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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. Jerjerrod-Lennox

    Jerjerrod-Lennox Jedi Grand Master star 7

    Mar 9, 2005
    OOC: Apologies for the double post, but another combo with @Sinrebirth :D

    IC: Vydra and Venezia Delomeux
    Location: Delomeux household, Nouane City, Nouane

    Vydra wondered if he would ever stop going around in circles. All he was doing was thinking and feeling the same things over and over again. And with the Holocron revealing nothing the plan he and Joren had hatched was falling apart already. But they would both persevere, hopefully.

    Perhaps his old friend was correct, that the Master had decided none of them should know his endgame, that it was so shrouded in mystery that it was going to be hard to penetrate. It could all be a ploy by the Master to make them believe in something so blindly that they would follow their instructions to the letter. Well Vale would. That they would create their own doom with the Master cackling away in the afterlife. That Vydra would be gullible enough to fall into a trap and basically go insane.

    Would Vydra be the one to slip up? Who knew, but what Joren was saying was making him doubt everything and perhaps, his old friend could be right. But only time will tell and only if Joren and Vydra found out together, well that was Vydra’s plan anyway.

    Before Vydra could voice his opinion, his comlink beeped. His sister wanting him to come home urgently before his parents came back from the library. With sincere apologies to Joren and with a “May the Force be with you” he bowed to his leader and left for home, but not before sending him a thought through the Force We shall hopefully talk again.

    He departed the Temple, not taking much with him this time as he planned to come back and quickly headed for home, hoping his sister Venezia had not gotten herself in trouble. He arrived home and let himself in.

    “Venezia?” he called “I’m home. What’s happening?”

    Ven rushed to meet him at the door, a current of movement billowing behind her. “Come on, come on,” she said, grabbing him and moving him into the lounge.

    Or, rather, the floating thing room that, when on the ground, represented the components of said lounge.

    The couch; the lamps; the cafe table; the holozines and so forth.

    All floating, the Force moving amongst them.

    “Look what I can do?!” Ven reached out, puppeting the lamp and a vase, as if they were dancing around each other. She laughed, an impish giggle.

    Vydra smiled, it was great to see another in his family with Force potential. Unlike him though she seemed to be levitating the whole lounge whereas he was mostly finding books. But Venezia seemed to levitating things straight away, perhaps she was more powerful than he. Not bad for a person who had just found out they were Force sensitive.

    "Very good Ven" he said brightly "It seems we have another one with Force talents in the family, I needed some competition anyway" he winked but then turned serious "However I think Mum and Dad might not appreciate a wrecked lounge…"

    He turned towards everything that was floating and held his hand out bringing everything back down to the ground gently.

    His next thought was who had they inherited this from?. Mum probably, she seemed more receptive to Vydra having the Force, but if it was his father he would go spare and deny it.

    "Did you do this by reaching out? Or did you just do it without thinking? This was intriguing Vydra no end.

    Ven was still a bit giddy, but she forced herself to calm. "It was last night - I could sense you were in pain so I came to look for you. I needed to find you, like, it was pushing on my chest so hard," she looked a bit sad at that. "After that I was just so much more... alert. Maybe what you were going through set me off?"

    "But all of a sudden, I could see the connectivity of everything. So I just... did that. It felt so natural to me, Vy."

    It looked like the pain of losing the Master and returning from his self imposed exile had not only impacted on his sister but had managed to release her connection to the Force.

    "Sorry about causing you that" he said looking a little sheepish "But now you know what the Force is and what it can do. We will be connected by a bond else will understand. We will share thoughts, feelings, emotions, pain, and even sense when we are in danger" he smiled cheekily "Just if you do get a partner just don't broadcast when you know"

    He turned more serious "And if you feel me in danger do not come running out all guns blazing. Mum and Dad are already worried about me getting myself into trouble, they don't need you making it a double"

    He turned brighter again "Basically this is all about controlling your feelings so they do not control you. You will have to be careful, if you lash out using your powers you could hurt someone. It's all about control and a little bit of meditation to calm your mind" he chuckled his blue eyes sparkling "Who knew that I could meditate"

    Ven rummaged around on the settle table and pulled out a datapad; it has some stickers on the back so you could see it was hers. She promptly began to make notes. “Alrighty, I got that.”

    “So I have to learn more? Do I have to come to the Clock Temple too? I don’t think I want to tell everyone or anyone, to be honest.” She looked a bit worried about the concept of moving out.

    He kept the smile on his face, "I would love to teach you, perhaps take you on as my apprentice. But sadly I would be accused of favouritism and I don't know whether the others would accept it. Joren would, but i'm not sure about Dunkeel and Vale"

    Vydra looked at her making notes on her datapad "However I could send lessons through to your datapad with bits and pieces you can do. Plus there are some good books in the library you can read and if it was anything like with me, the Force will guide you"

    He reached out an arm and laid a hand on her shoulder "I know you don't want to tell anyone but could you at least tell Mum. You know she'll find out soon enough. You know what she's like"

    In spite of the sudden thrill about the idea of meeting Joren Graal! Ven wondered to herself. "Okay, I'll think about that - but it's up to me? Right?"

    "This isn't like we were kids, I wanted you to know and only you to start."She pursed her lips. "You promise?"

    Vydra sighed and shook his head with a slight smile, he could sense through the Force her potential excitement at potentially meeting Joren her idol and girly crush. He had to be careful here too much would push her away from a potential Protector path too little and she could run headlong into this without thinking.

    "It is up to you" he said his blue eyes focusing on her face "However you need to think this through long and hard. Training will not be easy and you have to devote time and effort into developing those skills. We use these gifts to protect the galaxy, it is a privilege to have these gifts and to use them wisely. Perhaps if you choose this path you may become an apprentice and maybe become a Protector yourself if you so choose. But it is a long and hard road, you need to start with little steps first before you dive into the big pool"

    Vydra sighed again And I promise, although it is on your head if they find out. They deserve to know at some point. And if Dad flips out i'll have a word, okay?."

    Venezia beamed at her big brother. “Thank you; seriously - I appreciate this so much. I really do. I can’t wait to get to grips with this.” The last word dragged out slightly.

    Gone was the anxiety of a moment ago, and her giddiness was increasing - but all of a sudden it kicked in; the high of Force overuse followed by the crash. Smiling to herself, her eyes lidded and Ven began to drift down, falling back towards the couch.

    Innate moment though it was, it was not the kind of Force use that Ven could maintain, and the come down was what it was.

    Vydra reached out with the Force and caught her just before she could hit the couch with a thud. He immediately moved over to her side, gently picked her up and lay her down on the couch. "And also you'll need to learn that using the Force will drain you if you use it too much. Once you are trained enough it will be a little easier" he said gently.

    He had a look around the living room and found a blanket and placed it over her body, once their parents came home all they would see is Ven asleep and hopefully they would be none the wiser.

    But would it be the right path for Ven to take on the role of Protector if she chose it?. Or would she be able to control her abilities? It seemed she was further ahead than him at the beginning stage. Did she have more raw Force talent than him?. And would she understand what would happen when his mission came to fruition, that he had to protect the future?

    Who knew but what he did know that his sister deserved a chance to hone her skills and perhaps become part of the new generation….

    TAG: @Sinrebirth
  2. QueenSabe7

    QueenSabe7 RPF Awards Host star 6 VIP - Game Host

    Mar 23, 2001
    Combo with Sinre - Part 1

    IC: Zinara & Vale

    The Villa, south of the city, Nouane

    Vale had made it to the villa in what felt like no time at all. Granted, her mind had blanked sometime after leaving Dunkeel at the Temple until just now, standing on the front porch to her former home and staring cautiously at the door. There were too many emotions to sort, both good and bad, but being here after such a terrifying spell of believing she’d never be able to return, the relief was nearly overwhelming.

    Aware Zin was not at home yet as she couldn’t sense in her light in the Force anywhere nearby, she found herself hesitating despite her warmer feelings. Sure, she could go in and wait, but technically speaking she did not live here anymore. This was no longer her safe space and well, it was really no longer ‘hers’ at all. Would she be intruding? Assuming too much to just permit herself entry without asking first?

    “Kriff it,” she huffed. Curiosity and longing dominated her other concerns and after taking a breath, Vale entered her access code into the keypad beside the door. A second later, it slid open with a soft ‘hiss’ and she practically ran inside, as if afraid the door would re-close and lock her out forever.

    It took all of one look around for tears to appear in her eyes, so many that they filled to the brim and poured over, leaving streaks of moisture down her reddening cheeks. Suddenly she couldn’t catch her breath, the reality of her loss hitting her so hard it felt as though she had been sucker punched. She clenched at her abdomen, staggering to the nearest chair and collapsing into it.

    A moment of silence fell upon the villa, as if she had not truly disturbed it; as if Vale was mere specter visiting, with no imprint left upon existence. Her pain yawed around her as if a hole, as if something was missing and was growing so.

    Into that came the whisk of the door, as it slid open again; Zinara was here, and she called out, the noisy ambling of bags as she nudged herself into the villa backwards, groceries and the like to hand. She'd gone out in the time she had to pick up some nice food for tonight. Doing and planning was her only way of coping with the emotional tumult that had consumed, distracted and embodied the woman for her day of work.

    "Vale, are you here?" Zinara called out, struggling to get herself through the door with all the bags in that typical day-to-day domesticity that they had once taken so very for granted.

    As beside herself as she was, Vale registered Zin's arrival only a minute or two before she started to make her way through the door. It gave her just enough time to hastily straighten and wipe away any remaining tears, assembling herself as best she could to welcome her wife home. "I'm here," she responded with a smile, having already been standing near to receive her, taking several bags off of her hands and leading the way to the kitchen. She awkwardly avoided eye contact, she didn't feel completely composed just yet.

    Lying the bags down upon the main island counter, she set to unloading them in a bit of a rush. It did not escape her notice that several of the items were the key ingredients to one of Vale's favorite dishes - glowblue noodles and chav. "I would have met you at the market had I known you needed to grab some things," she began pleasantly enough, though a measure of tightness in her voice couldn't be avoided. Starting to examine the label on a bottle of wine she had just pulled into view, she nodded her approval. "At least I see you remembered how to pick the good stuff while I was... away."

    Clearing her throat, she put the bottle down and continued with the next satchel.

    Zinara immediately picked up that Vale had been crying; she was always unable to meet her eyes when she had; she tripped over her words; she spoke out of turn, unable to keep herself together and the words just spilled out.

    Setting down a can, Zinara caught Vale’s hand before it could return to the bag, and brought the palm to her own face. She pressed it to her skin, and looked at her wide, searching for her eyes. “Look, Vale,” she said gently. “I’m here. You’re here too. You really are.”

    Zinara took a breath; saying what she had to say now; to unburden herself and her wife all in one. “I forgive you, Vale.”

    Leaning into Zinara's touch, Vale almost instantly began to calm down. She steadied her, bringing her emotions back to an even level and making her really see what was happening. They knew everything about each other - behaviors, triggers, tells... and it was no surprise that she had been found out so quickly, read like an open book. Doing the same in regards to her wife, savoring her honesty and determination in the Force, even if it was just to have a successful dinner date she could tell how badly she wanted it.

    Vale wanted that, too.

    She brought her hand up to cover Zin's and squeezed it gently. "Thank you," she whispered before leaning in to kiss her, this time in a manner that was not meant for anyone else to see. They were alone now, and not that she wished to take things too far too fast, but Vale needed this moment to really show Zinara, for her to feel just how much she had missed her.

    For Zinara, the difference between the two of them melted into nothing. They were one, and she eased into the kiss, melting into Vale, and vanishing. This is what she had missed, what she had lost, what she had filled with fear and doubt. The merest moment Zinara had given Vale permission, she had crossed it.

    Which meant, inevitably, Zinara had to ask the question too.

    She broke for air, and her voice was quiet, and her eyes dipped, as she couldn't meet Vale's.

    "Can you forgive me?"

    Vale's heart was racing again, though for very different reasons. She reached a finger underneath Zin's chin and directed her gaze back to hers.

    "Yes," she said and meant it, the word spoken without the slightest hint of doubt. "We have a lot to work on, and I know it won't be easy..." She lightly kissed her forehead before pulling back enough to make her certainty clear. "None of it can begin until we forgive, and I have. Maybe not myself just yet, but I do forgive you."

    Zinara smiled back, a soft one which seemed to resonate in the Force. There was space between them, but it was merely holes, gaps that they could fill. "Oh, I have no doubt that we'll need to talk around it a couple times until I forgive myself... what happened... it shouldn't have, but it did, and I've ended up asking myself why a lot..." She perked up. "Dinner, then? I'll need your help."

    There was a sense of momentum that was building towards them; as if they were picking up where they had left off, continuing their life in a fashion which honoured it and recalled it, reconnecting to pathways between who they had been, but... differently.

    Like, this was who they were now, and what they were, when it was about to be rebuilt, would be newer, and it's own chapter, or, rather, it's own entry in a journal.

    Or in a Holocron, one could wonder.

    Vale bit her lip, watching her wife return to the task at hand with fervor. "Dinner sounds wonderful," she agreed, gratefully accepting the lighter tone and tapping her stomach with one hand. "I am a bit starved."

    And I've missed your cooking, she added but only to herself, busying her hands with unloading the last bag onto the counter. She found it difficult to actually reference the Clock-Temple in front of Zin, because what she really had meant to say was 'I'm starved due to the incredibly bland food at the tower and my anxiety as well as other emotions are such a mess that most times I've lost my appetite before I even grow one...'

    Whisking the wine bottle back into her hands, she uncorked it and pulled down two glasses, filling both. She slid one down to Zin and held hers out, offering a toast. "To new beginnings?"

    Zinara raised her glass. "To new beginnings."

    Their glasses met, and Zinara peered at Vale a little before taking a sip. She marshaled her thoughts and wanted to ask it straight away, so she did. "Do we need to talk about the Protectors now, before we get into, well, being us again, or did you want to be Zinara and Vale for a bit longer?"

    She smiled softly. "I've missed us, and you, and the Zinara I was - the one who loved being your wife."


    TAG: @Sinrebirth
  3. Sinrebirth

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

    Nov 15, 2004
    IC: The Master of Masters
    Later, in the Delomeux Household

    The day went much as it was expected to.

    There wasn't much else to add to it. His sister slept through dinner, but that wasn't particularly abnormal as she was prone to doing the typical strange and irregular hours that a young person did. Venezia was fine, just exhausted by her first Force use, and with no real limits thought of. It was also in the middle of the night that Vydra's Holocron activated, undoubtedly waking the man in his bedroom. It was, curiously, slightly quieter than normal.

    Entry; The Night After

    It was the Master of Masters, cloaked, quiet, and also about ready to explode into a commotion -

    "Greetings Vydra!"

    He waved, because, why wouldn't he?

    "By this point, I'm long gone, and it'll become quite obvious that I have been sitting on a few things. I imagine you have met Rath by now. He was quite the potent Force user, so if anyone is going to turn up first, it'll be him. The spell I used to hide his Force sensitivity will wear out in about a year after I am gone, so, joys. What can I say? Apart from how
    difficult it was to create specific set of glyphs that would allow you to sense them and not the others? Very hard."

    The cloaked Master patted himself on the back, quite literally.

    "Also, it is
    quite inevitable that other Force users will come out of the woodwork. Painfully inevitable, actually. You'll wonder if they're on your radar, so to speak. Sad to say, they're not, and we won't be going forward with them. In-fact," he produced a parchment from his sleeve. He unfurled it, showing a list of names. One was circled red; it was a list of names. "To protect against that, here's the list of the ones I picked. You can't give anyone off this list a Holocron. I know I can count on you, Vydra."

    The Holocron confirmed that the List had been added to its inventory.

    If Vydra was to call it up, it wouldn't show Venezia's name.

    The Master stood, watching, waiting. It was a recording, but it seemed to be giving Vydra a moment to think, to react, to respond.

    TAG: @Jerjerrod-Lennox

    OOC: @QueenSabe7, we continue! [face_love]

    OOC: @HanSolo29, @Mitth-Fisto, you combo is needed for this week, or some replies here (either or!)

    OOC: @HanSolo29, please post your second secret combo this week.
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2019
  4. galactic-vagabond422

    galactic-vagabond422 Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jul 11, 2009
    IC: Zas'tel
    Above Pesegam

    Zas'tel sat quietly taking in the information the sphere provided to him. He closed his eyes letting the images and thoughts come to him in flashes. This planet this system was locked away not a prison to hold the darkness that Typhojem stoked and created, more a quarantine. Celestial bodies moved, they shifted expanded with the universe itself. Very few places remained in a single place for millenia, well only one, though Zas'tel didn't know of it.

    The Sphere continued to fill his mind, the logic of the celestials, those that defeated the dark god. They intended for the cults that follow these shadows to burn themselves out. To let the infighting common to their kind to be their own downfall. It seemed sound but looking at the ships in orbit it was clear this plan hadn't worked. Something else was going on, something bigger. Someone or something had given them support, had found them out in the middle of nowhere.

    If the Master knew, then it was possible that someone, somewhere knew about it as well.

    Taking a breath he suppressed his own shadow, his own personal gravity in the force. He would be outnumbered if found and attacked. Part of him knew he should fall back, he should return to the other systems gain aid of support from others. However, he could feel his own clock ticking down, moving faster and faster to his own end.

    Pushing forward he felt something black, something vile, something that would seek to overtake him. In his mind he was back in the clock tower, the Master working on a holocron, an image of the city displayed. Zas'tel waited patiently quietly as the other man worked away. Then he spoke, and his voice was clear, ringing out from the past.

    "I was a child when the Twilight War began...."

    TAG: @Sinrebirth
  5. Jerjerrod-Lennox

    Jerjerrod-Lennox Jedi Grand Master star 7

    Mar 9, 2005
    IC: Vydra Delomeux
    Location: Delomeux household, Nouane City, Nouane

    Vydra stayed for dinner that night, his parents happy to see him return once again. Venezia remained sleeping in the lounge and Vydra explained she was just feeling under the weather and a bit tired.

    Considering the fact that the last time he saw his family was after his self imposed exile he had thought after he returned to the Clock Temple that it would be the last time he’d see them before his mission began. But luckily thanks to Venezia’s call he had returned home and his parents had asked how he was and what he had been up to, to which Vydra replied not much. Mostly dealing with the Masters death, reuniting with his colleagues and having a quick chat with Joren.

    He didn't mention about the potential rift forming between the Protectors, nor Vale running off, Dunkeel departing not what he and Joren had discussed. And he kept his promise to Venezia by not mention that his sister had now developed Force powers and now had essentially a bond with him that his parents could not share nor understand. Their father would flip out.

    After bidding his parents good night he headed to be, putting his Forcesaber under his pillow and the Holocron at the end of his bed. He didn't know why he had gotten it out of his bag, just basically that he felt better having it out. Especially if it decided to reveal something.

    Which it did and it was right slap bang in the middle of the night.

    He felt a tug through the Force as if his Holocron was nudging him to wake up as it was about to activate. Vydra blinked his blue eyes coming into focus trying to get used to the darkness of the room. His Holocron was pulsing in the Force to get his attention. Thankfully he had shut his door so Venezia or his parents would hear anything.

    He moved out of bed, taking the Holocron and lifting the Holcron’s base at the bottom with one of hands. Making sure to calm himself with the Force he reached out with his other hand and touched it as the Master showed him. Surprisingly the Master appeared.

    With a wave he greeted Vydra and it was a strange sensation to see the deceased Master appear before him again "By this point, I'm long gone, and it'll become quite obvious that I have been sitting on a few things. I imagine you have met Rath by now. He was quite the potent Force user, so if anyone is going to turn up first, it'll be him. The spell I used to hide his Force sensitivity will wear out in about a year after I am gone, so, joys. What can I say? Apart from how difficult it was to create specific set of glyphs that would allow you to sense them and not the others? Very hard."

    Yes I have Master he thought towards the Holocron, although why he was deciding to send his thoughts to his deceased Master he did not know. Perhaps it was to keep himself sane, perhaps it was just to tell the Holocron his thoughts. He is a strange creature who seems to think he is subservient to me. He wants to serve and protect, which is what I had always thought of myself. He questioned me regarding the Holocron and seemed confused that it was a Holocron of Heresy not Prophecy. And he questioned why he could not see the other Masters. But I told the truth, well sort of, and he accepted my apprenticeship offer. He could be a curious sort this one.

    "Also, it is quite inevitable that other Force users will come out of the woodwork. Painfully inevitable, actually. You'll wonder if they're on your radar, so to speak. Sad to say, they're not, and we won't be going forward with them. In-fact," he produced a parchment from his sleeve. He unfurled it, showing a list of names. One was circled red; it was a list of names. "To protect against that, here's the list of the ones I picked. You can't give anyone off this list a Holocron. I know I can count on you, Vydra."

    Like a ping in his head the Holocron updated itself and spoke to him that the List had been added to its inventory. And Vydra decided he would take a look closer to what the Master was holding, a parchment of some sort with names on. These seemed to be the ones that the Master had selected himself, those with probably different levels of Force talents and wholly different personalities. And no doubt they would not all be human. However, his heart sank when he read the list…

    Venezia wasn't on it.

    Perhaps this was fate giving him another kick to knock him while he was down. After recovering from his earlier exile he had thought perhaps he had a slightly easier path going ahead. It seemed not. He would eventually have to reveal to his sister he could not take her on as a Protector apprentice. He couldn't give her a Holocron, could not take he to the Clock Temple in order for her to begin her training. This would devastate her and knowing her she had been so excited about learning the ways of the Force she could do something impulsive and just come anyway.

    Why is this happening to me? He thought at the Holocron, the Master was standing there as he was judging Vydra’s reaction. So I took on the mission, and I know what the consequences are should I fail or perhaps even reveal things before they are supposed to happen. I will find these people and train them as you requested. However my sister does not deserve this, she deserves the chance to become a Protector. What else is she going to do, stack books all day using her talents? He shook his head It is a waste of her talents.

    He sighed But I guess I will have to follow the list. I hope these people you selected can handle the challenge ahead, they can stay the course. Because if any of them even tries to go over to the darkness, I will make sure they come back to the light. Or maybe go Dunkeels way and “cull” them even if it is a bit extreme. But we shall see how this goes.And if I speak to anyone who is not on the list and I meet them I will have to let them down gently. But hopefully you have a contingency plan in place should anything go wrong….

    Either that or I fail, it all ends and we all die.

    And it wasn't settling his thoughts regarding the Masters motives still. He wanted to tell all to the others but he couldn't, well not yet anyway. Joren would understand more than the others, perhaps he could talk to him about this get some advice. He shouldn't be doing this alone but it seemed the Master wanted him to.

    He had to tell Venezia the truth that she would not be able to come back with him or enter the Clock Temple. It would break his heart, well if it wasn't broken enough already.

    And it would break hers too.

    His family was about to be torn apart.


    TAG: @Sinrebirth
  6. HanSolo29

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

    Apr 13, 2001
    Secret Combo #2 with Sinre :D

    IC: Dr. Joren Graal and the Master

    Private Residence, Nouane

    Shortly after Lesson Three:

    It was in the days later. There was a rap at the door, and the Master was suddenly calling through the door. "Sorry to call like this, but I needed to speak to you, Joren."

    It was raining outside, a rare enough occurrence as it was. The cloud cover obscured the sky, and the Master looked drenched through the window - his robes did, anyway. "Nothing to do with the third lesson, of course!" He shouted again, clearly in a rush.

    Not like him. He was usually so much in control, was one thought that one could have.

    Joren had sensed his approach even before the knock came upon the door. The Master had always possessed a very distinct signature, wily and strange, and it now rippled through the Force with unprecedented urgency. Something had unnerved the old man, which was a rather exceptional occurrence for someone with his peculiar nature. That was reason enough for concern, especially when the call came in the middle of the night.

    Not like he could sleep anyway…

    The events of the past few days, specifically the lesson involving the strange world gate, had left him staggering under the immense pressure of yet another substantial burden. His mind had become an emotional whirlwind of unspoken thoughts, questions, and ideas...all vying for the same level of attention. He could not relax, and it had reached a point where Tera had chased him from their bed to sleep alone on the couch in the main living space.

    He had found some solace by resting on his back and simply listening to the quiet patter of the rain as it bounced rhythmically against the roof. It was a soothing harmony that was beginning to lull him off to sleep, but that’s when the Master had decided to make his presence known.

    Clad only in a plain, gray t-shirt and shorts, Joren rose slowly from the couch and padded barefoot across the tiled floor to the main archway above the door. His hair remained mussed from a restless night and the faint shadow of stubble lined his cheeks and jaw, a clear sign of the hour and that the Master would have surely been disturbing him if he hadn’t already been awake. With a sigh, he pulled the curtain aside as a safety precaution, but it was more of a reflexive response than anything else. The Force told him all he needed to know.

    Turning the lock, the Doctor pulled the door open and peered out at the rain-soaked figure standing on the porch. Joren did not attempt to hide his frown as he lazily waved the man through the door to get out of the weather.

    “Terrible night for a walk,” he quipped dully, keeping his voice low as not to rouse his wife. There was also an underlying worry to his tone that he tried to keep in-check with the Master’s unexpected visit. While he wouldn’t admit it openly, he found it awkward to have the older man standing here in his home. His next series of questions reflected this.

    “What’s going on?” he yawned, stepping back to give the other man space. “Can I get you anything? Caf? Tea?” He hesitated as his blue eyes strayed toward his sodden robes. “Dry clothes, maybe?”


    The Master looked down at his robes. “Har de har,” he said, and with a gesture the water rose from them and gathered into a space above his palm, the liquid then floating aggressively towards Joren. “I’ll do it, y’know.”

    Joren did not take the bait, instead his brow creased with a hint of annoyance. While he acknowledged the Master’s quirky personality and how he often liked to flaunt it to his students, he now considered it disrespectful and off-putting for him to come here in the middle of the night to simply make jokes.

    At least, he hoped that was not his sole intention.

    Either way, Joren shifted impatiently and ran a hand across his stubbled jaw, almost as if this would encourage the old man to dispense with the silliness and carry on.

    “Maybe not,” The Master flicked his fingers and the convalesced rain dispelled. He glanced around. “I might need a chair for emphasis reasons.” Expecting a quizzical gaze, if not a vexed one considering the hour, he shook his head. “Fine, fine,” the Master said with a sigh. “Less drama, more point.”

    His finger pointed at Joren and his voice deepened. “There remains a puzzle piece to be bestowed.”

    Having turned to lead the Master into the kitchen, Joren paused mid-stride and glanced over his shoulder with narrowed eyes. The Force stirred perceptively in that moment, seeming to coincide with the ominous change in the old man’s voice. Naturally, the Doctor’s thoughts strayed back to the visions he had seen through the Holocron and the grim reality forced upon all of them during the latest lesson on the hilltop.

    What had the Master forgotten? Was it possible for their outlook to become even bleaker?

    A wan smile appeared on Joren’s features as he placed his hands on his waist and pivoted on his heel to regard the Master fully. “I’m almost afraid to ask,” he said frankly, no longer attempting to conceal his true emotions from the other man – he was uncertain, perhaps fearful for their future. “I hope this 'piece' will prove beneficial to our cause.”

    He sighed, gesturing lazily to their surroundings. “At least, I should hope so...considering you thought it was best to barge in on me in the middle of the night. It’s better than the alternative, anyway.” Pursing his lips, he shook his head slowly.

    “All information is a matter of perspective, Joren,” The Master said with a shrug. “It is just the last piece of your puzzle, before, well, before y’know.”

    He gestured with both of his hands upwards, and shrugged. “Before I have to go.”

    “All of your Truth’s behoove you to take a Secret Name, and though you will become the leader, these will be tools for which control can be secured over the immediate future, of course. To use someone’s secret name is to strip them of the Force, and so you will be able to defeat them.”

    “The connection with the Forcesabers begets this condition, a technique I concealed in them because of the power they bequeath. If their power is abused... well, you will be able to stop them. Building confidence and trust in the group, so that they give you their names, that will be how you measure your success in winning them over... though not all of them know that their names contain this caveat. I would not want you to wantonly use this against them...”

    This was the last difficult revelation, he hoped. “It will become the way of things, to take a new name when you truly ascend to an order; to become, you see.”

    Joren’s frown deepened with his growing sense of unease, his shoulder now resting precariously against the archway that led into the kitchen as if he needed it as support to maintain his balance. “I...assume,” he began cautiously, choosing his words wisely, “that this is another failsafe? Like the one implemented to protect the World Between Worlds?”

    He inhaled slowly through his nose, still clearly uncomfortable with where this might lead. His blue eyes faded to a murky gray in the dim lighting as he shifted his gaze away from the Master’s cowl. This truth involved far too much duplicity – to gain the trust of his peers, only to wield their power against them if they stepped out of line? He knew he was being called upon by the Master to make that judgment – to determine right and wrong and where to ultimately draw the line – but it still felt dishonest…dirty.

    Or was he simply being naive? If things went wrong, they were dealing with galaxy-wide ramifications. The End of Time, as the Master had said. It wasn’t a small matter by any means. Besides, if he looked at it purely from an academic’s point of view, he found that it helped to put things in perspective.

    “I suppose there’s never a time when a teacher is not expected to step up and correct the path of a wayward student,” Joren surmised thoughtfully, turning back to the Master with a wistful smile. “At the university level, they tend to self-govern themselves, but I also understand the need for action and discipline. Hopefully, it won’t come to that, but…”

    His eyes grew hard with determination. “I won’t hesitate.”

    “As their leader, indeed,” the Master said, placing emphasis on leader, rather than teacher. But he had no need to clarify; to lead was to teach and learn, and Joren, if he wanted to become a good leader, would have to distinguish between the two in his own good time.

    Time, ah yes. He turned the key on the Last Name he had bequeathed.

    “As Sistros,” he said, the word cutting at his mouth, harsh, almost reptilian for a moment, and then his voice returned to its normal buoyancy. “Your name I bequeath, my friend. Your True Name - your secret and shame and destiny and lie - Joren Graal is just the veneer you present to the world at large now, as is the case with your colleagues. Planted within you is the seed of greatness, Joren.”

    He raised his hands and clapped his shoulders. “I have complete faith in you.” A grin rolled into the aether.

    “May the Force be with you, Joren.”

    The doctor met the Master’s words of encouragement with a faint smile, the gesture seeming to fall flat in light of this new revelation. The name Sistros did not initially mean anything to him, and yet he had felt the way the Force had responded; a subtle stirring that almost held a hint of animosity. He had heard much of the same in the old man’s voice when he had uttered it for the first time. If he interpreted these signs correctly, what did this imply for him going forward, especially as an extension of his true self?

    Unless it was to act as a warning, of what Sistros ultimately signified and how the Master had called upon him to serve under that capacity; to not abuse his recently discovered knowledge nor to willfully lead his fellow Protectors astray by betraying their trust so brazenly. He must maintain a level-head and be wise about his decisions, staying forever vigilant about his own actions and also those of his peers.

    But if he possessed the ability to keep the others in-check by simply recalling their True Names, then didn’t the same also apply to him?

    Joren frowned and pursed his lips together firmly, suddenly feeling very protective of his new moniker. It elicited a strong desire within himself that he could not ignore – he needed to play his cards close to the chest and protect his secret at all costs. At least, for now. He could already sense the connection beginning to take root, expanding out to every fiber of his being until he could feel himself becoming one with his new identity.


    Inhaling deeply, Joren nodded his head in understanding, finally coming to terms with the course of events and perhaps even finding peace with his responsibilities.

    “And also with you, Master,” he answered the adage with a genuine smile. “Thank you.”

    TAG: @Sinrebirth; @QueenSabe7; @Jerjerrod-Lennox; @Mitth_Fisto; @galactic-vagabond422
  7. QueenSabe7

    QueenSabe7 RPF Awards Host star 6 VIP - Game Host

    Mar 23, 2001
    Combo with Sinre - Part 2

    IC: Zinara & Vale

    The Villa, south of the capital, Nouane


    Their glasses met, and Zinara peered at Vale a little before taking a sip. She marshaled her thoughts and wanted to ask it straight away, so she did. "Do we need to talk about the Protectors now, before we get into, well, being us again, or did you want to be Zinara and Vale for a bit longer?"

    She smiled softly. "I've missed us, and you, and the Zinara I was - the one who loved being your wife."


    Vale winced, taking a steadying gulp of her wine before replacing the glass on the counter. "I've missed us too... " A pause, a deep breath. "And I want truth and honesty right from the start, what I was lacking before. So, if you want to talk about things now, it's probably best that we do."

    She didn't feel as convinced as her words made it seem, but which was worse - leaving a bandage on a wound because you're afraid of the pain it would cause to remove it, instead letting it fester and potentially rot from the inside out? Or ripping it off all at once, no hesitation, to be cleaned and treated for faster healing?

    "Is there anything you want or need to know?" Vale kept the question casual so that Zin would feel comfortable saying what she had to say. She even began gathering the appropriate pots and skillet upon the stove top, so that they could cook while the conversation took place. Slight distractions could go a long way at calming ones nerves.

    Zinara took a deep breath. She wasn’t sure what to do, but she was sure what to say.

    When did you start to find it difficult not to go to the Protectors? When did you start going without telling me? What has happened since then? How did the Master pass away? Do you want to keep as a Protector? Did you want to keep your things at the Clock-Tower or did you want to move straight back in?

    All of those thoughts and more went through her mind, and she sucked in another breath. All of those were questions but ones that were the past, and the future, and not the present - not the fear that gripped her deep; but it took her a moment to articulate it. She bit her lip and dive in.

    “Has there been anyone else?”

    "What? No," Vale confirmed in a rush, dropping the bag of noodles she had been opening and staring at Zin in frustration and surprise. Of all the questions she could have asked, she was not expecting this one. Of all the parts of them as a pair, she'd never once considered her faithfulness would be challenged. "There was never anyone else."

    Had there been someone else for Zinara? As much as she hadn't thought her wife would doubt her, she hadn't doubted her wife.

    Should she now?

    That weakness got the best of her confusion and her thoughts worked to turn the simple query into an accusation. "What about you? Having the run of the house..." She grimaced and sighed, withdrawing by throwing up her hands. "I mean, sorry... I'd just ask the same of you."

    Zinara released a breath of air, her relief overwhelming any of her offence. She had asked the question, after all. "No, definitely not." There was a twitch to her about the house point, but Zinara managed to press through.

    "To be honest... and I'm not sure if you'll like this," she said, softly. "I can get over everything else; I think. The lying, it's not on. But, I realise it was because you had a need... one I encouraged, until it became too serious and it threatened me... so, yeah." Zinara looked at Vale. "I want to trust you, Vale. I want you to trust me."

    "So I had to ask, because... one lie leads to another."
    Zinara's voice was quiet and small again.

    Vale nodded solemnly. "It does."

    She stared down at a few of the precooked noodles she had accidentally spilled, rolling one in between her fingers. "What did you do, while we were... separated? With your time and space. Anything new? Different?"

    Zin's first question had set her off balance, leaving her feeling like she had missed so much in her time away. It would be even funny under entirely opposite circumstances; that her feelings now mirrored how she had felt when she had first returned to he Clock-Tower after her year hiatus. Without the Protectors she had lost her soul, without her wife it was her heart.

    Her wife shrugged as she continued the preparations. "I took on a lot of overtime. We're stretched thin, and the Lords and Ladies making their special task forces were hardly helping with that." She blushed a bit. "I may have spent some time stalking your Protector friends, though. Kinda pushed my superiors to report Zas'tel... and the Master responded with this public initiative to make you guys seem more friendly."

    Zinara kind of winced. "My fault, to be honest. Um," she said, collecting herself. "What about you? I know you moved into the Clock-Tower."

    Not able to hide a wide smile that stretched across her lips, Vale could hardly be surprised now. Zinara's story fit what she knew of her side of their world and in the face of rebuilding their strained relationship, she found it amusing and nothing more.

    "Yes, I knew it was my only option after you discovered what I had been up to. But, it ended being not just my only choice, but the right one." The grin faded mostly and she chewed on her lip, a bit nervous as always. "I am a Protector, and I needed to be at the heart of the cause. With the others and with the Master."

    Zinara tried not to screw up her face, and then found the correct response. She thought. Maybe.

    "Congratulations, Vale." She reached out and touched her arm, flashing a smile. "Really, I mean that. I know that this had to be important to you, so it's important to me." Zinara felt her certainty wobble. "But what's the cause? Do we fit into that?"

    Vale blushed, sensing Zinara's discomfort yet knowing how pleased she was, actively working to bring the positive higher than the negative. Her wife was really trying to feel the right emotions, maintaining control over the others that she clearly did not care to dredge up. She didn't need to Force to see the latter bit.

    "The cause..." She mulled over the correct thought pathway, and how best to vocalize the strained situation the Protectors were now in due to the Master's death. "The cause is the future, and I say only that right now to keep from overwhelming you. We will definitely talk more about all of it later, but yes. We do fit." Vale watched her wife, cupping a hand over where she had placed hers on her arm.

    "I learned something very important through the entire mess of the past year. And that is I cannot be who I need to be, without you. You are my Light, Zin. You." She squeezed her hand. "We fit because you and me, we are a major part of the 'cause', and what may come next."

    There was that moment between a fall, and the edge, and Zinara knew it well. She had been here before, when she chose to marry Vale, when she had chose to encourage Vale's Force sensitivity, when she had asked Vale to pull back.

    Trusting her.

    But Zinara knew that Vale wanted this to work; which meant being honest about everything now. She had offered the tip of the proverbial iceberg to Zinara, and she loved her for that forthrightness. This was the Vale she recognised.

    Her own concerns, worries and fears gnawed at her as Zinara swirled around that edge, identifying the cause. Radicalism of a kind that Zinara had refused to involve herself with. But this was Vale, and Zinara knew her. Had she been here, with Vale, she'd have known what was going on, and there would have been a gradient to the learning curve.

    But she hadn't been, and she owed Vale to listen.

    Zinara nodded slightly, slowly, squeezing back. "The future, okay." She left the food, and went to the rack and produced the bottle of wine from the shelf. "Alright." She reached for the cabinet and two glasses. "I want us to get through this."

    "So I need to know everything."


    @Sinrebirth & all
  8. Sinrebirth

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

    Nov 15, 2004
    IC: Ship
    Pesegam, going down

    As ever, even in memory, there had been no reply, and the memory continued on.

    I promised myself that I would never be a bystander ever again. I wouldn’t watch it happen. That’s why the Twilight War will be different.

    That was what the Master said to Zas’tel, to the Shadow of Sistros, some time before he passed away, watching the interactions between the Protectors and the world.

    Ship bristled, waking Zas’tel from his reminiscing. The Tho Yor Sphere soared through the atmosphere, coming to a dishevelled looking collection of stone that could only be described as a cloister, isolated but secure. The door looked ancient, completely in disuse.

    The area seemed to warp, and Zas’tel would know that he had the ability to flow-walk here. Forwards, or backwards, to view the Force as it could be, or as it was.

    But he would also feel a distinct tug into the cloister, and the door rattled as it rose for him, revealing only shadow. Ship grew silent, cautious and curious.

    What you seek; the ability to transcend flesh, and to transfer one’s essence; it is here.

    Urgency tugged at Zas’tel, but not danger.

    TAG: @galactic-vagabond422
    IC: The Holocron of Vydra


    You can’t give anyone off this list a Holocron.

    It was an innocuous line, but layered. There were ways to read it, and ways not to, depending upon the intention of the Master himself.

    But, that was what it was with language.

    Were the Master here, he would have told Vydra that everything I tell you is a lie, which was true, as words never conveyed the true meaning behind them, as terribly blunt instruments for the emotions that we sought to pass from us to the other.

    But Vydra had crushed his heart anew with the information, and the recording merely continued. The Master jabbed the name circled red. “Now this one. This one, you need to give the Holocron of Prophecy to.”

    “I know, I know; that’s a big ask. But you don’t need to concern yourself with the future right now. You’ll sort everything else out soon enough, and we’ll all have saved the future. Congrats!”

    The Master clapped lightly, but knew it wasn’t appropriate. “I know you probably feel like an absolute monster right now, but there is no harm talking it out with the Holocron. It can record too, y’know.”

    He deflated. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, but I have to trust you and the others will follow my instructions, have faith in each other, and we have a chance. I won’t be around forever. Nobody will, if this continues - and I can promise you that your role is nearly over, and you’ll all be free soon.” He reached out with a spectral hand. “May the Force be with you, Vydra.”

    There was a surge into the Force, and the recording ended. That surge revealed something to Vydra; much like it had with the first student on the list. It told him that there were two more chosen students that needed their Holocron of Heresies handed to them.

    Their names were Sheel Ix and Lagertha Atreus. They were on the List. As was Sek’nos Rath, who already had his Holocron.

    None of them so far were circled red.

    One lived to the south, and one to the north of the City, but the Force would call them to him as much as he was called to them.

    TAG: @Jerjerrod-Lennox, with mentions for @TheAdmiral and @Corellian_Outrider, only for reply by Lennox (reaction, be it sad, angry, resolved, etc).

    @greyjedi125, @QueenSabe7, @darthbernael,
    it may be appropriate that you also read this TAG, as Jin, No Name and N’Tael. It’s context for Before our game. Before you even ended up with a Holocron of Heresies. Yes, not all of you are named on the List.

    TAG: @HanSolo29, @Mitth_Fisto, please continue your combo.

    TAG: @QueenSabe7, part 3, please!

    TAG: @QueenSabe7... please post your second secret combo this week!
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2019
  9. Jerjerrod-Lennox

    Jerjerrod-Lennox Jedi Grand Master star 7

    Mar 9, 2005
    IC: Vydra Delomeux
    Location: Delomeux household, Nouane City, Nouane

    The Master continued after what seemed like an eternity in Vydra's mind.

    Just make things a little more complicated, the Master told Vydra the name circled in red was the person he had to give the Holocron of Prophecy to. But where was this Holocron?. Was it the Masters or someone else's?. He didn't know whether he would have to snatch it and run off with it or what. But it was getting clear that his journey wasn't getting any easier.

    "I know, I know; that’s a big ask. But you don’t need to concern yourself with the future right now. You’ll sort everything else out soon enough, and we’ll all have saved the future. Congrats!”

    The Master clapped lightly, but knew it wasn’t appropriate. “I know you probably feel like an absolute monster right now, but there is no harm talking it out with the Holocron. It can record too, y’know.”

    He deflated. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, but I have to trust you and the others will follow my instructions, have faith in each other, and we have a chance. I won’t be around forever. Nobody will, if this continues - and I can promise you that your role is nearly over, and you’ll all be free soon.” He reached out with a spectral hand. “May the Force be with you, Vydra.”

    You have no idea how I feel
    Vydra snarled at the Masters image as he disappeared. You have no idea what the others will feel like, what they will think of all this. The future IS my concern, it is all I have ever thought about when you gave me this damn mission!.

    Now he also had two more names to find, two more students who were hopefully ready to take the challenge. One to the North and one to the South.

    Vydra calmed himself, perhaps it was time to reveal all and if it was to his Holocron for now then so be it. Perhaps in the future someone would pick it up, know what he had done and then perhaps not make the same mistakes he did.
    He kept the Holocron in his hand and focused his blue eyes on the Holocron. He kept his other hand on the item as he spoke.

    "My name is Vydra Delomeux, Protector Master and Lord of the North of Nouane City. Also known as Yanjon if ever it matters. I am about to record something that will hopefully be read in the future and for those of you who do listen, perhaps you may not make the same mistakes I did" he chuckled "It's like talking to myself, but hey better out than right?"

    "I realised I had the Force without I suppose knowing it was there. I mean when it guides you to finding the right books you think it was pure luck, right?" Vydra smiled a little "I had heard of the Protectors, what they had done, read about them and imagined them as heroes. A good friend of mine Joren Graal introduced me to the Master after I wished to join the Protectors. I was a novice at the time compared to the others, still am really. And so the rest is history right? Wrong"

    "Over the lessons I have learned of what could be coming in the future. Light versus dark, war, death, destruction but also I suppose some peace there. I created my Forcesaber and I created a green blade, to a symbol of defence. To protect and to serve, to use the Force for knowledge and defence, never for attack. To defend at all costs. But I have also learned of troubling things to come, the Twilight Wars and finally the Apocalypse. When it will happen I don't know"

    Vydra shook his head "I know it all sounds bonkers and believe me I thought it was, that we could stop it from happening but it turns out, we can't and I have to do something that could change the very fabric of the future. I have accepted a mission that in hindsight I maybe should not have accepted." He shrugged "But there you have it, you always look back on your life and find something you should have done better"

    "I am to train the new generation of Protectors, well to train them for the Apocalypse to come and train them for the new future. And that new future could take place in a new timeline. How do I do that you ask?. Well it could involve me doing something that is forbidden" he looked sad " It may mean me becoming a traitor, betraying those I call my second family. Watching my family die, watching Joren's wife and child die, watching Vale's wife die. I don't know who Dunkeel has but no doubt he has someone or something he loves. Perhaps even the shadow does too but it seems to have run off."

    Vydra swallowed, trying to damp down all the emotions he was feeling so Venezia would not come in to his room and disturb him " I feel alone in all of this, there is no one I can turn to, no one who will understand what I have to do. What will happen to the others in all this?. They will all hate me for this, cast me out, hate me, despise me even, all so the Master can have this better future. Does he think the others will just accept it all and move on?." He brushed a tear away that was beginning to travel down his face, "I don't know what to do. Who can I turn to? I could lose everything, which includes Joren, my closest friend. Vale would slice me to bits and no doubt Dunkeel will want to 'cull' me first chance he gets. I get to be known as the monster, the one that let everyone die so I can follow the Masters orders and just zip everyone else to a brand new universe that is so good and rosy and free from destruction."

    He sighed "I am to give these students each a Holocron of Heresies, the one ringed in red is the one I have to give the Holocron of Prophecy to. Simple right?. Wrong. I have to make sure no one who is not on the list a Holocron. And that I do not train anyone not on the list" he looked sad again "And that includes my sister." Again he blinked back a tear "She was so looking forward to being trained, to be a Protector just like her older brother. But she's not on the list, she's not allowed to follow her dreams and meet Joren, her idol. She's supposed to die like all the rest" he swallowed " But the Master has his orders, I cannot deviate from the plan, I cannot make mistakes. To do so would be catastrophic but he never took into account how I felt. That one day I would end up broken and bruised, ostracised from those I love. That it would only be a matter of time before I broke"

    He shrugged "But I guess no one cares right? I could just exile myself, wait for the end and die like everyone else, or move into the new universe and exile myself there. Well if the others don't kill me first or decide to exile me anyway" he shook his head "All these secrets, all these lies are tearing us apart, we are not working together as a group we are tearing ourselves apart. And if we are supposed to work together regarding this then I cannot see it happening. And me and Joren wanted to find out the Masters true motives" he shrugged "I guess this isn't happening either. I suppose we won't know until it is too late"

    "If this Holocron should survive then know this. Whatever I have done is regrettable. Whatever I have done I apologize. To Joren, Dunkeel and Vale all I can say is I'm so sorry for all the pain and lossI will cause. I suppose all this is for the greater good in the end, I suppose the Master asked me to do this mission for a reason. That no one else could do it."

    He smiled a little "I suppose I should be grateful right? To be given this mission, to prove myself to the others and to the Master. But what I never expected was to feel such sadness and loneliness. But in the end I must do this for the good of the galaxy and live with the consequences. And that if you listen to this I hope the galaxy is a lot better place and that the Protectors have survived. And that hopefully everything has resolved itself. Perhaps one day I may record another entry, who knows. But if I don't then I guess this is goodbye and perhaps one day someone will forgive me for what I've done"

    Vydra gently placed his Holocron down and took a shuddering breath. It was all he could do for now, and at least he had gotten it off his chest. But it would have consequences there was no doubt about it. Who knew who would pick this Holocron up in the future be they light or dark. But at least it was chronicled for all to see now. And his actions, his future decisions would all be laid bare.

    Vydra stretched himself out again in bed and gently laid his head on the pillow, he would have a lot of work to do.
    And not a lot of time to do it in.

    TAG: @Sinrebirth , @HanSolo29 , @QueenSabe7 , @Mitth_Fisto , @galactic-vagabond422
  10. HanSolo29

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

    Apr 13, 2001
    The following is a combo with Mitth_Fisto and Sinrebirth – thank you so much!! [face_peace]

    IC: Dr. Joren Graal and Dunkeel
    The Clock Tower, Nouane

    Much to Joren’s dismay, the Holocron failed to produce results, and as the evening drew to a close, it became clear that it had all been a wasted venture. In that moment, he wanted nothing more than to yell out in frustration and smash the old relic into several pieces, but he managed to keep his cool. He needed to project a sense of calm in front of the others, even if it was only Vydra. It was his duty as their leader.

    And so, with a wavering breath, Joren stuffed the Holocron back into his travel bag and offered his apologies to Vydra before escorting his old friend to the door. The man had apparently received an urgent message from home that required his immediate attention. While Joren found himself curious about the nature of such a call, he wasn’t about to pry. It wasn’t any of his business and simply waved him off instead.

    Fortunately, the doctor had received a much-needed distraction of his own. Tera had left him a rather encouraging note on his comlink at some point during the evening:

    Hi Sweetie. Hope all went well today. I'm fine, just a bit worn out. Can we move in another day perhaps? I didn't manage to do any packing whatsoever. Should I put dinner on? Are we entertaining?

    A goofy grin spread over Joren’s features as he stared at the text on the screen. His wife always had impeccable timing when it came to lifting up his spirits and providing comfort and strength. He found himself instinctively reaching out to her in the Force, touching her tenderly across the distance that separated them to extend his gratitude and love. He wasn’t sure how much she would glean with her limited abilities, but hopefully, it was enough to reassure her that he would be home soon.

    In fact, the doctor was so absorbed in his link with Tera, that he failed to recognize Dunkeel’s presence as he entered the Clock Temple. He practically ran headlong into the hulking alien before he blinked and snapped out of his trance.

    “Uh, Dunkeel,” Joren exclaimed with some surprise, a sheepish grin spreading over his features. “Sorry, I didn’t see you come in. I was just...well, my wife. I’m sure you understand.” He nodded once to the comm in his hand before reaching around to rub nervously at the back of his neck.

    “By the way,” he exhaled heavily with a slight scoff, “I wanted to thank you again for allowing Tera to come here. It’ll be a big help once the baby arrives.”

    Coming back in for his tools he nearly was chest bumped by the new leader, Joren, before the other seemed to realize what was happening. Of course, the excuse was bewildering, although to be honest life mates such as a wife were equally confusing. You had that time of life, the heat drove you and you found one that was receptive, one and only one for a few weeks or months and then check in on the offspring every now and then.

    Still, to be polite he simply shrugged. "Just let me know if I need to make any adjustments for your quarters. Maybe let your nesting wife walk through with me and we can make sure it is set up properly." he nodded at that, although the past time with Vale still lingered in his mind. "Is there anything else Joren? Anything I can aid you in? Besides the sectors of course." he added in passing.

    A wan smile crossed Joren’s features. “That would be great, thanks,” he replied evenly, reaching down to replace the comlink to his jacket pocket. “I’m sure she’ll appreciate that.”

    He offered a small nod to express his gratitude, seemingly content to leave the conversation on that note – he was still distracted from the message and eager to return to Tera’s side. However, he could not ignore the slight needling that returned upon Dunkeel’s inquiry. He knew it was the Force reminding him yet again of his mounting concerns. It was something that he could not simply dismiss, especially when he needed the backing of everyone on the team.

    Inhaling deeply, Joren dipped his chin marginally. “Actually, Dunkeel, I did have something,” he waved his hand in the air, ostensibly embarrassed for his situation. “I don’t know what you thought of our first meeting, but I don’t think it went so well. We’re divided on several fronts, and I fear that it may cripple us.”

    The doctor frowned, his fatigue becoming more prominent with the gesture. “I may have a theory as to why, but I’m more curious to hear things from your perspective. I value your input.”

    Watching the other go through the change in uncertainty, it was painful. Painful for the very reasons it should not exist, painful because he knew the leader of their small band of cursed were facing different directions. If statues were erected of them in some horrendous twist of fate, which he knew someday they would, he could see it now. Four statues surrounding a central column with a Thor Yo flying up at the top, the nose just touching a disc with ripples representing the World Between Worlds, each them facing a different direction. Each of them a different path to the same goal.

    Only he didn't want to bring up their names, nor his theories on that. That was a note of disquiet, because they were one too many. Something that might mean something, or nothing at all. "Yes." he simply nodded, pausing to think before reaching into pants pouch to extract his holocron that floated above his hand. "How many sides face the same way, with paths that overlap?"

    It was a silly question as the answer was none. "Now take an impression or split this in half, how many of those overlap? All of them at a singular point, briefly, and then not again. I think we are, or have been set as such. We converge at the mission, but cover everything else from a different way. Me and Vydra are opposites. You and Vale the same. The one besides are more easy to understand. More. . .palatable." With that he shrugged, open hands forward waiting for Joren to speak.

    The doctor canted his head and studied the proffered Holocron, one hand coming up to rest against his chin in thought. Dunkeel certainly had a unique mind; his ability to present the problem in relative terms helped to put everything into perspective. It was something he had previously missed, and he appreciated the reminder. He realized that he was beginning to lose touch with reality – with the things that mattered most, such as his work at the university and his research. Otherwise, he would’ve surely pinpointed the divide long before this moment.

    Nevertheless, he still had a problem on his hands. It was more severe than he initially thought, and it would take some time to set things right. The trick was how to unite four very independent minds?

    “We are all following our separate paths,” Joren acknowledged with a grave nod. “I see that now – everyone agrees that we must carry out this mission, but we each have a different idea on how to proceed. We should be working toward a compromise. I thought that I had provided an option that could help, but--”

    Joren trailed off with a light scoff, his hand moving across his jaw before falling back to his side. “Maybe that’s not the source of our troubles,” he whispered after a short pause. The doctor then pressed his lips together firmly as he glanced up to meet Dunkeel’s gaze. “What if the Master intended to divide us? What if this is a result of his careful planning? I have to admit, I’ve come to doubt the old man’s motivations – it’s like he was purposely leading us along to cause dissension among us.”

    Stepping back, he spread his hands wide. “And now we find ourselves in a very delicate situation. Surely, that can't be a coincidence?”

    Perhaps not serendipitously, but perhaps so, the item in Dunkeel’s possession grew warm as Joren spoke the word dissension. It was the warmest it had been yet, indeed, a greater indication than any of something afoot.

    Something dark.

    Feeling the warmth, he began to make the connection. It was warming to words. Funny that, his hand spasms causing his Holocron to bob in the air as he resisted the urge to grab his special task. He grunted at the Leader pointing out of things this way, of pointing as though it was The Master's fault. "Is it the Fault in Our Stars? Or the Fault in Our Choosing? The Master, forgive me tiny one," he said in offside to the Holocron, "was never one for a straight answer where a vague one would suffice. If we were blind fish reacting to someone splashing in the water I would agree with you, but in the end, I fear it is because we have been allowed to each choose and make our mistakes that we are as we are now. Whether time would always have gone this way and is locked, or if we are making our own failures I cannot say. I can only say I know my truths, my secrets, and that there is a murderer loose in my section of the city that hates us. All these things, mundane and spectacular weigh on me, and my choices to each weigh. I am sure it is the same for you."

    A grimace flitted over Joren’s features, though he quickly recovered and nodded his acknowledgment. “It’s been daunting, yes,” he admitted with some dismay, his demeanor shifting marginally to reflect his somber mood. He had not expected such a poignant response; it was a very dispiriting message, and Joren wasn’t sure how to properly proceed – partly because he didn’t agree with Dunkeel’s assessment. In fact, he was almost shocked to learn of the Chistori’s contrasting point of view in regards to the Master. It had seemed so clear to him, so certain...

    Or are you simply paranoid?

    Joren shut out that inner voice and carried on, almost as a means to distract himself from the truth. “I can’t make sense of it sometimes,” he revealed quietly, a rueful smile pulling up one corner of his mouth. “I often wonder if I’m doomed to never find the answers I seek.”

    The doctor scoffed and shook his head slowly. “But you believe it is a choice,” he reaffirmed after a short pause to clear his mind and get himself back on track. “You could say life is all about choices – how they shape us and ultimately determine the course of our lives. But even then, aren’t our choices often influenced by outside forces? The Master knew that, surely. Maybe that’s why he was so vague – he didn’t want to push us too know, make it obvious. In the end, it was still up to us.”

    He inhaled deeply and shrugged. “It’s just a thought.”

    Blinking slowly he canted his head at the Leader, as though trying to get a better view of him. "Isn't that what I just said? Humans, sometimes I really have trouble with the ways of mammals." he stated with a rasping snort. They were exasperating and funny, although at the moment he wasn't sure which emotion was winning out. "Let me know what I can do to help you, one of my tasks was to be your second and support you with the others. Perhaps The Master saw you would have trouble and need it? If so, I am inclined to agree you do after today." Pulling back his hands he put away his holocron. Waiting to see what the Leader would say or share next.

    The comlink of said 'leader' rippled again; it was his wife, chasing his return. As ever, it was getting late, and she needed him home. Pregnant woman and all that, partner being worriedly absent-minded and all.

    The item in Dunkeel's possession was growing warmer, one could even say that it was hot.

    Was it a warning? It seemed to be warming Dunkeel as Joren grew more needling, leading the Chistori painstakingly to his conclusion.

    Of course, there was a contradiction to it all; that in wondering about the Master, Joren was relying upon the Master's pronouncement that he was in-charge to investigate the Master himself... as was Dunkeel relying upon his role to be the second... while discussing whether to agree with the Master.

    It was circular thinking; indeed one might wonder if thinking about it was the trap itself.

    “Um, yeah...I’d appreciate that, Dunkeel, thank you,” Joren conveyed warmly, though it was clear from his wan expression that he had already checked out in a mental sense. Once again, the comm in his pocket had vibrated with an urgent message from his wife, which understandably diverted his attention elsewhere. And in this instance, family always took precedence.

    The doctor suppressed a smile at Tera’s persistence and instinctively closed his fist around the small device. It was almost as if this action would allow her to perceive his presence across the vast distance between them. It would hopefully alleviate her fears until he could return to her side and speak to her directly. At the very least, he hoped it wasn't anything too serious – sometimes it was difficult to discern the severity of a pregnant woman's demands.

    “I hate to cut this short, but I really need to get going,” Joren continued after a short pause, gesturing with his chin toward the comm. “My wife is impatient this evening.” He chuckled softly before offering an appreciative nod. “Thanks again.”

    Without waiting for a response, Joren strode past the Chistori and made his way toward the exit.

    TAG: @Mitth_Fisto; @Sinrebirth
  11. QueenSabe7

    QueenSabe7 RPF Awards Host star 6 VIP - Game Host

    Mar 23, 2001
    Combo with Sinre - Part 3

    IC: Zinara & Vale

    The Villa, south of the capital, Nouane

    "So I need to know everything."

    Vale swallowed, steeling herself.

    No lies, no half-truths.

    Honestly. Transparency. Partnership.

    "Where would you like to start?" she asked, smiling despite the serious nature of the topic at hand. She could sense Zinara's nerves increasing as they continued and watched with mild amusement as she opened a new bottle of wine when Vale had already opened another a few minutes before. She slid her untouched glass back in front of her, moving the others away for now.

    They'd drink it all eventually. They'd more than likely need to.

    Zinara noticed the multiple glasses and bottles and smiled. "Oops. Alright; its a lot to get through, I will catch up."

    She poured a glass each. A deep breath. What was she most worried about? Whatever was going to happen next, she guessed.

    "The Master is dead; are you and the others in-charge now? I know the task forces were created to support you, and to calm down worries that the students would not be as responsible as the apprentices." Zinara nodded to herself. "Zas'tel worried a few people with his prowling the City in a black-cloak. I mean, he looked like the Master after all."

    She'd get to whatever the sin the Master had been teaching them next.

    "Zas'tel has been running around dressed like the Master?" Vale asked without thinking, confusion written clearly across her face. She started to backtrack, but caught herself.

    Full disclosure.

    Taking a healthy swig of her wine - the first of three glasses she now had full before her - she turned and leaned her lower back against the counter. "I've never actually met our fifth brother, you know. I called him 'The Shadow', because you could sense him here and there, but never see him." She shelved the odd notion of the wayward Protector impersonating their fallen leader for now, to keep things on track. "But yes... The Master has gone."

    Vale paused here, her heart clenching. "Before he vanished, he appointed Dr. Graal as the new leader of the Protectors. And it is not a choice I agree with." She took another sip, shifting her weight. "To be honest, I'm not sure who leads who anymore. It's all become a sort of... mess."

    Zinara blinked a few times as she took more sips. "Never see him...?"

    She refocused. "A mess?" It had been quite easy to loath Joren Graal for what he had done, though Zinara had taken great pains to refocus on blame on Vale at the time because she knew that Joren was not just to blame, and, well, she was never going to forgive Vale if she blamed him. "That doesn't sound like the extraordinary know-it-all his shows suggest he is."

    She winced even as she said it. "Sorry, that was unnecessary. But... the Master appointed him? Is he the most qualified...?" Zinara took another sip. "I mean - I think I need to know why you don't think he should be leader, first."

    This felt almost like them complaining about their work colleagues over wine. A necessary and enjoyable past-time at times to let off steam after a hard day.

    Thus, almost.

    Laughing under her breath at Zin's snide remark - she didn't necessarily disagree with her - Vale considered her response. Why exactly did she not want Joren to lead?

    "Well... he is the most qualified of us all, which I did tell him... probably shouldn't have..." A tiny sip to drain her first glass, then she reached for number two. "But I see the doctor as more of a public face for the Protectors. Matters that concern the five of us should be handled equally between the five of us. I tried to suggest we be our own council which he agreed to but then named himself head of council..." Vale shrugged, too tired for anger. "I don't know, Zin. Maybe I don't really have a reason. Maybe I am just resentful that the Master had to choose someone at all, or that it wasn't me, or maybe I hate that the crazy old man left us in the first place and no one will ever be able to fill the massive vacuum he knowingly created."

    The words poured out of her and for the first time in a long time, she felt relaxed enough to do so. Being with her wife always felt like a safe space for looking inward and she trusted her to always give it to her straight in return.

    Zin nodded, moving her glass to the couch, with the bottle in hand. Their food was abandoned, but here they were. "I don't think it's just that, Vale. You never form an opinion of someone without another factor weighing in..." A smile of sorts. "... though often you don't always know what that factor is, and you come across unreasonable to yourself until you recall the fact that made that decision for you."

    "You just need to remember what made you so opposed to Joren in the first place." Zinara gently probed as she looked up at Vale. "I mean, what about the others? Vydra, was it? Dunkeel, too? They must have an opinion on whatever the Master told you about Joren and his death... it wasn't that much of a surprise if the Master had already named a replacement, no?"

    At this point she was, in her own manner, resting upon the points that there were secrets, and that the Master had told them a lot about the future. In her own perceptive manner, she was digging at what they disagreed about.

    "There's just.... something about him." Vale had walked around to the other side of the kitchen island as Zin had taken a seat. The open floor plan of the villa kept the conversation flowing despite the fact that they were technically in two different areas. "The way he is so persistent on being ahead of the rest of us in some way. Is it simple arrogance, or something more sinister?"

    She shook her head. "The Master may have warned us by naming events and Joren, but it didn't take away the shock of reality when it did happen. I had wanted to fight, but he wouldn't allow me to..." Vale paced slowly closer to Zinara. "He said I am to watch the others, to keep us together and whole, to stop any one Protector from seeking control and threatening balance. And yet he went and named someone... to be in control. It doesn't make sense."

    Zinara was thinking about it, feeling blurred slightly. "I wonder if the Master wanted Joren to learn the difference between controlling and leading... they're different, aren't they? If Joren won't discuss anything else until you all acknowledge him, though, then that's only being controlling, no?"

    Another sip, and she shook her head. "But the Master gave you that job; they should appreciate that's what you have been told to do. Surely they all know that everyone has their roles and should give everyone the benefit of the doubt?"

    "Aren't you supposed to be friends...?"
    Zinara regretted saying that again, nearly.

    "We're supposed to be family, or so I had thought." Vale drank deeply from her glass, allowing the warmth from the wine to settle before finally joining her wife on the large sofa near the center of the space. "And I also haven't quite made my assigned position known to all yet."

    She peered curiously at Zin, as if to consider her options. She knew she wanted to keep sharing, and go much deeper than the obnoxious politics of who's in charge of who. "I... want to show you something..." and she raised her free hand back towards the counter where all manner of groceries were still laid out, to where her small bag had been set down when she had first entered the home. It rose and then carefully made its way through the air to where Vale now sat, her outstretched fingers grasping the soft canvas once it was near. Reaching inside, she withdrew a small blue cube and held it between the two of them.

    "This is mine; a holocron. It was a gift." Still watching the other's face, she was starting to feel less anxious about their interaction and more eager, excited even. Whether that was mostly due to the drinks or more because she simply like being able to reveal this to a trusted outsider, well she couldn't be entirely certain. Either way, it just felt... good.

    Zinara looked down at the small cube. She could sense that something had come loose in Vale, and she was releasing a lot of stress from what had been happening with Joren and the others.

    But at the same, Vale seemed to becoming more animated by the moment, and Zinara recalled her wife’s passion for the world; a passion which she had fallen in love with. It drew a smile from her, and she put down the wine glass to regard the item.

    She repeated the word. “A Holo... cron? Like, a data recorder?“

    Vale nodded appreciatively. "Yes, of a sort."

    Scooting in closer to Zin, she relaxed back against the cushion and flattened her palm. The holocron stayed as her fingers released it, hovering an inch or two above her skin. Beginning a leisurely rotation in place, it glowed softly both in color and in the Force, and Vale found herself wishing her wife could know precisely how that felt.

    "This particular holocron concerns itself with the future. Each of us has one, to assist us, because as Protectors that is what we are chosen for - to safeguard against what may, and will come."

    Her eyes flitted back and forth between the cube and the woman beside her, expecting and not expecting at the same time.

    Zinara had, until then, been considering asking Vale what if it was all fiction, but then she remembered that Vale had the Force; or rather she saw it, as the Holocron slowly turned.

    There was magic in the world... so who wasn’t to say that you couldn’t see the future? Zinara was working through it slowly. “So the Master made five Holocron’s which can see the future, and I can tell it’s not all good. So he’s getting you all to do what exactly about it?”

    I mean, it wasn’t exactly novel for a religion to predict the end of the world. Most religions were based upon a heavy burden of guilt and apocalyptic futures, to ensure you acted a certain way.

    Zinara just hoped that Vale remembered that too... but at the same time, the Master had the Force; presentment was part of their powers, so what was to say that the Master couldn’t see that far ahead?

    Terrifying. She spoke quietly into her own question. “But he didn’t see his passing, I guess.” A creeping horror filled her. “Unless he did?”

    That would be horrible. Had he seen their future? Her and Vale’s?

    Vale could assume Zin's implied meaning in her questions. She knew how averse she was to what she perceived as a cult, or religious faction, ingrained in her personality since she was a young child. It had been a point of contention between them when Vale had started with the Protectors.

    "Well that's the tricky part, isn't it?" she asked with a sigh. "He left us with roles, truths, secrets, prophecies, holocrons... everything but a concrete plan. I've tried not to give too much thought to it just yet, because if I did..." She paused to shudder visibly. "It's so much weight to bear."

    Lowering her hand, the blue cube dropped back into her palm as she closed her fingers around it and placed it on the couch. Fear prickled her senses and she brought her eyes back to Zinara, rising unease beginning to surround her mind. She grabbed one of her hands in her own, giving it a small squeeze.

    "He did see it. He was essentially preparing me - us - for when the time came, but there really are no preparations that can be made to deal with an event so monumental."

    Zinara squeezed back. “I can only imagine,” she said, overwhelmed with it all even now. “He must have been desperately rushing to tell you as much as possible before he went.”

    She went to draw Vale into a hug. “I’m so sorry. I should have been here, helping you with this. Helping you handle Joren and all this pressure.” Zinara felt her eyes grow hot, and she shut them, willing away the tears.

    “I’m here now, and I’ll have your back. We can face this together - you and I, and try and win over the others before whatever it is gets here.”

    Eagerly returning Zinara's hug, Vale wrapped her arms around her and nuzzled the arm spot where neck and shoulder connected. She breathed in her words and welcomed her affections, comforted and reassured by this woman as a whole.

    This was what had been missing and why she had been so disconnected and lost.

    "And I have yours," she whispered against her skin, holding her tighter to emphasize her point. As much as she had consumed in drink, she thought for sure she'd be feeling its effects more by now, but instead she just felt heavy. Exhaustion was winning out, pressing in on her awareness. "We can face anything, as long as it's together."

    Zinara didn’t reply, she had allowed the twin comforts of her wife’s body and the warm haze of alcohol embrace her fully, and so had drifted into sleep.

    A smile tugged at the corner of her lips and for the first time in weeks, Zinara slept without worry or fear.

    She was home.

    TAGS: @Sinrebirth & all
  12. QueenSabe7

    QueenSabe7 RPF Awards Host star 6 VIP - Game Host

    Mar 23, 2001
    Vale Sera: Secret Combo #2 w/Sinre

    Shortly after Lesson Three...

    IC: The Master & Vale
    Hotel, inner city, Capital, Nouane

    It was not quite a quirk of fate that brought the Master to Vale's hotel door. He had known where she was all along, but had not intervened because it was hardly his place. Now Zinara had crossed paths with Zas'tel, there were consequences a foot.

    He needed to check one thing, because he suspected Vale had worked out at least a greater part of the Truth. Not such consciously, but unconsciously. The mind she had removed from herself, that was analysing the flow of events.

    About the Truth's.

    He lightly knocked, stepped back, and tucked his arms behind his back. In his mind he rehearsed his speech a few more times. He mostly had it. "Braata, might I speak to you?" He whispered softly. He purposely kept his Force senses to himself - she might even have company, for all the Master knew, but he used her True name because she needed to know how important this was.

    Vale jumped, startled at the knock at the door and doubly so at the familiar voice that came after, both at such a time of night. It was quite late and she was bone-tired, but the name he chose to use... it invoked a sense of urgency to be spoken aloud.

    Standing from where she had been perched on the side of a tiny cot-like bed, she strode the few steps to the door - the room was the very opposite of spacious, but she would not be staying here any longer so the claustrophobic edge it had given her before had all but disappeared. Releasing the useless lock, the panel slid open with a rusty groan and her eyes fell upon her teacher, waiting patiently for her to admit him.

    "Master," she croaked with a nod, clearing her throat and hastily wiping her damp cheeks with a sleeve. Before this moment, Vale had been sitting in the near-dark of her rented room for what felt like hours, obviously numb to the fact that she had been crying - apparently doing so frequently enough of late to have it become a mindless habit.

    A little flustered, she turned away and walked back to leave space for him to follow. She began shoving a final few articles of clothing into a large duffel and cast a glance over her shoulder once. "I just came back to gather my things...." She stopped to sweep her eyes around at what little of hers was actually there to 'gather'. "Well, what's left of them, anyways." A sigh and Vale faced him with a weary smile. "I would've returned to the temple in no time at all, you didn't have to seek me out here. If there is an issue..."

    Her little efforts to tidy endeared Vale to the Master, who keenly felt her pain. But the most the Master could bring himself to do was to pat her on the head. It was not meant as a condescending motion, purely one full of empathy. He was almost a head taller than most, so it was more of an endearment than not. He felt her tears, could see them, if he allowed himself to drift back... but there was no need.

    "It's not so much an issue, as something I need to speak to you about." The Master took a breath. This was part-rehearsed, part-felt, but the Master made sure to keep his Force presence unreadable.

    "As you know, I passed you your Truth. You might have, or might have not, wondered why that is the case - well, if anyone wondered out of the group about the why, it was you. Possibly that I was hedging matters, possibly that I am leaving, and need to leave instructions." He shrugged. "It is both, actually, but only because I do not know if I will disappear." He met her eyes with the hooded gaze.

    "I might not, yet."

    Vale half-collapsed back down upon the bed, feeling herself bristle. The topic of, and anything related to the Master 'vanishing'.... the most basic idea of it gave her a rush of great sorrow and also of outright indignation. It would be an act as severe as abandonment as she saw it, and she had wanted to make that much clear at the lesson earlier that day. She fought to keep from doing so here and now, realizing while being alone again with him, that the core of her reaction at that time may have been misplaced.

    "I... don't want to think about it," she admittedly honestly, fidgeting with the hem of her jacket. "If you do. And I don't understand it." Vale's head lifted to look up at his towering form, any physical gesture or expression always kept hidden, feelings only relayed via the Force of which she felt none. Was he closing her out? Her spine straightened and her mind worked fast over what to say and what not to - what would make the most of this one-on-one time that she knew was very precious.

    "Same for my Truth and name, and yet I have embraced both as best I can without knowing more. But this threat that you'll suddenly leave, and that you expect Joren to fill the gaping hole you'd be creating..." she scoffed, breaking that trail before her emotions ran away with her words and she said something she might regret. "Yes. I want to know why. Really why."

    "The truth."

    The Master sat on the bed, mildly offended. "Joren couldn't fill the hole I leave behind if he had all thirty six thousand years shown by the Holocron of Prophecy. He has zero panache. He's all thinking, thinking, thinking, and it takes foreverrrrr for him to make any contribution or decision."

    A slight laugh bubbled free of the Master. "He's never going to break free of that and become a decent father unless he's pushed massively out of that academic comfort zone," he said, snorting. "So him being leader is just a misnomer. I have caveats in place for the inevitable, I assure you." Another chortle. "I mean, your Truth is to keep people talking - because he'll inevitably divide the group at some point."

    A pause. "But I have not actually replied to your question, have I? Why am I going to disappear."

    "Because it is in the Holocron."
    He gestured for the pocket where her Holocron was, levitating if slowly. "Play the entry for 36,454 BBY; the Master; final entry."

    The small version of him appeared, and he looked up at the Master, and then at Vale. "Are you sure?"

    "Of course," the Master sounded, glum.

    "The Master; final entry. After bequeathing the five Protectors with their Holocrons, their Forcesabers and their Truths, he faded, disappeared and vanished without a trace, reportedly after the fourth of his Great Lessons, as they became known. There is no record of him from history thereafter, and any attempt to locate, discover, or return him, did not succeed."

    "I do not know at what point this entry became fixed - did my actions cause it to happen, or was it always going to happen. My future sight confirmed it, and I have only seen one instance in which an attempt might have succeeded, and the Prophecy was wrong, six or so months from now, but I did not record that..." He seemed to struggle with his words. "I did not want to give anyone false hope."

    "Especially not you, Vale."

    There was the briefest of moments once the Master had finished speaking, that Vale felt completely, thoroughly, and entirely... terrified. There was no other word for it, none that would adequately describe the impulse she had to scream nor the sensation of the ground dropping out beneath her, the stretch of multiple futures that suddenly opened up in front of her that did not include him in some capacity. It was a nightmare of a vision, on that made her wonder, not for the first time, if her attachment to this being was grossly misplaced, especially now that her link to Zinara had been fading so deeply...

    Terror was flooded over with sadness, much as she had felt at the simple idea of him leaving. Another one. And now, hearing it proclaimed from a source that only spoke the truth, that he wouldn't only leave, but vanish. Disappear. Cease to be.

    Vale choked back the growing lump in her throat, tears welling in her eyes - she was too damn emotional. "False hope is better than nothing!" she nearly shouted, pausing to regain her composure. "You say the Protectors guard the Light, well you are as much 'the Light' as anything above, below, or in between..."

    She froze. Realization, a dangerous one, considering what their last lesson had taught her. Like the crack of a whip Vale went from stricken to set with determination, or insanity. Or both. "The World Between Worlds...." she spoke in a hushed tone, though assertive. "Could we... could there be a way..." Shaking her head to sort herself, she spit it out. "Could your Protectors use it to fix this?"

    As soon as she spoke there was the follow-up perception that what she had asked might as well have been non-nonsensical gibberish. She still did not understand a great deal, but what she did understand was how lost she, and they, would be without the Master's guidance.

    The Master shook his head slowly. “It’s forbidden for a reason, Vale. Because of that temptation. It’s one thing for you to check the Holocron and see that someone has changed what should have happened - for you to Protect the flow. It’s another to change it yourself.”

    His voice was gentle. “There will be consequences if we meddle with the Force itself. It will push back against something unnatural, it is in its nature - that’s how the Protectors have any knowledge of the Light at all; the Force allowed us to rediscover all of this, because of whatever is coming.” He nodded to himself. “After what we see in the Holocron’s comes to pass.”

    “You will never be without my guidance and teachings, Vale. You will always have them. In your Holocrons,” he said, gesturing to it, before tapping her forehead. “In your memories.” Then, he pointed to her chest. “In your heart.”

    His voice changed subtly, tightening. “In the Truths and Secret names you have,” he said, his words hardening. “But uou want to know why I’ve given you all instructions separately - why I would inject that uncertainty into what we are doing.”

    His cloaked face peered into hers; their proximity could be measured in tens of centimetres now. “Don’t you?”

    Vale strained against the impulsive need to argue, maybe even to break down and cry. Her anguish, and stubbornness against the Master's total submission to events that have yet to transpire gnawed at a hollow place in her chest. Will he not even fight? If not for himself or for them, then for the galaxy at large?

    The Master felt the full gamut of emotions flood through Vale, and he loved her for it. He truly did. But, because he was the Master, not a shudder of that emotion permeated the Force, nor even his body language. He stayed perfectly still, and waited, not wishing to influence the outcome.

    Despair twisted her face and enveloped her in the Force, a coldness settling in on her emotions. It was as though she had already begun to grieve this profound loss even as he sat next to her, boring into her soul from some place within his personal realm of shadows. She searched them as she head many time before, always imagining what it would feel like to lay her eyes upon his true visage.

    "Yes, I do," she answered simply, a quake to her voice. Her stomach turned over unnaturally, not able to fathom anything more dire than what the holocron and her mentor had revealed. But she still braced for worse.

    Silence prevailed for a moment. The Master was building up to it. Dreading it, even. His own nausea leaked into the Force, co-mingling with hers. His voice grew deadly serious and he placed his hands on his knees. His gloved hands bunched into fists, knuckles up, as he looked down at them.

    "There's going to be a traitor."

    The Master interjected swiftly. "Don't check your Holocron - the entry is not there. I cut it from all the Holocron's."

    He produced a shawl of paper. A page, of all things. "It's only here. I could not find out who the traitor is because my Sight was not present when they reveal themselves. It was... distracted, I suspect." His voice grew tight; vexed. "I've given everyone a Truth so that you know who is straying from their path. You are the only one who knows about the traitor." He paused. "You are the only one I trust."

    Vale's eyes had trailed down to his hands, her own mimicking his as her fingers squeezed in on each other, her entire body following as tension seemed to coil every muscle and nerve. The words he spoke seemed to come from some place far away, like she was subconsciously waiting for a disconnect to make it all... unreal. But just as the Master's pending withdraw from life itself, it was another nightmare become reality. She could already feel it.

    A traitor. Among the so very few she felt safest with, the ones she felt her truest self with - Dunkeel. The Shadow. Joren. Vydra. One of them... a liar.

    A tear did break away from an eye then, a symbol of her heartache and that of her growing ire.

    "In the last lesson I will notify everyone of their respective roles. Not all of them have realised that each of you have been spoken to over these weeks, but that they will likely put it all together soon enough. So you will know that the first one to deviate from their role is the traitor, and you will be able to use that as evidence for the others." He looked back to her, the page in his hand ready to hand over.

    "And that is why you will be the one who is between the others - the go-between; the glue. So that they do not suspect you if factions form in the Protectors, because you will already be the one who everyone is expected to trust and talk to."

    "So, you did intend me to spy in a way, to watch, listen, and know..." Her voice was soft, defeated. She had been staring at the flimsy piece of parchment the Master had procured while he continued, one that had the ultimate accusation inscribed upon its surface. Vale reached for it, but paused once her fingers brushed its edge. She met his hidden gaze again, pondering the absurd notion that he would be included in the group in question.

    Gently and with caution, she finally took hold of the paper and slid it from his grasp. Vale held it in front of her, as if it were a poison that would burn if it got too close. She took a breath, and with great trepidation began to slowly undo its folds. "Someone will betray us... but for what?" she asked in genuine confusion. "To what end?"

    He really didn’t like the word spy. It had unpleasant connotations. She was the Watcher, not a Spy. Not a Shadow either, as she was expected to live, not hide away. The Master shook his head to her question rather than protest the earlier point. “I don’t know.”

    He let her take the paper. His handwriting was never neat, but it was more than legible. He didn’t have time for neat. “You’ll see.”

    The one with the flame, marked with the sigil, will be the Traitor. When factions stand side-by-side, the flame will sabotage the peace. Light will become twisted, and the presence of Chaos become known. With the end of one the four will become undone - before even begun. But before even that, and the flame clashes; the end will begin and the clock-tower will toll for that ending... that bell will be the herald of the End of Time.

    He gave her a chance to absorb all of that. It was a lot, and yet, it truly wasn’t. It truly wasn’t.

    The Master stared at her.

    Vale read the message. And then read it again. And a third time. "A riddle," she stated impatiently, foolishly expecting to see a single name where there was a jumble of hidden meanings and clues instead. Standing, she ran a hand through her unkempt hair and stepped away. The paper crinkled at her side as her fingers dug into the thin material, threatening to tear her nails right on through.

    "'The one with the flame'..." she repeated aloud, beginning to slow her thoughts and dissect the words. "One of the others is branded, then. A fire brand? A burn, perhaps." Vale stood stock-still as she ran over mental images of each Protector in turn, squeezing her eyes shut in an attempt to recall any detail, no matter how insignificant it may have seemed. Unfortunately, she hadn't spent nearly enough time with any of them, even Joren, who she had arguably seen the most since her return.

    Without moving, she consulted her master. "Do you have a hunch, any inkling at all, a guess even..."

    The Master did not stand, crossing his legs as he folded his arms, holding onto his elbows. “No idea whatsoever. I’ve picked apart all your individual qualities and even physical features. I even dug into who burned down Dunkeel’s primary school when he was a youngling.” He snorted. “I tracked down the true perpetrator, years after the fact. That’s how much I went into it.”

    He waved a loose hand. “Nothing.”

    “You’ll need to look after that,” the Master said, pointing. “Without that evidence, you’ll come across as mad. Unless of course events don’t require you to defend your actions.” He released his elbow and shrugged. “I don’t know.” His voice turned wistful. “It’s harder to look into your own future than others. But when one only has a single pair of eyes... it’s not exactly easy to divorce yourself from your own perspective even with a vision.”

    The Master paused. “Apologies, I used that word.” He was referencing his use of ‘divorce’. He unfolded his leg and stood, brushing down his robes hem. “It’s not my place to ask - and I don’t really have much time.”

    He went to step around her and leave.

    Vale whipped around as the Master moved past, boldly reaching her free hand out to clasp around his arm and stop him from getting to the door. She gave his limb a small tug back towards her. "That's it?" she asked incredulously. "You tell me all this and you’re going to leave?”

    Here she realized how tightly she was holding onto him, checking herself quickly and releasing her grip. She did not move away.

    “If you and I are the only ones that know of your… departure, and of an imminent betrayal that will bring about the kriffing End of Times… shouldn’t we try and fight this? Together, while you are still here?”

    She rarely swore, especially not in front of someone she held in such high esteem. She was losing a battle with her exhaustion which made it more and more difficult to keep herself even and calm. Her emotions were crossing back and forth between pleading for understanding and heightened anger, and it made her want to scream. That redhead from the first gate flashed through her mind, but she pushed the image on by.

    “And don’t try and distract me like you have before,” she snapped. “Not by making a casual reference to my situation with my wife!

    Her eyes went wide and she leaned away abruptly, choking off any further words by bringing her hand up and over her mouth. “I’m sorry,” she whispered through her fingers, clearly surprised at her own outburst. A pause, and then she lowered her arm back down so that she could be clearly heard. “I just can’t lose anyone else. I can’t… allow it.”

    The Master looked at her hand. He looked at it until she removed it, and let her speak. “Everyone will know I’m leaving. You all know that the future is going to go off the rails. I am fighting it. By leaving you four behind. I could have just given up.” He tried and failed to keep his voice soft; he couldn’t keep the edge out.

    A sigh was released.

    He took her hands in his, cupping them. His touch was light, exceedingly so. “Vale. Loss is the lifeblood of change; change is the constant that we all face. I wouldn’t want to use your wife as a way to divert the topic.”

    “But I am happy that you called her your wife,” the Master allowed genuine warmth to flood the Force. “Because it means you’ve not let go of that love.” He released her hands. “Love is the key, Vale. If you love it enough to let it go; it’ll come back to you if it’s meant to be.”

    “That’s what I genuinely believe, Vale. I truly do.”
    He tappee his chest. “The Force is with you when you follow your heart. Not your fear - your heart.” He nodded.

    “And you have the biggest heart of all of my students.” He paused. “I do need to go. There is a week between lessons, but I have to make sure that everyone is ready - so that you know what to do when the time is right.” He sounded happy, because the Master truly was; happy that he had someone he could trust with this.

    Vale sensed them, the energies he was shifting in her direction. They settled her a degree further, though her heart was still racing away in her chest. She felt new cracks forming, interlacing with the old. She did listen intently to the small lesson he had to offer her, in the end.

    "Yes, Master," she dissented, knowing this conversation was over and she could push him no further. The weight of the day, what she had seen far above - elsewhere, to be precise - and what she knew now weighed down on her suddenly, she could no longer push herself. Warily staring back at him once more before he went on his way, she couldn't bring herself to smile. It would've been a lie.

    "Thank you... for your trust, and faith in me. It means more than I can say." And that was the truth.

    “I know,” he said, and the Master felt that line - I know, resonate throughout the future and he nodded.

    It was appropriate.

    “May the Force be with you, my old apprentice.”

    TAGS: @Sinrebirth @HanSolo29 @Mitth_Fisto @Jerjerrod-Lennox @galactic-vagabond422
  13. Sinrebirth

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

    Nov 15, 2004
    IC: Darth Sidious the Unhallowed
    Nowhere, no when, no how, in the past, and the future

    The True Dark Lord reflected on all that he had achieved and done, on all that he was to triumph over, on all that he was to fail to oppose.

    His Last Plan was Enacted.

    He reflected on it all, no-where, no-more.

    Just before the Battle of Coruscant, some thirty five thousand years from now

    Mace Windu couldn't recall a visit to the Supreme Chancellor's chambers in the Senate Office Building when his attention hadn't been drawn to Palpatine's curious and somehow unsettling collection of quasi-religious statuary. On one occasion, picking up on Mace's interest, Palpatine had offered lengthy and enthusiastic accounts of when and how he had come by some of the pieces. Acquired at an auction on Commenor; procured after any years and at great expense from a Corellian dealer in antiquities; salvaged from an ancient temple discovered on a moon of the gas giant Yavin; a gift from the Theed Council of Naboo; another gift from that world's Gungans...

    Just now Mace's eyes were on a small bronzium statue Palpatine had once identified as Wapoe, the mythical artisan demigod of disguise.

    [I]The [I]Labyrinth of Evil [/I]novel, page 138, by James Luceno[/I]​

    TAG: No One, and yet

    @QueenSabe7, @Jerjerrod-Lennox, @HanSolo29, @Mitth_Fisto, @galactic-vagabond422
  14. galactic-vagabond422

    galactic-vagabond422 Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jul 11, 2009
    IC: Zas'tel
    Above Pesegam

    "I promised myself that I would never be a bystander ever again. I wouldn’t watch it happen. That’s why the Twilight War will be different."

    The Master's voice rang clearly from a time before he passed away. He thought of the fleet hanging above the planet, one does not make a fleet if you don't plan to use it. He should do something, but what was he supposed to do? His job was to watch to witness the movements of the others. Did that also mean he didn't get involved? That he should just let this fleet appear raining fire and death.

    The sphere woke him, though his own coughing did that for him too." He could feel that his power could still be used here, he could still flow walk even here...though would he want to? Could it bring attention to him? He began to feel worried as he began to descend the ramp of the Sphere, which had gone silent. There was a pull towards a building, the door rising.

    What you seek; the ability to transcend flesh, and to transfer one’s essence; it is here.

    Zas'tel coughed again, more blood a deeper color. He could feel the urgency, though part of him still wished to take a moment, to see the force, to know that his actions were not folly, that he wasn't being a fool looking for a way to extend his life, to escape the end his body had planned for him.

    He had to survive he'd been given a mission by the Master...though hadn't he already succeeded? Didn't that mean he had all the time in the world. Then why was there this lingering sense of need? His body was racked with pain, a not so gentle reminder that his body was failing him, that if he wanted to succeed he needed to do this…

    With that he pressed further into the cloister.

    TAG: @Sinrebirth
  15. Sinrebirth

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

    Nov 15, 2004
    IC: Tera
    The Graal-Moor Family Home

    It had been one of those moments where they had all been incredibly busy, and by the time Joren returned home, Tera was winding down. Their night time routine was poised to begin, and dinner was still simmering when he arrived. Calling from the lounge, as it would take her a few moments to reach the living room, she called to him. "Dinner just needs dishing up, I can meet you at the dining table?"

    There was humour in her voice, as she had enjoyed the beached whale metaphor for the last few weeks and embraced it fully. Especially as she was at total waddle with her weight now. This baby had a lot to answer for.

    "So how did it go today, Master Graal?"

    TAG: @HanSolo29 (combo)
    IC: Zinara

    The Sera Family Home, a few hours later

    The day began with Zinara awakening to the sound of her door rapping. "Oh damn," she said, hazy. "I'm late for work - " And then she realised that Vale was here, and her eyes lit up. "You're still here!" Her grin was sudden and immense, completely happy. "That'll be Erwen, can you humour him while I get ready?"

    The door sounded again. Zinara kissed Vale on the lips, hard, that grin again. "I'm going to shower. If you manage to get rid of him entirely, come see me, maybe?" Zinara was giddy, and it wasn't entirely a holdover from the alcohol she'd had that probably still filtered around her; it was elation that she had her wife back and home.

    TAG: @QueenSabe7 (combo)
    IC: Ship

    Pesegam, Cloister of No Where

    As Zastel made his way out of the Tho Yor Sphere, his cloak - the cloak the Master gave him - reverberated, and the sickness within Zastel began to lighten, as if the darkness had been convincing him that he was dying. The cloak was protecting him from the dark side poison of the Sith world, but the moment where he had felt passed, and there was only the shadows of the construct itself.

    You come here like he did.

    The voice spoke within the Defel's mind as much reverberating through the walls, the air, and disturbing the sand.

    Or he will.

    There was a light at the end of the alleyway; but first Zastel would pass into an open area surrounded by a balcony. Zastel would be able to see, but know they were not there, a group of hooded characters, peering down from their shadowed hoods. Some thirty individuals, lead by a single figure with White Eyes.

    Do you seek our knowledge? You may have to kill us for it.

    TAG: @galactic-vagabond422
    IC: Shadow


    The ring continued to burn, and a voice rippled out from the corner of the room.

    So the Master left you something to find us. He feared our interference here... did he?

    The room seemed to darkness, but it grew red, as if blood was running around the room.

    A skittering sound, and a rifling through the edge of the room. But the Force warned of movement to the other side of the room to Dunkeel, letting him know that the noise was a fake-out, and that the true owner of the voice was where the Force indicated. From behind the workbench, in a space too slim for a humanoid to fit, and shadow leapt out, landing, crouched, before him.


    Malevolence rippled outward.

    You know not our name, yet you seek us, and we have already a victim on this world.

    A crowing snicker.

    A test, one which your 'overtaxed' law enforcement failed. It has been easy to encourage the paranoia of the masses; all these humans and nonhumans, all full of fear. Your Master knew we were here, but he was too powerful for ussss to approach; but his apprentices? They seem to be more divided than anything we could spawn.

    Another dark chuckle.

    TAG: @Mitth_Fisto

    OOC: Please put up your secret combo number 2.
    A few days later...

    IC: Venezia Delomeux

    Delomeux Household

    More Holocrons down - one way or the other - and Vydra would be back in Nouane. His sister had been looking for him; she had checked with the sentry at the Clock-Tower, with the library, with his other friends; but not the Protectors, because she didn't want to bypass her brother - not yet, anyway. But that didn't mean she wasn't angsty. Wherever he had been, his comlink had not had signal, which was correct of the most northern and southern parts he had visited.

    The Force had been quieter within her for those days, which Venezia was grateful for; it had exhausted her otherwise.

    She waited for him and inevitably was ready to speak to him after his return.

    His sister had questions, and he was her master... to her, anyway. She keyed her comlink again, and he had indeed returned to comlink range.

    His meetings with Sheel Ix and Lagertha Atreus were over.

    "Where have you been?!" Venezia exclaimed.

    TAG: @Jerjerrod-Lennox, (@Corellian_Outrider, @TheAdmiral, mentioned only)

    OOC: My next update will be after Christmas! So have fun, but I will be back up-and-running on the 1st... in theory!

    Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year, if I do not speak to you before!
  16. Mitth_Fisto

    Mitth_Fisto Force Ghost star 6

    Sep 29, 2005
    Super Secrete Combo! 2!!!!
    IC: The Master & Dunkeel

    After the Third Lesson

    There was a short amount of time yet, for the final, fourth, lesson, which would be next week in the usual manner. Dunkeel had his Truth, as did the others. He had been relatively silent in the latest lesson, when compared to how vocal he had been in training with Vydra.

    Dunkeel's side usefulness was that the clock-tower usually needed a devastating amount of maintenance. It was one of the oldest buildings in the city, and the time was relied upon by most citizens who casually looked up without even thinking. The sheer amount of effort that went into keeping the clock running was astounding.

    Today, the mechanism behind the clock-face was a slither too slow. It was not yet noticeable, but the minute delay in the ticking of the hands had promptly driven the Master crazy. Dunkeel was already up among the mechanisms. "Did you gave a moment, Faya?"

    Thus he let them know it was the business of Truth they spoke today.

    Feeling his bare scales rub against the inner workings of the clock tower he had glided his hands deep within the inner workings in spaces barely large enough enough for a claw tip to fit. He had long ago learned to work with his eyes closed in these moments, The Master actually had found him in not too dissimilar a position. Working not by sight, but by the Force. Feeling in so many special ways each and every part as he brushed past it. Knowing the proper workings as well as his own arm, knowing what was right and what was wrong.

    Hearing that name spoken, that curse of a fruit drink, he sighed heavy with a snort as he felt his concentration broken. "With words like that, what else have I to give?" He simply called out.

    The Master cringed a fair bit for intruding, but also for what Dunkeel replied with. "Apologies, my friend. It's unfortunately important."

    "As you know, I passed you your Truth. You might have, or might have not, wondered why that is the case. Possibly that I was hedging matters, possibly that I am leaving, and need to leave instructions." He shrugged. "It is both, actually, but only because I do not know if I will fade away." He shrugged.

    "I might not, yet."

    Sighing he pulled himself out, slowly and carefully from the workings to turn to The Master and bowed his head. Partly in recognition of The Master and also in part in contrition for his harsh words, that he regretted as soon as he felt The Masters own pang from them.

    "I had hoped it merely meant we were coming closer to the same level, perhaps we were to be sent away. I honestly had not thought of you leaving us." he honestly stated. Although hedging his bets on the five of them to see whom was best suited for leadership had tainted his thinking in that as well. Pointing toward them leaving to somewhere else, maybe establish a Clock-tower of their own elsewhere. Honestly where the slowing drove The Master mad, he himself was to the point where silence made it impossible to sleep without the sound of the gears.

    "Are you going to fade wholly? Like one of those in death like in the holocron tales?" he asked as he lifted and twirled a small file between his fingers. He knew he was avoiding something, but he couldn't bring himself to ask, not directly.

    "I'm not sure," he said, truthfully, and the Master allowed that truth to spill into the Force. "It might not even happen, don't worry about it, Dunkeel." He clapped his hands, and then, well, paused. His head slightly inclined around his gloved hands.

    "You're not going to ask whatever it is you needed to?" He tilted his head the other away, again peering around his hands. "I mean, you're working on something, aren't you, in that head of yours?"

    "Tick tock, and all that," he dropped his hands, gesturing with one for him to continue.

    Snorting lightly his head swayed as he looked at his own hands, at the file he was playing with instead of removing the minor burrs that had gathered and were the likely culprits of the clock slowing. "Without you, how do we keep ourselves from gathering spurs? Slowing and failing. A broken clock is right twice in a day, I do not want to only be right so little."

    Dunkeel was not to be baited to discuss his inner thoughts, which was pleasing - he needed to be absolute in his certainty about himself. He was the compass, and so to be that, he needed to be certainty incarnate. “But yes,” the Master said, turning away slightly. “Just like that, is how I’ll probably go.”

    He gestured nonchalantly. “I mean, it might not even happen. Then we won’t have to worry about it, right?”

    “Unless you do in-fact want me to go, that is?” He appeared indignant.

    "Only when you want perfection to never falter. For crude matter seems to have a way of gumming up the works." he said with a flourish and using the Force sped up his motions to clean out the seven minor spurrings he had found on the four different gears with the angle file. Then with a swish of his snout he used the Force to draw the bits and pieces out so they wouldn't get stuck in the gears as they continued to turn.

    "Now, are you going to share what is on your mind? Instructions are rarely so simple." He simply stated as he stepped down and tried to listen to The Master and the gears to see what either had to say.

    "Ha!" The Master chortled. "I, too, long for plain speak. So, let us get to it." He sat, cross-legged, sweeping the hem of his cloak behind him. As Dunkeel stepped down, his task presumably done, the Master gestured for him to join him.

    "As you can probably expect, the potential for the Light to be abused is too immense." His fingers interlined met as he spoke, the voluminous sleeves concealing his gloved hands. "Were a Dark One to reach into it, then conceivably all of reality would be undone. Terrifying. It is said, in Legend, that the Architects - the parents of the Old Ones - briefly accessed it and caused a temporal anomaly which saw them appear during the Star Wars, and then return to their original time."

    "Your Holocron would have that entry under Bedlam Spirits, incidentally, in records recovered from the private archives of Darth Sidious... as one of his Stormtroopers was present - and inadvertently killed - by the Architects. The recording was suppressed by the then-Emperor for whatever reason, and, eventually, recovered." A shrug. It was an aside; some wider reading.

    He withdrew his hands from his sleeves and held out a ring. It was golden, with a black stone atop it. Glyphs adorned the ring, symbols that Dunkeel would recognise as adorning the Holocron of Prophecies. "This, when taken by a Dark One, would force him to return to the reality when it came. There is a world known as Mustafar where the dark side locus is near to the edge of the Light. Or, rather, where it will be near. This ring will return them. All we need do is trap the Dark One, and they will be left with no alternative but to leave..." He passed the ring over.


    "The smart thing being, if you return to your own time, your memory of what you have learned will erase itself. So, the Dark One will be unable to try again. Force-time laws, or some-such," the Master again shrugged.

    "Can I rely upon you to keep an eye out for something which obviously should not be here?"

    "As soon as you stop changing what that is, yes." he replied with a hissing laugh as he wagged his head to inspect the small ring before reaching out to take it.

    The Master touched his chest, offended. "I have merely recorded what is to happen. To change the future? That would have consequences, no?"

    He waved his hand as if discarding the thought. "I mean, you're welcome to try, Dunkeel... you and your, what was it," he said, as he leaned forward, hands on his hips. "Pruning."

    The ring, for its part, did not elicit an immense reaction, even as Dunkeel inspected it. "It's just using the connection to the Light to return the anomaly to the Light. The glyphs are an incantation which reverses the polarity of someone's Force presence, so to speak. Took me a while to get it right."

    "I mean, I need to trust someone when I fade away."

    "Yes." he softly whispered as he turned it around a few times more, taking the first of what would likely become many to memorize it. Putting in a free pocket he nodded, bobbing his head a few times. "I can only hope I am able to find someone to trust as well, or I may never pass these on if I do not use them. Too much power in a simple hand that would be too easy to squander if given to short sighted or merely self focused."

    Blinking slowly he breathed in the taste of the old clock tower, the master, and noted at least five more points where the gears were slightly off. "Amazing you ever found one of us." he sighed into the space.

    "Well," the Master said, gesturing vaguely to Dunkeel. “You are in the Holocron of Prophecies.”

    “You’ll not find much searching for the Protectors, admittedly. But under the Sages of Dwartii, a little bit more information - though not a lot.” A shrug. His Sight had not been interested in future day encyclopaedia entries, Wookiee or otherwise.

    He nodded slightly. “Remember, my friend. Your role is to be the true leader of the Protectors, if so needed - to act in the interests of the Light, after all. You’re the ultimate failsafe; balance incarnate.” Another gesture, vaguely to the Forcesaber. “Your blade told me that. Hearts of kyber never lie.”

    The Master was honest; he had no fear of inculcating pride in Dunkeel, though the Chistori could very well do with giving himself a mental pat on the back once or twice...

    Nonetheless, he canted his head. The Master liked the sound of hearts of Kyber. He collected himself to stand, tucking his hands behind the small of his back. “May the Force be with you, my friend.”

    "And with you." he simply said with a cant in return. The words of praise or shackling duty, seemed to find ground but went nowhere within him. So much was put on being the leader, aiding the leader, wanting whatever that was by the others. He simply did not want it. They could have it, Joren, Vydra, even the dust collector in the end probably had more drive for such a thing than he ever had.

    Once The Master left he sighed and scratched at his own shoulders tough hide in passing of the moments. Letting himself just be and stand in silence for a moment. Reaching down he set to pulling his holocron out of a pocket of the pile of his stuff on the floor, taking it gently as it kept floating within his grasp he set it on a ledge within the workings of the clock of Tempestuous Twilight or whatever it's name was. He patted the clock for the slight as he thought to it before taking up the file once more. "Now, lets finish polishing the gears to let The Master get some rest." he softly whispered before reaching out with the Force to the Holocron. "Tell of Sages of Dwartii."

    The Four Sages of Dwartii were controversial Nouanese philosophers and lawgivers who lived in the early days of the Galactic Republic. In an era of Sith domination, a number of bronzium statues honoring the Four Sages were made. In the waning years of the Republic, the politician Palpatine, who was secretly a Sith Lord, owned several such statues.

    Although the Four Sages were noted for possessing much arcane wisdom and legal acumen, their views and decrees were regarded as coldly unsparing, and often generated controversy, especially to species new to the Republic. One of them, Sistros, was accused of pandering to the multitude for selfish ends. Another, Braata, was known to have encouraged the study of the dark side of the Force.

    The Four Sages were called Sistros, Braata, Yanjon, and Faya. They were said to hail from Dwartii, a planet located in the galaxy's Inner Rim. They were active in the earliest days of the Galactic Republic, which was founded more than twenty five thousand years before the Galactic Civil War. Their world was part of Nouane, one of the Republic's Allied Regions. At the time, Nouanese ministers commonly ascended to the highest spheres of power in the Republic. For that reason, the Four Sages' merciless political philosophy was influential in the galactic state, if shrouded in controversy.

    At some point during a time period when the galaxy was dominated by the Sith, an order of malevolent Force-wielders, a number of bronzium statues of the Four Sages were created. Much later in history, some of those statues entered in the possession of Palpatine, a Human politician from Naboo who was secretly a modern-day Dark Lord of the Sith. When Palpatine served as Supreme Chancellor of the Republic, his effigies of the Four Sages resided in his office suite in the Republic Executive Building on Coruscant. In the ceremonial office area, two statues stood on either sides of the Chancellor's official desk. One depicted a hooded Sistros with a long-sleeved cloak, and the other depicted a helmeted Braata with the head resting on the tip of a long staff.

    Two other statues, one of which was a different depiction of Sistros, flanked the doorway to Palpatine's private antechamber. That second Sistros statue had a lining of neuranium under its bronzium exterior, and housed a cylindrical cavity undetectable by security scans. It allowed Palpatine to hide his hand-built lightsaber in it. The weapon lay dormant in the statue for a long time until finally used against four Jedi Masters on Empire Day. During the Galactic Civil War, a number of statues of the Four Sages were available throughout the galaxy. In addition to effigies similar to the ones owned by Palpatine's, there also existed a statue of Faya that depicted the philosopher resting on a large sword.

    He wanted to snort, and he did as he finished the last polishing of the gears with fresh oil. It was one thing to know how you would want to shape the future, it was another to be told how that future would perceive those efforts. Not as Protectors, but as mere Sages of some made up name. He did his best to put such a thing out of his mind and focus on today. Today he could effect, he could act. Tomorrow? That was the mission, the dream.

    TAG: @Sinrebirth , @All if you dare/care ;)
  17. Mitth_Fisto

    Mitth_Fisto Force Ghost star 6

    Sep 29, 2005
    IC: Dunkeel

    The ring continued to burn, and a voice rippled out from the corner of the room. A voice that almost felt like it came from within as well as without.

    So the Master left you something to find us. He feared our interference here... did he?

    The room seemed to darkness, but it grew red, as if blood was running around the room. He relaxed his eyes as he focused no longer as his sense of vision but on his connection to the Force and the smell of the air, the taste of it all. So far it smacked of unreality, although a concern was that this was another powerful path, like the World Between Worlds when it had colored the world in black and white, was this some other powerful thing that painted it red and black? A differing shade that left one feeling hunger despite the time of day - a stray thought he quickly banished as he felt his drool begin to build.

    A skittering sound, and a rifling through the edge of the room. But the Force warned of movement to the other side of the room to Dunkeel, trickery then, and that the true owner of the voice was where the Force indicated. From behind the workbench, in a space too slim for a humanoid to fit, a shadow leapt out, landing, crouched, before him.


    Malevolence rippled outward. Permeating the Force with the blank desire, yet he stood resolute before it. Unwilling to rise to the bait, for that was what this smacked of. Bait. Tempting bait for it felt and seemed truly like something that did not belong, but it used odd words and he wondered if more than one there was. Was it a lower he could crush and save the ring for later? He doubted and wondered.

    You know not our name, yet you seek us, and we have already a victim on this world.

    A crowing snicker was felt in the Force to those words as he looked at the odd thing. It was like a child's snack when you first explore the sewers to fend for yourself. Hardness, shell and likely very little substance inside.

    A test, one which your 'overtaxed' law enforcement failed. It has been easy to encourage the paranoia of the masses; all these humans and nonhumans, all full of fear. Your Master knew we were here, but he was too powerful for ussss to approach; but his apprentices? They seem to be more divided than anything we could spawn.

    Another dark chuckle. His mouth hung open as he hissed back at it. The Force rippled out from him gently clearing the table as he flipped it forward to crush what was before him. In the Force and physically he was making the gestures to pull Fang forward and with his free hand he called up the Ring from it's hidden place. "You know our weakness, witness our strength!" he growled out. It was time to see what would be of this. Was it an assassination attempt, a gloating meeting, or bargaining conversation? He did not know, but he knew how he had to respond if it was the first and so did so. The Ring he floated into a loose grip between thumb and far finger, his mid fingers claw tip grazing on the edge. A show of a powerful weapon ready to be worn only at the last moment of need to overpower this foe if needed. After all, it had said we.

    TAG: @Sinrebirth
  18. Jerjerrod-Lennox

    Jerjerrod-Lennox Jedi Grand Master star 7

    Mar 9, 2005
    OOC: A combo with @Sinrebirth

    IC: Vydra Delomeux, Venezia Delomeux, Sek'nos Rath
    Location: Nouane City, Nouane

    Three down, two to go…

    Vydra had returned from his sojourn from up North. First he had ventured South to meet the hunter Sheel which had been well, interesting and yet a little frustrating to say the least. The jury was still out on that one. However he had done better with Lagetha the tribal warrior woman. She had at least accepted his offer and was a little easier than Sheel and Seth combined.

    He had left his comlink on just in case but he had trekked into places which were further than he had ever reached before. He had decided not to return home in between one day and the next and had found a place to camp out as it were. There was no point in returning home as Venezia would be questioning him the whole time, and to return to the Clock Tower in between would look suspicious. And it would be time for them soon to know all…..

    But first to business. And meeting these two would bolster the new class. Hopefully they would be the correct choice, the only way he was going to know was when he brought the new class through into the bright new future.

    As he returned to the city, two Holocrons lighter his comlink chimed, before he could get a word in, Venezia went straight in asking where he had gone. “Protector business” Vydra replied simply, “Do I really have to tell you where I am going all the time? I’m sure you can find me simply by stretching out through our bond” he shook his head.

    “I’m on my way home, will be there in a few minutes” he switched the call off and as promised he was home a few minutes later. He made his way indoors dropping his bag to the floor and looking around for where his sister was hiding.

    She wasn’t there, though the Force told him that she had; it also told Vydra that she was angry, and allowed him to ascertain that it was a result of his use of the words ‘Protector business’.

    Ven was upset, and felt shut out. There was nothing else that she could say. But he also sensed her path, and indeed it was heading towards the clock-tower. Between here and there, Vydra could sense a familiar presence, though it was not clearly one of the Protector Masters or even one of his secret students.

    But it wasn’t good, either way.

    He sighed, he was going to have a difficult conversation anyway and having her angry with him was not a good start. To be honest though he was probably going to end up with a broken heart again and at this rate he was going to have no heart or soul left.

    Vydra sensed not only her heading off towards the temple but someone else too. Who was it though?It wasn't either of his friends, his fellow Masters or his students, well the three he had met so far. Was it another one? Or was the Force telling him that there was someone here that shouldn't be?And that his sister was walking into danger.

    His blue eyes narrowing he picked up his bag and kept in his mind that he was going to have a very stern conversation with his sister about running off. He headed out again his eyes and Force senses on alert for anything suspicious, if someone was out to harm him and his sister then he would defend to the end.

    A short rush across Nouane City rapidly revealed in the Force that it was Sek’nos Rath, approaching the same point of Venezia. Was it serendipitous, or had Sek’nos sensed her?

    The two of them met in the Force in an alleyway, and by the time Vydra caught up, Sek’nos was holding his hands out,palms outward, and Venezia was raging in the Force, both upset and angry.

    The only good thing was that it was the deep of the night and nobody else seemed to be around. Sek’nos was projecting calm in the Force, but Ven wasn’t accepting it. “Master?”

    Ven looked back at Vydra, her anger increasing. “Master?!”

    Here we go….

    Vydra folded his arms and adopted a stern expression. What the hell was Sek'nos doing?. He had expressly told the red skinned alien not to seek others out and was only to come back to the Clock Temple when called. And as far as he knew the call had not gone out.

    Maybe perhaps he had been drawn to Venezia as she was shining like a beacon, well her anger was anyway.

    "First things first" he said sternly, "I would like to know why you are both here. Sek'nos I gave you strict instructions and you seem to have disobeyed them. That is a disappointing start"

    He then looked at Venezia his eyes turning to ice "You needed to stay at home. Do you want Mum and Dad to flip out because you have run off?. I told you that you needed to take things slowly and this is not a good start. I also told you that I would be accused of favouritism if I took you on as an apprentice you seemed to have not listened to that either"

    Sek’nos looked apologetic. “I’m sorry, Master, but I wasn’t heading towards the Clock-Tower - I was hunting food; Sith eyes work better in the dark.” His sincerity filled the Force; and the sting of the rebuke.

    Ven, however, wasn’t having any of it. “How do you explain that you have an apprentice! A secret one at that?!” A discharge crawled up her arms, and Sek’nos looked alarmed.

    “Master - her hands -“

    “I’m not talking to you! My brother needs to tell me the truth!” Ven’s fingers splayed and they lifted towards Sek’nos -

    Vydra calmed somewhat after hearing Sek'nos explanation and he could feel his sincerity through the Force. His sister however…

    He knew that one day he may possibly lose his family, either to the War or something else. This seemed to be it. And having a family argument in front of one of his secret apprentices was not going to help.

    And now she was going to attack Sek'nos. His sister was being lost to the dark. Possibly why the Master had not added her to the list, she could be too uncontrollable, perhaps she could not be tamed.

    He had said to himself he hoped he would never have to use the Force against his family. But desperate times, desperate measures. His anger dissipated, and drawing upon pure calmness he used a mighty Force shove to push her out of the way before stepping in front of Sek'nos and activating his Forcesaber blade.

    The green blade shot out and he immediately moved into 'Guard of the Hawk' stance. He was a defender and this was the first test of his skills.

    "Sek'nos, it is your choice to stay or go, but me and my sister need to have a little chat" his eyes were completely focused on Venezia.

    "Don't you dare" he growled. "Sek'nos was chosen by the Master himself to be my apprentice, him and others. And you have no idea what is coming, you have no idea what I have been through what I still have to go through. You would dare attack a Protector apprentice" he shook his head "Shame on you"

    "You have been consumed by dark emotions, and that is why I cannot be your Master. You would so easily attack another being, a possibly defenceless being all so you can let out your anger. I have sworn to defend and I will do so. That is not the Venezia I know and love"

    He readied his stance "Attack Sek'nos or me and I will consider you no longer family. I will tell our parents what you have done and what you have become. The Master has forbidden me to train you and now I see why."he shook his head "Too uncontrollable, too quick to use you anger, too quick to let the dark take you. That is not the Protector way. And I will tell the truth, one day everyone will know, but I decide that, not you"

    "Make your choice"

    Venezia seemed to bury her anger deep, a furnace inside her. “Your Master! I know of him! The one with the Eye that is said to see the future! The whispers, they told me all about him -“

    Her hands were raging, and Sek’nos seemed in two minds to intervene. He wanted to heed his Master, and the Force was gathering within him, but it was a technique, not an attack. In the Force, the Sith urged Vydra not to strike, to keep his sister talking.

    “- I deserve the truth, Vydra! The Master said I couldn’t be trained but the whispers told me the real reason; that he’s afraid of me messing up his Plan - that the Master wants to hurt you, and you can’t see it. They told me everything after you left me; I was so angry, and that’s when they came to me - in my moment of need - if you'd not turned on me I’d never have needed to listen to them!”

    Sek’nos begged Vydra to have faith in him, a glittering secret held in his mind.

    "Well well it seems somebody or something has decided to poke their nose in where they shouldn't. Where it is not their business to" he decided to heed his apprentices advice and keep her talking if she decided to attack he would defend and Sek'nos might have something up his sleeve.

    And a secret was being held by him too, was this something to do with this?. He had to be the Master now and trust his apprentice that he would help him and reveal all. After all, if you don't trust your apprentice then what good was it being the Master?.

    Vydra kept his guard up radiating calm through the Force "And did these whispers tell you what is coming? Did these whispers tell you of my mission? Did these whispers ever tell you that I have had my heart and soul ripped to pieces?That they would turn my own sister against me?. That the Master is simply a pure evil being that wants to destroy us all?"

    He shook his head "You should have known better than to trust strange voices in your head. If the Master meant to do me harm then I will find it out. He gave me an important task, to save the future and by all that is holy I will do it. I will not betray my comrades and I will not betray what the Master has given me. I will give my life to save it all. If I die alone and shunned then that is the price I will have to pay. I am broken enough already, there is nothing left to break except my body and I will defend myself until my very last breath. It is you that has turned against me and you have chosen this path. Now you will pay the price as I have"

    "If the Master is truly evil then we will all pay the price. But until then I believe in him and the Protectors. To protect and to serve, to defend the Light from the darkness"

    His blue eyes turned to ice again "I am Vydra Delomeux, Protector Master Lord of the North. And I shall not be beaten by the darkness!" He let himself go then, letting the light of the Force flow through him, all the pain, anger, sadness and betrayal melt away. He was one with the Force, and the Force was with him.

    Venezia wilted, clearly intimidated by her brothers impassioned speech, but her fear collected within her and pooled into anger. She went to speak, “I -“

    Sek’nos stepped forward and placed his hand on her neck, and she collapsed under his Force compulsion. The Sith caught her, and with a swift gesture drew out a wisp of energy from her mind. “I rubbed her mind of her memory; it was the only thing the Master taught me to do other than wait for you.”

    He paused, laying her down and standing to speak to Vydra. “It’s of the last week; before she knew of the Force. If I put it back, she’ll be the way she was before.”

    “If I let it go, the memory will dissipate... unless you want it, Master.” Sek’nos hesitated. “Or I can take it in, too.”

    “I’d rather not, but I’ll do it if you ask me to, Master.”

    Vydra took a deep breath as he watched Venezia collapse and deactivated his Forcesaber. He shook his head sadly at his sister. She had chosen unwisely and had nearly attacked them both. And now she had part of her memory erased. All because some whispers told her dark things, told her that the Master was frankly evil and wanted Vydra to be hurt.

    As he had said to her, he would find out the truth, one way or the other he would find out. He had had enough of these riddles, secrets and lies. It was time to move on and for them all to reveal all. Otherwise what point was it assembling a team for it all to fall apart?

    "I will take it" he said "I need to make sure what happened to my sister doesn't happen again.And I need to know where these whispers came from, what they knew and whether what they spoke of was perhaps the truth or as I see it, lies"

    He nodded and smiled "Thank you for your help apprentice, you have redeemed yourself. That technique is quite a handy one" Vydra clipped his Forcesaber back on to his belt. "Now was that power the secret you had in your mind? Or was it something else? Because it seems the Master has taught you some tricks already."

    Sek’nos shook his head, and the Force rang with the truth. “The Master said I may need to erase a memory in the future. He said he’d seen this in the Holocron of Prophecy - it’s why I asked about it when I first met you.”

    He liked glumly at Venezia.“But that’s all he taught me.” Sek’nos sighed a little. “I didn’t expect to use it on your sister. I am so sorry.”

    The Sith held out his hand,with the whisper of white energy circling within it. “For you, Master.”

    So the Master had foreseen this happening, whether it was supposed to have been his sister was another matter. Vydra looked sadly down at his sister, it shouldn't have been her but somehow fate had decided that he would be be chosen once again to receive something bad. Mum and Dad would have flipped to the dnd of the street and back if they knew what she had nearly done.

    He gently took the wisp of white energy and looked at it. Such malicious thoughts were inside, perhaps he could decipher them and make sure they would never see the light of day. Vydra took a deep breath, closed his eyes and absorbed it.

    The Holocron of Prophecy was the one Vydra had to give to the name circled in red. Perhaps the Force would help guide him to that person.

    "Thank you apprentice" he said kindly "And I'm afraid if you hadn't have done what you did my sister could have done something far worse. I'm afraid something or somebody got to her first, and whoever that is will be sorry they did. If the Master did see something coming then the Holocron of Prophecy should only be entrusted to someone who will not abuse it."

    "If you were not here then she could have attacked us both" he shook his head "I don't think there is any such thing as good luck in my family"

    He walked forward and picked Venezia up gently, looking into her face with sorrow "I'd better take her back home before our parents find out she's run off again. I then have some business to attend to back at the Temple" he turned to the Sith "Thank you for your assistance once again and remember what I told you about everything. When the call comes I hope you will heed it" he bowed his head to his first student "May the Force be with you"

    Master,” Sek’nos said, hesitantly. “Doesn’t this seem strange? Your Master tells you not to train your sister, and so a voice whispers to her, pushing her to the edge... so he teaches me to strip the memory from her...?”

    “That seems incredibly coincidental to me, Master - if the Master hadn’t told you one thing, the other would not have happened... and I would not have been needed to be taught that skill?”

    He used the word coincidental to be respectful, but it was hard not to think the word ‘manipulative’.

    “I mean, I get that the Master foresaw this... and he’s just keeping a record of what is happening... but it feels so...predetermined?” The young Sith looked back at Venezia and shook his head.“Should I teach you the skill, Master? I wasn’t told not to...”

    And Sek'nos was off again asking questions. He was a bit like Sheel and Joren, asking many questions and verbalising them out loud.

    "Well if the Master did do all this then he is very clever indeed. To manipulate it all so he could teach you a technique and then handpick my sister to be used against me. If he did mean to hurt me then I can only assume one thing. That he intends for me to finish what he started, to manipulate it so I would be broken again and again so I would have no choice but to sacrifice my sister and concentrate on the mission" he shook his head "The Master is a very clever being, let's see if he predetermined this happening"

    Vydra smiled "In my bag is the Holocron of Prophecy. Take it. You deserve to know the answers to your questions, we all deserve answers. I don't even know if you are the one I am meant to give this to. The Master had a name circled in red, I didn't see who it was. But perhaps when the time comes, you will pass it to the right person. I trust you enough to look after it like your Holocron of Heresies. And I tell you again, do not share what it contains to anyone. Do not share it with anyone"

    Vydra indicated the bag slung over his shoulder "This Holocron will tell you what is going to happen, whether it is all predetermined I cannot say. But you deserve to know what is coming, you deserve to know everything. Secrets lies, manipulation is everywhere and it has got to stop. Or there will be no Protectors to face the darkness"

    He smiled, "That technique is a good one, perhaps I should learn it might be a handy part of my toolkit"

    Sek’nos took the Holocron, frowning. “Okay, Master, I think. I’ll... keep it safe, until I need it. I’m sure the Holocron of Heresies will be enough.”

    In short order, he taught the technique of memory erasure and removal. It would become known as mnenotherapy, but now, Vydra would not know what the future held.

    His eyes looked uncertain once he was done. “I’ll do whatever you ask of me, Master. But I’m not comfortable about breaking what the Master said...” Sek’nos eyed the misshapen Holocron.

    Vydra listened as Sek’nos went through the steps of learning the technique, he nodded and committed them to memory. He hoped that in future he would never have to use it. But it would be there to use as a just in case measure.

    “You asked about the Holocron of Prophecies when we first met and that you wanted one, you were disappointed in not receiving one” Vydra gestured “Guess what? You have one now”

    He laid Venezia back down on the floor as his arms were beginning to ache with holding her, he would pick her up again when he left. “In my youth, I was quite flamboyant and rebellious, never listening in school, just wanted to hang around with my friends, meet pretty women and basically have fun. I wish I could do that right now but…” he shrugged “have you not wanted to be rebellious, basically hang the rules for a little bit and have a little bit of fun?” he smiled “I’m not going to tell you off if you take a peek. Is the Master going to take a look since he has gone? I can’t give you answers, perhaps the Holocron will. You wanted to know if it was predetermined? Take a look and find out”

    Sek’nos looked down at the Holocron. “I’d rather save it until it’s needed; especially if I’m not supposed to have it.”

    “It’s that okay - or...” the Sith narrowed his eyes slightly.“Do you really want me to right now? To see if I change something?”

    He seemed hesitant. Vydra would feel that Sek’nos was starting to fill with doubts.

    "Doubt clouds judgement" said Vydra simply "We need to clear those doubts otherwise we do not have a clear mind, and we can not continue on our way until those doubts are satisfied. Unfortunately what the Master has left us with is too many questions without answers. And that means we are questioning things and that means doubts"

    He shrugged "You want answers?. They are right in front of you. Clear your mind of doubts, what you may seemay change you forever, but it is better to be certain than not. Perhaps learning what you are about to do may change yourself for the better or perhaps you can deviate from it. Nothing is ever set in stone. If it is, then it is wrong. We choose our own destiny. Not the Master, not anyone"

    "Besides it's only me here, who am I going to tell?" Vydra gave Sek'nos an easy smile.

    “Holocron...” Sek’nos said, cautiously. “Tell me about the Protectors.”

    The Holocron whirred, and came to life. “The Protectors are a name ascribed to ancient Legend in the years before the Apocalypse.“ Sek’nos twitched at that. “The Killiks referred to the Jedi who aided them during the Swarm War as Protectors, and indeed the religious connotations behind the words became known to the galaxy at large again when the Lost Tribe of the Sith escaped from Kesh.” Sek’nos blinked again.

    “The Protectors were, according to Keshiri history, opposed by the Destructors, who periodically descended upon the galaxy to return it to primitivism. The Sith slaves of the Omen, when they crashed on Kesh, tricked the natives into treating them as the Protectors reborn to solidify their control over the Keshiri for the next five millennia.”

    Sek’nos looked back at Vydra as the entry came to an end. “The Sith become... slavers?”

    He looked stricken.

    Vydra stepped forward "Hopefully this will not come to pass, I have been told bits and pieces about the future, but as I said this could be a future we can stop"

    "I was told things could not be stopped by the Master, whether that it is true with what he has told the other Protectors I do not know. But if there is a chance I would rather take that then the future I have been told to help create."

    Vydra gave Sek'nos a stare "I can teach you all the things in this universe and more, but it is up to you what you do with that knowledge. However if anyone chooses to use their knowledge for dark purposes then I will defend the light to my dying breath"

    "So we are acting... against the Master's wishes?" Sek'nos spoke slowly, glacially so. "I thought the Holocron of Heresies were hedges against a terrible future... or are you saying that they are not?"

    "This seems so... premeditated, Master Vydra. I don't understand."

    There was a tension building within the Sith, an upset veering into action.

    Well time to see if this works….

    "I would not concern yourself with that" he said the smile still on his face and touched Sek'nos neck immediately wiping everything from his memory from when he had received the Holocron of Prophecy onwards "I will deal with that. Besides the jury is still out on whether we do or not"

    He took the wisp of memory from Sek'nos and absorbed it. It wasn't anything he had not heard about before, the Master had essentially given them all this information before. But it would be a lesson as to what would happen in the future when he gave the Holocron to the correct person.

    And you made me use the memory wiping technique he mentally shook his head. You will be a bit of a hard student later on, always questioning when sometimes you shouldn't

    Sek’nos nodded to himself. “Sorry, I zoned out there, Master Vydra. What do you need from me?”

    He was his earnest self again; the one who believed they were heroes and it would all turn out okay.

    Vydra had quickly taken the Holocron of Prophecies back and had popped it back in his bag before Sek'nos spoke again. It was a shame he had to do that to Sek'nos but he couldn't trust him not to mouth off everything he had just seen.

    "I need you to not tell anyone what happened today, I will deal with that. What I do need you to do is keep a watchful eye out for anyone who would use the darkness to harm someone or who has evil plans to stop us Protectors from doing our jobs. Study your Holocron and prepare yourself for the call"

    Vydra turned serious again "I am about to make some big decisions, things that even the Master probably may not have even predicted. But the time has come for not just words, but action. The storm is coming and it is time to face it head on"

    He looked at Venezia "Now I had better get this one home, and you need to get some food" he tossed some credits to Sek'nos "Here, go and get yourself something before you wander into any more trouble"

    Sek'nos bowed to his Master. "Of course. I shall let you make those decisions, sir, and I will watch for the darkness. I will be prepared."

    For some reason he felt the need to youthfully pound his fist to his bare chest to emphasise his point, as if saluting his Master; as if they were in an army of warriors, crusading against the dark.

    "I will hunt down the dark. May the Force be with you, Master."

    With that, he spun on his heel and went to go, leaving his fears about the future behind.

    He had to be prepared.

    Vydra sighed so the Master may have created this mess or someone with ulterior motives who wants to see us fall. Well I will find out the truth, no matter what it takes. I will find out who did this to my sister whoever wants to tear us all apart. And I will make sure that whoever it is will answer for it. And if it is the Master then he and I will have something to settle with when I pass on.

    The truth will out. You cannot run, you will not hide. And I will make sure that your dark deeds will not succeed.

    He bent down, picked up Venezia and began to quickly head home.

    He had decisions to make...

    TAG: @Sinrebirth
  19. Sinrebirth

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

    Nov 15, 2004
    IC: Venezia
    Delomeux Household

    As Vydra returned, carrying his sister, his parents saw them come in and were in uproar. His father rushed forward to help his son, while his mother burst into tears. She was placed on the couch, unconscious still, even now. Venezia was not hurt, physically, but they had caught Vydra carrying her, so there was little else to be said.

    "Where did you find her?"

    "What happened?"

    "Is she okay?"

    "Do we need an ambulance?"

    Questions hammering away, but also, in Vydra's minds-eye, he had the memory Sek'nos had taken from her and bequeathed to him.

    Your brother is keeping things from you, a slither of a voice. He doesn't want you to show you up, does he? You're an embarrassment. You should go to the Clock-Tower and demand a Master. I will meet you there, as a shadow attached to your feet could only meet you.

    It was what the voice had said to his sister, and pushed her over the edge.

    TAG: @Jerjerrod-Lennox - and please post part 2 of your Secret Combo
    IC: The Darkness

    The Clock-Tower, a few days earlier, just after the meeting, or perhaps -

    The shadow creature frittered from one corner to the other, keeping itself in sight of Dunkeel, but clearly unable to stay still; it's shape was hardly stable, and so was not its behaviour, but it knew what would telegraph an attack, and it did no such behaviour.

    The ring was out, and the creature had curiosity more than anything. A weapon? Left by the Master? Of course he would have foreseen our inevitable interference... it peered, neck stretching for a moment. The enquiry stopped at the ring, and it spoke softly. Mustafar... a world far from here; it resonates with the dark side, but concealed within it; the Master gave you a weapon of evil, and you are considering using it?

    The Master had not told Dunkeel that the ring contained anything dangerous, of course, but the Darkness reverberated with genuine intrigue, which did not assist Dunkeel in assuring himself as to the consequences of putting the ring on.

    The Darkness seemed to expand, but it created a shape which was a mere approximation of Dunkeel's height, albeit more heavy set, with the head set in his shoulders; all silhouette, though. Then it rippled, acquiring multiple arms and growing shorter.

    There is a place on Mustafar which was created millennia ago to access the Light, this stone came from the Temple there... what business does the Master have visiting a world steeped in the dark?

    It coiled around the room, retaking it's original form, pouring doubts into the Force.

    TAG: @Mitth_Fisto

    TAG: @QueenSabe7 (combo continues)

    TAG: @galactic-vagabond422 (outstanding TAG)

    TAG: @HanSolo29 (combo continues)
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2020
  20. Jerjerrod-Lennox

    Jerjerrod-Lennox Jedi Grand Master star 7

    Mar 9, 2005
    OOC: A combo between myself and @Sinrebirth

    IC: The Master, Vydra Delomeux
    Shortly after Lesson Three

    The Master opted to meet Vydra at the library, because it was important to keep this separate from the Clock-Tower, now. The last pieces of the puzzle were a thing, and they needed to be handled with care. He called him there, and ignored the quizzical gazes of those present - and indeed what he expected was the fearful gaze of Vydra's family, though they would not remember him for long.

    By the time Vydra met him, he had already gestured elaborately, freezing the entire library in place. For a brief moment, they could speak. Standing in the central lobby, his arms were tucked behind his back ready to meet with the Protector. He took a deep breath, dispelling his tension, and spoke his rehearsed bit.

    Carefully, now.

    "As you know, I passed you your Truth, Yanjon. You might have, or might have not, wondered why that is the case. Possibly that I was hedging matters, possibly that I am leaving, and need to leave instructions." He shrugged. "It is both, actually, but only because I do not know if I will vanish." He shrugged.

    "I might not, yet."

    Vydra was concerned about the Master meeting him essentially at his home away from home so to speak. And if the ever curious Venezia spotted them there would be trouble, especially if it seemed this would be a visit in which he didn't even speak to his family. His father would have a fit if he knew that Vydra was here and didn't even pop in to say hello.

    Unfortunately this was business and yet again the Master showed nothing, not even to Vydra’s senses. The library then froze and he breathed a sigh of relief. At least Venezia would not be peering around the corner.

    But why did he choose to use Vydra’s name that he had been given only to use in a dire emergency? It seemed grave from what the Master was telling him. Him vanishing? Impossible. Well nobody lived forever, but for the Master to vanish would be a disaster for him and the rest. And yet again, one question was running through his mind…

    Why him?

    Even though he had taken on the responsibility of finding the one from his Truth, the one that could destroy all they had built, this was all new to him. Perhaps the Master knew something was coming, something that would make him have to leave to save them all. And he was entrusting the last instructions to him. Him, the novice of the bunch.

    “It is concerning Master that something is happening that would make you want to leave or even need to leave. With all that is going on, your guidance and wisdom would be invaluable, especially to me. This responsibility you have given me, of course I know what I have to look for, what to do. But for you to go would further enhance the darkness, that the one whom I seek could take this opportunity to strike”

    He shook his head “What is coming or happening that would make you come to this decision?”

    "It is not my decision, sadly. It might not even happen, so don't sweat it, but I need to prepare for it, just in-case, so there you go." He threw his hand out, as if discarding the notion as he sat on one of the desks. "Before you ask whose decision it is, I simply don't know that, either." A shrug.

    "You know what is to come, but have you thought of what the Protectors can do about it?" He was leading Vydra, but it was an innocent enough question.

    Vydra was so engrossed in what he had to look for that he hadn't thought of what the Protectors could do about it. He was not thinking of himself as the leader here, that was more Joren’s thing, but perhaps he could offer suggestions. He took a few moments to think.

    “As I said to Dunkeel during our duel, is it best to cull those that stray too far? Possibly, but I believe we should do only when we know that they will tip the balance towards darkness. Perhaps the others see different, perhaps they would kill them, perhaps I would mediate, find a way to bring them back to the light. Perhaps by the time I have acted it would be too late and I would set forth a chain of events that would forever shroud the galaxy in darkness”

    “Dunkeel and Val would kill them, even if Vale loved them she would do what she had to do. Joren i’m not sure, perhaps he would kill them too but I have a feeling that Joren could hoard knowledge not use it. Keep it to himself as to who it was and then act on his own a rogue so to speak. The shadow I have not seen for a while which is suspicious, I don’t know what he has in mind but I am concerned at what he would do, I don’t know him well enough to decipher his motives”

    “Perhaps the Twilight War will reveal our true selves. And perhaps we will stand together when the time comes, or perhaps the prophecy will come to pass and we will all fall. But I feel we are too divided at the moment, we need to work together as a team”

    The Master shrugged, undercutting all of the well reasoned arguments of Vydra. “You can’t stop it.”

    “It’s going to happen,” he was exacting on this. “We’re not talking a potential issue, but an actual one.”

    “It is utterly unavoidable.”

    So there it was then. He was about to become a murderer.

    OK so it was all to save the galaxy which was all well and good. But killing someone? Killing a person whom you could consider a friend? Well he hadn't figured out who was the closest to the prophecy from his Holocron but he had his eyes on the prize at all times. If someone even dipped a toe out of line he would be on to them.

    He knew that as a Protector, a warrior he would have to kill people but under his new philosophy it was only as a last resort. But it may be that mediation would have to take a back seat and he would have to kill without any malice, without any negative feelings that could push him over. But could he kill someone in cold blood? And what would his family think if they found out?His time in trying to mend his fractured relationship with them would be broken forever.

    Well I might as well face it. If I am going to kill them I need to be prepared. But I don’t think anything can prepare me for this.

    Out loud he said to the Master “You named Joren as the leader and yet you are passing me instructions as to what must be done if you disappear. Why trust me with this when Joren is the leader?. The others also seem to have a better understanding of things than I do. I know my Truth has something to do with this, but all I have is questions”

    “Because it’s not about what is going to happen, Vydra,” the Master said, allowing for a moment his despair to go its natural path.

    “It’s about what happens after.” He gestured to him. “If the Twilight Wars trigger the End of Time, then what?”

    He was discounting the billions, ortrillions, nay, quadrillions, that would die in the violence that would consume the galaxies - even before the inevitable. The Master had no choice but to.

    He could not take responsibility for what was going to happen because of him.

    The Master felt sick.

    He could do this.

    He had to.

    His eye had seen what would come to pass, and he had already put events into motion.

    Well that was a simple answer.

    “I guess we’ll all be dead then” said Vydra narrowing his eyes “If the end of time happens then I have failed. And the galaxy will be covered in darkness. Perhaps I can do something to change it, but you say that what is coming is unavoidable. So I need to stop the end of time and then afterwards follow your instructions which I hope you will tell me at some point” he folded his arms across his chest “Because all I am getting is a future of darkness and destruction that apparently hinges on my Truth and all that is going around in my head is more questions than answers”.

    “That I have to kill someone, a fellow Protector. This is unavoidable, of course and it makes me sick. All I have learned, all that I am now is to become a murderer to stop the galaxy from falling. Maybe the galaxy will fall no matter what I do. Maybe I'm doing something that unleashes hell I don’t know. If I can stop the end of time then so be it, but all I want to know is what you will leave me to do afterwards if we all survive this”

    "Killing a Protector?" The Master spoke gently. "I hope not. You know the final passage, but that doesn't mean you are the one who does the deed, Vydra. I cannot see it."

    "Your Truth is to work out the mystery of that passage, yes," he said, softly. "But it is not to just accept it. We cannot stop what is to come - but can we avoid it? Side-step it? Nudge ourselves out of it's path?"

    "What is dark is often a matter of perspective, and sometimes, you require the wider view," the Master said, his tone lilting. "We need to think like that... if we are to avoid things... can one change the Force? You are welcome to try, but this... this is important too."

    "If anything," he sighed. "Yours may be the most important Truth of all."

    Well he felt relieved that he didn't have to kill a fellow Protector but he did still feel sick to his stomach that someone would have to. So he had gotten the wrong end of the stick regarding what he had to do. But now he would still have to watch and make sure that he understood everything that had to happen, even if he wished it didn't. It sounded like it was inevitable what happened as the Master said but could they nudge it? It didn't seem like it but if there was a chance...

    But one phrase kept going around in his mind, and it was a phrase that the Master had mentioned in the last conversation they had had.

    A wider view of the Force.

    As the Master had intoned is the light not attached to the dark? Could he balance the two in order to avoid what was supposed to happen? Could he stop himself from falling if he did touch the dark? He didn't know and if he was consumed by darkness….he didn't want to think about it. It was frightening.

    Perhaps there was another Truth to come, or something more to his original Truth.

    “Perhaps as you say if we can avoid it then we could embrace this wider view but in essence we could lose ourselves, we need to balance ourselves in order to straddle both sides and yet not fall into darkness. The final passage outlined what will happen, perhaps the dark is inevitable and that we may have to embrace aspects of it to save ourselves perhaps the galaxy too. I know I cannot change to Force but perhaps we can at least make sure that the galaxy doesn't end. You wanted me to protect the Light perhaps it is all connected, light and dark, the wider view as you say”

    Vydra’s blue eyes focused on the cowl “So is there another Truth I need to know, or is my Truth being expanded as such?. And is this all related to my instructions?”

    The Master shook his head, and then nodded, acknowledging that Vydra was worrying about using the dark side of the Force. Was it interesting that Vydra considered that so swiftly; the Master could see as if it were a wound on his skin how the idea of using the darkness had damaged him so. "No, and yes."

    "You're thinking about the Force itself; but I am thinking of a wider view of reality," he said. "If the End of Time comes, we need to side-step it - create a group of people that flee from the End, and seek a way to break free - to abandon this timeline."

    He turned to the shelves, and gestured, not letting Vydra overthink it. From all different directions, five Holocrons, all pyramidal, and five hilts, all matching the original design the Master gave them, all those weeks ago, floated to the table he was perched upon. "If your five Holocrons are those of Prophecy... of our future..." the Master pointed to them. "These are Holocron's of Heresies - subverting prophecy." Each glowed red, and then he indicated the hilts. "Not Forcesabers, but lightsabers, containing synthetic crystals and using a battery pack, though they can select the colour of the blades, of course."

    "In the break between our second and third lessons, I tested five students," he shrugged. "Ish."

    He paused, looking back at Vydra. "Thus; side-step - escaping from this reality to another, to avoid the End of Time." He allowed the Protector a moment to work through the logic of this final leap of faith.

    This new information both shocked him and also made a little sense.

    The Master had said that what was going to happen was inevitable and unavoidable and it seems that he had made a plan. And from the gist of what he was saying, he had chosen Vydra to lead the next generation of Protectors.

    Although Vydra knew that his group would eventually have to move on, the thought of training new Protectors worried him. Could he be good enough?. Was he prepared? Would they even listen to or follow him?

    Well if the end of time came, they would have to. And bring them into a new era, an era hopefully free of death and destruction. Perhaps he would not need to step into the dark, but it was there always tempting him.

    And so this was what the Master was talking about when he taught them about the World Between Worlds. The thought of other timelines nearly made Vydra's brain explode but when it came down to it desperate times means desperate measures. To use something that was forbidden to change the future, to protect the future.

    It could probably change him. But the Master was entrusting this duty to him. Sadness enveloped him slightly at the thought that Joren and the others might die, or that he may never see them again. But he knew what was coming, he didn't know what the others knew but this, this was a task entrusted to him and him alone.

    Subverting prophecy?. It sounded as dangerous as it looked, but perhaps it was worth the risk to begin a brighter future. And the lightsabers sounded interesting an upgrade on his Forcesaber.

    He pulled the Forcesaber from his belt and ran his thumb over the old leather. Could he do this? Leave everyone and his family behind? They could all die anyway if everything came to pass. Venezia would say go for it, his father would have a fit. His mother would say go with your heart and not your head.

    The Force was saying nothing, waiting for him to answer. He always dreamed of becoming a Protector, a warrior for peace. Perhaps this was his destiny, his fate.

    He had to think about others, not himself. To protect and to serve.

    I can do this, I HAVE to.

    With a respectful bow to his Master he said "I accept Master. I know that this task will be tough, but when the time comes, I will be ready."

    “Good, good,” said the Master.

    He pointed to the holocrons. “These contain guidance on what they are to do after. To setup the next Order and so forth. I’ve managed to locate people who are isolated from society, or independent entities - one was arguably prepared for the role already, before I even met her.”

    “So nobody has to face the hard decision when it comes to it. It’s not just about your Truth; I expect you to be true to you - too. I don’t want anyone to feel as if they’re abandoning their families and loves. If a Protector cannot defend what is most important to them... then what is the point?”

    The Master was speaking of himself, but he may as well have been talking about Vydra, too. “I expect everyone to be able to listen to their hearts, and be aware of what they want to be. So if you need to try and save everyone,to try and change what is going to happen, I won’t stop you, Vydra.”

    The instructions weren't exactly contradictory, but they were important. For Vydra to sacrifice his family for the Protectors it might cleave him in two. The Master knew Vydra -and knew that he would struggle to abandon everyone. He was a good person.

    And, at the end of the day...

    ... his blade had been green.

    Two paths were thus laid before Vydra.

    And here was the big decision.

    Save the future and abandon everyone he loved and considered friends.

    Or stay in the present, to try to save the galaxy from destruction and possibly end up dying in the process along with everyone else. He would still have his family and friends if he stayed and succeeded….

    But then the Master’s words and the prophecy came crashing back into his mind. His mission was to protect the Light above everything else, and perhaps to save the galaxy you had to sacrifice those you love. Perhaps a new future would await him where he could love something or even someone else.

    Vydra hated this.

    Perhaps if he let what happened to happen perhaps he was not doing his job properly. But perhaps by taking those students with him in the World Between Worlds and into another timeline he would be doing his job. To make sure the darkness did not follow and infect other timelines.

    And he remembered his blade was green. To defend and not attack, to mediate not confront. And the prophecy outlined that knowledge was to be protected, not hoarded. Perhaps by choosing the path of the future he could protect as much knowledge as he could and use it to create a new order. To teach the students what he knew. Plus he would hopefully have his Holocron with him as well as the other Holocrons and lightsabers. They could begin again and make sure that the end of time could be avoided.

    This was going to break his heart, but perhaps he could be a stronger person in the future. His Forcesaber would be a reminder of his past and it would be a reminder of what he had lost, what he had sacrificed. He had to be true to himself as the Master said.

    He took a deep breath. This is the only way to save myself, to save the Protectors, to save the galaxy.

    “I choose the path of the future. I don’t know if I can stop what’s coming, and who does not want to save the world?” he shook his head “But I trust you. My life is as a Protector, my mission to protect the Light. And I will do what I must to Protect the galaxy, to protect the future. I know I will lose what is closest to me, but I chose the life of a Protector. And Protect I shall”

    Yellow and blue.

    Two paths bound up in the green blade.

    Vydra chose the path of the yellow blade; to defend above all else. Not to straddle the divide between one or the other.

    The Master simply nodded.

    When the time was right, Vydra would discover the students that the Master had met, and prepared, and warned - that their call would come, and a Protector would come in secret to find and meet them.

    The second class had to be kept hidden, for now, off-screen, so that what was fated to happen would not be interfered with, or, rather, accelerated by more secrets and personalities joining the conflict to come.

    It would not meet as one group until After.

    The Master simply nodded, and turned to leave.

    Vydra had chosen.

    But his blade would remain green.

    For now.

    TAG: @Sinrebirth , @HanSolo29 , @QueenSabe7 ,@Mitth_Fisto , @galactic-vagabond422
  21. QueenSabe7

    QueenSabe7 RPF Awards Host star 6 VIP - Game Host

    Mar 23, 2001
    Combo with Sinre - Part 3.5-ish

    IC: Erwen & Vale, w/Zinara

    The Villa, south of the capital, Nouane

    Vale had woke mere seconds before Zinara, stirred back to reality by the steadily climbing consciousness of the warm body next to her. And then subsequently even more so by the loud pounding at the front door.

    She groaned, content to ignore the interruption and not even try to figure out who was on the other side of the entry. They had fallen asleep together, after all, on the couch where they had been talking the night before; she hadn't known until this moment that she had not had a good night's sleep in a long time. The sluggishness and heaviness that she had come to accept as normal were not here this morning, instead replaced with relaxed feelings and an eagerness to start the new day.

    "You're still here!" Zin exclaimed in a rush and Vale laughed softly, moving to wrap her arms tighter around her wife as memories of similar mornings past wound their way into the present. "Would I be rude to suggest you take the day?" she responded, maybe so they could stay like this for a while longer, maybe so she could kiss her, maybe suggesting enough with her touch that they move to the the private quarters they once shared and to the bed they had as well...

    The vivid scene that was building in intensity in her mind began to crumble, however, as soon as the knocking continued and Zinara spoke next.

    "That'll be Erwen, can you humour him while I get ready?"

    "Must I?" she complained mockingly, with a smile. The door sounded again, she frowned. Zinara pressed her lips to hers but pulled away far too quickly. "I'm going to shower. If you manage to get rid of him entirely, come see me, maybe?"

    The scenario she had mentally conjured suddenly strengthened, and she gave her wife a wink. "Definitely." Then stood up to straighten herself as best she could as the other padded off to the master 'fresher. Hopefully she could shoo the man away with some sort of excuse - illness? Renovations? 'Mind your damn business and leave us be?'

    With a wave of a hand as she approached, the door slid open while she finished smoothing out her mussed up hair. "Good morning," Vale offered pleasantly enough, the faint sound of running water reaching her ears. "Zinara is getting ready and won't be much longer," - maybe - " is my fault if she is running a little behind."

    Erwen was present in his finest military garments, but his face was soft. “Officer,” he said with a slight smile to his features. “I took the liberty of personally assigning myself to Zinara for the morning,” Erwen leaned forward slightly.

    “I’m covering for her, if you don’t mind the presumption that she would be busy.” Erwen’s expression gave nothing further away. “May I?”

    He was exceedingly polite, and indicated his desire to come in. “I won’t keep you; I just needed the briefest conversation, actually.” Strictly speaking, he was a superior officer, but Zinara wasn’t on-duty, though technically, she was, just late.

    "Oh, please," Vale said, stepping back to allow Erwen inside. The groceries Zin had brought home yesterday were still scattered about the kitchen island, as well as a few empty bottles of wine and their glasses upon the living room table. She was a bit anxious about coming off disorderly or not able to keep a clean home, but was more concerned with this conversation the Nouane officer requested to have.

    "Would you like something to drink? Or just get straight to it?" She hadn't meant to come off as impatient, but there it was.

    Erwen smiled softly, not per se looking at the place, but his eyes drifted to the natural point back to her. He stepped over to the couch, sitting heavily. “I’d appreciate a tea, if possible, thank you.”

    He had sat next to her Holocron; it shifted towards him with the addition of his weight to the seat. It wasn’t immensely clear if he had noticed it yet, as his eyes were on her. “I’ll get to the point,” Erwen said, lightly. “The upper military heads are less taken with the succession of the Protector Masters, who now have control of a direct portion of our forces. They appreciate that the Lord’s are playing political games, but there is a genuine concern about how the Master was a generally accepted and positive part of the community - a magnanimous but mysterious man who often intervened to make matters better, albeit in hindsight - but his immediate successors are a single military minded woman, a librarian, a handyman and a celebrity - and a Defel that nobody seems to know where he is.”

    “I’ve tried to get to the bottom of what Zas’tel is doing, and the Protectors future plans. Master Dunkeel has intervened in a murder case, which is good, but generally the troops you have been assigned are sticking to what they were doing, and not applying themselves outside of it; they’ve gone slack, looking to blame any issues on you and the others...”

    His hands he clasped on his knees, and Erwen focused on his knuckles as he spoke.

    “I was hoping your first meeting would cover some of the topics that Master Dunkeel and I had discussed... but you left early and Master Vydra did too. Master Joren rushes home to his wife and gives no indication of anything else being of relevance.” His eyes narrowed. “I have reports of Master Vydra meeting up with a young Sith in the City Centre, before your meeting, and overnight he has left for the northern lands. The behaviour; it doesn’t ascribe to any unified group that I have seen... I’ve suppressed some of the news, but Zinara reported on Zas’tel and the concern that we might have a ‘rogue Protector’ has taken a life of its own.”

    Erwen appreciated he had spoken a lot, but he needed to get this out there, and Vale was his in, via Zinara. His intentions would be very clear in the Force; he wanted to know what was going on and he wouldn’t stop until he did.

    It was completely from the perspective that he was concerned for the fate of the City, and entirely divorced from the greater concerns Vale would have about the potential traitor, and the actions of Joren. But of course it was entwined, as all things were.

    Vydra was up to something; Zas’tel too; Joren was distracting them from what was really going on; Dunkeel was trying to manage their positions but wanted to give Joren the benefit of the doubt...

    ... soon, someone or something would force them to get their act together - or fail - and it seemed Erwen was potentially that someone.

    He looked up to Vale, eyes penetrating.

    Vale watched Erwen curiously as he spoke, setting about procuring the tea he had requested. Thankfully Zinara hadn't reorganized the kitchen and everything was just where she had remembered. She moved and listened, nodding in agreement here and there, conscious of both the holocron just beside him and his genuine concern for the future of his city.

    It softened her marginally, not that she was necessarily braced for a negative confrontation, but there were residual "on guard" feelings after her last encounter with Joren. Just because she distrusted the doctor shouldn't mean that same suspicion should bleed over onto others, especially one who gave her no reason whatsoever not to trust him.

    "I'll admit that certain high level Protector duties have taken a back seat for me, personally," she started, following with a sigh as she walked around the center table to take a seat beside Erwen after placing his steaming cup in front of him. She wasn't close, but close enough that she could offer her holocron a small, unnoticeable nudge in the Force to roll it behind a decorative pillow as she sat. "There's been a lot going on both privately and publicly that I've let distract from instructions the Master left us with. Please understand it was not intentional."

    Holding his gaze firmly in her own, Vale flashed a smile that could appear sad to scrutinizing eyes. "The Shadow is not a 'rogue', he is acting on his own orders from the Master before his... vanishing." Here she looked away abruptly, knowing her words were lies that she assumed had truth to them but without confirmation directly from Zas'tel, she'd never truly know. "And the rest of us are just trying to find out how we work best without the foundation that was our real leader."

    Vale leaned back, crossing one leg over the other. "I can pass on your concerns directly, if you would like."

    Erwen paused. He was being assessed, and he had identified that as a seasoned officer of the law and leader of many an interrogation, both soft and hard.

    "Excellent," the man said, brushing himself down and standing. "I appreciate knowing that, and I would like it if you could arrange that meeting. I know you won't meet up again for another week, but at the next sit-down, if my concerns could be raised, I would be grateful."

    "I am an outsider after all; I do not expect to understand all the... occultism of the way you intend to run things, but the Master himself - he was a key component to the balance of this City."
    The man smiled. "I just wanted to communicate that, directly, on the record, off the record." Erwen fished a comlink from a pocket. "This is a direct line for me. If you need me, I will always answer."

    There was an idle thought. "If you should find the Master, I would very much like to finish my conversation with him. I will however resist the urge to track down Zas'tel. It just seemed most likely to me, as he has taken to emulating the Master's appearance, he may know more than he let on - that he might even have a direct lead to the Master's location."

    Erwen shook his head. "A silly thought, I acknowledge."

    The man allowed a smile to play across his features. "But I should probably leave you to catching up on your... instructions." He did not go to leave, but he was ready and prepared to. He had no desire to elongate into politicking; his message had been delivered and his concerns heard - Erwen was generally happy to have been listened to. Dunkeel had felt so... nonhuman, it was difficult to pin down if the Chistori was worried or not. Vale was more on Erwen's level. He couldn't help it, but with the fate of the City on the line, he needed certainty, and Vale offered him that.

    Vale reluctantly stood to follow Erwen, glancing at his untouched cup of tea. She accepted the offered comm with a nod of her head, staring at it for a moment, considering a few nagging ideas that had flourished in the past few minutes while speaking with him. Perhaps it was a sign, the will of the Force that the officer had shown up here, now, bringing up a topic that she had held on to, that which she was meant to dig deeper.

    Had the Master seen that the Shadow would pique her interest eventually, knowing her penchant for curiosity and the truth? Had he intended for her to search for him?

    "Sir," she said to keep him from leaving, a habit of protocol. "Would you have any current details on Zas'tel? His location, maybe?"

    Erwen felt an air of curiosity within him, and did notice the pointed glance at the tea, but had no choice but to ignore it.

    He had decided before he came to their home that he wanted the two of them to have some time to reconnect, and that he would cover for Zinara. She hadn't asked for that, and he knew enough about Vale that she would never have asked for it, but in his calculations remained the definite fact that the emotional well-being of the Protectors individually would be key to the survival of the City.

    Staying for a prolonged cuppa would only interfere with that.

    "A Defel? In a black cloak?" Erwen smiled broadly, as if the idea of tracking such a combination was fanciful. "I remember hearing a rumour that the Master had a storage warehouse; I could follow up on that, if you wish? If Zas'tel is styling himself as the Masters 'true successor' it may be that he has access to it."

    "I would be grateful if you would," Vale accepted. "After all that's happened, I should check in with him and make sure he is... on track. With his orders." She cleared her throat, clearly uncomfortable with half-truths and partial lies. Though Erwen wouldn't be able to make that connection.

    She held up the comm he had given her, beginning to slowly walk towards the door. "And I will update you after our next meeting, and how the others respond to your concerns. I think they will be a much needed reminder of what we are beholden to now."

    As if on cue, she felt the conversation end and the lack of running water missing from the background noise. Internally there was a pang of amused frustration - Zin must be done with her shower, and she had missed her window.

    Erwen nodded, understanding the concept of operatives going into deep cover and needing a reminder every now and then. “Thank you, I would appreciate that.” Sketching a casual salute, he headed to the door.

    Opening it, he finished off with. “May the Force be with you.”

    As the Master used to say it, all those hours ago that felt more like months now.

    With that, he left. Leaving Vale with much unsaid, much said but with a shading of the truth, and much more to say. Such was the way of a chain of moments; they could never fully express themselves in such limited time - and in such a mediocre manner - words were so blunt and useless, in comparison to the sentiments they sought to express.

    Was it any surprise that the Protectors, through the best intentions, were almost at odds?

    Vale shut the door behind Erwen, the smile she had forced melting away as his parting words echoed in her memories. A knot had formed in her throat instantly, blocking her from returning the sentiment. Just as well, because the phrase held a much different meaning to her now.

    Now that the man who had first said it to her was gone.

    The weight of grief began to return in earnest - that same pressure on her soul that she had experienced the morning before when she had woke to a less hopeful world. One that felt hollow and without a compass, all the sorrow and the anger and many more unidentifiable things she had unconsciously avoided until now threatening to have their way with her. She gasped, choking back a sob.

    "Don't," Vale muttered, blinking her eyes to beat back the tears that were blurring the edges of her vision.

    Not here. Not in front of Zinara.

    With a grimace and a shake, she pushed herself into a forward motion towards the master suite at the back of the villa. As she approached, she let her wife's presence in the Force douse any flames of despair and instead replace them with the brighter burning passion of desire.

    "You better not have used all the hot water," she called as she entered the room, her voice hoarse but her thoughts already on much more pleasant ideas.

    TAGS: @Sinrebirth @galactic-vagabond422 ( @Mitth_Fisto @HanSolo29 @Jerjerrod-Lennox )
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2020
  22. Mitth_Fisto

    Mitth_Fisto Force Ghost star 6

    Sep 29, 2005
    IC: Dunkeel
    The Clock-Tower, a few days earlier, just after the meeting, or perhaps -

    The shadow creature kept shifting, skittering from place to place and from shape to shape. Only it never again left Dunkeel's sight. Which from it's earlier proclivities was concerning. It was like mercury on a hot plate. Most peculiar was about an attack, and it did no such behaviour. It was odd and perplexing, tickling his nostrils and suspicions.

    The ring was out, and the creature had curiosity more than anything. A weapon? Left by the Master? Of course he would have foreseen our inevitable interference... it peered, neck stretching for a moment. The enquiry stopped at the ring, and it spoke softly. Mustafar... a world far from here; it resonates with the dark side, but concealed within it; the Master gave you a weapon of evil, and you are considering using it?

    He pushed away thoughts of The Master of the Darkness even as it reverberated with genuine intrigue, which did not assist Dunkeel in assuring himself as to the consequences of putting the ring on.

    The Darkness seemed to expand, but it created a shape which was a mere approximation of Dunkeel's height, albeit more heavy set, with the head set in his shoulders; all silhouette, though. Then it rippled, acquiring multiple arms and growing shorter.

    There is a place on Mustafar which was created millennia ago to access the Light, this stone came from the Temple there... what business does the Master have visiting a world steeped in the dark?

    It coiled around the room, retaking it's original form, pouring doubts into the Force.

    Dunkeel could feel them cloying and clawing like gnit flyes after a fresh kill had begun to age. If your hide was tough enough they were barely a nuisance beyond the eyes. He felt his own eyes reflexively closing. No he had to keep them open! He had to, but they were a hindrance. The doubts were finding the cuts of the others words, the gaps in understanding The Master. The never fulfilled answers, the questions that never had a plain conclusion, the doubts of Joren, the doubts of Vydra, the muddled reality that was Vale, and then there was his own foggy responsibilities tied merely to the day to day and yet lost in the mists of possibly someday. He shook his head and blew his snout at the notions.

    "We are Protectors. Not of Light, not of Darkness. We protect both, we protect all. Even from. . .from themselves." he ground it out, a growled montra as he gripped Fang and the ring tighter. The ring seeming to sing with terrible possibilities, wonderful endings just within his grasp. "Stop your prattling, your dancing. Why did you reveal yourself? To die?" He could feel the ring slipping slightly, a jolt of minor proportions as it shifted between his claws as his trembling and doubts made his precious two pronged grip all the weaker. He had to hold out, listen to the Force.

    If only it wasn't as full of doubts as him.

    TAG: @Sinrebirth
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2020
  23. Sinrebirth

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

    Nov 15, 2004
    IC: Darkness
    The day of the first Conclave between the Protector Masters, evening

    "We are Protectors. Not of Light, not of Darkness. We protect both, we protect all. Even from. . .from themselves. Stop your prattling, your dancing. Why did you reveal yourself? To die?"

    The Darkness smiled, slightly, becoming almost solid, a reflection of Dunkeel. In a moment, it split, six more bodies emerging in an instant to surround him. They were all different.

    A Yuuzhan Vong, a species that wasn't present in this galaxy right now.

    A Codru-Ji, a multi-armed species much like the shape that the Darkness had taken a moment ago.

    A Ebruchi, a very rare species on Nouane, even moreso than say Gree or Kwa, which were almost extinct.

    An Arkanian, in the clothes of a tactical officer.

    A Terellian Jango Jumper, garbed as a bounty hunter.

    A human, with shifting features, even blue skin, at one point.

    The Darkness regrouped as his original shape, gathered up so they were at eye-level.

    "All your doubts split into so many different versions... how interesting that you become... shapeless, in the times to come, your desire for certainty echoing into time itself..." Now, however, it wasn't speaking as thoughts in his mind, but with a mouth that moved, and spoke, and verbalised; as the discussion continued on, the Darkness was becoming more solid... more... real.

    A pause, and then a reluctance was evident in the expression of the man. "I revealed myself so that I might parse upon the Master's teachings; his goals. He knew that the Twilight Wars are coming, did he not? We have a vested interested in the Dark succeeding, no? Though your Master seems to want a different war to what we expected..."

    A flicker of shadow.

    A gesture with a shaped point.

    "Touch the ring, see what it reaps... or perhaps, ignite your blade, and show me what you bear."

    "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!"

    The shadow grew immense and loomed over him, but did not strike.

    "Or should I go?"

    TAG: @Mitth-Fisto

    IC: Zinara

    The day after; morning

    "Plenty left, I promise," and the rest of the sentence played out in her mind.

    Even enough for me to go again, if that's what you fancied.

    Zinara grinned, a towel around her head, another around her waist, as she came out. She had heard Erwen leave, and so now was the time to speak. "Am I in trouble with Erwen? Or did he -"

    She paused as she saw Vale, looking as hoarse as she sounded. "Vale, has something happened?" She stepped over a small pile of her own clothes, reaching for her. "Is everything alright?" Already her fear began to turn to anger. "If Erwen has done something I'll -"

    TAG: @QueenSabe7

    TAG: @galactic-vagabond422 (as discussed)

    TAG: @Jerjerrod-Lennox (combo continuing a few days later)

    TAG: @HanSolo29 (combo continuing the evening of the first Conclave)
  24. Jerjerrod-Lennox

    Jerjerrod-Lennox Jedi Grand Master star 7

    Mar 9, 2005
    OOC: A combo with @Sinrebirth

    IC: Vydra Delomeux, Sophie, Venezia and Pierre Delomeux
    Location: Delomeux residence, Nouane City, Nouane

    Vydra had hoped to sneak in, drop his sister off and then disappear again to the Clock Tower without his parents noticing. A nice clean in and out.

    Guess not.

    His parents were bombarding him with questions and it was starting to give him a massive headache. And how was he going to explain what had happened? It was not like he could say Hi Mum, hi Dad. Guess what. Venezia tried to kill me and one of my apprentices because voices in her head told her too. I had to get my Forcesaber out, she nearly attacked me with dark side powr and my apprentice stripped her memories. All in all very uneventful.

    Meanwhile the voice that had been in his sisters head was talking to him through the memory he had received from his Sith student. And it seemed like a shadow was at play, trying to split the Delomeux family apart. Essentially goading her to go to the Clock Tower and giver his fellow Protectors a shock. Vydra had stopped the shadows plans in its tracks with a little help from Sek’nos. Now the shadow would probably have to change tack. And whoever it was they would pay and be served justice.

    “Woah slow down” he eventually said he looked and felt tired “I found her in an alleyway confronting a Sith who was looking for food. I had to try and calm her down but she was having none of it. She’s OK but unfortunately seems to have suffered a concussion. She tried to attack the Sith but ended up on the floor, he didn't hurt her if that is what you're thinking. I picked her up and carried her home”

    He hated lying to his parents but it was better than telling them his sister had gone berserk.

    His parents looked at each other. "She tried to attack the Sith? That she was comforting? Did he threaten her?" Vydra's mother responded, confused.

    Vydra's father's expression darkened, but he kept quiet for that moment. Venezia was already beginning to stir, and she sat up. "What happened?"

    "A Sith happened," her father said, coldly.

    This was getting a little out of hand.

    "Venezia wasn't herself at the time" Vydra explained "Apparently when she tried to attack the Sith she accused him of being a secret apprentice of mine. That a voice was telling her that the Master wanted to hurt me, that the Master had a plan for me." He shook his head "That she should go to the Clock Tower and meet a shadow. A shadow that could hurt us Protectors by the sounds of it. The poor Sith sadly was in her way"

    He frowned "It seems a dark entity or whatever it was turned her delirious. I managed to get there in time to drive whatever it was out of her mind. If it stayed there she could have hurt someone. But she did not thankfully but had I not arrived ..." He left the rest of it to their imagination.

    "What matters is that she is safe and unharmed. She needs help not anger. And I will find who violated her mind"

    The three of them looked at each other, shocked and confused. They didn’t understand, though they clearly wanted to. “There’s no need to cover for the Sith, Vydra. We all know the problems between humans and nonhumans of the City are increasing. It must have been a setup.”

    Ven looked at her father as if he had grown two horns. “Sith are no different than the Twi'lek's and Rodians and Aqualish and so on. I can’t believe you just said that.”

    “The southern quarter is causing a disproportionate amount of problems for the rest of us,”their mother said, carefully. “I’m not sure why, but it is. I mean there was a murder in another quadrant on the basis of species earlier this week. Protector Master Dunkeel is supposed to be dealing with it.”

    Their father looked at Vydra. “Putting down these problems is what you’re supposed to be doing, aren’t you, Protector Master?” There was a slight amount of sarcasm present.

    Vydra tipped his head to the side "Xenophobia. It is the one thing that is keeping this city from being united, and perhaps one day we may have to face enemies and we would need a united front. Squabbling amongst non humans and humans just because they are different is not the way to go. Everyone should be accepted for who they are. You should know better than to judge"

    Vydra folded his arms across his chest, he had hoped to avoid confrontation he had just healed the rift between himself and his family, it seemed it was opening up again "The Master recently died and we are all still coming to terms with it, our duties, our responsibilities. If you feel Dunkeel has neglected his duties I apologize. But something important must have grabbed his attention to postpone those duties, no doubt it is serious enough to do so. I will convey your concerns of course"

    He narrowed his eyes at his father "And you Dad, we just healed the rift we had, do you want to open it again?. Because if you do, perhaps it would be best if I departed...and made it permanent this time if you feel I failed you so much"

    Vydra’s father took a deep breath; he didn’t even need the pointed look from his wife to wind down. “I’m sorry, son - I really am.” He hesitated, and then it burst forth. “It’s just been so very frustrating lately. It’s almost as if the entire City is facing down this sense of inevitability - as it everything that’s happening is just impossible to stop.”

    He kind of slumped. “Like someone has decided that there is nothing we can do to change what is going to happen, almost. I’m seeing it everywhere; the grinding bureaucracy that can’t do anything; the consuming nature of the City, constantly spreading more south into the lowlands; the shove and clutter of some of the poorer districts that's increasing; the more and more radical views being taken by academics critics... it’s almost as if we're losing against something but I have no idea what.”

    Vydra’s mother looked at her son with concern. Venezia looked tearful. He looked so crestfallen, if it was possible to be.

    Had Vydra ever wondered if the microcosm of the situation inside the Protectors was being reflected in the rest of the City now? That it was not just them, but everyone?

    Vydra smiled a little "Oh believe me I have been told that some things cannot be stopped that they are set in stone" he turned serious again " But if it is then that means fate is non existent that we cannot choose our own destiny, that we cannot control our own lives. And it seems someone or something is perhaps trying to divide the city, make these things happen so that the city does explode" he narrowed his eyes "So that darkness wins"

    "Perhaps the division that is making us Protectors seem weak is also making the city weak. That someone wants this to happen. Maybe it was the Master's plan all along, maybe it was this dark entity that entered Venezia's mind. But whatever it is, it needs to be stopped before this city blows. And the Protectors need to be united. So the next generation doesn't need to pick up the mess we left behind."

    "It's time we all united, we all stick together. Enough division perhaps us Protectors need to show everyone we will protect them all"

    The three of them looked at each other, and then looked at Vydra. His father answered for each of them. “What do you need us to do. We can change things; can stop this.”

    Mother was less clear.“Everyone knows the Master was key to this City even functioning; he proposed many of the way we do anything at all - how we interact, the rules and laws we have... if the Master did that... he’s been planning this for decades.”

    “I don’t believe the Master did it,” Ven said. “We’ve been taught in school about all the innovations and power-brokering he's done in the last century. Nobody has suddenly disappeared or been removed from power along the way - if anything the only one who has vanished.”

    “We’re not dependent on him,” huffed father. “And if we were, we now have five Protector Masters instead of one. So whatever they need; they get.”

    “You’re right,” mother said,and drew Vydra into a hug.“And the Master never had us. If there is something bad and inevitable the Master was trying to manage - we’ll just stop it outright.”

    Vydra responded to his mother's hug to his family's love and affection with joy emanating through the Force. The Protectors may be divided but his family wasn't. Venezia was back to herself and he regretted stealing that memory from her but if the Delomeux family could make a difference then maybe the city would unite.

    "We may be librarians, I may be a novice in the ways of the Force but as they say, every little helps. Stop the expansion of the city, help to design projects that could help the downtrodden. Projects that bring everyone together. Stop xenophobia, stop radical preaching. Let us Protectors do our jobs and the security forces will do theirs."

    Vydra sighed "The problem is that it will be difficult to unite my comrades. Joren and me are on the same wavelength, Dunkeel is balancing both sides and Vale believes the Master can do no wrong. I respect people's arguments but we need to stop this division NOW. We need to act before the darkness comes and consumes us all. And if it takes me the novice to get them to stop arguing and basically look towards what is coming or pack their bags and go, so be it."

    "I was anointed a defender, a mediator by my green Forcesaber blade but I cannot do this alone. But if I have to protect the future by myself then I will do so. The Master may have planned for this, perhaps he did not. But truth will out and the city will see if he is correct or if he did have designs to doom us all, watch us tear ourselves apart. I hope not. "

    His face turned determined "Spread the word, division is not the way forward. We are Nouane and whatever darkness is trying to consume us, it will not win. Light will outshine the dark and the Protectors will show that balance will be preserved".

    The family nodded at Vydra. It was time to work together, and they each had their connections; in the school system, among the councils that ran this City, among the various clubs and groups they were members of as part of the simple need to maintain their position in society.

    His father began making plans to spend a degree of their savings on a gala to raise awareness;Venezia planned to start an initiative at her university; his mother began to connect with charities and organisations to support the drive - many of which were overstretched and had long been abandoned by the Lords and Ladies of the City, with the regular stipend theMaster had sent them far too little to cover everything.

    The Delomeux Family was declaring a quiet war on the inevitability of the Twilight Wars.

    A change was declared.

    It seemed as though Vydra had found a new found confidence in himself.

    Perhaps it was because he wanted to show that even a librarian could help change things.

    Perhaps it was because he was fed up with all the riddles, secrets, lies and all the questions left unanswered.

    Whatever it was Vydra and the Delomeux family had opted to take a stand. Perhaps the Twilight Wars would be less devastating if they were prepared instead of divided. It was time for the Protectors to stop being divided, stop arguing and distrusting each other and get on with what they were supposed to be doing.


    Vydra threw some ideas in of course to help out. But one thing was clear in his mind. Perhaps they all needed to come clean about things. Ehether everyone would he was unsure.

    But Vydra knew he had to tackle the darkness head on and defend.

    That was what he was supposed to be after all.

    TAG: @Sinrebirth , @HanSolo29 , @Mitth_Fisto , @QueenSabe7
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2020
  25. Sinrebirth

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

    Nov 15, 2004
    IC: Captain Erwen
    Later that week

    By this point, it was fair to say that the five Holocron's of Heresies had been distributed.

    Vydra still had his Holocron of Prophecy to give out.

    What happened off-screen, so to speak, was what it was.

    The first three had been distributed in places you could find.

    To Sek'nos Rath, to Sheel Ix, to Lagertha Atreus.

    The other two names were immaterial to the cast that stood today.

    They were the ones that would face the aftermath.

    With Vale on the look out for a traitor with a red-flame; with Joren leading; with Dunkeel keeping the balance; with Vydra working on the second class; and with Zas'tel managing his own shadowy tasks separate from the group...

    The Twilight Wars were coming, true, but the Master had made it clear that their role was not about preventing it, but managing it...

    ... though resolves had been shifted, personal matters became involved, and distrust fluttered through them...

    ... were things on schedule?

    ... or were the pieces going rogue?

    When the former librarian and present-day Protector Master arrived, the City was much of what it was, but the Force whispered that he had been... noticed. As he returned home, along his route back, there stood an officer of the law. Blond, tall, firmly gathered, the man was Erwen, and he had spoken to Dunkeel and Vale already -

    Now he was here to speak to Vydra.

    In the past day, his family had thrown its considerable weight at the City, drawing upon a wealth of social contacts and connections to shore up an increasingly fatigued system. The Lords of Nouane hid themselves away from the citizenry, relying upon announcements as pointless and pontificating as that which had occurred with the elevation of the four Protector Masters to positions in the security forces... creating what some considered strategic task forces, and others to be the not-so-secret police.

    Vale was trusted, as a known quality in the military; her record was a public one - she was renowned as a force for good.

    Dunkeel, he had turned up at a murder investigation the very night the Master died; the people trusted him as a known handyman - a people's Protector, some said.

    Joren, they knew of as a minor celebrity, and him as a leader of any kind was not something they considered him in the role of. That created uncertainty, and until Joren did something with that role, nobody knew what to make of it.

    Zas'tel, the Shadow of a Defel, though, his complete disappearance was driving a jagged tear through the fabric of the City. A nonhuman that nobody could see? Nobody could find? It was fear itself, and it lapped at the tensions between humans and non-humans.

    But Vydra, he was seen around and about; here, there, throughout the City, doing Protector business that the people noticed and talked about. Joren created uncertainty, but Vydra had, until now, been creating paranoia in his own manner.

    There was a theory that he had been investigating the City, and now he had his understanding of matters, he had sent his family to fix things; it created hope. Erwen knew that could be more dangerous than uncertainty, and not always the balm for fear; hope was a quick answer, and not a long term solution.

    But, hope was all they had.

    And Vydra was it.

    With that in mind -

    He knew he had to speak to Vydra now.

    Saluting slighting, he then slightly bowed. "Lord Delomeux, I am Erwen, a Captain in the City. Do you have time for a beverage?" He had chosen this spot in the City as the street had a tavern on one side, and a cafe on the other. He thus had the advantage of catering to whatever Vydra wished. "I have spoken with two of your colleagues, and I would appreciate some time with you, too."

    "You have decided to save this City, I hear." Erwen smiled broadly. "This is my goal, too, above all."

    He threw his hands out. "I love this City."

    TAG: @Jerjerrod-Lennox (a happy combo, methinks)

    TAG: @galactic-vagabond422 (outstanding TAG (last TAG now))

    TAG: @HanSolo29 (combo please, to finalise this week)

    TAG: @QueenSabe7 combo)

    TAG: @Mitth_Fisto (outstanding TAG)