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Sith Politics: No More Games


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WorldSmasher
10.01.2021 , 09:57 PM | #21

[A Snippet]

“Let us offer the Galactic Republic a chance to surrender,” Nox said. He could see from their holographic images that he’d surprised a few of them. They expected that he would stubbornly continue the war effort despite the Empire’s difficulties. Nox said, “When we have reduced our debt, improved the economy, refurbished and increased our military, we’ll find an excuse to restart the war.

“If Darth Marr’s information is correct, he can start moving his forces in to occupy those abandoned planets, while I move on to capture forty more worlds. Attacking half as many worlds, I’ll have a larger reserve force, able to answer any challenge the Republic throws at us. I’ll be able to keep up the same rapid tempo of operations, with fewer forces on the ground, and thus would reduce the strain on our logistical and manufacturing capacity.”

“That is an excellent proposal, Darth Nox,” Darth Marr said, adding, “When you’ve deployed to your next set of targets, we’ll listen to any pleas for peace from our enemy.

“It is well within reason,” Vowrawn added, “This strategy will help our economy. This strategy will not exceed our economy’s capacity to support your next campaign.”

“Then that’s it?” Ravage asked incredulous, facetiously adding, “The war ends after we’ve taken a mere hundred and twenty worlds? We aren’t going to crush the Republic anymore?”

“Our military is below optimal strength,” Marr said, in answer, “Our economy is stretched to the breaking point. We must consolidate our conquests and rebuild our forces and also recover our economy. If we continue, we will exhaust ourselves and find ourselves unable to defend anything, unable to crush rebellions and insurgencies on our newly conquered worlds. We must recover, Darth Ravage.”

“I move that we vote to implement Darth Nox’s strategy,” Aruk said, angering Zash.

Zash had no idea, and neither did Nox, nor any of the other dark lords for that matter, but this was Aruk’s second attempt to destroy Nox. First in his secret alliance with Darth Acina, and now with his secret alliance with Darth Zash. In both cases, when the attempt to destroy Nox had failed, Aruk made favorable noises in the Dark Council to mask his involvement in the plots against his enemy. For example, he voted to have Acina booted from the Dark Council, which pleased Nox.

Zash knew that Nox would investigate the attempt on his life at his private speeder port two weeks ago. In fact, she had no doubt that he was probably already investigating. She knew that the evidence would lead to Aruk, but then her involvement would be discovered. Silencing Aruk would end the trail, and hide her involvement.

“All those in favor of implementing Darth Nox’s strategy,” Marr polled the council, “say aye.”

The vote was unanimous in favor. Zash was not prepared to risk any more embarrassments, so she voted in favor. It was a major victory for Nox.

Just before the Dark Council moved on to other matters, Nox took another step to set the stage for his ascension to the throne.

“Before we turn to discussing our other pressing issues, there is one other matter that I feel is of the utmost importance,” Nox said, looking at the holographic faces of his peers on the Dark Council, arranged on either side of the conference table. “We must all gather, physically, and convene a session of the Dark Council on Korriban in the council chamber.”

Darth Marr questioned Nox for the first time in this meeting.

“We are all scattered throughout the galaxy, working to keep the empire from coming undone. We have many times in the past, and are even now, convened via holo and have thus far been quite effective in our leadership. Why must we meet physically, now?”

Nox gave valid reasons, but these reasons masked his true intent.

“The galaxy watched as the Galactic Republic and the Jedi order attacked and destroyed our most sacred temple and academy grounds on our sacred home world. The reputation of the birthplace of the Sith order, and the original birthplace of the Sith Empire has been sullied,” Nox said, still studying the faces of each dark lord, looking for signs that he might be over playing his hand.

“If we gather in Korriban, publicly,” Nox said, “It will send a powerful message to all of the enemies of the Empire,” then applying the hook, he added, “When they see us gathering for a council session, at the Temple of The Sith, they will know that our holy council chamber and our temple are not destroyed, even if our iconography on the outside has been vandalized and ruined.”

He became deeply pleased by the reactions that he saw on the holo-graphic images of his peers on the Dark Council.

“There is another reason, Darth Marr,” Nox continued, “Our hatred for our enemies has been dulled. We are too divided. Not all of us are making a strong effort to fight our mortal enemies, the Galactic Republic and the Jedi order.”

Marr, Mortis, and Ravage showed particularly strong reactions to that statement. Marr’s holographic image turned its head to face Nox. Mortis nodded his emphatic agreement, and Ravage gave a heartfelt, “Here! Here!”

“I believe it is crucial for the entire Dark Council to tour the destruction, to see it with our own eyes and to be there to breathe in the terrible desecration that has been visited on our holy world and to feel the humiliation that we have been made to endure.”

“I believe this will reinvigorate our hatred for our enemies and will strengthen our resolve to destroy our foes with a sincere united front.”

Zash saw an opportunity and cut in.

“It will have the effect of hardening your resolve to destroy our foes when you’ve seen what they did to our temple, as it has hardened mine,” she said in affirmation of Nox’s reasoning for the others to see the ruin visited on Korriban.

Nox was mildly surprised that Zash spoke in support of his proposal, but not too surprised. Her comment was a reminder to the others that she too had battled the enemy on Korriban. It helped her loss of face, earlier in the meeting, to be counter balanced, elevating her in the eyes of the others.

“I move in support of Darth Nox’s proposal,” Aruk said, further infuriating Zash. She knew what Aruk’s game was, being a master of deceit, manipulation and subterfuge, herself. She became determined not to let Aruk have his way.

“I second it,” both Ravage and Mortis shouted, nearly in unison.

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WorldSmasher
10.08.2021 , 08:49 PM | #22

[A Snippet]

Darth Nox exited the conference room with a huge grin on his face. He exulted in his moment of triumph. Immediately following the meeting, Nox called General Riiy’enni’sansa.

“The dark lord greatly honors, me. How may I serve you?”

“What progress has been made in the Dark Council chamber, General?”

“The heavy stone work, removing the top five meters of the apex, has been completed. The opening at the apex is now much larger, allowing more daytime starlight into the chamber as the dark lord wished. The council chamber floor is being reconditioned. We are waiting for delivery of the new stained glass cap to complete the apex.

“In the meantime, the wiring of the climate control and lighting are being installed, and improvements to the turbolifts have just been completed. It has resulted in a much faster ride, Dark Lord,” the general said, completing his report.

“The work on the Dark Council chamber must be completed in time for the Dark Council meeting in twenty days, General,” Nox emphasized, “There can be no delays. The Dark Council will meet there in twenty days.”

“I’ll add a second and a third shift and have them work around the chronometer, Dark Lord,” Riiy’enni’sansa promised.

“Good,” the dark lord said, ending the call.

Nox made his way to the bridge of the Doombringer. He wanted to consult with his powerful vassal, Moff Valion Pyron.

As he made his way, turning a corner in the labyrinthine passages of the gargantuan warship, Nox passed a section of bulkhead with a highly reflective surface and saw his excited grin in his reflection. He laughed at himself.

“I look like some foolish youth who’d just lost his virginity!”

He laughed out loud at the thought, but when the mirth had passed its moment, he worked to get the grin off of his face.

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WorldSmasher
10.16.2021 , 08:58 PM | #23
Chapter 23: The Stars Above and The Stars Below


[A snippet]

As soon as Nox’s V.I.P. speeder left the scene, an inspector, a naval officer, boarded Nox’s starship to conduct her investigation into what had caused such a dangerous situation to occur with the piloting of the Fury-class Interceptor, but Andronikos was prepared for the inquiry.

The military speeder, with its top, mercifully down, allowed Khem Val to ride, sitting straight up, even if his legs were cramped. Virulous sat beside the Dashade, nearly pressed against the passenger side door, while Nox rode in front next to the staff sergeant operating the vehicle. He had to leave his assistant driver behind to make room for Nox to sit in front.

“My master,” Khem Val began, “Let us purchase a special speeder, especially for your use at the spaceport, so that I will not need to ride with my legs squeezed into a can and have the cold wind blasting into my face.”

Nox turned his head to face the staff sergeant.

“If I purchased such a speeder, for my exclusive use, where will it be parked?” the dark lord asked.

The staff sergeant replied, calmly, professionally, despite being greatly surprised that any of the V.I.P. passengers would even speak to him, but in this case an actual Dark Lord of The Sith, none other than The Hero of Korriban, himself, addressed him!

“Wait until I tell the others that I actually got to speak to Darth Nox himself!” the thrilled staff sergeant thought.

“Dark Lord, it would be stored in the spaceport motor pool where it would receive regular maintenance and be kept highly polished.”

“Louder,” Nox ordered, “so that the Dashade behind you can hear.”

The staff sergeant obeyed, and Khem Val shook his head, disgustedly, thinking, “Too dangerous. It would be too easy to gain access to it and sabotage it.”

Nox and his followers were dropped off, right at the massive entrance of The Citadel. Nox didn’t want to take chances using his private speeder port until the security weakness had been addressed. The dark lord and his two followers, stepped right through the massive entrance and strode through the cavernous lobby towards the turbolifts.

“Darth Virulous, take your leave,” Nox said in a business-like manner, “Go home and rest. Return to the starship at the tenth hour of the morning. We shall launch to return to Korriban after I have finished my business here.”

“Yes, Dark Lord,” Virulous said, bowing her head, and hiding the pang of hurt, because her lover was treating her like just another servant again.

She turned, heading towards the massive entrance of the lobby again. Instead of going home, however, she decided to try out the technique the dark lord had taught her. Virulous made her way to the slave pens outside of the city walls. It was the dead of night, so she wondered if she would be able to come across any slaves up and about, or if she was wasting her time.

Fifteen minutes later, Nox was entering the reception area just outside of his office. Keeper was there, waiting, with Watcher Two. The master spy and his deputy spy chief, immediately got up from their chairs, walked three paces towards Nox, stopped and immediately knelt, with their right knees and fists on the floor.

“I have reported as ordered, dark lord,” Keeper said, “I will wait here, ready for your summons to enter your office.”

Khem Val could tell right away that something was wrong. The way Nox glared at his spy chief, and the way the spy chief and his deputy quickly groveled at their master’s feet.

Wordlessly, Nox entered his office with Khem Val following him in.

Nox came to a stop five meters in front of his desk, turning to face his office door, nearly ninety meters away.

“Khem,” Nox said, “Let Keeper in.”

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WorldSmasher
10.22.2021 , 10:21 PM | #24

[A snippet]

Darth Marr, his followers and Darth Zash and her followers had ridden the turbo lift together. Zash was remarking at what a difference the new turbolift had made.

“As bad as the whole episode was, Darth Marr, getting the new turbolifts has become a boon for us.”

Marr said nothing in response.

“The lighting in the temple is much better. I already like what they did to the floors! Everything seems so new!”

Again Marr said nothing, ignoring Zash’s incessant prattling, “She is intentionally trying to provoke me into shouting at her,” Marr realized. He promised to himself, “I will not let her get under my skin!”

Virulous watched as Marr and Zash walked past her. Zash spared barely a second to give her a disdainful glare as she passed, before continuing her inane prattling at Marr’s side.

Marr’s and Zash’s followers dropped back from their respective masters, each group moving off to sit at the sides of the antichamber, paying no particular attention to the tiny female form clothed in black robes.

Virulous wore the hood of her black robes pulled back, her armored mask was attached to her utility belt. She wore her still growing black hair in a single short braid that reached down just below the nape of her neck. At her request, the physicians on Manaan had manipulated her hair follicles so that the grey and white hairs would never again appear.

“I love what they did with the doors!” Zash exclaimed with false excitement.

If one had never met her that one would have fallen for her act and would truly believe that she was actually interested in the decor and that she was a ditz.

As annoyed as Marr was at her never ending chatter, her apprentices knew that beneath the apparent fluff, was a deadly viper, coiled and ready to strike. However, unlike most vipers, when Zash struck her victims, none would never even know it was coming, nor that it had already happened.

Her victims would already be dead. Only the survivors around her victims would see the scowl of utter hatred she had concealed from her deceased prey after she’d struck. With each passing moment, Marr grew increasingly disdainful of the chatty fluff-headed wench, taking her less and less seriously.

“It looks like real stone, and almost feels real!” Zash said in apparent amazement.

Virulous’ heart beat hard because she knew what was about to transpire. She kept her eyes on Marr and Zash, as the doors slid silently apart. Her stomach lurched when she saw the reaction of the two dark lords.

“I wonder what improvements have been made inside the…..” Zash was saying, but fell into shocked silence.

Both Marr and Zash came to a dead stop in their tracks and stood silent for a moment before finally entering the Dark Council chamber, the new doors silently sliding shut behind them.

“So, it has begun,” Virulous thought anxiously to herself.

Turning her eyes to the powerful followers of her master’s rivals, she stole herself, resolved to kill everyone in the antechamber. Or, if it came to it, to take as many with her before dying by their combined power.

Thinking of her dark lord and her master, Virulous couldn’t help but ask herself, “Is he strong enough to force the Dark Council to kneel before him?”

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WorldSmasher
10.29.2021 , 11:18 PM | #25

[A Snippet]

Gnost-Dural, a Kel Dor male, swept his eyes across the conference table at his fellow councilors, looking at their pensive faces.

He sighed before telling them, “Of the forty six Jedi that we’ve sent out, on two separate strike teams, only two have survived, one from each strike team. One survived the madness imposed on the minds of the Jedi who’d faced Vitiate, and the other survived the brutal massacre of twenty nine Jedi and two hundred thousand Republic ground forces, including forty thousand prisoners of war on Korriban, at the hands of Noxsious.”

“Jedi Knight Ciiru Nomuro is still wrestling with the Dark Side influence with which he’d been afflicted by Vitiate,” Jedi Master Gnost-Dural said calmly, “and Jedi Knight Jeras Rendon Cal, barely escaped with his life, and upon his successful return to us, reports to us that the new emperor will end up being much worse for the galaxy.”

“Now I’m hearing the beginnings of talk that will necessarily lead to the logical conclusion,” Gnost-Dural used air quotes, “that we must form yet another strike team with the apparent goal of assassinating Emperor Noxsious.”

The Kel Dorian looked around the conference room, booked for this meeting, at his fellow councilors. He could see the doubts clouding their faces.

“One:” Gnost-Dural began his list, pointing out hard truths, “the Jedi Council must be prepared to sacrifice the lives of more of our precious dedicated adherents. This time, somewhere on the order of a hundred Jedi. Emperor Noxsious’ security will be very tight. He’s on the lookout for assassins, not only from within, but also from outside of the Sith Empire.

“Two: we have to convince Supreme Chancellor Saresh to – again – supply a regiment of commandos and a corps of heavy infantry, supported by two divisions of medium and heavy war droids, and artillery droids. I seriously doubt that she will give us those and jeopardize the peace she is seeking to work out with the Sith Empire.

“Three: we, the Jedi Council and the Galactic Republic, must be prepared for the war to continue and to expand beyond the one hundred and twenty star systems currently involved.

“And finally, four: we must be prepared for such a backlash from the common citizens, not only of the Sith Empire but of the Republic as well. There will be such a great outcry for the banishment or arrest of the members of the Jedi Order from Republic worlds.”

Gnost-Dural fell silent a moment to let those points sink in, looking at dour expressions on the faces of his peers.

“We, here, will be fine on Tython,” Gnost-Dural said, “but what of the Jedi who are also Republic citizens with relatives and homes in the Republic worlds? Of course they could come to Tython, but they will lose their homes and homeworlds – if they aren’t arrested instead.

The Kel Dor Jedi Master elaborated.

“The people are tired of war. They are tired of the destruction the Sith have brought on us all. Now a chance for peace is at hand. The Supreme Chancellor craves peace. The Sith are willing to grant her peace, naturally with strings attached.

“If we assassinate the Sith’s new Emperor, it will have the effect of voiding any opportunities there may have been to end the violence and destruction. Everyone will blame us for it. The common people will blame us, the Imperial government will, and you can wager that Saresh and her government will feed us to the Sith, to appease them – even if she did quietly help us with covert operations to isolate and to kill Noxsious.”

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WorldSmasher
11.06.2021 , 01:34 AM | #26

[A Snippet]

“What do you think?” Jedi Master Sahn Ho asked Ciiru Nomuro.

“Haven’t we lost enough Jedi to these raids?” he asked, incredulous that the Jedi Council would consider yet another raid against the Sith. “There is no chaos. There is Harmony,” Ciiru quoted from the Jedi Code, then asking, “Has that lost its meaning to the Jedi Council?”

“Ciiru, there are some on the Council with such close attunement to The Force, that at times, they are able to see events that have yet unfolded,” Sahn Ho said.

“I know about this,” Ciiru replied, before reminding him, “Yet Time and The Force are always in flux. Nothing is certain. We expected the Sith Empire to dissolve into a fit of multi factional civil wars after the demise of Emperor Vitiate.

“Instead, we have seen the Sith unite and stand in solidarity. We rid the galaxy of one evil Sith lord who’d ruled for nearly a millennia and a half, but instead gained a new Sith ruler who would multiply the evil of their order with the sharing of forbidden dark knowledge. Things have become worse.

“The destruction of Vitiate was to bring about the end of the Sith Empire, but it is the Galactic Republic which faces annihilation, and the Jedi Order which is finding itself straying from its ideals. The Council must rethink its decision,” Ciiru said, to Jedi Master Sahn Ho, himself a member of the Jedi Council.

“Gnost-Dural said pretty much the same thing you did, and Bela Kiwiiks backed him up, but they were out voted,” Sahn Ho said.

Ciiru listened quietly, realizing that the Jedi councilor sitting across the caf table from him basically told him that he voted with the majority.

“The Force is leading us down a path which seems counter intuitive; I’ll not deny it. We must trust The Force,” Sahn Ho concluded.

“Yes, and yet….,” Ciiru Nomuro said, pausing to think.

After a moment, he realized that he was at odds with himself, and with what he had recently come to believe.

“We always think about The Force,” Ciiru said, turning to face Sahn Ho, “To clarify, we say, The Light Side, or The Dark Side of The Force. To some, it means there are two The Force, one is light and one is Dark. To others, there is only one The Force, one side is Light and one side is Dark.”

Sahn Ho shrugged.

“And?”

“What if there is neither Light, nor Dark, just The Force?” Ciiru went on, risking everything as he aired the heretical line of thought he’d been pondering ever since his time on Makeb. “What if Light or Dark is determined by what is in our hearts; how we live our lives; how we treat others, because The Force wanted it that way?”

Ciiru went on, despite the look on Sahn Ho’s face.

“If seeking to end the war is something that falls on The Light Side of The Force, then doesn’t anything we do to prolong the war be considered a Dark Side pursuit?”

“You are trying to tell me,” Sahn Ho said, almost laughing, “that the Jedi Council are following the Dark Side of The Force.”

“Again, Master Sahn, what if there is no Light or Dark Sides of The Force? What if the Light and the Dark is what is in our hearts? The Force uses us to bring into realization its own will, whether for good or for evil.”

“I do not believe that evil is in the hearts of the councilors, Ciiru.”

“The roads and avenues to the Nine Hells are paved with good intentions: is how the old saying goes, Master Sahn.”

“If you were a padawan asking me these questions, I would be glad to debate you and help guide you to an understanding of the Jedi Code and of the teachings of the way of the Jedi faith. You are no padawan, Ciiru. You are a Knight of the Jedi Order. Your words carry weight and consequence. If you intend to confront the Jedi Council with your line of reasoning, then you must be prepared to stand up for your beliefs at a former inquest.

“There, your theories can be put to the test. There you will prove your point, or be demoted, and possibly cast out of the Order. I won’t say anything to the others on the Jedi Council. When you feel yourself ready, seek a formal audience to be heard,” Sahn Ho said, all traces of humor and friendly disposition gone from his face.

“It is a line of thought that has been weighing heavy on me because of events that occurred on Makeb. I have too much more to consider and to think about. I’m not anywhere near ready for such an inquest, Master,” Ciiru said.

“Why did you bring this to my attention if you are not ready, Ciiru?”

Ciiru looked down and shook his head morosely.

“I was hoping you’d debate me,” he answered, “and guide me back to the way of Jedi teachings.”

Ciiru gave mirthless chuckle as he returned his eyes to the Jedi Master.

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WorldSmasher
11.06.2021 , 01:35 AM | #27
That ends Book three in the series. Please, leave a review or a comment of what you thought. Thank you for reading.