The basic rules apply - no double posting, keep to realism, try to avoid spelling and grammar mistakes as much as possible and have fun. 4th level crescents for the best 3 posts. Arania would prefer if you've passed the RO SA exam so we can avoid past mistakes.
Quaestor's Office, Ptolomea
Rasilvenaira StormRaven was lounging in her office, a half filled glass sat on her desk beside a bottle of rum while she waited. The Quaestor had sent for her apprentice, they had a list of things to discuss since she had been exceedingly busy of late and had not had much time to really sit and talk with him. This rare free afternoon was one she intended to spend as she pleased. Sipping at the rum, the Battlemaster looked up as the force signature of her apprentice appeared on the other side of the door, soon followed by the fumbling sound as someone tried to get in. Chuckling to herself, the dark haired female sauntered over and opened the door. Fionn fell in through the entrance, his head purposely ducked to avoid the doorway in advance, stumbling through ungracefully, before he found his master grinning at him.
"Take a seat and a drink. We have a lot to discuss in order to get your trials sorted."
Before sinking into the overstuffed armchair, the Hunter grabbed a fresh coffee off the side and prepared himself for a revelation of his dreams and passions.
"Alchemy, an interesting choice. Why are you interested in it?"
"I just am, legends and such back from when I was on Korriban that I heard frequently and studied. There's a particular one that is steady in my mind, though I can't remember all the details, that I tried to hunt for over a period of years, but I never found it." The brunette eyed woman looked over and into the 'eyes' of the Arkainan, silently edging him on for the details as her senses felt out a possible new treat for the Sith Quaestor. "A Krath studied a battle between an unknown race that were oblivious to the Force, and the Sith. The Sith were defeated, and the Krath was scared that this race would turn their attention to them, so they made something that killed the enemy slowly. The legend's patchy since I haven't read it for so long." The male trailed off, noting that his mistress already had her comlink out and tuned the frequency.
"Xath! Library now, look for a legend about a Krath and killing off a Force-void race! Then come here with your findings."
The girl's comlink burst out from her hip as she waited in the line for food, several people turning round to see where the Quaestor was. Grabbing it off her belt, she whined back.
"You have droids, use them. Library, now! That's an order." Groaning as the connection closed, the Omwati threw the tray down on the stone floor and stormed back to the main building, anyone who was nearby coiled back in fear of getting clouted by the Huntress. Fuming as her stomach growled in response to the Sith’s orders.
Slumping back in her seat, the Krath slammed the latest book shut. The library was dully lit, with the desktop lamp being the sole source of light for the girl for the best part of half the library, though she doubted that anyone else was actually in the library for its main purpose. The librarians had given up on getting her to leave when her comlink had shrilled harshly with Rasilvenaira’s voice demanding to know how far along the Journeyman was with her research. Opening the last book in the pile, she resorted herself to skipping through the titles before submerging into the chapters themselves.
A couple of hours later, and the Huntress found the chapter, the legend woke up her exhausted mind, relieved she could run back to the Quaestor with the myth as the Krath grabbed the book and dashed out the library, spinning the morning librarian around upon herself as she arrived for her duties. Ignoring the cussing that came from the numerous people she knocked over, the young adult headed towards the office.
Not slowing down in time, she tripped into the door, forgetting about the stone that was slightly raised. Groaning and rubbing her head, the door slid open, and a dark haired female leaned against the frame, chuckling at the sight of the Huntress.
“Eager to get here, Xathia? First time I’ve seen a flying Journeyman, I take it you’ve got the legend then?”
“Of course, I wouldn’t come running to tell you it doesn’t exist after I’ve just spent eighteen hours looking for it.”
Smirking, the Battlemaster stepped back and watched the Krath get back onto her feet before offering her a seat and a glass of rum. Taking the seat behind her desk and pouring herself a glass of rum, the Keraci let the younger girl gather her thoughts and find the page of the book to share this legend which had intrigued the Quaestor so much. Thoughts twisted around upon themselves in the Sith’s mind, memories of the recent war against the Vong, and the losses they’d suffered as a Clan and as a House. The effects were still being felt in the system as they tried to move on. However the nagging worry of such a thing happening again irked the Battlemaster endlessly. Silently she vowed that if there was any way to prevent being trapped and feeling so helpless against a race that was untouchable by the force and familiar technology, she would find it.
“An unknown Krath studied a battle against a race which was oblivious to the Force, thoughts or pictures could not be forced into their minds, and Force moves did nothing to affect them. Noticing that this race had won, since the Sith had become so dependant on the Force they had been driven back, defeated by these creatures. Noting that this species were heavily violent and their technology which appeared to be of an organic nature slaughtered the equipment of their opponents. Deeply concerned that this race would turn their attention to the Krath and attack them, the Krath spent months slaving over an experiment, using the very lowest class that they were able to capture. This curse they created allowed for the non-Force sensitive to be infected with a disease, slowly killing them over a period of 5 to 14 days, and symptoms were unnoticeable until two days before death, at which point the disease is too advanced to be able to be stopped. It also quickly mutates, making it near impossible to stop. The race is thought to be the early Yuuzhan Vong, since they are the only species known to be exempt from the Force and unaffected by it. The Shamed ones are thought to have been the ones used for testing, since the rest of the classes would not have cared if they had disappeared. The details of the experiments and on the curse itself had been placed in a Tome, but the ancient book had been lost. Some reports indicate that the Tome may be kept on Charros IV.”
The female slowly read out, as though waiting for the reaction of the Keraci, her emerald eyes keeping to the paper as her senses stood on edge. A silence filled the office once she had done, the Quaestor chewed over her thoughts of the myth.
“I want that Tome.” Xathia could feel her stomach sink. “I want you and as many members as you can gather to go and get that Tome. I will not have the Yuuzhan Vong or anything like them invading and taking over my planet ever again.”
After being ordered out, the Huntress sighed in defeat and hurried off to the Souls of Darkness area, hoping to catch the majority of the Battleteam.
Sitting in the hangar on a raised platform, the Journeyman impatiently waited for the last few members to turn up. Rasilvenaira was staying behind on Ptolomea, but nothing had been said of Yzarc. She could make out the dark group of Souls of Darkness and the apprentices and novices nearby that seemed to be scared of that Battleteam, as one of her former drinking partners stumbled in blind drunk. Turning to face the House, the Huntress’ stomach churned as the Quaestor took her place in the centre front, about to address the house on the mission and to search out those who were worthy of the hunt.
Hallway of The Serpentine Palace, Ptolomea
Yzarc Rellik Kaeth rushed to the Quaestor’s office. His comlink had gone off while he was sleeping, and its piercing noise was enough to wake him. He had quickly gotten up, and thrown his robes on. Standing outside Rasilvenaira’s office, he put his hood on, knowing that not many had seen him without his mohawk up. The Aedile knocked on the door. It didn’t budge. A sweat broke out on the Kaeth’s face.
He looked as his comlink and sheepishly asked into it, “Ras, where do you want me?”
“In the hangar, get your stuff ready to leave,” was the reply.
The Dark Jedi Knight cursed and ran back down to his quarters to gather up his stuff.
She knew he was on his way, yet Rasilvenaira Kaeth StormRaven was becoming impatient. The beginning of her speech was interrupted by his call on the comlink. The Keraci glanced down at her comlink and paged the blue-haired Coruscanti again. She heard a yell from the corridor outside the room she was in. It was Yzarc, screaming, rather exasperatedly, “I’m coming, I’m coming.”
The gathered crowd laughed. Yzarc entered the hanger and stared with his narrow, blue eyes at everyone who was in the hanger with him, other than his superior. The laughter trailed off, but a drunk continued to laugh. The Aedile shrugged it off as he walked up to where Rasilvenaira and Xathia were standing on the platform, passing the Souls of Darkness, random Journeyman, and older members. When he reached the platform, he inquired of the StormRaven what was going on.
Rasilvenaira explained to the Knight what most of the members were setting out to do. She explained that the Krath’s Tome might help them to better understand the Yuuzhan Vong and how to fight them. The Quaestor then asked him, “Would you like to go along with them?”
The blue eyes glinted in the light as the Aedile replied, “Are you kidding me? Me, miss a fight? Of course I’m going, especially if it’s to get dirt against those damn Vong.”
The Knight then stepped to the side of the platform and waited for the Battlemaster to brief the members of House Caliburnus.
Flanked by the members of Souls of Darkness, behind and to her sides, and Yzarc beside, her, the Quaestor’s dark eyes swept out over the members of the House.
“I am sending some of you upon a mission that could lead to one of the most important discoveries in our House’s history. We can not let this Tome fall into the wrong hands, and it will be a great achievement for House Caliburnus to be the ones to find and claim it. This mission will be dangerous, we only have a rough idea of where to start, but it may not be there, so you will need to search for clues to its true whereabouts.”
Many House members looked at one another, some catching the glint of madness that showed in the Quaestor’s dark eyes and were worried by it, others didn’t notice but wondered if they would be chosen to go on the mission.
“Good luck to all who undertake this challenge.”
Rasilvenaira stepped back and lowered her voice so that only Yzarc could hear her, leaning closer to her Aedile, “Pick those who are up to this, I want that Tome, regardless where you have to go to find it.”
Yzarc nodded and moved off into the crowd to assemble the taskforce that would search for the elusive artifact. The members of Souls of Darkness moved off to begin their own preparations, all save one. Glancing up at the towering Jedi Hunter, Rasilvenaira moved to stand in front of her apprentice.
“You have something on your mind?”
Fionn’s gaze drifted elsewhere, but he answered his mistress, “Something is telling me the Tome is not on Charros.”
Rasilveniara nodded, “I truthfully don’t care if it is on bloody Coruscant in the middle of the street, go find it and bring it back to me. However,” The Sith’s eyes darkened, “should you have any notions of crossing me, I would advise you to dismiss them now.”
“I am not that big a fool, Mistress.”
“Just reminding you my dear Apprentice, you wouldn’t be the first one I’ve killed for such foolishness.”
Sith Warrior Corin Nal’kether sat cross-legged on the cold, hard durasteel floor of his small room. His lightsaber hilt hovered at eye level in the air in front of him, its silver casing reflecting the light of the above lamp. His hands were folded in front of him on his lap, and his room was silent. He was meditating, as he usually did in his free time, but this time he had been doing it longer than usual. He was garbed in his battle outfit: leather vambraces were latched to his wrists, and his robes had no useless cloak. His thin frame was straight upward, but his head was slumped down.
Latched on the Equites belt was a comlink among other tools. It was silent, something that the Warrior hadn’t experienced for a while. Corin’s thoughts drifted as countless pictures and memories flooded his mind, both from Scion’s past and his own. The silence of his mind was broken as the Keraci demon Scion spoke softly. “A battle is near, Corin. I can feel the tension; the unmistakable fear.”
Corin’s eyes suddenly opened, the lightsaber hilt falling from its place and landing in the Warriors outstretched hand. “I sense it too…” said Corin aloud to himself as he clipped the hilt to his belt.
Suddenly, his comlink erupted with activity. Corin gazed down at the device, debating whether to answer it or not. Something told him it was important, and he swiftly reached for the comlink and lifted it to his mouth. “Yes?”
“Corin, this is your Aedile, Yzark Rellik Kaeth. Your Master, Quaestor Rasilvenaira has requested you, among others in her house, to assemble in the hanger. She is becoming increasingly impatient, so do hurry.”
“Yes sir,” was Corin’s answer as the Dark Jedi Knight terminated the conversation. Corin did not enjoy being ordered around by a Dark Jedi Knight such as Yzarc, but his undying allegiance to his Master and Quaestor, Rasilvenaira Stormraven, made it easier to follow orders.
Corin did not have much to pack, as all of his weapons – assassin droid, sniper rifle, plasma rifle, and all his other long list of blades and weaponry – were packed away in his ships in the hanger. He owned several ships, but one ship, the Nighthawk, a heavily modified and upgraded Exo-2 Airspeeder, was his favorite and most used. Its dual compartments gave ample room for storage. Donning his boots and his scout helmet that lay in the corner of his room, Corin departed from the housing section, heading for the hanger.
OOC: If someone wants to, they can write me entering the hanger to move this runon along.
Fionn dan LocutHal
Letting the words of his Mistress dwell in the back of his head, Fionn took back to his ponderings. Something wasn’t right, he had heard of such a tome before, the curse had been on the lips of his former Master, but the ancient Sith Master had never mentioned it being on Charros IV, let alone the whole of the Charros system.
Letting his doubts settle along with the words, his focus turned back to the present, and the mission. Grabbing his Sith Sword and Katana out of their sheaths, he clipped them to his belt and went back over the mission plans and flight plan.
“Hang on a second.” Came a muttering voice from Fionn.
“What’s the matter” The Quaestor and his Master replied as she scurried over to his side, her view shared between the screen and the towering figure of her Apprentice.
“What’s our latest intelligence on the movements of those Vong?” Fionn inquired. “I heard they still wandered these territories.”
“Hmmm… That’s a good point.” Rasilvenaira answered. “Zarc! Get me some up to date reports on those Vong movements, pronto!”
As her command bellowed across the hangar, the Aedile’s ears perked up, mouthlessly obeying his boss’ command, the Coruscanti scooted off, gathering everything he could find on the Vong’s presences in the neighbouring sector’s.
Hurrying back, the mohawked human handed the findings to the StormRaven.
“According to these, the Vong have been gone for months, there has been no movement in the entire sector, nor in any sectors neighbouring, all fighting has shifted to the Core systems.” the Kaeth female muttered.
“Splendid. That’s one less thing to worry about, because I get the feeling we’ll need everything we have just to get that tome.” the Sith replied, the worries absolved from his mind.
Malaki drifted behind his Quaestor, his battle team were stood behind him. He was almost staring into space, his mind wandered on. Thoughts running through his head, staring at some of the pale faces of the journey men. Which ones will choose their fate, there’s going to be casualties, their heart beats will fade, death. The houses journeymen were stood perfectly still, formed in ranks in front of Rasilvenaira and the other people stood behind her. The knight was getting randomly annoyed about other things, like where was Corin when the battle team was summoned, his job was bothering him along with this mission. He overheard what information Yzarc collected, in some ways he didn’t want to believe that was correct. Wanting to drop to floor asleep in boredom, he was suddenly awoken by a sith warrior as he stumbled through the door of the hanger.
“Your late” Malaki said as the warrior join ranks with his battle team.
“Actually no Malaki, Im perfectly on time when I’m needed.” Whispered back Corin
Both were silenced by Xathia, she said talking underneath the voice of their Quaestor and especially Rasilvenaira shows a lack of respect.
The knight stood there back in silence, trying not to disturb the briefing. But sooner enough he watched journeymen walk off, gazing at the remainder of the journeymen like a vulture, he smiled within him with a faint sigh. There were many left, some looked strong and eager, ready to prove themselves in this mission. However there were the few that look weary about the heat of battle. Yzarc turned around facing Malaki and Souls of Darkness, followed by their Mistress and her apprentice.
“Huh, nineteen men prepared for a fight, out of the twenty nine journeymen of Caliburnus ma’am that’s a good number.” said Fionn
Rasilvenaira turned to the anxious jedi hunter, smiling gracefully without her devious intentions.
“Yes, with souls of darkness that counts as a right good duty strike team. Yzarc I will finish briefing these journeymen and return to my quarters. Make sure you send out a message when everyone and thing is prepared to leave as expected.”
Their Quaestor strolled off back towards the journeymen, before she left she took a look at the battle team, smiling. Malaki returned the gesture with a soft nod, knowing she was going to express her ambitions to the journeymen. Fionn and Yzarc stood rambling on about other business eventually laughing under their breath.
The knight stared at them curious to hell and no doubt bored out of his skull, even through he was just to be sent on another mission what seemed to him more like an errand. Curious enough he finally spoke, breaking the silence, trying not to be at all offensive or sarcastic.
“It always involves some type of Tome, Temple or another artefact that’s apparently going to save us all… Pfft so then, ermm shall we get on our way?”
It was months ago when they crash landed on the planet. Hiding from the remaining locals who refused to leave their home and from the Yuuzhan Vong, they couldn’t risk an emergency signal. Those things were still lurking out there or at least they thought.
The planet itself was habitable, but now due to the war most of the population is gone. The Soldier's black armor was perfect for hunting, and to make sure the remaining natives don’t even go close their territory.
They placed out sensors, mines, small places to withdraw to. They couldn’t save too much equipment from their wreck of their ship before they sank it near a lake. They cannot risk to be found by the Vong, they will wait the moment to return. Their leader in his twenties kept them in strict line. They were best of the best. A small commando trained for infiltration and assassination. Now they are not more than ghosts, hiding.
On the watch, which was a simple clearing at a mountain the leader and his second in Command was carefully observing their surroundings.
“Sir, the perimeter wasn’t breached days ago Perhaps?...”
“No, we still cannot be sure. We need to wait more, Sergeant. We underestimated them once; we cannot commit the same mistakes again”
“Yes Sir, as you wish Sir” As he saw the Leader doesn’t wish to continue the conversation he left the watch to check the traps, they needed a dinner after all.
The commander looked around once more, then as he started to head back to the camp. he looked down to his armor and removed the dust from the mark which could be find on the left chest plate, the mark of Scholae Palatinae.
Dakari's Solitude, Headquarters of House Dorimad Sol; Caina
Dakari has summoned Braecen - a fellow brother-at-arms - to his office deep in the cave upon the planet of Caina. The fortress had become known as Dakari's Solitude, as the man had returned to the closed headquarters of House Dorimad Sol upon his retirement from Consul; alone with his thoughts and developing his philosophy of the Dark Side. It had been here where the one-time Consul had discerned the need for the Imperial Knights, building an infrastructure that would eventually redefine the Legions of Scholae Palatinae. But none of this history was as relevant as his previous tenure as Quaestor of House Dorimad Sol, in which the traditionally Sith-House of Caliburnus had defeated his stronghold; erasing his House from the active rosters. Untrusting, and weary, of his newly minted House's future, Dakari had established a number of spies and connections to continually monitor both House Caliburnus and House Acclivis Draco. He would not be caught unprepared again...
The Sith Battlelord twirled a datachip between the fingers of his right hand, impatiently waiting for the Pontifex to materialize. Restraining himself from using his com-link once more, the Quaestor was rewarded with the sound of a chime - indicating that someone was approaching his quarters. A deep breath settled his thoughts, calming his mind, so that he could ensure proper instruction of his orders. The door slid open and a gaunt, frail form slid across the portal to, seemingly, materialize before the desk of Dakari the Merciless. "Thank you for coming," Dakari said a bit too tersely. The azure eyes of the Krath locked onto the bulky form of the Sith with a mild sense of surpise - as if he had just realized where his feet had led him. "Any time, I am at your service, Lord Dakari."
The Quaestor highly doubted that Braecen worked on anything but his own agenda, but took the comment as an indicator he would listen. "I have recently received reports that House Caliburnus is mobilzing. Their forts on Ptolomea report they have issued a change in battle-status from Level One to Level Three." Dakari fumbled with the datachip he had been twirling between his fingers as he slid it into the nearby holo-projector in his office. "This read out shows that troop movement has retreated from the training grounds towards the four major bases." Braecen walked across the room until he was nearly atop the projected image. He traced the march of the troops with his finger, before he grazed the portion of the map indicated as Fort Arrow with his hand. The image on the projector momentarily blurred from the intrustion before riverting accordingly.
"What do you want me to do about it, Dakari?" The Krath asked bluntly. "I cannot presume to know what orders have been issued by the High Admiral on the surface." Dakari had been prepared for this, knowing that Thran Occasus was capable, as High Admiral, of issuing orders to the soldiers stationed on the bastion world of Ptolomea. "The orders did not come from an officer in service, but from the Surface Marshal of the planet itself. Meaning-" Braecen cut him off, "That Rasilvenaira ordered the movement herself. You cannot believe a fellow member of the Kaeth circle would attack us, surely?"
"No," the Quaestor said in a guarded manner, "but I thought you might be curious what one of your own is doing. Unless I am mistaken and she has informed you of her intentions." The effect of the last statement was almost instantaneous on the Krath. Braecen's brow furrowed as he turned the thought over in his mind - the Quaestor of Caliburnus had not discussed this with him. "You know," Braecen began, "she is not under my command. She no longer has to report her actions to me... at all, in fact."
The Battlelord had won, his heart soared with elation. The Pontifex looked up with scorn on his face, "Guard your emotions, Sith. Such bursts betray your thoughts and well laid plans." Dakari dismissed the reprimand, "So you will go?" The Krath wheeled around, heading for the exit from the Quaestor's office. "Yes, I will go and silently observe the actions of Caliburnus."
"Under what guise?" The Quaestor called out as his ally's robes whisked out of sight. "What guise do I need, I am simply checking in on my Apprentices and fellow family members," the voice of the Krath trailed off as he furthered himself from Dakari's office.
Nokkon listened to the others talk while he checked his gear. Mal seemed pretty concerned that Corin was late, but no one else seemed to care. Zarc was hopping all over, as Ras demanded more info or whatever. Why anyone would want to lead here was beyond Nok. Too much work and not enough pay. Everything was ready, as it had been in his quarters, and the three times he had checked his kit since. Nok shook his head and moved over towards Cethgus.
“Isn’t this overkill? All the Souls of Darkness and then some to chase down a book?” the youth looked at the Zabrac and waited for some response. The grunt Ceth gave him didn’t seem to answer the question, but really, when it came to Ceth, one couldn’t be picky. Nokkon moved away and checked out Xathia while she wasn’t looking.
“Like what you see, boy?” Fionn towered over Nok and rested a giant mitt on the lad’s shoulder. Nok looked over his shoulder into the horrendous gaze of Fionn and grinned.
“No, Fionn, I don’t. I see the elite battle team of House Caliburnus heading off on some harebrained scheme to find a book that may or may not exist, while the Quaestor sits behind. Seems a pretty good time for someone to strike at the House, don’t you think?” Nokkon moved away, and looked at the slender form of his Quaestor, as she moved amongst her chosen warriors, offering advice and good thoughts on the coming voyage. “I have a bad feeling about this…” he left his sentence unfinished as he picked his kit up and headed onto the Delta Class shuttle, hoping for a window seat. The others began to follow the youngster toward the shuttles.
Corin surveyed the group. There were several journeymen among the group as well as several equites, not including his Master who was not to go on this mission. As Corin listened all around, a certain conversation between Jedi Hunter Fionn and Guardian Nokkon Wud caught his attention. As his acute hearing picked up the words, the Warrior strode over to Nokkon, placing his mechanical left hand on his shoulder. “Do not question my Masters plan. Behind her madness there is a reason, believe you me!”
Fionn regarded Corin with a raised eyebrow at the mention of his own Master.
“Besides,” Corin said with a grimace, “this will give you Journeymen a chance to see how the Equites do it…” Leaving the two Journeymen to their own thoughts, Corin gathered beside his Master. “Master,” he whispered into her ear as politely as he could, “if I could have a word?”
Breaking away from the crowd, Corin led his Master a little away from the group. “There must be something you’re not telling us, Ras. Why are there so many of us? I do not doubt your logic, but I must question the real purpose of this mission…”
The hard eyes of his Quaestor looked up at the Warrior. “Corin, I would not send you into a battle if I knew you could not handle.” Scolded his Master as Corin tried to interrupt. “Let me finish…” she said as she continued, “I sense the apprehension all around us today. Besides the occasional Knight or Hunter hungry for some action, the attitude of this group is blandly predictable…” She surveyed the crowd thoroughly for a few seconds. “Corin, I know you all too well, and you are headstrong and proud. But, I trust that you will see to it that this job is done correctly. Let those such as Yzarc and Malaki lead you. Yes, they are Knights and you are an Equite, but do not let your pride get in the way of authority.”
This hit Corin like a death sentence. Disobeying Yzarc or Malaki was second nature, but disobeying his Master, sister, and Quaestor was a whole different story he was not about to test. “Very well Master, I shall see to it that all is done correctly…”
Rasilvenaira raised her right hand to her forehead.
Corin returned the gesture and saluted his Quaestor as he departed from her, making his way to his ship, the Nighthawk.
Searching its compartments for his weapons, Corin found that everything was in its correct place. His plasma sniper rifle, neatly clipped to the inside of the left compartment, was loaded and its scope was calibrated. The various blades he owned, including his native Karaci blades, were stored there also, neatly stored in their sheaths.
Making his way over to the right compartment, Corin found his rolled up assassin droid, Striker, and his battle armor. Everything was set. The battle was near.
High Admiral's Planetary Office; Ptolomea
Another Battlelord of Clan Scholae Palatinae had also become dismayed by the actions of the Quaestor of House Caliburnus. Since the dramatic conclusion of the Reclamation campaign - the Clan's dynamic push to rid the Cocytus system of the Yuuzhan Vong presence - the Fleet had been in rigorous training exercises. Including the Bastion Regiment whom was tasked with safeguarding the planet of Ptolomea and had been under the directions of the High Admiral. Thran ground his teeth in dismay, knowing only a handful of people could have overrode his standing orders. 'But only one would have dared do it without my knowledge,' the Sith thought.
Withdrawing his com-link, he opened a channel to a man stationed nearby, "Lieutenant Colonel Bishop!" A momentary pause. Then, transmitting back to the High Officer, came the voice of the Bastion Regiment's Commanding Officer. "Yes, My Lord?" Thran could hear the bewilderment and awe in the man's voice and could not help a grin from spreading upon his lips - a true Sith, Thran reveled in his own power and might. It had been at his meer suggestion, before the onset of the Reclamation campaign, that the previous Consul had been dethroned. 'True, I had not the power to do it myself. But I certainly was able to manipulate those surrounding the Krath to unseat him from power.' His thoughts remained guarded; though he was, generally, liberal about giving a piece of his mind to anyone who would - or would not - listen.
"I believe the Surface Marshal ordered us to Level Three readiness," it was a rhetorical question. Yet the Lieutenant Colonel obliged him with an answer. "It was, My Lord. The House is preparing for an off-planet training drill and the Lady StormRaven felt it was prudent to protect that which the Emperor had entrusted her with." Thran scoffed, rolling his eyes - for good measure - at the notion of Phoenix as an 'Emperor' of the Cocytus System. Sensing the other man was about to continue with his report, Thran cut him short. "That is all I require, Bishop."
"Certainly, My Lord," the Lieutenant Colonel responded automatically. Thran sneered, the man was not of the required rank to lead the Regiment, but he was the natural successor with the sudden demise of the previous Commanding Officer. Of course, the Battlelord felt that the chain-of-events that had led to his sudden rise were of a political nature; the man, afterall, had close ties with Braecen Kaeth. The Sith was sure he had been placed upon Ptolomea to keep an eye on the traditionally Sith-House. A cruel smile formed on his lips as he thought of the tenants he had so come to love. "Deception. Secrecy. Betrayal. These are the tools of the Sith."
"What was that?" An unknown voice - an unseen presence - asked. Startled, Thran wheeled around, his hand falling to his hooked saber; a favored weapon of Makashi practitioners. The fierce look in his eyes forced the intruder to cower from his wrath. The Sith recognized him as a Journeyman of the House - someone beneath his level of notice - and dismissed him with a wave of his hand. "Excuse me, Lord Occasus," the Guardian breathed. Rounding, once again, upon the man with his saber in hand this time. The Battlelord shrilly barked, "What?" Silenced by his anger the Guardian presented the datachip he had been instructed to give to him before departing with all possible haste. As he retreated, Thran examined the chip before inserting it into his portable reader. "Intriguing, most intriguing."
His anger diminished by the magnitude of the information provided, he dismissed the notion of training and exercises from his thoughts. With a slight bounce in his step, he wheeled towards the hangar bay of the Equitorial Citadel with two pieces of important information. The first, that his protege was in search of a most ancient gremoir. The second, the damnable Krath had made landfall on the surface of Ptolomea. As he considered the Pontifex only one word came to mind, "Meddler."
With a signal to Yzarc, Rasilvenaira left to return to her office. Yzarc spoke out above the murmurs of the crowd that had gathered.
“Alright, let’s get this party started,” the blue-haired Coruscanti roared, his deep voice echoing off the hangar walls and ceiling, “Get your gear onto the shuttles, then we’ll head out.”
Not one for space, as he was far more comfortable on the ground where his only fault could be his body, Yzarc shivered. He helped a few of the younger Journeymen make sure they had everything they needed.
Slowly the members boarded the shuttle. The Obelisk could tell that the newer the Journeyman, the more willing to go out and fight they were. Some of the older Journeyman, and even the new Equites looked weary or bored. The Dark Jedi Knight wondered to himself if this would have any effect on how well they fought.
Finally, the ship was full, save for one window seat, that of the Aedile. Yzarc looked back, to see if there was anyone else on the hangar deck, which, of course, there was none. The blue-haired man closed the boarding ramp and went to his seat.
On his way to his seat, he looked around the ship. He recognized every member, but he hadn’t spoken to many. The Obelisk was a man of few words. He sat down in his seat and stared out the window.
The hangar walls disappeared, as did the ground of Ptolomea. As the shuttle gained altitude, the blue of the sky faded to black. Then, as the ship left the atmosphere, stars appeared. Yzarc stared at the stars. The Aedile felt odd, and he drifted into a daydream.
The Aedile dreamed of the Vong and his hatred of them, and of his searching for a trainer, but this was all in his past. Yzarc never thought about his past, yet he kept on dreaming. Suddenly, he was shook by a giant, hand. The Obelisk looked for the source of the hand as what he had been dreaming clicked in his head.
“We’ve got to find this Tome. We’ve got to stop the Vong,” the Coruscanti said to Fionn.
Raising her head to the Aedile's words, Xathia overheard Fionn's motivation.
"Relax, I know this will give us an advantage over them, but there are more ways then one to defeat an enemy."
The Huntress turned her head back to the maps of Charros IV she was memorising, though Nokkon's fidgeting next to her was distracting at best, and discomforting at worst. His feelings of nervousness, excitement and fear, mixed together with something else were emitting radiantly, as the female leaned back in her seat, chewing her lip and pondering over the landscape and co-ordinates of the tome, the book with the legend lay open, using the seat in front as the rest and sinking into her own thoughts.
Wrinkling her nose up and obliterating another area from the possible places of this tome, someone tapped the Omwati on the shoulder, sending her a few feet into the air in surprise. A deep chuckle became the object of the young adult's glower as she spun around with a hostile glare in her emerald eyes. Getting an apprentice to gather up the maps and put them on her now vacated seat, the female folded her arms and looked up at Brent.
"Krath and their books."
"Sith and their obsession. What do you want? I was trying to locate the tomb to find the tome."
"Ras is on the comlink; apparently your frequency isn't working."
The Quaestor was snapping at the Krath about her comlink which she was studying, she couldn't pick anything up on it and no one could hear her when she tried to speak through it. Bashing it down on the dashboard, the small device broke into smaller pieces.
"What was that?"
"It was my comlink-"
"What do you mean 'was'?"
"XATHIA!" Rasilvenaira screech. "Get someone's comlink who is working and use that one for Sith's sake. Just find the co-ordinates, and get that tome, I don't care who dies on the way." Silence followed the Sith's orders, as someone snickered in the background.
"Oh shush Syphoc. She'd have yelled at you too if this had happened, what are you doing hiding there anyway? Wouldn't you rather be studying something?"
"You have the only books aboard the ship surprisingly." He smirked, as the Journeyman pulled a face. "You've not located the tomb I heard."
"Not yet, I've blacked out most of the map." The Omwati looked sideways at the Coruscanti, whose face kept its smirk. "And someone knows where the tomb is, don't they?"
"Pass me that map of yours; I know the rough area it's in."
Shifting her hips a little as the Krath tried to get some feeling back into her legs; the Huntress frowned at the Knight's mutterings. "It's not there, but it could be there, there or there."
Noting where his fingers were placed, they didn't seem that far apart in theory, but the female knew that in theory Omwat cities looked close together, yet they had huge distances between them. Several other Souls of Darkness members were leaning over the shoulders of Syphoc and Xathia, still wondering how they got the location from the legend. Frowning at it all, the Proselyte read back over the page, and knocked the far one of the former Aedile's fingers away, hovering her hand over the map.
"It's down to those two, but I think we've drained the legend."
"How far do you think between them?"
"Who knows until we get down there. We'll have to split into two groups, I'll use Nokkon's comlink to communicate."
The Aedile stopped stooping over, and stood up, facing most of the shuttle. The Omwati hadn't noticed that everyone on the shuttle had been waiting to see what the two Krath had been up to.
'Must be a novelty for so many Sith to see two people studying so hard.'
She thought as Yzarc addressed the crowd on what was to happen.
Unsteadily getting off, the Krath made a mental note to strangle the pilot when she got back to Ptolomea. The Aedile and Battleteam leader grinned at the female as she straightened herself up, though unusually pale even by her own standards. Glancing around, they had landed near a forest at the base of a mountain. Knowing that they had to get into the mountain cluster to find these two tombs, the Huntress grinned, before turning her head back to the waiting leaders, her smile saying that this was the place described.
Prior to Take off - Ptolmea:
Corin slammed his weapons down into his ships compartment. “Corin, don’t be a hard head!” Ordered the Aedile harshly as he ran his fingers through his tall hairdo. Corin took a step toward the Knight who in turn took a step backward.
“You listen here, Aedile,” said Corin in his all-to-predictable menacing voice, “I do not follow your orders, but my Masters. And, you be damn sure that, when I enter that Shuttle, it’s because of my fealty to our Quaestor, not you. You go that?” Corin did not like the idea of being in one shuttle without him as the pilot. He was never confident of shuttles, and had always had bad experiences with them.
Agreeing to finally follow the orders, Corin retrieved his sniper rifle and two Keraci blades – one dagger and one short sword – along with his scout mask, and left his ship, the Nighthawk behind in the hanger. At least, he reassured himself, it’ll be safe here…
Shuttle En route…
Corin finally settled himself into his seat in the back. As he observed the Jedi entering the shuttle, he shook his head. These are barely trained Jedi, what is your sister playing at? thought the demon within him. “She has her motives…” whispered Corin in reply.
Soon enough, they were in the confines of space. Several Krath and Obelisk Jedi squirmed in their seats, obviously unnerved by flying. Corin, himself, enjoyed flying, but not in shuttles so confined and not controlled by himself. The fact that he wasn’t in control didn’t settle well with the Preselyte, but he trusted the pilots enough for his safety.
Several minutes had flown by without mention as Corin, as he always need before a battle, meditated in his seat. Several young journeymen found this humorous and gathered around him to watch. Corin was aware of them, but simply let them have their fun. But, as Corin opened his eyes, the Journeymen scattered like ants before a flame. The pilot of shuttle announced over the intercom that they were entering Charros airspace. Prepare yourself Corin, I sense you will have to pick up the slack of these Protectors and Apprentices. Corin agreed with the Demon as he silently stood, exited the shuttle upon the orders of the captain.
As the warm mountain air greeted the Warrior, he was unpleasantly reminded of his childhood days in Naboo. As he donned his scout mask, however, a helmet that filtered out toxins and certain smells, he was relieved.
As the rest of the crew filed out, gathering in one group, the Huntress Xathia spoke up over the murmur. “Listen up!” she ordered, “If my information is correct, there is a tomb somewhere in the mountains here. We will have to split up into two groups, one led by myself and Yzarc, and another led by Battle Leader Malaki. You, you and you,” here she pointed at a few journeymen, “will come with me. Also, you” again she pointed at another few jedi, “will come with me. The rest, and that means you too, Corin, can go with Malaki.”
Immediately the Equites piped up, “We’re not going to be led by a couple of kids!” one of them yelled over the crowds murmur. “Yeah!” Another one said.
“I don’t like it much either!” yelled Corin over the Equites bantering, “but your Quaestor has ordered it of you! You will obey here, or leave us!” They fell silent as the group departed from one another, heading for the mountains of Charros IV.
*** In the forest ***
"They are force sensitive. They outnumber us, but most of them don’t have a lightsaber. I think they are from the brotherhood.”
"So they are friendly?” asked the sergeant from the leader.
"No darksider is friendly. Take up position around their landing zone. Only follow them as ghosts, they won’t notice us. Just use your trainings. If we can’t identify them, we will have to kill them all."
"What if they are from CSP?” for months this was the first time the hope of returning home became a reality, but the small commando couldn’t risk. They not suffered in this planet to die or surrender to a hostile force.
„The leader didn’t answer, just nodded”
All of them took their gears, grenades, blaster rifles and 2 commandos took 1-1 light repeating blaster. More than enough to kill these „intruders”. 8 soldiers with the best training they could get in the universe, is now ready to face a force sensitive group, who perhaps trying to hunt them down.
Too much unknown variable, no decision could be made for now, only one. Gather intelligence. They will follow this group, indentify the leaders, finding out who are they meanwhile not getting caught. Nothing extraordinary, just what they have been trained for.
The leader worried, the traps they laid down, mines, grenades, and dozens of other deadly trick, cannot be turned off. He could only hope they are friends and won’t walk into one of them.
The new arrivals were shouting like green soldiers. What a fools, they could be wiped out right now. They spread into 2 groups, so the leader decided to follow the one with the loudmouth Female Human probably the leader. The commando quickly confirmed this order through their stealthed comlinks. 4 commando followed other group, other 3 with the leader followed the "leading" group. Although the leader was sure this isn’t a combat patrol, they still couldn’t afford to be found. Perhaps the war with the Vong is over? How could the Brotherhood defeat them?
Nearly empty corridors were all that met the Battlemaster as she made her way back to her office, a quiet shadow followed far enough behind to avoid attracting attention. Stepping into the sanctuary of her office, Rasilvenaira crossed the room and poured herself a drink. Fully aware of having been followed, and indeed, expecting it, the Quaestor leaned against her desk facing the door as it slid open.
“Care for a drink?”
“No thank you.” The ebon clad figure settled into a chair facing the Sith, “I still find it amusing that I walk into your office armed with enough to kill a small army, and you don’t even seem to notice.”
Rasilvenaira chuckled, “Oh, I notice far more than people think I do, after all, I am a Sith, leading a House full of Sith.”
“True, so I imagine should I ever attempt to use anything against you, I’d die trying.”
“I dislike killing one of my own.”
“But you would.”
A smirk flickers across the Equite’s features, “Of course.”
“You do realize you’ve just set a pack of starved wolves after a steak and expect one of them to fetch it back to you uneaten.”
“They will bring it back.”
“You honestly don’t think one of them would be brave enough to try to use it against you?”
“Oh, I am quite certain at least one of them will.”
Icy blue eyes studied the Quaestor for a moment, “That fact doesn’t bother you?”
Rasilvenaira walked back over to the side counter and refilled her drink, shrugging casually. “Why should it? They are Sith, such ambitions are natural, they’re only doing what they do best.”
The figure laughed lightly, “Well, what one does best really depends on which particular Sith.”
A smile drifted over StormRaven’s face, “Well, some of us do work at perfecting other talents beyond killing one another.”
“Anyway, I know this isn’t a social visit, m’lady Quaestor, so what can I do for you?”
Slipping through the shadows, the Jedi Hunter disappeared to carry out the Quaestor’s orders. Doubts and worries danced through her thoughts, but the Battlemaster seemed confident that her plans would work.
The only difficult part of her orders came in the last sentence, “If they interfere, kill them.”
“R5, instruct the hangar maintenance droids to discretely stick a tracking beacon on the ship that just landed.”
The astromech beeped and whistled as he complied.
Rasilvenaira leaned back in her chair, calmly sipping a glass of Kusali as she felt the presence sweep against her mind and instinctively she closed down every mental shield she had developed over the years. Effectively it blocked every thought save one from prying minds.
“Ah, Braecen, a pleasant surprise, if you’d let me know you were coming, I’d have met you at the hangar.”
“Oh, just thought I’d drop in to visit, shall I come up or were you on the way down.”
“On my way down.”
Turning to the silent red and black plated droid, Rasilvenaira nodded, “You have your orders, Veritas, don’t accept any excuses, I want that payment.”
“It will be done, Mistress.”
Satisfied that her plans continued to unfold as intended, the Quaestor left her office and headed to the first floor to catch up with the former Consul.
As Rasilvenaira stepped out of the front doors of the Serpentine Palace, she was intercepted by the Battlelord, his emerald eyes flashing angrily.
“What are you up to, Ras?”
“Nothing that you don’t already know and we can discuss this further, later.” She raised one hand to forestall any further questions. “We don’t need to feed the Krath anything by arguing about it where he can hear it.”
Growling under his breath, Thran nodded, and turned his attention to the former Consul that was crossing the compound from the hangar.
Yzarc and Xathia quickly took charge of the small group of Dark Jedi who would follow them into the unknown of Charros IV. Xathia quickly decided that her team would skirt the mountain and travel towards the northeast tomb, while Malaki’s team would travel in the opposite direction to the other tomb.
Their directions decided, Yzarc and Xathia began herding the Dark Jedi who would travel with them in the chosen direction before things became too confusing. As they traveled deeper into the forest, the sounds of Malaki’s groups’ argument continued to carry over the sounds of nature. When finally the noise had disappeared, the Caliburnus Aedile gathered the team together.
“Keep your eyes open,” he told them, “Something doesn’t feel right about this place.”
“Zarc,” Xathia muttered, “You’ll scare the Acolytes if you keep up with this.” She then raised her voice so that it would carry to the rest of the group, “We’ll continue walking until nightfall and then find a decent location to camp.”
As they began walking again, Syphoc moved so that he was walking next to the Omwati female. “Zarc has a reason to be wary, Xath,” he said to her. “Use the Force… something really doesn’t feel right,” he paused before continuing and she eyed him warily. “It’s almost like we’re being followed.”
Before Xathia could come up with a suitable response to his remark, Rilkel moved away, leaving her to ponder his words in solitude.
The Dark Jedi moved on, covering a lot of ground. The sun began its downwards spiral towards the sunset and then to nightfall.
Malaki watched the sun descend below tree level, lighting the sky with a reddish glow. The sounds of the forest echoed as the team continued their search down the gloom of the path. Static burned at the knight’s comlink, barely even to able to hear himself using it, he couldn’t contact Xathia either. At the front of the team, he gazed around into the shadows of the forest.
“Cethgus” The knight shrieked.
Malaki heard mumbles and finally heard the zabrak’s voice rattle out, the obelisk scrambled his way of the group accompany the knight by his side.
“Something doesn’t feel right does it? It’s just a gut feeling that we are not alone, something or someone is following our trail” Malaki whispered over to his friend.
“Ermm, I’d say the same, the journeymen are getting restless already” Cethgus replied.
Malaki froze staring at the open space in front of him, the whole team stopped instantly. A wreckage of a ship buried itself in an open space, weeds already growing to its shape, a scarred skeleton spread against its hull. The ship was stained with blast shots and cursed blood. Underneath the dirt and grim shun a crest that no one could have recognised if they wanted to.
“Hmm typical, Team take five, no disappearing alone stick together” Malaki ordered.
The journeymen separated into social groups chatting amongst themselves in the open space the wrecked ship had created. Malaki pulled out his comlink, continuously trying to get hold of Xathia or at least anyone. There was an incredibly cracking static noise but he finally got contact with the other team.
“Ma’am Malaki here, its getting dark…and I don’t know if you or Yzarc have felt it but I think we are not alone or at least being watched…….. We have not come across the tomb yet but have come across wreckage……”
The line was cut off, a thunderous shout echoed out from one of the Acolytes. The knight watched him being thrown forwards from an explosion; fire rumbled it’s self around the journeyman, and then evaporated like water would but quicker.
Xathia barked down the borrowed comlink for Malaki, but there was no reply at all. Suddenly she was startled by a rumble; she looked backward to see darkness surrounding them, her eyes picking up the flash of the explosion. Yzarc drew his light saber, feeling something strong in the force.
“Xathia, they’re approaching, they can see us but we can’t see them” Yzarc whispered as he stared into the wilderness of the forest.
“Ghosts?” she murmured back
Malaki scrambled his way to the acolyte; he was badly burned, suffering death before his eyes. He could feel the soul of the journeyman fade, his breathing faded, his heart beat froze to nothing.
“Sir, we found this…..the parts of a mine” grumbled a hunter.
Suddenly Malaki jumped as he saw Cethgus’s saber activate in front of his face. Rising from crouching he saw the very thing that threatened them, staring into the eyes of four commandoes armed with weapons readying them to open fire.
***minutes before the incident***
„Sir these arent hunting, more like searching something...”
„Hmm, like what? There is nothing in this jungle. Did you hear anything? Names, ranks?”
„Not yet... uhm wait a minute, they are communicating...”
„Sir 2 name was mentioned 1 was something like Malakri or Malakti the other was...”
„What did you say? Could it be Malaki?”
„Uhm yes...” the message was interrupted by a loud explosion.
„Blast, they walked on the mines, what are you orders”
„Stop them at all cost, capture them, later we explain”
The Commando’s leader quickly ordered his unit to attack and capture the group they were following. His clan mates.
*** At the group of Malaki ***
„Leader you have exactly half second to order your men to stand down, we are trained against force users, and your lightsaber can’t deflect stun shots. Don’t make us hurt you, this can end in a good or bad way.” said the sergeant in a cold voice.
„Everyone, stand down” ordered Malaki, who wasn’t sure how many enemy there is watching them.
„No I won’t, no one disarms me!” shouted Cethgus
Most of the equites seemed to agree...
***At the group of Xathia***
The commando attacked quickly, as the group they ambushed was mostly journeyman; they were no threat to one of the elite unit of Scholae Palatinae. The Leader decided they shoot first and asking questions later. The group of Xathia was disarmed in mere seconds as the commando fired stun shots from the darkness.
Only The 2 knight and the hunter could ready their weapons and be ready to attack anyone who steps out from the woods, when they heard the ignition of a lightsaber, it came from the direction where they felt the disturbance in the force as the leader of the commando, no longer tried to hide his force signature.
A black armored person walked out from the woods in his right hand a red lightsaber.
„I am Sith Warrior Zeron from the Clan Scholae Palatinae, drop your weapons and you shall not be harmed.”
„Oh really? Zeron is dead, everyone knows it. What have you done to the other team?” not waiting the answer the 2 knight rushed forward the Equite meanwhile Xathia hesitated, thinking perhaps this dark guy is saying the truth. Zeron gave a mental command to the commando to hold fire.
The 2 knight coordinated their attack, but their defensive techniques weren’t enough to break the makashi. Although the Equite had to give in his best, he had many chance to kill both Knight, who in their anger was too reckless to use the true power of their learnt lightsaber forms. The fight was ended when after Rilkel was caught in a force push and flew some meter behind, Yzarc got in a saber block with the Equite and the crests of Scholae Palatinae was lighten in a red and blue color.
This was the last word before Zeron knocked the Aedile down to the floor. Rilkel was about to attack again when Yzarc shouted at him to stop. The Young knight was curious; he didn’t understand why they should give up the fight so easily.
„Perhaps he is saying the truth, what have you done with the other team?”
„They are probably captured by now, but if not perhaps you should tell them to cease the resistance, we don’t need another dead... do we?”
***Back at the group of Malaki***
They were too far away to hear the shooting or the lightsaber duel. It was a tie so far, no one attacked but no one seemed to surrender himself to the other either. Of course the dark Jedi have a bad habit of being a little too aggressive, but this time they knew they may face an army, and until the commando not shooting, they don’t have to fight.
„What about assassins if you drop your weapons? We are trained force users, we will chew you then spit you out” said Cethgus in his very egoistic voice.
„Cethgus, Cut it, I am in charge” Malaki tried to calm the Templar down.
„So, we are going to kill each other, or have a better plan Mr. Darksider?” The Sergeant knew if the Jedi decide to attack, 4 commandos won’t be enough to stop them. He had to bluff.
„Malaki! This is Xathia! Everything is alright? The hunter voice echoed through the silence of the dusk. The ghosts who followed us are CSP Commandos. Don’t fight with them, you hear me?” Malaki’s comlink went silent.
„Yeah I hear you... Malaki out.”
“We are sorry for your loss…”
“You better be”
Eludajae walks through the Caliburnus stronghold. She came back to her rooms and sat down and took out a round object with a sybmol on it placed it in a knock in the desk and turned and a scream slowly moved into position where the desk was and she typed in something through the data imput port with her data pad.
"Good Morning, requested materials and supply authorizes and placed on assigned vessel. Tracking subjects now, location verified, uploading images now." the computer like voice said to her.
She watched as the images came up one after the other and a small dossier attached. She read them and committed their faces to memory. Then she removed the little round item from the table and it reset again looking like nothing but a little study table.
She walked out of her rooms to a secluded part of the stronghold, she entered the area that used to house the escape pods, she walked over to the ill used controls for one and pressed her thumb to its top where no button was, the door opened into a small hall, then another door into an airlock, she walked into the small transport attached and into the pilots seat. Not being a crack pilot she placed the ship into the hands of the autopilot and engaged it. As the ship lifted away fom the stronghold she walked back to the small room behind the pilot area. She opened several containers.
She pulled out two hand guns, placed one in her holster at her side and another smaller hold out blaster in her back holster. She pulled out to small tear gas bombs and placed them on her left hip holder on her belt. Then she walked over and pulled out a strange looking whip and placed it on her right hip, then two knives.
Then she walked over to the next container and carressed it like a lover. She opened it and pulled out the weapon in its 3 pieces and checked each piece, then assembled the sniper rifle and checked the ammunition pack for it. Unlike many of the standard imperial weapons, the sniper rifles still had ammunition packs-clips, they were high density flechett rounds. This weapon had been the death of many a Jedi durning the Clone wars order 66.
All was here...all she had to do was...wait for the transport to land her on the planet inquestion. She sat calmly reading a datapad on Sith Alchemy and Sith Sorcery.
The starship's auto-pilot adhered to local star port protocol by merging into the appropriate exit vector. The vessel canted to an angle as it looped from the backside of the downed Imperial-class Star Destroyer towards the navigation beacons. The metallic hull of the ship sparkled in the sun for a moment before altering its vector and beginning its outward run to lightspeed.
The refracting light caught the blue eyes of Braecen Kaeth as he was locked in idle chat with the former and current Quaestor of House Caliburnus. Breaking off the veiled discussion, the Krath inquired, "A straggler going to catch up with the others?" His companions fell into silence, sharing a knowing look that conveyed many messages between the pair. Unwilling to wait on their answer, he reached outwards toward the vessel with the Force - hoping to recognize the Force signature of the individual. The ship, however, was too far from his vantage point and he was unable to exert his will in the Dark Side over such a great distance. His eyes did not leave the form of the ship until it was but a pinprick upon the horizon. He turned to his companions expectantly.
Thran looked from Rasilvenaira to the Corellian without noticing the Krath's attention upon him. "Don't you look at me like that," he accused. "I have no official part in these drills nor do I intend to find myself any deeper in the webs you weave, politician." The Battlelord practically spat the last word, his inflection held so much vehemence. The Krath's eyes sparkled with mischief, as if he had recognized something hidden in the man's words. "And... unofficially... what is your part in all of this?" he asked.
It was Rasilvenaira's turns to deflect the meddling Pontifex's intuition. "I assure you, Thran has not involvement in this exercise." Her words trailed off, ominously leaving the word 'yet' hanging between the trio. "However, your presence here is quite a surprise, Braecen. I did not think that Dakari would have you from his side with so many on-going tasks upon the surface, and below, of Caina." Her accusation was rewarded with one of the few moments in which the Corellian had been tongue-tied since joining the Clan almost four years previous. "I-uh-have business to attend to and-uh-apprentices-to-see," his words spilled out in a most unusual fashion. As if to validate his claim, he withdrew a polished, wooden box and opened its' lid to reveal the contents within. Resting on the cloth was a variety of items the Quaestor recognized as potential focusing crystals.
"I had been telling Sy and Zarc that I would help them adjust the calibrations of their lightsabers by adding more potent, and useful, secondary gems," the Krath dictated as if rehearsed. He withdrew one of the focusing crystals with appeared dull, yet radiant, with many rough edges. The bizarre crystal, with its many edges and unnatural cut, drew as gasp from the Battlemaster before him. Unable to contain herself, Rasilvenaira blurted out the words in her mind. "Is that one of the force-imbued lambent crystals?" An arrogant grin spread across the face of the Corellian. "Why yes, it is."
"Now if you will excuse me, I really should be on my way to Zarc's quarters." Thran looked to Rasilvenaira with a stern look. With her temporary outburst quelled and her calm restored - her mind once more utterly shielding the Krath out - she spoke, "I am afraid that neither of them are currently in residence. You just missed them, it seems. Off-world exercise, you know."
"Indeed." The Krath chewed over this previously known revelation for a moment as if to appear defeated. "Well, then you surely would not mind if I deposited these effects into Zarc's quarters? I would think them safe in his private dwelling... from aspiring Journeymen and Equites alike." Without waiting for a response - half in arrogance, half in fear of denial - he began a diligent march towards the room of the Aedile. With no protest forthcoming, he chanced a look over his shoulder to see the pair of Sith lower their heads together and begin to whisper. 'They are up to something, Dakari,' the Krath pondered, 'but I do not believe it is an assault on Caina.'
He would most certainly visit the quarters of his Aedile apprentice, but Braecen would be using his pupil's terminal to slice into the nav-computer and his most recently accessed files; determining the flight plan or destination of his two wayward students. As he turned into the final corridor on the approach to Zarc's room, he jostled the gems and soft bedding underneath aside to reveal a slicer's kit. Removing the device from the box, he crossed the threshold and began his search for a greater clue to the mystery. Soon, he would know they had left for Charros. Yet, sooner, Rasilvenaira - through her trustworthy R5 - would know the Krath was, once again, meddling in her designs.
Corin’s saber was instinctively in his trained assassin hands. His other blade, a short Keraci dagger, was clenched in his other, robotic hand. All was silent in the area, even the attackers stood there, silently awaiting the withdrawal of their adversaries weapons, their fingers silently awaiting an order to attack. When the attackers ordered for them to stand down, and Malaki agreed, Corin was hesitant to listen, preferring to express his feelings by fighting, not talking.
The trees about them rustled uneasily, adding to the feeling of entrapment. The commandos themselves seemed unnerved over the rustling, and a few troops swayed uneasily. Their leader stood shorter than the rest, but he bore an air of command.
In the depths of Corins soul, he sensed the good intentions of the attackers, but his feelings were hidden beneath his instinctual nature to fight; to end lives; to prevail.
Corin’s emerald blade was still aflame, as were his fellow Equites.
The cold air about him blew through his robes without forgiveness, chilling his body to the bone. His patient, enduring nature, however, kept him from wavering as he took several steps toward the squad. “How do you know we can trust them?” Shouted Corin at Malaki, the Battle Team Leader of Souls of Darkness. The leader of the commandos regarded Corin with a raised eyebrow, as if to say Who’s he to talk to me… “How do…” but Corin’s words were cut off as the voice of Jedi Hunter Xathia came through the comlink. “Don’t fight with them!” She ordered.
Corin was stuck between a dual problem: listen to his instincts, which were, ninety-nine percent of the time, correct, or listen to the Hunter. On any other mission the choice would have not seemed difficult, but in Corins mind it was now life or death. Calling upon his sister for guidance, Corin reached out for the mental link he shared with his Quaestor, Rasilveniara. “Ras,” he said, “we have been attacked by a squad who claims to be from CSP, I don’t believe them, but Xathia does…what should we do?”
The mental link was clouded, as if a great chasm separated the Warrior Proeselyte with his sister, Quaestor Stormraven. “Can you identify the leader as one of our own?”
“Negative,” was his answer, “Xathia has reported that the leader attacked her just moments ago. We are split apart, like you ordered.” He explained to his older sister. Somewhere in the troops ranks a soldier coughed violently, his throat apparently irritated by something.
“Very well, than.” Was his Quaestor’s order, “Follow Xathia’s lead, but proceed with caution. The next time you contact Xathia, tell her to give me a status report.”
“Very well, ma’am, Corin out.” Corin looked around at the group, slowly sheathing his dagger and switching off his emerald blade. “Listen to Xathia, everyone….” He ordered his comrades. They obeyed him without question. The squad’s leader smiled triumphantly. “Good choice…” he said quietly. Turning to his comlink that was clipped on his belt, Corin relayed his sisters message to Xathia. “Very well,” was the reply. The cold mountain air blew in from the north, bringing into the group a sense of loneliness, seclusion, and abandonment. All was silent. The squad had conquered….for now….
Thran watched the Krath’s form until he disappeared into the Palace, then turned his gaze back to the Quaestor as she began walking in the same direction to return to her own office.
“What exactly are you up to? I would like to assume it’s just an oversight on your part that you neglected to inform me as to why the House is suddenly in an uproar, or were you keeping something from me?” The Sith’s voice was barely more than a hiss as he moved to keep pace with Rasilvenaira.
Looking over at the bristling Bakuran, the Battlemaster arched one eyebrow, “Of course, you were busy at the time dear, and I intended to discuss the matter with you later. It’s not that important; I didn’t see a need to disturb you.”
“Not that…” Thran’s protest was cut short as he noticed the suddenly distant and unfocused look in Rasilvenaira’s eyes.
Stopping in mid step, Rasilvenaira stood still for a moment, then shook her head and returned her attention to Thran, meeting the question in his eyes.
“Contact from Corin.” Rasilvenaira resumed walking and increased her pace, “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some things I have to take care of, and we can discuss this in greater detail later.”
Leaving the Battlelord standing in the foyer fuming to himself, the Quaestor hurried up to her office, rounding the corner from the lift as her comlink began beeping furiously.
*Beeeeeep! Whistle, chirp!*
“Did you block the slice? How much did he get?”
The astromech’s reply did little to assuage the growing wave of anger in the Sith’s mind. R5 reported the information that Braecen had been able to acquire before Yzarc’s terminal had been shut down and removed from the House’s network as the droid blocked off all access to the Krath once he detected the slicing attempt.
“Track him incase he tries to get to another computer.”
Almost as soon as she got through talking to the droid, the com unit on her desk buzzed. Nearly slapping the unit off the desk, the Battlemaster turned it on, “What?”
“M’Lady, a breech was detected in the network.”
“I am aware of this, Captain. That infernal Corellian is up to his tricks again.”
“What are your orders? Shall we arrest him?”
“By all the…” StormRaven growled, “No, you don’t arrest him! The last thing I need is Dakari after me for detaining his watchdog without enough reason, it would not look good. Have a detachment meet me; I’m on the way up.”
Whirling around and heading back out the door the Keraci headed up to the 6th floor where the former Consul would be delayed due to a conveniently timed failure of the turbolifts. Two troopers fell into step with her as Rasilvenaira passed the security command center.
Footstep coming down the stairs near the 5th floor brought the Sith to a stop as the Corellian came around the corner of the stairwell.
“I must apologize for the inconvenience, Braecen, I have my people working on that lift problem, and it seems to be affecting other floors as well.” Rasilvenaira smiled.
Braecen eyed the well armed soldiers flanking the lithe Battlemaster, “Ah well, no harm done, good excuse to get some exercise.”
“Indeed, I tend to take the stairs more often than not. Please.” She motioned for him to accompany her back down the stairs as the troopers moved behind him.
Rasilvenaira chuckled, “Don’t mind them, my security commander insists on having someone tag along with me whenever there’s a security breech or he feels like training someone. But never mind that; please do give my regards to Dakari when you get back to Caina. Perhaps next time you come to visit, Yzarc and Rilkel will be here to see you.”
“Perhaps.” Braecen offered a curt nod as they stepped out into the main foyer of the first floor.
Sighing with satisfaction as he surveyed the carnage surrounding him, Veritas gathered up the parcel containing several items of interest to his Mistress as well as a considerable addition to her bank account.
Spinning on his heels, the wardroid headed back to the special transport that would return him to Ptolomea and the Quaestor.
Fionn dan LocutHal
A groan permeated the woods, the towering Sith lay on his back after being hit by a six pack of stunshots. He did not need to open his eyes to see all those that were circled around him, to the right his beloved Xathia and a Journeyman he didn’t recognise, but to the left someone whom he had thought dead ever since the War.
“Did someone get the license plate of that truck?”
The still groggy Jedi Hunter muttered, only to have the amazement dripping off the faces of those circled around him.
“What are you talking about Fionn? What’s a ‘truck’?”
Came a dazzled reply from Xathia, unsure of what her fellow Serpent’s Fang was talking about.
“Nothing dear, could you help me up for a bit?”
The Sith spoke as he was sat up, looking to his left, he took a closer look at the somehow familiar person, standing to his left.
“So it was you! What happened? I thought you’d croaked! Where’ve you been?”
The uncharacteristic words of care bolted out of the Sith’s maw, before his mind had a chance to snag these emotional words in his lungs.
“Gah! What do you care anyway, Envoy? Didn’t they ever teach you people die on battlefields? Get a grip, before I smack it into you.”
The cold reply from his former Clan Envoy came, although accompanied by a mischievous smirk curling his facial features.
Malaki was suddenly hit by the realization that in the excitement, he’d lost track of one of his own.
No reply came, and the Commander opened the comlink and contacted Yzarc, “Is Archangel with you?”
A moment passed, then the static was broken by the Aedile’s response, “No, he’s not. Why?”
“He’s not here either, wasn’t he on the shuttle?”
“Hang on.” Yzarc looked around, “Has anyone seen Arch since we left?”
“He wasn’t on the shuttle, I saw him leaving just as I was getting on.” Came the response from one of the journeymen.
“Malaki, apparently he didn’t come after all, not sure where he’s at.”
Settling back into the chair at her desk, Rasilvenaira watched the dot on the radar screen that was Braecen’s ship just leaving Ptolomea. Closing her eyes, the Sith searched out the presence of one of her apprentices. A moment later the door to her office slid open and the tall, lean form of a Shaevalian stepped through.
“I was already on my way.”
“Aye, I was just checking that you didn’t get delayed somewhere.”
Archangel shrugged and leaned against the counter along the right hand wall of the office. His pale eyes grew distant as he glanced out through the spacious window behind the Quaestor’s desk.
“Bored?” The Battlemaster smirked.
“Of course not.” The Knight straightened up and turned to face her.
“My dear Apprentice, your thoughts betray you.”
Archangel growled under his breath. “I’m just not used to standing around doing nothing; I should be with the rest of the team. You still haven’t told me why you pulled me aside at the last minute.”
Looking at the calm, confident Keraci, he shook his head, “No, never mind, you have other plans. I should know that by now.” He chuckled softly, “For a Sith you weave a clever web. I wouldn’t be surprised if you have more plots and plans in mind than most Krath could even dream up.”
“Something I learned a long time ago, to be able to beat someone at their own game, you need to learn to play it better than they do.”
“So what do you want me to do?”
“As I expected, Braecen’s ship is not in route to Caina. He managed to slice into the House system enough to figure out where the Team was headed, and no doubt is on his way there. Go, keep an eye on him and make sure he doesn’t get the chance to interfere too much.”
Archangel narrowed his eyes, “He is a Pontifex.”
“And you are my Apprentice. Arch, you don’t live this long by being a fool. I trust you will think of something.”
The Knight sighed, “Can I kill him?”
“No, despite his incessantly annoying meddlesome nature, Braecen is not to be killed. Just keep him out of the way.”
Taking a deep breath, Archangel bowed and turned to leave, “I’ll collect my bag of tricks and be on my way then.”
“Uh Zarc, don’t get me wrong, I’m always glad to find an old friend or two, but who were they expecting that they set up such a defensive grid?” Nok asked the Aedile as Zarc stared at the new arrivals in some kind of amazement.
“Later kid, let me think for a minute.” The Aedile walked away as Nok watched Xathia and Fionn greet the commander of these new troops. Nok was more than confused at the situation, like that’s a new thing, thought the Guardian.
Nok was watching the lithe form of Xathia more than he should be, but he couldn’t sort out the jumble of feelings running through his mind. The Aedile is right, later boy, get your head in the game here and now! He tore his eyes from the meeting of old comrades and moved to the edge of the group, trying to sort out his thoughts, and failing miserably. He sat and waited for the group to sort itself out, watching the Aedile taking command and watching Zeron decide whether to fight it or not. Things were going to get pretty messy if we have to fight a common enemy with two or three people thinking they are in command Nok thought to himself.
The young Obelisk sat toying with his knife for a couple more minutes but was losing patience with himself and his lack of control. With a grunt of disgust for himself, Nok rose to his feet and looked around. Everyone was on his or her feet again, and none seemed overly affected by the stun shots, so why are we standing still? ran through his head, as he walked towards the main gathering.
“Y’ all figure out if we are one happy family yet or what?” Nok tried to keep the impatience from his voice, but by the looks he got, he failed at that too. It would be easier for you to count your successes if you had a couple, smart-mouth! The critical voice in his head sounded an awful lot like Master Impetus, much to Nok’s dismay.
“I’m just saying, may be we should get on with things and if these guys want to go home, send a message for them and lets friggin move already.” Nok felt somewhat chagrinned as he caught the look Xathia fired his way, never mind the others. Now why would her look make you feel any worse than the others? Nok wondered as he turned away from the group again.
“Settle yourself Nokkon, we’ll tell you when we are ready.” The Aedile’s voice was hard and angry. The fire in his eyes told Nokkon not to push the moment any further.
„What were you thinking?” asked Zeron in a surprised voice from the highest ranked members of the group
„You come to an unknown planet for a little walk? Is the war with the Vong is over? How you could be so reckless. The whole area is mined. You are lucky you just lost 1 guy.” Zeron continuously got reports from the other group; the situation over there looked calm. For now.
„We were sent here for a mission. By the Quaestor of Caliburnus” Replied Yzarc.
„Why would Thran sent you here? Don’t you have a war to fight?”
„Uhm look, the war is more or less over for now at least, Thran isn’t the Quaestor anymore, there is lot of things you missed while you were camping here with your friends” said Xathia
„Camping eh...” Zeron didn’t wish to continue the useless picking on each other.
„So, who is in charge of this Operation?” Asked Zeron
„We need to join the other group, I don’t know what the purpose you came here is, but now it’s time to rejoin” Said the Sarge.
„Wait a minute commando guy, you isn’t in charge here” said Cethgus
„Nor you are.” replied Malaki.
„Alright, how you imagine getting through all the traps we layed down then Mighty Jedi?”
Malaki was thinking for a second. After he looked around.
„Alright lets regroup, you have some sort of communication device? Ours are too weak to have an acceptable level to communicate with the others.”
The sergeant without answering gave a military grade comlink to Malaki.
„Let’s move out” the Sergeant acted like he didn’t even hear the Knight.
The Aedile looked at the former Clan Envoy, with his blue eyes flashing anger. “I’m in charge, Zeron,” The Coruscanti spat the intruding human’s name out, “Xathia knows what we’re looking for, but I’m the boss.”
The Warrior stepped back, surprised, “You? You were only a Guardian not too long ago, what is your position, Guardian?” Zeron inquired.
“I’m no longer a Guardian, I’m a Knight, as you can tell from my lightsaber, and I am the Aedile,” came the reply, “You’ve missed a lot while out here. For one, we thought you were dead.” Zeron scoffed at the idea. “Second, Clan and House leadership has changed a lot. Rasilvenaira is Quaestor now, Phoenix and Lucien are Consul and Proconsul, respectively.”
The Aedile gave permission to Xathia to relate the story to Zeron, who had not seen, nor heard of the Tome. While the Hunter was explaining to the wayward Warrior, Yzarc stepped to the side, for his comlink started to beep loudly.
Answering it, he heard Malaki on the other end, “Boss, come in. Boss, do you read? It’s Malaki.”
“Yes, Malaki, we ran into trouble, but it’s being sorted now.”
“Yes, sir, we ran into a rogue squad left from the war, they’re from Scholae Palatinae.”
“Mhm, we’re with their leader now, its Zeron,” the Aedile said. He heard the comlink on Malaki’s end fall to the floor. The Aedile chuckled. “Keep looking for the Tome, report often, use the squad you had a run in with, let them know Zeron okays it.” He lied, but he intended to get Zeron to okay the order anyway.
“Yes, sir,” was Malaki’s reply
Yzarc cut the connection and turned towards the group. “Alright, we’ve got to continue looking for this bo-.” He was cut short by the roar of a starship’s engines overhead. Most of the members looked up, then around at each other. People asked who was on the ship, and why it had come late to the party.
Yzarc’s and Syphoc’s eyes connected, both showed fear, for it was their master’s ship. The Aedile felt out into the Force and found the familiar feeling of his master, the former Consul, Braecen Kaeth.
The sound of the starship had startled Xathia, and she had lost her balance, falling over the crouching figure of Nokkon. Grunting at him, the Krath took back to her feet, and stormed over to the frozen figures of Yzarc and Syphoc. It was enough that they had found Zeron, but they knew who was looming in on their mission.
"We're wasting time looking for that tome! And who else is lurking on the mission now? Who did you tell?"
She demanded angrily, her tongue clicking against her teeth as she impatiently waited for the answer.
"We didn't tell anyone, there wasn't time Xathia." The Aedile snapped back. "It's Braecen."
"I want him to be kept out of this!"
"It's not your mission Xath."
"We have a tome to find, Ras is going to kill us if we don't find it or if Braecen interferes and gets that damn thing before us!"
"Silence!" Roared the Aedile, fuming that the Huntress spoke like it was her mission. "This is not your mission alone Xathia, the rest of us are involved and we will get that tome. Leave us!"
Flicking his hand, the Corellian dismissed the Proselyte, leaving her to fume and steam in her own thoughts.
Sat on the ground as the sun sunk beneath the tree, what little light it was giving off streaming through the branches, the Omwati stewed in her own thoughts. She was still angry about what had happened, but it had become too late in the day to do anything. Feeling that someone was watching her carefully, yet the thought of it didn't bother her. The Krath had shut herself out from everyone, her emotions in check with only herself, as someone crept closer.
"Xath?" Nokkon nervously asked.
"Zarc wants a word with you, about the tome."
Sighing, the girl resigned herself to talking to others in more then one syllable words, and slunk over to the blue haired Knight, who was frowning into his comlink.
The events since the arrival of the Pontifex had been mundane at best. Several of the Journeymen had become excited with the presence of a more powerful, and older, member of the Clan's arrival; expecting his presence to expedite their task. The initial buzz, however, had faded as the Krath proved to be exceptionally guarded about his reasons for joining the task force. He now sat on the edge of the circle - the group surrounding a brilliantly lit fire, with sentries posted - deep in conversation with the former Knight Class Envoy, and Sith Warrior, Zeron. Their heads together, pouring over a chart the former Envoy had filled in during his 'excursion' upon the planet's surface.
Zarc's eyes moved from his comlink to gaze upon his Master's presence once more before he returned the line of sight on his comlink - his frown still vividly apparent. Braecen had attempted to play the role of helper, saying that the Kaeth Quaestor had sent him to assist. Exceptionally quick-witted, the Aedile asked him to confirm which Kaeth Quaestor he spoke of - an evil grin let the Coruscanti know it had not been Rasilvenaira. However, when he had refused to divulge the specifics of his mission, Braecen had become angry; even attempting to force the truth from his mind through the Dark Side. His mind swirled at the thought as he recalled the discussion, but, before he could immerse himself, a soft voice intruded upon his thoughts.
"Zarc," the Jedi Hunter whispered as to not draw notice. The brilliant blue eyes of the Knight flashed towards Xathia for a moment before the tension left his body. "We must speak," he looked around at their surroundings, "but not here, I think." The Krath Hunter nodded her understanding before tugging on the man's sleeve and leading him towards a make-shift command tent that had been established. She held the fold of the entrance back while he ducked in, then slid into the tent in his wake. Before the flap had dropped, her voice held malcontent and anger, "Your damnable Master! He is always in the midd-"
"Hold your tongue," Zarc countered her in mid-sentence. "I understand that you have served both Thran and the Lady StormRaven, but you should examine their opinions before you except them as personal truths. While I will admit his presence provides a certain unnecessary," he emphasized the previous word, "risk, we now have a very powerful Equite to use to our own ends." His words seemingly quelled the building tension as the Hunter saw the truth in his words. She opened her mouth to speak, perhaps a nasty retort, but held her tongue before her Aedile. Curtly, with grudging respect, she spoke, "I see the wisdom of your words."
She turned from him, collecting her thoughts and reformulating her plans. She had thought that, united, the pair - of Zarc and herself - could drive the Pontifex away. Perhaps formulate a scenario where the former Consul returned to the Cocytus System to transport those whom had been marooned upon the planet's surface for nearly five months. A million thoughts raced before her mind before she could halt the tumultuous onslaught of stray, distracting threads her mind had wove. With a deep, calming breath she cleared her mind and spoke once more. "And how, exactly, does one manipulate a Krath Pontifex - whom is nearing Elder status, need I remind you - for their own gain?"
She turned her chin over shoulder to look upon the face of the Aedile and receive his answer. Her emerald eyes drank in the sight of his complacent face melting into a devious, if not arrogant, smile. She shuddered at the thought of how much of the Pontifex she saw in that one, knowing look. The blue mohawk tilted from the left to the right as the Knight regarded her. "We lie to him," the words were spoken as simple truth. "Now let us make our preparations to continue our search, I want us to set out at first light."
Zeron still had his loyalty connected to Braecen. He felt the small wave of anger of the journeymen when the Pontifex arrived. „Politics”. He thought. He went after Braecen to speak with him personally.
„You cannot trust them.”
„I am not.” said Braecen.
Zeron made sure for the Pontifex, he is on his side.
The Warrior had to spend some time to fully understand the new information he heard. He noticed even after the attack of the Vong, the brotherhood still not united under a same banner. This just increased his distrust towards the weak Dark Council. But he kept this to himself. The commando, effectively not under his command anymore, they still answered to him. Bonds formed on the battlefield, is not that easily cut. So Zeron has 8 men if something bad going to happen.
Meanwhile the 2 journeyman tried to organize their group. As every mission, too much low level apprentice makes trouble. They are inexperienced, weak. Many saw the new ways as some kind of weakness. Tales of the Sith of Bane spoke about strong and manipulative siths. Not children, who needs to be lead otherwise they die on the field. And this is what they were the best in... Dying. Most of the journeyman was asleep. The protectors and guardians although replied to the call of their leader and started to make some very minor preparation.
One of the commando stepped to Yzarc:
„Here is a map of the layed traps, memorize it.” The demo expert then stepped away, and went back to guard duty.
Yzarc looked at it, carefully memorizing every part. There was only 1 way to go, which was safe. Disabling the traps would be too much work. They area of movement is limited now. Also they not have to worry about other hazards. The planet doesn’t have any extraordinary predators or weather conditions. They may even survive.
From the edge of the encampment, Nokkon watched the team splitting into two factions, much as he feared they would. The lost Clan commandos still looked to Zeron before following any orders from the Aedile, and Zeron, more and more, was looking to Braecen before issuing his own orders. Nok shook his head in disgust, as his fellow Journeymen almost seemed to fawn over the presence of the Corellian Pontifex. How soon they forget their loyalties to our house. Nok’s eyes roamed the camp, finding Braecen in conversation with Zeron, and the youth wondered just how much trouble he was in here.
Yzarc was busy examining a map one of the commandos had provided, while the camp slowly started to come alive with the rising sun. Journeymen began to get their gear ready for another days travel, and Nok could see the Pontifex smiling smugly as he watched the preparations. Nok stirred as the form of Zeron came closer to the young mans resting spot.
“A question for you Warrior Zeron, “ Nok tried to get a measure of respect into his voice, “Where do your loyalties lay? With the House, or the Pontifex?” The young journeyman watched the look of contempt as Zeron turned his eyes onto Nok.
“You’re out of your league Obelisk, watch your tongue and you may yet live through this.” The Sith walked past Nokkon without another word. Nokkon thought he might have seen a slight frown forming on the Warriors forehead. Probably the shadows thought Nok.
“Nokkon, get over here!” The Aedile was standing in the middle of the camp. Nok made his way to the mohawk wearing leader. “As resident demolitions expert, I want you to check this path, and make sure it is clear. Now would be a good time to go.” Nok headed off.
Yzarc’s head started to hurt. Too much had been going on in not enough time. It took the Aedile much brainpower to concentrate on that which they were looking for. Unable to think of anything good to say to his mentor, Yzarc decided to leave the Braecen problem alone for the minute, however much it bothered him that the Krath was able to find him.
The second problem, Zeron and his squad, were more important at the moment, as they had been stranded on Charros IV for a long enough time that they knew the landscape fairly well. The Aedile planned to use this to his advantage, however, he wasn’t entirely sure on how to get Zeron to follow him.
The assembled group began making progress down the path that was free of demolitions. The Aedile was near the back of the group, keeping his eye on Zeron and his squad and Braecen, all of them followed the House Members in the back.
Nokkon came across a single mine, buried randomly, it seemed, in the ground. He began working on disarming it. As he did so, Braecen stepped up to the Aedile and proceeded to ask, “What are you all doing here?”
“Just some reconnaissance,” Yzarc lied, thinking of his conversation with Xathia.
“Now, now, Aedile, you know I didn’t teach you to lie,” the Krath said.
“Ahh, but you taught me to be strong-willed and uncompromising of the objective, and secrecy is an objective,” the Knight said, quickly thinking of an excuse.
The Krath was uncharacteristically speechless. He had indeed brought the Aedile up well.
“My question to you, Master, is why did Dakari send you?”
“You see, Yzarc, I taught you a certain way, because I adhere to that way, so what makes you so sure you can pry information from me?”
The Obelisk stayed quiet and walked away from the Krath, just as Nokkon finished disarming the mine.
As Corin stepped over what used to be an activated mine, his eyes began to wonder around the landscape. It was very mountainous, and their position was one of great danger if an assault from above were to occur. Being trained well as an assassin, it was Corins instinct to think these things over. Was this just a trap for Caliburnus to be attacked? Was this all part of a plan to bring Caliburnus into a feud against House Dorimad Sol? Corin was unsure, but he did not trust his former Consul.
With only a vague recollection of where the mines were located, Zeron’s squad did little to aid in their speed. Despite Nokkon’s success with the several mines he uncovered, he was having a difficult time to unearth the explosives that were so deep within the planets soil.
Slung over Corin’s shoulder was his sniper rifle which he occasionally looked through to get a better view of his surroundings. As he gazed through the specs, momentarily looking at the mountainside, Corin spotted a large overhanging cliff just half way up the mountainside. It seemed as if it was there to hide whatever was under it; the entrance to a tomb, perhaps. “Yzarc, I think you should see this!” Corin called over the murmuring group.
As the Knight Aedile obeyed Corin’s wish, the group parted to let the Obelisk through to the back where Corin stood, still gazing at the cliff. “Look, up there…” Corin handed his rifle to the Aedile who accepted it without question. Guiding the scope to the correct are, Corin let Aedile take the sight in.
“So?” Was the Aediles answer.
“So…” said Corin impatiently, “that’s where we should be heading…that, my friend, is the tomb entrance…The cliff is there, either by nature or not, to disguise the tomb entrance from an aerial view, that’s why we couldn’t locate it before. It’s wide enough to cover the tomb at almost every vantage point.”
The Knight contemplated for a moment, unsure whether to listen to the Warriors advice or not. “Ras sent you with us for a reason; I suppose you’re right…”
The Sith Warrior grinned with triumphed as the group changed their course, this time heading up the mountain.
Archangel cursed under his breath as he settled down behind a cluster of large rocks. He was irritated that he had been unable to intercept the Pontifex before Braecen could join up with the others. Still, he remained on the outskirts, staying where he could monitor their movements but remain undetected until the chance came for him to carry out his Mistress’ orders. The Warrior chuckled softly to himself as he considered how much he dreaded the idea of facing Rasilvenaira’s wrath if he failed. The idea that someone with his physical stature should worry about the much smaller woman amused him, but Archangel was well aware of what she was capable of.
He checked his equipment one more time and waited, knowing that the team was on the move and would be nearing his position soon. Hopefully the Shaevalian would have an opportunity to do something before the Krath could meddle too much.
Rasilvenaira carefully examined the items that Veritas had returned with, going over each thoroughly. The wardroid stood a few feet from her desk, waiting for further orders. Finally she placed the items back in their container and looked up.
“Thank you Veritas.”
“Do you require anything further?”
“I do actually. Go to Charros IV, find Yzarc and the rest of the team. I need you to deliver this message to Yzarc. The planet is too far to make effective communications possible without a lot of effort, and then the transmission might not be secure.”
She handed the droid a data crystal with her message already encrypted for Yzarc. Taking a small datapad from her desk drawer, she handed that to Veritas as well.
“Make sure to get this to Fionn. It is encrypted enough that even if Braecen were to get hold of it, he’d likely never understand it. However, I know Fionn will be able to decipher and understand the information as well as what needs to be done.”
“As you wish, Mistress.”
“One last thing, remind them that Corin can contact me directly as long as he focuses. It will likely be the only effective means of direct communication while they’re on Charros IV.”
“Very well, I shall depart now.” With a crisp turn, the droid left the office.
So far, none of the group had noticed the ebon clad Jedi Hunter that was trailing them, watching them all. Eludajae could tell from the body language, that many were not happy with Braecen’s sudden appearance, but had a bit of difficulty in reading the Sith Warrior that had joined the group along with several commandos. He was aloof and did not let his thought show as easily as the journeymen in the group did.
Carefully Eludajae watched them all, trying to determine who would ultimately become her target if their ambitions got carried away. For now her biggest challenge was staying close enough to observe them, without her own presence being detected by the Equites.
Standing at the massive window in her office, Rasilvenaira let her gaze drift over what was essentially the Heart of Caliburnus. Silently the Sith considered her many plans and realized how fragile several of them were at the moment. Chuckling to herself, Rasilvenaira turned back to the maps and charts spread over her desk. The challenge reminded her of many stressful but exciting high stakes games she had played over the years.
The sobering balance was the knowledge that lives other than her own were at stake in this gamble. Turning her focus back to the task at hand, StormRaven knew that this was one Pazaak game she could not afford to lose.
Fionn dan LocutHal
The group moved silently towards their goal, the tomb entrance, the Sith Jedi Hunter silently following the group. Sunken in his thoughts, he went over the findings of the group's leaders, Xathia and Syphoc Rilkel, as they had studied the maps and legends of the tome Xathia had uncovered in the House's library.
Fionn knew there was something wrong with the findings, he had heard of the tome before, likewise of its' effects on the living, its' plague a weapon against that which is living and organic. Trailing along with the group, the Warrior Zeron had likewise a lot to ponder about, how events had transpired past him for the time he was mired at a solitary end of the Galaxy, Charros IV was not inhospitable to life, though the area he had hid in was devoid of any Force users he had grown accustomed to.
Having just been brought up to speed by the spirited Aedile accompanying the group, the Warrior ran the newest intelligence through his mind.
"There is something out of place here…"
The Former Knight Class Envoy murmured to himself.
"Hmmm… Like what then?"
The towering Jedi Hunter responded.
The Warrior's senses had told him that there was something wrong with Braecen's presence on the planet. He knew the Pontifex was no longer a Consul, and that the Krath had a nosey and meddlesome streak.
As both were left to their ponderings, suddenly behind them, the Aedile turned up, barking orders in his high spirited manner.
"Zeron! This is not just an excursion into the wild for us, we must find the Tome, the mission and the future of the House is at stake!"
At Yzarc's ill-fated words, the Krath Pontifex became alert, his ears pitched as they were a bat's, ready to hear any ill-chosen word his fellow travellers might be willing to drop for him.
The last word had barely parted the Coruscanti's lips, or the lumbering fist of Fionn had already grabbed his collar and slammed him into a nearby tree, gazing into the Dark Obelisk Knight's flaring eyes as the Aedile grasped for his Lightsaber, swiftly intercepted by Fionn's other hand.
The Jedi Hunter grasped the much younger Knight's hand and squeezed, squelching and crunching as the Kaeth roved unwilling to release his scream of pain. Grasping the Lightsaber, Fionn threw it to the ground and firmed his grip on the Aedile, the empty crimson and white orbs penetrating the Human's azure eyes, his anger at the Obelisk very apparent.
"Release me Hunter, or suffer the conse…"
"Suffer what, you Obelisk moron?! If you want any chance at this Mission being successful, I recommend you listen to the ones that know the plan, Xath for instance, who has researched this over and over and who knows what *she* is doing!"
The pair bantered.
"Either you release me now, or you will suffer the consequences by Rasilvenaira once we return!"
"I will risk her displeasure Obelisk, now keep your trap shut, lest *your* Master not spoil this for us, do you understand me?!"
Stricken aback by the giant's words, the Knight's demure toned down.
"What in the blazes are you on abou…"
"I may be blinded, but I'm not blind. Is it that hard for you to grasp why Braecen is here?!"
Attracted by the ruckus caused by the pair, Xathia sped on over.
"Will you two cut it out?! There may be more in these woods then we know."
The shuttle came out of hyperspace and the autopilot computer chimed in, "Coordinates?"
Eludajae thought a moment and smiled and set the landing cooridnates for the shuttle and is banked right and headed into the biosphere of the planet bellow. She set the landing coordinate 25 clicks from the landing zone of the original party to land.
After the shuttle landed she walked down the ramp and placed her binoculars to her eyes and searched the immediate area. Then lifted her arm and pushed three buttons and three tracker droids came to life and hovered near her.
"Find them. You know who I am looking for, find them and report." Eludajae ordered. The floating orbs just made an echoing machine noise and off they sped searching for their marks. She looked around and hit her com-link the cyphered link engaged.
"I am here and have begun mission. Advise if mission parameters have been adjusted." Eludajae said almost impassively.
"No you have your standing orders. Do not fail me." said the females voice.
"Understood." Eludajae ended the uplink and walked back into the ship closing the ramp behind her. This is either going to become very insteresting or be very boring. Eludajae mused to herself as she sat back down to her Sith Alchemy tomes.
Cethgus walked with the group, knowing that this continuous bickering between each of the members would split them apart. Letting out a deep sigh, he glanced at Zeron, it had been so long since he had last him, yet he was here with commandos. Feeling uncertain as to where the old member’s loyalty lied only kept the Obelisk more alert about the member. Moving up beside Nokkon he looked at the Jedi Hunter and smiled towards him. Most of the team was becoming more unsettled and a blind man could see that each time they argued it made them more apart as a group.
Nokkon and Cethgus continued to talk as the group walked towards their destination, everyone in the group was anxious. The whole group moved together heading to their destination all of them looking around the woods.
“Cethgus, tell me a bit about your life,” Nokkon was trying to start in small talk with the Templar.
Replying in a grunt, the Obelisk felt a strange sensation, like something was around, trying to figure out what it was he felt, but it was disrupted by Nokkon talking.
“So, you’re not going to talk about that then?” the young Obelisk voice could be heard through the group.
Trailing to the very back of the group, Cethgus let his mind trail off as he walked; staying at the back he hoped would take the focus of him and allow him just to wander behind the group. According to everything that was happening, it looked like the group was split when it came to loyalty. And it could have an effect on their goal later in the mission. Smirking, the Templar continued forward, becoming intrigued by some of the conversations that were going on in front of him, slowly walking being at the back he looked at the team all moving together.
The sun's rays were piercing through the gaps in the trees, steadily rising with each step they took. Cursing her lack of thought, the female twisted her hair and slunk it over one shoulder, angry that she hadn't brought a spare elastic in case her usual one had snapped. Looking around over the conjoined group, she could see numerous paling faces and biting lips as the younger members radiated nerves, whilst the older ones seemed bored with the trek to the base of the mountain. Noting the look on the Aedile's face during her sweeping glance around of everyone, the Huntress turned and faced him.
'Well, we need to split back up, Syphoc needs to go with the other team so that they have someone who knows what they're doing exactly. No point in having me and him together.'She mentally nodded to Yzarc.
'We'll do just that. Remember who to keep close and who to keep closer.' The Coruscanti replied, which the Krath nodded before turning and halting the group, still wary of the Pontifex's presence though there was no way she could relay the message otherwise that he still wouldn't be able to intercept.
"We need to split again, Syphoc will join with Malaki and lead those that were with Malaki before to the North east tomb. Meanwhile the rest will follow myself and Yzarc to the South west. Dismissed!"
The Omwati grabbed Nokkon's arm before he could disappear, knowing that the Quaestor would search for her on the youngest Proselyte's frequency and for Rasilvenaira to not get hold of those that she sort would result in something similar to a bomb explosion.
The forest was thick though the maps had shown that these only existed around the mountains. The Krath didn't know quite what resided in these areas, but there was a disturbing presence around them somewhere. Keeping herself primed to leap to an attack, the novices and apprentices that had followed the young adult huddled closer together as though they also expected something to attack them almost immediately. The rustling of leaves and branches brought the gathering to alert, the younger and less experienced hiding behind the elder ones.
When Xathia grabbed Nok’s arm a few of his fellow journeymen were brave enough to chuckle. The laughing died down as Nok gave out a withering look to the gathered troop.
“I need you by my side Nok,” Xathia turned to him and Nokkon could see the worry in her eyes, “wipe that grin off your face pal, I need your communicator.” Xathia stalked off through the trees without looking behind her. The wind in the trees gave off an eerie vibe that the team felt in different ways. Nokkon followed the Omwati without another word.
The trees thinned out as Yzarc lead the team closer to the base of the cliff Corin had pointed out. The rocks grew more pronounced and Nokkon grew a little twitchy at the thought of some sort of ambush waiting amongst the rocks.
“Xath, I got a bad feeling about this,” Nok whispered to his companion.
“”Hush up Nok, we’re doing fine, even with Braecen poking about.” The girl seemed a little calmer since the forest had died down. Nok just glanced at her as they moved out of the last of the trees and onto the foot of the mountain. The sounds of rocks being disturbed or falling brought the team to a halt and weapons were quickly brought up. The nerves of just about everyone were on edge.
When nothing immediate happened there was a nervous chuckle from someone and Nok took in the sight of the cliff wall reaching up the mountain. There did seem to be some sort of cave deep under the overhang of the cliff, and Nok thought he could see some sort of decorative carving on some of the rocks. I wonder what those mean? Nokkon wandered over to one of the larger ones with a rather distracted gaze on his face.
The Sith Warrior threw out his hand, stopping Nokkon the Hunter with the aid of the force. “Shh…” he said to him as well as the rest of the group. Corin crouched down, putting his ear to the rock. “Keth’Sratth”, he whispered, “give me thy hearing…”
All around the Equite, sounds became louder as his hearing was aided by his demon within. Putting his ear to the stone, Corin listened for a moment. Holding his hand up to prevent anyone from speaking, he listened some more. Thud.
What the? he thought. And again, thud. The sound kept time with Corin’s heart. Was it his heart? Nay, it was something within the rock.
Standing himself up to face his group, Corin announced, “There’s more than rock beneath us. This cave,” he pointed his gloved hand to the markings on the wall, “goes deeper than I thought. There is something beneath us besides empty space…there is a machine of some sorts, I can feel it…” Again, this time feeling it instead of hearing it, there came a thud.
Some of the Journeymen quaked as the rumbling became quicker. Corin drew his saber and ignited it with all too-familiar snap-hiss. His fellow Equites did the same. Those with weapons followed suit and drew them. As Corin approached the wall of the cave, he examined the area for an entrance. Something didn’t seem right. Closing his eyes and reaching out for that presence which was the force, Corin began to scan the area with his mind. There was an entrance, but it was hidden. “Search the area!” He called out, assuming a commanding stance, “there is an entrance somewhere!”
The tracker droids did their work diligently seeking out the ones that had been programed in them to seek. They criss crossed in a search pattern that covered ground like no living creature could their sensors taking in visual, sound and heat signatures all at the same time. The perfect hounds for Eludajae's hunt.
Finally, the specific sound of whispered voices, and the igniting of a saber was heard by one. It goes to investigate. Immediately it started picking up heat signatures of sentient life forms, using its telescope viewers it took visuals of the ones it found and immediately it found one of the marks listed.
Corin still hearing the thud below him catches glimpse of a small "hum" in the Force as he reaches out for the machine below. His saber already on, he explodes into life and there is a flash and a whine with a small explosion. Corin looks down at the tracker droid and he knows immediately what it is. Someone is tracking and following them using tracker droids, he knows they never are deployed as just one. He reaches out for anymore but that Thud is all he "hears" in the Force. Cursing, knowing that the machine below is unwittingly giving cover to the others that could be nearby.
The other disturbing thing is, when he examines the droid the small 1/2 burnt company logo is one that the Clan uses. Their watcher isn't from another clan. Its one of them.
Ludy looks up and smiles and walks over to the computer and starts to retrieve the information the tracker droid is giving her. Although destroyed it's given her confirmation of location and make up of the target group.
She smiles and mused to herself. "Yes your being followed but by whom or why you don't know. Always good to have my mark on edge, lets see which one of you tells me who is going to meet the Great Maker first."
She orders the other tracker droids to the general location of the group found and readies her equipment. Time to go hunting.
"Corin, the maps said that there weren't any caves here." The Krath stomped, fuming that the Equites were trying to overtake the mission, paranoid that they wanted the power and the glory of finding the Tome and presenting it to Rasilvenaira. The half that was scrounging the area hadn't found anything so far.
"Maps lie Xathia." The irritated Sith replied, obviously agitated at the attitude of the Journeyman.
"And you know everything Mr Equite?" She snapped back, the hand of the Aedile pressed the female's shoulder and pulled her back. "What?!"
"Don't talk to me like that, and change your attitude. You have the whole team looking to you to set the example remember?" Yzarc hissed. "And also, Corin is Rasilvenaira's brother; he will use it against you, so keep that temper of yours under control." Glaring at the Obelisk, the Huntress stormed off in a straight line, her anger seething through her porcelain skin as the eyes of someone locked onto her and didn't deviate from her course as she sunk into a clearing.
"Why the anger on a pretty face?"
"Testing the ice Nokkon?"
"I always am with you. The younger Journeymen daren't come near you, but they don't know what they're looking for other then an entrance."
"That's all I know. It's an entrance in this area to a temple. Corin seems to think we're on top of a cave, but the map said that there aren't any caves in the area. The temple is raised off the ground-"
"Xathia! We've found it!"
Without thinking, the Omwati was lurched forward as the male pulled her back through to the small gathering. Climbing through the plantation that was semi-separated, the blue haired human grinned at the open mouthed emerald eyed young adult, as the girl's gaze locked onto the worn stone steps. Though the top wasn't visible, the woman knew it was the temple they were looking for.
Sharp screams pierced through the air as some form of whirring broke the silence and atmosphere. Bringing her sword out instinctively, the female prepared herself to slaughter something as she leapt over the nearest Acolyte, and found herself facing Veritas.
"You ever thought to bring yourself to our attention in the normal way Veritas?" The Krath grinned at the wardroid.
"I couldn't find your frequency." The droid replied, "Though that wouldn't have been as fun for me anyway. But I have a task to do regardless." Veritas churned through the recently made path to the Coruscanti, dropping something into his open hands that held something from the Quaestor. Smiling at the Sith female's paranoia of leaking something out to the rest of the clan, she watched the droid look around. "Where is Fionn?" He asked in Omwatian, knowing that most wouldn't understand him. The girl scanned the immediate area, noting his towering presence that was absent from the group and grabbed Nokkon's comlink from his belt, sending his cheeks into a red flush.
Placing it back onto the belt, the female could feel everyone's eyes on her, curious about what she was doing. Turning back to the droid, she dealt out his placement to Veritas in Omwatian, not wishing for everyone to understand exactly where the other group was.
Looking back over, the Krath signalled for everyone to follow, as she kept their attention away from the droid that was trundling in the opposite direction.
Yzarc regarded the strange wardroid as Veritas disappeared, obviously off on some further mission from his Mistress. Slipping the chip into his datapad, the Aedile went over the detailed and specific orders from the Quaestor. Noticing the intense gaze from the former Consul, the young Obelisk turned off the datapad and distracted his own mind with lyrics from his favorite song.
Moving further away from the Pontifex, Yzarc took another look at the orders and additional information that Rasilvenaira had sent along. Sighing, he tucked the datapad back in his pocket and turned his attention back to what appeared to be the entrance of the Temple. Something was not right, he could feel the hairs on the back of his neck standing on end, but as he scanned the area, the Aedile couldn’t find the source of his unease.
Corin moved closer to the Aedile, “Yzarc, what are we going to do about that tracking droid, its markings are from the Clan, but who would be following us?”
“Hush, don’t let Braecen hear you. Besides, are you sure the droid was from our Clan or just made to look like it was? Just stay sharp, be ready for anything.”
“Yeah, I don’t know about you, but I’m starting to dislike this place.”
“We’re not exactly here for a vacation.” The Aedile chuckled to himself and headed closer to the Temple entrance.
Veritas chuckled to himself as several journeymen nearly panicked when the droid appeared. Fionn growled; his mistrust of the mechanical creature evident in his features. Reluctantly he took the datacrystal, but only after the droid’s third assurance that he had been sent by Rasilvenaira to specifically deliver the information to Fionn and no one else. After several minutes deciphering the information and reviewing it, the towering Sith walked over and placed his hand on Syphoc’s shoulder.
“We need to get back and regroup with the others. We’ll not find what we seek this way.”
“How can you be sure?”
For a brief moment, Fionn’s age showed, focusing his strange eyes on the Knight, he shook his head, forestalling further questions. “Call it a strong hunch. Let’s go.”
Fionn dan LocutHal
Mentally going over the contents of the crystal presented to him by the loathed droid, his suspicions were confirmed, something on this planet was amiss. Taken a bit aback by the sudden and mysterious proclamation of the Giant, Syphoc pondered what exactly the Quaestor’s gift to the Hunter held.
As Fionn’s group moved to join back up with the other group, the Knight in tow, the temple’s entrance became clearer and clearer as the Hunter’s cadre approached, the Kaeth sharply behind him, followed by the rest a mere distance away.
“So this is it then… The famed temple of the Krath”
The Sith exclaimed, although in a slight mumbled voice. He had however not noticed that at the arrival, Syphoc had joined his coven companion, the Aedile of the house, Yzarc Rellik Kaeth.
“Something mightily weird is going off here…”
The Krath whispered to the Obelisk.
“What do you mean, weird?”
“Well, Fionn just received a data crystal from Veritas, who Rasilvenaira specifically ordered only to give it to him, while his distrust of droids is quite well known.”
“Yes, I know that, but what is weird about that? I mean, maybe it’s about a trial he has to face here? He is still going for Knight you know”
The Aedile rebuked his Brother in arms, wary of his suspicions as he kept a keen guard up, making sure no-one was snooping around to hear the conversation.
“What is weird, is that it was about the tome, and there being something strange about the circumstances.”
Before the Krath could whisper anymore, a sharp Sssssh by his Obelisk companion cut him off.
From a distance, the azure eyes of the Pontifex carefully observed the duo,
“Intriguing… Most Intriguing…”
The Pontifex suppressed a chuckle as he pieced together his findings thusfar, knowing the key to the plot would be found in the data-crystal held by the towering Sith Hunter, but he couldn’t just steal it, that would blow his cover.
“Perhaps it is time Fionn and I had a little chat”
The former Consul spoke aloud into the void, knowing that Dakari would be most pleased with the intelligence he could relay back to Caina.
Eludajae moved into the region on foot but not like others would, she took to the trees, she was small, light, fast and strong. She had a keen sense of balance, living on Nar Shaddo the Vertical City all her life, she was accustom to pit falls, and running along beams and the like to escape her less agile and nimble perusers.
From tree limb to tree limb she ran, leaped and perform minor acrobatic man overs as she kept to the trees until she came to where the tracker droids indicated that the group was investigating a ruin of sort.
She placed a com link ear piece in her ear, and tested it. she heard the voice of her ships computer, "Com link initiated and uploaded to secure Clan com sat." She pulls out her binoculars and gets a visual on the group finally seeing them herself. Smiling, in a deliberate but soft voice...
"Actual, this is Razor. Visual confirmation achieved," she puts away her binoculars and brings her sniper rifle to her shoulder and re-established visual,"requesting mark identification and confirmation of termination order."
Eludajae calmly waits for her orders from her Actual. Watching them as she does. Noting the spastic movements of the group. The Krath Temple must be close, the struggle for leadership over the mission has begun.
Nokkon was not too impressed with Corin’s use of Force powers on him; a simple word would have stopped him just as well. In any event, the arrival of the Quaestor’s odd droid stopped the Journeyman from making a rather large mistake, and caused quite a stir amongst the troop, never mind the destruction of the tracker droid. As Nokkon watched the Aedile converse with Corin, the young Journeyman was wary; he still felt odd tremors in the force. He looked at the Omwati and saw she was plainly ignoring the departing battle droid and most of the group. She seemed lost in thoughts, presumably of the temple they stood before, and what they might find within it.
“Well, shall we go see what we can find in this temple, Xath?” he hefted his blaster and waited on her answer. Xathia glanced at the wreckage of the tracker droid before she answered.
“We got something better to do then stand here and argue about stuff we can’t control?” Xathia had a fiery look in her eyes as she turned towards Nokkon, “I go first big guy.” She smiled as she brushed past him. Nokkon glanced around the area, but he only saw Yzarc watching and motioning for him to go with Xathia. The others seemed to be waiting for some thing; only no one appeared to know what it was they waited on. Nokkon moved after the Sith, at his Aedile’s unspoken command.
“You think this tome is in here Xath?” the Corellian glanced around the entrance and shrugged. “I mean, this seems a little too easy all of a sudden, don’t you think?” Xathia didn’t answer him as she entered the temple.
Nokkon's word had penetrated into the Krath's mind, yet she showed no signs of having listened to him. Something told the Omwati the Obelisk would follow her and trust her instincts, as she entered the dimmed passageway. Something was in this temple, whether or not it was the Krath's Tome it didn't matter to Xathia, but she was going to have it. The Aedile had kept the group occupied as planned as the pair had slipped away, as much as he wanted to come and find the real artefact, Yzarc knew he had to keep Braecen's attention away from the Huntress.
The darkness unnerved the female as they went further into it, feeling it wrap around her body, slowly sufficating her and keeping her from escape, but the desire for that Tome kept the Krath there. The Hunter gently placed a hand on the Omwati's arm, and pulled her up, somehow in her minor panic attack, she had fallen over. Noting that she was fine, Xathia dusted herself off.
"We're at the fork, which route do we go?" The Corellian asked, unsure of taking the wrong route, before trying his comlink.
"It's going to be dead Nok, we're too far in to get a signal. Apparently the legend stated that this was a temple filled with the Force, those who have died in here, have gone into the Force." Stated the female, peering down the two routes, frantically trying to remember which route went which way. "They both lead to chambers in the end, but only one of those has the Tomb. What do your instincts tell you?"
"That I should have brought food with me."
"Ugh, typical man, just go down the left one." The Krath snorted, taking a quick pick, hoping that it was the right one before she pushed Nokkon in front of her and down the left fork.
"Nok, do you think we took the wrong one?" The Huntress asked quietly as the still air was disturbed by the two Journeyman. "I don't remember seeing anything about these sorts of drawings on the walls." Her pale fingers trailed over the sculpted walls, feeling their outlines and features, though her emerald eyes were use to the dark now, she had yet to let go of the Corellian's arm. There was something that they couldn't see with them.
"It's always possible. You know what my senses are like." Chuckled the Obelisk, who merely got a glare in response from the Omwati.
"We should get out of here, something tells me that it's all going to go terribly wrong." A sudden violent tremmor shook the whole place, chunks of rock, soil and concrete flying in various directions, often colliding with another before disintergrating.
After what seemed like hours, it stopped. The Krath slowly lifted her head, to find something was blocking it. "Oops, sorry Xath."
"Erm, a big piece of something went for you, so I kinda landed on top of you to stop it." The Huntress could tell that he was embarrassed by his actions, and pressed it no further as the male shifted and let the Omwati get to her feet.
"It's blocked, try the comlink."
"Nothing, not even static."
"Looks like we're getting ourselves out of here."
The Aedile stood back on his feet, the earthquake had disturbed everything, though no one appeared to have any major injuries. Looking back to the temple, something dawned on him. "Fionn, gather everyone together, we're going into the temple."
"After that just happened?! Are you insane?"
"We've got two Hunters in there, and an artefact to claim. Yes I am, because I want that Tome." Hissed the Knight, before turning and organising the group, trying to prepare them for what could lie ahead.