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The Gatekeeper

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HUMBLE TOWN



  • Mik spoke out into the darkness that surrounded him, his words would almost seem to bounce back and reverberate inside of his ears like he was standing in a room that was much too small. The air around him was thick, somehow weighted and it pressed into Mik's eyes like thumbs.

    It would push, harder and harder until the pressure would be so much that Mik would think his entire head was about to burst. At the zenith of his pain it would suddenly vanish, and with it, the darkness. In its place, Mik would find himself in a square room with no windows or doors.

    Looking up and around, he would see no sources of light, yet the room was illuminated with the harsh, sterile white light of an emergency room. Across from him, laying on the floor, he would see a woman curled in the fetal position. Sickly thin - her skin was dry, scabbed over in numerous spots from constant picking. Hair was greasy and matted, and occasionally the woman would twitch violently.

    So far, it was as if the woman laying on the floor did not notice Mik. As he stood there, the faintest scent of something familiar would hit his nostril, but he wouldn't be able to place it at first. Once he took a step forward it would come to him, though, an epiphany through the haze his mind was in. It was perfume, the kind his wife used to wear, before the accident.

    Before the spice.


Mik tried to cry himself through the sudden pain against and into his eyes, but the more noise he thought he made the less actually came over his lips as he was breathlessy undergoing the pain that would kill him. His hands moved up to pull away non-existent hands and he ended up covering his own eyes as if that would somehow protect them. It didn't and then when he would almost faint due to the pain it stopped abruptly.

Slowly he moved his hand away, fearful that if he removed them from his eyes entirely the pain would return. It was the familiar scent that hit him first and only then did he find the confidence to lower his hands and open his eyes again. He could still remember the first time he smelled it. It was twenty years ago and she had just completely obliterated his thesis that corporate use of peggats instead of credits could increase their profits margins due to bad taxability in the Core. He had fallen in love with her right then and there and-

-a violent twitch from the woman on the floor made Mik finally notice her and snap back to present day. The sight startled the Systech executive and he instinctively stepped backwards, his hands returning to his face as if he preferred to fight off daggers going for his eyes than looking at the woman on the floor. He recognized the condition. Systech had tested Jana Kang's detox-adrenal on spice addicts. Mik had never liked to watch, mainly because what it reminded him off.. he looked around, no adrenals, no spice, no windows or doors. Just him, the sickly thin woman and the harsh, sterile white light of an emergency room.

This was too familiar. It reminded him of the times he had to hurry Mia over for... he looked at the woman again and started walking towards her slowly, "Mia?" His wife had died many years ago and while he longed for her embrace every day, he knew that it wasn't possible to bring people back from the death. Still.. why did he suddenly think that this woman might be his late wife?

@Logan

HUMBLE TOWN.

Trini stared up at the towering iron gate in consternation, trying to figure out a way around, under, over or through it. Beyond it was the mansion, her destination; something important was up there, although she hadn't yet learned what.

Blood cooled and dried in the Amaran's fur. She shuddered. Had the creature slain the girl to keep her from getting that particular information? Or had that been a coincidence. Ultimately, Trini didn't know.

That began to make her uneasy.

For the first time, Trini began to become aware of the others around her. She looked up; solid shapes, and something deep down told her, not monsters or locals. She figured that they must have come on the ships she had seen parked just outside of town.

"Um... I-"

"Help!"

The panicked call interrupted Trini, and she turned, eyes widening as a woman came running out of the fog, pursued by the same creature she had seen before. Instinctively, the Amaran raised her stingbeam; the tiny weapon whistled as a beam lanced out toward the charging monster. At this range, and at the best of times, the stingbeam was a feeble weapon, only capable of stunning an opponent; that is, unless one got uncomfortably close, which Trini was not.

Yet.

It was also a fairly limited weapon in other ways. It only had 5 shots, of which Trini had now used 2. She hadn't though to bring a spare power pack, either.

@Logan @Eccles @Nor'baal @Nefieslab @Wit @DarkSaber


Humble Town

Crix wanted to make it to the house, he wanted to be able to just be able to take a second to recover something resembling his calm. The Force was both near and far - leaving him with the Force in himself at best and he needed to calm down, he needed the Force to be pure and Light. Already he could feel Darkness around him and he wasn't sure if it was being actively used by someone or if the town was actually cursed.

Reaching the gate with the short woman with big ears, Crix took a deep breath before igniting his lightsaber to carve through the lock holkding the iron gate closed. Before he could continue on to the manor, he could hear something coming closer and he turned away from the gate. Blinking, he spotted a woman running toward them.

Chased by the creature with it's pyramid for a head.

Not. Again.

Reaching out with the Force, Crix would Pull the woman towards himself but actually direct the woman to Trini rather than himself. He moved forward, pushing up toward the creature that pursued them with an angry snarl.

"Take the woman and run!"
he instructed Trini as he held his lightsaber in both hands, standing his ground between the two and the creature, addressing the creature next, "Can you speak? Can you even understand me when I tell you that I want to kill you?"

He really hoped that it did. That it would know why he was going to hurt it before it died.


@AutoFox @Logan

"Mia?"

The word seemed to float on the air lazily like a too-far-away echo. The woman on the floor stirred but then remained still for a moment before scratching at her face. Rolling over, the woman would gaze up at Mik with bloodshot eyes, yellowed from the consequences of organ failure.

Mik? She asked, sitting up slowly. In full view, Mia looked even worse for wear than she did before. What are you doing here? Mia's tone was harsh, accusatory. It's your fault I'm like this, that I'm stuck here. Why can't you just get the fuck away from me?

She was standing on her own two feet now, however unsteady. Mia walked up to Mik and pushed him in the chest as hard as she could. You were supposed to protect me! She yelled, dry throat screeching hoarse. Why didn't you just let me die after the accident? Another push. I hate you.

Mia would keep pressing Mik with more abuse, hoping to get him to cave in and attack her. How strong was his resolve?

---

The shot from Trini seemed to hit its mark but did little else to the creature. Unperturbed, it continued its pursuit of the woman until its path was barred by the Zabrak. The monster stopped moving, its chest raising and lowering slowly, like someone deeply relaxed despite the fact that it had just been running at a full sprint.

It peered down at Crix, or well it would have seemed that way anyway, not like the creature had any visible eyes.. or head, really. It laughed a deep, roiling thunderstorm of a laugh, but only Crix could hear it, and only in his mind. It was the only response he would get, but it answered his question.

Unafraid of the tiny little Jedi, the creature continued to walk forward, its intention to retrieve the girl very clear. If it had to carve a path through Crix to get there, then so be it. Raising the hand that wasn't currently gripping the massive sword, darkness crackled around it like lightning. With a wave of its hand, the creature sent a bolt of swirling energy at Crix, looking to squash him like the fly he was.


@Eccles @Nefieslab @AutoFox @vamp @DarkSaber @Nor'baal
 

Ripley Virago

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Crumbling Ruin
~~~
The old woman introduced herself as Gamall, and clearly she was perturbed by the group's lack of manners. Perhaps they had pushed the old woman's hospitality a bit too far, barreling into her home and asking a thousand questions without so much as a thank you or how do you do.

Ripley was far more interested in learning more about these ancient ruins and the people responsible for their construction than she was introductions, but it wouldn't kill her to play along. You caught more flies with honey, and it was the least she could do considering Gamall had taken her in.

It was the Mandalorian that introduced himself first, but the woman who called herself Sah'ra was quick to follow. Sah'ra was the only one in the group that had exhibited any signs of common courtesy so far, offering to carry Gamall's bag.

The argument could be made that the raven haired man had also offered to help her inside, but what was one small act of kindness in the wake of such a temper tantrum? Ripley had not forgotten the way he'd leered at her, imposing his height on the way inside.

Such an obvious sign of aggression might have intimidated anyone else with plans to battle it out with fisticuffs, but Ripley had no such design. He would undoubtedly best her in a battle of brute force, but the Arkanian did not doubt that she could best him in a battle of wits. He was loud and coarse, but he surely did no possess the brains to back it up.

"Ripley," the Arkanian introduced herself, not bothering to give her last name. She doubted Gamall had access to Holonet television, and even if she did it was doubtful that the name would mean anything to the old woman.

Ripley still knelt beside the budding flower, her eyes memorizing the shadow its pedals cast on the stone wall behind it. She wanted to reach out and pluck the golden pearl from the center of the flower and examine it more closely, but she resisted the urge.

This place was full of mysteries, and each mystery filled her being with energy. Gamall had not been very helpful so far with only vague answers about the people that had once lived here and this strange flower, but it was obvious that the old woman was not in the mood to answer any more questions.

If Ripley wanted answers, she would have to find them for herself.

Perhaps the altar was the next logical place to search for some of those answers. Altars often had carvings and writings etched into their sides, and if Ripley was lucky she would be able to decipher a few of them.

Returning the rusted watering can to where she found it, the Arkanian crossed the room to join Sah'ra at the door.

"I'll help you," she offered, pressing her hands against the stone slab to begin pushing.

@Mr. Teatime @Versok @LouJoVi @Tom @Tulos
 
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Laeonas Tannaras

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Crumbling Ruin


Laeonas was a man who had a very few core desires. He wanted to keep himself healthy, he wanted to look good. He wanted the wealth necessary to never have to extort or rob or sell spice again. He wanted to be thought of as more than just a street rat. He wanted to be treated fairly, to not be put down by the society he lived in, or by those around him. Even if it was unreasonable for him to expect these at all times, everywhere he went, the man didn't view these desires as excessive. They were basics, things that any reasonable person could want and expect to give them peace of mind and keep his spirits high.

And yet, what had he endured since he'd arrived on this planet?

He'd left all his makeup, good clothes and jewelry back on his ship. He hadn't brought any of his rations with him, and from how things sounded outside-- oddly muffled as they were-- he wouldn't be able to go back until morning. The only way he could get back was by dealing with predators and rain in the dark forests outside. These two were his own fault, and he could recognize them as such. What he could not recognize was how he had earned the ire of not just the albino, but potentially the odd woman who'd appeared from the trees, and the old woman.

In regards to the woman with the severe melanin deficiency, he hadn't even initiated their conflict. She'd just started insulting him for having the gall to sound different. Sure, he'd followed up her insults with a thinly veiled threat, but she hadn't even had the common sense to keep quiet. He hadn't physically assaulted her, hadn't stolen any of her belongings-- hell, he hadn't even tried flirting with her, though there was no way he'd ever want someone whose shade was milkier than the whites of his eyes. All he'd done was speak, which everyone had a right to do.

Sure, she wasn't the only one, but she was by far the worst. The old woman had had the basic decency to give him a reason for her sudden distaste, even if it were ridiculous. She'd known him for a grand total of ten minutes, and yet she was already describing character traits like she was intimately familiar with the man. It wasn't like he needed her anyways. If a force-knows how old woman could last decades on this world, surviving it couldn't be that difficult. Hell, she'd made it sound easy in her description.

Regardless, he'd snort, dismissing her words with the wave of a hand.
"First we've got someone with superior 'earnin', and now we've got someone who can judge a man's character after 'e's spoken a thousand words." He snapped, the dry humor of his words laced with hints of anger. Even as that wrong crept into his mind, and the temptation to show off his abilities in the most violent, self serving ways possible tore at him. Nothing would've been easier than introducing the albino's face to the ground without lifting a finger, and sending the hag's flower put directly into her temple at mach 5 with the turn of his head.

But that was all it was. Easy. Easy to turn whoever was in here that didn't actively hate him already against him. Easy to wound two of the only people who might be able to help him out of this situation. It was easy, but it wouldn't help him beyond the instant gratification that came with revenge-- and it still wasn't even worth it. With a long, deep breathe, and a brief dip into a meditative trance, he'd emerge with a calm expression. Turning his attention back to the old woman, the worst retribution she'd get was a frown.


"Ai asked 'cause th'at ain't runnin' off a flame-- it's runnin' off electricity. Ai don't see any wires, and Ai doubt th'at yer battery pack's lasted ya fer all these years without a replacement. So unless this thing's got a karkin' fusion reactor attached ta'it, ya'v got more batteries-- which could be useful." He slowly explained, arms crossed. He wasn't asking these questions pointlessly; unlike the albino, who was more focused on learning about an extinct culture that built some ruin millennia ago that was now crumbling, his questions were related to how they could stay alive.

"So as much as ya might find flaw in Caeo, Ai'm still not interested in spendin' tha rest of mae life on this rock. Doubt any of ya are." He appealed, trying to convince the others to his position, while also introducing himself.

Of all the things that the old woman brought up, he assumed that the rest would be focused on the same thing he was: animal traps, methods of survival. To an extent, that was what they were focused on; the mention of a particular altar. He couldn't deny that he found it interesting; how an object like a religious station could keep someone alive didn't make much sense.
"D'ya mean th'at it kept yer faith? Ai don't see 'ow it could literally keep ya'a'live, right... Gammale?" He said, horribly mispronouncing the name. "...shite, th'at one was bad. Ga-mall. Gamall. Yeah. Th'at's 'ow ya say it." He thought to himself.

He paused, stopping his train of thought in it's tracks. Why did he care about what he sounded like? Rarely had it mattered before, yet now he was critiquing his own speech?
"Kriff, tha witch's in my skull." He cursed himself.

The witch in questioned of moved to the door where the altar went off to, and he couldn't help but frown. Laeonas didn't bother to approach, choosing instead to call,
"Is this really what we should be focusin' on? Ai get curiosity, but keepin' ourselves alive oughta be number one-- learnin' all about tha people th'at built this place won't matter if we're stuck on this rock fer tha rest of our lives!" He exclaimed, the last line being directed at the albino in particular. She seemed far more concerned with learning about the people who built this place than how it could be useful to their survival.


@Mr. Teatime @llamallove @Tulos @Versok @LouJoVi

 

Erialex

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HUMBLE TOWN
Eri gasped as her head whirled; in front of her were the faint shadows of those she had just turned her back on. She spun back around and fled into the fog, noticing one of the taller buildings nearby. She only glanced at the markings on the door, barely making out the image of a serpent, before sprinting past. She counted her breaths, trying to take her mind off of her surroundings...1...2...3...in...out...in...out. She glanced at another building and skidded to a halt as she spotted the exact same symbol on the door. This time, however, she got a good look at the house; it was dilapidated and terrifying, decaying as if from the inside out.

She then noticed the fog beginning to thin, and, to her right, slowly but surely revealing a massive creature up the alley. She stared in shock as it came into focus; it was much taller than she and...it...it...Eri stared in shock and reached up to touch her own mask, making sure nothing had grabbed it as she ran by. She squinted to get a look at the eyes behind the mask. Her own mask and the fog limited visibility; all of a sudden she became aware of how quiet it was. The beast stood there rock still,
mocking her, hating her. Who does...it...think it is?
Unconsciously, she took a step towards the being. It was taunting her; it wanted her to come near. She wanted to come near...

But an itching feeling on her neck, coupled with the fact that she had heard nothing in the past 30 seconds caused her to look over her shoulder. It was a mirror, surely. A cruel trick. Someone was playing them all, trying to prank a group of travelers on a still night. Yet it faced her while she had her back turned, head sideways. It made no sense. She made no sense.

Yet as she watched herself, she must've imagined its eyes glinting red and taking a step forward. It was at that moment she knew- she feared nothing more than herself. Masking herself and hiding from others; that made her feel safe. As soon as she fully gave in..She winced and turned back to face the massive humanoid, clutching both sabers, refusing to look behind her, walking slowly yet deliberately towards the masked figure. She hissed aggressively, hoping it would back down or get out of the way.




@Logan
 

The Gatekeeper

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CRUMBLING RUINS
THE ALTAR

The old woman just stared dryly at Laeo as the man went on a relatively reserved rant. It was remarkably easy to set this one off for some reason or other. Not that it mattered for their situation at all. A wrinkled brow roses slowly as the man got to his explanation of his question as if Gamall didn't know what a battery was. "I already answered your question," she said irritably and left it at that.

There was a shift in the air, so subtle it was nearly beyond detecting at all. The Force here was strange and muffled. Several people spoke several names and in that strange and fog-like energy around them all, nearly hidden in the pitter-patter of rain, there was a ripple.

Their names were taken. Drak Vúlfur, Sah'ra, Ripley, pulled from mind and memory, stolen from lips and quiet thought. Arlequim, superficial as it was, as taken too. The effects of this strange phenomenon were incredibly sly and nearly beneath notice at all.

'May I have your names?' she'd asked, and some had given her what she wanted. Perhaps they would something was wrong, or missing, but unaware of what it was. Those who gave only their first name still remembered the last and, if they really thought about it, might realize they should have another. The jester who gave an alias felt little more than the urge to cast away his mask, the material feeling foreign and uncomfortable on his face. Laeo's partial alias disappeared from his thoughts. They'd remember their introduction, but not the words.

The woman who'd been Ripley longed to have a history show of her own on the holonet, wondering why she'd never followed that ambition. The Mandalorian had the worst of it. With so much cultural identify tied to his clan, this poor unfortunate soul would slowly begin to lose those threads to who and what he was. Subtle and insidious was this place. The only one who hadn't given their name was the especially talkative one, whose anger he struggled with was clear to see.

"You're most welcome, dear," replied Gamall to Sah'ra, vibrant eyes turning to see Ripley again. At the slightest touch, the door to the altar chambered opened wide. At that moment, another change rippled.

There was no lantern, but a fire with ancient and rusted blade struck through the center. There were no crates of supplies but piles of yellowed bones. There were no herbs dangling from the ceiling but fleshy skins of sentient beings hanging on hooks, looks of abject horror frozen on eyeless faces. A stretch of death and decay filled the entire room very suddenly, filling the lungs of all who breathed.

There was no door back to the outside. Instead the only way was the altar room, a vast chamber dusty and gray with age. Torches and lines of flame lit the room, the altar itself holding an unlit candle. Ancient glyphs lined it and the room itself, a pool of crystal blue water shining from an unclear source just behind it.

A cackling echoed through the chamber, dry as dead leaves, mocking and cruel, from the old woman who sat by the fire. THer shawl was flesh-torn animal hide, her hair wet and dripping like the drowned dead. Filthy nails long as knives curved from curled fingers, a slew of pointed teeth black with rot spread in a grin far too wide for her face.


"Make yourselves at home!"


@Versok @llamallove @LouJoVi @Tulos @Tom
 
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Livi Cross

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Sreeya
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ABANDONED BUILDING

Livi rubbed her temples, looking over as the lights slowly came on from the switch flipping. A chill went up her spine, but that was par for the course in this building by now. Livi looked at the young girl (@LilyNion ) that asked her question about her blaster in the most terrified voice ever. People like that usually died first on her planet, but thankfully they weren’t there now. Livi purposely stared at her for a few seconds, pretending to look very mad and as if she would have a sudden outburst.

“He’ll be up in a few minutes,” She said simply in the end with a grin, moving over to hoist Darius up with the help of the other man, “We definitely can’t leave him behind,” I need him to sign off on my community service, she thought but didn’t say aloud. The man’s (@Forsythe Crowholde )suggestion on assigning one of the kids (@christhebetrayer ) to go with the others was a silent reveal that he planned to leave the toddlers to their fates. Livi glared at the man, realizing that alternatively he essentially said they were all her problem now.

The Ranger in training helped lug along Darius’ dead weight, glaring the entire time as they walked towards the infirmary. Livi inched closer to gaze through the slit in the doorway to see people moving about. Normally she would have smacked someone for loudly talking like the Togruta (@SlagathorTheUnknown ) did, but this was perhaps the best way to gauge if they were infected. Livi stepped back and stood behind the togruta and the short girl, keeping Darius propped up on her shoulder.

“Look at their eyes,” She said to them, “Do the eyes look normal to you?” She couldn't see from here. Livi heard Birdshit’s (@Nefieslab )voice come in through the comms, his words making her grimace.

“Check for a pulse before you walk out,” She said simply, “Want to rule out AMS,” Livi paused for a moment staring ahead again, “We’ve got visual on a lot of...civilians barred in from the outside in an infirmary,” Her discomfort would come through loud and clear through the comms.

@Phoenix @Altaris
 

Darius Belari

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Abandoned Building

Nope. To hell with this place.

First doors mysteriously open, and then they start slamming shut? This manor was more and more beginning to resemble something straight out of a Horror HoloMovie, and Darius increasingly wanted nothing to do with it. There could be a million credits waiting for him down there, and Darius wasn’t going to go down into that basement alone.

Of course, leaving wasn’t an option at this point, so the best next thing was to haul ass back to the group. He broke into a full-fledged sprint, bounding through the lobby at breakneck pace.

He didn’t pay any attention to how his boots thundered through the hall, or how he was panting like some crazed animal as he approached. It didn’t occur to him in the slightest that the entire group was on edge and running up on them was likely to result in one of the Padawan’s shitting bricks.

Nope.

Darius booked it across the manor, making it halfway down the hall before the familiar voice of Livi, a fellow ISC ranger call out for everyone to get down. He even briefly considered hitting the deck himself, up until he saw the one-armed woman pointing a blaster at him.

Blue eyes went wide, though the Lokkian didn’t have time to announce himself before the shots rang out. He barely had time to get out the first half of a very polite, eloquent statement to Livi.

“You raggedy bitc—”

The stun bolts hit, and Darius’ body didn’t stop moving. His knees buckled beneath him and the forward momentum of his sprint carried the Lokkian towards the floorboards like a nose-diving Star Destroyer – hands limp at his sides.

It was a downright miracle that the Padawan squad hadn’t been any closer, or else Darius would’ve crashed right into them. Instead, he crumpled to the floor like a rather dashing sack of potatoes, not so much as groaning as he made impact. Rolling him over would reveal the Sniper had bloodied his nose from the impact, and likely would have a colossal bruise on his forehead for days to come.

For the time being, the man was completely worthless to the group. Luckily, it didn’t appear as if they were going to leave him abandoned in the hallway. Which, whenever he roused from his beauty nap, would be greatly appreciated. At the very least, Arctus and Livi would get a fantastic workout hauling him around for the next couple minutes.

Probably.


---

Meanwhile, halfway across the galaxy, there was a very irritated Induparan pacing around his office.

His Bastardcy himself, Galek Ordalos, had spent the last few hours attempting to get ahold of his problem case, gracing her with one of his frequent update requests. You know, to ensure that she hadn’t either abandoned ship, or stabbed another one of his aides with a mundane object. Due to the lack of signal, Livi wouldn’t realize it, but there was roughly a dozen missed calls and multiple status report updates that had gone unanswered on her commlink.

And to think, he was just beginning to consider taking Livi off parole – that maybe she had learned her lesson and had been rehabilitated by the extensive amount of community service he’d put her through, only for her to pull this stunt and completely ghost him!

At this point, Galek began to assume that Livi was purposefully ignoring him – blissfully unaware of the chaos that was unfolding.


@Sreeya @Phoenix @SlagathorTheUnknown @christhebetrayer @Resonance @Valen Pelora @LilyNion @Forsythe Crowholde
 
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The Gatekeeper

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Abandoned Building​

If Lorcan checked the pulse as Livi suggested, he would feel the man had a strong pulse still and should he overhear something about pupils on coms and opt to check those as well, he would find they were normal, equal, round, and reactive to light. From there, Lorcan would begin to look through the doors of the various rooms. The first contained a set of chairs arranged loosely throughout the room. The next contained a small workspace of what looked like data terminals with some scattered chairs and tables that had been knocked over. The next contained a single desk with a chair pulled up to it. The data terminal was bashed to pieces, but papers lined the floor and desk. And old blood was pooled on the floor in the corner.

---​

The man in the white coat looked up from the person he was hunched over on the stretcher, jumping slightly as he saw the people at the door. He almost scurried over to the door, peering at them through the 6-inch crack in the doors.

Yes, well there are far greater threats than fires these days, he said, angling to try to get a better view of those who were gathered outside. Yes, there's a wheelchair in here, but obviously it's going to be a bit difficult to get it through the barricade, the man said, pushing his glasses up further onto his face as he looked at them.

You're not patients here. Who are you? the man asked with visible confusion on his face.

---​

In the chapel, the device playing the music was a rather simple device that had no distinguishing or special features about it. The most notable thing about it was that it had power unlike many things in this building.

As she made her way over to the light switch, the lights came on in the room and a sickening chill ran up her spine as they did.

Welcome my children, said a man who suddenly appeared from the attic area. He was dressed comparably to a priest, though the precise order wasn't likely to be clear to anyone who wasn't well studied in the more obscure religions of the galaxy.

You didn't care for my music? I find that it soothes most people, he said. Come in, have a seat, lay your burdens at the altar and be at peace, he said, motioning to the pews in the room for them to sit.

@Sreeya @Altaris @christhebetrayer @Forsythe Crowholde @SlagathorTheUnknown @Nefieslab @LilyNion @Valen Pelora @Resonance
 

Trini Halrixien

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HUMBLE TOWN.

Trini's eyes were wide as her stingbeam was essentially ignored by the towering creature. She thought about firing again, of trying to get in close and using her tiny weapon's full lethality against the beast, but then a Zabrak stepped forward, a blue lightsaber igniting with a distinctive snap-hiss.

"Jedi..."

This was not the first time the young Amaran had fought alongside wielders of the Force, but even so, the energy rolling off Crix sent a shiver through her, Trini's own nascent power reacting to his. Abruptly, however, she found the fleeing woman being pushed toward her. Instinctively, she grabbed her hand, gritting her teeth and tugging her after her.

"Hurry, this way!"

Crix's lightsaber had unlocked the gates, and Trini opened them ahead of her, unknowingly pushing with the Force as she did so. Taking no conscious thought of her action, she hurried with the woman in tow up the drive toward the mansion on the hill...

@Logan @Eccles @Nor'baal @Nefieslab @Wit @DarkSaber
 

Ashla Ti

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Sith Empire
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Wit
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HUMBLE TOWN

When Ashla returned to the world of the living, not that she was dead before, or maybe she was, she wasn't sure what had just happed; yet on returning to the here and now she did not move for a few moments, unsure of herself. Finally her legs started moving, first slowly, then with growing certainty. She had come this far, and no matter what had happened so far she had to see this through. She wasn't sure if it was her saying that, or, and her hand went to her chest as the thought crossed her mind, something else.

Regardless, she reached the same junction where the others had encountered another woman and the same man with the weird...something on his head. She watched as Amaran's shot was simply brushed off by the creature, as the Amaran then started pulling the woman towards the manor, and as a Jedi stood facing the monster.

Walking up to the door, she absentmindedly noticed that the lock had been sliced through, the neat cut of a lightsaber. She turned back to look at the Jedi, and remembering the words she had heard earlier, knowing that their cause, his cause, was already failed, she turned away. Her legs still moved and carried her towards the manor.

@Logan @Eccles @Nor'baal @Nefieslab @AutoFox @vamp
 

Ruzaan Kai

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Jedi Order
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Jedi Padawan

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SlagathorTheUnknown
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Abandoned Building

Ruzaan looked over the doctor, trying to look past his glasses and into his eyes which, thankfully, seemed normal enough. Part of the man's response confused Ruzaan- what could be more dangerous than a structural fire? At least there was a wheelchair, although getting it out- or their patient in to it- might be a problem as the barricade still blocked all but six inches of the door.

"We're... lost" said Ruzaan, deciding at the last moment not to reveal himself as a Jedi. Enough people were already giving him dirty looks because of it, and he didn't want to turn away potential allies in this strange place. "What is this place, and why do you have a barricade? May we come in?" The questions poured out of him as fast as he could think them up.

@Sreeya @Phoenix @Altaris @LilyNion @Forsythe Crowholde @Nefieslab @Resonance @Valen Pelora @christhebetrayer
 
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Crix Aran

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Jedi Order
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Jedi Knight

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Nefieslab
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Humble Town

What could he do against such reckless hate as this?

Stand.

Stand so that others could avoid needing to take the same stand as he was. Stand because this pyramid-headed asshat needed to die and Crix wanted to be the one who made it happen. When it just stood there and laughed at him, the sound echoing throughout his skull, Crix gritted his teeth and reached down.

"You think this is funny?"
he seethed lightly, "All this death all this darkness, amuses you? Well kark you buddy, it's not as funny as your face is gonna be."

As it continued onward, Crix himself flung his shoto saber upward into the weird helmet of the creature, the blade igniting as he guided it with the Force. The idea was to punch into the helmet with the lightsaber blade and then, using the Force, to turn the inside of the pyramid into a bloody mess of a blender.

Of course crackling darkness hadn't been part of the plan - he had honestly expected to have to parry a giant rusty sword really. There was darkness radiating from the attack sent his way but Crix didn't think it was going to be as easy as Sith Lightning to parry with a lightsaber so he didn't. Instead he rolled to the left with his saber extinguished, hoping to avoid the bolt rather than have to try and tank it.


@Logan
 

Lorcan

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Sith Empire
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Lieutenant

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Nefieslab
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Abandoned Building

Hell that was some good advice from the team downstairs actually - this was exactly the kind of spooky place that he could imagine AMS cropping up. Fuck the fact that this planet didn't seem to have enough of a Galactic presence to even have an actual name. Reaching down, he checked the pulse and eye response as requested and got some encouraging results to share with the group.

"Strong pulse, pupils reacting well Ranger Daycare."
he reported back, grimacing ever so slightly at the comment about civilians, "I've got some papers up here - see if I can't figure out what the hell is going on here."

Moving into the room with the shattered data terminal, Lorcan kept his pistol up and on stun setting again. Papers on the floor were interesting but he was already a little bit skeeved out by the blood. It looked old but he wasn't sure how old so he made his way to the blood pool first, looking it over with more care to see if he could determine how old it was and how it had splattered.

Blood splatter analysis hadn't been a strong suit in the Rangers but he got the gist usually.

Once he had determined as much as he could from the blood, he would grab up as many of the papers as he could and bring them to the desk. Looking through the papers and searching the desk, Lorcan could almost believe he was just a regular Ranger running down a murder case again.


@Sreeya @Phoenix
 

Arctus Friers

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Jedi Order
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Jedi Padawan

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Forsythe Crowholde
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Abandoned Building

Oh, great, there were people here?

Arctus slightly lowered the blaster trained by the door when a voice came from the other side. He slightly adjusted his hold on the unconscious Darius, shooting Livi a grateful look when she came to help carry the man she had just literally shot. It would be awkward for the two Rangers once the other woke up, that's for sure. Lucky the former smuggler didn't shoot or else they would all end up looking at a dead body.

Oblivious to the glare Miss Trigger Happy sent his way when he mentioned splitting from the group to follow Charlie, Arctus glanced over at Felix, feeling the latter's mortification at having been asked to look out for Clove and Ruzaan. The oldest Padawan in the group wasn't shirking responsibility – if it was entirely up to him he would stick to his earlier desire to keep his eyes on his friends, but with Charlie stalking off alone towards the chapel Arctus knew that he couldn't just leave her be.

This place had been creepy when they first thought it was abandoned; it was creepier now that they found out there were people here who shut and barricaded the doors to the infirmary to obviously keep something from coming inside.

"Felix," he quietly called out to his Padawan brother, "hey, buddy. I hope you're not mad that I'm sticking Clove and Ruzaan with you, but I'm doing it because I trust you. One of us eventually has to break off from the group to help expand our search radius, and if anyone has to go face any sudden shit I'd rather it be me than any of you." Arctus offered Felix a small but genuine smile. "I can't have any of you get hurt. Clo and Ruz will look out for you as much as you would for them, hey. Please don't be mad, okay? I promise I'll come back as soon as I can, as soon as I find an exit or something helpful."

He didn't want to leave them, he really didn't.

Ruzaan was talking to the man from the other side of the infirmary doors. He talked about greater threats than fires, confirmed that there's a wheelchair they could use inside, but offered no explanation as to why they were barricaded inside in the first place. It was fucking suspicious. If Arctus called the shots he would have already pushed the barricade aside using the Force. At least the Togruta was already asking why the barricade existed.

He glanced over where Charlie had gone off to, then back at the infirmary doors.

"What are you trying to keep out?" the former smuggler bluntly asked the doctor instead. The sooner they found out, the better.

@Phoenix @christhebetrayer @SlagathorTheUnknown @LilyNion @Sreeya @Altaris @Valen Pelora
 

Drak Vúlfur

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Sith Empire
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Lieutenant

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Versok
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Crumbling Ruins

As the other people said their names, the Mandalorian listened in silence as they kept talking, calm for a few moments before realizing something rather insidious..."Who am I?" That question resonated within his head as he felt like a heavy weight was being added to his shoulders, forgetting his name, even if considered a subtle change at first...was much more dangerous for the Mandalorian, sweating under his helmet, the Mandalorian put a hand on his head as he started breathing heavily.

What was the meaning of this? He forgot, but what he did forget? Why couldn't he remember what he was? Being such a traditional Mandalorian meant that, the moment he forgot that he was a Vúlfur, he forgot his reason of being, his gods, those that he prayed and guided his actions as a warrior had just left him, the ability to pray to them for help as his mind was taken away from him a task now impossible as he didn't even remember them or recalled the meaning of the second language he knew.

The actions throughout his life remained, but not the reasons, his conviction behind it. Why did he carry such a grim weapon that torched people alive? Why did he kill those that stood in his way? Without the meaning behind those actions, the justification for such atrocities was also absent, leaving behind only great amounts of guilt that would now begin to plague and poison his usually cold heart.

And suddenly he felt as if the very air around him changed, taking his hand off his head, Drak realized just what was going on...sorcery. The illusion had been broken as they were now trapped with a terrifying hag in a room where other sentient beings had been killed before...Yet this didn't scare Drak more than he was already, for nothing scared a Mandalorian more than forgetting that they were, indeed, Mandalorian. If anything, it angered him as he got up and prepared his flame projector "You damn witch, what did you do!?" Drak raised his voice as he pointed his weapon at the woman as he laughed her maniacal laugh, ready to burn the whole place down if needed, wary of the others as well as his fight or flight instincts kicked in.



@Mr. Teatime @llamallove @LouJoVi @Tulos @Tom
 
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Laeonas Tannaras

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Independent
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Tom
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Crumbling Ruin
The Altar


The shift in the force nearly went over Laeonas' head, but like near everything else, he'd notice it faintly. There was a change in this place, one he didn't understand. Visibly, his face would take on an uncomfortable visage. His senses felt foggy; similar to the foreboding that had preceded the near death experiences he'd gone through on Mataou. This was different, however; where that had been a result of atrophying abilities, this clouding felt intentional. His senses were having a veil forced over them.

With it came an absence that he didn't immediately recognize. Something that he'd said felt different in his mind. Not unlike believing that he had cleaned out his mother's sink, only to realize that he hadn't later. He half expected that when they moved to the door, out would pop his mother, ready to smack him upside the head for "lying" about doing the dishes. But that wasn't what came when the old woman moved to open the door. As the room beyond was revealed, so was the room he was in. The real room.

In an instant, he felt himself choke on the acrid stench of rot in the room. His mind flashed back to Mataou, and the scent of freshly infected AMS victims entering his nostrils. His mind went further back to the plains of Dantooine, the memory of him hauling off a kath hound he'd only half finished eating and the gagging that came with it. These memories, disgusting as they were, filled his mind. In a way, they were almost comforting; a reminder that he had experienced the disgust of rot before.

Eyes lined the room, however, and the sights he saw finally caused him to heave.

He couldn't identify who or what the bones had once belonged to, but the skins that hung on the walls confirmed that at least some of their origins were unmistakably humanoid. The bones he'd left behind on Dantooine didn't make him feel any less disgusted. Those were of beasts-- predators that he had hunted and killed for their meat and their hides. They were not people who laughed, cried and sang. Yet their remains bones had been treated with the same reverence as those of animals he'd killed for sustenance.

The skins were unmistakably the worst aspect of it all. The hilt of his saber, pried from the barely living hands of Kamelle Skyler, had been fashioned from such a material. From his nightmares he had imagined the process by which she had crafted it. The irrational fears of her returning from the rubble of Mataou and claiming his skin flooded back to him. Eyes settled on what had once appeared as a haggard old wench, revealed for what she truly was. This was of the same evil he had encountered before.

This was of the Sith.

He'd noticed the signs of something off from the very beginning. The way the air had moved around this place. The on-demand call of predators. The sinking of the sun quicker than any world he'd seen before. Even their gathering together was suspect; that they'd all simultaneously arrived on this uninhabited backwater and been drawn to one place was so ridiculously improbable that the force had to be involved. All of these were things he'd picked up on, made note of, and they should've driven him to leave.

And instead, what had he done?

He'd had a verbal sparring match with a bigoted civilian. He'd been caught up in an old hag's character judgements. Even as he'd begun to pick up on the inconsistencies-- how an old woman survived a predator fillled jungle, kept an electric lamp lit without a renewable power source, or how it survived-- he'd missed it. Now here he was, staring with widened eyes at this... creature. This creature, who had lured all of them here, relying on them being to foolish to follow her. Yet there had been one who was on the cusp of recognizing that something was fundamentally wrong with all they were experiencing.

And he had played the part of the indignant fool regardless. She'd practically told them the truth of how she survived. Only now did he recognize that the "animal traps" she had referred to were for animals that walked and talked.

Deception was a tactic he was familiar with, even if he rarely practiced it in combat. He'd witnessed it time and again however, used against opponents who, otherwise, would defeat the deceiver if faced as equals. The memories of his wanting to make the old woman and the albino aware of his power were still fresh in his mind. Would she have been able to stop him had he given in to the ease of hatred? Could all the illusory magic she'd used to lure them in be employed in combat?

Was there anything that could have stopped him from snapping this thing's neck while she still pretended to be human?

There was no way out of this room, the exit having disappeared behind them. The witch believed that she had caught her prey in a noose. She believed he was just a rude, nihilistic, self absorbed child of a man. How would she react if he summoned powers from the same source as hers?

His hand rested yet again on the hilt of his vibrosword. It could be so simple. There was barely a few feet between him and the witch; a distance he could achieve with a lunge aided by the force. He could strike her down, end this once and for all.

Those standing closest to him would see aquamarines glaring at the creature that had ensnared them. The look carried with it the weight of murderous intent. He didn't need to say anything to the witch to let her know exactly what he wanted to do to her. Yet the force around him was still muffled, the power he could've drawn from weakened. The fabric of the universe itself had been woven into the sack he and they were now trapped in.

This thing wouldn't have revealed itself unless it knew for certain that they were in it's grasp. It could've easily continued to lull them into a false sense of security; yet it had chosen to reveal it's hand, like a hunter emerging from the bushes after it's prey was trapped. Laeonas knew, even as his heart screamed for him to attack, that any action he'd take would be equivalent to the swipe of claws from a beast as it's neck was twisted.


"...you... monstrous... evil... sow..." he snarled, words trembling with barely contained hatred. If his tone was venom, it could kill a rancor. His grip on the hilt tightened, while the fingernails of his non-dominant hand drew blood. Even through the muffled senses all had to be experiencing, anyone touched with the force would feel the rolling waves of uncompromising hatred that radiated off of the man in black.

Yet as the seconds ticked by, his grip would slowly untighten, his finger nails would pull away from the rough flesh of his palms. The look he had steadied-- even as, almost imperceptible, there was an aura of fiery amber that ringed those aquamarine irises of his. Yet unchanging was the all consuming hate that continued to burn off of him.


"Ya'v got tha rats in yer trap, ya filthy kriffin' slag. What comes next?" He asked, the calm tone of his voice failing to match the words that came out of his mouth. "Ai want t'know what Ai should repay ya with once Ai'm free from whatever pithy magic spell ya'v got us trapped in."


@Mr. Teatime @llamallove @Tulos @Versok @LouJoVi

 

Clove Vanhoop

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Jedi Order
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Jedi Padawan

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LilyNion
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Abandoned Building
The ranger lady had been looking at her for what seemed like an eternity. Clove's skin began to crawl, and she was on the verge of fleeing yet again. But this time she maintained her ground, and despite the fact that her eyes gave her away, she attempted to look brave. Keep your head held high. Keep your chin up. She's still looking. Why is she still looking?

Then the ranger spoke casually, breaking the silence, and even grinned.

Clove couldn't help but burst out laughing as twenty kilograms of weight slipped from her shoulders.

Clove didn't know what to say after the nerve-wracking stare-down with the ranger and the tiny fit of laughter. The doctor was sentient and able to communicate. Which is good. It did, however, make it twice scarier. Raz, fortunately, had taken the initiative to speak with the man, allowing her to stay silent and listen along.

Stiffly, the half-Sephi turned on her heels and stared back down the corridor from which they had come, watching for any dangers or signs of concern.



 

Ripley Virago

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Independent
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Historian/Ghost Hunter

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llamallove
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Crumbling Ruin: The Altar
~~~
"Maybe you ought to lend a hand then instead of running your mouth off," Ripley snapped back, sparing the raven haired man a glance before preparing to push her body weight into the slap. As it would turn out, elbow grease was not needed.

The stone slab should have been more difficult to move, particularly with only two people, but it slid open with the slightest touch. It was not natural, but then again nothing about this place was natural. Her white eyes darted to the woman beside her, wondering if she had used the Force to make their task easier. The look of bewilderment on her face indicated otherwise, and Ripley dismissed the idea.

Stepping past the threshold that led into the next room, Ripley realized that she had left something behind. She turned around, searching the stone flooring for a personal item she might have dropped, but there was nothing there. She had not dropped anything, and now that she considered it, she wasn't quite sure what she had actually misplaced.

Then it hit her.

Virago... Virago.... Was that it? Wasn't there something more? Hadn't her brother called her by a different name earlier? Hadn't he? She furrowed her brow, unsure and weary of racking her brain for an answer that obviously wasn't there.

The odor that permeated the room finally reached her, horrid and rank. An odor that she would never forget for as long as she lived. It was the smell of rotting flesh. Of blood and bone. Of death.

Ripley gagged, forcing herself to look up at the source of the stench, carcasses that hung from the ceiling on hooks. Not animals or monsters but sentient beings— people. Each with their own unique but permanent face of dread, each rotting away into obscurity.

A sick feeling spread over the Arkanian, and she had to force herself not to gag again... or worse. Instinctually, she moved closer to the person nearest her, the woman whose name she could no longer recall.

"What is this place?" she muttered, daring to look over at Gamall. The old woman was like something out of a fairy tale. A living and breathing nightmare.

@Mr. Teatime @Versok @Tom @Tulos @LouJoVi
 

Sah'ra Ryun

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Sith Empire
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Champion

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Tulos
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Crumbling Ruins


A subtle chuckle escaped Sah’ra as the bickering between Ripley and Canary continued on, though one comment the young man made caused her to struggle to retain her silence. ”Only a thousand? Please…” she thought to herself with a roll of her eyes. ”That voice of yours is going to haunt me for the rest of my days,” Shaking her head, the woman proceeded to lean her weight into the slab that barricaded the door as Ripley came to her assistance, offering her a kind smile in return for her help. Help that was nearly unnecessary, it seemed.

The slab slid back with ease, warranting a confounded glare into the room beyond. She had expected it to weigh in excess of a few tonnes and yet the two women slid it back as though it were only a few pounds. For the first time since they had arrived in these ruins, the hairs on the back of Sah’ra’s neck stood on end. Something had changed… She could not explain it but things had altered in the time it took for her and....

”Who is this girl again?” Sah’ra thought to herself as her blue eyes locked with the white eyes of the woman at her side, both quizzical and confused, before looking back to the group as a whole. Not a single name could she remember. Their faces, certainly. As her eyes landed on Laeonas, she too recalled his voice yet not his name. Puzzled, she began to trace her steps until the realization dawned on her that even her own name escaped her.

Walking into the altar chamber, things only continued to shift from normality. Almost as soon as she had fully entered the next room, the door she had stepped through vanished. Gone was the encampment of the old woman who had brought them into her home, replaced with a macabre scene of flayed flesh and hides and dry bones. The smell was strong and pungent, forcing her to place her hand over her nose in a vain attempt at shutting it out.

The maniacal laughter of this new form of an old woman caught everyone’s attention, it seemed. Was this the same woman who had welcomed them into the ruins? Sah’ra struggled to recall her name once again but immediately dismissed these efforts. The armoured man levelled his weapon on the drenched and vile hag across the chamber from them, his demands making it clear that she was not the only one who had fallen victim to whatever tricks she had employed.

As the white haired woman drew closer to Sah’ra, she took a step forward to place herself between Ripley and the others, her right hand withdrawing inside her robes and wrapping tightly around the hilt of one of her lightsabers though not yet drawing it out into the open. While the two men at the forefront growled their questions towards the witch, Sah’ra’s own blue eyes fell on the sword at the center of the fire. Rusted and stuck, it seemed harmless. Then again, so did the woman who had brought them here and look at how that played out...

 

Mik Deluto

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Corporate Executive

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Eccles
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HUMBLE TOWN


  • "Mia?"

    The word seemed to float on the air lazily like a too-far-away echo. The woman on the floor stirred but then remained still for a moment before scratching at her face. Rolling over, the woman would gaze up at Mik with bloodshot eyes, yellowed from the consequences of organ failure.

    Mik? She asked, sitting up slowly. In full view, Mia looked even worse for wear than she did before. What are you doing here? Mia's tone was harsh, accusatory. It's your fault I'm like this, that I'm stuck here. Why can't you just get the fuck away from me?

    She was standing on her own two feet now, however unsteady. Mia walked up to Mik and pushed him in the chest as hard as she could. You were supposed to protect me! She yelled, dry throat screeching hoarse. Why didn't you just let me die after the accident? Another push. I hate you.

    Mia would keep pressing Mik with more abuse, hoping to get him to cave in and attack her. How strong was his resolve?


The moment she looked at him he... experienced a mix of utter happiness and the painful memories of his greatest fears and worst trauma. Mik was frozen the moment he looked in his late wife's bloodshot eyes. He endured her harsh words like he had back then, swallowed them without reply. He understood, at least he thought he did, her struggle.

"Be careful," he muttered softly as he watched her get up to her feet. She looked like he last saw her. When he had to identify the body at the Coronet City morgue. It was a memory so engraved in his mind he hadn't set foot on his homeworld since and yet on his bad nights he always seemed to be back in that morgue looking at her. "Mia, I-" she pushed him and while the spice had greatly dimished her strength he was forced to a step back to keep his balance. Her words stung like they always had. Spicer's words, maybe, but to him they rang true. He should've taken days off from work to care for her post accident.. not work more to remain on the partner track at the shipyards. Maybe he could've avoided..

Mia's next words ripped away his ability to breathe as he pushed him again and this time he stared at her in shock. "What are you saying?" he replied, breathlessly, as Mia kept trying to push him backwards, her bloodshot eyes wet and the scratch marks on her body becoming more and more pronounced as her blood got flowing.

She said she hated him. Again. Not knowing what to do, Mik wrapped his arms around her. "I..I'm sorry, Mia-" he stuttered as he tried to keep himself from crying. "-I love you."

@Logan
 
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