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Author Topic: Reunion  (Read 1251 times)
TheDutchman
Knight Commander
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Force Alignment: 601
Posts: 2449


Guardian Blue is my life


« Reply #15 on: March 07, 2018, 05:46:05 AM »

Both LSG and TR have brought up some excellent, poignant points: this was a darker tone and Karm is definitely edging towards a bit of hatred in his anger towards Mellichae and his Sith Shadows.  Which IMO makes for a good narrative: our hero(es) are determined and fighting against an insane, sadistic murderer and those who have chosen to follow him.  One might argue that this is laser guided Karma that they deserve.  And I love the fact that when Karm gives his word, he KEEPS it, regardless that it was to a Sith Shadow.  These are the tenets of the Gray and Mellichae represents an imbalance to be eradicated.

And like TR stated, the action is tight and the suspense palpable.  It was a bit of SW:A Horror Story.  Why does the maniac always live out in the sticks?!  Wink

On a serious note, beautiful imagery! ...and gory (those poor healers)...

Good to see Karm and Arnor back in action; and against Mellichae...well to paraphrase a bit of '80s pop culture: "There can be only one"
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Maenowan Nexu Master of the Vhal'Dan Gray Jedi

My sabers:Zearic's Aldrnari, Archon v3 (modded w/ activation box) 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; Sentinel LE v4 stunt, EG

Karmack
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Force Alignment: 624
Posts: 2752


Light side points please.


« Reply #16 on: March 07, 2018, 06:52:38 AM »

Mellichae is back to his old stomping grounds…Hmm the Mak’Tor need to do a better job on security they are getting hammered by this guy in terms of number of losses…maybe take a leaf from Ansosn book and militarize a bit…Mellichaes a nut case and if he can do that much damage to their healer network imagine what someone sane and strategic could manage.
 
I thought this was pretty ironic…
“it wasn't my job to be judge, jury and executioner.  “

Isn’t that exactly what he is doing in his pursuit of Mellichae in the first place?  Down a dangerous road once more…each adventure Karm seems to get that little more aggressive, a little more stern and cold…another step on the path towards....



I re-read this chapter this morning and I have to be honest, the tone didn't come across exactly as I had intended, but LSG makes a good point - Karmack IS very angry and in a very dangerous position.  He's been focused on recovery, specifically to go on this mission, and then Mellichae went and made it VERY personal. 

Thanks for the feedback guys.   These comments have opened my eyes to something that I hadn't seen was already there.  So... onward!
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Master Singer of the Mak'Tor

Karmack
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Force Alignment: 624
Posts: 2752


Light side points please.


« Reply #17 on: March 07, 2018, 12:08:28 PM »

Chapter Three: Its a Trap
 
    "The specific tenants that a Mak'Tor knight vows to uphold are these:  The Knight swears to protect the innocent from harm.  The Knight swears to promote freedom and oppose tyranny.  The Knight swears to support the Order.  The Knight swears to maintain a relationship with the Maker and do Right as revealed by the Maker in his Way.   "Trust the Singer, not the Song." is the way the Knights remind each other and themselves that they are ultimately responsible to the Maker, that simply using the force or listening to the song (which ultimately is another part of the force after all) does not fulfill that responsibility nor does the force itself provide the moral compass necessary for the Knight to act appropriately." -  Master Cil'us'Mack Discussions on the Code of the Mak'Tor and the Jedi Code


I felt the ship powering toward orbit.  I needed to think.  I headed for our cabin, trusting Two to pilot the ship into orbit and hold there until we were ready to move again.  Almost before I could sit down Arnor was there.  "Jo'Anne and Elisa will be fine.  Despite appearances none of the Shadows did anything to them.  They were exactly what they looked like - bait."

I nodded, and felt the dark rage rising in my chest again.  I saw the look on Arnor's face sharpen, her eyes intent as I pushed it back down again.  Her green eyes, so expressive, carried love and concern.  "Karm ... Trust the Singer, not the song." She said softly, then turned and headed back to the infirmary.

For a moment an irrational anger welled up.  How dare she remind me of my oath?  Here we were, about to risk our lives protecting the innocent, doing Right...

Doing right?  Really?  The urge to kill that Shadow was doing 'right'?  Flinging that combine through that house, a house YOU DIDN'T CLEAR FIRST, was 'Right?'  Either things have changed remarkably since my day, young man, or your view of what constitutes 'right' has skewed."

I blinked and started: I was sitting in the golden gazebo again, but this wasn't Kage Dorian.  The man across from me wore a simple dark gray robe over light gray pants and shirt.  No adornment, no rank.  Just golden hair gone silver with age and serene eyes.

Serene and piercing...

"I can feel your confusion.  Dorian often acts as our interface but we thought this conversation might need a more ... firm hand.  I am Cilus."

I sat up straighter as the name registered.  Cil'us'Mack, Kage of the Mak'Tor 250 years before the Ruusan Reformation.  In a time when the Jedi were still considered warriors, still engaged in personal combat against the New Sith, Cilus had tried to show them a different path.  And it was under Cilus that the Mak'Tor codified their Code, their belief in the Maker and His Way.  More than any leader of the Mak'Tor, Cil'us'Mack was the epitome of the warrior-priest: a fierce and fell warrior who was notorious for both his deadly skill and his habit of leaving his enemies alive behind him.  "Master Cilus."

"Master Karmack." he replied, matching my respectful bow.  "Karmack, I sense the conflict within you."

Instantly my mouth opened to deny it, but I shut it abruptly.  What, I was going to lie to a ghost?  A ghost who was no doubt already inside my head?  Truth!  Tell the truth.  Trust the Singer.  "Yes.  I feel conflict."

Cilus nodded, eyes twinkling.  "Good."

I sat, waiting for him to continue, to share some insight, some nugget of wisdom that would clarify my situation and end the confusion.  Cilus just sat there, watching me.  Finally I couldn't wait any longer.  "Well?"

His eyebrows rose.  "Well, what?"

"Well, what should I do?  How do I fix it?"

Cilus shrugged.  "How should I know?  You know the truth.  You know the right.  Do it."

Anger was rising again.  "Do it?  That's your advice?  How?  What is the right thing?  How do I set aside the pain I feel, the anger over the deaths of Illian, the healers, the maiming and almost-death of my son..."  My voice was rising, my heart rate and respiration advanced.  "How can I even mourn with this ... this monster out there?  How can I not act when he's killing people, maiming them, trying to get in here and take what you all know?"

The bemused expression never left Cilus' face as he weathered the tyrade.  "Karmack ... I never said you should be passive.  I think we would all agree that Mellichae has earned death.  The sooner the better."

I felt like exploding.  "SO WHAT AM I DOING WRONG?!?!?"

Cilus held up a hand.  "Calmly, son.  Calmly.  Think it through.  Why did you attack the farm so directly?  You had overhead coverage, back-up, and time to use them.  So ... why did you charge right in?"

I took deep breaths to calm myself and forced myself to consider my actions.  "I ... time was of the essence.  We didn't know ...  Mellichae could have been killing another hostage, we wanted to prevent that."

Cilus leaned forward now, and his bemused expression disappeared, replaced by a serious, piercing look.  "Really?  Protecting innocent life?  That was your true motive?"

I felt my jaw set in stubborn refusal as his accusation hit home ... and then realized my reaction.  I took a few deep breaths and purposely relaxed my jaw and my posture.  Truth...  I sighed and looked down, examining my own motives. 

I didn't like what I saw.

"I wanted to kill him.  I still do." I said, softly.  "He needs to die."

Cilus nodded.  "Yes.  He does." 

I looked back up at him.  "But I'm not the one to kill him?  Is that it?"

Cilus smiled sadly.  "Maybe.  Kill him or not, Karm.  The choice is yours.  But when you choose - make sure you're doing the right thing for the right reasons.  That's the key." 

I didn't respond.  I wanted to shout "He's MINE!" but I remained silent.  Not that it mattered.  He knew what I was thinking.  Cilus sighed.  "Trust the Singer, young one.  That is the only way to avoid becoming that which you despise."  He rose and moved to leave the gazebo, but then turned back.  "Just figure it out soon, eh?  Time is short."



I blinked and realized I was back in my cabin.  The Wayfarer continued to climb into orbit.  The vision left me angry and more confused than before...

Defend the innocent...   Do what is Right, as defined by the Maker in His Way...  Maintain a relationship with the Maker...   Trust the Singer...

"He's mine, and I will have him..."  I said, my voice low and dangerous.  I rose and went from the cabin into Engineering, where Two was plugged into the ship's systems.  "Let me know when we're in stable orbit, we have some planning to do."

Two tweeted back, his tone urgent.  "Yes, I know its a trap.  Its always a trap."

I turned to leave and check on Arnor and the healers when Two twitted out a follow-up question.  I turned back and smiled at the droid, a deaths-head grin.  "That's simple.  Next step: Spring the trap."
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Master Singer of the Mak'Tor

Taegin Roan
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Lord of the Force


« Reply #18 on: March 07, 2018, 12:24:55 PM »

Did he actually learn anything from Cilus, or is he just ignoring what he said? Will he ultimately do what is right (whether for the right reasons or the wrong), or will he do what is wrong? We have yet to see, but whatever the path he chooses, we are along for the ride. However, if he does chose wrong, he may never be able to return. As Yoda once told Luke "Once down that dark path you start, forever will it dominate you". It is good for Karm to question himself, and he needs to keep doing it. He cannot doubt himself, but he must question. Very interesting development, and I'm loving Cilus. Great job Karmack.
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Lord_S_Gray
Knight Lt. Commander
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Force Alignment: 10
Posts: 459



« Reply #19 on: March 07, 2018, 02:20:04 PM »

Cilus seems annoyingly ambivalent in his response, doesn't really give any advice other than perhaps plan your next attack more carefully, doesn't discourage Karm's anger directly...perhaps he more Gray than Dorian and co. in that sense, they have a tendency to the light Cilus he seems far more ambivalent...perhaps given Cilus era he learnt something of the Sith, anger, fear aggression can be useful if channelled correctly, tempered into strategy and then unleashed with pinpoint accuracy (an method of some my characters have been using of late...).  Not sure Karm is in a better place for that vision...but then who is to say what is better in this context the one thing Cilus WAS clear about is Mellichae needs his head removed.
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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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Force Alignment: 624
Posts: 2752


Light side points please.


« Reply #20 on: March 07, 2018, 03:31:50 PM »

Yes, Cilus ... surprised me.  This story is taking on a life of its own.  I keep planning stuff, and it keeps veering off course.  So we're all on a ride at this point...
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TheDutchman
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Guardian Blue is my life


« Reply #21 on: March 08, 2018, 09:17:40 AM »

I actually like the moral ambiguity; after all, Karm IS a "Gray Jedi" although with the close adherence to the Maker I guess that might mitigate the "Gray" part a bit... BUT that's why the backstory with Kimar and Odjina makes this so poignant!  Speaking of...

I think that Master Cilus makes an excellent foil for Karm in that he's the one holding the mirror up.  It's not that "killing" is wrong but that whatever justifications that Karm is telling himself (at least at that time) are not the FULL truth.  But, yeah, Mellichae is a cancer to be eliminated.

Excellent moral quandaries Karm!  This seems like an excellent trajectory for this narrative  Smiley
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Maenowan Nexu Master of the Vhal'Dan Gray Jedi

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Illyiss
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Force Alignment: -355
Posts: 858


There are shadows darker still...


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« Reply #22 on: March 08, 2018, 11:38:33 AM »

Fighting tyranny and hate, torture and cruelty is not wrong, but making that war to satiate vengeance, satisfy personal grievances, to revel and release into darkness, that is wrong.  In spite of what others have said, I think the urge to kill dark opponents is VERY Jedi, as one can only make the choice to resist the darkness when it beckons.  When things are calm, orderly, controlled, it is easy to give voice to choosing the light, but only when the darkness within us rises that we can resist it's call, choose to walk a different path, or to welcome it.  To be perfectly clear, the light is as much a potential position for extremism and overindulgence as the dark, only in different ways.  As well, I feel as though the Mak'tor are grey in the definition that "Grey Jedi" are force users, mostly adhering to the light side, not of the Jedi Order.  Now, to be fair, many Force uses that are normally thought of as strictly "dark side" are only thought that way because the particular philosophies and reactionary rules additions of the Jedi Order have labelled them as such.  So yes, Karm is CLEARLY being tempted, albeit more subtly than Anakin was, by being led down a path of light, but tempted to follow it with dark intentions.  Much like the cave on Dagobah, you only find what you take with you.  If he treads this course with the light song in his heart, seeking to do the right thing (oppose the dark, end oppression and cruelty, and protect the innocent), he will find light through this.  If he continues to go after Mellichae with a sense of anger, revenge, and malice, he will find grief and suffering, regardless of the outcome of the conflict.  To that end, I think that Master Cilus' response was perfectly fitting.  "You are a Master, you know what the right thing is, and what the wrong thing is.  The difference is the intention with which you act.  Free will is yours.  Choose."  So, we find Karmack in exactly the place that the first line of the Jedi Code is meant to avoid; he is acting from a place of emotion, not peace and reason.  Yes, emotion is something we WILL all feel (unless you are an apathetic sociopath), and it makes wonderful motivation, but it needs to be allowed to crest and then ebb, to spark thought and reason, to allow action based on rational decisions.  Will Karm remember that in time, or will he plunge himself into dukka, and lead his wife into increased danger with it?
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Peace is a lie...

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Karmack
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Light side points please.


« Reply #23 on: March 08, 2018, 12:14:27 PM »

Chapter 4: Reflections.

The Enclave had been on Dantooine for millenia.  Alternately a center for Jedi training and learning and a wild ruin, the edifice today was crumbling, the upper levels long since stripped bare of anything usable by salvagers and scavengers.  The series of high-level passes that Wayfarer had made yeilded high resolution holographic images of those ruins, with nothing showing visually to suggest anything but a long-abandoned ruin.

But switch to thermal...

"There..." I used the controls to zoom in on an obvious heat bloom over the west hall.  "While nothing shows above ground, the heat escaping has to be coming from something ... or someone."

Arnor leaned and and studied the visual.  The computer had overlayed the holograph with what was known of the interior's structure.  "Most of the upper levels are open to the outside.  We'd see anything going on there.  But this area..." She cupped an opening in her hand, a large circular area where there had once been a chamber used by the Jedi council.  That chamber was gone, the area below now open to the light and apparently filled with life.  "This goes down into the sub-levels, and there's also a good-sized heat bloom.  We could drop in here, ride the DCCs down and penetrate the sub-levels this way, rather than fight our way through these corridors."

Arnor's pathway highlighted on the screen.  It was shorter than fighting through from the landing pads to the west, and moved through chambers that were more open, with more room to manuever.  "I like it."  I turned to where Two and Mutt were sitting.  "You two ready to suit up?"

Mutt answered with a simple affirmative beep.  Two...was more verbose

Arnor smacked his dome.  "Language!"

Two swivelled his video receptor to face her and spit out an injured-sounding string of whistles.  "No, I'm not betraying you.  I've always been on his side.  You just haven't noticed."  Two rocked with mirth but returned a rude grunt.  "Oh, spare my blushes..."

Elisa's light laughter from the hatchway drew our attention.  "Is he always like that?"

"Always." I replied, smiling.  "He says that each time he has to boot-strap he gets a little more grumpy.  I think he's boosting that part of his personality matrix on purpose, but I can't prove it ... yet."  I shot a mock glare at the droid.  "But really he's harmless."

Two chirped again, this time agitated.  Elisa cocked her head to the side.  "What was that?  I don't know the language well enough..."

Arnor interpreted.  "He said, loosely, 'I am not harmless!  I can be quite dangerous!'"  Arnor laid her hand on his dome again, this time in a familiar caress.  "And he's right.  Both he and Mutt have saved our bacon more than once, and they can be down right scary in the DCCs."

"Dee cee cee?" Elisa asked next, stepping up to the holographic table.  "What does that stand for?"

"Droid Combat Chassis." I replied, bringing up a call-out with a rotating cut-away view.  "I managed to snag three of the updated versions for this mission.  They're a little smaller than the previous versions, but they have song-steel armor and carry a brace of heavy blasters and a six-cell missile launcher for some serious punch, with a covering of song-steel armor to keep everything working."

Elisa stared at the chassis.  "Wow...  Its like a miniature walker..."

"It is a miniature walker, and all designed to be operated by an astromech droid.  The Men-At-Arms also have a version that can be piloted by a humanoid and serves as their primary armored unit for planetary combat."  I zoomed in on the unit.  "The key for us, however, are these jump jets.  Arnor and I will be able to piggy-back down on Two and Mutt's chassis, allowing us to drop from the air rather than risk landing the Wayfarer in range of whatever forces are on the ground."

Elisa nodded and her face went blank as she studied the hologram of the enclave.  "There's a lot of heat.  That means a lot of bad guys."  She turned and looked at me.  "You're calling for back-up?"

Something inside me hardened.  "No.  We're ending this now, before any more innocents die."

I felt a spike in the force from Arnor, worry ... and fear.  I looked at her and caught the look of deep worry on her face before she could mask it.  She held my eyes for a second, then dropped her gaze to the hologram, but I got her message loud and clear: we need to talk.

I turned my attention back to Elisa as I felt her own emotions spike.  Fear, for a moment, but then subsumed by anger.  Rage.

Hate.

"I'm coming with you." she said.  It was not a question.

I looked back at Arnor, and her eyes were wide as she also recognized the emotions in the Koawan.  "Elisa ... that might not be a good idea."

"You need all the help you can get." Elisa replied.  Her voice was calm, matter-of-fact.  There was no evidence of the storm of emotions hammering through her.  "All I need is whatever back-up gear you can supply me."

"Elisa..." I said, stepping forward.  "I ... can feel the anger within you.  This will be dangerous."

"You think I'm afraid to die?" She wheeled on me, still outwardly calm, but her eyes were alight.  "Trust me, there are FAR worse things that can happen than dying.  You need me.  I'm trained, I just need a few minutes in your armory and some gear."

"Its not physical death I'm referring to." I shot back.  "You're filled with anger and rage for what happened to you, to the others.  You're at a tipping point, a dangerous place and could easily lose your way in the song.  The dark melodies are seductive..."

Elisa's eyes blazed and she stepped right up to me, nose-to-nose.  "You're one to talk.  Physician, heal thyself." She turned and stormed out.  "I'll be in the armory."

I turned to Arnor.  "Can you reason with her?  If she engages with this level of emotional compromise..."

Now it was Arnor's eyes that blazed; my wife that closed and stood with me nose-to-nose.  "Karm, I love you, but you need to go look in a mirror."   She turned and left, following Emily out of the room.

Two beeped his own agreement at me, then followed her out as well. I was left alone in the room, stunned.

Am I so filled with hatred that even a droid noticed?

I waited for the gazebo to appear, filled with golden light and recriminating ghosts ... but nothing happened.

So ... now I'm on my own?  Thanks guys...

I leaned over the projector table, the image of the enclave still floating in mid-air.  Anger welled up in me again, and I squeezed the edge of the table until my fingers went white.  Only when the metal started to buckle did I realize that I was channeling force energy into my hands as well as the pent-up anger in my chest.  "Relax, Karm.  Chill..."  I whispered to myself, slowly relaxing my hands and stepping back.  I stared at the hologram, floating there.  In my minds eye I could see him there, in the shadows, taunting me...  I snarled, raised my fist overhead to smash the imager...

Something inside me checked my hand.  I lowered it slowly, unclenched the fist.  Instead of smashing the imager I turned it off, watched it retract into the mirror-smooth table top.  I leaned over, looked down...

...at myself.  Look in the mirror...  I saw eyes.  Blue eye.  Angry eyes.  I stared at them, looking into their depths.  I saw a man who had worked himself hard, studied, researched, trained, all to mount this mission of ... revenge.

He's mine!  I want him, and I will have him!

<<He is not yours.  Vengence is mine...>>

The scripture fragment flashed through my mind, part of a homily presented by Brother James in the Mack chapel months ago.  I hadn't been listening then.  Now...  I was suddenly humming a memory motif, digging the sermon out of my memory.

<<Vengence is mine, I will repay says the Maker>>

<<Do Justice...Love Mercy...Walk Humbly...>>

<<Trust in the Maker and do good...>>

I fell to my knees.  When was the last time I had prayed?  Stopped and listened?  I read the words of the Way every day, but how long had it been since I had truly thought about them?  "Maker..."  I whispered.  "Holy Maker ... I am sorry!  You answered my call, you saved my son, and my response..."  I choked.  I couldn't continue.  I bowed myself before my God and I wept.

When Arnor returned some time later I cried on her shoulder.  Finally we embraced. Her eyes were shining when they met at last, filled only with love.  I pressed my forehead to hers.  "Thank you."

"You're welcome." She replied.  "Now ... what are we going to do?"

I stood, pulled Arnor to her feet, and re-activated the hologram.  "As the man said, the right thing - but for the right reasons..."  I cupped the entry path Arnor had sketched earlier.  "He needs to be stopped.  It would be days before reinforcements can get here.  We're going in."

Arnor nodded.  "Good."

"Excellent" said another voice. 

I turned and Elisa stood in the doorway, a newly constructed lightsaber in her hand.  "Elisa..."

She raised her other hand.  "Don't say it.  I am angry.  VERY angry.  But I really only want to help, and you need the help."  She met my gaze.  "Its out job as Knights to protect the innocent - and visit justice on those like Mellichae.  That's all I want.  Justice."

I studied her face, still serene, but the cauldron of emotion raging within her had subsided somewhat.  "Koawan El'Isa'Tor, Justice will be done.  I ... had denied that myself.  In my own pursuit of revenge I forgot out purpose.  My wife and ... others ... reminded me of it."  I met her eyes.  "I swear to you: Justice will be done.  Maker willing, by our actions here and now.  Trust the Singer, El'Isa.  Leave vengence to him.  Give me your word."

Elisa straightened.  "I give you my word, Master Karmack."

"Very well."  I held out my hand.  "Lets take a look at your construction.  I may have a ... slight upgrade ... for you."



    <<<<<  >>>>>

 

There were nine in the Golden Circle, but only three had engaged in the discussions.  Dorian was magnamimous.  "Well, Cilus, you were right."

Cil'us'Mack sat back and stroked his chin, his face serious.  "Perhaps.  The rage is still there.  It ... worries me."

"As it should." Ho'Li'Mack interjected.  "He has the Mack temper. As do most of us.  Its cause for worry."

Dorian shrugged dismissively.  "But under control, and his rage no longer controls him.  He will come."

There was a shudder and the golden world trembled briefly as a massive release of force energy washed over it.  There was a pause and the nine braced themselves, prepared for the back-wash of energy that followed as another life was snuffed out.  "Damn you, Mellichae..."

Dorian laid a soothing hand on Ho'Li's shoulder.  "That will be the last.  Karm will come and end this."

Ho'Li, her eyes dark with memories of slaughter that the rest did not share, turned a tear-streaked face upward.  "He'd better.  The only thing worse than this would be..."

Dorian shushed her.  "No.  We'll end ourselved before we allow that.  But it won't come to that."  He looked up, and his eyes shone.  "He's coming..."
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Master Singer of the Mak'Tor

Illyiss
Knight Commander
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Posts: 858


There are shadows darker still...


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« Reply #24 on: March 08, 2018, 12:42:54 PM »

In the most ancient tradition of playgrounds everywhere, the axiom of "it takes one to know one" has offered Karm the chance to self reflect, to catch that rage and revenge he has been nurturing while denying it outwardly, and still, he almost passed the chance by.  It seems he has found his balance, made his choice to turn down the welcoming dark, and move forward in the light, the song his ally.  Now three, versed in the ways of the Force, and two enthusiastic and well armed droids will delve into the depths of the hold of the depraved Zabrak, and carry the torch of justice to him, in the name of the light.  Who will sing the stronger song, and what role will the Ancient One yet play in this opera?
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Peace is a lie...

Jedi Council of Ohio

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Taegin Roan
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Lord of the Force


« Reply #25 on: March 08, 2018, 12:52:43 PM »

Yes, Illyiss put it well. Karm needed to self-reflect, but he was not going to do that without someone to push him to that point. Besides that, it was a beautiful scene, and one I thing we all should look to when angry. If it weren't for Arnor and Elisa (and dare I say Two), I don't belive that Karm would have accepted that he needed to repent, and in his anger, he would have been pressed to the point of no return, and possible fallen across the line. While still in the darker story, we see a hint of light shining through. I see a lot of anger coming from Elisa and Karm both, but I think Karm may also be thing about the "be ye angry and sin not", even though not specifically stated, and it is going to help him. I'm not entirely sure that I trust Elisa though. Wonderfully written, well done.
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Lord_S_Gray
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« Reply #26 on: March 08, 2018, 03:38:59 PM »

Elisa took Karm to task…but I wonder…

Is Karm lying to himself?  I mean in the end…if actions mean more than intention then his planned actions are exactly the same as before his prayerful repentance…does the motive really matter if the action is the same?  Is the only one who benefits from a differing ‘perspective’ on why the same action occurred the person themselves i.e. is Karm just making himself feel better for going after Mellichae by giving it a ‘good guy’ gloss “oh it’s not Vengence its Justice”…

Sort of reminds me of the Bhagavad Gita…in the end Arjuna is just the vessel through which the enemy will die…accepting his role as a warrior is, one might say, just a way of justifying it to himself.

Or to put it in an Aethan view point…
“Vengeance is ours the Goddesses say…and you our Children are the means by which we will take it.”

Anyway great writing to get such a spray concepts building gup across this story arc.
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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
Knight Commander
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Force Alignment: 624
Posts: 2752


Light side points please.


« Reply #27 on: March 08, 2018, 03:45:04 PM »

I don't want to give anything away at this point, but in regards to motives, I would direct your attention to a parable: The Widow's Mite.  Yes, the REASON something happens is important.  Its the difference between Justice and Revenge.

'nuff said ... for now.  (I know not everyone will agree with me.  But I don't believe in "a certain point of view" either.  ;-)
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Master Singer of the Mak'Tor

Karmack
Knight Commander
*

Force Alignment: 624
Posts: 2752


Light side points please.


« Reply #28 on: March 13, 2018, 03:07:21 PM »

Chapter 5: Descent


The plan hadn't really changed.  The Mark IV DCCs had ... excessive jump capacity, and there was plenty of room for Arnor and Elisa to strap onto Two's back.  That left me with Mutt for the drop ... which would be terrifying.  Jo'anne had trained as a pilot and had some experience, so she was handling the helm while Vegan plugged into the mainframe and ran engineering and navigation.  They had the Wayfarer streaking across the Khoonda plains.  That left the five of us in the main hold, waiting for the bottom to fall out.

Which it did.

We were executing a "HALO" jump - High Altitude, Low Opening - and the droids did no braking as we fell, only using very small bursts of their jets to steer and stay on trajectory.  There was no visible sign of a reaction from the ground, which grew at an alarming rate, but the outwardly pacific view as only a cover for the boiling cauldron of energy beneath.  I opened myself to the force, reaching out, singing songs of discovery while simultaneously masking our presence.  What I saw and felt was disturbing.  The force was roiling with dark energy.  The song was a clashing cacaphony, filled with hard rhythm and clashing melodies.  Twisting through the evil songs I could pick out the familiar threads of healers.  The mix was to chaotic to get a clear view of how many there were, but I was sure there were at least four, maybe as many as six threads, filled with fear and dread.  But they were a weak thread of light surrounded by darkness, evil and death.

The retro-packs fired: we were spot on target, heading for the opening where the ancient Council Chamber had been.  I reached out again, this time beginning to sing my battle song, pulling Arnor and Elisa into the battle meld.  At the last moment, just as we cleared the overhang, we separated from the droids.  Using the force, I did a somersault and landed lightly, saber igniting in my hand as the chamber erupted with a fusillade of angry red blaster bolts.

We had descended into hell...

I sensed the shields on Two and Mutt's DCCs snapping into place under the pounding of the barrage, their own return fire concentrating on fixed emplacements and sentry guns.  Arnor and Elisa began to weave their own defensive shields, green fire and ice-blue fury in motion as they swept toward the thin line of ambushing Sith Shadows on their side of the chamber.  That left me with several to deal with alone, making a stand between our entry point and the primary passageway into the subterranean chambers beyond.

Using the force, I launched myself at them, performing a somersault and landing lightly right in their midst.  My saber ignited in my hand, twin blades of flaming gold, and I adopted an aggressive Juyo attack designed for close-quarters combat.  With brutal efficiency I carved my way through the formation, concentrating on disabling attacks aimed at wrists and elbows, ankles and knees.  Not every Shadow survived, but most went down alive but unable to fight as I followed my battle song through the dance of death and destruction, slowly imposing my own melody on the chaotic song around me.

Resistance died and I deflected the halfhearted parting shots that the few survivors threw our way.  "Two, status."  Two, behaving himself for once, chirped back a concise reply.  "Good.  Mutt?"  I turned my head at Mutt's chirped reply to see smoke coming from one of his heavy blasters.  "Is it just overheated, or damaged?"  Mutt waved it around a bit and tweeted back a trilling response.  "OK, yes, I can see the blaster damage now.  Good think it didn't pop on you."  There were two blackened, ragged holes in the blaster casing, right near the primary power cell.  If that cell had exploded there would be more than just some smoke floating around...

Arnor and Elisa joined me.  The groans and moans from the fallen were starting to mount, filling the chamber with an eerie sound.  I concentrated for a moment, tapping into a healing song and flooding it into the chamber.  The effect was immediate as the fallen Shadows fell into a deep sleep, their pain suppressed and bleeding stopped.  "That should keep them out for a while..."

Arnor nodded, her eyes shining her approval at me.  Elisa's look was ... less complimentary.  "You should have let them suffer..."

"No.  Mellichae deserves death.  His closest supporters are likely going to fight to the death.  But we won't kill any more than necessary."  I leveled my gaze at the young Knight.  "Understood?"

"Yes." She grated back.  "Can we get on with it?"

I turned and looked down the corridor the last Shadows had retreated into.  "Yes.  Lets.  Two, feel like paving the road?"

Two tweeted and enthusiastic reply and stepped into the lead, his battle shields popping back into place as he passed us and approached the open blast door.  I saw Elisa's lips twitch into a slight smile and Arnor shake her head and sigh dramatically as he continued to tweet and trill away. 

I rolled my eyes and stepped in behind him, my saber ignited and reconfigured to single-blade mode.  "Two!  Language!"

The droid ignored us, his string of rude binary drowned out by the thunder of his heavy blasters.

<<<<<  >>>>>

The corridor was almost to much for Two.  Mutt moved up to support him, but by the time we broke into the main chamber both DCCs were heavily damaged and near collapse. 

But they did their job: The gates of Hell had been broken open.

Working together Arnor and I sent a powerful force blast past Two as he fired his final shots, his weaponry spent.  Our joint force-push shredded the blast door Two and Mutt had hammered to scrap and sent the pieces scything into the chamber beyond.  Using the force I sent the fragments slashing through guards in the room and crashing into the cell doors it contained.  Screeches of fury and pain were mingled with cries of fear as we burst in, sabers blazing.  The door explosion had taken down three of the guards, leaving four.  Two were typical Sith Shadows, armed with energy weapons and typical armor.  But the other two...

They weren't twins, but they might as well have been.  They appeared to be human, both with pale skin and red-blond hair.  One sported short hair and a neatly trimmed beard.  The other was clean-shaven and bald, carrying tattoos that resembled Zabrek markings but done in a garish neon-blue color.  The pair wore identical black tactical suits that appeared to have Mandalorian origins but wore no helmets.  As we entered the room the bearded one glared and sent a massive pulse through the force.

I braced, weaving a defensive barrier around myself in the force and augmenting it with my battle song. I felt Arnor and Elisa block in a similar matter, and as the energy washed over us it dissipated without doing any real damage. 

But we were not the primary target.

Two was slammed back into the passageway we'd just left, smashing into Mutt and the two of them tumbling back up the hall.  Sparks flew and the DCCs shed pieces as the force energy from the 'twins' expended itself.  Two's plaintive boops and beeps in Binary echoed back, so the droids were still operational, but the DCCs were destroyed.  We would have to trust them to extricate themselves.  We had other things to do.

The 'twins' ignited their sabers and launched themselves into the attack.  The shadows, however, turned - and headed toward the cells on either side of the room.  "Arnor! Elisa!  Stop them and secure the hostages!"  I swung into Soresu, drawing both sith into me, spinning and twisting, my blade a golden shield around me, hammering back the angry red sabers of my foes while drawing them away from the women.  Arnor went left and Elisa went right, making short work of the two Shadows, cutting them down before they could kill the prisoners.

I sensed it remotely through the battle meld, but I was immersed now in the Song, drawing power through it and using the crystals to enhance it.  I could feel the early burn of over-use as I channeled more force energy through myself but I had not choice now.  The two who faced me were well trained in the Jedi arts and strong in the force.  They were also linked in their own battle meld...

They were singing!

I could feel their song now, a dark counter-melody twisting around my own song, pulling at it, attempting to draw it off-key and out of rhythm.  In response I kicked my own song up, pushing the energy with an Allegro Vivaci tempo and poured more energy through my fatiguing body.  The increase in pace surprised them and I sensed an opening, shifting my technique to exploit a gap...

The bearded one grimaced as my blade clipped his knee but his armor turned the blow, saving his leg.  He swung out of the pattern for a second, howling in rage, as his partner pressed home a vicious series of strikes.  I could feel Arnor now in the link, her concern rising.  She was across the room, hampered by the captives she'd found.  I sent her a quick pulse in our link, reassuring her, telling her to take care of the singers.  Getting them out was the first priority.

I couldn't communicate with Elisa in the link like I could my wife, but I felt her moving back as well, helping two more healers away from the fight.  I spun through a combination and ducked, hammering Blue Tattoo with a powerful force push.  He deflected much of it but staggered back as the energy coursed through him.

The opening gave me just enough time to take a single breath before Beard was back into the attack.  His pattern shifted, his strikes quicker, more precision and less power.  I held him at bay but I could feel the fatigue beginning to build.  All or nothing...  I activated the small chorus of crystals I had with me and felt the energy surge through me, burning now as it passed...but then a cool wave washed over me and the fatigue poisons receded as healing energy flowed into me. 

It was just the edge I needed.  With a final adjustment I slammed my battle song into full presto and shifted to Juyo.  A forward roll caught Beard by surprise and put me between them again, and I brought my second blade active as I rose, spinning through a hammering attack against Blue's guard.  The first strike slammed his blade wide, the follow-up severing his arm below the shoulder, and a force-enhanced back kick caught him in the gut and threw him hard across the room, where he slammed into the wall and crumpled to floor.

Still, he fared better than Beard, who attempted to charge from the rear.  I caught his high cut with my forward blade, deflected, and spun through the attack with my lower blade, using the force of my core to drive my counter-attack home.  My back-side blade caught him across the pelvis, destroying it and tearing his abdomen open.  The finishing cut through his neck as I completed the turn was a mercy.

I froze, expecting to feel my own legs buckle from the burst of energy that had just coursed through my body, but instead all I felt was ... refreshed.  I turned to look at Arnor, but she was still across the chamber, struggling to get the three badly wounded healers past the DCC wreckage.  So who...

Elisa stood, eyes closed, coming out of her own healing song.  She staggered a bit but then grinned.  "See, told you I needed to come along."

"Yes, you did."  I reached out with the force and slid DCC parts out of the way for Arnor.  "Thank you."

"You're welcome." She replied.  "Nice work.  To bad you can't do that without a healing song to keep you from burning out.  I don't think even you could add a strong enough healing motif to that battle song of yours..."

I blinked at that.  "Healing motif..."  It would need its own energy channel...  I pushed the thought down.  Not now...  "We need to get these healers out of here.  Now."

There were five more healers, all showing signs of abuse, all in the same state we'd found Elisa and Jo'Anne.  But no sign of Mellichae.  "Where is Mellichae?  I can feel him, hear his song.  Where is that worm hiding?"

"Who said I was hiding?" The voice was as sonorous as I remembered, and it echoed from the corridor opposite the one we'd come by. "I'm right here.  I wondered how long it would take you to come for these."  He held his saber in his right hand.  In his left the Ancient One glowed golden-yellow.  I had a sudden pang, as if it called out to me in distress.  I reached out and tried to pull it free...

Mellichae closed his fist and laughed.  "On no you don't!  You're not getting it back that easy!  In fact, I don't intend to give it back at all.  What I am going to do is watch you struggle, limbless, then make sure you live long enough to see me torture your precious wife, use her for my own pleasure, then steal her power to unlock the secrets of the Ancient One, all while you watch.  Then, when I've totally defeated you in every way, I will kill you.  But I may keep her as a slave ... for a while."  His lecherous grin made my stomach turn, a feeling that was enhanced as his song washed over me. 

With a grunt I pushed his song back, spinning my own battle song back to full strength.  "And how do you plan to do ... that..."  I felt my knees go wobbly, my head spinning. 

Mellichae tilted his head back and roared.  "Did you forget?"  He parted his robe and revealed another crystal, caged within an amulet he wore around his neck.  The Rur fragment!  I blinked, struggling to stand.  My song still hammered at his, but the Rur was turning his song into focused energy, warping my battle song even as I sang it...

"Now, if you would be so kind my dear..." He said and I heard the saber snap on behind me.  Elisa!  I turned, struggling to bring my saber up as Elisa dropped the healers she'd been helping and advanced on me.

The Rur!  Mendax was using the Rur to 'capture' people the way the Ancient One captures other crystals.  He must be using it to... It suddenly made sense.  Mellichae was using the Rur to force the Mak'Tor healers to use their force abilities to try to unlock the Ancient One.  The crystal could resist a force attack, but a "friendly" singer using Mak'Tor motifs would eventually find a way through - if they were strong enough.

And Arnor would be strong enough, with someone like Mellichae forcing her and pouring energy from the Rur through her at the same time!

Elisa advanced, flourishing now, and my mind raced.  I channeled my song through the crystals again, feeling the power enhance, feeling the burn...  Its the Rur.

And the Ancient One already captured the Rur once.


I turned my back on Elisa and gathered a massive surge of force energy.  With a yell I released it, channeling it through the Ancient One - and into the Rur fragment.

The Rur fragment, the core of what had been the Rur crystal, didn't fragment or shatter or explode.  It simply vaporized.

With a gasp I felt Mellichae's song collapse.  I spun, my own energy restored, and blocked the half-hearted overhand strike Elisa was in the middle of delivering. 

"What the..."  She stumbled back, lowering her guard.  "What's going on???"

"Arnor!  Cut him off!" I threw myself into a forward roll, slashing at Mellichae's legs.  He back-flipped away, diving into the small corridor he'd come in by.

Before any of us could pursue there was a rumble and the archway collapsed, sealing the passage behind him as he fled.
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Master Singer of the Mak'Tor

Lord_S_Gray
Knight Lt. Commander
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Force Alignment: 10
Posts: 459



« Reply #29 on: March 13, 2018, 04:34:30 PM »

What is it with Gray Jedi and collapsing places...the Imperial Citadel on Byss in Tarnished Knight...Geonosis in Wind Chimes...now this!!!
On top of that those poor droids keep getting their DCC's blown up...no wonder Two is lashing out verbally the poor thing!

Anyway...Sounds like Mellichae has a bit of a plan but it is so blunt...he's trying to ram the door down basically using Arnor as a battering ram...clearly not thinking clearly given how obviously dangerous that is...but that makes him all the more dangerous.  Karms starting to pick up on just how limited his super abilities are which is a good sign, with the Rur vaporized I think he could take Mellichae (can the ancient one help him too?)...assuming he gets to him in one piece that is....
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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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