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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. darthbernael

    darthbernael Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 15, 2019
    IC Zas’tel
    Return to the Clock Tower

    Zas’tel had begun his journey back to the Clock Tower when he had a thought. He returned to the warehouse. Placing a hand on the entrance he focused, reaching into the fabric of the building. He could feel what the Master had done to deflect attention away from the building and what was inside.

    Exerting energy, he strengthened what had been done, adding a layer to the energy that would make anyone want to disregard the building entirely from their mind unless they were attuned to it as he was. He frowned as that included his fellow Protectors but he also knew that what was inside the Master had left for him and him alone.

    He slowly circled the warehouse, finding other nodes of similar energy. At each he strengthened the node and added the same layer that he had at the first. It took him several long minutes before he’d circled the building but when he was done, he was sure that he’d done as much as he could to ensure that what was supposed to be kept hidden would be.

    Sending out his senses, as he’d been taught he couldn’t feel Vydra at the moment. Joren seemed engaged in business of his own but a cloud hung over, around him, some unknown that would cause trauma soon. Vale and Dunkeel felt as though they were already at the Clock Tower, and she seemed to be very interested in what he himself was doing and where he’d been. That would have to be confronted at some point but he couldn’t, wouldn’t, betray that which the Master had tasked him with, even if it did add to the friction that he knew as there, between the Protectors.

    He could sense that the city had grown calmer, to an extent, in his absence. And that his fellow Protectors were part of why that was so. One of those that worked with Vale, he could feel the man but not remember his name, had an extreme interest in him as well. So much so that he was glad that he’d refined and upgraded what had been done to the warehouse to protect it. That man seemed obsessed with him and what was inside.

    He would have to confront the man soon, especially as he could feel the connection between the man and Vale, who distrusted him most and desired to delve into the deepest of the secrets that the Master had entrusted him with. He didn’t desire to create fracture points within the Protectors or between himself and the others, but the Master had entrusted them each with secrets and he’d sworn not to reveal any of them to the others, unless absolutely necessary and that such time had not yet arrived.

    He slipped through the shadows of the City, observing activity in each quadrant of it, seeing how each of his fellow Protectors ran their sectors. He felt areas of both Light and Dark energy as he moved but knew he should probably put in an appearance at the Tower or the others would suspect his tasks were not for them to know. So, his route took him slowly toward his home.

    As he approached he felt that man, officer, that had such an extreme interest in him had set guard to the Main entrance, as well as the secondary, more hidden one. A small smile crossed his face, he wasn’t known as the Shadow for no reason. And the waterway was heavily shadowed.

    He made his way down to that area, his mind reaching out to create a bubble of avoidance so that anyone in the area wouldn’t notice him. As he drew close he felt the man there, poor officer just trying to investigate a mystery but one that involved him and he couldn’t allow that to interfere with what he needed to do. He drew close, passing the man, letting only the barest whisper of his presence be felt. As he passed through the door, he let the trail of the cloak, just as the Master’s, become visible as the door closed. He disliked that he was being investigated but he also couldn’t help the tease of letting the man know he’d just missed him.

    The door shut and he made his way higher into the Tower. As he moved past the personal spaces his sense of both Vale and Dunkeel grew stronger. He followed that trail and it led him to the meeting room. A small, devious smile crossed his face as he slipped through the semi open door, not disturbing it as he did. Finding a convenient shadow he settled into it and allowed only a tiny fraction of his presence be felt, over time, just enough to cast doubt as to whether he was there or not, as he listened to their conversation.

    TAGS: @Sinrebirth, @QueenSabe7, @Mitth_Fisto
     
    QueenSabe7 and Mitth_Fisto like this.
  2. HanSolo29

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

    Registered:
    Apr 13, 2001
    The following is a combo with Jerjerrod-Lennox – thank you so much! :)

    IC: Vydra Delomeax and Dr. Joren Graal
    Riverside Park, Nouane City, Nouane

    Time had passed. Now it was time to get down to some potentially emotional business.

    And by the end of it, he would have gotten some weight off his chest about things and either he would be a little happier or devastated once again. And if it was the latter then his very own future as a Protector would be thrown into focus. His family had their tasks to do with organising the city into unification.

    It was fast approaching the conclave and he had to talk to Joren now as it could be his very last chance to do so before business took over again. And this was a chat as a friend not as a leader and subordinate or fellow Protector. It needed to be done away from prying eyes, away from family, other Protectors and friends. This would be the ultimate test of friendship.

    Vydra had sent the pulse off to Joren before about needing to talk. He had sent the pulse again when he arrived at what he thought was the perfect spot. A bench right by the river with a picturesque view. He sat on the bench, his bag between his legs waiting for Joren to arrive.

    And hoping he turned up.

    Ultimately, it was the Force that had guided Joren to this spot.

    He had originally felt the disturbance a few days ago, the subtle sensation manifesting itself as a gentle nudge at the back of his mind. It had been both receptive and urgent; not quite desperate, but it certainly had the potential to continue down that path if provoked. At first, Joren had perceived it as a mere reflection of his own anxiety emanating in the Force, particularly with the stress he was under between the baby, his work at the university, and the looming meeting with the Protectors. It had been easy to brush off such things.

    But then he had felt it again this morning with greater intensity. This second wave had offered more clarity and he was finally able to recognize the familiar signature attached to the strange sensation. Vydra. There was no mistaking his vibrant personality, though he noted that it also reverberated with uncertainty and…fear.

    That’s when Joren knew that his friend needed him.

    And so, when the professor left the house that morning, he had deviated from his usual routine to follow the tangible line that connected him to Vydra through the Force. He eventually found the man in the riverside district, a reasonable distance from the shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues that dotted the shoreline. It was a tranquil spot that overlooked the lapping water and afforded them a sense of privacy.

    As he approached, a gentle smile pulled up one corner of Joren’s mouth in greeting. “I thought I might find you here,” he remarked as he slid his bag from his shoulder and sat down beside the older man. “It’s a little early for ‘official business’, though. I haven’t had my caf yet.”

    He chuckled softly to lighten the mood before he turned serious once more, his eyes narrowing perceptively. “What’s going on? Is everything alright?”

    Vydra sighed, Joren could read him from about a mile out. He smirked a little “Always thinking of business first Joren, you have never changed. I thought your wife would have drummed that out of you by now. And no caf or business until this is done” he turned serious “Well this is sort of Protector business but I want this to be strictly between us as friends. Not Protectors not leader and whatever you consider me to be these days just friends”

    He wished he was here with Joren to admire the view and to talk about other things. The weather, how Joren’s wife was getting on with her pregnancy, the university and the library, Vydra’s family, anything else but this. But he had to tell someone to feel the last piece of his heartbreak and lose the only thing he considered sacred in this world apart from his family of course.

    In the Force, he began to broadcast sadness, and basically the fact that he felt like something bad was about to happen as he faced the view. “Do you remember that conversation back at the Clock Temple when it was just the two of us? When we actually talked as friends? It seems so long ago now. But you mentioned to me about your thoughts, what you had seen in your vision, that we tried to decipher what the Master had planned for us” he sighed again “Well I think it is my turn to reveal some things. Things that could shake everything, even shake our friendship”

    He closed his eyes and his voice began to waver “You saw someone access the World Between Worlds. The act of betrayal of treason. The traitor”

    Say it Vydra….SAY IT!

    He looked straight at Joren then his face looking miserable and the Force screaming in sadness “The traitor is me”.

    The levity instantly faded from Joren’s expression upon learning of Vydra’s revelation. It was a lot to process, and part of him wondered if it was even real – if perhaps his friend was mistaken or if something else was influencing his behavior. It just didn’t make sense for his own friend to commit an act of subterfuge.

    Or maybe…

    It made too much sense. The truth was right there for him to see. If he focused his thoughts, he could feel the man’s sincerity through the Force; it trembled with both sadness and regret. In a sense, it felt like a tremendous weight was pressing down on him – crushing him.

    Exhaling heavily, the doctor leaned forward so that his elbows were resting on his knees and reached up to rub his hands over his face. “You…” he muttered softly, making a point to avoid Vydra’s gaze. “I don’t...understand. Did you already access it, or…?

    Joren then clenched his jaw and shook his head with exasperation. “Why did you lie to me? I needed guidance…clarity to prevent a disaster.” His blue eyes flashed dangerously as he finally shifted to glare at the other man. “You’re deliberately endangering my child. I don’t know if any explanation can rationalize that.”

    He could feel Joren’s gaze on him, burning him from the outside in. His best and oldest friend might as well have gotten a knife and sliced him with it. He knew he had to try and explain things as best he could and then let fate decide whether to spare him or punish him.

    He looked at Joren, his eyes still looking sad “I haven't accessed it no. But let me at least try to explain myself and then you can make your own judgment”

    He looked out over the view at least it would help him focus as he talked “The Master gave me a mission. To train new students, to prepare them for the time to come, for after the Twilight Wars end. To take them through the gateway into another galaxy, to train them and protect the future to usher in a new era of Protectors" he shook his head “And everything else dies in the process. The Master stated that it couldn't be stopped what was about to happen. That it was unavoidable”

    He sighed “I heard the whole prophecy and he wanted me to make sure I side-stepped it, to ensure that everything happened and I would just waltz off and let everyone die. I don’t even know what would have happened to you guys” he shuddered at the thought “To abandon the timeline and create a new one, free of chaos, death, and destruction”.

    “The Master tested five students and I was given a list” he patted his bag with his Holocron and the Holocron of Prophecy within “Who to give the Holocron of Heresies to and who to hand the Holocron of Prophecy to. When the time came they would heed the call to the Clock Temple and they would be given their weapons, lightsabers not Forcesabers. And he chose me, the novice to do so. Not Vale who had military experience, not you with leadership qualities but me. A librarian”

    His eyes glistened with tears and he swallowed still looking at the view “And I accepted. And then the emotional weight of it hit me as well as what the Master did. And I was emotionally beaten again and again and again until I could not stand it anymore. Hence this meeting. Because you deserve to know everything and decide yourself the best course of action ahead.”

    Joren sat in silence for several minutes, the light sea breeze tugging lightly at his hair as he squinted off into the distance. He didn’t know how to respond; he had become numb. What could he possibly do or say to prevent this imminent disaster from happening? Vydra had allowed these events to progress unchecked for weeks. There was no telling how much damage he had caused in the process. The doctor had always known that his friend could be a little naive, and yet…

    Clenching his jaw, Joren pressed forward and exhaled heavily through his nose. It wouldn’t help him to dwell on such thoughts. He couldn’t place blame – not without proof. Despite the turmoil he felt inside, he realized that this was not a deliberate act of betrayal. The Force told him that much. That left only one other possibility…

    “The Master manipulated you,” Joren finally replied, his voice low and bereft of all emotion. “He used your innocence to exploit a weak point. It was a way to further his own agenda. But you didn’t pass through the gateway, so maybe there is still a chance to stop it. No one will have to die and no one will break us apart. We are the only Protectors.”

    Pressing his lips together, he then angled his chin to regard the sack that contained the Holocrons. “How long have you been meeting with these students?”

    Vydra knew he had not been left off the hook here. Joren may just be providing something to make him feel better. It wasn't working.

    Vydra slowly turned his head to face Joren finally “I started meeting the students after the fourth lesson given by the Master. I saw three of them and asked them if they would accept the challenge of becoming a Protector. Two accepted straight away, the third I’m not sure about. I then met the others over time and gave them their Holocrons of Heresies. The Master gave me a list, a name was circled in red as to who I should give the Holocron of Prophecies to. I don’t know who that is yet” he pushed the sack over to Joren “If you want to take over my job of teaching these students, you are more than welcome to. My Holocron is in there too, I made a recording of all my thoughts regarding the Master and everything”

    He sighed “I know I betrayed you all. The Master’s talk he gave me has beaten me down until I can go on no more. I can’t do this job anymore” his face and thoughts showed devastation “And I don’t think you or the others would trust me anymore either. I may have even destroyed our friendship beyond repair. And I don’t know if we will ever find the truth about the Master, or whether it will reveal itself when it is too late. I feel emotionally and physically spent and I don’t think I can face anyone again with the knowledge that I am a monster. Specially crafted by the Master to access the World Between Worlds”

    He took his Forcesaber off his belt, the one created by items from the Delomeux library. The gold and brown leather from recovering books. “I, therefore, have no choice but to relinquish my position as Protector Master and permanently exile myself.” he sighed offering his blade to Joren “Take this, and perhaps you remember me as I was, not the broken shell of a man I am now. Use this to defend the galaxy, to protect and serve as I wanted to”

    Despite the hopelessness and despair wafting off of Vydra through the Force, Joren did not look up to meet his gaze, nor did he make an effort to console him in any way. In fact, his expression remained an emotionless mask as he stiffly accepted the Forcesaber from the other man’s grasp. Slowly, he turned the weapon around in his hands, testing the leather grip and committing the artistry of the custom hilt to memory. It was the last piece he had to remind himself of the camaraderie they once shared, along with the Holocrons resting at his feet.

    Joren felt physical pain as a result, like a sharp blade embedding itself into his sternum to stab at the vital organs beneath. In some ways, he blamed himself for this outcome – for not recognizing the clues to prevent this disaster from happening. How could he have been so complacent?

    How could Vydra?

    Issuing a sigh, Joren placed the Forcesaber within the folds of his own travel bag and reached up to run a hand through his hair. He had a lot to consider; a lot to work out and coordinate, especially with a new class of students requiring a teacher. He knew this next step would not be an easy one, but he really couldn’t think of any other choice. If he was to preserve the legacy of the Protectors – to set things right, he needed to implement more extreme measures.

    He needed to correct Vydra’s mistakes and ensure that he would no longer interfere. At least, until things returned to some semblance of normalcy. This was for the future of the galaxy – a future that he had to secure for his child.

    “Exile is never an easy decision,” Joren began carefully, the words seeming to hold a certain level of regret. “But that doesn’t mean that I don’t agree with it. In fact, I fear that it may not be enough.”

    Inhaling deeply, he finally angled his chin to meet Vydra’s gaze. “Please understand that I don’t blame you – you did what you thought was right based on the Master’s instruction. You got swept under by his influence, and that’s what will ultimately have consequences. That’s why I require something more to ensure that things can carry on as intended.”

    Joren hesitated a moment, his eyes now reflecting the veracity of his next request. “A few weeks ago, the Master bestowed a name upon you. Your true name. He described it as a failsafe. I will let you go free to live out the rest of your life in exile, but I require your name as collateral.” He spread his hands slowly, an innocent gesture to express his probity. “I need you to trust me.”

    This conversation had an air of finality to it. It felt like to Vydra Joren was simply saying "we're done". That their friendship and connection they had once shared was gone. Although Joren had said that he didn't blame Vydra for what he had done but Vydra did. And he would have to live out the rest of his days knowing that he had caused it all.

    No friends, no family. Just himself now. Joren didn't agree with Vydra's choice to go into exile but Vydra saw it as the only way. To make sure potentially that the Protectors would work together instead of apart. Plus it would give them a lesson: don't do what I did.

    "Yanjon" he said simply looking out at the view again, it was better than looking at his former friend’s emotionless face "You can use it now, strip me of the Force so I hurt no-one else"

    Although to be honest he would rather have Joren basically stab him with his own Forcesaber. Kill the traitor right here and now, or let Vydra do it himself. Perhaps death was the easy option, perhaps it was better to strip him now so when he died he would not pass into the Force. He would die a disgrace, a disgrace to the family name, a disgrace to his former friends and colleagues.

    I have nothing left but a broken friendship, broken trust and a broken soul. I am nothing….

    He rose up then a tear slipping down his face. It was time to go say one last goodbye to his family, pack up some things and head off. Anywhere, nowhere.

    He then looked at Joren, tears flowing freely now "I'm so sorry, about everything. And I hope you find a friend that was and is a lot better friend than I ever could be. I'm sorry I destroyed our friendship. I wish you all the best with your family, and I know you will protect them with all your heart and soul. Defend them with your blades if you have to. Hopefully, my blade will serve you better than me"

    He really didn't know how he could say goodbye now. He was too choked up. Perhaps he would wait and see Joren's response before deciding what type it would be.

    Vydra rose above Joren as he stood, the man’s presence eclipsing the sun and casting him in momentary shadow. The change in temperature was palpable on this balmy morning, though he wasn’t entirely sure if that was the only reason for the chill he felt. Perhaps it was the Force reacting to the events that had just transpired.

    But was that good or bad?

    Either way, it had taken very little effort to extract Vydra’s true name from his memory – there was no conflict, no argument. There was also no turning back at this juncture. As much as it pained him to see his friend struggle, the name was now in his possession; he must follow through. He could not allow this kind of disaster to happen again in the future. He had to set things right.

    Yanjon.

    Joren moved his lips and silently uttered the name to himself, allowing the syllables to roll around on his tongue as he tested it out. Again, he might have felt a subtle shift within the Force, but it was so hard to identify the source at this point. He was practically beside himself with a mixture of anxiety, anticipation, and remorse.

    Finally, he angled his chin to meet Vydra’s gaze and offered a sad smile. “I appreciate everything you’ve done,” Joren stated solemnly, his voice devoid of its usual assertiveness. He studied the librarian for a long moment before he rubbed a hand over his jaw and forced himself to his feet. “You have always been a good friend, and I wish there was another way to settle this. I really do, but I--”

    He couldn’t bring himself to finish that sentence. Instead, Joren closed his eyes and pulled Vydra into a loose embrace. With the Force resonating around him, he leaned close and whispered a final farewell into the other man’s ear.

    “You take care of yourself, Yanjon.”

    TAG: @Jerjerrod-Lennox; @Sinrebirth
     
  3. Sinrebirth

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

    Registered:
    Nov 15, 2004
    IC: The Narrator
    The Moment

    The Force recoiled, as it does against things planted within it, designed to channel its eddies and whorls.

    Something unnatural was triggered, something both heinous and completely understandable in the circumstances.

    The Master had placed a series of countermeasures against his plans being either foiled or made use of by darker forces. He was fully aware that such things could occur; that he was only able to see as far as the End of Time, and the Twilight Wars themselves. He had never expected the Holocron of Prophecy to cover thirty-five thousand years of history... but it had recorded it all.

    Year upon year upon year of endless conflict between the Light and Dark, in various shapes and guises. Balance was never held for more than a handful of years, before the next great calamity ensnared the cosmos, or a bubbling tension burst to the surface and consumed a quadrant of the galaxy, and seeded the next conflict.

    He had decided that this time, he wouldn't be a bystander.

    So he intervened, reluctantly, inevitably, undeniably, in what was to come.

    The Sages of Dwartii were his insertion into the narrative, and their names.

    As soon as one of the names was used, it would enable the identities of the others to be confirmed by the survivors, if they so wished. There were only four of them, after all. Three males and one female, though only two of them had identifiable genders in recorded history. But it wasn't a massive stretch.

    But, to the Contingency.

    The Force responded as the Master said it would to Joren speaking the secret name of Vydra against him.

    Against Yanjon.

    The Force was forcibly stripped from the man, leaving a painful scar in the Force, a hole in its fabric, personified by Vydra himself. He would leave, as he said, into exile, but in a matter of weeks, or months, maybe even years, if he lived a particularly good life, his consciousness would ebb through that rent and he would die. The actions of Joren - of Sistros - would create a ripple in the Force that would touch the Protectors - the Shadow, Braata, and Faya.

    Indeed, that act would echo for eternity, until the End of Time, entwined and connected with the blood of Vydra Delomeux, with the blood of his blood, and the blood of their blood.

    The pain that Joren had just inflicted would last for thirty-five millennia.

    He would instantly know this, and know why this had to happen.

    So would Vale, Dunkeel, and Zas'tel.

    That the Masters actions had created an absolute timeline.

    His Eye would travel to the End of Time - through the Apocalypse, the Twilight Wars, and the End - and it would happen exactly as he predicted.

    Because it already had.

    Typhojem, the Immortal God of the Sith, would cross into reality, and destroy it.

    The Force itself had no choice but to follow its own flow... and only one way to stop it.

    Vydra had just tried to interfere with that, in bequeathing his Forcesaber on Joren, in passing his Holocron of Prophecy to him, in revealing his Truth.

    The Holocron contained a missing excerpt.

    It was the underlying tension between them all. That they had secrets... when in-fact the only secret they each shared was their name. Had the Master asked them to keep everything else from their friends? It was their Truth, yes, but he left it to them to share it, or not. He had given them the choice...

    ... and the next thirty-five thousand years flowed from their choices.

    Vydra paled, turned, and left.

    Joren would return to his senses to discover Vale, Dunkeel, and the slightest edge of Zas'tel waiting for him.

    Nothing had changed.

    But everything had.

    ---
    Elsewhere, the Mortis worldcraft, the greatest of the Tho Yor

    The Father of Balance hadn't paid much attention to the galaxy in the last few millennia. He'd had his servants, the Gree, the Kwa, and the Killiks foremost among them to carry out his dictates and spread the creed of balance; to re-seed the galaxy with Force users to maintain the galaxy in the future to come.

    But now he had a direct request from a Kwa to intervene on Nouane.

    That something heretical was under-way.

    He looked to his children, to his smirking Son, and his concerned Daughter, and felt that something had happened.

    Something terrible.

    Something that was supposed to have happened, in a galaxy where the Force was supposed to be an unending tide of possibilities...

    ... the decisions made on Nouane had created an absolute out of harmony, and now the Father knew he had to do something serious.

    Or, rather, the Force decided for them.

    He felt it.

    He thundered.

    "Where is she?"

    ---
    The Clock-Tower, outskirts

    Erwen scowled, long and hard.

    The shadow - Zas'tel - it had clearly evaded him. He should have seen it - or sensed something - anything.

    The officer activated his comlink again and sent another message to Vale.

    I cannot confirm, but Zas'tel has vanished again. I suspect he's in the Clock-Tower, but I cannot confirm. I have officers on patrol near the warehouse. Permission to call on your wife to bulk up numbers? This isn't an official operation - the officers just 'happen' to be there.

    He fiddled with his comlink, a slight sweat to his brow.

    They were this close to the answer.

    ---
    In orbit

    A'nang could feel what had happened.

    He was, after all, a Force user. It wasn't the wound that had fixed everything; it was the swelling confrontation within the Protectors. No one person could cause this tangle of events; this crashing together of fates was being done by them all.

    His tongue tasted the air in his anxiety.

    It was Vale and her pursuit of Zas'tel... it was Dunkeel and his attempts to take control of the narrative... it was Joren, and his increasing focus on his partner and child...

    The tear, it was a mere consequence of what they were doing.

    The Force couldn't tear... not unless it was taut, unless it was set in one direction, unless it was focused down one path and only one...

    Like it had been...

    A'nang launched his smaller launch for the City. He concealed it with the Force, but now he had decided; he was heading to the Clock-Temple.

    I'm coming, Dunkeel. I'm coming, and I demand you hand to me the means which you foretold the future. In the name of the Father, the Celestials, and the Force itself.

    That message he sent.

    ---
    Elsewhere

    The Gree were a cold, calculating species, of numbers and facts and knowledge.

    It was them who had served the Celestials without fail, without flaw, creating the gate-network to connect the galaxy.

    It was the Kwoth who took their technology and remade it for the Old Ones, and had swapped sides again to become the Kwa.

    They were on the path of the Kwoth again - how could the Kwa not see it.

    Whatever they had found on Nouane - the Gree would intervene and destroy it, win their war, and the Rakata would never seize the technology of the Celestials.

    The Kwa had damaged the Force; it was time to end them and whatever weapon they had discovered.

    TAG: @QueenSabe7, @HanSolo29, @Mitth_Fisto, @darthbernael
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2020
  4. darthbernael

    darthbernael Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 15, 2019
    IC Zas’tel
    The Force Ripples


    Zas’tel had hidden himself in the shadows, observing Vale and Dunkeel as they worked. He could sense her curiosity and determination to discover his secrets, without even trying, from this distance. And then a rapid trio of events occurred. First her commlink chimed, which brought a small smile to his face, which could only be her tame officer letting her know he’d evaded the man. The second was Dunkeel’s commlink chiming as well, for what reason Zas’tel didn’t know. The third however...was more drastic.

    The Force rippled, ripped, and Something happened. A distant part of his mind noted that the other two Protectors could see him as he writhed out of the shadows. He had no time or inclination to deal with either right no, his mind, his body, his spirit, his purest essence was roiling. That same detached part of his mind managed to get his body moving and before either Vale or Dunkeel could react, he was able to get himself, somehow, out of the meeting room.

    In a weaving course, as though he didn’t have full control of himself, bounding and rebounding from the very walls as he moved, he took a staggering course that led him back to his own chambers. As the door shut, a wavering hand managed to reach up and secure the locks, before he collapsed on a heap on the floor. His body continued in it’s contortions as the true strife took place in his mind.

    Instead of his normally dark, but comfortable mindscape his mind was roiling with blacks, whites, and every shade of grey. Slowly he was able to impress his own form into the chaos and a picture he held of himself appeared. However, as he came into focus a mirror image, identical in every detail faded into view opposite him.

    “Wh...who...are you?” he rasped

    In his own voice, no hint of the chaos roiling around them in it, “I am you and you are me.”

    “How...what are you?” his voice sounded harsh and pained, even in his own ears.

    A flat chuckle responded, “I told you already. But as to how, someone you know tore the Force rather violently just a few moments ago. And changes that may never have occurred are now given form to occur, such as this.”

    Zas’tel, at least mentally was beginning to regain his bearings, “So you, you are a version of me, or something else looking as me. And you’re here to make the change happen.”

    His mirror self’s eyes flashed, silver, black, then back to their normal shade, “Bingo.”

    “You’re to supplant me and alter the course I’ve been set upon?”

    Another flash and a chuckle, “Again, correct.”

    “You forget all I have learned and know, from the Master’s teachings.” he chided, trying to buy time to shield his mind as best he could.

    “I know all you know, and more. I, you, we have watched you a long time, waiting for such a moment.” the mirror replied. “And whether you keep the change from fully happening now or not, it will, it is inevitable and irreversible now.” With the last words the mirror launched itself at Zas’tel, flowing over and around him, completely engulfing him.

    His defenses were not complete and he could feel his mirror invading his mind. ‘So be it. If I can’t keep it out, I will keep it in.’ he thought as the battle began.

    The conjoined Zastels rolled around the mental landscape, each vying for control. From moment to moment the advantage shifted. In one moment a Zas’tel, robed as he was, was in ascendance, eyes a roil of greys, the next the only visible difference was again his eyes, returned to normal.

    Slowly he was able to close off the chinks in his mental shields, reinforcing them to both keep things out and keep things in. But by the time they were in place, he could feel that the entirety of the mirror Zas’tel had entered and filled him. The battle continued for several long minutes more, as both wearied, both tried their last gasps for dominance.

    He eventually came back to his senses, realizing he lay on the floor of his chambers. Rising, he looked around, the room was completely destroyed. In his battle with the mirror, the battle had also taken place in the real world and not just his mind. He was exhausted but could feel his strength slowly returning. However, he could feel that he’d only won this round of the battle because the other had just emerged and had not been at full strength. The mirror was still inside, growing in strength and power as he did, and it was several levels above his own. ‘It was right, I and it will be one, soon.’

    He cleaned himself up, unlocking the door and slowly making his way back to the meeting room, wondering if either of the two who were there before would still be there. He faded back into the shadows as he moved, slipping through a convenient one as he reentered the meeting room, and returning to one near enough to observe and overhear Vale and Dunkeel. In the last moment before he was once again a mere shadow on the wall a flash of steel grey eyes flared from his hiding spot before shadow was all that remained in that spot.

    TAGS: @Sinrebirth, @QueenSabe7, @HanSolo29, @Mitth-Fisto
     
  5. Sinrebirth

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

    Registered:
    Nov 15, 2004
    IC: The Narrator

    With one Protector undone, four remain.

    Sistros.

    Braata.

    Faya,

    The Shadow.

    Twilight is upon us.

    The time has come.

    For Chaos.

    TAG: @HanSolo29, @Mitth_Fisto, @QueenSabe7 (outstanding TAG)
    ---
    IC: The Master

    In the past

    He peered through, and through.

    Zas'tel was here, of course, and the Master tapped his chin.

    They were both cloaked, both hidden from the Dark, that which prowled the galaxy, and of course, this City.

    "But yes, as I was saying. I shan't be a bystander this time."

    He handled the part-formed Holocron, eyeing the various screens that were connected to advanced holocams throughout the Clock-tower, the fourt quarters, even the hinterlands and northern regions.

    "When I was younger, I saw a Twilight War. It was devastating."

    TAG: @darthbernael
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2020
  6. QueenSabe7

    QueenSabe7 RPF Awards Host star 6 VIP - Game Host

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

    She was fidgeting and she knew it, but Vale’s thoughts were racing as she anxiously alternated between bouncing a knee and drumming her fingers against the old wooden table. The datapad was in front of her, the comm Erwen had given her was burning a hole in her pocket, a reminder that she had a great mystery to solve – at least it seemed important to her.

    Vale still sensed the Master in her mind somehow, most likely denial and sadness keeping him present. However, he had become more…. alive, for lack of a better word, since she had been given a true link to the Shadow, since finding out the creature had been impersonating their late leader and donning his signature black robes. And what for? Why? That gaping hole she had grappled with since her mentor’s disappearance didn’t seem so deep now, the Force stirring with a familiar feeling.

    It made her wonder if she was losing it. Even when she felt composed and on the mend – even in the arms of her wife – she began to grow concerned that she was sinking further into despair and delusion, but she couldn’t help latching onto his presence. Whether real, or conjured from within.

    This and so many questions were darting around her skull as Dunkeel responded to her apology and she felt a bit ashamed she wasn’t giving her fellow Protector her undivided attention. Should she tell him? Share with him what she was doing? Should she just leave now, to hell with this meeting?

    “I… yes I didn’t actually read your message yet, Dunkeel. Again, please accept another apology.” Vale tried to focus on the chistori but she was far too distracted at this point. “There’s been a lot… going on.” Scooping up the datapad again, she thumbed through it, reading and searching for something to grip her and keep her in the present moment. She could sense her companion’s frustrations and she had plenty of her own. Oddly enough, Vale found it comforting to know she was not the only one.

    There was a sudden, soft nudge, so soft she might have missed it had she not been so inwardly focused. It was enough to freeze her in her task, the Force rippling ever so slightly and she slowly pulled her gaze from the device in her lap towards a point across the room, shielded in shadows. She saw nothing, could not discern a definitive signature, but something had disturbed the energies in this space…

    Zas’tel

    Squinting into the darkness, then leaning forward with intent to stand, there was a rent in the Force that doubled her over and kept her in her seat. Vale gasped, clutching at her chest, the connection to someone close to her severed completely. Totally. Permanently.

    It was similar to what had happened when the Master had left, but most certainly very different. Not as intimate or agonizing, but still jarring enough to leave her breathless. Still filled with sorrow and an aching void to add to the one that already took up so much space in her heart. Did she even have one left at this point?

    Vydra,” she muttered in a strained whisper, a few tears streaming from her clenched eyes. She threw her head back to stare at Dunkeel. He had to have felt the same thing. “It’s Vydra. I can’t feel him anymore… can you?” Panic rose to match the volume of her voice. It made her feel sick.

    Finally pushing to her feet, she felt Erwen’s comm buzz again and this time without pulling away from Dunkeel, she read the message in front of him -

    I cannot confirm, but Zas'tel has vanished again. I suspect he's in the Clock-Tower, but I cannot confirm. I have officers on patrol near the warehouse. Permission to call on your wife to bulk up numbers? This isn't an official operation - the officers just 'happen' to be there.

    She knew her answer straight away.

    Zinara will help. And the Shadow is here – or was. I felt him.

    Shoving the communicator back into her jacket, Vale couldn’t wait any longer. She eyed the place where she had sensed a wisp of his presence and it was no longer there. With a deciding nod, she turned towards the door.

    “Joren is either keeping us waiting on purpose or had something to do with what has just happened to Vydra. I cannot just sit here and do nothing….”

    Pausing briefly as she crossed the threshold, she looked back at Dunkeel. "We need to find our wayward Protector. Quickly."

    TAGS: @Sinrebirth @Mitth_Fisto @HanSolo29 @darthbernael
     
  7. HanSolo29

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

    Registered:
    Apr 13, 2001
    IC: Dr. Joren Graal
    Clock Temple, Nouane

    He could not recall when he had decided to depart the riverside park, or how he had ultimately ended up back at the Clock Tower. Everything since the…incident had become one, big continuous blur. It matched the roiling tempest that now occupied his soul and reflected his irritable mood. He could not think straight and everything harkened back to the terrible deed he had felt compelled to perform.

    It was for the good of the galaxy; the good of the Protectors.

    Why couldn’t Vyd--no. Joren found that he could no longer refer to him by name. Why couldn’t the traitor understand the weight of his responsibility? That his actions would have lasting repercussions that would ripple through time itself? The void in the Force had told him so. He had felt it crash into him with uncontrolled fury after he had muttered that fateful name.

    Even now, he had not fully recovered; all he could hear was the Master’s voice, distant and calm, as he repeated the prophetic message that Joren had come to fear would doom them all. How ironic that he would identify his own friend as the source of his compulsive behavior. He had betrayed them all. It was all so surreal.

    This was all his fault!

    Joren clenched his teeth and impulsively slammed his fist into one of the decorative support pillars lining the entryway. The resulting pain radiated out from his hand, his knuckles now bloodied, before traveling up into his forearm and causing it to ache.

    And yet, that still didn’t satisfy his frustration – or the sense of loss that had hollowed out his chest and made everything feel insignificant.

    Winding up again, he prepared to drill the pillar for a second time, but as he swung his arm forward, the satchel slipped forward from his shoulder and dropped to the ground. It hit the permacrete steps with a soft thud and spilled its contents, revealing the metallic glint of his Forcesaber and a small stack of academic journals. Everything else was notably absent, including his Holocron and the traitor’s Holocron and Forcesaber.

    Exhaling heavily, Joren stood poised with his injured hand curled tightly at his side, his brow creased into a frown. The missing belongings should have caused concern, but in this case, it served as a sobering experience. It allowed him to regain some clarity, and he was able to pull himself together. It helped him to retrace his steps, and he realized that he must have stopped by the house on his way from the park and dropped off the artifacts. They were safe.

    With a cleansing breath, Joren stepped back and ran a hand through his mop of sandy hair. A few defiant locks fell right back into his face, seeming to echo his own troubled thoughts as he continued to grapple with the situation that plagued him. He might have succeeded in walking himself back from the edge, but he still had to confront the others. And he knew it wouldn’t be an easy task.

    As if on cue, he felt a subtle shifting around him, like the ringing in your ears that occurred due to air displacement from a moving object. It was the Force telling him that someone was approaching. If he reached out to touch this curious manifestation, he would feel the familiar patterns and impressions that would match Vale’s unique signature.

    Joren inwardly bristled. Of course, she would become his first test.

    Nothing like jumping right into the gundark’s nest.

    He quickly collected his belongings from the pavement and stuffed them back into his satchel. Once he slung the bag securely across his chest, he bounded up the steps and practically ran into Vale as she appeared in the doorway.

    “Uh, Vale,” Joren greeted her with a wan smile, consciously pulling his injured hand against his torso to hide the bloody lacerations on his knuckles. But despite his best efforts, he still looked disheveled and tired.

    “Sorry I’m late,” he carried on hastily, trying to remain discreet with his approach. “My wife is in her last trimester, so things are a little tense at home…among other things."

    TAG: @QueenSabe7; @Mitth_Fisto; @darthbernael; @Sinrebirth
     
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  8. Mitth_Fisto

    Mitth_Fisto Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Sep 29, 2005
    IC: Dunkeel
    Clock Temple, Nouane

    A couple things happened, rather close together. That is not to say that any one thing was more important than the other except what was pressing now and the what would be pressing later. Now always took precedence. After all if you could not survive the now what did the later truly matter? The Force truthfully was something of that nature. A balance of the poles of present weighing the future.

    Vale responded first. “I… yes I didn’t actually read your message yet, Dunkeel. Again, please accept another apology.” Vale tried to focus on the chistori but she was far too distracted at this point. “There’s been a lot… going on.” Scooping up the datapad again, she thumbed through it, reading and searching for something to grip her and keep her in the present moment.

    Dunkeel to this moment could only hiss and dip his head. He was frustrated but as blood through an open hand he let it slip away, leaving only hollow compassion and acceptance to be shared between them. Perhaps Joren would have the same excuse with his own wife about to live birth. It was terribly inconvenient but they had lives, loves beyond the Clock-Temple. He could not bring himself to hate, anger, nor even resentment for having what he did not and finding the balance without the Master harder. He was having a hard time and all he had was himself and the temple, so no hard feelings, merely warmth and compassion he pulled from himself for her to feel and know better than words could express.

    There was the subtle edge of the Shadow among them and he had to note that he deeply hoped the furry one was going to take a bath whilst he was here. Even if he didn't openly visit with them. He sent warmth and acceptance to that one as well wherever he was hiding nearby as he watched wearily as Vale faltered in her simple task of reading. Eyes slowly blinking he sighed wearily, At least when the Librarian arrives I will know that this has been read and accepted. It was a simple hope given to the future, an accepted coming relief. Only that relief. . .that relief was not made to be borne nor last.

    It was then that he felt it as Vale rose and then clutched her chest, Dunkeel's eyes opened wide as his iris turned to slits. Breathing heaving he screeched into the world of their room as he reached in the Force for the one that was no longer there. His ethereal claws found no purchase. Only two ways about that. Death was an apt name for both.

    It’s Vydra. I can’t feel him anymore… can you?” Panic rose to match the volume of Vale's voice. The answer was in their eyes, they neither had to say anything to know that he could feel him either.

    Finally pushing to her feet, she felt Erwen’s comm buzz again and this time without pulling away from Dunkeel, she read the message in front of him -

    I cannot confirm, but Zas'tel has vanished again. I suspect he's in the Clock-Tower, but I cannot confirm. I have officers on patrol near the warehouse. Permission to call on your wife to bulk up numbers? This isn't an official operation - the officers just 'happen' to be there.

    She knew her answer straight away.

    Zinara will help. And the Shadow is here – or was. I felt him.

    Shoving the communicator back into her jacket, Vale couldn’t wait any longer.

    A'nang sent a message at that same moment which Dunkeel in turn allowed Vale to see as he looked at it. An open sharing of their reticent secrets and acceptance as family. Not of blood, for none of them were the blood of the Master who was as a parent to them, but as adopted siblings - clutchmates - a bond just as precious for as well as despite the lack of the blood line between them. A connection that was all the more precious now.

    I'm coming, Dunkeel. I'm coming, and I demand you hand to me the means which you foretold the future. In the name of the Father, the Celestials, and the Force itself.

    The idiot. {Come. But know you come with death.} he simply replied as he stood and broke one of the tablets with the Force as he gathered the others left to follow her.

    There they ran into Joren. “Sorry I’m late,” he carried on hastily, trying to remain discreet with his approach. “My wife is in her last trimester, so things are a little tense at home…among other things."

    Dunkeel stepped forward. Nostrils flared as his tongue flicked out. They had just suffered and been in shock for who knows how long at the absence of one he did not particularly like. Of the bookish one, and Joren was acting as though nothing was wrong beyond his wife and life. Then he tasted it, blood. Fresh. Minimal. "You smell of blood and speak merely of brooding, time, and. . .and things. Never mind ignoring my message of War and Summons upon us. Explain Leader. Now." he was lashing out with words and needs. He knew that, but his blood was boiling from the loss, the pressure, and now the taste of blood. To a lesser of his kind he already would be lost to the frenzy, the cleansing fire of emotional venting and gorging. It was taking his every lesson and lasts nerve to keep from it now.

    TAG: @HanSolo29 , @QueenSabe7 , @Sinrebirth , @darthbernael
     
  9. QueenSabe7

    QueenSabe7 RPF Awards Host star 6 VIP - Game Host

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

    Vale had allowed herself to get worked up into such a frenzy that she didn’t sense Joren on his approach, nearly knocking right into him as she went to proceed to locate Zas’tel, gratitude flowing in Force for Dunkeel as he chose to follow. His shared shock with the sudden loss of Vydra had made her stomach lurch and seeing the doctor at that exact moment nearly saw her vomit on the spot.

    Her face twisted into a grimace and she choked back the bile as he blocked their path and gave excuses, his haphazard appearance and forced-casual demeanor was not lost on her as an act. He was hiding something and she just knew it was in reference to Vydra.

    Opening her mouth to snap at him out of pure emotion, it was Dunkeel that got there first. Again she was filled with growing appreciation in the chistori. It was nice to have someone on your side, or at least someone who shared your troubles and reacted the same. It made her feel validated, in a way.

    “Explain Leader. Now.”

    Offering a friendly gesture of calm, Vale placed a comforting hand upon Dunkeel’s arm and looked up at him with a nod. Then, she leveled a scrutinizing glare on Joren. Accusing, even.

    “Where were you? And don’t you dare lie to us both and say you don’t know what I am talking about. We felt it,” her voice caught and she paused for a breath, her fingers tightening slightly on the chistori’s fur. “Vydra. What did you do?

    Now she was leaning forward, cheeks reddening. This was all connected; lines forming where they had always been, but now becoming visible. However, the longer she was kept here at the Tower, the more time the Shadow would have to hide again. And Erwen… she had to help him…

    TAGS: @Mitth_Fisto @HanSolo29 @darthbernael @Sinrebirth
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2020
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  10. Sinrebirth

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

    Registered:
    Nov 15, 2004
    IC: The Narrator

    Of course, Joren didn't know of the message from Dunkeel because his partner had deleted it in a moment of anxious panic.

    Meanwhile, he and Vale didn't know that he had acted against Vydra because of what he had confessed.

    Similarly, Joren didn't know that the crystalline Holocron of Prophecy he had been given by Vydra was no longer in the bag; it had been taken while at his home, or maybe even on its way there.

    The five Holocron of Heresies had been given out already, after all.

    So the bag was empty, in-fact.

    Of course, Zas'tel had only to watch this, but in his heart he would feel that he was being tugged away; to where the Master had shown him how to access the Light; the World Between Worlds. It was a summons, but not by the Master.

    Vale would be able to sense Zinara joining a loose and quiet cordon around the Clock-Tower, more and more plainclothes officers being added to the informal net, of course it placed all four Protectors within a web of tension, and the Force would tell all of them of the same. In the market not far from the front of the clock-tower, in the pilgrims that periodically came to visit, in the mourners that were even now adding to the number of bouquets and offerings -

    In low-orbit, proceeding slowly to minimise the atmospheric disturbance, A'nang hissed to himself at the threat from Dunkeel. He could taste a growing confrontation in the Force, and a wound - a putrid, oozing injury to the worlds light. He didn't dare stop - whatever heresy was occurring here was too terrible to name. He homed in on the signal attached to Dunkeel's comlink... and his stone began to grow hot again. Darkness was nearby -

    Meanwhile, Tera, fretting over what she had done, suddenly felt a twist inside her, and a
    pressure - not yet a pain, but a movement. The baby? The baby! The Force carried her cry to Joren, and his child's sudden, abrupt panic.

    But the final piece was in high orbit now.

    The largest Tho Yor.

    [​IMG]

    Mortis was here.

    TAG: @QueenSabe7, @HanSolo29, @Mitth_Fisto, @darthbernael

    @darthbernael (combo in the past continues)
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2020
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  11. HanSolo29

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

    Registered:
    Apr 13, 2001
    IC: Dr. Joren Graal
    Clock Temple, Nouane

    A tangible rift had formed between Joren and his companions, their pain, resentment, and confusion resonating within the Force as they harshly confronted him. It was an unfortunate consequence of Vydra’s parting and the wound it had caused in its wake. While there had been unrest among their group before this incident, it had been manageable…relatable. They were beyond that now.

    For his part, Joren was at a momentary loss as he grappled with his own emotions. He did not understand all of their accusations, especially when Dunkeel rebuked him for not reading his message. He was positive that he had never received any correspondence from him, not when he had been habitually checking his comm over the past few days. Aside from a handful of alerts from the university, he could not recall anything of real importance. His bafflement over this mystery reflected in his expression.

    Of course, there was one other option to consider, but he would never gain the opportunity to ponder its credibility. Not at this moment, not when Vale had decided to reply and add to the chaos.

    “Where were you? And don’t you dare lie to us both and say you don’t know what I am talking about. We felt it,” she ground tersely, pausing briefly to catch her breath. “Vydra. What did you do?”

    Her voice instantly got under his skin, like a persistent itch that he could not satisfy. It only contributed to the feeling that he was being victimized, which prompted him to go on the defensive as he shifted his gaze to Vale, his eyes burning with a fierce intensity. They were rightfully upset at the loss of one of their own, but he was having a difficult time expressing any sympathy toward this obstinate woman.

    “Before you attempt to spin the narrative even further, let me say that I never intended to keep this from you,” Joren groused under his breath, his voice dipping dangerously low. “I’m in as much pain as you are – maybe more so because I know the truth!” He trailed off with a scoff, frantically running a hand through his hair.

    “He kept it from all of us,” he continued after a moment, his gaze becoming feral. “In a vision, I saw–I saw someone access the World Between Worlds. Vydra came to me in private and admitted that it was him. He set all of these terrible events into motion, working behind our backs to train a new set of Protectors to send into the void. Dammit, he had his own set of Forcesabers and Holocrons to distribute, he claimed the Master urged him–augh!” The doctor turned away in exasperation, his fingers weaving more tightly into his mop of sandy hair. He felt himself slipping again, almost as if a turbulent whirlwind was consuming him whole. With a shaky breath, he clamped down on the Force in an attempt to calm himself. He was the traitor; he knew that, and he relinquished his title as a Protector. He then asked me–forced me, as a friend, to send him into exile. I didn’t know what else to–”

    Before he could finish, the Force reverberated with a single voice, a single cry. It seemed to traverse both space and time itself to reach him at this specific moment. And then that voice dissolved into a name.

    “Tera,” he muttered quietly, his brow creasing with concern when he realized what was happening.

    No, not now!

    Canting his head to regard the others, Joren looked panicked as he started to backpedal down the steps. “I have to–she’s in labor.”

    TAG: @QueenSabe7; @Mitth_Fisto; @darthbernael; @Sinrebirth
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2020
  12. Mitth_Fisto

    Mitth_Fisto Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Sep 29, 2005
    Dunkeel
    Clock-Tower, Nouane

    Vale had attacked more forcefully then him and he felt a bit of a pack mentality forming, two on one. He tried to push away the notions that it dared to bring forth. It was like fire beetles under his scales, skittering, irritating and yearning to be set free as he felt her righteous fury. Still he stayed himself, he listened.

    He listened as Joren pleaded his case of victimhood. Listened as Joren laid out Vydra as the traitor. Listened as Joren claimed he had done the heinous act not as judge, jury, or out of duty - but of request. It did not make sense, he would ask Vydra but he had no way of contacting the man unless he was still using his comlink. Still, he listened as Joren tried to excuse himself as if this settled anything. As if nothing else mattered. Only he felt the tension they were in, he felt the heat of darkness, he felt the pressure from above.

    "You leave now, and you will compound your troubles. Darkness is coming, a Croke whom has visited and is chaos. A being without solid form. A summoner is coming here now, demanding answers in the names of the Kwa and Celestials as well as for us to choose a mediator from our number." Here he hissed stepping forward as he raised a hand to pull in the Force, to seal the Clock Tower. "And Manic words. . .ssss. . .are not enough."

    TAG: @QueenSabe7 , @darthbernael , @Sinrebirth
     
  13. darthbernael

    darthbernael Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 15, 2019
    OOC: Combo with our devious GM

    IC Zas’tel
    Intrigue and being drawn away

    Zas’tel grimaced at the thoughts roiling off of Dunkel and Vale. Both had things that they wanted to discuss, mostly with Joren, but he could sense Vale, at least, still felt he needed to be hunted down and confronted. As they left the room he slipped through the shadows, following in their wake.

    He stuck to the shadows still as his fellow Protectors ran into their ‘leader’. He felt the bracing of Dunkel as he lashed out at Joren first.

    "You smell of blood and speak merely of brooding, time, and. . .and things. Never mind ignoring my message of War and Summons upon us. Explain Leader. Now."

    Before Joren could answer, he heard Vale lay into him as well.

    “Where were you? And don’t you dare lie to us both and say you don’t know what I am talking about. We felt it, Vydra. What did you do?”

    A smile formed on Zas’tel’s lips and the grey color returned to his eyes for a moment ’Even without assistance, the rift between your compatriots is widening.’ Satisfaction seemed to color the words of his ‘parasite’ for lack of a better word.

    His eyes returned to their normal coloration, ’They have every right to be upssset, Vydra isss gone. And Joren sssseemsss to have ignored Dunkel’sss messssagess.’

    A mental snort was his only reply. He turned his attention back to the other three in time to hear Joren respond.

    “Before you attempt to spin the narrative even further, let me say that I never intended to keep this from you, I’m in as much pain as you are – maybe more so because I know the truth!”

    “He kept it from all of us, in a vision, I saw–I saw someone access the World Between Worlds. Vydra came to me in private and admitted that it was him. He set all of these terrible events into motion, working behind our backs to train a new set of Protectors to send into the void. Dammit, he had his own set of Forcesabers and Holocrons to distribute, he claimed the Master urged him–augh!”


    He heard Joren cry out his wife’s name and realized he must be feeling that she was in labor now. Swiftly he began moving toward the secondary exit to the Tower, knowing that it would be even more guarded now, but the summons he’d felt needed to be responded to, may be the only way to begin to close the rift between his compatriots, and possibly force his ‘parasite’ to leave him.

    Sliding through the shadows, he caught the beginning of Dunkel’s retort before he disappeared out of sight and hearing.

    "You leave now, and you will compound your troubles. Darkness is coming, a Croke whom has visited and is chaos. A being without solid form. A summoner is coming here now, demanding answers in the names of the Kwa and Celestials as well as for us to choose a mediator from our number."

    By the time the last words were spoken, they seemed as through a distant tunnel while he sped through the Tower, racing because he felt that soon there would be no escape from their home. Once out of sight of the other Protectors he sped up, abandoning the shadows to follow the fastest path to the secondary entrance.

    He slowed only as he closed upon it, sensing the forces array outside. Returning to the shadows he contemplated what he could or should do against the innocents outside whose only downfall, to date, was that Vale and Erwen were so desperate to get ahold of him. He also felt the window narrowing on his chance to escape, thanks to Dunkel, although he was unsure which had actually caused such to occur.

    He wrapped himself in Darkness and allowed it to pulse before him through the door and the first few meters past the entrance. As it closed over the door he silently opened it and slipped through, ready to face the patrols waiting for him.

    For a moment, Zas'tel would feel a hmmm through the Forcesaber, seeing what he saw; hearing what he heard; feeling what he felt. The Force was growing heavier by the moment, and there was a voice; male, smooth, like silk, just before it was used to garrote your throat.

    I can see you, little darkness. You have a robe spun from the skin of -

    "Push the cordon in," came the shout of Erwen, determined and excited - completely unaware of what had happened to Vydra, or to Joren, or to Dunkeel's predicament. There was just the Protector that Vale and tacitly Vydra too had directed to hunt.

    He had his mandate - and a belief that Zas'tel was in-fact the menace pushing along this City to self-destruction - as the one who intervened in the actions of another Defel, as the one who tweaked the already tense Zinara, who had used his inside knowledge of Vale's relationship, of the Defel -

    No, Erwen focused, and the ever-enlarging group of plain-clothes officers, circled the perimeter of the Clock-Temple. He had placed the majority of his men and women opposite the place where the Protectors were huddled, rhyming that the others would sense Zas'tel -

    Indeed, there was arguably no way that the Defel could escape, not with the current configuration and deployment of the officers; Erwen had tightened up the network, blocked the accesses with parked speeders, and generally done his job especially well.

    But point? The officers who had worked the Defel district and knew the ways of shadow moving; any who had knowledge of Force users; any who had demonstrated particular strength of will.

    Which meant Zinara was on point.

    Zas’tel’s maw broadened into a grimace as he sensed all that was arrayed against him. He reached out to the shifty, slimy voice that taunted him first, ’You can have your chance, to kill me it seems, after I get past all these people who seem bound and determined to keep me here.’

    Even as he sent the message he sensed the shell of energy close behind him, the Tower locked away, keeping the other three inside. ’No way back for now.’

    He kept his laughter to himself as he sensed the anger, the beliefs inside Erwen, the man could be no more wrong than if he was facing the Darkness and trying to tell others it was the Light. His absolute devotion, it felt, to Vale meant he’d blinded himself to the fact the others were the ones whose actions had brought about the current situation. As a matter of fact, none of them seemed to realize they had done it to themselves.

    To further complicate the situation the man had thought deeply about what to do to keep him trapped. He recognized the scents and essences of many of the officers arrayed around the Tower, those who had worked in districts where the Defel lived. And then to further complicate the situation, Erwen had brought Vale’s wife, Zinara here. He couldn’t blow through the officers, using his energy to make them move as he passed, would not cause harm to his fellow Protectors spouse. He would have to face Erwen at some point and pointedly explain to the man the error of his beliefs. And brace Vale for her overly deep obsession about him that had brought them all to this point.

    Then he smiled, as he formulated a plan, hidden in the depths of the shadows by the Tower. He reached out to the Tho Yor the Master had left. If the others truly wanted it to have gone this far he would humor them. He called it to him, even as he moved. He sent out a thought, not giving Zinara a chance to sense where the thought came from, ’I am sssorry that Erwen and your wife’ssss obsssesssion with my Purposssse hassss dragged you into thisss, but I am not the villain of the pieccce, I ssswear.’

    He felt the Tho Yar approaching and knew he just had to stay uncaptured for long enough for the ship to reach him. Deflecting a Force Push from a nearby wall, he made it seem that he was in the patch of shadows there, using his abilities to force the blocking speeders away from a potential escape path.

    The ship became evident, and the cordon was divided; half the officers looked up, especially those with less Defel experience, but even those who did couldn't ignore the small dipyramid that floated up. The speeders began to rustle, and many of them were distracted looking at them, but Zinara didn't shift. She was looking directly at the clock-Temple, waiting for a shadow to detach from the wall, or step forward.

    But everyone else was artfully, completely, and utterly, distracted.

    All it took was one pair of eyes.

    The summons grew stronger, physically pulling at Zas'tel, trying to drag him along - but not yet succeeding.

    Zas’tel kept to the shadows as the Tho Yor approached. As he hoped, a good portion of the officers were distracted by the ship slowly drifting closer overhead. He felt the pull of whatever it was that was trying to ensure he came to it. But even the distraction of the speeders being jostled around didn’t distract all of the officers and he truly did not want to cause harm to them.

    The one specifically he did not wish to face directly, or face her spouse should he have to face her, was Zinara. Not that he was afraid but that he knew the situation would be much worse with Vale if he had to do anything to her wife. But the thought also caused another to run through his mind. Reaching out, he touched Zinara’s mind. ’I am not your foe. But sssomething hasss happened in the Tower. There wassss an argument between the other Protectorsss and the Tower isss now ssssealed. And Vale isss trapped inssside.’

    He waited, watching the Tho Yor begin to drift into range as he waited to see if that distracted her as well.

    Zinara scowled, and spoke aloud. "You do anything to my wife, and I'll hunt you to death. We just want to talk, and account for your actions." She took a step forward, keeping her mind focused, notwithstanding that her heartbeat, or the ship in her extreme peripherals, or the chaos and consternation surrounding her.

    "Copy?" That was Erwen, in her ear-piece.

    "It's Zas'tel. He's telling me that Vale is in danger."

    Erwen paused before he replied; the same strength that Zinara had against Force users was also her downfall and connection; Zas'tel had targeted that. "There are three Protectors meeting, I gather, but no violence we're aware of. I spoke to Vale a moment ago by comms; she told me to keep at Zas'tel. He is the key to unravelling the mystery of the Master of Masters."

    At that, Zinara blinked, but focused as best she could, as all her worries and fears about that man flooded inside her.

    She was one of the most formidable women on this planet; it was something Vale had joked about, or admired, but today it was true. This Defel was at the heart of it; her investigative sense was exacting in this. Her gut would not let this go.

    Without Zas'tel, they had nothing.

    Even as a Tho Yor appeared on the opposite side of the Clock-Tower to the other three, caught up in the pivot point... their finale... their Epitaph, if they were not careful.

    Zas'tel would be politely notified by his ship, via their mental link, that another, cloaked, Kwa ship was heading down to the Temple, and it was being interrogated by the Prime Tho Yor, which had just arrived in orbit carrying three passengers... and pursuing a fourth.

    The pressure mounting in the Force was tectonic by this point.

    Zas’tel, by this point, was trying not to allow these people to annoy him but their attitude was that that seemed as though he was a criminal and not as worthy of respect as the other Protectors. Instead of directing his energy toward those who sought him he repeated the trick with the speeders, albeit with a great deal more Force. His intention was to scatter the entire ranks of speeders.

    'ACCOUNT FOR MY ACTIONSSSS??? Am I not a Protector on equal termssss with your ssspoussse, not sssome common criminal assess everyone, even your sssspoussse now ssseemsss to act? Sssshe wanted my Truth, which the Massster gave to me, asss he gave to each of usss. A Truth not to be ssshared with anyone unlessss the one whossse Truth it isss decidesss to ssshare it! Assssk her to ssshare her own Truth with you before sssshe usssessss you or anyone to force mine from me! And, Zinana, I am not threatening Vale, I had nothing to do with the Tower being ssshut to all. Blame your ssspoussse and thossse who dessssire to Force my hand.'

    He felt that the Tho Yor was now in range for his purposes. And then it was as though a hurricane of wind roared through the space surrounding the exit, blasting speeders away, knocking the officers off their feet, anything not nailed down went flying. If one could see through that maelstrom they’d see a shadow burst out of the concealing shadows, not at them, but vertically. By the time any of the officers could regain their feet all they would see would be the hem of Zas’tel’s cloak disappearing inside the Tho Yor as the canopy closed.

    He sat back into the command chair, still on edge that the scene had to have occurred but even his fellow Protectors were thinking themselves above all others, himself included. ’Good, remember that feeling, give me control, I will show them the error of their ways.’ He shook his head as the thought welled up from deep inside him, as did the energy of the one who now inhabited him. ’I still control myself, and I will resolve this!’ he thought in response.

    He cleared his mind for a moment, turning his mental attention to the Tho Yor, ”Follow the trail of whatever is summoning me, I suspect toward the World Between Worlds, please.”

    TAGS: @Sinrebirth, (@QueenSabe7, @HanSolo29, @Mitth_Fisto Mentioned)
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2020
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  14. Sinrebirth

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

    Registered:
    Nov 15, 2004
    IC: A'nang
    Descending in a Kwa shuttle

    In the middle of it all, of Vale and Dunkeel's confrontation with Joren, with the plan running to snatch Zas'tel, led by Erwen and Zinara, there was a surge in the Force which identified the Defel after so long; he was here, on the move, and had used the Force against civilians.

    Zinara felt pained in the Force, and Erwen worried, but Zinara knew well enough her wife to emphasise that she was fine; even if she wasn't Force sensitive, she remained Vale-sensitive. A'nang's worry in the Force bleated against Dunkeel, and his proximity, dropping into the atmosphere in his stealth-equipped shuttle. On top of this, Tera's panic began to hit a crescendo, and the child reached out for Joren, all the more panicked -

    It was a girl.

    The Tho Yor sphere caught the Kwa eye, especially because the sensors were keyed to pick up other Tho Yors... such as the Prime in orbit.

    There was a shift of energy, and the Prime reached out for Zas'tel's ship and drew it up. A'nang swallowed, surprised at that. He looked up as the ship rose swiftly - secured but not disabled, so if the Defel saw fit he could leap free - and as the Kwa watched, two shapes emerged from the underside of the Tho Yor Prime - of Mortis - screaming into the Force.

    The Force screamed back, crushing upon the confrontation between Vale, Joren and Dunkeel.

    [​IMG]

    This what they had done.

    The people looked up all around the City, looking up at the coming creatures, a Griffin of White, and a Bat of Black...

    A Winged Goddess...

    ... and Fanged God.

    But of course, they had their own personal issues here and now to draw them away from what was happening.

    Their decisions had led to this point, but not where would their decisions lead?

    TAG: @darthbernael, @Mitth_Fisto, @QueenSabe7, @HanSolo29
     
  15. darthbernael

    darthbernael Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 15, 2019
    OOC: Tiny Defel, great big Celestial, with @Sinrebirth

    IC Zas’Tel
    Being guided

    The Tho Yor sailed through the sky, heading toward where Zas’Tel believed the rift to the World Between Worlds would be. And then it changed course. Inquiring to the sphere told him that it was being drawn toward the massive Prime Tho Yor hanging over everyone. As the ship headed there he observed two creatures, of immense Power appear from within, seeming to head in the direction of the Clock Tower.

    He reached out, about to open the hatch to his ship, then paused. His fellow Protectors had already deemed him dangerous, or at least Vale had done so and was trying to convince the others of that so he knew going back would put his own mission in jeopardy. And the Master was the one who had introduced them to the craft so perhaps he had returned. The imposing craft above he couldn’t penetrate so he had no way of knowing if that was the case, so the only way to know was to allow him to bring him to it.

    Sitting back in the control seat, he closed his eyes, letting himself be drawn to the craft. He could sense the intense emotions swirling around the City, coming from the second craft that also hung in the sky, as well as the void in the dark that was the shape of the immense bat and the blazing star of light that was the griffin. Nouane was rapidly becoming the focal point for something, perhaps the Epitaph the Master had oftentimes spoken of. But for now all he could do was travel in his Tho Yor and wait for what was to come.

    The miniature Tho Yor was drew above the clouds, towards the massive monolith in orbit. While the larger one had a red limn to it, the dipyramid design was unmistakable.

    The symbol upon the Tho Yor glowed, and then irised opened, a wave of light consuming Zas'tel's ship.

    [​IMG]

    He arrived within a realm that, from scans, seemed as immense as the world he had just left, a reality bigger on the inside. Clearly the larger Tho Yor was a portal to another place, one with a dual nature; as his ship floated down, it revealed both natural light and dark violence cresting across the vista.

    [​IMG]

    There was not much to add apart from the ethereal nature of it all; the lack of true nature, yet the unmistakable proof in the blooming of flowers and plants, to the swift death and replacement with jagged trees - apotheosis contained in a single contradictory place.

    In the distance, seemingly perpetually between the two combating seasons and worldviews, was a Temple-like structure, and in the blackened world, a great baleful tower, and in the verdant one, another place. Three constructs, one of light, dark and perpetual balance...

    Eternal Twilight.

    As his Tho Yor entered the larger cousin to it Zas’Tel’s senses were suddenly overwhelmed by the imagery, the sights, the sounds, the smells of a whole world, obviously not contained by the small shell of the, admittedly, very large Prime Tho Yor. His eyes took it in, shading his sight as he looked toward the brightly lit side, peering deeply into the night, the dark.

    His craft continued it’s movement, and he reached out his senses, almost overwhelmed by the power of the Force in this place. It felt as though the Light and the Dark had come together as one on the, had to be, world. It made him doubt that the Master was here but he was not in control of the craft and once he’d entered he knew that he’d only leave at the behest of the occupants of this world.

    He closed off his senses except for a narrow thread of thought that reached out, one at a time to the three structures. With the first two, he sensed almost the living presence of the Light and opposite the same sense of presence but of the Dark. However these were fading even as he touched upon the structures which made him conclude that the occupants were the two beings he’d seen headed toward the Clock Tower.

    That left the Temple-like structure. When he reached out his mind toward that edifice and touched it his whole body writhed, eyes turning grey, Yes, there, that place. That place is where we must go.

    Shaking his snout, ’I, we, have no choice. This Tho Yor is travelling there on its own. If I had control your recommendation would make me steer clear of it.’

    The Tho Yor indeed was heading towards the place between, and it was in short order drew to a ridge atop the Temple. The landscape grew stony, and grey, pallid in nature. The world around the Defel fell into one element, and did not shift as it had before between life and death.

    [​IMG]

    As they crested the landing platform jutting out into the air, from the cockpit Zas'tel would be able to see inside the Temple - the monastery. The Force felt firm, as if caught between a tension. But it pressed against the cloak that he wore, and not through him.

    It protected him, as a Protector would.

    [​IMG]

    Zas’Tel descended from the Tho Yor, feeling the overwhelming Power of the place pressing all around him, yet the Master’s gift kept him from being swept up in it. He could see that the only way that was left for him was to enter the Temple. Something, someone, had called him to them and he knew that he must answer the summons or he would be trapped in this place for good. The twilight of the place suited him and his eyes well, and seemed to please the presence still wrestling for control inside him. The fact that both that presence and he himself felt the same in that was an almost nauseating one but he there was nothing he could do about it.

    He began to follow the lit path that led deeper into the Temple. The eerie stillness of the place had him attempting to stick to the shadows but the way the path was designed he had little choice but to stay in the lightly lit path. The silence had him hold his tongue, the almost monastic feel and the sense that whatever presence had called him would likely be ill amused if he began calling out and giggling at the echoes, as well.

    [​IMG]

    At the end of the corridor there sat a man, and he stood slowly, turning around. To describe him visually was one thing, but in the Force, he was power; an incredible amount of it. He held a hand to his beard and stroked it in thought, examining with his eyes the Defel before him, seeing Zas'tel in ways which defied definition. While yes the black cloak hid him; while yes his own natural talents hid him; while yes he could will himself with the Force to be as small as he wished, it would make no difference to this man.

    To this being.

    Zas’tel came to a halt before the seated being. Even without touching the Force he could feel this being, like his presence pressed against everything, including himself. He could tell that the cloak protected him to a degree, but that the being could see into his most remote depths. In the depths he felt his intruder, felt the shared awareness of who this must be. His ‘parasite’ knew this being, who and what he was, but refused to share the information with Zas’tel.

    His gaze rose, his eyes meeting the being, ”I have been called here, I do not know why, but I have come as I was called.” In his depths there was a chuckle from his ‘parasite’.

    "Reluctantly, though," the sagacious man said, stroking slowly. "With conflict clinging to you like a shadow... in-spite of all your attempts to become Shadow, even. The Protectors were not meant for this task, and I fear what you have done in the absence of one to discuss matters with."

    He kept his eyes fixed on Zas'tel even as he searched his shrouded face. The Defel would know that the man's gaze pierced the hood with aplomb, through no appreciable effort.

    Zas’tel felt his very essence being plumbed even still, by this man. ”I have done as the Master asked, have followed his rules, attempted to do as he set forth, became his Shadow.”

    The pressure upon him in the gaze made him pause but something told him to speak, at least a part, of the fullness of what happened. ”But, just before your arrival, something happened, the Force ripped, something came through.” His eyes flashed the flat grey of the midpoint of Light and Dark, for but a moment as he spoke.

    The man continued to stroke his chin. "Yes, something did come into existence, but not because of the tear you describe." He paused, silent for a moment, regarding the man and his cloak and his truths. The Master was not why he was here. Indeed, he was not why any of them were here.

    "You know not what it is, do you, Master Zas'tel? Do you have a... thought, with all your knowledge?"

    Zas’tel considered the words, considered the why of what was happening, and all the answers were not there, not yet. ”I can only imagine that something corrupted the timeline, has caused this,” his eyes shifted again to grey and his voice was rougher, as though he were fighting the words themselves, ”that the Master himself has caused the true flow to be altered.”

    He shook his head, the buzzing in it having grown even stronger in the presence of this man. It felt as though this man and whatever was inside him were linked, were tied to each other. He did not know why but with the man’s presence the strength of his ‘parasite’ had redoubled. ”Something about this place, about you, is giving it strength, revitalizing it.”

    The man paused, lowering his hand and linking his fingers. "We are not speaking of an absent Master who does not appear to even exist; not any longer. We are speaking of you, and I, as the Father of the Ones, as a Celestial, can see that what has happened has already happened; the Force has acquired a fixed point - one that I cannot see beyond."

    "Now the Force has that, it can be broken, and twisted. When that occurs,"
    he gestured to Zas'tel. "An act of self-balance occurs. In the future, I can see that the imbalance will prove so terrible as to birth great and terrible acts of correction - a cycle of ever increasing moments which will fundamentally destabilize reality."

    The Father sat back. "And it is not just your action, no, but actions you will take, and have taken... and the actions the others have taken, will do that. There is no one point that I can see that will change this. An accrual of dozens of decisions made here, on Nouane, have done that. Whether a Change has been sought, or an Ending, I could not say."

    He held a hand to his chest. "As I am Balance Incarnate, it is undoubted that what is changing your Fate within you is merely responding to the Imbalance you are propagating." The Father seemed to have more to say, but did not.

    ”What has arrived is trying to change what has been set in motion? So is it that or us that are going to destabilize the galaxy? Was the whole purpose the Protectors were created for to save the galaxy or bring about its end? Why have I been chosen then as the agent of change?” Much of what this man was speaking about Zas’tel would have to consider long and hard as he caused more questions than answers, made him doubt the purpose that the Master had set for him. ’Do I let this thing growing inside me take control, is that what is needed?’ he thought.

    The Father returned to stroking his chin. "I don't know," he admitted. "But what I do know is that the presence within you is growing directly in response to what has been done - what is being done," the Father corrected. "The Force was fixed; but you are each fulfilling it and yet resisting it."

    He mused. "Whatever grand choreography that has occurred, you are part of the problem and solution." He closed his eyes in thought. "But it is clear that cloak you wear is all that is keeping you alive, isolated from the Force in-part, but not in-full. The spectrum you and other mortals usually view - but in other wavelengths, you exist, and are souring... giving way to what sentience rises within you."

    "The cloak must thus remain... and while it is my wish not to kill you, I suspect only a catastrophic event will prevent the fissure in the Force from killing it."
    The Father frowned. "There was an ancient foe that thought similarly to this; of wounding the Force and placing another wound within it - more than one, a fracture which echoed and built upon itself until all life was deafened."

    "The ultimate betrayal, you see - of all."

    "I cannot remember his name... it was so many millennia ago now; in the Cosmic Wars."


    The Father paused. "But she is more direct than I; she may consider it necessary to kill this entire world, and my children are on their way to stop her."

    As the man spoke a sense of sadness came over Zas’tel, ’He knows not what I am, what his future holds, why that means I am here.’ He got glimpses of wars, betrayal, tides being turned one way or another, before the ‘parasite’ retreated once more.

    “She? I know not your hierarchy but I am guessing the two creatures I passed are your children. And each represents one of the sides here, the lush and fertile and the dreary and dark. But how is this other here and none know of her?” Zas’tel now feared for his fellow Protectors, that they would soon be faced by beings such as this man and not know how to respond as he was still unsure of every direction the man’s thoughts wandered.

    ”I will do all I can to ensure things happen as they must to keep the galaxy safe, but a catastrophic event? Is that the Twilight War the Master said was just starting, that we must protect the galaxy from?”

    The Father paused. "The Twilight War is beginning as we speak, my friend. It has already begun. Your Master appears to be managing it, as inevitable as it was, perhaps it was destined, perhaps he caused it. I know not; I just face reality as it now is."

    "You must follow your path, or you will remain within this purgatory of existence and non-existence... even if that path is about to intercede with that of who my children have put aside their differences to stop."
    The Father turned aside. "It is the aftermath that we must contend ourselves with."

    "When the Twilight Wars - for there will inevitably be many - are over, what will stand? Our focus must be on what is to come... the Twilight Wars are they themselves now unavoidable."
    The Father appeared grim. "You and the other Protectors have made that clear."

    He collected himself and began to walk away. "The shadow fleets in the dark corners of the galaxy will soon know that one of their Gods has escaped her prison... and it will be a beacon for the others to come - the doors to Chaos will open en masse, and the Daritha's rise up."

    "If your Master has prepared for the after, then we will be saved. If not, then he is as malicious as we fear and we are indeed, truly, doomed."
    The Father birthed wings and floated into the blackness of the monastery.

    ”Wait, how do I get out of here?” Zas’tel called after the disappearing figure. He knew he had to leave and continue his mission, follow the path the Master had laid before him, but if he could not escape this place then he would be trapped with this sometimes confusing man and those he called his children, when they returned.

    A flash of light, and Zas'tel was standing by his ship, which regarded him innocently, piqued but also simply here for the ride.

    Zas’tel reentered his Tho Yor, the conversation he had just had running through his mind. A thought arose, a great sadness tinging it, ’I pity him his future, what he must face, but he’s strayed as much as any have.’ He shook his head, exclaiming ”What!!” out loud but his ‘parasite’ remained silent.

    He reached out to the Tho Yor as it closed, directing it to exit the Prime Tho Yor and head toward the hilltop where the call that had drawn him had come from. He would see if it still did after knowing he’d visited this place, once he exited.

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

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

    Registered:
    Nov 15, 2004
    GM note, which will be deleted in due course. Apologies for the delay, I lost the ability to write on the 24th, and I am playing-catch-up.

    DRL pending, we will be proceeding to the explosive finale of the game shortly. Things have come to a head, and they will be revealed.

    This is not the end of your character arcs (plot depending), but the Twilight Wars are upon us.

    If anyone needs anything from the GM, please let me know.


    @Mitth_Fisto, @QueenSabe7, @HanSolo29

    @darthbernael, you will have a PM at some point this week
     
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  17. QueenSabe7

    QueenSabe7 RPF Awards Host star 6 VIP - Game Host

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

    Her accusatory stare at Joren blurred over as she listened to him seemingly continue to make excuses, but the tense moment whirled and shifted quickly before Vale’s eyes; her mind being tugged elsewhere by the intimately familiar signature of her wife. Careful, she thought, feeling Zinara about the Clock-Tower though not inside its walls. No, she was just outside, with others, their numbers slowly growing. As was a building tension that she knew the doctor and chistori beside her would sense just as she had. It made her feel as though she were about to be captured, like a thief surrounded by law keepers and forced into a corner to pay for her crimes. Understanding why Erwen and the rest had come, she knew they weren't here for her but still, she felt as if somehow... she had done something wrong.

    Then she heard Joren speaking again. Really heard him, the words coming from his mouth bringing her back to the here and now so suddenly that it gave her mental whiplash. It was disorienting for the briefest moment, she wobbled upon her feet.

    “Vydra? The traitor?” Vale had said the words with an air of knowing, because she had known – not that it was Vydra that would betray them all as the Master warned her one of them would, but that she had been looking for him in the wrong person. Again her eyes searched Joren in an invasive way, her head slowly shaking side to side in denial. “I was so sure…”

    Lost to her own thoughts, she only watched as the man she had once pegged as their betrayer began to leave them. He was muttering something about Tera, his spouse, when an abrupt down flow of pressure wrapped her in its chilling embrace; not the same as what came from Zinara and the officers that joined her, but of the Darkness Dunkeel had referred to on multiple occasions.

    It was here.

    Vale turned to the formidable creature as he thought to seal them within their home, their fortress. “A summoner of what?” she blurted, bewildered, her voice spiking in volume as she grew agitated with concern for her wife and the others nearby, for her people and for her fellow Protectors, no matter how fractured they may currently be. And a large part of her remained focused on the whereabouts of Zas’tel. This couldn't be a coincidence, and there were none in the Force.

    And as if the Force wished to reassure her of that truth, at the very same moment she felt the elusive fifth Protector. Clearly, strongly, as if he were right here with the rest of them. Because he was.

    “The defel!” Vale cried, simultaneously aware of Zinara’s reassurance that she was fine. Her heart raced with concern despite the fact that she knew her wife to be safe, but with the situation escalating in more ways than she could keep track of, how long would that last? And she cried out again but this time it was due to a sharp rush of chaos in the Force, one so strong that it caused her physical pain. Fleeting, but it had run deep. “He… has to have a part in this… whatever this is,” she gasped, collecting herself and stepping towards Joren again. However, her approach now wasn’t to harass him with more questions, it was with wide eyes that were, for once, pleading. For help. Her lack of trust and faith in the doctor could no longer stand in her way, she could no longer be selfish with her own thoughts.

    “We need you here, Joren. We three are all that are left.”

    Vale turned sharply away from the others and hurried towards the closest window, looking skyward. Her breath caught as her throat ran dry. "It's time to work together now. For once."

    TAGS: @Sinrebirth @HanSolo29 @Mitth_Fisto @darthbernael
     
  18. HanSolo29

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

    Registered:
    Apr 13, 2001
    IC: Dr. Joren Graal
    Clock Temple, Nouane

    The Force had become a fierce tempest, churning with such ferocity that it seemed to shake the very foundations of the Clock Tower itself. If Joren had been perfectly attuned with the natural currents around him, he would’ve perceived the firestorm on the horizon; he would’ve recognized that the tumult they were experiencing had not originated from within these walls. It stretched far beyond the city, encompassing the very framework of the wider galaxy…

    But instead, he was too consumed by his inner musings, which ultimately distorted his perceptions. All he saw was the ongoing conflict among the Protectors themselves. The Force resonated with the echoes of their strife, feeding into his anger and making him vulnerable.

    Even as Vale quietly assessed him in her own baleful way, and Dunkeel stood before him in sharp opposition, that silent storm continued to expand inside himself until he felt true, physical pain. The Master had seeded this dissension, had cultivated it, and allowed it to grow. He blamed him for everything that had gone wrong. The others had simply exacerbated the problem by not listening, nor heeding his pleas...and for one, betraying them. Things should have never been allowed to progress to the point of spiraling so dangerously out of control!

    And then to compound things further, Tera’s panic ripped through the fabric of the Force, tugging on that tangible line that linked them together across space and time. The intensity of her emotions took his breath away, but it didn’t stop there. It only continued to mount, growing more potent and more tumultuous until it reached a terrifying crescendo that caused him to unleash a feral scream.

    A second voice soon joined Tera’s frantic cry, and that’s when he realized that it was the child reaching out to him. A girl. Their daughter.

    At that moment, Joren’s paternal instincts took over. It was an innate sense that could not be hindered, fueling both his determination and distress. His child was in danger, and he would do anything to ensure her safety. Nothing else mattered. Everything had become inconsequential, including the defel, the summoner who had arrived from a distant star, and the dark presence that had descended upon the city.

    Dunkeel stepping forward to seal the main entryway into the Clock Tower, and effectively blocking the path back to his family, served as the final trigger for Joren’s fury.

    In an act of desperation, the doctor ripped the Forcesaber from his travel bag and clenched the cold metal between his fingers in a threatening manner. While he stopped short of igniting the blue blade, that did not prevent him from calling upon the Force to wreak havoc. “You interfere in matters you don’t understand and dare to question my motivations?” he growled out in a deep baritone, his eyes reflecting the pain of his inner turmoil. “And now you endanger my daughter as well?”

    Joren extended his free hand and splayed his fingers, stretching out with the Force as he prepared to send forth a pulse of energy toward the Chistori. In his anguish, he did not seem concerned about the ramifications his actions may cause. He was numb.

    But before the doctor could focus his efforts and conjure the strength to perform the deed, he felt a stirring in the Force. It was small, yet perceptible...perhaps even familiar. That’s when he realized that the sensation had materialized as a single voice, one that he recognized all too well:

    “We need you here, Joren. We three are all that are left.”

    Vale.

    It was Vale.

    "It's time to work together now. For once."

    And there was her confession; the truth they had all been missing.

    Where her stubborn resolve and brash tendencies would’ve typically raised his ire to further escalate the situation, he now found nothing but peace. It was as if her voice, her presence was pulling on all the tenuous strings that held him together. There was also something else lingering beneath the surface, something more raw and unfiltered – a delectable pull, but he couldn’t determine its significance.

    Either way, the combination of her words and her sincerity provided him with clarity.

    With a sharp intake of breath, Joren stumbled back a few paces as if stunned. The Forcesaber dropped from his white-knuckled grip to clatter loudly to the stone floor at his feet. He then blinked several times as he surveyed his surroundings, his blue eyes coming to rest on both Vale and Dunkeel in turn. He had returned from the brink, and he was truly seeing them within the context of their predicament. He finally understood.

    “I–I’m sorry,” he stammered weakly, reaching up to push both hands through his hair. “I–Dunkeel, I didn't realize what I was doing. I felt–it’s just that…” He sighed and shook his head slowly, his expression dissolving into a stricken mask of worry. “My wife...she’s having her baby right now. I can feel it. She’s in distress. I should be by her side, but...”

    The doctor then stepped close to Vale at the window and followed her gaze toward the sky. “I just–I don’t know what to do.”

    It was an admission of his own weakness. He had failed them as their leader, and he was ready to accept their criticism.

    Or their help.

    Whichever they were willing to give.

    TAG: @QueenSabe7; @Mitth_Fisto; @Sinrebirth; @darthbernael
     
  19. QueenSabe7

    QueenSabe7 RPF Awards Host star 6 VIP - Game Host

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

    Leaning so close to the window pane that she nearly pressed her skin to it, Vale's eyes warped in and out of clear sight, disbelieving what she was seeing and feeling. Behind her, Joren dealt with his own conflicting emotions and she found herself pulled in by his inner turmoil. She shook her head, closing her eyes shut against the unreal world outside and unwillingly becoming distracted by the doctor. She hadn't realized or even begun to consider that she would be so.... in tune with his thoughts like she was now, or perhaps it was simply the impending chaos that was looming over them. Either way, it felt strange.

    “I just–I don’t know what to do," he admitted, suddenly close by her, wanting to catch the view just as she.

    Her head spun momentarily. What the hell was happening?

    Vale quickly turned to face him, keeping herself steady though she felt the opposite. "Tera will be fine," she told him, her words carrying the reassuring strength of the truth. "She is resilient and self-sufficient, you know this. But if you leave here and go to her now, the future you want for her and your child will be in jeopardy."

    Boldly, she reached out and grasped one of his hands in her own, to drive her point home. There was something resembling a stinging jolt that ran up her arm from her fingertips and out onto her shoulder as soon as they touched, but she excused it as nothing. "If you stay, you are protecting them both more than if you were standing by their side."

    Her cheeks grew hot and her eyes blurred, brimming with tears. The words she spoke to Joren were very much the same in respect to how she felt about Zinara's safety. Oh how she wished to be out there with her wife, keeping her from harm, but it would be in sacrifice of the bigger picture. Of so much more. She felt that truth in the very marrow of her bones.

    Dropping the doctor's hand and collecting herself, Vale looked back at chistori. "Master Dunkeel, you know this threat well. A shapeless Croke that demands answers - what is it asking of us?"

    TAGS: @HanSolo29 @Mitth_Fisto
     
  20. Mitth_Fisto

    Mitth_Fisto Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Sep 29, 2005
    Dunkeel
    Clock-Tower, Nouane

    The Leader had stepped forward, the drawing of a battle to the death was like sweet nectar in the air. The tension of the world seemed to sing around them as if they were about to fight in the death throes for an audience that was there to apprehend them. Dunkeel stood tall and stood firm. His tongue barely darting at the edges of his maw as he was watched Joren yell, felt the pull as the other prepared some form of attack as he held his saber in a clenched hand.

    Vale spoke and then there was a pause. A respite from the storm as if they were finally finding the center, and so a name died on his lips that he would not utter now. Vale consoled the Doctor and then turned to him, turned to him for answers. In that moment, with all that tension in the air and battle that had tasted so sweet and close averted. . . he couldn't remember. "Sssshshshsh. I, my notes." he paused as he lifted a tablet to look through the notes he had made.

    "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." Humming he tapped a couple more times, ""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..." Ah, yes. There it was. "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!"

    Reading those quotes out loud he sighed and was deeply embarrassed by his own responses. Hind sight as they say. "I believe we know well what it wants. I fear we have already given it much of what it wanted." He wasn't sure what they could do to solve this now, now with so much happening around them.

    TAG: @QueenSabe7 , @HanSolo29 , @Sinrebirth
     
  21. Sinrebirth

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

    Registered:
    Nov 15, 2004
    IC: Darkness
    At the hills above the City

    [​IMG]

    He stood there, or, rather, floated, amusement frothing the Force.

    There it was, the immense Tho Yor descending from orbit, about to break the cloud-cover and be evident to the people of this City. The panic... the pandemonium... it would be succulent. His Lady was here, following a Change in the Force, looking to take advantage of it all. As Darkness sat, peering, he saw the smaller Tho Yor of Zas'tel looping down, following the strand of Fate that Darkness had picked at.

    Above him, directly above, Darkness could sense the thinness of realities wall.

    There was a way through here; he wondered what was beyond it?

    The Croke waited until the Tho Yor had settled, and the ramp spilled, and Darkness released a pulse into the Force. It rebounded off the Black-Coat; highlighting it's location. Yes, the material was designed to make the Chistori hidden from the Force, and unaffected by the dark powers he was using without realising, but it didn't mean Darkness couldn't take advantage of it.

    Dunkeel, Vale and Joren would each be able to, for the briefest of moments, feel exactly where Zas'tel was.

    And they could feel that he was surrounded by the dark side.

    And that they stood beneath the way to the Light; to the World Between Worlds.

    "So you've discovered the Truth."

    TAG: @darthbernael, @QueenSabe7, @HanSolo29, @Mitth_Fisto
    ---
    IC: Abeloth

    Nouane City proper

    It hadn't taken much for her to follow the source of the Change. It had allowed her to escape her sixty-five millennia long imprisonment in the Maw; she had to know how the Force had been influenced to allow her escape. And so, she had made it hear, taking control of a ship she had lured in with the Force; a ship she had put down at the edge of civilisation and followed to the City.

    Of course, she'd been noticed. But she still had time.

    In the guise of a young woman, she stepped through the milling cordon and crowd, which had regrouped as a set of plainclothes officers; there had been eighty such officers in this operation, all at the direction of Erwen. This was the full deployment that the Lords and Lady of Nouane had beqeauthed upon the Protectors to keep the peace.

    [​IMG]

    "Hello, sweeties."

    As she crossed the plaza that fronted the Clock-Tower, where Vale, Joren and Dunkeel all stood, and had all sensed Zas'tel, she introduced herself with a souring of the Force. She used the attention upon her to reveal her true horror. Her arms split into tentacles, and her pupils expanded to blacken her entire eye and reveal pinpricks of light at their centers. Her skin burst into maggots and other insectile carrion, for she was not in the body of a Force user.

    [​IMG]

    And they had what she wanted.

    "I stand before you as the Destructor, prophecised to destroy the Protectors... I can see it now, in this place, that your Master tried to manipulate fate itself... and your choices have led to this point; when the Force is Changed, the monsters it kept within its embrace can be released... I am the heir of your failures... and your death!"

    Her tentacles extended, seeking to ensnare them. One of them. Any of them.

    Then a cacophony of screams above the City as an over-sized griffin and bat emerged from the cloud cover, arching down towards the Clock-Temple.

    The pain of Tera, the proximity of Zinara, the thwarted cordon...

    ... and Zas'tel, from their perspective, swaddled in Darkness, standing at the edge of the Light they had sworn to protect.

    TAG: @QueenSabe7, @HanSolo29, @Mitth_Fisto
     
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  22. darthbernael

    darthbernael Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 15, 2019
    OOC: I know, I know, you all didn't want me talking to him but I had to stall him while you dealt with little miss crazy Celestial. With @Sinrebirth

    IC Zas’tel and the Darkness
    Just before the Door to the Light

    The conversation that Zas’tel had just had with the balanced being was still running through his mind as the Tho Yor descended. It kept his attention and, because of the Black Coat he wore, he only peripherally noticed the darkness that was gathering around his ship as it dropped toward the hilltop, a very familiar hilltop.

    The ship threw up a warning just before a pulse in the Force swept over the ship. As it did he grimaced, realizing the creature on the hill had done so specifically to let his fellow Protectors know where he was. The ‘guest’ inside him chuckled at it ’Games and more games. I believe this one has to do with what is happening to your fellow Protectors. And that was to divide their attention. We’re surrounded by darkness and they have to face whatever is there, so any distraction will gain an advantage.’

    The Tho Yor landed and Zas’tel took a moment to stare at the being on the hilltop, wearing a shape he didn't recognize but that seemed familiar. There was little he could sense of it, aside from a feeling of age. With a sigh, he triggered the opening mechanism, leaped to the ground, and closed the ship with a command that it should only open to him again, reinforcing what he knew was already there.

    Turning, he chuckled, another who believed he knew the Truth. His guest chuckled in unison, but in a way that seemed to indicate it had more knowledge of the situation than he. Looking at the shape there, [coor= #643200]”You again, your voice gives you away. Let us continue then. There are truths and there are Truths, so you tell me.”[/color]

    "Yes, me again," Darkness said. He shifted to that Sorceror of Tund outfit. "I peeked in the Holocron of Prophecy, once, and saw my son, and he had a garish taste in attire, but he was intending to impose fear... carving out his own fiefdom to include the legacies of the Sith, Celestials and so forth..."

    "But alas I did not partake in anything more of note," he said coyly. "But I thought it appropriate to keep to my voice... even if I take the form of my preference for once."

    "So you know what the Master did, no?" A leer, as the spectre shifted around and around. "What he fixed into place?"

    Zas’tel smiled, inside the hood, ”Yes, I know what he fixed in place.” he actively avoided looking toward where the rift that lead to the World Between Worlds would open if needed, sensing that to do so would give away even more than should be. ”I also know what the easiest, not the best but the easiest solution would be to rectify that, but it’s not the right solution, no matter how easy it is.”

    He looked up at the figure, almost all beings either affected a height or was of a height taller than he so it wasn’t that much of a stretch to do so. ”I take it you’re partially responsible for that chaos down there.” His hand, in the Coat, waved in the direction of the Son, Daughter, and the chaos of the city. ”Distracting the others with a great adversary, one of extreme power, so that you have the time to convince me of the rectitude of your beliefs?”

    The Darkness leaned over his shoulder, and peered over the Defel's shoulder. "I mean... would it be easier for you, my friend, to blame me? That all of this is the machinations and manipulations of the Darkness - of the most ancient of evils?"

    "Would it, Shadow?"

    Zas’tel laughed, a clear, humor filled laugh, ”Why should I blame you, it is your nature after all. One does not have to be Dark by nature to make the easy choices, just that repetitively making those easy choices leads deeper down the path to Darkness. But too much Darkness or too much Light would accelerate the process the Master set in motion.”

    He’d been called Shadow many times but this time the ‘guest’ of his seemed to paused, as though he was considering the word and its potential for the future. ’Shadow, a good name. You, me, however are not a Shadow of me, but me, now in the flesh, but I will need Shadows in the future.’

    The Darkness seemed to read his mind, though of course he didn't. Minds had a confluence, after all. "Ah yes, too much Darkness... which means, of course, that every Darkness belongs to a Light. Each and everyone has an opposite which created it... right until the point that there is no Light... and Darkness is the natural state of things."

    He flitted around Zas'tel. "One could say that Darkness is realities true nature, no?"

    The ‘guest’ began to speak in Zas’tel’s mind, then stopped, leaving him wondering what was something that the parasite was willing to pass on that was important enough to respond to what the Croke had said. But enough of that being’s mentality was beginning to seep through to Zas’tel’s mind he could use it as though it were his own.

    ”You seem to have it half right but, given your own alignment, only have it that half right. There is or can be no Light without Darkness or no Darkness without Light. Each needs the other, needs to have that polar opposite or other outcomes occur. Too much of either with nothing to Balance and the End may come. Quite often though, before that, if Darkness rules, someone will rise to the Light and lead others to it. When too much Light reigns, someone inevitably falls to the Dark.”

    He chuckled, thinking about the image of that made him almost see the Son and Daughter on a beam, one rising as the other drops until the other rose in their place and they dropped. It was interesting the things that come to mind when the fate of the galaxy may hang in the balance.

    ”So no, Darkness is not the natural state, nor is Light. The galaxy is a mash of shades of grey, and unless you wish for the End of Time it had better remain in that state.”

    The Darkness fluttered around. "Is not the stated goal of the Protectors to stop said Ending?"

    His cloaked visage loomed over Zas'tel's cloaked face. "Or is it to achieve something else, I wonder? After all..."

    A twirled, and he turned his back on Zas'tel to peer down upon the chaos in the City. "Isn't the real question whose Darkness I am?"

    Zas’tel looked at the Croke’s back, mirth dancing in his mind, was this ancient being truly trying this, here and now. It seemed he was. ”Darkness all comes from one source.” He grunted as the parasite laughed, ’Yeah, just as Light does, me.’

    He shuddered at the thought of what that could portend, but he still had to keep the Darkness talking, keep him from his goal until the others could deal with what was occurring in the City. ”As to stopping the End of Time, you may see our goal as more lofty than it is. We are to Protect the people from the Destructors, well they are, mostly,” his hand once again took in the chaos in the distance ”my task is slightly different, but it doesn’t mean taking that easy route you offer. Easy routes often turn out to be the more complex ones in the end.”

    "Yes, they do," the Darkness said. The Croke shifted again, as if deciding. "So what can I offer you, Zas'tel, to use that Forcesaber of yours to bring the Light here? For once the True Light - the Light of the World Between Worlds - is corrupted, there will be no need for Darkness any longer..."

    "The End of Time can be undone, by simple surrender..."

    Zas’tel chuckled once more, ”I must give it to you, you are nothing if not persistent. I know your need but it does not mean I would give you what you desire. My desire is simple but you are in no position to give it to me.”

    He could hear the chaos in the city still and knew that the other Protectors had their hands full with that situation, but this one, this simple conversation, was almost more important than a battle between the forces arrayed there. This was it, the choice between the End now, which he knew would occur if the Light were tainted, or some future unknown where the End came by different means.

    Looking back up at the Darkness, ”The Father could not, would not, give me what I need so I know you would be completely unable to do so.”

    His mouth moved as he fought for control of it with the being inside, his eyes flickered with various colors, his own and a neutral grey, before an almost whisper came forth, ”I will not be denied, will not let you taint either half of me, will not let you destroy my galaxy.”

    Zas’tel threw back his head and howled, fighting for control once more, and finally forcing back down the presence. Lowering his snout, he panted for a moment, ”I know my role, know what I must do, no matter the Master’s orders or not. I will not open the way.”

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

    Mitth_Fisto Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Sep 29, 2005
    Dunkeel
    Clock-Tower, Nouane

    Waiting for a reply he had stood there, feeling his fellow Protectors in the Force as their mutual wounds and slights seemed to finally seek solace in each other. It was then that the Force pulsed with a darkness. The pressure, the balance, the light, and the dark were all so heavy here in this moment. Still he focused on the others as he could feel, as he was sure they could, for the briefest of moments, feel exactly where Zas'tel was.

    And they could feel that he was surrounded by the dark side.

    And that they stood beneath the way to the Light; to the World Between Worlds.

    Only he wasn't the only problem. "I know his name." Dunkeel softly sighed, his head bowing to the other two in the shame. He knew they would know what he meant. "I - I know all our names-s-s." he hissed softly in his shame and confusion at what was going on now.

    "Hello, sweeties." came a voice, a voice of one that he did not know. Only he could feel it, as if the Force was decaying in her very presence. She used the attention upon her to reveal her true horror. Her arms split into tentacles, and her pupils expanded to blacken her entire eye and reveal pinpricks of light at their centers. Her skin burst into maggots and other insectile carrion.

    "Over-ripe." he muttered in unthinking disgust at the sight of her. Luckily she expounded upon her condition so that he no longer had to harbor a deep seated horror that they had to help her.

    "I stand before you as the Destructor, prophesied to destroy the Protectors... I can see it now, in this place, that your Master tried to manipulate fate itself... and your choices have led to this point; when the Force is Changed, the monsters it kept within its embrace can be released... I am the heir of your failures... and your death!"

    Her tentacles extended, seeking to ensnare them. One of them. Any of them.

    His lightsaber was in his hand in a moment, the white blade shinning brightly as heard and felt a noise above them as screams echoed out. He pushed with the Force to repel her tentacles and was ready to shred any that came within range. Hopefully the screaming was friendly and the darkness of Zas'tel they had to confront.

    Then a cacophony of screams above the City as an over-sized griffin and bat emerged from the cloud cover, arching down towards the Clock-Temple.

    The pain of Tera, the proximity of Zinara, the thwarted cordon...

    ... and Zas'tel, from their perspective, swaddled in Darkness, standing at the edge of the Light they had sworn to protect.

    Dunkeel was ready, he would face what was before him! Or, if ordered he would deal with what was behind them. So long as they faced it together, or faced it by choice he was fine with that. This was the threat in his face and he would burn it to the last maggot into ashes.

    TAG: @QueenSabe7, @HanSolo29, @darthbernael , @Sinrebirth