Verse had become increasingly interested in the more hidden ways of the Force, and for this particular more personal journey, she had reached out to Cheriss, whom she had gone on a mission with a while ago. The other Sith also seemed interested in learning more about the Force, and it would be beneficial to both of them if they worked together.
Currently, Verse was on a ship she had recently bought with Cheriss. They were floating through deep space until they had a specific set of coordinates to punch in to the nav system. Verse left the cockpit and sat down in the cramped lounge, pulling out her knife to clean it.
When it came to the dark side of the Force, there was nothing that Cheriss wasn’t willing to explore at least a little. Verse’s call about a personal journey to learn more about it had come at somewhat of a surprising time as the two hadn’t worked with each other for quite a while now, but she welcomed it either way. Last time the pair had met, they had both reaped great benefits from the holocron they discovered, and she hoped that this trip would bear just as much fruit.
As Verse cleaned her knife, Cheriss was plugging in the coordinates to their destination. She’d been doing some research, and from what she’d found, there were reports of strange happenings on a specific planet in the Mid Rim. Disappearances, sightings of supernatural phenomena, strange deaths. All the evidence pointed to a Sith gone rogue… or someone else who reminded her a little of a certain doctor. If that didn’t deserve some investigating, she didn’t know what did.
“Gizer. There’s some activity there that might lead to what we’re looking for. I think it’s worth a look,” she responded, glancing at Verse as she drummed her fingers on the handle that when pushed, would take them into hyperspace and towards their destination. “And, I heard they have the best ale in the galaxy,” she added with a slight smile. She didn’t drink much, but maybe Verse was that type of Sith.
Verse paused momentarily from cleaning her knife, looking up at the dark haired Champion. "Gizer," she said, mostly to herself. It could be useful, and while she did not particularly care for alcohol, it might be easier to get intoxicated people to talk about things they wouldn't when sober.
"Push it," she said, indicating with a small nod at the handle that Cheriss had rested her hand on. "I have also been looking into the Unknown Regions," she said, giving her knife a last wipe, before sheathing it in the small scabbard on her hip. She stood and walked back into the cockpit, staring out the viewport at the vast expanse that was empty space. A shiver ran down her spine- it would be so easy to get lost out here if one wasn't prepared.
Cheriss wrapped her fingers around the handle, glancing over at Verse. The Unknown Regions were just that— unknown, and she would have liked to learn a bit more about it before they blindly went into it. However, she could imagine the great wealth of knowledge that was yet to be discovered.
“We could… once we’re finished with Gizer,” the Sith would respond with her smile that hadn’t yet faded. “One place at a time.” With that, the stars outside the viewport would glow bright as the two champions jumped into hyperspace.
When they arrived at the spaceport, if one could consider it a spaceport at all, Cheriss would get off to look around a bit as much as to stretch her legs. The spaceport itself consisted of a few landing pads that looked like they were used at most once a month. Most of the area around it were crop fields and grazing pastures, though she could see a forest past them. Smoke coming out from chimneys in the small town located a short walk away barely looked like anything compared to the vast sea of blue that was the sky above.
“This is much more pleasant than Dromund Kaas, don’t you think?”
Verse did not say anything in response to Cheriss. She was right, but how would the unknown regions ever become known if more did not explore it or delve into its mysteries? The ship jumped into hyperspace and a while later, they landed at a rundown spaceport. Verse followed Cheriss off, taking in the new scenery.
"Much," she replied, remembering their mission on Dromund Kaas, dealing with the serial killer. That had been a beneficial mission for both of them, and through this new journey, she hoped it would only make them stronger.
Verse spread out tendrils of the Force, feeling for anything that might be of interest. Something tickled the back of her mind, as if she was forgetting something, or missing something just out of reach.
Looking around before turning back to Verse, Cheriss thought that this was enough sightseeing for today. She was ready to get down to things, and it looked like her colleague was too. The look on her face was one she’d seen before, not just on Verse, but on others too.
“What is it? Have you found something?” The Force was a mysterious thing. She could feel a faint tingle, but she couldn’t make out what it was. However, she did have a feeling that it was coming from the town, and figured that that was the best place to start. Maybe the locals would be more knowledgeable about what it was, if they were able to sense it.
“I think we should check out the settlement to see what they make of it,” she said, eyeing the buildings. “They were the ones that reported the sightings, anyway.”
Verse withdrew her tendrils of the Force. They were coming here to learn about the Force- if the Force was already a presence on this planet, no need to disturb it or make themselves a target until necessary. "Something's off, towards the center of the settlement," she said.
She nodded at Cheriss' comment and took measured steps toward the settlement. Her silver cloak was a couple shades darker than her hair and skin, and she was glad she had worn an inconspicuous tunic and leggings for this journey, so she merely looked like a well-off traveler.
Heading for the town, Cheriss soon saw that despite the settlement being somewhat small, the main street was just as lively as if it were in a city. Farmers and their pack animals carried loads of grain and other crops through the street, passing by vendors who rang bells and called out to other pedestrian potential customers. From here, she could see a dirt road that led out of the town, and figured that this was some kind of miniature trading hub.
“Lead the way.” Cheriss would glance at Verse once they arrived inside the settlement. If the other champion had an idea of where to start, why not give it a look? The reports had been from all around this area, and as far as she was concerned the center of town was as good a place to look as any other.
On that note, she was a little surprised at how completely at ease the inhabitants seemed even with all the rumors going around. With those kinds of stories being spread, people tended to avoid the area. But then, when they turned the corner onto the next street, Cheriss could see that this was more along the lines of what she’d been expecting. The road was completely deserted, and where there had been so many people on the last one, she and Verse were the only ones facing it.
“Whatever you’re sensing… I’d bet it’s over here.”
Verse eyed the bustling streets as they moved, looking for anything out of place. Her steps slowed, however, as they turned a corner and were faced with a street that was completely empty- stark in comparison to the noise of the market behind them. Verse paused for a brief second, then nodded at Cheriss' words. "Spread out, look for anything suspicious," she said, moving to the left side of the street.
She kept her senses open and her eyes peeled as she scanned the buildings and abandoned stalls on the side of the street. So far, nothing popped out at her. She reached out with the Force a little, and like she had thought, the strange sensation in the Force was stronger here.
Cheriss was just about to head over to the other side of the street when a voice from behind stopped her.
“I wouldn’t go there if I were you, trav’ler.” She turned around to see a mid-aged Aqualish in a straw hat. An eopie paced behind him, tugging lightly on the reins as if asking the farmer to leave. However, the man didn’t budge as he continued.
“The place is unofficially off limits. Unless you wanna deal with Mors.” His voice dropped low and ominous, and he waved his hands in what Cheriss assumed was supposed to be a show of drama.
“Mors? Who is that?”
“A phantom. A man. No one knows. He’ll eat you alive if you go near his house—”
“That one?” Cheriss tilted her head in the direction of the one at the end of the street. It was a pretty large building, and behind it was a small field that was closer to the forest than any other. However, all she saw was a house that was in great need of repair. The Aqualish nodded, his eyes widening.
“They say he summons ghosts. Makes things move with his mind. Entire buildings! He can make people disappear, go insane, and—” Cheriss arched a brow.
“You don’t believe me? Then go find out for yourself… but remember, beware of Mors.” The Aqualish gave her one last dramatic warning look before turning to leave with his eopie, and Cheriss turned to look at Verse.
Verse stared after the Aqualish with a blank expression. All the stories he had told seemed to her to obviously line up with the Force- but then she already knew some of the Force's secrets; the natives in the bustling streets behind them likely knew nothing.
She looked back around at the house at the end of the street. "It sounds too easy," she replied. She could feel the dark side of the Force coming from this house. It was surprisingly soft, as if whoever this Mors person was was trying to hide himself- had he sensed Verse and Cheriss?
Verse rested a hand on her right saber, and glanced back at Cheriss. "Should we go in?" she asked.
It did sound too easy, though Cheriss didn’t say anything to that. As far as she knew this was yet another wayward acolyte who was messing with the locals, yet some of the things that the Aqualish had brought up seemed a little too advanced for the likes of someone who was just a learner. Maybe it was something else that neither of them had considered. We’ll see.
“I am looking forward to proving him wrong.” Cheriss shrugged and headed down the street to the dilapidated old house. She could feel the Force being used around here, and though she couldn’t pinpoint where, it was more than likely that it was coming from inside the house.
When she approached the door, she would gently twist the knob to see if it was locked. It wasn’t, and the wooden door swung open with barely a squeak. Well, that answered the question about whether this house was really abandoned or not.
“Looks like Mors is still living here,” she commented quietly to Verse. The interior was dark despite the bright light coming from outside, though it was lit up softly with candles. As she looked around the dry and brittle looking place, she couldn’t help but feel that if one of them fell over the entire house would become one giant campfire.
“Let’s take a look around. See what we can find.” She had a hard time believing that what the Aqualish said was true, though she was curious about the true nature of this place. Hopefully they would find something of interest.
Verse followed Cheriss into the dark house, her silver cloak catching the light of the candles and reflecting it on the floor. The two women were barely over the threshold when the door suddenly shut behind them, the sound seeming to echo in the dark.
A shadow passed over a candle and Verse froze. "And what would two beautiful, young women be doing here?" a deep, scratchy voice that seemed to rise from Verse's nightmares filled the silence. In the dark it was easier to blink and suddenly see the Sith that had killed her parents standing over her, extending a hand not to help but to hurt.
Verse's eyes snapped open and what little light the candles gave illuminated a hulking, shadowy figure. Verse was furious at losing control over her own mind and emotions that quickly and in one fluid movement, her right hand unholstered her right saber and ignited it, pointing it out in front of her, casting the man's face into a harsh red glow.
As the door shut behind them and shadow engulfed the room, Cheriss quickly placed a hand on her saber. Then came the voice that sounded as if it had come straight out of a horror holomovie. Verse’s saber soon lit up the face of the man that had spoken, though Cheriss hadn’t been so hasty. They didn’t know anything about him yet, and she didn’t want to make a new enemy so quickly.
“We heard stories. So we came to investigate,” she said carefully. The man stepped closer, but it was strange how he didn’t make a sound even when the floors creaked as she merely shifted on them. That led to a growing suspicion inside her.
“Is that so?” When Cheriss gave him a nod of confirmation, he would let out a hacking laugh that sounded as if he were choking on something.
“Whatever you heard, it’s true!” He smiled wickedly, showing his teeth, and Cheriss stifled a grimace at the sight. “Don’t tell me you’re having second thoughts about coming here now.” That was a mistake on his part.
“Oh, no. Far from it,” she said with a smile. She didn’t know about Verse, but she was still of the mind of getting to the bottom of this. And because of that, she took a gamble. “In fact, I’d like to meet the real you.” Taking out her own saber, she would slice it through the man’s abdomen. And sure enough, he was just as intact as he’d been before the blade had made contact.
Verse watched the man. Something was off. The light of her saber illuminated him in a strange way; he cast no visible shadow on the floor. She remembered the shadow from before and wondered if Mors had caused it, or if a candle had just flickered. She reached her conclusion just before Cheriss spoke and ignited her saber.
Rather than look furious at finding him out so quickly, Mors smiled, revealing his teeth again. Verse did not smile, while Cheriss and Mors smiled at each other menacingly.
Verse slowly lowered her saber and took a step forward. "You're doing Force Projection, and quite well," she said matter-of-factly. She figured it wouldn't hurt to lay it on a little thick, even if Cheriss and Verse had figured him out in seconds. They had been looking for it.
Cheriss put her saber back into its place and crossed her arms as Mors merely smiled upon seeing her blade go through. Her own smile had long disappeared, instead replaced with a look of interest as she recognized what the townspeople would have thought if they’d seen the same thing. Verse said what Cheriss was thinking out loud, and the old man chuckled.
“You got me,” he said, holding up his hands helplessly before he looked at the pair with newfound interest in his eyes.
“It’s been a while since the last time I’ve dealt with Sith. That is what you two are, if the red doesn’t give it away?” Cheriss didn’t respond, and the man merely smirked.
“I thought so. You wanted to meet me, yes? Follow the Path, and I’m yours.” He waved a hand, and then he vanished. Everything else was left the way they were when the pair had come in, and Cheriss glanced at Verse.
“That was… something,” she commented. “Want to look for this ‘Path’?”
Verse listened to the man. He definitely talked a big game, and if they followed this 'Path' thing, they would see if he could really do it all. She turned to Cheriss briefly and shrugged. "This house is big; we could start searching in here," she said.
She moved forward, picked up a candle, and raised it as she walked deeper into the house. The dim light of the candle lit up a shabby looking front room, with furniture that looked like a rabid animal had gotten to it. The floorboards creaked softly underneath her boots, the walls flickering with light, casting Verse and Cheriss' shadows onto the floor and wall, making them look like elongated monsters.
It seemed that she and Verse were on the same page, and Cheriss nodded. She had as little of an idea of what the man had meant as her partner did, so she assumed that the house was as good of a place to start as any.
Instead of using a candle, Cheriss would opt for her saber. Staying close to Verse, she would look around the stairs and the rooms, trying to find some kind of doorway that might lead to wherever he was hiding. But as they searched, not even a few minutes passed before she was starting to grow irritated with whatever game Mors was playing. He knew they were Sith— and yet still toyed with them like children in a game of hide-and-seek.
She stopped by an old painting whose subject looked suspiciously like the man they’d just met before something out the window caught her eye. It was the side of the house facing the woods, and for a fleeting moment she thought she saw a flash of light between the trees. But with a blink of the eye, it vanished into nothing.
“Hm.” Wheeling around to face Verse, Cheriss shook her head. “I don’t think there’s anything here. Maybe we should—”
But before she could finish, a loud thump came from upstairs as if something heavy had fallen. It sounded as if it had come from the bedroom, but having checked it already and finding nothing of interest, she had no idea what it could have been.
“If that’s him, I swear to the Force his head will be the next thing to fall,” she muttered.
Verse was quiet as they walked through the upper levels of the house. Finding nothing, they walked back downstairs. She paused with Cheriss at a window as Cheriss looked at a painting. She saw the flash of light at the same time as Cheriss but then it disappeared; the woods being cast back into darkness once more. The sun was setting, making the lighting in the house even more strange and eerie.
Verse was just thinking that this man seemed to enjoy toying with them a little too much when a thump came from upstairs. Verse said nothing; she merely looked up at the ceiling with an soft, annoyed exhale of breath. Did he think this was funny? He knew they were Sith, and they were almost positive he was Sith. Why was he trying to scare them so badly?
Verse moved back towards the staircase, her un-ignited saber still in her right hand. Her left light saber was still holstered, but her hand rested over it as she walked up the stairs.
Up the stairs, at first there was nothing of interest that Cheriss could see. Indeed, it had been a book that had fallen, but it didn’t look like anything had pushed it. Approaching it, the two Sith would find that it was one about paranormal activity and supernatural forces— more specifically, ghosts.
Still, there was no explanation for why it had just fallen off the shelf like that. She picked up the book, taking a look at what was on the page. The writing was about a flash like the one they’d seen earlier— apparently the locals believed it was a spirit called Mors. It was said to have lived in the woods, eating people alive.
“I think he’s just trying to scare us,” she said, switching her saber off and putting the book back before crossing her arms. “This is all just some cheap trick.” But then, there was yet another flash outside, and she frowned. A look at Verse told her the other champion had seen it too, and not for the first time either.
“But there is something out there.” Maybe it wasn’t Mors, but surely it was at least worth a look?