Whispers branched out in the Force touching the minds of the followers of the Light and the Dark alike. Both the Jedi Order and The Sith Eternal had sent investigators to Mustafar for their own reasons, answering the same call. It was not obvious, but as both groups approached the world they would feel a distant calling. Whoever or whatever had called them here, wanted to be found.
As both groups arrived at their destination, Fortress Vader, they began searching for that distant whisper that beckoned them deeper within. As the two groups explored, they discovered each other in the long-abandoned meditation chamber of Darth Vader. The room radiated pain, suffering, and death. The presence was clearly hostile to all who entered.
Before the Jedi and Sith Eternal followers could interact with one another, the ground began to shake violently. Dust fell from the ceiling as the walls appeared on the verge of totally collapsing. The smell of sulfur filled the room as the quake grew even more intense. Before anyone had a chance to escape the room, the floor collapsed underneath their feet, pulling both parties down.
Four of the original eight Jedi and Sith Eternal would find themselves recovering from the stunning impact from the fall, landing hard on a smooth stone floor as the Fortress shook above them. A small cloud of dust and detritus would cover them, a glance above showing the ceiling having caved in upon itself to block the way they had come from. At least, with the severe lack of light in the corridor around them, that is what they THINK they can see. There are no lights of any source in the corridor, a quick feel with one's hands able to show the hallway for what it is. Even to those who may have studied the Fortress and its layout before journeying to Mustafar, their current location in the structure still wouldn't seem to make any sense.
Perhaps the most disturbing thing was the lack of sound. There was no hum of electricity, no more tremors or moving rocks. Even one's breath seemed to be muted, yet if one strained their ears they could hear the slow drip of liquid into a larger pool, coming from deeper down the corridor. At the opposite end of the hall, nearly out of sight, was some strange kind of red light. It was illuminating a cloud of mist, making it seem like a hanging veil of blood. Nothing save the darkness stirred around the four adventurers. They would all know one thing, though: staying put could be dangerous, deep in the bowels of the Fortress.
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There was something wrong, clearly and most definitely wrong. She didn't believe in coincidence, nor did she believe in luck. When floor beneath them had given way, it was the force at work. She reached reached out with her hands as she fell, hoping to grab hold of something, an edge, a bit of stonework, any thing that could have served to stop their fall. Sadly, this was not to be. Realizing the force was once again giving her a stacked deck, Mila braced herself for the impact that was to follow, hoping that she still had a part to play in whatever game the force had arranged this day.
When she made impact with the ground, she half expected her life to end right then and there. Strangely this was not the case. She sucked in a breath, and became concerned that she couldn't hear her own breathing. Her fingers brushed over the smooth stone work, feeling a strange cold washing over her. Her mind flashed to several tidbits in rapid succession, there were Sith near by, she could only sense one other from her order with her, and she had no clue where in the feth she was. She rose to her feet, swiping the saber off her belt as she became a tad uncomfortable with how silent everything was. She wasn't sure if her eyes were deceiving her, but she could have sworn there was a red light at the end of the hall. There was no time for such delusions though, she needed to get a grip on this situation. She centered herself, wrapping her fingers around the saber hilt, pressing lightly on the ignition switch of her saber. If there were any Sith that made their sabers known, her green blade would join in.
She pushed out with her senses, trying to get a grip of where she was, where they were. She had no memory of this place, this design, was this the workings of some other Empire? Had Vader's fortress served as a mere tacking on of a long dead dark lord? These were questions the young Twi'lek wouldn't have time to ponder, as she kept herself centered on the current situation. If her words could reach those around her, assuming she wasn't alone, she would speak. "I don't know what creed you follow strangers, nor do I care, but if you have come to seek violence I warn you, this will not end with glory for either of us." Her voice was calm, yet assertive, as Mila was more concerned about understanding where the force had lead them, rather than clashing blades with these....intruders; though, the jedi were also intruders now weren't they?
Eyelids twitch. Pain is the first thing that comes into focus, as she feels small bruises begin to pool on her shins and just beneath her ribs. Her tunic had torn in a few places, and the mugginess of the air crept in against newly exposed patches of flesh. So… she was alive.
What happened? She remembered pain, anger, and despair all swirling around her like a storm of forgotten suffering, desperate to be heard. The cries of Anakin Skywalker. There was so much of it left spinning in her mind, but she was not there anymore, not in the storm. There was something else though… an unexpected encounter…. there were others in the room. Perhaps they were an illusion, a trick of the late Darth Vader to protect his secrets? No. Her feelings did not lie. Against all odds and a hundred years, they were with her now in this very chamber, and to her ultimate surprise, they seemed just as confused as she.
THE PADAWANS! As her awareness of their surroundings increased, the shock of what was absent set in. She was, of course, still a padawan herself; but thanks to Master Zapan (@Oren Zapan ) her trying had finally turned toward completion. This expedition was meant as a trial, and though Mila was the ranking knight, Numa knew what was expected of her. She had to believe they were alright. Though she couldn’t reach them yet, her gut told her so, and the alternative was much too…
Numa opened her eyes. For whatever reason, darkness is exactly what she expected. Sight through the force was one of her stronger suits, yet here it felt murky, like trying to see underwater. Pressing her hand against the smooth floors, she pressed upward and maneuvered her feet back under her. Tracing the wall with a few probing fingers as she stood, Numa was able to confirm this indeed a fully formed hallway. Wherever they were it had not been on any of the peace meal maps she’d been given access to, but something about their being here struck her as...intentional.
“This does not feel like an accident…”The words drifted out of her without much regard for who might hear them, nor any accusation against the Sith who still lingered in the darkness only feet away. Ah yes, the Sith. Mila broke the supernatural silence with a warning, and Numa felt it was only right to rally behind her. At the very least, these dark siders could not be allowed to dwell in shadow. Raising her lightsaber at arms length above her so as not to be mistaken for a combat stance, Numa released its brilliant blue light into the tunnel.
Edwast slowly rose from the ground, the throbbing pain reach his back as he did so. That would subside with time. Currently he needed to calm down, rationalize, think. He was here with two Jedi Knights and one of his own, the perfect amount for an all out brawl but he got the feeling now wasn't the time. He still had his saber, good, that might come in handy later. He began to assess his surroundings, sticking to the shadows as he thought his way through this. It seemed like this place was coming apart, a shame really given the significance to the dark side it held, but ultimately inconsequential so long as they got their prize.
Edwast was angry, his helmet a bit dusty from the fall but otherwise unharmed he began to rise up from the ground. He dusted off his dark robes and adjusted his hood as he began to see the others with him rise, his main focus being the Jedi. Already they were grasping for their sabers, predictable, but Edwast had the feeling he could settle this before even touching his. He heard their warnings and found it hilarious. His mask began to echo a somewhat small laugh before he got up and walked out of the shadows, he had no reason to hide now.
"Are you Jedi so out of touch with those around you that you'd assume we would sacrifice our lives to fight in this place? Really? we have no intention of fighting you." He would be somewhat out of breath as he spoke, he found it a bit too funny. "No, but we should get moving. This place doesn't look to structurally sound, and I would hate to see us buried under the rubble debating philosophy." He began to walk towards the red light, signaling his compatriot and the Jedi to come with. He hopped his friend would keep his wits about him and not start fighting. "And put those things away, I hardly would imagine those of us who follow the light to be the first to draw their weapons, it's pretty ironic." He began snickering as he spoke, perhaps this little setback could be beneficial in getting to know how these Jedi carry themselves in the heat of the moment, so long as it didn't get in the way of his real objective...the mask of Eternal.
Consciousness came back to Korsak and snapped him awake with a start, causing the Amaran to scramble to his feet in a small burst of fear-driven adrenaline. He instantly regretted this as he was struck with a dull wave of aching pain that ran from his head to the tip of his tail. As his swirling mind began to finally settle, he remembered what led to him lying in a pile of rubble in this pitch black hole. They had been sent to infiltrate Fortress Vader, stronghold of the legendary Sith Lord Darth Vader, seeking the Mask of the Eternal. Korsak was no cultist of the Sith, in fact he found their obsessive, power-mongering ideology almost repugnant, but a chance to further his understanding of the Force was never to be missed.
He had not counted on the arrival of the interlopers, however, or on the floor somehow caving beneath them and spilling part of both parties into this abyss. He doubted that was an accident, whether by the will of the Force or some convoluted booby trap Korsak knew they had all fallen according to some larger design. What he didn't understand, however, was where they had landed in the fortress. He'd studied every record of the castle he could get his hands on, and none of them ever mentioned catacombs running under the structure. Where these a secret addition from Vader's time? An older structure the castle was built on top of? An ancient cave system undiscovered until now? His mind was swimming with both possibilities and pain.
Neither were relieved by the sudden ignition of a blue lightsaber while two Jedi and Edwast began to shout in the dark. Korsak's ears were sensitive enough on their own without all the blows he'd taken on the way down.
"Quiet, all of you," He barked, stepping into the light of the saber as he brushed the dust from his robes and fur. "I've enough of a headache without you all shouting at each other."
Without caring what the others might think, Korsak drew his own lightsaber and ignited the blade, casting a deep crimson light across the chamber to help improve their view of the situation. Now that he'd gotten his bearings he noticed the wall of iridescent red mist at the far end of the cavern.
"I would suggest we find a way out of here before anything worse happens to us. Unless anyone has a better plan, I say we head for the only other source of light in this benighted hole." Korsak wasn't waiting for a response, he began to make his way tentatively toward the uncanny light source. Despite his seeming confidence, he knew nothing about the literal light at the end of this tunnel, other than the fact it was radiating a sense of malice stronger than anything he'd encountered so far in the temple.
The light from the sabers would show that the four interlopers would show them to be in some kind of maintenance tunnel, going as far as the eye could see in either direction and only wide enough for two bodies standing abreast. There was an ever so slight incline, the path going into the darkness also slipping further into the earth while the path going towards the crimson-colored mist was going up. Looking up, it would seem that the ceiling had indeed collapsed in a way that not only blocked returning from whence they came but the rubble had settled in a stable manner, meaning for the moment there were no fears of further cave-in.
As the two members of the Sith Eternal started to move towards the crimson light, the darkness at the edge of the lightsaber's luminous reach would seem to roil, sliding along the walls like an oil slick. It played tricks on the mind, making the smooth stone look like a collection of pipes and metallic mesh, like one would find in the bowels of any large ship or industrial complex. Well, if they had never been maintained. They looked like they were covered in rust and other deposits of minerals, the mind conjuring the scent of iron and decay. Then with a blink, it was gone. There were a few doorways on the left and right, any power to them completely cut off, and the red light at the end of the corridor seemed to come from a console attached to a large generator. From the opposite end, in the darkness, the sound of dripping water stopped.
Relief played across Mila's face, as the two dark siders made it clear they were not looking for a fight; especially here in all places, she was inclined to agree. Perhaps they were not yet lost to it's influences, perhaps they might be saved. While the two Sith moved into the corridor, the Twi'lek glanced down to her fellow order member and shrugged her shoulders. Mila allowed her blade to flair to life as well, though she took it up as a torch beside the padawan. "Seems our new friends are the reasonable sort. I suggest we accompany them. There is strength in numbers after all." Mila commented, turning towards the two 'Sith', ideally with young Numa at her side. Casting a glance around, it appeared to be a man made cavern of some sort, a utility tunnel perhaps from long ago. Mila wished the situation was more ideal, this place held so many secrets that it begged to be uncovered; though she suspected some of the secrets were better off undiscovered.
Moving into the tunnel, Mila paused as she noticed this wasn't just any ordinary darkness, but this was...advanced darkness. If such a thing existed of course. She didn't particularly trust the 'Sith' in their midst, but at current it seemed that the avoidance of violence was possible for the time being. Mila's noise twitched at the scent of the rust in the air, her mind believing one thing, and the next finding it to be a phantom sensation of sorts. Catching up into the room with the Sith, it appeared to be a junction room, a terminal-least that was what Mila assumed it to be- sat on the far side. Seeing as there was more than enough light provided by two jedi and one of the dark siders, Mila deactivated her weapon. "Forgive me gentlemen, perhaps I can be of assistance." Mila would state in a still calm tone, as if allowed, she would move past the two darker sides and inspect the terminal, hopefully her technical skills would be enough to at least turn it on; assuming it was even a working terminal. This whole situation was a mix of concern, as well as awkwardness, as while Mila's senses told her not to turn her back to the Sith, another part of her wanted to trying and understand them more; after all, knowing was half the battle. "So....do you two do this sort of thing often?" Mila asked, as she inspected the red light, then the terminal, wondering if they required something to charge the device with.
“Forgive me master sith, I didn’t realize your perception of lightsabers was so limited.”
Years of study, myth, warnings, even curiosity, and now Numa was among the first Jedi to encounter Sith in a century. She couldn’t help feeling somehow...disappointed. Were smug and hollow insinuations the carefully guarded secret of the dark side ? The little one seemed more sensible, if grouchy. They agreed on one thing however; any desire she had to discuss philosophy had completely dissolved.
Numa gladly took up the back of their marching order, though not completely certain why Mila let the sith take the lead. Her instincts had been drawn to the sounds of still liquid in an otherwise volcanic wasteland, but she would just as soon be damned as let those two wander off unsupervised. Thankfully the palace would not leave her to dwell on what might have been. She could not resist the illusions that spread along the wall, and cautiously ran her fingers through them. Were the others seeing and smelling this as well? Numa was not ready to discuss it openly, yet, instead privately longing to discover this castle’s many secrets alone.
As they approached the mysterious console, her sense of reality was beginning to wain. Were they sill beneath the fortress? While Mila ran ahead, she extinguished her lightsaber, still stayed at the rear, refusing to give the sith both of their backs. However, her years as an engineer cried out to explore this generator. It finally occurred to her that simply escaping alive felt like the only thing holding this tenuous alliance together. What of the whispers? So many question. The calling the force that had summoned both factions, and trapped us together deserved a better answer. Numa was determined to find one.
“My name is Numa Raltz. Master Tesara and I came here to answer a call through the force. If we are going to proceed this way, peacefully, perhaps it would serve us all to make known our intentions, and discuss more carefully how we intend to proceed. “
While Edwast didn't consider himself arrogant, the lightsaber he suddenly found in his hand was a clear contradiction, he began to grit his teeth from the admittedly slight provocation. His thoughts began to swirl "uppityy little"...suddenly clear thought overcame the rage and he was back to himself. He wasn't going to allow himself to be goaded just yet.
"I suppose both of our views are limited. Forgive my arrogance, you tend to be a bit disoriented when you take a fall, I nearly forgot my manners little one." His voice was now calm and focused. He would hold onto this anger for later, when they ultimately came to blows. "The sith are dead. A failed ideology of power over all. Not all who follow the dark side are lost, some do what is necessary." He continued on to the terminal, keeping his saber on hand.
As they arrived to the terminal he allowed the Jedi to pass to examine it. It seems some of them learn skills beyond that of the force. "You'll forgive us if we don't answer with your level of honesty. We are here answering the call aswell. And no, we don't do this often." He kept his eyes on the terminal watching her work closely. However he was still on guard, he imagined once they were out the Jedi would immediately become a annoyance rather than any help in their task.
"I forgive you. After all, you seem to have some inane, biological need to prattle on." Korsak didn't appreciate the biting comments from his supposed ally, but then again his relationship with Edwast had always been slightly strained, ever since that incident on Naboo with the Jedi. Hopefully this encounter would be over quicker and be more successful.
As the very odd quartet made their way down the hallway, Korsak paid close attention to the seeming structure around them. He had hit the stone floor of a cave when he landed, he was sure of that, he'd fallen into enough caves as a kit to recognize the sensation of rock on Amaran. And yet once lightsabers were drawn and they had a source of external light, he suddenly found himself staring at the walls of a maintenance tunnel, lined with side chambers that could not be opened. None of this was adding up, these tunnels looks like Imperial construction, albeit in disrepair, but why hadn't they shown up on the schematics and maps he'd studied?
His sense of unease only grew stronger as they made their way down the hallway, and in the periphery of his vision the wall seemed to shift and flicker like a poor hologram. Every few seconds the rusted steel and ancient reek of decay gave way to the black stone cavern he was sure he'd landed in. Was this a trick of technology, the mind, the Force? And was it a deliberate creation of those who had once inhabited this place, or was it a natural result of the hatred buried here?
He almost didn't care when they found the source of the eerie red light to be a control console, Korsak was fairly certain it wasn't really there. In fact, he was starting to question the reality of everything around him, and so reached out his free hand to touch a bit of metal pipping on the wall. Hopefully it wouldn't brush against anything unpleasant. Before he made contact, however, his ear cocked back toward the darkness they had come from.
"The dripping stopped." He didn't realize he'd said that out loud, he was too busy running scenarios through his head. There was only two reasons the dripping would stop, either the source of liquid had run out or something had stopped the source of the dripping. Neither was a comforting thought.
"Work faster." He kept his eyes turned back, raising his lightsaber as a source of both light and defense.
The console was simple to work with, yet after some minor maintenance it would show that when activated, only a few of the power connections would flare to life as the others were too damaged to be fixed in short order. The light overhead in the room would flicker, then turn on fully to show an array of thick metal doors spaced evenly along the three walls not containing the corridor where the interlopers had come from. As the light came on, a muffled coughing sound would come from the door opposite the corridor entrance, turning to a wheezing chuckle. It would seem the four weren't alone in the depths of Fortress Vader.
"Well well, it seems I haven't been abandoned after all. Or maybe there's finally that short-circuit. I THINK I can hear life out there, and as you've not started the beatings, you're not one of the Dark One's sycophants. Interesting..." There was a sound like a banging against the door, followed by more laughter. The man was probably smacking the door with his hand in mirth."So, are you here because of the call, too? That's why they brought me, I can hear it SING. They wanted me to tell them what it sang, what it says, but that's not how it works. Torture stops working when you stop caring, though, heehee~" The man's giggling echoed off the walls of the room.
The lights flickered, making each blink of the four interlopers see that change to the walls and give that scent of decay. At this, the man giggled harder. "I think I see...the Darkness must have gotten them. The song most hear is a siren's serenade, drawing you in with whispers and promises, yet always taking what it wants regardless of the promise. For some its deadly silent...until it WANTS to be heard, though by then it already has you. Everyone wants something different...So, what do YOU want? I doubt you're here for just a stroll. Why don't you share? Be quick, though, the Darkness is curious, but impatient. Eventually it'll want to meet you all up close, instead of just watching."
"Rushing the chief spoils the meal my friend. Didn't your mother ever tell you that?" Mila cited to the small of the twodarksiders, paying no mind to his bad attitude; she handled a prepubescent padawan for years, a little spunk from a pouty Sith hardly phased her. Thankfully the console seemed functional, though as Mila began to power it on, she realized that not all of the power was to be restored; hopefully the amount they did have was enough.
Mila smiled just tad as the lights flared up, filling the room with illumination that didn't seem to be obscured by whatever devilry was at work here. Of course, she nearly suffered a heart attack as a laugh echoed about the place. The man sounded sickly, and once the inital freight faded, Mila felt a ping of sympathy for this victim, whoever he might have beem; though something warned her that the man speaking was twisted in some way. With the lights flickering about, Mila cautiously stepped forward, her mind trying to make sense of what she was hearing. They had sent her to find proof of the Sith, which given the two presences in their midst, seemed they may or may not have succeeded in that task. Now they needed to still survive and make it back to the council, but this new comer seemed to possess knowledge that was unknown to her; and if the other two dark siders in the party knew, they didn't seem to be the sharing sort.
The knight moved towards the door from which the clanging sounded from, inspecting the door to see if there was a way to recover this man from whatever torment he was suffering. "We came to seek knowledge, but have found only ruins. But this darkness you speak of, what is it?" Mila asked, throwing a glance to the rest of her party. This stranger had peaked her interests, and now she had to know what this was all about. The Dark One, the Darkness, these were terms she had never come across during her tenure as an explorer. What did this man know that she did not?
Not likely. She kept the thought to herself, but it was a challenge not to keep her eyes from rolling. Something about the phrase “level of honesty” from someone in a mask made her want to gag. The little one thankfully had a strong sense of their surroundings, if a few rough edges to it’s fur.
The lights flashed. Numa felt a strange pressure in her chest as the room seemed to twist itself around them into something new yet again. The powers at play here were well beyond her understanding, and her breath quickened as seeds of panic began take root in her stomach. As sinister cackle cracked the tension between them, her hand nervously reached for the cylinder on her belt, and held it in a white knuckle grip.
As she listened to the bitter and cryptic words beyond the blast door, her heart tore at itself. She felt anger and fear welling within her, had this whole quest truly been a malevolent trap formed by Darth Vader’s own suffering? Perhaps it was her own desperation, but the longer she listened, the less she believed this to be true. Where this hope was coming from was as much a surprise to her as anyone, but it was enough to focus her mind on, as she began walking towards the center door. If this voice truly belonged to another living thing, it was surely broken, and Numa had sworn to approach all broken things in a singular way.
“Forgive me Master Tesara, and the both of you; but there is one thing I want above knowledge, and I cannot force either from this pitiful creature, if that is what it is, while it remains trapped. Darkness or no...“ She placed a single hand against the access panel to the door that parted them from the maniacal prisoner, while the other calmly clasped the hilt of her extinguished lightsaber. “...I want to heal where it is needed most,” Numa pressed the button.
As the light's flicked on, the sound of rasping and coughing cut Korsak to his very center. No one should be alive down here, this place shouldn't have power, these ruins should have been undisturbed for over 100 years. How was someone alive down here? Even before the figure started calling out and beating against the door Korsak was disturbed by how his breathing seemed to rattle clear as day through the thick metal walls. The fact that he could shout and smack through them made even less sense to Korsak.
He had seen the walls flickering, he was sure of that, like some kind of desert mirage you could touch. And this stranger was, evidently, not bothered by the sound of the rockslide or their heated argument, but instead by the activation of the inexplicably still powered lights. None of this added up, this entire situation was simultaneously too surreal to be true and yet too solid to be a simple trick of the mind. This 'Darkness' the strange voice kept rambling on about seemed to imply a sort of will behind these events. Was this a manifestation of the Darkside?
While Korsak's mind was racing with strategies and calculations and analyses, he was suddenly interrupted by the two Jedi calling out to this strange voice in this even stranger hallway. At this point he was quite sure they were both touched in the head, especially as the Theelin seemed determined to open the doors leading to the mystery cell. Korsak was having none of that, so instead he tried to pull her back from the door with a sudden, jerking grasp of telekinesis. Hopefully this would stop her before she opened the only thing apparently standing between the four of them and a madman.
When the Jedi touched the door panel, the young woman would find that the panel was one of the power conduits that had been damaged. It sparked and the display would show a strange combination of letters that seemed like gibberish. The man behind the door would laugh again at this, seemingly pleased that it had been broken. "Oh, you've got a caring heart, girl! I'm quite happy where I am, though. And the shocks and stabs DID hurt, yes, but I'm quite pleased how I am right now, I don't need any healing or fixing. And to answer your question, it's the Darkness! I only know what words I do. It's...the opposite of you two shining stars, that I can see. Which is good! Darkness, Light, you need both in order to perceive either. The Darkness is selfish, perhaps childish, but it has a power and will second only to very few beings. Like the former owner of this place, HE was quite the dark and twisted one. I only hear the last fading echoes of his song, though, so he must be well and truly gone now. The ones who brought me here years ago were...fans, perhaps? Those that admired that man and his song, despite how deep and twisted it was. They wanted to find secrets he left, some that are still here. Some that even HE didn't know were here. But I know them! Rather, just the one."
As the man was speaking, from the corridor behind the group came a puddle of shimmering darkness, a manifestation of the Dark Side concentrated by this corrupted castle. One of the four, the man known as Edwast, had been standing at the back of the group behind his furry companion. Perhaps it was just the lapse in attention that allowed the pool to strike, corroded and gelatinous arms forming and wrapping around the man's arms and mouth to stifle movement and sound alike. With its prey secured, those oily and powerful tentacles pulled the human into its body, devouring him with at most a few drops of water as the only sounds of distress. By the time any of them would turn, Edwast would be gone.
The man would find himself in a realm of infinite darkness, not a shred of light even from his lightsaber. After a few moments a soft keening would be heard from the distance, just beyond the veil of blackness at the edge of everywhere the man could see. After a few seconds a second voice would join the first, then a third. As more joined the cacophony the gentle keening would get more urgent and frantic. They would turn into screams, shrieks of pain and fear, all from those that had been brought to this place and had been devoured by the hunger of the Dark Side. Just before Edwast would pass out from the noise, nose and ears bleeding from the sound, he would glimpse...something, deep in the darkness. Something even larger and darker, like a silhouette against already deep shadows. Then he would pass out, awakening hours later outside of Fortress Vader with the echo of the screams still haunting his ears. For all he would know, he may always hear those tortured wails.
The man would laugh as this happened, an almost crazed tone slipping into his cackling coughs. "Oh dear! It seems the Darkness was hungrier than I thought. Oh well, that should let you have a bit more time, at least. Though its good it didn't take BOTH of the ones giving off the song of Darkness. Light needs Dark, Dark needs Light, and if you want to find what you're searching for, you'll need to embrace that view. There are two doors here, that I can hear the song coming from. Part of an ancient melody, one wanting an audience again. You can go through the door in this fake light and wander the maze, perhaps finding what you wish...Or you can take the door willingly into the Darkness. Turn off those silly little toys and embrace the Dark, while using your own inner light to keep its ravages at bay. That will be the faster path to the song, but perhaps more dangerous...For those that cannot accept their opposites, perhaps. Every good song needs harmony, after all." As he finished speaking, two doors would open. One in the dark corner of the room, that oily water spilling forth from the doorframe to turn the stone walls into that corroded mass of pipes and mesh, while another would open just below where the light was still flickering, showing a long corridor with other rooms and doors open down its length. It looked fairly safe and standard, if confusing in how it suddenly turned at odd points. It would seem the remaining interlopers would have to make a choice.
Mila looked to the padawan and felt a degree of understanding. She wanted to help the poor man as well, clearly he was in pain, but she was also questioning how 'trust worthy' this gentleman can be. She didn't think this stranger would be a threat, but at the same time....well, one could never really be sure. Seeing the padawan reach for the door controls, Mila tried to halt the woman from opening it, at least until she could better understand who they were speaking to. "Numa, perhaps we should-" She stopped however, as she found the door controls to be unresponsive. Mila let out a quiet sigh, as it seemed the prisoner on the other side seemed ecstatic. Seemed rather unfortunate that this man wouldn't be liberated. She didn't want to leave the man here, but according to him he seemed...at peace with his lot in life. What was more disturbing for her, was realizing that they were missing one member of their group. Springing to her feet, Mila looked about room and reached for her lightsaber, as their new 'friend' began to rant about light and dark, balance and harmony. It seemed to be mostly gibberish, least to Mila, but one thing he said did strike a cord with her. Their lightsabers would be of no use to them here.
Taking in a deep breath, Mila looked to the door and the padawan beside her. "Numa, I don't think there is anything we can do for this one. He is at peace with his lot in life, and so far he seems to be far more at home here than the three of us." Mila looked over to the other darksider, putting her saber back on her belt. "If what our new friend says is true, then it will take all of us to make it out of this place." Mila muttered, as she moved towards the darkened room, wondering if it was wise to listen to the words of a madman. The darkness felt...unwelcome, creepy. It reminded her of being a child and looking into the abyss that was the closet. She looked back towards the door, calling upon the force, though she said one thing before attempting to step into the darkness. "Are you certain you do not wish to be freed stranger?" Mila asked the strange man, though she felt she knew his answer. She looked into the darkness, wondering what it was about this....darkness that made her so uneasy. She trusted in the force however, and she didn't feel like it would lead her astray. "If I am to assume, I believe Numa is to come with me into this room, while you sir," She pointed to Korsak, "I believe the light room will be where you are wanted." Mila would wait for Numa to come close. "Numa, I want you to keep ahold of me. I don't know what lies in this room." Mila looked back into the darkness, feeling it trying to clutch at her. "But I won't let anything happen to you, but I need you to trust in me, okay?" The Twi'lek stated, her voice faltering for a mere moment as she couldn't help but feel a tad daunted by this room before her. "May the force be with us." She stated, before stepping into the room, putting her life in the hands of the force.
Korsak was, alas, far too late to stop the Theelin from pressing the button, the only saving grace in this situation being that the stranger evidently did not want to leave the room. Or could not. Or was not real enough to do either, the jury was still out on that. This got the strange voice chattering again, but now it was almost starting to make more sense. The Darkness he spoke of was the Darkside, as Korsak knew its siren call and power better than either of the two Jedi. But the voice also spoke of balance, combining the will and power of the Dark with the calm and clarity of the Light, a point that would sound wise if it wasn't made in the gibbering voice of a madman. Next he rambled about Vader and the apparent 'fans', and the 'secret' buried in this place, which even Korsak started to believe was not truly here. In fact, he felt like he was being toyed with. When the dripping resumed behind them, Korsak turned quickly on his heels just to see that Edwast had vanished into the shadows.
"Edwast?" He called out into the darkness. "Edwast?!"
Korsak had no particular love for his fellow Exile, but he had been the only person in this dank abyss he could rely on. Now he was stuck with these two fools, wandering in this darkness. Again, the madman cut in with more cackling threats and warnings about the danger in this place. And again, he pressed the issue of Darkness and Light working together to save each other, and now stripped of his ally desperation pushed Korsak to agree with that sentiment. The voice presented two paths to them, one a winding maze and the other pitch darkness that could lead them to their prize. The fact that two side doors matching those descriptions to a T opened right next to them clearly was not a coincidence.
Then the Twi'lek said they should split up.
"Are you touched in the head?" Korsak hissed as he deactivated his saber. "The voice says to harmonize, to embrace Dark and Light. We both take the same path or we are both lost. And unless you've been studying the Darkside and the construction of this Fortress for years on end, you'll need me to help you navigate this place."
He was going with them, whether they wanted him to or not. Even if the voice hadn't stressed mixing Darkness and Light to survive, Korsak had no intention of wandering into that illusion without his partner.
"Trust nothing in here." That would be the last thing Korsak said to both Jedi before stepping into the darkness with them.
Her fingers had barely grazed the button before a familiar jolt gripped her body, flinging her backward into the console.Numa was suddenly flooded with panic and doubt: What a fool she was to give them her back! Mila might already be dead! Why would she pitty that voice when it was so clearly a dark trick? Idiot! Failure! She would destroy these Sith where the stood…
No. That was even less right, and those thoughts were not entirely hers. Spinning around, Numa’s jaw dropped upon greeting the source of these violent machinations. She stood in horror as a literal wave of concentrated hate absorbed the masked Sith in an instant. Nausea crept in as their demonic narrator went on with its instruction.
She was silent. There were no words for the terror and confusion she felt. A wordless prayer was mouthed to the force, grateful that her companions, begrudging or not, were able to act. Though Mila’s unwavering courage was a strong guide, the Sith was right, and Numa was as pleased he chose to ignore the order to split up. If they ever needed all hands on deck, it was now.
Fumbling to extract the breather from her utility belt, Numa followed them both into the dark room, clinging to her prayers of light.May the force be with us indeed.
The door to the Darkness brought them to a mirror copy of the same room as before, but instead of worked stone and an otherwise clean environs the entire place was covered with the corroded piping and chain mesh for the floors and walls. Beyond these nearly flimsy fixtures was a dark miasma, blocking the view of anything that may lay beyond the decrepit decorations. As they all stepped through the door, it closed behind them with the entry panel blanking out, losing power. They had made their choice, now they would have to survive what would be coming for them.
The first thing would be another of the nearby doors opening for a moment, depositing a young, black-haired woman amidst the interlopers. She had followed the other members of the Sith Eternal, either to make sure they wouldn't fail in their objective or to steal their glory for herself. Her reasons would be her own. As she had entered Fortress Vader what she had thought was a simple door turned out to deposit her here, in the darkness and filth of decay. Beyond the sudden appearance, she would know nothing of what the others had been through to this point.
The second thing, or things, would be oddly twitching humanoid forms starting to shamble at the four Force-Users from the corners of the room. They looked to have been human once, forms twisted by whatever dark hatred lingered in the Fortress and trapping them in this hopeless place. They started to whine, then scream as their jerky movements brought them closer to the four, no clear features save their mouths and wails. It almost sounded in harmony, like a song of suffering and pain, telling of the hatred and cruetly of those that had made the Fortress their own over its lifetime. Despite all this, though, the Jedi would feel a different harmony inside themselves, where they could feel the Force. Something older, alien to this place, it was singing to them. After so long, it wanted to leave. With someone worthy of truly hearing its song. The Dark Ones in the group had trouble hearing the song, yet the wails weren't as intense to them as they would be to the Jedi.
Back in the normal depths of the Fortress, the trapped man laughed as his guests made their choice. Alone, his door swung open slowly, showing a desiccated corpse dead for years, if not longer. whoever had been speaking had perhaps been here longer than anyone had thought, never wanting to leave. He would remain, mind, body, and soul, until the Fortress was naught but dust and a wail on the wind.
[OOC: To keep things even, we're bringing @Bran in for the SE. You may post on this upcoming round and going forward. Just to reiterate, everyone has 48 hours to post from when I submit this one, with there being no turn order.]
Listening to the Sith give her a tongue lashing, Mila nodded in acceptance, wondering if perhaps the Sith was correct. She felt the padawan have a bit of relief upon hearing the man's words, and took a step back to rectify her statement. "Very well, then I resend my statement, if you would accompany us, then I will be grateful if you assisted us in leaving this place." Maybe she had misinterpreted the directions. Mila felt the darkness overtake her, swallowing her whole, the wailing slammed into her core like a Mandalorian craftsman in the final moments of his work. Something sad and heart wrenching tore at her being, like a drowning man clutching onto her vestments as he was pulled under. That wasn't the worst of it if one could believe, as through the force, Mila could feel, perhaps even see four figures moving towards them. Her head moved up, extending her arms back to stop the group if they were unable to see. Had this all been a trap? Had that man lured them into a prison cell just to die? Alarm and concern came to her mind, as the words of the Sith came to her mind. The small one had told her not to trust what was in here, and yet, this sounds were coming from this beings that she most certainly felt moving towards them.
The man in the cell had talked of using their inner light to keep the ravages at bay, so she could only assume there was one thing to do; use the force of course. Reaching out, Mila took hold of two of the beasts, and focused on diverting them out of the path of the group, aiming to pin them to the walls, as she hoped they could pass bay without being harmed. "Numa, help me restrain these two, the rest of you, trap the other pair." She commanded, not wanting to know the fate that would befall anyone who was grabbed by these....beasts. If this plan were to work, Mila would press on, hoping that there would be a light at the end of the tunnel. If a member of her group talked her out of this approach with a strong enough argument, she would relent, but for right now, it seemed keeping these monsters at bay was the correct choice.