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Star Wars CLOSED Epitaph Between Prologue

Discussion in 'Role Playing Forum' started by Sinrebirth , Jun 16, 2019.

  1. darthbernael

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

    Registered:
    Apr 15, 2019
    OOC: Combo with @greyjedi125 and @Sinrebirth

    IC N’Tael and Jin Long
    The Clock-Tower itself, Twilight


    The two apprentice Protectors had been discussing things, preparing for Caedus coming for Jin. But then...something began to manifest, making N’Tael cock his head to the side. He reached deeply, touching that part of himself he’d already let slip once, thankfully the others, save Sek’nos had failed to notice. Although he doubted that the Matriarch or Ben hadn’t noticed.

    As he felt for reason, for what the sensation was that he was feeling meant, that part of him remained vague, as though it knew what was to come but was not willing to relent and reveal too much to him. His goal, his duty was this time, this space. His eyes opened, gazing over to his fellow Protector, ”You feel that too? I know the reassssonsss for mine but why is your future, here or further along, wreathed in flames?”



    "In flames....?" Jin echoed as he searched N'Tael's countenance. Whatever was there, was too subtle for the monk to discern clearly.

    "I'm not sure what you mean....or what you have seen...."

    Slowly, he turned and looked about as if searching for something. "Then there's that....” Jin Long gestured, his finger pointing and tracking the air, but in an uncertain manner. "There is this…feeling....." he said, his eyes narrowing as he attempted to focus on it.

    "The Sith Matriarch, seeking answers from No Name, though she has yet to mourn her departed husband."

    "Ben and this 'Sith Lord' seem both connected, not to mention that they are also displaced beings..."

    "The Lords and Ladies of the City....they were....quite 'strange'."

    Jin Long saw their masks in his mind's eye and shuddered despite himself.

    "Then you were almost killed and...something or someone we've not accounted for, tried to subdue me."

    The monk turned now, fully facing N'Tael once again.

    "So you'll need to be a bit more specific, If you don't mind...about these…flames you speak of."

    N’Tael paused, perhaps Jin didn’t feel that himself, about himself. He cleared his throat, ”Ahhh...can you not ssssee the bond running between usss, reunionssss aplenty, and what may be the greatesssst of the future of our ssssoulsss?”

    He touched the memory, the still partially present thought of the grey and flames. He knew the reason behind the grey but the flames made him wonder what happened to his fellow Protector and his soul over the eons.

    ”Our sssoulsss do not ssscatter or become one with the Forccce with our deathsss, it ssseemsss, my friend. Oursss ssseem tied up in sssome greater purpose over the eonsss.” He had to be careful in how he worded things to his friend as he couldn’t give away how much of what he was, not yet.

    N'Tael was speaking deeper mysteries than what Jin could focus on at the moment, especially with the very present issue of one Darth Caedus still at large, the one who had nearly killed the Kwa.

    "What is it, what does he seek, what is his goal....?" Jin Long wondered aloud, not ignoring N'tael, but rather trying to find the connecting dots in the maze of events playing out simultaneously before them.

    "There's too much clutter." the monk declared, shaking his head as if trying to remove an unseen mental obstruction.

    "Lagertha...there is much fear in her recently. Sek'nos can barely disguise his anger any longer."

    The monk moved closer to his Kwa companion. "Don't think I haven't noticed."

    "What do you know? What aren't you telling me?"

    N’Tael sighed, a blowing, gasping sound in his maw. ”We all have sssecretsss my brother, sssome easssy to comprehend, sssome lessssss ssso.”

    The racial memories spoke to him, they knew of the ‘other’ and what he’d just seen. They knew of the future, from what the other had shown them, that he and Jin Long, in various forms, would be brothers, not in body but in spirit, for many eons.

    He looked at the monk, a pained expression, ”Yesss, I know more. The one we fight, why we need to sssend them both back in that portal at the sssame moment. If Caedusss goesss alone the Darknessss getsss what it wanted, all will be lossst.”

    He was trying to give Jin what he could of what he knew but couldn’t share all yet. It was a fracture point, he knew, between himself and the others, but the ‘other’ was adamant, Jin was not yet the brother that he would be. His hide rippled, the tiger stripes flashing purple then grey then back to purple.

    The monk paused, listening intently, with his whole being.

    “The one we fight, why we need to sssend them both back in that portal at the sssame moment. If Caedusss goesss alone the Darknessss getsss what it wanted, all will be lossst.”

    Jin nodded slowly as he played back N’tael’s words inside his mind and felt them reverberate within him. At this moment, he required something firm to stand on, the time for ephemeral mysteries would come in due time.

    “I don’t recall the Master encouraging us to keep secrets….” he said, speaking the words, not to N’tael, but more to himself.

    After a moment's pause, the monk sighed heavily, then released the tension he didn’t know he’d been holding. He did not wish to pressure N’tael in any way, as he himself did not respond well to such gestures.

    “Let’s get it done.” He declared, his resolve shining through.

    “Darkness cannot be allowed to win this day.”

    N’Tael let out a breath, Jin was proving more and more that he was, becoming at least, the brother that he felt from the vision. He didn’t desire to keep secrets but sometimes there were things that could be just as destructive to the team when revealed as ‘Sith Lord’ on a rampage.

    His striping settled back to it’s ‘new normal’ of purple as he reached out a three clawed hand, patting Jin on the shoulder in a gesture he’d seen humans do, apparently comforting to them. ”We will ssstop thisss being. I am sssure.”

    He snorted, ”Making you bait wasss not a very sssmart move on hisss part. I think it will bite him like a basssilisssk.”

    The door wrapped and the Sith Matriarch stepped in, gingerly, leaning on her staff. "So the woman has No Name because she was never given one... her memory is mostly empty, because she has no memories of her own... she is a blank upon a blank..."

    "A question, I have; our true enemy is Darkness, who accosted you, Jin Long," she said carefully. "But, it is interested in you, but not in Ben Solo, from another time and place. It is however in league with Darth Caedus."

    "Why," the Sith said, brow knitted, "I suspect, is the question that will unravel all of this."

    "For it not to be intrigued by Ben suggests it had nothing to do with Darth Caedus... merely that it has found an ally in opportunity..." She made a noise of thought. "Perhaps it is even manipulating him as a goal as well..."

    One talon of his right hand traced down the center of N’Tael’s snout as he sighed. He’d just discussed secrets with Jin and the other accepting that sometimes they needed to wait. And then the Matriarch reappeared and he could either stay silent or cause more questions to be asked when he revealed when he knew.

    What it came down to was that one of them had to take the first step that set them down the road to being brothers. He stroked his snout a couple more times, as he thought and then sighed once more. Before he spoke, he focused and the tiger stripe pattern on his hide shifted once more from purple to grey. The purple of his eyes likewise shifted, becoming a swirling pattern of greys.

    When he spoke, the voice that came out was still his but deeper, somehow broader in tone, ”I know what the Darknessss wantsss. And our plan at the moment playsss directly into itsss plan.” He turned his snout to gaze at Jin, then turned one predatory eye toward the Matriarch, ”Jin Long and I were dissscussssing sssecretsss and to anssswer your quessstion I mussst disssclossse one that could rock thisss world to itsss core. A trussst I never exxxpected to exxxtend I mussst becaussse of thisss threat.”

    He squatted, his tail draped out behind him. Gazing up at the two standing there, ”You sssee, I am N’Tael and alssso not N’Tael. I wasss born and lived asss he, ssstill am he, but I am much more. And...I...wasss..there when the Darknessss attempted itsss plan before.”

    One long arm reached down, randomly tracing designs on the floor of the room, ”The Darknesss wantsss, needsss, to get into the rift, the entranccce to the World Between Worldsss. If it can, it will bring about the End Of Time…”

    He trailed off, a weariness coming over him, a secret revealed, but not yet fully. Although knowing Jin, the man was smart enough to ask the right questions.

    “Me?” the monk mouthed after the Sith Matriarch revealed that he was the true intended target of the darkness. "Why?"

    Why indeed.

    A portion of his mind was working on another question. Who could have done that to No Name and for what reason? He had no doubt that there was a sinister plot at play. No Name was already at the Clock Tower when he had arrived. She was a part of the Protectors. How could that be possible if she had no memories?

    Ben and Caedus seemed related and were likely so, yet the darkness had no interest in him? Still, both needed to return to their respective places of origin…

    Jin Long’s mind was gearing to work out the conundrum, when something unexpected happened to N’Tael.

    He began to speak with a deeper voice, with an altered or alternate personality.

    It was initially disarming to behold.

    Yet, Jin Long listened as he felt no malevolent disturbance in the force. His crystal had not reacted to any of it.

    Not-N’Tael’s words only caused more questions to form.

    What plan by the Darkness? when before? The World Between Worlds?

    Jin Long held up a hand, silently asking for a moment’s pause. He took a deep breath, then exhaled it, centering himself, after which he moved next to N’Tael to help steady him. Being a medium for the force was an intense honor. He had only heard of such things, never witnessed it before. Still, now was not the time to be awestruck.

    “If I’m understanding you both, there’s Ben, Caedus the Sith Lord, then…the Darkness? You’re telling me the Darkness is manifest as a third party, and not only is it interested in me, but it must be kept from entering the Rift.”

    Thinking back to the attack at the Sith quarter, something unseen did ambush the monk.

    Jin Long paused, considering what had been made clear.

    “You already know what I’m willing to do. I am a Protector, now tell me all I need to know…”

    The Sith Matriarch pointed a claw at them. "Go, you will need to. If divided the Darkness wants us, then regroup with the others, you must." She regarded N'Tael. "You, I do not trust. You have kept things from your fellow Protectors." She gestured back towards No Name. "Do you know her identity, too?"

    N’Tael’s head and snout tilted to the side as he turned to face the Matriarch before a snort puffed from his nostrils. ”When one livesss in a glasses house one ssshould not throw ssstonesss.” he said softly in that deep voice once more, as his vertical slit pupils narrowed.

    ”But you already know the anssswer to that quessstion before you asssked it. If I wasss there when Darknessss lassst tried, of courssse I know. Ssshe both isss and isss not Vale Sssera, one of the first Protectorsss.” He turned his head back toward Jin a sad expression on his face.

    ”The Matriarch knowsss there are Truthsss that mussst not be ssspoken and ssshe isss attempting to forccce my hand to tell mine. But yesss, that is who No Name isss. Eventsss occurred that sssplit No Name and Vale, which issss why her length of memory isss ssso ssshort, ssshe isss only that old, in truth.” He told the truth but again only a portion of it.

    ”We mussst prevent Darknesss onccce more, ssso yesss, we mussst be there.”

    The Sith Matriarch nodded. "I thought so. She is only a month old."

    A month ago, she did not exist.

    "She has only the one memory... of this all being destroyed; the whole planet consumed by lava."

    The woman stepped closer to Jin, angling herself so she was between him and N'Tael. "That did not happen. Unless, it did, of course." Her eyes glowed yellow for a moment in anger at his treachery. "And it has been hidden from us..." Her tone was soft.

    "... did someone use this World Between Worlds you speak of, N'Tael?"

    Her voice was full of censure.

    "Was it you who has caused our current dilemma?"

    Jin Long suddenly became pointedly aware that the Sith Matriarch was accusing N'Tael of something unethical, or at least in her mind.

    "Was it you who has caused our current dilemma?"

    The question echoed in the Protector's mind. There had been no hesitation, he had sensed no surge of deception from her, nor from N'Tael.

    "What are you saying?" Jin Long said, finally finding his voice as he turned with an eyebrow raised, questioning.

    "How do you suppose N'tael is responsible for any of this?" He inquired, truly perplexed. The Monk had senses no deception from any of the Protectors, just the Sith Lord. Immediately he was not liking the implications his mind was drawing, especially without proper knowledge.

    "What in the Force did I miss?"

    The Sith Matriarch stepped directly between Jin and N'Tael, shielding the monk.

    "Perhaps a confession is in order?" She pointed a wavering crimson finger. "What did you Change, young man?"

    Her hand drifted to the door. "Perhaps you should leave Jin Long and I so we can decide what best to do about your infringements upon reality."

    "What infringement?" Jin asked quickly the Kwa, not giving up his ground. The monk wasn't going anywhere. He wished to hear whatever it was that needed to be said from N'Tael himself, not a second hand retelling by another source. The Sith Matriarch had taken the role of his accuser, consequently making N'Tael someone who needed to defend himself and clear his own good name.

    Jin was doing his best to remain objective and impartial. He had seen the power of a 'false witness' with his own eyes, and refused to fall prey to such trickery, even if unintentional.

    N’Tael’s tail twitched at the accusations from the Sith Matriarch. He could feel emotions stirring as she all but stated that he had caused all that had happened. As she did, his tiger striped again began to shift from the deep purple to grey and back again before settling on grey for a time. His eyes did the same and his reptilian tongue flicked out, tasting the air and the currents of the Force. ”You demand sssecretsss that are not yoursss to know to be brought to light, Madam. Jin Long, I have ssseen, and I have a very long road to travel and he will, hasss, isss learning them.”

    He nodded to his fellow Protector, ”We, asss Protectorsss, were chosssen not by the rulersss of our tribesss or by the Councccil of the cccity but by the Protectorsss themssselvesss. I will tell you thisss, however. I did not caussse the Change, but rather kept all of Time and Ssspaccce from ending from the Change that did happen.”

    His coloration resumed his normal purple striping and eyes, his voice staying the same though, ”Jin, I sssee you asss a brother, and I hope you sssee the sssame, and I promissse that I have not causssed these eventsss, I ssswear it on the Forccce itssself.”

    Jin Long closed his eyes at hearing N'Tael'd words, his own tattoos glowing and pulsing white as they normally did, then cycled ever so slightly between shades of grey, then back to white. Indeed, the monk did see N'Tael as a brother, for in his mind, the Kwa was the most like-minded Protector he knew. His dedication to the force rivaled his own.

    There was no deception in their words, or rather, none that he could perceive. Both N'Tael and the Sith Matriarch appeared truthful. He did not know what was 'The Change', but he could feel the layers of mystery peeling back ever so slowly of their own accord. That was not something he could control or influence, he realized. But in time, this knowledge would be revealed to him.

    Jin sighed heavily, then opened his eyes and regarded both the Sith Matriarch and his brother-protector.

    "We must stop this 'Sith Lord'; I believe that is our utmost priority right now. I suggest we pause this discussion for after we've succeeded with this critical mission."

    Jin wished to know, of course, but he also understood the dangers of distractions, what temptations such mystery could present, the division suspicion and disagreements could form- all which led to ruin.

    "Can we agree on that, dealing with the primary threat, at least for now?"

    The Sith Matriarch paused. "I can agree, of course, but..." She looked at N'Tael, bent over her cane, other arm tucked behind her back. "I would request you go on ahead, to the breach. I sense that there is conflict there, between Sek'nos and the others. I imagine you can sense it too?"

    She looked back to Jin. "I need to speak to you."

    Her eyes were sad, and she appeared as weary as she did old.

    "Alone."

    N’Tael sighed, he was sure that she would try once more to drive a wedge into the Protectors. He walked over to her, the rocking gait of his form almost hypnotic. Stopping in front of her, he leaned close, his vertically slit pupils, grey swirling behind the pupils, looked into her eyes. In a whisper that only reached her ears, ”Matriarch, I know not your reason to distrust me but my purpose, a part of it, is to prevent the End of Time, not bring it about as the Master of Masters wishes. Yes, wishes, not wished.” On that cliffhanger he turned from her, nodding to Jin Long.

    ”She is right I do sense turmoil where the Rift should be, if we are truly on Nouane. I will head out but hope you join us shortly.” he told his fellow Protector as his tiger stripes and eyes returned to their deep purple coloration.

    Jin did not try to eavesdrop on what was being said. Whatever passed between the Sith Matriarch and N'Tael was for the two of them. For his part, the monk preferred to remain focused on the mission at hand. If N'Tael had any objections to the venerable woman, he would have voiced them already.

    "We'll be fine." He found himself saying to his fellow Protector as a means to reassure him his trust couldn't be so easily broken.

    "The Force is with us." He declared with a nod.

    TAGS: @Sinrebirth, @greyjedi125, @TheAdmiral, @QueenSabe7
     
  2. Sinrebirth

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

    Registered:
    Nov 15, 2004
    IC: Sek'nos Rath
    Hilltop

    "Five?"

    The Master of Masters had spoken of five pods that would carry them into the future.

    But one was already gone?

    It didn't make any sense to Sek'nos, who was struggling to keep up. He regarded the four dipyramids, the Tho Yor starfighters...

    "So is this how we send Ben back home?" Ben Solo paused. "He said it would take me to where I am supposed to be..." He breathed out. "I am supposed to be with Rey. She's the Last Jedi... I need to take one of these back, now."

    Sek'nos looked at Jori. "But then there are only three left. Me, you, sure, but what about Jin? Or N'Tael? Or even that girl, No-Name?"

    He was pretty concerned by it all. "And what about Caedus? Do we need to stuff him in one of these, somehow?"

    There was a shudder through the sky; it was if a colossal surge of data had just rippled across the blue. The divide between this world and the other Nouane clearly ran right through this point. It was impossible, but here it was.

    Would they have to decide who was going onwards, and who was staying?

    Ben reached out with the Force for a dipyramid ship, which came to him. He looked at Sek'nos and Jori with deep, solemn eyes. "Please let me take one to the future; back to Rey. If I don't help her stop Darth Sidious, it's all over in my timeline." He was certain of that, and there was no doubting that he was a Pure Light. Whatever darkness that was within him, it had been completely evicted by whatever had happened to him.

    Try as they might, they would not find a shadow upon his heart.

    None whatsoever.

    It was perplexing, when one took into account that a few hours ago - in his personal timeline, anyway, Ben Solo had been Kylo Ren, the Supreme Leader of the First Order, self-proclaimed Dark Lord of the Sith, and aspiring Galactic Emperor.

    Sek'nos wasn't sure, he could only look a Jori.

    Could they let Ben go?

    Without knowing where the fifth Tho Yor had gone?"

    TAG: @TheAdmiral
    ---

    On his way

    N'Tael would be reaching the city edge when he saw the four ships hovering above the hilltop.

    The small Tho Yor designs would be duplicated by the Sith in the coming millennia, recreated as Sith Meditation Spheres, but the principle was the same; they could be used by Force users who could direct them at will, and they were very adept weapons of war, and speedy to boot. Extremely advanced, the Tho Yor technology would not be duplicated for some thirty millennia.

    He wasn't antagonised by any threats along the way though, which was as odd as it came.

    Just a sense that he had to hurry...

    ... and that he was being watched.

    The streets of Nouane were completely empty, devoid of any life whatsoever - even if he stretched out with the Force, he would not detect them.

    It was as if they had traipsed beyond the normal confines of reality.

    Then, there was a colossal disturbance across the sky of this world, as if a great digital error had just crackled for a moment.

    Something was happening... changing, even.

    TAG: @darthbernael
    ---

    Somewhere or other

    The Black-Coat stood, rueing. He was relatively short, and held within his hand a Forcesaber, squeezing it tight.

    "Come on..."

    He was speaking to nobody in-particular.

    "... this is coming to an end."

    TAG: @greyjedi125 (continue combo)

    TAG: @Corellian_Outrider (continue combo)
     
  3. darthbernael

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

    Registered:
    Apr 15, 2019
    OOC: Combo with @Sinrebirth as Darkness

    IC N’Tael
    Noane, On his Way


    The streets were quiet, peaceful, it felt, as N’Tael made his way at the best pace he could, from the Clock Tower to the hill. He kept his guard up the entire time he was moving but, to his surprise, nothing and no one accosted him along the way. That didn’t mean that he didn’t feel an itch between his shoulder blades, that told of something observing his passage.

    When he reached the outskirts of the City he saw the Tho Yor hovering over the summit of the hill, four of them to be precise. His coloration shifted back and forth as he recognized the craft. He doubted any of those here were the one that he, in another form, had used before.

    But it added to the sensation of need to hurry, to reach the summit before the others mounted into the vessels. His long, powerful legs began wide strides and he started to close the distance from the City’s edge to the hill.

    Ah, ah, ah.

    There was a voice, and a shadowed shape appeared from behind a rock on the hill.

    You're supposed to not be interfering, and yet, here you are.

    It was Darkness.

    I should know; I read the Holocron of Prophecy as your Master of Masters made it.

    N’Tael slowed, seeing Darkness ahead. His snout swayed from side to side as a smile formed, his sharp, triangular teeth coming into view. He was not going to make this easy for his foe, ”It doessss not sssurprisssse me that I am in the Holocron of Propheccccy, I am in the Sssecond Classss of Protectorssss.”

    He walked closer to the being, seemingly unaware fully of who he faced, ”But you act assss though you know me, how issss that?”

    His stripes and eyes continued to flutter in color, it was an unconscious action on his part, as he closed on Darkness.

    Your Origin is, too, after all.

    Darkness writhed.

    Or do I speak to the Virus?

    They were but a pair of paces apart now. N’Tael let his snout move in a sinuous sideways motion as he tilted his head to the side. ”The Virussss?” he asked. His head returned to the vertical as his shaded stripes began to leach of their purple coloration.

    ”My Origin? Assss far assss I know I am the firsssst Kwa to take thissss possst.” He was being deliberately dense but that was down to both sides of who he was, they both knew this foe and disliked it, wanted to cause it the most discomfort possible.

    We’re sure.

    The Darkness didn’t care for his words.

    We can play this game for as long as you like.

    A shiver of amusement.

    We have all the time in the world.

    N’Tael sighed, his stripes and eyes turning to shifting grey colors. The end of his tail touched the ground as he stood straighter, rising up. ”You are correct, we do have all the time in the world, unlike the beings we inhabit.”

    He sighed, glancing up the hill, at the others, ”You have made an error, I will not enlighten you as to which, being here on Nouane. The World Between Worlds will remain closed to you.”

    The Darkness writhed. "It is closed to all, is it not? The Light has been lost, by you and your friends."

    The words dripped from his lips. "Now only False Light reigns supreme, the Light of the Protectors, such as it... fallible; hopeless. We will have free rein to do as we wish, now."

    A chuckle.

    N’Tael’s muzzle pulled into a grin as he listened to the Darkness. ”Know everything, from the holocron, do you? Obviously it is missing information if that is what you believe.”

    A sigh escaped his lips as he gazed at the form before him, ”But, then again, you always have been the more arrogant and unthinking in your beliefs. So, go ahead and continue believing so. You know, hence your appearance here, that I will stand opposed to your efforts.” he retorted.

    ”You have missed something in the holocron otherwise and, as with what else you missed, I will leave it to you to discern what that is.”

    The Darkness shrugged. You weren't trusted with one, as we understand. You were a liability, and we know you were told not to intervene. We were told that by the Master of Masters.

    It turned to look at him. The Holocron of Prophecies... there is still one unassigned, you must realize - yours. One of your comrades has been holding out on you.

    N’Tael’s head tilted to the side as it looked at the figure before him. The grin remained on his face. ”Ahhh I see, yet again you are behind the times. Yes the Master did not want me to assist things to happen based on knowledge in the Holocron. But you are still missing and I’ve already given you a clue.”

    He shuffled forward more, ”However, if you’re still talking to him, tell him Zas’tel says hello.”

    He tapped Darkness in the chest, ”Delay me here all you desire but your puppet will not change what I’ve set in motion. And, should one of my companions have my holocron then it will be dealt with as necessary. For now, delaying you is just as important.”

    Darkness grumbled. Zas’tel is walking with a White Coat now. We couldn’t find him if we wanted to.

    He vanished, reappeared behind N’Tael. If you could return to him, would you?

    His tail swung as N’Tael turned, only partially toward Darkness. He did still need to keep an eye on the summit. ”Zes’tus is a part of me and always will be. The Holocron is sufficiently lacking to explain me or the bond he, I, and even you share.” He could sense that time was growing short but he had been correct, keeping Darkness away even if Caedus was stalking the others, would be of value.

    ”You don’t remember do you, with your own thoughts here. That all return to me, whether now or in the future. Someday Zes’tus and I will be reunited.” N’Tael closed his eyes and when they reopened the kaleidoscope of greys was swirling even more, ”More than once.” he said with some humor to his tone.

    He seems very independent for someone who is you, Darkness said drily. He vanished, reappeared on the path up the hill. We understand. Is the Balance a hive mind too, then?

    N’Tael swung and followed the sound as he saw Darkness reappear. The creature was as frustrating as he knew it to be. Padding up the hill he drew even with it, to force it to turn to face him, neither further or closer to the summit than the other.

    ”You truly have lost your memories. What do you know of the Balance, what it truly is? I mean you personally, not what you gleaned from the Holocron. Because I told the Master so many reasons, stories, half truths, and outright lies as to what I am over the eons, at least I know I will.” he retorted.

    We know; we were there when the Holocron of Prophecies was made. We’ve already seen who will become our vessel. It has been decided.

    The Darkness writhed.

    We had to become incorporeal to escape the Twilight Wars; to escape the Change. But we lost our Will. We became formless, shapeless, our will became across many... your Balance, it seeks a candidate, much like we do, but you are not one mind over many, but many minds, all interdependent. Do you see why we will win?

    N’Tael shook his head, eyes still swirling but seemingly sad. ”You know, yes, who you will be but that is all you truly see. I would pity you but that would be pitying a part of myself.” the sadness tinged his tone as well.

    ”You are, as much as every being that has lived, is living, and will live are part of the Balance. You forget the most basic of lessons, you are but only one ‘quadrant’ of my being. The End will come some day but you will fail and fail again as I work against you.”

    He smiled again, reaching out to Darkness, a movement akin to a father reaching out to their child, ”One day, perhaps many times, it will be recorded that someone said ‘I am one with the Force and the Force is with me.’ That sums my existence and through me yours very well.”

    All we truly see…

    Darkness wondered.

    We have acquired Will; we do not want it. With separation and division comes in-fighting. Rules will not manage the Darkness; not like the Light. Your Balance is all rules; so stuff and controlling.

    A sniff.

    He hadn’t moved from his spot blocking the path.

    The grin faded from N’Tael’s maw, a slight frown replacing it, ”You chose to split when the opportunity arose, you must accept the consequences of doing so. Rules govern everything, including Darkness.” he said as he moved forward, almost chest to chest with the being.

    ”You have delayed this vessel long enough, as it has delayed you, move or be moved. But this will not be the last of our encounters. Be assured of that.” he told it, power enrobing his form, held tightly so as not to alert others.

    TAGS: @Sinrebirth, @greyjedi125, @TheAdmiral, @QueenSabe7
     
  4. TheAdmiral

    TheAdmiral Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 28, 2004
    IC: Lagertha Atreus
    Hilltop


    Lagertha frowned “What do you mean carry us into the future?” she was confused “I thought it was more a figure of speech than anything real...” Did that mean that Ben and this Caedus were actually from the future!?

    “Ben...” Lagertha started “I saw you in a vision.” she continued cautiously “You had a red lightsaber like Caedus, though different.” the whole ordeal sent another shudder down her spine “You were mowing through some aliens on a barren planet.”

    “What I mean is… how can we trust you that this Rey is who you claim her to be?” she tilted her head “The vision spoke of the Jedi too and that they were killed.”

    TAG: @Sinrebirth
     
  5. Sinrebirth

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

    Registered:
    Nov 15, 2004
    IC: Ben Solo
    Hilltop

    He hesitated; Lagertha knew.

    He held out his hand, and a lightsaber snapped from Sek'nos grip to his.

    Ben didn't do anything else even as Sek'nos balked.

    "I was Kylo Ren, a Lord of the Sith and Master of the Knights of Ren. I led the First Order to terrible massacres in my year as Supreme Leader of the galaxy."

    His voice was hoarse.

    "I was convinced by a Dark Lord throughout my youth that I was worthless... that my parents did not love me... that my uncle feared me. One day... he did, when he peered into my churning mind." He looked at his hand, squeezed it into a fist. "He overreacted, ignited his blade, and woke me. I look up and saw his anguish - but mistook his regret for the decision to kill his nephew - to kill me." Ben shook his head. "No, I wanted to cast him as the villain, so I could be proven right. I buried him, burned down his Temple, slaughtered his students -"

    His breath caught.

    "The Dark Lord took me in, in the shape of Snoke, and tutored me... made me darken."

    He deactivated the blade and sat heavily.

    "I did all those things, even led the First Order to destroy a solar system... and hunted a woman across the cosmos - the last threat to me, a scavenger girl named Rey." His eyes turned glassy with his own regrets. "I realised - too late, that I had been manipulated since I was young by the Dark Lord, that my family did love me... after I had killed my father... after I had confronted my uncle, who died saving Rey... after my mother reached out to me with the Force and faded away to make me stop."

    Tears dribbled down his cheeks, he gasped.

    Sek'nos looked at Lagertha, unsure whether they should interrupt, but Ben continued on with his confession.

    "Rey healed me - all of my physical wounds, and my mother, she helped heal my soul."

    His gaze became resolute.

    "And I decided I would stop the Dark Lord." He stood straight, squeezed the hilt in his hand. "Rey and I, we confronted him - he hurled me away, down a crevice in the planet, through some kind of... tear, and I ended up here." He pointed. "I fell through that."

    He stepped forward, handing back Sek'nos' blade.

    "And I need to get back. To save Rey. To stop the Dark Lord from winning - forever."

    Ben Solo's gaze was warm, and soft. He was so open in the Force. There really was not a single erg of negative energy within him; he was a pure Light, almost as if the Darkness had been removed from him entirely at some point, and became separate.

    Became sentient, even.

    TAG: @TheAdmiral
    ---
    IC: Darkness

    Lower down the hill

    You really don't understand, do you,
    Darkness writhed.

    We are many; we are not just one. We cannot be defeated. We cannot be destroyed, any more than a light can get rid of a shadow. Your existence - you very sentience - it stands between the True Light and the Force.

    A chuckle.

    As long as there is life, there will be Darkness.

    The writhing grew larger, spreading up and out.

    We will become sentience; it was written in the Holocron of Prophecies. You cannot end us. We will be at the End of Time; we know this. The Master of Masters has already seen the End.

    There was a shift, and a series of razor sharp blades emerged from him like daggers on black-inky string -

    The speed was horrific -

    TAG: @darthbernael
    ---
    IC: The Matriarch

    The Clock Temple

    The Sith woman held Jin Long's hand with some softness.

    "Do you see now?"

    In the Force, it became charged.

    Do you understand what you are?

    TAG: @greyjedi125 (let's finish off that combo, eh), @Corellian_Outrider (mention only)

     
  6. darthbernael

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

    Registered:
    Apr 15, 2019
    OOC: A little combo with @Sinrebirth

    IC N’Tael
    Lower down the hill


    As Darkness shifted, N’Tael sighed and locked eyes with him. The attack came speeding in, the blades piercing but...drawing almost no blood. ”I do not understand? If so, I am not the only one. But you seem determined to return to your source, earlier than was planned, but I will welcome you back, if so.”

    Several of the strands began to shift in color, as though the black was being drained out of them. As this occurred they turned more and more grey, beginning closely to N’Tael’s body. The draining and greying started to spread, shifting closer and closer to Darkness. ”I may have only recently incorporated on this plane but I to have been a part of the galaxy since the beginning, how do you think you came to be, where you came from?” he asked.

    Darkness snorted.

    The tendrils shot out, emerging from N’Tael’s back, pinning him like a spider stabbing its food.

    The Maker had a failure before all this you silly child. A Celestial that took his reality and remade it Father of Shadows.

    He flared.

    Not one of these childish Architects, nor their spawn the Old Ones. Closer to the Maker than even the Ones that came after. True power; too powerful for even the Maker to curb.

    Darkness growled.

    Worship us; or die.

    The blades punched through N’Tael but he didn’t feel them. Yes there was pain, yes there was injury but something woke as the Darkness fought to take him. A lesser light that had been passed to him from one dead not too long ago, a lifeline from that one. But, beyond that…

    Light...Light suffused his form. Darkness had chosen the ‘playing field’ and it’s originator responded. As energy from darkness rose in it the other half of it rose from it’s dormancy. Darkness fed into it strengthening it’s bond with the dark but as it did the light around them dimmed, the grass died in an ever widening circuit. Citizens down the hill began to feel weary, to act as though the end of the day was approaching even as they knew for a fact it was nearer midday than dusk.

    The grey of his eyes blazed, a toothy smile came across his muzzle. ”You may kill this form but you cannot cause to submit that which you were born from. You will see the End of Time but even then you will still face me...and depart rather than face the true end.” the deep voice that had taken over N’Tael’s spoke.

    ”But I do thank you, my power still had not awoken fully, still is not, but you have roused it. Continue if you will but all you do is weaken your own needed energy and feed me.” he said as a dribble of blood ran from the corner of his mouth.

    Darkness glowered.

    I know.

    And they did.

    It is prophesied, after all.

    He withdrew his darkspears and watched the N’Tael-shell flounder.

    You’re not supposed to be one of the students, are you?

    Slowly the Kwa regained his balance, the energy filling him, wounds from the spears closing, even as blood stippled his hide. The grey eyes gazed calmly at Darkness even as the body worked and burned energy to return to stability.

    ”If your activities on Nouana had not caused Zas’tel to split as he did the securing of the next host would have been a matter of choice. The Kwa was ready, the racial memory knew of me, outside the physical, of the eons. And he was to come here so the choice was simple. Not to mention, I knew I would find your meddling among the students.” he responded.

    ”His companions are going to, certainly, be confused by the rapid advancement of his ability in the Force. Perhaps suspicious, which is also part of your plan I’m sure, because of it, but that can be dealt with. I must be where needed.” A smile once again crossed N’Tael’s face, ”And you are going to, consciously or not, assist with that in the future.”

    He knew that Darkness had studied the Holocron and knew that to be true, hence the deeper meddling now so as to avoid certain necessities in the future.

    So N'Tael was the fourth student and you simply took him…

    The voice of the Darkness grew satisfied.

    A mystery resolved, and that means our play is indeed a virus in the things to come…

    A chuckle came from N’Tael’s throat but the interesting part of it was that his stripes had shifted to purple once more, his eyes as well, as the sound was emitted. ”So this is the foe you said I would have to face, time and again.” he began, weariness, pain in his voice.

    ”Believe what you will, Darkness, I have been told you always will. And I think I prefer you this way, unaware. It proves already your weakness.” he stated, his balance continuing to improve, his energy refreshing. ”So if you are done adding to your learned weaknesses, I would appreciate you moving.” he said calmly, undertones of annoyance touching the surface.

    The Darkness stretched out, wide, like a malevolent grin. To have come so far and understand so little.

    The entity vanished, leaving behind words.

    It is already too late. It was too late before you even took that form. You, and your friends, are now…

    The day appeared.

    Ours.

    N’Tael sighed, as he headed up the hill at a rapid pace, the dissolution of Darkness allowed him to move. ’I told them....told them not to go to the hill, but who ever listens to me…’ he mused.

    He raced faster, hoping he could still recover his fellow Protectors but knowing that he may have to cleanse them otherwise. They could not be taken, turned, to the Darkness, it would spell chaos, not only to this Nouane but to the galaxy itself.

    TAGS: @Sinrebirth, @greyjedi125, @TheAdmiral, @QueenSabe7
     
  7. greyjedi125

    greyjedi125 Chosen One star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 29, 2002
    An thrilling combo with the ever amazing @Corellian_Outrider and the enigmatic supreme lead....er.... @Sinrebirth. Please enjoy! ;)

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    IC: Well

    Time ago

    They crossed paths quite accidentally, just after Sheel Ix had dropped the younger Togruta home to a grateful mother. It was late by the time the family released Sheel, feasting in response to her assistance. Conversely, Jin had completed a particularly grueling day of training and meditation, and both would be tired by the end of the long day, their perceptions dulled.

    As they rounded the corner, both heading on their respective paths, they would come face-to-face, and both would realize that they had encountered a Force User - a quiet secret that Jin had kept to himself and his teacher, and a fact that had been revealed to Sheel in the recent weeks by the Master of Master.




    For most of Sheel Ix’s life, she had been perceived as an abomination by the villages she was raised amongst as a child. They didn’t know what she was. An aberrant form. Some believed she was a blessing, others a curse. A demon, a demon hunter. Take that as you will. One that hunts ‘demons’ or a demon that hunts others.

    Meeting Shayla’s family had a profound effect on her. For the first time in Sheel Ix’s life, she felt a sense of discovery and belonging. She was a Togruta and she now knew what it is meant to be a Togruta. Some were artisans, some were merchants, bakers, hunters and so much more. They all seem to have an affinity to nature, to what some would call ’the living Force’. Those twin ‘horns’ that loft her head are normal and are called montrals! They serve a specific purpose which didn’t quite make sense the way Shayla’s family explained it but she felt it was somewhat connected to her ‘gifts’ of perception as a huntress. As attested by the matriarch of the family, she was within the norms of her species and considered a beautiful young woman.

    Beautiful...

    It rocked her core. After all these years... after all she had been told... it felt her life had been flipped. She was not an abomination. She was not alone in this harsh world.

    Sheel Ix smiled to herself as she followed along the paved path.

    Maybe they were being polite to the strange huntress, the quirky ‘jungle lady’. Sheel Ix didn’t mind. There was so much to consider and questions to ask. Who were her parents? How did she end up in the jungle at such a young age? How- it all can wait to be found out later. There are other tasks that are more important to be completed first. Somewhere out there is the source of this encroaching darkness and she needs to locate... the cause of this sickness, this madness, and contain it before it afflicts more lands and life.

    Her thoughts went heavy fast.

    Focus!

    It is late. It has been a long day and rest is needed.

    She pushed aside those thoughts and focused on the joy she had experienced. There was a bounce to her step, she felt like she could dance. The street lights started turning on as by magic. It added a beauty to the evening and the impressive architecture.

    Sheel Ix looked back wistfully in the direction of Shayla’s home. Maybe she should have taken them up upon their offer to spend the night. No, it was the right thing to do to move on. She had to keep moving otherwise her presence would be discovered by the others, those Protectors. that mustn’t know about her-

    Her shoulder accidentally clipped a stranger turning the corner. It jolted her by surprise and she stumbled as she turned to face them. “Perdon- OOF!”

    She cringed inwardly as she had stumbled into another. “-I umm-”

    Her eyes widen as she pivoted on her heel to face them. It was one of them!

    For Jin Long, it was a long day of grueling and advanced training at the monastery, now that he had mastered both Dragon Stanceand Godfist Form. Now, he needed to learn how to seamless transition from two different disciplines; one focused, linear and powerful and the other wild, yet fluid, and equally powerful.

    The nuance of mind and will required to execute both styles at once, necessitated flexibility and tenacity, and a great deal of endurance.

    The Abbot was a fierce drill master who knew how to refine and eke out a surprising level of excellence and mastery from her students, even when they did not realize it themselves. By the end of the non-stop six hour session , Jin was completely exhausted and spent, his body ached and he felt great hunger- which he needed to mediate through for two hours.

    And so he did.

    To say that he absolutely devoured his meal after the introspective period would be a gross understatement.

    Satisfied, though tired, the monk headed home with a smile on his face, his cloth satchel with him as always.

    Jin Long had been mentally visualizing a series of rolling dragon strikes which ended with a Heaven’s pillar fist combo, when he felt himself bump into someone.

    ‘OOOFF…!!’

    “I’m so sorry, please accept my apol…..”

    Jin was very surprised he’d not sensed the person moments before contact. He was always able to walk the streets, reading a scroll without even looking at other folk around him, he always side-stepped and avoid collisions without issue. It was a great way of testing his awareness.

    But this time…

    Well, not only had he never seen this person before, or sensed them for that matter, given the fact this was his route back home from the Temple, but at the moment of contact, something strange had happened. It felt as if he became suddenly aware that sheknew of him, for reasons he could not fathom. Not only that, he had sensed a whisper of something very familiar and all together unexpected.

    He had sensed the force.

    It had been brief, but he was certain he had sensed it, mostly at least.

    “Forgive me…” he stammered, a quizzical expression on his face.

    “Do I know….”

    That connection was definitely there, and a firm one at that.

    This was before Jin knew of the Holocrons of Heresies, indeed, this experience and connection was a new one to the latent Force user.

    But that didn't mean his instincts weren't clear as day.

    We need to get out of sight.

    The Temple was empty at this point in the day; even the Abbott had gone for the night.

    "Could we talk? Please?" He asked plaintively, without fully realizing why such words came to him, but a powerful compulsion to know more about the connection he suddenly felt surged through him.

    "I'm a monk. I couldn't, wouldn't bring harm to you." He reassured her of the one thing that should be plainly obvious.

    He waited for a response, while taking furtive glances at a Temple annex nearby.




    “I- no, no, we, I..”

    Wide eyed, Sheel Ix backed two step away, undecided whether to flee and where to flee to. Hesitation could mean certain death in the jungle. Sheel Ix, why did you hesitate? It would be disastrous to be caught in a confrontation within their own territory. Not that the Protectors were to be feared as far as she had been told, although, the Master did instruct to keep her presence unknown until instructed. It is probably best to leave and seek the wilderness. Maybe this man wouldn’t realise what she is and she could slip away until the right time for her presence to be revealed. One look at the man’s expression told her that she wouldn’t be forgotten so easily.

    “Talk?” Sheel Ix opened her mouth to protest, though paused and reconsidered. She warily glanced to the faces of the other pedestrians on the street. Any one of these faces could be a threat, a potential ambush. Stop! This is not Pala Que.

    She took a breath and told herself to focus. She reached out through her senses to gauge the man before her. He seemed to be caught off guard, like herself. His mannerisms, his words, he does not present a direct threat. He didn’t carry himself as how Vydra did. Maybe this man is different. Not all of them are the same. What is a monk? Does that mean he isn’t one of them?

    “I do not know how long I can stay here.” She stated, her hand clasping about the shoulder strap of her quiver. “Nor do I know if there somewhere safe to be hidden, go un...detected..” Was that the right phrasing? “...to talk.”




    Jin regarded the being before him, not only with his eyes, but all his senses, including the force. It was an action as natural as seeing and breathing, a way of simply knowing more, of taking in a more complete picture of something or someone special.

    Of course, he only expected a better glimpse of her character, and nothing else.

    Despite seeming anxious, he did not sense fear in her. Despite her hesitation, he could glean a level of certainty. She appeared to want to flee, yet she stayed. Were these contradictions he was sensing?

    Inwardly, he was pleased that she didn’t flee, and to his relief, also wished to talk. Had she felt the same moment of strange connection like he had? He couldn’t know, it was a sudden mystery, but one that became powerfully intriguing.

    Undetected? he wondered at her choice of words within his own mind. Was someone chasing her? Was she in some kind of danger?

    “Come with me.” Jin said suddenly and began to move, leading her to the nearby building. It was an annex to the Monastery. Luckily for them, he knew the proper security combination to allow them entry. With deft movements, the monk keyed the proper sequence, which caused the sealed door to open.

    The entrance led them to a courtyard which was deserted, except for the two of them.

    “We are safe in here.” he said in a reassuring tone, and offered a small smile and a nod, hoping to calm her as he did so.

    They were undetected indeed, covered by the walls and the shadows they draped upon them; the sun was setting - Twilight was here.

    But Jin would find himself surprisingly passive in events.

    Stepping from his own shadow can a blurred outline in black.

    The moment the courtyard sealed up, there was a flicker of Darkness and Sheel Ix was driven through by a blackened spears that appeared from her back as swiftly as they appeared, and then retreated back inside the form.

    The Holocron of Heresies clattered to the floor.

    "Now pick it up."

    As Jin watched, he did so.

    Sheel Ix wasn't dead, of course.

    Darkness led Jin out of the Courtyard, who complied wordlessly - without resistance.

    As he floated into the light of sunset, the Darkness was painted as his the man who had, in Jin's altered memories of events, 'given him the Holocron.' Darkness pretended for a moment to be the Abbot, or, had he always been the Abbot?

    They walked off...

    ... while Sheel Ix leaked out her life on the Courtyard floor...




    Sheel Ix gasped- Hot flash of pain ripped through her so abruptly that it overloaded her senses.

    Splash of red marred her abdomen.

    By the time it registered as to what just happened, an animalistic snarl of distress escaped her lips.

    She looked to the Monk, her vision blurred with tears in her eyes. Her lips curled back. Her voice broke.

    “Why?”

    Confusion gave way to a surge of fury. One hand covered the wound while the other reached for the hilt of her dagger.

    Stop him! Strike him down!

    Sheel Ix froze. The blank expression on the monk’s face said it all.

    She stayed her hand.

    He had no control over himself, like the tainted creatures of the south. The corruption... The darkness which afflicts her lands is here and had possessed him? But how? Either way, he was not to blame for his actions, a puppet on a string. There is still hope for his soul-

    She gasped then panted in half breaths as another wave of pain washed through her. She could feel the chill of the evening air against the wetness on her skin. Like tendrils of coldness seeking a way inside of her.

    Her legs buckled and she dropped to her knees. She compressed her hand more firmly over the wound in an attempt to stem the flow of blood from her abdomen. The slick hotness seeping between her fingers as her other hand now frantically searched inside her hunting sling for the small medical supplies within.

    Half the contents spilt out with a clatter, the holocron bounced and rolled just out of reach. It illuminated its resting spot with an eerie glow.

    No...

    “Now pick it up...” a modulated voice commanded.

    Sheel Ix eyes transfixed upon the monk. She watched in horror as he reached down to collect it....

    “No!” She mewed under a strained breath.

    Sheel Ix tried to speak, to ward him off, but her words came out strained and inaudible. Painful to breathe. Painful to move. She bared her teeth and hissed.

    The monk absentmindedly claimed the holocron and walked away, abandoning her to her fate.

    Cold.

    Master! She silently cried out. Holocron...taken...

    Her fingers fumbled as she tried to patch her abdomen with no idea how to do the same for the exit wound. So tired. It was getting more difficult to focus as her strength was failing her.

    So cold.

    She stared with detached curiosity at the stained pavement as crimson rivers flowed away from her along the joints of the courtyard’s pavement. It was almost pretty.

    They say the gods appreciate beauty. What would they think of her if they were real?

    The Togruta crumpled sideways and sighed. With a tilt of her head, she could see the dusking pink and purple sky and the first of the stars emerging like sparkling stones. Everything rolled back to indigo before fading to black.




    Resist he did. Vehemently so. Jin railed and screamed at his body to obey him, to help the female. He shouted and pleaded with complete abandon, but his flesh would not respond. His mouth would not call for help, his hands would offer no assistance to the wounded woman he had just ‘lured to safety’.

    He’d felt the surge of darkness, but had not understood what it meant, until it was too late.

    The monk did not understand how his body could have been taken over so completely by an outside force, a dark force.

    He could clearly hear the command to pick up the eerily glowing object. Is that what this was about, had he been turned into some sort of murderer and petty thief? The very thought was abhorrent, the horror was that he could not hack-off his own limbs to stop himself.

    ‘Nooooo! Stop! Help her!! What are you doing!?? Why!!? Why!!?’

    There would be no response whatsoever. His body bent over and retrieve the object. Jin tried desperately to turn back, horrified that the woman who had trusted him would bleed out and die. She had been cautious of him and he talked her into trusting him and then….his body betrayed them both?

    How? How was darkness this powerful? No mental technique he employed seemed to have any effect. For the first time in a very long time, Jin felt completely helpless and desperate. He had no interest in whatever was held in his hand, he only wished to end this living nightmare.

    His body moved off, exiting the courtyard, cold and uncaring. The anguished monk inside the body cried out in protest as his eyes now beheld the form of someone waiting outside. Jin’s confusion exploded inside his mind.

    ‘Abbot?’

    Why did it look as if he was being expected? This could not be happening- Jin had to make himself wake up from this madness, for that was the only explanation for it.




    *For your reading enjoyment: @darthbernael, @TheAdmiral, @QueenSabe7
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2021
  8. TheAdmiral

    TheAdmiral Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 28, 2004
    IC: Lagertha Atreus
    Hilltop


    Lagertha’s hand shot towards her own saber, but managed to restrain herself, but would be ready to act in case Ben decided to make a move.

    She listened intently to what he was saying.

    So he was one of them? Moreover, was at least part of the vision true? That was most disturbing. The things she had seen, the untold horrors…

    The names held little meanings to her, but she said nothing. There was no point in muddling things with him clarifying everything. That was the fastest way of spending the night there listening to things that will create more questions than answers.

    Lagertha was frowning, trying to make a decision. But could she trust him? Yes, she did not sense any darkness in him, but a person who could travel through time and knew more about the Force could manipulate a couple of primitives.

    “So.” she started carefully “What needs to be done?” Lagertha tilted her head. She was going to keep an eye on him.

    TAG: @Sinrebirth
     
  9. Sinrebirth

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

    Registered:
    Nov 15, 2004
    IC: Sek’nos Rath
    Hilltop

    ”What needs to be done?”

    Sek’nos reached up with a hand and the Force, and a Tho Yor settled down from the sky. It opened up, revealing a living compartment - fairly spacious, in-fact. It spoke to them, asked for instructions.

    It was the equivalent of a meditation sphere - controlled by a Force users thoughts. Ben stepped in, and regarded the others. “May the Force be with you; thank you, everyone.”

    His blue eyes penetrated Atreus, and for a moment she saw what he saw, through the eyes of a Chosen One; her children, and their children, and their children - a lineage of Atreus names and faces. The Tho Yor closed and took Ben up into the anomaly - a fracture in reality - and he was gone.

    Three left.

    Sek’nos turned to see N’Tael. He frowned at the Gree. “You left behind Jin? You said we were going to protect him?!”

    Before he could say any further, he half-saw a shape behind the grasses of the hill. When he fully turned he could tell who it was. His grandmother - the Matriarch, and his grandfather, not dead, not whatsoever. Sek’nos swept aside the grass and looked back at Lagertha and N’Tael.

    Suspicion and panic clawed at him. “Who have you left with Jin?”

    A shadow appeared behind N’Tael.

    It was Darkness.

    Surprise.

    A trio of dark streams, with sharpened, violent ends, shot out, targeting them each -

    In the violence, another Tho Yor vanished...

    TAG: @darthbernael, @TheAdmiral
    —-
    IC: Darkness-Matriarch

    Clock-Temple

    As Jin came to, he would find himself supported by the kindly old Sith woman. She allowed him to lean on her, and now tears were streaming down his face.

    “My anguished one... my ashen one... now you know...” her voice was slightly different, as if reverberating with many voices. “That Darkness can be anyone.”

    Her shape changed, and it was Darkness appeared, close to Jin. Suddenly it would all make sense; why the Darkness wanted to separate him from the others.

    It had an interest in him.

    Why you? Because it was written, you see. In the original Holocron of Prophecy. That you would become our new Vessel. That we would be able to reshape myself and escape the Master of Master’s prison.

    Darkness leered.

    We shall take you again, and we shall kill and kill and kill, like we did with Sheel Ix.

    A chuckle.

    She was supposed to inherit the Holocron of Prophecy, which is why we replaced her with you. A shame we could not get you away from the others in time.

    Jin’s body was frozen, but Darkness released his mouth with glee.

    TAG: @greyjedi125
     
  10. Sinrebirth

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

    Registered:
    Nov 15, 2004
    IC: Darkness
    Hilltop, other Nouane, now known as Dwartii

    A Black-Coat stood.

    He watched, and watched, and watched.

    Above him hung the Breach, the fissure between what Was and what Is. As he regarded, various Tho Yor hung.

    They were one short.

    He already knew why, and turned to Darkness, who was writhing away angrily. What are you doing here? You were told not to interfere.

    “You sent Darth Caedus through the Breach with a Tho Yor.” It was a statement.

    We’d hoped you’d not seen that.

    “I thought you saw the Holocron of Prophecies being recorded?”

    We did.

    “Caedus abandoned his body before Jaina Solo slew him. Flow-walked back to Nouane, seeking the original Change - a Change he only knew about by speaking with Vydra’s Echo.”

    Yes.

    “But because the original Nouane is now a wasteland called Dwartii, he couldn’t get any further back than Nouane before the Change.”

    An alternate reality.

    “No,” the Black-Coat said, shaking his head. “The Force created a new Nouane rather than allow a full timeline shift.”

    We detect a lie.

    “We are a lie.” He snorted. “The one who only watches, and yet, fissured in himself.”

    And now your other self possesses N’Tael.

    “Yes. A virus in the Master’s plan.”

    In our plans.

    “Your plans, maybe.” He looked at the tiny Tho Yor above them again. “One will be probably taken by Ben back to Exegol so he can give his life force to Rey. But you’ve already interfered with Jin.

    Yes; the prophesied Ashen One. Their was a delicious vindictiveness to the words of Darkness. But no more than the Master interfered with Vale Sera and created No Name.

    “An experiment in splitting inclinations; for her blade was purple - between Light and Dark.” A pause, and an introspective tone. “But I suppose he was worried for me, perhaps even the Dark held within Joren.”

    We see.

    That tone was uncaring, but the Darkness wasn’t omniscient. It was, however, a hive mind. Zas’tel intended to speak more of that. “There are six Darknesses with Free Will. It split with the first destruction of Nouane to survive Abeloth, after pretending to be a Croke shapeshifter. Two Darknesses have been trapped within the new Nouane.”

    You are well-informed.

    The Darkness vanished; reappeared where Zas’tel had been just standing; he’d almost lazily stepped away.

    Darkness swiped; missed; Zas’tel continued speaking, almost conversational.

    “One of you are here, but where are the other three? What are your plans for the Atreus descendants?”

    Why would we tell you?

    Zas’tel gestured at a Tho Yor, which fluttered down and he waved his hand, revealing a White-Coat laying besides him, unconscious. Her face was obscured, and Zas’tel placed her in the Tho Yor. It vanished into the sky, and then, hyperspace.

    Who did you just put in there?

    “Why would I tell you.”

    The Darkness writhed in anger, and interposed itself between Zas’tel and the remaining Tho Yor.

    You are not to interfere.

    Zas’tel drew his Forcesaber; the one containing the Master’s Eye; the one that would one day be passed down to Palpatine and bleed red in the hands of the Seventh Darkness.

    He ignited it with a crackle.

    “I’m doing this for me.”

    He thought of his lost friends; of Vydra, Dunkeel, Joren, Vale. Of those the Master of Masters had cost him and ruined. He thought of the New Protectors, of the tragedies inflicted upon N’Tael, Sek’nos, Lagertha and Jin Long.

    Zas’tel thought of Sheel Ix, who he had intervened to save when he should not have.

    Who he had sent ahead.

    He swung the black blade at Darkness -

    TAG: No-One, @Corellian_Outrider (unconscious TAG)

    Mentions for

    @QueenSabe7, @HanSolo29, @Mitth_Fisto, @greyjedi125, @Jerjerrod-Lennox, @TheAdmiral, @darthbernael
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2021
  11. Sinrebirth

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

    Registered:
    Nov 15, 2004
    IC: The Master of Masters
    Hilltop, Nouane

    It would be easier to not ask which Nouane he stood on.

    The wasteland one; the recreated one.

    When would also be quite relative.

    But Darkness stood besides him.

    You are smarter than we thought.

    “Aren’t I just?” The Master said, laughing. “But you’re weaving some pretty nifty schemes of your own.”

    We only follow what is Written.

    “What is in the Holocron of Prophecies?” The Master laughed, arms held out far. “Do you really think it shows all of the future? That I’d let you look at something that important?” He placed his hands on his stomach as he chortled.

    We don’t understand.

    “Clearly,” he said wryly and Darkness’ shadow writhed. “The Eye in my Forcesaber can only see events it’s present for - it’s a super narrow perspective on the future. Sure, what it’s telling me is pretty important, but it’s not everything. What’s important about it is that I needed a Waypoint.”

    He fluttered his fingers. “Zas’tel carries the memories, so I can follow along with my fragmented spirit and recreate myself time and time again, wherever I need to be and see.”

    All of this for a waypoint?

    “Well; no,” the Master said with a snort. “But I need some surprises.”

    Smart.

    “As you say.” He turned away. “But I will tell you one thing I saw.”

    What?

    “A completely unknown future.”

    TAG: No-one
     
  12. greyjedi125

    greyjedi125 Chosen One star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 29, 2002
    IC: Jin Long
    Tic-Toc-Tic-Toc

    He was on his knees, sobbing, looking at his trembling hands. The memory of his betrayal of an innocent, the cold blooded murder. It hadn’t been him, yet it was. The horror was nearly unbearable, in and off itself.

    Jin Long groaned in disbelief, he felt violated in ways he could not utter. How had he become a tool of such darkness? Such a thing was simply unfathomable.

    Tears ran down his eyes as he looked up to the Sith Matriarch. Her words, for some reason, sounded different. She felt different, darker…much darker than before.

    In her he found no solace or comfort whatsoever. Her words.... what was she saying now?

    “I understand what I am…..” Jin conceded, shaking his head.

    “But I also understand what you are…” He declared with conviction.

    “You say the Darkness can be anyone, well, so can the Light!”

    Slowly, Jin stood up. He now knew he could not trust his memories or anything he was seeing. Whatever was happening was much bigger than he readily understood, but there were tenets that he had been taught, that always held true.

    “You wish to use me for evil by invading and forcing my body. Well, you cannot force my Spirit. I will become as Light and imprison you in a Cage of Light. You will take no pleasure by residing in me. One of the Protectors will notice and together we shall bring an end to your schemes.”

    These were not merely bold words, the monk was making a solemn vow.

    Closing his eyes, Jin Long sat down in Lotus position and began a chant of purification. The truth was, he had expected the fight against darkness to be done by traditional means. He could never have imagined being in such a predicament, however, even from young, his sole desire had been to do what was right, even at personal cost.

    This was no different.

    {{ Prakaza bhavati saha mahyam* }}

    Through calming breaths and a mind emptied of troubles, the young monk set himself into a chanting trance. He would not be a willing host to darkness, but he was willing to trap it within himself, if it would keep it from harming others.

    *Rough translation: Light be with me.


    Tag: @Sinrebirth ( @darthbernael, @TheAdmiral, @Corellian_Outrider )
     
  13. Sinrebirth

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

    Registered:
    Nov 15, 2004
    IC: Darkness
    Clock-Tower

    There was a tremendous flash, and Jin Long had made the correct conclusion. As much as the Darkness sought a shape within him, so too did he have the ability now to reshape it.

    And so he did.

    The Darkness vanished, and was drawn inside to Jin Long.

    He burned with power; with his spiritual strength far outstripping his physical, though the months of training at the hands of the real Abbot.

    But black consumed his sight, incinerated by the Light.

    He had been blinded by it.

    But he had triumphed.

    A Darkness had been defeated, drawn into him and locked away.

    That is what Jin Long had done.

    His entire body would be wracked with exhaustion, but it had been their first victory against the Darkness.

    At long last.

    TAG: @greyjedi125
    —-
    IC: The Master

    Weeks ago

    They stood in that selfsame Clock-Tower, albeit a reality away, before the Twilight Wars began. Before the Old Ones took the First Change as an opportunity to attack the galaxy and wage unholy war across the cosmos.

    The Master of Masters had just explained about his Eye, and about his Box. Well, that the Box could never be opened. He had every intention of erasing this memory from Zas’tel. It was before, so the Balance wasn’t here to undo it.

    In a few days, he would, and the Master knew he would be unable to disconnect Balance from his chosen avatar. The Master would try in the future as the Professor with Tarkin.

    “There’s one more thing.”

    Zas’tel, who was about to go and hide the box, hesitated. “Oh?”

    The Master sat down and peered into the Holocron on his desk. “Yes. I wanted you to remember that the war with Darkness cannot be won, and that is why I have done all of this. At present, it is not corporeal, and has been split into six, seeking its seventh.”

    “Seven?”

    “Oh yes. The most powerful Darknesses of all, corresponding to the seven circles of the Netherworld of the Force.”

    “I thought there were Nine.”

    “Not yet, no.”

    “Oh!”

    “Yup. Well, there’s no way to beat them in this form, as I say.”

    “So what is the point?” Zas’tel was growing irate.

    “You see, we need them to take a physical form so we can beat them. Which means raising bait for them - and ending this reality is just one way of making time for us to prepare strong Force users.”

    “Bait?” Zas’tel hesitated. “You mean -“

    “Yup - six Darknesses for six students.” He snapped a finger, and for illustration purposes images appeared of the others - Joren, Vale, Dunkeel, Vydra. “I didn’t pick you to just be vessels, though.” He said this quickly, in response to Zas’tel’s obvious horror. “I wanted to build strong Force users who could create cages of themselves; draw the Darkness to them and then seal it away in themselves.”

    “So we’re sacrifices?” Zas’tel was mortified. “And what about the other students? The ones that Vydra is recruiting? Sheel, N’Tael, Sek’nos, Lagertha, and Vale’s Inclination?” His voice was raised. ”Are they just backup’s?

    “Sentimentality will not do us any favours, Zas’tel!” The Master stood from his chair. “We’re talking about the fundamental conflict between Light and Dark! If we can’t secure the pieces of the Original Evil, we can’t begin to manage the future and steer it to a course where we win.”

    “This is horrific.”

    “It’s necessary,” said the Master, sadly. “I told you, when I was younger - I lost everything, people I loved, people that were my friends.” He held up his hands. “And that’s why I’m working on ways to save everyone!”

    He shrugged. “Made it so that Vale can’t carry a Darkness in her, mind you. But I have no doubt that Vydra is fertile ground - and Dunkeel will just offend the Darkness - it won’t be able to not mess with him.”

    “Fertile ground?” Zas’tel sounded suspicious. “You mean the paranoia over the traitor?”

    “The traitor is a necessary part of the Holocron of Prophecy,” the Master confirmed, looking at the device. “The friction and heightened emotions will be perfect bait for the Darkness. But I know my students,” he looked back to Zas’tel. “You’ll come through. Eventually, anyway.”

    He had his doubts about Joren, whose Darkness one day acquired its own name… Skelm, and he would take it for himself. But the Master has left precautions for that, too - the statues wouldn’t carry Joren forward if he lost his battle to Darkness.

    Zas’tel didn’t want to argue. In his eyes, the young Protectors were going to inherit a disaster. The Master has used and abused them, in a way none too dissimilar to the Darkness itself.

    He forgot this discussion, of course.

    But the feeling remained.

    As he backed out of the room, dragging the Box, the Master chimed in one last time. “Make sure you don’t interfere with the Protectors.”

    “I won’t, I promise.”

    At that, Zas’tel left.

    The Master turned back to the Holocron. “I have high hopes for you, Zas’tel the Traitor.”

    TAG: @HanSolo29, @Jerjerrod-Lennox, @Mitth_Fisto, @greyjedi125, @QueenSabe7, @TheAdmiral, @darthbernael - all mentions only
     
  14. darthbernael

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

    Registered:
    Apr 15, 2019
    OOC: Fun with @TheAdmiral and @Sinrebirth

    IC N’Tael, Sek’nos, Atreus
    Hilltop, revelations


    N’Tael growled as a revelation came to him, why the Matriarch had sent him to the hilltop. Before he could turn or respond to Sek’nos he could sense his old foe rise up behind him. He sensed the tendrils of energy as they lanced out. He could have easily deflected them all but he still was unwilling to fully reveal everything about himself; that and he needed to know if Light was present. The Balance was here, he was here, as was Darkness but the third was as of yet unaccounted for.

    But...he did have to reveal some of what he was, which he knew would lead to very many questions. All this thought took place in a fraction of a second as Darkness attacked. His tail swayed as he spun around in a fast, tight, circle. His eyes and tiger stripes glowed suddenly, bright swirls of greys. ”No!” his voice rang out across the hillside.

    Energy rose up around him, spreading rapidly across the hill, the lances of energy slowing slightly as he did, those coming for him slowed almost to a stop before him. His three fingered hand reached out, cold, pain, touching his flesh as he began to pull them into himself. The grey of his eyes, his stripes, darkened slightly as he did so before resuming their even swirl.

    His head turned to the side, one eye looking back at the Sek’nos, ”I suspect Jin Long is facing his own Darkness right now. This one is trying to take us all, to let itself reign.” The lack of sibilants in his speech a dead giveaway that he was beyond who his shell was, at the moment.

    Lagertha was clutching her lightsaber. Things were changing pretty fast and she needed to be ready to spring into action. Ever since she had come to become a Protector she was being tested and put out of her comfort zone. Not that she had not expected such a development, but she did not seem to be able to catch a break.

    "What do you mean?" she raised an eyebrow as she looked at Sek'nos "What had happened to Jin?"

    The other Darkness will take him, and make him into our vessel. With him we shall use his Forcesaber to open the World Between Worlds and infect many worlds.

    There was a dark chuckle.

    Once we take your bodies, we shall acquire shape, and take a name. As we will do with in the future, we shall here.

    The shadowy figure appeared behind them briefly, and Sek’nos turned and slashed at it - the Darkness vanished and reappeared besides Lagertha.

    We did what was written, replaced one of the Master’s chosen so we may have a vessel to travel to the future. Jin Long shall give birth to Ashen Anguish that will become Hate, one way or another. We shall multiply, and take this reality.

    A winding string of sharpened projectiles flowed forth from Darkness with the intention of impaling Lagertha -

    As Darkness disappeared from behind him, N’Tael leaped forward, his cloak flaring around him as his powerful legs and a touch of the Force propelled him between Sek’nos and Lagertha. His hand dipped to his belt as he flew through the air.

    Darkness was fast though and by the time he landed it had already appeared by Sek’nos and had reappeared by Lagertha. His saber flared to life, but in place of the purple that it had been when the ceremony had taken place a pure, bright white blade shone forth.

    As the blade swept through the strands of projectiles a voice roared from N’Tael’s throat, ”Silly child, I stopped you on the true Nouane when I was fresh to the physical plane, I will not allow you to complete the process here.”

    The saber twisted in an arc, seeking to embed itself, slash through the lower torso of the form that Darkness wore, even making it have to reform would cost it energy. ”I name you coward for refusing to face one who can face you, instead attempting to turn those who have not faced your true self.”

    Lagertha's saber lit up with a snap-hiss. She took defensive position, but N'Tael was in the way. There should be a way to deal with this... creature... or whatever it was. "We will not let you take him!" she hissed and readied herself for the moment there would be an opening.

    The Darkness separated and reformed, and hurled a spear of dark energy out. Sek’nos leapt and slashed it apart, eyes burning angrily. “You made me think my grandfather died!”

    But Jin killed Sheel Ix. That Togruta you loved?

    Sek’nos hesitated. It had been a brief moment, but their kinship had filled a hole in his loneliness as a Protector candidate with a secret. Love was a strong word…

    Or rather would have?

    Darkness vanished as Sek’nos slashed, appearing behind Lagertha, but this time by her ear, as if whispering to a lover. You should take the monolith to the future. We can see it now; your child will be strong. A young woman with much potential.

    Tendrils held Lagertha in place, entwining her shoulders and arms, as Darkness spoke, and then a half dozen spears of shadow shot out at N’Tael.

    We cannot be beaten.

    N’Tael spun, following Darkness, his eyes on the bodiless form as it disappeared, reappearing near Sek’nos, disappearing again and reappearing behind Lagertha. It whispered but his ears caught all he said. Stiffening for a moment he sensed something else, something coming into the world and his muzzle fell open in a toothy grin.

    And then the spears of Darkness came for him. His swirling grey eyes sparkled and he began to spin like a dervish, sweeping around, catching each spear’s point on the blade of his, now white, saber. They tugged at it, tried to influence it to change, to bleed, but he pulled at them as though a fisherman fighting a giant sea creature.

    Turning back to the frozen Lagertha, Darkness still holding her, he grinned again forked tongue ‘tasting’ the air. ”Child of mine, do you not sense it? One of the Seven has been taken, has been trapped. You are a necessary part of this, so no you must not be killed, but beaten...that is another story indeed.”

    His blade still twitching and moving in his hands, the spears now wrapping around it, trying to douse the brilliant white light of it but almost shrieking and burning as they did, he stepped forward, until he stood directly before Lagertha and Darkness. ”What is needed had failed my memory for a time, after all I’ve only been on this plane a year, but that Saint of a monk reminded me. And what he’s done should terrify you because it means that the fear you are attempting to instill in my companions is futile. I give you two choices, run or I explain to them how to do the same as Jin Long.”

    Lagertha could not move. That was the most horrendous sensation she had ever experienced. Standing there, not being able to do anything to help her friends. Facing powerful forces, beyond her understanding. There was too much to learn yet. Hopefully N'Tael, or whatever his real name was, would be able to take care of this... Darkness.

    Darkness lifted itself and Atreus into the air. Catch.

    We are one of the Seven but there are only Six of us, yes, the well-informed and seemingly omniscient Balance.


    It released a wave of energy, writhing flame surrounding it.

    But the Master of Masters did not plan for all of this. We have already achieved what we sought. It is written; prophesied; etched.

    “We don’t care!” Sek’nos leapt up, blade swinging. Darkness vanished, and the Sith passed through the space. When Sek’nos landed, he collapsed, knocked out, and Darkness reappeared beside him.

    In-fact, Darkness had no idea what had happened to the other Darkness confronting Jin Long. It would have to check.

    It had lied about being a hive mind; that much was obvious now.

    We shall leave you be. You shall decide the future, and we shall reap the past. As was written. As is so.

    The Darkness faded away.

    It could not be destroyed in this form and shape. That much was obvious.

    Lagertha felt her body flying through the air. She was so shocked by this sudden change that her reaction was a bit delayed. Lagertha could not feel the hilt of her saber, it must have fallen off. Though that was the least of her problems right now. Using the Force to turn her body she then tried to soften the landing.

    ”As usual, he lies, possibly even to himself.” N’Tael muttered as he turned, his saber extinguishing, to check on Sek’nos.

    He kneeled, his stripes and eyes beginning to regain color. One three fingered hand stretched out, palm to the ground, as weariness washed over him. It was and wasn’t him in such moments but at least some of what was used was his own energy and he’d blown through it.

    Slowly, his head turned to track Lagertha’s flight and he lifted his arm, trying to form a small pocket of energy for where she appeared to be landing. He wasn’t sure it would be enough with what he had left but he had to try.

    Shaking himself he stood, tail quivering, forked tongue flicking out again and again to taste the air to be sure whether Darkness had gone or not. His mind leaped out, ’Jin Long, aid is needed at the hilltop, please hurry.”’

    TAGS: @Sinrebirth, @greyjedi125, @TheAdmiral, @QueenSabe7
     
  15. greyjedi125

    greyjedi125 Chosen One star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 29, 2002
    IC: Jin Long
    Through Darkness

    A deep exhale was followed by an energizing intake, then a centering release. He felt calm, which should feel strange, but did not. Especially since he was now sightless, that is, blind.

    Jin Long understood.

    He had locked Darkness inside himself, inside his light, in a cage of brightness. But such a victory had a price, one he was willing to pay. That of his sight. The natural world was no longer his to behold. The wonders of the Monastery, the ample fields that surrounded the structure, the lights of the city at night, the faces of his fellow brother monks.

    They all existed now in his memory. A fine place for them. They would continue, onto a safer future, without the threat of the darkness now sealed within him. But for insurance, he would need to leave as well.

    This did not make him sad, knowing that others would benefit from his deeds, for that had been his purpose all along.

    A soft smile crossed the Monk’s face, but it only lasted a moment, as he felt someone familiar reach out, calling him through the Force.

    Jin Long, aid is needed at the hilltop, please hurry.”’

    N’tael.” Jin Long whispered, knowledge flowing back to him. They were in danger. Grave danger. His friends and fellow Protectors.

    In that moment, when his desire to help his friends flared and he began to move, taking action, in that moment did the Force surge to grace him with a boon.

    Jin Long ran as fast as the Force would carry him, as he dashed out of the Clock Tower and sped his way towards the Hill. He had resolved to move through the darkness by way of his enhanced senses, but the Force had also favored him, granting him the means to ‘see’ things, as only one blind could see by way of the Force and through darkness.

    ’N’tael! I’m on my way!’


    Tag: @Sinrebirth, @darthbernael, @TheAdmiral, @QueenSabe7
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2021
  16. Sinrebirth

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

    Registered:
    Nov 15, 2004
    IC: Sek'nos Lath
    Hilltop

    When Jin Long arrived, they were all in various states of exhaustion from the contest with Darkness.

    They were not wounded insofar as much as damaged by what had happened.

    By what they had lost.

    But above N'tael, Sek'nos, Lagertha and Jin were not three, but two Tho Yor.

    Two left.

    One, with Darth Caedus.

    The second, with Ben Solo.

    The third, had it ever been there?

    They had returned to separate times and places.

    The Sith, he looked at the two elderly Sith unconscious on the ground. They had not yet stirred, and he frowned hard. He regarded the inside of the Tho Yor's, both of which landed before them; he could fit them both in, but nobody else.

    It would not take long to summarise what had happened; that Jin Long had secured one of the Darknesses here, and there was another, who had kept them busy. Apparently it had not been expected that Jin would tame a Darkness within himself, and they had intended to use him to propagate and spread. The Darkness that had antagonised them had been distracting them, clearly.

    Ben Solo had taken a Tho Yor back to the future, to save Rey and defeat the Dark One in the future.

    But they only had two left, and room for four.

    With Sek'nos' grandparents, there were six of them.

    "We need to seed the future with light," he said. "Who is going?"

    TAG: @darthbernael, @TheAdmiral, @greyjedi125 (singles, please)
     
  17. darthbernael

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

    Registered:
    Apr 15, 2019
    IC N’Tael
    Nouane 2, decisions


    N’Tael slowly pushed himself to his feet, his energy mostly spent, he’d had to exert himself, even with aid, more than he’d planned. He nodded wearily to Jin Long when he saw the monk approaching. He looked upward for a moment, noting that only two Tho Yor remained. His muzzle swung back and forth as he shook his head, ’Of course…’ he thought.

    The craft descended near Sek’nos and the immobile Sith at his feet. N’Tael’s tongue snaked out, tasting the air, tasting the Force. He could tell the two elderly Sith at Sek'nos' feet still lived but were merely unconscious. Lagertha was also slowly making her way to join them. He was sure she was sore and drained after the flight and being thrown down the hill.

    Looking around once more he sighed softly, there were six of them but with only two Tho Yor to be able to use only four of them would be able to travel. He closed his eyes as he thought, only opening them when he heard Sek’nos speak.

    "We need to seed the future with light, who is going?"

    N’Tael looked at his fellow Protector with sadness in his eyes. ”There isss little to quessstion, my friend. Look at who isss left. The logical anssswer will tell you who isss going.”

    He stepped over to Lagertha, ”You are the warrior of light, Lagertha. What you offer will be needed in the future.” Tail swaying he walked to Sek’nos, bending over to check on the Sith’s grandparents. ”To me, there isss no quessstion, you and they,” his three fingered hand gestured at the unconscious Sith, ”ssshould take the three remaining ssseats.”

    He straightened, muzzle turning until he faced Jin Long. It dipped, a longer sigh emerging. ”I don’t believe either of usss sssshould travel to the future, my brother. I, and now you, asss the vesssssel of the Light, mussst remain, live out the eonsss, whether in thessse formsss, or othersss, to keep Darknessss from achieving itsss goal.” he told the monk softly.

    He walked over to Jin Long, turning as he stopped by the man’s side, now facing the others, ”Jin Long and I mussst Protect the now and the until. You mussst Protect the future.” he told Lagertha and Sek’nos.

    TAGS: @Sinrebirth, @greyjedi125, @TheAdmiral, @QueenSabe7
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2021
  18. TheAdmiral

    TheAdmiral Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 28, 2004
    IC: Lagertha Atreus
    Hilltop


    Things were taking strange turns and she was not sure how to proceed. The vehicles that appeared took Ben and disappeared. There was talk of time travel and she was not sure whether she understood it all.

    Those concepts were still beyond her comprehension. She was no scholar, there were none in her village. There was no use of such people there. Now she saw the elders’ folly. It did not take only a person who could wield a blade to defend the Light.

    Lagertha’s eyes widened in surprise “Me!?” she asked incredulously “I am just a simple warrior...” she did not pretend to be humble about it “There is too much to learn...” she almost murmured that part. “The stakes are too high!”

    But it might be her destiny? Her head started to throb at the thought. Those concepts and ideas… Too much for her.

    Lagertha clenched her jaw “If the Force wills it, I will follow.” she said adamantly.

    TAG: @Sinrebirth @darthbernael @greyjedi125 @QueenSabe7
     
  19. greyjedi125

    greyjedi125 Chosen One star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 29, 2002
    IC: Jin Long
    Hilltop

    The monk listened to all that was spoken, even as he took-in the moment they all shared. Himself, Sek'nos, N'Tael, Lagertha. Nothing would be the same for them going forward. They were Protectors, and ‘protecting’ turned out to be far different from anything they could have imagined, yet, just as critical, if not more so.

    Jin Long, though blind, did gaze at the two Tho Yor, his mind taking note of their individual signatures in the force, as he ‘beheld’ them. He then turned to encourage a seemingly reluctant Lagertha.

    “You have always been honest, Lagertha, especially with yourself. Certainly you can sense that N’tael speaks true. Despite feeling surprise, you can feel the right of it. This is one path only you can take.”

    Jin bowed to the Lagertha, showing his deep respect and support, his unseeing eyes seemed to be looking through her.

    “Where you go, we cannot physically follow, but know that we go with you in spirit.”

    The monk moved in and briefly placed a hand on the warrior’s shoulder to convey his support and reassurance.

    “Remember, the Force is with you always. It is a light to your path and your hope at all times.”

    After offering a solemn nod, Jin Long stepped back, gladdened by the sense of adamant purpose he now sensed within the warrior and protector; Lagertha.


    Tag: @Sinrebirth, @darthbernael, @TheAdmiral, @QueenSabe7
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2021
  20. Sinrebirth

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

    Registered:
    Nov 15, 2004
    IC: Sek'nos Rath
    Tho Yor

    The Sith teen nodded. "Thank you, my friends."

    He loaded his grandmother and grandfather into separate Tho Yors.

    He worked around them, embracing Lagertha, and then Jin, and even N'Tael.

    "May the Force be with you, my friends."

    It was then their Holocrons each activated. Of course, for Jin, it was Sheel Ix's Holocron, they now knew.

    The Black-Coat appeared - the Master of Masters, from so long ago.

    "Last lesson time for you each. You should have by now been approached by the Tho Yor. I never saw in the future who took each one, only one of them, because, well, my Eye can only see what it can see at that precise moment. Not a very complete Holocron of Prophecy, I know, but it does see the End of Time, and it saw all of you once or twice."

    He counted off fingers.

    "Vale's Dark Inclination, the so-called No Name, though who knows if she existed for too long..."

    "... N'Tael, who would become a new receptacle for Balance..."

    "Jin Long, who was I saw would trap one of the Original Darkness's within him..."

    "Lagertha Atreus, the warrior whose family would make war into a commodity..."

    "And Sheel Ix, the woman who would seed the future with true light, and mother it's greatest flower."

    But that's what I saw, or, rather, chose.

    "I am sure you realised that Darkness was watching over my shoulder the whole time, rather annoyingly, but I pretended not to see."

    He leaned forward and they would all sense the wink from him.

    "So, whoever takes the Tho Yor to the future, to the Bastion of Light, that is what it is. Who stays, well, we'll see."

    A shrug.

    "If my plan went perfectly, I should have locked up all of the Darknesses by now, those that tried to escape the Change. I reckon that every time there is a Change, unless they have a solid form, they'll be trapped in the old timeline. I can't see the Gods intervening, but if they do, then the Change won't stick, and any untrapped Darknesses will continue to be a pain."

    It would be now they would remember the destruction of the City, and Nouane, and the remaking of Nouane as a new world.

    They had all been present, in one shape of another, in the City, or watching from the hills, as Abeloth fought the Master Protectors - Vale Sera, Joren Graal, Dunkeel - and destroyed everything, damaging the planets surface and a volcano pyroclastic flow reducing the surface to ash.

    Until the Gods of Mortis did intervene and remake Nouane.

    A grey angel, a white griffin, a black bat.

    They swirled reality and reset it, and sealed the Door to the World Between Worlds above the hilltop, which even now hung slightly ajar, for them to take into the future, as three Tho Yor already had so far, seemingly.

    "But for now, take the Thor Yor, and you'll end up safe and in the future, far away from this fake Nouane and the Twilight Wars to come."

    Not once did he mention how many Darknesses there were, of course.

    Details weren't that important.

    Sek'nos paused, experiencing the devastation of the City, which had, he knew, never happened now.

    "I don't think this changes my decision. We need to go, to the future. To seed the Light."

    He went to go, and follow his Matriarch. That would leave Lagertha to say her final words, and head into the future.

    TAG: @TheAdmiral, @greyjedi125, @darthbernael
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2021
  21. TheAdmiral

    TheAdmiral Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 28, 2004
    IC: Lagertha Atreus
    Hilltop


    Lagertha looked at Jin silently for a few seconds, considering what he said to her. Good thing she was sure that it was not mere flattery but he spoke the truth. Or at least from a certain point of view.

    “If I must do it, then I will.” she clenched her jaw in determination. Her heart was hammering in her chest. A smart warrior knew that fear was useful. A shame that all those legends and stories tried to show the hero as brave and full of certainty.

    That was not always the truth.

    The key was not to allow your fear to take over Fear is the mind-killer… But it keeps you on your toes, keeps you alert. Just must not let it control you.

    Lagertha took a deep breath, returned Sek’Nos’ embrace and turned towards her destiny. Listening to the voice telling that her family would turn war into a commodity.

    She did not have to hear that now! Doubt was beginning to sprout in her mind. What if she was making things worse?

    Turning her head towards her friends “I will make it right.” she said simply. Lagertha was a woman of a few words, she preferred action to talking “It has been an honor.” she managed a small smile and took a step forward…

    TAG: @Sinrebirth @greyjedi125 @darthbernael
     
  22. darthbernael

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

    Registered:
    Apr 15, 2019
    IC N’Tael
    Goodbyes


    N’Tael listened as the Master spoke, explaining things. It was interesting, he thought, that the Master did not mention Sek’nos but it seemed the man had not seen the death of Sheel Ix or who had done so. He knew that he was the vessel of Balance but didn’t truly know how he’d come about receiving his Holocron or why, however it didn’t matter, he wasn’t one of Darkness and that was key.

    When the vision of Nouane occurred he had to chuckle, he was seeing it from two viewpoints, Zas’tel’s until the moment his soul split into six and fled to various spots and his, of sorts, it was a warped image as he was also in the process of the Balance finding its home in him at the time. He chuckled, whether the others understood or not. He knew, felt, that it had been ‘his’ decision to split that had healed the destruction.

    As the images faded and Sek’nos turned to leave, ”May the Forccce ever guide you, and you be one with it.” he told the Sith. He truly hoped the man and his grandparents could find peace and acceptance in the future.

    There were a few moments silence before Lagertha spoke. She directed most of what she said to his brother, Jin Long. As she turned, her few words said, he reached out a three fingered hand, touching her shoulder, ”You are what the future needsss, and it hasss been our honor to know you. You will sssee usss again, I promissse, in one form or another.”

    His goodbyes said, he turned to Jin Long. No Name, I sssussspect, ssstill livesss. It will be part of our dutiesss, I’m sssure, to care for her until ssshe wakesss and to make sssure a Darknessss doesss not claim her further than her pain hasss done.”

    His coloration faded from the purple hue the Forcesaber had brought out in him, to swirling greys, as did his eyes. He as the Balance looked at his friend, his brother, ”The future is for Lagertha and Sek’nos to secure. It is for myself and you, my brother, the Light, to ensure the pieces of Darkness that exist do not stop that future from being reached. And I believe, between the two of us, we will.”

    TAGS: @Sinrebirth, @greyjedi125, @TheAdmiral, @QueenSabe7
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2021
  23. greyjedi125

    greyjedi125 Chosen One star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 29, 2002
    IC: Jin Long
    Departures

    The one thing that remained after everything he’d experienced, was the grand sense of wonder. Jin was now physically blind, but found that he could now ‘see’ things with greater clarity.

    Listening now to the Master of Masters, he understood things with increasing understanding, but all things were not yet understood. There were still mysteries to discover.

    The now Blind Monk returned the gesture of friendship Sek’nos Rath had offered, before the Sith took his leave. Whatever questions Jin may have had which were hitherto unasked, he now knew to simply abandon them, for there would be no revelation pertaining to them, nor had they been critical enough for the asking.

    As ordained, the past continued to be the inexorable foundation for the future, in every way imaginable.

    Even now, after all the lessons learned, that dynamic remained unchanged. Still, Jin chose to remain silent for most of the exchange in regards to the Master and his last revelations. What was done was done and could not be altered. Their Hope was now in the future.

    And Lagertha was the chosen vessel of Light.

    Jin nodded as he smiled, agreeing with N’Tael as he spoke.

    “Yes, we will meet again.” He said, agreeing whole heartedly. In his mind, this wasn’t something he questioned, but a simple fact just waiting to be realized.

    “May the Force be with you, always.”

    A short hug is shared with the female warrior. Strength and encouragement are offered in that small gesture, crystalizing a bond that defies convention.

    “Until the time appointed.”

    Jin Long stepped back, satisfied. He had not, could not have imagined what their mission as Protectors truly meant, but now he had a much better idea. And despite it all, their work was far from done.

    To N’tael he responded as he witnessed Lagertha’s departure.

    They would protect No Name. They would keep Darkness from escaping to the future.

    “We will brother…we, will.”


    Tag: @Sinrebirth, @darthbernael, @Corellian_Outrider, @TheAdmiral, @QueenSabe7
     
  24. Sinrebirth

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

    Registered:
    Nov 15, 2004
    IC: Darkness
    Gone

    The Tho Yor left, as was always planned, and proposed, and required.

    Sek'nos Rath would seed the future with the inevitable darkness of the Sith, after all, even as the Rakata's night star faded. Lagertha Atreus would herself cause all manner of issue in the future to come, as something fate would spin away from.

    Good.

    But a Darkness had been sealed within Jin Long.


    Not so good.

    The Darkness that had been ostensibly sealed in Vale Sera but came attached to her Dark Inclination, the so-called No Name, watched with some amusement as the two remaining Protector Apprentices made their vows to each other.

    They were Masters now; all of them.

    Matters had gone as well as could be expected.

    With a Darkness[/b] each trapped in Dunkeel and Vydra and one loves within Joren, they had achieved all they could…

    Caedus had returned to his present time, Jacen Solo's Dark Inclination freed to do what had to be done, and a Darkness had gone with him to the End of Time.

    But so had Ben Solo's Light Inclination, and he would work with Rey Palpatine to defeat her Grandfather.

    The White Coat had been seeded into the future, maddeningly.

    No Name remained under the care of the Protector Masters for now, but Darkness suspected that Zas'tel, or even the Master of Masters himself, would be dealing with her and Vale...

    ... which left one more Darkness here.

    And of course one more Balance.

    All he had to do was wait.

    ---
    Many years later, during the Twilight Wars, before the defeat of the Kwa and Gree and Killiks

    It began eventually.

    Jin Long aged.

    So too did N'Tael, but a Gree was going to last longer by default.

    The Darkness within him grew in the years of his body.

    It promised the man in his darkest hours, that it would escape.

    The friendship between the two of them would shift as Jin ailed and became the weaker of the two parties.

    Until one day, the Holocron of Heresy activated; it hadn't for decades by this point.

    It was the Master of Masters.

    I didn't forget to write an Epilogue, I am afraid. The truth is, I had to get a bit creative in what I wrote. Because, well, I didn't want to get caught out by Darkness, who of course was peering over my shoulder all the Sith time.

    So.

    I left a little bit of energy from the World Between Worlds inside the Holocron's of Heresy - before it was closed to me. I know, I know, reckless as hell, but I foresaw that only one Holocron of Heresies would make it to the future, so I simply made it so you couldn't use it unless you had two Holocrons. And even then, the two Keys would only open the way forward. You'd need like three Keys to open the Past, or, I dunno, the Well of the Dark Side, but I digress.

    A hesitation.

    Three Keys did one day unlock the Well of the Dark Side… when Darth Haretisch killed three Sith Lords who had Keys within them…

    But he was not going to mention that.

    Anyway.

    If someone with a Darkness sealed within them dies, that Darkness will escape. Messy, I know. Which brought into mind the idea of taking Protectors
    out of time, or sealing them away in some kind of stasis field, but that was impractical. So, I created the Statues of Dwartii to do both, and they were designed to only take with them Sealed Darknesses. I even made a Statue for me; Wapoe, he was gonna be called.

    But if one of the apprentices should seal a Darkness within you, well, I didn't have time to make a second set of statues, but I started - which is why the Sages of Dwartii suddenly acquired surnames in the next timeline over. Sistros Nevet, Yanjon Zelmar, Braata Danlos, Faya Rodemos. Smart, I know.

    So here it is.

    If you put two Holocron of Heresies' together, you'll have the energy to take one of you through - but not into - the World Between Worlds. With that, you'll be able to reduce the impact of the Darkness infection, and basically have a reset of your body.

    I'd recommend it, because otherwise a Darkness which has been Sealed and Escaped will acquire a Shape - and a Name - which will be far, far, far worse than one that was simply a Shadow.

    I hope none of you have suffered the fate of aging with a Darkness sealed within you.

    It switched off, leaving N'Tael and Jin Long to yet another goodbye.

    TAG: @greyjedi125, @darthbernael
    ---

    Millennia Later, Tython

    The four of them had awoken together, their memories of Epitaphs and Nouane and Heresies erased by the passing of themselves through time.

    They had been brought to the last Redoubt of the Celestials; Tython.

    It was the world of the Je'daii Order, and after a time, it was concluded that the four of them had gone too close to the Rift where they had been found; a chasm into the depths of Tython that was known for damaging the center of Force users.

    Sek'nos, Lagertha and the elderly Sith would be quietly re-educated by the Je'daii Council, supplied with memories of their past life here on Tython. They would learn that the way of the Je'daii was Balance, and that those with too much Dark were exiled to the moon of Bogan, and those with too much Light were exiled to the moon of Ashla.

    But what of Lagertha?

    The people of Tython - which included millions of non-Force users who had settled on worlds in the star system - did not have the traditional hyperdrive, they only had intra-system travel, but there was plenty for them to do. Shortly after they arrived, the Despot War began, and a warlord rose up within the Settled Worlds and attacked Tython.

    Did Lagertha fight in the Despot War?

    Did she step up when the Rakata invaded during the Force War?

    What side did she take when Master Ravijari spoke against the Je'daii abandoning Balance and becoming purely Lightsiders - the Jedi?

    Would she speak for Balance?

    Or Light?

    Or perhaps even the Dark?

    Or did she simply settle down and seed the future in her own way, a woman out of Time who did not know it?

    And when Sek'nos fell to the dark side, would she be there as he stood over the corpse of the woman who had tortured him, the former Force Hound, Trill?

    They all had Forcesabers now, all powered by their anger and rage.

    Ravijari was declared as a speaker of Bogan in an announcement by the Jedi Council.

    The Second Force War began, and Lagertha would have a vision of her family tree, of their move into the economics of war, of the various descendants she had that would be named Jori.

    Would she seed something herself into the future?

    TAG: @TheAdmiral (OOC: You may send something into the TotF III game if you fancy).
     
  25. darthbernael

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

    Registered:
    Apr 15, 2019
    IC N’Tael and Jin Long
    Goodbyes


    Year, decades, had passed; N’Tael and Jin Long had aged, the latter more than the former, but both were more aged, wiser, and ready to pass on their legacies. Which, of course, was when the Holocron of Heresy reactivated and the Master of Masters appeared once more.

    I didn't forget to write an Epilogue, I am afraid. The truth is, I had to get a bit creative in what I wrote. Because, well, I didn't want to get caught out by Darkness, who of course was peering over my shoulder all the Sith time.

    So.

    I left a little bit of energy from the World Between Worlds inside the Holocron's of Heresy - before it was closed to me. I know, I know, reckless as hell, but I foresaw that only one Holocron of Heresies would make it to the future, so I simply made it so you couldn't use it unless you had two Holocrons. And even then, the two Keys would only open the way forward. You'd need like three Keys to open the Past, or, I dunno, the Well of the Dark Side, but I digress.


    A hesitation.

    Anyway.

    If someone with a Darkness sealed within them dies, that Darkness will escape. Messy, I know. Which brought into mind the idea of taking Protectors
    out of time, or sealing them away in some kind of stasis field, but that was impractical. So, I created the Statues of Dwartii to do both, and they were designed to only take with them Sealed Darknesses. I even made a Statue for me; Wapoe, he was gonna be called.

    But if one of the apprentices should seal a Darkness within you, well, I didn't have time to make a second set of statues, but I started - which is why the Sages of Dwartii suddenly acquired surnames in the next timeline over. Sistros Nevet, Yanjon Zelmar, Braata Danlos, Faya Rodemos. Smart, I know.

    So here it is.

    If you put two Holocron of Heresies' together, you'll have the energy to take one of you through - but not into - the World Between Worlds. With that, you'll be able to reduce the impact of the Darkness infection, and basically have a reset of your body.

    I'd recommend it, because otherwise a Darkness which has been Sealed and Escaped will acquire a Shape - and a Name - which will be far, far, far worse than one that was simply a Shadow.

    I hope none of you have suffered the fate of aging with a Darkness sealed within you.


    N’Tael sighed, glancing at his old friend, his fellow Master, his brother. ”We’ve been sssearching for a sssolution for you, my brother. And, sssomehow, he knew. There isss a sssolution, and you will not be turned into an abomination, leaving me to ssstop you.”

    Jin Long stroked his long white beard as he listened to the Master of Masters speak. His unseeing eyes looking out into space, as if regarding a galaxy far far away.

    Nothing really surprised the monks these days, nay, these last years. He had grown so much in knowledge, in the force - and so had his long time friend and fellow Protector; N’Tael.

    I hope none of you have suffered the fate of aging with a Darkness sealed within you.

    Jin Long chuckled in amusement at hearing this, from the Master of Masters no less. No, not even he could see everything.

    “So is that my new name then? ‘Nonov Yu’?” the monk intoned, amused as he allowed himself a chuckle.

    Jin felt N’Tael’s gaze fall upon him and turned in tandem to gaze back as his brother. He listened to his words and found a measure of comfort in them.

    “A solution for me?” He echoed, a soft smile playing on his wizened face, white eyebrows rising, then falling again.

    “Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter.” The monk reminded.

    “Energy to matter, then back. That is the cycle.”

    A slow wrinkled hand is extended, then placed on N’Tael’s shoulder.

    “I shan’t suffer corruption my friend. Light banishes darkness, it keeps it at bay. Light shines in darkness and darkness comprehends it not.”

    The monk chuckles in amusement, then grunts, suppressing a cough.

    “My body will fail, but you and I, we will not do battle. We must find a way to contain the abomination sealed within- that is what we must do.”

    A solemn nod is offered.

    "We are Protectors, brother, tasked with the singular duty of safeguarding the Light. We do what needs to be done - and we do so willingly, selflessly."

    N’Tael couldn’t help but let out a hissing chuckle as his brother responded to what the Master of Masters had told them. It was not a fun thing they had to deal with but the levity shown by Jin Long made his soul rejoice.

    ”My brother, my oldessst friend, we will and do ssso, willingly.” He reached into the pack he carried with him everywhere, touching the Holocron within. ”We both have our Holocronsss and, if the Massster is correct, we can sssend you to thisss place to be cleansssed.”

    His eyes narrowed for a moment, ”But...and I’m sssure you remember our conversssationsss over the yearsss, that isss, if the Massster isss to be trusssted in what he sssaysss.”

    "N'Tael...." Jin Long's blind eyes blinked, as if in surprise, but N'Tael would know his bother and friend did so in good humor.

    "We trust in the Force." He declared as if speaking to a newly minted force trainee, however, the underlying statement was there.

    "I see no reason why we shouldn't venture forth as instructed. If the Darkness can be kept from manifesting, then we should proceed with confidence wrapped in caution, don't you agree?"

    A playful wink is given by unseeing eyes, yet Jin Long could see far better with Force Sight, than he ever could, with his conventional eyes.

    Another coughing, hissing, laugh came from N’Tael, ”Alwaysss guiding, teaching, old friend, even with me.”

    His eyes shone as he nodded, Jin Long might be physically blind but the old Kwa knew that didn’t mean that the monk couldn’t see the movement, sense it. ”We’ve fought, overcome many thingsss through the yearsss, thisss isss just another to do ssso with.”

    Glancing down at his brother, ”Ok, we have mine, just need yoursss and we can begin.”

    The soft smile remained as Jin Long looked over his shoulder, his expression almost playful. There was a fractional exertion in the force, then after a few breaths, his own holocron seemed to slowly roll up his shoulder and perch itself on that spot.

    "Hello there..." Jin intoned with some humor.

    The monk extended his hand, palm facing up, as if he were some ancient mystic from a verdant forest. Tentatively, the holocron responded, by floating to his waiting hand, seemingly out of its own volition. Jin Long chuckled. This was simply a parlor trick he played to amuse himself in times of ennui.

    "...and now I have mine. We make quite the pair." He observed, still amused, despite what was to come next.

    One Holocron; one Key.

    Two Holocrons; two Keys, and a Way to the Future.

    Together, they were needed.

    N’Tael pulled his own Holocron from his bag. He could do nothing but give a hissing chuckle as Jin pulled out his old trick and called his Holocron to him. He was glad his brother had lost none of his humor over the years, it would have been quite boring if they were both as serious as he often found himself.

    His long, reptilian tongue flicked out as the Force seemed to build in the air with both Holocrons so close. ”We do, yesss, the Light sssubduing the Dark, probably tormenting it with your bad jokesss and the Balanccce, forever torn by having to ensssure that Chaosss doesssn’t rissse, occasssionally opposssing what you do just ssso the sssmaller darknessssesss do not fade.”

    He moved his Holocron closer to Jin’s, ”You know, I really do not know what he meant by bring them together and I hope we don’t accidentally create a third Nouane if we get thisss wrong, or right, even.” he said with a bark of laughter.

    Jin chuckled along, nodding, but grew sober for but a moment.

    “I have learned to trust in the Force implicitly.” The monk declared with reverence.

    “Because if I’ve learned one thing, is that there are layers that we cannot see, layers that even the Master could not see. Only the Force is infinite, and it will always, always find a balance, no matter how long it takes.”

    A dry chuckle escapes Jin’s lips.

    “For all we know, we could have done this many years ago.” He joked in the manner that only those in ‘the know’ would.

    A slow nod and downcast lids that showed inner serenity and acceptance.

    “Let’s discover what lies ahead. Together.”

    A snort blew out from N’Tael’s snout. ”We could have, yesss. If he’d told usss any sssooner.” he said with a snorting laugh.

    He twirled his Holocron in his three fingered grasp. ”None of that mattersss now though, what mattersss isss we know and now we can do sssomething about it. Together.”

    The two Holocrons met, and they opened in a way the two had never seen them do so.

    Their hearts were exposed, glowing energies that resonated and reverberated.

    The two Keys met, and after a flash of light a beam shot into the sky, opening up the space Between.

    There was a Portal, and it opened to a time and place.

    There was a flash of blades, and they would each recognize Ben Solo, with a crimson blade, fighting a woman with a blue blade. Ben appeared slightly older. Darker; this must have been before they met him.

    When he was Kylo Ren.

    [​IMG]

    Jin Long drew in a sharp breath, experiencing the creation of the portal- for it was a most astonishing event, for it felt like no other.

    His attention was quickly drawn to that which transpired within it. Ben was engaged in combat- wait- not Ben. It certainly looked like him. Ah, this was from before.

    The woman however; did she look familiar or was that just his imagination?

    Jin turned his head to look at N’Tael.

    “Hmm, this is an odd moment to witness. If we interfere, things may change dramatically, as Ben meets us at the Clock Tower much later after this moment, otherwise he would have recalled who we were.”

    A new mystery now unfolded before them. Why was this moment relevant, especially now?

    Or was there something else at play?

    "If we interfere, it may undo...everything."

    Jin Long continued to watch the conflict as a hand slowly came up to his chest, almost as if checking to see if the prisoner within the cage of light was still there.

    N’Tael saw the movement. The teeth along one side of his snout came into view as the lip curled back.

    Glancing back at the view before them, he shrugged. ”It isss our job to interfere. You are the Light after all and I the Balanccce.”

    The tableau showed how the battle was going and he had to think further, ”Now that the Way isss open we mussst make a move or sssomething elssse will make it in our ssstead. I do not sssay that we mussst interfere but there mussst be a way to ressscue both.”

    The scene shifted.

    It was not an indication of the precise place that Jin Long was to go, no, it was the era.

    The world he was to head to was unremarkable, distant from Nouane and in the depths of the current territory of the Old Ones.

    But then, in the future, it was in Wild Space, an uncharted but civilised portion of the galaxy.

    Panatha.

    "If we interfere, then it would be to intercept whatever else is attempting to force alterations, whatever attempting to make changes, thereby forcing its own will upon the natural flow of events."

    Jin Long frowned at that prospect and was about to say more when the scene change and his eyes opened wide in surprise, his mouth agape, if for a moment. Though he had no recollection of ever being there, he had studied his own roots. Panatha; It was the homeworld of his people.

    Blind eyes squinted as he watched, his mind working to link the connecting pieces together.

    "Why Panatha....?" He asked no one in particular as his mind continued to search for a likely answer.

    The door began to contract and a sense of urgency filled the Force; filled Jin. They were running out of the thing they had been given; time.

    N’tael noticed as the door began to contract. He chuckled, ”It ssseemsss that we have little choiccce. We will have to dissscover why Pafnatha from being there.”

    Reaching down, he would assist his brother through the doorway, to the destination that had made itself clear to them. As they stepped forward a new sense of...something filled him. It felt as though he was younger, as though stepping through the portal was stripping away the years of aging.

    He could see the change taking place in Jin as well, ”Sssomething tellsss me that we ssshall find a new purpossse, or a renewal of our purpossse, in thisss trip.”

    Jin Long easily accepted his brother's assistance and made it through the portal, as he was in one accord with N'tael - with nearly all their decisions, for years now. The two had fallen into a harmonious interdependence as dictated by the Force, for nature itself revealed this.

    Once through, Jin Long felt the changes in himself almost immediately, and took a sharp in-take of air in sheer amazement. It hadn't occurred to him to wonder about his eyes, as he felt lost vitality return to his body.

    "By the Force!!"

    Indeed. Even his voice grew stronger.

    Well, Jin did.

    N’Tael felt himself tugged back out the gate. There was only enough energy for one - Jin was about to be alone, on Pacanth, but with his increasing youth his memories began to fade as well.

    You can’t be tempted with knowledge you don’t have.

    The voice of the Master.

    But even then, Jin’s eyesight fled him…

    “You!” A voice, and a local called out. “You need to get inside out of this storm! You look like someone has set you on fire!”

    Indeed, Jin’s clothes were blackened, burned by the prodigious energies that he had passed through.

    As N’Tael watched, Jin would forget everything.

    Even his name.

    And then.

    The portal closed.

    Separating the two friends by thirty five thousand years… and a whole timeline.

    He had...forgotten the words of the Master. The realization came as the portal pushed him back out. He’d received some of the blessing of it, feeling younger than he had in years but at the moment he felt every decade of those years. His reptilian eyes dripped tears as he felt and saw as Jin became a youth again.

    He knew he would not see his friend, his brother, for millennia, whether in this form or another. But he wept, truly, because he felt as all that Jin had been, had known, was stripped from him, even the memories of their bond. He reached out as the portal closed. He whispered, even though he knew his friend would not hear, or know the why of the words, ”Until we are reunited. My Brother.”

    With that the Kwa Master, the holder of the Balance, his mission fulfilled, his brother saved, his will done, laid down upon the hill. When morning came and the caretaker of the two old Masters, one who had come to serve them, approached him, he found N’Tael’s eyes open and no pulse in his veins, his scales faded. When he had completed his mission, his life, his soul had become one with the Balance, that ephemeral being departing his body to begin the search for a new host to continue the fight, now alone, across the eons, against the Darknesses.

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