Star Wars Roleplay: Chaos

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Where the Old Host Began

Gulamendis had been described as an epicenter of pain and death; the world twisted in darkness and shadowed by its towering ecumenopolis. However, as hard as it may be to tell, the world has fallen into chaos. With the High King deceased, the various raiding clans and warlords amongst the Gulandi vy for power in bloody wars.

Already millions have perished in pursuit of eternal reverence, to achieve a great death in glorious battle. To slay an enemy and fall only when the last drop of blood drips. It is here on this cruel and grotesque world that Boethiah would find herself retracing lost memories in an effort to recover the past hidden within her own heart. A singular vessel descending the smog-filled clouds and slashing through thick, acidic rainfall as if the storms were drizzle.

The flash of its engines lit up the night sky like lighting strikes, and proved ignored by the people below. Far too busy killing each other to notice that outsiders have descended upon their sacred capital. "Can you feel it...?" Boethiah looks to her companion, the witch's eyes are filled with insatiable hunger. The spirit of Anja Aj'Rou within had been awoken by familiar sensations.

It is here on Gulamendis that the first Primeval Host had been truly established, and with Gulandi hordes at her back Anja Aj'Rou had invaded the galaxy. Even the might of mandalore had fallen victim to her wrath, losing countless mandalorian lives in hopeless pursuit of victory at Wayland. Now a hollow pursuit it would seem... Old enemies, much like old friends, have fallen in recent times and been replaced by husks.

[member="Aria Vale"]
She hadn't expected to, but Aria could feel it. Darkness radiated from the planet, stronger the closer the craft came to the surface of Gulamendis - by now, Aria sensed the darkness easily and acutely. And she could sense the violence, too, the blood and death and chaos - but what she hadn't expected was how clearly she sensed there was more to the wars than mindless murder, how the death and the darkness were covered in an almost holy shroud. Was that what they felt, those among the Primeval who believed in the gods?

"Yes," came her brief reply, and it's beautiful.

Hesitant, Aria met the witch's eyes for a moment, curious above anything. She knew Boethiah solely as the host lord, understood to a reasonable extent her importance in the Primeval, but without having spent hardly any time with her or having any belief in the gods that comprised the other girl's faith, she'd formed very little opinion on the Dathomiri insofar. So far she simply seemed strange in the same, dark way that the Primeval itself did.

Today could serve that purpose as well, then. Aria accompanied Boethiah to Gulamendis out of loyalty to the cult, out of her perpetual interest in anything related to the dark side, but out of sheer curiosity too, she supposed. She wasn't sure yet how seriously to take the Primeval religion, but that didn't stop her from being interested in it.

The vessel settled on the ground, and a ramp lowered. Aria raised an eyebrow at the weather, but she made as if to move and looked at the witch again.

"Where do we go first?"

The downpour washed away soot of old, destroyed vessels which once settled the same landing pad. The crack of a distant rifle shot echoed across the open air, and far off a series of successive explosions gave way like simple firecrackers. The sounds of violence and death told them how alive the city is. More lives taken, more stories told and ended.

"We will enter the palace of Sar'Sargoth," she answers. It once held sway over all of Gulamendis and was where Anja Aj'Rou had struck an alliance with the late High King. Now it was a crumbling ruin, one of the first targets in the recent civil war. A hold out of the king's remnants made their last stand and were slaughtered as a result. Only scavengers and outcasts would consider exploring the ruins, although the two of them were neither.

Boethiah stepped through the puddle laden ground, her feet splashing up acidic water that had a distinct smell to it. It smelled of forge fire and engine fumes. Their walk took them through tall buildings and skinny paths to wide openings and shallow drops. Oddly enough, where they had landed appeared all but abandoned. Yet there were the distinct sounds of footsteps echoing here and there. Debris falling and people scattering. Those who avoid the war, no doubt, or perhaps curious scouts interested in who had come to visit this day.

The young witch looked over to Aria as they move, her hair drenched by rainfall. "Do not feel threatened... They know who we represent. They may be at war, but they have not forgotten their true masters." Boethiah spoke with great confidence, completely sure of each word that escaped her paled lips. "There is a place of power on this world. One darker than even the ancient battlefields..."

Their destination.

[member="Aria Vale"]
She nodded as she followed Boethiah out of the ship, stepping into the rainstorm with apprehensive curiosity written on her face. The planet's hum told of life as much as it did death; it felt alien to Aria - but almost inviting.

They walked, and Aria observed the city, quietly intrigued. It was quieter than she'd expected; infrequently she heard footsteps amidst the rain as it battered the path, but that was seemingly the extent of the nearby life. Only mildly disconcerted by the city's emptiness, she looked around constantly as she moved, senses abuzz. The city, blackened by nightfall; the relentless acidic downpour; the petrichor laced with a distinct chemical smell; the footsteps, the rain, the debris. It was overwhelming, and at the same time so very peaceful.

Boethiah's voice hit the air and Aria blinked, as though she'd only been partly in touch with reality until she spoke, and she looked at the witch through wet strands of hair. Do not feel threatened. Threatened would perhaps be a stretch, but she doubted she'd feel as at ease as the other woman seemed to - Boethiah was the Host Lord reborn and Aria merely her companion for this journey. Still, the witch sounded sure of herself, and she wasn't one to object needlessly.

"What do you expect to find?" She spoke with an interest in her voice - underlined with a hesitance that was her trademark with strangers, yes, but with a genuinity that was rare of her.

Then again, she sensed they were nearing the palace.
She'd find out soon enough.

- [member="Boethiah"] -​
"What I've found before," she answers.

Boethiah continued to trail them through rotting structures. Walls aching as their stone and steel failed to carry the weight of rising towers, muttering groans whilst they passed. Her feet continued to splash in water kicking up more mud, soot, and dust. The wind howled through holes and cracks, whistling where the gaps grew tighter. Finally they arrived upon the great hall of Sar'Sargoth, its roof torn away and nowhere to be found. Dark jagged walls rose from the sides and shattered pillars thrown either way across the empty throne room.

The young witch twisted her body to face Aria, "this is not our final step but where it all unravels..." Her words no more clear than before. Indeed when they entered the building proved empty. "The Gulandi will not arrive where a king has died. They honour a great death, but never would they defile a greater one." To do so is sacrilege and thus would render their own death futile.

Continuing where she walked, Boethiah led them through the rear of the former palace and down a spiraling step which eventually gave way to the more natural decline of Gulamendis' surface. Steps carved from rock led the final path downwards. From here the two were subjected to great darkness, the dark side unadulterated. Here in this nexus there is no struggle with the light... It proved nonexistent even if one tried hard enough to find it. Extinguished by the black abyss, like a singularity consuming the brightest star.

"No Jedi nor Sith has set foot in these caves, and within you will be confronted by only the truest reality..."

[member="Aria Vale"]
On one hand, Aria was curious now thanks to the witch's vagueness. On the other, Boethiah seemed about as verbose as Aria herself - the Dark Jedi was more than happy to wait for answers and bask instead in the distinct otherness of the city as she followed the way to the palace. Everything important would become clear enough on its own, she supposed.

They reached the palace not long after, and Aria instinctually lifted a brow at the hall's destroyed state. Exactly what Boethiah wanted to find here - exactly what she'd found before - demanded to be asked even more so now, but she refrained. Cautious, she entered when the witch did, eyeing the desolate building with unabashed curiosity; even in its ruined state, it merited observing as far as Aria was concerned. And a king had died here, she'd said? Curiouser and curiouser.

She followed Boethiah down the spiraled staircase, blinking into the blackened scene as darkness became darker, and darker still. The Dark Side was almost tangible here - of course it was, what else would they have come for if not the darkness? - but Aria couldn't yet sense the answers that the Dathomiri was so sure she'd find here. It would help, of course, if she knew what she was looking for, but in fairness, she was perfectly happy to let Boethiah seek out her memories while Aria simply appreciated the nexus.

But the witch spoke again, and Aria was simply too curious not to respond.

"Meaning what?" Her voice was quiet but curious, soft but all too eager to know.

- [member="Boethiah"] -​
The mouth of the cavern beckoned them both to enter, a chilled breeze came forth akin a dying breath. Inside the rain water washed down grooves and crevices, forming small creeks that fell deeper within.

Natural senses would reveal the opening grew into a larger chamber, despite the complete lack of light. "Keep your darkness, do nothing to show the way. You must first walk blind before you can walk free." Certainly the words made little sense to the Dark Jedi's ears, but soon enough--should she allow the force to claim her--she'd feel the uncanny heartbeat of the nexus. A dark side reservoir ready to quench a seeker's thirst; their thirst.

Yet further inside both of them could feel a third presence, like a pair of watchful eyes searching behind the unseen veil.

Boethiah did not comment on this feeling at all, she stepped forward and nearly stumbled into Aria after tripping on a small rock. A hand of hers fell onto the Jedi's shoulder to keep balance. "Sometimes I still walk blind..." The witch mutters dismissively of her near fall.

"Now come on, we have much to see!" Making less sense than ever.

[member="Aria Vale"]
Aria shrugged mentally. Boethiah was the Host Lord reborn - or something - and had spirits inside her and suchlike; with all of that, it was hardly surprising that she was a bit odd. It didn't much matter - she could perfectly well wait to see what it was they were after.

Diligently, she kept to the darkness, walking without trying to lighten her path as the witch had said. It was impractical for the time being, but she supposed it had a point. You must first walk blind before you can walk free. Which, she wondered, was Boethiah? Which was Aria?
If nothing else, being in the dark with a quiet and faintly eccentric witch certainly had her brain in motion.

Footsteps paced across the stone floors mechanically as she walked with Boethiah, thoughts largely elsewhere. Her haze faded only when the witch tripped and used Aria's frame to steady herself; then she looked to each side with a sudden sense of disorientation, like she was almost surprised that the world had kept on moving.

The chamber felt alive - the darkness felt alive. Something registered in her consciousness, only to let her know that something had changed. Her force-sense was being less clear as to what.

- [member="Boethiah"] -​
The feeling of being watch only grew more and more as they walked deeper within.

Through the force it felt sinister, and the more one sought it out with such perceptions the more overbearing this -thing- became.

Boethiah kept walking without a halt, using her feet to feel naturally along the stone floor like a new set of eyes... Albeit cloudy eyes at that, but she remains unconcerned of her eventual destination. Whether it be somewhere special or a steep drop and sudden stop. "Are you here?" She asked back to Aria trying to reassure herself of the Dark Jedi's presence. Without sound, the young witch is blinded by the force around them.

Its presence proved overwhelming for one whose training had been limited to study and self-learning thus far.

She kept moving regardless, and did not stop to wait for an answer.

[member="Aria Vale"]
She started.

"Yes, I'm here."

Gaze traveled across the unchanging black as her footsteps followed the sound of Boethiah's. Of course Aria was content to walk without lightening the way - the dark wasn't one of those things that typically got to her - but she really wouldn't have minded being able to see.

And it didn't help that immaterial eyes seemed to constantly keep watch as she crossed the chamber. She knew just from the sort of place this was that it was downright expected; it took very little time with the Primeval to figure out that eerie and unnatural were their hallmark. Still, it could not help but get to her, even if it was only the smallest things - she'd glance backwards over her shoulder every now and then as though it'd help her see anything at all, listen between footsteps as though she'd hear something else.

- [member="Boethiah"] -​
The continuous expanse of the echoing chamber only proved to cast an illusion of its seeming endlessness.

The echoes of their footsteps grew softer, and soon their toes drown in a few inches of--what could only be assumed to be--water. Boethiah grew clumsier again without the second sight of her feet now soaked in cool liquid, but nonetheless she ventures forth with fierce determination. A determination that had led her before; across a dozen worlds and through many halls both recent and ancient.

From these places she drew from various sources of knowledge, and all of which only allowed the young witch's growth as a sorceress. She channeled the force more expertly than her younger days, but still lacked refinement and still could not truly grasp the spirits within. Alas these traits did little to deter her, as there was no hesitation in her steps thus far.

"Keep talking," she insists. The last time Aria spoke it encouraged her to maintain proximity, a proximity she may have already lost.

This time she did wait, however, for a response before continuing forward. An eerie and unnatural chill followed down the two's spines, and the singular pair of immaterial eyes from before became three.

Two additional strangers seemingly observing the duo intently, and silently.

[member="Aria Vale"]
Aria jolted, making the smallest noise of surprise as icy cold water - she assumed it was water, anyway - splashed her feet. Flinch reaction made her instantly want to back up, but she could hear the muffled splash of footsteps in water and faintly sensed Boethiah moving onward seemingly untroubled, so naturally, she winced inwardly and followed suit.

Then her head turned, following the direction of the witch's voice. 'Keep talking' was typically her cue to instantly forget everything worth talking about, truthfully. Still, Aria was just as unsettled - not unlikely to be moreso, given her companion's eccentric nature - as Boethiah, and the uncanny silence certainly didn't help.

Besides, she very rarely made conversation with witches harboring dead spirits.

"Well, um," she started hesitantly, stumbling over her words simply from the faint surprise of her voice against the quiet - "This is some kind of nexus we're in, right?" She deliberated in her footsteps, but she trusted Boethiah at least enough to know to walk when she did. "Did you say you'd been here before?" After all, Aria was still very much in the dark on the matter of exactly what they were looking for.

And simply in the dark. She was keeping her fingers crossed that wherever they finally got to had at least a shred of light somewhere.

- [member="Boethiah"] -​
"I haven't, but one inside me has." She clarifies.

Boethiah continues to walk deeper into the wet, the water that was but a puddle continued to rise ever-so-slightly and now covers her foot entirely. "And I am being told that you are correct. This is a nexus, but not one you would be familiar with." For Boethiah the spirits within were far from voices in her own head. They didn't simply talk to her but instead offered feelings. Little things that told point the young witch to answers.

Sometimes those answers didn't come, but right now in the cave they came so easily that Boethiah knows how close she is to the heart. To unlocking yet another mystery.

"The darkness is but---" A loud rumbling and shook the rock beneath their feet.

Boethiah stumbles forward, but this time she finds nothing to hold onto and yet neither does she fall into water.

"I'm still falling!" She yells, feeling herself descend into darkness before seconds later the only thing chasing after Boethiah's words is the audible thud of her finding the bottom.

[member="Aria Vale"]
The ground's rumbling reached her ears a moment before she realised Boethiah was falling.

Her first instinct was to back up to avoid following suit, but her brain quickly caught up to her flinch reaction and she knelt to find how Boethiah had fallen, muttering under her breath as water splashed up around her legs. Thud. She flinched. Was that a safe distance? She felt along the rock for an opening, and an arm reached down the one she found. It felt like a long fall, but Boethiah had been quick to land - oh dear, not good.

"What's down there?" she called out, trying to make out shapes in the blackness. Do I still need to keep the darkness? "You're not hurt, are you?"
Yeah, I'll have to go down there. She sighed quietly and carefully lifted herself over the edge, holding onto the rock by aching fingertipes. The wall was without footholds as far as she could tell.

A clumsy combination of telekinesis and free-falling landed her ungracefully on her back a few feet from Boethiah - vaguely sore, she got up.

"You okay?"

- [member="Boethiah"] -​
Boethiah sat up, the ground beneath her a dry relief and a hand searching the back of her head to relieve an aching spot.

"I am fine," she replies after a moment of sitting in silence. She then stands, "perhaps now would be a good time for light..." There is a place for faith and the young witch would be the first to say so, but there is also a place for caution and investigation; that time is now. Hoping that she had some means of light, Boethiah walks towards the Dark Jedi in further hope of taking advantage.

"You are better suited to leading the way," she admits.

The eerie feeling of being watched has gone, something that Aria might take notice of--Boethiah certainly has. In fact, she tried to glance around as if that had been helpful before. Wondering where this strange presence had vanished to, concluding that her drop may have stronger implications than simply a sore back.

[member="Aria Vale"]
- [member="Boethiah"] -​
A grin tugged at her face as the witch suggested it would be a good idea now to be able to see their way. She nodded - it slipped by her that Boethiah would likely miss the gesture in the dark - and focused quickly, willing a nicely-sized flame into existence at the end of one hand. It was easier somehow than she'd expected - perhaps keeping her darkness had had some effect after all.

The flames could only grow so tall before Aria would doubt her ability to sustain them; the light they gave off was minimal, just enough to let them see ahead. It was still a considerable improvement over the pitch black that had been their backdrop, of course - light was light.

An eyebrow lifted at Boethiah's idea that Aria had best lead. The Dark Jedi was still clueless as to their eventual destination, and she was without spirits telling her which way to go. But they were inside a nexus - perhaps she'd be able to find their way without a guide, and Boethiah seemed to think she could.

"Perhaps," she said absent-mindedly, eyes trying to make out the chamber Boethiah fell from in the barely adequate light of the fire. "Is - do you think there's a way up? How did you fall?"
"I slipped," she admits to her own fault.

Boethiah's eyes look up with Aria's, "I wish I was an Umbaran like her..." Unfortunately she may have had Anja's spirit, but that did not grant the witch her eyes. She reaches out to touch the wall in front of her, illuminated by the source of light Aria managed to secure using the force. "If it's not too high we could jump, perhaps."

Using the force to enhance the physical prowess of the user was not uncommon in training, but not every practitioner put great focus into such arts. In fact many did not once they discovered other areas of the force, and the many powers they could learn by understanding them. Boethiah on the other hand had the added benefit of being able to channel the knowledge of those spirits inside her, but focused her own prowess on the body.

In practice she could try to harness Darth Inhix, whose prowess in physicality could boost Boethiah's own.

Of course that may not bold well for Aria...

[member="Aria Vale"]
"Like wh-? Oh, right." One spirit or another. Her head craned backwards, trying to measure the distance.

"It looks quite high up," but you fell and you're fine, so..."I reckon we could, though." Aria wasn't entirely certain the extent of Boethiah's ability in the Force, even with half a dozen spirits inside her - there were certainly more interesting things to learn to use the Force for. It wasn't something Aria herself possessed any great talent in, but enough training and eventually picking things up became at least doable.

If nothing else, she'd probably not die trying.

Assuming Boethiah didn't decide it too risky, Aria would channel the Force again, energy sent into the ground from both hands to push her away from the stony surface. She shot upwards, and for a moment she was sure she'd reach the edge with distance to spare, and a moment later she rounded down to comfortably landing, and quickly it became just reaching the opening.

By the time the momentum of her push gave out, she was perhaps a metre or two from the opening they'd fallen down. Hands shot out, grasping for anything on the rock-face that would keep her from falling, and she just barely found purchase, the smallest of indents into the stone holding her in place.

Dimly she remembered the last time she'd gone climbing - she was very glad she'd not kept the hobby up once she'd left the Jedi.

Aria risked a glance back down then looked up the wall she was flat against. She could probably climb the rest of the distance.

- [member="Boethiah"] -​
Boethiah sat herself right away in a meditative stance, just as Aria began to speak.

The young witch channels the force inside of her, rather than that around her. Summoning the power of spirits imbued into her flesh, much like a Jedi or Sith would harness the knowledge of an ancient holocron. Of course unlike a Holocron--which simply serves as a learning device--Darth Inhix was a living soul, and inside the ghost of a woman lied the dormant powers of a former Dark Lady of the Sith. Boethiah surrenders herself, partially, to the will of the Zabrak. Unfortunately she has yet to truly awaken the power inside her, and must bargain to gain any boon.

It took but a few moments longer, just as Aria reached her grasping point short of the edge. A burst of energy exerted beneath the young woman's feet and her legs extended upwards in a supernatural leap. She soars at first, before falling into a not-so-gentle fall and rolling at the top. Barely making it onto the ledge. In the dark a few rocks and pebbles fall downwards towards and around Aria, a sign of the witch's success.

Boethiah looks back over the ledge, "are you there?" She calls out to the Dark Jedi, however there was a change in her tone. A certain snicker and self-assurance. "Come on now, you don't want to get lost in the dark." The woman chuckles before walking off into the chamber they fell from.

[member="Aria Vale"]
Fingers lightly caught hold of the edge and she pushed herself up swiftly - there was a soft thud and broken bits of rock spilled downwards; she looked hesitantly up, disgruntled, as Boethiah landed above her. More quickly now, she lifted herself up and over the ledge and got to her feet, dusting herself off rapidly.

"Yeah, I'm here." Aria looked to Boethiah as the witch spoke, faintly bemused at the witch's evident satisfaction. "Wouldn't want to fall in the dark, either," she added under her breath.

But they still had a way to go before they reached the end, though Aria was less than certain of the details, and so she started to walk again.

If nothing else, it was gradually becoming easier to find her way without tripping at every opportunity, and it was easier now to appreciate the nexus. Did it mean they were nearer to whatever they were looking for? She didn't know enough to be able to say, but it did feel closer.

- [member="Boethiah"] -​

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