Chapter Nineteen: Seers (Part Five)
Deep within the Citadel in Kaas City, Syrosk patiently waited outside a heavily secured room. The entry doors were tall and wide, and at each side a crimson sentinel stood watch. Imperial Guardsmen defended the chamber where the Dark Council, supreme leaders of the Sith Empire, held their meetings.
Syrosk stood adamant, with his eyes firmly affixed upon the door. He had long ago shed his simplistic robes in favor of a suit of black battle armor beset by a heavy cloak. Silence filled the halls, but the promise of whispers yet remained within the council chambers. Syrosk focused his mind, tried to gain some insight into the proceedings, but there was such a fog, an overhanging cloud of darkness, that he was unable to pierce the veil despite all his attempts. None could know of the Dark Council’s musings unless willingly permitted.
Syrosk waited for minutes, maybe hours, for someone to step from the chamber doors. That time finally came with the subtle parting of the entryway, and passing through it to meet him was the apprentice’s master.
“Master…” Syrosk began, before being hushed by the master’s calm raising of his hand.
“Come with me Syrosk. We’ve much to discuss.”
The two walked the halls of the Citadel, Omnus leading them back to his sanctum with an unusually tepid pace.
“Did your meeting with the Dark Council go smoothly?” Syrosk asked as he walked by his master’s side.
“You could say that,” Omnus calmly stated. “I’ve been given the rank and title of Darth. And apparently I fall under the Sphere of Production and Logistics, which I found curious. Though I suppose our work does consist primarily of transportation and trafficking, and the Councilor seemed pleasant enough.
Syrosk’s eyes widened as he continued to follow his master. “I'd have expected a different response to being given such an honor.”
“I’d not cast off decades of stoicism now,” Omnus declared. “As important as the promotion is, it holds nothing compared to what is to come.”
Syrosk had expected his master to elaborate, but he had instead fallen to silence as they made their way back to their dwelling. The apprentice dutifully followed his lead in movement and thought. Safely within the confines of their sanctum, however, Darth Omnus rescinded his silence.
“My work recruiting for the Academies caught the eye of the Dark Council. But it is not the past that most interested them, but the future,” Omnus explained.
“Did you impart upon them a vision?” Syrosk asked.
“No. In fact the opposite. I was given access to some of the most securely kept information in the Empire. I was given a taste of what the future holds for the Sith.”
“What did you learn?”
“War is coming. The war for which we’ve been preparing for centuries. It’s finally coming. And we have a part to play.”
“I’d assume every Sith will have their part to play,” Syrosk stated.
“But we have the honor being amongst the first to return to the Sith homeworld… Korriban.” Syrosk looked upon his master with a contained wonder. “When we first met, I had given you a glimpse of the world. Now the Empire plans to retake it as one of our first goals. They seek to reestablish the Korriban Academy.”
“And they’ll seek to repopulate it,” Syrosk suggested.
“Exactly. I’ve dreamed of this day. Seen it through visions of desire rather than understanding. And now it lies within my grasp,” Omnus declared. “But I couldn’t have gotten to this point without you, my apprentice. You’ve aided me in seeking out Force sensitives and greatly expediting the recruitment process. You’ve given me something to focus on. You’ve given me a drive I’d not possess had I never taken you under my wing all those years ago.”
“I’m honored that you value my contributions, master,” Syrosk stated with a subtle bow of his head.
“The honor is mine. You’ve persisted despite a society that would see you forever shunned as a lesser being. But we challenged the idea that an alien could never possess the same raw skill and potential as a Human or Pureblood. And now we can challenge that even further.”
“I’m afraid I do not understand.”
“It’s simple. You of course know of the privileges afforded so someone who is a Darth. One in particular is the ability to grant someone under his guidance the title of Sith Lord.”
“Yes. You deserve this… Lord Syrosk. And you also deserve this…” Omnus’ words trailed as he reached around his neck, and pulled his amulet over his head. The silver chord clenched within his fist, the golden gem dangled and glistened in the light. “Consider this the end of your training as a Seer. Anything more from this point forward you must discover yourself.”
Syrosk watched as his master extended his hand, gifting him the amulet he had worn since the day they had met. The apprentice hesitantly accepted the item before carefully maneuvering it around his horns and over his head. Holding the amulet within his gloved palm, he found himself becoming lost in the golden gem.
“What does it do?” Syrosk asked.
“It provides focus… and guidance. Believe in it and your path with become clear, even when you are consumed by doubt,” Omnus explained. “Come now. We’ve preparations to make.
It was time for war. The Sith Empire had emerged from the darkness, formally making its presence known. The first fleet to appear was approached by a diplomatic convoy on the end of the Outer Rim. They were attacked. They were destroyed. They survived only long enough to broadcast images of the invaders. The galaxy at large would come to know of the Sith Empire. To know of its strength.
The galactic conflict had begun. The Empire threw the entirety of its might at its targets. Republic worlds fell, by conquest or by choice, multiple systems having had puppet governments installed years ago. The turned worlds turned against the Republic fleets stationed above them. In the hectic chaos, the Republic could only hope to rally every available ship to bolster their failing defenses. This however, meant calling upon the ships patrolling the Korriban system.
In the dark space above the Sith’s homeworld, a massive fleet materialized from hyperspace. Capital ships and fighters descended upon the orbiting station and remaining security patrols protecting Korriban. Fiery bolts of energy lashed out Republic defenders, tearing lesser vessels immediately asunder. Whilst the larger forces dealt with the space station, small strike teams headed toward the planet’s surface to retake their ancestral home.
Within the cockpit of a Fury-class cruiser, Darth Omnus stood unflinching as the chaos of battle encircled the ship. Hands folded neatly behind his back, his gaze was firmly affixed upon the planet as the Imperial pilot flew them closer with each passing second.
Near the rear of the ship, two figures stood ready for battle. Lord Syrosk possessed his usual battle armor, with the addition of a featureless helmet that masked the entirety of his visage, his two horns jutting from its sides. Beside the black juggernaut was a man similarly garbed, though his smiling face remained utterly unprotected. Lord Tash.
“This is it,” Syrosk spoke up. “Korriban. Home of the Sith.”
“I’m more interested in the prospect of battling my first Jedi,” Tash admitted.
“Really? Not the prospect of your ancestral home? The tombs? The artifacts?”
“I may have inherited my master’s assets, but not his desire for all things ancient and mystical. I’d like to see if all this training ends up for naught against an opponent who isn’t a Sith.”
“Well, do take care not to destroy everything on your warpath. We’d like as much of the Academy left intact as possible.”
The ship’s intercom chirped as Darth Omnus reached out to the Sith from the cockpit. “Syrosk. Lord Tash. We’re passing through the planet’s atmosphere. Scans show little ground forces, but whatever is present will have to be dealt with directly. Prepare yourselves for a hostile landing.”
“I’m surprised your master is actually heading directly into a battle,” Tash admitted. “He never seemed the most hands-on type of Sith.”
“He isn’t. But he’s dreamed of setting foot on Korriban as long as he’s been recruiting for the other Academies,” Syrosk explained. “Being one of the first to do so is an added boon.”
“With the war in full swing, I imagine you two will be busy once we retake Korriban,” Tash stated.
“And I assume you’ll be wading headfirst into countless battles in the near future,” Syrosk countered.
The Human let out a soft chuckle, “Now, now, Syrosk. I’ve gained a bit of subtlety since we were mere sparring partners.”
The comm came on once again. “We are fast approaching the old Academy grounds. We’re struggling to find a suitable landing area for the ship.”
“No need,” Tash declared as he pressed a button near the rear hatch. Red lights began to flash as the vessel’s entrance opened mid-flight, the sight of the passing landscape beneath them greeting the two Sith.
“What was that about subtlety?” Syrosk asked with a raspy chortle. Turning his attention to a nearby panel, the alien sent a message to the cockpit. “Get us as close as possible. We’ll handle things while you find a proper landing spot. I’ll make sure the entrance is clear by the time you arrive, master.”
Without another word, the two Sith Lords leapt from the cruising vessel toward the surface of Korriban, lightsabers ignited, their first targets in their sights.