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Star Wars CLOSED Aftermath and Beginnings

Discussion in 'Role Playing Forum' started by Sinrebirth , May 3, 2019.

  1. Mitth_Fisto

    Mitth_Fisto Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Sep 29, 2005
    IC: Dunkeel
    End of Time; Time After Time

    The darkness of the holocron seemed to be alive as it swirled around Dunkeel, a black cyclone of power that ensnared him and drew him into it. It was an odd sensation although as far as Dunkeel knew this was merely an affect on his mind and his body was frozen in the act of touching the holocron. The others watching impatiently for what would happen.

    ---
    Inside the Black Holocron

    The darkness parted to reveal a devastated landscape; a Graveyard of a world. Slowly he took in the varied architecture that had never seemed so odd to him. Looked at the lay of everything and then it dawned on him with absolute certainty that this was Nouane.

    Their Nouane. Unlike Vydra had mere dreams of a single long slumber until this now, and so this was merely the cooled off vestiges of yesterday, as if the sands had come as the lava had cooled.

    All was focused on a center, the point where it had all come to an end. The center with four equidistant points, the points aligned with the four districts.

    The center was where they had fought Abeloth. The lava was gone, but the memory and even the scent of the burning still lingered so strongly in his mind he was unsure if it might actually still linger here.

    The darkness that had pulled back to the edges of the moment drew inward, convalescing in front of him.

    A demon appeared, blackened, and yet muscular, fiery and yet calm.

    In it's oversized hands were a pair similarly large lightsaber hilts.

    One, an approximation of the blade that Anakin Skywalker had weilded.

    The other, an approximation of the blade that Darth Vader had used.

    They ignited; sky blue and angry red.

    "Hello there." Dunkeel calmly stated. His own hands hovering open to his sides.

    With a word, the Darkness threw himself at Dunkeel.

    Dunkeel threw himself to the side, calling Fang out and active to come up as ward and protection. And as always, a seeking weapon that would dip forward to bite if there was an opening.

    The creature swung, a two bladed chop downwards, before flipping up and away over his riposte bite.

    A voice spoke up.

    Don't interfere. A pure light is most careless.

    The creature spun back to face Dunkeel, before a twist of the Force caused the lightsabers to burst open and then settle. The blades doubled in length, and he stood still as they blazed around him in a circle, manipulated by his usage of the Force -

    Growling softly in the back of his throat Dunkeel looked at the creature that played with his blades. "If you think my light is pure, you are blinded by your own darkness being too thick. I am the balance of the spectrum." Speaking he teased forward with his blade, seeking to test the odd style with plenty of reach and distance between them.

    "Creativity i

    The blade reflected from his and then pinwheeled off as if a slicing disc, twirling around to come at Dunkeel, swiftly but in a wide arc, towards Dunkeel's lower back -

    The creature held out a hand and sought to seize his throat with the Force -

    You have developed a... Resistance to the Darkness within you. Let it out. Let it go.

    Dunkeel hissed in laughter as he dropped to the ground, letting the blades breeze by just out of reach of his flesh. He could feel the cloying grasp and responded by pulling the other to himself with a Force Pull. If he was going to choke on anything it would be this mans hand as he bit it off! If not too unpalatable he would be tempted to swallow it as well.

    The hand was bit clean off and the creature reared back, an ethereal cry of pain sounding out as fumes emerged from it's limb. The flesh dissipated in Dunkeel's mouth, the throat attack interrupted, and with a flick, a hand emerged anew on the monsters arm.

    His lightsabers hurled back to his hands as he sought to recover -

    But for that moment, Dunkeel had surprised his foe and he was entirely exposed -

    Not letting an opportunity go to waste, and spurned on by the infuriating lack of satisfaction of swallowing a part of his enemy, Dunkeel slashed up with his lightsaber. His free hand reaching out to intercept the returning lightsabers handle with a tug in the Force to alter it's return. If his own attack bisected the other, good. If not, he was one step closer to fulfilling his own guided attack.

    "Vydra would say the same for the light." he growled out, there was the truth of it. Dunkeel saw him as too light, light saw him as too dark. His blade, Fang, was the truth of it all. A brilliant white light not of purity, but of balance of all the shades of things. Hatched into darkness, ran into the light of obscurity, and raised into balance by The Master.

    Both Darkness and Light were tempered things, resisted. Light a scabbard, Darkness the sword. Each kept and nurtured the other with purpose. One without the other could still be useful, but would never be all it could be alone.

    The Darkness, do you remember when you met it on Nouane? A sorceror, a shapeshifter - wrapped up as a Croke spy.

    It seemed unperturbed by the death of its spawn.

    What evil would be?

    With that it was gone, but nothing was truly gone. The voice continued as he destroyed the lightsabers with Fang, urging and conniving. It was a simple enough question after all.

    "The years have not doddered me. I remember." He replied as he dipped the tip of his blade at last into the floor of this odd place. "What of it?"

    Do you remember where it hid, at the time of the Change? Before Abeloth came to you, to kill you all for your Sins against the Force?

    Would Dunkeel remember when he had last seen the Croke, conniving and annoying and wheedling his way across Nouane?

    Kneeling he plunged his lightsaber deeper into the perceived ground and began to slowly drag it across it. "I remember." he growled out. "I tire of your game. A point if you have it." he barked out into the surrounds. Listening and waiting, feeling his way of what all this was.

    Well, I needed somewhere to hide, because without form, I will be trapped in the prior timeline.

    A chuckle.

    Propagation is the true nature of the Darkness.


    The lightsaber cut at the ground of Dwartii, and it split away, showing a blue-sky - a deeper level to the Holocron. In typical Dunkeel way, he was carvig his way into it

    So I chose you. But your resistance... it is frustrating, Protector. I have no influence; you are Balanced. I am Trapped. Only here, in the Old Between, can I even speak.

    Seeing not merely more scorched earth Dunkeel hissed appreciatively at a random act of frustration bearing food where there was none. So this was an illusion inside the holocron. He set to breaking through to go through that blue sky he had found, and whatever lay beneath it.

    "This is not Between. This is Within." Shaking his head he sighed as he eyed the opening he was making. "I pity you, you chose poorly if you chose at all."

    This Holocron is His.

    It is where the Old lies.

    Within is Between, in the middle of Awake and Asleep.


    The Darkness seethed.

    We did choose poorly.

    Our comrade chosen Joren, and he was perfect. When you stripped him of the Force the Statues rejected him and we passed down his genetic line instead. We took a new name, and we wreaked havoc and misery as Skelm.

    Our comrade chose Vale, but she was half a person and so she could not be a true Vessel. We could only latch to her for now, and then detach when she became No Name. But that Darkness is free, and will find another.

    Our comrade chose Vydra, and he has potential, but we are not in control there. Maybe one day. Maybe not. He is more of a slave to his emotions than you.

    Our comrade chose the Monk, and hid within, for a time - until we, too, were bound within the Ashen One. We cannot see what happened to him.

    Our comrade chose Jacen Solo, and went with him forward after he went back.

    But through you I can achieve nothing.

    Less than.


    The ground gave way, and Dunkeel fell down into the blue sky.

    He was above Nouane.

    Before it was destroyed.

    Before the Change.

    He was falling, falling -

    He had cut a hole to peer below and the ground had collapsed, and so he now fell through the clear blue sky and breathed deep. Looking to the world that was below. "You speed to death then. Release me, and I will not let it linger. Keep me, and I will make you howl."

    It was a promise, the Force was with him and he little feared the fall. He pressed upon the world that was the holocron he was within. Angling to the last place he had seen the darkness that was the Croke. He would slow his fall, he would land and roll - hard. Yet he was sure he would be fine. That he would be released from here.

    He was fine, indeed, the ground had a pliable aspect, undoubtedly because it was as much construct as real.

    There was a wisp of a trail through the City, unseen while they skirmished endlessly with Abeloth and wrecked the streets. The mere existence of their conflict had torn at buildings, ripped at roads, and what had been their home was littered with the dead, as hundred fled from the carnage.

    Dunkeel's mouth parted, a toothy maw of joy that made his heart increase ever so slightly. A trail, it spoke to the deep innate nature of a hunter. Drawing instincts forward to be pulled, quiet literally, by the nose. His senses were inflamed, always wary of a trap that the trail might lead him into and so he paced it, following it from a side and occasionally switching to the opposite side of the trail.

    The voice was now silent, but he remembered the words and remembered his long studies in Heart about the Croke and about the city. It may be fake, but it was.

    The trail led to an abandoned warehouse.

    A small one, not far from the Docks.

    There were Shadows there.

    All of them were Darknesses.

    Six of them, hovering, discussing, conversing.

    Any one was a great and terrible threat.

    Its coming.

    The Change.


    The Bringer of Chaos is here.

    We ripped ourselves free of Her when she was killed the first time; but she has propagated, had a spawn, and this one is perfect.

    Belot will eat you if she sees you.

    Sentience is such a terrible thing in our pieces.

    We cannot be trapped in an ended timeline.

    We must propagate.

    The Final Timeline is our goal.

    Eren, the man... shall we possess him?


    That name is one that Dunkeel might recognise, but it was many, many millennia ago, but a few hours ago for him.

    The head of the Nouane constabulary; a man who had worked with Eren to unmask a murderer, and track down Zas'tel.

    He had not been seen since the Change; not anywhere; not anywhen.

    Dunkeel fell back a little bit and tried to quietly call out to Heart, this was a fake but it was real and in the real it was inside Heart and perhaps through him Heart was in here as well. Heart. Heart? If you can I need you to destroy the warehouse by my location. Six darkness inside, six shades, possibly a croke as well. Bring it down if you can.

    Moving to a barely safe distance with some cover Dunkeel waited to see if anything would happen. If it did he was ready to dive in and kill the confused or stunned or wounded darkness as able.

    Heart was there, after all, it was a memory, and he had not commanded Heart during the battle with Abeloth.

    It had watched, pensive, panicked - saddened, even - that it's help for Dunkeel had not saved anyone.

    The ship rushed down, ignoring the calamity that was on-going in the center of the City, and just as sudden unleashed Celestial tech in exploding the warehouse.

    The Six Darknesses became a writhing mass of anger in the middle of the flames, their spinning and swirling forms decimating the surrounding buildings as they sought to kill what had attacked them -

    One turned to see Dunkeel, and canted it's head, looking back to the center of the City and then back again.

    Are you taking the Forbidden path?

    What is Forbidden? There is only the accepted and the forgotten, I go where I must and how I must. With that Dunkeel charged forward into the confusion, no matter that one had seen him. He breathed, and he was at peace. There was anger, there was darkness, there was fury. Yet there was love, there was light, there was joy.

    Anger was in his breast that these would dare to mar a man as Eren. A friend if ever he had counted one of the officers. Darkness was in his soul from that thought, with twisted desires. His blade Fang lashed out with the fury of it, the frantic overwhelming nature of all things.

    He loved this city, he loved Eren, and in a passive possessive he loved these darkness' for the challenge they gave. Light sprang inside as love reached out to love inside his heart and soul, a shimmering star formed by the interconnecting lines of all the things great and small he cared for. Dunkeel's throat ground out a growl to the tempo of the cackling fires and he found a joy in the hunt that sated and soaked deep from scale to marrow. Fang sang with all of these, and so did his claws and his fangs.

    He could carry that love through, and Fang's blade drove back the Darkness but could not kill it.

    It could not, but the Darkness let Dunkeel go with a snicker.

    Dunkeel's love would carry him through the chaotic streets until he was there; at the edge of the battle.

    The four foes - three Protectors, and one Destructor, were wrecking havoc and there, downed in the crossfire, injured but not dead, was Eren.

    He was alive.

    For the moment.

    It was a little known fact not only were Dunkeel, Vydra, Vale, Joren and Abeloth missing from the New Nouane, but also Eren, and, technically, a Togruta named Sheel Ix. But that was a tale for another day.

    But where had Eren gone?

    Were we about to see?

    Spotting the man Dunkeel wondered if Darkness had taken to riding him. Yet he knew he had already disrupted such a thing and this, this was merely a holocron and old memories. He didn't know what happened to Eren, if he lived, died, or what happened to so many people.

    Dipping his blade he began to cut at the ground again as he kept an eye on the man. Curious about the past, but trying to be mindful of the future and where he actually was.

    Eren slipped into the gap that Dunkeel carved - and fell! They both did!

    The world puckered down and away at his cut, drawing him and even Eren down into it. As they fell he growled a short rebuttal to the situation. The Force once more would save him, but he could not let Eren fall to his own doom. Angling over he pulled in the Force to get a good grip on the man as they fell to whatever the inner layer of this Holocron may yet be.

    The next layer saw them back on Dwartii - or rather, Nouane after it was devastated. There stood four staffs in the ground, and around them four statues.

    Their four statues.

    In front of Sistros was, quite literally, a Scepter with Sistros atop it.

    In front of his statue was a white staff with a circle atop; the Lightstaff.

    In front of Vydra’s was a Scepter with a fleshy weaving to it; the Darkstaff.

    In front of the statue of Braata was a horned staff - the Scepter of Ragnos.

    Eren stood, staring at it. “I don’t understand.”

    “You don’t need to,” said a Black-Coat. For a moment, Dunkeel would understand he was watching what had happened. In the man’s hand was a Forcesaber; it had a black blade, already ignited. A box sat behind him.

    This was Zas’tel. “I gather you wanted to meet me.”

    Eren reached for this blaster and Zas’tel cut it apart in a swift move. The officer growled. “I wanted to stop the destruction of the City.”

    “Because I was moving in the shadows you assumed I was being nefarious?”

    “You were a person of interest,” seethed Eren. “Vale didn’t trust you either.”

    “And yet she trusted the Master of Masters, who told me to watch the future and then pass on his Forcesaber and his Eye.”

    “What?” Eren looked genuinely surprised but Zas’tel changed tact.

    “Did you know you’re a Force sensitive?”

    Eren looked surprised. “What?”

    “Didn’t Dunkeel tell you? Or Vydra? Or even Vale?” Zas’tel shook his head. He took a step forward.

    “You’re saying I could have been a Protector?”

    “You’re brilliant, putting together the puzzle from the outside, pushing along the paranoia and treachery that caused the Change.” Zas’tel was standing so close.

    “I thought,” Eren said, his eyes searching the cloaked Defel face. “You were only supposed to watch?”

    The scene blacked out, and the statues and sceptres were missing, and all who stood there was Zas’tel in his Black Coat with the box behind him.

    He had passed on the Forcesaber as he was supposed to.

    Zas’tel reached for his cowl and pulled to back.

    He had taken Eren’s body.

    The Master of Masters hadn’t told him to do that.

    He was the Traitor all along.

    He finally turned to face Dunkeel.

    “So you went into the Black Holocron?”

    Dunkeel watched it all unfold, sniffing and staring at the Defel and the human. The staffs and statues were interesting to note, but in the end he did not understand them and so dismissed them for now.

    When the scene changed, oddly like in a dream where one pays such a major thing so little mind. Dunkeel found himself growling as the man turned around to reveal something that never should of been. "And you betrayed your charge. Did you think me so foolish to leave such a thing unknown?" he asked in a challenge as he stood to his full height, glaring at Zas'tel out of his left eye.

    Zas'tel snorted.

    "The Master of Masters intended you to be a vessel of the Darkness. That's all you were to him - all each of us were - pieces to be used." He squeezed his free hand into a fist. "He betrayed our trust in him."

    "The paranoia that he caused us?" He seethed, aloud. "It was just to make us more enticing. To have our drama tease the Darkness into thinking that we would fall, so they would cozy up to us and attempt to possess us in our moment of weakness. Sure, you managed to pass the test... but Vydra? Forced to live thousands of years of history as a disembodied Force Ghost... Vale? Split into two inclinations, one now dead, one without a memory." He growled. "And Joren? He succumbed to his Darkness and it corrupted his entire family tree right to the End of Time."

    "And me?" His voice raised an octave, nearly a screech.

    "I was to be his Eye, pass his Forcesaber to my apprentice, and then die. I decided I would rather not be just a footnote in his Grand Design." He flexed Eren's hands. "This police officer, he'll do for now. I'll find another body later." He glowered at Dunkeel.

    "Maybe I'll even take yours one day, at the End of Time."

    Dunkeel's nostrils flared at this thing, this parody of Zas'tel, this parody of what should have been a brother. "So you feared death and took for a host one that was already claimed by darkness. I understand you, and perhaps you will some day." he stated in a mash up of questions and statements to reply to. Perhaps Zas'tel would claim him, perhaps darkness was lying and already had, and perhaps, perhaps this explained the boy that shouldn't be here inside the other statue of Joren.

    "I have one question, do you know how to kill a darkness?" standing there waiting he listened with his head turned to the side, twisting as he waited. Ready to defend, ready to sunder the ground once more, ready, merely ready.

    “Why would I kill the Darkness?” Zas’tel crowed.

    “When I could gather them all in one host… make them Whole, and open the entirety of the Dark Side to me!” He laughed, and the laughter was a blaze of shadow and wave of power that propelled Dunkeel out, out, out -

    Out of the mindscape and into his own body!

    Standing there once more, he looked down at the black holocron and without a thought nor word he ignited Fang and plunged it through it. Using the Force to make sure every piece was cycled through the blade and destroyed to it's barest atoms. All the while doing his best to bathe the whole process in light to balance out the darkness.

    TAG: @Sinrebirth , @HanSolo29 , @Jerjerrod-Lennox
     
  2. HanSolo29

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

    Registered:
    Apr 13, 2001
    The following is a combo with @Sinrebirth – thank you so much! [:D]

    IC: Arek Graul and the Black-Coat (the Master)
    Somewhere beyond...

    Things escalated quickly, and it became difficult to discern the course of events. The only thing Arek could remember was that a dark essence had emanated from the Holocron. It had been palpable as it filled the chamber and swirled around Master Dunkeel in a fierce cyclone. He had instinctively parted his lips, intent on warning the reptilian creature to not engage with the ancient artifact, but his efforts had been futile.

    The tempest had consumed Dunkeel, and then he vanished. Arek could only surmise that the Holocron itself had claimed its next victim. That had been reason enough to attempt an escape from this nightmarish scene.

    However, before he could turn to his new companion, Vydra, to convey his plan, there had been a brilliant flash as his vision turned to white.

    When his mental haze finally cleared, Arek discovered that he was no longer aboard the living ship, nor was Vydra or Dunkeel with him. He was alone once more—or so, he thought.

    The scene slowly dissolved into a single room with pastel walls and a warm, soothing atmosphere, emphasized by the soft glow of the light panels placed along the floorboards. There was also a distinct scent that permeated his senses, almost flowery or tangy in nature; it was very reminiscent of a baby’s nursery.

    That realization brought a sinking feeling to the pit of Arek’s stomach, and as he craned his neck to further survey the room, he noted the toys, furniture, and other baby paraphernalia scattered about. But perhaps more compelling was the single figure huddled over the crib, attending to the infant child who lay within.

    Arek narrowed his eyes to get a closer look.

    Was that—his grandfather?

    The man certainly resembled Norin Graul, albeit several decades younger than he remembered him, but there was no mistaking that stern disposition. It was uncanny.

    And if that was his grandfather, then the child was—

    "So, this is his birth," a voice suddenly sounded from beside him, chuckling with amusement.

    Arek visibly jumped and whirled on the stranger, a scowl marring his features when he noted the Black-Coat standing next to him. While he failed to recognize the man, that didn’t change his perceptions; he couldn’t trust anyone who adorned that cursed garment. It reminded him too much of Trayus and how he had betrayed him back on Coruscant. He could not allow this man to deceive him as well.

    "I don’t find this humorous at all," Arek grumbled under his breath, tightening the lightsaber hilt in his grip.

    "And what is that over there?" the Black-Coat continued in a mirthful tone. "Ho, ho, that's where it got to."

    Clenching his jaw, the younger Graul begrudgingly canted his head to follow the man’s gaze. His countenance immediately paled when he noticed the item in question—nestled between the plush toys and various baby trinkets strewn on the opposite side of the room was a red pyramid.

    A Holocron.

    The Force bristled with the revelation, and he reflexively turned to glare at the Black-Coat’s cowl. "This is your doing?" Arek asked in a firm voice, his eyes narrowing perceptibly. "What do you aim to accomplish? You better have a damned good reason…"

    Again, he squeezed the lightsaber; he had a very bad feeling about this.

    "I didn’t do anything to your father, nor your grandfather for that matter. As much as you’ll all blame little ole me, the Darkness that took root in your family tree was not my intention." He shrugged.

    "Indeed, y’know what I’d rather? It was caught and taken out." He flicked his chin at the Holocron. "Instead it has its own life, and it’s continually sneaking around and nudging your Darkness potential out of you."

    An incredulous snort escaped Arek’s lips as he diverted his gaze away from the other man, seemingly content to scrutinize the scene playing out before him. It was surreal to peer upon this moment and to consider the ramifications of what he was witnessing. This was a candid snapshot from his father’s past. But in some ways, he supposed that it also provided a distraction from the Black-Coat’s assertion.

    Arek didn’t want to think about it, but he knew that he would have to confront the matter sooner or later.

    "So, you’re confirming that the Holocron is sentient?" he began carefully, a cynical smirk evident on his face. "You want me to believe that it chooses where it wants to go, and it just…appears there? I mean, I’ve always had a hunch that the Holocrons were much more than historical artifacts, but this—well, this is a lot. It sounds insane."

    He grew silent for a second, his lips pressing together in obvious concern. "But this Darkness—that’s the root cause? What motivates it?"

    Closing his eyes, Arek reached up to trace the fresh wounds on his face, wincing slightly at the touch. They were the visible scars of Norin’s wrath, inflicted upon him for daring to question the old man’s integrity. His father, Aryan, had been no different, though he had caused psychological pain rather than physical trauma. He had destroyed their family unit through his infidelity.

    "It corrupted my father and grandfather long ago," he finally uttered in a whisper, opening his eyes to seek the Holocron’s unique features. "I fear it’s too late for them, though. So much has happened. That’s one reason why I left."

    Inhaling deeply, Arek then glanced at the Black-Coat out of his peripheral vision. "But that’s what I don’t understand. If I can’t change anything, why bring me here—to this specific point in time?"

    He looked back at Arek. "So it doesn’t happen to you, of course. We’re not going to break the cycle unless one of you stops. It’s not just about the Holocron…"

    His gaze slowly turned to the young boy - to Aryan. "… It’s about it calling to you and your responding. It encouraging the Darkness within. The one named Skelm."

    The Black-Coat folded his arms. "A Darkness that has filled a vessel and acquired a Shape is especially irresistible. But it can be refused… and none of your ancestors managed it. They didn’t want it enough."

    Arek sighed and rocked back on his heels, his head shaking slowly to convey his disbelief. He had heard his father orate enough over the years to identify when someone was being facetious and glib. It only added to his suspicion, and he realized that he really did not trust this guy.

    "I was able to refuse just fine over the years," he retorted sharply, his expression hardening as a hint of the insolent youth began to show through his tough exterior. "I’ve seen how far the corruption can spread through my family, and I vowed long ago not to fall victim to it. I don’t want to become my Dad. I just came from a reality where he had fully embraced the Darkness; he was calling himself 'Skelm.'"

    Inclining his chin, he frowned. "I’m not convinced that I need to follow your lead, though. One of your kinsmen—or whatever you’re calling yourselves—betrayed me. He tricked me into destroying the gateway on Coruscant, which sent me here. How do I know that you won’t stab me in the back as well?"

    A curse slipped from his lips as he ran a hand through his tousled hair, clearly agitated with his current circumstances. "I’ve been nothing but a pawn since Insipid found me at Atravis."

    "Well, I asked Insipid to save you from the old timeline, so." The Black-Coat shrugged. "If you hadn’t… the Eternal weapon on Coruscant would have killed most of the Heroes of the Twilight Timeline."

    He said it so simply and quietly.

    But he wasn’t done.

    "And that’s why you’re here. Because you’re the Sistros the Cosmos needed thirty-five thousand years ago."

    Arek’s gaze did not waver. Despite the cowl that concealed the other man’s features, he merely stared at the Black-Coat to gauge his reaction. The Force had prickled his senses at that moment, setting the hair on his arms on end; that’s how he knew that there was some veracity to the man’s words. The problem was untangling the intricate spider web to make sense of the wider picture.

    In truth, the revelation about Sistros didn't resonate with him, not as he expected it to—but perhaps that was due to his limited knowledge on the subject. He could only recall what the GEMINI collective had revealed to him on Coruscant. He was apparently the 'Son of Sistros,' and the scepter he had wielded to open the gateway between realities had bared his name.

    But what did that ultimately mean for him on a personal level?

    "I’m not entirely familiar with Sistros," Arek voiced his concerns, his eyes straying back toward his father and grandfather. "Based on what I was told, it almost sounds like a king or an official title—someone important."

    He sighed marginally and shook his head. "But I’m not sure I want that. Why not live out a normal life? I was a cop, you know, before the galaxy went to hell. I’d rather stay on that path without the added responsibility and...power."

    "Bingo," the Black-Coat said. "An officer of the law. Not just the precise written word, but the spirit of it. The Rule of Law. The embodiment of the precise line between Right and Wrong. To be a simple cop, as you would put it, you would need to know the point where you became a bad guy."

    He clapped his hands together, cringingly loudly. "Which makes you perfect."

    His chin indicated the Holocron, which was sure to position itself in eyesight of the young Aryan. Carefully. Insidiously. But even then, the Black-Coat continued to speak.

    "Sistros is not a title, it's a name, a True Name designed to call to the depths of the person." He continued casually. "One of the Protectors, the Sages of Dwartii. Heroes, philosophers, warriors... well, it's in the title - Protectors. Think of them as Jedi before they were wrapped up in a government structure and made tools of the state."

    He pointed at Arek. "People who simply patrolled the line before right and wrong. Real people, with loves, families tragedies, and pains. The most well-grounded of Heroes aren't Monks or Gods or Royalty. It's the normal people who make the galaxy good."

    Arek inwardly winced at the Black-Coat’s explanation; he had walked directly into that one. And yet, he found himself unable to compose a strong counterargument to fit his commentary. The other man had spoken the truth—the similarities between the two instances were palpable—and that was enough to effectively silence him. He didn’t want to openly admit that he actually agreed with his assessment.

    Instead, Arek decided to focus on Sistros, his brow furrowed as he pondered the name’s legacy among the Jedi and the founders of the Republic. It was fascinating to learn of his family’s hallowed past and the connections they shared with some of the galaxy’s most historical events. It was a true honor.

    But he was also ashamed of what the Black-Coat had previously revealed—that none of his ancestors had been able to resist the inherent Darkness that had a tendency to accompany such power.

    That thought continued to linger as he shifted his eyes toward the Holocron nestled among the collection of plush toys. It seemed to have a natural allure for his father, which brought a scowl to the young man’s features. While he knew that he couldn’t effect change on this particular scene, he still wondered how things would’ve played out if he had discovered a way to prevent the Holocron from mingling with his father.

    Or perhaps the Black-Coat had been right. Despite his reluctance, maybe there was another way that he could contribute. He may not like it, but did he truly have a choice?

    At the very least, it wouldn’t hurt to ask.

    "You want me to become a Protector?" Arek murmured quietly, turning marginally to regard the other man out of the corner of his eye. A quiet scoff followed, his head shaking with obvious skepticism. "I’m not skilled in the Force—err, I mean...I can touch it. I’m Force-sensitive, but I was never properly trained. I mostly used it to augment my aim as a sniper in NuSec."

    A smirk touched his lips at the memory. "They’ve never seen anything like it. I never missed."

    "The Force works through us all in its own way," the Black-Coat says. "I don’t want you to be a Protector. You already are, in all you’ve done and said; you’ve been tested by the End of Time and the Twilight, and you did not fall."

    "But I do want you to look out because Sistros will come for you soon enough."

    He watched the child Aryan begin to play with the Holocron as if it was simply another pyramidal toy.

    He fluttered his hand and the scene began to fade. "You’re going to reach your destination soon… the point beyond the tear."

    Another frown crossed the young man’s features as the child grasped the Holocron and unknowingly accepted his fate. Arek couldn’t bear to watch the scene any longer, and thankfully, it began to dissipate with a flick of the Black-Coat’s wrist.

    Nevertheless, he was still left with the burden that he was to carry into the future—the path he was to follow to safeguard his family and to ensure that the Darkness did not prevail. That realization weighed heavily on his shoulders, suddenly making him feel much older than his twenty-seven years. Was this the price he had to pay for remaining incorruptible and noble? He never considered himself a hero, and yet here he was, teetering on the edge of pursuing that same journey.

    Exhaling heavily through his nose, Arek finally offered a firm nod, a sign that he had embraced his path. He then looked pointedly at the Black-Coat for affirmation.

    "Beyond the tear," he repeated to himself, pressing his lips into a thin line as he considered its meaning. "Do you know where that is? I’m assuming it opens up into another reality—a diverging timeline, different from the one I came from."

    For a brief moment, his pulse quickened with anticipation. After the disaster that had occurred on Coruscant, he had hoped to track down his ailing grandmother, who had disappeared into the ether when the Eternal device activated. Would this lead him to the correct gateway?

    "There’s...someone I care for very deeply who escaped from Twilight’s embrace." Arek smiled sadly. "She’s lost out there...and it’s my fault."

    The Black-Coat tucked his hands behind his back and turned away. "The tear began where the difference became so pronounced it could not be treated as the same timeline. A Change."

    "Now there is a pair of contradictory timelines running through each other…" he turned back. "And one branch - the Twilight."

    "That woman, your grandmother, I appreciate that she was real, but she wasn’t your grandmother. We can try to save everyone, but saving multiple timelines…" the Black-Coat paused. "You want to Protect the timelines that were not meant to be?"

    The disappointment was evident on Arek’s face, though it certainly made sense within context. Altering a timeline that wasn’t supposed to exist could potentially lead to a more disastrous outcome, especially since he came from one of the original realities.

    "I...I know—yeah, you’re right," he muttered quietly, his head bobbing along to reaffirm his words. He also diverted his gaze, a slight sheen reflecting in his eyes to indicate the flow of tears. "I understand. It’s just—well, I miss her. She was left behind in my own timeline, and I guess I feel responsible for that. I didn’t want that to happen again, if I could prevent it."

    He scoffed and reached back to rub at his neck to alleviate some of the awkwardness. "But the two contradictory timelines," he mused, quickly changing the subject to regain his bearings. "One was destroyed in the End of Time, right? That was my home. And the other was the one Insipid referred to. That’s where Dad—well, my real Dad fled to. It’s the only one left...isn’t it?"

    He issued a soft sigh. "Unless another Change occurs."

    "Unless another Change occurs," the Black-Coat confirmed. "Our job is to ensure that it does not. To Protect, which means preventing the whole gaggle of villains and problems from seizing control of a timeline and using it as a springboard to invade other timelines."

    His tone became unfocused. "There have been other branches. Short ones, with minimal content and differences. But they’ve come to an End before they even began." His hand fluttered, and images appeared. "Vader is killed by his Sith apprentice… where Luke Skywalker missed the Death Star shot… where Luke Skywalker died in the ice of Hoth… where the attempt to save Han Solo from Jabba failed and Luke missed the passing of Yoda… where Luke Skywalker said yes and joined Darth Vader… where Jedi Master Kyle Katarn fell to the dark side…"

    These were all very famous events and even Arek would have been taught them in school - the downfall of the old Empire in the First Galactic Civil War. "And now, what Palpatine did on Jakku to create a Contingency on his death at Endor."

    The Black-Coat had summarised several alternate realities that had existed for a time, and came apart from their own inertia.

    Arek listened intently, his eyes wide as he watched the images whisk across his line of sight. It was surreal to think that so many alternate realities had existed concurrently, if only for a short time. And yet he had witnessed one himself—one in which Mace Windu had defeated Chancellor Palpatine to end the Clone Wars. It had born the Twilight timeline.

    But then his brow furrowed when the Black-Coat mentioned Jakku, his heart clenching within his chest as he reached a sudden epiphany. "Wait, doesn’t that mean that someone had already exploited the timelines? That’s how my reality Ended?" He scoffed and ran his fingers through his hair with exasperation. "And now, with this Contingency, Palpatine had unwittingly—or maybe purposely—caused another Change? Another split?"

    Biting his lip, Arek turned to stare into the void of the Black-Coat’s cowl. "So, he’s preparing to sabotage the last 'pure' timeline," he murmured more to himself, clearly trying to process the implications. "Or… if Dad and his Sith allies have already infiltrated that timeline, hasn’t that already disrupted the flow? Wouldn’t that make us the Change?"

    The Black-Coat nodded. "Precisely. A Change takes a certain amount of time to be irreversible without Celestial assistance - and they’re all dead in the ‘pure’ timeline too."

    He was almost relieved that Arek got it. "So we need to stop your father and his Sith, and also whatever Palpatine did. I can only tell you that an Imperial remnant known as the First Order is key to that - my Eye, it traveled into the future of the new, pure timeline but was destroyed along with the entire Hosnian System. So I can’t see what happened." He chuckled slightly. "Not without taking out my other Eye, anyway."

    "Even my Alternate Eye in the Twilight Timeline has been destroyed, in case I wanted to, y’know, cheat and use that. No such luck I’m afraid!"

    "Your Eye?" Arek mused with a thoughtful gaze, clearly trying to assemble the missing pieces to this complex puzzle. He had already committed the First Order to memory; he knew that he would need to seek it out to uncover the truth. However, he also recognized that the key to his success would depend on his own knowledge. That’s why he continued to probe the Black-Coat for answers. The more he understood, the greater his arsenal.

    "I assume that’s some kind of metaphor or symbol for something that allows you to see into the future," he concluded with reasonable confidence, a hint of a smirk flitting over his lips. "Maybe it’s an object or an artifact like a...scepter? Similar to the one I wielded to get here?"

    He nodded his head slightly, intent on pursuing that premise further, but then he trailed off as a shadow appeared to cross his countenance. A disturbing thought had suddenly occurred to him, one that had the potential to supersede everything that had come before.

    "Hold on a second," Arek uttered hastily, his eyes reflecting his concern. "If I do manage to stop my Dad and his allies, what happens then? We can’t return to our own chronology, not with the End of Time. There’s nothing left, and it’s not safe. Where does that leave us? Is there another timeline we can inhabit that won’t trigger a Change?"

    "My Eye is what I imbue into an item with a Force bond, and send into the future." He indicated his black-face. "It allows me to see whatever the Force user who is bound to it sees. It's doesn't let me see everything, it's quite limited actually, but the big things it's present for. The lightsaber I placed the Eye in eventually ended up in the hands of Palpatine, so I saw quite a lot for a time."

    A shrug.

    "But my Eye was destroyed with the Hosnian System, some twenty-odd years after the point your father and allies arrived."

    He nodded to himself.

    "There is a point in time there you can inhabit without triggering a Change."

    A very slow nod.

    "Beyond what my Eye can see."

    Arek inclined his chin slightly, his expression remaining placid as he processed this new information. It was truly a marvel that Palpatine had supported the Black-Coat for that long, unknowingly carrying the Eye into the future to aid in the Master’s grand plan—or had he simply served as a willing participant, completely aware of the outcome?

    What if it had all been a ploy to gain knowledge of the Change; to prepare for the inevitable jump between realities? What if it had always been his intention to plant the seed on Jakku so that he could gain dominance over that particlar timeline?

    It was only a theory, but it was enough to turn his stomach. A wave of nausea washed over him, and he swallowed against the lump forming in his throat. Now, more than ever, it became imperative for him to track down this First Order before it was too late; he had to spoil Palpatine’s scheme.

    Inhaling deeply to get his mind back on track, Arek turned and sought the Black-Coat’s hidden visage. "Are you talking about traveling through time?" he asked quietly, his brow beetled in thought. Under normal circumstances, he would’ve considered such a prospect insane, but he had seen far too much to outright dismiss it as a viable option. In fact, he had experienced it firsthand.

    "You mentioned a point beyond what your Eye can see—is that the future? After the tragedy that struck the Hosnian System?" He recoiled a bit at that, wondering what could’ve caused such abject destruction. Perhaps it was all connected to the Change?

    "You’re outside of time now," the Black-Coat explained. "So it’s just a matter of re-inserting in one of the branch realities to stop a disaster."

    He was openly walking away now, hands tucked behind his back. "It’s up to you three to keep an eye on things, to make sure the Darkness is stopped."

    He looked back. "And maybe we won’t need an End of Time to do it."

    The moment ended, and Arek would wake with the others. They all had plenty to tell the other.

    Arek set his jaw as the Black-Coat faded into the ether, accepting his role with renewed determination. He understood now; the Master’s parting words had provided all the confirmation he needed. While it would be a complex mission, he took solace in his capabilities, knowing that he had gained the knowledge and foresight to achieve success.

    "Outside of time," he murmured quietly to himself, flexing his hands at his sides. "I won’t fail."

    Inclining his head, Arek stepped forward to confront his destiny.

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

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

    Registered:
    Nov 15, 2004
    IC: Heart
    Beyond Time

    They regrouped aboard Heart.

    Vydra having spoken to a Pascale Rouser from his past.

    Dunkeel having spoken to the Darkness.

    Arek having spoken to the Master of Master.

    As they all returned to their present space, aboard their ship, hanging in the White, they now had a choice.

    How much would they tell each other?

    It was an obvious question, and as much as each was couched as a secret lesson, none were.

    Indeed, the fact was that the Protector Masters had kept things from each other and planted the seed of paranoia.

    Was that by design?

    Arguably.

    Was that anyone's fault?

    Also, not necessarily.

    Benevolence versus Malevolence.

    What would they say and do?

    TAG: @HanSolo29, @Mitth_Fisto, @Jerjerrod-Lennox (singles)
     
  4. Mitth_Fisto

    Mitth_Fisto Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Sep 29, 2005
    IC: Dunkeel
    Aboard Heart

    Looking at the other two Dunkeel sniffed deeply. Taking a moment to recenter himself after destroying the holocron and whatever it had contained with a blaze of light. Refinding his balance he shut off his lightsaber and nodded to the other two. "It was a thing of darkness, a history of it, but it showed Zas'tel has fully joined that Darkness from the time after we were entombed. Giving himself fully in hope of obtaining the six darkness'. One in me, one in you, one in our leader for his line that that one appears to be, one in the Security chief which Zas'tel consumed, and others it knew not where nor when. One in me said I was a bad host, worse than nothing for it and that it had chosen poorly. It said the one in you Vydra, only time would tell if you were fertile soil or also a bad choice." here he looked at the two of them.

    Holding up a clawed hand, palm up, fingers wide. He gutturally chuffed at the situation. "As per our talk about the Order Vydra, shall you take your chance or shall I do as I once thought when all was only theory like your musty tomes? As for you both, did anything happen while I was dealing with this darkness behind us?"

    TAG: @HanSolo29 , @Jerjerrod-Lennox , @Sinrebirth
     
  5. AgentViper007

    AgentViper007 Force Ghost star 7

    Registered:
    Mar 9, 2005
    IC: Vydra Delomeux
    Location: Tho Yor


    Thankfully everyone had returned in one piece.

    Vydra listened as Dunkeel told his tale. It startled him to know there was darkness inside him, that it was waiting to jump at him if he let it. Which he wouldn't.

    I didn't survive just to be tainted. And Zas'tel? He can spend an eternity in Hell. He did give me this rather famous lightsaber though.

    Looking at Dunkeel and Arek he smiled slightly "Well compared to yours old friend mine sounds a little bit boring".

    "I met up with someone dressed in white, unfortunately said person never revealed themselves or spoke much. But I did meet up with one of my sister's descendents".

    "He mostly spoke about something called the Change. He spoke like the Master did sometimes and I wondered if the Master had possessed him. Thankfully not".

    "I watched you Dunkeel, Joren and Vale battle Abeloth, I saw Nouane consumed by fire and beasts. I saw you battle Abeloth, I battled her in my spirit travels" he looked to Arek then "The descendant thought Joren looked like Aryan Graul. He also said Arek Graul died at some place called Ach-To".

    Back to the both of them "Apparently our statues are quite famous. My apprentices did not become the Second Sages. And also, everyone that was dead on Nouane? They got restored. A new planet was born, New Nouane. The Nouane we knew became Dwartii".

    Vydra then shrugged "Well that's about it".

    He looked at Dunkeel "You were asking me about taking my chance. Are you asking me to lead? To come back into the Protector fold? Only you as leader can bring me back in as I am exiled. But what I do know is that I can do what I can do and that is to keep on defending".

    "I am no leader, I recognise that, but if you do fail then yes Dunkeel I will look after Heart and your lightsaber and lead. And I am happy to rejoin the Protectors if I am needed".

    He looked at Arek and nodded. His turn.

    TAG: @Sinrebirth , @Mitth_Fisto , @HanSolo29
     
  6. darthbernael

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

    Registered:
    Apr 15, 2019
    OOC: Don't tell me you really thought Uzuriel was...dead..., with @Sinrebirth

    Balance and the Master of Masters
    In Between…


    The room, its chairs and table, the fireplace, the tea/drink set, all reformed from the grey void. As it all came into being two forms also drifted into view, both cloaked and hooded. The taller form seemed to be shifting under its robes, as though it could not decide on a specific form. As it shifted shapes could be discerned, a Defel, a Kwa, several Human forms, an Anzati, a Neti, and almost amorphously a Taung all were apparent in those shapes.

    That form took a seat on the lounge. When it did, the drinks trolley, under an indiscernible power, rolled to him and a drink was poured. The chalice lifted and settled on the end table by the lounge. When it finished it rolled over to the other form and waited, as though it was attempting to decide what that form would want.

    "It seems there is ever more for us to discuss. The question then becomes which reality to discuss first." As he spoke, he shimmered and almost seemed to split into two, a black cloaked form and a white cloaked one, before the shimmering ceased and he was, once again, one form.

    The Master, the Black Coat, the Foreteller - Wapoe, he became corporeal again.

    "Ah yes," he said, sampling the tea-cup. Flourishing for a moment leaves into existence and pouring a splash of water before completing a rhythmic swirl; once, twice, three times. "How about you tell me which reality you wish to discuss." Wapoe appeared to be frowning. "I'm beginning to lose track. Is it three, or four?"

    The hooded shape sipped from the chalice for a moment. When it spoke next there was a touch of humor in its voice. "Yes, there are quite a few realities we have both touched upon. Perhaps we start in the one where you claim to be my Shadow."

    A hollow chuckle sounded from the depths of the hood, thinking about that timeline and knowing it truly had never spoken to its guest in that time.

    Mirth rippled into the Force. “Well, you do claim to be the balance to my Chaos, and the Jedi were originally representative of balance, not light, so why wouldn’t I be your Shadow, eventually?”

    “I’m quite busy there, as you’d expect, following up the loose ends of my second and last Epitaph...” he sipped again, allowing the other to speak up.

    "Ah yes, Epitaphs. How many times are you going to mourn the passing of the universe?" The touch of a smile crossed the face/faces of the hooded shape. "Wait, no need to answer, it is as many times as I foil those attempts to end it. Speaking of, how goes things with your first class? One dead, me let loose from the higher plains, another student now my host, and your others finally, perhaps learning that being a team was more important than their selves."

    "First class, second class, last class..." The Master shrugged. "What matters is the ending, my friend."

    "It's a mess, really, because you and I are working at cross purposes." He huffed. "We all are. All I did was look forward, well, all we did. The Force setting us up to have billions die is not my doing." He sounded indignant.

    The hooded shape scoffed slightly, "Beings die every day, they always do, they always will. But the how and why of them dying tends to upset the delicate balances of the four forces at play in the galaxy, my delicate balance. Especially when someone puts a dam in the flow of events to make it go a way they think it should."

    It lifted its drink, revealing the face of a mid forty's man before the cowl seemed to elongate, the tip of a reptilian snout poking out. "We are often at cross purposes, yes, because billions that would have perished in other ways, whose deaths may not have upset that balance do so. Life, time, isn't pretty by any stretch of the imagination, but those deaths have counted in ways they wouldn't otherwise.”

    The Master tapped his chin, unfolding one leg and folding the other over.

    "Light opposed by Dark, bridged by Balance and Chaos..." He shrugged. "Do you not wonder that you're favouring one over the other? I am not inclined to one or the other, just to an ending of the death of trillions for the sake of the Wheel."

    He brandished a finger. "Is that not enslavement itself?"

    The hooded figure chuckled. Setting its drink down it looked at the man sitting opposite him. "Interesting analysis but flawed. You incorrectly identified one of the four Forces. Yes Light, yes Dark, and yes Chaos, but no to Balance. The fourth is Order, not Balance. Balance is the movement of any of the four, weakening or strengthening."

    Its fingers steepled before it, dark eyes in a patrician's face now gazing from the hood. "I favor none of the four Forces but must support each in their need, whether it is to increase their presence or reduce it."

    It chuckled, "You speak of the Wheel but all you have done is create a Wheel of your own, forced the galaxy into following your Wheel. The deaths you speak of, those you say you wish to end, still occur, maybe not in the systems they were originally intended but they occur. And your actions, while occasionally bring things more into balance, more often result in more chaos and an increasing trend toward the End coming. Which, let us both be honest, is your true goal. Not to break the Wheel but to End it all so none may suffer again."

    “Is that so?” The Master said, amused. “You have come to your own conclusions and you’re unable to see beyond them, so you panic? And, as we’ve seen, interfered with my plans for many millennia?”

    “Ignoring that you’re merely a counter-reaction in and of itself, and that you are actively contributing to the death of trillions?”

    Another chuckle sounded from the hood. The figure leaned forward for a moment. "The only absolute I have spoken of is your true plan. And where in that does it sound as though I am panicking? Of course I do not want my own end, as any other being mortal or not does not want, but I have endured and will."

    It sat back once more, lifting it's drink and sipping again. "I must face what those in the galaxy put forth in their efforts and your own actions mean that I must act as a reaction. As well, I do not rule or demand worship that would mean I have to make decisions for these trillions of souls. They have the right to make their own decisions, something that, in part, you've taken from them all."

    Another sip of the cooling drink and it set down the cup on its saucer, "I will interfere in every way that means that the balance is maintained. If you had not chosen your self destructive path we could have worked together and the galaxy would have the peace it needed and be balanced. But yes, we both have the blood of so very many souls upon us. The difference is I have those souls within me and they have found their peace in my embrace, in the end."

    “In the end, yes.” The Master leaned forward. “Don’t you wonder if you’d just trusted me, that perhaps I lied, just the once?”

    He sighed slightly, and fluttered a hand. The entire area fell dark, encompassing them all in shadow, and the whisper of words found his companions ears. “That there is a way to defeat the Dark?”

    “And that, as we have each seen...”

    “... it may simply take a lifetime or two - or three - or achieve.”

    A sigh from within the hood. It's hand lifted, the Darkness fading once more to a roil of greys. "I know you wish to defeat the Dark. But you forget I am all, that, just as the Dark tried to end existence by forcing one of your first students to open the Way, to completely destroy the dark is to destroy the Balance and bring about the end as well."

    The hood came up, hidden eyes seeming to bore into the Master, "Consider me uncaring, impartial, inhuman, I could agree with all of those. My care is not for individuals or even groups, but the whole. If the dark needs to be suppressed to ensure peace then I allow it, do not stand in your way. And there is always some aspect of the Dark, or the Light, that has to be taken down a peg or two."

    A grim smile touched it's lips, "A good example would be the situation surrounding Kamino, around 7 ABY."

    "I don't know who Snoke is, before you ask," the man said, dryly. "My Eye can't see beyond the destruction of a star system, so that means you can't, either." He flexed his arm. "The events three years later were more frustrating, but you've not made it there quite yet."

    "But go on, what in particular about Kamino? Darth Insipid, or Darth Cocytus?"

    The hooded shape sat back further in it's seat, one hand raising in a 'meh' gesture. "I believe both you and I know who is making the bigger mess at Kamino. As you and I know that the chaos caused by Insipid's 'death' has it's purpose, one for him and you. What will come will be of interest and my Shadow is going to enjoy himself, if he even knows what that word means. But he is faithful to his task, even in this timeline that has allowed his darker nature to be realized to a degree."

    "What intrigues me in that particular time is this Sith in the Unknown Regions, his presence and what he has at his disposal could change the balance in favor of the two sith that your Insipid has seemed to have trusted the most."


    The Master fluttered a hand as he was want to do. "Sabel. You would find him interesting. I'm more interested in your Anzati, with his mental wheels falling off... but your Neti seems more interested in a girl than his role in keeping your Shadow from falling to the dark side entirely."

    "Though I presume you consider that your Shadow can be trusted, no?"

    The hooded figure laughed, and the hood extended once more, a snout peeking forth. "Yes, that one is quite intriguing. Renn, however, is doing just what he must, which right now is dealing with the carelessness of your servant, Insipid in his choice to die, at least this part of him. My Anzati, well in this case I am giving him a vacation of sorts, to allow him to indulge his darker nature."

    It picked up it's cup, sipping and then pouring more, stirring it before sipping again. "What he may have forgotten was the true end of his Father, and what that could mean for him. So no, I am not concerned about his sanity. I consider this more of a lesson for him. He will end up with more power, much more, but not in the way he expects, when this is done. Of course you trying to end it all may mean he indulges soon and may have to fight to learn the full lesson."

    Wapoe paused. "You're betting on apoptosis, for your Shadow?"

    It was a short and sharp comment, but it was a fundamental one - the analogy drove deep to the issues the two of them had.

    The form chuckled, the cup in his hand shaking for a second with the sound. "Apoptosis?" It set down the cup for a moment and the shorter form, the muzzle peeking free of the cowl, gazed at the being sitting across from him.

    "When have I ever only had one arrow in my quiver?"

    "When have I?" The Master said drily. "You've probably worked out that there were a few back-ups in place. Necessary adjustments as you came into being, but also the betrayal of Vydra and all that. But, it's worked out pretty well. The Presence emerged from the Watcher, sure, but what of him; or my Eye?"

    He laughed. "Surprise, I bet."

    The figure opposite smiled. "Bernael was surprised, certainly. But it is often better to let him find out, what was it called, the hard way. And, even in the short time I wore the Watcher, he was the right vessel for my birth, as his last events certainly showed."

    It relaxed slightly in its seat, "But is your piece ready for what she will discover when she recalls a certain feel, a certain sense, in my next vessel?"

    The man tapped his chin. "I mean, Watcher? Not, Shadow?"

    "I thought we had a Leader," he counted fingers. "A Watcher... a Second... a Secret (or two)..." He pondered.

    "But you, or, well, we, were Sistros's Shadow, as I recall." The man seemed to pause, perhaps Zas'tel, perhaps the Eye, perhaps the Shadow, perhaps the Master. "I didn't realise that would birth a second half to most of you but eh."

    The cowl shook slightly at a chuckle. "Yes I thought it a delightful point and counterpoint to be 'birthed' from one of yours. Of course it postponed the immediate fulfillment of your design, and caused the last 36 millennia to occur but a small price as it meant the End has not come yet."

    It set down it's mug, "You named him, us, you, both Watcher and Shadow but as the last to confront him seemed to call him Watcher, in her fiery rage, it seemed apropos."

    "She did, yes," the Black-Cloak said drily. "Roles and truths intermingle in the face of adversity, no?"

    "So the contradiction becomes sentient, and spawns a presence. The Eye remains in the blade, passed down, birthing said contradiction. Zas'tel is separated, but of course, he exists, and yet, does not."

    A pause.

    "What becomes of Zas'tel?"

    The cowl fell back, the form currently occupying it now a Defel, not just any, but as he'd appeared on the opposite side of the table it was Zas'tel, save with grey eyes. "I'm here, Master, as every other soul that has fallen in this millennia long battle between you two is also here, save those that have been taken from existence for good."

    The expression changed slightly, eyes going a more steely grey. "His was the first soul my physical shell took, but yes, as with almost every other soul in existence they have all returned to me, Light or Dark, over the eons."

    "Over time, yes." A tap, tap, tap.

    "Why do we fight, my friend?"

    One eyebrow rose on the lupine face of the Defel that currently was seated there. A couching bark of laughter followed, "You ask why? You know why, you desire the End of Time, the end of half my existence, at the least, and wonder why I oppose you."

    "Either would diminish me, diminish the galaxy at large. Self preservation is a key trait of all beings, whether the tiniest living thing or something such as I."


    "Hm," the ever-changing Black-Cloak managed.

    Clearly he still had something he wasn't saying.

    "There is duality in everything, Shadow, or, perhaps I should say, Nevet..." A wicked bemusement entered his voice. "But as I said all those years ago, my old friend..."

    "It's all about after."

    At that, he vanished.

    What was said... Was said.

    TAGS: @HanSolo29, @Mitth_Fisto, @Jerjerrod-Lennox, @Sinrebirth, Anyone else that may find this interesting
     
  7. HanSolo29

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

    Registered:
    Apr 13, 2001
    IC: Arek Graul
    Aboard the Tho Yor, Oblivion

    It was curious to hear the others speak of their experiences during their spiritual interludes. Each one had encountered a different entity, which in turn, had revealed another piece to the puzzle. Dunkeel had described the consequences of the Darkness and how it had infiltrated their souls, while Vydra had uncovered additional knowledge about the Change’s lasting effects on the galaxy.

    Arek furrowed his brow and pondered this information for a moment, rocking back on his heels as he casually crossed his arms over his chest. The Master had already informed him about the Darkness; it had corrupted his father and so many of his ancestors before him. In that sense, it was a dangerous parasite, inherently linked to their very existence. He felt compelled to eradicate it, but it would be a delicate process—especially since it was very cunning and deceitful. Nonetheless, he was vigilant.

    Fortunately, Vydra’s narrative wasn’t quite so dire; Arek was actually amazed to learn how the galaxy had compensated for Nouane’s destruction long ago. It had restored the planet and created new life in a miraculous display of rebirth and rejuvenation. He had to wonder about that notion—if it was possible to correct the devastation caused by the End of Time in that timeline, could he apply that elsewhere? It was something worth investigating.

    However, Arek would consider those options later. For the moment, he quickly changed tacts to focus on Vydra’s profession about his descendant. The flamboyant man had seemingly worked alongside someone who had shared his heritage, but what he found most intriguing was his insight about his alternate self. He spoke of the one who had perished on Ach-To—which provided the perfect opening for Arek’s own ruminations.

    "He did die—or, umm...a version of myself died on Ach-To, yes," he confirmed with a rueful smile, his blue eyes shifting to regard the two ancient Protectors. "He existed on another plane, a different timeline that runs parallel to our own known as the Twilight Timeline. It’s a branch reality, generated by a Change—or a tear in the Force. I was there, and I observed the disparities. In a sense, it’s a lie; it shouldn’t exist."

    He pursed his lips and shook his head lightly. "But the thing is, it’s not the only one. Our reality contains a prime timeline, plus a pair of contradictory chronologies that intersect—but each one can result in a branch, like the Twilight Timeline...if we don’t stop another Change from occurring.

    "According to the Master," Arek frowned, realizing that what he was about to say could be construed as controversial. "Our objective is to safeguard against that. To…Protect and ensure that the myriad of evil forces that exist out there do not seize control of a timeline and use it as a springboard to invade the other realities. That could prove disastrous. We need to prevent the End of Time from happening…again."

    TAG: @Mitth_Fisto; @Jerjerrod-Lennox; @Sinrebirth
     
  8. Sinrebirth

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

    Registered:
    Nov 15, 2004
    IC: Heart
    Somewhen, somewhere, somehow

    [​IMG]

    They reached their location.

    The white, they came to realize, was their timeline, and they had just been pushed through the End of it.

    There was that big old branch, yes, the Twilight Timeline, which was continuing on, and had now lasted more than fifty years...

    ... there was their Prime Timeline, having lasted two hundred millennia and then some...

    ... and then there was one dovetailing, unclear as to where it began and ended, to the middle end of the original one... but it lived, a slightly differently colour, while the prime timeline seemed to be darkening as it died.

    There was a point where the darkening - where the End of Time - would meet one of the new branches running through the old timeline...

    As Heart settled on the space debris that hung outside time, there was a man who gave them a jaunty wave.

    [​IMG]

    "Hello, my friends. It seems you've passed through, and now you've made it to me."

    His arms spread.

    "Welcome to our temple, rebuilt outside time."

    He clapped them.

    "Two Darknesses down, four to go. Well done, eh?"

    He pointed at the differing colour interweaving the dying Prime Timeline.

    "What do you think of my work? A slightly different and contradictory timeline, propping up the dying one. Smart, eh?"

    TAG: @Jerjerrod-Lennox, @HanSolo29, @Mitth_Fisto
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2021
  9. Mitth_Fisto

    Mitth_Fisto Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Sep 29, 2005
    IC: Dunkeel
    Aboard Heart / Beyond Timelines

    Listening to the other two give their testimonies he nodded along. Head quirking from side to side as he slow blinked in response, mouth hanging slightly ajar. "You two were not idle." he simply stated. After all the information they both shared? He honestly needed a vacation and some time to recover, maybe repair the clocktower again. . .only it no longer existed.

    Of course time showed his own limited point of view to be wrong before long as they emerged into a void and followed debri to some 'place'. What waited for them as simply a miracle. Hissing in delight Dunkeel removed his robe to be better able to raced into the waiting arms of The Master. "The Master!" To the others this might seem very odd, but he had never taken the questions to deeply to heart about the leanings of this man. Also, to his point of view the Master had died less than a month ago, to find him alive and waiting - well it was more than lizard tears or pumping hearts could take.

    As to the question he simply sniffed in frustration. "Looks flimsy."

    TAG: @Sinrebirth , @Jerjerrod-Lennox , @HanSolo29
     
  10. AgentViper007

    AgentViper007 Force Ghost star 7

    Registered:
    Mar 9, 2005
    IC: Vydra Delomeux
    Location: Nowhere, that's where

    What Arek was saying was ttue regarding the timelines, Vydra had seen so himself with Pascale.

    But as with anything with the Master it was always met with skepticism. To prevent the End of Time happening again? He doubted it.

    They soon arrived...somewhere? What was this?

    And when they settled down they were met with someone dressed in black. Vydra's hand brushed the hilt of the Skywalker blade. Just in case that person was unfriendly.

    Turned out it was the Master. And it seemed he was unaffected by what he had done. Dunkeel of course seemed to not care either as he gave the Master a hug.

    Vydra folded his arms across his chest and gave the Master a stare as if he wanted to skewer him.

    And greeted him with stony silence.

    TAG: @Sinrebirth , @Mitth_Fisto , @HanSolo29
     
  11. HanSolo29

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

    Registered:
    Apr 13, 2001
    IC: Arek Graul
    Aboard the Tho Yor, Oblivion

    A perceptible shift rippled through the Force as they arrived at their destination. It was difficult to discern where they were, but it did afford a breathtaking view of the wider galaxy. It was only after a moment of contemplation that Arek realized the true nature of the curious formation outside of the viewport. He was actually peering out upon the intersecting timelines that he had previously discussed with the Master.

    His lips parted in awe as he tried to differentiate between the various chronologies, but it proved a near-impossible task. He could only surmise that the one that had abruptly ended in darkness—what the Master had described as the End of Time—was his home timeline. The others remained a mystery.

    However, it was still rather intriguing to view it all within context.

    But before he could comment on this visual representation, the Force announced the arrival of a familiar presence. The Master appeared to them all in the flesh.

    "Hello, my friends," he exclaimed with his usual jubilant enthusiasm. "It seems you've passed through, and now you've made it to me."

    Arek issued a soft scoff, a hint of a smirk pulling at the corner of his lips. After their recent conversation, he almost felt relieved over his return. Judging by the way Dunkeel had rushed forward to embrace the Black-Coat, it was safe to assume that the Chistori shared his sentiments.

    The same could not be said for Vydra.

    He could perceive the other man’s dismay through the Force, mingled with distrust and annoyance. It wasn’t an unusual reaction to express toward such a divisive figure; Arek had initially wrestled with many of the same emotions. But it was rather odd for someone who allegedly spent time with the man and understood him on a much deeper level. What had occurred between them to cause so much strife?

    "What do you think of my work?"

    The Master’s words impeded on Arek’s thoughts, his blue eyes lingering on Vydra a moment longer before he angled his chin back toward the viewport.

    "A slightly different and contradictory timeline, propping up the dying one. Smart, eh?"

    Arek sighed and rocked back on his heel, his brow furrowed in thought. "Is this your solution to the End of Time?" he asked carefully, trying to recall everything the Master had revealed to him within their mindscape. "Is this how you intend to fix it?" He shook his head slowly, clearly mystified. "I had no idea there were so many branches…"

    His voice trailed off, but then he pursed his lips as something else occurred to him. "We can’t allow them to intersect." He lifted his hand and traced the contour with his index finger. "It looks like it could be very close."

    TAG: @Sinrebirth; @Mitth_Fisto; @Jerjerrod-Lennox
     
  12. Sinrebirth

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

    Registered:
    Nov 15, 2004
    Fin…

    or…

    perhaps it is only the beginning…

    Of Epitaph’s End


    Coming 2024.