The aroma of blood, mixed with the dry dust of the stones that held the lackluster barracks together, was a stale yet familiar smell to the Miraluka. It gave more of an image in her mind than the Force ever could, its guidance allowing her to view the ragged, now dismembered Dark Jedi sprawled in front of her. Crimson still dribbled from the corner of his battered mouth, the bared molars crusted with yellow vomit and black decay. His left arm lay to the right of him, the intricate dance of the Tehk'la blades proving colder than the very flow of snow and ice drifting outside and coating the planet with unforgiving frost. His feet had been haphazardly hacked off by the same knives, and the Nagai who were culpable of the feat propped themselves against the wall, cleaning their weapons while still admiring their handiwork.
It was certainly no perfect butcher's job, but Grensin Zand preferred that her guardsmen take on the cruder forms of torture. Her polished Force use had, several times before, proven too efficient - as in it killed the victims too quickly for her liking. While she did enjoy drawing out death, sometimes her own calculations would slip for the purpose of malice, and the neck would be snapped far too quickly before enough agony set in like scalding hot brine. So she let the Nagai handle it, and she would play the part of voyeur. She enjoyed watching pain equally as much as inflicting it.
Guiding a blaster pistol from its holster to her left hand, Grensin shifted her vibroblade to her right hand, bearing both muzzle and tooth and leveling them in front of the stained face of her newfound enemy. Her lightsaber would be left alone for now - it wasn't a necessary tool at this point. The Brotherhood would not cease their endless attempts to upend her, and each time, they failed. Their latest surge had been a treat - as of now, there were still twenty bodies being burned by the One Sith's minions outside.
"You bear the crest of Naga Sadow on your armor," the Miraluka murmured, the cloth over her eyes bristling somewhat. She could still smell the iron in the blood still seeping from the stumps of the man's ankles. "It is indeed appropriate, given the planet's namesake. But may I make a simile?"
"Bitch," the Sadowan gurgled, and foamy plasma spilled from his mouth onto his chestplate as his eyes kept rolling up and down.
Grensin smiled. "That crest," she intoned, "is very much like a target. A bullseye, if you will. And you happened to oh-so-conveniently splay it across your chest."
A single shot bristled from the dripping snout of her pistol, striking a particularly weak spot in the armor. It caved like paper, the edges practically torn away by the heat. The Dark Jedi grunted, unwilling to scream or whinny, as the smoke issued from the new hole in his chest.
"Hrmmm." Grensin puckered her lips. She looked at one of her Nagai soldiers. "Holokai, if you please - a Human heart. Is it normally on the left side or the right side?"
"Left," Holokai grunted, seemingly satisfied with the cleanliness of his Tehk'la as he sheathed it.
"Ah," sneered Grensin. "In that case..."
The Dark Jedi had suffered enough to her liking. The blaster shot had been the final decoration. Pulling her vibroblade back, the Miraluka desired nothing more but to smell the slicing of blood vessels as she planned to carve a properly sized hole around the enemy's heart. She would pull it out herself, the mangled thing, and hand it over to her men to collect. It would be a near dozen hearts now. She only kept the ones she herself killed on Khar Delba.
"My message to the Brotherhood: If at first you don't succeed..."
Die, die again.
Ronovi Tavisaen spat out of the corner of her mouth, her saliva laced with whiskey. The hilt of her saberstaff was cold on her hip, as well as the SSK-7 holstered against her thigh. Vibroknucklers chilled her fingers where they lay hidden beneath her gauntlets. In fact, after so many days dealing with this forsaken planet and working within the frosty chambers of the Predominant, she was beginning to forget what warmth felt like altogether.
She had taken a headstart to her drinking, if only to warm herself up against the cold. She watched the faceless Subjugates continue their toil around the seized depot, stacking up weapons to send out in shuttles back to the Ascendancy. The Epicanthix would not stay in the Plagueis-occupied area for too long. A message from the Dread Lord said otherwise. Another hot-headed assignment, almost built just for her. One harlot of a Miraluka to deal with. Dark Adept strength. And burying herself in the equivalent of a fortified outhouse, to boot.
"I'll need men," she announced to Tra'an Reith through a handheld holoprojector, the metal, of course, cold against her palm. The Subjugates continued to patrol outside, along with some select Ravagers.
"The data you sent me - it said at least a dozen Nagai cronies, right, assisting Zand? Yet it also advised to count on combating even more men. I expect at least two dozen Wraiths to arrive at my command. Ten Phantoms. Dozen Shadows. Two Underlords."
"Fair enough. I'll assign the Underlords to accommodate the Phantoms."
Ronovi's eyes lit up, and a smirk played along the creases of her lips. "I admire how easily you can accommodate, Tra'an. Just don't expect all of them back alive."
"I don't," Tra'an's cold blue image remarked on the projected screen. "If Zand is truly capable of the deaths that have already been reported, we cannot trust ourselves to be heroic."
"Heroic?" scoffed Ronovi. "Don't turn into a Jedi on me. 'Heroic.' No, we cannot trust ourselves to be effective - now that's the right word. Have the Wraiths boarded and shuttled off to the western depot by 1200 hours. By 1300 hours, I will have sent the Phantoms to the outpost to bring me back a full report. I'll see to it that the One Sith lose their little hide-out once and for all. Oh, and one more thing."
Ronovi smiled. "If the calculations are correct, the outpost is indeed on the coordinates provided, and the Phantoms return with full confidence in the data - then I also expect aerial assistance. I'll have communications on standby if it comes to that."
"You shall have it. Do what you must as Wrath. My bidding is clear."
Heh. Bidding. Ronovi laughed to herself as the hologram flickered off. She tucked the holoprojector into the inside of her coat slipped out of the transport, letting the flurry kick up around her ankles. Tra'an was almost adorable when it came to using typical dark language. It was standard, of course, for the more sinister influences of the Ascendant House to cater to such draconian language and orders. To Ronovi, however, it took some getting used to. At least when it came to not bashing the head of someone who bowed to her. She despised that disgusting show of "noble" courtesy.
Maneuvering into the besieged armory that was continually being ransacked by Plagueian grunts, the Primarch picked up a particular blaster rifle and shifted it around in her hands. It almost appeared vintage. Soon, the One Sith outpost would be nothing but an aged, antique decoration on the Khar Delban horizon. Ronovi would see to it, one way or another.
With the maimed bodies of the Sadowan and his men finally carted away, the odors of severed and scorched flesh were beginning to dissipate. Grensin drifted outside to see Holokai, along with four other Nagai, sharing cigarras as a good thirty or so One Sith soldiers monitored the borders of the post. Surrounding them were the precarious cliffs and jagged slopes of the more mountainous ranges of Khar Delba; the only entrance on foot to the outpost, in fact, was a narrow, now sealed off passageway. Too much movement, or noise, could make the adjacent inclines rumble, and ice would cascade downward in torrents upon the intruding foes.
Fortunately, the barracks were built in a proper way, despite their age, to withstand such an onslaught of snow. The structure was remarkably perched on a projection of stone, slightly above the solid ground, where the cliff held it up in brilliant architectural angles. Grensin had chosen this stronghold for a reason - it did well against the elements. Time after time again, Grensin would watch the ice and slush quiver on the hills, moving to bury the swarms of Brotherhood troops meaning to attack her. But never would the snow infringe on the elevated walls of her shelter. Any oncoming ships, had they endured the blizzard, would be adequately shot down by the assigned marksmen, crashing into the slopes and only worsening the condition for the pilots' own allies. Any strike was, in short, a near suicidal mission.
Grensin was always impressed, consequently, when any men or women struggled through the snow and actually breached the walls of the barracks. Those people had the hearts that she collected. Some were blackened by saber cuts. Others were riddled by holes from her pistol. Her favorites, of course, were the ones she ripped or cut out herself, mostly using the Force or her vibroblade, and dangled in front of her by its most important arteries. Like a sad jewel suspended on puppet strings, shining and twirling before her eyes.
Positioning herself against a lower wall of her new citadel, Grensin watched the Nagai circle the steps that led to the post, still smoking and laughing and goofing around. The dusty snow had hardened against her feet, and she stared upon the seemingly endless walls of ice. It was as if she were living in her own chasm - her own abyss - and it appealed to her. Here, she could operate her troops as she saw fit, communicating with them from her near inaccessible new home. And it was a comfort.
A slight rumble from overhead disturbed her perch. She let her Force vision lead up to the skies, but they were as undisturbed as still water. Holokai had finished his smoke break, and he now silently directed the soldiers to their appropriate posts. Without Drax to lead the charge on Khar Shian - pitiful coward - Grensin was now the main Sith Lady in charge of preserving the One Sith's hold on Khar Delba. She would have to thank her mistress, Lumiya, for that privilege.
Ronovi whipped her head back toward Phantom Designated 52 - Fitty-two, as she liked to mentally call him - as his faceplate refused to portray any possible or unwanted emotions. His stoic growl, along with those raspy intonations of the other Wraiths, were purposely discomforting and now frustrating to the Epicanthix. On top of that, her orders had been consistently questioned by a Wraith meant to be programmed to serve her desires.
"The outpost is centered within what is essentially a rocky pit," Ronovi hissed. "Attacking on foot alone is what is inadequate. The Dread Lord has Shadow Droids waiting on standby to begin the initial strike and leave the area streaked with fire."
"The data shows that aerial approach is dangerous, and careless," the Phantom replied. "That is the analysis we have delivered to you. To begin with bombardment is clumsy and will leave our men open."
Ronovi bit her lip to keep from snarling. She had expected the two hour reconnaissance to go smoothly, and it had. The white armor designed for this environment had done wonders to mask the ten Phantoms as they scouted the perimeters of the outpost. No interference, no attacks - they had all traveled, and returned, alive. And most of them were compliant save for this one.
"Your information reported nearly three dozen One Sith soldiers patrolling the small land entry to the outpost, correct?" she spat. She turned to one of the Underlords. "You can confirm this, can you not?"
"I confirm it," growled the Underlord.
"Then we stick to aerial bombardment. I have not sent for Reapers for a reason - their sniping techniques cannot be adequate enough for the environment. You cannot expect our Shadows to ensure a speedy infiltration of the barracks without chaos inflicted first. Any other arguments will be dealt with - "
"You will disappoint the Dread Lord," Phantom Fitty-two rasped, "if your haphazard plans fail."
Ronovi did not let him speak another word. Whether or not the teachings he had undertaken for so many years had failed was irrelevant - he was refusing to obey. Without so much as a "Shut up, you damn bastard" uttered, the Epicanthix casually reached forward, seized the scuff of the Phantom's neck by one hand, and unfurled the fingers from her opposite palm. The crunch of the trachea was all she needed to hear before dropping the Wraith's limp body into the snow.
The two Underlords and other Phantoms did not respond to this death, which was a good sign. Turning to the Underlords, Ronovi nodded with a sigh.
"Report to Lord Reith that nine Phantoms will return to duty rather than ten. We had a defect."
"They certainly happen, Lady Tavisaen," uttered the Underlords in unison, nodding and signaling for their men to return to the shuttles.
The dozen Shadows were waiting against the sleet, their eyes barely seen from the slits in their facemasks. They were almost entirely concealed in the drifts of white. Ronovi approached them with a lopsided smile, holding her hands outward in a gesture of humor.
"Board the shuttle," she ordered. "We head for the outpost now."
"Has the Dark Lady Lumiya been contacting you?"
Grensin lifted her head from her meditative position, the tendrils of the Force lifting its fingers away from her. She had been cradling her vibroblade in her hands, using the appropriate psychometry on it. She had wished to remember the deaths she had inflicted with it, in order to savor the murders and rejuvenate her drive to kill.
"No. Not recently."
Holokai cocked his head. His shaggy jet-black hair hung over one eye. "My fellow Nagai and I wish to hear from her. To finalize details."
Grensin repeated the word sourly, as if it left a bad taste in her mouth. Details. Of course Holokai was interested in them. All of the Nagai were. Damn individualist species, searching for reward.
"Namely, our payment," Holokai offered an explanation, stretching out a thin hand. "We have not been due the appropriate credits yet. And the equipment from your armories seem to be missing. Tell me, do you wish for our armor to rot and our blades to grow blunt?"
"You will receive your 'payment' when the Dark Lady feels you have done enough to earn it," snapped the Miraluka, standing up and sheathing her blade. "For now, you continue to carry out my duties as I see fit, not as you see appropriate."
"Hmmm. Pity," Holokai sighed as he drew out another cigarra. "Care for a smoke, m'lady?"
"You will not speak to me in such a way," Grensin hissed. "Where are your manners?"
"In the armory," grunted Holokai as he lit his stogie. "Where my bounty awaits."
Grensin fought back a curse. She knew that the Nagai solely worked for personal gain, and not much more. Out of all twelve Nagai Guardsmen she had employed, Holokai was the least likable and the least manageable. At every drop of a hat, he inquired about his own reward. He had no family to care for, so he only cared for himself. And Grensin knew that if she was careless, he would rebel, and she would have to kill him. She did not wish to come to that, seeing as, ironically enough, Holokai was the most skilled with a Tehk'la blade out of the others.
She walked slowly toward the Nagai, wrinkling her nose as the smoke issued forward toward her as he sucked on his cigarra. She enjoyed the smell of blood, but not the stink of cigarra smoke.
"Listen," she murmured. "You will have your bounty. I will personally see to it. But you must cater to patience. We still wait for other One Sith forces to assist us, in order to expand our position outward back to the strongholds we lost. You know how limited our men are. I am counting on you to pick up the slack."
"Charmed, m'lady," snorted Holokai, drooping into a mocking bow. "As you see fit."
Then, tossing the cigarra to the ground, he left it smoldering as he walked away, disappearing into the snowfall. Outside, it was quiet. Grensin returned to her resting position, sitting down again.
Nagai. Bah. I should have employed the Gamorreans. They're dumb enough to follow orders without asking too many questions.
She suddenly felt a slight rattling beneath her feet. She shook her head to clear it. But it was suddenly as if her mind was on fire.
Nary a second later, the barracks shook and the windows lit up orange.
The limbs and orifices of the One Sith minions sprayed out in different, bloody directions as the streams of blaster fire showered over them. Even in the midst of the snow and sleet, the Shadow Droids zipping overhead were undisturbed by the harsh weather patterns. They zip-lined across the slopes, careful not to disrupt the wobbling ice across the steep walls, and ripped up rock and frost from beneath the men's feet.
Black hawks. Flying menacing beetles. Whatever one could describe them as, the Shadow Droids feasted on the living like metallic beasts. They carried no remorse in their frames. No sense of compassion in their rattling skulls. They bit, and they tore, and they obliterated. And they tasted death each time.
From the passenger's seat of her Lambda shuttle, Ronovi could not help but smile. The Shadows seated in the compartment behind her waited patiently. So far, the assigned Droids had done well enough by being cautious. Now it was time to take more drastic measures. She tapped into her commlink and uttered an order to the programmed fighters.
"Attack the slopes. Swallow the stronghold up."
They certainly complied, and within seconds, Ronovi heard the rumble as avalanches began below. She fully expected the snow to blanket the ground. Specks that were One Sith soldiers that had survived the initial strike were buried in the oncoming assault. Bits of rock tumbled with the ice, crushing opposition without any of the offensive Wraiths having to lift a finger. And through it all, Ronovi waited for those elevated barracks to crumble, succumbing to the weight of the mountains surrounding them.
They didn't. It was almost as if they were protected from the floods of ice. The Force? Maybe. But the avalanches did not touch them. True, the snow now rose high enough to swath the post's foundation, but the rest of it remained intact. Meaning that Grensin, and perhaps others, were still inside.
Pointing at the Subjugate piloting the shuttle, Ronovi silently directed them to land. The Shadow Droids silently withdrew, disappearing as quickly as they had appeared. They would not go too far, though. The Epicanthix waited for the rumbling to subside, then breathed in sharply as the ship landed onto the now packed torrents of snow.
"What?" She shrieked, yanking herself out of her Force reverie. The shield she had erected around the barracks had drained her of significant energy. She struggled for her saber.
The Nagai who stood before her looked perturbed, but not frightened. "We have company."
"Oh!" Grensin screeched. "Yes! Thank you! I never would have guessed!"
She flung herself toward the closest window and watched as a swarm of white armored warriors disembarked from a shuttle that sank slightly in the snow. From every direction, handfuls of One Sith minions that had survived popped out of the slush like rodents, snarling and attempting to regain footing in the deep piles. The intruders, however, seemed fully capable of dancing about the ice without sinking or slipping, and their blades and scatter guns wrecked those who dared pop their heads out from where they were buried.
Becoming fed up after watching one grunt get a faceful of blaster fire, Grensin turned to the Nagai who had gathered around her. She signaled to them.
"Move to the bunkers! The enemies must be drawn fully inside! Then we can surround them and finish them off!"
Holokai spat and scowled, but he complied, pointing at the Nagai and silently asking them to follow orders. The knivesmen scurried in different directions, disappearing around the corners of the barracks, leaving the Miraluka to follow. This time, she witnessed, her saber may have to be the go-to.
Launching herself full-speed out of the shuttle, Ronovi let her saberstaff do the work as she cut down the rest of the remaining One Sith minions. The Shadows had done suitable work without her - the caved in heads, lopped off ears and noses, and gauged out eyes merely exemplified their prowess and skill.
Her boots scraping up compacted snow, Ronovi barreled toward the entrance to the barracks, her mind solely focused on her end goal. Inside, the bitch Miraluka would be waiting - with her scrawny Nagai pals to boot. The Epicanthix wondered exactly what kind of treat she was dangling in front of their noses to get them to comply with her demands. Whatever it was, Ronovi most likely could provide a heftier meal, should the Wraiths at her disposal be capable of capturing some of the guardsmen and getting them to cater to Plagueis.
The door hung wide open like a loose brown tooth, and Ronovi and what was remaining of the Shadows briskly strode in. The main area of the barracks, of course, was empty. Ronovi did not flinch. She simply shuffled toward a wall, pressing a hand on the somber stone and breathing in deeply.
"I know you're hiding," she loudly declared. "No need to be so scared. We're here to have some fun."
Of course, there was no answer. Ronovi searched for something, anything, to sense movement. Stooping over, she quickly picked up a piece of loosened flint, holding it up to her gaze. One Shadow eyed her through his faceplate as she closed her organic eye, sifting through the memory held within the rock.
She didn't get much. Especially not enough to confirm whereabouts. Flashes of feet and kicked up ice was all she noticed through her psychometry. Sighing, she dropped the stone to the ground, only to hear the sleek sound of a knife being drawn from its sheath.
"Well," she murmured without looking behind her. "I guess someone got impatient."
She countered the incoming blade with her gauntleted hand, the metal alloy holding firm against the serrated edge. There was a slight vibration against her knuckles - most likely the generators built into what she now perceived to be a Tehk'la - as the harsh breathing of the potential Nagai holding it rasped into her ear.
"You're not like the others."
Ronovi chuckled. "Like who?" she mused. "Others of the Brotherhood?"
"Yes," whispered the Nagai. "The others seemed to be..."
"Green? Reckless? Stupid?"
She could feel his body give, the knife withdrawing from her exposed arm. Twisting backward, Ronovi clamped a hand down, hard, against her SSK-7. She was about to pull it out of its comforting holster when she stared upon the visage of the Nagai. Pale white skin. Dark hair. Gray eyes attempting to blaze silver. The Tehk'la held outward, at the ready.
It was too good. She laughed. She loosened her hold on her pistol and raised her hands up in amusement.
"You could make this very easy for me, you know," she stated. "Your pal, Grensin Zand - the Miraluka. Where is she?"
"Sequestered," the Nagai replied. "Waiting for you."
"Cute. And you figured you'd take me on yourself?"
He shrugged. "I fight more for me than anyone else. Plus, I didn't expect the damn sky to fall down on my head when you arrived."
"So, what? Because I tried blasting you to kingdom come, you figured rushing in would be swell?"
"I figured," he retorted, "that maybe I'm not aligned with quite the right people."
Ronovi sighed. She gestured for the Shadows to stand down, the Wraiths having assumed offensive positions around the walls. Reaching for her hip flask, she unscrewed the cap, doused her throat with whiskey, and attempted to grow level-headed. But not before offering the bottle to the Nagai first.
"No," he breathed. "No, thank you."
"You ought to be careful," Ronovi grunted, the Whyren's stench wafting from her lips. "Zand can probably sense I'm here. And she most likely knows you went out to see me."
"Your ships. Your men. They are..."
"Sworn fleets and servants of the Ascendant House," Ronovi said. "You fight for your personal gain, correct? The Nagai always do. Plagueis does not quite...strive for individuality in its ranks. Save for the Force sensitives."
The Nagai smirked. "It's like you're encouraging me to kill you. For fear you'd strip me of my personal honor."
Ronovi shrugged. "Five million credits and a brand new estate may encourage you otherwise."
Now he raised his eyebrows. The Epicanthix smiled. The offer was a stretch, but it was probably better than what the One Sith were suggesting.
"Think about it," she continued. "Even if you don't exactly join me...you'll at least walk off with something. Consider it a gift for helping me out."
She could almost entirely read his mind. Perhaps some new weapons and armor would appease him as well.
Holokai appeared within the doorway of the bunker, looking haggard. Grensin's teeth were bared. She did not like the expression on his face one bit.
"Where did you go?"
Holokai said nothing. There was something muted about his eyes. They appeared whiter than gray now, fading fast in the light. The Miraluka was losing patience.
"You," she barked to another of the Nagai guardsmen quartered with her. "Knock some sense into him, will you?"
No sooner had the words tumbled from her mouth that Holokai pitched forward, a shamefully harsh rattling sound echoing from where his sternum cracked against the stone. Grensin's molars parted from one another as her mouth fell open. She could see the blood streaming from the back of the Nagai's head, dark and uninviting in the vast space of the bunker. The other guardsmen drew their knives. The doorway seemed to become bloated with shadows.
"Play time!" she heard a lilting voice seep in, as a swarm of faceless soldiers barged into the room.
Grensin reacted quickly, flinging herself toward a cot as blaster fire singed its way into the walls. Two of her guardsmen were toppled too easily, their mouth belching inferno as bolts dug deeply into their throats. The intruders were in stark armor - snow-covered white with black masks - and would not yield as they raised their blades. It was all the Miraluka could do to ignite her saber.
Springing forward, the Sith Lady dealt a simple Soresu cut to one of the warriors' flanks. To her glee, his leg fell away easily against the heat of her saber, and he collapsed onto his side, losing his balance. A Nagai jumped onto his body quickly, attempting to strip his mask off his face so he could mutilate him with his Tehk'la. The guardsmen were not quite holding their own - especially with Holokai's inconvenient death - and now Grensin was left to scavenge.
Parrying a blaster shot from another warrior, she buried her blade into yet another's chest, pushing him off the plasma with the flat of her boot. He stumbled into the adjacent wall, crashing into the consoles packed into the corner. One stray scattergun shot blew out the light above, and the whole space grew dimmer, save for the sporadic flare of a bolt lighting the room up in red. Grensin bit back a snarl. She mercilessly decapitated another of the bastards, watching his severed head pirouette on his shoulders before dropping to the ground like a lump of wet meat.
Grensin had the Force to thank for her success in combat. She was not the most physically powerful, but enough enhanced speed and Force concentration allowed her to make dexterous, defensive hits. In the midst of it all, as her energy depleted, she found herself shoving the remaining faceless warriors into one another, even as they cut down another chunk of her men. Only two Nagai Guardsmen were left alive, against six remaining enemies. She eagerly crushed the larynx of one of them and brought the number down to five, only to hear two blades buzz loudly behind her.
"Looks like I get the prize after all."
Screaming, Grensin whipped around to see an outrageously tall woman looming over her. In her Force vision, she was massive - all muscle, marble-esque, amber-eyed - with cerulean belching from both ends of her saberstaff. Almost instantaneously, Grensin spread her arms out, sending any approaching men sprawling backward. They could not touch her now.
"So," she sneered. "It seems I get to add a thirteenth heart to the collection."
"Yeah, I saw that little bundle of organs as I maneuvered to your hiding space," simpered Ronovi. "Kind of awkward, really. And the smell - geez. You've got some odor fetish, love?"
"You think you can intimidate me?" shrieked Grensin Zand, the cloth over her eyes not doing much to conceal her emotionally contorted visage. "I have killed dozens of you Brotherhood fools already. Dozens! What makes you think this will be any different?"
Ronovi sneered. Truth be told, she did love a drawn out fight. Some ruthless, bloody battle to the end. Something dramatic, intense. It would involve some deft strokes. Some jumping around on the bunker's furniture. Maybe even some lightsaber blades stuck in short-circuiting, spark-spitting consoles. She'd punch the Miraluka and tear away the cloth that hid her eye-less sockets, allow the blood to seep out from the holes. Sure, Grensin could put up an admirable fight, Force-capable and all. Perhaps nearly kill her. Yes. Ronovi could see that. But even the most capable of Force users had their weaknesses. Maul had been foolish. Qui Gon Jinn, foolish. This would be no different.
Anti-climactic endings always were fun, too.
"To answer your question," the Primarch mused, "it's because you underestimated your little Nagai friend."
Grensin pursed her lips. "Pardon?"
The Tehk'la seemed to blossom from her neck then, like a protruding rose, the thorns biting deeply into her flesh. Holokai rose up slowly from behind her, sneering, the blood from the simple inflicted cut having dried on the back of his head. His pale skin glowed in the light, and he appeared to revel in the presumed kill. Of course, that was before Grensin, the blood streaming from her throat and trickling across her clavicle, clenched her teeth and allowed the Force to snap Holokai's neck in two.
He fell backward, his head held at a jaunted angle, and went cold very quickly. Ronovi brought her blades up to bear. She slammed her weight into the Miraluka, propelling herself into the woman's makeshift Soresu block. The force of the Epicanthix's body alone allowed her to push Grensin fully into the wall, snapping the light armor against her back, and pin her there.
Grensin was not to be trifled with, not even as the blood still coursed from her wound. The stab from the knife was already healing, and fast, with Force assistance. Holokai had done nothing but provide a distraction, and that suited Ronovi just fine. She could feel her throat begin to constrict from Zand's attempts to choke her. She barely had enough air to whistle, just as the Shadows sprang, oh, so appropriately, from the shadows to swing their blades at the Miraluka blithely.
The Nagai were dead. Grensin would die, too. She struggled her way out of the forming dogpile, leaping across the cots within the bunker. Ronovi, despite her lack of skill in Force resistance, was still remarkably agile. She threw herself far enough to land on top of the Miraluka, pinning her to the ground, her saberstaff splayed outward. A vibroblade drawn from the Miraluka's sheath floundered in her left hand as she rolled onto her back and struck out with both saber and sword.
The vibroblade glanced off Ronovi's jaw, the olive flesh purpling with blood. Ronovi growled. She let the vibroknucklers in her left hand slither out from the tiny holes in her gauntlet. She struck once, twice, three times before she got a hit. The blade caught Grensin squarely in the cheekbone. Blood spurted in a desperate fountain. The Shadows swooped in quickly, ready to jump in, just as Ronovi brandished her saber.
"You collect hearts?" she wheezed.
"You..." Grensin was gurgling. "You are not nearly as str - "
The cerulean descended. The burnt brain matter oozed from behind the Miraluka's facemask and helmet. It grew warm, its mushroom like texture absorbing the growing heat of the space. The snow lessened outside. Ronovi let the blood from her own face drip onto her breastplate, tinging the bronzed alloy with a rusty hue. The barracks, now hers, lay raw and open like a fleshy tomb.
"I collect nothing but death."