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There is no death, there is only Wrath

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > Community Content > Fan Fiction
There is no death, there is only Wrath

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kabeone
06.11.2012 , 09:53 PM | #41
After I read the first one I tried to avoid this thread because I knew I would want more. But I couldn't help myself and now I must re-read because I want more. Your Broonmark is fantastic! I will actually think of him this way when I level my other hundred SW's.

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bright_ephemera
06.12.2012 , 12:55 AM | #42
Early-morning post duo as your intrepid writer prepares to depart for business travel! I don’t expect this trip to slow posting down, much.

22. In which Nalenne gets a job update and Quinn comments

The chain of command gets obscure
When cultists keep secrets too pure.
Commands warp and wend
Until by the end
Not a one can be totally sure.



Pierce opened Nalenne’s bedroom door without knocking. “Incoming call on the main holo, milord.”

“Hmph.” Nalenne set down her datapad and went out to answer it.

Two heavily ornamented Sith in hooded robes appeared. They radiated cultishness.

“Wrath,” said the first Sith.

“Um. Can I help you? – Wait, you look really familiar.”

The room got very quiet.

“Hang on. I’ve got this.”

“The Wrath flakes out,” said the second Sith in a strange trembling voice.

The first Sith glowered. “We are the Emperor’s Hand. I am Servant One. This is Servant Two. You are under consideration for a personnel review.”

“Since when?”

“Since you forgot my name,” said Servant One, weighing each word with an impressive level of displeasure. “You, in case you were wondering, are the Emperor’s Wrath.”

“I remembered that part,” she said defensively. “I’ve been under a lot of stress. Cut me some slack.”

“Yes, arranging the Spectacle Comics bootleg hub must be draining,” intoned the second Sith.

“How did you know…have you been watching me?”

“We have ways,” said Servant One.

“QUINN, IF YOU’VE BEEN SNITCHING AGAIN I WILL KILL YOU.”

“That is a matter of concern, Wrath. Your track record on killing your enemies has been dismal of late.”

“I destroy everyone who messes with me!”

“Except your husband,” said Servant One.

“And your sister,” said Servant Two.

“And the cute Jedi,” said Servant One.

“One-half out of three should count for something,” said Nalenne. “Besides, Jaesa only fought me the once, and I don’t think it was even for keeps. You know how Jedi are.”

“The Wrath dodges responsibility,” said Servant Two.

“Hey,” said Nalenne. “Is there a mark coming out of this conversation, or are you just here to criticize?”

“We are reminding you of your way,” said Servant One. “The Emperor’s attention is bent towards the war with the Republic. You must be seen championing the cause.”

Not you, too. “Um. Yeah. I’ll get right on that.”

“See that you do.” The line cut.

Quinn had entered the room at some point.

Nalenne watched him closely. “Do not say ‘I told you so.’”

“Of course not, my lord,” he said.

“Because you didn’t, actually. You just yell at me in general without specifically discussing my professional prospects.”

“I’m not saying anything, my lord.”

“You better not.”

“I do have a fresh list of available targets of opportunity, my lord, in case you, through some circumstance I did not foresee, do suddenly develop an interest in pursuing something relevant.”

“Very smooth. You’re the one who called them here in the first place, aren’t you?”

“The Hand? Actually, no, my lord.”

“That was an uncommonly bald-faced lie, Quinn.” He was giving her his best victimized look. She got up close and glared up at him. “Lying liar.”

When he spoke it was quietly, quickly. Sincerely. “I did not contact them, I swear. I will be no one’s spy, not this time, not to you. I am relieved that someone is finally driving you to action, and I am always ready to support such action, but they must have acted based on their own observations.”

“You’re lying, you big snitch.”

Quinn looked down into her eyes with that arresting dusk-blue intensity he had. “Nalenne. Believe what you will of me. But if you trust nothing else I have to say, trust me in this.” He leaned in, achingly close. “If I were reporting to them they would have a much, much longer list of grievances against you.”

“…Good point.”

He nodded and walked around her on his way to the bridge, beckoning 2V to follow. “Setting course for the Sullust system, my lord. Your duties await.”
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bright_ephemera
06.12.2012 , 12:58 AM | #43
23. In which Broonmark marks the occasion and Vette wonders why

Tradition’s a difficult thing;
Too often it clips a man’s wing.
But at times it’s excuse
To draw sword and cut loose
And enjoy a cathartic ol’ fling.



When Nalenne headed out to the reading nook, she found Broonmark already there, replacing a metal contact in his vibrosword. Vette was seated across from him. Both of them looked up when Nalenne arrived.

“Sith clan songbird torments us,” gurgled Broonmark.

“Uh…songbird?” said Nalenne.

“What songbird?” said Vette, suddenly suspicious. “There’s a songbird?”

“I think he means you.”

“But I don’t sing.”

“We hear singing from refresher,” said Broonmark. “Sith clan songbird tends to go flat between verses, but otherwise very good.”

“He says he agrees, Vette, you definitely don’t sing.”

Vette seemed to relax a few degrees. “That’s what I thought.”

“So what’s with the torment?” Nalenne kept her speech in Basic.

“Clan songbird asks us our purpose. Over and over.” Broonmark ran a claw down the vibroblade spine’s edge, making it shriek at a tooth-rattling pitch. “And over.”

“So she’s curious. Is there a reason you can’t talk about what you’re up to?”

“Yeah,” added Vette, giving Broonmark an accusing look. “Is there a reason?”

Broonmark examined the sword and swept to his feet, swinging it wide beside him. “This news is for Sith clan. Tomorrow it is one year since we joined.”

Nalenne reflected. “So it is.”

“So what is?” said Vette.

“Clans would hunt and feast for this occasion. On Alzoc, we hunt torsk. On Hoth, we hunt ice cats. Here, we never know what to order for Sith clan.”

“I like tacos.”

“Now you’re just making stuff up,” said Vette.

Broonmark hesitated. “Ice cat tacos, maybe?”

“If you like.”

“Must we eat the shell?”

“Not if you don’t want to.”

“Sith clan is the greatest clan.”

“Ice cat, then. Happy anniversary, Broonmark. We’ll hunt tomorrow.”

The Talz activated his vibrosword and buzzed with excitement. “Tomorrow we hunt, Sith clan.”

“This entire conversation turned out to be about killing things, didn’t it,” said Vette.

“What did you expect when you asked him why he was doing maintenance on the sword?”

“Definitely not songbirds and tacos, I can tell you that much.”

“You should learn Talz. The not-killing stuff can surprise you.”

“But in some ways,” said Vette, “the mystery makes it that much more enjoyable.”

“No taco shells, just meat,” sang Broonmark, and happily beatboxed his way out of the room, keeping time with the swing of the vibrosword.
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bright_ephemera
06.12.2012 , 11:50 AM | #44
Quote: Originally Posted by kabeone View Post
Your Broonmark is fantastic! I will actually think of him this way when I level my other hundred SW's.
Ah-ha, I'm not the only Sith Warrior junkie! Nalenne currently exists only in these stories, because the idea of rolling a fourth Warrior feels ridiculous. And yet...and yet...I am so terribly tempted.

For the purposes of the following commentary, the warring factions in my head will be represented by Attention-Seeking Jawa and Cynical Rakghoul Engineer :

: 1000 pageviews! Yay!

: This number is wildly inflated by the habit you have of posting many short items, such that people have to come back six times per day to catch everything.

: But...there's a thousand of them...a thousand is a nice number of pageviews to have...

: While your inner marketer, if we had an inner marketer, might approve, don't be too proud of this textual terror you've constructed. It's true that this narrative, and more importantly Extremely Flaky Creative Mind's attention span, is best served by many short posts. But the resulting numbers are likely to represent many repeat views from a relatively small population, with some secondary effects from people who drive by purely because they're curious about the sheer volume of posts. Remember, in the absence of both context and a thorough understanding of the system, numbers lie.

: ...it was a good number.

: Yeah, I'll quit raining on your parade now. But you better hope that Extremely Flaky Creative Mind gets back to work before you run out of content, Attention-Seeking Jawa, or else nobody on the Internet will love you.*

: Not to worry, guys, I got this...when it's ready. *goes back to sleep*

:


* Yes, CRE is a jerk. It's okay. ASJ can't stand up to her, but CRE can't crush every head-faction's self-esteem at once.

Thanks for reading, everybody! There's still more to come
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bright_ephemera
06.12.2012 , 11:55 AM | #45
24. In which Jaesa’s reading habits come to light

A Sith and a Jedi confined
On a ship where their goals aren’t aligned
Will balance, we pray,
In a sensible way,
Else they’ll drive themselves out of their minds.



Nalenne was in the habit of checking the Helicarrier’s data transfer logs. Ever since the whole ‘Quinn has been sending extra reports to Baras on the side’ thing, it seemed prudent. For the most part, Nalenne declined to judge or comment on the prodigious media consumption habits of the crew. However, one title caught her eye.

Nalenne went to Jaesa’s quarters and knocked. “Come in,” said the Jedi.

Jaesa was sitting crosslegged on her bunk. The glow of a serene Force meditation faded from around her as she opened her eyes. “Hi,” she said.

“Hello. I was just reviewing the data transfer logs and couldn’t help but notice a major stream from one of my favorite Republic media-smuggling hubs.”

“Is that so, master?” Jaesa was absolutely terrible at looking innocent.

“Yeah. You’re devouring the Mynock series faster than even I can read. Really? Is that what you’re into? Where did you even hear about the Mynock?

“From one of your Ultraguy crossovers. Turns out the Mynock has a huge mythos of his own.”

“I never liked him. A guy who works up all that rage, only to not kill people, is doing it wrong.”

“He’s declining to pay forward the violence that brought him into being. I really sympathize with him.”

“You shouldn’t. He’s crazy and has nothing in common with you.”

“His parents are dead. My parents are dead.”

“You said you understood why I had to do that!”

“It could still be the motivator for my career of evil-fighting.”

“I thought we were friends!”

Jaesa unfolded her legs and leaned toward Nalenne. “But that’s the fascinating thing. Mynock and the Prankster – the Prankster didn’t kill his parents specifically in some continuities, but hear me out – they have one of the most intimate relationships in the entire Coruscant Comics canon. The same system created them, it’s just that one broke one way and the other broke…well, the other. Here we are, two sides of the same coin. The mad destroyer and the troubled protector. We’re natural enemies, but neither one of us can kill the other: the truth of our existence lies in our eternal opposition. I complete you. You complete me.”

“Jaesa, that is the most disturbing thing you have ever said.”

“I’m just saying I see the parallels.”

“And we don't even oppose each other that much, outside sabacc nights. If you do start following me around foiling my every plan, I’m going to be that writer who says ‘screw it’ and actually kills you off. Mynock-girl.”

“Someday some writer will get sick of you and will give you a moment’s clarity, one reason for true compassion, and we’ll all see what happens then. Prankster. I hope it redeems you, but I think it’ll break you.”

“Doesn’t matter what you do to the Prankster. He’ll always be back. You may think this wicked galaxy needs you, Jaesa…but it wants me.”

Nalenne strutted back out. And straight to her own room’s console, where she prepared to cut off access to that particular Holonet hub for every user but herself.

She hesitated, though. Every minute Jaesa spent overthinking comic books was a minute she wasn’t trying to overthrow the Empire. And the entire point of keeping her around was to keep her from that crusade of hers. Let her try to destroy the fabric of Imperial society…or let her sit around drawing up morality lectures based on comparisons with supervillains. Fabric of society…supervillain morality lectures.

The things I do for the Empire. Nalenne set her teeth and subscribed Jaesa to two additional Mynock series.
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bright_ephemera
06.12.2012 , 12:03 PM | #46
25. In which a widow and her husband reminisce

There once was an impotent Wrath
Who failed at her tactical math.
A rumor made rounds
That her mercy abounds,
And now users and fools line her path.



“Question for you, captain. Do you ever get sleepy?”

“No, my lord.”

“Hungry?”

“No.”

“Thirsty?”

“No.”

“Itchy?”

“No.”

“Horn-“

“No.”

“Wow. You stand around feeling nothing all day?”

“Nothing physical, my lord.”

“Ooh, I like the air of melancholy. It suits you.”

“You always were a sadist, my lord. Are you sure you don’t have work to do?”

“I’m sure. Emperor’s giving me the silent treatment. I can’t even raise any of the Hand on holo to put together a sabacc night – um, or work, of course. Ilum’s gotten boring, Corellia’s a snooze….”

“The extension of the Empire’s interests in this war is not a snooze!”

“Says the man who doesn’t have to sleep.”

“I remember a time when you were much more dedicated to your duties.”

“Yeah? Well, I remember a time when you weren’t launching killer robots at my face.”

Nalenne sulked for a minute or two. Quinn was too dignified to sulk; he just stood there emanating displeasure, which was very different.

“I knew it was coming,” said Nalenne.

“My lord?”

“You. Baras’s order to kill me. There are always spies, and logically it had to be you or Vette, and it didn’t seem to fit Vette, so when things went south…I knew.”

“But you let me go to the trouble of setting all that up, and then killed me anyway.”

“I didn’t know how to bring it up. ‘Good morning, beloved, by the way I know you’ll have to shiv me soon so I think we should take some time apart’? Besides, I know how you pride yourself on setting up surprises. I didn’t want to ruin it, not if you were determined not to talk.” She paused, but he stayed quiet, so she kept going. “And then I had to do it. I can’t just go around sparing people to try to assassinate me.”

“You’ve spared Niselle.”

“That’s different. She’s my sister.”

“And Jaesa.”

“That’s different. She’s trustworthy.”

“And was I not different, my lord?”

“No, you really wer…that is, you’re not…you’re different, okay, but you’re so different you actually wrap around and have to go by the rules again. So there.”

They didn’t say anything for a while.

“For the record,” she informed him, “it was really upsetting. I can’t believe you went behind my back, never once tried to talk things through, and then screwed it up that badly. It just wasn’t like you.”

“Maybe you could have asked me about it afterward if you hadn’t summarily executed me.”

“Maybe I’m asking now.”

“I’m dead, my lord.” Quinn clenched his jaw in that old familiar way he had. “I have no further insights to offer you.”

“Don’t give me that. Stars, I would’ve shut you up by now.”

“And I would’ve had you screaming.” He reached out and she met his hand halfway. She felt nothing at all where his fingers passed through hers. “This fighting isn’t really the same since, well….”

“Since it transitioned into sex every time? Yeah. It used to be fun. Pity you had to ruin it by picking a real fight.”

Quinn scowled. “You wildly overreacted that day.”

“And what part of this surprised you, oh research-prediction-tactical genius who knew me better than anyone else ever has or will?”

He raised a hand to his throat. “The part where you actually did it! I thought you cared for me.”

“For a guy who claims to not feel anything, you’re awfully touchy.”

“For a woman who claimed to love me, you’re awfully murderous.”

Nalenne waved. “Sith. What’s your excuse?”

Quinn froze. She didn’t often play the Sith card because, hilarious though it was to watch him fold into abject obedience mode, she liked him better when he let his inner master-villain out to play. Or, at a minimum, his inner arrogant, demanding, charmingly excitable individual.

Ah, but there: face composed, mental wheels spinning as invisibly as he could manage, and submissive transformation complete. “I apologize, my lord,” he said quietly. “That was inappropriate of me.”

“Psht, don’t worry about it. Get back to work.” We’ll deal with the rest of this later.
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bright_ephemera
06.12.2012 , 05:22 PM | #47
26. In which Nalenne asks Pierce a long-suppressed question

There once was a soldier who heard
That “authority” wasn’t a word.
He would win, and repeat,
Each objective complete,
But still flipped all his bosses the bird.



“Pierce?”

“Yes, milord?”

“We’ve known each other for a while now. Been through a lot together, you know? You’ve always come through when I needed you.”

He didn’t look up from the blaster rifle he was fiddling with. “That’s so.”

Nalenne took a deep breath. “I’ve really…enjoyed…getting to know you so far. So I had…I had a question. It’s been on my mind for a while.”

He eyed her warily. “Say it or don’t, milord.”

“What’s your first name?”

He threw his head back and laughed. “Ha! Wouldn’t you like to know!”

“Even your permanent record doesn’t say anything.”

“Had a friend clear that long ago. Earn his slicing creds before I set him up for promotion. Won’t tell you how to find him, though.”

“First name. I want to know.”

“It’s ‘Lieutenant,’ milord,” he said slyly. “At least until you figure out a way to double-promote me to ‘Major’ Pierce. – ‘Captain’ is still out of the question in this crowd.”

“I could just assign you a name. Something awful, like ‘Archiban.’ And address you by it twenty times a day.”

“Do as you like. Won’t bother me.”

It really wouldn’t, too. That was the problem with Pierce. Nothing fazed him; if he didn’t feel like listening to her, she had no hold over him. “What difference does it make to you, lieutenant? Why so protective?”

“That’s my own dark secret.”

There were words normal people used to get results. “Tell me, um, please?”

“Nope. Milord.”

“I order you to tell me.”

“Nope. Milord.” Before she could think of an answer for that bald defiance, he chuckled and went on. “If you were searching my permanent record you’ll remember the noted history of insubordination.”

“I could kill your family one by one until you answer me.”

“You could,” he said, casual as ever. “Can’t say I fancy the idea, but you could certainly give it a shot.”

“So you’ll just leave me wondering forever?”

He turned the blaster rifle upright and checked the barrel’s alignment. “That’s about the shape of it, milord. A man’s got to have some secrets.” He laughed again.

Nalenne considered the offended flounce, but that never seemed appropriate around Pierce. So she opted for stalking toward the door.

“Hey. Milord.”

“Yes?”

Still grinning, Pierce set the blaster down and looked up at her. “Not sure I’ve ever thanked you for taking me on. The fights, the tech, the driving you to distraction…I’d never have had this much fun anywhere else.”

“You’re an evil man.”

“Which is just what you need around here.”

She couldn't argue with that. Historically, there was never any point whatsoever in arguing with Pierce.
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iamthehoyden
06.12.2012 , 05:30 PM | #48
It's Pierce! It's Pierce!! So excited! (Lol, and I had to laugh at the name inquisition, very nice.)
aren't you a little short for a stormtrooper?
---------------
Fan Fiction: My Name is Solomon Crae The Man in the Box

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Earthmama
06.12.2012 , 05:45 PM | #49
RIGHT??!! Why doesn't Pierce have a name??? this has been bugging me ever since my Husband played his SW....poor Dave. That's his name in my head.

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bright_ephemera
06.12.2012 , 10:45 PM | #50
27. In which Nalenne meets someone and some disapprove (I/II)

The Emperor’s Hand may at first
Seem a mutant, a freak at its worst.
Servant Ten may seem fine,
Twenty crosses the line…
All-hands meetings are full fit to burst.



Hate men. Hate all men. All men are sneaky jerk annoying taskmaster jerks. Jerks. I’ll just stay at home reading the Scarlet Nexu's Revenge ‘til doomsday.

“Master, holo for you.”

Nalenne eyed Jaesa suspiciously and rolled over to tap her bedside console and check current system activity. “It’s the Hand. Disregard.”

“That’s the thing, Master, I can’t. They’ve taken over the main holo. But it’s…it’s not Servants One and Two.”

Nalenne raised her hairless eyebrows. “Is that so?”

“You’d better see.”

Nalenne growled wordlessly and followed Jaesa to the holo room. Most of the crew was settled in or near the reading nook, but Nalenne didn’t notice them at first.

“I see,” said Nalenne.

A lone stranger stood in the holo image. He was tall, slim, and somehow successful in making the uniform robe of the Emperor’s Hand look flattering. His hood was pulled back, allowing a dark wavy mane to fall to his shoulders. His distinguished Sith features had enough facial tentacles and golden ornaments to make the staunchest traditionalist smile in approval.

“Wrath,” he said in a cultured, melodic tenor. “It’s an honor to finally meet you.” He bowed and smiled, warmly. “I am Servant Nine.”

“Where have you been hiding?” she said stupidly.

“Secret locations doing rituals of unimaginable power, for the most part. The Emperor’s Hand keeps me busy. I’ve been aching to get out, though. See this galaxy we’re going to rule.” A small, conspiratorial smile. “Meet the Wrath I’ve heard so much about.”

Brain, girl. Think brain good. “I think I would be willing to help with that last part of your plan.”

“I was hoping so. I can arrange a private dinner on a good view shuttle, say, tomorrow night? Name the system, Wrath. I haven’t been free to tour in a long time.”

*

Once she had stammered out a destination and hung up, silence fell in the holo room. Nalenne took a minute to process what had just happened. It appeared to be the first time anybody had ever asked her on a date in her entire life. It was direct. It was nice.

It was a non-Talz man who wasn’t trying to make her life difficult.

“It sounds like a trap, my lord,” said Quinn from the direction of the reading nook.

“No one asked for your tactical evaluation, Quinny,” said Vette.

“We smell betrayal,” said Broonmark.

“Ignore the carpet,” said Pierce.

“That Sith is evil,” shuddered Jaesa.

“Hey. People. Guess how many of you get any input whatsoever into my activities tomorrow night?”

Pierce raised his eyebrows in his “I have a really good line but I’m just too nice a guy to say it also I might get Force Choked for it” way. Wisely, he said nothing.

“No not-me person,” concluded Nalenne. “That’s who gets input.”

“Servant Nine is not known to us,” bubbled Broonmark.

“He’s of the Emperor’s Hand, master,” said Jaesa. “You’re the Emperor’s Wrath. Isn’t that…well, incest or something?”

“In every Imperial jurisdiction I'm aware of,” confirmed Quinn.

“Let her have her fun, you whiners,” said Pierce.

“The snows themselves condemn this rashness,” opined Broonmark. “Be ready to kill.”

“If you need that dress of yours touched up, I know a good tailor. I know you haven’t worn it in a while, and you will want to look great,” said Vette.

“Thanks, Vette, Pierce. The rest of you, your concerns are noted. My date’s on.”
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