Fortress Vader: The Wisdom of Darkness

The Gatekeeper

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Mila's use of the Force would have been more effective if any of her companions had aided her. The other three seemed to have been stunned by the sudden horror of this place, a fact that the shambling abominations noted and took great glee in exploiting. Just one Jedi's attempt to pin two to the wall would not be enough to stop them, but it WOULD get them out of her way, though her companions would not be so lucky. The three were grabbed by those limbs flexing and twitching at impossible angles, the screams becoming triumphant and bloodthirsty as their strength was greater than anything they had come across before. As nearly one the pulled at the limbs they had grabbed of these interlopers, a few seconds of painful straining before appendages started to be ripped from their sockets.

Numa would lose her left arm, while Korsak would have his own right arm pulled from its socket to leave ragged wounds. Trinity, who had just appeared there, would have her right leg pulled from the socket, all three of them having bleeding wounds left as the abominations gave cries of sated bloodlust. The Darkness would pull at their bodies, taking them to the same black abyss that Edwast had been in, and the screams would haunt their minds until they woke up hours later, outside alongside the human just a few minutes prior. Mila would find herself left alone in the room, the limbs of her companions being all she would see left behind while a previously obscured hallway would shimmer into existence. With the Dark Side sated for now in this place, it seemed uninterested in hiding the path forward. It would be up to the Jedi as to where to go next, or to even run away. She would still feel that, if she pressed on, she could still accomplish her mission.


@Bran @Scott @The Captain @Algarus

[OOC Note: @Bran @Scott and @The Captain all timed out. There was the previous discussions from last round, the note from the last post, and a reminder given in Discord earlier about the timeout. These were more harsh because of the danger, yet your characters are not dead. Just missing some limbs. For now, @Algarus is continuing alone for now, though they still have a chance of succeeding in the mission. They may just have to adjust tactics.]
 

Mila Tesara

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Mila was left horrified by the events that unfolded. Perhaps she froze up, perhaps she fainted for a few moments, but all she knew was one moment she was in a group of four, and next it was just hear; and the blood, oh by the force, the blood. She had no choice but to press on, trying to take some solace in the fact she could not sense them nearby; hopefully they were still alive. She continued on to the path before her, feeling a fear taking hold in her that she had yet to experience. There was nothing as a jedi that such an ordeal could be expected. She had just lost four people in the last five minutes, all to something she couldn't fathom, while a dark evil prodded at her very being. She had to leave their severed limbs behind the monsters in the room with her were hopefully occupied with their new kills, as she could only move forward now; someone needed to report back to the council, let them know what had transpired here. Fear was at risk of winning over, as the first signs of it appeared on the knight's face, perhaps for the first time in many months. Yet she trudged forward in the dark, a small candle of light against a storm of shadow, her mind in a tizzy as she was on alert for what might come next. Mila fell back on her teachings, clearing her mind of distracts, reminding herself that she was at the mercy of the force now, and would be the witness to the inter-workings of the force should she continue onward; which she would obviously do. If the creatures to her rear attempted to give chase, she would let forth a sweep of her arm, aiming to trip the creatures and give herself enough time to escape; though she hoped that wouldn't be needed.
 
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The Gatekeeper

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Despite the pain or fear or anything else Mila may have been feeling, she had decided to press on instead of run away. That ancient song would swell slightly at this, pleased someone with such fortitude and will had finally arrived. Nearly everyone else who had been drawn to the dark citadel had succumbed to the decadent and deadly whispers of the Dark Side, yet now there was a chance to finally leave these dark halls. The song would guide the Jedi, the abominations still glutting on the pain and anguish they had created, down the previously obscured hallway. The corrosion would get thicker, the scent of decay and rust more prevalent, yet the song led on, still.

Eventually she would get to a three-way intersection in the pipes and chain, each leading to an open door into a room. The one on the left held treasure in droves, ancient coins of valuable metal and other weapons and useful things, some even seeming to be of Jedi origin from a glance. The right room Looked to be a doorway up, a steady but bright light at the end making it seem like it led out to the surface after a long walk. The center room was dark, shifting miasma obscuring much of the contents, yet the silhouette of humanoid forms could be seen through that mist. The song was leading the Jedi onwards, though it appeared she had a choice, now.


@Algarus
 

Mila Tesara

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Reaching a three way path, Mila felt a surge of Dopamine as she laid eyes on a treasure room. Even with all that occurred, she felt that she had found her goal, her mission objective was right there staring at her, and to her right was the exit to daylight. A small relieved smile stretched across her face, though she took a moment to center herself, after all so much had occurred so quickly. It was then she realized the song called her forward, beckoning her onwards. The prospect of continuing on did little for her hopes, as she found herself wanting to take the trinkets and flee to the surface, but once more the words of the potentially deceased Sith pushed to the surface 'Trust nothing in here'. Mila had unknowingly taken a step towards the room of spoils, but quickly corrected herself, throwing a glance to the room that seemed to lead to freedom, then one towards the shadowy mists before her. The call of the song beckoned her forward, and her gut told her to follow it.

To a sane person, this might have seemed illogical, and indeed Mila herself would be in argeement usually. But there was something at work here, be it destiny, the force, or perhaps even the Twi'lek jedi's mind shattering, and Mila felt compelled to investigate this 'song'. So, against her better judgement, she pushed onward, braving the mists, as she mentally prepared to deal with these abominations once again.
 

The Gatekeeper

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Mila made the correct choice. As she moved into the room with the mists, movement from both sides would cause her to look at the other chambers that had tried to pull her into them. The treasure had generated long, barbed spikes that looked sharp enough to pierce flesh and bone. The path seemingly outside, though, turned out to actually be the throat of some large creature that had pulled away from its failed trap. Thankfully, the Jedi would find herself not skewered to pieces nor the meal of some Dark Side creature. The figures in the darkness, though, turned out to be simple mannequins with limbs bent to odd angles. Only by coming close could she have seen this. The song seemed pleased, very pleased, a hint of hope of freedom slipping further into its melody.

Through the next door was a large obsidian chasm, the dark miasma flowing into a large hole in the center. There was a ragged breathing coming from the edge of this abyss, a form stepping forward with an odd gait. It was a burned man's form, eyes yellow with Dark Side corruption and just radiating hate and malice. Only one would ever have had this kind of negative emotions flowing from them, though most had seen him in a full suit of black armor and skull-like helmet. He should have been missing limbs, yet he seemed whole from a distance. As he activated his red lightsaber, though, the horror of truth would come to Mila. Grafted to his burnt stumps would be the limbs taken from her former companions, some in the wrong side but twisted to work like normal for the man. Darth Vader, or some kind of abomination of him, started to stride toward the Jedi with a murderous look in his eyes. All he desired was the blood of the Jedi.


@Algarus
 

Mila Tesara

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Mila felt a bit relieved as she had made the correct choice, strange that one of the darksiders from earlier had assisted her in clearing her head of distractions. If the man yet lived, she hoped she could thank him once this was done; assuming she would live. Mila stepped into the hall, expecting battle, but finding nothing of the sort. It was just mannequins, and a very odd display of them at that. She took ease in seeing that, though the darkness made her just a tad uncomfortable. She had initially entered the hall at a brisk pace, but seeing the lack of danger, she stopped, took in a breath, and continued onwards. She was safe in theory, any further exertion of herself would only hasten her own downfall; after all, it was much easier to react to stimuli when one was calm.

Entering this new room, Mila was taken aback. She had seen such things before, in vivid holo recordings, typically of survey teams reaching the core of a planet. She expected to feel scolding heat poured upon her, but there was nothing but....the song, and ragged breathing coming from the of a inky sea of darkness. A challenger stepped forth, as this twisted visage of Darth Vader came to the mind of the Twi'lek. She stepped back, taken aback by the grisly sight, her eyes widened in shock as she bore witness to the third most disturbing thing she had witnessed seen this day. "By the force." She muttered, as she took a step forward, watching as this creature began to move towards her with a confidence that might have been able to repel blaster fire. The desire to fight had been taken from her earlier, and the man who sentenced her to this miniature hell had already warned that sabers would be of no use.

The mind could only endure such torment, and while she wasn't broken by the things she bore witness today, she merely accepted that all was to be as the force willed it. She hung her head in acceptance, and while the abomination approach, she merely sunk to the ground. The strange man had mentioned balance, countering the force of one with the nature of another, and while Mila had accepted that victory through arms was not possible, she could only believe that perhaps through the force victory would be accomplished. So, doing as she had thousands of times before, she closed her eyes, bowed her head, and passed herself over to the force for judgement. She took hold of the plight that was assailing her mind, the terror that had unknowingly seized control of her hands and caused her to tremble. She took hold of these negative influences, and forced them out. If she was to die, she would die as a jedi. Not some creature tormented by fear. "Emotion, yet peace. Ignorance, yet knowledge. Passion, yet serenity. Chaos, yet harmony. Death, yet the Force." She spoke softly to herself, tuning out the approaching creature that made it's hate for her known. When she was but a young naive Twi'lek, those words brought her strange comfort, and once more they were doing so yet again.
 
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The Gatekeeper

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For a moment, everything paused in this place of darkness, this World between Worlds. For a moment, a shining burst of light came from Mila as she gave herself to the Force, untainted and enhanced by her devotion and mortality. As she recited the new Jedi code, small tendrils of white light came from her body to flow into the taken limbs of her companions. The first thing that happened was the arm holding the lightsaber dropped the weapon, the metal cylinder clattering away and into the abyss. Next the leg started to spasm, then kneel to trip up the apparition of Vader. The remaining arm went to the being's face, clawing at his own eyes and skin as he roared in rage. Whatever was left of her companions in those limbs were coming alive, either trying to help their friend or get revenge on what had wounded them. The Force was what was allowing them to return to their true selves for these moments, leaving the being open for the Jedi to act upon.

The song was coming from the abyss, almost pleading with Mila for help. It was nearly overflowing with darkness, a small glint of something on its surface, yet that hole required something more to push it over the edge and truly make her target come within reach. Enough darkness had spawned from this pit, to achieve true balance some would have to be returned. This was what the song was crying out to the first person who could truly listen in so many years. Freedom almost was in its grasp, it placed its faith in the Jedi who had survived so much. This was the moment to seize the day, if Mila could.


@Algarus
 

Mila Tesara

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Mila couldn't believe her eyes as she witnessed the force at work. She looked on in amazement, then horror, as the abomination before her tore at itself, seemingly looking to disembowel itself. It was a grisly sight to say the least, and one that would perhaps haunt her sleep for years to come. Despite the carnage and violence that was unfolding before her, Mila saw a chance to act, and took it. Digging deep, Mila reached out with both hands, rising to her feet as she would attempt to drive the beast back into the pit it had come from. Though she could hear the song still chiming out to her, she put it aside, instead focusing on the evident danger that was staring her down . She dug in her heels to the black stone floor, and pushed, hoping that the creature was well enough weakened that her attempt would succeed. After all, the force was her ally, and a powerful ally it was.

If this managed to work, if this had been what was needed to drive this beast away, Mila would move towards the chasm, after taking a moment to recover. She only hoped this mission was for naught, that perhaps she had managed to accomplish some small goal, perhaps recover whatever this song was leading her to. She could only hope of course, that such a plan was what the force had in mind, and if that not, then she would have to accept that and move on; after all, the greatest teacher failure is.
 

The Gatekeeper

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Held by his own stolen limbs, the Apparition of Darth Vader would be unable to stop the push from the Jedi. He toppled back into the abyss, dissolving into that miasma to fill the roiling blackness with his very essence. The surface of the darkness calms, turning to a mirror-like shine of the blackest ebony. Slowly floating towards the edge was what looked like a small gem, closer inspection showing that it was an ancient Kyber Crystal. It seemed broken somehow, as if split, and very fine carvings in a dialect Mila couldn't recognize would be inscribed on it. It was the source of the song, the tune turning quieter yet happy to no longer be alone or trapped. There was something important about this item, immensely so, and the Jedi would feel that this was what had been calling her and her companions to this place.

Once in hand, Mila would start to black out from a sudden pressure from the Dark Side. The crystal would flare once, surrounding her with a soft light, and when she would awake she would find herself in a hallway just before the chamber all of them had fallen from at the beginning of their adventure. She would be alone, close to her ship, with her prize in hand. A search would find her companion outside the grounds of the castle, missing a limb but otherwise just unconscious. She would be free to leave if she so wished, she had earned her survival by braving the Dark Side and adhering to her faith in the Jedi and their code. The memories of what had happened may end up haunting her to the end of her days, however. With great reward would come great sacrifice and pain. THAT was some of the Wisdom of Darkness.


/End Thread

@Algarus

[OOC: Congratulations! You have acquired one half of a set of coordinates, coded in an ancient cypher not used in thousands of years. You may not know where it leads, or where the other half is, but you DO know that the information it has can be very valuable.]
 
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