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Well, Well (Kära)

Felucia

The winds of change were constant throughout the tumultuous galaxy, but they seemed to affect one group of individuals more than any other. The Sith Empire had seen regime change at all levels on a nearly cyclical basis. Cameron knew that he had been one of the many to be a part of this. Despite this consistent, transitory reality of existence, the Sith and their Empire endured. There was purpose and reason behind this. The Sith had been an ever-evolving group since their inception. In conflict, we are forced to be the best versions of ourselves. This was the quintessential difference between Sith and Jedi. The Jedi resorted to outright conflict only when necessary or as a last resort. The Sith...well...they craved for it. The chance to improve and increase one's personal strength and control was all too natural.

Unfortunately, too many Sith believed that openly stating their determination to kill their master passed for a true effort at strength and control. That was an entirely ridiculous notion. Yes, even Cameron had killed his one and only master, but it had not been something he openly proclaimed to the man or any other. It was merely the natural result of Alathor no longer having anything to teach Cameron. Cameron had allowed Alathor to become so rooted in his over-confidence, that the older man could not even conceive of betrayal by those closest to him. In truth, those closest to you would always be your undoing.

Likewise, strength and control had nothing to do with how many planets you supervised or how many fleets bent to your will because of direct orders issued by another. These elements were useful in their own right, but it was not the end result of a lifetime dedicated to being the best version of one's self. What that meant to an individual...irrelevant to Cameron. He was not one to be a life coach to other Sith. The path through darkness to greater power was not one that anyone could see clearly. It was, quite simply, something that had to be experienced. A guide could only get one so far.

As the shuttle approached Felucia, Cameron was forced to recall his most recent memory of Felucia. It had been during his stewardship of this sector of Sith space at the behest of Emperor Tyrin. Word had reached the Sith Lord's ears that the winds of change had swept through the Empire once more, finally raising Zambrano to the throne. Zambrano had been a rather constant element of the Empire. To that end, Cameron did recall Zambrano from before the man was truly a Sith. He wondered if the massive, altered Leviathan he'd been on hand to watch the creation of still existed on the planet or anywhere, for that matter.

Now was the time for much younger generations to guide the increasingly bureaucratic organization of Sith. Cameron and those like him had...served their purpose. Now, he could only be a guide, and he tended to do so only when requested. That, of course, had nothing to do with his visit to Felucia today. He had fought alongside a child once. A child that had, apparently, grown enough now to be the Lady of this sector. Impressive. Quite impressive. Passing through the august security surrounding the sector's capital, Cameron piloted his vessel along the instructed flight path to the Imperial Palace on Felucia. Traveling, naturally, under the name Ashmedai, the Sith Lord had not been hassled by security.

Steam hissed from between hydraulic actuators as the AlAT/i set down gently on the appointed landing pad. After securing the vessel's engines, the Sith Lord stood from his seat and made his way aft to the loading ramp. The large, dark-skinned Sith stepped casually down the ramp with the hood of his black and silver cloak lowered over his head. His silver-green gaze immediately shifted towards his destination. Gently, Lord Ashmedai placed a hand upon the worn, leather hilt of his Sith Sword as he stepped forward.

@[member="Kära Vi'dreya"]
 
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Imperial Palace
Felucia

Preparations were being made, as ever, for another change around in the Empire. Borders had shifted and the Capital World of Sector II, otherwise known as ‘Medea’, had changed from Felucia to Korriban, perhaps the most well-known and influential planet within the Sith Empire and its history, birthplace of the Purebloods and the Sith as a Religion, as a way of life. But there was a lot to be done, on top of constant training – of Apprentices, of troops and of her Bladeborn eunuchs. The Imperial Palace of Felucia was buzzing with life as men and women shot this way and that to hasten preparations. “Leave that” she idly asserted, passing a slave who was fussing over some ornament or another – frivolous things, unnecessary to the Sith Lady. They do not realise that this Palace will still be in use, frequent use; my brother will sit when he is of age and rank, and until then the Ashborn will act as governor and regent… There is no need for them to remove everything, only my most basic of possessions.

But the slaves were still seeking to please their Master; many had been raised into obedience, bred and born for this task alone, others had been taken by force and would likely not forget the way they had been physically and mentally broken into submission. Some were fearful of her presence, the rest awed… Both were satisfying to see, to sense and feel. “Send for Straife, have him oversee transactions on Gromas; I will not have the unworthy picking at valued resources… And while he is there, have him pick up Shadow’s supplies.” With a wave of her hand the young slave was dismissed from her presence, while she strode on. The halls were empty and lacking without Thyrian wandering, but she knew he would return. I have the greatest of alchemists and geneticists the Empire has to offer at my disposal, Thyrian will make it…

But what if he did not?

There were others, yes-men for all intents and purposes, who could sit as regent, but it ran deeper than that. Kara had been in the presence of the Ashborn for the past twelve years of her live; he had seen her rise from a young apprentice through the ranks of the Sith, claiming everything she had wanted and holding onto them – Knighthood, Bastion, Mastery, Felucia… Even Ashborn himself was one that she had claimed, taken twelve years back and subjugated by the then ten year old girl. He was an anchor in her life, the only immovable, constant object – no, person – in her life. You are Sith, you require no man or woman save those beneath you who serve, and yet the thought that Thyrian might be gone for good was difficult to accept.

My Lady, we have just received word that Lord Ashmedai approaches.” Halting in her step she turned on the ball of her foot and faced the slave who had spoken. The boy cowered back, afraid he had spoken out of turn, yet in the end Kara merely said “Prepare a drink and something to eat; the journey will like’ have been a long one, and I will have him want for nothing.” Then, without awaiting confirmation that she had been understood, she strode towards the main foyer of the Palace. As she neared the grand doors she caught the arm of a passing serving girl. “Keep Sin and Xavier occupied and away from the reception lounge.” Her voice warranted no compromise, and as swiftly as she had been grasped the woman was released.

As the door opened she stepped forth to greet him, stopping to one side of the door so as not to barricade his entrance. “Ashmedai” she said, by way of greeting, one hand extending out to the side toward a further set of doors, through which the main reception room lay. Contrasting to the cold yet humid landscape outside the lounge would provide some minor comforts – warmth from a large hearth, seats should he wish to sit and of course the food and drink she’d had made for him. Whether he ate it or not she would show common courtesy enough… Sith or no Kara would still be a gracious host, at least to the likes of Ashmedai.

Should he move in the direction indicated Kara followed alongside, one step infront as though guiding, as the doors were opened and a slight warmth spread outward. The room was large, clearly having been well outfitted once upon a time, and while it was still a marvel to behold there was a practical air about it too. It lacked the flamboyancy the former governor had bestowed upon it, the fool who had thought himself a monarch in his own right. He still lay locked away in some laboratory, at the mercy of Valik’s whims… He thought to flout the Empire and make a mockery of it, death would have been too swift, too… final.

A slave stepped forth to offer the Sith Lord a drink, while another prepared the table which lay to one side like the heart of a board room. “If you require anything, don’t hesitate to ask” she said, with a subtle gesture to one of the slaves who, as of now, had been assigned to Ashmedai’s needs. “Otherwise, let us convene and discuss.”

@[member="Cameron Centurion"]
 
The Sith Lord's pace had just barely begun to slow as the large doors before him began to swing open. The young woman that greeted him looked nothing like the child he recalled. However, there was a certain familiarity about the distinct...hunger that pulsed through the Force around her. While his previous dealings with the young woman had been in the heat of battle, Ashmedai prided himself on having a memory for those he found...competent. That singular trait was rare enough in this galaxy for anyone to take note of.

As Kara stepped slightly to the side and motioned him in, Ashmedai's silver-green gaze lingered briefly over her form. Grown indeed... Quietly, the Sith Lord wondered just how much of an impediment that had become to her efforts. It seemed the allure of physical beauty increasingly became enough to warp the otherwise intelligent, realistic views of society. Dismissing the thought as soon as it had entered his mind, Ashmedai managed a thin, largely emotionless smile and a gentle nod of the head.

Allowing the young woman to casually guide him through her Palace, the Sith Lord allowed his eyes to roam. It was readily apparent that Kara was either in the middle of vacating the residence or offloading a good majority of the belongings. Naturally, Ashmedai knew all too well who had previously taken up residence in this large edifice. When it came to the machinations of subordinates, Ashmedai tended to ignore them altogether. Sure, there were definitely people responsible for managing such things, but he found the affairs of the proletariat boring and largely irrelevant to the greater truth and power of the Force. In an Empire, such things couldn't necessarily be afforded, however. Further more, there was purpose in making an example and allowing the resultant fear to spread.

Taking a seat near Kara when they had reached their destination, Ashmedai pulled back the hood of his cloak. When the slave approached to offer Ashmedai a drink, he politely declined with a subtle raise of the hand. Turning his dark features towards Kara, the Sith Lord managed a slight smirk as he inclined his head. "Thank you Lady Vi`dreya, for the hospitality, but I am fine. I'm sure you are curious as to the reason for my journey here. First, I offer you congratulations." Pausing for a moment, Cameron allowed his smirk to dissipate into a more neutral expression. "Always happy to see promising apprentices enjoy the fruits of their labor. Second...I am curious as to your thoughts and opinions on the relevance of the Empire to the existence and power of the Sith." To be sure, there was a correlation between the Sith and the Empire. Ashmedai was completely aware that he was opening himself to potential propaganda in the form of words from Kara's mouth. Perhaps it was all part of a test that he internally administered to those managing to obtain his professional respect. Their views and opinions carried weight with him, and it provided an opportunity to obtain a better grasp of how others thought.

@[member="Darth Kyros"]
 
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Initially she did not seat herself, her eyes lingering across the high border of the room as she pondered the recent changes and her imminent move to Korriban. It seemed as though she could never settle in one place for too long – Bastion had been a few years, true, but since then her movement had been frequent. Truth be told she had so few possessions that it hardly mattered to her, but there was always one subordinate or another who insisted on her taking something extra, and they always packed more than was required. It annoyed her in many regards, and in the end she would merely have them replace it to its original position. Frivolous assets had no place within her lifestyle, not yet at least. There were much more pressing concerns, further things to see to that benefitted more than just herself.


Finally Ashmedai spoke up, dismissing the offered compliments of food and drink and instead setting up the discussion she had been awaiting since hearing of is imminent presence here. “As you wish” she retorted, with a very subtle smile, before moving to situate herself within one of the many armchairs the room held, seated across from him. “Indeed, although curiosity can be suppressed where required; I feel you’re to tell me either way.” Settling her hands to either side of the chair arms she listened to his initial retort, face impassive. “I thank you, although it is less a congratulations in many regards than it may seem – an ascension in power oft’ comes with further difficulties and burdens.” Her shoulders rose and fell in a shrug; she wasn’t so ignorant as to think this was the end of her path, or that it was something miraculous as many of the younger Sith would view it. It simply was, but would it last? Not if Kara had anything to say on the matter.


And then came the secondary question, which brought a genuine smile to her lips. “You never fail to bemuse me, Lord Ashmedai.” Leaning back in the seat for a moment she steepled her fingers and pondered. “While I do not doubt there is a correlation between the pair, neither is dependent on the other, as much as certain Sith may proclaim otherwise. The Sith existed for centuries before they formed an Empire, and will exist long after it has fallen. It is an idea more so than anything else, a concept and a belief. While Empires rise and fall it is difficult to crush something so… Metaphysical yet tangible. We can feel and sense the bogan around us, it manifests itself, it cannot be broken in the way a palace –“ she gestured around the room “- or a person can. Therefore it is not wholly relevant, more a way for Sith to assert their Will to Power, to take a dominant stance within the Galaxy; and yet it has taken much less for one to do so much more, to have much more of an effect.”


“If the Empire were to fall away the idea of the Sith would live on.” For a moment she blinked and looked back at him, as though having forgotten he was even there at all – it was not a sign that she was being rude or dismissive of him, quite the contrary, it was a question she had never before answered yet she had considered. The Sith Lord Ashmedai was an interesting one if nothing else.

@[member="Cameron Centurion"]
 
A thin smile slowly formed on the Sith Lord's lips as he listened to the words of Kyros. Beneath the young visage of the woman before him, there was a gradually swelling power. Ashmedai had first noted the existence on Metalorn so long ago, but the realization had been little more than a passing awareness at the time. Now, Kara's power and ability was so thick that it nearly filled the room with little effort of her own.

"Assert their Will to Power...". Ashmedai tasted the words of the woman across from him on his own tongue. The rather simple thought and statement did push the dark-skinned Sith down another path, a tunnel of contemplation. To what extent did the Sith Empire grant any Sith the ability to portray any greater power? Was the simple acceptance of lower life forms enough to really say one had achieved Power? Did the Sith Empire represent the actual, true, raw power of the Sith?

"In my experience, those that have need of display or base for their Power...have very little. Yes - there will always be the need for resources, material things enabling us to achieve our goals much easier." Coming to his feet, Ashmedai allowed his silver-green gaze to leave Kyros' eyes and roam the room. Adjusting the folds of the black and silver cloak that he wore over his exposed upper torso, the Sith Lord permitted himself a moment to reminisce. For being such a large individual, his footfalls were inexplicably soft and his frames seemed to stalk as he moved as if he were a predator perpetually on the prowl.

Making his way behind where Kara was seated, the Sith Lord eventually paused as his eyes found her diminutive figure once more. "Throughout the course of this history, the legacy of the Sith, one thing has remained constant. The power of the Sith has always been greatest when they existed in the shadows. When blatant fear of the unknown existed, it fed the dark side. Likewise, it has always been the premature expansion and posturing of the Sith that has eventually...resulted in failure." Abandoning his sermon, Ashmedai stepped to the side of Kara's seat and gazed down at her with an expressionless mask. "Do not fall prey to the imperfections of the Sith perpetuated by the misguided notion that to be Sith is to be part of a stifling bureaucracy."

What the Sith Lord did not know was that...Kara had already considered such and made the appropriate moves. It wasn't, after all, for him to know. He'd not been friends or any particular ally with the woman. He shared neither a place at her table nor in her bed. As such, his travel here was merely to ensure he did what was prudent as a Sith; convey his respect and humble advice. Sith like Darth Kyros were the future and Ashmedai was all too cognizant of the fact that the future...was now.

@[member="Darth Kyros"]
 
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As ever Kära listened to what the man had to say, not caring to interrupt his thoughts. To do so would be rude, and that was not befitting of a Lady; A Sith she might have been, but that was not cause enough to drop common courtesy. When Cameron made his way around to the back of her seat, still contemplating to himself, his words wise and intended for her hearing, she did not flinch in uncertainty. Instead she remained seated forward - she had nothing to fear here, especially not from Ashmedai. His words were slightly misguided, however she owed that to a lack of knowledge where her plans were concerned. What else was to be expected? The Shadow Order was not common place, it remained cloaked. All things in time, she deduced.

"You mistake my words, my Lord Ashmedai. The Sith do not flourish from Galactic Politics or Geographical Supremacy - quite the contrary. The Sith lie best in mystery and fear, when our movements and actions are not easily traced and the Galaxy are left to wonder if we remain or have dispersed. The shadow they watch for over their shoulder, not petty power-playing. What I spoke of - this Will to Power - is how many view their role within the Sith as an Empire. Power through expansion, yet they lose sight of what we truly are. Running headlong into combat does not warrant change or fear, it does not bring about order or the spreading of our ideals - nor does having a little spot on the star-maps." Shaking her head she rose, straightening out her robes with profound care.

Turning to face the hulking man she managed a slight smile, but there was something devious about it, unspoken words lingering beyond. "This Empire is running itself into the ground. We are a target too large to miss, we have planets and people to oversee - we are diverting from our path. And these very planets and nations we seek to keep ahold of are easily used against us. The Republic can strike out whenever they wish and assert their will against us." She laughed lightly, yet it held a bitter resentment. "An Order without a front such as this, without targets for terrorism and wide-spread ruin, the loss of any Order. That is where the Sith flourish best. You cannot catch the intangible. It has all become a game, it's sacrilegious to our cause. Numbers... That's all this Galaxy has come to."

It brought her a mild amount of distress, and for a moment she seemed somewhat flustered. That is, until her expression cooled and relaxed into an unreadable state. Her hands settled at her back, clasped, forcing her posture to straighten up. "I insist that you join me for dinner this evening, Lord Ashmedai; stay a while. There is much and more to discuss, things I'm sure you would wish to hear."

@[member="Cameron Centurion"]
 
The faintest hint of a smile touched the Sith Lord's lips at Kara's words. The future indeed... Ashmedai's silver-green gaze burned with intensity as he listened to Kara. When she stood up to face him, the large Sith did not draw any element of amusement as he...occasionally did. His attentions were focused solely on her words.

As she concluded thoughts that mirrored his own, Ashmedai merely dipped his head in silent agreement. Merely hoping for an opportunity to explore this concept further with Kara, the Sith Lord was all too pleased with the dinner invitation. However, he was a busy man, so his internal acceptance was tempered by reality. "Dinner? One moment."

Withdrawing his datapad, Ashmedai briefly checked his schedule of current commitments. So long as he did not spend more than one evening on Felucia, he could make do. Slipping the datapad back into his pocket, Ashmedai gave another nod of assent. "It would be my honor, Lady Kyros, on one condition." Grasping the folds of his cloak, he indicated his present appearance, specifically lack of a shirt...as was common for the Sith Lord in most environments. "You would have to excuse my presence momentarily to change."

@[member="Kära Vi'dreya"]
 
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The Sith Lady kept her gaze upon Ashmedai when he checked the datapad, it was nice to see a rational man who acted on a schedule and not his impulses. When he concluded that he could, in fact, stay the evening she inclined her head. "Very well, My Lord, take all the time you require." Truth be told, she too could do with changing out of her attire. It was hardly appropriate enough for dinner with another. With a slight gesture of her hand a young boy stepped forwards. "See to Lord Ashmedai's needs, and escort him to the dining hall once he is ready." With that she turned, after inclining her head deeply towards him, and ventured from the room.

To her chambers she wandered, where she took the time to clean herself up and dress into a fresh set of clothes; for once she opted for a dress, as opposed to her usual robes. There was no need to be so uptight within her own home, after all. The dress she chose was practical yet magnificent in appearance: it seemed to change as it caught the light, each movement casting it in a different hue of dark blue. In some lights it even seemed purple.

By the time the Sith Lady was within the dining room it had been set up in preparation for dinner. Several young servants stood in attendance around the room, out of the way yet visible enough that they were obviously on hand. Standing behind her seat, at the head of the table, the woman awaited Ashmedai. The scent of cooking food brushed her senses; as ever what was being served would be humble yet filling, she did not deal with extravagance where such was concerned. Ashmedai would want for nothing, however, that she would ensure.

@[member="Cameron Centurion"]
 
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