High Value Target: Elser Repu
by Ronovi Tavisaen
Affiliation: One Sith
Saber Form: N/A
This man is, by far, the most unpredictable of the targets we have documented. If one is to build a strike team, then caution must be used upon proceeding. Repu will stop at nothing to make ends meet. He is hungry for retribution, though he loves no one. Not even the sharpest utilization of Dun Moch will easily perturb him, if at all.
Should you confront Repu, be prepared for the worst. Come armed, but be defensive. And above all else, never believe you’ll win.
The blistering wave of plasma that erupted from the ravenous hilt bit deeply into Ronovi Tavisaen’s shoulder, threatening to tear cartilage away from bone and incinerate the joint holding her arm together. She pivoted before dropping, watching as the winds in the deep dune kicked up and turned the sky a harsh, reddish brown.
She had been dragged far away from any established keep or stronghold of either the Brotherhood or the One Sith, as had the rest of her team. Right now, however, Ronovi never felt more alone. The human aggressor standing before her did not cackle, nor spit, as he solemnly gazed upon the smoke rising from the Epicanthix’s flesh. He kept his two sabers intersected in front of him, like holding a crucifix against a demon, as the woman pressed her hand against the now cauterized wound.
“You stand firm,” he uttered calmly, the dust of the planet settling on his ebony hair and turning it a crusty ochre tone.
“You infuriate me,” Ronovi replied, just as she heard a scratching within the blankets of desert and rock behind her. She could hear Jinn clawing his boots through the slope, the viridian torch guiding him toward his prey.
“Oh, but your friends have returned for you,” Repu murmured, not even a smile betraying his emotions. “It seems we slowed down enough for them to catch up.”
Ronovi did not dare turn her head to see who had approached, but she knew who they were. As Shadowkind had gone after Captain Lin and Arturis Schulen had taken on Erithin Vax, the Plagueian summit and a few of its allegiants had taken on the task of dealing with the heaviest hitter on the list. Besides Alaris Jinn di Plagia, Overseer Eiko, and the Dread Lord himself Tra’an Reith ripping across the sandy hills, the sparse light glinted upon the faceless visors of several Wraiths as they descended like a swarm of insects, their blades glistening and their blasters cocked. The Wrath of Plagueis stepped back to allow the minions passage, knowing that they would die quickly but understanding the necessity of exhausting the enemy.
The first of the Wraiths, the Shadows, toppled under the heat of Repu’s sabers, as the dark-haired human snarled and swung both weapons out so that the crimson blades cut into the rusty red armor of his newfound foes. The sound of choking, sputtering, and morbid groans were swallowed up by the desert storm, and the putrescent odor filled Ronovi’s nostrils as a silhouette of a Shadow stumbled backward with his burnt trachea protruding from his scorched helmet. The Wraiths attempted to make quick work of the enemy Sith, but the Force and aptitude of his saber skills tossed them like rag dolls and then cut into their stuffing and ripped apart their tightly sewn innards. It almost seemed as if the soldiers of Plagueis were also made of time, the grains spilling from them as they lost shape and focus and dropped in piles around Repu’s unstained boots.
Allowing the cerulean blades to growl once more before her, Ronovi made ready to leap over a crumbling Wraith when she saw the blur of her Rollmaster first. Eiko, his faceless mask bearing all the subdued anger beneath it, barreled forward before the others, the ice blue aura of his saber contrasting with the browns, reds, and golds painted across the Ch’hodos terrain. With the organic fingers of his left hand drawn taut against the hilt – index finger and thumb pinching the explosion of circuits beneath the metal, just waiting to slice into fresh tissue – the former Revanite reared himself up, allowing his blade to clash with one of Repu’s sabers before pushing his shoulder forward in an attempt to shove the enemy back.
“Eiko, you idiot!” Ronovi heard herself roar, just as Alaris jumped into the fray in time to deflect the oncoming second saber from the enemy, his lekku whipping around violently as he tried to maintain balance in the fragile earth.
The three men wrestled for each other for some time, as Ronovi tried to find an outlet to slip into and commit the final act of murder. As she attempted to navigate, however, she could not help but notice the slow yet steadfast pace of the Dread Lord behind her, the Shi’ido lumbering past the impromptu funeral pyres of the Wraiths. His non-morphed face bore no emotion – which was typical in most situations, but not during battle – and he kept his distance, almost circling the scene like a vulture waiting for carrion. The wheezes and grunts rising from the nearby scuffle should have brought him into action, and though he was strategic, Tra’an’s hesitation was beginning to rile Ronovi up.
Digging her heel into the sand, the Epicanthix pushed herself closer toward Eiko, Alaris, and Repu. Eiko and Alaris together could match Elder status, but they could not do it alone. The Overseer of Plagueis whipped his saber around like a scimitar, only to have the plasma rattle against the tip of Repu’s parry, just as the enemy changed strategy altogether.
The first motion was Alaris’s body being lifted up, with a unfurling of Repu’s fingers from his saber hilt. It was enough to send the Twi’lek reeling backward, the Force push slamming him into an incline of the dune and nearly burying him in an avalanche of dirt and sand. Roaring, Ronovi closed in on the space that Alaris had left behind, but not before the second motion took place. It was almost immediate, like a flash of light against the corner of one’s eye – and in the next second, Eiko’s body was pinned against Repu’s, the One Sith’s elbow jutting from the headlock, as his armored bicep pushed against the Plagueian’s larynx.
“Ronovi,” Eiko rasped. “Do not interfere.”
By the time Ronovi noticed, it was obviously too late. She saw the blinking light before Alaris did, and not even he stirred enough to do anything. The detonator had seconds to go off, and Repu, for one reason or another, was not sensing it.
His name was not spoken aloud, instead communicated through a current in the Force, though the energy held all the confusion and rage as if Ronovi had indeed snapped it in his ear. But the Quaestor did not flinch.
Eiko has promised to –
No! Ronovi interrupted with the Force, never tearing her eyes away from the display. Repu squeezed Eiko’s neck even together, and a small crackling sound could be heard above the wind.
Do you want another repeat of Drax, Tavisaen? You heard Eiko – do not interfere.
We can kill him without needless sacrifice!
We NEED HIM!
“Petty,” Repu rumbled, smirking as Ronovi, Alaris, and Tra’an would not near him. “Petty of you not to come in and take advantage. I’m open. Cut me down, and cut your friend down with you.”
“We’d rather allow him to do the honors,” Alaris recited slowly, lifting himself up so that grains of sand tumbled from his blue temples.
He knows, too?!
Tra’an had not told her of the plan. He had not trusted her. Ronovi Tavisaen, the Wrath of Plagueis, had not been informed of the strategy. And yet there it was. Whether discussed or not, the red light flickered against the sunset of Ch’hodos, the light of the star ebbing…
“What are you waiting for? Kill me!”
“Kill me!” Repu bellowed. “Or I’ll kill you!”
“Step back!” Tra’an commanded.
And then the explosion sucked all light from the sky. It created a fireball against the growing night, the high-pitched, shocked shriek of the One Sith penetrating the now calming storm. As the detonator went off, the slopes of the dunes shuddered, and Ronovi felt herself tearing away from the scene, nearly falling on her own back as both Eiko and Elser Repu were swallowed up in the inferno.
What was once the odor of death was now the aroma of ashes. Both Eiko and Repu had been the vessels of the eruption, like living volcanoes belching molten lava. By the time the rumble subsided, and the flames cleared, the very obvious remains of the Elder Dark Jedi dropped loudly down in a charred jumble of seared skin and bone, the blood marrow dissolved upon the roar of fire. But Eiko’s body was nowhere to be found.
Ronovi’s mouth fell open. She looked at Tra’an, then Alaris. She demanded an explanation.
“Where is he?”
Tra’an sighed. “Ronovi…”
“Where is Eiko?”
“He’s capable of many Force tricks, Ronovi, as we all are,” Alaris grumbled. “You think he couldn’t erect some sort of barrier to defend himself from the blast?”
“But he’s not here.”
“He will be gone for some time,” Tra’an said. “For his personal gain as well as ours. It is not simply because he wishes to venture off elsewhere. There is another purpose to it.”
“Plagueis,” the Quaestor continued, “has lost some focus due to its swelling ego. It has lost its edge. What we need now is to drive the morale up, and the web of unity must be re-threaded. Eiko’s martyrdom...”
“Martyrdom?” Ronovi repeated.
“His martyrdom will be acknowledged. The death of one means the refusal of the others to die.”
“You mean to lie to your own house! Eiko is encouraging it!”
“Are you new or something, Tavisaen?” Tra’an spat. “Because the last time I checked, you weren’t exactly heavy on honesty.”
Ronovi stood very still, her eyes occasionally flickering to Elser Repu’s charred corpse. She reached for her flask, but then she changed her mind, fearing that the zephyrs would pick up again and ruin her whiskey with bursts of sand.
“You didn’t exactly fill me in on this plan of yours, Reith,” she scowled, resorting to his last name just as Tra’an was doing with hers. “Your own Wrath. Tell me, shouldn’t we be on the same page here?”
Tra’an said nothing. He directed his attention to Alaris. Ronovi could feel a vein swelling in her forehead.
“Jinn,” he ordered. “The decoy mask. It’s prepared?”
“With all the fake gore you need,” Alaris replied with a sneer.
“Who’s the Wrath here?”
“This is your doing, isn’t it, Jinn?” Ronovi snapped, leveling a finger at him. He simply responded with a small smile.
“Enough!” Tra’an barked. “The deed is done. We will convene on the Ascendancy and report the event to Plagueis. I will see that the Ascendant House attends to its duty to uphold its namesake. Do not attempt to trouble me with reservations, Tavisaen – perhaps it is the reason I decided to avoid informing you in the first place!”
With that, he turned on his heel and began to ascend the slope of the dunes, the still sneering Alaris in tow. Ronovi watched them disappear into the oncoming flurry of sand, her skin tight and dry against her heavily furrowed brow. Yes, Tra’an had his duties, and of course Alaris would do everything he could to sabotage Ronovi, given his obvious dislike of her. But the damage had already been done. This little trick of fake martyrdom easily gave the former Headmaster an advantage, and now the clichéd chips were already falling into place.
Tucking her deactivated saber into her belt, Ronovi followed Tra’an and Alaris at a distance, attempting to keep her thoughts masked. She would give it time – everything depended on the reception of the Plagueians to Eiko’s “death.” It would also depend on the Dark Council’s perception of the act, as well as the possible success Plagueis would have on Ch’hodos. Naga Sadow had come back with a vengeance, angry over the loss of recognition from Khar Delba. They were not bowing down so easily now.
But Ronovi would make Tra’an bow down now. She had already inebriated the slaves with her candor and determination. It would not take much to have the rest of Plagueis follow suit. She smirked, casting one last look at Elser Repu’s body before trudging below the dimming sky. She never knew that two One Sith – Xander Drax and Elser Repu – would be so helpful in her quest for power.
And besides, threats and blackmail were always two of her favorite pastimes.