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Reaper's Toll

Kainan Wolfe

Shadow of War
Character
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[-SOUNDTRACK-]
Attn: [member="Srina Talon"] | [member="Darth Metus"]
  • Sickbay
    Aboard the SRN Invictus, several days ago

They had dragged him onto the ship with a gaping hole torn through the middle of his very being, a wicked wound carved into his very soul. He was a dieing man, who's last few moments of existence, were defined by constant pain, at least when he managed to crawl his way out of the dreamless abyss that was the lack of consciousness, until he fell into the cold embrace of Lady Death.

Like many others, this was a possibility that had been anticipated and planned for accordingly. Down in one of the many cargo holds of the massive warship, the highest-ranked, most experienced Wardens were executing prisoners, Jedi that were captured during the conquest of Nibelungen what now seemed like ages ago, kept alive for this very purpose.

With knowledge gathered from the looted Library of Lorrd, combined with bits and pieces of information from various sources and the collective knowledge on Sith sorcery and necromancy that the Wardens had been able to muster, a ritual had been improvised, in order to bring their leader back from the dead.

The sacrifice of the prisoners was the first part of this ritual. Their souls, their lives, their very essence was channeled into the Netherworld, calling forth that which now resided there, reshaping it, rebuilding it back into something resembling a human being. Its - his - first breath was followed by a scream of pain and rage, as the unnatural, cold currents of the Darkside seeped into the heart of his being, warping him, changing him into the form that was required to keep him alive.




  • Golbah City
    Private medical facility, present day

The building was a large, secluded mansion that had been turned into a private medical facility destined for a single occupant who's identity was kept out of the public eye and any public records. For all intents and purposes, as far as the public was concerned, the mansion was just the vacation retreat of some random millionaire who owned property all over the galaxy.

It was the first time since the new owner's arrival, that a guest was allowed inside. His recovery had been slow and difficult, as the man who ruled the Shrouded Republic was forced to adapt and learn to cope with the changes that his body had suffered as a result of the ritual which brought him back from beyond the veil.

Where once there was a man, now stood something else. His skin had lost some of its color, the scars becoming more accented and prominent and his hair, now flowing down to his shoulders, had turned a silver, metallic color which gleamed unnaturally in the light. But it was his eyes that were the most striking change. His once blue eyes, were now golden, glowing with an inner light, with slitted pupils, like the eyes of a cat, or a viper. And his hands ended in sharp, deadly-looking talons that could tear men apart. Where there was once a man, now stood something that was part human and part... something else. Some part of the Netherworld that had latched onto him and had been carried back through. He had become something frightening, deadlier than ever before.

His reflexes were faster and his senses were much sharper than ever before. His eyes could now see colors which he had no words to describe. And he now struggled against a constant impulse to hunt, to kill, to inflict pain and death upon others. It was merely a part of the price he had to pay.

Pain defined much of his existence, now. Pain and the ever-present cold of the Netherworld, which seemed to have seeped into his very bones, but he was no stranger to pain and cold and his iron will had brought his killer impulse under control. Most of the time.

The first of the two visitors to be allowed into the residence, were someone he considered a friend. One of the few people in the galaxy, whom he truly trusted and with whom he shared a bond that could only be forged between warriors, on the field of battle, against an overwhelming foe. The second was her master, a man whom he respected and valued as an ally. They would be the first from the outside the Shrouded Republic to see what he had become and aside from her and her master, very few would know his true identity for some time to come. He had not yet recovered fully, but the time to rest was over. There was work to be done and Darth Tacitus was not one who would let something as trivial as death, to keep him away from it.

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A P E X
Character
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The initial report was...distressing.

By the time that the Confederacy had been made aware of Nibelungen's fate, it was already too late to act. By all accounts, [member="Darth Tacitus"] was dead. The regime uplifted by the so-called God King had been laid to rest. An ally that was so far away had been Fallen. It was distressing to know that there was nothing they could do to liberate them from this sordid reality. Even now, if Storm Fleet were mobilized, the flames had already done their vicious work. The end was fine. The end had come. Now, all that was left was looking toward the future.

In the wake of all that had transpired, Darth Metus kept an ear out for any and all news regarding remnants of the God King's regime. Like so many before them - from the Metal Lords to the Coalition - every collapse was seldom total. When the palaces were reduced to rubble, there were always those who would resolve to raise them back to glory someday. And it was those souls that the Sith was listening for. Fortune would come, eventually, in the form of a Shrouded missive. An ominous, encrypted message that had been penned by an element that once resided within the shadow of Nibelungen.

The Shrouded Republic lived.

Darth Tacitus lived.

In the time that followed, a "purchase" was made within Golbah City. A private estate that was one of the finer, personal care properties this side of the Run. It was here that Darth Metus' peer would be provided ample time and privacy to lick his wounds. Here, he could lay his head without fear - for Darth Metus and [member="Srina Talon"] had their ally. Sincerely. When the time was right, they were then invited into their Ally's residence.

The missive did not give explict details on the death and resurrection of Darth Tacitus. It did not afford them any inkling that he had been transformed. Certainly, the meeting of two cheaters of Death would be a fruitful one. Thus, at the appointed hour, Darth Metus tarried before the grand entrance of the estate with [member="Srina Talon"] by his side.

[member="Srina Talon"] | [member="Darth Tacitus"]
 
g a s o l i n e
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She was a shell, a fragment, a leaf detached from her tree. Curupira Hawk had lost her mind before and each time, it would repair slowly but with every repair, some small scar stayed in her mind. She was just a child when she had first discovered her darkness, triggered. She was an incomplete teenager missing her family, joining the Jedi because she had missed her family. She was a teenager when she had lost herself in Ket Van-Derveld, choosing the Sith like it was just another game. Most of it was for her.

Curupira had been present on the Invictus as her Master had been brought in. The sight wasn't anything pretty to look it but the natural redhead had seen gruesome sights in her life, they no longer caused her to flinch. It was the person that had brought in harmed that made her flinch, however. Despite the fact that she had run, her protective nature still existed in her. Darth Tacitus was not her mate or children yet he'd shown to be protective of her in a way that reminded her of her Seth in some regards that she couldn't help but care for him with time passed. He was a strict master when it came to lessons but she could handle those. Curupira could bleed, she could heal, she could fight and survive. She didn't care to see people important to her hurting though. Her instinct, however, had been to run, a habit she had developed from the overwhelmign responsibility she'd been put into with the presence of her daughters yet she didn't, forcing herself to stay as he was healed.

The large mansion was massive. Ruu hadn't even gone much to figure out where what was, finding only a few places beyond the main room where her master resided. Now though, she'd required some kaf in her system, making herself some to wake herself up. With the warm cup inside her palms, she'd slowly made her way back to him. Her connection to the Force was still weak that she hadn't immediately felt the presences that had arrived. If it was, she would be much faster to realize the familiar signature as she made her through the mansion. And that was why when she froze, it was at the sight of [member="Darth Metus"] and [member="Srina Talon"], blinking for a moment as she felt the flair in her mind at proximity.

She and Isley, they'd contacted before. He'd found her before she had met Kainan. How he had found her and learned of her new job, Curupira didn't have the faintest clue but she'd done the commission none the less, for old times sake. "Hello," she responded, golden gaze switching between the two, the female unfamiliar to her. They were getting visitors, that much she was aware and they were right on time, for that matter.

On any day, her calmer behavior had become normal but the sight of an old friend made her feel slightly odd. Curupira that he knew was far more cheerful, even when she was a Sith by her own choice. Even when he mate had shed himself of such belief, she had remained in the darkness even when she hadn't surrendered to it completely. Her cheerful happy self always somehow managed to outweigh that darkness for as long as he was there yet now, away from the madness, away from her anchor, her own mind was breaking, the cheerfulness fading. "You're right on time, come on," Curupira had only told them. The reminder didn't do her well as she turned on her heel and moved to lead them towards [member="Darth Tacitus"], skipping pleasantries in the process.
 
Administrator
Admin
Location: Geonosis - Golbah City - [Medical Facility]

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Anxiety.

It was an emotion that Srina Talon was entirely unfamiliar with. Her taciturn heart did not seem to process gentle sentiments the same way others did. To feel it, to feel sorrow, loss, and pain was all a weakness that a warrior could ill afford. Still. As she walked through the gilded walls of the quiet and protected estate that had been secured for Kainan Wolfe she felt uncertainty. She had been surprised to hear what had happened to the Ancient Eye. The last few times she had visited the missions had seemed successful, no more dangerous than that which the Confederacy undertook, but successful nonetheless.

She couldn’t imagine someone as strong and intimidating as [member="Darth Tacitus"] being beaten. It shook her, slightly, because if he could be torn down—what was to stop something like this from happening to [member="Darth Metus"]? They were both powerful men. Though, her mostly female instructors would argue, that as men, it was in their nature to die. It was why Eshan persevered and protected their partners so fiercely. They were mostly women.

It was a silly notion. Srina knew that. Man, woman, child, green, blue, pink…It mattered not. Death eventually came for all living things. It was a small story told to bolster the women entering Larinkáoi to give them hope against fighting Thyrsians that were twice their size. Nevertheless, Srina kept he hands bound neatly behind her back, wearing civilian garb that had been chosen for her. There was no need for weapons or armor here. Not in the heart of Geonosis.

The slender woman wore a gown of ivory, a staple for the young apprentice, though it was obviously framed to observe the arid heat of Golbah City. In simpler terms—it covered less of her than she typically preferred. Midriff exposed, as well as the alabaster skin of her shoulders, the top of her torso, was hidden by a creatively stitched brocade of shimmersilk that was studded with turquoise and gold beads. The bottom skirt was plain, as were the featureless, flat-heeled footwear she preferred.

Srina was focused, reaching through the Force, in an attempt to gauge the state of her friend. Something had changed. Yet it was still him. Still Kainan. Only…Different. Most people called him by his official title. In public, she adhered to it, for the most part. In this setting? She would refer to him as she always had. She could not change her perception of who he was on a feeling. As such, when they ran into [member="Curupira Hawk"], she would seem a little distracted. Wrapped in an air of cold aristocracy and emotionlessness. Echani warrior, to the core.

The golden-haired woman welcomed them in and Srina’s swan-like neck inclined briefly in the appropriate level of graciousness. She did not need this woman to show the way. Just as she could find Darth Metus, she could find Darth Tacitus, and had done so freely, on multiple occasions. In this instance, it seemed that there were courtesy’s to observe and the Sith Apprentice remained silent.

Only her Master would know her apprehension. Even then, its depth would be lost to him, as her default state was one of balance. She would have patience. They would see the man of the hour soon enough.

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Kainan Wolfe

Shadow of War
Character
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Attn: [member="Srina Talon"] | [member="Darth Metus"] | [member="Curupira Hawk"]
  • Golbah City
    Private medical facility, present day

The Shrouded Republic's Overlord was a changed man, as could be easily deduced from the striking physical alterations he had suffered during the cobbled-together ritual which tore him from the Netherworld and brought him back into the world of the living.

He wore simple, white clothing that looked out of place on a man rarely seen outside of uniform, clothing which made his now silvery hair even more evident, as well as drawing the eyes to the sharp, black talons which extended from his fingers. Talons which were as hard as durasteel.

Every now and then, uncontrolled shivers seemed to course through his body, a sign that he was still adjusting to the physical changes, although his movements were less jerky than they had been, as his loyal apprentice could attest to. He nodded his gratitude to her as she entered the room with the guests. "Thank you, Curupira. Please, have a drink with us," he told her, wanting her to be present for the upcoming political proceedings as a part of her training.

Turning to welcome his guests, he took a step forward before stopping in his tracks, arm half extended for what he'd clearly intended as a handshake, before remembering his condition. "I'd shake your hand, Lord Metus, but..." he spoke, eyes drifting to the sharp talons on his fingers. "What you and your apprentice have done for my people, will never be forgotten," he said to him. "You've been the only allies that stood up for us when the rest of the galaxy would gladly see us burn."

The expression on his face darkened as his mind drifted back to the collapse of a nation he'd helped build. A collapse that had been foreseen and planned for, but that was no less painful, especially given what had happened at the end. "Rest assured, there is nothing that you could have done to prevent our fate. We were betrayed from within," he spoke, his tone filled with rage and hatred towards a certain woman which had repaid the nation that gave her a home, with a knife in the back. But there would be retribution, one day. He'd give her all the power she had craved, when he'd tie a power cable around her neck and hook it up to the Invictus' reactor.

"Please, have a seat," he said to the confederate leader and his apprentice. "Have a drink, if you will. I'd like to discuss some important matters with the two of you," the Overlord said, his usual steely determination returning to his voice and posture.

The Shrouded Republic needed a new homeworld for its citizens, which couldn't remain huddled up between the cold bulkheads of the nation's starships, forever, which meant that Tacitus had to return to work. He had already been in communication with the Shrouded Assembly and the Council of Unbroken Lords and his proposal had gone through without any opposition, especially now that the traitorous elements within the government had been removed. The decision had been made for the Shrouded Republic to officially apply for membership within the Confederacy of Independent Systems.

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A P E X
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It was a surprise to see [member="Curupira Hawk"].

Her presence here was jarring. A literal reminder of a time long since passed. Though there was no concrete bond of kinship between them, they had both served the old Confederacy. Where Darth Metus cast his lot in with the Templar Order, Ruu stood beside her husband among the Viceroyalty. A light chuckle escaped him as he thought of the mad [member="Ket Van-Derveld"]. He was the only man who could ever destroy his armor and live to tell the tale. But. Now was not the time to reminisce upon a life long since dead.

Now was the time to bear witness to [member="Darth Tacitus"].

When Curupira led the way forward, the Sith took a moment to place his hand upon the small of his Apprentice's back. And, for a moment, her tension bled into his touch. Their bond, ever vast and ever growing, told the story of her anxiety despite her masterful efforts to conceil them. With each day that they remained apart of one another's lives, it became increasingly...difficult to veil how they truly felt from one another. When she was happy, he could feel it. When she was sad, he could feel it. And when he was broken, she could feel it.

He understood. It was like seeing a family member after decades apart - you simply never knew what sort of person they would be. How the time would change them...or in this case, how death would change them. But Darth Metus refused to comment. He refused to tell her the wicked truth of what the Netherworld did to a person. What it did to their humanity. When a man clawed his way back to the world of the living...they always left a part of them behind. Darth Metus could feel it - that little part of him which yet wandered among the Blood Wastes.

That little...nagging chain which continued to drag more and more of himself into that void. It was only a matter of time before...

Please, have a drink with us. The formality of the voice which greeted the Vicelord was the very same that he recalled. But the Netherworld had left its mark upon Darth Tacitus. Where Darth Metus had been turned to ash, He had been turned to snow. Silver hair now fell down to his shoulders. Literal talons clung to his fingers. If only he could see what Metus looked like, beneath the borrowed flesh.

Tacitus moved, as it to shake his comrade's hand, but stopped on account of his monstrous talons. Metus clutched his hand anyway. Though relaxed, they easily bit through the fabric of his sleeve, marring the flesh beneath. The Sith didn't flinch. The warrior before him commanded his respect, enough so that a little pain would not deter him from homage due. "If we had any inkling, Overlord. Any at all, we would have moved heaven and earth to perserve all you built."

He looked into the monster's eyes - there was an understanding there. A kinship that only they would understand. They did not belong here, and yet they defied everything with every breath they took. But Darth Metus had an advantage that would keep him here longer. Keep him...himself longer. He had an anchor, his heart, Srina. With her, he was as human as the day he died. But she when she left his side, the Netherworld opened its maw. For the sake of his ally, he hoped that he would find something to keep him whole soon.

When bid to sit, the Sith released his comrade's hand and lowered himself into the adjacent seat. "Before we begin. Tacitus." he said. "Our reports are...lacking. What happened to the Ancient Eye? Who is responsible for this betrayal?"

The wrath in his voice was evident.


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[member="Darth Tacitus"], [member="Srina Talon"], [member="Curupira Hawk"]​
 
g a s o l i n e
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What was in a heart? Her mind suddenly teased as she'd walked ahead, the sound of her own thoughts blocking out the chuckle that had occurred behind her. It doesn't matter, again it spoke. Her heart was as flawed as her mind. There was happiness once before there was the rage. Then there was loss, servitude, freedom, madness, discovery, salvation, love, darkness. It was so many things one after the other. She remembered all of them, in a disorder where the death of her Pa'tre was followed by the visions given to her by her eldest. A daughter she hadn't given birth to and yet was fully grown and without a doubt hers and Ket's. Chloe's one gold and one sapphire blue iris gave her away in the same way as her blood sang.

Then there was her Master. He was as kind as he was tough. Ruthless at times. It helped. The voices calmed in his training. They obeyed his commands and silenced themselves. It was exactly what Curupira had needed though she hadn't known that when she had run. Her mate had attempted to teach her yet he could never be her teacher and forget what he really was to her. It was never going to help her progress. Now, [member="Darth Tacitus"] had thanked her as they had entered the room. He shivered now. She had seen, she had grown used to the changes by now, the reactions and the trembles. He requested her presence. "Yes, Master," she responded and stood aside, golden gaze watching as he had gone to approach his visitors.

To one, she didn't introductions. The other was a mystery. Pale haired but the air that moved around her wasn't missed by Curupira, even when she had tried to shut down the curiosity at the moment. It reminded her of Kytarra. Her aunt, the only living Hawk to adorn such pale hair. Even as her mate bore lighter strands of hair, one of their daughters was a brunette, another uniquely purple. Chloe's hair had made sense, Katrine's had not. Yet, even as she thought of it, Curupira had to remind herself that she too was now blonde. She was a redhead though in her nature, with all the fire and madness that came with it. The fire had slipped into the gene pool sometime before collective memory recognized yet, it seemed so deeply embedded into her personality that she couldn't imagine herself as anything else, even as she stared at herself in the mirror. It was but part of the runner's theme, in reality.

But if she was running, why was the only piece of jewelry on her flesh the singular ring that Isley Verd could recognize? Her hands moved behind her back as she remained at the side of her Master as he offered his guests seats. Darth Tacitus would speak first of the betrayal with the Ancient Eye before he would shift to important matters. Curupira stood where she was, knowing full well she had to pay attention as part of her training. His methods were not like as with the Jedi or her mate. No, he taught her more than just cheer powers. He was more than just a Sith. In response, Isley wished to know more. And the once Witch didn't miss in the tone.


[member="Srina Talon"] [member="Darth Metus"]​
 
Administrator
Admin
Location: Geonosis - Golbah City - [Medical Facility]

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Srina felt the hand of her Master along her spine and she did her best to try to relax. If he could feel her apprehension than she must not have been hiding her emotions as well as she thought. Her footsteps never faltered and she kept her impatience tamped down as much as she could. It was no easy feat. [member="Darth Metus"] would likely feel the gears in her mind turning. Wondering, worried, and very much so almost vexed.

The young woman had descended down on Haven to assist Wolfe, despite her orders to monitor and report, once realizing there was a real danger to be had. Srina was never someone that could stand idly by. Combat was twined in her culture, in her blood, and for most of her life, it was the only thing she knew to be true. Real. The flaxen-haired woman rarely noticed the gruffness about [member="Darth Tacitus"] or her Master because it simply did not compute. They were strong men who had a habit of doing what needed to be done regardless the personal cost. Such sacrifice and pain would harden anyone.

Mercurial silver eyes were hard as ice when they fell upon the new form of Kainan Wolfe. He was so different. More than her senses had screamed, more, than she had truly anticipated. She did not like the white he wore. She did not like the pale of his hair—and she did not like the way he shivered. This man, whom she knew to be great, actually trembled. For a brief moment, she felt fury. It was unexplainable and unjustifiable. Where she had thought to analyze [member="Curupira Hawk"], a new element to her life, her focus had suddenly become finite. The question that might have begged her curiosity about the beautiful creature fled as if spirited away on the wings of a bird.

Instead of her typical inquisitiveness, there was only ire. Silver eyes bled. They moved and changed like molten liquid rolling in on itself. She was not angry with the Sith Lord that stood before them. More than anything she was furious at what he had been reduced to. The fact that it had happened at all made her inwardly seethe. Kainan approached and it took everything the Echani had not to step back.

This was not the man she knew.

He bid them to sit while her Master inquired about the downfall of the Eye and she could only turn the words over in her head with a certain level of disgust. Traitors. In most diplomatic settings the Sith Apprentice was a picture of perfection. She was a painting, sprawling and breathtaking, despite the colors being washed out. In this—it was different. It was not simply political discussion. This was closer to home. He was her friend. This ghost was the remnants of her friend.

Her silent tirade halted when a sense of phantom pain rolled through her. She realized, too late, that the talons of Tacitus had bit through her Master's clothing and into his flesh. The man, true to form, did not wince but the Apprentice would not have it. She rose her hand and lay it to his chest without looking. She could feel the small incisions like glaring lines of light exposure in the edges of her vision. The quiet woman pushed the Force into the throbbing wounds until they would pain her Master no longer.

Silver eyes, burning with corrupted gold, remained pinned on Tacitus.

A pregnant pause would follow as the wheels of her overly systematic mind kept turning. This was her friend. Back from the dead, just like her Master, only changed. Was it still him? Her eyes narrowed as her jaw set. Her movement forward would be swift, a displacement of air so sudden, that Wolfe might think the Echani meant to attack. It was a test. The Overlord of the Shrouded Republic that she knew would do many things. Many unspeakable, brutal, and appalling things. He was very similar to Darth Metus. He would fight. He would not back down. He would protect his people and he would have his vengeance. The Darth Tacitus that she knew would also, much like her Master, not harm her.

Thin arms wrapped gently around the middle of the recovering Sith Lord. Her embrace was gentle in all things, but her diminutive size left her head parallel near his sternum, and her ear would find his heartbeat. If it was there to be found.

“Where did we meet?”
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Kainan Wolfe

Shadow of War
Character
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Attn: [member="Srina Talon"] | [member="Darth Metus"] | [member="Curupira Hawk"]
  • Golbah City
    Private medical facility, present day

Two years ago, the Ancient Eye exploded upon the galactic scene in an unprecedented storm of violence and blood, the kind not seen since the ancient days of Revan and Malak. In its wake, came order, discipline, prosperity and security by force, as this nation had sought to drag Wild Space into the modern age by the neck, kicking and screaming. Its laws were strict and harsh and absolute, but not unfair. At the helm of this great project, two men had steered a colorful gathering of One Sith remnants, Anubians and ragtag refugees from the fallen Dominion and in two years, they forged this unlikely mob into one of the most powerful nations in the galaxy. One of them stood in this room, today, within this small group of friends.

Darth Tacitus had been the second most powerful man within a remarkable empire which defied fate with its unprecedented success. The mastermind behind the Ancient Eye's powerful navy, who's prowess was demonstrated to the entire galaxy during the Battle of Tatooine. Some had said he was a second Thrawn. Regardless of whether or not this was true, like Thrawn, the Overlord had fallen to treachery, in the end.

But if there was one truth that was indisputable, it was his iron will. This man could not allow himself the eternal comfort of Lady Death's embrace. He would not. He still had work to do. So, he had done what was necessary and denied the cold Lady her due.

Ancient Anubian mythology spoke of a predator of the Netherworld that fed upon the souls of mortal and devil alike. Its name was Ghul, the Demon Prince of Torment. Secret lore, hidden away and closely guarded by some of the highest-ranking members of the Anubian priesthood, held the instructions to a ritual which could summon this demon and bind it to a strong-willed mortal. Then, the two would battle until one emerged victorious and the other was consumed, forever becoming a part of the victor.

A hand rose, pressing gently against the young woman's back, pulling her towards the man as he reciprocated her embrace with cautious warmth. The beating of his heart was still erratic, fluttering in tandem with his occasional shivers, but it was there. Another uncontrollable shiver coursed through him like an electric shock as he spoke. "Forgive me," he said as he sought to gently untangle himself from her embrace. "I am not yet used to these," he said, referring to the sharp talons that were but one of the changes his body had endured. "And my nervous system has yet to adjust to this body," he spoke, head hung in a defeated manner. Was there a hint of shame in his voice? "There could be... accidents."

So was the Overlord's mind, despite its scarring and the nightmares which now plagued it. For his will was indomitable. He had defeated the demon and absorbed it, making it a part of himself. Despite their alien, feline appearance, his eyes still shined with the same fierce intelligence and determination that had driven him before.

"We met on Nibelungen, during a diplomatic visit. You and your master were there, as was mine," he said to her, remembering his rebuttal of the Matador's arguments against their alliance. "I had only just returned from overseeing a naval drill we held to test the capabilities of my flagship," he said, pausing for breath. "Later, we fought together on Haven. We laid a ghost to rest."

Despite his haggard appearance, the same impeccable manners and composure were still there, in the way he moved and held himself, albeit somewhat clumsily, like a newborn still learning how to make use of his muscles so that he could walk. "This is Curupira Hawk, my apprentice. I am training her in the ways of the Sith and the Wardens of the Shroud," he said, introducing his loyal companion to his friend. "It is my hope that the two of you will befriend eachother as you have befriended me."

To the Overlord, Curupira was more than just a mere apprentice. She embodied the new generation of a new breed of Sith, one which would build a legacy that would reshape the galaxy forever. The Wardens of the Shroud were more than just an offshoot ideology, they were an evolution, the Warden Code meant to continue where the Sith Code ended, giving them focus, purpose and an unbreakable unity that rivaled that of the Jedi. Curupira and those like her, embodied those beliefs and the Overlord was proud of his apprentice's dedication, intelligence and hard work.

It was why he wanted her here, today, to do more than just witness the forging of this alliance. To take part in it. He would hear her input and value her opinions. "Several of the Anubian warlords led an uprising," he said, beginning the long-winded answer to the Vicelord's question. "Civil war was looming and the God-King was nowhere to be found after the events on Dredd. I was prepared to intervene and assume the mantle of regent to restore order, but... We got wind of a betrayal that was brewing on Vjun, hatched by one of my own. Ra'a'mah Numare," he spat the name with such acidic disgust and hatred that it was as if the sounds themselves were something vile and toxic.

"Knowing we could not stop the warlords from tearing the Eye apart while a rebellion was unfolding within our own ranks, I made a decision. I ordered the Shrouded Republic to evacuate, also taking with us those Anubians who would follow. Meanwhile, we laid a trap for the traitor and her followers, who had infiltrated our ranks. Once her rebellion began, we pulled our citizens and assets from Winter and disabled the orbital defenses. I ordered an orbital bombardment."

"That vile Sarlacc of a woman managed to sneak in an old enemy of mine, Adron Malvern. We fought. I was distracted, made a mistake..." he said, voice drifting away as he remembered the lightsaber blade piercing his chest, burning a hole through the middle of his being. Forcing himself to return to the present, to matters at hand, his eyes snapped back to the Vicelord and his apprentice. "Throughout the two years of the Ancient Eye's existence, only the Confederacy stood by our side while an entire galaxy sought to wipe us out. So, now we come to you, seeking to forge more than just an alliance," the Overlord spoke, his voice firm and strong. "On behalf of the Shrouded Republic, I would like to formally sign the Confederate Charter. My blade is yours, my fleet is yours, my armies are yours, if you would have us."

There was no turning back, now. With a few words, the Overlord had cemented the decision that he and his government had made. It was time to leave Nibelungen behind forever and move forward, preserving the Shrouded Republic and the legacy of the Ancient Eye. And to make sure that one day, those who had betrayed them, would pay.

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A P E X
Character
"The worst has yet to come, my friend."

At first, his lips had twitched - as if the beginnings of a smile were starting to form upon his face. Darth Metus watched as his Apprentice gave the Overlord an embrace; and for a moment, he simply enjoyed her happiness. He flexed his fingers absent-mindedly, silently appreciating the work of his Apprentice while they reunited. Though scarred and corrupt, [member="Darth Tacitus"] was still the same warrior who [member="Srina Talon"] spoke so highly of. He was her friend; and he yet lived. And, as a friend, it was the Sith's place to inform him of what was to come.

"I say this plain -" he began, for the Overlord would have it no other way. "-the Netherworld does not take being cheated lightly. Your body will adjust, yes, but you will feel strained in all you do. As if your strength is being tugged away from your body. Death will come for you this way. You will lose your humanity first, your memories, your ambitions, before losing your strength."

He paused for just a moment, setting his gaze upon [member="Curupira Hawk"]. He did not know the depths of their relationship. Did not know if the ring upon the woman's finger meant loyalty to an old ally; or if it was simply a keepsake from an era long since past. What he did know was that relationships were everything to those cheating Death.

"The sole remedy I have found in my own predicament is Srina. She is what keeps me tethered and whole to this world. We are Bonded. I do not know if this is the only remedy - and it is not a cure all. When she is away, Death comes. But. When she is near? I live." He returned his gaze to the Sith. "It is my advice to you that you find a Tether. Something or someone to bind yourself to this world. Only then will you be able to truly Live again."

With his advice given, he waited until the embrace had concluded and the talks of the Fall resumed. He was...surprised to hear that [member="Adron Malvern"] was involved in the man's demise. And the betrayal prompted by the so-called Ra'a'mah...Darth Metus clenched his teeth.

"Ra'a'mah will be made to suffer for her betrayal. We will nail her flesh to the highest cross. We will let the ravens feast on her eyes - this I promise you, Tacitus." A heated exhale escaped his nostrils as the conversation moved to the future. Vengeance would be theirs, but what of the Shrouded Republic? The Overlord offered his loyalty, his fleets, and his blade. Darth Metus would gladly accept.

"Of course, we would have you. Our door has always been opened to you and yours Tacitus. I will alert the Viceroyalty and we will make every accommodation for your people."


[member="Curupira Hawk"] | [member="Srina Talon"] | [member="Darth Tacitus"]​
 
g a s o l i n e
Writer
Remember me in the night of a million lights. You never thought me a Sith anyway. Curupira suddenly though as her head tilted to the side. Not a voice. Not the voices at all. It was her thought, suddenly flew to her mind. It quickly dawned on her the reason for this. [member="Darth Metus"]. As he lived and breathed drew on memories of old. Memories Curupira had no intention of having. Want or need. The voices in her head were plenty. Now a face from ancient times to threaten her progress.

Her golden gaze refocused suddenly as the small blonde approached her Master. She moved on instinct towards the two, stopping only when she realized it was a hug she wanted rather than to cause harm. Though it couldn't have been guessed right now, Ruu was loyal and protective to a fault. She didn't always recognize good intentions in foreigners anymore, assuming the worse rather than the better as this display showed her. Curupira remained on her guard still, watching his hand rise to accept the hug given.

She listened. He apologized. There were no voices, not even her own, in the moment. Her mind sharpened into the present, into the situation as [member="Darth Tacitus"] intended to remove himself from the embrace, apology leaving his mouth. He spoke of things unfamiliar to her. Nibelungen, Haven. All before he would introduce her, training her in the ways of the Sith and the Wardens of the Shroud. It was his hope they would befriend each other. The former Wirch glanced at [member="Srina Talon"] wondering for a moment. You don't make friends anymore, the voice returned, a reminder or warning. There had been friends in her life but as she grew, she lost them. They had gone their own ways. The last friend Curupira had made? Her eyes drifted over to the familiar face. He was not the very last but him and Marek from that time, they were the last lasting friends she held. And [member="Marek Starchaser"], she hadn't seen in years now. Was it years even? Her sense of time had been off in so long. Years? Decades? Her daughters wanted around this time, her son was calling out... Curupira remembered, felt it. It had jolted her even though she hadn't even known. She had realized.

Rather than speaking to her at all, the former fellow Confederate spoke of the woman in his company. She kept his tethered and whole to this world. They were bonded. Without her Death came to call. Golden gaze shifted back and stayed on him. So long has passed, she hadn't the faintest idea. His advice to her Master was to find someone to bind with, to be the Tether. It wasn't the worst of advices. Her anchor in this world was one. Though no intentional bond was formed, it had none the less emerged in time. No special rituals, no special actions. Only their scared flesh remained physical proof of the claiming but the bond form in time, through time. Her madman was her sanity sometimes, as odd as it had sounded. Even in this distance she had made, she heard him calling, all the way from the planet of the Lupines. Isley was right, even if his meaning had other purpose. And both the living and the deceased required something or someone to hold on. "Agreed. Anchors are important to the living, they're crucial to someone who's walked through what you have, Master," Ruu had added her two cents.

Questions came, answers followed. Her Master spoke of the betrayal of one of their own. She knew the name as well as the face due to conversations elaborating these events. She had been on the ship during the wars. Lessons to learn. But an enemy of her Master needed to be known to his apprentice. And so she was. Adron Malvern though held a higher name on her list. He had sent him to the beyond, bringing out the change that bothered him. Sometimes monsters were the most beautiful creatures in the galaxy. Changes didn't bother her, not once she got used to what had come to be. Still, these two individuals had harmed someone who had taken her in, helped her, ensured that even for the briefest of times, she had focus enough to silence the voices, enough to ignore them. He had done a lot for her in his lessons. Curupira made sure the memorize their faces form the footage. And then she made sure she never forgot.

The subject changed quickly though as Darth Tacitus requested to sign the Confederate Charter. She remembered. This meant something else though as well. If the Shrouded Republic would stand under the protection of the Confederacy and her Master was offering his blade, fleed, and armies that he was offering his apprentice as well. Curupira only watched the scene. She was returning to times past. And her old ally was accepting them. All of them. Curupira had known it was to come but it didn't mean it was any more real until it was actually said and agreed upon. Not until this moment. The Warden needn't have spoken, her Master spoke for all of them, her included. And though Ruu didn't fully comprehend it just yet, having lived a life of departures and goodbyes, returns and reunions for so long that her Master had needed to say the words, if she was to stay at his side. He had and so she did. And so, she was following him on this journey still.


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Administrator
Admin
Location: Geonosis - Golbah City - [Medical Facility]

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She could feel [member="Darth Tacitus"] return her embrace, however, not as fully. Perhaps it was due to a general need for personal space, the trembling that wracked his body, or the vicious talons that had replaced human fingernails. Despite the bare skin of her back, she trusted him, not to dig into her pallid flesh. Her body was so small that the Sith Lord might have feared to snap her spine if he pressed too hard. It could have been a combination of all things, but regardless, Srina heard what she needed to. The shaking tap of a heart, struggling to beat, but a heart nonetheless.

It was Kainan. Despite the metamorphosis, she could feel beneath the sense of death and screaming variance—that this was still Kainan Wolfe.

He apologized as he pulled from her grasp, admitting, that he was not yet used to what he had become. “Neither am I.”, she responded slowly, her lovely tones edged in frost. Silver eyes flickered as backed up fluidly and returned to the side of her Master as if it had never happened. She was a sentinel, a warrior, and it showed. Tacitus seemed to feel some sort of shame. She could understand. For one being so used to having perfect control, this must have been an exquisite form of hell. “Yet, perception will change, and we will learn. Won’t we?”

Her words were supportive without being overly warm. This was the new normal. They would all adjust in time. Kainan went on to answer the question she had posed. Nothing Srina ever said, or did, was truly without purpose. The Echani wanted further confirmation of his identity as well as a demonstration of his cognitive ability. Dying was not the cosmic joke the Sith accidentally made it out to be. Death, from what she understood, was not without cost. What would the netherworld take from him?

His changes in appearance and the diminished state of health were not enough.

The reunion was over just as quickly as it had begun. There were no tears, no episodic monologues, simply an embrace and silent reassurance. Echani had little use for emotional proclamations and sobbing when there was work to be done. This was a social call, yes, but it was also the closure of a nation. It was their final act of solidarity for the Ancient Eye. It was too little, too late, but there was nothing the Confederacy could do now but sort the ashes for survivors.

Once again, Srina turned her focus to [member="Curupira Hawk"]. The clumsy movements of Darth Tacitus bothered her. She had accepted his identity, but she hated to see someone so strong, suffering and struggling to do something so simple as walk. A silvery-white brow rose when the man admitted that he wished for the pair to be friends. She recognized the pride that he held in her, the value, and noted that it was similar to the favor [member="Darth Metus"] allowed her. Through her Master, Srina understood. Friends protected one another, helped one another, and kept them safe.

Both professionally and personally Kainan had just assured that his apprentice would be protected under the umbrella of the Confederacy. To be beloved, by the Vicelord, and his apprentice was akin to wearing the finest suit of armor.

Srina did not have time to comment or further speculate as the Overlord began to detail the downfall of their ally. The fact that he mentioned the woman that had come to them, that had brought them droids from the FWC, was confusing. Adron Malvern was equally something of a conflict. The High Moff had been in her visions as of late. Dotting her mind with threadlike futures that were both bleak and peaceful. She was relieved, despite herself, that Darth Metus threatened only the tenacious Ra’a’mah Numare with vengeance. Perhaps he felt her hesitation. Adron Malvern was lost. His actions against Kainan Wolfe were proof that he was lost…

Srina would find him. Whether he wanted to be found—or not. It was time.

Her expression remained blank when Darth Tacitus swore fealty to the Confederacy. It was a surprise, and yet, it was not. It felt like a natural progression but more than anything it was a relief. Behind their military, behind their droids, and their might, the people of the Shrouded Republic would be safe until their Overlord could stand tall again. They would have a new home. A new life. Was this not exactly what the CIS stood for? Was it not their duty to provide?

“My Master speaks truthfully, Kainan. Of course we would have you. What is a nation without people?”

The white-haired beauty raised her hands in the air before her and they unfolded like a flower in bloom. The Holo-Hudd on her wrist activated with a shimmer of violet light. From her open palms, one crossed over the other, burst a holographic map of the Confederate territory. It filled the small room, showing system, after system. Darth Tacitus would see that they had been expanding rapidly since their first meeting. “All of the worlds in white are available for integration. Either they have no population, or, it would benefit from diversity and technological advancements.”

“You need only to choose my friend.”

Never would Srina have ever guessed in her youth that she would have one day stood at the side of a Sith Lord, for all intents and purposes, offering entire planets. An entire world.

Her Master explained that she tethered him, through their bond, and she pretended not to be surprised by the revelation. She had suspected as much during his nightmares on Sullust but they had never really spoken of it. One of her hands moved, and the violet hologram flickered, but held strong. Instead she reached for [member="Darth Metus"] and let her hand fall to his arm. Immediately, she felt safe. Secure. She found strength in him and he in her. “An anchor should be chosen with care, however, the force can have a mind of its own. It brought me to the Vicelord through visions that felt like madness. You may wish to speak to our Nightmother for an alternative solution—but I would not wait.”

The netherworld would not wait. What Kainan had become would not wait. The sooner he found something to tether his humanity, or what was left, the better.

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Kainan Wolfe

Shadow of War
Character
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Attn: [member="Srina Talon"] | [member="Darth Metus"] | [member="Curupira Hawk"]
  • Golbah City
    Private medical facility, present day

Tacitus had always been a hard man, accustomed to harsh things. He mathematically analyzed everything his companions had said and he understood the consequences of his ritual, accepting them like he had accepted every other scar he had received throughout his lifetime.

"I am anchored to my work. To my people. To the nation that I have built," he answered, his voice calm and steady, driven by the same powerful conviction that he was known for. "My duty has been the sole driving reason behind every action I have ever taken and it will continue to do so. It will have to suffice, Netherworld be damned."

The warmth with which the Confederates accepted his pledge, had been surprising to a man unused to having friends. Even though he expected them to accept, he was more accustomed to people responding in a businesslike manner. "You have my thanks," he responded as his eyes perused the hologram held aloft by the alabaster woman.

His eyes quickly found what he had been searching for. A cold, frigid world in the middle of the Confederacy, inhabited only by primitive tribes and in desperate need of industrialization and modernization. It was a harsh world, suited to a harsh people. His people. It would help them keep their edge.

Hidden away in the heart of the powerful Confederacy, yet an undeveloped, backwater world, it would keep prying eyes away while the survivors of the Ancient Eye's collapse rebuilt their nation and their lives. It was a world that would test them all, yet it would also shelter them as the Overlord once more built his nation into a powerful military, once which will serve as the Confederacy's warhammer and bulwark against any foreign aggression.

New weapons would have to be designed. New ships. Droids would be built by the tens of thousands. The fleet would grow as fast as new cities on the virgin world, bringing the isolated natives into the modern era, educating them to the Shrouded Republic's ideals so that they may swell the ranks of its army.

One day, this army would obliterate those that had claimed so many lives and committed such horrible betrayals against the Ancient Eye. One day, this army would bring ruin and devastation to their worlds and the worlds of all those who stood against the Confederacy. It would be a great army, the likes of which the galaxy had never known.

In the end, the choice was an easy one to make. "Nelvaan," he answered. "I choose Nelvaan."

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