Ask [Vjun] Bereft of Light and Beyond Death

Qû’jara Jinyeva

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· · ── •⋅⊰∙∘☽༓☾∘∙⊱⋅• ── · ·

BEREFT OF LIGHT
AND BEYOND DEATH


a thread for the Vjun Chateau mission from the Understanding Our Past Sith mission pack
· · ── •⋅⊰∙∘☽༓☾∘∙⊱⋅• ── · ·
The planet Vjun is known for many things. Its acidic rain. The lack of fauna. However, few know of its deep connection to the Dark Side. Chateau Malreaux is considered haunted by many natives as its original inhabitants delved deep into Alchemical practices. The remnants of a town populated by degenerated cannibals worshipping a dark god that resides with the Chateau sit at the footsteps of the hill it was built on. Somewhere within the halls of the Chateau itself rests a Dark Side nexus, potentially guarded by a Sith spirit. Iymril has requested the maddened townsfolk be dealt with, the rumors of a Sith spirit investigated, and the nexus found for study.

@Morse @Cainhurst Crow @Akheron @Apollyon

We land a few kilometers inland from the Bay of Tears, about 6km from Bitter End, the ruins of the only major settlement ever established on Vjun. Qû exits the vessel while subordinates prepare supplies and speederbikes for us to make the journey, and waits for the rest of the Sith to exit the ship and discuss their approach.

Far from the major arteries of interstellar trade, yet still among the greatest hyperspace routes to crisscross among the many disparate worlds of the Outer Rim, in centuries past the Salin Corridor had also been called the Warriors' Trace, and like the edge of a warrior's blade across an enemy's neck, a Herald-class shuttle drew inexorably across a field of stars dilated into lines by the whirr of a hyperdrive.

The Tuk'ata's Tooth was tasked with delivering a cadre of Sith to Vjun, a planet soaked deeply in acid rain and in the dark side, and where rumors stirred of a cult that worshiped a false god among the bones where once a city stood upon its blighted landscape.

Only a month had passed since Ziost fell and a new Sith'ari was crowned to reign supreme over the Stygian Caldera, and soon over far greater swathes of the galaxy. False idols could not be tolerated, and heretic tribes would be put to the sword, no matter how many thousands must die.

The glory of Darth Arcanos would ring out far and wide, until all lived in awe of his power ─ or in terror.

· · ── •⋅⊰∙∘☽༓☾∘∙⊱⋅• ── · ·

With regards to Vjun itself, many knew the legend of Castle Bast, personal fortress of Darth Vader and host to treasures beyond number. Sequestered amid traps and perilous labyrinths, generations of thieves and tomb-robbers had been thwarted in their efforts to plunder the Dark Lord's secrets.

Fewer knew of the world's other, quieter stories, so Qû’jara Jinyeva busied herself during the journey by learning them. A hundred years ago a plague wiped out the native population, leaving room for the dreaded Count Dooku to install himself and set a new precedent for Vjun as a bastion of dark siders that had gone unchallenged ever since.

Aid was slow to come to the backwater planet, and in time it became more or less a ghost world, cut off from the rest of galactic civilization. Perhaps the Jedi and other would-be heroes of the galaxy thought that such a dread and dead place was beneath salvation, and so evil and rot had been left to fester there.

Exiting hyperspace at the edge of the star system, the Tu'kata's Tooth further slowed as it penetrated the roiling clouds covering Vjun with its choked atmosphere. The shuttle swept across a barren landscape, flitting between stone spires and over a pewter sea in search of a clearing on the north edge of the Bay of Tears.

Hot plasma spewed from caudal exhaust vents as the vessel slowed to a stop a few kilometers inland, support legs lowering from its underside, kicking up clouds of dirt and dust accreted over the planetary surface. They landed in a low valley between rocky mountains, through which coursed the River Weeping, a gray and dismal estuary that slaked the thirst of Bitter End, once Vjun's only settlement, a hub of squat and ruined buildings that aptly embodied its name.

· · ── •⋅⊰∙∘☽༓☾∘∙⊱⋅• ── · ·

Poring over old HoloNet reports during the journey, Qû learned that it had been decades since the last spaceport on Vjun fell into disuse, and over more illicit channels discovered that even an old smuggling operation out of the Bay of Tears was long abandoned... or so it was said. Strange disturbances in the Force surrounding the Chateau Malreaux, once the seat of power of the local palatines who presided over the godforsaken ball of rock, brought their contingent of Sith warriors to Vjun to investigate reports of cultic activity around the ruins of Bitter End.

Several of the accompanying Sith had been in Qû’jara's squad during the Ziost campaign. She trusted their competence and was not particularly concerned with the idle pleasantries that overconcerned so many mammalian species. A few minutes after their landing, the Nautolan Champion descended the shuttle's off-ramp to get a feel for their surroundings while their subordinates prepared supplies and speederbikes.

A hillock of thorn-trees covered the hillside north of their landing site in the direction their journey would take them. Vjun moss blanketed much of the ground and surrounding landscape in venomous green. The leaden skies over Vjun were uncharacteristically clear, though climate data suggested that clouds heavy with acid rain would soon settle in, and Qû had come equipped for the hostile environment.

A comlink installed in the wrist of her gear projected a holographic gridmap that she studied intently for a few moments. They were around six klicks from Bitter End itself, a further two from Château Malreaux which stood upon a windswept point over the bay.

Letting the map dissipate, Qû pulled the hood over her head-tendrils and waited for her fellow Sith to join her so they could discuss a strategy of approach before beginning their journey.

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Karai Hekk-iv-Adas

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━─━────༺༻────━─━







THEME





It had been a month since Ziost, and a few weeks after the celebrations of both Arcanos ascension to God-Emperor and Sith'ari but also of victory and his own celebration of ascendance to Sith Champion. Karai again found himself on a godforsaken world, just another hellhole of many. And yet it was with a renewed vigor, determination and zealotry that he now served the Order.



For he would allow no heretics to escape his wrath in the name of his God-Emperor, one who he was Bloodbound too, after commiting to a Blood Oath to Arcanos upon Ziost. He noted the hot plasma spewing from the caudal exhaust vents as the vessel slowed to a stop a few kilometers inland. He knew the reputation of Vjun, he had done his own research.



The planet was constant with bouts of acidic rain and filled with ancient dark secrets. It explained why Professor Lymril had sent them here in Arcanos name. And Karai was all to happy to assist those efforts. As they landed in the low valley the between rocks of the mountains that reminded him of Korribans own mountains, which were coursing through a river he remembered here called the River Weeping. He looked ahead at the Bitter End, once Vjun's only settlement. A smuggler haven once from what he understood.



He recalled it as a hub of the destitute and forgotten. More ruins now the what it perhaps once was. Perhaps one day that glory might return but he doubted it. He stepped out wearing his new Environmental Armour and his own com-link, lightsaber safely tucked away for now. He had learnt the mistakes of Ziost and having learnt he needed something after that abysmal place he had prepared just in case a similar location were visited. Vjun had proven him correct for his preparation.



He observed the surroundings, keeping his senses aware in the physical and the Force, just in case someone was foolish enough to assault the group of Sith. Battle hardened and had fought together upon Ziost. Against untold horrors and the entity, Raze himself in a matter of speaking. Sith, the Champion Karai now trusted here with his life, at least for now.


All he found competent in their ways.



He waited for the others and gave a knowing how of respect to Champion, Qu. Who he had helped break the ranks of the Sadow upon Ziost with and lead in a song of war, when he was still an Acolyte, yet now here he stood as an equal Champion beside her. Battle tested. Stronger in the dark and more sure of himself. Of his ambitions. Of who he was and what he served.



Yet he hoped they did not become food for cannibals, rather they would destroy them. For if they would not follow Arcanos, the true Sith'ari, his Sith'ari and would not serve, they deserved death. And he would welcome bringing destruction upon them, they would be consumed by the dark.



"Greetings Champion, Qu. I suggest we approach with stealth, we don't want to alert those inside the Chateaux of our arrival, the element of surprise for now is ours, let us keep it." he suggested.





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Krakira Dresmorlin

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It had been a month since Krakira had almost lost his life on Ziost. The recovery had been harsh, laid out for days of repair on Korriban. However, he was surprised by how well the shape he was in, all things considered. Lord Arcanos reattaching his severed leg had been a welcomed surprised. Bone weavers, bacta, and nerve stimulators had repaired the damage, but his body had a network of scars all around his body.

It was partly why he had selected to come here, and with this compliment of people. There was no better way to get re-acquainted with his own abilities and limitations than a trial by fire. And should something go wrong, these particular sith he trusted above all others. They'd spilled much blood together on Ziost, and he felt especially indebted to the young man Karai. It was by his effort that he'd been recovered from his bone shattering injury.

The Umbarran wore a simple senshi armor with less flair than usual. The hood and cape would protect from the acidic rains, and the robes and plates were designed for more easy mobility. He had environmental protections ready as well, rebreather ready if he needed it and a comm link installed so he could keep in contact with the others. One difference from Ziost however, was that he was not hiding his face from the two. He had witnessed them at their most laid bare, and he felt it only fair to hide no secrets from them.

He stepped off the ship and held his saberstaff in his hand, enjoying the weight of it as he lazily twirled it in his left hand. His boots crunched against porous ground as he looked around the dead world in silence. He had...much to think on, from his time with Arcanos. It bothered and vexed him as he looked around these ruins. These cultists...he wondered, did their loyalty lie with the Force, or with a figurehead instead? Was he much different than them?

Such thoughts could wait. Not when there was potential knowledge to be gained. "Sentimental as it may sound, I feel quite excited to be here. The first ones to come here in so long...What secrets these isolated fools might hold, I wonder..." He wondered aloud, looking over as the red glow of his cybernetic eye shone beneath the dark shadows his hood created. Krakira walked over to his fellow sith, getting his bearings on the ground as he walked to join those he knew.

"It's an honor to work with you again, Champion Qû’jara..." He said as he bowed his head to her, a sign of respect well deserved. After all, she had played a good role in the siege, and this mission showed good instincts and commitment to her craft, his eyes looked towards Karai next as he smiled, "And you as well, Champion Karai...I look forward to fighting side by side with you, one Champion to Another." he said, honestly happy for the young pureblood. He had a good head on his shoulder, and he did not doubt that he would accomplish much now that he commanded more power to his name.

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Qû’jara Jinyeva

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· · ── •⋅⊰∙∘☽༓☾∘∙⊱⋅• ── · ·

When Karai and Krakira made their way out of their vessel and onto the surface of Vjun, they'd find Qû’jara analyzing the landscape through a pair of tactical binoculars. Seeing nothing, she lowered them as her companions approached.

These men had fought at her back on Ziost, arm-to-arm and surrounded by a horde of undead bodies called from death by the fallen king Ma'var Sadow. They rejoiced together at the triumphant rise of the Sith'ari. Lifelong bonds of companionship were forged in crucibles like the one they'd faced on Ziost.

Hopefully the mission to Vjun would not prove quite as perilous.

Qû returned Karai's bow, inclining only slightly, but compared to her usual inexpressive body language it was a noteworthy gesture.

"Congratulations on your ascension, Champion Karai," she said, putting emphasis on the Sith's new rank. "After the role you played in the Ziost campaign, it is well-deserved." She half-turned to acknowledge Krakira.

"Your recovery is pleasing to see. You wear your scars with pride," Qû’jara said sincerely, returning his gaze evenly.

It was said in the temple at Murzana on Korriban that the Emperor himself acknowledged the excessive nature of Krakira's punishment for his minor insubordination, and the Umbaran's standing was unaffected among his peers. If anything, Qû at least held him in greater esteem, and during the journey she had realized herself how extensive the damage had been, and it did not surprise her that Krakira's changes were not merely physical.

She extended her wrist and her comm projected the holomap of local topography she'd been studying a moment earlier. Meanwhile, the crew of the Tuk'ata's Fang finished unloading their speederbikes, loading the luggage compartment of each with basic rations and water for a week, among camping equipment and other minor amenities. With luck, their mission would be over far quicker than that, but it was better to be overprepared.

"I agree with your assessment, Karai, but we need be wary of more than the Chateau," she said in response to Karai's tactical suggestion. With her other gloved hand she indicated two glowing blips on the gridmap.

"The ruins of Bitter End are almost certainly active as well. Our first order of business will be to either scour the city or avoid it entirely. We're six clicks from the edge of the settlement, but unless we want to announce our arrival it would be prudent to make the last part of the journey on foot."


@Akheron @Cainhurst Crow
 
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Karai Hekk-iv-Adas

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━─━────༺༻────━─━





THEME




Karai too stood impressed by Krakira's resilience and recovery. He was a valued ally and an asset, more so as he stood up for the rest of them. Those without voices against the entity Raze even as it had cost him. He had heard the Sith'ari, his God-Emperor had a hand in the recovery. A rumour at least.



Regardless he was glad to see him and fighting again alongside him and Champion Qu.



"And I you, Champion Krakira. It is good to see you up and about again after the celebrations. Ziost was such an....unfortunate business for us all. I still suffer for it, the scars run deep for us all, but I would do it all again for the Sith'ari and fight alongside those deserving of such respect. We shall see what this hellhole holds for us. For good or ill."



All had paid the blood price on Ziost, physically and mentally. In each other bonds were made of battle, and he would protect them so long as they did the same. They had earnt his loyalty and respect. He took what Champion Qu and Krakira said seriously. He considered the options, nodding as they were presented and observing the map.



"Indeed, if what I hear about this place is true. It's not just the Chateaux or the rain we must worry about. I recommend we scour the city first...make sure no-one tries sneaking up behind us and secure our current advantage. Clear all these heretics from their holes."



After speaking and any answer was given he would likewise make sure everything was secured correctly and tight on the speederbike he was to use. So none fell out.





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Krakira Dresmorlin

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Krakira nodded as he holstered his saber to his belt, "Well....I had a lot of help to get here now." He said, glad that he was able to keep more of himself from becoming cybernetic. Still, that was then and this was now. A fresh start with a relatively more straight forward job.

He just hoped that the spirits weren't too active, shuddering at the recent experience he'd had with them.

"If these cultist believe in the force so badly, perhaps a show of force could weaken their resolve. A demonstration that we are powerful within the force and that they should not interfere..." After all, these cultists worshipped the so called dark side, so he assumed they'd been taught it by a sith or darksider practitioner. Likely taught to fear it if they were revering the person in the Chateaux as a god. Such weak wills could be to their own advantage if they needed it, "Barring that, we can attempt perhaps to circumvent the village all together....or simply put them to the sword."

Krakira looked to the speeder bike and began to prepare his own supplies, giving a wonder as he spoke. "We'll be able to make the call once we get to the Chateaux, but I doubt these people will be of much value to the the sith..." He observed, not exactly seeing much of the endemic life or resources of this world to interest the sith, simply the knowledge in that tower, "I'm willing to be proven wrong though."

With the supplies ready, he got onto the Speeder Bike and felt the engine thrum to life. Bikes were always fun to fly on, and without much to get in the way, he looked forward to putting the proverbial pedal to the metal.

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Qû’jara Jinyeva

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· · ── •⋅⊰∙∘☽༓☾∘∙⊱⋅• ── · ·

"We lack information. I believe I favor the approach Karai suggests. We must weigh whether to announce ourselves by fully approaching the ruins of the settlement on our speederbikes, or locate an adequate spot to leave them if we wish to have any hope of catching them unawares. I think it would be prudent to go through and observe the followers of this false god, that they might help us better understand our enemy."

Checking her equipment, the Nautolan too climbed onto her speederbike and began her ascent of the tall hill north of their landing coordinates. Qû’jara configured the comm radio so the others should be able to hear her speak in her helmet.

"Don't be so sure this world is useless to us, Champion Krakira. Greater Sith than we have used it as a staging grounds. Furthermore..."

Qû had crested the hill and took one foot off her speederbike, peering through the thicket of thorn trees and down towards the visible skeleton of Bitter End, four or five kilometers away.

"Planets such as Vjun hide beings that become privy to many secrets in order to eke out an existence on these blasted worlds. We can learn much of resilience by watching how they live." She let a gloved fist rise towards the horizon, closing her fingers into a fist around the far-off silhouette of Bitter End.

"And how they die, at times."


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Karai Hekk-iv-Adas

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━─━────༺༻────━─━





Karai was pleased Champion Qu agreed with his assessment and he likewise agreed with her own of the planet. He was not so dismissive of the cult of the planet having seen a few worlds now similar that despite appearances were of great value. No matter how they seemed there were secrets here and no doubt the cannibals knew where to find them.




He spoke out as all mounted the speederbikes, speaking into the linked com "I agree with that assessment Champion Qû’jara. I would suggest as mentioned observation and taking a look first, not only could we learn more about them but also perhaps who leads the rabble. It would make it easier to cut the head off if we have more information."




As she explained to Krakira he added "That is true. I have visited several similar worlds of late, even the apparently benign can hold the greatest secrets. World's such as Vjun are havens for the Dark to thrive. I hear a rumour you may have visited Moraband recently, is that not such a similar world?" he inquired. Karai followed behind Champion Qu, and when she stopped so to did he. Looking at Bitters End, he briefly stretched out his senses in the Force, trying to gauge where in the settlement the enemy may be hiding so they could find a good vantage spot to approach on foot.




"I recommend approaching on foot, and hide the speederbikes as suggested. The less noise, the better for now until we know their intentions and what they are capable of. I remember what I was told once. Information in Ammunition, it is prudent to find out more before we make our move." he considered.





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Krakira Dresmorlin

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"I suppose there is always something to be gained in observing. Very well, a stealthy approach it is..." He said, shrugging his shoulders. Krakira was not opposed to what was proposed, and as Qu pointed out, perhaps there was more afoot that could be gleamed by giving the cultists a fear chance to impress them. "Well see if we can't find some secrets worth gleaning after all..."

Krakira's expression went slack at the mention of Moraband, staring first at Karai and then his gaze slowly drifting off of the young champion and out towards the blighted waters. One could almost hear screaming if they focused on the force enough before he blinked, giving a nod to Karai as his smile returned.

"It was...Harrowing. That's a good word for it....An experience I don't think I'll ever forget..." Krakira commented, his smile polite and empty, and his one silver eye showing no life to it as he looked in the direction of the village. "Regardless, approaching on foot seems like a wise call to make. Perhaps one of the mountainous outcroppings can serve as a vantage point to plan our route in. I doubt we would maintain the element of surprise going through the equivalent of a front door, after all..." He said, getting back to normal and seeming to snap out of whatever the hell that was earlier.

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─── ❖ RUINS OF BITTER END ❖ ───
shortly after the Tuk'ata's Tooth lands on Vjun

Amid the squat structures of the settlement stretched like a mat of durasteel mold along a curve in the River Weeping and at the foot of the hills leading to the old chateau, a strange and evil microculture festered.

The cult at Vjun was an aberration imposed through random probability upon the galaxy: a church not united in faith, but in uncertainty. They were the disenfranchised and forgotten children of the Force, finding solace neither in the light nor in the dark, seeing only a haze in which they themselves were so insubstantial as if to not exist at all.

Most were wanderers and vagabonds, worshipers not of a god but of a Wound that Would Not Heal in the heart of the Vjun Chateau, through which much evil bled into the world over many years, seeping into the landscape so that it was stained with a feeling of wrongness.

Like water in a basin, life and death stagnated on Vjun. The minds of those living there were warped by the spirit of sickness that slipped into the galaxy through the unanchored nexus. It fed off the cultists, and as it ate it seduced, bestowing small gifts upon its flock so that they did not notice themselves wasting away while slowly they grew to coveted scraps of its strength more than life itself.

The cultists ─ or far more than them, the thing they worshiped ─ knew they could not coexist with the galaxy, not until their angel of hunger had grown far fatter on the meat of their souls. They would exterminate all that discovered them and their secret or die trying.

ZavzPIE.png

An ancient Iridonian woman sat surrounded by mutated vegetation in the ruins of their agricultural unit. Now only sickly plantlings and weeds grew rampant in the graying soil.

The crone called Eezkra often meditated there, as she did now. Her withered body was covered in winding scars, written over like a journal filled with schizophrenic ramblings. She held a jagged shard of debris in one hand and red blood flowed from fresh cuts. Agony brought Eezkra closest to the Force, nearest to the Wound that Would Not Heal.

Her dreams were clearest then, even when they demanded torments drawn out over long hours at the edge of the knife. At other times she performed harumancy in the entrails of vermin, exacting her divinations through subtle arrangements of tiny bones and acid blood.

She gasped and shuddered as she returned from her vision, grabbing her shoulders to steady their trembling, eyes wide and wild until they settled on a familiar figure. Phigra, the leader of their cursed tribe and the one whose communion with the Wound was greatest, regarded her with his sunken and faintly luminescent gaze. The Stennes was mute as he stared, his presence in the Force as faint as ever.

"It was no error when the sensors detected emissions consistent with a vessel leaving hyperspace," the Iridonian said after muttering at herself inaudibly for a moment. "A shuttle bearing three Sith warriors from Korriban has settled at the edge of the valley. Even now, they approach Bitter End." She rose to her full height, half a head taller than most humans.

"They will hunt us to the last even before they see what we've done in the temple," she said simply, and looked towards a corner of the room. Through the wall and far overhead, she was staring in the direction of the chateau itself.

Phigra's expression remained impassive. There was a long pause before he spoke. "We knew this day must come eventually. I will tend to the altar. Follow our contingencies and soon our wounds shall be theirs. Today we shall know the true sum of our long suffering, my sister. I will pray for your deliverance."

Phigra was talented with the power of the Stennes to make themselves scarce and indetectable. Without another word, the cult leader cloaked himself in the Force so that Eezkra could not quite focus her eyes on him, and departed to begin his final pilgrimage to the chateau. Meanwhile, the Iridonian witch steeled herself.

There was much to prepare before the Sith arrived, and little time.


Jake as DM here. I made 3 rolls to randomly determine aspects of the cult. I'm listing them for transparency but let's try not to metagame with the knowledge.

1. Resources - 21/100 - the cult has very little resources and isn't particularly well-armed or defended. There will be no automated defenses or mercenaries, soldiers, droids, etc besides the cultists themselves, and themselves not armed with advanced weaponry or armor. We can expect melee weapons and a few blasters, maybe a surprise or two but otherwise, basic equipment.

2. Intel/Organization - 88/100 - the cult is very well-informed and acting with great coordination. We can expect them to be well-prepared for our arrival and, though they are poorly equipped, attempting the best countermeasures and tactics available to them.

3. Size/Misc - 18/100 - the cult is not very large nor are its constituents powerful. Besides whatever is lurking in the chateau itself, there are only two noteworthy "named" NPCs that could respectably compete with the PCs as more than fodder, the two described in this post. However, as a group they can still pose a threat.

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Qû’jara Jinyeva

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· · ── •⋅⊰∙∘☽༓☾∘∙⊱⋅• ── · ·

The group of Sith champions stood in a thicket of thorn-trees at the crest of a foothill overlooking Bitter End. The chateau glowered at them from the other side of the ruined settlement, the treacherous terrain having eliminated any landing sites offering a more subtle vector for their approach.

A terrible pall hung over the valley, and acid clouds bruised and clotted the sky, threatening rain. It reminded Qû’jara of the terrible hellscape impressed upon the Force at Ziost by the sheer weight of death there, only on Vjun the dread was pervaded with a sense of ... stagnancy.

Their speederbikes were just out of sight behind them. There were smaller hills, crags and small acid lakes covering the landscape between them and Bitter End. Enough to cover most of their approach, but there would be an unavoidable stretch of open ground, a hundred and fifty or so meters of open plains.

Still, they had no choice if they wanted to explore the ruins of the city.

"It is clear there is something very wrong here," Qû’jara said to her partners. "We could creep along the edge of these hills to try and ascend to the chateau in secret, but I find myself unwilling to leave those ruins at our back with no knowledge of what they hide."

As they had approached on their speederbikes, the terrible texture in the Force worsened. It practically throbbed in the vicinity of the mansion on the other side of Bitter End. Even from this far away it could be felt clearly, feeling no need to hide itself on the dead world.

Qû retrieved a pair of electrobinoculars from her pack and spent a moment calibrating them, then brought them up to her face. She was silent for a few seconds as she scanned the ruined settlement for any signs of activity, lingering on certain locations longer than others. Then she passed the binocs to Karai and Krakira so they could check for themselves.

"No movement at all," Qû said as she began to slowly descend from the hill, careful to favor cover wherever possible from the direction of Bitter End. She was covered in her bodysuit and had a hood pulled over her head-tendrils should it begin to rain.

"The disturbance on the other side of the settlement is interfering with my senses, but if the city is unabandoned, it bodes ill."


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Karai Hekk-iv-Adas

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━─━────༺༻────━─━





Karai followed up in the speederbike up until they had to abandon them as they had agreed. He briefly looked up noting the weather was threatening to change, acid rain clouds looming overhead. Dark, miserable and deadly. He too was reminded of Ziost and the hellhole it had been, yet this had its differences.




Standing in the trees, Karai took the offered electrobinoculars. Nodding a appreciative gesture.




He did not like it. It was too quiet, no movement and with some kind of interference. He too could feel it. He handed the binoculars to Krakira as he spoke in return "I agree. Leave nothing unturned, it is a good place for them to ambush us. I would rather not leave out back unguarded. Besides, we might find something useful inside we could use. As for the city, it definitely is odd. Too quiet for my liking, it reminds me of Ziost. Seemingly abandoned yet they hide within waiting. Best we be on our guard."




He suggested, his mask and good still up, the environmental suit he wore hopefully enough to protect from the worse of the rain should it empty upon them. As appeared to be becoming a possibility the closer they got.






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Krakira Dresmorlin

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The force in this part of the planet was familiar to Krakira, painfully familiar. The stagnancy was not unlike the realm of despair and resignation he had traversed recently, and it set his jaw a bit on edge as he continued to speed along with the others. His cloak was up, but the cape was folded and pinned to his back to prevent it being snagged. He felt a tightens around his neck as they continues, swallowing a bit as the sympathetic response played out in his body as they reached their destination and began observing the village.

"So you two sense it as well..."
He said, giving a nod as he looked at the village and the skies above, "Good. Not just me then. Someone, or something, is influencing the force and radiating resignation. Which means we need to be extra cautious. Keep our mental guards up, and stick together...". Krakira spoke from experience, not knowing what he'd do if he had been in his previous situation alone. Together, they could help keep one another in check.

The silence of the village made him on edge, "You've the right of it, I think. Better to make sure he can't be flanked, then leave it up to chance...." He said, withdrawing his lightsaber and holding the hilt in his right hand. His left hand drew out his blaster pistol, holding it up as he looked to the others and nodded. Last time, range had been a small issue for Krakira, and he did not intend to make that same mistake again. "We should assume the worst. If we cannot sense them fully, it does not mean they cannot in turn..."

With that, he followed the others in their plan to move and investigate. He trusted that with their power together, they would be able to handle whatever this planet would throw at them.

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Qû’jara Jinyeva

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Quick round as we reach the outskirts of the village and then I'll make another DM post to keep us chugging.

· · ── •⋅⊰∙∘☽༓☾∘∙⊱⋅• ── · ·

As they left the thicket of thorn-trees to descend the hill, the vegetation became sparse. Venomous green moss clung to much of the rocky surface; though almost inviting, more than a glancing footfall elicited an acid sizzle from the earth. Everything on Vjun appeared hostile to them, from the ground to the air, and the ruined settlement of Bitter End looked no more inviting. Qû’jara also held her lightsaber, half-expecting blasterfire at any given moment.

The oppressive aura languishing over them interfered with their extrasensory perception. Like Krakira, Qû trusted in their strength, but she also felt a growing sense of unease, especially at being unable to clearly reach out through the Force and gauge the situation. The most she grokked from their surroundings were that something was alive in Bitter End, and it did not feel particularly welcoming.

All in all, it would take around half an hour to descend the hill on foot and pick their way carefully across the landscape towards the village. Eventually, the three would find themselves hidden in a gully carved between two shelves of stone and rock. The tops of the tallest structures in Bitter End were just visible to them.

"There's an unavoidable stretch of about two hundred meters separating us from the outskirts of Bitter End," Qû reported to her comrades. "I think we should fan out as we approach so that one of us hopefully draws any enemy fire while the others find cover, and then regroup."

She tapped her communicator. "I've checked mine is operational, but guarantee you can keep in touch if we are separated. All that's left is to decide who leads the charge."


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Karai Hekk-iv-Adas

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━─━────༺༻────━─━






As they walked, Karai was ever cautious. Careful not to touch any of the venomous moss as they descended, he found he was still having problems sensing things properly. Whatever it was, the aura, it was interfering with everything and he found it felt very similar to Ziost. The whole place worked against them. And yet he would not give up, too much was at stake and he was not one to run from the challenge.




Like the others he knew something was alive ahead, but did not know what it was, only that it was not inviting. Which made Karai all the more cautious as they got closer.




When in the gully, Karai listened thinking upon the suggestion by Champion Qu. He too could see the expanse of wasteland ahead of them, minimal cover and exposed. Yet they had few other choices but to take the route. Karai grimaced under his mask slightly, but agreed. Fanning out while leaving them more exposed would perhaps draw out whatever or whoever was hiding.




They would provide the tastiest of worms on a hook and reel them into the open.




Karai checked his communicator was also still working as he considered their options. Finding few others, he agreed. On the decision of who might go first, leading the charge, Karai spoke "If someone must go first, I shall do it. Let's draw them out of their holes and into the open." after Ziost he trusted those with him to have his back. Those who stood beside him, for all were battle tested and committed to their cause. They would all see to the completion of the mission. For the Sith and Arcanos.



So far he had no reason to doubt them. So he stepped forwards ready to move when they were, lightsaber by his hand should he need it. Ready to face death in the face again and smile back at it. For he was a dark wraith and here in the abyss he found solace.






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Krakira Dresmorlin

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Krakira walked through the outside with a frown on his face as he made his way with the others down the hill. Everything on this world seemed primed to hurt or kill, even the moss giving off an offensively bitter scent of acid as he did his best to avoid them. He after all did not want to replace his boots after just one outing.

All the while however, things had been quiet, too quiet in fact. Not a single noise beyond their own footsteps could be heard, the village they were approaching deathly silent. The planet was pretty lifeless but he imagined there would be some kind of activity in the village, the sound of repairs to be made or work to be done in such a harsh environment.

Could they possibly all be dead? Well, it was possible. But he didn't feel like taking the change. On Karai's suggestion, Krakira gave a nod of his head, "I'll be ready to defend you if need be. My own skills with Soresu should help with any ambush fire that's tried..." He said, fairly sure he would be able to make it to Karai to provide assistance, "Regardless, splitting up a bit is fine by me. I'll take the left flank."

He made sure his communicator worked and held his hilt and pistol at the ready. He held back as Karai began to take his steps out. Krakira gave him a solid few seconds to make his way out, counting down in his head before he began to walk forward himself, a distance to the left of Karai.

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The Storyteller

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─── ❖ HILL OVER BITTER END ❖ ───

Picking his way through crevasses and over rocky terrain on the slope above Bitter End that led to the chateau, Phigra would be practically invisible from the Sith warriors' vantage point. The gaunt Stennes turned, pulling tattered robes tighter over the environmental suit that protected him as acid rain began to fall from murky clouds in the churning sky over Vjun.

A pale hand brought electrobinoculars up to his sunken eyes, dialing in on the group of Sith as they approached the outskirts of the ruined settlement he and his band of outcasts called their home. Phigra was painfully aware that their scabrous sect posed no real threat to the Korribani in a direct confrontation.

Even though the oppressive emanations from the Wound disturbed their ability to sense their surroundings, the Sith were seasoned warriors, whereas only a handful of the cultists had real combat experience. Equipment was scarce, though they could cobble a few weapons together given the need.

And the need was great. In another life, Phigra fought his share of battles like these across countless battlefields on worlds without number. He hadn't know this day would come, but felt thankful that he'd brought a piece of that life to Vjun with him. Heaving a heavy pack over a shoulder, cloth sizzling under the drizzle of the acid rain, Phigra estimated his position on the hill to the chateau set him at a little over half a click away

Opening the pack, it was clearly a rifle of some kind, totally disassembled. He set to work putting it together, muttering a prayer to the Wound that Would Not Heal for the success of Eezkra and their other brothers and sisters below.

─── ❖ RUINS OF BITTER END ❖ ───

The three Sith Champions would approach slowly, cautious of a trap. Krakira took the left flank while Karai marched forward, leaving Qû’jara to take the right side. The Nautolan kept hidden in the trenches and crevasses to avoid revealing herself, separating by about 50 meters before she climbed onto the stone plateau and began her own approach.

They covered about half the distance to the settlement before anything broke the uneasy stillness. A human man and a Twi'lek woman emerged from the dilapidated huts, their bodies covered in filth and grime. They faced Karai from a distance of about eighty meters, standing between two clusters of squat domiciles and beneath a rusted overpass communicating the buildings that flanked them.

"Come no further!'' the woman shouted at the tall, red-skinned Massassi warrior. Qû trailed far enough to the side that they didn't notice her, but it was unclear if they were aware or not of Krakira. It also remained unapparent whether the pair were armed, but the threadbare attire clinging to their scrawny and malnourished bodies suggested they weren't wearing any substantial body armor.

"What business to the Sith have on Vjun? See ye not that we are but a destitute and doomed tribe, left to corrode on this acid-washed rock? Leave us be and come no further, if you value your lives."

The man's threatening tone was unmistakeable. What remained to be seen was how the Champions would react to it.


Positions Nothing to note so far except Phigra being some distance away, on the hill at the far side of Bitter End, near the path leading up to the chateau.

Akheron - make a roll for Karai, you'll find out what it's for next round.

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Karai Hekk-iv-Adas

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━─━────༺༻────━─━






As the trio made the approach, Karai cautiously stepped forwards, taking the front most position. As he walked he felt the rain, as the clouds finally broke. It was inevitable it would happen eventually, he just hoped his environmental suit held up against it. And yet he was undisturbed by the silence and the weather. He had faced worse.




Halfway along his cautious walk, Karai was them and observed with a wary eye. Always looking at what they were doing and where the hands went, if for a weapon they would soon lose that hand. He noted the grime upon them, no worse than those he had seem in the street as he grew up, covered in all manner of filth. He found it somewhat strange that they lacked armour but that did not mean they were harmless.




Karai almost chuckled at the man's threats from behind the mask he wore. His threatening tone had little impact, not against him. He had faced untold horrors and nightmares before, many battles marked across his flesh. So instead he stood calm, unmoving despite a subtle hand near his lightsaber Holt in case they got violent as he spoke.




He decided to at least indulge them a little. See if they could not be persuaded, if not well then they would join the countless others who had tried to destroy them and renounced the true Sith'ari. They would fall into the abyss and Vjun would become their tomb.




He briefly gripped the man's throat subtly, to make a point. He would suffer no disrespect, not from him.




"And it you value your own, I suggest you watch your tone when speaking to me. I will suffer no disrespect, I have killed for less." he said releasing him.





He continued.




"I am Champion Karai Hekk iv-Adas. We come on behalf of The Chainbreaker. God-Emperor, Lord Arcanos. Our Dark Lord and the one true Sith'ari. Chateau Malreaux is of interest to the Order and to him, as is the nexus and whatever else lies within." he looked at them both, cautiously "Are you the remnants of this town I have heard about? The ones I am told to be are a tribe, worshipping an ancient supposed dark god who lies inside the Chateaux. A false god. Those in denial of the Sith'ari." He inquired, not yet attacking but ready if they did.






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