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  1. #101
    Count / Countess Quaxo9 is offline Quaxo9's Avatar
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    Jun 2004
    The Great White North
    Neva Xolte

    Neva didn’t remember leaving the ship. The only reason she knew they’d moved was that the ceiling was now further away. Her bonds had shifted from metal encasing her hands and feet to a series of fields arranged over her legs, arms and chest. The time she’d spent unconscious hadn’t made her head feel any clearer – everything ached and her throat burned from shouting. She was vaguely aware that she hadn’t had anything to drink in a very long while.

    As her eyes adjusted to the low light, she found that the room she was in was a lot larger than she’d first noticed. There were swaths of lights on the far side – prison cells, she thought. Neva turned her head to the left and instantly regretted it. Anewe stood at a large console, looking all too pleased with herself. She seemed aware that Neva was awake and gave her cousin a smirk even while the machine garnered most of her attention. Good – at least she was busy with something else for a change, though the Sith looking so smug was cause enough for Neva to look the other way.

    “You know, cousin, you really are in fine form.” Honey dripped from her words as Anewe left the console to place a too-gentle hand on Neva’s midsection. “I’ve had an idea. If you can’t help me find the others, I suppose you could just make me an army.” Neva’s head whipped around to stare in shock at Anewe before her eyes narrowed and a stream of language burst from her bloodied lips, shoulders lunging off the table in a lame attempt to scare off the Sith who stood laughing at her. The hand moved from Neva's midriff to her chest as Anewe leaned in just close enough to breathe the same air, but far enough away to not be bitten. “Of course, we need to do something about this attitude.”

    “Lord Anewe.”

    The Sith’s visage instantly drew cold as she pulled back from her prisoner and turned back toward her machine, ignoring the herald who had spoken her name.

    “Lord Anewe. You have been summoned by the Dark Council.”

    This additional information brought the woman pause. She turned slowly, flaring out her robes with a bit of added drama to take in the new arrival. The man had clearly been in the employ of the Sith for quite some time as he didn’t seem to notice anything out of the ordinary and had, in fact, expected to be dismissed upon his immediate arrival. Anewe studied the man before addressing him.

    “I assume it is a matter of importance requiring some urgency on my part?” Her disdain was carefully layered within the curt question, as she challenged the idea that the Council’s goals might take precedence over her own without doing so in a way that could have her brought in front of that same Council under very different circumstances.

    “It is.” The reply was as bland as his voice. Anewe nodded, having anticipated the answer – the Council never requested anyone’s presence at the attendee’s leisure. While her response was cool – inside, her mind spun with possibilities. Perhaps they had finally noticed her genius. She had sworn that one day she would have a seat in the Chamber – every step she made was in pursuit of that goal.

    “Droid. Come here.” A protocol droid stepped out of a darkened corner and bowed slightly at the waist. “You will operate this machine. Press this button – when the machine stops, wait a minute before pressing it again. If the subject loses consciousness, apply a shot of this adrenal.” The Sith pulled a cart topped with a tray of syringes next to the torture table. “Continue until I return.”

    “I will serve you well, Master.” The droid replied and stepped up to the console. Anewe stepped back to accommodate the droid and blew Neva a kiss as the droid started the Tormentor’s sequence. She took a moment to drink in her cousin’s melody before turning to follow the attendant to whatever fate the Council had called her to.
    Winner of the dubious Vaarsuvius Award for Verbousness!

    I support altruism.

  2. #102
    Count / Countess Quaxo9 is offline Quaxo9's Avatar
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    Jun 2004
    The Great White North
    Teizi Lin

    As they started their approach to Dromund Kaas, Teizi stepped to the bridge to catch a glimpse of the Empire's capital planet. Purple light flashed all around, the ship shaking as it descended through the thick cloud layer, before it seemed to suddenly shake free of the viscous substance and streaked over a dark jungle. Lightning lit up the foliage and Teizi could just make out the outlines of what she could only assume was native wildlife. Strange, she'd never imagined the Empire's home planet to be so...wild. So alive. That despite all the planets they conquered, they hadn't quite seemed to gain full control over their own.

    "It's beautiful." she whispered to no one in particular, herself included. Realizing that she was leaning forward so far as to almost touch the window with her forehead, she regained her composure and stepped back to take in what everyone else was probably looking at - the vast grey expanse of Kaas City. Very possibly their final resting place. The mission had grown more complicated, not that she would back out - missions always seemed to get more complicated, but the more steps involved the greater the chance that something could go wrong. And then, of course, there was their method of arrival.

    There really was no way to disguise two Jedi in the Empire's home base. She'd known this. However, she somehow hadn't expected that the best way to get to where they needed to go was to do so in plain sight. Teizi realized that part of her was simply uncomfortable with the charade of playing the role of Master Visper; anyone who knew the latter would certainly be aware that Teizi was no Master. It was silly, she knew - it was the simplest part of the whole thing - but acting had never been her strongest suit. She was a woman of action and that was the part of the mission she was the most comfortable with.

    The young Zabrak had become mysteriously quiet, despite his initial glee about his role of conquering hero helping to capture the Jedi. She suspected it might have had something to do with the side chat Siralai had with the boy afterwards, but perhaps it was more than that. In his coming back to Dromund Kaas to release a prisoner from his master's grip - he may very well have to face down that same master who had instructed him for so long. Despite his bravado, it couldn't be a comfortable situation. For his sake, she hoped he wouldn't falter. If he did...Teizi was prepared to make an enemy of his protector.
    Last edited by Quaxo9; 06-23-2020 at 06:48 PM.

  3. #103
    Count / Countess Quaxo9 is offline Quaxo9's Avatar
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    The Great White North

    She had to concede on Rossi's point about the room. It was true, she had behaved quite poorly - not that she was sorry about it. It had seemed the right thing to do at the time and she wasn't about to submit to regret. She didn't have the luxury of do-overs, so why think on the past? Of course the past had a way of popping up when you least expected it...

    The Pureblood's Force ability was astonishing. She'd never seen or heard anything like it. The vision. She recognized where on Korriban it took place - the detail was immaculate - but that wasn't her focus. It was the eyes. The hatred. The fear that lay buried there. It was like looking into a mirror.

    The vision faded away and Reyth realized that she'd been holding her breath. It felt so real, even though she was a mere spectator to the memory. Such a brief moment in time and yet it explained so much. Somehow that Jedi must have brainwashed that desperate Sith - and expected to be able to do the same with her. Fat chance.

    Still stewing in her own thoughts, Rossi's explanations had a delayed arrival in Reyth's head. The look of confusion returned as she stared at the other girl, attempting to connect all the information she had into a cohesive string. Her master had just...left? But she wouldn't have...Arksynn. In the space of a breath, Reyth was standing with her face brushing the force field - hands in fists on each side. Lies. Liar. 'Took care of him', did they? She was sure their definitions of 'fine' differed.

    She wished she could make her stop talking. She wished she could tell her not to speak his name. She wished she could scream. Instead, she pulled her lips back as though she would hiss, then abruptly stepped back and made broad sweeping motions around her as if to say 'If he's fine, then where is he?' There's no way Arksynn would have left her here with these people. He never left her side except at their master's bidding. If he was dead...Reyth could scarcely bring herself to think about it.

  4. #104
    "Arksynn went to help," Rossi explained. Reyth was so tense - like a caged animal. She must care very much about Arksynn, Rossi realized. This would take more than platitudes. "Let's call him, okay?"

    Rossi sent the holocom call without waiting for confirmation. She doubted the team en route to Dromund Kaas would have time for a long conversation, but surely they would have a moment to show Reyth that Arksynn was alright.

    "Mom? Reyth's worried about Arksynn. Can she see him?"

    "Sure," Siralai replied. She ducked out of the frame and passed the holocom to the young Zabrak.

    Arksynn had been quiet since Siralai had been forced to... have a little chat with him. She had promised to protect him, and she would hold to that, but Arksynn seemed to have gotten the impression that meant he could treat others as badly as he wanted. She had needed to make sure he understood that was not the case. That she had agreed to allow him on this mission because she believed he was mature enough to handle being part of a team, but if not, he could remain on the ship for Trystan to watch. They needed to be able to work together toward a goal, without petty bickering or childishness. Fortunately, that seemed to have taken the wind out of Arksynn's sails a bit, and his behavior had improved.

    "Reyth wants to see you," Siralai said to Arksynn. "Take a minute to let her see you're alive, and then we'll need to go."

    She stepped away to let him have his conversation privately.
    Last edited by Monkey Kitty; 06-23-2020 at 06:38 PM.
    "Sleep to dream, and we dream to live..." -Great Big Sea

  5. #105
    Count / Countess Quaxo9 is offline Quaxo9's Avatar
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    Jun 2004
    The Great White North
    Reyth and Arksynn

    Reyth had followed Rossi as far as her confines would allow. Call him? Could it really be that he was as the girl said he was - fine? It was with no small amount of impatience that she regarded the Jedi who appeared. She didn't even take the time to show her disregard for the woman who'd bested her with a single blow - and not the one to the head. Everything was focused on seeing her fellow apprentice and ensuring his safety. In the space of a few moments her worst fears were alleviated.

    Arksynn set the holo down on the floor and knelt down to stay within the field of view. Immediately, he began making hand signals even as Reyth's own hands flew out of her sleeves in a frantic series of gestures. Perhaps it would seem odd that Arksynn didn't speak, though he was capable, but used the same form of speech as the girl who couldn't. After a brief moment, he glanced up beyond the holo, then down again, appearing chagrined as his hands swept downward mimicking a ship coming in to land. It was time for him to go. Reyth merely nodded and waved him off - there was no point in continuing their conversation now when he was in the thick of things.

    The boy gave her the briefest of smiles before his hands formed a final sign - three fingers held aloft, while the other hand moved in a spiral away from the first hand. Reyth made the same signal and the holo winked out. Her hands slowly lowered to her sides. Everything the Pureblood had said was true. Their master had turned on Arksynn and had left with that woman from the ring. He'd been healed and volunteered himself to go on the rescue mission, revealing his intentions to Reyth that he was only going along to take his revenge on Anewe. She hadn't said anything - she was unable to stop him now - but she was sure that that was the last time she was going to see the boy she loved. Lord Anewe would kill him. He didn't stand a chance.

    Reyth would suddenly seem a very different Sith. The rage - gone. The fear - gone. The racing nerves - gone. She stood, head bowed, eyes closed, her hands had moved seemingly of their own accord to rest clutched together over her heart. Everything she had was gone - or was about to be taken away. All that was left was that familiar hollow place that threatened to engulf her.

  6. #106
    Rossi Mahr

    "Hey," Rossi said. "Don't worry, okay? He's going to be alright. Mom won't let him get hurt. I know your master is a piece of work, but she's only one person. Arksynn has my mom. And Pyrran - he's a Sith lord, we just met him, we're helping his sisters. And his friend Vette. And the new Jedi. Plus my dad is piloting the ship. They're all going to help. They'll make sure Arksynn doesn't get hurt. Try not to stress out."

    She knew that was easier said than done, so to try to change the subject to a more comfortable one, she added, "Your sign language is really cool. Can you teach some of it to me? I'd like to be able to understand you."

  7. #107
    Siralai Mahr

    Time was of the essence... but Siralai took a moment to drink in the sight of Kaas City. It was her first time seeing it in person. She and Trystan had a picture of the city in their living room - which tended to surprise Coruscant guests. Siralai thought it was important to remember Kaas City, though. That the Empire wasn't some military monolith; it was also full of ordinary people just trying to live their lives as best they could, trying to survive. That the Empire was full of people to protect, not just to defeat. The city was beautiful in person. She wished she had longer to experience it, but they had a mission to complete.

    Smuggling in two Jedi (even if one was an ex-Jedi) would be impossible. There were too many Force-sensitives who would perceive their approach. Best to have a cover story, and the only logical one was that they were prisoners.

    Teizi was to play Visper. The two didn't look much alike, so it wouldn't bear scrutiny, but Teizi's dark hair would pass for Visper's dark auburn at a glance in low light, and both were identifiable by facial scars. It was the best they were going to do on short notice. Siralai would play the part of a random Jedi caught in the crossfire by mischance, since there was no obvious candidate for her to impersonate.

    All seemed to be going well. Their cover story was accepted, largely because of Pyrran's performance. He'd seemed so uncertain on Rishi, but back here on Dromund Kaas, he'd turned to ice water. Siralai suspected this was a game he was very used to playing on his home planet. The plan was proceeding without a hitch... until they received the summons.

    It was an ordinary Imperial soldier who delivered the message. Just a grunt, addressing Pyrran nervously as 'my lord' and behaving with all possible deference.

    "My lord. Apologies, my lord, but your master. Darth Baras. Demands your presence in his chambers at once, my lord. He told me to make it clear, sir, that this was an order not a request. Begging your pardon, my lord."

    "Understood," Pyrran replied coldly. "You may return to your post."

    The soldier hesitated - and his dilemma was obvious. If he left, he would risk Pyrran not following the instruction, which would likely lead to his own death at the hands of Darth Baras. But if he stayed, he was disobeying an order from Pyrran, and assumed he would face the same fate. Eventually, he bowed and made his exit, glancing back a few times.

    "I'm sorry," Pyrran told the others once the soldier had gone. "Baras has deliberately put me in a difficult position. If I disobey his instruction, that man will be killed. Unfortunately, Baras realizes that would bother me. So..."

    Siralai nodded. "Understood. We'll take a detour to see Baras. We needed to deal with him anyway."

    "Thank you," Pyrran replied sincerely - but nervously.

    Baras was seated behind a massive stone desk. He could have been any Sith bureaucrat, albeit one with extravagant tastes - but for the torture rack in the corner, fortunately unoccupied at the moment. The disconcerting mask he always wore hid the Sith master's true countenance, but his mood was obvious nonetheless.

    "What is this?" Baras demanded without preamble when Pyrran and the others entered. "Why are you back on Dromund Kaas already? I told you to return with Iresso when you found him."

    "I'm working on it," Pyrran replied, allowing a note of defiance to enter his voice. If he was too respectful, it would seem abnormal and Baras would smell a rat. "As you can see, I'm making progress. I brought you his wife."

    "And what would I want with his wife? I told you why I needed the man. His spouse does not help."

    "I brought her so you could interrogate her..."

    "So I could interrogate her? Are you truly that useless? You couldn't manage a simple interrogation on your own?"

    "I thought, with your skills..."

    "You mean you thought to waste my time, so you didn't have to put in any effort of your own? Is that right? You did this out of laziness..."

    "No, my lord. It's just--"

    Baras dismissed this with a wave of the hand. "I have been lenient with you, but your behavior has gotten out of hand. You think you can do less than the bare minimum on my missions so you can spend your time with your Twi'lek slave girls? It's time for you to start thinking with your brain, rather than... other parts of your anatomy. I am taking back the slave that I gifted to you. I see now that my generosity was a mistake. She can be a reward for one of my more productive apprentices."

    "No!" Pyrran's voice was sharp, and he couldn't suppress a faint note of panic. "I won't let you take her."

    "It was not a request. It was an order. You will give the Twi'lek back to me and return to Rishi... what is the meaning of this?"

    Pyrran had drawn his lightsabers, and was staring at his master with open rebellion in his eyes.

  8. #108

    Tacia woke up in a strange place... and the despair that she had woken up at all was overwhelming. When she'd felt the darkness closing in, she had hoped that it was the end. That her brief life was over, and there would be no more pain. But now she was awake again. She felt better physically - which was another source of crushing hopelessness. Whoever had her now was planning to keep her alive. She supposed she shouldn't be surprised; she was only worth money as long as she was breathing. You couldn't get many credits for a corpse. The need for spice was a low pulse in the background, not a throbbing need drowning out everything else - so she must not have been unconscious very long.

    She glanced around, and saw Shandri was still here too. At least they were together, though she wasn't sure that was actually a good thing. She had hoped her healthier friend might be able to slip away in the chaos. A foolish and unlikely hope, with a slave collar specifically intended to prevent such a thing. Shandri would have been shocked into unconsciousness if she had strayed too far from her owners. Whoever that was now...

    A woman in robes entered the room, smiling benevolently. Tacia was thoroughly unconvinced by the appearance of benevolence, however. Either it was a trap, or the person was trying to bend you to their will. Either way, it often ended up as badly as outright cruelty. She turned away and faced the wall.

    The woman offered Tacia water and a cup of medicine. Tacia shook her head and clenched her jaw tightly.

    "This will help," the woman said gently.

    "I know," Tacia replied under her breath.

    Did the woman really think she expected to be poisoned? That would be a tremendous waste of resources; she was of no use dead. Obviously these people were trying to get her healthy enough to be used or sold. Well, she wasn't going along with it. She'd tried this before - refusing food and water - and it had never ended well. They had always forced her eventually. But at least she wouldn't comply willingly. At least she could make another try for oblivion.

    The woman sat down on the edge of the bed, and Tacia sighed inwardly. Apparently they were going to try using psychology on her first, instead of outright force. It wasn't the first time for that, either. And to Tacia, it was even worse. It made her doubt herself. At least when you were being beaten, the boundaries and roles were clear.

    "You're free now," the woman said gently. "Your slavery - it's over. You got away. You need to survive, so you can experience it."

    Tacia was skeptical, and it showed clearly on her face.

    "Feel your neck," the woman said simply.

    Tacia put her hand up... and felt nothing but her hair and skin. No metal. No collar. She'd been wearing a slave collar so long that she no longer noticed the feeling. Now... now it was gone.

    Could it be true? Could she really be free?

    And... if she was, would that change anything?

    Tacia had been a slave since she was a child. She had no skills other than what the Hutts had demanded. No family. No ties to any community. Nowhere to go. And now, a raging spice addiction...

    It was too late. She was in this life too deep. Life on the streets wouldn't be any better than slavery. This didn't change the plan. She closed her eyes and shook her head, refusing the medicine again. At least if she wasn't a slave anymore, they would have no reason not to just let her go.

    "We can figure something out, Tacia," Shandri said. Shandri understood - of course she did - but the thought of actually losing her friend made her panic. "It'll be hard at first, but we can work together and it won't be so bad..."

    "You two don't have to do this alone," the woman in robes said reassuringly. "We're going to help you. You'll have a place to go - please don't worry about that. Evanni is staying with me and my husband. She's your friend, isn't she? We want you to be safe, too. You can both stay with us. You'll always have a place to go."

    This sounded insane to Tacia. No one gave away something for nothing. No one just... took in people like her out of the goodness of their hearts. They must want something - and the list of options for what she could provide was fairly short. Anything else seemed too good to be true.

    But she was so tired. She didn't have the strength to keep battling unseen enemies, or her own demons. Maybe it wouldn't be so bad to wait and see. She nodded, and swallowed the medicine.
    Last edited by Monkey Kitty; 06-27-2020 at 07:07 PM.

  9. #109
    Count / Countess Quaxo9 is offline Quaxo9's Avatar
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    The Great White North

    She heard the words, but couldn't bring herself to believe them. Even if that was a lot of people against one Sith lord, they were still on Dromund Kaas - which was full of Sith lords, not to mention the Dark Council. Arksynn would probably run off and try to do Anewe in on his own just to prove his worth. There were just too many ways for things to go horribly wrong. Ultimately, she'd believe Arksynn was safe the moment he stood next to her - and not before.

    Reyth managed to bring her eyes up to meet Rossi's. The makeup and burns around her eyes couldn't hide the bags at this close of a distance, nor the way the skin clung to her cheekbones. While it may have appeared at the time of their first meeting that these features were calculated for some sort of effect, there was certainly some underlying conditions attached to their production. She squinted briefly at the other girl, wondering why she'd want to bother. No one else had, save Arksynn, and those many others had reason to want to communicate with her. In the end, she shrugged. Why not. If she survived, she could play teacher for all the good it would do.

    Her non-committal response rendered, Reyth turned back toward the bed and hugged the edge of it all the way to the head where the pillow had been. She didn't bother brushing aside the strips of fabric or other assorted evidence of her mini-rampage, but curled herself up into a ball under her robes with her head tucked to her chest and her back to Rossi.

  10. #110
    Count / Countess Quaxo9 is offline Quaxo9's Avatar
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    The Great White North

    The moment he stepped back onto familiar soil, he felt it. The weight of what he had claimed he would do. Not only was he working with the enemy, but he was plotting to kill his own master - apparently a common theme as Pyrran was after his as well. Somehow, he didn't have the same confidence as the other Sith and every step they made increased the deep feeling of dread in the pit of his stomach. When they arrived at Darth Baras' chambers, he'd stayed at the door, nodding to indicate that he was going to keep watch to ensure the meeting inside stayed private. In truth, he was terrified. How was he going to face Lord Anewe in this state? Part of him hoped that she wasn't in her chambers when they arrived so he'd have an excuse to not complete the promised he'd made to himself - and to Reyth.

    Teizi Lin

    She'd done her best to play the part, keeping her eyes averted and tucking her hair away from the scarred side of her face as if willing any opposition forces to notice them and only them. The young lord played his part beautifully - she admired his ability to change his face and his demeanour so wholly. Teizi didn't find she had much capacity for such things herself - she didn't even dare to use the Force to persuade others to do what she asked because she was certain they wouldn't believe her. She needed to have more conviction in this area. At least when the situation escalated inside the Darth's chambers, she knew exactly what to do. Her lightsabers appeared in her hands from their hiding place amongst the folds of her robes and ignited - long, thin blades of green and blue crossed in front of her as she prepared herself to jump directly into her adversary's path - if Pyrran didn't beat her there.

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