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Author Topic: Dark Renascence  (Read 870 times)
TheDutchman
Knight Commander
*

Force Alignment: 1112
Posts: 4155


Avatar courtesy of For Tyeth


« on: June 14, 2024, 01:07:49 AM »

I would like to give a Shout Out first to: For Tyeth for such a FANTASTIC poster!  Also, to FT and Lord_S_Gray for some wonderful plot points!  They truly are the best of friends  Smiley  This chapter is dedicated to them both!
Finally, to everyone who has supported me by reading my stories: an enormous THANK YOU; may the Maker see you safe and may the Force be with you all! 
And now...the ongoing story of D'Aylanna, Zearic, Jorya, & Co.
This story takes place shortly after the end of "Queen&Marquesa, Executioner&Cataphract "
**************************************************************************************************************************

Prologue-Nightmares, Shattered Dreams, Dark Aspirations, & Darker Pursuits, Part I

Nightmares
With a sudden, jarring immediacy, D’Aylanna’s eyes shot open, her night-blindness momentarily adding to her nightmare-induced panic.  Even now, the details of her dream were as clear as a Hapan day at high-noon.

She was (had been) back on Hapes Prime, hanging painfully from the pillory, her shoulders strained almost to the point of her arms dislocating from their sockets, the burning, itching, constant pain from the dozens of cuts courtesy of the chagskin tunic, sweat stinging the ragged lacerations, hunger–but much worse thirst–twisting through her throat, stomach, and head making her want to vomit.

From her radiant throne, the Queen Mother–may Her Radiance illuminate eternal–judged her with unrelenting eyes, cruelty and gratification warring for primacy across her visage.  “Death!” Her sonorous, clear pronouncement rang throughout the cavernous throneroom of the Tribunal of Illumination.  Just as she remembered…

…But unlike what had occurred, the Queen Mother’s conviction would be made manifest and executed.

And so too would D’Aylanna.

As the Justrixes released her from her bounds she fell heavily, unceremoniously collapsing down on the dais upon which the pillory stood.  Strong hands roughly grabbed her, half-dragging, half-carrying her towards another raised dais, this one wider and taller than the last.  And atop of the wide black-and-white plinth stood another woman, one whose eyes promised murder…and retribution.

Her niece, T’Atyanna.

Unresponsive, D’Aylanna’s tortured body slumped upon the glistening marble floor of the dais.  Even moving her head to look up took Herculean effort.  Yet when she did, she saw a look of pure sadistic pleasure bloom upon the younger woman’s face.  Hefting a tremorsword, she spoke only loud enough for D’Aylanna to hear: “This is for my Sestras.”  But as the last word left her lips, T’Atyanna…changed.

From one blink of her eye to the next, the younger woman was suddenly taller, her brown skin turning orange while her midnight-blue hair twisted upon itself, becoming two blue-and-white montral horns while simultaneously stretching down into three lekku.  Finally, her dark eyes lightened first to rich blue but steadily faded further until they shone a piercing yellow…

The yellow irises of a Sith.

Staring down upon D’Aylanna was an executioner’s mask no longer that of T’Atyanna; rather, it was now the unforgettable face, body, and person of her adoptive daughter, Jorya.  Or rather, Jorya’s body, one possessed by her enemy most treacherous:

Darth Mendax, Gaetana Ravine.

Raising the tremorsword, it suddenly became a lightsaber, its crimson blade casting a blood-red pallor everywhere, turning Jorya’s face into a daemon’s visage.  “With your death, I need only revenge myself upon your pfassk of a husband.”  A rictus grin spread across her face, mouth suddenly full of razor-sharp teeth.  “Once done, my vengeance shall be complete.”  However, for a split-second her entire countenance changed, the gleeful sadism replaced by woeful contrition and an almost resigned sorrow.  “I’m so sorry, Mother.” She whispered.  Nevertheless, she didn’t hesitate.

With a powerful swing, Gaetana/Jorya brought her lightsaber down in a savage arc…

…Which was precisely when D’Aylanna awoke.  Terrible, yes, but that had not been the worst…

Forcibly she collected herself, her iron will clamping down hard upon her emotions.

Slowly, her breathing became more regular, her heart hammering in her ears.  For several moments she did not stir, instead she expanded her hearing outwards (the sense more acute to compensate for her night-blindness).  Unsurprisingly, the deep breathing of her Shakal came from beside her, giving her some comfort.  Smiling, she gently stroked his big barrel chest, the thick hair doing nothing to hide the numerous criss-crossing scars that covered most of his front and back…although one in particular was more pronounced, the redness of the knitted skin indicative of the recent brutal wound that had almost killed him…

…From where Gaetana had stabbed him, her vibroblade just missing his heart.  But that didn’t mean that the wound wasn’t serious; it had taken almost a full week submerged in bacta, with internal poly-bacta treatments to strengthen his collapsed lung. 

…Thank the Maker for small mercies… She thought, closing her eyes at the horrible memory.  ...But for those blessings…  D’Aylanna’s eyes squeezed tears from them, thoughts of what could have been burrowing into her heart.

No, it had been a very close-run thing…

Tenderly, she touched the slightly puckered scar, more tears welling in her dark eyes.  If they hadn’t been near the ship’s med center, one with a fully-operational bacta tank… Shaking her head, D’Aylanna didn’t allow herself to finish that thought. 

Resolutely, she assured herself: they had been, he was alright, they were here, together.  It helped.  Somewhat.

Smirking, D’Aylanna considered recent events, an uncharacteristic expletive foremost in her mind: both her and her Shakal had been through hell.  Point of fact, they’d both required a week of bacta treatments.  It was only now, over two months since…since Gaetana had escaped, that D’Aylanna felt anything like herself of old.

If only physically.

Emotionally, she felt worse than a mynock in a volcano.

“...Ereneda...you OK?” Her Shakal’s deep voice sleepily recalled her to the present, his eyes still closed.

...No, Love, I am anything but OK: my husband was almost taken from me, my daughter is lost to me, my relatives would like nothing better than to kill me, and my greatest enemy has promised vengeance against me and mine… She thought between breaths.  Instead, she lovingly stroked his broad chest.  “I am fine, Dear One.” She quietly lied.  “Please, Love, go back to sleep.” She purred.

She sensed movement for a second before she felt one of her husband’s large, meaty hands upon her hip, his touch as reassuring as it was gentle.  So incongruous from the unyielding corded muscle that flexed unconsciously under her ministrations.  She gave a small smile in the dark.

“A man of proper size” as the Hapan axiom went.  That was her Shakal: a big man with an even bigger heart.  Reassuringly, he was snoring again after a moment.

She envied him for being able to find sleep as easily as he did.

D’Aylanna focused upon her husband’s breathing, the rhythmic cadence of it finally calming her.  Yet still the worst part–the most vexing bit of her nightmare–was the absolute certainty that it was a harbinger from her own Gift, a Force Vision that spoke of Prescience:

If she faced Gaetana, D’Aylanna could fall…but if she did not confront the tralk then her daughter would definitely die.

Or rather, something worse.

Finally, she felt the weight of her eyelids closing, exhaustion inundating her.  Even as she drifted off to sleep, D’Aylanna knew she’d already decided, her choice not really a choice at all…

          <<<<< >>>>>

Shattered Dreams
As the warm, shining orb of the sun dipped below the horizon, the soft, rolling hills of the grasslands turned a darker green, the leafy trees and bushes swaying in a gentle breeze that caressed the land.  Soon the sky turned first red then purple and finally indigo and black, a serene calm settling upon the tranquil town nestled amongst the hills of the valley, the mostly Ferroan populace one of community, their presence one with the land, their small hamlet indicative of the amity offered on Zonama Sekot: a beautiful balance between nature, people, flora, and fauna…a comfortable, genial peace…

…A peace shattered as the sky darkened, the shadowed night soon joined by a darker black still, a glistening vitality that in the light would shout with the deep red belonging to blood that, nevertheless, appeared even blacker still within the night.

A peace utterly annihilated by the Beast.

Peaceful Ferroans, humans, and an assortment of exotic beings–walking during the night, preparing a late supper meal, or asleep within their beds–one and all died horrible, violent deaths, their bodies eviscerated in violent, red clouds of gore, their full-throated screams cut short whenever attacked by the shadow of death made manifest.

Some parents gathered children to them, others sent them into the hills, while others still stood firm between themselves and the Beast intent on protecting those they loved.

It didn’t matter; men, women, children all died, victims of an uncaring, mindless, murderous monster.

Several villagers attempted to fight back, harvesting tools held in shaking hands, deadly weapons to be sure…and ever so much a useless gesture.  They died and in doing so died horribly, victims of a force of nature they had as much of a chance of stopping as they would’ve an groundquake.  Such barbarity, such depravity had not been known by any in the town, at least not before that night…

But it didn’t stop with the death of the villagers; no, the Beast continued to rampage throughout the town, slaughtering livestock, destroying domiciles, even rending the very earth beneath, huge clumps of stone, dirt, and grass–once wet with dew now wet with blood–dug up in huge divots as if explosions from the very ground itself had detonated.  All the standing trees within or near the town had been felled, as if uprooted by a hurricane.  In one night, where there had been a bustling, viable, breathing town full of life, by morning nothing remained.

Well…not “nothing;” in truth there remained but two, single solitary beings, both forever changed…and, unknowingly, inextricably linked…

The first, of course, was the Beast…but the second was the sole survivor of the massacre, the only other thing to have endured the habitations (and the nightmares) crashing down upon them…only they lived.

The Beast…and the Child.

          <<<<< >>>>>

Opening his eyes, Or’an Damaar took stock of his surroundings, alert even now a split-second after awakening from sleep.  Or, more appropriately, the nightmare.  Instinctively, he flexed the massive muscles in his neck, his back, his chest, his arms, his legs, and finally his hands, his enormous body immediately and intimately aware of all surrounding environmental stimuli.  It had been so his entire life…but especially since…that night.

While his face was indistinguishable from the durasteel/ferrocrete-fused bulkhead that surrounded him, a raging storm roiled just below the surface, a savage violence that he kept under his iron-willed control.  It was always so…lest he face that which he’d horridly witnessed that night all those years ago…

…Yet, had it not, he knew that without a doubt he would not be where he was now.

Most people would find the irony farcical; the Tof merely accepted it as a matter of course.  Not that he was particularly fatalistic, rather he knew that there was nothing that would change the past.

Nevertheless, it haunted him just the same.

All of this went through his mind as he crawled through cavities that only he and one other knew of, and that person only knew that the system of tunnels existed, not their layout.  And though fairly wide, the tunnels felt claustrophobic for him, so large his body had grown.  That said, not even the granite strata of the cave-tubes hindered him in the least.

After all, he could move almost as fast through the rock as through the air.  Which was a boon considering his required tasks…

…Something that he’d learned (and learned well) during that night.  Or as the Ferroans had called it: the Gloaming of the Beast.

Pushing the thoughts away, he instead focused upon the mandate given him, an obligation that only a few had been entrusted with in the centuries following the First Gray Jedi War, the role of Hamask changed as a result.  It was a duty that he held as sacrosanct, an inviolate edict that none could dissuade him from fulfilling.  And none would. 

Ever.

With eyes that saw everything, ears that heard everything, and senses that felt everything he set upon his newest target, one that he had promised the Triarch he’d keep tabs on, even as he recovered.

Zearic Vih’Torr.

           <<<<< >>>>>
Logged

Sig courtesy of DarthScrub

Cataphract Triarch of the Vhal'Dan

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

TheDutchman
Knight Commander
*

Force Alignment: 1112
Posts: 4155


Avatar courtesy of For Tyeth


« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2024, 01:09:35 AM »

Prologue-Nightmares, Shattered Dreams, Dark Aspirations, & Darker Pursuits, Part II

Dark Aspirations
With single-minded focus, the Togruta continued to dig into the wall, intent on retrieving the treasure buried within.

At least, that’s what she hoped; to be honest, who knew what she’d find, given her recent luck...  Determined, she dug deeper, careful of the treasure’s delicate nature.

After what had seemed an eternity, the dirt and detritus gave way, finally releasing its hold upon an object trapped within the earth.  Excitedly clearing the dirt from the small alcove, the Togruta grabbed hopefully at the small object that she’d finally happened upon in the dig.  But as soon as her fingers wrapped around the object disappointment welled up from within.  ...Dammit…  It was another worthless statue, some ancient Massassi iconography.  Disgustedly, she furiously threw the fragile piece at the wall, shattering the figurine into a hundred shards.

Another false hope, dashed even sooner than the last.

Slowly inhaling, she willed herself back to calmness, her emotions changing from raging hot to analytical cold in between breaths.  Some might have found that odd…but not if one knew of the particular case surrounding Jorya Fah ni’Vih’Torr.

After all, she was literally of three minds, two of them even now subtly battling for supremacy to fully control the body, the third relegated to prisoner and knowledge repository.  However, the rage from all three burned brighter than a star going nova resulting in–quite frankly–highly volatile emotional outbursts.  ...Control…! She admonished herself, two of the three minds “thinking” simultaneously, an occurrence that had happened more and more frequently during the past few months.  It should’ve made the minds take pause…but it didn’t.  Instead, the Togruta decided the best course of action was to assess her surroundings and, hopefully, calm down.

Silently, she left the deadend tunnel, subtle sounds of others soon becoming clearer as she exited the shaft she’d been so sure housed the prize that she sought.  Entering the larger cave, she looked around the ever-growing cavity.  There were a handful of beings–mostly humans but some aliens were found amongst them–each of them one of her “hirelings.”

Unfortunately, they’d had as much luck finding the treasure as she’d had.

Leaving the cave, she walked from one supported tunnel to another, the Togruta suddenly finding herself irritated.  She seemed to be more often than not as of late.  Grinding her teeth, she cursed her bad luck.  How many months had she wasted looking in the wrong system?  Two?  Three?  …Shavit… She silently cursed striding through the mineshafts, the workers that she’d hired too busy to acknowledge her presence.  Not that she’d want them to anyway; they were here to find what she needed, not offer up false sentiments and pleasantries. 

By the Maker, she still couldn’t believe that she’d made such a monumental error!  What kind of nerf-minded dren-licker could mistake a specific system for anoth–

Sucking her teeth, her feet slightly stumbled as her cognizant mind caught up to her current thoughts.  She’d been many things in her life, but Gaetana Ravine had not been particularly given to profanities and especially not in any belief in the Maker.

Nor had Kadmaur.

It was further proof that Time was not on her side.  There was already too much “bleeding” between Minds going on; worse still: it was now happening by matter of rote…

“Shavi–” Wincing, she deliberately cut off her curse, mindful even now of just how much she needed to find the treasure.

Her very existence depended upon it.

She suddenly became acutely aware that her hands hurt.  Curiously, she looked down, only now noticing that somehow her digging gloves had been removed and that her palms bled freely, lacerated from the very fingernails of her hands.

…When the hell had that happened…? She thought, half-realizing that she sounded very much like Fa–like Zearic.  Again, she should’ve been afraid…but she wasn’t.  Distractedly, her hand hovered over her utility belt, expertly locating one of the many cylinders hanging from it and grabbing it.  Pushing a button, she sprayed the palms of both hands, the poly-bacta working immediately.  At least that was one concern that she could solve.  Closing her eyes, she tried to calm herself…all to no avail.  As her teeth ground within her mouth, she could feel her jowl muscles knotting, her cheeks sore.  By the Maker, she’d come too far, risked much and fought too hard to be stymied n–!

“Mistr’ss!” One of the humans yelled in Basic, his dirty visage making him look as if he were a pair of floating, disembodied eyes.  “They’s sayin’ they’s foun’ sumpin.”  He masticated the words as if unused to speaking the language…which was probably true; she’d found that these humans were incredibly ignorant, their clannish dialects more guttural sounds and grunts than actual phonemes for words.  Still, at least some of them could transla–

Shaking her head, she made herself focus on the present.  “Show me.” She commanded.  Without hesitation, they ran/loped through one of the minor tangential shafts.  It was so new that it did not have even half of the support struts of the “normal” tunnels.

As she followed deeper into the shaft, her montrals took over, her acute hearing superior to her eyes in such cramped darkness.  Soon, the dirty human stopped, stooping low to join another equally dirty being.  She couldn’t be certain, but she thought that the alien was a Bimm…

“Mis-Tris…de baba esa t’ing?” He asked in his pidgin Basic while holding out both hands, gesturing to the object he held.  Looking down, she held her breath.  Gently, she grabbed at the cloth covering surrounding the object.  It was nothing short of a miracle that the textile bag had survived this long…

As soon as her hands wrapped around the object, she knew that this was the treasure that she was looking for.  Opening the bag, she carefully withdrew the pyramidal object inside, red&golden lines of energy tracing self-made paths along the surface reacting to her fingers.  …Naturally… She thought.

Smiling, she nodded.  “It is.” She answered, pleasure and relief flooding through her.  Finally!

“Mis-Tris…wasa da t’ing?” The Bimm asked, dual looks of avarice radiating from the two dirty beings as they rubbed their filthy hands together, dreams of riches already spent infecting them with euphoria.

“What it is…” She said distractedly, clandestinely dropping one hand to her belt.  “...Is a relic.”  She couldn’t help but grin.  “An ancient Sith relic.”  She looked pointedly at the pair, seeing no recognition at all.  Perhaps…

No, it was better to be sure.

“Excellent job!” She commended, her own smile widening.  At the tone of her voice, the dirty things relaxed, almost giggling with glee.  “As promised: you shall now receive your reward.”  Her hand was faster than either set of eyes could see.

In one swift stroke it was done.

Both heads made little sound upon the dirt floor as their bodies crumpled down at her feet, her red lightsaber extinguished almost as quickly as she’d ignited it.  …Three people can keep a secret… She thought of the old adage, …if two of them are dead…

Now that she held her prize, she luxuriated in her success.  The glorious ends more than made up for the tedious means!

As curious as she was, she knew that now was neither the time nor the place.  Besides, better to research the artifact in the privacy of her ship rather than here.

Especially since there were more witnesses to deal with.

As she exited the shaft, she made certain to take care of the remaining diggers, each one given their promised reward.

Their eternal reward.

It amazed her that it took as short a time as it did, given that she had another dozen hirelings.  Not one of them suspected what was coming when she appeared.  Soon enough she was boarding her ship, the final “preparations” for the dig site taken care of.

As the TIE Guardian cut across the moon’s quasi-atmosphere, the Togruta smirked.  ...Hmmm…I thought I’d set the timer for five minu–...

Her thoughts were cut off suddenly as a portion of the moon disappeared in a silent fiery cloud of detritus, vapor, and heat, the baradium devices doing their intended job.  Glancing out of the transparisteel canopy, Gaetana smiled/Kadmaur smirked/Jorya sobbed.  She’d left no witnesses and now there was no evidence that she’d been here; nothing at all to follow up on.

She breathed a sigh of relief.  After all those setbacks…now that she’d found what she needed, she felt the weight of purpose upon her.  Unconsciously, she stroked her lekku, her cybernetic lekku.

Something that Jorya would do whenever she was deep in thought.  It would’ve given her pause and reason for concern…if she’d actually noticed at all.

But Gaetana didn’t.  Neither did Kadmaur.

Instead, plans for the next part of her scheme flooded through her head, holos from her other agents already reporting success from Zolan.  ...So close… She thought, doing everything she could to contain her elation, lest Kadmaur notice.  But, first things first.

Expertly, her fingers danced across the holoboard, coordinates entered for a Zolan terminus.

She would use the time to study her newest prize and to perfect her plan.

With the lengthening of starlines, the TIE Guardian entered the hyperspace tunnel, leaving in its wake the devastated remains of a moon, one whose provenance had held many a remarkable item, all ignored by Gaetana for her true objective:

Darth Vectivus’ holocron.

          <<<<< >>>>>
Logged

Sig courtesy of DarthScrub

Cataphract Triarch of the Vhal'Dan

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

TheDutchman
Knight Commander
*

Force Alignment: 1112
Posts: 4155


Avatar courtesy of For Tyeth


« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2024, 01:11:13 AM »

Prologue-Nightmares, Shattered Dreams, Dark Aspirations, & Darker Pursuits, Part III

Darker Pursuits
As the Battledragon slid through local space, its advanced sensor suite scrutinized the surrounding system, especially every life-sustaining planet within range.  Sensor technicians perused the collected data, corroborating with each other to establish a baseline, those favorable candidates were run up the chain of command with each successive superior until one or another would eventually reject or eliminate said possibilities based upon their more complete knowledge of precisely what the Hapan Navy was looking for.

At least, that had happened the previous four times that Lieutenant Turna Sildhe had submitted her team’s findings.  ...This is a waste of time… She thought, the latest holo-rejection fresh in her memory.

Unlike most of the crew in the battlegroup, she knew precisely what it was that they were looking for.

Those bastard Vhal’Dan.

Yet, all records of their planet’s location had been wrong; there had been nothing but empty space when the Hapan Expeditionary Force had arrived at the coordinates.  Hundreds of capital ships swarming with almost a thousand fighters, all for naught.  No planet, no moon, no asteroid, nothing. 

Nothing.

Furthermore, there had been no sign of their navy, the self-same fleet that had impugned upon the Consortium’s sovereign space, their very presence an effrontery to the Empress.

Lt. Sildhe smirked, unsure of what such developments entailed.  It wasn’t as if a planet could up-and-move.

And so: the Queen Mother–may Her Radiance illuminate eternal–had further deployed almost half of the entire Hapan Navy to scour the area of the galaxy around the now-defunct coordinates despite the fact that there had been nothing there to begin with.

Grinding her teeth, Lt. Sildhe pondered on what else she’d heard: along with the actual veracity of the story itself, she was told that the precise location had been determined by none other than the Empress’ own daughter herself, the previous Marque–

She shook her head; no not Marquesa but rather Chume’da.  It would take some getting used to the new title…not to mention that the former…er, heir…was now considered persona non grata, the mere mention of her name punishable by ritual glossectomy.

Already there had been those that had regretted that particular mista–

Her comm suddenly pinged. “Lieutenant Sildhe.” She answered.  “Report.”

“Ensign Davari, Lieutenant.  Long-range sensors have detected a large, non-planetary mass in the system, too far for specific details but initial assessments fall within parameters from Command.”

Sildhe heard more than felt the pause on the other end of her comm.  “And?”

“Lieutenant, the mass gradient we were given…are there any more specifics?” Davari’s otherwise professional voice was tinged with something else…possibly anticipation?

Sildhe considered for a moment; much of what Command had determined as “Classified” might well tie their hands here, especially given the Fleet’s ultimate mission to “Search&Destroy.”  She made a decision.  “Yes: a mass-shadow of 30 million tonnes or more.”  The Vhal’Dan invaders had engaged the Throneworld with multiple vessels but their fleet had included some of the largest battleships known to the Consortium; by the Queen Mother, some of those had had mass-shadows of 60 million tonnes!

“I think you’ll want to see this, Lieutenant.  Sensors indicate a vessel with a mass-shadow of 40 million tonnes.” Even over the commlink, she could hear the other woman’s eagerness.

Sildhe immediately knew that whatever this was, it was different from before.  “Understood; on my way.”  Changing frequencies, she pinged the Battledragon’s commanding officer.  “Lieutenant Sildhe, Captain.  I believe that Sensors has found something of interest: a mass-shadow of 40 million tonnes.”

“Very good, XO.” Came a clipped, assured voice from Sildhe’s comm.  “Meet me on the battle-bridge.”

“Aye, Captain.” Sildhe was already heading towards the nearest turbolift, cautious excitement tempered by her professionalism.

Meanwhile she couldn’t help but think that today was a good day for punitive justice.  It added a small bounce in her step as she exited the turbolift.

As Sildhe entered the bridge, the comforting sounds of controlled business surrounded her, every single tech, enlisted, and officer focused upon their responsibilities.  Approaching the Captain’s chair, she stepped up on the raised dais to stand next to her commanding officer.

“You’re just in time, Turna.  Seems that we’ve more than just a single, large mass-shadow; Sensors have detected several fighter craft in the area as well.” The CO’s polished posh Hapan accents spoke of royal relations, if tangential.  But like all kin from House Royal, Captain Bhivrys Peve’A Lai’Gror was a strong, beautiful, and dangerous woman, evident even upon first meeting the tall, career-Navy officer.

“What kind of fighters?” Sildhe asked, her curiosity further piqued.

Captain Lai’Gror tilted her head, a glint in her eye while she projected her voice.  “TIE Defenders.” The weight of her words washed over everyone on the bridge; the Vhal’Dan invaders had included TIE Defenders in their offensive.

Sildhe inhaled.  “Finally.” Her quiet words were tinged with anticipation, an emotion shared amongst the entire crew.  Now they would get retribution, for themselves, for the Consortium, for the Queen Mother herself!

The Captain’s voice rang across the bridge.  “Comms: order the fleet to present itself at Mark 594, Carom 003.  Engines full ahead.  As soon as the ship is within range, I want shooting solutions for full-spread broadsides.”  She glanced at Sildhe, a wry smirk showing upon her lips.  “Looks like we’ll be able to test out the new turbolaser batteries.”

After the woeful showing during the War, Hapan R&D had immediately gone to work to enhance turbolaser power and efficiency.  Prior testing had shown dramatic improvements, although firing at stationary asteroids was entirely different from enemy vessels.  Still: it felt good to be doing something instead of flailing about empty space.

Within a few minutes, the Battledragons had caught up to the capital ship, several of the TIE Defenders having already docked within their respective mothership.  “Bring up visuals on the holomonitors; I want to see the Vhal’Dan realize that it is too late to escape.” Captain Lai’Gror’s words buoyed the spirits of every bridge tech and officer, themselves veterans of the Hapan-Vhal’Dan War.  With this action, they knew that the communal feelings of hopelessness and incredulity would disappear like an ice brick on Tatooine.

“Captain, Tactical has a shooting solution.” One of the junior officers reported.

Lai’Gror smiled.  “Very well.” She gripped her hands behind her back, her spine ramrod straight.  “Fire.”

No sooner had the command left her lips than the Battledragons’ turbolasers lanced out from the combined battlegroup, fifteen ships aligned side-by-side for a potent broadside volley.  As the plasma struck the shields, the enemy ship turned to face the battlegroup and brought its own turbolasers to bear.  But by the time that the enemy had done so, the Hapan battlegroup was on their fourth salvo, two of which had included an ion cannon barrage.

As the Hapan Fleet finished their tenth salvo, the enemy ship was in dire straits.

“Report.” The Captain’s clipped tones were cautiously optimistic.

As soon as she’d spoken to the techs in Tactical, Sildhe turned to her CO, smiling.  “Direct hits, enemy shields fluctuating; more importantly: hull integrity compromised along port superstructure.”  Sildhe felt a wave of elation.  “The new weapons have proven effective.”  Newly reported from Sensors, she continued, “Captain, enemy vessel is an Imperial II-class variant star destroyer.”  So: the Vhal’Dan had even other ships amongst their navy.  Regardless, they would soon succumb to Consortium might.

“Outstanding, XO.” The Captain gave a tight smile, suddenly holding up a fist.  “Fire at wi–”

“Captain!  Sensors are detecting an incoming mass shadow on our starboard side.  It’s…” The tech’s voice trailed off before resuming, an unmistakable hint of fear and wonder evident as he spoke next.  “It’s enormous…close to a trillion-tonnes.”

Everyone on the bridge could feel the Captain’s scowl.  “That’s impossible; even an Executor-class star dreadnought has a fraction of that kind of mass-shadow.”

Sildhe knew that to be true; a super star destroyer’s mass-shadow was about 665 million-tonnes.  She went over to the Sensor station to verify.  After a second, the blood drained from her face.

“Captain…” Sildhe pushed down the worry that she felt, her voice calm and collected.  “Mass-shadow confirmed: almost a trillion-tonnes.”  She turned her head towards her CO.  “Incoming.”

“Status of enemy star destroyer?” Captain Lai’Gror inquired, her mind racing with possibilities concerning the new intruder.

“Substantial damage along port-side, starboard-side shields fluctuating, port engines running hot.” Came the reply.  Well, they wouldn’t be going anywhere for the next few minutes.

“Very well.  Bring the battleg–” But the Captain was once again interrupted.

“Captain!  Sensors have detected an energy surge from the intruder along the central-axis!” The Tactical ensign looked directly at the Captain and then at Sildhe.  “I think it’s a weapon…” She couldn’t hide the disbelief from her statement.

“Propulsion!  Evasive, full ahead!” Captain Lai’Gror commanded…a half-second before an enormous lancing arc of thick plasma shot from the bow of the intruder, hitting the furthest Battledragon center-mass.  Only, the powerful shot did not stop at that ship; it hit every single Hapan capital ship that was aligned next to one another for the broadside volleys that they’d unleashed upon the Imperial II-class star destroyer.

Within seconds, the entire battlegroup was in shambles, every ship suffering incredible damage, 13 of the 15 outright destroyed.  Only two Battledragons had not been completely vaporized by the initial shot, and of those two, only one had any survivors upon them.

In this case, Sildhe’s own Battledragon.

Coughing up blood, she tried to rise from the deck that she now found herself collapsed upon, only to find that she was pinned under a heavy piece of stanchion, the thick durasteel girder crushing her body from hips to her chest.  Desperately, she tried to blink away the cloudiness within her vision but every further attempt was futile.

A sudden calm overcame her.

Looking around the bridge, she saw first that many had been crushed as the durasteel superstructure collapsed inwards; others had asphyxiated from the sudden loss of oxygen and atmosphere; while still others had been thrown against the bulkhead from the force of impact.

As for Captain Lai’Gror, she was missing over half of her face, her remaining eye looking unconcerned.  From her elbows down, she was missing her entire body.

Sildhe knew she should feel dread, horror, or even apprehension, but she was completely calm.  Glancing around, she could see out of what remained of the bridge’s transparisteel windows the utter destruction of her battlegroup…but beyond that, she saw a deep, black shadow that ate up the stars as it came swiftly closer.

It took her a few seconds but Sildhe suddenly realized that what she was looking at was actually a ship…one enormous ship.  Even now, she could see that it had some running lights, a broad beam, and a deep, dark black wide, angular hull, one that reminded her of naval vessels of old, ships that had sailed oceans of water instead of the vastness of space.

Coughing up more blood, she could see the persistent green light bearing down upon her like a judgemental titan’s gigantic eye.  …It…it must be some sort of…of…weapon… She thought as all of the stars were suddenly consumed by the blackness, the intense glowing green of whatever it was soon the only source of light.

Closing her eyes, Sildhe sent a prayer to the Queen Mother, may Her Radiance illuminate etern–

The crashing cacophony of twisted durasteel, meta-ceramics, and duraplast was momentarily deafening in her ears before the eerie silence of the vacuum of space enveloped her, the woman’s final thoughts on her Empress.

Sildhe’s world shattered completely as the huge black ship rammed the remaining Battledragon, its already weakened superstructure torn apart like wet paper against the stygian quadranium hull of the over 35 kilometer-long flagship of the Autonomous Fleet.

An Eclipse III-class star dreadnought.

The Gehenna.

          <<<<< >>>>>
Logged

Sig courtesy of DarthScrub

Cataphract Triarch of the Vhal'Dan

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

TheDutchman
Knight Commander
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Force Alignment: 1112
Posts: 4155


Avatar courtesy of For Tyeth


« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2024, 01:16:35 AM »

Prologue-Nightmares, Shattered Dreams, Dark Aspirations, & Darker Pursuits, Part IV

“Admiral, the enemy fleet has been completely destroyed.” The tactical officer intonated in an almost bored voice.  Around the bridge, gunners checked shooting solutions for the larger debris remains of the Battledragons, Tactical and Damage Control officers perused pertinent data–no incoming ordinance or blasterfire, no damage to the dreadnaught or its systems–while ensuring the flagship was at battle-readiness, Sensor techs scoured the area for survivors and finding none.

All-in-all, a decent distraction from the Triumvirate’s primary objective.

“Good.”  Admiral Sarna Mercet intoned, idly wondering just what the Hapan ships were doing in this particular sector.  Not that it mattered; there were no survivors to tell the tale of their presence.  “Comms: relay to Fleet ‘Stand Down.’  Status on the Dúmazi?”

Consulting his panel, the tech reported.  “Medial damage to hull and shield modulation, one hundred thirty-two injured, no fatalities.  Captain Nesaid is confident that repairs will take no more than 3 hours.”

“Very well.” Sarna’s clipped tone matched the competence of the woman herself: her olive drab uniform was crisp, spotless, and professional, her face a mask of assured control.  “Gunners: use this opportunity for cadets and junior officers to present shooting solutions to neutralize larger debris fields.  Tactical: likewise for future engagements.  Propulsion: proceed to the former local coordinates.”  She cocked her head towards a much taller man to her right, his own uniform virtually identical to her own.  “Captain Makinen: you have the Con.”

“Aye, Admiral.” He bowed his head briefly at the neck before replacing her upon the bridge’s main thoroughfare, giving smart orders without yelling or barking.  Good; that’s one of the reasons why she’d chosen Emyl Makinen to act as her right hand: he knew the value and benefit of temperance.

Before she stepped into the turbolift, her XO’s voice called from behind her.  “Admiral, would you like for me to inform you once we reach the designated coordinates?” The lips under his thick yet neatly trimmed mustache made a thin line across his face.

“Yes, Captain.  Thank you.” She nodded as the turbolift door slid shut.

She rode in silence for the minute it took the ‘lift to reach her destination: the Triumvirate’s War Room.  As the blast door slid open to a darkened room, she was unsurprised to see that it was already occupied.  In the middle of the room, a tall, dark haired man kneeled, his black robes doing nothing to hide the lithe armor covering the man.  If he took any notice of her presence, he did not move.

“Kintik?” She finally asked, voice low, “I thought that you were with Ghent.” Sarna’s eyebrow arched.

“Something roused me from my Meditations.” He answered instead, his tone distracted.  His hands unconsciously flexed and unflexed, the faded skin giving his fingers an almost ethereal quality.

Automatically Sarna felt on edge.  She’d come to trust the Darkside Executor’s intuitions.  “Visions?”

Nodding his head, he closed his yellow eyes while focusing within.  “I see a man and a Tof, flipsides of a coin; as they approach a mountain suddenly moves, yet both are the same.  I see a Togruta who wears three faces; she is simultaneously prisoner, victor, and vanquished yet what remains is stronger.  Standing above them all is a shining woman in whose hands weighs the balance of possible futures; she must needs decide.  All must collide and it is her decision which will help determine who survives and who dies.”  His voice suddenly fell silent, the abruptness in sharp contrast to its previous bombast as if all of the weight of its portents had somehow slipped through his fingers.

All thoughts fled from her mind as Sarna tapped an index finger on her lips, both wondering and lost as to the meaning of her Executor’s Prescience.  “And no ideas on who they are?” She asked guessing the answer.

“None.” Kintik’s reply was as acerbic as it was abrupt.  “I know only that the woman is key.”  He fell silent, grasping through the Force at understanding only to find his attempts futile.

He did not notice when Sarna left nor her attestation to find Moff Ghent before she did; Kintik’s mind instead replayed the Vision over and over again.  Whomever she was, this woman was of utmost importance, absolutely necessary to the Future…but not necessarily his future.

Tightly wrapped in the Darkside, Kintik burned the image of the woman into his memory, the details of her dark skin and darker eyes searing in his mind.

But it was her midnight-blue hair and full blue lips that gripped his attention, an oddity that even within a galaxy of alien peculiarities he took note of.  She was absolutely vital…

…And her choice would either save the galaxy…or condemn it.



"With death....there is always rebirth."
Dark Renascence
Logged

Sig courtesy of DarthScrub

Cataphract Triarch of the Vhal'Dan

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

KaiserSosay
Duke of the Diamond Order
Knight Commander
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Force Alignment: -844
Posts: 2103

DROOGS don't run


« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2024, 06:23:14 AM »

Thank You for the much needed palette cleanser!
 
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Lord_S_Gray
Knight Commander
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Force Alignment: 437
Posts: 1914



« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2024, 08:05:48 AM »

The  Renascence Begins!

What began in Retrieval, and then through Queen and Marquessa amongst other interludes now seems to be coming to a crux.

The Nightmares are understandable, after all they’ve ben through its amazing D’Alyanna and Zearic can keep going, but with Jorya in peril beyond reckoning they have no time to contemplate their own trauma’s.

The Beast and Child has a twisted fairytale feel here, gory and troubling yet engaging as to who is who in that drama that haunt Oran D’amarr, the hamask – the dread executioner of the Vhal’Dan, the last of whom we saw in detail was Ksorallyne Apus in the Vhal’Dan Civil war -  a relentless force that manhandled three Aethans and was only stopped by Aresaea going full Nova on her Twice!. No doubt Oran is in the same league, Zearic had best not set a hair wrong.

And Jorya, the victim of ‘Dark Aspirations’…becoming ever more a muddle of the three minds, one fears should D’Alyanna find her, will there be anything distinct of her daughter left to save?  Whatever the shards intent the reality of their control is clearly not as smooth as they had hoped, nor is their progress. What they hope to find in Vectivus holocron one can reasonably guess has to do with some kind of either compete body control or transference to another host.

The luckless Hapan’s have learnt painfully they ought not to shoot and ask questions later…Not everyone with TIE Defenders is a Vhal’Dan…They might benefit from retreating back behind the Transitory mists for a long while, or perhaps stick to what they are good at, T’atyanna was extremely successful after all on her ‘own’(not to forget Rissan her manservant) infiltrating and extracting D’Alyanna, perhaps a more subtle approach is necessary (and likely far less costly) if the Empress can stomach such a relative ‘back down’.

And then Enter the Triumvirate, pursuing their own goals and now, whether they like it or not, seemingly fated to become embroiled with the Vhal’Dan, Kintiks vision clear enough for us as it is vague for him, but still pointing to the decision D’Alyanna is already weighing in her restless sleep.

And well done For with the poster! Is that a Carbonite army in the background there?!

A great start to a great stories continuation, brilliant as always Dutch.
Logged

Lord_S_Gray

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

TheDutchman
Knight Commander
*

Force Alignment: 1112
Posts: 4155


Avatar courtesy of For Tyeth


« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2024, 07:59:46 PM »

Thank You for the much needed palette cleanser!
 
Thanks, KS!  Glad to have you reading here  Smiley

The  Renascence Begins!

What began in Retrieval, and then through Queen and Marquessa amongst other interludes now seems to be coming to a crux.

The Nightmares are understandable, after all they’ve ben through its amazing D’Alyanna and Zearic can keep going, but with Jorya in peril beyond reckoning they have no time to contemplate their own trauma’s.

The Beast and Child has a twisted fairytale feel here, gory and troubling yet engaging as to who is who in that drama that haunt Oran D’amarr, the hamask – the dread executioner of the Vhal’Dan, the last of whom we saw in detail was Ksorallyne Apus in the Vhal’Dan Civil war -  a relentless force that manhandled three Aethans and was only stopped by Aresaea going full Nova on her Twice!. No doubt Oran is in the same league, Zearic had best not set a hair wrong.

And Jorya, the victim of ‘Dark Aspirations’…becoming ever more a muddle of the three minds, one fears should D’Alyanna find her, will there be anything distinct of her daughter left to save?  Whatever the shards intent the reality of their control is clearly not as smooth as they had hoped, nor is their progress. What they hope to find in Vectivus holocron one can reasonably guess has to do with some kind of either compete body control or transference to another host.

The luckless Hapan’s have learnt painfully they ought not to shoot and ask questions later…Not everyone with TIE Defenders is a Vhal’Dan…They might benefit from retreating back behind the Transitory mists for a long while, or perhaps stick to what they are good at, T’atyanna was extremely successful after all on her ‘own’(not to forget Rissan her manservant) infiltrating and extracting D’Alyanna, perhaps a more subtle approach is necessary (and likely far less costly) if the Empress can stomach such a relative ‘back down’.

And then Enter the Triumvirate, pursuing their own goals and now, whether they like it or not, seemingly fated to become embroiled with the Vhal’Dan, Kintiks vision clear enough for us as it is vague for him, but still pointing to the decision D’Alyanna is already weighing in her restless sleep.

And well done For with the poster! Is that a Carbonite army in the background there?!

A great start to a great stories continuation, brilliant as always Dutch.

Much obliged, LSG^^

And you're absolutely right: this is "part III" of a trilogy, wrapping up most of the loose threads that I've been leaving since "Tarnished Knight"  Smiley

My thanks to everyone reading these stories!  Here's to hoping to give a satisfied conclusion...at least for the current story arc(s)  Wink
Logged

Sig courtesy of DarthScrub

Cataphract Triarch of the Vhal'Dan

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

KaiserSosay
Duke of the Diamond Order
Knight Commander
*

Force Alignment: -844
Posts: 2103

DROOGS don't run


« Reply #7 on: June 21, 2024, 08:55:30 AM »

I've been reading your stories for a while now. Lord S.G.'s too. I agree with what 40th said a few months ago. "I wish you guys would put your stories in PDF."
 I loose power a lot. No power means no internet for me. So that's when I do a lot of reading. I would totally download and binge your stories. Just saying! I missed all the older stuff and would prefer to start at the beginning.

Also, thank you for ignoring my horrible spelling, grammar and punctuation.
 Freak'n "palette"?  My proof reading sucks too.
I'm glad you figured out what I was attempting to say.
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Lord_S_Gray
Knight Commander
*

Force Alignment: 437
Posts: 1914



« Reply #8 on: June 22, 2024, 10:03:22 AM »

I've been reading your stories for a while now. Lord S.G.'s too. I agree with what 40th said a few months ago. "I wish you guys would put your stories in PDF."
 I loose power a lot. No power means no internet for me. So that's when I do a lot of reading. I would totally download and binge your stories. Just saying! I missed all the older stuff and would prefer to start at the beginning.

Also, thank you for ignoring my horrible spelling, grammar and punctuation.
 Freak'n "palette"?  My proof reading sucks too.
I'm glad you figured out what I was attempting to say.
Thanks for reading.
I'll message you some links to PDFs I produced a while back!
Logged

Lord_S_Gray

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

TheDutchman
Knight Commander
*

Force Alignment: 1112
Posts: 4155


Avatar courtesy of For Tyeth


« Reply #9 on: July 01, 2024, 10:58:20 PM »


Chapter 1: The Moment Before The Avalanche, part I
*******************************************************
Vhal’Dan Congress
Baransu no Kage: VACANT
  Council of Balance:
  Arbiter: Listian Demarcus, Human male
  1st Speaker: WyFei Klamonte, Zeltron female
  2nd Speaker: Pyryx'Tu, Aing-Tii female
  3rd Speaker: Qillian Rethaal, Togruta male
  4th Speaker: Sona Mnaa Rahn , Mirilian female
  5th Speaker: Stel-Lan Octharr, Human male
  6th Speaker: Alcyorr Kĺl Rhadde, Cathar male
  7th Speaker: D'Aylanna Vih'Torr, Hapan female
*******************************************************
“...Which brings me to the main point of this Session.” Listian Damarcus’ voice was terse, his gray-blue eyes tightening.  “The sensor drones have detected several mass-shadows in the former vicinity of Zonama Sekot’s orbital in the Klasse Ephemora System.”  Sitting, his eyes scanned each Speaker.

D’Aylanna sat back in her own chair, unperturbed.  That was to be expected: when Bellicose Protocols were enacted, the planet’s internal hyperdrive allowed them to relocate to almost anywhere in the galaxy–in this case, the Seitia Sector in the Outer Rim–while deploying several clandestine sensor probes to keep watch.  The Vhal’Dan had all but expected for the Consortium to retaliate.

After all, that’s precisely what the Order’s putative actions were about in rescuing her, precipitating the Hapes-Vhal’Dan War.  The small Speaker mentally shook her head.  …Dammit…  D’Aylanna did not smile at the thought of whatever Hapan attack force the Queen Mother had gathered wasting time at a place where the Vhal’Dan no longer were.  If she’d had it her way, no Vhal’Dan would’ve ever endangered themselves in attempting said rescue in the first place…

She gave silent thanks to the Maker that no Vhal’Dan had died.  Not that, never that.

No, the small Hapan woman had been prepared to die on the Throneworld, her friends, family, and Order safe…especially her husband and her daughter.  Even now she could recall with crystal clarity the Trial-By-Champion between her Shakal1 and that brute of an executioner that T’Atyanna had chosen…but worse than that had been Jorya.  By the Maker, her daug–

“Excuse me, Arbiter,” She said, her mind catching up to her ears, “Did you say ‘a trillion-tonne mass shadow?’”

When Listian turned towards the small Hapan Speaker, his face softened slightly.  “That’s correct, Speaker.  The drones’ sensors were unable to discern much else, but one of them was able to capture his holovid.”  From his Chair, he thumbed one of the buttons on the built-in panel on the right arm, activating the main, central holodisplay.

Simultaneously, the Hall’s illumination darkened, a starfield appearing above the holoprojector in the center of the semicircle of Speakers’ Chairs.  At first nothing seemed to happen…then a bright, green plasma blast seemed to erupt from nothingness.  A fraction of a second later, every Gray Jedi witnessed as a dozen or so explosions appeared all in a row.  As the blast plumes proliferated outward, they started to disappear starting at one side as if swallowed by darkness.

D’Aylanna couldn’t be sure but she thought that the shadow got bigger before a final explosion appeared within the periphery…only to be completely engulfed by darkness.  …Damn my eyes… She cursed, irritated by the hereditary Hapan night-blindness.  “Arbiter…can you please adjust the contrast and replay?”

“Of course, Speaker.” The gray-haired human said patiently, understanding.  After making the necessary adjustments, he thumbed the “Enable” button again.  This time the shadow was clearer, although still not enough to show details.

But the last explosion definitely showed D’Aylanna all that she needed to see.  “It’s a ship.” She whispered, clearly voicing what everyone else thought given their slight nods.  But…she’d never heard of a ship that large, the only vessels that came close were the Executor-class star dreadnoughts from the Empire…

…No, actually that wasn’t right.  Using a Recall Technique, she vaguely remembered a report that her Shakal had given in front of Kage Oyuna Chan’dn back when he, Jaim, and G’av had discovered Gaetana’s betrayal.

Before reaching the Fortress Inquisitorious on Byss2, they’d come upon an enormous doonium skeleton, its chassis almost 18 kilometers in length, indicative of an absolutely huge ship.

Something fitting given the name of “Project Eclipse.”

But after doing some quick mental math, D’Aylanna knew that such wouldn’t even come close to a mass-shadow of a trillion tonnes.  Nor was she the only one to do so.

“With a mass shadow that large?  Such would indicate something more akin to the first Death Star, if still a fraction of the mass.” 1st Speaker WyFei Klamonte mused, her magenta skin seeming to pale at the suggestion.

That opened the proverbial floodgate: seven voices began speaking at once as each Speaker chimed in their own opinions, concerns, and possible solutions, a verbal cacophony that grew in volume over the next few minutes.

Subjects varied from Speaker to Speaker: it was a ship, it was a station, it was a superweapon; no it was a prototype, it was an Imperial vessel, it was a shadow non-government organization that had been steering events from behind the scenes.  Every subject had its supporters and detractors but one thing was constant: there was absolutely no consensus in full to be achieved.

“Regardless…” Listian bellowed, cutting through the growing argument with a trick of the Force, projecting his voice louder, “... Jurisprudence demands that we investigate.” He looked pointedly at each Speaker before finally settling upon the large, white Cathar.  “Triarch, we need personal intel for this; I don’t trust such evaluations solely with holo evidence.  We’ll need some ‘boots on the ground.’”

“Understood, Arbiter.” Though he spoke quietly, Alcyorr’s bass voice seemed to shake the very floor of the Hall of Balance.  “I have the perfect team in mind for such a task.” He assured.  D’Aylanna saw several of the Speakers subtly relax as a result.  Nothing overt but–with a lifetime of watching people, studying them–the small Hapan master was particularly good inferring the easement of eyes or smoothing of jowl muscles and the idiosyncrasies belonging to each Speaker.  “With your assent, I shall inform them forthwith.”

Standing, the Cathar Speaker seemed to make the Hall grow smaller (as he always did).  “Arbiter.  Speakers.” He bowed at the neck respectfully before striding from the Hall.  D’Aylanna couldn’t help but watch the Triarch with a touch of concern.

She couldn’t be certain…but she thought that she could detect the barest hint of satisfaction in his tone when he mentioned the “perfect team.”  With her face an impassive mask, she scrutinized her fellow Speakers to see if any of them had any suspicions.

And was suitably rewarded.

With the lone exception of 2nd Speaker Pyryx'Tu, the other members of Congress looked pensive…but that did not mean that the Aing-tii master wasn’t concerned, only that her particular “tell” had nothing to do with her visage but rather the way her tongues licked the air.  That told D’Aylanna all that she needed to know.

At least some of her fellow Speakers already had an idea (or at least the beginnings of one) of what was going on…

…And they did not want to share that particular knowledge.  At least not here or now and certainly not with her.

Serenely, D’Aylanna tucked all the information securely away, compartmentalizing it all until she could properly peruse everything.

“These deliberations are concluded and Session is adjourned.  Go in Balance.” Listian intoned, dismissing the remaining Speakers.  With a friendly smile upon her lips, D’Aylanna excused herself to participate in the usual small talk that the Speakers would normally engage in post-Session.  Yes, she had much more pressing concerns and they involved the input of her Shakal.  Yet she also wanted to get the lay of the land as it were where her fellow Speakers were concerned…especially with them being so vague and obtuse.

But the thrust of her mind was already with her Zearic.

Besides, they still needed to discuss the…other uncertain antagonist in their lives, the one that had possessed their daughter, Jorya

Darth Mendax, Gaetana Ravine.

   <<<<< >>>>>
____________________________________________________________________
1. Shakal: Hapan for “worthy” or “he who is worthy”
2. As seen W-A-A-Y-Y-Y back in “A Tarnished Knight:https://www.saberforum.com/index.php?topic=35967.msg586550#msg586550
Logged

Sig courtesy of DarthScrub

Cataphract Triarch of the Vhal'Dan

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

TheDutchman
Knight Commander
*

Force Alignment: 1112
Posts: 4155


Avatar courtesy of For Tyeth


« Reply #10 on: July 01, 2024, 10:59:47 PM »

Special thanks to For Tyeth for his excellent rendering of Zearic!  This chapter is dedicated to him  Smiley
********************************************************************************

Chapter 1: The Moment Before The Avalanche, part II
As D’Aylanna entered the Pancratium, the roar of the gathered crowd was raised in a pitched volume, a large gathering of Vhal’Dan Jedi, instructors, and the Concordat Company’s Hit Squad members encircled the main practice ring.  Unfortunately, as short as she was, she could not see who was currently wrestling, at least not from her current vantage.

Scanning the crowd, she immediately saw Alcyorr towering above almost every single person, his stripped white fur pulled back in several braids hanging from his head.  Even out of his Cataphract armor, the Triarch was absolutely massive, the enormous Cather easily weighing over 400kg.  By the Maker, he even made her Shakal look small…well, smaller; at over 200kg, he was still one of the largest humans she’d ever seen.

D’Aylanna couldn’t help but grin.  Even when she first met her Shakal, he had been a man of proper size (per Hapan reckoning) but he’d gotten even larger since, thanks in no small part to her culinary skills.  While such was not standard learning within House Royal, D’Aylanna had always been a gifted chef.  Growing up on the Throneworld, who could’ve guessed that she’d find satisfaction from something so…pedestrian.

Another cheer went up, recalling her from her ruminations.  Determinedly, she made her way through the crowd to the Triarch.  Despite barely being 1.5 meters tall and 45kg, the sea of people parted for her, a trick of presence that she’d learned as Marquesa.  Nodding graciously to each person that she passed, D’Aylanna soon found herself besides the 6th Speaker.  “Triarch.” She said in greeting, having to shout to be heard.

“Speaker.” Even the clamor of the crowd couldn’t drown out the Cather’s deep bass vibrato.  Alcyorr had a shrewd bent to his face as he leaned down closer to D’Aylanna’s height.  “Glad you could make it; the final match only just started.”  Almost bending himself in half to do so, the Triarch then motioned to her to stand in front of him, giving D’Aylanna an unfettered view of the ring.

Within were six beings: 2 humans, a Togruta, a Mirilian, what must be a half-Houk hybrid, and, finally, her Shakal.  Three of them–a human, the Mirilian, and the half-Houk–were Hit Squad members whereas the remaining three were Cataphracts.  Unsurprisingly all of the Cataphracts were large beings but the half-Houk was larger still, absolutely dwarfing his two teammates (especially the Mirilian).

Pushing back thoughts of intended discussion, D’Aylanna cheered as loud as the rest of the crowd as each person in the ring paired up with an opponent: the Hit Squad human against the Cataphract Togruta, the Mirilian opposite the Cataphract human, and her Shakal against the half-Houk.

“Hah! Mia-Ja Styll’s already spankin’ yer Tertius!” One of the helmeted Hit Squad members laughed, “An’ Yant’s goin’ to eat yer Secundus, Triarch!” pointing at her Zearic.  “An’ Tret Merren’ll have his way wit’ yer Primus!” She said, gesturing toward the Togruta.

Before Alcyorr could respond, D’Aylanna placed a delicate hand upon the Hit Squad member’s armored cuirass.  She had her own part to play, her own secrets to keep.  “A hundred credits that the Secundus bests Yant.” Her face was a blank mask but she had a glint in her dark eyes.  “Another hundred says he wins the entire match.”

The helmeted Hit Squad member stopped, face unreadable under her own mask.  Cocking her head to the side, she seemed amused, if still respectful (after all, every member of the Concordat Company knew of D’Aylanna’s reputation).  “You're that eager to hand over your money, Speaker?”

“Make it 1,000; I’ve been rather busy the last few weeks with a personal errand.”  Of course, everyone on Sekot knew precisely just where she’d been the “last few weeks3.”

Chuckling loudly and appreciatively, the Hit Squad woman shouted excitedly.  “Agreed, Speaker!” She held out a gloved hand.  “Given?”

D’Aylanna immediately took the larger woman’s hand in a fierce grip with her own.  “Taken.” She answered, her eyes turning to her Shakal and giving him her entire attention.  The two opponents squared off against one another, sizing the other up for a moment before each one exploded in motion.

Just as Zearic had done, D’Aylanna scrutinized his opponent: Yant was just as wide as her Shakal and taller besides, easily topping 2 meters and a bit.  Both were thick of limbs, broad of chest, and heavy of shoulder (although her Shakal had a slightly wider waist compared to the half-Houk’s muscled abdominals).  And where her Zearic had a thick brown beard, Yant’s violet face was clean shaven.  She knew that she was correct in guessing his pedigree: the Hit Squad member must’ve been the offspring of a human and a Houk.  …A rare genetic recessive trait, that purple face… She mused.

D’Aylanna watched and cheered as each of them shot into range to gain advantage, large arms and hands gripping hard to gain purchase over the other with the hope of establishing dominance, thick legs planting themselves above the mat as if to take root deep underneath the ground.  The cheering seemed to double as the expected rout never happened, Zearic able to hold his own against the half-Houk.

Back and forth the two men grappled and sparred, each hoping for a takedown.  Soon it seemed that everyone’s focus was upon the two largest beings in the ring, the cheering almost deafening.  Yant’s face had slowly changed: first from imperiously certain to merely determined to laser-focused and finally to frustrated, all-encompassing purpose.  D’Aylanna could as good as see his thoughts written across his face: he would crush this human who dared to defy him, an uncommon opponent in a contest that should’ve been over long ago.  A growing irritant to the half-Houk…but a celebration to the shouting onlookers.

Inwardly, D’Aylanna smiled, her dark eyes serene and knowing.  Her Shakal had told her the consequences of his Renewal, of his empowered strength in the Force as well as his body.  He’d always been strong, but now he had moved towards peak human performance, raw power joining with practiced skill…not all of which was on display.  Unsurprisingly, the Pancratium was almost deafening.

Her own secrets to keep…and her own ways to protect those she loved.

Suddenly Yant struck out with a lightning-fast jab, stunning her Shakal.  Seeing an opening, the Hit Squad member put his shorter opponent into an armbar, slowly overpowering Zearic before sweeping his legs out from under him.  Almost immediately Yant was atop, pinning the wide human.  The shouting seemed to double instantly.

With gritted teeth, Zearic tried to gain advantage but all to no avail; between his alleged superior strength and his weight advantage, the half-Houk had too much leverage on his side.  Grinning, Yant bellowed his imminent victory.  Reluctantly, her Shakal slowly gave the sign of the Missio.

Every Hit Squad member erupted in celebration as the final match finished, the score 2 Wins/1 Loss favoring the Concordat Company.  With good-natured-if-grudging acquiescence, the Cataphracts handed over chits of various denominations to the winners.  Theatrically and with incredible elegance, D’Aylanna produced a 1,000 credit chit and handed over gracefully to the larger Hit Squad woman.  “Good match.  My Zearic almost had Yant.” She offered, a grin hidden from her face by the impassive mask that she’d schooled herself to adopt during times such as these.

“Indeed, Speaker, indeed!” The large woman took a half-step towards D’Aylanna, almost conspiratorially, “...But yer know what they say 'bout ‘almost!’” D’Aylanna could all but hear the wink in the woman’s tone.  Good.

“Of course.” The Hapan Speaker allowed, her aura one of perfect self-possession.  “Next time.” She gave a slight bow from the neck and went to turn towards her Shakal.

For a fleeting moment, their eyes found one another, sharing a look of love, contentment, and secrets.  And, unnoticed by anyone else, he gave her a quick wink.  With a barely perceptible nod of her head, she acknowledged the gesture, one seen by her Shakal.  A slow grin spread on his face before he turned back to the crowd that surrounded him.

“A match well fought, wouldn’t you agree Speaker?” Alcyorr’s deep voice came from behind her.  “I could’ve sworn that Vih’Torr had him before the last there.”  As D’Aylanna glanced up into his icy-blue eyes, they seemed to glow preternaturally, his face introspective and intense…but only for a moment.  When next he spoke, his voice was one of genial acceptance and quiet joviality.  “Oh well; as you said: there’s always ‘next time,’ Speaker.”

D’Aylanna thought she noticed that the Cathar had a ghost of a smile upon his face but merely nodded.  “Yes, I suspect that you’ll push my Shakal over the next week in his training.”  Her blue lips turned up at the corner. “As a reminder.”

Alcyorr gave an appreciative chuckle, one that could nevertheless be heard through the constant din of voices.  “Good thinking.  Speaker.” He nodded before striding away, gathering his Cataphracts within one of the restricted areas of the Den.  D’Aylanna had expected as much; she would await her Shakal in one of the much more comfortable conference rooms.

As she glided towards her destination, she always had a nod, a friendly wave, or a soft smile for those she passed, but inwardly her thoughts were her own.

She was all but certain that Alcyorr knew more than he was letting on concerning her Zearic.  Oh, she doubted that the Triarch knew everything and certainly that he had more suspicions, but she would be doing him a grave disservice to think him a fool.

Instead, she would hope to convince the Triarch of an unvarnished truth: that her Shakal was a constant and loyal Cataphract and member of the Vhal’Dan.  Of course, there was more to it than that but it was not his concern…hence “a” truth and not “the entire” truth.

Yet, she also suspected that Alcyorr would be accepting of that distinction; after all, he himself in his capacity as Triarch was entrusted with many secrets, both of the Order as well as personal.

Sometimes life required necessary fiction.  Like her little wager.

She would always protect those she cared about, cost be damned.  To be sure, the 1,000 credits were nothing, at least to her.  In fact, within the bedroom that she shared with her Shakal, she had a necklace of rainbow gems worth more than an entire star system.

And that was but one piece of jewelry that she owned, courtesy of her former station of Marquesa.

No, D’Aylanna need not worry about credits, especially when spent for the protection and privacy of those she cared for.

And loved.

For that, she would pay whatever price required.  Inadvertently, she ground her back teeth, perturbed that the Order had gone to war for her.  Yes, she was forever grateful, thankful, and happy to be free and alive…but she would’ve never wished for any member of the Order–especially not her Shakal or her daughter!--to endanger themselves on her behalf.

…And now, the two people that she loved most in the galaxy were in danger.

D’Aylanna had nothing specific to go on, only her intuition; even her Force Prescience had been unusually nebulous and circumspect.  But what she was certain of was that if she did not act, her family would pay a heavy price, one that would rend asunder that which she held so dear.

Sighing to herself, she continued her serene pace.  One way or another, she would protect everyone around her, be they friend, family…all Vhal’Dan.

Even at the cost of her own life.

   <<<<< >>>>>
____________________________________________________________________
3. As seen back in “Queen&Marquesa, Executioner&Cataphract:https://www.saberforum.com/index.php?topic=48094.msg799195#msg799195

Logged

Sig courtesy of DarthScrub

Cataphract Triarch of the Vhal'Dan

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

TheDutchman
Knight Commander
*

Force Alignment: 1112
Posts: 4155


Avatar courtesy of For Tyeth


« Reply #11 on: July 01, 2024, 11:00:39 PM »

Chapter 1: The Moment Before The Avalanche, part III
Unseen by all, Or’an Damaar watched as his target glided through the crowd, careful not to follow too closely.

He had no doubt that he could best anyone within the crowds, even the 7th Speaker, but the Hamask knew that such a contest would be amongst the most dangerous of his life.

…A fact that elicited no small amount of excitement within the Tof.  To be able to challenge himself, really take measure of his abilities against a worthy and adept  opponent…

Forcing himself to calm down, he went through the mental checks that kept his worse impulses at bay.  Slowly his breathing steadied, regulating his body’s sympathetic/aggression response to stimuli.  …Control…control…better…  Relief–an ice bath cooling the raging furnace within his chest–flooded through his nervous system.

As it always did, he was instantly reminded of the Gloaming.

The all-encompassing fear, sharp, tearing panic that would seize him in an instant, reasserting itself tenfold.  Like a vicious circle, the positive-feedback system fueling his aggression threatened to overwhelm his mental impedimen–

…STOP…!

With a durasteel grip, he mentally clamped down upon the emotional cascade that threatened to flood forth and, with a practiced deftness that impressed even him, willed himself into a state of tranquility and composure.

By the second breath, his circulatory system had returned to its pre-adrenal state, his heart beating normally while the epinephrine coursing through his veins began to dissipate.  Outwardly, the Tof had not changed: he remained unseen and unnoticed, but if anyone had actually seen him, Or’an looked no more remarkable than any other sentient at rest.

...If any Hamask could ever said to "be at rest."

Visually, he reacquired his target as the 7th Speaker continued onwards towards one of the Den’s many conference rooms.

Zearic Vih’Torr’s Kill Order had been rescinded; rather, it was someone close to him that Or’an had judged and now pronounced “Damnatio:”

Koawan Jorya Fah ni’Vih’Torr.

He had reviewed all of the existing holofootage, scoured the Order's Archives--Official and otherwise--and learned everything possible that there was to know about Jorya...even that she was possessed by the Sith Lord Gaetana Ravine.  And looking through eyes that saw the Cold Equation, he knew of only one verdict that could possibly be pronounced upon Gaetana.

Death.

That Jorya was an innocent--a foolish young woman to be sure, but innocent nevertheless--was not even a consideration.  Her body was but vessel to the Order's most dangerous enemy in this day and age.  Had he but been invested as Hamask all those years ago... But such conjecture was folly, and entirely pointless.

What was not was that she need be found.

And he believed that the 7th Speaker would lead him directly to her.  She would be sentenced.  She would be found anathema.

And, finally, would be executed.

   <<<<< >>>>>



D’Aylanna had not been waiting long before she was joined by her husband, although she instantly noticed that her Zearic seemed troubled.

Entering the room, her Shakal’s face immediately lit up as his eyes fell upon her.  “Ereneda4...” His deep voice caressed her ears.  D’Aylanna’s face broke out in an unfeigned smile.  With him, she could truly be herself even–no, especially!--after all their years together.  …So unlike Hapes… She couldn’t help but muse.  But such thoughts were quiet and insignificant, quickly pushed aside as she was enveloped in his embrace, his thick arms incongruously gentle.

Shakal...” She smiled fully, allowing herself a moment to just be.  For an instant, everything in the galaxy around them was forgotten, the only thing of import was the man wrapping her in arms thicker than her legs in an intimate hug.  As tender as he was, she could feel the hard muscle just under his skin, his embrace both comforting and protective.  ...Just as you are for him… She thought, amused.

“I need to tell yo–”

“I need to tell yo–”

They both spoke simultaneously, stopping short with a familiar smile for each other.

“Please, Ereneda, after you.” He gestured with his large, meaty hands.

D’Aylanna sobered quickly.  “Bellicose sensor drones detected a rather disturbing unidentifiable object…” She trailed off after seeing the look on his face.  “Alcyorr told you.” It was not a question.

Nodding, he ran his hand through his short hair.  “He did.  Ereneda, he assigned Triad Isk to reconnoiter the area.”  

Of course; D’Aylanna should’ve known that the Triarch would send his best Recon Team.  And while her Zearic was always essential as the Triad’s Secundus & demolitions expert, she knew that the other members of Isk would be especially important for this mission: Primus Olyna Ve’Reen and Tertius Sio Hardwick both possessed an M.O.S5 in espionage.

“When do you leave?” She asked, burying the familiar worry under the sincere convictions that her husband was the best at what he did.  It helped.  Somewhat.

Her Shakal’s smile was bittersweet.  “Tonight, Ereneda.” He looked wistful.

…Of course… She thought, remembering the age-old axiom: “When people make plans, the Maker laughs.”  Unashamedly, she wrapped her husband in a fierce hug, or at least as far as her arms would allow her.

But no matter how large her Shakal had become, she always bequeathed the Maker for his good health and safe return.  “Do not do anything foolish, Shakal.” She chided, only half-jokingly.

His big hand tenderly stroked her brown cheek and blue lips.  “You know me, Ereneda.” He tried to inject his tone with levity.

“Hence my admonition, Shakal.” She stared deeply into his eyes, her own dark gaze matching the solemness of her demeanor.  By the Maker, her Zearic was wonderful… “Please…” She began, her melodious voice pausing as she tried to keep her composure.  As always, she was successful.

And, as always, her Shakal saw through her mask to the truth.

“Don’t cry, Dear One.” His own eyes shining, voice full of emotion.  “I promise to be careful, Love.”  For as big as he was, D’Aylanna began to console him, her small, delicate hand gently rubbing his chest.

“I know, Shakal, I know…” Her voice was quiet but hard as quadranium.  She inhaled, decision made.  “There is something else, Shakal.”  She made certain that her Zearic felt the gravity of the situation before continuing.  “It’s regarding Jo…Gaetana.”

His face looked blank but D’Aylanna noticed his jowl muscles ripple and the slight tightening of his eyes.  Outwardly, he did nothing but cross his arms across his broad chest.  He said nothing, intent upon listening to her.

“We must needs find her and quickly.” She closed her eyes.  “Before she does something…something horrible.” Nightmares both vivid and half-remembered assaulted her mind.  …the Maker send that the worst were just that: nightmares… She prayed, still not convincing herself.  “And soon…”

“Visions?” He asked sincerely.

“Yes.  No.” D’Aylanna balled her small hands into fists, frustration replacing the impassive mask she normally wore.  “I’m…I’m not certain.”  Those were the most frightening words that she’d uttered in a long time, the content of such even more terrible.  After all, her mastery with her Force Visions had taken years, practice, and no small amount of pain but she'd become incredibly adept at interpreting and benefitting from them.  To have a Vision that was so...unclear, her ability to deduce dubious at best... “I only know that if I do not do something I will…she will…it will be terrible beyond description.”

In the almost 30 years that Zearic had been with her, her Shakal had come to trust her and her Force Prescience completely.

This was no exception.  Furthermore, he could be surprisingly intuitive during the most inconvenient of times.

“You’re going after her.” He knew.  D’Aylanna felt his strange hazel eyes burrowing into her.  There was nothing accusatory nor cross in his manner, he knew his wife too well.

Indeed, he loved her all the more for her bravery, her convictions, her earnestness.  He smiled knowingly.  “And I thought you were supposed to be the cautious one, Ereneda.”

Playfully, she pretended to be offended.  “Of course I am.” Suddenly she had her lightsaber hilt in one hand, the ignited purple blade casting a pale visage across her face.  “Doubly so.” A blaster appeared in her other hand…along with a kukri made of Songsteel, a gift given to her during her time amongst the Mak’Tor…as were the three other vibroblades secreted about her person.

Her Shakal smiled deeply.  “A more dangerous woman I’ve never met, Ereneda.” She knew he was not joking; indeed, he was incredibly proud.  Waiting for her to secure the multiple weapons about her person, her Zearic drew her into his warm, comforting embrace.  Kissing the top of her head, she heard him whisper, “Go get our daughter back.”

Automatically, she nodded, not trusting herself to speak.  She did not want for her Shakal to hear the pain in her voice, for him to detect the fear she felt.  Not fear for herself, mind… No, she was not afraid of death.  Instead, she was afraid for her daughter.

But most of all, afraid because she was certain that when she found Jorya, she would do what she knew her Shakal could not.

He could easily put his ego aside to throw a wrestling match, just as he could throw away 1,000 credits to keep his family safe.  But when it came to his daughter Jorya...therein lay the problem.

D’Aylanna knew that she would have to kill her, lest Gaetana fully possess her.

“I promise that I will save her.” She whispered, meaning every word.  She would save her Shakal his pain.  And she would save Jorya.

Even if it meant doing what D’Aylanna knew only she could do.
_____________________________________________________________________
4. Ereneda: Hapan for “she who has no equal.”
5. M.O.S.: Military Operating Speciality
Logged

Sig courtesy of DarthScrub

Cataphract Triarch of the Vhal'Dan

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

Lord_S_Gray
Knight Commander
*

Force Alignment: 437
Posts: 1914



« Reply #12 on: July 03, 2024, 11:46:58 PM »

Putting the various pieces on the board, and it seems once more Zearic and D'Alyanna each have their own paths - Zearic seems headed for a collision with the Triumvirate, while D'alyanna pursues Jorya...shadowed by the hamask. It seems both D'Alyanna and Or'an have come to the same conclusion, difficult though it is, Gaetana is too dangerous and has escaped death (in one form or another) too many times, and with Jorya's knowledge did immense damage before her escape, its perfectly reasonable for the Hamask to determine Gaetana and the host must be utterly eliminated, and equally logical to use D'Alyanna to lead her to her, though no doubt the Hamask has his own sources to also call upon...along with a tightly chained ferocity courtesy of his Tof genetics that is no doubt unleashed to horrific effect on anyone under the sentence of 'Damnatio'.

D'alyanna seems confident she can end Gaetana in Jorya's body, but I think she might be underestimating just who she is fighting, its one thing to be confident at a distance but when looking into Jorya's face can she really do it - especially given the Shards will be very active in resisting her using every trick they can, and importantly I don't think the Vhal'dan are aware of the Kadmaur shard given only Gaetana did the 'talking' aboard the Rikard, that could be a very critical missing piece as his shard will have knowledge and tactics D'Alyanna might not anticipate. 

Regardless Or'an will certainly not hesitate, the Shards will have a tough time of it.  The race is on!   
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Lord_S_Gray

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

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