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Darth Renatus    527

Dathomir, 'Singing Mountain'

Date: TBD

 

One could be forgiven in thinking that nature was a gracefully peaceful in all ecosystems, across all planets - That all living creatures were symbiotic with their natural habitats. It was clear that such people who held those view had never stepped foot on Dathomir. The planet was as much a wild beast as the dark and twisted creatures that skulked across its surface. Even the fauna appeared to twist into shrieking figures, and almost desert like flats collected eerie mists that were nigh unnavigable. Hence, Ahashra was not at all surprised that the presence of the last remaining Sith had gone unnoticed for quite some time.

 

No battalion of Jedi had come to hunt down the Sith on Dathomir, and much the same, no legion of hopefuls had come to bolster their ranks. Instead, life had continued in an almost monastic fashion. Those that did make their way to join the Sith had done so under secrecy, the vast majority being uninspiring to say the least. As such Ahashra’s commitment had waned. Boredom, depression, obsession...  the new Academy wasn’t like the one on Nogatan, and didn’t resemble anything from Dromund Kaas. She had become as much preoccupied in her own thoughts, finding solace in the fact that the Sith had survived by the skin of their teeth, whilst some Sith walked the halls insufferably arrogant as always.

 

The lack lustre Sith hopefuls did little to ease her mind, and were more so the trigger of many of her darkest fears than an escape from them. These lowly creatures were destined to survive, despite all the frustration they caused, for their lives were secured by faith in the cause, the size of their credit chips, and the ever pressing need for future cannon fodder. All in all life had become rather dull, faces rather repetitive, and everything was just too slow. So much so that often Ahashra looked out of the Academy and reminisced about her time being dead, and how being a Force Ghost again would at least add a layer of complexity to her overall existence.

 

As such, when she received a summons from Darth Verrin it was a welcome break from the monotone existence of life in the Academy. The message she had received left instructions on how to reach a certain meeting point, far out in the wilds. From the Academy one had to navigate across dense jungles and steep ravines, until finally the place of the meeting came into view. The Darth didn’t know if she were to call it an island of a mountain, for it looked like it could have been both; a tear drop like island, cut off from the land around it by a ravine filled with water, rising to a steep plateau. Renatus came to rest on a half sunken slab, part of a structure that had at some point fallen to the ground and shattered. There she stilled herself, reflecting on this place... Somewhere in the distance there came the sound of crashing water, but apart from that the landscape was particularly silent, and noticeably less dense. It were as if someone had tamed this region, or at least tried, for it still felt like Dathomir... just, different. Less chaotic. Reaching out, Ahashra tried to unpick the puzzle in her mind, anticipating answers upon the arrival of her noble companion.

 

Spoiler

Some official art work from the TCG that features Singing Mountain, and the natives... much more dramatic than the in-game version! Singing_Mountain_Scout.jpg

 

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Darth Verrin    2,183

"Blargh."

 

Verrin's simple statement was less a reflection of the beautiful landscape, and more a function of the hot and humid environment of Dathomir. In his younger days, he might not have cared as much, or might even have embraced it as simply part of the 'beauty' of the place. But at his age, it was a discomfort compared to the temperature and humidity controlled Library he called home. Granted, the natives of this planet weren't trying to preserve flimsi and paper out here in the wilds, and they probably would have felt as uncomfortable in his world as he did in theirs. Still... he wasn't entirely enthused when his message to Darth Renatus had come back with meeting coordinates.

 

If he was being honest though, she was every bit the Darth and rank as he was, so to have her answer at all was something of a success. He doubted that 'summoning' Darth Sanguira would have produced the same results.  Besides, as long as the 'honesty' was flowing, he needed to see a little more of Dathomir and its inhabitants anyway.

 

Making the trek to the Singing Mountain wasn't as awful as he anticipated. He didn't meet any natives, nor any overly-aggressive wildlife. He wasn't accosted by any over-ambitious Sith, nor any wayward Jedi.  It was simply another day in the jungle, and he had no reason to think that the journey back 'home' would be any different. At least his rebreather skull-mask mitigated the air quality to some degree.

 

He emerged from the jungle to discover a rocky ledge, jutting out over a long drop to more jungle far below. The view was breathtaking. Lush, green mountains went as far as he could see in any direction, and a waterfall just to his right went all the way down to the valley, far below, where it fed a river that had cut through the foliage over hundreds (thousands?) of years. Birds flew, both above and below, and removing his mask, he inhaled clean - if thick - air. He took a deep breath and glanced to his left where a figure sat.  It was Ahashra, of course - or Renatus, depending on the company - and she was either admiring the view or meditating.  Verrin couldn't tell which, but decided to announce his presence.

 

"Do you love this place so much?"

 

She had probably sensed his arrival, even as he sensed her presence in the Force. The planet's energy masked their signatures to some degree, meaning they likely wouldn't be detected unless they were in close proximity to one another.  But given they were only a few yards apart, even that foggy blanket couldn't hide them from one another.

 

Verrin moved over beside her, and sat in kind, clipping his mask to his belt. Absently, his gauntleted hand reached forward and clutched at the earth before him, as if he could enjoy the sensation of the clumps of dirt falling through his fingers.

 

He began to speak, asking questions whether he was bidden to or not. "Do you still have aspirations, my dear? Goals? Plans? Is there something that drives you still? After years among the Sith, after the wars, the fights... the Darth Sirens, the Emperors who have fallen?  After apprentices have come and gone, and after students have grown and died, or become strong enough to move out on their own... have you pursued your own desires?  

 

Ahashra," he asked, using her old name, "Do you still dream?"

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Darth Renatus    527

Ahashra let out a smirk. Did she love this place?

 

"I would be lying to you if I said I didn't." She answered passionately, before elaborating somewhat. "This planet has many wonders, such wonderful hills meeting harsh plains being one of them. The Force flowing strong... it is almost mystical, in a sense. I often wonder, with the Temple being gone now, if I were to die where is the one place I would like to haunt - and I think, Dathomir. Time eternal could pass by here and my spirit would still find pleasure, both in the darkness and the sights.

 

For a moment she paused, mulling over a thought in her mind, before wistfully concluding "And of course there's no chance of any Jedi coming here and banishing me any time soon. I would hope.

 

As Verrin palmed away at clumps of dirt, Ahashra twirled blades of grass between her finger tips, letting them gracefully fall to the ground after they lost their stature in her grip. Then she repeated the process, almost appearing consumed by the thought as the Kaar asked his next question. Aspirations. A moment of silence passed, before she let out a short chuckle.

 

"Could you ask a more difficult series of questions to a Sith so devoid from the hierarchy?" She answered sarcastically, forever making light of the weight that some answers could hold behind them. She could reply that she wanted to become a Master again to an Apprentice, or a Kaar, even Empress, but all those things felt so heavy to her now... she felt removed from what Acolytes she did encounter at the Academy, even more so than before. It was something that perhaps she hadn't realised at first, but ultimately after losing Xalia, who wasn't her apprentice for long, there wasn't much drive left in her old desire to teach - and if there was, it was currently hollow, just like the words that came from her mouth.

 

"Of course I do..." she claimed rather unconvincingly, before correcting herself "I've got plans for what I am going to eat for dinner tonight."

 

Beyond the joke, which ironically had an element of truth to it, as mundane as it was, there was an air of sorrow beneath it all. Something that now was deeply hidden by time, but still not forgotten. The only thing that drives me is sorrow, she said to herself - before reasoning that it wasn't true. No, it wasn't sorrow... not in the strictness sense, at least. Sorrow was an effect from the cause, which was...

 

"Memories. The only thing that drives me is my memories." Ahashra smirked again, shaking her head as she tossed a blade of grass to the floor, the movement as if it were a heavy object. "As if I have ever pursued my own desires. The most liberating thing that happened to me was turning up at Nogata, and then what. Forced to serve as an Academy Instructor to spy on Cideon, then to kill my Master to save my lives, and ultimately thrown into the sick game that was the Sith hierarchy on Dromund Kaas. I take it back, I did pursue my desires - as Temple Lord. That is when I felt truly alive. That is when I felt the most Sith, the closest to accomplishing something great. But now that is just a memory...

 

"Darth Abraxas" She crowed ominously, as if it were a name forbidden to be said. 

 

Closing her eyes, she rested back in the grass, listening to Verrin's final question. Did she dream.

 

"Do nightmares count?" She quipped woefully before scrunching up her nose.

 

"I can't tell you the answer. I don't know if I dream of being Temple Lord again, or if I am just remembering."

 

The answer was telling, and rather emotional, for something coming from a Sith. The eloquence of the reply was deep enough to be read as far as the listener wanted to go, its depths being a murky sadness that likely would never cease. The life of a Sith led to a tormented soul in the vast majority of cases, with those surviving longer than most simply becoming twisted in body and mind. The fact that Renatus' spirit had endured death only to return to the living was the icing on the cake. The young women that were the butt of all jokes due to their emotionally outbursts had nothing on the angst that Ahashra had sunk deep down in her heart. 

 

"How about you?" Ahashra asked, a scowl on her face as she tried to lock the chests of emotion opening up inside of her, eyes gazing up at the Dathomirian sky...

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Darth Verrin    2,183

At first, she simply spoke of her love for Dathomir. While he didn't agree with her - the things she found attractive weren't appealing to him - he did appreciate her candor and opinions. The two of them sat, pulling at grass and dirt like children, even though the topics of conversation were much more adult in nature.

 

It was when she began to answer his questions about goals that he really paid attention. He was probably reading too much into the words coming from Ahashra's lips, but it sounded like her focus was on her position among the Sith moreso than any personal plans or efforts. She tried to divert at first, talking about plans for dinner, but then returned to her time as Temple Lord. She seemed to miss those days, when she held power and rank among her peers.  She even referred to herself by her old name, Darth Abraxas, before waxing sarcastic once more with the mention of nightmares instead of dreams. All the while, Verrin remained silent and listened to her, trying to cautiously wade through the words as if he was navigating a swamp and trying to keep his boots dry.

 

Ahashra was a good companion though, and didn't simply fall silent. She asked a question in return - one that caused Verrin to stare out at the landscape for a moment before answering. He finally reached a hand over, seeking one of hers.  Whether he sought to comfort her, or bolster himself was unclear.

 

"You don't have to guard your answers with me, Ahashra... it's me, after all.  Have you ever witnessed me lashing out at you or anyone for sharing their thoughts?" He was the one to smirk this time.  If he found her hand, he squeezed it gently, and then he laid back beside her in the grass.

 

He paused, and then tried to answer her. "When I was a young man, my dreams were based in science - in family. I wanted to grow old with my wife, see my children become adults in their own right, maybe advance in my profession to become a lead researcher.  I think I might have even dreamt of making some discovery that would have earned a award.

 

As a young Sith, I only dreamed of survival - of acquiring enough power to get out from under Excrucio's thumb, or enough influence to have a Sith Lady fall for me. I wanted a second chance at love, life, family... but as a Sith rather than a researcher. Then... then I found out that my daughter was alive, and every atom of my being was driven to finding her and being with her again.  The old dream rekindled, except this time, as a Sith. Then, I found her - she was a budding Sith herself - and my dream moved to a vision where she and I would rise to power together, and run some part of the hierarchy together. That dream lasted all of ten minutes before she was killed, and the nightmare... or dream... became one of finding a way to restore her.

 

I almost realized that dream, but failed. When that happened, I grew bitter, withdrawn.  My temper grew erratic. My professional life was scattered, while my focus was one of self-hatred. You know as well as anyone how powerful hatred can make you.

 

But time really does heal all wounds - or at least scabs them over until they become scars that never really go away, but don't bother us as much either. I think it was the fall of Dromund Kaas that really showed me that the scab had fallen off, and that I was ready to think again... to dream.  It took the decimation of our kind for me to have a vision for the future that didn't solely consist of decay and death.  I'd like to share that vision with you."

 

He rolled his head to the side to look at her, half expecting Ahashra's eyes to have rolled back in her head in disbelief, half expecting to find them closed with her snoring.

 

He carried on nonetheless. "You know the story of our ancestors... the Dark Jedi who found the Sith species and created the Sith as we know them today.  In a sense, they created us... several generations back, anyway. I've been studying them... the technology present at that time, the old sorcerous rituals they used... I've guessed and imagined the process they might have undertaken in order to breed with the 'purebloods', and genetically develop a superior race of Sith.

 

I think that I... or we... could do the same, here on Dathomir. These people are infused with the Force in a way that most sentients are not.  The power you feel in the planet, the beauty that makes you love this place, has created a race of beings that are inherently Force sensitive. One might argue that we could take tribespeople and train them how to tap into the Force.  But I think we can replicate the efforts of our ancestors. My experience as a geneticist, and our experience as Sith... we can breed a new age of Sith with the physical prowess of the natives.  My dream... is the survival of our kind.

 

What do you think?"  He asked her, half-expecting her to laugh in his face.

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Darth Renatus    527

A smile possessed Ahashra's lips as Verrin sought to reassure her. A smile, so simple in it's nature, and yet so far from the sensations that haunted her mind, that she carried within her soul. There was no filter, no veil, between her and Verrin - not for her part, at least. This in it's self was worthy of recognition amongst the Sith, unappreciated by most in the past, with most now being nought but space dust, so now only unappreciated by some. When his hand touched hers she blushed somewhat. The heat lit up her cheeks, causing her to curse inward, and try to subdue the reaction from Verrin's sight. How successful she was she didn't know, but she carried on listening casually as the Kaar continued to speak, a steady breeze casually reminding her that her cheeks may or may not be lit up like lighthouses against her pale face.

 

Verrin had always been an interesting conversation companion, amongst all his other talents. He regaled Ahashra of stories about his dreams; his wife, children, and how he fell short of bringing his ambitions into fruition. In a way his story was like many others, laced with tragedy that he did not deserve, the difference being that out of all the Sith on Dathomir, Verrin was probably the only one that Ahashra actually cared about. As such his words still tugged on her heart strings, brewing up emotions that she felt about his misfortune, and rekindling emotions about her own demise in the process. It wasn't long before the former Temple Lord had correlated the two Sith's life stories into a tapestry of tragedy... truly, when in a bad mood, she could make anything look yet more grim. Black was the new black on Dathomir, after all. 

 

When he turned his head to regard her, she simply shied away. Time could heal all wounds? She didn't think so. It hadn't for her. In her state of mind, she struggled to see through his logic around this. Part of her could see his point, but she was unable to accept that... there was a void that simply could not be filled. No matter what was thrown at it, it had gnawed at her core since she had died. Perhaps it was a side effect of simply enduring the great end, or a defect caused upon her psyche by it. Whatever it was, it was eternal, and defied the logic of the living as it consumed the thoughts that could have been healing for her. 

 

She continued to look off into the distance as the Kaar spoke about the Sith ancestors, a story that she knew as well as any educated Sith in the Galaxy... an ironic thought, since there weren't many left. All in all she listened to his proposal. It was interesting, for certain, but also out of this world... the complexity of the task, the potential ramifications... she liked it.

 

Shaking her head, she turned to face Verrin once more, revealing that her lips had turned into a smirk.

 

"It's nice to know you've lost none of that ambition!" She said sarcastically, before offering another witty blow "Well, you may as well dream big I suppose, since, you know, there are virtually no Sith left in existence in the Galaxy.

 

On that note Ahashra sighed, shaking her head whilst smirking still. It took a while for such a grand and dramatic plan to sink in. She had heard some interesting notions over the years, but this, this topped Jesck wanting to create a supply of Dreadnought like droids for the Temple Armoury. And yet, this was Verrin... the notion was a serious one. 

 

"I'm guessing you have a cunning plan?" She said, seeking reassurance that this was a serious suggestion, that Verrin had thought about scientifically. Usually she wouldn't question... but this was so out there, so far fetched, that it was either madness or genius. Could two SIth accomplish such a feat? Would the other Sith try to stop them? There were probably few alive who could even have a decent try... and the Jedi were oblivious. Truthfully, Renatus didn't need that much convincing to throw her weight behind the idea. Anything was worth a roll of the dice at this point.

 

"You're not planning to use me as some kind of motherly vessel are you?" She finally asked, narrowing her eyes. Part of her was joking... the other part wanted to be completely sure of what she was getting herself into. 

 

Spoiler

 

 

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Darth Verrin    2,183

It was nice, laying there in the grass with one of the Sith he'd known the longest.  Most had come and gone - either leaving the folds of the Empire, or departing the galaxy altogether. Even Darths Atrox and Tanit, whom he'd known for a very long time indeed, didn't hold a candle to Ahashra. She'd been there when he'd returned from the Dromund Kaas Empire to the one on Nogatan - a point that he made to her now.

 

"Oh... I don't know that we Sith are so few in number.  It's a big galaxy, and not all of them were housed under our quaint Empire on Kaas. Why, even when the attack came, we weren't all holed up on the planet - there were Sith in places all over the galaxy.  That was part of the reason that we were so vulnerable.  We were too spread out, and not consolidated enough. The fleets were on numerous efforts.  I imagine Imperial Intelligence was running a myriad of missions.  You were here, after all, and other Sith were elsewhere.  They just didn't have a 'home' to go back to, assuming they heard the news. They didn't even have news of where the Remnant would have fled to. And we were so few that we dared not stick our heads above this planet's atmosphere to look for each other.

 

And of course, there are the budding new Sith who seem to find their way to us now and again. There's a promising young woman named Kai, who arrived only within the past weeks. I just hope that at some point, the other Darths return to gather us once more.  While I don't miss the cutthroat nature of our kind, I do miss coffee.  And bourbon... Force help me, I miss a good bourbon."

 

He smiled a little bit, and managed not to salivate at the memory of a particular vintage he'd enjoyed when he had the financial influence that a Kaar's position made available.

 

But he had to admit... not having that position made moments like this, with Ahashra, possible.

 

He grinned back at her when she smirked, noting a slight flush in her cheeks, as if she'd just imbibed some of that bourbon he liked.  The smirk she made even caused her to appear as if she had indeed done just that, and was teasing him because he didn't have any.   He chided her in return, "A cunning plan? You make me sound so sinister!  Atrox and Sanguira would be ecstatic to think I'd gone so deep and dark in my machinations."

 

He chuckled a little, somewhat regretfully.  He'd never been the shining example of a Sith, at least not in most of the EMpire's eyes.

 

But his plan wasn't completely innocent either. He teased once more.

 

"While the thought of strapping you to a machine and making you suffer through the mating rituals of every strapping native on the planet might appeal to you, my dear... no.  No, I don't intend for you to be the mother of our future - not in that way.

 

Science has progressed since our ancestors started their efforts with the Sith species. While I'm no great student of cloning technology, I do have a depth of genetic science knowledge, as you well know." Ahashra had been there when he'd concocted the antidote to Darth Siren's chemical warfare on Nogatan. "And I have since learned ways to delve into Alchemy, and ancient spells.  Essence transfer is also a possibility. For example, we could pluck a Sith from a holocron, embed their spirit into a Force-infused native, and make them reproduce... or extract their DNA for artificial insemination... I think money will become a restriction for us, and we might need to utilize the Academy's resources to secure credits to fund this operation.  But if those credits are too much of an issue, we can pursue a more natural method of evolution... slower, but still effective.

 

Did you know... I encountered a tribe here who actually wanted to mate with us?  Even with me?  Their leader believed that by such a coupling that she could produce offspring that would make her tribe more powerful than the others surrounding hers.  It was that encounter that finally pushed me over the edge to really give this plan some serious consideration. If it could work on her scale... why couldn't it work for us?"

 

Verrin added, "I believe that with your experience here, you could have very significant input into this plan... and that's not even accounting for any knowledge you might have gained as the Kaar of Mysteries. What do you think... can this be done, or has the Dark Side finally eaten enough of my brain to make this plan ludicrous?"

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Darth Renatus    527

Renatus listened acutely, her ears pricking up at the mention of their being possibly other Sith. She berated herself on the thought. Of all the places she had to end up, she ended up here, on Dathomir. The planet was exquisite, and mysterious, hence why she had stayed so long, but to be stuck here now with the pomp and pox of the Sith that remained... it was boring, and distasteful. Whilst there may be more Sith out there in the Galaxy, some of those on Dromund Kaas would likely cut their nose off to spite their face.  Maybe they all deserved to be here, or maybe it was all part of the bigger picture... truly, who knew other than the Force?

 

A cunning plan doesn’t need to be sinister,’ Ahashra noted wistfully, mulling over her words as she spoke. ‘It just needs to be smart – without that kind of thinking we’re going to be stuck on this space rock for a very long time... well, hiding here, at least. It would be nice to have some sort of goal, so that at least we felt a bit more in control of things, and not just cast to the wind.

 

A wave of relief washed over here when Verrin reassured that no machines would be involved... in part she had been making light of his request, but then the Sith were a strange culture, and desperate times called for desperate measures. From some of the things that Sith had attempted in the past, Ahashra wouldn’t put regenerating an entire race of people through any means necessary past their desires, or their capabilities. Although, the mere consideration of machines being involved in the process at all was enough to send a chill down her spine...

 

I've heard of this kind of thing before’ said Renatus, drawing the knowledge forth from where it lay dormant in her gray matter. ‘I’m sure I heard the Rakatta had such a technology’ she elaborated, before explaining ‘where one’s mind was able to be stored in a host as such.  Like you say, similar to essence transfer, but based in technology. I’m not even sure how such a thing would work, let alone if it is true that it exists. If it is theoretically possible then one mind could potentially jump from host to host as they see fit, or we, the Sith, could control them being implanted into a host body

 

On that note Ahashra paused, the little cogs in her brain starting to turn as the cobwebs got dusted away.

 

If this did work, the amount of control one could have over the offsprings potential would be God like... think about it; you could decide at birth the innate potential for a being to tap into the Force. After mastering the production process you’d just need to create an illusion to hide the fact, and you would have the greatest cannon fodder since the Legion!

 

The former Temple Lord smirked, unable to hold the wise crack back. Old habits died hard, especially when one had endured death itself.  

 

Even if you made a few, and used them as templates to create new Sith bloodlines, it would change the structure of our society as we know it. It could change everything, even potentially be disastrous if they found out the mundane truth. How do you plan to get started? Surely the only way is to kidnap natives? And won’t you need a supply Sith spirits?

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Darth Verrin    2,183

Verrin responded first to his cohort's point about the infants, but the longer he talked, the more animated he became. "No... I don't need to wait until birth.  Through genetics, we can determine the potential power of the unborn person.  We can determine it within the first couple of weeks, nevermind months. The catch I run into is needing fertile mothers to inseminate. So yes... I suspect I would need to capture some viable 'mothers' for that... unless they WANT to be the moms of the future generation of Sith.

 

I mean... you realize, as well as anyone, that we would be breeding Force users - they'd still need to be trained, and developed. By working with them from their youngest days, we can fill their minds with all of the Code and information we deem fit. But if done wrong... we could breed potential Jedi by accident. I'm thinking some kind of maternity ward, some kind of education for children.  Otherwise, all of that potential could wind up back in some tribe's village, learning from their local Shaman.

 

What this would do is weed out those who don't have potential to be part of us.  Instead of waiting for the galaxy's Force Sensitives to make their way to us... instead of having them lose parents, kill slavers, get raped, beaten, and otherwise abused before they even FIND us, we KNOW where they will be, and we give them lives without the random tragedies.  We would have some control over their entire lives... their futures. 

 

As for Sith spirits... I'll wager we can find those aplenty on Dromund Kaas and Bastion.  Heck... you remember the Dark Temple on Kaas - how many screaming souls filled that place?  How many dead Sith lords would want a chance to run free in the galaxy again... in an engineered body?  You took hold of the one you're in... what if you had more choices available to you at the time?  What if they had innate Force potential that your spirit could harvest, mold, or devour?"

 

Verrin became quiet for a moment, and then spoke more calmly, "Getting ahead of myself, I suppose... too much conjecture and not enough practicality. Be a devil's advocate for a moment... what pitfalls do you see in my plans?"

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Darth Renatus    527

Verrin's words hung heavily in the air, so profound was the matter at hand. As such, it took a moment of deep consideration and thought before Ahashra even offered a glimpse into what she was thinking. 

 

'Do you truly feel they need to be trained?' She questioned, making reference to the birth mothers. 'Surely it would be more ideal to capture them, and then keep them segregated. Training them may make them into potentially devastating weapons, weapons that could misfire, say, when their children are taken away from them. Whilst it would be ethical to keep the family unit together and keep the deception small, I'm unconvinced if that would be the most profitable direction. If something were to go wrong, we would have no fail safe. They could potentially end us. Whereas, if we looked after them, but didn't train them, then all we would need to be concerned about would be "harvesting the crop", so to speak. Perhaps some deception here would neutralise the need to be forceful. The only thing I see an issue with is taking the child... the mother will know regardless of how it is done, and you couldn't tell them that all are being lost, so I don't see how you could conceal the fact that we were taking them all away.'

 

'The Sith spirits are a different thing entirely' She continued, taking a deep sigh as she changed subject. It was all very complicated and convoluted to put into words. 'There are plenty out there, certainly, but it may be difficult to know exactly which ones we want to bring back. I don't see how you could filter it... so it would have to be a case of vetting the result of each possession. If the result was not as desired, for whatever reason, then we simply find a way to shatter the mind before it become a problem, or a threat. That being said, the possession itself wouldn't be that simple. Without the required rituals it can end badly. For example, I had no intelligent function over this body after possessing it, not until Rae summoned forth my conscious thought with a ritual. I'm guessing we wouldn't be having this conversation if you didn't have the knowledge of how to do such a ritual...'

 

'After that it took months, if not years, to fracture and subdue all the other mental constructs that opposed my will. It was a frustrating process. The only way I can describe it is akin to breathing life into a corpse, where the old bones are unresponsive until you give them new life, suffering from something akin to the shadow of a multiple personality disorder, and being haunted by your own past. All in all it is a toxic cocktail, the likes of which could break the host or the body.'

 

That was all she was willing to say for now. The entire process of possession was somewhat personal, she thought - and Ahashra felt that she had put that across in a way. What she wanted to stop short of however was how she felt this had impacted on her, what quirks she had developed, and what she had gone through. Why she didn't want to say, she wasn't sure... but part of her felt somewhat comfortable with her body, and the prospect of breaking a new one in didn't appeal to her. Then again... 

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Darth Verrin    2,183

"Train the natives - the mothers, you mean?" Verrin pondered, not having considered that aspect. He was thinking of training the children, not the mothers - he assumed they would simply be vessels to bring the new infants into being.

 

It did bring up other questions though. Was tearing the infants from their mothers good for them? One might argue that ninety percent of the young people who came to the Sith in the first place were those who had lost parents... or killed them themselves. Was it wrong to simply remove those deaths from the equation? The easy answer was no, but how would that affect the viability of the mothers? Surely they wouldn't want their children torn from their breasts more than once. Some would become enraged, and need to be put down.  Others would likely kill themselves in some form of postpartum depression. The few that remained would what- return to their villages and face being ostracized? At the very least, they'd spread the word about their experience - making acquisition of other mothers difficult. There had to be an easier way.

 

"Wipe their minds?" Verrin pondered aloud. It could be done.  Would it be enough to make a vessel reusable?

 

The question of Sith spirits lay upon the table too - Ahashra was already poking holes into his plans, precisely as he asked.

 

"I do know the ritual.  A couple, actually. The transference of essences is tricky, I agree, but not as difficult as the experience you had.  I walked in another's body once myself, and it was almost easy to take the person's mind, although I admit it was disorienting as anything I've ever done. You may find this amusing, but did you know that men and women are built differently? The very nature of your pelvis, for example... my brain is trained to walk in this form, and doing so in a woman's body was beyond my ability to foresee. Fortunately, taking the mind of the host was less of an issue. They didn't have my willpower.  But a trained Sith spirit... well, I would think an infant's mind would be unable to resist the intrusion. But how would the spirit feel about being breast-fed and having their diaper changed?  I can't say I know..."

 

Verrin fell off for a moment or three, considering various points Ahashra made.   When he finally did break silence again, it was to request from her, "OK... my turn.  If this was your idea, how would you proceed, and I'll play advocate against you."

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Darth Renatus    527

'No - I mean, don't train them! Otherwise they would become a threat!' Renatus explained, a furrow in her brow. 'Whatever path we take with this has to be solid. There would be nothing worse than forging a cult of angry force using mothers on this planet and ripping away their children. The potential destruction from them harnessing the well of dark side energy on the planet is too significant to risk. In numbers they could likely wipe all of us out if provoked.'

 

'You could wipe their minds, I suppose. I don't possess the skill though, do you? It might not be all too difficult to learn in the time we have between accumulating everything else we would need. The mind wipes could be quite focused, if that is even possible, so that subjects would only lose a couple of years of memories... or we could just go for shattering the mind, and total destruction. This would make them worse than slaves, but would erase any resistance. I suppose it all boils down to what we have the resources to do, and how much risk we want to take.'

 

For a moment Ahashra paused, scrunching her nose as she ran the scenario through her mind.

 

'Regardless, I would give them a test after the mind wipe' she continued, noting 'just to be certain.'

 

After that the Sith listened intently, raising a brow as Verrin spoke of the different in structure between men and women. Such tidbits of information she found most curious, although she never had been a lover of biology and bones. 

 

'You make a good point... it might simply be best to raise the children to adolescence, making them believe that they are Sith. We can create some kind of false rite of passage that then allows the spirit to take over the host...

 

She mulled over that for a moment, until Verrin finally popped his final question; how would she do it, if she could? Renatus sucked on her teeth for a moment, whilst making a few clicking noises with her tongue. Finally, she offered up an answer.

 

'The first thing I would do is build some kind of structure that can house these captives whilst we manipulate them. Then I'd start small. Perhaps abducting natives one by one, and obliterating their minds if possible. Link them up to whatever technological process they have to go through, and then when the child is born you take them away. The child is given to a genuine Sith family, away from the structure holding the captives. Since the rate of reproduction is somewhat slow, we should be able to handle this for at least a few years to monitor development. If everything is a resounding success, and we run out of families, then we could do one of two things; allow families to foster the child, and raise them like a normal Sith, opening up room for them to take on another child to raise, or we become more strict.'

 

'On Alderaan I heard of wealthy families that might send their children to be boarded at some form of academy to learn a trade, or a skill, much like the Sith academy... but for children. Their family would be each other, Masters in the academy having control of their well being, supported by droid staff for trivial matters. Make the children think they have been chosen to become Sith, and condition them as such - this way the hosts body will be a better match to the Sith spirit when the time comes. Finally, on the dawn of the age of 10, the children participate in a naming ritual. The only problem being, the ritual is not to grant them new names, but rather summon forth the spirits who answer to the name. There would need to be some kind of post possession care unit, where these new hosts could readjust to the fact that they have essentially been reborn in a child's body. However, by the age of 15 or 16 I would hazard a guess that most of the Sith will have regained their full potential, and would be fully grown enough to fight - this time with a much more youthful body.'

 

Her explanation was a dense one... but in the end she simply turned to Verrin and said halfheartdly 'Makes you think us two will be out of the game - maybe we should have first dibs on the new bodies?

 

Cracking a smirk, it was clear that Ahashra was jesting... although, there was a slither of seriousness behind what she said. It wasn't exactly a bad idea, apart from having essentially a 5 year gestation and adaptation period. Once they were past that, however, the Galaxy would be their oyster... well, for the next 50 years, at least. And that wasn't to say that they could switch bodies again within that time, either! Maybe they would see the Sith off this rock yet...

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Darth Verrin    2,183

Renatus' concerns about training the natives to overthrow the Sith were understandable, but not entirely necessary. It was never Verrin's intention to do such a thing, but by the same token, he couldn't think of a way to train them anyway. It wasn't like there was a bounty of willing Sith instructors on the planet. The concern was training the children, not the adults.

 

Then she asked about wiping minds, and Verrin nodded. "I know a few things... yes. I was always a bit stronger on the more mental powers in the Force, though that led me to a life free of heroism.  I'd like to think that if I studied more martial techniques, or more physically destructive powers, that maybe I could've single-handedly turned the tide at Dromund Kaas. Unlikely, I know... but things are as they are. I've been utilitarian to the Sith and the Empire for so long... maybe now is my time to shine? What would the powers-that-be think of me were I to provide a legion of powerful Sith for them to command? What would they think of me..."

 

He trailed off, managed a guilty smile, and corrected, "Us.  What would they think of 'us'.  My apologies... I've been feeling alone in this for so long."

 

He fell silent once more, listening to his companion's detailed description of how she would proceed. A facility needed to be built. A few subjects would need to be acquired. Some limited-scale testing would need to be done. And then she was onto the longer-term concerns - the care of bodies as new host spirits grew used to them, the disposal of maternal hosts, the rituals of ascension.  She closed with a half-comical jibe about their own longevity, and Verrin didn't miss the opportunity.

 

"I've always imagined myself as a seven-foot amazonian warrior princess. Could you imagine the look on Darth Feralis' face if he encountered me that way? Or what about Avaris - I think she'd laugh herself silly!" He chuckled himself, but then grew more serious again.

 

"I know you went through something similar. Your old body was petite compared to the one you reside in now. Tell me something... when you took it from Nagh Khadath... did she fight you, or did she welcome you?"

 

The question seemed oblique, even to his own ears, and so he added, "When I possessed the body I did - for a brief time - the host was amused at first.  I got the impression she thought the matter was unavoidable - not something she could fight. The ritual that Lord Sadarri had used allowed us to co-habitate the bodies for a short time while our own bodies slept without us.  They were merely waiting for our return from our 'borrowed' hosts. Presumably, if any of our old host-bodies were destroyed during the ritual, we would immediately be forced to fight for possession of the new one. Fortunately, he thought ahead - and none of us had to go through that.

 

You weren't so fortunate, and neither was Nagh. Mind you, I'm not judging - whatever the case was - but I'm more curious to understand how the hosts we create will react to a spirit's insistence... or as you put it, ours. Will every transfer be a fight for survival? I know that if the spirit isn't successful, once committed, they will cease to be. Can you imagine us killing XoXann, for instance, because her spirit wasn't able to take over a host's body?  Unlikely, I know... that old biddy could probably take over one of us, if she so chose.  I like to imagine I'd give her a good fight though.  Maybe take her mind in exchange for my host."

 

He smirked, but waited for the answers.

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