Darth Verrin

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About Darth Verrin

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    Kaar of Ancient Knowledge
  • Birthday 07/20/1970

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    Corruption III
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    2 Protocol Droids - Gifted to Vanessa and Holle (-4)

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  1. An eerie silence fell over the chamber as the 'fog' of the Dark Side condensed even further, completely drowning out the outside world, and even silencing the whimpers and irregular breathing of the caged prisoners. It became so oppressive, in fact, that the only sound Verrin was really aware of was that of his voice and those of his apprentices, in unison, speaking the tongue of the Ancients and acting as a sort of verbal bell that attracted the power of the Dark Side. In his mind, Verrin likened it to one of those gimmicky static electricity balls that were sold in variety stores. The air inside the glass ball was charged, and when one pressed a finger to the glass, an arc of 'lightning' showed inside and followed the magnetic attraction. Verrin grinned. He remembered receiving one of those balls in his childhood, on Winter Fete, when his parents learned of his interest in the sciences. But like that holiday so many years ago, the Sith progressed past the point of intoned mantras, ritual circles, and blood offerings. in modern times, the Sith had evolved to the point where they could attract the Dark Side like this with their minds and wills alone. His apprentices, whether they knew it or not, were already skilled enough to harness this power in that way. But the practice of performing this whole series of steps should help them see the patterns in the Force, so that they too could manipulate it in such a way. Many of the Dark Side powers of the mind used similar contact, and learning these basics should help his 'daughters' find the path more easily in the future. The grin didn't leave his face at that thought, even if it had to move as he chanted the words in repetition. 'Daughters'. He hadn't sired either of them, though he was certainly old enough to. They hadn't chosen him either, when he'd descended upon Korriban's Academy. But the Force had found a way to bring them together, for now, until they were exhausted from his lessons, or some other Lord offered them something shinier and newer. He might live to see them move on, as he had with Darth Tanit, or Darth Akasha. He might see them perish from the separation, as he had with Muriel Y'ar. Or, he might never know what became of them, as he had (so far) with Vessker. and of course, there was the possibility that they would kill him, and he'd never know what happened to them thanks to that. He smirked, and the Dark Side gave him no visions of the future. But it did affect them all - every last person in the room, and likely some of those outside it. The prisoners fell to weeping or crying, and even the Jedi, with his passable willpower could not maintain his hold on his faith. Even he began to sniffle, and then to beg, asking the Sith to stop this madness. He felt the presence of the Dark Side more strongly than those who could not, and it frightened him with its vastness and power. It constricted him like a serpent, laboring his breathing, and making him wish for a weapon that he might use to fall upon, and end all of this. Meanwhile, the chanting Sith in the circle were awash with power, the Dark Side caressing them like lovers, or a warm, soapy bath. Their breathing came more easily to them, their heart rate quickened with adrenaline, and their minds sharpened with focus. They were confident, and sure of themselves, and were they in combat, they likely would have felt empowered to battle opponents beyond their own level of training. Verrin's eyes were open, and he observed his apprentices with a critical eye, looking for any overt signs of the effect upon them. Confident in his own abilities, he used his telepathic power to communicate to each of them, "You have done well, my apprentices. You may exit the circle when you are ready - I can maintain this power for the moment, alone - but do continue the chant as you move about. Go and take the 'ritual' portion of all of this to its conclusion by executing the prisoners, sacrificing them to the Dark Side in any way that suits you. Be the angels of death. Revel in the power of the Dark Side, and enjoy the benefits of choosing the Sith ways over those of the pathetic Jedi. Happy Winter Fete, my dears."
  2. Still intend to be involved, though may be indirectly. PM me to discuss
  3. And there it was. The words of his blonde-headed apprentice struck him in a place that hadn't really been 'awake' in a long while - a set of emotions that the aging Zabrak hadn't tapped, probably since his daughter's chances at life ended. In just a few sentences, Vanessa put a tentative grasp around his two hearts and gave a gentle squeeze. Verrin wasn't stupid; he knew fully well that she was probably testing the waters, and that any 'truth' in her emotions towards him and his mentoring abilities were fabricated to allow her access to his feelings. And once she had those, she could get him to do what she wanted. And when she was done getting that, she could take that tentative grasp and simply squeeze too hard, ending him. She'd walk a fine line, of course, figuring out at what point a squeeze became something that angered him versus something that allowed her to play him like a fiddle. But really - that was all part of the 'game', part of life, among the Sith. As she moved forward towards him once more, the smile of anticipation on her lips, Verrin stood up and simply nodded. He looked down at the circle; it was complete. So he took the implements of painting and moved them off to the side, and then he withdrew a small ceramic bowl. He dipped the bowl in the 'paint', and then returned to his apprentices. One at a time, he addressed them, dipping his thumb into the bowl that he held in his other hand, and marking each of them in turn. One mark went on their chin, extending up and across their lips. Another went under each eye, like an athlete's protection from the sun, and the third marking was on the lobe of each ear. He spoke words in the Ancient Tongue of the Sith, but after marking each of them, he translated the gist of the phrases in turn: "To guide your speech, so that you will speak the words in the ancient tongue correctly, properly focusing the energies of the Dark Side. To keep your eyes clear of the illusions present in those energies, so you will know what is real, and what is not. And these will protect your ears, so that the many voices in the Darkness will not move you from your path to power." There was a reverence to his tone, though one could suspect he was paraphrasing. Perhaps there was no direct translation. He did not mark himself though, and put the bowl to one side. If asked why, he pointed to his many tattoos, noting the same markings permanently inked into his skin. Then, he motioned for them to take up places around the circle in spots clearly marked by their efforts, and suggested they all sit. "The original sorcerors sometimes stood, and sometimes sat or knelt - all depending on how long they suspected the ritual might take. There is no 'right' or 'wrong' posture - merely one that the practitioner will not tire from maintaining. I could stand, but I don't see any reason to for this particular spell." As they took up their positions, the room fell strangely silent - even more so than it had been. While they had been laboring about the painting, a steady stream of background noises could be heard. Some of it was the prisoners breathing. Sometimes, the more military ones cursed. The Jedi prayed. The common folk whimpered. Beyond that, sounds of digging or echoes of walking crept into their part of the Temple. But now, it felt as if all of that faded away. For those sensitive to it, they could feel the Dark Side moving in about them like a blanket, closing them all off from the rest of the world. The Jedi even ceased his prayers to shout out - likely to the young apprentices - "Stop this - stop this madness! The Dark Side will devour you! Please! There's still time - you can turn back!" He wasn't clear as to what they should turn back from, but one might suppose that in his belief, he saw them all 'walking' into the Dark Side as one would a lake, or a pool of lava. But Verrin didn't answer him, allowing his apprentices to taunt the man if they so chose. Instead, his lips quirked in a rare, genuine smile that probably looked more like a maniacal grimace to anyone that didn't know him better. And then he spoke to his apprentices once more, "Repeat this phrase after me: Dotacij ja'a tava raiskus kia merga dvasi. Ja' xuontai tu." Verrin worked patiently until his apprentices had the phrase down, and then he explained, "Roughly translated, you are commanding the Dark Side to grant you the power to consume minds. You will repeat the phrase until I tell you to stop - no matter what happens. If all goes well, you will be able to observe the fruits of your labors, but do not stop speaking the phrase. Meanwhile, I will be lacing other words and phrases in and about yours - in a sense, we will be like a trio of performing musicians, and they... are our vict - erm... 'audience'." He had them repeat it over and over. Their voices, in unison, were like a droning, rhythmic heartbeat, and then he began lacing his 'melody' over that. The Dark Side solidified even more, like a dense fog, and in a surprisingly short amount of time - it's power could be felt throughout the chamber.
  4. Holle's initial answer was irksome, but Verrin didn't bark a retort. Instead, he thought to himself, "Free labor? Please." Fortunately, his patience was rewarded, if only a little bit. Her next answer was similarly off with the scapegoat reference, but she worked through that and verbalized that he hadn't pinned anything on her. And then she took a stab (or so he thought) at a legacy. Whether she knew his mind, or just guessed, she was very close on that one. She went on to talk about her time as a slave, and Verrin put a few more tidbits of knowledge into the back of his mind for later. The beatings, the accommodations... he'd never been a slave himself, but he'd been treated worse than all that. Then again, his apprentice didn't know his past, so she likely couldn't understand how empathetic and sympathetic he was about her situation. He looked thoughtful for a time, not saying a word. But finally, when he did speak, it was fairly quiet in tone and gave no hint of anger. "I think today's lesson will be a break from the Force, and a break from the books too. I think it's high time you experience the other side of the coin, so that you'll have the life experience to make judgements." He could tell from her expression that she didn't understand. He explained, "If one suffers torture, they need to experience what it's like to torture another - so that they can have the perspective to see the situation as a whole, instead of only the point of view of the victim. If one suffers a loss, they need to experience a win - and vice versa, of course. If one is subjected to the effects of Force Lightning, then they must also feel what it's like to wield it upon someone else. Take today off, but remain in your apartment. This is not another situation where I'm placing you in a box, mind you. Be comfortable... read... watch vids for all I care. But be there. I will have something delivered to you later, and you'll need to be there to receive it." He didn't say another word about it, even if asked. But later, after Holle left his office, Verrin put in a request for a slave to be delivered to her apartment. Essentially, he bought her a slave. They were not outlawed on Dromund Kaas, and Sith had used them for centuries. They cam e from all different backgrounds - some were war prisoners, others were simply taken from captured worlds. Still, others were bred into slavery - never knowing another life. Verrin didn't utilize them often himself, but he'd purchased one for one of his other apprentices some years ago. That one was still alive and well, and as far as Verrin knew, was treated almost like a companion rather than a piece of property. Time would tell what Holle would do with hers.
  5. Character Skills and Abilities Force Powers Enhancement Force Phase ⇉ Force Shift ⇉ Force Teleport Battle Meditation Force Rage Force Valor Force Body Restoration Force Invigorate ⇉ Force Infuse ⇉ Force Innervate ⇉ Force Preserve Crucitorn Protection Force Stealth ⇉ Force Concealment Force Absorb Force Armor Astral Force Sense ⇉ Force Sight ⇉ Force Empathy Telepathy Perception Force Fear ⇉ Force Insanity ⇉ Force Corrupt Force Camouflage ⇉ Force Cloak ⇉ Force Shroud Memory Walk Force Persuasion Psychokinesis Telekinesis: Master Force Wound ⇉ Force Choke ⇉ Force Grip ⇉ Force Crush Force Push ⇉ Force Whirlwind ⇉ Force Wave Force Rend Force Burst Environment Force Suppression ⇉ Force Breach Drain Life Force Shock ⇉ Force Lightning Disable Electronics ⇉ Destroy Electronics Force Alchemy Metallurgy Force Rituals Transfer Essence Dark Transfer Skills Lightsaber Novice Single Saber Novice Single Saber ⇉ Intermediate Single Saber ⇉ Expert Saber Staff Form I: Novice Shii-Cho Form IV: Novice Ataru ⇉ Form IV: Intermediate Ataru ⇉ Form IV: Expert Ataru Form VII: Novice Juyo Martial Arts Martial Arts: Basic Teräs Käsi Medical Novice Biochem ⇉ Intermediate Biochem ⇉ Expert Biochem Novice Biosurge ⇉ Intermediate Biosurge Stealth and Survival Novice Stealth ⇉ Intermediate Stealth
  6. (Character Bio PH) Biography (I need to spend some time decoding and relinking here) Timeline Threads
  7. (Character Info PH)
  8. Table of Contents [ Character Information | Character Biography | Character Sheet ]
  9. Verrin did his best not to snort in derision. It was an angry response, and he had expected as much. But what he hadn't expected was the reasons for the anger, and for those reasons to seem so... petty didn't seem like quite the right word, and he made a conscious effort to consider that she didn't have his overseeing eye on the matter. He set his cup down and closed his eyes to briefly drink in her anger. It was refreshing. But too much anger directed at him wouldn't be conducive to her learning more. "Of course you're no slave. At least, not mine," he agreed. "The only person you are a slave to is yourself. You mostly had freedom of choice in everything you did. I simply put restrictions on some of those choices to push you out of your comfort zone." He cocked his head slightly, and narrowed his eyes a bit. He asked, "You were under the impression that your life was in danger?" She seemed particularly miffed about no food and no water. "I didn't even put food and water restrictions into the situation until you simply sat in the room and refused to even try. Even then, I had Maggie monitoring your vitals. You were never in danger of starvation. And if you even bothered to make attempts at practicing, those essentials would have been provided. You could sleep as you desired. You could train and practice as you desired. But instead of focusing on your training, your mind went inward and fought with memories of slavery... your became despondent about your situation and turned your anger inward rather than towards the task at hand of moving the pillar. 'Hygiene,' as you put it, was only as far away as you kept it. Had you tried to move that block until you reached mental exhaustion, then perhaps more amenities would have been provided. Had you meditated, recovered your mental prowess and tried again, you might have moved that block within an hour... maybe more, maybe less, but certainly sooner. Instead, you became depressed. Instead of focusing on your training, you focused upon your own self-inflicted view of your situation. Where some students might see that as an opportunity to focus solely on telekinesis and nothing else, you saw it as imprisonment... as slavery. Now... about this 'slavery' illusion. You are not my slave. But you did agree to an apprenticeship with me - you bound yourself with a chain in that regard... bound yourself to me. You can rid yourself of that chain at any time. You can quit. the door, is right there. Unlike some masters, I won't even stop you should you walk out of it and away from our agreement. You can also rise up and strike me down. Either way, you will cast off this chain that you voluntarily agreed to. But if you stay... if you use this chain to learn, and become stronger, then you are no slave to the situation at all. Are you?" He let that sink in for a moment, even going so far as to pick up his cup and finish the rest of his coffee before he continued. "I didn't purchase you. You are not my 'property'. But make no mistake... you are mine. You are my apprentice, as surely as my daughter was my child, and as surely as I was my master's student. Everything you do as 'my apprentice' reflects upon me. And everything you do in your entire life to come will have some part of me attached to it. In that way, you are mine, and in a sense, I am yours. You are my investment in a future I cannot predict. It behooves me to see you succeed - watching you fail, or seeing you starve to death or get beaten isn't my goal. But I cannot simply 'give' you power and strength in the Force - you have to take those things for yourself. You have to want them as surely as I want them for you. I can bring you water, but cannot make you drink it. I can bring you knowledge, but I can't make you learn it. Two days ago, I attempted to get you to push yourself to greater feats of telekinesis than you've ever managed before, but you tried once, and simply said, 'I can't'. THAT will not do, apprentice. If you try and try again to the point of collapse, and you get up and try again until you fail... perhaps then... then I will say sure, 'you can't.' But not even trying? You slapped me in the face, apprentice, and I was left with slapping you back, or changing the parameters of your lesson so that you might learn. If placing the spoon of medicine before you didn't get you to take it, I could distract you and try to 'sneak it' to you. Failing that, I could 'hide it' in something else, and you could still spit it back at me. This could go on and on as you fail to get your medicine and get stronger. Or... you could do as I ask the first time. Are we going to train you in this same way every time I try to push you beyond what you 'think' you can do? Throw you in a room and watch you slump into self-pity until you get angry enough to rise up and do it?." Again, he fell silent for a moment, thought this time, he was out of coffee to sip. Thinking about what he'd just said, every sentence was impassioned, every emphasized word was a spike of emotion. He had been frustrated with her - first for spitting on his floor, then for refusing his order to clean it, then for her 'I can't' attitude. Perhaps it had been her pursuit of the Jedi Code? Granted, the project he'd been working on prior to her request had him frustrated with himself. Had he taken out that frustration on her? Maybe. But... "Apprentice... an apprenticeship is a two-way street. I've given you an apartment, a droid-servant... food, clothing, shelter. You have a 'job', or at least a task of organizing some of the Library while you pursue your own studies. What do you think a master gets out of an apprenticeship arrangement?"
  10. heya - not sure how this works, exactly, but figure I should put my name on the list. Darth Verrin I'm in no rush to get this transfer through (all of my threads are in cryogenic sleep at the moment), so no pressure on whoever takes this task. I'm happy to work with whoever it is, and I think my Profile has all of my past character sheets (though the formatting on the really old ones is questionable at best). Thank you in advance, and again - no rush. Taken by: Kure to assist Verrin in the transition, since it's pretty easy and all his skills can be transferred in like a second.
  11. If the continuation of Holle's snark was of any concern to her master, he did not show it - yet. Instead, he sipped his drink, and in a rare show, repeated himself, "The question was not rhetorical, Apprentice. Why are you so upset with me right now? I could sit here and guess all day long - that it's because you did something you thought impossible, and was proven that it was in fact possible. I could suppose that it was because the Guardian knocked you about when you were warned under what conditions that would happen. I could imagine that it was because you had a preconception of what being an apprentice meant - that you would learn at your own pace, that you would reap some imaginary reward or supposed benefit solely due to a title or rank. But instead - I am asking you, in your own words. Why are you so upset with me right now?" Not even the Force foretold any tension coming from the master - it simply wasn't there.
  12. "Oh... drop the attitude, Apprentice. Save your anger for more important endeavors..." Verrin snapped, briefly, appearing to be furious with his apprentice for her tone. But before he finished the sentence, his entire demeanor abruptly changed to a satisfied grin, and he finished, "or moving a fracking marble pedestal with only your mind." He let that comment hang in the air a moment, both curious to see if she'd break, or if she was determined to focus her anger upon him. He could work with either scenario, but knew what his preference would be. It was a little bit easier to teach a willing student, than one who fought back at every instruction. He broke his silence with a snap of fingers, "Maggie..." and without another word, the droid ambled over and presented the beverage cart to Holle. He was already sipping coffee himself. Verrin sat back in his desk chair, and holding his mug, sipped and took on am ore serious expression. "Hatred is a powerful emotion, as you know, Apprentice. Tell me... why are you so upset with me right now?"
  13. The tension between Verrin's apprentices was to his spirit as soothing music to his ears. A small part of him would rather they get along, and be stronger together than either of them were by themselves. But the larger part of him felt their derision, their dislike - nay, outright disdain for one another - and caressed his twin hearts like lovers. In a phrase, they were both beautiful in their anger - fair skin and geometric proportions aside. He was glad of his decision to take them from the Academy they way he did, together, as a package, as opposition to one another. They would push each other to greater heights because of the competition between them - a competition that he seldom fostered, but instead used as a surgical tool to push them just that little bit further when they needed it. Holle left the large book behind, and traded her clothes for the traditional robes. Whether it was due to a desire to not be shown up by her sister-apprentice, or a willingness to be 'part of the ritual experience' didn't matter to Verrin. She then took some of the paint, as instructed, and began to replace the carefully laid dust upon the floor with more fluid markings. Her question didn't go unheeded, though it did go unanswered for several moments as Verrin carefully marked the floor with paint himself. He completed a section of the elaborate circle, and then sat back on the flooring outside of it to take a break and finally speak. "Well, Apprentice... it's as I stated initially. I haven't gone into the whole itinerary, as you put it, largely because it won't matter at this exact moment. You will understand more fully as the steps are completed, in order, than you would to hear the whole procedure laid out before you without experiencing those steps individually. For example, we mark the floor with the dust, as shown in the book, so that in the next step, we paint more accurately. If we tried to paint first, instead of creating the blueprints from dust, we might mismark a sigil, or not be accurate enough with a given sign. Or worse... we could paint something we could not simply erase and 'do over'. In ritual magic, steps matter. Remember, the ancient ones weren't just pulling this power out of their minds and spirits - they had to use material components, and carefully developed procedures to harness the power of the Dark Side. I can promise you that the details outlined in that ancient text over there were the result of many promising Sith dying in the earlier attempts, and only once successful, did the process get accurately recorded. Over the centuries that followed, other Sith took these steps and figured out how to manage them with their minds - to bypass the ancient power harness by traditional means. The result is that the Sith of today are trained in those newer techniques, skipping the old ways. They are taught to drive before they understand how to crawl or walk. It's a choice that most Sith masters utilize. They don't want to 'waste time' with the basics when they are simply churning out the next Sith Lord to help rule the Empire and do their bidding. They figure, and perhaps rightfully so, that their apprentices will be short-lived, or will rise up and take their place, in which case they'll be dead and won't care. I have never traveled that path. My own masters disappeared - I never had to kill them to take their place. I never wanted their place. I had my own desires and dreams, that did not include the squabbles of ascension among the order. And yet, here I am, having followed my own path and ways. I sit on the Council, and have learned and survived enough to be called Darth. So perhaps my path isn't wrong... just different. If either of you want to follow the rat race that exists, then I expect you'll leave my tutelage and seek out a more main-stream master. I won't like it, but I won't stop you either. But if you choose to stay, you will accumulate power, you will become stronger, and in a similar way to what I did, you can rise through the ranks if you so choose. The disadvantages are there, certainly, but the advantages are that you can possess power that those more mainstream Sith can not." He got up from the floor at that point, and got himself some water from the nearby station, glancing back only to see if Vanessa was showing any interest at all. He expected her to have heard him, but whether his words meant anything to her or not, he wasn't sure. Holle, he suspected, took more of an interest, if only academically. But she had changed a bit after his last lesson with her. He got her to move a pillar telekinetically - one she was sure she could not. And even though she had success with the effort, the steps he'd needed to take to push her to that result had upset her. The life of a training Sith wasn't an easy one - it was beset by hardships and suffering. The Dark Side took its payment for its power - and never through gentleness. It was a hard lesson that every Sith had to learn - some learning it sooner than others. Even though she'd suffered as a slave, for instance, she'd never tried to grasp the power of the Force. She was about to learn that the suffering was pretty baseline - that didn't change. But the power one obtained for that suffering was a whole other story. "This ritual... what we'll be doing - and this is simplifying it a bit - is tapping into the Force directly, and using the Dark Side, in particular, to affect the spirits and minds of others. For you more martial types," he nodded towards Vanessa, "you know that in hand-to-hand, controlling the head, you control the body. We'll use the Force to control the heads of those around us. It can strengthen the resolve of allies, making them fight harder and longer than they otherwise might. And it can simultaneously weaken enemies - especially those tapped into the Force - oppressing their will and emotions, making them feel weaker and breaking their morale. The more modernized technique is called Battle Meditation. This ritual we are going to perform was the foundation for that technique - the blueprints that the Meditation came from. The reason I chose this spot was due to the proximity of the Dark Side. This place, as you know, is steeped in it. Over time, it can drive a person mad - and those of you who have actually studied the history of this place..." Here, he nodded at Holle, though for all he knew, Vanessa had actually studied it too. "will know that it's easier to tap into that power for the same reason. In the days... or months, or years to come... you may decide to learn Battle Meditation yourselves, and this ritual will make it easier for you to sense and feel the Force in the way you'll need to in order to achieve that. If you choose not to learn it, that is your prerogative. You may feel it to be a waste of your time or talent to aid other Sith when you could aid yourself instead. But... should you live so long... perhaps you'll find that there is some benefit to being able to facilitate the goals of the Empire and Sith Order as a whole. Perhaps... their successes will open more opportunities for you." He added the last 'selfish' bit to make it clear that not all paths to power were linear. Some were more oblique. Helping others wasn't always an act of generosity, but a sidestep towards more personal goals. "Assuming we do this right," he added, "Then we will be able to influence the minds of others in the immediate area. You may find that... entertaining, if not enlightening." He grinned once more, delighted by the day thus far. "Take a break if you need it - water and food are here. And of course, you are free to taunt the vict - err... prisoners, as you see fit." He gestured broadly to the cages, and a dark gleam flashed across his eyes before he went back to painting the circle.
  14. Verrin had moved to a chest and removed a small metal container of fuel that he ignited and set on the floor. Over that, he set a metal rack, and onto that, he put the buckets of paint... or blood... it was difficult to tell. He muttered something about having to keep the contents warm so they would flow well and not congeal, but then went right back to humming some tune or another. He then opened the large, bound book, and chose a particular set of facing pages that depicted an ornate circle. He had Holle hold the book while he used a pouch full of some kind of powder to mark the floor in the same design. His movements were purposeful and careful, as if replicating the circle was very, very important. But his gestures were also rock-steady, evidence of experience in such matters. His hand moved like an artist's, and the dust fell smoothly into place until there was a white outline on the floor nearly fifteen feet in diameter. Inside the outer ring of dust was a smaller one, and between the two were a number of symbols. If asked, Verrin explained they were in the ancient Sith language, and were a combination of sigils of power, and wards of protection. He was almost done with that step when Vanessa arrived, bowing and greeting him. Verrin noted she didn't greet her sister-apprentice the same way, but wasn't overly concerned with it. He returned, "Apprentice," and mentioned the ceremonial robes. Without missing a beat, Vanessa moved to them, stripped, and carefully put her belongings in the box before donning one of the ceremonial robes. She then turned back towards Verrin who added the finishing touch of dust upon the floor. If he had even noticed her nakedness, it didn't show - nor was it a concern of his beyond a cursory glance to make sure she wasn't bearing some kind of contagious skin disease. When he looked up from his work towards her though, he smiled - his positive mood was impossible to miss. "You look great, Apprentice. Kudos for embracing the moment! Allow me to explain the significance!" Knowing Vanessa, she probably would rather skip the 'significance' information. From what Verrin knew of her, she preferred to 'be', and to 'do', not to understand the 'why' all of the time. It was both a positive quality, as demonstrated by her unquestioning donning of the robes, and the request to change in front of other people. But it was also not so positive, in that she might not understand why someone did something - and how knowing the reasons might help someone prepare for the future. It wasn't a huge issue either way at this moment though. Verrin urged Holle to move with him (still holding the heavy book), and then explained to them both. "The earliest Sith, as you probably know already, were Dark Jedi who cross-bred with the race of Sith. Their children were the first 'truebloods', as they like to be called. Both groups had strong connections to the Force, but they not only cross-bred their genes - they also cross-bred their cultures: the Jedi with their powers of the mind, and the Sith with their shamanic rituals and traditions. Both methods of connecting to the Force are powerful in their own rights, but over the generations since, the Sith have taken the rituals, and learned to command the same powers without them. Where at one time, it might have taken a half-dozen Sith tribesmen, using ritual 'magic' and fetishes to create a Force Storm, the same effect can now be replicated by a single individual, solely through power of the mind. That's not to say that the rituals don't still hold power, mind you - just that their popularity has fallen out of favor due to our nature of self over the 'group' mentality." Verrin moved to where the box of robes was, and removed his own half-robe, revealing his upper torso to his apprentices for the first time. The tattoos and scars upon his head cascaded down past his neck to his shoulders, chest, back, and arms. His midriff was rife with them, and if the patterns were worth anything to the observer, probably continued down past his waist. All of them covered lean muscle - probably more than someone might expect a man of his age to carry - and his skin color was a dusky gray-violet where it showed through. Some of the scars and burn marks were very, very old, but some were more recent, and all of them varied in intensity. A particular one on his left shoulder was roughly the size of a lightsaber, and another at his waist completely encircled him like a belt. All of those marks, however, were half-obscured by many tattoos. Almost all of them were simple, black artwork, though the complexity of them varied greatly. Some were simple - numbers, letters, or hash-marks. Others were tribal-looking, linking images or scripts together, or covering some wound or another, then there were some that looked like the glyphs and sigils upon the floor. Still others were much more intricate and artistic, like the ones adorning his forearms. They appeared to be portraits of young women - one on each arm - but more importantly, they seemed to move beneath his skin, as if they were looking at the two apprentices, appraising them, or viewing the world around them. There were other tattoos like that too - ones that seemed to writhe or move of their own volition - and if observed through the Force, one would see that they were steeped in the Dark Side. Verrin didn't explain the tattoos though, unless they were mentioned. Instead, he went on talking about the rituals. "What we're doing today, is performing one of these ancient rituals, as it was done way back then. Through it, we will gain a fundamental understanding of how it was done, and thereby we should be able to pick up and adapt those feelings and knowledge to more modern techniques. It's sort of like reverse-engineering a drug, so that we can make it from scratch while weeding out the unnecessary elements. Now... you'll need to grab one of those brushes there, and a smaller crucible from there. Dip the crucible into the bucket of paint to fill it, and then join me at the circle. We need to paint the floor where I've lain the dust, so that we create the same image. Make sure to paint thoroughly. The integrity of the circle requires it, and your lives depend upon your efforts. Failure can mean death, or worse." Even as he said that last part, he was still smiling and happy. "Come, apprentices! Let's learn some Ancient Knowledge!"
  15. "Greetings, Apprentice. Thank you for showing up." Verrin's snark was evident in his tone, though if he was being fair, he had lost track of time and couldn't tell if his apprentice was early or late. The Dark Temple had a way of obscuring the passage of time - as well as a number of other subtle, annoying, mental tricks - and even though he was a master of the Force, and as resilient to its call as anyone, when he was this close to the Dark Side's power, even he couldn't emerge untouched. Verrin noted that this time, it was Holle who arrived first, which was unusual. Vanessa tended to be more punctual, even to the point of being obsessively so, and this time Holle managed to edge her sister-apprentice out. Verrin half-smirked at that, knowing the constant conflict that went on between the two aspiring Sith girls. But today, they would have to put aside their differences, if only for a while. The ritual he was going to teach them was for both of them to learn, and was also an instance where together, they would be stronger than if they stood alone. In that same vein, Verrin's snark subsided, and his excitement over the coming lesson burbled back to the surface. His mood changed dramatically, his face lifting, his step lighter, and a smile even appeared on his aged, scarred face. The sound of whimpering coming from the nearby cells didn't hurt either. "It's good that you are here. You can help me prepare the ritual circle," he almost gushed. "Put your things over there, to the side. You won't need any of them for this lesson. We're not going 'full Monty' today, as it's really unnecessary, but if you're so inclined, that chest over there contains ceremonial robes. You are welcome to put one on." He, himself, still wore his usual plain, black, half-robe - though at the moment, the cowl was down, revealing his tattooed head, and crown of horns. Some were broken or blunted, like the rest of his body, showing the wear and tear of his life. But a single, ornate earring adorned one ear, sparkling in the low light of the room. He addressed that light next, by removing some lanterns from another nearby chest. The lanterns were more appropriate than torches, throwing off no smoke and a bit more light, and he hung them around the large chamber at particular intervals to illuminate their work area. The light also shone upon the six caged people, showing their fear and trepidation. They had no idea what was coming, but assumed it wasn't going to be good for them. The only one not crying or cursing was the Jedi captive, but he didn't look pleased either. A soft humming could be heard - some tune or another - coming from the throat of Verrin who seemed positively pleased with the day.