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Author Topic: Fate of the Aether  (Read 15067 times)
Lord_S_Gray
Knight Commander
*

Force Alignment: 164
Posts: 1104



« Reply #285 on: June 12, 2019, 01:43:34 PM »

Epilogue — Between Fates
Part 1

Soryu

It looked more like a convalesce ward than a hearing.  Every member of the panel sported bacta patches and slung limbs, Yshrrk looked especially off colour having had to shave large patches of fur for surgery to remove shrapnel.

The best recovered was on the other side of the six Master panel, not bound or tied...there were nonetheless two Temple Guards close by.

“Your actions…whilst instrumental to foiling the Vigo Xithars plot, were nonetheless extremely reckless and in defiance of clear orders from a superior,” Tnbu concluded.

“In addition there are ongoing questions regarding your…capacity to continue to serve as an active member of the Jedi Council,” Tnbu did not make direct mention of the ongoing fear Soryu remained somehow influenced by the Aetharians mind control – all his opposition to Oma’s orders was cast in that light still, Yoda and Yshrrk knew it to be untrue, but they were outvoted...the compromise they had come to…was the best they could all live with.

“Nonetheless this panel recognises your many years of service to the Jedi Order, and in light of you advancing years, recommends you retire to Dantooine to contemplate the deeper mysteries of the force till re-joined with it.”

Soryu expected as much, the Order it seemed could simply not tolerate Jedi in it ranks…

“Will I be permitted to teach at the enclave?” he inquired quietly.

“You will not,” Tnbu replied sternly “Retirement is from all official positions, your new title with be Master Emeritus, a rare and highly respected rank granted only to the most worthy Jedi…”

No doubt Soryu mused looking to Yoda who avoided his gaze once more…for a moment he regretted not leaving with Milaea, but this was the path he had chosen, and even if he could not teach officially…there would still be those in the Order who would seek him out.

“I am honoured Masters…” he replied with a smile “I’ve often desired to create a holocron listing the many lightsabre and force connection techniques I developed with then Maenowan Odjina,…my retirement will be devoted to that.”

If looks could kill Tnbu had just murdered him, Yshrrk’s face betrayed a little smile.

“Enjoy your retirement Master Soryu.”

<<<<>>>>

Yoda
It was like some kind of natural process, unending, like the tides indifferent to disaster or crisis – interrupted for a while but always reverting to its natural state.

Such was the traffic of Coruscant, the infinite stream of lights on hover vehicles crisscrossing the skies as though the Night of Madness had never happened, as if a battle between Jedi and genocidal maniacs on Myrkr had never happened, as if Ord Mirit was not currently covered in repair crews putting out plasma fires.

As if he had never had to decapitate his own apprentice or sidelines and effectively Exile his friend and the most compassionate Jedi in the Order.

The Conclave of Masters was to meet in a weeks’ time, that he would be made Grand Master formally was all but certain…wars should not make one great, but being the Jedi who had felled the perverted Oma and betrayer Valens seemed to have imbued Yoda with an all forgiving aura of glory. 

That he could actually lead the Jedi Order forward was horrendously uncertain.  The fracture lines within the order and within Yoda himself remained unresolved, sending Soryu away and the supine nature of the Council following the recent disasters and report on Kimars excesses meant open internal conflict had died down for now…but he knew it would crop up again and again as new crisis arose.

Even now the Black Sun was in a state of Civil war, three Vigos had been killed in as many days – Xithar, Hondo and Jyx – dozens of Jedi had been redirected to try and stymie the worst of the violent power plays.

Increasingly he feared the choice of what the Jedi were to be, how they were to act was beyond his control – their role was to preserve Peace and Justice to achieve quickly limited options – the situation was dictating the Jedi’s responses outside of what he might prefer.

Perhaps that was Valens legacy to Yoda, to remind him just how little he could influence the galaxy around him. A reminder that Compassion and peace such as Soryu enjoined could only solve problems if beings were capable of change…Valens primitive obsessions proved that to be an impractical dream, and his sheer power showed the response of Brute force as Oma had tried was little better.

Those hovercars would keep going no matter what he did…unless he did nothing and the lid the Jedi tried to keep on the churning chaos was allowed to boil over. 

How long before that occurs…how long before a war, or insurrection the Jedi can’t control breaks out once more…

Nothing had been resolved, nothing had been settled for the Jedi, only their enemies dispelled for a brief moment…

Too neat it seems, for them all to die at once… his nose scrunched in thought, over the last few months he’d had a niggling thought that something was…off…with how the Battle of Ord Mirit had ended…yet he simply didn’t have the time nor inclination to investigate...better to let hidden Hssiss lie.

To be Grand Master was to dance on the blade of a knife over the churning pool of chaos.

Turning from the window and settling into his seat alone in the rebuilt council chamber he waited for the next crisis to begin.

<<<<>>>>


Lyr’Ca’Njo

Rolling about on the floor with two stuffed bantha’s one would never know that just two weeks ago Lyr’s little daughter Nxi had been for all medical purposes dead.

Her sprightly eyes and boundless energy nearly completely returned as they convalesced after Xithars tortures in a hotel on Chalacta.

In the sanisteam behind him his wife was showering, finally able to stand again – her recovery had been slower…but considering she too had been dead any recovery was a miracle.

Miracle

Over the last few days he had little to do but watch the Holo-news and keep Nxi entertained – he had seent his masters horror spread world to world culimanting in some kind of outright war with the Black Sun on Vulpter and what the Media called a ‘Sons of Kessel Terrorist attack’ on Ord Mirit.

Seeing what few prictures the Jedi allowed to be released he had thought for a moment that perhaps his Masters were truly destroyed – the thought lasted mere seconds before his nose bled at the subtle thought of freedom against their programming.

They could not be destroyed, and he would never be free of them until they decided to obliterate him outright.

“Papa?” Nxi looked up to him her large dark green eyes shining in the cool hotel room light.

“hmmm…oh yes dinner time I suppose…” he lifted her up feeling her tiny hands latch onto his head awkwardly…yet it was cute how she clung on…but for those Daemons he wouldn’t have a family…most likely dead at the hands of a debt collector or an indignant Hutt he had failed…perhaps being the right hand of the daemons was not so…

A stabbing pain filled the back of his skull…the signal he was being ‘summoned’, the ultra dense black stone implanted into his skull a tracking and communication method Kiraea had gleefully ‘teleported’ in.

Nxi didn’t notice the cringe in his eyes, her focus on the bubbling pot on the stove.
For you my child… he promised as he awaited his next orders.

<<<<>>>>

Keison

A thousand Sons…plus or minus…all he had left, some stolen credits from Hondo, and most importantly a holonews story indicating he had died on Ord Mirit.

The official story was the Sons of Kessel had launched an attack against the Black Sun Vigo Xithar, crashed his ship into the Dawn Import/Export Facility and all been killed.

It was a fiction that served everyone – the Sons went out in a blaze of glory having killed three Vigos - Hondo on Ando, Jyx on Vulpter and Xithar on Ord Mirit, Keison reported dead along with the rest of the leadership leading the Hutts to cancel the bounties on them. The Jedi didn’t have to answer uncomfortable questions about how they never noticed a Sith Lord on their doorstep controlling half the Black Sun, and Jarys and his folk vanished into the depths of the deep core.

“On approach Boss,” Mmbri noted as the ship decelerated toward the Ring of Kafrene.  From here they would split up, form small cells across the galaxy, back to their roots. They had come close, painfully close to achieving a measure of stability, becoming a force to be reckoned with…but they had pushed too hard and too fast, made themselves too big a target, and 7000 bodies that floated frozen amid the ruins of the Freeblade and Hondo Station paid the price in their breathless spirals.

Keison knew it was possible, that one day the abolitionists could unite, become a true army….but now was not that time.

“Alright, Komo start splitting the credits up to the cells…”

It didn’t matter how far apart they were, how few, they were still all family, still all Sons.

And they were coming.

<<<<>>>>

Meeda

“Not joining the party?” Tern interrupted her brooding in her cabin on the Mythosaur, his armour sprinkled with sparkles from the celebrations. 

The Jedi had paid up, for all their actions, from Uba, to Vultper to Cularian and finally Ord Mirit, 200 million credits for three months work, taking out the packages for the families of the fallen, munitions, fuel and repairs they were up 70 million – less 75,000 credits for a three day party across the Ordo Clan fleet. 

“I’ll be down later…just…thinking…”

Tern sighed and slumped down heavily on her bed, handing her a glass of Mando-Moonshine strong enough to take the paint of a Jehavey'ir’s hull.

“’bout what, you finished the contract, got the credits, lower causalities than average, you did a good job made good choices I’d say.”

“It’s not the job…” she snapped, he jolted back a little and she calmed her voice

“It’s the…the Witches, the Wizards, the Monsters…things I’d never worried about before, never even considered…now…now I know they’re out there,”

“pfft…” Tern dismissed her worry

“They were always out there, things darker than a Vhe’viins guts, hungrier than a starving Mythosaur…so we came across a few, nothing a few blaster bolts can’t stop…anyway the Jedi nuked the worst of them.”

“So we all saw…” she whispered

“What?”

“Nothing…I…I guess you’re right…still shame about Oma…she was a bitch…but a bitch I could respect…”

Raising up her cup she tipped half on the floor,

“To Bitches and Witches”

“Bitches and Witched” Tern agreed slamming down his shot.

<<<<>>>>
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: 164
Posts: 1104



« Reply #286 on: June 12, 2019, 01:46:07 PM »

Epilogue — Between Fates
Part 2

Vectivus

Dust kicked up in the desolate area around the Almas fortress as Vectivus, Dark Lord of the Sith in the Line of Bane descended, the blank gravel the only place on the planet not covered by the terraforming Kaluthin plant that was but one of the legacies of Dath Rivan who had built the fort.

Vectivus was here to secure another legacy – to claim all of Lucovis tomes and alchemical devices, his right as successor.

Slicing his thumb he offered the blood tribute to enter the pitch black fortress. The wafting stench of dried blood and decaying flesh nearly floored him, pinching his nose he wandered inside, a hovering droid to assist in cataloguing the items following close behind.

The air was rank and stagnant, the leavings of the creation of the Nova’s and Battlelords all over the larger chambers…yet so far he found no altars or devices…they must be deeper.

Further and further in lit by the droids flash light and scanning blue sensor he finally reached the main library.

It was empty.

Completely empty…

Decades…Centuries of knowledge, altars designed to assist in precision alchemy all gone, irreplaceable artefacts and devices…who…how…

He thought quickly…who but he and Lucovis knew of this place…some of the Nova Corps…but most were dead surely…though…

The Ubese and Mando’s…the mercenary…

“ASSHOLES! Frelling ASSHOLES!”  

In a rare display of emotion Vectivus boiled with rage, the damn Mando’s or Ubese had sold the co-ordinates on the market to some two bit tomb robbers.

“All that…all the…”

So be it…so be it…such artifices were of little value…he had the Mirror Orb, and in the end such alchemy had had its day.

Striding out the taste of sour Kyssla berries in his mouth Vectivus did not notice the tiny marbles of Black stone embedded in the real looters had left behind - they recorded his rage and transmitted the aetheric swells and crashed back to the Deep Core to the satisfaction of Jarys who had not forgotten his promise to slay all those who had confused and manipulated Milaea. 

One night, when Vectivus had all but forgotten his visit here, he would be visited by a shadow he thought long long dead and in the dark of his room learn what an ageless Aethan could do to a mere human.

But for now…just for now…they would wait and Watch to see who the next Sith Lord Vectivus trained was…

Then the next…

Then the next….

<<<<>>>>

Jo’Set’Mack

“But you just got here!” Ha’Ona cried as he held her warm little hands in the cool of the hangar.

“I know…but…there are some things I need to do…I’ll be back soon, Li will look after you.” It was a better result than Jo deserved, or possibly a worse punishment than he could imagine depending on how She reacted.

“Don’t take too long…”

He smiled sadly, he could make her no promises…Li behind her still sporting a number of scars much like him, her explanation of the events on Ord Mirit were…summarised at best…there were some things best left to die in the memory of time.  

Mussing her hair he stood up as Li nodded, four-eight tweetling behind…he had other responsibilities to attend to, his ship and a payout from the family trust to support himself…and…
<<<<>>>

She sucked out all the marrow she could…it would be a while before she got to eat anything this good again…

Although ‘fresh’ duct rat was hardly good…

She tossed the bone into the pot, there it would flavour her simple meals for months to come as her credits ran out.

“Chattel bring me…” she stopped…she didn’t have the two Zabrack Chattel anymore did she…one killed one injured trying to – ‘obtain’ a stash of credits from a deal gone wrong hoping to impress their mistress.  She’d been forced to sell the injured one…along with numerous other possessions to buy the vitamin pills her growing child needed.

Perhaps she had been too hasty…incautious…if her child suffered for it malnourished…she would never forgive herself…exposure might be the only option…

The paltry sensor buzzed a guest…her tracking was getting harder as more of her energy went to her unborn baby…but she needed the credits…

As she pushed out through the beaded curtain her eyebrow leapt up.

“Gray…I had not though to see you again…” She looked him up and down

“It seems you found your Lady friend…and trouble with it…what service do you require this time?”

He stepped forward looking much the worse for wear

“I’ve come to…accept responsibility for my actions…and deal with the consequences…”

“And what do you mean by that?” she crossed her arms indignant

“I…we…have a child together…I can’t abandon that responsibility…”

“That is my child not yours you ignorant male…”

Jo could see from a brief look around her situation had worsened since he was here last, only her pride…no her culture…made it impossible to accept his help.

“Even so…like your chattel I suppose I should serve you,” he tried to reason within her own terminology

“Serve me…you don’t know me? You know nothing of my ways, and I know nothing of you beside your obsession with hunting some other woman!”

“No that was…” he pulled back submissively still feeling the after effects of his injuries
“…a mistake…”

He took the chits out of his pack

“Look I have credits…a ship I can sell or take you somewhere else…”

“Ha!” she laughed “Do you know how many traffickers have offered exactly the same thing…’don’t worry I’ll look after you and your baby’…right until I end up chained in a brothel and the child sold to the highest bidder!”

“No I’m not like that!” he protested

“And why should I believe that…”

“Because…” actually…he couldn’t think of a reason why she should…this was not going how he thought…though why he expected this would be easy in the first place.

“…look…you can take my ship go back to Dathomir…” he took out the code cylinder and placed it on the old crate that served as furniture

“Dathomir…foolish maleling why would I go back there while that bitch still rules with her pet Daemon.”

Daemon… he shook off the association to Valens and his kind for the moment.

“Still…” she seemed to relent taking up the code cylinder…

“…Nar shadda is not a place I desire to birth this child… bring me some decent food and I’ll consider your offer of servitude…”

Jo nodded and stepped out, then paused,

“I’ll be back soon, but so you know…my name is Jo’Set’Mack,”

As if that means something to me…foolish little male…even so if he is willing to be my meal ticket…for my child…

“Hri…Jeisena Hri,” she replied absently.

<<<<>>>>


Li’I’Mack

“…by my Honour, before the Maker I so swear,” Mike finished the oath in the solemn darkness of the Temple, empty but for Li and her honour guard who had survived Ord Mirit some four hours before dawn, a secret ceremony to swear them to silence about what had been seen on that world.

Rising up the Honour Guard left in silence, none taking a backward glance, she knew none would ever speak of those events again, and was glad for it.

What they had seen on Ord Mirit…creatures twisted by Sith Alchemy, Jedi in open war against them and each other…and the Oblivion armoured daemons…it was too much.  The Mak’Tor were barely holding together after Vyth as is, let alone Jo’s misadventures, if word were to spread of what had happened on Ord Mirit panic would spread beyond reason.  

Silence was not a good solution, but it was better than paranoia, Valens and his ilk might be dead, but their power…the power of those Aetherians was a temptation she did not trust those hurting from Vyth to avoid. And the reality of Kimar’s responsibility for Vyth…that too had to be kept silent or ruin the Mak’tors relationship with the Jedi forever.

Kimar…. Valens might’ve wielded the blade but that bastard Kimar had the blood on his hands….if he knew what Valens was and used him he was a madman, if he didn’t he was an ignorant fool…such thoughts meant nothing now…all were dead…  

“Even the dead have power…” she noted in the silence of the Temple alone staring at the Onyx wall carved recently with the names of her fallen honour guard, just beneath the names of those who peished on Vyth.

There were still tasks to be finished, her report to be written never to be read…at least not now…the archives would need to be – not censored but…restricted…anyone investigating those events would be sent straight to the Kage.

She knelt before the names as if each were a sharp indictment on her concealment, here they were shown to all who passed in honour while she would consign the truth behind their deaths to the shadows.  Her eyes begun to tingle with the first flush of tears as her fingers ran along the name Od’Jin’A.

“I’m not you…" she whispered in the dark, her voice watery.  "I can’t be that honourable…I don’t trust my knights not to seek revenge…and Maker help me...”

Her head drooped as her eyes closed, squeezing the thin drops of grief away - it would not do for a Kage, even a lesser one than Odjina, to cry.

"...I don't trust myself..."

For a few more moments she knelt before the memorial till only on the edge of tears. Her hand slumped away as she stood, leaving neither contented nor confident.

 
<<<<>>>>

Tok

He carefully closed the sarcophagus, locking the lid to speed the departed on their journey to the Field of Harmony where only the truth was spoken, and only Honour was known.

All those who had stood beside him against the Red Master would be there to carry tiding to his son Nek he had been avenged, and that Tok would care for his newborn son Benk.

Gently closing the tomb door he remained on the mound as the others returned to the caverns.  

Gazing across the Endless Wastes he sat to meditate on all he had seen, the Jedi frozen like pillars of salt, warriors of impossible ability black as midnight, creature of twisted metal and flesh.

Much had passed Tok felt…much had finished.

Yet the winds of the Wannshock never died…and so too nothing truly ended.

<<<<>>>>
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: 164
Posts: 1104



« Reply #287 on: June 12, 2019, 01:56:20 PM »

Epilogue — Between Fates

Part 3

Reeda Kwn

What now?

That was the question that assailed her waking and sleeping.

They had thrown off their oppressors, taken the Ro'ik chuun m'arh Eversight, found the Avatars of the Gods themselves in this foreign galaxy…

But now what?

“…so how long before they get here?” The Avatar of Yun Shuno asked poking at a villip

“The dark space travel in the void is…difficult to predict…at the very least decades, possibly millennia…most likely centuries,”

“Unless something gets to them first…” the Avatar called Lyaea mused in her sing song rapid voice.

“Avatar…”

“Do you think you could…communicate with them…instigate an uprising in the main fleet, or use the Eversight unique Dovin basal to travel back to it?”

“The villips on this vessel were intended to transmit only very specific genetic data regarding the viruses and bacteria in this galaxy to develop vaccines…it was never intended to transmit mere…conversation…as it is it was difficult enough to produce these villips,”

“You can’t grow more?”

“It’s possible…”

“And provide Us with the details and specifications of your biotechnology…”

“That would take some effort…” but it would give us a purpose for a time…to spread the word to the fleet…

“…and we would need a planet with an eco-system conducive to growth…”

“I’m sure the Chiss can find something small nearby…”

“Avatar we are of course willing to teach however…what precisely do you wish to do with the knowledge of our biots?”

“Oh…” Lyaea breezed “Just perfecting things a little…”

<<<<>>>>

Tnbu

Tnbu closed the old manual door quietly as the Jedi stood in quiet readiness before him – eleven including himself – all veterans of Myrkr and Ord Mirit.  All believed in the Code, the Republic and were determined to help Yoda renew the Order.

Yet none believed the official line that the last Aetharians had been destroyed on Ord Mirit.

“Brethren,” He began

“We have all seen the horrors the Aetharians are capable of…the cunning and bestial ferocity” His dark eyes surveyed the affirmative gestures of all of them.

“We may have destroyed Valens, Milaea, Jarys Beast of Myrkr, Bane of Jedi on Ord Mirit, but it is clear such a culture would not risk all its warriors in one place…there must be more…”

He lifted his sabre gently the weight of the Oath he would soon make heavy upon his arm and heart.

“I Swear by the Force that I shall not cease in my Vigilance

I shall ensure I am ready when they arise anew,

I will not hesitate to destroy them by whatever means, at whatever cost necessary

I affirm that the Aetharians represent and existential threat to the Jedi Order and the Republic such that our Oaths to said Jedi Order and Republic may need to be set aside in order to save them”

His sabre lit the darkened room a dull green.

Beside him another knight repeated the Oath…
then another…
and another…

Eleven sabres now filled the room with blazing light.
The Order of the Oath of Vigilance was born.

<<<<>>>>

Anson

It looked ill to rush out of a meeting on the drafting of Security Measures he was pushing so hard to pass, but this was a call Anson D'Aklay needed to take in person.

The image of Jorl'Taf appeared across the secure link.

"You're report," Anson's voice was half snapping in eagerness, Jorl'Taf did not mind well knowing the Arbiters eagerness was not unfounded.

"After some weeks of confusion the Jedi have settled on Yoda as Grand Master as anticipated, and also as expected one of his first acts was to have a large number of files from Kimars time personally sealed."  Jorl'Taf could see the impatience in Ansons eyes even from across the galaxy

"...The crisis commencing with the Night of Madness has been declared ended, the instigators including the Traitor Valens and the Sith of Cygrat Jarys, as well as their confederates were all killed in a Jedi action on Ord Mirit  - however all debriefings have been classified under the Grandmasters hand..."

Anson did not conceal the sneer from his trusted agent
"And our contacts what have they provided,"

"Our most reliable contact...maintains Yoda's line - he is convinced the crisis is finished the perpetrators executed"

That took Anson back, their best contact for many years had been High Sentinel Yshrrk, a better example of Wookie nobility and pragmatism one could not find, as Anson recalled he was kin to a rising member of the Vhal Dan, Ryshhk Khemri who followed in his mould...regardless it was near inconceivable Yshrrk would be party to any kind of cover up...

For a brief moment the pall of darkness that had haunted Ansons meditations seemed to lift, if Yshrrk said the crisis was over there was no Jedi's word he would more readily accept...

But then it struck him

"He was quite convinced...." Anson said slowly understanding clicking in, Jorl’Taf slowly nodded as the Arbiter came to same conclusion Jorl’Taf had after the rendezvous with the Wookie.

"Completely convinced the crisis is passed and not to be discussed under any circumstances Arbiter...."

"I see..." In that moment the Anson understood the two possibilities in play.
The first - whatever happened on Ord Mirit was of such shocking and horrendous terror that even a wookie as honourable as Yshrrk felt the need to conceal it in perpetuity - that was extremely sobering.

The second - which was even worse to contemplate...some one - or something had performed some kind of...manipulation...upon the Grand Master Yoda and High Sentinel Yshrrk and...Every...Other...Jedi...on Ord Mirit - convincing them the crisis was over and to never speak of it. His spine chilled at the thought of what kind of being could be capable of such a feat...and froze stiff in horror at what it was now doing free of the Jedi's attention.

"Arbiter...." Jorl'Taf broke him from his reflections

"...shall I attempt to investigate further...the sages and sentinels you sent after the prior incident remain with me..."

Only a week before he had been faced with a similar dilemma after Jo'Set Mack contacted him then vanished...with the Forcesages he had sent Jorl'Taf could interrogate a Jedi present at Ord Mirit more closely, the Sentinel squad could investigate the planet itself....yet once more he feared the attention that would bring upon the Vhal'Dan – Anson simply did no know enough about this situation, and to try and discover more risked drawing the attention of enemieis the likes of which even a warrior the calibre of Yshrrk was, at the very least, unwilling to speak of - upon the Vhal’Dan.

"No...we fortify Galtea...and hope that our Contacts story was true, and those...things...died on Ord Mirit...."

Hope for the best - plan for the worst. 

Jorl'Taf nodded and disconnected, Anson returned to the legistlative drafting session twice as determined to ensure the Shadows that had assailed the Jedi NEVER set foot on Galtea, and if they did...

….the Vhal'Dan would be more than ready to send them back to Hell from which they came.

<<<<>>>>

Yhum

For the first time he could remember he felt…

Afraid

No,  a Warror does not feel such

initimdated

Yet why should he fear the Avatars of the Gods themselves that had brought him such enlightenment and joy?

Trediation

No he knew what to do and how to do it, he had done such before.

Perhaps it was all three at once in small doses.

His amphistaff curled around his arm as before him four Avatars of the Gods waited for him to begin – his task clear – to teach them Everything – how to think, plan, fight and wage war as Yuzzhan Vong.

They stood unarmoured, unafraid, the Avatar of Yun-Yammaka foremost among them, wounds from destroying Lucovis still pink on their flesh, but seeming to diminish every second.

“To understand how we fight…how we defeat our enemies…” Yhum began

“You must understand this…Life is Pain – only in embracing pain do we know we are alive,”

Valens nodded grimly at the self mutilated warrior who would be his next teacher, Jarys, Melron and Maeson beside him confirming in the aether what he already knew to be true.

“This we understand fully – what is next?”

Yhum struck without warning and the lessons began.

<<<<>>>>

Milaea


They stood in a loose semi-circle before the memorial, surrounded by nine perfectly carved stones.

Kiraea blazing with fiery hate for the outsiders still, eclipsed only by her protectiveness of her own people.

Sofa, once a Jedi now something more true to herself, eternally young and beautiful as she could ever wish to be, and able to indulge herself free of Jedi morality.

Selaena, the fierce mother who would slaughter world after world to avenge the slightest insult to her children…and every Aethan was her child so far as she was concerned, in her Milaea saw the extremes of the beauty and the terror of their culture most vividly.

Lyaea, the fun loving young woman who could move effortlessly between People and Outsiders, more sure of herself and confident in her leadership.

Adaea, ingenious, gentle, kind, her knack for sewing and designing clothes turned to building starships and armour effortlessly by their super human genehanced mind.

Further back the men stood, four solid shadows, unmoving as the mountains in the distance, and just as strong.

Jarys, her biological father, a man whose deep love for his own could be shown in both patient kindness, and beastly fury to those who would threaten them.

Maeson, the simple farmer turned stoic defender of all the others, still waters of grief running deep into reserves of endurance possibly greater than any of the others imagined.

Melron, the old Guardian finally renewed in mind and body after so long wishing he had joined his people in death, now dedicated to learning all he could, taking back his role as lore master, but this time with the express purpose of learning how to emulate then improve upon Outsider methods of war.

And Valens, the Slayer of Masters, victor over two Jedi Grand Masters, a Mak’Tor Master Singer, Sith Goddess and Yuuzhan Vong Prefect, that beside hundreds of Jedi, Darksiders, Sith Alchemy Creations and bounty hunters – notches few if any since Revan could match, yet he couldn’t care less – he was still merely the Goddess Brother, the emergency resource to save the People in their greatest peril by annihilating their enemies and reforging their armies.  Milaea might be greater in raw power, but he was the almost perfect strategist and consummate warrior.   

They all looked to her to set the first scone alight…an implicit desire for her to light their way forward.

Stretching out her hand she sent a flow of blazing red to set the torch alight with ethereal red flames.  The Torch base enchanted to keep the aetheric fire blazing indeinfitely as the other women stepped up to light the rest following her lead.

And yet she couldn’t be their leader, the matriarch they wanted, would not be responsible for the Fate of everyone, only another voice among many. 

Valens would remain first among equals until either she, or another woman, possibly Lyaea, by subtle unspoken consent took the reins.

As the last of the torches blazed the red light cast the sculptures faces into strong contrast, the flickers of the flames seeming to flow luminous tears down the Goddess face. Beneath her cradled in her arms were three figures, two women and a male, fallen and broken, representing all those who had been lost, their faces carved in likeness of her mother Cilina, aunt Shilea and grandfather Old Andis. Made of Ultradense blood and blackstone the memorial would endure as long as any mountain...and as long as the People themselves, a indestructible reminder of their pain.

They would not, could not forget the Devastation, it would always mark them, always haunt them.

Milaea looked to the shimmering stars of the Deep core high above, recalling a moment from her vision of one of the alternate futures, a woman, an Aethan finding a family among Outsiders, the Vhal’Dan…had this still happened? Or had the tides of possibility churned away that reality?

Eyes lit by the stars above and the fires of remembrance below Milaea was determined to find that woman, and any other survivors – recover every Remnant of the Aethans they could - and bring them all Home.

<<<<>>>>
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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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« Reply #288 on: June 13, 2019, 06:46:54 AM »

A fitting end, LSG.   I know you worked on these Aethan stories a LONG time.   I'll bet it feels ... interesting ... to be done.  :-)

And well done.   Thank you.
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« Reply #289 on: June 14, 2019, 09:50:46 AM »

Agreed with Karm: this WAS a fitting epilogue!  I love how even with the Mind Trick affecting everyone, there are still those that suspect.  And with the Jedi Order preparing for the "next Aethan threat" I wonder just how this will influence policy of things to come...

The Easter eggs are such a treat; amongst my favorites were Tnbu, Vectivus, Anson (of course  Cheesy), Li, but ESPECIALLY the revelation that Joset is the Hri Sister's ancestor (I literally cheered at that; GREAT tie-in and provenance for their Dark Singer abilities)!  BRILLIANT!! 

Of course, the Yuuzhan Vong teaching the Aethans their own unique techniques shouldn't be surprising considering the precedent (BTW: the tie-in w/ canon considering the Vong presence in the Uncharted Territories was another enjoyable Easter egg).

OK I DO have ONE point of contention: this had better NOT be the last Aethan story LSG!  There's SO much more to be mined from these characters IMO  Wink   Regardless, standing ovation for yet another remarkable story!
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Maenowan Nexu Master of the Vhal'Dan

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

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« Reply #290 on: June 14, 2019, 11:56:41 PM »

Thanks guys, you may have noticed the Prologue was posted 14 June 2018, Epilogue 12 June 2019 so a long series! But your support and feedback is what makes it worth it!

Now that it is finished would love to get some feedback on the story as a whole especially re

Themes that did/didn’t work – what you would like to see more or less of notably the ‘God or Monster / Angel or Demon’ ambiguity thing did it work well?

Connections/crossovers to EU canon and Forumverse did they work well? Any you’d like to see more of.

Characters and character arcs that did/didn’t work, I’m especially interested in how the B characters (Lyaea, Adaea, Melron, Oma etc.) went in your opinion as I really tried to expand them in this story. Also the arcs for the A characters Soryu,Valens, Milaea, Yoda etc. anything that didn’t work so well, or worked really well.

Pair ups that did/didn't work e.g. Lyaea and Vong, Valens v. Yoda, Milaea and Xithar.

One thing I know from your previous comments is that Xithar/Lucovis was a genuinely scary, disturbing and multidimensional villain which I’m super happy came through – to quote Karm “Yeah, Palpatine was a picnic compared to this one.   Wow.”

And any general tips of writing focus, balance between talking/action etc. my own view is I might have had a few too many ‘side quest’ sections in the middle (J/K with the Sons, S/V with Lyr and the Darksiders)

All feedback appreciated to help improve as I write concurrently RotA (some hints as to where they might visit in Jo Sets section…) and….GotA
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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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Master of Ceremonies
Knight Commander
************

Force Alignment: 911
Posts: 4400


Light side points please.


« Reply #291 on: June 17, 2019, 06:58:14 AM »

One thing that might help is to post a "cast of characters" so that we can keep track better.   Honestly, there were times when I forgot who was who, especially in the secondary characters.  There were quite a few times when I had to back up and remind myself "who is that again?"

The side-line stories is a hard one.   I would take a good hard look at them and decide if they're necessary to drive your main plotline and then include or exclude based on that.   The side-line of the Sons was, ultimately, important to the plot of the overall story, but it might have been worth trimming a bit to include it more just from the Aethan perspective.   Though honestly there didn't seem to be very much dead weight anywhere that I can recall.   It was just a very long and complex story.  :-)   More of a miniseries than a novel. 
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« Reply #292 on: June 17, 2019, 04:18:52 AM »

OK, first:
LSG, this story was EPIC!  It has a sweeping grand narrative that embodies the best of what I love of SW as well as enriching the universe with your own unique components.  Added bonus: we (the reader) have the advantage of a SIGNIFICANT backstory for your characters.  They are NOT two-dimensional, "straw" stand-ins; they are compelling individuals that engage us within the story.  I don't think that I could do such an ambitious project with the level of detail that you did  Smiley

Karm did bring up a valid point: with a troupe as full as yours, a "cast of characters" would be beneficial.  To wit: whenever I write about the Vhal'Dan Congress, I (try to) include a list of the Speakers.  In fact and upon retrospect, I was thinking that I could do a brief character bio/synopsis in a forward whenever I've got multiple POVs in the chapter.  Hmmm...that does give me an idea...

Sorry; back to the matter at hand: I understand as an author when I feel that some part of the piece is absolutely necessary to the overall narrative.  Other times: the devil is in the details and can help the story come to life.  I like Karm's allusion of this story being more a "miniseries than a novel."  Certainly reminds me of when I saw "Shogun" in the 80s as a kid...but then I read the novel.  I remember thinking that there was SO much more that I'd missed with just seeing the show vs. reading the book.  But I also could see WHY some of the scenes were omitted for pacing.  Of course, as said author ( Tongue )I often think about how best to advance the story...and there's the quandary. 

Another point that I felt arose (and was nicely dealt with) was the strength of the Aethans vs. [others].  I was at first worried that the Jedi Order at Myrkr would come off as ineffectual or--more appropriately--useless against Jarys.  But having Ryshhk and Yoda offer a match made the action exciting and kept me glued to the scene.  And then: Lucovis.  What.  A.  Great.  Villain!  Now HERE was an antagonist that not only could go toe-to-toe with Valens but could indeed defeat him! 

...Of course, I'm GLAD that that didn't happen  Wink   But--again--it illustrates the point that these characters are NOT the "boring invincible hero" archetype that I've seen in many books (and don't even get me started with fanfic stories... Can you say "Mary Sue?!"  Wink).  Lucovis not only came off as a legitimate threat, he/she took down almost ALL of the Aethans at once with his/her plan (and an assist from Vectivus)!  That scene is STILL one of my favorites!  My point: the Aethans NEED an antagonist that can threaten them.  I'm reminded of an anecdote: "A challenge is an opponent who is of like or greater skill in contest." 

Thematically: I actually liked the "Gods&Monsters/Angels&Demon" duality.  Without getting into religious overtones, it works particularly well given Xithars/Lucovis' hedonistic nature taken up to 11 with Vong/Aethan biogenetics and Sith alchemy (WHICH reminds me: BRILLIANT narrative devices!).  Drunk with power but without the experience to fully utilize it, Lucovis' final battle came off as believable and organic; no deus ex machina...which I've (again) seen/read with many writers.

Pairings: I felt that you took some chances with the characters.  A few in particular that stand apart: Jarys/Ryshhk, Mili/Xithar, Valens/Yoda, Lyaea/Vong (this one had a nice bit of comic undertones given that she reads as pure Id; the Vong also represent a primal rage/sadomasochism in which the emotional being mesh well), Li/Joset, and Soryu/Yoda.  These were given ample development and were amongst the best relationships of the story, propelling our characters forth in an engrossing set of circumstances that both added to their characterization and the overall narrative (e.g. Li's and Joset's saberbattle which motivates Joset to take on the Dark Side Energies at Ruusan...and that's just ONE example).  But there were others that were lost in the epicness of the story, such as Tok and Jol Boos.  Again, I think that Karm's suggestion of a brief character bio might help.

Overall: an astronomical tale that added to the already incredible Aethan mythology!  I can't wait for the story to continue!  Most of all: thanks for sharing this with us, LSG (and then listening to our feedback  Wink).
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Maenowan Nexu Master of the Vhal'Dan

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

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« Reply #293 on: June 17, 2019, 08:59:08 AM »

Thanks guys, appreciate the feedback will certainly take that on board, a little Dramatis Personae to assist and more focused 'side quests'.
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Lord_S_Gray

Surik: "Kreia, what are you—are you a Jedi, a Sith?"
Kreia: "Does it matter? Of course it does, such titles allow you to break the galaxy into light and dark, categorize it. Perhaps I am neither, and I hold both as what they are, pieces of a whole."

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