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Author Topic: Schisms: The Vhal'Dan Civil War  (Read 12804 times)
Karmack
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Light side points please.


« Reply #180 on: March 08, 2019, 01:37:00 PM »

And the main event begins...     Nicely written.  J'Nessah...  I almost feel sorry for her.  Almost.

And if she's headed toward Anson...

And Saani and Ari are headed toward J'Nessah....

Folks, I think we have a meeting engagement happening here.  Better head for the high ground...
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TheDutchman
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« Reply #181 on: March 08, 2019, 02:09:10 PM »

And the main event begins...     Nicely written.  J'Nessah...  I almost feel sorry for her.  Almost.

And if she's headed toward Anson...

And Saani and Ari are headed toward J'Nessah....

Folks, I think we have a meeting engagement happening here.  Better head for the high ground...
Yeah, another instance of an unexpected result occurring  Wink



Hey!

"SaberForum Moderator!"

Alright Karm, congratulations my friend!  That's awesome  Cheesy
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Sig courtesy of DarthScrub

Maenowan Nexu Master of the Vhal'Dan

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

Karmack
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Master of Ceremonies
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Force Alignment: 854
Posts: 4115


Light side points please.


« Reply #182 on: March 08, 2019, 02:24:47 PM »

LOL   Thanks.   :-)
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Master Singer of the Mak'Tor

Taegin Roan
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« Reply #183 on: March 08, 2019, 02:53:06 PM »

Valens vs. Anson.

One is a warrior trained in the ways of the Guardians and the Jedi, and the other is a Powerful Force User trained in the way of the Jedi and the Vhal'Dan. Who will win this gladiator match?


I'm betting Dutchman knows. Wink
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"I am the Outcast's Shadow" - Taegin Roan
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Lord_S_Gray
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« Reply #184 on: March 09, 2019, 12:37:01 AM »

One of the Aethans greatest strengths is their culture - it is so different from the republic that they are virtually immune to any kind of manipulation - Kazic and Anson both think in the same terms about power and control, victory even accounting for their differences - Valens does not and J'nessah did not realise that. But this is the great part of this chapter - that same culture is also a massive weakness - Valens has no interest in J'nessahs offer but is obsessed with punishing Anson - had J'nessah understood that she would have had a chance at least. And then there is the third part the complete loyalty of Ari to Saani and even Valens to his trainee - Well done Dutch a great exposition of the best and worst of them in one chapter. And I loved the description of J'nessah smiling as she's preparing a suicide bomb like it's all her master plan!

As for Anson...well he can beat a petulant young Aethan...but Valens is a very different kind of opponent...whose already killed one Gray Kage and a Jedi Grand Master, a Yuuzhan Vong Perfect, (redacted) and countless Jedi and Darksiders...Anson has his blood up/in the zone and is the strongest the Vhal'dan have to offer...and with everyone else on their way there....This is gonna be epic!
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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 #185 on: March 11, 2019, 07:57:03 AM »

Epic indeed.   Its turning into a classic meeting engagement, and all of the principles are on their way.  I suspect there won't be much left when its all done.  Kazic may be party to the ultimate phyrric victory...
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TheDutchman
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« Reply #186 on: March 12, 2019, 09:34:27 PM »


Chapter 26: When Worlds Collide, part I

As J’Nessah left the half-filled room, those seats that were occupied represented the Collegium-in-exile—at least those that were not specifically attending Anson at present—she allowed herself a small smile.  …That went better than expected… She thought.  But given what they’d been through these past weeks, it was to be expected.

Thanks to her, the Collegium would call a cessation of hostilities with Kazic’s forces to buy time, ultimately calling for a vote of “No Confidence” in Anson.  Once they’d done so, J’Nessah would put forth Pytir as the only logical delegate for Kage.  From there, it would be child’s play to control him whilst making good her side-deal with Valens: she would grant him and his people access to the Lus’phor kyber manufactory and they would serve as her elite enforcers and body guard.  She grinned at that memory; Valens had been so transparent in his covetous for the kyber.  And now that she had leverage over him, she could proceed with the rest of her plans.

She had known that Anson had been the right choice.  But that was then.  Now, Pytir would make the perfect Kage and she—of course—the perfect Arbiter.  She’d always maintained that it was better to be the power behind the power.  J’Nessah grinned sardonically.

The office of Kage presented too large and easy a target while having too many attendant strictures.  Meanwhile, the Arbiter could work behind the scenes, avoiding scrutiny.  Just like Arbiter Sulen Reu Lai.  Oh, most of the Vhal’Dan knew of Black Rikard and his exploits as the first Vhal’Dan Kage…but J’Nessah had always favored those stories about Sulen.

Lost in thought as she was, J’Nessah spoke soft words to her remaining Untarnished guard before boarding her speederskiff.  Without consciously knowing what her hands were doing, dreams concerning the inauguration of a Vhal’Dan “golden age” kept her mind occupied.  Her fingers plotted the coordinates of the Lus’phor Spaceport.

And, once finished, picked up the improvised detonator she’d fabricated and nonchalantly placed in her belt pouch, all the while a whispered mantra repeating in the back of her unconscious mind…

<You will obtain whatever discrete explosives your pretty form can carry, secrete them on your person and detonate them as close to your Kage Anson D’Aklon as physically possible>

               <<<<< >>>>>

Parrying the enormous blackstone blade, Anson locked up with his green lightsaber for a breath.  He was burning through his Force reserves too quickly; this was nothing like his battle with the black armored youth.  Worse: Valens was an experienced combatant.  No, not “experienced.”

Superior.

From the first pass, it was evident to both combatants that their opponent was a warrior to be reckoned with.  Since Kazic had called upon them, the Aethans had hoped for such contest and while there had been several instances where the Vhal’Dan had surprised them, none had been able to do so on equal footing.  That was no longer the case: Anson was one of the rare Force-users who was able to keep pace.  

Granted, Valens had been involved with the fighting for the past week with little rest but both men had been able to size up each other in short order; the very air was charged with the energies that they brought to bear.  It had been years since Valens had fought someone with such expertise.  

But Anson knew that he’d never fought so deadly an enemy as the armored behemoth across from him.

The hanger had quickly filled, all of the onlookers astonished at the display of power, skill, and perspicacity.  They had been warned by their Kage not to interfere…at least not yet.  Stroke and counterstroke—both by melee weapon as well as metaphysical—the members of Anson’s Collegium (and their adjutants) stared raptly at the two armored men before them.  And they knew that there were perhaps a handful of beings alive that could perform such feats, martial and Force-based.  This was a meeting of titans, the hanger a genius loci of talents, a physical vergence of the Force.

But if the gathered crowd didn’t recognize his disadvantage, Anson did.  In a contest of brute strength, even he would lose against Valens, which in and of itself was disconcerting.  He was used to being if not the most powerful, then amongst the uppermost echelon of any Force-users.

Until now.

Dispersing the Force Illusion that Valens had projected, Anson knew that he needed a counter to even the odds.  His armor was testament to that: Valens had scored a half-dozen hits, deep cuts, notches, and dents in the places where the tremor sword had gotten past Anson’s defenses.  He’d also received a deep cut on the crown of his head, his brown hair matted in blood.

Wrapping himself in the Force, he drew upon the teachings of his own Master Varel’Zo.  The Aang-Tii had told Anson that he was his most prized student.  Not only had he taught him Flow-Walking but also the more exacting Fighting-sight.  It was a skill that was extremely rare, bordering on unique.  Even among the Aang-Tii monks who specialized in time/space manipulation, it was not unheard of for generations to pass without an adept who had the requisite skill in Fighting-sight.

Anson was a master.

Before, he was constantly losing ground to Valens, his seemingly limitless power matched by his battle prowess.  But with the Force flowing through him, his Fighting-sight aiding him, Anson was finally able to neutralize those advantages.

But if Anson had used his singular talents in his strategy, so too did Valens.  Even without the aid of the aether, he was still four times stronger than the Vhal’Dan Kage.  In order to compensate, Valens knew that Anson would need to utilize the Force just to remain on equal footing.  And if Anson’s Fighting-sight had mitigated many of Valens’ advantages, he still had to deal with Valens’ incredible repertoire of Force Powers.

Back and forth they went, black Oblivion armor and Vhal’Dan gray both reflecting the lights of the hanger, Anson’s green lightsaber, and the various Force energies each man employed.

A dozen Force-Pushes created multiple barrages followed by a strong Force Whirlwind threatening to scatter Anson’s armor and shred tissue from bone while hundreds of micro-tremors impeded Anson’s equilibrium.  And those were merely feints.  Powerful Force scalpels intent on Severing Anson from his connection to the Force required an entire stream of consciousness just to blunt and protect against.  Blue aetheric flames threatened to immolate Anson a moment before he was able to unravel the firestorm.  Kinetite with a power magnitudes more potent than normal exploded virtually point-blank just before Anson was able to erect a Barrier.  Occasionally Anson would counter with his own Force attacks…

But still the metaphysical assault persisted.

Circling each other, both men were breathing heavily.  In their haste and disregard for their surroundings, they had laid waste to the hanger, damaging—and in certain cases outright destroying—several ships docked within.  The crowds were still watching but most were now doing so from a distance.  While a few had been injured there were, miraculously, no deaths.

And then Valens made a mistake, not that any tactician could fault him.  In his attempt to gain advantage, he was drawing from a wide array of Powers.  He just chose now to focus upon Spatial Powers within the aether.

With Anson attuned to his own Fighting-sight, it was akin to turning on a light within a darkened room.  With his staggering aetheric strength, Valens could teleport much more mass further distances than even the most powerful Jedi.  And using what Jedi would call Force Traveling, Valens began to teleport several times in quick succession a few meters each time.  Against any other opponent, it would’ve spelled certain death for them.

To a Gray Jedi Master utilizing Fighting-sight, it was a bright, conspicuous beacon.  Anson smiled inwardly and prepared accordingly.  A microsecond before Valens appeared on Anson’s left flank, his blackstone tremor sword already in a tight orbit intent on decapitating, Anson subtly sidestepped, dipping his head to the opposite side while bringing his lightsaber under Valens’ guard.  And while Valens was able to self-correct within the blink of an eye, it was too late.

There was a collective gasp as Anson’s lightsaber smashed into the armored chestplate of Valens’ Oblivion armor.  Weakened earlier from when J’Nessah’s own lightsaber had stabbed into it, the sustained contact of the two plasma blades had created a chink…one that Anson’s Fighting-sight had anticipated.

Converging with his lightsaber, Anson’s other hand projected a potent storm of Electric Judgement, the green light of the lightning combining with the green of his plasma blade as it stabbed at the small fissure within the armor .  Additionally, Anson propelled a brutal, razor-focused Force-Repulse to create a hybrid Lightning/Darkshear-saber.  For as durable as the Oblivion armor was, Anson’s assault finally cracked the plate, rendering it useless.  And while the rest of the armor was still viable, the loss of the chestplate created an exposed flaw.

One that Anson knew how to exploit.

Smiling, he pressed his attack, Valens’ face somber.  Anson knew that Valens was too deadly an enemy to drop his guard even now, was just too damned dangerous.  Besides, that last trick had cost him dearly: even with the Force, he felt exhausted from the energies necessary to do what he’d done… He had to end this and quickl—

Wrapped in the Force as he was, the sudden absence of it was like a physical blow, staggering Anson.  One moment he was deeply entranced within his Fighting-sight, the Force supplementing his bones, tendons, and muscles to compensate for Valens’ physiology.  And then: completely gone.  He couldn’t even feel the people who had gathered nearer around them.  

And with lightning clarity, he knew that he was in grave trouble.

The null field that Valens had created wasn’t particularly large, extending from him in a 10 meter radius.  But for Anson, the Force may have been on the far-side of the galaxy.

“Help me!” Anson called out to the dozen or so Vhal’Dan that were nearest.  Seeing the change in their Kage, not one of them hesitated, igniting their lightsabers and advancing upon the two armored men.

               <<<<< >>>>>

Valens knew that his Mark-II Armor would still protect his limbs and head but the loss of his chestplate put him at a fundamental disadvantage, especially to a powerful Force-user like Anson.  But if his experiences as a Guardian had taught him anything, it was to always have a contingency.

Briefly concentrating, he projected the null-field outward, as far as he could manage without it becoming tenuous.  He might not have the aether at his disposal but neither did Anson.  And he was much more reliant upon it than Valens.

As he went to advance, he saw Anson call out for help.  

Immediately, a dozen of the closest Gray Jedi moved to protect their Kage and converge upon Valens.  As they entered the null-field, they paused as the Force left them...but only briefly.  Even as they slowly advanced forward, more Vhal’Dan had come up from behind them.

Valens remained completely stoic.

Even with his superior physiology, he could not fight so many…and live.  Determined, he gripped his tremor sword and readied his assault.  Thoughts of Jarys, Mili, Sofa, and Celina ran through his mind.  And of Ari…and that he would redress the grievances against her.  

And those responsible.  He stared at Anson, knowing that he, at least, would be among those that Valens killed that day.

Just as Valens advanced to attack, chaos erupted throughout the hanger.

               <<<<< >>>>>
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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

TheDutchman
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« Reply #187 on: March 12, 2019, 09:39:55 PM »


Chapter 26: When Worlds Collide, part II

As the first ring of Vhal’Dan surrounded Valens and Anson, those behind them closed the distance to stand right behind them…and they attacked, killing them all.

Saani’s Shadows had been able to quietly infiltrate the crowd whose collective attention was on Anson and Valens.  Saani herself was flanked by Ari and Jorol as they carved a path through the crowd, dropping their subtle Force Illusions in the process.  It was the perfect surprise attack.

Saani had contacted Master Gray Jorol Qui-Xot to have him gather a contingent of Shadows and rendezvous with her and Ari at the far end of the Lus’phor Spaceport.  She’d wanted to catch J’Nessah unawares on a ground of her choosing and according to Ari the dark Speaker was on her way there.

What she hadn’t expected to find was Anson and Valens locked in a gladiatorial-style arena combat.  But with everyone’s attention firmly fixed, it was the perfect opportunity to silently infiltrate…and when ready, attack.

A specialty of the Shadows.

Saani saw that her Shadows—and Ari—were quickly mitigating the numerical superiority of Anson’s Jedi, although even now they were recovering.  And as she engaged yet another enemy Jedi, out of the corner of her eye she saw Anson facing Valens.

Alone.

               <<<<< >>>>>

As quickly as he was convinced of his victory over Valens, Anson’s spirit sank, his despair over seeing his Jedi overwhelmed by Saani’s sneak-attack.  But he would not capitulate.  He would meet his opponent in combat…and fight honorably.  He was still a blademaster.  He advanced on Valens, his lightsaber held in a high guard.

The two met, blades crashing.  And swordsman to swordsman, Anson was more than able to hold his own.  However, in a contest where brute strength was the deciding factor such as this, power was the capital that mattered most.

Numbness radiated up Anson’s arms from his hands.  Every strike he parried threatened to knock his saber from his quickly deadened fingers.  But that wasn’t the worst.

When Valens swung his blade in a high bladelock with Anson’s saber, he swiftly punched with his other hand a devastating blow that not even Anson’s armor could fully absorb.  This was quickly followed by a fast kick that caught Anson on the hip.  Pain erupted; he knew the leg had dislocated.  But Valens wasn’t finished.

Without the Force to shunt the pain, Anson’s reflexes slowed considerably.  Valens grabbed Anson’s hands in a crushing grip, holding his arms aloft.  After a succession of powerful punches loosened the armor plating lining his serratus, Valens kicked up with a shocking, rib-shattering knee strike.

A stunned Anson fought to regain breath and—unable to raise his arm properly—his next parry was only partially effective: while his lightsaber turned the blade edge, Valens instead used the weight of the tremor sword to clout the Vhal’Dan Kage square in the face.

Spitting out pieces of broken teeth, Anson desperately fought to maintain consciousness.  But the injuries that he’d sustained were taking their toll.  Another punch from Valens collapsed Anson’s lung, an elbow to his chin exposed bone, and a savage cut of Valens tremor sword turned by Anson’s lightsaber at the last second severed Anson’s cuisses and cut deeply into his thigh.  Finally, Valens head-butted Anson, breaking his nose while rendering the Vhal’Dan Kage unconscious.

Dropping unceremoniously to the floor, Anson lay insensate in a heap.  But Valens still cautiously held the null-field in place.  Standing above Anson’s prone body, Valens raised his sword.  But before he could complete the movement a familiar voice, half-commanding, half-pleading boomed.

“WAIT!”  

               <<<<< >>>>>

Kazic ran up to Valens, his hands held out as if to ward off the tremor sword strike.  He insinuated himself protectively between the Aethan and Anson, concern painted across his gray face.

Ryshhk had landed his ship near Ari’s but had stayed behind to help Corvus.  Meanwhile, Kazic had had to run to the hanger just to make it in time.  But he was still late for the surprise attack.

The hanger around them was a cacophony of chaos: Saani’s Shadows fought Anson’s Jedi although Saani and Ari themselves were nowhere to be seen.  Fires had erupted all across the area, smoke obfuscating the hanger.  And in an island by themselves stood Valens and Kazic.

“Valens…I…I was mistaken.  This…this is not…” Desperately, the Anzat fought to articulate himself.  And as he opened his mouth to say more, his attention shifted peripherally, a seemingly innocuous sight confusing him.

There emerging from the smoke about six meters from Kazic was J’Nessah.  Her eyes were glazed over, her body moving as if in a trance approaching him.  

And within her hands she held a small thermal detonator.

Time seemed to slow down.  Kazic’s red eyes widened, Valens’ head swiveled on his neck to see what was to the side of him, while J’Nessah took another step forward.  This close, Kazic could see now that the dark Speaker wasn’t looking at him or even Valens.

Her attention was completely focused upon Anson.  She took another step.  She was only a few meters from Kazic now.

Her intention was clear.  But with them all being within the null-field, none of them could do anything in time…

Movement, quicker than the eye could track, burst from the corner of Kazic’s gaze.  Emerging from the smoke, a blue blur flew past, violently colliding with J’Nessah, knocking her not only from her feet, but clear across the floor and behind one of the high-profile maintenance vehicles that serviced ships in the hanger.  Kazic’s mind finally registered the blur.

…Saani…!

But he was still too far within the null-field to do anything.  He deduced it must be something that Valens was generating, as impossible as it seemed… Opening his mouth to tell Valens to drop the field, the words never left his lips.

An explosion knocked down everyone in the area, momentarily putting a stop to everything within the hanger, even those not directly affected by the blast.  But for Kazic, his concerns were for one person and one person only.

SAANI!” His hoarse voice tore through his throat as he rose upon unsteady legs.  Running over to where he saw the entwined bodies of his wife and J’Nessah disappear, he rounded the service vehicle.

Saani had grabbed J’Nessah from behind her back, inadvertently keeping the dark Speaker’s body between her and the detonator.  As such, the worst of the blast had been absorbed by J’Nessah.  Her body was shredded, her skeleton liquified, and her face all but unrecognizable.

Uncaring of J’Nessah, Kazic picked up the body and threw it aside like the dross it was.  Saani lay on her back, blood flowing from her nose and mouth, her eyes open.

Open…and lifeless.

Gently, Kazic hugged Saani’s body to him, rocking back and forth as he quietly repeated “Kanp’a” over and over again, tears running down his cheeks, his flared nose, and into his black goatee.

And indifferent to everything around him, Kazic screamed, hauntingly, achingly, and devoid of all hope.
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Sig courtesy of DarthScrub

Maenowan Nexu Master of the Vhal'Dan

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

Lord_S_Gray
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« Reply #188 on: March 13, 2019, 07:47:52 AM »

Anson…wow what a fight he put up…everything he had hurled into a battle I doubt any of the Vhal’Dan present (if they surivive) will forget

If he made one mistake it was not asking for help from his attendants sooner - in the end without the Force Anson was only human…Valens a genetically engineered killing machine….I think Anson has just fought his life's greatest battle, and ended up a bloody mess for it – I doubt the achievement of beating one Aethan and then pushing Valens as hard as Odjina did to the point Valens playing the ultimate trump card of No-Force-All-Super-human-Physiology is going to feel like much consolation - if he even gets a chance to recover….

I literally LOL’d at J’nessah’s crazy ideas –Valens covetous for the Kyber…the irony of her thinking she’s manipulating him after everything she did to the Wookies and the Vhal’dan is hilarious, she’s getting totally into her new schemes with so much gusto!! From the readers POV she has gone from dark manipulator to frightfully laughable parody, which is a perfect comeuppance.

But in the end it was all about Saani…what was Kazic about to do with Anson...I doubt we'll ever know now his Kanp'a has been mortally(?) wounded....

An exceptional clash Dutch, great way to bring so many pieces together in a blazing conflagration, and one that has yet to even conclude!
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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 #189 on: March 15, 2019, 10:39:18 AM »


A Brief Intermezzo, Part III

Tears, heavy and wet, ran rivulets from the withered Anzat’s face, dropping from his white beard and mustaches to pool within D’Aylanna’s hand as she sat grasping Kazic’s.

…Even after all this time…by the Maker it still hurts…

“…Father…” She said gently.

Even as rheumy and bloodshot as they were, Kazic’s red eyes suddenly became razor-sharp, intent and piercing.  “…Nur’us…how long has it been since you’ve called me…” But a sudden coughing fit interrupted him.  D’Aylanna laid a gentle hand upon him, Healing flows helping to strengthen his wasted body, the look on her face as soothing as her touch.

“Father, please continue.” For as diminutive as D’Aylanna was, she appeared to loom above Kazic…but protectively, tenderly.  After a shuddering breath, Kazic seemed to grow stronger.

“Saani…my Kanp’a…died saving me.  Outside of the null-field, she was able to utilize her Force-speed…” Kazic’s lips quivered, his face pained from remembering.  “…I was…hurting…distraught…hopeless.  I would’ve given anything to have her back.  I’d never once considered…”  He closed his eyes, his voice falling just above a whisper.  “…Who knew that it could get so much worse…?”  Kazic opened his eyes, staring at something as if at a great distance…and at nothing at all.

“Father, what do you mean?” D’Aylanna’s normally imperturbable manner gave way to her confusion. 

Kazic’s eyes once again became shrewd, penetrating.  “My old teacher Master Stryka Annix once told me an old Shifalan saying that, roughly translated, stated: ‘Be careful of what you wish for, you may just get it.’”  He suddenly barked a laugh, the harsh sound surprising D’Aylanna.  “Well, Nur’us, my old Master knew exactly what she was talking about.” He said softly, bitterly.

D’Aylanna’s brow furrowed in concern, one delicate hand inadvertently running through her dark, midnight blue hair.  Her other hand continued to delicately stroke the thinning white hair on Kazic’s head.  “…What do you mean, Father?  Father!  Kazic!!”  She shouted his name when he did not first respond.

Blinking his eyes, Kazic once again focused on D’Aylanna.  “Sorry, Nur’us.  I…I just wonder how things would have been different if Stryka had been Kage during the Civil War instead of me…”

D’Aylanna gently shook her head.  “No, Father, not that.  What is it that you’d wished for but came to lament?”  Slowly she caressed Kazic’s hair, long and unkempt as it was.

New tears threatened to spill from the corners of his eyes.  Kazic inhaled deeply and released a shuddering breath, one that had nothing to do with his failing health.  His quiet sobs were the only sounds within the convalescence suite, his weeping punctuated with one softly repeated word: “Kanp’a.”  After a moment, he quieted, seeming to fall asleep.

D’Aylanna kept stroking his head lost in thought.  Of everything that Kazic had told her tonight…

But when next he spoke, her startlement wasn’t only because she’d thought him asleep but rather because of the conviction in his tone.

“What do I regret?”  His voice was acerbic, sardonic.  He turned his gaze to hers, his lips smirking derisively.  Another coughing fit threatened to double him over until he finally quieted.  But when he spoke, his voice was as strong as ever.

“I got exactly what I wished for.”
Logged

Sig courtesy of DarthScrub

Maenowan Nexu Master of the Vhal'Dan

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

Karmack
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Light side points please.


« Reply #190 on: March 15, 2019, 04:53:39 AM »

Well crafted, my friend!  After the climactic battle between Anson and Valens, after the defeat of his Jedi by Saani's shadows.  After Saani's death and Kazic's cry...   Something worse is about to happen.   

I can make a guess what Kazic might have wished for.   But whatever it was, it didn't turn out as he expected...

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Lord_S_Gray
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« Reply #191 on: March 15, 2019, 01:00:13 PM »

A classic theme - the wish fulfilled that  only makes things worse...but what wish in particular it seems obvious...but then he already seems to have had one fulfilled...he asked for Ari's people's help to turn the tide...Anson broken under Valens fists is surely fulfillment...but the price....hmm reminds me of these lyrics...

Don't push too far your dreams are china in your hand
Don't wish too hard, because they may come true
And you can't help them
You don't know what you might have set upon yourself
China in your hand...
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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."

Taegin Roan
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« Reply #192 on: March 16, 2019, 03:19:08 PM »

That was a powerful and well placed intermezzo. I'm interested to see how this story resolves, and what is left unresolved. Very good writing Dutchman as always.
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"I am the Outcast's Shadow" - Taegin Roan
"We are the spark that will light the fire that will burn the first order down." - Poe Dameron

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TheDutchman
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« Reply #193 on: March 19, 2019, 09:13:28 AM »

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

Chapter 27: Caveat Emptor, part I

Kazic sat on the floor, his wife’s body prostrate between his splayed legs, tears wet upon his cheeks, beard, and upon Saani’s face where they pooled in her sunken, lifeless eyes.  He was aware of nothing, cared for nothing around him as the people in the hanger recovered, themselves unsure of what had transpired.  Had Kazic not been oblivious, he might have saved himself—and the Vhal’Dan—future miseries and sufferings…but he sat uncaring of his surroundings.  Only Saani mattered…

Again, he hugged her dead body to him, crying anew.

“Kazic…” A quiet voice whispered from behind him in his ear.  He didn’t so much as bat an eyelash.  Then, more forcefully, “Kazic.”

Valens.  Something within his tone cut through the Anzat’s anguish.  Turning his head to face Valens, Kazic just stared, saying nothing.  “We can bring Saani back if we act quickly…death is not an absolute.  After all many homeostatic processes go on for a while…on a world strong in the aether like Galtea…”

The words hit him like a full-grown reek.  …Bring Saani back…?  Even as he dared to hope, he thought upon what else Valens had said: “…many homeostatic processes go on for a while.”  As if to reinforce this, Kazic’s eyes slipped into his infravision.  Looking down at Saani’s body, he could see the heat register of her skin.  …Death is not an absolute… Kazic glared into Valens’ eyes, hope and incredulity warring across his face.

“Do it.”  

               <<<<< >>>>>

Valens gave an almost imperceptible nod.  But he was not yet finished…

“Know this: there is a cost.”  He reached behind his armor, producing a small Oblivion Orb, not unlike the communication orbs that hung from Kazic’s and Aresaea’s necks.  They were alike in regard to their size, symmetry, shape, and—of course—color.

But that was where the similarities ended.

Valens held the orb up to Kazic.  Not taking it, Kazic scrutinized the device.  “What is that?”

Valens patiently explained, “It is a recording apparatus.  It is the price of Saani’s lif—”

Kazic grabbed the deceptively heavy orb immediately.  “I’ll pay it.  What do I need to do?”

Valens’ voice seemed subdued as he explained.  “As with the communications orbs, open yourself to the…Force.  The orb will do the rest.”

Kazic’s eyes stared intently at Valens before locking onto the black orb in his hands.  For a moment, nothing seemed to happen.  “I don’t think that this is wor—”

Kazic violently and involuntarily inhaled as he felt the rush of memories come crashing forward from the depths of his mind.  It felt as if the orb was…feeding on them, consuming every iota of every picosecond of every part of his life.  Never had Kazic experienced something so…overwhelming, so thorough.  

So invasive.

Time was meaningless.  Had it been a microsecond?  A day?  An eon?  And when the sum total of Kazic’s life had finally been chronicled, he collapsed insensate.

Valens stood motionless for a moment before leaning down to retrieve the orb.  Glancing around, he saw that several of Saani’s Jedi Shadows had gathered, ignited lightsabers in their hands still.

And there in front of them stood Ari.  On her face was a horrified look of disbelief.  Valens paused.  Was that…was she…crying?  “Aresaea.”  Her eyes turned towards him but otherwise she remained motionless.  He should’ve known; after all, the young woman had been effectively raised by Saani.

<Aresaea.>  That did the trick.  <You can bring her back.  But we must be quick about it, especially with so much damage having been done by the bomb.>  Valens was not without sympathy.  He even respected Saani.  For an Outsider.  But that was not why he asked Ari to perform the task.

After a week of fighting without substantial rest, his battle with Anson had depleted his aetheric stores.  To underscore that fact, his body was almost completely numb, their physiology’s equivalent of metabolic acidosis.  Valens went over to where Kazic and Saani lay and knelt by them, motioning Ari to do the same.

<Valens…I’m afraid.  I don’t want to lose Mother Saani…but I’ve never done this kind of Healing.>  Ari bit her lip in apprehension.

<I will direct you.>  But what Valens didn’t say that the Shatterpoint Healing was equal parts power and artistry.  But Jarys and Kiraea were both too far away and Maekel…

Valens glanced in the direction of the young man even though he could not see him.  He was too inexperienced, too blunt a tool, too arrogant.  Although Valens had to admit that Anson had given Maekel a lesson that hopefully he would not soon forget.  Nevertheless, Aresaea was the only one who could perform the procedure right now.

And Kazic had already paid.

With the aether pouring from her, Ari began smoothing the fractures of the Shatterpoint surrounding Saani, following Valens’ directions as attentively as she could.  Each fissure that she corrected seemed to reveal two more.  And another two.  And those even more…

While Valens guided Ari, he directed one full consciousness through the aether, “talking” to Jarys and Kiraea, giving them further instructions now that they were themselves on Lus’phor.

And still: Ari kept working…

               <<<<< >>>>>

Several kilometers away, Anson’s Collegium of Gray Masters-in-exile finally congregated with a majority of its members, many having recently escaped the Spaceport Hanger battle, each and every one of them with an opinion.

“I’m telling you, this latest debacle epitomizes Anson’s growing failure!  As my wife stated: the Vhal’Dan need new leadership.  And I, Pytir Danisen, am the Kage to do it!”  The Mon Cal’s self-aggrandizement caused many of the gathered masters and maenowans to groan…but fewer than before they’d seen Anson defeated.

“No, that is beside the issue: we must declare a ceasefire, come to a mutual agreement…” Said another one of Anson’s new Speakers, Master Marc-Andr Drevifv.  “…Or am I the only one who seems to recall what Kazic’s ‘shadows’ did to our forces?”  Several voices joined the dusky-faced human in assent.  

“Masters, maenowans, we must not give in to panic!  And Anson is still our Kage!”  A short, female Nautolan, Master Raru Vinjaga exclaimed.  She turned on Pytir and Marc-Andr savagely.  “Anson soundly defeated one of those so-called ‘shadows’ and almost another one!  They CAN be beaten!”  She too was met by cheers and approval.

“But at what cost?!  It would be a pyrrhic victory at best…” Someone shouted.

“Are you such a coward to give up so easily?” Someone retorted.

“I don’t see you standing forth to fight them.  Say what you will about Anson but he at least led by example…”

And so it continued with still others remaining silent, indecisive, or otherwise on the proverbial fence.
Logged

Sig courtesy of DarthScrub

Maenowan Nexu Master of the Vhal'Dan

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

TheDutchman
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« Reply #194 on: March 19, 2019, 09:20:40 AM »


Chapter 27: Caveat Emptor, part II

Suddenly the ornately decorated doors that belied their military durasteel interior burst in and a Vhal’Dan Sentinel entered in glimmering plate, recognized as one of J’Nessah’s guards.  “Masters an urgent message.” The Sentinel reached round to produce what all expected was a mini Holo-projector...

“What in the….”

He held a fist sized black ball of some kind using both hands to keep it aloft…almost as if it weighed too much even for the Sentinel to carry.

“That is…”

Concern turned to outright shock as an image of one of the Oblivion monsters appeared in the middle of the Chamber: it was not a holo-projection, rather some kind of Force Illusion.

They were already in ready stances, minds bolstered to defend against any possible telepathic assault, hands grasping hilts of sabres and blasters.

The figure strangely held a vicious looking black bow in one hand, no doubt many people still enjoyed archery as a sport but such weapons were long since abandoned for practical uses.

Valens’ voice came from the projection.  “Masters of the Vhal’Dan, I represent Kage Kazic Ovarug and serve at his pleasure as plenipotentiary in this negotiation.”  It was, Valens noted not quite true: Kazic had no idea he was even doing this; his filling of the memory orb left him rather out of it giving Valens the opportunity to extend his command from de facto to direct and settle almost everything before they departed.

Ultimately even with the Peoples’ help Kazic could never really succeed in the long term with the forces he had; even if he had won his force would be so depleted it would fragment and he would be unable to impose control over the populace that remained.  Only by accumulating defectors from Anson’s forces could he win and retain a passable military force afterwards.

All Valens’ strategy had been directed toward shattering Anson’s armies confidence with rapid devastating attacks, spreading utter terror whilst simultaneously hollowing out their command structure by assassinating their colonels and the most capable commanders, leaving those he saw before him.  And while undoubtedly able they were nonetheless second tier commanders who had no confidence that they could do better with less resources against the incompressible threats Kazic now posed than their former superiors had. 

J’Nessah openly courting defection had simply been a helpful acceleration to his existing plans.

“What is it you want?” Master Marc-Andr Drevifv stated neutrally.

“Any negotiation would have to go through the Kage!” Messer Subiah Fuqua overrode Drevifv, moving to stand just behind and to the right of Pytir.  “And he would not treat with a psychopath like you and your Anzat Master!”

Valens ignored the raving fool’s words….but noted very carefully he was the one who had upset Aresaea years before by dismissing and ridiculing her translations of Massassi artifacts.

“Kage Ovarug wishes to bring this war to a close, you have already seen your fortunes reverse substantially, you have witnessed your advantage reduced by the hour.  The price of continued conflict grows beyond your ability to pay, and I assure you if you do not immediately denounce Anson and stand down those forces you command within 48 hours it will only grow worse.”

He surveyed the faces, noting based on their varied alien expressions a third had hardened in their opposition to Kazic, but those that remained were split: another third was more than happy to end the war at any price, and the remaining third needed only the smallest push to join them.

“We will not give into your threats!” Fuqua raged once more pointing his finger straight at Valens.

“We do not fear your tricks and illusions, you are not invincible!  You are a handful of mad men against our thousands!” Pytir’s voice rang throughout the large room.

“I’m sure your intelligence networks have evidence to back the claim we are only handful and not the precursor to a larger army…” Valens noted dryly knowing full well they had no such evidence and many of Anson’s forces feared just that: that those they had seen were merely the first wave of a larger invasion force.

“Illusions and theatrics: that is all you have, we will never submit to your terrorism and have no interest in hearing your lies!” Pytir dug deeper, he was Valens knew actually correct.  They should ignore everything he said but he made his case in such an uncouth way so as to make it appear extreme.

Valens looked to the more reasonable Master Drevifv.  “Does this man speak for the Collegium?”

“He does not…” Drevifv replied.

Valens seemed to look past Pytir.  “Translate this Fuqua: ‘sis tuti tu'iyia niati shellitja, rajidona ao drarina.’”

Fuqua’s brow crossed with aged lines as he tried to comprehend what had been said.  High Sith…yet it made no sense to him: “‘My opportunity is final, sleeping or retreating?’”  Pytir turned his head towards Fuqua, a question upon his lips.

In the space of a breath the dark projection gripped an arrow from the quiver on his back, nocked and drew it aiming straight at Fuqua, before any of the Masters or maenowans could react—though given it was only a Force Illusion there seemed no need to—the arrow was loosed.

Shock exploded through the room in time with Pytir’s skull and brains as the black bolt shredded though his head.  As it passed through the Mon Cal’s temporal lobe, Fuqua had a split-second to move his own, causing the bolt to cut deeply into his temple and break his skull before boring into the far wall and vanishing inexplicably.

A dozen sabres lit the chamber brightly as Pytir’s and Fuqua’s bodies dropped into a growing, dark pool of blood.

The black armored figure might be an illusion but somehow that arrow had been very, very real. 

Only four of the Masters (and three maenowans) present had any experience with Force Teleportation, which they instantly now recognized from the thin eddies in the Force following the arrow’s appearance and disappearance.  But none of them could comprehend—let alone match—the level of expertise and precision needed to teleport such a large and presumably heavy Oblivion object moving at such a high speed…and with such synchronicity to the dark figure’s movements...

“The correct translation honored Masters and Maenowans…” Valens’ voice said quietly as the arrow returned to the quiver and the figure notched another but kept his bow aimed to the floor.  “…was ‘This is your last chance: surrender or die’…I strongly suggest you study Fuqua’s example…but not his High Sith Translation guide…”

An instant later the figure was gone, his voice replaced by the hum of a dozen blades and the noxious scent of someone who had soiled themselves mingling with the copper of Pytir’s and Fuqua’s blood.

The Sentinel holding the Orb suddenly dropped it as it began to glow red then orange.  Hitting the floor it ate away deeply into the foundation as it melted the granite…along with orb itself, thus contaminating the ultradense material and making it useless to study.

Suddenly the Sentinel ripped his helm off revealing a tattooed face only three of those congregated recognized as belonging to the Untarnished slaves of Rorak IV.  “Vhal’Dan see what your Kage is doing!  In desperation he has bought thousands of my brethren to fight for him!  Noble Ovarug has sought to help us break free so I deliver this message on his behalf!”

That he was the only Untarnished on the planet was a truth known only to J’Nessah and Valens; however the fact he was so deep in a secure facility and in Vhal’Dan armor added to unconscious connections that Anson might truly have purchased slave soldiers in desperation…

A niggling doubt just as Valens had desired to add to all the other that Anson’s forces had been wrestling with.

“Anson would never…surely…” Master Raru Vinjaga said glancing every few seconds at Fuqua as if it might spontaneously leap back up to argue the translation.

“Five years ago could you imagine Anson and Kazic at each other’s throats…?” Master Drevifv noted bitterly.  But his voice was drowned out by the ensuing panic of the mob.

“And how else did this Untarnished get here!”

“It is a conspiracy, lies from Kazic to divide us, the man might not even be Untarnished, anyone can get tattoos!”

“Who cares? Did you just see that! Did you SEE what it just did to Pytir and Fuqua, it could’ve killed us all just as easily!  What sane person would refuse an offer to surrender!”

“What kind of coward gives into such threats!”

The bickering continued as Pytir’s body occasionally jolted with death spasms, some hardened in support for Anson and derided “Ovarug’s underhanded tactics.”

Most simply did not wish to live with the newly realized fear of an Oblivion Armored being appearing at any instant and firing an arrow into their face without warning.

And as the arguing continued, no one noticed that the two bodies in the lake of blood had been reduced by one…

               <<<<< >>>>>

Jarys placed the Oblivion arrow back in its quiver as he began to head towards the exit wrapped in Aetheric Concealment.  Acting as Valens’ proxy, it was a simple deception intended to incense and cower the masters and maenowans deep within the facility. 

<Valens I’m going to link up with Kiraea in the east crystal manufactory for the next phase.> He said, already en route.  Jarys attributed the fact that he didn’t get an immediate response to Valens being busy with Ari.

It wasn’t until after he’d gathered among the other Aethans with Kiraea that he learned different.

               <<<<< >>>>>

“Kazic.”  He recognized the name; it sounded as if it were being spoken under water… That’s right; he was Kazic.  He slowly opened his eyes, the gathered smoke stinging.  His throat rasping, he choked on a coughing fit.

“Here, drink this.”  Again, that voice.  Feeling the lip of a canteen, he drank deeply from the water within.  He felt a hand upon his head, tender and gentle.  Now why would Valens do that…

It was then that he truly looked.  He saw Valens tending to someone who sat beside him—Ari, he could now see clearly—and Jorol was talking among the Jedi Shadows… Speaking of: he saw a shadow obfuscate the light of the hanger from the ceiling.  He looked upwards to see who stood above him.  And he dropped the canteen.

Saani…his beloved Kanp’a…stood there, smiling down lovingly at him.  Radiantly.  Gorgeously.  Alive.

Jumping up, Kazic wrapped his wife in his arms, raining kisses upon her head, face, and lekku.  At that moment, nothing else mattered.  His Kanp’a was alive.

Alive!
Logged

Sig courtesy of DarthScrub

Maenowan Nexu Master of the Vhal'Dan

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

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