Game ⚜️ Knights of the Eternal Empire: The True Sith Trials ⚜️

Darth Dreadwar

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IC: Darth Apollyon

Outside the Sith Temple, Korriban


In their thousands, they fell.

If the sky, red and angry, was a field of fire, and the black pyramids were distant mountains, immovable and unspeakably ancient, then the strange dark pods that now descended from the floating goliaths were the magmic ejecta of a thousand volcanic eruptions, plummeting through the blood-soaked atmosphere of Korriban like hail from hellish heavens.

In their thousands, they fell.

Apollyon's obsidian eyes tracked their descent, mouth parted, hands hanging limply by her side. The pods descended with the eerie silence of terminal velocity, gravity alone pulling them inexorably towards the dunes; no trails of ionised gas plumed in their wake, nor did the sky scream with the whistles of missiles.

In their thousands, they fell.

They fell until the plains of Korriban cratered in impact, sand spraying into the air with dull booms, the ground shaking with each strike. Each pod cracked open upon impact like eggs breaking upon a pan, and crumbling from the crumpled metal were bones; ribs jagged as teeth, skulls, legs. Heaps of humanoid skeletons, rolling from gathering piles of the dead, pods smashing upon the sands and scattering a hundred more.

Apollyon stared blankly ahead, blood pounding in her ears, the barked orders and panicked shouts around her a muted muddle, as if she were drowning in a tide. Kain's plea fell upon deafened ears.

The last of the pods crashed into the surface, and for the briefest moment, all was calm. The mountains of skeletons were as still as the pyramids above, crags of erosion in tattered rags. And then, like steep scarps collapsing in perilous slide, the piles began to move. Skulls snapped upwards, empty eye sockets meeting Apollyon's own charcoal gaze, thin trails of crimson lighting up within like candles of the most wicked wick.

An unearthly roar rolled across the desert, hollow as the ten thousand dead, and then the skeletons charged. A tsunami of death raced across the Wight Wastes, covering a hundred meters in ten seconds, and Apollyon, at last, moved. Her caramel hand dropped to her waist, ripping her lightsaber from her thin leatheris belt and igniting it with a screech. Two bloody spurs of plasma, the crossguard of her unstable blade, followed but a second later; the legions of the dead had already crossed another ten meters.

“FALL BACK!” she screamed, vocal chords protesting the volume she forced from her lungs, desperate to be heard over the fray. “FALL BACK!” And then the cloud of airborne sand swept over them like a duststorm, ten thousand scelerous feet kicking up the haze of war, and the waves of the dead were upon them.


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His names were as many as his faces, and his faces were as many as the sands of the sea.

The long-dead despots of Tion and Cron had praised him as Mugg of Mugg Fallow, screaming his name with such foul fervour and daemoniacal devotion that the wails of their wriggling young, contorted in cruel suspension above the chasms of fiery sacrifice, could scarcely be heard over their fevered chants. The corpulent worms of Varl had exalted him as the son of carrion, Mog the Great Ghoul, giving their slaves to foul necrotic rites and blasphemous erotic dance in honour of the sticky spawn of the stars whose splendorous squalor filled the fetid swamps beyond Crakull. The Zothique, those barbarous merchants of base desires from distant realms, had turned over one-tenth of their unborn to Mordiggian of Zul-Bha-Sair, and those who had returned from those infernal treasure barges with black mouths and black eyes and dripping, distorted bodies in the misshapen, fetal parodies of men were worshipped as the chosen of the Charnel God, the children of perversion and perdition.

To those most ancient nations of Pesegam, in an era before King Adas was a squealing babe within a blood-sodden blanket, he was Lord Nihl Rahap'tor, immortal god of the Sith; to the Builders of Lehon, in an era before their pride turned them against their masters, he was the Darth Venomis, the poison to which all life succumbed. He was Mnggal-Mnggal, mockery of Horliss-Horliss, the Sickness of Odacer-Faustin, Morddoth the Deceiver.

He was the black plague, the gray swallowing, the hollower of beings. He was the bringer of affliction, the goat with a thousand young, the horseman with the black wing. He was the Rot God, the Lord of Pestilence, the horde of the Unknown Regions, the flailing, spraying infinitude of a vast holocaust writhing in ecstasy and freedom.

He was Death.

The eyes through which he perceived Korriban were not his own. Naught was, for he was the great thief of life, all his oceanic number the stolen bodies of hoarded victims. Each of his innumerable hosts lasted mere days before their bloated grey skin dissolved in trypophobic putrefaction, their macerated, lacerated flesh oozing forth the execrable filth of Mnggal-Mnggal from a thousand pores engorged to gaping orifices as large as rotten shuura fruit.

That is what made this vessel different. Seen through the eyes of mortal folly, the loathsome lictor who descended from the bowels of the Ninushodojinyaut was naught but a man, draped in robes of white finery, sulphuric eyes staring across the desert from atop an angular visage of sallow cheeks and thin lips. Seen through the eyes of the dark side, he was something different altogether; a gaping, oozing wound in the Force from which boiling black blood seethed like oil and pus.

The vessel was an ancient Sith Lord who had invited the Rot God into his heart long ago, slowing the viral maxichlorians feeding off his senescent cells through the consumption of a Jedi's midichlorian-rich heart, not knowing his efforts did not bestow the immortality he craved, but only allowed Darth Venomis to claim his prize. Baka Sadow had not been the only greedy Sith Lord to make such a mistake; how often did the unwary fall for his deceptions, embracing the instructions of occult books to unwittingly summon the great Sickness through ritual and potion. Drear and Scabrous had failed where Baka had succeeded, and perhaps their death had been a mercy, but others had sought the path that led only to him, and when the surreptitious usage of their eyes exhausted its purpose, he would claim them as his own, too.

For now, the eyes of Baka Sadow would do.

The white-robed man approached the Kissai priests convening upon the Wight Wastes, weaving around the rearmost drop-pods whence the scarlet-skinned sorcerers had emerged. The thousand eyes of Mnggal-Mnggal stared at his own approach, a host of pustule-spotted, ink-soaked corpses milling in eerie silence while an army of skeletons raced towards the temple some two hundred meters ahead, not Venomis' own, but the inferior playthings of the necromancer, prodding at the enemy's defenses. The clouds of dust that billowed in their wake provided the perfect cover for the baleful horde gathering in the gloom.

The warlords of the Massassi were assembling, Terentatek in chains before them, and the Shadow Council already numbered nine. There was Darth Malleus, chosen from birth for the charcoal skin that bore the same shade as his god, and Lord Lacerus the Foul. There was Lord Toxmalb of Rhand, and Lord Cadaverous of Ixigul, the rulers of Veroleem and Durace, the sultans of Makatak and Tulpaa. Darth Soros, risen from the salt flats of Sarafur, and Raspir the Red, and many servants beside; Atha Prime of Rennek, Elder Ruthic of the Rakata, the princes of Zakuul, the Knell of Muspilli. All lesser shadows sworn to the Father, before whom even Venomis bowed.

“Rentok sin myur belrak, Jen'azgul,” a Massassi captain knelt, shielding his eyes. “Sektok Ari sektan Zakuul, jak Taral Xen Gaal, serak mentok sin Rak sektan Vader.” The necromancer and the battlelord were about to arrive, dragons and Leviathans in tow; the Lord of the Shadow Council, and its most brutish warrior. Venomis did not acknowledge the mewling maggot's report, instead looking over at the temple where the Jidai who dared call themselves Sith fled like rats, smiling at the retreating back of a tiny, distant figure. Ah, so the necromancer had spoken true. The whore was here.

How ironic that the Leviathans of Corbos would be the weapons of her downfall.

His tongue slithered between his lips, tasting the air like a serpent. The whore's loins, that gash in reality through which he had poured into the galaxy from the darkness beyond Illathurion, was a fond remembrance. How small she had become since, the very memory of her true self lost like the scattered shards of her shattered soul. How wretched a worm, the one who had thought herself a divine mother, yet was naught but food for ones older and fouler.

Perhaps she thought to escape the fate he had decreed for her. The fate he had decreed for them all. What foolish flies, wings futilely struggling against the webs he had spun; he could feel one of them trying to escape even now, pressing against his great power with an effort he doubtless thought mighty. The flicker of a thought disabused the gnat of his notion that he could challenge a god.

Yes, he was pleased the necromancer had persuaded him to attack with leisured sloth. For a being who hollowed out children only to make their mothers choose between life and filicide, wiping the Jen'jidai out with the wave of a divine hand would be stale and shallow. It was better this way; every moment of pleasure coaxed out from every second of woe, the devourer playing with his meal, until the Lord of Mortis came forth.


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As their foul suzerain stared through the miasma, thrice a dozen skeletons crashed into the array of Hesperian Guard, the clang of clashing metal drowning out the echoing crack as Xarxes was abruptly flung to his back within the circle, ribs breaking within his armour. A three-fingered hand of bone reached between thorns of silver-bladed lightsaber pikes, a rusted sword swinging towards Hesper's breast. A spear jabbed towards Invadator's thigh; an archaic blaster loosed fire at Grievance's cybernetic ribcage; an axe descended towards Draconis' neck; a skeleton pounced towards Arach, impaling itself on her lightsaber, jaws snapping at her face. A revenant bearing a strange halberd swung the head of the blade towards Skyllan, and simultaneously, spinning metal discs flew from the tip, whirling towards Xirr, Thana and Krayt a short distance away.

FALL BACK!” the shrill voice of Apollyon repeated. She may have considered Hesper and Arach rivals, but they were still Sith; they were still living. A second later, and the dead had reached her. Two skeletons swung at her with swords of iron, and she ducked; a third leapt towards her as she rose from her crouch, and she felt a pain in her ankle as she kicked out, its skull snapping around as her heel caught its jaw, flinging it back. She attempted to backpedal, careful not to trip over the hem of her gown. She was not dressed for this.

Sith Stormtroopers opened fire on the fiends accosting her, buying her a second of reprieve. The Sith jailor was not so lucky; bereft of his lightsaber, having given it to K'Kruhk, two skeletons ripped his entrails from his abdomen with gnashing teeth, while another ran him through with a spear. K'Kruhk was scarcely faring better; four skeletons rushed at him from all angles, and his arm, broken in the Sith torture dungeons, afforded him limited range of motion; Gar Stazi was pinned by a ghoul snapping at his collar; two skeletons rushed Kain, one swinging for his bicep from the left, the other stabbing towards his chest from the right.

“I-RON!” Apollyon yelled, lightsaber frantically flashing as she retreated towards the entrance. “ACTIVATE THE—Force damn it!”

I-Ron was nowhere to be seen. The Shard had slunk inside, and with him, all hope to remote-activate the Temple's shields instantaneously. “COMMANDER! CLOSE THE BLAST DOORS AND ACTIVATE THE SHIELDS, CODE 121-ALPHA!” The Shadow Guard would carry out her orders, but the time it took to manually input the commands into the control consoles on either side of the entrance would cost them precious seconds.

It would provide an extra five seconds for the assembled Sith to retreat, before they were sealed outside with the dead, but the delay was already costly. Just beneath the archway of the Temple's entryway, Marasiah Fel sagged in Volshe's grip, arresting her momentum. The head of a spear protruded from Marasiah's abdomen, the grinning skull of a skeleton visible behind her. Two more undead had slipped past, and charged after Pravum, polearms jabbing towards his back. Two guardsmen, approaching the consoles to carry out Apollyon's orders, looked warily over their shoulders.

Outside, a javelin whistled through the air towards Catalyst, and a ghoul raced by him to attack Xxys, attempting to bash the seasoned assassin's head against the wall behind him with the pronged tip of its rusted shield. Another leapt towards Volacius, unarmed, but claws raking the air with the promise of death. Four surrounded Noxia and Metus, two shooting at the Dark Lady with antiquated blaster carbines, the third hurling itself at her with a sword in hand, the fourth slashing at Metus' neck with a vibroknife. A fifth ghoul stood between Mirtis and Noxia, brandishing a ball-and-chain mace, swinging towards the Trandoshan's legs.


TAGs: @Admiral Volshe, @Darth Kain, @Darth Xirr, @DarthNoxia, @Drakul_Xarxes, @Helkosh, @G.Kn, @Darth Thana, @Sith_Imperios, @DarthFeros, @Darth Xxys, @Volacius, @Metus, @Catalyst, @corinthia, @Reiis Invadator, @dragonsith13, @Grievance Vexx, @Arach, @Reatith Blodraald (if not yet inside with Solus), @Cardun Vrek (if not yet inside with Solus)
OOC: Xarxes attempts Fold Space. A Level 100 being is already folding space around Korriban, checking Xarxes' attempt. Xarxes' Attack Roll is 11 + 18 + 5 for a total of 34, failing to overcome the enemy's Difficulty Class of 100; the attempt to Fold Space fails. The backlash is equivalent to a 3-Point telekinetic attack, and the Attack Roll is 17 + 50 + 10, for a total of 77, surpassing Xarxes' Difficulty Class of 35. The Damage Roll is 3 + 5 + 6, for a total of 14 Damage. Xarxes' 35 HP is depleted to 21.

Mirtis attempts Prima Vitae. I don't see a need to provide a check for this power in this instance as Noxia was not concealing her presence, so Mirtis should be able to sense her.

Draconis' attempt at Dark Side Healing cannot be processed this round (pending Character Sheet).


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IC: Captain Ratag
Bridge of the Wrath of Vader, entering the Horuset system


It emerged from hyperspace as a gargantuan wedge of midnight black. First, the pointed prow, sharp as a shikkar dagger and extended into ram configuration, then the behemothic bulk of the 66-kilometer Star Dreadnaught, the victims of a thousand worlds leashed to its cracked, plasma-bleeding hull like grotesque trophies of war—some of them crawling across its exposed infrastructure in the tepid mockery of life, uncertain shapes shifting in the endless black.

The Wrath of Vader blotted out the stars.

It was not alone. Emerging into realspace beside it were several abominable craft woven on the looms of tenebrific nightmare, organic in shape yet with hulls of blasted black durasteel; vast insectoids with fuliginous faces, tentacled titans with hanging pincers, a chaotic orgy of infernal machinery with rhythmically pumping pistons and hints of glowing furnaces within tucked-away legs of cybernetic protrusions. Some, most horribly, bore human faces.

The eldritch escort ships passed above the TIE Reaper conveying Ānhrā and Sedicious with frightening alacrity, and the small ship rocked in the passage of their scarlet engines, as if buffeted by the plumes of gas and plasma. But the Wrath of Vader continued to roll on by, a jet-black silhouette broadening within the cockpit's viewport like an upside-down horizon. The few details of its hull that could be discerned were visibly racing by, yet the dreadnaught was so colossal that, after the passage of a standard minute, the TIE Reaper only found itself halfway past its overhanging bulk.

It was then that the deck of the bestiary slid open, splitting down the middle to loose Draa’zekyl and its frightful rider out amongst the stars. Even from the distance of three kilometers, Ānhrā and Sedicious would be able to make out the vast wings of the star dragon beating against the void. Teraktassi's last forwarding of orders had been for Lord Cruor to convene with the Shadow Council upon the Wight Wastes of Korriban, but the track ahead would bring Draa’zekyl perilously close to the TIE Reaper, and although Sedicious' mastery of illusions had concealed the ship from visible sight, the signatures of Ānhrā and Sedicious still shone like crimson stars within the Force.

Aboard the bridge of the great vessel above, the red-skinned captain Ratag lay prostrate on the cold, dark deck. His hands were outstretched before him, yellow eyes closed as if in prayer. Shadows filled the recycled air, as slaves worked archaic machinery in the two crew pits on either side of the central walkway, heaving back and forth to the monotonous rhythm of a drum like the oarsmen of an ancient war galley.

A tattered cloak of black towered above Ratag, silhouetted against the approaching orb of Korriban ahead.

A
whisper filled the bridge. "Zha. Jhaa dharou ra rehr jamijuis sssoa ali jhor." Ratag smiled, rising to his knees as bidden. The battle orders were precise, but they filled him with cold confidence; his lord's cunning had filled the fables of his youth. "Meerak ssshaa Abominor creska." The Eternal Fleet was to open fire, but spare the most powerful ships for boarding and capture. "Sssaassi kerak rotis ka rajah." The Massassi would meet no resistance.

TAGs: @Darth Cruor, @Ānhrā Māhnîu, @Darth Sedicious

OOC: Ānhrā attempts to use Force Suppression. This is not a power intended for stealth or Force signature concealment, and such novel usage would ordinarily incur a heavy penalty or simply not work, but nonetheless, he rolls 13 + 18 + 5, for a total of 36. As this falls short of Lord Cruor's Difficulty Class of 45, his and Sedicious' signatures are completely visible to Cruor in the Force. Ānhrā attempts to summon Talismans of Concentration using Dimension Shift. He rolls a 4 + 18 + 5, for a successful total of 27; the Effect Roll is 6 + 6 + 5 + Effect Modifier of 2, and both Talismans are successfully summoned, but somewhat slowly.

Sedicious attempts to cloak the ship using Sith Illusions; as this is not a telepathic power like Force Illusion, there is no need to check this ability against Lord Cruor's Difficulty Class. He rolls 18 + 18 + 5, for a successful total of 41. The Effect Roll is 6 + 5 + 2 + 3 + Effect Modifier of 4, for a total of 20, and the illusion is entirely successful. There is no need to check the usage of Battle Meditation unless interaction occurs.

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IC: Ermir Marcus
Dungeons beneath the Sith Temple, Korriban

Ermir stubbed his cigarra out against the stone wall, twisting it to extinguish the remaining embers, before flicking it to the floor. The lower one went in the temple, the less care evident in its construction, Ermir found. Here, three levels below the surface, in the oppressive quiet of the dungeons, the polished tiles of the banquet hall, the gleaming durasteel of Sith Intelligence, even the flat, dusty stone floors of the student quarters, gave way to roughly hewn rocks surrounded by untidy lines of sand and dirt.

The discarded stubs of a hundred past cigarras poked out of the cracks, speaking to the many years the overseer had stood in this exact spot, outside the armoury and his old alchemy classroom, shepherding students from trial to trial.

Never had he seen students so unruly as this bunch.

Had he grown soft over the years? Once, he had instructed an acolyte to bury her own classmate in the Valley of the Dark Lords, dragging his carcass all the while. What was her name, the Zeltron girl? Had the Nautolan been killed by Ermir's hand, or the Zeltron's incompetence? Ermir did not even remember. All he remembered was that the paperwork had grown tedious, over the years; the paperwork, and the meetings. Yes, Grand Overseer, they disrespected my person in class. No, Grand Overseer, I was not aware my mortality rates were higher than any class save remedial Djem So.

It turned out the Sith needed able bodies to fight the Federation, and since the end of the armistice, excessively lethal training methods had become... frowned upon.

Perhaps he had gotten soft. Perhaps the new regulations had spoiled the acolytes across the board, resulting in a generation of apprentices who apparently thought their fortune in winning the personal tuition of a master somehow trumped obeying the instructions of Academy overseers. Or, apparently, even Lady Apollyon herself!

Ermir placed his hands in his pockets, and smiled at his students, leaning in towards them with an abruptly bent back. “The next apprentice,” Ermir began, voice deceptively soft, “to suggest being excused from their training assignment... will be doing their homework in the Valley of the Dark Lords, learning first-hand what it was like to be a slave of the Sith Empire five thousand years ago, sealed alive in their lord's tomb. Do I make myself clear?”

He leaned back, shooting Xiannarr a glare. The fellow overseer was scarcely helping things. Yes, of course Ermir had bloody sensed the disturbance in the Force. Was the feast upstairs going to be a picnic? Obviously not! When one had trained hopeful Sith as long as Ermir had, one learned to ignore the blood and fray of the upstairs world, the politics of who sat atop the dung heap. This lord or that lord, it did not matter. To the students under his charge, Ermir Marcus was lord.

“I don't want to hear about refresher breaks or masters' messages or vague feelings,” Ermir continued. “Get back in that room, put on your masks, and throw your datapads in with your lightsabers for good measure! And be quick about it!” At least one student had demonstrated basic obedience. “Except you. You, go on down.” He gave a mocking bow to Keres, sweeping his arm out to his right, indicating her to go on ahead towards the end of the passageway. There, on the left side, a stair spiralled upwards to the former tower of the Emperor, cordoned off by a simple rope and a sign restricting entry, while on the right, a stair spiralled downwards into the musty darkness, towards the unfinished tunnels beneath the dungeons.

The subterranean depths of the temple had gestated many frightful rumours among the students, Ermir knew, and it was difficult to strain fact from fiction; the crypts of XoXaan and Lacerus may have lurked below, for the Temple had been built atop the tombs of old lords, but did the tunnels really lead to a fantastic underdelve of catacombs webbing out beneath Korriban's crust? Were there actually any ghosts and shadows, or had students merely glimpsed the former Emperor from time to time? Foolish Gerthund had sworn he had never found anything more than dead ends and ancient traps, but Ermir knew not all the tales were tall; after all, two years ago, it had been Ermir and the Cathar known as Arcane who had discovered, in a vast cavernous chamber concealed behind a sealed tunnel, the resting place of Darth Ramage.

“Xiannarr, make sure these louts do as they're told,” Ermir snapped, not bothering to even acknowledge the master's craven concerns. And then he turned, making his way towards the right, dirty white robe flapping about his boots.

TAGs: @Keres Dymos, @Kielor, @Zareel Jhenan´doka, @Undying Master Xiannarr, possibly @Nacros_Telcontare


OOC: Xiannarr, you once again rolled a 4! 4 + 15 + 5, for a total of 24, failing to overcome Ermir Marcus' Difficulty Class of 30; your attempted telepathy had no effect.

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IC: Darth Nihl
Throne room, Sith Temple, Korriban

“I do not know,” Nihl answered, meeting Sol's gaze evenly. His voice, soft and low, betrayed nothing of what lay behind that painted mask of charcoal and white. “I believe there is great danger. Hold here, for now, both of you,” he indicated towards Loharr. “Guard the heir-children.” Primordius seemed quite oblivious to the gathering storm in the Force, sitting on the steps of the throne's dais and picking at flaking leatheris at the top of his boots, but Deianara was standing apart, staring up at the ceiling with a peculiar expression on her young face.

Nihl turned towards Nathemus. “I will retrieve the Empress; no harm must come to her.” The twins were well-guarded, but who protected the Empress in this den of ophidians?

There was no room for dissension. While Maladi heeded Nathemus' command, thumbing the ignition on the yorik coral hilt of her lightsaber and standing ready beside the doorway, Nihl sprinted from the hall just as Karin entered, long-handle lightsaber held aloft but yet unlit, navigating the reception room beyond towards the growing shouts of alarm, weaving through the serving droids in the banquet hall and the clatter of dropping plates, passing Voidwalker and I-Ron without a second glance. There was madness at the entrance; hundreds of Sith caught in the uncertainty between clashing forces, the push of a crowd to leave the hall and witness the execution, and the hasty withdrawal at the sight of the dire pyramids. It was difficult to tell what was going on.

In a passageway to Nihl's left, Hadzuska was racing for the library. It came into view within seconds, the cramped passage leading out into a much larger hall that stretched left to right; there were numerous doors ahead of Hadzuska's vision, leading to classrooms and sparring rooms, but most conspicuous by far was the five-meter-tall marble archway directly opposite of the junction, positioned as if inviting all who made their way down from the daily breakfasts in the banquet hall to enter.

A vaulted ceiling and stained-glass window was visible through the archway, and many old tables and chairs beside shelves of datapads and books, stairs leading up to interior balconies filled with more of the same. Students sitting at their desks were already rising, frowning, the distant noises now stemming from the dining hall mingling with the darkening in the Force to create a general malaise.

Outside the younglings' quarters, meanwhile, an older Devaronian female, black tattoos faded against wrinkled ochre skin, accosted Lord Solus. “What are you doing here?” she rasped, rising from her desk and pointing an accusing finger towards his chest as the uniformed Commandant barreled into the dormitory hallway.

Dormitory wings were placed at each corner of the Temple, on the ground floor, and were grouped by age so as to curb excessive mortality rates; a caretaker of Sith Master rank was typically assigned to each wing, always on the lookout for intruders, and across her years overseeing the southeastern wing reserved for students younger than ten, the Devaronian crone had become accustomed to catching older acolytes trying to sneak by to remove defenseless competition, or pilfer the few precious artifacts the younglings found in their comparatively tame trials.

Separated from the banquet hall by a labyrinth of latrines, training rooms, Knights' barracks and the younglings' kitchen, the noise of battle had not yet reached the dormitories, and Apollyon's guards had yet to activate the Temple alarms.

TAGs: @Darth Nathemus, @Hadzuska_The Jester, @skira, @Loharr Talem, @Darth Voidwalker, @Darth Solus, @Jihadi Quartz, @Cardun Vrek (if preferred), @Reatith Blodraald (if preferred)


OOC: I-Ron uses Force Bond and Probe Mind, and it is the latter I am going to check. His Attack Roll is 14 + 13 + 5 for a total of 32, surpassing Sol's Difficulty Class of 10. His Effect Roll is 4 + 1 + 6 + Effect Modifier of 3 + Effect Bonus of 1, for a total of 15. I-Ron is able to easily retrieve the knowledge he desires from Sol's mind, but is not able to pilfer through it entirely.

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IC: Necro Solaar
Communications chamber, Fountain Palace, Hapes

Goledriel shivered against the sudden chill. Folding one's arms was considered offensive in the presence of the Queen Mother, so she merely adjusted her dress to cover more of her breast. Her eyes were studiously averted. “If it please, my Chume, I have given my counsel,” she said, soft lilt barely betraying the quiver in her voice, a decade of practice in the lethal politics of the Hapan court. “But I cannot stop you, for yours is the will, and yours is the will of the Queen Mother, and the people of Hapes.”

She bowed, lower than her usual perfunctory nods, and straightened her skirts. “I beg leave to depart, to grant you privacy.” She made for the door almost furtively, hugging the circular wall as if attempting to skirt past Darth Traya at the greatest possible distance, but save for the nasty smile that creased his pasty lips, Necro Solaar made no move to acknowledge her or hinder her, simply side-stepping before pulling from the shadows to enter the chamber. Only a glance was spared for Dhe Ta’ Dlav lurking behind.

Unnoticed, Goledriel brought her left hand to her right wrist, and the circular blue light within the wide band of her silver bracelet flicked to red. She had tried to stop Traya, but there was no challenging her power, if the rumours spoke true; not alone. That would be up to the Hendrice Sisters, now. The comm-signal, ordinarily marked by a chime, was as silent as an assassin's pistol.

The water trickled down the walls, and Solaar's footsteps squeaked upon the polished floor. He ignored the gizka chittering around his boots, and crossed the room in five impatient strides, turning as he reached the far side of the table. “My Chume?” he prompted, looking up from the communications console, icy-blue light casting a ghastly shine upon his countenance. “Should I play the message?”

TAG: @Darth Traya


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IC: Commander Threntel
Trenches, Desrini District, Coruscant

Chunks of permacrete flung themselves across the walkway, as if repelled by a sudden wind, as the Padawan's telekinetic blast went wide. Dorrian's dart of speed had been nothing short of incredible for his bulk, and the Padawan whirled, attempting to keep up with the Maelibus. Not quickly enough. The glaive descended through the air like the axe of an executioner, and sunk itself into the Padawan's shoulder, splattering the Maelibus' copper skin with blood. The Jedi cried aloud, blade dislodging as he fell to his back, but it was that same motion that saved his life, as Rayge, leaping from a contorted beam of durasteel above, swung his lightsaber at where the Jedi's head had been only a moment prior.

Rayge crashed ungainly into a crumpled speeder, permacrete dust billowing around him, as the Padawan rolled to his feet. Adrenaline kept the pain at bay, and his left hand clasped at his shoulder to stem the bleeding, lightsaber still held in his right. Pythonus had joined the melee, now, dancing around the Jedi's peripheral vision like an emerald viper, twin flambards ready to strike. Ignoring Pythonus' taunts, the Jedi weakly swung his grass-green blade towards Dorrian's legs, just as a Federation soldier opened fire on Rayge, pink packets of plasma streaking towards his back.

The soldier himself was felled by a heavy blaster bolt a split-second later, hurled to the rubble by the force of Deleritas' cannons, as black-plated Sith Stormtroopers surged from their trench, joined by a line out of Dorrian's tunnel as the speeder bikes swooped past the Imperial ranks.

The shadow of a MAAT gunship fell over the battlefield, and Omegon's heads-up display was flooded with the infrared outlines of blue-uniformed Federation officers, as they emerged from their trenches and from behind boulders of shattered starscraper, shouting out orders to withdraw. The MAAT had not yet opened fire, but it was hard to miss the twin spherical turrets on either side of the cockpit swivelling towards the rebels' retreating backs.

Deleritas' comm crackled to life, as Commander Threntel, directing troops from the Imperial trench, raised a hand to the side of his plumed helmet. “I'm in charge,” he shouted. “Boy, are we glad to see you!” The Stormtrooper Centurion did not waste a second's more time, swiftly conveying the situation to the Sith Knight. “Federation fighters are holed up in the trench ahead, looks like you've got them on the run. Turn around when you overshoot them, and we'll pin them between the infantry. Approx two hundred hostiles, infantry with light artillery. Watch out for RPS.” The shoulder-mounted rocket launchers were death to mounted troops.

In the speeder park behind the Imperial trench, shuttles continued to land. White Nune-class and black Upsilon-class, and a single Sigma-class, red as the favoured attire of its occupant, wings folding above the hull like a vulture coming to feed upon the carrion of Coruscant. In the hold, accompanied by a dozen Stormtroopers in their sable armour, was Darth Vesper.

TAGs: @Kint Dranlor, @Rayge, @Dorrian Shadowsun, @Senec Tinople, @Oberleutnant Deleritas, @Darth Vesper


OOC: The Padawan's Attack Roll from the previous round is 5 + 10, for a total of 15; this fails to overcome Dorrian's Difficulty Class of 20, and the attack fails; there is therefore no need to roll Damage against Dorrian's defensive usage of Force Reflex.

Dorrian's own attack with a glaive is 10 + 10, for a total of 20; this matches the Padawan's Difficulty Class of 20, and succeeds. Damage is 10 + Damage Modifier of 2, for a total of 12, and the Padawan's HP is reduced from 19 to 7.

Rayge is attempting too many abilities at once, and circumventing the lack of Force Jump with substitute abilities would typically have no mechanical results, but as he is leaping from an elevated position, I will consider the leap successful regardless. I will check the usage of Juyo (as Jar'Kai is not currently in play, as only a single blade is activated), incorporating the augmentation if successful. His Attack Roll is 1 + 10, for a total of 11, failing to overcome the Padawan's Difficulty Class of 20.

As Senec's lower level should not make it any easier for him to pick up Omegon's telepathic message (so rolling against Difficulty Class would not make much sense), I will perform a simple d20 for Omegon's attempt with a target number of 10; he rolled a 12, a success, so I will move to an Effect Roll. 2 + Effect Modifier of -2 for a total of 0, so no telepathic message was received.


There is no need to check Deleritas' usage of laser cannons, at least until a specific opponent is encountered.
 

Darth Xirr

Member
IC Darth Xirr:
Outside the Sith Temple, Korriban

In seconds, they had descended upon the ill-prepared sith. Silhouetted pods fell from the bowls of the monolithic obsidian spacecrafts, propelled by nothing but the gravity of Korriban, hurdling them towards the dunes where they impacted with a muffled thud. Thousands, hundreds of thousands of malefic creatures wrought from their eternal slumber creaked and groaned as they crawled over each other, and their fleshless teeth gnashed as they clamored to ready themselves for the battle.

They seemed to have readied themselves in what felt like an instant; then came the sandstorm. Billowing clouds of korriban’s red-orange sand blew through the courtyard like a million microscopic daggers, tearing at the flesh of the unfortunate sith that were caught outside. Quickly though, Xirr realized that the sand was the smallest of their problems. He took a moment to commune with the force, forgetting everything but his thousands of hours of training, hoping he would feel the familiar feeling of renewal as the force flowed through his muscles, now taught with anticipation. Then they were upon them.

“FALL BACK!”

The sounds of steel clashing upon steel and the thrumm of lightsabers passing through the air lit up the courtyard. Xirr took in the scene around him, turning his head just in time to see two spinning metal discs eject from the tip of one of the undead’s halberd, he quickly attempted to duck his head out of the way, swinging his forearm up to try to deflect the attack with either his lightsaber or the battle worn gauntlets of his armor, which of the two took the impact was of little consequence to Xirr now.

“Catalyst my friend!” Xirr yelled with all the volume he could muster, hoping the assassin would hear him over the fray, “I think its time to leave!” The armored lord finished, turning his attention back to the battle, twin sabers ready to fend off any further attacks, and the blade of supernatural ice hung sheathed upon his back in the event they were to fail.

Hastily as he could, Xirr began backpedaling towards the doors of the temple behind him, hoping to make it before they were sealed off to protect the valuable people and artifacts held within the sandstone walls.

War had come to Korriban.

Powers Attempted- Battlemind (lvl4)

TAG:@Admiral Volshe, @Darth Kain, @Darth Xirr, @DarthNoxia, @Drakul_Xarxes, @Helkosh, @G.Kn, @Darth Thana, @Sith_Imperios, @DarthFeros, @Darth Xxys, @Volacius, @Metus, @Catalyst, @corinthia, @Reiis Invadator, @dragonsith13, @Grievance Vexx, @Arach, @Reatith Blodraald (if not yet inside with Solus), @Cardun Vrek (if not yet inside with Solus)
 

Catalyst

The Cunning Linguist
Staff member
Moderator
Dark Council
Underworld Ruler
Immortalis
IC Lord Catalyst
Courtyard, Korriban

Panic.

Chaos.

Dread.

If there was anything to bring the congregation of murderous schemers surrounding him together, it was the threat of total annihilation. Friends or temporary alliances, it mattered not as the blackened masses dropped from the sky, sending a wave of gritty air rushing in all directions. The myriad of voices around him were little more than muffled exclamations; Catalyst's focus remained fixated on the pyramids as they released their payload. The ruby dust of Korriban's surface obscured what was to come, and for a precious few seconds, the mercy of ignorance allowed Catalyst's perception to remain unmolested by the monstrosities emerging behind it.


Alas, even with the veil of airborne silicate, Catalyst's other senses would still allow him to fully grasp the danger they faced. The rain of pods continued, their hollow thunks in the sand echoing through the stale air and reverberating through the ground beneath his feet. The Force was screaming in his head, nearly blurring his vision and rendering any further thought almost impossible. Something else was screaming inside of him though. His heart, twisted and blackened by the effects of the alchemical Sickness it pumped through his veins for the sake of his eternal youth, felt poised to burst from his chest. It longed to flee from, no, join the invaders. Fire scorched his veins. It felt like each individual nerve ending was being tickled by the tiniest of needles. Bile rose in his throat, and he suppressed the strong urge to gag and release the remnants of the feast in his stomach upon the ground.
What is happening?

What is coming?


Breathing hard, Catalyst steadied his nerve as the loathsome feeling subsided, lingering as a dull ache in his psyche. The dust began to settle and clear, and he was able to look upon their assailants finally. Thousands of ragged corpses had assembled into a legion. And they were charging. The assemblage of Sith had barely any time to plan before the waves were upon them. “FALL BACK!” Apollyon's voice rang in the air before the screeching of rotted vocal cords combined with the clash of steel and bone drowned out any further orders. A jagged sliver of steel sought his flesh, and Catalyst sidestepped in an attempt to dodge the projectile. With a twirl of his wrist, the twin blades of his saberstaff emerged. The orange plasma pierced the air with an angry hiss, and his body naturally relaxed into the opening stance of Form III, his offhand extending in front of him ready to catch the next attack that came his way. Certain death or no, he couldn't help but fall back into the routine of his training. He had been raised by wars raging across the stars. This was no different than an assault of battle droids, save for the stench of rot that permeated the air.

“Catalyst my friend! I think its time to leave!” The voice of Darth Xirr cut through the din of battle. Catalyst glanced back to acknowledge the warrior when something else screamed in his mind.
IT IS TIME TO DIE!! He shook his head briefly. The voice matched his own inner monologue, cut with the stereo of others in his life. His Master, his former apprentices, his friends, lovers, and denizens he had hunted for the sake of survival all echoed within the call to abandon all hope. His gaze swept over the fighting. Contemporaries defending themselves, troopers and guardsmen falling to the horde, roaring warcries, interspersed with orders to retreat. These were his people. This was his legacy. Hell with this, I'm gonna live!

The reinforced doors to the banquet hall were being closed. They all had precious few seconds to seal themselves behind the barricade before they were locked away, doomed to face the legions of the dead. Steeling his resolve, and trusting that those who wished to live would be able to see their own survival, he dashed towards the entryway, channeling the Force into his legs in an attempt to blitz past any attackers that would try to capitalize on his retreat. If his apprentice was coming to meet him outside as he requested, he only hoped she was coming to the right door.


Powers Used:
Form III: 4 (Readied I guess?)
Force Speed: 3


TAG: @Darth Dreadwar @Admiral Volshe, @Darth Kain, @Darth Xirr, @DarthNoxia, @Drakul_Xarxes, @Helkosh, @G.Kn, @Darth Thana, @Sith_Imperios, @DarthFeros, @Darth Xxys, @Volacius, @Metus, @corinthia, @Reiis Invadator, @dragonsith13, @Grievance Vexx, @Arach, @Reatith Blodraald, @Cardun Vrek
 

Darth Kain

Legendary Member
Immortalis
The Convoluted Combo
Brothers at War | The Mindspear of Vanity

PicsArt_09-01-11.37.50.jpg

IC: Darth Kain
Outside the Sith Temple, Korriban


His words had drowned the moment they spilled from his lips. The chaos of moments before had been a far cry from what beset them now. Dropping from pyramids black like raindrops of obsidian death, pods filled with hollow bones had descended to the surface of Korriban in the blink of an eye. In the next blink, the bones had assembled, forming thousands upon thousands of undead warriors willing only to serve their enigmatic masters in the sky. And in the next blink, the bones were upon them all, skeletal soldiers held together by evil, and evil alone.

Two had chosen him as their target, one coming from the right and the other his left. He was already moving backward by the time each swung, hoping to avoid their twisted weapons of war before lining up his targets. K’Kruhk had since moved to Kain’s left, fighting poorly against four of the undead with the Jailor’s surrendered lightsaber. There was a slackness to the Whiphid’s left arm. Broken.

But he had other problems. He was not far from being swung at again by the two fleshless corpses, and another had pinned for Stazi to the ground, trying to rip his throat out with rotting teeth. Thankfully, for the admiral’s sake, he was right ahead of the Beloved Prince of the Stars.

As a god swiping at a pest, the Dark Messiah unleashed a powerful push of kinetic fury, aimed to dismantle the bones of any skeleton in his path, and just high enough to remove the monster atop of Stazi in a single blast.

He had not a second to admire any result of his attack, unfortunately. Something had arrived. Something… peculiar. It was oil mixed in the freezing stream of the dark side, slime slithering across the sands like a parasite come to bleed Korriban dry. It was unrestrained growth. It was a cancer upon the very universe.

It was here.

The thing that haunted the memories of Darth Viscretus. The vile villain vilified by the Beloved Prince.

Darth Venomis.


Weeks Earlier. . . .

IC: Darth Kain, Helvara, Darth Viscretus, and Darth Dreadwar
Medbay, Unknown
TW: Abuse, Sexual Assault

PicsArt_09-02-01.13.37.jpg

Hell had found Helvara. To awaken without function, to see without the ability to respond, was terrifying. It was as it was when she was a child, before she ever encountered the vile Darth Tesla. A waking nightmare, darkness enveloping the room, her arms and legs unmoving. A demon standing before her. An attempt to scream, without a sound made. One of the few things still left untouched by the nanobots, her eyes, were wide with horror.

“Do not be afraid,” the demon spoke. She recognized that voice. Her thoughts began to clear, and so too did her vision. It was not a demon that stood before her, no. It was something worse. “If I left you free to move, this would be more painful than it needs to be,” Darth Kain continued. Pain. She had become so accustomed to pain throughout her young life. Every second since her infection had been agony. But this? This was something different. Pain was quantifiable, tolerable, survivable. This was not pain. It was fear that tortured her now.

She closed her eyes, trying and failing to rationalize this feeling. Emotion had been slowly leaving her, to the point that she had become more machine than woman. And yet this emotion, once buried, had been summoned from the grave of her humanity. It was alien to her now. Perhaps that was why she was paralyzed now.

Reading her thoughts, Lord Kain swiftly shut down her internal arguments. “You are locked within a stasis field of my creation. It will keep you safe. And please, do try to relax. Remember, this is your last chance for a cure to this technovirus. You will be free!

Why did it feel like he was lying and telling the truth at the same time?

She refused to open her eyes when she felt his touch on her cheek, warm flesh pressing against cold metal. Then something pressed against her still-fleshy temple, something hard and sharp. The piercing of the flesh was felt but a moment after the pressure inside her skull increased tenfold. Was there any blood? She could not tell anymore. All of her senses were hyper-focused on this foreign object inside of her head, anticipating the worst the moment this alien thing breached her defenses.

This was one of the few times where the anticipation was not worse than the reality.

She wailed in utter agony as her brain was set on fire, this thing crawling through the wrinkles and burrowing deep within. Were she not frozen in place, she would no doubt be attempting to wrench the accursed thing from the Dark Lord, to save herself from whatever cure he had found. This pain, this torture, it was worse. So much worse than even all the years she had been forced to serve the Sith, all those years stuck aboard the Wrath of Vader, a life as nothing more than a glorified computer terminal. It was worse.

She was becoming unable to tell it apart from herself, and wished so desperately to be rid of this pain-filled skull. Had she the capacity to do anything but scream, she would have been pleading with the Beloved Prince of the Stars, begging he end her miserable life rather than damn her to such a terrible fate. The tendrils were burrowing through everything left of her, everything that mattered. Scraping against the walls of her skull, becoming her.

Let me die! she begged. Let me die!

Her wish was granted.

Kain could see the change the moment it happened. The screaming stopped. Her thoughts stopped. The pain stopped. There was nothing left of Helvara, the tortured girl cursed with a miserable fate. The woman before him was someone else, or rather, becoming someone else. He could feel her mind begin to overload with internal stimuli, memories of someone else’s life; the memories of the woman who had given him this mindspear: Darth Viscretus.

Wasting not a moment longer, the Beloved Prince of the Stars dove into the rushing sea of memories, swept up in the invisible tide.

The tide was cold, dark. Violent. It was not as anyone would expect. The innate desires, the most primitive memories in the mind of Darth Viscretus were swiftly replaced with vibrant flares of pain and agony.
The creation of a mindspear was as terrible as its use.

Though Viscretus did not awaken, the muscles she now possessed did. Her new vessel thrashed, writhing beneath the echoes of a suffering long since past. And all at once, it calmed. The screaming neurons ceased, her mind floating into the peace of unconsciousness. Her eyes opened in her mind's eye as her body slackened in reality.

The sea quieted, the tempest of her psyche passed. She dreamt, beautiful dreams spun from the threads of memories reawoken.

She found herself resting in bed, sunlight gently filtering through gauzy curtains. The horizon of Naboo stretching for miles beyond the windows, glazed with early morning sun. Beside her, a man she had not seen in nearly two centuries, sleeping soundly. His breath was nothing more than gentle huffs, a whisper in the song of awakening birds and softly chittering creatures outside. She felt safe. There was a smile on her face. She cradled her swollen abdomen, leaning down to gently kiss the cheek of her sleeping husband. He did not stir, but a small smile crept across his lips.
It was more than safe that swelled within her.

Happy.

Her head turned, golden curls settling messily on her shoulders. The happiness was gone - the sensation skittering away to be replaced with fear. There was something in the hall, or the refresher. She could feel it. Like eyes, drilling into her skull. She winced. Her skull briefly burned with a violent stab of pain.
But it was not someone she did not know. Confusion suddenly overcame her. Her mother? No, no, she was different. A warm glow, not this warm darkness. This was a summer night in Kaadara, not a gentle lullaby swathed in cashmere.

“Hello?” She called, now her hand lingering on her husband beside her, rousing him with a gentle shake. He did not awaken. She bit her lip, knees curling to her chest. “Kain?”

She froze as she spoke the word. It was foreign. Who was… Kain?

No, no. She remembered now. He was a Sith. What were the Sith? What were… where were…

Who was she? Volshe. Kára. Kára Volshe.

You are Kára Volshe. Empress Kára Volshe. You are awakening now. You have nearly died. This is a mindspear. This is reviving you.

Her own voice echoed back to her, and in that moment she realized that it was all nothing more than a bittersweet dream. Every word painted a picture of reality. Of things she already knew. A mindspear. Her memories… in a vessel. None of it was real. Not a moment of it was…

Her gut tensed. A wave of nausea overcame her, cold sweat prickling at her brow. The dream vision began to dissipate, an echo of beeping machinery in her mind. Suddenly, she was drowning. Her mind was on fire. Her arms, her legs, immersed in acid. It all seared through her, red hot.

There was something else in her mind. Another figure, standing in the doorway as the vision faded. A glint of metal. A sadistic smile. He stepped into the room, and suddenly, she was overcome again with agony.

She knew Lord Kain. But she did not know him. She did not know where she was. She did not know how she had… gods. It was torment. It was unthinkable. Shiraya, Vahl… why was she suffering? Why was her head splitting, now, into a thousand shards?

“Help me,” she whispered, voice breaking. They were words spoken in both reality and the confines of her mind. It was not her voice. Her panic only intensified, her chest heaving with breath as her heart pounded. She could feel her hand attempt to reach up, grasping for whatever was closest. She willed it to close. Willed it to pull her from her vision. The eyes of the stranger now bore into her skull. He willed her to let go, and so soon after she had been reborn. She could feel her grasp on herself slipping, the darkness threatening her. A pitiful whisper escaped her in the voice not her own. “Please.”

This was… not how a normal mind was shaped. Kain watched as her consciousness began to panic, buried beneath thousands of shards, each a fraction of her life, of her memories. She was a shattered being, a vanity mirror broken into far too many pieces. The stream had turned to hardened glass and yet, somehow, she was drowning. She had realized an invader was in her mind, seeing her happiest memories.

And such simple memories they were. It reminded Kain of his own mornings back on Vitae, back when Abaddon’s hair was raven black, and her soul was entirely her own. He understood the longing to be back there rather than being here. Perhaps he understood it more than any other Sith in the Order. But he could not allow her to break so soon, not when the mystery of this woman’s past was only now revealing itself.

He needed to see the painful memories, the ones of darkness and shadow. He needed to see her for what she was, not what she wanted to be.

“It is alright,” his voice echoed, reverberating within her new skull. “It is alright to remember. Do not be afraid."

“No,”
she said. His voice was soothing to her war-torn mind. And yet, it had the opposite effect. He did not understand. She could not remember. She was suffering, far more than from simply the memories. Her flesh was not itself. It crawled with a thousand ethereal spiders cloaked in flame, burning every inch of her skin. It felt as if they burrowed into her, eating away at the supple surface and tearing it in tiny venomous maws.

It was not Kain she feared, but the one who lurked at the far corners of her mind, watching as she was devoured.

Her voice attempted to speak again but a scream wrenched itself from her throat. She had birthed children. She had faced the Embrace of Pain. She had been beaten, tortured within an inch of her life.

And yet, this was beyond torment.

She could not find words. A stutter flooded into the room. Her body did not obey her. The moment passed, leaving her writhing in body and mind. Lines of crimson seared across her, she could see them. Feel them. Burning. Scorching. Even her heart felt it might explode, her blood hot, her forehead flushing.

At last she regained her voice.

She remembered words. She remembered what was on the tip of her tongue, what tasted of putrid metal, iron, rust… of rot.

Of something she had tasted in the Emperor’s tower, a bead tumbling to her tongue. Sticky blackness was on her hands…

Her stomach lurched.

“What is happening to me?”

He would have answered her immediately, anything to make traversing her memories easier, but could not. Not when the flash of a memory struck like lightning, the thunder being a nausea that even Kain could feel. Flesh meeting evil in a deadly game that no one would win. Another invader, one not nearly as benevolent as the Beloved Prince of the Stars. One from beyond this galaxy, beyond this reality. One that Kain only heard whispers of, both in stories and in the teachings of that damnable holocron of the supposed Left-Handed God.

It was inside her.

But her fear, he began to understand it more clearly. He was not what frightened her - a pleasant change of pace. No, it was the venomous being that stood with them, lingering in the shadows. And it was the virus that had been decimating Helvara’s body. Of course this body’s previous inhabitant had grown used to that flavor of pain. But this? This had to be a new one, even for Viscretus.

“Your memories have been placed inside the body of another, one affected by an advanced form of Belia Darzu’s most infamous contribution to the Sith.” He chose his words carefully; to outwardly say she was infected with a possibly incurable version of the technovirus would only frighten her further. “I have done this to save you. It would have been impossible for me to reach this far into the mind of your original body without hurting you or myself. Here, I have a window to interpret the worst of your memories, the ones you’ve locked away. I can help you conquer the thing that lurks in the shadows.”

Her mind reeled. To save her? In what world was exposing her to such anguish saving her? She grit her teeth.

She remembered the mindspear. She remembered creating it, the instant before her memories ended. Before she was immersed in blackness that had only lasted seemingly a moment. If he had used the mindspear, someone had killed her. If someone had killed her… and he had put her in such a terrible vessel… the situation must have been dire.

“Damn it all,” she hissed, a temporary break in the pain allowing her personality to seep through. There was no need for her usual propriety, and she would not have maintained it if there were. “Gods. Kriff it all.”

She tensed, her eyes shutting as she began to harness what little strength she had, but it was not her usual power. It was not even half of what she was used to. The Force surrounded her, it was at her whim, but it was darkened, dimmed, her senses much less than they had been before.

She focused on her cells, on each tiny pinprick of both life and suffering. Her mind. That was all she needed, for now. Her mind. Her sanity, what little remained of it. If she chased it away from her mind, she could return to Kain, she could guide him to aid in her healing. She could help him with whatever he required. He had wanted something, something she could not yet give.

She could feel the lines of crimson, sense them, but they were countless in number. What vessel had Lord Kain chosen? Why this one?

She allowed herself to rest a moment, then focused again. Moment by moment, the agony in her head began to fade into a faint numbness, sensitive as new flesh. Gently, gingerly, she teased the mess of damaged neurons apart, soothing them. Skin and sinew spun from arcane threads fought against what must have been metal - though she could not see it. Her skull no longer felt as if it might explode, leaving a faint soreness in its wake. The effort itself was monumental, each second exhausting. Her chest felt as if her breaths would falter.

She was still pained, her body still felt as if it were immersed in molten metal. It was indescribable.

But at last she awakened, her mind now intact, the threat of the nanogene chased away from the delicate tissue. Her eyes blinked up at him, dazed. “I can-“
She swallowed, fighting through the pain. “I can help you. But you… you must help me. The virus will kill this body. It is too weak to fight it alone.”

That was not a strange thing to imagine: having the will and the knowledge to heal a broken body, but to not have the power necessary to accomplish the task. If only Kain had someone helping him when Abaddon died in that battle on Vitae; perhaps things would be different.

He would not deny Viscretus such aid, not when it could turn the tide so drastically.

The Beloved Prince of the Stars turned his focus from her mind to her body, the crimson lines webbed like cracked glass. She had made some progress in combating the virus, but even doing as little as she had was taking its toll. The stress could be her undoing just as much as this virus could be.

His own memories flooded into his mind. Warm, happy times that he desperately longed for. A ruffle of his hair from Hassan, a kiss on the cheek from Abaddon, a hug from his daughter. Such happiness, such goodness… it was unable to be contained. It poured into the cracks of her body, strengthening her resolve and pushing back the metal parasites. The nanobots seemed to… screech… as flesh finally struck back against machine.

He was more than ten times as powerful in the Force as Helvara had ever been when she was in his company. With the power of Kain and the knowledge of Viscretus, she would obliterate this automated affliction.

Kain’s aid was more than enough. She relented to him, doing her best to stay calm and focused even as her body screamed around her. Every cell of her body was rebuilt, every throb of her diseased heart bringing new life to the horrific monstrosity that she had somehow become. New muscle wove itself around crumbling threads, layering itself with flesh and blood summoned from mystical means. It was exhausting, and at moments, the energy and effort of restitching and reforming her was unkind to her. It was the reverse of the creeping, searing sensation of the virus dismantling her.

But even as her body writhed, as she was reborn yet again, she was at every turn comforted by his presence. She could sense his warmth, the ripples resonating in the Force. He did not twist the Force, not submerge her into the darkness as she anticipated. It was the energy of a blazing sun rising in the sky, a warm fire stoked on a frigid night.

It was an energy the darkness that plagued her could not combat.

It was many, many minutes - long, tenuous, tortuous - before the agony waned at even the periphery of her new body. But it was not simply that. She could feel again. No longer was her existence purely that of torment beyond description. Her breath hitched in her chest, the body she occupied unused to unrestricted movement. Her mind was quiet, now, and growing quieter as the virus ebbed.

The war was over.

It seemed it had passed, her body rebuilt in those long moments, cell by cell, guided by her hand - aided by the raw, immeasurable power of the Prince of the Stars. She relaxed, her eyes centering now on him. At last she was able to see where she was, to feel the flutter of air against her callow skin. A medbay, only occupied by the both of them. Questions flooded her mind, but she could not verbalize any of them. The last thing she recalled was creating the mindspear. It could have been months past the point, or years. It was rather overwhelming to consider.

“Thank you,” she murmured, raising her hand to look at it. It was certainly not her own. But she would not ask questions, not now. She flexed it and set it down. Sleep pricked at her eyes; but she would not rest. There were far too many things unknown, and far too many answers to give. “What do you ask of me, Lord Kain?”

Before he could answer, one other matter had to be taken care of first. Helvara’s body had been completely replaced by those nefarious nanobots. There had been no need for clothing when she was a machine. But now that she was fully human once again…

Kain looked away immediately, diverting his thoughts to somewhere across the galaxy. Anywhere. Then he remembered a dress he’d seen when he and Abaddon went window shopping on Naboo. One of their first dates, if he remembered rightly. The dress, despite being quite beautiful, was meant for display, never to be sold.

Until now, for the hefty price of zero Federation credits.

He folded the space between that shop and this medbay, summoning the dress - and the mannequin that wore it - between him and the woman he’d saved. No words were needed to be said in regards to the act; she would know what it was for.

“Your memories are what I ask of you,” he answered, turning his back to her. “There are many - far too many - for even someone that has lived as long as you. I saw them, in the stream of your consciousness, flooding into that new brain. You remember less than a sliver of your past.
“The connection I sensed between you and Abeloth, back when we first met on Korriban… it’s important. Now more than ever. I want to unlock those memories, to interpret them with eyes experienced in comprehending the incomprehensible.”


Scarlet flushed in her cheeks as the dress appeared, and she realized that she was entirely unclothed. Impropriety was one of the few things that embarrassed her. She had not even registered the consequences of the healing. She had not assumed that the infection was so advanced, even though it had been obviously severe.
“I… apologize,” she said, her voice soft as she moved to pull the dress on. She did not ask questions as she did.

Still turned away, he answered back. “You have nothing to apologize for.”

He was unmistakably the Kain she knew, the aura he commanded confirmed it. Even more so with what he requested of her. There was obviously some great need for her knowledge. And she was with herself enough to know that resisting would be counterproductive. Logic told her she had given him the knowledge of the mindspear, for how else would he have known how to use it, and how else would he have known to ask for her knowledge?

She was still confused and exhausted - her mind swam through endless depths, and her thoughts felt as clay. Soft, unmoulded. Her consciousness skipped from thought to thought, only barely controlled or guided by her will. But she was able to allow him into her mind.

She shook her head in some attempt to regain her fragile focus. The fabric shushed as she slid the mannequin aside and returned to her spot. She inhaled the stark scent of bacta and the chill of air entering her raw lungs. She coughed, swallowing to stifle the reflex.

She extended her hand once she was settled. “Come, then,” she said, beckoning him closer. Her fingertips rose to her temple in a motion she intended for him to follow. “Place your hand here.”

With the mannequin slid away, Kain turned and approached as she allowed. This turn of events was certainly more pleasant than he’d planned for. Perhaps it had been the chaos of these past few days, but he had expected the worst.

He’d believed he would have to take the information by force. That was the true reason he had placed her in Helvara’s body, though he would never admit it unless he had to. Helvara was Force Sensitive, but the virus had reduced her to a non-threat for one such as he. If she had violently resisted, if it truly had been him that she feared, he would not have had much trouble steamrolling her defenses - of that, he was sure.

But this was definitely preferred.

Their healing had closed the wound made by the mindspear at the very temple she motioned to; not even a scar remained. The thought made him realize that, though he’d not known her long, he’d never seen Helvara’s true form. She was rather pretty before that virus. Long, platinum blonde hair. Olive skin. Bright blue eyes. A shame that Helvara had to lose her mind to save her body.

He pressed his index and middle fingers against her temple, finally, and he quickly realized that the stream of memories he’d once been carried in had settled into an ocean. Vast, deep, and the further he looked down, the darker it grew. What awaited him here inside the fractured mind of Kára Volshe?

He glided with her guidance into the depths, and only brief seconds later, in a flash of her mind's eye, a memory surfaced. There were thousands upon thousands of memories that she could bring to him, that she could show him. But he needed to understand.

So she brought him to the beginning.

There was a momentary glimpse of many things. Her mother’s face, hovering above her, murmuring soft, loving things. The spinning grass beneath her as she twirled in a satin gown, surrounded by springtime blossoms in the mountain meadows. Of her family at a raucous life day party, her grandmother holding her in her arms as the holo tree shimmered.

Of the festival of Shiraya a few years later, she and her friends clamouring down the cobbled streets of Keren to gather treats and send moon lanterns into Lake Varum. It lingered on the last memory, her cherubic face shimmering in the moonlit waves. Her small hands clutched the paper boat, candlelight flickering at its centre. The water lapped at her ankles, chilling the pale skin.

She questioned herself, for a moment, wondering what one day she would be. Wondering if she would save people, like her mother did every day. She smiled at the reflection and resolved to do just that. Her friend called to her from a few steps away. They had sent their boats away, their wishes to Shiraya with it.

She knelt into the water and set the boat gently on its course, wishing on the gilded moons above that she would do just what moments ago she had imagined.

Briefly, she steeled herself. It was an instinctual response, a response to everything she had stifled. She forced herself to remain within the memory, though her mind recoiled.

The memory shifted, the soft call of the lapping waves fading into the sound of trickling water. She stood, now much older, in the refresher, only the faint light of the hall creeping in through the door left ajar. Her face was left mostly obscured by shadow. A glass was in her hand, the surface cold. It was an etched crystal, one that she briefly ran her fingers over before dunking it under the tap. It filled quickly, but not quickly enough. She was anxious. Her heart was racing, her fingers shaking.

She had barely slept. She was tired. So, so tired.

One thought continued to permeate her mind. Her exams. Her final exams. She needed to pass her exams. Her family was depending on her. Her father… no, she would not think of her father. Her face twisted into a frown.

Downing a glass of the water helped, but only briefly. Her heart slowed briefly. But she could not focus. It felt as though something was watching her, the back of her neck prickling with heat.

She glanced over her shoulder. There was nothing there.

When her gaze returned to the mirror, there was the shadow of a man behind her. She yelped, the glass shattering as it tumbled from her hand onto the floor. She stumbled towards the door, flicking on the light.

It instantly dissipated, hissing a single word as it did.

“Inamsi….”

The serpentine hiss was cut off by the whine of the opening door. Her mother had already come running. Kára was shaking now, as if she had caught a chill. Her eyes had already welled. She was scared, embarrassed.

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” she whispered, voice threatened by tears. She did not understand what had happened. Was it a dream? A terror of the night? “I got spooked.”

The rest was jumbled by fear and shock. Her mother soothed her, the memory melting into a warm, yet bittersweet embrace. The memory pursued her as she was led to her bed, tucked beneath the plush covers, checked for fever, then reassured with words of love and comfort.

Slowly, in time with the quiet breaths of a sleeping Kára, it faded into nothingness as the much younger version fell into restless dreams.

The visions only became more restless, more confused. Colours ran into colours. Her youth seemed to bleed away from her, every time she looked in a mirror, each time she passed a glimmering window. Exhaustion was etched into her features.

A party, at an apartment in Aldera. The snow had crunched beneath her boots as she walked from the speeder. She had wrapped herself in a long, fur lined coat.
She was only sixteen.

It was a fact she repeated to herself as her friend wove her through the crowd. Her mother had advised her not to go, but her friends had convinced her she would be safe. Nervousness pricked at her lips, her hands could barely stay still. The lights glared in her eyes. They flickered, dancing between magenta and cyan, hypnotizing her.

The rest was a blur.

A man, pressing something into her hand. She was drunk. She’d had too much to drink, she’d never be able to get home.

But suddenly she was home, holding it up to the light. It glittered in the vial, just as his starry grin glittered in her mind’s eye. She was back at the party, music thudding in her ears. Her head pounded. “Help take the edge off. Just a bit will do ‘ya,” he said, motioning a pinch with his fingers then offering her a piece of flimsi with code scrawled on it. “Call me if you need a pick-me-up, eh.”

She fell back onto her bed, the dormitory ceiling swirling above her with mingling colours. Her hands were sticky from the powder, but nothing seemed to matter. Everything flooded away from her, as if her life were simply the tide, ebbing from her with rapid pace.

The visions did not come that night. She remembered they did not come. She feared them, feared the Stygian beasts who clawed at her mind, who appeared to her in even her most joyful moments. Briefly, she recalled them. A memory within a memory.

For the first time in months, she slept peacefully, with no fear.

Briefly, she surfaced from the memories, taking time in her conscious mind to recollect herself. Pain radiated from her, already. It was oppressive, heavy. Her resolve had weakened from it.

And then she was on a cold, hard floor, curled into a ball. There was a man towering above her.

“Captain,” he said, his voice a thousand kilometres away. She felt paralyzed, fear clutching at her throat. They weren’t alone, the spirits were behind him. They wanted to possess him. They wanted to-

“Captain!”

His voice changed. His eyes darkened. She screamed, her throat raw.

“Whore. Death comes for you.”

The memory shattered.

Her eyes opened to her husband sitting across from her on the rough, garish carpet of a hotel room floor. Coruscant whizzed by outside, the cry of speeders echoing in her head. She was dizzy. So dizzy. She had hit her head. Blood trickled down in the mirror across from her. But it did not hurt, no. Nothing hurt. It was enough that she smiled at him. Her hand rose to caress his face.

“Elgin,” she whispered, brightly. Her words were slurred. Her hands were covered in spice, his steel blue eyes marked with profound sadness, one words could not ever express. She had felt his pain, she knew his pain. But not now. Now, she was free.

“Kára. Why?” He gripped her hands, pulled them from his cheeks, but she could barely feel it. Her hands were deadened by spice. His lips pressed into a thin line as he looked down, trying not to show his welling eyes. He wrapped his cape around her, brought her to bed, daubed bacta on the wound. She fell into stupor, numbed to the world around her.

“Your wife is very ill, General.”

She did not look at the psychiatrist who spoke, her mind numbed by the injections and tablets. Pink and yellow. Blue and white. Red, liquid. The same colour as the chrono in her room. She liked the room. It was safe. She blinked over at her husband. She loved her husband. Her hand reached over to take his, ignoring the droning of the man at the shiny white table. His words rolled from her mind like rivulets of rain. She was content.

She was tired.

Her hand was warm. She glanced down. He was holding it. She smiled.

“...schizophrenia...”

She knew that word. She knew what it meant. Her legs swayed back and forth. She began to spell it. Senth. Cherek. Isk…

The word faded into oblivion. Her mother’s face replaced it.

She frowned a second later. She missed her mother. Where was her mother? At home, she must have been at home. She stared at her face reflected in the shiny white table. She was pretty. She smiled at herself, her hand pulling away from her husband’s and fretting with the fabric of her soft pyjamas.

He stopped her by taking hold of her hand again, and she looked up at the pocked-skin Nautolan across from her. His black eyes met hers. His white coat hung loosely on his frame. It did not fit. She spoke. She did not wait until they had stopped talking.

“Can I go home?”

The question was innocent. Both of them met it with facetious smiles. She knew they were hiding something. She couldn’t ask them what. They didn’t like questions. They always told her to rest.

“Not yet, darling,” Elgin said, squeezing her hand. She felt the metal of his ring. He was her husband. “You need to rest. Only a few more days.”

She knew it was not a few more days. Days were one sunset, and one sunrise. Not dozens. But she was safe in the room. And her husband loved her. And the red liquid, though it bathed her in mercurial fever, made her less afraid.

Her eyes shut, and the memory dissolved.

Fear. Slick, cold, gripping her every muscle. Her eyes darted across the room. The white of the room was blinding. In the distance, the skyline of Coruscant bathed in dusk. Footsteps pounded down the hall behind her.

There were screams, in between the thudding beats.

Someone was screaming her name.

Her hands shook in front of her, covered in glistening blood. Her eyes looked down, an elderly man lying in pools of deep red. It still dripped from his throat. His throat. It was torn apart.

She had ripped it apart. His eyes had turned black. He had hissed at her, his voice skittering across her mind. It had burrowed deep in her, a spike of ice that slithered down her spine. She had called strength to her, she had felt her hands burn with unnatural sensation. There were chunks of flesh beneath her fingernails. Muscle. Skin. Her chest rose and fell, recalling the men wounded in battles she had witnessed. Her arms, coated to elbows in blood. Her brow, smeared with blood and sweat. The white of the room vanished.

It was the verdant surface of Esseles. It burned. Smoke curled into the air. It burned her throat. She clutched to a gasping child, cloth tied to her face to protect her from the terrible smoke. Civilians lie around her. Clones lie beside them. They were in pain. She could feel it. They were dying. She could not save them.

The shadows crept towards her.

She was wrenched backwards, the vision fading as the man sputtered a dying breath. It rattled and hung in the chaos of the hall. She was covered in his blood. It soaked into her pants, rubbed against her knees and shins, clung wetly to her ankles. She could smell the iron, the stark coppery tang. She gagged.

For a moment she feared she had done something wrong. She was meant to save lives. Not end them.

She had not.

He was going to kill her.

He was going to kill her.

Her arm stung, cold metal invading her skin. They could not… no… they were still there. They were right there.

“Stop!” She screamed, writhing in the grasp of the nurses. The psychiatrist - this one a Zeltron man, running from a connecting hall. His eyes flashed before her, rimmed with bruises and protruding veins. Ink, sheened with sickly green, dripped from his eyes. It slipped down his cheeks. His rosy skin became white as snow.
His lips split into a rictus grin. Blackness dribbled from his teeth as he spoke to her in tongues. They were threats. She could tell. Each word he spoke cast visions into her head.

She was held to an altar, bleeding to death, suffering. Anguished. He stood watch with sickening satisfaction. His wide lips were twisted in a smirk.

The cosmos swirled before her, gaseous clouds taking place of the clothes she had once worn. She could not move. Her muscles were stiff, unforgiving, leaving her frozen in the endless void. Her hands were nothing more than trails of stars, forming into flesh inch by inch. Darkness approached her, seeping through her body, tearing her celestial form asunder. The light that swathed her died away, fading into oblivion. And so too, did she.

The void of space called to her, hissed to her, as it extinguished her.

“You will not save them. You will fail. You will die.”

The psychiatrist called her name. She was back in the corridor. She focussed on him, on his deadly gaze. Her eyes were heavy, blinking lazily up to him as the rush of heat and placation flooded her. Her hand rose to claw at his ghastly features, to drive away the man with spindly fingers and rows of fangs not unlike a nexu. The corridor faded away. Her body dripped now with the same ink as his talons. She was unclothed, again, her skin screaming as the acidic blackness burned her. A single claw traced up her sternum.

The man laughed. It was disjointed, inhuman. A growl, melded with a rippling screech.

“You are nothing, inamsi. I will show you your worth.”

The nightmare that followed was unspeakable.

It was that memory that wrenched her from her psyche. She was back in the medbay. She was shivering, her body unable to recover from the events that had unfolded.

Her hands gripped the fabric of the dress. She wanted to vomit, but she clenched her fists instead, chasing the urge away. Her eyes were shut, her teeth chattering.

Her cheeks were wet with tears. She did not remember crying, but now she could not stop. The salt dripped onto her lips, burning as it settled on the tender skin.

The malevolent whispers swirled in her mind, nipping at her already wounded self. She could not send them away. Her teeth grit in both frustration and pain.

Her breaths shuddered. “We can-“ She swallowed. Her throat was shards of ice, words faltering. Her suffering was obvious. “We can continue.”

To watch the descension of another was… disconcerting. He had seen a lot of Eva in the young Kára; a girl wanting to help others before herself, wanting to be a hero. He had once possessed similar disillusionment, before the council of Darth Dreadwar showed him another path. Regardless, to watch a child be beset upon by creatures of evil with no one but a mother to comfort her, and eventually a husband to commit her… it was ominous. Was Kain exposing Eva to similar monsters? Creatures that would stalk her and torture her for the rest of her life?

When she finally spoke aloud again, Kain gave her a nod. His face was grim, and part of him was not eager to continue this journey. But there were things beyond her comfort, and his, at stake here.

“When you are ready,” he answered, bracing for more.

It was difficult for her to resubmerge herself in such vile memories. Her conscious mind screamed at her to resist the call of their depths, the ice of fear lapping at the tangle of her neurons. But she resisted the urge to withdraw yet again, plunging herself into yet another memory.

It was no longer in any sort of chronological order. She had lost the willpower to replay her descent into oblivion. The scenes came short and fast now, each not lasting more than minutes.

She was alone in the same room he had seen prior, standing at a bedside covered in dried blood. There was an ache in her abdomen, a stabbing pain that ebbed and grew, a bandage wrapped uncomfortably around her elbow. She gripped the bed frame, shuddering with sobs. Her husband was behind her, hand soothing her shoulder.

The moment the scene darkened, she blinked away them to ice, blistering wind that buffeted her face. She ducked inside a stone hallway, turned a corner, the blue skin of a man filling her vision. He was glowering at her, crimson eyes aglow with a dangerous fire.

“You were late,” he snarled. She was frowning. He was not wrong. But the expedition had taken some time… it was only minutes she had been delayed. Her heart skipped a beat as he raised his hand. She stepped backwards, recoiled, clutching her cloak around her. Fear throbbed in her veins, an invisible hand tightening around her chest. Claws gripped her throat. She tripped, fell back, her head cracking against the weathered stone of the ancient citadel.

Her eyes crossed, drifting in and out of a dazed darkness. He stood over her, sneering down.

Her eyes clamped shut in anticipation.

There was her, addressing the senate, after the election of a new Chancellor. A Federation Chancellor. Everyone sounded kilometres away. The dais felt as if it might bend beneath her as she stepped away from it. She had been elected to lead her party only months ago, and despite her failsafes, despite everything she had done, she had only lasted a single term.

She was rushing from the Senate chamber a few minutes later, her entourage pursuing and ensuring her safe arrival. She did not allow them to follow into her apartments. She stripped her heels as she entered. Her feet settled into the plush rug, and she sat back on the couch, watching over the sprawling ecumonopolis. The door hissed behind her. It was a familiar presence and so she did not stir. Hands gripped her shoulders, as her husband had only moments before. She glanced down, black fingertips on her pale skin.

“You should not be here,” she said, her voice strained with the gravity of what had just happened. She did not want false reassurances. She had failed in her endeavours.

A snort of a laugh was all she received in reply.

The next visions were blurs, of brief, uncoordinated memories. She was re-elected, in one, the gaze of Marasiah Fel matching hers with disdain.

It crumbled into moments far more important. Love. Loss. Triumph. Failure. There were clubs and bars, cities and ships. Glimpses of happiness, and moments of rage. None of them were well-defined. Magic that spun from her fingertips, stitching shut the wounds of Sith soldiers, sands blustering around her. A Togruta woman, holding her hand, her cheeks flushing with a blush. A shopkeeper offering her a favourite food - Nubian pears with mallow whip. The sweetness briefly permeated the memory. She sat in the halls near the archives, younglings sitting on the stone floors, gazing up with youthful wonder as she regaled them with tales of the Sith and the Galaxy beyond. Her council, the palace of Naboo. A droning conversation with some advisor, a discussion of some Federation ship. It was nothing of importance.

There was a moment she lingered on, with a woman, one she looked fondly on. She spoke in quiet reassurances, as her mother once had. Her pale hand brushed the woman’s dark hair behind her ear, fingertips lingering on her cheek. She smiled.

It was bittersweet.

The fall of Naboo followed it. Theed burned, smoke billowing from the ornate architecture, the Force writhing around her. Her hand pressed to the glass panes before her as the palace itself crumbled. A hand pulled her away. It was Nihl, flame dancing in his gaze. She resisted, at first, and then relented. She was standing before him a moment later, head tilted up to him. Anger burned in her chest, a relented flame that threatened to overtake her, to consume her.

He raised an eyebrow, eyes still scanning her, crimson flicking from side to side. His voice fell, soft, yet still not a whisper. “Do not die at the hands of fools and children.”

She swallowed, frowning at him. Her eyes told a different tale, however, flaring with a subtle smoulder. She remained silent. Staring. The corner of his lip twitched, a hint of mirth matching her own. “It would be a waste.”

The tang of blood followed, jumbled memories and glimpses of things incomprehensible.

The taste of wine came next. Her eyes were looking down. A goblet was before her, filled with dark wine. It glistened in the cup.

And then she looked up. The wine was gone, she stood before a man sitting on a celestial throne. Anger resonated within her. Her twins stood next to her, clutching her hands.

He sent them away, despite her desires otherwise. They ignored her, they did so much as pause. They only obliged his demand.

She approached, danger prickling at the back of her neck. The words she said were muffled. They were not important. Hurt seared through her, frustration pricked at her, threatening to overtake her in inferno. But the man in the throne did not oblige. Instead, he continued his sardonicism, he continued his condescension.

A single sentence broke through the muffled disagreement, sharp as a knife.

"I did spend most of them on the most delectable whores.”

She only grew more distressed. She sat on the edge of his throne, arguing vehemently but with no aggression. The throne began to hover, cosmic fire surrounding them. And then, she was on the floor, thrust there with telekinetic blast. She rolled before coming to stop on the metal. Her crown had tumbled from her hair, her eyes took a moment to refocus.

She gathered herself, the cold metal of her diadem in her hand, and approached him yet again. This time, she graced him not with words, but with a slap to his cheek that never contacted.

Instead she was thrust metres backwards with a bolt of crimson energy, her skin instantly feeling as if it were being seared and sloughed away. She screamed, sliding down the wall, collapsing into utter agony.

She did not remember any more, only crawling, scurrying towards the transporter whence she had come.

Her hand appeared, breath trapped in her chest. It extended clumsily for a holocron, set nearby on a countertop in what appeared to be a room in an inn. Erastus was there, his arms wrapped around her. She was attempting to reach it without threatening their embrace, but gave up shortly after her attempt, pulling it over with the Force. She clasped it in her hands. “This is the holocron of Nihl Rahap’tor. I spoke with it, many weeks ago. It… all of my concerns, it confirmed.” She frowned. “And Dreadwar maintained his relationship with Kressh. She was not deceased. I did attempt to forgive him, after I discovered of it, but the hatred merely grew exponentially. Pure resentment.”

The Force roiled around her, the air growing violently frigid. Ice began to coalesce on her fingertips. She willed the aura to dissipate, to not react so powerfully to her emotion. She released a breath from pursed lips. “I had already been preparing for his betrayal. I had already been unravelling his secrets. He simply lodged the shikkar in my spine earlier than I anticipated.”

"Wait, what did it say?"
Erastus asked. He thought she had just brought him a gift, a trinket of some interest; he knew of Nihl Rahap'tor from two inscriptions in the walls of the Valley, that he had been one of the ancient Sith Lords, possibly even a Dark Lord. Little was known of his life or rule, if indeed he ruled, making his holocron a truly remarkable find. But now... Volshe claimed he was a contemporary of Dreadwar's? Someone who had validated her concerns about him? "What is it, milady, what is it? What did it say?"

“You may listen for yourself.”
She focused her energy on it, willing him to arise from the holocron so that he could hear the tale as she had - of Syn, and XoXaan. Of his former allies. Of his former goals.

"What should I ask it?" Erastus frowned, concern spreading across his face as the holocron began to glow red, and ghostly spectral energy began to flicker above that sinister capstone. "I don't even... Gods, I read scrolls, I'm not a Force-user, I can't talk to Gatekeepers... Help!"

“I can speak for you, but it is no different than speaking to a Sith of flesh and blood,”
she whispered, her hand moving from the holocron’s base to his in a reassuring gesture. “Shh.”

“Lord Rahap’tor,”
she intoned, bowing her head. “I seek your wisdom once more.”

"Witch of Ambria,"
he said, shimmering into being from the glowing aether. "Queen of Air and Darkness. What wisdom of the dark side can I share with you?"

“I would ask you retell, in your artful way, the tale of my husband, millennia ago.”
She smiled, her demeanour clearly brightened by his honorifics. “I am here with my lover, an archaeologist and historian, who knows much but yet, does not know the gravity as I do.”

"Ah, of Darth Dreadwar the Deceiver, who orchestrated the Hundred-Year Darkness merely to bathe the galaxy in prolonged suffering and death, and thereby empower him for his great ritual? Who harvested the souls of the fallen through crystalline snares and the blister-traps of Leviathans, to accrue the aetheric ingredients needed for his great ritual? Who tricked the Dark Jedi into constructing great amulets that bonded their souls to his, allowing him to control them, turn them into slaves to his will? Whose goals of immortality and godhood were so single-minded that those who escaped domination turned against him, fighting his forces on Corbos and the lingering Dark Path of the Darth cult he left behind, and aiding the Jedi in that great final battle at Nilrebmah XIII?"
Rahap'tor chuckled. "The most evil of all the Sith Lords, his name stricken from our records, so as to not honour the malign and manipulative founder of our kind. The ritual itself was but another trap, another instance of Dreadwar playing a level higher, for the Jedi and Dark Jedi were lured to their ultimate doom... A ritual that devoured them all by the thousands, and all Nilrebmah with it, so that Dreadwar could ascend to ultimate power!”

Erastus was gaping. "Wait, so you're saying the entire Second Great Schism was just... a ruse? A ruse to devour both sides, to become immortal? That's why Ku'ar Danar was scrubbed from history? He was so bad even the first Sith Lords hated him?"

"That is precisely what I am saying," Nihl Rahap'tor said. "Dreadwar is the greatest, most cunning threat to the galaxy that the stars have ever seen."

Then, she was in a castle room, a frigid chill seeping in through the walls. Four holocrons were set before her. She sat back in her chair, legs crossed, hands shifting her diadem into perfect poise - before reaching out to touch the quartet of holocrons in succession. Enticing them, willing their owners to rise from their miniature tombs.

The holocrons glowed red as one, and a cacophony of voices rose to meet her in discordant symphony. It was difficult to tell what each of them said... but the image of her former self was remarkably similar. A face older and narrower, perhaps, but the golden hair, and the regal dress, was all too familiar.

She inclined her head. “Good evening, esteemed ones,” she purred, a pleasant smile on her lips. “I have spoken briefly with one of you, but I seek more knowledge - that I believe you can provide.”

"Speak, and I shall show you a darker path to truth,"
XoXaan said.

"You return, and I shall answer," Rahap'tor said.

"Unworthy pretender," Syn said. "You will receive nothing!"

Viscretus stared at the shimmering, miniaturized image of Syn, her eyebrow raised. She looked away. “I am styled as the Empress of the Sith, Darth Viscretus, born as Kára Volshe, wife of Darth Dreadwar. Ku’ar Danar.” She spoke slowly, measuredly, intoning the latter two names clearly. “I seek more information on his motivations, and his time amongst you. Perhaps I seek more than that.”

"You are the whore of the great deceiver?"
Syn spat.

XoXaan's tattooed face crinkled, lip curling in distaste.

She raised an eyebrow, ignoring the comment. “The great deceiver… I do not know him as such. Though he certainly has deceived me, it would seem, on many an occasion.” She pursed her lips. “He has stated nothing of his betrayals, and is now plotting yet another one, as I speak. Against the Galaxy, against my own interests, against the Sith. I am thus seeking knowledge of his past.”

"The Lord of Nilrebmah cares nothing for his followers, his allies, his servants,"
Syn hissed. "Only for his own power, his vaunted goal of immortality. We united against our former leader, we Dark Jedi, and brought his madness to an end. We defeated his followers on Corbos, and we assisted the Jedi in trapping his spirit on his homeworld. We continued to fight his loyalists after, the madmen of the Dark Path, who thought only for themselves, who claimed the title of Darth as a warning to others, to bow down or be destroyed. Andeddu, and the others obsessed with godhood at any cost."

“As is my experience. He does not care for my desires, nor for any of his loyalists. He has that very same goal.”
She snorted. “He claims eternal love for me, but belittles and ignores what contribution I give. All to pursue this obsessive desire of becoming a god.” Her lips pressed into a line, the crimson paint shimmering with blue. “I intend to learn what I must, and put an end to his plans.” She sat back, the chair creaking behind her. “Tell me, his spirit is entombed on what world? And how? Could he have released himself from such chains?”

"Perhaps I misjudged you," Syn said. "You reminded me of his first whore, and I thought you identical. But if you desire to defeat him, I shall assist you."

"Nilrebmah XIII," XoXaan spoke up. "We unified with the Jedi, if only briefly, to put an end to the Dark Lord. Yet it was a trap, for he lured thousands of Jedi and Dark Jedi to their deaths, devouring their life-essences even as he consumed the entire planet. Yet those who were on the outskirts of the system survived, and from their blockading fleet, the Jedi erected a wall of light side energy, with the aid of some cosmic entity that appeared as the ritual ripped open a wound in the Force; it disrupted his ritual, and even as he succeeded in freeing his spirit from his body, he was sealed on Nilrebmah. I do not know how he could free himself of such a fate, but clever was Danar, and his cunning was of the utmost deviousness, layers within layers, wheels within wheels. Every move we made played into his plans, even when we broke free of our bondage to him."

“I am her reincarnation, willed by chaos,”
Kára responded, with her ever patient tone. “I do not retain her memories, yet have been given her name. Her title. A great curiosity I have yet to truly understand.”
Her attention shifted. “I do seek to end his reign, for he has stepped beyond my own boundaries in consistent fashion. We cannot coexist. But I must do so cautiously, at the perfect moment, so as to evade his allies - far greater than he. Utilize his cleverness against him, turn him into a most powerful weapon against himself.”

"Beware the amulet,"
Syn hissed. "He deceived us all, bidding each of us to deceive our allies, bidding us to forge Great Amulets to bind our allies to our will. He played to our vanity, our ambition, yet he divided us all only to conquer us all. For another amulet was made, and upon suborning our allies to our will, our will was suborned to his. Karness Muur and Remulus Dreypa to mine, mine to Ku'ar Danar... A spider's web of control, with him at the centre, pulling on all of us. Some engineered their amulets to escape control, when Danar's spirit fell silent at Nilrebmah, but if he has returned, I have no doubt the spirits of many of the Dark Jedi yet serve him, as they served him in life. The Shadow Council."

“I will heed such a warning. Do you know the names of his Shadow Council?”
she asked. She had no amulet he had hand in enchanting - but she did have the tiara she often wore. She did not bring it to Nirthos.

"Darth Andeddu was chief among his servants," Syn said. "Darth Cruor, another." A soft smile. "Tulak Hord."

“Hord did not strike me as the type,”
Kára responded, finger curled to her chin. “There must be others. Alas, I am not one. Which speaks volumes, and only further displeases me.”

She turned to regard Rahap’tor. “How do you know Danar?”

"Only from history,"
Rahap'tor said. "Only from the tales of the Dark Path, who fought us in our time, and drew Sith into their fanaticism... even Lord Pharshol's apprentice, Anyarah. The servants of Dreadwar, who followed the nefandous Lord of Nilrebmah even past death."

“Ah.”


There was a pause.

“I have another query,” Volshe said, “If I may trouble those as wise as you.”

"Speak,"
XoXaan said. Syn remained silent, only raising a brow.

“To have even a chance at facing him, I must not allow him to destroy my spirit. I would seek to bind it, to ensure that I can transfer my essence into another vessel with ease. Do you know how to accomplish such a feat?” Volshe frowned. “Or perhaps, who might know?”

"It is Dreadwar who pioneered such arts,"
Syn hissed. "Hord learned his secrets, as did Dreadwar's apprentice, Graush, from whom Muur reverse-engineered his own mastery."

"We sought to claim such arts,"
XoXaan said, "to know more than merely to heal ourselves, to prolong our life. But Dreadwar kept such secrets close to his chest."

"After XoXaan and Syn died during the Qalydon Reckoning," Rahap'tor added, causing the two ethereal witches to scowl in the darkness, "Ortan Cela killed Tulak Hord, and became Darth Andeddu. He, too, possessed Dreadwar's art of soul-binding, but he, too, kept his secrets jealously. When we conspired to wrest them from him, he fled from Korriban, and took with him the holocron into which he had imbued his spirit - and his secrets."

“Of course. I must seek them from those who are least likely to dispense such knowledge freely.”
Her lip curled. “I have one further question. One that decides the… swiftness and brutality of my course ahead. What happened to my former incarnation? Was it tragic mistake? Or the result of a plot?”

"You were a fool,"
Syn smiled nastily. "You rushed to complete your ritual without proper preparation, and succeeded in naught but annihilating your own corpse. The Darkstaff saved Dreadwar from such a fate, and allowed him to channel his energies effectively."

"My findings indicate you were sabotaged by the Jedi,"
Rahap'tor said. "And the Dark Jedi." He turned to look at the flickering holograms on either side of him. "Dreadwar learnt from your mistakes, and improved upon them. But the journal of Andeddu indicates he bitterly mourned your loss, and cursed the fate that befell you - and those that brought it about."

XoXaan remained stonily silent.

“How unfortunate,” she replied, softly. “I wonder if your spirits have all been damned, as mine was. If I could recall them - if you would serve, against him.”

"You are as much a fool as you were then, whore of Dreadwar, accursed Witch-Queen,"
XoXaan spoke. "Do you think Dreadwar would not have thought of such? Who forged for him three of the Great Amulets, that bound to his will Muur and Dreypa, and herself along with it?"

Sorzus Syn scowled.

"If the spirit of Syn yet wanders the stars, she will be a shadow of her former self, enslaved to Dreadwar's will, forever skulking in the darkness of Nilrebmah."

"The Shadow Council,"
Rahap'tor whispered.

"The Shadow Council yet serves him," XoXaan said, "and all his will."

She snorted. “You misunderstand my query, and neglected such answer prior when I asked who served him,” she replied, steepling her hands. “That is bound to one, can be bound to another. And will be.”

"You cannot break his hold,"
XoXaan sneered. "Any more than I can turn back time, and prevent Syn's death on Sigil. You, as ever, grasp for power, and gasp in dumb comprehension, when it dawns upon you that things are beyond your grasp. This conversation is over."

XoXaan's hologram flickered out, leaving the gatekeepers of Sorzus Syn and Nihl Rahap'tor to flicker feebly in the darkness.

“I suppose it is, then,” she replied, softly. “There is both the impossible and the improbable. One must have the patience and willingness to examine the situation, to properly acknowledge the difference.” She leaned back, crossing her legs. “Would you both remain, and guide me as best your knowledge can - or do you take the route of judgment she has, not knowing a thing of me?” She exhaled. “I welcome your investigation, your queries. But I must state I am not my prior.”

"I remember Danar's lessons on the philosophy of identity,"
Syn whispered. "When he yet wore the guise of Jedi Master, and I the Padawan. That identity was naught but memories and personality... information stored in the brain, that could be transferred... uploaded, he said... to technology. To the Force, he dared to theorise." She shrugged. "Whether or not he was right, there can be little doubt that if you are truly the amnesiac you claim, you are not the Witch-Queen I knew."

"Nor would I care if you were,"
Rahap'tor added, mildly. "I hold no stake in this conflict, only that my knowledge might benefit one of my descendants, ideologically if not by bloodline."

“I do not even use the title. I am a witch, by some definitions, but I am no witch queen,”
she said, contemplatively. “I believe he has no way of restoring his former lover. I believe that he saw her in me, but did not realize that the complexities in the Force are not so predictable in their results. He did not realize we could be leagues apart. I am her in physical form, my name given by the Force to my parents, but beyond such I have an entirely different tale. I challenge him, in my resolve. I do not wish to share with him - and I know very well that it vexes him.“

"Then I shall aid you,"
Syn said, while Rahap'tor nodded along, almost disinterested.

The images heaved, fading into obscurity and oblivion.

"Foolish priestesses," Ishtar Kressh said, crimson skin visible in a blur, "enticed by rot. They will pay the price for it. I was wise enough to recognise the only god worthy of our devotion... is you."

Dreadwar chuckled.

"I provide for my subjects," he said, "where Venomis only offers pain, suffering, death."

Viscretus felt her stomach turn from a vantage point in the distance. No wonder he sought her affections, she was a sycophant. A useless one, at that. Nothing she had said had any utility. It was all honeyed and framed to stroke his ego.

Did she know that Viscretus had asked for her disappearance? Did she understand that she was not supposed to so much as touch the Emperor again? Viscretus’ eyes snapped open, and she rose, striding closer to where they had ended up. There was a stalk in her step, but it was more pronounced, now, like the essence of a vornskr creeping about them.

She could not end the woman, no, the Emperor would simply repair his toy should she break it. But she imagined it, just as she imagined then, for the first time the life flooding from him. Draining from blue eyes that had regarded her with judgment as often as lust and love.

Her eyes stung, salt nipping at the delicate flesh. She blinked up to avoid their escape, simultaneously attempting to stifle the vicious chill that swirled about her and threatened to ripple through the tenuous threads of the Force she puppeted.

As the swirling rage and despondency threatened her barriers, she backed away, hoping to escape their notice.

Yet they had already centred on her. She was unsure if she could escape, and perhaps now, in this moment, she did not need to unravel any further secrets. She contemplated, before deciding she was obviously not the one preferred - and would certainly lose whatever confrontation came next. She willed the Force to ripple about her again, preparing to relocate herself to forty odd hours ahead.

The surroundings blurred, but not quickly enough to save her the vision of Ishtar and Dreadwar again coupling on the bed, and other profane acts she would have likely not ever wanted to know about. Servants rushed about, disappeared, returned, disappeared. Finally, the whirling images came to a halt, and Ishtar - now changed into a shimmering silver dress with a purple cloak - and Dreadwar were standing. "It is time," Dreadwar was saying. "Time to summon the Shadow Council."

She froze, steadying herself, her anger giving way to a very insidious satisfaction. She smiled, if they could see her - they would see it slither across her lips, a venomous thing. She prepared for the inevitable - satisfied now she had made the right decision.

Ishtar nodded, and stepped to the side. Dreadwar rose his vessel's hand of flesh and blood, and the midnight blue sleeve fell back - revealing on his hand a gleaming gauntlet of gold, twining with his fingers, a ruby bauble inset in the centre! Energy swirled through the air with an odd, scraping sound that almost sounded like the Force itself were whispering, as Dreadwar began chanting a fell chant in some ancient tongue.

She retreated to the shadowed corners of the room, hoping they would not notice her if she did such. She frowned, but it was the result of a malevolent focus, satisfaction and curiosity taking over her entirely.

The energy streaming from the talisman began to coalesce into ghostly shapes, specters in the images of men, darkening into opaque shadows, each wearing a cruel mask. Bestial. Monstrous. Abstract. Cruel. All metal or bone, tattered black robes fluttering around them.

Some of their shapes were familiar.

Marka Ragnos, rotting maw stretched in a rictus grin.

Tulak Hord, eyes glowing red behind a dreadful helm.

Others were not.

She waited, resting behind the wings, anticipatory breath trapped in her chest. She would not move, nor say a word, until their meeting had adjourned.

The meeting lasted nearly an hour, the spirits hissing and whispering in some dialect of the ancient Sith tongue clearly so antiquated it was barely comprehensible. Nonetheless, unmistakable was the Shadow Council's talk of having been frozen in time, their curses against the efforts of Revan and the Exile for foiling their plans, and how that when they led the armies of the True Sith to victory, the dark side itself would rule the galaxy, unchecked.

The next vision was edged with crimson. It was far less significant than what had preceded it. The transporters, a glimpse of a Star Forge, above the celestial heavens of Zakuul… of Massassi, of anything beyond.

She was again in the palace of the vision just prior, where the Sith woman had engaged in the profane. She still lingered there, but so did Kara Volshe, anger flooding her. Pain nipped at her palms as she balled her fists, peering into the room. It seemed to be focused solely on petty jealousy, but the snippets of her husband and his lover melted into something far more sinister. It was no longer disgust, but uncertainty, that enveloped her.

"Did you enjoy me, my lord?" Ishtar said, a smile audible in her voice.

"I did," Dreadwar said, simply.

"I shall have the servants bring us grapes, both pressed and not," Ishtar said, reaching over for a baton to ring the bell. "But a wine more delicious awaits you later."

Dreadwar chuckled. "I am sure it does," he said. "But I would speak of more pressing matters. The priestesses of Hadra. Their eyes burned black at morning prayer; it was the talk of Kaedra. A unique incense, some said, but I think it more likely to be Lord Venomis making his move. He seeks to race ahead of me, to appease Lord Nemesis with a hasty invasion from the Ashen Worlds."

Her skin paled, her teeth worrying her lip as she backed away. She hurried into shadows, her rage dissipating into distress in only a moment. The blink of an eye.
Her hands pressed to the marble behind her. It chilled the skin, goosebumps rising on her forearms, her body tensing in a shiver. The names of the lords disturbed her, thrust her into panic that she forced into submission. Her throat felt parched. Her body felt as if it might crumble beneath her.

Briefly, she was disgusted with herself, then, she was once more afraid.

The memory faded.

She was stealing through darkness, Deianara in her arms. Her heart throbbed, glimpses of a space station surrounding them in a whirlwind.

“Come, come,” she said, ducking beneath a pile of crates with an entourage of her closest allies. Erastus, Hjorthrimul, Alisha, Shira… there was a shuttle waiting. They snuck cautiously past Massassi and drones, clambering up the ramp.

Her eyes briefly lingered on the star that blazed beyond the hangar’s thin atmosphere, glittering in her golden eyes. The Triumphant drifted outside, wandering into space. And then, at her silent command, it vanished into hyperspace.

She prayed he would not pursue. She froze, praying in hushed whisper to Vahl, the exotic tongue spilling from her lips.

She ducked into the shuttle, huddling in a maintenance room almost too small for the group that accompanied her, cradling both her children and rocking them to soothe their whimpers.

There was briefly a glimpse of Erastus, of her, basking in joy. He lifted her up, held her as if he might never let her go.

"It's so small," Erastus said. "Little bean." And then his eyes immediately welled up, and tears began streaming down his cheeks, as he held that holoprojector aloft in shaking hands, eyes raptly fixated on the image. "Bean," he repeated.

She kissed him softly on the cheek, thumb gently daubing away the tears. She said nothing, but it was because she really did not know what to say, in such a meaningful silence - it all seemed unnecessary. The stars shimmered above, the birds sung their soft evening song, the breeze even caressed them as they sat there in that moment, watching the holo.

The palace of Korriban took hold. The beating desert sun flooded in through soaring windows, the great hall all around them. There were servants, but not just the servants. The table was lined with familiar faces. Though it was merely past daybreak, the room was much darker. Cold malevolence seemed to creep into the corners of the hall.

The memory lurched, a roar of anger and fear briefly overtaking it. And then, her own voice hummed in her chest.

“What did you say?” She turned, slowly, kohl rimmed eyes narrowed over her shoulder. Her skirts fluttered at her ankle. There was a strange man before them. He appeared to be an urchin, skin dirtied, mouth lacking teeth.

“Grotthu,” she hissed, beneath her breath, continuing her turn. She tapped Erastus’ wrist, twice, a signal she had invented to tell him to leave quickly, and quietly - she had very much anticipated the Emperor attempting something like this.

Then, her hands were at her rounded abdomen.

Erastus turned around instead. "Huh?" he said out loud.

"Jen'ari," the strange man corrected her.

“You do not speak as one,” she said. “You speak as the common slime of Nar Shaddaa’s red light district.“

"Many have referred to me as slime,"
he kept on smiling, "but on Odacer-Faustin, on Mugg Fallow, not Nar Shaddaa. Now sit, worm."

“I will not,”
she breathed, sudden realization chilling the rage she had felt a brief moment ago, “I will speak with you, but I am not yours to command.”

"Then stand and remain uncomfortable,"
he said, as Apollyon and Anstares slowly sat down - Erastus waddling over to join them.

"It matters not," he said, smiling, as he himself took a seat. "Sallacine, be a good host and run along and get me some scrambled eggs, would you?"

"Scrambled eggs do sound good,"
Erastus said, visibly drooling.

"I thought so," the man winked.

“Leave him be,” she snarled, grabbing Erastus’ shoulders protectively. She smiled, a false warmth in her eyes . “I have servants who will bring a meal. He is not one.”

"Then be a good dear and have them run along and grab them,"
the man said. "I hunger. Now, please, let us talk."

“They shall,”
she said, unmoving. “I have not stopped you from conversing. You have simply been taking your time.”

"Good, good,"
he said. "Your plans for the galaxy. What are they?"

“I seek to be Empress,“
she said, softly. “And my plans are simple. Utopia, but not as some see it. Utopia that allows for humanity to breathe. To witness the darkness, chaos, entropy. It is necessary for growth, for the galaxy’s citizens to become more than stagnant, sapient beasts.”

"I see,"
he said. "You would let the herd proliferate, and allow a certain number to be culled?" He picked up a fork, tapping it gently against the wooden table.

“I… suppose,” she said, “Though I believe the being should decide their fate. They all become tired of existence, eventually, and are far too useful to be permanently culled. Reincarnation, rebirth, memory rubs - tools, in my opinion. Valuable ones.”

"No, no, no, that won't work at all,"
he said, waving the fork back and forth. "I hunger." He smiled, teeth showing.

“Hunger for vessels? For the eggs?” She frowned, deeply, not sure of his meaning. Her voice grew quieter. “Or for me?”

His tongue trailed out between his teeth. "For you as well," he said. "I wish to have you for one night, to defile you. No harm shall befall you; I shall merely glut on you in the way I have spied within your paramour's mind, and fill your every orifice." He smiled wider.

“I must respectfully decline,” she said, with lips pressed into a line. “Though we may discuss a method of creating vessels for you. Should you not object to the… less than ideal stock.”

"What a pity,"
he said. "I shall have to kill one thousand children I have gathered just for this moment, then, after torturing their fathers to death in front of their eyes and feeding them their mothers' feces, as punishment for your refusal." He examined his nails. "You would get to watch the fate I have planned for each. The most unspeakable things; even a stomach as strong as yours, carrion worm, would rupture." He smiled. "Or you can oblige me, and allow me to taste you, inside and out."

“You would kill them all, regardless,”
she said, voice shuddering as she did. “Perhaps not now, should I oblige. Though, the next time, should I refuse... We know both you do not merely seek one night. No man does. Certainly no abomination who claims to be man does.”

"I promise it,"
he said, hand raising in mockery of a holy oath. "You could make preparations to ensure it... Rescue ships waiting, decontamination units ready to scan for any viral trace." He smiled. "It is truly one night I desire, mother, for after such an experience a repetition would seem stale and dull. If I attempted to make such a bargain again, you would refuse, as you would know I do not hold to my word." He smiled wider. "But I do hold to my word, and the Force does not lie to you now - you know I am sincere, and you feel the weight upon you."

“I do not believe you. Why would I? You have threatened me, you coerce me into relations, and you expect I believe your word. You have no moral in sight, no honesty.”
She paused, looking rather distressed. “And why do you refer to me with such odd phrase? Worm? Mother?”

Mother?

"Invite me inside your womb," he smiled, leaning forward, tongue scraping against his teeth, "and I shall tell you."

They were in the guest rooms, the curtains drawn. Shadows leeched into the room, thin beam of Horuset’s light breaking the darkness. The strange man yet spoke. His words were nothing more than the ring of tinnitus.

Torment pursued his words with alarming alacrity. There were blurs of fear, of violent disgust, of pain.

Agony.

A voice shattered her distress. She was awake, sweat clung to her skin, her chest heaving.

"And that is how you turn an Empress into a whore," he said. "And I'm afraid the transformation is quite permanent." He looked over at her, sneering. "I could have filled you with a far more dangerous seed. You must consider yourself fortunate.”

She did not respond, rising, and recollecting her robes. She tied them about her, not bothering to find her gown. It would be burnt. As would every linen he had touched.

She continued towards the door.

“You have promised me something,” she said, moving to leave. “I expect it.”

"They shall be delivered to you,"
he said. "I shall treasure this moment forever, mother." And then the flies began buzzing, erupting from his mouth where they had apparently settled and laid eggs, and he slumped to the bed.

“I only wished to know why you called me such oddities,” she said, pausing with her hand upon the door handle. “And why you seek to torment me, now.”

"And I shall answer,"
he said, waving his hand. A smoky image shimmered into being, like smoke rolling across the floor. A small child sat in a puddle of blood, papers with crayon drawings ruined and soaked through, two corpses on either side; a male, grotesquely warped by some strange power, and a female, her lower half seemingly removed from her upper half, leaving her intestines - and the contents - exposed to the air. The child was crying - but singing in an odd, buzzing voice, fingers moving over the drawings even as tears ran down his cheeks.

"Little little carrion worm, strong and proud," he sang.
"Here's my children, here's my shroud."
"And then the nevoota bee twist me up, turn me 'round and 'round and 'round."
"Little little carrion worm, crying aloud, here's my children, here's my shroud."

The tears turned black and the child began sobbing fully, voice relinquishing its odd modulation. Was the corruption leaving him?

The image dissipated, and the man sank back to the bed, jaw slackening and mouth opening. The buzz reached its crescendo, and flies flowed out of his mouth, leaving eggs and wriggling maggots in the honeycomb holes of his gums.

The oily, oppressive presence in the Force was lifted. A dead man lay on the bed.

Erastus’ arms were around her, some time later. She was shuddering.

He hugged her, tightly. "I'm so sorry," he said. "I'm so, so sorry."

There had been a knife in her hand. A dagger. It clattered to the floor. She looked up at him, eyes welled. His face shifted, melting behind the saline that flooded her eyes. “I want… I want my mother.”

She had never spoken such words before. She had certainly thought them, though she had turned away the Emperor’s offer, many months ago. She thought it was generous. That her mother would not wish to see what she had become - what the galaxy had become. But now, it seemed a terrible mistake. “I want to go home.”

Her mind shuddered and sighed, rage and torment overtaking the sanctum of her mind. There was nothing more she could take. Not now, no, not now.

She resurfaced. Her physical self felt as if she might gasp for air, her body weak. The dark ocean washed them into the shores. She did not wish to emerge completely from her memories, from her mind.

All she had witnessed had brought painful questions to her hand. Where was her council? Her loyalists? Had they succumbed to the war?

She said nothing. Her form stood at the shores of the vast ocean, gossamer gown dripping from her shoulders and pooling into the dark sands at her feet.

The mindscape behind her eyes dissipated.

Her gaze was vacant. She was ethereal, beautiful, but surrounded by darkness. She was steeped in it, gauzy threads threaded around her. She looked ill. She was worn, her mind raw, torn open and jagged. Her cheeks were stained with tears. They dazzled in her eyes.

She’d opened her eyes too quickly. Far too quickly. No doubt she saw the tear, a single tear running down his cheek and soaking into his beard. The wet trail evaporated immediately, and he regained his composure. To have endured such… indecencies… he’d only heard of it offhand. It had always sparked fury in his heart to hear such tales, driving him to do terrible things to those responsible. But what could one do in her place? What could anyone do?

Then the Force overtook him.

The room had grown dark. Too dark. He could feel the heat of a star encroaching, the same sensation he’d felt when he saw her… when he saw his mother die. The Beloved Prince looked into the eyes of Volshe, the darkness still enveloping them. But her eyes… they were stars. Glowing. Caring. Dead.

But not.

The vision ended as quickly as it began.

He stepped back from her, his eyes wide. His heart raced. His lungs couldn’t breathe hard enough. He sank to the floor without a word, burying his face into his hands. They writhed, his form shifting without will. He shielded his starry eyes from her. He could not bear to look at her.

She was alive.

Did she even remember? Could she even remember?

He was sobbing now, tears of happiness, and of grief. To know that she had suffered for so long, had been split into so many pieces, fractures upon fractures of her true self… He knew but one aspect. Of her motherly love, of her obsession with family. Values she had forced upon him, whether he knew it or not.

Darth Kain was a bundle of fleshy, pale tentacles, fiery veins peeking through translucent skin. He realized it, finally. She did not know why he felt this way. He needed to get his act together. Now.

He composed himself, the tentacles reshaping to hands and feet, eyes turning to emerald green. But he could not stand. Not alone. Not anymore.

She looked down. There was confusion, fear. It sloughed off her in violent waves. Part of her thought what she saw must have been residual illusion. Part of her knew it was not.

But she did not move.

She had seen far worse. She had been trapped in the deepest throes of insanity. She had seen worlds burn around her, she had seen herself torn asunder. Children die in horrible ways, and cities melt into oblivion.

She did not understand any of it.

Nor did she understand why a man of such power was undone before her. Did she comfort him? She wanted to. It was an instinctual desire, something she had to chase away. Discomfort sat like a rock in her gut. What was she supposed to do?

“I- sorry. I am sorry,” she said, her voice nothing more than a hoarse whisper, rife with concern. She had not expected her visions to have hurt him as they did. She had expected him to be able to withstand it. Her hand rose, shaking, to daub away the unbidden tears. Then it lowered, offering him to his feet.

He shivered, but took her hand anyway. “You have nothing to apologize for.”

The aura he’d felt from her, ever since he met her on Korriban, it had meant something. He had been provided every opportunity to realize the truth, and he’d squandered it. Abeloth had been destroyed. But now he had another chance.

He would not squander this one.

Kain stood, looking into her eyes for a moment before realizing it was for naught. These were still Helvara’s eyes; those comforting stars would not appear because he willed it so.

“Your memories… they revealed more than I’d thought possible. Puzzle pieces impossibly scattered, some burnt to ashes, but enough remained for me to see the bigger picture.” He sighed. “Do you remember when I once told you that your presence in the Force reminded me of Abeloth, the Beloved Queen of the Stars?”

She nodded. “I do,” she managed, though her throat was still tight, her body - was it her body? - was still tense with both grief and fear. Her heart was in her throat.
She tilted her head, vaguely, at Kain. The question seemed...out of place.

He began to pace. This would require explanation - a lot of it.

“I have had my suspicions since I first met you. That you were some avatar of hers, a being overtaken or fabricated to keep tabs on me. I had ignored the feeling for years. But your memories have triggered a vision in the Force, a revelation. I do not know if you can believe me but…”

He paused. This sounded like utter nonsense he was spilling. There was no way he could be believed. He was a lunatic, a madman. Someone so desperate for his mother’s survival that he even fabricated visions in the Force.

But why was he so karking sure of himself?

“I do not think you are just connected to Abeloth in some way. I think you are her.”

At first, the words did not sink in. They floated on the surface, in the air around them. It was a few moments, a few beats of her pounding heart, before she heard what he had said.

Then, her brow furrowed. She shook her head, at first, passing off the theory as if it were not even worthy of a moment of her time.

Her eyes widened, briefly, and she looked up to him. Tears no longer welled. Shock replaced it, confusion close behind it. If he was saying such a thing, he had to have a logical reason. There had to be something defensible, that left him without a shadow of doubt. It was not some insane thought plucked at random.

“I do not-“ She stopped herself, frowned, and started again, her voice quieting. “You believe so?”

Every word he spoke made him more certain. “I do.”

He stopped pacing.

“There had to be a reason for those demons torturing you throughout the centuries. Your devotion to your children, your desire for a return to a simple life of family and happiness. It all adds up. Perhaps… perhaps this is how she survives? From when she was defeated by Luke Skywalker. From when…” He couldn’t bring himself to say it aloud. From when she died at the hands of the Sith.

There was a moment of silence as everything he said washed over her. It explained almost everything she had experienced, everything she had felt. Even the familiar aura that surrounded the man before her, the one that felt as if they had known each other for a lifetime - even when they had not so much as caught glimpse of each other before. She wanted to say it was ridiculous, that he was just trying to build some protective tale out of his grief.

But it made sense. It all made sense. Even the tales of Vahl, of how she was the reincarnation of some wicked goddess of fire and chaos. Dreadwar had merely told her of her mortal identity.

Now, Kain had told her the truth.

And it made sense. It made sense of everything. Why the former Emperor had been so quick to see her mother his heirs, why he had been so eager to seek her allegiance - to the point of allowing her, once his rival, the title of Empress. Why he had given her such swathes of information, and allowed her to witness his grand schemes, lavishing her with the praise of being his long lost Queen.

He had been using her. As he did Syn, as he did XoXaan, as did Ragnos and Hord.

They all knew who she was. It was why they tormented her, why they sought to break her. If she was broken, if her mind and resolve were annihilated, she would be nothing more than a pawn.

And if they were using her, they were going to kill her.

She could feel her skin pale. The room swam for a moment, cold sweat prickling at her neck. She looked down at her hands, the hands she did not know, and then back up to him. “I...”

“I am not her,”
she said, emphasis on the last word. She wanted him to know that she was not the same, that she was, if anything, a tether holding her spirit to the mortal realm. Perhaps that was enough. “But what you have said… it illuminates a great many things.”

He nodded. Slowly. Sadly. The woman he knew as his mother, the one who birthed him from the maddened flames of Dathomir, the one that taught him the secrets he needed to survive… she was not standing before him. This was still Darth Viscretus, a woman with separate memories and experiences. And yet, somehow, the same soul.

The Force was far more mysterious than even he had given it credit for.

“I understand,” he said. “But I am glad to know that even a fracture of y- her survived.”

She extended her hand, moving to rest it on the side of his shoulder. Her eyes searched his. “She has created me in divine image, as is her will. She has brought us to this moment.”

“We are of the same blood,”
she said, softly, her expression warming as she sensed the sadness radiating from the man before her. “You are a son of Vahl, of mine, though I do not know you as she did. Though you do not know me as you knew her. Föl í orið chivik,” she said, voice falling to a whisper. “Forged from the fires of Chaos. As we all were. You are not alone, though you have loved and lost. Her will is my own, and if you are hers, you as well are eternally, unconditionally, one of my own.”

Part of him wanted to pull away, some instinctive part of the subconscious that saw Helvara rather than who she was now. But he did not. Ever since he felt his mother’s destruction in the Force, the vice grip that threatened to crush his skull and shrivel his heart, he had desperately pleaded for one last opportunity to see her. To speak to her. All those visits Beyond Shadows, all of those times they spoke. She had been the only one to understand him. Not even his wife or child could know it all. But she did. And now she was back. In a way.

But it was not the same. Not yet.

“The Force led us here for a reason. And that reason, as much as I wished it to be, is not just for a… family reunion. We are at war, after all.”

Her hand fell, nestling in her skirts. She knew they were at war. The galaxy had been at war for some time. Her brow furrowed. “I am aware.”
She recalled the formation of the mind spear and her own voice echoing in her head. This is a mindspear. This is reviving you.

“How did I die? Did the others survive?”

A wave of grief overcame her as she realized that she had likely lost her child. Her eyes shut, tightly. “Did my children…”

Kain shook his head. “Kára Volshe has not died. Nor have your children.”

He stepped back. “But Abeloth has. And ever since her death, I have been plagued with visions of this moment. Of the mindspear holding the answers I needed. Answers that you needed as well, in hindsight.”

The moral ambiguity of having a second Volshe with most of the same memories running around the galaxy had not occupied Kain’s mind much before today. Had this mindspear done as he’d theorized - leading him to an artifact or ritual to resurrect his mother - he would have never healed Helvara’s body, and he would have ended the mental clone’s existence if necessary. Cruel, perhaps. But that had been a decision made in ignorance.

“I do not know what you will do. With power such as yours, perhaps you can find a way to… return to your own body.”

“My body still exists? Where?”
Her face creased into a bemused expression. “If I am not dead, then why have you used the mindspear?”

“I would not have been able to read the thoughts of your original self. Though your consciousness in this body has made you more powerful than Helvara ever was before, her midichlorians do not nearly match the amount in your usual form. Your resistance to mental intrusion is impressive, and considering what you are, it now makes sense why.”


The explanation was not what she expected, but it was understandable. She folded her hands in her lap. Already she was connecting everything, and though there were gaps, she understood her intentions. Her motivations were a mystery, still. But she would learn them soon enough.

“I must return to wherever she is. Rather I am,” she said. “Without anyone knowing I exist. I would consider this entire situation quite the security risk.”

And it was. If the Federation knew there was a weaker version of her, if the Sith knew there was a weaker version of her, then there would certainly be complications. She trusted that Lord Kain had taken proper precautions, and she trusted his ability, but there was always going to be the small chance she was in some danger. She knew too much.

“I can organize a meeting,” he replied. “Last time she met me, the only others she brought with her were the twins and a Mandalorian, and he left out of earshot the moment she ordered him to. She will be confused, certainly. But you will have the chance you need.”

“That is suitable for me,”
she said, nodding. The voice of her body echoed in her head. It was still utterly foreign. The entire situation was… but she would have time to process. “It is appreciated.”

She paused. Her mind had been searching for the woman he had mentioned, sifting through her consciousness to find some gossamer spark of the woman who she once was. She did not find memories. She found her.

She was there. Her consciousness was nestled deep within her mind. It was weakly burning, an ember more than anything. “She - Helvara - is still here. She is safe. I will return her, once I am returned.”

Kain was surprised. He had not known every single case of a Rakatan mindspear being used, but he had certainly never heard of the original host’s consciousness surviving in any capacity. Perhaps some unforeseen side effect of the T-12 Virus?

“If you wish,” he answered. “Now, I fear we’ve tallied here too long. We both have much to do, and not much time to do it.”


IC: Darth Volacius and Darth Kain
Outside the Sith Temple, Korriban



The monolithic pods crashing down upon Korriban’s barren dunes did not escape the attention of Darth Volacius. They seemed to reach terminal velocity unnaturally fast, their incalculable numbers biting into the rust-coloured sand like rotten teeth devouring their next decrepit meal. The Mirialan was already awash with fear at the sight of the Pyramidal armada, but his feelings up to that point could not compare to the instinctual, animal dread Volacius felt as he laid eyes on the army charging the Temple with unbelievable speed.

An army of undead bones.

Volacius’ face began to twitch, a small sign of the terror churning just beneath his muscular, armoured exterior; an inherent phobia he had not felt for many years, not since fighting the zombified minions of Darth Quetzu, a phobia that threatened to boil over into full panic. Volacius, for all his bravado, all his achievements, and all his might, was utterly terrified of the undead.

There had to have been at least ten thousand.

Volacius’ gaze jerked in the direction of the Hesperian Guard, the first combatants among the gathered Sith to engage the ghoulish onslaught. The Sith Master was fortunate that the battle had not started with him, as the sight of Hesper’s forces—alongside Krayt’s Dragons and the other factions—battling the soulless horde yanked his senses back into the present, where one of the skeletal husks was pouncing toward him with its abominable claws. Trying his best to maintain a semblance of control over his innate horror, Volacius rushed backward, aiming the enchanted steel of his blade toward the attacking monstrosity and channeling the Dark side of the Force through it’s archain runes, producing a furious stream of flames that would hopefully incinerate the creature down to its component atoms.

With fear and adrenaline pumping vigorously throughout his body, and the effectiveness of his counterattack notwithstanding, Volacius knew that his best—and indeed only—chance of survival was to stay close to his former master. Making sure that he did not stay standing in one place, the Mirialan approached Lord Kain, noting the warrior ghouls that were assaulting the Beloved Prince and his Federation prisoners. Both the Jedi, whom Volacius now recognized as K’Kruhk, and the blue-skinned man, Gar Stazi, were barely holding onto their lives against their undead assailants, and Lord Kain himself seemed to have chosen perhaps the worst moment to freeze up; ironic, for the ultimate master of pyrokinesis. Volacius didn’t care why his master had momentarily stopped. He wanted Kain to survive. He needed Kain to survive.

“LORD KAIN!” Volacius bellowed at the top of his lungs, calling his Shoto to his free hand as he spoke and activating its crimson blade, “WE MUST RETREAT!”

The words shook Kain from the memory, bringing him back to reality within a thought’s breadth. He saw Volacius there. Then he saw K’Kruhk. The old Jedi had seconds to live.

“Save that man!” Kain shouted, nodding towards the failing Whiphid. “Get him and Stazi inside. Now!”

Then the Beloved Prince of the Stars turned, back towards the entrance. The skeletons, whether they be the ones assaulting him moments before or not, were coming. He wanted nothing more than to fling himself across the battlefield, to challenge Venomis alone. Vengeance for defiling his mother, vengeance for daring to exist in the same space as he.

But he had another idea.

Retreating towards the door, backstepping, the Dark Messiah began to utilize an ability he learned years ago. The holocron of Darth Gravid had been full of mad ravings, pure lunacy, even. But he had been able to craft an impenetrable barrier surrounding a fortress, and Kain had been able to replicate the power even while crippled by the demon of desolation, Envilyn. Even in the center of terror, Darth Kain would succeed. He had to.

Kain’s orders were clear, and although under any other circumstances he would have found the very idea of saving the Federation leaders utterly repulsive, in this truly dire scenario Volacius could not afford to lose focus by entertaining his hatred for them any longer. Knowing that he had very few options, and even fewer attacks that could eliminate K’Kruhk’s skeletal assailants without also striking the Whiphid himself, The Sith Master shut down the blade of his Shoto and with both hands attempted to grasp the prisoners with the Force and wrench them toward the entrance to the Temple, as far away as he could get them from the ghouls that would sooner eviscerate them all.

“TO THE TEMPLE!” He shouted to them, ushering them toward the closing doors as he prepared to turn away any undead soldiers that dared to try and catch his charges.


Powers Used

Darth Kain
Telekinesis (5) - Force Push (4)
Force Resistance (5) - Force Barrier (5)

Darth Volacius
Convection (1) - Pyrokinesis (4 + 1 Sword Bonus)
Telekinesis (3) - Force Pull (3)

TAGS: @Darth Dreadwar @Admiral Volshe, @Catalyst, @Darth Xirr, @DarthNoxia, @Drakul_Xarxes, @Helkosh, @G.Kn, @Darth Thana, @Sith_Imperios, @DarthFeros, @Darth Xxys, @Volacius, @Metus, @corinthia, @Reiis Invadator, @dragonsith13, @Grievance Vexx, @Arach, @Reatith Blodraald, @Cardun Vrek
 
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Admiral Volshe

Legendary Member
NGE Empress
IC: Empress Volshe (Darth Viscretus) and Darth Nihl
Corridor, Sith Temple, Korriban


Her steps had brought her to sanctuary. Instead of sinking into frigid sand, her feet brushed against the harsh stone of the Sith Temple’s halls. She had ushered Sia in first, before she had so much as crossed the threshold. She knew well that any of the Guards, or those who wished to challenge her, might have killed the Federation Empress if she was left vulnerable.

She had only taken one, two steps towards whence she had come. It was then the scream of Apollyon rang out, echoing across the courtyard and filling the vast corridor with her command.

“Fall back! Fall back!

Volshe instantly saw the source of her friend’s distress. It was punctuated by an explosion into the sand, a shockwave rippling out and monopolizing her attention. While the ships had been merely lingering in the sky a moment before, now there were skeletons, lurching with strange alacrity towards the gathered Sith.

She was no longer holding onto Marasiah - she had sent her first into the Temple - but, her hand stretched to fend against the wights who plagued the sands of Korriban. Their eyes were bright, starry, madness, a zenith to the pyramids’ nadir. She looked, too long. Briefly, her hand clutched onto a gossamer vision of white shimmersilk, so near reality that she could feel herself skirt the cusp of life and death, and see Marasiah’s umber eyes dull as blade burst through her stomach. It was a throe of insanity that briefly wreaked havoc, and then, she stumbled backwards with gasp, colliding with the stone of a temple pillar, narrowly missing one of the undead who lunged at her.

She reached to pull the Fel Empress closer to her, the vision powerful enough to shake her to her core. Her hand rose up to summon the tendrils she had hesitated from utilizing just minutes ago.

She was going to -...

They were going to…-


The gaze of the revenant pierced deep into her, haunting her with a dazzling phosphene that screamed in terrible danger. Her hand reached out for Marasiah’s bicep. It was intended to pull her away. She was warm, the muscle tensing in reflex. Alive.

Marasiah-

The word had percolated on her tongue, gentle as fragile mist in midst of summer tempest. Yet the name never left her lips. It did not have time.

The mist became heavy, slick, with coppery tang. Pain ricocheted through her, her neurons screaming in the blackness of the Force around them.

She did not immediately recognize the source of the newest distress. Her eyes found Apollyon, wondering if it was her suffering. No, no, it was not born from darkness. It was the wavering light of a burning flame, the warmth ebbing as the Force seemed to die around it. She knew. Her hand attempted to pull back the opposing Empress again, to avoid the imminent threat that sparked and writhed in her own spine.

It was too late.

Marasiah stumbled beside her, the sickening sound of metal forced through sinew barely registering. The sight...that was what registered. The spear had still contacted, even with her foresight. Gore on silver, the ichor taking a golden sheen in the light of the hallway’s braziers.

Apollyon called for the doors to be shut in that same moment.

She had but another moment to make a decision. She needed to save them. Lord Kain would be trapped outside - the other Federation members with them. She glanced down at the wound in Sia’s abdomen, blood bubbling forth, then back to her friend, warring with the spectres only metres away.

She only had time for a single statement, one that would certainly be the difference between life and death for many of the Order.

For the love of Chaos!

“Get them inside first, Zelashiel! Hold the courtyard door!”

Her blade swung down to bisect the spear, but one of her Knights had already pulled Marasiah into her arms with deft, practiced hold. Perhaps the move had extracted her from the spear, perhaps she had sliced it away. She had no time to see the result.

The other Knights converged.

Volshe froze. She could no longer hear the sounds of battle beyond. She could only hear the thrum of her heart, the hiss of her own breath.

Something was coming. Something...

Every cell in her body glazed with a virulent frost. At the fringes of her senses, almost hidden beyond her reach, there was a void. A desperate wound, gaping in the Force. They were perched precariously on its edge.

Not Dreadwar, no. Even he was not so powerful.

This was one she knew. One she had met. One who had woven his mephitic ichor through her mind only moments ago, who yet lived within her.

“Majesty?” One of the Knights called. It was a mile away. She could not breathe. She was immersed in sea of terror. Her hand reached out, desperately, searching for a hold. It was met with a crimson gauntlet, clutched around her wrist and then her shoulder. A vision skittered across her vision, inky blackness burned into her retinas, lingering as an afterimage she could not blink away. His name escaped her, though she knew it had lingered in her mind minutes prior. It was only fear she could recall.

“To the throne room,” Volshe managed, the order wafting in the air as a flitting zur. It was barely given life. She nearly failed to form even such a paltry sound. It was to no one in particular - though she was vaguely aware of the guards about her, her focus was on the stain of crimson that spilled through Sia’s gown, her eyes watching it bleed obsidian. She blinked the mirage away. “Now.”

Her Master Knight lurched forward, shock flooding his brown eyes. He pulled Sia away from his comrade as another of the Knights stepped between them and the skeleton, lifting the lithe woman he had himself once served into his arms and running down the hall towards the once-throne room of Dreadwar. His footfalls echoed ahead of them, sounding the way.

Volshe pursued, her steps slow at first, the most junior of the Knights remaining behind to fend off the reanimated undead that lumbered towards them. Her ‘saber was a brilliant silver, a beacon of hope in the abyss of despondency.

“My Lord! My Lady!” The Knight called, to the Sith nearest her. She did not know their names. Volshe could sense the fire in her, blazing brighter than her blade. Bravery unmatched, determination in the young woman’s features even as the undead raked the sands, clawing for blood. “This way!”

Volshe wished to linger, to fight, knowing that even with the Knight’s coaxing, more than one of her family or her allies could be left beyond the gates. She could see them, a brief glance left in her mind’s eye. Her hand nearly met her own ‘saber again.

With her hand a single breath away from the hilt, the hands upon her shoulder began to guide her. She was ushered away, the Knights not allowing her to take a single glance behind.

She could not think of her loyalists, she could not treasure their lives more than her own. It was their duty to serve.

Just as it was her duty to survive.

They turned the corner, and both the glow of the woman’s blade and her voice were lost, as was the chaos of battle.

Volshe pulled her gaze from the the hall and pressed on. Her feet padded against the stone floor as she hoisted her skirts and attempted to run faster.

Her mind was already rushing to settle on some plan of action - beyond healing the woman before her. There were a dozen considerations she had made. None of them seemed viable option, in that moment. The True Sith had exceeded even her expectations, for all she witnessed. For all she had known. They had brought greater army than she had imagined. And now...a purulent monstrosity she could hardly stand before.

There was no escape. Or was there?

“Lady Maladi! Lord Nihl!”

The Knight’s call ahead to the Devaronian witch and the Nagai Lord pulled her from her reverie.

They passed the windows just beyond the Throne. The hoardes just beyond the windows, the sunset catching in an insidious gleam as they hurried past. The pyramids did not shine with waning sun. They remained unscathed by even the barest whisper of light, the thousands of ships melding into the depths of Chaos before her. They called her to them, tempting her to her blade yet again. They urged her into malevolence, however, her victims were not to be the undead who wreaked havoc beyond the walls.

Her Knights fell before her, her blades screaming in hand.

There was nothing but carnage, the sands streaked with blood, her hands soaked with blood, debris and smoking refuse littered at her feet. Acrid smoke stung her eyes. From her lips dripped thick ichor.

All she loved lie dead before her. Mangled corpses, their faces barely recognizable. But she knew. Her hand had slain them, her wretched power had torn them asunder and damned them to oblivion. It had not even taken a moment.

Pale fingertips rose to her lips to daub the blood away. They came away stained with rivulets of black.

The Valley opened into blackness, arcane obelisks and pillars of the damned forming its maw. The Tomb of Ajunta Pall tumbled into the depths of nothingness, swallowed whole.

She stepped into the abyss.

And the abyss caressed her, soothing her, with hiss that slithered across her mind. It leeched into her thoughts, glazing them with malignant intent she could not differentiate from her own.

Little, little carrion worm, strong and proud...

There was a hand upon her shoulder. It was not the roughness of synthweave, nor the unyielding chill of phrik-twined gauntlet. It was a seluss, warm, oily, slithering about her shoulders. Her hand reached for vacant chair. She looked down.

It was where...

Her body was wracked with a shiver. The serpent draped across her shoulders, taking the form of a tsaisi, its dagger-sharp blade plunging into her heart. She gasped.

His name tore through her mind, gripping her.

Darth Venomis.

There was ghostly light, leeching from behind his eyes. Eyes of obsidian smoke that melted into silver, their pupils aglow. They merged to one, her eyes refocusing upon the scene around her. The ring upon her finger glowed, softly, almost urgently.

Her head snapped up as footfalls approached her, contrasted with those of her entourage. A familiar aura came with it.

Her pace increased, sudden, frigid fear immersing her. It was as if his name alone had summoned him to her side.


“Nihl,” she called, lurching into the throne room behind her entourage, her mind fretting between Marasiah and the scene unfolding beyond the walls of the Temple. Her breaths were heaving, hands tightened about fistfuls of her glittering skirt. Briefly, her hands clawed at his epaulets and his skin more ivory than her own. Desperation raked her throat, her voice barren, honeyed warmth evaporated. Her children were there. Others. But which others? Where? Was the throne room unsafe? The entourage’s faces were a blur, only their signatures making their way to her senses. She had not seen them. She could focus on nothing but him and his dazzling crimson eyes. The void of his pupils. Of-

She shut her eyes, tightly, her nails curling into his biceps. “Nihl, we must leave. Or I must-...I must hide.”

"What is it, domina?" Nihl asked, lips tugging downwards, forehead creased. It was the first time Volshe had seen him perturbed. "I sense a great darkness."

Her mind would not settle. It was a writhing drexl, turning about in its confines. Her grip tightened. She could sense the fear, the pain, each one a supernova that seared into her mind’s eye. There was something else. Something beyond even Venomis. There was more. She knew not what, yet, but there would be more.

The Knight moved past to the throne room, a glimpse of Marasiah catching her attention, drawing her gaze away. Her eyes darted back up to Nihl. At last she found words of some sense in the war torn landscape of her mind.

Nihl...” The words were caged in her throat, difficult for her to choke out. “He’s here. Venomis. The True Sith. They have come. We cannot fight. There are thousands. There-.”

"Thousands..." Nihl repeated, a hushed whisper. His crimson eyes darted around, as if searching for an elusive answer within the ophidian grotesque of the Emperor's old hall. Each sculpted vine was a serpent, black as charcoal, dripping with poison and plague; grotesque fingers and contorted faces reached out from the twisted frieze, as if the very walls were coming alive to devour them. "We... The..." His military mind was racing through the possibilities; ships, no, they'd be blasted out of the sky, the tombs of the Valley, but no, the enemy had lain siege... His military mind, seasoned through a thousand battles, raced through his memories, searching for that elusive thought shaking loose within his skull. "Where?" he asked, as if voicing the question would draw forth the answer. "Where can we hide?"

“I do not know.”

The answer was truthful. She was thinking, she had been thinking from the first moment their eyes had caught sight of those terrible pyramids, hanging in the sky. She did not know. The Valley? Could they take a shuttle and escape to the far reaches of the planet? There were tombs that had been seen but once, others that were entirely secluded. There were ways to leave the temple that they would not see the wight-littered surface.

Perhaps...perhaps they could obscure their signatures, escape into an oblivion the malevolent ones in orbit could not detect.

Her gaze returned to Marasiah as the Knight crossed the threshold ahead. It was if she suddenly recalled the purpose of their hurried escape. She grasped lamely for Nihl’s wrist, then her grip became clawing, desperate.

“My dear.” The grip of her hand, and her call, beckoned to Lord Nihl. Her voice was quiet, contrasting with the storm churning in the Force. Soft, yet strangled by the uncertainty of the situation. She could not think straight, not now. Not when he was there, lurking in the corner of her eye, watching from every shadow.

Nihl’s aid would ensure the demons who coerced her, those who sought their demise, would loosen their grip upon her. She needed to remain above the inky blackness that threatened to swallow them all. His presence, a reminder of life, of something beyond their seemingly unavoidable demise. A presence that reminded her of something beyond damnation.

Through the delicate current of a lover’s bond, she sent her intent.

She pursued the Knight, Lord Nihl pursuing her.

The Throne Room.

The Knight moved to place Marasiah on the ground. It was a gentle, fluid motion.

Her gaze found Marasiah after tentative steps beyond the threshold. She fell to her knees in an instant. It was if she suddenly recalled the purpose of their hurried escape. Her motions were erratic, at first, mindless. Her hands clutched at the woman, coming back with blood. They shook as they rose to her face, the Master Knight applying pressure in her stead.

Her hands settled upon the wound of the Fel Empress and she suddenly fell silent. Her mind quieted, though it took as much effort to silence the tempest as it did to summon the Force. The insanity, the fear, both lashed at the wall she had constructed, threatening to charge through and overtake her once more.

But it held. For now.

And Nihl answered. He had no talent for the healing crafts, but he could lend Volshe his power, joining his own passion for battle and blood, for life and striving and survival and violence, to her own impassioned plea. He had knelt beside her, the sound of boot and pauldron betraying his presence. He reached out for her, hand touching her forearm, feeling the thrum of energy just beneath the skin. The onyx-crowned wrapped around her arm, tightening there, in silent whisper of reassurance.

Warmth flooded her. Life flooded her. Her will returned.

Her breathing slowed. Her hands hovered, ghosts working their eldritch magic. She was envisioning not only the dark side swathing Marasiah in a dark, soothing remedy, blessing her with its most unrighteous redress; but envisioning the place the Force had shattered, the bleeding scarlet of the grievous wound within her abdomen.
Her head fell back. Their auras had intertwined from the moment her fingertips pressed to the blood-stained gown. They were the dawn, and the dusk. The fragile bounds between night and day, the sky limned with both starlight and tender beams of morning. There was a time when she had believed that darkness was meant to prevail. She knew that was no longer true.

As the moon must rise, so too must the sun.

There was no hesitation in her choice.

The throne was before her, she could feel its ominous shadow, leering over them all. The throne before which she had knelt a thousand times in service of darkness was now where she knelt in service of light.

Live.

She willed the Force into Marasiah, her delicate touch siphoning from her own warm darkness. Yet more malefic darkness yet lingered at the edge of her mind, her psyche on the precipice, surrounded by the one most foul. Her strength threatened to wane. She did not falter.

He would not win. She basked in the moonlight of Naboo, bathed in the babbling brooks, her hands reaching for the shimmering starlight. They were together, their life force as one. She could feel the woman’s heart beat, pulsing crimson into her hands. Every tenuous thread of Marasiah’s life, twined in her merciful fingers.

She was mercy. She was fate.

Live.

They did not have much time. Every breath was a tentative one, one that could bring her closer to life...or let her slip even further to Chaos. The darkness hissed to Volshe, tempting her to indulge, to allow the soul before her to slip through her fingers into damnation. To feed the ravenous ghouls that surrounded them. She willed the opposite. She commanded the opposite.

The god of rot, of vile pestilence, had no place here. His malign creations had no power over the destiny of Marasiah Fel. She alone decided that the radiant woman at her hand would live or die.
The Force infused into every minuscule cell, every fragile tissue.

Live.

The Force swelled within her. A deep indigo swirled about the palms of her hand, and the crimson shards became a brilliant blue. Tendrils of diaphanous light surrounded them, weaving about the pair, coaxing the ragged tissue to mend. The Empress’ eyes shut, her face contorting into grimace.

Each second was another breath, another second of life sewn into the tapestry that was her destiny. She had not failed before - her power had seen even the most grievous wounds vanish. She would not fail now. She braced herself and plunged again into the Force. The tendrils of light grew to vivid blaze that enveloped them both in jagged bolts, the room itself illuminated with the glow of cerulean and violet.
 
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Arach

Member
IC- Darth Arach
Temple Courtyard, Korriban

"We should get going..."

The softly spoken words were enough to capture Arach’s attention. Draconis is telling us to leave? Draconis is telling us to run! She stared at the master assassin in shock. A moment of doubt crept into her mind. If he was willing to run…

She became aware of a sudden, urging feeling through the Force, but just as suddenly, it was cut off. Then, the smell hit her like a hammer to the face.

It was an almost forgotten smell of rot, sickness, and death. She was a ten year old girl again, running past the main square, dodging and outrunning the Infected. She saw her parents being torn into, heard her mother’s dying screams…

Arach’s doubt faded away. Her rage burned hotter, her golden eyes seemed to glow.

In the distance, she heard Apollyon screaming, “FALL BACK!”

Arach turned her head so she could see Hesper and her guards. “Retreat, my lady. I’ll cover you.” She barely got the words out when the undead horde came upon them.

The assassin instinctively raised her blood- orange blade and whipped her head to face in front of her just as a skeleton impaled itself. It’s weight and momentum caused it to push itself further down her blade, it’s jaws snapping at her.

For a moment she was sartled, but her rage returned in full force. With a battle snarl, she jerked her blade up and through the skeleton’s skull. Once it cleared, she arched her swing and aimed for Draconis’ chain. “Everyone should have a chance to fight or run.”

Arach turned back toward the oncoming horde. And focused her anger. She threw her left hand outward and sent arcs of lightning into the fast approaching enemy.

Tags: @Darth Dreadwar @Admiral Volshe, @Darth Kain, @Darth Xirr, @DarthNoxia, @Drakul_Xarxes, @Helkosh, @G.Kn, @Darth Thana, @Sith_Imperios, @DarthFeros, @Darth Xxys, @Volacius, @Metus, @Catalyst, @corinthia, @Reiis Invadator, @dragonsith13, @Grievance Vexx, @Reatith Blodraald, @Cardun Vrek

Powers used:
Chain Lightning- 3
(Force Lightning- 3, just in case)
 
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DarthFeros

Active member
Moderator
Jedi Council
IC: Darth Krayt
Temple Courtyard
Korriban

The Cries of War


Like pitch-black tears, they fell from the obscene shapes in the sky. Drop pods. Smashing into the searing sand, kicking dust and rock in their magnanimous weight, and cracking like wicked eggs, spilling remains out about the sand floor.


Krayt watched in revulsion as the remains began to take life and move, like some amalgamous writhing mass. They took singular forms, wailing and gnashing teeth, and charged the Courtyard, a violent wave of skeletal reanimations, rotting flesh and hanging here and there, but mostly, just jagged, wickedly sharp bone, armed with all mannerisms of weapons. Vibroblades, swords, antiquated blasters, pikes and spears. War was here. And it ran headlong at the bickering Sith like a tidal wave of pure malice.


He also felt another presence, or group of presences rather. Cold and oily in the Force. Krayt thought maybe he recognized part of it. He'd felt something similar while floundering in the torment of Chaos. It caused him to shudder, even in the blazing heat of the Korriban desert. It felt like death, pure as driven snow on Hoth, and as malevolent as any beast stalking any Tomb across the Galaxy known. His mind raced at the implications.


"This is bad." The voice in his head said to him.


"Do you think? Maybe just? So you have anything useful to add? Or are you going to continue to state the obvious."


"I know at least one of those presences popping up, Krayt. Everyone here needs to leave. You all need to run. Or everyone here is going to die."


"Refreshing."



Snap-hiss. The familiar sound. Krayt's second oldest and truest friends, come to thrumming life in his palms. The emerald green and deep crimson setting themselves apart, even against the burning rage of Horuset. There would be little chance to leave now without battle. None would leave unscathed. Such was combat, itself as inevitable as the icy grip of death. He relished it. And then the undead tides were on them.


Krayt felt the waves of dying life wash over him like some cleansing fire, such a familiar and welcomed feeling. It invigorated him. Gambling with life, others and his own, had always been his own form of art, his sabers his brushes. He felt the tide of the Dark Side all around him, and opened himself to it, feeding off of it, hoping to strengthen himself.


He also smiled as he felt Marissiah Fel die. And he saw K'kruhk being overwhelmed. He saw Gar Stazi pinned to the ground, a beast snapping at his throat. He saw the pitiful jailer that was watching them have his innards spread across the sand like puzzle pieces. He saw Apollyon fighting for her life, somehow managing despite her garish ball attire. Everyone was wrapped up in it now. The Force was boiling like a kettle with the feelings of anger and fear and resolve. He loved it.


The ships though, they were still a problem. He could only imagine what sort of weapons they brought to bear. And his ship was on the edge of the system. He could meet the Maw later. "Captain. Make the jump out of the system. Get away anywhere you can. Comm me when you're there and I'll meet up with you. Get out of the Horuset system, whatever the cost. I will not sacrifice my ship to this ridiculousness."


He spoke the words into a small comm unit in his ear. He only hoped the captain and crew would manage to get away. He wasn't a fan of the pandering brown nosed Nazat Barr, but the man was capable, and he ran a tight ship. Krayt had faith he would get the job done. Besides, he had other things to worry about at the moment.


He saw the skeleton, it's expression unchanging as it hurled its disks towards him and the others while wildly stabbing its halberd. Krayt wasn't sure the stab was coming for him, but he knew there was no need to risk that. He knew his beskar armor would likely stop the disk, but if it hit flesh, it would slice and tear, and it could be poisoned. He saw Xarxes go down, and the Hesperian Guards being overwhelmed. It was going to be a long shot, but it was the shot he had. And, he knew, he'd been in worse immediate situations. He started to twirl his sabers around him, weaving a barrier of defense around himself in an effort to block the disk away, as well as anything else he couldn't see coming towards him.


He was well aware what he was about to do was a roll of the dice, so he set his mind and sunk himself into the old familiar feeling, letting the Dark Side and years of practice take over his mind. When he went into this state, it became a trance, His neural pathways remembering the movements he'd spent decades perfecting in training and battle against enemies ranging from droids, to clones, to bounties, to Jedi, and even Gods. This was his dance, his wicked ballet of death and mutilation. It was well practiced, and he was the maestro orchestrating the symphony.


But the skeleton was still between him and the ones he had claimed as his immediate party. He'd promised his forces to Hesper, and for the time being, he meant it. Besides, her party intrigued him greatly. He pulled the Force harder into himself, and, keeping his Barrier of blades spinning around himself, charged headlong at the skeleton in his path, trying to put on a burst of speed he knew was only capable with the Force, trying to turn his defensive barrier into an offensive storm of weaving plasma, wicked blades sundering and dicing all in his path as he ran to his newly-pledged comrades' aide. He knew if he could get to Xarxes, he may be able to help any pain the man was in and put his formidable power back in the fight. But he had to get there.

Powers Attempted:
Feed on Dark Side - 4
Saber Barrier - 3
Force Speed - 4
Battlemind - 4



TAGS: @Darth Dreadwar, @Arach, @dragonsith13, @Grievance Vexx, @Reiis Invadator, @Drakul_Xarxes, @G.Kn, @Admiral Volshe, @Darth Kain, @Hadzuska_The Jester, @Darth Nathemus, @Darth Xirr, @Darth Solus, @DarthNoxia, @Jihadi Quartz, @Voidwalker, @Ānhrā Māhnîu, @Reatith Blodraald, @Darth Thana, @Sith_Imperios, @Cardun Vrek, @Darth Sedicious, @Helkosh, @Darth Xxys, @Metus, @Catalyst, @Nacros_Telcontare, @corinthia
 
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Hadzuska_The Jester

Active member
Moderator
Dark Council
IC: Hadzuska
Library, Sith Temple, Korriban


Hadzuska took no time, he had just left a powerful opponent standing there after gaining what he wanted. He had to find what he wanted, and move before the Lord found him. Sith were naturally vengeful, and Hadzuska wouldn’t put it past the betrayed Lord to hunt him down.


Pushing some books aside Hadzuska approached a dataconsole to search for the keywords. The Builders. The darkness he had felt previously seemed to grow even more so. He had to hurry.


And then he was no longer in the library. He was on a battlefield, blasters fired at him and others around him, all that came at him were deflected by his crimson saber as he charged at the enemy with a battle roar. All who did not submit would die. He spun to avoid another volley of blaster bolts and beheaded three of the soldiers firing at him and his men. He briefly saw his reflection in the helm of the soldier, he was a blue twi’lek, corruption clearly seen on his skin, with piercing yellow eyes, his teeth filed to points. “WE WILL NOT FALL! WE WILL NOT FALTER! CHARGE AND KILL THEM ALL IN THE NAME OF OUR LORD!


Another warrior came running from a nearby battlement to greet him with their emerald blade. Finally, someone worth his time in battle. As his men came to help him he waved them off, this warrior was his, and his alone. The blades met. Once. Twice. Three times. And then a flourish each blow coming down harder than the last, somehow parried with ease by the emerald blade. With a growling roar he raised his blade high above his head ready to bring down all his strength on the emerald saber’s master, only to find that emerald blade had pierced his heart. As the world faded to black.


Then he was back in the library. What the hell was that about? Whatever. He had a task to complete. Memorizing what he could to find the information on the keyword of The Builder’s, he inputted the other keyword, The Architects. Waiting for the information to hopefully he waited impatiently to come up on the screen.



Tag: @Darth Nathemus, @Darth Dreadwar, @skira, @Loharr Talem, @Voidwalker , @Darth Solus, @Jihadi Quartz, @Cardun Vrek, @Reatith Blodraald
 

skira

Active member
Moderator
Dark Council
IC: Sol Kira
Sith Temple, Korriban

“A vision of the future is not possible without an accurate knowledge of the past.”

“Go out to the hallway. Find a separate room away from these people. Now.” The demon rasped. It was all too much. The demon was everywhere all at once, overwhelming her thoughts, mind and senses. When Karin walked in and spoke to her, Sol couldn’t even process it. It was all too much. All at once. She looked to the kids, then to the remaining ones in the throne room.

“I need a moment to myself, I’ll be right back,” she said, her voice shaking. “Do not follow me,” She said to Karin, hate in her eyes. Her face was as pale as a ghost, as if she had seen a dead body. ‘What is he doing to me?’ She thought to herself, and a chuckle echoed through her mind. She walked quickly to another room, her chest heaving. The room froze, everything around her froze, until the demon appeared in front of her.


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“You look different, Zoradon,” She said, looking at him angrily. She crossed her arms in front of her chest, taking in his image. He was grey and tall, but hunched over. Much different than he had appeared to her months ago before he corrupted her mind. “How did you do this?”

“I have many different forms, my Child. It’s one of the many benefits of being me,” He said, matching her stare. “I have stopped your perception of time, just another one of my illusions. If anyone walks in, they will merely see you speaking to yourself. Apparently me speaking to you from your mind isn’t good enough. It had to be face to face. You needed a reminder of what I can do if you do not do as I ask. You need to listen to me. You need to go. Now. You know what this threat means, I did not give you this gift for you to waste it away!”

“You do not get to control what I do!” She yelled back at him, not caring if someone could hear her.


“You have run from everything for 3 years, and now in this moment you’re choosing the opposite!?”

“I have not!”

“You ran from your father, you ran from Trev, you ran from the truth of what your mother saw!”

“Stop,” She muttered then, her voice cracking. She placed her hands on her head, trying to stop this. Trying to stop his trick on her mind.

“You run! You have always ran! Your people need you, Onderon needs you! Your father won’t protect them, they need you more than these kids! They have their mother, they have multiple Sith Lords protecting them! Who’s protecting you other than me!?” He took a step towards her and Sol stepped back, he looked as if he’d kill her. Sol thought about her Master, about how he had protected and tormented her, but said nothing.

“Stop!” She shouted at him, throwing her hands down. Visible electricity tangled around them, but nothing more.


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“If you refuse to see it, to see this threat, I will force you to see what you’ve done, perhaps the past will motivate you!” He took another step towards her, and placed his hand on her head. He vanished, and Sol fainted, her eyes still open & turning black.

155 ABY

She peered outside the broken window, and saw Braell laying there. Lifeless.

“Kriff,” She whispered, looking at the person that had just said he loved her. Her hands were shaking. ‘How did I do that?’ She thought to herself, her hands shaking. She didn’t even touch him, she had moved her hands in the air and he was… gone. Dead.

Dead. Oh, she’d be dead if she stayed here. Her father beat her for much less, if he even needed a reason. She was moving before she could even think, grabbing her cloak and wrapping it around her body. She looked back at the broken glass, at her room, and left without a second thought.

She ran, her dress and cloak swished behind as she ran and ran. The guards weren’t there… Why weren’t they anywhere? She didn’t care, she ran anyway. If she got caught she’d be beaten and eventually killed when her father would learn what she did, this was her only chance.

She didn’t realize she had reached the ships until she was there. A freighter was loading items… She ran there, sneaking past the droids and hiding behind some of the cargo they had already loaded.

This was it. She was leaving.


Early 156 ABY

“When I wake up, you cannot be here. We will find one another one day, when it’s safe. I promise Trev.” She said, and he cried with her. The drowsiness began to take effect, and she leaned her head back to the pillow. “Please. I cannot bare to watch you leave.” She said, and he nodded.

“Let me kiss you, one last time.” He said, and she nodded. His kiss was soft and gentle, he was the only home she had ever known.

“I love you.” She said as the world around her began to fade, and the last thing she saw before she lost consciousness was him, looking at her with all of the love in the world.

When she awoke again, it had been a few days at least. She looked around the room, her drowsiness slowly wearing off. He was gone, leaving nothing behind but a small black box on the table next to her. She cringed in pain as she grabbed it, and a sob escaped her lips as she looked only to see a ruby ring.

He was gone.

After a week of recovering from the wound, the bacta had done its job, and she was sent on her way. She went to Korriban, following the instructions Korrian had given her almost a year before.


Late 156 ABY

“Oh Solisius, of course not. Your father and I just decided-“ Sol interrupted her again, “Stop calling me that! You decided to leave me with him? To leave me with a monster?” She finished, and her mother let out a slight laugh.

“A monster? Sweetie, your father is anything but a monster.” Her mother said, and Sol stood abruptly from the table, her chair falling back at the motion.

“My father abused me every single day until I was 18 years old! You know absolutely nothing about me, about what I had to go through when you left!” She shouted at Vorra, the woman’s expression remaining the same. “He hit you! I remember it!” Sol continued, smacking her hand against the table.

“That was an illusion, your father thought it would be easier for you to think I was dead. I just wanted to keep your brother safe,” Vorra said, and Sol took the cup and threw it against the wall, the porcelain scattering and the tea splattering against the wall.

“My what?!” Sol said, gritting through her teeth. Her mother’s face turned red, either out of anger or embarrassment, she couldn’t tell. Vorra stood to meet Sol’s stance, both of them staring aggressively at one another.

“When you were born, your brother was born a few minutes after,” Vorra said, and Sol turned from the table, placing her hands on her head to try to calm down. Her anger consumed her more now than it ever had, she felt it burn in her chest.

“Is that who is in this picture?” She asked, pulling the crumbled photograph that Korae had stolen and placing it on the table.

Vorra looked up at Sol and back at Korae, “So it was you that broke into my house?” She asked him, but he remained silent, afraid of the chaos Sol was about to induce.

“My whole life I thought my father was the evil one, when really it was the both of you. All you’ve ever done is lie to me!” She shouted, walking quickly over to Vorra and wrapping her hands around her neck and slamming her against the wall. Vorra struggled against Sol’s hands, gasping for breath.

“Please, if you’d just… Let me explain, I saw your… our future in a dream… you were going to be the death of us… it was the only way.” She struggled to get out, and Sol released one of her hands from her mother’s neck, only to grab her saber and ignite it, piercing it into Vorra’s stomach.

She could hear Korae gasp behind her, and she grinned wickedly at Vorra, who stared back at Sol, horrified. “I don’t want your explanation, I don’t want to know what was in that vision. I don’t want anything from you, other than for you to die like you should have 16 years ago.” She said, and held Vorra there until stopped breathing. She turned off her saber, and reattached it to her waist holster.

“Go find a big enough box to ship her in, I’d like to send my father a life day present.” She said, and turned from her mother’s body as well as Korae, and walked through the village and back to the shuttle.


157 ABY, Current Time

And then she was in the dark, completely dark. Still an illusion, to anyone that had walked into the room they would see her laying there, screaming but unable to hear anything.

“You were born evil, born cruel. You’re wicked to the bone,” The voice of her mother echoed through her mind.

“I’ll beat this evil inside of you out. You will never leave this castle until you’re stable!” Then her father, his deep and raspy voice all too familiar to her even after years.


“You need to run, Sol. It’s what you’re good at. Run. Or I will take control, and you will not like what I do.”

She snapped out of the illusion in her mind, gasping for breath. Her eyes returned to the yellow color, and she looked around, panicked. Her Master and Karin kneeled beside her, both of them holding onto her arms. “How long have I been out?” She thought to herself, panicking.

“Only a few minutes, my child.” He replied, and she was slightly relieved.

“We have to go. Please. We have to go,” she begged her master, scrambling to sit up. “Please, we shouldn’t have come here. We have to go. I don’t want to die. There’s so much I haven’t told you, and I’m sorry. But I can’t tell you it all here. We have to get off this planet, we have to live…”

She paused, noticing someone else in the door frame of the room she had wandered off to. Lord Voidwalker.


“My father will not help the people of Onderon, he is a coward. We have to get off this planet, I need to go home. We need to go home.”

TAGs: @Darth Nathemus , @Hadzuska_The Jester , @skira , @Loharr Talem , @Voidwalker , @Darth Solus , @Jihadi Quartz , @Cardun Vrek , @Reatith Blodraald @Darth Dreadwar

(Note: Anyone that was moved in this move approved the move!)
 
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Darth Cruor

Well-known member
Immortalis
Darth Cruor
Above Korriban

Darth Cruor’s cloak whipped furiously behind him as the Star Dragon stretched out it’s wings and soared freely as it began to distance itself from The Wrath of Vader, he allowed Draa’zekyl to enjoy these brief moments of freedom. That freedom would be cut short however for the Dark Lord’s attention was called to something nearby, something far too close to be ignored.

The baleful gaze of The Taral surveyed all around him but saw nothing that did not belong, only the countless allied ships of The Eternal Fleet. Senses far keener than eyesight told him otherwise however, he could feel their offensive aura clearly. He had lived among them for so long, too long, to mistake it for anything else. False Sith! Heretics! Their time had come, by the end of this day the power of their kind would be diminished and their ranks decimated. “The Force betrays you!” His voice would not be heard by those seeking to evade detection, so he reached out and attempted to communicate his threat directly to their minds. “You cannot hide. I see you.”

An armored knee pressed against the dragon's side indicating a change of direction, the direction in which Lord Cruor felt the presence of the Jidai most strongly, and urged Draa’zekyl to pick up speed. The dragon veered sharply, without question, obeying it’s master. “Breath fire!” The Dark Lord commanded of it’s beast, though firing blindly Cruor hoped his senses were keen enough to give the dragon a chance at hitting whatever it was that was up here with them.

Tag: @Darth Dreadwar @Ānhrā Māhnîu @Darth Sedicious

Powers Used: Telepathy (5)
Draa’zekyl: Breath Weapon
 
IC: Darth Xiannarr
Dungeons beneath the Sith Temple, Korriban

Xiannarr’s eyes followed, as Ermir tossed his stubbed cigarra to the ground. My, my, does he have any respect for this place at all? Xiannarr thought to himself, still unable to break through the overseer's mental defence. Xiannarr began to feel uneasy, something was deeply wrong here.

What exactly is going on upstairs, for the Force to react in such an unusual way? Why does it not seem to bother you? These thoughts raced through Xiannarr’s mind, as Ermir ignored the Dread Master’s offer to work together. Instead Ermir chose to threaten the apprentices who had begun to receive holo-messages from their Masters. Clearly there was something afoot upstairs that affected them all, but Ermir, drunk on the power he lorded over those below him, could not or would not acknowledge it.

Xiannarr took note, just as much as Ermir had, that Apprentice Dymos had already completed the last and stood weaponless and forceless in the room. To the Dread Sorcerer’s knowledge, she was the only one without a Master. Xiannarr took note, much as Ermir had, that Apprentice Dymos, who to the Dread sorcerer's knowledge had not received a communication from a master, had already completed the assigned task and stood weaponless and forceless in the room. While Ermir made a big show of bowing to her, Xiannarr turned his attention back to the cigarra. He so desperately wanted to light it, but he had failed to force the information from Ermir’s mind whether it was safe or not, and therefore ultimately chose to place it in the pocket of his robe.

“Xiannarr, make sure these louts do as they’re told,” Ermir snapped. Xiannarr raised an eyebrow at him for the second time in as many minutes. It seemed to Xiannarr that Ermir had forgotten that he held no sway or power over him. As the overseer turned and moved to his right, Xiannarr would have to remind the overseer of who exactly he was speaking to.

“Need i remind you Ermir,” Xiannarr spoke softly and slowly, “that you hold no authority over me, though we may be equals you are nothing but a bug to be squashed under my heel. You and I both know the only reason I'm here today is because word of your creepy, disgusting mannerisms had reached the ears of the Dark Council. They have rightly decided you need to be kept under a closer eye.”

Xiannarr’s voice had begun to rise. ”So don't you dare presume to tell me what to do again, or you may just find yourself buried under the sands of Korriban, forgotten forevermore, a fate far more generous than you deserve.”

Turning to the gathered apprentices, Xiannarr would make sure they did as they were told, but it would be what he told them

“Keres, get that mask off and retrieve your weapon. We’re going into those tunnels, something isn't right here. We're going to need to keep our wits about us and retain all of our abilities. As for the rest of you: take the masks and grab your weapons. We’re leaving for the tunnels now.”

Xiannarr whipped around, leaving the path to the tunnels open, one hand on his saber. If Ermir wanted to force the Apprentices to obey, he would have to fight a Dread Master first. And Xiannarr was all too happy to provide one. As he braced himself, Xiannarr activated his Mental Shield and Force Resistance, he wanted to be ready for anything.


Powers used:
Mental Shield- 4
Force Resistance- 3

tags: @Keres Dymos @Kielor @Zareel Jhenan´doka @Nacros_Telcontare
 

Darth Xxys

Active member
Moderator
Dark Council
(XXYS IC)
FEAST/ COURTYARD

"FALL BACK"
Apollyon's voice was laden with panic.
The pyramid vessels had begun to disgorge what appeared to be piles of bones and ichor. Those began to pulse and writhe in the sands of the intervening desert and as they did the piles of offal formed into rude mockeries of warriors.

A roar went up from the risen army and all at once the forward line rushed ahead at furious speed.

The horde covered the first hundred meters in a few seconds. Such was the speed of this attacking wave of filth and a cloud of dust rose behind the advancing onslaught of animated death.

Xxys ignited his saber and came set. He steeled his nerve and gathered the Dark Side to him.
Then they were amongst them, weapons flailing, clawed hands rending flesh, and teeth grinding into bone.

"I-RON!" Apollyon's voice was a screech as she attempted to fend off three skeletal warriors.
"Activate the... Force damn it!" The hulking robot was nowhere insight and Apollyon yelled to her senior commander to seal the blast doors and raise the shields.
"Code 121-Alpha!"

Already there were several dead or dying and as a creature raced past Lord Catalyst it raised its shield in an attempt to smash Xxys' head into the wall behind him.
The Assassin now moved with sudden and violent intentions. The adrenaline had already done its job and sent extra sharpness and focus to his thought and actions, but more importantly it had added to letting his senses give sway to the Dark Side. Time seemed to slow and his eyes bloomed into pools of fire as Xxys became "its" creature, filled with venom and hatred for the wretched mass of diseased flesh hurtling across the sands. A snarl crossed his lips and his actions were swift and decisive.
Xxys dropped his shoulder and bent at the knees to maintain his position and duck under the incoming shield while bringing his saber up and across with a savage stroke in an attempt to split the foul ghoul in two from hip to head, then sent a heavy Shadowstrike directed at the two ghouls closest to Apollyon in an attempt to make a clearing so he could get between her and the horde.

(Force powers used)
Shadowstrike 4
Feed on Dark Side 3 (as the horde approaches)
Force Reflexes 4
Saber form- Makashi 4

TAG: @Darth Sedicious @Darth Dreadwar @Volacius @Darth Nathemus @Darth Solus @DarthNoxia @Drakul_Xarxes @Reatith Blodraald @Voidwalker @Ānhrā Māhnîu @Helkosh @G.Kn @Darth Thana @Hadzuska_The Jester @Sith_Imperios @Cardun Vrek @DarthFeros @Darth Xxys @Admiral Volshe @Darth Xirr
 

corinthia

Imperatrix of the Sith
Staff member
Administrator
Sith Empress
Final Triumvirate
Dark Council
Master of the Order
Jedi Council
Immortalis
IC: Imperatrix Hesper
Korriban
Shouts erupted—and all around, thousands of pods of obsidian black plummeted to the surface of Korriban, sending plumes of blood red sand into the air. The ground tremored and quaked, unsteadying Hesper's bare feet. Within, her mind was an inferno. It blazed with emerald fire and screamed with the voices of a million dead, above all a horrifying shriek echoing in her rattled skull. By Chaos… her memory was in tatters as in the moment she pieced together its meaning once again. She wanted to scream and tear at her hair, kick and scream and swear and swing her fists at those who deigned to feel they were above her warning. But had she even been successful? Had she arrived in time? Never mind preparations or discussion… The time for such was now long since passed.

The pods unleashed skeletons into the sands, and from those sands those skeletons rose, shambling at a frightening pace towards the crowd outside the Sith Temple through dust-clouds of ruby. All was obscured, made hazy. Hesper squinted, raising a hand to shade her eyes. Was that…? Hesper's blood now ran cold; the color vanished from her face, leaving her pale as the driven snow.

"It cannot be," she whispered, her voice drowned out by the clamor of skeleton bones and the roar of shrieks and shouted orders all around her. She felt rooted to the place; shackled by fear.

Could it be…?

"FALL BACK," Apollyon screamed.

Move.

"It is time to leave!"

Go.

"Save that man!"

Go!

"Get them inside first, Zelashiel!"

GO!

"TO THE TEMPLE!"

"Retreat, my lady. I'll cover for you," Arach's voice cut through the fray, but still Hesper's feet refused to move.

It wasn't until her eyes came into focus on the edge of a rust-crusted blade swinging towards her chest that a shuddering gasp escaped her throat and she lurched into action; on instinct, she hurled a powerful telekinetic thrash towards her assailant in an attempt to shove it away from her as she felt an armored arm snake around her waist. Her feet left the chill sands as she was lifted up, Sorin's breath brushing past her ear and fluttering his dark veil as he hoisted her. If she would not retreat, if she would not budge in the face of a futile fight, Force help him, he would remove her himself. As soon as she was lifted, Sorin was already moving, black boots heavy in the bloody sands. The Hesperian Guard followed him as best they could to protect their charge in their Lieutenant's arms, pikes swinging at all threats.

"No!" Hesper cried. Every fiber of her being screamed to retreat, but still, somehow, she yearned to fight. The lightsaber in her hand felt heavy, dangerous. She itched to use it. After all, wasn't this what she came to do? To bring her portents, and then be the sword that would be wielded against what was to come? Wasn't this what her Guard, her Ecclesiae, her Arch Troopers had been prepared for? Surely her careful planning wouldn't be dashed so soon. Fury began to boil over in her chest, seeping through her ribcage and up her throat.

But all the same, her mind was made heavy—a yawning black void still hung with threatening, ominous nearness in her presaging. It was senseless to throw her one life at a threat that was surely not the last. There would be yet more battles.

"Guardsmen, retreat to the Temple!" Sorin bellowed. He paused only briefly to check on his Captain, Lord Xarxes. "Captain, on your feet!"

"Unhand me!" Hesper snarled, struggling against Sorin's arm. "We can fight! We can fight," she insisted, watching the scene unfolding around her with flashing, wild eyes. "We can fight."

"We cannot," Sorin said, his voice grim in her ear. "Not like this. Outmatched, outmaneuvered, outnumbered. We need to live—and you need to lead us."

Sorin was, of course, right. Her brow furrowed, and she balled her left hand into a tight fist, her fingers curling into her palm until her nails nearly cut her. Outnumbered. She began to gather up the Force. If she could not fight, she would make it so they could live another day. So they could wage war.

As Sorin ran with Hesper in arm, Hesper reached out her own arm, feeling the raw power of the Force amassing at her fingertips. And then—she unleashed it, sending it forth in a great, powerful wave towards the ragged crowd of zombies chasing at the heels of Sith fleeing towards the temple. She would try her best to not topple her allies, instead taking aim beyond them. Perhaps it was a last-ditch effort, but… every second was precious in such a dire retreat. In the face of... that. Hesper's eyes remained fixed beyond the clamor of the zombies—and a shiver ran down her spine.


 

G.Kn

Active member
IC: Darth Skyllan
Location: Korriban


---


There were so many things that could describe Skyllan. Some good, some bad. Mostly bad if we’re being honest. One of the things that they could definitely not be described as is a person with a massive damage output. Unlike their master, or his master, Skyllan had never really meshed with those massive elemental attacks. They’d dabbled of course, when their power was still in its infancy, but such powers just hadn’t stuck. They’d been more interested in finding the links that keep people alive and severing them. Pyromancy was flashy, sure, but it didn’t really fit the vibe of the Fallen Angel vibe that Skyllan was going for.

That being said, being able to summon a vortex of flame would have been great right about now.

Fortunately there were people with such talents right here! Including someone who had just offered their services. “You don’t have to ask for permission Thana, just start burning kark already!” Skyllan shouted with a snarl, ignoring the fact that the initial communique had come mentally.

They lent into the reflexes of the Force as a reverent began to swing their weapon. The issue with the halberd, is that if you wanted to hit someone with the blade on the weapon’s head, you had to mark your distance carefully, because if you were too short or too long, then you were going to either miss, or only hit them with the staff section of it. So Skyllan jumped backwards, a great tactic but simple tactic when you are a big person, watching the discs flick out as they did so. They intended to keep heading backwards too. Their alchemized armour could probably tank the undead lackey’s attack, but if the sith master didn’t have to get hit, why the kriff should they?

The crystal of the Sceptre darkened to near black as Skyllan unleashed their power against the attackers. As they called power the weapon brought them, the ashen sith brought their ever hungry drain out to play, leaning on the ever present need to consume the strength of the world around them. -INE/FEED/RIP/DEVOUR/NEED/TAKE/TEAR/POWER/MINE/FEE-. They channeled it through the Sceptre, and starting with the revenant that dared strike at them, they tried to rip the Force animating the zombies near them out. All the while trying to keep pace with the guards that were dragging Hesper into the temple.

In the same moment that they tried to rip the force out of the zombies with one hand, Skyllan tried to telekinetically yank Lady Arach backwards with the guard. Hoping to keep the other Hesperian out of range of the zombies. The master appreciated that she was trying to guard the way for Hesper as she fled, but for one they had grunts for that, and two, there would likely be more fights with death on the line and Skyllan wanted the woman with them for that. ‘Plus. you can always blast the kriffs with lightning as you retreat.’ None of the gathered sith had any business trying to be heroes today, the last thing the Ashen S’kytri wanted was for any of the Hesperians to be caught outside when the doors closed.


---


Powers Used:
Force Reflex (4)
Drain Force (4)
Telekinesis (4)


---


TAGS:
@Darth Dreadwar, @corinthia @Arach, @dragonsith13, @Grievance Vexx, @Reiis Invadator, @Drakul_Xarxes, @G.Kn, @Admiral Volshe, @Darth Kain, @Hadzuska_The Jester, @Darth Nathemus, @Darth Xirr, @Darth Solus, @DarthNoxia, @Jihadi Quartz, @Voidwalker, @Ānhrā Māhnîu, @Reatith Blodraald, @Darth Thana, @Sith_Imperios, @Cardun Vrek, @Darth Sedicious, @Helkosh, @Darth Xxys, @Metus, @Catalyst, @DarthFeros
 

Loharr Talem

Legendary Member
IC: Loharr Talem
Location: Throne Room, Sith Temple, Korriban

~~~~~

I do not know.

The words from Lord Nihl's lips were... surprising, to say the least. In the brief, yet impressionable, time that Loharr had spent around the Lord, he had never known him to be unsure of anything. Just the mere fact that Lord Nihl didn't know how to proceed was... unsettling. Before Loharr could even begin to process the confusion, the Lord spoke up once more.

I believe there is great danger. Hold here, for now, both of you,” Lord Nihl added, gesturing to Loharr. “Guard the heir-children.

This was more like the stone-faced Nihl he had come to be familiar with.

That was all he needed. Loharr stepped forward several feet, pulling one of his lightsaber hilts from his belt. On the second step, he turned around to face the door to the Throne Room. He had been aware of the presence of a newcomer to the Throne Room, but didn't pay any attention to the sounds coming from her. But that didn't mean his guard was lowered in the meantime. No... Protocol ZK-437 enacted, he needed to be alert. He could not afford to give even a single of his senses the opportunity to become distracted.

From behind him, he heard Lord Nihl speak once more, but to whom, he did not know. It could've been Lady Maladi, or it could've been Lord Nathemus. Logic seemed to point towards Lord Nathemus being the likely recipient of these words. He didn't quite comprehend what led him to that line of thought, but Nathemus seemed more combat centric to him. The words were rather simple really. Whoever Lord Nihl was speaking to, he was telling them that he was going to retrieve the Empress.

Next thing he knew, Lord Nihl was rushing out of the Throne Room like umbral blur. Okay... he wasn't expecting that to happen. He moved this thumb to gingerly lay upon the activator switch of his lightsaber, just in case. He was focused. He was observing the door. He was contemplating the possible events that may unfold.

But, admittedly, the next sound that he heard threw him off... albeit, just a little bit.

I need a moment to myself, I’ll be right back,” Sol said, her voice uncharacteristically different. “Do not follow me.

He turned, his eyes moving more than his head. He looked at Sol, only to see her stricken with a mix of emotions. Based on her breathing, her drained complexion... if he had to wager a guess, the chief emotions were fear and confusion. But he wasn't sure how accurate such a guess was. Although, his suspicions of the guess of 'fear' were increased when her breathing changed to a heaving rhythm and she quickly vacated the room.

His eyes turned to face the newcomer to the room.

He took a step. Not forward, but backwards. Towards the Imperial Heirs. Increasing the distance between himself and a viable opponent was always a good idea. The greater the distance, the larger the margin of error was for any reaction he would take. Eventually, the newcomer turned and left the Throne Rom, giving Loharr a little bit of room to take a breather.

So there he stood, waiting.

What would happen next? Would the Throne Room be assaulted by Stormtroopers and other Sith? Would more allies come to bolster the seemingly ever-thinning ranks of those protecting the Imperial Heirs? Or Perhaps they would receive orders to take the children and flee. To take a ship and get them off this dusty, arid rock. Or would the strategy be to remain on Korriban? Either way, what happened next, he could never have predicted in a hundred years.

In through the doors to the Throne Room came an Imperial Knight. He was carrying a body. Okay... considering the tension, not strange. Then, through the doors behind them, came the Empress. Then behind her, was Lord Nihl. The Imperial Knight carefully set the body onto the floor. As this happened, Loharr watched as the Empress fell to her knees. The flurry of emotions on her face were far too plentiful to even attempt to begin to decipher what emotions were coursing through her thoughts.

He watched as the events unfurled before him.

The Empress' hands moving, placing itself upon the body of the one the Imperial Knight had brought in. A swirl of vibrant purple and brilliant blue, swirling in tendrils around the body.

What was going on? What was the Empress doing? Who was the one on the floor before them all? These were all just a few of the many questions flittering about his mind. Wait... dammit! He attempted to regain his now scattered focus, and for the most part he was successful. But what was that one question that continued to plague his focus and distract his mind?

Who was the one the Empress was leaning over?

~~~~~

TAGS: @Darth Nathemus, @Hadzuska_The Jester, @skira, @Darth Voidwalker, @Darth Solus, @Jihadi Quartz, @Cardun Vrek , @Reatith Blodraald, @Darth Dreadwar
 

Darth Nathemus

Sedriss of House Dreadwar
Staff member
Moderator
Grand Master
Final Triumvirate
Dark Council
Jedi Council
Immortalis
Combo with @Admiral Volshe

IC: The Sedriss and Cordé Venau
Location: Throne Room, Sith Temple, Korriban


Everyone in the area was ready to heed the Sedriss' command. If they were commanded to fight, they'd fight. If they were commanded to leave, they'd leave. But as more of the Empress' loyalists entered the throne room, he could feel the worry in his father growing. Darth Nihl never worried. But he was right. Plenty of powerful Sith were already there with the children, but nobody was protecting the Empress.

As Nihl left, drop pods began pouring out of the black pyramidal objects that hung in the Korriban sky. The dread continued to well up in Nathemus' psyche. Something utterly terrible had entered Sith space. The throne room did have a few windows out in the hallway, so he had to take inventory of the coming threat. If they were outside and as awful as he felt they were, they'd be inside soon. As the pods crashed into the ground, their vile contents spilled out and began sprinting across the desert.

//Korriban zombies. I can only hope that the Sith are prepared for this.//

Through the obsidian doors, left ajar in the chaos, came Cordé. She hurried in, out of breath, her chest rising and falling with rapid pace. She did not take a moment to calm it. Her eyes searched the room wildly, and she spun around. Her hands rose in gesture of confusion, her head turning side to side.

She had hurried through the banquet hall, but she had gone past the throne room and had to turn back. Evidently, she had missed something. She looked to Maladi, the twins. Her eyes then levelled on Nathemus.

Fear prickled at the back of her neck, her mind racing. She needed to give him the message. It was vital.

“Where is father? Where has he gone?”

Nathemus' face was grim as his sister asked her question. He wasn't sure where their father would be going as he was unsure of the Empress' location.

"He's left to go protect your mother. He fears she's in grave danger. A feeling I share, though I have no idea what has now arrived on Korriban and why they're threatening us. I can only hope they both return soon."

The chaos beyond flashed in her mind’s eye.

Her breaths echoed in her ears, her feet slamming against the stone. There was the sound of a baradium charge detonating in the courtyard. Another had sounded. And another. She looked through the hall windows, concerned that they were under assault by cannon fire, only to see the source face to face.


The ghastly visage of a single undead met hers in the pane of the courtyard window. A chill settled over her as she leapt back.

She backed up, running towards the throne room with her pace ever increasing.

The throne room she now stood in.

“There are pyramids. Ships! Dozens, no, hundreds of them. And the undead. Sith zombies. They fell from the sky. I saw hordes in the Valley, running towards us. There were a great number.”

His assumptions were confirmed. Hordes and Legions of zombies now attacked the open grounds outside the Temple. The Sedriss badly wanted to fight. It'd been weeks since he had a good fight. But their task here was more important. Protect the heirs to Dreadwar's throne. To Volshe's throne, should she choose to sit in it.

"Korriban zombies are a fearsome foe, especially in Legions. But they are a foe we can take. If they come for us, shoot for the head. I am fearful of the ships, however. They just hang there. It's like their built entirely of the Force. I thought the Sith were the ultimate power of the universe. Who are these that descend on the Sith home with Legions of Sith zombies at their command? I'm just worried about father and your mother, she has been gone far too long and now he's left too."

“I do not know,” she said, hand rising to her mouth. Her fingertips rest there, the electric current spawning from them and humming through her. She was brimming with anxiety, echoing through the Force, though she would not admit it. “But she is alive. I only saw her minutes ago, and I still feel her-“

A wave of nausea overcame her, as if the words she had only just spoken had become a portent. Concern. Fear. All things she had not often felt rippling through the bond her mother and her shared. Her perception was keen enough to feel the distress of others and the call of death, and death she felt, the last moments of more than one soul somewhere beyond. It was not her mother. Blessedly, it was not her mother.
“She is afraid, conflicted, but alive. I do not know what is happening.”

She turned to the doors, slowly, darkness settling in her gaze.

A few moments passed by before Nihl and Volshe came barreling back into the Throne Room. An Imperial Knight was with her but it was the other being that caught the Sedriss' eye. Volshe held onto a severely wounded Marasiah Fel. He briefly thought that she should just be left to die. Of course the only good descendants of Vader were the dead ones. But that thought passed like a fleeting shadow. Fel was one of the leaders of the Federation. If she could be made to serve the Empress, perhaps the Sith could rule once more. Or perhaps rule no longer mattered.

The Empress knelt down and attempted to heal Fel and Lord Nihl was evidently lending his strength, though he had no healing skills of his own. Nathemus held a Healing Talisman, but its power paled in comparison to hers. She was able to knit his neck back together after his head was nearly severed so many years ago.


"Father, Empress Volshe," he greeted them relieved. "Thank the Force you've both survived. Hopefully the same can be said for Lady Fel."

His Sword and Axe were still gripped tightly, ever at the ready should their enemies come for them. No harm would come to his family, and if he went down, Force willingly he'd stand right back up again. It was strange that Nacros had not joined him in the throne room yet, as he was typically very prompt. He could still feel him, and he was certainly still alive.

"Empress, what is our next move? Will we stay and try to fight them off Korriban or will we try to escape with our lives?"

Volshe did not immediately answer, nor did Nihl, the swirling energies of the healing attempt surrounding her as she worked. The Force itself seemed to bloom with life, the power raidiating outwards. Perhaps she heard, perhaps she had not. Only time would tell.

Cordé did not rush forward, though she did feel a wave of relief as they entered. She moved instead to stand beside Nathemus, so quiet that she was barely a whisper in her approach.

“I do not think we can escape,” Cordé said, gravely, quietly. There were too many ships. She did not wish to run as others seemed to, she only calmly considered all options. There seemed to be no escape for those who did wish to run. “I think they would capture us.”

"If we get captured, we take down whoever they are from the inside out."

“If we are captured...”

She nodded, but her mind was elsewhere, travelling along the intricacies of the Force. She barely processed the idea of their capture. It seemed a surreal concept even with her focus entirely cantered on the situation unfolding before them.

Her mind spread out, but it was not in the plane of the Force most envisioned. It was beyond, the threads of time itself. She did not command the talents of a prophetess with any expertise, not like the women who had taught her in the mountains of Serenno, but in a moment like this, any advantage could ensure their safety and survival. She pursued the strands, one by one, searching for the paths of fate and where they might converge. It was an art not dissimilar to that of Darksight, commanded by the Prophets who had long since passed, but it was its own talent she had displayed proclivity for. One the Vahlan women - and the witches of Dathomir - used in their tellings of the future. Each thread resonated with a thousand possibilities, but each one was obscured by the darkness and confusion that plagued them all. Her brow furrowed, narrowing her glazed eyes as she stared into the walls sculpted with tendrils and gasping visages. Her hand rose, reaching out.

The gesture summoned her to their confluence of every possibility. What was usually a tapestry embroidered with glimpses of future of was no longer. It was disorderly, reaching towards the tangled mess of illusory thread that rippled before her.

There must have been a way, some remedy she could not see, hidden beyond the curtain of shadow. She searched, moment by moment, plucking each thread to test its path and hoping the night would rise from her vision. She willed herself to find what might release the tortuous knot, to allow her to realize what might lie ahead.

POWER USED:
Heartshadow - 3 (Cordé)

TAGs: @Admiral Volshe, @Hadzuska_The Jester, @skira, @Loharr Talem, @Darth Voidwalker, @Darth Solus, @Jihadi Quartz, @Cardun Vrek, @Reatith Blodraald, @Nacros_Telcontare , @Darth Dreadwar
 

Cardun Vrek

Well-known member
IC: Darth Mavros

Temple of the New Sith Order, Korriban

Solus did not wait around for long. He quickly dashed inside the temple, and Mavros followed, lightsaber cutting through the air, humming maliciously. He was still unsure that this rescue of the younglings was a productive use of their limited time. But arguing would get them nowhere. Those pyramid ships in the sky weren’t going to just sit there forever. An attack was coming, that was certain. The only thing that was not certain was the nature of the attack.

We should focus on leaving, not saving younglings. They’re only going to be a burden. We should save the people who matter.

But the Empress had made her decision, and Mavros’ best move right now was to follow her lead. Solus continued to charge down the familiar halls of the temple, heading for the younglings quarters. He quickly issued an instruction to his Apprentice Reatith. Mavros frowned slightly; something was bothering him, but he couldn’t quite put his finger on what it was. Solus spoke again, and Mavros turned his attention back to the Commandant.

“Mavros, I need you to clear ahead of us after we reach the younglings. I will gather them and have them with me. Make sure we have no combatants in our path. Operation Darkfire is now under full swing. Any questions?”

Darkfire? What is Darkfire?

He opened his mouth to ask the question aloud, but swiftly closed it, deciding that it was a poor use of their limited time. He simply shook his head and looked down the corridor, keeping his eyes peeled for anything out of the ordinary. He had his instructions, that was all he needed now. That odd feeling passed over him again. What was it that was wrong? It seemed obvious, but still he couldn’t quite yet solve the puzzle.

Solus took off again, talking now into his commlink, issuing orders. Mavros couldn’t help but appreciate the man’s discipline. Many outside had panicked, and Mavros had almost fallen into that state himself. But Solus seemed remarkably calm, the hallmark of an experienced military leader. They would need more like him if they were to survive this. They reached the younglings quarters. Solus stopped, and turned to address Mavros once more.

“Mavros, move now. Reatith, after his report collect Roshkas and catch up with us, I need you to help protect the children.”

Moving up now!” Mavros replied, and he continued to run ahead, his lightsaber still held at the ready. This part of the temple was remarkably quiet, given what was happening outside. All he could hear was the low hum of his lightsaber, and the sound of his quickening breaths. It was too quiet.

THE ALARM. THE KRIFFING IDIOTS HAVEN’T SOUNDED THE ALARM.

Mavros groaned, that was what had been bothering him. Any decent leader would’ve immediately sounded the alarm to alert everyone in the temple that something was amiss. But Apollyon still hadn’t. Why? Had something happened outside that had prevented her from doing so? Or was she so paralyzed by fear that she had not been able to think straight? There was no way of knowing, but both options did little to alay Mavros’ mounting worries.

I need to focus. There has to be a way out of this.

The path ahead seemed clear enough, but he couldn’t be sure. His eyes could easily be deceiving him, one thing he had learned early enough in his training was that he could never truly trust his mundane senses. He reached out with the force, attempting to enhance those senses, and pick up on any potential dangers he otherwise could not detect. He glanced back towards Lord Solus. He was being accosted by one of the Overseers, an eldery Devaronian female. Mavros knew the Overseer was likely being protective of her young charges, but he groaned. How had she not picked up that something was wrong? Was she blind, or stupid? Overseers weren’t picked for their prowess, that was for sure.

In Mavros’ mind, it was an easy career, and to take up the role was to accept one’s own mediocrity. Any Sith worth their salt would want to prove themselves worthy of ascending further. Spending one’s time training Acolytes and Apprentices in the basic tenets of the Sith Order stuck out as having a lack of ambition. Someone had to do it, he supposed, but a true Sith would want to do more than simply teach. Mavros had taken an Apprentice, as was expected of him, but he had trained his apprentice in the more advanced techniques, and molded him into a worthy Sith. I wonder what became of him? He had lost contact with his apprentice when the Empress had sent him on his mission. He wondered if the Ithorian yet lived. He also wondered whether Lord Solus would tolerate the Overseer, or simply rid himself of her.

But he couldn’t take his attention away for too long from his current orders, and turned back to face the corridor ahead.. He continued to reach out with the force, and took up a defensive stance with his lightsaber, holding it tightly with his right hand. With his left, he pulled out his commlink, and whispered into it, attempting to contact Lord Solus.

"My Lord, the way ahead seems clear of danger. The Temple does not appeared to have been breached."

For now.


They had to get to that hanger, and soon.


Power Used:
Force Sense-3

TAGS: @Darth Dreadwar, @Darth Nathemus, @Hadzuska_The Jester, @skira, @Darth Voidwalker, @Darth Solus, @Jihadi Quartz, @Loharr Talem, @Reatith Blodraald
 
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Keres Dymos

Active member
IC: Keres Dymos
Dungeons beneath the Sith Temple, Korriban

Wonderful. While Keres' internal toil had happily switched to irritation in the face of being the only apprentice to be wearing a mask, she hardly wanted to be singled out for it. The anger roiled within her, overtaking the fear that she had made a terrible mistake in the face of her fellow apprentices attempting to flee. Stiffly, she bowed back to Overseer Marcus and turned to leave and go down to the tunnels, when Master Xiannarr's spark of distaste abruptly became a conflagration.

She jerked back instinctively at his apparent change of heart towards them, and his use of her given name. Was he... was he going to fight the Overseer about this? She didn't understand. If they were fighting upstairs, wasn't that normal for these banquets? She'd heard about feasts past, even if Lady Apollyon was attempting to make things stay civil. Was this some greater threat? The rest of the apprentices had gotten communications telling them to leave, but was it because their masters were losing or merely trying to get away? Or was Master Xiannarr using a banal fight as an excuse to fight Overseer Marcus? Marcus would be useless to figure out the truth, at this point he was only going to double-down on trying to make them obey orders. But was he correct?

She didn't have enough information.

But she had options.

Whipping around, Keres grabbed the key and her saber, hastily tucking them away and flat out running for the tunnel stairs. At least Master Xiannarr had cleared that path, and Overseer Marcus was likely to be distracted by that long enough for her to get there. If she needed the mask, she had it, if she needed her saber, she had it. The fear and anger were tangling. Fear that it wouldn't be enough, fear of disobeying, fear of above and below and no knowledge beyond what was in front of her. Anger, and a bitterness, that she had no Master, no one to tell her what was going on and why she should flee. Anger that she had to rely on brute instinct to make her decisions and never had enough information to be smart about them.

She hated it. But once more she had chosen, and she could only hope she hadn't chosen wrong.

TAGS: @Darth Dreadwar, @Kielor, @Zareel Jhenan´doka, @Undying Master Xiannarr, possibly @Nacros_Telcontare
 

Grievance Vexx

Dark Lord Krigsbefallaf
Staff member
Moderator
Dark Council
IC- Lord Grievance Vexx
Location- Korriban


For as much as Draconis can unnerve him with his strange sense of calm, the Krigsbefallaf finds the most peculiar reassurance within it. He watches in captivated silence as his master from the distant past lowers himself to the ground and seems to commune with the blood-red and blood-soaked sands. Vexx wonders what is going through the dark one’s mind in this moment. If the unfounded currents of terror are effecting him at all, his former apprentice could never know for sure even if his life depended on it. He is tempted to probe for better understanding, but he dares not do so. It feels like it would be disrespectful at best, so he lets Draconis have this moment—whatever it means to him—and patiently waits, keeping Draconis in his peripheral vision while his eyes remain on the skies.

He is vaguely aware of an unseen pull from someone with close ties to Invadator; a tall being with a skull-like helm. Mentally and physically, Vexx anchors himself where he is. He will follow only one person’s orders here: Hesper’s. He will stay with one person he is charged with guarding: Draconis. Though he knows better than most that Reiis Invadator has convictions as strong as his own, he is also not ignorant of the fact that he cannot be two places at once. He has just now been reunited with two beings he had believed were dead; to lose either of them now is maddening to him. Yet he cannot protect them both if they split up; he would have to make a choice...unless Draconis decides to go along with Invadator’s mission.

He turns toward another voice calling out to Hesper, pledging his army to her command. Still another, a Togruta woman, joins Hesper’s cause, positioning herself nearby to where he and Invadator and Draconis are standing. He once more finds himself feeling suspicious of infiltration, but the feeling doesn’t last long as another wave of baseless terror floods his senses. They have to get out of here! But no. Despite the pull of the skull-helmed one, he will stoically await the Imperatrix’s command. For now, he only shifts his attention back to Draconis as he hears his master speak in an eerily calm tone, suggesting that they “get going” as though they have merely been out seeing friends and it was getting late. He could wish that were the case!


“Where are we supposed to go?” he asks, “With her?” He nods toward Apollyon, from whom he has not sensed anything worthwhile. In fact, he feels like that one is more in opposition of their presence than the other woman Volshe. “Who is to say she would not lead us straight into a trap of her own? Lady Hesper has not commanded us to do anything but survive. If we go from here, we go our own way. As far as I am concerned, no one is to be trusted.”

That crawling sense of fear seizes him one more time and he watches, seemingly mesmerized by the charging army of skeletons without number. A murmured Kaleesh curse word escapes him, barely audible as he stares in disbelief. This must be a nightmare! No. He knows better. This is very real. It is time to fight, and for him, that is just fine. He instinctively positions himself in front of Draconis and Invadator, dividing his two arms into four so as to be able to wield more weapons and still keep a hold of his master. He has less organic matter than they do and it just makes sense that he should guard them both, but as fast as he can blink, they are surrounded.

From somewhere in the fray, blaster bolts fly and they thump against his ribs, one after another in rapid succession. One. Two. Three. Four. His armor is designed to be resistant against this type of weaponry, even the more modern versions, so he isn’t terribly worried that he will suffer debilitating damage, but that doesn’t change the fact that the bolts hurt like hell as a burning sensation reaches deep, even to his organic matter contained inside the ribcage. He fights being paralyzed by a coughing fit and sets two of his lightsabers to spinning to hopefully create a barrier against more blasterfire while he attempts to swat away the attacking skeletons with his free blade.

With Draconis limited in motion due to his bindings, he makes it a priority to defend and counterattack on behalf of his master. While he has no doubt Draconis can still defend himself using only the Force, he is not about to assume or take anything for granted; not when he his perfectly capable of immediate action. The real challenge is ensuring he only does damage to the enemy forces. He doesn’t often fight in such close proximity with allies for obvious reasons: his entire body is a deadly weapon. The hum of Arach’s lightsaber passing between him and Draconis startles him and he almost thinks she is suddenly turning on them, but no. Her words say otherwise. She is merely freeing Draconis—no, both of them!—to fight or flee. He is grateful, yet concerned at the same time and something unseen wraps its cold fingers around his concern and gives a very forceful try at turning it into raw fear.

“They will all die right in front of you!” The tinnitus in his head somehow transforms from mind-numbing ringing to high-pitched terrifying words screamed in his head, seemingly layered in multiple voices that cause him intense fear such as none he has ever known. “You thought them dead for so long and now the Force gives them back only to take them again—this time while you watch!”

This repeated shrieking only he can hear dulls his other senses until he is almost entirely deaf to the battlefield around him. How can this be happening? He has never felt so weak and helpless; utterly useless in the very type of environment he thrives in! How?!

“Open your eyes, Son of Sheelal,” Another voice, one he cannot readily identify, speaks over the internal screaming, though somehow it doesn’t need to shout. It is calming, but stern, layered as multiple voices as well. To Vexx, it sounds as though Invadator, Draconis, EV-A4-D, even his own mother and father, are speaking as one. “This is not who you were raised and trained to be. Krigsbefallaf! War commander! Show the dead what resides in the living!”

Just as suddenly as it had come, all the internal noise peels back and the sounds of battle flood his audio receptors. The cyborg tries to quickly track his allies; he needs to stay connected with them for there is strength in numbers. Letting himself relax in the Force, he reaches out to Invadator, Draconis, and Arach with Battle Meditation in hopes of achieving a unitized balance for combat between the four of them; the seemingly misplaced ones from another time and place.

As he lets the Force culminate toward this power, his mind recalls every battle he has ever faced in which his victory was achieved. He pulls all of these memories to himself, using each one to fuel his confidence that they will be all right, though current circumstances would scream otherwise. His thoughts return to the Huk War, when he was a young and fully organic warrior, pushing back enemy forces. Though the war had hurt his people nearly beyond the ability to recover, there had been small victories and those victories mattered. From there, his memories jump forward more than a decade, reliving his days as an acolyte when a Wookiee Sith Lord had declared he would crack him open like a nut and devour what little of him was left that was actually living. Vexx had faced him without fear and had gained respect enough to be spared an early grave inside a Wookiee’s digestive tract. He recalls his dauntless advancing through the Tournament of Darkness. He had been merely an apprentice then, but he was undefeated and endured to the end as one of three outstanding competitors. His mind then takes him to Hoth and the deadly circumstances faced there with Reiis Invadator fighting alongside him. They had conquered and then moved on, though it nearly cost them their lives. Then came Kancerus and his horrible war against Kalee; his technovirus with which he had infected the Son of Sheelal. The latter might have been done for were it not for Reiis Invadator. Another victory. Kancerus had perished in the way he had intended to destroy Grievance Vexx.

As all of these memories pour into him and convert to confidence and empowerment, he attempts to channel those feelings toward those who fight alongside him. If it takes, whether they choose to fight or choose to flee, they should be unified in their decision and have the courage to act on it.

Meanwhile, he is not ignorant of the events surrounding Lady Hesper. She is being bodily removed from the combat zone. While he is not all that well acquainted with her, he is strangely drawn to the familiarity of her stubborn nature. He had found the same trait in Reiis Invadator and his master had certainly been stubborn enough to put up with his stubbornness for the amount of time he had taken to train him in the ways of the Sith. Perhaps this is what links them all together: a stubborn spirit that is undaunted even in the face of death and destruction.

Even still, Grievance Vexx is not stupid. With his own master affirming that it is a better idea to retreat and now their commander being bodily removed from the battlefield by one of her own for safety’s sake, he knows they must forsake this unfavorable position. With his Saber Barrier now powered by four blades, he turns to follow Hesper, though if his Battle Meditation is successful, he will maintain it in an attempt to help his comrades fight the near unbearable oppression of the baseless fear that threatens their sanity.


Powers attempted:
• Battle Meditation (+4)
• Saber Barrier (+4)

Tag: @Darth Dreadwar, @corinthia, @dragonsith13, @Reiis Invadator, @Arach, @Drakul_Xarxes, @DarthFeros, @DarthNoxia
 

Reiis Invadator

Legendary Member
IC: Reiis Invadator
Korriban

The General's face fell slightly before it hardened into stone. Hadn't her Master heard her?? Did she have to spell it out for him? She needed to help Kielor! But any harsh rebuke that might have formed died in the shock of the chaos that followed. Korriban was cold, but even the decreasing temperature as the sun began to set was nothing compared to the heat of adrenaline that raged through her body now. She doesn't even have time to thump Vexx on the head for stepping protectively in front of her and the others before they are surrounded.

There is no time to strategize...only fight for their lives.

"Makarov!!!" She yelled after her apprentice as he was thrown a distance, a loud crack audible as it happened. She reached out with a telekinetic blast, trying to push away some of the attackers from her apprentice until she could get to him.

All she could do for Kielor now was scream a warning through the Force, lacking words or even distinct mental images. But if he received it, the message would be clear: death had arrived.

A spear threatened to pierce her cybernetic leg. In a flash, the Darksaber was ignited to meet it, swinging to intercept its path as she moved to sidestep the blow. Arach had freed Draconis, so that was either one less thing or one more thing to worry about. It was then that she heard a familiar voice with an unfamiliar accent coming from a familiar face.

The one they called Krayt now. Feros. He was yet close enough to hit, which would express the approximate distaste The General had for this...thing...that had stolen the body of an ally and friend. But she'd have to hit him later. Hesper was carried away by her own guard as the man barked orders, even as the Priestess made her displeasure quite apparent. It actually wasn't the man's shouted command that caught her attention -- it was Lord Vexx's methodical retreat that she noticed first, and she backpedalled to catch up. Leave it to her to be caught up in a fight and not realize everyone else had already departed.

Cutting down skeletal bodies left and right, Invadator counted down the steps to the distance to the Temple.

Powers used:
Telekinesis -- 4
Telepathy -- 4

TAGS:

@Darth Dreadwar, @Arach, @dragonsith13, @Grievance Vexx, @corinthia, @Drakul_Xarxes, @G.Kn, @Admiral Volshe, @Darth Kain, @Hadzuska_The Jester, @Darth Nathemus, @Darth Xirr, @Darth Solus, @DarthNoxia, @Jihadi Quartz, @Voidwalker, @Ānhrā Māhnîu, @Helkosh, @Reatith Blodraald, @Darth Thana, @Sith_Imperios, @Cardun Vrek, @Darth Sedicious, @DarthFeros, @Darth Xxys, @Metus, @Catalyst, @Nacros_Telcontare, @Kielor
 

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