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Author Topic: Schisms: The Vhal'Dan Civil War  (Read 54791 times)
Karmack
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Light side points please.


« Reply #240 on: September 13, 2019, 11:25:38 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

Yeah, Kazic is definitely shaping up as a tragic figure.   
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Master Singer of the Mak'Tor

TheDutchman
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« Reply #241 on: September 14, 2019, 09:38:48 AM »

And I can 't quite shake the notion that Saan'i's body and ... mind? ... are still around, still trapped...
And you'd be right Karm!  But more on that later...

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.
As are you LSG!  Let's just say...I've left strings that you'll no doubt recognize in hindsight  Wink

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
Yeah, Kazic is definitely shaping up as a tragic figure.   
My thanks PS!  I'm honored that you think so  Smiley  Annddd yeah just as Karm stated, poor Kazic REALLY goes through the ringer in Schisms...
I really appreciate the feedback (makes me a better writer...speaking of...)

I am very, VERY lucky to have found not only a community in which I feel comfortable displaying my stories BUT even better a group of fellow fans that are supportive.  It goes further still: the most incredible part is the fact that I have a group of peers that not only have their own fantastic stories BUT also are/were willing to collaborate with a shared continuity!  I have NO doubt that thanks to them (*cough Karm, LSG, TDC, TR, LR cough) my writing has improved and would be no where near as good as it would be without them.

But a special "THANK YOU!" to everyone who reads these stories!  Without you, I would NOT be here  Smiley
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Sig courtesy of DarthScrub

Cataphract Triarch of the Vhal'Dan

My sabers:Zearic's Aldrnari, Archon v3 (modded w/ activation box) w/Obsidian, AS; Zearic's shoto, Apprentice v4 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; Initiate v5 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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Force Alignment: 1147
Posts: 5594


Light side points please.


« Reply #242 on: September 14, 2019, 12:07:53 PM »

Agreed on the last.  We gain a lot by reading each other's work and sometimes working together, but its great when someone comes in and comments who hasn't before.   Thanks PS!  :-)

I haven't had a chance to write like I did for the first couple of years, but I am so grateful to see this forum vibrant and self-sustaining, even branching out with the saber design threads.  Thanks guys!  Y'all make me happy!  Smiley
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TheDutchman
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« Reply #243 on: September 14, 2019, 12:28:16 PM »

Again, special thanks for LSG's contribution  Smiley
**************************************

Chapter 38: A Daughter’s Forgiveness

Within the convalescent suite, the silence that followed Kazic’s confession was in stark contrast to the tale that he’d woven over the long night.  Still holding his hand, her Force Healing virtually the only reason that Kazic had lasted this long, D’Aylanna sat back in her seat, processing all that she’d heard.

And on the agreement that she’d made, both as a favor to her father as well as for the good of the Vhal’Dan Order.

Her dark eyes stared into the wasted face of the venerable Anzat, her face blank.  The atmosphere between the two felt palpable, the magnitude of what had passed significant and prodigious.

“And so now you understand, Nur’us…” Kazic lamented.  Although relieved to be free of his secrets he now felt the full weight of concern for his beloved daughter, his family not by blood but rather by choice.  He understood the burden that was now hers to bear—yea Maker he’d done so himself for centuries!—knowing her to be the Vhal’Dan’s best chance at survival…but he commiserated with her nonetheless.  “I am so, so very sorry to saddle you with this, Dear One…” He began.

“…Don’t be, Father.  As I said: I understand without condemning nor condoning.” Her voice was objective, impersonal…for a moment.  But when next she spoke she smiled, her tone matching the love that she felt for the old Anzat.  “Father, you did what you thought best.  We are all of us fallible.  And without allaying any responsibility for your actions, I feel that you have been remiss in not addressing all of the good that you’ve done in your life.”  Leaning close, she kissed his forehead.  “If not for you, neither I nor my Shakal would be here and—by extension—neither would your granddaughter, Jorya.  Yes Father, you’ve made mistakes…but as I said: who has not?  But more importantly you’ve given hope, life, and happiness to many…many that would’ve otherwise suffered had it not been for you.  Focus on that, my dear Kazic.” She tenderly replied.

Hearing those words, Kazic’s face relaxed somewhat, gratitude and love radiating from him.  But even now there was an undercurrent of regret.  “…Thank you, Nur’us.  I…I cannot have asked for better children…a better family.”  He began coughing again but it was subdued compared to what he’d been experiencing.  And he knew that his time had come.  “D’Aylanna…please go get my son and granddaughter now.”  His sad eyes looked past her.  “Time…time to say ‘goodbye…’”

With a silent tear rolling down her dark cheek, D’Aylanna nodded, smiling briefly while assuring Kazic that she would return forthwith.  After the tension of telling his tale throughout the evening, Kazic suddenly felt very comfortable in the aircouch, his lidded eyes witnessing the diminutive form of his daughter regally glide from his convalescent suite, her gray and navy skirts making virtually no noise as she softly shut the door behind her.

And he reflected.

He’d lived a long life, much of it good…and much of it bad.  And his Nur’us had it exact: he had his family… Quiet tears pooled in his sunken eyes.  He cried but not for himself.  He cried for his granddaughter, Jorya…his son, Zearic…his Nur’us

He cried for all of those lost.  His wives…his friends…his colleagues from centuries past.  Those Vhal’Dan that were casualties of the Civil War…Kasah…Corvus…Tsar and later Jorol, their children…Arkady…Anson, his brother…Lor-Riou, his son…

…Saani, his Kanp’a

He smiled bitterly.  He hurt; by the Maker he hurt!  Throughout his life, he’d experienced physical pain beyond what most sentients had experienced, much less endured.  But even all of that…his heart ached for his children, for his friends, for them all.  Everything…all of it came crashing down upon him; everything that he’d suppressed, that he’d buried, that he’d forgotten.  He tried not to remember, he didn’t want to…

…Remember…

His cheek twitched.  Tentatively, he opened his eyes fully.  Something tickled his mind…elusive…eliciting both his past…as well as the present.  His eyes…something seemed…clouded…what…who?

…Daughter… It was…but not his Nur’us

“…Ari…” As if naming her had called the young woman he remembered, incredibly she stood before him.  She was just as he recalled: her red hair vibrant, aqua eyes luminous, an intangible but effervescent aura surrounding her.  “How…after so long…Ari…my daughter.”

She looked down on him sadly his time was fast running out, yet she bore a strange smile for all that.  “Not so long as you thought Father…” Reaching across, her fingers bathed in a red glow as she touched his forehead.  Inhaling almost violently, Kazic’s eyes shot open.

Like a key to a vault his mind was opened by the touch.  Memories locked away resurfacing in a tidal wave that made him wonder if this was the end, if his life was truly flashing before his eyes…

Even after what had happened with Saani…Ari could not remain at a distance forever… Dozens of times Kazic had wandered, following a thread she left for him in the daen nosi, every time surprised to find her in secluded places on distant worlds to spend time together…and not just her…Ari’s…children…grandchildren…

He remembered them all now...but not before because…

Suddenly Kazic was elsewhere, Zonama Sekot far, far away…instead of the comfortable if clinical suite of the convalescence ward, he found himself surrounded by pure whiteness…

“It’s the only way we can stay safe…” Ari had said amidst the cold winds of the Alderaan mountains, the incredible peaks towering over them, encircling them, hiding them.  “…I don’t want to shut you out…but there is a cost to ever seeing each other…”

He’d smiled against the snow flecked winds.  For her safety and arguably his own, he had to end each meeting by locking out the memory of it in his own mind…leaving him for the most part believing she was lost to him…until time allowed her to seek him out once more.

Years of bitter regret punctuated by unremembered moments of sweetness…

“I’ll take what I want and pay for it,” he had replied, helping to design the very mental blocks he would have to place on himself a mere three days later.

The frustrations afterward…thinking he had followed the daen nosi to an abandoned cabin in the wilds of Alderaan, a small island on Fresia, or a forgotten station in a terminal orbit of an insignificant planetoid for no reason or reward…no memory of what had actually occurred…repeated a dozen times over throughout the years…yet…

…Yet now it was worth it.

His self-imposed ignorance kept Ari—and more importantly her children and her children’s children—safe from the risk he might let slip even a hint at their existence.  None of his wives had even known, even the strongest in the Force among them couldn't sense a self-imposed mind wipe.

He reached out to grasp Ari’s hand…it held a strange…anti-firmness in the illusion as a series of green and aqua eyes always framed by red hair of some shade clustered behind her bidding silent goodbye to “Papa Kazic”…a legacy perhaps greater than any other he would leave, that Ari’s kind had at least one Outsider they could consider and would remember as Family.

“Rest peacefully Father,” Ari said quietly as the door opened behind her, her image fading out as D’Aylanna entered.

“Father!” D’Aylanna rushed back to his side, “What is wrong?”  Behind her, Jorya appeared above the Hapan Master’s shoulder, Zearic’s wide body seeming to eclipse them all.  …My family…ALL of my family…

He slowly became fully aware of his surroundings again.  He was sitting up in the aircouch, back straight with his arm held out, hand reaching as if gripping another… He barely realized he was still sobbing.

Oh how he wanted to tell them, to share his joy at recalling his other family…still more than he deserved…with her…with them…but he knew that such was not his place.

“Father…” Zearic said miserably.  “…you can’t go.”  He smiled bleakly.  “After all…who else is going to point out all of the mistakes that I’ll make as maenowan?”  His big shoulders slouched.

Smiling weakly, Kazic barked a laugh.  “…You know that…Nur’us is…is a better teacher than I ever was…”  He suddenly sobered.  “…Remember: always trust in one another, that the will of the Force is guiding you, and that…that the Maker will never forsake you…so long as you…you stay true to your family…love one another…love…you…” Staring off into the distance the Anzat’s voice trailed off, his breathing slowing as Kazic could now see…really see…why weren’t they looking…how could they not see?

And while Kazic breathed his last, two things happened.

For D’Aylanna, Zearic, and Jorya, they drew together in shared sorrow, all of them saddened by the passing of their paterfamilias.  But even as they commiserated with one another, they took comfort from each other as well.  Throughout the tears, they were grateful for their time with Kazic and--thanks to him--each other.

And, even in sadness, they grew stronger all because of the love of an Anzat.

For Kazic, the bed around which was gathered his daughter, his son, and his granddaughter, the world of the convalescence ward, of Zonama Sekot drained away, changing.  The quiet sound of crying and reassuring words...sound lost all volume.  For a moment, he could see nothing, feel nothing, hear nothing…but as his eyes seemed to grow accustomed to his surroundings, Kazic saw that he was back in his shared apartments on Galtea, the sounds that he associate with those rooms—his home—a comfort long forgotten.  From one vantage, he could see the entirety of Lake Olucem’m, crystal clear, blue…as it was before the Civil War.  The snowcapped peaks of the Cthodral Mountains dominated the far horizon, the valley between the two sparsely populated with evergreen trees hundreds of years old.

“Mama!  Papa!  Come see!” An excited voice shouted from the opposite side of the apartments. That voice…was it…possible?  …By the Maker…how…?  Kazic thought.

Swiftly, he ran.  And was greeted with another surprise: he was tall, young, full of vigor, just as he’d been in his prime.  Not stopping, he crossed the apartments in no time, stopping short as he saw the tableau before him: the entire wall of transparisteel windows had been opened up, the city of Vhal’Ulhadv a panorama before them.  Again, as it was before the Civil War.

Tall, immense buildings stabbed into the sky, the twin-towers of the Congressional Bureau housing Galtea’s R&D departments, planetary defense, and civic control, crowned by the Kage’s Atrium high atop of them dwarfing every other building in the city.  Roads lay along the city’s arteries, leading to and from all districts, mirrored from above by multiple hyperloops.  And at the center of it all was the domed Hall of Balance where all of the Vhal’Dan Order congregated.  

“Mama…Papa…look!” The voice came again.

Looking out the Galtean sun emerged, setting behind the twin-towers, the cumulous clouds from the springtime storm having finally parted.  But that wasn’t what held his attention, at least not the focus of it.  There, sitting upon the transparisteel balcony was Aresaea…but not the woman that he now recalled…

…But as a teenager…the girl that had come to live with him…Ari…his…

…His and Saani’s daughter…

Tears began to cloud his vision.  Blinking, Kazic wiped at his face so as to clear his eyes.  Sitting comfortably with her knees to her side, her bare feet curled up by the hem of her seasonal dress, Ari stared out taking in the entire cityscape, her red hair gathered in an easy ponytail.  “Papa it’s so beautiful!”

Speechless, Kazic could only nod.  …My Ari… He thought as he began to cry anew.  But then, thinking that nothing else could surprise him, he suddenly felt a pair of hands caress his arm as someone laid their head upon his shoulder.  Looking down, he started.  “…By the Maker…Saani?  Kanp’a?!

Looking up at him, her purple eyes full of good humor, Saani smiled.  “Of course, K’ompo.  Who else would be here but us: you, Ari, and myself?  Our family?”

“Yeah Papa…it’s just us here!” Ari enthusiastically agreed.  “C’mon, come out here!  It’s so wonderful…”

Even as the shock of everything hit him, the feeling quickly diminished, his consternation giving way to his happiness.

And love.

Stepping onto the balcony, Kazic put his hand on Ari’s head while drawing his Kanp’a closer to him with his other arm.  All worries, all concerns, all troubles left; all that remained was that which made him happy, his wife and daughter.  As the Force took him, he knew of the universal truth of family...

And, even in contentment, they grew stronger all because of the love of an Anzat.

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Sig courtesy of DarthScrub

Cataphract Triarch of the Vhal'Dan

My sabers:Zearic's Aldrnari, Archon v3 (modded w/ activation box) w/Obsidian, AS; Zearic's shoto, Apprentice v4 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; Initiate v5 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
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Knight Commander
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Force Alignment: 1147
Posts: 5594


Light side points please.


« Reply #244 on: September 14, 2019, 02:04:23 PM »

Wow....

I'm not really going to comment on this.  Its to amazing.   
*wipes eyes*

I will say this: It had a very Lewis-esque feel to it.  Much like the ending of 'Voyage of the Dawn Treader" for King Caspian X.   :-)

Well done.   Smiley
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Master Singer of the Mak'Tor

Lord_S_Gray
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Force Alignment: 306
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« Reply #245 on: September 14, 2019, 08:14:52 PM »

Wow....

I'm not really going to comment on this.  Its to amazing.  
*wipes eyes*

I will say this: It had a very Lewis-esque feel to it.  Much like the ending of 'Voyage of the Dawn Treader" for King Caspian X.   :-)

Well done.   Smiley

Agreed Karm, let these last two chapters speak for themselves, which they do so powerfully, very moving and I don't hesitate to say, for me, these were the most emotionally powerful chapters in the Forumverse to date, the perfect culmination of the emotional journey that has been Schisms* in all its depth.  

*noting of course Schisms has been far more as well, brilliant political, ethical and military arcs combined as well.
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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: 1026
Posts: 3842


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« Reply #246 on: September 16, 2019, 07:38:18 AM »

Wow....

I'm not really going to comment on this.  Its to amazing.  
*wipes eyes*

I will say this: It had a very Lewis-esque feel to it.  Much like the ending of 'Voyage of the Dawn Treader" for King Caspian X.   :-)

Well done.   Smiley
Agreed Karm, let these last two chapters speak for themselves, which they do so powerfully, very moving and I don't hesitate to say, for me, these were the most emotionally powerful chapters in the Forumverse to date, the perfect culmination of the emotional journey that has been Schisms* in all its depth.  

*noting of course Schisms has been far more as well, brilliant political, ethical and military arcs combined as well.
Thanks guys^^  I really appreciate the support   Cheesy

I have to say that I don't think that Schisms wouldn't have turned out as good as it did without the critique/comments from everyone, so for that I am grateful  Smiley

I also have to give credit where credit is due: special thanks to LSG for his many contributions!  Each and everyone of his submissions improved upon the story, sometimes fitting so precisely within the narrative that I'd outlined it truly amazed me, to say nothing of trusting me with his characters/society that he'd created.

SO: Thank you LSG!





P.S. Stay tuned: there's still more to come!
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Sig courtesy of DarthScrub

Cataphract Triarch of the Vhal'Dan

My sabers:Zearic's Aldrnari, Archon v3 (modded w/ activation box) w/Obsidian, AS; Zearic's shoto, Apprentice v4 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; Initiate v5 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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« Reply #247 on: September 17, 2019, 12:58:42 PM »


First Epilogue

“…Shooting solution is 492-Mark-Fiver, parallel to the Z-axis cosine, X-variable is the quantum drift to account for the stellar mass of the system’s binary red-dwarf companion…” The young man answered one of three computers while simultaneously entering the bioscience data for different genus and species of the indigenous fauna of planet Vanqor.  Meanwhile, a disassembled hilt floated a meter from his head as he manipulated the Force, connecting the kyber crystal first to the crystal furnace and then securing it in the power assembly housing.  And all the while this was going on, he used his other hand to fire off several precise blasts at a target drone while a second blaster floated opposite the saber hilt also tracking the drone, both scoring perfect hit ratios.

“Excellent…excellent!  All readings are beyond peak performance and efficiency parameters.  You’ve managed to exceed not only all of our tests but indeed also your last training session.” The old Master exclaimed, still amazed at the young man’s prowess.  He knew something of his pedigree but still… “I haven’t seen anything like this since…” The old man trailed off, lost in the memories of more…troubling times.

“Uncle?  Are you alright?” The young man asked, suddenly anxious and concerned.  But even as he directed his attention to the old man, both the still-assembling saber and the blaster continued to float a meter off of the young man’s shoulders.  The emitter array clicked into place on the saber hilt while he moved next to his companion.  As he gently grabbed the old man’s arm, the young man directed Healing flows around and through his companion.

Once again, the old Master was amazed.  Not only was the young man’s proficiency in the Force the greatest he’d seen but it always felt so…so…natural.  The old man shook his head.  That wasn’t precisely true; after all, he’d been there in the middle of the Civil War…when Kazic had unleashed those…those shadows on Anson’s forces… Instead, he smiled up at the young man.

“It’s fine; I’m fine my boy…” He said reassuringly.  The old man suddenly barked a laugh.  “Listen to me: ‘boy.’  You’re the most powerful Master in the Order.”  He looked affectionately at his companion.  “Sorry, son, I know that you are anything but…ah, old habits die hard.”  He patted the young man’s arm.

Smiling, the young man nodded.  “I’m glad, Uncle.  And I don’t mind; after all, you’re the only parent that I’ve—”

“Don’t say that!” The old man’s stern exclamation surprised both of them.  When next he continued, the old man’s tone was placating, patient.  “I’m sorry, son.  But I will not tolerate any disparaging remarks concerning your mother, indirectly or no.”  The old man looked deeply into the boy’s purple eyes.  “Son, always remember that your mother sacrificed everything for you.  She was a true Jedi…more than can be said for…others…” He said the last in a whisper.

Again, the young man nodded.  “I understand, Uncle.”  His brow suddenly furrowed.  “I wish that I could’ve known her…” His eyes suddenly refocused when he noticed the change in the old man’s demeanor.  “What is it, Uncle?”

Slowly exhaling, the old man seemed to be weighing two options, vacillating between one and the other.  Then, slightly nodding to himself, he stared deep into the young man’s eyes.  “Son, I have something that…that your mother left you.  She made me promise that I would only give it to you once, well once I…‘deemed you ready’ is what she told me.”  Deliberately, he reached into one of the pockets he had secreted about his person.  Withdrawing a slim datastick, he pressed it into the young man’s hand.  “You’re ready.”  The old man’s eyes were resolute.

The young man said nothing for a moment, his face unreadable, his gaze raptorlike.  He balled his hand into a fist…

…Wrapping the datastick protectively between his palm and fingers.  Quietly, he rested his forehead on the old man’s in a genuine display of fondness.  “I…thank you, Uncle.”  After a moment, the young man gave a nod and walked away through one of the outer halls.

Transparisteel lined the walls of the building, allowing for all to witness the incredible vistas of their home.  The verdant lands extended right up to the shielded walls, a vast sea of flora outside the defensive perimeter of the city that they’d named New Vhal’Ulhadv.  Much like its namesake, the city was surrounded by the beauty of nature, the gleaming spires of kilometer-tall buildings raking the sky.  Some reached so high that clouds would often obscure the highest floors of the buildings.

However, that’s where the similarities ended.  Unlike Galtea whose surface was a veritable paradise, the deceptive green foliage of their new home planet hid dangers even a Jedi was wont to avoid.

As intended.

Everything—from the security features of the techno-industrial complex within the defense perimeter to the planet itself—was deliberate in the pursuit of the Order’s survival.  They must be ready the old man told himself.

Especially now.

Sitting, the old man felt a sense of pride; pride in the young man as well as himself.  And a sense of catharsis…as well as a growing expectation.  Finally, after all of these years…

The first years had been the most difficult.  He’d barely kept them together, given everything that they’d endured.  And the vergence had been the worst…but then…

Then, she had come to them.

He hadn’t known exactly what to think when she’d come to him; Maker knew that he’d felt lost.  He could admit that now…now that he had hope again.  He looked contemplatively toward the hall that the young man had disappeared down.  The old man had done everything asked of him, everything and more.  The young man—his son—was ready.

Closing his eyes, Jedi Master Gray Raru Vinjaga knew that sometime…perhaps not today or tomorrow, but sometime he would finally exact revenge for his master and the one true Kage of the Vhal’Dan.

Anson D’Aklon.

               <<<<< >>>>>

Sitting back in his chair, the young man breathed, seemingly for the first time in years.  In reality, it had only been a few hours since he’d first started viewing the holorecording.  Only now had he just finished.  He stroked his clean-shaven chin.  It had given him answers, answers that he’d been asking ever since he could remember…

…As well as raising more questions. 

Plans—schemes within schemes—rolled through his mind, many of them considered and discarded as he devoted three full consciousnesses to his strategies.  While there were many that he considered viable, there were only a few that he felt were truly creditable to achieve his objectives.  But one and all, they absolutely required two components.

One: the recovery of his family.  And two: time.  A lot of time…

Exiting his room, the young man wandered the halls of the building seemingly aimlessly.  In truth, he was anything but.  And after several hours, he felt as if he’d been given a second life, a new purpose, one that he hadn’t realized at the time but now knew was what he’d been training his entire life for.

As he was walking through the more populated area of the building, he came across one of the apprentices who had business there.  She must have been one of the fresh apprentices that had just graduated from the Padawan Classes.  She looked as if she were in her early teens.  Regardless, she clearly knew who he was.  Then again, everyone in the entire Order knew who he was.  Approaching, he smiled politely.  “Excuse me, teidowan but would you please prepare my ship?  And ask Master Vinjaga to join me in the main hanger.”

Bowing, the teidowan replied, “Yes, of course Master Ovarug—”  But before she could finish her sentence, she was brutally interrupted.

DO NOT CALL ME THAT!” The young man roared causing everyone within earshot to stop what they were doing and to look at him in concern, general interest, or even fear.  Looking around the young man realized what he’d done.  Fixing a smile upon his face, he spread his arms apologetically.  “I’m sorry, please forgive me teidowan.  It’s not your fault; you’re new.” He continued in a pacifying tone, one that apparently worked.  Soon, everyone had gone about their business while the teidowan left to do as he’d asked, the incident all but forgotten.

Except for the young man.  He hated that name and what it represented.  Always had…always would.  Especially after what he’d learned…

His Uncle Raru had told him often of the traitorous false Kage Kazic Ovarug and his cowardly ways, eventually driving the Vhal’Dan into exile.  He despised everything about the Anzat…

…Including the fact that he was his paternal father.  And if what his mother had told him was true…he was also his mother’s killer.

As he waited for his Uncle Raru to join him in his ship, the young man began to recite like a litany the words—the name—that he did whenever he was dedicating all five consciousnesses towards his aims.  He almost smirked at the irony: the deliberations on his future were anchored by his attachments of the past…including that of his father.  No…

Especially because of his father.

The young man smiled, the repeated name one that he would use as both invocation and a curse.

Lor-Riou Herin nil’K’aval-Ovarug
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My sabers:Zearic's Aldrnari, Archon v3 (modded w/ activation box) w/Obsidian, AS; Zearic's shoto, Apprentice v4 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; Initiate v5 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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« Reply #248 on: September 17, 2019, 02:59:39 PM »

"...all five consciousnesses..."   

Oh my.

Oh

My

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Lord_S_Gray
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« Reply #249 on: September 17, 2019, 03:21:33 PM »

"...all five consciousnesses..."   

Oh my.

Oh

My



Ummm Yeah....if the 'Ansonites' were looking for the perfect being to exact their revenge.....they got him.  All those traits, all those abilities...and yet in the outburst at the teidowan...all those flaws In some ways i now wonder whether the civil war has only just begun....
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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 #250 on: September 18, 2019, 10:18:27 AM »

Yeah, I was wondering the same thing.

Wow.

Makes me wonder what Zearic might have in his future....    He would be loyal to "Official" version of the Vhal-Dan, not the Ansonites.   

Oh there are so many possibilities here.  LOL
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« Reply #251 on: September 18, 2019, 11:36:03 AM »

Let me put it this way: the "Civil War" is over...

...but the two factions haven't called a halt to hostilities.  At all  Grin

Both sides contend that they are the ONLY "Vhal'Dan" left; the others are considered apostates and--as such--are anathema and condemned.  But I don't want to give TOO much away  Wink
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My sabers:Zearic's Aldrnari, Archon v3 (modded w/ activation box) w/Obsidian, AS; Zearic's shoto, Apprentice v4 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; Initiate v5 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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« Reply #252 on: September 19, 2019, 02:16:27 PM »


Next Epilogue

The darkness was total and complete.  No light, no sound…nothing had disturbed the inner sanctum of the mausoleum for millennia…

…No more.

In a cacophonous explosion, the entire eastern wall came crashing down as if rammed, the ancient natural granite blocks pulverized as if by an immense force.  Which they very much were.

The group that entered were as disparate as could be: some as short as .7 meters while others towered as tall as 2.3 meters.  Wide or slender, dark or pale, a plethora of skin tones and colors, they represented a variety of species, cultures, and genders.  But they had two things in common.  First, they were one and all Force-sensitive.  The second and most poignant was that they represented the best of the Vhal’Dan Order.  And at their head stood the tallest and most powerful Gray Master, the leader of the Vhal’Dan.

Kage Ryshhk K’rrmerii.

[More light in here, please]. He instructed.  Try as he may, he could not completely mute the pungent stench the clung to the walls of the ancient crypt, made even worse by his own acute olfactory acumen.  It was one of the rare instances that he regretted having superior senses.

“For once, I’m glad that my senses aren’t as good as yours.” The tight, sardonic voice of his Arbiter came from behind him mirroring his thoughts.  Turning, Ryshhk saw one of her rare smiles.  Even amongst the teidowans—no, even the initiates—his Arbiter’s scathing and often times curmudgeonly demeanor was legendary.  Of course, they had no idea as to why she was that way.

But Ryshhk knew why.  Not for the first time he was grateful, impressed, and saddened for his Arbiter.  Maker knew that she was always like the fertile soil to the trees, always giving the best support during the storms…even if she did not have an overly sunny disposition.  But he felt that having a realist at his side was best.  Especially in times of strife.  …Like now… He thought.

[Yes; I’m not looking forward to penetrating further into the tombs.  But what we need is down here, D’arial]. He quietly confided to his Arbiter.  [Besides, we’ll be gone soon enough, Trees-be-thanked]. Or so he hoped.

“I think my Kage is dreaming.  At least if past events are any indication of our luck…” The tall woman said from beside the taller Wookie, the right corner of her lip twisting.  Ryshhk gave a low guffaw, again thankful for his Arbiter.

Even though she was approaching her twilight years, incredibly she still had a full head of dark hair, courtesy of her father, Jorol.  …May the Trees welcome him into their Garden… Ryshhk prayed, sorrowful for losing his previous Arbiter.  And friend. 

Jorol’s tenure as Arbiter had marked a high point for the Vhal’Dan on Kewda and in the decades since they’d moved the Order to the moon, the Vhal’Dan had seen unprecedented progress in the collection and research of Force artifacts…it was just too bad that such successes had been tempered during the first seven years of the Troubles, when their numbers had dwindled…

Ryshhk attempted to shake off the memories of the Troubles.  After all, Jorol was instrumental in helping to abate them…so much so that it was as a direct result of the Gray Master’s exploits that they were now here on Ossus, looking for Freedon Nadd’s holocron.  The Wookie Kage couldn’t help but feel nostalgic.

After everything that had happened during the Civil War and after, especially with the discovery of the vergence caused by the Lus’phor Holocaust and all of the attendant symptoms, most of the Vhal’Dan had thought that things would get better.

They were wrong.

In the nine years that consisted of the Troubles, the Order went from one tragedy to the next, all of them attributable to the Lus’phor Holocaust.  The worst of which was a marked drop in fertility rates… Yes, there had still been births and the majority of those were healthy but instead of the Vhal’Dan population growing following Galactic standards, the Order’s numbers had remained static.  And after the catastrophic losses the Order had suffered during the Civil War… Well, suffice it to say that the Vhal’Dan as an entity was the weakest it had been since before the beginning of the New Sith Wars almost fifteen-hundred years ago.

Rysshk smiled.  Thanks in no small part to Jorol and D’arial, both of them had been responsible for mitigating the Troubles and helping to alleviate much of the Order’s suffering.  The Wookie remembered times when he’d come into the darkened R&D laboratory to find the both of them passed out over their research.  And by and large, they’d been successful.

But there were things that still plagued the Vhal’Dan.  And it was for that precise reason that they were here on Ossus, now.  That…and because of a promise that Ryshhk had made.  He grimly shook his head at the irony.  …I guess that Kazic isn’t the only one looking for the secrets of life… Absently, he drew his calloused paw through his hair, more of it turning gray than he’d care to admit.

But if anyone thought it indicative of age-induced weakness, they were in for a rude surprise.  He may be graying prematurely but he was still in his prime, hearty and hale.  And he’d never been stronger in the Force as he was now.  But others had not been so lucky…

…Like Jorol.  Yes, he’d been well over a hundred years old but as an Epicanthix, he should’ve lived another 30-50 more.  And this problem was systemic across the Order: the degenerative symptoms from the vergence had persisted if somewhat diminished…and this despite the move to Kewda.

In the end, the answer had been under Ryshhk’s figurative nose.  Or at the very least, a lead.  There amongst the Force artifacts that the Wookie had absconded with so long ago—and as it turned out, kept from those shadows that Kazic had employed—was the holocron of one of the most infamous Sith Masters in history, Naga Sadow.  And while it was replete with Dark Side alchemies—rituals and ceremonies that would never see the light of day for anyone not a full Master—the holocron was also a repository of bio-rejuvenatory procedures and techniques.

Those were precisely what he was looking for…except that the section was incomplete.  Or more precisely, the holocron had to be joined with its twin to access the binary locked data-unit and reveal its secrets. 

Which was the very reason that they were on Ossus.  Ryshhk had been studying Naga Sadow’s holocron and more specifically the fact that one of his apprentices, Freedon Nadd, had done extensive experiments using said relic.  And after long years of study, the Wookie Kage had chanced upon a serendipitous detail of vital importance: that Freedon Nadd had conducted similar bio-rejuvenatory testing on the planet Ossus…the planet that Kewda revolved around.  And—if the holocron’s records were to be believed—had occasioned some key successes.

Ryshhk’s further studying had given him several possible locations.  And while the first three had turned out to be wild bantha chases, the next had held promise… It was an ancient Sith tomb, one rumored to have served as a laboratory to Freedon Nadd.  And while they’d been able to locate the catacombs themselves, Ryshhk knew that the entire site covered kilometer upon kilometer of tunnels and underground rooms, any of which the holocron might be in.

Now, they just had to find it.

[Spread out but keep in contact with your comms]. Ryshhk’s instructions seemed overly precautious but he’d rather err on the side of caution.  Besides in his experience, one could never be too careful where the Sith were concerned…

Hours passed without any luck, soon to the point that even the Kage himself was questioning if the tombs were yet just another waste of time in their search for—

A scream off in the distance to his left proved Ryshhk’s fears concerning the Sith true.  Running, he soon outpaced all of the other Gray Jedi that had accompanied him, a Force shield preceding him as the twin teal blades of his saberstaff snapped into existence.  Roaring, he ran through the crumbling doorway into the dilapidated room…

…And stopped up short.  There on the ground was one of his koawans; kneeling on their knees they appeared to be deep in meditation…except that their mouth was agape with their eyes rolled back into their head.

…Gavyn Nuiv… Ryshhk named the young human once recognized.  He’d just passed his Tests for koawan.  The Wookie Kage quickly looked around, seeing nothing out of sorts within the small room.  The walls were covered by faded script—ancient Sith unless Ryshhk was mistaken—that was broken up by several shelves lining the wall, shattered earthenware strewn about.  But aside from that, there was nothing else of note within the room.  Well, except for a rotting cloth bag that even now began to disintegrate.

Circling Gavyn, Ryshhk could see nothing wrong at first with the young man.  He suddenly stopped, his keen eyesight allowing him to see that Gavyn had something clutched within his hands, almost greedily.  Upon closer inspection he saw that it was a black orb…one reminiscent of…

“Kage, are you OK?” D’arial’s quiet voice came from behind him, her green saber ignited and held at the ready.  And although her eyes weren’t as acute, she immediately took stock of the tableau before her.  Not that it did anything to relax her.

Nodding, Ryshhk motioned to the other Jedi that had congregated outside the room.  [Secure the perimeter and quarantine the room.  The Arbiter and I will take care of this].  Words of assent echoed through the doorway as the rest of the Jedi withdrew to obey.  Ryshhk’s golden eyes glowed in the low light as he approached the young man.  [Be careful to touch nothing]. He said to D’arial.

She gave a brief nod as she circled opposite of her Kage.  The room took on an almost preternatural aura as a result of the glowing teal and green blades.  Slowly they drew closer upon the young man.

They both inadvertently jumped as Gavyn let out yet another blood-curdling scream.  This time they saw that his eyes momentarily stared deep into the orb…soon to once again lose focus and roll back into his head.

“It’s a holocron, similar to Naga Sadow’s.” D’arial’s quiet voice intoned.  “I…I think that Gavyn must have inadvertently activated it…maybe he grabbed at the bag as it sat upon one of those shelves…” Her eyes searched the area for any clues.

Nodding, Ryshhk agreed.  [I believe that you’re right].  Concentrating upon the young man’s connection to the Force and by extension to the orb, Ryshhk gently probed at Gavyn’s mind.  With his skill at Healing, the Wookie Kage had trained on all forms of restoration, including metaphysical… Ryshhk exhaled, recognizing now what had befallen the young man.  It was just as D’arial had posited: he had accidentally triggered the device’s safeguards against intrusions.

Working delicately, he first began to extricate the barbs stabbing into the young man’s mind.  Simultaneously, he furiously worked at the holocron, attempting to turn the defense response “off.”

[D’arial, help me with this please]. He spoke almost absently, all of his attention on dislodging the metaphysical spike skewering Gavyn’s frontal lobes.  Without comment, the Arbiter opened herself fully to the Force, adding her own strength and skill to the task.

After a tense half hour or so, Ryshhk finally deactivated the holocron, D’arial catching Gavyn as he collapsed.  Both of them breathed a collective sigh of relief that they hadn’t realized that they’d been holding.  But with the danger passed, the atmosphere in the room certainly felt much less oppressive.  Ryshhk instructed some of the other koawans to help Gavyn as they all retreated from the room, exiting the crypts towards their ship.

As the last of the Gray Jedi boarded the freighter, both Ryshhk and D’arial paused at the bottom of the ramp, looking now at the prize that they’d retrieved.  “Do you think that we’ll find what we need with that, Kage?” Even as good as his eyesight was, Ryshhk could not see the Arbiter’s face.  But she sounded hopeful and encouraged.

And while Ryshhk wasn’t certain, he also cautiously shared her sentiments.  [I hope so, D’arial.  And not just for the Vhal’Dan…] He wistfully looked up gazing at the stars.  […But hopefully for Kazic as well…].

And as the ship burned through the atmosphere heading into space towards Kewda, Ryshhk allowed himself the luxury to feel a sense of optimism that he hadn’t felt for a long, long time.
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Cataphract Triarch of the Vhal'Dan

My sabers:Zearic's Aldrnari, Archon v3 (modded w/ activation box) w/Obsidian, AS; Zearic's shoto, Apprentice v4 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; Initiate v5 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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« Reply #253 on: September 19, 2019, 03:44:39 PM »

Time has certainly passed...and not all well...D'Arial now old, Ryshhk getting grey...and still dealing with the fall out of the civil war decades later in the way Gray Jedi would, probing even Sith artefacts.  How this will interact with Lor-Riou...that is going to be exciting!
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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."

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« Reply #254 on: September 20, 2019, 09:44:51 AM »

Echoing LSG: Interesting developments and time has indeed passed.  And ... Ossus!  A crypt on Ossus?!?   

I have a bad feeling about this...
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