Team Galeres: Clan Arcona
Team Galeres: Clan Arcona
Obelisk Exarch Sanguinius Tsucyra Entar - 10407
Obelisk Exarch Cethgus Tiberius Entar Arconae - 6705
Krath Priestess Inarya - 10439
Dark Jedi Knight Kalon Dane Beviin - 12247
Jedi Hunter K'tana - 13419
Guardian Nath Voth - 13425
Novie Atyiru Araave - 13486
Cethgus heard the shuttle enter the atmosphere as a smile came to his lips, he stared into the eyes of his student, friend and Quaestor. Sang stood with the group that he had assembled from Galeres, his own student Inarya was sitting down talking with her another Twi’lek a journeymen by the name of K’tana.
Following his eyes round the shuttle the last few members seemed to fall into place, Sang’s second student Kalon sat silently in the corner, paying no attention to his surroundings. As well as the new Battleteam Leader of Dark Forge Nath and of course a new member she seemed to be getting on with known as Atyiru Araave.
The shuttle began its low velocity decent, heading towards the landing zone that they had been given, the shuttle didn’t take long before it began its final landing preparations. Feeling the feet of the shuttle touching down on the planet surface the Exarch headed towards the ramp hitting the button with his fist he allowed it to come to a hiss as it lowered itself, taking a step onto the new planet his eyes glanced around trying to gauge where they would be going.
“According to our coordinated we needed to to head in that direction.” His finger coming out and pointing up to the rugged terrain in front of them, knowing that it was not going to be the easiest trip they had ever faced, the Exarch looked towards the group he was with. Sang took the lead instantly walking the trek that would see them arrive at their mission objective, knowing full well that they had days to walk the group seemed in high spirits.
Keeping a steady pace the group chatted away until they hit more rough part of the route, this would take time to get through but it seemed that what lay ahead was still unknown to them, Cethgus allowed his eyes to turn back to the group as they stopped, knowing that Sang would want to give them orders.
“Inarya, you and your apprentice head up the scouting party come straight back to us if you see any form of resistance am I understood?” the Quaestor’s voice showed authority behind it as he dismissed the two to scout ahead.
The group must have walked for days, or it seemed like that, though they meet very little resistance for now, it was clear that things would change though, as the group saw Inarya moving back up with K’tana their pace was quick and of somewhat importance as they neared the group taking a small moment to stop before speaking calmly to Sang and Cethgus.
“We have what can only assume to be Black Sun’s basic foot patrols though they are around a camp cannot be far away, I suggest we try and take them out on the silent if we can, keeps things discreet and will allow us to grand entry to the Dark Fortress easier that way.” Inarya stepped to the side to allow Cethgus and Sang to talk about the potential option that came his way.
“We should take the patrols out, we have at least another twelve hours walking ahead of us, and we will only be slowed down by a large scale engagement.” Sangs option was the correct one as such the team began to move with speed to set up a trap, deciding to catch them off guard would be the best option that they would have.
They soon reached the patrols. It wasn’t hard to spot them, they weren’t even attempting to be hidden it seemed that time just ticked away from fight after fight. There were no issue for the group of combat trained members, it was just a case of holding them up in time, and it was the constant draining experience that was taking place, fight after fight was doing nothing more than putting constant strain on everyone’s body. Let’s alone the tiredness that came from the journey that they had been making.
It started slowly fights between the group, as they grumbled and argued against each other, it was only snappy arguments and nothing more, but as the walk continued they got larger and over the smallest things, it was like a ticking time bomb from tiredness. The journeymen of the group were suffering the most, not used to this constant combat and movement, the walk had crushed what resolve they had, leaving them to bite at the others easily when their temper was flared even the slightest.
Once they had managed to avoid or kill of the Black Sun patrols that came in their way they finally found themselves standing in front of the Dark Fortress. Cethgus stepped forward looking at the entrance. Days had passed since they had set off, their minds where cracking from exhaustion, bodies aching from constant combat, but they had made it as was required.
Cethgus found his breath taken from his body as he felt the dark side rattle his very core; this place leaked it out without control or direction. It was almost too much for the Exarch he felt surrounded without anywhere to back to, though he snapped back to reality when he heard a lightsaber activate.
Spinning on the spot his own saber coming into his grips as he brought It across blocking the incoming attack from the Jedi Hunter, his eyes widened as he realised it was K’tana who had actually tried to attack Sang. His lips curled up into a snarl as he brought the back of his hand against her cheek sending her flying to the ground with the force of the impact.
“YOU DARE ATTACK OUR QUAESTOR!?” his voice showed anger as he stepped towards her.
Nath trekked upwards with the team, she decided to be at the back, knowing damn well she would find it easier to stay out of trouble there. Atyiru stuck close to her, she didn’t seem to pay much attention, apart from the quick who’s who round up she did for her they had spoken little.
As the time passed, from hours to days of continuous walking her usual stoic composure dropped to outright anger. Her brow creased as she watched the two Twi’lek walk in front of her, every sway of their backsides irritated her all the more but she slammed it down with every ounce of she had. An outburst was unacceptable, however, she had on three occasions ended up in arguments but fortunately they were broken up before it turned into brawls.
The only relief and outlet the team had was the small pockets of Black Sun mercenaries Inarya and K’tana spotted on their scouting but they were easy sport. Felled quicker than babes in cradles against their adversaries of the moment.
The fortress loomed out before them, a large black monolith that was finally close to them. She watched passively as K’tana ignited her lightsaber to strike at Sanguinius as his back was turned. Cethgus swiftly intervened sending her sprawling to the ground in a pile of limp limbs and snow.
Nath spotted Atyriu moving to intervene but she tugged her back by the back of her clothes with her left hand. As Atyriu turned to face Nath she didn’t let go but was rubbing her sternum with the knuckles of her right hand.
“Do not intervene, she needs to learn her place, and you would only be injured in the process...” Nath replied stoically.
"Learn her place? No! They need to desist! This will help nothing!" Atyiru snapped frigidly, her outburst unlike any previous behavior. Nath took a deep breath, trying hard to curb herself, Atyiru did not know the due process of the Brotherhood. Dropping her voice now, she whispered so that only she could hear.
“Cethgus will have no compunction in killing you, it is his way, save your anger for when you can win.” She advised in the hope of dissuading her, the serious tone actually had a flicker of emotion to it as she whispered almost silently.
"I will never stand by and watch harm come to another when I can prevent it." Atyiru hissed, her acerbic voice just as low as Nath's. She jerked her cloak away, rounding to face Nath instead, fists clenched in restrained rage. "This is senseless! This is stupid! Can you not feel the rage of this place? It poisons us!" Her lips curled. "We cannot surrender to it!"
Nath reached out restraining Atyiru by twisting her arm behind her back with a savage twist, Nath could feel the joint twist and strain as she held her in place but did not break any bones. She watched as K’tana as she rose to her feet, charged, and tried to slash at his flank only to have the strike parried and his boot connect swiftly with her solar plexus. She sprawled out once more on the ground panting, deactivating her lightsaber as she heard the loud hum of Cethgus’ close to her ear. Cethgus could hear the deep pants as the Twi’lek tried to catch her breath, the small groan informing him that she was semi-conscious.
"Desist!" Atyiru screeched at them, writhing in Nath's hold. She knew exactly how close she was to a bone fracture, but she cared not. "Release me, Nath! This must stop! It must stop!" When it was finally over, and the lightsabers were extinguished she allowed her grip to leave Atyiru’s arm silently, she had been very careful to restrain without leaving long term damage; the most she would get is some severe bruising.
Stepping away Nath went up to inspect the walls the stood close to, her hand trailing along the wall as her eyes closed, sensing the power radiating from the place sent shivers down her spine. She turned to Cethgus and Sanguinius, her hand slipped off the wall slowly, as she watched what would take place next.
The days following their deployment onto Rhelg were grueling and miserable. Everyone was becoming exhausted and agitated. Multiple fights broke out between the team members, but Atyiru was always lagging too far behind to intervene before one of her superiors did so themselves. The rest of the team found an outlet in the pockets of Black Sun agents they came across, but it was short-lived relief. Atyiru’s own irritation was rising like a murky tide, along with the pain in her skull; but she calmed herself, and channeled the aggression into her next step through the snow.
When they at last came to the Fortress, Atyiru nearly went down on her knees. The building wasn’t transparent in her vision like other nonliving objects; it absolutely radiated the Dark Side. Atyiru clutched at her head as waves of the shadowy, choking power buffeted her; however, she had to keep moving, as the rest of the group went forward.
It became even worse the nearer they drew. Even standing as close to Nath Voth as she was, Atyiru could barely pick out her aura in the swap of this place, let alone that of her Quaestor or the other Knights. Her vision was saturated with the Force. For the first time, Atyiru had the sense of what it might be like to be truly blind.
Atyiru was disoriented, and before she could even grasp the situation, the presence of her Aedile was flaring with rage and knocking away the manic shade that was K’tana. The crystalline hum of activated lightsabers alarmed Atyiru, sending her into motion. She strode forward, intent on getting between them; but Nath’s hand shot out and caught her cloak, yanking hard.
Atyiru spun around to face Nath, massaging her abused clavicle. Her lips turned down into a grimace as the Battleteam Leader spoke.
Their argument and her subsequent restraining caused the anger that Atyiru had been clamping down on the entire trek to rear its ugly head and roar at the woman that was deterring her. She bucked and writhed in Nath’s grip, uncaring of the fact that if she moved too much, she risked fracturing her ulna or olecranon. She had to help. She kept struggling, even when the agony in her arm peaked. But still it was useless: the much physically stronger woman held her fast, and didn’t release her until the fight was over.
As soon as Nath’s hands left her body, Atyiru rushed forward and dropped to the injured Twi’lek’s side. She removed her thick gloves and felt the burn of the arctic air on her skin. Reaching out, she first felt for a pulse at the neck and wrist, and then placed her palm on the other woman’s chest to assess her respirations.
“K’tana? Can you hear me? Can you respond?” She asked as calmly as she could. The focus was a blessing: it allowed her to find her calm again amid all the anger and pain swirling around her. K’tana groaned in reply, but the lack of complete words worried her. If she fell unconscious now, she’d likely be left behind to freeze; or rather, the both of them would be. Atyiru wasn’t about to leave a patient.
She ignored the goings on of the other team members around her as she felt along the Twi’lek’s abdomen, feeling the tenderness there of blood pooling beneath the skin. K’tana groaned loudly as Atyiru prodded at her injury. Atyiru murmured a few encouraging phrases and reached up to press a hand to the woman’s forehead.
Atyiru diagnosed two cracked ribs. Nothing life-threatening, but troublesome. She unstrapped the modest medical kit from her back and took out the materials she needed to wrap the ribs properly. The Twi’lek moaned again, starting to come around, as Atyiru rubbed some numbing cream over the area and did the dressing. She pulled her hands away as she finished and the Twi’lek groaned again.
“K’tana? Can you understand me? Can you respond?” She questioned again, and was relieved when she got a snappish reply in the affirmative. She went to help K’tana up, but was pushed aside. The volatile Hunter snapped at her as she got to her feet, skulking away.
Atyiru sighed and stared down at her hands for a moment. The arm Nath had been holding ached badly, and Atyiru wondered if she’d sprained one of the bones. She sighed again and wished she could yank on her braid to alleviate her returning irritation. It seemed it was impossible to stay calm in the fury of the Dark Fortress.
Atyiru moved to stand when Nath’s burning presence drew close to her and a hand was extended to help her up. The frown on her lips smoothed as she accepted the assistance with her good hand, letting Nath pull her to her feet. She dropped it just as quickly, but Atyiru was still grateful as she retreated to lean against the wall and catch her breath.
K’tana was fuming. Rage surged through her very being and was all that was keeping her warm at the moment. She didn't remember what Sanguinius did to make her react the way that she did, but it didn't matter now.
"K’tana? Are you alright?" she heard the other woman say with genuine concern in her voice. K'tana, being use to brutal and violent treatment did not know how to respond to a basic kindness or concern from a teammate
"Remove your hands from me! I'm fine!" K'tana snapped. The usually perky, giggly Twi'lek couldn't seem to shake off this near hysterical ire towards the group. She strode back towards Inarya, looking into her new Masters eyes and flicking her lekku about.
"I'm sorry Mistress. I couldn't help myself, but it won't happen again," K'tana said to the other Twi'lek in the silent lekku language. She kept her head respectfully lowered while maintaining eye contact.
Inarya, prone to being lenient with her slightly chaotic counterpart, simply nodded in response as the two of them rejoined the rest of the group at the walls of the massive Dark Fortress. As an apprentice with Force potential, but hardly any power herself, K'tana could only vaguely feel the surge of energy that welled through her system from merely leaning heavily against the wall. She could not see what the big deal was, other than what she'd been told.
At least, not yet.
However, something nagged at her insides that this low hum, of whatever it was she felt, would intensify significantly once inside the ancient structure. Something else told her to watch her back, and to watch her companions closely.
Inarya watched the preceding with baited breath, she knew better to step in the way of Ceth, she was no match for him. Her mind however was conflicted instinctively she knew her place was to defend her former master and Queastor but she knew K’Tana was acting out of her senses. She saw the young Novice ran towards the purple Twi’lek, Inarya rested her hand on her lightsaber ready before her interception by Nath. She stood between K’Tana and the rest of the group, seeing that she was only comforting her injured student she let her pass.
Inarya read the movements of K’Tana’s lekku and simply nodded. She was not used to being called “Mistress” and it made her feel slightly uncomfortable. She knew that she needed to save face, she got down on her knees in front of Sanguinius, her head bowing to the floor.
“Please Master Sanguinius, forgive my student and her misgivings. She was acting out of character. Please, any punishment that you feel should be bestowed on her please bestow on myself instead.” She looked down to the floor, she hated being formal.
“Indeed, I shall see that punishment is given” the voice of the Queastor rung out, the authority that he held was thick in his voice. He walked passed her towards Cethgus putting his hand on his shoulder almost like a master would to a violent dog.
Inarya got to her feet and walked to K’Tana, she looked at her to make sure there is no lasting damage.
“You owe me for that” the crimson Twi’leks voice was threatening, more indifferent and slightly sarcastic.
Kalon remained silent, as was his usual habit. He barely uttered a word since the team had gathered, feeling that he had little to say to his team members. Since his own arrival on Rhelg he had felt a sense of anger stirring within him, starting as a small scratchy feeling and gradually growing inside to barely contained rage.
He still felt like this as he watched Cethgus slap Ktana to the ground, standing unmoving and staring at her. He wanted to kill them all, he really did, but he knew they were useful and refrained from any violent action. His loyalties in his team rested only with Sanguinius, his old master and perhaps the only member of Arcona who the Mandalorian actually almost trusted.
“Should have just killed her and been on our way.” growled the Dark Jedi Knight from behind his helmet, watching as Atyiru and then Inarya come to Ktana’s aid.
He spotted glares arise from both Twi’leks as he turned his attention to the rest of the group, who were gathering back together to continue the journey. His lightsaber was still in his hand and as he noticed this he swiftly clicked it back onto his belt, though his hand was still on the weapon, just in case.
“My Lord-Quaestor.” spoke Kalon, bowing to Sang. “May I ask, why did you let the girl live?”
“She was not acting with a rational mind, and it would be wiser for her punishment to wait until we are all stable again.” replied the Quaestor, nodding his greeting to his old student beforehand.
“Of course, my Lord.” said Kalon, bowing again as he walked away from Sang.
Sanguinius could only stare with bemusement as Cethgus and K’tana had tussled in the entrance to the fortress. That the Jedi Hunter would have the nerve to attack him was commendable, but stupid. But power often made people make stupid decisions. The Dark Side infused this place; the Exarch could feel his surroundings surge with energy that flowed all around him. Sanguinius knew first hand that power could corrupt and he was surprised that none of the others had attacked him, using the boosting effects of the fortress to challenge his leadership and position.
The Anaxsi had heard the lightsaber igniting behind him and yet had felt no fear. Instead, he felt only secure in his power as his brother and Aedile had defended him as Sanguinius knew he would. Here, the Obelisk was supreme. The pinnacle of a warrior, the newly frocked Exarch stood shoulder to shoulder with one of the greats of the Shadow Clan. Cethgus Tiberius Entar Arconae. The Iridonian had taught the Assassin much during the 7 years of their knowing each other. Introducing Sanguinius to the intricacies of the Dark Side and training him in the deadly arts of lightsaber combat. In turn, the human had taught his own crop of students, two of them accompanying the Quaestor here on Rhelg as he had requested.
It seemed that the discipline that had been instilled by him by his former Master, Cethgus, and had, in turn, been instilled in his students, Inarya and Kalon had failed to be taught to Inarya’s student, K’tana. Disappointment marred his respect and affection for his old student, Sanguinius could only hope that his other student, Kalon, would not fail his old master by showing such failings.
With K’tana restrained and calmed down, the Anaxsi laid a hand on his brother’s shoulder.
“Cethgus, calm yourself, brother.” Sanguinius smiled. “The power of the Dark Side here is magnificent; it simply overwhelmed our colleague for a moment.”
The Zabrak grunted non-committedly.
Sanguinius continued, removing his hand and speaking up so the rest of the group could hear him. “Brothers and sisters, we are here to show the One Sith that they don’t mess with the Shadow Clan, let alone the Brotherhood. We have been assigned to clear this structure and we should be aware that others will be supporting us in this.”
Silence met the Quaestor’s words, allowing him to carry on.
“I warn you that not all of those who are supposed to be supporting us will actually do so. Taldryan and Scholae Palatinae are also supporting the Dark Throne’s forces alongside Arcona. Watch your targets and stay with your Clanmates.”
Nath responded, shouting out the rallying cry that had been so popularised after the 9th Great Jedi War. “Arcona Invicta!”
The others in the group duly echoed the cry, eager to show their prowess on the battlefield once more. For some of them, they were old hands. For others, this was their first conflict.
The Anaxsi moved to stand in front of K’tana and stared at her for several seconds that seemed to stretch into the eons. The Jedi Hunter stared back, unwilling to show weakness. The connection was broken as Sanguinius broke into a wild grin.
“I like a woman with spirit, just try not to stab me in the back again.” The Obelisk patted her shoulder heartily, and turned to walk away, chuckling to himself, thinking up a suitable punishment for the Journeywoman for when they returned to Eldar.
The group set off, moving further into the depths of the fortress, their blades ignited and ready to be used.
Cethgus heeded the words of his brother as he gave a small nod in reply to the statement. As he watched the group sort themselves out, his eyes glanced over to K’tana as he allowed his saber to come back to it’s place on his belt. As he turned back to face into the fortress, the Exarch allowed his eyes to scan their surroundings. Though it wasn’t much at the moment, just a tunnel leading deeper inside of the fortress. As Sang stepped forward, fist leading the group into the tunnels slowly and cautiously they began their descent into the darkness.
“So, I figured this place would be crawling with enemies...” The Exarch’s voice was cold as stone as he spoke towards his Quaestor.
“Keep on your guard everyone, I think we are about to see an increase in enemy contact the further we go.” Sang’s voice, though calm on the surface, showed a sign of realisation that this seemed too easy.
As they continued further into the fortress, Cethgus began to feel his mind slipping from him. Panic settled in from the lack of rest as well as the constant fighting. Self-control slipped from his mind as he heard whispering behind him, flaring his anger up in a matter of seconds. As expected, Sang was the first one to notice the threat that was screaming out of his Aedile’s body. Turning to the group he looked at them, quickly gauging their position.
“Inarya! Kalon! Move out of the path of...” Sanguinius’ sentence was cut short as Cethgus’ mind finally snapped, consumed by the Dark Side that was pulsating around them. The line between friend and foe merged into one at that point in time for the Iridonian.
Grabbing his saber, the blade hissed into life at that moment in time. Spinning around, the Obelisk Exarch aimed for the red skinned Twi’lek, forcing her backwards with alacrity. The maddened Aedile’s eyes fell upon the second closest person. His lip curling up into a sneer at that moment in time as he launched himself towards the Mandalorian in his path.
Blinded by rage, Cethgus was a threat to anyone, as his saber caught Kalon’s in a perfect lock. The Arconae’s free hand smashed into the former mercenary’s helmeted face, sending him stumbling backwards which gave the Exarch enough time to retreat to a front on position in relation to the rest of group.
Gripping his saber once more, Cethgus prepared for any of them to attack, his eyes darting to each of them in turn. His rage had finally broken free. He stood there, seeing each one of them as a flaw for this mission. Instantly he allowed his grip to tighten on the hilt of his saber. Shooting forward towards the group, not caring for who his target was, just knowing he would hit one of them as he brought his lightsaber down. The Aedile of House Galeres was lost within the Dark Side of the Force, his anger spilling out from him with ease.
Nath sighed as she followed on, the anger building and festering inside. What had started as an ember was now almost a blaze within her. The deeper inside the place she walked, the worse it got; but she would never turn back. She kept Atyiru close, knowing if another explosion of uncontrolled anger happened she would have to keep her out of the way. Silently, she hoped that it wasn’t her.
The only warning she got was when she heard Sanguinius’ voice echo back to her. The next thing she knew Inarya flew past her in a haze of red and black, grazing her arm as she did so. Kalon was quickly back-peddling at the impact of his helmet against his nose. The metal did not break but the blow was enough to send him reeling.
Nath cursed loudly in Iridonian as Cethgus charged, pushing Atyiru out of the firing line of his assault. The Miraluka had silently crept in front of her to see what was happening, only to have herself collide with the closest wall with a small squeak. Recovering, Atyiru drew her SoroSuub ELG-3A pistol as she pushed off the wall, and drew a bead on Cethgus as he charged.
“K’TANA, DUCK!” Was the only warning the purple Twi’lek received as her finger squeezed the trigger. The bolts were well aimed; however, with a flick of his lightsaber Cethgus sent them hurtling back to the sender. K’tana had to dive to avoid the returning bolts, while Atyiru had moved out of their path swiftly.
Nath became the next best target. She felt her muscles relax, readying for the strike that never came. Sanguinius had swiftly blocked the attack with his own lightsaber, the sound permeating the air as the two blades crackled against one another. They disengaged briefly, and she took the opening. Nath let out a hiss of fury as her foot immediately shot out, kicking Cethgus square in the abdomen; but it didn’t do much, as he was as hard as rock. Taking a step back, his lightsaber swung in another arch, barely grazing Nath’s arm as she just about managed to see the attack come. The female Iridonian caught Sanguinius’ movement as he moved behind Cethgus.
The smell of lightly singed flesh wafted up her nose but she ignored it as she closed the gap between them, stepping close enough that Cethgus could not strike properly with his lightsaber instead having to parry multiple swift attacks from a now recovered Inarya.
Nath drew her head back and headbutted him square in the face. Her scarlet horns pierced and tore at his skin, her forehead collided squarely with his nose, while his free arm came up, punching her in the solar plexus. The air rushed out of her lungs in a wheeze as she fell to her knees.
She knew she was lucky, Cethgus was not using his full strength yet. Silently she hoped that he would snap out of it. The tension was immediately shattered by her laughter, at first coming out in small wheezing shudders, as her breath came back they became louder.
Kalon scrambled to his feet, looking up as Nath headbutted Cethgus in a pathetic attempt to halt the Exarch. The visual images from across his cracked helmet seemed to spin uncontrollably and the Mandalorian felt badly disoriented for several moments.
The Mandalorian threw off his helmet in order to help him see straight, his face was drenched with sweat from the combat and physical strain that had befallen the group in the last few days. He tasted blood in his mouth and snarled in anger as his now tolerable sight fell on Cethgus, whom was standing his ground in a rather intimidating posture.
“Copaani mirshmure'cye, vod?” growled Kalon, re-igniting his lightsaber and lunging at the Galerian Aedile. He glanced right during the attack to notice Nath rising to her feet, the Guardian appeared seriously disoriented from her battle with Cethgus. Kalon snapped his head back again to witness Cethgus parry an incoming attack from Sang, leaving the Iridonian’s back open to the Dark Jedi Knight.
As the blade came within centimeters of the Obelisk’s skin, the Exarch side stepped Kalon, lashing out with a fist that connected with the Mandalorian’s stomach, denting his chestplate and forcing him down onto one knee.
Kalon looked up to see that Inarya had also gotten back onto her feet and was moving to engage the enraged Iridonian Aedile. Sparks flew everywhere as momentarily the red-skinned Twi’lek managed to hold her ground against Cethgus, though she was soon overpowered by the Iridonian and forced back.
“Cethgus!” yelled the Galerian Quaestor as his Aedile converged on the Krath Priestess, his lightsaber singing as he spun it back and forth.
“Cethgus!” The shout resounded through the metallic hallway, a doom-bringing chorus to the Twi’lek at their Aedile’s feet.
Atyiru didn’t stop to think. She just brought her blaster up once more and squeezed the trigger, firing a volley at the monolithic behemoth Cethgus’s presence had become.
The Aedile reacted quick as lightning. His lightsaber hummed as it spun away from Inyara in order to deflect the shots. Atyiru hissed in pain when she felt the searing heat of a redirected shot burn through her side. She dropped a hand from her weapon to clutch at the wound, clamping down to suppress the bleeding.
Falling to one knee, she braced herself and lifted her blaster again, though she couldn’t take a shot. The others had seized the small diversion and now danced about their Aedile, alternatingly striking or being struck.
A winded K’tana was thrown down beside her as Cethgus continued to rage, and Atyiru holstered her blaster in favor of reaching out to the Twi’lek. She grasped the other woman’s forearm, giving her a little boost as she stood, and thought she heard a muttered thanks.
Atyiru moved to stand too, but the wound in her side howled in pain. She clenched her teeth as sat back, bringing her other hand up to join its brother. She probed at the hole, feeling clean edges that didn’t go too deep—it was superficial, a blessing.
Atyiru focused until her starry world narrowed, shutting out the flares of light and oppressive darkness around her. She concentrated, summoning up the Force as she prepared to use Cure to heal what she could.
The familiar brightness of the Force flickered, and died. In its place were oily shadows, creeping through her veins and burning like poison. The acerbic heat built in her fingertips, as if she were holding her hand in an open flame.
Her wound slithered closed, but the pain did not disappear. It only seemed to intensify, even as she broke her reverie and ceased the Cure. Atyiru’s face turned down towards her side as she slumped against the wall.
What tainted energy is this? She wondered, fear shattering her calm. What is this Force?
She didn’t have much more than a moment to ponder, as her senses came crashing back to her and the battle of brothers resumed.
K'tana knew this battle could not rage any longer if they wanted to survive the other challenges that lay ahead. She could think of only one thing to do and she knew it would take more than just her to accomplish it, but she would not have time to talk out her plan. She looked over at her Master and flickered her lekku about in the silent language which only another Twi'lek could understand.
I need to get behind him and have at least another two people distracting him. This needs to be stopped immediately, before someone dies because of this karking brute.
K'tana watched Inarya's eyes and saw her nod in understanding. They'd just have to trust the insane Tyrian Twi'lek to not do anything stupid. K'tana kept bounding out of the way of blaster shots and lightsaber attacks. She was thankful for all her training as a dancer as she was far more dexterous than the others in the group and able to avoid damage and not cause any to her teammates by simply dodging out of the way with rolls, twists and flips.
She watched as Inarya went over to Sanguinius and spoke to him, he seemed to be in agreeance as he made eye contact with Inarya's student and nodded. Inarya and Sanguinius ran to attack the sides of Cethgus and K'tana seemed to just slip away, bolting to the healer who was still gasping in pain. She smiled joyfully at the woman who'd helped her, gave the Miraluka a quick nod, then spun back to the battle and slipped around behind Ceth.
K’tana crept forwards, pulling out her dagger as she walked. She waited for the precise moment as the Lethan and the Human attacked in tandem. She watched as he blocked their attacks, holding them both off. That was when the Tyrian struck. She leaped into the air, grasping her vibro shiv tightly, and as she came down, she drove it into the Zabraks shoulder blade, twisting it and disabling his left arm.
Not wanting to truly damage his Brother-in-Arms, Sanguinius disengaged his saber before it crashed into the other mans face, giving Ceth the opening he needed to shove Inarya back, turn, and backhand K’tana before she could maneuver away safely. The violet woman crashed into the wall and slid to the floor, not yet unconscious but no longer coherent.
She managed a single smirk, when she saw her blade sticking from the Zabraks back, before the blackness took her.
Charging towards her like a steam train was the hulking mass of her Aedile. In a flash of black and white, the Zabrak was upon here. The wall of muscle met with her slight frame sending her careening backwards head over feet. Cethgus was a veritable force. This was unquestionable. Only now he was stronger. She toppled back, rolling across the hard stone floor, and slammed into the wall at the back of the room. The crimson-skinned Twi’lek lay stunned. Flecks of white began to spot her narrowing vision. She heard only high-pitched ringing, exacerbated by each heartbeat. And through the piercing shrill she could hear the cries. Reason and logic evaded Cethgus as he flailed and tore through his own forces.
Inarya shook her head, casting out the fuzziness, and clawed at the stone wall, pulling herself clumsily to her feet. Then it hit her. Pain. Agony. It washed over her like a crashing wave. But this was no time for tarry. She tapped into the Force, pushing her injuries into the furthest reaches of her subconscious and turned to her Aedile. The newest of the Arconae had set to work on delivering his cadre to death. Inarya knew her strength could not equal that of Cethgus, but her speed could perhaps tie him up...
Cethgus caught her mid-sprint, throwing her off-balance and back down to the cold stone floor. But her connection to the Force was still strong; she sprung back to her feet and surveyed her surroundings, before finally locking her gaze with that of her student and nodding. K’tana twitched her Lekku. Inarya knew what the signal meant.
It would not be long before Cethgus beat the fight out of the small group - they had to find a way to subdue him.
Sanguinius side-stepped into the path of the charging Iridonian and slammed his fist into Cethgus’ face. The Force-enhanced blow sent his fellow Entar stumbling to the side, the Quaestor had had enough of this debacle and he had no intention of letting his former Master injure any more Galereans. The Anaxsi followed up his strike with another blow to the Arconae’s solar plexus, which made him reel backwards.
“Stand down, Cethgus.” Sanguinius shouted, “Before I’m forced to put you down as a traitor to Galeres.”
The Quaestor was swiftly flanked by his former students, Kalon, who had discarded his battered helmet, and Inarya, who showed visible hesitation at facing the rampaging Cethgus.
“Fear not, we stand together as one.” The Anxasi reassured them, which steeled the pair for the assault that was about to come.
The Arconae had quickly recovered from the two blows, shrugging them off and had then launched himself forward, lashing out with the Force as he went in an attempt to smash down the assembled Dark Jedi.
Sanguinius combined forces with his two students, all three of them drawing upon the Force to create an invisible barrier against the oncoming Exarch, whose attack bounced off it. The Iridionian snarled as he collided into the transparent wall, breaking through it with his enhanced strength. Inarya and Kalon scattered without being told to move around behind the crazed Cethgus.
The Quaestor’s lightsaber met his Aedile’s blade without hesitation; the tableau of moving blades dazzled the watching Journeymen who had never seen such a display of martial power before. Sang gritted his teeth against the sheer physical power of his brother.
“YOU FAIL TO IMPRESS ME, SANGUINIUS!”
The hate filled words reverberated through the Entar’s head and reminded him of a scenario that had happened before long ago.
* * * * * * *
The angry shout made the Protector run faster as fear blossomed within him, too often had he faced his Master’s fury before and he had no wish to face it once again today. The Journeyman vaulted over another low wall, eager to complete the course in time.
“YOU CALL THAT FASTER?”
The voice came again, grating on the young Protector’s nerves. He darted behind a wall, skidding to a stop against the wall as he assessed his options. He was being hunted and his objective was to escape from this situation and reach a certain point without being caught. The armoury saber that was his only valuable possession hung from his belt and his robes were drenched with sweat.
Warning missives blared within his mind, alerting him to the lightsaber that skewered the wall behind him. The Protector dove forward, landing in a muddy puddle. He turned onto his back to see his pursuer cut through the wall with their orange lightsaber. The Plagueian’s eyes widened with pure fear as he scrambled off the floor and fled from the hunter.
He fled along the warren of corridors that comprised the maze that Plagueis utilised in the training of their Journeymen. This was supposed to test their nerves, their initiative and their cunning. The current Aedile of House Satal Keto observed the training exercise from above, keen to find out how their latest recruit was performing.
A voice piped up beside him, the man’s apprentice accompanying him. “Do you think he’ll survive the course?”
Kal Vorrac smiled, “But of course, Vivackus, our Rollmaster would not kill his student so recklessly.”
Vivackus nodded, perplexed by how relaxed his Master was, but of course, Kal had always been aloof as long as the Jedi Hunter had known him. The Kunian turned his attention back to the chase going on below.
Below the Dark Jedi, Sanguinius sprinted along the corridor he had chosen. The young Anaxsi had run this course twice before and each time, it had been different, almost as if the walls changed at will. Glancing back behind him, the young man could see no pursuer, giving him hope.
Directing his attention back to in front of him, Sanguinius could only open his mouth to shout in surprise as he collided into the unmoving mountain that was Cethgus. The Protector bounced off the Exarch, landing with a curse on the hard stone floor of the labyrinth. A long thin beam of orange plasma punctuated the darkness as the Obelisk activated his lightsaber.
“You should never look back; it only serves to weaken you,” Cethgus scowled at his student. “Now show me why I should spare your life.” He gestured with his saber for Sanguinius to stand up.
Sanguinius did so, pushing himself up off the floor with alacrity, the impending danger quickening his actions. With a single movement, the Protector had his armoury lightsaber ignited in his left hand and had leapt at the Exarch.
The Zabrak leant to one side, his orange blade darting out to deflect the panicked strike.
“I expect a more robust argument than that,” the Rollmaster smiled.
The next few blows came quicker and quicker, making Cethgus swiftly parry them. However, no matter how fast Sanguinius’ blows came, the skill and tenacity of the Exarch nullified them. Physical and mental exhaustion marred the Protector’s actions, slowing him exponentially. The chase through the labyrinth had sapped his strength and now, when Sang needed it the most, his strength abandoned him.
Cethgus backhanded the Protector, sending him sprawling. The armoury saber skittered across the stone floor, the failsafe kicking in and deactivating the aquamarine blade. Sanguinius pushed himself up off the ground slightly, holding his chin with his left hand, trying to stem the pain as his Master moved to stand over him with his lightsaber’s tip pointed at the Anaxsi.
“You failed to impress me, Sanguinius.” Cethgus sighed, disappointment evident on his features as he drove down with the blade, piercing the skin of the Journeyman, carving a large C on the man’s chest.
Screams echoed throughout the maze as Cethgus did his bloody work in punishing the weakling.
* * * * * * *
The screaming continued in the Entar’s head, punctuating the visions that sped through his mind in the few scant microseconds that had passed. The memories drove Sanguinius to new heights of power as he swore to himself to show his former Master that he was no longer the weakling he once was, that the scar on his chest no longer bound him to his fellow Exarch.
The Quaestor drew upon the vast reserves of the Dark Side that pulsated around the duelling Dark Jedi, funnelling and unleashing it into an explosive strike against the rampaging Obelisk.
"Can you not feel the rage of this place? It poisons us!"
The words of Atyiru repeated in her mind over and over again as the Quaestor and Aedile of House Galeres engaged in combat. Years of repressed aggression, anger, and small injustices boiled to the surface as each man maneuvered with lethal efficiency. Atyiru's eyes flashed to and from each member of the team waiting for one of them to intevene, but no one stepped forward.
The members of the Arconan expedition were indeed poisoned, but not by the power granted from Ludo Kressh's fortress. They were poisoned by the weakness of their inferior beliefs. Honor, integrity, and Brotherhood had subverted the Dark Side's will of aggression. The laws of the Dark Side were founded on survival of the fittest and those within this team had lost their way.
Upon stepping foot within the great fortress each member had been offered the great boon of having their inferior beliefs stripped from their addled brains. Power filled each member taking them to incredible and equal footing, yet they still clung to the weakness of their very Jedi like values.
Atyiru stepped forward, her slow anger focused on the insanity of the situation before her, its power bursting. Raising her hands the Novice began to call for peace, but her words were drown from the violent blue and black arcs of lightning funneling from her palms. The torrent of Dark Side electricity poured forth in a tidal wave of power wracking into Sanguinius and then Cethgus. Caught unaware the two men were blown into a nearby wall, their smoking bodies dropped to their knees.
"Can you not feel the rage of this place?
The Novice finally understood. She could feel the rage.....and she liked it.
Cethgus felt the pain rippling through his body as the lightning coiled and struck his very core. The impact as the lightning collided with his body instantly forced him into the air and away from Sanguinius. He found himself unable to help the scream of pain that was drawn from his lips as the shock from the blow constricted around him.The Iridonian could not move, could not do anything until the wave of lightning lifted from his body.
As he was slammed into the wall a grunt escaped him. He fell to his knees, smoke rippling from his cloak and `seared skin. Cethgus found himself looking toward his former student, his rage dissolving at the sight of his battered body.
Due to the unexpectedness of the attack, Cethgus had been given no time to prepare himself for what would come next. As he knelt there his body screamed at him in pain, and the Arconae knew he would not last much longer in his current condition. Ignoring the protest from his aching muscles, he attempted to stand. As he attempted to bring himself to his knees it started to become more and more apparent that his strength was failing him. Unable to keep the kneeling position up his body slumped down onto the floor with a dull thud, his saber rolling free from his fingertips and across the floor as it deactivated. The last thing Cethgus saw before he fell into brief unconsciousness was Sang’s bruised and bloodied form.
When he came to his eyes blurred in and out of focus for several seconds.His entire body was in agony. Glancing over to Sang he noticed he was suffering the same problem, the pain and terror had wrapped itself into his facial features. Both the Quaestor and Aedile laid dormant and unable to move, gripped by pain. Cethgus focused his energy into speaking towards his Student.
“Brother Tsucyra, are you ok?” his voice showed some form of what could be described as sympathy. His hand reached across and firmly grabbed the Quaestor’s shoulder.
“Do I look ok?” Sang’s eyes met with his Aedile. At that moment a slight sign of annoyance flashed towards him.
“Guess not, but figured I would check” his voice replied back with the snappy nature that the two Exarch’s gave each other all of the time.
“Is it the Horizons Virus?” Cethgus voice broke that silence as he spoke towards Sang, asking the question both of them were thinking. Of course, since Horizon, everyone would be on edge at something like this taking place. It was yet another reminder from something that was still fresh in the minds of many. It was obvious that Sang was thinking the same thing as well the question that lingered in their heads; what was the best course of action from here.
Sang shrugged his shoulders as he forced himself to push further than before, the force wrapping around him in a bubble-like field as it began to slowly construct the injured tissue back to life. A small smirk came to his lips, seeing that his Quaestor was ok he allowed the silence to grip him as his eyes fell fully closed. He let the darkness consume him as he slipped into unconsciousness, unable to protect himself from the damage he had taken.
A sanguine smile stretched impossibly wide over Atyiru’s lips, displaying all her teeth. She took another step forward, relishing the cry of anguish Cethgus released, the resounding crash as both he and Sanguinius smashed into the wall, and the outraged exclamations of the others.
The smell of burnt flesh filled her nostrils, and she inhaled deeply, feeling the hot, ecstatic power racing under her skin, crackling like the lightning she’d just unleashed.
“Fools.” She laughed at the smoking bodies before her, and those around her. “Utter fools.”
And they were. The delicious rage, the power, made it all clear. Every actions and decision, and idiotic struggle they’d had to endure thus far because of this idiocy. The Quaetsor and Aedile were supposed to be strong; but they were weak. Pathetically weak.
They didn’t listen. They fought the rage, roiling against it, because they could not see. They couldn’t see like her. They thought her blind? She hadn’t eyes to see with, and yet it was they that walked along their path with closed eyes! It was they that denied, and toiled, and squandered in the dirt.
These men, and the others around her. She could feel them, not just sense them. She tasted their conflict, the storm that howled in each of them. The Dark beckoned, and they ignored it. They fought as comrades, they showed mercy, they aided one another and called themselves a Brotherhood.
There was no such thing. There could be no such thing as brothers and sisters, allies and comrades. One did not stand on the summit of the world with fellows. One stood alone. Alone, and almighty.
Atyiru’s smile, somehow, grew as she raised her hands again. She turned on her heel, facing the strongest of the insolent insects still standing—Inarya. Darkness, beautiful Darkness, surged through her blood and pooled in her palms, birthed into arcs of sinister lightning.
She acknowledged the rage around her, drew it in, accepting its delicious gifts into her body. These knaves, these asinine defilers, spat on the rage, rejected it. She would correct their effrontery. She would annihilate them, banish them from this world like the parochial disgraces they were.
Atyiru cackled madly; then, she attacked.
K’tana watched in awe as the Miraluka woman, an apprentice with even less training than K’tana herself, shot lightning from her hands and took down both Sanguinius and Cethgus. She felt her heart race as she watched smoke rise from their gasping mouths. The Tyrian Twi’lek began to laugh, pointing at Cethgus enjoying his misery and laughing so much she nearly fell over. That was until Atyiru turned her hands towards K’tana’s Mistress. The laughter immediately came to a halt yet, for the first time, K’tana did not immediately run to the aid of her Master.
She stood silently and watched as Atyiru’s hands turned towards Inarya. She heard the Miraluka’s laughter suddenly become a choke as her hands shot nothing, not even a small spark. The Lethan Twi’lek’s body relaxed when she realized nothing further would happen.
Cethgus and Sanguinis were still collapsed on the floor. Nath was frozen in shock, staring at her new team member. The Mandalorian was kneeling on the ground by his Master, scowling at the Miraluka. K’tana stood closer to the exit then the rest of them, eyes wide and thankful that the in fighting might be over, finally.
She slowly approached Atyiru and laid her hand on the Miraluka’s shoulder. She leaned towards the other woman and whispered in her ear...
“Take this lesson to heart. Never forget what you learned here today. There is power and strength in rage.” She tilted her head to the side and said louder so all could hear, “And there is also power in having righteously pissed off allies as well...at least that’s what I take from this.”
She grinned wildly and bounced towards Inarya, taking a moment from her expression to scowl at Cethgus as she passed by.
“I like having friends who are just as full of rage as I am.” she giggled in a contradictory manner.
“My Lord, are you alright?” asked Kalon, willing to help his old master up if needed be.
With the force, Sang had almost finished repairing his wounds made by the fight with Cethgus, followed by Atyiru’s unexpected attack. The Quaestor shrugged of the Dark Jedi Knight’s kinder intent and stood up on his own.
“Better now..” he mumbled, going over to his Aedile to exchange what Kalon guessed to be some intimate words and physical aid.
The Mandalorian turned from them to survey the rest of the team, the circumstances of the last several minutes boded ill with him. All his life before his Knighthood, he had known loyalty and a bond of brotherhood shared with others, and this civil quarrel only frustrated him further. So much so, that he was almost consumed by the feeling of pure hate which continued to gnaw at every fibre of his being. Atyiru’s actions had increased this sense of anger, and a scowl towards her was all he needed to relay the message.
“Well that was an interesting development.” spoke a soft voice to Kalon’s left. He could tell it was Nath without looking, it seemed that she had finally come out of her daze due to the Novice.
“A pity there was no fatal backlash.” muttered the Mandalorian, his crimson eyes shone in the dark atmosphere of the fortress as he took in all of his surroundings. He heard a faint buzzing sound but decided to ignore it as nothing of importance.
The Guardian besides him shrugged and also went to walk up Cethgus, who was now being helped by a fairly exhausted Sang. With that, Kalon just stood there and waited for the team to ready up, his fury constantly building to new levels.
Nath’s back was half turned as Atyiru sent Cethgus and Sanguinius sprawling, catching a tail end glimpse of the lightning emanating from her fingers. She spun on her heel to observe, noting the males in a heap on the floor, then turning to observe Atyiru’s rant, which seemed never ending as she prattled on.
She saw the Miraluka female started making a charge towards Inarya but stopped her progress swiftly, by again, grabbing her by her clothing. This time she was not gentle, using the backwards momentum she slammed Atyiru into the wall near where her shoulder had rested.
Nath couldn’t help but take some satisfaction as she heard the loud crack her opponent's skull collided with the jagged stone.Silently she hoped that Atyiru had broken something and that it would shut her up. The tyrannical rant she had listened Atyiru give had done nothing to improve her already sour mood.
The female Iridonian only let the other woman go when Kalon replied to her, she couldn’t hide the smirk from her lips, as soon as she realised it was there the emotional shutters came flying back down, leaving her face emotionless once more.
“Indeed, maybe we’ll be luckier next time.” She muttered back with a slight shrug, unsure of if the Mandalorian had heard her. She pushed her weight off the wall Atyiru had slid down as Kalon moved forward to assist his former Master from the floor. Sanguinius did not accept the offer, instead getting to his feet of his own accord, if slightly unsteadily.
It looked like Nath was about to offer the same assistance to Cethgus but she didn’t, instead walking past them and deeper inside. She needed time to herself, normally used to the solitary life she had previously.
When she felt she was at a far enough distance she stopped, leaning against the wall, she plucked her dagger from the sheath at her thigh, squeezing the sharp edges of the blade in her left palm.
The sharp sting shot through her palm as she drew the blade across her palm, slicing through skin and the leather glove that she wore. Encouraging the bleeding and irritation, she pressed her thumb into the wound and dragged her nail down the clean cut.
A small sigh of relief passed her lips until she noted the movement in the periphery of her vision, and that someone was watching her. The irritation built immediately, worse than it had been before, roiling waves crashed into her mind as she tried to ignore the presence but failed. Immediately, she sheathed the weapon in her right hand but did not turn to look at whomever had decided to follow her, waiting instead for them to speak or act against her.
Inarya stood back watching as the room filled with the bright white light of the young female’s organic lighting. The smell of burning flesh hit her senses as the arch of blue lightning hit both Cethgus and Sanguinius. They flew backwards both of their bodies colliding with the floor, the Miraluka turned her hand towards Inarya. The Lethan grabbed her lightsaber breathing a sigh of relief as the female failed to unleash her attack. K’tana prowled towards the youngest member of the group, whispering poison in her ear. Nath took to her feet, flying at Atyiru and threw her against the wall. This wasn’t enough of a punishment for her. The crimson skinned Twi’lek picked up the now helpless Novice by the throat. She felt her delicate neck in her hands and squeezed.
“You know nothing of power!” Inarya voice laced with venom as she felt the girl struggling in her grasp.
The Priestess sent lighting down the arm she was holding up the Miraluka watching as each of her muscles convulsed as the electricity pulsated around her meagre body. The female cried in agony, her face contorted into an ugly portrayal of her pain. Inarya released the female, letting her fall roughly to the floor in a heap. Her small body shook with the current that attacked her nerve endings. The Krath looked down at the curled up body of Atyiru with revulsion. She slowly activated her lightsaber, pressing the blade into the female’s bare flesh a smile of delight across Inarya's lips as the saber burnt into the inexperienced female's flesh.
“Inarya, stop!” The Twi’lek turned her head towards the voice seeing her Quaestor addressing her. Inarya withdrew her blade and knelt down to the young girls face. She took hold of Atyiru’s chin with her hand.
“Try that again, and I will make sure that Sang isn’t around to stop your suffering.”
The still smoking robes of the Quaestor hung loosely from his body, as he struggled to reassert his dominance amongst the assembled Arconans. The sudden surge of lightning from the Miralukan woman had greatly injured Sanguinius, yet he had no intent to punish the young woman when she was merely only the third in a row to act out of character in this fortress.
It had poisoned the minds of the group, Sanguinius realised. It wasn’t the Horizons’ virus; no…it was the Dark Side that surrounded all things, that was the ultimate fount of bottomless power. He staggered slightly, despite the Exarch’s attempt to counteract the damage taken through the healing embrace of the Force. The women had turned on one another, seeking sovereignty over the group. It was always the same, the Anaxsi smiled wryly, give someone a loaded gun and they’ll more likely than not use it. That had happened here. The twisted mind of a mad genius had wrought great deeds here, had permuted the very fabric of existence….
Atyiru was an innocent; she had been used by the Sith Lord, Ludo Kressh. She deserved no punishment. Sanguinius called out a strained order, reining in his errant former student, Inarya. The Lethan stopped, her respect for the Quaestor the only reason that she went no further.
Sanguinius leant against one wall, gaining his bearings as Kalon stood near him, the only one who seemed to be unaffected by the degrading taint of the fortress. The quiet presence of the Mandalorian was reassuring to the Entar; he seemed to be the only other sane person here. Cethgus had snapped, K’tana had attacked him, Atyiru had fleetingly been the vessel of the Dark Side, Inarya had given into her anger and fear and Nath….Nath had withdrawn into herself. Sanguinius knew all of his companions well, had trained with them, supported them and encouraged them. The Exarch had given so much to the Arconans that their infighting hurt him dearly; it was if he had failed.
Turning his head towards the wall, Sanguinius clenched his fist as emotions swirled through his mind, fuelling his hate. He hadn’t failed, NO! They had come so far, some of them had gone through the caverns of Salas V with him, the plateaus of Antei during the reclamation, the grasslands of New Tython. Not to mention the onset of the Horizons’ virus and the assault by the mad Grand Master Zoraan. Together they had fought on the deserts of Krayiss II and destroyed the One Sith there. Now, when they had attempted to assault the fortress of Ludo Kressh, the task his Lord Consul had bidden him to do, only now had they failed to achieve what he had sworn to do.
The sense of failure rankled with the Exarch, the anger swirled within him, breaching the façade that Sanguinius so carefully maintained as he snapped. The Obelisk drew upon the vast reserves of power that encircled the Galereans that embalmed his wounds and filled him with a new sense of vigour and enthusiasm.
Standing up from the wall, the Entar barked another order, his fury unrestrained. “ENOUGH BICKERING!” he hollered. “Anyone else got a grievance they want to air or can we get on with the karking mission?”
The band of Arconans stared back, their hostility clearly visible.
“No? Good….Our beloved Lord Consul assigned us the task of liberating this stronghold from the clutches of those repulsive fools that call themselves Sith.”
Sanguinius pointed at Cethgus, his features uncommonly stern, “You give me any more trouble, brother, and I won’t hesitate to execute you as a traitor.”
Turning to the others, he declared his intentions. “The same goes for the rest of you, you hinder us in our mission and I won’t delay in cutting you down.”
Too long had the Quaestor had his authority questioned and he had had enough. The Dark Side be damned, he was in control here and the sooner his fellow Dark Jedi realised, the sooner they could actually do damage to the enemy instead of to each other.
“We’ve been in this citadel for five bloody minutes and already it’s a bloody shambles. Save your anger and pent up sexual frustration for the enemy alright?” Sanguinius scowled at the assembled Galereans.
Silence met his enquiry.
The Anaxsi turned and strode down the corridor, dragging his robes around him. He could only hope that the others would follow him, otherwise he was walking to his assured doom.
Cethgus felt the pain continued to lance through his nervous system. He struggled to push himself upright, the floor cold against his hand as he realized that he had been healed. Allowing his body to push off of the ground he found himself kneeling up it was obvious that his wounds had been attended to. His eyes snapped open as he tried to focus. Grunting as he felt a strong hand grabbing his upper arm and pulling him to his feet. Groggily he composed himself, as his eyes meet up with Sang as the Quaestor spoke.
“Understood, we need to complete our mission” his voice showed the slight pain that was still rippling through his body.
Allowing the Force to begin to comfort the pain he felt the hand leaving his arm. Turning, he was surprised to see Kalon standing beside him. A nod was the only form of appreciation that the Mandalorian would receive. Summoning his saber back into his hand Cethgus turned his attention back to Sang, who began to walk further into the fortress, the group following close behind. It seemed that the abrupt eruption of emotion from the Quaestor had sorted the infighting out.
Cethgus was the last to join them and they kept tight formation. They ran into Nath, who joined them and Cethgus made sure they advanced as one; sticking together would be the key to success or failure of the mission. A Lifetime seemed to pass as they continued walking. As they advanced, his eyes continuously scanned for any possible enemy activity.
“Keep your eyes on the flank, I don’t want to get caught with our arses in the air” his voice came out in the booming voice as power began to return to his body.
Cethgus heard the footsteps of the group as they descended into a hallway that spilled into a large, pillar filled chamber. Cethgus allowed himself to look around nothing special as the group moved further still into the room.Sang brought the group to a half, all of their eyes scanning the area, trying to find the source of a sudden and unexpected unease.
Suddenly, a small patrol of One Sith launched an attack. Sabers instantly hissed into life from the group as they responded to the threat. Those who were unable to deflect the initial onslaught moved into the middle of the group for support, but soon the two groups were fully engaged, each side struggling to gain the upper hand. Sang was pushed back once more as he engaged against the leader of the group. Instantly a saber came from the side of the Quaestor going for the kill only to be blocked by the Aedile.
Cethgus pushed an opponent away, still not having fully recovered from his earlier injuries, still not having fully recovered from his earlier injuries. He struggled to avoid a three-man rush, and would have been hopelessly outnumbered had it not been for the timely intervention of Kalon and Inarya who took on two of the attackers.
Though short, the rest of the battle was brutal as the scouting team was clearly unprepared to deal with a more heavily equipped force; they were soon destroyed by Sang and the rest. Once the last body hit the floor it left the group alone in the hall the bodies scattered around.
“This isn't heavy resistance, not as heavy as intel expected” Sang spoke to the group as he looked at the bodies scattered on the ground.
“I have to agree but we must head towards our goal” Nath voice replied back as she pointed in the direction to the path they followed.
“Aye” Kalon spoke before his training took over, spurring him to take the lead and advance further down the corridor.
The group moved towards where they believed an artifact of great power was kept; the path was thankfully free of enemies as they moved further through the fortress’s dark corridors. Cethgus allowed himself a moment to glance behind though it didn’t even seem they were being followed as they moved throughout the fortress.
Kalon disappeared around a corner, Sang and the rest of the group close behind. They found themselves in a large room that held a stone tablet, upon which lie a single lightsaber. Cethgus noted the group had stopped; between them and the artifact stood ten old sith, all ranging in differing ranks judging by their weapons and clothing.
“I guess there's no way to talk about this?” Sang’s voice boomed around the room splitting the silence between the two groups.
The reaction was instant a figure stepped forward shaking his head his hand unclipping his saber. Activating the red blade in a heartbeat it was clear that the only way for them to get what they came for was to fight their way through the group.
“Make sure we all come out of this alive. Arcona Invicta, Brother” Cethgus spoke the words directly to Sang as his hand grabbed his saber once more, the blade seeing more action than ever since the beginning of this crusade.
Blades flashed as the group of assassins descended upon them, sending rays of light that cut through the darkness. The Arconans didn’t have a chance to react before the One Sith attackers were upon them. They were surrounded on all sides, the figures prowling around the group.
Inarya grappled her lightsaber, igniting the blade and slicing towards one of the attackers. She looked over her shoulder finding the rest of her group engaging in battles of their own. The Twe'lek turned back facing her masked combatant and the two circled each other, sabers drawn and eyes fixed on each other. Inarya watched the One Sith’s hand twitch as they reached for their saber. She took the chance to make the first strike. Brandishing her lightsaber, she swung towards her opponent, and the light blue blade cut through the black robes of the One Sith Assassins like a razor of pure ice. The masked combatant jumped backwards mere seconds before the fatal blow could be dealt by the crimson Twi'lek. Her amber eyes were fixed into a look of pure rage as she brought her lightsaber back around for a second strike, the irritation clear in her movements.
"Stay still so I can kill you!" the Krath female shouted towards the direction of the masked assailant. Her saber impacting with her opponent’s flesh releasing a small stream of smoke and the faint smell of burning flesh. From all sides the sound of her comrades in battle flooded her ears, the loudest of these was the inhuman, animalistic roar that erupted from her Aedile Cethgus.
Atyiru had never dodged so much in her life.
She recalled, for a split second, a Human saying her old shipmate Wil had been fond of: “never bring a knife to a gunfight”.
She was beginning to wonder, she she ducked another singing lightsaber slash, if the progenitors of the phrase had ever tried to engage an angry group of Sith with nothing but a blaster.
She cursed and spun on her heel, swinging her torso low to weave around another incoming strike. The turn only exacerbated the horrible vertigo dizzying every one of her steps and the pain pounding in her head; but that was to be expected after nearly being slaughtered by several of her teammates.
They deserved her head. She’d been too weak to endure that horrible, horrible poison in her soul that had been the Dark Side seething from this place. She’d hurt Cethgus and Sanguinius. She could’ve killed Inarya, Nath, Kalon, or K’tana. Ashla and Bogan only knew what she might have done with that power choking her.
Atyiru dropped to her knees and dived aside, disengaging her current foe, only to crash into the one clashing with Inarya. She pushed herself up on badly burnt hands and scrambled to her feet, trying to get far enough from the melee to actually make her gun of some use.
Those burned palms were a beautiful blessing. Her body had been too feeble to channel so very much of the Dark Side for long. She’d felt the lightning she gathered sear her skin, felt the power popping her veins as it swept through them; and she’d almost sobbed in relief when she’d felt the monstrous rage writhe and dissipate, her flesh unable to contain it.
But now really, really wasn’t the time to be taking a merry little sulk in the pits of her aghast guilt. Now was the time to dodge for her damned life.
Atyiru was fervently grateful she’d been taught to dance, and well, because she was certain she’d be decapitated by now otherwise. She skittered away from another lightsaber slash, feeling the lurid tip slice into the skin of her stomach. The stench of smoking flesh and cloth filled her nose as she hissed in pain and threw herself backwards in a reverse roll.
Her back crashed harshly into a frigid stone slab and she slammed to a stop against it, the air exploding from her lungs. She curled in on herself and gasped, trying to will her stunned body to move, move, move away from the One Sith bearing down on her.
There was a tinkling sound, like chimes of glass, very close to her ear, and then a metallic clang as what sounded like a lightsaber rolled down off the tablet and landed next to her splayed fingers.
Atyiru took the opportunity presented her. She didn’t know how to wield a lightsaber but she wasn’t looking to fight; just to live through the next few seconds. Her hand closed around the hilt of the lightsaber and she brought it up across her body, bringing it to meet her opponent’s blade with a trembling arm.
She expected to be cut in half by her own weapon, forced back at her from the strike; or perhaps by the Sith’s, having the skill to easily maneuver around her block. But no such thing happened. Instead, the lightsaber boomed in her grip, and her attacker went flying, repelled across the battlefield. He smashed into a the wall with a resounding crack, the unearthly, sickening kind that heralded most every bone breaking.
Atyiru felt as if her arm was coming apart at the seams. She screamed and dropped the lightsaber, recoiling, trying to crawl away from the—the avatar. Whatever that weapon was, whatever god it manifested, it was an awful thing.
But it was no use. She felt like she was unravelling, simply from touching it for the briefest of moments. The darkness suffocated her, and she quickly succumbed to the blackness.
The Tyrian Twi’lek woman, all agility and fury, finally had something she could drive her well of hate into. She took up her vibroshiv and didn’t even bother going hand-to-hand with the first opponent that came at her, she simply dodged out of their way. She’d watched as Atyiru somehow threw one of the One Sith members into the wall, crushing his body to a pulp before fainting. K’tana took that opportunity to her advantage. She sprinted towards her fallen ally, rolling under blades, sidestepping slashes and spinning to avoid jabs. Once at Atyiru’s side she stood over the unconscious woman’s body and locked her green eyes on the closest of her enemies.
Despite having no feelings either way for the woman she guarded, K’tana felt as though she could owe the Miraluka this one favor. Atyiru did electrocute the kark out of Cethgus and, although she did not do it at K’tana’s behest, that was a good enough reason for K’tana to guard the other woman until she regained consciousness.
In the next moment a male enemy flew at K’tana in wild abandon. He held his lightsaber with both hands, tip pointed down and the blade angled away from his hip. As he moved closer his blade came up; when he was nearly in front of her and his blade was closing in, K’tana sidestepped him. She twisted around and drove her vibroshiv into the side of his neck. Her movements were swift. Her momentum precise; but her aim was slightly off as she had to pay too much attention to her turning foot so not to step on the woman at her feet.
Although the vibroshiv managed to hit an artery, it also lodged in his collarbone when the Twi’lek made to rip it out. Despite having a fatal wound, the man was not dead, simply bleeding internally and choking on his own liquid life source. The blood could not gush out of his wound as the blade, still stuck in his flesh, blocked any exit causing the blood to gush down his throat and into his lungs. Yet even as he died, K’tana could not remove the blade. She suddenly had an idea. She gripped her blade hard and Force pushed the One Sith off of it.This sent a huge spurt of blood over both Atyiru and herself as the man shot away, landing hard against the floor on the other side of the table.
K’tana managed to have pulled herself out of this situation and turned just in time to twist her blade and block an incoming attacker from slicing off her face. The enemy blade was so close she could feel the heat from it on her sensitive lekku skin. Gritting her teeth and thinking on her lekku, she wrapped her tchin-tchun around her throat and tried to push this new One Sith away. Her strength was lacking and she collapsed to a knee.
As he blocked another blow with his lightsaber, the Dark Jedi Knight realized that he was on his own. In the corner of his eye he spotted K’tana defending the downed Atyiru, and Cethgus chopping madly at those that dared confront him.
The Mandalorian dived to the right and quickly twisted his hips as he regained his defensive stance, just managing to parry another attack from his other opponent. He had been set upon by two cloaked figures and was barely managing to hold his own. His previous ‘silent rage’ had not helped him in this regard. The gnawing feeling only seem to intensify and now threatened to consume him entirely.
“You will not take me!” he exclaimed, striking out with his saber towards the torso of his nearest attacker, who parried the block quickly and spun around with incredible speed, elbowing the Arconan square in the face.
Kalon stumbled backwards, almost losing his footing completely. He tasted blood in his mouth as it ran down his face from his forehead, his crimson eyes dimmed as he had taken the hit and almost returned back to his original brown colour, from a time before he had fought with Arcona. As he dropped to one knee the world seemed to spin before him. Kalon almost lost his head as he stepped back, dodging a quick strike from his attacker.
When at last his momentary disorientation faded, the Mandalorian could make out the two men before him who were advancing to finish him off. Just as their sabers fell towards him, Kalon felt a tingle through his spine and a warm feeling spread through his body.. He realized that the only way to survive this was to give in to what had been bothering the Dark Jedi Knight throughout the last few days.
With a large grin on his scarred face, Kalon lost himself in his rage.
The saber was halfway towards Kalon when the Mandalorian rolled out of the way, swiftly springing to his feet. He charged towards the Sith with a hate filled cry and collided against his enemy in a clash of blades and fists. Managing to break the defense of the closest Sith with constant attacks from his saber, Kalon force gripped the man and threw him into the one behind him. Both of his enemies tumbled awkwardly to the floor, managing to regain themselves in time to save them from certain death as the Mandalorian rushed in again, stabbing at them whilst glaring, unblinking. His eyes had regained their full crimson glow, intimidating enough to ward away lesser men, but this was not the case at the current moment.
Once again, the Arconan locked sabers with both the Sith, his attacks a blur of motion. He managed to pry aside the saber of one of his enemies and reverse gripped his own weapon, turning away from the Sith and stepping backwards, his blade piercing his opponents chest. Kalon did not even stop to watch as the cloaked figure fell to the ground, he was already engaging his other attacker, parrying blows and attacking in turn, this rough attack pattern pushed the pair to the other side of the room.
As their blades locked once more, the Sith brought up his fist and struck Kalon on the side of the head. The Mandalorian followed the impact and ditched right, swerving round and then lunging forward his blade neatly slashing the Sith’s neck.
As his last opponent fell to the ground, choking blood, Kalon turned around to view the fight. His rage had died down now, and he himself felt much better after releasing his anger against his foes.
Taking a moment to enjoy his small victory, the Mandalorian ran back into battle, towards K’tana and Atyiru, to see if he may provide some small assistance to the downed Novice and struggling Twi’lek.
Nath was one of the last to enter the cavernous room, her eyes had adjusted to the gloom a while back but she could already hear the fighting before she saw the light being emanated from the lightsabers that hummed and whirled through the air as the others engaged immediately with the enemy. Nath avoided the battles that were being waged as best she could, choosing not to get involved unless she absolutely had to. So far the team seemed to be holding their own without her.
It was an instinctual feeling of unease that told her she was being watched, she hadn’t been paying attention to her surroundings like she should have; too distracted watching the others. From nowhere the lightsaber seared through the air, Nath only dodging the blow by the skin of her teeth, a waft of burning clothing finding its way up her nose as she backed off.
She turned drawing the daggers from their kept places and took in her opponent. He was larger than her in both height and muscle mass. Silently she hoped he was as slow as he looked, her grip tightened on her daggers as her muscles tensed readying for what was to come.
The battle was long, more than once her enemy found an opening but at some point he became lax as fatigue began to set in, and left himself open. With an abnormal burst of speed her blade struck at his dominant hand, instinct took over as she felt a sharp stab of glee watching her adversary backpedal, two of his fingers and his inactive weapon left at her feet.
Immediately she kicked his weapon far out of his reach, and watched as the male took his position on the offensive, more than confident that he could kill her with his hands. She knew he could crush her with little physical effort on his part but the rage and stubbornness that seemed ingrained into her would not allow her to back down from the fight, though she was not foolish enough to give up her advantage over him, her daggers stayed firmly in her hands.
It didn’t take long, the bulk of him charged towards her. Nath’s inability to let such a challenge stand unanswered got the better of her as she found herself meeting him head on. Unlike the brute before her she had some form of a plan, allowing herself to feint to the right, her dagger puncture just above his clavicle, she felt the blade scraping against the bone lashed out, she felt his hand grip around the side of her ribs and squeezed with his thumb, forefinger and middle finger.
Nath felt her ribs crack under the pressure, letting out a mute gasp of pain as he applied pressure. The Iridonian female felt the sharp pain on every inhale and rise of her chest but she ignored it happily watching him as he weakened as his blood flowed from the carotid artery.
The male fell to his knees panic evident on his features seeing the sheer amount of crimson that pooled around him. Eventually Nath walked slowly over her dagger opening up his entire neck, all she could hear were the wet wheezing sounds as he began to drown on his own blood. The black robed male fell to the floor without further ceremony dead.
She could feel the warm beads of blood of her face but couldn’t bring herself to wipe them away. Seeing the others congregate together she moved to them, only to feel her rage build as she slowly realised the male had managed to puncture her lung. Her breathing did not come easily, and her heart raced as she walked over to them, and if she were to hazard a guess her lips were also turning gary.
She knew this place gave power, she looked Atty, the female Miraluka had shot lightning out of her fingers and she was a Novice. Her eyes closed as another sharp shooting pain shot through her chest, savouring it she added the inconvenience to the pile of hatred within her and concentrated on healing her wounds so she would be fit for the next battle.
The female Iridonian wasn’t sure how much time had passed but she certainly felt fighting fit again. Usually when she concentrated her healing she would not have enough control of the Force to heal everything, often leaving her with bruises and in some cases scars but here she could do it perfectly, not even a blemish on her skin, no twinge of sore muscles anywhere.
When she opened her eyes she noted Sanguinius gazing at her, silently she wondered how long she had been stood there but saw no reason to lie.
“Apologies, I was healing my wounds...” She didn’t sound particularly apologetic but Sanguinius knew her well enough to know she would not seek forgiveness on a whim, or to sugar coat words. No matter how monotone she meant every word.Silently, she followed the group down another corridor pondering on what else would be awaiting them.
The group of Arconans stalked down the hallway, their anger directed at their true enemy now instead of each other. They had blooded the nose of the One Sith, but not without taking injuries. The power that suffused the fortress of Ludo Kressh emboldened the Galereans, who drew on the vast reserves of the Force present to heal injuries and stem the feeling of pain. Sanguinius led the strike team, pleased at their progress now.
They were reaching the heart of the citadel and had now only to link up with the other Brotherhood teams scouring the temple. The Quaestor, despite being pleased, was still somewhat concerned with the wellbeing of his team mates. Nath was forever a quiet solitary figure, Cethgus had lost some of his bluster and K’tana…well, K’tana seemed to be enjoying the bloodshed.
Sang chuckled, hardly surprised at the Twi’lek’s reaction to the death that had visited this place. The Shadow Clan was at home in the darkness, and there was nothing darker than death. The corridor twisted and turned and the stonework seemed to be warped as they travelled deeper into the depths of the structure. Kalon brought up the rear, continually looking behind the team, his Mandalorian heritage causing him to be nothing if not focused on the task at hand.
The Anaxsi scrambled forward, bursting into a large chamber that housed a large ornate altar, stained in dried flecks of blood. Standing behind the altar stood a man covered in Sith tattoos. The party stopped dead in their tracks, activating their lightsabers in unison.
Sanguinius shouted, “This temple belongs to the Brotherhood now!”
To which, the tattooed man laughed, “Take it, if you can.”
The Sith accompanied his words with a storm of lightning that cascaded across the room towards the Galereans.
This time, Sanguinius and Cethgus were ready, using their lightsabers as lightning rods to absorb the electrical energy. Their companions followed suit, the Dark Side lending them power beyond imagining.
K’tana, Inarya and Cethgus pushed forward, charging straight towards the One Sith. The others moved to flank their enemy. Sanguinius nodded at Kalon to take Nath with him to the right while Atyiru and he moved to the left.
The Elder flung a bench at K’tana through the Force, smashing her to one side as she ran towards him. Cethgus snarled as he swung his lightsaber at the Sith, who ducked to one side and unleashed another storm of lightning at point blank range into the torso of the Aedile. Time seemed to freeze as the Iridonian toppled backwards, a high pitched scream of anger and loss echoed through the chamber, as Sanguinius saw his brother fall.
Nath acknowledged her order, following Kalon along the right flank of the enemy. She watched as Cethgus charged down the centre directly at the enemy, she froze as she watched the lightning hit Cethgus square in the chest, Kalon continued his charge unaware that she no longer followed.
She noted that she was not the only one that had froze momentarily, her head turned to observe Sanguinius as he took in what had just happened. She could hear the others had used the distraction well, lightsabers clashed as she turned back to ensure the enemy was adequately distracted.
Moving swiftly the Guardian made her way to Cethgus, she kept a keen eye on the fight to make sure she hadn’t attracted unwanted attention before dragging Cethgus’ body by his arm off to the side. She sensed Atyiru close behind her and hissed out a command to get to the side of the room quickly.
Once safely to one side Nath inspected Cethgus’ prone form, he was in bad shape, he barely took breath as he lay on the stone ground. Atyiru felt at his wrist checking for a pulse as she silently kneeled next to him. Nath observed a small flicker at the other woman’s lips which told her that he still clung to life.
“Can you heal him?” Nath asked the Miraluka female. She watched as her look up slightly to meet her eye; a pointless gesture considering she was blind but it was a habitual action put upon her to meet seeing species’ niceties.
“Possibly.” She replied. “Ideally someone stronger in the Force is needed.” She added after a long pause.
“We don’t have that luxury Atty.” Nath replied. “You’re a far more accomplished healer than anyone here.” Nath pointed out briskly, hoping that she could get to the point. As long as Atyiru used the extra Force abilities that the Temple had given her she could most likely heal him.
Atyiru ‘saw’ the moment the Force-lightning materialized in the air as arcing, lunging spires of storm-tinged fire. The wrathful fulmination exploded into the red star that was Cethgus, and his light flickered.
Cethgus screamed. At her side, Sanguinius roared for his brother.
Atyiru sensed Nath’s fiery aura blaze past her, towards their fallen Aedile, and started running.
“Quickly!” Nath hissed at her, dragging Cethgus away from the battle. Atyiru pushed aside her fatigue and sprinted across the room, skidding to a stop and dropping down to Cethgus’s side.
Her fingers found his arm, then his wrist, and then the weak flutter that told her he was still alive and fighting. Her lips formed around a little sigh of relief.
Nath’s slightly anxious voice, accented with more emotion than Atyiru had heard from the woman before, questioned if she could heal him. She thought briefly. It was possible, yes, but unlikely. Her abilities were meager.
She told Nath as much. Nath seemed to think otherwise, though. Atyiru’s head snapped up at her comment.
“You ought to have healing skills as well. You should do it, Nath.”
“My Force abilities are...” Nath snapped, describing said abilities in some furious expletive in her mother language that Atyiru couldn’t understand. “I used mine to heal my punctured lung. You have to do this, Atty.”
“I will do all that I can. Watch my back.” Atyiru said solemnly, receiving a sharp affirmative from Nath. Bowing her head over Cethgus’ prone form, she took a deep breath and expelled it. “I’ve got you.” She murmured to the unconscious Aedile. “We’ve got you...”
Atyiru moved calmly and quickly, popping the seals on Cethgus’ armor, prying off his chest plate, and ripping open the smooth shirt underneath. Her hands hovered over the branching, tendrils of the wound on his scarred torso, fingertips lightly brushing against waxy, burnt skin and bubbly, raw flesh.
There was barely a heartbeat below her fingers, or the rise of respirations. She pressed her lips together, focusing on what she’d have to do: flesh to knit, heart to beat, lungs to expand, in and out...
The battle around her, the room, Nath’s presence, everything filtered away, drowned in the dark void she threw herself into. There was just her, the Force, and these broken pieces that needed fixing...
The Force, brilliant, indomitable, omnipotent, and vast like an ocean welled up within her. She drew on it, and let it flood the void with its radiance.
Fix that which is broken. Fix it, heal it, make it whole. Let it beat, let it breathe, let it live. Stay alive!
A heart thudded. A chest expanded. A pair of lungs filled. A set of fingers twitched and clenched into fists.
Under her fingertips, Cethgus Tiberius Entar Arconae allowed his eyes to opened wide.
“Dik’ut..” murmured Kalon as he glanced back, watching as Nath broke her combat position, allowing her to come to the downed Aedile’s aid.
Her attachment to him was a weakness that he may pay the price for, now that he was engaging the Sith on his own whilst Sang continued to flank from the left side of the eery chamber. He glanced to his old master, letting him know that he was in position to engage. A return glance served as confirmation and as one, Sang and Kalon lunged at their enemy, whom was already fighting K’tana and Inarya.
The tattooed Sith used the force to systematically push both of the Twi’leks to the far side of the room. He twisted his body and span around, blocking the blows from both Sang and Kalon as they came into contact with his saber. The Sith moved with incredible speed, seeming to dodge the attacks that were being dealt against him by the pair with such grace, this serving to frustrate the Mandalorian partially.
Sang lunged forward and locked sabers with the tattooed man. As this happened, Kalon lunged at him, intent of piercing the seemingly defenseless Sith with his own weapon. Still in a saber lock with the Quaestor, the One Sith managed to use his weapon single handedly whilst dropping to one knee, thereby causing Kalon to pull back. The intimidating man then fluently regained his posture and kicked Sang away. He then grabbed at the Kalon’s wrist before the Arconan could pull it back, and used all his strength to twist it sharply.
Kalon cried out as he felt his left arm crack out of place, a bone sticking out from his thin armour plating, thus demonstrating the power of the tattooed Sith. He dropped his lightsaber from his crippled hand, falling backwards to avoid a follow-up punch from his attacker, who caught his saber before it hit the ground and used it to block another attack from Sang. The One Sith then brought up his lightsaber with the intent on striking down the Anaxsi whilst he was preoccupied with the saberlock.
Using his good hand, Kalon managed to call upon the dark energy of the temple to strike at his enemy using the Force. The strike caused the Sith to stumble backwards, bringing his planned attack to an unexpected halt. Most likely having saved his old master’s life, Kalon watched as Sang used this advantage to force push the tattooed man into the far wall of the chamber. The Quaestor’s attention then turned to his downed student.
“Don’t worry about me..” grumbled Kalon, sitting up and grabbing his lightsaber with which the Sith had dropped. His left arm was momentarily useless and he felt too exhausted to try and repair it using the Force, as he had already called upon it to strike the Sith.
“Right.” answered Sang, who along with his student turned upon hearing footsteps to see that K’tana and Inarya had recovered and were ready to fight again. Kalon could also make out Atyiru kneeling over a slumbering Cethgus, with Nath standing guard not too far away.
“Let’s not let him regain any strength.” said the Quaestor, helping his old student to his feet before turning to the One Sith.
The group swiftly moved towards the One Sith. All except three members. Cethgus who was still healing, the Miraluka who healed him and the Tyrian Twi’lek. In K’tana’s battle with the tattooed man she not once made a single hit. Not a scratch from her blade. In fact he’d moved so quickly dodging her that she was winded to the point of exhaustion. Before he’d knocked Inarya and K’tana back with his blast of Force power, K’tana had come close to snapping.
Her blade moved quickly and efficiently through the air and had the air had any ability to bleed, the room would have been full. However, as it was only the air and nothing more that K’tana managed to cut apart, she quickly lost motivation. She was useless in this battle. It wasn't the first time she’d felt this way, but it was the first time that the realization of it came with a gust of Force so powerful it managed to knock the wind out of her twice, leaving her reeling and gasping for breath.
When she saw Inarya get up and watched as the majority of the group attack, she didn't move. She lay flat on her stomach, chin resting in her hands and she simply watched the battle rage on. Something had finally snapped. K’tana’s moral had been utterly sapped and she couldn't bring herself to get up. She couldn't think clearly and the battle became a distant blur in her hazy vision.
She glanced over at Cethgus and wondered how long it had been, if ever, that he was as weak and useless as she. She eyed Atyiru realizing that even the blind woman was more useful to the group then the former slave dancer was. The Miraluka could heal, Cethgus, Sanguinis, Inarya and even the Mandalorian were all strong fighters. K’tana was quick. That was all she had and even that wasn't enough on most occasions.
Suddenly she had a brutal and painful flashback that burned her mind as it drove it’s way to the forefront of her brain. Jaek had made her think this way. He was the one who told her how weak and pathetic she was. That despite how eager to please she’d be of no more use than a small pet. In this reverie, the furious, spoiled girl came bubbling back to the surface. That man would not cause her to be weak. She’d enjoyed killing him and he could not torment her this way. She shook her head, flipped her lekku back and gripped her blade.
She slowly got to her feet and, making no move fast enough to draw attention to herself, she whipped her vibroshiv into the fray. Her rage guided her hand. She did not care whom she hit, so long as she hit someone with her blade. Fortunately, it struck the mark she’d aimed for. For the very first time, K’tana hit her target with a thrown blade. The One Sith howled in rage and pain as the purple Twi’leks dagger twisted in his ribs every time he moved. He had no time to take it out as the attacks from the Arconans relentlessly continued, driving him back and wearing him out. His breathing began to come in heavy gasps.
Cethgus allowed his eyes to come open at that moment in time. Though his vision was blurred he could see the figures in front of him dancing around fighting. He allowed his hands to come out as he dragged himself up the wall ignoring the cries of pain that rippled through his body from the damage he had taken. Feeling his legs weak against his body at that moment in time he forced himself on his hand summoning the force through his fingers as he allowed his saber hilt to land in his palm. Pressing the activation button he heard the hiss as it once more came back to life.
Staggering forward he leapt at the man a weak slash coming from his arm as it struggled with the numbing feeling that coursed through his body. Forcing every single ounce of energy into his the attack, time once more froze feeling nothing for a few seconds. He allowed his eyes to fall down towards his stomach. The blade of the remaining One Sith Leader protruded through his stomach, feeling his body failing him as the blade was dragged out of the wound. Falling to the ground his mouth grasped for air, unable to take any into his lungs. The room spinning from him as he looked for his brother his eyes fell upon Sang.
“BROTHER TIBERIUS!” The man’s cries filled the room as he lunged forward the rage taking over his body. The force seeping into every part of his being as he summoned it to aid and assist him. Unleashing blow after blow onto the man, nothing but anger and hatred coursed through the veins of the Quaestor. Taken by surprise by the rage the One Sith found himself on the back foot unable to keep up against the onslaught that came his way.
Finding the gap in the armour he allowed his blade to slip through the guard of the One Sith cleaving the man’s head from his shoulders in nothing at all. Allowing the body to drop to the floor in an instant the fight over. His eyes fell upon his brother as he rushed to his aid. The others grabbed the weapon from the alter as the group headed outside.
“This is Sang I need immediate support on my location!” his voice shouting through the communication device.