Team Murse: Clan Arcona
Team Murse is made up of the following members:
Sith Warlord Nadrin Erinos Arconae (7463)
Dark Jedi Knight Wes Biriuk (4888)
Jedi Hunter Nikola Valtiere (13308)
Dark Jedi Knight Fet'ai'narun (3325)
Sith Warrior Zakath (9096)
Acolyte Bron Vesh (13488)
Somewhere between the 95th and 96th hour of their trek, the first argument broke out.
Up until that point the quintet had done well to avoid bridling at any of the countless things that annoyed them about each other, and even though blows had been threatened once or twice, silence had more or less been the over-riding rule as they moved. Nadrin had swallowed more than one snide comment aimed at his former brother Wes, the latter having chosen to leave the Erinos family in search or other fortunes not too long before. Likewise, the Warlord knew for a fact that his apprentice Nikola was frustrated and not a little bit angry at the fact that Nadrin, not Valtiere, was leading the expedition. The Jedi Hunter’s recent elevation to Squadron Commander of Void had filled him with pride and not a small amount of arrogance, and considering that under normal circumstances he was in effect Nadrin’s superior meant that he had seen the choice to have the Erinos lead the mission as a slight against him. The truth was something far simpler however; Nadrin was an Arconae, and with the title came certain responsibilities and perks, perks which young Nikola had never seen his master make use of.
In a way, the student knew very little about the Arconae apart from what the Sith allowed Valtiere to know.
Rising voices and spikes of anger in the Force caused Nadrin to halt and turn around, his face lined with fatigue as his patience finally frayed to the point of nothingness.
“Enough, do you hear me? The next one of you to act like a spoilt child will be taking a long dirt nap. Now shut up and come on, we’re almost there.”
The Arconae didn’t even wait for a reply and instead stalked off again, his thoughts black as he stifled the sullen muttering that threatened to burst forth.
A single bolt of red energy shot past the ear of the Jedi Hunter Nikola Valtiere. The newest member of Arcona, a supposed prodigy, spun aggressively to catch the creature who dared fire such a shot.
"You will die, worm!" growled the seething Hunter. Wes Biriuk knelt with his left elbow expertly resting on his left knee in a perfect combat firing stance wearing a smirk that sent a clear message.
"Come at me, bro." Wes laughed as he stood, blaster still trained over Valtiere's shoulder. He fired once more then Valtiere surged forward in a fit of rage. Disregarding his inferior build and experience the Void Squadron Flight Leader overstepped his attack and was met by the butt of Wes' DL-19 heavy blaster rifle. The crunching blow connected with Valtiere's left cheek, not quite breaking it, but certainly causing some instant swelling and bruising of the area. Biriuk quickly stood over his quarry and knelt on the chest of the downed pilot. "I have got you covered. Remember this the next time you try to attack me."
Wes felt a sharp pain that began to rise like the swell of the ocean in a storm and doubled over and collapsed, clutching his groin. Nadrin Erinos Aronae, Sith Warlord and ex-brother of Wes, leaped from his advanced position on point to land in a cloud of snow.
"You will not, I repeat, will not do that again," ordered the brash young man, "or I will do more than just a love-tap on your manhood. Am I understood?"
Wes barely nodded as he squirmed in lessening agony. The peak of the pain had passed, but the whole region was still tender and the breath was yet to return to his lungs. Struggling to his feet the Corellian brute pointed to a ridge before them.
“Di'kutla mir'osik.” The small band of Arcona's finest turned to look at what Wes was pointing towards. Flying down the ridge was what appeared to be a small One Sith patrol. “I took out two of the mercenaries, there's another two left with two Sith acolytes. It's not my fault Mr. Touchy got so butt-hurt about the proximity of my exceptional shooting.”
“Right everybody. This is our first test. Keep your fucking heads.” Nadrin nodded toward Biriuk and Valtiere. “Set up a perimeter, let them come to us. We got this.”
With the perimeter set, the sound of flaring jet-packs and humming lightsabers signaled the start of battle.
Thiz one iz surrounded by children. Zakath thought bitterly to himself as he ignited his lightsaber, the scarlet blade sliding into existence with a snap-hiss. The Barabel let a growl emerge from his throat as he leapt forward, assisted by a boost in the Force, sending the Sith Warrior straight into the path of one of the One Sith acolytes, his burning crimson lightsaber aiming for a decapitation blow. The acolyte's own lightsaber managed to block the blow, although the strength of Zakath's attack sent him staggering back a couple steps by the strong attack.
"You will not delay uz." The Barabel hissed, his eyes now glowing like hot purple coals, giving the Sith Warrior's face a demonic aura.
"We will see about that." The human acolyte sneered, his blade now raised in a guard position, his confidence restored now that he had regained his footing. "You have not faced the might of the One Sith."
"You are not true Sith." Zakath snarled as he threw his bloodshine blade into an overhead swing, crashing it into the acolyte’s guarding position. "You are nothing before uz!"
"We will see about that." The acolyte growled as he managed to push the Barabel's strong attack back, his blade whispering forward in a counterstroke that was barely intercepted by the Sith Warrior. "You will fall here, I can promise you that."
The Barabel merely let a sinister smile appear as he stared viciously at the human, having noticed the Chiss Knight stealthily approaching behind the One Sith acolyte. “Thiz one suggestz you don’t make promises you cannot keep…”
Valtiere sneered as the Barabel loped off into battle. The hulking brute knew to butcher, yes. But not to kill, in the proper sense. There was a certain... art about true murder.
Nikola was forced to ignore his argument with Biriuk, the thrill of battle hammering in his ears as he turned to the marked members of the One Sith. They advanced with such confidence... shame they would die so quickly.
The warrior charged him with a vibroblade, the weapon thrumming as it carved through the air, the warrior drawing on the force to empower his blows. He threw Nikola back, causing him to tumble backwards, the wind knocked out of him. The warrior smiled, exuding smug arrogance. Nikola growled, leaping up. He would show this 'warrior' the error of his path. He had rejected the ways of the true Sith. He would die for being wrong.
Power flowed through Valtiere as he pushed his body, becoming, faster, stronger. He held no weapons in his hands, using only his gauntlets. He got close to his enemies, seeing their emotions in their eyes, their true emotions, for though their faces twisted with rage, he could see one thing they held: Fear. Fear of death. Nikola built on that fear, magnifying it through the lens of the force, twisting their psyches just enough to create openings. His opponent shut out his fear, fear of failing his order, of dying here.
But fear was insidious, it could corrupt a mind with a mere whisper.
And Nikola could see it in his opponents eyes. He ducked under the sloppy lightsaber blow, striking out with knuckles extended. An armour plate crunched, his enhanced muscles turning the hardened metal to cardboard. The warrior let out a cry, dropping his weapon. That was the opening. Nikola grabbed the warrior by the neck, squeezing. The bones popped and then crunched, and the warrior battered against him weakly, scrabbling for those fleeting motes of life as they fled from him.
Nikola smiled as the warrior's life left him, and he dropped him to the ground, a dead husk. His eyes cast about the battlefield, looking for more to kill.
Bron hopped from the transport, feeling the chill from the tundra of Rhelg and saw that her immediate area was empty. Wuntila told her to meet Nadrin and the others here, and so that is what she had done. In the distance she saw a group and at the sight of them, Bron instantly assumed this was who she had been sent to meet. She took to running in an attempt to catch up with them, and quickly was close enough to see them. The leader of the group looked young, almost like a child and almost definitely not out of his teenage years, the rest were men and she surveyed them with disdain.
The Dathomiri woman walked slowly dragging her feet feeling the chill in the air, her boot crunching on the snow as she marched on. She look up finding the group of men she was with disappear over a hill. There was the sound of muffled talking shortly followed by the cling of metal meeting metal, the sound of blaster fire and the unmistakable hum of lightsabers colliding with each other. The female sped up, peering over the over crop while trying to stay out of view. She saw the group that she had been instructed to follow engaging in battle. She knew not the faces of who engaged them or what they wanted, but she found her hand clasped round her hilt of the vibroblade she carried as she tried to stay out of the fighting. She considered helping them but in the interest of self-preservation she thought she had better not. Beside; the group seemed to be doing quite well without her input. She waited and watched, holding her presence in reserve until it was needed.
Fet'ai'narun crept up behind the mercenary. Her crimson eyes flicking briefly to Zakath's before her violet saber ignited and sliced through the human from neck to hip, executing a quick pivot and bringing her saber before herself in a defensive stance, ready for anything these so-called ‘acolytes’ had to offer.
This day had been stressful enough. She barely knew this group but she was excited to be a part of something great and every step of this journey had been nothing short of nerve wracking, ever for the even-mindedness of a Chiss. There was only so much bickering between the former brothers that anyone could take, much less someone with no prior understanding save rumors regarding their relationship. Nadrin seemed to be handling that aspect of things but that didn’t mean that the crunch of their footsteps in the snow or the occasional howling of the wind, the sound of it whipping at her fur-lined hood, didn’t drive her to the edge of her sanity. From anyone’s perspective, it had been high time for a fight.
The woman sprang into action as the groups scattered, her lithe form somewhat a blur as she took advantage of the surge in the Force and worked her opponents almost in circles, her quick, evasive style knocking them off-balance and then taking a head or severing a torso. She may have loved the thrill of the fight but even more, the Chiss valued efficiency.
As the last of the opponents in her general vicinity fell, Fet’ai’narun took note of the situation. Her left arm ached from being grazed by blaster fire and she’d taken a blow or two that left her ribs sore. Spat a mouthful of blood and licked her lips, taking a moment to admire the contrast of the alizarin spatter against the pristine white of the snow.
She rolled her shoulders and scanned the horizon before turning to assess the state of the group and a smile teased the corners of her lips. The way she saw it, the day was finally improving.
The skirmish was over, the enemy patrol defeated. The Arconan entourage regrouped quickly to continue their journey. No doubt other teams were headed towards the dark temple hidden somewhere in this frozen wasteland. After a quick scrummage through the bodies of the fallen soldiers of the One Sith for anything useful the group moved onward. Wes managed to confiscate one of the lightsabers used by an acolyte, his intention was to keep a hold of it until he could take it apart for any useful upgrades that could benefit his own. Other various supplies were pilfered and put in his pack.
“There's someone following us.” Zakath announced as he turned toward the direction his keen nose had caught the scent.
“I know, she's one of ours.” replied Nadrin. His ability with the force was almost unparalleled. Barely anything could escape his notice through the force. Show yourself, Acolyte Vesh. Nadrin reached out with his telepathic powers to influence the newcomer to join the group.
Acolyte Bron Vesh was one of the newest members of Arcona, but one of luck. She was the apprentice of the Consul, himself. “I am Acolyte Bron Vesh. I am here at the request of the Consul to aide you in your mission.” She said as she approached the group, her voice weak in the cold air.
“Fine. You will look after yourself. Do not rely on any one of us to protect you from danger. We work as a team when possible, but it is ultimately your own responsibility to stay alive.” Nadrin informed the woman. “We leave, now. We are not too far away, I can sense a darkness in the force growing stronger.”
The group set off trudging through the snow and ice. After another few hours of untroubled hiking the air started to thicken. Nadrin grinned. The darkness was building. Surely even now the Knights among the group could feel the infectious power. Some way in the distance, perhaps on a fine day, one would have been able to see the domineering entrance of the temple they had come to find.
Wes shivered, unsure whether it was the cold, or the growing feeling of power coursing through him. He felt good. Better than good. He was feeling as strong as he had ever felt and then some. Glancing around the group, Wes smiled wickedly. He could beat every single member of this party without so much as raising a sweat should he wish. He was the dominant member here. The strongest, the best.
Kill them. a voice whispered in his mind. He knew he could, but to do so now would be a risk. He needed them split off individually. One-on-one he was indestructible. If he picked a fight again the group may turn on him. Wes let the thought of murder fade away and returned to the real world.
Nikola was also affected by the dark powers of the temple, whispers pushing through his psyche. He could feel power invigorating him. More than he had ever felt. He felt like a god given flesh, the Force rampaging through his body.
Show your power. Rise to the top.
Nikola looked around, seeking out the voice. There was nothing but the air whipping around him, along with his fellow team members. He could tell Biriuk had also been enhanced, somehow gaining more of a swagger in his step, if that were possible.
He made you look like a fool before the others. You have lost power. Regain it. KILL. HIM.
The voice became louder, stronger in its conviction. Goading him on. It would be simple to attack the others, to rip them apart. To show them that he should have had command, not Nadrin. He may be an Arconae, favoured of the Summit, but Nikola had command by true rank. Heirarchy should be obeyed...
Nikola gritted his teeth, standing still for a moment. He knew it was the power of the temple trying to overtake his psyche, to make him their pawn. Valtiere knew that if he was being influenced, then others would too. It would not do well to descend into a mindless berserker. He was not that any more. He had to fight it every day, descending into his rage. He could overcome this.
DESTROY THEM. CLAIM YOUR RIGHT. ASCEND.
Nikola dropped to his knees as the voice hammered in his skull. Even in the chill, sweat dripped off his brow as he concentrated on trying to shut out the insidious voice trying to force it’s way in.
For the first time in years, Zakath felt invigorated as he felt the Dark Side well up in him, singing throughout his nervous system, causing him to move almost with an elegant grace as he strode through the battlefield, his vicious gaze taking in his Clan-mates and evaluating their potential threat and weaknesses.
The Acolyte would fall easily, a single swipe from his heavy talons would be more than enough to rip out her throat and watch her eyes dim as life flowed out of her. Zakath smiled at the thought before his gaze flicked over toward Nikola Valtiere, the Sith Warrior's eyes flaring up into violet flames as he stared at the Jedi Hunter for a long moment.
He is nothing but an upstart. Crush him and show him his rightful place under your heel before you cut him down to make an example of him for the others.
The Barabel glared at Nikola, his gaze fixated as the thought whispered into his mind, appealing to his pride.
He dismisses you as nothing but a barbarian. Demonstrate why you are owed the respect you are due...
Zakath's eyes narrowed as he considered the idea. He had seen the snide glances that Nikola had cast his way throughout the journey, the hidden sneers that the Jedi Hunter thought was hidden from him as the two engaged throughout the military campaigns over the past month. The disrespectful backtalking that filtered back to the Sith Warrior about how Zakath was nothing more than a butcher instead of an elegant assassin, He iz nothing more than an arrogant and pompouz upstart who seekz to rise above his station. Not fit to be a real Sith.
The Barabel's eyes glowed even brighter as he saw Nikola fall to his knees, clutching at his head.
Cut him down. Show everyone why you are to be respected and feared...
Zakath's lightsaber ignited.
Bron looked at the male that had addressed her. She looked down her nose at him and spoke back gruffly, her disapproval evident in her expression.
“I would not accept your help even if you had offered it.”
It had been her responsibility to stay alive since the tender age of fifteen. She had no need of this brutish Arconae’s words; she was here to do her duty in the name of her master, and nothing more.
Bron moved ahead of the group and stopped suddenly, as if looking towards the horizon. A strong sense of power ran through her like lightning and she revelled in it. Slowly, she turned back to face the group and gazed upon each of their upturned faces, memorizing every detail. This new sense of power installed a confidence in the Dothmori she had never known. Her eyes blazed with a white hot rage as they fell upon the youngest member of the group, and the one who had just spoken down to her; Nadrin.
She started to stalk forwards, her footsteps light on the snow that covered the ground as she approached the diminutive ‘leader’.
“I will teach you better than to talk down to me, boy.” spat Bron, hatred drenching her words. Lifting her vibroblade high, Bron broke into a run, closing the distance with Nadrin in the barest fractions of a second. As she reached him, she lashed out, aiming for his jugular with the weapon that she wielded.
I will strike you down, and your power shall be mine!
Sweat dripped over her brow and into her eyes as the blade stopped mere millimetres away from his throat.
Nadrin had stood aside while his members had bickered, he had stood aside while their group had been ambushed and while he had held his own, he had taken a backseat while assessing his group’s capabilities.
Then Bron had dared to try and strike out at him.
Oh hell no.
The sword quivered in front of his throat as the upstart mouthed off in front of him, and he barely registered the words as an animal ferocity roused within him, burning him as it ascended.
“As you wish.”
A wave of Force energy burst forth and sent the impudent Dathomiri skittering backwards like a leaf on the wind, thumping to the ground a handful of metres away as dark thoughts swirled within the Arconae’s head. He ignored everything around him; the sounds of the dying One Sith patrol, the gasps of surprise from his teammates and the howl of the biting wind. The only thing that mattered was the groaning figure lying on the floor in front of him. He stepped forwards slowly, an unknown voice whispering sweet nothings to him as he progressed.
Kill her, she cannot live for such a transgression.
Kneeling down beside the woman, Nadrin’s voice was barely more than a whisper as he spoke.
“I am power incarnate, compared to me you are nought but an insect. If you even think about trying to attack me again, I will tear you apart limb from limb with nothing but the power of the Force. I do not need weapons and I certainly don’t need permission. Your master doesn’t scare me, but I can be the dread that haunts his dreams…watch your step from now on or it will be your last, and you will die alone here, on this cold world where no one will care to look for you. Remember this lesson Bron, and maybe one day you will be an opponent worth my time.”
Nadrin stood up and turned to face his compatriots, his eyes cold as he surveyed them from behind his mask.
“Come on, we have a mission to complete.”
Fet’ai’narun watched through eyes narrowed to slits beneath the veil of her hair and the shade of her hood, a deep, dark voice whispering from the depths of her mind.
Why do you stay with them? You can survive in this place. Feels like home, like Csilla.
The woman shook off the subtle whispers of home that brought old memories to the surface.
You are fast and they are distracted. You could take them down in minutes.
She scanned the group again. Yes, she could, if she acted at the right moment, take down the entire team. Surviving as one in this mess would be difficult but she had the experience required.
You have waited long. It is yours to take! The glory you deserve awaits you.
Glory. What a word, glory. She knew better. In this fray, she would die and achieve nothing. None of her plans would com to fruition.
Now is the time to act on your ambitions.
Ambition… There was one thing that word reminded her of: Mal’ari’carun, Invictus. And that infuriated her more than the coursing power or coaxing voices; more than the storm that brewed between the members of this group. Too long, his ambitions had been her own. She HAD to stand out. She had to show that she was more than a rider of his wake.
Abruptly, the Chiss was brought from her reverie, catching the last of his words as Nadrin dealt his own brand of justice:
“…and maybe one day you will be an opponent worth my time.”
She watched him as he faced the rest of the group and spoke again.
Yes, they did, indeed have a mission to complete but she was certain they wouldn’t make it another quarter mile before something started up again and she was right.
It was too much. All of it, too much. Chiss are defensive by nature but the stress of the situation, the coursing of the Force making her feel so enabled and the passive-aggressive prodding in her mind was too much and she broke under it as Nikola and Zakath broke from what had been a silent bickering walk in-step, to a verbal display of power.
Certainly, if she’d let it go long enough, Nadrin would have knocked their heads together. …Or would he? Perhaps he would let them duke it out amongst themselves and waste even more precious time.
Fet’ai’narun swirled around in a pivot on her toe.
“I have had it with you both! Shut your bleeding mouths or I’ll take your tongues!”
She didn’t even have time to blink. Immediately, the woman knew what her words could cost her even before the adrenalizing sound of ignition of multiple sabers rang in her ears.
Stop wasting time and finish them! You will best them all!
Fuck it. She’d never know if she didn’t try. And against her better judgment, the Chiss charged.
The group erupted almost instantaneously, her brash actions igniting the rest of their tempers and with the Force coursing through them this way, it would be quite a brawl indeed.
At least she’d get in a few good blows before Nadrin held true to his threat and finished them all…
The true nature of the Dark Side called out for victory and power and the members of Clan Arcona were now under its control. Individual and group battles raged as each member of the team fed upon the delicious power of the Dark Side.
Consumed with blood-lust and battle the Arconans were oblivious to the stalking movements of assassins entering the chamber.
Without mercy, the minions of the One Sith descended upon the disorganized Arconan forces. The riches of Ludo Kressh's tomb would belong to Darth Krayt....
Zakath did not utter a sound as he raised his scarlet blade overhead, swinging it swiftly downward to cleave the Jedi Hunter in two. But as the lightsaber tip sizzled into the ancient temple stones, Nikola Valtiere was no longer there, having thrown himself sideways, his hand outstretched. With a snarl, Zakath whipped around, his blade now aiming to decapitate the upstart Arconan's head, before it crashed into an ignited crimson lightsaber blade. Nikola had used the slight distraction to retrieve a lightsaber from one of the fallen One Sith acyoltes, and now the two dark Sith stared at one another from crossed bloodshine blades.
“Very impressive, Jeedai Hunter.” Zakath hissed softly as he stared at his opponent. “But you will not be saved from thiz one'z wrath.”
“You would be easily influenced by this place, beast. Nikola spat as he returned the Barabel's venomous stare. “Very well. Killing you will more than restore my respect and power amongst the rest of us.”
“Thiz one crippled and humiliated a Sith Battlelord in single combat.” Zakath let a rasping chuckle escape from him. “A little Jeedai Hunter will be no match for thiz one.”
“I'm no ordinary Jedi Hunter.” Nikola hissed as his eyes dropped half-lidded. “Everyone has their fears, beast. What's yours?”
Zakath's eyes narrowed at the question as he saw flickers of movement at the corners of his vision Iz that my snake of a student? What iz she doing here?. “You will never know, hew-mon.”
“Are you so sure?” Nikola mocked as he whipped his blade backward before sending it swinging forward into an overhead chop, a move that Zakath was able to block. “I can smell it off you. You're afraid.”
You are too weak for me. You are no longer my Master. You... are nothing at all. Nath Voth's voice sang sweetly within Zakath's mind even as he continued to block the Jedi Hunter's aggressive attacks.
The Barabel hissed with an uncertainty as his student's voice taunted him as he fended off Nikola's increasingly vicious attacks.
Look at you. You're off balance by a mere Jedi Hunter. Worthless. Nath's voice mocked him.
But you're not even here, and you're not strong enough to communicate with me from across the sec- Zakath's eyes narrowed, their violet glow exploding into hot coals as the actual reality settled in. “Nice try, Jeedai Hunter.” The Sith Warrior smiled sinisterly before unleashing a vicious series of overhead lightsaber blows, sending the more weakly experienced Nikola suddenly reeling backward, desperately fending off each full-blooded blow.
Finally, Zakath sliced through the lightsaber emitor, causing the scarlet blade of his opponent to splutter out. Leveling the blade at the Jedi Hunter's throat, Zakath reached out with his hand and clenched his fist. He let a low laugh escape him as Nikola suddenly started grasping at the invisible vice that had suddenly clamped down around his windpipe.
“Now, Jeedai Hunter, you will know why thiz one should be respected.” Zakath hissed as he tightened his grip.
Defiance lit Nikola's eyes as he fought the grip of the Barabel. He struggled in the air, feeling his body begin to shut down as air was cut off to his blood and organs. He was marshalling power to shove the Barabel away, breaking the hold. Unfortunately, it was like trying to marshal a waterfall into a glass.
Nadrin sighed, knocking Zakath into the ground with the Force. If anyone was going to kill Valtiere, it would be Nadrin. Valtiere had been pushing the limits, sensing his impending promotion. Like a hound sensing it was to be let off the leash, he had been pulling at Nadrin, trying to establish himself. It was infuriating.
Nikola wheezed as air entered his lungs, his senses returning to him. He smiled as he got up. "I told you everyone has a deep seated fear. I wonder what your fear was, Barabel. Alas, we shall never know. Some shout it out loud as they suffer. You, at least, kept it within. But not worth respect."
The ground was suddenly taken away from Nikola as he hit the floor, winding himself. Nadrin pressed his foot into Nikola's sternum, crushing the air from his lungs. Nadrin leaned down so his face was close to the Hunter's.
"You will remember what I did for you, apprentice." Nadrin spat, the final word spoken as an insult.
"I forged you into what you are. I saved your life from the Barabel. I could snuff it out now, if I so wished." The dark voices began to chorus in agreement with the idea, causing Nadrin to twist his boot, making Valtiere grunt with pain. Fortunately, Nadrin had the strength of mind to resist. He took his boot off the Hunter's chest.
"Get up." Nadrin said, turning his back on the Hunter. Nikola spat, standing tall, surveying the turmoil the group was facing, he caught sight of black-clad figures entering the temple.
Fighting had broken out all around. Wes was in his element. The power of the Dark Side roared within him more furious than an inferno. It felt incredible.
Kill them. All of them. An internal and familiar voice demanded in a sinister whisper.
Looking to his left, Wes could see Zakath the Barabel in total control of his fight with Valtiere. He could see Nadrin making a bee-line toward his apprentice. The women, Feta and Bron, were nowhere to be seen.
Complete your task. Earn your glory. The voice again whispered, thought this time it was almost deafening.
The Corellian yelled as he came to a realisation. He took off at a blistering pace. The girls had taken toward the temple's central chamber for their own glory. They would not succeed, could not succeed. Tearing toward the temple door, Wes unsheathed Da'Vaab, his favoured weapon, and hurled it toward the vulnerable Barabel as he was attacked by Nadrin. Wes continued into the temple without hesitating to see the result of his action. As he stepped through the door he tugged on Da'Vaab, catching it as it flew back to him in stride.
Inside the temple was not as Wes had anticipated. The One Sith forces were scattered, either dead or dying, throughout the halls. Surely those girls aren't capable of such destruction alone? the Knight thought to himself as he pushed onward, heading deeper into the temple.
Wes slowed as he reached what he assumed to be the location he was after. The Dark Side energy here was thick, threatening and all-consuming. A chill caused a Wes to shiver as he heard the commotion of battle echoing down the halls from behind him. He shut out all distractions and focused on the ante-chamber ahead of him. Inside the room he could sense a small but powerful group of opponents.
Kill them. Kill them all, the voice returned, and this will be your greatest achievement, yet.
Bron looked over her shoulder at the group of assassins that were now upon them. She quickly reached for her vibroblade knowing that it would be of little to no use up against a lightsaber. For Bron, this would be a battle of agility and wits more than one of physical strength.
The Krath felt the hot blade of the lightsaber brush inches from her cheek. She was almost out of options. Ducking away from the near-fatal blow, she took off in a different direction, determination written across her gaunt features. She had to get to the central chamber before the others. A wave of adrenaline mixed with the increased power she had been feeling. It fuelled her body in a way she had never felt before, keeping her running at an unnatural speed.
She fled the battle hearin the cracking of lightsaber colliding inches from her. She felt the pressure of the dark side seeping through her senses.
As the young Acolyte ran she saw Feta battling off the forces that had attacked them. Hesitating slightly, she turned on her heels and ran back towards the female. She watched as an assassin advanced behind her, Bron charged toward them at full speed tackling them to the ground before extending her vibroblade, impaling it into the mans chest, she felt the man's hot blood splash onto her face. She smiled before wiping it off with her forearm.
“This doesn’t mean that we’re allies.” spat Bron. “But at this particular moment in time you’re more use to me alive and dead. Let’s go.” The pair ran on, not speaking for a long time, only ducking and weaving around the various assassins.
As the two weaved in and out from between the smattering of assassins, they found a slow rhythm and worked it slowly like two musicians learning a new song.
Bron’s reaction to her irritated Etain but she knew that now was not the time to react to Bron’s harsh words. Times like these where every moment was precious, were not the times to waste on matters of respect and there was a strange sense of dead calm, as if for that moment, they both understood what the power struggle Etain had instigated meant: It bought them time.
The other woman had seemed somewhat surprised at the initial realization that she had not in fact been paired with a group of only men. Fet’ai’narun could sense this and her demeanor softened a bit but she did not speak. This was also not the time for wasting the precious energy which coursed through them; a gift from the Temple itself.
The two women cut down the last of the group of assassins and ran together without words, having exchanged quick glances before deactivating their sabers and striking out to close the distance to their destination.
Now was not the time for petty fights between them. Now was the time to stand together and work toward a more noble cause. They could conquer more quickly if they worked together and if they had to, they could share the prize. But how easy would it be to kill your partner once the moment of victory arrived? Each woma knew the other thought it just the same. And still they trekked on, their silence bringing understanding between them. Yes, for now they were partners. For now…
As the women slowed their pace, Wes emerged from the thickening sheet of snow, shifting a nod back toward the fight. The women looked back to see the hardly visible form of Nadrin standing over Valtiere and Zakath close by.
Looking back at each other, the silence between them a continuation of their unspoken understanding, the dual ignition of sabers humming in tandem as they took their stances.
With Wes out of the way, they would be the first.
As they rushed Wes in-step, the understanding remained clear:
They were still useful to each other. For now…
Just as Zakath was about to completely cut off Nikola's windpipe, he was suddenly sent flying backwards as a crushing force hit him in the chest. The Barabel felt all the air knocked out of his lungs as he crashed into the stone floor of the temple, slowly sliding to a stop. Gasping for air, he slowly lifted his head to see Nadrin whispering fiercely to a fallen Nikola. Ah. The Master savez his apprentice.
Groaning, he lifted himself up, reaching out with the Force to summon his lightsaber to his hand. As the curved hilt flew into his waiting hand, Zakath's violet eyes narrowed as he saw the shadowy figures slinking around the temple walls, lightsaber hilts in hand. What iz thiz? They are not Arconans... The Force shrieked a warning within his head and the Sith Warrior reacted instantly, the scarlet blade of his lightsaber springing to life as he whipped it around into a blocking stance, just in time to intercept an overhead attack by one of the assassins.
“Not today.” Zakath snarled before he pushed the black cloaked assassin backward, his blade whipping forward in strong powerful attacks that kept the assassin reeling backward, desperately blocking each attack without any chance of a counter-stroke. Without the element of surprise, the assassin was clearly out of his element and the increasing terror in his eyes showed that he knew it. Feinting an overhead attack, Zakath quickly changed direction and impaled the assassin in the chest, burning out his heart. Pulling it out, the Sith Warrior watched coldly as the assassin fell to his knees, gurgling slightly before collapsing onto the ground.
The Barabel growled as he caught sight of the infiltrating assassins pouring into the temple almost unnoticed. There would be no glory earned today unless the assassins were eliminated. Zakath suddenly noticed the rippling figure of a cloaked assassin creeping up on Nadrin's side, who had just turned away from his apprentice.
Warn him or let him fall? Zakath coldly considered his options. Alive, he iz dangerouz, but would make a powerful ally for the future. Dead, the glory of thiz temple would be mine... if thiz one survivez it. Glancing at his fighting comrades, the decision was easy to make.
“Nadrin!” Zakath roared, enhancing his voice with the Force. “Assassin on your left!”
Nadrin removed his foot from his apprentice’s chest and felt the anger that had raised unnoticed recede slightly as felt himself returning somewhat to his normal self. Even as he tried to assess the situation around him, the Force screamed to him that there was an impending attack coming even as a shout came from somewhere nearby.
“Nadrin, assassin on your left!”
The young Warlord didn’t even stop to think as he took a long step backwards, removed his lightsaber from his belt and ignited it mid-swing. He caught his attacker’s strike a dozen centimetres from his face and felt that familiar anger rise within him once more as he struck out with the Force and shattered the man’s windpipe with a sickeningly audible crack. Nadrin barely even paused as he leapt backwards and swung his lightsaber around to catch an approaching One Sith enemy across the chest who had been attempting to capitalise on the Arconae’s moment of distraction. The man collapsed dead to the floor as Nadrin landed, looking down at the lightsaber in his hand and disengaging the weapon before clipping it to his waist before surveying the scene. Zakath had vanquished his own pair of attackers while Valtiere had accounted for another and, for the moment, the Arconans were alone in the chamber…well, half of them anyway.
They’ve gone ahead to try and steal the glory for themselves. Frak.
A sudden weight in his pocket caused Nadrin to absent-mindedly pull his father’s old eyepatch from the pouch on his belt where he kept it as a sort of keepsake. Even as the memento touched his skin, he felt the decidedly uncomfortable feeling as a weight descended on him and he felt himself seeming to separate as an all-too familiar voice filled his mind.
Nadrin, you clearly have more that you wish to learn and I don’t know how long this will last, but allow me to continue your tutelage by showing you exactly how things are done.
“Come on, we need to get the central chamber. On the double people!”
The voice was Nadrin’s but it was not he who had spoken as he felt the familiar presence settle over him and take control of his body.
“Bitches love me.” Wes said aloud as he prepared for the dual attack. Igniting his lightsaber, the Knight stepped into the familiar stance of Shii-cho and picked his first target. In his left hand, Wes held his trusty T-6 'Thunderer' heavy blaster. He aimed and fired at the young and brash apprentice. “Bron Vesh, you have no business here. I shall alleviate the Consul of his burden.”
His shots missed, as his aim was not as sure as in his right hand, one however did graze close enough to the Acolyte to force a squeal of fear. Leaping forward with unnatural speed, Wes took advantage of the situation and swung heavily at the weakling's poor defense, his saber cutting through the training saber held meekly as a buffer. Bron fell backwards under the sheer force of the attack. Wes threw his saber slightly into the air to change to a reverse grip as he felt Feta lunge at his back. Turning, Wes deflected the attack and swung his pistol around to collect the Chiss across the face, but she was too quick, already moving away and into her defensive stance.
Bron stood as Feta moved to cover her. They would protect each other? This is a sign of weakness. The dark voice in his head was thunderous.
“You bitches be cray.” Wes taunted. “Do better.”
“Wes you are outnumbered here. What are you to do? You know you cannot defeat me and Bron.” Feta challenged.
“Are you sure? I am twice your size, stronger, better. Invictus would tell you to run. To save yourself. Would you dare disappoint him?” Wes rebutted. He could see a visible change in the way Feta stood, her confidence broken. Wes positioned himself for one major attacking onslaught. He holstered his pistol and unsheathed Da'Vaab again. He was not playing this time. The weakest among them would die. The women would die.
Wes roared as he flew into action, Weapons raised at the top of their swings. He threw Da'Vaab at Bron as he attacked Feta with all the force he could muster from his superior Form One technique. Bron was caught on the side by the flying blade, she tried to ignore the pain as she made to attack Wes. Feta dodged, reflex kicking in and forcing her out of her state. Wes' attacks continued as he flurried with powerful, yet perfect, swings. He kicked out with his left foot and hit Bron in the fresh injury and she collapsed in pain. Feta could do nothing but defend as she was overpowered and outmatched. Wes swung powerfully and forced her hand away, opening a perfect avenue for him to cut her down. He threw an open-hand slap that collected the blue-skinned woman across the face, forcing her to fall.
Wes smirked at the situation in front of him. Both women were laying prone beneath him. “I have often dreamed of a situation similar to this. Two women at my feet, powerless to resist me. However, my dreams always end in a different, yet equally satisfying way. This scenario calls for a more fitting end. Ladies, it was a pleasure. Time to die.”
A shot cracked through the air, and Biriuk dodged to the side, the dark power warning him. He turned quickly, seeing Valtiere knelt, carbine held expertly for precision shooting. He mock-saluted the hulking Dark Jedi.
"Got you covered." Nikola mumbled, smiling inwardly. Unfortunately, he had been preoccupied with his petty squabble as an assassin crept through the dark toward him. Only his enhanced precognitive ability kept him from being bisected like a biological sample.
He rolled forward as a blade struck the floor behind him. He spun, delivering a flat-palmed strike to the assassin's chest. The sternum crumpled, and the assassin let out a horrific wheeze as he fell. Nikola was startled, unsure how to handle his newfound power. The other assassin was bolted to the floor, unable to move. Nikola grinned, realising the pervasive aura of fear infecting the assassin's psyche. He rushed forward, slipping past the clumsy strike the assassin aimed at his torso, striking the ribcage, crushing the bones under the simple black robes. He followed up with a chop to the skull, the assassin falling like a ragdoll.
Remember what he did. He started all this. He is the locus. Kill him! END. THIS. the voice thundered.
He turned back in Biriuk's direction, the Barabel ignored for now. He held his carbine, firing a spray of shots down the chamber, striding forward as he did so. He did not have a proper lightsaber, like Biruik. He only had his hands. He did not want to rely on them until he had to, as Biriuk was a far superior physical fighter than even enhanced Nikola. As such, he kept firing the carbine, causing the other Arconan to keep moving, avoiding the hail of fire caused by petty hatred, stoked by the dark side.
Every inch of Bron’s body screamed pain. The male towered over her, his face alight with a twisted look of delight which terrified the young woman. She could barely move, hell, she could only cower in fear. Her eyes met Feta’s and her panic subsided slightly. Whatever happened next would happen to the both of them. In that moment, Bron knew she had to do everything she could to get both herself and Feta out of there.
Bron struggled at that moment in time, feeling the cold harsh embrace of death wrapping around her. Wes wouldn't move, even she knew that as she struggled against him on the floor. Taking in a deep breath allowing the calm to wash over her. Allowing her knee to come out with force and slammed into the man's groin, sending him sprawling off her in pain.
Bron took this opportunity to pull herself to her feet and attempt to get herself to safety. She extended a hand to Feta, and hand in hand they staggered away from Wes’ hunched form.
“We need to regain some strength before he comes back for us.” Feta told Bron, her breathing weak and sporadic.
“What can we do? We’re outnumbered. Even our allies are turning on us. I was ready to kill you not thirty minutes ago and now we’re the only ones still sane. Or are we? I don’t know what’s going on here but this is a fight or flight situation.” She turned away, exhausted. She drew her vibroblade once more. Her hands were shaking and exhaustion was setting in, but she gave one last look at her ally before making her decision.
“And I’m choosing fight.”
Nadrin felt as though he were drifting behind himself, disconnected from his body as he watched it stride forwards with a purpose, flanked on either side by Zakath and Valtiere. He could still feel the presence that was coming up ahead of him, and he knew almost instantly that the other members of his team were ahead, and that the situation wasn’t good.
“Nikola, covering fire to distract Wes, we need to break this up now!”
The voice was Nadrin’s but they were not his words as his father still possessed his body, forcing Nadrin to be a bystander as he watched the scene unfold. In front of the trio, he saw Wes get kneed in the groin by Bron, the brash young Arconan then hauling herself and Feta away to a safe distance even as Nikola obeyed orders and opened fire on the former Erinos even as Sith assassins descended on the group from all sides. Nadrin watched as his father controlled his body and effortlessly pirouetted around blows that the young Arconae couldn’t even see coming, avoiding strikes and swiftly dispatching the three enemies who dared to come his way. In a handful of seconds their assailants had been vanquished, but still the fight continued as Valtiere advanced, firing his blaster at the rapidly evading Biriuk for some unknown reason.
Command is not a request, it is a command.
Something in the voice stopped Nikola in his tracks, and even Wes stopped moving away as the blaster fire dried up. As if by magic, the two female members of the group reappeared, ready to fight but held back when they saw the impromptu standoff developing a mere dozen metres away from their goal.
“Now, this has gone on long enough. Snap out of it, we have a job to do.”
Sharing a brief, sidelong glance with Bron and then flicking her crimson eyes back to Nadrin, Fet’ai’narun realized there was something different about him that she couldn’t quite pin down in just a few seconds. The command in his voice, the way he moved…
There was no time now to think about it. All she knew was that her intuitions told her he could be more dangerous than ever and that now, even with the precious artifact within their reach, was not the time to challenge him.
“Bron.” She said with all the commanding tone she could muster as she stepped into the center of the doorway and planted her feet. She activated her light saber, turning her back from the other woman. “Go and take it.”
Fet’ai’narun met eyes with Nadrin.
“If anything happens, I won’t let them pass.” She nodded in the direction of the others. “Bron will bring it out, and then we go together.”
Her eyes darted between the other men as everyone exchanged glances between themselves, shifting nervously, wanting to give in to the urge to fight, to kill, to be the one to earn the glory alone.
“I know lands like these.” Fet’ai’narun spoke clearly to no one in particular. “If we continue to fight, we die.”
As the men let her words ring for a few seconds in their ears, the woman could hear Bron’s footsteps as she ran back toward them.
“Do you have it?” She barked.
The younger woman stopped as if she were considering attempting to run without them, then approached the Chiss, showing her the item she held tucked under her arm.
Fet’ai’narun nodded and outstretched her hand, motioning Nadrin toward the two. Reluctantly, Bron handed the item to Fet, who handed it to Nadrin.
“No thanks to you…” Bron grumbled in Nadrin’s general direction, her words almost inaudible.
“Let’s go.” Nadrin said, ignoring the comment and starting to walk between the other men. He too, knew that more fighting would do them no good. Now, the only choice was to walk the line and hope the others followed.
And they did. One by one, they followed Nadrin from the temple, ready to turn the artifact over to the council. No matter the recognition or not, they were the first. This would be spoken of for years to come. This glory, this revelry, was theirs.