IC: Ermir Marcus
Dungeons beneath the Sith Temple, Korriban
IC: Ermir Marcus
Dungeons beneath the Sith Temple, Korriban
The stair beneath the dungeons resembled the spinal column of a sea leviathan, a long, thin rope of uneven rock winding down into an ocean of darkness. The precipitous spiral had no rail, and each ginger footfall down the craggy vertebrae of its steps was accompanied by the perilous sound of pebbles crumbling away underfoot, skittering in the pitch-black depths. The wall to the left, the only support a hand might seek, gave away after only twelve feet, as the stair continued its relentless convolutions into the midst of a sea of black infinity.
The echoes of falling stone indicated a gargantuan cavern.
The sounds of the dungeons above faded with its light, the faint glow of the passageway whence Keres had come shrinking down to a distant window of flickering orange. A great silence descended, broken only by the intermittent patter of pebbles and scattered rock–and the gasping breaths of those unfortunate few who dared ever descend the secret stair, as the air grew stale and musty, dust rising to choke lungs already shuddering in the clotted perfumes of decay. The dark side was strong here, and oppressive. Not even the glimmer of a lightsaber could pierce the gloom, only, at most, shed the barest illumination upon where the stair abruptly terminated into blackness with each sudden turn.
A hundred blind footsteps, twenty twists of the coil, and the stair ended. A torch flickered to life, unbidden, and the darkness retreated but ten meters, as if temporarily repelled by the tongues of flame flicking from the wall, but circling with rapine intent. Beside the torch was an archway, beyond which nothing could be seen, two more wall-mounted sconces, yet unlit, and two statues, identical save for where millennia of erosion had worn away a crudely carved helmet. A keen student of history might recognise the cruel, hoary countenance of Karness Muur, dead eyes staring with sightless malice above beards of stone.
But there were crueler eyes staring.
A woman stood in front of the archway of darkness. She was not Lady Apollyon.
She turned, as if detecting Keres' presence, and in the flickering light of the torch the demoniac shade of her crimson skin was laid bare, creasing around a rotting half-smile of exposed molars. A Zabrak without horns? A Zeltron with glowing eyes? The fiend was no species Keres had ever seen before.
In her hands was a device resembling a datapad, wires trailing to a crooked niche in the wall behind, suggesting it had been torn out. The screen raced with letters beneath the fiend's black fingernails, flashing between splotches of green and blue with epileptic frenzy. To a master of the lost art of mechu deru, sending a message via the Temple's central training programme was no difficult feat. The perfect trap, overriding an acolyte's skepticism of such self-sabotaging instructions through the sheer authority of their own regent's orders. Perfect, at least, until the last class.
Bodies lay around Keres, barely visible at the periphery of the torch's light. They wore copper masks, and their hands, outstretched as if intent on causing Keres to stumble, bore no lightsabers.
“Jidai,” the strange woman hissed.
And the darkness answered. “Jiiiidaaaiii!” the shadow slayers whispered, slinking from the blackness with pitted swords of iron held aloft in skeletal hands. Their own masks were bone, seven skulls grinning beneath raised hoods of tattered black. “Jiiiddaaaaii...”
Blind to Keres' plight in the underlevels below, Ermir Marcus raised his hand. He saw neither the retreating back of Zareel, nor the absent gestures of Kielor; he saw only red. “You dare address me in that manner,” he shouted at Xiannarr, “you mewling milksop of a mumpsimus, you bantha-brained fool of an imbecile, you Chaos-bound cockalorum!” Among Ermir's many predilections, his eccentric grasp of Basic was perhaps equally notorious to his predation and perversion. Strings of obscure insults, drawn from the dusted pages of a Pius Dea dictionary, usually preceded more lethal chastisement.
A bolt of lightning hurled itself from Ermir's outstretched hand, crossing the distance between the outraged alchemist and his fellow overseer in an instant. But in the furor of his rage, Ermir had misjudged his aim, and the sizzling bolts of electricity screeched past Xiannarr's ear, impacting on the stone wall. An embedded control console sparked, and exploded.
The dungeons were alight with fire.
TAGs: @Keres Dymos, @Undying Master Xiannarr, @Kielor, possibly @Zareel Jhenan´doka
OOC: Ermir Marcus attacks Xiannarr with Force Lightning, equivalent to 3 Skill Points. The Attack Roll is 2 (+ 15 + 5), failing to overcome Xiannarr's Difficulty Class of 30. There is no need to check Kielor's Force usage at this time.
The engines of the Wrath of Vader trailed dark blood as the colossal Star Dreadnaught passed over the TIE Reaper like a great firaxan shark birthed from the black gulfs of Manaan, leaving the lone transport ship and its tenebrous foe bathed in a low arterial glow. Perhaps a silent prayer had been answered, or perhaps Sedicious’ illusions had held true, but the behemoth did not turn; the Devastator-class warship sliced through the fabric of space as a dagger headed towards the heart of Korriban, destroyers launching from its shadowed hangars and wheeling about with dreadful purpose to face the defense flotilla scrambling in confused chaos ahead.
The TIE Reaper faced a leviathan of its own.
“Breathe fire!” Lord Cruor bellowed in the void, and the dragon answered. “Fire!” Lord Māhnîu commanded, and the Reaper retorted.
Draa’zekyl’s gout of flame went wide as the Reaper whirled in evasive action, opening fire with concealed L-s9.3 laser cannons. It had been impossible to tell where the Reaper was previously, but the bolts of ruby plasma streaking from star-spattered blackness now betrayed the invisible troop carrier’s position. Yet 114D had aimed true, and the packets of plasma peppered Draa’zekyl’s armoured hide, scales blistering beneath an onslaught that would have downed any starfighter.
The battle was on.
Aboard the receding dreadnaught, Teraktassi addressed his troops. A thousand glowing eyes, the colour of angry Horuset, glowered from below, ranks of wicked warriors with hulking profiles and crimson skin jabbing the points of their pole-arms against the hangar deck in a chorus of gathering malice. “Gorbazg azg turaktul,” Teraktassi began, in a harsh, alien tongue. Our time has come. “Gurazg orbatok guri nyâsh dyi murok throl, inzig septaka jenihil perann.” For thirty thousand years we waited, in the darkness of the Unknown Regions...
TAGs: @Darth Cruor, @Darth Sedicious, @Ānhrā Māhnîu
OOC: For a space battle between a Pet and a Vehicle, using ordinary battle mechanics of Difficulty Class, Hit Points and Skill Point x d6 Damage rolls wouldn't make much sense (and wouldn't make for a fair fight if contrived to apply, as Cruor's Difficulty Class is much higher), so we will use a simple d20 to determine whether an attack from the spaceship or the dragon hits (with 10 being the target number for success), and a second d20 to determine damage (with 0-5 from the TIE Reaper's laser cannons causing minimal damage, 6-10 causing moderate damage, 11-15 causing severe damage, and 16-20 killing the dragon, while the dragon's breath, canonically stated to be over twenty times more powerful than a turbolaser, will result in moderate damage with a roll of 0-5, severe damage with 6-10, and destruction of the TIE Reaper with 11-20).
The dragon rolled an 8 (with a penalty of -5), unable to overcome the target number of 10, and failing. The Reaper rolled a 16, overcoming the target number of 10, and succeeding; the subsequent d20 Damage Roll was 5. I applied a penalty of -5 to Cruor's Attack Roll to reflect the invisibility of the Reaper, although the Reaper is now firing so its position is no longer so difficult to determine. Sedicious' Battle Meditation wouldn't affect 114D, so I gave no bonus to the TIE Reaper's Attack Roll. This isn't the appropriate power to attempt to mentally dominate Cruor's mount, so did not roll for his usage of Battle Meditation against Draa’zekyl, although will apply a penalty against future Attack Rolls, to accurately reflect hostile usage of Battle Meditation.
A cerulean haze coalesced above the table, striated with flickering streaks of white, a grainy hologram flowing from an embedded projector to tower above Aurelia Chume. Had she but eyes to see, rusted sabatons, sharpened to cruel points, would have occupied her eyeline, as if their owner were defiling her palace by standing upon its furniture, a tattered cloak of black, midnight blue by the projector’s dim light, flowing upwards like an inverse waterfall, terminating six feet above at a cowl of rotting raiment. Nothing could be seen within the hood.
Goledriel averted her eyes, a deep sigh emanating from her painted lips, as she paused near the entryway and turned to face her nightmare. Solaar smiled.
“Darth Traya,” came forth the seething, hissing whisper, each syllable lingering like malignant poison, settling in the chamber with the ominous finality of chosen fate. The voice was as hollow as the tombs of Korriban and chilling as the crypts of Ziost, scratching at the ears as if its audience were being flayed to the bone. It was the same susurrus that had once scourged the galaxy, echoing with the terror of the ten trillion subjects who had stood enraptured by holographic broadcasts that had mercifully lain silent for two years. It was the voice of Darth Dreadwar the Magnificent.
“Aboard the vessel that brought you to these stars,” the hologram hissed, “you swore an oath of personal fealty to me, under the Crown of Verity. In return, I gave you the crown of Hapes. Now, I am come to collect on your debt.”
A rotting gauntlet rose, claws caressing the air. “Lisssten to my words, blind one, and lissten well. Upon receipt of this message, you are to deploy the Battle Dragons of Hapes to the Stygian Caldera. You are to turn all the power of the Hapes Consortium, all its wealth, all its sssoldiers, upon the New Sith Order. You are to lay wassste to Dromund Kaasss and Dromund Felsss, to Ziosst, to Rhelg, to Korriban and Korriz. You are to betray your former compatriotsss, your alliess, and destroy that which you call the Sith Empire, and all its factionss. You will leave none alive.”
Solaar’s smile deepened.
“You will do this thing, Darth Traya, or you will die… for I remind you that your vow of unswerving obedience is unbreakable, and to defy the Crown of Verity is to forfeit your life. Hear my words, blind one, and obey.”
The hologram flickered out, leaving only the silence of death, and the Lady of Betrayal.
TAG: @Darth Traya
OOC: For Traya’s usage of Farsight and Precognition, we will roll d20s with usual modifiers against a DC of 10, followed by d6 Effect Rolls if successful. For Farsight, she rolled a 14 (+19 + 10), and for Precognition, she rolled a 12 (+19 + 10); her Effect Rolls were 5 + 2 and 1 + 4 + 2 + 4, respectively. She cannot perceive anything significant via Farsight, but her Precognition shows her muddled imagery of Solaar grinning beside a ghoul in a desert, and the vague chaos of an attack in a throne room resembling that of the Fountain Palace; Goledriel cannot be sensed in these visions, but they are faded like a snippet of a dream.
Threntel hurled himself into a roll, a sizzling plume of plasma whizzing by overhead, singeing the scarlet-dyed Endorian horse hairs that sprouted from his bronze-rimmed helm. He emerged from his roll in a crouch, pressing his back against a large chunk of permacrete as Deleritas’ voice crackled through his wrist communicator. For a second, turned towards the trench he had just vacated, he was afforded a view of the reinforcements racing across the abandoned speeder park towards the battlefield. There were Stormtroopers with armour as white as Threntel’s own among the black-plated ranks, but they bore no crests; not centurions of the Sith, but privates of the New Galactic Empire, loyal to Empress Volshe. The crimson figures with staves of plasmic silver could only be Imperial Knights.
The Sith governor had been careful to court the favour of Volshe and Apollyon both, Threntel knew, and the recent alliance between the two regents was a welcome implication for the defense of Coruscant. And the Sith Civil War, Threntel thought, but there was no time for further rumination.
Turning, he aimed his blaster rifle around the jagged edge of the boulder, aligning the sights at the retreating back of a Federation soldier. He squeezed off a shot before ducking back behind cover, bringing his wrist towards his visor the instant Deleritas finished speaking. “Pizza the Hutt,” he said simply, providing the Sith Knight with an easily-identifiable position from which to launch his assault; the pizzeria, four blocks past the ruined Dex’s Diner and two blocks past the fleeing Federation lines, was shaped like a giant Hutt. It was larger than any of the other buildings save the locked-down starscrapers, and the durasteel of its sculpted shell would stand up to heavy repeating blasters better than the crumbled ceramacrete of the neighbouring stores.
Deleritas’ suggestion of avoiding friendly fire was obvious, but Threntel still saw utility in blockading the walkway, preventing the Feds from simply fleeing into the neighbouring CoCo District. “Have half your men leave their speeder bikes across the walkway ahead first, block their path before falling to join you in the diner on the right. There’s alleyways on either side, ensure they’re cut off too.” Only the Sith possessed the code cylinders to ignite the speeders’ repulsors, and they were heavy enough to make acceptable obstacles.
Threntel poked out behind his cover again, firing at the evermore distant backs, before standing and waving his hand. “Come on, men!” he shouted, charging forward with his head lowered. The fire from the Federation fighters had diminished to retreating potshots, and Threntel was not the only one to take advantage; he noticed Darth Vesper, accompanied by a retinue of Imperial Knights, ducking into Dex’s Diner. A good vantage point of the battlefield, but the Imperial lines would swiftly sweep past her. What good would her lightsaber do them over there?
Inside, Rand Ko pointed out the window on the right. “My lady, the chaingun turret,” he said. “Can you reposition it?” The Federation artillery had been abandoned, but the two Sith Stormtroopers struggling to turn the heavy gun were not having much luck in pointing it at its former operators, and Ko’s own telekinetic prowess was middling at best. Unlike the Force-blind Threntel, Ko knew a Sith sorceress as Vesper often best served the battlefield through long-range applications of her powers, and a master of the arcane arts brought far more to the table than just telekinesis. “Whoa!” Ko shouted, as Omegon, some sixty meters away, demonstrated the point. “Is that…” A giant rancor reared above the ferrocrete rubble, swiping at enemies left and right. Ten fighters went flying, while three survivors returned fire, aiming for the rancor’s kneecaps.
As Threntel weaved across the walkway past the diner, the great sight of the rancor occluded by clouds of dust and a half-collapsed public refresher, blood and brain matter splattered across his plasteel greaves. He spared the briefest of glances to his left, lip curling in cold satisfaction at the gory sight, before resuming firing upon the routed ranks; two meters away, the Jedi Padawan lay on his back beneath the weight of Dorrian Shadowsun, crushed skull a crimson flower in bloom upon the deck, life-force sluicing into the Force before Pythonus could siphon it. Unharmed, Knight Rayge added his own bloody paint to the battlefield of darkening grey, double-bladed lightsaber activating with a snap-hiss.
The sun’s rays were dwindling behind the horizon, and the final night was falling upon the Federation.
TAGs: @Kint Dranlor, @Rayge, @Dorrian Shadowsun, @Oberleutnant Deleritas, @Darth Vesper, @Senec Tinople (from last round's GM and player tags)
OOC: Dorrian Shadowsun attacks the Jedi Padawan with a non-conventional melee attack. His Attack Roll is 18 + 10, surpassing the Padawan’s DC of 20. For damage, we will roll a single d6; he rolls a 5 + Damage Modifier of 2 + Damage Bonus of 2 for a total of 9, depleting the Padawan’s HP to 0.
Rayge was attacked by a Federation soldier last round, whose level is assigned the same as Rayge’s own. The soldier’s Attack Roll is 10 + 10, matching Rayge’s DC of 20. A single d6 will be rolled for damage; the solier rolls 1. While Rayge should be attempting to absorb or deflect the blaster bolts with a raised hand as per his usage of Tutaminis, we will roll for his usage anyway; his Defense Roll is 4 + 6 + 2 + Defense Modifier of 2, and the blaster bolts are entirely absorbed.
Omegon rolls a 6 + 7 against multiple (arbitrated as ten Level 10) Federation grunts and multiple (arbitrated as three Level 20) Federation officers and experienced soldiers. This overcomes the grunts’ DC of 10, and Rancor melee damage of 15 with a Damage Modifier of 1 is used. The ten Federation grunts’ HP are reduced to 0. This attack fails to overcome the three more powerful Feds’ DC.