Trayus Academy Dig
There will be a run-on starting here , for those interested in a scientific expedition to the old Trayus Academy. PM me if you would like to participate.
A couple of things:
1. No OOC posts except this one. If you need to say something, PM the people.
2. Good writing would be nice. Try to spell check if you can.
3. it's invite only.
4. Pictures of things in the run on are okay. Keep them sparing and small, per the forum guides.
5. There's a limit, no more than 10 people please besides Cain whose idea it was and my 2 apprentices.
6. Keep it realistic. No journeyman is going to beat a Master or anything crazy like that.
DJK Shikyo "Rurouni" Keibatsu
PRT Eragon Shadow(Sith)
GRD Rasilvenaira StormRaven
PRT Krayn Cotelin
KAP Sildrin Xia Long
DJK Callus Bo'Amar
DJK Malisane De'Ath
JH Ashia Kagan
DJK Xayun Erinos
ACO Cain, whose idea it was
my 2 apprentices:
GRD Riv Rage Monn
ACO Cal Tectonic
The Herald, KPN Muz Keibatsu Sadow
and that is it.
Look for the dig to start tomorrow.
"The Trayus Academy is a Sith academy on Malachor V established thousands of years before it was found by the Sith Lord Darth Revan. Both Revan and Kreia were corrupted by the dark teachings of the Sith in the academy. Here the Sith Lord Traya taught Darth Sion and Darth Nihilus, who eventually betrayed her and cast her out of the Sith, after stripping her of her powers.
When Darth Traya returned to Trayus Academy, she used Darth Sion to test the Jedi Exile, who eventually overcame both Sion and Traya. Supposedly the Academy was destroyed, but that is uncertain. The wreckage of many vessels surrounds the planet."
Krayn had recieved the message from Macron indicating a Expidition on Malachor V. This planets name sent a chill down Krayn's neck. He had heard many stories of the place and although he was afraid of the things that awaited him on the evil planet he was eager to find such a dark place.
He adjusted the cooridinates on Carpe Diem's control panel as the ship adjusted its direction Via stabalizers. "Shikyo, this is Krayn. I'm on my way. I'll meet up with you outside on the outskirts of the planet. I'll open a beacon for everyone to find us."
"Very Well, Krayn" Shikyo replied and then closed the comm.
The Protector checked his ships hyperdrive and lifesupport systems. Once he was satisified that his ship could survive the storms that raged in the atmosphere he flipped several switches and his ship jumped into lightspeed heading towards the Malachor system.
Because he was a distance away, he pulled out his journal and began writing in it. Log: 7631 Protector Krayn: I had started out on an errand run, searching for more information regarding my past, but I had recieved a message from Mononoke speaking of a Scientific Expidition on Malachor V. This disturbs me for several reasons. Most of all because there could still be Dark Jedi on that planet if you can call it that, and I don't think they'd be too happy on visitors. Especially seens how the last one wiped out most of them."
Krayn closed his log as his ship exited lightspeed. The wreckage around the planet was horrid, yet very interesting. If he survived this expidition he would get a team together to salavage some of the ships and repair them, giving Clan Scholae some more to thier fleet. This of course was not chief among concerns on his mind.
"Activating Beacon..." Krayn said into the comm. The Channel was open to Shikyo "Rurouni" Keibatsu, Eragon Shadow, Acerbus and Rasilvenaira StormRaven. Hopefully they got the transmission and were heading toward him.
There seemed to be so many things going on in the world of Shikyo Keibatsu. He was fighting for his home planet, fighting for his clan, finding someone of particular interest, and was now on board the Silooth, Macron's personal transport. His brother seemed very excited for the expedition's beginning, while Shikyo was more interested in the relics and powers that could be obtained there. This was for the Keibatsu family, as well as Clan Naga Sadow. Their ship began to slow itself down when the Carpe Diem came into view. Shikyo's mind was filled with questions; questions only his brother could answer.
"Just what are you expecting to find here?"
"I'm not sure, really. Rituals, former experiments, relics of some kind. Anything that could give us more information on the Ancient Sith. I'm surprised that you signed up for a mission like this, Shikyo."
"I need to clear my mind a little. I've had a lot going on, and I could use a well deserved break. Plus, I haven't been able to spend as much time with you, as I have the rest of the family."
Macron's demonic laugh emitted itself from his lungs. It was a natural occurance with nothing unexpected from a laugh like that, if a person knew Mac.
"That's true. Well, I doubt we'll be spending much time 'resting'. There are many ghosts of former Sith Lords here, including Darths Revan, Sion, and Traya. This was the highest academy of all the Sith teachings, even more so than Korriban."
Maybe he was overexaggurating or maybe he was telling the truth, but Macron wasright about its glory to Dark Jedi. The young Keibatsu smirked at those words, as the shuttle came to a complete stop above the planet.
The Silooth made orbit, and then docked with the wreckage of an ancient Mandalorian freighter. Macron had been here before, and had set up a forward base. A small part of the vessel was still powered, and there was room enough for several shuttles and fighters to land. He had no idea of the vessel’s name, as the identifying plates had been blown off long ago. The computer was non-functional, and it had taken a few trips to set up the necessary environmental and lab gear.
As the modified gunboat made it’s landing, Shikyo noticed Krayn’s beacon. “Protector Krayn, we copy your signal. Move to these coordinates with the Carpe Diem,” spoke the Knight as he fed them into the holonet link. “Hey brother, we should probably invite the rest, eh?”
“Sure give ‘em the word,” replied Macron as Shikyo fiddled with the comlink. “Did you bring the supplies? And the drinks?”
“Roger, I did. Here are the coordinates,” said the Sith as he sent the transmission. “No telling what they will show up in.”
”I hope they transport-pool,” laughed Macron. “This bay is not so well equipped or spacious. It sure as hell isn’t the motel-666. And I also hope Ashia finds what she is looking for. She mentioned needing a powerful Dark Side site, and this certainly is one.”
He reviewed the mission list as the Silooth came to a stop with a shudder in the ancient docking bay. There were five Knights, a Hunter, two Protectors, and two Equites. He knew this was a team of the very best. And they would have to be, given that this was a very, very bad place.
Below and about them, the hulks and twisted remains of long dead vessels drifted through the silent blackness of space. The occasional groan or creak came from within the wrecked Mandalorian vessel.
The two exited the Silooth. Shikyo removed his helmet, and Macron triggered the release for his battle suit mask. As it slid back into the neck area of his suit, he pondered the planet far below. There was no telling what sort of terrors awaited them down there.
Callus stepped out of the shadows of the bay as Macron and Shikyo stepped out of their ship. He spoke to them as they removed their helmets. Callus was, as always a very intimidating sight, standing at 6-foot 3-inches tall weighing about 220 pounds and his most intimidating feature was his muscular build. He pushed his fingers through his short blonde hair.
He spoke to Macron, "So Mac, what exactly do you expect to find here?"
"Geez Callus, you've always know how to make an entrance haven't you?" Macron asked shaking his painted head.
"I've always had it I guess." Callus pulled off his outer robe and showd off his treademark red tank-top and black mesh-shorts with the Clan Satal Keto emblem lazer-embossed on them. He pulled the drawstring tight and flexed his legs and biceps.
It has been remarked that Callus is the epitome of the Obelisk order, not only because of his strength but with his skill with a blade his opponents would tell you that his skill is unbeliveable, if dead men could tell tales.
"So you still haven't said what we're here for. Not to mention why a sith would be heading this up, this seems more like a Krathing activity. So you wanna clear the basics of this escapade up for an Obbie like myself?" Callus asked as he flashed Mac a lopsided grin.
“Mistress, was it really necessary for me to come along?”
“Verlassen, hush, I told you already, you will most likely be staying with the ship, or at least on the base that Macron’s got set up, but I might need you, so deal with it or I’ll have you reprogrammed again when we get home.”
Rasilvenaira sighed, though a smirk crossed her features at the droid’s protests. She would have preferred to have both of her droids handy, as well as the NyghtFyre. However, the YT-2400 wasn’t as well suited for a mission like this, so the Guardian had opted for her smaller ship. The Kanashimu was a slightly modified R-41 Starchaser, most of the modifications being in its weapons and shielding.
The Kanashimu came out of hyperspace in view of the makeshift base and Rasilvenaira slowed it down for the landing approach. She picked one of the smaller landing spots, big enough for her ship, but leaving larger spots for the others who might need them.
Macron approached as she climbed out of the Kanashimu, and as Verlassen began fussing again, she reached over and flipped his power switch off. “There.” She muttered. Turning back around, she met the Battlemaster’s curious gaze.
She nodded, “Yes, he maybe annoying at times, though I have grown fond of him. Not knowing what we’ll run into on this expedition, I figured there might be an occasion where a droid may be useful. Verlassen does have some uses.” She chuckled. Her expression growing more serious, she looked from the droid back to Macron. “Really, as fond of him as I am, I’d rather he be blown to bits, than me, and we don’t know what we’re liable to run into.”
“Ah, that is true; the droid may indeed be useful.” Macron wandered off to check on the others as they arrived.
The 'Persphone' dropped out of hyperspace. Ashia was shocked by the wreckage that floated aimlessly about the planets orbit. A strong Sith presence hit her almost immediately. She grinned as she realized just how right Mononoke was.
'Leave it to Mac!' she thought to herself as she punched the controls. Navigating the Z-95 in and around the debris as carefully as possible. The Hunter would have been pissed if her ship got scratched. Macron's beacon showed her to the rendezvous point and she followed the signal there, setting the 'Persphone' down in the hanagar bay with skill that would have marveled any Sith.
Macron was there to greet her as she jumped out of the cockpit, fastening her Tiger katana to her side and grapping the Autochthonian blaster Shin'ichi had made her take a long. She rolled her eyes as she looked at it, remembering the argument the two had had before she left. He tended to be a bit of an overly protective 'brother' with her sometimes, something the former Nightsister didn't like much. She put up with it because he was Muz's brother and Sanjuro's uncle, and she knew he meant well.
"Ashia! I'm glad you found it ok. Did you bring it?" The Sith's eyes danced as she nodded, pulling a bag out of the cockpit and handing it to him.
"This is everything you asked for." He peered inside and cackled gleefully. Last minute items that he thought of after he and Shikyo had left Kyataru. He was glad she had still been there so he could conntact her to grab them.
"Great! Come on in and get settled, I'll introduce to the rest of the team, though some have not shown up just yet."
He led her through the bay towards the main part of the freighter. As they entered she saw Shikyo and smiled at the young Keibatsu. He gave her a warm hug and said he was glad to see her.
Callus sat, looking over a datapad. He nodded to her when she entered. The two had recently fought side by side when the Jagerites had tried to attack Sepros. She was glad to see him on the expedition.
Macron introduced her to Krayn and Rasilvenaira then showed her to her quarters. Shikyo followed silently and once Macron had left, he spoke up.
"What brings you out on this expedition, Ashia? Macron said you needed a strong Sith site for something?"
The curiousity of young Krath made Ashia smile. With anyone else, he wouldn't be so forward.
"Well, I'm working on my lightsaber, and I need to alter the Adegan. Macron has been training me in the art of Sith Alchemy. He says I have a knack for it."
She pulled the blue Adegan out and showed it to him. His eyes shined in the light emanting from within the crystal.
"Well if anyone can help you, it's our Mac."
She nodded as she put it away, then they went to join the others and wait for the rest to show up.
Krayn removed his communicator as he docked his ship and exited the cock pit. his brown outter robes flopped and ran over the side of the ship as he exited like a broom. He activated the communicator and set it for his Masters comm.
"Master, I have met up with Macron and the others, I am looking for Adegan crystals for building my lightsaber, hopefully this trip will reveal some decent ones." He sent the transmission as he came into the group of Dark Jedi.
"Who was that?" Rasilvenaira inquired noticing Krayn pocketing his transmitter. Krayn rose an eyebrow to the inquery from his envoy.
"It was my Master, Exodius. I sent him a transmission regarding our mission. Don't worry it's secure." He turned to Macron and nodded "Shall we be on our way, I don't like being in space around this planet for too long. Never know when stray debris is going to cut your ship in half."
The Deathshead left hyperspace with a shudder and Malisane brought it around smoothly, bringing the Mandoralian ship into view. He gently throttled the Firespray towards it.
"What a heap of junk." Xayun said next to him. Malisane had given him and his Quaestor a lift and the three sat cramped in the small cockpit.
Malisane shrugged "I'd have been happier bringing the Foresight along but it's the way Macron wanted it."
"It matters not," Sildrin replied smoothly, "it will suit our purposes, and one wrecked freighter will draw little attention from those who might be watching."
"Suppose so." the Aedile replied to his Quaestor, "I'll take us in."
Macron turned as the Deathshead slowly docked in the hangar, squeezing in amongst the other ships. The ramp descended and the Quaestor, the Clan Envoy and the Aedile descended, Sildrin leading the way and the two Sith Knights flanking her. The former Quaestor smiled, "You running a taxi service now Malisane?"
The Aedile shrugged. "You said you were short of space in here."
Sildrins sightless eyes turned to the alchemist. "Are we all here Macron?"
"Nearly," Macron replied, "the rest will be here soon."
"Good," Xayun said eagerly, "This will be interesting."
“Well, that’s everyone but Eragon. Perhaps he’ll show up later,” said the alchemist as he walked about the bay. The various Brotherhood members were chit-chatting, exchanging stories and technical details. Some characteristically stood in the shadows, and others were more gregarious.
Macron cleared his throat and waved. One by one, the assembled Team drifted toward some simple chairs and a portable holoprojector pad. Macron smiled, and gestured broadly. Introductions were performed, and the Dark Jedi settled into their seats.
Mononoke fiddled with the controls for his Dark Eye recon droids and tapped into their signal.
“Perhaps you may wonder why you are here. As you may know, the Trayus Academy was constructed during Naga Sadow’s time by the ancient Sith. According to my information, the Trayus Academy was not destroyed when the Mass Shadow generator was triggered during the Mandalorian Wars. Rumor had it that when the Exile triggered the weapon again, it was destroyed. This is false.” The Sith gestured toward the holopad, which now bore an image of the shattered planet.
The image zoomed in, showing a blasted planet, arid and dead. Wreckage from fallen starship parts littered the landscape with bent and twisted metal. Pools of toxins from leaking engine fluids pooled here and there, offering shocking bits of color against the bleak grey land. The camera zoomed in on a ruptured container with radioactive markings, obviously holed by debris from a ship of later date nearby.
“As you can see, not a nice place. It is highly unlikely any Jedi will be a problem. However, other things may be. I expect Dark Side walking dead, Sith hounds, and shades. Alchemical beasts may have escaped the destruction in underground hibernation cysts, and may now be loose. Leftover toxins and rad waste are a problem as well.”
“Forgive me for asking,” interrupted Malisane. “And we are going here because….”
The crowd laughed amongst themselves. Macron smiled.
“Let me be blunt,” replied Mononoke. “The Core of the Academy is still operational. We are going to go there, and seek it’s secrets. Several of you have an interest in saber crystals… and that is the place to look for what you seek.”
The secrets and abilities of the trayus Academy were well known to all Dark Jedi. Ranging from the rise of Darth Revan and ending with the defeat of Darth Nihilius, the abilities of Trayus could be seen through the powers of the Sith Lords. The thought of acquiring such powers sparked Shikyo's interest. Perhaps he could unlock the secrets of the academy, as well as find an Adegan that his brother could later forge into a more custom lightsaber.
Whispers swept through the crowd, as the ideas of them finding their own personal glory danced in their minds. The Journeymen seemed eager to receive their new crystals, while the Knights and Equites had pondered the thought of Trayus' unlocked knowledge becoming part of their own. Shikyo seperated from the rest of the crowd, staring out into the wreckage covered image of space. Macron looked over at his younger adopted brother, approaching him with concern.
"You seem troubled, little brother. What's up?"
Rurouni looked back at his brother with a smirk on his face.
"I'm just a bit curious as to what we will find in Trayus Academy. I will not deny that Idesire power, but I wonder if the power we seek will push us over the limits."
A disturbing chuckle slipped past Macron's lips, as the hand of the Blind Dragon was laid upon the young Keibatsu's shoulder. The Battlemaster would be the first to speak.
"Don't worry. You have most of your friends and family here. There will always be someone to set you straight."
With that, Mononoke slugged him in the arm, leaving Shikyo to rub away the pain. Sildrin looked back at him, as she walked back towards the starcraft she came in.
"Come. You can help me get my things together, Shikyo."
Callus looked around at the motley crew that was gathered here for the exploration to the Trayus academy.
Macron he knew from when the Sith was Quaestor of House Ludo Kressh. Aisha Kagan, a Jedi Hunter who he was quite pleased to see, though she was a Krath she still had amazing prowess in combat and had proved her self a fighter during the attack on Sepros.
Of course it was comforting to see Masaline and Acerbus, also the clan Envoy, Xayun, was along for the ride. along with Macron's "brother" Shiyoko Callus was glad to see one of his Battle team members, Eragon who is also apprenticed to Marka Ragnos Quaestor Kat Pridemore, here.
Callus could quickly pick out the 2 Jedi who didn't belong here, from what Callus could tell they were Journeymen as none of them had a lightsaber, a proper one atleast, on their person. He quickly pulled up the Naga Sadow database on his data pad and found them. Rasilvenaira StormRaven a Guardian and a Krayn Cotelin, a Protector. Cotelin? I wonder if this one has any relation to the Grand Master? If so I'm anxious to see what he can do
The presence he was most pleased with was that of Sildrin, the Blind Dragon. Callus could never get comfortable around her. She was physically blind but in combat she could match Callus blow for blow and it always seemed she could see you even if she wasn't looking at you, all in all an erie feeling.
Callus shut down his datapad and got up from his seat. He tossed the datapad into his chair on top of robe and walked over to where the other knights were standing, minus Shiyoko, who had gone of with Sildrin.
"Talk about overkill. I mean the 4 of us could handle whatever is waiting in there." He said to them as they replied with quick smiles and nods, "I mean there's already me and Cajun Chiken here," he joked as he patted Xayun on the shoulder, "Not to mention you two," gesturing to Acerbus and Malisane, "the rest of them could just stay here and we'd be back with the crystals in no time. But then I'm not here for the crystals. As soon as I heard about the walking dead, and the Sith Hounds? I knew what I was coming for." Callus joked with the others.
The others could come for their science and knowledge, Callus was here for the fight He would take a tooth from one of the hounds with him, perhaps a jaw or a tail as well. He looked around the room and was getting a bit anxious waiting for the "hunt" to get underway.
[Riv 'Rage' Monn's post]
Rage smiled and wrote some stuff into the data pad he made a habit to carry around.
"Could there be any remmnants of the Mass Shadow Generator?"
"It's possible, but I highly doubt it" answered Macron
'Imagine the possibilities' thought the power hungry Shistavanen Guardian.
“Anyway…my probe should be coming back right about now”
Krayn looked to Callus. The tone of his voice disturbed Krayn deeply. He could tell the man obviously didn't want the Journeymen there, and this displeased Krayn greatly, as he was highly capable of holding his own. He twisted his knife in his hand wearly eyeing the man. Though he soon shook the thoughts from his head.
Moving over to his ship he began doing a preflight check on the Carpe Diem. Once he was satisfied that the ship could withstand the horrible atmospheric storms that plagued Malachor V, he nodded to Macron and the others as he climbed into his ship and readied for hell. "Ok guys I'm off, see you the ground" Krayn smiled and closed the cockpit door.
His ship lifted off the deck as the stabilizers exploded on sending the ship several feet into the air. He twisted the controls so that the ship spun around and faced the forcefield that pointed towards Malachor V.
Pushing on the thrusters his ship shot out of the hangar and towards the planet, dodging debris from the areas around the planet. Once again thoughts drifted to salvaging some of the ships as they were obviously not in so bad of a shape.
The green clouds of the planet were threatining indeed. His ship batted and banged around as it entered the atmosphere. Soon Krayn was through the mass storm, his ship a little more than beaten though still managable. Unfortunatly his comm was fried so there was no way of getting communication to the rest.
Krayn put his ship down on flat patch just next to what seemed like a bottomless ravine. Popping the cockpit lid he jumped out and surveyed the area. "If I owned this place and hell, I'd rent this place out and live in hell" Krayn said to himself pulling out a pair of binoculars.
Malisane stood quietly watching the ships leaving, he was happy to wait until some of the others had cleared before taking the Deathshead out.
He sensed the Battlemaster behind him but didn't turn around. "Hi Macron."
"You all ready?" Macron asked.
"As always." the knight replied with a shrug.
"I was suprised you came along," Macron said simply, "digging about in ruins or finding artefacts doesn't seem your thing somehow."
"It's a mission like any other." Malisane replied. He turned and looked at the former Quaestor. "You want me to be honest? Alright. I can't bear the thought of hanging around the base while the rest of you go off. I need to be there. In the action."
"Fair enough," Macron replied studying the knight carefully, "another saber is always useful, you'd better get to your ship. I'll take Sildrin and Xayun on the Silooth"
Malisane nodded, he turned and slowly walked up the ramp of the Deathshead. "See you down there. I've got the rendevue co-ordinates."
The Deathshead powered out into space, it's thrusters glowing. Malisane sat idly operating the controls idly, but his thoughts were elsewhere, Endor, Tatooine, Megros, Yavin IV, Kangaras, Om'Jagred, Mustafar, and before that to the dozens of missions as a Remnant officer leading his squad. Were they all just "another mission", back in the old days they had been, wherever he was sent by his superiors he went without question to do their dirty work. Maybe now just being there was all he cared about?
Callus smiled as he got a gimpse of the young Protecter, Krayn, steeling a glance at him, Callus saw that the protector was fingering a knife. He saw the man's head shake as he put his knife away as he walked off.
Callus' grin got wider as the Protector walked passed him. Callus thought back to the day when he would have jumped at the chance to run his dagger through anyone who thought about giving him a backward glance.
Of course Krayn obviously didn't have the physical prowess to overcome a "human tank" like Callus, there were few who did. But glancing at the young protector's stance and lithe movements it looked like he could hold his own in a fight.
"Well no sense standing around here." Callus said to no one imparticular as he made his way off to the "hangar" and climbed into the cockpit of his Z-95.
Callus pulled on his knee brace and secured it around his injured right knee. He slung his gunbelt around his waist with the holster hanging down around his left thigh, there was a strap that he was able to fasten around his leg. The holster held Callus' DX-2 disrupter pistol and 2 spare power packs.
Callus warmed his engines and lifted off for the surface of Malachor.
The landing wasn't the worst but he was thankful that he's had his pilot's couch re-cushoned during the landing. He jumped out of his cockpit and he pulled 2 small pills from his pocket and downed them. Callus was somewhat ashamed that he was always taking these pills for an injury that didn't bother him all the time.
He countered this with the thought that he wasnt addicted but was keeping himself from death by keeping the pain that could sometimes flare up at bay. He hooked his saber on the right hand side of his belt and stepped over to where the young protector was standing.
Ashia stared out into space at the debris floating in the darkness. The planet looming below them seemed ominous and foreboding. A shudder passed through the Hunter momentarily. Shikyo and Sildrin had joined the others again and Sildrin had stepped over near her.
"What troubles you?" The Blind Dragon stared passed her as she spoke.
Ashia just shook her head. "I don't know. There's something down there. More then just Sith Hounds and Force walking dead. There's a presence that seems both familiar and yet foreign.
The Quaestor nodded her head in sympathy. "The Sith are strong here, that's probably what you're picking up on." She said as she stepped away to rejoin the others. Kagan wasn't so sure.
Callus's Z-95 slipped out of the hangar bay. Ashia watched as he made his way down to the planet. She felt the Adegan in it's pouch secured on the inside of her long coat. Letting out a heavy sigh, she pulled the hood up and made her way to the 'Peresphone'.
As he watched Ashia return to her ship, a thought entered Shikyo's mind. If the planet wasstrong with the Sith, then perhaps it would be the Sith who would unlock the planet's history. Xayun and Macron began to make their way towards Sildrin and Rurouni. Cajun was spinning his lightsaber hilt in his hand, still enjoying the feel of his own weapon, while Macron had the happiest yet most demonic smile a Sith could have. A sigh of excitement left the Battlemaster's lips, as he began to speak.
"So, are the two of you ready to get started?"
Sil nodded her head, as Shikyo gave him a playful smirk to show his eagerness.
"Well then, we'll make sure everyone leaves the area first, then we'll be the last ones to jump ship. I don't want anyone to stay behind and tinker with my toys, if you catch my meaning."
It made sense. Mac had been here a while and had everything just the way he wanted it. There were many valuble objects aboard his area of operations and maybe something that someone would like to get their hands on. Shikyo nodded to the plan, not overeager to jump back into the ship. The four of them broke group and made last minute checks on their equipment.
Shikyo stepped onto the Silooth, looking through his equipment. He had his robes placed inside neatly, just in case they were needed. He usually didn't wear them outside of Antei. He picked up his sword his father gave him, looking at the dragon crest that was etched into the blade. A smile passed onto his lips, as he sheathed the weapon back into its case. He had the essentials: commlink, rations, water, and a couple of bottles of sake.
Double checking his equipment, he checked his belt for all the essentials he would need there. His lightsaber... and that was it. It was really the only other tool he could need, aside from Mononoke's tools. As he finished preparing for the trip, the Force began to warn him of a presence behind him. He closed his eyes and slowly moved his hand down to his saber, not wanting to make sudden movements. With his hand grasped onto the hilt, Shikyo lifted his head up, revealing the end of the presence's stealth.
A slight smirk flickered over Rasilvenaira's features. "Relax, Knight, its only me."
As Shikyo turned to fully face her, she nodded toward her own ship, the Kanashimu. "I was just on the way to my ship."
He gave the Guardian a stern look, "You shouldn't be so sneaky about it then."
"Sneaky?" Rasilvenaira laughed lightly, "Perhaps, but old habits are hard to break."
"Just be careful down there, Guardian. If you run into trouble..."
She interupted him, "Don't worry about me, I'm looking forward to this."
He shook his head and turned back to his own preparations, "See you planetside then."
Rasilvenaira nodded, and walked the short distance to the Kanashimu. Climbing into the cockpit, she reached back and flipped Verlassen's power switch back on.
"What? Where are we?"
"We're on Macron's base, headed for the planet in just a minute."
Carefully going over her checklist, she satisfied herself that all was in order, and began the launch sequence.
The Kanashimu came to life and slowly lifted off. Rasilvenaira guided her ship out of the landing bay, actually very glad to be headed back into space. Once it was clear of the wrecked freighter, she turned the small fighter towards the desolate planet.
She smiled as her mind drifted, considering her own ambitions. "Yes, this will be interesting." she thought to herself.
[Ignore that post the Ash did for me, i didnt know that i would already be on planet, also sorry about the OCC post]
Rage smiled, his electrobinoculars autofocusing at the approching ships.
he said to cain who was climbing up the cliff.
He stood up and brushed off the loose dirt that clung to his clothing and clung the binoculars to his utility belt. He waved his arm up and down motioning to Cal, who was fiddling with a probe droid thats sensor array was fried.
He went back to his speeder and flung his left leg over it.
he said directly to their minds...
The majority of the vessels had made it to the landing site. The Silooth
was the last to touch down, just after the Kanashimu. Macron and Shikyo turned off the lurid anime video they had been watching with a laugh, and finished their sake with a toast to the expedition.
“You know Shikyo, you are alright,” said the alchemist.
“I sure as frell hope so! I’m your brother after all,” laughed the Knight.
“Yeah, thanks man. Although, sometimes I feel strange and alienated not being a blood relative. It is true I was adopted of course,” replied Mononoke.
“Our bond is in the blood we spill, brother. And Manji brought you to us,” stated Shikyo.
“Spoken like a true Sith. Well, I suppose we should get this crap-shoot in order. Looks like everyone is milling around out there. You got the gear?” said the Battlemaster as he peered out the canopy of the gunboat.
“Of course. Let’s go.”
The cockpit popped open with a hiss as the suited duo gingerly stepped out. Macron used a sensor pad to test the air and soil as Shikyo pulled out the gear. Malisane greeted them with a wave as he tuned his saber, obviously expecting trouble.
Ashia, Callus, and Rasilvenaira were performing post-flight checks on their respective fighters. Callus appeared to be adjusting his suit. Sildrin was nowhere to be seen, but the stealthy Krath had her own agenda usually. Xayun was probably with her.
Krayn, Rage, Cain, and Cal had the three Dark Eye droids settled down on a repulsor sled. Cal was busy tweaking the data as Cain surveyed the area. Rage was wolfing down some hapless juicy local critter, apparently unbothered by the gases in the air.
Macron noted this detail with interest. Something in the Shistavanen biology was unaffected by the phenolic gas in the atmosphere. “Weird,” he wondered out loud as he keyed his comlink
“Anyhow people, let’s get this party on the road ladies and gentlemen… and er, Shistavanens. The complex is about ten kilometers that way,” Macron said as he pointed with a gauntleted hand. “Expect the Tukata to be inside. However, the other things could be anywhere.”
Almost on cue, a roar was heard as three ferocious huge mutant Hssiss popped up from their sandy hiding place. The sensors had been unable to detect them with the interference from all the metal and chemicals. One Darkside Dragon snarled, revealing a gaping acidic maw as it tried to chomp on Callus’ leg, sensing the weakness there. “Oh Sh%t!” yelled the Knight in surprise as his saber ignited.
"OH Sh%t!" Callus yelped as he jumped back frm the snapping jaws of a Dragon that had just lept out of the ground at him.
Callus' lightsaber tore the air around it as it roared to life, the powder blue blade illuminating in the eyes of the dragon. Callus gave the beast a swift kick with his left foot sending the creatures head off to the side.
Callus swiped his saber at the beast and caught it's back opening a wound down it's spine. This wound only slowed the creature for a moment as it again tried to sink it's teeth into Callus' leg.
"God! It's like It knows about my knee!" Callus hollered as he stepped back from yet another chomp. Callus had an idea as he stuck his knee out forward.
The beast made it's move for the Knight's knee and instead of pulling it back immidiately he let the Dragon get close and lopped it's head off with his lightsaber.
He breathed a sigh of relif as he looked down at his knee and saw a tooth imbedded in his knee brace.
"Well I told you I'd get a tooth didn't I?" He asked in more of an "I told you so" than an actual question. He felt somthing warm running down his leg and saw some blood running down his leg.
"FIRST BLOOD!" Callus whooped as the others gave their approval. "Alright lets get moving then eh?"
Rasilvenaira perched on the wing of the Kanashimu, a smile spreading across her face as she surveyed the landscape. She instructed Verlassen to stay with the ship. Hearing the commotion behind her, she spun around, the katana sliding from its scabbered with a soft hum.
Macron and Shikyo quickly dispatched two of the attacking creatures. However, as Callus was attacked, Rasilvenaira couldn't help but chuckle. "You don't do much hunting do you Callus?"
He turned and glared at her as he tucked his trophy tooth away. "What's that got to do with anything, Guardian?"
She smirked, then turned her attention to the ground just below the wing of her ship. Keen eyes catching the motion as the top layer of soil was disturbed, she adjusted her grip on the katana and sprang to the ground. Stabbing into the dirt as she landed, Rasilvenaira was reward with a squeal and the thrashing body of some burrowing creature as it died.
Wiping her blade clean, the Guardian looked back at Callus, "Any hunter can sense weaknesses in its prey." Her dark eyes going cold as she locked him in her gaze.
"As long as I've got my saber..." he began.
She shrugged, "A lightsaber, like any weapon, is only as good as the person weilding it, I wouldn't put all my faith in one thing like that, but that's just me."
Rasilvenaira turned, shaking her head, and glanced over to where the younger team members, including Krayn, were working on the sled. So far the young Protector seemed to be handling things rather well, but they hadn't encountered much yet. She hoped that he would refrain from getting himself in trouble on this mission.
Malisane stood calmly watching the action, his saber at his belt. "We about ready to move out?" he asked.
"Yeah we'd better get going." Macron replied.
The Aedile nodded he glanced at his ship, the ramp still down and put his fingers to his lips and whistled. Immediatley a dark shape bound down the ramp, quickly clearing the ground between them. Macron looked at the Reduras hound curiously as it stood quietly by it's masters side waiting for the order to guard or kill. "You brought your pet along?"
Malisane nodded, "Thought Gmork could use the fresh air. He's been hanging around the base a bit too much recently I don't want him to get fat." The large black horned creature sniffed the air around it, seeking out prey. It glanced up at the Aedile eagerly who nodded.
The hound darted off into the surrounding undergrowth, and a few seconds later there was a squealing and roaring and the foilage shook. The sounds of tearing of flesh emerged a few seconds later. Malisane waited a few moments calmly then Gmork came out again, it's mouth bloody and licking it's lips happlily. He padded over to it's masters side and sat on it's haunches.
"Wonder what it found." Macron mused.
Malisane shrugged. "Lunch."
The Blind Dragon's blind gaze was turned on the horizon - the weird bright sun would have usually annoyed her eyes, since she was born on a planet with a red sun. Sildrin was crouching down on the bent and twisted part of a ship wreck. Xayun wiped his forehead as he made his way through the wreckage: "No entries in the log of this ship. What are we looking for anyways, Master Sildrin?". Although he now was officially not her student anymore, recently having gained the rank of a Dark Jedi Knight he still called her like this. A fact she was surprisingly accepting quite willingly. She had been quite proud of her student. She lightly had her head tilteed forward, red strands of hair falling in front of her eyes. Her thoughts returned to the members of her house she was Quaestor of. Names of the members she was very proud of. A faint smile sneaked upon her face. She would fight for all of them - even that crazy wolfman who recently managed to arise her annoyance. Her anger had been replaced away as she saw that he was participating in this mission.
But not all members of this mission were known to her. "Cotelin...", she thought. "...A name bearing a heavy burden. Is he related to Jac Cotelin? ..." She was not able to find out more about him, but still there was something about him that interested her. Rasilvenaira also appeared to be very interesting.
She slowly stood up, her black cloak trailing her motions. She was wearing a black tight suit of soft leather that made no sound at all. Her blind white eyes fell upon Xayun, staring through him: "Old memories.. Xayun. This place appears to be so known to me... familiar. But I dont know why, my student."
A soft sigh escaped her lips, she knew too well that she indeed could had been here months ago. There was a time she had no memory of. .. is this one of those places I dwelled?...
She softly whispered: "Let's go, we searched so many ships, but none have any working log crystals. Let's join the others." Xayun nodded, his hand resting on his saber.
Shikyo looked over at the location of Malisane's pet, before looking back at the remains of the Hssiss. His internal organs were meant to lay on the contaminated ground, left to rot for the rest of time. His crimson blade retreated back to its metallic shell, awaiting to be summoned once more by its master.
The Sergeant clipped the weapon back onto his belt, saving it for a better use, as he strapped his sword onto his back. The rest of the group was getting their packs on, strapping up additional weapons after the recent attack. Everyone appeared to be carrying a blaster, except the young Keibatsu. Ashia walked up to him, blaster in hand. She went to offer it to him, when he raised up his hand.
"No thanks, Ash. I hate blasters. It takes away the fun from the kill."
She understood what he meant. After the battles on Kyataru, she knew just how much "fun" he had wiping out the dogs of his homeland. Last minute preparations were being made, as the shadow of two figures approached the meeting area of the expeditioners. Hands made their ways to the hilts of their weapons, as the visages of Sildrin and Xayun broke through the darkness.
The members of Ludo Kressh were happy to see their Quaestor safe, Callus was delighted to see his boss was surviving, though he would deny any such emotions, and Shikyo smirked at the Blind Dragon, more than happy to be in her presence. The Sith Knight looked over at Cajun, bellowing out their greeting.
The two of them ran towards each other, high fiving in midair. In the world of darkness all of them lived in, it was an extremely brief moment of light. As soon as it shined through, the darkness settled in, as they all looked towards the pathway to Trayus Academy. Rurouni looked around the group and back to Sildrin, who was thinking the same thoughts as him, even if they were brief. With a last thought in his head, the young Keibatsu began to make his way towards the establishment.
Whatever happens, do what must be done...
Cal watched as the Hssiss were easily disposed of. It was amazing how these people that surrounded him seemed to radiate with the Force. The man called Callus almost glowed after dispatching his dragon, while Rasilvenaira seemed to have insticts beyond his own. Not that he didn't mind. He doubted any of them were as capable as he with electronics, which is what made him valuable. Well, useful at least, he thought with a smile.
"Cal, is that droid ready yet?" Macron stated. Cal shook his head clear of his thoughts and checked his datapad. "As far as I can tell, without doing a test run, yes," he replied. Where he had expected a 'good job' from Macron, silence insued in it's place. Cal turned to see Macron smiling and staring at him, as if waiting. It took another moment to figure out why. "My Master," he finished. "Sorry, I'm just not used to servitude yet, Master."
Macron's smile grew wider and more evil, as he said, "Oh you'll get use to it, my apprentice. You can count on that." A small shiver ran through Cal's spine as the Sith held his hand out for the datapad. Cal obliged, handing over his most precious tool. The datapad was slightly larger than most others, due to Cal's modifications. With the new memory, storage capacity, and some heavily modified wiring, the thing could probably run a flight simulator on its own. Hmm, not a bad idea. I'll have to get someone to test that out for me when I get back, he thought.
Macron read through the datapad and frowned. Shaking his head, he inserted the datapad connection to his holoprojector and brought a small map. "Well, gentlebeings, this is what we have to go through. As I said before, not a nice place."
A small chorus of groans sounded from most of the beings as they saw what was ahead. Practically every challenge that could be found on the broken planet seemed to lay in their path. Callus merely smiled and said, "Good, more hunting for me."
"Forgive me for saying, but must we go through all that?" Rasilvenaira asked the Battlemaster. Mononoke simply turned and looked at his recon group, leaving them to explain themselves.
"Well, you wanted a safe landing site to begin with, and this was the only one we found," Cal stated.
"On top of that," Rage added, while picking at his earlier meal from his teeth, "This is actually the shortest and safest way to go."
"Doesn't look like it," Sildrin stated, while Cal surpressed a smile at the irony of what she said.
"Nevertheless, that is our path. Let's get moving people," Macron said.
Callus ran his hand through his short blonde hair and clipped his lightsaber to his belt. As usual people were complaining about whatever as it was with so many members of the Brotherhood. Not like it was with the days Callus spent with the TIE Corps. Callus supposed it was just the fact that they were used to living cushy lives in their clan strong hold. When you had traveled for about 2 weeks hardly ever getting out of your TIE fighter you learn to take any chance to get out and see something other than the stars through a ball cockpit as a blessing.
Callus in his usual way didn't say much, hardly anything actually. Sure when he was relaxed and not in the "zone" as soldiers and snub fighter pilots called it. As callus has been both of those things he should know what the "zone" feels like.
Or course some don't even know their is a "Zone" those like a Guardian they call "Storm Raven" She was quite annoying, Instead pf trying to help the others with the Hississ she just sat on the wing of her ship and just laughed. Callus knew what he was going to do.
She was standing near Macron who was telling the group about the next course of action. He sidled up beside her on her left side. He delivered a crushing blow with his elbow into her stomach that drove her to her knees.
He stepped in front of her and grabbed her by the throat and hefted he small body off the ground in his right hand. He lifted her about 3 feet off the ground, so that her feet were dangling at the level of his stomach. He spoke to her in a low voice. "Listen... Just because you can play a glorified version of "whack-a-mole" with the hississ. Doesn’t mean I couldn't crush you with my bare hands. I wouldn't honor you by using my lightsaber to end your pitiful life."
Callus was squeezing the life from the young woman and would have killed her if Macron hadn't given a subtle cough. Callus looked and saw everyone was staring at them. He tossed the girl to the ground and wiped his hands on his shirt. "Sorry about that yall, she fell down and I was helping her up." He said with a lopsided smile as he made his way to the head of the line. "Well what are we all waiting for? Were waiting time here lets go." He said as he led the way to their destination.
Rasilvenaira regained her feet with a growl, her eyes going jet black as her anger flared. Her katana slipped from its scabbard as the Guardian moved toward Callus.
"You really don't want to make me an enemy, Obelisk." Her voice dripping with contempt. "You chose to start it, do you have the guts to finish it?"
Callus turned to face her, his hand resting on the hilt of his lightsaber, his expression matching her contempt. The tension between them almost visible in the air as the Knight took a step towards Rasilvenaira.
Krayn started to move toward her, but the cold, feral look in Rasilvenaira's eyes stopped him. He'd learned quickly not to cross the Sith when she was like that.
Shikyo and Xayun stepped between them, both Knights keeping a hand on their sabers.
"We're here to explore, not fight each other." Xayun's voice broke the uneasy silence.
Rasilvenaira studied them for a moment, then slowly, returned the katana to its scabbard.
"Very well, let's get going. However, if you wish to keep your clansman alive, keep him away from me, or I will kill him before this is over."
StormRaven turned and began walking away from the group, the bloodlust still casting a crimson haze over her vision. Denied the one thing she wanted to kill at the moment, Rasilvenaira went in search of something else to satisfy the desire.
Rage snickered and followed looking at the blood that was now staining the side of his sword.
"Master Mac, do you happen to bring a test tube did ya?"
The Alchemist look towards him and tossed him a small one "Of Course"
Rage filled the tube with some of the blood.
"It smells poisonus"
Cal took the tube "How do you know this?"
Rage smilied "I can tell you what you ate three days ago and smell your fear, trust me i know"
Rage took out his datpad and started writing in it.
"You guys should come and collect some bounties with me someti-" he put his hand up and sniffed the air "Someone has been hear recently, and is still here"
Xayun let his gaze linger on the retreating form of Rasilvenaira, then turned back to Callus.
"Listen, I don't want to find that you've suddenly killed or been killed by someone on this team, alright? If you have differences with her, you settle it after we're done here." the Zabrak grinned slightly, then added "Besides, I'd hate to have to find a replacement for you so soon."
He fell into step beside Shikyo, glancing around warily.
"Dissent in the ranks already, I see." remarked the Keibatsu. Xayun laughed.
"A clashing of egos, I'd call it. I doubt they'll start anything, but we'd better keep an eye on them."
The Knight nodded, then strode off to further explore the surroundings.
Xayun stood still for a moment, then sighed and moved on. I'm beginning to think this was a bad idea.
Rasilvenaira stalked away in annoyance. She stopped as Malisane stepped out in front of her, the large horned and spiked hound beside him. She recognised the Knight, the Adjucant of the Brotherhood.
"A word Envoy." the Knight Adjucant said quietly.
"Yes?" she asked.
"If I were you I would avoid future such displays."
"Why?" she demanded angrilly.
"Two reasons," Malisane replied just as quietly. "Firstly it does not look good for members of the Society to argue in front of outsiders."
"The other reason?" she asked, staring at him.
"The second reason is obvious, Callus is a Dark Jedi Knight if you attack him he'll bloody murder you."
"You think so?" she demanded, her eyes flaring up as she stared at the Adjucant. "We will see!"
Malisane shrugged. "Well it is up to you at the end of the day," he replied, "if he does kill you I will ensure as a Knight Class Envoy you receive a decent burial." He gave her a final glance then stepped aside allowing her to pass. Gmorks dark eyes watched her curiously as she strode past the hounds master angrily.
Malisane looked down at his pet. "Interesting," he said thoughtfully. He looked down at the Reduras Hound. "Follow her. It would not look good while the Commander is away to loose a Clan Envoy, I would never hear the end of it."
Gmork barred his teeth then padded after the Guardian slipping into the shadows.
Ashia watched the exchange between Malisane and Rasilvenaira from a distance. As the Guardian moved away, with Malisane's 'pet' trailing behind, she approached the Aedile.
"That young one will get herself killed with an attitude like that, if she's not mindful of it." Ashia rested her hand on the hilt of her Tiger katana and flipped a long braid back over her shoulder.
"That's what I'm afraid of." Malisane let out a sigh and just shook his head.
"Still she has a certain chutzpah. There is much anger in that one. Watch her, she will be powerful one day...if she learns to use it."
Malisane nodded at her as they moved off towards the others. She looked over towards Sildrin. The Blind Dragon seemed to be preoccupied. Macron stopped to poke through some wreakage. He put some greenish liquid in a vial before joining the rest of the team, his mind on his work. Xayun and Shikyo walked together. A loud cackle emerging from one or the other as they laughed at each other's jokes. The rest poked here and there as the group moved. Ashia wondered how long it would take for them to encounter something worse then a Hississ. Just then, Malisane's eyes locked to the horizon. She looked up and saw it too. Something large loomed there and it was moving towards them at enormous speed.
"Macron! Twelve o'clock!" She hollared as she unsheathed her katana. The others looked up and the air was filled with the sound of lightsaber's igniting. Callus laughed uproariously as he bared his teeth for the on coming asault.
'And they thought the Sith were crazy.' The Zabrak thought to herself as she watched him.
“By the Dark Lords! A Greater Krayt...” yelled Macron as he saw the awful creature. It was hideously mutated, and seemed to be dripping strange ichor from it’s throbbing pustulent flesh.
Unhealed suppurating wounds mottled the hide of the reptiloid monstrosity.Poison dripped from gnashing teeth, and a stinger could clearly be seen on the end of it’s tail. The whole thing was over 150 meters long from nose to tail tip. As well, it had two heads.
“Sithspawn!” exclaimed Macron in total awe. This could be very bad. There was no way in all the Hells they could hope to stand before such a foe. There was only one real course of sane action.
“Run away!” yelled Mononoke as the crew burst into action. He reached deep into the Force, using a burst of speed that moved like the wind. The various ignited lightsabers and brandished weapons bobbed about as they all ran. Macron found himself running next to Rasilvenaira as they tried to put distance between themselves and the Beast.
The group had rapidly outdistanced the Krayt. Macron took a second to catch his breath as he bent over. “Sorry about that,” he mumbled. “Callus means well, he just has his own agenda. Like we all do, as Darksiders. Hell, I wouldn’t expect a group of vicious Dark Jedi to get along peachy keen. If we did, something would be seriously wrong. Stay cool if you can, and I will talk to him. We all need each other on this trip. Besides... even Clan Mates need a slapping around now and then. It keeps them sharp.”
Rasilvenaira leaned against a large boulder as she caught her own breath, her dark eyes scanning the skies. Silently, she hoped the others had all managed to avoid the Krayt.
Looking back over at the Alchemist, she nodded, "Yeah, I'm sorry about that Macron, I know I shouldn't have let the Obbie get to me. Its just..." Her voice trailed off and she just shook her head.
"What?" Macron asked, moving over beside her.
"This planet, the dark energy that surrounds it, sort of just makes me edgier than normal." She grinned wickedly, "Though I will get Callus back for attacking me, I'll wait till we're done with this. You are right, we'll all need each other before this trip is finished."
He nodded, and looked around. "Hmm, yes, this is a very interesting place." His eyes gleamed as he considered all the possibilties of what they could find.
A few meters away was the wreckage of another vessel, its twisted shell scattered over the area. Macron turned his attention to the largest section of the ship, grinning eagerly as he headed over to investigate it. Rasilvenaira followed, out of her own curiosity, stretching out her senses as she moved.
"Macron, do you feel anything?"
"I don't know, something feels out of place."
He shook his head, "I'm not noticing anything unusual."
The Guardian shrugged and began to look around, searching for the source of the feelings she was getting.
Callus took a few deep breaths and stretched his back out. He looked over to where the Sith Guardian was talking to Macron. Hmm probably trying to cover her butt. He contemplated making nice with the Sith or just killing her outright. He deicided neither option would suit him as he walked over to speak to Cajun.
"Cajun, be serious you really think that Guardian could defeat one of your envoys? I mean I'm not just another handsome face." Callus joked with hs Clan Envoy. Callus glanced around the area where it seemed the other had caught their breath. He saw that none were too shaken after seeing a beast like that.
Callus, of course, wanted to stay and fight but he had to accept the fact that no one man, no matter how talented, could take on a beast like that. He thought for a minute thinking about his companions on this mission. He thought that the combained strength of the party would have been able to overwhelm the beast but not without some severe casualties. He would have expected the Journeymen to die and perhaps loose one or two of the knights.
As he contempated this he saw the "Storm Raven" shoot him a glance. he returned her stare with a sly grin and a nod. HE made his way over to where she was standing and stepped behind her and whispered in her ear. "Listen I don't know if you've noticed but this place has us all on edge. I'm normally a really nice guy ya see, but for some reason I just don't like it when a self rightious neyophyte like yourself comes trapsing in and challenges my abilities. You could see how that would make me a bit upset, right?" Callus said keeping his voice low but that it still had some sting to it.
"You asked if I had the guts to finish this should it need to be finished." Callus repeated her words in her ear as he drew his 7" bowie knife from a holster under his left arm beneath his shirt and pressed it against her stomach. He covered the knife with his other arm by wraping it aroud her waist. To an outside observer it would look rather interesting as Callus again whispered in her ear. "I know you may not like me for whatever reason, but you and I both know what would happen if we were to fight, yeah that's right CSP weould be looking for a new Clan Envoy. So listen up. I don't know what skills you posess but when it comes down to it we're going to need every able body to help us get out of here alive and if we're destracted at all by this meaningless spat it could cost not only our lives but the lives of others aroud us, our brothers and sisters, I don't want that on me and I can bet you dont either." He sighed and took in a breath with his nose, the scent of her hair was intoxicating, the warmth of her body somehow comforting, and her aura, it's powerful darkness, seemed for some reason calming to him.
He shook his head and quickly slid the knife back into it's scabard and straightened back to his full height as the Sith turned to face him. He stared into her dark brown eyes with his steel greys and waited.
Ashia stopped to catch her own breath, resheathing her katana as she did and pushed a few loose strands of hair out of her eyes. She looked up to see Callus standing behind Storm Raven with his arms around her. A moment later he stepped back and let her go, the fire in her eyes as she glared at him said it wasn't welcome. He chuckled as he moved away to examine some of the ruins.
As he stood looking over a piece of wreakage, Ashia slide quietly up behind the Knight, planting her left leg behind his and leaning into his ear. Her breath kissed across the back of his neck as she spoke.
"Normally I wouldn't get involved in a lover's quarrel, but things like this could jeopardize this mission. I ask you as a personal favor to not make enemies of the other clans while we here."
"Ashia, you know me. I love everybody!" She could see the smirk spread across his face. She leaned in closer, the top of her thigh high boot caressing the back of his leg and felt him stiffen at the contact.
"I know, and that's why I know we'll be able to count on you....all of us." She floated away as soundlessly as she had come, sauntering over to a piece of wreakage. She glanced up once to see him grinning at her as he shook his head and continued his exploration.
The Huntress moved about the site, reaching out with the Force and feeling the energy that flowed there. She looked around at the rest of the team, watching them as they analyzed things and explored. The dark force that surrounded the area was putting everyone on edge. An aphotic veil fell over the Krath's eyes, as the darkness swirled around her, she began to fall.
Shikyo's hand on her shoulder brought her back to herself. He stood there staring at her, concern filling his visage.
"Ashia...are you alright?"
She shook herself and looked up at him as the darkness faded from her eyes.
"I'm fine. Probably just the atmosphere." She gave him a mild smile to reassure him then motioned that they should continue moving with the rest of the group.
Xayun observed the exchange between Callus and Ashia, then shot the Envoy a warning glare. You've been warned, he said through the Force. Callus bowed his head in apparent apology and went back to observing the site.
Xayun approached Rasilvenaira cautiously, seeing the Guardian's fury. She gave gave him a look as to say 'What do you want?', and the Knight smiled amiably.
"I wanted to apologize for Callus. He's a good guy, but everyone seems a little off on this expedition." his gaze swept over the other members of the group, and he sighed.
"I don't know what it is, but there's something going on here. And I'd rather we're not at each other's throats when whatever is going to happen here eventually comes to pass." he fell silent for a moment, then smiled again and patted the Guardian on the shoulder.
"Just don't kill him until we're done. On the way back to the ships is acceptable." he grinned, then wandered off in search of Sildrin. Thinking to himself, he grew solemn.
There is definitely something going on here. And I'd rather find out what before it ends up on top of us.
The flames of hatred still burned deep in Rasilvenaira's dark eyes as she watched Callus moving around the site. Turning her attention back to Xayun, she nodded and fell in step beside the young Knight for a moment.
"Very well, just as long as you can convince him not to try something like that again. If he pushes me far enough Xay, there won't be any stopping me. This planet's only feeding the bloodlust and anger I already possess, I am trying to control it, really, but that..." she nodded toward the Obelisk, "is making it extremely difficult. There is a reason I have always been good as an assassin, he's working on learning that upclose and personal if he persists."
Xayun nodded solemnly, "I understand, just please? Try not to let him get to you."
The Guardian offered Xayun a sideways glance, and a rare smile, "I'll try, I need to do some thinking anyways, maybe if I put enough distance between us, he'll leave me alone."
With that, she turned and headed off in the opposite direction. Rasilvenaira just kept walking, her mind drifting from one thought to another without any real pattern. Her keen eyes searched the area for any trace of danger, her instincts becoming more and more feral the longer she remained on the planet.
About thirty yards from the rest of the group, she found another large section of a wrecked vessel. Shaking her head to clear and refocus her thoughts, Rasilvenaira began investigating the wreckage. Something slowly started to tug at her senses, and the Guardian tried to follow that sensation, searching for its source.
Looking over the debris as she carefully picked her way around it, she froze as a small object caught her eye. Gingerly, she crouched down, twisting under part of the wreckage, trying to avoid the jagged and sharp edges of the torn hull. Reaching out, she wrapped her fingers around the object and wiggled it free of the accumulated sand and dirt that had half buried it through time.
Once honed edges still held a hint of its potential, but weren't quite sharp enough to penetrate the gloves on her hands. Carefully retreating from the wreckage, Rasilvenaira settled herself on a large boulder nearby to study her find. Turning the weapon over in her hands, a wicked grin spread over the Guardian's features.
"Well now, if you aren't a pretty little thing, just need a little sharpening, and you'll be just as deadly as you once were." The bladed weapon showed no hint of reflection even when subjected to the harsh light of the planet's sun. It seemed instead to radiate darkness, and even Rasilvenaira's untrained eyes recognized what had to be the work of ancient Alchemists.
"Hmm, will have to get Macron to take a look at you later." Standing, she tucked the weapon into one of her many pockets, and then looked around, wondering what else she might find.
Everyone seemed to be off doing their own thing. Rasilvenaira seemed to have found some kind of weapon from long ago, while others were poking around the scrap heap or talking to one another. Shikyo sat on the wing of a totaled starfighter, sipping on his bottle of sake. He was more interested with what he could find inside the Academy than in the junkyard. The young Keibatsu picked up a couple of rocks, tossing them into the cockpit of the fighter. As he threw the last one, something caught his attention. It was a flash of light coming from beside the wreckage, halfway buried into the ground.
Rurouni leaped up off the metal, approaching the shiny object. Digging his fingers into the soil, the Knight pulled out a crystal of some kind. Shikyo closed his eyes, feeling a wave of dark energy fill his mind, coursing its way throughout his veins. The Sergeant threw his eyelids back, glaring down at the miniature object. Getting a better chance to observe the item, the young Keibatsu could tell that it was some kind of crystal. Wanting more information on it, Shikyo approached Macron, who seemed to be looking at his datapad.
The Sith Alchemist looked at his younger brother, smiling lightly at him.
"What is it, Shikyo?"
"I found this by a crash site. It appears to be a crystal of some kind but I don't really recognize it."
"Let me take a look at it."
The Battlemaster went to grab it, as another wave of dark thoughts clouded Rurouni's thoughts. It almost felt like it was trying to control him. The young Knight grabbed at his temple, trying to shake the energy from his body. Mononoke grabbed for it, placing it in a container. As soon as the energy took hold of him, it released its grip on the Sith Knight. Shikyo's eyes bluged out, staring down to the ground, as Mac observed the crystal in the container.
"Hmmm... interesting... Very interesting..."
"What is it, Mononoke?"
The Black Guardian stood there, looking at the object deeply. He looked back at his brother, smirking with that mad alchemist look he had.
"I won't know until we get back to the lab, but I think you found an Adegan possessed by the energies of a Dark Lord."
Shikyo's trademark demonic smirk washedu pon his face, happy that he had found something of significance. On top of that, he had found an Adegan of immense power.
"That's cool. Do what you would like with it, as long as I can give it to Muz for my new lightsaber."
"You know I like you, so try to honor that and make us both look good. And if you pull that again... you'll have trouble with me. You don't want that," whispered Macron softly to Callus as they finished their conversation. "Now go focus that anger on some victims other than the expedition crew. "
Mononoke walked away as Callus nodded with a tight lipped smile. The first foe he encountered would probably get chopped to bits. That was fine, as long as it wasn't one of the group. Mononoke hoped he could hold the Dak Jedi together. The atmosphere of the blasted world was insidiously working it's way into all their psyches.
Macron's thoughts began to wander. The crystal Shikyo found was indeed a generator crystal. The red synthetic Sith crystal was probably very old, and certainly had been inside a saber hilt. The hilt had most likely rotted away long ago. This whole area was curious. One thing was certain. This crystal had been made nearby, meaning there was the possibility of finding a working forge. He could hardly wait to get moving.
The alchemist approached Rasilvenaira, wondering what she had found. They exchanged greetings, and Mononoke agreed to look at the object. "Interesting. An alchemical alloy blade. Very nice. probably non-conductive in regards to electricity as well."
“Hmm fighting already this will be interesting” Cain thought as he slowly walked along behind them. “And they haven’t reached the academy yet.”
An odd light filled Cain eyes as a slight smile reached his lips. “Yes, perfect for the test.” Looking to his right he saw Sildrin staring at him, her blind eyes seeming to be reaching into his thoughts. Frowning at this he shut off his thoughts from outside intrusions.
“She is suspicious of you.” A small voice inside his head said.
“I know, but it won’t matter.” He whispered.
The squall of the twisted Krayt flew through the air, currents of rage and pain held aloft in the discordant tones. The team stiffened, eyes widening to the horizon as palms were filled with the cold comfort of weaponry.
"What the frell..." Macron muttered, the golden eclipse of his eyes wandering back where they faced the beast. "Sound off, people!"
Each of the Jedi responded in turn, their voices calmly attempting to cover their unease. All had felt the deep presence here, all had wondered what lurked in the shadows of the wreckage.
"Knights, to me." Macron's stoic voice resounded dully as he stepped toward the sound. Xayun and Shikyo flanked him, their hands idly thumbing activation switches on their hilts. Malisane and Acerbus stepped next, their eyes narrow slivers of grim expression as they followed the Sith. Callus meandered last, his cool confidence still evident despite the loss of his smirk.
"Sildrin, watch the journeymen, please." Macron coughed, his voice distorted through the helmet of his battle armour. "We're going to go see what we can see."
The six moved in silence, picking their way through the silent monuments of rent metal and blasted debris. The stench of bunt flesh and the sweet decay of the Dark side grew in their nostrils, a heaviness growing in their spirits.
Stepping around a pillar of half-buried hull, Macron's eyes lit upon the Dragon. A short breath squeezed past his lips and he rolled back to safety.
Catching his breath, Macron peered around the corner again, slowly. A wisp of smoke rose from the beast's neck, its eyes coated in the glaze of the grave.
The knigts stalked out from the cover, fanning out to examine the fell beast. Macron stepped bravely to the head, his hands pulling tools from his pouches and he began to harvest flesh, bone, tooth and eyes from the creature.
Shikyo glared at the wound in the beast's neck. The smoking gash nearly severed the collosus' head, the wound quite clean, and the flesh around the cut, tinged black.
Callus snorted in annoyance. "we were all back that way... And if anyone would have been able to take this down..."
Macron looked up, annoyance at Bo'Amar's hubris flavoring his voice. "No, Callus, this foe was beyond even you." Macron thought for a second. "This is disturbing."
Macron moved to the wound, a scalpel and tweezers fishing a bit of the charred flesh into a tube. Standing abruptly, the Sith Alchemist grumbled to himself.
"Who do you think..." Xayun stood uneasily, his saber glowing in the shadows of the corpse.
"I don't know, but I can probably figure out what kind of crystals were in the saber that did this, if I can get back to the camp." Macron grimaced. "At least we can get some idea of who else is here..."
"In the time being I might be able to help there." Malisane said stepping forward. He whistled and Gmork came padding over, the Reduras hound's horned head sniffing around the area. The hound looked up with a gleam in his dark eyes.. "He's got a scent." Malisane said trimphantly.
"The right scent?" Acerbus asked doubtfully.
"Yes of course," the Aedile said giving him a dark glance. "If you guys go back to the camp we'll follow them see where they go."
"That sound's unessesarily dangerous." Sildrin said with a frown.
Malisane shrugged, "I'm not looking to pick a fight just try and work out who it is before they disappear. They won't expect it. When I do I'll contact you."
"Who do you want to take?" Macron asked.
"Just me and Gmork," the Aedile replied confidently.
"On your own?" Acerbus demanded, "thats insane!"
"As I said I'm not going looking for a battle," Malisane replied, "just to follow the trail. If I take a group are more likely to be noticed."
"I still think it's an unwise risk." Sildrin repeated.
The Aedile looked at her, "If you order me not to go I will accept, otherwise I'm going."
Sildrin considered it and glanced at Macron who shrugged. "Very well," she replied, "I won't tell you to be careful you know already."
Malisane nodded and he and the hound slipped off quietly into the darkness, Gmork leading.
"Come on lets move," Macron said and as a group they turned back to the camp, leaving the corpse to rot in the night.
Xayun looked back over his shoulder at Malisane, then stopped.
"Go back to the camp without me, I'm going to go with Mali. Any of us being on our own isn't a good idea, especially when we don't know what's out here with this." Turning, the Knight ran back to catch up with the Aedile. Malisane stopped and let the panting Xayun catch his breath.
"Following me now? What, don't like the company of our teammates?" asked Malisane jokingly. Xayun pulled up the sleeve of his robe to reveal the Black Guard tattoo adorning his forearm.
"There's your reason.....it is my job." Xayun grinned. "Besides, knowing you, Gmork would probably be dragging you back to camp."
Malisane laughed, then indicated the Reduras Hound bounding ahead, following the scent.
"Well then, shall we get going?" Xayun nodded in reply, and the two Knights headed off after the fearsome 'pet'.
"Wait a minute, wait a minute. No way if Cajun gets to go with Mali and hunt a Krayt there's no way I'm getting left out of this huh-uh." Callus said in protest as Xayun walked off following Mali.
"I'm not kidding here guys." Callus said staring Macron in the eyes, Callus couldn't see his expression but was sure it had to be a rather exasperated glance. He saw his head shake and knew the arguement was at an end but he still was dissapointed that he wasn't going to get to go on the hunt as he followed the rest.
He was thinking about what they had said about the Krayt having a lightsaber wound on it's neck. Sure Callus didn't give the Dragon it's wound if he had the beast wouldn't be alive right now to be hunted.
He saw Sildrin walking along with her blind stare Callus knew that she could see everything around her, he was confidant that she could hear what he was thinking right now. Callus was a bit anxious around her and how she would sometimes just show up and speak on your thoughts, or talk to you without looking at you, though you knew she could see you. All in all it was a rather interestig feeling when she was around you all together "oogy"
The Blind Dragon spoke up probably getting the feeling that he sent out with the word "oogy"
"Oogy? Callus I make you feel oogy?" She said with somewhat of a grin on her lips.
"What? Oh Sil," Callus said caught off guard by her sudden reply "Well heh you know it's not really... well... heh." Callus said with that wacky grin that usually splayed on his face when he couldn't find the words to say.
"Callus..." Sildrin said shaking her head and continuing on her way. Callus shrugged as he watched her saunter off. Well... that was interesting andn made me look like a doofus infront of my superior. Not like everyone didn't know already. He smiled at this thought and made his own way to the camp.
The Aedile and the Clan Envoy followed the hound as it moved stealthily following the scent.
Malisane padded his way along silently, alert to any danger.
"What are we doing here Mal?" Xayun asked following.
"You know what Macron said," Malisane replied, "someone with a lightsaber killed that Krayt. I want to know who."
Xayun nodded, "Any theories?"
Malisane shook his head. "Could be anyone, we're the only Clan members on this planet and it wasn't one of us. Could be someone else from the Brotherhood, could be the Jedi, could be some rogue True Brotherhood hiding out here, could be someone else."
Xayun considered this. "So we could be walking into a trap?"
Malisane nodded, "Possibly," he agreed, "but I don't think so."
"Something occurs to me," Xayun said thoughtfully, "this force user who killed the dragon, a difficult task. He or she would be extremily competent, even powerful in the force."
"Undoubtably." Malisane replied.
"And they're leaving us a trail Gmork can easily follow? Doesn't that strike you as unusual?"
"That's occured to me." The Aedile replied, "which is why I want to find out who the hell it is rather than having the entire party wandering into something unaware. Thats why I didn't want to bring a load of people along, I don't want anyone getting it into their head to go in weapons drawn immediatley, some of our fellow members tend to act first and think second. We find out who it is then we get the hell out of there."
"If we can." Xayun mused quietly.
The hound trailed off into the foulness, Malisane and his guardsman following, their steps well-placed and careful. The sounds of Callus' hubris and Sildrin's annoyance faded behind them as the shadows grew deeper.
Xayun resisted the urge to turn on his glowlamp, recognizing that stealth was more crucial than clarity at this point. Something irked them there, the further they got from the others. Not the ravaging darkness that surrounded the macabre krayt's death, but something older and calmer, somehow.
Malisane reached out with the Force, his senses expanding as he felt along the debris, his mind seeking through the crevices, worried that somehow, his father had escaped his doom. But this resonated differently, cleaner and less angry. Whispers of electronics tugged at the edges of his perceptions, smooth-running gears and well maintained joints. But yet, a droid wouldn't have a Force Imprint, masked though it was.
Xayun eyed his Aedile curiously, wondering what stopped De Ath's motion through the rubble. Malisane snapped back to prescience, his eyes dismissing the Black Guard's worry.
"Okay...now I'm confused." Macron fought with his equipment as he read the sepctroanalysis. "These readings are insane, and I can't pinpoint exatly what crystal this element is. It acts like an Adegan, but the molecular structure went crystalline at contact rather than just cauterizing..."
Sildrin drew closer to the alchemist, her white eyes flashing in question. "Perhaps you should raise Antei on the comm."
Macron nodded slowly. "Yeah, Muz knows a lot about saber crystals...that's a good idea."
Xayun froze, his senses alerting him to another's presence. Malisane debated calling his houd back, but opted to palm his saber instead. The pair spun, the razor hum of activaed saber crystals echoing in the narrow pass.
Metallic legs shone beneath dark robes, the weathered man carried by them looking quite tired. Disheveled long grey hair was kept barely restrained by a tie at the back of his head, and a scar ran through his right eye. The hand moved faster than they would have guessed possible, a billiant blue-green blade erupting from an antiqued hilt as he regarded the pair.
"Xay, go right, We'll hedge him in." Malisane whispered, his hands flipping his weapon to an attack vector. Xayun merely nodded in response, stepping toward the foe.
The old man chuckled, a low mirthful sound that seemed grandfatherly. "You're not who I am looking for." The voice had an odd accent, some outer rim world's maybe.
Malisane snorted. "But you're who we were..."
Malisane blinked. The man was simply gone. Not moved into seclusion, not hiding amongst the debris...just gone. Xayun shook his head, trying to refocus, trying to see through whatever deception encased the missing one, but to no avail.
"What the frell?"
"Muz isn't on Antei, Macron. I haven't seen him in a few days. You might want to try Kyataru." The voice was smooth and cordial, the Herald's office Guardsman quietly solemn about his duties.
"Thank you, Schisca." Macron flipped off the holocomm, tapping his helm with a few fingers as he debated possibilities.
Malisane and Xayun pounded between the columns of ruin, their breaths shallow and concerned. "Macron, this was freaking weird..."
"Well, that is a bit wild." Macron muttered, activating a button on his bracer that released a small dose of a gas he had concocted into his suit. The mellowness of the vapours soothed his agitation as he processed their recollections.
Sildrin stood slowly, her long legs unfolding as she rose from her meditation. "It's a Jedi, and an old one." Sildrin spoke gravely, her mind having shown her the brightness on this twisted cemetery of a world. She kept the other presence she felt secret for now, the cruel darkness of the other something she was more familiar with than she would have liked.
"Jedi..." Ashia spat. "Bloody policemen and monks. We came here for the Academy ruins, Macron. Are we still going?" The Zabrak held her Adegan loosely in one hand, the other draped casually over the hilt of her sword. "I figure we can handle one lousy Jedi."
Macron eyed Sildrin, searching for some telltale sign in her demeanor for a moment and finding none. A pregnant pause gave birth to the Sith's response. "You're right. We came for the Academy, and it's to the Academy we go. Everyone is to remain together... no groups smaller than three. If anyone gets killed, it's your own frelling fault. I'm not going to answer to your bloody Consuls because you didn't follow orders."
“A Jedi.” The simple words inflamed Macron with hatred, causing him to seethe with anger. The old enemies of the Sith were no friends of his, especially after getting kicked out of the Jedi Academy so long ago. Apparently, Master Solusar didn’t appreciate padawans getting the sh*t beaten out of them in the dorms.
The thought of beating padawans made him smile as it always did, bringing him out of his reverie. Hopefully, keeping themselves in a tightly knit unit would make them less easy prey for the scumbag. Usually, they did not attack first and that was good. This one was hunting someone, and Macron hoped it was not him. He really wished he could raise Muz, or his Master Manji on the holocom.
“Ashia, this one is powerful. The Force signature seems… like something I have heard of before, but I can’t put my finger on it. However, I am almost sure it was not him who killed the Krayt. They seldom use two weapons, and certainly not ones with red crystals. Or a purple one for that matter, although that is more likely according to my analysis. We have to be careful on this foray.”
Macron tapped his comlink, thrumming the fingers of his gauntlet on the plasteel face. “Malisane, Xayun, you say this Jedi’s blade was blue-green, and the hilt looked old?”
“Yes,” replied Xayun.
“Hmm, not standard. Most likely a custom weapon, possibly multi-phasic. Let’s regroup.”
Sildrin 's face remained emotionless, no hint of the turmoil within her. She spoke up in a low tone, yet everyone fixed their eyes on her: "Be careful. This Jedi is not to be taken easily. I am not very interesting having to answer uncomfortable questions from Consul Korras if anyone of you dies." Everyone nodded, a few of them sensed her concern. Little did they know that it wasn't majorly the Jedi she was concerned of.
Finally the journeymen went to rest for the upcoming night. The sun slowly descended, and the sky appeared to be painted in a bright pallette of colors, roughly applied to the canvas of the firmament by the artist hands of chemical pollution. A threatening glow that made everyone feel uncomfortable.
The Blind Dragon was sitting in the entrance of the mobile module that held a small laboratory. Her blind eyes stared out into the darkness. Tendrils of the force searched for the darkness she had touched hours before, carefully she watched its movements. Macron looked up from the rotting head of the beast at Sildrin: "What is it that bothers you?" She slowly shook her head: "It is something that slipped off the skin of humaneness and took upon the fur and eyes of a beast. Maybe we have to find those eyes and find the beauty of the beast." The yellow eyes of the Sith Alchemist drilled into her back, her words made no sense to him and he muttered: "Crazy Krath witch..."
Macron glanced over at Sildrin and Macron then lay back by the fire, geting himself comfortable on the bedroll under him and shut his eyes.
"This is stupid." Callus commented angrily from the other side of the fire.
"Hmm?" Malisane murmered opened one eye and regarding the other Knight.
"We should be out hunting that Jedi!" Callus declared. "Instead we're just lying here!"
"Hunting him where?" the Aedile replied. "He disappeared into thin air. We checked, no trail."
"You sure he was there?" Shikyo asked from nearby.
Malisane swivelled around to face the Krath. "I beg your pardon?"
"Well people don't just fade away." the Krath reasoned, "are you sure he was definatley there?"
"Of course he was there, I sensed him, he was stood right in front of us."
"Could have been a spirit." Shikyo replied.
Malisane regarded him cooly. "You show me a spirit that wields a lightsaber and I'll admitt he was a spirit. Apart from the metal he was flesh and blood."
"Wonder who he was looking for?" Xayun asked. The Clan Envoy thought for a minute. "He said we weren't the one he was waiting for."
"No idea," Malisane replied, "he didn't hang around long enough to tell us."
"I still say we should get out there and find him," Callus argued, "if he's around here somewhere he wants killing and we can do it!"
Malisne closed his eyes again. "I agree with you, but until he makes his presence felt we'll have to wait."
"I don't like waiting." Callus replied gruffly.
"I don't like sleeping on the ground we all have to make sacrifices." the Aedile replied with a yawn, "anyway I suggest you get some sleep you're replacing Acerbus on watch in four hours."
What is going on? First a giant Krayt, then an old Jedi? I am in way over my head, Cal thought as he lay on his portable cot in his little corner of the canyon. The thing was suspended by repulsors, his body conforming to the rectangular mattress. It was comfortable, to be sure, but his mind held no comfort at that moment. Too many things were happening for him to be comfortable.
For one, he held no talent for battle, and bringing a blastsword that he had grown fond of and a DL-44 was not going to challenge a Jedi. Secondly, his Force power was practically nothing compared to everyone else. He knew nothing of mind powers, telekinesis, or psychic ability. Though he had become good at picking up a rock with the Force. That last thought made him smile, something he hadn't done in a long time.
A small whisper turned him from his thoughts, making him look around. The source of the sound didn’t present itself, making him confused. Cal… he heard again. Getting out of his cot, he stood and listened for it once more. It was a few moments before he heard it once more.
He furrowed his eyebrows as he realized that it was in his mind. “What? Trust what?” he whispered back. He looked around again, thinking that it could’ve been a prank. But everyone seemed to be asleep or in their own thoughts.
Cal…you must trust…. he heard once more. Focusing through the Force, he was surprised that it seemed to have a source. As silently as he could, he grabbed his sword and a blaster. Making sure no one was watching, he moved toward the source leaving everyone else behind. It was the wrong thing to do, but he was too captivated by this…presence…
Callus himself didn't mind sleeping on the ground as camping was one of his favorite activities. He sat up and looked at the chronometer on his wrist and saw that it had been about 4 hours, 3 hours and 50 minutes to be more precise, he stood up and rolled his bedroll up and put it under his arm.
He moved to the edge of the camp and found Acerbus sitting on a large stone, he looked like he was dozing off. Callus threw the bedroll at him hitting him on the back of the head. "EY!" Acerbus said jumping up and powering on his lightsaber.
"Calm down its just me." Callus said stepping into the light of the Knight's saber. "I'm here to relive you man. That's your bedroll by the way." Callus said patting the knight on the shoulder as Acerbus made his way back to the camp.
Callus couldn't help thinking about this Jedi that was on the loose while he was on patrol. He kept thinking about the mechanical legs of this roaming hermit Jedi who for some reason was on Malachor. Sure he could be looking for artifacts like they were but what Callus couldn't understand that if he was a Jedi why would he be here for the darkside artifacts?
Callus decided to forget the reasons why, and figure out how to kill their opposition. His first tactic would of course to be go for the mechanical legs as they would possibly be vunerable as the Jedi may forget that the mechanics could be affected not only by the atmosphere of the planet. Also a good blast of force lightning could give his mechanics problems. Then their was his age, Callus really couldn't use the age as a detracting factor from the combatants power as the force was enough to over come any age inhibitions.
Callus decided he would actually need to see this Jedi kill one or two of the Journeymen before he could get a good evaluation of the opponents power. Callus of course had the idea to use his superior strength against his opponent as well as his knowledge of most types of combat.
He sat down and saw a sickening eruption of gas from the planets core. The smell even this far away was unsettleing to his stomach. Callus pulled some candy from his pocket and ate an ale flavored peice. He hoped the Jedi decided to attack. Callus would be ready and would show him the darkside.
Callus felt somone moving through the force near the perimiter. He couldn't tell who it was as he grabbed his lightsaber and moved toward the presence and saw the shadowy outline of somone moving.
He powered on his lightsaber and lept through the air with a howl "YEAORRRGHHHH!" He landed infront of his quarry causing the assailent to stumble backwards onto his back. Callus brought his blade to bear on his fallen opponent. "HAHAHA! I've got you now Jedi! You'll never get passed me! HAHAHAHA!" Callus said without even looking down at who he had cornered.
He decided to look down before he ran his blade through the Jedi and saw that it wasn't the jedi at all, it was one of the Acolytes that Macron had dragged along. "Geez boy! I almost killed you! What were you thinking?" Callus said as he powered down his lightsaber as he offered his hand to the fallen darksider. "What're you doing anyway? Shouldn't you be sleeping? I didn't think they gave any of yall guard duty." Callus looked the Acolyte up and down. Callus shook his head and thought, This kid's gonna get killed, what was Macron thinking? I would not have brought my young apprentice on this mission.
"Alright then, just go on back to camp eh? I can't belive you made me waist a good dramatic leap and yell on ya." Callus said with a grin and patted the Acolyte on the back as Callus made his way back to his seat.
Macron's boots clanged against the Coruscanti pavement, the accent of his homeworld pleasing to him. The wind rush of nearby speeder lanes tugged at his hair and clothes as he moved along the walkway.
Rounding a corner, Macron's eyes settled on the ruined monument he had passed probably a thousand times, but never paid much attention to. Four half-ruined spires reached for the sky, a collapsed pile of rubble grimacing at the ages in the centre. The great pillar where once a statue stood still bore the name of Palpatine.
Macron's eyes narrowed, his mind reclling the last few years, the wisdom they imparted. Macron stopped his motion, wondering why he was staring at the Jedi Temple ruins. Realization washed over the Sith as his mind recalled Malachor.
"What are you trying to show me, Malak?" Macron shouted, the pedestrians ignoring his voice.
The calm presence he felt earlier wrapped around him. It was relaxing, sedate...vaguely familiar, and yet incredibly terrifying for Goura.
Macron spun, his hands flinging echani daggers to his hands as he searched through the crowd. He stood there, calm and collected, his remaining eye watching the Sith carefully, the breeze tossing the long grey hair about.
"Who are you, old man?" Macron demanded. "What do you want?"
"Many call me Eojin, young one." He chuckled, his stance not even shifting as the Alchemist strode forward, daggers in hand. "And I think that the more important question is 'What do you want', no?"
Macron snarled, flipping his daggers in hand as he drew closer. "Don't speak in riddles, Jedi. Why are you here?"
Eojin smiled subtly, his hand drifting toward his belt. "I'm not here for you, young one. But I see your hell, too...Your war is over, Goura. You don't need to fight any more..."
"Shut up." Macron stomped closer. "Shut up or I'll..."
"It's already over... You don't have to be so scared any more."
"Frell you!" Macron boiled over, sorrow and horror, anxiety and doubt flowing into a chalice of rage as he drove the blades forth, their steel blades finding naught but empty cloak. Macron screamed as he stabbed the robe into ribbons, freed threads and scraps flailing in the wind as tears streamed down his face.
Feral intensity bloomed in the Priest's second sight. The viscous ethereal blood that spilled across her senses unnerved her, but fear kept her mind still. Fear...and curiosity.
"Why?" The word echoed from her subconscious into the realm of the real, her own voice reverberating through her.
The darkness responded with a glare, the unsung hatred paralyzing Sildrin to her core. Wisps of tenebrous caliginosity erupted from each step the shade took toward her, the violence tangible in the night air.
Macron shoved her, tearing her mind from the umbrae. "You all right?"
Sildrin took a moment to catch her breath, a pale hand sweeping strands of crimson hair from her eyes as she woke fully, her blind eyes sensing a quality in the Alchemist's voice unfamiliar to her. "I'll live. How about you?"
"I dreamt." Macron spoke brusquely, his hand reaching for the button that would release the analgesic narcotic into his blood stream but stopping mid motion. "But now I'm awake."
Sildrin watched him for a moment, monochromatic eyes piercing the shadows her hair cast across her face.
"Yeah. After all, this is a place of nightmares..."
“I don’t need… this,” said Macron as he removed his finger. “The Dark Side beckons me, empowers me, and embraces me.” He wandered off with a vacant look in his eyes as Sildrin watched. The Sith was gripped with some weird phantasmagoria, obviously borne of this hellish world. “Frelling Jedi suck,” he mumbled as he fingered some wreckage nearby.
There was a pregnant pause. Sildrin asked, “Did the Jedi mess with you?”
“Yes. He said his name was Eojin.” Macron replied. “In my dreams, something you Krath know more about. I almost never dream, until now. Of course, they are nightmares. The bastard knew my fear. I hate him.
“Try this ritual,” replied Sildrin as she showed Mononoke a hedging exercise. He repeated the words and gestures, as others chatted in the dank and acrid air. Macron did his best to remember, and this reminded him of Manji’s and Muz’s way. Some time passed.
As he finished, it was time to move forward. Only a few kilometers lay between the group and the Ruins of the Academy. “Okay people, look sharp," came the holocom sound feed. " We are in Sith Hound territory, and they are smart vile beasts. Let’s have one Knight with two journeymen, at least. Journeymen do not discount your skills. Ranged weapon attacks will be especially helpful. Be prepared to defend yourselves as well.”
Macron slapped Callus's back: "Time to move on.. and watch it with my student.... it's so annoying to get a new one." Macron grinned at the Obelisk. Callus laughed in reply: "Hey, tell your student not to sneak around. Would be a shamed if he died like that and not in a battle...." Then Callus grabbed for his saber and clipped it to his belt.
They all prepared to make their way to the academy. Macron still was trying to shake off the haunting dream of the night as a hand was laid on his shoulder. He turned to look into the worried face of his brother Shikyo: "Have you... seen Sildrin?". The former Quaestor frowned, his yellow brushed eyes quickly searched for her in the small chaos in the camp. "No..", then he cursed. "Maybe she has gone to search for that Jedi..."
Shikyo laid the right hand on his saber, his heart pounded and he gasped: "I must find her.. if she is in danger..." Macron halted him: "No, let her. It was her choice... " Shikyo replied with agony on his face: "But...she.." - "Probably she didn't wanted to endanger you." Shikyo slowly nodded, fighting the urge to protect the Quaestor. His fingers slid down the hilt of his saber, finding the small purple ribbon wrapped around it and he faintly smiled.
Small whirlwinds of sands hunted across the ground, reducing the vision to a minimum - but not for this blind one. Only the taste of dust and sand annoyed the Blind Dragon. Sildrin gripped tightly for her saber, following the faint woven thread of force that was left behind as a trail. .. what do I hope to find?... ,she thought. Uncomfortably she got aware what the answer was. She took a deep breath, trying to distract herself. Each step through the soft sand was quite some effort, her feet sinked into the dust and sand. She growled: "What a .. stupid... planet!"
Then she heard a strange chirping sound. Her head slowly moved from side to side as she attempted to focus on the sound with all her senses. The sound came from beneath the sand. A tingle of the force warned her as she approached the spot, but the ground collapsing beneath her feet was something she didn't expect at all. She attempted a force jump, but the soft ground gave away, swallowing her.
More or less graceful she landed on the ground of the cave. ".. tunnels... but who created..." A digging sound from the wall next to her arose her attention and the chirping sound was getting closer. Sand trickled down onto her from the opening. Her hand reached for her saber, grabbing into air. "By Zandru's hell!", for a scan it was too late as the wyrmlike creature crashed through the wall of the tunnel. Quickly a dagger was drawn from the sleeve of her robe and a ferocious grin appeared on her face. "Oh come here and taste my blade...", she growled. She gracefully flipped over the head of the wyrm digging her blade deep into the neck. A loud screech was the result, but it wasn't enough to kill the wyrm. She growled, pushing the blade further into the soft flesh, blood splattered from the wound, marking her face and staining her robe. The creature beneath bucked from the pain and she decided that the back was a bad place to stay. Strong and long needlelike spikes pointing backwards covered the creature - and being impaled by those was the last thing she wanted. She suddenly sensed her saber on the ground, but she enjoyed the use of the dagger much more. A maw with dozens of sharp glistening teeth snapped at her. With a quick jump backwards she managed to just get out of reach. A low growl escaped her lips, pure bloodlust and the joy of the hunt clouded her mind, leaving no space for any reasonable thoughts. Just as the maw snapped at her again she stabbed right at the roof of the mouth, using the force to prevent it from closing around her. She deeply pushed the blade up to the hilt into the flesh, feeling the creature shudder and then it collapsed.
She pulled out the blade, savouring the metallic taste of the creature's blood, the strong smell of it. And she felt her own blood pounding in the excitement of this battle. Slowly the red haze that clouded her mind was fading and she grabbed for her saber she found on the far side of the cave. She cut off one of those spikes, realising they were covered with some strange oozing liquid, probably poison. The tip of her tongue quickly flicked over her blood stained lips and she again felt the cry of her heart for more blood to spill - for another hunt.
Meanwhile the remaining people at the camp found themselves faced by the same creatures. Shikyo cursed as he and Ashia dropped into a cave, facing one of those wyrm creatures.
Ashia gained her feet and drew her katana as she lept out of reach of the massive creature. Shikyo's sabre was ignited instantly, the crimson blade casting an eery light in the obscurity of the tunnel. Vaulting into the air he landed on the other side of the wrym, trying to draw it's attention to him.
"Ashia! Get out!" He swung his sabre wide at the beast. It's giant head swiveling in the direction of the light as it moved to attack.
"I'm not going anywhere!" She darted in, slicing her sword along the opposite side. A horrific noise emanted from it's belly as it threw it's head upwards in agony. A shower of sand fell down on them, creating a hissing noise on Rurouni's sabre. The humming reverbrated through the corridor as he struck the beast. His blade slicing through it's brawny rind like a hot knife through butter. The air was filled the smell of burned flesh as he plowed through the thick animal. The screaming stopped as it slumped forward, falling at Ashia's feet. She jumped back just as it's massive jaws and rows upon rows of teeth landed inches from her boots.
Shikyo switched off his lightsaber and came around to the front, but instead of admiring his handywork, his eyes got dark.
"The next time I tell you to get out, you get the frell out!" Anger dripped from him his words falling like acid.
Ashia returned the icy stare, pulling her self up to try and look him in the eye; a hard thing to do when you're drastically shorter.
"Look! I don't need you to protect me! I took care of myself long before you came along!"
Shikyo paced back and forth for a minute, fuming, trying to keep his emotions in check. The planet deffinately had a pull on everyone. The desire to fight and argue was strong, seeping into their very pores. Moments later a rope was lowered and Macron's voice boomed from overhead.
"You two ok?"
Ashia wiped the blood off her katana and resheathed it before moving to the rope to haul herself out. Shikyo took a deep breath and stood there for a moment, watching as the steam rise from the corpse.
'I promised Muz I'd bring you back.'
Xayun cursed as he grabbed for his saber. Should have been more alert... He dived to the side as the creature lunged at him, jaws snapping. Too late now... He hit the ground and rolled, igniting his saber as he rose. The beast went for him again, and he spun and drew his lightsaber across it's flank, eliciting a screech that made his ears ring. Shaking his head to clear the remnants of the noise, he grunted as a powerful swipe knocked him to the ground.
Great....well, at least I can give him indigestion.
Suddenly, a cry sounded out from behind the creature, and Xayun saw Callus flying through the air, landing on the creature's back. The Envoy had both his saber and his knife drawn, and he thrust both into the sides of the beast's head. The thing let out a low groan and collapsed to the ground. Helping Xayun up, Callus grinned.
"What would you do without me, Cajun?" he said as Xayun dusted himself off.
"Well, from the looks of things, I probably wouldn't be in a position to do much. Now let's see about helping the others, shall we?" replied the Knight. The two brandished their sabers and ran off in the direction of the others.
Malisane battled with a wyrm, dodging its swinging mouth and teeth and slicing at it, searing it's flesh and filling the area with a sickly burning smell. It darted towards him and he jumped back. The creature was a new experience to him, no limbs to chop off, no eyes to aim for, just the snapping maw that was coming ever closer to his limbs.
It wasn't a creature to be underestimated. Aside from it's teeth the spikes on it's hide came ever closer, and the Aedile could sense the deadly poision they contained. From nearby he could also sense Gmork. The Reduras Hound was sat on it's haunches nearby, staying out of the action on his orders. Powerful was the hound, with it's horns and it's deadly jaws that could rip flesh apart of bit off a mans head, he dared not send the Gmork in against a creature who's very touch could be deadly to the pet. He could sense it's annoyance and frustration and it's desperation to join the killing, but it's stoic stance was a testiment to the training himself and Xayun had embued in it.
"Soon my pet, soon," he muttered, "many other foes around, you will kill and feast soon enough."
He hacked again at the wyrm, slicing deep into it's flesh with the saber and causing a burst of liquid from it's side before the flesh cauterised. Malisane evaded it guessing it to be deadly and attacked again, his saber cleaving into the wyms neck and it twitched and roared. It's movements were slower now. It made a final grab at his arm with it's deadly teeth before the Sith drove his blade through it's abdomen, hitting whatever passed for internal organs in the thing. It shuddered and fell to the ground with a thump. Malisane watched it tensely, then satisfied it was dead he turned and surveyed the battle.
"This doesn't make sense," he muttered to himself. "Those things don't have eyes or ears, they hunt by vibration and we didn't make that much noise. And why so many? Wyrms shouldnt hunt in packs should they?There's something else going on here." He thought for a minute the longer watching the fighting. It seemed to be nearly over now, the last few wyrms being overwhelmed by the Brotherhoods strength. He rushed over to join in,
Callus was engulfed in the battle with the wyrms. He hacked a wing off of the beast to his left with his lightsaber and it tumbled to the ground. He crushed it's skull under the heel of his boot and then spinning to his right his lightsaber caught another of the winged beasts with his saber cutting the bottom half of it's jaw. Callus rolled forward and with his left hand, holding his knife, he jabbed it into the stomach of the beast, its blood pouring over his arm and shoulder. Callus stood up and slung the beast on to the ground it's skull cracking off the stone of the ground.
Callus was fully caught up in the dance, the whispering hum of his lightsaber, the screeching of the beasts as they were cut down, the gentle flow of blood from the beasts in their final moments, and the constant in and out of his own breathing. He lept in the air and drove his saber into the neck of one of the beasts. If the initial damage from the saber didn't kill it Callus' knee on it's spine as it came crushing down certainly did.
Callus stood over 3 lifeless Wyrms. He caught his breath and saw that the battle was going well the beasts were getting mopped up rather quickly as the other darksiders were taking care of the beasts he cleaned his knife off on one of the wings of a fallen beast.
Callus straightened up and looked around. The last of the beasts were fleeing or were being killed at this moment. Callus took a deep breath and wondered what sent these beasts on a rampage like this. Callus knew from the beastiary that these beasts hunted on sound and echos, sortof like sonar, and Callus didn't think that they were making that much noise. It had to be the Jedi that set these creatures on them.
He was ready to move on to the academy.
Macron, Ashia, and Shikyo were encapsulated in tunnels of dark chemical-laden gloom. Water dripped from olden calcareous split rocks, yielding toothy fingers of glistening hard stone. Many divided-levels gaped with dripping rocky crevices that promised sniper positions against them all. Ashia gritted her teeth, sensing the nearby battle as the others faced down the Sithspawn Slime-Wyrms somewhere else.
Ashia was the stealthiest by her Krath nature, and took the point. Shikyo brought up the center. Always scanning and moving, they searched for prey. Mononoke brought up the rear, guarding against the inevitable. The trio screamed into action as eight slimy mutant filth-sucking creatures tried to slurp out their innards.
“What the Hades?” thought the madman. “Nasty Frellers,” Macron pondered as he grossly unzipped one with his screaming malevolent orange saber. Mononoke realized they were only three now against the vicious tunnels.
Macron concentrated upon the art of Battle Meditation and ensured that all the Darksiders in his group were ruthlessly efficient “ I hope between us all, we can cleave toward our brethren!” he shouted as they all surged ahead. “ I know you like to hurt them with your weapons,” he yelled at Ashia. “Hurt them, they will break before you!” he hissed. “Let us all hurt them good!”
Muz had taught him the trick, one of the Aleema Keto’s evil Krath legacies. The alchemist wrapped himself in twisted draining painful shadows and shared his power with the valiant defenders. As his lips split and his limbs and body twitched, the Wyrms were repelled with fearsome malice by his hate-filled allies. Blades and sabers smote the tubular aberrations with zeal.
The Battlemaster lost his mind as he slashed and ripped with disgusting fervor. Macron cavorted ahead into the tunnel obscenely like some insane marionette. His friends strode behind.
Another assault had struck them all. Severed gray fleshy worm bodies hit the rough floor with splurts of spouting ichor. Curses were spat toward the uncaring vermin.
“Where is Sildrin?” shouted Shikyo as Macron giggled many meters away. Shikyo said nothing further as his Sith blade wove a pattern of searing scarlet severance about his position. Foul gelid chattering gobs of repellent meat dropped from the severed bodies of his foes.
Ashia slashed corpulent Wyrmous flesh to shreds with her blade. The pustulent bodies of slithering masses were blasted by the arts of all the Dark Jedi. The mind of no mind overtook the Krath Witch as she whirled, separating vile flesh from scabrous bone. Soon, the Wyrms were gone. They sought weaker prey on this twisted world.
Sildrin dove deep into the guts of the under terrain tunnels, driving her purple saber and blades before her in search of the truth. Callus moved like a thunderbolt through his own hell, cutting down Wyrms with a moving Hothian scythe. In another part of this cavernous system, Malisane and Xayun argued. Gmork was hungry as well, and most of the nearby nematodes were deceased. Gmork had sensed something unusual- perhaps the way to the Core.
Eventually, the Sith spawn Wyrms left. No beast could take that sort of punishment.
Malisane looked around the caves. "Well thats about it for the wyrms."
"They'll be back." Xayun replied.
"Well they'll get another pasting if they do." the Aedile replied.
He looked around. "I guess the next part of our journey will be underground then."
"You don't say." Xayun replied with a grin.
Malisane looked down at Gmork, seeing the hound looking unsettled. "What's up?" he asked.
Gmork sniffed, then suddenly darted off down a side tunnel. "Where's he going?" Xayun wondered.
"Don't know but we'd better follow." Malisane replied.
They headed off into the dark corridor, their force senses better than any torch. They followed the hound for a hundred metres until them came to a smaller cavern and stopped dead. The hound was stood stock still, it's fur up and growling menacingly.
A robed figure was waiting for them. It wasn't the jedi, they could both clearly make out the cavern wall behind it. They could feel weak waves of the dark side from the figure.
"It's the spirit of a woman," Xayun said quietly, "you don't think its," he paused, "Darth Traya?"
Malisane shook his head. "No, but she feels familiar."
"Greetings Malisane." she said.
"Who are you?" he demanded.
The spirit drew back her hood, revealing a cold but beautiful woman. "I trust you remember me?"
Malisane starred at her, terrible flashbacks coming to him. "Severina!"
"Indeed." she replied.
"Who is this?" Xayun demanded staring at the spirit.
"This is Severak's apprentice and lover," Malisane replied staring at her, "she disguised herself as a student and became my apprentice. During the journey to Kangaras to destroy the True Brotherhood I stucka dagger in her and Sildrin and the Keibatsu's finished her off." He looked at her. "Are you responsible for the worms that attacked us?"
She laughed. "Of course not fool," she replied, "I am deceased, and powerless to do anything but watch now. And I watch you Malisane."
"Why?" he demanded.
"You interest me, my lovers Son, why would you not?"
He stared at her. "What do you want from me Severina?" he demanded.
"I want nothing," she replied, "I have seen your death. I wait to share it with you, eagerly. You have much to answer for, what you did to me, what you did to your father."
Malisane stepped back a minute. He was becoming confused and apprehensive. "You say you have seen my death," he replied, "what have you seen?"
She laughed, "You think I will tell you that?" she asked with a wry smile, "I have no wish to spoil the suprise for you. All you need know is it will be at the hand of one you know well, one you trust. But who that is, well you will have to wait and see."
"I have heard enough," Malisane replied angrily, "leave me alone Severina!"
She chuckled. "Or you will do what?" she asked simply, with that same infuriating smile, "Oh yes, I will enjoy watching your last moments. I will enjoy it indeed." She was still smiling when she faded away.
Malisane stood staring at the space where she had stood.
Xayun looked at him. "Ignore her," Xayun told him, "she is just a twisted shade tormenting you with her lies."
Malisane continued to stand quietly. her words burning into him. Was she telling the truth? Who could it be, who did he trust?
Xayun looked at him. "Come on lets get back to the others."
Malisane nodded, "Yeah ok." He turned and followed the Envoy and the Hound back to the main cavern, his thoughts still full of her words.
The shade shimmered, the red vapour of the dark side ether drifting apart on currents of foul air. Malisane felt the woman's essence disbursing, and somehow her familiar wickedness felt as though it was with him. Malisane debated whether or not it was a comfort as he sensed her wrapping around him.
Xayun watched his leige carefully, his own curiosity wondering how much insanity and anger was in this place that it seemed to drive everyone deeper into the twisting madness. Oh yes, the Dark side was strong in this place, and no doubt a strong place to hone their abilities, but at wat cost? Control? Individuality? What Price was he willing to pay, in order to tread just a bit further into the darkness?
Xayun shrugged the ideas off, resigning such thoughts for a time when peril didn't threaten so readily. "Come on, Mal... We should catch up to Mac."
The structure loomed before them, the broken masonry stark against the iridescent decay, the cascading towers prostated before the sky, grovelling to the ages for sympathy and respite from the toll of time. Macron stepped toward the ruin, his hands removing his helmet to let the view pass unhindered into the golden eclipse of his eyes.
The silence of awe washed over the others, the monoliths of ages past imbedding themselves in their psyches, this dark mecca steeling their resolve
Sildrin slunk behind the Alchemist, her robes trailing through the debris. Her presence wafted over Macron like a whisper, her resonance a soothing melody, a dark symphony of loss.
Macron nodded silently, no words needed to convey what they both felt, standing on the threshold of history.
"Set up the camp." The words came slow and measured, like the breaths the sith drew, his eyes unmoving from the dark promise of the academy. "We start exploring at dawn."
The sounds of people inflating their portable shelters and setting up the fire filled his ears as he watched the sun dip down behind the wreckage, the velvet of night draping across the landscape behind them, seeping across the landscape.
Macron turned, the emptiness within filled by purpose for now. "Shikyo..."
The youngest of the Kyataran brethren looked up from his hands, the dull glow of the adegan he found coruscating across his eyes. "Yeah?"
"Did you bring any sake?" Macron stepped down from the prominitory metal shard, warmth seeping back into his bones as he neared the fire.
Shikyo grinned, producking a fat bottle of chilled liquid from his pack. "Ginjo, from the Western prefect. Best I've had in some time." Thumbing oped the stopper, Shikyo changed his grin into a sullen stare.
Macron's eyebrow went up quizically, the tatoos of his face contorting in cruel curves, the motion releasing the endorphins and concoctions from the ink of the Sith tattoos. As the rush waved over him, he blinked in curiosity at Shikyo's demeanor, glimpsing behind him to ensure no fell beast stalked him.
"What's with the grimace?"
"Older brother, drinking is serious business..."
The Blind Dragon yawned, her white eyes recedign to reveal the chill blue of her birth, the Dreamscape affording the Krath plainswalker control of her own avatar. She brushed the crimson from her face, feeling out among the shadowed world, feeling along the crevices and behind the addled landscape for the roiling morass of pain and darkness she knew so well.
"Where are you?" The words whispered out absentmindedly as she moved.
The silence deafened her as she moved. Things were too calm, too quiet, too easy. Wondering silently if the beast had retreated to the far reaches, Sildrin drank of the Decay, stretching her senses further out as she searched.
A sound grew from nothing, the noise nasal and piquant. Sildrin perked her ears, something within her compelling her toward it. Her mind knew the sound, but the origin was elusive, yet she felt drawn.
There was more there than just that, though. Something calm and relaxing. Her mind raced, dredging through memory as she moved. Something from her past, something...
The Jedi stood there, his calming hands cradling a small parcel, his eyes rising to greet the Krath.
Sildrin's mind stilled in recognition. A baby. The sound was a baby cooing.
Eojin watched Sildrin step forward, caution in her movement as she bit back instinct. He let a smile breach the corners of his mouth.
Sildrin paused, her eyes rising to meet the Jedi. "What do you want from me, Jedi?"
Eojin watched in silence, his eyes glinting with the wisdom age brought so few. Sildrin fought herself, her instincts, her spirit unafraid of the lightsider, wanting just to move forward. Eojin moved the blanket a touch, the crown of the child showing the pale red hair of the Hastur line.
Sildrin bit back the gasp, her eyes welling up from the emotion as she recognized the shade of her own child. Sildrin felt her knees wobble, her mind trying desperately to gleam strength in the face of this Jedi.
"I..." Sildrin fought the emotion, denying them and sending them back into the depths of her sorrowed soul. "I would kill them again, Jedi, if I needed to."
Eojin shook his head slowly. "No, my dear... not as alone as you feel."
Sildrin's knees collapsed, dropping to the wreckage at her feet. Raising her eyes to glare at the Jedi Master, she tried to focus the fear, the sorrow into rage, trying to channel her emotion into something useful, something utilitarian.
"I hope he kills you, Eojin."
Eojin's eyebrow went up as he considered the Blind Dragon's words. The response came calm and measured, the purity of the man's reaction astounding to her.
"He's not the first student of mine to flirt with the darkness within..."
"Sorry, Mac, but Muz hasn't been at Kuroshin for a week... He took the Spear on the quartermoon." Shin'Ichi's voice was somehow soothing to the Alchemist, his brother in arms haveing worked together with him as they stampeded across the armies of the Kyataran usurpers.
Macron shifted his weight, scratching his brow in thought as he watched the blue lines of the holoprojector sway. "Did he say where he was going, Shin?"
"Not achance... He wouldn't even let Blackwind go with him." Shin muttered something about the Eldest Keibatsu's stubbornness in his native tongue before continuing. "To be honest, I've been a little worried about him. He's been acting a bit removed lately... Like when he came back from the centre, you know?"
Macron nodded, his mind spinning in curiosity as the puzzle began to slide together. "I'll let you know if I hear anything, Shin."
The Archpriest nodded before the power cut out. Macron sighed, leaning back in his seat, watching the academy beyond the fire. The sake soothed his throat, but had not settled his doubts.
Something moved in the darkness. Macron's fingers flew to the hilt of his weapon, standing up with a bolt.
Sildrin undid the flap of her tent, stepping out from the shelter in her under-robes, pale knuckles holding the garment closed. Her free hand brushed the disheveled appearance from her face as she shot a concerned look at the alchemist.
"Alarum." Macron grabbed his helm, slipping it on his shoulders as the neckseal lowered the alchemically enhanced battle armour into place and sealing out the elements.
Sildrin nodded, summoning her saber to her hand on currents of energy as she moved to wake the others. The song of sabers echoed through the air, falling upon them to increase their urgency.
Macron shouted as he barreled toward the noise, the orange corusca exciting inside his hilt as the blade erupted. "Rally to me!" Macron leapt from behind a blasted starfighter wing, the sounds of friendly sabers glaring behind him as Malisane and Xayun flung from their bedrolls.
His eyes focused in the darkness, the carcass of a Sith hound falling to the soil as a shadowed figure riding the corpse to the ground. Callus watched from across the path, his eyes wide in anger as he flung himself into the fray.
"Callus, no!" Sildrin screamed, her voice permeating them to their core as they watched the Knight land behind the shadowed figure, saber raised.
The shadow sung aside, the Knight's blade sailing harmlessly past as the dark figure pulled its weapons from the neck of the Sith hound, amethyst and ruby blaring their brilliance into the night sky.
The motion was too quick, to unorthodox for the knight to deal with effectively, his blade blocking the twin sabers at the sacrifice of his balance. The dark robes spun aside, a heavy boot finding the Knight's chest in the darkness, driving the force-backed assault into him.
Callus flew from the back of the beast, smashing dully into the ground, his head snappign back to collide with the cold steel to call him to the dreamlands.
The figure dropped next to the knight, sabers raised to illuminate the face of the dark one.
Macron swore, his voice louder than he thought as he summoned the force to his muscles. "Muz, stop!"
The black eyes of the Herald rose from his prey, a malevolence few had seen seething from him, the darkness of the ashen emanating from him, flavoring the air with a palpable menace.
Macron stepped forward, and Muz shifted his stance, regarding the Alchemist with a cruel smile and the points of his sabers.
Shikyo stuttered, his mind trying to force the words from his mouth. "Muz, it's your frelling brother..."
Sildrin moved silently, her blade held low as she moved around the alchemist. "He's not himself right now, Shikyo... Remember Antei?"
Shikyo swore, the first in a plethora of epithets that rose from the team. Muz stepped forward, the reflection of their blades casting macabre malice from his nightmare eyes.
"This is no damned good... no damned good..." Macron muttered as he stepped back, Sildrin at his elbow as they tried to formulate a plan that would get the least amount of people killed.
The ambience shifted within them, the Herald halting his movement. Malisane's eye's glanced skyward to catch the Jedi's brown robes flaring from one of the tower ruins.
Muz spun on his heel, stepping toward the Jedi, steps quickening as he broke into a full run, leaping into the darkness as the Jedi dove from the pillar, leading the Krath from their midst.
Macron let out a breath, anxiety not quite fading, but definately feeling better with his head still attached to his body. He stepped forward, his eyes staring at the fallen hound. "Well, at least we know who's been killing the beasties here."
Sildrin chuckled darkly. "We've thirty minutes until dawn. What do we want to do, Mac?"
Rasilvenaira returned her katana to its sheath, and considered the dark storm that was Muz as he faded into the distance once more.
"Lovely. Another crazy Keibatsu." She muttered under her breath.
Turning her attention to the still unconcious Knight, she moved over to where Callus lay. Arching an eyebrow as she assured herself that he was still alive, she prodded him with the toe of her boot.
"Come on, get yourself up, no time for sleeping on the job."
He groaned, and sat up slowly, "What do you care? You'd probably be happy if he had've killed me."
A wicked grin flickered across her face, "Oh no, I'd have been very disappointed, I'd rather kill you myself, but that will wait."
Turning her back on Callus, her dark eyes drifted over the camp. Macron caught her attention and she chuckled softly as the Alchemist's thought entered her mind.
I heard that.
Nodding, she replied, You know I have no quarrel with your family, and you can't deny that you're all crazy. But that's what makes you interesting.
He grinned and turned his attention to the preparations for the rapidly approaching dawn.
Rasilvenaira turned to her own perparations, moving along the fringes of the camp. As was her habit, she remained just on the edges of the group, obeying the order to stay with them, but not staying close either. Her mind returned to its own dark thoughts that had, for a moment, been interupted by the appearance of the Herald.
Macron grimaced, the orange brilliance of his saber hueing his face. A face having turned into a tatooed mask of pure malice from the grim look. His yellow eyes stared through the night, searching for his brother or what had been left of him, but only trails of dark desires for blood were whispering across the mental planes.
Ashia staggered through the people, her face pale. Her voice trembled for a brief moment: "I .. have to find him!". The Jedi Huntress took a deep breath, her thoughts lingered with the dark eyed that had captured her heart. With a stern voice she said: "Let me go and search for him."
Sildrin considered her words for a moment, then she replied with a quiet voice: "I am not quite sure, but probably he would kill you. I can't allow that." Ashia felt her knees goes weak: "I have to...", .. I have to follow him.... for him.. and for our son...
Macron replied: "If you won't let her go, then I will." Sildrin sighed: "I didnt say that I am not allowing her to go. I simply can't allow to get her killed. She can't go alone." The Quaestor turned her head into Ashia's direction, her name Xia Long given by the patriarch of the Long family was truely a name describing her - The Blind Dragon. Her white eyes stared as two silent sentinels at Ashia. Carefully the Quaestor continued, her face remaining unreadable: "I guess we have to split up, one main group going to the academy. The rest to go after Muz and this Jedi.".
Shikyo stepped up to them: "I talked to the others and everyone decided where to go to.", he sniffed the air, muttering: "This night appears never to end." His brother Macron suddenly cursed, grabbing for a datapad, typig hastily. "What is it?", Shikyo looked concerned. The Blind Dragon suddenly gasped, her head was tilted backwards facing the dark sky as acknowledgment trickled into her mind afew moments later than Macron: "It should have been dawn already half an hour ago....."
Macron spat out: "Sithspawn! This can't be! It is an eclipse. The inner planet of this system has moved between this planet and the sun.". Malisane approached, followed by Gmork. His voice was calm, showing the calculating and rational character of this Aedile: "It is still dark although the sun should already shine. What is the meaning of this?" Journeymen that were busy with dissembling the camp and were close to the path of Malisane's pet quickly moved out of the reach of this fearsome creature. The fangs and the strong jaw of this creature were quite impressive. Macron turned his eyes from the datapad: "It is an eclipse. And my calculations show me that it will take about 4 standard days untill this is over. It must have happened over the night, when the inner planet moved between us and the sun. We didn't take notice."
Malisane motioned over to a small crate: "I happen to know there are some IR googles, but I have no idea if they work on some of those creatures." Shikyo stared at them: "And I bet that this is the reason why those wyrms attacked us. Usually they stay within those dark tunnels and...." - "... now there will be also several other creatures of the night that believe we are explendid food", Ashia continued. The people stared at each other, except for the Quaestor who stood aside with her arms wrapped around her. She had a distant look on her face, for her it didn't matter if the world was bathed in darkness or not. Why should it to a blind one?
She had seen this before; knew how close you could get without loosing your life. That pure unadultered rage that lived deep within the Herald. He had no concept of right or wrong, just an acrimony of encroachment; a chaotic encumberment that reached far into his very being.
Ashia's eyes searched Sildrin's blank face for a moment. 'You know I can reach him.'
'You know I can't let you get hurt.' Sildrin's face remained blank. Her duty as Quaestor overpowering her sense of what needed to be done. She knew Ashia knew what she was doing but still, didn't like the risk.
'You know I won't.' Ashia's thoughts danced through the Blind Dragon's mind. Sildrin nodded in her direction.
"Macron, take the rest to the acedemy. Shikyo, Ashia and myself will go after Muz and the Jedi. We'll catch up with you later." The authoritative sound in her voice reverbrated thoroughout the area. No one questioned her.
They finished packing up the camp and grapped some of the IR goggles before heading out. Sildrin and Ashia leading the way with Shikyo guarding from behind. They hadn't gone far when a noise was heard from behind. Shikyo's lighsaber ignited in the dark, a brightness that made the rest of the camp behind them start. Malisane approached them with Gmork at his heel. The young Keibatsu let his guard down with an expenditure of breath and put his sabre away.
"I think I should go too. There's no telling what you'll find out there and Gmork is good at tracking." Sildrin nodded her acquiescence.
A foreboding sense reached her. She knew who the Jedi was; could taste his presence as a sour wine upon her lips. She trembled at the thought.
'Why would he be here and what did he want?' Her thoughts turned to the Jedi as her mind raced for answers. The shadows deepened all around them as they moved forward silently, heading the direction that Muz had taken off to.
Xayun, Callus, Krayn, Cal, Riv, Cain and Rasilvenaira were to be the foray team deep into the guts of the old Academy. The idea made Mononoke almost drool with anticipation. The power that could be found there lay within the arcane knowledge that had been inevitably stored within. Undoubtedly the wily Sith had hidden many things, as they always did. Many of them would remain hidden to any but Darksiders.
The alchemist’s thoughts flashed backward to the recent past as his tattoos ached.
Macron mused silently as he sealed up his base camp gear. “Frell I don’t want to fight that Ashen monster anyhow,” thought Macron as he gathered his gear. “I’m good for my limited power- but not nearly that good. I don’t envy them this wyrd before them.” Macron had developed a deep attachment to his head remaining on his shoulders.
Ashia had approached then. “Macron, will you treat this for me? I'll be busy it looks like,” she asked as her hand was held outstretched. In her fingers lay a pulsing brilliant blue Kyataran Adegan. “Sure. Anything for blood and Clan. I’d be glad to do it personally. I assume you want purple as your flavor?” he smiled as he placed the throbbing gem gently in a padded hardshell case on his belt. She nodded her assent.
He unclipped a battered Vader-style saber hilt, all sprayed with flat black alchemical paint. The simple casing was streaked and worn from many battles and slayings. Mononoke flicked a bit of old dried gore off the butt end with a black fingernail. He snapped it on briefly as he held it up and the crimson red blade lit with a angry hiss. “Still works. Ashia, this is my old blade, the one I built as a Knight. It works well.”
He shut it off and handed it to her butt-first. “Let’s hope you don’t need it. And I want it back, of course. I keep it around for sentimental reasons, you know. Be careful. ” She nodded grimly, and took the weapon in her fist as she stalked away to ready her own gear. Macron shook his head with sadness.
Xayun and Callus met Macron outside the tent, with Rasilvenaira, Riv, Krayn and Cal nearby. The madman had mentally returned to the present, at least for now.
“Okay guys. In a fight let us go first,” he said as he pointed to Xayun and Callus and himself with a chuckle. “Cal, I’ll need your electronics skills. Riv, I hope you have that heavy repeating blaster ready. It came in handy a while back. Krayn, you seem to be handy with a blaster as well. We’ll need you to back up Riv, and nail flankers. Where in Hades is Cain?” he wondered with a shrug.
Macron turned to Rasilvenaira. “And you, my stealthy friend will need to cover our backs. I know how you act like a Krath sometimes, silent and deadly. You remind me of another friend who is a Krath. We will need that. Any questions folks? If not, let’s move out. We have plundering *ahem* archaeology to do.”
Rasilvenaira smirked slightly as she nodded, "I'm ready, let's get going." Silently she added her thoughts to Macron, This should definately be fun.
Turning her attention to the path ahead, Rasilvenaira ran down her mental checklist of her hidden arsenal stashed about her person. Her katana being her only visible weapon, she rested her hand lightly on its hilt. Keen dark eyes searched the shadows beyond the gathered group, stealth indeed was one thing she knew well.
As the group began to move, she positioned herself toward the rear, chuckling to herself as she considered the fact that its where she would have been even without Macron's request.
Stretching her senses out as far as she could, StormRaven had no intention of letting herself or the group be ambushed from behind. Weaving herself into the shadows, she let herself become one of them.
Riv and Krayn were closest to the rear, and both glanced over their shoulders nervously. Riv seemed startled by the apparently sudden absence of the Guardian. Krayn looked over, and shook his head. While he'd grown somewhat used to his Tetrarch's ways, her ability to vanish so easily still amazed him.
"She's still here, don't worry, she just does that." he offered.
Riv nodded, "If you say so, but I'm Shistavanen and I can't even smell or hear her now, much less see her."
Krayn shrugged, "No clue how she does it. Its just the way she is."
Rasilvenaira smiled as their words reached her ears, and she slipped further into the darkness alongside the path to the Academy, a silent and deadly shadow.
Malisane walked slightly ahead of the group, Gmork padding ahead sniffing the ground and confidently leading the way.
He tried to keep his mind on the mission but thoughts kept entering his head unbidden. He'd followed his Quaestor out of loyalty and devotion, but he had his doubts about this course of action. They were tracking Muz to who knows where, and the Herald wasn't exactly safe or entirely stable at the moment to put it mildly.
Ever since the Aedile had met the Keibatsu as a Protector during the feud with Marka Ragnos, the former Pro Consul had made him nervous, and even now as a Knight about to move into the Equites nothing had changed. He knew that Muz had saved his life once on Kangaras against the Equite Tslotha Garnath, and had lead his rescue on Mustafar against the Sith's father, but he found it hard to be at ease around the Councillor and the idea of deliberatley tracking him down seemed insane.
He couldn't get past the prediction Severina had told him either. He had faced his share of enemies over the years, most of which had tried to kill him. But this was different. Someone he trusted and was close to was going to kill him. Mentally a list of candidates appeared.
Xayun, the knight was his Black Guard and he'd trained the Sith to replace him as Clan Envoy. The Knight seemed happy as Envoy of the Clan, but could he have his mind of the House Summit, to work along side his master? Malisane had carried a saber for longer than Xayun, surely he could take him? But the Envoy was also a Black Guard, his Black Guard, and Malisane had never been privy to whatever training the Clans assassins received. How good was he? Xayun couldn’t be a theat. Could he?
He glanced back over his shoulder at the Quaestor, moving forward confidently, her force senses seeing anything despite her physical blindness. The Blind Dragon had nothing to gain from killing the Sith, she was higher in position and older and more powerful in the force. Still Malisane had lead the team that arrested her and dragged her off to the Sapphire Star. They'd never really discussed the matter. She was hard to judge, an enigma to the Sith. He held no illusions that she was more powerful, good though he was the best he could probably manage was a token defence against her before the inevitable. Surely though he had nothing to fear from his own Quaestor?
And there was another one. A man who Malisane had trusted and been friends with since he joined the Brotherhood, someone he had served under in Sapphire and Ludo Kressh, had been on constant missions with, learned the duties of an Envoy from and discussed ideas with that had lead the Envoys in Naga Sadow to their recent and continuing success, and the idea of him being a threat to the Aedile was so ludicrous as to be laughable? “Macron.” He muttered thoughtfully.
“What did you say Malisane?” Sildrin asked from behind him, her sightless eyes seeming to bore into him. He turned.
“Nothing.” He replied.
“You’re not still worrying about what that spirit said to you?” she asked, and he knew her senses searched him feelings.
How did she know about that? “That load of nonsense,” he replied forcing a laugh, “haven’t given it another thought.”
Everyone seemed to be concerned about something. Ashia was very worried about Muz's madness, Malisane seemed almost frightened about a thought on his mind, and Sildrin kept her mind on everything around her. Shikyo closed his eyes as he walked, feeling the presences around them and just relaxing his mind. He kept his hand on the hilt of his katana, feeling the cloth brush against his fingertips.
It was disturbing to think that his brother could lose his mind to the point that he could not recognize his bretheren. Disturbing thoughts filled the Knight's mind, such as having to confront his brother in mortal combat, not just sparring matches. Could he have the nerves to do that? Granted his brother was a Pontifex as well as a member of the Council, but that didn't matter. Muz was his older brother and the thought of fighting his family was extremely foreign.
Sildrin turned back towards the Sergeant, sensing his concern. She slowly fell back through the group, catching up to him. She tapped him on the shoulder, alerting his senses to her at once. He opened his eyes, catching the figure of the Quaestor.
"Are you ok, Shikyo?"
"Yeah... I'm just a little worried about fighting Muz. I mean, I've sparred with him, but it was never a fight to the death."
"I understand... maybe Ashia will restore his senses."
Shikyo looked down at his saber, staring at the purple ribbon on his hilt. He looked back at the Archpriestess, remembering when she gave him the ribbon. Everytime he looked at the piece of fabric, it brought him a sense of tranquiltity. Maybe the same would happen to the Herald if he caught a glimpse of Ashia.
He looked at the Blind Dragon and nodded, just in time to catch a glimpse of two beams of light. They were crimson and violet, the colors of his brother's sabers. The group backed away slowly, a gasp leaving the Huntress' lips. Shikyo and Sildrin stepped forward, a look of concern and determination upon their faces. The hiss and crackle of three sabers filled the ears of everyone around, as Malisane ignited his blade.
It would be a three on one match, but Muz Keibatsu Sadow was no easy combatant. Everyone had to be at their best to match the Krath, if he was performing at his best as well. Shikyo would be the first to lunge, meeting his brother head on.
The blades of the Herald danced from above, screaming down in a dissonant symphony of dismemberment. The violet caught the Sith's blade and pushed it aside, throwing the attack askew. Shikyo slunk his body away from the confrontation, the amethyst retort seething past his robes to draw a charred cut across the fabric.
Sildrin darted aside, her purple blade deflecting a low swing of the Herald's red as he turned from the Keibatsu. The sunset tones of the Lion of Tarthos bathed them all in unnatural light, the cauterizing arcs a storm of malevolence that whipped around his centre.
Malisane thrust his saber forward, the arcs of light capturing his blade almost instantly as black eyes shifted toward the Warrior. A malevolent grin erupted on the Kyataran's face, cruelty dripping from his teeth. The Pontifex twisted, wrenching the weapon from the Equites hands, the hilt absorbing its blade as it flew, colliding with a ruined pillar.
"Frell." Malisane ducked, rolling across the ground to evade the reprisal strike as he made his way to his weapon. "Sokan..."
"No, he's playing with us." Sildrin snarled as she pressed back an smiling assault, Shikyo trying to divert the Herald's second saber.
"Ashia, get up here, quick!" Shikyo sidestepped abruptly, the crimson saber shearing a bit of robe from his raiment. Hopefully, this gamble would work...
Ashia fumbled with the battle-worn saber of the Alchemist, the angry red blade screaming to life as she tried to control the arcwave. Stepping forward, she forced the fear down. She had heard of the madness that claimed him, but had never seen it in person until now.
Ashen spun, a dervish of neon coruscation and twisted hate as he moved toward the Archpriest. Xia paled, the attacks growing in intensity and speed despite the energy she forced to her arms. Shikyo bellowed, throwing himself at the herald, only to catch a boot to the chest, the heavy leather sending him backwards to the ground.
Malisane called the saber to his hand, the blade shimmering with the razor hum in the darkness. Muz flicked his hands, the blades spinning as he threw Sildrin's blade from her hands, turning abruptly toward the Aedile as the Blind Dragon fell to her knees, panting as she felt along the ground for the hilt.
"Muz!" Ashia's strength finally boiled to the surface, her icy eyes pleading with the shadow that cast before her. The ashen one turned, his eyes fiery as he motioned at the Warrior, strands of telekinetic ether dragging him away by his saber hand, bashing him into a decrepit pile of wreckage.
Muz brought the sabers up, his teeth still bared in a twisted grin as he crossed the blades before him, the blades of the Ashen one ready to scissor the Zabrak's head from her body.
"Axi, run." The words were plain, punctuated by the teal glow of a saber. Muz paused at the voice, turning quickly to face the Jedi. "I don't know if I can bring him back this time..."
"I can't go, Eojin, and you know that."
Sildrin found her blade, standing slowly, her blind eyes glimmering in the amethyst light.
"Ashen, Zorax, and Hastur." Eojin mused as the Herald stalked toward him slowly. "Seems that young Skywalker's far worse at retention than Yoda was."
"What is wrong with him..." Sildrin's words came measured, and haltingly. "...Master Jedi?"
Muz dove at the Jedi, his blades scorching the air as he assaulted him. Eojin's blade flung wide, blocking with deft ease as a thundrous clap filled their ears. They were gone, the air rushing to fill the space where they were.
Malisane groaned, his blade screaming to life in anxiety. "Master?" The Aedile shifted his weight into the defensive. "Sildrin, you know this guy?"
"He was a master of the Jedi Council, yes." Sildrin nodded slowly. "I know him from...before."
"Then who is Zorax?" Shikyo muttered, rubbing the open cloth at his chest.
Ashia turned off the loaned saber, her eyes casting a furtive glance at the horizon, hoping to see the flash of blades, not knowing what the eventual dawn would bring. "It's my Dathomiri name..."
They glowered at her, minds racing at the prospect. Sildrin held a hand up, as if to forestall their judgement. "What do you know of Eojin, Ashia?"
"I know..." Ashia stuttered, her anxiety taking its toll on her body and mind. "He's old... Survivor of Order 66 old. And he's Muz's master. He tried to get me to tell him where he was when i went to them..."
"But you didn't?" Malisane stroked his head, nursing the concussion with the Force.
"I didn't know where he was." Ashia mumbled, staring at her feet. "I left in such a hurry, and my mind was such a mess..."
Muz stalked through the mindscape, the cathedral of thought and memory haunting him as he moved. Glimmers of sound echoed through the tapestry, the voices of his old master, his son, his student reverberating through him.
Muz shook his head, trying to recall where he was, trying to break free of the dream. The vision of Malachor V, his plan to go and safeguard his friends, his student... The Krayt he attacked, his blades severeing it's life, the wave of darkness...
The beast had taken him over again. In the Shadows of the Academy, the darkness had seized control, and here, he hadn't Cotelin to focus him.
Muz swore, the sound echoing through him.
Malisane let the force ease through his body easing the bruises cause by the battle with the Herald. He didn't like this, Now, they had two major problems, the mysterious Jedi and the crazy Councillor.
"What does this Eojin want?" he demanded of his Quaestor, "of Muz or you?"
Sildrin looked ahead and didn't answer, her face unreadable. Malisane starred at her for a minute then at Ashia. "Well?" he asked the Hunter. Ashia looked at him then away into the distance. He glanced at Shikyo who was quietly watching the space where his brother had vanished.
"Damn and blast." the Warrior muttered, picking up his saber and stalking away from them around the corner, Gmork at his heels. What were they doing here? It was just supposed to be an excavation, gather a few items, bit of exploring, test their skills. The wyrms he could live with, and the dragons, but why this? "Can't damn well stop myself," he muttered angrily to himself, "each and every damn time. Nothing is ever simple."
"Of course not," a voice said behind him, "what did you expect?"
He spun, to face the smiling spirit of the dead Elder. "Get away from me," he ordered her.
Severina smiled. "I think not," she replied, "oh how I enjoy this. Admitt it, when you fought the Krath you wandered for a second if he was the one?"
She was right but he refused to admitt it. "You know nothing," he replied angrily.
She chuckled. "You would be suprised what I know Malisane," she replied.
He stared at her, his mind racing. "What do you know?" he demanded, "do you know where Muz and that Jedi went?"
"I do," she replied, "however I have no wish to spoil your fun." She smiled, "an interesting character, he beat my love and that was no mean feat."
He stared at her. "That does not anger you?"
She shrugged. "Maybe I have seen his fate as well?" she said with a smile, "you will never live to see it."
"Severina leave me!" he said turning from her.
"Very well," the voice said, fading.
He strode back around to where the Archpriest, the Knight and the Hunter stood. Sildrin turned her blind stare to him. "We must follow." she said simply.
"Where?" Shikyo demanded, glancing at Malisane who shrugged, "they disapeared. there's nothing to follow."
"Do not question," she replied, "we will go." Without another word she set off ahead confidently, Shikyo following.
Malisane glanced at the still quiet Ashia with her expressionless face. "Come on you heard her." he said quietly, and she looked at him then the Hunter, the Warrior and the hound set off after the others.
Neverending plains of dull pain, shadows of memories filled with remorse and agony wafted from the clefts of the ground - the dreamscape and prison of the Herald. Two silent figures wandered across the plains. Blue eyes stared at the horizon, searching for a hint where to begin and where the end of this travel might be.
Black hair in small braids gently floated around the Jedi Huntress. Ashia Kagan was still quite unused to keep her dream avatar stable. Ocasionally it reflected the inner soul of her - a prowling creature with sharp claws. She turned her head to the left at the person with red flaming hair. Grey eyes looked back in concern. The Quaestor's voice sounded strangely distortet among the constant whispers of voices that haunted the dreamscape of the Herald's mind: "I believe we are heading into the right direction, can you still sense him?".
Ashia nodded, confused yet again that even the Archpriestress had her trouble with keeping up her own avatar. She had wondered about the grey eyes and Sildrin's reply was that she was born with grey eyes - like many of her kind. Ashia had expected them to be blue, but now she began to understand that those were only connected to the mainfestation of the Long within her - the Blind Dragon.
Sildrin motioned a hand to a shadowy building at the horizon. The outlines of their bodies ocasionally appeared to be blurred, as if someone had run a with a brush across a still wet painting. Ashia's eyes followed the hand and she whispered: "Yes. He must be there." The Quaestor's avatar shifted, scales appeared and a winding body hovered gently above the ground. Blue eyes fixed on Ashia - "Let's go", was the hissing reply of the dragon next to her. A few steps further Sildrin dropped down onto one knee, panting and she whispered: "This.. is harder than I thought.", her grey eyes looked down at her arm, seeing scales ripple through the skin and disappear again.
Ashia laid a hand on Sildrin's shoulder, and to her own horror she watched it turn briefly into a claw with long talons. "I will get along, these shifts are just so.. exhausting... I can't control them. And I guess I am not the only one", Sildrin whispered, eyeing Ashia's hand. Slowly they moved on towards the building.
Ancient pillars stood up against the dark clouded sky. Some had tumbled to the ground, none of them carried a roof anymore. They appeared like dark claws reaching out for a depserate prayer or any escape at the midnight roof. Ashia made Sildrin stop, something had brushed up against her essence - a fiery black presence. Heat escaped from the clefts of the ground, flakes of ash whirled and danced within the rising wall of heat. Sildrin's eyes widened: "... No!...", immediately the body of the dragon winded around Ashia like a protecting wall, but it was too late.
Haunting voices whined through the cathedral of lost dreams of hopes, accompanying the steps of the Pontifex. Time had no meaning in this place and he feared that each of his heartbeat meant a month or a year outside this mental prison of his. A raging scream escaped his lips, a bellowing cry for release and he dropped down onto his knees. His fists slammed down onto the stoney ground, his leather warcoat trailed his motion and black strands of hair fell into his face. With a grim expression he slammed his fists onto the ground - skin teared, flesh was bruised and the blood started to run. Each of his slams resounding those words that wouldn't pass his lips: "Release me!". He raised his bloodied hands, covering his face in utter dispair.
Then he slowly lowered his hands to his sides as the pounding didn't stop. Weary he got up, following the noise that was new within his evershifting prison. Several times he turned around in confusion as the origin of the sound changed, finally it became louder. Carefully he approached the source, amethyst and crimson flashing up from his hands. His blackened eyes weren't able to penetrate the darkness of the shadows in this part of the halls. The pounding sound was unbearable loud and suddenly a part of the wall crashed. Dust particles whirled through the air and a bloody scaled body crashed onto the ground. The dragon winded on the ground, a scaly claw ripped open the ground and it snarled at the Herald. The avatar hissed, changing its form - leaving behind a human form on the ground. Grey eyes seeked and then stared at him.
Sildrin spat out blood, her whole body was bruised and bleeding. She knew this was merely an avatar, but even a fight on the mental plains left behind bleeding wounds. The Quaestor panted: "Ashia... I tried everything.. it is too strong... It got her.. Ashen..."
Shikyo rested beside the Archpriestess, clearing her lips of the scarlet liquid. Malisane took watch over the Huntress, making sure everything was alright with her. It seemed as if the two were in a dream world; a world where they could search for Muz's presence. The Knight ripped off the sleeves of his robes, using them as tourniquets to seal the wounds on the Krath. A gust brushed across the bare arms of the Sergeant, flapping the ends of the ribbon on his bicep.
The Warrior observed his Quaestor, placing his hand on her forehead to check for signs of fever or any other signs of drastic changes in her body heat. Sounds of "Ashen..." passed through her lips, providing the smallest sign of what had happened to his oldest brother. 'Ashen' was the side of his brother that enemies had seen to the slightest bit. It was the madness within Muz that brought him to the brink of insanity, that threatened the very life of the Grand Master.
Rurouni brushed his fingers across Sildrin's head, parting her hair back and trying to relax her as best as he could. Malisane looked up at Shikyo with eyes just as puzzled as the Sith Knight's.
"Do you have any idea on what's going on?"
"Only the faintest. I don't know anything about that Jedi or about what happened to Sil and Ashia... but my best bet is that they're trying to get Muz back. Or, Sildrin tried."
Both Dark Jedi looked down at the injured form of the Krath. Identical thoughts filled their minds, as they held their hands over the injured areas of the Blind Dragon's form. A pure, white light emitted through their fingertips, seeping its way into the lacerations and bruises. Shikyo's eyes squeezed together as tight as they could, hoping to concentrate harder on sealing the wounds. As quickly as the light had emerged, it was gone.
The Keibatsu collapsed on the ground, landing on his elbows, as Malisane leaned in slightly. Much of the bleeding had ceased, with the gashes closing in. The Sergeant looked up at Sildrin's face, her eyes flutterling like the wings of a butterfly. She was slowly regaining consciousness and returning to reality in every way possible. A smile found its way across the lips of Shikyo, with a smirk on those of the Aedile of Ludo Kressh.
Rurouni walked towards the form of Ashia Kagan. She seemed haunted by the images in her mind. It bothered the Keibatsu to no end that she was searching for her love's mind, only to find the horrors that plagued him.
If I only knew how to help her... how to get my brother back... No... My place is here... If I was needed with them, I'm sure I would have learned... I need to guard them both... To the death, if I must...
"Musashi?" Her words echoed back to her with a strange reverbration about them.
"Why have you come?" He knelt, his warcoat flared out around him like big black wings. Slowly he raised his head, the atramentous orbs that were his eyes, swallowing her whole as a sneer crossed his visage.
"Where's Musashi?" The being before her held the form of her beloved, but the presence was not of him. Slowly the form before her changed, twisting inside out as the long dark hair flowed to white and the skin darkened. The maw cracked open wider as it rose to it's feet.
"Ashes to ashes, blood turns to rust; the soul is undying, but death is a must"
"Ashen" The words fell from her lips in a whisper.
"Bleeding in the ashes of a million souls flame; never realizing that we're never twice the same." His grin grew as a cachinated laugh erupted out of him.
Then the scene all around them changed. She found herself standing in the hangar bay of an Autochthonian ship, climbing aboard a transport unit. The ship blasting out of the bay a moment later. She watched it get smaller in the distance, tears streaming down her face as she raced away from Muz, the fear in her heart of what might happen to her unborn child if she stayed.
The scene changed again, she saw herself with Sanjuro, standing outside the orphanage and holding his tiny hand. She choked back her tears as she hugged him for the last time, telling him she'd be back soon, then turning to leave.
"No." She said silently. 'Not again'
Now she was back at the same orphanage. The buildings in ruins, crumbling and decaying. No sign of life...no sign of Sanjuro.
They say that time will heal; the truth shall set you free. But that depends on what you choose to believe in this prison of lies. We see what we want to see, only finding comfort in broken dreams
'He uses your own fears against you.' The stories she had heard about Ashen coming back to her as images of her family and friends crashed down around her. She fell to her knees as the images continued. Seeing them ripped from her life in horrible and hideous ways. Shikyo, Shin'ichi, Macron...even Malisane. Thier deaths were laid bare at her feet in all the horrid details. A silent scream ripped from her throat as the site of her son appeared before her. The dark image of Ashen cackling gleefully.
"Enough!" The voice boomed out of nowhere, shattering the images that were thrown at the Krath. Her legs gave way as she collapsed to the ground, barely being able to see through the tears that flowed freely from her azure eyes.
Eojin stood before her, looking down at the crumbled heap of the Zabrak, her long braids trailing down her black coat and pooling around her.
Malisane watched quietly as Shikyo dabbed still at the Quaestors bleeding wounds. "She's dying." the knight said quietly, "maybe they both will soon."
Malisane nodded. "There must be something we can do." the Aedile replied.
Shikyo shrugged. "I couldn't come close to understanding what she did," the Sergeant replied, and neither can you."
Malisane couldn't disagree. For the first time in his life he felt truly helpless. An opponent with a blade or a saber or a gun he could face, he'd beaten his fair share, but this was different. Standing there powerless to help was new to him and he didn't like it.
"There must be something we can do." he repeated.
Shikyo didn't look up at him, he just shook his head.
Malisane searched his memories, and then it came to him.
"There is something," the Warrior said quietly.
Shikyo looked up. "What?"
Malisane looked at his Quaestor. "Before I destroyed my fathers research I glanced at some of his work. He discovered a lot of things. A great many rituals."
"Whatever it is," Shikyo said eagerly, "do it quickly."
Malisane nodded mutely. He walked over and placed his hand on the Quaestors forehead, searching his memories for the right words. He looked up at the Sergeant. "This will give them a chance. If this doesn't work find Macron and tell him how this ended."
Shikyo stared at him. "What precisely are you doing?"
"Force transference," the Aedile replied not looking, concentraing on bringing the ritual to mind. "Something my father found but disregarded. It will give her the strength to fight and continue. To bring the three of them back."
Shikyo's eyes widened. "Now hold on!"
"I've got to do this Shikyo." He began to chant, his eyes closed.
Shikyo felt a presence behind him and stood to greet the gloating figure of the spirit. He hadn't been at Kangaras but recognised the cold features of Severina, watching eagerly. "The time has come," she gloated, "one he is close to and trusts. Noble fool."
Shikyo turned back to Malisane "Don't do this!" he shouted moving forward to the Aedile.
Malisane stopped chanting. "Gmork!" he shouted.
Shikyo looked up just in time to feel three hundred pounds of hound hit him and he crashed to the ground, his saber spinning away. He struggled under the Reduras Hound, trying to push the heavy creature off him. Gmork didn't bite, he just pinned the Knight to the ground passively.
Malisane continued to chant, his body begining to glow with an incandesant light and his hand on the Archpriests forehead.
Shikyo struggled with the hound, intensifying his strength until he hurled the creature from him, rolling and getting to his feet. He made for the Warrior and found the hound once more blocking his path, it's teeth barred and it's black eyes staring the Knight down. Shikyo tried to circle around for his saber, and the hound moved slowly, watching him still but waiting for the Knight to make a move.
Malisane slowly completed the ritual, still sensing the gloating presence of Severina watching eagerly. The glow had become blinding and he shut his eyes to ward it off. Shikyo watched helplessly from beyond the growling hound. The glow covered the Archpriest as well now, and Shikyo could swear he saw the wounds close and the blood fade.
Finally the glow faded, and like an oak tree falling the Sith Warrior hit the ground. Severina's spirit vanished. The hound sat back on it's haunches and Shikyo rushed past it. First he went to the Quaestor, he wounds had mainly healed and her breathing was more regular. Ashia was no different but at least stable. Finally he turned to the Aedile. The humans skin was grey and cold. Shikyo checked for a pulse and found none. The Warrior was dead. The Sergeant stood up sadly. “I hope that was worth it.” He muttered.
The team had penetrated deep into the Core of the old Academy. Macron sifted with glee through the rubble, finding bits of old broken memories and datachips. The tendrils of power whispered through the shadows, speaking of an awful past that still lingered. This was truly a major Dark Side site. Macron felt oddly at home, having completely embraced the Dark Side of the Force years ago.
Riv, Krayn, and Cal were poking about an old computer bank and looking at schematics. Xayun was poring through an old text. Rasilvenaira wandered to a large piece of equipment, running her fingers delicately over the dusty old apparatus. It was ominous and huge, with pipes and cables running to and from the large cube.
“That is a true Sith alchemical Forge,” said Macron as he approached. “One big enough to make an actual holocron, though I doubt it still works.”
“It’s enough to get the plans from, no?” replied Rasivenaira.
“You think like a Sith. Yes, indeed. I have them right here on this chip,” Macron laughed as he sat down next to her in the aged dust. “Pretty damn exciting, although I found little else in the rubble. I also found a case of red synthetic generator crystals, ten in all. You want one? One of these days soon, you’ll be making your own saber. And this antique Sith crystal will serve well, I think.”
“Sure,” she replied. “I have been working on a design for the hilt anyhow. Find any Novae?” asked the Sith Hunter.
“I did, several Nextor and Phond crystals. I have specimens of them already in my saber, but they may be useful for others. And one nova I cannot identify. I’ll have to get… Muz to look at it.”
Macron stood bolt upright. “Sildrin and the others are in trouble,” he warned. “It feels bad. They may die, I have forseen it. We must go. Even now, Malisane attempts a dangerous ritual to revive them. He may spend too much of his life that way. The Jedi scum and the Herald are fighting… Let’s MOVE, people!” he shouted.
The group ran through the crumbling remains of the Trayus Academy, Macron, Xayun and Callus at the helm. Leaping over a fallen boulder, Xayun shouted:
"Macron, what's threatening them? Is it the Jedi?" the Sith Alchemist shook his head as they hurried out of the building.
"I'm not sure. It's....vaguely familiar, but.....I don't know. All I know is that it's dangerous."
Xayun grimaced and ran on, robe flapping behind him. Feeling his way with the Force, he tried to to project a message to the Ludo Kressh Aedile. Mali, you bloody fool, you should have let me come with you, don't get yourself or the others killed....
The group emerged from the Academy and sped off in the direction of their beleaguered friends. Oh, frell....all of you, just try not to die before I get there, will you? the Envoy hoped as they followed Macron.
Shikyo looked down at the lifeless body of the Warrior, absorbing the endless cold that was emitted from deep within. Sildrin was sitting up, leaning against a pile of wreckage. Her strength had been fully restored, but her senses were still restoring to everything around her. The sightless eyes of the Dragon looked over at the Knight, wondering as to his deep sorrow.
"Shikyo, are you alright?"
Gmork approached his master, showing no remorse, as if his master was still alive. The Sergeant looked at the giant hound, taking note of his actions. Usually, a pet would weep for a master they truely cared for, and Gmork and Malisane were close. The Archpriestess tilted her head and asked once more.
"I'm... I'm not sure..."
As soon as the words slipped from his tongue, the excavation group led by Macron had reached their position. Xayun looked down at the body of his close friend. Pain and sadness swirled around in the Envoy's eyes and heart. He joined the Keibatsu, kneeling beside the Aedile. Mononoke would be the next to approach, laying a hand on his forehead.
The Sith of Ludo Kressh whipped the hilt of his lightsaber out, entering into a rage. Callus and others seemed to be thinking along the same lines, unsheathing their weapons.
"That Jedi! I'll kill him!"
Shikyo stood in front of him.
"No! It wasn't the Jedi. Malisane performed some kind of ritual... Force transference. I don't know. Besides, we can't harm the Jedi."
"Why not, Shikyo?"
"Because I believe that he's the only one that can bring Muz back... as well as Ashia."
The Sith Knight walked towards the Huntress, kneeling down beside her. He ran a hand across her forehead, leaning in towards her ear.
Whatever you're doing, hurry it up. Tell Eojin the same. The others will not be held long enough. Hurry and bring my brother back.
The Sith Alchemist cackled as he leaned over the Aedile: "A ritual of force transference...? Malisane is slowly turning into a Krath ...Frell! And what does Muz have to do with this?" Then Macron frowned as he realized the condition Malisane was in.
Shikyo scowled, saying quietly: "The beast within him.... Ashia and Sildrin try to bring him back.". Macron cursed, and the members of the small team stared at each other. Some of them never heard anything of this, others heard about what kind of demon resided behind those dark eyes of the Herald. Shikyo turned back to the Jedi Huntress, carefully watching her. "Sil, maybe you could...", Shikyo looked over at the Quaestor, but found her yet again in a deep trance. ".. Brother..?", he began helpless. Macron gave him a grin - a not very pleasant sight: "Don't worry, I am sure they will get along. Let's deal with Malisane.", still there was a small doubt in Macron's mind.
Xayun murmered: "What are we going to do with him?", he looked around, his eyes resting briefly on Rasilvenaira. The Jedi Huntress shrugged, replying: "I am good in cutting off limbs... but this is nothing for me." They watched how Macron pressed a small vial against the pale lips of the Aedile Malisane, pouring the red liquid into his mouth: "I hope this will....", but he wasn't able to finish his sentence with Ashia suddenly convulving, opening her mouth into a silent scream. Shikyo cried out in concern, trying everything to stop the blood pouring from her mouth .... what is going on?...
Ashia walked silently besides the Jedi Master, the urge to fight him was constantly present, but only the worries for Muz held her back. Maybe he was the last hope.
Carefully they approached the flickering silouette of the cathedral. The shadows expanded clawing at them, voices whispered of vices and murder - a beast was raging within the shattered halls.
Crimson and purple danced through the shadows - the Herald fought with the shadows, eyes haunted him and within every corner he was convinced to see the image of this demon. His eyes searched the halls, but nowhere he found the Quaestor, she suddenly had disappeared from his eyes, obviously pulled back into reality. Frustrated he had found out that he was bound to this place. Eyes of darkness stared at the distance, making out two familiar figures. "... Ashia...", he whispered. An evil cackling sound made his heart clench, making it turn into a frozen lump.
Slowly he lowered the sabers and suddenly the whole light was drained away, leaving them in complete darkness. "... Muz!", Ashia cried out, and out of reflex he lifted his sabers in defence. A hissing sound was the reply. He wondered how it was possible that this demon had its own manifestation inside of him, but yet he knew that there was no limit within the dreamscapes.
He could nearly feel the dripping vileness of that demon in front of him, it dripped onto him, stained him. Their sabers clashed together, but none of them gained an inch for their were twins in war. A teal saber joined in, aiding the Herald in this fight. The stacato of the humming sabers acompanied them - a symphony of victory as the demon was repelled step by step. The Herald growled: "This is my fight. Master... Eojin...".
The Jedi Master's reply was prompt, a calm answer showing the current inner balance of this one: "For now... I will retreat...." Wisplike the Jedi Master disappeared. A grim light of violet and crimson was breaking through the darkness, brilliant flashes sparked when the sabers collided. The Herald was surprised by the clumsy movements and the weakness of his demonic mirror. With a roar his sabers found their home in the chest of it. He wanted to strike it down, but for now he wanted to let this moment last as long as possible.
This demon sired by the deepest night
spreaded shattered dreams beneath your feet.
It stripped away your lover's light
and left you behind in utter defeat.
Those words rose within the Herald's mind and his dark eyes wanted to shut out what he saw - wanting to deny the truth. Blue eyes stared at him, a face framed by dark braids. The lithe form slipped from the blades and he catched the body before it dropped to the ground. A cry shattered through the cathedral, and the world around him bursted into thousand shards.
He was running after her; soft laughter as he catched her. He smiled, softly looking into her eyes as he leaned in. ...Muz ....
Her eyes showed his reflection - purple eyes looking back at him. ...Muz ....
The beams of the Kyatarun Sun fell through the green leafes of the trees - casting a soothing light onto them. ...Muz ....
Hand in hand they walked beneath the leafen roof of the grove. ...Muz ....
... This is wrong.. The Herald thought. .. It cannot be ... my eyes.... Kyataru...
Ashia pulled him close, her voice trembling from fear: "Don't go... don't...stay with me." ...Muz ....
Slowly Muz shook his head: "No.. this is wrong... I am sorry...".
She smiled: "Don't... please.. stay here.. forever... " His fingers ran across her cheek: "No, I can't. This is not for real... forgive me."
The creature in front of him cried out, falling apart into brilliant shards: "Nooooooo...." The cry faded away and the whole world around him melted and collapsed.
He was sitting with his back against a wall of the dreamscape cathedral, carefully opening his black eyes. "... Muz...", white eyes stared at him, an eerie look reminding him of two silent sentinels. The Blind Dragon was bending over Ashia, scaled hands covering the wounds: "I will stabilize her... it is somewhere out there.. hunting for Eojin..."
"For far too long have I..." Muz paused, his eyes slamming shut in the planar chantry.
Sildrin's blanched eyes rose from the quiet form of the huntress, burning through him. "Whatever the case may be..."
Muz nodded, standing slowly as his eyes opened, the darkness pouring from them. "It's time he and I had that talk."
The parapet of the ruined academy stood mostly intact, the Jedi master twisting his form away from the viscerating crimson of the Ashen's off-hand blade. Eojin swung his body aside, the ancient forms saving his hide from the Herald's retort.
The Jedi flung himself to the ground, defending himself with a tight arc of turquoise, snagging the amethyst and sending it aflight. "Back to the depths, Ashen."
The nightmare sneered, his hand outstretched, summoning the blade back to his hand upon currents of Force. Angry fingers closed around the hilt smoothly, the blade screaming back to life as the beast renewed his assault.
"Holy dren..." Shikyo glowered at the distance, the tiny figures mere shadows at the horizon, their weapons flashing into the darkened sky as they duelled.
"We're back." Macron panted, his eyes narrowing as he looked in the same direction. "I take it you guys found them?"
Shikyo sneered as he motioned at the pile of unconscious bodies. "Frelling Krath crap."
Macron mumbled some jittery noises at himself as he reached out with the force, feeling along the edges of the world to find their life signs. Shallow breaths, slowed pulse. They were not dead, but they weren't quite alive here, either.
"So, Macron...are we moving to deal with them?" Shikyo muttered, his eyes locked on the dancing blades so far in the distance.
The alchemist looked up, his mind racing through possibility and potential. "No...Not yet, we won't."
"I have lived so many lives, all in my head..." Muz darted past the shattered stones of the wasted land, his eyes scanning before him, the shade of his hatred stalking the territory in front of him for Eojin.
Eojin. The name resounded in his mind, tugged at his very core. The Master. The one of all of them that he truly respected, deep down, even after all these years.
He had died, though. That fool during the Independence games, back with Manji...he had said that Eojin died...
"And that's exactly what I wanted everyone to think, Muz."
The words came clarion through the ether of the dreamscape, the old Jedi's voice unmistakable. Muz spun, his hands drawing his blades, their vibrance spilling out into the shadow. Eojin stepped forward, the wrinkles around his eyes casting deep shadows into his cheeks.
"Why did you come for me, master?" Muz spoke the words smoothly, as if by rote.
"The darkness within you, it must be stilled." Eojin turned his head slightly, the synthetic eye between the scars of his face glinting in the glow of the Herald's blades. "You lose more and more of yourself to the shadow every day."
His lip curled up, the Krath plainly annoyed by the old Jedi's words. "My demons are my own to chain."
"You don't understand me, Muz..."
"Musashi, Eojin." Muz interrupted, his anger growing within his chest. "My name is Musashi."
Eojin stepped backwards a pace, his mind screaming across the ages to recall the sound of his name...the circumstances of the day.
"Surely you remember the man who paid you to take me..." Muz seethed, stepping forward. "The same man who paid you to kill my family..."
"Muz, I acted as the Force willed..." Eojin spoke gravely, his eyes narrowing. "Why can't you see that?"
"The same man who ravaged my homelands." Muz continued, the ether around him gathering a palpable malice as the fury grew. "The same man who died by my hand."
Eojin winced, the darkness solidifying around his former student, wisps of shadow thrashing around his spiritform.
The blades of the Ashen one froze mid-strike, Eojin stepping back as he caught his breath atop the parapet. This combat that spanned both worlds was far more taxing than he could have imagined. Weariness of the Spirit undermined the weariness of the flesh.
And yet, the Force told him that he must be here.
"Muz, let it go...Breathe...the Dark Side will control you..."
A wave of concussion screamed from him, a silent thunderclap of raw emotion as the Dark Adept lowered his head. Long hair obscured the nightmare eyes of the herald as Eojin watched the skin darken to pitch, the hair shocking white from the root.
"No, master." Muz spoke through clenched teeth, fighting the essence of the ashen one. "I control my own darkness."
The world fell apart, the tapestry unweaving around them as the Herald pulled the threads apart like cheap cloth. Eojin bounded away from the unweaving, his mind blurring as he recalled the training, the ancient exercises that drew them here. He followed the silver cable back, dragging his hand against its cool fire as he returned to the realm of the real fully.
Blinking with renewed vision, the Master searched the eyes of his padawan.
Muz looked up, his sabers lowering into the Sokan stance. The motion spoke volumes to the Jedi, recalling forms of the ancient days, the wars of which the eldest holocrons vaguely mention. Fear blossomed in the Master's heart, and it grew like a plague across his stoic heart.
Muz smiled ferally, the lust for retribution, the anger of betrayal guiding his hand as the blades stretched out at his command.
And found only empty air.
The master was gone, like a fine mist in the wind. Muz snarled as he straightened, the rage in him coursing through his veins, his body shaking as he demanded the hatred return to its cell deep within his mind.
"Look, Mac... The Jedi is gone, and he's turned off his blades." Shikyo pointed at the distant ruin, the solitary figure stark against the fire's glow beyond.
Macron nodded, Callus and Xayun eyeing each other curiously as if they wondered what the hell thay had gotten themselves into. Three half-dead already, and the mission was far from over.
Ras grumbled as she stepped between the bodies. Malisane, Sildrin and Ashia. Heavy on the Sadows, as her master had said the mission would be, she started feeling somewhat out of place on this rock. Her mind reached for the possibilities, the ways that this could end, and then realized the number of bad results far outstripped the good.
Was it Ego? Eojin gnashed his teeth, hiding beneath the carapace of a broken ship. Fear he could understand, fear of the unknown... Muz was hardly the young knight he recalled so many years ago, idealistic and eager. But there was something else guiding him now... Rage and hatred grew in his heart like vegetables in a well-tilled garden.
It was hardly the first student he trained that had a dark essence within him. The worst was also one of his best, well back into the dark days, before the empire, before the rebellion, before the new order. He wondered if the Kiffar had bothered moving from Soccoro lately.
It must have been ego. Foolish pride and ignorance pained him now, nursing his sword arm. Eojin took a deep breath, his eyes sliding shut as he drew the Force to him, soothing his agonies, and stretching his senses.
The darkness was still out there, a dozen of young sensitives set up camp not far, glowing in varying degrees of the Force. He cursed himself as he felt his old student's pattern, the visions of pain and hate, a man in gold and black, a falleen in regalia, a youngling with broken horns, a woman with dark braids running...
Eojin shook them off of his mind, flowing to his feet as he thought. Maybe this was too much for him.