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A Bad Start

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​The fire was ablaze, pillars of smoke were rising out of flames that now engulfed nearly all of the buildings that formed the centre of the rebel camp on Zygerria. There had been an attack, massive black pyramids had came out of the sky; bombarding the pitiful defences on the planet below as a black terror rained down on the rebel militia defending the base.

​Heavy breathing, pain surging through all of his body. All Lieutenant Avery Cross could see was the pelts of black plasma scoring that dotted the courtyard, feet and several of his men on their knees. Lined up by strange individuals. He tried to turn his face, twisting to see the pillars of smoke that were what remained of the outposts defences, and some of their more remote encampments. The strain to move only served to remind him of what had attacked him, a massive creature. A black and red blur that had almost effortlessly put him down.

He recalled it, how the mountain of rock and muscle tore through his best men with its bare hands, how he'd attempted to shoot the creature in the back of its exposed head, only serving to annoy the creature as the blast was reflected by some strange force. One of his legs were broken, he couldn't tell which. It was just pain all over. He couldn't feel anything, actually. From the waist done, it was all gone. Had that monster broke his spine?

"Strain as you might Lieutenant, it will do you no good."

​Tathra spoke, his voice deep and powerful yet calm. The titan noted how the Lieutenants expression changed, how he realised it wasn't just some mad creature. That he and his men had been attacked by someone. His expression had been pure fear before, but now hatred and confusion were strewn in the mix. ​It was always an amusing realisation, his new form had granted him incalculable strength. But, it had shown him just how shallow and base so many were.

​Kabel Drei, a member of the titans Promethean Guard stood a few feet away, walking backwards away from a terminal as he turned; handing Tathra a Datapad. ​"This is a list of the rebels that were involved with the Slavery business." ​Tathra took the Datapad from Kabel, his movements now slow and precise. ​"Thank you."

The Lieutenant strained more, pushing the upper half of his body on its side, now looking up at the towering titan. "Slavery? What, why are you here?" ​Tathra raised the Datapad, observing its contents as he made no move to acknowledge the Lieutenant. A moment later, he lowered the screen from his eyes; only now looking to the Lieutenant. ​"You weren't involved. It must be strange, knowing you and so many of your own died to protect a Slaver. He's in that building, with my people."

Tathra took two steps, passing the bleeding Lieutenant as he observed a large building, no observable doors at the front of the courtyard. It had been completely unscathed in the combat, on his orders. ​"That's just were we store our food..." ​The Lieutenant strained once more, turning his body, leaning on his right arm as he tried his best to turn and face the building.

​"Or so you thought." ​Tathra turned, kneeling down to observe the Lieutenant. His voice, noticeable weaker. ​"I'm sorry. You do not die a warriors death, you are merely a casualty of circumstance Lieutenant. I hope, you find peace in knowing your distress call got out in time." ​The Lieutenant shook his head, pushing himself up to face the titan. What bravery.

​"No, you said it yourself. I didn't do this, you can let me live!" ​Tathra shook his head slowly, raising a hand towards the Lieutenant. ​"No, this requires my attention. And you, are a distraction." ​Tathra merely motioned his hand and the force gripped the throat of the Lieutenant, snapping the bones. The titan stood up, observing the building.

​They hadn't spotted the slaver yet, but he had used the intercoms to alert Tathra Khaeus and his company that he knew why he was here, and would blow the slaves unless they made a deal. So far, the titan had not responded.

​[member="Cedric Grayson"]
 

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Another cell had gone silent. The group on Zygerria were distant enough that Cedric rarely kept tabs on them, but their signals had always reached Ession all the same. For the first time in a year, that signal went out, only to be replaced by a singular disconcerting call.

The knight's response had been swift. He'd wasted little time in departing from his home world with a small contingent of troopers. They'd arrived shortly thereafter, only to find the distress call still ringing to their dismay. The team had landed two miles out from the rebel outpost, and had pursed from there atop speeder bikes.

Cedric rode at the forefront of this formation. His senses extended far out into the empyrean; he felt nothing but storm clouds if malcontent hovering above the outpost. He felt the presence of something else too; a myriad of souls that sought chaos within the fortress.

Without a moment's hesitation, the knight drew his cyan blade and held it high. The lightbound blade flickered with ethereal energy, its very presence a rallying symbol for the rebel soldiers. With a wave of the blade, Cedric bode the speeders behind him to split off in two groups in hopes of encircling the titan's soldiers.

Cedric himself charged straight for [member="The Matador"], blade held high. He didn't have the luxury of talking.
 
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​The slaver had established communication with Tathra and his Promethean Guard, wishing for a large sum of credits and safe passage. However, in his heart; he knew he wouldn't walk away alive from this place. He was delaying the inevitable. It was always, so strange to Tathra. The lack of acceptance in humanoids, their persistence to survive.

​Even when a man's throat is barely held together, his neck clinging by a few shreds of skin. They still try to stop the bleeding, clinging to their lives even when there's no hope. A primal and instinctual need to preserve themselves, sacrificing the chance to complete their objective; or kill the enemy. A lack of discipline, control. That was all this slaver was doing, prolonging it. He was already dead.

​"Khaeus..." ​Kabel trailed off as the Titan turned his head to him, observing his loyal companion as he nodded to the descending reinforcements. ​"Promethean Guard, prepare for battle. We have hostiles in-bound. A small group of troopers, on speeders." ​Tathra Khaeus took a single step forward, feeling the rush of the wind against his bare forearms and head. The speeder-bikes hurriedly piled towards the courtyard where he stood, as he used the neural link embedded in his Impetus armour to activate the magnetic coils, covering his body in a powerful magnetic field. Every atom of his body boiled, his eyes watering as he grunted; back arching as he felt his jaw tighten. The pain, turning to adrenaline and serving to fuel his senses.

​"Their leader, he's coming right for you Khaeus!" ​Tathra acknowledged the saber wielding opponent, starting a calm paced walk towards the enemy. He knew, that it was arrogance to just see things as they appeared to his eyes. He was a predator, seeing singularly heat; all he saw before him was another piece of meat, a being made of simple flesh and blood. Nothing special, again arrogance; but it tended to be true, more often than not. ​"Siemar, Kabel. Focus on the others encircling. It seems they expected more than the three of us." ​Tathra stopped as the speeder drew closer and closer. His calm expression changed, his cheek twitching as his teeth gritted; Tathra bent down as the speeder reached him, hands clasping onto the edges of the speeder bike; red eyes seething as he grunted, raising the speeder and slamming it downward, onto the courtyard grounds.

​[member="Cedric Grayson"]
 

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It was instinct that saved Cedric's life.

He'd moved to skewer the alien in two, but the creature had moved faster than expected. The speeder crashed into its open palms with discomofrting crunch, and it was only Cedric's throwing himself from the speeder that save him. He sailed several meters through the air, and called upon the force to lessen the impact of his fall. When he hit the ground, his lightsaber was doused, and the impact did little more than send a minor shock of pain through his rolling form. The knight wasted little time in springing up to his feet, lightsaber hissing as it came back to life.

"You're attacking a rebel outpost," the knight explained as he slowly approached his opponent. "Explain your intentions."

He pointed the weapon at the Dravalaan in a challenging gesture.

[member="Tathra Khaeus"]
 
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​Tathra spent little time in responding, his opponent had leapt only just beyond his grasp, the blade of plasma aimed for chest. All around them, his Promethean Guard were holding their positions, slaughtering any Rebel forces that dared come to close. However, remained stuck where they stood due to the circling speeder-bikes.

​The titan didn't bother to speak, dropping the malformed remains of the Rebel leaders speeder bike like a toy as he activated the thrusters on his armour, launching forward toward the Jedi as his thrusters de-activated just as he came within the reach of the Jedi's blade; his feet finding ground exactly where the Jedi now stood.

​The Jedi's blade connected with his right bare arm, driving into the volcanic rock hide of his forearm; barely making a dent as he held the saber at bay. The behemoth of a being, looking down on the man with subdued rage filling his expression.

​"One of your own is slaver scum. Know that before you die."

​Tathra batted the blade away with his superior strength and weight, his left arm shooting upward towards the Jedi's upper chest and jaw.

| [member="Cedric Grayson"] |​
 

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The force worked in interesting ways.

The Dravalaan warrior allowed Cedric's weapon to pierce his hide, a move that he might come to regard as a mistake very shortly. The blade instantly reacted, focusing the entirety of its powerful presence on the monstrous warrior. It would try to scream into his mind, and physical contact with the blade would give way to such a burning pain that one might feel as if their very soul was under assault. All the while, the Blade of Ruusan seemed to shine ever brighter, the power of the light flowing through its ancient circuits.

The screaming would grow louder, the pain likely debilitating.

Then another voice spoke. This one was calm, warm, and motherly in nature. It would whisper into the back of the Dravalaan's mind with the seduction of a lost lover, its promise carried through his mind and his mind alone.

"This is a waste of time. The Jedi are not your enemy. Let go of your hatred, it does nothing but hold you back. Explain this situation to Grayson, and this can be resolved without bloodshed. Let go of that hate," she repeated, "and this agony can end."

While all this happened, the knight found an arm swatting at his chest. The massive creature would have surely killed him with the motion, had he not reacted accordingly. With a curse upon his lips, Cedric momentarily doused his blade and pitched a roll beneath his opponent's rising forearm, popping up onto his feet just behind him.

Cedric spoke. "Explain what you mean."

[member="Tathra Khaeus"]
 
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​Tathra pulled back as the Jedi leaned into his arm, throwing a punch as his mind was shook with buried pain. His body convulsed as if the brimstone of his own body had suddenly became hostile, like a burning cold under his skin.

​Tathra's free hand grasped instinctively at the side of his head, feeling the pain like an echo from within. Almost not noticing as the Jedi leader slipped behind him, his eyes closed for a moment. But as soon as it arrived, the voices had left. Left with the movement of the Jedi only a few feet away.

​His mind, filled with the screams of countless pained souls; it was Edemar once more. The darkness rolled over him as he pushed it away, eyes focusing again as he turned looking to the Jedi. His words blurred by the soft caress of a viper on the edge of his mind. Agony, they knew not of agony. He had been prisoner to a mental foe for ninety years.

​This, was mere child's play. In a moment, Tathra's will pushed back and silenced the empty screams and promises of the blade. In a moment, he turned' eyes wide and calm, with a boiling rage thundering beneath. He grunted as Warmonger extended magnetically from the back of his armour, the massive War-Hammer coming down and slamming into the ground as his right arm heaved it's grip into his left.

​"Your churlish tricks, mean nothing to me. Your poison speaks of agony, hatred. No, I am here out of necessity. If you wish for no further blood shed, act like what you claim to be. Order your men to stand down. Or we will wipe you out."

​| [member="Cedric Grayson"] |​
 
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