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Star Wars CLOSED A Star Wars Story: Between Epitaphs

Discussion in 'Role Playing Forum' started by Sinrebirth , Apr 2, 2019.

  1. QueenSabe7

    QueenSabe7 Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Mar 23, 2001
    IC: Vale Sera
    Clock-Temple, Nouane

    Vale had listened intently to Dunkeel’s additional details on the ominous threat pressing down on the city, the nagging danger distractingly prickling up and down her spine like a live wire.

    "Destroy me, for I seek not your petrified balance, reality frozen by the status quo for all of time, growth stunted and dead, but chaos, the powers of war unchained and progress unfettered, consuming any all in it's path!"

    She swallowed at the croke’s words, her throat as dry as the desert sands of some backwater, Outer Rim rock. For once she let the silence hang heavily around her after the chistori had finished. Vale did not know what to do, but she did know that the only way they would do anything, would be together.

    A shove, though not a violent one, rippled out suddenly in the Force. A pulse, like a single beat of a heart thudded awkwardly into her senses. There was a flash of a vision that reached her in the exact moment as the feeling, the knowing of the precise location Zas’tel was currently inhabiting - it made her visibly wince.

    Vydra the Traitor, abandoning his cause in their greatest time of need and now the Shadow, practically cocooned in the black abyss of the dark side.

    Had they lost another?

    It seemed impossible to fathom. Her eyes swept over Joren, then back to Dunkeel, and in her mind’s eye she pictured her Master. She visualized him as clear as day, but did not allow the image to linger long. Vale let him go, his hooded visage seeping away just as the energies surrounding them grew… ill. That was the best way she could describe the sensation – the Force rotting around her. The Light that bonded the trio was discolored in an unnatural way, the source of which did not even bother to hide.

    It was a picture unlike anything she had witnessed with her own eyes; a creature, undefinable by a mere word or two claimed itself a ‘Destructor’ and called for their deaths. Tentacles writhed from its body, snapping and lashing out towards them without preamble.

    Vale desperately, instinctively searched for Zinara in the abrupt mayhem that was the result of this intruder’s appearance, but stopped.

    Dunkeel’s resolve flowed through the Force at that moment, his strength to stand and fight as their purpose demanded.

    Joren’s perseverance, his righteous call to lead trickled into her thoughts after and straightened her focus. She watched him address their threat and courageously refuse to cower or back down – had she ever thought he would? - and for the briefest of seconds, the smallest window of known time imaginable Vale saw Joren someplace else. He wore an outfit that seemed strange to her, but clearly designated the wearer as a person of import. Political office?

    Was it even actually him that she saw?

    All of a sudden, a leathery tentacle slapped into her left arm and sent a jolt of searing pain throughout the limb, knocking her back into the present. The odd sight of the doctor vanished as she stumbled away from the appendage which then sought to grab her. Using her rapidly returning senses she collected herself in time to snatch it in the Force in an invisible vice grip, and squeeze.

    Peripherally she heard rather than saw Joren’s activated forcesaber and was emboldened, following suit by igniting her own blade. She brought it slashing downwards to sever the tentacle in two before stepping into place at Joren’s side.

    And then, it just clicked.

    “You will never divide us, for we protect the Light,” Vale announced, echoing her fellow Protector as she stood by him with more than just her words.

    TAGS: @HanSolo29 @Mitth_Fisto @Sinrebirth
     
  2. Sinrebirth

    Sinrebirth Mod-Emperor of the EUC, Lit, RPF and SWC star 9 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Nov 15, 2004
    IC: Abeloth
    Pained, Nouane City

    The tentacles were severed, and Abeloth reared back in pain, hissing. There were screams, and it was almost as if the fear bolstered her. She reached out, summoning it as an almost golden energy, which streamed into her damaged limbs.

    But the Protectors themselves - for they were the Protectors, standing against the Destructor - would have a surprise or two yet to face.

    Vale's Forcesaber was no longer a purple blade, balanced between Light and Dark - no, it was a sky blue, the exact shade as Joren's had once been.

    [​IMG]

    Blade colour for reference
    Whatever darkness within her had been repelled, and she was a purer Protector for it... or, perhaps, it had been drawn out of her, if one thought back to a mysterious moment where a man had intervened in the dead of the night...

    Both, or...?

    But of course, Vale herself would not know that, but her blade, she would see.

    Conversely, Dunkeel's blade was not so positive. Once a white blade of purity, it now had a black heart to it, much like the black-blade that Zas'tel had once had.

    [​IMG]

    Blade colour for reference

    Joren's blade however was no longer the sky-blue that Vale's was, and had instead become purple, perhaps revealing the darkness and fear churning inside him. But it was a light purple, more blue than red, whereas Vale's had once been an almost equal colouring between the two.

    [​IMG]

    Light purple blade, for reference

    Abeloth snarled, her wounds healing, but not yet new tentacles sprouting. One limb regrouped into a hand, and she lifted it up, drawing all the golden fear to her palm, her eyes blazing white and, then she slammed her hand into the ground. Immense cracks formed, cutting between the three of them, even as the Clock-Tower collapsed down, a loud clang from the clock, old Crepsuculum.

    Some of the officers that had previously been surrounding the tower to hunt Zas'tel fell into the abyss, and Zinara rushed to grab Erwen, the two of them backing off. The men and women around the Abeloth-side of the tower opened fire with blasters, and Abeloth turned, tentacles reaching out to ensnare them each and draw them close to her.

    A wave of dust and debris echoed out, a stone skipping across Joren's forehead, another slamming on Dunkeel's back, before sliding off.

    They could jump the hole, of course, the one the Clock-Tower was collapsing into, and had swallowed ten of the men and women who had came to capture Zas'tel - those who would never been here if he had simply handed himself in - but it would take a definite exertion.

    In the sky, the Fanged God and the Winged Goddess continue to squabble, and the massive Mortis Monolith continued to hang in the sky.

    The Kwa ship was entirely forgotten, in the chaos, and Tera seemed to be calming, surrounded by maternal and supportive minds - the doctors who were helping her with the birth. She was in pain, and Joren could feel it, but she was resolute - determined to look after the baby she was just giving birth to.

    It was chaos, but it was chaos personified, of course.

    Abeloth was busy for the moment, but it wouldn't be for long, and every moment of self-retrospect and panic would cost more of the plains-cloth officers' lifes.

    Together, they were undefeatable, but they had just encountered revelations about themselves, revealed in their new blade colours.

    And still the Darkness gathered at the hill-top.

    TAG: @QueenSabe7, @HanSolo29, @Mitth_Fisto
    ---
    The Hilltop

    That darkness was the shadow, slipping around and around Zas'tel, swirling a whirlwind of black - a tornado, almost, rising higher and higher.

    Darkness continued to speak to Zas'tel, amused. You stand here and watch, and watch, and watch.

    The Clock-Tower sagged, and was going a hole which had opened in the middle of the northern district. There was a wave of surprise from his comrades, and a wave of fear from the City.

    The winged monsters above it all continued to fight, wrestling and crashing upon the rooftops. Whatever they were supposed to do, it wasn't that. The Destructor was at the heart of it all, and Darkness grinned, a leering over-sized face in the wind.

    Aren't you tempted to step in? To draw your Master's blade and call upon the Light?

    Or simply to wade into the violence and do your bit?

    Maybe... take off that cloak?


    The longer the moment elongated, the more the creature inside Zas'tel bleated in his chest, growing, ensnaring his heart, and filleting out his body as if a corpse being possessed.

    It was a beating presence upon him, becoming more and more and more relentless.

    In any moment, it would be birthed from him, pressing upon his throat as it wanted to emerge from his mouth -

    TAG: darthbernael
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2020
  3. darthbernael

    darthbernael EU Community Mod, House was on fire, didn't do it star 4 Staff Member Moderator

    Registered:
    Apr 15, 2019
    OOC: Our delightfully 'evil' GM tormenting poor Zas'tel

    IC Zas’Tel
    Hilltop

    Zas’tel struggled to respond. The Darkness was almost a solid wall around him now. But it wasn’t just the Darkness, the ‘parasite’ inside him seemed to have gathered enough energy to be attempting what it had said it would. His body writhed, his eyes flashing wildly, first his normal color then grey then back again. His skin seemed to ripple. His mouth opened wide, as though to scream or roar but no sound emerged.

    A second funnel of energy swirled around him, inside the one created by the Darkness. This second was neither dark nor light, but a swirl of every shade of grey. He fought the energy, trying to remain as he was, but his energy was quickly being sapped.

    Come, come, Darkness said.

    All you need to do is make a decision, and then the moment will end.

    "Zas'tel?"

    Outside the whirlwind, there stood a shape. It was Vale, and a crimson blade was in her hand, already ignited. "What are you doing?"

    Zas’tel’s eyes widened, seeing Vale outside the whirlwind. He hadn’t thought, hoped really, that any of them would reach him so quickly. His already open mouth began to try to form words until what was left of his mind to control took action and stopped him.

    He took in the blade, and the memory of her treachery, even as recently as a half hour before. His mind, and the parasite besides, warned him this was no Vale at all but another attempt to shatter his resolve.

    Swallowing, forcing the parasite from his vocal chords for a moment, he screamed out a ”Never!!!” at the Darkness.

    And then the parasite surged, taking complete control for a moment and the new Zas’tel lowered his head, blazing grey eyes taking in ‘Vale’, Croke, you will have to do better to fool me, this portal will not open. You will not shatter reality.”

    At which point Zas’tel’s head flew back again and a primal scream erupted, the grey whirlwind around him contracting, running through his flesh as though it was not there, centering on his heart and mind.

    His form was shredded, but yet, it was not a physical moment, merely a mental one. But even the Black Coat wasn't sufficient at this stage, a voice warned him, reverberating from the Master's blade. It was masculine, but sounded almost sardonic at this point. Dryly amused, perhaps.

    What's the plan?

    "What's the plan?" Vale said, stepped forward to the edge of the whirlwind.

    What's the plan?

    The Presence squirmed inside him, and what was left of Zas'tel was almost forced out of his skin - the Black-Coat was keeping him in, increasing the pressure upon him in an almost relentless cycle of force and Force.

    Between the Darkness leaning on the outside and shredding his mind -

    Between the Vale hammering at his ears -

    Between the Presence -

    Where was Zas'tel in all this?

    Was there space for him to live?

    Or even space for him to die?

    Zas’tel felt his self disappearing, being subsumed, but even as it did he felt the Cloak still trying to protect him, to sustain him. It was a pressure that couldn’t be sustained. The fake Vale, the Darkness, the parasite all making demands upon him. Of them all he knew there was only one that he could not withhold, could not defeat. He’d fought the parasite, done all he could to hold it back, keep it from being fully realized but, between the conversation with the Father, the fight to escape Vale’s wife and compatriots, and now this, he had no more to give.

    His head fell back, his muzzle rising to the sky and he shrieked out, ”I….don’t...want...to...GO!!!! At the last word he released all the power, all the energy, he had. Like the shockwave of an explosion, it radiated out from him, rending the funnel, trailers of Darkness streaming away, daylight falling onto the hilltop once more.

    In that moment the full force of the parasite washed over him, absorbed him. A thought followed his receding life force, as he as subsumed by the parasite, ’You are, once again, a part of me, not destroyed or rebuilt, but part of the whole.’ Energy radiated from the body of Zas’tel, a hemisphere of grey that slowly shrunk until it disappeared into his form.

    The Black Cloak whipped around him, slate grey eyes looking out from it, visor no longer needed to see in the brightness. The eyes calmly took in the Darkness and the Vale that stood there. There was no indecision, no worry that he was doing the right thing, he was a rock the tide of their attempts would wash against. ”My galaxy.” the implied ownership rang through his voice as he spoke, ”Yes I will watch, that is my role, they must choose the right path. And I will not allow access from either of you to the World Between Worlds.”

    TAGS: @Sinrebirth, @QueenSabe7, @HanSolo29, @Mitth_Fisto
     
  4. Sinrebirth

    Sinrebirth Mod-Emperor of the EUC, Lit, RPF and SWC star 9 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Nov 15, 2004
    IC: Darkness
    Atop the Hill

    As Zas'tel pushed away the dark, it revealed that the woman, who looked far too like Vale - she was really there.

    Solid, corporeal.

    Alive.

    Angry.

    She had a striking expression, her blade crimson and ready.

    [​IMG]

    "What did you do?"

    For a moment, Zas'tel's coat pulled taut against him, as if holding him from hurting her.

    TAG: @darthbernael

    TAG: @QueenSabe7, @Mitth_Fisto, @HanSolo29 (combo continues)
     
  5. HanSolo29

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

    Registered:
    Apr 13, 2001
    The following is a combo with QueenSabe7, Mitth_Fisto, and Sinrebirth:

    IC: Dunkeel, Vale Sera, Dr. Joren Graal, Abeloth, Zinara, and Erwen

    Chaos on Nouane

    Erwen and Zinara took a breath as they watched the... monster, for there was no other word to describe Abeloth. She had just throttled to death the rest of their comrades - no, wait, they dropped to the floor as if corpses, seemingly drained of life.

    The two of them were the only officers left from their ambush, and Zinara looked murderous. This is all Zas'tel's fault.

    In some ways, all of it was. Zas'tel had put his thumb in the middle of the interspecies rivalries, pushing them further than ever before, and was the suspect in a murder which had carried over from that. Nouane City was ready to burst, and she knew -

    "What do you mean there is no back-up?" Erwen snapped, blue eyes narrowing. He closed his comlink, his normally smooth hair unkempt in the wind that was assailing the City. "The rest of the force is busy stopping everyone from attacking everyone. Panic has taken over the southern district, and it's every species for themselves."

    Zinara pursed her lips. "I'm going to kill Zas'tel if we ever catch him. He's caused this." Her chin jut towards Abeloth. "She was just the spark on the tinder he piled up."

    Erwen's eyes narrowed and he peered at the woman, and his eyes turned to the swirling darkness atop the hilltop, overlooking the City. "Who bets that Zas'tel is up there?"

    Abeloth, for her part, her burn marked sealed, and a new gaggle of tentacles sprouting, leered at the three Protectors, her eyes slitting as if even she recognised that their blades had changed colours. Erwen certainly knew, Zinara too.

    What had changed?

    Or, perhaps, Changed?

    Dunkeel felt his eyes drawn into following his sweeping blade as it danced and bit at the air. Fang was new today. Whatever they had done, whatever they had found this had changed things. It was a glorious Fang, but it looked like it was one that knew a cavity. A drop of poison and a touch of death, all change, and nothing remains the same. Not even the others, as he realized that the Blue blade was on his wrong side, and the leader was now purplish. "As one." he simply stated as he moved forward, preparing to leap to the battle ahead, waiting for the sense in the Force that the others were with him.

    The world had descended into chaos. The darkness had attained a physical form to become the tentacled monster; death and destruction ravaged the city and the skies above; the earth had literally shattered beneath their feet, the endless maw threatening to swallow the Clock Tower itself; Tera continued to reach out in fear and pain with a newborn swaddled in her arms, helpless to defend herself against the impending danger.

    Then there was the blade, Joren’s blade. It now gleamed with a new identity, its hue having shifted from a bright azure to a fine indigo. It was a strange occurrence, but he soon discovered that he wasn’t alone in that change. All of the Protectors’ blades had transformed themselves to become something new. He didn’t fully understand the significance, and unfortunately, he found himself too consumed in the moment to give it proper consideration.

    And yet, in the midst of this ensuing mayhem, Joren heard a single voice call out to him across the void. He recognized it as Dunkeel, encouraging unity and strength. They had to tackle this formidable threat together, or they would fail. It was a feeling he had in the pit of his stomach, perhaps a warning from the Force itself.

    That thought tightened his resolve as he canted his head to regard the Chistori with a curt nod. In much the same way, he then turned to meet Vale’s gaze on his opposite side. The doctor lingered there a moment, a crooked grin pulling at one corner of his mouth. It was hard to explain, but it felt…natural, as if they were meant to complement each other in this way.

    “Together,” Joren conveyed with confidence as he brandished his blade to make his stand. “We go now.”

    Surging forth, he called upon the Force to aid him in his leap across the growing chasm.

    Vale, for all the horror and awe spread out before her, had suddenly become acutely, painfully aware of just how exposed her wife had become in the shortest of moments. Across the way she could see the blindingly white hair of Zinara, standing next to the duller, shorter mop that belonged to Erwen - the pair of them utterly alone as their fellows were now just empty husks strewn about around them.

    Her blade, now a brilliant blue, seemed to hum louder as she grew both fearful and determined, bolstering her strength by feeding off those of the two males at her side. Together.

    She stepped forward at Dunkeel's urging, then pushed further by Joren's steadfast command, past the point of no return.

    Vale shot off the crumbling earth like a rocket, having been unknowingly gathering that much power in the Force beneath her feet to soar into action just a fraction of a second behind the doctor. In another odd insertion of a moment that didn't entirely belong, she glanced sidelong at him and narrowed her eyes as they hit the apex of their jump. He looked different than before. And before that.

    And she was no longer the same either.

    Refocusing with vigor, Vale harnessed the Force to attempt to lasso the creature that threatened to destroy it all, and she yanked herself straight into the chaos with her forcesaber swinging down for an attack.

    Abeloth hissed as they surged together as one. Her mind had launched forward, latching upon their minds and seeking purchase; seeking their fears. Vale's twitch of her face towards the two remaining officers was noticed, and she carved a grin to her face the moment before the Force lasso caught her, and Vale exploded forward, swinging down.

    The Goddess of Chaos flexed her tentacles, manipulating the Force in separate writhings; a slither of her power severed the elasticity of their bond, and she bodily grabbed Vale in the Force and redirected her to fall off to her side; a wiggle collapsed the edge of the ridge beneath Zinara and Erwen, sending them tumbling, grabbing hold of the rock with a hand each, legs kicking as they tried to find purchase.

    A part of her sidled up to Joren like a dagger, driving into a mental wound, exposing it and creating an illusion of his fear; Tera, dying in childbirth, his offspring lost at once - her last words being. 'Where were you?' With contempt, she knocked the man’s knees out from under him, looking forward to him curling into a fetal ball when she coupled it with an image of his love lasting just long enough to blame him for everything.

    She rounded on the nonhuman, launching herself at Dunkeel, and relying upon her distractions to keep Vale and Joren busy. She crashed into the Chistori, limbs ensnaring his, binding his weapon arm, most of her form seizing upon his neck and face to try and shove her tentacles into his mouth, his eyes, his ears - a black viscous material was swarming beneath her skin, ready to pump into him and take him as her new avatar.

    This woman was arrogant, powerful, and malicious.

    In many ways, she was their worst enemy ever.

    Dunkeel stood strong. He did not let the others distract him. If they died so this foul beast ceased to exist then so be it. If they lived - good. Only they would not live because of him.

    Erwen was a useful soldier, but he had seen many. They had not yet formed any true bond and it was easy to ignore the mate of another. If she wanted to divert to save her, so be it. They would continue the attack.

    Then she was on him, smothering him. . .NO! He could feel her searching for purchase as she held his weapon arm down. With a drawing inward his nostrils sealed closed, his eyes squeezed shut as firm as they could. His ears were nerve laden plates that transmitted sound. His mouth. . .his mouth was closed but his teeth ran the edges, his kind had no lips to seal it tight. He could feel her pressing in, fighting his jaw to worm just enough in to do whatever she wanted. He fought with all his might, but he knew could do nothing. She would be in seconds, and although he had no idea what that would mean. Death? Or something worse? Her longing was palpable.

    With fear clawing at him he did the only thing he could. He let go.

    Dropping Fang, his lightsaber, he used the Force to try and spin it to slice this monster into two and then into many pieces. Without the others, he was not sure if it would work, but he had to let that go. Let the Force. Let it go, let the Force, In Balance.

    Her trajectory failed, and Abeloth changed course. Vale's purposeful descent upon their foe was turned against her and she was batted aside like a bug, her only clear sight before going head over heels was that of her wife and Erwen disappearing in a collapse of the earth they stood upon. Dust erupted above them as they vanished, her heart twisting so abruptly that it shoved a scream past her lips... though it didn't sound like the voice belonged to her. Because Zinara was on her own. She had to be.

    "NO!" Vale managed to cry into the din as she connected back to the ground, her body slamming side-first and rolling several times before she could collect herself to a stop. There wasn't a moment wasted as the Protector shot to her feet only to watch the separate attacks on Joren and Dunkeel, her eyes widening as the monster's main physical mass launched for the latter.

    How could she help?!

    Her feet carried her towards where the Chistori was being attacked before she recalled having a coherent thought, azure blade slicing through any alien appendage that came near. It was a horrid scene that Vale recoiled from mentally, the way the tentacles accosted Dunkeel and sought violently to find a way inside. But all this aside, she was able to take note of his forcesaber falling free of his immovable grip, then spin like a top towards his assailant from behind.

    Reaching her free hand as she still charged towards them, Vale aided her fellow Protector and offered an additional push in the Force, hoping to ensure his blade stayed on its intended path.

    She did not have time to spare for Joren.

    Using the Force to determine his speed and direction, the doctor allowed his forward momentum to carry him through his attack. He intended to strike the creature on her right flank, which she had left exposed while attempting to reorient herself against their coordinated efforts. It was the perfect target, and he likely would’ve succeeded in exploiting this weakness…

    ...if not for the intense pain that suddenly blossomed within his mind.

    It felt as if hundreds of tiny shards had perforated his skull and embedded themselves in the fleshy tissue of his brain. Joren heard himself cry out before the landscape shifted and rippled to become something entirely new. He was no longer standing among the rubble of a crumbling city, nor was he engaged in a life or death struggle with a godlike creature. In fact, he did not even notice when the aforementioned monster lunged for Dunkeel or turned its divine wrath against Vale. Instead, he was back in his own home with Tera and his newborn daughter at his side.

    Except...he wasn’t.

    There was something surreal about the scene, the edges of reality seeming to blur and bend as if in a dream. Even as Tera dissolved into hysterics over the belief that their daughter had died during childbirth, he did not bring himself to react. While it was a terrible truth, he realized that the Force failed to reflect her words. If his infant daughter had truly died, he would have felt the rift as her life ebbed away.

    In this case, there was nothing. The only thing he could recall was the feeling of peace Tera had relayed to him right before everything spiraled out of control – mother and child were fine, perhaps scared and uncertain about the future, but they were safe.

    That was all the strength and encouragement Joren needed.

    “Get out of my head!” the doctor growled as he pushed back against the beast, using the Force to augment the command. In the same motion, he lifted his hands and gathered some of the wreckage of the Clock Tower about him.

    He then hurled the detritus at the creature.

    Abeloth found the will within these three incredibly frustrating. She reached for Dunkeel's blade to still it, and found Vale pressing upon it, forcing her to double her efforts - and then the wreckage of the Clock-Tower spilled over her, and Abeloth couldn't concentrate at all, the combined actions sending her tumbling from the Chistori.

    These Protectors, they were tried, tested... they had been tempered in advance of her coming. Their training - their trials and, indeed, their Truths - they had muddle through them alone and together, and became stronger for it, individually, and as a team.

    Abeloth tumbled to the crevasse edge, bloodied, bruised, with half her tentacles cauterized by their accursed Forcesabers... She had a wicked cut across her spine, and clearly should have been dead, were she human, but this... creature, she was animating a dying corpse, standing with difficulty to snarl and spit at the three of them. The peril of Zinara had not drawn Vale away... the mental assault had not broken Joren... the violent accosting had not broken Dunkeel...

    As she glared, Dunkeel's lightsaber resumed its white colouring, his purity defined. Vale's blue blade positively shone, her light reinforcing it, and Joren's blade returned blue, the purple dispelled. The bastards had rebalanced together.

    Fine.

    She spat, and drove the stubs of her foremost tentacles into the ground, driving her mind hard into the ground, down down down, expanding the rent in the ground, the crevasse exploded across the City, upending any building in its path and a torrent of lava bubbled up behind her. Screams filled the City, and Abeloth was silhouetted by the fiery backdrop as she floated above them, her remaining tentacles writhing, her eyes focused upon them with manic glee.

    Zinara and Erwen vanished in the confusion.

    Tera's terror bleated into the Force as the hospital was upended, and then, abruptly, stopped.

    A City-worth of panic hammered upon them all, and Abeloth took that despair and sought to smother the three of them with it -

    If they would not bend, they would all die.

    Freedom! It had come at hand at last, but at what cost? He had not lost, but he had not won. Dunkeel was as he was before as he recalled Fang to his awaiting hand. Though the blade sung pure and true once more the price had been worse. The city was being rent, the lava was there, the pain was there, she was still there.

    His head twisted, a jerking slow motion as a snarl played upon his twitching jaw and a hiss played out over his teeth. He could feel the pressure, the waves of despair so thick it was nearly as if the world was drowning them as they tried to save it. "Arms, I'll ride her down." he felt the need. He would advance, he would leap, and he would rend her in two. Dunkeel would eat her as they hit the magma, consuming flesh, gore, and spirit with his Fang. The others, their leader would have a moment, he would wait for consent before he did what had to be done. Before he gave all, to end this threat now.

    Vale stared upward, a feeling of defeat - of absolute terror in failure - growing to the point of consuming. She was drowned in sweat and tears, dirt and grime caked into her skin and under her nails, the grit of battle showing not only on the outside but within as well. The Force, it writhed and rumbled, twisted and pulled taut by the dark nature of Abeloth. Her Celestial powers quaked the ground beneath them now, and the Protector's senses screamed with the knowledge that death was closing in on them all.

    She could no longer feel Zinara, her wife now lost in the mayhem or lost in life entirely. But that horrifying concept did not take hold of her focus, Vale's mind fighting to stay present and upon the creature that hung over the city like some cruel and vengeful god. Which, she supposed was exactly what she was.

    Panting, mouth as dry as the desert sands of Jakku, she pushed to standing and found Dunkeel. The chistori remained a formidable sight and once more, gave Vale a surge of strength just knowing her comrade would fight to the last. Just as she would.

    She gave him a nod, seemingly concluding that he was awaiting a command from Joren. But could they afford to just wait? The vibrations of Nouane's crust were steadily increasing, cracks forming and fissures opening in the surrounding hills. It was only a matter of time before it was all gone, and Nouane would simply cease to exist. She knew this, it was fact.

    Fresh tears left streaks in the dirt upon her cheeks, and Vale fought to consider options, none of which seemed to end in their survival. But, the only way to succeed... was together. Live together, die together. Protecting.

    She found Joren next, shouting at him as she raced to his position. "We need to join in the Force, we can only defeat her if we combine our powers as one!" She grabbed him by the arm, nudging him with her desperate feelings. "Everyone will die if we fight separately! Everyone!"

    Vale’s fervent plea failed to reach Joren – at least, initially. He had felt the Force rupture, a violent tremor that had taken his breath away. This particular occurrence hadn’t been a direct consequence of the planet splitting apart around them nor the godlike being ushering in chaos in her wake. It was more personal than that, more intimate.

    It was Tera. He could no longer feel her presence, almost as if she had ceased to exist. That’s when he realized the terrible truth – he had once again neglected to follow his instincts to save someone or something close to him. This was his fault; this was––

    Joren collapsed to his knees upon the rubble, the battle becoming nothing more than a dull roar in the back of his mind. His vision blurred, and the landscape quickly faded away into a formless void. There was nothing except his pain, his guilt, his regret…

    Tera!

    But that's when he felt a presence on his arm, a delicate touch that seemed to set his flesh ablaze. Joren openly shuddered as the electrical charge traveled up the length of his arm and filled his chest with a warmth he could not adequately describe. It was soothing in its simplicity, persuasive.

    And then he saw a flash of white that rapidly dissolved into a single image – a fiery redhead with stormy eyes, reaching toward him with an outstretched hand…

    The doctor gasped and jolted out of his reverie, suddenly coming back to his senses. The battle continued to rage, but that was not the first thing he noticed when he blinked his eyes into focus. It was Vale. She hovered over him, imploring him into action. While he couldn’t be certain, he could’ve sworn that she had embodied the woman he had seen in his vision...except for the red hair. Were they related?

    There was no time for that now. He caught the end of Vale’s resolution and nodded. “Together,” Joren agreed, his voice hoarse and wavering under the strain. Nevertheless, he still hoisted his Forcesaber – his blue Forcesaber – and rose shakily back to his feet.

    He then reached out to both Vale and Dunkeel, pouring out his strength to them through the Force, inviting them to join with him on their last stand.

    TAG: @QueenSabe7; @Mitth_Fisto; @Sinrebirth; @darthbernael (for mention)
     
  6. Sinrebirth

    Sinrebirth Mod-Emperor of the EUC, Lit, RPF and SWC star 9 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Nov 15, 2004
    IC: Abeloth
    Their bond is... Light?

    It was impossible, and impossibly so. The three of them, Vale, Dunkeel, Joren, their power merged and reinforced and wove and lit the Force, and Abeloth staggered, her surviving tentacles flaying in frustration. Her smothering was ineffective, and she squeezed her eyes shut, and fell, fell backwards.

    Into the volcano.

    The Force was drawn by her, surrounding her in a shield as the planets fire smothered her falling form. She vanished into those burning depths, and the two Gods flailing above them all peered down, ceasing their aerial brawl and diving into the bubbling volcano. The white griffin and black bat drew out of the fire the defeated form of Abeloth, the woman unconscious but still not dead. Her body was ruined, a leg missing, her hair burned away, and a shadow writhing in frustration at the shell that had been both crippled and trapped her.

    The twin creatures took Abeloth up to the massive Tho Yor - Mortis - hanging in orbit, and with a thanks in the Force. The Gods departed, a small vessel hanging in orbit - the one of A'nang, the Kwa who had came to see Dunkeel and instead spectated the Gods descending from Mortis to recapture a rogue family member. A single communique came from Mortis to A'nang, and he read it, reverent that the Force Wielders had acknowledged him.

    He didn't notice that the Gods appeared to be in a hurry.

    There was a bubbling, and the cracks from the volcano continued to spread, spread, and then, an explosion, as it erupted upwards, a mountain of rock rising where the City had once stood. The screams filled the Force and the three of them were separated, sent tumbling away, their Force vergence ebbing away, leaving them exhausted and week to it all. The cracks were spreading, a spider-web of fire taking the whole of Nouane in its grip.

    Above it all, on the hill side, there was jagged moment, where the six of them had stood mere weeks ago beneath the World Between Worlds.

    The black stone in the pocket of Dunkeel whispered. The names... the names... the names... left unsaid, you will die, die, die.

    It was the Master of Master's voice...

    For Vale, she would be able to sense, now Abeloth was gone, her own echoing self - a woman who felt like herself, but darker, a crimson blade in the Force; the unspoken question of where the red in her hitherto purple blade had gone was answered... into the woman with No Name, now beside Zas'tel, witnessed by the Darkness, angry and saddened -

    For Joren, there was a stillborn moment, as if he could still hear Tera, here her rocking the son she had not given birth to, had lost, had lost. He had a name, on the edge of Joren's perspective, even though he did not exist. But he could have, and that possibility teased at him, begging him give it shape, to give it a name.

    The heat was lapping upon them, and the soot and ash was almost unbreathable now.

    Unconsciousness tugged at all three of them.

    At the City edge, the lava stream met the strange statue that had appeared in the street, met it, and could not penetrate it. The neuranium crystal was a perfect armour, and inside the statue of the Sage Yanjon, the man named Vydra was unconscious but perfectly protected, his spirit pushed clear of his body and merely able to watch events...

    Their powers could not stop what had happened.

    Nouane was permanently Changed.

    The first of it's kind was over...

    Or was it?

    TAG: @Mitth_Fisto (first), then @HanSolo29, @QueenSabe7

    TAG: @darthbernael, @QueenSabe7 (combo finalize please)
     
  7. Mitth_Fisto

    Mitth_Fisto Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Sep 29, 2005
    IC: Dunkeel
    In The Demise of the Present

    There it was, as they joined and assaulted her in the Force, there it was. Abeloth staggered, her surviving tentacles flaying agitation as their combined assault worked. She squeezed her eyes shut, and fell, fell backwards.

    Into the volcano.

    The Force was drawn by her, surrounding her in a shield as the planets fire smothered her falling form. Dunkeel bared his teeth as he took a step forward, hissing as he pressed the assault in the Force that her dying would not have a moment of respite from the onslaught they were repaying her with as she vanished into the depths. Then the two above ceasing their aerial brawl dove into the bubbling volcano. The white griffin and black bat drew out of the fire the defeated form of Abeloth, the woman still not dead. Despite witnessing the mutilation they had caused upon her form he roared into the night his impotent frustration! Her body was ruined, a leg missing, her hair burned away, and a shadow writhing in frustration at the shell that had been both crippled and trapped her. A shell they had not been able to rend to embers, and the darkness to nothingness.

    The twin creatures took Abeloth up to the massive Tho Yor - Mortis - hanging in orbit, and he felt it and it soothed nothing to feel their thanks in the Force. They departed, a small vessel hanging in orbit - the one of A'nang, the Kwa.

    Things did not calm as they were, there was no sun shine and cooling magma and a city to rebuild thanks to their efforts. They had faced the darkness and the terror head on, but they had saved no one. They had merely made it stop here. Instead of being able to spread to whom knew where and harm those they did not know. Instead the ground continued to crack, the volcano continued to spread, spread, and then, an explosion, as it erupted upwards, a mountain of rock rising where the City had once stood. Though he had little connection to the warrens that had birthed him he noted in sadness the death throes of the city. The screams filled the Force and the three of them were separated, sent tumbling away, their Force vergence ebbing away, leaving them exhausted and week to it all. The cracks were spreading, a spider-web of fire taking the whole of Nouane in its grip.

    Above it all, on the hill side, there was jagged moment, where the six of them had stood mere weeks ago beneath the World Between Worlds.

    The black stone in the pocket of Dunkeel whispered. The names... the names... the names... left unsaid, you will die, die, die.

    It was the Master of Master's voice...

    If it had been any other voice he would of ignored it. He could of easily accepted death as he watched so many others die. As the world burned, why not should he? "Heart. Fang. You have served me well, save what you can of us. Remember us. Sistros Nevet, Braata Danlos,,Yanjon Zelmar, and Faya Rodemos. Remember us."

    The heat was lapping upon them, and the soot and ash was almost unbreathable now. Unconsciousness tugged at all three of them. He clawed for a path away, but could feel it. He was going to be taken soon, but he would keep Fang firm in hand, and the ring safely in his possession to the last.

    TAG: Then @HanSolo29, @QueenSabe7, @Sinrebirth
     
  8. Sinrebirth

    Sinrebirth Mod-Emperor of the EUC, Lit, RPF and SWC star 9 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Nov 15, 2004
    IC: The Narrator

    Hold firm.

    Hold.

    Firm.


    OOC: I shall respond with an updated TAG.
     
  9. Sinrebirth

    Sinrebirth Mod-Emperor of the EUC, Lit, RPF and SWC star 9 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Nov 15, 2004
    IC: The Master of Masters
    Wincing

    There it was; a choice.

    A series of such choices had made things happen as they had.

    Indeed, it could be said that, with sufficient detachment and context, that their choices had made the Change.

    It was difficult to weave a narrative from their decisions, but he did, because to turn reality was not to make a single decision, no, it was the culmination of several chain links, snap, snap, snap. It was, after all, why the Master made mention of the Chains so prominently in the Sith Code in the future.

    It probably sprang from the Master meeting each of them privately to discuss their Truths, their secret names. Though he had never explicitly told them that they were to keep their Truth's secret, and indeed, he revealed a few of them, the personal aspect of their Truth's led them, inexorably, to believe they were each in possession of facts not to be shared.

    He could not blame them for that, though he could lament it.

    Perhaps his second set of instructions, rushed as they were, increased the stress and tension upon them, the weight not so evenly spread as he would have liked, their bond apparently not as strong as they had expected, their faith in each other insufficient.

    He could not blame them for that, though he could ponder it.

    The names, they had been designed to encourage them to each renounce their sense of self, to focus them upon their role as Protector Master, but they had each, in their own ways, been unable to disentangle themselves from their personal connections. Be it a sister and family, a wife, a partner and an unborn child, or perhaps simply that sense of entitlement that one of them had held to...

    None of them were willing to detach.

    To betray themselves, perhaps, it could be said.

    And so in being true to their identities, and not to the names, they had betrayed the cause.

    The situation had been constructed as a No-Win situation, but perhaps it had simply illustrated that it was attachments that had undone them each.

    Love, in essence.

    Vale's decision to conduct her own investigation of events, in response to the heart-break between her and Zinara, perhaps, in response perhaps to her devotion to the Master... she had only increased the paranoia and suspicion among her comrades; but the Master could not blame her for such a decision.

    Vydra's snap with the weight of things, it had meant he purposely attempted to interfere with the instructions of the Master, notwithstanding the secret knowledge he had been bestowed - indeed, the only Protector to have been given a secret, it could be said; but the Master could not blame him for such a decision.

    Joren's decision to speak the names that he knew as a fail-safe, while confronted by a deranged Vydra, well, that had certainly created a Wound in the Force, but he would never have done so without the rift between him and Vale, nor the worry about his family; but the Master could not blame him for such a decision.

    Dunkeel's decision to head into orbit and draw the galactic eye of the Ones, well, that certainly accelerated any pending confrontation, and his growing frustration with the others had isolated him even more as he met with the shape-changing Darkness and knew his foe - taking more and more decisions in their own hands; but the Master could not blame him for such a decision.

    The Twilight Wars could not be avoided, the Master had Seen that, but in their own ways they all sought to stop them, and so created the contradiction.

    It was not important which Twilight Wars he had spoken of; the net result of the conflict was indeed that the End of Time would happen, that they had sign-posted precisely what would happen every time someone tampered with reality; the Force would respond, releasing the Bringer of Chaos, and the Gods would put her back in her prison once the source was destroyed.

    They had stopped her on their own terms, but too late, perhaps.

    The battle with Abeloth, it had cut them loose from their connections forcibly, and they had remembered the Light, stopping Abeloth before she could kill anymore.

    The Master would handle the rest.

    He had hoped to save them, but the ring, well, it had spoken, and Dunkeel, well, notwithstanding that he knew that the Darkness could change shape to its hearts content... and perhaps, change it's voice, well, he had chosen.

    Whether he had chosen right or wrong, it was the only choice he had left.

    And so while Vale sensed her other, nameless self, confronting Zas'tel, she would feel her legs begin to crystallise, a creeping transformation that shed her of her holocron, which was forced out of her robes as the crystal tide grew up her body - it rebounded on the floor, acquiring a crack, and would not recall all of the histories it once had. One day, it would be discovered and donated to the Jedi, becoming their Holocron of Prophecy. For now, she had the chance of a name, bubbling up within her to give to her other half, be it as a blessing, or a curse -

    With the knowledge that No Name was her darkness incarnate.

    And so while Joren had the chance to speak the name of his child - children - he would too see his feet crystallise in shining blue, and realise that he no longer had in his possession the Holocron and blade that Vydra passed to him, that they had been lifted from him, and his own holocron dipped to the floor, rolling beneath the lava that crept up to his now stone feet - but the molten liquid did not reach through the entrapment -

    With the knowledge that what names he used would become reality.

    And so while Dunkeel spoke the names, he would no not from where the second parts of the names came from; he had been bestowed with knowledge that he should not - an absolute certainty that there were successors to them already named, already saved, already cursed, perhaps, and that his heritage would pass through darker ways... from the shadow his greatness had cast. There was a musical element to it, a song that would echo through him... his dipyramid holocron, well, when all this was over, A'nang would recover it, and scrub it clean of the forbidden knowledge it contained, taking it with him and filling it with his own knowledge, until it, too, was destroyed in the Force Wars and it's components, miraculously, found their way into another's holocron -

    His final knowledge was to not know whether the Master had told him to speak those words...

    ... or the Darkness.

    His ring, well, that would be recovered, and bestowed to another, one day... Dunkeel would be able to follow it's route until it ended in the hands of Darth Sidious, a man with the prophesised red-flame that would be the one to complete the Master's grand design... Palpatine had red-flame hair...

    Hindsight, in death, perhaps.

    Darkness was gleeful as the stone entrapped the Chistori, creeping up and embracing the man who had vexed him so.

    They weren't going to die.

    But they would certainly end...

    For a time.

    TAG: @Mitth_Fisto, @QueenSabe7, @HanSolo29 (updated TAGs)

    TAG: @darthbernael, @QueenSabe7 (combo finale)
     
  10. darthbernael

    darthbernael EU Community Mod, House was on fire, didn't do it star 4 Staff Member Moderator

    Registered:
    Apr 15, 2019
    OOC: Combo with the enjoyable to write with @QueenSabe7

    IC Zas’tel and Not Vale
    Hilltop


    The tendrils of Darkness were still whipping away as she stepped more into view. The Black Coat tugged at him, not a warning against her but perhaps keeping him from striking out at her. A half-smile formed at that thought, it didn’t know everything, or what had changed, yet, either.

    He kept his hands free in the coat but otherwise made no indication of potential violence, she was showing enough of that already. Not Vale, I’m sorry but who are you to question what I do? And act like my actions, which kept the Darkness from consuming the galaxy, were somehow worse than those.”

    His slate grey eyes watched her, his senses expanding as more and more of his power flowed into him, the changes from what,, who, Zas’tel had been taking a little time to settle into place. ”If anything, keeping the galaxy going should rate a thank you, whoever you are, Not Vale.”

    She peered at him, unsure and certain at once that he was something not altogether good. She had known so little of him and perhaps that had been his intent, so he could carry out his crimes in mystery and shadow.

    Her anger only continued to burn hotter at the sight of him, at the sound of his voice.

    Her feet remained planted, her stance unchanged, hand tightening over her saber hilt. The crimson blade hummed dutifully at her side. It bolstered her outrage. "I said.... what... did you DO?" she asked again, her words strangled as she refused to be baited by talk.

    "To HIM?" It came as no surprise to her that at the mere mention of the one she spoke of, her eyes began to fill with heated tears.

    The slate grey eyes watched her as Zas’tel’s head tilted to the side for a moment. She seemed to have an idea, or believed she did, of who he was. He could feel the hate, the anger, radiating from her.

    He tried to decide who she could be talking about. He’d seen many, known many people over the years that she could mean. But…..what in all the nine hells could convince her to approach him demanding answers to a question he didn’t even know the subject of, while the world was ending?

    ”If you know anything about….me, you know I am the Watcher, I do not do things to beings, but merely observe.” The cold, dry tone belied the fact that he continued to study her, to attempt to decide what or who she was or who ‘He’ was.

    His hands stayed away from the spot where his Forcesaber was nestled, she may be incandescent in her anger but he’d just stared down a being that was trying to end the galaxy and someone trying to make him answer for a crime he didn’t even believe the old he would have committed kept him calm and focused.

    "Yes, Watcher." A sniffle and she suddenly wished to consult Holo, her companion and only steadfast truth she had memory of. And she had precious few memories. "That's all you did, watch like a coward."

    Her mind was in full overload, flashes of faces and partial images floating in and out of focus. She had never encountered so much information! And to that end, never had known she knew so much. It was nonsensical and confusing and there was an increasingly dangerous urge to collapse to her knees and break down. Weakness - that's all that was.

    With a cry that came out like the wail of a wounded animal, she pivoted on the spot and began to pace, her free hand reaching up to press into one of her temples. Her brain was throbbing, but one vision abruptly became clear the instant she touched her own skin - that of the Man in the Black Cloak and Zas'tel beside him, wearing identical attire. Tears began to trickle down her cheeks.

    "You're LYING!" Her hands shot upward as she drew to a stop, gesturing to the chaos that surrounded them and filled the skies. "This is ALL because of you. And it started with HIM." As soon as the last word left her mouth, her stance moved into an offensive one and it would be apparent she was preparing for an attack. Her blade whirred loudly as she brought it up before her.

    "Why? You tell me why, right now."

    The Forcesaber on Zas'tel's waist crackled with energy, revealing its original hilt, reconstituted as if an illusion had fallen away. It resonated with the essence of the Master, and clearly it was not like the other weapons which had been modified and personalised by each of them.

    It was his weapon.

    It was as clear as day.

    The girl without a name froze into an immovable piece of stone, eyes flying wide as they watched the manifestation of a weapon she knew all too well. Her anger dissipated for the briefest stretch of time to make room for sorrow - her sorrow. Wasn't it? - and all she did was look at it and remember him. Her emotions surged and clenched like a vice about her heart, a strangled sob barely kept down.

    It was the Master's treasured forcesaber, a much-loved tool he always had by his side. And now... the Shadow had it.

    Zas’tel opened his mouth to respond when he felt a crackle at his waist. Looking down, he saw what had been revealed, saw and felt, felt the energy and presence wrapped up in that energy. ”Oh bother, this will not help.” he muttered.

    And then a small smile touched his muzzle, even though he knew it could irk her. ”Didn’t think that through, did you my foe, I now control the destiny of your Forcesaber.” he muttered, ignoring the woman prepared to attack for a moment.

    He glanced up at her, her righteous anger burning like the sun, atop the hillside. ”Child, you are too late in your anger, things have changed, thanks to His students. Strike me down if you must, but you strike in error.”

    Power, not pure and white, or cold and black, but a swirl of both, and all the colors of grey rose around him, invisible but felt and able to be seen through the Force. ”Strike and your wish, your desire will be granted, I will not watch alone, but act, either on my own recognizance or through others. The...End...must...not...come.”

    He faced her squarely, faced her razor’s edge of attack, but remained unarmed, even as his eyes blazed the steel grey, watching and waiting.

    She didn't hear a single word that had spewed from his mouth. Where her more passionate feelings and shifted into a void to give way to softer ones reserved for deeper attachment, for love, now they came rushing back in like a tsunami. In the overwhelming shift that followed, she was at least peripherally aware that the mental turmoil she was involuntarily experiencing could not all be hers. It was too much for having so little memory of her life. However, there was nothing that she could do to stop it.

    The sadness was washed away so simply and suddenly that with a blink of an eye there was indignant rage where the latter had once been. There was no transition or grace period, just one then the other, and all she saw now was red.

    "You killed him, TRAITOR!" she screamed, surprised at the weight her voice carried. The conviction of words that seemed to come from some place else. She raised her blade to point at him, the Force churning like a maelstrom in response. To prepare. "That weapon does not belong to you! How dare you!"

    And she launched herself at Zas'tel, her feet carrying her across the space between them with speed. Images and names still swam through her mind nonsensically, but one kept returning more than the rest. Master Protector Vale Sera.

    The Darkness was not visible, but it watched the woman launch forward. The doorway to the World Between Worlds lay above them, similarly silent, but as a penumbra that this world leaned into and through. Darkness could not access it, but the Protectors, they could, thanks to their keys, all tied and bound to their souls and Truths.

    It was frustrating, as all of them had proven quite impossible to manipulate, as if they had been inured to teachings and lessons that had taught them to defend themselves, to peer beyond lies, and to work against his plans and schemes, many of which he'd been aligning for a hundred millennia.

    How annoying.

    Behind them, Nouane City burned, and it appeared a small volcano had opened by the Clock-Tower. Darkness watched, enjoying the tide of fear and death battering upon them. There was not much for him to add, and the Son and Daughter in their monstrous forms battered upon each other rather than focus upon their Mother. That was fine; they were younger Gods, and foolish for it. The smaller Tho Yor carrying the Kwa representative hovered, uncertainty filling it, especially with Mortis in orbit. That, too, was fine; the Kwa had their role and the traitor species would pay.

    But there was something else at play.

    The Forcesaber in Zas'tel's possession, it became a blur of movement and reappeared in his hand - it ignited of its own accord, a black blade emerging, and it sought to lift itself to defend the Defel from the woman who was both and not Vale -

    The Forcesaber leaped into Zas’tel’s hand and he fought against the pull, knowing the ‘mind’ behind the action. Which wasn’t or hadn’t been his mind. His hand moved slowly, in fits and spurts as he fought the influence. His finger pressed against the activation stud again and again but the blade would not extinguish. His eyes lifted to hers, as his mind and body fought the saber, a look in their steely grey depths.

    ”Funny, if it is not mine then why does it answer me, defend me?”

    He knew she wasn’t truly listening but even if one thing got through it may stop her blind charge. The blade continued to rise and as she reached him it deflected the saber enough that it missed his heart, instead driving through his side, narrowly missing his arm as it slid out and she collided with him.

    In the entire exchange he did not scream or cry out, merely took the attack and fell back as she hit. Rolling as she landed on him, he evaded, taking another stance on the hilltop, letting the blade rise before him, held before and high, tip facing her.

    He knew the blade would continue to fight him but, in time, he would overcome it and until then all he could do was keep it from doing more than barely making her attacks fail. ”Child, you are not serving his purpose but that of the Darkness...can you not see that?” he panted out.

    She climbed back to her feet, her energetic and emotional attack having immediately winded her, and wounded her pride.

    Pride... in what?

    "I am not a child," she shouted back, sounding quite the opposite with an indignant whine to her tone. Her anger had deflated considerably - that quick, powerful spike in strength it offered now replaced with the cold emptiness of sorrow. And fear.

    Straightening, her saber still lit and remaining at the ready, she took several breaths and looked around while stepping further away from her foe. A lump formed in her throat. "Why did you do it?" she asked Zas'tel, tears falling from her eyes. "WHY? He was our teacher, our guide, our friend." Many hours, days even, spent reviewing her holocron and the ghostly image of the Master filling her with many lessons and stories floated through her addled mind. She had felt so connected to the faceless being despite having never met him in the flesh.

    Her cheeks grew hot, and she scowled. "Why."

    Zas’tel finally overcame the pressure of the Forcesaber and managed to bring it down to his side. He hunched to the side where her blade had slid through him, blood and a grey smoke, of sorts, coating his side and drifting around the arm that was pressed to his side. His eyes lifted and gazed at the woman who looked so much like Vale who stood opposite him. She denied her actions were childish but he could feel the sense of youth in her.

    A staggering step forward and he paused again, his steel grey eyes looking into her weeping ones, ”Child I said, child you are, emotionally, and you know not why you hate….” and then his words cut off, his head fell back, and he howled.

    The emotional wave-front slammed into Zas'tel, like a wave cresting upon a stone that had been eroded many, many, many times over. It was weak, and the water did the rest of the damage - even before half a hammer crashed into him as if it was a beskar strike upon his soul, and his soul was made of a nothing more than a thinly connected strand of webs between his ideas, all of which had labels -

    Zas'tel, Presence, Nevet, Shadow, Eye -

    The pain of Not Vale’s emotions, of her wounding of him made him stagger back, made his flesh ripple under the black coat, as though he was fighting to hold himself together. He struggled, and was just settling back to himself when the resonance of his Name having been said hit.

    This time, as his body writhed, swirls of grey energy began to race around him. His feet lifted from the ground and he shook, the black coat fluttering around him as he twisted and howled again, energy began to spark from him and then a voice sounded over the energy, ”No!” it sounded as though a clarion call.

    The energy receded, his feet touched the ground once more and his body seemed at peace. The only evidence of the struggle that still was occurring from such an event having taken place was that his eyes were shining an almost iridescent silver. They gazed at, gazed into Not Vale and a voice that was not a voice spoke, ”Child,” he said, sadness but peace in his voice, ”fear, worry, and yes hatred created you. But just because it created you it does not mean they must define you, find your own path. I will be watching….”

    As the last word drifted from his mouth another shockwave rolled over the hill, Zas’tel as it’s epicenter, sound without sound, pressure without pain, and a void as something, several somethings at once suddenly departed sense and presence. The only one who could have described the event was the sad woman on the hill.

    If she even recalled the moment all that could be described was that, for an instant, there were five beings, distinct beings, that stood opposite her. The center one smiled faintly, a thought in the air, ”The Force is with you, always” then all five vanished, cloaks and all. The only remnant that Zas’tel had been there was the Forcesaber, laying on its own, at the center of a semicircle of earth that stretched the length apart the five beings had stood

    .TAGS: @Sinrebirth, @QueenSabe7, @HanSolo29, @Mitth_Fisto
     
  11. Mitth_Fisto

    Mitth_Fisto Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Sep 29, 2005
    IC: Dunkeel
    One Claw in the Grave

    He had spoken the names, interspersed with what his own ears detested as gibberish of a mind rattling random names between the meaningful ones. Only then there was something that settled after them - an absolute certainty they were not the end. The names would live, already lived on, as others would take them and make them live again. In that glimmer of certainty he saw it, a winding path hunting through the galaxy in the blessed ways, the cursed freezing pitfalls, and the darker impulses he had held at bay within himself stretching freely forward. As though the light he was would wax thin, releasing it into the future.

    His final knowledge was to not know whether the Master had told him to speak those words...

    ... or the Darkness.

    Opening his mouth as the shell continued to crawl up his body he roared into that ending day! Pulling hard at the gleeful spots of darkness, pulling hard on it to his waiting maw to bite into it. A last defiance to the uncertainty of his own choices.

    The Master's ring, his entrusted charge, that would be recovered, and bestowed to another, one day... Dunkeel could oddly in his minds eye that flashed not upon his own past but the future, could see it to the ended path in the hands of Darth Sidious, a man with the prophesised red-flame that would be the one to complete the Master's grand design... Palpatine had red-flame hair...

    Foresight, hindsight. Past as prologue.

    The end came, as it had for the Master, so it came in an inverse fashion for them now. He could only hope his last actions had some effect, and his faith that ends were malleable transitions held true.


    TAG: @Sinrebirth , @QueenSabe7 , @HanSolo29
     
    Sinrebirth and darthbernael like this.
  12. Sinrebirth

    Sinrebirth Mod-Emperor of the EUC, Lit, RPF and SWC star 9 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Nov 15, 2004
    IC: Darkness
    Watching

    It all went about as planned.

    His plan, of course.

    His old friend, the Master of Masters.

    What an interesting fellow.

    He regarded the shadows of what was to come.

    He had been there, of course, when the Holocron of Prophecy had been recorded.

    It had already been decided who would be his vessel, in the years to come.

    He would have preferred some more choice in the matter, but he didn't want to casually cause a Change.

    It didn't serve his purposes to Change anything.

    Thirty-five millennia of despair, warfare, and destruction?

    It sounded just fine by Darkness.

    It was still happening, either way.

    ---
    Nouane City

    The crystallisation process rose up to consume the three of them.

    Dunkeel, to start, he was completed first, because he had accepted it. In that moment, he did indeed envision the future, words and images he may have even glimpsed in his personal Holocron of Prophecy, which had been pushed free of the process. He'd seen his Masters sixth apprentice, Palpatine, the traitor with the red-flame hair. But Dunkeel was sealed in, and caught. Buttoned up; his statue would pass through several collectors hands, eventually.

    He had roared, yes, but he was more balanced even in the end - he had faith, and that faith, and his greater understanding, allowed the process to complete, to encase and save him.

    His statue prevailed.

    ---

    Joren could only panic. It had happened; all the terrible things he had sought to avoid.

    His mind spiraled into what-if's, as he was want to do.

    He was crippled.

    Had they needed Vydra? The things he had taken from Yanjon, they were gone from his person, which meant someone else had stolen them... the true traitor? Dunkeel had said their names, and this had happened to them... was Vydra now crystallised by his actions? Was it Zas'tel behind this? Had he his own instructions in the absence of the Master? Did this connect to his vision? Had Dunkeel just betrayed them? Had that single moment in the restaurant with Vale and Zinara doomed them all, preventing them from working together until just too late?

    His mind was spinning.

    It was over; they'd failed... or had they done what the Master intended?

    He still, to this moment, didn't trust the Master - he would never.

    And now this had happened, days since his vanishing...

    Joren felt set-up.

    He agonised over what he had done, what he had failed to do.

    But it was all just the ripple of his utter guilt.

    He had failed his partner; his child, and Tera, they were gone... but he could still feel them, somewhere, somewhen... somehow...

    He wanted to be there; he wanted to name a son, or a daughter.

    Aryan...

    Was that his name?

    Or was that a name that Joren would have, one day?

    Was it too late to believe in reincarnation?

    In souls?

    His last thoughts were simply more questions...

    As the crystal rose up over his chin, he didn't stop thinking, worrying, wondering, demanding the galaxy to tell him what had gone wrong.

    His very last moment was absolute certainty, as darkness engulfed him.

    It had gone exactly as planned.

    I couldn't tell you if he was right, or wrong.

    But he couldn’t accept it.

    That refusal - it curdled into guilt that girdled him, corroded him.

    It would turn, when he emerged, into obsession.

    A frantic desire to Change what had already happened.

    To master the Epitaph.

    To become a rogue pawn.

    He would cause great darkness, to achieve power, to achieve certainty. He would crave safety, and order, and destruction to anyone who opposed him.

    The Holocron of Prophecy confirmed what would happen to his descendants. It also confirmed that seed lay in the guilt that Joren felt now, in the inequity that would be created in his child by the disappearance of the father.

    And so, the statue didn't accept him; he would be dark, in the end, and nothing more or less. His name would become Skelm, one way, or another.

    It pushed him out, unconscious, into the lava.

    He vanished into it, his death a terrible wound in the Force that left it's own echo, one which passed through his bloodline for a thousand and more generations.

    ---

    Vale would be more sure of things, no doubt.

    She was certain that they had been betrayed, undone, and though she didn't know who it had been, she knew it was not the Master.

    Her faith in his was absolute; his love for him, and his for his students, it was above reproach.

    Her mind fell into the recriminating, that Joren had broken the Protectors, that Vydra had lied, that Dunkeel hadn't shared enough -

    She didn't know who had betrayed her; the traitor with the red-flame.

    Red flame...

    Her mind thought of her Forcesaber, of how it was now blue, when it had been purple.

    Red and blue...

    A memory filled her; a perspective, of herself, of sleeping, months ago now.

    The Master had been there, worried about her, worried for her.

    About her imbalance.

    He had drawn her darker inclinations out of her, made the corporeal, made them separate.

    Her darker half became No Name, with the red blade.

    She had became blue by default, saved from herself by him.

    Had she been robbed of the chance to rebalance herself?

    Or had he saved her?

    Was his action malevolent, with the best intentions?

    Or benevolent, with the worst result?

    She had to decide, and even now, she had faith in her Master.

    As she crystallised in full, she did so with her head held eye, her eyes closed solemnly, tears streaming down her cheeks as she projected her love into the Force. Love for Zin, love for the Master, even love for her friends - for Joren, for Dunkeel, for Vydra -

    She stopped at giving love to Zas'tel, in-fact, she had a glimpse of what her darker half had seen; him, wielding the Masters blade, muttering about fate and balance and destiny and lecturing her about how her actions had doomed them all.

    Vale hardened her heart against him, and decided.

    Zas'tel
    was the traitor.

    It was clear as day to her.

    As the statue closed up around her, she resolved to bring him to justice.

    Which curdled into a desire for revenge.

    I couldn't say if that intent is what caused the Braata statue to reject her.

    Or was it that the statue recognized she was not whole, and it had been created with the intention of saving all of her.

    As it was, her unconscious essence slid out of the statue, and she dissolved in the lava.

    Her death also opened a terrible wound in the Force, which led a family tree via Zinara...

    You'll see.

    ---

    Because the rather obvious question here is how does Nouane carry on.

    It's unfortunately, maddeningly, very simple.

    Nouane isn't Nouane.

    The world they destroyed, they ruined, they wrecked.

    It became the blackened corpse of a world that was eventually named Dwartii, after the Sages.

    On it's soil, nothing existed, nothing at all.

    It was a dead, dead world.

    Save for four items.

    One, a staff of white, with a circle atop, a soft but powerful beacon of light. It would one day be wielded by Ahsoka Tano.

    One, a flesh-covered pole of Dark, with a writhing, maddened, sentience attached to it, detached from time. It would one day be named the Darkstaff.

    One, a metal staff with a small figure atop it, matching the statue of Sistros. It would one day become the symbol of the Galactic Republic Senate.

    One, a horned sceptre, with a sword in it's base, with the ability to drain and move the Force. It would one day be named for Marka Ragnos.

    I'll let you decide which artefact was born from which tragedy.

    ---

    So what of Nouane itself?

    Well, Zas'tel did it.

    He did what he wasn't supposed to do.

    When he resisted his future, he created a contradiction within himself, because without him, the Holocron of Prophecy could not be completed, and it already had.

    Worse still, every time that Joren, or Vydra, or Dunkeel, or even Vale tried to change anything, it increased the pressure within him, as he personified the contradiction.

    The Black-Coat he wore had kept it within him, because it was connected to the Force, and the coat limited his access to it.

    There was a point where Zas'tel ceased to be himself, and became nothing but the warring concepts.

    But by the end of his confrontation with No Name, no vessel, no material, could keep it in.

    The Presence within burst out, solidifying into a new inclination that was not Dark and Light, as with No Name and Vale, but Imbalance and Balance.

    Thus the explosion -

    The Forcesaber, as the point between the here and now, was placed under a similar pressure, and it twirled in the air, a confluence of points and choices and fates and lies and truths -

    It landed, tale down, emitter up, and pointed at the sky -

    It unlocked the door to Light.

    The World Between Worlds opened in a flash, tracing back to the beginning of the conflict that had started this Change, resetting the timeline to the last point it had made sense -

    It took Nouane as it was into it, spat it out in another time and place.

    And so Nouane and Dwartii existed side-by-side, a handful of systems apart.

    Which is how you have a Nouane that remembers the Protectors, but they all vanished suddenly. It was this Nouane that the next generation of Protectors led, as planned - Jin Long, Sek'nos Rath, Lagertha Atreus, Sheel Ix, N'Tael, No Name.... well, after a fashion. Because that way, if one tried to travel back in time on Nouane to the time of the Sages of Dwartii, say, by flow-walking, they couldn't get to the correct place... because you needed to be on Dwartii to do so.

    However, the door to Light vanished.

    It couldn't be in two places at once, after all.

    The Celestials known as the Ones - the Father, the Son, and the Daughter - they would themselves take this action from time-to-time, in the future, using the World Between Worlds to return the galaxy to its natural flow, but they never allowed mortals access again. Indeed, what the Master of Master had stumbled upon were ancient techniques for the Chosen of the Ones.

    The original Protectors, it could be said, who had faced the original Destructors.

    But now there were only Destructors, in all their various forms; Old Ones, Sith, Rakata, Gorog, Vagaari, Yevetha, Grysk, Ssi-Ruuvi, Yuuzhan Vong...

    Monsters and Terrors alike.

    The Chosen of the Ones, or rather, the Chosen Ones, would come rarely, and often to avert only the most severe imbalance in the Force, be it dark, or light. I could name a few, but you know them already.

    For the next thirty-five thousand years, as ordained.

    Until what the Sages of Dwartii sought to prevent finally happened, of course.

    The End of Time.

    But it couldn't happen yet; not until the Ones were dead, and the Apocalypse happened.

    As it will, inevitably.

    It might need a hand or two, specifically the creation of the Dark One with the red-flame, who would imbalance the Force so much that the Father of Balance finally died, and the Son and Daughter with him.

    But when they were gone, it would be very simple for a Change to unravel the cosmos.

    Indeed, the Master of Masters intended to ensure that Lumiya knew all about it, ditto Jacen Solo, who would one day become Darth Caedus and enact that final Change.

    First, he'd need to see if it was possible to inflict a wound on the Force so terrible it erased all connection to it. Darth Traya would be his tool for that, one way or the other. Another necessary experiment, sadly.

    All to defeat the Darkness, once and for all.

    He held his Forcesaber and watched it all happen, so he could watch it himself, and create the Holocron of Prophecy.

    After all, if he didn't, it would cause a messy temporal paradox.

    And we wouldn't want that.

    The future depended on it.

    Fin
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2021
  13. Sinrebirth

    Sinrebirth Mod-Emperor of the EUC, Lit, RPF and SWC star 9 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Nov 15, 2004
    Epilogue

    @Mitth_Fisto - Dunkeel - What can one say about the only Protector with a blade of white? Much, I imagine. The tinkerer, the thinker, the truth-er, but also the one who said the Names... the second, but who led better than the first? I couldn't say. The most honest and straight-laced of us all, to the very, very end.

    @QueenSabe7 - Vale - Oh the emotion behind this woman. From the destruction of her marriage, to her confession with the Master in a hotel room, to the rehabilitation and eventual obsession with the traitor... she came through in the end, but one wonders what would have happened had No Name not been drawn from her. Brilliant cameo as her, for the purposes of the finale. As for Vale... we shall see.

    @HanSolo29 - Joren - the leader, ostensibly, who broke up Vale and Zinara inadvertently, who only tried to do what was best for everyone, and lost everything, including his trust of the Master. At the end resolution found him, but it was too late - the Change had happened, and it all went wrong. Was there a point where he could have saved everyone, as he wished? Perhaps, but it may have been when he stepped away from the Master's teachings... should he have defied him earlier? Graal becomes Graul, and well, we know how that goes...

    @darthbernael - Zas'tel - with the role initially began by @Kev-Mas_Colcha and @galactic-vagabond422. The one who was told not to interfere, and so, did so. How could he not? With such a narrow, restrictive, existence - as much as any of the others, but without any of the support - or indeed conflict - with the others? The Masters confidant, arguably, or merely his prime lab rat? Consequences abound for the man... and his many forms.

    @Jerjerrod-Lennox - Vydra - well, well, well. The one with the role to save the future. What a sad, sad tragedy. Made to choose before the now and then, and the first to be lost to the Master's machinations, benevolent and malevolent. The Holocron's of Heresy were spread to the next generation, in theory, but at what cost? Well, as we've seen - great cost. The man stepped away and refused to do anymore... but, as with those who defied the Masters teachers, it was sadly too late.

    Makes you wonder just what they have wrought?

    And how much will Jin Long, Sheel Ix, Lagertha Atreus and N'Tael have to fix? How much can they? @greyjedi125, @Corellian_Outrider, @TheAdmiral

    The End of Time has came already...

    ... will it come again?
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2021
  14. Sinrebirth

    Sinrebirth Mod-Emperor of the EUC, Lit, RPF and SWC star 9 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Nov 15, 2004
    OOC:

    Special thanks to every cast member who has contributed to this game since 2nd April 2019. This has been one of the most intensive and emotionally fraught experiences of my GMing career, and a real treat to unravel and see the fireworks.

    The Master thanks you for your service...

    ... and will see you soon.