WE HAVE A NAME OUTER RIM | GENERIS | OUTER RIM COMMUNICATION CENTRE CHOKE
His gloved hands slid over hers, foolishly accepting her tender touch and pressing her tighter to his skin. Everything about him seemed to warm, drawing closer to the light of hope –– to be tortured by it –– by the maddening potential of desire. It was thisteled and tangible, like the idea of her-never-coming-back was clustering in his throat. Even still, he managed to choke out his appeal to the woman he hoped to resurrect with words.
There was that name again. Like the blade that had cut the remnant of herself into fractals, it was like an insult now. A dagger that twisted and exposed the wound all the more, not letting it heal.
When would she be able to hear that name and have it mean only a name, and not what she left behind? This was the power of memories, they were so volatile. So malleable.
All his emotions faded into a waning, decaying grey sort of misery. He wanted so badly for the warrior within to force herself free, to rise like a lotus from the dirt.
She remained silent for an infinite timeline, studying him and the words he offered in supplication. They were powerful, emotional but…..disenchanting. Like a snake’s venom spreading through her psyche with the intent to weaken and paralyze. His gaze was tired but genuine, with a distant glimmer of brightness in the corners of his eyes that latched onto the idea of possibility.
He’d been poisoned by hope.
But he was right about one thing, at least: She was more than this.
Her face softened, pity pulling at her pretty features. His binary approach was saddening, and she felt disappointment knot in her gut and tighten her chest. The words she wanted to say were unutterable, only a mewl at the back of her throat.
“No.” Her head dropped to rest her forehead against his chin. Her shoulders sunk under the weight of her chagrin. She sighed, pressing her tongue against the roof of her mouth and closing her eyes for a moment to revel in her dismay. When they snapped open again, they were narrowed in hostility at his insolence. At his failure to understand.
“You’re not really seeing me, Djorn.” The sithling whispered hotly. Her voice was small and angry, verging on shrill with her upset and still layered with the more gravelly tones of the symbiote. Her hands against his jaw were trembling. She’d tried. She’d asked him to see her. Forced his face to focus on hers, all of what she was now, all she’d fallen into becoming. Not to see a remnant of the past. If eyes were the windows to the soul, he was blind, truly unseeing to the decay that lived behind hers.
His comparison to her being in a bad dream made her exhale a huff of humour and tighten her smile.
Au contraire, it was like they’d finally woken up and were seeing with a new sort of clarity. At that moment, a thousand valves opened in her brain. Her words were still sticky and tight –– hard to choke out. Eventually, she managed to push them through her teeth:
“We’re not her anymore. You don’t make and break promises for her, and you don’t get to protect, free, or save her.”
She paused for a moment in her rhetoric, a long-gone connection scratching at the surfaces of her mind. How had..that been possible? How had he penetrated to that tiny, infinitesimal beacon within? Her mind was a wreck –– her heart..maybe there was a possibility there.
Not letting go seemed like a nice thought, but it was too late. Anything she might have held on to was too faded into the dusty vaults of her humanity. Maynard's earnest outreach was relegated to another empty promise that only had doom to actualize. They –– the parasite and the host -– only had each other to rely on.
She exhaled out a shuddery breath as if she were reconsidering everything she was about to say. And she might have been...if the symbiosis hadn’t serendipitously completed. All throughout this exchange, their body had finished mending itself entirely. The tolling process turned into something easy and efficient with their newfound intimacy. It no longer felt as though it were stitching together two unique halves, instead closing a hole in a single being. Everything tightened around her –– reinforcing the barrier of their union and the blackness started its spread over her clavicle to her face.
“Where you failed,” She was something he’d never seen before, and he’d remember her this way because she might be the last thing he saw. “We succeed.”
“Where she was weak.” Her thumbs crept up to press around the bones of his eye sockets, increasing the pressure of her touch as she spoke. Punctuating each sentiment. As if she might push hard enough to make his bulging eyes see. Black coating began to roll down her arms once more, stretching down her wrists, knuckles and fingertips to create claws over the point of her fingers. “We are strong.
Where she is dead, we are alive.” Her words grew in volume, graduating to a shriek; suddenly emblazoned with the evil that she’d lost herself to, sacrificing too much of who she’d been in an attempt to preserve herself and ended up having to give up entirely for the idea of balance and mutual necessity. But she was gone. Just a victim to a parasite that feasted on her mutated power within The Force instead.
“We are more.” Self combustion happened next. An eruption of deranged volatility, enraged by the whimpering of yesterdays. The final layer of activation was complete, and a whisper from Taeli Raaf
finally unlocked their title –– giving them access to identification as a new being. A new self, titled in High Sith.
“We are Shursia!” It was a magnificent and horrifying shriek in an unholy language, with emphasized fricatives and a slash of her talons across his face, breaking the kind connection and forcing both her hands outward, blowing Djorn and the Twi’lek from her proximity in a rolling, thunderous telekinetic and electric outburst.
Intoxicated with their own adrenalized power, their body flickered as if the atoms were about to split apart and re-connect elsewhere. Suddenly, she was so very present and very aware of the ground's growling rumble of approaching machines. She'd have to go soon.
Siphoned. She reached out with the Force...and took. Raking her perfidious talons into his mind. Into the recesses where he was most vulnerable. She sought the anger, the rage. With how he dispensed his icy justice, surely the anger lingered. It did...but far deeper than she could manage. It came not in the form of the blind rage she might've been expecting, the impulsive and destructive hatred of the dark. It was all what made up the foundations of the nation constructed around him. The defiance. The defiance to what lingered above, the scent of what Ingrid could wrench from his consciousness. The only emotion that bore itself to the light of day.
As she went to siphon his emotions, Rurik pulled her deeper through the Force.
It'd lingered in the depths of his mind since his developmental youth, only to be thrust to the forefront in the wake of the Twilight, the marring of his mortal shell wrought by Kascalion Giedfield
...in the very battle where he took the field alongside Ingrid's own in their defiant strike against the Sith Empire. But the pain lingered far deeper...far older than any other emotion he'd held.
"Give him over to the Sith...let them decide the boy's fate." The voice of Vincent Dooku, the patriarch of his bastard House, ever maligning the Fel. That silver streak all but a mark for death. With the encroaching Sith Empire, Rurik was left to the wolves. He was to be made Sith...or his line extinguished.
Certainly, the fate took a different turn as he stood before her now.
The pain emerged in another surge again through Rurik's memories siphoned her way as he clutched Vyrin Karis's dying body in his arms. His guardian, his brother, his mentor. Forceful, choking tears rolled down his anguished face as he leant his temple to his Master's in woeful anger. His head light, stomach knotted in foreboding loneliness.
Then, as that same emotional envelopment rushed toward her, he cut the tether and whatever she utilized to siphon his emotions would come up loose ended. Nothing more.
"A parasite, no different than your Sith masters. A shame what has become of you." Rurik said, all but a frigid pity in his tone before he wrought his organic hand up once more around her wrist, wrenching her toward him as he sought to swipe the argent blade up and thrust it up under her arm toward her heart through the abdomen.
"You'll take nothing more from me." Rurik stated, his cold eyes narrowing as he locked his gaze with hers, the tortured eyes behind the mask carrying a revenant meaning.
"If you truly wish to feel again...I will place you where you wish to go." His grip tightened and he lunged his blade for the push toward her heart in a snap of defiance. He sought to reunite her with all that made her feel at all and remove her from this mortal shell...once...and for all.
While the Nuetralizers turned the final moments of the life of Konrad Bolter
into that airduct scene with Vasquez and Gorman from Aliens, The Amalgam had not ceased slaughtering Stormtroopers and reigning down lightning on enemy mechs, never staying in one place as she was fired upon, her bladeship almost as devastating as that of her "Daughter" Laertia as she spun and maneuvered the purple bladed staff around her body while more and more Nuetralizers swarmed Bolter, well on the way to gaining their first significant kill of the war.
The bolts flew at her, but nothing touched The Amalgam as her purple blades swatted streaks of red aside, athletic figure leaping over and sliding under sonic and Concussion blasts, feeding off the sheer intensity of the hatred and death all around her.
How she wished Laertia could just at last give in and embrace The Dark Side. How she wished they could slaughter together. But it wasn't the right time to tell Laertia about Syd. Their love had to build to soaring heights, to be entwined in fate. That's when the reveal would happen. When revealing the truth would be at its cruelest. That is when Laertia would forever renounce the Light, and give in forever to hate and rage. Then The Amalgam could move in to guide her properly...before one final horrific reveal as to the Phyre hiding in The Amalgam's mind...
The Amalgam charged ahead into the artificial night, her purple blades and The skeletal Nuetralizers viciously tearing apart Stormtroopers...
They observed a Convoy of First Order Military in heavily armored vehicles, moving through a desert on Jakku, moving to meet the sellers of an artifact that belonged to the Knights of Ren. They were also heavily armed. It was the only place they were willing to meet.
"Behold, the true power of a successfully disrupted Operation..." Ursula explained to Laertia as they both paid attention to who was giving orders as both gangs got out of the truck.
"Disrupting Enemy Operations is a matter of inducing panic and disorder in enemy Forces, destroying their ability to communicate and Organize. Did you set the acoustics before I told you?" Ursula asked as men wearing matching Uniforms with no ID or insignia came out to meet their counterparts.
"Yess, Maassterr Sandraven." Laertia answered,
"Find the Enemy Commander. He'll be the one talking to everybody, and he'll definitely be a passenger..."
Laertia began searching. Sure enough, she spotted the one person everyone was talking to the most.
"Dhere. Guyz neer duh frunnt ov duh konnvoi..." Laertia said after a few moments.
Ursula began adjusting, with the aid of her scope tracking windage, and gravitational rotation. Ursula carefully adjusted, backed up by her personal range tables and the information Laertia fed her.
Soon the sellers, Pirates that had come across the Holocron looting a private cruiser, showed up in their own repulsor APC's, also heavily armed. Ursula watched with a smile, the Monster in her thirsting to kill again, and hoping Laertia was paying attention.
She saw the leaders of both parties start to talk, and didn't tell Laertia to trigger the trap until the Pirates brought out a holocron in a durasteel case.
Laertia triggered the sound trap close to them, and both parties jumped as the sound of Artillery Strikes played around them. One pirate got it in the Brain as an artillery strike sound played. Then another, sounds masking that of Ursula's modified rifle.
Two dead pirates were all it took for the rest of the pirates to start shooting at the First Order, Ursula not shooting the commander until his soldiers had killed the other half, and the pirates had killed half the First Order in turn.
Ursula began shooting the engine sections on their vehicles, braining a few as targets of opportunity. They had mostly killed each other off by this point, so Ursula didn't even fully go through her clip before they were dead, Laertia feeding her targets and data all the while.
Ursula uncloaked, surveying her handiwork.
"When you play your cards right Padawan, you can get the enemy to destroy themselves without expending too much energy. C'mon, lets nab their Loot Boxes..."
"Surre tingz, Ursy..." Laertia said, amazed at how flawless her Master's trap had been executed, not picking up on the heartless, cold blooded nature of the act due to her desensitization to brutal violence for most of her childhood. She was nose blind to cold blooded behavior. Especially Ursula's.
The Amalgam was broken from the delight of removing a tank crews face with a knife she had found when her com beeped and Eleena Salwa
said she was standing by for assistance.
"Ohhh, if only you were that delivery guy! I've been waiting for my Large Pepperoni and Sausage for over 007 fething hours, and I'm starting to think they don't actually deliver in war zones, unless you're like an awesome warzone Pizza Delivery Service...no that's too much to hope for. No. You're military reinforcements..." the Amalgam said glumly.
"Did you 'actually' order a Pizza here?!" A nearby Nuetralizer asked as it shot a Stormtrooper in the head.
The Amalgam held her hand over the mike of her comlink.
"Well...yes. It was stupid, I know, but I wanted to see if anybody would be dumb enough to try and actually deliver. I still mentioned it to her more as situational humor, however. You should really ask your Mother about Situational Humor..." she explained patiently.
"Anyway, reinforcements, you say? I suppose...say, Skeleton, What's our sitrep?" The Amalgam asked as she finished tearing her screaming victim's face off and putting it on Anthony Hopkins style.
"An armored unit is attempting to double back this way. We suspect they want to assist the unit we're busy decimating here. Reports of an elite Unit known as The Myrmidons are doing heavy damage to Sith Defensive Positions."
The Amalgam signaled to Elassa.
I got enemy units inbound on my position. Harrass and delay however you can. Out."
"Their compassion for their own must be used against them. They are bound to run into the massive craters in their path. My Witches shall cut off their ability to retreat..." The Amalgam hissed, still wearing her victim's face. "Prepare to defend this area. We're still not done here. When his useless saviors arrive...we'll give 'em hell..."
Just then two Nuetralizers brought her a Prisoner in a green cargo pants. He was jacked like Two Lou Ferrignos put together and had carefully cut hair and the mustache of a Demigod, like someone had actually had the guts to let Cavil go through the whole of Justice League without CGI-ing his face. He was carrying a large Box.
"No way..." The Amalgam whispered, still wearing her victim's face. She removed it, fixing a smile on her bloody face.
"He was caught at the perimeter. He is carrying luxury rations..." one Nuetralizer explained.
"You actually came."
"Nothing can stop Starfist Pizza Delivery Service. Not even a war. I am Scott. I will be your Delivery Man today." he said with homicidal fanaticism that in a sane world would have no place in a Pizza Delivery Job.
"Well, Scott, I hope they got the Order right..." The Amalgam said, taking his Box, opening it and smiling.
"And they actually went to the trouble of getting the Order right..." she said, stuffing a slice into her blood and gore covered face and gobbling it in seconds.
"How much?" She asked, casually drawing her pistol and shooting her victim in the skull, who it turned out wasn't quite dead.
"Ten Thousand Credits."
"Your Holonet site claimed eight thousand for delivering in an active war zone." She replied, gobbling another greasy slice without looking at him.
"I killed two Jedi to get here." Scott replied, stoic expression unchanging, clearly giving no feths. "Hazard Pay. Ten Thousand."
"Fair enough..." she took a pen from a dead trooper, took Scott's hand and wrote down one of her many, many disposable account numbers on his wrist.
"Bill me..." she said, snatching the Pizza Box from him while she went off to trigger the Next Stage of the Assault on the NIO...
As the unit led by Erskine Barran
that had rescued Jax Sloane
moved to the shadow dome while the forces of Bolter were being Slaughtered, The Nuetralizers and the Witches observed...
"Targets inbound on Veil of Darkness..." one Nuetralizer hiding under a Ghillie Suit signalled to others in the area.
As they moved, Witches placed bouquets of Thermal Detonators in the path behind Erskine's unit.
Waiting until they were nearly at the Dome, the Nuetralizers then triggered them.
The massive detonations created massive holes in the ground behind them, which would hopefully cut off their retreat, and the Acoustics the Amalgam had directed her cultists to bring began to play both Artillery strikes and insane laughter throughout the jungle to mask the sound of where the sniper and rocket fire directed on the vehicles at the moment was coming from.
Nuetralizers came out of the dome firing grenade launchers at the advancing Units, while fire poured at them from both sides of the Jungle...
The Soldiers led by Dante Corvus
had indeed begun to inflict terrible casualties on defending Sith Forces.
But The Amalgam, who had had a whole day to prepare before the arrival of the enemy, had tried to cover her bases as much as possible.
They came from the sky, Dark Trooper Type Droids modified with Jet Packs specifically for this mission. They had been placed in areas most likely to be attacked, and as Sith Defenses collapsed, they were activated. They were remnants of a military project The Amalgam had headed in the short lived Eternal Empire of Kay Arenais. They had found new life purely in the Amalgam's service, custom made as needed.
The Droids flew through the sky, firing Twin Barrel Heavy Cannons at the Myrmidons, gunning a few down in the surprise aerial assault...
Speed and precision were essential properties of any would-be assassin, but so was perceptiveness; even pained and fearful as he was, some small part of him still paid close attention to what he was occurring beyond his cover and the cloud of foul-smelling smoke. What he heard concerned him.
His foes were turning against each other, which was as ever a desirable development, but the distinct implication of otherness? Clearly, this "Vee" was no mere Jedi but something far greater. A manifestation of the vengeful Light, somehow? Whatever it was, he was not trained to face it.
Remaining silent, he all but crawled out of cover, hoping dearly that the creature could not see through the opaque bank of smoke. Drawing an elegant knife, barely longer than those used for dining, from its sheath, he cut the palm of his left hand, using the blood to paint a more-or-less accurate rune onto the stone floor, only to add its match to the much more precise pattern permanently inscribed onto his forehead.
"Hadzuska tina, âhchina samyi."
Around him, inky blackness spread throughout the smoke, yet as it spread less and less was hidden from his eyes. A proper Sorcerer might have drawn such a trick out of thin air, but he needed his prep work - and the intact rune on the floor. He could only hope she could not sense it.
Lady Ingrid L’lerim Ragal Terassi Vandiir Eternal Empress of the Eternal Empire, Lord Commander of the Wardens of the Shroud
The Red Witch, The Night Queen, Lady Stuztala, Head of the House L’lerim, CEO of the HPI Consortium, Archon of the Primyn Group
The feeling that Ingrid found was very familiar to her, defiance and stubbornness. These were the ones that were present in the woman, they made her up. Had they not been in it, she would have died as a little girl. As the man pulled her deeper, there were other emotions that were very familiar to the woman. "Hello pain, my old friend!" however, this pain was nothing compared to what the woman originally felt due to Adrian’s death. It was like a weak summer breeze compared to a hurricane. And the hurricane was just an approximate analogy to Ingrid's pain.
Loss; so far the woman had never seen memories when she stole the emotions, but now she does. It was like on Bastion when Runi shared the memories with her. Her ability was like working with memory rub at the same time. She didn't know if the man had shared it with her or if her own ability had developed that way because of Runi, but she saw things she shouldn't have. The man also lost someone, but the pain and loss was nowhere near as strong as the woman's, neither was it.
But one thing was for sure, they were really very similar to each other. Maybe that could have caused it all. But nonetheless, she found no emotion in the man that she could use to stop him. Sad. It wasn’t that she didn’t want to fight, just… It didn’t matter. The process is broken; she still looked at the man with a cold, military stance. She was not a Sith, and she was able to reclaim the feelings of the one she stole, she had done it more than once since she had the ability.
"I'm not a Sith." An emotionless statement, not angry.
Didn't move, letting the man grab her wrist again, it didn't matter if she used one or two hands for what she wanted. She didn't even need the Force to it. Saw the movement of the man's hand, but she had not moved yet. Ingrid had time. Saw that the other wanted to stab the heart. In fact, wherever the man stabbed her, the effect would be the same, the woman had no internal organs. She consisted of energy, was half Force Entity, though almost no one knew that.
However, she appreciated the intent of the method, even if it was just symbolism. It was this condition that kept her alive when Runi killed Adrian. The woman also suffered a stab in her heart, but she did not have a heart that would have killed her. The red-haired woman looked into the man's eyes with her own blue eyes, though this was not visible due to the helmet / mask. Both hands were tightened around the sword grips. She clenched her teeth for a moment as the argent blade again caused burns to her skin on the armour.
"Checkmate, Lord Executor! You're going to meet Vyrin Karis, not me with Adrian!"
She said as coldly as the coldest night on Hoth or Kalidan, without any mercy or regret. For the time being, she raised her other hand in a cover, the one Rurik didn't hold. And the next moment, with a quick motion, she tried to pierce the blade into one of Rurik's eyes, trying to take advantage of the fact that, in principle, the eye was not protected by armour.
To her opponent’s credit, the feint almost worked. As the purple blade rose, impulse alone almost had Kaska stepping in to meet it. Her own sea green blade angling to redirect the supposed oncoming attack aside. Only the twinge across her ribs stalled her. A flicker of pain flashing across her red-stained features as her body voiced its protest at the sudden request to reposition itself. A split second of agony that stalled her advance just long enough for the Nyriaanan to recognize the subterfuge for what it was. A single dark brown eye - the other now half-closed and swimming with the blood that continued to ebb slowly from a cut in her forehead - widening as she was forced to confront a new threat.
She recognized it almost instantly from the smell. Her mind instantly transported to a scene a few years prior onboard a rickety tramp colony vessel that had been set adrift. All hands onboard, including the raiders that had attempted to take it, dead and frozen in place by a faulty fire suppression system and an ill-placed scattergun blast. She had to move quickly if she was to avoid a similar fate.
Yet it seemed time was on her side. As the freezing cloud of cryoban expanded towards her, the world around seemed to slow within the moment, as if time itself was crystallizing as a stumbling block was suddenly overcome. Chemicals. Droplets. A swirling array of particles within the air itself. Her issues on Manaan had been due to overthinking the problem, here she had no such luxury. Here, her hands found themselves guided by a simplicity of purpose, fingers tracing the invisible hidden patterns that lay in the void between her and the cloud. The air itself seeming to come alive, stir and shimmer with an unseen pulse of energy that responded to her efforts, coalescing and diverting the cryoban back towards her attacker.
It wasn’t perfect, however.
Kaska’s form, while leagues beyond what she had managed to accomplish under Master Ebass’ sternful tutelage, was still fundamentally flawed and in its earliest stages of what could pass for success. Even with the insulated elements of her armor she could feel the warmth being robbed from her hand as she tried to brush it aside. Fingers becoming painfully numb and stiff. The electronic components ruined and disabled by the sudden lurch in temperature. A cascading effect that caused her to feel an uncomfortable lurch as the rest of her suit finally gave up and the physical enhancing body glove suddenly found itself bereft of power. Her stance sagging and her guard on the right appearing to drop further.
When you had seen one bombardment you had seen them all, but it felt damn good to be the one scrub the stain off the horizon. The Major left the final piece to the attack in the General’s hand. Her heart still thrummed and the woman turned about and lumbered down the foxhole; stealing seconds to steady her breath. Nima slumped her shoulders and shrugged the weight of the armor adjusting the heavy plate. Blaster and shots still whizzed over head as the minutes trickled down. They were in the final stretch of it but it would be paved by a few more dead men before the end of it.
<<”Genesis we are in position along the roadside, standing by”>> Cinn’s voice flooded the comms.
<<”Copy that, hangfire,”>> Nima answered.
The sergeant who had followed her this far was already moving, stooping down to grab her rifle-tossing it one gauntlet off to her as they took up position. Troopers alike slide into the trench, standing amongst the dead; shoulders and hands still burning. Buckets hit the wall as they kept their heads down as the heat approached. Each man prepared himself to go over, ammo pressed in to the palms of their hands; shrouded by stray shots.
A steady wave of blue crept across the radar, it was one of the few sights that emboldened her. as the first shatter beam streaked across the sky. The hellish red plasma stream cut a swath across the pale sky, arching down and pulsating a single time before it made impact on the roadway. All that was green and the spiraling tree flora caught in the path-decimated, eaten up in the heat until a scourge was carved out across the line.
Nima shut her eyes feeling the creeping of fatigue, it wasn’t time yet to lay down and call it a day. Twenty four hours, to seventy two-she sucked in two short breaths. It wouldn’t matter how long it took until the world buckled. In the impact a chain of explosions was across the SIMP armored defense as their path was cleared.
<<”Hades squad that’s a confirmed hit-”>>
The ground quaked violently-dirt collapsing into the hole, covering them as the rangers waited out the rain. The second arc fell and then came the third, amidst each impact the radio fizzled with static-unable to process the impact. A towering cloud of black smoke and dust rising like a pillar-reaching for the farthest heights of the airspace.
"Let's go, Major, times against us and i don't want to chance fate and have another three Sith brigades breathing down my neck."- Willan Tal <”You heard the General! Up and over boys! It’s time to go to work,”> Nima raised her visor, as the tank company reached them. Her voice carrying a hint of pride. It was the only order the boys needed. They lurched up-clamoring from the hole as the far field went silent. From the mismatched band of troopers, the Major turned to give the aging man a two finger salute, quickly swept up in the charge of body and blastplate.
The butt of her rifle met her shoulder, running outright down the scorched road. Nima and the squad of soldiers were bolstered from woodwork as the Company reunited at the head of the armor. A hard pace was set as the fire teams broke apart and the rangers pushed first and crashed into the holes-what ever was left on the road and wood; rooting out any survivor. There was ground to be made and the silence bordered eerie. Nima referenced the map as they pushed up the roadway, past the smoldering remains of tank-they couldn’t see it yet but the digital rendering of the ORCC target was closing in. The corner of her lip tugged up-only three brigades the man joked? Sounded like a cake walk to the woman.
<”Looks like we have two klicks to cover to reach the base General, we’ll flank your sides-all you need to do is punch it,”> Nima radioed.
Eleena listened in slightly disturbed confusion as the woman at the other end of the channel spoke of a pizza delivery. For a few moments, the Twi’lek wondered if she was joking, but the tone of her voice told Eleena that the woman was in fact, very serious about her large pepperoni and sausage pizza.
She didn’t blame her.
“Umm...no, I’m not the pizza girl, unfortunately.” Eleena replied, albeit in a slightly uneasy tone. “But uhh...if it comes, save some for me I guess? I don’t mind it cold and Meat Lover’s is my favorite.” She continued, her voice taking on a more playful note as the words left her lips.
All the while, Eleena brought her machine into the depths of the jungle. The scars of the battle were already quite apparent across the landscape, corpses of Sith and New Imperial dead strewn about the ground as fires raged within the area. All she could do was hope that she would never have to dismount from her swoop, knowing that even slowing down made her an easier target for the gangs of bloodthirsty stormtroopers prowling the terrain. Speed, as dangerous as it could be, was also life. Her swoop’s capabilities in executing deadly hit and run attacks would ultimately be what saw to her survival and hopefully, her victory.
Then perhaps, she could nab a slice or two of pizza from the strange woman at the other end of the channel.
“Copy that, reading their signatures now. I’ll do what I can.” She finished before the line cut off.
All across the jungle, swoops would descend upon the advancing New Imperial formations, strafing infantry, speeder bikes, and other targets of opportunity in coordinated hit and run strikes, emerging from the skies and the depths of the jungle before disappearing back from whence they came. Eleena was but a single player in the orchestra of violence. She drove her machine towards a nearby squad of Myrmidon Stormtroopers, approaching them from above as they fought to overwhelm one of the Sith holdouts within the jungle. Just as they came into range, Eleena acquired locks on three stormtrooper signatures, then fired six brilliant nano missile projectiles, each striking joints, necks, and other weak points across their armor with small, yet lethal explosions that severed heads from bodies in her wake.
Then, her guns spun to life, casting forth bolts of supercharged particle beams into the surging stormtroopers, three shots catching one in the chest just as they moved to finish off a wounded Sith soldier. Another, ascending into the air via jetpack, had his armored form riddled with burning holes, sending the man careening towards the ground as Eleena pulled the nose of her swoop up, slammed the accelerator, and disappeared into the jungle to prepare for her next run.
Given the timely arrival of his allies and the greater swath of the New Imperial forces, The Vulture's wings fixed in another direction, ushered by the gnashing groans of damned forces in their tireless march towards the facility. Was his plan as simple as it had been when they had broken Bastion? Given the nature of the victory there, it was wise to assume so. Where his heavy-plated comrades had rained hell upon the fortress and cleaved a wound into its side, leaving its innards exposed, Halketh had torn a hole in the veil cast between life and death, unleashing a tidal wave of hellish troopers upon those defenders trapped inside the corridors. This would be no different. Feeding on the land he tormented, wilting it in his wake, the white-clad warlord commanded his soldiers forward, disregarding the explosions rocking their comrades and screaming out of sight over the canopy high above.
"Snowdrift-1, push up. Swarm it."he uttered his orders, shaking the ringing from his ears as he surged over the root-heavy floor, cupping hands by his sides to allow the energy reaped to manifest, illuminating his surroundings fully for his visual sake.
"Copy that, Vulture, wilco."
The troopers pushing ahead of him lurched forward unnaturally, urged by the feral, animalistic instincts in their core the instant their minder loosened the metaphorical leash he kept around each of their throats. The Sith had Sithspawn; creatures their Empire was fond of setting loose against the New Imperial soldiers. Halketh balanced that power field, leveling it to one of greater import and understanding. He bothered not with the command of creatures, no, everything he needed was very tangible and within his reach given the conquest. So long as the New Imperial war march continued forward, The Lord of Ice would have everything he needed. Every soldier crushed beneath kind and unkind heel alike he could get his claws on was brought beneath his influence, serving to swell the ranks of the ice-clad forces in eternal service.
Those undead troopers swarmed rabidly through the jungle floor, trampling the Sith Imperials who dared try to stop them. Blaster bolts and slugs alike tore the Carlaci rank to shreds, bleeding them for the charge, but it seemed no matter how many holes were ripped through them, they just kept coming. Innards were exposed through betaplast, holding on by narrow, visceral threads as blood flooded the air, churning up a tide of dark mist. A steady, resounding harmony of slug fire thundered through the trees, orchestrated by those within his rank who still carried weapons behind the ranks of undead.
A wise strategy; use the undead as bullet sponges and mobile cover. A distraction, on the same hand- a living nightmare brought to bear by the one with little regard for the lives he aimed to extinguish. The red-splattered and soaked soldiers of The Carlaci Corpse moved tirelessly through the ranks lain in defense before them, cleaving a bloody trail that left the jungle tainted and withering as their leader siphoned it for what it was worth; a blackened, lifeless scar.
Somewhere, amongst the resonating ring whining sharply in his sensitive ears, the miraluka heard the hissing drone of craft. Swoop bikes? Here? That was a gamble. Beneath the empty, expressionless visage he donned to guard his features, a smirk cracked his face. It was hard to tell just how many of them there were, but their scattered sound suggested it was a coordinated effort- drive-by slaughter rained down on the New Imperials on iron beasts carrying their riders to safety before any retaliation could be delivered. The same riders bore down on his rank, blasting a hole clean through those he urged onward.
It was enough to make him sigh in casual irritation.
Sparrows were such bothersome little creatures.
Halketh waited for the droning to hum beneath the canopy once more, and he tilted his head, lending the strength of The Force to his senses, further expanding them. The swoop craft were good for evading fire, sure. But how would they fair against the rather sudden attention offered by a sorcerer? He was curious to find out. Crimson pain laced between his fingers, flickering and arcing between the tips of his gloves as he called upon it, nurturing it between his hands. Patience.
Unbeknownst to him, it was Eleena Salwa
riding gallantly upon the bike he singled out.
And as she tore a path through the trees, his extension of sense through the life around him revealed her position. Slowly, his head twisted to track her motions. The only real tell he would offer, that she had earned ire. A mere heartbeat later, the Warlord of Carlac thrust his hands forward, filling the humid air between the upper trees with arching, screeching lightning delivered in her direction- a full assault with intent to blast her from her iron steed.
"Get. out. of. our. way." were the last words Dagon heard before a telekinetic blast flung him into a wall in the distance. The air escaped his body and his guts nearly followed from the ethereal punch. He groaned inaudibly, for the lack of air, as the crash rattled his teeth and bones. Laying helplessly on the ground only to barely notice the Sith's smoke turn into a veil of near pitch black, the tainted taste of a Sith incantation lingering in the air and through the Force.
He struggled to stand up but instead his mind threw him into a spiral into the past. Once housing the shrine of his happiness and to memories of a blissful past, the image of the Kaze family's happy little home on Ruusan, was tainted by his cathartic clash on Ziost with his twin - Aeric Kaze
. It was no longer home, or rather it had become Aeric's vision of home; the side of their childhood Dagon had locked deep within and never dared to unleash. Yet, his brother had hammered the lock to dust and all hell had broken loose in his mind forever. Where once were green pastures, now rolled fields of carrion, where once the sun shone bright, now dark clouds heralded a tempest. No longer were the nights of wonder but of terror. No careless flames to stoke the hearth, only ash of what once was.
No caring smile of a mother to embrace him, only the fiery insanity of a husk of a human who bore her features. A monster in disguise. The cold nights spent in the wilds of Ruusan with his brother on the run from their Force psychotic mother. It had festered within her slowly at first, like a tumor, until its wicked claws enveloped their mother's mind completely; until the two had returned home to see the walls stained in blood, the house ripped apart to shreds and their mother lying in a pool of sanguine of her own making. First his mother, then his brother...
I am inevitable.
With a ear splintering scream and hands seeking to claw his own eyes, Dagon returned to the material worlds banishing away the wicked voice of his father. His presence shrieked and his anguish reverberated across the minds of the Jedi he knew. Anguish turned to rage, rage turned to wrath.
Almost mechanically, the Jedi stood back up on his feet. The Force wildly dancing around him, the dormant potency seeking an output. A target.
No more suffering.
He blazed into the sphere of darkness, his mind completely open actively seeking NotViolet through the ethereal until he pinpointed her location - circling like a predator around its prey; ravenous to deliver empyrean absolution upon the Sith.
But absolution would only come for it.
From the tendrils of the concealing darkness, Dagon bolted straight at Violet with a force-enhanced punch straight at her center mass.
The force gathered into his palms before he unleashed them forth.
Allies: If you think I am going to tag all of y'all, ya crazy. Dagon Kaze Enemies: Marcis Sorr Objective: Embrace the Light
She could not sense the magic Marciss was crafting.
Maybe if there hadn't been such turmoil within... but no, the sensitive nature of sense was difficult to summon now. Yet, NotReallyVioletAnymore's nostrils flared as her head shifted towards a specific direction. Blood in the air, something sliced, carved in flesh, mammal hurt. It took effort not to shape glee within herself.
That was of the other.
Here was only serenity.
So focused on serenity and the tracking of its prey, YeahNotViolet did not see Dagon coming. Not until it was too late already. The creature-in-skin rounded towards the new threat, but too late to avoid getting punched straight in the gut with a metric feth ton of Force-strength behind it. Dagon could feel it. The sensation of something snapping beneath his punch. ProbablyNotViolet groaned in pain as the punch caused her to fly back a few meters, but somehow it remained on her feet.
Those emerald eyes flaring brighter there.
"You pretend to care so much about her..." Violet!Not murmured sweetly. "...yet you can't help yourself but hurt her in your anger towards me." Her arms extended towards him, the useless hand dangling from its wrist, the dangerous blade beating faster in response as its tip still blazed through the metal of the floor.
"Anger, despair, fury... hate. You are no better than that little Sith I am hunting. No ally to the Light... your emotions defile you." Don'tThinkItsViolet smiled, ooze of green trickling down the corner of her mouth.
"She doesn't want me to hurt you. So I won't. Come, Dagon Kaze, I will make your end short and painless."
When the Dark Jedi finally indulged in her trademark teleportation, Khefiir drew deep on instinct and turned. His tight, efficient Soresu defense caught strike after strike. Laertia was strong, Trandoshan-strong or better. Each blow sent pain through Khefiir's arms, up his shoulders and down into his spine. But he held.
So did the rest. These veteran Jedi Guardians didn't mind dying, as a rule, but apart from a few grotesque murders they were holding the line reasonably well. They all had injuries, Khefiir knew - and there'd be funerals and memorials and, yes, accountability. There'd be mourning, insofar as Jedi mourned or should morn. The grief of it all threatened to overcome Khefiir's state of flow, as it always did when tragedy struck. He couldn't call this state of mind serenity: being serene in the face of atrocity was sociopathy. Nor was he at peace. But he knew he stood in the right place, with the right people, for the right cause, and that rare feeling salved all manner of grief. For the fallen, he'd finish what they began: holding the line against Laertia, her murderous witches, her perverted battle droids, and her broken mind. One block at a time.
The goal here was to outlast her. The Black Knight of Nar Shaddaa had thrown around a huge amount of power, playing fast and loose with her own limits. She'd wear out eventually.
She had to, fear whispered in his heart. She had to.
Things were getting complexed and Eira was feeling a little confused on the matter. It started out with the soldier boy reciprocating the gentleness of the new weird creature that stood before them. Eira did not think this was a good idea, anything that creepy looking and could easily remove said creepiness to look sweet and innocent was nothing good. Perhaps it was just Eira being worried that she would have to face something life threatening and quite liked her life or what, all she knew was that if she was in that situation she would not have allowed the being to touch her arm, let alone touch her face. Especially a very pretty face like Eira's. However, the soldier did, they were sharing words but Eira didn't let the words sink in too much, she wasn't concerned about converting her superior to the opposite side, if anything, if this creature was trying to convert the soldier to join the Empire then she might have been on board. However, something in Eira's gut told her that wasn't the case here.
So she remained silent, watching and waiting for an opportunity to attack, or flee depending on what the situation called for. If this guy was going to let himself get killed then she would leave him, if there was a chance to escape together great, if he decided that the smart thing to do was to kill this crazy being then bravo for slowly coming to the right conclusion. Unfortunately, it seemed that he was just going to let himself die as the creature attacked his face, Eira was about to turn and run away when she was flung hard by the Force. Or at least she assumed it was the Force, having little to no understanding what someone could do or not do with the Force. Landing hard on the ground, Eira groaned and laid on her back for a moment to catch her breath.
Instinct soon kicked in and she rose to her feet and looked around to make sure that the weird ugly creature thing wasn't still attacking them but she couldn't see it around. Next on her list was to check on the soldier, rushing over to him, she looked and it seemed to be nasty wound, and she didn't really carry medical supplies with her. Looking where the trousers by the dagger, she figured she could rip them and try and make some strips of fabric to cover the wound and stem the bleeding. "So, urm... I am not medical professional, so this is, urm..." Eira tried thinking of the word in basic, "tough... wait no, not tough, rough this is rough fix." Her accent coming through a little as she realised this was first time she had to think quick on her feet. Tearing her trouser leg completely off from the initial tear, which turned her trouser leg to more a mid-thigh shorts leg, she made strips of fabrics and tied them together.
Moving back to soldier boy, she cover his wound completely and tying it tightly around his head, "many women like men with scars so hopefully shouldn't hinder your romantic options." Eira mentioned, trying to keep things light. "Might be best if we head back to where your people are? Creature thing could be out there still..." Fear, genuine fear, lingered in Eira's voice as she looked around while finishing the knot. "Done. Might be best some doctor looked at it though."
Having altered the smoke into its current inky yet to him transparent state in the anticipation that he would dearly need it to keep the thing wearing a woman's form from ripping him to shreds, he was pleasantly surprised to find the Jedi at each other's throats. From this "Dagon" character's shout, it was clear that he, at least, thought her possessed; given the lacking insight of the average Jedi, it was always possible she had always been this.
"She doesn't want me to hurt you. So I won't. Come, Dagon Kaze, I will make your end short and painless."
As powerful as it was, it was also distracted. Injured by his actions and that of its former ally. Most days, he would only be to happy to leave a Jedi to his death, but this was not most days - the thing would kill this Dagon, certainly, but Marcis would be next, his allies following soon after.
No, this thing needed to die and its distraction was the perfect opportunity, especially coupled with its growing list of injuries.
Sneaking through the smoke in imitation of what he had been taught in the Academy, he succeeded in remaining more or less soundless; assassins of a higher calibre might shroud their very presence in the nebulous miasma of the Dark Side, but he was not there yet. One day.
For now, he relied on Dagon's distraction as he suddenly snaked forward, seeking to drive a Forceful fist into the back of her right knee.
Enyo was ironicaly unaware of the Shasan adepts. They would probably not invite her for lessons. This was a clear case of religious intolerance. The plan almost worked, but almost was not success. She felt the ripples in the Force, and the freezing blast of cryoban blasted back towards her. She could summon a barrier to take some of the edge of it, but not by much. Even with insulation and various systems of her armour and robotic body, she felt the cold.
The damaged arm had frozen rock-solid. This was not good. Part of the armour, centred on the shoulder, felt seriously weakened. Some of the cold had seeped into the bodyglove and her organic shell had sustained more cuts, though that was less pertinent. With one good eye and those sensors that still worked, she could tell that her foe's suits had sustained damage. It looked serious. There was no time for a detailed scan.
Moreover, thermodynamics dictated that a sudden infusion of heat was bad after being frozen. This dictated Enyo's quick response. Abandoning her earlier plan, she drew upon the fusion reactor that was the Force, drawing energy from it. She also drew upon the focus crystal in her skull.
Her response manifested in the form of telekinesis. She was Kerrigan's mirror, after all, and it was a power that was second nature to her. And so she dropped the telekinetic hammer. Immense power rippled from her, taking the form of a huge blast wave of telekinetic energy. The invisible shockwave was meant to smash into the Jedi and send her flying into a wall.
The Knights came at him again, launching separate attacks that would worry even a Jedi Battlemaster. Beyond the normal skills of the standard Imperial Knights were these two, and their movements - a mixture of harsh and fluid - showcased this better than anything else. Two blades meant for two opponents very quickly turned into two blades to defend against one. The speed at which he had to move - carried by the lust of the battle and the enhanced formula of sword and sorcery that pumped through his veins - to avoid further damage was a blur at best. Yet, in spite of the pain and soreness that rocked these foes, they fought on still with urgency and brutality and perseverance that made up for whatever skills the Devil had over them. It was utterly incredible and worthy of acknowledgement.
As were the words the young Knight had uttered before the bout resumed: "Your time is limited, Creature. And when I'm done with you, your name will be forgotten...FACE DEATH."
Immediately following this proclamation, he transferred across the battlefield of minute inches with a strong vengeance. Naturally, the Devil could see how the Force had begun augmenting the very weapon the Imperial carried betwixt his hands. As such, his strokes and stabs were a master class in their own way for one of his age and experience. Even with this newly unlocked sense of self, the Devil - Armageddon - and the power that came with it, he struggled to deflect or block every strike in the series that came from the young man. The fury that filled him was that intense. That Dark.
In fact, during a particularly heated clash of crimson and argent, the Devil peered beyond the text of his narrative and discerned what truly surrounded this adversary. The arts and code of the Imperial Knights had been hard struck into his heart and served as the necessary buffer to shield him from what germinated from his back. Thorned brambles that gnarled for his neck and arms, attempting to drive him further into the eternal night. While another - perhaps even a Sith - would have felt fear at that moment of realization that such a thing could be as tempted and resisted all at once, the Devil did not feel such things. Instead, he felt a propelling enticement to aid in the growth of the blackthorn tree that threatened all Force Users in the Galaxy. It was watered and grew with violence and blood, and this is what had been controlling the intents of this Knight this entire time. The wound in the Devil's abdomen - which he had been thus far ignoring despite the proximity the wound had to some vital organs of the Skator Hai's anatomy - was evidence of this. The charred orange linings of flesh and the rivulets of blood...they seemed to be almost drug-like for the Knight.
Thus, the Devil diminished his defenses with the Shoto for each strike from the boy, and moved to use his fuming blade specifically against the Kel Dor, who had moved in with her blade of radiant splendor during the young Knight's charge. Standard pivots and blocks and flourishes and dodges without the enhanced power on this side alone. While not endangering his life, this act did allow more and more damage to be done to his arms, legs, even his torso. Such strikes were inflicted in great sequences until nearly half-a-dozen burning wounds painted him. And yet, he only laughed, wondering with sickened fascination if this would have the hypothesized effect.
The Kel Dor, concurrently and before, had initiated her own part of the combat with a simple charge that nearly caught the Devil off-guard due to the onslaught of the young Knight. Whilst engaged in the light-defense, the Devil spun on his heels and brought the fuming edge over and instantly down in an anti-clockwork motion to bash the moonlight sword down into the floor of this temple. He was barely able to bring it back up in time to resist a vicious sideway's stroke of luminescence that visible inched its way through the unstable magnetic field for a hundredth of a second. Another invisible smile crossed his skull before he pushed back against the light and swung down with a horizontal chop aimed for the crown of the Kel Dor.
If this was blocked, he would move the crimson against the edge of the moonlight and attempt to bring it down with a diagonal cut towards her neck. If also blocked or dodged, the Devil would immediately follow up by switching to a reverse-grip of the blade and attempt a series of diagonal upwards strikes towards her legs, pelvis, and chest. During this series, he would modify such attacks with harsh forward steps and even the occasional pirouette to increase the impact of the strike with rushed momentum.
This woman of the Imperials was a curious one, to say the least. She held a personal grudge against the man, striking out with the fearsomeness of a Baran Do avenger - which she was, of course. This grudge certainly transcended just simple cultural needs and the way in which attacked for him made that painfully obvious. Each strike, each motion, was performed out of pain and some temporal connection to the Force in ways that the Devil simply could not harness. He knew in that battle that it spoke to her in some way, and the way that her story was being written out in such a fashion that he could not perceive or even understand it...well it was exciting for the author of demise. An unknown, driven by vengeance for her people, and aware of things he was not aware of. She spoke his name, his true name, and dived so deep into the pits of his mindscape that she had awoken the Armageddon once again. While he was certain that she would die by his hand, as all things would, he was uncertain as to when and how.
From the rear, Jax heard the sound of explosions sounding off. Up top at the gun, he shot a look over his shoulder, trying to find the source or the cause of the explosions, but without seeing anything -- obstructed by the column -- he looked on ahead. Unbeknownst to him, it was the allied witches of The Amalgam
trying to block off a potential retreat. Were it not for the rear guard, they likely would've been unnoticed, but infantry, primarily infantry joining in their efforts engaged with the witches that sought to complete their clever task. Had it not been for them being at the head of the column, Erskine would've likely given the order to bring them back around to engage those at their rear, or at least, part of their force.
Jax had heard much about the Galidraani volunteers.
Well, not always, Jax could admit. Their rescue mission? More of a... Lateral movement.
Cutting through his internal thoughts was the descent of more of the enemies speeders.
Swoops, he thought when he saw one of them race past.
The speeder bikes of the New Order, further out from the main column -- screening the approach to the black dome -- were the first to spot them. The cries over the comms were brought to his attention, but they were fast enough that by the time he heard the cries of pain and final moments their flickering movements could be spotted beyond the surrounding trees.
Form the trees rockets and snipers fired at them, and Jax ignored them. There was a consistent sound, impossible to ignore, like laughter echoing. But it did nothing to help the mechanized forces, for whenever a rocket was birthed from the leafy shrouds of the forest, slugs, shells, and laser cannons vaporized the area and rendered witch, sniper, or whatever ambushing force to atoms -- as should've been expected.
Dark features contorting into a sneer, he leaned back , raising the cannon that he manned, and began tracking one of the swoops. In the distance, the shot would be hard, difficult to make, but he fired all the same. Fire leaping forth from the barrel and lancing through branch, trunk, and leaves all the same. Distance too far to tell whether contact was made, Jax rotated forwards back to the dome, from occasion chasing off Eleena Salwa
's bolder comrades, and rewarding them with fiery and mangled deaths.
From the skies, more of his kin, stormtroopers descended from the heavens. And with them, Death. For the enemies that were bound to the earth were made one with it, as the boot of the Myrmidon crushed them under the heel. Whether it was blaster or vibrosword, it mattered little, they cleaved flesh from their enemy, and Jax was sure to welcome them with spraying fire, hosing down the areas they couldn't yet reach for the troupes of Sith forces and their affiliates that sought to hide or run.
There'd be nowhere safe for them.
"I'll create a breach," Jax called out, the mounted cannon rolling to the front and unloading on the trees before them. Borderline indiscriminate with the layers of fire he painted the field with, speeders, and even walkers were able to charge forwards into the gaps of enemies lines and into the gradually growing translucent dome that held Konrad Bolter
"Send 'em in!" Jax called out, staring down to the interior of the tank before snatching up the hanging commlink. "Go, go, go!"
NEW IMPERIAL ORDER // WARLORD OF NIRAUAN
OBJECTIVE I // Aradia Pavanos [VIBES] | [DRIP] | [LEGION]
The New Imperial Order had surged forth from its nest once more. No longer was it poised to strike back , strictly in defense of it life and those who lived beneath its banner. The game had changed the New Imperials into a vicious tiger that could challenge the galactic superpowers head-to-head, and once more it ventured forth into the territory of the Sith. A salient was desired to allow their forces to continue their onslaught against the tyrants of Dromund Kaas, and so the 173rd were requested to accompany the Imperator's armies once more.
He owed it to the people of Nirauan, if not the New Imperial Order itself. Though he'd never admit to Tavlar that he respected the man for what he'd done, Lucien had showed it through his actions-- most of the time, anyway. Generis would be no different from those others, despite the fact that he currently wasn't at the vanguard of a formation, or dropping down from the skies with his Legion.
The Myrmidons had been deployed onto the world en masse just hours before the invasion of the planet had commenced. His Captains and their respective companies scattered across the planet to tackle tertiary objectives elsewhere, typically the kind which left the rank-and-file dead to a man.
While his Legion were kept occupied with sowing havoc through the Sith's ranks, Lucien would assume a secondary command alongside the Galidraani Commanders at the head of the operation. Officially he should've been leading men towards the facility, but his fellow commanders seemed more than willing to do the hard work on their own.
And as it wasn't his Leigon being thrown at the facility, he chose to remain compliant at the rear lines and monitor the battle through his comms. For once he was alone, given the state that the battle of Dantooine had left his companions. More than half of them had been lost, while the other half were still in recovery. It was a decision that left him open, but Lucien had never encountered a Sith who proved an opportunist on the field of battle. Then again, he'd never been in the rear-lines either.
With a bit of luck and surprise, perhaps even he was in for a fun time.
She was done with front lines and trenches and pleading. She had gone to Bastion a girl-- frightened and untested. She had walked away a little more refined-- A little wiser, a little quicker, a little better at holding her own. The jedi were unrelenting in their assults. She should thank them. In every loss was a lesson. Every break was chance to regrow stronger.
She sat braced inside of the station, no longer that girl with something to fear. There was no longer a master to fail. No longer an empire to serve.
Aradia had severed herself from everything. In that solidarity, she had found strength.
She heard the rhythmic fall of boots through the walls of the dark closet and knew what it meant. Infiltration. This station was a strategic command point. She had spent weeks studying the Imperials' habits. She knew they would utilize the war as a chance to overwhelm other more vulnerable points. The Imperials were always thinking forward. They were always laying down the foundation for their next attack. Aradia didn't delude herself, this wasn't stopping at Gravlex.
Stopping them from controlling this station could define so much.
She opened the maintenance room cupboard, her lean legs sliding out as she crept slowly to her feet. Like a spider. It was unlikely they could hear her from so far away, but she moved with caution regardless, her ears pricked for movement beyond the door.
Silence. Just her heart in her ears, erratic and distracting. She let out a heavy breath and let the door woosh open.
Could one person stop a war? She was prepared to find out.
NEW IMPERIAL ORDER // WARLORD OF NIRAUAN
OBJECTIVE I // Aradia Pavanos [VIBES] | [DRIP] | [LEGION]
It was easy to interpret his apathy, for an extreme lack of carelessness instead. He'd crossed plenty of battlefields by his lonesome before, but from his position near the Galidraani's rear lines there was an eerie sanguine to offset the combat in the distance. He could feel the violence permeating through the air, even from where he stood. It permeated through the air, carried by the winds of the force until it settled somewhere uncomfortably within his psyche. Lucien had forgotten the feeling of being on a battlefield alone, it seemed. He'd always maintained the company of his companions, relying on their presence just as much as they did his.
But Dantooine left his companions in shambles.
And the war effort continued on, leaving his men no time to mourn their fallen properly. His Legion dispersed where they were needed, and this time he was forced to watch them from afar. Reduced to receiving sitreps and delivering the occasional order, Lucien could only feel their struggle from afar. The malaise would eventually draw him back forth to the Brigade's Command Post, once more resuming his duties as the sole Commander on station whilst the Galidraani's were down range with the majority of their men. What few reserves were kept in the backlines were spread thin as it was, and to no surprise the same would ring true for the occupants of the primary headquarters as well.
He entered to a number of raised heads,, quickly waving off their salutes and allowing them to return to their posts. The understaffed HQ had an abundance of work, and a general lack of formalities was the typical way that he ran his own Legion. He lingered for only a few minutes, his attention returning to another incoming sitrep from one of his Legion's captains. It was a casualty report; only a few losses were sustained so far, but each man loss was a brother who couldn't be easily replaced.
Luc sighed audibly as he ascended up the stairs, cutting the link off and pulling the earbud out of his ear. He was heading for the rooftop to get a better view of the frontline, while also keeping close to their HQ in the off-chance that things went sour. He came to a brief halt upon reaching the top floor of the building, tilting his head in the direction of a room at the end of the hall.
He turned off the staircase briefly, but stopped in his tracks as his focus remained locked upon what was beneath that door. He projected his thoughts into the room, loosening the concealment that diminished his presence into the force. It was veritably a shot in the dark, or rather he could've been misinterpreting what he perceived through the force. "Could be nothing." He mused out loud, bringing his foot back onto the staircase and ascending up to the top.
"But it could be something." He continued, crossing through the doors on the rooftop and moving to the guard railing at the edge of the roof. The view provided him with a surprisingly clear picture of the situation at the front. Bodies were stacking up on both sides, but the Galidraanis were a group who were known to get the job done at all costs. He could do nothing but wait and see what the results would be., and if need be, intervene on his own accord.
But for now he'd continue doing the former, given the feeling, or rather the presence that he just moments before. It was an immediate concern for him to deal with, and if his senses were not deceiving him, potentially an opportunity to serve the New Imperial Order in a more direct way as well. With his presence no longer masked, Luc stood out amidst the sea of sentients who lacked any presence at all within the force.
The ball was moved into their court, ceding them the advantage, or so it seemed.
It wasn't what Aradia was expecting, but she could sense it now. Countless imperial bodies controlled the sith facility, all inconsequential to her attentions.
Until one wasn't. She paused in the doorway, her head turning towards the signature that sang at the other end of the hall. Ice hit her veins, her throat tightening as she considered her options. She had come to keep this facility out of imperial hands, reclaiming this station alone was fool's job. She hissed in frustration, kicking the door jam.
She had spent weeks trying to outwit the imperials, and here she was, rendered as nothing more than a girl with backpack.
And that's why she brought back up plans. She shoved off the door jam, her pack bouncing against her back as she jogged after the force signature.
She unslung her pack, ignoring the siren of energy walking further away. It called to her-- the jedi taunted her, she could sense it. She did not bite, making further effort to smother out her spite as she pried open a door panel and jammed an electronic bug over the exposed wires. All her efforts to learn Mechu Deru and she could barely influence basic circuitry. That was fine, the driod would do the work for her. The jedi wanted to chill on the roof?
The door hissed, hydraulics releasing as the mechanisms that would open them fried.
He could stay there now.
A tinge of a desperation caught in her gut, her eyes tossing over her shoulder. How long would it take for him to realize she had trapped him? What good could she do in that time? She turned on her heels and ran away from the roof hatch. She skittered down the hall. A door stood open, exposing two white-booted feet resting atop a console.
Aradia slid in, the pin of a gas bomb resting in her hand. "Hello, boys."
The door closed behind her. She looked to the air vents overhead.
NEW IMPERIAL ORDER // WARLORD OF NIRAUAN
OBJECTIVE I // Aradia Pavanos [VIBES] | [DRIP] | [LEGION]
A smirk raised to his lips. A few moments passed before anything of interest had happened. The bait had not been took, and the intruder would instead elect to drawing the Jedi into an environment of their choosing. He expected the individual to come for his head, if the opportunity was given. Most of the Sith he'd encountered were generally of that mindset, but in hindsight it was a generalization that quickly proved to be false. This one was cunning, or at the least they were level-headed enough to not muster to the challenge that the Jedi had put forth.
They had even locked the Jedi onto the roof through means that weren't in his forte to comprehend. Annoying as it was, it would only deter him from getting into the building temporarily. Meanwhile there was chaos being sewn into the HQ beneath his feet. The intruder had released gas into the building, catching the occupants off-guard in many cases. Helmets were off against regulation, a common trait seen among the Stormtroopers at the rear, and with it their immunity to the gas being taken away in an instant.
Lungs filled with fire, just as their eyes began to well up from the burning sensation that blinded them completely. Pandemonium ensued in their wake, something which Lucien found rather interesting as he inserted the earbud in and regretted it immediately. He pressed a finger to his ear, muting their frantic calls in order to respond with one of his own.
<"All personnel inside the building, head out immediately. Regroup outside and rendezvous at the secondary HQ until this...threat has been dealt with.">
He stepped across the guard railing, resting his arms against the cold metal as he paused in his tracks with his eyes focused into the horizon. Something called to him-- someone whose presence was so familiar to him that it could not be avoided even if he wanted to in the first place. He reached out through the force, singling out the woman with a hand extending out towards the horizon, trailing a path through the sky. His hand shut into a fist, and with it a message being sent out through the winds of the force.
Lyra Voi'kryt's presence was unexpected. It took every ounce of discipline to not leap from the building and dash off into the direction he felt her presence in. A step forwards, and down the length of the building he went. "You're here...aren't you."
His descent was slowed by the force, and he touched the ground a few moments later without as much as scuffing his pants. A growing collection of Stormtroopers pooled on the outside of the building, waiting for the rest of their comrades to funnel out of the building. Luc walked ahead of the group, stepping past the retreating troopers and heading back into the building on his own. He was only spared from the burning properties of the gas through the application of controlling his breath with the use of the force involved.
He scanned the now deserted floor of the HQ, lowering his arms to his side but still not bothering to unclip the lightsaber hanging off his belt. He idled in the center of the room, leaving himself open once more in that nonchalant manner he carried himself.
Luc scanned the room once more, then sat himself down on a nearby chair with his feet being kicked up onto the console. "I'd thank you for not leaving any bodies, but I really don't get your angle, stranger." He called out to only other occupant of the now abandoned Command Post.
"...But how about we skip the games and chat face-to-face."
Aradia dropped from the vent overhead, her lithe form landing without a sound. A rush of wind lashed out around her, dispersing the heavy gas that had collected like smog along the space. She straightened, the sharp features of her young face leveling to hold his gaze.
There was no mistaking her for what she was, the kiss of the darkside rippling off her form.
Was her expressionless greeting, her mind reeling ahead. The most obvious step would be to just leave-- but then the imperials would retake the station and resume their war efforts unhindered. She didn't want to place herself in an unmovable situration. Up until the evacuation, it hadn't looked good. Her nostrils flared at the reminder of the risk, the girl desperate to maintain the upper hand.
She could handle one jedi, she told herself. Serving as a distraction would just have to do. She took a step to the side, arching towards the walls as she held his gaze.
Luc smirked at the woman, spinning around in the chair to face the direction of the voice that followed her appearance into the room. He leaned back into his palms, his fingers having laced comfortably on the back of his head. "Well, yeah, you're right about that." Luc shot back, tilting his eyes towards the woman. "...But I guess no is accurate as well~" The words followed through an exaggerated yawn, his lips curling right back into a smirk once it was finished.
Despite revealing herself to Lucien, he made no overtly move to display the hostility that should've existed between existential enemies within the force. Instead his eyes followed the woman's movements lazily, watching her intently as she moved towards the wall, maintaining a safe distance between herself and the Jedi sitting comfortably at the console.
A moment of silence filled the void.
He sucked on his teeth, breaking the tension by letting loose an audible breath of air. He swung his legs down from the console, pushing himself up to his feet. Luc crossed his arms over his chest, taking a brazen step towards the center of the room, his eyes still locked upon the dangerous woman across from him. "It seems as if you've got me cornered-- assuming that's your intent. But i'm a little surprised that your superiors elected to send just you into the heart of the enemy's camp."
He chuckled, pulling his arms apart and giving the woman an exaggerated shrug. "If it was me in your shoes, I would've killed everyone in this room while the Jedi was stuck on the roof and unaware of the situation. Seems very... uncharacteristic of one of your ilk-- but don't get me wrong, i'm not complaining."
Luc's visage dropped into a cold stare for a moment. "Setting aside those corrupted eyes and that pretty face, though-" His hands dropped down to his sides, but still his weapon remained out of reach of his hand. "I'd rather we take this outside-- but the ball's in your court, sweetheart."
Aradia's hand twitch towards her face, stopped short and then redirected to tuck a fly away behind her ear. Her eyes weren't that corrupted. Just specks of gold starting to faintly circle a sea of blue.
Her gaze gaze on her reflection on the screen, her throat bobbing as his approach snapped her attention back to him. She held her ground, the weight of her saber a comfort as she took another arcing step towards the wall. Every step forward he would take would be matched with one of her own, the girl making a slow but obvious movement around the wall.
"Well, that's what makes us different." she started, her tone matter of fact. She could feel the coying tease that dripped off his words, not unlike a cat lazily playing with its mouse. He spoke of being trapped, but for a moment she questioned just which of them was they prey.
Goosebumps riddled her arms.
"Unlike you, I don't kill just because I can." She reached up, yanking the exposed circuitry from a panel she had set up while waiting for his arrival. His senses were correct. This was a trap.
Every door in the building slammed down, tons of steel closing off and locking. The evacuated storm troopers wouldn't be able to come to his aid even if they had orders to. The only way this station was opening was if one of them let it.
"I kill when I have to." Her saber snapped to her hand, the red length hissing to life.
NEW IMPERIAL ORDER // WARLORD OF NIRAUAN
OBJECTIVE I // Aradia Pavanos [VIBES] | [DRIP] | [LEGION]
Lucien stepped forwards once more, trailing her own gait with a slow saunter of his own, all the while ensuring his eyes would never leave her sight in case she decided to put her cunning to use. Brazen as he was, it was clear that not a hint of fear lingered beneath his playful gaze. Even as the building entered lockdown, separating the two individuals from the outside world as a whole.
His attention only briefly shifted upon the activation of the trap, his head tilting away for just long enough to view the display as it happened. His lips curled even further, a devilish grin taking its place upon his face as he refocused his eyes back onto Aradia.
Another step curved inwards towards the woman, and he continued on the path that brought him closer to the woman's bubble. He raised a eyebrow by the time the last few words had exited his lips. "Interesting to hear you say that." Luc commented, a thumb being nonchalantly jabbed in the direction of the plasmatic weapon that now hissed to life within her hands. "See I thought that you Sith were pretty uniform in your desire to kill for the sake of pleasure, power and all that other good stuff that comes with your ideology~"
His shoulders jerked upwards with a shrug, falling back down to normal in unison with his hands entering the comfort of his jacket pockets. Again he continued forwards, moving ever so closer to the woman, seemingly unfazed by the sight of the lightsaber she now wielded. His own weapon remained clipped to his belt, lazily swinging with his movements, tapping against his pants.
"Oh don't tell me--" Luc leaned forwards, centering his gaze onto her at a distance which now proved rather dangerous if her desire was to remove his head. "...You're different, huh."
He chuckled, straightening himself out and finishing with a final step that left him rather exposed, given the circumstances. "I'm not like the other Jedi either, y'know. I'm sure we could reach some common ground, especially since you've up and decided to lock yourself in here with me." He winked at her playfully. "You've got a name, or do you want me to just keep callin' you Sith."
The saber was held steady, its intense heat threating to undo his clothing with each step closer he took. She did not lower it. He could impale himself where he stood for all she cared.
Aradia had seen far more frightening things than him.
"You've got a name, or do you want me to just keep callin' you Sith."
She cocked a brow. "Well, that's what I am." She quipped evenly, not taking the bait as he played games with her character. She raised her chin, unaffected by what he thought of her. It wouldn't change anything, anyway.
"You look like all the others to me." She gave the wires another hard yank, electricity shooting out from the panel. It was without a doubt fried. "Ignorant." She took a step to the right, her legs crossing like figure eights. The next panel was already exposed, a spider droid stuck over it.
Another step, the saber insuring the jedi remain at length at every moment. She knew her weak spots. Her heart pounded in her chest, old lessons still fresh. She'd be keeping her guard up.
"Out for blood. Remind me again, how that makes Jedi so different from my peers."
Keep him talking. Her eyes scanned him over, features softening to contempt. "Maybe that's what I call you then. Sith." Her back hit the other wall, the droid tangling in her orange locks.
Lyra's words slipped into his mind as clear as if she had whispered the words into his own ear. Even as he and the Sith in front of his eyes engaged in a war of words between their stand-off, he could feel the presence of Lyra as if she was with him in the real. Her aura lingered around him, or so it seemed to him in those few moments their connection was at its peak. She was so close that he could feel the blood rising within his veins, beckoning him to draw his weapon upon his enemy and take to the frontlines to find her once more. To confront her and ask those questions that were now long overdue, and perhaps too late.
He could feel her pain, the unrelenting series of emotions that fueled the corruption which brought her upon this world as a Sith. They surged through him just as rapid as they came, fueling the benevolent rage which lingered beneath the impassive visage being given to the world. Anger fueled him more than anything else; a growing desire to reap vengeance upon the Sith ten times over for what they had done to her-- to her family. Months prior he would have fell to this instinct, and acted upon the emotions that gave him the strength where the force could not. He would not have hesitated to draw his weapon upon Aradia, and do what must be done to keep moving forwards.
Always forwards, towards someone or something that he could save.
But the weight of the world could not be balanced upon his shoulders alone. Dantooine, Korriban and Ziost could attest to that. He would save her-- that would never change. It was a promise that he fully intended to keep, even if he'd retracted it openly during his meeting with Nima Appw'rii
. It didn't matter if she was Sith or still the same woman who served the Imperials. She could've abandoned everything and took to a quiet life away from the chaos and he'd still feel the same way regardless. In the end, she was Lyra-- not some Sith, or a woman who faced being too far gone into the corruption of the dark side to see things reasonably with her own eyes.
"I was blind before--ignorant to the truth."
It was unconditional. That is, whatever it was that bound them together. The emotions, or maybe the connection. For a Jedi who sat far too comfortably next to the thin line of the dark, it was a dangerous thing to possess.
But the consequences be damned as far as Luc was concerned.
"I won't let you go."
Luc shut his eyes, exhaling a breath as Aradia finished berating him for his antics. In a sense the woman did have a point, despite the invalidity of a few of her claims. He definitely was a cocky bastard, albeit not as much after the wonderful lesson in hubris that came with engaging multiple Dark Lords in a relatively quick succession. Ignorance was also a claim he couldn't necessarily begin to refute. There had been so much he was unaware of before embracing his Imperial heritage, and seeing first-hand how the galaxy ebbed and flowed internally through the actions -- or inaction -- of its strongest nations.
And bloodthirsty wasn't too far off from the money either. He wasn't ashamed of it-- his own dark passenger that existed alongside the goodness within. The war against the Sith had carved him into a warrior, and one who felt truly alive during the heat of battle. He became a demon within the eyes of the pawns the Sith threw his direction, always the spear who fought at the vanguard of every conflict. Conflict and death no longer were given a second thought, nor did he consider the effects that nonstop war were having on his psyche.
It just was what it was.
Which made her final point all the more intriguing.
He opened his eyes as the accusation came to past, looking past the woman's eyes in an attempt to see through the anger that shielded what was beneath.
"Perhaps you're right."
He offered in response, shrugging at her once more. Luc unclipped his lightsaber from his belt, bending down partially as he rolled the weapon in her direction. He backpedaled away from the woman, coming to a stop right before the back of his legs hit the chair seated at the console. Down he went, seating himself while he weapon remained a far enough distance away to put him at a clear disadvantage this time. As foolish as it was, Luc didn't possess the desire to shed the woman's blood. Something about her eyes had reminded him of the woman whose presence kept his mind partially occupied within the force.
She had not even slaughtered any of his men, even when the opportunity had been present. Truthfully she gave him no reason to kill her, and being a Sith was no longer enough reason for him to consider ending one's life. Not if he wished to save the one person whose fall into the dark could be prevented.
Luc leaned against the chair, blue-grey orbs continuously piercing their way across the room to meet the woman's gaze. He blinked eventually, leaning upwards into the chair, balancing his elbows against his knees. "You can call me what you want, but my friends call me Luc. I think it has a better ring to it than just Sith." Luc broke the tension. "I'll be honest-- I don't really have the muse to play the whole game of "existential enemies, therefore we must fight." There's someone out there that I care about-- and just like you, she's got some pretty eyes that have seen better days. Just like I can see you in front of me right now, I can feel her presence just as vividly. But since I'm stuck in here with you, our reunion will have to wait. So tell me, what will it be? I've got this hunch that you're not too far gone as of yet, and I wouldn't be a man if I didn't follow my gut from time to time."
He pointed to a nearby chair, then traced the tip of his finger towards her lightsaber.
"You're not going to convert me," came the dry assertation. "And I'm not letting you out of here." Her chin rose brazenly to the blunt claim. "Not until this world quiets and your men leave these gates."
Even then, shouldn't she take him in? Or wouldn't it be wiser to simply kill him. His death would be one less jedi to populate the fields at the next world. Every dent in the Imperials resources were vital for people like her. She knew what her Master would say; the corruption inside of her itched for her to sink in and-- Zaavik Dagoth
's smug look flickered to her then, earning a flinch. She shook her head, driving the hunger and his eyes from her mind.
"I don't care what you think." Tendrils of the force wrapped around his saber, whipping it into her palm.
"I am sith." She crossed her arms over herself, burying his saber into her robes in the process. Her lithe form spilled into the seat, her relax posture betrayed by the wild look to her eyes. She kept constant track of the room and the screens, her life balancing on the fickle decision of the jedi to sit down. Behind the anger, there was loss. A loss of self, a loss of others. They had all lost things on the battlefield. She was young. She wasn't letting him get the better of her.
She sat up straighter, adrenaline driving her spine rigid. Keep him talking.
"So, what-- you're dating one of us? Is this a prelude to a dinner, or-- I can't image you'll find a restaurant serving after this." An edge of mocking laughter coated her words, the girl not sitting still.
His shoulders relaxed even further, the last bit of tension dissolving from his already lax form. He waved a hand in her direction dismissively, that same hand then having the side of his face resting within his palm just a moment later. "I'm not in the business of converting Sith." Or at least that usually was the case, he thought, considering the other woman who came to mind. "...And I already figured that we were stuck in here together."
The keyword being together in that final response. Though he watched as she took his lightsaber as her own, the defenseless Jedi was still not visibly concerned regarding the tactical advantage his enemy now held over him. His confidence rarely waned in the darkest of times, and despite being locked in a building with a Sith, it wasn't as bleak as his encounters with a Sith'ari.
In fact it proved the opposite of bleak, given the circumstances involved. She continued speaking, dishing back to him a handful of attitude in the process. He grinned in return, not phased by the mocking laughter that followed her words. "She's.." He trailed off, dipping his head slightly in thought. He was thinking of the right way to word their relationship, but Luc had never put too much thought into it.
She was an attractive woman-- definitely up his alley, if he were being honest. But she was also someone who he considered a genuine friend. Someone he looked up to, learned from, and wanted nothing more than to see them happy.
His head tilted back towards the woman, still smiling softly. "...Kinda like family, I suppose. I don't think our reunion would've involved dinner, though. I'd be lucky to come out of it without a broken nose-- or worse." He chuckled. "She's a fierce woman, but I wouldn't trade her for anything."
"But what about you, hmm? From one hot-head to another, you're jut seething with anger-- I can feel it." He stretched his arms upwards, letting out a yawn now that he was content with chilling where he was. "..and you still haven't told me your name; a bit rude for a first date, don'tcha think?" Luc finished with a wink, chuckling in a similar fashion as she did earlier, minus the mocking.
"This isn't a date. I'm holding you hostage!" She exploded, a wave of indignation emanating from her form. The saber that had been held almost lackadaisically snapped back to position in front of her, the girl making a show of jabbing it way in a an unspoken point.
"I have complete control of this facility. Your men aren't getting in without damaging its systems, which is the opposite of what you want. I am the only one that can unjam the locks to let you out. You're trapped. You don't even have a weapon, you only have-- hair," she gestured wildly, her expression pulling into an awkward grimace at her final word.
Well. He did!
She leaned forward, still unable to keep still as she switched the elbows she leaned against multiple times. "I'm not angry, I'm--... ... pissed," she grumbled, rolling her eyes slightly as she ate her own words. She pursed her lips, her expression narrowing at the jedi that sat there with far too much confidence given his situration.
Didn't he know how bad he was in for right now? Keep him talking.
She closed the saber and crossed her arms fully, leaning back. "How can you love a sith and then go on to condemn them, it doesn't make sense."
NEW IMPERIAL ORDER // WARLORD OF NIRAUAN
OBJECTIVE I // Aradia Pavanos
// Lyra Voi'kryt [VIBES] | [DRIP] | [LEGION]
A chuckle escaped his lips. There was irony in him being held hostage, given the circumstances of how he met Auteme. "Oh how the tables have turned..." He mumbled to himself quietly, eyeing the edge of the lightsaber with an amused grin. He nodded along as she reassured herself that the situation was under her complete control. "Mhm." He confirmed off-handedly, smiling all the same despite the thought lingering in the back of his head that seeded the opposite.
Control was a loose term, to say the least. She had all the control in the world, if that's what she wanted to believe. Lucien had no intention of being hostile. In fact, he was beginning to feel amused by just how easily the woman seemed to be triggered by his teasing. She settled down after the momentary rise in emotions ended, and the lightsaber pointed at him was finally retracted away.
He tapped at his chin for a moment as he considered a response. "I ask myself that sometimes too." Luc shrugged. He knew it was hypocritical, but his life had never been nothing but nuanced. "I dunno-- maybe i'm the worst Jedi you'll ever meet, but I can't bring myself to hate the person for what their ideology has made them." He pointed at the lightsaber tucked between her crossed arms.
"I've got a family full of loyalists, some of them Sith Lords of the newly-branded Eternal. Maybe they hate me for stickin' to my Jedi ways. Hell, I get the same treatment already from enough of my fellow Jedi and Imperials already."
He sighed, drawing his eyes up to the ceiling with a waning in his smile. "I can't change who I am, and the bond we have is more important than where my allegiances stand. I'll do what I must with what i'm given, for those who I love."
Aradia's brows pulled in, her squirming dying off as she studied the Jedi that spoke unbashedly about his flaws. Her confusion grew thicker, the girl trying to puzzle out the enigma that sat before her.
"You're right," she finally concluded, bursting out of her seat. "You're not like the others, you admit you don't make sense." She left him, pacing back to the screens to check the systems. Everything was unchanged, the storm troopers beyond still following the jedi's order to let him handle this. How long would that hold until they started to suspect this Luc didn't have everything at hand?
And what would they do then? Her gut coiled tight with stress, worsening the itch she had shoved to the side. She didn't need it right now. Right?
As much as she liked to remind him she had control in this moment, it was tenuous. She almost preferred Jedi to yell at her and try to kill her, because that at least she could see through. His calmness, though?
She tossed him a sideways glance, her expression guarded. "...What do you know that I don't?" She asked slowly, a sense of paranoia creeping through her. She took a step towards him, the heels of her boots making a subtle click on the floor. She shot a final look at the screen, nothing appearing off, before leaving it to approach him with slow, meticulous steps.
"Are you hiding something?" She bounced her saber off the meat of her thigh rhythmically, continuing to consider him.
NEW IMPERIAL ORDER // WARLORD OF NIRAUAN
OBJECTIVE I // Aradia Pavanos
// Lyra Voi'kryt [VIBES] | [DRIP] | [LEGION]
Through his interactions with Aradia, Lucien had realized that his interactions with the Sith until then had been in a much more limited capacity. Whether it was on the battlefield or during the inception of the New Imperial Order, his vision of the Sith was a far-cry from the individual who now paced back and forth to his front. Once more he shrugged at her response, not even bothering to reply towards the comment about him being different.
Luc knew he was different, whether it was through his heritage or the company he preferred to keep in comparison to his peers. The youngest of the Imperial Warlords possessed the influence that more prominent Imperials had done evil to attain, all the while maintaining most of the principles he had from the start. Well most of them, anyway. Nobody goes into a war as a boy and comes out of it with the same values as before.
So when she questioned him in paranoia, confused by his characteristic sanguine in the presence of a dangerous element, it was merely a reflection of what the boy had became. Luc was a man forged through the fires of war, in possession of a soul that had been tempered through strife and the ideology of Imperial defiance. He'd faced death in the face and survived, resisting the temptation of the dark in spite of the forces that be seemingly guiding him into its direction.
By comparison to his past experiences, his current predicament was metaphorically nothing but a walk in the park. A breather even, from the chaos of warfare going on outside their little bubble.
He shook his head, focusing his gaze upon her eyess with a somber grin curled onto his lips. "Battle plans, Order-of-Battle, classified information.. quite a bit, I'd guess." His response came as lax as the rest. "My full name is Lucien Dooku, Prince and Claimant of the throne of Serenno, Warlord of Nirauan Province, and a Knight of the New Jedi Order." He let out a laugh, picking up on the authority in his tone. "But uhh-- that's a mouthful. Am I hiding somethin' ? Anything? Not particularly. You haven't actually asked me anything in specific. Granted, I'm still liable to say no, but at the least i'm being honest."
Leaning back in his chair once again, Luc checked the monitors off-handedly, scanning his eyes across the screen before resettling them onto Aradia. "It's just me and you, woman. Still haven't told me your name though."
Aradia stopped short, her pacing hitting a halt as he listed off his title. Mirth caught in her eyes, breaking up the lines of stress that had been forming in the corners of expression.
He got a ever so slight laugh of disbelief, some of the tension leaving her frame. The energy of the room changed, the girl looking at him for another long moment before something in her just... gave way. She slumped back into her chair, her head shaking as she crossed her arms at him again.
"Why are you doing this? You came to this world to take it-- to invade it. I have you trapped, I have your weapon, I could kill you at any moment and yet-- you're trying to have a conversation with me."
Her shoulders fell in ounce of tired frustration. It was very hard to maintain anger when the thing you hated wouldn't bounce it back. The aggression ceased for a moment, an edge of vulnerability creeping into the gaze that locked onto him like tracking beacon.
NEW IMPERIAL ORDER // WARLORD OF NIRAUAN
OBJECTIVE I // Aradia Pavanos
// Lyra Voi'kryt [VIBES] | [DRIP] | [LEGION] "I dunno. You seemed reasonable enough, and I'm not all that keen on committing violence against women if it ain't necessary."
Was the most honest response he could give her off off the top of his head, accompanying it with that characteristic grin once more. He mused on her question for a moment, considering the handful of reasons that compiled into the reasoning behind his actions. Perhaps if things had gone different, the conversation between the two would never have arose in the first place. It was her inaction, rather than what he assumed was her characteristic desire to act, that prompted it all.
Combined with the appearance of Lyra upon the world, and the lessons he'd learned since joining the Jedi Order, and the perfect grounds were produced for the situation at hand to come into play. Not every enemy needed to be met with a blade in hand, and not every Sith were the lost causes that he'd met throughout the war. He had to believe it- if not for his own sake, but for the sake of Lyra. For the sake of his cousin Adron Malvern, and for the sake of his brother back on Serenno.
"My reasoning for coming onto this world has no bearing upon my reason for wanting to have a conversation with you." He continued, leaning forwards in the chair, focusing his eyes upon her own intently. "You have me trapped, and you do possess my weapon. Our interaction could have ended in my attempted death, or something equally as chaotic, given the circumstances. Yet here we sit, standing at the precipice of a regular conversation, devoid of the notion of you being Sith and I being Imperial, Jedi, or whatever fits the bill. Right now i'm just Lucien, and you're just.."
Luc sighed, rubbing at the back of his head nonchalantly. "A woman who still won't tell her name."
Aradia's expression contorted at the mention of what he was. Imperial. The word sat like poison in her mind, filled with death and needless destruction. Imperial. It was curse. It was pain.
It was everything she sought to overcome.
Her eyes flashed, turning as cold as the sudden wash of darkside that permeated through the energy in the room. "I hate your kind," she nearly growled, holding up the saber hilt in an accusatory point. So much for the conversation being devoid of who they were. She leaned forward, that tension returning to the box-set of her shoulders.
"You can't put down that title for a conversation. And you can't just pick it up again when it's convenient for you-- I don't. I have people that have asked to be in their family. Me-- a fethin slave, picture that." The personal words fell from her lips, defying her life-long drive for privacy as she spilled a little piece of who she was out for the stranger.
If just to make her point.
"But here I am, trapping myself in with your stupid ass, fighting a war that I don't even believe in, because I am a sith above all else. You can take away my peers, my academies, a family-- lovers," she said a pointed look his way. "But you cannot take my actions out of the past. You either are, or you aren't. So what the feth are you, Prince of my Anus. Really, it sounds like it's time for you to decide."
Her fingers tightened over her forearms, the itch turning into a song that had hit her veins. Because there was no turning off who she was.
NEW IMPERIAL ORDER // WARLORD OF NIRAUAN
OBJECTIVE I // Aradia Pavanos
// Lyra Voi'kryt [VIBES] | [DRIP] | [LEGION]
It didn't take much for him to eventually hit a nerve with his words. It seemed as if the mention of Imperial was more than enough to set her off, and Luc didn't dig the issue in with any jest remarks this time around. It wasn't out of fear, as she might've thought, but rather out of a small semblance of respect that the wished to give to his companion for the duration of their lockdown.
She hated Imperials for a reason.
Luc didn't know that reason, but it wasn't surprising to hear that sentiment out loud. There were plenty of individuals whose loyalty to the Sith Empire had never come into question. There were also those who rose from the pits of despair that the Zambrano's crumbling empire had fostered, only to adopt the ways of the Sith at the behest of their "liberators" from oppression.
Many such cases existed on both ends of that spectrum, and neither had experienced the enlightenment that brought the New Imperials to war against the Sith. Lucien couldn't relate with being a slave as she was, but the feeling of despair, of suffering the loss of home and loved ones, were experiences they both shared. Perhaps in another timeline, their roles could've been reversed. Such was the duality of the things, without delving into the intricacies of the force.
He blinked, in any case, dropping his eyes onto the pointed hilt for just long enough to take it into account. Luc's eyes returned to her own, taking in her features without as much of a pause in regard to the aura that permeated off her form. The taint of the dark was heavy, but it was far from the overwhelming presence that Carnifex and Prazutis had embodied. He leaned forth in his chair once more, keeping his eyes locked upon her own.
"I'm just me."
He was defiant until the end, even in the face of certain death. But in the presence of the woman who held him "hostage", empathy and compassion were radiating from his core. A new feeling to him, but one that was certainly present.
"Just some guy with a complicated life, in a complicated galaxy, trying to do right by the ones I love, and maybe find a semblance of normality in the future. I learned the hard way that generalizing yourself into some predefined category will do nothin' for you but hold you down. You speak of loss, but I too have experienced the same pain that's coming off you right now. I've lost my home and my family because of a decision I made to live a life that wasn't predestined by another. My friends were abandoned by me, so I could selfishly go fight back against the Sith. I chose this life-- and just what I am can only be defined as me; Lucien, nothing else."
Luc treaded thin ice with his words. He was direct, but calm in tone. Patience wasn't a virtue he strived for in his life, but an eerie calm had enveloped him as their time together increased.
"You speak of people who wish for you to be part of their family, yet in the same vein I see a woman who's been thrown onto a battlefield with a directive of letting her emotions guide her forwards through the chaos. You're here all alone, minus the exception of myself. You speak of things within the realm of them being absolute truths, with no room for nuance to work with. My life has been nothing but a series of nuanced events, pushing me back and forth, reshaping my principles as the need arise.
You may be a Sith, but do not fool yourself into thinking that it is logical to deal in nothing but absolutes. Be as flexible as the passion within you that ignites your soul into action. Strive to reach the ebb and flow within your psyche, much like the winds of the force itself coalesces all around us. Learn when to channel your rage, and you might find yourself suddenly being open to the little details that may have previously escaped your perception. Emotion-- specifically anger is merely one pillar of strength for you to draw upon, Sith. Strive to attain enough temperance to keep the worst impulses in check, and perhaps you'll figure out just how far one's passion could reach."
He never thought himself much of a teacher, but it seemed right in this moment to impart what wisdom he had onto his advesrary. Luc didn't need to be a Sith to understand the concept of using ones emotions as fuel, for it was his own mixture of passion and anger that allowed him to defy the odds time and time again.
"Your master should've taught you these tenets, if their goal was to craft a student who could one day surpass themselves."
The grin faded away, replaced for once by the cold impassivity that encompassed the rest of his visage.
"...But the essence of control is to remain hidden from view, is it not? To hide the guidance which would lead to yourself being a lethal weapon against both foe and ally alike, it would appear that your betters have done well."
A sharp slap rang throughout the air, her fingers tingling painfully against the motion her hand had done on its own. She did not withdraw from the space she had intruded, both jedi and sith leaning in across the distance that now felt small.
Her nostrils flared with each breath, a visible struggle flickering over her features as she kept her body locked down. No more striking appendages. Though he deserved it. She seethed against the fury boiling through her, its heat threatening to take over.
But she wouldn't let it. It was her tool, not the other way around.
"My Master is dead," she uttered, condensing Kaalia's step down into something too simple to do it justice. "Speak poorly of her again, and I will
She annunciated, ice to her tone as she let every word drop from her lips like a pebble into a lake.
NEW IMPERIAL ORDER // WARLORD OF NIRAUAN
OBJECTIVE I // Aradia Pavanos
// Lyra Voi'kryt [VIBES] | [DRIP] | [LEGION]
The sting of her palm lingered upon his cheek, reddening it to a shade that nearly matched the fiery color of her hair. His words had struck deeper than he wished, although the outcome given was one he'd accept nonetheless. He spoke the truth, regardless of it she wanted to hear it or not. The revelation of her master's fate had struck a cord with him, similar to the experiences the two shared in other departments as well. He didn't fault the woman for striking him, though the action in itself was all the proof he needed to point to his advice as being more truer than she'd like.
An eerie silence enveloped the two for a time. Closer to eachother than ever before, Luc didn't seem phased at all by the hostile demeanor being put on display. Instead the cold visage toned itself down over time, shifting into a somber visage as the silence was ended by his words. "I'm sorry for your loss, if it means anything to you."
He remained in place, letting the woman occupy his bubble for as long as she wished, ensuring his gaze would remain stationary upon her own in spite of the slap that came before. "My master, the Jedi who taught me the ways of the force. He fell to the dark side after abandoning me to my fate. Tempted by the boons offered, and casting his Padawan into a den of wolves. I chased him down for years, but not before the disgraced noble son had to abandon his Jedi code to live. Learn to kill to survive, and call the underworld his home."
Lucien stood up from the chair, only a step necessary for the space between the two of them to become nearly nonexistent. "And when I found him, you know what he offered me in return? Temptation to the dark side, or simply death."
A hand moved slowly towards her shoulder, and he would rest it there if she let him.
"I killed him, or he let me kill him, as a means to an end within his schemes. I murdered my own master with the very same lightsaber that you tucked within your robes. I've felt the temptation, woman. Tasted the same power you strive for through this unrelenting rage you carry. I won't pretend I know the struggle you've gone through, but I understand the pain you're feeling right now."
Her head turned in incremental ticks, her attention turning onto the hand that laid across her bony shoulder. She was small. It could be felt through the material that billowed out around her. Thick, ropey scars peaked out around the high collar of her shirt, her neck riddled with the marks of chains that were no longer there. The muscles in her jaw flexed, the danger of the moment screaming through her nerves. And yet, she did not pull away, the girl bracing against the fear her body pumped through her.
'-temperance to keep the worst impulses in check,'
"You don't know how I feel." She told him, speaking with that same slow exactness. "Your side is winning. You have nothing to lose. Nothing precious that will be taken. Here, or at the next place. You can come and conquer and it costs you nothing. You don't know what defeat feels like. You don't know what it's like to watch your world fall into instability. You don't know." She looked up at him then, her expression condensing into pinched lines.
"I have lost everything because of your kind. Because of you-- being here... To prepare for the nexthit." She stood up, her saber hissing to life. The heat bore down on them both, threatening to blister the skin at the neck she held it up to. Her eyes turned wild, the red plasma reflecting across the blue orbs. Gold flecks seemed to glow, pulsing with the energy she drew into herself as she bore him down.
Ravraa fumbled at his side as his fingers desperately tried their damnedest to find a powercell as his Judicator clacked-clacked-clacked when he popped over the edge in an attempt to take a pot shot at one of the Sith conscripts. These soliders were different, they did not bear the marking of the Imperial Legion, the mark of the Best. Instead, they were what looked like to be a new force, perhaps some new form of infantry, perhaps some special forces. He blurted into his comms as he wedged the blaster between his armpit and forearm. Ripping the glove off of his hand before bringing his bare hands over the powercell and bringing it free. Demanding details of this new foe, getting nothing solid in response from the various Aux commanders.
<”Unknown Sith Force, hold your ground, double-squads if possible! Focus fire on the Force Usin’ basta-”> Just then, he was tackled to the ground by one of the more wayward soldiers in the conflict. He came stumbling over the tree he was using for cover, got a single blaster round off that went wide and struck the Auxman that Ravraa was bunkered down with before the butt-end of his rifle was brought down on the Togruta’s helmet. Dazed, his Judicator fell to the floor as his hands weakly reached out beyond the haze of ringing ears. Grabbing the rigging of man’s vest and pulling him close against his form before tumbling with him into the dirt. Hands pawed against betaplast at this distance, impossible to get any good leverage or any proper hold on his weapon. Rav’s palm came up and slapped at the man’s shoulder before wracking itself against his dome, his left hand gripping at his own belt as he felt a sharp stabbing pain slink into the side of his ribs. Cold, stinging, his breath left him in a fateful gasp.
He had been stabbed. A mixture of emergency bacta and blood trinkling out of his side and staining his snow-white armor. He brought his head back and slammed his forehead into that of his assailant, throwing him off of him and onto his back. The Togruta rolled onto him, straddling the man’s hips and pinning his hands above his head as the Sith conscript thrashed beneath him, howling and desperate.
Desperate to live, desperate to see home. Just like Ravraa.
He hated when they made this choice for him.
He slammed his head down again before a hand went to his belt. A sharp snap-hiss broke the sounds of blaster fire and the screams of fighting. Lord Noxwalda’s blade was unleashed, spun into the Togruta’s hand in an ice-pick grip and was plunged into the conscripts chest. Snuffing the light out of him instantly as the harsh sent of burning flesh wafted into the air and the charring ashes of his armor and skin stained Ravraa’s hand.
He twisted the blade, removed it, and looked over at the other Auxmen. A large, fist sized hole was burned into where one of his eyes should’ve been. Dead.
He stood, holding the saber at his head.
And then, he was right there on the deck of the Dissident Aggressor. Brand new stormtrooper armor plastered to his skin, youthful smile, not even a Legion to his name.
The words burned across his mind, etching into the open air in fiery script in front of it’s speaker. The Captain of the 307th Legion, veteran of the Braxant Campaigns…
The same woman that Ravraa had risked life and limb to save on that far flung battlefield.
The long, black hair of Hellhound secluded her face as she spoke. Blood leaking onto the floor as she did so.
“Ravraa-do not shoot me. That’s an order from your commanding officer”
For the moment, he was that young private again. For a moment, as he gazed across the pristine halls of the Star Destroyer, he felt the connection of the words. He felt the rank and title carry across meanings of logic and reason. He felt the heat of blaster fire under his armor as he rushed between city alleyways. He heard the last dying cries of a Legionnaire, a promise of a letter…
He remembered the pain, this pain, it was all too familiar.
He remembered the Bastard Zambrano, and that fateful day of Krieg…
He blinked, and suddenly, he was back in the jungle. A blaster round slapping past his face and into a tree inches away as he stepped over the log, saber held at his side.
<”Auxiliary Forces, hold your fire! Hold your fire!”>
He knew they would listen, the chattering of charric would soon come to an end, though he couldn’t predict what the move of the Sith would be as he threw his arms wide, yelling in return to the canopy of trees.
<”If you’re here, Captain Voi’Kryt, we a-got a score to be settlin’. How many was it? Best outta half dozen at least…”>
<”I ain’t gonna shoot you, Lyra. But I can’t let you pass either. Kill me, or leave. Please…”>
He couldn’t bring himself to finish the sentence, he was lucky for the helmet.
< "Looks like we have two klicks to cover to reach the base General, we'll flank your sides-all you need to do is punch it,"- Nima Appw'rii
<< "Copy that Major, will give sitrep on-road situation as soon as in the clear over.">>
Tal radioed back on his comms; eyes focused straight ahead on the wreck strewn and bombed out road. His men fanned out on either side of the armoured column, flamethrowers and grenades in hand ready to flush out any Sith fox holes and trenches that lay hidden on the approach to Generis station. Occasionally his focus would be broken by a sudden gush of flame to his side, and the screams of whichever unlucky soul didn't get out of a trench in time and was torched to a cinder. Sith fighters roared overhead, dropping bombs on Imperial positions before being entangled in a dogfight as Tie fighters met them in the air. He clambered back into the confines of his tank and checked the maps, and it seemed the unit was only a click away and, despite the aerial bombardments, would reach soon if the Sith didn't already have a plan lying in wait for Tal's column.
The attack plan was a move called a rolling assault, and Tals men would make ample use of smoke grenades and flashbangs to effectively overcome the enemy and take the outside section of the base bit by bit while his tanks provided cover and fire support. The minefield placed around the base couldn't stop them, the Tanks underbelly being reinforced and the heavy metal plating proving too durable. It'd take anti-tank weapons to hurt the wave of cataphract tanks that'd descend upon the base.
<< "All adjacent units, commence the attack, may the Imperators will be with you and god save Galidraan over,">>as he finished the transmission, a trio of enormous, aerial bombers emerged from the clouds above, heads swivelling, laser cannons effortlessly annihilating parts of the outer base defences bit by bit, their armour too strong for the defenders' anti air to penetrate. The trio dropped their bomb load that scattered across the bases fighter pads and courtyard, blowing up both man and stationary fighters before the bomber trio departed in the distance. Several flash and smoke bombs went off in the distance at random intervals, not providing any pattern for the defending forces to work out and predict. It was tolerable for Tal's men and other imperial units but undoubtedly blinding to the more unfortunate sith conscripts who had inadequate armour. Each one gave the imperial troops a few moments of advancement, eyes protected by their helmets, gaining more ground each time. Perfectly coordinated and in sync, a trademark tactic of the Galidraani military academy. All the while, flashes continued to appear randomly ahead of the assault, dazing Sith defenders, giving the Galidraanis more and more openings in the bases defence lines. Every time the smoke grenades and flashbangs went off in intervals, the infantry pushed in further, overcoming the machine gun bunkers and foxholes bit by bit. The base would be theirs by the end of the night if the Sith didn't reorganise a counter-attack of some sorts.