Star Wars Roleplay: Chaos

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Ashes of the Afterlife

ʜᴄ sᴠɴᴛ ᴅʀᴀᴄᴏɴᴇs
The Deep Core

The keep, the sacrosanct sanctum and last fortress of the God-King, had crumbled. For more than two thousand years the winds had howled across arid mesas and the same volcanic activity that sculpted its rippling, igneous formations shook the earth. Rain had fallen on the land in the wet season and trickled into cracks in stone, then turned to ice in the cold season.

Unbidden by any Sith Lord, untouched by outside will, uncontrolled by any all-binding energy field, the slightest tilt in the planet's axis of orbit had produced mild seasons which turned like a wheel and ground away an abandoned kingdom. The names of the ancient cities were forgotten, and the places that they once adorned were strewn with rubble.

It was Antherion who had summoned scant few companions, a collection of dubious allies and mocking enemies to join him in pressing past the flattened pillars and scattered causeways. Downwards, into the earth, single file in a narrow, natural tunnel to all that was left: a coward's grave.

The solitary Sith's amber-yellow eyes shone in the darkness as the band obstinately retreated from the daylight. He had draped plain, black slacks and a loose-fitting shimmersilk tunic over his androgynous frame, and made necklace of a chain of songsteel. Crude metal jutted from his neck, rhythmically breathing for him in high-pitched hisses, vertical pink scars wound their way down each of his limbs.

The youth walked barefoot over the uneven stones, and thought of power and immortality. He thought of how he wasn't three feet from the man who had shattered his power play and scattered his resources, and of the humiliation of the epithet 'cripple,' mostly because it was completely correct.

As he thought, his anger grew. It didn't burn hot in his heart and blood. It was a cold sort of hate, that crept ice-like through his veins. It crawled in him, coiled, and it festered. And it grew.

The tunnel grew narrower. He saw light streaming in from a crack not too far off, a place where winding tunnel adjoined with antique architecture. He could turn sideways, press forwards. It would mean a few scrapes, at the worst, and he would be able to file out. Secrete himself silently, disturb nothing.

He lifted a hand and a storm of cyan lightning briefly illuminated the tunnel, and there was a peal of explosive thunder and a cloud of gray dust. What was left was a craterous opening into a temple chamber illuminated by the pulsating light of a crystal scuplture that shone red in the blackness of the Keep's underground catacombs. He stepped in, the chalky powder staining his soles.

"We're here."

[member="Darth Abyss"] | [member="Krest"] | [member="Darth Exode"]
Among the dead Krest kept silent, his red eyes gazing around every corner simply waiting for a trap to be sprung. Yet none came. For all the elder's worries, there was nothing to be seen or heard from. It was silent, empty, cold. [member="Antherion"] didn't help much with the cold, his hate giving off a freezing aura that would have made Krest's heart skip a beat if it still did. He had grown, he had matured, and he had rotted. How long until he snapped? Or would he? A mind such as his could have already formulated revenge against [member="Darth Abyss"] , and it was something the Zabrak couldn't allow.

His fellow councilman. His ally and alchemist. These two had a feud that could overshadow most Sith, and Krest hated it. While it was in his power he would either force them to be allies, or simply prevent them from fighting. Neither were something he wanted to loose.

Soon enough however he was dragged out of his thoughts as the voice of the cripple sang into his ears. Immediately Krest stared forward, a hand resting atop the hilt of his sword. A Sith Lord did not leave their grave unguarded, and if this one did believe themselves a god king certainly it would have quite the guardian. "Do you sense anything?"

Metal was swallowed by ancient stones, as the twisted figure of the Mindeater entered into the room right behind [member="Krest"] and [member="Antherion"]. He could feel the hate that surrounded his crippled foe, a sign that he had done good when beating him into little pieces back on Malachor. Filth had to be broken time and time again to one day become something more than just chains and weakness, and his former opponent seemed to have finally understood that lesson.

His right hand rested around the pendant around his neck, a powerful artifact he had dubbed the amulet of decay. Originally created to nullify, and in rare cases even corrupt, the force enchanted into the weapons and armor of his enemies, Abyss quickly learned that the relic was even more useful when delving deep into the ruins of ancient times. The strange voice of the metal entity muttered and whispered constantly in the old language of the sith, making sure to keep the darkness around them contained in little bubbles, stopping any possible spell in close range from coming into effect. There was only real drawback to the spell he weaved: Both to much power or to much distance could evade the emplacement of such a bubble, but at least nothing close by would be able to surprise them.

Without ever putting the amulet down, not even for a second, Abyss began to wander through the room, his left hand touching the cold, dead stones all around them. Many believed that the art of draining knowledge from the heads of inferior beings had created his endless hunger, but in truth it had been born out of the art of psychometry, the art of seeing the past as clearly as the present. It had allowed him to learn much from places that were dead to anyone else.

"Untouched by eons."

It was neither the assassin nor the crime lord Abyss talking in this moment, but the scholar and lorekeeper of their kind. He had been to many, many ruins in his life, but the echos always had been poulted by graverobbers, knowledge seekers and many others that raided those ancient places. Not this one. No one, besides the god king himself, had walked this place before they came here.

[member="Darth Exode"]
ʜᴄ sᴠɴᴛ ᴅʀᴀᴄᴏɴᴇs
"Strange... it was to my understanding that this place had been accessed at least once before. In the times before the plague, that is."

He paused for a moment, pondering. He had no doubt that the Sith Lord was speaking the truth — and severely doubted that the temporal senses of that particular monster were being deceived. Was it possible that there were hidden chambers, then, that even the ancient Sith had not found when excavating these ruins? Their roundabout entry was by necessity, but it may also have then been a stroke of fortune - perhaps there were fresh secrets yet waiting to be uncovered.

Or fresh death traps.

"Likely some sort of... meditation chamber?" He bent to examine the luminescent sculpture, reaching out with his hand but stopping just short of touching it. "Instability at the intersection of earth and fire. Phosphorescent Thermicite. Sudden, jarring movements would trigger an explosion -"

Hm. Perhaps they had emerged at some dead end, or false entryway intended to entrap grave robbers. He probed the ground with his senses, uncovering little and less - the earth was fixed, muffled, likely to prevent crude tricks like the ones he had stolen. The future itself, the immediate future, was likewise clouded. The whole of them had stepped inside a shroud of confounding darkness.

"Heretic children... were you not taught to leave the dead to their suffering?"
The words were a rasp in the wind, an echo in the backs of their minds. There was a shudder, and an interplay of shadow and shifting crimson light as the sculpture swayed, then shuddered, then stood still. The Force whispered of danger, immediate and deadly. And then it burst, and each Sith was hidden from one another by an eruption of light and an awful, thunderous shriek.

[member="Darth Abyss"] | [member="Krest"]
Krest remained silent, his red eyes scanning the room as his allies spoke. Something was amiss, and something was coming. Just as he began to listen to the whispers of the Force, it screamed. His brow raised in surprise, but he was already on the move. With a hand covering his eye he moved to a nearby pillar to duck behind it, prepared for the threat to come, but the scream was already ringing in his ears.

When it finally silenced he would shout out, his blue eyes still trying to adjust from the sudden flash of light to darkness. "The dead of the Sith still have a purpose, otherwise you would be gone."

[member="Darth Abyss"] [member="Antherion"]
What was cacophony to a man without ears? What was blinding light to a man without eyes? Nothing.

The "trap" blasted through the presumed mediation chamber, leaving Abyss to stand perfectly still and silent while he waited for his fellow sith to recover from the attack. As a man he would've been as crippled as them, but he was long beyond such things, beyond the reach of this physical plain that tried so desperately to hurt him. One day all in the galaxy would learn how foolish it was to try to hit a ghost.

"Done? Good."

His words, with no sign of worry in them, echoed through the chamber, sending an answer towards the voice that had threatened them right after [member="Krest"] have it his.

"I have studied the inner workings of the force very, very pedantically. Those tainted by the darkness can not return to this realm, not without an anchor to bind their essence at least."

With a few careful steps the metal sith began to walk around the instable artifact in the center of the room, his hollow eyes focusing on the ancient sculpture, and his left resting as close to it as he could get without touching it. This had been quite unimpressive until now, at least compared to some other ruins he had pillaged for their relics and artifacts.

"My senses for such objects have grown sharp over the years, and yet I can not sense one here or close by."

His voice was followed by a mocking laugh, a sound [member="Antherion"] probably had heard once to often. He had spaced out his conclusion a little, not to appease to voice but because he liked the show, especially in the presence of his crippled foe. Just another grain of salt for his wounds.

"This leads me to the conclusion that you are not really the God King. In fact you are no one at all, merely a meaningless echo that has not been heard in ages, a lost memory that haunts this place. Be gone now, we have no need for the whispers of unreal ghosts."
ʜᴄ sᴠɴᴛ ᴅʀᴀᴄᴏɴᴇs
The blinding light died, and Antherion opened his eyes, afterimages imprinted on his vision and fuzzy, shifting shapes as his perception gradually came back into focus, and the high-pitched whining that had rang in his ears began to die away. There were small skid-marks where the force of the blast had driven the apparent youth backwards. His hand was raised outwards, and wisps of smoke rose from it. Pausing for a moment to take stock of his surroundings — the same, if rubble-ier, Antherion wiped a smudge of ash from his cheek.

"Your way is not the only way, Abyss. Especially now that the fabric of reality is little more than suggestion." He glanced around. The path was clear enough, the door was still open. He moved to inspect it. "So let's not discount this just yet... Though, if those object-sensing powers of yours can pinpoint the rough location of, say, a holocron, we'd all be very appreciative."

Finding himself faced with a narrow corridor, Antherion gestured beckoningly. The metal stand the sculpture once rested on drifted to him languidly through the air, then unceremoniously began to careen through the hallway in a whirlwind of noise - striking wall, floor, wall, ceiling - spikes slid silently out from holes in the floor at angles, and dustings of subtle poison drifted down. By the end, the thing was a twisted wreck.

"So... if this room is a dead end, one wonders - why all the traps leading up to it, hm? Krest, friend, can you do me an immense favor and check for any hidden passageways?"

If he had anything to say to the spirit, any words for the ghost that taunted them, that lingering darkness which he could sense pooling around them like shadows in the night, he spoke nothing. For now, all he had for the dead was silence.

[member="Darth Abyss"] | [member="Krest"]
Perhaps it was because Krest wasn't as valuable of an ally to [member="Antherion"] as the Zabrak thought, perhaps it was because [member="Darth Abyss"] simply wasn't one to be trusted. Perhaps it was because Krest was known for being able to avoid certain death through the Force itself. These three reasons went through his head as he began to search for this hidden passageway, knowing full well it would be trapped.

A red hand ran along the wall of the room they were in, feeling for anything out of place. It was as much a search for something physical as it was for something ethereal, his mind reaching out to touch anything that could give the passage away. There was a soft click as his hand ran over a jutting stone, and immediately he jumped back. A stream of fire erupted from where he just stood moments ago to consume anyone foolish enough to remain.

And light the rising wall.

"There you are."
While [member="Krest"] wasted his time looking for the hidden passageway, something Abyss had already sensed but kept quiet about purely out of spite towards his crippled foe, Abyss extended his mind to listen to the whispers and echoes that marked the locations of hidden power. In a place like this it was hard to hear them clearly, both the inherent darkness and the presence of various smaller and less powerful artifacts obscuring the object of his desire. Yet when the Zarbak opened up the secret path he finally found something, an echo that was louder than those around it, coming from somewhere far below the group. Whatever the God King had made an effort to hide and protect so well rested deep underground, which meant they would have to venture deeply to uncover it. Before he was ready to share that discovery with the other two he made sure to send another insult at [member="Antherion"], for no other reason than to mock the man further.

"The fabric of reality has weakened since the Netherworld event, but the veil has not yet been lifted entirely. The dead can only traverse into this realm with outside help, and if the God King had truly returned he would certainly do more than to haunt this rotten ruin. Also you would be dead already, like me he was not a fan of petty little insects."

There was the typical, by now probably all to well known, laugh that echoed through the air as the sith entered into the passage that his fellow sith lord had just opened up. Yet instea of walking through it he only made a few slow steps inwards, while his left touched the ancient stones along the way. The God King was far to smart and far to powerful to make it so easy. There was a high chance that this secret was merely a layer of deception, a secret that covered the true secret placed below it.


After roughly three meters the empty husk came to a stop, as his hand danced over a part of the wall that was utterly indistinguishable from everything else around them. He could feel the echo calling for him from beyond, even if there was no mechanism or trace of arcane energy. They had to get through, most likely by force. His claw began to engrave runes into the stone, a hexagonal cluster that had a odd beauty to it. It was a little trick he had picked up from his acolyte brother Darth Lykos.

"Step back."

The runes began to glow in a ghostly red as dark force was channeled through them. Then followed a controlled detonation, bursting a hole into the wall large enough for them to walk through without disrupting the stability of the ruin. With a mocking gesture he motioned the cripple to take the lead.

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