Star Wars Roleplay: Chaos

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The Hunt of the Transcendents

It was always a swamp, wasn't it? It always had to be a swamp. The once mighty Ariealla lamented her state of affairs, hunting her old possessions on hot, filthy Nal Hutta of all places. Hutts and their greed, their lust for possessions they hardly understood... just to have them... oh she would flay alive whoever had taken that which belonged to her. The silvery hair of Ariealla was somehow managing to stay clear of any gunk from the planet's many swampy marshes, and her indigo eyes scanned the horizons for any sign of movement.

At her hip, both her sith blade and saberstaff clinked against her body with each motion. Unlike some sith, who opted for dark and depressing colors, she chose to wear beautifully purple robes, dresses even, with a small assortment of rings. She had grown tired of the dark and depressive attitude sith tended to hold, and found the royal-esque colors suited her very nicely. Though it did mean she would have a painful day of laundry to deal with.

Oh the things she dealt with for style... well no matter. Soon enough she should be making contact with an individual that she had, persuaded to help her in return for not being killed off like cattle. A rodian smuggler who was very poor at hiding. He'd spilled the details of a local hutt holding a very particular holocron she wished very dearly to have back, and she fully intended to use the man to get to it.

What ever could go wrong?

[member="Darth Abyss"]
"What brings the mighty Prophet into my humble home?"

Darth Abyss, The Mindeater and also commonly referred as Prophet for matters of the Underworld stood in front of a gigantic, grey slug-like creature that called itself "Korosa the Hutt" and believed to be very important. That was as far from the truth as it could be, but Abyss hadn't dragged his metal husk of a body out into the swamps of Nal Hutta to inform the other about that. Hutts had been major players of the underworld for so long that even the less cunning and skillful members of the species were involved in the business in one way or another. In the case Korosa that meant being an underling for more important members of the cartel, tasked with doing their dirty work. The metal man formed words in huttese as perfect as that of the hutt he talked to.

"Spare me Korosa. The holocron, where is it?"

Normally he preferred to talk directly to the higher ups instead of wasting his time with fools so low on the food chain. But his contacts had informed him that the object he sought was very dear to someone belonging to said higher ups, and so he had to go another route if he wanted to reach it. The strange holocron had called for him, it whisp through the force and told him to find it. That was the kind of call Abyss couldn't ignore.

"Mighty Prophet I'm sorry but.."

The word was cut of when Abyss made a single step forward. His reputation was known all throughout the underworld, and even the hutts knew that it could be a very bad idea to cross him. Because in the end, the Prophet's hand was endless.

"I don't know. Really, all I have is a contact. Rodian smuggler."

There was panic in the voice of the slug like creature, and with a quick gesture it told his men to reveal the location of the smuggler to the sith lord. The metal jaw had remained unmoved, but the sharp teeth still looked like a cruel grin.

[member="Ariealla Vareldi"]
Ariealla huffed a bit as she trudged through a particularly thick section of swamp, thoroughly coating her legs up to her knees in the slime. Fortunate enough for her, though, the rodian smuggler was already waiting for her. The green skinned humanoid, who went by the name Vlaessk, was visibly on edge as the woman made her way to him. She could likely thank her own force presence to that, so oppressively dark and, unnatural even, that it tended to make someone on edge when let as loose as it was now.

"Calm down Vlaessk, you're shaking. Just tell me you can get me into Agruk's palace and we'll be on our way, alright?"

The rodian didn't find any particular comfort in her words, but was at least able to stop shaking. He gave a firm nod, and motioned for Ariealla to follow, as he began to make his way through the swamp again. Of course, their first stop would be to the nearest town, as they had to return to the spaceport to gather the smuggler's latest shipment of supplies he had been hired to deliver.

The plan was to slip Ariealla inside, using the guise of the Force Cloak ability, and have the smuggler lead the way to the Hutt's vault, or whatever they called it. Assuming that went to plan, of course. The assassin was having difficulty with stealth these days, it seemed everyone and their dog was force sensitive. Still, the two should be capable of finding their way into the palace with relative ease. The only problem would come into play when the alarms went off. She cared not if the rodian survived, but she did need him at least a while, lest she get lost.

Oh how she loved these games... It had been far too long since she needed to infiltrate anything.

[member="Darth Abyss"]
With the Intel he got from the Hutt it was easy to follow the trail of the smuggler. While he couldn't find the alien at the exact position given to him, it was easy to anticipate his next move. From Korosa' s informations he learned that the man going by the name Vlaessk was tasked with supply runs for a secure facility owned by another Hutt. That plus the information that he knew where the artifact could be found allowed him to figure out that said facility was the place where the holocron was hidden.

Due to his knowledge over the underworld he was aware that the smuggler was little more than an errant boy in a case like this, what meant that he wasn't the provider of the supplies but just the messenger. That meant that he had to pick up his shipment in one of the spaceports near by. His agents where on lookout in each of them, but as a rather skilled seer he had decided to go with his gut and follow his instincts and not his mind.

Hidden under a cloak of darkness, his presence obscured both in the force and visually, the Mindeater waited in a docking bay, keeping his senses sharp to catch the first glimpse of the rodian smuggler. He had a general description of the low class criminal, but he had to be certain. So to be certain he kept his mind wide, subtly probing into the thoughts of those passing by to identify the one he searched for.

[member="Ariealla Vareldi"]
"Right behind you. Vlaessk." Ariealla placed her hand on the Rodian's shoulder as they entered the main streets of the spaceport town, slowly bending light around her. Force cloak was a difficult to master ability, but it wasn't something you could forget, even weakened as she was. Soon enough, she was barely a shimmering form behind the smuggler, only noticeable if you were looking directly at her, and paying close attention. In other words, if you were actively looking for her.

It was a shame, though, that she hadn't re-learned to obscure her force signature. The not-too-distant [member="Darth Abyss"] would feel her presence in mere moments, as her unmistakable signature entered the space port. It was obvious enough that it wasn't the Rodian she was following behind that was so cloaked in darkness, even for a sith her particular signature would be.. well considering her status as an 'acolyte' it was unnaturally strong.

The smuggler went to collect his shipment, while Ariealla began to probe, subtly as she could, the presence of everything she could sense nearby. However, she couldn't detect the significance of Abyss's signature, and ended up skipping over him. She did, however, notice an agent of his instead. A little too curious to Vlaessk as he passed by towards the docking bay, she opted to distract him, using the force to knock over some crates.

Unknowingly, as she entered the docking bay behind Vlaessk, she was only perhaps a couple meters away from Abyss..
The presence he felt was more than a little curious. For just a moment he presumed it to be a mark of power, but soon he realized that is was more like an echo of power, a long gone by memory that told stories of former strength and passion. It was no problem to make out the woman it belonged to, which was following the smuggler he was on the hunt for. Her cloak was well enough, not the total disappearance that some like his master could pull of, but still at a level that could fool most eyes. Only because Abyss didn't actually perceived his environment with physical eyes but with a mix of various force abilities he was able to make her out almost instantly.

He hadn't foreseen the woman beforehand, but he still wasn't surprised. Objects of great power always called for those that were deemed worthy, it was one of the things he had learned in his years as historian and artifact hunter. They rarely called for a single being, the search for them was a test as everything else on the path of the sith.

The agent he had send out quickly followed the falling crates, deceived by the trick while Abyss himself continued to stand absolutely motionless, waiting for the smuggler to load his cargo. He would smuggle himself on board of the ship, and after finding out more about the woman he would either eliminate both of them or make use of her. It was easy for him to be unseen, but even the best shouldn't pass up on a distraction. For now making an rash action would be a mistake. The jedi had many flaws, but like Abyss they understood the value of patience.

[member="Ariealla Vareldi"]
Ariealla smiled as Vlaessk received his shipment of supplies. Excellent... she was anxious to get underway with the infiltration. The Rodian's ship was rather sizable for someone so low on the food chain, with ample space for her to hide on board (along with the still unseen [member="Darth Abyss"]). The still cloaked woman slipped aboard ahead of the Rodian, double checking that there were no bugs on board the ship that would detect her when she had to release her concentration on her Cloak, lest she exhaust herself.

When she was satisfied, she waited for Vlaessk in the cargo bay, to review the plan. The Rodian took his sweet time getting aboard the vessel, and that forced Ariealla to maintain her cloak far longer than she would like. Should something happen before takeoff, she'd be forced to stay cloaked and possibly lose her grip on the ability. With each passing second she waited, her distaste for this weak body of hers grew ever more apparent. Oh how she couldn't wait to recover her holocron and begin restoring her power and glory.
The metal husk of Abyss simply stood in the ship, following behind the woman with soundless steps. While he was cautious to enter her mind with the force, his hunger and control over the thoughts of others still allowed him to get a small glimpse. To his honest surprise her mind was not that of an powerful acolyte, but a wide, dark void like his own, and probably one the few that could rival his own in how far it reached. That alone intrigued him enough to keep his cloak up a bit longer, a skill that consumed comparably little of his focus and energy after the countless times that he had performed it.

Then the Mindeater waited for the smuggler to return an take the ship towards the real target. He hadn't yet decided if he would reveal himself or if he would simply slaughter both of them from the shadows. His hunger for knowledge, his desire, his obsession to hold all the answers weighted on him, and pushed him to leave her alive for now, despite the fact that she could turn out as both a thread or at least an obstacle on his search for the holocron. Should she decloak, a metal hand would descend down on her shoulder, followed by silent words, echoing through the force but nowhere else.

"Calm, little one. You are not dead. Yet."

"Little one" was part of the trademark mockery that most felt when meeting the Mindeater. There was little to enjoy in being a sith besides the power it granted and so he had sought out something to keep him occupied. Taunting and mocking others was more of a small exercise to him, a test of how far his skill in Dun Möch had grown.

[member="Ariealla Vareldi"]
Ariealla eventually had to drop her cloak, and did pause as she felt the metal on her shoulder. Ah, outdone again. She couldn't help but smile at the turn of events... had this been before, when her host body hadn't weakened her, she would've never been caught off guard. That Ariealla could hide better, sense better, and even when she did fail she could preform better. But alas, today was not such a time, and she had to consider her position.

Of course the words 'little one' stung at her sense of pride, knowing what she knew hardly qualified her as 'little', yet she too knew Dun Möch well. Any self respecting Sith knew the power of words. "Many have tried to change the fact, believe me. I doubt that will change soon." Her words were, honeyed, dripping with sweetness befitting her form. She was not one to lose herself so easily, at least not while she still had her medicine working. She had a solid hour left before she would start deteriorating noticeably...

"Clever trick, diminishing your presence like that. Well practiced, I couldn't sense a thing. You must use it frequently, don't you?"

[member="Darth Abyss"]
"It would take little more than a single thought from me to change it, so I would advise you to watch your words."

It wasn't really a threat, something that was noticeable despite Abyss surreal and unnatural voice. Yet it wasn't a joke or something along that line either. Said simply it was a waring. The Mindeater was not an arrogant being, but he knew when he was the more powerful in an encounter like this. While he didn't felt superior or prideful about it, he most certainly intended to use that fact to his advantage.

"More often than you at least. I could feel your presence before I even saw your cloak."

Abyss had some idea what she was, and while not completely certain he expected her to be far more knowledgeable and wise than her current form revealed. Many, him included, changed their body out of need, and most of them lacked the skill and insight to turn into being alike the one he had become.

"Now tell me little one, why do you seek the holocron. In case you intend to lie to me be warned: I will take this knowledge from you, no matter if you give it to me or if I have to take it by force."

The metal husk lifted his left hand and pointed it at her, revealing just enough of his presence to assure her that he wasn't making empty threats.

[member="Ariealla Vareldi"]
"Yes it's unfortunate I haven't the practice... Though do not doubt I am ever working on it."

She couldn't hide the playfulness in her voice as she spoke, it had been so long since she was in a vulnerable position, she actually quite enjoyed it. At any moment the being behind her could simply attempt to end her life, and while she was confident she could escape it would cost her dearly in the form of her prize... and even so she wanted to savor the moment.

Times like these made the other hundred dull years worthwhile. Without turning to look at the figure, or whatever amount of it she would see in the darkened cargo hold, she continued.

"Why do I seek the holocron? Well it's very simple, actually. Perhaps it would help if we were to politely introduce ourselves? My name's Ariealla Vareldi."

Even now she played, toyed somewhat with [member="Darth Abyss"]. Not with malevolent intent of course, as even her darkness was rather calm. No, she just wanted to tease him ever so slightly, right up to the reveal. She assumed he'd already attempted to probe her mind, someone like him always did. If he was asking, he found something interesting...

"And that holocron belongs to me."
What followed was the Mindeaters attempt at a laugh, a sound more unnerving than anything else, without an actual hint of amusement of humanity in it. He had felt how wide her mind was, and now he knew why. Normally such a statement would've easily been dismissed as a lie by him, but her presence, her mind all hinted that she was telling the truth.

"The Songstress. An ancient mind imprisoned in stolen flesh. Not the most elegant solution if you ask me."

His transition into his new form had involved the twisted art of essence transfer as well, so he understood what she was. Her name was no secret to him, and while Darth Aria wasn't as prominently known as the likes of Revan or Bane, it could still be found in books and texts across the ages if you looked closely enough. That was quite an achievement, at least for an assassin that relied on the power of the shadows instead of an warlord or ruler.

"It matters little who once created it. The knowledge and power of the sith belongs to those with the strength to take it."

The metal figure made a step forward, revealing the strange thing that he was. Roughly human in shape, yet still distinct enough to not pass as one. The human Abyss could be threatening if he had to, but the Mindeater was a otherworldly power, unbound by the laws and rules that plagued the flesh. That alone made him terrifying to many, but he had spend quite a lot of time to make his armor and mask into the image of a demon.

"I go by many names, depending on who you ask. Darth Abyss, the Mindeater, Prophet, to just state a few. Pick which one suits you most."

[member="Ariealla Vareldi"]
Ariealla smiled as he poked fun at her choice of body, though truthfully she'd grown quite accustomed to having a flesh and blood body over the years. Perhaps it was a weakness, but it was no less true. And even her early transitions could be excused for lack of supplies, there was only so much she could do after all, with the limitations of the early forms of Essence transference.

Now able to see him, she understood why so easily he accepted her words. A metal figure void of flesh, another who transcended the mortal coil, though in a far more direct way than she herself. In her own opinion such a choice was bold, other beings who transcended flesh and blood often become obsessed with power to the point of destroying themselves, such as the late Nihilus. Such a shame, so few had such power in the art of force drain, still it was his own foolishness that consumed his body, and made him so vulnerable.

"[member="Darth Abyss"] suits you well, a rather excellent choice if you ask me. Though I do hope you don't intend to intimidate me with looks alone my dear, I assure you I've seen plenty of Sith with armor resembling your body." Now that he'd accepted her words and identity, she made little effort to hide it. All pretenses of her being anything else were left away, as she spoke to the being now with her.

"I've grown quite fond of flesh and blood, it's been most useful in hiding away in crowds. Not to mention every so often I look cute and adorable, useful tools I'm sure you can agree... though far less useful to knowledge. Still, now I believe it's my turn to ask a question... why is it you seek my holocron? Is it merely for power, prestige? Or do you have more of a genuine interest in it?"
"I do not need looks for that, little one. Trust me."

Again a warning and not a threat. It was quite enjoyable to have someone that didn't directly bowed before him simply for what he was now, as it allowed him to flex his mental and rhetorical muscles a bit more. She had intrigued him enough to refrain from killing or breaking her for now, but that could change any second if she played it wrong. The Mindeater was as merciless and unforgiving as the metal he was made of, and even his human version had been notorious for being ruthless even for sith standards.

"I agree that looks can be used to deceive. But there are better ways to do so than to be bound by the weakness of flesh."

He wasn't only a scholar, but an assassin. Not the best in the galaxy, but quite possible a strong third place right behind his acolyte brother Lykos and his master who undoubtedly filled the first spot. The songstress once could've been on that list as well, but time had taken its toll and now she was little more than an exceptional acolyte. His choice to hide in crowds was either to be fully invisible, or to plant his mind in another body without the need to leave his current stater. Not a full essence transfer, rather an extension of his hand into the head of another. In the rare cases neither of these methods would fit there was still sith magic and the ability to create powerful illusions.

"I have a genuine interest in all and everything that exists. But your holocron is more than another piece for my collection. I can feel it calling, the echoes of the past, the whisper tales of times long gone."

[member="Ariealla Vareldi"]
"There are different weaknesses in being bound outside of the flesh too, [member="Darth Abyss"]. They are merely, different. I understand the limitations of my body, yet I am far more comfortable with these limitations than others." She chuckled lightly, and raised a hand to cover her mouth as she did so. "Not to mention I've grown to have some particular tastes, and sadly I require a body to thoroughly enjoy them. Call them my personal vices."

Granted, most vices didn't involve the consumption of others, but she didn't need to go into detail. Such would only bog down the conversation with needless details, they weren't here to discuss her taste in food or tea. They were here to seek knowledge and power, her own knowledge and power for that matter.

"I can appreciate another who values the knowledge and holds genuine interest and fondness for it. I always valued knowledge of the past, I've seen it repeat with such frequency to warrant it as a primary study. It grows dull to pass eternity in slaughter, after all. I can tell you now my holocron hold knowledge of few secretive arts, and of those that it reveals to exist you've already shown the ability to use the most coveted. Knowing that, would you still seek my knowledge, knowing full well you are only likely to find a firsthand account of history?"

Though, if Ariealla had to be asked it, the history of the Sith was perhaps the most important knowledge available.
"I would desire it even more."

He was the third on the assassin list. But he was number one or at least a strong number two, depending on who you asked, when it came to the current lorekeepers of the sith. He only knew a single individual that currently rivaled his knowledge on the past, a sith lord called Tirdarius. An artifact that would allow him even deeper insight in his favorite topic to study awoke a dark craving inside the void below the metal. The hunger had grown with every word she had spoken.

"In fact I would desire it enough to kill someone to make it my own."

This time it wasn't a warning anymore, but an actual threat. He could think of very little that would be able to fuel his obsession like said holocron, an object that held all the knowledge he sought. History was a muddy subject these days, and many parts had been lost to all but the most studious of scholars. A complete, even if personal, account ranging through the ages was to valuable to him as that he could give it away to someone.

"Now little one, I would advise you to stay out my way. Only my hand will touch your secrets today."

Abyss made a slow step forward, trying to look as menacing as he could. Yet before his foot touched the ground again the ship began to shake. Something had gone wrong while he he had been to distracted by her.

[member="Ariealla Vareldi"]
Ariealla had been about to respond, in all likeliness with a retort, or a reminder that she knew full well how to escape death if he attempted to harm her, when the ship shook. This was... wrong. She immediately left [member="Darth Abyss"] in the cargo bay, moving with a swiftness and grace to her motions, purple cloth fluttering behind her as she went to the cockpit.

The empty cockpit, that was. She cussed under her breath as she checked the ship's few escape pods. Jettisoned. And the control panel was made useless with a program sliced in, the Rodian had double crossed her. Had she not become distracted by Abyss in the Cargo bay, she'd have checked on the man long before this point, and would've stopped such an event. Clearly, the Rodian knew how to take advantage of the situation.

In an odd way she gave him props for it, even as she placed him on her mental 'to die' list. For now though, she had to handle the fact the ship was set to crash. "Vlaessk left us to die on this ship while he left. And judging by its trajectory it's aimed right at Agruk's palace. Without him to input the codes we'll be shot down before we crash right into the building." She shook her head, and turned back, fully expecting Abyss to have come to the cockpit as well to investigate.

"I would suggest we find a way off this ship before we impact into the wall. You don't seem the type too fond of riding kamikaze even with that body of yours."
If he still had face Abyss would've lifted an eyebrow in response to her words. Yet he didn't had such subtle forms of communication left now that he was only metal. The crash wasn't really a problem, his new body was quite resilient, but he preferred to do things silently, and that was clearly not an option would he remain on the ship.

"Allow me."

There was a hint of humor somewhere deep below the strange, ethereal voice that carried his words, a glimpse of the human that lifted on in the void. Claws jumped out of the metal hands of the Mindeater, and a few punches and a few second later a hole was ripped out of the shell of the ship large enough for a creature of his size. He had fallen from space several times in this new form, as he had learned how to use the force to levitate himself.

"In case that you can help me localize the holocron, you should hold on tight now."

Abyss offered up the cold steel of his left arm, his eyeless face looking at her for just another moment. Then the metal man was thrown out the hole, beginning a controlled descend towards the ground. Her life was spared for a little longer, and if she planned on surviving her encounter with him than she had now the chance. He had no remorse, but he had a distaste for killing useful people.

[member="Ariealla Vareldi"]
As much as she lacked trust in the man, she wasn't a fan of fiery death. So she grabbed hold of his arm, as the two were thrown out of the machine well in advance of the palace proper, and into a controlled descent thanks to [member="Darth Abyss"]. But, there was still a problem, they couldn't properly engage in stealth tactics if the ship continued its course, and as powerful as she could feel Abyss was it was likely taking a good amount of concentration to control their fall. So holding tightly with one arm, her right reached out, gripping the machine that had held them with the force.

She took a breath, and began to focus. Pouring her energy into the singular task, she managed to slowly drag the accelerating machine's nose downward, more and more. She lacked the full strength to rip the machine out of the sky, as she might once have held, but she could manipulate it none the less, considering no one was there to counteract her efforts.

Without resistance, she was able to point the machine down, crashing it into the swamp well before it could reach the palace and alert Agruk to their approach. Ariealla huffed a bit, and once the duo reached the ground she released her hold of the metal being, wiping her garments clear. "I'm going make Vlaessk regret today's events when I find him again... rotten smuggler." She grumbled to herself, before sighing.

"Well there goes plan A. Plan B then?" Abyss's offer demonstrated he saw use in her. She'd take advantage of that, and follow his lead, for now at least.
"We will see once we reach our target. I personally prefer to do things silently, but sometimes a more direct approach is the right solution."

With sometimes he meant a structure with lacking security. Sneaking in was his method most of the time, but every once in a while it turned out to be easier and quicker to simply slaughter a way to his price. The metal jaw was looked in place, but the twisted smile that it showed was fitting for the words that would follow for once. He would tie her service to him, for a simple thing that he could get her: revenge.

"The smuggler will be taken care of in time. He will wait for your judgement once we return with the holocron."

With a few presses on his com he transmitted the collection of intel that he gathered on the smuggler to his agents, as well as a note to them to make sure to catch him while he was at work. They would either catch him themselves, or the smuggler would be caught by one of their many contacts, as even a smuggler needed to go through a few people before getting of world without a ship. Without further words the Mindeater lifted his metal left, reaching, grasping for something invisible to most mortal eyes. Then he began a slow walk, following the echo that the ancient artifact left in the force.

"This way, I can hear it. And make no noise. The element of surprise could turn out as our most important advantage."

[member="Ariealla Vareldi"]

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