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The Lost Ones


BorisKarloffe's Avatar


BorisKarloffe
09.07.2017 , 06:57 PM | #1
Author's Preface: Since I've been thoroughly annoyed with the crap passing for "story" inflicted on us over the last two years, I've decided to try writing my own stories to try to un-screw up the universe and characters that I care about. While I am an aspiring writer, I've not tried any swtor stories before. The story will be following several of the missing companions during the time the player characters are frozen in carbonite and into concurrent events with KotFE/ET. The premise I am using is that all eight player classes were part of a team on Darth Marr's ship and were all taken captive/frozen in carbonite.

Episode 1

Kira Carsen looked up slowly from her meditative position on the floor. A display light was flashing on the console ten feet away, but from her position sitting on the floor, she couldn't tell what it was displaying. Coming out of a trance-like state always meant her body responded very lethargically, even when she wanted to leap up and check it immediately.

Closing her eyes, she breathed deeply for a moment before coughing violently as she accidentally inhaled some of the floating dust in the air.

A few more moments and she was able to move her limbs enough to shake off the dust that had settled on her during another week of retreat into a hibernation trance.

Rousing herself from the floor, she moved as quickly as she could to the console, staring with trepidation at the display screen.

To most Jedi, the script would've been strangely unfamiliar, or if they had known it was an old sith dialect, they would've immediately grown fearful. Kira knew from her academy days on Korriban and Dromund Kaas that it was some old variant of Sith dialect, and while she may not have been able to piece all the symbols out, she could figure out enough.

An unknown ship was approaching.

She quickly looked up from the console and out the viewport at the stars in the distance, but the derelict Dreadnaught wasn't pointing in a direction that would allow her to see the approaching ship.

Hope surged in her heart at the possibility of contact, but then fell again as she wondered who could possibly have found something that wasn't supposed to exist in a part of space that wasn't mapped and no one could penetrate, even with long range sensors.

Even as she ran over the options in her head, several hideous screeches echoed through the hallways approaching the bridge.

Coming out of hibernation made her easier for them to find again...

Whirling around, Kira activated her dual-bladed lightsaber, its empeth green blades casting a green glare across the ruined consoles of the bridge.

Three gray humanoid figures appeared crouched in the walkway approach to the bridge. Wearing gray wrappings, they might have been mistaken for mummies, except that Kira knew there was nothing but darkness beneath those wrappings, beings summoned forth by someone...or something from the dark side of the force.

As they advanced on her, she knew a direct slice from her lightsaber would return them to the dark side of the force, but the black and silver vibroblades they wielded would do very real damage to her if they were able to connect any blows.

They screeched the same strange question in the sith tongue they always did as they attacked.

"WHERE IS THE BARON?!!!"

"Sorry, don't hang with Royalty much these days" Kira quipped before spinning under the slice of one and bringing her lightsaber across the midsection of another...


Several months before, in the bowels of Nar Shaddaa:

Ashara Zavros looked down at her hands nervously as she kneeled in the barren room.

She reflected for a moment on the strange series of events that had placed her here. Then she corrected herself. They were not strange or random events. The Force was a current, and no matter how random or strange the events in her life seemed, the Force would certainly bring her where she was supposed to be.

"It's time" came the voice from a man in a nondescript cloak by the doorway.

Rising to her feet and following the man, Ashara was led into a dim hallway that ended with a thick durasteel door, something no ordinary apartment on Nar Shaddaa would have in its interior.

Motioning her inside as the door slid open, Ashara squinted as she walked in, trying to adjust to the contrasting light of the dark room with the glowing plants in six separate planters casting bright blue, pink, and green hues across the room.

"Why have you sought out the Scions of Zakuul?" came the abrupt demand from a woman kneeling with her back against the back wall, her dark skin and black robe making her difficult to distinguish in the poorly lit room.

"I...wish to become a Scion" Ashara tried to sound confident without coming across as cocky.

"We are the Scions of Zakuul. What makes you think we would take one in who is not of Zakuul?" came a sharp demand from another robed man on Ashara's right, also kneeling with his back against the wall.

"Destiny does not depend on where you're from or who you declare allegiance to" Ashara responded.

"And why should your destiny not lie with those you have walked with before?" another female Scion inquired from off to Ashara's left.

"I....once thought it did, but in the last four years, I have watched both the Sith and Jedi Orders crushed under the might of Zakuul. The Scions seek to know Destiny. I seek to find mine" Ashara replied with conviction.

"She is an outsider, an apprentice to the ones who struck down the Eternal Emperor" hissed the male Scion off to her right.

"We should consult Heskal on the matter" replied the female Scion on Ashara's left.

"No...the outsider is right. Destiny does not respect race or creed" muttered the dark skinned female Scion in the middle before she continued "We know she is gifted like we are. We know she seeks to find her Destiny and the Destiny of all things...like we do"

"But she is not from Zakuul, merely an outsider parlaying for favor. Oramis, surely you can see--" snapped the male Scion on Ashara's right before the dark skinned woman known as Oramis cut him off.

"You must let go of the Old ways, Zaxun. If there's one thing we should know as Scions, is that we don't really have a choice" she declared, rising to her feet as they all heard a sudden scream from down the hallway.

They all froze for a moment as the sounds of fighting came from through the door and down the hallway, punctuated by the thrashing humming of lightsaber pikes.

"Knights of Zakuul! And just how did they find us?!" retorted the surprised Zaxun before he rose and withdrew his lightsaber from his robe, staring at Ashara menacingly in the dimly lit room.

"Calm yourself, Zaxun. I have seen this moment" said Oramis as she stepped forward to Ashara.

"Our Destiny....does not end here" she continued as she produced both of Ashara's lightsabers in her hands and held them out to her with open hands.

Taking one of her lightsabers in each hand, Ashara turned to the heavy durasteel door, feeling more sure now of herself than she had in a long time.

Even as the door controls were sliced and the door slid open, and even as several Knights of Zakuul, flanked by skytroopers faced them in the door opening, Ashara felt calm, confident. This was what she was meant to do.

"Surrender! In the name of Emperor Arcann!" shouted one of the Knights.

"Come and meet your Fate" Ashara hissed before activating both lightsabers.

Dashing in between the two Knights in the middle, she knew their lightsaber pikes would be harder to wield in the confined space of the corridor. They would also be more concerned about accidentally hitting one of their own. Both of these were problems Ashara wouldn't have.

Pivoting and slicing, she fell into the deliberate flowing dance of death she had practiced so many times over recent years, slicing first one and then another skytrooper in half as she dodge and parried one and then a second Knight of Zakuul.

Force pushing the remaining two skytroopers into a jumbled pile, she parried one of the Knights' pikes into another, opening him up for a killing slice from the other lightsaber, just before ducking under another swing from a Knight trying to flank her.

Pivoting around another Knight, she effortlessly finished him off with a backhanded slice from behind as she dodge between a stab from both directions.

Jumping off the wall on the side, she then backflipped off of it, using the force to guide her across the short corridor space, spinning around and down just in time to surprise another Knight by stabbing with both lightsabers, something a lightsaber pike was unable to block.

Withdrawing her lightsabers from the crumpling Knight, she spun to see the final Knight of Zakuul trying to call in for backup over his comlink, which this far down in Nar Shaddaa was surely jammed or poorly communicating at best.

"There are no second chances for you. Your fate ends here" Ashara declared as she moved in, parrying his attack away before finishing him off with slices from both lightsaber blades.

Breathing heavily, she turned to find all three Scions regarding her with varying reactions. Zaxun seemed the most surprised, his eyes bulging with astonishment as he stared at the crumpled bodies and remains in the corridor, his lightsaber at the ready.

The female Scion on the left, stood as well with her lightsaber in hand, but looked more uncertain.

Oramis stood calmly still in the center of the room with her hands clasped, seemingly without any worry as a small smile crept onto her lips.

"As you can see, our newest sister is more than a match for Arcann's hounds" she declared, walking up and placing an encouraging hand on Ashara's shoulder.

"B-but..." Zaxun sputtered, attempting and failing to come up with any more objections.

"Come, all of you. Our Destiny is no longer in this place" Oramis continued as they all stepped over the remnants of the fight and left.


End Episode 1
"You're nothing, Earth boy! Go home and shave your giant head of smell
with your bad self!"
- Invader Zim
Referral Link: http://www.swtor.com/r/GL9ptB

MayhemofChaonus's Avatar


MayhemofChaonus
09.07.2017 , 10:29 PM | #2
Very nice...I like how your inspiration for writing is your dissatisfaction with the current expansion stories. Much as mine was.
"The weak will always be victims. That is the way of the universe. The strong take what they want, and the weak suffer at their hands. That is their fate; it is inevitable. Only the strong survive, because only the strong deserve to" - Darth Bane
May the Force forsake you

Lunafox's Avatar


Lunafox
09.08.2017 , 12:43 AM | #3
Welcome to the fanfic forum I agree with Mayhem, and you, that I think many of our stories arise from dissatisfaction with the status quo. I don't hate the expansions, but I've always felt there should be more there...

Anyways, I enjoyed your opening chapter and look forward to more. I hope you have fun here.

BorisKarloffe's Avatar


BorisKarloffe
09.08.2017 , 08:51 PM | #4
Episode 2

Planet Carratos

In a luxurious apartment set in a silvery high rise that overlooked the large spread of slummy spaceport docks, a young woman jerked upright in bed with a start.

She gasped for breath wildly as the view of Darth Marr's ship ramming an Eternal Empire Frigate replayed over in her mind.

The warm misting spouts of a morning shower brought her mind back from the ragged nightmare she had awoken with. As the moisturizers, nutrients, and soaps were gently misted on her and she ran her hands through curly blonde hair, it was as if the night's bad dreams were washed away.

That had been a different life, and there had been nothing she could do to stop it. She hadn't even been there when it happened. She'd only found the recording from one of the escape pods later on. Dispatched to go get help, their D-5 Mantis Patrol Craft wouldn't have done much in a battle of Capital ships.

Wrapping herself in a plush blue robe, she wiped fog off the lavatory mirror before taking a moment to gaze at herself.

Mako....that is what she went by in those days. Little Mako....she could slice anything, help find anyone. Of course, now anyone who had called her that was gone...dead or missing.

If anyone from the previous days was still alive, they wouldn't have recognized her.

She'd had a number of cosmetic procedures done to make herself look different. She didn't want anyone looking at her as the "little orphan Mako" anymore....or ever again. There was a personal reason and a practical reason for this.

Practically, she knew that she'd made plenty of enemies in the Bounty Hunting business, and if any of their old marks or friends came looking, she didn't want to be easy to find.

Personally, she just didn't like the way she looked or the way people saw her. She frequently heard herself called things like "little...cute...helpful...useful". She used to embrace such things, but she had been naive then, almost childish, in a way.

She was little more than a bright eyed teenager then. Now, she was a young woman, and she had wanted to make sure no one would mistake her for the naive girl she used to be.

As she moved back into the bedroom and motioned her hand to trigger the sliding door on the closet, she gazed at the impressive collection of gowns, suits, dresses, and outfits she had at her disposal.

She momentarily eyed one of the more garish gowns with gauzy, nearly see through material, and frilly borders. She had never worn it before, much like most of the outfits she had purchased.

For a fleeting moment, she wondered if Torian would've looked at her differently if she'd been more inclined to wearing this sort of thing two years ago.

She remembered catching him staring at several Mandalorian women changing their armor while visiting a Mandalorian camp on Dantooine. The women were still wearing their exosuits beneath the armor, but it did little to hide the curves and muscle that clearly caught Torian's eye, and for a moment, Mako had felt a sharp pang...jealousy, followed immediately by guilt.

It was the first time she realized she had feelings for Torian beyond anything friendly or professional, and it was the first time she even considered get close to anyone since....Jagga had...gone missing. Of course, later, Torian too would leave, off to answer the call of Mandalore.

Amidst warring emotions, she quickly shoved the gauzy dress back into the closet, the closet wand arm quickly moving to catch the dress and arrange it flawlessly, smoothing out any unseemly wrinkles before retreating its arm back to the top of the closet space.

Quickly, she opted instead to wear a light blue and white Concealed Bodysuit finely crafted of demicot silk.

Even as she slipped it on, she wondered why she felt guilty at times over her appearance. The first thing she'd had done was to get her implants covered with facial surgeries and enhancements. If anyone from the old days had looked closely, they would never know she was the same Mako as before. The surgeons had assured her she was now "classically beautiful" instead of just "cutesy".

The implants were now covered with the latest synthetic skin grafts, though anyone running their hand across her left cheekbone and eyebrow, or her right jaw would easily feel them.

She'd changed her hair color to blonde, and allowed it to grow out more, resulting in curly waves of blonde locks down past her shoulders.

She'd also had enhancements done to other parts of her body, partly to make her more "curvy" and partly to correct several developing bone problems that were the result of "procedures" she had no memory of in Project 32.

Taking a deep breath as if to reassure herself, she feigned a genuine smile at herself in the mirror before adjusting the tight material of the bodysuit slightly.

"A new face....a new body....a new me..." she thought to herself before whirling and marching out of her spacious bedroom.

But some things were still the same.

Mako had been one of the best slicers in the Galaxy, and she still was. Except, these days, she wasn't tracking down criminal scumbags with prices on their heads, and she no longer called herself Mako.

As she entered a moderately furnished room with a circular console with a semi-circle screen display atop it, she momentarily allowed herself to swell with pride as she considered the possibility of helping someone find a lost loved one today.

That's mainly all she did these days, help people separated by war, tragedy, or other bizarre circumstances find each other. It was a big Galaxy, and there were countless beings displaced, lost, and separated. Seera, as she now called herself, was the premier Locator in the Galaxy.

She used several other contacts as screens to ensure she only ended up with people she genuinely wanted to help, and to ensure she never had to meet with anyone in person. Physically meeting with anyone was dangerous and messy, something she avoided at all costs.

Work was plentiful, and she rarely had to go looking for contacts, and pay of course was plentiful.

It didn't take Seera long to find most of her targets, and it wasn't uncommon for her to bag two dozen contracts a day and still have plenty of time off.

Wheeling through messages logged by some of her contacts overnight, she quickly settled on one, sent out the acceptance notice with accompanying contract, and went to work trying to track down a woman's missing husband.

Seera was well accustomed to slicing both Imperial and Republic databases, and would frequently pop in and out without any of them being the wiser. The man had been a rank and file soldier in a Republic infantry unit deployed to Taris, but was then captured by Imperials and imprisoned. Then the trail had gone cold.

As she went to work siphoning through port logs, intel reports, and black market slave auctions, it only took about fifteen minutes before she located the man in question. Apparently, the Imperial prison transport he was on had been attacked and hijacked by Pirates known to mostly base themselves out of Rishi.

Confirming the time stamps of the locales and drawing up a dossier on that certain pirate group, Seera quickly sent along the information to the worried wife, and shortly received payment back with a curt thank you.

Seera sighed slightly as she wondered how the situation would turn out, knowing there wasn't anything else she could do. Sometimes, there were no happy endings.

Sometimes people preferred not knowing what happened instead of the truth. Sometimes they lashed out at her instead, as if blaming or castigating her work would somehow make it untrue.

Knowing was always better than the gnawing uncertainty, even if the truth was horrible. She gulped down a lump in her throat as other memories threatened to rise to the forefront of her mind.

Even as she was contemplating this, a signal flickered on her right and she immediately turned and summoned a case file she had been keeping tabs on.

It was a similar situation to the one she had just handled: a woman's husband, vanished during his deployment and none of the "official" channels had known or done much of anything.

Seera had located him, locked in a jail in a remote village on Ryloth after the locals didn't believe he was a soldier separated from his unit.

Now, a week later, the wife of the man had travelled to Ryloth, secured his release, and was now on camera feed walking down the hall to reunite with her husband.

Seera watched transfixed as they embraced joyfully, kissing and laughing with excitement before the man leaned down and picked up a small boy, giddily hoping up and down.

Something about it wrenched at her insides and she found herself reaching out with her hand and touching the screen, wishing that some of that jubilation would transfer into her fingers.

Then, before Seera realized it, tears were streaming down her cheeks, continuing to touch the screen as she watched the joyful reunion, wondering when the last time was that she had felt that kind of joy...when was the last time she had felt anything from the touch of another....

Sobbing openly now, her implants began to ache, and she withdrew her hand from the screen, clenching her fist angrily.

Why now?....why were the memories so strong today?....She had done all she could not to think about...him....about Jagga.

Jagga Hern...Grand Champion...Champion of the Great Hunt....Bounty Hunter Supreme...Mandalore's Hunter...Bane of the Blacklist.... he had many names and titles he'd become known by, but there was only one that mattered to Seera....fiancee.

Two weeks! Two more weeks and they would've been married...

Blast Darth Marr and his infernal plans! They should've just refused. Let the Sith clean up their own mess. They were the ones always rambling on about power anyways.

That had been four years ago. Why was she still so distraught? She had put that life behind her.

Through blurry eyes, she looked down at her clenched fists again before looking back at the screen to see the happy couple again.

Then, a terrible thought struck her.

She had not moved on. She had simply retreated. She had slowly but surely walled herself off from anything to do with her former life, and even her former self.

Feeling an even greater weight of guilt and shame, she sank down on the floor, hugging her knees to her chest and sobbed harder into them.

So upset was she, that she did not notice the motion alarms from her security system flashing on her console, nor did was she paying attention to the changes in script, denoting a virus infiltrating her security system and shutting down all the alarms and notification measures.

She never saw the slight blur of movement in the air by the doorway as an unknown assailant crept in using a stealth cloaking generator.

The first warning she had that anything was abnormal was the sharp sting of a micro dart she felt puncture her left thigh.

She reacted too late, looking up only to find herself hit with two more micro darts, one in the rib cage, and another in the shoulder.

She tried to get up. When that didn't work, she tried to reach the console where a blaster was tucked away in a hidden compartment, but already her limbs were too lethargic to grab anything, and they quickly fell to her slides as she slowly slumped over.

"Nnoughhhh" came the slurred cry from her before her eyes closed and she slumped on the floor, unconscious.

The unknown assailant uncloaked, his micro dart gun still trained on her for a moment before moving in to secure some old style shackles on his new capture, lest she use her implants to slice any of the newer models. Then he briefly ran a scanner over her face and hands.

Throwing her over his shoulder easily, he activated his comlink as he turned to depart.

"Unit 1-09 here, package secure"

"You're sure she's the real deal?" came the reply over the comm.

"Yeah, was surprisingly easy, though"

"It may have been easy for you, but the software we had to develop to disable the security systems was certainly not cheap."

"Buyer better be good for it" retorted the unknown assailant as he strapped a small stealth generator onto Seera's belt before activating it, immediately cloaking both of them as he strode out the door.

"Sometimes taking a loss is necessary to maintain a good name. We both know this is personal" replied the voice over the comm before he too went silent.



End Episode 2

This one ended up a lot longer than I intended. So, we didn't get any glimpses of what else is going on, but I'll just save it for next time. It's getting late and I have to work in the morning.
"You're nothing, Earth boy! Go home and shave your giant head of smell
with your bad self!"
- Invader Zim
Referral Link: http://www.swtor.com/r/GL9ptB

MayhemofChaonus's Avatar


MayhemofChaonus
09.08.2017 , 09:02 PM | #5
O snap. You've actually got me on the edge of my seat!
"The weak will always be victims. That is the way of the universe. The strong take what they want, and the weak suffer at their hands. That is their fate; it is inevitable. Only the strong survive, because only the strong deserve to" - Darth Bane
May the Force forsake you

BorisKarloffe's Avatar


BorisKarloffe
09.12.2017 , 04:27 PM | #6
Episode 3



Port Nowhere


A smoky haze hung in the air as the hum of conversation, gambling, and muted dancing music thrummed in through the doorway of the Pazaak Den. A wide array of races and species cluttered around the tables in one of the newly renovated wings recently opened for the sole purpose of High Stakes Pazaak.

An older, but certainly not "old", human male ran a hand through his artificially colored and enhanced silvery hair before easing back into his chair at the larger Pazaak table on an elevated platform at the back.

It had been a good choice to come to Port Nowhere. It had always been a good place to lay low, but no one had been quite sure what the place would be like now that Elarea Aldraste...errr, The Red Huntress, that is, had seized control from long time owners, the Finyaft family.

The man smirked to himself, wondering how the lovely Elarea behaved herself now, considering that she was a big, bad Bounty Hunter in charge of Port Nowhere. He almost chuckled at how easy it would be to tear down her reputation. All he had to do was begin telling stories about her from years ago.

Of course, that was not a chapter in her life she was likely to look kindly on him sharing. Then again, she had tried to use him. Well, to be fair, they had both tried to use each other.

He smiled the smile of a man who knows something others don't as he stared across the card table.

No, that was information to be stowed away, currency to negotiate his way out of a future jam.

Speaking of jams, he grew tired of waiting for the Sullustani Smuggler on his right to make up his mind on his play. Surely he wouldn't pointlessly prolong the game...

But then the Sullust made an unexpected move, he looked around the platform at the patrons before glancing around beyond them to the other tables below before making a quick signatory nod across the platform to a plainly dressed Arkanian man on the other side.

To most people, it was barely perceptible and would not have raised any eyebrows among the hub of activity in the Den, but the human man observing it knew it was anything but ordinary, and the hairs on the back of his neck stood up as years of information gathering, espionage, and negotiations queued his keener than usual senses.

This was some sort of set up.

But he got no chance to pre-empt it before the Arkanian looked up and spoke directly at him..

"Darmas Pollaran"

Feigning the best ignorant look he could, Darmas turned and looked back past him, as if expecting someone else to be there that the Arkanian was addressing. It was a last ditch effort, but there wasn't much else to try on such short notice.

"We know it's you, and we know who you are" declared the Arkanian with an air of certainty that Darmas dreaded.

It was the air of a man about to dictate terms of some sort....terms Darmas knew nothing about and likely wouldn't want any part of, particularly if they knew anything about all the things he used to be involved in.

Darmas briefly considered continuing the ruse of being someone else, but figured it was better to try to pry more out of whoever these "guests" were than to pointlessly stall with a man who seemed uninterested in pleasantries.

"And? What of it?" Darmas downplayed the knowledge as if it were nothing of consequence, choosing this moment to sip some Mosauwi Wine from a sparkling glass nearby.

"Play has been suspended to due to non-play activities" buzzed the Dealer Droid, immediately placing a freeze on the game.

"We have business to discuss" muttered the Arkanian, fixing Darmas with an unflinching gaze.

Darmas instinctively glanced around the room, quite certain that the middle...err back platform of the Pazaak Den was NOT the place he wanted anything about his past brought up.

"No one will hear a word" continued the Arkanian as if reading Darmas' mind, nodding back beyond his shoulder.

Darmas followed his gaze to note several small cylinders about the size of a syringe canister placed at the entrances on each side of the platform: short range audio dampeners.

Darmas relaxed slightly. Whoever these people were, they were clearly professionals. Darmas could deal with Professionals, even if he didn't like what he was about to hear. If they were professionals, it meant they wanted something from him, which meant he should...in theory...have most of the "bargaining power" so to speak.

"Well, alright. Out with it. What is it you want?" Darmas replied, sitting up and leaning forward slightly.

"We know you were imprisoned on the prison planet Belsavis" the Arkanian began before Darmas cut him off.

"Surely you're not here to ask for coordinates. It's not exactly a big secret anymore. Heh...you could probably just look them up on the HoloNet"

"We know where it's at. We simply require your services when we get there"

Darmas gulped. Belsavis....go back there?

"Belsavis isn't a place you want to go. Even now that the Galaxy knows about it, no one in their right mind wants to go there" Darmas glowered at the Arkanian, for the first time genuinely worried about what was about to transpire.

"We have it on good authority that you have the knowledge, connections, and....data to get anywhere on the planet..." the Arkanian replied casually, hinting that he clearly knew more, but didn't feel like wasting the time explaining.

"Well, springing prisoners isn't really my thing..." Darmas tried to regain his smooth confident tone, hoping a response to his comment would shed some light on who these people actually were and what they were after.

The Arkanian didn't bite.

He merely shrugged before nodding back behind him.

"We'll tell you more when we get there"

"I happen to be enjoying myself here, and despite the jobs I used to do for...different folks, these days I work for me. So until you give me some good reason to, I'll be staying right here" Darmas declared, knowing it might be a futile gesture, but hoping that one of them would drop some hint of information as to who they were and what they were after.

The Arkanian seemed unfazed.

"You'll be coming with us...whether you feel like it or not" he simply shrugged before taking a more meaningful sip of his drink than he should have.

"If coercion was your plan all along, why the amicable charade?" glowered Darmas as he eyed all the "players" more warily, while still trying to extract any tidbit he could from them.

Again, the Arkanian didn't bite, but instead, the players all simultaneously got up from the table.

Darmas had to give them credit. No one in Port Nowhere would've expected such a thing to occur out in the open. In Private Quarters and back rooms were where everyone cut their deals. Doing so out in the open practically guaranteed no one suspected anything.

"At least finish the game. That's a lot of credits you're leaving behind for the House to appropriate" Darmas tried not to sound bitter, knowing he was that close to a significant pay out, only to be thwarted.

"Time is running short" was the terse reply he got, as Darmas realized his body was beginning to feel lethargic, and quickly shot a glance at the Wine glass he had been sipping from.

The "players" at the Pazaak table all got up and slowly made their way out.

Darmas was "helped" up and lethargically walked out being supported by two lovely ladies. It all looked very normal to anyone watching.

Except the two lovely ladies were not ones Darmas had ever seen before, nor did they lead him back to his quarters, but instead took him straight to the hangars and boarded a light, but heavily modified freighter.

As his body grew even more lethargic, he was led into a storage room before tossed onto the floor like a sack of stuffing before feeling a light tingle on his arm signifying either the antidote to whatever he was under or a higher dosage of the same.

As he sagged off into unconsciousness, he knew he should be worried about the people who had taken him, but instead, all he could worry about was Belsavis and the nasty realization that he would be going back to that place.

Why did it have to be Belsavis.....


Planet Jaemus

Jaesa Willsaam hung suspended in the air. Chains shackled her wrists and ankles out into a drooping spread eagle.

She wasn't that far off the floor. At least, she didn't think so. It was too dark to see anything, and whatever her prison was made of was impossible for her to sense through the Force.

How long had it been now? Weeks...Months?

She smirked at the irony. So eager at one time to explore the dark side, so happy to be free of the constricting confines of the light. Now all she had was darkness...and a cage.

A mocking chuckle broke the silence and Jaesa froze.

He was here...in the cell with her. For how long, she had no idea.

"What is it that so amuses you, slave?" he rumbled through his mask vocabulator, even as she felt the tendrils of his presence pour over her mind, prodding and searching.

"N-nothing" she deliberately lied, knowing it would provoke a response.

The pain was excruciating. His mere presence radiated it if he was close, but when he focused his power on her, it was like a thousand needles stabbing inside her mind and body, radiating from head to toe.

Jaesa screamed uncontrollably as a powerful wave of stabbing pains reverberated through her.

When he ceased striking his force attack inside her mind, she slumped down in her chains again, but perked up as she heard the door slide open.

She expected to see light coming in through the doorway, but still, all she saw was darkness.

Was her blindness something inflicted on her by him as well?

"I've prepared a test to see how well you progress, slave" Darth Jadus' voice resonated into her ear, suddenly standing right behind her.

"I am Lord Jaesa, slayer of Darth Rictus, Crusher of the Sheuni Revolt, and the only rightful successor to the Empire's Wrath!" she sneered, growing in volume "I am no one's plaything!"

She chose that particular moment to try lashing out at him through the Force, but the combination of the shackles, her own weakness, but more importantly...his own power, stifled her, even as she attempted to move and focus with the necessary passion on her sole objective.

Once again, his power invaded her mind and the tendrils of his presence seemed to overpower her from the inside out as she felt her spirit suffocated and surrounded instantly.

"I tire of hearing of the Empire's Wrath! You should be more concerned about mine!" he hissed, sending bolts of pain rippling through her again.

When her screams had subsided, she realized someone else was there, kneeling before her.

"This man has knowledge locked away in his mind. He has told us what he thinks we need to hear, but was it the truth?" the rasping voice came again into her ear.

Jaesa's instinct was to deny him what he wanted, even something small. However, she was clearly too weak to challenge him in her current state, and if she probed the man's mind and spirit, maybe she would find something of her own to use when the right time came.

Of course, she couldn't make it look like she would easily obey...

After a few more painful "proddings", Jaesa finally made a show of painfully and slowly looking toward where the kneeling man in front of her was.

Reaching out through the force, her eyes began to glow. They used to glow blue, but now a striking bright red. It brought her a small comfort to know how terrifying her appearance must be.

Moving past the outside was easy. The Force passed through flesh and blood like wind passed through air in a tight canyon.

"Speak....what do you see?" came the command at her other ear. He must have moved, but again, Jaesa had not sensed it.

"I see....a man....a soldier of the Republic....devoted....loyal....a man of his word....a man who detests pointless gestures" she began as she began to weed through the feelings and thoughts that fluttered through the mind of the man kneeling before her.

She was surprised. The man was remarkably calm and poised. Most beings she looked inside were ugly....chaotic....terrified, knowing their secret motivations and desires were about to come spilling out. The filth she glimpsed always agitated her further, fueling her passion.

Their secrets were easily found, as they scrambled to hide them. None ever realized what a fruitless gesture it was to try to hide them. Trying to hide them made them easier to sense.

The man in front of her seemed to have nothing to hide, until she finally spotted it...a hint of regret swirling amidst a mass of devotion and love. Pushing further to find the cause, she was suddenly surprised to see the clear cut image of a beautiful female Jedi arrayed in loose, ornately marked robes, sitting in a meditative stance.

There was nothing more there for her to glimpse. She could not see memories unless her subject was actively recalling them vividly and she could not speak or direct him in any way without...Jadus sensing it.

"He is not a liar....he detests deception and duality" Jaesa continued, partly stalling for time and partly relating what she saw of the man as she continued looking further.

"You should see something else..." Jadus growled, his own presence applying pressure on her mind. It was unclear to her what the boundaries of his power were. He seemed to need her to gaze into the minds and spirits of others, and yet he seemed to have no problem inflicting pain through the force on her own mind and spirit.

Sight was not the same thing as pain. It brought her another small satisfaction knowing that despite all his power and capabilities, once again, she possessed something that he didn't have and couldn't figure out how to obtain.

"You should find a door..." Jadus' command broke through her thoughts as she continued prodding the Republic soldier's mind.

Probing further, Jaesa was about to declare that there was not much more to divulge, when she spotted something...unnatural.

It was exactly as Jadus had said. Amidst the swirling desires and truths of the man's spirit, a small space appeared in his mind, but it was not a personal space, not a mental or Force barrier he was constructing to keep her out. Rather, it appeared to be something artificial, pushing her sight into the space suddenly exploded everything around Jaesa's sight through the Force.

Normally, seeing into one's mind and spirit was a swirling mass of emotions, desires, and even some memories, easy to see, but harder to discern since they shifted so quickly, but here, Jaesa suddenly felt as if she herself were surrounded with knowledge, all of it radiating with the dark side of the Force.

It was like walking out of a comfortable room full of swirling colors into a sea of waves, and the waves were full of bits of information, names, and chants...some of them eons old.

"There...is...knowledge!" Jaesa cried out, physically recoiling as she tried to make sense of the information overloading her.

"Yes....there...it....is" whispered Jadus.

"There's too much!" Jaesa shrieked, feeling her mind battered and smothered with bits and pieces of information that made no sense together.

"Are you truly Lord Jaesa then? Can you truly fathom what you see?" Jadus sneered in challenge before applying pressure through the force again, this time physically pushing her back toward the kneeling Republic soldier.

"Or will you forever remain an overreaching apprentice to a long dead Lord?" he continued as Jaesa tried to contend with the maelstrom of information she was weathering.

Trying something she had never done, Jaesa reached out through her sight and flexed her will, channeling her passion into an extension of her own desire.

Suddenly, the maelstrom slowed and began aligning itself in a uniform order.

The swirling pieces of information soon became obelisk like columns of script that she could pass between with her force sight.

"I can....understand it now, I think" she gasped after exerting herself.

"Much of it will be old and useless prattle and philosophy" Jadus mused as he walked around her "We must find Darth Ouzal's little secret"

"Darth Ouzal's secret?" she repeated, unsure what that meant, but even as her mind processed it, the information reorganized itself again, and she could see an obelisk shining brighter than the others near where she looked.

Moving to it, she began reading what she could make out of the script on the obelisk.

"There is a shining passage...." Jaesa began as Jadus suddenly applied more pressure on her own mind.

"D-don't...don't tell him anything!" came the sudden plea from the Republic soldier who had been stoically quiet up to this point.

"The vault of Sorzus Syn was intercepted by Republic forces and hidden somewhere on Belsavis...." she began.

"Please...you've no idea what you will unleash!" begged the Republic soldier.

"After exhausting too many of my resources in the search there, I have left myself too vulnerable here to ambitious sithlings eager to take my head, thinking that the knowledge I have amassed will spill out for them to consume. They will all be surprised" Jaesa continued.

"Darth Ouzal's little secret...finally" Jadus whispered with glee.

"Since discovering the Emperor's plans, I have deemed it wiser to pursue the other lead to the Old Sith Lords, following Baron Dreypa's path into the stars..." Jaesa finished...wincing at the pressure Jadus was putting on her mind.

"No....there must be more!" growled Jadus, again radiating pain through Jaesa's spirit as he lashed out in anger.

Both Jaesa and the Republic Soldier flinched, preparing for another display of wrath from the frustrated Sith before the door opened and interrupted the proceedings.

"Lord Jadus, Zakuulan ships of the Eternal Fleet have begun attacking the Shipyards!" came the abrupt warning from a human male voice that Jaesa somehow felt she should recognize.

Instead of an angry retort and perhaps a force choking that would've come from most powerful Sith, Jadus again returned to the controlled intensity that exuded any time he spoke.

"Send word out. We're leaving" Jadus commanded as he released control over both Jaesa and the Republic Soldier and moved toward the doorway.

"Where are we moving to?" queried the male voice again.

"Belsavis"



Author's Note: Fic might feel a little bit all over the place, but everything is connected in a way. I feel like after four years, I have to introduce all the characters all over again before I move them into certain events. So the audience isn't confused and the characters get the proper depth to them. Really, the biggest challenge right now is to decide how many characters to rope into the story.
"You're nothing, Earth boy! Go home and shave your giant head of smell
with your bad self!"
- Invader Zim
Referral Link: http://www.swtor.com/r/GL9ptB

MayhemofChaonus's Avatar


MayhemofChaonus
09.12.2017 , 09:31 PM | #7
I loooooove that you brought Jadus into this! I hope you don't mind if I draw little bits of inspiration for my own works nudge nudge
"The weak will always be victims. That is the way of the universe. The strong take what they want, and the weak suffer at their hands. That is their fate; it is inevitable. Only the strong survive, because only the strong deserve to" - Darth Bane
May the Force forsake you

BorisKarloffe's Avatar


BorisKarloffe
09.17.2017 , 10:48 PM | #8
Episode 4


Tython

"I cannot help you anymore" came the tired response from Jedi Master Yuon Par.

"I'm sure if I had an audience with the Council, that I could get them to understand" Aris Vauranelle tried to reason, clenching her small fists together in a determined but useless gesture.

"The Council is not what it once was, and now caters to the Senate's interests rather than those of the Force" Yuan rubbed the growing wrinkles on her forehead before removing a leaf from the gray hairs that were braided into a short coil on top of her head.

"But...if they could only see what it's like out in the edges of Wild Space, and even places in the Outer Rim right now" Aris practically begged, clasping her hands together and kneeling down in front of Yuon Par, who was sitting cross legged in a meditative posture.

Yuon looked at her with a small but glowing smile of pride, though it made Aris sad, realizing how much older and frail she looked than the last time they had spoken a year and a half before.

"You are still so full of enthusiasm and courage. Even though you may never hear it officially, I am proud of the path you have chosen, my old apprentice" Par continued smiling as she bowed her head slightly in salute.

"But what of everyone else--" Aris began to reason before Yuon Par silenced her with a gentle hand placed on her clasped fingers.

"Do not concern yourself with their path anymore" she declared before releasing Aris' hands.

"But the Jedi cannot simply withdraw! It doesn't matter what the Senate says. Every time the Jedi have withdrawn from serving the people in the past, it has allowed the Dark side to run rampant and unchecked" Aris declared, trying to measure her breathing lest the weight of her thoughts draw stronger emotions to the surface.

Hoping for some sort of backup or support, she turned and looked at the woman Togruta who had been leaning against the ruined stones of an old Waypost, but former Jedi Master Sumalee simply gave her an "I told you so" look before looking off into the overgrown Wilds that now encroached nearly up to the Temple training grounds.

"It is not the end you think it is" Yuon shrugged before continuing "Many said the same things you are saying right now right after the sacking of Coruscant. It was not the end then. It is not the end now."

"But...what...of the future?" Aris mumbled, knowing deep down her old Master was right, but wishing it wasn't so.

"That is the point" Yuon's eyes twinkled with that same eternal optimism borne of the wisdom of a Jedi Master that Aris hoped would some day be the same confidence she could possess.

"I am too old to run off to fight another war, but I can teach. We still have the freedom to recruit and train Jedi, even if we must do so under a hostile gaze" Yuon continued before casting her eyes skyward into Tython's blue atmosphere toward the faint outline of the Eternal Empire's Star Fortress in orbit.

"But if no one fights back, people will lose heart, and eventually, the oppression of Zakuul will become accepted and no one will even question what they say or do" Aris slowly declared as she found herself staring at the Star Fortress outline in the atmosphere.

"Life itself teaches us this is not the case" Yuon replied before continuing "Every new generation will question and challenge the older ones at some point--"

"Heads up, I think someone's coming to challenge our...viewpoints" they were interrupted by previously silent form of Sumalee as she drew herself into a more astute posture and motioned for Aris to move away from Yuon Par.

In the brief moments it took Aris to rise to her feet and step back, they were suddenly surrounded by five Jedi and a half dozen Training Grounds sparring Droids equipped with stun staffs. She was further surprised when the Jedi all ignited their lightsabers as if preparing for a fight.

"Master Par, I hope you have an explanation that will shed light on why you're hiding out here in the Wilds, communing with an outcast of the Order....and....someone else" sneered a human male Jedi, nodding his head at Sumalee and then fixing a perplexed look on Aris, apparently unsure as to her identity.

"Master Rovseth, I am not hiding...in the Wilds. It has always been my habit to seek retreat to places most alive with the Force if I am seeking to commune with the Force" Par replied calmly, though Aris couldn't fail to note the emphasis of her words chastising him.

"I suspected you were communing with...dissidents and perhaps even traitors. So this time, I have brought the rest of the Council to see for themselves" Master Rovseth continued, apparently unfazed by Par's statement.

"Master Par, you are the oldest and wisest of us who are still left here on Tython" a Mirialan female more reverently addressed them "Surely you realize what kind of position it places the academy in if you choose to have dealings with those Zakuul deems enemies" she cautioned.

"Master Deshene, I have just spent the last few minutes explaining that very thing" smiled Yuon Par.

"Then they are leaving?" queried one of the other Masters.

"And never returning" sternly finished Master Rovseth.

"Actually, I was--" Aris began to speak out before she saw Sumalee shake her head. It wasn't much, but she could tell Sumalee didn't want her to say any more.

"Yes....now I recognize you. You are Jedi Knight Aris Vauranelle, formerly padawan of Cyn Tykan, then later padawan to Master Par herself. You had gone missing in the Outer Rim some time ago..." mused Master Yuoula on the other side of the clearing, her Zabrak horns casting strange shadows on the ground as the Sun grew lower in the sky.

"Yes...well I--" Aris tried to explain before she was interrupted again.

"A proper Jedi Knight will full training, and you chose to travel with this...disgraced former Jedi" Master Rovseth declared more than asked while waving his hand dismissively at Sumalee who merely crossed her arms and raised an eyebrow at his petulance.

"Have you broken the Treaty with Zakuul?" Rovseth demanded.

"Please, Aris, it is time--" Yuon Par had begun to exhort Aris before Rovseth repeated his demand, determined not to be ignored.

"Have you broken the Treaty with Zakuul?" he again demanded, this time more sternly, as though having done so was an unpardonable sin for which there was no forgiveness.

"Well....I suppose you could say tha--" was all Aris got out before they pounced on her verbally.

"That is not a light matter, or one that we may ignore" Rovseth retorted, glancing around at the other Masters, who all seemed to nod back at him as if in agreement on some unspoken course of action.

"Hey...don't I know you from somewhere?" Sumalee took that moment to interrupt proceedings again, taking a step or two towards Rovseth.

"Do not try to change the subject!" he barked back.

"Now I remember! You used to be that bratty kid in the Coruscant enclave that always grumbled anytime one of us asked you to look up a holobook from the Senate's archives" Sumalee smirked.

"Us...is an awfully generous term, since you don't belong to this Order anymore" he retorted while his face flushed red with embarrassment.

"Enough. This is not a matter for debate. Aris, if you have broken the treaty of Zakuul, we must ask you to leave and I don't just mean Tython. You must leave the Order" Master Deshene interrupted them with a grave tone.

"Leave the Order..." Aris seemed stunned.

"It is not a decision we enforce lightly" declared Master Yuoula before continuing "Many of our best Jedi have fallen in the War with Zakuul, and others, even some of our best and most revered....have...been corrupted away from the way of the Jedi, continuing to seek war, when in fact the mission of the Jedi has always been Peace" she finished, casting an accusatory glance at Sumalee as well.

Aris had known it might come to this, but now that she was here staring the reality in the face, she froze.

Leave the Order? It was everything she had known. All her memories growing up...

"Aris...you know what you must do" Yuon Par spoke up, arresting Aris' attention and bringing her wildly vacillating thoughts back to their conversation from earlier.

Steeling her resolve, Aris took a deep breath and bowed her head in acknowledgment.

"You are right. I did not mean to cause any problems. I will leave." she replied solemnly before turning to leave.

"You must surrender your lightsaber" Master Rovseth declared just as both Aris and Sumalee had turned their backs to leave.

"M-my Lightsaber?" Aris suddenly froze.

"It is the sign and beacon of our Order. We do not banish Jedi and let them leave with weapons whereby they may dupe the people into thinking they still act on our behalf" Rovseth replied more calmly than he had been, now feeling more assured that they were departing.

Aris found herself staring down at her lightsaber that she had plucked off her belt.

It felt wrong...like giving away a piece of herself.

Momentarily, she looked up at Sumalee, who for the first time this trip, looked on her with with a sad look on her face before sadly turning away.

She would've contemplated things more, but Master Deshene stepped forward with an outstretched hand, her other hand still cautiously holding her own green ignited lightsaber.

Aris gulped at the solemnity of her action as she placed her lightsaber in Master Deshene's hands, looking away and steeling her resolve again as she began walking away out of the clearing, even though she very much wanted to look back at Master Yuon Par.

Instead, she kept on walking, even as it became more difficult to negotiate the now neglected path west of the Temple, overgrown and wild with high grass, vines, trees, and rocks, she kept going. It was the right thing to do.

The Masters said nothing more as they left, and Sumalee said nothing as she walked behind Aris, but once they were well out of earshot, Sumalee placed a firm hand on her shoulder and urged her on.

"We must hurry back to the Shuttle!" she hissed, throwing a cautionary look over her shoulder before immediately running and leaping as fast as she could through the thick growths that encroached on the path.

"But...why?" gasped Aris as she tried to keep up with Sumalee.

"I don't trust them!" Sumalee hissed as she ducked under a large branch and shoved her way through a large tuft of grassy growth.

"What...exactly...do you....think....they're....going....to do?" Aris huffed and puffed as they waded through thick bushy tufts of grass and branches that kept slingshotting back at them once they had pushed past.

"That..." Sumalee muttered as an Eternal Empire armed shuttle suddenly swooped down near the ruins they had emerged at before several shadows flitted past the lights of its engines.

Aris and Sumalee found themselves facing seven Knights of Zakuul, all of them igniting their yellow lightsaber pikes and closing on them.

If that hadn't been bad enough, another form dropped down from the shuttle amidst the Knights of Zakuul.

While Sumalee and Aris were familiar with the Knights of Zakuul, the figure that emerged in the middle of them was not one they had seen before.

The bronze and black armor the female figure wore was certainly Zakuulan in design, but it was different from the Knights. It had far more technology and protection built in. She was also taller and, at least appeared to be, bulkier underneath the armor than even the Knights did.

Striding forward, the unknown figure held a hand up to stop the Knights' advance.

"Well, it appears this was not a wasted trip. You, Togruta, what is your name?" demanded the unknown Zakuulan woman.

"Why? What's yours?" Sumalee retorted, all the while eyeing the Knights and their surroundings out of her peripheral vision.

"I am Dura Guntro, Exarch of the Eternal Empire and Regent of this Planet" replied the Zakuulan woman in a commanding tone, clearly used to having her words make an impact.

"And I am Satele Shan, Grandmaster of the Jedi Order. Why have you interrupted our training?" Sumalee demanded.

"You cannot be Satele Shan. She was a human female considerably older than you, but you do remind me of--" Guntro replied at first tentatively and then more confidently before she stopped talking when a Knight nearby handed her a datapad.

"Ah yes, bioscans have found a match. You are Sumalee, an ex-Jedi, traitor, and murderer, wanted for attacks and deaths committed in...oh my, several Outer Rim systems" Guntro read off the datapad almost giddily.

None of them noticed a slow rumbling beginning to build in the distance.

"Well, most days are quite boring watching this dull planet, but some days I find my job is very rewarding!" Guntro exclaimed, handing the datapad back to one of the Knights before removing what appeared to be two elongated lightsaber hilts from her belt.

Sumalee had initially been following the Exarch's words, but as the distant rumbling grew, she turned and seemed to fixate on it for a moment as she drew two lightsabers from some concealed inner jacket pocket.

"Something's coming..." she whispered over her shoulder at Aris as she reached behind her and handed her a lightsaber.

"Run!" came Sumalee's cry as she feinted in a wild attack on the Exarch and the middle of the Knights.

Aris knew what Sumalee meant, and the moment that Sumalee feinted her attack on the Exarch, it forced the Knights on the outside to draw in to the middle slightly, instinctively moving to protect their leader.

This allowed Aris a window to dash around the left flank of the Knights before they could close them in.

Sumalee meanwhile had somersaulted back after her attack feint and paused only momentarily to make sure Aris, small and agile as she was, had already dashed on, drawing two Knights to give chase before Sumalee again considered the growing rumbling now beginning to make the ground shake.

"Wait...what...is that?" growled the Exarch, who had ignited her two lightsabers and was closing on Sumalee.

They all froze for a moment as the rumbling grew even louder, now growing nearer and nearer. It was only a second or two before the rumbling was concise enough for them all to distinguish it as the pounding of many hoofs.

A stampede was coming through the wilds directly at them.

Reacting a split second faster than the Zakuulan's, Sumalee force pushed one of the Knights into the Exarch before turning and making a series of force leaps toward the nearest large tree.

She had nearly reached the tree, and was relieved to see Aris leaping up the boulders of the ruins before she was suddenly hit with a fierce wave of Force, knocking her sideways off her feet and skid to a stop in the long grass.

Partly dazed, she had no time to recover, springing to her feet and diving to one side as she both felt and heard the Exarch land right where she had been with a powerful smash.

Sumalee turned and tried to Force push the Exarch away from her, but either she was too dazed to focus or her Force power was simply not enough to move the heavily armored Exarch, who only slid back a foot or so and laughed loudly at her despite the growing rumbling.

The Exarch then reached a hand out at Sumalee and in an instant had ripped her lightsaber from her hands and yanked it back to her in the air through the Force.....but not before Sumalee had time to flip a small switch near the top of the handle.

"Don't worry, the end will be quick" the Exarch sneered, seeing Sumalee leap on the ground and cover her head.

What the Exarch didn't know was that the Lightsaber Sumalee was using was specially made by her, with its own ready made trap built in, a second internal blade that once activated was aimed inward and would detonate the weapon in the user's hands.

The switch Sumalee had hit was the timer.

The Exarch only got half a step closer to Sumalee before the weapon she had moved to hang on her belt blew up in a ball of blue plasma, wrenching an agonizing yell from the Exarch and flinging her backward into the overgrown brush.

Despite the stabs of pain from shrapnel and burns from the blast, Sumalee got to her feet, ran the short distance to the large tree and force leaped high into the branches, grabbing a safe hold just as the hoof pounding became deafening as hordes of wild Uxibeasts began to pour by.

Soon, they were so thick, and moving so fast, Sumalee could not see the ground anymore, but that wasn't what was worrying her. She had lost sight of Aris and the other 7 Knights of Zakuul who were supposed to be here.

Finally she spotted Aris, perched atop a pillar in the ruins, fending off several Knights who were also perched on other spots in the ruins, even as the Uxibeast herd stampeded beneath and around them.

Aris was doing a good job of hopping, leaping, and dodging from spot to spot, her small profile and lithe agility keeping the more cumbersome Knights from getting close to her, but she wasn't any closer to being rid of her assailants.

Making her way through some branches, Sumalee reached the closest point she was going to get and Force leaped through the air into the back of one of the Knights, knocking him off the wall of the ruins before she landed perfectly where he had been.

"Sorry boys, your boss is gone. It's just us now" she snapped before ducking under a longer than expected lunge from one of the Knights' lightsaber pikes.

Catching the Lightsaber Aris tossed back to her, Sumalee fought one of the Knights briefly on the wall top of the ruins before able to get inside his defenses and destabilizing his footing, using a Force push to send him on his way and to ensure he didn't grab her on the way down.

Just as she was about to turn to deal with the last Knight, who was still chasing Aris across the tops of pillars and other bits of Ruins, Sumalee heard a loud noise back behind her.

"IZAX DEVOUR YOU ALL!" came the curse from an enraged Exarch as yellow lightning created an opening in the stampeding Uxibeasts.

The ball of yellow lightning blew up the base of the tree that Sumalee had been in and sent the Uxibeasts scattering in all directions, now even running into each other in confusion, trying to avoid both the danger behind and the danger ahead.

"Aris, I--" was all Sumalee got out when she turned back to Aris before she saw Aris' eyes grow wide and she pointed and cried out.

"DUCK!"

Instictively, Sumalee turned and ducked, making her profile as low to the wall top as possible, stunned to see a full grown Uxibeast flying over her head, grunting wildly since it had been either hurled by a tremendous Force push...or the Exarchs were modified enough to physically throw the animals.

Looking past the flying Uxibeast as it whizzed over her, Sumalee could see the charred and limping form of the Exarch walking directly toward them as the Uxibeasts moved away from her.

Sumalee turned back in time to see the airborne Uxibeast crash right down on top of the remaining Knight of Zakuul as he had just jumped on a pillar to get closer to Aris.

Just as the Exarch reached the spot where the tree had been and fired more lighting to create a path through some Uxibeasts that had run too close by, they all heard a louder and more resonant grunting that parted the herd close to the ruins.

A much larger Uxibeast, likely the dominant bull of the herd, emerged from the malaise of running Uxibeasts below and seemed to take special issue with the Exarch.

So fixated was the Exarch on Sumalee and Aris perched atop the ruins, she never saw it coming.

One moment she was walking toward them with Uxibeasts running by on either side, the next, a massive Bull Uxibeast head-butted her from the side, catapulting her out of their view.

They didn't have time to enjoy the moment, though. Sumalee knew there were still 4 Knights that had possibly made it to other safe spots and they might have called for back up.

"Aris" she called before directing the younger Jedi to the far edge of the ruins, closer toward where the path was that would lead to the clearing where they'd hidden their Shuttle at.

They waited until the Uxibeasts herd had thinned enough to allow them to leap out and away from the ruins, quickly taking cover in some more thick brush off to one side, making sure to avoid being seen by any of the Manka Cats that were starting to flash by with the Uxibeasts.

Apparently, a pack of them had been the cause of the stampede.

Quickly winding their way along the overgrown path, they were thankful to find their Shuttle still sitting peacefully under a green netting.

As Sumalee brought the Shuttle up into the sky and took them airborne into the atmosphere with all speed, Aris slumped down in the seat behind her in the cockpit.

Once they had moved off the planet and the nearby stars streamed into lines when they went into hyperspace, Sumalee turned to regard the younger woman, who had been quiet ever since they got in the shuttle and looked rather downtrodden as she slumped in her seat, looking at nothing in particular.

"You were right...it was a pointless visit. I'm sorry I wasted our time. There I said it" grouched Aris in response to Sumalee's regard of her state.

"It wasn't really pointless...or a waste of time" Sumalee mused.

"How so?" sighed Aris.

"Well, we learned who is on the Council now, and how they feel about a good many things" Sumalee replied, fixing Aris with a look that showed she expected her to infer something from it.

"Why did you try to belittle Master Rovseth? Did you have something you were trying to show" Aris grew more pensive as she recalled the events in the clearing.

"Rovseth wasn't fit to hold a lightsaber, much less a seat on the Jedi Council. He wasn't very strong in the Force and had a terrible attitude. The only reason he wasn't expelled from the Order was family connections in the Senate. I'm guessing its those Senate connections that got him his spot on the Council" Sumalee mused, thinking over the implications.

"But if it's just one Master..." Aris tried to reason optimistically.

"It's more than that. Yuoula failed her trials to become a Jedi Knight. She was busted down to an academy cadet, and sent to work in Facilities department. How does she end up a Master on the Council?"

"I...well.." Aris muttered, unsure how it could've happened and trying to recall the Jedi Masters she remembered who were still alive.

"Then there's Master Iryn, the guy with white dreadlocks who didn't say anything when we were at the clearing" Sumalee continued as she noticed a flashing light over on the comm display.

"Oh?" Aris replied, suddenly curious and less bothered.

"Yeah, he was a decent Jedi Knight, but his daddy is big time in the Senate too"

"But....surely Master Deshene--" Aris reasoned.

"Deshene seems alright, but I have a hard time reconciling that with the fact she was part of the 'Masters' Coup' that banished Satele from the Order" Sumalee sighed.

"and cleared the way for Yuon Par to take her spot on the Council" Aris mused before continuing "You don't think--they wouldn't--Master Par isn't in any trouble there, is she?" she worried, her thoughts tumbling out aloud.

"No....they don't see Yuon Par as a threat. I'm sure they picked her specifically for that reason...and, well..." Sumalee trailed off.

"And...what?" Aris begged.

"It makes them look traditional. They put an old Master who's been through everything and has connections to all the most famous Jedi of yesteryear on the Council. It all looks good to any of the traditionalists who were upset with Satele's removal" mused Sumalee as she began to look through the comm logs.

Aris had no answer to that. She simply sat back and watched Sumalee for a little bit before piping up again.

"But why? What does the Senate gain by weakening the Jedi? A strong Jedi Order is a strong Republic!"

"That's not the way they see it, and never have, to be honest. Do you really think they like being told: 'No, you can't build that planet destroying weapon' or 'No, you can't kick those people off the land that's rightfully theirs' or 'No, you can't selectively enforce Slavery Laws because it's good for business'. The Senate hates being told 'No', but the Jedi Order are one of the only groups that can walk in and do so and the Senate more or less HAS to listen" Sumalee continued, seeming to grow more excited despite the pessimism of her words and tone.

"So, are they trying to get rid of the Jedi Order?"

"No, they want the Jedi Order to very much exist and do all the protecting that people expect of them, but they very much want a compliant Jedi Order, and the best way to get that, is to get a compliant Jedi Council" Sumalee finished before turning to regard Aris, who was slouched back to her despondent posture from earlier.

"You knew, didn't you? You knew they would banish me...take away my lightsaber, didn't you?" Aris murmured.

"They did the same thing to me three years ago, except it was different Masters then, some of whom I had a lot of respect for" Sumalee replied, recalling it with some pain.

"Why didn't you stop me? I felt like I had to give up part of myself when I put my lightsaber in Master Yuoula's hands" Aris muttered, replaying the moment in her mind.

"In case you hadn't noticed in the three months you've been tagging along, I'm not big on telling other people what they can or can't do with their lives" Sumalee smirked back "Besides, maybe you needed to go through that. Maybe you needed to give up that part of yourself if that's not who you are anymore."

"But...I've been a Jedi as long as I can remember" Aris looked up, suddenly finding her emotions over the matter growing out of hand.

"And now you aren't one" replied Sumalee before rising to her feet and walking past her toward the back of the shuttle.

"You need to stop being overly dramatic. There is a lot more to life than being a Jedi and a lot more to learn" she continued, rummaging through some containers and moving things around.

"About what?" Aris mused more grumpily than she meant.

"Everything" Sumalee replied bringing a small box sized crate back up with her as she sat back in the Pilot's seat.

"But...I feel....so alone now, and without my lightsaber, I feel like I am missing a piece of me" Aris murmured, not liking how pathetic that sounded out loud.

"Well, when it comes to life outside the Order" Sumalee muttered as she messed with the lock on the crate "What you become is really just up to you...and if you can remake yourself into something else" she finished, opening the crate and showing its contents to Aris, who gasped in surprise.

It was filled with lightsabers and lightsaber parts of all kinds.

"I...can't...believe you've found this many over the years" Aris sputtered as she rummaged through them.

"I've been collecting them since before I joined the Order. Someone takes my lightsaber, I use one of those, or I just make another with the parts in there" she shrugged, turning back to the comm display "Find one that suits you and use it until you can make your own again."

"But....even with this...how will we face foes like that Exarch, all on our own?" Aris bit her lip with concern.

"We aren't alone. There are others fighting Zakuul. Some of them are even winning" Sumalee smiled, finding some measure of comfort in Aris' rejuvinated spirits.

"Who?" Aris looked up at her.

"Did you ever meet Kira Carsen?"

"THE Kira Carsen?!" Aris practically squealed.

"The very same"

"Well then, I better get working on a new lightsaber. Wouldn't want to meet a Jedi Hero with a loaner in hand" Aris declared more excitedly than before.

"Take your time" Sumalee mused before turning back to the Comm Log, beginning her own return message to the Resistance Cell leader who had contacted her.

Sumalee felt strangely hopeful, though she wasn't sure why, given the circumstances. Maybe it was the buoyant attitude Aris sometimes exhibited. Maybe it was just having someone else around again. Maybe it was the victorious, albeit strange encounter with Zakuulan forces on Tython.

Thinking a little more, she smirked and began writing the title of her return message to the Resistance:

"It's not every day you dodge a flying Uxibeast..."



End Episode 4

Author's Notes:
1. I'm aware that in the game, there is no Exarch/Star Fortress over Tython, but that made no sense to me. Why wouldn't Arcann be keeping a close eye on the worlds where the Force users were being trained/recruited/sent out?

2. My history of the Jedi here in the "Carbonite Period" is based partly on inference of the state of the Order when the Outlander comes out of Carbonite and partly on what we're told about the state of the Republic Senate/Saresh in the interim.

3. Satele Shan is kind of a ruined character right now. Hopefully, I can add some things to "un-screw up" what the game writers did to her. It made no sense for me for her to completely resign/depart the Jedi Order without any explanation, particularly as bad as they would've been hurting at that time.

Consequently, it seemed far more feasible/palatable for internal forces to plot her removal while the Jedi were focused on an external enemy (the Eternal Empire) and taking such heavy losses, that few of the "Old Guard" were left that could have prevented a "Coup" of sorts, where inexperienced and in some cases inept Jedi Masters laid the blame for the failure of the Jedi to protect the Republic on Satele and expelled her from the order. Sensing the internal betrayal coming and the politics behind it, she may have resigned and left on her own, determined to aid in the fight against Arcann a different way.

4. Yuon Par is one of the Jedi I think would conceivably have survived all the conflict thus far. She is older and more of a scholar. She would not have gone out on the front lines and would be a lot more likely to relish the chance to teach the future generations.

5. Aris Vauranelle is an NPC from the game. She is Cyn Tykan's apprentice on Taris in the Jedi Consular storyline. Also, Sumalee is an NPC from the game. She plays a significant role in the Smuggler's storyline for Corellia and Hoth, and she is one of my favs.

6. Just to clarify, the first segment with Kira was the only "present time" segment so far. All the rest of these were several months before, and now we are following the threads of all these characters and how they end up where they are at later.


"You're nothing, Earth boy! Go home and shave your giant head of smell
with your bad self!"
- Invader Zim
Referral Link: http://www.swtor.com/r/GL9ptB

MayhemofChaonus's Avatar


MayhemofChaonus
09.19.2017 , 11:50 PM | #9
I like the idea of an Exarch and SF for Tython, and may I say you did a great job with the politics in this segment. I'm learning a lot from you. I promise I won't plagiarize tho.
"The weak will always be victims. That is the way of the universe. The strong take what they want, and the weak suffer at their hands. That is their fate; it is inevitable. Only the strong survive, because only the strong deserve to" - Darth Bane
May the Force forsake you

BorisKarloffe's Avatar


BorisKarloffe
10.02.2017 , 10:20 PM | #10
Episode 5

Belsavis

The gentle THUD of the ship touching down on solid ground woke Darmas Pollaran from his chemically induced slumber.

He didn't get much of a chance to rouse himself from his stupor before a hand on each shoulder yanked him up and dragged him through a series of corridors before depositing him on a grassy patch of ground beneath the ship.

As his bleary eyes adjusted to the light, he saw the Arkanian he had seen before standing some fifteen feet away, looking off into the distance through some macrobinoculars.

Looking around more, Darmas was surprised to see no one else.

He knew better than to assume he wasn't being watched.

His concerns were justified moments later when two fully armored men uncloaked their stealth generators and moved back inside the ship.

Both them and the Arkanian were wearing the same type of armor. From what Darmas could tell, it was an upgraded and modified version of the old Trimantium Onslaught Armor that he had seen a few times on Imperial Agents, but he doubted this was an Imperial Operation.

He still had a few friends in the Empire, and he knew that Imperial Intelligence was still a pale shadow of what it once was, not helped by Minister Beniko's abrupt resignation and departure.

Besides, the Empire already had a presence on Belsavis. If it was an Imperial Operation, they would've landed at one of the Outposts. Instead, all Darmas could see around them in any distance was lush vegetation and wild growth.

He was pondering scenarios in his mind when he was interrupted by the re-emergence of the two previously seen armored agents, but this time they were dragging a woman with them, shoving her roughly on the ground next to Darmas.

The Arkanian immediately ceased his gazing, turned, and moved directly to them before kneeling down in front of the woman.

The pause gave Darmas a moment to take in the new arrival.

Well, perhaps working for these...people might not be so bad after all.

She was actually quite beautiful, even though she had obviously been roughed up some. Her bodysuit was ripped in several places and had smudges of dirt and grease on it while her hair was wildly dishevelled.

Still, Darmas knew a looker when he saw one, and immediately upon the sight of a beautiful damsel in distress, he figured his day had improved significantly.

The Arkanian paused for a moment, as if looking her over, before roughly grabbing her by the chin and turning her head to one side, fixing a disapproving eye on a bruise forming on the side of her face.

"I expressly told you to avoid any damage to her head!" he hissed, whirling on the two men who had dragged her out.

"It...was...an accident. She hit her head on a bulkhead while we were trying to get her out of the cell" one of them mumbled by way of excuse.

"We....do not have...accidents, and if you ever want to see your number rise to the top, you will make sure that the only accidents that happen, are the ones I instruct you to create!" hissed the Arkanian.

Both of the agents nodded their apologies before the Arkanian turned back to Darmas and the woman.

"Darmas Pollaran, it looks like your services will be required far sooner than either of us would have liked" the Arkanian declared, his tone returning to the civil but authoritative crispness that Darmas remembered from the Pazaak table.

"And what might that be exactly?" Darmas sighed before rising to his feet in an attempt to stretch his cramped arms and legs.

"First, find out where we are" snapped the Arkanian, evidently angry that he either had to admit they were lost or that something had not gone according to plan.

Darmas simply gave him a quizzical look, hoping for some sort of explanation.

"Since...someone...tried to sabotage our ship on entry to the system, we came in more or less blind" the Arkanian sneered, casting an angry glance at the woman before turning back to Darmas.

"Well, it would help if--" Darmas began to try to beg for some sort of creature comforts for his services, but was cut off when the Arkanian shoved a datapad at him, forcing him into a fumbling gesture to try to keep it from dropping.

While Darmas was fumbling with the datapad and looking at the initial sensor scans, the Arkanian turned to the woman, kneeling down in front of her again.

"As for you, yes, it's true we need you skills and implants for this job, but that is all. I don't need the rest of you" he growled, pulling an ugly looking vibro-knife from somewhere and running the edge down across the woman's cheek and then back up to her nose.

"Try crossing us again, and I'll start cutting pieces of you off and feeding them to the beasts here while I make you watch!" he hissed by way of finishing before shoving the woman back down onto the ground for good measure before he rose back to his feet and turned an expectant look at Darmas.

"Well?"

Darmas grimaced.

"Not sure where you were planning on heading, but you put us down in one of the worst spots" Darmas snapped back, the realization of their location pushing all thoughts of comforts and amusements from his mind.

"How so?"

"This is right in the heart of Sector 17" Darmas muttered, lowering his voice and glancing around wildly as his senses began to re-invigorate after the chemical's effects wore off.

"Who runs the Sector?"

"This is Bazja's territory. We need to leave. Get in the ship and fly to somewhere else on the surface!" Darmas had lowered his voice to a whisper and subconsciously moved back toward the ship.

"Not an option. Besides, lowlifes and thugs are no obstacle" the Arkanian dismissed him as if he was a frightened child.

"Bazja's group are cannibals" Darmas hissed back, outraged that they were showing no concern for his warnings.

"Well, moving the ship is out of the question and would only draw more unwanted attention. We set out from here. Where is the nearest Command Post where we can slice the Network?" the Arkanian continued, unfazed.

Darmas was aghast. Did they really not know what it would be like to try traipsing through the wilds of Belsavis in a Sector overrun by cannibals and feral beings who would literally tear you to pieces?

If they were really THAT afraid of attracting attention, then this really wasn't anything to do with Imperials or the Republic.

"The nearest...Command...Post!" hissed the Arkanian, pointing emphatically at the datapad in Darmas' hands again and giving him a similarly threatening look that he had just seen on the Arkanian's face when he threatened the woman.

Darmas sighed and did his best to give a desperate and forlorn look at the pretty young woman.

If he was going to have to brave the wilds of Belsavis at the behest of these...agents, might as well make the best of it. If he played his cards right, he'd soon have the woman on his side, helping him plot their own escape.

Darmas had a way with the ladies, and one in distress would be far easier to manipulate than most.

As they set out for the coordinates he indicated on the datapad, he was mildly comforted to note six more agents emerge from the ship. As if on cue, almost all the rank and file agents went into cloaked stealth mode, leaving just Darmas, the Arkanian, and the woman trudging without cloaking devices.

They moved with surprising speed, the Arkanian keeping them walking at a brisk pace.

Apparently, there were more of them than Darmas had seen since the Arkanian would occasionally get reports in, and they passed several recently slain beasts with carbon scoring from very precise blaster fire.

Maybe there was a vanguard unit in front of them, clearing the way.

Just as Darmas began to be more optimistic about their chances, a tremendous explosion rocked the group and sent them diving for cover.

As they slowly poked back out from cover, Darmas' stomach lurched with the realization.

Their ship had just been blown up.



Hyperspace
Freighter Lorgath Minor

Jaesa Willsaam tugged on the restraints holding her wrists and ankles against the ship bulkhead as they hummed along through hyperspace.

She tried to focus her senses outward, but the neural disruptor on her neck prevented her from using her Force capabilities very much and would send a powerful shock into her nervous system if it detected too much neural activity.

She hissed in frustration, trying to find a way to circumvent the Disruptor on her neck.

"You shouldn't have told him anything"

The voice of the Republic soldier broke the long silence of the darkened room.

"Finally plucked up some courage, eh?" she mocked.

"If you are always testing your restraints, you'll wear yourself out" he chided, ignoring her insult.

"Typical Republic lackey, always masking your own fear by pointing out the danger. If you don't ever test your limits, you'll never be free!" she retorted, licking parched lips.

"Is that why you're a prisoner?" came the heavily sarcastic response.

"Oh...I've seen what's in your mind. I know you feel guilty about your lovely Jedi lady friend" she sneered, determined to get under his skin "What, did you two....break her oath to the Order? or are you worried someone else will deflower her before you get a chance to?"

"I wonder. Do Sith ever know what it's like to devote yourself to someone, and have them be committed to you in return?" the man returned, sounding sad.

"Sure we do. It's called an Oath of Servitude" Jaesa sneered, pleased she was able to successfully roil the man's emotions.

"More like Slavery"

"Ha! Every being serves someone or something as its Master. To say otherwise is naive and foolish!" Jaesa snapped, remembering her own time in slavery to the Jedi Order and its ridiculous codes and traditions.

"There's a difference, though--" the soldier began trying to explain before Jaesa cut him off.

"There is no difference! That is the lie! Don't you see? They feed it to you from the time you're barely a child in the Republic--urgh!" her declaration had started to grow in volume, but the Disruptor sent a shock into her system, silencing her.

"If something happened to your Master, would you care? If something happened to you, would your slaves care?" the Republic soldier queried earnestly after a short silence before continuing "There is...a difference."

Jaesa would have argued further....or even choked him for his annoying persistence if she could have, but the Disruptor smothered any outburst she could have mustered.

The brief silence was interrupted by the door to their room unlocking and sliding open, though again, Jaesa could see no light.

"Well....well...look how the mighty have fallen" came a mocking voice that Jaesa finally recognized.

"Captain Silas Durette!" she growled, finally recognizing the voice of the former captain of her own guards "You....traitor..."

"I have always served Lord Jadus, mostly from afar, reporting the activities on Dromund Kaas to him while he waited and planned from the shadows. You were merely a pawn in his game" Durette mocked her as she heard him slowly plodding across the room.

"B-but...I.." Jaesa sputtered, recalling how she had peered into the minds and hearts of almost all in her service and had seen no treachery from him.

"Oh....you're wondering why you could not see it coming? Heh, for the same reason you cannot see me standing here right now. Because Lord Jadus does not wish it so" he chuckled at her disbelief.

"What?"

"I must admit it is quite amusing, watching you grope about. You still don't understand, do you?" he taunted.

Jaesa could think of no response. Any threat she could come up with would seem ridiculous, given the circumstances, and she still couldn't fathom how one of her own could've betrayed her and she not see it coming.

"Lord Jadus has taught his followers well. There are ways to misdirect and obscure that which you don't want someone to see" he sneered as he drew close to her "Now, since your Force sight is the only thing useful to him, Lord Jadus has blinded you of your physical sight. You'll learn to be a good little slave in time, won't you?"

"NO! you lie--urrgh!" her outburst was silenced again by the Disruptor.

"Oh, I'm not lying. Am I, Republic filth? Is this room not fully lit, and is this not a canteen of ration fluids?" he jeered before tossing the canteen to the Republic Soldier.

Jaesa could hear the swish of liquid as he caught it.

No....impossible...

"No.....No! NOOOOO! Give me back my sight! Give me back my--urrgh!" she screamed at him angrily before the Disruptor again shut down her growing rage against the helplessness she found herself in.

The sad silence was interrupted by a chiming over the Comm system.

"Well, looks like we're almost at our destination. Enjoy your new life. I suggest you get used to it" Durette snidely declared as he turned and departed the space.

A sullen silence fell on the cabin as Jaesa's emotions raged, but stayed mostly contained, knowing an outburst would trigger the Disruptor.

Even as she fought back tears at the prospect of completely losing her sight, she suddenly felt a presence nearby.

"Here, you need this more than I do" the Republic soldier muttered, shaking the canteen and its contents near her so she knew what he was offering.

A dozen snide retorts flew through Jaesa's mind as she hesitated, angry that the Republic soldier dared to show pity on her.

Not knowing what else to do, she slowly relented.

They were both silent as she leaned forward slightly and he slowly gave her his drink of ration fluid, which she was so ravenously thirsty and hungry for, that she consumed all of it before long.

"By the way, the name's Felix Iresso"







.
"You're nothing, Earth boy! Go home and shave your giant head of smell
with your bad self!"
- Invader Zim
Referral Link: http://www.swtor.com/r/GL9ptB