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Author Topic: Fate of the Aether  (Read 1918 times)
TheDutchman
Knight Commander
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Force Alignment: 667
Posts: 2689


Guardian Blue is my life


« Reply #60 on: August 29, 2018, 04:57:32 PM »

To quote Ellen Ripley:
"I say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit.  It's the only way to be sure."

I have to agree that Oma is a better tactician than Yoda and Yoda--for all his adherence to the Jedi Code--has become personally compromised.  And let us not forget that this is against Jarys and Kiraea, both deadly enough to be sure.  But they have yet to face Valens...

One thing that I am REALLY looking forward to is "Aethan vs. Wookie"  I know how things are going to work out with Ryshhk in "Schisms" but with Yshrrk?  I think that will be a fight that even Jarys can respect...

One thought: perhaps the "Oblivion Army Future" is being visited in the "Mirror Empire" thread (or at least ONE version of it  Wink).

I'm hooked LSG  Smiley
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, Apprentice v4 w/Obsidian, AS; Graflex SE w/Obsidian, GB; Archon v3 (modded w/ activation box) w/Obsidian, CG; Dark Sentinel v4 w/Obsidian, BR; Sentinel LE v4 w/Obsidian, GB; Sentinel LE v4 stunt, EG, Aeon LE v4 stunt, FO

Lord_S_Gray
Knight Commander
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Force Alignment: 27
Posts: 587



« Reply #61 on: September 04, 2018, 12:07:44 AM »

Chapter 17—  Natural Selection — Predation
Part 1

Sofa


Stars streaked back into reality around the ship.  She closed her eyes as she typed in the last message she needed to send, hoping beyond hope everyone would react the way they should. She had back up plans…but the more variables she introduced…

She hit send with the dead Ubese captains thumb print.

Sofa leapt up shaking her shoulders and rubbing her legs from sitting, something still felt odd in her abdomen…a tightness and pressure…like a menstrual cramp but…different.  She could deal with it later. 

“You know what you have to do?” she said to Valens who was slunk in the chair behind her,

“I know…I’ll try…I just…” he looked askance at the grimy plating of the Ubese ship,

“Don’t want to fail anymore…”

This was not the best time for a breakdown…but then when was it ever a good time.

“Hey,” she pressed her hand on his face and kissed his forehead, a mirror of how he had gently treated her when she was in the midst of her own depression.

“You’re not a failure, you’re a good man, we’ll get out of this and get back home, make the life we want together…alright…” she pulled up his arm and flicked his chrono,

“Alright synchronize,”   
<<<<>>>>

Predators


Gliding through boughs and vines the furred predator had not touched the earth in hours…in his mind it was as taboo as the shadowlands of his home - this belief forced him to stay elevated, denying his prey conventional tracking indicators. 

Fur smoothed his movement and kept his skin from abrasion against the barks and carnivorous plant life and dissuaded at least some of the curious insects from trying their luck…still he felt the pinch of lice like creatures burrowing amongst his locks by the warmth of his throat.

These were a minor consideration…his eyes moved in precision sweeps seeking any movement…the jungle was different from Kashyyyk…but there was a rhythm to all such eco-systems…his prey knew this as well as he did…

So far no definitive sign…only thin trails of a sweet scent…the scent of mating…the prey had mated…unusual but not illogical…he suppressed his own desire to emit a guttural sonorous call to his own mate…she would not hear him…

Yshrrks mind flicked briefly out of his primal meditation…the worry for his family, a family he could never acknowledge or lose his position within the Order…yet also the greatest motivation he had to ensure the Order was strong and stable…by serving the Order he protected his family.

A dull whine carried against the wind…metal skimmer beasts - speeder bikes…six…a patrol…the force murmuring in time with the approach…this prey understood…to pick off small targets was easy – it produced no fear in the pack – picking off large targets….

<<<<>>>>


Her scent was still on him...it had been rough, rich and fulfilling...given him a flood of hormones that soothed his wounds and accelerated his healing, re-balanced his brain chemistry to avoid toxic build-ups of stress hormones...it had been both attraction, reward and survival strategy as all mating should be.

If not before, now he would truly stop at nothing to protect her.  She used her sexuality as tool to achieve her aims...this was a true matriarch he was blessed to be mated to...perhaps that was pheromones influencing his thoughts...it didn’t matter Kiraea would have her total victory - a battle he was happy to lose.

Now the battle he had to win…the furred predator was following him…this one was clever, big, strong, fast, it kept elevated.  He had not been able to pinpoint it…but managed to stay a step ahead…he drew it further and further away from the female toward where the machines circled their invisible fence of sensors.

He kept low, primed and taut as the howling boxy machines approached. The traps were in place, the energy blades of their pack mates positioned exactly 17 metres from the trip wire, one second at 60 kilks between springing and activation…he knew they would sense the danger – clever ones would slow or speed up.

But every herd had stragglers…

<<<<>>>>

Sofa

She was about to enter high orbit when the signal came through

“Andis 2 this is Taran 2, come in,”

“huh…oh…Uh…this is Andis 2, I think…”

“Sofa Neirai? This is Colm Maynard, Milaea sent us to resupply you, we have two crates of goodies ready for orbital drop”

“She did…great…” OK this was good, not part of her original plan but she would use it,

“Is Valens there?” her mind was already on fire, going at speeds she couldn’t even imagine before, calculating descent vectors, intercept paths…she barely noticed her fingers flying across the console typing a message

“He’s…busy…I’m sending you instructions, it’s faster than me explaining, synchronize at 03:51:45 till zero”

“Done, receiving communique…” he paused for moment,

“Understood will await for go,”

Alright…backup,

Now the hunt was really on. 

<<<<>>>>

Predators

The metallic whine of the speeders approaching doubled on itself with the Doppler effect, it was out of place in this jungle, an intrusion of steel and science into a world of verdant vital life.

Arm over arm he closed in silence trying to feel out his prey…he was near, the area was troubled in the force…muddy and bubbling with danger…yet diffuse…the threat was everywhere and nowhere. 

Pressure on his mind from the approaching Jedi scanning the force in advance of their mechanical sensors…it was folly for those untrained in such life rich areas to expect to detect a sentient mind…a true predator kept his cognition to the minimum necessary to survive and catch its prey, more than this was too easy to detect - unnecessary…

To do that which is unnecessary is death.

Eyes swept, nose sniffed, fur raised to detect whiffs of movements in the air…

Yshrrk knew there was a trap…but to warn the others of his pack would cause his prey to flee…the calculus of the pack, to sacrifice a few to protect the whole…in another frame of mind his decision might be different…here there was no decision, no thought - just a predators instinct.

The traps sprung.

Two speeders slammed their breaks skidding to the side as four sabres lit up metres ahead on the path they were travelling, a third hit the grav boosters to flip over the green blade, the fourth did not react quickly enough, the boxy speeder sliced apart flying in cauterized chunks to either side of the buried blue sabre, hunks of a leg flying off into a tree as the pilot - passed out from the pain – failed to avoid smashing her out of control speeder into a tree with an orange flash.

As the first two reasserted control, the third crashed down as a body flung itself from a nearby dark leafed hedge – perfectly timed for the speeders velocity and angle - the skin beast slammed the Jedi off with horrific bone pulverising force.

Using the Jedi body to cushion his impact against the trunk Jarys felt the organs and bones mash into a slurry under leathery reptilian skin. 

Not yet…his muscles tensed but Yshrrk would not move…the prey was in the heat, the momentum was his, to strike now would put Yshrrk in its path…

Pushing off the corpse as it skidded down a trail of brown blood onto the off white bark, the skin beast vaulted toward the two that had braked, behind the remaining two of the six man speeder squad opened fire, heavy thumping of the blasters split tree trucks and lit small fires in chest high bushes – none hit the black blur target.

The four sabres from the trap sprung into the air and sailed straight at them, aimed for the heart as the beast made a physics defying leaping corkscrew through the air to one of the closer speeders. 

The entire copse lit up blue and white as electric fire blasted from his hand to turn an entire speeder and its rider into a flaming heap that stank of charred meat.

The blast cost the skin predator 10% of his power, but to shock and annihilate an enemy was worth it, three prey were down, three remained – he needed only one speeder intact.

Coming out of the corkscrew spin the skin predator landed on the front of the speeder fist flying forwards, but swiftly pulling back as the Jedi’s sabre lit up – how he was doing this and co-ordinating four sabres chasing the other two speeders was beyond the furred predators capacity to comprehend, but he could sense it was draining the already tired skin predator…

Now Yshrrk knew…now he was turning from predator to prey.

The H’nemthe Jedi was overwhelmed, trying to shake the huge creature from his speeder, jabbing his sabre with one hand while trying to keep it from flipping under the unbalanced weight on the front. 

Despite the close range he couldn’t get a cut in, the beast – skin already covered in small slices, burns and half closed wounds - was trying to shake the speeder over.

Yshrrk zeroed in on the perfect moment, he needed his prey to be completely consumed by its hunt before he struck.

<<<<>>>>

Sofa

The essence of a compromise was not trying to find a solution in which each party was happy with the outcome, rather working toward a result that each party could live with however grudgingly. 

And that was the essence of her strategy, to ensure both sides got a result they could quite literally live with. Sofa was the only one who could do it – the only one who could still bridge the gap between the Aethans and the Jedi, Valens knew this which was why he deferred to her – he had no more desire to fight than she did.

Slowing the rented speeder as its head lights illuminated something other than brown grainy trunks in the dimming light she saw a tall and broad figure that one might mistake for a wookie or Lasat, but Sofa knew better.

Pulling to a full stop she killed the power and let the stands thud down onto the mushy ground.

Sentinel Oma stepped forward as she raised her hands high and wide, to show she was not a threat.

“Master Neirai…I thought you were dead,” the deep almost male voice of Oma reverberated above the sing of insects that called for mates or screeched to frighten away predators in the dusk.

“From a certain point of view I am…” she paused weighing up the feel of the woman in the aether,

“It’s good to see you Oma, it’s been a long time,”

Oma nodded, “It has…” she gestured her forward,

“So I take it you’re here to negotiate,” Oma showed no signs of feeling threatened by Sofa, and walked side by side, not even bothering to check her for weapons…either she didn’t care or more likely the Sentinel knew she was unarmed by other means,

“I hope to,”

“Good…this has gone on long enough…still a little way to the camp…I thought it would be Valens or Milaea…pleasantly surprised it’s you,”

Sofa wasn’t sure how to take that, did she think Sofa was a lighter touch, or easier captive? Oma’s tone soon confirmed her suspicions.

“But it is only fitting, your bargaining power is far stronger with the object of Yoda’s irrational desire still out of reach.”

Sofa’s brow furrowed as her newly advanced mind worked through the meaning of Oma’s words…she recalled Valens and Oma had often trained together and teamed up for group assignments at the temple, both were outcasts socially and as odd a pair as they were it worked for both them….ah…of course…Oma still felt sympathetic to Valens.

Oma seemed to pick up on her thoughts,

“Old Kindnesses Sofa…true friends, do not forget,”

<<<<>>>>

Predators

The Ishi’Tib finally managed to blast one of the sabres out of the air, the Arcona capable with telekinesis had disabled the other three, they swung back around as the H'nemthe’s speeder finally toppled, he put up a valiant effort for being half crushed by its unyielding metal weight, but the beast knew no mercy, with two swift kicks his head was dislocated from his neck and arm flattened to the dirt. 

With malignant grace the beast flipped the speeder back upright.

He finally had a speeder, only two prey remained, one hand pulled the side-saddle packs blaster, the other held the sabre, his mind had the controls.  Speed was of the essence now, every telekinetic movement as frugal as it was precise to cut these down before their fellows arrived…he would add their sabres to the collection he placed before the female, totems of his dedication and worthiness to mate.

Just before the Ishi’Tib opened fire Yshrrk struck, retracting his claws he slid through the air paws melded into a single heavy fist straight onto the…

Wait…

Pivoting into a back-flip kick Jarys dodged the tremendous force of the double handed hammer blow, it cracked the speeder in half, the shockwave knocking him back.

The other Jedi paused, not wanting to risk hitting the High sentinel as the true battle finally began.

<<<<>>>>
Logged

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."

Lord_S_Gray
Knight Commander
*

Force Alignment: 27
Posts: 587



« Reply #62 on: September 04, 2018, 12:13:11 AM »

Chapter 17—  Natural Selection — Predation
Part 2

Sofa

“Sof…” Soryu paused as Yoda glared at him as she entered…he wanted to run up and hug her…check she was alright…but now was not the time.

“Master Neirai, unexpected this is,” Yoda began as Sofa stood firmly in a formal at ease position across the deactivated holo-table, Oma a sturdy presence behind her

“Master Yoda,” she replied with a short bow, “Welcome back,”

The Grand Master ignored the genial greeting, “So what do wish to discuss,”

Sofa breathed in deep as she always did before a trying undertaking ever since she was a young girl and began,

“This situation is not benefitting either of us and can only end in more bloodshed, we propose you withdraw your forces immediately and allow our people to be extracted from the planet within two hours.”

“And who is we?” Yoda probed forcing her to say it,

“You know who we are…Milaea, Valens and the others” Others she felt was sufficiently vague. Recalling Maynard’s words she made her case

“Yoda…they’re children…frightened children, you know that, scared of anything and everything else in the galaxy, reacting in the only ways they know how - like a toddler, throwing violent tantrums…”

She sighed once more wondering if joining them wasn’t a huge mistake.

“They’re not a threat if…”

“Not a threat!” Yoda screeched indignantly,

“Ten thousand dead on Coruscant and not a threat are they!” He chuckled his rising laugh so familiar to every padawan,

“Sixty Jedi dead and not a threat are they!”

He shook his head

“Seduced by Valens lies you have been,” his emphasis on the word ‘seduced’ was oily and vile – from such a venerable master - it showed just how emotionally invested Yoda was.

He gazed over her probing with the force,

“Body, mind and soul, all you have allowed Valens to pervert, fallen you are Sofa Neirai, indulged in carnal depravities, pleasure your master was and path to become puppet of a greater one…a shame upon your Master you are,”

Both Soryu and Sofa stayed silent but felt their stomachs sink with bitter annoyance at Yoda’s words…Soryu to hear his daughter in all but blood so insulted, Sofa to be upbraided for her sexuality.

“Be that as it may…” Sofa replied evenly after a silent mantra of calming past her lips, filling Soryu with pride that earned him a glance from Yoda as brief as it was angry.

Tone reverting to a soothing feminine she went on,

“They want to run away and hide, let them and this can all be over, it’s not a perfect outcome, but we both get to walk away alive if you do,”

Yoda smiled, she had nothing to negotiate with, that Valens had sent his concubine to negotiate just showed the weakness of his position…still he knew his former apprentice would have a backup plan…whether Neirai knew it or not he had to try and extract it from her,

“Allow these criminals to escape possible is not, Justice my duty and privilege to serve, a peaceful end possible is I agree,”

His eyes glinted with the righteousness of his position

“Surrender peacefully and all of us may depart, you as well to answer for your role in the attack on the Coruscant. Sentinel!”

Oma stepped forward and pulled Sofa’s arms behind her, she didn’t resist as the stun cuffs were put on,

“You’re making a big mistake Yoda, I’m offering you a peaceful solu…”

“Peaceful!” he rose indignant “Peaceful! What know you peace, war the only language Valens speaks now…wasted my words are upon you, a mere mouthpiece for your master…”

“You’re seriously going to turn down a chance for peace, a Jedi Mas…” he cut her off again

“Enough, Sentinel this traitor remove, to the Prism have her sent…”

Sofa could only shake her head, she had thought he was wiser than this, she had thought a Jedi Master would take the first chance to end hostilities and limit further loss.

Clearly she was wrong.

“One hour Yoda…get everyone out of here!…You’ve been warned,”

“Your threats as vacuous as you loyalty Neirai,”

Soryu met her eyes as Oma pushed her out, his face fallen and heart broken. 

<<<<>>>>

Soryu

“How many?” Soryu asked quietly after Sofa was ushered out to captivity.  Yoda had kept him like a pet these last three days, where he could monitor him, now…now Soryu was angry enough to give him something to really worry about.

“How many what?” Yoda snapped

“How many deaths will it take till you know that too many people have died?”

“Upholding the Law, administering justice a price must be paid,”

Soryu could only shake his head, his friend simply wouldn’t face the Truth, Yoda’s own truth.

“This isn’t about the Law or Justice, if it was you could’ve simply assigned Yshrrk, but you came yourself, ask yourself why, and how many people need to fall for your vanity,”

“To follow the Orders mission, vanity is this now?”

“This Order’s Mission…is not the Jedi Path” he replied quietly to a guilty drop in Yoda’s face as he looked away from his own Truth rather than facing it.

Soryu stood and with one last shake of his head left the Grand Master in the dim - artificial light – for none came form the Jedi Grand Master in that moment.

<<<<>>>>

Predators


He could not allow the female to be at risk.

He used the Juyo he had drunk from the Twi’lek to attack the furred predator, it was quick for its size – and he was slow from his exertions, it caught his wrist, claws dug into his forearms forcing him to drop the sabre.

Jarys had become too distracted, had missed the signs until it was almost too late…now he was at risk, and if he was at risk the female was at risk…

The skin predator twisted trying to get a line on him with the blaster, the furred would not allow it, crushing the tiny metal thing with his paw. 

Devoid of any weapons but their bodies the fight was purified.

Fist met claw, knee met elbow, shoulder met palm – each blow pushed out a concussive wave that blasted leaves from trees, each stomp to ground themselves and swap stances left a palm deep dent in the soil.

The Ishi-tib and Arcona confirmed re-enforcements were en-route then dismounted – this was it, they finally had him, yellow and green sabres lit as they circled a melee moving faster than the could track.

Blood rained onto the leaves, improvising with the new Juyo Jarys slammed aggressive downward blows onto the wookies shoulder, who returned in kind using his taller body to spread his stance and force him to strain to reach each limb.

Jarys could feel the others of the furred beasts pack circling, waiting for a chance to strike him down.  He needs to be rid of them…needs to focus all effort on the furred predator. Yshrrk is no less impressed at their presence, they interfere with something – sacred – time honoured single combat, the chance to test his mettle against a true match.

Taking advantage of a small break opened by a wide swing the skin predator darts a hand out, a stream of lighting smacks into the Arconans blade, the furred slams his arm forward to catch it – it is a ruse – a knee slams into Yshrrk’s gut, Jarys twists out fully both hands free pour a thunderstorms due upon the Ishi Tib, aetheric blasts precise as they are subtle knock his guard aside by exactly 2.5 centimetres – a stream of electrons needs far less to get through. 

As his pack mate burned inside and out Yshrrk charged forward, the lighting ceases being directed outward and turns to a shield – he has seen this before – he is prepared – his tutaminis ability was not perfect, but nor was the attack.  The Arconan saw his chance and charged in from behind, the skin predator twisted as the yellow blade came down.

Dark eyes surrounded by matted wookie fur widened with fear as with one hand the skin predator caught the yellow blade – CAUGHT the blade – the other hand flashed open, as time slowed - Yshrrk could almost see the energy move from sabre, through body and out of the hand, twisting yellow energy to blue lighting. 

The wookie flew back with the impact of the blast, his ‘tutaminis’ as he termed it was good – aetheric energy manipulation techniques were better. Spinning into the Arconan’s space he disposed on the interloper. Yshrrk could only watch on - trying clumsily to keep the lighting from turning him into a living pyre – as quick vicious jabs pummelled the last of his allies. 

The furred predator roared out his anger, disgust and frustration and heaved back into the fight chest first, long arms hitting from both sides into forearm guards.   

The clash mirrored their first encounter in the dark rainy night – but now there was not wet to slide blows, no mud to cushion impacts – each fatiguing blow connected bruising muscles and straining bones. 

Yshrrk went to one knee first after a jabbing kick to the shin, Jarys advantage was soon lost as a clawed paw scraped him from shoulder to hip, the friction dragging him down into the half standing melee.

Yshrrk could feel he’d broken at least two ribs, probably his femur, and without a doubt his right hand, a heavy clawed punch had met not just the pectoral, but dense bone beneath – the sternum seemed to extend around the front of this humanoids ribs in a protective shield.  Still he kept on, suppressing the pain and forcing himself to remain upright as he drew more blood with his left claw.

Already cut, tired and worn from days of hunting, Jarys could feel the heat fever seething as his metabolism tried to keep him fighting as his last fat reserves flash burnt.  Parallel gouges of four claws patterned his torso and left thigh, his right shoulder not properly reset, upper hip straining with every turn from a hard knee to the pelvis a potential miro fracture.  Still he kept on, hammering down on the wookies arm with a satisfying crunch.

Neither could, neither would give ground…once you had your prey you did not relent….  As their backs gradually gave out or were mashed into submission it devolved into a slurred brawl on the ground.

They had given this hunt their all…Yshrrk would not survive this, Jarys perfectly designed bones were too strong to break with anything but the most horrific force he could muster…and he could muster no more…

Jarys would not survive, the Jedi re-enforcements would finish him easily if the wookie didn’t get a lucky claw into an artery first.

And if they were dead who then would protect their mates…

Realization of mutually assured destruction hit them both at once…they were not fighting for hatred of the other - but to protect another…

Exhausted and worn there was no hiding their emotions, the staid acceptance of death, to have failed in their hunt by becoming the prey passed between them…Jarys fist slowed in its descent doing little more than tapping an already bruised tricep, Yshrrk’s claw only grazed the skin of his chest.

Above killing your prey a predator must first survive…to die in the process and leave your mate vulnerable was defeat…the most base survival instinct took them not to a new height of rage…but a resigned armistice.

Slowly flopping apart, chests heaving to pull in oxygen once spent trying to kill the other now turned to healing the self. 

Scraping himself off the ground Jarys began a slow plod back, each step stronger as he focused on repairing his legs…he paused leaning against a tree which still bore a jagged metal branch that had once been a speeders forward stabiliser.

<We plotted like Aethenaea…Fought like Aertemisaea…now let’s go home and frell our women like they’re Aephordaea…>

It wasn’t spoken so much as placed in Yshrrk’s mind…the names otherwise obscure were imbued with a meaning he understood and appreciated…this was not a reckless beast, nor an enemy without honour…in another time and place this was a warrior Yshrrk would proudly stand beside to defend their families…yet by horrid twist of fate…

Yshrrk simply panted and watched him walk away wishing he was back home beneath the worshyr

<<<<>>>>

Valens

[00:03:12] the chrono read, at [00:00:00] he would begin phase 2.
He could feel everything that was happening.

Jarys was barely alive, struggling to get away from the Jedi he knew were coming for him

Kiraea was frightened - though she would never admit it – that she was on her own, doomed to die on a strange world where the Goddesses might not find her.   

Sofa was anxious, disappointed at Yoda for having refused her offer, sad for herself that the contingency she had designed would now have to become real.

She was clever, already making the most of her advanced cognitive abilities to parse numerous and plot numerous causative elements in a single action - this was as much part of her plan as any other element – with her at risk she knew it would goad him back into action, if not his concern for his brother and adoptive sister .

And she was right, his fists balled, the self-pity on his face dissolved behind ominous titanium.

But underneath there was trepidation…a thread, bright but under dark clouds…a presence as familiar as it was unwelcome…

“Valens…” Yoda’s eyes closed from the glare of the holo-table as he felt the presence finally reveal itself fully.

“Yoda….”

[00:00:00]….

<<<<>>>>
Logged

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
*

Force Alignment: 670
Posts: 3057


Light side points please.


« Reply #63 on: September 04, 2018, 06:54:19 AM »

Oh, nicely written!  And well ended.  The clock "countdown" was masterful.

Valens is depressed and extremely conflicted.  Sofa putting herself into harms way to bring him back out, to give him a victory, is an amazing act of love.  She's all-in.  Time for him to reciprocate. 
And he's still connected to Yoda.  I am very curious how this is going to play out.  With Jarys nearly depleted and at the end of his rope, Valens is the key.  Will he come through?  Will he achieve a victory?

Or will he again fail?

Very interesting indeed.  This is such a masterfully crafted story.  I am totally invested in these characters, hoping against hope they succeed and live to ... grow up.  :-)
Logged

signature picture by DarthScrub

Master Singer of the Mak'Tor

TheDutchman
Knight Commander
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Force Alignment: 667
Posts: 2689


Guardian Blue is my life


« Reply #64 on: September 04, 2018, 09:13:11 AM »

Now here's a fight that I've been looking forward to since learning about Aethans!  And you didn't disappoint!  Both Jarys and Yshrrk are warriors, kindred spirits as they hunt each other.  ABSOLUTELY love the last bit where Jarys gives his "salute" to the Wookie (I kept thinking of Conan's entire "To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their women!" speech  Cheesy).

I wonder how the Jedi Order would have been different had SHE become Grand Master instead of Yoda...

To echo Karm: MASTERFULLY done LSG  Smiley

...I wonder what Sofa has planned...
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, Apprentice v4 w/Obsidian, AS; Graflex SE w/Obsidian, GB; Archon v3 (modded w/ activation box) w/Obsidian, CG; Dark Sentinel v4 w/Obsidian, BR; Sentinel LE v4 w/Obsidian, GB; Sentinel LE v4 stunt, EG, Aeon LE v4 stunt, FO

Lord_S_Gray
Knight Commander
*

Force Alignment: 27
Posts: 587



« Reply #65 on: September 06, 2018, 08:11:19 PM »

Chapter 18 — Natural Selection — Survival of the Fittest
Part 1
Sofa

In the small prefab storage room Sofa hung her head, disappointed – at what she had done, at what she was yet to do, and at what the Order she thought she knew had contributed to that outcome.

She’d moderated dozens of peace negotiations, knew there was always fault on both sides.  It was true here too, she had come with an offer of peace, it was rejected outright - that was not the Jedi way. And now she had to make good on her threat.

The burly Nautolan just outside noticed nothing as she jiggled her shoulders, the small black sphere between her breasts was uncomfortable, but it needed skin contact Valens said…a gentle brush with the aether activated it…

<Ten minutes, stay where you are,> she thought across the device she didn’t really understand yet. <Things are going to get messy, but He’s on his way,>
<<<<>>>>

Valens

The co-pilot wasn’t talkative. 

His name was Juosh, a Clan Captain for the Toush Uba that had ambushed them on Sinkhole.  So rather than uncomfortable silence Valens waited in an escape pod.

His mind on the controls in the bridge he locked in the course according to Sofa’s plan to minimize the damage even after refusing a truce.  Yoda’s strategy was predicated on Valens being the enemy general – a key reason Sofa had planned everything.

This was the last ditch attempt to end this without him having to get his hands dirty….

Yoda would be waiting…Valens was expected – Juosh’s companions were not.
<<<<>>>>

Goush

Goush leaned forward stroking his chin on the command platform of Blood Remembers.  Juosh had commed in eight hours ago with a lead on the Jedi Valens and Milaea,

[Targets found, Myrkr, en-route] – it was short for Juosh who was usually far more verbose, but on the hunt it was to be expected. Six hours later a further communique. [Target sighed, Anathema present, 15, request back up]

Again unusual for Juosh to be so cautious, but still 15 Anathema – or Jedi – he spat on the grated durasteel floor for just thinking the name – was a large force, caution was not inappropriate.

“14 minutes to real space translation” the thin faced dark skinned bridge-sister noted

“Good,” he replied settling back into his chair, “Ensure our transports are ready to launch as soon as we exit, I want the Anathema’s heads on the rack in three hours,” referring to the trophies of Anathema that sat upon a spike ring around the circular view port of the destroyer. Only 6 squared spikes had heads, the most recent 3 years old - before the day was out he would have fifteen more, and a 20 million credit pay day in the brig.

Yes today…today many Anathema would learn the name Toush-Uba and weep blood along their blades.
<<<<>>>>

 
Wrath of the Jedi
“Repeat,” Oma listened as the Sentinel relayed for a third time the situation they had found on the eastern edge.

“Confirmed, Oma out,”

That was it, 21 dead, Yshrrk critically injured, and Yoda had just refused Sofa’s offer of peace – Oma knew it was a stalling tactic – but a stall could benefit both sides.

Confident strides took her toward the command tent, she summoned Sentinels as she passed with flicks of her wrist.

Soryu noted her as he left the tent, but continued on his course, he could feel the tension, sense the intent of her heavy pace, but knew he was needed elsewhere.

She pushed through the prefab door into the dim room.

“Grand Master Yoda, High Sentinel Yshrrk it critically injured, six more Jedi are dead, there is no sign of the traitor, I am…”

“Here he is, sense him I can…ready your men to intercept…” he gestured to the holo’s of the three Strike group Commanders in Orbit,

She could only shake her head

“What proof do you have of this,”

“Sense his presence…”

Wrong answer she thought raising her voice and switching over to the command channel to ensure the entire force could hear

“Not good enough, as Acting High Sentinel with all the powers and responsibility that entails, I am hereby relieving you of Operational Command of this Mission, as evidenced by repeated failures to enact effective strategies leading to significant loss of life, Captain Tnbu, initiate bombardment pattern Cresh in five minutes, All commanders commence decanting, we will follow the fire in and put them down when they flee.”

He could barely move for the shock of it, of all the things he might’ve expected…Yoda didn’t expect that…to usurp his command, yes there had been losses, but it was unavoidable, to simply bombard them from orbit…..

“We will no longer wait for our enemy to make the first move while we are slowly bled white, reform into twelve man teams, Squads 1 and 3 reforms to Aurek, 4 and 2 Besh, 5 and 6 Cresh, speeder teams hold positon until the bombardment commences then co-ordinate with the Ardent to clog any fire breaks….Acting Grand Master…” she finally turned to him,

“I can arrange for you to be returned to the Ardent, or you can take command of Cresh, your choice,”

His mouth twisted in thought as the shock died down, she was clever, very clever, taking command of the operation and offering two choices – flee or take a subordinate role – if he left it would be interpreted as pique, to take the command would condone Oma’s action.

He was about to answer when the alarm coming through Captain Tnbu on the Ardent’s link interjected

<<<<>>>>

Tnbu was stunned, not so much but Oma’s action, but that it had taken Yshrrk being injured for the Sentinels to finally realize they were on a path to nowhere.

“Saber Squad,” he pressed the comm, “Confirm go bombing run pattern Cresh,”

“Confirm Cresh, Saber squad en-route,” the tight reply came back as the six Delta-2’s peeled off blue proton glow erupting being the diamond shaped fighters as they vectored to cut in through the atmosphere. 

Tnbu had specially requested this command from Yshrrk, an opportunity to ‘get out of the office’, he had been quite the pilot - if he did say so himself - in the day, but moved to intelligence as his reflexes diminished with age.  Yshrrk had welcomed his assistance, sensing his eagerness.  Like Many Jedi Tnbu felt a connection to this chase, a need to see this through, he could not simply sit in the Temple filtering data when he could help pursue the murderers and traitors.

BWAAAH…BWAAHH….

“Sir, we have incoming three ships on…collision course” the Duro squealed.  Tnbu felt his ears start to tingle as the force came alive with expectation, the Sullustan Captain immediately leapt across the deck to observe the holo,

“Captain?” Oma’s voice boomed across the bridge, “A problem?”

“Knight Unnnis hail them, time to collision?”

“Twelve minutes…they must’ve micro jumped from the systems insertion point…”

“Unidentified flotilla, this is the Ardent, please check your course heading immediately!”

“what’s the IFF,” Tnbu whispered to the tactical officer,

“The Frigate is ….Uba’s Edge…Ubese…”

Frell…Tnbu would’ve said had he been a less polite Sullustan.

<<<<>>>>

 “No response, they’re still on a direct course speeding up to estimated maximum sub-light for ships that size, scans confirm no life signs on the ships”

Oma nodded, this must be what Sofa had threatened, her contingency, slam the ships into the Ardent and the Defender then have Valens slide in and pick them up while their orbital defences were in chaos.

Clever she smiled, but it had failed, she had stolen a march, the bombardment would commence any second now.

“Free to fire, send Crane Squad to disable them, but blast them with the main batteries if they get too close,” Valens was a good friend, but he was now on the wrong side, she had no qualms destroying him and his allies – indeed he would likely respect her choice.

A boom echoed overhead as Sabre squad sliced through the few clouds on their bombing run, all team had checked in ready – in less than an hour this would all be over, ‘Justice’ done and the battle won.

<<<<>>>>

 “Target one…lining up…” blue tracers on the HUD ticked past, the distance tracer winding down to zero – the Knight hit the trigger.

“Charge deployed,”

The arc of the bomb was precise, there was little wind, so they had only compensated 5 degrees, it plummeted toward the dozen shades of green that made up the forest canopy pierced with the odd flare of red or blue – flowers that exploded microscopic fluffy seed pods into the upper atmosphere where it could remain for decades before settling back down.

Those seed pods were orphaned a second later.  The orange blast obliterated a 100 metre circle of growth, vaporizing the closest trunks, flash immolating those at the edge. The hot shockwave boiled the water in leaves in an outer impact zone 50 metres from the yellow edge. 

Six such explosions gently rocked the ground, the promethium charges were designed to burn not concuss so the shockwave was limited.

Old growth jungle, trees centuries old, ecosystems untouched by sentient hands for countless generations were immolated in seconds, a blazing fire front spreading outward.  Whilst much of the forest floor was damp from recent rains and the slurry of organic decomposition, the sheer heat of the promethium fuelled blaze allowed the drier leaves and dying plants to catch, it didn’t take long for the heat to chain to the wetter of the foliage.

Oma smiled as she lead team Besh onto the blackened earth in the fires wake, spread out to scour the grey lifeless land for their targets corpses.

Half way between the command outpost and the centre of the exclusion zone, Soryu could only shake his head at what the Order had become.

In the outpost inhuman strength effortlessly pulled apart stun cuffs, sliding sidesteps and enhanced reflexes twisted an arm around the Nautolans neck before he could react, two fingers on the beating carotid artery put him under as Sofa stepped out. 

They had assumed she was still human – they were wrong.   

As sabre squad pivoted to ascend back to the Ardent for the next payload, a Chiss freighter cut in through the ash clouds, on a vector calculated in less than five seconds by a Jedi Master who was wishing this had never been necessary as she raced through the trees to her stranded ‘sister’.

At the controls Maynard glided the ship as smoothly as he would a vibro-pick in a lock as Xandra hit the launch button sending the crate on directly to the location the Jedi had failed and feared to find since the siege began.

The Chiss ship went largely unnoticed on the Ardent’s bridge as they watched Crane squad pepper the Ubese ships with white-blue ion shots that sparked against indifferent brown plating. The engines must’ve been disconnected from the bridge controls, hard set rather than programmed Tnbu determined as they kept coming forward, Crane squads fire ineffective, and their weapons not strong enough, he gave the order of the Ardent’s main batteries to open fire.

Three ships resolved into real space just in time to see the green blasts tear the blocky brown Uba’s Blade and its support ships to pieces with green lances of energy that competed in luminosity with the orange red ejection explosions of the escape pods.

Goush’s fingers gouged into the arms of his command chair as he watched the ships of his Toush-Uba clan mates annihilated by the Anathema’s ships, the vid-connect to Uba’s Edge showed Juosh lying dead in his seat. 

Goush roared orders across the bridge of the destroyer Blood Remembers, demanding targeting solutions on the Anathema Corvette and the fighters to escort the transports to the surface to recover their clansmen in the escape pods.

Tnbu looked in horror as a Destroyer and two frigates, supported a dozen fighters and transports bore down on them, desperately trying to hail them, Goush allowed the vid-comm through only to look silently on the head of the Anathema that would soon decorate a spike on his bridge.

Sentinel Squad Aurek praised Oma’s prescience, they had just packed up when an escape pod slammed down into the former outpost, more fire added to the conflagration Sabre squad had begun, but began to worry as the command channel filled with anxious calls from Tnbu for the Star of Justice to micro jump from the night side of Myrkr in behind an Ubese ambush.

Worry turned to fear as a black silhouette stepped out from the escape pods yellow flames.

<<<<>>>>
Kiraea

Kiraea could only smile as the crate hammered into the ground, sinking into the mushy soil.  Six plumes of smoke rose around her, the yellow glare of the fires proving a luminous substitute for the setting sun.

The crate was heavy durasteel, hot from the drop causing the red spray paint to streak, but the message was till legible –

‘Give ‘em hell Kiri’

<<<<>>>>

Jarys

Burnt air sucked moisture from his throat, skin burnt and cells boiled overheated from the fight edging toward dehydration coma.

On the edge of the conflagration he pushed what few scraps of energy he had to get to Kiraea…her mood elevated, hopeful, alive – he had come here to live, now he was about to die.

His legs finally gave, flopping him into the heat dried soil and cracked leaves of the jungle. Filtering out the cracking of wood as it roasted footsteps whispered closer. Pushing up on shaky arms for a final fight before the flames consumed him.

The brown robed figure stood a mere metre away…Jarys was gone if his enemy could sneak up so easily.

Instead of the snap-hiss of a sabre - a calming voice, cool hands lifting him up and pressing a bottle to his lips.  He recognized the face as he scratched out the words.
“You betray your People…”

“They have betrayed themselves,” Soryu replied

<<<<>>>>

Yoda

A part of him was smug, let Oma take the fall for this he thought…but he knew it was all on him, he had lead them here, he had delayed waiting for Valens to arrive. Be careful what you wish for.

Team Cresh was formed behind him, circling around to where he sensed the familiar presence somewhere near team Aurek. They were moving at half march, cautious in the flame driven heat not to overextend themselves. 

<<<<>>>>

Vengence of the Ubese

Sabre squad had barely cleared the Thermosphere when the Ubese fighters hit. 

The Ardent was trading blows with two blocky frigates, the Ubese destroyer picking off the Defender.  Overall the forces were evenly matched, three Jedi Consular class cruisers and eighteen fighters against two Kuati Firgates and a Rendili StarDrives Light Destroyer, a solid 400 metre vessel that required less crew than a true destroyer but retained much of the fire power.

Tnbu focused on his ships greater manoeuvrability, trying to get above and below the destroyer as Crane squad targeted the cannons and hard points. But for that he needed the Star of Justice.

The Ardent rocked as forward shields were slammed by three rapid turbo laser blasts,

“Sir Defender reports assault transports breaking through, Sabre squad is ready to intercept.”

“Make it so, keep them off our ground forces…” another shake as the frigate to the left unleashed a pack of concussion missiles, short range cannons dealt with most, but not all. The port engines hull plating was pierced, engineering forced to shut it down for fear of a proton ejection. 

<<<<>>>>

Goush smiled as his frigate picked apart the Anathema ship marked Ardent, pounding on the Defender with Blood Remembers.  It was angling beneath, between him and the planet hoping to cut off any more assault squads, his shields were on double low to counters its petulant fire.

They had less fighters than the Anathema, but once the capital ships were gone they would have nowhere to run.

<<<<>>>>

 “Crane one scratch one,”

“Crane three need some back up over here!” desperate to shake the Star-Blazer off his tail Crane three swung between the Defender and the Destroyer, twisting and jinking between the turbo laser fire, the energy backlash scrambling his – and his tails – sensors.

“Crane five moving in,” hitting the afterburner she twisted down into the inter ship death valley, curving out of a turbo lasers path she lined up the Star-Blazer, feeling the thread of its movement in the force ignoring the targeting computer. Two short bursts of red chopped its engines then blew the body, metal slamming into the larger ships shields.

“woo thanks for the assist!” Crane one called as he pulled back up along the destroyer trying to get on top of it. A blast of displacement knocked his fighter off course as he came over the lip, the Star of Justice had just resolved from a micro-jump above the destroyer, Crane three gripped his stick hard trying to correct but not before a plucky gunner on Blood Remembers lined him up and took his first Anathema for the day – he might not get a trophy, but he had the satisfaction.

<<<<>>>>

“Where the frell did that come from!” Goush yelled as he found himself sandwiched between the two cruisers.

“errghh…focus on the turbo lasers, pull Red Harvest back to support.” There were far more than 15 anathema it seemed, Goush began to suspect it wasn’t Juosh who sent that message.

<<<<>>>>

Sabre squad rode the buffeting burn of re-entry as they tried to pick off the six assault transports headed to the ground.  The jittering threw off their targeting, and they had swapped missiles for the now used promethium bombs, still they managed to take out two before they hit the dense cloud of ash their bombing run had birthed.  The smoke was dense and wet, stifling visuals, they flew by the force and radar. 

There it is…Sabre six twisted through the dark clouds eyes closed...the luminous shapes of Ubese bodies compacted into a box that had no form in the force just ahead. 

Little to the left…little to the right…FIRE.

Six red bolts pierced the ash bloom, three knocked the rear shields, two smacked into the engines sending it into a death spiral.

“Sabre squad they’re launching another wave, let’s get them before they hit the smoke,” Tnbu ordered, the cloud of burnt organic matter was too dense to risk trying to offer air support – Oma would have to deal with the Ubese herself.

<<<<>>>>
Logged

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."

Lord_S_Gray
Knight Commander
*

Force Alignment: 27
Posts: 587



« Reply #66 on: September 06, 2018, 08:13:45 PM »

Chapter 18 — Natural Selection — Survival of the Fittest
Part 2
Kiraea

Savoury taste trickled down her throat as she shoved a third ration bar, synthesized to meet Peoples unique nutritional needs in her mouth, the aether fastening the Mark 1 Guardian Armour to her body. 

The heat was starting to rise even here, the wind howling as cool air pushed out into the hot.

She found herself in an arena of yellow fire with a black smoke canopy. And the first round was about to begin.

<<<<>>>>

Oma

Oma crunched the brittle dead leaves beneath her boot, she could feel the presence of the female target up ahead….waiting for her.  She glanced to her flanks where the speeders were keeping pace with the walkers.  Yoda’s three in three out plan had failed. 

Overwhelming fire power would not.

<<<<>>>>

Yoda

He was up ahead, Yoda could feel him…

The trunk beside him blacked as a red bolt struck it.  The Ubese had intercepted them from the direction of what was camp 4.   

He pressed through the foliage, dry but not yet ignited, this was a distraction he did not need.

He regretted dismissing Neirai’s threats as empty – he had taught her better – in his classes on Negotiation he had advised to avoid using threats, but if you had to always follow up – this lesson she had taken to heart.

Odis slammed into a fallen trunk beside him,

“They’re trying to push us into the fire front ,can’t get a line on their numbers…we can still fall back,”

Fall back!…Justice for the Night of Madness was only a few hundred metres away and he wanted to fall back!

And yet…

He felt the heat from the approaching inferno, saw the bolts of red slamming white against sabres, green speeder cannons squealing return fire.  He had done this, led them from Night of Madness to Day of Flame. 

Soryu’s question haunted him…how many had to die….in that moment he answered-  only one.

“To the camp retreat, draw to Besh squad if possible,”

Odis looked at him concerned, the Abyssins face soiled with ash,

“Alone to face Valens I must go, attempt to rescue Aurek squad, a path for them keep clear if you can,”

A quick nod of acceptance, “May the force be with you Grand Master,”

<<<<>>>>

Sofa

Darting between blackened logs that fell to ash with the slightest touch, keeping well clear of the exchange of blaster fire 30 metres to her right as the Ubese sought to take as many Anathema heads as possible, she made her way to where she could sense a female presence having far too much of a good time as lives winked out around her.

She hadn’t wanted this, not at all, she had warned them, but the Order that she saw here…firebombing a jungle, refusing a chance for a peaceful resolution, offering ultimatums instead of options.

It was an Order she didn’t understand and didn’t know anymore. 

Her only pity was for herself, lost in a warzone a fortnight into her new life.

An explosion rocked behind her, barely audible over the cackle of the flames.  She felt the cold press of the black marble on her breast directing her to where she needed to be. A quick glance confirmed the Jedi squad was otherwise occupied, she darted out.

<<<<>>>>

Oma

Two hundred metres ahead Oma began to realise she wasn’t doing any better than Yoda had.

Over the rocky landscape a dark figure was laughing like a mad woman on top of a crate, in each hand a rifle that hit with exceptional precision.

They had been resupplied with weapons and armour somehow, or perhaps had been hoarding them all along. 

Three of her squad were down, the insane laughter ringing in their ears but worse it was filling their heads.  Something had to give, and it wasn’t going to be her.

<<<<>>>>

Soryu

The healing flow was doing wonders, more likely due to Jarys advanced biology than anything Soryu was intentionally doing. The other was just up head, he could feel Oma and her squad nearby cowering beneath the yellowing foliage.

“Can you make it alone?” 

Jarys gave a slight nod

“I’ll draw them off…this…this isn’t the way for either of us to live,”

To live…had he been able to Jarys might’ve said something, as it was he just nodded and leapt off into the scrub.

He ran down behind Oma’s lines and came up behind shouting as they kept trying to snipe the giggling maniac they were trying to surround,

“Sentinel! Pull back!”

Oma turned around “What!” he needed to thin fast, thoughts coalesced in his mind from…from somewhere familiar…something he knew so well, yet was so changed from when he last knew it.

“Pull back, the Ubese are preparing an orbital bombardment!”  he pointed over the small rise at the dancing fanatic. “It’s not US they really want!”

She paused for a moment considering all she had seen…

“Frell this we should never have come here…retreat!”

A feeling of relief flooded in behind the words that were only half his own,

Sofa peeked out behind a trunk with a smile.

<<<<>>>>

Kiraea

Now it was time for fun!  As they fell back Kiraea got ready to cut them down as they retreated when Jarys flopped out from the trees.

“Let errm gwowo” he managed

Eyes darting between the two options, she ran up to her new mate before quickly pivoting around rifle raised as someone approached

“Whoa! Not a threat” Sofa shrieked

“Where’s Valens?!”

“Coming, stay in place pickups on its way.

<<<<>>>>

Goush

“…pushed…too many…Anathe…hundreds…” the link was patchy, distorted more by the fumes boiling off the jungle than the Jedi’s jamming.

Goush glared at the trophy rack…someone had tricked them…some JEDI!

He spat thrice at the thought…they had lured them into a trap.  Another betrayal by the Anathema to add to their list of outrages against the Ubese. The clans needed to hear…but for that he had to survive.

Knuckles white as his fists clenched, command chair rocking as the Jedi fighters bit ever deeper into the hull Goush finally had to admit defeat…but not before leaving a parting gift to the Anathema.
 
“We’re pulling out,” he ordered

“This close to…” the lieutenant didn’t bother finishing the sentence seeing the look on his face.

“Calculate the Jump,” he glanced at the status of the four sub-light engines,

“Before we jump,”

<<<<>>>>

Tnbu

His danger sense went haywire, squeezing his temples into his brain and tensing his spine.

They had crippled one of the Frigates, which now slowly drifted from the exchange of turbo laser fire down the gravity well, the Ubese fighters floated dead and the remaining Jedi Delta-2’s were picking apart the hard points on the other ships…still the danger sense was blazing as hot as the fires of Myrkr below.

“Pull back!  All engines full reverse, Sabre, Crane, full sub light get away from the destroyer!”

“Captain, build up in the enemy hyperdrive…power surge on the outer starboard sub light….” The Duro only confirmed his suspicions, they were going to jump…but first they were going to jettison their damaged drive core – the shock wave of the shift to pseudo motion had a 50/50 chance of causing the core to detonate.   

The Ardent pounded backward on full reverse, leaving a trail of detritus from the damage the Ubese had wrought in its wake. 

Void boomed as the Destroyer punched out of real space, a wave of energy flowed out striking the metal core that flickered with blue light and yellow fire.

Tnbu closed his eyes…

For the first time that day, they had some good luck with the core bouncing along the wave indolently.

<<<<>>>>

Yoda
A thousand civilizations had a fiery underworld, full of the dead and tormented.  What Yoda saw was a realization of this Myth.  The remnants of the Jedi outpost stood molten and flaky between two burning transport ships emblazoned with melting Ubese clan symbols, still popping with tertiary explosions.

Across the ground that would not look out of place on Mustafar, lay bodies, mostly Ubese, but also team Aurek.  In the centre a throne of corpses seeping blood into a black puddle gone grey combined with the ash.

Throne for upon it knelt a God of War and Death, hand gripped on a sabre that pierced down into the pile.

Yoda felt his body tremble, his arms shake as his lightsabre flipped between his claws.  Cautious steps over the blasted earth, the scent reminded him of the Pyres in the North hangar, the secretive disposal of Valens previous victims, somehow the bodies out in the open was even more distributing than huddled away.

“Deceiver!” Yoda screamed before realising he had made a sound

“Murderer,” he paced around the pile while the God remained unmoved

“Traitor” he seethed through gritted teeth moving into a preparatory Ataru stance as the sky cracked above, the ash cloud mingling with the in sweeping thunderstorm – the first drops of a grey rain began to fall.

Everything he said was true, Valens noted, but to what end, these were just labels with no real meaning, no purpose but to classify the vagaries of reality. Yoda knew this but perhaps this was not Yoda who spoke.

“I came,” the voice was a booming whisper against the thunder rising high above.

“To save my people, preserve their lives from those who would destroy them,”

Now he opened his grey eyes to fix Yoda in a stasis inducing glare

“Why did you come here Yoda?”

There was an unspoken accusation in his question, one that stabbed and mingled with Soryu’s admonishment – Valens came here to save his People’s lives, no matter how many enemy deaths that meant  -Yoda had come to take a life, no matter how many of his own peoples deaths that meant.

“Enact Justice, uphold the law, surrender to my custody…”

Valens closed his eyes again, a gentle shake of his head, still holding the blade downward as though it were a mythic sword trapped in a stone awaiting a chosen one to free it.

“Grand Master Kimar…once thought as you do, learn from his failure,”

Yoda’s reply was the hiss of his green sabre igniting.

The swiftness of leap was tempered by the apprehension - to be at the point of attaining your goal and afraid of actually doing so.

Curving out of the body it was planted Valens blade parried the slash and buffeted back the hurricane of telekinetic energy that blasted the pile of bodies apart.

The Ataru of a practiced master was unleashed upon Valens, the force flowing constantly pushing Yoda’s body well beyond normal bounds of speed and strength. Jumping to offset his height disadvantage, Yoda unleashed a flurry of blows to keep his opponent off balance. 

For anyone less knowledgeable, less physically gifted he would’ve appeared a blur guided by the force, finding openings everywhere and executing them with untold precision.

Yet Yoda’s opponent wasn’t just anyone, it was the man who had studied his master’s form more intently than anyone else ever would, in that was an answer Yoda needed yet he did not know it.

The sabre swarm of Ataru met a mixed defence of Soresu and Makashi, Valens remained purely on the defensive, taking pounding kinetic energy that blasted through the energy blades to firm his stance in the increasingly muddy ground, the rain turning the loose ash to a slurry as it beat down.     

Unable to breach his high guard Yoda went low with hard jabs, deflected with almost casual indifference as the force energies pounded him to either side.  Yoda was getting frustrated, he had come so far, sacrificed so much to get this chance…

Or had he…what had he sacrificed behind the title of Grand Master as others died in his name.

His attack was interrupted by the thought, but Valens did not take the opening, Yoda spun on his feet twirling up and over then hammering down in the two handed ‘Falling Leaf’ strike.  It struck hard against the horizontal guard, green on green turned to white with sparking flecks of energy and the hiss of rain hitting the glowing blades.

He pushed down with all his strength, all the power he could flow through his body, Valens sabre neared his face, a little more and…

He flew forward.  Valens sabre tchzzomed off and he side stepped, Yodas own power pushed him down, but Valens quick reflexes jagged him painfully before he reached the ground, a strong hand grasped Yoda’s claws and pressed as the force wrenched his sabre free flinging it across the Hellscape. An adroit pivot and grip put Yoda’s neck in the vice of his grip.

Eyes wide in unbelief Yoda waited to die.

Valens looked at the being he held briefly, then flung him into the sloshing blood mingled mud.

“Why did you come here?” he repeated to Yoda’s astonishment.

“For justice? The ‘Law’” Valens turned his back and spread out his arms

“Then execute your Justice, enact your Law,” the lost sabre trembled as Yoda reached for it in the force…yet it struggled to come free from the slop…it was not Valens preventing it, the force itself was in rebellion against the Jedi Masters dark intent.

“You can’t beat me…” Valens said quietly, “You are merely Yoda’s shadow, as I am Valens…I just happen to be darker.”

He turned back to gaze on the pathetic form of a once great Jedi wallowing in the muds, soaked through by the downpour.

“’Did my teachings contribute to your fall’,” Valens quoted from Yoda’s deepest fears

“That is the question the Jedi Yoda wishes to ask Valens his apprentice, there is an answer…”

Valens stalked into the steaming desolation unchallenged, his silhouette fading into the darkness

“…but neither of those men are here to ask nor answer it,”

<<<<>>>>
Logged

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: 670
Posts: 3057


Light side points please.


« Reply #67 on: September 07, 2018, 06:36:25 AM »

Intense!  Soryu's action, healing Jarys, explains a comment that was made somewhere else, about Soryu being a "friend" to the People.   He and Sofa are the only Jedi on the planet acting like Jedi.  The rest are more akin to a hit squad ... or Imperial Storm Troopers.

The final confrontation between Yoda and Valens explains it all.   Yoda is yielding to dark impulses of revenge and anger, not the higher goal of Justice.  Just as Valens yielded to them on Coruscant.  That Valens would walk away as he did will hopefully snap Yoda out of it and put him back on a path to the light.

To bad he wasn't more successful in communicating the lesson he's learning to a certain young man in the future....   :-)
Logged

signature picture by DarthScrub

Master Singer of the Mak'Tor

TheDutchman
Knight Commander
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Force Alignment: 667
Posts: 2689


Guardian Blue is my life


« Reply #68 on: September 08, 2018, 04:42:03 PM »

OK, this chapter has it ALL:
Action!
Excitement!
Emotion!
Philosophical Questions of Identity!
wait...what? Wink

Seriously, I LOVE Valens' response to Yoda, certainly makes me think of what Nietzsche was referring to: "Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster" BUT with the added stipulation of which is worse: killing to survive vs. killing to revenge.  Very, very intriguing.

Oh, and now we finally see the context of the Preview that we were given before; I would NOT have guessed that it was Soryu saying those words!  Once again, he represents the best of the Jedi Order.  Sadly, he is among the exceptions rather than the rule...

BTW: I LOVE the pic you used for Oma (Brienne w/ a lightsaber; brilliant!)

And now, Sofa has made her choice: she IS completely Aethan now.
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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, Apprentice v4 w/Obsidian, AS; Graflex SE w/Obsidian, GB; Archon v3 (modded w/ activation box) w/Obsidian, CG; Dark Sentinel v4 w/Obsidian, BR; Sentinel LE v4 w/Obsidian, GB; Sentinel LE v4 stunt, EG, Aeon LE v4 stunt, FO

Lord_S_Gray
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Force Alignment: 27
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« Reply #69 on: September 09, 2018, 03:50:26 PM »

Too bad he wasn't more successful in communicating the lesson he's learning to a certain young man in the future....   :-)

Perhaps he never really learnt himself....I've always seen Yoda a quite an ambiguous figure, some of his actions are not precisely light...e.g. in E2 went straight for Dooku, E3 no compunction trying to off Sidious....but then runs into hiding when he fails essentially abandoning the galaxy to its fate....not to mention in Clone Wars (Well the Dark Horse Comics series anyway) his nonchalant approach at times. Anyway that was sort of what I wanted to explore where that attitude comes from a bit rather than having Super wise Jedi master as starting point....just hoping it is believable LOL.   

Oh, and now we finally see the context of the Preview that we were given before; I would NOT have guessed that it was Soryu saying those words! 

Yeah trying not to be predictable but also exploring some of the tensions.  That is in a sense what the Aethans throw up in people I think, not just Jedi, but Mak'Tor and soon enough Vhal'Dan and Sith as well - their mere existence presents a challenge and far worse a temptation that brings internal tensions in groups and individuals to the fore.   

Anyway thanks for the support guys!
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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 #70 on: September 10, 2018, 05:50:24 AM »

Yeah trying not to be predictable but also exploring some of the tensions.  That is in a sense what the Aethans throw up in people I think, not just Jedi, but Mak'Tor and soon enough Vhal'Dan and Sith as well - their mere existence presents a challenge and far worse a temptation that brings internal tensions in groups and individuals to the fore.   

Anyway thanks for the support guys!

Always!  :-)  Nothing like a demi-god to bring up tensions!  Just ask the Greeks!  ;-)
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Master Singer of the Mak'Tor

Lord_S_Gray
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« Reply #71 on: September 13, 2018, 08:54:53 PM »

Chapter 19 — Failure
Part 1

Tnbu
“Deploy all transports, three fighter escorts, pack our people up,” Tnbu ordered as he surveyed the damage.  The Defender was barely afloat, Star of Justice was in the best shape having entered the battle late, and the Ardent…was – adequate.

“How long till the support forces arrive?”

“Still two hours out Captain,” the Duro replied tapping out orders and prioritising the engineers and mechanics focus.

He could only hope no one else showed up unexpectedly.

<<<<>>>>

Kiraea
The blue grey ship sliced through the storm, obscured by the lighting and ignored by the retreating Jedi forces, the breach of their cordoned of airs space a red blinking light on a console on the Ardents bridge that would not be checked for another half an hour as repairs and retreat took precedence.

Kiraea kept on the crate, her improvised high ground form which she’d already picked off three Ubese stragglers.  Sofa kept anxious eyes on the tree line as Jarys consumed half a dozen ration bars in as many seconds.

“They wouldn’t be dumb enough to try again would they?” Kiraea inquired of her new ‘sister’

“I don’t know what to expect anymore,” she replied honestly as the Chiss freighter began to descend, the muddy ground rippling with backwash from the landing jets.

“Finally…” Kiraea leapt down and hauled up the crate in one hand to Sofa amazement – I wonder if I could do that she thought.

“What took you so long?” she demanded of Maynard as the ramp descended,

“Trouble back home,” he closed his eyes waiting for the inevitable – instantly the familiar press of her mind assailed his pulling out all the details, verbatim memories of recent conversations…and in Kiraea’s typical fashion not failing to also take in the ‘activities’ he and Xandra had entertained themselves with while in hyperspace.

Her mouth twitched in anger and annoyance, as she channelled the meaning to the others

“Ow what the frell!” Sofa screeched feeling the press of another mind on hers,

Kiraea and Jarys exchanged glances not understanding her discomfort at having information sent telepathically in a detailed package. 

Sensing their confusion Sofa had to speak out

“You can’t just do that to people!”

The use of the word ‘People’ confused them even more…who else but people would you share things telepathically with?

Before Kiraea could say anything Valens stepped out of the trees, slow purposeful steps head drooped down,

“Finally is the little green one dead?” she asked

“Just broken,” he whispered as the events were shared across their bond…Kiraea might not necessarily consider the options Valens took as the best ones…but she deferred to his expertise on Jedi matters even though his previous predictions had been incorrect – the most likely chains of causation from their actions would set Yoda, Oma and Soryu on a collision course that would cripple the Jedi Order even more effectively than had they eliminated one or all of them…still there was always room for the unexpected….

“Whatever, let’s go then, we need to pick up the other ships and the animals…”

She glanced up at the storm, the heat from the fire had caused a rapid movement of hot air up which had now hit the rainy seasons colder upper atmosphere winds to condense, it would be the perfect cover to get out.

Clambering aboard Kiraea paused after dumping the crate down as the hatch sealed and the scent of burning was replaced with cycled air and something else.

Sofa was about to go to Valens when a head shoved itself into her face and started sniffing, not just a gentle breath one might offer to sample another woman’s perfume, deep throaty sniffing.

“When was your last period and orgasm?” Kiraea asked bluntly,

Sofa’s eyes widened beyond what she thought possible…she’d thought a ‘hello’ or ‘thank you’ would be a start but this….

“WHAT!”

“I said…”

“I know what you said, what the stars is wrong with you,”

Kiraea looked at her as if three heads had just sprouted off her neck,

“You left too soon after your rebirth, and I’m guessing Milaea didn’t teach you the Rites.…you’re all congested…”

“Conges...look we’re still in a potential kill zone and you’re worried about my sex life?”

Kiraea shook her head

“Ughh you Republic people are so ignorant…I’ll have to teach you what to do…and soon…hrmm we can deal with the Birth Rites later…” Kiraea worked out which ones would be appropriate to teach off world and outside of the sacred caves…the basic ones obviously…but how many of the advanced ones…

“Um hello, we have bigger problems here – stolen clones, Jedi army, Ubese Bounty hunters….”

Kiraea glanced to Jarys, “Look after your brother,” his still ferocious aura resonated with an unspoken…not so much assent as obedience…

Back to Sofa – “You see how easy it is when you’ve locked them,” she noted as Jarys wandered off to Valens.

“We’ll have to take one of the other ships….”

She sniffed at her again,

“Eugh…this is going to be messy…”

<<<<>>>>

Oma

 “Collect up what bodies you can, but don’t dally, three hours and we are out of this system!” Oma screamed over the rain and thrum of engines as they pulled out.  For all the desolation caused by the firestorm and the Ubese attack, confirmed losses had been small, only 9 dead on ground, 6 in orbit…though team Aurek was still yet to report in. 

The Ubese had been hammered, why they had come, how they knew they were here, she did not know, but they had paid a terrible price regardless.

The mission had been a complete failure.  They had waited too long, not just Yoda but her as well. Sofa was missing, her guard found unconscious, and whilst there was no sign of the male, she had no doubt the female target was still out there and would use the storm as cover to escape.

Let them, Oma figured, there was nothing more to be gained from this, and the Ubese presented a far more imminent danger, an assumption they perished in the fire was a good a closing to this vanity than could be hoped for.

That reminded her
“Any sighting of Master Soryu or Yoda?” he had vanished after his odd warning,

“None Sentinel, shall we send out search parties?”

Her boots squelched turning to the Knight

“Not in this weather, keep a transport at the main camps former site for now, they should sense it, we need to get out before more Ubese arrive.”

<<<<>>>>

Soryu
He found him alone cradling his sabre amongst the rain and corpses. Defeated, broken.  Once more they had failed, failed to listen, to react as Jedi should.

Soryu knelt beside Yoda’s bruised form, he didn’t need to ask who had beaten then spared him - or how, he could almost see what had occurred here.

There was little to say, no words could do justice to the sheer visceral reality of what was before them.

Yoda had failed, and he knew it, not the shifting inconstant concepts of justice and law he had ostensibly set out to achieve…but his own self.  He who was so willing to point out the hidden agendas and unconscious motives of others had not applied that piercing insight to himself. 

Light had turned to darkness, wisdom to foolishness, control to chaos, the universe itself felt topsy-turvy…upside down, one in which Yoda was relentless in pursuing his enemy and Valens was valiantly trying to save lives. 

It was mad, completely mad.

Soryu rested his hand on his friends shoulder and sent forth a stream of healing as he had just done with Jarys.  This was the failure of the Jedi, to think that a person lashing out in violence was not also a person who needed healing.

Soryu understood, Jarys needed healing, and so did Yoda – and this was the path he walked with the living force - to offer that healing – Life - to whomever needed it, no matter their race, no matter their crimes, no matter their culture.

The truth was painful to face, but here amongst the gritty consequence of his choices, Yoda could finally face it.

He had wanted to kill for revenge, had thrown away lives in that pursuit, and he wanted answers not to understand and prevent tragedy recurring, but to vindicate himself.  Yoda wanted to know he was not responsible for Valens fall.

Valens had the answer, but knew Yoda was not ready to hear it, nor Valens ready to give it – Yoda had failed to be true to himself, true to the Jedi, true to the Force.

Failure…failure would be his greatest teacher.

<<<<>>>>
Logged

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."

Lord_S_Gray
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Force Alignment: 27
Posts: 587



« Reply #72 on: September 13, 2018, 08:58:31 PM »

Chapter 19 — Failure
Part 2

Jo’Set’Mack
He slunk into M’Tzigon ashamed, his hands still covered in bacta patches from his furious tantrum.  The Rain Song landed in an outer port rather than the Mountain where the Mak’Tor were establishing their barracks and facilities. One day it would be a major complex, a centre of learning and training, for now…it was a construction site of epic proportions.

Jo had underestimated the Sith Valens…dramatically…Li had warned him but he didn’t want to hear it. He couldn’t do this alone. He breathed deeply and began.

“Friends…thank you for coming,”

They met in cramped a utility room with old broken cleaning droids at the far end of the space port.  Only eight of the ten he had invited had come, he needed to be cautious if Li found out he was back on M’Tzigon she would stop him from leaving, let alone recruiting others to join him,

“Just over a week ago I encountered the murderer, the abomination Valens in the Maw, as you can see I barely escaped alive,” his self-inflicted cuts seemed to sting against the lie of their origin…but they didn’t need to know the details.

“He has a Jedi Master under his spell, she is completely lost to his powers, and those powers are very considerable…”

He glanced around the faces looking for small tells on who was most in agreement with him,

“We have all lost friends, lovers…family on Vyth…we all know Li has refused to pursue these killers, these Sith…if we want justice it is up to us to take it,”

Feeling the expected tremors he raised his hands in a placating gesture, the movement stinging his raw fingers.

“I know…you will wonder is this simply revenge I seek…why else meet secretly…I assure you no…we have seen the evidence, we know this Valens and Milaea are guilty, it is beyond doubt...such vile actions would earn the death penalty in a thousand systems, and they are Sith…”

He glanced to Old Cam, father of Ty’Re’Cam, one of the first to die on Vyth, his face stony but his aura was raging

“They will not stop killing, it’s only a matter of time before they come for us here…I have spoken with Soryu himself,”

The name still carried great weight after all these years,

“He all but confirmed they were responsible for the Night of Madness, how long before they unleash something similar here!”

Jo was not a natural orator, but this seemed to be going well,

“Li has her head in the sand, too busy frelling that Vhal’Dan Arbiter Anson to realise the chance we have to put an end to this enemy,”  A low blow but it galvanized some toward him, he met the gaze of Su’Zim’Kar who lost a sister,

“I placed a tracking device on his ship, but even with this I know I can’t defeat him alone, so I ask you, will you fulfil you vow to ‘protect the innocent and defend the weak from those who would oppress them or unjustly use them’, I ask you what more unjust action can there be than what was done to the people of Coruscant, what greater oppression than the ending of life!”

Now to Hri’Va’Tun who lost a father,

“These people are guilty, but our leaders refuse to see justice done, I will not, I will have justice for Ho’li, for Ha’Ona…for Ty’Re’Cam, for Cy’Na’Kar, for Hui’Va’Tun…for Od’Ji’Na…if I must go alone I shall, even if I fall I die a knight fulfilling my vows…knowing where this Murderer is can you live with yourself as a knight if you do not join me?”

It was a messy speech, it wasn’t planned, but it was effective on some, the faces of those he had locked with hardened, the others shook their heads and murmured before quietly slipping out, till only four were left, Hri’Va, Su’Zi, old Cam and thankfully An’Ne’Rae.  Inviting her, a member of the Council of Balance had been a risk, but he needed all the help he could get and having lost two children and her husband not inviting her would’ve made the others realise just how dark his motivations were…no not dark, just he reminded himself – He was Gray.

“Alright Jo,” The Master of Blades known to her friends as Anne began

“Where is this son of a tralk,”

<<<<>>>>

Goush

Beneath his mask his mouth was pursed painfully at having to explain his failure…and worse his need…to someone like this.

Toush-Uba was a proud clan, True Ubese to a man.  It had taken generations for them to acquire the resources for their own ships and armaments.  Hardened by the wastes of Uba IV and the internecine clan warfare they had prospered as mercenaries and bounty hunters, never failing to take a chance to hunt the Anathema who had consigned them to such desperate lives.

“So in return for this assistance…we offer 3 months of service,” Goush forced himself to propose.

Outside the grimy transparisteel Blood Remembers sparked not with plasma torches to repair but busted electronics he could not afford to get fixed.  Proud as he was if he had to submit to servitude to get the ships repaired he would do it. 

The Clan on Uba IV relied on him to earn the credits to buy the foods and medicines Uba IV’s radiated plains could not provide enough of.

The Black Sun Vigo before him leaned back a wry smile on his lips.

<<<<>>>>

Xithar
“I’m sure I can think of something you could do for me,” Xithar smiled to the demure Ubese captain before him.

“I have no love for the Jedi either and am more than happy to help the enemy of my enemy, but rather than time of service…let’s say cost of repairs and supplies plus 20% to be worked off…”

The Ubese remained motionless but Xithar could feel the sublime taste of defeat on him…the only thing more delicious was Xithars own dominance over him.

“I…accept,”

Oh that was hard to say!

“Very well 400,000 credits plus 25% - 500,000…but I’m a generous man…I’ll take 5000 off for each of the lightsabres you collected from Myrkr…”

Mrykr was a backwater even among backwaters, what on earth possessed the Jedi to send a strike there eluded Xithar for the moment…from Goush’s explanation he had arrived only after the Jedi… And while Xithar suspected it was Valens and Milaea he was yet to obtain definitive proof.

Who could understand the vagaries of the mystic monks he shrugged as Goush held back his bitterness – giving up such ‘Anathema’ war trophies was a major dishonour for Ubese…but Xithar had his myvonx in hand – why not give them a squeeze?

“We have three…” he said uncomfortably in non-native basic.

“Excellent, my assistant will draw up a contract, I have a small job that will wipe off a further 150,000 in a mere day for you once repairs are complete…now if you’ll forgive me I must be getting on.

Goush bowed slightly despite himself as Xithar swept out – the Ubese failure was Xithars gain.

<<<>>>

The Luxury skimmers anti-grav plates pulsed neat waves through the stark green Kaluthin grasses, the purple flowers wilting as the season ended.
 
The grasses waved back straight more due to the spring of their cellulose cell walls than any counter wind as the skimmer approached the desert zone around the blackened tower that stood silent sentinel to time, ambition and folly upon Almas.

High above the Hedonist cast a lonely scar in the sky of the long forgotten Cularian system.

Only the 30 metre tall core of the fortress remained standing after being destroyed then forgotten by the Jedi during the New Sith Wars – fiendishly built of Mandolorian irons, Force nullifying ores and littered with undetectable traps it had been the centre of Darth Rivans studies on Sith Battle lords – warrior deeply connected to their soldiers to improve their effectiveness. 

Now centuries later it was the laboratory and study of Darth Lucovis – a Sith of a very different mindset and era – one who did not rage against the Republic by establishing some petty empire, but manipulated it by indulging its vices with the Black Sun.

Nonetheless the studies of Rivan on connecting beings through the force - and more visceral ways - had proved a critical starting point for Locivs development of the Sith Wyrms to bond his thralls and control them across vast distances and had the potential to one day…with just a few more tweaks enable something far more…

Divine…

From the outside there was no visible entry way, only Sith would know.  A flick of his nail on his thumb and a blood trail upon the ancient stone began the process of opening – filling the blood with force lighting Xithar bestowed his tribute of flesh to the fortress to allow himself entry.

Through the darkened passages covered in Sithese text – mostly Rivan obsequious autobiography Lucovis proceeded to the study.

Here in the red light of ancient Candles made during Mid Draggulch Period just before the later Republic Dark age, he took a seat behind the ornate desk.

His hands scrolled across the vellum as he took in the scent, freshly made from nerf’s bred for the purpose.  On it he hand copied the innumerable older tomes he had collected from the New Sith Wars, transmitting lore for future Sith Lords…

He paused as he raised the stylus said to be made from a bone of Xelian the Destroyer herself.  Then licked his lips…

“Yessssss…” he hissed out.  Spinning quickly he avoided the shadowed blade twisting out with his nails like claws to tear into the face of his attacker. 

He tasted the blood of his success on his reptilian tongue as it flicked out. It was low in sugars…could it be…

Oh Vectivus! he thought as he spun into a crouch as his assassin continued to assail him, Xithar kept his movements restrained not wanting to knock the pot of rich black ink onto his carefully written scroll.

An assassin what a beautiful surprise gift! The cruelty of it was delicious, Xithar hadn’t been here for two months, always the long term planner was Vectivus, yet sometimes that was as much failing as strength – he focused too much on the future and didn’t indulge the moment.

Finally getting a sight of the assassin Xithar smiled even more widely – it was a Chalacta Xithar had sent to assassinate Vectivus over two years ago…he had wondered what had become of her – by the violent but precise swings and maddened look in sickly yellow eyes it seemed Vectivus had done quite a bit of work on her.

Her assaults were quick, but tinged with fatigue, not doubt she had been here longer than she had brought supplies for – the Fortress was more tomb than laboratory, deliberately so, many wuld come in – only a true Sith would come back out.

Gracefully retreating backward he gained room on her before launching forward fingers into her cheek while his other hand plunged through her light armour into her stomach, he revelled in the soft wetness across his scales.  She stiffened in pain as he laid her down gently.

Vectivus had failed to kill Lucovis once more…and frankly it was a paltry effort – every day Lucovis worried more his apprentice would not succeed in killing him – he hoped Vectivus had some kind of elaborate long term plot being woven - if he did not, the Sith Line failed, the time honoured tradition of Apprentice slaying Master broke apart.  Dominance and evolution would be stymied.  Lucovis could not allow the True Sith in the Line of Bane to falter – if Vectivus did not act more decisively soon…

Well Lucovis was already exploring other options.

The Chalacta’s gurgling of blood brought him out of his reveries.

“Oh no my sweet…” he crooned in her ear as he pulled his bloody hand out to tear at her clothing

“…we are far from finished.”

<<<<>>>>

He peered into the depths of the handwritten tome scanning for things he had forgotten in the years since he wrote it – it was not a verbatim copy rather his take on the text, with new insights he had gleaned, mistakes the original author had made corrected, anachronisms removed…the section on taming a Purrgil for travel and the complexities of building a void capable pod on its back removed given hyperdrive technology had significantly advanced in the last 5000 years.

This was a key task, to improve with each generation, this went for knowledge and individuals.  He could just hear the sounds of the Chalacta screeching her pain into feeding the wyrms in the dungeons beneath him.  Vectivus assassination may have failed, but Xithar had at least extracted a great deal of pleasure from her…now to the tome…

It compiled much of the advances in Sith Alchemy achieved during the New Sith wars, with Lucovis own notations in the margins.

“Ah there it is…”

There was his failure…comically something he had noted years before but forgotten – he had defaulted to Sorzus Syn sub-flow instead of using the in-pace techniques pioneered by the Sorcerer of Tund to match the bio- rhythm of the wyrm with the subject before instigating the transformation.     

He glanced around the study at the tomes and devices made or collected by every master and apprentice since Bane himself – well those that he could obtain at least.

“So much knowledge…such limited time and thoughts” how he longed for the ability to integrate it all more perfectly…to have the cognition of a God

Another scream echoed below him, more visceral this time –the wyrms had obviously begun eating flesh as well as emotion – she had remained so impassive as he took his pleasure from her…no more it seemed.

He had failed…twice with his experimentation on the clones he had obtained from Lyr, too sure of his own abilities he had not reckoned with the complexity of their biology and connection to the force.…

That left him with only eighteen clones.  But the lessons had been valuable and carefully placed the failures would serve him still. 

This was what differentiated a true failure from a future winner, the willingness to learn from his mistakes and not ruminate on the finite resources of time and energy wasted in the pursuit.

“Vigo,” the voice came on his comm link ,”Apologies for the interruption- as requested you wished to be informed immediately – a ship is approaching the Bimmiel Mine,”

Right on time he smiled. 

<<<<>>>>
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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: 670
Posts: 3057


Light side points please.


« Reply #73 on: September 15, 2018, 04:26:53 PM »

And so we move from Act 1 to Act 2 ...  The Jedi have had a shot at them, but now they have to deal with the Sith.

LSG, your plotting and laying out of story elements is incredible.  Thank you again, not just for this but for letting us cross-over with you and integrate our stories into a shared universe.  I know Dutchman will agree with me that your storyboarding and ability to lay out the plot elements is key to making ALL of us better writers.  This chapter is an excellent example of that, as we shift smoothly from the concluding battle with the Jedi and into the coming Sith storm.

I just can't imagine, though, how the Aethans are going to react to someone actually stealing their children...    *shudder*

And on a side note...  I think Sofa is about to take the "Reproductive Health Class" from hell....
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TheDutchman
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« Reply #74 on: September 17, 2018, 02:08:55 PM »

This is the beauty of this chapter: we go from one incredible scenario that we've been anticipating to yet another one that we're eagerly waiting for (namely, how the Sith vs. Aethans will play out...  Wink)

These disparate threads have been deftly interwoven, LSG.  And I completely agree with Karm (as he knew that I would  Grin): your storyboarding is superb, the narrative between Mak'Tor, Jedi, Ubese, Aethan, and Sith wonderfully flowing, not only from one to another but also within their respective scenes (I still love how you've put the perfect presentation of the Siths' ambition and expectations between Vectivus and Lucovis).  And as with all of them, I think that Soryu put it best: "Failure…failure would be his greatest teacher."  Too bad such teachings can be incredibly painful...

And I had to Lol with this, Karm: "And on a side note...  I think Sofa is about to take the "Reproductive Health Class" from hell...."   Um...yeah  Cheesy

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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, Apprentice v4 w/Obsidian, AS; Graflex SE w/Obsidian, GB; Archon v3 (modded w/ activation box) w/Obsidian, CG; Dark Sentinel v4 w/Obsidian, BR; Sentinel LE v4 w/Obsidian, GB; Sentinel LE v4 stunt, EG, Aeon LE v4 stunt, FO

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