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Legacy of Destruction


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YoshiRaphElan
01.14.2013 , 08:46 PM | #11
Chapter 10

Silent Sun Cantina, Coruscant
63 days ABDK


Weeks had passed, and the battle of Begeren was over. The Republic had, unsurprisingly, won. Merok and his band had shipped out to Vaiken Spacedock to announce Cipher Nine’s “miraculous” return. Prudii and Havoc Squad were on shore leave. Backblast, Dankin’s brother, was alive and well.

And now, a motley group gathered in the dingy cantina.

Around the round table were Dankin; along with Prudii and Backblast, as well as two Jedi Dankin had gotten to know–Gareb and Jasin. Near the door, two of Prudii’s squadmates watched the door, and from across the room Corso and Guss did the same. Up on the second floor, Jasin’s and Gareb’s Padawans kept a lookout, and the rest of their crews loitered around the cantina at different tables, mingling.

“It’s been too long,” Dankin drawled. “Backblast, my brother. How’s life treating you?”

“Better, now that we’ve won a foothold in the Empire,” Backblast said.

Dankin had forgotten why he hadn’t hung around his brother much as a kid–he was a bland, cookie-cutter soldier of the Republic, and even as a child he had been rather dull.

“Got to agree,” Prudii said, somewhat less dully. “It’s good to know we have an advantage for once.”

Jasin spoke up. “I’m sorry we couldn’t make the battle. We had, ah, issues of our own.”

“Ziost, I heard,” Prudii noted. “Sorry, Iresso and Jorgan still talk sometimes.”

Gareb nodded. “Yes, on Ziost. It’s not classified information or anything, it’s just…a little personal.”

“I won’t prod then,” Prudii said.

Dankin took a sip of his drink. It wasn’t alcoholic, because one did not want to be drunk in Black Sun territory. Why had they all come here, again? He voiced the question.

“With the help of…infiltrators…in the Empire,” said Gareb, “we have accomplished three missions in the past thirteen days. We’ve recovered information on the Sith we’ve never had before…and defeated or captured five Sith Lords.”

“Who are these allies?” Prudii asked.

“Revanites,” Jasin offered. “They’re a cult who follow the teachings of the Jedi Master Revan.”

“Gathered that from the name,” Dankin mumbled, feeling left out.

Backblast glared at him from his one good eye. He sighed, knowing his older brother–adopted or not, they could read each other perfectly–was annoyed. He held up his hands, backing out.

“The Revanites,” Prudii said. “How can they help us?”

“We actually are helping them, not vice versa,” Jasin said. “They need help, because the Empire kind of…hates them.”

Prudii nodded. “Understandable.”

“So, what can we do?” Backblast asked.

Before anyone could ask, there was a cry from the entrance of the cantina. Dankin whirled and pulled his blaster, training it on the door. Prudii’s men–Yuun and Vik–had overturned their table and were kneeling behind them.

“It’s okay!” Jasin called. “Stop! Stand down!”

Dankin looked up. Backblast and Prudii had their sidearms trained on the door, as did Corso and Guss. Upstairs, he heard the **** of Risha’s sniper rifle and the subtle hum of Akaavi’s electrostaff. But Jasin and Gareb did not have their lightsabers drawn.

Which was strange, because a Sith Lord had just walked into the cantina.

“Stand down,” Jasin repeated calmly.

Dankin slowly lowered his pistol, as did Prudii, Corso, and the others. The Sith Lord looked up, his or her helmet hidden behind a silver and red mask with a slit visor. The Sith Lord was choking a bouncer, and though that man seemed innocent enough, Dankin knew he was a member of Black Sun, just like every employee in this cantina.

The Sith Lord released the chokehold on the man and let him go. A blaster appeared in the bouncer’s hand, but Jasin snatched it from the air with the Force and threw it to the ground. The bouncer ran away.

“Imindra?” Jasin asked. “Is that you?”

“No,” a female voice said. “Kotone.”

She removed her helmet, lowered her hood, and nodded to Jasin and Gareb. Dark-skinned and dark-haired, she had a slave brand on her cheek.

“Please, sit,” said Gareb to everyone.

Dankin nodded and took his seat. With the Force, Kotone pulled up another chair and sat down.

“This must be important for you to come yourself, Kotone,” Jasin said. “Where’s Imindra?”

“Safe,” Kotone replied evasively.

Jasin nodded, seeming to accept that.

“So what’s wrong?” Gareb asked.

“Nothing, actually. Let me explain…” she said.

Darth Jadus’ office, Dromund Kaas
63 days ABDK


Darth Jadus read the request sent by the Emperor’s Wrath with casual disinterest. Finding Tremel would be trivial for him, even without his vast spy network. He pressed a button, and entered a command into his workstation. Swiftly, it scanned the security cameras’ records over the past weeks, and even month, to find a face matching Tremel’s.

With a satisfied nod, he found the image he was looking for just moments later. Dark-skinned Tremel was exiting Kaas City at a calm walk, toward…

Oh, this was interesting.

Grinning under his mask–and it wasn’t a pleasant grin–he cleared the records, stood, and walked off to find a missing overseer, and possibly a traitor.

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YoshiRaphElan
01.15.2013 , 12:26 PM | #12
Chapter 11

Carrick Station
67 days ABDK


Jasin pulled up the hood of his Revan-style robes as he boarded the Defender. He could hardly believe what Kotone was asking–she wanted he and Gareb to go to Dromund Kaas, to the Revanite camp, and meet the Master.

Jasin still felt suspicious of the Master of the Revanites, but he felt this was the best way to defeat the Empire, even if they had to place the Revanites in charge in the aftermath of the Emperor’s defeat.

“Takeoff in five!” Doc called. “Strap it down or lose it!”

“I don’t like this,” Rusk said darkly.

“Neither do I,” Jasin replied. “Not entirely. But Gareb’s coming, too, and Prudii and Dankin will be waiting out-system if anything goes wrong.”

“How will they get past the vanguard fleet over Dromund Kaas?” Rusk inquired.

“That’s Dankin’s job,” Jasin said. “And it’s also his problem. If he can’t get past, they’ll retreat and we’ll be stuck on Dromund Kaas until the Jedi can mount a rescue…if they even decide to.”

“Comforting,” Rusk grumbled.

Nexus Room, Dromund Kaas
67 days ABDK

Dha’s cloaked benefactor met him again in the Nexus Room, at the same table as before. Dha glanced over at the private room he had rented, where Skadge and Gault waited for the conversation to finish. Torian, Mako, and Blizz roamed the cantina, trying not to be obvious.

“Good job with Grathan,” the cloaked man said. “But now we need you to do something here on Dromund Kaas. You’ve heard of the Order of Revan, right?”

Dha paused momentarily. Yes, he had. In fact, he had helped them, making the Empire believe Darth Charnus was their leader rather than the true Master. Since Dha had later met Charnus on Corellia, he had to assume the Empire had cleared him.

“Yes,” he said.

“We need them gone,” the man said. “They’re an order of dangerous fanatics who will bring down the Empire in their goal for equality.”

“Isn’t equality what you want?” Dha asked.

“Don’t deign to know our motives. We want an Empire without the oppressive Sith Lords, including the Revanites.”

Dha nodded. “Okay, what do you want?”

“Assassinate the Master,” the man said.

Dha froze. There were Mandalorians among the Revanites–and he was loyal to Mandalore above all. But they didn’t have to know he’d pulled off the kill…did they? But they could be harmed by this man’s desire for power.

Really, though, what choice did he have?

“I see,” he said. “What do you plan for the other Revanites, the non-sensitive ones?”

“They will conform to the Empire or be killed.”

“What about the ones that aren’t Imperials? There are mercenaries and others in the Revanites, not just officers and soldiers.”

“They’ll be let go, on a probation. If they continue to spread their heretical lies, they will be arrested and executed.”

Dha sighed. He had liked this guy, too.

“Got it. Will do.”

He stood to go, knowing he would have to plot this man and his group’s downfall, and soon.

Darth Jadus’ office, Dromund Kaas
67 days ABDK


Methic stood in Darth Jadus’ office, finding it very hard not to stand at attention as though he were an apprentice and Jadus a Sith Lord. But Methic was the Emperor’s Wrath and he bowed to none, save the Emperor himself.

Behind him, Quinn actually did stand at attention, though Jaesa stood at his side with her arm wrapped affectionately around his waist. Methic shook his head and then looked pleadingly at Jadus.

“Please,” he said. “Tell him to stand down or he’ll stay there for hours.”

Jadus sighed. “Stand down, Colonel Quinn.”

“Yes, Lord Jadus,” Quinn replied.

He stood at ease and put his right arm around Jaesa’s shoulder. Jaesa smiled softly, and Methic found himself worrying about them showing their affection in front of Jadus.

“Why did you call me here?” Methic asked, trying to draw attention away from them.

“I found your overseer,” Jadus said softly. “But you will not like it.”

“Oh?”

“Lord Methic, Overseer Tremel was last seen traveling toward the Revanite camp. I sent spies to the camp, and they confirm he is there. The overseer is a traitor and fanatic.”

Methic clenched his fist in rage. Personally, he saw no problem with the Revanites. In fact, he was a bit of a fan of their teachings–and Revan’s. Along with a bounty hunter named Dha, Methic had framed a Sith Lord named Charnus for leading the Revanites, but Cipher Nine and Lord Tran’thar had proven this accusation untrue, though they had not been able to reveal the true leader.

Still, to have Tremel among them seemed strange. He had been so…traditionalistic. He would never have betrayed the Empire he served. On the other hand, he supposed were he in Tremel’s shoes, he would have lost faith in the Empire when Darth Baras ordered his execution.

“I’ll find him,” Methic said, and turned.

Jaesa reached out to place a calming hand on his shoulder, and though it was unnecessary it was a touching gesture. He nodded to her and smiled under his beard.

“Go,” Jadus said softly, turning to his computer. “Go, and find him.”

Kaas City, Dromund Kaas
67 days ABDK


Darth Nox looked down at Jadus’ office through his hidden holocam and smiled under his hood. Methic’s overseer was a traitor, then. If only Overseer Harkun had been discovered a traitor. Nox would’ve been more than glad to skewer him.

But Nox’s smile faded as Jadus stood up, walked to a hidden closet, and lowered his head. When it was in the shadows where Nox couldn’t see, he removed his mask. It was the first time Nox had ever seen that happen. Unfortunately his face was hidden in the shadows.

He reached into the closet, shoved the mask in, and removed something else. It was roughly the size of Khem Val’s head, and it was sleek and…

Nox gasped and leapt from his seat, shutting off the holocam. He picked his lightsaber up, clipped it to his belt, and stormed off.

“Khem!” he called. “Ashara! Xalek! Get to the Fury! We have a problem!”

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YoshiRaphElan
01.15.2013 , 07:13 PM | #13
We're coming to the end of part 1!

Chapter 12

Revanite Camp, Dromund Kaas
67 days ABDK


Jasin, Gareb, Kotone, Imindra, and half a dozen other Revanites gathered in a circle in the largest tent. The Master had yet to show her face; although Kotone assured them that everything was all right.

Suddenly, there was the snap-hiss of a lightsaber igniting, and Jasin whirled, bringing his own saber off his belt. He wished Kira, Scourge, and the others were here, but they had waited back on the Defender, far enough away that the Imperial vanguard fleet’s scanners could not detect them.

The camp guard, Dzoun, had his purple lightsaber raised. In a flash he leapt forward to attack something unseen. Gareb and the Revanites ignited their sabers, and those who were not Force sensitive drew blasters or dove for cover.

A blue lightsaber–blue?–snapped to life to block Dzoun’s blow. A second saber, red, ignited, and even though the user could’ve skewered the guard then, he instead blasted him back against the center tree of the camp.

“Methic!” Jasin growled.

His cousin entered the camp, twin lightsabers drawn. He reached down with one hand and placed a steel mask over his face. Its slit visor gave a harsh facelessness to Methic’s normally kind blue eyes.

“Everyone clear out!” he demanded. “Everyone except Overseer Tremel.”

Jasin realized that Methic did not recognize him or Gareb, and was here on a totally unrelated matter. But he could not just leave, not now.

A man with dark skin and short hair stepped up, and Jasin noticed one of his hands was covered as though it were a prosthetic. Surprisingly, he kept his hand away from his lightsaber.

“Methic,” the dark man said.

“Traitor,” Methic spat.

He leapt forward. Jasin was about to block him, but to his surprise Gareb was already there, his green blade crossing both of Methic’s. Methic’s crew ran into the camp, although the girl who had fought Kira seemed sorrowful.

“Master, stop!” she begged.

“Everyone, cease!” a commanding voice called.

Half the camp turned to look. A woman cloaked in a replica of Revan’s armor approached, taking off her mask as she did. She was dark-skinned, with blood-red tattoos across her face.

“I am the Master,” she said. “Whatever is going on here, we will resolve this without the deaths of Revanites.”

Slowly, Gareb and Methic lowered their blades. Suddenly, Jasin realized that Gareb had been holding in his anger at Methic for being a Sith Lord, and had not been able to do so any longer at that point. He had everything under control now, though.

“Apologies for my outburst, cousin,” Gareb said. “I am just…getting used to the fact that you are a Sith Lord.”

Methic froze. “Gareb?”

Gareb nodded and removed his mask. Jasin did the same. Methic sighed and finally deactivated his lightsabers.

“What are you two doing here?” he asked.

“We’ve been helping the Revanites for over a month,” Jasin said.

The quiet was disrupted by a jetpack, and a man armored in Mandalorian beskar landed and pulled a blaster on the Master. Some of the Revanite Mandos, shocked, took a step forward.

“You!” one, who had been introduced as Ceta Farr, said. “You were trusted!”

The Mandalorian slowly lowered his pistol. “Just making a show,” he said.

Jasin relaxed again. This was just too weird. The Force clearly had more plan for the Revanites than he had anticipated.

“This is between me and Tremel,” Methic said. “He comes with me and everyone else lives.”

“I thought you wanted to change the Empire!” Gareb accused. “Why are you arresting someone who may agree with you?”

“I’m…not,” Methic admitted. “But, like this man here–” he gestured at the Mando, “–I must make a gesture.”

“I will go with you,” Tremel said. “I’ve known since I left Kaas City that I’d be found out sooner rather than later. I’m ready.”

“I just want to know,” Methic said, “why did you join the Revanites?”

“Because,” Tremel growled, “I have become very dissatisfied with the Empire, especially the Dark Council. We must be reborn.”

“I agree wholeheartedly,” Methic said. “So why did you not–”

“All very touching,” a soft voice growled. “But it is time for me to claim my rightful title.”

Everyone looked up, toward the Master. But she looked as surprised as everyone else–and even more so a moment later, when a red blade emerged from her abdomen. She cried out in horror and dropped to the ground.

Jasin readied his lightsaber anew. Several of the Revanites, in fits of rage, leapt the murderer, but a Force wave sent them all back.

“It is time,” the voice said, “for Darth Jadus to lead the Revanites to victory.”

* * *

Methic’s face was drawn in a mask of horror. Jadus was dressed as he had been not an hour before, but his formerly faceless silver mask had been replaced; he now wore a mask that was identical to Revan’s.

Drawing his blades, Methic cursed himself for a fool. He had been so focused on Tremel that he did not even realize Jadus had his own schemes brewing.

He glanced over. Jasin, Gareb, and several of the Revanites, including Tremel, had taken up ready positions. With a hand signal, Methic commanded his crew to do the same.

Vette rolled for cover near a rock, Pierce raised his rifle, Quinn knelt and drew his sidearm, and Jaesa and Broonmark took fighting stances.

“Go!” Methic said.

He leapt forward, swinging his blue saber for Jadus’ neck, and his red one for his waist. With speed rivaling Methic’s own, Jadus blocked both blows and leapt back. Jasin and Tremel charged in, blades flashing. Jadus easily dealt with Tremel, blasting him back into a tent, but Jasin was not so simple.

Whenever he made a move that Jadus could block, he pulled back at the last second and launched his saber again in the opposite direction. Grinning at his brother’s skill, Methic joined the fight, and the two of them fought as if they’d never parted.

When Jasin went left, Methic went right. When Jasin went high, Methic went low. When Jadus blew one of them back, the other took up the slack until he could get back up.

The whole time, Gareb hurled boulders at Jadus, while Pierce, Quinn, and Vette laid down fire, and Broonmark and Jaesa leapt in at random times to put Jadus off balance.

Despite this, Jadus still seemed calm and cool as ever. Then, with one quick flourish, he knocked Methic’s lightsabers from his hand and sent out a Force wave that knocked everyone from their feet.

How could they contend with him?

The Revanite Mandalorians, as well as the other Mando, fired at Jadus, and he returned their fire with a quick sweep of his lightsaber.

Suddenly, a storm of Force lighting built up, and Jadus glanced up in surprise as a Fury interceptor swept down over the camp. A moment later, blaster bolts rained down from a bald, tattooed man and a kind-looking Imperial, and Darth Nox leapt out with three followers.

* * *

Nox ignited his lightsaber, but did not rush Jadus, because he was too busy focusing on building the Force storm. Ashara and Xalek ran in, lightsabers drawn, while Khem Val stood back and licked his teeth.

“Khem,” Nox said calmly. “Eat him!”

As if breaking down a dam, Khem howled and charged forward, his enormous vibrosword held at waist height. Nox grinned, and, as Jadus turned to knock back Ashara, sent a short burst of lightning that put the Sith Lord off-balance.

“Darth Nox,” Jadus said. “I thought you were with me.”

“I was,” Nox said. “I was willing to remake the Empire for the betterment of aliens. I was willing to see where you led. But you betrayed me! Revan was a heretic, and so are his followers!” He grinned. “Now, so are you. So no one will question me if I kill you!”

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YoshiRaphElan
01.16.2013 , 03:41 PM | #14
Chapter 13

Revanite Camp, Dromund Kaas
67 days ABDK


Gareb brought himself to his knees and reached for his lightsaber. He could not stay here and let Jadus do anymore damage–which was surely happening, because he heard the sounds of Force lightning…

But as he looked up, he saw a hooded Sith Lord blasting away at Jadus. A Dashade leapt in and swung a vibrosword so hard it knocked away Jadus’ saber. Instantly, a Togruta and a Kaleesh jumped at him, lightsabers swinging.

Jadus blasted them away and summoned his saber with the Force. As he ignited it, Gareb ripped a large boulder from the ground and hurled it at Jadus. The Dashade bared its teeth and attacked Jadus again.

Methic’s crew was beginning to rise, as were Jasin and Methic himself. Gareb steeled himself and leapt up, nearly blacking out at the pain in his legs.

Jasin, Gareb, and Methic’s apprentice leapt in, and the others opened fire or supported them as they could. Gareb returned to hurling stones. Finally, not satisfied with that role, he ignited his lightsaber and leapt in.

Jadus saw him coming, but fighting half a dozen enemies at once was not something even a famed Sith Lord like him could do successfully.

Gareb slammed the butt of his hilt into Jadus’ jaw, and the mask started to come off, but Jadus swiftly reached up and yanked it back down. Jasin took the opportunity, slashing low at Jadus’ knees. Jadus hit Jasin with a Force punch.

How could they defeat someone like this? Gareb wondered.

* * *

Methic was getting tired, and he was sure the others were, too. Jaesa was panting, Gareb was starting to fight with less precision, and Jasin was flat on the ground, out cold from the Force punch.

Darth Nox and his companions, who seemed to be quite capable fighters, were wearing down the Sith Lord, but even they could not keep it up forever.

In a swift motion, Jadus whirled, grabbed the Kaleesh with his left hand, squeezed until his bone mask shattered, and then hurled him at the Dashade. Grunting, the Dashade threw the Kaleesh aside and leapt high in the air, augmenting his strike with a little bit of Force lightning flowing over his sword.

Methic scissor-cut with his sabers, and Jadus jumped over them, at the same time Force pushing the Dashade. Methic raised his lightsabers straight up, but Jadus moved aside mid-air and the sabers only cut a little bit of his cloak.

Still, it was the first time they’d touched him, so it was a small victory.

Jasin got back to his knees and raised a hand. Jadus suddenly stopped moving as he was frozen in a shimmering stasis field. Methic leapt in, taking his opportunity, but the field held Jadus for not even a second, and the Sith Lord blasted it apart.

Methic’s lightsabers, which should have buried into Jadus’ chest, were blocked and redirected into a tree, and Jadus blasted Methic across the camp. Snarling, Methic stood.

He was starting to sweat now under his mask. With a grunt, he pulled it off and threw it to the ground, letting his long black hair fall in front of his face.

Jadus was distracted with the Dashade; it was the perfect time to attack. Leaping into the air, Methic charged Jadus. His thirty-foot momentum ended rather painfully, though, when Jadus turned and put his boot into Methic’s gut.

Methic saw stars, and he reached up to wipe sweat from his forehead. When he saw red on his fingers, he thought for a moment the tattoo over his right eye was wearing off, but he realized a moment later it was blood.

Ouch, he thought.

* * *

Jasin slowly recovered from the Force punch and stood, reactivating his lightsaber. He was unsure how someone, even a Sith Lord, could be this powerful. It shouldn’t be possible.

Then, as he stood back for a moment and watched Jadus fight the Dashade, as well as Gareb and the Kaleesh, he realized what was happening.

There was a lignan crystal in the pommel of the lightsaber Jadus wielded. Lignan ore enhanced the dark side, making those who drew on it dozens or even hundreds of times more powerful.

“Methic!” he called. “Lignan!”

* * *

Methic looked up at Jasin, then at what he was pointing at. He realized Jasin was right; there was a lignan crystal in Jadus’ lightsaber.

He started to reach out with the Force, but he froze and realized to draw on the power of the lignan, he would have to use the dark side. He knew Jaesa would argue the point with him for months.

But what did he care? This was an emergency.

Reaching out, he let the dark energies flow over him, feeling his exhaustion flee from his body to be replaced by the enhanced power the lignan provided.

He leapt in. The Dashade, seeming to realize what was going on, also appeared to have drawn on the lignan. He was a brute of a fighter, and he slammed his vibrosword down on Jadus’ blade with renewed ferocity.

Jadus seemed to realize his secret was out. He sent out another Force wave, and only Methic managed to block it. He sneered at Jadus and leapt in, sabers spinning so fast he must’ve looked like a purple blur.

Jadus was fast, too. In the first few seconds of the engagement, their sabers probably clashed two dozen times. Methic slashed gracefully, letting his blades scissor Jadus’ and leaving the taller man open many times.

For despite all Jadus’ power, Methic was possibly one of the top three most powerful living Sith Lords, and Jadus didn’t make the list.

In less than a minute, Methic had pushed Jadus back to the camp’s perimeter, and he had not even exhausted himself. He reached out and closed Jadus’ windpipe with the Force. Jadus tried to redirect the energy, but Methic just slammed his saber down over Jadus’ head, a blow that Jadus hardly blocked.

Methic tightened his grip around Jadus’ throat and the Sith Lord instinctively dropped his lightsaber and reached up to claw at his throat.

Methic released his hold on Jadus, spun in a neat circle, and cut him in half with a scissor cut. And it was over.

Methic withdrew from the dark side, looked down, and crushed the lignan crystal under his heel. Then, he looked over at Jadus’ halved corpse. Just in case, he rammed his red blade through Jadus’ mask.

Any chance of anyone seeing Jadus’ true face was now destroyed.

Jaesa looked at him, disturbed. “We need to go,” she said roughly.

He glanced back at Jasin and Gareb. Though Jasin had a look of sad understanding, Gareb’s expression was one of stony anger. Methic knew why. For all his claims of wanting to change the Empire, of not wanting to be a typical Sith Lord, he had drawn on the dark side in a pinch. He could have just as easily found a way to destroy the lignan. He hadn’t.

Had he failed?

“You’re right,” he said sadly. “Let’s go.”

End of Part 1

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YoshiRaphElan
01.18.2013 , 10:13 PM | #15
Part 2

Chapter 14

Jedi Temple, Tython
90 days ABDK


Jasin knew Gareb was mad at Methic, and had been every day of the four and a half weeks since they’d escaped Dromund Kaas. He knew why, too, and he supposed he should’ve been mad, as well. But he wasn’t.

Rather than do what Jasin would’ve done–destroy the lignan–he had used the dark side and drawn on the lignan. But Jasin couldn’t blame him, because he had been a Sith for years now, and that was what the Sith did.

But that didn’t change the fact, for Gareb at least, that Methic was betraying everything he claimed to stand for–a reformed Empire, a reborn Sith Order–everything.

Jasin wondered himself whether Methic was being fully honest from time to time, but he could not feel any anger toward his brother.

That’s what family was for.

“So,” Kira asked beside him, “what happened to the Revanites?”

Jasin shook his head. “Well, with the Master dead they were in a horrible shock. They had no leader, no cause. Then Overseer Tremel, who apparently was at one time my brother’s teacher, took the Master’s mask and announced that he would lead them.”

“How’d they feel about that?”

“Well, Tremel had been feeding them secrets on the Dark Council for weeks. They accepted him fairly openly.”

“That’s good, I guess. Hey, know what?”

“What?”

Kira smiled. “I’m hungry. Let’s go eat.”

Fury-class interceptor
Imperial fleet
90 days ABDK


Methic stood back, satisfied, as Quinn brought the ship in to Vaiken Spacedock. In the weeks since the death of Darth Jadus, things had largely returned to normal, and nobody had even questioned Methic on the whereabouts of Overseer Tremel.

Colonel Quinn brought the ship in and lowered the landing skids. Methic turned to leave the cockpit. As he did, he thought he sensed Quinn looking at him. He turned.

“Yes, Colonel?”

“It’s been three months now,” Quinn said. “Three months ago today, I foolishly tried to betray you.”

Methic nodded. “I suppose it has.”

Quinn stood. “Lord Methic, I am honored that you have put your trust in me once again. I know if I were in your position I would not be so ready to do so.”

“Well, I’m a trusting man, Colonel. The Empire needs that.” He paused. “If the Empire is ever to be what it needs to be, it must be reborn. Are you with me when that happens, Colonel?”

Quinn didn’t hesitate. “The infighting has to stop, or we will be destroyed from the inside. With the Emperor recovering from his ordeal and his location unknown, the Dark Council assumes he is dead. They vie for power all while ignoring the threat at their backs.”

“Don’t forget the Dread Masters,” Methic added.

“Right. If you ask me, freeing them was possibly the gravest mistake the Empire has ever made. With powers like theirs…who even thought they could be trusted?”

“And they betrayed us.”

Quinn nodded. “They did.”

“Dismissed, Colonel. Go to the cantina with Jaesa and spend some time together. Force knows when the next time you can will come.”

“Thank you, Lord Methic.”

As he walked away, Methic leaned back against the wall. He knew Quinn was right–freeing the Dread Masters from Belsavis had been a mistake, a big one. He wondered if that had been a subtle stab at his judgment, or if it had been a mere statement of fact. Either way, Quinn was right.

As he entered the side corridor toward the cargo hold, Pierce walked up beside him.

“Captain. What is it?”

“Lord Methic, I think we have a problem.”

“Oh?”

Pierce nodded. “Remember that Kaleesh at the Revanite camp?”

“Darth Nox’s apprentice. Yes.”

“He was watching us when we left Dromund Kaas and he’s, ah, here.”

“What do you mean, here?”

“I mean he’s on Vaiken!” Pierce hissed. “I was going to request a refuel, and when I went down the ramp I saw him standing in the shadows!”

Methic snarled. “Nox is watching us. Blast.”

“How shall we proceed, my lord?”

“We can’t kill a Dark Councilor’s apprentice, now can we? Well, we’ll have to do something. Thanks for the alert, Captain Pierce.”

“You’re welcome, Lord Methic.”

He turned and walked off. Methic stormed into the cargo bay, grabbed his mask off a shelf, and slammed it over his head.

He would confront Darth Nox.

Vaiken Spacedock
90 days ABDK


Darth Nox grinned as Methic entered the cantina. He had known this was coming–he’d told Xalek to make himself obvious. He lowered his hood, revealing his lekku, and nodded wickedly to Methic.

“Emperor’s Wrath,” he greeted.

“Darth Nox,” Methic spat. “Just what do you think you are doing, having your apprentice shadow me?”

Nox laughed. “If my apprentice was shadowing you, you would not know it.”

“Yet Pierce spotted him. Why?”

“I told him to be spotted,” Nox admitted. “I needed to speak to you immediately, but I could not risk normal channels.”

“And why not?” Methic demanded.

“Because this is a private conversation. If you would follow me to somewhere we can speak alone?”

“I’d be a fool to follow you anywhere, Nox. No, we speak here or nowhere.”

Nox looked around casually and saw Methic’s pet colonel and his Jedi girlfriend across the room. Ah. Methic had backup in case anything went wrong.

“Very well,” Nox consented. “Sit.”

Methic pulled the chair back and practically threw himself into the seat. He took his mask off and placed it on the table beside him.

“Talk,” he ordered.

“Why did you let those two Jedi leave?”

Clearly, that was not the question Methic expected to hear. “Jedi?”

“Don’t play me for a fool, Methic. I saw them, and so did you.”

“There was no time,” Methic said. “We were busy cleaning up Jadus’ mess.”

“Liar. Your colonel was more than capable of handling that, as were my people. You let them go intentionally. Why?”

“They helped us with Jadus,” Methic said. “They deserved something.”

“You lie again.”

“This is none of your business, Darth Nox. I am the Emperor’s Wrath. Do not worry about what I do.”

“It is my business, because you let two Jedi set foot on Dromund Kaas and leave alive.”

Methic looked around. “You’re right. Let’s take this somewhere more private.”

Nox grinned. “After you.”

* * *

Methic stood and twitched his finger. Quinn nodded and remained seated. He knew what to do. Methic led Nox to an empty room in the supplies area. He shut the door and whirled on Nox.

“Do not question me,” he hissed. “If I let the Jedi leave I had good reason to do so.”

“Ah. Good reason. Did you also have good reason for not slaughtering the Revanites where they stood while you had the chance?”

Methic stormed forward and grabbed Nox by his robe and yanked him off his feet. Nox’s orange eyes showed fear for a moment, but then he sent a Force blast out. Methic blocked it easily and dropped Nox to his feet.

“I will expose you, Lord Methic,” Nox said. “I will find your secrets, put them in front of the Dark Council, and I will see you executed for treason.”

Methic snapped his lightsaber to life and jumped at Nox. The Twi’lek raised his own blade and took the blow, though barely. Nox stabbed at him, and he dodged aside, batted the blade away, and gripped Nox’s throat with the Force. With contempt, Nox dissipated the Force energy and sent a bolt of Force lightning at Methic.

The door behind Nox opened, and Quinn entered, his blaster trained at the back of Nox’s head. The Sith Lord whirled, but Methic kicked him in the head. The blaster bolt whizzed past harmlessly, but Nox was out cold.

“Should we kill him?” Quinn asked.

Methic shook his head. “It would be a mistake. I could lie and say the Emperor ordered his death, but I doubt his companions would buy it. Leave him.”

Quinn nodded. “Yes, my lord.”

Methic kicked Nox hard in the head and then stormed off.

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YoshiRaphElan
01.21.2013 , 07:54 PM | #16
Chapter 15

Keldabe, Mandalore
95 days ABDK


Keldabe, the capitol of Mandalore, was a small city despite its title, and Dha liked that. The Mando’ade were not city-dwellers, but nomad warriors. They visited Keldabe only on business or when they missed the Manda’yaim–home.

“Been too long,” Torian said happily. “I haven’t been to Mandalore since I was maybe five years old. Memory doesn’t compare.”

Dha nodded. “Know the feeling, ner vod. I lived on one of the outlying planets before I became a hunter, and I haven’t visited since…the incident.”

Dha’s parents and most of the rest of his family had been slaughtered in an attack on their planet, when a traitorous Mandalorian had allowed Darth Tormen access to the hyperspace routes so they could strike the world for training.

Dha grimaced. That Tormen considered a world of Mandalorians fit only for training must have said a thing or two about the Sith Lord’s opinion of their culture.

Well, former opinion. He was ash, now.

As they walked, Dha thought about the rest of his living family. Aside from his crew–and he did consider them family, all of them, for family was more than bloodline–he had two living members of his clan.

His brother, Prudii, was a member of the Republic military, having left the clans after Tormen’s attack. He and Dha had mixed it up a few times since then. And Briika, his adopted sister, a Chiss, was now a smuggler. And she would be, what, sixteen years old now?

“Torian!” a voice called. “Hey, Torian!”

Torian turned in unison with Dha. A man in white and blue Mandalorian armor ran up waving. He had short black hair and friendly brown eyes.

“Corridan!” Torian greeted. “Corridan Ordo! How are you?”

“Doing great, ner vod,” Corridan replied.

“The wife and kids?” Torian asked.

“Great,” Corridan said, beaming. “I’ve got a third on the way.”

“Wonderful,” Torian said. “You’ve met Dha?”

“Only over the holocom,” Corridan replied. “But it’s a real honor, Grand Champion.”

Dha nodded. “The honor’s mine, Corridan.”

“Let’s hit the cantina,” Corridan said. “Boy, do I have stories to tell you!”

Training field, Coruscant
95 days ABDK


Prudii fired on full auto at the dummy standing at the wall of the Senate tower. They were training bolts, of course, because actual tibanna gas was too essential to the war effort to expend on dummies.

Beside him, Backblast, Jorgan, and Tanno Vik shot at their own dummies. Elara stood back with a datapad, evaluating their scores, Yuun meditated, and Forex was off on an assassination mission.

“Stop,” Elara said. She held up her datapad. “In sixty seconds of nonstop fire…Prudii, you killed your opponent one hundred eighty times. Jorgan, you got one hundred and twenty, but of course you fired with more precision and less speed. Backblast, you killed your opponent only one and one-thirds in a second, but your shots are faster and less accurate, so you injured him three hundred times a minute. Tanno, you struck your foe with a killing blow only once every three seconds, but every other shot was either disabling or would have been fatal if not treated.”

Bravado and backslapping ensued, after which they all pretended to be satisfied with their scores as they silently vowed to do better. Prudii looked over at the Avenue of Core Founders, where Yuun was deep in meditation. Seeming to sense Prudii was looking at him, Yuun uncurled and stood without placing his hands on the ground at all and walked over.

“That’s creepy,” Tanno muttered.

Backblast straightened and pulled his helmet on, and then put a hand to his ear comlink. Prudii looked away politely and turned to his squad.

“Well,” he said, “I hope Garza has a new mission, because I am officially bored.”

Jorgan nodded. “I’m ready to get back to fighting, no disrespect to Garza.”

Prudii’s comlink beeped. He activated it and put it through to the squad.

“Major Prudii,” he said.

“Major, this is Supreme Commander Malcom.”

“Sir,” Prudii said.

“Remember that HK-51 unit you brought back from Section X, Major?”

“Yes, Supreme Commander.”

“I’m assigning him to Havoc Squad on probation. Use him well. When you’re ready to pick him up, report to the chief engineer on Carrick Station.”

“Will do, sir.”

“Supreme Commander Malcom, out.”

“Major Prudii, out.”

He turned to his squad. “Who’s ready to meet our newest soldier?” he asked.

Carrick Station
96 days ABDK


Dankin stood outside Hangar 99-A, arms crossed. His brother was in the bay, and as usual was taking three times the necessary length of time to secure his ship.

When Backblast finally emerged, helmet under his left arm, Dankin impatiently grabbed his wrist and practically dragged a three hundred pound man made of pure muscle, not to mention his armor, down the halls.

“What took so kriffing long?” he demanded.

“I had to get permission to–”

“Yeah, yeah. Just come on!”

He didn’t get it. Backblast had always been more affectionate about their father than Dankin, and yet this seemed to be worrying Dankin more than it was Backblast.

When they reached Dankin’s ship, he released his brother’s arm and fairly flew up the ramp and into the cockpit. Corso looked up from the copilot seat.

“Destination locked, boss,” he said.

“Just go,” he replied curtly.

“What’s going on?” Akaavi asked.

Dankin turned to her. All the emotion he was keeping bottled up was starting to come out, and he couldn’t stop a tear from welling in his eye. He wiped it away furiously.

“My father,” he said. “My father’s hurt. Badly.”

“How badly?” she asked.

“Bad enough,” he replied. “Bad enough that he had to be taken back to Mandalore on a gurney.”

“So, it could’ve been a broken leg or something.”

Dankin shook his head. “No, he got hurt. He was on a hunt. I always knew one of those kriffing beasts would get the better of him.”

“He’ll be fine,” Akaavi assured.

“I hope so,” Dankin whispered.

BT-7 Thunderclap
Republic fleet
96 days ABDK


Havoc Squad’s usual reserved dock on Carrick was, strangely, taken, so they were directed to a dock on the Telos. As they docked, Prudii stood from the pilot seat and walked back to the main hold.

“Weapons check,” he said.

“All ready,” Jorgan said. “Got all the armament HK-51 could need. Sniper rifles, vibroblades, even a few of M1-4X’s rockets have been refitted.”

Prudii nodded. “Vik?”

Tanno looked up. “A few of those goods I scored on Nar Shaddaa a few weeks back are about to pay off. I’ve got a corrosive dart launcher and energy beam for his wrists and auto-switch lenses for his optical sensors so he can use night vision with just a thought.”

“Thought,” Yuun said. “Can droids think?”

“Of course we can,” Forex said impertinently.

“Apologies.”

Prudii crossed his arms as the ship finished its touchdown. He walked toward the airlock.

“Okay,” he said. “Let’s go.”

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YoshiRaphElan
01.23.2013 , 03:33 PM | #17
Plot twist in 3...2...1....

Chapter 16

Locked room, Vaiken Spacedock
96 days ABDK


Tran’thar rubbed his head. He looked up and found himself in a seemingly empty room. He scowled. What was going on?

He looked up and saw a shard of glass on the ground in front of him. He stared into it and saw the familiarity of his face–the light blue skin, the square jaw…the blue eyes.

Blue? They’d been blue all his life. So why did that seem wrong?

He glanced at his clothes. He was wearing a black robe that was surprisingly elaborate, and he had a lightsaber clipped to his belt.

A lightsaber? He had not wielded one in his entire life, so why was it there?

He looked around again. There was no one around and he was not wearing a shock collar. His robes were entirely too fanciful for a slave’s outfit.

A robe? He’d worn slave tunics his entire life.

He’d been a slave his entire life.

So why was he dressed thus now?

He stood and rubbed his head. It hurt, so he had to assume his master had beaten him–strange, for he had never given his master reason to lift a finger.

A lightsaber…

Ah, now he remembered. He was on his way to the ancient Sith world Korriban by request of Lord Zash, so he could potentially become her apprentice. He would be the one chosen. He felt it.

And yet, it somehow seemed wrong.

He was Tran’thar. Wasn’t he?

A face began to form in his head. She had yellow skin, blue-striped montrals and lekku…a Togruta. Was this Lord Zash, then?

No, his research indicated that alien Sith were not common, and he was one of the few alien acolytes ever chosen, certainly one of even fewer slaves. He was…unique.

Who was this Togruta? Why did she seem familiar to him?

A name followed the face. Ashara. This was her name, then. Ashara. Yes, Ashara Zavros.

But she was not a Sith, and yet the image in his head expanded, and she had a pair of lightsabers. Who had lightsabers but Sith…or Jedi?

Was this Ashara a Jedi?

If so, was it his duty to strike her down?

He frowned. Why did he recoil so at the thought of hurting her? As if she were so important to him that the thought of her being hurt overwhelmed him to the point of distress…

Yes, he loved her. Didn’t he? But he didn’t know her. So why did he love her?

Another face formed, and another. A Dashade. A human. Khem. Andronikos. Who were they?

He saw more faces, more names. Xalek, Talos. A masked man in red. Maul? No, Marr.

Zash.

Thanaton.

Methic.

Who were they? He had to know.

In a fit of rage, he threw out a hand toward a potted plant. Lightning blasted from his fingers and set the plant on fire.

How? How had he done that?

Who was he? Who was Tran’thar?

Defender-class light corvette
Tython space
96 days ABDK


Jasin folded his dark Revan-style robes and put them in a box. Then he picked up the mask given to him by the Revanites and did the same. As he started to put the lid over the top, he paused.

Did he really want to leave this part of his life, the part that felt akin to Revan, behind?

Well, he wasn’t sure, but it would always be here on his ship, waiting, if he ever wanted it back. Taking the box, he knelt and put it under the bed, where it could not be seen, and only he would know that it was there.

“You know, concealing any part of yourself is rather unhealthy,” Scourge said.

Jasin whirled, glared at Scourge, and sighed. That was a rather…non-Sith way of looking at life. He slowly nodded.

“Probably true,” he admitted. “But Revan is the Jedi Order’s little black mark–the hero who was once a villain, and who most consider to be one still.”

“I knew Revan in life,” Scourge replied. “He was a hero, and that’s saying something coming from a Sith Lord.”

“You betrayed him,” Jasin observed. “You must not have thought all that much of him.”

“On the contrary,” Scourge replied. “He is one of the few beings in the galaxy that has my eternal and undying respect–something I can honestly give,” he added wryly.

“Who are the others?”

“Well, my father, though I didn’t know him for very long. Lord Methic, my replacement. And you, Jedi.”

“Then I’m honored.”

“As you should be,” Scourge said, deadpan.

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YoshiRaphElan
01.24.2013 , 10:47 AM | #18
Chapter 17

Fury-class interceptor
Taris space
96 days ABDK


After the ambush on Darth Nox, Methic had decided they needed to lie low for a while. He pulled in a favor with an old friend on Taris–and there he was now, with Pierce, while Malavai and the others had to wait on the ship in agonizing silence.

“Quinn.”

Malavai turned as Jaesa entered the cockpit. She wore a nervous expression on her face. He wondered silently if it had to do anything with Methic’s display in the Revanite camp. She’d been aloof with him ever since.

“Jaesa,” he replied, standing.

He crossed over to her. She reached in for a hug, and he embraced her warmly.

“What is it?” he asked.

“I don’t know what to think,” she said. “I trusted–trust–Methic. But he used the dark side, and that’s the thing he said he wanted to stop.”

“He can’t help it,” Quinn replied. “He has been trained to do so for much of his life. When he is in a fix, he does what he was drilled to do–as do we all. If you were in trouble, would not your first reaction be a Jedi reaction?”

“Well of course, but…” she trailed off.

“Exactly. And you do him a disservice by talking about it while he is not present. Wait until he returns, and discuss it with him.”

“I will, Malavai. Thank you.”

He smiled. “Anything for you, dear Jaesa.”

Nexus Room, Dromund Kaas
96 days ABDK


Dha sat down at the usual table, and the cloaked man joined him, as always.

“You were not the one to kill the Master,” the man said quietly. “But the job is nonetheless it is done. So you will receive payment.”

Dha nodded. The Master was dead, and better, he had kept the trust of Ceta Farr and the other Revanite Mandalorians by allowing Methic’s friend to take over.

He didn’t care.

“Good,” he said. “I need my payment.”

“Don’t you want to hear your next job?”

“No.”

“But–”

“No.”

“Fine. Your payment has already been transferred to your account, non-refundable, as always. Now do you want to hear it?”

“No.”

The man paused. “Why not?”

“My duty is to my wife, pal. I’m taking her home until she has our baby.”

The man nodded. “Congratulations.”

“Thanks, pal. It was nice working with you, and I hope you find someone to continue the job.”

“Rest assured, we shall.”

Dha stood, but stopped before he left. “You know, you never told me your name.”

The man sighed. “Very well. But if you ever tell anyone, then you will be my next employee’s target. Understood?”

Dha nodded.

“My name is Ula Vii, late of Imperial Intelligence. You never heard that.”

“Got it. Nice working with you, Agent Vii.”

Vaiken Spacedock
96 days ABDK


Tran’thar was more confused than ever. Everywhere he walked, people bowed to him or moved aside so he could get through first. Why were they doing this, when he was a mere slave?

He frowned. Were they mistaking him for another person? A Sith Lord who looked like him?

It didn’t make sense. And why was he wearing these robes, anyway? He was nothing but a slave on his way to becoming a Sith Acolyte, so why…

“Kallig.”

The name entered his head and would not leave. He gasped and dropped to one knee, holding his head at the bruise. Kallig, who was Kallig?

“I am.”

He whirled, and a blue figure appeared out of the air. Average sized, the figure wore dark robes and a death’s-head mask. Even though Tran’thar had never seen him before, he seemed…familiar.

“And you are, too.”

“What do you mean?” Tran’thar asked.

“You are my descendant. A great Sith Lord, as I was in life.”

“But I’m no Sith Lord…just a slave.”

“You are wrong, Tran’thar. You are a Kallig, an heir to my title.”

“Impossible,” Tran’thar insisted.

“You will remember. In time…”

The figure disappeared. Tran’thar wondered just what had happened to him.

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YoshiRaphElan
01.26.2013 , 06:01 PM | #19
Chapter 18

Carrick Station
96 days ABDK


Prudii passed a keen eye over the HK-51 droid. Its silver plates were sleek, and from the appearance he was made of a mixture of metals–his chest and thigh-plates were durasteel, his shins, ankles, and feet were zal alloy, and his forearms, hands, and head were Mandalorian iron.

“Impressive,” Vik said with a whistle.

“Quite,” Dorne agreed.

“Want me to power him up?” the technician asked Prudii.

He nodded. “Go.”

The tech reached up behind HK’s neck and hit his power switch. HK’s dimmed optics turned orange and he looked up fiercely.

“Statement: HK-51, ready to serve, Master.”

“HK-51, you are hereby requisitioned to be a member of the Republic Special Forces unit Havoc Squad, operating as a specialist droid. I am Major Prudii, your CO. You will refer to me as major or sir, not master.”

“Confirmation: understood, major. Request: may I delete troublemakers for you?”

“Not…right now, HK. Report to my ship for your debriefing.”

“Reply: yes, sir!”

HK-51 did a fair imitation of a salute, turned, and strode down the corridors of the station. It occurred to Prudii that he probably didn’t know where Prudii’s ship was. The technician seemed to catch it.

“Don’t worry,” he said. “I programmed it into his memory banks. He’ll probably access fleet records and find where it’s docked.”

“I thought he was going to come up shooting as he turned on,” Jorgan observed.

“Simple explanation,” the tech replied. “He was originally programmed by the Empire. The best way to say it would be that seeing you were Republic, it was instinct to open fire.”

“Instinct?” Vik scoffed. “A droid?”

“Forex came up with the idea of assassination by himself,” Jorgan reminded him.

“Oh, yeah.”

“Good luck with that droid,” the tech said. “You’ll need it.”

Vaiken Spacedock
96 days ABDK


Tran’thar must not have been paying attention to where he was walking, for he slammed headfirst into a wall of pale flesh. He grunted and fell backwards. The large wall turned and looked at him. Tran’thar recognized it as a Dashade.

“Little Sith, there you are,” the wall of flesh said.

“You know me?” Tran’thar asked.

The Dashade stood in place, tilted its head to the side, and remained silent for a moment. Then it made a soft gurgling noise that Tran’thar realized was a laugh.

“You make a joke, little Sith?” it asked.

“No joke,” Tran’thar replied. “Who…are you?”

The Dashade seemed to realize that he was not joking, and it bared its fangs in rage, grabbed him by the waist, and slung him over its shoulders.

“Someone has harmed you, little Sith!” it growled. “Come! We return to our ship!”

While Tran’thar tried to struggle out of its grip, it stormed into a hangar and up the ramp of a Fury-class interceptor. When they were inside, it threw him down on a couch.

“Crew!” it bellowed. “Assemble!”

A dark man in a brown duster walked in rubbing his head. He looked drunk, Tran’thar mused. In a few minutes, three more beings had entered–a Kaleesh, a Togruta, and a human in an Imperial’s uniform.

“I…know you,” he said quietly. “Khem, Talos, Xalek, Andronikos…Ashara.”

Ashara frowned. “What is wrong, my lord?”

“He does not remember who he is,” Khem said. “He has a bruise on his head.”

“Talos,” Xalek snarled. “Look him over!”

“I’m an archeologist,” Talos said quietly. “I am no medic.”

“You’re better off than the rest of us,” Andronikos insisted.

“Why not take him to an Imperial medcenter?” Talos countered.

“If his rivals found out, he would swiftly be stuck down,” Khem said.

Tran’thar was beginning to get angry–they were talking about him like he wasn’t in the room. That was part of being a slave…but he didn’t seem to be a slave.

“Shut up!” he snarled. “Shut up!”

“Lord Nox?” Ashara asked.

“Don’t call me that,” he hissed. “And don’t call me Kallig, either! I am Tran’thar!”

Ashara seemed happy about that, Andronikos and Talos seemed indifferent or confused, and Khem Val and Xalek seemed to be raging.

“We’ll find who did this,” Xalek rumbled.

“And I will devour him,” Khem rumbled.

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Bird_of_Thunder
01.26.2013 , 06:52 PM | #20
great read! loved the Ula Vii reference, Fatal Alliance was a great book as much as it got flamed. Loved the reference, keep up the great work, as always!
Lord Ravvok
Annihilation Marauder
<Ebon Hawk, U.S>