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Vanessa Sallin

Sith Apprentice
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About Vanessa Sallin

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    Verrin's Apprentice

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    Darth Valyrian

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  1. With a Quiet Sigh, Not a Bang

    He opened his arms wide to embrace her in a hug - and in that moment, she knew she had her advantage. With a quick twist of her arm, she brought her lightsaber swinging around in an arc around her body, activating the twin blades with a snap-hiss of radiating energy, slicing the Sith Lord in two from hip to shoulder, claiming her blood-right as his apprentice. As the top half of his dismembered corpse landed on the ground, his bottom half falling down the steps he had just traversed, a dark palpable energy shone through her eyes and a deep satisfied laugh filled the air. Or perhaps, she didn't. He made it too easy. She gave him a hug, thinking about the many many ways that she could have killed him by now. His weakness was almost predictable, but it was what made Darth Verrin the Sith that he was. Despite his many flaws and weaknesses, he was still alive - more than she could say for the emotionally distant, somewhat maniacal, eccentric Emperor that just so happened to have donated his DNA to her creation. Perhaps there was something to being a friendly face, a familiar denizen of the Empire. And in truth, that was half the reason that she did not kill him - she had so much yet to learn from him. And yet, even in the moment, killing him wasn't even her most important thought - but the questions about her time here. Lucian had called her back, of course, meaning that her isolation was coming to an end. She breathed a sigh of relief at the thought - as peaceful a planet as this was, the corpses which had lined the stairways for many years were not as interesting to talk to as one might have imagined, 'I found what he sent me here for, I left it where I found it, until it was required. His Holocron base is in a crypt deep down through the bottom of the Temple, going down hundreds of metres. Whoever these people that inhabited this Temple, they were paranoid to an amazing extent. I deactivated seventy traps, and I am still going. Every time I make it through one hidden passage, another dead end appears. 'To be honest,' Vanessa said, 'it is actually a bit redundant. So many hidden passages, leading ultimately to nothing. There are some old tomes that may be of some interest to you, written accounts by the Order of the Hidden, which detail most of recorded Sith history as witnesses. Before they were wiped out, they seemed to infiltrate Sith organisations and watch them, making notes, and generally recording history. Much of it is nonsense and has a familiar bias to it, but some of the manuscripts might be of interest to you. Lucian's Holocron is in the very last Vault. 'It will take us many hours to reach it. Even with the traps deactivated, the passages wind up and down. I've yet to find a quick route in and out to the final chamber - if indeed it is the final chamber,' she stopped, and realized that her Master had asked her another question, 'I am fine though. Mostly bored, on this planet, with nothing to do other than read old books. I had almost begun to think that nobody would ever come.'
  2. With a Quiet Sigh, Not a Bang

    The Temple of the Hidden, as the previous occupiers had called it, was by no means a great towering monstrosity like one might have witnessed on Drommund Kaas before the Fall. The spires of Ziost would make this structure look like it had been carved from a lump of left over stone, yet closer to the entrance there was some beauty in its design. Simple, yet elegant, the Temple stood out from the surrounding desert-like plains of Taral V as a monument of Sith design in an era long forgotten. Imperials and Republic alike had left this particular area alone during their many crusades across the planet, with the nearby Imperial Base serving to be of far more interest. On the approach, leading up the steps of the Temple, were the discarded remains of whatever cultists had once lived here in the presence of the Sith that had once called this home, killed by a few recruits many years ago. They had too been searching for artefacts on the bequest of Lucian Eidolon, a blade forged with Sith magic, a trip which had not gone so well for them. Though Darth Verrin was here for a different purpose, the irony would have been clear to anyone, if they knew the dottered history of the home world of the Cult of the Hidden, and Lucian Eidolon. Sadly, the only tales now remained with the confines of a lightsaber. There were more recent marks here though - days upon days of footsteps, relatively fresh all in comparison. Deep within the Temple, infused with the dark energies of the Force, there was movement. It did not take her long to feel the presence of her Master - he had not taken any liberty to dull his signature in the Force, nor would he have been expected to. Vanessa felt the booming presence as soon as his ship reached orbit, the familiar sense growing closer and closer. Reaching for her cloak, she drapped it over herself, walking towards the entrance of the Temple, looking down the steps to where he would have been. Her long blonde hair was tied up behind her back, but worse for wear. It hadn't seen a wash for many months, it seemed as if it had become allergic to even the most remote comb. The robes she wore, remnants of the armour she had taken from the Library, mixed with armour that had been left behind in the Imperial base. The cloak she wore, once white, now torn on the bottom, and covered with dust, dirt and soot, seemed ready for a one-way trip to a garbage heap - yet it was warmer than anything else that she had managed to find. The only constant, the double-bladed lightsaber, hung from her back ready for action. As the familiar form appeared, Vanessa gave a smirk - her father had told her that someone would arrive as his envoy, she had hardly expected Darth Verrin to be the errand boy for a dead Emperor, 'Master, a surprise to see you. Have you gotten more wrinkles since we last met, or have you just grown more adept at frowning?'
  3. Necessary Reprieve

    Taral V Kelona 21, 3629 BBY Life within the confines of Taral V had been far more restrictive than Vanessa could have anticipated, even surrounded by the comforting touch of the dark side. Backwater was hardly an adequate term to describe the civilisation here, which was antiquated with long-lost technology of the past, held together with some tape and a little bit of willpower. This almost-lost planet seemed to have almost separated itself from mainstream society, despite the fact that the Sith Empire had once hosted a small military facility here within the last decade. Moss and grass covered what hadn't been torn down by the locals and butchered to make their ancient technologies function, the very bricks and mortar re-purposed into makeshift houses. The fences that surrounded the complex had been ripped apart in places, with exposed and active electrical wires that had once been contained, now hanging freely. In places it had been cut, with active ends sparking endlessly into puddles of now electrified water, or dirt. It wasn't hard to find a safe access point, since Vanessa had been here many times over the last few months, and had established a fairly safe path through the destruction. Most of anything that was of use here, had been taken or destroyed in the years since the Empire, with only a few hard-to-reach generators still operating. Entering one of the buildings, over the top of a military-grade durasteel door which had been ripped from its hinges and torn apart for scrap metal, Vanessa was met with the familiar sight of broken glass, half-demolished or missing walls, with large sections of roofing laying on the ground. Passing by computer terminals which had been ransacked and stolen, past overturned desks with rotting paper laying in piles wherever the wind had since blown it. She walked deliberately past these scenes of wanton destruction - familiar scenes of home - seeking something else. Within this ruin, an oasis. The citizens of Taral V were not familiar with Imperial architecture, it seemed. Walking into another room, she took a code cylinder that she had lifted from the body of a deceased Imperial Officer against a small indentation in the wall. With a snap hiss, a section of wall that had been ignored slid open, revealing a small but accommodating turbo-lift. She stepped inside, pressing her code cylinder against the panel again, letting the door snap shut. With a whizz of energy, the lift sprung into action, one of the geothermal energy generators thousands of metres in the rock beneath her feet, giving her the power she required. Within seconds, the lift arrived at its destination. The facility was relatively empty, consisting of two rooms in all. One room filled with computers, a backup catalogue of information and relays to the few security feeds still active on the planet, and a relatively modest sleeping quarters consisting of a bunk bed, a wardrobe and an enclosed sonic shower. She gave a modest sigh as she threw her long black robe on the back of an office chair. She flexed her fingers instinctively through her hair, which was long and matted simply out of lack of conditioning agents out here, and threw another cursory glance at the pair of scissors on the end of the table. Would today be the day that she cut it all off? It was modestly unmanageable now, and no amount of shampoo or conditioner would probably bring it back. Dismissing it for today, she disrobed from the Imperial uniform she had stolen, and took a lengthy sonic, before getting into a second uniform. She washed the first in the sonic shower, before hanging it up on a coat hanger to dry. The only thing she hadn't run out of here was rations, which while unappetising and repetitive, were in great supply. On her most conservative estimates there was enough to last her five months - three if she got hungry. And the water reservoir here was apparently limitless, which at least accounted for one of her bodily requirements. Flipping a switch, and laying down in the bunk bed, Vanessa closed her eyes. Sleep didn't come naturally, as thoughts returned to home, to the promises she had made, and to the life she lived now. To the father she had never wanted, and to the choices he had forced on her without even knowing it. Taral V was her home for now - tomorrow she would venture back to the Temple, and begin her daily routine anew. Until then, she would lay in the darkness and listen to the distant sound of creaking and groaning, silently hoping that the roof would cave in and end it all.
  4. Forever Your Apprentice

    Although her face was already covered with the traditional mask of the Library Guardians, a thick black hood was drawn over her head with a deep black cloak trailing behind. The Apprentice carried nothing on her person excepting for her saberstaff, and a pouch filled with as many credits as she could patch together, as she walked quickly but silently through the corridors of the Dathomir Academy. There was no time for delay - inaction was the only thing she had come to know in recent days, as service to her Master and the fallen Sith Order began to overcome even her own individuality. Day after day acting in the duties of Guardian, never thinking, never moving, never acting except where her Master required. Her voice had fallen silent, and in the darkness of Dathomir, she had found nothing but the quiet to accompany it. The only thing she thought about, in the dark reaches of the night, when even the deafening silence of the night finally became too much, was that lightsaber. The revelations she had made that day it was brought in, when Darth Atrox presented it to her Master. When the spectre of Darth Valyrian had proclaimed itself as her father with the emotional intelligence of a machine, an echo of a story she could no longer live. The only power she had in the world, revenge, anger, resentment towards her parents, gone in a flash leaving her with only a crippled shell of a personality. What was she now without that anger? Her trainers commented about the lack of energy in her lightsaber forms, and even the lowliest of Sith powers seemed almost out of touch now. There was no anger, no joy, simply existance. Existance alone was not enough. Months came, and went, in the monotonous cycle of duty. She withdrew into herself, but it wasn't enough. To simply live and survive, to serve as a pawn in the Order... gave her no pleasure. Nothing did. Even her droid, the incessant thing it was, no longer drew her ire. She couldn't be mad at it for enacting its logical processes, and such, left it to it. She had no energy to argue with it. At times, she could barely remember who she had been before the holocron had revealed itself. Had she been smart? Logical? Powerful? Was she to rise to success, would she strip her Master of his titles, would she become his lover? She opened the door to his office, and he wasn't there. He in his Vault now - his cycle easy to pick now, after what seemed like years of humble service as his Guardian. He had only just left, meaning it would likely be at least a half hour before he returned to his office. She only needed two minutes. Despite being an object of power, the centerpiece of a holocron, Valyrian's lightsaber had been kept within his office on a shelf. Admittedly, the object now had papers stuffed on top of it, with assorted items littering the shelf. It only took her a second to push these aside, the flurry of papers scattering to the ground with a whoosh of fluttering air. Something bounced off underneath the old man's desk, and a glass which had been resting on top of the papers fell and shattered near her foot. Almost in defiance, she pressed the heel of her boot into the glass, and cracked it more. She barely touched the lightsaber before it activated, the tiny avatar of Lucian Eidolon appearing in the darkened chamber, with only a lonely candle in the background flickering as it grew close to its end. It was just like she remembered it from the last time, the figure perfect in almost every way. This was the way that Valyrian had wanted to be remembered, now as the husk, but the man. 'I am Lucian Eidolon, but I was known by many other names during my time in the Sith Empire. Darth Valyrian, the Last Emperor of the Sith Empire. Though he chose to show this form...' it began, beginning the opening monoluge that accompanied the programming for the holocrons design. But it stopped - more than just a datapad, even this part of the holocron could sense its surrounding, and make its greeting based on the people around it, '... and so, the daughter of Valyrian returns.' Vanessa felt a lump in her throat. She had thought this through many times over the last few days, but it was real now. It was happening. The holocron had sensed her, felt her presence, and it acknowledged her as his daughter. Even Verrin had not been so bold as to even mention his name around her since the unveiling, it was the first time she had heard it aloud since that day. Hearing it now made it no more real than it had then, but it only cemented the next path she had to make now. 'It is only natural that you would eventually seek me out,' Lucian continued, speaking in almost a manner of which she imagined the Dark Lord might have done, 'there are many questions that you must have, with answers that I alone could provide,' Vanessa opened her mouth to speak, but the holocron gave her no room, 'but you are not ready to hear the answers you seek. I am no Jedi datacron, you have to prove to me that you are ready for the knowledge you seek, and your mind is not developed enough, prepared enough for the path you seek.' 'Who are you to decide what I should and should not know about my destiny?' Vanessa countered more fiercely than she had thought she was possible. The holocron merely chuckled at her response, as it it proved once and for all that what it had told her, was correct. She cursed to herself - although she had not expected the holocron would reveal all its knowledge, she expected more than this, 'Tell me then, if I should decide that I want to prepare myself for the information, where might I start.' The holocron of Lucian Eidolon paused for a moment, and studied her masked face as if it could see the person behind it. A moment passed before it spoke again, 'Taral V. Travel to the home place of Atrumcavus, and perhaps in the darkness of the Temple, you might begin a path of self-discovery. You are to stay there, study, meditate and learn in the shadow of the Hidden, until I send for you. You will know my Emissary when you see them. It may be many months or years before you are ready - but I will know. Your journey is only just beginning young Sith ...' Vanessa only nodded. She had already decided to leave this Academy, to abandon Dathomir, to find herself before this conversation. As if it was done with her, the lightsaber deactivated without her. She placed it on her Masters desk - there was no hiding what she had come in here for. Hastily she wrote a note for her Master, before turning and leaving the room. She didn't look back, didn't turn to see if she was seen as she left her Master's office. Without leave, without care, she hastened her way towards the shuttle bay where she would go on to steal a shuttle, leave Dathomir, and travel to Taral V. Atop the desk of @Darth Verrin, with the ornate mask Vanessa had worn during her duty as Library Guardian carefully placed on one corner, lightsaber placed on the opposite, the note written on the back of a business ledger simply read; Do not follow me. Do not contact me. This is simply something I have to do. Forever your apprentice, Vanessa. She didn't look back. She would come back one day. It wasn't goodbye.
  5. Zenith

    Vanessa Eidolon. In her wildest moments of delusion, she had considered what it would be the bride of the Emperor - married into the name, and taken his original. It was one of those moments right before one drifted off to sleep, when you considered the impossible, when the thoughts you turned to weren't even of true character, delirium created by the ticking mind slowly shutting down. Of course she knew the story of Lucian Eidolon - who in the former Empire didn't? A nothing, who destroyed the Sith Academy on Nogatan, and went on to somehow inherit the throne through treachery, deceit and a number of lucky strikes against his adversaries in what could only be referred to as one of the most convoluted rises to power known to Sith history. Her mind needed time to process all of this... mess. It had been simpler when her father had been a mysterious Sith of no consequence, who had abandoned her and gone on to live a spectacularly uneventful life. Risen to no power, suffering in mediocrity until the end of time, destined to exist only to serve as fodder in her story, a minor character in her eventual arc of power. She played it out in her head - a pitiful cry of mercy, a plea for forgiveness, for the crimes of misbegotten youth. The unrelenting hand which executed the burden, releasing the chains that bound her, and finally setting her free. Free from the pain, a bloody conclusion to a haunting beginning. A fitting end. The beginning of something new, a rebirth. This complicated things. Emotions welled through her, and she had no measure to deal with them. Atrox's words echoed through her mind, and it brought her no joy. The thought of returning to the final resting place of the Sith Empire, and the Emperor below... it had been the end of something magnificent, something that could have lasted through the eons. Misguided, misdirected, misconstrued, the Empire was a beckon of hope against the oppressive Republic. It was no more than a remnant of itself now, but perhaps some hope remained. For those willing to find it. There might be a light at the end of the tunnel. Her eyes narrowed on the lightsaber that contained the capstone of her late father. Melting it down would be easy. Destroying it would be simple, pleasurable, perhaps even satisfying in the moment. Its destruction would bring her everything she ever wanted, and more. 'If it pleases you Master,' Vanessa found some composure, tried to bring herself back from the rage and open display, 'I would wish you to forget my previous remark. Its destruction would bring me only temporary pleasure,' that was particularly hard to say, 'We can remove the capstone, and perhaps then Master, we can negotiate for the blade. My knowledge of Holocrons is only minute, after all, but there must be more to it - a hidden shell placed somewhere. The Holocron itself might be able to provide some... guidance there on its retrieval. Once the capstone has been successfully relocated, perhaps we should obey its wishes... the holocron of Lucian Eidolon is neither particularly valuable, nor of great interest to many, despite his supposed power. Instead of allowing only the most gifted minds access his knowledge, leave it open for the recruits to make a mockery of his power, treat him as a triviality. Only by demeaning his legacy, by making it the mundane rather than the gifted, will he truly be disgraced. 'As for the blade,' Vanessa swallowed, 'once it has been released, we can speak further on it. My mind is still too clouded to make a reasonable suggestion there,' finally, she gave a muted sigh, 'This has been a particularly emotional day for me - and I was never meant to be in this meeting at any rate. If you permit, my Lords, I will seek my exit and retire to meditation on the Dark Side. There are a great many things I need to process.'
  6. Zenith

    The moment the holocron-within-the-saber activated, Vanessa felt free... free from the burden she had been holding onto for days, weeks since the Empire's End. Pressed by something beyond herself, she was no longer certain if it was the device itself, the Force, or some telekinetic last command sent through the cosmos in the Emperor's last moments of madness, to anyone who might listen... to someone who could listen, to make sure his legacy was not forgotten. Like a grip over her soul had been released, Vanessa was able to breathe properly without the weight on her shoulders. Finally. The holocron - and that is how it appeared, as someone who had felt within its matrix, the incredibly detailed and complex runes within gave her the inclination of this - spoke to her Master as if it knew exactly where it was headed, some relic to be put on a shelf and ignored. He wanted his legacy to be on display, to be seen, yet it was unlikely that he would. At least not forever. Nothing was eternal - in a galaxy suffering from the loss of the public face of the Sith, that more than anything was evident. Grand cities could be wiped off the face of the galaxy, existences razed to dust. Entire lifetimes, families, people forgotten and destroyed. In the end, everyone was forgotten. Would they even remember the legacy of Darth Valyrian in three thousand years time - or would another Sith rise up to higher powers than they had ever dreamed. That, however, was completely irrelevant once the Gatekeeper turned its head towards her. She searched the Force for truth, but found no answers, the room feeling like it was closing in around her. Her father. The Sith Emperor. Her father. It didn't make sense. It wasn't logical. She had longed to meet her parents, to engage with his lineage. She wanted to be the one that killed the man that had the audacity to forget her, to live a life without her, leaving her alone as an infant on the steps of some Coruscanti orphanage. Hours she spent in training, learning skills with her blade that would inevitably lead her to a final confrontation. The thrill of patricide, of justice for all the injustices along the way. For the life she could have lived, for the pain and torment. Years of acting like a pet to a useless Alderaanian noble, thrown in peoples faces as an act of selflessness, only to be tossed aside when the party moved away. For so long, she had dreamed of killing her father. But he was already dead. He wasn't killed by Atrox, but that made no odds. He had found him, confronted him, forced him into a position of weakness. Whether he did the deed himself, whether his hands were around his neck as the life faded from his eyes was almost irrelevant - Darth Atrox had killed her father, and robbed her of the chance. A rush of emotions flowed through her - hatred, loathing, sadness and betrayal, happiness and grieving, all mixed together. So many emotions. 'I owe you a debt,' Vanessa's found herself saying through gritted teeth, 'and yet I owe you nothing all the same. The man had nothing to do with my life, I dreamed of his death a thousand times - it fuelled my hatred, made me strong. Through my hatred for him my power in the Force grew. I never imagined... never in my wildest dreams, could I have foreseen this, that man - that... thing. That man was never my father, any more than you are, any more than Darth Verrin. Yet I feel like I've been robbed of the opportunity - not to know him, but to kill him myself. To realise my vengeance. To seek closure. For that I can never forgive you.' Her hands clenched, as she looked at the Sith'ari, how easy it would be to grab her lightsaber and launch herself at him, 'It would be easy to hate you. To loathe your existence - I'm sure I'm not the first, nor would I be the last. You don't rise to power without breaking a few hearts along the way. Hatred is an easy emotion - its the core emotion of the Sith, as I've learned. It fuels the fire of the power, it gives credence to your own inner workings. You've stolen the only thing I ever dreamed of doing from underneath my feet. What am I now, without that? Knowing now that my hatred is for nothing, that my planning is for nothing, that the act has already been done. He is dead. The man I've loathed for as long as I can remember, the man I dreamed of killing since before I knew what death truly was, is dead. I am a shell without a purpose. 'And yet,' she gave a breath, 'I would never have been able to kill him myself, knowing now what I do. He was the Sith Emperor - the Empire used to bask in his radiating power, as the Sith Remnant will now likely do with you. His power was legend. His skill was beyond compare. I could never have hoped to surpass him, and yet you took him down, your hand or not, his actions or not in the end. Without you, I would likely have never been able to take him down. So I both thank, and curse you. I could curse you were ever born, and yet without your life, my purpose would never have been accomplished. She looked at the stationary, yet studious image of her father, her face almost impassive as the restless cold emotion steeled itself within her, 'You are a disgraceful, vile horrid creature. You deserve nothing but an eternity thrown into the deepest pit of this planet, to be locked away so none even hear your name ever again. So that they will never remember you. Your lightsaber should be disassembled piece by piece, melted down into the ore it once came,' her voice began increasingly agitated, as the well of emotion began to break, 'How dare you call me your daughter. You were never a father, you weren't there when I needed you, neither you or my mother. You knew about me, and did nothing. We met. I remember Lord Sefas well. And you didn't have the audacity to reveal yourself. The great Sith Emperor afraid of facing his responsibilities. You claim the Dark Side changed you into horrible ugly creature, but it only reflected the person you were inside all along.' 'HOW DARE YOU!' Vanessa threw the lightsaber against the wall with a violent burst of energy in the Force. The holocron's Gatekeeper flickered for a moment, but did not deactivate. Her hands clenched, she resisted the urge to lash out at Darth Atrox, to use this rage to kill him for destroying her purpose. Yet she did not. The lightsaber, now with a fresh mark on its side, floated back into position. She turned away from it, from Atrox, from her Master's judging glance, 'Death is too kind a place for the likes of you.'
  7. Zenith

    'I know Master,' she said. She knew it was wrong - after the incident on the miserable frozen world of Ziost, with the blood, and the period of missing memory, waking up in the snow... almost frozen, she knew more than most the danger of simply giving into the power of an artefact. Yet her base instincts denied her knowledge, opting to submit, to allow herself to engage with the item. What was even so important with it, 'I know its wrong, I know what I'm saying is terrible... misguided, naive and destructive. I know it is dangerous. I don't sense ill intent - not that I would know any other. The Force is clouded on its meaning, but clear on its intent - I need to do this.' Darth Atrox spoke, and she gave a nod, 'I am ready Master. If anything happens, the two most skilled practitioners of the Force are here. While the Sith'ari is unlikely to sacrifice himself to save me - its alright, the feeling is more or less mutual, with all due respect and graces given, my Lord,' she'd regret that little slip later. Hopefully he would see the light side of it, 'I doubt anything ill will become of me. If there is a spirit, it will be in Maggie. If not, you've worried for nothing. But if I don't do something now, I'm likely to do something rash later like steal the lightsaber when you're not looking. Then if something happens, I'm more or less on my own.' Her logic was not sound. Her Master was unlikely to just leave the device sitting around for her to steal - it would probably be in one of his Vaults, hidden away so far that only he could discover it. Potentially underneath one of his piles of books that he had been reading, or hadn't read, or planned to read. Or simply put on the top of a shelf somewhere she couldn't reach. Despite this, she decided that the only way forward was to engage with the lightsaber. And so, she closed her eyes, and pressed her mind outward with the Force, feeling for its unique vibration. The Lightsaber was made of something Vanessa was not familiar with - an alloy not common to lightsabers, perhaps not even from this part of the galaxy at all. Red banding around the hilt and around the activator switch drew their power directly from the primary crystal, a low powered glow which gave ultimately no other effect. There was the focusing crystal, a Barab Ingot, she had learned from her training. And then... strange... a third. The curved handle extended a little, with the inner workings housing an entirely different set up. Set up past the power assembly, almost at the very end of the lightsaber was a third crystal housed with a complex array of markings around it. Markings she wasn't familiar with. Markings that seemed odd. She reached out with the Force to touch the crystal, and immediately, it activated. The lightsaber hovered in the air, releasing itself from Darth Verrin's grip either naturally or by his own allowance, hovering in the air with the blade emitter shroud facing upwards, as if the blade itself was about to ignite directly upwards. Then, the device began to hum, a low ethereal hum...
  8. Zenith

    Vanessa didn't say she could understand the last part of the Sith'ari's response, but as he addressed her, her mind exited from the reverie that she had been serving, and tried her best to accomodate the new leader of the Sith Remnant's opinion. It was a strange feeling - she had never met the Emperor, never had a connection, or even seen him in passing. Darth Valyrian had always been an enigma to her, a distant if not powerful lord who served as the head of the Empire, holding power that Sith only dreamed to wield. On the quiet nights, she had sworn that she could feel his presence ebbing over Kaas City, but that was the closest she felt to the Sith Emperor. Yet she stood here, transfixed by his blade. Like it was something beyond the ethereal, something that should be touched and cherished. Something deep within her wanted to touch it, to hold it, and it disturbed her. To be so entirely fixated on a single item was strange beyond belief. Yet no amount of will power could draw her away. She knew it was wrong, but couldn't act to save herself from the nose-dive of emotions. Her eyes dilated, sweat began to appear on her brow, as visions of beating Verrin down, slitting the Sith'ari's throat, just to hold the lightsaber for a second. 'My Lord...' her mouth was dry, but she turned her head away from the object, and kept her eye on Atrox with as much as her willpower could allow, '... I don't know. If I may speak out of turn, that lightsaber that belonged to the former Emperor... no matter how you obtained it, seems to call to me. As soon as it landed on the planet, in fact weeks ago, since the end of the war, I began to gravitate towards it subconsciously. I never truly intended on barging in here, and I expect you to turn me away now, but... that weapon... can anyone else feel that?' She turned back to Verrin, her eyes on the blade. She resisted its urges to kill her Master, instead opening her hand, 'Master, if you might permit me... I would like to touch the weapon, if only to satisfy myself. I will give it directly back, and will return to my chambers after, to allow yourself and the Sith'ari time to speak,' she shook her head, 'I don't know what it is, but I have to just touch it, even once. I will understand if you say no, but... I can not say I will stop trying. I can sense something Master, I can feel something wrong. A subtle discord in the nature of the Force, and I have to find out why.'
  9. Zenith

    Vanessa Sallin hadn't been able to sleep since they had arrived on Dathomir - since the Empire had crumbled, and they had been forced into hiding. It wasn't fear of the Republic, nor was it mourning for the losses they had suffered along the way - it was more... a restlessness that she couldn't quite stomach. She laid awake at nights tossing and turning, her eyes closed but her mind still switched on. For hours, days, this endless cycle of sleeplessness had worn on her, with deep red bags underneath her eyes betraying all her secrets. It looked somewhat like the natural corruption of the Force, the deep tinge of purple that set in under the eyes, but Vanessa knew better. All she needed was sleep, proper sleep. Occasionally, she took some medication... allowed herself to drift off into medically induced slumber. Those sleeps were filled with the nightmares of a man laying in the darkness covered with maggots, his own body decaying as he cried into the darkness, his hollow wail echoing into her mind and soul. It was the same vision each night, a grim display of death that she awoke to, feeling no more refreshed than she had the night before, her mind swirling with the questions of the symbology of it all. On Alderaan, she might have been able to discover it - here, only her Master was versed in dreams, and she had no desire to ask him. Today she had chosen to wear the robes of the Guardians, but not the mask. Vanessa was off-duty, she wasn't scheduled for rotation until tomorrow evening anyway, but she found it easier to wade through the pool of new Sith recruits in the official uniform of the Library Guardian - one of the former Sith Empire, and current Sith Remnants oldest trained private Guards. Trained to protect the Library, its holocrons and tomes, from any that would wish to harm it - even if that person was Darth Verrin or the Emperor... not that one existed anymore. She wandred through the corridors of the Academy - but no means as large as she remembered Korribans to be, yet no less dignified, a slightly more modern touch to classical architecture - with no true direction. For whatever reason, she found herself walking down the corridor that lead towards her Master's chamber. Her senses told her it was a bad idea - yet she walked without control, as if the Force itself was directing her. With so little rest, and so much on her mind, Vanessa didn't try to question it, and merely went along with it. Perhaps her Master had summoned her, and she had forgotten since the few moments after the message. It was a recurring theme lately. Chaos, she could do with some sleep. Vanessa knocked on the door, then walked in without waiting to hear from the occupants on the other side. She turned her eyes to her Master, expecting him in his usual chair, reading a tome or book or rather, and began to open her mouth to mark her attendance. She had to do a double take when she realised that Darth Atrox was also present - a quick sensory sweep of the building, or planet might have told her that - and that Darth Verrin wasn't just sitting reading, but engaged in a potentially important meeting. Confidential like. The lightsaber caught her eye, as the door closed behind her. It was like the headache she had been suffering from increased in magnitude. She wanted nothing more than to touch it, feel it, caress the blade... there was soft music in her ears, a gentle humming of energy, and her eyes opened wide as she found herself inching closer towards it. Instantly, she stopped, realized what she was doing, and looked up at her Master and his guest. 'My Lords, sorry for interrupting,' Vanessa said quickly, giving a brief bow, 'I thought we had scheduled a meeting Master, but I can come back later...'
  10. The Knife's Edge

    The world had opened up and swallowed her whole - at least, that's how it felt. Seconds felt like minutes, minutes like hours, hours like days, until only millennia remained. High on the thrill of winning her bout with her Master, she had ignored the lingering feeling in the back of her mind, a doubt that stuck deep within the recess of her senses. She ignored the dream she had the night before, a shadowed figure of the Emperor in hard combat with the Supreme Chancellor of the Republic - a mammoth fight destroying walls and annihilating structure. She had almost forgotten the details of an Emperor laughing as he was killed, the Grand Master turned away, the Emperor looking almost directly at her with veiled smile hidden beneath his cruel haunting facade. But she couldn't ignore the Fleet of Republic ships above Dromund Kaas. She couldn't ignore the Sith dying, the orbital bombardment, the destruction and the chaos. Her Master had once told her that Sith prospered from chaos, that they lingered on it, hungered for it. It was hard to align that teaching with the senseless destruction she was around her, as valleys of Kaas jungle were annihilated with single blasts of Republic siege weapons. It was impossible to reconsile the idea that the Sith enjoyed chaos, when they were dying because of it. Thousands. Millions. At the hands of the peacekeeper Jedi. How could people believe in a Jedi Order that lead such a mighty and ferious assault, when it wasn't just Sith dying, but innocents, civilians, women and children! She went into autopilot, letting the lingering pain of the home she had grown accustomed to being destroyed by the errant blasts of the Republic. She followed her Master's orders, the Library packed into transportable constructs. Vanessa didn't bother going back for her droid - though knew it would inevitably follow. She'd never managed to escape it thus far, why would now be any different. Without thinking, without hesitation, she removed the simple Sith robes she normally wore, and without permission, without oversight, without hesitation, donned the armor and mask of the Library Guardians. In that moment, she wasn't the apprentice humbling following her Master's orders, but a nameless Guardian protecting the legacy of the Sith Order. The Jedi descended quickly after the blasts, and she fought amongst them. She didn't take numbers, didn't keep track of her victories, she mercilessly and without thought, cut down anyone who stood in the way of the Sith Legacy being preserved. One Jedi cursed her, another silently combated her, and she fended them both, using her skill with the saberstaff to slice them into pieces, as the final steps were taken. Her transponder ordered her back to the rendezvous, and she returned to the SPECTRE to Verrin's command. She joined him wordlessly on the bridge, before being dismissed into her private chambers. She cried. Then she stopped. The world had ended, just as it had before, and petty emotions would only get in the way. Now above Bastion, she was one of a dying breed. Standing beside her Master, uniform on, mask covering her face, her passions vested, she waited. And with the Republic annihilating every planet in their path, she knew she would not have to wait long.
  11. Holiday Spirits

    Vanessa found herself alive in the moment - the energy passing through her like electricity, energizing her mind, body and sharpening her innate focus. Things that seemed to blurry before, were crystal clear. Thoughts that were half formed, were now clear in their perfection. She looked at her Master with a studious eye - examining him, wondering if maybe... with this focus, this power, this strength and energy, she might take him down. But, the thought was half lived - for she realized the folly of her own being. She would be a fool to take him down now - when he had too much to teach her. As the energy focused her, so would it with him. A great many things would change in the flash of a blade - and the focus of her attention became all the more clear. She wandered from the circle - chanting as she did - her eyes on one of the prisoners. He was crying - weeping in the darkness, as the focus of the meditation destroyed his senses and focus on reality. He didn't notice Vanessa's eye focus on him - didn't notice how she approached him like a predator to its prey - didn't notice the distinct way her body moved in rhythm to the chant - or the knife in Vanessa's hands. He wouldn't have seen her grab it from the floor, or tuck it in her hand behind her wrist, But he definitely noticed when the nearby chanting from the blonde haired woman stopped, and the knife which had been hidden behind her wrist, slashed directly through his jugular. Blood sprayed from his throat in a crimson cascade, covering the blonde with fine droplets, and covering her tunic. She licked her lips, tasting the blood, and spat on the floor. With an almost practiced motion, she took the tunic off, threw it on the ground, and painted one of the symbols on her naked chest. Her chant returned, powerful, directly from her throat, the words almost burning as they echoed from her. The Dark Side flowed through her, as though the spirits themselves were giving her the words. Her eyes rolled into her head, and the Dark Side flowed freely through her. For a moment, her Master might even have recognized the power - a dark earthy power, pure, and terrible. As though the Emperor himself were standing in the centre of the room, his power filling everything, his presence and pure deadly gaze burning like the sun itself. Yet, as soon as it appeared, it was gone again. Vanessa collapsed to the ground, her eyes snapped shut for a brief moment, before she regained herself, pulling herself up from the stone floor. 'What...' she whispered, her throat dry and hoarse, barely able to speak louder. All memory of the last few minutes wiped from her mind - the last thing she could remember being chanting in the centre of the room, '... what happened.' Deep in her muscles though, she knew. Whatever had happened, she wasn't meant to remember.
  12. Holiday Spirits

    'The path of the Sith is varied, styled and often violent, Master,' Vanessa returned, having paid attention, 'You took me - us - on as your apprentices, and in doing so, took faith in our potential and abilities. You may not be main-stream, as you so aptly put it Master, but you are our Master for better or for worse. The Dark Side is limitless in potential, and our path is only just beginning. Whatever wisdom or advice you have to impart will be taken in with an open mind - even if we disagree on matters of semantics, the knowledge and power is enough to sate my ambitions, and my loyalty to you remains unchallenged.' She took a few paces forward, and gave her fellow-apprentice a short glance, before returning to Verrin, and then to the prisoners. A smile formed on her lips, 'So, what are we waiting for. When do we begin?'
  13. Beneficial Arrangements

    Vanessa didn't press on the subject of her Master - though whomever he was, he was either too busy to help his ailing apprentice, or unable to simply due to laziness or inability. Whichever happened to be the truth made no difference - she was here now, asking a favour of a woman she had only met once in a cantina. Setie was desperate, even if she tried to tell herself she wasn't. From a negotiating standpoint, she didn't have the high ground, but Vanessa made no motion to stand over her fellow apprentice. She dismissed it, and carried on as the woman's equal in rank and knowledge. For now, that was all Vanessa knew for certain. There was no pleasure in standing over Setie, not like she tried with Holle. Holle was easy to mock and torment, her seriousness and lack of depth made her a simple and almost too-easy target, whereas Setie's weaknesses were on the surface visible to everyone. To torment her, to belittle her, and to make her feel inferior would be simple - so simple that it held no pleasure. There had to be some measure of pleasure in the kill, a little bit of chase, and so far Setie presented neither. Better to befriend, to make an ally of, than push away. Regardless of what the Sith way was, allies were important in the grand scheme of things. She found it amusing though that the girl had never left the city, 'You are certainly in for a treat. The jungle of Dromund Kaas is beautiful, especially when immersed in it. I was brought up wandering the forests of Alderaan, wandering in through the trees and bushes and getting lost in it all - and yet the jungle here is unique to the planet, beautiful and mysterious in its own unsettling way. The more time I spend here, the more I fall in love with it. One day, perhaps, I will even consider it my home. But not yet. I have a great deal of growing to do before I can think of it as a home.' She left it there, walking out of the library with her "student" in tow. They wandered quietly to the taxi-station before getting the first one to the edge of the city itself, the edge of the wilderness. Even from here the hum and grind of the city consumed all, so Vanessa motioned onwards, looking at one of the more well used bush tracks that would take them towards one of the planets notable locales. There were plenty of walking tracks here - one would head to the Spaceport, whereas the one they used headed towards the infamous Dark Temple. Not that they would go that far. Instead following the track, she detoured, finding a small clearing of grass in among the tree's and the sound of silence. Although it had taken them almost an hour to get there, the city could still be heard vibrantly in the background. Nothing could escape it now. Unless they traveled to the other side of the planet. What was over there? Vanessa unclipped her saberstaff from her belt, holding the hilt in the centre as she activated the twin blades with a click of her thumb, spinning it in the air dramatically as she did, relishing the gentle and soothing hum that the blades made in the air, 'Where should we start? Tell me what you know so far, or show me. I promise that no harm will come on us. There is nothing to be gained from killing you - and I would hope there is something to be gained in our mutual trust. The lightsaber is a weapon, but it is also part of you, a fundamental part. Once you consider the device to be no more a weapon than an extension of your arm, and grow in tune with its resonance, mastery of the blade is simple. But I'm sure you've been told this before. So tell me, how can I assist you. And where can we begin.'
  14. Beneficial Arrangements

    If it hadn't been for the fact that she had just moments before been babbling, Vanessa might have been somewhat perturbed by Setie's quick and almost violent use of her tongue. She flitted from one sentence to the next almost without breath, moving from subject to subject with the ease of someone who was well versed in babbling and nervous talking. But through it, she learned a few important pieces of information; Setie was at least mildly proficient as a medic, or at least claimed to be. This was a useful skill-set, but one that had no practical use to Vanessa's aspirations. Setie also admitted to a lack of skill in the lightsaber department, one she made up with babbling. But, the fact that her prowess with the lightsaber had been acknowledged, was a far better sign for her. While she hadn't proved it to anyone other than her instructor, her use of Form and Saber was exemplary - at least in a classroom setting. In the Sith world she had done little to propel her skill, other than a few loose comments, but apparently one had stuck. Already she was regarded as someone who might be fit to mentor, even teach in some degree. Her Master would be impressed - or he would be, if she bothered to tell him. She kept the relationship between them strictly professional, admitting to only the most trivial of matters, giving him enough to be satisfied with her progress and no more. Her true skill, if she were to call it that yet, was best avoided. If there was something she had learned from the old man, it was that appearances were not everything, and a well placed lie could be the difference between advantage and defeat. 'I'll forgive yours if you forgive mine,' she decided, letting her speech relax slightly, though moving her body in a way to appear slightly introverted. She would become the person she had to become, in order to gain Setie's trust. She would take payment, in kind, for her services. She would help the red haired woman with her lightsaber, and in return she would take something more important than a first aide lesson, 'I am more than happy to help with your form work, if you wish. The books always say that the best way to cement knowledge and skill, is to try and teach it. By teaching it, you access different parts of the brain, and somehow store it in longer term memory... or something. I forget...' Slight blabbering, she turned away for a second out of mock nervousness, almost apprehension, before looking at Setie again. She had to appear lesser, no threat to the woman, but a potential ally. Allies were an important asset in a world filled with traitors and people out for themselves, 'I don't have much need for first aide knowledge, or even Force Powers - interesting as it might be - but instead, I will help you out of the goodness of my own. I know in your shoes, you would do the same thing,' or in other words, I do this for you, and you will owe me an undisclosed favour in the future, of my choosing. She smiled, and closed her book, standing up. She'd put away that boring tome later, 'No time like the present? Would you like to find somewhere to practice. The Library isn't well suited for it, but a short shuttle ride just outside of the City would get us into a nice enough clearing to do some practice of our own. Unless you had something else in mind?'
  15. Beneficial Arrangements

    Vanessa had been sitting in the library for some time now, going from shelf to shelf in the vagaries of study. She'd started with one mundane topic, and somehow branched into a myriad of others, from the dark history of the written history of Korriban, branching out to the practical use of wooden fighting implements in battle. The book had been long and detailed, but Vanessa could have summed up the thesis of the gentleman who had written it in a single sentence: Wooden Weapons Are Okay In Theory, Shit In Practice. And yet, the writer had taken some two hundred pages of boring thesis and examples to make this fact elaborately clear. Again and again the writer went into intriquite detail about how various metals (e.g. all of them) were much stronger and more resilient than wood because of its density and properties. Wooden impliments apparently suffered from the problem too, of being unable to stop blaster fire, since the wood generally just shattered and killed the person anyway. The only thing she did give the writer credit for, was the fact that all of the examples listed were actually tested by the Sith Lord. He convinced hundreds of Acolytes to face opponents, weidling only a wooden sword, and told them to fight to the death. He tested each example in real life scenarios, forcing the wooden weapon holder to actually fight for his or her life. Hundreds of acolytes had apparently died to ensure that this thesis was accurately studied for future generations. This particular tome had been placed on the far back corner of a shelf, and had a layer of dust so thick on top of it, that Vanessa was certain it had never actually been read since it had been placed there. It wasn't until she heard her name, did she even register she was still in the library. She had practically fallen asleep reading this nonsense, that when Setie spoke, her eyes opened suddenly with shock, and she sprung up from her half-asleep position to face her, her eyes opened overly-wide, overcompensating for her lack of attention. It took a few more moments after she opened her eyes to register who was speaking to her, and associate the face with a name, and the name with a place. This, unfortunately, she did vocally. 'Remember you?' Vanessa said quizzically, her voice slightly groggy with sleep evident in the tone, as her vocal chords themselves overcompensated for their inactivity, 'Where would I remember you from? The Cantina? I never go there. Oh right that night. What happened there? Oh that thing with the droid! I remember. The thing. With the droid. The thing. OH. You. Hello. I remember you, of course I do. Steph? No that doesn't sound right. You don't look like a Steph. I knew a Steph once - beautiful girl. Ran into a wall when a bee stung her - broke her nose. Never the same again. No, so not Steph. Your nose is evidently not broken. Its close... no, no, don't tell me, I can get this. Were you once a man? No, thats someone else. No, it was recently. I remember... Setie. Of course, Setie, the red head. I spilled a drink on you, and you didn't kill me. Of course I remember you.' Although she didn't think about it properly, perhaps the apprenticeship with Verrin had rubbed off on her after all... 'Setie,' she finally said, now observant, 'How are you? What brings you to the Library?'
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