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Devil's Bargain

Dark Lord of the Sith
Writer
​Everything so far had led to this moment.

​Unbeknownst to [member="Khonsu Amon"] a dark being pulled on strings weaving a web of lies and deceit, controlling events even before Khonsu encountered the cane wielding mystery man on Onderon. Every movement watched and his mind carefully prodded, stoking the discontent, feeding his arrogance, ambition, and anger.

The Golden Company entered a new world and they didn't even realize it.

The hierarchy of the company was under siege from an enemy they couldn't even recognize let alone fight. Agents of the Lord of Lies infiltrated them in ports and on furloughs, everywhere a commanding official docked agents were there to manipulate them to take a little more, drink a little more, relax a little more for themselves. Their prides driven to dangerous levels as dictators and praetors right down to the apex of their number decided they deserved more, they deserved the spoils.

Tribute nearly doubled as the flow of currency and reward from jobs went from a steady stream to a fawcett trickle down the ranks. It allowed resentment from the lower rank and file to fester, and when someone grew the courage to challenge? Whether they succeeded or not didn't matter they would fall into the same vicious cycle. But the problems didn't stop there either. It went as far as to endanger the lives of everyone under them, with an entire crew nearly getting duped during the events that unfolded on Troiken, because of the carelessness of a Praetor under a spell.

​The agents could be anybody from an attractive woman to a bartender, an agitated man in the spaceport, absolutely anyone at any time. But never the Twisuns Legate who fought valiantly and lost during the tournament on Bastion. He was made painfully aware of how far they had fallen just like the rest of their people on Thyrsus. Every rumor that circulated through the professional contract circuit about how the Golden Company proved how all the Thyrsian's were good for was manual labor made it back to his ear.

​Until that fateful loss after the second round.

Lazerus showed up at Khonsu's door and began to speak with the man. Although he was just as mysterious as the day he'd shown up they'd maintained some degree of a rapport. Lazerus listened and occasionally offered very important advice. Nothing he said was wasteful and usually it was important if he happened to appear, but at times he was just there during a crucial moment. Such as when the new trickles of income came down the like and profits percentages went so far down by the time it made it down to the common soldier it was but peanuts.

​But once again the mystery man showed up at his door and this time offered a solution. "There is someone who would like to see you Khonsu, he knows of your plight and he summons you to speak with him about a solution."

"A solution to what?"

​"Everything. That is if you have the strength to show up. Think about it a shuttle will be waiting at the local spaceport, just show the closest official this card. If not just throw it in the trash and you'll never see me again." ​Lazerus handed him a single card that was entirely blank with the exception of a mysterious symbol right in its center. Just as he looked up from the card however the man had vanished.

The decision was now his.



 
M E A T B A G
Character
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The Golden Company was no stranger to the poisonous tendrils of greed and corruption. Like many organizations borne from the fruits of the criminal underworld, they could never consider themselves above such earthly vices. While the band of Thyrsian mercenaries were highly organized and disciplined - a trait that came with them as they made their transition from special forces operators into highly-trained sellswords - there remained an innate desire to garner as much material wealth as they could acquire. This had led these gilded warriors to take on any contract that came their way; never once refusing the work that came their way. They would happily set themselves to the task of rescuing foreign diplomats, just as much as they would capturing them weeks later and holding them for ransom. In their world, beneath the banners of one stellar empire to the next, the golden credit was king. So long as their contractors had paid their bills once they came due, then all would be well. Should they not, however, then the terrible might of the Golden Company would be pitted against their former employers - reaving their territory as they forcibly took what was owed.

Thus, as the mysterious agents of the Lord of Lies began funnelling information to the newly anointed Twisuns legate - in the attempt to inflame his humours - Khonsu found himself annoyed. Not so much that his kindred had found themselves becoming sloppy with the minutiae of their work, as such things were to be expected with an ever-growing organization such as the Gilded Horde. His annoyance stemmed from the detrimental behaviour of those within the Officer Caste, that had put the lives of his comrades in danger - both from the poor care that had been rendered unto their arms and armour and from the overflowing coffers that barely trickled down to those that served their superiors. It was through these messages, disguised as hearsay and rumours, that spurred the Desertborn’s ire. His soldiers, valiant heroes in their own rights, were finding themselves losing contracts - through no fault of their own - and were forced to pay the price.

While they would find victory on one battlefield, they would be denied their glory on another.

It was unacceptable and reaffirmed the choice that the Twisuns Legate had made - the very one that had brought him to the Heart of the Sith Empire; seeking to prove his merit against the best that Sith-Imperial Court had to offer. However, he didn’t enter the proceedings alone, as another Sun Guard stood with him on the sands of the arena, and managed to proceed into the third round - whilst Khonsu, himself, fell in the second. While many believed that this failure brought shame upon the warrior’s pride, they would find themselves proven wrong - time and time again - as the Thyrsian stated that the true test of one’s mettle lay atop the battlefield and not within the safety of the arena. Sure, there was a danger, but it paled in comparison to that of the whirlwind of violence and chance that found itself repeating on the surface of almost every world - from one side of the galaxy to another. War was the truest test of one’s prowess, and whenever the Gilded Legate led his men into battle - they would prove to be more than worth their asking price.

Thus, as the Mandalorian - known as Koda Fett - managed to strike the lucky blow that had sent the Thyrsian Gladiator to the sands, Khonsu felt nothing but respect for his cultural rival. Well, that and the festering desire to meet him on the battlefield, without the trappings of the Sith-Imperial Court to chain his capabilities.

That thought brought a smile to the oiled Gladiator’s lips, as he ran a soiled cloth down the length of his newly acquired crystalline blade. Granules of sand and blood coupled together before they were scoured from the weapon’s surface and unceremoniously flung to the floor in crimson-stained globs. The sword was supposedly a gift from a mysterious benefactor, who sought patronage over the Desertborn warrior; either to claim him as a bodyguard of sorts - or because he was in the depths of the Sith-Imperial war machine - a place at their side as an apprentice. The former was highly unlikely, as the weapon would’ve been bequeathed in person, rather than through a scrawled missive and bejewelled scabbard awaiting him in his assigned chambers. To further add to his working theory, a high-pitched ring echoed within the stone chamber and an old face stalked in; once bidden.

Khonsu had met with Lazerus once before, on the world of Onderon, as his element of the Golden Company had taken up the task of hunting down a Terentatek. He lost four men that day and forced another contractor out of his service - after the beast was felled by a spear through it’s blackened heart. While the deaths of his Cohort weighed heavily upon his thoughts, the newly ordained Twisuns Legate carried their memories with him, as he shrouded himself in the tanned leather of the mighty creature. They would serve and defend him in death, just as they would in life. As the two familiar figures spoke, the crippled wretch brought with him a summons of sorts - one that would seemingly answer his every question and would give the man a solution to everything - so long as he had the strength to appear.

Doing everything he could to cage the bestial snarl within his breast, the Gilded Legate took the proffered card - inscribed with nothing more than a mysterious sigil in the centre of the printed paper - and paid no heed to how Lazerus vanished into thin air. He was used to such petty theatrics by now, as the man had undoubtedly performed them on multiple occasions whenever they deigned to meet. Now alone, with nothing more than his armour and the sword to keep him company; Khonsu found himself beset by a decision - one that would doubtlessly change his future.

Although if it was for the better, or for the worse, the man couldn’t say.

When the Thyrsian had finished bounding his gilded warplate to his form and draped himself in the tanned flesh of the Terentatek, he stood silently with the card in hand. The man knew that it would take him an entire lifetime to reach the pinnacle of his aspirations, had he elected to continue on his current path. He would never attain the highly-coveted rank of Supreme Sun Guardian through martial prowess alone and knew that it would take more than just his cunning alone to stem the tides of gluttony. His armoured talons gripped the card tighter, threatening to break it, as Khonsu’s mind raced with the thousands of possibilities that would come from making this choice. As the distant sounds of the third round faded into the distance, the Sun Guard removed himself from the Arena and started towards the Spaceport.

Once there, the Twisuns Legate showed the card to an Imperial Official, who then discretely directed him towards one of the private hangar bays near the central portions of the facilities; hangar’s usually utilized by the upper echelons of Sith-Imperial society. It was within this private, and secured chamber, that Khonsu found a shuttle waiting for his arrival, which was subsequently boarded without delay.

Then, just as the Gilded Warrior took a seat within the starship, it dusted-off the polished obsidian surface of the flight deck and shot off towards an uncertain future.

| [member="Darth Prazutis"] |​
 
Dark Lord of the Sith
Writer
Time passed in the bay of the black hulled ship as it took off and left the world behind. [member="Khonsu Amon"] was the only one aboard the ship aside from the pair of pilots that flew the shuttle. They said nothing and would tell him nothing about where they were going. The ship made a series of hyperspace jumps from system to system, they seemed random in nature but beneath the surface there was something precise about them, careful. Quite suddenly however it jumped into the black vastness of space away from civilization. A ship came into view that was well over six miles from bow to stern its hull so dark it seemed to take in starlight and it was bristling with row after row of deadly weaponry. The great ship was being escorted by a series of other support ships small and large surrounding it like a great hive.

This was the Goliath, Flagship of the Shadow Hand and one of the two flagships unveiled during Operation Endgame that annihilated the Galactic Alliance's flagship. The shuttle pulled into the cavernous hangar and docked its ramp lowering. A figure stood at the bottom of the ramp that seemed to appear, a life sized hologram with a red glow. The figure was a titanic figure clad in heavy armor and a red cloak, a massive blade was strapped on his back and his hands were crossed on his waist. "Khonsu Amon, I am AQUILA. Follow me and keep up your destiny awaits." AQUILA said in a voice that was demonic, rumbling in nature pivoting he spun around and began walking through the great hangar. After the pilots exited the shuttle and once Khonsu stepped out the shuttle was immediately taken away to be stored.

If followed AQUILA would guide Khonsu to a tram that would take them through the cavernous destroyer. The same voice that AQUILA had could also be heard billowing through other areas of the ship at the same time giving instruction, making announcements. Occasionally in certain areas he could see the symbol of a great red eye that seemed to also represent the AI.



 
M E A T B A G
Character
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The whispering hum of active-armour joints and the thrumming pulse of the shuttle were his only companions as the shuttle made its way into the infinite darkness of space. He had expected others to join him along the way, but alas -- the man was alone. The way to the cockpit was barred shut by a gene-locked door that denied intrusion, however, there were faint murmurs that could be heard. He surmised that they were the pilots and that they were the only other organic beings aboard. Curiously enough, the shuttle’s interior made his archaic suit’s sensors go haywire; rendering them effectively useless. His visuals were nothing more than a smear of migraine colours that blended into one another, and his aural modules were rife with crackling static. Suffice to say, it was utterly pointless to keep himself crowned by his flaxen-coated helmet. Without hesitation, the warrior twisted the archaic covering to the left and listened as the atmospheric seals disengaged; before decrowning himself thereafter.

Khonsu continued to sit, embraced in silence, staring into the impassive visage of his helmet. The man admired the cracks and the damage from long forgotten battles, since filled-in by an arcane sealant. His armoured thumb ran across an articulated brow, tracing a monotonous pattern that ended at the centre of the forehead - where the twinned suns of his homeworld reigned supreme. Their flaming corona stood in stark contrast to the field of flaxen-yellow upon which they lay, and such imagery brought a small smile to the Sun Guard’s face. This was the symbol of his subjugated people and the enslaved world that he hailed from; an ideogram of his ancestry and their once, storied legacy amongst the stars. One day, that curse would be lifted, and what inspired a generation of fear would return to the stars once more. Until then, however, those Chosen Sunborn would endure their torment and humiliation with violent grace.

Whilst his attentions were fixated on his the details of his helmet, and the memories they brought forth, He was blinded to the events that transpired around him. He felt the ship traverse through the azure realm of hyperspace, time and time again, but paid little heed to their intended destination. It was nothing more than theatrics to throw off the scent of retribution, confusing those who sought to ‘chart the stars’ and triangulate their position. All the while, such gestures, would establish the boundaries of power - and ensure that those caught within the supposed web would come to realize that they had none. It didn’t matter to the Sun Guard, for the man knew that such egregious displays of power always had their weaknesses, and his culture didn’t survive the death of civilization’s light by not recognizing, and subsequently seizing an opportunity when it presented itself.

He kept his eyes on his helmet, despite the sudden urge to tear his gaze away and look towards their destination. It was an assumption made, as the timing of the hyperspace jumps had been ever-so precise; yet this cycle seemed to drag on far longer than those that came before. Had the Thyrsian given into the silent desire, He would've seen the gargantuan vessel that hung almost lifelessly upon the bespeckled horizon. There would've been a dozen transports and escorts too, that danced harmoniously upon the abyssal canvas; weaving a masterpiece of spatial uniformity. Yet, despite all the marvels and pretentious displays of power - The Sun Guard cared little for the cantrips of hubris. One could always believe themselves safe atop their stone tower, but they risked the wrath of nature and the lightning it would wield. Thus, there he sat until the shuttle arrived at the terminus of their journey; where the passenger within the massive warship would supposedly come face-to-face with his destiny.

When the shuttle came to rest upon the polished ebony flight deck, the yawning maw of its passenger ramp began to slowly descend; kissing its counterpart moments later. Jets of hydraulic steam shot outwards, bathing the entirety of the ramp with cleansing vapour. It wasn't long after that the door to the cockpit retracted, and the two pilots within marched out; their pace quick, and their gazes unflinching as they exited the shuttlecraft. Again, the pieces were moving, and yet Khonsu was already tired of the game he didn't even know he was playing. “Might as well get this over with,” the Sun Guard whispered; not letting his voice raise an octave to be heard by anyone outside. He was swimming with Sharks now, and every statement had to be made with care, lest he is devoured by those he mistakenly considered kin.

With a heavy sigh eclipsing past his lips, the dark-skinned Thyrsian completed his armoured visage with a twist of metal and a hiss of atmospheric pressure. Crowned by his battle helm, and blinking away the swirls of migraine-inducing colour, the man followed after the near-silent shuttle pilots.

It was at the base of the ramp that the Flaxen Mercenary found himself standing opposite of a hololithic construct - given life and form by unknowable arcane technologies. The figure was mockingly rendered in magnetically contained photons that were shaped in the visage of a titanic figure, shrouded in crimson armour -- and armed with a massive blade that hung from his cloaked pauldrons. Had the hololithic construct been wrought of flesh and blood the man might’ve been intimidating, instead, it took everything that the Thyrsian had to still his tongue from bursting into laughter. Like the warship that he stood upon, and the labyrinthine course they charted through the depths of space, it was utterly -- if not humorously theatrical. Whoever this man was that dared to summon him, some nameless Gladiator who fought on the sacred grounds of Bastion’s Imperial Arena, really sought to hammer home the division of power. Everything that he had seen, and was made aware of, was carefully calculated to make him feel like he was nothing; not even worth the duracrete beneath his feet.

However, the more and more he saw -- the more it seemed that such displays of theatrics were overcalculated. Yes, his life could be snuffed out in an instant if this mysterious figure wished it so; Khonsu acknowledged that. He simply couldn’t get over how comical it all seemed. Those thoughts were instantly banished by the Hololithic Construct’s voice. It, if it could even be called such, knew his name and demanded that he followed after -- mentioning something about his destiny awaiting beyond this very chamber. Again, with the theatrics. It took everything that the Sun Guard could muster to keep his tongue stilled after the Construct fell silent. Nevertheless, the Thyrsian decided to follow after the Artificial Creature spun about and sought to direct him into the depths of the gargantuan vessel. He had come this far, and it was likely that he wouldn’t be allowed to turn away -- even if he wanted too, or was capable of doing so. His course was set, and all he could do was endure this ceaseless display of excessive performances until it’s fated terminus.

After a select measure of time transpired, in which it took the pair of artificial and armoured figures to maneuver through the cavernous halls of the warship, they arrived at an interior transit system -- that would rapidly transport them from one section of the vessel to another. Without comment or hesitation, the Sun Guard stepped into the Tram-Car and seated himself near the door. His eyes, as if by instinct, quickly swept the interior of the spartan compartment, looking for possible threats or secrets that would otherwise be unseen by the untrained eye. Finding several items of note, the Soldier of Fortune kept that knowledge to himself as he began to settle in for what he assumed would be a swift journey towards the unknown.

He should be uncomfortable, what with the iconography and the artificial presence of the Hololithic Construct -- but Khonsu felt nothing. He simply wished for this encounter with this mysterious benefactor to begin, and for their desires to be given voice so he could return to the battlefield; continuing to earn glory and wealth for his fellow Scions of Thyrsus. It was only a matter of time to see if such events would come true.

| [member="Darth Prazutis"] |
 
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