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Author Topic: Schisms: The Vhal'Dan Civil War  (Read 16828 times)
Lord_S_Gray
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« Reply #225 on: July 27, 2019, 04:40:11 AM »

Now it seems we move to the final act...I agree with D'Alyanna such a hybrid really shouldn't survive long...but then it's wasn't just Twi'lek and Anzat was it....Twi'lek physical desire plus Anzat feeding instinct and strength combined with a touch of Aethan primalism from the healing that made Saani fertile again... there are a lot of ways that could go very very badly - losing Galtea and thousands of Vhal dan in the war is sounding like a warm up...another strong step forward in the narrative Dutch.
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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 #226 on: July 29, 2019, 09:47:30 AM »

Agreed.   I have a suspicion on what is coming, but I will keep it to myself.  But you're right, that could be a very bad combination.
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Master Singer of the Mak'Tor

TheDutchman
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Force Alignment: 779
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« Reply #227 on: August 14, 2019, 09:33:04 AM »


Chapter 34: A Knife to the Heart

[Kage, the transports have successfully arrived and the prefabricated structures are going up surrounding the Old Temple]. Ryshhk announced as he entered Kazic’s office in the Temple of Balance.  

“Thank you, Speaker.” Kazic said in clipped tones.  His head was killing him, the migraines the worst they’d ever been.  Still: it was the best news that could be expected.

After months of argument, bickering, and concessions, the Vhal’Dan had finally agreed that Galtea was lost to them, the symptoms of the Lus’phor Holocaust now drastically affecting every Force-user, from teidowan to koawan to maenowan—indeed from initiate to Kage—in the worst possible ways.  Migraines, horrific visions, and nightmares were endemic.

And those were just the “standard.”  Some complaints of a more serious conditions had surfaced: a wasting sickness that was now associated with the vergence affected every 1 in 16.  Many admitted to suffering from paranoid delusions.  Still others had fallen into comas.  But the real impetus driving the migration from Galtea were the three deaths that had occurred as a direct result of the Thought Bomb’s backwash.

The three casualties were as disparate as could be: one a koawan human female, another a Verpine maenowan, and the third was the 6th Speaker himself, Candurous Eriston.  One and all they’d complained of symptoms, none of them particularly more severe than any other…until it was too late.

In the hours preceding their deaths, they’d lost their vision, capacity for speech, and finally their mobility, followed by violent seizures.  After a couple of hours, they would lose consciousness…dying shortly thereafter without any further display.

Congress had been quick to accept Kazic’s evacuation plan and on that same day, once again he instituted Bellicose Protocols.  But unlike his wartime implementation where he’d hope to safeguard the planet, Kazic now fought to save the remaining Vhal’Dan Jedi.  His people…

…What I should have done from the start… Not for the first time did Kazic damn himself a fool, once for being intractable in the face of Anson’s opposition, twice for becoming the architect of the destruction of much of the Order… Oh, no one had ever accused him of doing so…at least not when they thought they would be overheard…but…

But Kazic condemned himself for such.

However, as much as he castigated himself, he knew that he still had a job to do, one that he would not foist upon anyone else.  The responsibility was his, he would do everything to rectify the situation.  And on that point, he’d sent out several detachments in order to find the Vhal’Dan a new home.

Thank the Maker they had, and with no time to spare.

“Speaker, please instruct the Collegium that every master, maenowan, and koawan is to assist the teidowans and initiates with their preparations.  I want everyone off-planet by the end of the week.” Kazic knew that his people would do just that; they all had compelling motives for alacrity.  Unconsciously he began to rub his temples.  “Any other news?” He added after a moment.

Ryshhk’s low rumbling reverberated through the room.  [Yes, Kage.  Both good and bad].  He paused, consulting the datapad engulfed within his enormous hand.  [The good: there have been rich mineral deposits detected within the mountains adjacent to the Old Temple.  Not as abundant as those on Nux’x but still more than plentiful for the Order’s needs; several centuries by the most conservative supply estimates].

“Truly good news indeed…” Kazic’s monotone voice was incongruous with his excitement. …Damned migraines… He cursed.  “…And the bad?” He asked, slowly inhaling as he took his hands from the sides of his head and began to stroke his black goatee.

[All attempts to open lines of communication with the rebel Vhal’Dan have been rebuffed.  Indeed, the channels previously used are no longer viable].  Controlled anger seemed to radiate from the large Wookie.  [We do not even know if anyone is listening…]  Kazic could feel the frustration that came off of Ryshhk in waves.  He could empathize; he had tried time and again to bring them back into the fold.  But, to a being, they refused to accept him as Kage.

Kazic had had a thought concerning such but wasn’t given the opportunity to explore it further.  Instead, he continued upon his path thinking to spare anyone else the trauma of the office.  “It’s not your fault, Ryshhk.” He closed his eyes, running his hands through his hair while absently fixing the leather statim holding his topknot.  “It’s me that they refuse to listen to.  Damned fools…”

He said the last in whispered exasperation.  Kazic knew that the rebels were suffering the same effects as his own people.  Would that he could make them listen… But even as such thoughts circled his mind, he could not fault them—at least not entirely—for their reticence.

“‘Maker, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.’” Kazic intoned, reciting the old Shifalan axiom that his teacher and mentor Master Stryka Annix had taught him.  It helped him to regain his center and instead of focusing on the negative, emphasized the positive…at least for him.

It also reminded him of the two pieces of great news that he could hold onto.  The first was the Vhal’Dan’s new home.  Already properly terraformed, Ossus and its moons were home to many ancient Jedi structures and artifacts.  As for the Order’s new planet, Kazic had decided upon the moon of Kewda…for many reasons.  In addition to the nearby mineral and ore mountain veins, there was an old temple that had been abandoned during the Mandalorian Wars…along with a true rarity.

The Guardian.

Made after the Hundred-Year Darkness, the Guardian protected the Old Temple on Kewda by disrupting any and all Dark Force energies within a 17 kilometer radius from the enormous statue.  And like the Jedi of old, the Vhal’Dan would be more than welcome in the Temple, a home to give them succor and respite…especially after Galtea.

Kazic also desperately hoped that the Guardian would help with those suffering from the symptoms of the Lus’phor Holocaust.  With that, unfortunately, only time would tell…

But the source of Kazic’s happiness (despite his migraines) was the newest addition to his family: his and Saani’s son, Lor-Riou.  Even thinking of him now made the Anzat smile, his headache abating…at least a little bit.

“Sorry Speaker, I didn’t catch your last…?” Kazic’s attention returned fully to the present.

Ryshhk made a deep bass sound as he exhaled while he eased his shoulders from the formal posture that he always adopted when addressing his Kage.  [Kazic…] He said quietly, his demeanor familiar as he addressed the Anzat by name, […How is your family]?  He took a seat in front of the Kage’s large yet informal desk.  The Wookie Speaker began to absently rub at his head, his own pain evident.

Kazic smiled wistfully.  “Good…no, better than ‘good,’ Ryshhk.  Saani has been resting exclusively at home since getting home from the hospital and Lor-Riou…well, he’s growing quickly.”  That last was especially poignant.  As Kazic had never even heard of any Anzat/Twi’Lek offspring, he didn’t really know what to expect…not to mention just what it was Aresaea had done to Saani and whether or not it would be passed on genetically.  But all of that fell by the wayside; his son was happy and most importantly healthy.  “Saani couldn’t wait but…she already tested him.  He’s Force-sensitive, not that it surprises me.”  Other things most certainly did but to Kazic, as a happy father, he was content to allow both Saani and himself the luxury of just being a family.  In fact, he’d spent the entire last week practically sequestered at home, corresponding via holofeed for any business.  It was the only time that he’d allowed himself a vacation away from the office.  Kazic was able to nurture Saani and Lor-Riou, both wanting for nothing.  Besides, Ryshhk was able to handle everything during that time.

Sadly it was the quickest week he’d ever spent, one of the happiest in Kazic’s life.  And altogether too brief…

[Congratulations my friend]. Ryshhk’s tone was sincere and friendly.  [May the Trees always offer you and yours solace].  He crossed muscular arms over his broad chest.  [Have you and Saani determined where on Kewda you shall reside]?

“Initially: the Temple proper.  But…well, I haven’t talked to Saani about it yet—I would like to surprise her but—I was thinking of a home by one of the lakes a kilometer from the Temple.”  Lost in thought, Kazic grinned.  “When I think of Lor-Riou growing up there, surrounded by the beauty of nature…well, it mitigates the loss of Galtea…” He suddenly soured.  “Maker-dammit…” Kazic sat forward, barking a laugh.  “And just when I thought I was used to the idea…well, at least that is one thing that I’m grateful for: since Saani’s been recovering at home—not to mention too busy with Lor-Riou—she hasn’t been disheartened by having to witness the mass exodus of our people…” Again he became wistful, thinking of the morose looks he’d witnessed on everyone’s faces as they left the Vhal’Ulhadv spaceport, the longing stares as the Jedi looked upon the city one last time before boarding their transports.

[I wouldn’t worry about her, my friend; Saani is one of the strongest persons I’ve ever met.  Even as she saw those leaving…like refugees searching for a purpose, she remained stoic]. Ryshhk’s tone was contemplative.  [I feel for them…Galtea has been my home for decades.  Thank the Trees that I’ll be able to bring the Lineage Tree that my Uncle Yshhrk gave me as a sapling].  Ryshhk gave a small smile.  [I think that I’ll go visit him, it’s been years since—]

“Forgive me, Ryshhk…” Kazic quietly interrupted, “…but what do you mean that she’s seen them?”

Ryshhk blinked.  [Exactly that.  Just three days ago I’d seen her down by the spaceport.  I must’ve surprised her: she looked as if she’d seen a ghost-wight].  Ryshhk suddenly grinned.  [For a moment, I thought that she was going to ignite her lightsaber and attack me, by the look on her face].  The Wookie’s deep rumbling laughter shook the Kage’s Office.  [Please, I apologize, I didn’t mean to ruin her surprise for you].

Kazic smiled.  “Think nothing of it.” But something still didn’t sit right; Saani had told him that she’d not left the apartments since returning from the hospital, that she’d been busy seeing everything ready and packed from their home…

Pain throbbed through his forehead.  …Maker-damned Thought Bomb… Gritting his teeth, Kazic stood.  As paranoid as he felt, he knew he could attribute it to the vergence.  Couldn’t he?  Looking back, little things that he’d ignored or had thought he’d imagined suddenly came to the forefront, a hyperawareness scrutinizing everything.  

“Ryshhk, would you please excuse me.  I just have some last-minute things to do before we’re ready to leave…” Without waiting for an answer, Kazic hurried to the hyperloop, boarding and taking his seat in a daze.

Pain and nausea rolled through him as he closed his eyes.  The week that he’d spent together with Saani and Lor-Riou had been glorious…but now, upon retrospect, Kazic questioned what before he’d summarily dismissed.  Flashes of almost-anger that were gone as quickly as perceived…a strange look in Saani’s purple eyes…a twist of her blue lips…the vagueness in the tone of her voice…why would she lie…or…

Or was he being foolishly paranoid, pain, exhaustion, self-castigation getting to him?

Kazic tried focusing on the details…only to stray to those happy memories spent with Lor-Riou, the unexpectedness of being a father…especially after what had happened the first time Saani had gotten pregnant…

…She’s lying…

Kazic shook his head, as if doing so would negate the nagging suspicions that kept plaguing him.  Immediately, he regretted the action, his migraine made worse as a result.  Squeezing his eyes shut, he tried to focus again on his son.  Like when he’d unexpectantly taken his first steps the day after they’d gotten home from the hospital…

…She’s lying…

Teeth grinding, Kazic obstinately tried to ignore the small voice in the back of his head.  He must think, focus instead on Lor-Riou, already having spoken his first utterance in Basic and Twi’Leki, both times the same word: “father.”  He smiled, unshed tears blurring his vision as he blinked.

…She’s lying…

His smile disappearing, Kazic’s cheeks were wet as tears slid down his face.  Lor-Riou…

…She’s lying…

She’s lying… Conviction filled his mind, Kazic willing his eyes to stay open, to see, to really look

And there, where he knew they’d be, where they’d always been, were the daen nosi, undulating wildly just a fraction beyond his peripheral vision, virtually invisible except…

…Except when Kazic stopped ignoring them.  Now, it was all that he could do not to see them, as obvious as the flared nostrils on his own face.  Feeling simultaneously better and worse, he was impatient to arrive home.  And while he tried to pass the remaining time with pleasant memories of Lor-Riou, Kazic could no longer focus on anything other than Saani…well, her and the daen nosi.

Before he knew it, Kazic’s home appeared, the doors to the hyperloop opening onto the vast balcony that led invariably to the door of the Kage’s Apartments.  Rushing from his seat, he was soon through the doors leading into the apartment atrium and up the stairs to the bedroom that he shared with his wife.  “Saani?  Saani!” His voice echoed through the now empty rooms.

There was no one here; not Saani, not Lor-Riou…no one.

…THINK…! Kazic berated himself.  He slowed his breathing, closed his eyes, calmed his thoughts… Everything—even the migraine that he’d suffered since morning—seemed to dissipate, tense muscles relaxing as agitated thoughts gave way to rational explainations.

Of course…no one was there; Saani had been seeing to their own excursion plans.  Naturally, she’d taken Lor-Riou with her.  

Understanding and relief flooded Kazic’s mind, further alleviating his anxiety.  It seemed that the vergence was fueling his paranoia, like so many others.  Grimly he smiled.  He knew that he’d been under severe conditions but he’d somehow hoped to avoid the worst of the symptoms; clearly he was mistaken…

Slowly, he walked down the wide staircase leading to the solarium, its tall walls completely transparent.  Through it, Kazic was able to look upon the heart of Vhal’Ulhadv.  Even now, the sky was filled with traffic, hovercars and ships dotting the airways as the mass exodus continued.  Whereas before the vista awed the Anzat it now served as a stark reminder of what he was once again losing…

“Kazic.” Saani’s voice came from behind him, startling him from his ruminations.  Turning, he faced his wife, a grateful smile spreading across his lips.  One that faltered as soon as his eyes fell upon Saani’s face.  Rather, as soon as his gaze looked into Saani’s eyes.

The eyes of a stranger, filled with contempt, cruelty, and antipathy.

“…Kanp’a…what’s going on?” Kazic asked warily, his own heart hammering within his throat.  He now saw that she had her armor on, both lightsabers held within her hands.

“I know what you’ve done, what you have planned.” Saani’s voice was hard, accusatory.  “I won’t let you do it.”

Kazic moved slowly towards her, his hands spread to show that he was unarmed.  “Saani, what are you talking about?  Do?  Do what?  Please…what is wrong?”

Saani adopted a defensive posture, lightsaber held at the ready if still unignited.  “Don’t come near me.  I know.  I know.  Was it your plan from the start?  Or was it only afterwards?”

Exasperated by both confusion and pain Kazic scowled.  “Saani, what in the Maker-damned hell are you talking about?” He took another step forward.



Fast as thought, Saani’s purple blade sprang into existence, the snap-hiss of the lightsaber the only warning that Kazic got.  Either by luck or the will of the Force, Kazic was able to avoid the plasma blade but he stumbled backwards.  Before he was able to recover his wits, he felt his body seize as Lightning engulfed him and he was suddenly lifted a meter into the air.

“I told you not to come near me…” Saani whispered.

In agony, Kazic stared down at his wife, bewilderment helping to galvanize his lucidity as he fought to remain conscious.  When he could finally speak, his voice was harsh, pained, and raspy.  “…Saani…what…are…you…doing…?”

As she approached, Kazic could finally see in fine detail his wife’s face.  It was blank, devoid of any love or affection.  But Saani’s eyes belonged to that of a zealot.  And when she spoke, Kazic’s spirits froze in horror.

“What I should have done as soon as I knew what you planned to do to Lor-Riou.  I knew that you’d take him from me…” Her face suddenly filled with anger, her brow furrowed with pain.  “…But what I would have never guessed is that you—YOU!—would raise him…as…a…Sith!”

Kazic couldn’t believe what he was hearing.  But even as he opened his mouth to deny it, he realized that anything he said would be dismissed; clearly Saani was suffering deeply from paranoia.  He had to help her…

“Saani…please, you’re…you’re not well.  We…we need to get you to Kewda, to the Guardian…I…I can help you; I can fix you!” Kazic pleaded, his voice full of emotion.

If Saani had looked angry before, rage now consumed her.  “‘Fix me?!'  You…you bastard.  Yes I should’ve known.”  Conviction filled her voice.  “I should’ve known that the vergence had poisoned you…but no matter…”

She brought her lightsaber up to the ready.  “I will not let you ever have the chance to complete your fiendish plans…” Kazic felt the pressure holding him in the air constrict all around him.  “…And you will never, ever threaten Lor-Riou again…”

Kazic—veteran of countless battles in dozens of wars—felt pain the likes of which he’d never thought possible.  Not from the Force powers now crushing him or the heat of the plasma blade that drew ever closer.  No, this pain was worse than all combined.

He’d lost Lor-Riou, he’d lost Saani…and it was Saani that would now kill him.
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
Forumverse Loremaster
Master of Ceremonies
Knight Commander
************

Force Alignment: 912
Posts: 4401


Light side points please.


« Reply #228 on: August 14, 2019, 12:40:24 PM »

Wow...    I kinda knew it was coming, but not like that!   Kazic is about to die at the hands of the one he loves the most.

But we know he didn't die...

Which means someone or something intervened....

Will Saani be killed?

Will the baby survive?

Will inflation ruin your summer vacation plans?

Tune in next week for the exciting conclusion to....   
*smacks computer*

Darned old-timee radio show recordings....     

Sorry.   Dutch, that is a horrible moment, and well written.   I make light because it is just so heavy and tragic.  Poor Kazic.  He's in the ultimate no-win...
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Master Singer of the Mak'Tor

Lord_S_Gray
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Force Alignment: 164
Posts: 1104



« Reply #229 on: August 14, 2019, 04:11:43 PM »

Agree with Karm...piece by piece its all coming apart, I suspect even the Guardians effects wouldn't cure all the ills...but as it stands the chances of everyone even getting there...How much of this paranoia is the vergence, how much is something worse. Perhaps it doesn't really matter now things have come to a head.
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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."

TheDutchman
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Force Alignment: 779
Posts: 3136


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« Reply #230 on: August 19, 2019, 12:33:43 PM »


Chapter 35: The Anzat’s Pain

Even as he felt his nose collapse from the inexorable pressure that Saani constricted him with, Kazic couldn’t help but remain transfixed by her quiet, solemn voice.  

“As I was giving birth to Lor-Riou, I was having such a difficult time…” Saani’s tone was hypnotic.  “…and you were no longer there for me.  You claimed that the doctors had ‘called you away’ but I knew the truth: you wanted to get rid of me so that Lor-Riou would be yours to do with as you pleased…”

Kazic couldn’t even dispute Saani’s preposterous reasoning; right now he could barely breath.  Blood flowed from his nose staining his dark gray tunics.  Pain erupted as one of his fingers broke, bent at an odd angle.  Still Saani continued to drone on.

“…I had to perform a Memory technique with how to direct Healing flows adequate to compensate for the pain…and I saw when you returned, your face.  But that was something else that I remembered, something that—until then—I hadn’t considered important.  But it was the key, the answer to everything…” Saani removed something from her belt.  Standing in front of Kazic, she keyed the object, precise writing from a holoscript source projected a meter into the air.  “This is from the ‘Collected Works of Illyiss*.’  Not many know that he actually suffered from intense Force Visions and many of his works were actually prophecies that others had recorded for posterity…”

Kazic didn’t bother to remind her that while Illyiss had been an ancient and powerful Jedi Master, his so-called “prophecies” were as subjective as the person reading them.  Besides, Master Illyiss himself had stated that his Force Visions never represented any specific persons…but Kazic was having the most difficult time maneuvering his neck so that Saani’s Telekinesis didn’t break it.

“…The first thing that I did when we arrived home from the hospital was to check our book copy.  Sure enough, it was there, all there…and I knew.  I knew it all…” Saani’s voice changed tone, her recitation of the dual sestet work beginning quietly but quickly growing louder and greater in emphasis as she delivered each line:

  "Born of dust, forged in fire, finding
   Love, purified but transient within
   Life fulfilled and evanescent, too soon,
   Death rewarded but unacknowledged
   His lament inconsolable, his comportment
   Desolate he rejoins with sentiment.

   Rebirth unsolicited, she rages to
   The Heavens weep and for them he
   Agonizes, regretful and repentant as
   She supplants his nemesis, all of
   His own making, just rewards unwarranted
   Their mutual perdition.”


Saani’s gaze became raptorlike.  “I can see it all now.  First: our love…‘purified’ by the pain of loss of our first child.  Our life was ‘fulfilling’…right up to…my death…” She stumbled slightly over that interpretation but hurried on, “…and your ‘inconsolable lament’ as you mourned…but—and here is where your plotting begins—you made that…deal with Valens to bring me back…I never asked for that…the pain…you’ll never know…!” She clenched her fist around the shoto in her offhand, “…But as you ‘agonized’ you…you felt ‘repentant’ for what you’d done to Anson…your brother!...but that wasn’t the worst…you…became like him, went over to his side…making…making ME your new ‘nemesis’…all…BECAUSE…OF YOU!!!” Saani pointed her purple lightsaber at Kazic as if to emphasize her point.  “…And…and…it will lead us to ‘our mutual perdition!’” Face wrapped in fury, her countenance changed, utterly unrecognizable to Kazic.  “YOU PLOTTED TO KILL US!!!

If he wasn’t in agonizing pain—not to mention within millimeters of literally being crushed to death—Kazic would have laughed at the logic fallacies that Saani had invented for her macabre…“proof” of Kazic’s “plans.”  Wheezing, he attempted to say…something, anything.  But he knew: even if he could speak, nothing he said would convince Saani of the truth, to persuade her that she was suffering delusions.  He stared into Saani’s eyes.  Instead, exhaustively Kazic whispered, “…I love…you…Kanp’a…”

The expression on Saani’s face never once changed, the eyes of a stranger looking back at Kazic from her blue face.

“…Despicable Sith…but don’t worry, you will never see Lor-Riou.  I’ve ensured that my son will be forever out of your reach...” Saani’s eyes clouded, her voice monotone.  “…He shall never even know of your name…”

But even as she continued speaking, something deep within Kazic stirred.  He knew that Saani was not in her right mind but what she’d done… Anger—no pure rage—possessed Kazic, the Anzat threat response of his species suddenly released from the tightly controlled leash that he normally held firmly adamant.  The telepathy innate to the species—another aspect that he always suppressed—suddenly erupted forth in his primal mind…and Kazic disappeared.

What remained was a creature evoking the darkest horrors of the mind, one that embodied the galactic fear that all sentients suffered, the reality even more frightening than the myths.

As the Anzat telepathically broke Saani’s Telekinetic hold, he did so with such might that the rebounding Force waves knocked Saani off her feet, momentarily disorienting her.  She heard the heavy thud of impact as the Anzat’s boots hit the floor, his crouching body tense with muscles bulging from an overdose of adrenaline.  Kazic’s red eyes drilled into hers seemingly hesitant…but only for a moment.  Before she could fully recover the Anzat sprang, his hunter’s senses primed with Telepathic Suppression.  Saani may have been more powerful than Kazic…but she no longer faced the man who had been her husband for decades.

There was no way that Kazic could cover the distance between them normally, being separated by more than eight meters.  He shouldn’t have been able to intercept her in the time that it took for Saani to ready herself.  Not only that but she was now stronger in the Force than him, as strong as Anson had been.  If ever there was a fight lost before it began, this should’ve been it.

Instead Kazic’s body, his systems flooded by endorphins—mind fueled by the Anzat hunger for the soup—moved faster than Saani could ever have expected, his preternaturally powerful telepathy acting against his victim’s will.  Before she could bring her mainhand lightsaber to the ready, her shoto still unignited in her hand, the Anzat’s blue blade crashed into hers, knocking the purple blade wide.  It was only by Saani’s augmented reflexes and powerful Force connection that she was able to ignite and insinuate her yellow shoto between her and the blue lightsaber that intended to maim, to slow his victim…

…All the better to ensure his longevity and enjoyment with the soup.

Whatever Saani’s convictions, beliefs…delusions…she had no idea of the opponent she faced.  However, she was certain that what she faced was Sith and, therefore, her enemy.  She held nothing back.

And none too soon; the Anzat that she faced was among the galaxy’s most dangerous predators.

A natural Jar’Kai practitioner as well as one of the Vhal’Dan’s preeminent blademasters, Saani should’ve had a distinct advantage over the Anzat’s lone blade.  Her Forms were impeccable, her skill unmatched… But whenever she thought that she’d found an opening, Saani’s attacks were thwarted.  Purple and yellow blades swung in tight, deliberate orbits intent on eviscerating the “Sith” she was convinced she fought.  And every time the Anzat’s blue blade deflected.  Any riposte that followed was not from any Form that the Anzat had trained and learned, no his offensive was almost entirely instinctual, his species’ telepathy agonizing Saani’s mental defenses on the metaphysical plane.

Almost.

For what Saani faced was not just some mindless feral Anzat but worst of all one that had given into his basest desires, his motivations driven to the achievement of one end…

Several times Saani hammered her two blades at her opponent only to be rebuffed.  And while she scored a minor cut that took off the tip of the Anzat’s right ear and a devastating kick that would’ve knocked out almost any other being, they only served as diversions to the inevitable.

Across the wide solarium they fought, twilight descending upon the planet.  As the lengthening shadows stretched along the floor, both Twi’Lek and Anzat continued to fight, neither side relenting nor slowing.  Outside, the bustle of an unaware city seemed to ignore the dramatic combat, one that—had anyone bothered to look directly into the Kage’s Solarium—would have shown a display of Force Powers against the backdrop of the glowing purple, yellow, and blue plasma blades that swung, circled, and stopped one another…almost as if someone were trying to recreate Galtea’s Aurora Austrinas Southern Lights as they danced across the darkening sky.  

And still, they fought.

As Saani and the Anzat paused in a bladelock, Saani found herself fighting against a potent Force Thorn that threatened to befuddle and stagger her.  So focused was she that she made the biggest of mistakes around an Anzat: she left her face unprotected.  Gritting her teeth, Saani tried to Push the Anzat from her and in doing so, brought her face within centimeters of his.

Before she knew what was happening, the Anzat’s twin proboscis shot out from under his cheek flaps, searching, probing Saani’s face.  Visceral fear filled and infected Saani, all conscious thought flying from her mind…including defending against the Force Thorn.

As the Thorn slid home Saani screamed, dropping her shoto as she grabbed her head in a futile attempt to assuage the pain that erupted in her mind.  Agony was etched upon her face as she pulled away from the slathering proboscis, one that even now had found purchase in her left nostril.  Without thinking and in complete desperation, she carelessly formed and detonated a potent ball of Kinetite…with violent results.

Both combatants were blown to either side, one crashing against a wall, the other colliding with the stair railing, breaking their back before slamming against the far transparisteel window, finally coming to rest on the floor in a heap of broken bones, muscle, and sinew.  For what seemed like eternity, neither of them stirred.

In reality, one of them was up in seconds, cautiously yet indomitably approaching the other with ignited lightsaber still in hand.  And walking over, they looked down upon the ruined body that lay at their feet.

And looking up, Saani knew that she could do nothing.  Her body was broken, her mind shredded from the Force Thorn.  She was completely at his mercy.

Yet still, she smiled.

Closing down the lightsaber, the Anzat crouched on his heels, slowly lowering his head so that his flared nose nearly touched her bloody and broken nose.  This time, as if savoring the victory and leisure of the moment, the Anzat’s proboscis gently licked Saani’s cheeks and lips.  Her face twitched in revulsion at the touch, her eyes reflecting the warring feelings of fear and satisfaction.  Hot breath engulfed her face as the Anzat’s proboscis found both nostrils and began to crawl towards Saani’s cranium…

…But stopped within centimeters of their prize.  The Anzat’s body remained motionless, the red eyes still distracted and primal…the soup a Siren’s Call from myth, taunting…tempting…him…

With Herculean effort, the Anzat’s eyes focused, regaining the sentience of the man that they belonged to.  “…no…” He breathed a whisper, sorrow and regret radiating from him, the twin proboscis disappearing again in his cheeks.  "...No..."  Now kneeling, Kazic quietly sobbed, “…Saani…I…I am so, so very sorry.  Please, my wife, my Kanp’a, can you forgive me?”

Quiet, spiteful laughter shook Saani’s broken body.  “…I…I curse you.  Know this: even now, though you may have killed me, you’ll never, ever know where your son is.”  Another round of laughter, this one even softer than before, punctuated Saani’s pained gasps.  “…I gave him to…to the rebels you tried so hard to bring back into the fold…I…I knew that he’d be safer with them than even with me…as much as…as much as it pains me…” Her purple eyes gazed deep into Kazic’s, “…Even I don’t know where…where they’ve taken him…you…you’ve failed…completely…”  With that, she lost consciousness.

And for a second time, Kazic had to deal with the loss of his wife even though she still lived…at least, for the moment…
_______________________________________________________________________________________________

* As seen WAYYY back in CH. 4
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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

Karmack
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« Reply #231 on: August 20, 2019, 08:36:59 AM »

Wow...    The horror.   This man has lived with this for centuries.   Talk about PTSD issues...

It gives a very startling insight, though.   Why would this man, an Anzat, adopt Zearic?   Because ... he is honoring the memory of his own son, long lost?    Perhaps many times over?

The depth here and texture are phenomenal.   Well thought-out and finished.   Nicely done, Dutchman!   

Of course ... we're still not quite done ...   :-)
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« Reply #232 on: September 02, 2019, 10:04:06 PM »

Quote
The depth here and texture are phenomenal.   Well thought-out and finished.   Nicely done, Dutchman!   

Agreed, this is just...a horrific but brilliant mess of a very flawed man reaping the rewards of his mistakes, his best intentions - "you made that…deal with Valens to bring me back…I never asked for that" ...that was a very jarring line that made me really feel for both characters...
And this...
And for a second time, Kazic had to deal with the loss of his wife even though she still lived…at least, for the moment…
He's truly lost Saani twice, and he's lost himself twice as well - once when he turned to the Aethans for help, unleashing the daemons upon those he once called brothers and sisters, and now to his own feral instincts...which is worse who can say.

Why would this man, an Anzat, adopt Zearic?   

That really struck me Karm, well pointed out, this is so much about Kazic relationship with his children, D'Alyanna and Zearic in the 'present' day, Aresaea the catalyst for the War, now Lor-Riou the child he had so hoped for with Saani, that is an undercurrent that is really striking home now - Lor and Ari seem to be lost to him...and D'Alyanna...well could this very confession burn that bridge as well to complete the cycle?
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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."

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« Reply #233 on: September 10, 2019, 02:05:48 PM »


Chapter 36: “…We are such stuff as dreams are made on; and our little life is rounded with a sleep…”

“…the last of the transport ships arrived last night, Kage.  Along with the ‘node—” the shorter of the two figures nodded toward the compact datastorage compendium that the larger figure held, “—Everything that you need is now on-moon and keyed for planetary defense…”  The shorter figure’s voice trailed off, his face contemplative in the light of the setting sun.

The larger figure nodded, his own face full of worry and concern…for his companion.  It was for that reason that he did not correct his friend.  …A technicality true but nevertheless… He thought.  And after everything that had happened, he still said nothing.  Maker knew that he should…

Standing far up on the large dark granite balcony, both figures overlooked the vast courtyard of the Old Temple grounds.  The vista offered an interesting and not altogether unpleasant amalgamation of organic rock alongside the industrial prefabricated structures that had created a burgeoning township.  And in the distance, nestled between a regal snowcapped mountain and a forest-ringed lake, short modern buildings had already been erected, the established skylanes fairly vacant…but that would soon change.

“On that note—” the shorter figure shook his head, trying desperately to divest himself of the memories that continually encroached upon his thoughts, “—the remaining Golan platforms have taken up polar- and equatorial orbits around the moon, shielded and hidden from surveillance.”  The shorter figure exhaled, as if finally relieving himself of a great weight.  Which he very much was.  …One of many obligations… He thought.  Instead he said, “I’ve keyed all government and civic codes to transfer upon your genetic Ident.  Just place your thumb upon the scanner for completion; everything else is just a matter of procedure…”  Again, he fell silent.  Try as he might, he knew that regardless of how far he went he’d never outrun his own daemons.  Quietly clearing his throat, his gaze suddenly affixed back onto his taller colleague.  “All is in readiness, Kage.” His voice sounded detached, emotionless.

Shaking his head, the taller figure could stand it no longer.

[Kage-elect]. Came the deep bass correction.  Slowly shaking his head, the taller figure continued.  [Kazic, you should not be doing this]. Ryshhk rumbled, gently placing his large paw upon the shorter man’s shoulder. [My friend…please let me help you]. His soft tone seemed incongruous with the Wookie’s demeanor.  

But Kazic knew that Ryshhk’s sincerity was beyond question.

“Kage…Ryshhk.  You have my eternal gratitude.”  Kazic crossed his arms, his head bowed in thought.  And apprehension.  “But it’s apparent to me that I am not fit as Kage for the Vhal’Dan and never was.”  Slowly exhaling, he continued.  “And this is something that I must do myself.” His voice became a whisper.  “I’ve…lost enough people already…”

As Ryshhk looked down in his friend’s eyes, he saw that Kazic was resolute in his decision.  And after everything that the Anzat had been through, Ryshhk knew that whatever ghosts the man carried, they would haunt him for a long time…

[…Would that I could take this pain from you, my friend…] Ryshhk’s low voice seemed to carry across the Temple grounds.  Even though the hour was long, the Temple was filled with Jedi: some training in the open-air salle, some hard at work, while others simply went upon their way.  It almost seemed…normal.

…But for all that we…I…lost… Kazic admonished himself, and not for the first time.  And still above it all, was the emptiness that lay the heaviest upon his heart.  Silently, a tear ran down his cheek, the redness of his eyes having nothing to do with the Anzat’s normal irises.

…Saani…

               <<<<< >>>>>

After their duel, Kazic had been desperate.  Almost all of the Vhal’Dan medical equipment had been transferred off-planet first, leaving only bacta-couches.  But due to the extent of Saani’s injuries, the couches were insufficient to the task.  Panicked, Kazic agonized that he was without any options…

…Until he remembered the Rakatan Mind Trap that Ryshhk had shown him before.  As carefully but as quickly as he could, Kazic managed to transport Saani to the secret cache of Force Artifacts that only he and the Wookie Speaker knew about.  Either by the grace of the Maker, the will of the Force, or plain luck, they’d left them for the final transport using Ryshhk’s own light freighter.

It was to that freighter that a frantic Kazic carried Saani’s broken body to in the dead of night.  Laying her gently down upon the hard deck amidst unremarkable crates in the dimly lit cargo hold, Kazic scrutinized the boxes, looking for one with the right shape…there.

Hurriedly, he called the box to him.  Not even bothering with the lock, he used the Force.  The box exploded in a contained blast, the shrapnel carelessly crushed into a sphere while the contents of the now-destroyed container flew into his waiting hand.

It was a plinth approximately one meter tall, with a black orb in the base.  And while the device was esoteric and practically unknown, Kazic had been able to deduce the activation mechanism.

It required the blood of the subject and tactile contact with the orb.

Considering the many lacerations, contusions, and injuries that Saani’s broken body suffered, getting her blood wasn’t a problem.

Her still being alive was.

Checking for any signs of vitality, Kazic fought his rising dread as he desperately, quickly Delved his wife.  For many seconds—an eternity—he felt…nothing.  Unchecked tears ran rivulets down his cheeks into his dark goatee.

But then, a flicker…at once both brief and timeless…Kazic could feel the life that still clung to this world.  …Saani…!  Working quickly, Kazic tenderly caressed Saani’s body and when he took his hand away it was wet with her blood.  Blood that he would use to save his wife.

Gripping the plinth in his opposite hand, he cupped the orb at the base with the other.  As the blood ran from his hand and onto the orb it seemed to lose its color, becoming as black as the orb itself.

Kazic held his breath suddenly uncertain of what to do, what he should expect.  In the silence of the cargo hold and in the darkness of night, Kazic could hear the hammering of his own heart.  As the seconds seemed to stretch into a timelessness that had no sensation, he listened with a hearing more acute than most sentients…

…And with startling suddenness, he could hear Saani’s breathing slow…becoming more regular.  Hopeful, Kazic again Delved Saani.  

There was nothing.  Silence.  Blackness darker than the darkest Galtean night.

Kazic looked at the plinth.  From within the orb, a feint almost imperceptible pulsing seemed to glow.  He doubted that most beings would notice it.  But whatever it may portend for the future, to Kazic it brought hope.  Or at least, some.  He knew that he would have to do something for Saani’s body.  As it was, he knew that even with the most modern technology, Saani would require years—perhaps even decades—of painful rehabilitation.  And, Kazic was forced to admit, even then her prognosis was uncertain, her total recovery unlikely.

Kazic knew what he had to do.  And as he collected Saani’s body, placing it into the freighter’s bacta-couch, the Anzat swore that he would do everything—everything!—to heal his wife, make her whole…

…So that they would once again be a family…

               <<<<< >>>>>

[Where will you go]? Ryshhk said beside him as Kazic walked out of the granite halls and into the metal mechanical docks adjacent to the Temple.  The sun was halfway past the horizon, Ossus high in the Kewda sky.

“I have several leads…but the most promising were rumors that I heard coming from Ord Mirit.” His voice trailed off thinking about what he’d heard about some biotech that had resulted in a rejuvenation…or rebirth…something

…Which was why he would start there.  And if a tenth of what he’d heard was—

[The Vhal’Dan shall always be here for you should you return]. Ryshhk’s deep rumble interrupted Kazic’s thoughts.  [At least so long as I am Kage].  The Wookie’s golden eyes glimmered.

Looking up, Kazic smiled faintly.  “Thanks.  Once again: I’m indebted to you.”  Stepping onto the docking pad, he suddenly stopped, looking at the ship currently berthed there, backlit by the setting sun.  “Speaking of…are you certain you want for me to take her?”

Ryshhk guffawed, a Wookie idiosyncrasy that Kazic had come to interpret as geniality.  [I insist.  You shall require her services much more than I.  Besides: as Kage I have all of the Vhal’Dan fleet at my disposal]. He smiled.  [Although I will admit to a fondness for Justice’s Brachiate; I’ve done many modifications to her throughout the years…] Ryshhk trailed off.  [No.  She’ll no longer be “Justice’s Brachiate.”  As she is your ship, you should name her].

For a moment, Kazic was quiet, introspective.  “Expiator…yes; she’s the Expiator.”  Kazic’s red eyes were lost in the cloud of his thoughts and self-recriminations.

[Of course, my friend].  Ryshhk intoned.  He understood.  [It’s a good name, a proper name for a worthy ship.  She’s yours].  But even as the words left his mouth, Ryshhk’s apprehension redoubled.  …Expiator… He ruminated…

…"One whom atones"…

               <<<<< >>>>>

Within the Hall of Balance, almost every single Vhal’Dan Jedi on Kewda was in attendance.  The thickness of the air and gravity of the situation had nothing to do with the symptoms of the vergence…but there was a somber mood that pervaded the entire Hall despite the clear morning air; everyone felt it.  And when Kazic spoke into the relative silence, his voice reverberated throughout the entire chamber.

Standing from his Kage’s Seat on the upraised dais, surrounded by the Speakers, the Anzat dropped all formalities.  “I am abdicating as Kage.  Now that the Order has relocated from Galtea to Kewda and the sickness that plagued us seems to have gone into remission, I must relinquish the office that I am no longer fit to occupy.  And while I know that the Order shall elect my replacement, I would like to offer my own nomination, one whom is a wiser, stronger, more worthy—in short, better—Jedi than I have ever been.”  Kazic deliberately pointed at the Wookie Speaker still seated.  “Master Ryshhk K’rrmerii is the very epitome of what the Vhal’Dan Order should be and represents.  I know that with Master K’rrmerii heading the Congress as Kage, the Order shall achieve great things.  And, having learned vicariously from the mistakes of the past, will inaugurate a golden age for the Vhal’Dan.”

Without any further deliberation, Kazic stepped from the dais walking between the congregated Jedi and disappearing through the irising doors, leaving the Hall in utter silence.

               <<<<< >>>>>

“I’m sorry th’t I wer’n’t there t’ witness such.” Corvus wheezed, subdued coughing cutting off the rest of his words.

“Sorry, my friend…” Kazic’s reply seemed hollow in his own ears.  “How are you feeling?”  The Anzat sat across the quaint table that Corvus had placed upon his humble balcony, the planet Ossus rising in Kewda’s noontime sky.

“Hurts, dammit.” The Devaronian Master complained, the ghost of a smile mirroring the humor in his eyes.  “W’ll ye be back soon?”

“No.”

The two of them sat for some time, the silence between them communicating their thoughts.

“Kazic…t’wasn’t yer fault…” Corvus’ quiet commiseration caused the Anzat’s face to turn.

“Yes, yes it was.” Kazic softened.  Somewhat.  “But…thanks for saying otherwise.”  Rising, he stood in front of his friend, his hand outstretched.  “I know that I have no right…” He left the rest unsaid.

Without hesitation, Corvus shook the Anzat’s hand.  “Wh’n yer done yer welcome here.”  He smiled grimly.  Nodding, Kazic shook his head, grasping the Devaronian’s hand in both of his.

Kazic didn’t mention his plans to help Saani; he knew that Corvus would only be hurt with the uncertainty of Kazic’s unlikely success.  Corvus had been among his wife’s—and his—few true friends.  Looking back over his shoulder, he waved to Corvus hoping to take him up on his hospitality.

They were the last words that the two ever shared with one another.

               <<<<< >>>>>

“D’arial, take care of your father.”  Kazic smiled wistfully.  “I…I just want you to know that I’ll always consider you both as family.”

The tall woman’s face was a mask…

…One that fell as she brought Kazic into a tight hug.  “Chaaché, I’ll miss you.”  The two of them held onto each other, the afternoon sun setting towards the horizon.  Ossus was now large in the Kewda sky.  Releasing D’arial, Kazic turned to the dark, slender Epicanthix that stood just to the side of him, the Anzat embracing Jorol as well.

“Brother…may the Maker keep you.” Kazic could only hug him tighter when he added, “…And may Saani join with my Tsar, Syrena, and Arnis.  Find what peace you can my friend knowing that they’re together.”  As Jorol held him at arm’s length, Kazic’s lip quivered.  He wanted to tell Jorol about what he’d done, that Saani yet lived… But he knew how implausible his task was, would be.  It could be decades…centuries even.  For Kazic, he could afford the lamentation of the years…

…For Jorol or D’arial who’s lives were but a fraction of the Anzat’s?

Again the pain of loss and the weight of duty almost staggered Kazic as he drew both Epicanthix into his fierce embrace.  No, he could not—would not—do that to them.  Better they be given a clean resolution and allowed to begin the process of healing rather than continue in agony, waiting, anticipating, worrying…

“My love to you both.” Kazic whispered quietly before leaving them, the shadows from the sunlight beginning to elongate as Kewda’s horizon seemed to march slowly towards the sun.

With his back towards the Qui-Xot residence, Kazic was thankful that they would not see just how much his heart ached by not being able to have them in his life.  And he was right by keeping what he did from them.

Even decades later, when Kazic did see them again, they would never know how bad he’d failed.

               <<<<< >>>>>

Standing at the base of the ramp, Kazic stopped, turning to face Ryshhk.  What had needed to be said had been.  And the Wookie Kage was the only one who knew of everything.  Suddenly finding himself at a loss for what to do, Kazic shook his head as he felt inundated by his sorrow.

Surprisingly, powerful arms encircled him.  He felt the coarse brown and black fur against his face, feeling unexpectedly comforted.  [Should you need anything my friend, you need only ask]. Ryshhk’s forehead touched Kazic’s as the taller Wookie slightly stooped to do so.  [Also…if you find yourself on Coruscant and in need of a friend, call upon my Uncle Yshhrk and show him this].  Ryshhk pulled from one of his belt pouches a small, vibrant sapling.  [You don’t need to feed it or water it; this is a cutting from my Lineage Tree.  It will live so long as the Lineage Tree does.  It is testament to Wookies that you are a man of honor.  Show this and know that you shall have a friend in need of my people].

Dumbfounded, Kazic could only mutter his thanks before taking one more look around.  Twilight was beginning to descend upon the Temple.  But from both without and within…life, activity, hope.  The last struck Kazic as a particular irony, given what he intended.  But…

But his migraines were fewer and far between now, as was their intensity.  He’d kept his promise to himself that as Kage, he would not foist the problem onto anyone else.  Kewda had been the right choice.  And it was beautiful…but it was not Galtea.

And, just as Galtea was lost to him, so too he feared was Saani.

But, he hoped that he could change that.  Shaking Ryshhk’s enormous paw, Kazic boarded the light freighter.  And as he sat in the pilot’s seat, the last vestiges of sunlight began to disappear under the horizon.

And as the Expiator sped away from Kewda, Kazic punched in the designation coordinates towards the Core.  Taking one last look at the new Vhal’Dan homeworld—one that he would not see again for years—he was haunted by the fact that he would never again have a true home…

…Never that, never without his Kanp’a.


« Last Edit: September 10, 2019, 03:08:17 PM by TheDutchman » Logged

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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

Karmack
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Light side points please.


« Reply #234 on: September 10, 2019, 03:17:52 PM »

Oh...    You're evil.    EVIL!    Here I was expecting an ending, and instead there's more!

MORE!   

Nicely done, my friend.   Somehow I feel like there's one more, very dark and horrible revelation to come.   Whatever it is Kazic is confessing to hasn't been revealed yet.   The whole of the Civil War, all his mistakes, they're just the set-up for...

...what?

Staying tuned!
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« Reply #235 on: September 10, 2019, 05:54:19 PM »

Thus closes one chapter...sort of...Saani locked away, (BTW D'Alyanna hearing this might want to pay attention to the bit about the Rakata Mind Trap  Wink) Ryshhk Kage, and leaving everyone believing Saani is dead which is true. At the very least Kazic has learnt the mistake from the last time she was dead and isn't looking for Ari and the Aethans...or at least not as the first option...though given how they parted he would never likely find them anyway...and they wouldn't appreciate him looking...
He's a driven man though...but what he's driven by, regret, defeat, failure, and falling back on the Anzat tendency to wander almost I wonder simply as a kind of comfort mechanism.  Will be interesting to see where the Expiator heads next, and how the new Kage fares with a fresh start.   
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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."

TheDutchman
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« Reply #236 on: September 12, 2019, 11:53:52 AM »

Special thanks to LSG for his contribution to this chapter  Smiley
************************************************

Chapter 37: Sins of the Father

“…Never that, never without my Kanp’a.” Kazic whispered, tears flowing down his sallow cheeks.

D’Aylanna was using all of her strength, all of her skills in Healing, trying to keep death in abeyance.  Something told her that her adoptive father still wasn’t quite finished.  After a moment, Kazic started speaking again.

“Before anything else, I found a stasis booth for Saani’s body in the Corporate Sector, and quick…would that we’d had one on Galtea...” He covered his eyes with a withered hand for a moment before dropping it.  “But after that…I searched.  I searched throughout the galaxy.  First was Ord Mirit; there I found more questions than anything else.  But also at Ord Mirit I eventually found a lead…one that took me into the Unknown Regions…” Kazic’s rheumy eyes lost focus.  “Years I spent there…the things I saw, wonders both spectacular and gross…I…I even encountered a…a species that…that wasn’t native to our galaxy, I swear(!)…incredible…just incredible…” Kazic’s voice trailed off as the fog of memory once again threatened to inundate him.

“Father…Father!  KAZIC!” D’Aylanna prodded, worried and hyperaware of the passing seconds.  She knew that for Kazic, time hunted him and that this predator was near, the smell of the old Anzat’s lifeblood drawing it ever closer.

Something in the Hapan Master’s voice recalled Kazic from his ruminations.  Eyes clear, refocused, and aware he continued.  “But after yea…decades…of following clues, rumors, myths…every story I pursued, all the speculations that I tracked down…it was all for naught.”  Kazic slumped further into the aircouch.  “For all of my skill, my knowledge, my persistence…nothing I found then would help Saani.”  He coughed, his entire body racked by the seizure.  When next he spoke, his voice cracked with wretchedness.  “I continued my search for almost two hundred years until…”  When Kazic stopped speaking, he closed his eyes tightly, gritting his teeth as if to grind them to dust.  When next he opened them, he stared directly into D’Aylanna’s eyes, his face a mask of agony.  “…Until I…I finally…”  The last was spoken in a whisper so low that even the Hapan Master didn’t hear.

“…Father, I’m sorry but I didn’t hear you.” Her voice was imploring, encouraging.

The fierceness with which Kazic replied surprised D’Aylanna; so much so that the normally composed Gray Master was taken aback, speechless.  “I said I gave up!  I gave up on my wife, on our life together, on our family!  I ABANDONED HER!  I STOPPED LOOKING!”  Kazic began to pound upon his wasted chest with a withered fist.  “I abandoned my wife like the coward that I’d always feared that I was…that I’d been accused of being!  Anson was right…RIGHT!”  Gently but firmly, D’Aylanna grabbed his wrists, restraining Kazic from hitting himself further.  Sobbing, the Anzat radiated contrition…and scorn.  “I gave into despair…it had become too much…all of that time…alone…so alone…” Wheezing, he sank back into his pillows.  “I was so bitterly lonely, so forelorn, so…so feeble…and…and then I met…”  A small, wistful smile appeared upon his face.  As before, he seemed to regain some of his strength, sitting up straighter.  “I was on Belkadan, a planet in the Tingel Arm.  I’d just emerged from Unknown Space for the sixth—and as it turned out, final—time.   I’d endured another failure…the latest in a legion of such…you see, Belkadan claimed an unbroken history dating back to the Rakatan Empire.  I’d hoped that I could learn…something, anything… And there, in the planetary archives—” A coughing fit interrupted him, spasms that threatened to double him over.  It was all D’Aylanna could do to comfort him.  When Kazic finally quieted, he seemed…diminished.

“Please Father, you were saying?” D’Aylanna prompted.  …Maker, please help me help him… Her silent prayer seemed incongruous with her staid visage.  “You were on Belkadan?”

Exhaling, Kazic nodded.  “…It was there that…that I met Eriobe.”  His voice was quiet yet wavered between nostalgia and rebuke.

D’Aylanna blinked.  “Your fourth wife?”  She remembered Kazic mentioning her.  She was a Mirialan scientist, focusing on archaeology.  Closing her dark eyes, D’Aylanna went through one of her mental techniques, recalling with perfect clarity one of the picts that Kazic had shown her decades ago when she was his teidowan.  He’d held it with such fondness she recalled.  But he’d never told her anything that had led up to their meeting one another.

“The same.” His voice held an odd mix of bitterness and warmth.  “At first…well, at first she attempted to help me.  She had an extensive background in Rakatan artifacts…but, ultimately she…there was nothing that helped, regardless of how much we searched…” Kazic looked straight at D’Aylanna.  “And late one night…after yet another disappointment…we were talking…and…and I realized that I had feelings for Eriobe.  And she for me.”  His face a mask of pain, Kazic paused for a moment.  But when he spoke again, his tone was full of conviction.  “We became lovers…we were already friends.  Soon afterwards, we married…on Kewda even.  But it was that night…that night in the Belkadan Archives that I knew, that I chose…to let Saani go.  But not just Saani: for all intentions, Lor-Riou as well…both of them.  Forever.”

D’Aylanna let out a quick breath, understanding and empathy coming close to overwhelming her.  She knew at last the depths of Kazic’s pain, anguish centuries in the making.  Her silence must have unnerved the Anzat as he pulled away his hand that she’d been holding in hers.  He grabbed at the blanket, drawing it to him as he turned away from her.  “I…I understand and even expect your contempt, your disdain…I’ve lived with it for so long that it is as much a part of me as my own skin…” Kazic’s voice was dull, impassive.

The Hapan Master slowly inhaled before she reached over and gently turned Kazic back towards her.  “Kazic…Father, you mistake me.  I feel no derision towards you.  Besides, it is not for me to judge you.”  She continued her Force ministrations.  “…Still…I have questions.”

Kazic slowly nodded, the look of self-reproach upon his face.  “Of course…like what did I do with Saani’s stasis booth and the Mind Trap?”

Surprisingly, D’Aylanna cut him off.  “Yes.  No, Father.  At least not primarily that.”  Tenderly, she began to rub his head.  “I’m more interested in Ari and—forgive me but I must ask—Ari’s people…what were they, where did they come from?”

Kazic shook his head, some tangled white hair falling in his eyes.  “That I never learnt fully, and never dared ask…but Nur’us that is not the question you truly wish to ask…”

D’Alyanna pursed her blue lips, she could not put anything past Kazic even now as he faded slowly.  “…Do they still exist…” She quietly inquired.  Kazic’s face, tone…his entire demeanor…changed.

“Over the years…” His voice regained a somnolence that she recognized, one he reserved only for the most serious and dire of situations, “I heard whispers…rumors of strange events in the Deep Core, the Unknown Regions even, things I should’ve investigated...things other maenowans insisted we investigate…but I dissuaded them, or pretended to go myself…” He shook his head as if to divest himself of the memories, “…but I do not know what became of them for certain…and that is partly why I must tell you this, why it is imperative that you know: if you come across them, if you see or hear of anything that reminds you of what I told you of them…” His throat dry, he spoke words that in many ways undermined everything he had taught over the centuries, “…Do not go near them, if they seek something—or someone—give it to them without hesitation, no matter the price…it will be less to acquiesce than resist.”  

Kazic suddenly seemed to choke bringing on a coughing fit, one that D’Aylanna worried would lead to…to the worst.  But then after a moment, she realized that he was actually quietly laughing.  “I have often said ‘Take what you want and pay for it.’” His tone dripped with irony, “…And now you understand the price Ari’s People can impose…it was beyond what the Vhal’Dan even at their height could pay…much less now.”

D’Aylanna’s brow furrowed in incredulity.  “But surely we cannot simply yield to one whose power is—”

“Stop!” Kazic’s yelled exclamation startled even her.  When next he spoke, he firmly but gently intoned, “I understand the arguments, that giving into them, that accepting ‘Might makes right’ so swiftly seems to be a betrayal of so much of what we believe and hold dear…but I assure you greater warriors and wiser beings than either of us will ever be have tried to resist them, defeat them, manipulate them even… If I told you the names of those who fell to them you would not believe it…” His tone suddenly became soothing, “…Be content with this…I have heard nothing that I suspected was them for nearly 150 years…I pray it means they have finally secured their borders…returned to their farms and forests…and may they remain unmolested till the universe dies.  Or they do…”

A glint in D’Aylanna’s eye unnerved him for a moment.  Without having seen a being like Ari—let alone Valens—in the flesh she could not truly appreciate just what a danger they posed…and Kazic well knew that if she ever did encounter one…well, it would already be too late.

Nur’us…I know this is a burden…but someone must carry it and…and I cannot trust anyone else…their power carries a great burden even to them.  And when faced with that potential, the temptation to harness it for your own desires…such as I did…” The firmness of his features dissolved back as the weight of his errors overcame the conviction of the order he had to give her for a moment, “…and Ari’s kind know of this fact all too well.  They cannot be tamed or reasoned with in any conventional way.  They are not malevolent or power hungry in the general sense…only defensive, much like an engendered and protected species…but like a dangerous wild predator, they are…primal.  And while they may wear the face of a sentient, they are slaves to their instincts.  Avoidance is the only safe course…but if contact occurs you must play by their rules and part as soon as possible… The lives of billions could depend upon it.”

D’Aylanna stared at him, absorbing—calculating—everything that Kazic had told her.  But he wasn’t finished.

“…And it is for those reasons that I…altered…the histories of the Vhal’Dan in the Archives.” Kazic’s body seemed to slacken further, another secret finally revealed.

Instead of wasting time disputing him, D’Aylanna asked, “How?”

Smiling up at her impressed, Kazic continued, “Good Nur’us…that’s why it had to be you… When I was Kage—and what I never divulged to anyone—was that I created an exclusive backdoor exploit for the entire Vhal’Dan database…one that I and I alone knew about.  And so: every 20-30 years I would change some of the information in the Archives, a date here, a detail there, an erasure or redaction that would never be missed or questioned by the next few generations of Vhal’Dan…”

D’Aylanna nodded.  “So that’s why I thought that the Civil War was one- to two centuries later than they actually were…” Her dark eyes locked onto Kazics, considering and astute.  “And no one else is aware of this still I assume…” It was more statement than question.

“Just us…and soon…very soon…only you.”  Kazic’s red eyes seemed to glow.  “Nur’us…I…I have a datanode…in my apartments.  I’ve…I’ve already keyed it to your genetic ident.  Should anyone else try to open it, all data will be irretrievably wiped.  However, for you…you now have access to the backdoor exploit.  There are…some files that…that I’ve…I need to delete.  I would…would ask that you…” Weakened, he fell silent.  Looking up, Kazic saw the resolute look upon D’Aylanna’s face and was relieved.

“This duty…I…accept it.  Yet…it sits ill with me Father,” D’Aylanna’s voice filled the stillness, becoming stern for but a moment.

“And well it should…” he whispered just as somberly. “…well it should…”
Logged

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Maenowan Nexu Master of the Vhal'Dan

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Karmack
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« Reply #237 on: September 12, 2019, 02:26:40 PM »

Back to the present, and the burden is passed.  D'Aylanna has accepted a very grave and heavy burden indeed.

And I can 't quite shake the notion that Saan'i's body and ... mind? ... are still around, still trapped...

Keep it coming, Dutchman!   :-)
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« Reply #238 on: September 12, 2019, 03:24:29 PM »

And I can 't quite shake the notion that Saan'i's body and ... mind? ... are still around, still trapped...

That is exactly what I thought too, plus where is Lor-Riou? According to Saani she gave him to Ansons supporters...but given her mental state that might not have been true. Was he hidden, lived and died in those years Kazic searched for a way to revive Saani...or perhaps given his mixed heritage mean he could potentially be alive still, the Anzat and Aethan-enhanced Twi'leki both could lead to a long life span.

Now the burden of vigilance is passed to D'Alyanna...and unfortunately for everyone when the do encounter Ari's people once more...she is off fighting the Revenant. I do feel for Kazic, he tried his best, for so long to put things right, but no matter his age and experience he remains as fallible as anyone, and due to his long life has had to pay and ruminate on those mistakes over and over, and patiently trying to protect the Vhal Dan over generations by amending the records to achieve that end.

Many tantalizing threads still hanging, excited to see where this, or another tale, heads next.
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Lord_S_Gray

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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."

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« Reply #239 on: September 13, 2019, 09:56:00 AM »

Wow, I decided to get caught up on this and didnt realize the volume you put out Dutchman. Phenominal job! It's a great read!feel really bad for Kazic tho
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