Feb 2011 House Fiction Update

Sith Bloodfyre

20-02-2011 19:57:59

“How bad is it?”

“We’ve been hit fairly hard. Tarentum has survived worse, but still. We all need to know just how quickly we need to pull it together now.”

“I’m sure that’s probably going to be part of what Ronovi will talk about. She knows our situation better than any of us. It’ll be time to really pull it together, but she has the Tarentae to help her out, and we’re all dedicated. Don’t focus too much on the here-and-now. Focus on the future of Tarentum, the future of us all.”

“When is she going to start?”

“I’m guessing she’s waiting for Master Bloodfyre to arri—ahh, here he is now.”

The chatter quieted down as the Shaevalian Sith Master entered the grand audience chamber of Castle Tarentum, the bastion of strength and supremacy of the House Beneath The Waves. Where the massive gathering area for what had been the Clan of Life and Death might once have been filled to capacity, the room was now incredibly spacious, or so it seemed. Less than three dozen bodies filled the room now. Many of Tarentum’s warriors had been lost in the recent Rakghoul Plague, the events that had been set into motion by some dark figure with ties to Tarentum, who had sent an infestation of Rakghouls across Yridia, and evidently, into Naga Sadow and Taldryan territory, as well. The exact reasoning behind the plague itself, and the contact with the other two Houses still remained something of a mystery. But incredibly evident in all things now in the recent past was the loss of life.

The Yridia system had been hit hard. While Tarentum had indeed suffered losses in manpower, the Yridians themselves, the Force-blind neighbors and subjects of Tarentum, were hardest hit in the event. It was estimated that as many as twenty-eight percent of the population within the system had been lost to the plague. More than one of every four people in the system had been transformed into a Rakghoul and subsequently slain, or simply killed at some stage of the process by the Rakghouls that had terrorized the populace. Entire cities had been razed by the vicious Force-borne beasts in some cases, and there were areas of civilization that were now complete void of all population. The areas hadn’t been demolished, no one would enter the devastation to search for life. Some of the areas had simply been quarantined, and were awaiting orbital bombardment to ensure that all traces of the plague were washed away from the public eye, and to prevent another outbreak.

The news was bleak, and the Yridians had not responded well to the destruction among them. Tarentum had, through its public faces, been working to restore order and to assist their home in whatever ways they could. The majority of the military was raised up from among the Yridians, and indeed, the general enlisted body was completely Yridian in required service to Tarentum through national practice. Everyone had ties to the destruction of the Rakghoul plague. Everyone was affected by it; even the dark lords of the system.

And the devastation was on each of the minds of those nearly thirty individuals within the chamber. Each pondered the aftershocks. Each wondered what the Quaestor would say to calm the confusion, and to motivate the efforts of Tarentum to turn to the future and regain strength, rebuild what had been lost, and return Yridia and its people to confidence and supremacy. As the Sith Master entered the room and strode through the midst of his fellows, the tension in the air seemed to ease a bit. The meeting would now begin, and the powerful Shaevalian would help direct, and the Quaestor would focus them all upon the task ahead and reinforce their ultimate confidence.

The newest to Tarentum had the greatest confusion, but also the most hope. They hadn’t yet delved so deeply into the darkness as their veteran peers, and as such, still saw glimmers of light and hope at the end of the road. The veterans were not without confidence that Yridia would rebuild and be restored, but their feelings came from experience and insight, and, in some cases, from having done the same job in years past.

Bloodfyre quickly made his way to the side of the circular chamber farthest from the entrance, up to the grand dais, where audience or formal gathering was held. The top level of the dais held the obsidian throne reserved exclusively for the Sith King, Justinian Khyron. Not be the liege of Tarentum had ever sat upon the throne, not even the Prince, she who was Quaestor of Tarentum. Some had formerly questioned the idea of a female being called Prince, but all documents, and all formal oaths had always been made between King and Prince, and so the practice was simply followed even with a woman in the position. And coming to meet her, to stand at her right upon the very height of the dais was a former Prince, the Grand Chamberlain, and her newest Aedile. The last of the gathering to answer the summons, the Sith Master said nothing in passing to any of his kin, failed to acknowledge even the presence or gaze of his Quaestor, and simply took his formal place to her right hand, turned to look out over the gathered membership of Tarentum, and stood in stoic silence.

Ronovi cast her gaze to her side for a quick moment’s gaze at the Shaevalian, and when no return gaze was offered, the Epicanthix simply focused her thoughts upon the rest of the House, and began her prepared speech.

"Tarentum, I appreciate you all for answering my call," the Epicanthix began. "Each of you has worked hard, and shed much blood and sweat on behalf of each other. Because of your work and great effort, and that of our sister Houses of Naga Sadow and Taldryan, we were able to overcome the Rakghoul plague that swept across Yridia."

"That decimated Yridia," a voice from the crowd, easily recognizable as Rekio Corsair, the Governor-General and Sith'ari.

"And us, as well," Oberst's baritone resounded throughout the chamber.

"We survive," Ronovi continued, taking the time to look each of her two Tarentae associates and Housemates in the eyes, judging their thoughts and intentions as best she could. "And while we are whittled down in size, we remain firm and steadfast in dedication to each other, and to our Lord. We remain family and friends, and we remain true to each other. We remain Tarentum."

Several heads shook slightly. Some faces took on looks of disdain or disgust. The newer members of the House could feel the tension in the air, and those gathered looked around at each other, at their mentors, and those they had established close bonds with. No one would say it, but the air in the audience chamber seemed to grow cold, tense, and almost dark with a sense of foreboding. In decades past, when the original House Tarentum had become a Clan, it had split into twin Houses because of so many powerful personalities cooped up among each other, forcing conflicts and confrontations among House Tarentum's powerful. Would such an episode abruptly return to destroy them after rising above the Rakghoul Plague?

Ronovi paused a few moments, letting her senses ride the wave of emotion growing in the audience chamber. She didn't need the Force to tell her that many of her peers were frustrated with the situation, and that some of the more recent recruits, and lower ranks were confused and concerned. They were new to their powers, and newer to Tarentum, and lacked experience with the tension that was often an odd adhesive to the House and all within Yridia. Tarentum seemed to thrive on tension, deep-seeded rage and emotion that fed the Dark Side. It had to be contained and focused, but it was always there. The Dark Side ran deep in all within the chamber.

"With the resolution of the plague outbreak that swept across the system, that killed off too many of our neighbors in the system, and claimed some of our very own brethren, we focus ourselves on healing our wounds for now," Ronovi's voice echoed with as much firmness and confidence as she could muster. She had suffered wounds of her own, as had nearly everyone in the chamber. "The system is firmly under our control, through our ally Stanson Rend, and the government of the Kratocracy. We remain strong in Yridia, so we will close our borders and focus on training our Journeymen, healing our wounds, and recovering what we have lost."

The gathering of Tarentum seemed to grow even tenser with the mention of the Kratocracy, the most recent form of government instituted over the Yridians. Stanson Rend was a figure known in some echelons of Tarentum as the Prince's puppet ruler over the system, so that what Tarentum seemed to be among the Yridians was a noble family that held land ownership and sway within the system. Many of the eldest members of the Clan desired little or nothing to do with the Kratocracy, and held firm disbelief in Rand and his puppet associates. The Journeymen of Tarentum had little to do with the Kratocracy, and could see no reason to feel one way or another towards it, or about it.

And yet, the subtle changes in across Yridia with the resolution of the Rakghoul plague became more noticeable with each passing day. Many of the Yridians had at least minor contact with many of Tarentum's veterans, and word about the status of the land-dwellers filtered throughout the Castle. With the Rakghoul plague, various cults and darkly religious groups had begun to form up. Some of them manipulated and twisted the concept of the Sith King; others gave up any fealty or belief in the Sith King, and began to give praise or homage, even worship, to other beings who began to be seen as gods and powerful entities raised up to protect Yridia. The people had been stripped of so much, nearly everything of value or sentimentality had been destroyed. Loved ones had been murdered or consumed by the plague. Families had seen homes destroyed by the beasts that might have claimed them, except for the heroics of the military that had come to save them.

The majority of the Yridians had never seen the activities of the Dark Siders among them. No one had truly known that Naga Sadow, Taldryan and Tarentum had combined forces, and that Force-users—Krath, Obelisk and Sith—had wandered freely among them destroying the outbreak of a curse that had been created by the Sith thousands of years prior. To the common people throughout Tarentum's home system, they had seen troopers, familiar and strange alike; some wearing helmets, others with face paint; some with extravagant weapons, others with simple blasters and barbaric items of war; and yet, the Yridians had not generally seen the Jedi, or the Sith, or whomever the shadowy lords that commanded the military were. No, the Yridians had never known that those gifted with the Dark Side had culled the plague among them, which had been created by powers of darkness to begin with.

And here, within the immense, spacious audience chamber, the Dark Ones resided. The circular area, with several pillars, tapestries, paintings, and other remnants of Tarentum's history gone-by, chilled by the attitudes and memories of the all-too-recent past, now stood nearly empty. Though the personalities of many of these members were great enough to fill more than one of such a chamber, the lack of Force-gifted warriors was all too apparent. Some blamed the House Summit. Some blamed the Dark Council. No one blamed themselves.

"What exactly is your intention for the future, Tavisaen?" Oberst glared defiantly at the House's Quaestor. It was no secret among Tarentum that the Marshal and his successor had little-to-no relations at present. While the two may have once been allies while serving as a Summit, the two were now rather tense in their dealings with each other. "We focus upon our Journeymen as we always have. And yet, though you claim we are strong, we cannot ignore what is happening within Yridia. Your puppet government is losing power. The Yridians are twisting what beliefs we may have been able to instill in them. Tides of change are upon us. We cannot ignore them."

"Oberst speaks the truth," Anshar's voice echoed, though he had not raised his voice above a temperate tone. "There is unrest throughout the system, not just here upon Yridia II. In our baronies, our colonies, and throughout the system, the government is losing hold. While they will not admit it, Yridia IX is under sway of the syndicates once more. The Asylum remains a stronghold, but all power has been unofficially stripped of the public facade. Everyone on that planet recognizes the criminal hand as the controlling force."

"And here," Archean continued, "people are so caught up in the grief and delusions of the destruction as being called from heaven, that cults and new religious zealots are springing up everywhere. People who still believe in the Sith King as their lord and master are now twisting Lord Khyron into some deified figure who has risen himself to a higher plane, and will manipulate their lives with godly powers and rituals that are becoming harder to fathom. Even the blind can see that the situation in Yridia is changing. Things are not as we remember from years past."

"Nor even months past," Bloodfyre's head nodded, as he mimicked the thoughts of his blind friend and peer.

Ronovi's head turned, her gaze fully upon her comrade and Aedile standing beside her. It was often difficult, even impossible to judge the thoughts and emotions of the Shaevalian. Bloodfyre's mind was so clouded and obscured by his willpower and mental defenses, that only the most powerful Grand Masters had any chance to read his thoughts or, god forbid, potentially subdue the Sith Master. Ronovi couldn't penetrate the haze that was his mind, but perhaps the look upon the man's face might have been a different story, if he didn't always have that blasted hood pulled down low to obscure everything except his mouth and chin. The Epicanthix knew that there were some among the Tarentae and veterans of the House that didn't agree with how things were progressing within Tarentum. Leadership would never receive the praise when things were glorious; that always went to the members. When things were dull and disastrous, when destruction and darkness ran rampant over all things, however, the full brunt of the blame fell squarely upon leadership's shoulders. Perhaps it was unfair, but that had been the way of "civilized beings" for eons.

"You all speak the truth," Ronovi nodded once, pointedly and intentionally. "There is growing cause for concern throughout Yridia, but our forces remain strong, and we will be able to calm the chaos and confusion that is spreading because of religious zealotry."

The looks upon many of the faces in the gathered mass facing the dais seemed to suggest otherwise. The length of time in Tarentum seemed to be the dividing line as to who believed Tavisaen's words, and those who chose to see events transpiring as anything but guided and directed by Tarentum. Ronovi took easy notice of the looks directed at her. She seemed to gather it in as directed entirely toward her as an individual, instead of at the House Summit collectively. She didn't turn her eyes towards the Sith Master beside her. It didn't matter whether the Shaevalian was looking at her, or at their House members in front of them. The man would likely still have his thoughts focused elsewhere, as he often did. The eldest and Masters seemed to take little notice at the here-and-now unless they were called upon to act.

And yet, Bloodfyre's thoughts were deeply focused upon the gathering before him. The majority of the veterans and tenured members in the small gathering staring up at him were noticeably his friends, allies, and even kin. Tarentum was a family; that one word seemed to encompass all that Tarentum was, all that it could be, or should be. Tarentum had a bond that could never be broken, except by itself. And even then, the bond could never be destroyed. At times, the members of Tarentum were like rabid dogs, tearing at each others' throats. And yet, time and again, whenever a new threat arose, the members would stand side-by-side and defend each other to the death against any and all foes arrayed against them. Tarentum had a feel to it that could not be replicated elsewhere. While each personality within the House was impressively unique, and sometimes egotistical and arrogant, they all felt the same kinship to each other no matter the time or situation.

Bloodfyre gathered in the scene before him, taking time to look at each face in the gathering. He knew them all, or most of them, anyway. The faces of the newer members looked as though they were trying to take everything in, and understand exactly what was proceeding before them. They didn't understand it all, perhaps, but they knew it was power and personality in flux. The veterans understood all-too-well that such conflicts of desire and direction would happen again and again, as they had in the past, and it was their job to ensure that it did not destroy the unity and motivation of what Tarentum always would be: family.

Sith turned to his Quaestor, taking a moment to look deeply into her eyes, though his own gaze was still masked by his hood. Ronovi eyed the Shaevalian in return, as though some unseen communication might be passing between them. After a moment, Sith shook his head to each side, in the negative.

“The situation is beyond our full control in Yridia, Quaestor,” Bloodfyre began, “and you must know that, at times, we have to allow things to transpire, and look to the future for our actions. We are not the master of here-and-now, but we might return to ascension in the future.”

“I do not think—“

“Ronovi, the situation is beyond our control,” Bloodfyre reasserted. “Right now, the Yridians are returning to their roots. They were incredibly theocratic when Tarentum first formed, when Kaerner and the others came here. They are a people with beliefs, and we have tried to uproot those beliefs unsuccessfully. Perhaps we have manipulated them beyond what we ought to have.”

“I disagree with you, Aedile,” Ronovi’s eyes squinted with a bit of fire beneath their glassy shells. “I will speak with Stanson Rend, and the people will be brought back in line. They are loyal to the Sith King, as are we all, and as such, they will be only too willing to return to a lifestyle more suited to loyal subjects.”

“I believe that you will find difficulty in reaching Stanson Rend, Tavisaen.”

All eyes turned to Maxamillian von Oberst once more, the Marshal of the Armies of Tarentum. The great behemoth turned to his side, where one of his retainers now stood, holding a medium-sized box. The man handed the Marshal the item, bowed once, and then turned to leave the hall. Oberst held the box in his hands and approached the dais, his boot thumps echoing as he closed the distance between himself and the House’s Summit. The climb up the few steps passed, and the large man stood in front of Ronovi, and stretched his hands out slightly to present her with what seemed a gift.

“For you, madam,” Oberst stated flatly, “with the fondest regards of those responsible.”

Ronovi glared at Oberst, taking the box without once looking away from the big man. Oberst bowed slightly, a bit of a grin, or perhaps a smirk upon the corner of his mouth as he waited for her to open the item. After a few moments of simply staring the man in his eyes, asserting her own dominance over her predecessor, Ronovi turned her eyes down to the box and opened it.

Within the unmarked box was a head. Though somewhat bloodied and bloated in death, the visage upon the macabre item was familiar. Ronovi glared at Oberst defiantly, the fire burning visibly in her eyes. Her mouth opened to spew forth hatred and curses at the Marshal, but was cut off by the man’s great hand held up in front of her.

“Hold your tongue, Tavisaen,” Oberst ordered, “unless you wish to meet at grass before dawn.”

“I will kill you where you stand!” Tavisaen’s hand wandered to her lightsaber hilt, and Oberst’s own immediately came to bear.

“You meet your death—“

“Halt this nonsense immediately!” A blast of telekinetic force threw the two violently away from each other. Oberst’s great mass sailed several feet away, and he landed just past the last step of the dais. Ronovi had landed on the dais away from where she stood originally, sliding a few more inches before her motion stopped. The Quaestor turned her furious gaze upon her Aedile, the Sith Master who was the cause behind the blast; Oberst’s bulk shifted surprisingly fast for such a large man, and he was up on his feet, his Marshal’s baton still in hand, before anyone could even reach a hand down to assist the man.

“She offends me, and her life is forfeit!”

“Marshal, if you continue your course against our Quaestor, I will be the one meeting you for a final breakfast,” Bloodfyre answered coldly. “And it would be a meeting I would regret for the rest of my days.”

Ronovi was now on her feet, stepping forward in her anger rather quickly, her weapon still in her own grasp, aiming it directly in the direction of both men. “I will see you both in hell before I ever submit to another such outburst in my own domain! You are going to pay for this slight against me!”

Bloodfyre turned his head slightly to take the woman into his peripheral gaze. “I assure you, that you had best remove such a tone from your next statement, or I will see to it that you are restrained as gently as I am presently capable of, my Quaestor.” The gleam in the man’s eyes now actually visible beneath his hood suggested what patience he might normally possess was utterly dissolved.

Ronovi’s gaze would have chilled the harshest of criminals. Oberst’s eyes were locked upon Tavisaen, and everyone within knew that, if not for the powers of the Sith Master, the two would have likely torn each other limb from limb even still. The Shaevalian moved his body just enough, taking merely a step or two, so that both of his Tarentae peers could not view each other directly. After waiting a moment or two, the Aedile of Tarentum spoke again to the gathered kin of his House.

“We are in a state of flux, Tarentum,” he began, “and our emotions are high. We have suffered grievous wounds in this most recent conflict, including the loss of many of our brethren. The Rakghoul Plague was thrust upon us. We did not seek it out. Tarentum was the Clan of Life and Death; some of us still practice the Necromantic arts. And yet, because of our stability with darker arts, the Council entrusted us with the secrets of Rakghouls and Smoke Demons. They thought such secrets would be best protected among us.

“It was a hard thing to accept,” Sith continued, “that our arts could be turned against us. And yet, we realize soberly that we may often be confronted not only by our closest allies, but by our best-kept secrets. At times, we are challenged greatest by ourselves. The only true threat to Tarentum is itself. If we are not constantly prepared, if we do not maintain a close vigil upon our thoughts, our actions, and indeed, our temperaments, we will destroy each other.”

The gathered mass continued to gaze upon the Sith Master, some of his closest allies and peers nodding slightly at his words. The Marshal continued to look through the Sith Master, his gaze focused on Ronovi, even though her form was blocked by Bloodfyre’s; Ronovi’s own gaze would have been intensely locked upon Oberst if not for her Aedile. The Marshal spent a moment more in deliberate silence before turning from the gathering, and exiting the chamber. While he had not made a parting comment, everyone was too familiar with Oberst to believe he would simply let the issue go without provocation.

“My friends,” Sith said slowly, exercising great control over his tone, “this meeting is adjourned. I appreciate your attendance. We will speak again soon.”

Each of the members wandered away from the audience chamber, pondering the possibility of a challenge between the Quaestor of the House, and the Marshal. Neither would back down, with as intense and determined as both could be. It took several moments, but the room soon cleared, except for the Quaestor and her Aedile. Sith continued to watch those exiting the room before turning his full gaze to his Quaestor. Her weapon was still in hand, and after a few moments of silence, the incredibly familiar snap-hiss of her now gleaming weapon broke the air.

“Aedile or not,” Tavisaen began, “Master or Apprentice, I will kill anyone who ever challenges me so again. And for your daring to offend me so, I will have your head.”

“You are welcome to try and claim it if you choose,” Bloodfyre continued his slow, deliberate tone, “but you will fail, Exarch. And then I will have much to answer for when Muz contacts me, asking why you have not arrived upon Lyspair.”

“Why would I be headed to Lyspair?” Ronovi’s body, her stance, remained the same, but the fire in her eyes seemed to flicker for just an instant.

“I was delayed in making this attendance,” Sith responded, “because you were sought for communication, yet I was the only one present. The Grand Master bids you to Lyspair, and has news regarding business that the Headmaster has requested you to attend to.”

“What business is this?”

“I have no idea, I’m sure,” the Sith Master’s shoulders shrugged slightly. “But Muz informed me that, before you leave Yridia, I am to take up the post you will now be vacating.”

* * * * *

Ronovi had been absent from the Castle now for several hours by time the Marshal answered the summons from the Sith Master. The Hound of the Sith King entered the private chambers of the Shaevalian as the doors opened, without having to wait to request entry. Sith Bloodfyre stood within, his back turned both to the doorway and his friend and ally. Oberst stopped several feet within the room, and stood with perfect posture, such that any person might think he was at attention before a superior officer in the military.

“If we still meet at dawn,” Bloodfyre began after a few quiet moments, “I forfeit my life to you, old friend.” The Shaevalian now turned to face the larger man. “If I offended you in any way, you may claim my head as a prize now. I would wish no animosity between us, as you have served me as a friend and ally, and defended me even in my weakest moments.”

Oberst stood quietly for a few moments, saying nothing, but staring intently into the man’s eyes, uncovered slightly by his raised hood in the darkness of his private quarters. “Ronovi has left Yridia,” Oberst stated matter-of-factly. “The whispering throughout the Castle suggests that she may have packed for a rather long trip.”

“She has been called to Lyspair, Marshal,” Bloodfyre nodded slightly, “and she is expected to be serving there in her capacity as Praetor to the Headmaster for some time. The Grand Master has called for her service there, as has the Headmaster. There has been a change in command.”

Oberst was aware of the Sith Master’s meaning immediately; the look between the two men spoke volumes. Indeed, they had been close friends and allies since Oberst had returned to Tarentum from his wanderings, after the Brotherhood had split ties with its Imperial allies, who were now at least on friendlier terms once more. The Marshal stepped closer to his Tarentae peer, extending his hand in formal congratulations.

“You can keep your head,” Oberst stated with a bit of mild humor to his tone. “I’d rather not have to explain to Lord Khyron why I’d taken it without his leave.”

* * * * *

Elols had been unpacking and finishing setting up his quarters after the gathering had been dismissed from the audience chamber. While it had been nearly two years since he'd been in the Castle, a member of the former Clan of Life and Death, things had remained almost exactly how they had seemed in memory. On the shelf behind him was a bottle of scotch Kazarelth Talismarr had given him before each had taken their leaves and wandered away from Yridia for a time.

His quarters had been kept in pristine condition, and it was perhaps a hallmark of Tarentum that his quarters had been sealed off, reserved for him and no one else. Unless someone left Tarentum for good, joined another House, or had offended Tarentum upon exit, their space was always theirs. Even those who died, their quarters were sealed off, and kept for them in perpetuity for their afterlives. In a House that dealt heavily with, and trafficked with the dead, the afterlife was just as important as the mortal one.

The Bothan walked towards his mirrored wall, studying himself thoroughly. The shimmer of his durasteel arm could be seen as he ran his cybernetic right hand through his hair, pushing it out of his face. He paced towards his chair, in an attempt to resettle himself within his personal confines, but was interrupted by a knock at his door before he ever finished the short walk.

“Knight Elols,” the voice from someone who Elols perceived to be a newer member of Tarentum he had yet to meet, “Master Bloodfyre has bid me to escort you to meet with him.”

“Very well, I shall meet with him in his quarters immediately,” said the Bothan, albeit with a bit of curiosity in his voice. He was exiting his quarters, and walking swiftly towards Bloodfyre’s. “Do you know what this meeting pertains to?”

“I'm sorry, Knight, but I don't," the Journeyman answered, trying to keep up with Elols’ swift strides. “Perhaps he just wishes to greet an old friend?”

As the two walked together towards their destination, Elols was feeling at home within Tarentum again. He was surrounded by the Darkness. Even just the aura he sensed within the new recruit beside him made him feel comfortable.

* * * * *

“Sith Bloodfyre,” said Elols as he stepped towards the open door, “it’s been a while.”

"Tlaloc Elols," Bloodfyre responded in greeting. The Sith Master was on his feet, though he had been tapping various datapads, dealing with House work, seemingly. "Welcome home. Forgive me if I dispense with the friendly banter for a few minutes, my friend, but there is much to be done, and I want to get right down to business."

"Of course," Elols nodded slightly. "What can I do for you?"

"Quite frankly, changes are coming to Tarentum," Bloodfyre began, stepping around the desk he had stood behind, waving Elols on with him. "Walk with me. Ronovi has been called away to Lyspair; the Shadow Academy needs her. As such, I am now Quaestor of Tarentum."

"Ahh, congratulations."

"Thank you; which means I am now in need of an Aedile," Bloodfyre continued without missing a beat, "and though Tarentum is now in a state of flux, it can remember what it was, what it must be, and return to strength. I need someone who remembers what Tarentum was. I need someone who has the will, and the personal motivation to help shape things in the right directions.

"Yridia is in as much a state of flux as we are," Bloodfyre rounded a corner, continuing his moderate pace. "The Yridians seem to be returning to their theocratic ways, and the Syndicates have stepped up their hold on Yridia IX. What control we used to maintain has slipped away. The situation is not grim, however, it is simply different. I need someone who can adapt to the changes around us, and work towards ascension by the seat of their pants, if need be."

"Someone who can think on their feet," the Bothan answered in understanding. "Absolutely. How can I assist you? Would you like information on members, do you need me to help you find a few candidates?"

"You are one of the candidates," Bloodfyre turned to glance at his companion a moment. "I need to know if you're interested in being put to work immediately."

"I..." Elols almost stopped, but hurried to catch up, seeing that the Sith Master had not slowed his pace even by a step. Elols rejoined the Shaevalian at his right side, as before, and finally noticed that they were heading towards the undersea shuttle bays of the Castle. "I would be happy to serve Tarentum again, Master Bloodfyre, and you can trust that as I take this position, I will serve and fulfill this commitment to the highest of standards. I will not fail you; for the sake of Tarentum, I will succeed."

"Good," Bloodfyre continued as they entered the shuttle bay, which had several shuttles now allowing passengers to exit their loading ramps, supplies being unloaded, and other various labors that occurred with newly-arrived transports. "If you will, there are some shipments that need to be dealt with, and a few new members that I'd like you to greet. Right now, I have other matters to attend to, so I need you here to..."