Contract 009 - Syntari Bastiayn


14-04-2013 05:52:58

009 - Syntari Bastiayn

>>>Starting Encrypted Holo-Transmission>
>>Transmission Source Trace: Antei>
>Priority Level: Urgent>

The construction of one's lightsaber is no small step in an apprentice’s journey become a fully fledged Jedi Knight. It is an age-old trial that goes back to the most ancient of Jedi and Sith teachings alike. You have started work on your lightsaber at your Master’s request by salvaging a lightsaber from a defeated enemy. A unique opportunity to procure a particular type of focus crystal only found in the icy caves of Khar Delba is brought to your attention. Clan Naga Sadow lost the planet to House Plagueis, but has not yet left the system.

Your masters have tasked you with retrieving this crystal to help complete your trials. They obviously believe that the journey itself could prove just as rewarding. You will have to use all of the skills and resources at your disposal (such as Clanmates, or mentors) to circumnavigate Plagueis forces, as well as remnants of Sith One.

You are to give a full report of your mission and present your completed lightsaber for inspection.

Good luck, and may the Dark Side guide you.

-Clan Naga Sadow Summit,
via The Commissioner of the Antei Contact Bureau.

(OOC: As per the MAA Office, This fiction should translate to no less than 7 pages in a word document, Standard Arial 12 font. Your story should focus on what type of lightsaber crystal’s do you find? []. Things to include are how your character feels about putting his saber together, what it means to become a Dark Jedi Knight, and of course the experience of the journey overall for your character.)



Sanarai Iridana

26-04-2013 20:56:20

This war waged by the Brotherhood is nothing but brutal, needless death mounted upon pointless bloodshed. The ranks of the fallen swell with the maimed corpses of the weak, the unworthy, those overconfident in their assumed invulnerability.

Syntari sighed as Khar Delba slid into view, its icy whorls visible even from this distance. The young Krath’s mind continued to flaunt philosophical thoughts unbefitting of her current mission, though she expended no effort to cease the bitter rantings rampaging throughout her overactive brain.

In life there is seldom anything more horrifying than war and yet thousands of eager Journeymen pounce upon the chance for bloodstained glory.
The realities of war encompass endless guilt stemming from witnessing the destruction of comrades as they fall upon the battlefield, from having no other choice but to sprint past and leave them without the benefit of a proper burial.
Turning back to aid the fallen only results in your own demise, instant in its finality or agonizing in its inevitable slowness. Death claims them all and the living are left to fill the empty chambers.

She sighed and briefly buried her face into her hands, welcoming with utter relief the darkness which greeted her eyes. There flitted throughout her life instances when she despised her intellect and lingering in the core of her being simmered a hatred for the vast intelligence which delivered her no closer to understanding her existence.

Returning now to Khar Delba shrouded her with memories that the Bpfasshi continuously fought to hide since the day she joined the Brotherhood and nothing in the entirety of Antei held more of her contempt than her constant weakness.

Love is the one affliction of sentient beings which outstrips war in its monstrosity. It captures one’s heart and enshrines it within an embrace of passions and emotions never to be fully savored; promises are forged to be regretted in times of sorrow and defeat. For what? To soar higher than the moon? To shatter upon the unforgiving ground in a heap of flesh and smeared brains?

An image of her prior visit to this accursed planet slithered throughout her mind, hissing in honeyed tones of that last impossible choice. Her lip curled in disgust as an expression of distaste etched itself upon her features and she glared at the planet approaching closer with every second. How could one location induce such emotions within one being?

The Force roiled beneath the onslaught of her aggravation as she turned from the viewport and gathered what belongings she’d deemed necessary, a pack with rations and other equipment as well as her lightsabre. Hate the thing she might, but Syntari would be damned before she ventured into hostile territory.

This waste of a planet is no more a treasure trove than bantha fodder, and any secrets it once cradled within its womb have long since vanished. Why send me here? Mere whispers of a so-called ‘rare crystal’ could be little more than a false scent aimed to rid the Brotherhood of a useless hybrid mutt...and yet here I am. If they truly wished to end me, it would be simple.

With a rather forlorn shake of her head the Sadowan waited as the shuttle entered Khar Delba’s atmosphere, anxiety strangling her guts. The minutes leading to her departure flew by on swift wings, time flashing past no slower than a heartbeat until the ramp lowered and deposited its cargo safely upon the snow-strewn plains.

Of all places, why here? she brooded as she watched the shuttle take off. Syntari knew full well that this may well be the last time she saw a Brotherhood shuttle or heard another friendly voice. She may very well die on this Force-forsaken planet and not one soul on Antei would weep for her long-forgotten memory.

The Bpfasshi wasted no time in alighting within the welcoming shadows, manipulating the scraps of darkness as she had done for the past seven years, operating on instincts to disappear from sight. Without the protection of her House she refused to summon the Force, adapting to the utter necessity of avoidance of its comforting embrace with relative ease. Despite her lack of knowledge of its existence for the majority of her life, Syntari discovered that distancing oneself from the Force was anything but pleasant.

Even had her entire Clan surrounded her in that instance she would have disregarded entirely the honeyed words murmured into her inner mind.

There existed a price attached to every choice made, every action performed shrieked for retribution, and for all favors wrestled from the Force via the dark ways favored by the Brotherhood, a ransom was always demanded in return. Thus, while the ability to completely shroud herself would prove invaluable, it remained not one she did not possess and she was not willing to pay that non-negotiable price.


To become snowblind created a dilemma which Syntari was not equipped to control. Her crossing of the frost-bound plains of Khar Delba, the planet her Clan had allowed to slip from its grasp, went by far slower than she had anticipated.

The snow succeeded in nearly blinding the Bpfasshi as she crossed the frost-bound plains of the planet her Clan had allowed to slip from their grasp, her steps silent and sure. Her senses hyper focused upon the slightest whisper of wind across the snow, her body poised to flee at the slightest hint of danger.

Not for the first time Syntari cursed her own stupidity and her rush to forsake Antei’s comforts; in her haste to flee she had forgotten the goggles specifically designed to ward against the intense light reflecting constantly into her eyes.

Mentally she kicked herself, fully aware of her current state of blindness so long as the sun burned in the sky above. The terrain proved increasingly formidable to traverse and combined with the all-encompassing silence permeating her world fairly reeked of a concealed menace far more potent than she could handle with any expectation of survival.

She hated the overall lack of noise just as she hated the absence of the enemies supposedly swarming about the planet; the knowledge that she roamed this far across the landscape, as of yet undetected and unharried by enemies, gnawed at her already frazzled nerves.

Death is nonexistent amidst the cradle of the Force. Nothing lasts forever and nothing is as eternal as the world would have me so blindly believe, without purpose and without a reason to believe otherwise. Even lightsabres shatter in the fallen snow...

The constant light evoked incessant, pulsating migraines and the perpetual, death-like quiet devoured her already unbalanced sanity. Her briefing had warned her of the hazards lurking upon the frozen globe--Plagueian forces, One Sith remnants--but as of yet, nothing so much as breathed the chilled air. Syntari’s perception of time faded with the passing days as she crisscrossed the tundra, minutes crawling into hours and daylight diminishing beneath the absoluteness of darkness.

Any trace of Syntari’s outward confidence dwindled until each stride flowed to a backwards glance over her shoulder as she drew nearer to the caves.

Impractical though her Force prowess may be, and as removed from its power as she was, the invading impression of stark wrong haunted her footsteps until the overpowering compulsion to flee dragged at her limbs. Something was coming, something was amiss, and with every passing second the likelihood of her death loomed ever nearer.


Tucked into a discreet glacier was a rather disappointing grotto, more of a discrete hole in which, rumors abound, there existed all manner of treasure from ancient scrolls to ultimate weaponry to the secrets of immortality. Such rumors of course had already been investigated and disproven by Brotherhood agents, although one whisper evidently carried some measure of truth. A rare type of crystal formed in abundance within its murky depths, an agent of Clan Naga Sadow chirped to the Summit.

Of course, House Plagueis won the planet during the Crusade and had ample time to explore Khar Delba’s arctic mysteries...who knew what awaited?

All this and more tumbled throughout the Bpfasshi’s mind as she observed the cave from a distance, her silver-green eyes flashing across the jagged formations which could possibly hide hostile individuals from her sight. No sooner had such a consideration surfaced in her thoughts than she sensed movement at the mouth of the cave; she swore under her breath and crouched down further within her hiding place.

Plagueians, she cursed the name. Five of them...damn it. One by one they disappeared into the cave, the last one glancing about briefly before vanishing as well. Caution would be required here, she knew, more than she possessed the patience for. Syntari counted backwards from fifty and slowly, gradually, drew her armory saber from her belt and shifted to balance, crouched, on the balls of her feet.


She bolted from her hiding spot and booked it at a flat-out sprint towards the entrance, her muscles burning with the exertion. The chilled wind nipped at her cheeks, her nose, sinking its fangs into her hands and whipping her hair into iced tangles to lash at her exposed skin. Seconds later she ducked, slid forward, and vanished into the cave, grateful for the escape from the wind but terrified of the descent..

The fall was long, but the rise would be greater. So long as her wings could propel her through the sky, Syntari could soar with the best of them and the thermals of the Force could carry her farther than she had ever dreamed.

Except...I don’t have wings...

She fell for what seemed like an eternity, the darkness impenetrable to even her half-breed Umbaran eyes. If ever she had wings they had long been shorn from her and now...falling was a lot like flying, after all.

The darkness is absolute, all encompassing, and complete in its utter totality. Never have the shadows enshrouded me within such an embrace of suffering...

She was right; the fall was long, but the rise would be heralded in shattered light.


Syntari alighted upon the polished glacial bottom of the cavern, sure of foot and graceful of form, catching her balance after a heartbeat’s pause. The walls of carved ice simmered with webs of faintly oscillating light pulsating gently every few seconds, a fact which she was grateful for as it relieved the gloom and served to illuminate her route.

She took a few cautious steps forward and saw nothing but the same gradual curve of the path; no sign of enemies or of a possible end.


Whatever optimism she’d boasted at the beginning of this mission had long since languished into a pit of pessimism, and so it was not with a cheered heart that she continued on. Without a way back she could only go forward, and considering the circumstances--stay where she had landed or move on, regardless of the dangers--she would much rather die in combat than from starvation.

She clenched her fingers around her lightsaber, her thumb tracing over the activation button. For once she appreciated its comforting weight in her hand, felt a sense of relief at the solid mass of components which with the flick of a button transformed into a weapon of mass destruction. She still despised it, for nothing could replace her beloved katana, but with her Fallen Angel lying in pieces on Antei, she had little choice in the matter.

Syntari would embrace hell with arms flung open and be damned before she entered hostile territory without a weapon.

Her surroundings yielded no change as the miles diminished beneath her steady pace. Annoyed with the seemingly endless scenery, she rounded yet another bend beset with animalistic frustration. The walls, oblivious to her aggravation, continued to throb in tune with what could only be the heart of the glacier. The Krath was getting nowhere, fast, and no glimpse of an exit had revealed itself--nor had she discovered any sort of crystal, lightsaber or otherwise.

Again, she ran through her briefing again, not out of necessity but simply for something to do.

Watch out for enemies, check.
Prepare for horrible weather, check.
Use the Force as little as possible, check.
Never assume anything, check.

That last thought came unbidden and did not originate with her briefing, which had concluded with “present your lightsaber for inspection” and had been relatively unhelpful. Rather, that last had been a remnant of some lesson from her Master she had not fully paid attention to.

As busy as the man was, he occasionally imparted invaluable tidbits of wisdom which he would rarely, if ever, explain in depth and would expect her to draw her own conclusions from.

One such morsel had presented itself in a heartbeat only to flit away on swift wings: “Never assume anything.”

Contrary to the opinions whisking about the Brotherhood, Syntari detested combat. Nothing about a sweaty, brutal fight held an appeal to her and her view of the world decidedly did not include categorizing everything in sight as “kill or don't kill".

Nor was she a Sith to dabble in arcane arts and mix fantastic works of alchemy, or devise blueprints for Sithspawn of devastating destruction.

Syntari was a Krath, wielding ancient scrolls and holocron relics in place of a lightsaber, maneuvering the Archives instead of a battlefield. A barbed tongue, quick wit, and knowledge shielded her as armor does an Obelisk; her creations consisted of words, not blueprints.

Trained in combat as much as any Obelisk, taught sly, cunning secrecy as thoroughly as any Sith, Syntari was a Krath whom could not afford to assume anything.

Just what she was supposed to avoid assuming, she did not know.

The passage narrowed significantly as she continued forward, though the light resonating from the walls did not fade. Her heart quickened; this was it. Whatever she would find here, it would either mean the completion of her mission or her death, for the Plagueian’s she had seen before would be no where else.

Time passed below the ground at a faster rate than on the surface. Her sense of time wound in on itself until she’d lost track of how long it had been since her descent; disoriented, she had no idea how many days had passed and had no means of finding out. Her only means of communication only functioned above ground and would not yet be activated, though when it would be, she did not know. Her wanderings down the same passageway grew more tedious as she traveled to the heart of Khar Delba, her surroundings becoming monotonous rather quickly.

The Plagueian agents fell far too easily beneath the crimson blade of a dead woman, their low rank causing little more than a puff in the Force as their life-forces extinguished. Lithe and agile, she had no trouble disposing of these laughable, so-called “threats” to her target, the Bpfasshi mutt trailing behind in a passageway meant to end with her death. Beneath the concealing hood ice-blue eyes flared with an identifiable emotion while lips shaped wrong for smiling curled up in a haughty sneer. If nothing else, the lurching mockery of her once graceful stride and the foul stench of corruption clinging to her would have been enough to identify her as what she was: a creation of Sith magics and the twisted taint of the dark side. Cyril Nighthunter, late apprentice to the Herald and former member of the Brotherhood, turned to face the rounded chamber’s only exit and her sneer worsened into a bitter smile. History was about to repeat itself beneath the surface of Khar Delba, but this time the circumstances would yield a far different outcome.

The end to her path presented itself with no warning. Several seconds melted away before Syntari fully absorbed precisely the scene before her, the extent of the destruction and waste of sentient life. Accustomed to death from her time as a bounty hunter and desensitized to it all by years of violent abuse as well as her current training, Syntari’s eyes nonetheless widened at the array of bodies, all butchered beyond the necessary limit. Limbs strewn several feet from mangled torsos lay in scattered disarray, blood staining the frosted, carved-from-glass floor as it leaked from wounds created by weapons other than a lightsabre.
Within arms reach the head of a Plagueian apprentice stared up at her with glazed, sightless eyes.
To Syntari’s credit she neither moved nor made a sound, gazing back at the head with a dignified expression hiding her inner panic. She knew better than to attempt to hide now; standing in full view as she was, it was far too late for that. The subtle hum of an activated lightsabre drew her attention towards a figure whom could only be the killer, a slender form swathed in a black robe and hooded cloak. Skeletal fingers clutched the weapon in question, a blade of volatile crimson burning from the hilt as the scent of ozone choked the air. Syntari’s body refused to respond to her brain’s frantic commands froze in place as the figure shook back its hood to reveal all too familiar features.
This time, she was prepared to see Cyril Nighthunter, former apprentice to the Herald and a one-time member of Naga Sadow. The rumors insisted that she was dead and the closer Syntari looked, the more she saw the truth in those whispers. Where once the Zeltron’s skin had been a deep red it now seemed almost gray from decay, the flesh withering from her face and stretched thin across her hands which seemed too fragile to hold a lightsabre. The eyes were by far the worst, orbs of a brilliant, unearthly blue staring out at the world from sunken sockets. The shock at seeing Cyril again was replaced by fury; this was little more than a corpse, life infesting the bones from which it had fled. Someone had gone to extensive lengths to either frighten the Bpfasshi or drive her mad.
She was inclined to neither option.
“What? No words for an old friend?” The voice was nearly the same but not quite, the differences noticeable only to the Zeltron’s best friend.
Syntari shook her head. “Not for a reanimated puppet,” she responded. They faced each other at opposite ends of the chamber, the Sadowan with her back to the entrance and the cadaver with Cyril’s face standing amidst a pile of bodies. Both women held their lightsabres in their right hands, though Cyril appeared far more comfortable with hers than Syntari did.
Smiling, the older female gestured towards the dead as though proud of her work. “They were here to kill you, and I could not allow that.”
A bitingly sarcastic response lingered on the tip of her tongue but Syntari bit it back, focusing more of her attention on studying Cyril than answering the nonsense spewing from the Zeltron’s lips. Whomever had brought her back botched the pheromones, she observed vaguely.
“You have to remain alive or what good would you serve?” Cyril smiled, though the charming effect was lost amongst the ruin of her face. “This is both a message and a test.”
At that Syntari’s heart sank as the full realization swamped over her. Now she understand why Khar Delba was the chosen location, why Cyril was the one to stand there and greet her with that casual smile that made her very soul ache.
“I have to kill you, don’t I?” she whispered hoarsely. “Don’t I?” she asked again when silence reigned. No answer came. Syntari’s thumb slammed the activation button on her lightsaber and the blade sprang to life, the acidic green casting a demonic haze upon the Bpfasshi’s face.
Cyril still hadn’t moved, though the smile had faded and her expression twisted to one of twisted, bitter cruelty not suited for the normally stoic Zeltron. “Just what do you plan to do with that, Syn?” she spat, using the nickname Syntari hated but had never been able to shake. Mockingly she sneered, “Poor little Bpfasshi. What’s it like to be on the bottom of the food chain? Apprentice to a man who doesn’t care, who will never care, and a member of a backstabbing, treacherous Clan that would sooner kill you then save you?” She laughed, the grating mockery of her former charisma echoing off the walls in splinters of brutal reality.
The truth in that statement rocked Syntari to her core, all of her doubts, fears, and anxieties revealed in once sentence. The Sadowan’s eyes flashed golden and the Force shivered with the anger simmering beneath the surface of her control.
But she’s right, a tendril of doubt murmured into her ear. What could you possibly do, little one?
Syntari took a deep, steadying breath and although her emotions refused to settle she could at least speak without a waver to her voice. “I’m not going to waste my time killing someone who’s already dead,” she responded.
Cyril cocked her head, grinned, and tapped her temple. “Am I?” With no more warning than that, the Zeltron lunged, her lightsaber cocked over her right shoulder. Reacting entirely on instincts, Syntari ducked with barely a second to spare as the scent of burned hair drifted about her nostrils. As she whirled back around to face her opponent she quickly scanned the Zeltron’s movements, assessing the rather awkward way in which she turned and the slightly off-kilter angle at which she held her lightsaber. This was hardly a perfect imitation, more like a body pieced together like the jigsaw puzzles so popular with younglings.
Again Cyril struck, using the wall as leverage to give her a burst of speed that otherwise she would not have obtained. Again the Bpfasshi just barely managed to dodge as the red blade swung towards her face, her own green lightsaber rising too late to block the attack while she scrambled for purchase on the glassy surface of the chamber. Although Cyril had been given some training with the lightsaber it had by no means been completed and Syntari had skill with a katana, which although far different than the weapon she held now, afforded her some advantage. Despite the reality of the situation and the evidence of her old friend’s obvious death, the Krath felt an inner reluctance to fight. She was a scholar, not a fighter; Syntari had neither a drive nor a desire for death or bloodshed and yet here she was, in combat against the revived corpse of the being she loved.
“Never assume anything.” The Herald’s advice drifted through her thoughts once more, one of the few lessons from the man that she had actually heeded. Her mind flicked from one realization to another in rapid succession as Cyril readied herself for another leap.
Why Cyril Nighthunter? Because those in power knew that I love her. Why Khar Delba? Because here I made that final choice. Why combat, and why was my request to take a katana denied? Because I have to make a choice: fight a battle I cannot win with a weapon I hate, or throw down my lightsaber and make a stand, right here, right now.
Syntari’s lightsaber clattered to the ground and skidded along the ground, rolling to a halt to rest at Cyril’s feet. The Krath spread her arms out to her sides and locked eyes with her long-dead love. “I’m done.” The declaration resonated with a sense of resolution; flinching, Cyril took a half-step backwards. With that, Syntari knew her victory had been secured. The last time she had been on Khar Delba, she had hesitated before reaching to pull Mirus Cavataio out of the snow. Now, her words rang with a decisiveness that her past actions sorely lacked.
That is the test, she knew it without a doubt in her heart and mind. “Never assume anything,” Shikyo Keibatsu warned. “When you make a decision, stick to it. Right or wrong doesn’t matter, so long as that decision has been made.”
Cyril shook her head frantically, her ice blue eyes shimmering as her form wavered. Syntari took a step forward, arms still spread out to her sides, and repeated, “I am done.” The Zeltron opened her mouth to speak but no words formed, a choking noise escaping her lips instead.
“It’s n-not supposed to end like this!” she screamed. She shot forward as swift as a bird takes wing, mouth opened in a feral snarl. Ever so calmly, as if to wave goodbye, Syntari lifted her lightsaber and did not waver as Cyril impaled herself upon the emerald-green blade. “Goodbye,” she whispered. The body fell to the ground as nothing more than a pile of ash and bone, her lightsaber landing upon her cloak.


Upon her return to Antei, Syntari Bastiayn spent several hours engaged in conversation with her Master, discussing her options and the future which lay before her. During an interval in a classic Herald speech lasting an eternity, she took the chance to stare down upon the hilt resting in her hands. She knew its name, she knew its weight, she knew this weapon...yet still it was incomplete. Absently she reached into her pocket and withdrew the crystal she’d discovered in the folds of the dead woman’s robes. It was an ugly thing, really, unimpressive and rather simple in its formation, yet every stroke of her fingers over its imperfect surface resonated within her. Her gaze strayed back to the hilt in her hand once more and a subtle smile curved over eher lips. A weapon made for a Scholar and a crystal bound to her through the Force...suddenly, she thought that she no longer hated lightsabers.


30-04-2013 02:52:38

Contract 009: Complete
Mission: Accomplished

Debriefing: Syntari returned safely after completing the mission set forth by her mentor and Clan Summit.


Wow. Honestly, I wasn't expecting anything like this. You took a simple concept of finding a lightsaber crystal and turned it into an entirely different story. The story itself evolved out of the prompt, encompassing it, but you completely made it your own. I truly enjoyed reading the piece. Your descriptions of the environments were beautiful and vivid. Your insight into your characters thoughts and opinions made me feel attached to her as she went on her journey. At no point did I feel like I was really reading fluff - each word helping to serve a purpose. Overall I really enjoyed it.

With that said, there is still some work to be done with your writing. As far as syntax goes, there were a few times where I had to stop to re-read certain sentences or paragraphs. The best way I can describe this is flow, which, as a reader, I don't want to have to ever stop reading because something sounded wrong to me.

She sighed and briefly buried her face into her hands, welcoming with utter relief the darkness which greeted her eyes. There flitted throughout her life instances when she despised her intellect and lingering in the core of her being simmered a hatred for the vast intelligence which delivered her no closer to understanding her existence.

This is a bit too wordy. Sometimes, you get too descriptive and it clutters up what you're trying to say. It also is hard to read. If you were to try and read this out loud you would see what I mean.

Instead, you could try something like this:

Instances of her life flitted across her vision, and it was times like this that she despised her intellect. Lingering in the core of her being, hatred shimmered for that same intelligence that brought her no closer to understanding her existence.

Another example:

Returning now to Khar Delba shrouded her with memories that the Bpfasshi continuously fought to hide since the day she joined the Brotherhood and nothing in the entirety of Antei held more of her contempt than her constant weakness.

This should be two sentences. You can't read this in one single breath. Sometimes even removing a word or two can be helpful.

Returning to Khar Delba flooded the Bpfasshi with memories she had rigorously fought to hide since the day she joined the Brotherhood. And nothing in the entirety of Antei held more of her contempt than her own constant weakness.

That's your words, just re-arranged into another possible manner that might be a bit easier for the reader.

There are a few other sentences like these scattered throughout. Other than that, you picked up steam as you got closer to the end. There were a few parts where you tried playing with time, but actually ended up confusing me as a reader. You mention that Syn doesn't have the proper supplies, and imply that she could have been searching for days. This contradicts, and she would no doubt have a hard time thinking or doing much of anything after a few days of no eating or at the very least water. With a constitution of 14 (Average human, so think of yourself trying to do this), it's hard to believe. If you were going for the imagery that she was searching for what could have been HOURS, I'd have been able to go along with it much easier. It took me out of it a bit, is all.

I love that you found an entirely different crystal than what you were sent in for. I love that you worked your characters history into it and created a new character that wasn't even mentioned in the prompt. These are all traits of a good writer, and you demonstrated them well.

I am torn with where to grade this, but for the originality demonstrated, I'm going to bump my initial feeling of "Satisfactory" to "Excellent". With a little more practice and refining of your technical writing, I think you will be on your way to achieving a "Superior" contract.


A-Class = 1 points;
"Excellent" Contract = 3 points;
Total = 4 points.