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  1. Today
  2. Well, at least we all have a way to communicate by Discord, so the community still lives in a way Plus, it was great seeing your characters grow Setie, especially with their eccentric views and their weaknesses Gotta look at some positives and who knows, maybe we can build something with the community in the future. Maybe something that can take the great things of this site and make something greater. Even with thoughts of giving up on RP, I struggle to give up on Daniel who is probably the strongest admin we have had (Also kind of a push over, but shhh )
  3. (posting with permission of Daniel and Corey) Hey, guys. I'm one of the folks who left this site a while back for a long list of reasons, some of which included "writing my characters into a wall they couldn't get out from on this site without undoing half of my previous canonized threads" and "feeling thoroughly displaced with the OOC environment no longer being what it was when I first joined up way the hell back in 2012". (And my exit wasn't exactly a noble or glorious departure from the site. I was a dick about it. Daniel... I'm sorry.) But I did see the notification on my Facebook news feed of the site closing up, and while I'd initially only planned on returning long enough to rescue the threads I cared about for future re-reading/referencing, I had a chat with Corey, and then with my current guildmaster Rasos, and I now have permission from all parties to extend an open invitation to anyone interested in returning to SWTOR roleplaying. Because nothing's worse than investing years into your characters and then feeling SOL when their environment of creation dies, and feeling like you've got no place to go... Universal Investigations focuses more on the in-game side of things, with a side of forum RP (as I understand it, similar to Axiom waaaaay back in the days of Pravus Axiom and Lydeck?). They're primarily Republic, although they are working on increasing their Imperial presence (Invisible Fist). The premise of the guild is for a private investigations group operating in neutral space, with work available for Jedi (both with the Order and hiding out after the events of the Zakuul invasion), smugglers, troopers, spies, and mercenaries. They do have standards that need to be met for a new recruit (high, but not unreasonable), and an in-character interview in the game is required to join. But it's worth the effort- it's a drama free RP zone, the stories are fantastic and always in motion with a wide area of future development for characters (case in point: Xaja's grown way beyond what she stalled at here, and Sorand and Reanden both have developed their own personalities beyond what was seen here, and I actually found the inspiration to make a non-Taerich character. Le gasp.), and the OOC environment feels happy and laughter-filled and supportive. It feels like Axiom did way back in the Pollux/early Cideon eras, something that I didn't know I was missing until I found it there. Also, the character sheets are optional (unless otherwise stated for a particular mission), and in-game combat and actions rely on d20 rolls instead of comparing one person's stats to another. Just as a bonus. If you're interested, hit me up on Discord (Keldae#8939), or check out UI's website at (The recruitment process does get easier with someone vouching to the GM for you...). The information to get at me in-game is also in my signature. Hope to see you there! Xaja
  4. dislike... strong dislike.
  5. Yesterday
  6. Verrin, I will never know how you've lasted this long with the same character (and on this site ) but it is impressive, and even though we've had our disagreements in light forms, I always did appreciate your dedication to the site. I hope all goes well for you, old man, and I hope you do continue to write as you are definitely one of the strongest writers I've had the pleasure of role-playing with- can't imagine The Raisin not role-playing As I'm not that great with describing emotions, like Lucian has said it is a huge regret for me to toss such a timeworn mantle away, even after years of dedication to it - probably a year in the entire time I spent up all night trying to solve issues and such, but I've lost count. It took us a long while to realize we were effectively fighting a wave that was going to destroy us mentally (of course), and I am extremely sorry I couldn't hold out longer - it started to affect my actual sleeping pattern outside of insomnia and I was losing time to actually write myself. Obviously there were reasons for this outside of simple insomnia and such, like actually having a stable job, but I'm hoping to find some stability myself. Let's go away from the negative though, since Lucian has addressed most of that stuff. Long story short, I am also grateful for all the members that have actually stuck to their guns and continued to support us to the end. You all are a bunch of crazy mofos, but that's what was great about most of the community I hope to continue to communicate with most of you through Discord or Skype and I hope one day to potentially cross paths with previous members should I continue to role-play. We do appreciate y'all.
  7. @Darth Verrin The RP doesn't have to end if you don't want to. Hey guys, Erebus here. Mathes and I have taken the liberty of developing a site where Felony also serves as an administrator and for those interested, a link is available. Our site shouldn't have a relevance issue of the sort this announcement describes as we went far beyond even the reign of Darth Krayt in the canon and there were crossover opportunities with the Star Trek and Mass Effect Galaxies in addition to the Star Wars one. We have a sheet system inspired by this site with description used and a simpler canonization system but we need three "Moderators" at minimum, each of whom will cover one of the galaxies while Mathes, Fels, and I handle actual crossover events. Have a read and if you're interested, please let me know in PM. Edit: On a PS note, we welcome changes especially when the need arises, in fact we may need to make some changes as is, but relevance with Star Wars and the like should not be a concern. Not least with the nature of our site and the evolution of all three galaxies.
  8. Steenking Jedi... they are behind this, I have no doubt! BAH! (I don't often post OOC - it gets me into trouble more often than not - so I don't know most of you as 'people', but instead as your characters. I just wanted to say that it has been a fun eight years, and I've enjoyed meeting/RPing with the lot of you. While this news is somewhat saddening to someone like me, who tends to avoid 'change', I have no doubt that everyone will go on to tell their stories elsewhere. As for me, I'll pack up the Library, ship it off to some beachhouse on some far off planet, and make Maggie bring me bourbon as I watch the sunsets and read the tomes. Best wishes to all of you, in whatever you do.) - Verrin
  9. Last week
  10. Oh no! I was getting used to this site, too. I'm sad now.
  11. oh. Dang.
  12. It is with the heaviest of hearts that I write this. It is an announcement I hoped that I would never have to write - one that I have avoided writing until I think, it was well overdue. It is with the greatest regret, that I must announce that the staff have come together for one last time, and decided unanimously that it is time to shut down this site. I'll save you the trouble of looking at the date - this is no April Fools, this is an unfortunate reality of the longevity of this site, and the bare remains that are left from a grand history. I have tried to recreate the vigor that I first experienced when I joined, to re-experience the wonder and excitement that we all witnessed when we signed up to this magnificent ride. The plots, the friends, the late-night chat's and the laughter over jokes too sick to recant here. I remember the chat room filled with people on a daily basis - the site exploding with activity, with posts bursting from the seams. We all have our amusing anecdotes about times gone by - a ridiculous story from a ridiculous time. And we all remember the heartbreak of the schism (first, or second, depending on your vintage), and the choices that we all made in those dark times. No single person is at fault. No Administrator, no member, no Emperor or recruit can be solely put to blame for the decline of this site - a site which has become increasingly irrelevant due to the increasing content from BioWare's The Old Republic, a game we were originally based on. As we skipped from "close-canon" to "alternate universe" we crossed boundaries, and we could never come back. We made choices about Character Sheets. Then we changed that choice. Then we changed it again. Then for fun, we changed the system again. Every change alienated another set of members, and drove away more. The faithful few remained, until we are where we are. We have a small, reliable base of members, but we can't maintain this. The staff are at the end our their tether, mentally and physically, and we don't know what we can do anymore to keep this site operational. We've made everything as straight forward and simple as we can, but it doesn't make the RP flow any easier. The systems we have created are a fault, but not the cause of our decline. There is a lot I could say. A lot I should. So much is swimming my mind, of reasons, excuses and people to blame. But in the end, it has come down to me, to switch off the lights on a legacy of roleplay. On a community that I have proudly been a member of since 2012. I am the bringer of darkness, the destroyer of worlds. In the end, even the humour doesn't help. I realize that this might seem a shock to some people. I realize that some may be mad, upset or hurt by this decision. By all means, this is not a decision I made easily, and it is not one I execute with any great degree of pleasure. I implore anyone who has doubts, questions or concerns, to message me privately. I'll be contacting some of you myself. I'm leaving the site open for two months - to wind everything down properly, and see the old girl off properly. Write your goodbyes, finish your stories, copy what you want to save, and read over old stories. I will be writing out, at the very least a summary of the story I saw for my characters , bringing to an end their story-lines properly, and with grace, to bring their stories to their conclusion, so no lingering "what ifs" remain. I don't want any unfinished business. Neither, I think, should any of you. I want to say at this juncture, that I have thoroughly enjoyed RPing with each and every one of you. Your support, your guidance, your stories have kept me going through some tough moments in my life - and I'm sorry in the end, to disappoint you all like this. I thank all staff, current and past, for your dedication to this site, and to every person who has fought to keep this site going despite our best efforts to grind it down with administrative hurdles. As I look on future endeavors, on new and exciting prospects, I hope to see you all in the wider web. A Veteran of Fates, before the End. Again, I thank each and every one of you, for your hard work. I regret it had to end like this. But I am glad to have ended it amicably, and without controversy. Thank you all.
  13. The speeder car stopped at a gatehouse briefly, where a young soldier in the Imperial army checked the credentials of both the vehicle and driver, as well as those of the visitor entering Tanit's piece of the Empire. A few minutes passed, an inspection of the underside of the vehicle, and a bit of rummaging through the storage compartments, and the speeder was cleared for re-entry. The driver parked it across from the manor house itself, a large three-story building with expressive curvature. It was architecture reminiscient of the buildings in Coronet City on Corellia. Double doors of imported and specially treated Wroshyr wood opened and out stepped a well-dressed young man, "Greetings, Mr. Vanahok, I presume? My mistress is waiting for you in the dining room, I will show you the way." He said with a respectful bow before motioning for the guest to the Tanit Estate to enter the home. Another servant, this one a woman, approached as well and bowed in greeting, "I do apologize Mr. Vanahok, but while you are visiting with Darth Tanit I will have to ask for your weapons. They will be stored safely and returned to you upon your departure or at my mistress's leisure. A security precaution, I hope you understand." She said, with the practiced grace of someone who had on more than one occasion been tasked with the simple process of requesting that the guests relieve themselves of their weapons. It was becoming more and more apparent that Darth Tanit's estate was meant to be as secured as possible. They were simple guidelines, but guidelines nonetheless and Darth Tanit expected the to be followed. "That will not be necessary, Calen, he may keep his lightsabers." A voice said over the intercom system of the house. It was a harsh whispering tone, painted with pain. Darth Tanit had brought up the security feed to the foyer where her guest had arrived. Her servants had done their jobs well at least, greeting the man and going through the standard procedure to disarm visitors should they come strapped for war. Tanit called through again, "Have the kitchen send our meals to my office, I will be taking dinner with our guest there. Prepare a guest room should he wish to rest here as well." She said, having already returned to her office in the first place. It was more secured, both against intrusion and potential listeners. Tanit did not know expressly why her visitor had requested an audience, simply that he had done so of his own accord. The young woman, now identified as Calen looked at the large man, "My apologies, I will be on my way." She said with another low bow before departing the foyer. The man that had initially greeted Vanahok stood as officiously as ever though, "Of course, please follow me we will be going to my mistress's office instead. We will be taking the stairs to the third floor." He said, as he motioned for the large mountain of a man to follow him through the foyer to the massive sweeping stairs to the second floor. The building was constructed and decorated by someone who clearly had a taste for opulent living. Tanit had all of the furniture, paintings, and tapestries imported from Corellia, and all of the furniture thus far had been made from the same hard treated wood. Care and consideration went into the interior design, just as much as it had with the exterior. "I hope you find the accommodations to be to your liking." He said, trailing off as he began to traverse the stairs.
  14. Holle rolled here eyes at the commentary. Of course one could kill with any number of unconventional items. She had just witnessed a woman die under the continued duress of a dental drill in the hands of what was very obviously a frustrated and sadistic Pureblooded Sith. If there was one thing she had become intimately acquainted with in the past week in that visit it was the numerous and sundry ways to create a destructive item out of an otherwise innocuous household or commercial appliance. Her master raised a very valid point though, insomuch as she should be more specific with requests. Holle wanted knowledge and power, certainly, but she did not often specify what it was she sought. In some small way it was subconscious deference to the wisdom of those more trained, though she would never truly admit it without being put under the same duress she witnessed Nala endure to the end. She respected her master, but she was not going to be as obsequious as Lord Haversham had just been in search of his path to power. The half-Zeltron had pride in herself, and had only begged for her master's help the week prior after approaching another catastrophic mental breakdown. Holle crossed her arms. She had not thought much about her own direction save that she wanted power in the Dark Side and the ability to crush with impunity those that would hinder her ascent. A drawn pause, and the thought finally occurred to her that telekinetic power had quite a lot of potential beyond simply lifting or throwing objects. "An extension of the powers I am already studying, my Lord. Telekinetic ability has applications that go beyond simple lifting and throwing, and serve as an excellent foundation. The great and terrible powers of the Dark Side are not learned overnight, and my trip to Korriban gave me insight into how unrealistic my expectations of myself had become of late. I cannot learn to command lightning storms or manipulate matter with Sith Alchemy without allowing myself a broad and solid foundation in fundamental knowledge of the Force." She said, pointedly expressing a more humble approach to her education. Her request for wild and exaggerated powers in the Force, fueled by her insatiable appetite to read the journals and histories of great and powerful Sith of the past had been her greatest failing. It was good to have ambition, but growing more ambitious she began to compare herself to the great Sith Lords of the past and drew nothing but failure in her own progress. It was obvious, that the week away from Dromund Kaas and from the Library had done wonders to even Holle's approach to the Force into a more measured and level-headed one. "I have experienced the more aggressive uses of telekinetic energy numerous times, my Lord. The Overseers on Korriban, when I was an acolyte, often found they enjoyed hindering my breathing with the Force. More than once they choked me to unconsciousness, sometimes just to do it, sometimes because my frustrations caused me to lash out. Still, this type of power is definitely useful, especially in the event that one has to silence something like Lord Haversham from prattling on about how he could use an army of the dead to secure your power, or more accurately as the case may be, the power he desires." Holle finished her wine after the small addendum to her request. She placed the glass neatly on the beverage cart, not by rising, but by simply levitating the empty vessel back to where Maggie had left with with a fair amount of deftness in her control of simple telekinesis. It was about as subtle as a Wookiee in the room that she was making it a point to once again show her aptitude with simple telekinesis. It was, after all, quite a basic trick that all Sith learned.
  15. Verrin had never been a big fan of torture. The reason was likely due to his experience at the receiving end of the activity, and since then, he'd been through so much without ever really resorting to it himself, that it never was his go-to for information. He wasn't blind to it - he knew it existed, and that people like Ianthe were particularly skilled at it, but even as his apprentice stated in her reports - things said under the torturer's knife were often unreliable. He knew that he had said everything and anything to make it stop when it was happening to him, and he was sure some of it was made up, while the rest amounted to too much information. But the torturer - Dabon - was more interested in how Verrin remained alive through the experience than he was about the information he was extracting. He kept up the efforts long after Verrin had exhausted every scrap of useful information. He corrected his inquisitive student on her plan to 'twist the screws' though, "His long term goal? It should be the same as yours, I would think: power. At this point, I'm more interested in what he's willing to do to achieve it." Verrin slumped back in his chair, and propped his boots up on the tiniest portion of cleared space on the corner of his desk. He held on hand to his forehead, thumb to one temple, and pinky finger to the other, and closed his eyes. He had a slight headache from Haversham's monologue, and he sighed. Maggie dutifully obtained a small cloth and some ice from the beverage cart, and brought it around the desk to her master, applying it to his forehead. Without opening eyes, Verrin clasped the cooling cloth to his head, and muttered a quiet 'thank you' to his droid. Maggie smiled affectionately, her emotional replicators working to empathize or sympathize her master's emotions while her programming accepted his gratitude by activating her own pleasure centers. She was always learning - a constant struggle - to both understand and simulate the feeling of sentient emotions. She then pressed her android fingers into Verrin's shoulders and neck, and began to massage the muscles there. For his part, Verrin listened to the remainder of Holle's noble (perhaps too noble?) thoughts. He had to agree that whether she was putting herself in danger, or danger was steering towards her, that she was moving up in the Sith pecking order. She did need to prepare for possible... trouble. She was pushing herself lately though. As far as he could tell, she only just figured out how to telekinetically move a pillar, hide herself from sight, and even the nuance of Battle Meditation. He didn't think she was ready for more - not yet. While she had used the Force to push her slave at the starport, and the telekinesis to pull Gelos' lightsaber from him, she had certainly not mastered the powers he'd just taught her. He wasn't sure she had the control, the focus, or the attention span to learn something more destructive. But did she have the talent? Talent could make up for quite a bit of missing training. He spoke quietly, "More lethal? A paper clip can be more lethal. A datapad can be lethal. Did you have something special in mind?"
  16. Before I put my head through a table, I'm going to sign out for a week. Hopefully @Daniel can hold the base.
  17. Name: Ulgo Krannick Gender:Male Species: Human Rank: Smuggler / Medic Date of Birth: 3663 Appearance: He is 5'10 80kg (~175lb) muscular but not showy. He has a stern face that smiles easily, brown beard with flecks of gray, silver hair with leftover darn brown or black strands intermixing. His hair is wavy but cut very short, nearly shaved on the right side of his scalp. . Both stance and demeanor is cautious but casual, the only high energy part about Ulgo is his eyes. his eyes flit about a place taking in the sensory feature of the environment, assessing whatever context in which he finds himself. the color of his eyes vary as does the ocean during a storm a steel blue or gray depending on what he was wearing and the lighting, with flecks of emerald green throughout. The eyes tell his story. Possessions: Ulgo does not have much, he's been on his own for several years when left the Republic without anything to speak of. He has a nondescript blaster pistol and a short blade he keeps concealed. Personality: He is very thoughtful, intelligent, wise, charismatic and loyal at the best of times. However, he is also meddlesome, secretive, inherently selfish, moderately manipulative, and highly vindictive. He has few vices, he does like whiskey as a sipping and thinking drink and will have a death stick on occasion for those really serious problems requiring a lot of brainpower. Skills, Abilities and Talents: Ulgo is skilled with blade and blaster pistols or rifles, he has learned to pilot speeders and navigate starships and heavy transports. During his education he learned medicine and physiology, for electives he took computer security coursework and developed a decent set of slicer. He is intelligent, innovative, well organized, detail oriented and a problem-solver. Biography: Ulgo was born on Alderaan to a family that served House Alde, but his family died when he was just 7 years old when their poorly maintained vehicle malfunctioned and veered off one of the high mountain passes. He was raised by House Alde and was expected to become well educated, but to continue serving the Great House. After many years and education, he was a well-respected scientist, for reasonable loan by House Alde. However, Ulgo became too "smart for his own good" when he began questioning the role of Houses on Alderaan given how dividing lines around the Galaxy had caused so much destruction. They indulged his youthful naivety but it was an unwise "the twin daughters of Count Alde that convinced Ulgo to leave Alderaan and seek his fortune elsewhere. In 3640 BBY he found his way to Coruscant where he was employed by a government funded research lab (following a glowing recommendation from Count Alde--terms for Ulgo never returning to Alderaan) where he quickly garnered attention by showing evidence that he could enhance health pack and stimulant effectiveness and longevity in addition to adapting them for cross species use. However, in 3638 BBY he discovered, while hacking through the corporation database he located an archived file. In this file he found enough fragments of communications that he realized his employers were planning to use his formulas and research to develop weaponized materials that would inhibit the effects of health packs and negate stimulants and designed to target the Sith species in particular, included in this document was the justification of "if hostilities arise we will be prepared to wipe out the Sith...and if they don't arise, a gentle push and we can be galactic saviors!". He lost faith in the Republic that day, but he planned his exit strategy well. For the next 5 months he toiled, methodically disguising breakthrough after breakthrough, and carefully passing the real science directly to medical personnel he met at conferences and around Coruscant. he also knew about corruption from Adleraan, the ancient Houses were renown for their political exploits and he refused to succumb to righteous hubris like so many before him, so he pocketed every credit sent to his lab for "galactic humanitarian preserving research" and kept it safe and separate...just in case. He continued officially saving a reasonable amount of credit he earned while working for the corporation. When he was certain he had enough evidence that they were subverting science to perpetuate galactic war, he made the single biggest mistake of his entire life. He went to the courts. In the courts he presented his case with what many thought to be inescapable evidence, however the judge, a well-respected husband of a female senator, felt otherwise. Throughout the 17 month trial, the corporation flexed the only muscle that mattered in the Republic...credits. Count Alde came and eviscerated Ulgo, claiming that his family was killed because he set fire to their house while torturing animals. The employers trumped up several cases of negligent abuse by study participants, one was a minor, the other a woman whom he had never seen--whom Ulgo later found out was on the corporate payroll as an attache and the judges mistress, used by the corporation to blackmail the judge into seeing things their way. The judge found Ulgo guilty and took every credit he had (officially saved ) and would have (garnished wages for five years) to make reparations to the corporations reputation. He reached out to the medical personnel he trusted, but was denied and found that he was now a pariah on Coruscant. In 3636 BBY he left Coruscant bitter and angry with the Republic refusing to help anyone affiliated with the Republic ever again. He renounced the only brought him pain and despair. Since 3636 BBY. he has been on / around Nar Shaddaa scamming would be crime lords (as a service the Hutts), patching up, and protecting those in need, except for Imperial or Republic personnel...and surviving by any and all means necessary. he spends most of his time with the Hutts' mercenaries and guards whom he helps with aches and pains frequently as he says "anything for my friends, keep your credits but teach me something useful". Careful diplomacy and some con-artistry have helped him survive on NarShaddaa and generally speaking he stays in the relatively good graces of Hutts. Character Skills and Abilities: Blade Combat: Novice Blade Weapon, Blade Combat: Novice Blaster Pistol Novice Blaster Rifle Transportation: Ground Vehicle Proficiency Personal Starship Proficiency Heavy Freighter Proficiency Medical: Novice Biochem Novice Biosurge Novice Torture Stealth & Survival: Novice Stealth Novice Survival Computers Slicing Proficiency Counterfeiting: Novice Counterfeiting Final Notes: As a request only, I ask for an intermediate skill between Biochem, Biosurge , and Counterfeit. Thank you for time and consideration.
  18. Nelona, 3631 BBY... Vanahok wasn't quite sure of what sort of thing he was in for today. An appointment with Darth Tanit was not the sort of thing that he had experience with, after all. Meeting with Kaars was pretty far out of his league. The Kaar of Military Offense was sending a speeder to take him to her fortress, out in the jungles. He'd sent a request beforehand- if he was to do anything in this Empire aside from die in obscurity, he would need to pledge himself to one sphere or another. Military Offense seemed about the only place that his talents would be used- he'd worked for Darth Atrox of Military Defense twice, on Oricon and Alderaan, as well as sparred with him in the pits, but "defense" was not his forte. Normally, one would be brought into the sphere one's Master was part of, but Savolent... Savolent was no orthodox Master. No Master at all. He's taught me nothing, He's done nothing aside from tear me down and expose the animal that I truly am. And so he had had to blunder into this blindly. As he waited for the speeder, he couldn't help but think that it had been a bad idea. His left hand, wrought of silver metal, a replacement for what he'd lost in a moment of overconfidence, curled into a fist. He was not a patient man, and the looming prospect of dealing with a Kaar was not helping. Tapping the first two of his metal knuckles on the plastoid of his thigh plate, the bearded Sith glanced around, searching for whatever a speeder sent by Darth Tanit would look like. Thankfully, one pulled up a moment later. It turned out that it was simply an unmarked speeder, and the pilot was a uniformed female human. She pulled up, the opaque black side window humming down, and looked him over. "Are you Vanahok?" she asked, voice flat. The massive bearded Sith, wearing modified trooper armor, with two lightsabers hanging from his belt, as well as facial tattoos, nodded- as if he could have been anything else. "Yes, I am." "Get in." she said; the window rolled up, and the rear door popped slightly open. Pulling it fully open, the Sith slipped into the back seat, and shut the door behind him. They set off wordlessly, and that was just how Vanahok preferred it. Too often on this planet he had to deal with hovertaxis, and their pilots were altogether too talkative. One would think that they'd know when to shut up, but perhaps working in the Sith Empire's capital had deadened their senses. Of course, silence, despite being a million times better than idle chatter, left him alone with his thoughts. And that, despite being the constant condition of things, was less than ideal. Would this endeavor end with his gaining favor, or simply failing yet again? If his track record showed anything, it would be the latter. But if there was anything he'd learned so far, it was that he'd have to fend for himself anyway, no matter how it went. It wasn't a long ride. Somehow, Vanahok felt that the pilot was going slightly too fast for safety, but then again, he'd not yet managed to be comfortable in fast-moving speeders. Spacecraft were better- there was a lot less to crash into in the void. Still, the buildings and trees shot by alarmingly quickly. After a few minutes, they began to slow. Tanit's fortress loomed ahead, and they set down. The door popped open, he stepped out, and found himself standing before what, hopefully, was a new chapter in in his life.
  19. It had been quite some time since Darth Tanit had visited her former master in his realm. The comfort of being on the Dark Council was not exactly how she had imagined it given the lack of respect her peers had for her, but at least in one person she could find an ally worth her confidence. Perhaps she had been biased in her dealings with the old man, but he brought her into this life, showed her that she had power, and then helped her to hone that power into a sharp edge she used to cut down those that had obstructed her path to power. That was how she had imagined it at least, but she knew that her appointment to the Dark Council had been a topic of displeasure for some given how she achieved the seat. It was not by her hand that Darth Wrayd was slain, and that fact stuck with her like an eternal reminder that she had nearly failed to achieve her desires. In the end, she was the Kaar of Military Offense now and Darth Wrayd was dead though, so despite her anger over not landing the killing blow she still considered herself the victor. Not every path to power was as direct as she had hoped after all. Darth Tanit had a very directed request of her former master though, and one the Library could easily fulfill. She had grown as an apprentice in such an environment, and had a fondness for the more academic pursuits of the Sith in spite of her decidedly martial nature. She was built for war and it showed. Darth Tanit was a short woman, but she was corded with powerful muscle that indicated not just an active lifestyle, but a pointedly active lifestyle dedicated to maintaining the strength she had acquired. Her powerful arms were not exposed, but they could easily be seen through the tight sleeves of the undershirt beneath the black leather vest. The leather pants she wore were tight up on the thick muscle in her thighs and calves. Her boots were functional, rising halfway up the calf and kept polished in spite of their apparent age and heavy use. She was dressed like a spacer, like the Corellian she knew she was irrespective her station as a Sith on the Dark Council. The only thing showing her for what she was for the casual observer was the old lightsaber strapped to her belt, the ornate sword on her back, or her left eye's deep yellow-orange coloration. The portraits of the previous Lords that oversaw the Library always seemed to follow the movements of those that walked through the lobby. Darth Tanit stopped at the portrat of one of the former masters of the Library and frowned. It was a man she had never met but one that her master had spoken of over their relationship. She never knew this Draconis man, nor did she ask much about him, but part of his tutelage was what gave Darth Verrin his outlook on the Force, the Dark Side, and the Sith. It was uncanny how an artist could make a portrait look like the figure was sitting there, larger than life in a portrait frame, but she shrugged off the uneasy feeling the green-robed man gave her. It was curious though, that her former master had yet to have a portrait of himself placed here among the honored Lords of the past. Her master had up until recently been remarkably focused on rather narrow areas of the Force and power, which if she recalled correctly was an instructive lesson Draconis had given the Zabrak. She could see the wisdom in that for an acolyte or an apprentice, but the longer one lived and the more power a Sith had opened more avenues for alternative power that could be used to tighten up one's position against glaring weaknesses. Tanit had done that herself, in going through intense training to compliment her power with speed. The acolyte and the apprentice had only to race one another, but those at the top of the Empire had to stay ahead of everyone below. It was something Darth Tanit loved, and feared. She had reached the penultimate station a Sith could achieve in the hierarchy, and in doing so realised power she had imagined before. In the same token she invited more and more targets to be painted on her by ambitious Sith across the Empire that had designs on a seat among the Dark Council. Her capricious attention was pulled away from the portraits though, and to the source of a loud slam that came from behind her. Tanit frowned even more deeply. The search for historical records related to battles with the Republic and their tactics would have to wait, as she did not know if the young man would be in the Library for much longer if he continued to get aggressive. The knowledge of Republic war practices would be here no matter when she came to research it, but a Sith creating an environment that was not conducive to the studies of more academically minded Sith did not last in her master's Library. Darth Avaris saw to that when she started pressuring Darth Verrin to punish her for her wild and violent outbursts on Nogatan. Tanit smiled, and stalked her way to the table where the man was seated and where her former master's droid now stood admonishing the man in the most polite way possible. A little bit of fun before business, never hurt anyone. Tanit stood behind Maggie and the seated young man, staring at the cat with a foul anger on her face. Maggie made no mention of the beast, so she decided she would breach the topic of the obviously odd visitor to the Library. "Maggie, when did they start letting animals into the Library? Things must have changed since I was a regular here." Tanit said, her tone intentionally crass in spite of the forced whisper she had to speak in. She made it a point to emphasize the word animals while looking directly at the man rather than the beast. A stare from Darth Tanit was not something most enjoyed receiving, given the mismatched coloration of her eyes. It was obvious that the right eye was cybernetic, given the large scarred gash that indicated a violent removal. It was not the only scar she possessed, as there was also a deep scar over her throat that almost went from ear to ear. It was easy to assume that this was the cause of her quiet raspy voice. Her expression was almost telling the young man to try and argue with her. She did not know if she was a widely known figure, or if she was even recognized in public beyond military bases and areas populated by veterans of the Imperial military. The young man had slammed a fist on the table, had chosen to let his frustration out rather than internalizing it. That suggested that he was a rank amateur. Either that or he was like she had been when she was a regular student in the Library and had a violent streak that was not yet under control. Either way, she relished the idea of instilling some kind of fear and discipline in one of her social inferiors.
  20. Holle's sneering smile said everything she thought about Lord Haversham and his offense. He was easy to manipulate, easy to prod into anger which meant he could be pushed into other emotional states. Verrin's warning did not fall on deaf ears, but she enjoyed being a provocateur to a Sith of higher station. He had been implicated in a plot of ambition and deceptions, so she had very little in the way of respect for the man considering how little he showed for her in his planning. In simply assuming she would abandon her station on some unlikely promise of expedient power meant he thought she was either lazy or disloyal. She was neither of those things, and so she showed her displeasure with the obvious verbal jabs. After Lord Haversham left she finally answered the question, "I took great pleasure in telling Nala what she did wrong before bleeding her like livestock. Her death was slow and torturous, the only kind fitting for betrayers. Gelos, died more quickly. Both of them expressed stories independent of one another that pointed to Lord Haversham though, and there is something to be said for that. Torture cannot be considered a truly reliable means of extracting information, so what they said should not be taken one-hundred percent at face value." She offered, a fairly short speculation considering the near short book length of data she had put in the pads on her master's desk. "Though, it should be noted that Nala did manage to tell me through screams the places she and Gelos met here on Dromund Kaas. There was the pub I already went to, and several other places where witnesses could possibly have seen something else. If there was a third party, for example, they could point them out. Nala and Gelos both only spoke of their own involvement with Lord Haversham, but it has to be assumed that there is more to this than one bloated Lord and his minions. If he still has designs on stealing holocrons from this Library we have enough to incrimiate him considering both victims expressed his involvement and plan independent of one another. That should be enough to at least twist the screws on him and discover what his long-term goal was." Holle continued, thanking Maggie with a nod for the refill on her wine. She felt like she had accomplished something, like she had finally done something useful and worth her master's time. If this plan was meant to unseat him then she uncovered it before anyone else. There was a certain level of pride in her posture and expressions. A confidence was there that had not been before, and it shifted her perspective on her place in the Empire. She was an apprentice, but she was also an apprentice to a very powerful Sith. There was a certain level of risk should Lord Haversham choose to make her life more difficult, for both herself and for him, but she did not think highly of his ability to undermine her progress. A direct attack on her was a major risk for him to undertake, but she could anticipate that he would do something similar to what he had attempted prior. Holle considered the warning though, that she could suffer should Lord Haversham turn his irritation from her master to her. He could create many difficulties for her, certainly. He was a Lord, unbelievable as that may be, but that meant he could pull quite a few strings to hinder her. "If, my Lord, he turns his attention to me, then the suffering I experience will only make me stronger for facing it. I may not be truly powerful but he underestimates me. It would be prudent to continue my training in the Force though, as his unhappiness has yet to manifest in a direct attack against either of us. Whether or not the plan is his, or his master's, remains to be seen, but if he has more than one apprentice or Sith that is willing to do his bidding I should prepare for trouble." She pondered aloud, pausing to think for a few moments more, "Would you help me learn to tap into the more lethal abilities in the Dark Side?"
  21. Verrin's eyes narrowed slightly at his apprentice's next words. She was toeing the line of rank - a Sith Lord versus a Darth's Apprentice - and depending on how much of a show Haversham wanted to give, he would either swallow his pride and bear her words, or lash out. Verrin supposed it all depended on whether he wanted to test Verrin's loyalty to his people, or instruct them on the pecking order of the Empire. The order to 'do as instructed' visibly ruffled Havershams' feathers, but he didn't lash out... not yet. However, before he could respond that, Holle practically grabbed her breasts and squeezed them in the man's face, as if to say, "you can't touch this, Lord Haversham". To be fair, she didn't actually do that in a literal sense, but her gesture did have both Verrin and Haversham widening their eyes at the af-front. She didn't stop there either, barrelling on regarding the matter of Haversham's master, and his interest in Alchemy. And the only thing that kept Haversham in his seat was her oblique shift to discuss the man's apprentice. Haversham sputtered like a flooded engine, but finally spat out, "Brugh, hugh, hahm, hah - what... what is the meaning of this, Lord Verrin?! Your Apprentice oversteps her bounds! Will you not muzzle her, or should I?" But Verrin had lapsed back into a tolerating kind of disinterest in the man's plight. "Oh please, Lord Haversham... if I got my feathers ruffled every time a young woman insulted me, I would have lost my plumage long ago." But he didn't completely ignore his apprentice's mis-step, "As for you, Apprentice... watch your tone around a Sith Lord unless you intend to back it up if necessary." The verbal reprimand seemed to soothe Haversham's ego a bit, though not entirely. He likely wanted Verrin to physically lash out at the transgressor. In his mind, the lashing included bits of clothing coming off... and the Zeltron rolling about on the floor... maybe in a small coating of some kind of oil... and perhaps another apprentice... Verrin had two, after all, didn't he? But Verrin's direct attention brought Haversham out of his fantasy. "The condition stands, Lord Haversham. While the holocrons of this Library are more available to the Empire than ever before, our Emperor has given me instruction to filter that access as necessary. I am not denying your request outright, but attaching conditions. If you cannot meet the simple ones I've set before you, then sadly, you will not be able to meet the conditions that the Dark Side will put upon you in order to learn Alchemy. If there is nothing else, then this meeting is concluded." Verrin stood up as a more physical punctuation to his sentence. Haversham rose as the Kaar did, whether out of intention to actually leave or out of respect - Verrin figured it was the former - and bowed slightly. The only words he spoke further were, "My Lord." And at that point, he turned about and left the office. Once the door closed behind him, Verrin cautioned his apprentice, "Be wary. Right now, his ire and frustration are directed at me because I'm not granting him easy access to what he wants. If he turns that ire on you... he may be a misogynist, or more likely a sleaze, but he isn't where he is today because he was unable to best his fellow acolytes at the Academy. Haversham is an idiot in many ways, but he's not stupid. Be prepared to suffer if you pull his eye onto you. Now... this Gelos, and your slave are... dead?"
  22. Whips ran as fast as she could, the Cannibals loose everywhere, snarling and huffing as she gave chase. The men were busy fighting for their lives, caught off guard by Pendragon releasing the cannibals earlier than usual. She ran past crude stone houses and flickering street lamps. She saw fires ahead of her. Flame throwers. It didn't matter. She had her weapons back, plus one new one. Let them try and stop her. She flashed on her blood red lightsaber, tapping into her rage again, letting it soak her brain in fuel and light a match. She saw in red as she spotted four more guards ahead and without even pausing in her stride, brutally sliced through them in a wide arc even as a pack of cannibals continued to chase her through narrow cobblestone streets. *** Pendragon was silent. Everyone was silent in the Sun Room. He watched, fists clenching together as Lash had died in the most grotesque manner possible. She had let her anger get the better of her, and now Morgana's student was running to the exact center to get to his insurance policy. Morgana, it seemed, hadn't chosen some halfwit. She had picked someone able to adapt and think on her feet. Lash had been right. This one HAD been too dangerous. Not only had she lasted far longer than anyone else, she was now in genuine danger of humiliating him again and turning his own doomsday switch against him. One of his guests, a human woman, drunkenly rose. Pendragon didn't even remember her name at the moment, so beside himself in his rage. "Well, this is new. Pendragon at a loss for words," she joked. Her beauty somehow marred from the depravity she had engaged in already despite her raven locks and fair skin. Pendragon dashed over to her with Force assisted speed and snapped her neck. She dropped where she stood. "Boil her," he instructed the other guests, while he got out his comlink, watching with mild amusement as the guests dragged out a large cauldron from the built in kitchen in the walls. While the dumped the impudent woman in the giant pot, Pendragon got out his comlink. "All guards on the outer estate, withdraw. This is a direct order. You are to proceed into my inner sanctum and stop the woman attempting to reach the center of it by any means necessary. Fail, and you will suffer ten times what Lash suffered. Get moving." Pendragon threw down the comlink in a rage. "Cook!" he shouted at the guests. *** Kev ran through the tunnels hearing hell unleashed in the distance. He was out of breath. He stopped, struggling to take in air. It was all that witch's fault, he thought, struggling to breathe. Not Morgana. Not really. Ryleya. It was all her fault. A horrible thought came to him suddenly. What if his mother hadn't really made it out from The dead witch's tower? What if...what if the witch's magic had somehow...remained. What if Kev had never won that day? What if, in ending that bloated thing's life, some...small piece of it's evil had escaped in his mother? Kev didn't want to think of the other possibility. He couldn't. Couldn't stand the idea that his mother might have always been that way, deep down, and he couldn't see it...or wouldn't... They should have run. Run to the core worlds. Run for the thickest part of the underworks they could find. At least there any wickedness his mother pulled would have been limited, lost in the drone of a thousand other crimes and victims. He should have been more forceful, more a lot of things. That settled it, he thought. Morgana had to go. They had to take her down by any means. And then...Kev somehow had to convince his mom to let go of her powers. The more she used them, the more she wanted to use them. The more horrible she would get. Morgana had been a far more savvy con artist than his mother had given her credit for. She had completely upended everything. Kev ignored the fact that their troubles were his mother's doing. He did not see the red hands until they reached out to snatch him. Hands belonging to a grinning devil. Kev screamed as the Devil of Mustafar seized the boy, clapping a hand over his mouth.
  23. Earlier
  24. Holle remained passive for the minor revelation that Lord Haversham gave her and her master. If he was his own Sith then she was Sorzus Syn and should be in charge of the Empire on principle. Seeing as she was not Sorzus Syn, she had her doubts about Haversham's statement of independence. He struck her as too easily distracted, too stupid really, to have done anything here as a plan without first being prompted by someone else. There were players, and there were pawns, and Lord Haversham struck her almost immediately as a pawn on the great chessboard that was the struggle for power among the Sith. She was not ignorant to how he looked at her, how he sized her up like he had plans. Holle would have frowned certainly, if it would not have broken the illusion that her information was simply some sort of research data she had brought her master. One could argue that it was research, though the methodology was certainly a point-of-contention for some. Torture had its place, but more keen minds were less trusting of knowledge gleaned by torture as it was difficult to say if the victim was speaking the truth, or just saying something the torturer wanted to hear. Had her victims been more mentally proficient she likely would have noted her suspicions in the data pads, but they seemed to have broken rather quickly under scalpel and drill. "Lord Haversham I will remind you that you are in the presence of a greater Sith, a member of the Dark Council, and my master. You are to do as instructed and summon your master to discuss the matter of your ambitions or you will be summarily dimissed from the meeting and face potential disciplinary action for your insubordination." She said, adjusting her top intentionally. Holle remained keenly aware that his interest in her was not academic. Why not try to manipulate him more readily? If he was an easy man then she could even get close enough to simply kill him, should the need arise. "My master is a very busy man, I would expect you to have shown some measure of gratitude that he would make time to speak with you at all. I am sure you consider yourself quite important, but the matters you consider important may not align with the matters my master considers important. Now he has to make more time for you to speak to this Lord Ma-Ma..." Holle said with a very brief and sharp snort, " that he can have a signed permission slip stating that their big boy can learn Alchemy on their field trips to the Library." her tone almost as condescending as it had been when she spoke of her former slave's ambition. "Do allow me to make one suggestion though. The learning process and practice of Alchemy can take quite a lot of time investment from the practitioner, I would recommend you also call in your apprentice should you have one and inform them that you will be taking time to learn one of the great mysteries of the Dark Side." She offered, though not for his benefit. Anyone he called his apprentice was an accomplice to his plan, unwitting or otherwise. The master did not always have to share motive or reason, and the apprentice was meant to obey. If he revealed the name Gelos, then she had three separate confirmations of collusion in this scheme that would be difficult to consider false leads. Any other apprentices though, may throw the entire situation into question. Still, her subtle manipulation of a man who had more interest in her figure than her words most certainly was worth the effort if he could reveal more potential leads she could follow up on.
  25. As Verrin's apprentice approached the desk, Verrin followed her with his own eyes, trying to determine her goal. She had some datapads in her hands, but now wasn't really the time to discuss research projects. She knew that; she knew protocol. Yet, here she was, going against it. Haversham, on the other hand, followed Holle with his eyes too - but he was far less interested in her research and much more in her figure, and the amount of skin showing. He even replied to her 'surprised?' comment with an unflustered, "Pleasantly!" To his credit, as little as it was, he didn't drool as Holle bent to sit down in the chair next to him. Verrin raised an eyebrow at the offered pads, but accepted the first one without saying a word. His eyes scanned over the data quickly, absorbing the material like a sponge, or a particularly absorbant paper towel. It appeared to contain a report, though whether it was in Holle's hand, or Ianthe's, he wasn't sure. The writing was similar enough to the Pureblood Torturer's that if Holle wrote it, she must have been taking dictation. He glanced at his apprentice, who had all her fingers, so he supposed the meeting had gone well. He was mildly interested in the story of Holle's slave - how she'd been replaced by an agent of Haversham's to spy on him. It was a weak play, given that Verrin didn't deal with his apprentice in such an informal manner as to encounter her slaves with any regularity, but perhaps it wasn't completely thought through. Verrin had been misjudged his entire life as a Sith, so he didn't see why this time should be any different. He also didn't look up at Haversham in any accusatory way. Thus far, Haversham was not a threat, much less a concern. But Lord Haversham suddenly cleared his throat and vigorously shook his head as he tore his eyes from Holle's ample bosom. Apparently, he'd been staring for a couple of moments, and just now decided to focus back on the matter of Sith Alchemy. He began, "As I was saying..." and the launched back into more description on how his use of Alchemy would help Verrin in slightly more embellished detail, likely to impress the woman sitting beside him. After all, if he was granted access to such power, he could probably sway a young woman like Holle to share his bed... or a lab table... or a porter's closet... or the back seat of a speeder... or... Verrin was reading the second datapad, that detailed the man Holle had been tailing. His name, Gelos, identified him as an agent or apprentice of Haversham, and he was the one in charge of the spying effort. This report seemed more likely in Holle's words, given the nature of it - there was less factual detail and accounting, and more supposition. But it was still accurate, and had enough truth to be a report based on whatever pleas Gelos made while under Ianthe's care. Verrin sipped the bourbon Maggie offered, and flew through the report relatively quickly, ignoring Haversham's continued monologue-ing. The third pad was an accounting of Haversham's overall plans. If the text was correct, Haversham sought the seat of power in Ancient Knowledge, and meant to go through Verrin to get it. He likely wanted access to Sith Alchemy in order to create zombies or abominations to destroy Verrin, not help him, but that was supposition on Verrin's part as he read on. It was no more accurate than Holle's own impressions that littered the rest of the report. She was likely correct in her assumptions, but there was no hard evidence yet to accuse Haversham of the treachery - just the word of tortured souls, who might not even be alive. There was no evidence of their survival in the reports. Haversham was still talking, and frequently casting sidelong glances at Holle - checking out her midriff, the curve of her thighs, and the way her foot bounced in the air as she crossed her legs. His mind even imagined she was showing more side-boob than she actually was. But none of that dissuaded him from describing how a small army of zombies could effectively cement a seat of power, or even allow an attempt on 'greater power'. Haversham never quite said, 'attack the Emperor' - he wasn't completely clueless or oblivious to treasonous talk - but he certainly implied it in his description. Certainly, Holle would be impressed by his prowess if he could grant her master such power - right? The fourth pad didn't answer Verrin's internal question, 'who did Haversham report to'? Instead, it completely left behind any factual evidence and solely went on about Holle's predictions and suppositions. Verrin didn't outright dismiss them, as they were grounded in an overall understanding of the data the prisoners gave up while under the torturer's knife. But without any concrete evidence, they were merely windows into her psyche, more than anything else. They told Verrin how Holle thought, how she saw things in life. The last pad was a window into her soul, not Haversham's. Verrin finally placed the fourth pad back on his desk with the others, and refolded his hands in front of him while Haversham appeared to wrap up his plea for power. When he paused for a breath of air, and another stolen glance at Holle's figure, Verrin asked, "Who is your master, Lord Haversham?" Blinking at the first words to come out of the Kaar of Ancient Knowledge's mouth since he arrived, Haversham stuttered, "W-why... that would be Lord Ma- Ma... I am my own Sith, Lord Verrin. I speak for myself!" Verrin replied, "Hmmm... yes. I'm afraid I'm going to need a letter or visit from your Master in order to grant you access to that holocron. The Empire cannot have rogue Sith Lords raising armies of the dead right under their noses without SOME sort of oversight. But if your master, Lord Ma-Ma, will speak on your behalf, I will listen to her... or him... Now... is there anything else? I believe I have another meeting in just a few moments." Haversham appeared stunned momentarily. He hadn't even considered that his master would have to be involved in his access to the Imperial Holocrons. And while that wasn't true, Verrin wasn't going to tell him otherwise. So Lord Haversham began to speak a couple of times, but didn't quite get a sentence out. He looked to Holle for support. Surely, she wanted him to have more power?
  26. Holle squinted at the command, the tone, and scowled quite heavily. Her master had done very little in the way of endearing himself to her in the past week and now he treated her like this? She was having her patience tested, that much was certain, but she dared not lash out at the old man now. Aged though he may be, power in the Force did not care for the chronological status of the practitioner. The angry look was broken as she turned back to the Jedi and frowned. He could have been something in the Empire, maybe, but that much would never be known now. A deeper darkness permeated the room, however, and played with her negative emotions though, and drew out her anger quite sharply compared to anywhere else. Holle reached a hand out and pulled the dagger to her grasp and rather dispassionately thrust it into the man's belly. The look on his face told her everything. She had taken the wind out of his lungs, the shock, the sudden pain, and the anguish that followed. Warmth ran over her hand, and she sneered at the Jedi as she pulled the blade up through the tissue in effect disemboweling him when she pulled the blade out rather pointedly. Organs slipped through the wound and the whimper was only brief before he fell to the ground, head against the cage. Holle grasped harshly at his hair and revealed his throat, stabbing the weapon in at the side and pulling it forward harshly in a brutal tearing motion that would ultimately finish off the already dying figure. The look on Holle's face was hollow, unpleasant, as if she viewed killing as something that was easily done. It was almost mechanical, as if it had very little impact on her emotionally. In truth she was furious at having to waste something that could have had a use, but her master demanded obedience of her and she hadn't the power to dispute him. She held the knife at her side as if she was holding anything else, blood dripping freshly from it and pooling on the floor at her feet. A subtle step away to keep the blood from touching her boots, and she turned over her shoulder with a hateful glare not at her master, but at the other thing that dared to call itself an apprentice. How she hated the split attention, and now the very obvious favor she received. It was their mutual master's right to have two apprentices at one time, but the feeling that she was second best still played heavily in her mind. Unfortunately, the matter came that there were still prisoners for her to kill. Their renewed crying and turmoil piercing the ringing in her ears and drawing out fierce irritation. Holle turned to the nearest cage and stared at the woman whimpering more loudly than the rest. The half-Zeltron stepped up quickly and looked at her with an almost manic rage, "Shut up, shut up right now. Stop screaming, stop crying, now!" She said, rattling the bars of the cage. It only served to terrify her into louder pleas and cries that were ultimately ignored. Holle continued shaking the cage but ultimately pulled the woman to her hand and planted the knife through the side of her mouth. The effort was made to use the blade to tear the lower jaw off but she lacked the strength for it. Frustrated, she followed up the work on this woman with more vicious brutal jabs in and around the head and neck region. It was random, imprecise, and filled with white-hot anger that showed a deep-seated hate and malice that lurked just below the surface. Holle's behavior when killing was rather telling, when she looked at the last two people she was tasked with ending. Whether or not they were supposed to be ritually murdered or not, she did not know or care, but they had to die. It was easy to see a shift in her attitude and behavior. Nothing academic or particularly thought out went into how she went about choosing how to kill them. The Jedi was drawn out, the woman at her feet now was violent and hateful. She stepped away from the blood pooling again, but debated now. There were three left. Holle could feel the Dark Side guiding her hand, the bloody blade raised up and pointed to one of the men in the cages. His shattered will dropped him to his knees, where he began to beg profusely for a second chance. Failure, whatever he had failed in, must have been severe enough to be brought to the Dark Temple. She hated his pitiful behavior but she walked up to the cage and held the knife like she was conducting an orchestra, "Allegro! Allegro! Presto! No! No! Not good enough! Sing louder songbird! Show me your muse!" Holle screamed, pulling the man in harshly against the cage. She grasped his hand and held it there against one of the bars to dig the blade through flesh, tendon, and bone, to separate him from his index finger. "Give me a song worth remembering! Show me you want it more than the other two!" She said, stomping her feet in standard 4:4 time as if she was expecting him to actually perform. Holle dug the knife through the palm of his hand and back, "Faster, louder. Give me passion you limp thing, you give me nothing! You are worthless!" Her voice grew increasingly unstable as she spoke as if she was somewhere else. Opera or not, musical theater or not, she took the knife and sank it very slowly through the underside of his chin and up through his tongue. The pressure applied from below with the knife were given the help it needed with the other hand pushing down on the top of his head. His gurgling cries soon fading and drowned out by the sound of a man drowning in his own blood. Holle sighed, breathing staggered before pulling the knife out and raking the edge across his throat. "A waste, nothing of value. Callous disregard for the art of the voice." She said looking at the man nearest to the newly dead victim. Immediately without word he began to sing a song. Hollle gave the man a snort of derision, as if he could get out death singing. Still, she conducted for him. "You all came in with the same group, so none of you are worth the time, are you?" She said, quite clearly showing that something was amiss, something unhinged. It was not possession, but her own deep enjoyment in destroying life. Holle was, by all accounts, rather subdued at any other time, but when pushed to kill in the face of reason she certainly dove into the deep ebbing waters of the Dark Side. She flashed a shock of lightning into the man, silencing his singing. A small motion of the hand and she lifted his head through the Force, and drew the knife over his throat rather simply and plainly. It was not creative, or thrilling, but neither was his song or his prior begging. The last victim, silent yet terrified. Holle spun on her heel as if song and stage were an illusion she had fallen deep into. She reached into the cage and grasped at the throat of the last man standing and looked him in the eye. The blood coating her face, the wide and wicked smile of a lunatic mind staring through the veil of a man's final moments. She stabbed the knife through his heart and tore the blade straight down through the flesh, finishing the flourish of murder with the very same type of act as she had started with. Unlike the Jedi, she gave no mercy and allowed him to lay there suffering as his organs spilled from the deep wound ripped into his torso. Holle dropped her grip and let go of him as he slumped over. Blood everywhere, robe coated and her face painted like a mad woman, she turned her head to look over shoulder at her master and fellow apprentice. She tossed the dagger down onto the floor, her expression back to being blank. There was nothing for her to say that this work could not have said for itself. There was one final delivery though, the gift she had intended to give her master. Holle walked over completely nonplussed by the terror she had brought upon the heads of the now dead prisoners. Hand still soaked in blood she pulled the gift-wrapped box, and walked toward her master and held it out to him with but a simple message, "Merry Winter Fete, my Lord."
  27. Verrin continued the chant and the Battle Meditation by himself. He had an idea of how to do it before he ever started this ritual, but by performing it, he put together the last pieces of the puzzle and was confident he could maintain its effects alone. It gave him time to look around the room, and appreciate how his apprentices were doing. Holle went off towards the cages, and found herself drawn tot he one with the Jedi. There, she taunted him, like a cat playing with her food, and she called out to Verrin, asking his opinion on turning the Jedi versus killing him. Verrin grimaced at that, but maintained his control. Holle didn't listen well. He'd learned that when he'd locked her in the training room not too long ago. It seemed she hadn't learned from that experience, because she not only wasn't keeping up the verbal part of the ritual - she was also asking about not killing the prisoners. Did she think that by failing to follow orders that the ritual would backlash and kill her master? Verrin had given specific instructions that she purposefully didn't follow. And he, steeped in the Dark Side, was annoyed. On the other hand, Vanessa did exactly as she was told. At first, she was eyeing Verrin critically, likely deciding whether this was a good time to lash out at him. Perhaps she too was debating whether or not to disobey him in order to see if the ritual would backlash. But the moment passed, and she stood up, still chanting. Slowly, she paced her way over towards the cages, and Verrin saw the flash of a knife in one of her hands. Had it been meant for him? He did not know. But one of the prisoners soon found themselves on the wrong end of that blade, and the ensuing strike coated his apprentice in a spray of blood as the person perished. Vanessa seemed to revel in it, shedding her ceremonial robe in a smooth movement, and using the fresh blood to mark herself. That blunted Verrin's anger as she not only did as instructed - she also made a leap of marking herself with a sigil. In a way, it was almost an homage to his own tattooing efforts, and she turned back towards him with a wild, drunk look on her face. Her eyes rolled back in her head, showing only the whites, and her chanting escalated in volume. She stayed in perfect sync with him, but Verrin thought he recognized someone else's Force aura emanating from her. It was bright and powerful, and reminded him of the power of any of the Emperors. Could it have been one of them, channeling through her? What if it was Cideon? What if it was his own master, Drackonis? What if Vakar had finally found a way back from the dead? But as soon as it happened, it stopped, and before Verrin had a chance to truly focus on her and identify the source of the aura. Vanessa collapsed in a heap, but was still breathing, so Verrin stood up, and the chanting ceased. He looked over towards Holle, and said in a very quiet voice, "Apprentice... I won't ask a third time. Finish them... finish them all." His voice was almost too quiet. He then stepped over to Vanessa's downed form, and he bent to check her pulse and general well-being. If she had been possessed, he intended to know right away, and put an end to it if possible. But just as he touched her neck, her eyes fluttered open and through the blood spattering her pretty features, she whispered hoarsely, "What... what happened?" His senses told him that it was just Vanessa, and not some spirit talking to him, so he patted her cheek gently and said, "Possession, I think. Lay still. I'll get us some water." He glanced up to see if Holle was doing as she'd been told, and then he went to the supplies to retrieve the water. He walked lightly, the power of the ritual still coursing through him, and he felt like he was twenty years younger. He clenched and unclenched his hand several times, marveling at the strength he felt, and then he obtained the water, as well as a tin of tea and honey. He then returned to his apprentice, and noticed how the power of the ritual was fading - the room taking on a slightly less-dark tone, as if the shadows were pulling back and returning to their normal density. He sat down beside Vanessa, and offered her a mug of water and the tea - if she wanted it. "I have supplies to heat it, if you want to wait," and he took a sip of water himself. Her nakedness didn't seem to affect him, but he did pay special attention to the mark she put on herself, intending to research it later if he didn't recognize it. Then he nodded at her, "Observe your sister apprentice." He looked to see if Holle was carrying out his wishes. He explained to both of them, "The Dark Side exchanges power for a tithe... power comes at a cost. Sometimes, you feel particularly fatigued after exercising your minds or bodies when using the Force... that is the Dark Side taking its tax in energy. Advanced power can stave off critical injury, or even revive the fallen... but the Dark Side usually takes energy from you, or from a sacrificial entity. Today, we sacrifice these lambs to power our ritual. A failure to have readily accessible sacrifices means that the Dark Side will look elsewhere for its payment... usually to you. I've seen Sith try to bargain with the Dark Side - trying to convince it that turning a Jedi is more beneficial to it than killing them. I'll wager it has even worked a few times throughout history, but I personally have never attempted to deny it its pound of flesh. I've even given it a pound of my own in place of an ally's when pressed. When you try to perform this Meditation in the future, should you choose to do so, you don't need to offer human sacrifice the way we did today. That's part of the old ways - the rituals. Now, we Sith have trained our minds to pay the Dark Side with some of our own vitality... energy that we can replenish through rest. But heck... the old ways do have a romantic sort of nuance to them, do they not?"
  28. The crashing fist upon the table had the Guardians of the Library perking up their heads and taking note. Thus far, there was no evidence or seeming intent to damage the Library or its contents, so they did not act... yet. But they were aware - they had been aware ever since the fearsome-looking Sith entered the place with the large cat. To be fair, it wasn't the first time an animal had walked the same tiles as the Sith, but it had been years since the last time, and possibly years before that it had happened again. There was an old Sith - long gone, but not quite forgotten - named Zeerah, who kept a pet. She had children too, which arguably were as well behaved as any animal, but that was neither here nor there, as they say... her footsteps hadn't tread these marble tiles since the Library was located on another planet altogether. In any case, the Guardians maintained their constant vigil, not even warning the man who seemed frustrated with his studies. It wasn't the first time a Sith got upset by the tedium of learning, nor the first time one got aggravated enough due to not being able to find the power they sought. But someone who did notice, and act, was a feminine-looking droid. Curvy and attractive (by galactic 'human' standards), she click-clacked her way across the marble tiles towards the seated man and his feline companion. Nobody ever commented on why she appeared as she did - with her figure and what amounted to 'high heels', she seemed very impractical for a protocol droid - and most assumed she was that way because the master of this place was a lecherous old fellow. But if they had asked, if they knew the truth, the design was created by another feminine droid named 'Prissy', and Prissy's owner, Apprentice Vessker. Whether they found amusement in this design, or were simply trying to facilitate a new make and model of droid, one could only speculate. Whatever the case, Maggie - as she preferred to be called - sashayed her way about, and didn't seem at all bothered by her own appearance. Maggie finally approached the table, and her 'face' smiled politely as she asked in an unnecessarily sultry voice, "Your pardon, Mister Varsin. Imperial records have you listed by name, but not by rank, else I would utilize your proper title. Please, be mindful of others within the Library who are also pursuing knowledge. They may not appreciate sudden, loud noises. Are you having some difficulty in your studies that I can assist with?"
  29. The Shi'ido waited for her drink while an unpleasant, clearly drunk Twilek leered at her and ordered a drink from the same waitress. His smarmy gaze made her feel like she was covered in a pile of rotting garbage as she nonchalantly turned her head, looking for that damn Rodian. Where was he? She rose, her sleek, ebon form shining slightly under Cantina lights. She walked past the soldier women who seemed totally absorbed in their own conversation. She got closer to large bar counter, where a besalisk was busy shaking something in a bottle. All the better to get away from the leering drunky. She needed to find that man before he slipped out. She got closer to the counter and the Bartender finished pouring someone some strange concoction with lots of fruit pieces attached to the glass in which he poured it. "What'll it be?" the Bartender asked. "Whats available?" "Corellian Drunk-Punchers, Alderaanian Throat Numbers, and Coruscant Nasal Cleaners are our top orders this week." "Why is the first one called a drunk puncher?" The Shi'ido asked. "Because it makes you wanna punch drunk people..." the Bartender muttered. "I thought the name would be kinda obvious." "I thought the name might be some sort of esoteric joke or something." "Well its not. People punch drunk people when they have it." "Why?" "I use really strong alcohol. Plus a few stimulants in minute amounts that increase aggression," the Bartender confessed in a low whisper. Cyra was still amazed at the stuff people would tell her. She would handle this creep spiking his drinks later but right now that criminal was her main concern. "Whats a Coruscant Nasal Cleaner?" "Oh, thats bourbon and tonic water." "Gimme that," she said. "Your loss," the Bartender said, pouring her a mix. As she paid for the drink, she watched as the Rodian walked up to the bar and ordered a drink. "You look exhausted, fella. Something wrong?" the Bartender asked. "No...I'm fine," the Rodian lied. The Bartender sighed. "Why is it the fugitives always pick MY bar to hide in? So, what'll it be?" "Don't order the drunk puncher," Brison/Cyra advised. "It makes you punch drunks...or so I've heard." "Nah, I'll go with some Juma," the Rodian said before he paused, recognizing her voice. Her lightsaber was out, ready to activate. "Why do you guys always go into bars?" she asked absently. "There's an alcove close by. We're going to wait there, nice and quiet, with your hands where I can see them," she said, her torso opening up and producing a pair of magnetic cuffs from a cavity she had created. The Rodian reluctantly put them on and Brison escorted him back to the small alcove she had originally been sitting in, where she set him down firmly, keeping one hand on his locked together wrists, which were firmly on the table, while another cavity opened in her arm and she dumped a small com-link onto the table, and placed her silvery lightsaber on the table and picked up the com-link. "Jedi Knight to CSF. I've got him, waiting for pick up," she spoke. "I'm at some dive, trace these coordinates." She put the com-link down, picking her saber back up. "A bar is, statistically speaking, a desperation move if you are looking to hide," she admonished the Rodian while waiting for the cops.
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