Ambitions - Cethgus, Talos, Celevon, Sanguinius, Teu
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Create your story. You have a month to do so.
Eldar, Dajorra system
Whispering disturbed the hooded figure’s chain of thoughts, attracting his attention to his surroundings. A small room, candles flickered, casting shadows upon the crimson red walls. He continued to stand, ignoring the noise until the whispering turned into harsh words.
The figure reached through the Force in an attempt to uncover their identities. He recognised their Force signatures; unbridled rage and contempt flared in one figure while the raging torrent of ambition and a spark of intelligence burned within the other.
The taut muscles that had unconsciously tightened; a relic of his training under the former Consul Sashar Erinos, relaxed as his temperament was brought under control. Allowing the hooded figure to turn and present a smiling, kind-hearted face to the pair.
Nodding to the tallest of the pair, Sanguinius spoke jovially, at odds with the anger he felt within him. “Brother, why do you disturb my peace?”
Cethgus Entar scowled at his former Student, “The Sadowan’s diplomatic shuttle approaches, are you sure this is the right thing to do?”
The Zabrak’s companion butted in, “Surely you cannot question Prelate Tsucyra’s good judgement and expect to get away with it.” His disapproval at the Exarch’s words emanated from his stance.
Sanguinius waved a hand in dismissal, “Peace Celevon, my esteemed brother seeks only to speak his mind,” the Anaxsi straightened his ceremonial Shadesworn robes in preparation of the ceremony to come. “Regardless of your fears Master, we will go ahead with this. The gains from such a meeting are too much to ignore. Galeres needs this.”
The Knight nodded in agreement to his superior’s words, the tattooed Iridonian seemed less at ease. “As you say.....”
“As you’re here, you might as well escort me to greet our visitor.” The Equite smiled at the Galereans, waving them alongside him as he traipsed out of the small room.
* * * * * * * * * *
Teu Pepoi grasped the top of the lightsaber hilt hanging from her belt, squeezing it in reassurance. She felt increasingly defenceless as the Corellian’s shuttle advanced further and further though Arconan space. When they had first appeared out of hyperspace at the edge of the Dajorra system, observing social and diplomatic niceties, she wasn’t sure that they would have a kind welcome to the Shadow Clan’s domain.
The Rollmaster recalled what the data-slab had told her of her contact within Arcona, the current Quaestor of House Galeres; Sanguinius Tsucyra Entar. An Obelisk Prelate, born on Anaxes to a Naval family in 6 ABY. Ex-Imperial officer, court-martialled in 30 ABY, only a mere five years ago..... the woman quickly scanned the rest of the document, recovered by the Dlarit intelligence division. Nothing more of note that would influence her dealings with the Anaxsi could be found.
The deep throaty voice of the pilot issued forth from the speaker embedded in the wall of the seating area. “We’re making the final approach on the coordinates provided by our hosts Commander.”
Teu stowed the data-slab, before grasping hold of the small bag hanging around her neck, full of mementos and curios that she had gathered to remind her of her heritage. It always served to reassure the silent Obelisk, who was not one to bandy words, even with those she loved.
* * * * * * * * *
Sanguinius stood in silence, his hands clasped in front of him. The only sign of the nervousness racking the Prelate was the tapping of his left index finger on the back of his right hand. Cethgus recognised it for what it was, his innate knowledge of his former Student coming from their shared experiences. The Quaestor’s fellow Assassin however took it as a sign of Sanguinius’ impatience, perhaps eager to get this over and done with. Their robes fluttered in the wind kicked up by the shuttle’s engines as it hovered over the landing pad, expertly piloted to touch down gently on the ferrocrete.
The whining spool of the engines ceased as they were switched off, leading to the hiss of doors opening. This, combined with the creaking of the cooling metal of the shuttle, heated up through atmospheric entry made the Prelate shiver.
Teu gracefully made her way down the ramp, her feet seeming to glide over the floor. Stopping before the Anaxsi, she inclined her head in respect. “Quaestor Tsucyra, how kind of you to extend an invitation for me to join you on this lovely planet of yours.” In a rare show of vocabulary, the Rollmaster had spoken more than she had during several weeks.
Sanguinius smiled magnanimously, he could afford to do so. “It’s quite good of you to say so Teu, but please, call me Sanguinius, or Sang.” He offered his hand to grasp. “We’re all friends here.”
A snort of derision came from behind the Arconans, causing a brief show of anger on the Prelate’s face as he turned to find Talos Erinos standing there. Bad blood still existed between the Entars and the Erinos thanks to the recent upheaval caused by the young Teroch Erinos. The conflict had cost Talos dear, leaving him beaten and broken by the current Consul; Wuntila. It had also cost Arcona the life of the former Grand Master Sarin, killed by a techno virus that Wuntila had thought would target the leader of the uprising, Teroch.
“Talos....How good to see you here.” The former Aedile of Galeres had stepped down several months before, leaving the way to Quaestor for Sanguinius. There was both bad blood and good times between the two Galereans, yet it was the bad blood that currently coloured their interactions.
“You’ve brought a Sadowan here? To our sovereign territory? What do you think you’re doing?” Talos seethed, furious that an outsider was allowed to step on Eldar and live.
“Calm Talos, I have good reason for our guest’s presence. It is for the good of Galeres and Arcona. Trust me on this, I am your Quaestor and I will not have you question me further.”
Teu studied the exchange, absorbing information that could be used to further Naga Sadow’s interests, there was dissent in Arcona’s camp.
A Few Days Earier
Teu leaned back her eyes scanning the report with a quick glance; each one was a dossier of a new arrival that had recently joined ranks of the Clan. Many of those that joined would not last through the initial training either they were killed or they left unable to cope with the rigors of training that was required.
A soft knock tapped at his personal door that lead to her private chambers, she smirked slightly. The normally quiet reserved woman came out of her shell for one two reasons, her husband and her children. Teu turned off the report and placed it on her desk, she stood and moved to the doorway and opened the door showing a young child standing there looking so much like her parents, a perfect combination.
“What is it?” Teu smirked slightly.
“There was a message for you from someone.” Darra turned and moved into the inner apartment.
“Did you record it?” Teu frowned slightly, she wasn’t aware of any summons coming. “Go see to your homework.”
Darra nodded and moved off towards her and her younger brother’s rooms, Teu smirked slightly and felt her eyes light up slightly. She then turned and moved towards the small communication enclave that she has for private conversations. A light bleeped and a male voice filled the small chamber,
“You have been invited to the Dajorra system by me, Sanguinius Tsucyra Entar. Upon your arrival you will be filled in on much needed information.” The communication closed.
Teu stared at the no longer blinking light for a moment before calling a specific person within Dlarit Intelligence asking for as much information from them on this Sanguinius Tsucyra Entar. She heard footsteps behind her and saw both Darra and Thonas looking at her with wide eyes, both were strong in the Force but they could not learn the arts as well as their parents until they were older.
“You’re leaving again aren’t you momma?” Darra glared daggers at her mom again, she spent months away from her parents in her youth and recently has become a surrogate mother to her younger brother Thonas.
“Yes sweetie, I don’t know why and probably couldn’t tell you if I did. Go pack your bags, let’s go back to the big house for a bit while I wait for stuff.”
“I hate that you and daddy are gone all the time.” Darra whined.
“Power has consequences remember that Darra. It also requires sacrifice. But I promise once I return we will go out for a giant family day just the three of us.” Teu laid a hand on her daughters shoulder.
Teu hugged each of her children before standing and moving back towards the speeder. She frowned as she moved back towards the Dlarit spaceport to meet with her contact with in who had gotten her the much needed information on Sanguinius.
As Teu settled in on the shuttle she called her former student and current Proconsul Locke. “Locke, I’m going to be going out of the system for a while. Please don’t let the clan crash and burn in my absence.”
“Yes Master.” Locke’s voice crackled through the commlink. “Just don’t blow any islands up either.”
“I can’t promise not to do that. Pepoi out.” Teu closed the commlink.
Eldar, Dajorra system
Teu looked over each person in front of her; she felt the tension roll off of each of them in thick waves. Her critical blue eyes looked around the landing platform quickly. She knew none of them by name only the very little information that she managed to gleam on the Quaestor. Quickly, Teu stuck her hand into her pocket and pulled out a pale blue flask, pulling a long draft from it. She glanced at each man before her who stared at her. However her interest in this Clan and these men has increased greatly.
“Is someone going to fill me in on what is going on?’ Teu locked eyes with Sang again.
Quarters of Knight Edraven, Kurs’kranak,
Mount Bralor, Eldar, Dajorra System, Unknown Regions
An Hour Prior to Teu Pepoi’s Arrival
The Sniper carefully controlled his breathing as he steadied his hand. ’Any errors in this and I’ll be a few hundred credits short,’ Celevon mused while his long, elegant fingers held the tool. Before him on the desk lay a piece of black and silver duraplast armour as he etched a symbol on what would be the right pectoral: An outline of something twisted around a blade, which appeared serpentine. The dagger itself had already been etched in, nearly extreme in its detail. Detail and focus was something the Onderonian had become proficient at, due to the intense training he had endured under the deceased former Sergeant of Soulfire Strike Team, Sashar Erinos.
Nearly fifteen minutes passed before the Galerean sighed in relief as he flexed his right hand to relive the stiffness. The final product was intricate by sight, contrasting in sharp relief against the black armour: A serpentine dragon curled around a dagger, made of what seemed to be dozens of runes. With that task done, the Assassin lit a smoke and admired the piece, the exhale sending tendrils of smoke floating to the stone ceiling. The recent Feud between the three families of Arcona had kept the entire Clan from being able to accomplish much, as they had lacked any spare time. Most of the Arconans were still on alert, even weeks after it had ended.
Halfway through, the Knight frowned in thought. ’Quaestor Tsucyra seemed adamant that I attend this meeting today. I wonder why my presence is required, considering I don’t have any real power within the Clan.’ Celevon shrugged, as though an answer didn’t matter. And, if he were being truthful with himself, it truly didn’t matter. If the Leader of Galeres summoned you, you did as commanded. With that thought in mind, the Assassin stubbed out the cigarette in the ashtray and walked into the sonic shower attached to his quarters. ’One of the benefits of becoming a Dark Jedi Knight - You get your own bathroom and shower, rather than using the one in general quarters with the lower-echelon Journeyman.’
The Assassin shuddered in remembrance of some of his comrade’s poor hygienic habits as the warm spray of water cascaded across his face.
Celevon carefully drew the final line of the razor down his chin, deftly removing the cream and stubble. After he rinsed the blade, the Knight washed and dried his face before he tossed the now-soiled towel into the hamper. The Sniper groaned as he pulled on a set of formal robes.. While I do so love the look of these robes, I certainly hate the formal version. You’d think that, if they had to spend so much time wearing these, they’d make them more ruddy comfortable, The Onderonian continued to grumble to himself mentally as he dutifully pulled on the midnight black robes.
The Assassin had just finished concealing his varied weaponry and was in the midst of clipping the hilt of his lightsaber to his belt when two sharp raps came at his chamber door. After bidding the visitor entry, Celevon stared impassively at the dark-skinned facial features visible beneath the heavy cloak while he stood.
“Prelate Tsucrya has requested your immediate presence, Knight Edraven,” the Iridonian stated in a smooth baritone. The Sniper knew this man: His name was Cethgus Entar, an Obelisk Exarch of Galeres. “You are to follow me to his meditation chambers. He is expecting us.”
Celevon bowed his head slightly in assent, immediately falling into step with the Zabrak after exiting the Soulfirian’s quarters.
“Is someone going to fill me in on what is going on?” The blue eyes of the Rollmaster narrowed, locking with those of the Galerean Quaestor.
Sanguinius offered his left arm politely to the Sadowan. “But of course, Lady Pepoi. If you would allow me the honour of escorting you?” He asked as he subtly shifted his elbow to draw the woman’s gaze to the limb.
Celevon withheld a smirk as the crystalline eyes of the woman narrowed further before the Exarch accepted the Prelate’s offered arm. That’s good. She’s suspicious and deliberate in her motions. I think I like her already, the Knight mused internally as he walked a step behind the Zabrak, several paces behind the opposing Summit members.
“I wish to create a lasting peace between our great Clans. Perhaps even an alliance,” Sanguinius’ voice was rich in quality, perfect in its intonation. The Quaestor had likely practiced for years to attain it.
The woman snorted elegantly. “Much as I would love to believe that, your Consul hasn’t seemed interested in peaceful solutions at the recent Council meetings. Let alone an alliance.”
The emphasis Teu placed on the word, stressing it to its limit made the blood-brothers share a glance. Celevon shook his head at the Mandalorian, silently telling Talos to not interrupt the conversation as they continued through the corridors at a leisurely pace.
Yes. This meeting is proving very interesting, indeed. But what will it eventually become. While the Onderonian thought on this, his outward expression remained unchanged. The light upturn of his lips betrayed his amusement at the exchange. Celevon withheld a sigh as Talos’ Force presence flared with impatience. What has become of you, dear brother? Whatever happened to your facade of everlasting serenity you presented to the galaxy?
Without speaking aloud or even answering the question, the Knight knew the answer. The deaths of the former Consuls, Zandro and Sashar, had changed Arcona forever.
Intelligence Section, Special Operations Wing
“Good morning, Major Erinos. You are cleared to proceed to your duty station” the automated voice of the Forward Operating Base Kurs’kranak virtual intelligence said.
“G’morning” Talos Erinos replied as he walked into the easternmost part of the FOB’s Special Operations Wing. The Intelligence Section was already bustling and pulsing with activity as enlisted and officers alike trotted to and fro, leaning over to swap reports, compare notes, or just to get up and stretch their legs from the bank of terminals where data from literally every organization of interest in the known galaxy poured in…and it was only 0730.
By all accounts, IntelSec was a hellhole.
“But it’s my hellhole” Talos thought.
He fixed himself a cup of caf and walked into his small office, wincing as he leaned over to power-up his laptop. Taking a deep, slow breath, Talos righted himself and once again cursed the name of the Tyrant, Lord Consul Wuntila Entar Arconae; ever since Talos’ reconstructive surgery on his ribs, a result of the near-fatal beating he had endured at the hands of the Tyrant, his ribs (now a combination of natural bone and plasteel, with a prototypical formula of bacta running through them) ached for a solid three hours after he woke up. The daily PT he subjected himself to probably didn’t help matters but Talos had let himself go enough when he was in the hospital.
Easing himself into his chair, Talos spent five minutes working through the security locks until finally his screen displayed what the Obelisk Prelate had dubbed “The Digest”, a list of reports, HoloNet articles, reviews, debriefs, and columns complied by his top lieutenants that they thought their CO would find interesting.
But within the Digest’s intel-rich folds was an even great secret that had been installed by the Prelate at the very beginning of his tenure as commander of SpecOps intelligence section. Hidden within the hyperlink for the recycling bin was a backdoor into the files of the True Shadesworn, master assassins sworn to preserve the life and superiority of Arcona, which Talos had somehow retained membership in after severing 90% of his connections with the Greater Clan.
This morning there were only two messages hovering in the inbox, only that had been replied to by three other Shadesworn and one that was unread to; the first message referred to the possibility of inducting a new, and highly deserving, Arconan into the True Shadesworn. Skimming the message’s contents and smiling as he recognized the potential inductee’s name, Talos batted out a response:
Most definitely; fully support this. //T\\
Talos stared at the message as it was uploaded to the group channel and the corners of his mouth twitched as he remembered a time in which his response to a message like that would have been long-winded and full of pomp and ceremony. Those days were not all that distant but the deaths of two of his brothers followed by the War of the Three Families and his betrayal by Wuntila had stripped the young man of much of his youthful excitement and exuberance.
Shaking himself out of his reverie, Talos clicked the other message, titled “Salas V: Wetwork Team Report”, and settled into his chair for the reading of the 10-page report.
Talos Erinos was halfway through his second cup of caf and three-fourths through the report when the Force alerted him to the presence of another. Looking up, Talos’ pale blue eyes locked onto the lithe figure of Captain Ashley Lawson, his 2IC.
“Talos…err kark, I mean, sir” Ashley said as she approached the Major’s desk.
Erinos’ eyes raised visibly, not at being called by his first name (he was fine with his staff using it) but at the fact that Captain Lawson, who was the only one of his staff who still insisted on referring to him as “Major”, “sir”, or “chief” at all times, had used it.
“Yes, Ashley?” he replied, taking a deep gulp of caf to allowed the Captain time to recover. But as the Major lowered his cup, he could tell that whatever he was about to hear had freaked Ashley Lawson out enough that she didn’t know how to word her sentence, a rarity with the Captain.
“I’m not sure how to say this, sir…” Ashley started but trailed off.
“Clearly” Prelate Erinos quipped.
“But…well…a shuttle is about to land on the VIP pad.” she said. Talos was about to reply, to say that it was probably a hotty-totty guest of the Galerian Quaestor, Sanguinius Entar, one of Talos’ friends but still kin to the Tyrant, which had caused friction between the two.
“The shuttle is registered to Clan Naga Sadow…its passenger is Teu Pepoi. Exarch of your Order, Rollmaster of Sadow, and…wife to the Fist.”
Captain Lawson finished her sentence and deftly dodged the liquid projectile of her boss’ spit caf. In a second, Talos was on his feet and, ignoring the spasm from his ribs, reached into his desk drawer for his SSK-7 and Kintik, his lightsaber.
“Ash, second me the guard detail on duty. Tell them to meet me at the turbolift to the hangar” the Major ordered and he grabbed his uniform’s jacket and shrugged it on as he practically jogged his way out of the office, the woman hot on his heels.
Three minutes later, as Obelisk Prelate Talos Erinos and seven Special Operations troopers shot up towards the FOB’s landing pad, a single thought was on loop in the Erinos’ head.
‘What the kark was Sang playing at?’
Kurs’kranak, Mt. Bralor, Eldar, Unknown Regions
The Knight resisted the urge to rub his temples for the third time since the Rollmaster’s arrival. His blood-brother had been antagonistic towards Cethgus and Sanguinius since the moment Talos had shown up for the meeting. The Zabrak leant against the wall off to the side of the other Entar. Judging by the lack of clarity in the Iridonian’s gaze, Cethgus was probably daydreaming again. ‘This meeting may be tedious, but I’d expect the di’kut to at least pay attention to the proceedings,’ Celevon mused silently as he leaned against the doorframe.
The Onderonian, not for the first time, wondered why his presence at this meeting was required. ‘It isn’t like I’m anything more than Soulfire’s Sniper, after all. The Summit related topics have nothing to do with me.’ Sensing that the Galerian Quaestor had something of importance to say, Celevon focused once more on his surroundings.
“- as I stated before, a political alliance between us would be highly beneficial. If we pooled our vast resources, no one else would be able to stand against us,” the Entar Prelate explained, still attempting to persuade the Lady Pepoi by all appearances.
‘Or not,’ the Sniper sighed internally, shifting his position slightly as he felt the blood in his arm thinning. The Sadowan Exarch had been tapping out a rhythm on her left arm for the last several minutes. Apparently, Teu was quickly becoming exasperated and wanted nothing more than for Sanguinius to get to the point. Celevon was more than tempted to have a smoke to ease his boredom. But that would require him to interrupt the proceedings, which was against polite behavior. Regretfully, twirling a dagger would also have been seen as a vaguely threatening gesture, though the thought entertained the Knight for a few moments.
As the Tsucrya continued speaking after a short breath, Celevon once again had to resist the urge to either rub his temples or pinch the bridge of his nose. ‘I wish he would get to the point before we all die of old age.’ Sometimes, the young Assassin disliked being polite with a passion. If he wasn’t one of the members chosen to represent Arcona, he would’ve lit up a smoke half an hour prior. Glancing towards the Erinos, Celevon had to withhold an amused smirk,t hough, had anyone looked, they could’ve seen the mirth in his eyes.
Talos was twitching in his seat as well, though it was more subtle than the Arconan Exarch staring into space. If he were being perfectly honest with himself, the Onderonian would have been much happier in one of the training areas with his Apprentice, enjoying the clash of blade against blade and the feeling of adrenaline pouring through his veins. I hate politics...