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Star Wars New Sith Trials II: Rise of the Hand

Discussion in 'Role Playing Forum' started by Sinrebirth, Dec 31, 2016.

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  1. Halle Dray

    Halle Dray Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jan 6, 2016
    Kwea watched as the ragamuffins were obliterated with satisfaction. She felt a small nudge in the Force that began to grow and Kwea reached out to meet it.

    Insipid. He was taking her strength for what seemed to be a fight.

    Furrowing her brow, the young woman decided to let go and give the Emperor what she could.


    “Ma’am, your heart rate is elevating. Do you require assistance?” the droid queried.


    “No, no, K-9. I’m fine. I have to do this,” she gasped out.


    Her form was tilting slightly forward as she grabbed at the console to steady herself. Her golden brown eyes lost the twinkle they had just shone with.


    There was a dark presence that invaded the Force and Kwea looked out of the viewport, catching a glimpse of a cloaked figure. The guns were bent with the power of the Force sent through the air with a wave of the figure’s hand.


    In the still clearing smoke, a crimson lightsaber appeared and the wearied Sith looked upon the face of Hesper.


    “Aw shnoodle,” she muttered, igniting her purple blade.

    TAGS: @Sinrebirth @corinthia
     
  2. Snokers

    Snokers Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 8, 2015
    IC: Bo Etraa
    Medical Bay, The Luxury Elite...



    He woke with a start. His breath caught in his throat and sent him into a violent choking fit. His throat felt coarse and sore – almost raw.

    Bo heard a steady ringing in both ears along with the mechanical bloop bloop of a medical droid by his side. The last cough shot a greenish-red mucus into his palm. He examined it with horror and looked over at the droid staring at him with massive oval lights for eyes. It spoke in a binary language unknown to him.

    As he swung his legs over the edge of the high bed, the events before the coma began to flood back into his mind. He wiped the slimy hand on the latex apron that covered the droids mid-section. This was met with a quizzical tilting of the head from the synthetic nurse. He saw the spider in his mind.

    Then he remembered where its fangs had made contact.

    “No.” It came out in a whisper.

    He stood and studied himself in the reflective glass of a large bacta tank. It was numb. It… wasn’t there. His groin had been covered by a solid cast, fastened tightly round his waist by what looked like thousands of intricately laid silver stitches.

    He reached a hand down to pat around for what had been there all his life.

    Nothing. Flat. Not even a sliver of pain.

    His eyes began to well up.

    This is a decade of karma finally catching up to me.

    The numbness wasn’t absolute – there was a queer pulsing sensation in his inner thighs as he staggered over to the closet. Bo found his clothes and threw them on. He hadn’t even the presence of mind to fasten the buckles on his boots before he’d exited the bay, ignoring the foreign blurts of protest from the medical droid as he left.

    That familiar feeling inside that had led him on this damned crusade to begin with was more prevalent than ever. It was a weightless rock in the pit of his stomach. His brother was here on this ship. Kade Etraa was here.

    As he made his way slowly down the corridor he felt for his blaster in the holster on his waist. It was still there.

    He was still painfully aware though that his manhood... was not.


    TAG: None
     
  3. QueenSabe7

    QueenSabe7 Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Mar 23, 2001
    A fantastically fun COMBO with DarthIshyZ, WookieeRage, and HanSolo29

    IC: Lord Serapis, Astra, Aryan Graul & Syren
    The Luxury Elite, destroyed arena suite

    Strategy was paramount. Serapis took inventory as he walked into the arena. He had himself and his powers. Carrying himself, he had his lightsaber, a few light weapons and some of his favorite hand-held explosives. He also had this full-of-herself, yet non-Force sensitive blunt-force tool, Astra.

    Ahead, he was going to the box of the Family. It was rubble at best. In what remained was mostly non-Force sensitives, but an undetermined number of his fellow Sith. Friend or foe? No way to know yet. He reached out in that direction, though to see what he could determine. Many dead. A few almost there. Good. But, yet, some Force-sensitives were alive up there... seemed to be... three? Four?

    He turned to Astra to decide on strategy. He filled her in on what he discovered and proposed to her, "I think I should go up there to ascertain their loyalties. I'd like you to use your stealth to get a good vantage point in case things go South. I'll keep my comlink open so you can hear what happens. Your thoughts?"

    Astra nodded and pulled her DL-custom rifle from her back. She also pulled her fiber optic cloak from her waistline and draped it upon herself; She blended in perfectly. She found a damaged wall and hoisted herself up as she was cloaked and found a perched recessed position in the wall overlooking the arena floor, even with a good look into box seats. She covered herself with the cloak in prone position. Only the tip of her gun was visible from camo-cloak, if one could see in darkness..

    She responded in her comm when she was in position.

    "I'm in position, I have good vantage and am ready for your orders, Mi'Lord."

    She turned the optics to get a good focused look at the box seats, that's where she knew the Sith would be.

    Still perched above among the wreckage of the Family’s suite, Syren stood before Aryan Graul, the pair now aware of the events that had led to their near-deaths.

    The assassin sorted through the news from Haretisch’s message knowing she should feel some sort of way about the triumvirate shattering and the Sith potentially plunging themselves into civil war, perhaps even feeling compelled to choose a side out of some sort of need to be loyal; to prove that she had a place.

    In that moment, she didn’t feel anything but the need to avoid becoming a pawn in the growing conflict. She wanted to distance herself, not dive head first into the deep end. ‘We’re free…’ Aryan had told her and peering into his eyes, the words took on more than just one simple meaning for her. The look on his face told her he might be thinking the same, but for different reasons. He was a kriffing politician, after all. But there would be no time to dwell on the complexities of her emotions, they needed an escape and their only option right then would have to be Haretisch.

    “We need to go, n-“ she began before cutting off, sensing the appearance of others nearby. Tightening her grasp on her saber hilt, Syren removed its twin from her other hip and turned towards the gaping hole that had once been the massive view of the arena floor.

    “They’re coming,” she told Aryan. “Do you think they wish to…. finish the job?” The added emphasis on the last words was dripping with sarcasm and anger, the very idea that there would be yet another attempt on her life causing the assassin to see red. This time, she would be more than prepared.

    Aryan tensed, and for a fleeting moment, the concern was evident on his face as his eyes darted precariously to follow Syren’s gaze to the gaping hole leading out into the arena. He didn’t need to reach out with the Force to know that she was telling the truth. A coup was no small matter; what had occurred could not simply be undone. They would keep coming for them until all remnants of the opposing side were swept away. Despite Aryan’s refusal to commit himself to the Sith way, he realized that he was guilty by association. That, along with his lack of combat prowess, made him the perfect target...an easy target.

    Grimacing at that thought, he began to slowly backpedal across the debris field towards the door that led out into the corridor.

    “I’m not sticking around to find out,” he said with finality, his hand moving down to rest against the holdout blaster that was nestled securely in the holster near his right hip. “As far as I’m concerned, this isn’t my fight. I've had enough of the bribes and the blatant half-truths to ensure my loyalty. Clearly, they enjoy playing me at my own game, particularly Insipid." A bitter smile touched his lips, and he slowly shook his head. "No more. Let them declare authority over their own little fiefdoms and flaunt their superficial power. It won’t mean anything in the end. They’ll soon be swallowed up by the demands of this galaxy until they’re nothing but a distant memory. I’ve seen it all before...an empire divided can’t stand, and I will notallow them to drag me down with them.”

    His boot brushed against a solid mass, momentarily halting his retreat. Glancing down, Aryan was greeted by the sight of the blackened and charred remains of one of Targon’s guards, a heavy blaster rifle strewn on the floor just beyond the man’s gnarled fingers; he quickly decided that it was the perfect replacement for his small personal blaster. With a heavy sigh, the Chancellor pursed his lips and bent down awkwardly to retrieve the weapon, almost as if he half-expected the dead man to awaken and reclaim what was rightfully his.

    When his nightmare failed to materialize, he straightened back to his full height and slung the strap of the rifle over his shoulder. “I intend to survive,” he continued after a moment, now seeking Syren’s gaze from across the room. “Come with me. You deserve better than this. We can blend in with the fleeing crowds and...slip away.”

    Syren was actually taken aback for a moment, unsure how to respond to Aryan’s offer. Well, the truth of it was she knew exactlyhow she wanted to respond, having thought of the very same scenario herself - cut ties and disappear. Turning her head to peer at him over her shoulder, she saw it written all over his face.

    He was serious, his desire to simply run… and for her to do so with him.

    A part of her had already left the wreckage with Aryan at her side, working at where they would go and how they would survive. But that was what held her back. Survival, for them both, and fleeing the Sith was not a viable option in the midst of the ensuing chaos. Syren knew her expression would tell him what her answer was without a single word spoken, her instincts tearing her away from him as a familiar yet thoroughly unexpected presence closed in on their location.

    Aryan clenched his jaw tightly as she turned away, clearly becoming agitated by her inaction. He could feel the presence advancing now, discernible through the Force as a small shiver at the base of his spine. They were running out of time; if she did not take the initiative and come with him…

    And yet, he knew he could never run without her. It was as simple as that.

    Over the past couple of months, their bond had grown far beyond a superficial attraction to each other. It reached a point where he could begin to perceive her thoughts and actions on a more intimate level. He was sure the same could be said for her as well. It was a strange notion, but it almost felt like she had become an extension of himself. And in this instance, he could feel her hesitation...the regret at having to refuse his offer. She wanted to come with him, but their unfortunate circumstances were preventing that.

    His expression softened a bit at that realization, but it didn’t make this any easier. Aryan hated that she was hinging their own survival around a battle they had no stake in. He hated the Sith for forcing them into this impossible situation. He hated his own lack of fortitude to sever the connection he had with Syren and save himself…

    This was truly a disaster; he couldn’t believe he was actually going along with it.

    “Dammit,” he cursed with exasperation, adjusting the blaster rifle perched on his shoulder in preparation for the worst.

    Approaching the destroyed box with his arms wide and pace slow, he was trying to indicate a desire to parley with those surviving in the box. He looked around carefully. The box was littered with debris. It smelled of burned things, of cooked flesh and blackened duracrete.

    He met the gaze of Syren and then Aryan. No, not Aryan. His eyes narrowed. Was it possible to acquire Force powers? A conversation for another time. Serapis measured each word as he spoke them, “I won’t say ‘friends.’ Sith don’t have friends. Yet, we three have a connection from the previous universe. We know each other. There are others we don’t know. And those we…” He added emphasis to his voice as a verbal wink and nudge. “...don’t trust. I have trusted each of you in the past as you have me. We don’t have to battle. We don’t have to do what this ruined Triumvirate wants us to do. Can we work together? Or do we need to have more needless bloodshed?” Slowly, carefully, he lowered his right arm to indicate he wanted to shake on it.

    Astra laid comfortably in her perch, near impossible to see, lest she move or was sensed through the force. Her breathing was reduced and would furthermore as she took a snuff of spice discreetly. She took to her rifle scope again and saw the Ithorian Lord seem to talk to a few she had never seen before. With a few clicks to the right her scope increased its magnification and set itself into thermal mode, it would work better in the dust and smoke that hazed the arena. She was ready for a shootout and she was covering Serapis from her nest. If things went south she would find a way out for the both of them.

    Syren had slowly turned her focus to the Ithorian Sith Lord, her grip remaining tight over the weapons within her grasp. She knew there was no way he had come alone and remained vigilant for any surprises, hoping Aryan would do the same.

    “Lord Serapis,” she answered with a small nod, curious and anxious at once. Reaching out within the Force, the assassin couldn’t sense anything untoward emanating from the alien though she was still doubtful of his sincerity. “You’ve come to organize peace talks after we were almost killed? Or to try and clean up any mess left behind?”

    Whomever he had aligned himself with, the Ithorian was sent here for a reason and his approach left her feeling entirely uneasy.

    Aryan canted his head and watched the proceedings with an amused glint in his eye. He was now leaning casually against a piece of wreckage a few paces back, the blaster rifle resting easily across his chest. The Ithorian’s attempts at negotiation were humorous at best. He was half-tempted to allow Syren to carry this the rest of the way just to see what kind of chaos would ensue, but ultimately he couldn’t resist. This was just too much.

    “Don’t be too hard on him, Syren,” he added as he took a cautious step forward. He inclined his head and met Serapis’s gaze, a wry grin beginning to curl up one corner of his mouth. “I’m sure he’s only following orders.”

    He reached up and rubbed thoughtfully at his beard. “It’s your duty, right? Let me guess...they promised to give you riches, power…acceptance. He hung on that last word and raised his brow. It was no secret that Serapis faced certain challenges as an alien living in a society primarily dominated by humans. “Basically, anything you could ever imagine in exchange for your services and loyalty. You will survive while others less fortunate than you...the incompetent, the weak...will suffer for their insolence. Sound familiar?”

    Aryan was smiling now, that same bitter smile that reflected his own inner conflict. “I should know...they used the same methods on me. The same empty promises and the same lies...over and over again. You are a pawn. Nothing more. They will consume you until your usefulness is extinguished and you’re nothing more than a dry husk.

    “Let me ask you this, Jwob,” he continued, his tone gaining in confidence. “Who do you really serve? What power will the Sith have a few months from now? A year? Who do they truly command? All I see is a ragtag group of misfits and the scourge of the underworld.” He shrugged. “It means nothing. Hardly something to be proud of. Fortunately, the galaxy is an unforgiving place; it will tear them apart with time. And when that happens, what becomes of you, Jwob?

    “Our future is not with the Sith. They will destroy us. We need to take our own initiative and shape our own lives...to survive.” He spread his hands in a genial gesture. “Remember when I saved you from that burning wreckage on Mortis? That’s the kind of camaraderie we need. Not violence. Do the right thing and step away with us to forge a better future. I know you want to get away...”

    He had not planned to launch into a tired speech, but if it served its purpose, why not?

    He stood there. Like a fool. One hand out.

    For a second, or seconds, he stood there, waiting. Finally, he looked at his hand. He put both his hands down and glared at the two of them. "Thanks for leaving me hanging, guys." He reached up and scratched his neck. How much of these two... babbling... was he to respond to? He chucked a bit. None of it. Well, maybe some of it, but not right away.

    He looked around at the destruction more. He saw some movement under some rubble. Someone had actually survived this? He reached into his pocket and pulled out a small charge. He directed it with the Force over to the movement. Just as a blood-soaked head of hair appeared in the carnage, the charge exploded. Problem solved.

    "I see what you two have been through." he said. "I've been on a fool’s errand. I've encountered what appeared to be a child who wielded the Force like no one I've ever seen and a... talking tree down on that planet we were stranded on. They have plants down there that can devour whole shuttles. Two of my companions disappeared to..." he gestured around himself, "out there. Somewhere. I've been disarmed more times than I can count and woken up naked once." He paused a bit to let that sink in.

    "Not fun for any of us. So, Aryan, if indeed you are still Aryan, I agree. The four of us should get the kriff out of here." He turned, pointedly, to Syren, "Yes, four. I was 'sent' with a companion to 'clean up,' but I have no more interest in that than I have in eating steak." A passing thought, he wondered if they knew Ithorians were herbivores. No matter. "So, where do we go from here?"

    Aryan couldn’t have been more pleased with the course of events. He knew he had taken a gamble with that speech and had initially expected trouble, but in this instance, he wasn’t about to argue the results. Serapis had fallen in-line with the plan fairly easily. This was perfect. He felt a smile beginning to tug at his lips as he rocked back on his heels and basked in his personal victory.

    “There’s a hangar not too far from here,” he revealed with an even drawl. “We use the cover of the panicked crowds to escape and slip away in a shuttle. With all the chaos, I’m sure they’ll hardly notice. They have more pressing matters to attend to.”

    Syren had kept quiet and let Aryan do his thing. If they were to get out of this situation without resorting to violence, he would be the one to make that happen. She knew if she had been the one to lead them, she would have produced a quicker result but with much more blood – and she found herself unable to find excitement in the thought of Serapis’ demise.

    Why that was, she couldn’t be sure, but casting a quick glance back at Ayran and noting his pleased expression, causing a smirk of her own to crack her tense demeanor… she had an idea where it began.

    Astra had been watching this confrontation unfold and had grown bored. She saw the 'politician' trying to sway Serapis' intentions away from the goal. This was the goal.. The Empress herself commanded they were to take care of any survivors and there they lay. Now she saw the Ithorian making half-hearted negotiations and decided to lay the cards. She aimed upon Aryan, her modified Marksman Rifle had no problems piercing through a wall if he chose to take cover. The shot was aimed where he stood at the moment however and he could react, if he were to sense her through the Force. Her head was clouded with spice yet her aim true. The first shot rang and seeks Aryan's center mass. She took a pot shot at the wall Syren was behind; a thermal scope works wonders. She knew the mighty Darth Serapis could handle himself, even if she weren't covering his back.

    The Chancellor was so engrossed in his own self-gratification that he failed to immediately recognize the subtle warning that materialized as a chill at the base of his spine and traveled upward with increasing intensity. By the time he finally acknowledged it as the Force, it was nearly too late to react. The blaster bolt came out of nowhere, hurtling through the haze that separated them from the arena floor below. In that instant, Aryan dropped.

    The shot passed overhead, but not before grazing his shoulder and igniting a new wave of agony. Aryan heard himself yell out and instantly rolled onto his side, both to grasp at his wounded shoulder and to protect himself from any subsequent shots. In the brief lull that followed, the truth became clear – Serapis had betrayed them.

    With a curse, he tried to bring the rifle around to return fire at their assailants, but with only one good arm, he only succeeded in fumbling it.

    That’s when a second shot rang out and connected somewhere near the opposite wall. Clenching his teeth against the pain, Aryan craned his neck and began to frantically search his immediate surroundings. One thought was on his mind – Syren.

    Was she ok?

    There was a telling moment when Syren was immediately aware of the other presence that had come with the ithorian – she had known the Sith Lord wasn’t alone but couldn’t discern exactly where anyone else was hiding.

    Until just before the first shot rang out.

    As clear as day, as the unknown individual revealed their lethal intent before pulling the trigger, she knew.

    Everything seemed to slow as she spun completely around in Aryan’s direction, sensing the imminent danger the politician was suddenly in. Too late in her realization, she saw him fall and heard his cry, his pain stinging her through the Force almost as if it was her own. Her left saber ignited in a flash and she snarled through clenched teeth, just as she became aware the threat had re-centered its focus on her.

    The wall that was now to her back split open as a second shot blew through the heavily damaged bulkhead, the assassin swinging out with her crimson blade to connect with the bolt and knock it back whence it came. She rocked back a few paces as the wall crumbled entirely under the renewed destruction, not hesitating to utilize her surging anger to hurl a large chunk of durasteel directly at Serapis as she ran towards where Aryan lay.

    Crouching down, Syren didn’t waste time examining his new wound and only held out a hand, urgency plain in her voice.

    “Time to go. NOW.” She would’ve loved nothing more than to stay and fight, but that would leave Aryan in escalating danger. And that was not an option she would allow herself to consider.

    "ASTRA! WHAT IN YOUR DRUG-ADDLED MIND ARE YOU DOING?!?" Serapis was losing any semblance of respect or value he had in this woman. To take a shot at all? Unthinkable. But then to take several and miss? She must be related to Stormtroopers to be that bad. He had turned to look in the direction of her hiding space for the briefest of seconds. By the time he turned back, some durasteel was hurtling toward him. He was able to deflect it enough only to keep himself safe. What he wanted to do right now was to propel it at Astra.

    Serapis threw up a Force Barrier around where Syren was tending to Aryan. She had screamed out that it was time to go. He wanted to see if there was any way to resurrect this deal they had struck. "Those shots were not on my instructions, Syren, Aryan! Nothing has changed in my mind... well, except that it should just be us three, not Astra, that leave. I do agree, though. Let's go!"

    She quenched her high on Aryan's agony yet it was draughted by Serapis' mercy and reluctance to capitalise on the situation. The bolt that was for Syren was reflected back to her position. Astra threw her cloak down into the ruins of the arena now that her position was given up. She dove out of the recessed cove that she had taken cover in. The reflected shot had exploded where she would've been as Astra clamped onto a catwalk with one hand above the trio. She knew Serapis had worked out an agreement to escape but that is not what the Dawn Herald commanded. Ravenous would not approve if she followed. She let go of the catwalk above and pulled dual slug throwers from her hips. She pulled the triggers to Aryan and Syren, avoiding Serapis unless he showed aggression. She knew he wouldn't approve of her actions but would deal with consequence after the orders were fulfilled.

    Serapis could sense the determination of this woman, even through the drug haze she was emanating. It would be impressive if she weren't trying to follow those kriffing orders. He needed to do something. He couldn't sense exactly where she was. He called his lightsaber to his hand and readied a Mind Shard for when he could get her exact location.

    Sensing the increasing danger like a fuse lit beneath her skin, Syren couldn’t simply wait for Aryan to take her hand. So with an impatient huff, she reached down to grasp him under his arm – not properly minding his wound - and yanked him to his feet, pushing the taller man out in front of her and towards a half-blocked doorway to the side. She made to follow on his heels with a still-ignited saber held tight in her grasp, ignoring Serapis’ hollow pleas to work together. She had no allegiance to the Ithorian and it was clear now he had been simply drawing them out so he and his partner could take out the trash… as she had correctly guessed from the start.

    Before Aryan could fully regain his bearings, Syren was reaching down to pull him back to his feet, seemingly oblivious to the fact that she had grabbed his injured arm. He steeled himself against the sudden onrush of pain by clenching his teeth together tightly, but it was hardly enough to ease his suffering. A pitiful howl issued from deep in his throat as he shuffled to his feet under her guidance. The movement also jostled the strap of the rifle, which decided to slide down his arm and hinge at the crook of his elbow, adding even more strain to his injury and exacerbating the situation further.

    With his face screwed up in obvious discomfort, Aryan craned his neck and shot his companion a scornful look. While he recognized that she was only trying to help, she could’ve been more mindful of his condition. But before he could convey his annoyance over that particular detail, a single glance over Syren’s shoulder told him why she had acted in such haste – their assailant had finally revealed herself.

    Having taken no more than a step, there was a distinct alarm in the Force that called her focus upward and she drew her gaze to the source with an audible whine. It was the unknown and thoroughly obnoxious presence in this game, choosing to physically reveal herself at last. The assassin locked eyes on a figure dropping from above, again targeting her and Aryan with a pair of weapons… then firing.

    Utilizing her saber once more to block the incoming shots, she brought the blade about and prepared to deflect; biding them time to get out of this blasted open space, which she hoped Aryan was at least succeeding in doing. As the first connected with her weapon she would immediately find them different than before, swinging out to knock it away but it did not such thing. Instead of ricocheting off her crimson blade it melted, the embers spraying back into her face and hair.

    Syren screamed and spun away, dropping low behind a pile of bent and burnt durasteel as the onslaught continued. The skin upon her face alight with fresh burns and cuts,.she searched for Aryan and a path to escape.

    Fortunately, for his part, Aryan’s luck had held. The second round of blasts from the assailant’s weapon were more sporadic and reckless, hitting aimlessly to his right and left and making it fairly easy to dodge out of the way of any meandering shots. And judging by the metallic ring they produced upon impact, this woman was using slugs. Aryan had to mentally scoff at the idea – she was really going ‘old school’ for this kill.

    But if all went according to plan, she would never get the chance to score that coveted shot. Despite the wreckage littering the room, the path leading to the door was relatively clear. He could make out the wide expanse of the corridor just beyond the broken hatch, beckoning him towards freedom...

    He was almost there...just a few more paces...

    And that’s when his thought processes ceased and he unleashed an agonizing scream. He stumbled forward and collapsed to his knees, his face feeling as if it was literally on fire. Reaching up, he began to claw fiercely at the sensitive skin around his eyes in an effort to alleviate the intense pain.

    But...he couldn’t remember being hit.

    In his confusion, one word suddenly materialized in his mind and rolled off his tongue before he could fully comprehend its meaning, “Syren!”

    In that moment, Syren became a brilliant beacon in the Force, her pain and suffering ebbing with his own until it was difficult to discern where her presence ended and his began. They were essentially one with each other. He realized now what had happened – she had been hurt, and he was experiencing her anguish through their bond. Aryan gasped and faltered again, visibly shaken by this kind of sensory overload.

    What if…?

    She can’t die…she can’t die...she can’t--

    That silent mantra continued to repeat in his head until it developed into a pure, unbridled rage. Rising slowly to his feet, he turned to pinpoint Syren’s position, but upon seeing her vulnerable form lying among the wreckage, his gaze shifted toward the source of her suffering – the unnamed assailant and the Ithorian. His blue-gray eyes flashed with a dangerous light before he gathered the Force around him in a fury.

    With a tortured yell, Aryan unleashed all of his hate and anguish toward the two unsuspecting Sith. Pieces of debris, twisted durasteel, and bodies lifted into the air and surged forward in a ravaging wave of destruction. They would pay for their insolence; they would pay for Syren’s suffering!

    It was hard to tell how long this kept up, or when he finally crossed over to where Syren was resting against a durasteel beam. And really, it didn’t matter. He was running on pure adrenaline, his eyes shining feverishly as he knelt down and instinctively draped her arm across his back for support. Once he was in position, he slowly hauled her to her feet. Pain was of no consequence in this moment...it sustained him, kept his nerve endings bristling with the hope that they would finally escape this living hell.

    “You alright?” he asked through labored breaths, a weak smile pulling at one corner of his mouth. Sweat was beginning to bead on his forehead under the pressure, mixing with the blood and grime that was already plastered on his face, but he didn't seem to mind. For the moment, he found satisfaction simply looking into her face and exploring the gray depths of her eyes, knowing that she was alive.

    They were together again…free.

    Without waiting for a response, Aryan started to ease her forward, not bothering to look back at the destruction left in their wake until they were safely out in the corridor. And then, they slipped away.

    TAGS: @Darth_wanderguard @DarthIshyZ @WookieeRage @HanSolo29
     
  4. Kaleesh-Cyborg

    Kaleesh-Cyborg Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jan 4, 2017
    Combo with Darth_wanderguard and QueenSabe7
    Showdown between Leda, Vexx, and Cal

    Leda’s excitement and determination were bubbling over as she led the Twilight Guard into the hangar, the soldiers fanning out equally on either side of her to create a perimeter that arched around the targets in a semi-circle. As proof of the prestigious training they had each received, blaster rifles, melee weapons and the like snapped to attention in complete unison, scopes trained on the shuttle itself and upon the mechanical creature known as Grievance Vexx. It was apparent that the vessel’s weapons were hot and it was easy to see how the cyborg was interpreting her intrusion, brandishing a pair of lightsabers that he immediately ignited and held at the ready.

    Sensing the palpable tension in the Force, the young woman came to a halt at a comfortable distance, the Guard following suit to stand motionless but poised to attack at a moment’s notice. She had left her saber hilt attached at her hip but a hand hovered close, itching for a reason to put it to use.

    ‘Uh, uh yes. Can we help you?’ an unknown voice boomed over a loudspeaker emanating from the shuttle.

    Leda snickered beneath her helmet, wondering just who it was that was speaking. They sounded rather… nervous.

    As they should be.

    “Yes you can, actually,” she called in response, her tone light though her focus remained trained on Vexx should he decide to make any brash moves. Swallowing once, her throat dry, she fully gauged his hulking frame – even with its apparent injuries - and felt a chill of apprehension rush up her spine before continuing. “In the name of the Empress, Queen of the Twilight, I demand you power down your weapons and declare your allegiance.”

    She paused here briefly, taking a deep breath and preparing both mentally and physically for whichever way things were about to suddenly shift.

    “If you do not comply, I will be more than happy to help you off this ship and send you on your way… via an airlock.”

    Vexx groans as the weight of his pronged dual-bladed lightsaber feels heavy against the injury to his right arm. What had his master taught him about pain? He must use it; feed off of it. It hurts like hell despite the fact that it is mechanical. Pain burns though his organs on the right side of his chest. He tries not to let it distract him, drawing on it as fuel to be converted into lethal fighting skills. He looks to the apparent leader of the Twilight Guard as she speaks, essentially demanding surrender with the alternative being death.

    "Who the hell are you?" he demands, altering his stance to square off toward her, obviously not to be interpreted as compliance with her orders, "Strike that. It does not matter who you are. Grievance Vexx submits to no one and I am not a traitor to those I have aligned myself with. Either let me go my way or we shall settle this violently. The choice is yours, but I will not surrender to the voice I heard demanding my allegiance to whomever or whatever she is."

    The cyborg braces himself, knowing his words alone grant her permission to attempt to take him down. Attempt. It is an open-ended action. If she wants to kill him, she will have to prove it. He will not initiate any physical hostility though. All he does is raise his pronged lightsabers in a frontal guard. He is on the defensive and will remain so simply because he has no idea how long his damaged arm will hold up. He stays mindful of his own pain, continuing to draw from it into the reserves of his soul. With what he is up against, he has no doubt he is going to need all the strength he can get.

    Cal winces. He had hoped to at least buy some time. “You’re not making this any easier,” he chides Grievance over the comm before switching back to the loudspeaker.

    ‘Uh, forgive my friend here, he was an employee of mine until a few minutes ago and now he’s disgruntled over being fired. As to those lightsabers I have no idea where he got those. Put those things away, will you?’

    Leda laughed again as the mysterious voice from the shuttle stammered to stave off the rising tension in the hangar. She sensed the story told was not the whole truth and clearly the mega-droid Sith and its companion were at odds with how to proceed. She decided to latch onto that discord, perhaps forcing a first move on their part in order to give a legitimate reason for their inevitable deaths.

    “Listen to your… former boss, Vexx,” she chided sarcastically, still not yet grabbing for her own weapon as her soldiers continued to await her command. “I serve Empress Bellorum. Whomever you’re currently aligned with are now traitors to the Empire, which makes a poor choice in friends on your part.”

    She paced absently though her focus never wavered; neither did the mischievous grin she wore, hidden behind her helmet.

    “Tsk, tsk.”

    Grievance's eyes shift to the shuttle. He still doesn't know who is in that thing and now he feels as though he has walked into some sort of trap. Hadn't this guy just insinuated that he had to prove his loyalty? Confusion is even more difficult to tolerate as his head is still swimming with pain he is struggling to use as his master had trained him to do. Now this faceless man hiding in the shuttle is playing mind games with him and fury is rising. Grievance has learned to expect and can take mind games from Draconis, but he doesn't appreciate it from anyone else.

    Another glance at the shuttle, questioning; wondering if betrayal is unfolding here. In these moments, the cyborg begins to feel the cold hand of fear clenching around his heart. He is not afraid of death; that has little to do with it. It is the manner in which he could die that disturbs him. If this is betrayal, he will die with no honor and he will die in captivity; a fate he has tried to avoid like the Plague. It sounds like the person in the shuttle might be trying to save him a fight though. The Kaleesh warrior is born and bred with conflict in his blood, but at this time, Grievance wouldn't mind forgoing an unnecessary battle. He is very tired and in a substantial amount of pain. Worst of all, he could lose the function of his arm again and that would undoubtedly lead him to a humiliating defeat. He decides to try and play along with the questionable fellow in the shuttle. After all, Draconis had given him a crash course in acting when the two of them had been required to take on aliases.


    "Disgruntled? Is that what you call it?" he snarls at Cal, trying his best to slip into the role of blue collar gone postal, "You fired me for unjust reasons. It was not my fault your orders were confusing." He glares at the shuttle pointedly as he tries to get that coded message across. "How could you do this to me? I am supporting six children." He blinks at the rancor in the room after he says that. Blast. "They are...adopted. And anyway, as for the lightsabers, I intend to use them to find out if you have a heart in that skinny chest of yours, Boss."

    Now that he has thoroughly humiliated himself, he almost thinks it might have been better to disregard Cal and go in lightsabers blazing as he had been ready to do in the first place. To add to his act of trying to look like he only has it in for his "boss", he turns toward the shuttle, still brandishing his crimson blades. His focus, however, remains on Leda. He is not so sure she will buy this act. For one, he knows he already failed the audition; two, judging by what she has stated, unless he swears allegiance to this Bellorum person, he is dead meat--err...scrap metal? Maybe both.

    "I have no qualms with you," he growls, "I am here to regain my position or kill him for not giving it to me." He jabs a lightsaber in Cal's direction. "It would be far better if you just left us alone to...settle this matter privately."

    ‘Wait wait wait whoa whoa,’ Cal cuts in over the loudspeaker. ‘Empress Bellorum? I’m out of it for a little while and everybody gets delusions of grandeur. When did this happen?’ he chuckles. ‘Look, how do you think Bellorum has gotten to where she’s at?’ he asks, sounding a bit more confident now.

    ‘Business associates. Of which I’m one. And about this little situation, honestly we do this about once a month. He gets mad, I “fire” him so he can go home and cool down for a week or two, and then I rehire him with backpay. It’s just our little way of working out the kinks.’

    He’s fully turned on the charm now, and hopes despite the damage done he can at least give this heavily armored militant some pause if not convince her to go away.

    ‘Surely you don’t want to have to tell Bellorum you accosted one of her friends, right? She didn’t even send you here herself, did she?’

    Cal knows it’s a gamble, and as such he switches back to Vexx’s comm. “This might not work, keep those sabers ready but just stay out of the way right at first, alright?” he whispers.

    As metal boy and the weirdo in the shuttle attempted to put on a display, obviously stalling, Leda stilled abruptly. She reached up and quickly removed her helmet, a silvery braid of hair tumbling down her back as she unceremoniously tossed it aside. She rolled her yellow-green eyes and clucked her tongue impatiently.

    “Blah blah blah,” she cut in, her tone testy and her demeanor impatient.

    This was not going how she thought it would, her glorious moment leading the Empress’ personal guard to rid her new ship of the former Night Herald and his followers… and the blasted man wasn’t even here! Instead she was stuck with a pair of regular comedians, the reputation of the cyborg warrior vastly preceding what she was witnessing before her now.

    Shame, she thought.

    “Unfortunately, seeing as Haretisch isn’t going to show, there’s no point in dragging this out…” Leda sighed, truly disappointed she wouldn't be able to put on more of a display. Finally grasping her saber hilt and pulling it free of her belt, she looked directly to Vexx with a mischievous grin.

    “FIRE,” she seethed to the lieutenant at her side before launching herself towards her fellow Sith, her pale yellow blade igniting in a flash as she moved. Instantly her soldiers opened up a barrage of bolts at the cyborg but more so concentrated on the armored shuttle behind him, many of the Guard advancing on the craft as they leveled their assault.

    Grievance knows the decision was made well before he and the man in the shuttle decided to try and throw this Bellorum lackey off. Leda was going to fight him, hell or high water. He groans inwardly as she grins meaningfully at him and all he can think is "arm, don't fail me now" as she reaches for her lightsaber, wary of the guards flanking her and what role they will play in what is about to break loose.

    He doesn't have to wonder long. On Leda's command, Vexx is caught in a hailstorm of blaster bolts, pinging off his armor and threatening his ability to focus on his real foe. He is glad he had not put his lightsabers away as he immediately puts them to the defensive use of Soresu to deflect and attempt to return fire on his assailants. He is not without worry though; if his arm fails him again, he will be painfully short on defenses and the outcome will be grim to say the least.

    For now, he pushes his worry out of his mind and draws on the pain he had been pulling into his reserves of energy, letting the Force guide his Soresu with his right arm while he employs Makashi with the weapon in his opposite hand. He meets Leda's lunge with a parry and a feint, followed by a thrust toward her midsection with the intent to pierce her through. All the while, he maintains a steady rhythm deflecting blaster bolts back toward those who are firing them, but even the untrained eye can see the weakness with which the arm is functioning.

    Kriff,
    Cal thinks as blaster bolts ring against the shuttle’s deflector shields, and flips a pair of switches to divert power to the front. “It was worth a try,” he mutters to no one but himself, and levels the blaster cannons at the troopers. He lets loose, and sends a quartet of them flying, armor scorched and smoking as they land lifelessly meters away. The remaining troopers scramble for cover, continuing to fire as they retreat. Cal unleashes another volley to keep them pinned down, at least momentarily, and turns to train the cannons on Leda and Vexx. He can’t fire without hitting them both, and he briefly considers it before pulling up on the sticks to lift the crosshairs. If there’s any possibility Vexx is as loyal as he claims, he’s too valuable an ally to just throw away. Cal resolves instead to help the cyborg any way he can, and swings the cannons around again to loose more fire at the hiding troopers.

    Her attack easily thwarted, Leda spun out of her lunge to narrowly avoid the response strike from Vexx, his own saber a hair’s breadth away from opening up her abdomen. She didn’t pause to ponder that, however, the next moment keeping her momentum and continuing to turn away from the cyborg instead of coming back around for another bout.

    Her yellow blade flashing at her side and blaster bolts raining down in every direction, the young warrior took off at a Force-aided sprint towards the open ramp of the shuttle. Her intent must be to disable to the vessel, maybe killing whomever was inside, so that no one that refused to acknowledge Empress Bellorum would be able to flee like the traitors they were.

    Vexx curses himself inwardly as his attempt to impale Leda comes so close, but doesn't quite make the cut. She evades it at the last second and his blade slices through nothing but thin air. He lets the momentum of the thrust carry him into a swift about-face, tracking her evasive maneuver and watching for an opening to strike again, but she is disengaging, turning her focus instead to the shuttle.

    "Oh, no you don't," he growls at her retreating form, aiming to deflect blaster bolts in her direction with his Soresu-occupied arm while he sheathes his other lightsaber and stretches that hand out toward her, clenching his fist and drawing back in an attempt to seize her in a Force pull and drag her back to him. If she wants him dead, she will have to see to that herself. He's not going to go down easy to her haphazardly firing troopers.

    Cal swings and opens fire again on the remaining troopers, hoping to protect Vexx from the scattered blasterfire. His guns had been trained on Leda momentarily, but there hadn’t been enough time to get shots off to end this before she was back tangling with the Kaleesh once again. “Not to rush you or anything but can you deal with her already?” Cal asks impatiently over the comm. He has no idea when Hel will show up again. He spots movement at the door and prepares to unleash another volley, but pauses. Darth Syren and Aryan Graul. They were under Haretisch’s command before, but now who knows? Both are worse for wear and look to be fleeing, and so he makes a snap judgment. He swings the cannons to the corner where the remaining troopers are huddled, and unleashes covering fire.

    ‘Come on!’ he shouts over the loudspeaker, beckoning the two across what would be a death trap if the troopers weren’t pinned. ‘Vexx needs your help!’

    Tag: @Darth_wanderguard @QueenSabe7 @HanSolo29 @Lady Belligerent
     
  5. dragonsith13

    dragonsith13 Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 3, 2005
    Draconis
    The Luxury Elite ~ Wandering

    Fire had reign down from above, scorching and casting silhouettes of death upon a shattered house. One divided and torn through completely by what were the pillars of their faith. Destined to fail every time it seemed, as for millennia they failed in the same manner every time. Leaving the door open, allowing such a threat to dominate them.

    Legend says that the sands of this world got their color form the blood spilled over countless millennia. The red sand world was once again soaked.

    High atop a cliff at the base of a ridge line overlooking perched watching it all unfold. Below and miles away in the valley of the seat of the Sith Empire ,the grand temple of this era was in flames. Was his exile a merciful fate? He had watched as countless Sith had been brought out, executed by beheading. Nailed to crosses and strung out across the temple grounds in a gruesome parade of conquest. If they had been united, could they have faced down this mysterious foe that showed up in an instant and disappeared just as quickly? Some of the strongest within the order cut down and slaughtered. And for what purpose? Weren’t they destined to do it to themselves eventually? This only sped up the inevitable. Masters training Apprentices to be loyal, to value an “Order”. To galvanize together. Maybe such happened once, twice, maybe even three or four times… but eventually. Eventually the rotting from within. The cracks in the armor were exposed, the festering untreated wounds took hold.

    Even at speed by the time he got back to the temple, it was well over. Burning piles of bodies littered the grounds, they had not even bothered to ransack the temple. They had no interest in what they had or held, it was simply an extermination. Walking the grounds there was no one, if anyone had survived they were no longer here. A whole order scattered, crushed, and nearly exterminated.

    Draconis opened his eyes, the old memory as vivid now as it was then.

    The same blood was being spilled on durasteel plates. A different time, a different order. The same result.

    He had felt the same energy, sitting in the abandon bar, outside the grand fighting arena of the ship, and now outside one of the main hangers he stood watching. Waiting.

    @no-one in particular

    ooc: just passing time - checking in on people
     
  6. Darth_wanderguard

    Darth_wanderguard Game Host star 6 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Apr 26, 2005
    IC: Hel, Dr. Cal Jepsun, Zalen, Darth Leda, Darth Syren, Aryan Graul, and Grievous Vexx

    Hangar/Shuttle, The Luxury Elite, super combo with Lady Belligerent, QueenSabe7, HanSolo29, and Kaleesh-Cyborg


    Hel had just wrestled the severed tentacle off of her when she saw Ravenous attack Haretisch. Her vision was narrowing, possibly due to the venom from the jagged bone that had ripped into her flesh, and she fought to stay conscious. “Stop!” Hel gasped and struggled to get to her father as he sank to the floor.


    She cupped his face in her hands and shook, “we must get you to Dr. Jepsun.” Hel was aware that she couldn’t lift him herself now, not with the effects of the venom. Suddenly her lightsaber was raised and she was poised to protect Haretisch from a person approaching. She’d felt Zalen before she came into her view, and right now Hel didn’t know who she could trust.


    Zalen had stayed back and watched the scene from a distance, and once Ravenous took his escape she’d hurried forward. She’d stopped in her tracks when Hel had raised her lightsaber and was protecting the Night Herald like a mother Nexu.


    “Lower your weapon, child,” Zalen said gently. “We must act quickly if he is to survive.” Her words carried no threat, but Hel was still hesitant. “I can stop the bleeding,” Zalen continued, “but, you must let me get closer.”


    Hel sighed and extinguished her lightsaber. When she lowered her arm Zalen saw the oozing would in her shoulder, “I see you’ve taken some damage as well.” The nightsister pulled a slender case from her pocket and laid it beside her as she knelt on the floor beside Haretisch. “Open that case and take out a syringe,” Zalen directed Hel. “Give yourself that one,” Zalen pointed into the case, “it will slow the venom until we get you to a medic.”


    Once she was sure Hel was following her instructions, Zalen lifted Haretisch’s shoulder slightly and shifted him to get her access to the entire area where his arm was once attached. She braced him with one hand and held out the other cupped as if she was going to hold water. “Use the other syringe on him, and hurry.” Hel dropped the empty syringe that she’d just used on herself and removed the second one from the case. She injected the pain medication just as fire filled Zalen’s palm. Her eyes widened as she watched the woman pour the flames over the wound cauterizing it.


    Once Zalen was satisfied that his bleeding had slowed, she looked closely at Hel. The girl’s pupils were no longer dilated. Zalen shoved the case back into the pocket of her tunic and stood. “You mentioned getting him to a doctor?” Zalen asked. She used the Force to raise his limp boy and positioned herself to move Haretisch.


    Hel nodded. “Dr. Jepsun is on a shuttle,” she answered and took Haretisch’s remaining arm to assist moving him. “We aren’t far now, but why are you helping us?”


    Leda closed in on the shuttle as shots rang out around her, managing to bat away the few that had come too close. She was acutely aware of the ensuing decimation of the Twilight Guard but she had planned for that. They were always going to be the distraction while she did what must be done – it could only ever have been her. With Haretisch not present, her goal was now destroying their means of escape at any cost, including the deaths of so many troopers. It was a necessity and she paid them no mind; they meant nothing to her.


    Charging beneath the vessel’s stern, her eyes greedily upon the ramp, her legs were suddenly knocked from beneath her and she fell forward onto the floor, the wind whooshed from her lungs. Choking for air, she felt her body thrust back the direction she had come. Leda maneuvered herself onto her back and saw the cyborg, multitasking with his multiple arms and utilizing the Force to bring her back into their fleeting yet personal fray.


    “Kriffing droids,” she spat aloud, bringing her yellow-bladed saber about to defend… but even as she knew her focus must be upon her attacker, her eyes were drawn to her side and towards the hangar entrance.


    She had arrived.


    Syren was walking on her own now at Aryan’s side, her arm brushing against his more for comfort than anything else. His safety was paramount and as they approached the hangar, she briefly realized how unhealthy this mindset was to her own survival. The last time she had put another’s well-being before her own, it had nearly cost her life. The very thought of a repeat of the events from several lifetimes ago made the bile rise in her throat but she kept it at bay, sensing the oncoming commotion. The chaos had been felt ahead of the noise, heavy artillery and the distinct hum of lightsabers, several presences alight in the Force... one such standing out brighter than the rest in a thoroughly confusing manner.


    She felt every bruise and cut upon her form, her face having swelled in spots in reaction to her burns - all coalescing into fuel for their escape. They came to the entrance with the shuttle in clear view, a wall of blaster bolts targeting the craft from their side. Black armor-clad bodies were strewn about the floor in heaps, what looked to be the remains of a siege, the last of such saw troopers pinned just to the right of the doorway they had come to by fire from their escape vessel. It was almost as if this was meant to protect them both as they fled across the hangar floor…


    ‘Come on!’ a voice commanded over a loudspeaker emanating from the starship. ‘Vexx needs your help!’


    By the time they reached the hangar, Aryan was laboring. While the Force had granted him a brief period of rejuvenation to cover their escape from the arena, that had long since dissipated. In the aftermath, his face had become a contorted mask of pain, his injured arm tucked lamely against his chest to protect it from further harm. He noted that the fingers of that same hand had also gone numb at some point, leading him to believe that the laser blast had not only seared flesh, but struck a nerve or two along the way as well. He knew that he couldn’t rule out the possibility of permanent damage at this point.


    And so, when the disembodied voice came over the loudspeaker to encourage them to assist in the battle raging in the hangar bay, Aryan could only stare with disbelief, an audible curse slipping from his chapped lips. He was clearly not in the mood to deal with this right now. Whoever was manning that shuttle had apparently lost their damn mind to even suggest that he should put his life on the line for that mechanical abomination.


    Besides, this wasn’t part of the plan. They had to escape! His idea of freedom did not involve crawling back to the Sith like some wounded animal to offer them aid in their time of need. This was not his fight!


    He canted his head and started to voice those concerns to Syren, but the distant look in her eye stopped him short. Something was wrong. Her presence in the Force had turned cold...tense, almost as if she was battling some kind of inner conflict. It disturbed him to the point where he could no longer move. He was frozen in place, seemingly dependent on her actions.


    Syren only vaguely registered the words, her dark gaze having been trained on them the moment she had been aware she was here - the blonde woman she had been so curiously linked to, being raked across the floor and into the clutches of Grievance Vexx, the obvious intent of his motions to kill.


    “Vexx, NO!” she shouted without a single coherent thought. She left Aryan’s side and took off in a sprint towards the pair almost as if she were subconsciously dragged there, both crimson-bladed sabers suddenly igniting in each of her hands. She dodged shots and deflected those that she could not physically miss, her eyes only upon the young woman being pulled into what appeared to be the clutches of certain death.


    Syren reached them just as Leda would have landed at the cyborg’s clawed feet, inserting herself between them and raising her blades to block whatever attack he may have had planned…


    “STOP!” she commanded, her voice carried through the Force to mentally persuade him if he would refuse to acknowledge her standing amongst the now crumbling Sith. A High Lord meant nothing at this point she absently realized, preparing for Vexx to continue on with whatever it was he wished to accomplish. Every fiber in her being knew that she had to protect to woman at her back, and yet she couldn’t understand why.


    “Syren!” Aryan called out as he staggered forward helplessly, suddenly free of the spell she had put over him. “What the hell are you doing?!”


    His heart was pounding wildly in his chest, unable to fully comprehend what was happening. Who was that woman, and why was Syren so intent on protecting her from Vexx’s deadly snare? It didn’t make any sense. The two combatants could have easily destroyed each other without outside intervention, opening a window for Syren and himself to escape...unless...


    Was there something more? Did she dare come between them?


    That thought was cut short as a blaster bolt came dangerously close to Aryan’s ear, causing him to yell out with surprise and instinctively duck down to make himself a smaller target. Whatever was going on, he wasn’t doing himself any favors by standing here in the middle of a firefight without a way to defend himself; he might as well have a big target painted on his chest. He had to get out of here, and unfortunately, his only option was the shuttle if he wanted to survive.


    With an exasperated sigh, Aryan stole a lingering glance at Syren, his brow furrowed with concern. He wanted to go to her, to assist her in some way, but without understanding her motivations, he found that he couldn’t bring himself to go that far. He had suffered once for being too trusting...a long time ago. He had no intentions of making that same mistake again.


    Ultimately, he turned away and made a dash for the shuttle’s lowered ramp.


    Zalen had let Hel take the lead, and was concentrating on holding up the limp body of Haretisch. Hel’s question was still repeating in her mind, she’d even asked it herself before she’d stepped forward. She still had no answer.


    The sounds of combat had followed them all through the corridors. The ship was clearly engulfed in chaos, but the sounds were now growing louder as they approached the hangar. Hel keyed her comm.


    “Dr. C! We’re close. Are you in there? What’s going on?”


    The speaker crackled with a response, and the distant sounds of chaos echoed through it to match. “Yes, but we’ve got a... situation.”


    Vexx is surprised that this Force pull he is directing at Leda is taking a tremendous amount of effort and it occurs to him that executing the Force-Lightning attack on the troopers earlier must have exhausted his reserves more than he had realized. He has come too far to quit now though. He has to get out of here and this brazen Sith girl stands in his way. He continues to drag Leda toward him, but the strain is evident in the tired sallow eyes behind the skeletal mask.


    Leda didn’t have time to be the slightest bit surprised. One moment she was within reach of the shuttle and the next she was being unceremoniously yanked back and away, across the hangar floor at the malicious intent of Vexx. Surely a prolonged duel that she did not have time for awaited her at his feet.


    Simultaneously, she could feel Syren as a sensory hurricane - an escalating storm of darkness and chaos… drawing her in and consuming her focus. The distraction chiseled away at her trained calm, tendrils of panic beginning to ensnare the young warrior as she struggled to break free of the cyborg’s invisible grip. The Twilight Guard was all but destroyed and additional presences were approaching her position. It was unknown if they were to assist or to add to those trying to escape.


    Bringing about her lightsaber in preparation to defend, she instantly felt very much alone. However, she’d be damned if she wouldn’t keep trying to carry out the Empress’ orders until the bitter end… if that’s what was coming for her. But just then there was a blur of fiery red hair, and Leda came to an abrupt halt mere feet from her opponent, a familiar form separating them.


    "Vexx, NO!"


    He does not immediately recognize the voice and is half tempted to ignore it as a result, but the fact that whomever the speaker is knows his name gives him reason to pay attention and as Leda comes within range for him to deliver a fatal blow, his efforts are stalled and his reach into the Force becomes disrupted. This only seems to worsen as Syren comes between them and utters a single command through the Force.


    "STOP!"


    His intentions disrupted and his mind clouded by pain and exhaustion, somehow complying with Syren's command doesn't seem like such a bad idea. He takes a step back as she moves in to intercept him, trying to place who she is. It isn't until Aryan shouts at her and draws the cyborg's eyes toward him that he remembers. That is the young politician whose disdain for him had been palpable in the meeting room shortly after his torture at the hands of Draconis. The woman Aryan is addressing is the one who had been seated beside him, seemingly antagonizing his disdain for "half-mechs". Vexx shakes his head and turns his cold eyes back to Syren.


    "Indeed, what the hell are you doing?" he growls, "She is not on our side!"


    Syren’s breathing came ragged, a sheen of sweat on her brow due to exertion and mental strain, her focus struggling to remain on the conflict at hand and neither on her physical wounds… nor Aryan whom she had inexplicably left unprotected. Anxiety flared at that thought and she had to resist the urge to search for him, something akin to shame manifesting in her mind.


    Our side?” she shouted almost only to say something, maintaining a protective stance. Syren was acutely aware that her tone wouldn’t be convincing on its own; she was far too bewildered and off-balance. “We are all out for ourselves!”


    The distraction causes him to forget about what remains of the Twilight Guard and one of them takes a potshot at Vexx. The blaster bolt glances off his injured shoulder and ricochets into his neck, eliciting sparks, blood, and a roar of pain and fury from the cyborg. If he didn't want to kill Leda before, now he really wants to, but more than that, he just wants to get out of here alive. He wrestles with the compromised effectiveness of his injured arm, willing it to work, but it is lagging and painful and he is forced to rely on his other arm to protect himself from being hit again by the troopers. He couldn't attack Syren or Leda now if he wanted to.


    "Were you an infiltrator the whole time?" he demands of Syren, "Lousing around with the politician and biding your time to show your true colors?"


    He should walk away; flee with his own life. But he is perplexed by Syren's behavior and he also recognizes her as an ally. That being the case, his old culture rises up in him and he feels obligated to stay and help her escape if he can. But then there's Leda.


    "If you are not defecting," he growls, batting a blaster bolt right through a guard's helmet in anger as he now tries to defend himself and Syren, "What do you plan to do with her? Take her with us as a prisoner?" He has half a mind to deflect a bolt right at Aryan's retreating backside. Typical politician; couldn't fight his way out of a wet paper bag, so he runs away. Pathetic.


    Leda cringed at the abrupt influx of malevolent energies coalescing about Syren, eyeing the assassin’s hands as they ever-so-subtly clenched tighter about her dual saber hilts. Vexx’s taunts had clearly struck a nerve, especially when he had referenced a particular politician.


    The blonde staggered to her feet with an open sneer, still brandishing her own saber in her right hand as she moved to Syren’s side, but remaining a step behind. She quickly looked about at the carnage, a serious unease settling about her situation before returning her narrowed eyes to Vexx. She knew she was about to be far more outnumbered than when she had first entered the hangar, not to mention out-skilled, something she was not too proud to admit.


    Syren, without removing her dark gaze from the cyborg, spoke to Leda through clenched teeth.


    “Go. NOW.”


    Cal had seen enough. He keyed in Hel’s comm frequency. “I hope you’re clear of the door. And I hope this doesn’t kill us all,” he said a silent prayer and leveled the guns at the remaining troopers in the corner. His thumb slipped over a red button he’d been ignoring. The shuttle was outfitted with a single miniature proton torpedo - one he’d been saving for the right moment.


    As it made impact, the hangar shook and one corner erupted into brilliant flame. When the dust cleared moments later, the last of the troopers were gone.


    Leda whirled at the blast, the last of the Guard now down and gone in a plume of fire and dark smoke. That was it, then. Haretisch was nowhere to be seen, her mission slipping between her fingers like sand. She was momentarily frozen with indecision, disappointment squeezing her chest.


    From her side, Syren spoke again, this time in a frustrated shout that rattled her back to the present.


    “Stupid girl, get out of here!”


    Zalen surveyed the chaos that seemed to engulf the hangar and pursed her lips. She decided this would be the perfect cover for them to get the hell off the Luxury Elite.


    “Hel,” Zalen’s voice was strained from the ordeal of transporting Haretisch’s body, “hurry!” She urged the young girl to move faster. “We’re almost there!”


    They managed to cover the distance to Cal’s shuttle without being seen. Billows of smoke hung low enough to the floor that no one had seen them get the Dark Lord to the boarding ramp.


    Dr. Jepsun brushed past Aryan Graul who had been the first to make it to the ship, and rushed down the ramp. He quickly assessed Haretisch - it wasn’t good. “He needs immediate care,” Cal looked up and his eyes met Zalen’s. “Can you get us out of here?”


    Zalen nodded and went for the cockpit without replying. Cal had no idea why she was here, but he didn’t have time to ask questions. He immediately started working to stabilize his boss.


    Aryan staggered into the entryway, his left arm still held secure against his chest to alleviate his discomfort as he surveyed the turbulent scene unfolding around him. Any remaining hope he had of escaping with Syren was now gone. While they still might’ve had a chance to overpower the doctor and commandeer the shuttle, that all changed with Haretisch’s arrival. A betrayal on that scale would not go unnoticed. They were trapped.


    With a heavy sigh, Aryan lowered his gaze and watched the procession pass him with indifference. Even from this vantage point, he could tell that the Night Herald was teetering on the edge, hovering between the ether that separated life and death. He knew he should have felt pity, or remorse, but instead, there was only emptiness. The only sympathy he had was for the daughter.


    Silently, he looked up and studied her from afar as she worked at the doctor’s side.


    Hel had prepared some of the supplies without him asking and then had taken a cloth and dabbed at Haretisch’s face.


    “Can we trust her?” Cal whispered to Hel and tilted his head in the direction of Zalen, “and him?” he gestured to Aryan who was only a short distance away.


    Hel shrugged before speaking, “I don’t know who we can trust at the moment.” She looked down at her father and then back to Cal, “I’ll go and keep an eye on both of them,” she grasped Cal’s hand tightly before leaving, “just don’t let him die.”


    Hel brushed away a single tear from her cheek and steeled herself. She pointed at Aryan and snapped, “come with me,” as she rushed to the cockpit. She took the copilot’s seat and opened the ship’s intercom, “This shuttle is now under my command.” Hel paused before continuing, “we launch in 30 seconds. If you aren’t with us you’d better get off now because I’m not bringing you back.”


    She closed the channel and nodded to Zalen, “raise the ramp and punch it.”


    “What about Syren?” the words were out of Aryan’s mouth before he even had a chance to think. He inwardly cringed after the fact, but it was too late to take it back now. His emotions were laid bare for all to see.


    “We’re not going anywhere until she’s--goddammit!” His protest fell on deaf ears as Hel hurried away from him to resume her post in the cockpit. He idly recalled her instructing him to follow her, but he had no inclination to obey. He couldn’t just leave Syren out there to face a terrible fate...


    Running a hand through his sweat-soaked hair, Aryan glanced a final time at the ramp with hesitation.


    Leda opened her mouth to protest, but there was no time. The shuttle was preparing to launch and she had no other option but to flee. Her allegiance was with Bellorum, as she had pledged, and her word was binding.


    Without hesitation, the blonde took a few steps back from Vexx and Syren, a lingering look at the latter - and then turned and ran from the scene.


    Syren didn’t see the girl run, but she knew she had. Somehow, she had known she would listen to what the assassin commanded. Now, her focus restored to what it never should have left; Aryan.


    “I have no quarrel with you, Vexx,” she said hastily, already moving towards the shuttle and the ramp that was beginning to close. Deactivating both her weapons, Syren sprinted for her escape, immediately searching for her companion once she was on board.


    Syren's words echo in Vexx's mind: "We are all out for ourselves!" What is he doing? He's working with a bunch of people who wouldn't even think twice about leaving him for dead while he, like a fool, has clung to some semblance of loyalty. This one statement has given Vexx much to think about; much to be angry about. What has he to gain in any of this? He should just take the chance and say the hell with every last one of them; make a break for Kalee and put all of this behind him. But something binds him here.


    He is drawn from his dark thoughts as Syren claims she has no quarrel with him. He is so confused. He absently watches Leda flee, feeling nothing, as though he has been given such a case of whiplash it has left him paralyzed. Perhaps his only salvation now comes in the form of another short circuiting of his arm. Sparks chatter over the joint and cause him to wince, clasping his shoulder with his good hand. He has to get that fixed or he just might amputate it himself.


    As the ramp starts to close and Syren runs to make her escape, Vexx makes the same decision and follows her, leaping to catch the ramp under his talons, his sudden weight bearing down on it causing it to jolt downward and slam against the floor before resuming its closure. He manages to scramble beyond being crushed in the ramp's locking device and get himself on board before it closes entirely.


    He stays away from the others, hunkering down close to the floor like a distrusting beast, eyeing each person present in the shuttle with the knowledge that he cannot trust any of them. Whatever is to come out of this mess, he will make the most of it. He knows he cannot leave. Not with his life. Syren had said each of them were only out for their own gain, but if that was true, why did Aryan seem so concerned for her? Why was she so intent on saving Leda from a possible death at his hands? Why did he detect true concern for the politician in Syren herself? These questions bother him as much as Syren's claim. He can only hope his master has made it out alive. Perhaps he would be able to help him achieve some clarity on the endlessly strange ways of the Sith.



    Steeling himself, Aryan had just made the decision to run back into the fray to retrieve Syren himself when Vexx came barreling onto the shuttle, his talons locking onto the edge of the landing ramp as he pulled himself to safety.


    Aryan stumbled back from the hulking beast and sneered, almost as if the droid was interrupting something important, but his ire soon passed. Another figure was clambering up the ramp beside Vexx, her lithe form unmistakable in the artificial light of the hold. The Chancellor exhaled heavily with relief, not even realizing he had been holding his breath.


    Syren.


    Resting his good hand against the bulkhead for support, he could only stand there and smile.


    TAG: @HanSolo29
     
  7. HanSolo29

    HanSolo29 Manager Emeritus + Official Star Wars Artist star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Apr 13, 2001
    Combo post with Lady Belligerent and Darth_wanderguard:

    IC: Dr. Cal Jepsun, Darth Haretisch, and Aryan Graul

    Aboard the shuttle, hyperspace

    Cal exhaled sharply and kept working. The Night Herald, reposed on a bed in the cargo hold, one side of which had been turned into a medbay, hadn’t moved an inch since they dragged him onto the ship. He was deep into decompensated shock now.

    No radial pulse. That means systolic BP less than 90. Metabolic acidosis will be increasing steadily. Blood will pool in capillaries. Brain, heart, lungs won’t get oxygen. Need a vasoconstrictor.

    The doctor wiped his sweat and pressed a button on the front of the bed to elevate the patient’s legs and hopefully direct some blood volume back to the torso. He knew it wouldn’t be enough, and retrieved a small box from the nearest cabinet. Inside was a syringe and a bottle - a vasoconstrictor which with any luck would raise his blood pressure enough to give him a chance at staying alive. Cal drew up the medicine, and then turned up Darth Haretisch’s remaining arm, pulling up at his sleeve.

    Before the needle could find its mark, a gloved hand snapped around Cal’s wrist like a vice. The patient was still quite unconscious. His heart now racing, trying subtly to pull his hand back and to safety, Cal felt something else grip at him too. An invisible tugging, not at his body nor his mind, but at something deeper and more fundamental. He was being... stretched inside, somehow, like a rubber band getting ready to snap.

    And then just like that, it stopped and everything seemed to shift back into place. The Night Herald’s hand still clutched at his arm, but whatever wicked sorcery had enthralled him was now passed.

    Haretisch could have drained the life from Dr. Cal entirely in an effort to preserve his own, but it would not have been a conscious decision. Instead it was instinctual, a reflexive grasping at whatever might keep him alive. But he was weak at present, and there was an easier target.

    ~

    The cockpit was relatively quiet aside from the low hum of the shuttle’s engines, their subtle vibration sending a short shockwave underfoot as it hurtled them through hyperspace and far away from the Luxury Elite. They had escaped. Those three words should have brought relief to Aryan’s mind, but instead, he remained apprehensive. Since the onset of this mission, nothing had worked out according to plan, and now he was right back where he had started...with the Sith.

    Sitting behind the pilot’s chair on one of the passenger benches, Aryan inwardly cursed at his bad luck and inclined his head to silently observe his unlikely companions at the shuttle’s controls – Zalen and Hel. The latter had beckoned him to follow her into the cockpit upon their departure, and while Aryan had eventually followed out of necessity, he was now growing increasingly restless. His thoughts had once again returned to Syren, who was sitting silently on the adjacent bench.

    After the strange encounter with the white-haired woman in the hangar, he had noticed a change in Syren that had become a constant source of concern. While their bond remained strong, his mind began to wander nonetheless. What had caused this strange behavior in her? He wanted to leave his post and demand answers, but he restrained himself. It certainly wouldn’t do him any good to make an impassioned scene in front of the others, particularly when Haretisch’s daughter was watching.

    It also didn’t help that he was still dealing with the persistent pain from his recent wounds, which was only helping to fuel his irritability. With the doctor busy in the back with his ‘prized’ patient, Aryan had taken matters into his own hands and managed to find a medical kit stashed under one of the benches in the cockpit. The bacta patches and antiseptic ointment had helped some, but he had a feeling he would need a stim-shot before too long. He felt himself fading. He wasn’t sure if he could remain conscious all the way to their destination...wherever that was.

    Retrieving the stim dispenser from the kit, Aryan pulled the cap off with his teeth and pressed the nozzle to the inside of his forearm. Depressing the trigger with his good hand, he began to administer the drug into his system when an overwhelming sense of foreboding suddenly washed over him. He audibly gasped with a sharp intake of breath and allowed the dispenser to slip from his fingers. It clattered noisily to the deckplates at his feet.

    What happened next was hard to explain. All at once, it felt as if his insides were starting to constrict and twist out of alignment, stretching to the point where they could no longer be contained. Aryan instinctively grasped at his chest, thinking that perhaps he had grabbed the wrong dosage and he was having an allergic reaction, but he soon realized his mistake. As he rose to his feet to relieve his symptoms, it only got worse.

    A violent tremor, which seemed to originate from within his very soul, shook his entire body, and he collapsed as his knees buckled.

    For a moment, the man found himself in nothingness. No pain, no fear, no light or heat or sound. Then the veil began to part, and what began as a smudge of white in the distance began to grow, until Aryan Graul was sitting in an unending, unmarred crevasse of pure white. And across from him, sat cross-legged, was the likeness of Darth Haretisch. “You’re dying, you know.”

    The words did not immediately register. Instead, Aryan’s mind was elsewhere – on the vast expanse that stretched out before him in every direction, a white purgatory of both endless dreams and relentless nightmares. He inwardly shuddered at the thought. He realized that it hurt his eyes to even focus on this barren landscape for too long, and so he slowly forced his gaze back to the manifestation sitting before him.

    Darth Haretisch.

    He was only a manifestation, wasn’t he? A hallucination. Perhaps a side effect of the drugs that were now pumping wildly through his system. He could not really be…

    Biting his lower lip, Aryan could not bring himself to finish that line of thought. Deep down, he knew...he knew all too well. While he was free of his pain and filled with an unusual sense of calm, he found that he could not accept this as his fate. This wasn’t how he had envisioned the end. It felt...inadequate.

    Exhaling heavily, his words came out slow and distant, almost as if the nothingness that surrounded them was swallowing them whole. “I’m sure that fills you with pleasure.” A sad, bitter smile pulled up one corner of his mouth. “I was always a thorn in your side. Never quite fitting in...”

    Darth Haretisch shook his head. “No,” he answered. His voice was even, his face an emotionless blank slate save for an echo of a smile tugging at one corner of his mouth. “I would have left you on the Luxury Elite, were that the case. And I wouldn’t have attempted to teach one so expendable. Even now, I wouldn’t be killing you, were I conscious to make such a decision.”

    Aryan canted his head and narrowed his eyes slightly. He never heard the Night Herald use such candor before. That was almost more unnerving than the sad truth that his own master was slowly killing him.

    Almost.

    “I...don’t understand,” he murmured quietly, his face screwing up in mild confusion. The impenetrable mask that he had erected to protect himself from the scrutiny of public service began to melt away, leaving him exposed. When he spoke again, his words were almost panicked. “Not a conscious decision? What is this?!”

    He looked down suddenly, almost as if he expected to find the answer to how to stop this in the palms of his hands. He didn’t want to die, not like this. Not through some trickery of the Force!

    “This,” Haretisch gestured to the abyss around them, “is a creation of your own mind. Not something created out of whole cloth, mind you, but a creation nonetheless. The fabric of the Force, the spectral world we can’t see - this is simply the only sense you could make of it. The words I’m speaking to you are a reconciliation in your own mind of what your perception could not otherwise understand. I speak with candor because there is no deception when drawing the very life out of another with the Force.”

    He sighed. “I cannot make the decision to spare your life, because I am acting solely on reflex. I’m dying. And for the first time, I’ve a hunger for life. A hunger to build a better galaxy for my offspring. Not a kind galaxy, but a stable one.”

    The Night Herald’s manifestation paused again. “And you would have been instrumental to that, with or without the Force. You bring talents to this struggle which no one else does.”

    As Aryan absorbed the Night Herald’s words and considered the implications, he felt himself growing angry. The calming aura that had greeted him upon waking here was slowly being replaced with a raw, hot burning. It wasn’t fair for this manifestation to dangle the scepter of power in front of his nose, only to take it away from him. What cruel world had his mind conjured up? He didn't want to believe the truth of this new reality, but he didn't have another explanation. Is this how he would spend all of eternity if he willingly allowed Haretisch to suck the life from him?

    No, that could not happen. He felt compelled to resist. The only problem was he didn’t know how to stop it. The Force, despite his best efforts to understand it, remained a mystery to him.

    “You recognize my potential, and yet you deny me that opportunity,” Aryan rumbled in a low baritone, his voice rough and barely recognizable as his own. “You and I both share that same desire to live. I’ve endured far too much – the destruction of Coruscant, Insipid, Mortis – to suffer this fate.”

    What he failed to mention was Syren. She remained a constant, a solid foundation upon which he could stand firm. He could not leave her behind.

    His blue-gray eyes suddenly flashed with a fierce intensity. “You will not take me so easily.” Subconsciously, Aryan raised his defenses through the Force – as meager as they were – and prepared to fight for his life.

    Aryan would feel the siphoning of his life energy begin to abate, but it wasn’t due to his resistance. Haretisch looked back at him with a knowing expression. “Aryan,” he chided lowly, “you can’t hide from me, not here. You... love her.”

    The words stopped him cold. For a long moment, Aryan could only stare at the specter of Darth Haretisch and silently ponder this stirring proclamation. He felt a shiver run down his spine, and with sudden clarity he recognized the truth. He realized that it was something that had always been there – he had just been too damn stubborn to accept it. After what he had been through, he didn’t want to accept it. But that past, that reality...it was all gone now. He had nothing left to fear. He no longer had to deny himself this one, simple pleasure.

    So, yes, he did love her. The only regret was that he might not ever get the chance to tell Syren personally.

    Inhaling deeply, Aryan met the Night Herald’s gaze and addressed the issue with conviction. “Then you know why I can’t let you do this,” he said quietly, inclining his head to show confidence. “The stability you want for Hel? The need to strive for a better future? I know what it’s like. I want the same thing for Syren...for us.”

    A mirthless smile touched his lips and he slowly shook his head. “That’s why I wanted to run. You can relate to that, can’t you?”

    Haretisch nodded thoughtfully. “And you’ve been running, since the moment you were given the Force.” He was quiet for a moment before speaking again. “I won’t survive unless I take something from you. I can sever your connection to it... if that is what you desire.”

    Aryan’s lips parted as if to speak, but then he stopped and seemed to look beyond Haretisch to the white expanse that stretched away towards the infinite horizon. He was seeking answers, confirmation. Was it true that he had been running from the Force? Is that why he felt so jaded? So…oppressed in his role with the Sith?

    It wasn’t a natural occurrence, he knew that much. He could see it in the faces of the others when they encountered him. It was a curse! He had witnessed the kind of destructive behavior the Force caused in others, the decay and disillusionment that slowly took over their minds until they were nothing but an empty husk. He did not want that for himself; it was counterintuitive to who he was. He no longer wanted to live as a product of Insipid’s devious plans, a mockery to the Force and the natural flow of the universe itself. He was nothing more than a pawn. If he severed the connection, he would be free from all that. He would have his life back, and the natural order would be restored.

    His only concern was his connection to Syren – would he lose that?

    No, love’s binding power went far beyond the mysteries of the Force. He knew that from experience...

    Closing his eyes as if to accept his fate, Aryan nodded. “Do it.”

    “Thank you... for my life,” Haretisch responded calmly, and the white all around them began to wither and die, blown away like dust with a void of black left in its wake.

    The former Night Herald jolted awake, taking strangled, labored breaths, vital signs surging. He grabbed at Cal’s sleeve again, this time consciously. “Give me... something... for the pain,” he managed.

    At that exact moment in the cockpit, Aryan also convulsed and snapped awake, his vision swimming into focus on the overhead light fixture and the gray striated ceiling. He was on his back and his breaths were coming in short, frantic gasps. He wanted to sit up, but he found that he was too weak. Most likely a culmination of everything he had been through since the explosion.

    But there was more...

    Despite his fatigue, he felt at peace. For the first time in months, his thoughts and emotions were his own, the constant nagging of the Force forever silent. He was whole again. Inhaling deeply, he closed his eyes and relaxed with instant relief.

    He was free.

    TAG: @Darth_wanderguard; @Lady Belligerent; @QueenSabe7
     
  8. QueenSabe7

    QueenSabe7 Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Mar 23, 2001
    Approved COMBO with dragonsith13. [face_skull]

    IC: Lord Draconis & Darth Leda
    The Luxury Elite

    Leda ran as she had been told - ran away from danger like a coward.

    She could distantly hear the shuttle’s engines roar at her back as the vessel aimed to take off, but it was muffled by the blood pulsing in her ears. Anger and disappointment at herself, her displeasure in Syren, the failure in her mission, all of her feelings crested like a wave as she shot through the hangar and towards the exit. Dense smoke, broken bodies and pieces of debris flew by her until she finally fled the open space and entered the hallway beyond.

    The main corridor was wounded heavily from the concussive force of the missile; massive cracks in the bulkhead walls, lights blinking overhead and black fog lingering along the floor. It was a scene that mirrored Leda’s mood; dark, roiling, damaged. She skidded to a halt then, panting and shaking, tears falling down her dirt-streaked cheeks as her emotions broke her will to remain focused.

    “KRIIIIIIFF!” she shouted while reaching up with a hand and clenching her fist, the Force pulling down several ceiling tiles to shatter at her feet. She shrieked in frustration, a childish reaction that was beneath her, she knew. Just a tantrum at not having gotten her way.

    Because she had failed.

    “You hesitated.”

    Leda sucked in a breath and whirled around, searching for the source of the unfamiliar voice that had suddenly spoke out from the shadows. Attempting to gather herself quickly, she could not sense anyone close to her nor pinpoint a signature in the Force…

    “Show yourself,” she growled, re-igniting her pale yellow blade, the light casting an eerie glow about the darkened hall.

    Someone had been there the whole time, watching, observing, waiting. Boarding the shuttle had been a possibility, but would it have been the right choice at the moment? Several had boarded known and known of, Hel his charge was alive still it seemed. An apprentice… Vexx, and even the Night Herald with assistance had sought an exodus. Culminating in the hasty discharge of a projectile by the trigger happy pilot of the shuttle, leaving a mangled mess of one section of the hanger and corresponding adjacent corridors.

    The glow of the young woman’s lightsaber reflected on his person, illuminating his face slightly from amongst the shadows of the damaged and darkened corridor as he stared at her from the darkness after having observed the scene that had played out moments earlier in the hanger. Stepping forward from the darker corners of the corridor towards the young woman dangerously close to the tip of her blade and moving slightly past her. At the same time speaking and acquiescing to her demand of him to show himself, for no other reason than his own curiosity.

    “The next time you do so, you... will... die.” The statement not threatening but as much a warning as it was statement of fact.

    In front of her she would see his black and devoid eyes staring back at her, the whole of his frame more visible, dressed in his pre-fight suit. There was something about her, something that asked of him almost. Perhaps the reason he had not boarded the shuttle, perhaps one of many reasons.


    Leda had stepped back and instinctively fallen into a defensive stance the moment her blade’s glow revealed the face of the speaker, one she could not be sure was Sith. It was as foreign as the voice itself, and she knew everyone there was to know within the Empire… what was left of it, anyways.

    A haughty smirk flashed across her mouth at his words, her yellow-green eyes trained on his own dark pair.

    “Forgive me if I don't give a rancor’s ass about your… observations,” Leda responded, her tone sarcastic and impatient. “What I do care about is who you are. And whose side you are on…”

    Draconis offered a slightly amused huff under his breath, she had spirit he thought as he moved passed her and down the hallway coincidentally back in the direction of the main bridge.

    “I’ll make sure to pick out a nice bouquet for your casket.” Draconis retorted back with matched sarcasm as he casually moved past the young Sith and down the hallway seemingly ignoring her and her inquiries about his observations, origins, and intentions.


    Leda had no idea what to expect from this stranger, but the gaul of him to simply try and walk away? From her? No.

    Excuse me?”

    Dropping her stance, the warrior moved quickly to catch up to then step in front of the man, effectively blocking his progress to… wherever it was he was going. She kept her blade low at her side this time, though the threat of its use was clear.

    “Who. The KRIFF. Are you?” she prodded once more through clenched teeth.

    She did not give up, Draconis came to a patient stop as the young Sith surged in front of him. Draconis’ head cocked to the side staring at the blonde, her hair and appearance was a mess, no doubt the result of hours of conflict and stress given the events of the evening. He only wondered if a comment about such would set her off even more and how amazing it might be. He shook the thought from his head as there were more pressing matters than his own personal amusement. She was pressing for answers. “I know who you are.” Draconis responded leaning in slightly in response to her question about who he was. The answer would seem direct as if he had scoured the Sith databases on the members of the order, in fact he did that quite regularly. So he did know about her, but there was something else to this one. And though he knew her vaguely by name only, there was something else which he felt deeply familiar with.

    A slight flick of his hand down at his side and the surrounding light of the corridor dimmed even further, making it nearly dark where they were. A step to the side and fast movement past the young Sith, whom would register the movement as a trailing shadow hard to follow and disorienting. Draconis resumed his casual walk towards the turbo-lift now insight which accessed the corridor outside the main bridge of this Star Destroyer.


    Before Leda could register exactly what the man meant - she didn’t know him, how would he be aware of her? - he vanished from sight. There before her one minute, gone the next. The smokey shadows within the corridor grew suddenly and she froze for the slightest instant, confusion and panic gripping her senses. However, her rage remained ever present and dominant, keeping her as centered as she could be under these increasingly strange circumstances.

    Her instincts pulled her attentions in the opposite direction and she spun on her heels, as if an invisible hand had forcibly turned her body that way. Her gaze found him immediately, locking on his back as he attempted to walk away from her once more.

    No more talking, she decided hungrily, latching onto her anger at her failures and allowing it to fuel her for the fight she was suddenly craving.

    Leda wasted no time and sprung into action, charging at him from behind. She took a driving leap as she closed in, her lightsaber held overhead to come down upon him from above. She had been unable to do her job before, and someone had to pay the price. This man had antagonized the wrong Sith...

    He felt the surge in anger, he had in no part been ignoring her. In fact he had been purposefully goading her. She was tired fatigued from battle. This did not diminish her leathiality, but it did present opportunities. Spinning to the side in a quick move out of the angle of her attack, allowing her to pass by Draconis leveled a slight force push to use her forward momentum to send her further down the corridor.

    Hanging in mid-air, Leda’s saber was on a downwards arc aimed at his head but the stranger easily moved out of her path and simply shoved her along her way. The push hit her back off-center, twisting her body around as she unceremoniously stumbled to the floor with a shriek. The warrior scrambled to her knees, thoroughly frustrated now. Her attack had been brash, careless even, one she absently realized could have killed her at the hands of any more-skilled opponent...

    “What is your deal, man?!” she snarled, reaching up with her hand to use her prior tantrum tactics to her advantage. Utilizing the Force, she pulled chunks of the ceiling free above his position as a distraction, charging at him directly as they fell and lunged for his midsection.

    She was persistent and was continuing to summon strength he noted. He really did not want to kill her he mused as several pieces of the ceiling began to fall above him. Looking up in irritation, Draconis utilized them falling and brought them down in front of him using a subtle gesture. Effectively blocking the path of the young Sith, if not causing her to run into them all together.

    Draconis sighed, she was not going to quit and killing her at the moment was not necessary. There was more to their interactions that needed to be tightened up. “Ok, take me to your Empress…” he presented his hands as if they were bound with rope, effectively “giving up”, as this slight whipping needed to move along.


    Leda cursed aloud as her strategy worked against her, forced to draw up short in her attack as the slabs of duracrete piled up in her direct path to her target and blocked her from him. Pacing shortly and resisting the urge to press on, she adopted a more quizzical look as he appeared to surrender, an act that she knew was just that and nothing more.

    Breathing hard, she could feel the sweat on her skin beneath her armor and the mental fatigue brushing the edges of her awareness. She simply stared at him intently for a few moments, finally admitting to herself that there was much more to this man than first seemed. There was something about him that she could not place...

    “You're not serious,” she stated plainly, glancing at his offered hands, brow raised. “I do not have the time nor patience for games…”

    He could tell she needed some further proding, as she stared at him, and he at her. Then after a few awkward moments hung in the air and passed surrounding the young Sith’s surprised statements at what she observed regarding his apparent submission. Draconis nodded slightly to the side, a sort of ‘look over there gesture’.

    A set of basic binders dangled, manipulated through the force by Draconis, in the air to the side of Leda. Whom would notice them out of her peripherals, the set having been plucked off a dead Twilight Guard lying face down and prone in the battle ravaged corridor by Draconis as he patiently waited for the young one to get the hint.

    ‘Not too tight. Leda. It is Leda?’

    Leda cast a sideways glance in the direction he indicated, narrowing her eyes at the binders that hovered mere feet away before snatching them out of the air.

    Making a decision, she deactivated her blade and quickly climbed over the small hill of debris before her, cutting the space between them down to almost nothing. Without taking her eyes off of his, she placed the device upon his wrists and sealed them... for show. It was clear that if he wanted to break free of them, he would. But it was also clear that whatever he was playing at wouldn't come to light by trying to kill him.

    He wants to see the Empress? Then she will take him to her, certain that Bellorum would get out of him what she can't. Such as a fragging name.

    The hilt of her weapon remained tight in her grasp and she had noted one of his own peeking out from beneath his suit jacket. She reached to his side and took it, attaching it to her utility belt without hesitation. Briefly considering searching the stranger further, she deemed it pointless. Neither the lightsaber she had just gained possession of nor the sword that was visible upon his back had not been used and easily could have by now. Leda sensed that it was not his aim to engage her physically, as proven by his evasive moves in response to each of her prior attacks.

    “I'll tell you mine if you tell me yours,” she mocked in a sing-song tone, hoping the surprise she felt as he said her name did not manifest upon her face for him to see.

    A slight smile pulled at the corner of his mouth as Leda placed the binders on, tightening them and securing them in place as Draconis continued to wait patiently.

    “Draconis.” He made no attempt to hide his identity from her. She was trying so hard not to show a reaction to his statement about her identity.

    “Shall we?” He gestured with his bound hands towards the elevator that led to the main tower of the Star Destroyer and the main bridge.


    Draconis.

    Leda stared, twisting the name about in her mind as something far off and distorted registered deep within her. His face was still as unfamiliar as it was when she first laid eyes upon him but she could have sworn she had heard this name before. Somewhere.

    “After you,” she commanded softly, sweeping out an arm to direct him to walk ahead of her and towards a bank of lifts a short distance away.

    Draconis moved forward towards the elevator, a sinister smile was offered as he moved past Leda having accepted her invitation. The doors of the large elevator opening with a hiss as he moved into it, twirling around to face the entrance and standing with his hands bound in front of him slightly off center from the middle of the elevator. His contentment with the situation perhaps eerily wearing on the young Sith.

    Leda ignored his grin and rolled her eyes, following Draconis onto a waiting lift. Watching him, she took position behind him after entering in the access code for the bridge. The doors slid shut and sealed the pair in, their silence pressing down on her.




    There were a first few awkward moments after the doors slid shut, caging them in the small space. This ship really made up for its name The Luxury Elite, sparring no expenses when it came to entertainment. Draconis bobbed his head slightly to the muzak playing.

    “So, who won the fight?”


    Leda smirked despite herself. This Draconis was either of a level of intelligence that was worlds beyond her own or just plain insane. Still, she stifled a laugh behind a small cough.

    “No one. Never happened. Were you not aware of the explosions and… you know, all the death?” She spoke sarcastically though with a tinge of humor. She had come out of the mess on top, after all. Well, at least until she managed to effectively explain to the new Empress how Haretisch and company managed to escape...

    “What a shame.” He answered with a fake sigh, knowing full well of the events Leda spoke to and sarcastically referenced.

    Draconis mused over the statement about the fight, internally laughing at the notion on the idea of the fight to begin with and its origins. Then there was the matter of the fracturing of the Triumvirate and Sith leadership, which was further more intriguing.

    “You think she is going to kill you for failing?” It just came out… as Draconis verbally pulled at the Sith behind him, no doubt watching him like a raptor. The question intended to be equally infuriating to hear and perhaps placing some fear into the young Sith. After All they were Sith, failure was always met with harsh consequences. He was eager to see how she responded and furthermore dealt with this coming face to face with her Empress. “If I were her I’d kill you…” He spoke not really giving her a chance to respond, though he still waited to hear what she had to say and how she would handle all of this.

    “Good thing I am not.” Draconis stated and rolled his head to the side. ‘Her that is.”


    Leda laughed freely now, a quick chuckle before taking her saber hilt and shoving the emitter end roughly into his lower back.

    “Yea?” she asked though not pausing to allow an interjection. “Good thing you don't get to make the decisions around here, then.”

    Her finger hovered over the activation switch as she twisted the device deeper into where his spine would be, but she knew she wouldn’t press it, no matter how much she may have liked to.

    “My Lady will understand the circumstances for which I was not permitted to succeed. Of which you know nothing about.”

    He could feel the hate and anger swelling in her, despite all she had been through. Battered and beaten, she was still fierce and fearless. Powerful. He listened to her impressively stay composed. “I’d still kill you…” Again he prodded, even with the saber pressed against his back. An out of place audible chime was heard, alerting to their arrival on the main bridge level.

    “This is our stop.” The obvious statement was loaded with a sinister snide tone, Draconis pointed out as the lift came to a stop. As if he was the one directing and herding them both. Who was leading who?


    Leda clucked her tongue impatiently and moved around him to key in the additional access code for the lift to open to the bridge, her weapon still threatening to impale him should she so choose. Turning to face him before they were granted admittance, she offered a smile of her own.

    “A final one for you, perhaps?”

    He continued to silently meet her stare and smile, though Draconis’ sinister smile grew a bit wider at the notion of what awaited them.

    At that, she grabbed the binders upon his wrists, and forced him out in front of her again, preparing to be met with whatever fate awaited her. And Draconis.

    TAGS: No one directly. ( @dragonsith13 @Lady Belligerent )
     
  9. DarthIshyZ

    DarthIshyZ Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Jan 8, 2005
    IC: Astra and Serapis
    Luxury Elite

    She planted her feet on the arena floor, her pistols still smoking as the two enemies escaped and her mouth dropped as she watched Serapis let them. She kept her pistols aimed forward and addressed the Ithorian Sith Lord without refrain this time.

    "You let them escape, the Dawn Herald's orders were to kill survivors... Now, you're really the only survivor in this sector since you let the easy kill escape."

    She aimed her pistols towards Serapis and waited for a response.

    Serapis' anger could have been felt in the next sector. All she had to do was follow his lead. Wasn't it obvious that he wasn't going to be a part of any "empire" any more? It had failed.

    What better course than to squash this insignificant bug that was Astra. She wouldn't be a bother if her mind was obliterated.

    Serapis eyes glowed yellow. He gathered his hatred, his anger. Without making a move he directed a Mind Shard to Astra. He also pulled some small explosives out of his pockets and sent them with the force toward her and around her. Astra was about to be a writhing mass of bloody insanity... but maybe that wasn't much different than when she was high.

    Astra saw where following orders was getting her as she felt the familiar static on the back of her neck, it wasn' the first time a Sith Lord had used a mind shard on her. It was one of her master's favorite ways to torture her in her seclusion, when she was weak willed. She had learned to numb her neural pathways, effectively negating the effects of said mind shards. A small trickle of blood dripped down her philtrum however. She now had to deal with the explosives. Two that came in directly at her were batted back at Serapis with a acrobatic flip which was paired with kicks midair. Other explosives landed to her sides. She let off a few of her metallic slug rounds at Serapis and took off towards the Ithorian and away from the remaining explosives. Instead of confronting him directly, she cut left and ran up the wall before backflipping onto an overhead lighting scaffold several meters above. She looked down upon Serapis and grinned smugly. Astra then grasped a cable of the scaffold and shot the base, releasing one side of the scaffold causing it to swing low where the Ithorian was standing. Astra swing to an adjacent scaffold and reloaded her pistols.

    Did she think she was some kind of aerial acrobat or something? This flip flying woman was getting quite annoying. First, she sends his own explosives back to him along with some slugs. He thought it would be like target practice when he started with the Sith. He dodged most of the projectiles, but tried to deflect a slug with his saber. The resulting slag hit his midsection and burned into him. The searing pain was excruciating. Then she caused a scaffold to fall towards him. She must not know much about Force abilities if she is sending things quite easily Force Pushed towards him. Meanwhile he worked to channel the pain into his Force abilities.

    Well, if this trainee thought of herself as an acrobat, perhaps she should become one. In his mind, he reconstructed the arena so it looked intact, set for a circus trapeze act. He projected this image into Astra's mind to convince her that she was supposed to swing out... out... where? With his natural eye he looked over the rubble. There was a particularly nasty set of sharp objects in the center-left area. Perfect. He directed his Force Illusion to guide her in her direction and prepared to push her quickly down when she got over that area.

    Meanwhile, he kept his lightsaber at the ready to bat back any other crap thrown in his direction...

    Astra ran up another tier of broken scaffolding with agility before glancing back at Serapis, the area around him had began to look pristine. She opted out this time, she knew of force illusions and not to trust them. She was a damaged soul through Ravenous' various torture techniques but they made her strong and smart, she would and could not rely on her minor force sensitivity to keep her safe. She threw a short timer flash grenade downward and finished her ascent instead of continuing her assault that she most likely wouldn't win. Serapis was a Sith Lord and she was just some girl. She ran to the edge of the scaffolding and leapt up to grasp a vent. As the flash grenade detonated she flipped her legs up and broke through the vent grate before disappearing into the HVAC system.

    Below, the sound of boots padding against the floor would accompany the end to the fight as the flash subsided, and Serapis having been lost in the focus required to maintain a force illusion would find himself surrounded by heavily armed and armored Twilight Guard - far too many to resist and have a chance. He had won and lost in one fell swoop. A half dozen heavy repeaters alone were trained on him from three directions.

    “Don’t move, hammerhead.”

    Tag: No one
     
  10. dragonsith13

    dragonsith13 Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 3, 2005
    Combo with Conservativejedi321, Sinre, & dragon

    Antares Draco, Radian, and T'Tkura

    Revelator ~ Prison block, minutes before fireworks

    Draco snarled into the Force, gleefully pouring his anguish into it. He needed to get. It. Out. To reach across the divide and harass Aryan, to bring him to justice.

    In this case, justice may just mean dead.

    Troopers opened fire and Draco leaped forward, scattering the group with a Force blow and launching into their midst. Half a dozen ended up in the prison area, rolling to sit, or stand, and instead of a funneled group firing in one direction, T’tkura and Radian had six angles of fire.

    The sound of Draco clashing his blade off riot weapons - electrified batons, so as to hold his blows back in the short term - crashed through the outer corridor as panic tumbled throughout the Force. A smaller, animalistic cry echoed out in the same space; the Hound, kept in his own cell a few ways back into the prison block.

    Time was running out, the Force sang with mounting danger and tugged at the three of them.

    The rage boiling in Antares was troubling but expected, the Knight did not walk the same line as T'Tkura and he understood why. Though with that in mind was there a line to follow, there had to be. T'Tkura focused as troopers poured out into the hallways and prison area, igniting the provided lightsaber. A number of blaster bolts were shot in his direction, raising the blade to deflect one in front, swinging the blade in an arc to his side and bringing it back around to defend his back, deflecting three shots in one fluid single movement. Dodging and avoiding other shots aimed at him. Turning and launching the saber into a throw, which plunged into the locking mechanism of the cell holding the Hound. T'Tkura turned as he had to quickly dodge a baton swinging overhead at him, his knee coming up into the troopers gut. reaching over his back to grab the baton and wretch it free, moving into a low spin which brought the baton around sweeping the legs out from under the trooper. A quick but focused crack to the face, with the baton, nearly an instant after the trooper landed on his back.

    T'Tkura came back up moving towards Draco. 'We need to get moving!'

    'The shuttle.' T'Tkura spoke half inquiring if they could really rely on such, but what choice did they have... this whole ordeal had been them moving like mice in a maze.

    Radian agilely dodged several shots with ease, landing on his feet his blade activated at the last second deflecting several shots back at their source. The Mirialan didn't bother observing where they were hit, but he sensed them fall.

    "We can't get out any other way." he said firmly, as he swiped two more guards off their feet with the force.

    Another got near him, what he had been thinking Radian could not tell, but in any case he also fell to the ground screaming as he was deprived of his arm, and with a gash in his leg.

    These were not Sith, their surivival or death would have little greater impact. With no need to finish the fallen foe off, he moved on blocking, and dodging another dozen blaster bolts.
    Trying to bide time, trying to think. He shouted with frustration. "Fall back to it. I'll cover the retreat."

    He continued to twirled his lightsaber, before jumping high in what was perhaps, an overly bombastic summersault. He evading one shot, and catching two others on his blade. The trick was designed to draw attention his way, and from his perspective it appeared to work as the number of shots he was forced to avoid seemingly increased in the next couple seconds.

    Draco snarled at Radian for being so benign in his attacks, but leapt forward and cut a bloody swath through three troopers, leading them down the pathway with different lighting, as instructed. The Force sang with danger, and he tugged at Radian and T’tkura with the Force.

    ‘We need to... go!’

    He broke away, a touch of the Force to his feet, and rushed to the hangar, a handful of moments away. A black armoured trooper blocked the entrance, to which Draco thrust out a hand to repulse him but the trooper did not move. It was only when Draco closed, deflecting a massive barrage of fire from a shoulder mounted blaster cannon with his blade and by evasion - rebounding from wall to wall - that the Imperial Knight realised that the trooper was far taller than a standard one, and appeared part droid; a Purge Trooper. Draco dropped to the floor and slid between its legs, such was its size; the trooper glanced backwards, growled, but turned its attention to T’tkura and Radian, whose trooper pursuit had doubled in size from the three surviving enemies from the prison to nine more, using cover in the form of open doors, and corridor corners, to protect themselves, but coordinating to ensure that there was always at least half of their number firing at the two Jedi.

    The Sith hound had already bounded on his way down the corridor, and held firm, growing at the Purge Trooper as its attention reasserted itself to three. Draco, for his part, rushed up the ramp of the waiting shuttle and began keying it for launch; picking up the order to immediately abandon ship from the Captain on his comms.

    The Knight growled to himself. He would hold on as long as he could; but no more.

    Down the corridor away from the fight, a rumble, and a building explosion, forced a way of heat up towards the dozen odd members of the Battle. The troopers would not pick it up with their armour, but the Jedi would be buffeted by it, their cloaks flapping and skin wetting with sweat.

    "Fall back to it. I'll cover the retreat." T'Tkura heard Radian shout. This was really not the time for heroics, nor was it necessary even though they were being attacked form multiple angles. The chaotic rumblings of the ship and ensuing explosions throughout were enough to keep any real coordinated and substantial threat from the troopers off their backs and from stopping their advance to the shuttle designated for them. Though the effort of covering them did serve some purpose he supposed. Yet still as they advanced despite the chaotic and arduous path they had traveled up to this point, T'Tkura still could not help but have the feeling of being a herded animal.

    An explosion growing registered in T'Tkura's mind through the force as he could mentally see it forming and traveling through one of the corridors behind them all. Draco had slide under a large trooper up ahead, barely stopping as he continued to make his way. The evaded trooper soon recognized as something far more than a standard soldier. A Purge Trooper, designed to hunt Jedi and the like, originally cultivated through the Dark Trooper Program heralded by the Imperial General Rom Mohc. They had one purpose alone, to kill Jedi and very few weaknesses. T'Tkura did not hesitate he stormed forward, without a lightsaber, used to free his hound. T'Tkura launched the pike in his hand like a javelin, though it was only a feint. Raising his only arm T'Tkura a rising tide, the same as he had felt on Zakuul flooded him. A primal instinct of survival, over riding his lifetime of Jedi teachings. There was no conflict, but focus as he chose willingly to let it rise and permeate him despite the danger. From his fingertips a crackling torrent of energy was unleashed. Lightning coursed from the Jedi's hand towards the Purge Trooper. Fed by the swirling energy the Sith hound surged forward feeding off its master's energy. Radian could seize the opening too if he realized the way forward was not trying to slow troopers that were about to be incinerated anyways. T'Tkura closed pouring more lightning towards the Purge Trooper, years of Jedi teaching perhaps melting away as he surged to clear their path and... survive!

    The Purge Trooper had been prepared for Jedi - not Sith. That much was apparent when the bolt smashed into him, and caused the trooper to down. The hound howled, and launched forward, is teeth acting to prise off the head. The moment was passed; the threat was down, and the troopers panicked, abandoning what had clearly been a prepared scheme on the off-chance that the Jedi escaped their cells.

    Draco poured his urgency into the Force, desparate to leave, and on the very verge of abandoning them both. His rage, his desire to chase down Aryan, and his simple need to break away and act - it was overwhelming him.

    Radian was rapidly being surrounded by darksiders... the meld between them was shattering, creating a feedback which would stagger a lesser Jedi, perhaps even drive a Padawan psychotic, such was the loop between the three former lightsiders. What they all were now... was unclear.

    Radian had frozen in combat, shocked and dismayed by the darkness in his fellow Jedi, and the Whiphids subsequent use of such a hideous power. Though the shaking of the vessel nearly knocked him off his feet, and back to his senses.
    He was tempted to call out to T'Tkura, but resisted the urge. This was not the time for such a discussion, they had to survive first and foremost.

    He firmed his stance, and called on the force to keep focus. The room stank of darkness, but he pushed through it, full speed to the shuttle, up the ramp, and to safety. What would happen after that, he couldn't fathom. But it had to be better than what was here.

    Two Fang seizing upon the stunned and vulnerable Purge Trooper, pried of the head with a quick lurch. The massive Dark Trooper prototype crumbling and falling to the floor, the loud pang it made was drowned out by the surging roar of flame and rumblings of the structure of the Star Destroyer tearing itself apart. The urgency broadcast from Draco was felt by T’Tkura as he moved past the fallen trooper without missing a step, the hound quickly matching the pace and even surging briefly in front of him and up the ramp of the shuttle. As T’Tkura boarded the shuttle he felt that the meld once held by the Jedi was crumbling. His actions catching up with him, a flash of the swamps of Zakuul ran through his mind, and the feeling of the lightning coursing from his fingertips. Both events blurred. It was not him! This was not the way. The conflict was swirling in him. He felt Radian close and could sense the apprehension from him, the shock and dismay.

    T’Tkura’s shoulders sank, feeling ashamed of his actions despite the results achieved. Casting blame on himself for allowing himself to succumb to such darker instincts. Though surprisingly this feeling of being ashamed did not linger, despite him trying to convince himself that he should be!

    He was not.

    Draco pushed the shuttle out of the Star Destroyer - not moments before the Revelator exploded. The shuttle spun out, buffeted, knocking them about in the small ship; such was the swiftness of heir departure that T’tkura and Radian were slammed into the bulkhead with some force.

    In the minutes that Draco wrestled with it, and the Hound’s aggression increased threefold in accordance with its confusion and pain. It’s rage would slam into the three of them with the strength they were crashed into the bulkhead. During this time, the duel between Haretisch and Insipid began, and Bellorum seized the arena, and the coup come civil war began anew.

    Draco managed to get control insofar as much as the shuttle was stopped, as a 600m Dreadnaught cruiser had caught them in a tractor beam. Messages crossed their board, seizing the comm system and projecting them - Bellorum’s speech, then Insipid’s, then Haretisch’s. The Force sang with conflict.

    Scanning the shuttle, he knew they were caught, completely and utterly. The schematics showed a single escape pod. Draco stood, lightsaber in hand, and strode to the bay, which was by the ramp, and thus where Radian and T’tkura had been. ‘We’re trapped. There’s one pod. I’m taking it.’ His blade activated.

    The Hound snarled at Draco, filling it’s connection with T’tkura with aggression. The Force was darkening, and Draco did not even give them chance to comment. He simply lifted his hand, sharply; but not at the Hound which threatened him, but at Radian, unleashing a bolt of lightning.

    ‘Move!’

    Radian's instincts was to grab his lightsaber, to hold back the lightning. But dizzy as he was from recently being thrown against the bulkhead, he was unable to block it in time. Briefly stunned, he attempted to offer some calming words, but all that came out was a groan.

    What the heck had he gotten himself into? He thought to himself, as he tried to focus his mind.
    He missed the battles of the old war, things seemed so simple then. Cut down sith, liberate a world, and move on to the next one.
    Force knows what his lieutenants were doing at the moment.

    With some reluctance he got back on his feet. "Calm down." He managed to grunt out; but quickly realized they weren't in the best situation for a lecture. All he could do was move his hand back to his lightaber, and prepare should another attack come.

    The arrival of the Dreadnaught had only served to heighten the tension which had already began to boil over, Two Fang snarled as the hound’s rage and presence grew in the confined shuttle sending waves of dark energy which nearly in itself was enough to drive the three of them into the shuttle bulkheads. T’Tkura braced himself after being pushed forward, the force was swirling in this system as turmoil engulfed the Sith. He could feel it, even more so than normal. The shuttles controls began to lockout and the shuttle itself slowed and stopped as it was engaged in a tractor beam from the large cruiser that had just appeared off their side.

    ‘We’re trapped. There’s one pod. I’m taking it.’ Draco pronounced. Activating his lightsaber. T’Tkura had left the ‘gifted’ lightsaber on the now destroyers Sith Destroyer and thus was ostensibly unarmed.

    A bolt of lightning was hurled at Radian as Draco pushed to board the pod. The bolt knocking Radian down, who was quick to recover but not without a groan and signs of pain as he prepared to ward off another attack.

    Two Fang was poised to sink his teeth into Draco, something that might unleash a darkness in the lot of them that they might no recover from. This had already gone too far. This was not the way. Instead of responding with force T’Tkura composed himself it took all of his strength to flood back against the darkness that saturated everything. Attempting to send out an aura of light. His voice was steady and calm despite the escalated threats that could easily be turned on him. IT was a chance he had to take, to bring them all back from the brink.

    ‘Antares.’ T’Tkura spoke.

    ‘Antares.’ Again, calling the man by his first name intentionally. As he stepped forward towards the Knight. ‘This is exactly what the Emperor wants us to be doing.’ T’Tkura could see what they were becoming, they all could. Even Antares would see it, while his path was much narrow than that of the Jedi, T’Tkura knew he was a man of honor and he was better than this. They continued to be pushed and prodded down this path, twisted and warped into what they now had become staring at the darkness willing to forsake who they were before.

    ‘We are becoming what we have sworn to fight and defend against.’

    ‘Taking that pod will not bring her back.’ T’Tkura knew he would know of whom he referred to, and he also knew that mentioning ‘her’ was a dangerous play in of itself. T’Tkura was determined to defeat this threat before them and do it as a Jedi, and it could be done without going down this path. T’Tkura knew it, he hoped Draco had not given up on such and been too consumed.

    Aware of the vulnerable position he was in T’Tkura stood tall, his massive frame straight as he stared as Draco. Unafraid of what Draco might do. Draco with a simple thrust could impale him and take his life. Standing in front of him there would be little T’Tkura could and would do to stop him, if he truly chose to do such. T’Tkura already missing an arm from battles previous, took a long breath and prepared himself.

    He knew he could not stop Draco from going, but he hoped Draco would see that there were other paths.

    He was at peace. Calm. Focused.

    ‘Not this way…’

    ‘Not. This. Way.’



    @Sinrebirth
    @ConservativeJedi321
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2018
  11. Kaleesh-Cyborg

    Kaleesh-Cyborg Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jan 4, 2017
    Grievance Vexx
    Reflections of a Kaleesh
    Observing aboard the shuttle escaping the Luxury Elite


    Time has slowed to a crawl for the Kaleesh warrior encased in a living metal casket. He is observing the company he keeps on this shuttle through wary eyes from his place hunkered down on the floor, but it is as though he is watching a holoprojected video; on the outside looking in. His reality had been severely shaken in his confrontation with Syren and he is still reeling and staggered by the blow. His understanding is clouded and his heart is heavy with regret as he reflects upon all that has happened to him since he had been deployed by the Night Herald to put the man's now dead apprentice to the test.

    The Night Herald. That dismembered man he watches writhing on the precipice of death. Somehow, he wishes he could trade places with him. He would rather be dead than to continue trying to riddle out the mind games of the Sith that remain a torture to him.
    'You are one of the ringleaders in this mad circus, Darth Haretisch,' he thinks as his yellow eyes bore holes into the gravely wounded man, 'Tell me why you turn on your allies to your own detriment? You sent me after your own apprentice--the heir to all that you know. Is it all worth it in the end to be disloyal to all but yourself?'

    He wants to roar these words; to shake whatever is left of the daylights in Haretisch completely out of him, but it is as though all but his eyes and mind have lost their function. Those eyes now turn to Hel--one he has never met before, but he can sense the loyalty to loved ones in her without even drawing on the Force. Perhaps if anyone aboard the shuttle right now, she makes the most sense to him.

    'Where did you get the capacity to be selfless, young girl?' he silently wonders, 'It cannot be a quality you learned around here.'

    He doesn't linger too long on the doctor or the nightsister. They are doing their due diligence cleaning up the mess betrayal has made. Instead, his eyes shift to Aryan Graul--politician and Sith--a double dose of acting upon one's own agenda and nothing more. He has no knowledge or understanding of what is transpiring between the young chancellor and the Night Herald. If he did, he would burn with envy. He merely watches as both of them return to some semblance of consciousness, finding it odd that the awakening seems to have been synchronized.

    'Prejudiced, self-absorbed piece of cosmic dung,' the cyborg thinks as he narrows his eyes at Graul, 'You who hate me without cause, mark my words, I will give you a good reason to hate me one day. Maybe an unfortunate future encounter will cause you to partake in the same fate that is my own. Who knows? Perhaps you yourself will become the very thing you hate.'

    He pushes the politician from his mind as his own indignation causes his damaged arm to burn with the same feeling that had consumed it before he had unleashed a tangle of lightning on the troopers sent to apprehend him. Curse the Force and its powers! His hatred for it continues to smolder even after he has tasted of it and become addicted to it. What a fool he has been! His life had been better when he was resisting it, but he doesn't want to think on that either, so he fixes his sallow gaze on Syren.

    'You are as confused as I am,' he thinks scornfully, 'You claim to be in this for yourself--say that all of us are in this for ourselves--yet you placed yourself in the line of fire to protect someone else. I could have killed you! You had to have known that when you made that choice. How is that looking out for yourself when you made an act of self-sacrifice?'

    These silent musings distract him from his hatred of the Force for a time, but in the end, it always comes back to this; the desire to drain the power from his organic body; to purge it from his system by whatever means necessary. Except there are no means. It is there; it has always been there; it will always be there, cursing him to know and feel things he does not wish to know or feel. He shares a likeness with the Jedi he hates in possessing this power and perhaps that makes up the greater part of his hatred for it.

    Draconis. His master. He had managed to break the dam; to level the fortress Vexx had carefully constructed around his heart and mind to seal out the Force. His durasteel claws drag scores in the floor of the shuttle as he brings this to mind. Why? Why couldn't he have just been left alone to carry out his mission or die trying? Why did Draconis have to interfere and change the course of his life? Why had he allowed himself to lose the control he so prided himself in? His clawed hands go from damaging the floor to clutching his own tormented head. He tries to think of something--anything--but this current state of torment, but there is nothing else to think about. The future is ambiguous; his past filled with regret. All he can do now is will himself to shut down; to sink into a self-imposed numbness before his silent suffering causes him to kill someone on this shuttle.


    Tag: Nobody
     
  12. Lady Belligerent

    Lady Belligerent • WNU Adoptions Coordinator• star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Jan 29, 2008
    ~Closing shots of the Battle of the Luxury Elite - aboard its namesake

    The violence had reached a crescendo of sorts. Darth Insipid was wounded, but also alive. His apprentices – though not known to each other – Cocytus and Saadi had triumphed over the royal guard of Darth Hades, who had triumphed over Insipid.

    In the confused retreat which followed not just his failed assassination attempt on Haretisch the Craven – thanks to the treachery of Darth Kronos – and the rout from the arena, which had acted as the fulcrum of the entire engagement, from what occurred in the upper seating, to that which had occurred in the boxes above – Insipid ordered Soliloquy, Mallace and Ravenous to the hangar that Kwea had defended, reaching out to Anark and similarly ordering him back.

    The hangar from which Hesper, after sensing the convergence of Sith on her location, had fixed a glower at Kwea and departed into shadow. Seemingly, as much as Insipid had expected Kronos to be loyal, Hesper had expected Kwea to side with her. That she had not owed as much to the blatant lying that came from Insipid’s mouth, as it did to circumstance. Kwea had been instrumental in destroying the Revelator, and Darth Insipid would pay all of those who had been loyal to him all manner of heed.

    With enemy mercenaries and droids – what remained of those that Belligerent the Majestic, as Insipid now though of her – had hired with the ample heist credits she had. She was Majestic for her tremendous foresight, luring the Triumvirate to her own prepared arena, reaching out across the galaxy to wealthy backers, and weaving it all into sufficient finances to launch a coup the moment – be it by planning or serendipity – that Insipid and Haretisch had come to blows. The surprise had been total, and the battle had been turned before it had truly begun.

    Devastating.

    But Darth Insipid looked to his gathered Sith allies. There had been no opportunity for treachery in the ‘redeployment’ as he was calling it. But he spoke up, drawing his comlink and triggering the slave circuit in the shuttle he had prepared; Jedi hostages would be useful, still.

    Sith of the First Order, for that is what you now are, I would speak of what is to come. In a handful of moments, we shall dock with out Dreadnaught cruiser, and while Bellorum and Haretisch continue to squabble over the Luxury Elite, we shall open fire and destroy the floating eye sore, ending our civil war before it spreads. We shall be the victors. It was always my intention to destroy what we could not take – because we are Sith! We will be denied nothing!”

    He raised a fist to the sky.

    ---
    Shuttle, one Imperial Knight, one Jedi Master, one hound and one T’tkura

    Matters had come to a head and blades crossed. Draco stared at T’tkura - could he kill a man in such circumstances? His rage, his desire to chase and murder Aryan - it filled him, consumed him, burned within. The hound glared, ready, but Draco knew that it would only attack if he acted.

    Could he?

    Could he?

    With a scream of fury, lashed out with the Force, shoving Radian hard and into the first of the two pods that he had intended to take himself. The shuttle rocked as the pod was launched, and in that instant Draco grabbed with the Force the hound and threw it at T’ktura, lobbing it at the Jedi-come-perilously-balanced -on-the-edge Force user. It was a kind of serendipity, and Draco threw himself at the second pod, and gestured to release both. Radian was consigned to the void, but Draco hurtled himself towards the Luxury Elite, pursuing Aryan, but unaware of where he had ended up.

    T’tkura would become aware that the shuttle was not just tractored still, but a slave circuit was drawing upon it. A pre-recorded message played; a hologram of Darth Insipid. “The time for the Jedi to hide in the shadows of the Sith is gone. I have trapped you; tortured you; allowed you to bask in the miasma of Zakuul; driven you to the dark… it is time for you to join the Sith, survivors of the First Sith Trials…” a wicked grin. “I offer you the opportunity to take a Sith name, to become parts of my regime…” Insipid’s eyes blazed even when washed out blue. “… who knows? Perhaps you will sidle up to me and end me, as a Jedi… or perhaps you will be given an opportunity to take my throne…”

    “As a Sith.”

    ---
    Elsewhere

    Draconis had stayed aloof of the fighting.

    If anything, he was disdainful of it. That was no surprise, and for that reason Insipid had not contacted him – a civil war and coup was truly wasteful, for a few dozen Sith to be fighting over scraps. Draconis was one of the few Sith who had seen the New Sith Civil War, which had split the Order in three over a century ago; the Dominion of Darkness, the Acolytes of Darkness, and remnant Sith on Korriban, which had been usurped by Lord Krayt and reformed into the One Sith. The Shadow War between the three Sith factions had culminated in the unified True Sith Empire, yes, but more time been spent divided than together, and the succession of Vassago, Krayt, Insipid, Haretisch and Bellorum – with lesser Sith between those points, had been irretrievably broken yet again.

    That did not stop a single message being hand delivered to him, written in Lord Insipid’s own hand, some weeks before.

    Lord Draconis, former Grand Vizier of Darth Vassago. Rumours abound of this timeline, I would beseech you to remain neutral of events. To act against Sith who threaten the New Sith Order, who leave it, who seek to start anew. Lords Bellorum, Haretisch and I, for all of our differences, we are the legitimate successors to the founders of the Order, such as it was scattered in the Civil War you fought in. Our Order has many names, and now, if matters come to a head, we may have more. I cannot guarantee anything, nor can I expect your loyalty, to me, who was not even alive when you defended the seed of our Order.

    Stay apart, and your directions will come.

    The Prophecy of Snoke as foretold by the Celestial Holocron abounds. The Rule of Three is to be supplanted by the Rule of Seven, and the Rule of One and Two have passed into history… but history, like Prophecy, has the ability to be mis-interpreted or, indeed, overwritten.

    Yours,

    God Emperor Darth Insipid, the Malevolent, the Supreme Leader of the First Order

    ---

    That would have been a brilliant moment for the story to end. The First Order winning their first battle against the two Dark Lords, and the Dreadnaught obliterating the Luxury Elite, however, that did not happen. Bellorum gave her speech, Ike anointed her, with Esmerelda and Kronos present…

    … and the guns of the Elite opened fire, and the Dreadnaught, its shields down in anticipation of accepting Lord Insipid and the Sith, in anticipation of drawing aboard the shuttle now solely holding T’tkura, vanished into fire.

    Darth Insipid grimaced, even as the shuttle was shaking by the detonation. Even K9 was silent, such was the moment. Their shields were up, and, Insipid checked, the shuttle with his Jedi, or perhaps former Jedi, hostage, was still tied to his slave circuit. He held out his hand to them, a holoprojector to hand. “Admiral Sloane,” Insipid spoke, and she appeared before them all. “Prepare for my shuttles to arrive directly at the Eclipse.”

    “We have taken damage from the Chiss, Supreme Leader,” she said, firmly, displeased. “But we are prepared for any pursuit of you.”

    “Of course you are, Admiral,” he said, holding his finger up to them to wait, and in Soliloquy’s mind there was a slight snicker from the AI. “After all,” Insipid said, smiling. “We have command of the last Super Star Destroyer in the galaxy.”

    After all.

    Insipid anticipated his defeat, and so, he could leverage it into victory.

    “To victory, my friends.”

    —————————————

    ~Hours later - newly christened seat of the Twilight Syndicate

    The aftermath of the battles in the corridor between Insipid’s private bar and the central arena had came to an end, and Ike led Esmerelda to the bridge. They had taken the turbolift, Ike smiling softly at Kronos as the doors shut, and Esme looking away; Ike had not blocked Kronos following when the lift returned, but he had separated Esme and the father of her child.

    In the turbolift was his new outfit, left where instructed. Ike smiled at it. ‘If I may?’

    Esme smothered her mouth. ‘Are you serious?’

    ‘It’s a new world, my dear.’


    The bridge

    Ike was not aware whether the other loyalists to Bellorum had preceded him, but the Force sung with a conflict only recently resolved; he glanced at V-3P0, the droid serving as it did, however reluctantly, but largely he strodeinto the area. ‘Lady Bellorum, I come with Esmerelda, who is with child. I have granted her asylum as your Grand Vizier.’

    The bridge crew generally muttered as his singsong voice touched their ears, but they would truly titter when he flipped his cloak and revealed his attire for the coronation. ‘Are we free of Insipid and Haretisch and their bugs-for-brains allies?’ A coy smile. ‘Are we ready to go live?’

    Bellorum stood at a rail gazing down over those manning their stations across the vast bridge. Earlier there had been the occasional feeling of doubt in her competence in taking over, but she’s eliminated those individuals with a swiftness that convinced the rest she was quite capable.

    She’d just wrapped a meeting in her bridge chambers with representatives from the Royal Family of the Hapes Consortium, representatives from two other minor Royal families, and the executive board of RMBIncorporated. All involved were there to praise the staff and the Luxury Elite, and Bellorum’s Elite Twilight guards for their actions the night of the tragic theft of the Royal antiquities and gems from the vendors. Bellorum was gifted with proclamations and silken pouches of gems. She was encouraged to expand her growing business interests intoHapes and other planetary systems.

    The executives of RMB signed contracts tohold all future events aboard the LE, and would be taking advantage of the security services offered by the LE.

    The Queen Mother of Hapes had sent apersonal message with stunning emerald and diamond parure. Included was an invitation for the LE to travel within the Hapes Consortium.

    Bellorum’s right hand caressed the rail and she smiled as she recalled the manyexpressions of shock over how Emperor Insipid and The Night Herald had tried to get away with the heinous crime.

    She turned towards the lift bank when she felt Ike approach, the smile had been replaced with a neutral look that expressedneither displeasure or acceptance of the now expecting Esmeralda. It was unexpected, but she could be a useful pawn at some point.

    Bellorum nodded her head when Ike asked if all were ready. Oh, yes...she was ready.

    Ike smiled at his Empress. He shooed Esmerelda to the side of the moment as the holocrew, ready and prepared, set up. All the Sith that had aligned with her were present.Ike paid them no heed save to make sure that they were evident to either side of the picture - in it but not drawing focus away. An aide was whispered to, and would ensure Kronoswas on the opposite side to Esme. Hades, V-3P0, Astara, Bo, Leda, even the surprise appearance of Draconis, all present for the speech.

    Ike and a team of courtesans wanderedaround the group, cleaning off grit, hiding bruises, touching up cheeks and adding makeup to supply colour to pale skin - even V-3P0 was shined. Ike himself set theEmpress so her back would be to the camera to start, with her gazing into the stars of the bridge.

    Ike nodded to the holo-team, who set up. They counter down for five, a Twi’lekrevealing a hand of fingers. Ike took the opportunity to shun his cloak, and toss itaside.

    It revealed him in his glory. Ike’s blond hair was short as normal, but added to it was a streak of black, a jagged line that ran down his forehead and touched his eye, atemporary tattooing that was followed by black circles around his eyes to cause them to stand out all the more; he had pigmented his lens green, and added a star tattoo to the cheek opposite to the bolt.

    His regalia was just as eye catching. A shimmering silk purple; the original silk cloak Bellorum had supplied him months ago was the basis. The collar was high enough to reach his ears, which themselves included a stud in each, but while his shoulders andhead may have seemed full of detail, his tunic was barebones - a silk waistcoat that left his arms showing, his smooth chest apparent, and his legs were adorned with shorts made of the same colour but short enough that they barely covered a third of his thigh.

    His boots however reached two thirds he way up his shins, in the same shade of black as the bolt staining his hair and forehead and eyes, with the outfit topped off with a darker purple cape, linked around his throat by a silver chain.

    It was outrageous, it was gaudy, and he lovedit. Sith robes were so last timeline.

    There was a shuffle through the bridge and camera crew, but Ike paid it no heed as theTwi’lek, without losing his progress, counter to zero. The transmission was reaching Chiss and Hapan Space, as well as what of the Unknown Regions they could.

    ‘Citizens of the galaxy. It is is I, Ike, Grand Vizier extraordinaire of the Twilight Syndicate.’ He touched his chin with exaggeration, a gloved finger poised. ‘Butwhat are we? I hear you wonder. The reports that the Luxury Elite suffered violence rather than the Big Fight, a heist aimed at the monarchy of Hapes itself. Terrible things!’

    Ike held out his hands. ‘We are the answer, my friends! The answer to the Empire of the Hand and it’s positively dour totalitarianism; the answer to the First Order and it’s extremism, so gauche that it would threaten the Chiss!’ A expression of shock. ‘But who is responsible for this, I hear you ask? What one sentient could weave together a force which could stand up to these two Imperial behemoths, and triumph the battle over the Elite?’

    And so Ike clapped his hands, once, in excitement. ‘Allow me to answer that as well, my friends! For she is here! Behind me, flanked by her allies and our heroes. Allow me to present, the Empress of the Twilight Sun, our Queen! The Lady Bellorum!’

    He bowed, and flowed off set, grinning as the cameraman gestured, directing the camera to focus upon the Empress.

    Bellorum turned to face the holos with a soft cordial smile, not too much, just enough to appear caring and generous. Her curiosity was piqued at the appearance of Draconis, and was pleased that the restraints weren’t obvious to the observers.
    The Empress took a step forward, as if she was getting closer to the viewers. “Good evening, and thank you for sharing this occasion with me,” Bellorum’s voice was soft and delicate. There was no hint of her usual angry timbre, and somehow she managed to portray the ideal hostess. “I want to assure everyone that my associates and I will not rest until the individuals who committed the heinous crimes aboard my ship are brought to justice.”

    Bellorum paused and smiled softly. Amara had done her make up, and she’d given her a lovely, classic look. Her skin was flawless and she radiates youth.

    “But, I’m not here to speak of vengeance,” she continued, “The Twilight Sun is here today to make the galaxy a better place.”

    The Empress walked over and sat down on a Gothic styled chair that had been placed nearby. “Many of our regions have experienced hardship, and we want to identify and assist those most in need.”

    Bellorum had avoided glancing at Ike or Hades so far. It was a given that there would be analysts going over holos later and breaking down every blink of her eyes to decide if she was being truthful or lying. This was a game she could play. The chair itself exuded emotions of encouragement and trust with such strength that the holo operators wore the glazed over expressions of lovesick fools.

    The effect was also clear on the reporters who were furiously typing notes on data pads.

    “There are families who have been torn apart and lost their homes from unrest and war, and the Twilight Sun has plans to help them. We are building company facilities in areas where the homes were destroyed and will be hiring skilled labor from the local populace.”

    Ike flicked a finger and a reporter shouted out a comment on cue. ‘What would you say to those who suggest that you are no different than Insipid or Haretisch, who we understand are becoming prominent members of the Imperial remnants. What sets you apart from them personally? It’s easy to say what you are going to do, but we need to know you to be able to believe that.‘

    It was a manipulated question, and a shaped interview, but it gave Bellorum the chance to explain her precious allegiances and why she had broken away from the Empire.

    “Excellent question,” the Empress smiled at the reporter, “it’s as simple as this. The Twilight Sun will be building communities and sharing profits with the working class.” Soon she’d have them eating out of her hands.

    She’d been skeptical when Ike had proposed this spectacle, but the man does come up with some excellent ideas.

    “Our newest pharmaceutical plant is located in a remote city on Csilla where the town was destroyed by ground quakes. My engineers went in and built structures that are capable of withstanding strong quakes, thus creating housing, schools, and orphanages for that region.”

    Ike stepped forward, raising a hand to forestall the further comments. ‘Our Empress has given enough of her time, and she has evidenced her actions. Her former colleagues did nothing to benefit the region, and she has a great deal to do.’

    He nonetheless fluttered a finger to another reporter, who thrust his mike forward. ‘Is there anything the Empress wants to say to those former colleagues your Grand Vizier keeps mentioning? He’s downplaying what you did while allied with them, after all, and thatreports suggest that several escaped this ship during the violence.’

    Ike paused, appearing to wait on his Empress. This would be the final question he had scripted. The responsewould be up to her; she could reveal her darker side, or offer an opportunity. Ike would not speak for Bellorum; it was her call, even if she refused to answer anymore - their war began now.’

    Her eyes narrowed slightly, but the smile remained in place. “Ah, yes...they ran,” she laughed softly, “they ran like rodents scurrying for their holes.” Bellorum’s hands had clinched in her lap but she forced herself to remain at peace, rather than grab the reporter by the neck. “Make no mistake, we will find them in their dens and they will be destroyed.”

    There would be no more discussion, she stood with purpose and motioned for the lift doors to open. The Empress entered the lift and kept her back to the closing doors.

    Once she felt the car descending, she turned and leaned back against the wall and laughed. It was all too easy...

    —————————————————

    ~Imperial Frigate Respect - somewhere in the Unknown Regions



    Synthetic fingers twitched at a pinprick, a sign that artificial nerves were working properly. Darth Haretisch nodded to the medical droid testing his new cybernetic appendage. The droid scurried off and he hopped down off of the table, clad only in black boots and unusually high waisted pants, upper body riddled with half-healed wounds. The synth skin cover on the arm reached not quite to his elbow, and from there ascending to his shoulder socket the cybernetic components were exposed in a tangle of servomotors and durasteel cording.

    It had been two days now since the escape. The shuttle had been picked up by a medical frigate the day following that utter debacle aboard the Luxury Elite, and in the time since the cast had dispersed across it to convalesce. All were battered inside and out, but arguably none as severely as Haretisch himself.

    “And what now, hm?” Kralkus asked, standing hunched over in the doorway. He had brokered his own escape from the casino ship, but hadn’t explained how. Sith didn’t live for nearly five centuries unless they were crafty, and there were larger concerns now, on multiple fronts.

    “Nirauan,” Haretisch replied, “it’s war now. Between the Sith. And fortunately mine are still in Thrawn’s good graces.“

    “A war which alone, you will fight?” Kralkus hummed.

    “No, not alone. Without your help, but not alone.” He thought of those who found themselves at his side now, whether by choice or happenstance - Syren, Vexx, Hel, Zalen, and Aryan Graul. All needed him. And he needed them all, too.

    Kralkus cleared his throat. “Go, I must.”

    “Indeed, you must,” Haretisch echoed. “I’ve had a ship prepared. If he is waiting, as the impostor claimed, and you find him...” he stopped.

    There was a pregnant pause.

    Kralkus nodded. A low rumble sounded in the tiny alien’s throat as he turned to leave.

    “Lord Kralkus,” Haretisch called. Kralkus stopped and looked back. “May the dark side be with you.” Wordlessly, the old master turned up his hood, the clack of his staff against the floor sounding quieter with each tap as he retreated down the hall.

    To Be continued....

    ——————————

    OOC: A huge thanks from the GM team to all the players who participated in this game. We look forward to seeing you all in the next installment and beyond.
     
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