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Author Topic: Schisms: The Vhal'Dan Civil War  (Read 16826 times)
TheDutchman
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« Reply #210 on: April 12, 2019, 03:52:01 AM »



Chapter 31: “…We Are Come To This Great Stage of Fools…” part I

“What do you mean that you don’t want me coming with you?!” Saani’s voice was uncharacteristically angry, almost…challenging.  “You will need me.”

Kanp’a you’re not wrong.  I do need you.  But Anson was very clear: I am to come by myself.”  Kazic didn’t tell her the ramifications of what would happen if he deviated from Anson’s instructions.  Or the other…

Even before Kazic could discuss the detrimental effects stemming from the Lus’phor Holocaust, Anson had cut him off, telling the Anzat that he would detonate over a dozen high-yield baradium bombs hidden throughout Vhal’Ulhadv.  He had even given Kazic the location of one to prove the veracity of his claims: it had been found in the Underworks below the Hall of Balance.  When Kazic had questioned him concerning why he hadn’t detonated the device, Anson had coldly told him that he would do everything in his power to limit the civilian casualties…unless the Anzat refused to comply.

And that included telling no one.  

No, Kazic was to come alone to meet Anson at the Supp’Licium Paterae, a deep crater left by a nameless volcano located in Nux’x’s northern hemisphere.  When Kazic tried to press him for more, Anson had terminated all communication.  And Kazic knew that Anson was not one to give idle threats…

“Please, Saani.  I need for you to trust me.  Know that I want you there but I cannot discuss this further.  Not with you; not with anyone.”  He looked deeply into his wife’s purple eyes.  The woman who looked back was almost a stranger, and not just because of the effects of her rejuvenation.  Kazic saw real anger, anger at him.  Certainly there had been times when they’d fought but he’d never seen abject fury from his wife, at least not directed towards him.  Kazic supposed he couldn’t blame her; after all, were their positions reversed, how would he react?

Still…he could almost swear that he’d seen a shadow of…disdain(?) cross her face…

Mentally shaking his head, Kazic castigated himself.  No, he must have imagined it.  After all, Saani had been through so much… He turned his full attention back to the Twi’lek.  Yes, she was angry…but he could see and sense the love radiating from her as well.

Suddenly, he enveloped her in a tight embrace, gently stroking her lekku.  She fiercely returned the gesture in kind.  “K’ompo, I don’t know what exactly is going on but…I trust you.  Just…promise me that you’ll be careful.”  Looking up to him, Saani grabbed his face and forcefully kissed him.  Kazic felt as if his lips would bruise just as he felt enflamed by her passion.  If only they’d had more time…

“I promise, Kanp’a…” He said once he caught his breath, resting his cheek upon Saani’s forehead.  And even as the words left his lips, he wondered how he’d be able to keep the lie he knew he had to tell for fear of Anson’s other threat…

And as he left, he did not see the rage slowly transform Saani’s face, a look that would’ve given him more than just trepidation…

               <<<<< >>>>>



Piloting the Sojourner through the thinner atmosphere of the dwarf planet, Kazic looked upon the hellish landscape of Nux’x.  Flowing rivers of molten lava lined the entire surface, red hot veins streaming through dark rock strata, often times collecting in enormous lakes.  Noxious dark clouds obfuscated much of the atmosphere in the south but the air in the northern hemisphere was breathable thanks to the giant processing stations, necessary given the rock and mineral refineries that supplied Galtea with rare heavy metals.

It was on one of these refineries located in the Supp’Licium Paterae that Kazic prepared to land.  Or rather, about a half kilometer from the structure; Anson again had been distinct in his instructions concerning “no others” and “no tricks.”  And landing in the middle of an open basaltic field offered minimal cover or hiding places.  Not that Kazic had any intention of countermanding those directives; baradium bombs were not planet-killers…but they would destroy a city the size of Vhal’Ulhadv and the surrounding countryside.

At the very least.

And that would be if a single bomb was detonated.  With all twelve?  Galtea would experience a “nuclear winter” of times eons past, a large swath of the planetary crust would be ejected into the atmosphere effectively blocking out the sun.  Kazic had heard of a planet that would be Galtea’s twin should that happen.

Hoth.

Kazic would do whatever he had to in order to avoid such.  Even if it meant his own death.  

As the Sojourner set down upon the dark regolith, Kazic took a moment to lament his decision in lying to Saani.  If he could accomplish nothing else, he was determined that he would save his wife.  He hoped desperately that she would forgive him, just as he fervently desired that the Maker would do so…even as he questioned whether or not the Maker would even listen to him after everything he’d done.  

But…he had to at least try.

Finishing the silent litany, Kazic squared his shoulders and, inhaling, prepared himself for whatever awaited him.  Resolute, he made his way to the landing hatch, unconsciously smoothing his dark gray tunics.  And as the hatch opened, the slightly misty air assaulted his flared nostrils reminding him that he would ask for Anson’s forgiveness as well.  

He barked a laugh.  …Too little, too late you Anzat bastard… Kazic told himself.  But he owed his brother that much regardless.  

As Kazic disembarked, he slowly surveyed the surrounding mountainous hills, the high peaks of the paterae a darker backdrop against the horizon.  Even with the atmospheric processers, the vaporous air smelled of sulfur, clouding his sight.  He let his eyes to transition to infravision, allowing him to make out variances in ambient temperature.

That’s when he saw Anson, or rather a humanoid figure matching Anson’s profile; his infravision did not allow for discernment with precise details as would normal vision.  He headed towards the figure, about a hundred meters in the distance.  As Kazic got closer, he detected another source of heat: a small river of lava that pooled in a crevasse about 30 meters to his right and below.  It provided enough light so that he could switch back to his normal vision.  Approaching Anson, he thought about what he wanted to say.

And stopped.  As his gaze fell upon his former brother, Kazic could see that Anson had dramatically changed, details becoming clearer as the Anzat closed the distance.  

Anson had always been muscular but he’d lost some weight.  Instead, he reminded Kazic of an old physiology chart that showed the human body absent any skin, the muscle groups clearly delineated and striated, the cuts sharp and discerning.  Anson’s bare arms and neck looked the same as if what little fat he’d possessed had been burned away.  The play of the light against his muscled jowls told Kazic that even now Anson’s teeth must be clenched tight, almost grinding.  But that wasn’t the most remarkable change…

The hard look that Anson wore could have broken quadranium.  And his eyes… Kazic inadvertently stopped mid-step.  The eyes that stared at Kazic from below Anson’s brow belonged to a stranger.  A dangerous, unpredictable stranger.

At a loss of what to do next, Kazic remembered his promise.  He closed the distance between them, the light and heat of the lava becoming slightly more intense.  And when he was about 4 meters from Anson he stopped, dropping to his knees.

“I know that I have no right to call upon you so, nor to ask…but I implore you brother and plead for your forgiveness.”  Kazic bowed his head solemnly.  “I acknowledge that I am at fault; I should’ve been more receptive, more willing in concession, more…loving to you.  I know that I am not worthy of such but…I nevertheless beg you.”  Kazic spread his arms wide.  “Let us end this conflict.  Too many—far too many—have died already for my sins, for my pride.  I…I offer to you myself as proof of my intentions.  And as the price of my intransigence.  Do as you will.”  Raising his head, Kazic stared straight into Anson’s eyes.

And almost recoiled.

Anson’s eyes were completely empty of anything resembling understanding, compassion, or compromise.  The brown irises seemed to glow a preternatural red that had nothing to do with the lava.  Instead, a rabid intensity emphasized the utter contempt that Kazic saw within Anson’s face.  Nevertheless, the Anzat remained kneeling.

“You are in error Kazic.  I did not call you here to discuss your surrender, your…feelings of remorse.  I am not here to absolve you of your many sins nor am I in the least part interested in listening to your contrition.”  Deliberately, Anson pulled at the robe that he’d draped over his shoulders, fully exposing the utilitarian undertunic beneath.  As tight as a second skin, the dark shirt hugged his torso revealing the musculature underneath.  And within his hand, Anson held the black metal hilt of his lightsaber.  Igniting the blade, the green hue played across his face in direct contrast with the red of the nearby lava, looking for everything like the visage from a fallen angel of myth.  “I am here to invoke P’Rae’Lior.”

Kazic blinked, uncertain if he’d heard correctly.  Clearly his confusion was evident upon his face.

“You see Kazic, that was my mistake: not declaring P’Rae’Lior when you’d first betrayed the Vhal’Dan.”  Anson’s voice was as hard as his face.

Kazic didn’t dispute the shorter man’s proclamation of betrayal—he himself thought he was guilty—but…this?  P’Rae’Lior had not been declared in centuries.  “Anson…I admit and accept my failure to safeguard the Order but—”

Anson’s suddenly seething voice interrupted.  “I don’t give a damn about your regrets; you and your kind are a disease, a virus to be eradicated.  And I intend to start with you.”  He pointed his lightsaber at Kazic.  “And let me be crystal clear: you will either fight me—now and to the absolute best of your ability—or I will detonate the bombs.  You see, while I was alone within the confines of the bacta tank, I had an epiphany: the one, true Kage of the Vhal’Dan would never let anyone do his own fighting, nor would he allow anyone to come to harm by inaction.  Had we dispensed with useless doctrine and inept bureaucracy, we could have avoided all of those deaths.”

Kazic was not about to point out Anson’s ad hominem logic but realized that he truly was no longer listening or interested in anything Kazic had to say.  

He was completely, dangerously convinced of his own convictions.  And entirely insane.

“Once again, I, Anson D’Aklon challenge you to P’Rae’Lior.  Do you accept?” Anson fell silent.

Kazic rose, knowing that he had little choice.  If he did not, Anson would make good on his threats.  Just as Kazic knew that Anson was also an excellent judge of the Anzat’s abilities.  He would know if Kazic did not fight his best.  Not that it would matter.

Kazic knew that there was no way that he could defeat Anson.

Anson was the most powerful Jedi of the Vhal’Dan.  Moreso, he was also the most proficient of the Order’s blademasters.  And—Kazic grimly reminded himself—he’d fought against one of Ari’s People.  And won.

Still, part of him had unconsciously known that he was heading to his death.  He’d tried not to hold out much in the way of hope but when Kazic had held Saani… He admonished himself as the hopeful fool that he knew himself to be.  At least he would make amends to Anson…and save his people from the threats that Anson had made.

Saani's beautiful face occupied his mind.  And he would do anything to protect her.

“I accept.”  Kazic intoned, reaching for the silver hilt at his belt.  Stepping forward, his blue blade sprang into existence held on high.  Anson’s own green blade touched his for the briefest of moments as the two circled each other, each Kage a powerful Gray Master in their prime.

And so it began.
Logged

Sig courtesy of DarthScrub

Maenowan Nexu Master of the Vhal'Dan

My sabers:Zearic's Aldrnari, Archon v3 (modded w/ activation box) w/Obsidian, AS; Zearic's shoto, Initiate v5 w/Obsidian, AS; Graflex SE w/Obsidian, GB; Archon v3 (modded w/ activation box) w/Obsidian, CG; Dark Sentinel v4 w/Obsidian, BR; Sentinel LE v4 w/Obsidian, GB; Apprentice v4 w/Obsidian, AS; Sentinel LE v4 stunt, EG; Aeon LE v4 stunt, FO; Dominix v4 stunt, BR; Aeon v3 stunt, SY

TheDutchman
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Force Alignment: 779
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« Reply #211 on: April 12, 2019, 04:04:35 AM »



Chapter 31: “…We Are Come To This Great Stage of Fools…” part II

Kazic held back nothing.  But he did not fight for himself; he fought for every single person under threat of the baradium bombs.  He fought for Saani.  He used all of the tricks that he’d learned during the War, especially those from what he’d seen Valens do.  He threw all of his power into metaphysical assaults while simultaneously strengthening his physical attributes and prowess with the Force.  And throughout it all, he worked his lightsaber furiously. 

While Kazic was not a blademaster, his skills were certainly close to such.  And he’d been trained by one of the best: his teacher, Master Stryka Annix.  He specifically used the variant Niman form that she’d taught to him, and him alone.  Perfecting it during the final years of the New Sith Wars, Stryka had used her mastery of the unique Niman form to fell many an opponent.  And none had ever bested her.  Kazic had worked hard to succeed her in that mastery.

And with almost any other opponent, he would have been victorious.

But if Kazic had learned much during the War, so too had Anson.  Even as he’d fought against the black-armored monsters, against Kazic’s guerilla tactics, against the limitations of his own body as he floated in the bacta, Anson had analyzed it all.  Every parry was immediately followed by riposte, every strike was followed by a counterattack, every assault rebuffed and turned in kind.  Anson had learned from the best teacher of all: experience.

And he was still more powerful a Jedi and more proficient a blademaster than Kazic ever was.

The battlefield was soon testament to their multilayered combat: large boulders, swaths of lava, and even the air itself was rent amidst their Force attacks.  Within the paterae, the landscape was violently reshaped as their combined Force powers attempted to provide advantage over the other, all the while their lightsabers never once slowed as they looked to exploit any opening in their opponent’s defenses. 

For both men, time had lost meaning.  Had they fought minutes?  An hour?  A day?  By now, both were covered in blood, most injuries relatively minor, a few severe, but one thing was certain:  Anson was winning.

Kazic had started strong, stalemating Anson on almost all levels.  The potent metaphysical attacks had been blunted, the incredibly strong physical manifestations of the Force had been turned aside or redirected, and Kazic’s blue blade was almost flawless at intercepting Anson’s green.

“Almost” being the operative word.

Anson was stronger and more skilled.  They knew it; they’d known it since they’d first met.  But that did not mean that Kazic was defeated… As he’d admitted to himself, he’d known that this would be his final attempt to make things right, that he would make a redress of grievances by his sacrifice, hoping that the price that he paid would satisfy the debt.

He’d known that Nux’x would be his grave.

And just as he’d done back in the Vhal’Ulhadv training salle, Anson’s next attack slid past the Anzat’s mental shields to hit home: a Force Thorn.  Screaming in pain, Kazic’s defenses faltered.  Taking advantage, Anson hammered Kazic with a quick succession of heavy lightsaber strikes thinking to overwhelm him.  Desperately, Kazic did something that he normally wouldn’t: in the blink of an eye, he conjured a potent ball of Kinetite, releasing it immediately.  And while both men had a Force shield up, the resulting explosion ripped both lightsabers from their grasps.  Additionally, Kazic—who was already weakened courtesy of the Force Thorn—was thrown back as his shield buckled under the force of the detonation.  Somehow, he was able to land on his feet several meters away.  But Anson didn’t hesitate.



He gathered the Force around him and, using both hands, projected a storm of Force Lightning at the Anzat.  Hitting Kazic square in his torso, the Lightning picked him up throwing him several meters back.  Landing heavily, Kazic lay upon his back, his red eyes staring into the dark Nux’x sky.  He could barely breath, let alone move.  Dimly, he was aware of movement and the sounds of someone approaching.  Casting his eyes down towards his feet, Kazic saw Anson come into view, the shorter man breathing heavily.  Absently, Anson wiped the blood running from his mouth as he stood above Kazic.

“…You fought without hesitation; you held nothing back.  Just as you promised.”  Anson’s lips turned a small grin.  “I have an confession to make: there are no other bombs.  The one beneath the Hall was the only device.  And a final test…one of which you failed, miserably.”  Anson’s face lost all humor, his eyes condemning Kazic as he spoke.  “How could you ever believe that I would put so many innocent lives in danger?  For someone who supposedly thought so much of ‘his brother,’ well that is one of the biggest betrayals ever.”  Anson held his hand out, the gleaming black hilt of his lightsaber suddenly igniting.  “Only a Sith could believe such.”

Kazic suspected that Anson had been more affected by the Thought Bomb blast than even he knew.  The human’s next words turned the Anzat’s supposition into certainty.  “And I will root out all of those…Darksiders loyal to you.  Every.  Single.  One.”  Anson’s gaze lost focus, his attention turned inwards towards thoughts of “cleansing” the Vhal’Dan Order.  “…Starting with those traitors that turned from me…their true Kage…”  A zealot’s mask descended upon Anson’s face.

Kazic knew he had to try to dissuade Anson while at the same time try to save him.  “Anson…you must listen: you are…sick.  The Thought Bomb must have injured you more severely than you know.  Please: let me help you.”  But Kazic did not know how; in fact, right now he couldn’t even help himself stand.

Anson fixed his fanatical gaze upon him.  “More Sith-born lies.”  He squared his shoulders, a decision made.  “Know this: the first thing I shall do after I execute you…is kill your whore wife.”  Anson brought up his arm, the humming of the green blade mixing with the sound of pooling lava.  “The Sith shall die by my hand tonight, both master and apprentice.”  His face exultant, Anson closed his eyes…

…Only to open them again, his face filled with pain as he slowly lowered his head to stare in disbelief at what he saw: the tip of a purple lightsaber blade protruding from his chest.  Anson’s lightsaber fell from limp hands, landing between Kazic’s legs.  Shocked, the Anzat looked behind Anson…seeing nothing.  At least, not at first.

Suddenly, Saani seemed to appear as if out of a fog.  And Kazic knew: she’d always been the best at Buried Presence… As Anson fell to his knees and then to the ground, Saani’s face became visible.  A look of pure anger contorted her visage.

But when she turned to look directly at her husband, her face melted, both joy and concern warring between each other.  “K’ompo!”  She kneeled beside him, hugging him tightly to her breast while Healing flows from the Force enveloped him.  Kissing him over and again, Saani comforted Kazic as he fought to recover.

“…thank…you…Kanp’a…love…you…” He whispered.  And when he looked up into her face, he saw the tears sliding down her cheeks as she gently smoothed his black hair.  “…Saani…please…wait…I…need…”  Feeling stronger now, he gently disengaged her arms.  Slowly, he crawled over to Anson, checking him.  Although his breathing was ragged and pained, he was still alive.

But not for much longer.

Kazic leaned on his elbows, looking down into Anson’s cloudy eyes.  “…Brother…please…forgive…me…” He stared intently, searching his brother’s brown eyes in the hope of seeing something…familiar, something recognizable.  Anson’s eyes regained focus, his head turning towards Kazic.

“…I’ll…see…you…in…hell…” He whispered, breathing his last.

Surrounded by the barren, blasted landscape, Kazic felt Saani crawl over to him and wrap her arms around his back.  But all he could do was weep quietly and damn himself for the monster that he’d become.

               <<<<< >>>>>

Their flight home had been one of silence.  Their arrival had been more quiet still.  It wasn’t until they’d entered their shared bedroom, that the questions poured from Kazic.

Kanp’a…how did you know?  What did you do?  How did you find me?” His voice wasn’t exactly harsh but he’d never spoken to Saani in such an austere tone.

Saani’s back had been to him but she now turned to face Kazic, her face expressionless.  Before he could say anything else she held her hand up, forestalling the myriad questions that consumed him.  Slowly she walked over to him, her hands tenderly cupping her husband’s face, her eyes large.  What she said next shocked Kazic to silence and all questions flew from his head.

K’ompo…I’m pregnant.”
Logged

Sig courtesy of DarthScrub

Maenowan Nexu Master of the Vhal'Dan

My sabers:Zearic's Aldrnari, Archon v3 (modded w/ activation box) w/Obsidian, AS; Zearic's shoto, Initiate v5 w/Obsidian, AS; Graflex SE w/Obsidian, GB; Archon v3 (modded w/ activation box) w/Obsidian, CG; Dark Sentinel v4 w/Obsidian, BR; Sentinel LE v4 w/Obsidian, GB; Apprentice v4 w/Obsidian, AS; Sentinel LE v4 stunt, EG; Aeon LE v4 stunt, FO; Dominix v4 stunt, BR; Aeon v3 stunt, SY

Karmack
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Light side points please.


« Reply #212 on: April 12, 2019, 11:41:19 AM »

Okay!    Wow....

So, I saw the intervention by Saani coming ... but a baby?  Didn't see that one coming...

Interesting.   Very interesting... 
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Lord_S_Gray
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Force Alignment: 164
Posts: 1104



« Reply #213 on: April 12, 2019, 07:54:52 PM »

After all Kazics long years...taking your lead from the source of the chapter title Dutch...Thou shouldst not have been old till thou hadst been wise.

Damned indeed...that is a wretched and tragic ending for Anson I think the best that can be said was Saani killed him before his madness could spread into full blown action which in itself is tragic I think the man he had been would consider that a mercy in a grim sense. However Anson never wavered in one thing his determination to face his enemies on his terms and face to face he was uncompromising that was his strength and his failing - a complex very human character whose legacy will not be forgotten and death was emblematic of all the Vhal'dan have lost and become a blade in the back of a paranoid maniac....very well played Dutch.

And pregnancy...pretty sure that shouldn't be natural for twi'lek and Anzat...or given Saanis prior hysterectomy....ummm yeah some troubling signs in her behaviour....
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Lord_S_Gray

Surik: "Kreia, what are you—are you a Jedi, a Sith?"
Kreia: "Does it matter? Of course it does, such titles allow you to break the galaxy into light and dark, categorize it. Perhaps I am neither, and I hold both as what they are, pieces of a whole."

Karmack
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Light side points please.


« Reply #214 on: April 13, 2019, 04:11:37 PM »

I had forgotten about the hysterectomy...  Sounds like Ari might have done more than just 'repair'...    :-/
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TheDutchman
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Force Alignment: 779
Posts: 3136


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« Reply #215 on: April 29, 2019, 06:10:55 PM »

After all Kazics long years...taking your lead from the source of the chapter title Dutch...Thou shouldst not have been old till thou hadst been wise.
I canNOT agree with this more, LSG!  PERFECT!  Not that I'm surprised, but I'm glad that you hit right to the undercurrent of Kazic's (many) flaws.  But much could be said the same of any of us (CERTAINLY me  Wink): who among us is without fault or foible?

I had forgotten about the hysterectomy...  Sounds like Ari might have done more than just 'repair'...    :-/
You are, of course, right Karm.  But you bring up a good point, one that I'd thought to do but for...whatever reason had decided against: I was going to make mention of Saani's hysterectomy in a more recent chapter to help keep it in the back of [the reader's] mind.  I THINK that I might have chosen to do otherwise so as not to call TOO much attention to it.

I don't know; perhaps I should have?  What do you guys think?
Logged

Sig courtesy of DarthScrub

Maenowan Nexu Master of the Vhal'Dan

My sabers:Zearic's Aldrnari, Archon v3 (modded w/ activation box) w/Obsidian, AS; Zearic's shoto, Initiate v5 w/Obsidian, AS; Graflex SE w/Obsidian, GB; Archon v3 (modded w/ activation box) w/Obsidian, CG; Dark Sentinel v4 w/Obsidian, BR; Sentinel LE v4 w/Obsidian, GB; Apprentice v4 w/Obsidian, AS; Sentinel LE v4 stunt, EG; Aeon LE v4 stunt, FO; Dominix v4 stunt, BR; Aeon v3 stunt, SY

Lord_S_Gray
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Force Alignment: 164
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« Reply #216 on: April 29, 2019, 02:25:42 PM »

You are, of course, right Karm.  But you bring up a good point, one that I'd thought to do but for...whatever reason had decided against: I was going to make mention of Saani's hysterectomy in a more recent chapter to help keep it in the back of [the reader's] mind.  I THINK that I might have chosen to do otherwise so as not to call TOO much attention to it.

I don't know; perhaps I should have?  What do you guys think?

Always a difficult thing, how to re animate a perhaps forgotten plot point, do you trust people to remember or risk hammering it too much.  I would've erred on subtle reminder simply due to length of the story in between when it was last mentioned (several story arcs back. something i had to deal with in FotA a lot - 66 chapters after all won't pretend i always got it right!
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Lord_S_Gray

Surik: "Kreia, what are you—are you a Jedi, a Sith?"
Kreia: "Does it matter? Of course it does, such titles allow you to break the galaxy into light and dark, categorize it. Perhaps I am neither, and I hold both as what they are, pieces of a whole."

Karmack
Forumverse Loremaster
Master of Ceremonies
Knight Commander
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Force Alignment: 912
Posts: 4401


Light side points please.


« Reply #217 on: April 30, 2019, 06:54:38 AM »

I understand your dilemma, Dutch.  If you bring it up without a very good reason, you risk tipping your hand.  One way to deal with it might have been to build it into the reveal.   She tells Kazic she's pregnant, and in the shock of the moment someone says something like "but ... what about...  That's impossible!" or something, designed to jog the reader's memory.   Or just clarify it in the next section.   That way you don't ruin your reveal, those who did remember (LSG!  WOOT!) get the full fun of the impact, and the rest of us get an 'aha' moment in the next chapter.  :-)
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TheDutchman
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« Reply #218 on: May 10, 2019, 10:00:48 AM »



Chapter 32: False Dawn

******************************
Vhal’Dan Congress
Baransu no Kage: Kazic Ovarug
 Arbiter: Saani K’aval
  Council of Balance:
  1st Speaker: Ryshhk K’rrmerii
  2nd Speaker: Issan de’Janneric
  3rd Speaker: Marc-Andr Drevifv
  4th Speaker: Lynorri Marh
  5th Speaker: Jorol Qui-Xot
  6th Speaker: Candurous Eriston
  7th Speaker: Sabawynn K’jek
******************************

The following months flew by, Kazic’s time taken up entirely between his duties as Kage, attempting to deduce a solution to the vergence caused by the Lus’phor Holocaust, all the while trying to rebuild Vhal’Ulhadv…and the Vhal’Dan Order.  During which, he was met with strong opposition by his Congress, who were themselves divided.  And while Kazic was a competent Kage, he was no Arkady Cyne.  By necessity, he’d worked to incorporate former enemies in Congress, both to show amnesty for past transgressions as well as fostering goodwill.  But the troubles of the past would not so easily give up the ghost and the remembrance of initial misgivings would often resurface.  

In one case, Kazic was shocked that his decision to appoint Ryshhk as 1st Speaker had created such turmoil: most Jedi respected the Wookie Gray Master and listened while it seemed that a very small but vocal minority—ironically those who were polar opposites could evidently agree on this one thing—thought and considered him a traitor.  Thankfully it was Ryshhk himself that solved that particular quandary: in front of the entire Assemblage and in Open Session, he challenged all that questioned his loyalty to the Order.  To all the Jedi within the Hall of Balance, it was a sobering event which silenced poisonous tongues and gave reassurance to many.

To Kazic, it was a bleak reminder of Anson’s invocation of P’Rae’Lior…and his summary indictment of Kazic’s actions.  As well as Anson’s whispered curse damning the Anzat with his dying breath.  In both, Kazic could not fault his brother in either instance…

It was during these times that Kazic felt most impotent; he now admitted that he was more a warrior rather than a politician.  That shouldn’t have surprised him; in fact, that was one of the biggest factors as to why he’d backed Arkady for Kage.  He’d known that his friend was more fit for the office than he’d ever be.  Kazic smirked.  …Same as now…  He held no illusions: he’d been a capable wartime Kage…but now, in peace…?  It seemed to him that in every single session, the Speakers could agree on nothing.  And he was unable to do anything about it.  In fact, often it was Saani who was able to offer equitable resolutions for the intra-Congress feuding.  

But it was still not enough for true solidarity.  And in the darkness of night—often well into the light of morning—he questioned whether or not he was even worthy as Kage.  He’d considered abdicating the office; after all, Saani was certainly more qualified than he ever was…but with the aftermath of the Lus’phor Holocaust and the vergence that it had caused, Kazic would never wish to foist that onto anyone’s shoulders, much less his wife’s.

But all of that seemed to pale in comparison to the fact that he and Saani were going to have a child.  And while this should have made him happy beyond expression—point of fact it did—Kazic was nevertheless plagued by apprehension.  Most telling: he hadn’t seen the daen nosi since Anson had died.  Partly as he was unsure of what this portended and partly because he was occupied with so much else, he did the worst thing possible: he ignored it.

As time wore on, Saani’s behavior did change, or at least became more noticeable: not only was she more prone to fits of anger but she had become aggressive.  Not assertive, aggressive.  Saani no longer projected an aura of serenity and patience; now, her temper was a thing of note amongst even the teidowans.  Whereas Saani had always been the most tranquil and approachable of people, now her temper was always just beneath the skin, one errant word away from a forthcoming scathing retort.

At first, Kazic had obtusely attributed it to the Lus’phor Holocaust vergence.  After all, every Jedi on Galtea was experiencing some symptoms; he thought perhaps that Saani was among those experiencing the worst of it.  Later, he thought that her pregnancy might be adversely affecting her.  Yet, he had not recalled Saani acting in such a manner when she’d been pregnant before… But again, Kazic thought that past events were the cause; after all, the last time had resulted in countless tears, sadness, and pain.  He couldn’t blame her if she was somewhat…short with him.  

But soon she was short with others.  And afterwards to almost everyone.

But then, he witnessed something that he thought he’d never see.  During one of Congress’ more…heated debates, Speaker Marc-Andr Drevifv was arguing…something (Kazic couldn’t even recall later) that was counter to Jorol’s position.  And while both men were passionate concerning their causes, they both showed mutual respect…until Drevifv made an offhanded remark which touched upon the deaths of Jorol’s two children and husband, Tsarvung.  Realizing his own faux pas, he opened his mouth to express his obvious remorse.

The words never left his lips; before he could speak, Saani was suddenly in front of him, seemingly teleporting from her Arbiter’s Chair, lightsaber in hand, ready to ignite, and held menacingly at Marc-Andr’s throat.  Those within the Hall gave a collective gasp while Saani whispered fiercely into the human’s ear.  Even with his superior hearing, Kazic could not make out any details.  

Whatever had transpired, later that day Marc-Andr made a very contrite—and public—apology.  When Kazic had immediately afterwards had asked Saani what had transpired, she would only coyly intimate that Jorol’s dead husband and children would never be mentioned again by anyone whom the dusky Speaker did not consider family…

But that night, Kazic decided to press his wife further.

Kanp’a…what was that about?” He asked as soon as they’d entered their shared apartments.  He began to stroke his black goatee, concern evident upon his face.  With remarkable timing, he felt the beginnings of a migraine starting from behind his eyes.  …Damned vergence… He thought, his fingers massaging his temples ineffectually.

Saani seemed to continue to make light of the incident, divesting herself of her boots while heading further into the atrium and grabbing a drink.  “I would not suffer traitors like Marc-Andr to speak lies about our friends and family.” She laughed.  Sauntering up to her husband, she put her arms around his neck, pulling his head down to hers.  It seemed to Kazic that Saani vacillated between extreme bouts of anger…and excessive sexuality.  It was disconcerting to say the least.  Often times, his flared nostrils would almost…itch wasn’t the right description.  Like a phantom pain or an unseen presence: always felt but never made physically manifest.  But whatever it was, it always coincided with Saani’s more…carnal desires.

Unwavering, Kazic pulled away, a frown starting to spread upon Saani’s lips.  “Not that.  Or rather, not just that: you looked as if you were actually going to kill him.  You were that close to igniting your saber.”  He gently but firmly grabbed her shoulders.  By the Maker, his head hurt… “Saani…I’ve never seen you so…quick to anger, so full of rage.”  He thought back to when he’d looked down upon Saani’s lifeless body, Valens holding out the small yet deceptively heavy black orb—the price for Saani’s life—towards him.  And he’d accepted, absent of what the actual cost would be.  Or what it would mean for Saani herself…

Kanp’a…I…I think something is very wrong with you.  Please, please let the Vhal’Dan doctors look at you.”  Even as he said it, he knew that the only people who could possibly help were those that he had already sent away.

Not that he could contact them.  Kazic had found Ari’s gift of the communications orb gone from their room when he and Saani had finally made it back.  And as for Saani’s…J’Nessah had had it upon her person when she’d been killed in the explosion.  Not that such would’ve destroyed the blackstone artifact; of that Kazic had no doubt.  But the events of the day had prevented him from recovering the orb from the Lus’phor hanger…

And then, the planet had exploded.

No…no, there was no way for him to contact Ari…let alone Valens…no way to ask about what had gone so incredibly wrong…

As if thinking about it influenced Saani’s mood, she suddenly turned from demure to irritated.  “‘Doctors?’  There is nothing wrong…except that I now see that even my own husband has it out for me.”  Her eyes flared, the sclera red and bloodshot.  “But why should I expect any different?  You entreat with our enemies, welcoming them back into the fold while any notion of justice is ignored all in favor for your precious peace…”  She began to shout.  “Kazic, those that have DIED would be furious that you’ve become so cowardly, showing your throat to stave off even the hint of dissent!”  Her face adopted a look of contempt…and disgust.  “How could anyone believe that you could lead the Vhal’Dan?”

Kazic took a step backwards, as if hit by a physical blow, his migraine all but forgotten.  Saani had NEVER behaved in such a fashion, never spoke down to him, never…hurt him like that.  Ever.  Anguish, anger, and a forlorn pain that he’d never felt before ripped through him.  “…Why would you ever say that…to me…”  As he spoke quietly, Kazic saw that either his words or the look upon his fallen face had penetrated Saani’s rage.

Her purple eyes flashed, regret overcoming her countenance, concern such as she’d shared with him in the past pouring from her, both in her emotions and the Force.  Reaching a tentative hand towards him, she touched his shoulder.  “I…I’m sorry, K’ompo.  I…I was angry and I took it out on you.”  She wrapped her arms around her husband’s broad shoulders, laying a cheek upon his back.  “I’m sorry, Kazic…”

Memories of Kasah rebounded in his mind, her angry attestations accusing him of apathy… of Ari and the look of shame upon her face…of Anson and his final words damning him of betrayal… All of it, piercing his heart, cutting to the bone…into his very soul.

And all of it was NOTHING compared to what he felt now when Saani had uttered those words.

Stepping away from his wife, Kazic moved as if in quicksand.  “I…I understand, Kanp’a.”  He felt numb.  “I…I need some time.  I…I’ll be out.  Don’t wait up for me.”  The words came from his lips, mechanical and monotone.  And with that he donned his hooded robes and left.

               <<<<< >>>>>

Uncaring of where he was, Kazic boarded the hyperloop, sitting inconspicuously with his hood up among the few passengers that came and went from the various stops as it sped upon maglev tracks that encircled the city.  In some areas, there were necessary detours resulting from the destruction wrought by the Civil War but throughout it all, Kazic saw nothing.  Not only had his migraine returned with interest but, lost in his own head, the Anzat painfully mulled over the many mistakes that he’d made.  

But his thoughts always returned to his biggest concern: Saani.  

Even as the twilight of evening was replaced by the blackness of midnight, Vhal’Ulhadv’s cityscape remained bright, illuminating the city proper, the surrounding countryside, and—as it seemed to Kazic—his own trepidation.  He now believed that Saani had come back…wrong.  Everything that had happened…he knew that he’d been ignoring all of the evidence.  Now, he could no longer hide the truth from himself.  

Sighing, he finally felt as if an invisible weight had been lifted from his shoulders.  Now that he’d admitted it to himself, he found himself convinced…or at least hoping that there was a way to help Saani.  Crossing his arms, he considered: as Saani was resurrected with the Force, then perhaps it was to the Force that he should look for a solution.  He smirked; Valens had been true to his word: he’d taken as payment many of the Vhal’Dan artifacts.  

However…

However, Ryshhk had told Kazic about how he’d absconded with those Force relics that Anson had taken, or at least many of them.  The Wookie Speaker had been reticent to do so, but upon talking with his uncle Yshhrk (who was himself a powerful Jedi), he knew that he had to do what was right for the Order.  And while Kazic had been given a brief list concerning which artifacts Ryshhk had saved, he did not know what each and every relic was supposed to do.  Or could...

Feeling somewhat better, Kazic now knew where he was headed to next.  Consulting the datapad attached to his seat, he typed in the pertinent information before sitting back on the aircouch and absently rubbing his temples again.

With a wistful smile, he said a silent prayer, one giving hope that he’d be able to help Saani with…whatever it was that ailed her.

               <<<<< >>>>>



Ryshhk was in the middle of his meditations, offering gratitude to the Trees and their spirits, when he heard the organic chime from his front door sound.  Collecting himself, he rose and made his way through his comfortable apartments, the interior mirroring the arboreal setting of his native Kashyyyk.  Like many of the Vhal’Dan, Ryshhk had tried to create a “home away from home” when he’d originally come to Galtea.  Pursuant to that, within the atrium was a tall, thick tree, originally grown from a sapling given to him from his Uncle Yshhrk.  He smiled, knowing that his uncle would be proud of the Lineage Tree that the sapling had become…just as he himself had matured.  A pain lanced through his head as his smile spread, bringing him violently back to the here-and-now.  Ryshhk hoped that the Council of Balance would be able to figure out how to counter the vergence; if even the most conservative rumors were true, the symptoms were getting worse.  He could personally attest to that.  The front chimed again, reminding the Wookie where he’d been headed.  Answering the door, he came face-to-face with the Kage.

[Good evening, Kage], he said in a low timbre.  [What can I do for you]?

“Sp…Ryshhk…” Kazic’s face was impassive but he smelled…pensive.  And below that: pain. “I…I need your help.”

[Of course.  Please come in].  Ryshhk moved to the side to allow his Kage entrance, his curiosity piqued.  Keying the door closed, he led the Anzat into the comfortable, wooded atrium.  After offering the most comfortable seat (as was custom) to his Kage, Ryshhk rounded the organic-looking table and, before taking his own seat, gently and reverently touched the Lineage Tree taking up the entire wall of the atrium.  Sitting opposite Kazic, Ryshhk inquired, [What is it you wish to ask of me, Kage]?

“Ryshhk, please: ‘Kazic.’”

The Wookie nodded.  [Of course.  Kazic]

Nodding imperceptibly, Kazic spoke softly, his smell becoming…careful.  More specifically, “cautiously optimistic” Ryshhk would say.  “Ryshhk…I need to examine the Force artifacts that you rescued from Anson’s camp.”  A sudden pungent spike in smell—remorse?  regret?—overpowered Ryshhk’s nose before Kazic continued.  “My wif—Saani, she needs help.  I think that perhaps one of the relics that you saved might be able to do so.”  The Anzat’s red eyes were intense, mirroring his smell.  And full of pain, pain that Kazic no longer hid, either by choice or by capitulation.  The Wookie could relate; his own head was throbbing.  As to his Kage’s request…

Ryshhk slowly sat back, exhaling.  It was clear to him that Kazic had come to him not as his Kage but rather as his colleague.  He took all of two seconds to consider.

[I will help you.  And your wife; it’s the least that I can do for someone who is so honorable…] His memory of Saani sparing his life always fresh within his thoughts.  He did not know if any of the artifacts would be able to help Kazic but Ryshhk was intent to help out in any way that he possibly could.

As the black of night turned first gray and then blue, the light of day seemed to mirror the promise of a better future.  And as Kazic left Ryshhk’s apartments, he felt the load upon his shoulders lessened.  He smiled despite the migraine that still lingered.  But it was to be a false dawn, one full of broken hopes.

And of worse things to come.
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Maenowan Nexu Master of the Vhal'Dan

My sabers:Zearic's Aldrnari, Archon v3 (modded w/ activation box) w/Obsidian, AS; Zearic's shoto, Initiate v5 w/Obsidian, AS; Graflex SE w/Obsidian, GB; Archon v3 (modded w/ activation box) w/Obsidian, CG; Dark Sentinel v4 w/Obsidian, BR; Sentinel LE v4 w/Obsidian, GB; Apprentice v4 w/Obsidian, AS; Sentinel LE v4 stunt, EG; Aeon LE v4 stunt, FO; Dominix v4 stunt, BR; Aeon v3 stunt, SY

Lord_S_Gray
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« Reply #219 on: May 10, 2019, 08:50:06 PM »

So Saani is both the most capable member of the new Congress...and the most unstable... aggressive, sexualised but also sharp minded....sounds disturbingly familiar...as to Kazics solution...force artefacts are notoriously unstable and unpredictable... especially with the Lus'phor backwash too...I fear he is looking for a quick fix that will only make things worse a potentially very dangerous rabbit hole to keep going down.
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Lord_S_Gray

Surik: "Kreia, what are you—are you a Jedi, a Sith?"
Kreia: "Does it matter? Of course it does, such titles allow you to break the galaxy into light and dark, categorize it. Perhaps I am neither, and I hold both as what they are, pieces of a whole."

Karmack
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Light side points please.


« Reply #220 on: May 12, 2019, 05:59:22 PM »

I agree with LSG.  I fear that the worst tragedy - at least on a personal level - is yet to come...
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TheDutchman
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« Reply #221 on: June 10, 2019, 08:31:47 AM »


Chapter 33: A Winter of Discontent

“Saani!  Kazic!  Please, please come in out of the cold.  Bétee, please help you aunt and uncle with their things.”  Jorol’s dusky face lit up with a smile, an occurrence that happened more often as of late.  Not that Kazic could blame him after everything that he’d been through.  Still: seeing his friend happy was enough to somewhat alleviate his migraine…and his heavy heart. 

When Kazic had made his way home the night of their incident, he had told Saani of his intent and the fact that Ryshhk had access to relics that the Aethans had not known about.  It seemed to act like a balm for Saani: her temperament relaxed and she was more like herself since her resurrection.  And for the first time since they’d both learned that they were pregnant, they felt like a family.

He and Ryshhk had then spent the last month scouring all of the Force artifacts remaining to the Vhal’Dan, most importantly: those that the Wookie Speaker had absconded with.  Initially, things looked promising.  But from Naga Sadow’s Corusca gem Holocron to a plinth-like Rakatan Mind Trap, a small black orb in its base, neither Kazic nor Ryshhk found anything remotely useful that would help Saani…or the Vhal’Dan for that matter. 

And it had broken Kazic’s heart when he told Saani.  Holding each other in their arms, it was Saani that reassured Kazic, telling him that everything would be fine.  He just needed to have faith. 

But Kazic’s faith had already been shaken down to his core.  And instead of heeding the warning of the missing daen nosi, he relied upon the graces of his family…those left to him.

As he and Saani entered into Jorol’s Speaker apartments doffing their heavy robes, D’arial come down the stairs, a smile upon her own dark face.  “Cháchee!”  She hugged Saani tightly before turning to Kazic.  “Chaaché!”  Even as she embraced the Anzat, Kazic was amazed at how tall she’d gotten.

“It’s so good to see you, D’arial.”  Handing her the wrapped houseguest present that he’d brought, Kazic stepped back and looked at Jorol.  “By the Maker…when did she become this strapping, young woman!”  Like all Epicanthix, D’arial had shot up in height upon reaching puberty.  In that, she favored her father Tsarvung.  And Jorol loved her all the more because of it.  Mirthfully, Kazic winked, his spirits rising further at hearing Saani’s pleasant laughter.

Jorol’s smile turned proud as he wrapped his arm around his daughter.  “Kazic, she’s always been such a grown up.  And now, just this past week…” He paused dramatically for effect, “…D’arial passed her Trial of the Dragon Cave.”  He kissed her cheek, the two of them of a height.  “Isn’t that right, Bétee?” When he used the Epicant term of endearment for “daughter,” Jorol’s face was absolutely bursting with pride.

“Congratulations, D’arial!  Kazic and I are also so proud of you!”  Saani gave the taller young woman another hug.  “And on that note: I have something for you to commemorate the occasion.” Handing the young woman her gift, the Twi’lek master continued talking to D’arial as she strode with her goddaughter into the Atrium, leaving Kazic alone with Jorol.  When the Anzat focused on his friend, he noticed that he was vigorously rubbing his temples.

“Migraines?” Kazic asked.  He could relate; his own were becoming excruciating.  Bacta did nothing and even Force Healing was becoming ineffective.  Yet another argument that went ‘round in circles in Open Sessions.  In Closed…it was even worse.  No longer limited to raised voices, it had almost come to open violence during the last closed Congressional Assembly.  Only by the collective force of will that a united Kazic, Saani, Ryshhk had presented forestalled the incensed Speakers from bodily attacking one another.  And they all knew the culprit.

The vergence created from the Lus’phor Holocaust.

And it was only getting worse.  At first, Kazic had thought that it would only affect powerful Jedi.  But time had proven him wrong: the first signs of discomfort had been reported by some koawans only a few weeks prior.  And then three days ago several teidowans began experiencing horrifying nightmares coupled with mild headaches.  The only consolation that Kazic had was that those respectively weaker weren’t as severely affected…yet.  Time would tell the truth of his deductions but Kazic suspected that every day that passed all of the Vhal’Dan Jedi would develop worse and more agonizing symptoms.  He’d been talking to Ryshhk about those very worries the other night (along with…other concerns) and was the main reason as to why he and Saani were visiting Jorol.  Well, that and he wanted to spend some quality time with his friend and his goddaughter D’arial.  Kazic’s good humor turned, concern and responsibility weighing heavily upon him.  Jorol must’ve felt the change.

“Still no luck with Biomed Sector?  Or Force R&D?” Jorol asked although he already suspected the answer.

Kazic mildly shook his head; any more vigorous a movement would serve to enflame his already pounding head.  “One and all they are at a loss.”  He exhaled, despondent.  “And after last night, so am I.”  His red eyes drilled into Jorol’s dark brown.  “Jorol…I’m going to institute Bellicose Protocols…but this time, we’ll have to abandon Galtea entirely.”  It had been the solution…the decision that he’d dreaded to even contemplate.  Now that he’d voiced it, Kazic felt even more morose.

Jorol looked poleaxed.  “…Surely not…there must be something that we can do…” But even as he spoke, the conviction in his voice lost strength just as his words lost their volume.  “I’m sorry my friend.”  At a loss, he came over to put a comforting hand upon Kazic’s shoulder.

Smiling down at Jorol, the Anzat looked wistful.  “Don’t be.  We’ve been at this for months…and with nothing to show except that we know that the vergence affects almost a quarter of the Galtean orbit in its entirety…and that N’uxx is no longer in a stable trajectory.”  By the Maker his head was killing him… “I’ve ordered the planetwide evacuation of N’uxx.  At least we have time…”  Kazic closed his eyes, inhaling the cold air through his nose.

This damned war.  He’d been such a fool, a blind, intractable fool.  It wasn’t enough that they’d lost so many people on both sides—peers, friends, family (…Anson…brother…)—but now with everything else they’d lost not one but two planets, Lus’phor and soon to be N’uxx.

Kazic grimaced.  …No you bastard… He cursed himself for what seemed like the thousandth time.  …No, THREE planets… Regardless of all of the collective brainpower of the Vhal’Dan scientists, the remaining Forcesages, hell, even with them scouring every single holocron that they had left to them…

Despite it all…Galtea was lost to the Vhal’Dan.

Kazic stroked his goatee, thinking he’d shed a tear of loss and regret if he thought that it would help…and if he thought that the Maker would listen to him.  …Damned bastard… He thought again in self-rebuke.  Well…at least the non-Forceuser population was fairly unaffected…if you considered a three month-long chaotic “season” in which storms fought with drought in a daily tumultuous cycle that upended the normal progression of weather as Galtea traversed through the vergence along the ecliptic… Yes, “unaffected.”  But for every single Forceuser: the longer that they were on Galtea, the worse the symptoms attacking each one became.

Kazic shook his head.  It could and would get worse, of that he had no doubt; he just hoped that whatever symptoms each Jedi had that they wouldn’t become permanent.  “…I’m not looking forward to the fact that we’ll be doing the same for Galtea… Soon…very soon…” His voice trailed off.  And when he looked at his friend, he could tell by the look on Jorol’s face that he was absolutely certain that Kazic would have to do exactly that as well.

“Do you have any ideas about where to relocate the Vhal’Dan?” He asked, his tone reflective of the fact that he considered it already a foregone conclusion.  That was one of the reasons that Kazic appreciated and relied upon Jorol’s advice in Congress: he was nothing if not a realist.  A trait that had been reinforced by the loss of his husband and children.  Not for the first time, Kazic commiserated with his friend, angry that he had been unable to do more for him and D’arial…

“…Yes.”  He inhaled slowly.  “I have many groups out reconnoitering.”  He crossed his arms, the dark gray tunics pulling taut across his chest. 

“Any luck so far?” Jorol’s tone betrayed his incredulity.  Kazic’s eyes focused, having noticed the change in his friend’s demeanor.  He gave a wry grin.

“Point of fact: a few.  One in particular looks promising.  It’s the old Temple on Ke—” Kazic suddenly cut off, a scream from within interrupting him.  He ran deeper into the apartments, right behind Jorol and into the Atrium.  There, both men stopped abruptly, disbelieving their own eyes.

D’arial lay on the ground, her hand tentatively touching her cheek and jaw, already discoloring and swelling from where she’d received a blow to her face.  And although there were unshed tears in her eyes, she did not look angry, only hurt and confused.

And standing over her with her hands clenched into fists, Saani loomed angrily, fury contorting her face as she looked down at her goddaughter.

“D’arial!” Jorol ran over to his daughter, wrapping arms around her protectively.  At the same time, Kazic approached his wife, gently but firmly moving Saani back away from D’arial.

Kanp’a…what happened?” Even though his words were quiet, Kazic’s voice seemed to echo in the Atrium.  And for the first time since he’d entered the room, Saani’s eyes turned from D’arial, looking up at her husband.  When she spoke, her clipped words were full of rage.

“…She…she…gave me…and…and knowing what happened…” Kazic couldn’t make sense of Saani’s words.  As he gently rubbed her arms, he turned from Saani and addressed the woman on the floor.

“D’arial, are you OK?  What happened?” Kazic noticed that Jorol was staring at Saani as if he didn’t recognize her.  Kazic could unfortunately relate…

As her father helped her to her feet, D’arial answered, her confused gaze lingering on Saani.  “…We were exchanging gifts.  When Cháchee Saani gave me a Zsajhira silk winter-dress, everything was fine.  But when she opened my gift to her…she…she became suddenly angry…”  D’arial suddenly looked at Kazic.  “Chaaché…did I…did I do something wrong?”  Jorol was already directing Healing flows into his daughter, his hand tenderly rubbing her back as he did so.

“Of course not, D’arial.” Even as he spoke, his eyes locked onto his wife’s fists, or rather, what she clutched within one of them.  Silently, he reached down, gently prying Saani’s fingers from the object gripped within her hand.  And Kazic understood immediately.  As he held the object up for Jorol to see, Saani began to speak, her voice sounding absentminded and pensive.

“…Why…why K’ompo…would she want to…to hurt me like that?  Why?”  All of Saani’s rage seemed a thing of the past, her face blank as if she were staring at something over a kilometer away.

“…Saani…” Something in his tone made Saani focus upon Kazic, her eyes shrewd, clear, and—most importantly—aware.  She blinked, suddenly noticing Jorol and D’arial staring at her.  She squinted, a moment of confusion suddenly giving way to lucidity.  Her entire demeanor changed; as Saani’s face fell, she rushed over to D’arial, her hands held up tentatively.

Even though she briefly flinched, to her credit D’arial kept her composure.  And as Saani wrapped her arms around the taller young woman, after only a moment’s pause, she returned the hug in kind.  “Oh D’arial, I am so, SO sorry!  I…I don’t know what came over me!  Please, please forgive me, Dear One!” Saani’s voice was racked with her quiet sobbing and full of remorse.

As Saani kept repeating herself, each time asking for D’arial’s forgiveness, her goddaughter kept nodding her head, quietly saying, “It’s OK, Cháchee, it’s OK…” as if she were the adult and Saani the child.

Jorol stood by Kazic, looking askance at the Anzat, his eyes focused on the object clutched in his hand.  “…Kazic…what’s wrong with Saani?  Do you know what that was about?  What is that in your hand?”

Kazic’s voice was monotone, his attention on Saani even though he addressed Jorol.  “I am sorry, my friend.  Saani…Saani is…sick.  She’s not herself.  Please, please know that she did not mean to hurt D’arial; her actions are…not her own…” He trailed off, lost in thought.

“…I understand, Kazic.  But…what is that in your hand?  Do you know why Saani would…react in such a way because of it?” Jorol pressed.

Kazic turned his gaze from Saani and back to Jorol.  “Sorry.  Yes; it seems that D’arial made Saani a Lineage Bead.  It’s meant to be joined to a Kalikori.”  Jorol nodded: a Kalikori was a revered family artifact in Twi’leki culture, passed down from generation to generation.  Saani had thought that with her hysterectomy, her Kalikori would become an “orphaned” relic in Twi’lek society, her and Kazic having no heirs.  But when Saani had finally announced that she was pregnant, that was no longer the case.  Jorol’s face scrunched in apparent confusion.  Kazic held the bead up, explaining.  “D’arial inscribed four glyphs upon this, each representing a member of Saani’s family as per Twi’leki tradition.”  He indicated each glyph with his index finger.  “This is Saani.  This is me.  This is our new baby.  And this…” Kazic finger hovered over the glyph, tears threatening to fall.  When next he spoke, he did so in a whisper.  “…and this is Aresaea.”

Slowly Jorol nodded.  “I see… And you think that…this(?)…” He gestured to the glyph, “…is what set Saani off?”

Kazic nodded.  “I do.  I’m sorry, my friend.  It’s not an excuse…and I shouldn’t have brought Saani, her being…sick.  But…I had hoped that seeing you and D’arial would…would help her… I cannot express enough to you—and D’arial—how sorry I am.”  He looked at D’arial.  “Please forgive me.  And Saani; it had nothing to do with you, Dear One.”

D’arial nodded, a patient look on her face.  That she got from her father Jorol.  “It’s OK, Chaaché.  I…I forgive you.  Both of you.” She said the last as she stared down at Saani.

Kazic and Jorol joined them, arms intermingling.  The silence of the Atrium enveloped them, at least for a few minutes.  Disengaging from them, Saani nodded to D’arial and Jorol, wiping her eyes.  “I’m so sorry.”  And even though both of them voiced their forgiveness, Saani still looked haunted.

As Kazic and Saani left Jorol’s apartments, Saani clung to him, controlled fear evident in her voice.  “Kazic…I’m scared.  I…I don’t know what to do…” Her breath misted in the cold air.

Kazic stared into her purple eyes.  “I am, too Kanp’a.  But I won’t ever give up; we’ll figure out something…” Heading back home, Kazic continued to reassure Saani.  But even as he heard himself speak the words, they sounded hollow and false in his own ears.
Logged

Sig courtesy of DarthScrub

Maenowan Nexu Master of the Vhal'Dan

My sabers:Zearic's Aldrnari, Archon v3 (modded w/ activation box) w/Obsidian, AS; Zearic's shoto, Initiate v5 w/Obsidian, AS; Graflex SE w/Obsidian, GB; Archon v3 (modded w/ activation box) w/Obsidian, CG; Dark Sentinel v4 w/Obsidian, BR; Sentinel LE v4 w/Obsidian, GB; Apprentice v4 w/Obsidian, AS; Sentinel LE v4 stunt, EG; Aeon LE v4 stunt, FO; Dominix v4 stunt, BR; Aeon v3 stunt, SY

Lord_S_Gray
Knight Commander
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Force Alignment: 164
Posts: 1104



« Reply #222 on: June 10, 2019, 10:07:37 AM »

Things are not getting better...the war might be over but the aftermath seems if anything worse...having to abandon Galtea is a terrible admission of defeat and guilt for Kazic...but Saani's descent it even worse for him, how much of her behavior is her renewal how much the effect of the vergence in the Force hitting them all  -until she's off of Galtea no one will be able to tell. Once more the impact of civil war hits home in this tale, even when they've 'won' everyone has still completely lost.
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Lord_S_Gray

Surik: "Kreia, what are you—are you a Jedi, a Sith?"
Kreia: "Does it matter? Of course it does, such titles allow you to break the galaxy into light and dark, categorize it. Perhaps I am neither, and I hold both as what they are, pieces of a whole."

Karmack
Forumverse Loremaster
Master of Ceremonies
Knight Commander
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Force Alignment: 912
Posts: 4401


Light side points please.


« Reply #223 on: June 11, 2019, 06:31:16 AM »

This is certainly a tragic tale for Kazic.   And the thought that keeps tickling the back of my mind: This all started with a dying Kazic making a confession.   Just what is he confessing to?   As horrible as everything that has happened to date is, it would be generally known (outside of the Aethan involvement,m perhaps, but even then it would be in records that Kazic was aided) so just what is coming?

I almost don't want to know....
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signature picture by DarthScrub

Master Singer of the Mak'Tor

TheDutchman
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Force Alignment: 779
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Avatar courtesy of For Tyeth


« Reply #224 on: July 26, 2019, 10:22:48 PM »


Final Intermezzo

Another coughing fit—this one the worst yet—racked Kazic’s wasted body, threatening to double him over.  Calmly, D’Aylanna doubled her efforts, the Healing that flowed from her and into the emaciated Anzat seemingly the only thing keeping him alive.

And Kazic knew it.  …I…not much longer…Maker, please… Kazic’s eyes were tightly shut, tears running from the corners.  …I…needs must…just a while more…please… Another choking convulsion shook him, taking the breath from his body…

…For but a moment.  Gulping a deep breath, Kazic’s lungs filled with sweet oxygen, his coughs quieting and body able to relax once more.  All the while D’Aylanna’s small, gentle hands never once stopped stroking his matted sweat-soaked white hair.  With her Force ministrations, Kazic felt himself given a wellspring of vigor…like the final burst of a star going nova: brilliant, incredible…and all too ephemeral.  But Kazic knew: it would be enough.

“…Thank you,  Nu’rus.” Even his voice had changed: immediately it reminded D’Aylanna of her Father in his prime.  Strong.  Steadfast.  Inexorable… She fought back tears, not because she was ashamed—far from it—but because she wanted to spare Kazic the lamentation that his dying was causing her.  The two of them shared a look, one that said that she would keep him from more pain and pretend serenity; meanwhile he would pretend to believe her.  He knew it for the lie that it was…

…And loved D’Aylanna all the more for it.

Inhaling deeply, Kazic began talking again, his baritone timbre returned.  “Over the next month, Saani kept on having more episodes, each increasingly worse.  It was all that we could do to try to stave off the worst, keep it secret…” His white moustaches curled in a wry grin.  “Of course, it was also among the worst-kept.  But with the symptoms resulting from the Lus’phor Holocaust worsening, it instead took priority.”  Kazic’s voice trailed off but his eyes were no longer rheumy.  His skeletal hand clasped D’Aylanna’s, his grip tight.  “All members of Congress finally agreed with what I’d been telling them for weeks: Galtea was lost.  The only good news was that several planets had been found that were viable for relocation…”

D’Aylanna could feel the tremendous loss radiating from the Anzat.  For Kazic Galtea had been his home for almost 400 years, to say nothing of the Vhal’Dan.  And while she’d never herself visited the planet, D’Aylanna had heard the rumors concerning the vergence that even now adversely affected any Forceuser visiting Galtea.  But she had another question to ask.

“Father, what about Saani?  You’ve only mentioned her twice before this evening, always with the sparest of details…and never once have you spoken of any children.  Did…did she die in childbirth along with the baby?” D’Aylanna’s blue lips pursed after voicing the interrogative.  The possibility of Kazic even having children had never once occurred to her in all of their years together…

If the Anzat’s demeanor had been despondent before, it became utterly miserable now.  As he sat momentarily silent, his red eyes stared off into the distance, perceiving…something that only Kazic could see.  When next he spoke, his voice was still robust but it came out just above a whisper.  “…No.  No, Nu’rus, neither Saani nor the baby died; quite the opposite: they were both as physically healthy as could be.”  He fixed his gaze upon D’Aylanna.  “…Physically…” Again his voice trailed off, contemplative.  

For many moments, Kazic sat completely motionless but for the sporadic rising and falling of his thin chest.  D’Aylanna worried that the Force would claim the ancient Anzat before he finished his tale.  However he surprised her again, first speaking slowly but as he continued each word came from his lips faster, stronger, and fiercer.  Incredibly, his presence in the Force seemed to flare as well.  Patiently she listened, captivated with every word.

“We…we had a boy, beautiful, wonderful, full of life… Well when she gave birth, Saani’s…‘episodes’ suddenly stopped.  We both thought it a miracle…which is what we thought of our son.  He was our miracle, never expected but immediately cherished.”  Kazic smiled in memory, a proud look upon his face.  “It was Saani that came up with the perfect name: Lor-Riou K’aval-Ovarug.  You see, in Twi’Leki, ‘lor-riou’ means ‘miraculous’ or ‘wonderous.’  And he was…was our k’Ab’o…”

Despite the gravity of the situation D’Aylanna smiled at Kazic’s recollections, the beauty of the moment infectious.  The Hapan Master was familiar with the Twi’Leki terms of endearment for a baby, “k’Ab’o” for a boy, “k’Ob’a” for a girl.  

Her smile faltered.  But…but she’d never once heard Kazic so much as intimate that he’d had a son…well, one that he’d actually fathered.  After all, her own Zearic was his son, if adoptive…

As if reading D’Aylanna’s mind, Kazic nodded, his face looking pained.  “Yes, Nu’rus.  Lor-Riou was my son, the only genetic offspring I’ve ever had in my long life…” He slowly shook his head, tears falling down his cheeks anew.  Yet, he continued.  “Even though I had lost my brother…had lost my home…Lor-Riou gave me hope.  Hope that Saani would be alright, hope that the Vhal’Dan would persevere, would live…hope that…that I would be a good father.”  His face contorted in anguish.  “…Maker send that I would be a better parent to Lor-Riou than I was brother to Anson… But…but I was never given the chance…”

D’Aylanna continued to gently stroke her adoptive father’s head, heart going out in commiseration for Kazic’s suffering.  “Please, Father, do not be so hard upon yourself.  I…I’m sure that you did everything that you could.”  In her mind, she could envision a funeral for little Lor-Riou, the problematic and incompatable genetics of a Twi’Lek/Anzat hybrid undoubtedly the cause.

Kazic slowly shook his head.  “No…no, you do not understand.”  Gritting his teeth, Kazic began to sob.

Truly at a loss, D’Aylanna nevertheless patiently waited for him to continue, the Force surrounding them both…almost a testament of the life that they shared.  It served to bring D’Aylanna solace; for Kazic, it was stark reminder of his greatest failures.

His voice shaky, Kazic continued.  “…No, Nu’rus…as I said, you do not understand…” He suddenly barked a scornful laugh, but his disgust was with himself.  “How could you?  I couldn’t have understood it myself…at least not at that time.” Kazic’s lips pulled back in a rictus grin, one without humor.  “…And not until it was too late…Maker damn me…” He said the last in a vehement whisper.

Determined, D’Aylanna pressed.  “Father, please…what happened?  To Saani?  To Lor-Riou?” Her dark eyes were full of concern and curiosity.

Abruptly, Kazic stopped crying, slowly exhaling while his face became utterly impassive.  When next he spoke, D’Aylanna involuntarily shivered, the Anzat’s tone as cold and devoid as the grave.  “‘What happened’ you ask?  The worst possible outcome of all…” His eyes drilled into D’Aylanna’s.

“I lost everything…” Kazic’s voice was filled with acrimony.  “…I lost everything…and lived.”
Logged

Sig courtesy of DarthScrub

Maenowan Nexu Master of the Vhal'Dan

My sabers:Zearic's Aldrnari, Archon v3 (modded w/ activation box) w/Obsidian, AS; Zearic's shoto, Initiate v5 w/Obsidian, AS; Graflex SE w/Obsidian, GB; Archon v3 (modded w/ activation box) w/Obsidian, CG; Dark Sentinel v4 w/Obsidian, BR; Sentinel LE v4 w/Obsidian, GB; Apprentice v4 w/Obsidian, AS; Sentinel LE v4 stunt, EG; Aeon LE v4 stunt, FO; Dominix v4 stunt, BR; Aeon v3 stunt, SY

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