention if a team member fails to post.
9. Members failing to post 2 x times per phase will be disqualified and will not be given credit for participating in the event.
1. 1 March: Initial Prompt, sign ups, and team posting.
2. 8 March: Second Prompt and team posting.
3. 15 March: Threads locked.
Like a frozen marble, Khar Delba drifted in space, orbited by its lonely moon, Khar Shian. It only wanted for a brother, however, as a flurry of activity drenched the scene around it. An invasion force from the Dark Jedi Brotherhood had exited hyperspace several minutes ago, and the meager defences of the One Sith’s army had already melted into so many fragments of metal and space corpse-icles. The fearsome armada were taking their designated positions, their shuttles were filling with the first wave of invaders, and soon, the invasion would begin.
Elleron Morakei nodded in agreement with the idle chatter of his fellow Jedi. They were passing time, on approach to Khar Delba, the next planet on the Dark Jedi Brotherhood’s hit list. Seated around him inside their borrowed shuttle were Raiju, Mar Sul, Doku, Morotheri and a pile of fur cloaks and coats. The planet they were approaching was an ice planet, and it was expected to be quite cold. The young teenager had never been to an ice planet before, and looked forward to seeing something new.
“We’re expecting some turbulence,” the pilot’s voice crackled over the communication system. “We’ve just received reports of anti-air resistance being encountered.” They all raised nervous eyebrows and braced themselves for a rough entry.
He never did like flying in space. At least flying on a planet had some chance of survival, in space however if the ship goes there’s no chance of survival. It had been years since he has been in any type of star ship until he stumbled up the Jedi temple. Greeted with open arms Doku jumped at the chance for action when there was talk about traveling to Khar Delba. Grabbing just his lightsaber he rushed to the shuttle deck to await departure.
“Wake up Doku or you are going to miss the trip.” Raiju said as he nudged Doku from a quick cat nap as he saw the rest of the team which was comprised of Mar Sul, Morotheri, and Elleron. “My apologies, gotten accustomed to the quiet apparently” turning to the group as he stretched his arms and readied himself to board the shuttle. Entering the shuttle felt un-easy at first mainly because it has been forever since he last stepped on a ship, let alone anything bigger than that. Sitting down in a seat closest to a window he heard the chatter from the other Jedi about the trip. Something about exploring some ruins on Khar Delba, an ice planet for that matter brought excitement to his mind. As the shuttle took off, Doku meditated and slowly drifted into a slumber.
The transition from hyperspace to real-space woke up Doku from his slumber as he stared out the window to see the planet for the first time. The planet was obscured by what looked like a starship graveyard; fresh ships were still freezing from the vacuum of space while others were already frozen solid. Off in the distance Doku noticed Brotherhood ships in the distance making ready for planet fall only a few minutes after entering hyperspace themselves. Moments later the intercom turns on and the chatter idles out to hear about the anti-air resistance from the planet’s surface. ?
As the announcement finishes the shots are felt as one goes whizzing by, however the other shot hits home and shuttle shakes under the pressure of the battery fire. Bracing his chair, Doku waits for the outcome as the shuttle starts to make its descent.
As the shuttle rumbled during its unexpected descent, all five of the Jedi onboard struggled to brace for impact. Various bits of equipment and spare parts ricocheted throughout the tight confines of the shuttle’s interior while Morotheri strained against the g-forces working against him to strap himself tightly into his seat of the shuttle. “Brace for impact!” Raiju shouted, just as a large tear appeared in the shuttle’s hull beside him, exposing the interior to the elements and granting them a terrifying brief glance at Khar Delba’s unforgiving climate. Biting, frigid winds whipped at them from the large gash as the air seemed to be sucked from the cabin; while various loose articles of cold weather equipment was sucked out of the cabin like a powerful vacuum. Mar Sûl gritted his teeth as he braced himself for the inevitable crash. Meanwhile, Doku clenched both armrests, tightly fastened in his harness, nearly to the point of the thin straps cutting into his flesh if it hadn’t been for the thick coat around his torso. Several seconds passed for what seemed like ages as the five sat helpless in the doomed shuttle. Realizing that they would never survive the impact at this speed, Morotheri reached out with the force, creating a barrier in front of the ship to slow its descent. The other four sensed his attempts, and lent their abilities to his cause. The ship groaned under the stress, slowing ever so slightly…
…Until the tear in the side of the shuttle began to stretch, leaving the rear of the shuttle separated from the rest of the ship. What remained of the loose equipment was now lost forever to the snow and ice that waited below as the rear of the shuttle completely detached itself from the rest of the vessel. Strained by the sheer amounts of concentration required to slow the vessel’s approach, Morotheri slipped into unconsciousness as what was left of the shuttle made contact with Khar Delba’s surface.
The Miraluka Aedile groaned in pain, clenching at his leg as he awoke. Somewhere off in the distance, Doku shouted. His vision through the Force currently only allowed him brief, blurry glimpses of his surroundings as a smaller blur in the form of a hand reached down, removing a large chunk of debris that had landed on the Aedile’s leg and helping him up. “Can you walk?” Asked Raiju, allowing the Miraluka to use him for support as he probed his leg through the Force to determine if the wound was serious. A thin trickle of blood poured from the gash as the Miraluka reached down, using the Force to heal the wound as best as he could, after a while, his attempts resulted in a fresh crusty scab over where the debris had once injured his leg. “I’ll be fine.” Replied Morotheri as he separated himself from the Nautolan, pulling the hood of a crimson, fur-lined robe up around his head. Around them lay pieces of what had once been their shuttle, fires blazed nearby in vibrant hues of red and orange in protest of the freezing climate that engulfed them. Very little cold weather equiptment had survived, the majority had been loose within the cabin during the crash and lost when the scar had appeared as a result of a turbolaser blast. Luckily, they had geared up beforehand with the basics - thicker coats, gloves and boots that had made the insufficiently heated cabin marginally comfortable.
Nearby, Doku Rivendare searched the wreckage for anything that might be of value to them still. “Mar! Get over here, I think I got something. See if you can fix it.” He yelled out. Almost immediately, Mar Sûl was beside him, examining what had once been the shuttle’s communication system. “No chance. The antennae and controls are completely fried. I don't have any spare parts left, they were back in the rear of the cabin before it detached.” He explained, after much tinkering with a heap of electronics, none of which had survived the crash and one of which had given him a startling jolt of electricity. Luckily, their lightsabers had survived the crash, with the exception of Morotheri’s, which had been at the rear of the shuttle before it was lost. Instead, the Aedile had found a pair of vibroswords, after much searching that had still seemed to be intact. Sheathing the weapons away behind his back, the five Jedi were faced against insurmountable odds, the deck was stacked against them while the ground shook at the approach of something terrible, hungering for the flesh of the five Force-users within its territory.
He re-seated his thick fur cloak on his shoulders, the cold wind bit at his skin every second. Mar opening his mouth to speak as a loud rumble echoed on the air. The Aedile Morotheri spoke for him "We should leave, the crash has clearly brought undue attention to us." Murmurs of agreement followed, gathering any useful supplies they could for their journey. The rumbles came once again, "Stubborn isn't it? Perhaps it's just this forsaken planet?" Mar looked between his fellow Jedi, Raiju shook his head and pointed "I don't think so...what is that?" five pairs of eyes were immediately fixed on the subject of Raijus finger.
Doku Rivendare stood and took a step forward, "Whatever it is, it's not good" A slim silhouette stood further out in the frozen wastes, appearing as a humanoid but moving toward them at an entirely in-human pace. The snow begun to churn along the path of the unidentified creature, masses of snow and ice being churned as if it were water. Elleron gripped his saber "Do we fight? There is no peaceful intent here."
Morotheri had to shout over the sharp winds, "No, we must leave. Now!"
With haste they left the Crash, the Jedi gathered close enough to see one another, ahead of them they could see a long abandoned ruin. Exchanging looks everyone knew that this was to be their next destination.
The trembles within the earth seemed quieter now however they came more frequently as if the large feet of a predator were ruthlessly pounding into the thick snow. The Jedi were being hunted.
It didn’t take long before the panting started. Heavy, deep breaths – at times almost wheezing, never failed to produce a thick fog of air from each of their lips. Ill-equipped against the elements and now hustling to the only bit of visible shelter nearby, the Jedi seemed to never let a moment slip by without someone looking over their shoulder. It was said that fear was the ally of the dark side and that Jedi didn’t cave to their emotions, so one could not be sure what then prompted this behaviour.
Yet panic seemed to wash over their faces every time a bellowing howl echoed through the valley they trekked across. Only a brief moment, less than a second, was given in pause by the group as each frantically scanned their surroundings for the coming threat. Then, as quickly as they had broken pace, the group was in motion again – a little more haste to their step each time.
“Once we get to that structure, we are going to need more of a plan.” The words came out of the Nautolan’s mouth with less than its usual confidence as it had to escape through chattering teeth. “I for one don’t want to spend my last days sucking on icicles and wondering which one of you would put up the least struggle for the rest of us to have a meal…”
Only the frigid, howling wind seemed to answer the Nautolan for a moment. Perhaps each of them was considering what the next step was for them, or maybe they were disheartened by the sudden realization they may be stuck here. Either way, as the next blasting howl of whatever stalked them roared through the valley and panic once again consumed the group, Raiju was quick to get the matter settled.
“Seriously guys!” He shouted over the dying noise, halting his march. “I can’t even sense what that f*cking beast is, this planet is heavy in a shroud of darkness and if we don’t have tech or even the force to connect us with the other forces; what is our next step of action?!”
“We march on to the rendezvous.” Elleron’s words were soft at first, barely breaking the silence that fell from Raiju’s question. The words floated over his shoulder as he stood at the point of the line, the man than repeated his idea louder this time before he turned to the group. “First we get to that bit of shelter and get our bearings straight. Since we know where we were supposed to be, once we have an idea of where we are; we march…”
The final words of the Rollmaster died out as the man trailed off, his attention grabbed by something beyond Mar who stood in the rear of the group. As each Jedi turned their own attention to the threat, it became clear what had taken up their scent. Entering from the far side of the valley, the massive creature took several moments to come fully into view.
Even from this distance the group could see that the creature must stand almost a dozen men tall, for it almost shadowed the wreckage that it now searched through. Lead by two long, curved tusks and painted in a sickly colour of gray, the monstrosity had the huge rounded frame with four legs as thick as trees. Yet, while the body of this beast suggested it was a large mammal of some sorts, the point face of the creature could only suggest something else at this distance. Yet, it was the earth-shaking bellow it released that proved the most frightening before it displayed its ferocity as it pushed itself up onto its hind-legs before smashing its front feet down upon the wreckage and caving it in on itself.
“What is the name of the force is that…” Doku’s voice displayed the same terror that swept over the group.
“It’s…a sithspawn.” Morotheri struggled to answer. “Records of this planet show they were once a peaceful creature of this land, before tainted by its corruption and sith alchemy….the council thought if we were to deny a planet to the Brotherhood, these creatures may be cured by our influence.”
“Well we haven’t taken the f*cking planet yet.” Raiju was sharp to point out with a shout. “What I want to know is if that thing is a danger to us?!”
Yet, before anyone could react to the shouts of the Prelate, another bellow echoed within the valley – this time from another creature entering the valley and which had already set its sights on the distant Jedi. Suddenly, the familiar rumble from before seemed to intensify with the beginning stampede of the artic creatures.
“I think that answers your damn question!” Someone shouted as the group immediately once again took to flight towards the ruins.
Giant plumes of snow rose from beneath the massive, tree-like appendages of the Sith War Behemoth, trailing an opaque curtain of white behind it, obscuring the view of the additional two Behemoths as they charged at the sight of the five figures who had evidently invaded their territory. Each maddened step in its stampede sent large lumps of snow raining down towards the group, cascading shards of ice upon the five Jedi as they scurried out of the way, towards the safety of the ruins. Their escape was cut short as they neared a nearby cliff, trapping them between the approach of advancing hooves and the abyss below while separating them from the ruins. It was impossible to tell how deep the fall really was, as the blizzard obscured their vision. It was the blind leading the blind through this perilous and largely unforgiving land. Elleron had been the first to discover the crevasse, losing traction as his boot made contact with a thin strip of ice and nearly barrelling off the side, if it hadn’t been for the timely intervention of Raiju as he latched gloved fingers around the young Jedi’s arm, nearly cutting off the blood flow to the younger Jedi’s arm. The Jedi’s momentum sent them both off their feet as Elleron slipped over the edge, his arm still held in the Nautolan’s firm grasp while Raiju gritted his teeth. Despite the young human’s age, the loss of traction made it increasingly difficult to hoist the youthful Elleron up over the lip of the precipice.
“Hang on!” Called out Raiju, as he winced against the pain. The hard contact against the ice had wrenched his arm into a painful position, making the slightest amount of weight aggravate his recent injury. “There’s no time! Get out of there!” Elleron shouted back. Behind him, Raiju could sense the three Behemoths growing nearer, their massive tusks arced back and forth as they stampeded, raking the ground in front of them, sending a cascading hail of ice shards in every direction. Summoning the Force, Raiju gripped tighter, until he could nearly feel Elleron’s pulse through the sleeve of his coat. The sudden and welcome surge of power coursed through his veins as he heaved upwards, the young Elleron trailing an arc before coming to rest on the ground uncomfortably beside him. “Well, that was fun.” Elleron commented panting as he tried to catch his breath in short, ragged gasps; the moisture from his breath visible as it condensed like a fog, “But we still have a problem.” His index finger traced its way towards the approaching Behemoths, unrelenting in their fury as the remaining three Jedi sought to slow their approach, but to no avail.
“Raiju, get the hell out of there!” Mar shouted, leaping backwards as he avoided yet another sweep of the beast’s barbed tusks. The second sweep was warning enough as Mar hurried out of the way, tossing himself into a nearby snowbank well out of the trajectory of all three Behemoths. Raiju sprang to action, gripping the thick material of Elleron’s coat and hurling him a safe distance from the Behemoth’s path of destruction. Pinned and seemingly helpless between both obstacles, there hadn’t been enough time to get clear as he slipped over the edge, the Behemoth wailing as it plunged into the abyss. Its cries echoed throughout the ravine, signaling the remaining two Behemoths as they locked their massive legs in a futile attempt to decelerate, plummeting to their deaths as a sickening ‘crack’ announced an imminent avalanche far off in the distance in response, filling the ravine with an even thicker cloud of white as it swirled downwards into the pit. Stunned, the four Jedi peered towards the cliff’s edge, their eyes tracing over the large furrow created during the stampede. Moments passed before an unmistakable coughing emerged from behind them. Swivelling around, all four came to face Raiju as he stood, grinning. “You didn’t think I would go that easily, did you?”
Mar laughed "I may have underestimated you, Brother." Amidst the bitter cold winds there was an air of calm radiating from the group. The Jedi gathered close together again, all eyes staring down the ravine, the ferocity of the blizzard meant that they could not even see the bottom.
Elleron spoke over the howling wind with a smile "Trust me, we don't want to go that way." Stepping away from the drop to the ravine the Jedi stood in a circle so that they could communicate with ease. "If not that way, which?" Doku asked, continuing "The Ridge seems to soften as we move north, perhaps it would level out?"
Morotheri nodded "I agree, but we must hurry." Mar and Elleron took the front with Raiju and Doku standing either side of the Aedile. Less than an hour later the snow began to become thicker with every step, soon it was waste high and akin to trying to walk through tar.
Mar sighed quietly before speaking "This isn't getting us anywhere, soon enough we will b-" A Loud Crack seemed to come from directly below both Mar and Elleron and within a second they were gone from view. Raiju hurried forward looking down into the freshly made hole his voice echoed as he spoke "Are you ok?"
There was a steady silence from the three Jedi staring into the darkness, The wind howled happily over them. A voice emanated from the dark hole "Guys, you are going to want to see this, It's safe to jump."
Leaving behind their snowy exterior the three remaining Jedi plummeted into the dark.
The first thing that Raiju noticed, once he had completed his short fall into the void and came to a surprisingly comfortable landing in a pile of snow, was that he no longer felt so cold. Relief washed over the Nautolan’s anxious body, but it soon turned to paranoia. Folk knowledge warned that people always started feeling warm as hypothermia set in on the body, were these Jedi destined to meet their end here on Khar Delba?
Yet, panic causally slipped from the Nautolan’s mind has he leapt from the snow pile into the light blue and silver hue that drenched the source of his new amazement. Fumbling for his hilt, which felt cumbersome in his gloved hand, Raiju immediately flicked the weapon before him as its amber blade ignited with a furious snap-hiss. Now painted in the light of the three weapons, and soon accompanied by the blue and yellow blades of Morotheri and Doku once they had leapt down, the entire group stood dumbfound.
“You found….a hole.” Doku finally stated, his tone produced little to imagine about his annoyance.
“Don’t be so dismissive.” Mar sighed, turning to face his comrade before gesturing towards darkness behind him. “Take a look at stone, its been craved and well worked on. This ‘hole’ is a man-made tunnel, perhaps an entrance to those ruins.”
“And who-“ The question that began to form from Raiju’s lips was quickly abandoned, cut short by shrieking cry that rang off the hardened walls. Immediately, the darkness that was held at bay by the Jedi’s lightsabers lurched forward and blanketed the group. Over and over again the cry was renewed as the blackness washed over the Jedi and spewed out the wintery entrance.
Pelting him from all sides, Raiju noticed the tiny bits of movements that accompanied each hard hit body received. Tiny paws latched onto his cloaks and quickly scurried from once side of his body to the other before taking to flight again. Just as soon as the assault began, the sea of chaos had consumed them and soared past. Recovering, now in the light of their blades again, Raiju watched as the others combed through their hair and robes for any last trances of the creatures.
“Mynocks…” Raiju soon explained to the puzzled looks that frantically were exchanged, his boot quickly planting itself on one that didn’t rebound from its collision with him. “Tiny and blacken, but definitely mynocks."
“Another of the Sith’s failed play-things?” Elleron’s question seemed to echo for an eternity down the dark tunnel. “Makes me wonder what else is down there waiting for us?”
Elleron readjusted his cloak and coat before leading the way up the tunnel. The stone appeared a little worn and weather-beaten, and as they advanced they passed a couple more snowdrifts. There was no roof, he noted, just ice. “Does anyone else get the impression this was buried under the snow at some stage?” he asked. Raiju murmured his agreement. “I wonder how old it is...”
After a few hundred meters, the group came to an abrupt halt. Laughter was clearly echoing down the tunnel to them. With a nervous glance at each other, they proceeded at a slower pace. Still in the lead, Elleron kept his lightsaber low, trusting that the white light would appear more natural in these tunnels. Finally, after another hundred meters, he felt something ahead of them. People, possibly Force sensitive, but it was difficult to feel detail on this planet. He glanced over his shoulder and raised three fingers. The others readied their weapons before they all continued.
Dashing through the snow and stonework, the Jedi set upon a group of three individuals wrapped up in thick fur coats and nursing blasters and rifles. Taken by surprise, they only managed to get off a couple of easily deflected shots before the Jedi had overtaken them. The most aggressive of the soldiers had to be cut down before the other two surrendered. “Who are you?” Morotheri demanded. A silent face and a raised chin were all the answer he was given. Morotheri nodded at Elleron.
The young teenager approached the closest soldier, who fixed him with a look of intense hatred. The other one was more afraid, so he turned to him instead and removed his gloves. “I am not going to hurt you,” Elleron reassured the men. “Sit down.” They flexed defiantly. Using the Force, Elleron gave them a flick to their mid-sections, and they doubled down to their knees, gasping for air. “Ok, I lied. Now keep still.” He placed a shivering hand on the forehead of the more timid one and concentrated. A few blurred images came to mind. Conflict, defiance, comraderie... “There’s more of them in the ruins. They seem to be soldiers. One Sith forces.” Elleron gripped the man’s forehead as he struggled against Elleron’s probing. The boy concentrated harder, filling him with a sensation of dread. “They’re led by a Dark Jedi, but most of them are just soldiers. There’s seven of them in the ruins ahead.”
The other soldier lunged to his feet and grabbed Elleron by the throat as he quickly fumbled for a hidden knife.
Seeing the solider lunge at Elleron with the knife showed Doku two things at that moment. The first being how stupid these soliders are and two how quickly he was able to sever the man's hand before he could make any type of reaction. Cutting thru him so easily reminded him how it felt to use his lightsaber for something other than show. The solider was shocked long enough to finally noticed his hand was missing to crumble to the floor. "Well that was easy enough and of course he's out cold. So what now?" Doku said as he turned to the group with a sinking feeling in his mind that he had done something wrong.
"As I said before, there are seven of them in the next ruins. There are two options either we one somehow avoid them long enough to get around or two we take them as quiet as possible before all chaos begins." Elleron said as he adjusted his robes after he watched the other solider he manipulated collapse out of sheer exhaustion. "For the record, I had that handled Doku." commented Elleron as he turned to him to acknowledge the quick action. "I apologize master, it was just nice to be able to do something other than freeze on this rock." mentioned Doku as he disengaged his lightsaber and sheathed it back into his robes.
The others chuckled and agreed to attempt the first tactic for getting out of the tunnel and enter the ruins to either deal with the soldiers or have the ability to walk around them.
The Young Knight Doku was correct.
There were indeed seven antagonists in the courtyard beyond the tunnel now occupied by the Jedi, but they were not waiting.
"Collapse the tunnels on them and then prepare to breach Sadow's sanctum,'' called the commander of the One Sith expeditionary team.
Time slowed and Raiju felt, no saw, the destruction to come. Plans, tactics, and patience were terms that had no relevancy to the actions about to occur.
"Everyone, out now!"
A brisk walk thru the tunnels to the courtyard immediately turned into a sprint as the tunnels behind the five Jedi started to collapse. Well timed charges built into the foundation of the tunnels were triggered as soon as they entered them. Feeling the explosions through the force was like watching blaster fire from two opposing sides; lights bounced off of every direction to almost confuse the senses. Only being able to focus on the figures of the other Jedi was Doku able to keep pace with the others.
The explosions came increasingly quicker as the tunnel started to collapse faster from the sheer weight of the charges. "Finally a moment of relief! So much for trying to make this the quiet route!" Raiju shouted as they came closer to the opening of the courtyard entrance. Reaching for his lightsaber, Doku ignited the blade ready to face the soldiers that Elleron told them about moments before. Feeling the urge of battle again made it hard to concentrate on getting out of the tunnel first.
It wasnt long before the entrance to the courtyard was upon them seeing the vastness for the first time in a glimpse was astonishing. For what he could focus on between the chaos and the ruins was slim, the vastness of the ruins looked what led to an even bigger looking complex at the other end. Only for a moment was he able to take in the scene when there was blaster fire coming from directly in front of them. The Jedi took cover behind whatever they could get their bodies behind.
"Well this has turned into some trip guys! Where do we go from here?!" Doku yelled hoping somebody heard over all the blaster fire.
"We can't exactly go anywhere but forward!" Raiju exclaimed over the enemy fire, nodding his head at the collapsed tunnel. "My suggestion would be to deal with out current problem and then investigate"
"Try to move toward them and take them out. We need to be quick, there may be others!" Mar shouted to his brothers. Morotheri held Vibroblades in each hand as Mar stood infront deflecting as much blaster fire as he could. "You must have a plan, Aedile?" Morotheri turned his head to face Mar looking at him through the force, he nodded in answer "I do." before sitting down. One of the Vibroblades lifted from the ground, shaking as if it were held up by strings like a puppet, moments after the blade shot towards to the direction of enemy fire.
"What's that? Enemy flanking! Arghh-" Was heard as the ring of blaster fire dwindled in number and eventually stopped. The Clatter of metal on stone cracked through the empty air and the short hum of lightsabers was all that remained.
"I think we got them all" Elleron said nodding in agreement with himself. "That wasn't too hard!" Doku exclaimed, "Where do we go now?" they all powered down their sabers and sheathed them. Whilst Morotheri stepped over and picked up his freshly bloodstained blade. "We need to find out what they were here for and why it is important enough to warrant the use of breach charges. After all they ran the risk of causing multiple avalanches topside."
Raiju and Mar and nodded in agreement, "Whatever is down here, it is of great importance. So we should probably stop standing here and get going!" Elleron stated half-jokingly.
Not everyone in the party was so convinced by their swift victory. Raiju forced himself to bite his lip as the group moved forward and the Nautolan’s all-consuming eyes scanned their surroundings. Blood stained the stone and snow all around them, yet the pattern was very different than if a group of Obelisk or Sith had passed through. To his left, where a body had fallen over rock-shelf, only the pool of blood by the corpse’s feet showed a source of violence; had his alter ego, Warhunter, been unleashed – it would be unlikely for the body to be in such great condition.
Yet, it wasn’t the violence that put the Nautolan on edge. Since joining the path of the light since the last Great Jedi War and its violence on New Tython, Raiju still saw and produced his share of violence. Even the two troopers who had been beheaded didn’t stir emotion from the Jedi Guardian as he briefly paused before their distorted remains.
Besides, it wasn’t like these troopers didn’t bring this violence onto themselves. Well, maybe not the poor trooper who had caught Morotheri’s blade in a very unkind spot below the stomach. However, with only six troopers against a squad of Jedi; these things were bound to happen.
“Fack…” Raiju whispered to himself, his halt before the last trooper brought the rest of the convoy to a stop as each Acolyte of Odan-Urr turned in puzzlement to the Nautolan. Yet, the Jedi Guardian’s focus wasn’t on any of them as he lashed out with his senses to the great void of darkness before them. Just like their efforts to communicate with the rest of the fleet, Raiju was rewarded by nothing but bitter frustration as his search failed.
“There’s one of them that fled.” Raiju finally exclaimed with a sigh to his companions. “Elleron said there were seven down here before the explosion, but there is only six facking bodies. One of them went ahead while they attempted to stop us.”
Disbelief soon turned to embarrassment over each of the other faces as the party came to terms with their error. For some time, only the sound of the Nautolan’s nostrils flaring broke the silence and with each breath a familiar emotion stirred deep within the Jedi Guardian. Perhaps this was what would be their downfall.
“Who do you think it is…?” Someone finally managed to break their stupor.
“Skywalker?! The Emperor anew?! Maybe Mace facking Windu!” Raiju fired back as the emotion further stewed. Even both Morotheri and Elleron jumped back as the Nautolan ripped his saber hilt from his belt before he broke into a full run towards the only path leading away.
"What does he think he's doing? He'll be slaughtered out there!" Asked Doku, unclipping the lightsaber from his belt and igniting it, its cerulean glow reflecting throughout the caverns. Carefully, he followed the Nautolan in pursuit as the thundering of blasterfire drew nearer, observing the situation as he moved with Force-augmented speed. Morotheri and Denath followed close behind, with Elleron defending their flank as they approached the source of the commotion, the reverberations nearly deafening as they reached the mouth of the corridor. Appearing as if frenzied, the Nautolan swung the blade in wide, sweeping arcs, trailing an amber light behind the blade's trajectory as he dispached multiple opponents with each stroke of the deadly weapon. Doku leaped forwards from the cave's entance, trailing a wide azure parabola before burying the blade in the shoulder in his target.
A disturbance turned the Miraluka Aedile's attention to the stairs leading from the courtyard as multiple E-webs were placed in a line while a fresh squadron of reinforcements hid behind durasteel barricades. "Raiju!" The Miraluka managed to yell before the heavy emplacements began their deadly hail of blasterfire. Reaching out through the Force, Morotheri pulled at the loose, cracked foundations of a nearby pillar, sending it crashing down in an effort to provide some amount of cover. Elleron shook his head, "Those E-webs are going to cut us down. I don't see a way around the cortyard." Meanwhile, Mar went on the offensive, tossing his lightsaber as it glided from his outstretched palm, saling through the air until it made contact with one of the E-web's supports while the uneven support sent it tumbling down the stairs.
Suddenly, and without warning, a deep rumbling noise eminated from behind them. "It's coming down! Move!" Elleron shouted as the two Jedi ducked away from the corridor's entrance. An explosion seemed to shake the ground as a scorching ball of fire escaped the large cavern incinerating everything in its path. Unexpectedly, the firing ceased.
"Surrender, Jedi, and your lives will be spared." Boomed a voice from beyond the courtyard, "Continue these hostilities, and your lives are forefit."
Elleron, Morotheri and Doku huddled behind the tumbled pillar in the ruins as the fire from the latest explosion cleared. It was just like the war on New Tython, when the Brotherhood had invaded; explosions and death, like Qel-Droma, when Galeres had defied Consul Halcyon and invaded their temples shortly before he had seized Quaestorship of Qel-Droma... but that wasn’t him. Grasping his head, Elleron took a panicked breath. Denath, the ancient Dark Jedi whose spirit had been implanted inside him as part of a ritual, was taking control of his body. I’m me, I’m me...
On their charge in, it had been as if he was in two places at once, on one hand the tyrant Denath wading in to blood and battle, and the other he had been himself, just trying to protect his friends. Truthfully, the group had kept a tight formation that he was only a few steps behind or in front. The boy winced visibly as he struggled to regain control, while Mar and Raiju approached slowly under the watchful eyes of their captors.
Come on Elleron, Denath chastised his host, quit your whimpering and fight!
We can’t survive a fight like this!
“You could have gotten yourself killed,” Morotheri pointed out to Raiju.
“Don’t facking worry about me,” Raiju replied. “What are we going to do? There's too many of them.”
“JEDI!” A formidable looking figure in black robes stepped out from behind the durasteel barricades and started circling the courtyard. “You have fought valiantly. Worthy of... well, being mocked and put to death.” The sound of boots clicking in to place echoed around the ruins. “You can die like cowering dogs or you can stand up and fight.” The Jedi glanced at eachother uncertainly. Elleron squared his jaw and spoke up.
“Trust me,” Elleron whispered as he stood cautiously, raising his hands, and stepped in to the open.
The formidable figure stepped forward. He was human, cybernetic plating across the right side of his face. Denath had once worn masks on half his face to hide scarring, Elleron remembered. The Dark Jedi leader smirked as Elleron approached. “Stand down! Leave him to me!” he ordered. His soldiers trembled obediently. “Nothing like a little warm up,” the enemy leader sneered down at him. “I’m Carthis. I’m your death.” He lunged forward and tried to grab Elleron by the throat. The boy firmly planted his chin to his chest, but Carthis still managed to get through, lifting and strangling him with his bare hands. “Surrender or die!” Carthis demanded.
Black streaks bled from Elleron’s pupils, clouding his irises before spreading through the sclera, turning his eyes as black as onyx. A flash of Force energy passed between them, and Carthis screamed as he was lashed with horror; caught by surprise, his defenses were down, and his captor did not like being strangled. He dropped the boy as Denath spat at him through gritted teeth, “Your terms are acceptable.” He pointed at the pillar that was providing his team mates with valuable cover and focused. The others helped him lift it with the Force and throw it through the courtyard while the soldiers still debated whether to break their stand down orders.
Watching the Sith finally show some sign of fear amused the Jedi Knight. To see the surprise and pain he felt from the sudden force lash from Elleron made him put just that much more effort into helping throw the pillar. Launching the pillar flying over their heads, landed with a large thud, the pillar shattering a portion of the barricades and bringing down another E-Web battery. Using the moment of distraction the Jedi lept into action taking advantage of the sudden loss of morale.
Focusing on his feet Doku increased his speed to get in closer to the soldiers, bobbing and weaving between each soldier, cutting them down one by one. The fore grip on his lightsaber made it easy for him to continue his assault trailing azure light from body to body until his attention caught something else. His assault was slowed down, a blaster shot connecting at his left shoulder put him into a spin, but was not able to bring him to a complete stop. Suddenly he came to an immediate stop as Raiju opened his hand to pull Doku forward and deflecting said blaster bolts back at its target. "Appreciate the assist there for a moment. Kept me from falling on my arse." rubbing his shoulder as he felt the sting of the shot. "Save it were not done here yet, far from it appears." Raiju said as he turned in the other direction, heading toward were Elleron, Morotheri, and Mar Sul had been fighting. Refocusing on his feet again, the miraluka took off in the same direction to engage his foe, proving to his fellow Jedi that he still had what it takes to fight.
“So you have chosen death. Very well, Jedi, I would be much obliged to assist you in your demise.” The agent of the One Sith shouted in an attempt to goad his opponents into feeding him their hate, the last word seething with venom as he ignited a second amethyst blade, its light splashing onto the face of Mar Sul as the Jedi brought the blade of his lightsaber in between himself and his attacker in the defensive form of Soresu. As the deadly weapons made contact, Carthis snarled behind the shower of sparks behind bared teeth, revelling in his imminent conquest that would surely mark his ascension to the highest ranks of his order.
Glorious flashes of white marked the pace of the battle as blades of multiple hues traced their way through the air, streaking behind them wide arcing strokes of color, the carefully choreographed movements of each combatant an art form. Whilst the battle was taking place, Raiju worked alongside Doku in dispatching the last of the reinforcements as the soldiers continued the assault, much to the dismay of the local Sith Lord. However, the sudden act of protest against a Sith Lord within the innermost echelons of power did nothing to prevent the onslaught Carthis unleashed, fuelled by his fury.
Following the movements of his dual blades with yellowed eyes, the Sith Lord turned his attention to Morotheri, his one opponent who, unlike his comrades, lacked one of the iconic devices. Utilizing his powers of concentration and agility, the Aedile weaved in and out of the trajectory of both blades, dodging in all directions when his Force-enhanced senses warned him of imminent danger. Careful to counter when possible, the Miraluka sliced his dual vibroswords where they would be least likely to make contact with the glowing weapons.
“The time for mercy is over! Feel the true powers under my command!” The Sith Lord boomed as his fingers contorted into a loose claw-like shape. Purple lightning arced from the tips of his fingers, cracking as they streamed through the air towards their target. With nothing to absorb the gusts of energy, the Miraluka braced for impact as his body went rigid under the assault. A painful sensation, not unlike the prickling of many needles coursed through his body as he screamed in pain.
Dislodging his lightsaber from the abdomen of another unlucky soldier, Raiju joined the fray, raising his lightsaber in protest as he stood between the Miraluka and the powerful Sith Lord Carthis. “Your very presence here is a mockery to the true powers contained here! I have tapped its full potential!” The Sith bellowed as the frequency of the lightning increased substantially, lifting the Nautolan off his feet and slamming him into a nearby pillar, the impact chipping the duracrete structure as a shower of loose duracrete layered itself onto his disoriented form.
A curtain of fog immediately draped over the Nautolan’s senses. Even if the Jedi Guardian could see past the cloud of dust that wafted up from debris that poured upon his body, Raiju’s vision only produced blurred images with an invading darkness. The creature’s hearing did not fare better; even with all the chaos consuming his surroundings, only a muffled buzz filled the Nautolan’s ears. Not that a Jedi needed these abilities – the force was his ally. Yet, his focus to draw upon its touch remained broken as the screaming sensation of pain surged through his body.
Only a choked grunt managed to escape the Jedi Guardian’s lips as the pain washed over him. While the tingling sensation caused by the Sith Lord’s attack still pickled all throughout his body, it was the impact on the pillar that damaged him the most. Upon hitting it a meaty, sickly sounding pop accompanied the painful wrenching of his left shoulder and the still-present numbness that over took the arm below it. Now, pain piled on the alien’s chest with even the slightest movement. Whatever was happening around the Nautolan as the remaining Jedi regrouped against the Sith Lord, they each could be dying of a gruesome and horrible death for all he knew, was all irrelevant next to the pain that burned in him.
Despite the Prelate’s fixed attention, much was happening in the battle – at least, that is what the ground shaking and muffled shouts seemed to communicate. At times there may have even been the faint fit of laughter. Whatever the events, they soon conspired to drag the Nautolan back into the mix. Heavily, a body suddenly crashed through the cloud of dust and came to a rolling stop by colliding with the Nautolan. As the pain intensified – though, Raiju couldn’t figure how it could – the darkness in his vision expanded and completely blacked out.
“Raiju?” A distance voice seemed to say, repeating every few seconds. Though it was faint and a struggle to acknowledge, the voice soon led the Nautolan back to consciousness. While his vision still was slightly blurry and contained a number of flickering stars, it didn’t take much focus for the Jedi Guardian to recognize the ugly face mere inches from the Nautolan’s nose.
“With that rag on your face I know wouldn't be able to see it, but I want you to know if I could move my arm I would be flipping you the bird.” Raiju mumbled to the Miralukan Morotheri, who stood now with a grin and tightly gripped the Nautolan's injuried arm.
"Allow me to help you with that." The Aedile chuckled lightly before reefing the arm back into the Nautolan's socket.
“You’re not as strong as you think you are.”
Denath’s last words before he dealt the killing blow to Carthis echoed in Elleron’s mind. Carthis had been a difficult opponent; he had fried Morotheri and badly injured Raiju before Denath decided to take a break from the fighting. Utilizing his superior Force abilities, he suppressed Carthis while he bore down on Doku, Mar and Morotheri. The others had been injured, a bash to the head here and a couple of small cuts and burns there, before Denath decided the fight had gone on long enough.
Elleron couldn’t help but stare at the body. Denath had taken an opportunity to strike Carthis with the Force, exploiting his suppressed defenses and blinding rage to obliterate his ribs. From there, the fight was just cruel, an arm severed, a thrust in unimportant places, it was Denath enjoying his victory. It had tasted sweet. While he understood that death was a necessity of battle, the teenager had committed to preserving life where he could. While Denath had faded back into his subconscious, leaving control of the host body to Elleron, the memory of Denath’s enjoyment was a little too much for the moment.
Elleron climbed the stairs at the end of the courtyard and looked over the remains of the pillar and durasteel barricades. This had been a decent size force, out here no doubt to explore the ruins. Elleron wandered off to the side, rounding a corner and coming face to face with a tall and impressively decorated building. Statues and symbols had been carved in front of a sealed entrance littered with abandoned tools and machinery. Clearly, this had been where the reinforcements came from. As he looked over the statues, Denath informed him they looked like effigies commonly associated with Naga Sadow.
This had been their goal, the objective of this particular One Sith force. There numbers were troublesome, but it wasn’t a full-fledged army... it occurred to Elleron that they may have been a task force, and would need to communicate with a higher authority. That meant they needed radio equipment in their camp. This tomb had been their goal; it had to be nearby.
Elleron jogged back to the others to share his insight. If they could find the radio, they could signal the Brotherhood forces in orbit around the planet and if necessary, use the location of Sadow’s Sanctum as a bargaining chip for a rescue...
The Others gathered round Elleron as he hurried back to them, sharing his new information. "Good Idea" Doku said nodding to show his agreement with Elleron. Mar, however, waited for silence to fall before stating his concern, "Was it a temple, or a tomb?"
"Only one way to find out, Besides, what could be worse than what we just encountered?" Raiju stifled a laugh as a clapped Mar on the shoulder before leading the way forward. The group made their way to the building's entrance uninterrupted. The building was decorated with the usual Sith Grandeur, however the door itself didn't appear to have a natural Entry system, no locking mechanism nor keyhole. An area of the surface lacked in design, enough to imply a doorway.
"Space for a door, but no door. Brilliant!" Mar sighed and tapped the apparent-doorway with his foot. "What now?"
"I see the door" a voice claimed, Mar looked over his shoulder to see Morotheri shooing him out of the way. Adhering to the gestures Mar stepped back and watched. The Miralukan placed his palms and channelled the force into it "Pressure plates, Seen through the force. Lucky we had you with us" Doku acknowledged as the sounds of stone scraping on stone echoed from within and the wall pulled backwards and disappeared within the building.
Silently the group of Jedi exchanged looks and started to progress through the building, a room at the end projected light into the hall as the echoes of voices travelled effortlessly through the air. The group - battered and worn reluctantly prepared for combat once more before jumping on their would be enemies.
"Oh, my!" Said the startled voice of a Droid.
Elleron was far more comfortable fighting a collection of droids than soldiers. For a start, their tactics were limited by their programming, making them a little more predictable. Many of them were also weaker and more suspectible to harm. And, of course, the remains were easier on the eyes. He reflected and once, dissipated blaster fire as he and Raiju led the way into the chamber. Focused more on defending his allies, Elleron happily let the others do most of the fighting.
The chamber they were in was fairly small, with four doorways. One led the way they came, two others to antechambers, and there was one big door, decorated and sealed, which Elleron surmised was the main entrance the One Sith forces had been having trouble with. Scratches marred its surface where drilling equipment had failed to make a substantial impression, and behind came a sense of foreboding, an overwhelming shadow that lingered, patiently.
Raiju grimaced a grin as he dispatched the last of the droids. He had spent some time healing his injury with the aid of the Force, but he’d need to spend some more before he was fully recovered. Doku and Morotheri glanced around the small chamber as Elleron put his weapon away. “They look like antechambers,” Morotheri noted. “Are those tents?” Doku nodded his agreement and the two of them went exploring.
“We’ll take the other side,” Raiju decided.
The antechamber was narrow and started with a steep slope, but this soon levelled out to a long area filled with dirt, dust and tents. They had clearly been used as staging areas by the One Sith forces for their expedition. Cautiously, they scoured the rooms. Random belongings, clothing, and most importantly – in some minds – a good collection of preserved food and drink were organized and neatly stacked in the camp site.
“I found it!” Mar shouted. “This looks to be a transmitter.” The strange metallic object had a screen, keyboard and a collection of antenna and other devices wired into it. Mar turned it on, and an encrypted interface flashed on the screen.
“Great, the facking thing’s encrypted,” Raiju muttered. “Can we break it?”
“We’ve got time,” Elleron replied. “I’m gonna make something to eat. We couldn’t salvage much out of the wreckage and I’m starving.”
“I’ll get Morotheri and Doku and keep an eye out. I don’t think we need any more surprises.”
Raiju ran in to the others in the central chamber. “What did you find?” Morotheri asked.
“A transmitter, but it’s encrypted. I’m guessing they had some kind of radio technician who locked it. What’s that?”
“I could be wrong, but I think it’s the radio technician’s belongings,” Doku grinned. Raiju returned the grin and took position in the archway, facing the main entrance, one hand resting on his lightsaber.
Councillor Mithfaron stared at the large, foreboding door, placing a curious hand on it's surface. “I wonder what is in there?” he mused out loud.
“There’ll be time for that later. The boy is making something to eat.” The Councillor gave Raiju a suspicious look. “I wasn’t hungry enough for his cooking either, but at least we’re out of the cold.”
“We should get some food and rest, its been a long day.” Raiju shrugged.
“I’ll take first watch, Councillor.” Councillor Mithfaron nodded and stared at the door one last time.
Strangely, for a brief moment, he thought he felt it stare back.