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Ashen is the name given to the twisted essence that vied for control of the body of Muz Keibatsu Sadow.
- 1 Background
- 1.1 Your actions turn conquest to dust
- 1.2 In portents of fate, you foolishly place trust
- 1.3 Sense fear in your broken breathing
- 1.4 Resort to shadows until your body expires
- 1.5 All of creation has a promise of heaven
- 1.6 Still you travel the road to hell
- 1.7 I'm saying nothing for the good of myself
- 1.8 But I'm still talking, and you're not listening
- 2 Quotes
Your actions turn conquest to dust
During Muz's formative years on Kyataru, he played with an imaginary friend called 'Dusty', whom he blamed a great many of his childhood antics on. His mother, concerned, was told by the doctors that the 'imaginary friend' was a part of growing up, and would disappear in time. However, she never got the chance to find out, as the Jedi Master Eojin Quon-Shen appeared to take the boy for training as a Jedi.
The shock of a six year old leaving his family behind weighed heavily on the boy, despite the meditations and sense of selflessness that the Master had tried to instill. The young Musashi Daraku seized a greater hold on the imaginary friend, the only companion left from his old world.
As time wore on, Musashi forgot his name, and also, 'Dusty'.
In portents of fate, you foolishly place trust
It wasn't long before Eojin Quon-Shen joined Master Skywalker's Academy at Yavin, bringing his own students to train with the others Luke had assembled. Another Master was a bit curious at the young Muz, something resonating within the lad in a way he did not quite understand just yet. He took Quon-Shen aside, and tried to dissuade the boy's training, worried that the darkness within him would overcome the good.
Eojin dismissed the advice, the old survivor's hubris making him believe that he could keep the boy on the bright path. Besides, as the old man was fond of saying, who was he to deny the will of the Force?
The Knight Trials were difficult on Muz, the tests of spirit taking their toll on the young padawan. The final trial before he would be granted the title of Knight was to defeat a creature of hate. Muz found such a creature deep in the forests of Yavin, hiding among the ruins of some ancient temple.
Sense fear in your broken breathing
The Tu'kata nearly disemboweled the young Jedi before he felt something rush over him... Unbidden, the Dark side washed through the young padawan, speeding his motions and strengthening his strikes as something within him told him how.
The Tu'kata should have killed the Padawan immediately. The combat lasted for hours.
When he returned triumphant, the masters felt the taint of the dark side on the boy, but considering the death of a Sith Hound, they waved it away as resonance from its death. Muz was named a Knight of the New Jedi Order.
Resort to shadows until your body expires
For the next few years, Muz worked with the Jedi, his skill with a saber undeniable as they sought to bring balance and justice to the galaxy. Still, within his mind, Muz heard the familiar voice telling him what he thought he already knew, encouraging him to strike with confidence, to act without thinking. The concepts were familiar, not only as Jedi tenets, but also as a teaching in the Kyataran Warrior code.
It wasn't until Muz was sent to Dearanor that he realized that the voice had a darker intent. As he severed the head of the interloper that came to kill that which he was guarding, the voice laughed.
Reporting the events and his concerns to the Masters at Yavin, he worried that he had lost himself to the shadow, relying on the Dark Side too much. The Masters told him that they would send help.
The Voice told him otherwise.
All of creation has a promise of heaven
They sent four Jedi, who ignited their sabers immediately upon sight. Muz let his mind go, expecting to die, his body acting out of training and instinct, not the Dark Side, he swore.
The next scene that bathed his eyes was that of four dead Jedi. Now he knew he had to go.
Over the next few years, Muz wandered, looking for work and a home, letting the Voice talk him through the hard parts, it's confidence keeping him still when he would falter. It would do the cruel things that needed doing, sparing the consciousness of the exiled knight.
Still you travel the road to hell
It was not until Muz was initiated into the Brotherhood and the Antei Combat Center, that the Voice found a name. Strengthened by Muz's 'acceptance' of the Darkness, the personae became stronger, demanding control more and more of the time.
In combat, the Krath would twitch, the alternate personality taking over, it's ruthlessness a stark contrast to the poetry that poured from its lips as it devastated friend, ally, or foe alike in the coliseum of Antei. Muz began to hate the loss of control, emboldened by the Dark Side himself, finally having resigned himself in more than just words.
Muz found himself fighting the Other inside the Cathedral of his psyche, the Voice embodied in the Ether as a polarized opposite of himself.
Cotelin recognized the madness within the Krath, using his powers to enter the mindscape of the Keibatsu to find the insanity within, to help purge it, despite the horrors it implied on the Master's disembodied mind. Nightmares, dredged forth from ancient memory, weren't enough to send Cotelin from the Krath's mind. He purged the beast that called itself 'Ashen'... Right into his own body.
Cotelin eventually found his way back into his own form, where he battled the disembodied darkness for control of his own body as it used his powers to decimate a number of dignitaries of the Brotherhood. Finally, Muz made a desperate attempt to undo the damage his weakness of spirit had wrought and drove his essence into Jac to seize control for just long enough for the Grand Master to be cut down by Lord Khyron.
The Rite of Certamen saved many lives that day.
I'm saying nothing for the good of myself
Muz removed himself from the Center, worried that another Dark Side rite would embolden the beast within him and threaten the Brotherhood again. Muz worked on trying to control the alternate psyche, finally coming to understand it as the scapegoat for all the horrible things he found necessary.
Heightened emotions still swayed the control to the Ashen one, an experience he noted in the outskirts of the Trayus Academy. The need to protect his friends and family driving him to lose his mind against a corrupted Krayt Dragon. He found himself unable to seize control from the cruel visage.
Eojin, sensing a tremor in the Force, had gone to Trayus, knowing as he drew closer, that his former student was there. He stalked and faced down Ashen in real life, and used his own prowess to seek out Muz inside his own head, trying to convince him to let go of the rage, to relinquish the dark.
All the old man's word's did was steel Muz's resolve, causing him to seize control of his own body to fight him himself. The irony crippled the Master, making him retreat as it was Muz's hatred of the Jedi that gave him the strength to overcome the darkness of his own fragmented soul.
It was then that the old master realized that Muz was truly lost to the Dark Side.
But I'm still talking, and you're not listening
Muz has the upper hand over his own dementia now, using his hatred of what the Jedi had done to him and his family as fuel to cage the feral shade. It still speaks, in hushed rhymes, to the Krath, especially under duress, but Muz retains control.
Most of the time.
- "Bleeding in the ashes of a million souls' flame. Never realizing that we're never twice the same."
- "My name shall be Ashen, inside this shell. And then Jac, after I send you to hell."
- "Running from the tainted touch of madness. I know that the fear you feel is endless..."
- “Recall the memory I tried to sever, falling deeper into the nether…”
- "Through my eyes you'll see me clear. Without restraint and without fear. Let me teach you what to hear."
- "Of the nightmares you have mined, all the power you've combined, In your dreams, my will defined."