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12.13.2012 , 07:19 PM |
Lodestone: Deadly Sins – Wrath.
There's a lot of places this sin could suit; this entry will do. Sith Warrior Corellia spoiler setting. 1200 words.
"And you got this information where?" Ruth said sharply.
Vette stuck out her chin. "Anonymous tip."
Ruth scowled and gestured. "Is 'Anonymous' about yea tall, dark blue hair, in the employ of a highly questionable organization?"
"Might be a trap," said Pierce, "but not likely. Any tip's better than none at the rate we've been going, milord."
"It's Wynston. It's not a trap," said Jaesa.
Ruth hadn't exactly left him good reason to want to work with her. Then again, the job was the one thing he never gave up on.
What job, though?
No. She already knew she was going to investigate this possible Entity location. She called Darth Vowrawn, arranged the rendezvous, and hit the road.
With Vowrawn and her crew she entered a broad, relatively squat building in Corellia's government district. She descended with them into a sub-basement, where they found an enormous hall, lavishly draped yet bare of furniture.
In a column of red light hovered a woman's figure, an image that absorbed the light and released nothing but a velvety heat of Dark Side energy.
"Is she not beautiful?" Vowrawn said happily.
"I've never sensed anything like it," Ruth admitted.
The answering voice seemed to rasp from multiple directions at once. "Come closer. You are here to aid. Baras knows. I cannot resist." Her captor sensed that so soon? "I am bound. Every extraction pains. If you fail, he will punish me. For welcoming you."
Ruth wouldn't let that happen. Not to another.
"Don't fear, Entity," said Vowrawn. "The trial is over. I know the incantation. Now it is a simple matter."
"No. You do not understand. We are not alone."
Ruth and Vowrawn turned in unison toward the newcomer they sensed. A big man, seemingly more cybernetics than flesh, but something of his ruined face was familiar.
He extended a hand and Vowrawn simply crumpled under a cloud of red painful even to Force sense.
"At last," said the cyborg, and the voice was that of Baras's old apprentice Lord Draahg. "I've caught up to you again. I told you, I cannot be killed."
She didn't know how he was back. She had killed him on Hoth, after he had announced Baras's displeasure with her. She couldn't let fear cloud her senses now. Sheer returning arrogance seemed to be the way to go. "Are you not tired of failing yet?"
"Pain sustains me," he said thickly. "I ate of suffering as you watched me burn. I drank of anguish as Baras rebuilt me. My eyes are no longer flesh. I see in a new way now. And the sight of you sickens and delights me."
"Hm. I can return half of that."
"In minutes the great Darth Vowrawn and his hard-won knowledge will disintegrate. Then the Entity will forever be in Baras's control."
"Truth," grated the Entity. "The death field is powered by the machinery of Draahg's."
"But I'm forgetting myself," added Draahg. His face twisted and puckered around the dark cybernetics when she smiled. "Your father sends his regards. I must say, he didn't put up a very impressive fight."
Her heart seized up. By arrogance alone the statement might just have been a taunting lie, but she felt truth in it, the truth that had robbed her of her father the day before she had come to this forsaken planet.
Combat preparation was not a breath, not a focus. It was red.
Draahg laughed when she raced in to meet him. She deflected his first push of raw Force energy without thinking and was dimly aware of something collapsing some ways to one side as a result. She swung into battle at Force-enhanced speed, observing a couple of very slight stiff elements in the big cyborg's motions.
She found out quickly enough that his raw power more than made up for that weakness.
Everything blurred. He struck at her. He struck at her friends. He struck because she hadn't stopped him the first time. And although she fought back, he was bigger than she, and he hated as much.
Somewhere after she knocked him away from Pierce and closed to lock him down, he suddenly reached in and grappled with her, seizing her mask. She tried to back away; he gripped and pulled, tearing the mask away, and when he saw the look on her face he laughed aloud.
A blaster yelped from the doorway. She maneuvered quickly to find – Wynston interfering again. He was actually walking toward the melee combatants. If he was planning something stupid she could neither help nor hinder him, not right now. She had her hands full with Draahg.
She made sure his hands were full with her. She threw everything she had into twin saber strikes, bludgeoning Force blows. He was still laughing, but at least, at least she had him in one place.
Suddenly he yelled and arched backward, nearly toppling. Sparks arced from some device planted on the exposed circuitry of his back. It was enough to get her an opening. Not even the savagery of the Force pushback that flattened her friends could stop her when she went in for the kill. She swept, struck, knocked him to his knees, kicked him to the ground, struck again. She felt it with her whole being when Lord Draahg died.
Ruth stood over him and let her hatred boil. None of this could make up for losing her father. But at least she had torn away another of Baras's tools.
Just in case, and she kept a shield of fury up because she knew she would break and get sick if she left its protection, she started dismembering the fallen foe. Good luck coming back from being cut limb from limb. She cut, nudged aside, cut, nudged aside, keeping herself not numb but angry. As a last stroke she severed Draahg's metal-shelled head. Then she kicked it away and looked up. People were waiting.
As, for example, Wynston, who met her eyes when she turned to him.
He was some ways away, holding a blaster pistol at his side. When she faced him he took a few steps towards her, stopped. If there was an expression on his face it was sorrow. Stars. He was going to yell at her again. She did what she had to, the only thing that made sense, and he was going to hate her for it all over again. That shouldn't hurt, but it did. A lot.
Before she could turn away he held forth one hand, just as if inviting her to take it.
She stared. The battle was over. With the last of the slashing done she already felt some of her rage draining away. He was here, and he wasn't shying away or getting angry from having seen her. Instead he was waiting.
Maybe things would be all right.
"Oh, Wrath," called Vowrawn, "don't cool down just yet. That connection will be necessary; I'll require your assistance to complete the ritual."
Of course. The Dark Side and its continued demands were waiting. Neither Wynston nor the crew would understand it, but it was necessary. She surged with something that felt like shame. She turned away from Wynston and stalked over to contribute whatever it was Vowrawn needed to release the Entity and push the mission onward.
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