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Emperor Valyrian

And Then The Murders Began

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Emperor Valyrian    1,075

The first happened late after the closing hours of the local café, in the heart of Coruscant. A small building, often packed with customers, with a reputation as one of the best caf you could buy at a reasonable price, just outside of the Senate District. It had shut just a few hours earlier, and the wait-staff had all left, leaving only the middle-aged owner to lock up shop. It was well after dark now, the globe in the light of the alleyway behind the shop had blown a few months back, and had still not been replaced by the District Council, despite her numerous calls.

 

Most nights, she could see well enough to find her way to her transport – but that night, a thick cover of smoke from a nearby fire had blocked out most of the natural light. This area of the district wasn’t generally dangerous, but there had been vandals in the area of late, so Marie had bought herself a small personal blaster, that was neatly hidden away in her purse.

 

Marie shut the back door to her café with a solid click, testing the doorknob to make sure she had remembered to lock it - something that she had always done, since an unfortunate incident at her neighbours apartment, when they had forgotten to simply lock the door. They had lost everything – priceless jewellery, all of their technology, and all the cash that they had been saving in a shoebox in the cupboard. So she double checked the door. Better to be safe than sorry.

 

She didn’t need a torch, despite the darkness. She knew the way to her shuttle like the back of her hand, she had walked this path for seventeen years. She fumbled with the keys in her bag, hearing the familiar jingle in the bottom of her bag, but couldn’t quite feel them. A purse, a datapad, and scraps of paper, along with a pair of sunglasses, but the keys had formed themselves into a nook in the corner, just out of her reach. She gave a familiar sigh, pulling the bag from her shoulder, putting it in front of her. Despite not being able to see it, it was easier to feel.

 

The smoke cleared for a second – a faint ray of light shining through the darkness, illuminating the man. Her bag fell to the ground with a solid thud, as the masked man glared through his helmet toward her. His shiny metal armour enveloped him, finely crafted to suit him. A red cape wrapped around his neck, and covered his head, the cowl covering any detail she might have ordinarily seen.

 

She screamed as her murderer launched at her, the lightsaber in his hand activating for just a second, the snap-hiss echoing down the alley for a second, before being extinguished soon after. The blade appeared almost to be on fire – and upon further inspection of the body, the clothes around the chest wound appeared to, at least for a second, have caught alight.

 

There were no witnesses to the attack, but it was understood that her scream was short, and loud. The first responder – a student who had been traveling home, didn’t see the murderer, but he had heard the scream, and the familiar sound of a lightsaber. Marie’s shuttle was later found discarded in an unused building in the Factory District, with all video-surveillance of the area either removed or corrupted.  

 

However, in the moment of light, just before the murder, camera’s were able to obtain a brief, yet definitive picture of the assailant in the alleyway, standing between Marie and her shuttle, the curved blade in hand.

 

Coruscant Security Force are seeking anyone with information on the incident, or information on the attached sketch of the assailant, to contact them immediately with information. All information will be regarded with confidentiality, and all information will be taken seriously.

 

ARTISTS IMPRESSION OF ATTACKER

large.jack_of_blades_by_andreikolosov-da

Please forward all information directly to

Coruscant Security Force

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'This masked man has appeared at three seperate murder scenes,' Captain Apollo said with a stern authoritive tone. It was the tone of a seasoned officer, a woman who had risen through the ranks of command, to finally become the Chief of Security, 'We haven't been able to positively ID the mask or appearance - the armour doesn't match any of the known fugitives, or Sith that we have registered. As you can tell,' she paused the surveilance footage as the bright light of the fiery crimson blade appeared in the darkness, 'we believe that this is a Sith Agent - though whether he is acting on orders, is acting as a rogue agent, or is simply misdirection, I cannot definitively determine. All our assertions this far are completely made of assumptions.'

 

C'erian gave a pensive look, but did not give away his true feelings. Ysanne Apollo was his selection as Chief of Security for the Coruscant Security Force - the fact that she had brought this case up, meant that she was concerned - moreso than usual, 'Forgive my bluntness Captain,' he sat forward slightly in his seat, bringing his face into the light of the subdued lighting of his office, 'but surely there are more critical Security threats than this man roaming on the street of Coruscant. You've put this man at three different murder scenes, but I know of cases where there are bodies in the double digits. What makes this so important?'

 

The Chief shifted uncomfortably, 'This case presents a unique situation - a Sith Agent on the planets surface is far more of a priority than...'

 

'A serial killer, or the seventeen legitimate terrorist threats that have been made on significant Republic assets since this morning?' he pressed further, using steady breathing and meditation to keep his composure.

 

'This person could easily be ten times the threat of any of those,' the Chief asserted, 'We all know that the Sith have agents on the planets surface - we aren't naive to think that the Empire doesn't have intelligence agents crawling over the planet looking for anything they can use to their advantage. We are also aware of known Sith elements in the populace, and the relevant Republic agencies keep an eye on them, and their activities. We feed them the information they want - and only what we can afford to give them - misdirect them where we can. But this man,' she looked at the screen, a frozen snapshot of the blade, 'presents a more complex issue. This person is actively taking out innocent civillians, completely at random. There is no pattern that we can see, no motive other than merely existing. Its unsettling, because it appears that this person actually wants to be seen. If you look at this document,' a new photo filled the screen - a shot of the alleyway from above, taken hours later, 'All of the security camera's along this section were removed - cut likely by the same lightsaber that was used to kill the shop-owner. All except this one,' a cheap arrow appeared on the image, 'This one was perfectly positioned to get a full picture of the murder. If you view the footage, with night-filters applied,' the image changed again, 'You can see that the person looks directly at the camera, just after the attack. Stares straight into the lens.'

 

C'erian nodded, leaning back in his seat. He had been waiting for her to make her point, 'Are you looking for official Jedi support? I can redirect a few of our Master's to the case - but many are tied up in Military operations. We might be able to supply a small number of Jedi to assist in the search for this Sith - if you are right, then I doubt that they likely won't be found unless they really want to be,' he went silent for a moment, his hand stroking his chin slightly, instinctively, looking for a beard that no longer existed, 'The Force is clouded, the dark side obscures all. This is likely a misdirection - a distraction, but we can't be sure. The Republic Military needs to be on alert, Minister,' he turned towards the Minister of Defense, who sat in another seat to the side, full uniform. A hint of grey in his hair, obscured by his standard Military cap, 'Set condition two throughout the Fleet. Suspend any shore leave until we can be certain of the threat.'

 

'Your Excellency,' the Minister said, a hint of skeptisism in his voice, 'Are you speaking as the Grand Master of the Jedi Order, or the Supreme Chancellor of the Republic?'

 

'Both,' C'erian said, after consideration, 'and neither. Nothing is certain in these times, but if the Chief of Security is right, there is something considerably wrong with the current predicament. You have your orders, Minister. I am certain that I can trust you to enact them. Master Gnost-Dural will coordinate with you,' he looked at the Kel-Dor Master, who merely gave a short nod of the head, 'The Empire has been quiet too long. The war progresses slowly, on the planets we are engaged in. With the Emperor indisposed... and the Dark Council running it in his name, I cannot be certain of what to expect. This unknown Imperial agent is not to be triffled with. Find him. Find out what they are doing - and do it quickly. Although the Force is clouded, I have a bad feeling about all of this.'

 

The meeting ended shortly thereafter, and the Grand Master simply sat in the darkness of his office, in deep contemplation. His Staff Aide entered, and left the room without saying a word, leaving C'erian to his thoughts.

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Emperor Valyrian    1,075

From the top of this particular building, Lord Sefas could see the Senate Tower in full and detailed view. It was a remarkable landmark, impossible to miss, almost as large as the ego's within, the Senate Tower was perhaps the most heavily fortified and protected building within the entire planet, if not the entirety of Republic Space. It stood as a testament of the Republic's strength and resilience, a virtue of its dedication and hope, and served as home to both the denizens of the Senate, and the Headquarters of the Jedi Order. The ruins of the Jedi Temple were still unsuitable for full time use, so the Jedi resided here.

 

It helped, now that the Supreme Chancellor and the Grand Master were one and the same.

 

It was a move that shocked millions, revolted thousands, and drew much controversy to the first sitting term of the Supreme Chancellor's time in office. The Galactic Senate had installed him as Grand Master - against Jedi protocol - to ensure that the Order was kept secure and to ensure that leadership within the Order was transferred to someone who could be trusted. The Jedi had so much power, that nothing except the most clearly vetted individual in the Republic could even possibly hope to obtain the highest rank within the Jedi Order. And so, C'erian Eidolon, his brother, was appointed. It was a plot twist that Sefas could never have anticipated in his most wild of imaginings. The bittersweet touch of irony felt cool on his skin.

 

Beneath his armour, it was almost impossible to know whether Lord Sefas was smiling. So withdrawn from the Force, he had become a silent entity of fear within the Republic within recent months. Silent killings - random targets, sewing fear into the heart of the political capital, distracting them. His movements were not random, but calculated. His targets moved further and further away from the center of Republic governance, but the details grew more gruesome in results. Victims were torn apart, sliced into pieces, their bodies suspended in the air and their skulls imploded. Each murder was unique, each murder made the Jedi search for him all the more important. Seventeen patrols of Jedi had been dispatched from the Senate protection in order to hunt for him, and so far, none had even glimpsed his power.

 

Until now.

 

He dropped from the building, his signature in the Force silent as he repressed his alignment, yet he cushioned the landing with a soft and quiet rush of power. A group of three Jedi had followed a lead deep into the heart of a factory. Each of them holding their lightsabers, inactive, but ready, the kill was almost too perfect. He hadn't seen a Jedi up close since he had arrived on Coruscant - daring to go close to the Temple itself to examine the feat that the former Emperor had enacted upon its most ancient halls. So desolate and destroyed, yet the Jedi still flocked to the area like rats. It was beautiful and haunting at the same time - but he had resisted the urge to walk in further and take a real look.

 

The three Jedi separated, going down different corridors. Beneath his mask, he smiled deeply, allowing himself to flex his fingers. His footsteps silent, he stalked the first of his prey. A younger one - perhaps barely a Knight, there was an arrogance to his posture. A want to prove himself. The Jedi had likely never been sent on assignment before, and now, he had the perfect opportunity to prove that his devotion to the Order was true. Sefas walked quietly behind him, crouching behind a corner as the young man turned his head around - likely feeling something wrong. A warning in the Force. The young man at least was observant.

 

Sefas stepped out of the shadow, and pried his lightsaber from his waist. As the young Jedi examined his datapad, Lord Sefas quickly activated the blade directly into the back of the Jedi, severing his spinal chord, and piercing his heart. He fell like a sack of potato's, without a single gasp, but the other Jedi were already aware. Running, the snap-hiss of the two aqua blades illuminated the corridor. Sefas activated his almost lazily, using his showmanship to block the oncoming onslaught, as each of the pair tried to avenge their fellow Jedi. With a single hand, Sefas parried one particular flurry, using the Force to throw the pair backwards the wall.

 

The Jedi struggled - but they were no Masters in the Force, and they were no match for his power. They were no comparison to Sefas' power, his experience, and his darkness, not the power of the Emperor. For a moment, he let his guard down, and exposed the pair to his true power - to his darkness. The shock was only short lived, as he pushed his consciousness onto theirs, corrupting their minds, burning their souls from the inside out. They screamed in anguish, as the part inside of them that was once Jedi, that was once good was burned out. Corrupted, burned, turned into mere puppets. These two Jedi would serve as a single message to the Republic.

 

'Even the Jedi cannot be trusted.' Sefas whispered quietly. And his new minions obeyed.

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C'erian shook his head, a deep headache forming at the back of his eyes as he read the report for the thirteenth time, trying to find something. One dead Jedi Knight - two missing, presumed dead. Another clear picture of their Sith adversary, staring directly into the camera as they landed on the ground, before turning a corner to presumably murder the inexperienced Jedi. The body count was rising almost every day, and yet the Jedi were no closer to finding this person that they were the first day that this Sith had appeared. There was no evidence for them to examine - no fibers, no way to identify this adversary. And yet... the Sith had arrived on Coruscant somehow. He hadn't appeared from nowhere, and he certainly wasn't acting out of sheer random coincidence. There had to be a pattern.

 

The chambers of the Jedi High Council - once the private residence and offices of the Supreme Chancellor before they had been cleared for the Jedi's purposes - were silent. With the other chairs around him empty, C'erian ponded deeply into the Force, trying to find some wisdom, trying to uncover some clue which might make this whole scheme become clear. Yet nothing appeared. His sight was being blocked - no matter how long the High Council spent in meditation, their collective meditation was unable to pierce the wall of the Dark Side, unable to see the plain truth that laid beneath a web of mystery and deceit. He placed the datapad on the armrest of his chair, standing up and walking towards the wide glass window that surrounded the entirety of the room. From any point in the room, the Jedi could see the city, much as they could in the old Council Chambers in the Temple. It had been modeled to appear almost identical, yet the differences were obvious. You couldn't see the desolation of the Jedi Temple from the original Council Chambers.

 

The door slid open with the mechanical whir as the turbo-lift opened up into the room. He didn't bother to turn to face the person entering - only the Jedi Council or the Supreme Chancellor's most loyal aide's had access to this particular level of the Jedi Spire of the Senate. It was of course, no surprise to him that person entering had no Force signature to speak of - his Staff Aide, Den Hadium, approached quickly and quietly. C'erian turned and looked up the tall Epicanthix, who served as his most senior assistant ever since his ascension to the Chancellorship, 'Your Excellency, there is currently an incident in progress at the Jedi Temple, with one of the missing Jedi...'

 

C'erian immediately straightened, 'Take me there. Immediately,'

 


 

The shuttle ride was quick, with all traffic diverted out of their direct travel path. The shuttle landed a short distance from the Temple, and already he could hear the whiz of lightsaber blades clashing, and the shots of blasters firing. One of the Jedi had returned to the Temple, the one who had gone missing after the murder of the younger Jedi, and he had began acting erratically. He was eventually cornered by a couple concerned healers, before he took his lightsaber out and cut them into pieces before they could even react. Overhead, Republic news stations were filming the entire thing - rushing over to his shuttle as he emerged, trying to get him to make comment. C'erian ignored them - using the Force to leap over the reporters, and head directly toward the Temple itself, where a group of Jedi were keeping anyone from entering.

 

Behind him, he could see his Staff Aide beginning to give the official comments of the Supreme Chancellor to the press, as the camera's focused on the Grand Master's actions. Acting not just as one role, but two, the eyes of the Republic were always on him, no matter where he went. So he did his best to disappear. Once he ascended the ruined steps of the Temple, no camera would be able to see him.

 

One of the Master's was still trying to contain the "insane Jedi" as Den Hadium had called the newly returned Jedi, in their shuttle trip. It was easy to find them - the Temple was mostly abandoned, except for the sound of lightsabers clashing erratically, and the strong pull of the Force. The Jedi was nothing like what he had looked like before - he looked like he hadn't slept in months, his eyes were glazed and his robes bedraggled. The molten and corrupt smell of the Dark Side lingered on him, pouring into the Grand Master's senses.

 

There was a cry, and the senior Master fell, the Jedi having cut the Master's leg from the top. He stood over the Master, ready to make the kill.

 

'Stop this,' C'erian said, forcing his voice to resonate strongly with the Light Side, 'He is a fellow Jedi. You are a Jedi. There is no need for this violence. Surrender your weapon, and we can help you. Whatever has happened, we can help you. We can stop this. You can stop this. End the violence, and let him go.'

 

The Jedi - a shadow of his former self, stopped and turned to look at C'erian briefly, before giving a devilish smile. He turned back and thrust the lightsaber down, intending to stab at the heart of the elder Master. C'erian moved quickly, forcing the corrupt Jedi from his feet with a repulse of energy, directed straight at him. The Jedi bounced against the wall - and injury, any pain he felt, completely numbed by the corruption. He turned and ran at C'erian, swinging his lightsaber with the erratic and un-disciplined form of the deranged. Undisciplined, but still dangerous - a lightsaber even in the hands of the inexperienced, was still lethal. The Jedi began to hack at C'erian's form - the lightsaber used almost like an axe.

 

Then, mid-stroke, the Jedi switched, taking on a form - catching the Grand Master by surprise. C'erian leapt, spinning in the air as he tried to cut the Jedi's hand or feet, to end the combat. The Jedi refused to cooperate, swinging his blade the other way, forcing C'erian to defend, rather than attack as he landed. C'erian stepped back and began to twist the blade in his hand, using the Ataru spin to confuse and debilitate his opponent. He then threw his lightsaber - missing the Jedi.

 

With a smile, the Jedi struck - pushing forward trying to hit the defenseless Grand Master. C'erian pressed his hand forward, creating a barrier of energy just strong enough to deflect the lightsaber for one blow - before his lightsaber returned on its path, landing straight back into C'erian's hands. He twisted his blade simply, and the Jedi's hands fell from their wrists. With a scream, the Jedi fell to his knee's, expecting death. C'erian used went deep into the Force, feeling into the Jedi's pain, and increased it, ten fold. The Jedi passed out almost instantly, the pain too much tolerate, and C'erian fell to his knees in exhaustion.

 

Minutes later, a group of Jedi advanced, and took the Jedi into custody.

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Zyann Aari    113

It would be so much easier to use the Force to shove bystanders aside, their gathering making it difficult for the Togruta to slip through despite her presence being needed immediately.  But using powers against defenseless, even if they were irritating people, that was just uncivilized at best.  The constant buzzing of questions, reporters demanding to know what was taking place, it all faded as soon as she was allowed past the line of security and began to ascend the steps to the temple.  Dark brown robe flowing behind her as the teen walked with meaning and haste, she narrowly spun aside to avoid crashing into the white-haired male upon rounding a corner.  Well, it would have been more of tripping over him than running into his frame, the way he was planted on the ground.  Color tinging her cheeks, she bowed slightly, it taking a moment for recognition to hit her.

 

Tilting her head slightly, she grinned cheerfully at him despite the not so positive situation, her hand extending out before gently resting on his head.  It was an action her best friend did often in order to cheer her up, so perhaps it would help the man.

 

"It's difficult leading the way, being the first to face what is to come.  Whatever is happening, don't think as one of your great titles.  Let the Force guide you...  You are not the only one to continue Jakar's purpose and desires for the Order, so let us help carry those burdens."  As she spoke, the healer had allowed her energy to wash over herself and the Grand Master, her desires to calm and restore his reserves that had been spent during his battle laced into the cool feel of the Force.  "Ah!  I forgot we never met formally!  Zyann Aari, at your service.  I was called to look the prisoner over, but I couldn't just ignore someone so tired now could I.  If you can't stay standing, let's at least move you out of the way.  I'm sure I'm not the only one that would almost fall over you if you stay here-then again, Yusa always said I was clumsy..."  pouting from her own words that were rambled, she shook her head to clear her mind before giving C'erian's head another friendly pat, leaving to examine the corrupted jedi only when called out to by those that summoned her.  

 

Likely her behavior was seen as odd, overly-friendly, especially with someone of such stature.  Even Master Forseti had cautioned her about her behaviors, but to the Togruta, titles meant nothing.  They were comrades, and this was her way of showing support.  Of course, when it came to anything medical, she was all business and mature.

 

Gazing at the limp body of the passed out prisoner through the plasma barrier of the containment cell, Zyann gave a nod to the guards and walked to the unconscious male once they deactivated the barrier.  They were tense, hands on their weapons, ready to deal with him the way one would deal with a Sith.  It made her stomach churn, a slight sigh escaping her lips; even with removing some memories, others that knew it was him who had atracked his own kind would forever feel negative about his existence, and he would have to learn to accept it.  At least she could take away some of his pain...

 

Removing the gloves from her hands, she sat on the ground and pulled his body towards her, cradling his head in her lap.  Slender digits pressing against his face, his temples, the Togruta opened herself to the Force, allowed the energies to flow around her and through her as though it were greeting her as a friend.  Smiling to herself, the teen called out to her own source of power, slowly letting it cover her and the male Jedi before she began to sink deep into meditation, gradually pushing her presence into his mind.  

 

Sorting through images that were memories was a long, tiring process, the flashes allowing enough of a glimpse at a significant period in time that she could identify if it was one needing removal or not.  Still, it drained her much like when she used her psychometry ability.  The filtering of all she saw, even with constant training, it was overwhelming and caused her senses to shut down for a day or two.  Giving pause at the more present menories, the healer reached out towards one, towards the moment he confronted the enemy they were ordered to seek and destroy.  But a bright flash caused her to hiss and pull back, her energy retreating until she was back in her own body, a silent cry of pain on her lips as she clenched her jaw while pressing her hands to the sides of her head.  Shadows fought fiercely, a dark and light, two figures that felt equal in power, but separated by their practices.  They fell at the same time, and as she tried to get closer, all she saw was a mask.  Gasping, eyes opening wide, her melon skin extremely pale, the alien had to be helped out of the cell and sat down, her body shaking and words inaudible as they left her lips.  

 

After muttering about a mask, she finally had enough control over herself to speak up though her voice was strained.  "I must rest.  I will return and tend to him after.  He was a victim as much as those slain by his hand.  I can mend him, but not at this moment...foid, and rest."  Staggering to her feet, she numbly took a few steps before collapsing, the guards alarmingly moving to pick her back up. 

 

Fumbling with one of the pouches at her hip, the Togruta finally withdrew a holocom, using it to contact her friends, the ones she could trust the most, the people that fought with her to keep and protect the Jedi Order.  "Ves, Yusa... I'm in the temple.  Bring food."

 

Edited by Empress Kitty

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