It has been months since Xeno's escape, and he has been preparing for the day to strike back. The Jedi had him changed and humiliated. The rage within himself was enough to fuel a war if the Sith hadn't already been at war with the Jedi. The Sith ships, 5 star destoyers, 3 cruisers, countless fighters, and one capital ship, were in space attacking any and all defense the Jedi had already set up. This attack was to be a surprise, and the Zabrak was ready to meet any Jedi in front of him. His time spent as a captive to the Jedi will not go unchecked. This will teach the Jedi that they cannot just hold captive who they wish.
Xeno would make his way to the transport ship that will bring him to the grounds of the planet's surface. While in the ship he will give the soldiers their orders as well as his apprentice.
"Soldiers, you will fire on all opposition. Jedi or Civilian. They must pay for their insolence. As for you my apprentice. You will stay close. Do not stray from the group. Learn from my mistakes so you will not make them yourself."
The shuttle finally made it to the surface, approximately 50 meters from the base, as the soldiers ran out and began firing on anything that moved. The light of the sun Dantooine orbited had shown on the Sith exiting the vessel. The Zabrak in his combat gear had looked down to see his left hand. The hand that was now mechanical thanks to one Jedi in specific, Isen. Should he show his face, Xeno will look to make it the last time he ever did.
"MOVE FORWARD! The Base is just ahead!"
Xeno waited to begin his own assault. Can never be too cautious. He would observe the temple and look out to see if there were any Jedi coming to battle.
"Now we wait my apprentice, let us see who shows their face."
Aadya remained quiet during the shuttle ride to the surface. Something strange stirred in her stomach when she felt the shuttle touch down jerkily, its doors opening with a hiss. The feeling amplified when she stepped her booted feet onto the surface of Dantooine, a planet she hadn't hadn't seen since she was a Jedi herself.
It still smelled the same but the air was different. Tense and heavy, like the force itself knew that the Sith had arrived. The attack was supposedly a surprise, at least that's what the one commanding the invasion had implied. Aadya had no experience with Xeno Brogroo, so only time would tell if this was a fools errand or a strategic master stroke.
The temple itself, looming in the distance away from the base ahead, dominated Aadya's attention as she ran her eyes over it. A home, once - but now only a monument to her own bitter resentment. Aadya had no idea what Xeno's overall goals were here but she didn't particularly care.
She had her own demons to exorcise with the Jedi and hers were far darker, ran deeper, and mattered more than some Zabrak's shattered ego. With swift steps and flanked by soldiers, she made her way towards it.
Civilians hurried as 'calmly' as they could to the evacuation ships while an alarm blared out across the sky. A hand full of Jedi were guiding them, and with those Jedi stood Clove with her wide eyes. Crix had assigned her to the evacuation group, and she didn't want to disappoint him or fail in the one task she had been given, so she arrived with her leather bag stuffed with her medical kit slung over her shoulder.
The first two civilian-loaded ships were loaded and ready to take off when a wave of panic swept through the civilians. They began to point up into the air; the first ships of the Sith empire became visible with the naked eye and flew through the clouds.
"Please, don't panic and don't push each other! More evacuation ships will arrive shortly." She spoke as calmly and persistently as she could, but her voice lacked the power to reach a large group of people. Their already hurried steps became frantic sprints, and worried whispers became panicked screams.
This would've been so much easier if she wasn't terrified herself.
The half-Sephi looked down at her trembling hands and pressed them together in an attempt to stop them. She needed to calm down. She couldn't make the same mistakes she'd made in that cursed abandoned house, where the sight of a Sith had sent her screaming. But she felt incredibly small, at least twice as short as she actually was. Still. People needed help, they needed a Jedi. Not a high school girl. She had to keep trying.
There is no emotion, there is peace
There is no emotion, there is peace
She shifted her gaze back to the civilians after rolling her shoulders. A new evacuation ship had docked and was allowing civilians to board. "Get on board. There's no need to run, there's room for everyone, you'll be safe! We'll protect you!" But, no matter how hard she tried, her voice didn't seem to reach the civilians who were fleeing to the evacuation ships as quickly as they could. In their blind haste, people knocked each other over, those who fell were walked over, and children screamed louder than the alarms. It was a total mess.
I've edited the post a slight bit to reflect my very tragic roll more accurately.
Rolled a 24% in the discord server, regarding how well clove manages to calm down the civilians.
Maybe the comments he read, scrawled onto the side of some ancient book, about it being like poetry was right. Because it was beginning to feel like this kind of thing rhymed, it was just so damned similar. Day in and day out it changed up very slightly and all he could do was stand to face the assaults of yet another being twisted by the Dark Side until he felt as though he had the right to decide who lived and died.
Very little in the way of time to prepare, just like Ossus. Except this time at least the Sith had the common courtesy to have actually done some forward surveillance to make sure the Jedi were actually present. So maybe it was a rhyme because it seemed that even the Sith could learn a new trick when pushed.
Standing in front of the base, Crix drew his lightsaber and held it to his right side as he ignited the blade. The Sith were beginning to land forces and already he could see and feel the taint of the Dark Side. He was glad he had sent Clove on to assist with the evacuation group - this was no place for a Padawan.
Something was coming that was beyond the Zabrak he could already see in the distance organizing the Sith troopers. Taking a deep breath, Crix affixed a wide grin to his face. Wide enough that the defenders could see it and take heart and the attackers would see it as the challenge that it was.
With the distance between them large enough, Crix mockingly bowed shallowly to the Zabrak ahead of him before straightening and pointing his saber directly at him.
"You and I shall dance." he declared, knowing the distance would mean the words were lost as he took a deep breath, widening his grin again, "I hope you shall not disappoint me."
One Jedi had been unheard and unseen now for some time. He'd wandered freely through the galaxy, isolated himself in natural places, meditated on the Force and what it meant to him. Thought over action and reaction through his entire career, the nature of his mind and empathy, the things he'd done in the name of protecting others.
He found himself wanting. Now on Dantooine, it seemed, things just happened to work out a certain kind of way. No one knew he was even on Dantooine. His ship arrived quietly, the man walking the planet's wilds without a word to others.
Until, the next day, things changed. Instinct drew him toward where the Jedi Order made their base the planet, step by step, mile by mile. When Sith ships dropped from the sky, blasting downward through the clouds above, he was exactly where he needed to be.
A text was ready by Ego to sent to @Trys Aran. He wasn't sure why he even bothered. But he felt he should. Maybe it would change something for the better.
There before the base, a presence made itself known. Like spring flowers blooming in gentle warmth, stray petals dancing on the air carrying the scents of vibrant life. Warm as summer sunlight spreading over the horizon, sudden as surprise rains that fell to quench flames in forests. Inevitable as autumn's gentle winds that carried leaves most beautiful just before falling, far from home. A deep chill, the first and last winds of winter before spring flowers emerged all over again.
A figurebright as a beacon in the Force emerged out from where it'd been hiding in the folds of the Force all around them to, standing next to Crix tall and strong as towering treetops. From its broad leather belt that also carried Sol's hilt and a crossguard shoto, it drew a lightsaber into a prosthetic left hand. Emerald plasma ignited into the air to match green eyes that shined like gems, glowing with life beneath the hood.
Shoulders rolled, one of metal and one of flesh. The cloak fell away to flutter to the ground. Beneath were flashy robes in bright colours, sleeves rolled up to bare intricate tattoos across his right arm shot through with gold-filled scars derived from striking lightning.
Hannibal grinned, bright as daylight. Sure as the sun rose and seasons passed. Surely as rivers flow on endlessly to the sea. In defiance of fear, of hesitation, of pain, he grinned. Through that grin he spoke in a whisper. Any Jedi who faced the coming darkness would hear it clear and true.
"Have no fear, for fear is the little death that kills over and over. Without fear, we die but once."
Emerald eyes glanced to Crix. The green blade rose, tip pointing directly at the enemy in the same stance the half-Zabrak held. Matched mirror images, side by side, just like when they'd trained together.
"Hey there, kid. Not startin' without me, are ya?"
As the Sith ships descended down on Dantooine, another transport ship shot through the air to flank the one that carried Xeno and Aadya. Imperials began to pool out across the land, the single shuttle rapidly moving to join the others. The ramp opened while the ship hovered but the Sith Lord didn’t wait. Raze skidded down the ramp and off the edge, landing with a heavy thud on the ground in a crouch several feet away from Xeno and Aadya.
He slowly rose to his full height as the shuttle shifted and disappeared behind him, the Sith Lord adorned in his trademark armor. His presence in the Force was one that many Jedi had been told about, and many would recognize. Raze stood perfectly still for a few seconds, assessing the situation and rapidly sizing up the enemy forces. He could already make out a familiar presence in the Force that didn’t make any attempts to hide himself. The metallic visor of his helmet fixed in that direction for a few moments.
A cruel grin spread across his face beneath the helmet as the Sith Lord slowly began to walk in the direction of the base. His aura in the Force pulsated with the energy of a Dark Side nexus. As if he were a taint or a breach within the Force itself, a contamination that poisoned the pool of light the Jedi worked so hard to maintain. There was a noticeable chill to the air in the path he cut behind him, and it was clear he walked with purpose. He had a target in mind and he would kill and toss aside anything or anyone that stood between him and that target.
Dantooine, Senin never expected that he would return to this planet after Xeno escaped from the prison. However, he understood why his Master chose to attack this place. The Jedi drugged the Zabrak, leaving him defenseless. They should pay for that.
Wearing his Harlequin mask and dressed in a dark coat, with a hood covering his hair, Senin walked besides his Master toward one of the transport ships. When they were inside it, Xeno would start to give orders to the soldiers. Then the Zabrak said that he should stay close to him. "Yes,Mestre." the Acolyte nodded in agreement. Together they were more powerful against the Jedi.
When the shuttle landed, Senin exited it with his Master. The Jedi Base was some meters in front of them. A devilish grin appeared on his lips, hidden by the mask. He couldn't wait to see this cursed place burn and hopefully with most of the Jedi dead. They should pay for what they did with Xeno.
His thoughts were interrupted by the Zabrak's voice, ordering the attack to begin. Following what his Master had ordered, Senin would remain there with him, waiting for the inevitable arrival of the Jedi.
Thelian remained eerily silent, even as defenders and Jedi alike rushed to prepare for the impeding assault. As they had for countless minutes before, silvery eyes remained fixated on the skies above them, watching as Sith shuttles began to descend from the heavens above.
Thelian had arrived in Dantooine only a day prior for training exercises, only to be cut short when Sith ships suddenly appeared, carving downward and through the clouds above. The boy hadn't intended to find himself facing a Sith invasion when he left Yavin IV, but here he was.
Standing at the front lines of the base, the Padawan was adorned in a tan, sleeveless tunic and loose-fitting trousers, coupled with earthen-toned boots and a utility belt on his waist. He drew the lightsaber hilt from his side, azure plasma igniting into the air with a loud hiss. He finally looked to his side to catch the grin plastered across Crix’ face, even managing to return a faint smile of his own.
As soon as a particular shuttle dropped down onto the surface, Thelian could feel a very specific presence rippling through the Force all around him, drawing his attention to the field ahead and killing the smile he wore. It was like a cancer within the Force itself, dark tendrils that snaked out and sought to corrupt the very thing that made this planet sacred.
After the attacks on Ajan Kloss, it was a presence that he had been taught to look out for, and in an instant the Echani knew exactly what it was that they were facing.
As Raze grew closer, that presence seemed to collided against Thelian like a tidal wave – filling him with a distinct sense of dread and manifesting as waves of nausea that washed over his body. In that moment, every instinct in boy’s body urged him to run, to get as far away from here as possible and never look back.
And yet he didn’t.
The Padawan dug his boots into the ground, bitterly forcing himself to stand his ground – to defend that which he had come to hold dear. He heard the words of Hannibal clear as day, taking in a deep breath to settle his the nerves that swelled within. After a moment, Thelian strode forward, took his place to the left and slightly behind Hannibal.
His stance was wide, right hand held out in front of him while his lightsaber was held in a reverse grip in his left, positioned behind his back. Silvery eyes narrowed, watching as the shuttles began to land and the enemy came into view across the field. Whatever might come, Thelian was prepared to stand his ground and face it.
Sith soldiers would quickly learn firing at Hannibal was a poor decision. Stray fire was met by an emerald shield that flashed and whipped with expert skill to send bolts away into their own lines. Swat, bat, each streak flinging straight back with minimal movement. Clearly he'd become used to that new prosthetic of his, the metal moving with machine precision and grace to each guard position. The Jedi took a step forward as he defended, grin widening as he took in the distant appearance and presence of the arriving Sith.
One was far darker than the rest. The malicious chill of death to meet the four cycling seasons of Hannibal. Drought to rain, plague to flowers, smoke to sunlight. He'd yet to encounter it personally, but he certainly recognized the armour by description. Raze was here to make a repeat of Ajan Kloss.
And he'd brought a clown? Hannibal's grin became comically bemused and upbeat laughter filled the air, unhindered by the approaching dark. "They brought a jester!!" he shouted with an amplified voice over the plains, laughing in the face of evil things just like he always did. Subtly a hand motion toward Thelian then pointed toward the harlequin. "What, the horror movie rejects weren't enough for ya!?" Oh by the Force this was good. "And what's with that one?" The Morellian asked no one in particular, gesturing subtly to Crix and then vaguely toward the red-skinned Zabrak in the middle of knocking a blaster shot aside.
"Gloves, no shirt, long skirt? You auditionin' for a strip club, dude!?" At least two of the Sith looked the normal and practical sort. Hannibal waved his lightsaber through the air, also happening to knock a shot from one very hopeful soldier up into the air. "We've got poles for ya, edgelords, so come dance!" His grin widened impishly, Hans' characteristic style of Dun Moch out in full force.
"Oo, and it's the Big Bad Bastard himself! Rowdy, raging, long overdue, it's Raze!" Hannibal stepped sideways away from the others, instinct moving him to adjust where Raze was heading to keep a safer distance from the others. "Come to set another place ablaze? Well, Talak's got a message for ya." He maintained his vocal and walking rhythm, stance up and on guard as needed.
"A shiv in the ribs, natch." Like flicking a switch he became winter. . Coldly focused on the task at hand, sufficiently detached from his feelings or empathic feedback. Glimmering emeralds hardened above a determined smile, left foot forward, lightsaber fully horizontal with the tip toward the infamous Sith Lord. In the face of who and what he was, there was no offer of surrender.
"Find peace in death."
Fingers flicked forward to fling forth a trio of slim, small stones, rock bullets launched from the ground at Raze's abdomen one after the other in staccato sequence.
The bulk of the Sith forces had now arrived in earnest and Aadya could feel the thrum of the dark side coursing through the air. The arrival of Darth Raze certainly played a part in that, his imposing figure a monolith on the battlefield.
Aadya couldn’t help but feel just the smallest pang of worry as her eyes rested on the Sith Lord, though. The last time she’d fought with Raze he had suffered badly and in turn she watched her master suffer. Aadya never inquired about the nature of their relationship and she never would - not her business. But, here and nkw she would die to defend Darth Raze if it meant sparing Stolas the same pain she had seen on Denon.
The lines of battle had been clearly drawn and over the chorus of fighting Aadya heard one of the Jedi squawking insults. They were decent, but she’d heard better. Jedi really lacked the teeth for effective Dun Moch. The threat of a gumjob never really was that rattling.
Aadya’s attention was drawn to ships, to people trying to evacuate. She couldn’t allow that, no. These people needed to bear witness to the Jedi failing, to understand first hand that the Sith were inevitable. They needed to suffer because, though she wouldn’t admit it, Aadya suffered. And she would not do it alone anymore.
She approached the evac site with a sure stride, eyes open and a malevolent grin splitting her lips beneath the mask of her armor. With a flick of her wrist she sent a large stone into a group of huddled civilians, crushing two of them and leaving a third splattered with viscera.
She saw the Jedi, then, helping others onto a ship. You could tell a Jedi by the way they moved, the way they felt. Aadya’s eyes narrowed as she unclipped her lightsaber and ignited it, it’s crimson blade erupting to life.
Jedi! Aadya shouted, her voice loud and soaked with venom. Should I bother with a headstone or are you more worthy of an unmarked grave? She laughed, but it wasn’t her laugh. Harsh and staccato.
Aadya would advance toward Clove, her eyes alive with murderous intent.
The Jedi had made their way out to meet the Sith. The first to acknowledge Xeno would be an opposing Zabrak Jedi. They were clearly not Dathomiri as they did not brandish the traditional tattoos. Which in most circumstances it would mean Xeno did not care, but he heard about this Jedi. They were Crix Aran, Jedi Knight. A fairly skilled warrior. A worthy opponent for Xeno's attention.
Do not fear Jedi.. You shall feel my wrath.
The Red Zabrak Sith Champion had looked onward as another Jedi had began to insult his attire. It did not bother Xeno any as he is proud of his Dathomiri heritage. At least he did not wear kitchen rags as an attire and call them robes. He was above the look of stupidity the Jedi so dearly loved. This Jedi in specific was Jedi Master Hannibal Grayza. A chaotic and fearless fighter. It would've been an honor to kill him in combat, but Lord Raze had looked to do it himself. Xeno instead would settle for the next best fight, Crix.
"My apprentice, you will stay close, but do what you must to win. These are Jedi, they do not deserve such wealth of life. Take that one there. The one with white hair. From the looks of it he is at your skill level. Remember our training and you will be fine."
Xeno would keep his eyes locked on the Jedi Zabrak. His eyes fierce with yellow glowing, and his jaw clenched. It was time for the Champion to show that he was not here to lose. Walking forward he would keep an aura of the force around his body enough to prepare a defense to an incoming force attack. He knew the Jedi would not fight him one on one with their saber, they have been known to show cowardice in numbers, sneak attacks, hidden force attacks, as well as beasts. Now there was only Crix and Xeno. The Champion would be prepared for any attack coming his way.
"Perhaps it will be you who disappoints me."
Xeno would ignite one of his blades and close in on the Jedi. Now he would use a technique he learned from past experiences, and would reach through the force to wrap around the Jedi's legs, grip tight to send the knees together, then pull towards himself. Xeno would then continue to close in on the Jedi.
Didn't take much time for the Jedi to start to arrive. Senin senin was a little nervous, he could still remember how hard it had been to fight a Jedi the last time he had been in Dantooine. But this time things would be different, he wasn't alone. There was an entire army of the Sith Empire, his Master and Lord Raze. This thought made him calm down, he would need all his concentration for the battle that was about to start.
The young man annalized the Jedi that they were going to fight. There weren't as many as he had thought. One of them started to make jokes that made Senin raise an eyebrow behind his mask. He had heard better, though he had to admit that calling Xeno a stripper was a good one. Surely it was something that the Acolyte could say on such an occasion. Perhaps the Jedi had some sense of humor after all.
He turned to Xeno when the Zabrak started to talk with him. "Yes, mestre." he said, nodding at him. While his Master walked toward the Zabrak Jedi, Senin moved to intercept the white haired one. Picking his lightsaber, the young man covered himself with the Force, prepared to defend against a possible attack. Now, being able to see him better, the Acolyte noticed that the Jedi seemed to be around his age, perhaps a bit younger. He smirked behind his mask, perhaps he would have some fun.
"Well, well, what do we have there?" he said, his mask muffling his voice. Senin activated his lightsaber, while he ran his eyes through the Jedi's body. "Has anyone ever told you that you are very cute?" he winked at him. Then he would use the Force in an attempt to hold the white-haired boy's legs and arms. "It's sad that we are going to meet under these circumstances, I would have loved to know you in another way. Perhaps on a date!" he said in a seductive tone, while he continued to approach the Jedi. This time he was going to be prepared for any trick that the other could make.
Raze spotted that familiar Jedi Master in the distance, keenly aware of the civilians scrambling to get off planet at once. The Sith Lord kept up his advance, watching the giant smile on the Jedi Master’s face and hearing the laugh and jokes that echoed. While that happened, the Sith Lord did something that not even Hannibal would realize at the time. A darkness loomed into the minds of the padawans and knight (@Altaris@LilyNion@Nefieslab ) on the field. It was brief, it was just a flash, but it was vivid.
The padawans, which had only heard the stories, would be treated to the very real memories of the scene of the temple on Ajan Kloss. They would see corridors lined with dead younglings, padawans and knights. They would feel the agony, the fear and the horrors unleashed that day as hopelessness and despair overwhelmed them. The padawans would see this all juxtaposed with Hannibal making his jokes and laughing, making light of the situation at hand. They would see the faces of the dead, their eyes still vacant and open and they would hear Hannibal giggling about masks and poking fun at attire.
As Hannibal touched on the topic of Talak, the padawans and knight would see glimpses of the day Talak Rand died and the light that faded from his eyes. They would both know, deep in their hearts, this was no trick of the Dark Side. These were all true memories of what had happened. And they would see how delusional and flippant their so called Jedi Master was in the face of it. How he had no concept of respect for the dead or the tragedies that happened in the past. It would be a sick sensation building at the pits of the padawans' stomachs, working to cloud their minds with doubt and making them reflect.
Externally, the Sith Lord kept making his advance, withdrawing from the padawans’ minds. None of his efforts would cause any actual harm, but they certainly would stay with them. The visor watched as Hannibal began his attack, but Raze did not shift to the side to avoid it.
There was a transport ship nearby that had a woman climbing up the ramp behind her son. Without warning, the woman was yanked off the ramp and flipped so she faced Hannibal. The child would watch as Hannibal’s rock bullets peppered the woman directly in the face, shredding through her eyes and mouth. To add insult to injury, Raze actually manipulated the rocks to speed up their momentum so Hannibal couldn’t readjust them last minute.
The son shrieked as he saw the display before him, falling to his knees on the ramp. He turned his head to look at the origin of the projectiles, staring at Hannibal.
Raze released his grip on the woman, letting her collapse in a pile on the ground as he kept walking. He didn’t draw any weapons, the dark side channeling within him in all its fury. There was an eerie calm to him, a sickening chill that lingered. It was clear that words and taunting would never have an impact on him. He didn’t launch any attacks as he stepped past the dead woman on the ground.
The woman who had found peace in death. As Hannibal intended.
As much as he was happy to see his wayward Master return to the Jedi during their time of need, he couldn't help but feel a little bit put out that he immediately launched into a comedy routine. Had said comedy actually gotten to any of the Sith he could have forgiven it but so far it didn't look very promising. Still, he tried to give the Padawan ( @Altaris ) a reassuring smile.
"His comedy is an acquired taste. Don't acquire it."
Crix tightened his grip on his lightsaber as he moved to meet Xeno before a sudden darkness came over him. Blinking, he crouched ever so slightly in preparation for something more physical and it was what allowed him to react quickly to Xeno's attack on his legs. His knees came together but with his lower center of gravity and his mind focused on the Force he was able to snap the tether around him before he could be pulled.
And then the mental intrusion started.
Ajan Kloss, something he had not been a part of. Something he had not seen through his own eyes and yet projected into his mind in stunning clarity and heightened emotion. He didn't need to have been there to have it burn into his mind it seemed, though he was able to push through it because of that. It wasn't quite as real to him and with his higher level of training than the Padawans he would be able to separate it better because of that and push through it. It hurt and the sensations and emotions felt real but he was able to put distance between himself and them to better push through them.
With a roar of anger, he threw his mind through the death of Talak, the death of the man who had helped save his mother's life. He knew he should be able to detach himself from it but he didn't - he used it instead and that? That would be something he needed to deal with later. He launched a heavy Push with his left hand at Xeno's chest, intent on caving it in as much as sending him backward.
Breathing heavily, Crix drew in deep lungfuls of air, his pupils wide and his lips pulled back in a snarl. He just felt so helplessly angry in the face of Raze - he knew he couldn't kill the man himself. The man who had killed Talak and force him to see it, to feel it - hells - to LIVE it as some kind of sick distraction.
Clarity and peace were not to be found straight away, not for Crix Aran when Talak's death had been so callously dragged through the mud in front of him. But that was why he didn't immediately try and pursue his instinctive attack on Xeno, taking whatever time he could to center himself because as much as he wanted to rip and tear through Xeno in order to get to Raze... he didn't want to finish the job of desecrating Talak's memory by sinking into the Dark Side.
That left only one thing to be said.
"Hans - shut up and fucking kill him."
Clove's eyes were drawn to something else during the chaos of civilians running back and forth in search of shelter or an evacuation ship. A woman in her early 20s approached them. The way she carried herself, the expression on her face... Was she one of the Sith?
Then, with a sickening snap of bones, a rock flew into the crowd of civilians and crushed two people.
Yups. She was a Sith.
Clove reluctantly reached up for her curls and began to tuck them into a loose bun while staring at the woman. Because that lady wasn't a Sith lord; she didn't carry the strong darkness Clove had felt on the battlefield. So RTFA did not work. Which meant she shouldn't try to run away. Her trembling hand reached for her training lightsaber on her belt, and she nervously pushed herself through the crowd, forming a very short barrier between them and the Sith.
"Hello! I honestly never thought about what type of gravestone I deserve. Also! You have very pretty... Hair..."
The Darkside swirled into her head and burst past her mental defenses, a feeling she had never felt before. Images of a location she'd never seen before invaded her thoughts, obliterating her eyesight and revealing only dead eyes and pale, bloodied faces. She felt their pain and anguish as if it were her own. It was as though she was lying in those bloody corridors instead of them. Her skin tingled, her muscled ached as she stood frozen stiff, her eyes fixed on the emptiness. Then came the laughter.
Why was there laughter? It sounded like the Jedi Master close to Crix. Yes, it was him. Why was he making fun of this pain and suffering?! It was extremely loud, so happy and joyful.
It felt like she'd been in those red-drenched corridors for a century. But the Sith had only moved a few steps closer to her by the time her own vision returned.
Which each new quick blink those lifeless eyes haunted her as clear as day, striking a new blow in her stomach. There was nothing else in her mind but the sea of blood and flesh she had just witnessed. There was so much suffering. So much anguish. So much death. So much... A lady in armor strode across the sea of blood, half of her face covered in black, the other half bearing a nightmarish look. The image jerked her awake enough for her to comprehend she needed to do something, anything, or she'd join the corridor of corpses.
"Clove, you have to remember! If you want to do this, you have to lock everything away. You have to, if you want to protect yourself." Her father's calm voice spoke softly into her ear, reminding her of what she had to do. It was stupid, in the long run pretty harmful and it only really worked effectively in the medical bay. But what other choice did she have? Time was running short, and the Sith would soon stop walking and begin attacking.
Every feeling, every thought that wasn't about the task at hand crammed itself into a far too small drawer, festering and boiling into a future disaster. Clove's formerly wide and emotional eyes went distant as the drawer slammed shut, like a breeze blowing out a flame. Her body thawed and pushed her forward, her hand removing the training lightsaber from her belt.
She wasn't sure for how long that drawer remained shut, but for now there was only one thought, one task that drew her away from the crowd and toward the woman: stop the Sith for as long as possible.
For the first time since the invading ships dropped out of hyperspace, Thelian began to feel a sense of relief wash over him. The confident smiles of Crix, and the sudden appearing of a Jedi Master – someone the Echani genuinely looked up to - did a great deal to calm the Padawan’s swelling nerves. It quelled the overwhelming anxiety that silently strangled him, and gave him the strength to steel himself for the fight that was to come.
In the blink of an eye, the darkness seemed to reach out and grasp Thelian individually, and all that strength died in an instant.
The Darkness washed over and swallowed him, and Thelian’s vision darkened – the fields of Dantooine and the present moment fading into the background. Instead, he was projected back in time to the Invasion of Ajan Kloss. It was a moment that had occurred long before the Echani was ever a Padawan – harkening back to a time when he was nothing more than the property of the Hutt Clans. He knew he was not there, and yet the memories and scene before him felt so vivid and real.
He saw corridors filled with Padawans and younglings alike, their limp, mangled bodies strewn across the floor of the temple as they were cut down by Raze. He saw a sea of red that painted those sacred halls, and he saw lifeless faces not so dissimilar to his own. He saw the fear that had permanently been etched into their faces, and he saw eyes that seemed to stare into his very soul. Above it all, Thelian heard laughter overlaid atop the memories – jovial and giddy laughter as if the source of that voice had been told the best joke in the galaxy.
For a moment, the Padawan believed it was a voice that belonged to the monster himself – to the creature that cut through so many of his peers. That moment passed, and a sickening realization washed over the Echani as he recognized the voice from before – the same voice that had moments ago encouraged him not to fear. Hannibal.
He heard the Jedi Master mentioned Talak, and the vision suddenly shifted, and Thelian was subjected to memories of the day that Denon was invaded. He saw battlefields stewn with fallen comrades and the destruction that had been left in the wake of the Sith. He saw the face of Talak Rand as crimson plasma pierced through his body, unable to look away as the life slowly faded from his eyes.
Above it all, Thelian saw the flippant way in which their Jedi Master behaved in - what he believed - to be response to that day. He saw the way in which the man had no respect for the dead and seemed to completely disregard every tragedy that had occurred that day. Thelian saw, he began to doubt in the one thing – the only thing – he had come to rely upon.
A moment passed, and Thelian was transported back to the present moment – the vision fading from his sight as suddenly as it had been forced upon him. And though the mental attack passed, its effects on the boy lingered long afterwards.
Thelian didn’t know when the tears had formed and began to stream down his cheeks, stinging his eyes and clouding his vision as they fell. He felt his body shake and tremble beyond his control, his knees wobbling and threatening to give out beneath him. He felt the grip on his lightsaber tighten, while the fingernails of his free hand dug into his palms until they drew red.
It took all Thelian had topple over from the nausea. Unfortunately, the Padawan nonetheless wasn't able to keep from emptying the contents of his stomach onto the tall, savannah grasses of Dantooine. Which, in all likelihood, at least partially landed right onto Hannibal’s boots.
He wasn’t physical injuried, there were no wounds left on his body, but those visions had damaged him all the same. Those terrible, terrible memories were branded into Thelian’s consciousness and would not leave him unto death. And neither would Hannibal’s voice.
A few moments would pass, and Thelian finally snapped his head to the right, turning to face the Jedi Master and the source of the laughter that now echoed in his mind, taunting and jovial when the boy could see nothing but corridors filled with death padawans and younglings. A few moments would pass, and Thelian refused to be silent for a moment longer.
“What. The FUCK is wrong with you?!" He snapped at the half-Epicanth, his every word laced with icy contempt. His eyes, only moments ago filled with fear, hardened and became frigid as a glacier. "Why the hell are you laughing, you psychotic fuck!?”
Silvers narrowed into pale slits, launching daggers at Hannibal. At the man who’s arrival had moments ago heralded comfort, only to be betrayed by that horrible, horrible laughter. For a moment, Thelian forgot who was standing beside him. He didn't care about rank or decorum, or how he ought to behave as a Padawan when addressing a Master. All of that was forgotten, replaced by raw, visceral reaction.
A few moments of harsh, angry glaring would pass before Thelian’s attention was then drawn across the field, settling upon that idiot in a harlequin mask. He felt the enemy refer to him as ‘cute’, and suddenly felt as the masked Sith reached out with the Force to hold him in place. And for a few long moments, it was successful. Thelian felt as his body tensed and strained, feeling as if his limbs had been sunk into concrete. Despite it, the Echani never made a sound, silver eyes narrowed harshly upon the Acolyte and remaining eerily silent in the face of the taunting, flirtatious words.
Only a few moments would pass before Thelian moved to counter the hold on his limbs. Just as the Senin reached out to hold Thelian in place, the Echani drew upon the Force all around him – coiling the Light around his body. Senin would be able to feel as the durasteel bands of his grasp were forcibly pried away slowly but surely, releasing the Echani from the Force hold and allowing him to move freely once again.
As soon as he was free, Thelian sprang forward and past the Jedi base, resolved to meet the Sith Acolyte on his own terms, rather than allowing the boy to approach any closer. Senin would only get through half of his sentence before Thelian closed the distance between them, darting at full speed towards the Acolyte.
With his azure saber still held in his left hand, Thelian arced the blade downward, blue plasma slicing through the air and attempting to cleave through the human’s thigh. While his saber sliced downward, attempting to elicit a low defense, Thelian silently channeled the Force into himself, calling upon the hours of meditation and training to do so.
In that moment, the Light coursed through his slender limbs, enhancing his physical strength and durability beyond natural means. As he did so, Thelian drew back his left hand, fingers curling into a fist as he attempted to slam directly into Senin’ ridiculous, painted mask. As he did so, the Echani Padawan growled through gritted teeth, finally opting to respond to the earlier flirting.
Aadya could feel it - the nervousness, the fear that dripped from Clove as the girl stepped away from the civilians. The most feeble barrier ever constructed since the Death Star’s thermal exhaust port.
A witty and venomous barb had worked its way up Aadya’s throat when Clove had offered a compliment to her derision. It never managed to find its way out, though, getting caught at the back of her mouth like caustic spittle. Something had wormed its way into the little padawan, something deep and dark and vile.
Aadya felt the dark side soaking the air, a saccharine miasma that would make even the most stalwart Jedi vomit their lungs onto the floor. But not her; not Aadya. She breathed it in, let it fill her, felt it saturate her blood as it coursed through the very center of her heart.
She knew only person here capable of such permeating evil, the only person capable of taking and twisting the mouthy Jedi’s schoolyard quips into a dagger driven straight into the soul.
Raze, the one she foolishly worried for just a few moments ago. He was more now than he had been then, so much more. Aadya would not let him slip through her fingers this time, after the blood of the Jedi soaked Dantooinian soil she would find him. Aadya did not fear the Lord as the Jedi - the galaxy - did. Not anymore.
Do you understand now, little Jedi? The words left Aadya’s mouth as not but a whisper, carried on the force directly to Clove’s ear. She would hear it even with her mind sealed up tight with so many fragile locks. Their past is your future. You are nothing, and everyone you’ve ever known has failed you.
The distance between Aadya and Clove had closed to not but four or five meters. Gripping her lightsaber tightly, Aadya channeled the force through her her body and reached out her off hand as she started to run.
A ball of force energy would erupt from Aadya’s outstretched hand, rocketing towards Clove and aimed directly at her chest. With sure movements, Aadya would close the distance between them, hoping to end the young girl’s life far more intimately. Saber to flesh, face to face, hand around Clove’s throat.
To watch light in her eyes giving in to the inevitable darkness.
Senin smirked behind the mask, while his hold over the Echani seemed to have an effect. He could felt the Dark side covering the place, coming from Lord Raze. It was affecting the other boy, in a way that the Acolyte thought that was delicious. He could felt the other fear and anger, leaving the white haired boy even more immobilized. However, Senin continued to approach carefully. Even with Thelian not seeming to react, the Acolyte didn't want to rush. Who knows what tricks the Jedi might have?
Then he started to feel the other fighting against his grasp. Senin concentrated, in an attempt to keep the other immobilized, but little by little the harlequin began to feel that the other was breaking free. During this dispute between them, the Acolyte had begun to walk slowly backwards. As the strategy of immobilizing the Padawan had failed, he needed to think of something else.
Before he could do anything else, the Echani boy ran toward him, abandoning his position near the Jedi base. The idiot wanted to face him away from his allies! Before the other could be close enough to slash him with his lightsaber, Senin would do a backflip, concentrating the Force around himself to increase its distance. Doing it, he would land some meters away from the Padawan.
“So you want me to stop talking? Maybe I’ll do that if you give me a kiss!” then the Acolyte started to laugh. “But I think that who really needs to stop talking is this Jedi there. His jokes are terrible. Look, even a poor woman died because of them! They even made you cry!” he would say with fake sadness, then would continue laughing. Senin had noticed that the boy was furious and perhaps he could use it to his advantage. “Do you know? You Jedi are doing an excellent job in killing people! Who leaves civilians near the base that is being attacked? Maybe you are the sadists!” during the entire time that he was talking, the young man had strengthened the Force around himself and was watching the Padawan’s reactions. He held his saber tightly, prepared for any attack that might come. He wouldn't be taken by surprise.
If his strategy worked, the constant teasing Senin was doing would make Thelian even angrier and he would come straight at him. And in that way, further away from the base and the other Jedi.
The force push coming from the Jedi Zabrak was strong, but the presence of the force around Xeno for defense was able to carry most of the blast away, leaving Xeno to deflect the rest of the push, only sliding Xeno backwards a couple feet. There was no denying that Crix was strong, but he was strong for other reasons here. He used anger in this push, Xeno recognized the emotion coming from the force. Crix was using anger.
Xeno could see the frustration in Crix's eyes. His anger. There was a darkness within him. Xeno knew there were shadows casted out from every light, the same could be said for the Jedi. This one in specific had the potential of darkness. He knew speaking of the dead would be enough to anger him, especially since the dead would be his old Jedi pal, Talak. The one Raze had slayed back on Ajan Kloss. This would be his way of torment, there was pain behind his eyes. Xeno wanted to make him suffer.
"Kill who? Darth Raze? Hmph, killing is not the Jedi way.."
Xeno would continue to close in on the Jedi as he then quickly returned a full force, force push. Extending both arms forward in a power stance he would push through the force with his might and hatred for the Jedi. The blast was close to an equal size in strength to the one sent at the Sith Zabrak. Xeno could feel the way his shoulders had taken in the pressure of the blast by Crix, he could feel some soreness, but this was light compared to what he had faced before.
After his force push he would continue to keep the defensive aura surrounding his body until he could make it in close to the Jedi. Xeno only a 10 feet away now would look on and speak,
"Killing is for the strong.. you wouldn't know what strong is, as you friend Talak had not known either. But he does now, he knows very well. "
Xeno would now be in a defensive position to continue the fight using his sabers. The Jedi Zabrak will now learn what true strength was.
"Now.. I will show you what strength is, as Raze to Talak."
Internally, Thelian was still reeling from the previous experience which had been forced upon him. As he darted across the tall savannah grasses, the Echani could see the faces of dead younglings burned into his minds eye, their faces eternally frozen with fear. He could see the death mask of Talak Rand staring into his very soul. He could see it all as vividly as if the long-dead Jedi was standing in front of him at this very moment.
Above it all, layering over every vision and memory, Thelian could hear terrible laughter that echoed across every scene. Laughter that betrayed every semblance of confident and trust in the man from whom it originated.
If lifetime of slavery and living on the lowest rungs of society had taught Thelian anything, it was to rely upon no one, and to trust only in his own abilities. It was behavior learned out of necessity, born out of an environment where anything less was a risk – a weakness to be exploited. His time as a Jedi, however brief it had been, had finally given Thelian an opportunity to relearn such behavior - to put his faith in his peers, and to trust within the Order that he called home.
Those frigid barriers he maintained had slowly begun to melt away, and the erratic behavior of the Jedi Master today – one of individuals Thelian could see as a role-model in his life - only served to remind the boy of why those barriers were there in the first place.
Whatever Hannibal had intended had been completely twisted and warped by the mental assault from Raze. He did not see the half-Epicanth’s light-hearted humor or an attempt to quell his nervousness, but instead he saw the elder Jedi’s complete disregard for the tragedies that now seemed so real in his mind, shaking the boy to his very core. It planted deep seeds of doubt into his core that would linger long after today, festering silently and threatening to consume him.
Only time would tell if those seeds would be uprooted before they did.
Thelian's mind raced a million miles an hour and his heart thundered against the confines of his chest, and none of it manifest on the surface. While the tears were still fresh on his cheeks and the queasiness still lingered in his stomach, the Echani's face had long since hardened into frigid resolve – silver eyes narrowed into harsh, glacial slits upon Senin and his ridiculous harlequin mask.
Closing the distance between them, Thelian felt as his saber arced sliced downward and never made contact with Senin’s legs or saber – cleaving through nothing but the air and singeing some of the tall grasses as his finished his swing. Perhaps what Senin wasn’t expecting, though, was for Thelian to continue to forward momentum as he attacked. He never stopped moving, stepping through the saber strike and Senin’s lack of defense and continuing forward.
As he did so, Thelian silently drew the Force into his body as he did so. The Light coursed through his slender limps, enhancing his strength far beyond that of natural ability. Refusing to give the Acolyte any distance, Thelian slammed his fist forward with all his might – finding purchase against the other man’s face.
There was a sickening crunch as the Echani’s bare knuckles made impact with the Acolyte’s painted mask, the Force-enhanced blow carrying enough strength behind it to shatter the mask into two distinct halves, and almost certainly broke the Acolyte’s nose beneath it. What’s more, the blow came just as Senin attempted to backflip away, catching the Acolyte just as his body began to bend backward and was thus off-balance. It was enough to knock the human flat onto his ass and into the tall savannah grasses, likely leaving him dazed from the combined blow to his nostrils and unceremonious crash.
While there was a clear look of satisfaction on Thelian’s face when his blow hit home, he made no taunting remarks or quips in response.
Instead, Thelian refused to give Senin any extended time to recover, continuing his assault forward and attempting to keep the man on the defensive. He took another step forward, rotating his wrist and swinging his saber horizontally across the ground, attempting to cleave blue plasma through Senin’s knee and sever his legs at the joint.
Even as they drew closer to the Sith ships, the Echani was confident in his unrelenting strategy. Each and every one of Senin’s comrades were occupied in fights of their own, and the Acolyte would be hard-pressed to find anyone rushing to his aid. He was deathly silent from this point forward, entirely focused upon the duel occurring.
Just for clarity, because it was not properly addressed in Senin's previous post, the punch from Thelian was considered an Auto-hit, based upon rule #4 from the official PVP rules. Please lemme know if you have any questions.