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Masque of Red Death (Saeldar/Daxton)

Daxton Bane

Character
Character
A chill wind blew through the open window, causing the pages of the ancient tome before the Templar to dance before he placed an armored palm on top of them.

Although he could have had the room lit with ilumen rods, Daxton preferred the flickering dance of candlelights from over a dozen lit tapers scattered around the room to dispel the cold and the dark.

The sweet smell of honey and beeswax was a comfort which reminded him of his youth, of far less pleasant times.

Turning the page over, he suddenly paused and looked skyward as if his senses told him something which was not obvious to the uninformed observer. A secret smile crossed his dry lips, as his tongue snaked out to lick the tip of his finger.

A familiar presence was nearby, one he fully expected to show themselves here in the sanctity of his lair. Was it a challenger? It has been months since he has had a decent fight, much less one which didn't involve a Jedi crying for their mother as they tried to hold in their spilled guts.

Sighing softly to himself, the Jedi were getting boring. Not one decent challenge to date, and the Grandmaster Watts, the golden paragon of virtue himself, still hid like an old hag from him. Well not that he could blame him for wanting to cling to life, but it was a thorn in his throat none the less.

Closing his eyes, Daxton reached out to the Force and began to meditate....


@[member="Saeldar"]
 
the bedbound bard
Writer
Daxton Bane she had breathed, upon hearing the name uttered several days past. It had been six long years since she'd been under his tutelage, and much had changed since then. Saeldar hadn't meant to leave this particular Master, it wasn't how it had been with Vazela, done out of necessity, out of self-preservation... No, this had been wrenched from her when Jedi Master Syn decided he would arrest her, on Togoria, and attempt to convert her over the year which followed.

Even when she had returned to the Sith Empire things had changed too much for her to get back in touch with the Zabrak. For one, she had been swept up by a new Master, and one could hardly deny the Dark Lord of the Sith. On top of this, Daxton himself had vanished from the face of the Empire. No, this was the first she had heard of him in a long time. And she had to investigate.

For such a reason she had took her leave of the Academy she had been studying within, piloting one of their many ships away from Sith Space... And into the Confederacy's systems. This was one of the few areas of Known-Space she had yet to explore, or even venture through. It was alien to her, and as such she relied heavily on her navigational systems. Eventually she made it, to the co-ordinates she had taken directly from the mind of he-who-would keep such information from her, a low-Officer in the Sith Military. She had left his mind in tact so that should he have been speaking falsities she might have the pleasure of destroying it at a later date.

The ship was guided down into a secluded hangar bay. Daxton apparently lived in moderate isolation, which was perfect... Should the claims be true. For all she knew this was just a random, nomadic Zabrak, or maybe someone completely un-alike her old Master.

When she exited the ship, instructing R1, who had been repainted and looked nothing like his former self, to keep watch and warn her of any hostiles, she wandered through to the entrance of the estate. Her gaze lingered over every small, minute detail it had to offer, forever calculating what she saw for it's probable pro's and con's.

The door was unlocked, which allowed Saeldar to slip inside unheard, the familiar presence of one she knew was radiating around the room. It is Daxton she mused, and he is meditating. However, this only sought to put her on edge, her paranoia inflaming in her mind. If I can sense him, can the same be said for he of I? Taking the steps two at a time she reached the landing in no time, each footfall was silent, unheard.

And finally she found the room where the meditation was concentrated. Pushing open the door, the figure that was Saeldar peered inside, where she spotted Daxton Bane...

@[member="Daxton Bane"]
 

Daxton Bane

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Character
Daxton sat deceptively still, his back seemingly exposed to whoever would enter the room. The very image of a perfect victim, if one did not know the pattern by which the Zabrak lived by. Far from being exposed, he was actually in a position of near perfect defense, a predator waiting for its prey to strike out of misguided arrogance and superiority.

Without so much as turning around, he gestured with his right hand for his visitor to approach. "Come in. Come in. Don't just stand there you will let in the cold." Another play at misdirection, as his other hand lay concealed, hovering near his sabers in case he needed to draw them in a surprise counter ambush.

"Who are you?" he asked, turning to face her as his eyes, once burning orange now a dusky golden hue seemed to pierce into her very being.

@[member="Saeldar"]
 
the bedbound bard
Writer
And there he was, in all his Zabraki glory. She was not the child he had known, so his lack of knowledge surrounding who she was did not come as a surprise to her. Infact, more so than that, it was a blessing, for the time being at least. When she entered the room Saeldar's gaze flicked over every single detail it held, all within a matter of moments. The position of the table in relation to the doors and windows, the position of the chair in relation to the table, were what specifically caught her attention. That and the dusty old tome upon the desk.

His mannerisms, the defensive state, did not go unnoticed to her. It seems he was wiser than most, he was not naive to think she wasn't a thread, but not was he aggressive. That wouldn't have ended well for one of them.

Stepping closer she gestured with her hand and allowed the door to slam shut, seemingly of its own accord. Every step brought with it silence, until she was half way between the door and Daxton himself. Who was she, he asked, a good question indeed.

"Saeldar" she said, giving the name freely, something her former self would never have done. "And you are Daxton."

@[member="Daxton Bane"]
 

Daxton Bane

Character
Character
"Saeldar." He said her name, rolling it along his tongue as if it were a fine wine to be savored. "I see you know who I am, so introductions are no longer in order."

A smile ghosts across his lips, a familiar sight to his former apprentice, however now it seemed tempered by experience. "Now that we have gotten pass the small talk, perhaps you can tell me why you have sought me in my chambers."


@[member="Saeldar"]
 
the bedbound bard
Writer
Daxton had changed so little, yet there was a certain air about him. He was no longer the Sith she had met on Dromund Kaas, that was for sure, yet his mannerisms remained the same, the fleeting smile that snaked upon his lips, the way he was always straight to the point. You knew where you stood with Daxton Bane, even if he wasn't always so assertive with it. Or maybe Saeldar had grown accustomed to the way he was, and was merely applying old knowledge to new habits. Time would tell.

"The rumours of lesser-mortals" she began, tilting her head to one side, "are often riddled with misunderstanding, falsifications in order to boost ones ego in the eyes of others. I wanted to see for myself." With her own ghostly smile, she added, "Luckily for him, he told truths. A shame..." She hated losing potential-subservients. But the knowledge that Daxton was alive, and thriving, that he was still seeped in darkness, whether or not his allegiances had changed, was worth the loss... For now.

@[member='Daxton Bane']
 

Daxton Bane

Character
Character
"Everything has a purpose, whether they realize it or not. One only need to seize the opportunity for their own, least it be seized from them in turn. You traveled all this way to see for yourself if the rumors were true. Well the rumors of my demise have served their purpose, it was time to make my own move as well." Pausing to look at her closely with curiosity, "Surely that wasn't the only reason you sought out an old man like me?"



@[member="Saeldar"]
 
the bedbound bard
Writer
The young girl tilted her head to the side while Daxton spoke, biting her lip in thought. He was right, she had come for another reason ~ to fulfil promised made several years prior, back when she was a child. Only she could not reveal as much, not yet anyway, she had to keep him in the dark about who she was, or risk the collapse of everything she had thus far built up.

"None within the Empire suspect" she announced, although why she thought it necessary to tell him such was beyond her. "The man who spread the rumours has been imprisoned, and those he told dispatched." Saeldar hated loose ends, after all... And she kept quiet about where the man was imprisoned. After all, it wasn't an official arrest.

"I heard tell, long ago, of your abilities as an Alchemist. Is this true?" She knew it was, however she had to keep up the mystery surrounding who she was, he could not know she was the same little girl he had once trained, not until she could be sure he was to be trusted... Although, that being said, she trusted no-one anyway.

@[member="Daxton Bane"]
 

Daxton Bane

Character
Character
"None of my former companions would dare seek me out. They would prefer I languish in exile than recognize their role in deposing me. Perhaps they fear the retribution of my blades, although I am now beyond seeking mere revenge." The last was a blatant lie, Daxton bore his grudges deep and never forgot them.

"Alchemy, blades mastery, sorcery." Shrugging his shoulders as it was nothing of consequence. "I dabble in a little of everything. Come follow me, we shall go to my workshop, where I have some of my works in progress."

Rising from his chair, his movements belied the image of old man he was projecting, had anyone attacked expecting the slowed reflexes of an ancient they would surely have been caught unawares.

Walking down the corridor, they pass room after room filled with exotic scents, strange sounds and the occassional moan and scream. Using the Force he pushed open the large oak door at the end of the hallway, to reveal a working forge.

Waves of heat assaulted them as the automatic bellows pumped air into the furnace where several rods were cooking to a bright orange glow. "Behold my little shop of horrors."



@[member="Saeldar"]
 
the bedbound bard
Writer
There was the Daxton she knew, although the latter she knew to be a lie. He could not have changed so much in such a short space of time. All the same she began to follow after her Former Master, ignoring the falsities she showed to him. He was not too old that he required a cane, that he struggled to walk, she had fought him often enough, seen others spar with him, Daxton Bane might have been able to fool the unaware, but not one of his own.

When he began to rise up she offered him a hand, feigning ignorance to his prime health. "Then I'd like some assistance in such arts, if you're able to teach." All the while the issue of plans to be made still ran through her mind. There was one loose end she was required to tie down, Thyrian. The man she had once promised to help. But before she could do that, she needed a way to contain his... Unique problems. Or at least, be well on her way to resolving them before she sought him out.

Wandering down the corridor she breathed in the wonderful aromas, the choking scents and everything else that was available to her. "Which aspects of Alchemy are you knowledgeable with?" She interjected. There were two specific aspects she sought after, and Daxton was not the only individual she would be seeking out for such knowledge.

When they entered a stupidly warm room the girl took a moment to adjust. Her eyes were sensitive even to the light of the forge, but the initial shock died down in time for it to go unnoticed. "Quite the shop" she remarked, with a small smile. Saeldar liked it here.

@[member="Daxton Bane"]
 

Daxton Bane

Character
Character
"I am versed in a little of everything," He lied smoothly, in fact, the truth was Daxton was getting more skilled that he made them aware of, especially in the field of metallury. He was developing a new type of lightweight metal alloy that combined both alchemy with subtle sorcery to enhance its properties.

"Come closer and observe. These rods are tungsten and ferrosteel, heated to a bright orange. Whereupon they are pounded and folded a hundred times. This binds the metal and makes it stronger. Then it is cooled in this vat of fresh blood. The process is repeated six times until the metal is as black as night, warm even when it is supposedly cool to the touch. Observe."

Daxton took the metal and began the process as he described. Taking time to answer any questions she might have as she watched.


@[member="Saeldar"]
 
the bedbound bard
Writer
Liar she thought, keeping her mind well guarded. This was her former Master, she knew his strengths, yet not so much his weaknesses. Stepping further into the room the girl remained a step behind Daxton, and glanced over at the seering forges. It severely hurt her eyes, causing an immediate migraine to take place within her head. But she put up with it, bit her lip and tried to overcome the pain.

And so, at his urging, she stepped closer still while he explained the process through which he formed new metals. She wondered why one would use blood to cool it down, but for now Saeldar kept quiet. If he did not explain it before the session concluded then she would ask him, but otherwise she decided patience was key. Observe he then instructed, and how could the girl resist? It was such an alluring process that she could hardly take her eyes from the glowing metal, regardless of how pained the bright glow made her.

While she watched a tiny smile appeared upon her lips. "Would you be willing to teach me?" She knew that was likely what he was doing anyway, but Saeldar did not want to miss a single point that could be taken from the current observation... She wanted to make it official, if only to know in the back of her mind that she was progressing in her assistance of Ashborn.

@[member="Daxton Bane"]
 

Daxton Bane

Character
Character
She would feel the light feather mental probes, barely perceptible but present because she knew what to expect. No, this Sith was up to his old tricks, Never Let Your Guard Down. The first, most important rule of survival. It was truly a lesson that paid dividends to those that paid attention.

"I might. But what would a young woman such as yourself need of such knowledge? And more importantly would you be willing to pay the price for it?"




@[member="Saeldar"]
 
the bedbound bard
Writer
Immediately her mental-blocks flared up, eyes narrowing just a little in response... But she didn't make it obvious, nor were her mental blocks anything like what they once were. No forest to greet him, for him to get lost in. Nor did she try to break into his mind, she learnt the hard way that such wasn't wise. Instead she inhaled and kept herself calm.

"I'm simply learning, and there are so few in possession of Alchemical knowledge..." With a tender sigh, she added, "I would be willing to pay a price, but whether it is what you have in mind I do not know. What do you seek in return, Bane?" At this point she was wary, cautious even, but only internally. She did not know what he might ask in return. Externally she seemed calm, relaxed and composed.

@[member="Daxton Bane"]
 

Daxton Bane

Character
Character
"Cautious enough to not stick your own head in a trap. I like that. You will do well under me." Pointing at the hammer and the anvil he continued, "Finish then what has been, so I may know what you are capable of."

The task was not an easy one nor was it for the light of heart. He intentionally gave her a blank slate to see what she would create with the tools given to her.


@[member="Saeldar"]
 
the bedbound bard
Writer
She acknowledged his words with a simple nod, yet the task put before her was somewhat daunting for the young Sith, who had yet to have any experience in this specific field of her training. Just like that, he wanted her to forge something... But what? She needed a new lightsaber hilt, which required the casing, but that was far too intricate for a first-time. Perhaps a small blade, something to keep out of sight until absolutely necessary... She knew this was just a test, to see if she would be willing and able to create something on the spot, under such pressure as she had been placed beneath.

Barely a second passed between his words and Saeldars movements, whereupon she stepped across to the forge. Heat, fold, hammer. Heat, fold, hammer. But you had to know the end point, too... You had to know what you were aiming for so you could mould it... With a well-contained sigh she took up the tongues used to move the scalding metal, brought it from the embers which had caused it to glow and settled it to the anvil. All the while she was avoiding doing damage to her eyes, which would severely suffer from the heat-induced glow until they adjusted to it.

To begin with she merely followed the technique he had begun, which she had observed, folding and hammering the alloy, strengthening it, each strike significantly more precise than its predecessor. When she felt ready, having mentally counted the correct number of strikes which still remained, she began to shape it with more precise blows, allowing one side to drift into a decline, so that it would inevitably be ripe for honing into a sharp edge. Beads of sweat formed on her brow, from the intense heat and the exertion itself - Saeldar was not known for her strength, and this was requiring a lot of it.

@[member='Daxton Bane']
 

Daxton Bane

Character
Character
Daxton watched silently as she continued the task he set her on. A wise student would admit that the task was too much for them, too daunting for a beginner, but no she took to the task like a Morje wave mistress to the cool caress of an ocean's kiss. It would be interesting to see what she could produce, whatever it was, it would bear the mark of her inner heart. That is what Daxton wanted to see.

So he continued his silent vigil, intent in his observation of the task at hand.

@[member="Kära Vi'dreya"]
 
the bedbound bard
Writer
She could barely breathe with the strain she could feel, the beads of sweat on her brow intensifying with each ringing hammer of steel on steel. But she felt as though what she was creating was wrong - it did not feel right to her, it was not something she held true to herself... She had no use of another blade, it would be a waste, and Kara hated to make things unnecessarily. Instead he could see her mind working overtime, before she had almost an eureka moment.

This time the shaping had much more purpose to it, each blow from the hammer precise. The metal began to bend slowly at the edges, shaped and framed, and after a while it slowly became evident what she was hoping to produce. Of course it would be a long way off finished even when the work at the forge was complete. "How do I alchemise it?" She asked with a strained grunt, guessing it would mean flowing the force down over the blade an imbuing it while the initial creating process was taking place... But what did she know at this stage?

@[member="Daxton Bane"]
 

Daxton Bane

Character
Character
"Open your mind to the Force. Do you not see the weaves flowing from the furnace to your hammer to the anvil? This entire premises has been designed using alchemical formula so that the items created here are imbued with the Force even as we work on them." Now that he mentioned it, she would notice that everything did seem to have some formula to it rather than haphazard design.

"What we create here is not what our conceives but rather what the Force wills. Our hands are but mere tools for it to manifest its desire."

@[member="Kära Vi'dreya"]
 
the bedbound bard
Writer
Then, when he spoke of it in such a manner, Kara understood. Not only was it the process she was understanding, watching it mentally unravel before her eyes, but also the meaning behind it. Her change in plans mid-way through proved as much, it was not for her to decide the outcome, she was being directed towards something specific, and she had to work with it. "I understand" she said, voice slightly strained as the weight of the task burdened her slightly - yet she was unrelenting, not once during her introspection or conversation did she halt in the hammering and shaping of the metal through which she continued to weave the Force, imbuing and strengthening as she went. The mask was finally taking shape, to the point where both could tell what was being forged even if they had not known to begin with.

@[member="Daxton Bane"]
 
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