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Author Topic: Remnant of the Aether  (Read 21414 times)
Knight Commander

Force Alignment: 306
Posts: 1659

« Reply #300 on: January 17, 2022, 09:51:36 PM »

Chapter 47 — Oblivion Gray —  Aut simul stabunt, Aut simul cadent — Part 3
Execution — 50 Minutes Before the Lus’Phor Holocaust
>>>>Hephaestus Base<<<<
“Engineering report?” Jou glanced at the holo vision that showed the chief engineer and his assistant at their desks.

His leg near spasmed enough to make him tumble but fierce realisation of the imminent threat kept him upright.


He looked down mouth stopped before he could utter a word, a thin blade blacker than the space between stars slipped out of his chest leaving a gluggy puddle of deep green Lymphatic fluids and speckled black with his Phindian oxygen carrying blood equivalent cells behind.

Now he fell…gazing into the bloody backs of two headless ensigns.

Evaea stepped over his corpse, her feet lithe and soundless as her brother delicately inserted the Datanode.

<Control Room secure> she informed the Group-Mind



There was darkness and terror.

Glistening Mirror Orbs based on Lucovis design and perfected with Dathomiri techniques were sent into labs and security posts beside Suppression orbs that soaked all light and sound using the Veil of Shadow technique. 

The first detonated small scale Terror Bombs plunging scientists, staff and security into convulsing nightmares. 

The latter orbs suppressed all light and sound to the point those who resisted the terror orb were bereft of almost all sensory input.

Each orb took an Aethan nearly a week to craft, in five minutes after taking the Control Room they used two thirds of the entire stock the People possessed as the three groups of three wound through each of the laboratory nodes linked to the central hub of Hephaestus base by long tunnels featuring quick lock down Blast Doors and mag rails.

There was heroism and resistance.

Dr. Ngo Buk, a Crolute refugee who had found a home on Galtea and spent the last thirty seven years studying and working to repay the opportunities he had been given, spending decades researching and developing new phase shielding technology.  Fighting out of the nightmare of reliving the slaughter of his shoal in the salt waters of Crul he scrambled to his station desperately inputting the deletion code to deny the enemy any of his lifetimes work.

The Incensed Shadow warrior managed to acquire only 47 per cent before removing every limb the creature had as punishment.

Silver Ren Choba and Professor En-Ki-Ra in Micro Engineering knew it would be fatal, but they had no choice. 

Unsealing the partially completed nanite Quantum-crystalline armour prototype.  Similar to the Prototype Dover-nanite armour provided to the Hamask Ksorallyne Apus, this was integrated with micro fragments of the Oblivion Blackstone used by the Shadows, painstakingly recovered from the Oblivion rod Bombardment craters and fragments scried among the ruins of the Vhal’Dan fleet.   

 En-Ki-Ra helped Ren Choba put it on. 

The nanites that comprised the main suit were held together by a simulacrum of the strong nuclear force generated by micro fields in the nanites core…the current means of creating the field produced gamma radiation at levels fatal to all known sentient life forms – they were yet to find an insulating material effective in microscopic quantities.

there is no death there is the Force

The light and hum of Choba’s saber lost to the Suppression Orb she fought with pure instinct chanting the code like a prayer against the darkness. 

Her blade hit something hard…something harder hit back but glanced off the armour.  Her stomach felt like it was melting.

En-Ki-Ra desperately fired a plasma cutter into the night until durasteel grips tore her arms from their sockets.

Choba fought on for nearly two minutes, the armour taking the Blackstone blades as she wrapped the force so tightly about her none of the telekinetic or lighting attacks could penetrate.

She died not from their blows but extreme gamma radiation poisoning. 

Even for genetically engineered bodies adapted to the extreme radiation of the deep core that fed their radio-synthesis cellular respiration the Aethans were forced to hurl the armour, body still within, back into the rad-shielded chamber as quickly as possible.

Veterans of previous wars made up the bulk of the 52 non Jedi soldiers stationed at Hephaestus base.  16 of them huddled to Gado healer Silver Goshurra who blocked out the Terror Bombs worst waves, their psychological resilience training doing the rest. 

Fortifying the central hub of the BioChemistry and Genetic Laboratory they unleashed disciplined fire wherever the Gado guided their minds with the Force. 

When an Oblivion arrow sliced the Silver’s lanky organ filled limbs to quivering shreds they fought on with plasma bayonet and vibro knife, a last stand hopeless as it was valiant against four Superhuman force users.

Before the last veteran had breathed their last the Aethan squad was called to intercept a large group of scientists being led out in the abyssal dark.

Among the researchers in Cyberwarfare were two Berrite researchers – short four legged and wrinkled skin bellied their intelligence and now crucially their natural sonar guiding rest of the scientists from that and the only remaining laboratory node as the last three of the twelve knights that had been in the base provided a protective cordon against the insipid tendrils of the terror orbs.

The Aethans had not anticipated a sonar ability in a species, a rare oversight that now cost them as prototype weapons taken out of storage and sealed chests were fired off down the straight line of the tunnels at them.

Running along the walls and ceiling they responded with shikkars and precision telekinetic blasts.  A Wave-pulse weapon of some kind managed to knock one of them from the right wall, a flechette weapons firing super-heated blobs forced two more to throw up heavy kinetic shields.

The knights could not assist, already barely standing under the weight of keeping the Terror Bombs knife like blades from their own minds.  Force lighting lanced like beams around the prototype null device three scientists pushed on a wheeled gurney irritating the Aethans further.

Inevitably they got within melee range, frustrated and furious.

Like so many of their comrades across Galtea the four knights learned what a frustrated Aethan could do to a tired Vhal’Dan.


>>>>Istic Fortress ‘Nurhls Den’<<<<

 In addition to the Cataphracts who remained hidden in re-enforced tunnels were nine Aspirants and over two dozen Vhal’Dan regulars who sprung into action as the bombardment quieted, clambering up ruined sections to reach the drop pods and destroy them.

In their Heavy plate three Aspirants reached the first two pods just as the metal fronts blew open, two shadowed figures sweeping out at the speed of darkness.

In most respects identical to fully initiated Cataphracts, the Aspirants did not wear any seasoned legacy pieces of armour, only new manufactured suits - they lacked the Force Callous and Dover catalyst Force resistance of their superiors.

Aethans instantly recognised and punished this severely.

The first Triad was overwhelmed in seconds.

The ‘thin’ shadow warrior juggled a blazing blue fire katana and two maser pistols, ducking and weaving like a street fighter in and around the Aspirants.  where their more cautious Zweihander forms managed to catch him out the Second Shadow - the ‘thick’ one bashed them back with incredible strength, any attempt to down him met with indifferent parries.

The Pirate and the Shepherd had come far - one a disobedient, traumatized freebooter, the other the cybernetic pawn of a Black Sun Vigo mentally suppressed by neuro-anesthetic drugs.   

Now they were Warriors of the People, Taryn as quick as he was unpredictable, Lydan tough as he was relentless.

Re-enforced the Aspirants struck hard as the could, the already damaged section of the Fortress erupting in horizontal blizzards of laser and micro missile fire, the air thick with dust and vaporized metal, the endless crunch of boots on rubble broken by the crackle of Force Lighting pouring from Aethan finger tips that crackled into armour joints and boiled skin and muscles sending aspirants tumbling or seizing up.

The second ‘landing zone’ unleashed three more Shadow Warriors moments before the Aspirants arrived  Jarys, Kiraea, and Melron needed little time to crush the would be Cataphracts.

One Aspirant was simply packed into a ball a third of his normal volume by Kiraea’s vindictive kinetic hate, another had his head cleaved in a single stroke by Jarys swift and strong blade, a third shouldered to the ground by the Old Man who viciously stomped the chest with shatterpoint energy till it cracked and burst his organs out of the seams.

The Vhal’Dan fought, and like so many of their fellows over the last months, died impotently cursing the Shadow Warriors.

Nurhl felt every death, his jaws suppressing a growl as he waited trusting the Force and the Kage’s plan.

Our forces will put up a strong fight…but they will lose…then, when our enemies are fatigued and lazy in victory and theft…your Cataphracts will strike  the Kages words repeated like a soothing mantra in his mind over and over.

Resistance slowed, the last of the aspirants nobly stood against Taryn and Lydan, blue zweihanders swiping as they circled with confidence, before Taryn feinted and Lydna’s Naginata swept the Aspirants feet from his legs, the indifference of the follow up telekinetic neck snap an insult to the Aspirants efforts.

The Aethan force strode through the rubble into the mid levels of the Fortress that were still largely intact, brushing past sparking severed power cables and gasping ventilation tubes.

“Find the Vaults,” Kiraea ordered the younger men as her Aetheric sight from one Miraluka heritage fixed on the pulsing beacon of the Holocron of Xinis’zo they had come to claim.

“We’ll get the Holocron,”



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."

Knight Commander

Force Alignment: 306
Posts: 1659

« Reply #301 on: January 17, 2022, 09:53:55 PM »

Chapter 47 — Oblivion Gray —  Aut simul stabunt, Aut simul cadent — Part 4
Anticipation — 45 Minutes Before the Lus’Phor Holocaust
>>>>Hephaestus Base<<<<
The waves died down. The Resistance was over.  Hephaestus' base had fallen.

The pill was bitter, Ravra Påx Crion Master Gray and Primus of Triad Esk felt sick, her Triad, Rana and Rena, Barabel twins beside her in the cramped emergency escape tunnel responded through their meld with grim determination and an understanding that for the brood to survive some must die.

Ravra knew this, but it did not make it easy.  She had a litter mother’s compassion, a strength to balance the more…reptilian Darwinism of her Triad, a perfect combination in to choose when to save the one and when to focus on the many.

After insertion through the escape hangar the Tribi positioned mid way through the tunnels that lead to the base proper.  In the dark backs pressed against the exposed cables and damp of the rock beneath the frozen seas they senses the tremors in the Force above them.

It made the Cathar woman angry, gave her focus.  But the Tribus needed balance or the tension might cause the battle meld that even now flowed like silver through their minds to become brittle with anxiety.

Ravra provided it thinking on Midge.

Woe to the Shadow Warrior that has to face a Wookie Cataphract with short sentient syndrome in a rage… Ravra added through the meld to the rest of the nine members of her Tribus.

Rana and Rena suppressed hissing laughter, the ‘diminutive’ Wookie Silver Knight Ostooloruu Wuurich, Primus of Triad Herf, was curmudgeonly at the best of times, this waiting and inaction as others died would set him feral…

Midge’s rages were a running joke even he participated in, none of them were small, physical requirements for becoming a Cataphract such he could not be anything but the burly solid Wookie he was, but compared to others of his species he was below average, giving him an above average chip on his shoulder.

The levity allayed the tension for a moment, Ravra’s motherly instinct to keep the peace and promote calm among the Troika had seen her take the unofficial role of Clan mother.

<Move up to the entrance, prepare> Ya’Qul of Triad Besh instruction seeped into their minds like mercury, the consummate professional always quick to the point.

His own Triad moving silently through the ever more narrow tunnels.  These had been designed for emergency escape now used for insertion.

His armour scraped along the edges, the ancient plate had a recent matt finish applied along with other enhancements from the Vhal’Dan Sages to increase the armours innate resistance to Force attacks built over centuries and enhanced by the Kewda harvested Dover Catalyst – dampening if not eliminate Force Lighting and Fire the Shadows used with shocking intensity/

Pressing right up to the concealed door he did not open it, but took a breaching charge from a pouch – placing it on the door way, the micro-thermal detonator on the ring shaped charge would devastate anyone on the other side.

The mission was first to eliminate the Shadows, or at least ensure they did not acquire anything of value, if it meant destroying the research then that was a price the Kage was willing to pay.

The mag clamped locked and the charge beeped ready.  The Tribus battle meld was poised to strike.

<In Three…>


>>>>Lus’Phor - Nishalorite Veins<<<<
“Do you think the Kage is going to face their Leader? Without us I mean. The Kage is tough, no doubt, still  Seems to me the Kage should have a Tribus with him at all times…”

The incessant chatter of Secundus Koawan Kamrdes Henslou, the Togruta scout and sniper of Triad Jenth incongruously with his deathly silence once the battle began. 

“The Kage is with the Collegium,” Chimi-Mal-wel Primus of Triad Cresh replied more than happy to take up the conversation - Corellians Primus Alfalex near sighed. The Collegium was an anachronism giving power to shadow lurkers like Speakers J’Nessah Raanh and Pytir Danisen, disgraceful career politicians who would be excess weight in the super-compact core of a Maw Black hole.

A single strong ruler was needed, everyone else submitting to the appropriate chain of command emanating from this central delegator, a being who understood that defence and war was the critical function of the State.  A man like Kage D’Aklon.

“Come on Alfa the Collegium are not all that bad,” Chimi quipped, sensing his silent brooding.  The tall Corellian raised in the scums of that world notorious for its ill disciplined pilots and crews was the very antithesis of the rigid Cathar Primus, a fact reflected in their Triads differing tactical styles.

“They’ll make perfect sport for the Shadows, lots of practise running and hiding,” Koawan Kylista Jachowa, Secundus of Cresh noted dryly, the never healed pink burn scars from a coaxium explosion that marred her olive toned face glistening in the artificial light - her dour tone forgivable for any who knew what she had suffered being ‘patched up’ without anesthetic after the explosion by a Corellian Ripper-Doc.

Koawan Darjor Enn, Tertius of Triad Cresh - to Alfa at least - ‘Lil Nern’ to his Triad - merely grunted a half chuckle at the thought of Pytir thrown by his viper wife J’nessa, fins flailing in front of the Shadows - a mental image shared by Kylista through the Corellians bond.

All three Corellian ‘Creshers’ had been saved from the gutter of Corellia by Vilhynn Soban - while a mentor to many none were taken so closely under his wing than those three, like a father and three children, hence ‘Little Nern’ - Little Brother despite Darjors 2 meter height.

“I thought we were here to stop them getting to the Collegium and the Kage…” Henslou continued to muse even as he scanned through CCTV feeds for any movement, leaning against the natural wall of the crystal cave.

Tertius of Jenth Luucadri ah-Marq simply kept an eye on the body language of all his comrades, even stymied by the bulk of Cataphract armour his tuned native skill could see dispositions behind the words.

The ‘Clergy’ of Triad Isk lead by Qaman’Xa were in a small circle Mediating, focus absolute though exactly what metaphysical abilities they were preparing al-Marq couldn’t tell, the posture of the Kel-Dor Bol-Nos and
 appeared confident. He never bothered trying to work out the Aing’Tii Qaman’Xa anymore.

Alfa and Kylista seemed reserved but eager for the fight, their postures forward and eyes constantly seeking the entrance ways for motion. 

Henslou was nervous, he’d lost a number of friends to the Shadows in their first brutal attacks - though given his jovial disposition and generosity in buying drinks - everyone was Henslou’s friend - it would not affect his performance, still the former Blademaster candidate didn’t relish facing the Shadows.

Chimi was calm, for her it was all part of the Conscious Living Force Plan - her syncretic belief that mingled Force Spiritualism with Maker-Monotheism - perhaps the only way she could rationalise the vast change in her life from scumrat to Cataphract.

As for ah-Marq himself...he was curious - he wanted to see if he could read the Shadow warriors more than the brief glances allowed - really understand them - other Vhal’Dan had tried, certainly the Strategists in the general staff spent countless hours analysing their actions, but to understand an enemy the Lorrdian knew you had to see them, face to face.

What excited and terrified Al-Marq was just what would he see behind those Oblivion masks?

“Partially,” Alfa addressed Henslou’s query

“But based on all tactical analysis there is no way to avoid a confrontation, the Shadows have proven too creative and resilient, they will reach the Kage and Collegium - it is only a matter of time. The Kage however has made sure that occurs at a time and place of his choosing,” The Cathars voice full of a belief in D’Aklon that bordered on hero worship and radiated in his stance.

“I think that time is coming soon…” Lil’Nern whispered blue eyes narrowing down the far corridor seeing beyond sight, locking his helmet on the room seemed to dim as his blonde hair and beard were obscured.

Alfa was quickly up, tactical pattern Aurek-4 scrolled across Marq’s screen along with wayfinders, the Cathars precision positioning leaving nothing to chance.

A blue aura of light began to glow around the Clergy that radiated serenity and calm.

“Get ready to Corellian Cresh Crash the Party,” Chimi jibed in stark contrast.


>>>>Istic Fortress ‘Nurhls Den’<<<<
Eyeless sight witnessed after images of students and masters through the undercroft of the Librarium Sapientia.   Koawan Alulat Kabdhilinan sat in the chill empty rows of cabinets on gliding mag sleds in their hundreds still slightly swaying from the orbital bombardment.

The Miralukan ‘looked’ through the durasteel bar wrapped around his face, the  ancient Steel taken from the hallowed, and cursed, world of Katarr, a Miralukan colony decimated by a Sith Lord.  On pilgrimage in his youth he took the shard as a constant reminder of horrors war and insatiable desire could bring and a potent artefact enhancing his near future flashes.

The tall armored figure of Koawan Eirtaé Vor-Rue strode through the opening between heavy compactors, most completely divested of their contents in anticipation of the attack.

The charcoal skinned dark haired Yashuvi - a near human race with strong shamanistic force traditions - Eirtae- scryed a different layer of reality.  Alulat saw past and future, Eirtae saw the physical and metaphysical now more deeply, strands of energy and pockets of existence few could comprehend. 

The third member of Triad Qek, Maenowan Agemean Villados stood silent sentinel over them both.  They were the Triads Vision of the now, then and soon, combined into the battle-meld with herself acting as an intersection to achieve unparalleled acuity.

“Anything, handsome?” She asked the Miraluka as the Yashuvi wandered following paths Villados only saw when deep in the meld.

Alulat sighed at the jibe, he was, from what those with electro-magnetic spectrum sight told him, handsome.  Such physical beauty he could not see was of little matter, the joke stuck nonetheless.

“A shadow, growing at the edge of my vision...they are coming...if slowly...cautious perhaps…”

A handful of Vhal’dan had developed an ability to sense the Shadows, a sickly hollow thing to Primus Villados gut that seemed gritty and earthy - risen from the soil with as much sentience as an animal.

Alulat’s micro-flashes rarely extended beyond a minute into the future, a tactical advantage in a fight, but rarely enough to lay a comprehensive trap.

“Helms on,” Villados ordered, sweeping her red hair back into its usual tight bun and grasping her cataphract helm.  In the eye lens she saw her reflection, her clan’s qukuuf of a thunderbird on her forehead and two small "wings" below each of her brown eyes marking her ancestry as a Kiffar proudly.   

She oft thought Triad Qek a perfect reflection of the Vhal’dan, three different cultures, three different talents - her own in psychometry common among her people, brought together in a positive synergy.

Eirtae paused at the one cabinet in which an item of power still resided, gentle teal waves spun about the non-Euclidean ‘nonahedron’ that was weighty on the metaphysical plane and troubling to look at visually in how it seemed to warp dimensions.

The Holocron of Xinis-zo was unique as the Aing-Tii himself, the first of the species to join the Vhal’Dan  centuries before, his reason for leaving the Kathol Rift sacred to his species obscure as the lessons he had given. The only certainty was his incredible wisdom and ability to comprehend multiple layers of reality. 

Xinis’zo was the ancestor, or possibly mentor - the nature of Aing-Tii familial and personal relations remaining mysterious - of Varel-zo the far more well known master of the Vhal’Dan, and master of the True Kage Anson D’aklay. 

The Kage had given Nurhl this holocron knowing the Shadows would come for it, knowing the sacrifices of lives.

A shadow fell and darkened all the realms Eirtae could see, Alulat stiffened and rose from his kneeling position.

Villados locked her helm in place, the HUD flickering on showing all systems on her Cataphract armour nominal, her hand falling the hilt of her Beskar Breaker - the venerable Balmung, a blade that had taken the heads of a dozen sith on Ruusan and responded to her innate psychometry with memories of victory and a thrumming desire to engage once more the enemies of the Vhal’dan.

It would soon have it’s chance.



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."

Knight Commander

Force Alignment: 306
Posts: 1659

« Reply #302 on: January 17, 2022, 09:54:26 PM »

Chapter 47 — Oblivion Gray —  Aut simul stabunt, Aut simul cadent — Part 5
>>>>Hephaestus Base<<<<
“Three aint it?” Jenaea crouched staring into the black whorls of the Givin Yandar Huhl’s eyes.

“The special answer to your mathematical greeting nerfshell,”

Doctor Huhl, administrator and Chief Science office of Hephaestus base made no reply, Jenaea slapped the pallid white face.

Yielding no reaction she stood checking the surroundings again, her impeccable danger sense quieted for now. 

They had brought the 32 surviving scientists – the guards, knights and support workers all eliminated – to the atrium in the Central hub for mind delving.  There had been 98 scientists, some died in the crossfire, more were left brain dead by the Terror Orbs and put out of their misery.

The Mirror like Terror Orbs and Light Eating Shadow Orbs were placed in a sealed chest, their energy utterly spent in the first wave.  Kassyndra now unclasped the second chest, full of Memory Orbs to extract the scientist’s memories twelve at a time.  They had only twenty four such orbs across all their forces, the commitment was vast, but the payoff would be great. 

They had secured valuable prototypes, art, artefacts and research pillaging as they retook Galtea for Kazic - but Hephaestus base offered far more.

Huhl tried to remain calm, but her mind was still reeling from experiencing what seemed like weeks of terrifying visions of being tortured…she knew it was only a Force based hallucination…but still…

“Here’s the deal, dingbats!” Jenaea declared loudly sitting on a large retaining wall, a cluster of weeping Orlon trees behind her beneath the artificial lights of the high ceiling.

“You play nice and keep your mind open and this will all be over in a few minutes...try and fight it…well if you thought those first dreams were bad….”

Huhl glanced around the other bound and gagged prisoners, she knew all these beings, she did not doubt their loyalty or desire to resist for an instant…but many were still lolling barely coherent…they could not resist if they wanted to.

Kassyndra brought the first orbs before the frontline of Scientists, the most senior and able would be drained first, their knowledge would strengthen the People greatly, she rejoiced in setting the pre-enchanted orbs to assault their minds one by one.

Evaea remained in the shadows nearby.

She had been placed in charge of this operation with a force of seven, and was determined to atone for her failure against the Triarch.

The first scientists being drained she issued instructions for her team to sweep the rest of the base for more valuable tech and prototypes.

Taran, Maeson and Evyn would focus on Biochemistry and Genetics, Jenaea and Kassyndra on Robotics and Nanotechnology, Adaea working her magic downloading data files by the terabyte from the servers in the Cyber warfare division.

She glanced across the vast room full of plants and water features, small stalls for food and tables for dining where the scientist once spent their off time to the mag rail station where the locations were listed.

She checked the HUD chrono - already they had plundered the Polymer labs and Synthetic materials divisions, but were behind schedule, resistance had been high, encryptions on drives strong.  And something else…

<Jenaea, Kassyndra…do you sense anything off…> the firsts danger sense built on avoiding a slave masters whip, and the latter's seior arts were valuable assets in avoiding conflict.

The last of the first twelve scientists collapsed, their memories draining into the orbs as Kassyndra sent her mind forward…there was…jagged tears in the immediate future…the image had been, however clumsily distorted.

Jenaea too began to feel a tingle of cold that had nothing to do with the compressed arctic temperatures of the sea around them.

<Something...from below…>

Evaea needed no more warning.


The sealed blue white medical hatch hissed open, Taran untwining the cables of the auto slicer form where he had torn the panel from the door controls.

It was hard to remember and learn things, but he was improving, so long as his connection to the others remained intact he could draw on their memories.

Already behind two check points and three blast doors, this was the most secure of the Biochemsitry and Genetics work areas.

Maeson and Evyn were bulk slicing and copying data from every workstation, projects such as non-bacta based rapid tissue regeneration patches, enhanced cybernetic grafting, neuro suppressive micro virus gases and an exponential growth low water required nutro-algae for producing basic victuals in even the most arid of environments, and possibly most valuable neuro-nanite quantum entanglement connection systems used by the Hamask Ari had defeated.

Before him were two banks of workbenches, large inset advanced microscopes, state of the art needle like Cellular slicing and assembly arms behind plasteel containment shields, centrifuges and refrigerators along the walls…and at the far end three large biostasis tubes filled with bubbling clear bacta.

In the first was a fist sized embryo, the second a 40 centimetre long underdeveloped infant, and in the third a hideous malformed child, the height of a four or five year old but still with the chubbiness of an infant.

<Evyn in here…this is unusual…> 

The younger man was there in an instant moving to the computers, Taran inserting the slicer into the universal port, Adaea and Evyn’s latest hacking tool working rapidly in combination with his own fingers on the keyboard and touch pad overriding Vhal’Dan lockout systems and anti-malware.

The older Aethan drew heavily on Evyns memories to keep focused, his frustrating inability to solidify new memories a constant pest through the war. 

Finally the scrolling basic code was replaced with the actual scientists work folders.  In the space of seconds he opened dozens of files on three levels of consciousness absorbing the information then cross referencing with what Evyn was reading across the room for another console.

It was a log of genetic analysis upon an advanced and highly complex organism…the sequence was reconstructed not from the actual source but from…

Hair sample - obtained University of Vhal’Uhladv 22/14
Hair Sample – obtained Cir-Lan Macias Memorial Training salle 21/17
Skin Sample – obtained Cir-Lan Macias Memorial Training salle 28/19
Blood Sample – obtained Vhal’Uhldav Residential Tower 55-B sewerage line 547th floor 1/22

There were dozens more, he frantically passed through reports detailing analysis of the gene sample, efforts to fully reconstruct it, internal holo-mails where the scientists wondered what they were trying to achieve, replies from the Arbiter that it was critical to the defence of the Galtea and reminders of their Oaths, Advanced Gene growth models and predictive software, more holomails frustration they could not determine the purpose of long sequences of the helix asking for additional samples…none were available, insistence from the Arbiter they progress…the only option was to use what they had to produce more via cloning…

Finally he found the earliest records, the only ones that recorded the Genetic Templates names.

His fists clenched, Aertemisin flooded his body in rage that as a Guardian he knew only too well how to use.

Progenitor/Template: Areasea K’aval

Eyes burning with aetheric energy he looked again at the abominable creatures in the bio-stasis tubes, mentally blank, malformed attempts to replicate the perfection of an Aethan woman.

Righteous Fury tensed his muscles, he felt the deep instinctual need to Punish someone or something for this sacrilege….

He didn’t have long to wait.

Before he could unleash his rage on the abominations the wall beside Evyn exploded outward.

Bursting through the crack Ostooloruu Wuurich roared barely coherent oaths to drag his enemies to the Shadow Lands of Kashyyyk as booted feet smashed into the medical white tiled floors.

Taran screamed in primal fury at the repeated violations of Aresaea the debris and flame wafting off his oblivion armour. 

Neither even paused to assess the enemy before leaping.



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."

Knight Commander

Force Alignment: 306
Posts: 1659

« Reply #303 on: January 17, 2022, 09:55:49 PM »

Chapter 47 — Oblivion Gray —  Aut simul stabunt, Aut simul cadent — Part 6
Engagement — 40 Minutes Before the Lus’Phor Holocaust
>>>>Hephaestus Base<<<<

Micro missiles burst off Wuurich’s back exploding in the air as they hit telekinetic punches Taran peppered the air with, those that missed bounced off the legacy armour as beam lasers from Wuurich gauntlets were soaked by Taran’s energy absorption ability and fleck back to him as lighting.

In the midst of blue arcs and red lasers the two enormous bodies crashed into each other.  Their roughly equal masses and velocity slammed together in a shockwave that buffeted the cataphracts breaching to the sides.

Each was astounded the other did not fall, so used to being far heavier than most opponents – Wuurich, or Midge, might be short - for a Wookie - but his burly frame was encased in storied Cataphract armour nearly doubled his weight.

Almost bouncing off each other they each grasped their blade, Midge Zweihander a treasured relic since the New Sith Wars burnt an azure inferno from the cortosis-beskar alloy hilt, the vast size of the blade had intimidated many a foe. 

Taran, shorter but abyssal black sword for a brief moment had that exact effect on Midge – he had read the briefings, seen the picts, but to see it now swinging in a whirlwind over the Shadow Armoured monsters head was something to behold. 

Midge relished the challenge.

The Zweihander slashed up with all his fresh strength as Taran’s momentum building twirl slashed straight down.

The clash of blades was near cataclysmic on both their shoulders and elbows, genetic design and power armour micro stabilisers only just able to compensate for the enormity of the force ratcheting back through their frames.

The initial breach had been right beside Evyn, his armour took the bulk of the shock, and even as he was thrust back he was dipping into the Veil of Shadow.  While Taran and an enormous armoured being that smelled of Wookie brutalized each other Evyn slid round behind the two tanks of power armour that had accompanied the Wookie. 

Evyn had one shot before detection – he positioned himself just within reach of both them and struck.

His right hand sword’s Phase enchantment activated with a burst of the aether, the pulse too strong to hide,  his left hand held his Hades Rifle right up to the small of the Cataphracts back where his eidetic memory had records was where the main power system was located.

They pivoted sensing the aether use as the blade transitioned for 0.0002 seconds out of phase with the Baryonic universe into pure Aetheric energy and penetrated straight through the Cataphract armour into the spine behind as he fired Hades rifle into the others back.

Success was mitigated – sword cut through less deeply than hoped, the rifle shots stymied by ablatve plating - Dover Catalyst in both cases filling the void.

Silver Knight Arrbis felt a blinding sting in his spine, a cut that felt as if ripped into the fabric of his soul and was now bleeding the Force.

Koawan Inji HUD went haywire as primary power was lost, secondary batteries kicking in and impacts on his back staggered his footing.

Both warriors spun Zweihanders ablaze - Teal and Red to strike at the source of the attack that now appeared like phantom despite the retching damage they had just taken.

Evyn avoided the first unsteady blows quickly dancing across the work benches as they pursued gaining confidence and momentum as he fired his rifle and hurled refrigerators and microscopes into their path leaving a trail of destruction added to every time a Zweihander blow missed him by millimetres.

Taran and Midge wrestled in the unrelenting, almost sacrosanct, tradition of single combat, the Wookie interspersing blade work with telekinetic hammers and micro tugs that the Oblivion Armour ate when Taran didn’t avoid them directly.

Between each thrust or slash Taran burst lighting from his body, the Cataphract armour repelling half the energy and taking superficial damage from the rest.

Less than a minute since the breach they had traded three dozen blows of blade on sabre, ricochet thundering through their bodies, the tremors reverberating when the other scored one of the half dozen armour compromising hits.

Taran sought out the shatterpoint lines near where he had cut looking to inflict a larger breach then noticing in the cracked aetheric vision his Claymore was now replete with micro fractures.

Midge hammered down, darting his vibro knife into the mix, the blade turned to molten slag by his opponents pulsing lighting shield mid air. The Wookies HUD indicated power amrour micro-motors were overloaded or non-functional, his Zweihanders battery down to 60 percent capacity forced to increase power to match the Blackstone Claymore.

They ground each other down without resolution, the once pristine organised work desks and high end medical machinery now a waste land of lighting scorched telekinesis flattened wreckage. 

Inji and Arrbis pursued the Evyn through the large doorway to the main Lab, never relenting streams of laser fire, launching their last micro missiles.

Evyn’s precision shots from his rifle targeted their armour joints, Hades bolts heating and slowing their movement as he lured them to Maeson.

The older Aethans Hades repeater unleashed from behind cover - faster lower impact phirk projectiles set Zewihanders sizzling, deflecting the shots as Arrbis felt himself slip toward fainting from the Phase blades Soul cut.  Inji knew his comrade would not last long.

Nor would Midge, 80 seconds of fighting and his arms were weighty with lactic acid, knowing the Shadows endurance was beyond a seasoned knight and where they didn’t kill instantly they ground their enemies to the dust.

Evyn spun back as Maesons fire forced the Catpahracts into cover, two onto one they would soon decimate them. 

Taran sensed his enemy weakening, parries barely deflecting his blows.  Evyn closed back in teleport shunting like a phantom between the Cataphract shots, positioning to point blank blast the already sizzling and dented cataphract armour.

88 seconds, all the stubbornness a grouchy Wookie could muster hammered into Taran’s sword, the impact shattering the Blackstone Claymore with a burst of aetheric blue, the top third cracking off as the Wookie Howled. 

Taran sent the fragments telekinetically at his enemies joints as the walls between the main blast doors to the clone and main labs burst apart.

A toothy predatory grin  spread on Midge's face.

90 seconds - Triad Besh arrived.


>>>>Istic Fortress ‘Nurhls Den’<<<<
Maser shots rang off the pulsing silver zweihander blade as Taryn rushed forward, katana twirling leaving a trail of aetheric flame before crashing on a solid guard.
They moved through six clashes each doubling in intensity as they sounded the other before the final crushing twist sent Taryn skidding across the floor for the second time in as many minutes.
“So that's how it’s gonna be...” he sniffed, hopping straight up for another round, this time skirting the edges of the long corridor that led to the unyielding Vault deep beneath Istic Fortress where the most precious of the Cataphracts relics were housed.
Master Gray Vilhynn Soban could not fault his opponents persistence, nor skill, but the attempted flank attack ended the same way - Taryn half a corridor away clutching his stomach, Soban once more impressed the boy had - however narrowly - avoided a fatal blow.
Jumping up undaunted, Taryn punched the air and danced like a boxer, the young Aethan wondering why the Cataphract didn’t follow up. 
“Just getting started Big Show, youth and speed...”
“Are no match for experience and treachery” Melron interjected, coming through the ruined ceiling Taryn had collapsed to reach the Vault.
Melron stared at Soban for a moment before speaking.
“Join the others son, I’ll handle this”
Taryn had finally learned when not to argue with his elders.

“Alright yeah” the pirate pointed to Soban
“You got lucky this time Big Show”

“Kids”, Melron sighed, opening himself for his opponent to see.

Soban couldn't suppress a grin as he felt out the man striding toward him - a warrior who had seen his world destroyed, beliefs upturned and spent decades after fighting himself in denial and defeat before finally mastering his emotions.
A man Soban could respect and empathize with. 
“You’ve already decided this is your last day” Melron stated feeling out Soban in turn.
“We'll both die well against a worthy foe, having no regrets,” Soban replied, firming his stance and honouring his last foe with a salute raising his silver saber that stood in contrast to the onyx inlay of the corridor leading to the Vaults.

Subtly he also used the blink control on his HUD to administer another dose anaesthetics, stimulants and solvents intravenously to deaden the pain of his aching limbs, replace consumed catalyst proteins and clear cellular waste faster than his body naturally could. 

It was no panacea, he had been unable to follow up on the younger man and finish him due to the pain, but it was enough to keep him upright and partially mobile - for now - enough to fulfil his mission -  Protect the Vault. 

Here he stood, and here he would die, the only question was how many Shadow Warriors he could drag down with him.

In response to Soban’s salute Melron nodded as respectfully as an Aethan could toward an Outsider, firming his grip on his oblivion blade.

“Die well, Vhal'dan”



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."

Knight Commander

Force Alignment: 306
Posts: 1659

« Reply #304 on: January 17, 2022, 09:56:40 PM »

Chapter 47 — Oblivion Gray —  Aut simul stabunt, Aut simul cadent — Part 7
>>>>Lus’Phor - Nishalorite Veins<<<<
<Anything of note?> Karintha asked her niece.  Yorna’s ebullient curiosity for all things manifested in heightened observational skills.

<Only the echoes of the mining of the one has passed through here since then - that I can sense>

Ari ahead remained resolute, forward past crates full of blank Kyber in storage bay 13-Besh - the crystals a glassy sense in the aether they spun between columns, crouched in hollows and crawled along ceilings using light suppressing aether blasts.

<Saani is close…> Ari said as they paused at the blocky hazard striped doors to exit Storage Bay 13-Besh and enter Gallery 13-Zorn.
<Through there…>

They had sought a ‘back door’ to where her mother was held , avoiding Ansons forces occupying the higher levels of the mines.

Suits powered down, force presence suppressed to the tiniest points, the Cataphracts felt the first electric shudders of their danger sense.

No traps or barriers beyond the mine's standard locks the Aethan women entered cautiously into the large natural chamber, shimmering Kyber locked in insulated crate all they could sense.

<Looks like they made off with half> Yorna concluded scanning the room

<Perhaps they didn’t have room, or time to take any more>   

Given the devastation they had wrought on Anson’s forces, and his mustering in another sector of the moon it was plausible.

Still Karintha tried swept for more details yet the ubiquitous Kyber was all she could sense clearly, the aether bouncing off the crystals causing her mind's eye to ‘squint’.

It was why they had chosen this location for the Ambush - Alfa began the countdown

Yorna saw in the rock dust an oversized footprint
The strata on a patch of the rocky exposed cavern wall seemed to Karintha too straight.
Without delay from behind that illusionary wall Secundus Henslou fired with deadly precision.

Three Hardened Diamond rounds spun with a muffled puff from his sniper rifles straight at a Shadow Warriors head.

Lyaea snapped back, one shot missed, one grazed -  the last ground into the Blackstone, through cushioning and under layers, boring into the side of her skull.

As Lya dropped, Lil’Nerns Turbo laser opened up on Yorna, an endless stream of blazing fire at 100 rounds per second, the first dozen sunk into her torso flash burning near air and turning the blackstone a ruddy heated red as she teleported shunted away - Straight into the Corellian Cresh Crash.

From both flanks Chimi and Kylista burst in a flurry of beskar-breaker heavy Ataru lunging swipes and micro missiles while Lil’Nern advanced his cannon never stopping - chewing the far wall to bubbling shreds of melted rock.

Karintha quickly summoned her potent powers in Malacia and Illusion, the red energy building primed to disorient and poison the enemy when a shard of pure white metaphysical glass lanced her mind.

Qaman’xa was hovering in the air over her Triad, the Clergy’s mental focus on denying the witch as they advanced.

Ari ignited her sabers spinning into Bol-Nos and Ngyys micro missiles and laser fire as she tried to reach the fallen Lyaea.

Shock and surprise were not in Aethan emotional range, the instead the reached the limits of their roughly equivalent sense of ‘novelty’ as Yorna scrambled to avid cannon and zweihanders, incredible dexterity pulling her bow, telekinetic coordination sending shikkars at the Cataphracts.

The glass blades even with a hardening enchantment shattered against the heavy armour, Oblivion arrows punctured but got stuck in the Force Calloused plate.
Lil’nern took three of the black arrows, one bounced of ablative plasma, one cutting through to shoulder and shallow into the muscle, the third into his chest plate came perilously close to his heart before it lost momentum.

Chimi and Kylista reached Yorna as she pulled her sword, blackstone blade burning blue with her families fire enchantments to smash into the hell red of Chimi’s blade, Kylista swept in from beneath to hack at her legs.

Alfa rushed to finish Lyaea, zweihander blazing to sever the head as Honslou fired round after round into the fallen Aethans body to keep her down,  al-Marq skirted the edges observing the body closely...something was not right about it...

“ILLUSION” his voice untied with his will pounding through the Triads battle meld, Alfa pivoting at the last second to catch Ari’s purple sabers against his blue blade - Qaman’Xa’s focus completely on countering Karintha, Ari’s illusion of Lyaea’s body had succeeded long enough for her to get up. His blades locked Alfa missed the second of the Lyaea’s short sword plunge under his guard and up into the gap between chest piece and gorget.

Lyaea pushed the blade deep and fuelled it with her pain.  The diamond bullet was in her skull, just poking into her Parietal lobe before she could arrest its momentum with the aether leaving her woozy..

Alfa grunted as he felt the blade scratch his furred chest and hammered a force push to send Lyaea sprawling, al-Marq straight onto her.

Karintha staggered eyes blazing hate at the levitating Primus of Triad Isk.
<Stone Skinned Mage> she growled telepathically as red energy flared around her
<Witch-Matriarch> the Aing-Tii replied

The Matriarch drew her sword and half flew through the air at the Aing-Tii, daggers and grenades flying in advance, dismissively cast aside by Qaman’Xa.

In mid air Matriarch and Maenowan clashed in a battle of mettle and mind.



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."

Knight Commander

Force Alignment: 306
Posts: 1659

« Reply #305 on: January 17, 2022, 09:57:11 PM »

Chapter 47 — Oblivion Gray —  Aut simul stabunt, Aut simul cadent — Part 8
Engagement — 35 Minutes Before the Lus’Phor Holocaust
>>>>Istic Fortress ‘Nurhls Den’<<<<
The orb on her hip thrummed as it got ever closer to the linked source.

They wove quickly and quietly through the abandoned corridors in the wide midsection of Istic fortress just above where foundations reached into the deep rock of the mesa it was built upon.

There was no damage from their forceful entry here, and with the last protectors gone and Ansons’ forces on Lus’phor the only resistance were the handful of painfully slow - for Aethan neurology and reflexes - traps.

Shifting corridors had impeded them for a time, but Maser and Jarys shoulder tackles cleared many of these, the petty outsiders' durasteel pliable as reeds for Aethan genehanced strength. 

While Frellick-Face Kazic had agreed to handover whatever they wished after the war, neither she, Karintha nor Valens trusted him to do so - the most valuable items were held by the enemy.  So she had to take them herself.

Jarys just behind paused pressed against a doorway.  They could not sense traps or ambushes, the Cataprhacts dealt with so far were the dregs of their order after Taryn's space raid had wiped the bulk out.

She was growing bored with stalking around and terrifying little Koawans and petulant Maenowans before placing quiet blades through their necks or equivalent physiological structures. 

Perhaps she was getting more mature as Karintha kept teasing…

No - they were being boring.

Jarys signalled with two fingers to proceed, his armour still bearing a damaged look despite recent repairs.

Sweeping through the shadowed alcoves the orb’s pull intensified - programmed by acquiring a sample of the Xinis-zo’s stone like skin from his Ruusan memorial Crypt to seek his holocron.

Vast statues controfted them, they smelt of Kortosis, and flanked a door where mercury-like images of Catpahracts being all noble and glorious blah blah blah formed and reformed.  With a petulant sneer Kiraea kicked the door open.

There, in the darkened centre of the Seclusiam Nurhl Båz-Rhadde was surrounded by the hallowed gazes of Triarchs past, his armour polished bronze, arm mounted gattling lasers glimmering in the dim faux-candle light.

The Triarch of the Cataphracts stood in a pose that perfectly mirrored the statue of his ancestor Saril Båz-Rhadde behind him - both held Durandal in an unyielding pose of defiance and conviction, the same Lion engraved upon both Cathar’s breast plates and right pauldrons centuries apart.

“The Lion.” Jarys growled behind her, enraged and impressed that the Triarch had fooled them.

“The Beast.” Nurhl snarled back

Roaring, crackling sparks of electricity into the wall, and quaking the ground  as if a magnetic storm of Ponemah had been unleashed, Lion and Beast charged forward.

Nurhl exploded the full power of his gatling cannons, shoulders ricocheting back into the joints, Jarys one handed rifle shots sent maser blasts that incredibly hit the gattline laser fire mid air resulting in micro plasma storms as the pure energy bolts combined.

Kiraea swiftly spun with her acrobatic skill to round on the Trairch and end the filthy ‘Noble’ Cathar once and for all - powerful though Rhadde was, he would be no match for Two Guardians at once.

Nurhl knew this. He had planned for it. 

As his thumb brought golden life to Durandal the Triarchs eyes blinked an icon on his HUD bringing detonating explosives embedded in the floor, ruining the artisan carved granite but blasting it from under Kiraea’s feet just as she landed.

Flame, heat and metal surged up as she fell down.


>>>>Hephaestus Base<<<<
Debris and concussive flaming energy from the breaching charges turned inward at his face reminding Maenowan Jelan Ya'qul Primus of Triad Besh of the axiom no plan survives the first three seconds in war. 

His overarching strategy remained unchanged.

Triad Besh shrugged off the inversion of their breaching charges, their bespoke Sulen Gauss Rifles slung under their arms pushing through to support Midge.

Pick your target, take your time, squeeze the lever

This was how his Triad Besh operated, cool, controlled and methodical.  Each of the Triad picked one target and fired.

The momentary advantage the Aethans held dissipated in an instant as Taran, Evyn and Maeson were all forced to dodge the magnetically accelerated diamond hard bullets.

It couldn't save Arrbis, whose Force based wound was fatal, the Secundus of Triad Herf struggling on the ground a dozen Hades shots having lanced half his body to meaty shreds, but it relieved Inji to scuttle to Midge and double the attack on Taran who now faced two Cataphracts with a broken sword.

Evyn and Maeson quickly snapped to cover, Mason's repeater clip running out of ammo at the worst possible moment.

Ya’qul heard the familiar ‘click’ and knew who to target, the tactical guide flowing into the Tribus battle meld, Tassk and Linella  his Triad members redoubling their shots, Evyn managing to hit Tassk a handful of times in the exact same spot overwhelming the dover Catalysts ability to repair that one spot.

Evyn snapped up over a bench that was two shots away from being compromised as Maeson reloaded with preternatural swiftness, hurling an implosion grenade to buy time, Evyn guiding it with the aether.

In a final sacrifice Arrbis leapt into the Implosion grenade path, hunkering his large form around it to ensure it did damage to little more than his own dying form.

It was a scene of twisting and writhing  Ya’qul would not soon forget.

Taran’s his native speed keeping him from being overwhelmed, but his opponents strength and skill denied him any chances to get an edge in as Besh continued to fire suppressive shots, the battle meld ensuring there was no risk of friendly fire among the Tribus.

<Eva, Cataphracts!> He hardly needed to explain that she, Kassyndra and Jenaea were already rushing through the Bases' long Ocean bordered corriords to assist.

Ya’qul knew this too - and the trap waiting for them. 

His mouth tensed upward in the barely noticeable slant that was as close to a smile as the hardened soldier's face ever managed.


>>>>Istic Fortress ‘Nurhls Den’<<<<
Her arms were tense, almost shaking with anticipation as she pressed into the service corridor, taking comfort and calm from the Battlemeld and the leader of the Triad Leth opposite - Dexxel Behrn’s focus.

[Two] the HUD text came across as his advanced Multispec picked up the approach of two of the three shadows that had torn into Istic fortress.

That was good, they could deal with these two then assist the others.


With perfect harmony Triad’s Leth and Forn slammed open the faux wall panels, Behrns Triads Multi-specs had already zeroed their targets through the assisted aim function of their Armours onboard sensors.

Arm mounted lasers and micro missiles flew from both sides at them, Taryn and Lydan barely able to crouch into defensive stances, kinetic shields deflecting the micro missiles, the lasers forcing them to leap.

As Kalli anticipated the surprise didn’t last long, barely a second later the Shadows fired back teleport shunting further down the corridor to gain distance and avoid being trapped by six Cataphracts.

<Bastards were waiting for us> Taryn sneered even as he spun like a twi’leki stripper pistols hitting shoulders as the Cataprhacts dodged the head shots he had intended, Lydan’s Naginata spinning so fast it seemed a solid wall to shield him from laser fire that spat off it.

The Triads had them surrounded. Swapping arm mounted lasers for furious Zweihanders they fell on them, trusting their battlemeld and years of close training to coordinate every motion, taking advantage of the opening one left while also ready to parry for the Cataphract beside them.

Pirate and ‘Nerf Herder’ once at ods now trusted each other just as innately - Lydans wider form able to take the heaviest of the Cataphract blows, while Taryn's extra reach and speed let him stab into gaps.

One on one the Aethans were predators, but encircled they were prey. 

Kalli and Behrn did everything they could to box them in tighter while keeping just enough distance to avoid being sucked into an implosion grenade or massive Force lighting attack as their blades met with a cacophony of clashes that lit the darkened corridori up with radiant heat from the impacts and plasma jets from ablative plating.

Kalli’s secundus managed to cleave a gash in Taryns Shoulder, the Pirate took the blows momentum to swing wildly back onto Kalli, his Katana slicing into Kalli’s helm shattering the visor transparisteel. 

Triad Leth pushed Lydan against Taryn's back, the shepherd sweeping his Naginata low to cut into the shin guards of the whole Triad, sparks flew, dover catalyst flooded to repair, but the Triad was stalled long enough for his rising slash to cut into the Behrns chest plate - Lydan’s wife unparalleled skill in enchantment leaving a hissing trail of eldritch shatterpoint flame that started to eat into Behrns helmet, the albino Primus forced to cast it aside before the vicious force curse spread.

<Lydan now!> With a burst of displaced air the pair teleported from the Beskar Breaker jaws.

The six Cataprhacts spun round as they now found themselves in between the two Shadows who opened up from a distance grenades and daggers flying amidst a sea of maser shots.

This was why the Shadows had sawn through the regular knights - incredible power, overwhelming strength and an uncanny ability to turn every situation on its head in a flash.

Only the precision of the battle meld and durability of the Cataphract armour saved them as their Zweihanders went from battering the enemy to deflecting maser shots.

“You take the butch tentacle head,” Taryn yelled as he glared at the visible feature of the two Primus under their broken helms, voice intentionally louder than the crackle of energy on saber, Taryns crass insults just another tool in his arsenal.

“I’ll take the pasty-faced dreng sucker,”

“Oh you’re in for it now deeb cleaner,” Behrn growled as he lunged forward at the insult to his albinism and outright racism toward Kalli.

“Bring it on yorp fluffer!” he yelled back with strength he didn’t feel - numerous flakes of Blackstone were falling off his armour, Lydan too covered in still orange heated gashes after barely thirty seconds of fighting, the teleport had gotten them out, but it had been exceptionally costly to their aetheric stamina - they would need to rely on tech and toughness.

Kalli focused on the task at hand moved through the barrage knowing the lone Shepherds ranged ammunition couldn’t outlast her Triads stern defence.

Bolts and implosions buffeted her from every side, exposing surrounding rooms as they tore walls to twisted balls.  They were near the training Salles and arming rooms, Kalli pushing her opponent back toward the former, Leth pushing the pirate to the latter. 

If they couldn’t fight six against two, three onto one would do.

Divide and Conquer she smiled as her enemy's Blaster rifle, already overheated and glowing orange, clicked as the power cell was depleted and her Triad still stood firm.



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."

Knight Commander

Force Alignment: 306
Posts: 1659

« Reply #306 on: January 17, 2022, 09:58:18 PM »

Chapter 47 — Oblivion Gray —  Aut simul stabunt, Aut simul cadent — Part 9

>>>>Hephaestus Base<<<<
She thumbed the trigger an instant before they passed by.

Explosives from Kalli’s personal collection designed to breach capital ship grade doonium from the outside in flared in white blinding blasts that Ravra’s Triad looked away from, even the auto polarisation insufficient to block the luminosity of the micro suns, though Rena and Rana’s scales birstled joyfully in the heat flowing to their exothermic bodies. 

The Level 3 Main Access corridor was less blasted than melted in the instant after Jeanea stopped short and grabbed Evaea and Kassyndra with her mind hauling them back before the blast - not fast enough, Kassyndra the closest struck by a wave of white hot metal.

Ravra pushed through the molten opening arm lasers blazing as her Barabel companions rushed low and fast, tails bladed and plated in keen armour ready to sweep the enemies feet from under them.

The three shadows they had caught had barely gotten to their feet before the lasers and the Barabel twins struck.

Rana and Rena attacked in hunched poses with skittering lightness, their zweihanders slashing on their opening passes into round house swings that then brought their muscular tails on the reverse side slamming into one of the Shadows bodies, the lithe feminine abyss covered assassin stumbling to avoid the flurry.

To Ravra’s satisfaction another of the Shadows was divesting herself of overheated pieces of brittle oblivion plate - caught too close to the demolition charges - she left this one and concentrated on the third, her legs boosted by the power armours servo’s and the Force accelerating her to nearly 50 kpmh her laser fire just outpacing her as she slammed her kinetically charged blade first into the the still stunned Jenaea.

The least martial of the three Aethan women was hammered down the corridor rolling and bouncing, her sheer weight denting and cracking the floor and wall, her helmet and upper breast plate hissing from Ravra’s blade swipe as the Cathar relentlessly sought a second killing blow.

At the last moment on her half leap, boot falls echoing off the walls, Ravra felt her foot pull up uncomfortably as Kassyndra regained some sense to telekinetically grip the Primus foot then pull her pistol.

Ravra snapped round to block the heated hades shots, giving Jenaea time to recover and pull her own Hades rifle - the wheel of opportunity turned against Ravra in a swift second as she found herself under heavy fire from both sides.

Evaea was locked a death dance between the Barabel Cataphracts, their crouched posture and dexterous but powerfully muscled tails pressing her hard. 

She was trained as an assassin, to strike once and fatally from the shadows, Karintha and Jarys training in more ‘open’ forms of combat had not become second nature yet leaving her to fall back on her erstwhile Anzat Sensei’s strategy of stealth and avoidance - abilities that the Barabels incessant attacks and saurain senses denied.

Worse, Kassyndra was a healer, Jenaea a scout, proficient as any Aethan in defeating two Knights, perhaps a single Maenwon or Silver, but the Cataphracts were a grade above the pair in armament and attitude.

Barabel twins hissed at the imminent thrill of a successful hunt.

Collision — 35 Minutes Before the Lus’Phor Holocaust
>>>>Hephaestus Base<<<<
Throat scratched from his endless Warriors Howl Ostooloruu Wuurich dark brown eyes focused through the yellow and red fragmented warning indicators on the cracked heads up display, past the ever growing crack in the helmet lenses, directly to the black humanoid mass that was his enemy.

An entire herd of Wookie Warriors would bellow the Howl striking terror in their enemies as the sound became a physical force amplified in a thousand throats - alone it helped to cry out his frustrations to keep his focus.

And he was mighty frustrated.  Even with his secundus the Shadow was obdurate in it’s defence, no longer making gains but neither yielding an inch.

Around their roulette of slash and parry the laboratories were turned upside down, beakers smashed computers smoking, centrifuges wildly spinning sticky liquids on carbon scored walls.  Ya’qul’s Triad Besh with cold focus lifted any cover they could from the ground telekinetically - and blasted what they couldn’t with their Gauss Rifles.

Midge had broken the malefic tip of the Shadows Claymore off - the remaining two thirds fell from on high at his right shoulder pauldron once more - Midge leaned into it dover catalyst and metal scraping off as he switched grips to try and drive his Beskar breaker into the Shadows gut, a sizzling glance only as the dexterous Aethan twisted.

The pit of Midge’s stomach dropped once more as though he were on an Oevvaor catamaran over stormy seas, he knew it was the cursed effect of the Shadows blade and Howled in defiance louder to distract from the nausea.

With a guttural bellow Taran roared back at the Furred Beast - he’d fought overgrown animals as the Varangian, knew instinctively when they reared you straighten and yell back.

Stance lifting Taran loomed over Midge briefly, it reminded the ‘short’ wookie of his low stature and doubled his ferocity in an instant, Juyo Form mastery on full display as he tore at the Shadow that had come to despoil Galtea and murder friend and kin.

Inji kept the pressure on the flanks and against the Shadows Force abilities, Lighting and Kinetite blasts in such abundance they were taking a toll on Inji’s Legacy Armour, the Force resistance was strong but not infinite.

Taran felt calm, the simplicity of the battle, needing only to focus on making the next move the best one a familiar relief from his memory lapses. A warm trickle of memory in his hind brain of battles against champions of Dathomir brought options to his mind.

Crashing into Midge’s upward stroke the Aethan spun side on, arms high - Inji took the bait and thrust forward.  Taran felxible for his frame spun over and slammed his arms down over the Tertius even as his broken Claymore cut down on the Primus damaged right Pauldron with a burst of Shatterpoint energy.

The Claymore cut hard and straight through the Wookies pauldron and shoulder out the arm pit with a wet splash of blood.

Midge’s Howl quientend to pain shocked silence as his right arm fell to the ground, the Malacia hexes Karintha had imbued Taran’s Claymore with seeping into the wound.

Ya’qul further into the labs stopped dead as he sensed the change.

“Keep the pressure on!” He ordered swinging round to assist.

Triad Besh had systematically hammered every piece of cover and much of Evyn and Maesons armour - Besh’s Intel-Aim system relentlessly targeting the Aethans shoulder, knees, ankles and elbows where armour was the weakest and the most damage to their maneuverability would be done.

The Sulen Gauss rifles had been designed in Hephaestus, too heavy for conventional troops they had a lightsaber bayonet added and were provided to the Cataphracts for field testing before the War, Ya’Qul immediately recognised potential and volunteered his Triad.

Like the Ancient Arbiter for which they were named they were precise and elegant as they were deadly.

Evyn was limping snapping shots from his pistol, right elbow crippled, Maesons front and back were laced with dozens of impact craters from the magnetic accelerated diamond bore projectiles, half a dozen were seeping blood, his right ankle almost blown out entirely.

The Primus leaving the room for even a moment was their chance.

Racing on the walls with the Aether keeping his lame right leg moving, Evyn doged the rounds as Maeson leapt over their last barricade presenting a tempting target.

The Secundus and Tertius were not fooled, quickly readied for Melee, Saber Bayonets snap-hissing on as Evyn leapt at them blade in hand - then dropped it at the last moment, shunting himself kinetically. 

Evyn landed gripping the Secundus, a wide Trandoshan Tassk who hissed at Evyn dragged on him, the Aethan couldn’t wrap his arms around the massive armoured reptilian armoured - but slowed him enough for Maeson to get in easy shots.

The Hades repeater went full throttle pumping 41 rounds near point blank into the Cataphract Before the Tertius Linella stabbed Maeson in one of his open wounds with her saber bayonet.

Cataphract armour and Dover catalyst was resilient, but 41 phirk rounds energised by Chiss Maser tech was too much for most tanks. 

Tassk and Maeson fell simultaneously, Evyn struggling up leaping at Linella, his blade ineffective only glancing off the largely undamaged armour of the Zeltron Tertius.

Linella bashed back carrying full weight the heavy rifle with each bayonet blow into Evyns chest, the Zeltron woman then spinning back to Maeson to stab down at him - even with the power armour and Force the gauss rifle was heavy and hard to wield in melee, forcing her to pull back as the Aethans began to strike at her two to one with their swords.

One arm gone Midge switched to a one handed grip on his beskar breaker without even pausing, his Howl twice as strong.

Taran crushed Injis arms against his chest, the Secundus struggling to escape as Taran switched grips and drove his broken claymore into the Cataphracts chest with shatterpoint energy, sparks flying as the ablative plasma cloud, raw metal and dover catalyst resisted.

With a single handed upward sweep Midge cut straight for the Shadow warrior, his blade slicing in a crackling bumpy path along Tarans  left side,  Inji firing his arm mounted lasers point blank into Taran’s right.

Ya’qul with a professional poise fired his rifle straight into Taran’s back.

Midge’ blow sliced the Aethans helmet and turned the left side of his face into a cauterized bloody mess, Inji’s laser fire turned Taran’s right armour brittle and heated, Ya’qul’s bored into Taran’s back.

Astonishing the Cataprhacts Taran didn’t even budge, just pushed his blade deeper into Inji, then with a grunt swung it back out trailing a steaming green hiss of Karintha’s peerless Malacia enchantment that turned every scratch and cut Inji had suffered gangrenous, the deep wound in his stomach that might otherwise have been survivable began to rot and spread toxins throughout his organs at an accelerated rate causing him to collapse writhing and vomiting.

Taran spun to Midge an offhand blast of kinetite to knock Ya’qul from his feet. Slamming on his back Ya’qul quickly rose up to see Midges tenacity duelling  one armed and bleeding duelling with the Shadow, the stump where the wookies right arm had been infected from the Shadows' sick powers and was turning black.  A bitter crease on his face Ya’qul fired round after round at the Shadow.

Taran deflected a few, able to spare effort given the wookies disadvantage, but too many were getting through.  The Two Primus wore the former Varangian down in a painfully slow combination of Midge’s Juyo and Ya’qul’s Gauss rifle.

First to one knee, then both, Taran fought on with the same blank expression on the half of his face that remained complete, finally two shots to the upper back from Ya’qul and a hilt blow to the skull from Midge sent him toppling.

No time to check the body yet, both Primus rush to Linella.  The Zeltron had taken too many hits from the Aethan men, but gave as good as she got. 

With Midges roaring charge into Maseon and Ya’quls running, gutting bayonet into Evyn the Aethan fell, Maeson still struggling cast off his sword and clawed and punched at the wookie, partially concussing him with a lucky blow to the head.

Ya’qul shoving the dazed Midge to engage the Aethan, slamming the butt of his gauss rifle into him, Maeson struck back with slow but hard blows rattling Ya’qul within his armour until the sheer number of saber bayonet hits brought him down.

Standing over the bodies only now did Ya’qul notice blood covering his face was his own, Midge barely able to stand clutched where his right arm had been, Linella’s breast plate as scratched and bloody as a nexu feeding box.

Consummate completionist, Ya’qul ordered the sealing of their hard won gains..

“Cut off the heads,”


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."

Knight Commander

Force Alignment: 306
Posts: 1659

« Reply #307 on: January 17, 2022, 09:59:08 PM »

Chapter 47 — Oblivion Gray —  Aut simul stabunt, Aut simul cadent — Part 10

>>>> Istic Fortress Vault<<<<
Equal and opposing forces collided together then blew apart as the tension between the blue beskar-breaker and the oblivion blade released.

Melron shuffled back quickly, again Soban remained unmoved, his feet had barely shifted through the last minutes of a fight that had left the two old masters armour battered and dented, muscles bruised and skin cut.

Neither could feel any of them.  For the Aethan it was biological design that registered damage as sensory data rather than visceral sensation, the Vahlans veins were pumping so many pain spressants just to stand nothing could have rendered him the slightest sensation.

Soban knew his enemy was beginning to realise this.

Melron charged for the seventh time, kinetic fists coming at Soban from both sides, the Gray Masters recent years studying Force Powers in conjunction with Cataphract plate ensuring he could mitigate the worst of the invisible blows and take on the thrusting blade.

Clash by rapid clash his over muscled arms worked to fend the Oblivion Warrior off, before after six hard clashes that sent sparks into the air Melron pulled back two steps and left an obvious opening.

Soban grunted.

The anesthetics delivered through his armour that kept him standing were now at the point of cutting off motor control below the waist.

Melron simply nodded and took another few steps back spreading his arms leaving his torso exposed.

Soban fired this last remaining arm mounted cannon which the Aethan summarily blasted off with a bolt of lighting from his left hand and remained in an open position.

He can’t move Melron realised.  Standing directly in front of the Vault the sheer size of the Cataphract armour taking up most of the space Soban had placed himself as a living barricade.

Puffing in his numbness Soban felt his enemy search him in the Force, he hadn’t the strength to hide much.

“So that’s how it is…” Melron finally said. 

To Sobans astonishment he took off the faceless helmet to reveal a human looking face, short beard and reddish hair with mingled gray above care worn eyes.

After all the stories, all the legends, it astonished Soban to see the Shadow Warriors was...beneath that abyssal ordinary he could be a Vahl villager.

“’d rather die fighting for your People than in your bed,” Melron went on
“Warrior to Warrior, I respect that...and I won’t take advantage of the fact.”

Soban tentatively unclasped his own helm revealing beneath the painfully inserted now utterly unfeeling intravenous lines into his neck and through to his brain to suppress the enormous pain he would otherwise be feeling from his genetic condition, his blue eyes blood shot, red hair loose and falling out from the drugs.

“Thank you,” he said, voice thin and dry from the noxious medications.

The Shadow Warrior could easily design his attacks around that fact Soban couldn’t move.

But something in the Old Man's aura told him he didn't want to do that, he wanted to fight as fair as possible, and win on his own skill, not on Soban’s genetic flaws.

And with their helmets off...well they both had that much more of a chance.

Melron re-gripped his Oblivion Tremor-sword and brought it above his head, feet widely spaced.

A moment later their blades struck heavy and quick.


>>>>Lus’Phor - Nishalorite Veins<<<<
Lyaea’s head was spinning, the bullet had struck neurons that took in spatial information from her genetically enhanced vestibular systems leaving her with little sense of her own sense of place, let alone anyone else's. 

Relying on the aether she blocked al-Marq’s teal blade as Henslou pivoted to find another opening, cursing the shot hadn’t killed her outright.

Alfa struggled against  a flurry of blows from Ari, her Jar-kai based style beating his Niman form down with each pass - and Lyaea’s blade was still in him bleeding a non-thermal heat in the Force using his skin as kindling, the smell of burnt fur reaching his nose.
The Primus spun round, taking blows to his back just to yank the cursed blade from his abdomen.

Lil’Nern charged in for the ‘crash’ part of the Corellian Creh crash - you blast ‘em with the cannon first, then hack 'em from the flanks, now you bulldoze.

Chimi and Kylista positioned Yorna where they wanted her with each carefully coordinated strike among the Corellian natives, the Shadow Warriors skills Kylista had to admit were darn good, she could understand why so many Knights had fallen when they had to fight a Shadow one on one, only the perfect synthesis of a Triad bond kept Cresh in control of the situation.

Yorna felt the danger rising as her opponents used sweeping long stabs to gain distance, then Nenr charged in.

Turbo laser in one hand zweihander in the other, a horizontal spray of red laser filled the gap Yorna occupied, Chimi and Kylista ensuring she couldn’t roll out, Yorna ducked, then leapt as Lil’Nerns aim followed her relentlessly his Zweihander about to come down on her.

As the last laser bolt left his cannon Chimi and Kylista charged in, three Zweihanders in perfect position to cut her high, mid and low Yorna got desperate.

The Oblivion arrow enchanted to teleport back to her quiver stuck in Lil’Nerns shoulder armour was her fixed point, inverting the normal enchantment she teleported to it rather than it to her.

The Corellian Cresh Crash brutally slashed nothing but empty air as their opponent vanished appearing astonishingly on Lil’Nerns shoulder gripping the arrow embedded there. 

A twisting drive plunged the arrow head deeper into his shoulder as Yorna flipped down with all her dexterity from her ‘high’ position sword first into the top of Kylista’s helmet.

The blade heated by aether flame cut clean through the cataphract plate and marred the Corellian woman's already scarred face further before a Force push from Chimi sent Yorna flying.

It seemed to Triad Cresh a display of unmatchable power...Yorna couldn’t let them see just how much that teleport had cost her, teetering on the edge of exhaustion.

al-Marq’s clash with Lyaea was informative, he saw in her motions her stance a firmness of purpose behind the indifferent vain outer.  In the rapid clash of their blades she was on the edge of stumbling, the Force propping her up more and more.  He fought accordingly.  Her native skill was still beyond his own, and her speed with the shorter sword an advantage against the slower beskar-breaker, the difference made up from his blasts from his wrist mounted cannons and Force pushes to ensure she didn’t get a blade in…

Steam hissed from Alfa’s joints, but the Cataphract armours automated medicae protocols were lathering his burning flesh anaesthetics and bacta as he used his sheer Will and Focus to ‘push’ the fire off him with the Force having finally discerned the means of the attack.

His Triad was doing him proud, al-Marq had one shadow locked, and Alfa needed only pivot slightly for  Henslou to fire at Alfa’s own opponent. 

Four more diamond shots puffed out, two striking Ari, one in her back with little damage other than lodging into the bone of her spine, the second in her leg had avoided her blackstone armour and gone into the joint drilling into ligaments on her upper thigh.

Karintha was now fully engaged against Triad Isk - Qaman’Xa and her Triad keeping the Matriarch engaged on every level - physically surrounding her with a wall of moving Beskar breakers, denying her vast witch like powers in the Force. 

Even outnumbered her physical advantages in speed and strength meant her every blow was that much harder, chipping away inexorably against the Triad whose force powers couldn’t be spent on additional reflexes or strength leaving them open to cuts and thrusts that penetrated between joints, dover filling the void leaving all three bleeding from multiple wounds.

“BACK!” Qaman’Xa suddenly called.

The Triads switched to the defensive, Henslou and Lil’Nern providing covering fire for their Melee engaged counterparts to retreat, the Aing’tii herself hurling Karintha back from them.

Severe damage had been done on both sides, Lyaea barely standing, Yorna’s powers exhausted and armour chewed by the Cresh Crash, Ari shot in the back and thigh, Karintha’s mind under constant nagging containment by the Clergy.

The Tribus were covered in wounds, armour sparking, Lil’Nern and Alfa had the worst of it, only Henslou un-injured.  Heaving the Tribus began to surround the four Aethan women who were wasting no time readying for another attack.

The Tribus ambush was never going to kill the Shadows, but it would soften them for what came next.

The entire cavern rumbled from pure hate that poured out from a font of infinite pain tainted the force black.

A metallic sheen on her now majority nanite body Hamask Ksorallyne Apus stepped from the shadows, fresh and eager to kill.



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."

Knight Commander

Force Alignment: 306
Posts: 1659

« Reply #308 on: January 17, 2022, 10:00:03 PM »

Chapter 47 — Oblivion Gray —  Aut simul stabunt, Aut simul cadent — Part 11
>>>> Istic Fortress ‘Nurhls Den’<<<<
Triad Qek was ready.

Through Alulat the Primus saw a glimpse of a possible future in which pipes and beams fell upon her head, repositioning quickly, from Eirtae she felt a burn in the Force, indicating which of the Shadow Warriors it was - the so called ‘Blade’.
Comm clicks in their Triads unique ‘click-code’ repositioned them just in time.

The ceiling exploded downwards with tons of ferrocrete of the floors above coming with it.

Heavy wooden shelves that once housed hundreds of holo-archive disks were knocked flat or left shaking covered in grimy brown grey dust that ended its gusting just before the cabinet that housed the Holocron - a precision detonation Kalli had planned just for this purpose.

Red flares of weapons fire erupted from the lung choking haze straight at them, Alulat’s future flashs kept them one step ahead as they quickly spread out to surround the gaping wound and attack from all sides, micro missiles locking into firing cylinders seeking heat silhouettes through their multi-spectral visors.

The sight on every plane was intimidating, an enormous flaming Force presence the red of dried blood, primal and vicious, a body feminine but firm and encased in light eating armour.

Another time she might be curious to Gaze deeper.  Today Eritae used her vision to pinpoint the targeting system on her Triads Tac-Computers.

Nine missiles added plasma heat to the ruination aimed at the enemy's heart.

Twice as many fingers width bolts of Force lighting hit them head on, detonating the payload prematurely as Kiraea rose up illuminated with irritation and fury. The pure energy followed the oxidized air trails back to the Cataphracts armour frying circuits within the micro missile launchers or, curving off the Force Callous of the legacy plate.

Lasers locked the Triad streamed fire at the target as the dust settled - too slow for dexterous Aethan  who spun through the serrating beams replying with counter fire from her pistols, Alulat guiding the Triad with micro flashes to avoid hits as Eritae felt a pillar of magma like metaphysical energy begin to rise.

The Triad never stopped moving even as Kiraea zig zagged over the collapsed shelves and cabinets around, Zweihanders in grip the enormous blades flared to life to bash back her maser shots.

Kinetic energy concentrated in a ball barely the size of a fingertip slammed into Villados breast plate, the armour’s callous took the brunt still richoteted into her sternum as she engaged the power armours servo’s to boost her speed and upper body strength, well knowing she would need every ounce.

Out of the dust shadows about her, a sword covered in blue eldritch fire, sharp as a molecular blade smashed down with the force of hurricane.

Balmung took the blow with relish as the shockwave reverberated through Villados armour, kinetic compensators hissing mechanical resistance as the impact point became pure white.

Two, three, four, five slashes in less seconds she could feel the ancient zweihander relishing the novelty of the challenge, but her joints were already not coping with the reverberating shocks.

Alulat moved to support on the flanks boxing Kiraea in every time she tried to dart out at Eritae.

Ertiae was stone still - the Yashuvhi was spread across two realms of existence, on the metaphysical plane she created a tidal wall of soul-fire to protect her Triad from the enemies incorporeal attacks, dozens of thorny spike that sought to plunge them into nightmare hallucinations

The Shadow was more ‘native’ to the metaphysical plane than even the Shamans of Eritae’s homeworld, truly born of the Great Stream, and possessed a cognitive capacity well beyond her own striding both physical and ethereal without dangerously reducing their attention to the baryonic universe as she had to.

The Kiffar held a stern defence but Kiraea’s speed and inhuman dexterity with her twin short swords was getting the better, an overwhelming number of cuts and parries per second beyond anything Villados had ever experienced, the Primus astonished she was managing at all.

The Triad was working in perfect unison, yet only treaded water.

Villados was holding her own in melee only because of Alulat’s prescience, Alulat ensuring the Shadow didn’t outmaneuver Villados by covering her flanks while all their minds were protected by Eritae who relied on them entirely for physical safety.

The dynamic equilibrium continued for time counted in blows, blocks and the battering of the archives.

No plate on Villados body was left without a blackstone blade scar, the Zweihanders reserve power cell had never been more value as it held off the ultradense weapons.  A number of her power armour servo’s and kinetic compensators were failing.

Alulat could feel the intense burn of Force exhaustion under his forehead build, the Katarr steel across his hollow eyes hot from ‘Staring’ into the near future, Ertiae was beginning to shake as the metaphysical thorns multiplied like a hydra each time her Soul Fire wall burnt ones tip.

The entire Librarium was ruined around the combat, without even noticing the three engaged in melee had moved through half the halls and corridors pushing over dozens of cabinets, ancient desks smashed to pieces, wooden chairs burning from saber cuts that missed agile limbs, I beam supports cut clean through by ultradense Blackstone.
Kiraea had only to outlast one of the three - their chain was forged strong, like her Goddesses none of was a ‘weak’ link but eventually either the Kiffar’s tendons would snap and muscles trip, the Miraluka’s Sight fade or the Yashuvi’s Soul crack - then the whole Triad would collapse.

Yet...could she last that long?

Outer layers of her Mark II were brittle from strikes of the Zweihanders, Tribal enchantments on her skin and armour were drained of their energy leaving just her native aether connection and physical prowess.

Keeping the eldritch pressure on the Yashuvhi was draining, the damn Miraluka’s prescience sharp as her own and the Cataphract power armour made up the gap in physical strength.

Her blades bounding off another beskar-breaker repulse she switched her grips and summoned up her Oblivion daggers that caught alight with aetheric flame.

She would trust in her oldest allies- Fire and Flexibility.


>>>>Hephaestus Base<<<<
Limbs, tails, blades and jaws spun like a dozen vicious saw blades around her.

Evaea danced and twisted at the very limit of Aethan dexterity enhanced by assassin training could manage.  She was still a patchwork of scratches, cuts and bruises.

The Twin Barabel Cataphracts gnashed and clawed at her, their armour already different in design to accommodate tails featured openings for their claws and teeth, with co-oridnation that could only be achieved by brood mates hatched from the same oversized egg they were a flurry of serrated edges.

With twin short swords Evaea struck where she could, mostly keeping herself being eaten, such was the primal intent she sensed from the reptilians.  She couldn't break from their writhing cacophony of claws to escape into the shadows, her powerful single use Phase blade of no use without a sure target.

Further down the Hall Ravra struck the truth of her two Shadow opponents.  Both were competent but, neither was a match alone for her, and one had been severely injured by her Triads Explosive ambush.  The other one was good at avoiding danger - Ravra had barely hit her - but lacked the experience and strength to fully capitalize on the fact.   

The Clan mothers path was clear. Allowing herself to take some hits from the ‘Dodger’ she focused solely on the ‘Damaged’

Kassyndra bore the brunt of the Cathar Clan Mothers fury, the Aethan Grandmother might not experience pain, but the burns from the explosion had ruined much of her armor and left her skin blistered, red and puffy. 

Her arms strained to deflect the brutal downward blows of the Cathar, Jenaea ran to help sword in one hand rifle in the other, Ravra quickly turned on her with furious barrages of micro missiles, lasers and Force Gusts. 

The pattern repeated three times, Ravra broke another piece of armour or sliced into another of Kassynra’s limbs, Jenaea tried to intervene and was bashed back just as furiously till finally satisfied Kassyndra was a minimal threat Ravra turned her full attention to Jenaea.

The sarcastic Aethans expert danger sense kept her from suffering any of Ravra’s deadlier blows, but they came with such rapidity that Jenaea couldn’t get her own hits in.

A mirror of the frustration was being felt by the Barabel twins, Evaea was too quick and flexible to get their teeth into, but the pair were too ferocious and able to cover each other with blocks and parries for her to get any cuts in.
Inconclusive dances at either side of the slagged corridor continued for seemingly endless minute, the music of boots and blasts echoing back between both duels. The Cataprhacts knew this was a stall, the Shadows wanted to wear them out, Ravra wouldn’t allow that.

With a Force Gust that created a mini vortex of air to blast Jenaea back, Ravra raced to unleash the full force of her Triad on Evaea.

The Barabels parted to allow their Primus into the fray, the Clan Mothers Zweihander crashing down onto Evaea’s back as both the assassin girls blades were occupied fending off a Barabel tail and Beskar-Breaker. 

The momentum in the blow sent Evaea crashing, the Barabels swarmed her with tooth and claw, tearing piece after piece of armour off to get at the dense super-human meat beneath.  Pulses of Kinetic energy and a flare of Aether fire did nothing to deter the near feral pair, their legacy arming taking the brunt, sheer instinct to kill overriding the rest, Ravra keeping the careful balance in her Triad to use the Barabels reptilian ferocity to their advantage but not let it overwhelm.

The ubiquitous trickle of ice down Ravra’s spine that was her danger sense anywhere near the Shadows stabbed right on time as she spun from the mauling to block the projectile of Jenaea who had no doubt gotten back up.

The Cathars mouth opened with a moment of shock as she saw not one but two Shadow Warrior arrows knocked in taught bows aiming straight at her.

Their scans, their screening of the holo-vid of the Bases take over had indicated six shadow warriors.  They had not picked up Adaea going directly to the Computer Core, where amidst the ultracool quantum-cognition she was masked from their sensors.

Jenaea and Adaea - while tall and heavy as any Aethan couldn’t compete with super-heavy infantry in melee for long - they had practised their archery and witchcraft with fervour to compensate.

Nine Oblivion arrows bleeding hideous Force based energies  now sought three Cataphract heads at the speed of sound.



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."

Knight Commander

Force Alignment: 306
Posts: 1659

« Reply #309 on: January 17, 2022, 10:01:01 PM »

Chapter 47 — Oblivion Gray —  Aut simul stabunt, Aut simul cadent — Part 12
>>>> Istic Fortress ‘Nurhls Den’<<<<

For this battle he was born of arguably the most esteemed of Cathar lineages of the Vhal’Dan.

For this battle he had bled and sweated, holding back only tears on the Meezhn Dunes as he burnt under the baking sun training.

For this battle he had endured the Trial of the Dragon cave, and then half a day later the ‘Ruusan’, that attempted to replicate the harrowing extremities of endless battle for weeks his ancestor had faced in that great war long past.

For this Battle he had earned his ancestors armour and beskar-breaker, trained and studied for years, fought through a hundred battles, endured dozens of injuries coming back stronger and wiser each time.

For this battle, Nurhl Båz-Rhadde, Triarch of the Cataphracts, Lion of the Vhal’dan would need everything a life of dedicated service and unflinching loyalty had forged him to become and more.

A blade of Oblivion, unyielding as the Abyss itself smashed into the beacon of light that was Durandal’s Golden blade, his arms pushed against gravity twice standard as the Aethan Beast manipulated physics itself to gain advantage.

Telekinetic ‘bombs’ exploded around his legs and shoulders. 

The grind of Armoured feet on granite tiles echoed across the Seclisuam and Statues of ancient Triarchs vacant carved gazes watched the Beast and the Lion move at speeds beyond human comprehension, the Force and Aether flowing like rivers shimmering and tugging the very air around them apart leaving whispered trails where the cosmic force bled into real time and space.

First Brave, Beast of Myrkr, Champion of the Goddesses of Aethas, Jarys swung his blade with all the strength densely compacted gene-designed muscles could muster, slamming into the power-armour and Force enhanced guard of the Cathar, vainly hoping to overwhelm the inferior species.

For battles like this had the Goddesses forged him in suffering and struggle, from the pits of Nar Shadda, the wretched bowels of slave ships, the humid jungles of Myrkr and the toxic gas strewn warehouses of Vultper.

He was the Wrath of the Goddesses made manifest.  And he was being pushed to the limit of his engineered reflexes and decades of experience.

Every one of the Triachs blows transformed into a parry of his own counter attack, every thrust the Lion diverted left him momentarily exposed.

The Lion and the Beast fought not with saber forms or studied techniques but by pure instinct adapting to their opponent, seeking every possible advantage drawing on decades of war and practice.

The Triarchs Gatling cannons launched hundreds of blasts as their blades briefly parted, dozens slamming into Jarys chest before he could turn the rest aside with a kinetic wave that sent them blistering into the stone statues.

The Aethan feinted a step then swiftly drew his dagger with his mind, ramming into the Cataphracts arm mounted weapon a bare tenth of a second before he could withdraw - Jarys lost the dagger, Nurhl lost one gattling cannon.

The Balance between the perfectly matched opponents was maintained.

For every scrape and dent Durandal made on the Oblivion Plate, a Blackstone Sword cleaved with tremendous force sufficient to overpower the ablative plasma cloud taking a small potion of Nurhls armour off, the dover catalyst rushing to repair.

Every saber and sword lock began with concussive waves of energy slamming together and ended with a release of tension that rocked the darkened Seclusiam to its very supports.

Tides of black metaphysial ‘sand’ intended to subsume or subvert the Cathars mind poured from Jarys every few seconds rebuffed against the monolithic wall of Conviction and Unshakeable belief in his Cause, his Order and his Kage..

Nurhl’s very soul - everything he believed and cherished - honour, loyalty, respect, inclusion - concepts an Aethan could not truly comprehend - was forged into a shield around his mind to protect against the gnashing jaws of a consciousness that could not be reasoned with or manipulated for it was raw Instinct.

The Sentient ‘Jarys’ was a mere function to provide input within a genetically designed machine that now streamed Aephrodaesin, Aertemisian and a dozen other bespoke hormones through a super-human body to create the apex predator that would survive all a galaxy of threats could throw at it.

For now that threat was in the form of a single Cathar who would not succumb, and could never surrender. 

Their helmets were quickly cut and dented beyond use as the blizzard of strikes at all angles were invariably aimed at the head and neck.

A round house kick forced Jarys to sweep low, Nurhl followed it with blast from his remaining gatling cannon, Jarys sword deflect most but the wiley Cathar had plotted it to ensure the blocked bounded most shots back into Jarys upper body, a half dozen striking his oblivion helm full on leaving the already damaged piece a pockmarked mess he had to be rid of.

Nurhl had no time to savour the momentary advantage as the Aethan hurled the helmet like a cannonball of old, striking the Triarch in the shoulder then following through with a vicious combination of light then heavy strikes at the Cathar’s feet.

Nurhl parried each but found no opening before the Aethan incredibly simply let his sword go, both hands balled into fists and pummeled the Triarch in the head - the Oblivion sword incredibly still moving as if Jarys were holding it.

Impressed as he was threatened by the astonishing coordination Nurhl felt his skull bouncing in the padded helmet, felt the pop of ablative counter measures even as he kept his zweihander deflecting the sword that sought the joints in his lower armour.

Needing space he overcharged his gattling cannon with a blink click, wielding Durandal one handed for a brief moment to fire the arm mounted weapon point blank.

A shock of raw blaster energy slammed into Jarys chest sending him skidding backward but still standing, his fists opened to splayed fingers that poured aether lighting at the arm mounted weapon before it could fire again, the circuits vulnerable from the overcharge overloaded.

Now a danger to himself Nurhl quickly detached the two now useless cannons and cast aside his own helmet that was beaten so badly out of shape from Jarys fists he could barely see.

Eye met eye, nostrils flared as each predator took in the scent of the other, at a slight distance they could see the damage already done, both were covered in chips and heated gouges, smoke hissing from oblivion armour, sparks spitting from broken pieces of Cataphract Plate overwhich Dover Catalyst ran like mercury blood. 

They had only just begun.

25 Minutes Before the Lus’Phor Holocaust



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."

Knight Commander

Force Alignment: 306
Posts: 1659

« Reply #310 on: January 31, 2022, 04:10:34 PM »

Chapter 48 — Oblivion Gray — Ultima Ratio — Part 1
20 Minutes Before the Lus’Phor Holocaust
>>>>War Beyond War<<<<

A war was fought across the Force, encompassing the distance less unity of the Energy field that connected all living things.

The Troika’s nascent battle-meld across Hephaestus Base, Nurhl’s Den and Lus’Phor formed a semi-sentient bloc in the Force, drawing on the emotional power of the Cataphracts that it encompassed to give it form, energy and ‘personality’.

It was a perfect symbiosis of the Fierce sense of Duty and Warrior Ethic of Ya-qul and Alfa, the passionate drive of Chimi, obdurate endurance and diligence of Kall-Jeq, the Loyalty and Conviction of Nurhl, righteous intent of The Clergy, the free-wheeling of Corellian Cresh, the rough anger of Midge, crass fury of Behrn.

True to the nature of Gray Jedi it pulled energy from emotions of Light and Dark - but most of all the infinite shades in between.

Against it, was the Aethan Group mind - Verging on Self Aware - yet primitive and vicious.  It was a creation of base needs to hunt, survive, avenge, and above all Protect and Profit the Tribe.  If there were emotional components, they were mere tools in the service of these fundamental needs.

It’s energy was a bloody visceral red that operated on an instinctual plane somewhere beneath and around the more ‘high’ minded Cataphract Meld. 

The ephemeral energies battled on a plane around and beyond the baryonic universe. Derivative purely of the constituents that formed them into a functional mechanism - the Cataphract Gestalt with its Focus and Determination, bursting rage and ferocity tempered by sage nobility where advantage loomed, the Aethan Gestalt with a predatory animals cunning, patient or vicious as its instinct demanded.

Equally matched at the outset the concentrated energies mirrored and influenced the clash of muscle and bone. 

A laceration, a concussion, a counter attack or Force suppression would be reflected in a ‘contraction’ of the associated Gestalt. 

Conversely, if one Overmind found a ‘soft’ patch in the other, its lancing ephemeral barb could cause an old injury to niggle, a parry or thrust to scrape a centimeter too short, a telekinetic attack to be blunted that bit extra.

The Energies both guided and reflected their creators actions, was wounded with and dealt wounds to its members as often as it bolstered them.

Minutes before what would be known as the Lus’Phor Holocaust they twisted in dynamic violent equilibrium.

In the oceanic deep cold pressures beneath the Glaciers of Galteas Northern pole Jelan Ya’qul prepared to end the lives of three Aethans, a hundred meters away Evaea was broken under the weight of Triad Esk, Ravra Pax Crion turning to face the last two Aethan not comatose or seriously injured.

The Nishalorite Veins of Lus’Phor were electric with the humm and glow of sabers, Aresaea desperate to push through to reach her captive mother, or risk failing in the one task she had returned to Galtea to accomplish. 

In her way a Tribus and Ksorallyne Apus, the Hamask so deep in grieving hateful darkness the Oblivion armour of those she faced was luminous in contrast.

While many could understand the power of the Metaphysical Super War between Battlemeld and Group Mind, only two could truly wield it - the Aing-Tii ‘Stone Skinned Mage’ Qaman’xa and the ‘Witch-Matriarch’ Karintha - drawn by that same overriding conflict to a fated duel.

If either Karintha or Qaman’Xa could harness the full potential of their respective Oversouls, the advantage would be insurmountable.

High ‘above’ them in the moon's many hangars and docking zones, an arrogant Maekal was beaten bloody, the Kage Anson D’Aklon proving to his wavering Council the Shadows were mortal as he awaited word of his loyal Cataphracts victory. 

His destiny stalked toward him in the form of Valens, the Executioner, Slayer of Masters. The Aethan Warchief driven by the instinctive petulance of a primitive culture to break the human for his transgressions against Aresaea,

Istic Fortress, bombarded from above, was filled with battle below. 

Kiraea and Triad Qek fought a grinding war of attrition, both waiting for the other to show the slightest fatigue. 

Two old men, Soban and Melron, fought the duel that would be the end of one of their lives with honour.

Kalli and Behrn relentlessly pursued the Pirate and the Shepherd of Aethas, tearing walls and doors asunder to give them nowhere to hide.

Above the planet, Xanaea, Nyaea, Oran and Selaena, too young, untrained, or injured to join the battle sensed the balance falling from their favour, their Transports cutting through the atmosphere to extract. 

No holocron, tech or artefact was worth the Peoples lives.

In the Seclusiam watched on by the vacant gaze of Triarchs past, the Lion of the Vhal’Dan and the Wrath of the Goddesses fought in ferocious single combat, every cell in their body committed to breaking the other.

Every battlefield, every individual, each passing moment was crucial as the next in the Final Conflict of this the War Between Aethan and Cataphract. 

The Outcome was uncertain.

The scars would be indelible.   


>>>>Lus’Phor - Nishalorite Veins<<<<
Sora was the Indomitable eye of the Storm. 

Oblivion blades, Abyssal arrows and blue white lighting came at her from the tempest that surrounded her.

Unmoved, undaunted Sora replied with a blizzard of nanite tendrils stabs, dover catalyst extra limbs a finger width wide ending in sharpened spinning blades interspersed with enormous sweeps of her saber staff, the orange blade turning dense armour plating hot red where it hit, Force enhanced kinetic impacts sending the 400 kilo plus Shadow warriors flying into the Beskar-Breaker wall of the Tribus that comprised the outer edge of the storm.

The Hamask Hurricane positioned the Beserkers in the centre, the enemy around them, and a Tribus around them in turn, designed specifically for maximizing the feral damage a Hamask could inflict with the disciple a Tribus could enact to counter Elite Heavy Infantry.

The Tribus pushed the Shadow warriors back at the Hamask each time they tried to escape, all the time shooting and stabbing in.

Sora was a Lighting rod for Aethan attention, size, ferocity and raw power dominating their view, a single lax moment against her would be death.

Karintha and Lyaea tried to cut in low, short swords slicing through mobile nanites as ineffectual as cutting a water, the Hamask slamming pair sending the Matriarch to the ground with teeth loosened, the younger woman into Ngyys Zweihander, she spun in time to limit his soresu slash to a cut on her shoulder instead of neck.

Yorna planted an implosion grenade with a shortened fuse in the Lasat’s metal body, Chimi Mal Wel intervening yanked it away, hurling it deep into the cavern. Sora growling and stabbing her saber into Yorna’s breastplate. 

She crashed into Ari who was fending off Al-Marq and Kylista.

They were in a Death Zone, muscles and bones shattering with each blow from Sora, skin burnt over and over by the Tribus Zweihanders, armour increasingly brittle from Lil’Nerns Cannon, Henslou’s sniper rifle puncturing craters in their plate.

The Nanites mercury movements avoiding blades and projectiles, combined with its Force Callous from the damaged Legacy Armour and Dover Catalyst composition made it virtually untouchable by the Aethans Powers.

A fact that gave Sora the closest twisted thing to enjoyment she could now feel.

The price of her Nanite body was searing itching pain along the joins to what remained of her biological form, a constant white red irritation that she pushed on to her enemy.

Delving into the darkness Sora’s flesh hand crackled with azure Force Lighting, flowing down her saber adding electrical burns to her next slash into Karintha’s thigh.

<Give some cover!> Ari demanded - the only one who had faced Sora and not been beaten to a pulp the other three women obeyed, taking blows from both sides in the jungle of death where vines were Beskar-breaker, insects laser hots and sniper rounds, trees the ernmous nanite limbs of Lasat Cyborg.

Ari drew forth the protective intensity of her powers, focusing on the truth that Sora stood between her and Saani, if she didn’t remove this impediment everything she had come here for, everything she had risked her relationship with Milaea for would be for nought.

Eyes closed, body tensing as Aether and Aertemisin flooded her body. 

They reopened with a flare of Purple luminosity that was reflected on every kyber crystal and left the Tribus briefly stunned, their stances retreating back fearing some kind of self-immolation explosion.

Speed greater than even her superhuman normal Ari flew straight at Sora, grabbing handfuls of the barbed nanites and pushing out molecular destructive energies.

Last time the entire edifice of the reborn Lasat had crumbled, now a handful of nanites dusted away and Sora rounded a swing slamming Ari’s in the head back with a vicious grin.

<Make me an opening!> Ari demanded, the other responding quickly, Yorna and Lyaea concentrating on creating a gap between Kylista and Lil’Nern while Karitnah took the brunt of Sora’s fury while avoiding Al-Marq and Alfa best she could.

On wings of Aether fire Ari tensed her knees and burst into flight, slamming straight into Sora, gripping her and pushing back on gravity, up telekinetically to lift the huge Hamask and carry her straight through, buffeting the two Corellians and slamming the Lasat into the crystal laced wall, shattering the Kyber and rock straight through the pair tumbling into darkness beyond.

Only one of them would be seen again.



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."

Knight Commander

Force Alignment: 306
Posts: 1659

« Reply #311 on: January 31, 2022, 04:13:23 PM »

Chapter 48 — Oblivion Gray — Ultima Ratio — Part 2
Hamask and Heroine
They tumbled, crashed and scraped through gallery after gallery, plumes of rock dust and fragmented crystals left in their wake.

The only lights in the otherwise empty caverns was the furious glare of Sora’s saber staff slicing heated orange cuts into the rock, and the regal purple glow of Aris Saber and entire body.

An aether inferno around the young Aethan kept the sniping of dozens of blended tentacle nanite limbs at bay.

“I gave you a chance to live once Sora, I won’t give you another,” Ari called as saber snap hisses echoed

Their blades crashed like clouds high above, thunder rippling outward sparks flying like lighting to the ground with heated plasma. 

“Such arrogance!” was the sneering reply

Endless rounds of blade work repeated, before one or the other sensing a chance would rush in and shoulder or tackle the other, trying to grind them to paste against the rock - but finding the metamorphic formations gave way before the nanites or aether infused body did.

Sora grabbed Ari round the waist and used her as a battering ram to crash through three more walls, the Aethan woman had given up using energy to resist until the last second, the nanties felt nothing and she couldn’t reach the minimal Lasat flesh beneath.

With a flash of her eyes a vast tonne of stalactites laced with Kyber cracked down onto Sora’s back briefly staggering her.

Ari flipped out in a narrow enclosure, sprung off a wall and hammered the Lasat straight backward at an angle, sending the Hamask into a cavern wall that finally held but spewed dust and fragments as a giant crater was imprinted into it.

Each eroding clash sheared off a few thousand nanites - there were millions more.

“Look at yourself,” Ari hissed out in the cavern's emptiness, the Kyber fragments on the ground and crystals embedded in the rock purple tinged mirrors that created reflections upon reflections of them both and each other into infinity.

“What have you let them turn you into?”

Sora pushed out of the rock and reached with her artificial limb to summon her saber back - the staff flew at lightning speed, hissing activated toward Ari’s back. 

The Aethan dodged swiftly then as the balde passed caught it in her own telekinetic grip.

The pair struggled against each other's grip, the saber staff trembling in the middle.

“Could Lenz recognize you?” Ari grunted as air rumbled between them, rocks and shards on the ground lifting into the air, small arcs of lighting between them.

Sora growled as the words struck truer than any blow, rumbling rage energy in the Telekinetic tension exploded into a torrent of Force Lighting that cascaded onto her own Saber staff, bubbling the outer metal, the back wash strikinging Ari’s ubiquitous Aether aura, most blocked, a portion she absorbed to refuel the shield.

With hate in her veins, pain along every cybernetic interface Sora rushed at incredible speed for her size, sweeping up her staff in one hand and shouldering into Ari, ramming her into the far wall, jagged Kyber cutting into weak points on her damaged armour.

Snarling, Sora raised her staff to pierce the heart heart before Ari blasted her off with a wave of energy.

Sora stabilised, nanite limbs in her wake to pin the Aethan, Ari’s sabers slicing off the tips, the majority of fragments by magnetic attraction flying back to the main body.

“What are you fighting for Sora? Lenz is dead, the Ansonites have lost, the Kage will be dead soon. You. Have. Nothing!” Ari’s words were bitter and strained as the Lasat slashed at her once more, cleaving vast boulders in two each time the lithe Aethan dodged.

“Nothing to LOSE!” Sora roared back and intensified her strikes through a series of brutal spins, interspersed with blasts of Dark Force Lighting that she now used freely.

”The path of the Hamask is not easy,” Soban said so many years before.  “To embrace every dark emotion and not let it stain you….to fight as if you have nothing to live for, but still hold the connections and values you seek to endure what all Gray Jedi struggle with taken to the absolute limit at all times”

The studied Master had still been in his prime when Sora sought the path of the Hamask to further her power to protect the Vhal’Dan. 

It had been decades since any had followed that dangerous calling, Soban was instrumental in helping her renew the traditions for so long confined to tomes within the Librarium Sapientia.

“You need an anchor, someone to remind you of who or what you fight for…perhaps an apprentice?”

Sora had baulked at that, she was a loner, more curmudgeonly than even Midge, unable to join a Triad, she couldn’t possibly have patience to train another while developing herself as a Hamask?!

“That…is precisely why I think you should,” Soban had smiled.

Lenz had been the anchor to keep her from slipping - he had taught her so much about herself, that she had patience, that she could apologize for her sour moods.  Without that experience she could never have completed the Trials to become Hamask...

Now he was gone.

“...And Justice to gain!” was her snarling addition as their blades locked again, Ari beginning to feel her own muscles, genehanced and infused with the Aether and Aertemisin as they were, weaken against the Nanite monstrosity.

Ari could not win with Brute Strength, or the Aether - she had to break Sora’s Will.

“For what, the Promenade Incident? No one will ever know who was responsible for killing your apprentice,”

“Everyone knows it was the vile Anzat!” Sora hissed in time to her strikes that sizzled on Ari’s twin blades
“You fight for a murderer, a traitor, despoiling the world that gave you sanctuary Aresaea K’aval” Ari’s name a curse of infinite spite upon Sora’s muzzle. Aresaea knew full well her father had by his obdurate commitment to his vision of the Vhal’Dan and prideful inability to back down once he had taken a stand, instigated and perpetuated this war, Kazics tactical skill had prolonged it. 

“I came to protect my parents, not judge them,”

Sora grunted as their lock blasted apart, both twisting round into defensive positions, Sora’s blade high, Ari crouched low.

“And those two lives are worth all atrocities, all the slaughter?” was Sora’s biting retort. 

For most species it would have struck guilt, shame, regret into the heart of the target, for an Aethan there was no question or doubt.

“Yes,” Ari replied resolute in her stare

Her duty as a daughter - to the cost of so many - was to defend her parents' lives. Aethan culture gave no consideration to the moral deficiencies and fatal mistakes that had put them in harm's way, no weight to the Outsiders that had to perish to secure that safety.

Sora could appreciate the lack of repentance.

“Will the Pain you feel, a life in a metal shell, be worth a moment of satisfaction if you win?” Ari countered as they stalked each other in a large circle, stalagmites laced with Kyber rising from the floor the only barrier between them.

“You protect two lives, I protect thousands,” Sora said defensively

“There is no Vhal’Dan left to save Sora,” Ari stated grimly. 

Sora could not disagree, the war had destroyed the Order she knew, whatever crawled choking on ash and blood from the ruins would not be the same.

“Something meaner, uglier,” Ari emphasised sensing the Hamasks surface thoughts
“Something Lenz would abhor and not worth your sacrifice,”

Sora quickly locked down her frothing feelings

“Lies, Deceptions!” she rushed at her again, nanite talons heralding her advance Ari’s saber wove as her lithe body bent between them, a few she cut, more she missed, a handful stabbed into her, the Saber staff came down like an avalanche, in four blows with the strength to cut a hover car in two - three Ari blocked or dodge, the last drove into her side -she kept her balance long enough to hurl a ball of Aether Fire into an opening near the Lasat’s throat.

Sora roared as the eldritch energy burnt a temporarily exposed piece of skin before the nanites returned back form their extended limbs to cover her flesh fully.

“I understand,” Ari said as she used the small break to flip backward.

“You’re not afraid of the pain, don’t care about the Vhal’Dan because you don’t intend to live past today.  You’ll fulfill your final mission, preserve the honour of the Hamask, die in the process like you think you should have with Lenz.  All that Dark strength came too late to save him.”

The rage boiled over as the truth skewered Sora’s now artificially sustained heart

With reckless fervour Sora hacked and slashed the glowing Aethan, grief powered lighting covering Sora’s false arms and saber, nullified or counter blasted by the shimmering Aether field around Ari as her Sabers blocked, each impact flaring white cold and lighting the cavern, the Kyber bouncing the light into a million tiny beams.

Sora pushed Ari further and further back to the last solid connection between the ceiling and floor of the cavern, then with a final furious swirl bashed the Aethan into it. 

Ari crashed into the aged durasteel beams around the natural column, which cracked and groaned with the impact.

“Is this who Lenz idolized,” Ari coughed out in a whisper as Sora towered over her poised to ram her saber through the younger woman’s skull.

”Him?” Sora grunted as she looked over the balcony on the open air salle 

“He’s a bit of a prankster,” Soban nodded, glancing at the sour look on the Lasat’s face,
“But has a good heart,”

Sora leaned over the railing that wheezed under her full armoured weight, the only one in the leafy relaxed facility so heavily equipped in keeping with the dictum of the Hamask to always be fully prepared for absolute war.

The freckled blue eyed teen boy looked up to her, meeting her orange eyes.  He was the first, and only, of the Teidowans to dare match her gaze, all the others looked askance and bundled themselves against the grim intensity of her aura. 

He smiled at her then went back to his kata’s.

The image lingered in Sora’s mind as Ari’s hand hovered beside the Lasat’s temple - purple rivulets running into the Hamask’s mind.  Ari had needed to get her close, emotional, and break the last support in the cavern.

Every crash and shattering blow had been guided by Ari’s sonar and mass senses that allowed Aethans a detailed understanding of environments few species could match.  She knew where, and in what order to break the pillars that would bring the place crashing down on the otherwise unstoppable Lasat.

He sat on the lounge staring in horror as more reports of fighting came in through the Galtean Holo-Net. 

“I just don’t understand,” he whispered for the hundredth time on that balmy day at the promenade.

Sora could feel his fear, his confusion, three years ago she would’ve considered such weakness disgraceful.  But Lenz was teaching her how to remember humility, doubt, to not become a ‘Hammer’ that saw every situation as a ‘Nail’.

It finally twigged, she ought to comfort him.  Her heavy boots paced behind him, her thick hand settling on his seemingly doll like shoulder.  He was of course quite muscular for his age, but a reed next to a Wroshyr beside her.   But there it was, the importance of that difference, Lenz could bend in the storm, Sora could only resist and hope not to break. 

She was still learning

“This…is a…bad time…but the Order will…”

Flame and debris ended her fumbling words.

Darkness and weight pushed down on them, crushing, burning.  She fought, screamed and pushed against it with all her might.

“GO!” she called over and over as she took the worlds weight on her shoulders, body buckling and crying for relief that could never come until she knew Lenz was safe.

But there was his freckled face, blue eyes open wide, a trickle of blood from matted brown hair and a vacant gaze.

“GO!” She pleaded, she couldn’t take the strain much more

Ari did as Sora asked, sweeping under the Lasat and racing through the cavern leaving a trail of purple energy as the Spell died down.

“GO!!!” Sora yelled once more as an entire level of the Lus’Phor mines was held up by the Lone Lasat.

 The image of Lenz vanished into the dark glitter of the crystal caverns and Sora stared across the tops of the rocks and the glow of the Kyber to see Aresaea K’aval standing at a cracked, side leaning door frame on the far side, her hand upturned, purple Force energies flowing out and helping to prop up the collapsing ceiling.

Without regret or pause Air’s hand closed into a fist, telekinetic energy pushing the roof up now pulled it down.

Sora’s face fell as she realized the sick trick she had fallen for.

An avalanche of rock cut off Ari’s view of her an instant later.

Her power settling back to a less intense level Ari climbed up the tunnel as rocks filled the cavern behind her. 

She had been true to her word - having given Sora a chance to live at Sem’Piel, a mercy no other Aethan would have shown to the Hamask, a mercy Ari had to defend to Karintha directly afterwards, and would likely hear of it again in a softly spoken but grave tone from the Matriarch - but she would not offer another. 

More than any of the People, excepting her beloved Milaea, Ari had sympathy for the Outsiders, but it was limited to One favour or mercy, and One only. 

That she had decided was fair.   

If Sora survived the rockfall in some kinetically carved hollow, Ari would never know, indeed she hoped Sora finally got the death she had wanted to share with Lenz.

Only one moment of the whole sequence would trouble Ari again as she raced quietly to where her mother was being held.

Sora’s utter certainty Kazic had been responsible for the Promenade Incident.  Ari had never believed it, and yet - why not? - if he would set Aethans loose on his ‘brother’ Anson, why not bomb a civilian district?

It was in the moments just before Ari sliced the door to where Saani - who had managed to escape on her own - was waiting that Ari decided Kazic had used up his favour by using Ari’s protectiveness to benefit himself. 

She forgave that, but if he broke faith with her again.

One and only one

The door hisseed, the impending Doom of her parents and the Vhal’dan opened.



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."

Knight Commander

Force Alignment: 306
Posts: 1659

« Reply #312 on: January 31, 2022, 04:16:28 PM »

Chapter 48 — Oblivion Gray — Ultima Ratio — Part 3
The Mage and the Witch
Even without Sora, the Tribus was strong. 

There were injuries, fatigue, damage across every piece of legacy armour, flickering power cells on beskar breakers - but they still had the numbers and the will.

Barely had Aresaea slammed Sora out of the fight like a blazing comet than the Tribus swept to finish the remaining Shadow warriors. 

The Aethan women battered but standing responded harshly,  relief of being free from the raw intensity of the Hamasks threatening presence was buoyant.

In a flurry of lunge, lighting and laser they came together in a sweeping tight melee that pushed the reflexes and perception of every participant to the limit.

They were not fighting discrete battles of Triad Versus Aethn anymore, it was a vicious free or all, where Karintha would dive under a blow of Al-Marq, twist to position herself to stab Chimi, then be blocked by Ngyys, Lyaea hurled balls of concentrated lighting at Alfa, the energy dissipated mostly by Qaman’Xa’s counter blast, but the excess raining on Lil’Nern scorching his skin.

There was no respite, no pause, friendly fire was kept at bay by the precision of the Cataphract Battle-meld and Unity of the Aethan Group mind.

Claustrophobic and constant they fired, dodged, stabbed, kicked and crashed into each other - every time the Cataprhacts felt they had one pinned, a blow on their flank would force them to reposition.  Each Cataphract the Aethan thought would fall was lifted by their comrades and pushed on by their iron will.

The air rippled with Force energies as the Battle-meld and Groupmind seemed to manifest almost palpably around the concentration of warriors locked in constant combat, it pooled around Qaman’Xa and Karintha, the two constantly drawn to each other in the clash, knowing to take out the other would be a substantial coup.

Yorna and Lyaea tried to focus on the Stone-Skinned Mage, the first with daggers, the second her last Hades pistols - Alfa and Al-Marq intercepted them to their own cost as Karintha drove her knife held in a telekinetic fist into Al-Marqs side, the rest of the Clergy took advantage, ramming into Karintha’s back.

Advantage was illusionary, Lyaea rolled her last grenade into the fray, Kylista went to kick it but found it heavy as a boulder under Aethan gravity manipulation - a Malcia Hex sizzled the air and struck Chimi, forcing Lil’Nern to prop up his Primus - without help the Matriarch was able to turn on the Clergy swiftly blows devastating Bol-Nos as she shouldered Ngyys aside. 

For brief deadly moments the Kel-Dor Bol-Nos found himself one on one against the Aethan woman - moments was all she needed, her sword occupying his Beskar-breaker, she pushed into a high blade lock raising his arms up - superhuman dexterity then had her leap into a drop kick - too far to hit his chest but close enough for her feet to hit two Oblivion arrows previously lodged in his armour driving them in.

He slammed her off with a kinetic blast but the damage was done, Karintha returned to the swirl of combat immediately with Alfa coming to support, but Bol-Nos was staggering.

Al-Marq could read the signs as the first Cataphract of the Tribus fell to his knees, the poison powers of the Oblivion weapons burning the Kel-Dor organs with Force fire, a shift imperceptible to most occurred in the way the Shadow Warriors moved - they felt the sharp tang of success at last.

His Tribus was on the knife edge, they had been fighting for over thirty minutes without pause at an intensity beyond what any training could prepare them for. They were deep in the Force to supplement their biologically inferior reflexes and strength against the demi-god Shadows, power armour invariably non-functional, even in the constant motion he could see the slightly pained twitches in the exposed, cut and bruised faces.

More lighting blasted from the Shadows as if from infinite reserves, their swords kept the same pace as they had at the start of the fight, injuries the Cataphracts inflicted seemed to be shrugged off, the Aethans incapable of feeling pain had no need to draw on the force to suppress it as most species did.

Lil’Nern tossed his repeater aside, the weapon more liability depleted of energy and sparking in so many places it was more likely to blow up in his face than shoot straight, Alfa was still woozy from his stab wound, Kylista could barely see through her bruised puffy eyes.

Henslou had been dragged into the fight after Lyaea’s concentrated Aether Flames rendered his sniper rifle a molten mess - a switch she instantly regretted as the former blade-Master in training pressed her hard with his slim downed Beskar-Breaker that favored his more flowing style.

Increasingly Desperate for space Lyaea and Yorna both lit their Aether shields, Fire and Lighting respectively, the aura’s that usually ate into enemy skin lost to the ancient force calloused plate.

Qaman’xa and Chimi could feel in their wildly different yet equally spiritual senses a crux point coming in the fight.

[Rikard, I Repeat Rikard!]

It appeared in a form neither could anticipate, the call in their ear and auditory buds crystal clear over the din of battle.

The name of the first Kage of the then recent union of Vhal’Dan clans, Rikard was code for the Kage being in immediate mortal danger - a call every Cataphract was sworn to heed, a reference to he enormous wounds the Mighty First Kage had received from, it was believed with some conjecture, Darth Bane himself.

They didn’t let it break their stride, Alfa’s blade bounced off Karintha’s, Chimi took a blow on the shoulder for Kylista, but the Force did not lie, a critical point had come.

<Go. We will Abide> Qaman’Xa insisted directly into their minds.

Alfa stiffened at the thought, but was drawn to the call by unwavering adherence to orders.

<One last push!> Al’Marq thought back as more sounds came over the emergency frequency - the humm of a saber and the grunt of D’Aklon himself, then a static garbled hiss of uncharacteristic desperation from the Kage

”Help Me!”

Karintha smiled as the Group mind fed images to her of Valens manhandling the Kage - his knee shattering the weak human’s ribs -  momentary pride that the wrathful Cataprhact’s punished.

The Tribus fought for brief seconds with a renewed vigor, Alfa and Chimi cutting into Lyaea, Kylista and Al-Marq cornering Yorna for Henslou to stab at, Qaman’xa, Lil’Nern and Ngyys keeping Karintha’s blade and witchcraft in check.

But it was a fighting retreat, Corellian Cresh and Alfa’s Jenth peeled back when they could, firing what few projectiles and hurling what objects they could as they escaped into the tunnels to hone in on the Kages signal.

The damage inflicted in that last burst finally crumpled Lyaea, never fully healed from Sora’s first beating, Henslous’ opening shot to her head and the bashing since too much, her mind shutting down in self preservation. 

Yorna had expended even her above average draw on the aether, aura chaffed and sore, barely standing, her Lighting shield giving up as Henslou, last to leave put a final round in her breast.

It left Karintha against the half-blood Sith species Ngyys and the Stone Skinned Mage. 

The Matriarch felt worse than she looked - and in the reflection of the millions of shattered Kyber fragments around them she looked appalling - armoured more in her own blood than Oblivion plate, the fluid settling in cauterized gashed from the humming zweihanders all over her limbs, right elbow nearly cut through, left leg barely attached to her hip, one of her stomachs a cinder, numerous bones exposed to the marrow.

Stretching out one hand absent two fingers life energies were pulled from her fellow Aethan women in a cannibalistic display of Life Draining by the Aethan Matriarch, leaving Lyaea and Yorna with the barest of homeostatic stability. 

It could hardly heal the Matriarch, it could stabilise her.

<Such is not the Way of the Maker> Qaman’Xa condemned not the technique but the lack of compassion

Karintha sneered as she sprang forth, Ngyys responded quickly, but alone, severely injured, he lasted barely twenty seconds before Karintha’s Malacia cursed blade was in his neck.

The stone like Aing-Ti settled in a seating position - zhe had not come through unscathed, but zher biology was better able to hide the fact with an absence of visible hemolymph.

The Aethan took Energy from the dying Biological Sith, scraping and clawing each drop.

Qaman’Xa accepted the gift of energy from Ngyys spirit as it faded into the Force, highlighting the stark contrast between the two Metaphysical leaders of their sides.

Karithna strode forward more confident.

Qaman’xa was capable as any Cataphract in methods of physical combat - yet zhe remained seated. 

To throttle the Aethans enormous power Qaman’xa had sacrificed her own cells during the course of the battle, turning them to pure force energy to limit how much power Yorna could draw from the force - Yorna was able to draw more power faster than any other Aethan, channeled through Karintha’s peerless witchcrafting, and aimed with Lyaea’s utter precision the trio would certainly have inflicted twice the damage they had.

In addition to the wounds received in the fight it left zher body with little ability to engage a demi-god.

More importantly Qaman’xa was curious, wishing to learn about this strange creature.

A flashing moment that lasted an eternity- Karintha surged forward, aether blue cascading down her arm onto the tip of her blade that stopped a molecules width from between Qaman’Xa’s large unblinking glassy eyes.

The Matriarch was standing in a vast, endless expanse of black, the Aing-Tii several meters away.

Both were utterly unclothed, whole and uninjured.

“What is this…” Karintha wondered at the illusion.  The vast emptiness around her offered no clues, and her senses met only an alien jumble of semi-familair psychic and telepathic powers.

“...I won’t be deceived….”

“Deception is not intended, only truth resides here,” Qaman’xa explained in a voice that was not a voice but pure meaning

“You’re delaying your death…” Karintha discerned “’ve lost,” the Matriarch knew the Aing-Tii for all zher mage like trickery could not keep an Aethan mind captive for long, even the mighty Sith Lucovis and Vectivus had held the Aethans on Ord Mirit with their Terror Bomb for only thrity standard seconds.     

“There is No Victory, No defeat. Only the Force,”

Karintha offered a snide smile as if she knew more about the Force than the Aing-Tii.  Qaman'xa conceded Karintha knew many ‘Powers’, but understood only certain Colours within the Great Rainbow. 

“When this One was forming this One was expelled,” the Aing’Tii explained an image of yellows and greens forming before the beige plates of the Stone Skinned mage

“This One heard of the Chains on the Flesh Ones, This One could not Retract into Somnolence without such thought.  This One Sought with glee the Takers and the Abusers - like those that Devastated your World,”

Images of Hutts and their slaver lackeys raiding countless worlds appeared, their effort stymied by Qaman’Xa.

“This One was lesser than the greatness of the Evil…”

The next image showed thick powerful beings Karintha recognised as Gen’Dai set against the Aing-Tii.  Gen’Dai were a danger even to Aethans, it was unsurprising they injured Qaman’Xa brutally, the stone skinned creature barely escaping into a pod on the slaver ship that hurled into the Macrol Void.

“This One had much Thread to consider.”

Time passed -  much time - floating in the empty Void.

“The Colours realigned to Hues of Blue and White, The Painter they say was guiding,”

The yellow and green of the Aing’Tiis image flared in a ‘teleportation’ to a nearby ship that was white and blue - A Vhal’Dan vessel - on board a resolute strong figure whose name and nature was trickled into Karintha’s mind . 

Vilhyn Soban.  His own ship had malfunctioned, temporarily spinning in the void.

He thought the Aing-Tii at first a hallucination as he succumbed to low oxygen as the filters broke down, they discussed their imminent demise - they would join Those Beyond the veil soon zhe said.  Soban laughed, perhaps Vahl, or the Maker as the Vhal’Dan called the Vast of Those Beyond the Veil had brought them together so they didn’t journey into the Next Realm alone.

Instead a rescue party found the pair, and in zher gratitude and curiosity Qaman’Xa joined the Vhal’Dan, Soban’s support all but guaranteeing her place in the Cataphracts where she could fight many who opposed the Way of the Vast Beyond the Veil that Was the Maker.

“What is the point of this,” Karintha rolled her eyes, arms crossed.

“This One believed a Right to destroy others, Those who opposed the Will of Maker Yes.  Solitude Failed, Unity through understanding and Good Cheer succeeded, this is the Way of Maker.” Qaman’xa replied typical Aing-Tii half comprehend dictums

“This One Ponders before she Travels Beyond the Veil why The Three Who are You think they have Right to this Destruction.  Can they seek Peace, reconciliation - Learn Understanding?”

Karintha took it to mean ‘why did the Goddesses of Aethas think they had a right to destroy the Vhal’Dan, and would they ever come to an accord with Outsiders’. 

What the Aing-Tii could possibly hope to gain from her answer was beyond Karintha’s comprehension - the minds of these Alien outsiders were truly beyond rationality and reason. 

“We are People,” Karintha replied bluntly
“We do not ask permission, we never seek forgiveness,”

Qaman’Xa’s head tilted in the infinite metaphysical plane across which their minds met in pure sincerity.  Zhe saw truly the one that opposed, the unadorned physical outer the mechanisms of a carefully but madly crafted genetic code, and the many colours of the River of the Force than enabled, emphasized and were sprung from it.

“This One Pities you.  Those that Crafted the Pattern That Formed Your Bodies-Mind knew what they did  - left you unable to grow beyond what you are, or understand past ‘Us and Them’.  This Saddens This One.  This Saddens All Within the Veil.”

Karintha made not a single motion ignoring the incoherent ravings of the creature - proving fully Qaman’xa’s pity was justified.

The edifice Qaman’xa had forged to try and reach out to Karintha crumbled in a liquid flare of blinding white light.

The crackling lighting covered blade passed through empty space as the Aing-Tii vanished into the Force with a brief glow of White, the Cataphract Armour she had worn clattering to the ground.

Karintha snapped around seeking where the creature had Teleported too, witnessing the incomprehensible. 

The Hovering white outline of the alien monstrosity over Yorna and Lyaea, undeserved charity flowing healing energy to the pair in Qaman’xa’s last effort to try and Build Understanding that zhe had gained in her time this side of the Veil to those who never could.

The act after zher transformation that earned zher transition into the Force. 

As Lyaea and Yorna struggled up Karintha briefly contemplated what she had just witnessed, tried to rationalise and fit it into the incredibly complex but unalterably rigid Aethan Frame of Reference.  Failing she abandoned the task as further evidence of Outsider insanity.

Her senses fully returning she felt the nearness of D’Aklon’s defeat.

Helping her blood and adoptive nieces up they began the race to the space port where in that very moment Anson D’Aklon and Valens came together in righteous and daemonic fury.


See Schisms the Vhal’Dan Civil War 26 through 27 for Further events during the Battle of Lus’Phor and the Continuation.


“He’s moving,” Chimi asped as they ran at the pace of a drunken crawl, she was at the front mainly as she had no leg injuries, Lil’Nenr brought up the rear of the slow caravan, vomiting blood on al’Marqs shoulder.

The last functional Navigator-Slate showed the Kages position nearing at last after an invisible game of cat and mouse - he was being moved away quickly and seemingly with intent to avoid certain areas.

Kylista suddenly stumbled, Henslou tried to pull her up - she screamed as his grip only stabbed the  Kyber fragments telekinetically hurled into her skin deeper.

By the Great Spirit, Chimi doubted they could do anything even if they did reach the Kage.

Their presence alone though, that was something she reminded herself.

All this was part of the Great Plan, it had to be.

They pushed on, a trail of blood and soiled bacta behind them till the Kage’s signal died.

“Dammit where!”

The darkness of the tunnel ahead lit with a silver blade.

“Who goes there!” the voice demanded

Alfa stepped up

“Silver Knight Alfalex Nåj Withstr, Triad Jenth…accompani…” he paused suddenly feeling extremely nauseous, trickles of bile dripping from his muzzle.

“Accompanied by Maenowan Chimi-Mal Wel and….”

“That’s enough…” the figure stepped forward, a tall, dark-haired woman with a bacta-brace on her leg. 

“I am Silver Inyak Zolor…she moved her saber in the dark to light her two companions,  a short, stocky red-haired man holding what appeared to be a bleeding broken corpse.

Only narrowing his precise Togrutan vision did Henslou recognise the figure beneath the lacerations and thick bruising.

“...and this is the Kage - we need to leave,”


See Schisms the Vhal’Dan Civil War 28 for subsequent related events.
15 Minutes Before the Lus’Phor Holocaust


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."

Knight Commander

Force Alignment: 306
Posts: 1659

« Reply #313 on: January 31, 2022, 04:18:59 PM »

Chapter 48 — Oblivion Gray — Ultima Ratio — Part 4
>>>>Hephaestus Base<<<<

A flare of red appeared on Ya’qul’s HUD signalling distress from Triad Esk further in Hephaestus Base.

Three Shadow warriors they had defeated lay stripped of helmets and under suits around the neck, limp forms placed on an upturned desk that would serve as the chopping block.

[Go...we’ll finish here] Midge growled weakly, absent right arm wound looking septic as Linella adjusted the settings on her Zweihander to a short concentrated energy blade to cut dense Aethan necks.

Ya’qul raced through into the dark corridor, lumens flickering intermittently.

Linella stood over the most dangerous Shadow warrior who had cut off Midges arm and slain Inji.

Her Blade came down swiftly into Taran’s neck, sizzling off hyper keratin, into bone, the Zeltron Cataphract grunting to push through the unexpected skeletal configuration.

A contingency, installed by the Witch Queen Lykana of Dathomir into her enslaved Varagnian, enhanced by Taran’s wife - not so proud as to deny Lykana’s genius - activated as the Beskar breaker burnt into the flesh of Taran’s neck.

[Linella…] Midge huffed out, leaning on a large cracked tube vat that had spilled its greyish liquid contents over the floor, wookie pointed to red tendrils of energy seeping from their fallen brethren - wounds Linella cauterized seconds before sealed back together.

Taran’s eyes opened pallid and soulless.

A Beskar breaker in his neck he pushed off his execution block powered by necrotic energy with the stiff gait of the undead. 

Linella pushed harder into the neck that was healing around the saber blade till a rictus fist gripped her wrists and crushed.

Beneath the joints in her armour the bones of her wrist were pulped by the immense strength of the Aethan, her beskar-breaker flopping out the side of the neck that ate up lingering life energies from the unnaturally fast decomposing Arrbis and Tassk, then began to pull from Linella - the Zeltrons slightly plump sweaty covered face withering and drying as the Life Drain aged her unnaturally.

[Draugr!] Midge roared saber blazing, slashing at the vile things arms to free Linella.  Neurons repaired as Dathomiri Life drain powers supplemented Aethan Shatterpoint healing,  Taran regaining a base instinct to kill and survive.

Midge locked the Aethan Guardian once more, Taran summoning back his claymore to parry, the wookie though ill, but would not be found wanting, Linella panting stabbed again, Taran insensitive to punishment.

With each pass and clash Taran regained more sentience, the Cataphracts weary bodies wilting even more. 


Ya’Qul spun past the vast transparisteel windows that gazed on inky black of the deep ocean trenches and reflected the war scarred corridors just as the first arrows struck Ravra’s saber.

The Cathar cut through three, dodged four - two needled into her sending plasma bursts from the ablative plate.  The arrows missed wound round under telekinetic control as Jenaea and Adaea rushed her, inner hands clasped, outer hands open.

The air split with a thunderous crack as a concentrated single wave of Lighting shot from the pair straight into the braced Primus.

The legacy armour force callous took much - not all - of the energy.

Ya’qul snapped to crouch firing at the Aethans, Rana leapt off Evaea to get at the fiends who dared attack their adoptive brood mother.

It allowed Evaea to kick Rena off.  She had taken a beating, armour stripped, claws and teeth punctures across her body glove, cauterized gashes on every limb - only her aetheric stamina preserved. The Barabel was quick to grasp at her again - Evaea was even quicker to slip into the Cloak of Shadow. 

Full invisibility so close was impossible - rapid motion and the distortion enough.

Leaping over the swinging tail, twisting under the crackling zweihander Evaea thrust her Phase Sword into the Barabels side, temporarily pure Aether weapon crunching against the Cataphract Armours Force Resistance then reverting to physical blade in the Reptilians side.

The hissing Cataphract clawed, Evaea detonated a kinetic bomb to send them flying part.
Ravra rose smoke pouring from her joints to block another arrow - Jenaea and Adaea kept their distance, teleporting arrows firing over and over, Ya’qul taking careful shots at the pair who darted between columns.

Gripping a lodged arrow a realisation across the Battle-meld from Lus’Phor where Lil’Nern had caught arrows in his own armour triggered in Ravra’s mind.

“Let them Hit you! They can’t teleport back!”

Ya’Qul and Rana skidded into the path of the arrows immediately, taking hits that scraped over thicker plates but still stuck, denying the Aethans their ammunition one by one.

Evaea swept low to recover some of her lost weapons,  focused on success, no move was too desperate.  Barely in her hand she hurled her last magma mine at the wall.

The World slowed as Ya’Qul stared at the device that mag locked to a section that had an abundance of laser burns and bullet holes. 



Immovable Taran held off the two Cataphracts, mind clearing, body breaking, only the Vhal’Dan were flagging faster. 

Midge’s Howl mere whimper, Linella’s armour auto-med systems depleted of bacta.

Staunch, Taran watched for the moment one of the made a slip - rot consuming his body Midge was first, his one handed riposte not strong enough, the wookies blood covered paw slipped on the beskar breaker hilt - Taran shouldered the wookie hard as he could ramming him into near cabinet of vials.

Glass and chemicals shattered over the wookie as Taran deflected Linella then rammed Midge into the wall through the cabinet again. 

And Again. 

And again.

The wookie bounced in his own armour breaking bones with each collision. Linella took advantage, spearing her saber straight at Taran’s face, the blade only partially avoided cutting along the comparatively undamaged right side to sear along the temple and burn his eye.

The Aethan drove his sword into her leg, the battered blade lodged in the thigh plate firmer than he could pull out, he resorted to beating her with raw bleeding knuckles as Midge slumped behind him.

Aiming for her bacta covered exposed wounds he inflicted maximum pain in minimum time before kneeing her chin as she staggered down, her head snapping back.

Everything was bloodshot and spinning, Taran moved by guidance of scent and thermal signature to grip the neck line of his fellow Aethnas dragging them away leaving the Cataphracts broken barely alive behind him, a primitive instruction to join the females all he needed.

Step after step he went on his numb march arriving to hear Ya’qul’s cry


Evaea’s magma mine detonated, breaching the outer wall of the base, pressurized ice water blasting inward.

Like a mag train it slammed into the Cataphracts, tumbling them over and over till they could grip to some structure, Force mustered to keep them from washing away, waiting for emergency shields to activate and seal the breach.

Ya’Qul pushed through the thick waters, grabbing Ravra’s in one hand, Rena with the other, their suits long since compromised and blast doors around them all felt the concrete like impact of the deep oceans pressurized water.

Aethans didn’t need to breathe for hours. genengineered honeycomb like fat-cell-insulation coped easily in conditions of  -150 to +200 degrees celsius and vastly highly pressure than even the deep ocean.

Guided by the Group mind Adaea hacked at the projectors on the outer of the base denying emergency shields, Evaea and Jenaea swimming silent and fast as Taran hurled the two mens limp forms to Adaea.

Bobbing for air with a gasp Ya’qul felt his foot grabbed and dragged down.

Dagger and knives glinted in red emergency lighting as Aethans sought to drown them.

Bubbles belched on Beskar-breaker blades that struck back at them.  Tails and claws had their impact drastically diminished by the dense water before they struck.

Four on Four they grappled, grabbed, dragged and cut.  Evaea rounded the increasingly blue faced Ya’qul, the stern Primus managing to stab her in the breast, Taran hammered his fist into the wound Evaea had inflicted on Rana, the Barabel trying to swim up and round on his head to twist it off.

Ravra swung slow motion arcs at Adaea who plunged beneath her rising up to put a blade at the gap under her thigh, slicing in deep and through, Rena found more success against Jenaea managing to get her in the corner between ceiling and wall, hacking at her repeatedly with nowhere to run.

A surge of icy cold current upended them all into a rough ball, brawling with blades and breakers. 

Clouds of blood wafted in the melee making visibility even worse 

Force Breath control stilled the desperation of the Vhal’Dans need for air, but the extertion of the fight, cold and pressure of the water was unendurable.

Yet the Shadows seemed to be slipping out.  In breaks of combat brought by shikkar stabs they slipped out into the ocean waves where their extraction was waiting for them.

Adaea, Jenaea and Evaea linked in a chain to push the dying and arguably dead Maeson, Evyn and Kassyndra out then leave themselves as Taran, his full post second puberty adult body far more durable kept the pressure on the Vhal’Dan before leaving to a crushing grave.


Gasps, then retching followed on the wet deck of the transport.

Nyaea cradled Evyn tightly, Oran hummed his odd rhythm based healing into Maeson and Kassyndra. 

The young pair of healers had come quickly as the operating soured, no longer a pick up it was now a rescue.

The three most injured, Maeson, Evyn and Kassyndra were stabilised swiftly.

Evaea was badly beaten all over but had aether stamina, Taran looked more dead than alive but stood immoveable soaking healing energies passively, Adaea relatively unscathed as she arrived late, Jenaea suffered more from Ravra’s blade and Ya’quls bullets than she had thought in the numb haze of battle.

Focusing solely on rapid healing to functional areas, her face a patchwork of red and blue-black, Evaea was still determined to fulfil the mission.

“We need to dock as planned, recover the Orbs with the scientists,” she stated directly. They could not allow the Memory eating orbs left with their victims to fall into enemy hands. 

“You want to go back in there!” Jenaea blasted exasperated
“We have to get the orbs,” Kassyndra struggled to affirm with half her face a pink melted mess.

“And if there are more of those goons we’re dead, we can’t fight any more” Jenaea would not be dissuaded

“I can,” Taran rasped more than spoke, the pulse of battle drawing out memories of fights for a false Queen against Rancors and Witches.

“I’ve endured worse,”

“If we all go together….” Oran suggested
“Nya and I can help a little, even if just keeping the healing energies flowing,”

The pair were not yet trained, but even native Aethan talent would overcome regular troops or a Teidowan - and their rifles and arrows were just as effective as anyones against Cataphracts.

But if there was another fresh Triad they would be routed.

Evaea considered what Karintha would do, balancing the strategic goals of the scientists' memories and research against the need to preserve all lives of their small tribe.

“Very well,” Evaea ordered, “Nine Minutes then we dock, drain all bacta and nutri-paste you can and re-arm,”



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."

Knight Commander

Force Alignment: 306
Posts: 1659

« Reply #314 on: January 31, 2022, 04:21:03 PM »

Chapter 48 — Oblivion Gray — Ultima Ratio — Part 5
>>>>Hephaestus Base<<<<
Druasteel encased him, crush every inch of his skin inward with a cold fist.

In the dim red lights Ya’qul could just make out one of the Barabels, their exothermic bodies quickly failing in the cold leaving the once hearty reptilians twitching.

His breath was still from the force, the last few molecules of oxygen from a breath over 8 minutes ago hovering in his lungs which ached to expel building carbon dioxide.

If he did he knew the pressurized water would rush past the kinetic barrier he held himself in and kill him that much faster.

Sheer spite toward the Shadows meant he would hold on as long as he could.

Bubbles erupted in his vision, claws dug into his skin as he was swept through the dark, then in a painful birth into the air and white light.

Gasping and spewing water, Midge left Ya’qul beside Ravra to go in again.

Through the hole in the blast door he had cut with his saber, and past the emergency pressure shield that kept the water flooding in, he had to tweak it to allow heat signatures to pass through, each time gushing in a wave of water.

The last two trips to grab the Barabel twins were the worst, they were further away, the currents washing them out, and his fur was rapping the cold to his skin.

Finally dumping the last body to the ground Midge collapsed beside them as they came to their senses slowly.

“Midge…” The Cathar gurgled nose and throat still filled with water, her body feeling like it wanted to explode out of its skin after so long forced in by the pressure, the salt of the ocean burning her wounds.

Yet the wookie looked far worse, one arm, a blue tinge beneath wet fur, sickly rot around his nose and cuts.

She crawled slow and heavy over to him, placing a hand on his chest and bowing her head in her best recollection of a Wookie gesture of immense gratitude.

“Ostooloruu…” she addressed him by his name “ did you…”

[Kin…] he scratched best as he could, the single word the How, the Why, the Everything between them.

Ya’qul struggling up looked on the scene, hot tears broke the ice water down his cheeks.

Midge gripped Ravra’s hand with the only one he had left

[Cannot...go on...Failed….]

“, Osto, never,” Ravra comforted, stroking his mane exuding a mothers consoling calm.

“Your strength, courage, nobility makes you tall as any Triarch,” her attested smile was marred by cuts around her muzzle that made Midge guffaw.

“Rest, now - a healing trance….” she insisted gently pushing his aura toward that end, one last time Midge squeezed her hand as Ya’Qul bit back a scream of sorrow.

[Kin…] he finished before his eyes closed.

Had Midge entered such a trance before, he might well have lived, but after exposing himself to save them….

Ya’qul indulged one more moment of immediate grief as Ravra gently arranged the Wookie in a more comfortable position seated against the wall, hand clasped on his beskar breaker that would be passed down infused with a new tale of heroism and sacrifice for the next bearer to admire and aspire to.

The Soldier stood back up slightly unsteady on his feet, resyncing what was left of his HUD with the security feeds.

“This isn’t over.”


Evaea took point as they cut through the empty halls to the Atrium, focused on salvaging something, arriving swiftly to find the scientists they had left now all unconscious or murmuring insanities on the floor. 

Dozens of Memory orbs weighty with knowledge lay before them.

“Be careful!” Nyaea insisted of her unofficially official suitor Evyn as the boy tried to lift a box containing nine of them.

Maeson and Jenaea patrolled the balconies with rifle and bow, Taran stood in the rough center of the manicured lawns and small gardens surrounded by food carts and slumped bodies like a statue, eyes glowering forward, mind sharply keeping track of all the younger ones around him.

They moved quickly summoning the orbs into the crates and lifting them more by aether than muscle, gathering up all 36 and arming the Naquadha bomb intended to cover their tracks permanently denying the Vhal’Dan any scrap of the research here and their best scientific minds.

For a fleeting moment Evaea felt a sense of relief, they had taken severe injuries, been denied a number of valuable prototype devices, but they had something to show for….

The soft all too familiar thvump of magnetically accelerated diamond bore bullets in energised fields shattered the moment.

The crash and stomp of Cataphracts boots along with the air whistle of thick muscled tails had her face fall as she snapped round.

“No, No, NO!”

Yaqul and Linella unleashed from the blast door to Micro-Engineering, sending Adaea and Oran scrambling for cover, the young male taking at least one hit.

Ravra and the Barabels - warmed back by a stop over at the Geo-Thermal vents - slammed into the ground from running leaps Beskar Breakers first - Rena slashed straight into Kassyndra’s hastily drawn sword, Ravra crashed into Evyn’s back all but crushing him.

Taran held the line for the Tribe, catching Rana as she fell in his heavy grip, taking her momentum into a swing and hurling her into a column that smashed to chunks of ferrocrete.

In barely a second the Atrium exploded into desperate vicious fighting.

Maeson and Jenaea provided covering fire, Ya’qul wielding a massive Sulen Gauss rifle in each hand switched to full automatic and blasted Jenaea’s balcony cover, Rena beating into Kassyndra, Rana quickly up and lunging back at Taran, Linella hurling grenades at Adaea.

Evaea sprung quick and determined straight for Ya’qul as the others settled into vicious fighting that was shredding the Atrium up.

Ya’qul eyed the marred beauty of the enemy leader and poured every shot he had at her - Taryn’s moniker of Silky for her never more apt she glided between them - but barely healed ligaments quickly re-tore and shots began to hit true knocking her out of the air.

Crawling instead of gliding her best chance was to narrow the gap - Ya’quls power armour damaged, body and mind exhausted he wouldn’t last long against her. 

Jenaea dropped from the Balcony firing her last three arrows into Linella, the Zeltron responded point blank into the Aethans breast, they crashed together, Linella lanced by two arrows on her left, one had pierced a lung.

Ravra’s eyes stung hot from the salt waters mixed with tears as she and Rena tore at Oran, Evyn, Kassyndra and Adaea, crunching the weakened Shadows more and more, their nefarious black orbs denting the floor as they spilt to the ground.  Her Zweihander slammed first into Oran, cracking his helmet open, Rena driving her blade into his chest - armour only just keeping his heart protected.

Ravra followed through at Kassyndra, the grandmother locking the Cathar clan mother through a quick series of clashes, till taking advantage of the Aethans grossly burnt left side Ravra slammed her to ground and curb stomped her twice in the head.

Adaea was next, torn at by Rena, out of ammo Maeson leapt down to protect the younger ones, the two Aethans making a drastic mistake trying to fight a furious Barabel hand to hand, the cold blooded creature had suffered immensely in the ice water, but nerve frost damage left her utterly insensitive to any blade or fist they got in - in the tangle of limbs, lightsaber and lunging she overcame the two of them for a moment.

Evyn was barely moving, Nyaea shaking him frantically.

Evaea finally reached Ya’qul, the old Soldiers ammunition expended anyway, he cast the heavy Sulen rifles aside and activated his Saber Gauntlets.

Both squad leaders as injured the other - Ya’qul having taken so many cuts in the underwater melee they defied counting , Evaea beaten bloody by the barabels - both intent on ending the other. 

Evaea’s remaining sword was swift, Ya’quls gauntlets fast and unexpected.  They drove each other hard and fast, within moments both flagging from the weight of injuries, united in frustration at slow movements of damaged bodies.

Evaea cut one gauntlet open, Ya’qul pushed it into her face as the power cell burst, then drove the other into her hip, she put her sword into his shoulder and twisted. 

Linella thurst her saber bayonet into Jenaea’s side, the Aethan clawed at the Zeltrons exposed face taking off two thirds, Maeson boxed with Ravra unsuccessfully, the Cathar taking advantage of the wounded Aethan to outmaneuver him - he elbowed her in the ribs with a wet crack and she could feel the loosening of organs within, but she drove her zweihander through his shoulder and half his torso.

The former Varagian, like an avalanche pummelled Rana, breaking both the Barabels legs with his mercilessly stomps then swinging down with his Claymore to finish her - once loosed he would help Evaea and Jenaea finish Ya’qul and Linella, then the Cathar and last Reptile would tumble.

The broken cursed blade swung down amidst the endless shrieks, thump of fists and wet spray of blood, interrupted by an ethereal Howl bellowed from a throatless voice.

Far below, a prone Wookie whose body was still apart from eyes jittering beneath heavy lids exhaled the last of his spirit, manifesting his Will to appear with his Kin one last time.

A flash of Blue and white accompanied the Wookie Warrior Howl in the Atrium, Ostooloruu Wuurich stood whole and strong before Taran and caught Claymore in an-anti physical paw.

Ya’qul and Ravra sensing their friend stared briefly mesmerized by the spirit. 

The Claymore in his right ‘hand’ Midge punched Taran with his left, ending the duel they had begun from the grave as he vanished into embers of white-blue on the muggy blood misted air, his spirit rejoining the Great Forest content.

The Metaphysical strike left Taran physically unmoved, but his aura stunned enough for Rana to lunge back at him, broken teeth fully bared and bite into his neck crashing him for the last time, Lykana and Karintha’s emergency revival mechanisms expended at last.

Jenaea thrust her bow into Linella breast wound and through her back ending the Zeltron, Ya’qul was wearing quickly against Evaea, overall the Cataphracts were buoyed by Midge’s miracle apparition.

Ravra was unstoppable, Kassynra, Oran and Maeson now bashed down, while Rena had Adaea all but pinned.  The Cathar Primus turned on the last pair, a staggering male and female trying to ferry him away.

Nyaea protectively cradled Evyn, pushed him behind as Ravra’s beskar-breaker came down.

“NO!” Nyaea cried in desperation, hurling her helmet aside and spreading her arms to protect Evyn.

Ravra stopped dead mid slash, fatigued arms holding the blade over her head as she looked at the child she had been about to kill. 

All Ravra had seen of the Shadows under the Oblivion were bloodied bruised faces - now she saw an immaculate human girl, alabaster skin framed by red tinged blonde hair, barely 16 names days old - a child soldier - the maternal heart that beat in her breast seized at the thought she had been about to cut down a child of an age with her own cubs.

That heart, the empathetic warmth of the Cataphracts, was now skewered as Evyn darted round the Primus and drove his blade through her spine, into her heart, out between her breasts, Nyaea’s distraught face switching to a cold grin of triumph as Ravra collapsed.

In an act of snide murder the Aethans cut out the Heart of the Cataphracts.

Fury flooded Ya’qul, Rana and Rena, the emotions drew in darker currents of the Force filling their tired limbs with renewed bloody vigour to enact vengeance for the heartless trickery that killed the most compassionate Cataphract.

Taran gone, the others critically injured and the Cataphracts resurgent, the Aethans were seconds from utter defeat.


5 Seconds Before the Lus’Phor Holocaust


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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