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Without a Cause

Lord Ghoul

Guest
L
@[member="Amorella Mae"]

A lean figure in a leather jacket and pants stared with frighteningly cold blue eyes at the towering structures of the Pantheon's palace on Exocron. Traveling through the Kathol Outback to find this place had not been easy. But he had found it all the same. They said gods ruled here. And that was why he had come. Thronebreaker, Bane of Coruscant, and now to add to his list of achievements? Godkiller.

But he did not come for titles, or fame. He came to do what he'd done to the other governments of the galaxy. He came to bend Moross to his will, to show them that Mikhail Shorn was subject to none, ruled by none.

Boldly, the dark haired man strode into the Pantheon, heading straight for the room of the Living god present upon Exocron. Her name was Inari the Reviver. Shorn intended to see her dead. The guards stopped him before he could go through the inner gates. They were aliens unlike any he had ever seen. Strange, reptilian creatures, whose voices rasped coldly in basic.

"Halt, your business, stranger?"

"Here to kill your gods," spat Mikhail, "Should be a short stay."
 

Ereza

Velaeri Mortaine
Character
Something wicked this way comes...

The Hall of the Reviver was quiet and quite empty in the early dawn. The barest touches of sunlight bathing rows of pews and golden-embroidered banners of pale ivory silk, here alongside the sound of the running water of the spring, not another sound came. The White Guard stood silent and stoic while the Goddess meditated, undisturbed and serene, much like she usually was while her fellow "Living Gods" were away. At this time of day no pilgrims came, no followers prayed, and the Reviver enjoyed her peace.

Amorella didn't sleep anymore - a concern she had relayed to her family some time ago only to find this was a perfectly normal thing. Sleep, as it turned out, was not so common within her bloodlines. Meditation in various forms, however, was the key to rejuvenation. A skill she had practiced for many years, and though in her earlier years she struggled to find a reason, now it had become less a skill and more a habit. Her time governing the Aing-Tii and keeping their secrets hidden had given the woman particular insight to new uses of Meditation, one of which known as Flow Walking. A new skill she began learning several months ago.

It was also what she now employed to watch over her people and her Kingdom.

Within the Flow of the Force there were many means to an end. Though she had yet to perfect any of them, Inari found the ability to Flow Walk in the present time rather useful and enlightening. Her body may have found some form of divine peace in the Hall of the Reviver, seated upon the dais at end of the cathedral, but her presence was elsewhere. Drifting through the chambers of the Temple of the Divines, whispering soothing words into the minds of new and frightened pilgrims, speaking holy doctrines into those of devotion, watching over her flock with a growing sense of pride. If only her mother could see her now. Would she, too, be proud?


"My soul honors your soul.
I honor the place in you where
the entire universe resides."


These words her vision spoke. Not a ghost nor a phantom, but an entity of life, a harbinger of light. It walked the halls, visible not to the naked eye, but felt by those it passed. Dreary corridors seemed suddenly less forboding, candles and lanturns burned brighter and with fervor, and the dark shadow cast by many of the fellow Divines diminished in the presence of their living sister and mother. Her domain was here, her power absolute, or so said the Book of Moross as it depicted the roles of any Living God.

"I honor the light, love, truth,
beauty and peace within you,
because it is also within me."


The Reviver's hymn was known by all of Moross, and spoken in times of great need or despair; in times of reconcilliation, times of joy and praise. It was this verse that fed their beliefs. The faint ability to relate to a God. The reminder that one was the result of their holy powers. The Prayer that brought faith to the denizens.

"In sharing these things
we are united, we are the same,
we are one."

"Namasté"


Within the temple Inari opened her eyes, pools of fathomless glassy blue taking in the pale morning of her hall. She'd seen a man approaching in her wanderings and she'd felt his dark presence. It had been one of faint familiarity, much like all the others she'd come to know, but this was different. This one was unique.

But where ... had she felt it before?

Her gaze, heavy with thought, settled upon the White Guard kneeling before her. She hadn't heard his words in the physical realm, but she'd understood them in the surreal.

The Reviver nodded, taking in the shiver of emotion this unknown entity brought with it, disturbing her peace like a pebble upon the pristine surface of still water.

"Let him pass."


@[member="Mikhail Shorn"]
 

Lord Ghoul

Guest
L
He had been expecting a fight, but the guards suddenly became stone-faced and stepped aside. As he passed through the gates they watched him with their menacing reptilian gaze. Shorn just waggled his fingers at them and went right on through. A twisted knot kept him from enjoying the lofty scenery as he passed into the Hall of the Reviver. His casual gait through the towering structures made it seem as if he were simply here on an afternoon stroll, rather than preparing to take on the Living Gods.

There were guards of many colors present. Mikhail guessed each color represented a god. But those in white were vastly overrepresented. That meant something. Perhaps their god was superior in the hierarchy? Whatever. Shorn didn't really care about their hokey religion. It wouldn't last long once he was done here. Killing one's gods tended to put a damper on that sort of thing.

As he walked through the halls, one would not have mistaken him for a crazed Sith Lord bent on destruction - save for his aura in the Force. He carried no lightsaber, just a knife in a horizontal sheath on his belt at his back.

Why was he here? To break Moross. A bunch of zealots had been preaching about how he should be submissive to the gods. Shorn had told him there were no gods. The zealots called him out as a heretic and tried to have him put in chains. He'd killed them all with a few gestures and a thought. No nation, no god, no king would put him in prison unless he wanted to be in prison. Even though he hated the Sith and all they stood for he believed he had truly achieved their code. Through strength he had gained the power to destroy entire cities. Through power he had remained victorious against every enemy. Through victory his chains were broken. The Force had set him free. Except it had'nt. Mikhail Shorn had set Mikhail Shorn free. No one else.

The slow burning embers of hatred kindled into flame, roiling inside him and twisting his gut. The anger pulsed through his veins, along with adrenaline that gave him a heady wish to break things. Anything.

In moments, he was standing before the one they called the Reviver. Her guards were in front of him. But in a single gesture he could have turned them to dust. The Dark Side was flooding into him, feeding on his groundless hate. Yet, a small part of him resisted its touch, issuing from the wound in his side, where Diana's blade had pierced him. That just made him angrier.

Pale eyes like twin swords of ice stabbed into @[member="Amorella Mae"]. She was a short woman, probably a little younger than Mikhail, though her face contained that kind of ageless wisdom one tended to see in a force user... or a god. Fiery locks spilled over her shoulders, highlighting the pale, sharp features of her face. Her blue-green eyes stared calmly at him, unfazed by the aphotic power rolling from him in waves. She was beautiful. Too bad Shorn had to break her.

"Hello, god," Shorn's words dripped with venom, "I hear you think you rule the galaxy."
 

Ereza

Velaeri Mortaine
Character
Inari the Reviver remained stoic and regal under the oppressive gaze of the man before her. She stared back, unflinching, unsmiling, a distant glint to her eyes as she sampled the essence of this being who intruded upon the realm of Moross. He was not the first to deny their claims, nor certainly would he be the last. The manner of the galaxy did not raise only sheep, for there must always be wolves, and this cycle of live and kill and die to live again, it was pertinent to know which side of the balance one sat upon. One had to know if they were the meal or the devourer.

Mikhail was most certainly the latter.

But there was more than one kind of sheep and more than one kind of wolf. If the pack consisted only of ravenous beasts, they would soon swallow the world. So there was need for guardians to watch over the flocks and maintain that balance, to keep their monstrous cousins at bay when the herds grew thin, for their own kind's protection.

This, this is what Inari was.

But Inari was only a guise. The hide of a wolf worn by something a bit more feeble, a bit more wary of Mikhail's destructive nature. Amorella Mae Darke, the Crown Heiress of Kuat, did her utmost to retain her unwavering divine facade.

"Is this what they are saying now?" the woman's voice was gentle and steady as she took in the features of Mikhail's face. A handsome man, a serious man, like many of dark intent she'd met before. Yet he was also far angrier than most. Offended, even, at the very existence of her station. What would drive a man to destroy something that had never touched upon his life? His visit with the zealots escaped her knowledge, for she was not Neth.

Had word of the Aesirs spread so far as to garner the interest of the Thronebreaker over half a galaxy away? She regarded him, unsmiling, faintly tilting her head to one side, "I rule only those who wish to be. My power comes from faith, not from non-believers. I hold no realm over men who believe only in themselves."

@[member="Mikhail Shorn"]
 

Lord Ghoul

Guest
L
"Maybe I've just got a problem with authority," he quipped wickedly.

Lightning crackled around his left fingers as they curled into a fist. The barely audible low-whine of cybernetics issued from his right hand as it too closed, with inhuman strength. Power surged through him. His jaw tightened, muscles standing out. Blood pounded in his head. Shoulders rose and fell with heavy breaths. He wanted to reach out and snap her in half. He couldn't explain why he wanted to destroy her. It was just an urge, a compulsion. Somehow, he had always managed to convince himself that the people he had slain had deserved it. Except when they hadn't. The Dark Side crushed the outcry of a thousand innocent souls as it thronged gleefully about him.

The pain of guilt mixed in with the pain of so many other hurts. More fuel for the fire within him, heedless of who or what it burned, only knowing that it had to burn. Or else...

Dark brows drew together sharply over hate-filled blue eyes tinted with anguish.

Shorn wanted to obliterate this chick. But a struggle rose inside him. Why?! A feeble light flickered within him. A touch of the Lightside. Diana Moridena's work. Mikhail gritted his teeth. The woman looked serene, sitting there. While he was standing there grating his teeth, his entire consciousness in upheaval. Because he was sick. Sick with the touch of the Light. It might be a healing touch, in large doses, but right now it was ripping him apart inside. It was like exposing a man who had lived inside a pitch-black cave for ten years to Tatooine's suns. It burned.

For almost a decade now, Shorn had been consumed with hate. Hate for his father, hate for the Senate, hate for the Sith. The hatred was his foundation. Without it he would lose his sense of self. Gazing into an unending morass of regret and despair, he knew he needed his anger. Otherwise, he would drown. Desperately, he clung to the senseless rage that filled him up now. It didn't matter what its cause was, just that it was there. Just that it kept the voices away.

His biggest secret? Cowardice. Not that he would ever see it that way.

"Why shouldn't I just kill you, Shortstack? Godkiller is a nice new title to add."
 

Ereza

Velaeri Mortaine
Character
"Indeed, it would be a grand title. A title just like God."

Statuesque, the barest of movements were the only hint that she was anything but stone. The subtle rising of her chest over steady breaths, the slightest flutter of eyelids. The Reviver's expression, half concealed by her silver mask, remained imperceptible. Within her own thoughts the words of Cameron Centurion echoed briefly: As a God, you should care not at all.

"What would you do with that title then? Would you lead a grand army across the stars and obliterate everything in your path? Would you conquest the religious and devout to crush their beliefs and faith? Would you place it on your resume for the next great Lord to impress upon them the value of your power?" These questions were not spoken with disdain, but genuine interest. Curiosity. What could one do with the title of Godkiller?

"Or it is something you will use..." the woman's head then tilted the other way, just slightly, as though seeing him from a new angle might offer her some insight, "to keep everyone away?"

@[member="Mikhail Shorn"]
 

Lord Ghoul

Guest
L
"I'm already a god." Dranok built him temples after he put him on the throne. With Arcis' abdication those temples weren't fully built, but they were still there. Mikhail was fairly certain a cult to Thronebreaker had also arisen. Beyond the 'cool' factor it didn't really matter to him, though an entire Empire had once whispered his prayers not so long ago. Lord of Chaos. Self-proclaimed deity.

"And titles and armies are boring," Mikhail sneered. The lightning flickered faster around his fingers, more vibrant now. The crackling of those blue tendrils provided an ominous background to his derisive words. "But the statement of your corpse is pretty useful. It will make whatever nation tries to control me next think twice. But I might end up having to break that nation too, or their ruler. And the one after that." The words were spoken with cool apathy, despite the conflict raging inside. "But what do you care? You'd be dead anyway."
 

Ereza

Velaeri Mortaine
Character
"Would I?"

Her expression seemed to leaven, careworn blue eyes finally breaking from the coldness of his own, drifting past that ghastly visage of malice down long his figure. The glow of his powers, the arcs of darkside lancing across his fingers, seemed to draw some amount of weariness from the woman. Had it really come to this?

"I am but a vassal for this divine idea. For that is what a God truly is - an idea. These things may be lost or forgotten in time, but they have a way of returning. Rekindling. Perhaps never the exact same as before, but baring familiarity of what once was. To kill me does not kill the idea. It merely returns to the source, awaiting another worthy of it's power."

Then, there it was. A flash of recognition. Her placid gaze returned to his face and settled there, boring past his physical self to the essence within. Putrid, corrupted, aflame and painful. There was another here quite similar, but this was not what she sought after. It was his presence. She'd felt it months ago on Coruscant during her visit to the Republican Committee of Ambassadors. He was there, and he'd taken Ithari- no, he'd taken @[member="Jacen Cavill"] away from her. Since that day the man had not returned. Had he died? If he lived, was he suffering? The pang of loss had effected her more than any. The feelings may never have been mutual, and perhaps she had romanticized their time together within her mind. But Amorella was not devoid of these weaknesses like Inari had to be. She could not help what feelings had grown for a man who had played a roll in keeping her alive. Perhaps he might've even cared. Amore knew not. She'd spent entire nights sick with worry after his disappearance. Her care and concern, it seemed, was her own curse to bare.

Inari's lips tightened, an indistinct gesture of her own inner turmoil.

"You are Mikhail Shorn," the media had buzzed his name and face for days and had she not been so focused on Jacen's departure she might've seen this sooner, "my, how far your name has traveled."

@[member="Mikhail Shorn"]
 

Lord Ghoul

Guest
L
"And without a single genocide to it."

Those icy eyes flashed at the mention of his name, hinting violence. He stared into her calm, blue eyes, searching for a weakness. Too many thought Mikhail Shorn just played the role of the ignorant, destructive jokester. They forgot that he had once been a formidable practicioner of Makashi. He looked for weakness and he hit them with a calculated ferocity that was more suited to Juyo than Makashi. It was why he had never been the best as a duelist, or as a manipulator. But for inciting a reaction there was nobody better. Except Anaya Fen. That bitch.

The rage grew cool, contained for the moment, though the slightest irritation would set him off like a baradium bomb. He felt the coiling emotions inside her, though she pretended to maintain her godlike state. She didn't want to lose face in front of her worshippers. That wouldn't be very good at all. But what had her in such a befuddled state? Mikhail probed deeper and found traces of presences holding back a knot of darkness within her. One he recognized immediately. Jacen Cavill. The other was.... Moridin?

Shorn smiled alarmingly.

As usual, he chose to bypass the large majority of the conversation. Any attempts to search deeper within him were deflected back onto the questioner. Her idealistic rant was quaint, but stupid. He was much more interested in this new development. @[member="Amorella Mae"]

"Speaking of genocide... what in the nine hells are Moridin and Cavill's force signatures doing inside you? You're not pregnant, are you?"
 

Ereza

Velaeri Mortaine
Character
That weariness within her expression, the tightness at the corners of her eyes, loosened at his disarming remark. It was effective, his means of derailing her train of thought upon him, but she would not so easily lose her path. Inari recalled every detail of her time spent on Coruscant during that terrible event, down to the shape of the plumes of smoke in the sky over the Senate building and the hand-painted design on the fine china from which she'd sipped tea.

Marazian Greenleaf tea with a spoonful of honey. Stirred thrice clockwise with a single back-stir.

"No," the Aesir replied to the man patiently, "I am not pregnant," would it have made a difference to him? If she had been carrying the child of @[member="Jacen Cavill"] would Mikhail Shorn have thought twice about the things he came to accomplish on this day? Curious, the safety a name could afford you even when you didn't realize it. Would Jacen be angry, would he care at all? Questions left unanswered. Little alternate realities scattered to the winds.

"Not so long ago they endeavored to help me in a time of need." She made no effort to correct his assumption of Moridin. Though it wasn't the entire truth, it wasn't wrong either. The essence of their ancestors lived on in them, and so in some part it could be said that the essence of Moridin, the fallen Sith Emperor, could be found within the Reviver, staving off the last dormant remnants of Darkside Sickness. As a matter of fact, had it not been for Jacen and Soliael's efforts, she would not be here today and @[member="Mikhail Shorn"] would be hunting down another Aesir. Perhaps one that might've put up a good fight.

"Why does this surprise you so?"
 

Lord Ghoul

Guest
L
"A) Because it's fething weird," Shorn held up a finger to indicate his first point. It was weird. But Moridin tended to dissolve everything he touched into a miasma of weird. Mikhail remembered Ashin's coup - the first and most successful of the many Sith Empire coups. Surprisingly, it had been comparatively bloodless. But Shorn still couldn't shape that image of Moridin... simply seeping away from existence. His mouth twitched downward in a hint of revulsion at the memory. Yeah, Sith were definitely weird. Especially the sorcerers. "And b ) because I don't remember Jacen as being a kind, loving soul. Or Moridin for that matter."

Icy blue eyes stared at the woman who remained so poised. Death threats didn't work so well on her. Although, Shorn probably wouldn't have felt threatened either if he was sitting in the middle of his fortress with hundreds of guards nearby at the snap of the finger. Then again, Mikhail didn't feel threatened by anyone. She should feel threatened by him though. Didn't look like she was breaking a sweat. His eyes narrowed.

"Do you really buy your own load of bantha manure?" He pointed toward the door. "You might have those idiots bringing you breakfast in bed thinking you're some sort of incarnate Big Kahuna, but if you really believe the ice you're selling to tauntauns then man... I am so going to enjoy killing you."

@[member="Amorella Mae"]
 

Ereza

Velaeri Mortaine
Character
There was a flicker of emotion to cross the lower portion of the woman's face. The faintest of smiles at his initial response, a measure of amusement showing in her eyes beyond the silver rim of her mask. The son of Moridin may not have grown in a realm of love, but he knew kindness. Things between them had changed since her arrival on Exocron. Where at first their interactions had been tense, guarded, perhaps even, dare she say, awkward - they now were comforting and natural. Soliael had become the brother she missed and needed, and a welcoming confidant. He'd sacrificed his eyesight to save her, and to this day she still felt a pang of guilt over it.

Jacen Cavill? That man was another story entirely. Amore lamented not getting to know him better, and even if her familiarity with him only ran so deep, it hadn't stopped those feelings from developing. Darth Kryptos. Aesir Ithari, God of War and Blood. He was ruthless, he was powerful, his was terrifying, yet somehow he'd also been ... gentle. He'd watched over her without any indication of expecting something in return. Amore wouldn't call him selfless, for certain he wasn't, but she liked to think he'd done so because on some level he cared. She wished he was still here to ask. She wished she could convey these thoughts to the man before her but knew it would be in vain.

Her heart thrummed strong within her chest as she watched Mikhail, wondering what sort of life the man had lead to become so angry, so hateful, so full of spite. Amore wanted nothing more than to reach out and show him peace, offer him a moment of serenity. What a cruel facade he wore.

"I believe," the woman began again, her voice gentle, "that faith is a power often overlooked. That belief isn't based on tangible truths, but on the intangible possibilities that faith provides. Providence is something we all seek, even if our faith is only in ourselves. What do you believe?"

@[member="Mikhail Shorn"]
 

Lord Ghoul

Guest
L
"I believe life is one big proverbial coin toss. And you just landed on the wrong side." Snide words followed by a curling of the lips and a surge of Dark Side. The aphotic energy curled around Mikhail like tendrils of smoke. Invisible to the human eye, but entirely corporeal for those who saw with the Force. Shorn drank in the intoxicating ambrosia of strength. The Sith had first introduced him to the stuff and he hadn't stopped using since. Idiots who stuck to the light and demanded others to do the same didn't understand. Mikhail was more powerful than any of them could possibly imagine. How could he give that up? He liked the way it felt. Powerful.

The deluded lady could keep talking her spiritual, faith mumbo jumbo. Shorn only believed in living in the moment. He took whatever he wanted without care for the future, because if he tried to look past the now all he saw was his wake of destruction on a grand scheme. That scared him. Shorn knew he couldn't do what was right. Moments of weakness were his thing. He would always fail. Always disappoint. So he did what he wanted to. He enjoyed being bad. Because if he tried to fight against who he was - what the Sith had made him - he would only hurt worse. Mikhail didn't do the right thing because the right thing was painful. Deep down, he was a coward.

Inari represented salvation. A chance for redemption.... More pain.

She didn't understand what she was doing to him. He would make her understand. He would make her feel his suffering. His hand came up, fingers curling inward as he used the Force to crush down on Inari's heart with inexorable strength.
@[member="Amorella Mae"]
 

Ereza

Velaeri Mortaine
Character
"Don't...!"

A delicate hand reached up followed by a muffled sound of pain, but it was not the Thronebreaker that the Aesir's word was directed at...it was her White Cloaks Guard. They had moved to intercept, and while many of them were Force Users powerful enough in their numbers to give Mikhail a challenge, Inari knew the truth of the matter. In the end, their efforts would be in vain.

They stopped at her command, hesitant, and watched with blazing concern, their inner turmoil protesting the need to obey despite her obvious distress.

A grimace of pain yielding another gasping utterance, fingers lifting to grasp at her chest. Mikhail would find resistance there, for he'd chosen to target the woman's strongest asset: her heart. It beat against him, and in her own efforts to stave his power the flicker-glimmer of a pearlescent Force Shield appeared around her. The woman struggled, knees buckling beneath her they crashed to the floor of her dais, their pain at the impact drowned out by the agony in her chest.

She gasped, fighting to breath.

"My soul honors your soul," the words she uttered were strained, "I honor the place in you where the entire universe resides..."
 

Lord Ghoul

Guest
L
"Just shut up and die," Mikhail growled, squeezing with all his might to crush through her Force Aura and break the heart that beat within. A heart that could inspire masses. A heart that beat nor for selfish gain, but for the betterment of others. Shorn didn't understand. Didn't want to understand. He just wanted to see her gasping for death on the floor.

He was so tired of hearing people, people like her, tell him to do this and don't do that and whatever you do make sure you're lightside because lightsiders couldn't possibly do anything wrong. Especially not the Republic. Oh no. The Republic senators were all upright gentlebeings. They did what was best for the galaxy. For democracy. And everything had to be done for democracy. Democracy was salvation. No amount of blood shed in the name of democracy would be too high. That was why he and his unit had been sent on an impossible mission. Lambs for the slaughter. Blood spilled in the name democracy. But oh, that blood was sacred now, wasn't it? They weren't massacred like rats in a cage. They died bravely, each fighting to the last. That's what the records had said. That's why they all got medals. Medals for dying. Because pieces of metal did a whole lot for corpses. They looked really good at the funerals. Made good, shiny targets to point to to comfort the widows and the mothers.

But what about him? Oh no. Mikhail Shorn was the disgrace of a captain who'd failed to complete the mission. The impossible mission. Scapegoated. Because he was the bad guy. He was always the bad guy. She played a role? Well he played one too. And he did it pretty. Damn. Well. He was too immersed in the Dark Side to notice or care why she called her peons off. It didn't matter. He'd kill them after her. He'd kill all of them.

@[member="Amorella Mae"]
 

Ereza

Velaeri Mortaine
Character
Gasping, just as he wanted, Amore felt the words of her prayer catch on the rise of blood from her chest. Her heart swelled in a quaking, forceful beat against him, harder, more painful with every breath. She coughed, splattering blood across the front of her robes as it pooled in her mouth and dripped from her nostrils.

"I honor the light, love, truth,
beauty and peace within you,
because it is also within me."


The words were not coming from her anymore, but were echoed by her attending White Cloaks who stood staring, hurting at her pain. The Force Shield around her quivered and vanished, its light ephemeral. Her heart seized and her fingers kneaded at her chest, trying to will it to continue the fight.

She didn't hear the ring of swords and daggers drawn from their sheaths around her, or the voices speaking in low unison.

Every breath was a struggle, haggard, her lungs drowning in blood. Suddenly the whole of her life flashed through her mind's eye - all the things that were; her family, her friends, her home on Kuat, how the longing in her heart for all things familiar and the pain of being away for so long ...it could not compare to what she felt now. This pure malice, this unyielding rage. She reveled in the thoughts of her loved ones and remembered their faces as her eyes took on a vapid glaze. Her mother, father, brother and now her nephew and her uncle, even her distant cousin so aloof. Theirs was a family so tightly knit - how she missed those days spent together. And of her people? The graceful souls of Kuat, the loyal followers of Moross. She felt remorse for the years she felt slipping from her, what good she could have brought ... how had it all been in vain? She was supposed to be here learning how to lead so that someday she might do just that at the heart of the Republic. The lives she could have helped, the wounds she could have mended. Tears of pain gushed from the corners of her eyes. Her thoughts reeled at incomprehensible speed, she experienced it all in the few blinks of an eye until all the world went black.

The Reviver gave a final gasp as she felt her heart break within her - a feeling she would never be able to put into words. It was all the pain in the galaxy, it was all the sadness at once. Slowly, her arm that had supported her from falling to the floor crumpled and gave out.



"In sharing these things
we are united, we are the same,
we are one."

The White Cloak guard turned to face Mikhail, blades drawn, eyes alight with fervent purpose.

"Namasté"


The honor echoed briefly around the Thronebreaker as one by one, each one reached to remove their helmet and raised their weapons. One by one, in a display of holy solidarity, slit their own throats. The bodies dropped with the cacophony of their armor smashing against the floor.

Blood began to pool beneath each.

The hall fell desparately still and quiet.

Mikhail was alone, for now, and had succeeded today in breaking the Heart of the Crusade.

A stray ray of warm sunlight filtered through the stained glass windows of the cathedral, pouring down across the dark devil who stood there. A flow of energy might be felt, if he were so inclined to sense it over his own roiling soul, to feel it over his own beating heart.

It was said by many a Master of the Force that it worked in mysterious ways. That no matter what side one took, every now and then under the perfect circumstances - miracles could happen.

Mikhail's heartbeat was suddenly joined by a second, quieter, weaker beat, but one that with every moment that passed, grew a little stronger.

Amore's fingers curled against the coldness of the stone stiles beneath as the woman took a shallow, rattling breath. The second beat soldiered on, resilient. Those fingers flattened now, a shaken strength returning to them.

My name...

A gentle voice spoke to Mikhail over the Force, non-invasive, but simply there for him to hear. A distant painful echo.

...is Amorella...

Strength became action, as quite suddenly the still form of the Reviver pushed up from the floor. Slowly, movements stiff, she sat up. Before his very eyes the woman who had just lain dead not moments ago was once again on her feet. Robes stained with blood, blue eyes settled upon him as unwavering as ever. As hopeful for his soul as they had been the moment he arrived.

"...and I forgive you, [member="Mikhail Shorn"]," Amore's voice was weak, but full of conviction, "for what you have done to me."
 

Lord Ghoul

Guest
L
Tears from her eyes, blood from her mouth. Shorn drank them in, heart twisting into knots of unrepentant misery and anger. Once he crossed the bridge, passed the hesitation of doing a heinous act, he didn't look back. Committed, he crushed down all the harder, letting himself revel in the suffering he caused her and imagining it as the suffering of those who wronged him. At last, her heart broke. He felt it break. A sense of shock floated through him. He'd killed her. Dark satisfaction seeped through the shock and he smiled cruelly.

The guards said something foreign and then slit their throats in unison. Shorn stumbled backward as blood spurted into the air in scarlet ribbons from the severed arteries. He stared, eyes wide at the mass suicide. Crimson pools spread outward from the bodies. Blood mixed with blood. For a moment, all was silent. Not a whisper on the wind. Mikhail listened to that silence. He heard only the hissing spurts of blood as the hearts all around him beat their last.

"Who the hell are you people?" Shorn muttered.

Suddenly, a rattling breath sounded from the floor. Shorn's eyes grew impossibly wider and he took a step back. He felt [member="Amorella Mae"]'s presence in the Force flare up, brilliant and blinding with a pure white light that shone like a thousand suns. A stunned expression overcame Shorn. He didn't understand. They were dead. She was dead. He'd killed her. How? He'd watched her die, damn it. How was this possible?

Then she said words which Mikhail had never heard before. The words sang in Shorn's mind. He didn't try to stop them. He couldn't have. He was too confused, too bewildered that his thoughts stumbled about themselves, blurry and incoherent. Forgive? How could she forgive him? He'd killed her. I killed her. I killed her. I killed her. The words ran through Mikhail's mind on repeat.

"I... what...." Shorn stuttered. "Amorella?" He glanced from the bodies on the ground back to the blood soaked woman with rapid repetition. They were alone in this now eerily silent dais room. "Who are you?"
 

Ereza

Velaeri Mortaine
Character
As she stood there, lost momentarily within the glory of life renewed and the spirits willingly given to make it so, Amorella suddenly became aware of the pain in her chest as her heart continued to slowly beat stronger. Threads of the Force were sewing the pieces together as one, but from the fire she felt - both for life and for her demise, the woman could tell that it was a hurt that would not soon leave her.

Mikhail Shorn had broken her heart and he hadn't even kissed her.

She took a step towards him, finding the blood in her veins thick and slow, her limbs heavy as if weighed by armor. Amore willed herself to persevere. She took another step, this time beginning her descent down the stairs of Inari's shrine.

"Does it really matter who I am now, Mikhail? Now you know the truth," another step, slowly, until she reached the bottom, and stood at ground level with the Thronebreaker, the Godkiller. She looked up at him now, slight of stature though she was. A trembling breath passed through her lips, "I am just a girl. Are you satisfied?"

[member="Mikhail Shorn"]
 

Lord Ghoul

Guest
L
"I-"

Shorn stared at the woman whose death he had caused, whose resurrection he had witnessed. He had seen many things wrought with the power of the Force, always death. One could follow Mikhail by the wake of destruction in his path. The Force made that possible. His eyes traveled to the pool of blood congealing on the floor. He was used to sights like that. That didn't leave him bewildered and breathless. Blue eyes betraying a depth of soul turned up to meet blue eyes promising to soothe that soul. Life in death. How.

"I-"

He swallowed slowly. A girl, she said. Just a girl. Was he satisfied?

Mikhail wrapped his fingers around his head and began to squeeze as the Light burned into him by Diana's sword did battle with the Dark. He backed away, nearly tripping over a body behind him. Heavy footsteps splashed in the puddle of blood. He stared, eyes wide, nostrils flaring. Slowly, he sank to his knees. What was he doing here? Why had he even come to this place in the first place?

"No," he breathed, voice barely a whisper, "It's tearing me apart inside. I can feel it. But you don't understand. None of you ever have. I enjoy this. I enjoy it. It's what they made me." His arms dropped to hang limp at his sides and he looked up at Amore with haunted features. "Just kill me."

[member="Amorella Mae"]
 

Ereza

Velaeri Mortaine
Character
Amorella watched the man stumble, fight with this warped reality before him. It was hard for her too, to take it all in, to understand what had transpired here. It rattled the woman to her very core, but now, like so many times before, she was faced with an option. An option to break, to give in to the overwhelming pain in her chest and the fear thundering through her veins, or the option to remain strong, to be that Pillar of peace, that bringer of serenity.

"Just kill me."

Her body froze, a cold chill striking the length of her spine, crawling across her skin. His face ...

Amorella shook her head, a motion so subtle it might've been a breeze, "No," she took a step against the fright, moving towards the man, and raised a hand tentatively towards him as she slowly closed the distance. Every fiber of her being screamed not to, but Amorella could not go against that one small piece of humanity that told her to go to him. Something inside her wanted to sooth him, to show him that everything would be ok.

Another step, delicate fingers stretching out, wary of his reaction, ready to flee at the slightest sign of aggression, closer yet she drew. Time felt as though it had come to a grinding halt, the air stalling within her chest as she made that last inch until her fingertips reached the skin of his face. In that instant, a curious swirling of light and dark found a harmonic balance.

"I won't do that," still wary of his unpredictable nature, Amore pushed forwards and suddenly enveloped the kneeling man in her arms, ensnaring his shoulders and head in a grasp that was strong and resolute in this decision to forgive. To accept him and his mistakes, to love without judgement. She didn't know the man at all, but she felt that he deserve all of it more than anyone else she knew - something she would likely spend months trying to explain to herself.

Amore would hold him there for as long as he would allow it, as long as he might need it, fingers in his hair, heart beating in her chest so fast it was agonizing. Grateful that he couldn't see her grimace, the woman took a steadying breath, "I am here," she spoke into his hair, "whenever you need me."

[member="Mikhail Shorn"]
 
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