Naga Sadow: Team 3
IC: You are a member of an elite task force assigned to conduct a rapid entry raid in Xlopora City. Your team is tasked with recovering the the lost blade of Ferran, known as Revelation. Intelligence reporting indicates four distinct opposition Forces operating within Xlopora City.
1. One Sith Forces: The Sith Lord Esoteric has been identified by Taldyran reconnaissance teams. Esoteric is an unpredictable Sith Lord and has been connected to the death of multiple members of the Dark Jedi Brotherhood.
2. Unknown Imperial Forces: Arconan agents have reported multiple engagements with Storm Commandos and unidentified Imperial Storm Troopers. These unknown Imperial Forces appear to be coordinating their operation with the One Sith.
3. Sith Revenants and Ancient Sith Magic: Xlopora City is the seat of ancient Sith powers and is protected by unknown quantities of arcane wards and traps. Sith Zombies have been identified within the catacombs underneath the towered palace located in the center of the city. Shadow Academy Scholars have reported multiple deaths resulting from failed attempts to breach warded doorways and structures.
4. The Dark Brotherhood: The Dark Brotherhood is a fragmented organization designed to reward those who excel. Infighting, backstabbing, and treachery are acceptable tactics to achieve results. Dark Council reports indicate at least three skirmishes have occurred between opposition Clans and Houses.
The Sith Medium, Dantella Novae, has provided the Dark Council with a rough sketch of the chamber housing Revelation. She believes that a ritual, of some sort, will be required to gain access to the weapon. This ritual will require a significant cost from the team who discovers it.
This is a time sensitive operation that will conclude in 96 hours (16 real life days!) with the commencement of an orbital bombardment. Due to the short nature of the operation, your team will be limited to light infantry operations (no mechanized forces are to be deployed in Xlopora City). You may use any other equipment from your organization's order of battle.
OOC: The following links provide additional information.
Plot Update Link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B0rPsJ1Xn54cZ1VFYjY3SElrMU0/edit?usp=sharing
Bosthirda Link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B0rPsJ1Xn54cbmNOMURTM3R0R3M/edit?usp=sharing
Dantella Novae Link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B0rPsJ1Xn54cY1piSHZJOHhlMEU/edit?usp=sharing
Welcome to the Dark Crusade Epilogue: Bosthirda, a Run-On Event.
The following rules are in effect:
This is a run-on event based on the most recent Dark Brotherhood Plot Update, Bosthirda Planet Document, and event hook placed at the beginning of each run on.
Sign-ups for the event will begin on 22 February 2014 and end at 2359 EST on 27 February 2014.
The Team Captain from each team will email their team name and team roster to Muz, Raken, and Sarin.
Teams will consist of no less than 5 members and no more than 7 members. Units may submit as many teams as they can field.
250 word minimum per post. No maximum word limit. A post under 250 words will not be considered in a participant’s 3 post total. If a player writes five entries, 3 over 250 words and 2 under, they will still be given credit for reaching the minimum post limit.
Each team member must post at least three times during the event. There is no maximum post limit, but members cannot post consecutively. A single member failing to post three times will result in their teams DQ and elimination from the top 3.
Edits may occur on a post until a follow on post has been made (follow on posts include "reserving" a space). Edits may only be made by the posts original author (as in, if you have Forum Administration Rights, you cannot edit another member’s work).
Members may reserve post, but no posts can occur until after the reserved post is written.
The event will be graded by Raken, Sarin, and Muz using a rubric that focuses on creativity, plot development, realism, and grammar.
The winning team will win the Run-On for their unit. A single Independent Unit can finish 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in this event. This is a nova producing event.
22-27 February Sign-Ups
28 February: Event Hook Published on all Team Threads (You can read the plot update and potentially divine your mission!)
28 February to 16 March: Members Post on the Forums! This event will be plugged into the Database, but will not conclude on the forums until 2359 EST on 16 March 2014!!!!!!!
Outer Rim Territories
The five Sadowans sat in the bay of the transport vessel as it approached Bosthrida. The ship they rode in was specifically chosen for its small size. It would allow them to reach the planet’s surface with little chance of detection. Maelous watched in silence from behind the dark lenses of his helmet as Macron explained the plan he had devised in the short time since the team had been given the mission; it was the same team that had gone into Markosian City. Shirai nodded as the mad alchemist began to explain the possible need for ritual and what that would require of them. Roxas examined his blaster occasionally glancing up at the Adept as he spoke. The four of them had started calling themselves The Horsemen of Sadow, and now they had a fifth, Dragoon. He watched his master with an eagerness that one would expect from an apprentice.
“They don’t stand a chance,” the Mandalorian laughed.
“Not likely, but this won't be easy either,” the Sith warrior said as he glanced around. “They have quite a lot of units down there from what the reports say.”
“Then we kill them all,” Maelous decided. “Cut down anything that stands in our way.”
“Hopefully, it wont take all of us to perform the ritual. We’ll need to make sure we aren’t interrupted,” the Jedi Hunter said.
Macron grinned at his apprentice, “It is unlikely it will require all of us,” he began to cackle to add emphasis.
As if to punctuate his laughter the transport shook violently, signaling that it had began to it’s descent through the atmosphere of Bosthrida. Macron’s grin widened as he dropped the faceplate of his helmet. “Prepare yourselves Horsemen! Our mission is about to get to the entertaining part!”
The five men gathered their gear. Each one mentally going through their own checklist as the transport vessel headed for the surface.
Approaching Xlopora City
Outer Rim Territories
“I don’t think it will be as easy as you think, my brethren,” chuckled Macron as he looked at the datapad imbedded in his armor vambrace through the faceplate of his helm. “The rumors are true. We have reports of One Sith, actual Imperial remnants, and other Brotherhood forces competing for the prize.” His yellow eyes closed as he turned within. “And there is energy there… the Sith have left their own mark on the place. We are here to recover Ferran’s vaunted blade, and we shall succeed if we keep our wits and use our strength. As much as I personally relish wholesale slaughter, this mission is not of that ilk.”
“Are you sure?” asked Maelous. “Rumors of the old Sith abound, but they actual thing is as elusive as a Dathomiri nightmoth.” The Knight checked his own gear. “Even we cannot slay so many, especially with their superior resources.”
“True, Jensaari.” Roxas donned his own Mandalorian helmet and adjusted the fit. “We must go in quick, and not be seen. Only kill those we must, and move fast to the goal. We will not succeed in this mission if we confront them directly.”
“I’ll second that.” Shirai nodded. “There are just too many. We have to escape with this prize, and if we are dead that will be rather difficult. I for one long to see this blade for myself.” The Warrior clenched his fist. “It will burn the tails of our rivals to see us succeed where they have failed.”
The entire group became quiet, and all eyes and helms turned towards John Dragoon Witwalker. They all knew what was coming, except for the Jedi Hunter in question.
Macron reached pointed to a compartment in the bulkhead. He withdrew a cylinder wrapped in dark, coarse brown cloth. “This is no time for pomp and circumstance. Dragoon, this is yours. The blue synthetic crystal you forged shows no flaws and operates within acceptable parameters. According to the powers that be, you have earned the right to wield it. With the Consul, Grandmaster, and Headmaster’s approval, I now dub you my sixth Dark Jedi Knight and release you from my formal tutelage. May this blade be the tool you use to strike your enemies down forever. So be it.”
Dragoon nodded solemnly and the newly minted Obelisk Knight began to prepare himself for the landing. His words were simple. “I will.”
Approaching Xlopora City
Outer Rim Territories
Dragoon grabbed his gear like the others. He hoisted his small 3 day kit that held extra power packs for his dual Death Hammer pistols. It also held extra food rations as well, and a small bacta tank set for small injuries. He also grabbed his Death Hammers from the armory lock box that was above him, as well as a new lightsaber that was wrapped in brown wrapping. He wasn't sure why but his master Macron Sadow, one of the four Horsemen, had handed it to him and said in due time he would explain. The one thing Dragoon knew was after his last little.... mission, he had constructed this saber after he grew a blue crystal for color. He unwrapped the lightsaber and ignited it in the cabin.
As he did he could hear Macron and the others snickering and talking behind him as he admired the blade he had constructed months ago. Dragoon got a evil grin on his face where only the left corner of his mouth moved up was he went through a few Shii-cho motions to prepare himself for battle. ~This is it. This is the time to prove myself to the horsemen.~ John deactivated the saber and clipped it to his belt. After he had placed his pack on his back, he grabbed his cloak and secured it around his collar of his soldier's uniform. Normally he wore his blue soldier's uniform with black trim but today he was clad in all black. As the shuttle started to land he heard Maelous say to the group, "Fellow Sadowans, Today is a good day to die. FOR SADOW!"
Dragoon had heard the words his master said about needing "stealth" and only killing those who got in the way. Dragoon thought to him self ~good thing I have years of practice as a assassin. My skills may come in handy.~ Dragoon was jerked out of his thoughts as he heard Roxas say, "What do you think Knight? Any words for the team?" Dragoon thought for a minute and said, "I'll take point, and its a good thing were doing this at night. Oh, and stick to the shadows my friends, for they will be our allies this night." He watched as he seen nods from the other team members and a small evil chuckle from his master.
Approaching Xlopora City
Outer Rim Territories
Shirai looked up at the other warriors as they sat in the LAAT that made its way through the atmosphere of Bosthrida. This was also the very team that was used not long ago to completely take over Markosian City. Their ability to get the job done as a unit was great, as such formed a team from it. The Horsemen of Sadow would have to prove their worth over many a Dark Jedi, over this mission. The Sith Warrior was a fearsome fighter, clad in some medium Sith armor, a cloaked hood clouded his facial expressions. One of the few times in his battles has he ever actually carried a blaster, but there on his hips was a DL-44 Heavy blaster pistol. His dealings with the One Sith have been treacherous and his chances were running up.
Dantella Novae had given them information to the whereabouts of the blade Sith Lord Ferran used to wield. A blade of awesome power would do well in the hands of Naga Sadow. Namely himself. Power was power, brotherhood and loyalty only went so far for a Sith who craved it.
The plan for the infiltration of Xlopora was briefed by the Mad Alchemist Macron Sadow. In his signature red armor he and the rest planned and plotted. "There have also been reports of Xlopora being filled with Sith Magic death traps. Besides Imperial Remnant troopers and the One Sith you would do well to be mindful of them." Shirai noted.
The Mandalorian eyes shifted between as he exclaimed, "Are we not forgetting our biggest problem? Somewhere on Bosthrida is the Sith Lord Esoteric. The one who reportedly gave Ood early termination."
The newly appointed Dark Jedi Knight Dragoon came forward attached with a new lightsaber. "That's why we have my master here for." Gesturing to the Dark Adept.
Macron smirked, "Ood was of the Krath. It will never be as easy to slay a Sith such as myself. He is not the objective, but if we do meet him, we will kill him. There is no other choice. We have use of Battle Meditation. Together he cannot take us all. "
"I can join our minds and we can move more efficient as a unit. The Horseman can tackle such a foe, but Macron is the go to guy. Under no circumstances do we attack him alone. Unless you are willing to die that moment. But we cannot protect ourselves against Sith Magic. So of the likes we need to be careful of. I'd rather not want to find out just how sadistic sorcery can get." The Aedile commented.
"Well then you're out of luck. We are here." Maelous said gesturing at the planet they were flying over. Xlopora city was a cold ruin as was most of the planet. A place fitting for a burial of so many abominations of the Force.
Outskirts, Xlopora City
Outer Rim Territories
The five warriors donned heavy, plain cloaks of simple waterproof cloth both to repel the elements and to hide their appearances. The normally dry planetary hemisphere they were in was now in the aqueous grip of the spring wet season. A chilling rain sleeted down all around them as they exited the small vessel. The infiltration team had landed in the outskirts of the city ruins in an area of crumbling stone and rotten durasteel. There was little sign of life. Dust and crumbled duracrete had absorbed the rain and became a thin clinging grey mud that splattered their boots. A light fog had settled in with breaks here and there as the mist rolled down the empty spaces between the rotten structures and piles of rubble.
“Look sharp, men. Comm traffic from Plagueis indicates an Imperial fleet has dropped out of hyperspace near the system. You can bet The One Sith know Brotherhood agents are in the area too. And I’m sure Esoteric can feel it.” Macron frowned beneath his helm plate and popped it open. The Sith took a deep breath, inhaling the dank humid air. “Smells like old stone and death. Funny how so many planets touched by the Dark Side have a similar aroma. Even Korriban, desert though it is, had a similar albeit not as humid aroma.”
The five moved out quickly, keeping to the shadows and watching for hostiles. “You’ve been to Korriban?” asked Maelous as he peered around a corner though a gap in the broken stonework. “I feel something up there, in front. They don’t feel like Force users though, or are hiding it if they are.”
“I have been there Jensaarai, but only for a brief time. My Apprentice Eldrad Sin and I ventured there with Lord Ashen and others almost fifteen years ago. We found little of note except combat with foul beasts. Still, the experience was valuable. It deepened my connection to the Dark Side.” The Elder gestured at Roxas as the Mandalorian moved ahead and scanned with electrobinocs. “Got anything?”
“Not much. Damn rain is interfering with the electronics. Pretty sure I caught some movement up ahead though about a quarter klick in. Almost looked like Imperial Storm Commandos, which is not good news.” The Mandalorian unslung his blaster rifle. “We can probably safely assume they are hostile. Lock and load, baby.”
“I imagine so,” snickered Shirai. “That’s okay. So are we. And we have the Force.” The Sith Warrior removed his unlit lightsaber hilt from his belt. Ahead lay an open street, the former thoroughfare now in ruins and strewn with rubble. “Still care to take point Dragoon?”
The new Knight nodded. “Absolutely. And I’m not wearing armor, so I can move stealthily. My time as an assassin will serve well here. I’ll be about 40 yards ahead.” The Obelisk wrapped himself in his dark cloak and stepped quietly into the shadows. The group spread out, the four remaining Dark Jedi slipping in and out of cover and keeping low and quiet.
Outer Rim Territories
They could feel the other Brotherhood clans engaging forces in and outside the city. The cities ruins were large foreboding structures that spread out as far as the eye could see. The palace had grand walls designed to keep even the peskiest of enemies out, though they seemed unlikely to do so anymore. However it was Sadowan's that noticed the palace upon first arrival. With Dragoon taking point they entered the city's boarders undetected. "Comms ready?" The team heard Dragoon radio in as he progressed further through the buildings, careful to not stay along a main path. The sky was dark so he began to climb one of the ruins to get a better view.
"Ready." The Horsemen said all at once.
"I got eyes on two Storm commandos walking the path but there's another squad of five roaming the area past them. I think they are Imperial troopers." Dragoon reported.
"We can't bother to sneak past all of them. Plus it isn't exactly my style. Time isn't on our side. Take them out." Macron ordered.
Roxas nodded and they needed no further prodding. Not igniting their sabers yet, they fanned out and moved upwards using the buildings as their screen. From their view they could just see a dark silhouette drop from the top of a high building. Dragoon dropped on top of one of the Storm Commandos, his boot in the back of his neck crushed his face against the ground. The other one standing merely feet away reacted much quickly than Dragoon anticipated. Instead of drawing his pistol like troopers usually did, the Commando tackled him before he could draw his saber.
"We have intruders!" He yelled into his own comms, before a knife protruded from his metallic glove. He brought it down trying stab Dragoon in the face. The newly crowned Dark Jedi Knight barely got his guard up in time, using both of his hands. As it edged down more and more it seemed that the Commando would overcome him. On the other side of it, the other Horsemen were on the attack. Macron seemed to materialize next to his victim as the rest of Imperial Troopers noticed they were being attacked. He grabbed the back of his head and quickly snapped his neck.
Shirai saw his target looking around for the problem. The Sith Warrior jumped from behind a crumpled pillar, using the Force he leaped high into the air. Igniting his red lightsaber on the way down he stabbed it down head first. Instantly killing the trooper. All around he could hear them being picked off on his communication, one by one without ever seeing the Sadowans. Roxas standing over his prey, said into the comms. "Imperial Troopers. Working with the One Sith. Embarrassing."
Sith Knight Maelous however said, "Where is Dragoon?"
"Need some help here!" Dragoon said aloud as the commando tried with all his might to end his life.
Macron came up from behind the Commando and simply said, "Rise my Apprentice." Staring at him instead of helping.
The commando made no move towards him possibly realizing he'd be a dead man regardless so he might as well take one of them out. The knife only inches from his face, dared to give him an unnecessary hole. With no choice left he made a grab for his lightsaber. A blue light erupted from the center of the Storm Commando chest. He croaked loudly in surprise then dropped to the ground off of Dragoon.
"Good." The Dark Side Adept said with a delighted smirk playing on his lips. "It seems that they know that we are here now. I expect we will run into the One Sith or some other atrocity within the palace."
"Let us make haste." Shirai commented. The team nodded and began to move on to the central Palace.
Outer Rim Territorie?s
The Horsemen made haste to the palace and, in attempt to keep the enemies from locating them, they killed each group they came across as silently as possible. The five Sadowans reached the palace walls in short order. A Storm Commando patrol walked passed The Horsemen with their backs toward them. Roxas slid himself from the shadows, his bowie knife in hand, and grabbed one of them. He quickly crammed his blade into the "sweet spot" in the man's back severing his spine. Roxas dragged the corpse with him back into the shadows, where his team waited. The Commandos never noticed and continued on their merry way.
"What are you doing?" Maelous inquired curiously.
The Mandalorian began searching the man as he replied "Looking for anything useful that can get us inside or help us evade their patrols."
"Good idea," Shirai quipped, "We need all the help we can get here."
"So...anything good?" Dragoon wondered.
Roxas stood up and stretched for a second then replied "Yup, I got a comm, a datapad, and ammo." The Mandalorian handed the datapad to Macron before asking "Think you can hack it?"
"Am I being elected?" Macron jested as he took it and began to look at it.
"I could always try and frak it up if you prefer," The Sithspawn quipped back.
"Got it," the alchemist giggled.
"That was fast."
The datapad gave them a detailed map of not only the palace, but the city as well. It even held troop information, locations of patrol routes, and the codes needed to hack their communications which would allow them to learn of their space capabilities.
"We should send the information to our superiors," Dragoon said flatly.
"No," Macron interjected, "That wouldn't be a good idea young knight."
Shirai cleared his throat, "Macron is right, if we shared this information it would give the entire Brotherhood a foot hold and that isn't ideal for us."
"I agree," Roxas spoke up, "If we send this information to anyone, it should be to OUR Summit only, not for the entire Brotherhood to see."
Dragoon grew a dark smile, "I understand now, that...is the wisest course of action."
The Horsemen looked at the large walls surrounding the palace and began to formulate a plan to get in unnoticed with the help of the stolen enemy datapad.
Outer Rim Territories
The five men moved cautiously along the wall towards the rear of the palace, spread out in a single file line but remaining in the shadows. The maps on the datapad revealed a point from which they could enter the palace grounds with a minimal chance of confrontation. One by one the Sadowan’s made their way over the wall dropping down behind a building indicated as storage on the stolen map.
Dragoon peered around the corner of the building while the others waited. Maelous twitched as he watched smoke rising in the the distance. The idea of being at the center of the chaos that gripped the city, and yet so little death having been dealt by his hand disturbed him. The Obelisk Knight returned before the Sith could go too deep into his own thoughts.
“What did you find?” asked the alchemist quietly.
“I only saw two patrols,” Dragoon replied, “Three men in each. One is heading away from us, and another coming toward us from the west.”
“If we wait for them to get close enough we can take them out and hide the bodies back here,” Roxas offered.
The freshly made Knight shook his head, “That won't work. It looks like the patrols are set up so that they wait before turning a corner for the next patrol to view them then they move on. It’s a smart plan really.”
“We may not have a choice then,” Shirai said, “If we are given no other option we may...”
His words cut off suddenly when they heard shouting. The Horsemen readied themselves, believing they had been located, as Dragoon checked around the corner once more.
“They’re heading toward the front of the palace,” he said over his shoulder, “sounds like there might be a fight up there.”
Maelous moved quickly “What are we waiting for then!”
The Sadowans moved through the open area between the palace and it’s courtyard walls, though they did not try and hide themselves. The unmistakable sounds of battle grew louder with every step. The blood lust began to boil in the former Jensaarai’s veins as they drew closer. The sounds slowly began to taper off and by the time they had reached the front of the palace they had all ceased. Dragoon once again checked ahead of them, then stepped around the corner openly. The four men exchanged glances with one another before silently doing the same.
Before them was a grisly scene of Storm Commando bodies.
“This is unexpected,” their point man said as he surveyed the area.
Shirai knelt by one of the nearby fallen soldiers, “Lightsaber wounds,” he said as he looked up at the others.
The Mandalorian began to speak, but Macron held up his hand to silence him.
“Very interesting,” he said, “give me a moment.”
The Adept stood there for what seemed like a very long time, his hand still in that silencing gesture.
“I have seen the light!” he cackled finally, “Or rather, I have felt it. I don’t suspect any actual Jedi are here so it would seem that House Odan-Urr has beat us inside. I believe it’s time we joined the fight.”
Without another word they all drew their sabers and began to enter the palace.
Outer Palace Grounds
Outer Rim Territories
Dragoon took point as the group ghosted into the labyrinthine grounds of the old palace. The Obelisk assassin kept to the shadows, making his Force presence as small as he could. If there were Lightsiders or One Sith ahead, it would not do to be felt so soon. The Knight kept his eyes keen, and his senses sharp. The Light Side presence was small, but he could almost smell Darksiders. Quick fingers tapped a quiet code into his comlink as he stopped. “Hot zone ahead. Eight One Sith, and a lone Jedi Knight. The Jedi won’t hold for long against eight. Pulling back and concealing.”
The message reached each of the strike team differently, according their gear. Macron saw the message scroll in ghostly red across his HUD in the corners of the eyepieces of his helm, as did Roxas with blue in his Mandalorian helm. Shirai heard it in his earpiece, and Maelous saw it glide across his wrist comlink.
“Copy,” replied Roxas. “Eight Foxtrot Uniforms?” The Mandalorian checked his heavy repeating blaster and lightsaber. He still had a full complement of grenades, but to use them so soon would cost the party the element of surprise.
“Confirmed,” came the text reply from Dragoon as he slinked unseen back from the fight. In the heat of combat, the fighters had not noticed him as he kept his breath, heartbeat, and presence as still as he could. It was not his mission to fight them alone- the reconnaissance man’s duty was to gather information, so that his team could nullify the threat. Telepathy at this point was risky.
Macron gestured at himself and Shirai, two fingers forward. His hand made a pointing finger with a stabbing movement towards Roxas. Maelous was given a sideways gesture, and a mimed lightsaber strike. The Sith nodded, and they moved towards Dragoon’s position.
Macron and Shirai moved ahead behind cover as they were able, and Roxas jumped to a perch on top of the nearest stable wall and set up the bi-pod stand on his heavy repeater.
“Roxas, you have a clear field of fire?” The words scrolled across his heads up display as Dragoon typed them. “I’ll clear stragglers.” Dragoon held back and watched the scene intently. His job would be to make sure no one made it out alive besides his teammates.
“Time to pop some heads,” came the Mandalorian’s silent reply. "I have a stable platform and the range sussed out."
“The Jedi could be useful. Don’t kill him just yet.” Macron’s words slipped by in quivering red.
Maelous moved to the right flank and shadowed them from the right side. His text was unheard but the emotion of bloodlust almost seemed to seep from his glowing words. “I’m in position to flank them. For Sadow!” A count started on each of their devices. One, two, three… the team selected their targets and struck.
All hell broke loose. Eight One Sith were surrounding and taunting a lone Jedi apparently from House Odan Urr. All eight were humans, wearing loose black cloaks and wielding crimson lightsabers. They could feel something amiss. Several looked up, a few registering surprise but most did not. The Dark Side had found them, and found them wanting.
Outer Palace Grounds
Outer Rim Territories
Dragoon stepped out from behind a piece of fallen debris with his saber in his hand. He noticed a small One Sith that had yet to spot him but had noticed the others. At that time Dragoon quickly but effectively was sneaking up on the young Sith. Then he felt it. The young Sith spun on his heel as Dragoon was only a few feet away. Dragoon had counted on this and jumped using the Force and did a mid air roll and landed. As he landed he spun on his heel and locked in a parry with the One Sith. It became very obvious that Dragoon was not only equally matched but also possibly out matched.
The One Sith snarled "WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE!?"
Dragoon Groaned, "THAT DOESN'T MATTER! WHAT MATTERS IS YOU DIE HERE! TODAY!"
He then kicked the One Sith with slight Force augmentation and knocked the One Sith a few feet back. Dragoon smirked evilly and as he took up the form of Shii-Cho. The One Sith yelled a battle cry that sounded like a dying Wampa and charged at Dragoon and again started basic slashes and attacks. Dragoon blocked them left and right. Soon it was apparent that Dragoon was gaining the upper hand.
While this was going on Dragoon heard the others fighting and occasionally heard a blaster in the distance. What the Horsemen didn't know was that this was a trap and more troopers working with the One Sith started to rush in. Dragoon happened to notice this as he once again locked sabers with the youngling and seen 3 or 4 come in rushing in and take aim. Dragoon once again put some distance between him and his enemy and pulled one of his blasters and took aim he hit only 2 of the 4 commandos and then decided to change the location slightly. He ran back down the hall. ~Come on Roxas be ready!~ he thought. The Other two commandos and the youngling followed.
Dragoon stopped and turned. It didn't take long for them to come around the corner. As Dragoon saw them he held up two fingers and looked in the general direction of Roxas and hoped he got the message. The young Sith smiled. "Seems like you will be the one dying today." Dragoon raised his saber and dropped it down low as the Dark blue blade was pointed down he took off in a dead sprint just as two blaster bolts took out the commandos. The One Sith got distracted momentarily. ~Rookie move~ He thought to himself.This gave Dragoon the edge he needed as he jumped up and sliced down and cut off the One Siths arm holding his saber. Dragoon noticed the look on the The Sith's face, and thought it looked like despair and fear.
He heard Roxas slightly through his comm unit, "Kill him already Knight!" Dragoon smiled, "No, I have a plan." He then cut off the other arm and raised the Sith up. "I'm sure my master will have some words for you." And deactivated his saber and proceeded to punch the Sith till he was unconscious. "Roxas, Keep and eye on him please." And reactivated his saber as he ran back into the fray.
Outer Palace Grounds
Outer Rim Territories
Macron Sadow and Shirai Ryu stood a few feet apart from one another. Three of the One Sith circled them with their blades ignited. They wore ceremonial robes of deep maroon, with black and purple insignia's. They were not to be taken lightly, however the battle would always be in the Brotherhoods favor. The Dark Side Adept held his hand out in front of him and his lightsaber flew into his hand with the Force. However the blade did not spring to life as another crimson red light ignited next him in the Warrior's hands. "We have found the One Sith cultist zealots." Macron jibed.
"Zealots? I see you must be one of those pathetic Brotherhood Elders. I can sense your true intentions here." A giant of a human, standing nearly seven-feet tall, stepped forward with another Dark Jedi.
"Pathetic you say. I beg to differ!" With a maniacal shriek of laughter, he leaped forward with blinding speed. Shirai didn't even catch the movements, neither did the two One Sith. They were confident in their own abilities especially since Macron had charged them without igniting his blade. However as many had never seen, was the destructive art of Trakata. No commonly known stance except to expect sudden death. Aided by the Force the Son of Sadow covered the distance between him and the two Sith in a second.
To prevent him from being flanked Shirai Force leaped at the other One Sith. The giant One Sith swung his lightsaber when he believed that Macron was in his range. His first and last mistake. His orange blade ignited downward and he ducked under the swing while also bringing his blade upwards. It cut the man from his chest to his head in two.. But no one stood to mourn him when he fell to ground dead as a Wampa on Tatooine. Another One Sith frantically moved to counter Macron by jumping high into the air flipping over him. In the same movement made stab towards the Adept's head.
Macron saw the move coming and batted the lightsaber aside with his armored fist. This surprised the One Sith as he landed in front of the Sadowan, but Macron was not finished. Sinking back into a more familiar form of Makashi his orange blade hung to the side with an eagerness to kill again. A few yards from them was Maelous locking blades with a man who seemed very proficient in the art of Sokan and was keeping Maelous on his heels with every swing of his blade. The One Sith was threatening to overcome him with each strike.
Shirai had created a battle-meld with the Horsemen of Sadow. He could feel their evil intent in the meld as he traded death blows with the One Sith. It fueled them even more with renewed vigor. Using Ataru Shirai gave aggressive barrages to keep him off balance and wear away his defense. The One Sith Jedi could only block but never parry. The Jedi was still fighting his own Dark Jedi and was arguably winning with apparent ease. Maybe this Jedi wasn't such a pushover as he had initially thought.
Roxas already had the enemies in sight trying to ambush them. "I got eyes. I'm taking them out."
Outer Palace Grounds
Outer Rim Territories
The Mandalorian took slow deep breaths, steadying his hands and taking his time to breathe from his diaphram instead of his stomach. The One Sith that were charging ignited their sabers, but Roxas didn't flinch. A gradual squeeze of his finger and a bolt was launched at his enemies. One of the One Sith replied by batting it away with his lightsaber, but the Mandalorian kept still. A breath followed by another squeeze, but this time, not aimed at the One Sith, no this time it was aimed at his lightsaber. The blue bolt ricochetted off the blade and hit one of the other charging men in the head.
He squeezed again, but this time he aimed above them causing debris to fall taking out two more One Sith. One of them used to the Force to leap through the air at Macron, but just as the blade came down to swing Roxas shot it and hollered "Saber block!" The man continued his attempt at attacking, but each swing was met with a blue blaster bolt and the words saber block. Macron laughed loudly at the look of frustration in the One Sith's face.
"DAMN IT!" The One Sith hollered as the torment continued with the both the blaster bolts and the chorus of the Madman's hysterical laughter.
"AHHH!" The man screamed full of frustration just before a blaster bolt hit him in the head.
Shirai began to laughed as well saying "Should have payed attention."
Roxas returned to firing at the other One Sith in short order, but wasn't in a hurry as there were only two left of the recently arrived group and they had stopped to admire the gun show before they returned to charging. Another shot at the ceiling and a chandelier fell on them with a loud crash and blood squished out randomly.
Roxas raised from his position and headed toward the lightsider that Dragoon had brought him. A boot hit the lightsider's leg.
"You still alive?" The Mandalorian asked casually.
"I'm surprised that a Dark Jedi would save me thank you." The member of Odan-Urr said as he struggled to his feet.
"Yeah, well....It's not that simple."The Horseman stated while pulling a magazine from his belt to reload his rifle.
The other Horsemen returned and Dragoon thanked Roxas for playing nanny to the lighty.
Transport Soul Eater, Cloaked
Outer Rim Territories
The Umbaran’s strange eyes considered the data scrolling up from below in ultraviolet tones. At least one team had penetrated beyond the courtyard and was approaching the entry to the lower tunnels. In the outer courtyard, Esoteric himself was engaging Dark Jedi Masters and their entourage. House Odann Urr’s group had encountered Imperials, and various pockets of fighting were scattered across the city, coals of death and bloody suffering in her inner vision.
In space above, Imperial ships approached those of the Brotherhood and treachery seemed to be the norm as allegiances shifted like the sands of Korriban as they blew endlessly across old bones. This situation was not ideal. Fortunately, her own ship had been equipped with a Stygium crystal by the Grandmaster’s agents.
The Adept felt in the Force for the identity of those who had managed to penetrate the palace. The sheer amount of death and rage emanating from the entire ruined city below made pinpointing the source difficult, but the woman was a masterful diviner. She soon felt the group. If they succeeded and the prize was obtained, her entry into the Brotherhood proper would be almost assured. They had to succeed so she could live.
The team was led by the Sith who had…. helped to “reeducate her” in Codei at the Grandmaster’s direction. She would not soon forget the madman’s infuriating giggles. His skill with poison and chemicals rivaled her own abilities in many ways. Somewhere within, she hated the man for what he had helped do to her. Yet Dantella felt a strange camaraderie with the Alchemist. Both were lost souls of a sort, desperate for companionship although neither would admit it openly. Both were utterly lost to the Dark Side.
“Revlo, transmit the prepared data to the one known as Macron Sadow. His team will likely reach the Chamber of the Sword first. It will either kill them, or they will secure it and pay the price.” The Umbaran steepled her fingers and considered how long she should remain in orbit. Things were getting a bit too close for comfort. As the modified SCr-114 maintenance droid transmitted the map data, Dantella Novae transmitted her own message to the Grandmaster. “We will have it soon. Operations proceeding as you have predicted, my Lord.”
Outer Palace Grounds
Outer Rim Territories
The Sadowans, along with the sole survivor of the House Odan-Urr team, gathered around the One Sith that Dragoon had left unconscious. Macron lifted the faceplate of his helm and gazed down at the limp form sprawled on the ground.
His face twisted in disgust, “We don’t need him,” the madman said.
Without hesitation Roxas lifted his blaster and fired a blue bolt into the One Sith’s head, the Light Sider jumped and looked uneasy among his new “friends.” The Sadowans turned to the Jedi almost in unison, and Dragoon opened his mouth to speak, but the telltale sounds of lightsabers clashing cut him off. The four Horsemen looked around the chamber that now filled with the sounds of battle and what seemed like laughter.
Shirai smirked, “It sounds like Maelous is still busy. Should we go help him?”
The others nodded and, dragging the Jedi with them following the sounds. After a moment they found the battle. The Knight was losing ground and completely on the defensive as the Devorian male, One Sith, came at him with a continuous flurry of attacks. Shirai drew and ignited his saber and took a step forward. Maelous ducked and rolled toward his companions with reckless abandon, then came to his feet facing them, completely ignoring his adversary.
“No!” he yelled, “This one is mine.”
He turned back to face the horned headed man, and motioned for him to attack again as manic laugher erupted from the vocoders of his helmet. Shirai disengaged his saber, and with the others took in the scene before them.
Roxas’ eyes widened, “What in the karking galaxy?”
The Dark Side bloomed and rippled around Maelous like a storm. Fueled by his hatred for the One Sith, and something deeper, the Dark Side enveloped him as he again went on the defensive. His movements were fluid and almost playful in contrasted to the slowing, labored attacks of the Devorian. The Knight ducked as another slash came toward him.
Macron nodded, “Maelous,” he called as the Sith Commander allow his blade to lock with his opponent’s, “Roxas is correct. We do not have time for this,” he finished.
The Knight roared disapproval as one of his hands fell away from his saber, holding the One Sith’s blade still locked, and held his palm out. Energy cracked across his fingers as a short blast of electricity struck his opponent in the chest. The Devorian’s muscled cessed as he dropped his saber then fell to his knees with a scream. Maelous took a single step forward and stood next to the One Sith, and with one quick swing of his crimson blade removed the Devorian’s head.
He stood silent staring at the lifeless body as the team approached, the Dark Side energy receding as he let the calm of the kill wash over him. He looked up abruptly as the reached him his eyes immediately going to the Odanist.
“I see you found a,” he paused briefly then said, “survivor.”
The Jedi looked at him silently, a mixture of disgust and fear on his face.
Dragoon eyed Maelous for a moment, “We need to get into main building of the palace.”
Looking at the map Roxas added, “The entrance to the catacombs is just off the throne room. Should be easy to find.”
Macron began to walk toward the doorway that would lead to the inner courtyard, and the palace beyond. The team followed as the Adept began to explain a little more of the information that had been provided to them.
Inner Palace Grounds
Outer Rim Territories
“According to the data stream I was just given, we are close to the inner entrance. We can surely expect resistance, both at the choke-point of the entranceway and below. And Sith magic will come soon.” The madman contemplated the stream of data as it crossed his helm HUD. “Dantella Novae has been most helpful. Hehe. The Council must want this weapon secured quite badly.” The Adept turned to the Jedi that stood with them. “And you, good sir, we have not been properly introduced. I am Sith Adept Macron Sadow.”
“Consular Jedi Knight Ekra Acros,” came the human’s reply. “Formerly of the Jedi Order.” The human looked disgusted. “Are all of you Sith? Gods.”
“Not exactly. I see,” commented Macron as Maelous, Roxas, Shirai and Dragoon all encircled the Jedi. “Formerly? Please, do elaborate my new friend.” The Alchemist turned slightly, his hand resting on the unlit lightsaber at his side. The meaning was quite clear. Death would find the Jedi Knight rather quickly if he was not forthcoming with the correct answers.
“We left the Order after a … disagreement. Our strike team sees the Force as a Potentium view. Or saw, I should say. My Master Untak fell to Esoteric soon after we entered, and we fled as the Sith Lord was engaged by Dark Jedi.” The human realized they had not attacked him, at least not yet. “Undoubtedly Dark Jedi of your forces.”
“Close enough in an overall sense. Shirai Ryu, Sith Warrior. We’re obviously here to recover artifacts, that’s no secret,” Shirai stated as the group seemed to relax somewhat. “Why were you here?”
“My Master knew this place was heavy with the Dark Side. According to him, the Darksiders had also more than likely collected knowledge of other views of the Force as most traditions are known to do. We sought knowledge to reinforce our own thought that balance between Dark and Light was the right path. So you’re not going to just kill me outright?” The human seemed puzzled. “I’ll admit this is unexpected.”
“It’s up to him,” commented Roxas with a noncommittal grunt as he gestured at the Elder. “Obelisk Prelate Roxas Buurenaar. You’re still sucking air, verd. That’s a good sign as far as he goes.” The Mandalorian shouldered his heavy repeater and stepped towards the entrance way that lay ahead. “Scans look clear, at least here. Got some organic sigs up ahead.”
Maelous kept quiet under his helm and peered at the ruins around them. The Dark Jedi Knight stopped to loot the body of his fallen enemy for it’s lightsaber and gear. Equipment was useful, especially in this situation of limited resources. The hilt was made of disgusting Yorik coral but the red synth-crystal within was quickly prized from it’s mount. He had the right of conquest- the fallen One Sith’s gear belonged to him. In that way the Jensaari and Mandalorians were not so different.
Dragoon spoke up next. “You’re going to let him live, Master?” The Dark Jedi Knight held his own unlit lightsaber in hand. “He could betray us.”
“Forgive my Apprentice’s lack of civility,” chuckled Macron. “Dark Jedi Knight Dragoon, yes, we are. His saber arm is strong and he’s not a full-blown Lightie per se. He may try, certainly. Mark my words- in that case, I will make sure his death is unspeakably agonizing. Do we have an understanding, Knight?”
“Yes,” replied the Knight as the group moved towards the lower level entrances. “You’re crystal clear.”
“Good. Let’s move out men,” replied the Elder as the party moved ahead. From outside the sounds of battle raged, and the Force was twisted as many called upon it in battle. Hopefully the distraction would serve to draw attention away from them.
Inner Palace Grounds
Outer Rim Territories
The court yard was filled with ornate statues and small areas that once resembled flower beds and the walls surrounding it were covered in hand carved tapestries. The Horsemen and their new found Jedi companion aproached a large set of doors after passing through some archways that were cracked and shattered.
The Alchemist looked again at the information he had received before saying "This is it, according to the data there are Sith Zombies inside. Watch yourselves, as they are contagious."
Shirai replied "So, pretty much our lightsabers will be our main defense then. I doubt Roxas has enough ammo to shoot all of them in the head."
"Fine by me. I haven't gotten to use my saber much since I got it." Roxas said reffering to his Fenrir as he stretched to loosen up.
The Horsemen and the one Jedi all pulled their lightsabers from their belts and ignited them almost in unison. Each blade gave it's own destinctive roar and hum as they all came to life. Maelous took one door and Shirai took the other.
"Let us know when you are ready." Maelous said, as he readied himself for the coming battle.
The other three nodded to show it was time. The Horseman of Death and the Horsman of Famine kicked the doors and they flew open loudly. All of them gathered men took up their chosen lightsaber forms and waited a moment to see if the creatures would start piling out at them. Moans and groans could be heard echoing from inside the building.
"Ugh" Roxas grunted as he approached the door and rolled a concussion grenade inside and then stepped back.
BANG! the grenade exploded with a loud pop. Almost instantly shuffling and grunting grew loud as the zombies rushed as fast their corpses could move toward the sound.
Inner Palace Tunnels
Outer Rim Territories
“Sith Undead,” commented Maelous dryly as he sheared the first one that reached them after the grenade blast in twain with his blade. “Don’t let them bite you.” The Sith Knight stood neck and neck with his comrades as they fought the moaning masses of walking cadavers. “At least they aren’t the type with lightning- yet.”
“I don’t plan to,” quipped Shirai as he struck one down. “Problem is, the damn parts keep creeping.” The Warrior pried a grasping hand from his leg and threw it down the tunnel. “Gross.”
“Unlike conventional lore says, these… undead do not die when you spletter their brains,” commented Macron. “They are suffused with the Dark Side. Total dismemberment is the only option.” The Alchemist proceeded to do exactly that to the one in front of him. “There are too many. We have to move through them.”
“Through them?” asked Roxas as his new weapon struck the arms from one and sheared off it’s jaw. “Won’t be biting anyone now, will you Mir'osik.” The Mandalorian drew a blaster pistol, and fought with a blaster in one hand and his blade in the other. Neat lightsaber blows were followed up by disabling shots to the head and legs of two in front of him. "Their breath smells worse than a dianoga's exhaust chute."
The Jedi Knight found himself leapt upon by three of the corpses and pinned. One bit into his arm as he sliced the other two apart. Ekra Acros screamed in pain and the realization of what would happen to him. “I’ve been bitten!”
“Enough!” Macron shouted as a wave of violent telekinesis blew the lot of Sith Zombies down the tunnel, tearing them into quivering chunks. Tapping the Dark Side was easier here in the lower ruins- the entire place was a Dark Side site. There was danger in this, as one would be drawn deeper into the Dark Side’s embrace. Some relished the feeling though. The madman was certainly one of them.
“You’ve been bitten, eh?” Shirai turned to the Jedi Knight who was holding his arm. “You might live, if we reach our goal and get out of here quickly." The lie was almost believable. Unfortunately for the Jedi, tapping healing abilities or the Light Side of the Force was much more difficult in a Dark Side site.
Macron only smiled to himself as they rushed further into the tunnels. “I don’t think so,” he thought to himself. “I have other plans for you my friend.”
Outer Rim Territories
The four Sadowans and the Odanist ran past the Adept as he spun facing the the horde of Sith Zombies. The mad alchemist cackled as lightning burst from his fingertips striking several of the undying, crisping their skin, and causing them to crumble to the floor. Macron turned and began to run after his comrades as lightning cracked over his head.
“Was that from the zombies?” Dragoon yelled looking over his shoulder.
“That’s new!” Roxas replied as he turned left and moved further down the tunnel.
Shirai stopped at the turn off and waited for the others to pass by as he readied his saber.
“Do it!” Maelous yelled as he turned down the corridor after the others. Without hesitation the Sith Warrior’s hand rushed forward and sent the ignited saber flying. The humming disc of light cleaved through the rotted flesh of five more of the horde then returned to his waiting hand as they fell. Shirai ducked down the hall with the rest. Lightning striking the ground in the space he had occupied moments before.
Roxas stood a few meters ahead waiting with his blaster ready. When the white haired Sith had passed him, the air shimmered in front of the Prelate as the Force coalesced to form a shield. The Sithspawn laughed as lightning struck the barrier, it’s energy diffusing across its surface. He opened fire and blue bolts ripped through a dozen of the walking corpses. He moved before the Force weakened too much in his barricade and followed the rest of his team.
The Horsemen played this dark game of leapfrog several times before the tunnel opened into a great chamber. The immense room was illuminated by a sickening green light and the walks were covered in ornate ancient symbols. Even with the Sith undead on their heels, they couldn't help but take a moment to marvel at what they saw. The moment was short lived as the moans of the undead masses poured into the room.
Maelous and Dragoon stepped forward with sabers ignited and ready to cut down as many of the rotted as they could. Once again, lightning arced through the air at the pair, the Obelisk Knight dove to the side as the dark side energy struck the ground. However, the Sith Knight caught the blast with his saber blade. The energy crackled and hissed as he struggled to defend against it. As the blast ended Maelous attempted to redirect the collected power at their foes, but was struck by another of the zombies lightning strikes bringing him to the ground.
The world darkened he collapsed in the dirt. Moans, lightening strikes, and the hum of lightsabers were dull to his ears as the light slowly faded out around him.
Outer Rim Territories
“Maelous is down!” shouted Shirai as he struggled to slice down an Undead. One to his right fired a spurt of lightning at him, but the Sith dodged it. Fortunately the Undead did not have the mind of the living to guide their strikes, nor did all of them possess the unholy talent
Macron knelt next to the Jensaari with a clack of armor on stone. The Alchemist regarded the Sith Commander’s face, noting the scarring the Knight would inevitably have once the blackened lines from the bolts faded from his face. The Sith Adept quickly took Maelous’ pulse. “His heart’s stopped. Roxas, Shirai, Dragoon, Ekra, can you hold them off for a bit?”
“We got this,” snarled Dragoon as the newly-minted Knight slashed with his blade and flanked the Undead. “Just keep that damn lightning off me.”
“I’ll do my best Darksider, as long as I remain in control of myself,” responded the fallen Jedi Knight with a grunt of pain as he continued to defend himself. “I see what we were taught about the Sith was wrong- you do have compassion.”
Roxas and Shirai held the front. The Obelisk Prelate and Sith warrior swung their blades of fire, the sanguine light from the crimson blades illuminating their fierce expressions as they tapped the Dark Side to fuel their blows and speed.
The Elder removed Maelous’ helm and injected his neck with a nasty-looking hypospray full of mildly luminescent red liquid. “Possibly, Jedi. You may be right- or I may have my own reasons for this test. It’ll either kill him or restart his heart. He’s going to be quite angry and strong when he gets up. If he does, that is.”
Dragoon swept another staggering cadaver down with his azure weapon as it raised it’s hands to spark some lightning. It’s hand went first, the blue light dying from the fingertips as they feel akimbo. The head and torso were disassembled next with a one-two swing. “Uh uh, bitch,” snarled the Obelisk Knight. “What the hell did you give Maelous, Master?” The former combat medic’s voice showed concern. He knew firsthand how bad the combat cocktails liberally applied by the madman could be.
“Clarified Orbalisk venom,” giggled Macron as Maelous’ body began to twitch. “I've refined the recipe significantly since the dose I gave to Tsainetomo that... warped his eyes. Um. I hope.”
“That stuff really karked Sai up at the time,” snickered Roxas. “I’m curious to see what happens.” He cut down another cadaver and shot it twice in the head as it fell. “There’s more coming. How long does that shig take to work?”
His response was an agonized howl from Maelous as the human sat bolt upright and screamed in rage.
“About that long, it seems.” Macron chuckled evilly as Maelous jumped to his feet and launched himself at the remaining animated cadavers. The Adept watched closely as the venom-fueled darksider literally ripped one limb from limb with his bare hands. “Fascinating,” mumbled the madman. “It worked this time.”
Outer Rim Territories
Dragoon watched as Maelous was revived and started thrashing through the zombies like a rancor in heat. Dragoon felt one of the zombies grab his arm. Muscle memory kicked in and he spun around and hit the zombie so hard with his saber hand he managed to break the zombie's neck. It didn't stop it but it did create some distance between him and it. Dragoon spun his saber clockwise and decapitated the corpse and started to dismantle it permanently.
“Ok, Master, what now?” he said as he approached the madman.
“Well the drug should wear off...” as the Sith said this Maelous slowed down instantly showing signs of fatigue and tiredness. He then turned toward Dragoon and Macron as he finished his sentence “...now.” Dragoon nodded. He reached out with the Force and used it to push Maelous his helmet which he caught in mid air. Roxas and the others stopped as the Zombies started to retreat. Dragoon noticed something and turned to the others.
“Great what the frack is going on now?!” Shirai yelled. Dragoon felt the anger build. Macron noticed the change before anyone else. “Yes my apprentice it is time. Feel it, and use it like I have taught you.” Then he laughed his evil laugh. Roxas turned to Shirai and Ekra.
“I think something is up with Dragoon.” Roxas said as he turned and met Dragoon's gaze. His eyes turned dark Coal black and he lowered his head but kept the gaze as the room started to darken on its own. Dragoon grinned a evil grin as the left corner of his mouth and lifted his ignited blade up and the dark blue light glowed showing a reflection of a Obelisk Knight ready for war. “Horsemen it is time to end this. Follow me ether to glory and power.... or death. FOR SADOW!” and he took off walking down the Hall like a escort for four nobles. Ether way they were going to clam that sword. Damned be the powers in front in their way.
Transport Soul Eater, Cloaked
Outer Rim Territories
“The madman’s team has penetrated the catacombs,” stated Dantella Novae to the bluish heavily robed hologram image that floated before her. “They will undoubtedly retrieve the Sword as you have commanded, my Lord.”
“I would be careful saying that to him in person,” commented the flickering form. “Excellent news. You have chosen wisely, Dantella. If they succeed as you have predicted, we may let you live. Or perhaps join us. What other news?”
“The naval forces you sent have engaged an Imperial battle group. They are holding for now, but they seem overmatched. The Imperials have sent landing forces to support the One Sith operations below. All our other teams are engaged in combat.” The Adept frowned. “The Jedi known as Atema and his MAAT transport appear to have have been destroyed. The Jedi forces have moved to investigate the crash site and have engaged Imperials.”
“Excellent news,” commented the hologrammatic figure dryly. “Just as predicted. Transmit the method of breaching the Sword’s safeguards to the team. And the other vessels have arrived?”
“Yes, my Lord. As well, Esoteric appears to have engaged and demoralized Master Kincaid. The Sith Lord’s signature is not within my range- perhaps he has retreated to the tunnels. With the intervening living rock and heavy Dark Side presence, he is masked.” The diviner grasped her head. “It’s causing me pain.”
“Nothing like the pain you will surely feel if you do not succeed, Adept. Do not fail us.” The blue hologram flickered out.
Dantella Novae turned to her droid. “Revlo, take us in closer. We will be transporting the bearers of Revelation directly to Antei if they succeed. In any case, there are too many ships out here for comfort now. Pray they succeed, or your new career as the Council’s ashtray may begin sooner than you think.”
Outer Rim Territories
It was...powerful. Intoxicating. A feeling only one would know after delving their mind and body into the Dark Side. The power of Ferran's sword combined with the palace's own aura, was thick with Dark Side power. It was taking affect on the entire party, especially on Ekra. A native to the Light side of the force, this place must have felt very sickening for him. Unable to tell what was taking over,the Light Side, or the Dark Side. A consistent battle that seemed to be etched on his face along with the bite of the Sith Zombie.
They came upon a somewhat badly lit larger area that led to another head-high tunnel on the other side. Crumbling stone fell every now and then with the hard fighting agitating the palace. However down the tunnel they had came from they could hear more Sith Undead coming after them with unending numbers. The Sadowans could hear their moaning echoed into the hall. Roxas eyed the tunnel that was couple yards away, "I think we found our path Horsemen. Behold."
"I can feel the power of the Dark Side emanating greater and greater the farther we proceed. We are close," Shirai said. He did feel stronger with the Dark Side swirling around him.
"However we must deal with the Sith Undead. They are becoming quite bothersome," Macron said to them as he walked towards the entrance. He looked around for a few seconds before finding what he was looking for. A boulder, that had fallen many years before from the decaying structures, sat close to the exit. Pleased with his find the Dark Side Adept held his hands towards it. Using the power of the Force he grabbed the boulder with his free hand. The rock floated in mid-air towards the entrance and settled down in front of it.
"That should do." Maelous said still very affected from his ordeal.
"We have other problems." Dragoon muttered who was the only one looking ahead as Macron blocked the exit. Seemingly out of nowhere there were stationary figures standing in front of the main Hall now. There were five of them, each holding a strange device on their side. Obscured by a shade of darkness on their faces they were unable to tell what they were.
"I sense a disturbance," Ekra said holding his wounded arm.
On cue, the figures held a weapon in their hands and it ignited. Crimson red lightsabers came to life, illuminating their bodies as well, Sith Zombies again. However these were different, they were armed with protosabers. They began to walk towards them silently preparing to slaughter them. "You've got to be fracking joking. Protosabers...They must be ancient," The Warrior pointed out.
Macron was beside himself with joy, possible experiments literally littered around the place. "I hope that is indeed true."
They readied their lightsabers as the Undead approached them. They would have to get past them in order to proceed.
Outer Rim Territories
The strange antique weapons with their jagged, unfocused blades were still quite capable of cutting flesh and blocking a more modern weapon. As well, these were no mere shuffling corpses. They were fueled by Dark Side shades, and their bodies remembered ancient forms and tactics. Most of the liches seemed to use some form of Shii-cho. The dried, osseous arms threw sweeping blows and wide slashes designed to dismember their opponents.
“Go for the power cable!” shouted Maelous. “No cable- no blade!” The Sith grappled with one of the rotten monstrosities. It managed to keep him busy- more so than the One Sith Acolytes had, by far. “Damn thing has moves!” The Jensaari circle-blocked it more quickly than the creaking bones could follow, and slipped by it with Ataru's alacrity to sever it apart at the hips.
“I hear you!” replied Roxas. The Prelate slammed his own blade into the red one menacing him, matching strength for strength in a battle of arms. Slowly, the Obelisk overbore the cadaver’s twin-handed grip. It’s arms shattered with a crack of hoary bones as the Mandalorian shouted in Dark-Side fueled triumph.
“I’m holding it off, but I can’t seem to gain dominance!” Dragoon struggled with the wight that had him saber-locked. “They are strong!”
Shirai yelled in reply. “Maybe so, but the bones are weak! Kick out it’s knees!” The Sith Warrior stomped a boot hard into the side of his opponent’s crusty, blackened knee and was rewarded with a satisfying crunch. “Ha!” Shirai stepped to aid Dragoon in taking down his own opponent with a well-placed saber strike from behind the shambling mass. There was no shame in striking down an opponent from behind- at least not for a Sith.
The battle-weary fallen Jedi Knight held his own against a protosaber-wielding revenant. “I’m holding him off for now, but I’m weakening,” Ekra gasped. “The infection is working on me. I can’t hold him much longer.”
“Just a minute Jedi,” snarled Macron as he deftly cut the cable connecting his own opponent’s blade to it’s jutting bony hip. The red blade sputtered and died as the madman’s own orange one split the walking corpse from head to toe in twain with a spurt of smoke that stank of burning bone and teeth. The madman turned to Ekra’s opponent and clenched his fist in front of him. Crackling sounds emanated from the Undead as it was lifted into the air and crushed in an invisible fist.
The sounds of battle died away and echoed down the cyclopean halls. “Everyone okay?” asked Maelous.
“Except him, I think so,” replied Dragoon with a gesture towards the Jedi as the rest of the group nodded in unison.
“I’m wondering where they got the charge on those powerpacks,” mused Macron as the Adept peered at one. He squatted down and quickly disassembled it. Between his armored fingers he held a glittering inch-long red crystal still hot from recent use. “Synth-crystals, as expected. No surprise there. But there’s no way one of those old junkers would hold a charge since Ferran’s time.”
“The answer is obvious,” piped up Roxas. “Somebody charged them recently, and gave them a tune-up.”
“My thoughts exactly,” replied Macron thoughtfully as they began to move ahead. “Our enemy and the goal we seek cannot be far ahead.”
“We can take him, right Master?” asked Dragoon confidently. “Together, we are strong.”
“Not likely,” replied the Alchemist quietly. “We have to be realistic to live. We are tiring- I am tiring. Even at my full strength, defeating a Sith Lord is beyond my abilities although I appreciate your faith in me. No, we must retrieve Revelation and get the hell out quickly. That will be our plan.”
Outer Rim Territories
The five Sadowans and their Jedi companion headed for the room that the protosaber weilding corpses had come from. As they approached the entryway they ran into an invisible barrier that shocked them as they touched it.
"What the frak was that?!" Maelous exclamed after the electrical shock.
Shirai looked aroud quickly and saw words on the wall, so he read them allowed "Only by blood of light shall a soul pass this trial."
"Looks like your time is up Jedi." Dragoon remarked darkly as a large vim filled grim crossed his face.
"Not exactly." Roxas interjected "It only says by blood, so all we have to do is get some of his and put it on the barrier. No need to kill him."
"Might as well take it from this bite then." Ekra replied as he took a step toward Roxas, who had drawn his Bowie knife.
Roxas cut a gash in the Odannist's arm and slung the blood across the barrier.
"I said from the bite!" The Jedi hollered
"I'm not taking any chances, I'm starting with fresh." The Mandalorian replied.
The walls made a small roar and then the barrier was lifted.
"See, it worked perfectly. And you were worried." Roxas said adding insult to injury.
The chamber was enormous and in each corner there was a tapestry that embodied one of the four bringers of the apocalypse with an elaborate stream of gold and assorted jewels that lead toward a pedastal in the center of the room with ancient words carved into the top.
"I don't see a sword...do you?" Roxas quipped smartly as he reloaded his blaster.
The Jedi Ekra headed toward the middle to the stone table and began wiping away the dust.
"Eager much?" Shirai commented to no one in paticular.
"This is it!" Ekra said joyfully "I bet the sword is under this stone!"
"Good for you, now sit your happy ass down." Roxas retorted dryly as the Sadowans approached.
The Alchemist giggled in ammusement at his fellow Horseman's attitude before speaking "Read the words young Jedi, maybe they hold the key to retrieving the blade."
Ekra read the quietly to himself first and then fear crept over him. He gulped and with sadness in his voice he spoke "Only with the offering of a soul of light layed on this alter combined with the bringers of the end at each corner may recieve this merciless blade. "
Macron began to laugh and Maelous spoke "Looks like you are frakked dude."
Roxas shrugged as he retorted "Ya'know what that makes you buddy'ro?"
The Four Horsemen all ignited their repsective blades and stabbed the Jedi. Ekra gave a scream as he fell to the floor. They didn't kill him, just emobalize him. Roxas tossed him onto the alter and the Horsemen went to their corrusponding corners; Macron to Pestilence, Roxas to War, Shirai to Famine, and Maelous to Death. Dragoon looked around for a button or something to start the ritual, but instead found a brick on the floor infront of the alter with more words.
"Hey, this thing...hmm.OH! I know what to do. Is everyone ready?" Dragoon called out.
They all gave a nod and Dragoon ignited his blue blade with a snap hiss before speaking aloud "We offer this soul to bring about the end to all." Then with a vertical slash he cleaved the Ekra's screaming head from his neck.
An odd set of golden spikes lowered from the ceiling and shot light at each Horseman and then into the alter at the middle. The light grew so bright that none could see, but when it dimmed the alter and Ekra were gone leaving instead a pedastal with the Sword of Revelations.
Outer Rim Territories
“I guess the Jedi lost his head at the end,” giggled Macron as he gazed at the pedestal. “Just didn’t have a ... head for the game, hee hee. Still, something is not right. The creators of this place were masterful trap-makers.”
Roxas smirked under his helm. “I’m getting the Sword,” he stated cheerfully. “It’s mine.” The Mandalorian moved ahead and grasped the handle of the blade, only to find his hand passing through it. “What the…?”
A grinding sound emanated from the ceiling above as more spikes popped from it and it began to lower. Stone blocks covered with sigils slammed into place in the exit passage doorway. The image of Revelation faded out.
“It’s a hologram. Shavit. Good job Roxas,” commented Maelous dryly.
“Obviously it was a trap.” Dragoon began to sweat and tremble slightly. He raised a hand and peered at it as it quivered. “I’m.. my hand!”
“I’ll cut our way out,” yelled Shirai as he lit his lightsaber and slashed at the stone now blocking the door. To his surprise, the beam of his weapon’s blade bounced off the stone. "Gorram, my saber didn't even mark it!"
“Don’t bother- it’s been warded with Sith sorcery,” Macron noted. “No, there must be another way. Turn within, use your fear, and think.” The Sith madman sat down and closed his eyes.
“Are you crazy?” shouted Dragoon. “We’re going to DIE down here!” Powerful waves of fear washed over all of them as the secondary aspect of the trap activated fully.
Amidst the shouts of his comrades, the madman stood up and walked to the pedestal. He opened his face-plate and scanned the old Sith writings along it’s side, tracing them with a metal-clad finger tip that scuttled across the stone. “Hyal Kots Midwan Nit,” murmured the Adept as he used the fear to sharpen his senses. “It seeks the heart of the blade. Give me the Jedi’s lightsaber.”
Roxas managed to hand it to him with trembling hands. The Prelate resisted the fear somewhat better than the others, but it was still affecting him.
Macron smashed the lightsaber on the now-empty pedestal. From it he plucked the Adegan that had been it’s heart and ground it to dust with his armored fist atop the stone block. The black waves of fear subsided, and part of the wall ahead opened with a grinding noise although the way back remained closed.
“Clever trap,” mused Shirai. “It gets you to sacrifice one of your own and paralyzes you with fear.”
“And then destroy your weapon,” followed up Maelous as he caught his breath from screaming. "My lungs hurt. Damn."
“I thought I had it…” Roxas said quietly. “I….” Although his helm was closed, the Mandalorian seemed baffled.
“It’s the effect of both the Dark Side site and the trap itself. Don’t be hard on yourself. A lust for power is only natural. Just be a bit more careful in the future, unless you want to end up dead along with all of us. I for one don’t relish being a damn zombie down here for all eternity. Now gentlemen, shall we?” Macron gestured at the open doorway. Dim red light lit more tunnels that led into the Inner Sanctum.
Outer Rim Territories
After the Dark Jedi recovered from the haunting effects of the trap they escaped. Shirai was also becoming conflicted. Tiring from battling the One Sith and other forces, he used to the Force to steady his breathing and help him focus.
The Sith Warrior led the way through the tunnel to their objective. So far it seemed they weren't going to meet as much opposition as they had anticipated. This would bode well for the Horsemen. They jogged in unison, bustling armor and weapons alike until they came upon the inner sanctum.
It was clearly different from the other parts of the palace. Though still in ruins it was quite grand, almost as if this room was still being used and cared for. The inner sanctum housed a long pathway to some stairs that led to an age-ruined statute.
The top half seemed as if it had housed the upper part of a great Dark Jedi. Possibly Ferran himself. But it was partly missing and only one hand was still up. In its hand was a sword. The Sword of Revelation.
"I'm sure this is the real one this time," Shirai said starting to make his way down the path.
"Quickly then we are running out of time to-" Maelous was attempting to say before he was interrupted by a deep cruel voice that vibrated and echoed throughout the sanctum.
"You've already ran out of time."
The Horsemen instantly on alert looked for the source. Sith Lord Esoteric was already there with them. He appeared out of thin air on the pathway. He had been cloaked, they couldn't sense him nor see him before. Dark side power covered his Force signature or Macron would have sensed him.
He was a beast. Standing well over 6 feet he wore a black armor that had blue lights pulsing out of central points in the suit. It covered his entire body, and even a mask to hide his face. A short red cape hung on his back that seemed to wave in a wind that did not exist in the sanctum. On his waist was a double-bladed lightsaber made out of a bone they could not identify.
"Well Horsemen. The show begins anew," The Madman said as he prepared for any type of attack from the Lord.
"Shirai and Roxas on me. My Apprentice and Maelous...you have a job to do."
Outer Rim Territories
The Dark Side began to gather around every figure in the room as each tapped as much of the Force as they could. The very air literally seemed to vibrate in anticipation. The tension in the stony chamber could almost be cut with a knife. None of the Dark Jedi on this team had faced a stronger foe, and they all knew it. This was a time for teamwork and not grandstanding.
The mad Sith held his now-lit orange blade in front of him in a Makashi guard. The other hand dropped the Armor Fist from his grip to the floor and opened. Macron’s secondary curve-hilted lightsaber leapt into his hand. It ignited with a characteristic snap-hiss and a searing crimson blade. “Lord Esoteric, I presume? Roxas, Shirai, move to flank him. Use care. Teamwork, my comrades. Otherwise we will die.”
<Remember- we get the Sword, and flee> came the thought to the Brotherhood Team’s mind.
“Indeed,” responded the weird figure with an eerie mechanical voice. “You are Macron Sadow. You are known to us. Interesting, the files don’t report you as being known historically to use twin sabers.” The massive Sith Lord hefted his own bone-hilted double-bladed lightsaber and ignited it. Twin sanguine blades hissed out from the emitters. “You won’t stand before me.”
“Surprise! Hehe. I’ve been saving it just for you. I learned from Darth Vexatus and Kaine Mandaala directly. I’m not surprised though at your knowledge,” chuckled the Adept as he infused himself with the Force. “You’ll find me-us, neither stupid, nor foolish like the others. You will not terminate me as you did Orv Dessrx. You seem to know an awful lot about the Brotherhood. In fact, I’d bet serious credits you are a traitor from within perhaps.”
Shirai and Roxas both encircled the Sith Lord and lit their own weapons. Each knew it was a do-or-die situation. As the blue, red, and orange flares from lightsabers illuminated the room with dashing shadows, Maelous and Dragoon moved quickly towards the cradle that held Revelation.
Roxas and Shirai came around the back of the Sith Lord, while Macron handled the front. Macron took the offensive, quickly assaulting with both blades in precise arcs of orange and red. Fenrir howled as Roxas rushed forward to stop the second blade of the Sith's hilt. Shirai's blue blade came with a wide horizontal sweep at the man's middle, but Esoteric reached out with the Force and caught the blade with a telekinetik wall just above his palm. The Force grew thick with the darkside just before a telekinetic wave sent the three men backpedalling. Roxas was quickly back in the fray, treating Esoteric's Juyo as if he was fighting multiple opponents. Shirai and Macron weren't far behind him, as they both used the Force to increase their speed.
"Hurry up boys! We can't hold him forever!" Shiria called to Maelous and Dragoon.
Shirai and Roxas continued their assault to the Sith Lord's back while Macron attacked from the front. Roxas gave a forceful downard stroke to Esoteric's blade causing them to shunt. Shirai added his blade, helping Roxas hold the Sith Lord still. Behind them Maelous and Dragoon did their work as quickly as they could trying to get the sword, so they could get out of there. Macron took a deep breath and infused it with the Force before releasing a powerful scream that was perfectly pinpointed at the Sith Lord. Esoteric only grew angrier as he released another telekinetic attack. Shiria quickly replied with a Force Blast and it hit home, but only slowed down Esoteric for a moment.
Transport Soul Eater, Cloaked
Outside Xlopora City
Outer Rim Territories
The Umbaran’s vessel landed outside the city behind piles of rubble. Smoke drifted in the air, and flashes of light punctuated the early morning darkness from within the city ruins as multiple groups of hostile forces engaged each other in combat. Dantella Novae checked her ultraviolet readouts. Vibrations could be felt at random intervals as explosions happened within the city proper.
The diviner’s weird eyes closed, sensing for the Force being manipulated below the city. Here at a closer range the effects of a titanic struggle could be felt below the miasma of combat in the ruins above. “As I suspected,” she mused. “They are fighting for their lives. Open a channel to the Council, Revlo.” The modified SCr-114 maintenance droid complied.
Again the holographic cloaked figure appeared before her. “Report. What news?” asked the phantom succinctly.
“The madman’s team was the first to enter the Sanctum and is currently facing Esoteric,” canted the Adept. “All of the other Brotherhood forces are either fighting each other, or the One Sith or Imperials. I have landed outside the city as directed. Combat is intense within the city walls, and large amounts of smoke and debris have wafted into the air. Combined with the fog and rain, we can hold this position for a short time. A few hours at most.”
“Very good. The weak will be culled from the Brotherhood forces. The survivors will gain experience and become stronger. It is highly improbable that assault team Four will come out of this unscathed. You will offer them medical assistance and transport, but understand this- your main goal is seeing that the Sword is brought to Antei. Are we clear?” The form wavered a bit as a large explosion’s distant vibrations were felt through the landing gear from somewhere within the city.
“Crystal clear, my Lord,” replied the Umbaran. “How much longer do we have?”
“The orbital bombardment will begin ninety-six hours from initial contact.” The form abruptly disappeared as the link was ended from the other side.
Outer Rim Territories
Maelous and Dragoon stepped toward the crumbling statue as the three others engaged Lord Esoteric. The Sith Knight ignored the sounds of battle as his mind focused on the task at hand. He could sense the invisible barrier that surrounded the guardian of Revelation. The Obelisk looked over and eyed him for a moment.
“You know what you’re doing?” he asked.
Maelous removed his helmet and set it at his feet. His armored hand brushed the dust off the altar between them and the statue, as sabers hissed behind them. A dark grin crossed his face, pulling grotesquely at the charred flesh of the electrical burn that covered half his face.
“Let’s hope so,” he replied.
The Sith tugged at his beard thoughtfully as a distant recollection filled his eyes.
“Dragoon, stand there,” he pointed to a spot to his right as he moved slightly to his left.
Lord Esoteric has taking a more aggressive demeanor and pressed hard on the three Horsemen that held him at bay. Tired from the long mission and out classed by his skill, they struggled but managed to keep him busy. Shirai drew the Dark Side energy of this place into himself and, with a push of the Force, allowed the energy to connect the Sadowans minds. With this level of exertion he couldn’t increase their abilities but being connected would make them work better as a unit, he thought.
After giving some brief insight into what he had read Maelous nodded to Dragoon. The two Knights let the Force flood into them. Their very being wrapped in the tidal wave of the energy filling the Inner Sanctum.
Maelous began the ritual in the Sith tongue, “Tave qorit kash fe've.”
Shirai’s Battle Meditation had allowed Dragoon to connect with the bearded human, and he joined in the recitation at the second word.
Lord Esoteric spun his saber staff and jabbed one of its crimson blades at Macron. The Adept parried and managed to take a glancing blow that cut a small groove into the side of his armor. Roxas spun around to the One Sith’s side and brought his saber down in an attempt to remove the Sith Lord’s hand, but managed to only have his blade blocked on an upward sweep.
Esoteric laughed as he wheeled around sweeping a wide arch at Shirai as he jumped back.
“You are nothing more than insects!” he yelled, his voice modulated with its ferocity.
Lost in the Force energy that now swirled around him and Dragoon, Maelous continued to speak; his eyes locked on the blade held in the statues hands.
“Hadzuska tapti' kia won midwan,” this time Macron felt the connection to the ritual and joined the two, adding his own power to the words.
Shirai jumped forward and attacked quickly with a barrage of strikes, but for all his effort they were easily deflected by an impenetrable wall of the saber staff. Lord Esoteric growled and let one hand continue to spin the staff with blinding speed. With his free hand, palm extended, he let another wave of Force energy blast forth sending Roxas crashing into a pillar. The impact causing the ancient stone to crack and tumble forward. The Sithspawn rolled across the earthen floor and managed to just barely escape the crushing stone. As he stood and moved back into combat the Mandalorian joined his voice to the ritual.
“Jen'garthaz kots temias itsu.”
Sweat had begun to drip down the two Knight’s faces as their full focus pushed more and more of the Dark Side into breaking the barrier.
Roxas lept into the air and brought his saber blade crashing down toward Lord Esoteric. The Sith Lord brought the staff up and deftly blocked the attack. The staff spun over his head as the Sithspawn landed and immediately was forced to defend against the all out attack. Macron saw an opening and took it his saber blades crossing in the the air. In an instant Esoteric has batted both the blades away and had the Alchemist losing ground and he pressed the attack. Shirai slashed at the back of their opponents knee. As was expected Esoteric spun his blade and deflected the attack. The Sith Lord brought the blade to strike at the Warrior’s head. Shirai blocked it with his own blade and managed to hold it locked just for a short moment. He looked directly into the black eyes of the Sith’s mask and added his power to the ritual with the other.
“Aukoti nun tave asmenys iv Isdav'kas.”
Lord Esoteric’s blade whirled away causing Shirai to stumble as the second blade of the staff came down and removed the Warrior’s left arm from his shoulder. Shirai howled in pain, the link between the Horsemen shattered, as he fell to the ground.
The Sith Lord stepped over him and lifted the saber to deliver the killing blow. As the blade started to come down the ground began to shake violently.
Outer Rim Territories
The ritual had begun. Shirai lay broken on the floor, his consciousness gone dim and his life ebbing out from Esoteric’s blow that had severed his arm. The Sith Warrior’s life was in peril. As the ground shook, Esoteric’s blade began it’s deadly descent towards Shirai. Two lightsaber blades in an “x’ block, one orange and one red stopped the blow.
“No!” screamed the Adept as he mustered every ounce of Dark-Side fueled strength that he could. His response was a booted kick from Esoteric that drove him into the wall. Bits of armor cracked off from the sheer intensity of the hammerblow. The Alchemist grunted in pain as gas began to puff out from the cracks in his suit, spraying across Esoteric and Shirai both. <Don’t get it on you> came the telepathic warning to the Brotherhood team members that were still conscious. Unfortunately, Shirai could not hear the warning.
Roxas attacked again, this time the Mandalorian's scarlet blade moving in with a decapitating Shii-Cho sweep and a scream of rage.
The Obelisk Prelate’s blow was deftly blocked, and as the twinned crimson blade borne by the Sith Lord reversed in a one-handed grip, bolts of blue lightning shot from his off hand to viciously caress the Mandalorian’s body. Roxas’ bones illuminated as he dropped to the floor in agony. The Mandalorian passed out with a moan.
The Sith Lord turned back to the madman. “Your little tricks are known to us, alchemist,” his metallic voice sneered from behind the mask. “Your poisons and diseases will not work here.” The Sith Lord raised his weapon again for the final onslaught. As he moved in with a swirling attack, he gasped in surprise.
Macron giggled as he barely dodged the attack. “Oh, I’m sure one of your power will stave it off. But it’s not poisonous death that you have been inoculated with- it is life uncontrolled. A powerful teratogenic mutagen- your own cells will run riot with uncontrolled replications.” The madman staggered as he deflected a second blow just barely. “I’m sure it will distract you. Can you feel it eating at you?”
The Sith Lord’s third response was a powerful, double-timed sweep of Esoteric’s weapon that split the madman’s helm open like a hot knife through butter. The tip of the searing blade carved a diagonal line up the Adept’s face, exposing seared bone and bursting his yellow left eye with a puff of steam. Macron screamed in agony and clutched his face with one hand, saber unlit.
Behind them both, Maelous and Dragoon continued to chant in the Sith language as they circled the Sword’s statuary cradle. “Tave qorit kash fe've. Hadzuska tapti' kia won midwan. Jen'garthaz kots temias itsu. Aukoti nun tave asmenys iv Isdav'kas. Taka zeech ma toka duuwaj.” A dim bluish light began to emanate from the sword as it drank in the pain and suffering in the room, and the lost essence of the dead Jedi in the chamber beyond.
Outer Rim Territories
Macron held his face as waves of pain cascaded over him. The One Sith loomed over him and began to laugh, “No one left to save you now.”
Lord Esoteric spun his saber staff and brought one of the blades down towards the Adept’s head. Macron brought his orange blade that he could still command up, and blocked the attack. Weakened by the pain he stumbled back and fell to the ground.
The Sith Lord stepped forward, “Pathetic,” he said calmly as he looked down on the now one eyed man.
Esoteric spun the dual saber and raised it above his head then suddenly it stopped. Slowly he brought the saber down in one hand while bring the other to his eye level, examining the back of his bare hand. Festering boils had begun to form and pulse.
“What is this?” he roared.
As if on queue one of the boils burst and leaked a thick black fluid. The Sith Lord screamed in pain as more of the growths filled and exploded.
The blue light around the sword pulsed and began to brighten. Maelous’ mind shifted as he took stock of the sounds around him and what they must mean and how they affected the ritual. Over the screams of the Sith Lord he could just make out a gasp and cough, the rattles of death that he knew too well, and noted that the light pulsed. He could tell one of his team members was near death.
"We all must give something," thought the Sith Knight. Suddenly, almost as if he had not willed it to happen, his saber was in his hand, the blood red blade leaping to life. His eyes flashed quickly at Dragoon as he knelt low and swung the blade. The Obelisk screamed as the saber cut clean through his left leg at the knee. Dragoon toppled over and landed on his back. Blind fury filled his eyes as he stared at Maelous.
Maelous did not wait. His crimson blade looped over itself and came down and removed his own left arm just below the elbow. The bearded man fell to his knees and screamed through gritted teeth.
“We all must give!” he yelled.
Macron laughed as he staggered upright, “Of course! How could we have missed that?”
Without warning Shirai awoke with a scream as the mutagenic boils burst on his body.
As Roxas lay on the ground gasping, drawing deeper on the Force to stay conscious, he couldn’t help but think that "No one had ever said it wouldn’t be hell."
The Mandalorian Prelate climbed to his feet, focusing on his training from a Master long gone. The Force grew thick around him. It swirled violently until it began to almost give off an intense heat. His Force abilities went out the window as the Form of Demonic came into his body. His speed and strength increased exponentially.
He reignited Fenrir and moved toward Esoteric with a blur. He gave a war cry and a horizontal swing aimed at the Sith Lord's weapon, but the attack was evaded and countered with a shunt. Roxas wouldn't give up, he had to at least injure the Sith Lord to prove that he wasn't worthless. His movements were deceptively obvious, but were so fast that Macron and Esoteric were the only ones capable of picking them up.
Macron shivered as he recognized a Force signature he thought was gone from The Brotherhood. Demonic...how?...No, it's different... He thought to himself as Roxas took the fight to a new level. Under his T shaped visor, Roxas' eyes glowed brighter than normal and the Sith symbols in his right eye moved like flames. Esoteric enhanced his speed with the Force to outmanuver the Sith Spawn. Roxas was barely able to keep up and this angered the Sith Lord, who began to gather the Force in his hand.
Large blue arcs of electricity began to fling from the Sith Lord's fingertips. Roxas wasn't able to bring his crimson blade up in time to block the electricity and was engulfed by it. He would have screamed, but the convulsions he was thrown into kept the air from escaping his lungs. Fenrir pulsed, it's spirit trying to communicate with it's master hoping to help in some way. It was too late his heart had stopped. Esoteric released the power and laughed loudly.
"Too bad, I would have loved to learn that ability you just used. It looks to be above your pay grade as it were hahaha." The Sith Lord boasted over the Mandalorian's now lifeless body.
The remaining Desciples of Sadow felt beaten and worn now, they lost the Horseman of War. All that could be muttered were curses.
Outer Rim Territories
Esoteric gloated while the broken Naga Sadow team cursed. Even so, his flesh was literally crawling on his body. Waves of contraction and pulses of expansion could be seen on his hands, and although the rest of his body was covered undoubtedly it did the same. “You are broken. I’d love to stay and kill all of you, but I have… business elsewhere. And I will be taking the Sword.”
The Sith Lord strode confidently to the Sword’s cradle and grasped it. To his surprise, it would not budge. Bolts of reddish lightning sparked across it’s length and seared his boil-covered hands as his mechanical voice howled.
Maelous chuckled from his place on the floor. “You have given nothing,” he smirked. “It will not have you.”
“I will instead leave you here to die. Mark my words, I will have revenge on every one of you for this insult if you survive somehow.” Esoteric cursed in Basic and left the room. Comlink chatter could be heard as he spoke to someone on the other end of the link. “..bombardment in 30 minutes.”
“Shavit,” commented Macron. “We’ve got to get out of here.” He tossed a stimulant hypospray to the supine Dragoon. “I know you have med-training. Use the pain to channel your anger. Get Roxas on his feet before he checks out completely. Maelous, can you walk?”
“I think so,” gasped the now one-armed Jensaari from between gritted teeth. “I can hold on.”
“Help Shirai then. Dragoon, Roxas can help you walk once he comes around, as will I.”
The Knight nodded with a groan of pain as he crawled over and injected Roxas with the hypospray. “We have to move as fast as we can, or we’ll have the hell blown out of us by that bombardment.”
“I think I saw an old hovercar near the entrance.” Macron said as he pulled off the remains of his split helm and threw them to the ground with a clatter. Briny tears of bloody yellow fluid leaked down his gouged face from the ruined eye as he checked his comlink with the other. “We’ll jump on it, and rendezvous with the extraction unit.” He quickly fashioned a crude crutch from the remains of Roxas’ blaster rifle and handed it to Dragoon.
“Extraction unit?” asked Roxas as he coughed. The Mandalorian slowly sat up. “What about Esoteric?”
“Welcome back to the land of the living. He split- again, he seems to have knowledge of Brotherhood communications- or a spy within the organization. That’s right. Dantella Novae awaits us on the city outskirts.” The madman grasped the hilt of Revelation. He slowly withdrew it from the statue’s embrace with a gritty rasp of metal on stone. “Bad-ass,” gigged the lunatic. He keyed his wrist comlink. “Tell your keepers that we have it.”
“Excellent,” came the Umbaran’s quick reply. “And your team?”
“Quite worse for the wear, but alive,” replied the Sith Adept. “We’ll need a bacta tank or three.” He closed the comlink connection. “Brace up men. We’re headed to Antei. Roxas, get Shirai’s arm.”
“I thought lightsaber severed limbs generally can’t be re-attached?” asked the tough Mandalorian as he slowly picked up the hapless limb.
“They can’t, no. But the DNA within is uncorrupted. He’ll need genetic re-sequencing if he is to survive the mutagen. Heh heh. If.” Macron wiped the brine and blood from his face with a grimace. “Aren’t we a sorry lot, eh? Let’s move out.”
The group of broken Dark Jedi limped, hobbled, and shuffled out of the chamber. A debriefing with the Grandmaster awaited them, along with medical care and cold beer. They had survived, albeit barely. Each was forever scarred by this mission. Nothing would ever be the same.