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Cambul

The Geomancer's Retreat!

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Cambul    15

Selona 23rd 3632. (Immediately after Pendragon Estate Thread)

 

Hoth.

 

"Cambul Naldi, your day of reckoning is upon you." The voice was heavy, a baritone with a dusty rattle underneath.

 

"No, not like this! Its not fair! We were murdered! We were all murdered!" The voice was soft. Clear. Panicked. Devastated.

 

"Your time to cross is come! Do not fight your fate."

 

"She murdered us. We were her friends and she murdered us!"

 

"The Force shall hold no pain for you."

 

"NO!" Cambul screamed in the swirling fires around him, sapphire in color, the thing in ash robes before him pointing a great claymore that was ablaze with sapphire flame. He could not see the face, just the eyes. Two glowing orbs of white flame, the hood failing to conceal them.

 

Death pointed its sword at Cambul Naldi, Cambul, a ruined burned, half melted mess still mysteriously standing, holding only his viridian lightfoil, trying not to buckle on melted knees. He was beyond mere pain. He had entered an agony he had not conceived of even in his darkest nightmares. And yet he could still stand, still focus. He felt agony everywhere, yet he was not dead. Merely halfway there.

 

He could not let her get away with it. With what she had done. She had to face justice, even if it killed him. But not just yet.

 

"I will not go yet!"

 

"Then, Cambul Naldi, thou shalt be made to."

 

Death lunged, the flaming claymore rushing for Cambul's skull. The mutilated thing that had once been a pacifist dodged and feinted backward out of instinct, The area around him and Death was just endless, swirling spirals of sapphire flame.

 

He parried the second sword attack, and somehow managed to force Death backward. 

 

He dodged, parried, and outright blocked Deaths sword with his foil, which should not have been possible, as Lightfoils were weak against power assaults. But it worked all the same, Death pressing the attack and Cambul falling backward and executing a spin to the right of Death that ended in a retaliatory slash that was almost against his will. The screams of his friends as Cyra's flame consumed them bounced around like hornets trapped in his skull, feeling the pain of every death twist him, worse than the flame. He had failed them. He wasn't good enough. He should have had his lightsaber. If only he had had his lightsaber he could have killed her, save everyone else. 

 

It was this heartwrenching realization that allowed him to not really feel the weight of Death, not feel its edge press on him. The flame blade struck and struck, but he met it with parry after parry, dodge after dodge, swiping away the flaming sword from seemingly everywhere.

 

Death pulled back. Its sword was held in a vertical position.

 

"Your will to live is strong. But you are denying yourself the mystery of death."

 

"CYRA OF PRESS MUST FACE JUSTICE!"

 

Cambul was not certain, but through his own agony he thought he saw Death cock its head to the side under the hood in pity. Or perhaps curiosity. He was not certain.

 

Death lunged. Cambuls next moments were a hurricane of sword blows met with elegant parries, slices, and counterattacks. Cambul gave only as much ground as he needed careful not to remain too defensive. Death was power blows and thrusts, mixed with lightning quick feints, slices that tried to cut Cambul's head off. But Cambul would always find a way to be where the sword edge wasn't in the exchange between them.

 

Death fought hard. But Cambul was somehow faster. Somehow swifter for one solitary instant.

 

The lightfoil pierced Death's robes. Death stopped, mid sword blow, and stared at the lightfoil stuck in its chest.

 

Cambul drove it in further, the shock at his friends deaths giving him a strange resolve. An acceptance.

 

"Beware Cambul," Death warned. "Sometimes winning can be worse than losing."

 

***

 

Cambul shot awake on the operating table. He screamed, not from pain, but the stress of the recurring, disjointed nightmare.

 

"Subject is awake," one of the hazmat suited doctors noted in the ice cave. The lights over his face were blinding. "Adrenal system is normal...whats left of it..."

 

He felt clamps. Both arms and legs. He felt heavy. Felt ugly.

 

"Is the subject cognizant?"

 

"Sir, I've never dealt with anyone this heavily cyberized. Frankly, I'm amazed he's not ranting and raving gibberish. Lots of cyborgs go insane from too much modding."

 

"Will he hold basic conversation?" asked one of the scientists.

 

"I don't know," answered the other, a woman by the sound of it. "We had to rip a lot of junk out of him and update. He didn't even have a jaw when we found him."

 

"Mr. Prosper paid you and your technicians a great deal of money to restore him back to health and coherency. He expects what he paid for...quality."

 

"He should be able to talk. We even manage to fix some of the brain-damage. Added more cyber brain implants to compensate. Even replaced some of the really old stuff in his head."

 

"I'll return with Mr. Prosper shortly," said the other, Less than agreeable scientist, who turned to leave the ice cave.

 

Cambul blinked. His groan had an electronic tone to it. He saw the female scientist step away from her computer, going over to him while others worked at what looked to be dig sites in the vast ice cavern. He seemed to be sequestered in an area full of medical equipment. What else was new?

 

"What...how long...was I out? What's going on?" he called out weakly.

 

The female scientist, her face covered by a hazmat hood with a tinted faceplate leaned over him.

 

"Shut up and listen," she said. "You're in terrible danger. Prosper is coming."

 

"Who?"

 

"The guy that paid me to rip out most of the outdated junk you call cybernetics and replace it with more efficient, modern materials. Nothing military grade, just more efficient. I left your arms microhydrolics intact though. Those things are primitive, but very strong design wise."

 

"I have a jaw..."

 

"You're welcome," she hissed. "Listen, you have to tell Prosper whatever he wants to hear. About this place. About the tomb..."

 

"Tomb...? Where am I?" he asked, barely coherent.

 

"You're on Hoth. We're in what was supposedly a stronghold for a Sith you murdered."

 

Cambul had learned enough about his activities as a solo fighter post Uriek to know he had pulled some things against Dark Siders that would never have been tolerated by the Jedi Order. It seemed this was one of them.

 

"Which one?" he quietly asked. "I dunno what you have heard...but my memory is a tad fuzzy."

 

"Make something up then," she hissed silently.

 

Cambul looked around him. The place seemed faintly familiar. Could not quite place it though. 

 

A flash of a viridian blade piercing a slender, purple skinned figure startled him. A memory fragment.

 

"I need my weapons."

 

"Prosper has them."

 

"Where? 

 

"His ship, the Mabari Razor. Its in a hanger in this complex," the scientist answered, startled by a fast approaching series of steps. "Damn it all, he's coming!"

 

The scientist headed back to her workstation. Cambul stared at Mr. Prosper. He was a zabrak with brown, almost bronze skin, clad in expensive but high quality cold weather gear, face with a puggish quality with a long brown head of hair tied into a ponytail, the crown of horns on the scalp poking through.

 

He had a pleasant, easy going look. That was what put Cambul on alert.

 

"Cambul Naldi. Son of Jedi Knight Madeline Naldi, last surviving member of House Naldi, a Tapani Family of noblemen and Jedi. A pleasure to make your acquaintance," Prosper said formally and coldly.

 

"Spent yourself quite the pretty credit fixing a broken old cyborg," Cambul muttered, the pain he was in from his cybernetics near constant. "What could I possibly have to offer someone with that kind of money?"

 

"Easy. A way into the heart of this sanctum," Prosper said. "This is where you slew Lady Vious, correct?"

 

"Let us pretend my memory isn't full of holes and I know what you are talking about," Cambul snapped bitterly.

 

"Lady Vious, a sadistic Sith torturer. Her specialty was Geo-Kinesis. You ran her through with a lightfoil here decades ago. Eighty years, to be exact."

 

"Must have been a slow weekend," he quipped, the name ringing certain bells in the back of his head, but not enough to meaningfully remember. "Don't tell me you were her concubine or something. You are wasting your time avenging someone who didn't give a Kriff about you probably."

 

"I don't seek revenge and was not her lover. But I do want to know how you got in to the inner doors."

 

"What's in it for me?"

 

"Your life."

 

"Try again. I'm not built for enjoying it," Cambul snapped.

 

Prosper sighed.

 

"You are not known for harming civilians or Jedi. So I must assume some kernal of humanity remained for you to choose that. I'll exploit it," he said, snapping his fingers, bringing the prisoner in heavy restaints, blasters both sonic and slug thrower trained on prisoner. Prosper pulled out a pistol.

 

"Tell me what I want to know or I will harm the defenseless prisoner," Prosper said.

Edited by Cambul

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Morgana    0

      As far as Morgana could remember, there was no reason for her capture (at least, not originally) by Mr. Prosper. Last she remembered, she, the Mute, and Kev had separated and she had managed to escape with a little help from Seth who still remained in the shadows back on Li's world. So when she found herself in cuffs that restrained her wrists and ankles, she had to admit she was a little more than surprised. But in a way, it worked out even better than she had originally anticipated: she sensed she was in a place of great Dark Side energy, as great as her... perhaps greater. She could rejuvenate her strength here, where she could draw upon a source of anger and hatred for her strength, her passions fueling every blow she could ever give someone.

 

      She looked around and saw that part of her cell was contained in ice, which told her that she was either in the glacier of a planet that had various climates or an ice planet like Hoth or Ilum. The dark presence was too dark for it to be Ilum or else the Jedi wouldn't use that world as a sanctuary for crystals and building lightsabers among their Padawans. So it was probably Hoth, where Sith tombs were being discovered anyway by Imperial and Republic diplomats alike or another ice world with a dark presence which she didn't yet know about. It was also too ancient for it to be Hyperion or any other Dark Sider she might have known in the outside world, too dead and intangible for her to be able to talk to it; but still it was there. So next time someone came for her, as they would inevitably do if they had kept her alive for the trip here, she would see what she could do about finding out where she was.

 

      Sure enough, she heard the clicking of a door unhinging and the creaking of the door opening, a guard coming through with a tray that she could tell wasn't food. "I see you're finally up, Ms. Morgana ma'am. Mr. Prosper's paying me good money to take care of you until he can interrogate you next," said the man, the whitecoat proving he was a doctor even if he wasn't legally licensed.

 

      "Where is Mr. Prosper, right now? I'd like to kill him myself," Morgana said.

 

      "I'm not privy to the exact details of his location but suffice it to say that I do know he's got another prisoner he's interrogating. Don't worry, he's not bothered to start torturing your boy yet nor that quiet guy you came in with," said the doctor. Morgana sensed he wasn't lying about not torturing the boy which was good news but did sense he was only telling that much truth: he knew Mr. Prosper's location but wasn't telling. Observing his form, she noticed he bore keys and not just the one to let himself in or out of Morgana's cell but likely one that would release her from her restraints. Curious, she decided to see if maybe she could mind trick him into giving her the freedom she needed to find the boy and rescue the Mute from his captors.

 

      Not that she knew why she was interested in him being saved, but something told her even he could be of use to her someday just as there was a chance that detective named Karter could be useful (though he hadn't yet done so). With that in mind, she had a game plan for dealing with this little man that was bringing drugs that were clearly meant to sedate her or make her tell the truth: mind trick him if she could, apply Force Confusion if that didn't work, then make him beg for his life via Force Choke if he wouldn't free her then. If all else failed, she could kill him then take the keys from his cold dead hands using telekinesis to free herself if there were no Force resistant cuffs. The mind trick would certainly be a good way of finding that out, depending on the reaction her binds had but she had to hurry: if her hunch was correct, she didn't have much time before Kev was rancor food or worse.

 

Hope you don't mind, Karter, I took the liberty of setting up Morgana as awaking in prison and at once working to her escape. With your permission, I'd like to give the mind trick a shot and have her escape to add intrigue to the thread plot.

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Cambul    15

"Why go to all the trouble of repairing me if all you are going to do is threaten someone the moment I don't know what you talking about?"

 

"I'm not too clear on what you remember exactly. But you were not lucid. Your cybernetics needed a near complete overhaul. You were in no condition to tell me what I wanted. Repairing you was a matter of necessity. Gaining your cooperation is my only goal. Whether you actually want to help is not my concern."

 

Prosper held up a man Cambul did not know, a man in a black, tattered shirt and trousers with scuffed boots. He was pale skinned, with a dark, maroon colored blindfold. His dark hair was shaved to a buzzcut. His face had an angular, chiseled look to it. He look wounded, bleeding from the mouth. Bruises everywhere. They'd been beating him.

 

Cambul now had a decision to make. He could continue to agitate Prosper, and get an innocent man killed, or he could try and buy time.

 

"You have to understand...it was a long time ago. I haven't been here in decades. But tell you what...show me this tomb entrance and I will see if I can't figure out how to open it," Cambul croaked electronically, throwing Prosper an exasperated look. The greedy types. Always so pushy.

 

Prosper snapped his fingers and team of heavily armed men in red, demon-themed armor stepped forward and unhooked Cambul from his restraints, hefting him up roughly and increasing the sting of pain in his joints.

 

He was dragged through what looked to be a vast cavern that bore the ruined stone skeleton of some kind of large chamber. The architecture was simplistic, black brick, buried in the ice. He saw faint traces of blood splatter. Blaster bolts. Lightsaber burn marks. He spotted a few scientists, who looked to be archeologists studying what looked to be frozen corpses.

 

Cambul was struggling to remember. He remembered a viridian lightfoil piercing purple skin, but that was about it.

 

What the hell had happened here?

 

The brought him before a great black set of doors, which were clearly locked. They were recessed into frozen rock. Cambul felt something suddenly. A sense of cold. Evil.

 

"Even as dead as I have become to the Force, what remains of its blessings tell me you want no part of what lays beyond those doors," Cambul warned Prosper earnestly. "Your only reward on the other side is a fast track to the grave. What do you seek, Fleshy? What sinful thing in there has tempted you to malice?"

 

Prosper merely stuck a blaster in the blindfolded man's face.

 

Cambul sighed. He stared at the door. He looked around. It looked familiar but.

 

He flinched as an oily voiced woman's scream echoed hideously through his mind. He lost focus for a second, came to, and he approached the doors, walking unsteadily on his own. He recalled...something. A trick.

 

He began to understand Prosper's gambit a little better. Prosper knew he couldn't just reduce Cambul to a head and a chest, because then Cambul would have completely refused to cooperate. Also, he needed what amounted to a guide. Plus, he was subtly dangling a carrot in front of him. He just got a newly refurbished body, free of charge. Perhaps he might yet be allowed to walk away from alll this.

 

Cambul took one look at Prosper, who returned a mild look of distaste, and knew right then that as soon as this was over, he and that other hostage were getting unmarked snow graves. Maybe Prosper would put them in a body bag if he was feeling generous. Not likely. Not at all.

 

Cambul spotted a small rock. It would not have normally caught his attention, save all the other rocks had a dull gray color in this ice cavern. This was the only one that was black like the doors them selves.

He tried lifting it. The first time his servos started to whine he stopped. He tried twisting it. Nothing.

 

Ignoring the thudding pain in his skull he focused, stretching out his perceptions, feeling the Force spread through the caverns contours. The Force fed him back a dull impression. An impression of something important under the rock.

 

He got up, rubbing his chin. He held out his hand, straining, forcing himself to ignore the constant, maddening ache that was his whole body. He struggled. So much was lost. His connection was a joke. But what was left would see him through.

 

He felt what was left of his telekinesis slip around unsteadily on the mechanism underneath the rock. He didn't have the physical strength to turn that mechanism. But maybe he still had the mental strength.

 

Weapons were trained on his head as he stretched out his hand, covered in metal and patches of synthskin mixed with what was left of human flesh and muscle. Prosper called them off, and Cambul turned the mechanism under the rock, though it strained him terribly in the process. He dropped to his knees, panting, mind hurting as much as the body as he finished and a heavy, audible click sounded from the doors.

 

Prosper shouted for the doors to be opened.

 

Cambul stared. "What now?"

 

"For now, you will go back to the doctors. Until I need you again. Once I am prepared to explore this place further I will summon you," Prosper answered.

 

"What are you after?"

 

Prosper smiled.

 

"You're a smart man, Cambul. At least you were reputed to be. I'm sure you will have plenty of chances to figure it out."

 

"You are a fool if you think this will go in ANY way as you have planned."

 

"Noted," Prosper said with another smile. "I'm sure you know the way back to the doctors and won't require...persuasion."

 

Cambul looked at the guns around him, and the devil themed soldiers holding them.

 

"And you are, worst of all, a Devil Worshipper," Cambul snapped as he headed back to the medical area.

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Morgana    0

       "You will release me and leave this place at once," Morgana said, applying Force power to perform a simple mind trick. If he was weak-minded enough, that would be enough but something compelled Morgana to realize that there was a little more to it than that. This man was greedy, if his reply was indication, and wouldn't be so easily swayed as to simply fall for the mind trick. No, she had to prey on his innermost fears and anxieties, perhaps make him uncertain he was even safe as long as he stayed with Mr. Prosper. His reply revealed he wouldn't be easily swayed but that she was on the right track about convincing him through the Force.

 

        "You'll have to do a little bit better than that, Morgana. I'm not some weak-minded lackey of Mr. Prosper nor one of his more trigger-happy pretend soldiers who think they can do anything because they got slugthrowers. While they did capture you, a performance I find commendable even for the Devils of Mustafar, it happened nonetheless and that is that. Now, if you don't mind, I have to return to mixing and calculating dosages to keep you docile until Mr. Prosper's ready for you," said the doctor. Hm... this won't be as easy as I thought but it will be more delightful when I finally break him Morgana thought silently.

 

         Deviating from usage of the Force, Morgana decided to see if maybe she could learn a few things from him first. "Why do you work for Mr. Prosper? Did you owe him a debt that could only be repaid by performing this service for him? Perhaps he holds your family for ransom which you pay off by working for him in these operations?" Morgana said.

 

         "Try debt from medical school. Mr. Prosper promised to take care of my school funding if I agreed to do this shavit for him and as long as I kept in line, he wouldn't touch my family. So a combination of a lot of factors, now if you don't mind," said the doctor. Now, it was a little disappointing he just dumped that all on her but her assumption was that he thought that if he vented all that on her then perhaps she'd leave him alone. Usually, especially among couples, when one person vented, the other tended to relent in their persistence to know something about them and proceed to console them. But the knowledge of medical debt and his family being left alone in exchange for his service proved more useful than she expected.

 

          So she decided to go for a combination of Force Confusion, this time, and information she thought he might want to hear in consideration of the circumstances he was in. "You know Mr. Prosper will kill your family anyway, if he hasn't already. You know that you will slave your life away to him but I can help you. I will pay off what remains of your debt, I will ignore your family, you will be free to leave. All you have to do to never worry again is just bring me my lightsabers and free me," Morgana said. Now, the good doctor hadn't succumbed to her spell, outright but he did falter when she spoke of his family, spoke of her willingness to ignore them if he just brought her weapons to her and freed her.  So she repeated her insistence, begging him to free her in a voice that she had used to enslave the minds of men before and bend them to her will as a result of their innermost instincts, especially their more carnal and deviant ones.

 

             After a couple minutes, he finally yielded at which point she told him to find out where her lightsabers were being kept, bring them in his briefcase (which she discovered never got scanned when he came in and out by the guards), then free her with his keys. It took some time but when he did come back, she knew her lightsabers for what they were when he opened his brief case and produced a pair of deactivated blades. Rather generously, he produced the key to her shackles, freed her, then gave her the blades. When he completed all this, Morgana pretended gratitude and he even gave him a deep, numbing kiss straight on the lips, pretending to be charmed to him for being such a gentleman in freeing her. But while she kept him focused on her charm with the kiss, she brought one of her lightsabers up, aimed it at his gut, and pressed the activation button.

 

            For a few seconds, she let the blade stick through him before pressing the button once more to deactivate it. In the moments before, she had clasped his shoulder which she now used to push him onto his back on which he sprawled in the thralls of death. Outside, she sensed there were guards waiting for her and used Force Sight to confirm that there were just two which would be easy to conquer: just use a powerful enough Force Push to send the doors (which were stone and metal, thus extremely heavy if their relic look was indication) on a rapid flight path and their bones would be smashed by the bulk. When this was successfully applied, she sensed she had cracked their pelvic bones, dislocated their spinal cords, and flattened their thyroid bones with the force of the blow which told her only one thing and that was that they wouldn't be opponents of hers later. Now, the next part of her journey came up and that was finding a guide, someone who could help her navigate the temple, find anything of value to her within, and rescue her companions before leaving. 

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Cambul    15

Cambul had to give them credit...they never left him out of their sight. He was strapped to that table again, the blind folded man still held at blaster point. 

 

And there was the pain.

 

As the full reality of his situation had begun to register, Cambul had found himself unable to shoulder his responsibility to the others. To his own distaste, he had fled Uriek in the night, finding the Galaxy thought him dead.

 

The first three months had been spent in the burned out remains of Chateaux Naldi on a lonely area of Boz Pity. Only parts of the underground were habitable, a burned out lab in particular with a sparse bedroom chamber had been his home as he tried to piece together whether or not any of his funds were still accessible. A book he had found let him know of a single shadow-account on a shady bank on Nar-Shaddaa. One kept completely off their official records. He had not tried to access it yet. The lab had some cybernetics equipment, all outdated, but usable.

 

But his old cybernetics had caught up with him. And so he had been found on Boz Pity, by this Prosper. And now he was really screwed.

 

He had to find a way out of here, but he was surrounded. Only way he escaped was if they slipped up, which wasn't likely, or if he received outside assistance.

 

He wanted a lightsaber, more than anything. Give him just one, and he could get out of here. He wasn't the best anymore, but he wasn't so far gone he couldn't defeat mere soldiers. Even with his newly repaired and replaced cybernetics causing painful phantom aches in his nerve endings, he still had his servomotors, which were built to last and gave him great strength.

 

But he still needed help. Maybe that scientist--

 

The lights in the cavern cut. All the power cut.

 

Including the power to his magnetized restraints.

 

While others were scrambling in the Dark, Cambul had already snapped one open and was heading for his legs when he saw a flashlight train on him and an order from that devil-themed merc to freeze.

 

Cambul did so and the Merc ordered him to return to his prior position.

 

Cambul straightened out, sighing. The Merc yelled as the Blind folded man wrenched the blaster away from his face and shot the Merc pointing a rifle at Cambul before breaking free and running down a ice tunnel. Most of the mercs gave chase, and by the time the remaining ones trained their rifles back on Cambul's position, he had already freed himself and was running, brutally knocking over a scientist as he ran as fast and as hard as his artificial legs would allow down a seperate ice tunnel.

 

***

 

Kev stumbled out of the power room in the ice caves of frozen rock. He had a cut on his forehead and a bruise on his cheek. He was holding a baton, having forced himself to escape as he was being transferred to another cell, knocking out his captor and immediately making his way to a power station he had seen, taking a blaster to the generator. It might buy time. Maybe.

 

He was running through the darkness, having left two guards he had surprised and overwhelmed unconscious near now destroyed generators.

 

As he ran, the darkened ice tunnels created nightmarish shapes on the ice that subconsciously made the young boy run faster, even as he heard some sharp crack or dislodging ahead. He held out his blaster, hand trembling as he aimed...

 

...and ran smack dab into Morgana, having done her own escaping.

 

Not sure if her still being alive was really an improvement, Kev lowered his pistol, sighed, and leaned against a wall of ice.

 

"We're in some kind of fortress. On Hoth," he said. "Overheard one of the excavation crew when they walked by my cell. I don't know where the ships are, so I bought time by cutting the power," the boy said. "We need to find the Mute and split. The feel of this place...it reminds me of Ryleya, for some reason."

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Morgana    0

       Morgana was more than a little surprised to bump into Kev, so soon after making her own escape from her cell, having seduced her captor into a moment of weakness she exploited. Still, she was glad that he had managed to find his way out, as she had as it was one less thing that she needed to worry about doing. She also sensed his uncertainty that he was pleased to see her or angry, for which she couldn't blame him, but she didn't let this show as she spoke to him. "You're such a clever one to have cut the power: they'll have plenty of trouble for long enough for us to do what we have to. Hm... you said this place reminded you of Ryleya who I'm guessing was a Dark Side wielder like me. Huh, that explains the strong presence of the Force I detected when I awoke in my cell," she began.

 

       Looking around, she even used Force Sight to see if she could find anything of immediate interest and at once, she found someone or something that seemed alive but not quite. It was male by look but was... mechanical, barely living, cybernetic. However, its power was also ancient and it was not impossible to assume that the cyborg (if it was a cyborg) had some knowledge of this place and whatever valuables might be contained at the heart of it. "Tell you what, Kev, before we free the Mute we need to take whatever valuables we can from this place then activate its self-destruct mechanism (assuming it has one). In addition to Dark Side knowledge that could be useful to us, we'll need a way we can cause this place to come down on their heads: there might even be a way you and your mother can permanently beat down Mr. Prosper contained within the heart of this temple if you agree to aid me. Your blaster is a slugthrower, by its appearance, which means you have a better chance of destroying more of our enemies than I do with my lightsabers until the slugthrowers are somehow decommissioned.

 

         "On the other side of a cell further down from here is a cyborg, from the look of it, but I can't get to him alone. I'll use the Force to get you into the ventilation shaft that will guide you to him and will even point you in the direction of his cell once I start levitating you but you will need to act quickly. I can kill the guards at the front of his cell but I will need the door opened from the inside once I have done so, in order to speak with him promptly. Besides, if we don't try this, Mr. Prosper will keep coming after us but by bringing us here, he's given us a chance to do him in permanently or at least cut down his resources forevermore. Wouldn't you like to find out if you can break him beyond ability to pursue your mother? I know I would in your position and don't worry, we will rescue the Mute on our way out of here but he''ll need his lightsaber back or at least lightsaber," Morgana offered.

 

          She didn't expect that Kev would like the idea of trying to bring the temple down on Mr. Prosper's head, point of fact, she didn't really expect him to agree to it.  Why would he when it would've been suicidal for him to try anything other than escape if it weren't for her? Besides that, she found herself caring for the Mute a little more than she thought she would be, making it a sincere proclamation when she said that they would rescue him on the way back out of the temple. Was she being tempted from the Dark Side by some sort of superficial crush or even infatuation with the Mute? How would it even be possible since she didn't know that much about him to begin with nor, for that matter, really cared for the platitudes of the Jedi which he probably held sacred when circumstances permitted?

 

          For the moment, it was something she'd have to push aside for a later time and when she had a chance to thoroughly examine her feelings about him, her apprentice, even her need for revenge against Hyperion. Did she really want to continue her revenge against him and if she did, what she do when she finally did face him and finally did kill him? Suppose she succeeded and was in need of a new goal, what would she do when her revenge was all she'd ever known? She pushed even these thoughts to the side as she prepared to levitate Kev in the event he went along with her offer: people were so much easier to raise to greater heights when they either didn't expect it or were willing. It was her hope it would be the latter in Kev's case, given the logic of her argument.

 

       But to her surprise, when she checked to see if the cyborg was still in place, it turned out that he had actually escaped already. In fact, just as she went to check to see if he needed rescuing, he veered right into their path and stopped short of hitting them. Besides the fact Morgana would likely have been able to stop it in any event, he likely sensed them before he could run them over. His presence in the Force had indicated some measure of skill in the abilities the Force granted some individuals. "Huh, looks like the cyborg we were hoping to collaborate with has saved himself but, my boy, there is still a use for you. Now that he's free, we'll need you to find the Mute and get a ship for us... two if the Mute decides he wants to make his move into the unknown at this point," Morgana told Kev.

 

        "Greetings, cyborg, I am Morgana and this boy is Kev. Be assured, we bear no relation but it would seem we have the same need as you which is to escape. But I sense that your power is surprisingly ancient which could mean that your cybernetics have delayed the call of death for your soul. Should that be the case, you will most likely know if this place holds anything of value to me: this boy's mother is my apprentice and any knowledge I can add to what I already possess. Help me and I will help you escape this place, perhaps even restore your full potential, while my ally here helps another one of our rank escape this place. You, among us all, are likely to know this temple better than any of us, I have need of whatever lies here that holds value, and this young man has the skills to make sure we have time to acquire it and escape. Do I have an accord with you or would you rather chance your odds of facing Mr. Prosper's foes alone? Divided and broken, we are weak but together and whole, we can break them," Morgana told the cyborg.

 

          Kev, from what she could tell, was still prepared to be levitated into the vents if she still had need of that which was good. He seemed to already accept that he needed her as much as she needed him for their survival which meant it was only a matter of persuading the cyborg to the same course. And it was while waiting on him to decide that she supposed she'd have to ask him for his name when he agreed and that was assuming he didn't introduce himself. 

Edited by Morgana

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Cambul    15

The cyborg had run for his life, managing to collapse part of the tunnel by detonating a sonic charge he had found with a drill laser behind him.

 

He sensed the woman, barely managed to slow down while she gave a LONG introduction. Cambul sensed the stink of the Dark Side but was SHOCKED at how open she was being about her scheme. What kind of Darksider was this? Didn't her master teach her to play her cards close?

 

"Lady," Cambul said, tired. "We have a few problems. I just fled Prosper's men. They're coming this way. They got way more weapons and numbers."

 

He looked around, trying to make sense of this place. 

 

"My memory is full of holes..." he said hoarsely, his electronic tone adding a harshness to his voice.

 

He smacked his head, trying to remember. What was this place?

 

A name bubbled up from his subconscious. When it was remembered a jumble of images went across his eyes, all of them about slaughter and lightsabers.

 

"We're in the Sanctum of the Geomancer," Cambul said.

 

Kev openly recoiled and stepped back. "This...this place...is it hers? Is it Ryleya's?"

 

"Ryleya...sounds like a witch I offed on Jakku. What was that? Thirty? Forty years ago? That was right before the Jedi temple got sacked. Wait, that name...My God, has it been that long...?"

 

"Robot!" Kev yelled impatiently. 

 

"Oh, right, we're being hunted," Cambul muttered absently. "This place...is...was...the stronghold for a cult of Shi'ido Darksiders. The Cult of Ryleya."

 

Cambul looked around. "It was originally a group of Dark Acolytes. They acted as proxies for a Sith Torturer called Darth Vious. Spies, mostly, but assassins when it was called for."

 

The darkened corridors of ice cast an unholy pallor to his cyborg face as he looked around, growing more stressed as he remembered more.

 

"You, Morgana, you probably know this next part," he said ruefully, hands going towards hips joined with metal at the ribcage. "Vious, had a, uh...tell. A bad habit. This schutta--pardon my language young man, I forgot you were there--anyway, this schutta, this schutta was so damned sadistic you know what she liked to do in her spare time when she wasn't breaking people on the rack for the empire?" Cambul asked rhetorically, a snideness in his tone at the question, though the snideness was not directed at them.

 

"She liked to...'roll around in the mud', as they called it back in the day," he explained, wanting his lightsabers. "Strangest thing. She liked to shapeshift into a fat homicidal witch and murder people on rural planets for kicks. Her alias in this guise was Ryleya. Or, it was, until I put a lightfoil through the schutta."

 

"Bull! Me and mom, WE killed Ryleya!" Kev snarled in panic.

 

"Oh, good, so did I," Cambul mocked. "And I thought that was it. Thought her acolytes would break up. But one of 'em, who was smarter than the rest gets the most 'wonderful' idea. Why should the alias go to waste, especially when there were so many shapeshifters left willing to adopt it, and carry out their own schemes, except you can blame it all on one person? In other words," the ancient cyborg added, shuddering from a sudden drop in temperature. "They weaponized a meme."

 

Cambul heard a detonation from far off and shouting.

 

"Look. We can't win a straight fight. We have to lead them deeper. We can finish playing twenty questions later. Where are my weapons?"

 

Kev pointed in the blacked out area. "I saw a security office on my way to the cells. We could try there."

 

"Good boy," Cambul said, walking past them. He turned to Morgana.

 

"Yeah, we can work together. But spotty as my memory might be, I know whatever is at the center of this place is above your weight level. Now, obviously, I have neither the energy, nor the youth, to try and give you a detailed explanation of why trying to profit from this den of blasphemies will end badly for you. But if you are smart, you will at least consider your soul before you touch anything shiny."

 

The cyborg walked off. "We have to get back into the main excavation site after I get my sabers. We only leave this place through those men...or whatever the hell is at the center. But we should resort to killing Prosper only if we have no choice. Maybe if we can capture him...we can negotiate."

 

"Kriff you, you gorram bucket of bolts," Kev snapped, turning to Morgana. "That bastard has been on me and mom since Tattooine. He dies. Here." Kev's eyes were a cold brown. He had clearly reached the end of his patience. 

 

"He reminds me of someone..." Cambul muttered as he ran down the ice corridor.

Edited by Cambul
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Morgana    0

      Morgana listened to what Cambul had to say, listened to the bickering between Cambul and Kev which made her think a highly illogical conclusion. Normally, she would've sided with one of them, having found that Kev was cunning enough to perform a feat such as he described. Indeed, he had the tenacity to pull of his desire for revenge against Mr. Prosper, a desire that Morgana had no problem helping him fulfill. Why would she if it meant one less enemy on her tail as well as that of her apprentice as opposed to one more? But still, she had to settle the argument between Cambul and Kev with the idea that she hatched.

 

      "Enough, both of you. This Ryleya person sounds like someone who knows how to cheat death which only confirms my suspicion that there's interesting material here. There's a ceremony in Sith lore called Essence Transfer which allows the one who knows it to pass their consciousness from one body to another as long as the body being possessed doesn't command sufficient will to fight back. This Ryleya person sounds like someone who has successfully bred clones for the purpose of performing the ceremony, delaying the grip of death a little while longer. As you can both imagine, my interest is heightened with what you've told me. You, Cambul, are a product of death-cheating yourself so why is cloning so impossible to imagine, let's get the weapons then head for the center.

 

     "Kev, unless that blaster you have is one already, you're going to need to trade in for a slugthrower. Lightsabers can't deflect the projectiles and we need some of that firepower on our side. Speaking of weapons, cyborg, take one of my lightsabers for the time being if we can't find your weapons: you'll need it more than I if we're to survive together. If we find the Mute's saber in there, you can use that until we find him again," Morgana said, letting the cyborg get ahead but pulling Kev aside for a moment.

 

     "Help me keep this man on track to finding the valuables I need to better your mother's training. Do that one thing and Mr. Prosper is all yours, I'll even make sure he's unable to escape you if it's necessary," she added. Then she tapped him on the shoulder and let him proceed, keeping her power behind them so that she could use it to protect their rear if needed. Besides, she had her lightsabers, Kev had a blaster, but Cambul needed his lightsabers so he needed to be ahead to look for his lightsabers plus he'd likely be the only one capable of taking a punch if any of them were to be blasted. Still, there was something about him, something about the way he carried himself that told her that this was no ordinary cyborg.

 

     This was someone who'd seen both Light and Dark without a problem wielding either as she had no problem slicing through someone who tried to bite off a little more than they could chew with her. She wasn't sure she wanted to see what would happen if he obtained his lightsabers and decided to turn on Morgana and Kev before saving his own hide. Still, she had no choice but to trust this unstable mind who'd yet to prove his worth to her and the son of her apprentice. That was when it hit Morgana that if Li had failed in her mission then she would've obtained the valuables of this place for almost nothing and would likely have to read any books she acquired from here. Fortunately, she could train Seth if Li fell and vice versa, making her perfectly prepared to adapt if needed be: only if Seth and Li died would it prove problematic for her designs against Hyperion.

 

     But what of the boy? Suppose Li died and Seth tried to betray her or fell himself before he could meet his full potential. Did Kev have the Force-sensitivity to become her next apprentice if that happened? Was it possible that he was the one Morgana should really be training and not Li? He certainly bore some of the animal his mother had but it had yet to be turned to psychopathy the way that his mother's was becoming. It was still more controlled and untouched, allowing her all the capability to mold him into whatever image of the Dark Side she would wish him to be. He might even have the capability to beat Hyperion at every turn in his own department of lightsaber combat... wouldn't that be a joy if the apprentice she should be training was right in front of her and Li had been destroyed by Pendragon? 

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Cambul    15

Kev stared at Morgana, clearly not trusting a single word, but judging by his sudden frown, he also clearly knew he had few options. He nodded warily and ran to join Cambul, who took Morgana's lightsaber as they reached the security office in the darkness. He examined the blade, switching it on and scowling.

 

"Yeah, it kinda causes that reaction," Kev muttered, looking at his weapon. "Maybe they have a slugthrower in there."

 

"So, who is this 'Prosper', boy?" The cyborg muttered, cutting through the door.

 

"He was the father of this gangster on Tattooine. Nordra. Nordra wanted protection money. Mom had nothing, but Mom didn't bend to anyone. Our house was burned down by Nordra's best friend. Best friend turns up dead in the desert later from severe torture."

 

"My mother would have reacted similarly," Cambul replied absently, finishing cutting through the door, there was a detonation in the distance.

 

The cyborg stepped into the darkened office, spotting heavy duty weapons lockers. Not wasting time, Cambul reached forward and ripped the electronic padlock off the first locker with his bare hands, servomotors whining as they did so, exposing what looked like simple black blaster pistols inside. Cambul took one, ripping the second rifle off and exposing what looked like very simple, thirty caliber slug carbines. Cambul looked at the child, then the weapons.

 

"You do not want blood on your hands, child," he said softly, taking up one of the rifles. "So you will stay behind me. That is not a request."

 

Kev stared but sighed.

 

Cambul ripped the last lock off the last locker and stared. On one shelf, lay both his weapons.

 

Delicately, his hands whirred out as he grasped the only friends he had with him in this madness.

 

The Lightfoil had been created upon his ascension to Knighthood. He had often ended up with this on his belt more than his actual lightsaber, as he was often in diplomatic events in his youth, and he had taken it with him into his retirement. It was bronze colored, with a largely decorative defensive cup and a pistol grip, for better thrusting and reducing stress on the wrist.

 

The other was Cyra's.

 

Cyra hadn't been too clear on how her curve-hilted blade had ended up in his hands. He wasn't sure he wanted to find out. The delicateness of Cyra's work was something she had gotten from him, the gentle, flowing aesthetics of the silvery hilt with its blade guard merging into one another as they reached the blade guard.

 

He handed Morgana back her blade as he clipped his foil to his belt, still grasping Cyra's weapon. The white crystal was visible in its chamber via a transparisteel window in the blade hilt itself. He pulled out his blaster pistol after he finished staring at it, wondering why Cyra's weapon troubled him so as he clipped it next to his foil. He spotted what looked like a wooden cane, but was actually made of metal.

 

Familiar with the set up, Cambul twisted a mechanism on the T-shaped handle and it split in half, revealing the emitter. The Green blade flashed to life.

 

"Fugitive's blade, definitely," he remarked, shutting the blade off and tossing it to Morgana.

 

"That's the Mute's," Kev explained to him.

 

"Retrofitted training model. Evidence of salt stains, suggesting time spent at sea. Weighted cane, for blunt force trauma. Age and Patina suggest post-sacking. No dual phase action. Doubt the guy finished his training," Cambul noted distantly.

 

"You can tell all that just by looking?" Kev wondered.

 

"Yes," was the Cyborg's blunt answer. He began heading out.

 

"Lets find a way back to that strange door. Its starting to come back to me. This place was meant to be deliberately confusing to outsiders."

 

"You think a spirit has been jumping from body to body, like Morgana said?" Kev asked.

 

"Good possibility. Vious was just evil enough to pull it off. But its more likely you and I have simply faced different shapeshifters. What was yours like?"

 

"Fat, smelly, ugly, disgusting. Left a strange smell when she burned," Kev answered. "Like...like rancid lunchmeat."

 

"Hmm...mine had a preference for body building," Cambul replied, coming across a side tunnel. A larger detonation rocked the whole complex and all the lights went out. Only Cambul's bright green cybernetic eyes were visible in the dark.

 

The eyes were pointed straight at Morgana. Glassy, and not human.

 

The cyborg silently mouthed words at the Dark Jedi, grasping his pistol:

 

"Behind you."

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Morgana    0

        When Morgana heard Cambul describe the lightsaber in detail, she wasn't surprised he was able to see things like the sea salt. That said, she was more impressed with the fact that he recognized each detail for what they were and confirm her suspicions that the Mute was on the run from something. It was possible he was on the run from the Jedi with which she had no trouble helping people escape, having done so in return for favors before. A couple even had the makings of great soldiers and warriors, those such people being saved by being turned over to contacts of hers that introduced them to the Empire. Still, she knew better than to believe she couldn't watch herself around Cambul the cyborg, whether he helped her out or not.

 

       She was thinking about how best to eliminate him if the event should be necessary and figured out that lightning (even Force Shock) could cause the cybernetics to short circuit if the volts could just land on him. But she figured this out mere moments before the lights went out, the only lights being seen in the darkness being green eyes from Cambul. When he mouthed "behind you" to her, she had thought she sensed something suspicious in the seconds before but had it confirmed. So she used Force-enhanced speed to whirl in a half circle, igniting the Mute's lightsaber as she whirled then swung it across, a red mist forming to confirm blood and the classic orange-yellow singe of the lightsaber with enough momentum to throw the upper half completely off the pelvis of the person she likely sliced in two. When she held her lightsaber in the likely landing area of the upper half, the head was sheltered by the helmet of a Devil of Mustafar.

 

       She heard the clicking of two more blasters and Force-choked the nearest man, shattering his neck before throwing him into the third person with enough force to break bones on both their parts. Judging by the angle of the landing, she might have given them both skull fractures which worked perfectly for her advantage. "Devils of Mustafar, where there are these three, there will be more! Find us a way further into the temple now, Cambul! Kev, hold onto the Mute's lightsaber and return it to him on the first chance that we find him: we may also need someone to slice down a door with a blade while Cambul and I make a stand so better to entrust it to you," Morgana snapped.

 

       To be fair, she had a good point: Kev was the least experienced of them all and would likely fall first among them in any event. Cambul was the most experienced but even Morgana had enough experience to deal with paid mercenaries like the Devils of Mustafar. Cambul even had a blaster already which meant they had that much more of an edge than if they were just relying on lightsabers, Morgana's force powers heightening their ability to fight back. Besides that, Kev and Morgana both had experience under the attack of the Devils of Mustafar with the latter being able to use that experience to fight back against the mercs and find help. Now was the time to start using it and she thought she had a way she could do just that, starting with these first three as they journeyed further into the darkness with Cambul guiding them through the temple even in the darkness. 

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Cambul    15

Cambul moved at around the same time she did, his white blade activating as he took a crude, Shien stance with his curved hilt, batting away two blaster bolts from Morgana's attackers into the nearby ice wall. The attackers were cut down however, before he could do much else.

 

Cyra's white blade lit the ice in a hideous, pale glow, as he moved around. His metal feet, articulated like a human's clicked on the ground as he moved to examine one of the corpses, taking an extra blaster clip and what looked like a smoke grenade.

 

"You know things in the Galaxy have gotten delightful when a merc crew actually has the money to waste going themed."

 

"I think they were military," Kev suggested. "Ex-military anyway."

 

"Pub or Krath?"

 

"Huh? What's a Krath?"

 

"Oh, forgot, wrong era," the cyborg mumbled to himself, standing as Morgana told him to lead them to the tunnel. He headed north, his memory showing him some mercy and leading him through a narrow, winding ice passage that ended in a small metal security door.

 

He shoved his blade into the door, carving a rectangular hole in the door.

 

Kev stopped him. "Something is wrong," he said to both of them. "Why is no one guarding this passage?"

 

Cambul paused at this, than he put his ear to the door, shutting his blade off before he did so.

 

He closed his eyes, concentrating.

 

He heard something, shuffling.

 

He silently signalled to Morgana as he resumed cutting the door to get ready. "We got company," he silently mouthed to her.

 

But there was a problem. The passage was narrow enough that squeezing to the sides to avoid incoming fire would be impractical, to say nothing of manuvering lightsabers in said cramped space. 

 

Kev suggested something quietly at Morgana. "You can use the black magic of yours to make lightning right? Lets get this gorram cyborg to hold the door up with his black magic, have him advance forward like its a riot shield, while you shock whatever is in our way from behind cover."

 

"He's got a point," the cyborg whispered in an electric hiss. "This passage we're in might as well be a barrel, with us as the fish. Fish and barrels do not mix in these situations."

 

"By the gods, how far gone are you?" Kev asked, clearly creeped out.

 

The Cyborg paused thoughtfully at this question.

 

"Depends," he said after a moment. "How much of me is machine?"

 

"Is that rhetorical?"

 

"...Sorta."

 

Kev rolled his eyes at this, pinching the bridge of his nose in frustration.

 

"I'm gonna kriffin' die down here..." he moaned, getting out of the way for whatever would occur next. "I'm gonna die down here with a walking rustbucket and the evil psychic equivalent of a community college afterschool tutor."

 

Cambul looked down at his motorized form.

 

"I'm 'not' rusty. There isn't even a bucket installed on me...damn kid..." he grumbled with all earnestness. "Note to self: Never give that little brat a discount on prosthetics..."

 

The door was nearly cut through.

 

"Ready?" he whispered to the Dark Jedi.

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Morgana    0

     Morgana watched as the cyborg deactivated his lightsaber then listen around for anything wrong, confirming her suspicions that they weren't alone down there. At first, she thought he was growing rather bothersome with his comments about the mercenaries but when he mentioned Krath, her interest piqued once again. She didn't know much about anything Krath beyond the fact they were ancient but the fact that he did meant she was right to believe that this temple held value of some sort, especially with his warning she wouldn't want whatever was within.

 

      She also noted Kev's surprising ability to observe that something was wrong when the passage was left unguarded by any staff of Mr. Prosper's. It was her own suspicions that they were entering a trap but when they looked at her and asked her about the lightning, she realized she might have had a little problem. "Whether I can use lightning or not, Kev, the cyborg forgets that if I hit him I could fry him faster than I could destroy any of the soldiers. Seeing as we still need use of him to survive, lightning is too risky, especially considering the setting. However, I do believe you have a point about something: Cambul, if you have the shielding you'll take the bulk of blaster fire and make them think you came alone.

 

 

       "While they focus on you, I will use Force Sight to see how many there are then Force Speed to destroy them all as well as Choke or the lightsaber. While more elaborate, it will guarantee that Cambul isn't fried into charred metal bits and the time will allow Kev to see if he can find another way for us to circumnavigate this passage, perhaps a crawl space where he can access a control panel to aid our cause," Morgana said.

 

       To be fair, she had a point about what she said: lightning was too risky in these kinds of corridors if the cyborg wanted to avoid being blasted into oblivion or risk it, even if she had indeed known how to use Force Lightning (of which, she wasn't sure). In these kinds of quarters, the risks were too costly for Cambul and even if it meant more effort on her part, it would save his life to avoid using lightning if possible. Then she informed him that she was ready for whatever came in next, deciding that it was time to see if she could act on what she had offered to do, using Force Sight to scan the area ahead of them as soon as the door opened.

 

       So far as she saw with the Sight, none of the accomplices coming for them had slugthrower blasters but considering that she hadn't had a good look at what such blasters looked like, it was entirely possible that they still had them. Still, she saw there was about twenty or twenty-two of them and that Cambul would have to be really good about distracting them with the clip they had for her to work her plan out. She would also need a running start in order to circumnavigate him, hence why she had wanted Cambul to stall them long enough for her to use the Speed against them. Besides that, she also needed to plot out the best path possible for smoothest access to all the men as well as a means of finding out if there was deeper passage at the same time that she was killing these men. 

 

 

         "Kev, you hold onto the Mute's lightsaber and see if you can use it on anything that gives us an advantage: perhaps to give us access to deeper parts of the temple or least give us eyes that can see ahead of us," Morgana said.

 

        Then she found the path that she was to take, noticing that she needed to swerve to the right to start with in order to kill the most possible then zigzag accross to deal with the remaining eight or nine warriors in order to be the best assistance to Cambul. She wanted to avoid the Lightning if she could and, besides the fact that she wasn't sure if she could conjure it in any event and combined with the fact she didn't want to reveal these limitations to either one of them, this was the best she could do. So she let Cambul go ahead and take the bulk of the blaster bolts which looked like the type that could be deflected given the red bolts and the slim build of them as well, unlike the Devils of Mustafar's slugthrower blasters which had several green bolts when they flew.

 

        So she scanned once again to see if anything had changed which made it delightful when she saw that there were no changes at all. Therefore, she plotted her path then coursed it after several minutes of Cambul taking heavy fire. Within moments, she had her lightsaber out and cutting the minions in two or three pieces, taking down each man in a matter of moments before any of the left side half had registered what had happened to their friends. When she came for them, they were a little more prepared for her but it was then that the true nature of her strategy came to life: in destroying their friends, she made them divide and scatter their fire across the land on which they fought. By doing that, they weakened their assault on Cambul and opened themselves to destruction from her and Cambul at the same time as well which meant that they would be too weak to stop both when the time came that they were needed.

 

        By the time the others were dealt with, about a dozen or so minutes had passed but time was nothing of consequence when Morgana had Force Speed and could get herself out of the temple at any given moment, if that was what was called for. At the moment though, she needed to be patient and let Cambul take the lead once the minions of Mr. Prosper had been destroyed.

 

         Speaking of the minions, she decided she needed to see if Kev had found out anything at all about what was ahead or at least had an idea of what they could expect ahead. If nothing else, maybe he finally had a practical use after all when she had previously only spared him strictly because she controlled her apprentice better with Kev alive than dead. If nothing else, should he have failed her on this account, he could tell her apprentice that he had perished on the way out of the temple, giving his life so that his mother could be free of her enemies: it would certainly be in touch with how kids like him might have normally reacted to this situation and the general childhood desire to please the parent whenever they could. 

Edited by Morgana

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Cambul    15

As soon as he finished cutting open the door, he was hefting it up, partly with his own considerable strength, which caused fire to still human nerves when used, and partly with telekinesis. He used it as a shield while Morgana advanced down an alternate route.

 

The blaster fire started pelting the door he hid behind when he made a turn, and he was forced to hold his ground for what seemed like forever: the shouting sounded like more than a dozen, too many in such a cramped space in this ice.

 

He hid behind it, even as parts began to grow hot from the constant fire, the pelting of bolts against the door like rain drops. 

 

A sound of ignited lightsabers took most of the fire off him and he saw his chance, hurling the door into the legs of a nearby attacker, breaking it and sending him into the fire of his friends, who had no time to readjust, as Cambul descended on them with his white blade.

 

"A sinner's only reward is fire," he said under his breath as he cut off an arm. "And the sword it enshrouds."

 

One more leg. Two more arms. Three blasters. He was slow, but he was efficient, subtle decades of knowing when to strike buried in an addled subconscious, bubbling to the surface as he manuvered the curved hilt with both hands, nicking a bolt into someone else's knee, sending another into the barrel that fired it. He was deliberate, and as he moved ominously on the stragglers still firing it was clear he wasn't afraid of using his appearance to intimidate, deliberately playing up his mechanical nature by being slightly stiffer and more measured in his walk as he approached, swatting aside blaster bolts into the walls. Morgana was killing them. He just wanted to live. The last few bolts he swatted into their limbs, nothing fatal, at least not intentionally. He hefted up one survivor, a scrawny human man with black hair, brown skin and wearing maroon colored armor, by the neck.

 

"Prosper's goal. WHAT DOES HE WANT?" Cambul snarled, throttling him.

 

"Boss...the boss...he's been having dreams..." the man answered. "Started after his kid got whacked on Tattooine. Nasty bit...son got torn to pieces. There were parts of him on the ceiling when they found him. Dreams...promising him...something..."

 

"What, exactly?"

 

"This place...there's a woman he wants here. Li Whitewolf."

 

Kev came out of nowhere, slammed his pistol into the captive's grown. The man let out a high pitched shriek.

 

"What do the dreams promise?" Kev demanded to know.

 

"They promise ressurection...for a body."

 

Cambul snorted at this. "Falsehoods. When did the death of his son occur?"

 

"Weeks ago."

 

"Definitely falsehoods."

 

Cambul dropped the merc. "Dreams that want your mother...we could be dealing with a spirit that thinks its strong enough to possess someone. But why focus on your mom?"

 

Kev glowered.

 

"Mom...is different."

 

"Like Morgana?" Cambul asked.

 

Kev looked at Morgana and burst into dirisive laughter.

 

"No," he said between chuckles, wiping tears from his eyes. "Worse. I think she had the black magic in her all along."

 

"A natural dark sider. Great..." Cambul grumbled. "I can see why your pal here would be interested...and maybe why that spirit would be also. Exactly what abilities did your mother manifest?"

 

"Savage, animalistic rage."

 

"Oh, thats classic. She get good with telekinesis quick?"

 

"Somewhat."

 

Cambul knocked out his hostage. "Follow me."

 

 

After some time of walking he found the main cavern again. No one was there. It was silent

 

While he sent Kev to wait by a disturbinglly quiet and empty entrance to the deeper levels he turned to Morgana.

 

"A spirit is way above your weight level, whatever you are thinking," he said. "If it thinks it can possess you it will try. You might think you could beat it...but what if you lose?" he asked. "You do know what happens to the spirit who loses, right?"

 

He walked off into the entrance, grim faced. "Stick together. The place is booby-trapped, if I recall. You see anything weird, either run or kill it."

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Morgana    0

      After Morgana cleared the way for Cambul and Kev to come through, she hung back and watched with intrigue as Cambul interrogated the dying soldier to find out what Mr. Prosper's goals were. She found it extremely interesting that Kev would be so obsessed with destroying Mr. Prosper that he would pistol-whip the trooper, telling her that he was far better to have as an ally then as an opponent. But the soldier said that Mr. Prosper wanted to resurrect his son, had been promised the return of his child by dreams in return for the body of Li Whitewolf. Was it possible that the spirit that lingered here had chosen to possess something in this temple until it found a worthy body to possess, returning to the galaxy when it found its body. It was interesting that this spirit had an interest in her apprentice although why it had selected her was a mystery, perhaps it was because of her more animalistic connection to the Dark Side of the Force.

 

       She wanted to know just what the nature of this spirit was and if there was a possible way to destroy it. Typically speaking, Sith spirits had to bind themselves to some inanimate object like their sarcophagi or their nearby pottery. The witch watched as Cambul led Kev to a safer area, preferring to be left to her thoughts after the mercenaries were taken care of at any rate. Perhaps there was a way to communicate with the spirit, make it a bargain so that it had a body but she still had her apprentice. She was curious to see what this spirit could teach her, in case there were unique ceremonies that remained beyond even the Dark Council. Oh what it would be like to know something that escaped even the ancient Sith Emperor who had led the Empire out of the shadows and brought the Republic and the Jedi to its knees. If only that kind of power were possible, Morgana knew it wasn't, but one could dream and it was in the nature of the Dark Side to crave and lust for power beyond the limits of one's flesh and blood.

 

        When Cambul returned, he told her that the spirit was way beyond the level of someone like Morgana which was something she was aware of. She had calculated the possibility that the spirit was more powerful than her and would likely endeavor to possess her if it had found her worthy enough. But she still had an ace up her sleeve, someone who could be persuaded to reach for the stars in return for revenge against those who wronged him: Seth. If she could persuade the spirit to consider the possibility of possessing Seth al Ugolio instead of Li, she would keep her apprentice and simultaneously calculate the power and cunning of the spirit in question. On top of that, she would be ridding herself of a potential liability to her apprentice's training and if she spared him when Morgana forced them to fight to test their skills against one another as she hoped, then he would have to be disposed of in some other ways.

 

         Of course, she didn't tell Cambul about Seth nor did she feel like she needed to tell him her plan in its entirety even if she could let a little bit of it out right now. "I think I have a card that would interest the spirit. It wants a body to possess and I might have a subject worthy of its attention, should I find a way to communicate with it without it trying to possess me. I'm curious to see its true nature, curious to see if it can be persuaded to be friend or foe but enough talk, we must retrieve Kev," she said, the last statement an agreement about his comment of sticking together.

 

          The only thing that unsettled her was that Cambul was uncertain about his memory with whether this place was booby-trapped or not. She did agree that "anything weird" needed to be run for or killed but little did Cambul realize that Morgana had not yet revealed her full power. It was her wish to keep it that way in case Cambul would betray her after they escaped this place, tried to kill them or stop her from her designs when collaboration was no longer a necessity. Let him think that she was a mere Dark Jedi or maybe just a little powerful if he wished, she would prove him wrong if it came to blows between herself and the cyborg. Besides, she had one edge on him already: his machinery made him vulnerable to Force electricity and if she got a good hit on him, he would go down like a pile of tin cans. She, on the other hand, could still power on through with enough rage if a storm of lightning was brought against her or deflect with her lightsaber which presented another advantage: Morgana had no limitations (save biology) to the speed of her dueling whereas machinery was usually cumbersome and heavy when duelists acquired them. Without even realizing it, she was already sizing up Cambul and assessing the possibility of the spirit's superior power. 

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Cambul    15

Cambul of course, had no intention of trying to stop Morgana. The reason for this was twofold. One, his technique was lacking both at the force and the blade, and two...what need did he have to try? One does not try and prevent a threat from making a mistake. 

 

A realization stilled him as he thought this...if the spirit succeeded, then he would have to contend with whoever the hell they were heading towards who was strong enough to possess her. 

 

Cambul began to think about it but stopped himself. Mother had warned him once: NEVER overthink it. Enemy adepts have trouble predicting plans that are spontaneous and on the fly. Plotted threats are easy to avert. But not entropy. 

 

He signalled to Kev silently to follow them into the passage. After walking through the passage that was a mix of ice and stone, they started seeing bodies. Old ones. New ones. Cambul frowned, feeling a blanket of evil that was subtly tainting the environment. The oldest bodies looked like piles of mishapen flesh and leather that had been sliced open by a black scorch. Cambul saw the body of a devil masked mercenary next to it. He went over to the mummified pile of flesh.

 

"The hell is it?" Kev asked.

 

"Shi'ido. I estimate no older than, oh, about...sixteen years...guess someone had a tussel," Cambul muttered, noticing really old lightsaber marks on the chamber.

 

"Someone really took this place to the cleaners. Look at all the piles down the passage," the cyborg pointed out, the passage starting to have shrines made of human bones with rotting meat long since dried on frozen bone. "Sliced open, butchered."

 

"Reminds me of Ryleya's sanctum," Kev growled.

 

"Yeah, Vious always did have a thing for torture."

 

"I wonder if this supposed spirit we are heading towards is even Vious, and not one of these Ryleyas," Kev wondered out loud. "What could make them all adhere to this insanity?"

 

"Power makes people do weird things," the cyborg answered, examining the body of the Mustafar Devil. He found a thermite grenade and chucked it to Kev, who caught it.

 

"But as to whether or not the spirit really is Vious...the boy does bring up a good point. But given the threat a spirit poses, the question is irrelevant. If it could survive its demise, the sane solution is to get as far the hell from it as possible normally. Only our circumstances prevent this."

 

"What happens if it tries to possess you?" Kev asked.

 

"Oh, it won't take me," Cambul asserted, standing up. "My days of being a tasty snack for evil spirits are long past me. At best, I'll be a last resort. It'll go for Morgana first if it can, and I heard if she loses the mental duel she gets sent to chaos."

 

"Huh," Kev asked, not sure if he would like it to happen or not.

 

There was faint echo of laughter from down the passage, that seemed to extend far ahead.

 

Prosper had to be down further.

 

"We need Prosper alive. I think there is some sort of security grid we have to get past ahead of us."

 

"You 'think'?" Kev asked tersely.

 

"Dude, its been a while," Cambul snapped. "I had one foot in the trash compactor when Prosper found me. Memory was unreliable before that, however."

 

"You mentioned the Krath. I learned about them in school. Are you that old? I've never heard of a cyborg surviving so long. How did you do it?"

 

Cambul thought a moment. "Swordsmanship," he answered cryptically before proceeding ahead. "Where'd the laughter come from?"

 

There was more laughter. But Kev heard shouting behind them.

 

"Mercs following!" Kev hissed.

 

Cambul began to run. Kev followed. And that was when ancient sonic turrets popped out of the ceiling and opened fire.

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Morgana    0

      Morgana listened, merely observing with intrigue at the butchery before her and hearing the words that Cambul and Kev spoke about. This spirit was already beginning to pique her interest long before this came and now that it had, she had to confess that she could make for a powerful ally. As long as they didn't try to possess her, but rather somebody who would've hindered if given the chance, the Sith Lady called Vious or Ryleya could make for a powerful ally.  What a formidable weapon she could become if Morgana could simply channel her in a direction that would help her plans in simultaneity to weakening her to a point where Morgana could own and enslave her to her will. If she could just find the secret to controlling this spirit and making it her weapon, she knew she would not only become a more powerful Sith than even her former Master, Darth Inferis, could've imagined but she would no longer have need of an apprentice. 

 

         But if she learned something that, more especially, could enhance her longevity then her apprentice could be useful in another manner. She could use her apprentice to make herself even more powerful as she had originally hoped for when she had challenged and killed Lord Inferis, confirming the passing of the mantle that he had held during her training. Sadly, the poor old Bith was no longer alive and the dead served no purpose to the living as much as the weak were meant by nature to serve while the strong would rule over them. Now, she had to focus on something more ancient than him in fact, probably as ancient as the Empire itself from the descriptions she'd been given by Cambul and Kev. When Cambul answered Kev's question about his longevity by saying he had good swordsmanship, she smirked: her master had been the finest lightsaber duelist she'd ever seen yet still she had killed him... there simply had to be more to the cyborg's survival than his skill.

 

           She was snapped out of her thoughts by the laughing of the mercenaries that were approaching and she didn't need to be told to flee as Cambul and Kev made a tactical retreat of their own. However, Morgana decided she would move ahead of them and used Force-imbued speed in order to pass them and see if the path was clear before she would allow them to continue. She figured that if she could stop or distract any mercs approaching on the path ahead of them, then Cambul and Kev could escape their notice long before the ones they fled from had caught up with them. But there was still nothing other than the mercs behind them though she sensed a familiar presence: the Mute was behind the doors that she had almost rammed herself into with her brief burst of Force Speed though she stopped herself, centimeters in front of it. Then she ushered Cambul and Kev forward, gesturing with her head toward the doors and when they arrived, she explained why.

 

             "The Mute is behind here and if he is in better health than I fear he is, he could be one more Force-sensitive who can fight with us. Hm... Cambul, you and I will stand guard, dealing with any mercenaries who approach while Kev uses the Mute's lightsaber to find a way in and greet the Zabrak. If he is greeted with the face of Kev before either of us, he maybe more inclined to cooperate and collaborate for all our survivals than if one of us entered instead. Think you can handle that job alongside me, cyborg?" Morgana asked as she handed the cane which carried the Mute's lightsaber to Kev so that he could use it while she relied on her own pair of blood-red blades and Cambul likely readied his own.

Edited by Morgana

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Cambul    15

Cambul charged past the firing of the sonic blasts, aided by the fact the ceiling turrets were already half rusted, and was soon falling back from the firing blaster bolts of the Mustafar devils, who had come charging throught the icy tunnels armed with scattedguns and sonic blasters to force them back as well. The cyborg dived behind a collapsed arch and pulled out his rifle, noting his cyborg hands were not shaking.

 

He wasn't human enough to shake like that anymore.

 

He was terribly scared, of course. But he didn't want to die in a dead stronghold of a dead kill he barely remembered, and he certainly didn't want Kev coming to harm.

 

It was times like this that he was glad he was nearly senile. Wasn't like he could look forward to quality of life. He had been surviving just to survive, he suspected, for a long time.

 

Karma seemed to have tossed him a bone with the cybernetics getting repaired. Half the original stuff that took the place of his organs was on the verge of failure. So he could look forward to a few more years of painful existence, and THEN he would expire as a pile of junk. 

 

That was, provided he escaped.

 

He squeezed off a shot, watched his bullet hit one of the devils in the leg, and ducked at the barrage of return fire.

 

He fired once there was a lull. To his surprise he hit two more and injured a third before he crawled to his feet and ran, dodging sonic bolts and metal bullets and blasterfire as he caught up with Morgana on the other end, watching Kev fiddle with the sabercane. He finally got it on and began cutting through the door while Morgana explained the next step.

 

"Oh, joy. You both get to play nightclub bouncer," Kev uttered dryly as he cut.

 

The cyborg turned and stared at the dark Jedi wryly.

 

"Funny enough, I think I WAS a bouncer at one point, because this whole thing is creepily familiar," he said, getting out his rifle. "I'll drill 'em at a distance, you wade through these sinners as you please, just watch out for the sonics and slugthrowers because they brought alot."

 

"Yeah, those guys are jerks like that," Kev growled.

 

The mercenaries arrived and opened fire on all of them, Cambul returned fire, ducking behind a collapsed stone pillar and his head was forced down from the whine of sonic bolts. He force pulled the boy away from the door so he wouldn't get hit and then resumed firing.

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