This page is dedicated to the Arcona Clan-Wide Competition known as Operation: Sojourn.
- 1 Main Fiction
- 2 Events
- 3 Assignments
Marick Arconae stood on the dais of the Serpentine Throne, translucent blue flames flickering behind him, the room’s overhead lighting preventing a silhouette from forming over his shoulders. Looking down in front of him, a young woman stood before him. She was undeniably beautiful, with auburn hair cropped at an angle that was shorter at the nape of the neck and fell in fuller strands around her face. The curves of her body were subtle, but there was no mistaking her pedigree.
Marick found himself hating her.
“You are of course welcome to continue your studies here, Verse Theris,” The Shadow Lord spoke, his stoic face guarding his thoughts like a mask.
It spoke to Marick’s self control that he kept any signs of anger clear of his face. He watched the woman exit and waited until the large double doors swung closed with a resounding thump. The Consul’s cool blue eyes shifted to regard the lone figure remaining in front of him. One of his oldest and trusted friends, Invictus. The Chiss shifted his feet uneasily and coughed into his hand. His crimson eyes met his Consul’s and the two simply stared at each other.
“So, what do you think?” Invictus asked, shattering the silence that had filled the room.
“No,” Marick said firmly. “No matter what she says, you cannot trust her. She is using you.”
Invictus frowned at that. “How do you figure?”
“It is simply their way, Invictus,” Marick replied, voice growing icy.
“Just because you-” Invictus started to say, but quickly bit back his words. He noted the look in his old friend’s eyes and realized he was crossing a dangerous line. The two had won a War together and made names for themselves. They had established Qel-Droma as premier house in not just the Clan, but the Brotherhood. The Chiss knew that Marick could become a different person when confronted with his past or the women that shared his heritage
“As you say. I will keep an eye on her, sir,” Invictus bowed.
Marick’s eyes seemed to lose their sudden edge. He hated when the few he held close used honorifics with him, and realized that he was being harsh on one of the few people he trusted with his life.
“Just be careful,” The Shadow Lord said, stepping off the dais to join Invictus. From the shadows lining the corners of the room, two large Cythraul appeared, padding obediently to their masters sides and following them out of the throne room. One was white as snow and the other black as midnight: Kira and Ktah.
Footfalls echoed as Marick and Invictus moved casually through the corridors of the Citadel. There was something comforting about walking the halls again. They had been away a long time. It was good to be home. Legorii greeted his Consul and handed him a datapad that highlighted a set of concerns he had observed from the local populace. At the Anzat's heels was his own Cythraul, Zymaal. The trio continued to walk and talked of plans to help Arcona begin preparations for the next Brotherhood campaign. Their wolves fell into line, trailing like shadows.
They talked of the newly formed Battle Teams and how they were performing. The members of the Arcona Summit had remained strong despite the conclusion on Ziost. Andrelious grumbled as he always did in the Cantina after enough drinks, and Troutrooper had asked to be allowed some time to himself away from everything. The Dark Jedi Master had certainly earned it.
Marick couldn’t help but think that perhaps things could start to run smoothly for once.
The trio’s discussion was interrupted as a string of Mandalorian-swearing filled the corridor. Following close on the heels of the cursing was Teroch Erinos, a rare look of worry on his face. In his arms, he carried the limp form of a large black wolf. His Cythraul, Kote.
“Move, di’kut!” he yelled, shoving past Invictus. The Force fueled the Adept’s muscles as he raced towards the medbay. Marick and Legorii exchanged a curious glance. Legorii started to say something but paused as the sudden sound of whimpering filled the hallway.
Marick froze. He turned to see Kira’s legs give out, sending her falling onto her side with a whine. The Consul was at her side in the blink of an eye, cradling her head in his lap.
“No!” Marick yelled, quickly pressing his hand against the white wolf’s chest. It still rose up and down, but it was faint. They had to get them to the medical bay.
Off to the side, Invictus appeared to have already hefted Ktah up into his arms. The midnight-black wolf had collapsed as well. Surprisingly, Zymmal was fine, his ears flat at the sight of his older siblings falling.
Some of the other aides in the medbay scurried by, carrying various syringes and blankets, but most stayed well-clear as their Lord Consul practically paced next to the pallet of cushions his loyal partner now rested on in lieu of a bed. The sense of foreboding that radiated from the Hapan was palpable even to those without the Force.
“Explain to me what is going on.” The Consul said tightly, voice harder than durasteel. The Miraluka kneeling next to his Cythraul sighed and stood up.
“Marick, I ought to remind you I’m not a specialist on animals, but calm down, please, and I will explain as best I can.” Atyiru insisted gently. Marick gathered himself, stilling, and gave her a sharp nod.
The medic took a deep breath. “Simply put, from what I can tell, these three are ill because they’ve been exposed to a germ their bodies recognize as harmful. This germ is present in Kilvin and their mother’s system, but it is normal to their bodies. For the other Cythraul, they’ve now been exposed to the germ, but are not sick, though their systems are producing antibodies. The difference is that Kira, Kote, and Ktah already had these antibodies in their systems, and so the germ activated, so to speak, when they were exposed. It’s a bit like an allergy. The first time, you aren’t affected, your body merely pays attention to the allergen; but the second time, the body recognizes it, decides it doesn’t like it, and attacks.”
She waved her hand over the three wolf-like creatures, now painlessly sedated, in her medbay. “My best guess is that the germ came from Hapes. It would make sense considering Kilvin’s normal processing of it. It’s normal to him and where he grew up. The other Cythraul were never exposed because they were born in Feruligade. But that ‘first time’ that set Kira and her littermates up for exposure, without the environmental desensitization of being raised on Hapes, is highly possible, considering they could have contacted it from their parents. I’m further guessing that this hasn’t happened earlier because you were away from Hapes long enough for the germ to not be living on you any longer. One of our new Hapan recruits, however, could have easily been a vector.” Atyiru held up a hand, sensing the spike in Marick’s anger. “Not that she’s to blame.”
“And what does all that mean for them?” Marick asked, quiet, cold, and loathing. Atyiru handed him a datapad with medical scans even his computer-like mind had difficulty deciphering.
“Essentially, it’s an acute degenerative disease. Their bodies are attacking themselves, and quickly. Fortunately, it is not an isolated incident. It seems this has happened to other creatures traveling the Hapes Cluster, largely entertaining animals, things for court, I’m sure you’re familiar with. The point is, there’s a medicine for it, but it’s only produced on Hapes. Their problem, their monopoly, really. There’s also a vaccine, something we can give to the other Cythraul, who are now as much of a time bomb as the first litter previously was.” The medic cursed softly. “I’ll do what I can to keep them stable and comfortable, but we don’t have the knowledge, depth, or resources to develop something else. They’re going to need that medication from Hapes.”
Marick paled, and looked over at Deimos, who stood between Ktah and Invictus taking a sample of blood. The white-haired Arkanian knew more about creatures of the Galaxy than most, but he had commented in previous dialogues that the Cythraul were unlike anything he had encountered before.
“What she speaks is true, sir. With the proper ingredients, I am confident, however, that I could produce the antidote.”
Marick nodded slightly, his eyes growing distant. At his side, Teroch hadn’t moved from Kote. The Cythraul was the last gift his father had given him. It was all he had left of him. Yet for all of his skill and power, he was helpless. Invictus did a better job of containing himself, silently staring at Ktah.
“So, what are we waiting for?” Teroch said, eyes dark beneath the long strands of his hair.
A silence filled the medbay. The rest of the Summit had gathered, standing off to the wings. The younger Cythraul had been sent away. All eyes seemed to settle on Marick as he shifted his focus towards Kira. She looked immaculate with her sleek white fur blending with the pillow she rested on. Cracks were forming in his impassive mask. He knew that he couldn’t leave. Not now. Things were moving on multiple levels on the Dark Council and the Brotherhood was expanding and Arcona was at its forefront. It would be wrong to take resources away from the home front. On top that, going back would also mean facing them...
Kira whimpered and opened her eyes halfway, looking up at Marick. Through their connection in the Force he could read what she was saying. She did not want him to risk anything for her. Something inside the Consul cracked.
Strategos was the first to step forward, placing a hand on Marick’s shoulder. “Marick,” he said in a soft tone. “We just returned from a year of war. We can’t afford to go running off and risking an operation into unscouted territory just to save your wolf-”
Dark energy flooded the room in a sudden torrent around the Consul. Marick moved like quicksilver, extending the hidden blade in his right bracer and leveling the metal tip against Strategos’ neck. The Elder Arconae didn’t blink and just stared back into the Hapan’s eyes.
Marick’s anger dissipated as quickly as it had appeared. He moved away from Strategos and walked over to stand in front of the Summit. He met eyes with each of them. From the youthful face of Kanis to the calculating eyes of Timeros. Each of them would follow him no matter what he chose. Thus was the mantle of responsibility that the Consul bore.
“Ready the Invicta,” Marick said calmly, falling into the practiced visage of the leader of Arcona. He had perfected it over the past year of war, and he let himself drop into the zen-like state he had come to rely so heavily on. This was where he was best, under fire. He was no politician, but he knew how to coordinate his team.
“We’re going to Milnar,” the Consul stated. There was reluctance on more than one of the Summit member’s faces, and Kordath mumbled something under his breath. He received a sharp elbow from Cethgus, who bluntly broke out.
“No, we are not going to war over a few dogs,” The Quaestor said loud enough for all gathered to hear. “We are going to help save members of Arcona. We are one Clan, one family.”
The blue-skinned Battleteam leader attempted to sink into his own robes, eyes glued to his feet. Marick did not yell, or even seem to address the comment. Instead, he continued. “I will not force any of you to follow me. However, the Hapes cluster holds many other treasures we could leverage to help recoup some of our losses from the Crusade. This is also a perfect way to see how strong we’ve truly become. For once, we fight not for a distant Grand Master sitting idle on his throne. As Cethgus said, we fight for Arcona, and those who all call it home. And rest assured, we will not sending the entire Fleet. This needs to be done quietly, but effectively.”
The Summit saluted in unison, fists moving to their chest’s above their hearts. They would all follow him, of course. Even if it was grudgingly. For Marick had not talked his way to Consul, or plotted or made moves in the shadows to do so. Marick Arconae had rose to his station by sheer work ethic and passion. He had proven both in and out of battle that he stuck to his word and not a force in the galaxy could bend his resolve otherwise.
“Assemble your teams. I will relay further instructions by secure channel, with all the intel myself and the DIA have collected on the Hapes Cluster,” the Consul finished. The Summit dropping their salutes and nods before scattering to make preparations. Legorii hanging behind without needing a cue.
“You already know what I’m going to ask, don’t you?” Marick said evenly to his Proconsul. Legorii nodded, folding his arms over his chest.
“I will stay here keep your seat warm,” the Anzat said clasping his long time partner-in-crime on the shoulder. “Go.”
Marick looked over at Kira and nodded. He returned the shoulder clasp before turning to leave, the tassels of his Shadeborn robes trailing in his wake.
Clan Arcona had mobilized quickly. Despite a sea of mixed emotions, every member from its Summit down to its newest recruits--even the mundanes--understood what needed to be done. Whether they fully agreed or disagreed with the orders, they would follow Marick Arconae to the gates of hell. The Battleteam Leader, Quaestor, Proconsul and now Shadow Lord had devoted his life to Clan Arcona. He had earned their trust and loyalty. For now.
Cethgus Entar Arconae stood on the bridge with his arms folded across his chest, tapping his finger impatiently against his bicep. He was not sure how he felt about this particular mission. Part of him understood the importance of the Cythraul to the Clan, the other attached to his own companion who could grow sick at any moment. The Cythraul were, in essence, a symbol of Arcona’s spirit, a symbol of importance similar to the title of Arconae. It was something that was reserved for only a select few, but those select few were the ones who had truly given their lives for the sake of the Shadow Clan.
“I can smell wood burning, brother,” Atyiru whispered so that only her Quaestor could hear. The Zabrak sneered but kept his attention forward. At his other side, Lexi shifted nervously from foot to foot, unsure of what she should be doing other than staying close to her former Master’s side.
The doors to the bridge slid open. Marick Arconae emerged from the entrance and approached the helm with easy steps. The tassels of his Shadeborn robes hugging tight to his body as footfalls echoed out over the now silent bridge. The officers closest to the entrance snapped into salutes, the rest of the crew quickly following suit.
Cethgus turned and bowed only his head. “Lord Consul,” the Quaestor said smoothly.
“Cethgus, Atyiru, Miss Sarden,” Marick replied with a polite nod, his features remaining a mask of neutrality. Cethgus returned the nod, Atyiru grinned and Lexi flushed slightly and looked down, not sure why the Consul of her Clan had addressed her.
“I thought you would be on the Invicta, sir,” Cethgus said, lifting a brow.
“After looking over the scouting reports and some intel, I realized that the Invicta would be better served for other purposes at the current moment. While I am confident in Shadow Gate’s infiltration of the Swa’kata pirates and the success of our mission,” the Hapan started to explain, letting his voice carry just enough so that he filled the bridge without the need to actually yell. His voice had iron in it. The weight of command. It was the difference between arrogance and confidence. Failure was simply not an option in his mind.
Marick stepped forward and pulled up a holo-map on the main display. “We will leave the Invicta, our Majestics, and the rest of First Fleet guarding our return trip. Even with our full force we would be no match for the Hapan Fleet, so subtly will be key.”
“As you say...” Cethgus said slowly, letting the plan sink in. Marick nodded and moved next to his fellow Arconae. Standing just off to the Consul’s side, Anduriel tried his best to look as intimidating and serious as possible. Compared to the perfectly composed, statuesque face of Marick, he was only partially successful. Atyiru had to bite her lip to avoid a giggle.
“Oh. I have not yet had a chance to speak with Kordath, but I have transferred Anduriel to serve as my attaché for this mission. I assumed you would be alright with this.” It was not a question, but was quiet enough so that only Cethgus could hear him. Marick’s face remained stoic.
“Fine by me,” the Zabrak replied with a grunt.
Marick nodded and stepped up to the terminal and prepared an encrypted message to the Nighthawk. Once he had confirmation that it had been sent and received, he looked around the bridge before barking his first order to the crew of the Darkest Night.
“Prepare the jump to hyperspace.”
“Aye, sir!” the officer affirmed.
The crew of the ‘’Darkest Night’’ went to work with the practiced efficiency of a team that had been constantly ready for conflict. Marick looked out the viewport and let his hands clasp easily together behind his back. The blackness of space filled with a series of white dashes that marked that their jump had begun.
As the Nighthawk prepared to make its inaugural voyage, Teroch Arconae pulled up the encrypted message from the ‘’Darkest Night’’. Cethgus had never been one for security, but the code was the same one that James Entar himself had designed for communication between Arconae.
I have attached a full order of operations, but wanted to make sure this part got to you and only you. When we break from hyperspace, I want you to to trail in the Darkest Night’s shadow and fade away. I have a feeling we will have company upon arrival, and I am putting the mission’s success in the hands of the Nighthawk. As for why I’m on with the Darkest Night…I just need you to trust me on this one. Our best bet will be to emerge at Telkur Station. It’s the only way.
One Clan. One Family. We will beat this.
Teroch opened the attachment, mechanically scanned its contents and committed to memory and then promptly deleted the message and sent it to Celahir for a multi-pass wipe.
“If Buir trusted you, so can I,” the Captain of the Nighthawk whispered. “Good luck, brother.”
Perhaps the youth was growing up after all. He sat back into his command chair and waited, knowing that it would take multiple jumps to enter the isolated Hapes Cluster.
“Sir, we, uh...we need help.” Kanis Da'uul said, trying his best to keep composed.
“What, can’t handle a bunch of unruly mundanes?” Ernordeth replied with mild irritation building.
“Your insights are as penetrating as their blaster fire.”
The Qel-Droma Quaestor leaned towards the holoprojector. “They've gone hostile?”
Kanis nodded. “Hostile and organized. We applied the entire use of force continuum up to lethal measures without success. We hesitate to—“
“You were given complete freedom to handle the situation as necessary, which implies lethal force when necessary.”
“But these are our civilians, our economic base, our home support. We can't gallivant across the galaxy with an unruly Dajorran populace. We can't simply kill them. If we start attacking, they're going to ramp up their efforts even more than they already have. They have snipers, a network of watchers, supply lines. This unrest isn't unruly. They are organized and they are winning. We need more men and materials.”
“I need proof we're losing the fight. Until then, make do with what you have.”
“Your proof will arrive via coffin.”
“We're all expendable until we prove otherwise. Stop failing. Ernordeth out.” He slumped in his chair and sighed. Another deep breath and—Sithspit. Worst part of war: no time to think.
“Proconsul, sir. How may I serve?” Ernodeth’s holograph appeared on Legorii’s communicator.
“I need good news. Cethgus never has any. Atyiru is juggling sick puppies and touchy nerves. Valtiere is...not sure. So I'm asking you for some good news.”
The Quaestor swallowed. “Well, let's see...Condar and the rest of Shadow Gate have made in routes with the Swa'kata. Should attain full membership after they return from a raid they're on. Our scouts are running constant patrols around Dajorra. Nothing found yet.”
Legorii shook his head. “I said 'good news', not 'regurgitate what you wrote in this morning's report, which was neutral news.' Tell me something positive.”
“...Sh-Shadow Phyle! They are...are...”
“They are failing just like everyone else. I've seen the holovids. We're losing Estle City. Likely by nightfall, it will be lost. We're losing the pups. Likely by the week's end, they will be lost. And we've lost Orv.”
Legorii sighed. “A notice was posted in the Dark Hall saying a Dark Councilor is missing and presumed dead. Considering all other Dark Councilors are present and accounted for, I fear we may have lost an Arconae.”
“Oh,” the recent Tarentum transfer looked down. “My condolences.”
“If he is dead, we cannot do anything for him. The Cythraul are dying. We will do everything we can for them.” The Proconsul paused. “Not a word of this to anyone especially the Arconae. I'll handle them.”
“Now, about that—bah. I must answer this comm. Quickly: reallocate resources to aid Shadow Phyle in suppressing that rebellion, and determine how and why these Force-Insensitive insurrectionists are able to defeat us. Legorii out.”
Ernodeth sighed and switched one projector off as he turned another on. “Go ahead, Deimos.”
“Sir, I think I may have an avenue that will lead to curation.”
The Questor frowned. “Basic, please.”
“I'm on to something.”
Deimos nodded. “I found an enzyme that—“
Ernor frowned again. “You lost me at 'enzyme'.”
“I've had good successes, but more testing needs to be done. I need more enzymes and, more importantly, I need tissue samples from the Cythraul. All previous testing has been done with cultured cells. Perfect for quick analysis, but real world testing must be done before we go further with this curative vector.”
“Keep on it,” the Quaestor said. “Ernodeth out.”
The Darkest Night winked into existence as it exited Hyperspace. Trailing behind it, the Nighthawk remained shadowed by the larger ships bulk.
“Ready stealth drive!” Teroch barked, and the crew of the Nighthawk sprung into sudden motion.
“Aye,” Arcia yelled in affirmation, her fingers dancing over her terminal.
Kalon cracked his knuckles and placed gloved hands around the pilot controls. The stealth drive activated and the pilot took control, easing the ship into a slow gradual push away from the Darkest Night.
“Stealth mode engaged, all cleared sir.”
“Excellent,” Teroch said absently, his eyes fixated out on the viewport. What was Marick planning?
In a matter of moments, a series of blinking lights flooded black canvas. The Hapan Royal Fleet had suffered damages at the hand of the Vong, but the combination of Hapan Battle Dragons and Nova-Class Cruisers were just as intimidating as the reports painted them. He could see now why Marick had chosen not to bring the bulk of Arcona’s might. But that meant...
“He’s not going to...” Teroch muttered.
“Mother of...that’s a lot of ships!” Kordath called out. The Ryn Battleteam leader had made his way to the bridge per the request of his scarily persuasive Aedile.
“Nice read, blue-boy,” Atyiru replied dryly.
Cethgus tensed, but did well to keep his visage straight. Marick’s face remained impassive as usual.
“Incoming transmission, Lord Consul.”
“Patch it through.”
Atyiru bit her lip. The command screen flickered with static momentarily but was soon filled with the face of a strikingly gorgeous woman looking to be in her early thirties. Her elfin features projected a youthful glow, and a set of almond shaped eyes were framed by twin strands of golden hair, the rest tied back into a tail that trailed down between her shoulder blades. While her beauty was undeniable, her eyes were a crystalline blue that almost seemed glacial in a familiar way. They were the same eyes as--
“This is Erin Del’Abbot, Captain of the Hapes Consortium Border Guard. Please state your business-”
“Hello, sister,” Marick spoke calmly, his face a perfect mask.
Everyone on the bridge, including Cethgus turned to regard Marick, then quickly re-adjusted their focus on the display screen. While the novelty of their Consul having a gorgeous sibling set in, Atyiru noticed something in the corner of Marick’s eye. There was a thin line that most would miss, a crease as subtle as a hairline fracture. Marick never spoke about his past, and Atyiru had a feeling that this would not be a festive family re-union.
“Little Rikki,” the woman said with smirk of her full lips. “You’ve grown up. To what do we owe this...privilege?”
“I wish to meet with Lady Del’Abbot to discuss matters of diplomacy,” Marick said, his voice somehow remaining even.
“Very well. Who is your commanding officer? The one on your left?” She pointed at Atyiru, who looked both ways before pointing a finger at her own chest.
“You are speaking to Marick Arconae, Shadow Lord and Consul of Clan Arcona,” Cethgus said in a strong baritone. Marick’s jaw tightened, but other than that he remained stoic. His eyes never left the display.
Erin blinked once and then tilted her head back with laughter. After a moment, she stopped. “Oh, you are serious. Very well then, "Shadow Lord". You may dock at the station and we will escort you to the Del’Abbot estate. I’m sure mother will be...ecstatic to see her lone son returned,” there was something in her voice that made Atyiru uncomfortable. She couldn’t place it, but she was starting to dislike this woman already and certainly did not appreciate the tone she was taking with Marick.
The transmission cut. Marick didn't blink and just stared forward. Without another word he turned and walked away from the bridge.
Riots increasing in intensity and frequency...
Hapes Cluster alerted to their surprising and unwelcome appearance...
Cure in sight, but sources for the ingredient are being 'managed'...
A new ship with a new pilot, neither have been fully tested...
A Clan divided, a fleet split...
Everything continues as planned. My master, once he has returned from his forays against the Brotherhood, will be quite pleased.
Lieutenant Espada pulled her cloak around her as she leaned back in the chair of the safe house she had established on the outskirts of Estelle City. The Dark Crusade was far from over, and the One Sith knew who their real threat was. Taking down Arcona would cripple the Brotherhood in more ways than one.
Kote was in bad shape. The usually rebellious glint in his sunburst eyes had dulled to a matted ochre. His leg muscle twitched involuntarily and he let out a helpless whimper that seemed to only depresses him further. He did not like to show weakness, especially around his siblings. His sister looked to be doing no better. The white Cythraul kept her eyes focused off in the distance. She too knew she could not show weakness, but water leaked subtly out of the corner of her eyes and dried against her fur to create a faint stain.
Kote grunted and turned his head to see Ktah with his eyes closed, as if keeping them shut would make everything go away. Even the third litter at this point had begun to show signs of weakness. Not only were they separated from their masters, but they felt twice as helpless knowing they could not help them with whatever challenges they were undertaking; even if those challenges were for their own safety. The Cythraul shared a unique bond with one another, regardless of litter order. Kote could feel their collective sadness wash over him like a tidal wave. He had to stay strong though, for them.
Kote weakly pushed himself up with his front paws, growling low in his throat. It was a faint sound, guttural and recalcitrant. One of the medical attendants rushed over to aide him, but Kote let himself drop back down to a laying position on his own. If he was going down, he’d do it on his own terms.
A weak howl escaped his muzzle. The remaining Cythraul joined in, creating their own defiant dirge.
Cethgus did not bother to fully re-tie his robes. There was a resolve in his eyes to kill every single Hapan he came in contact with. He had tried to play by the rules, but to frak with them and to frak with Marick.
“Master, what do we do now?” Lexi asked.
“I’m going to go strangle our Consul for bringing us to this forsaken place,” He replied coldly.
Andy and Lexi fell into stride with their Quaestor, when the trio suddenly came to a halt. Something was wrong. Their awareness suddenly sank away, as if the all the color in their world desaturated into hues of gray. They had walked into a bubble of some sort that had stripped them of the Force.
“Sithspit,” Cethgus grumbled, realizing what needed to be done. He would need to save his Consul and the others so that he could beat Marick to a pulp himself. Such was the way of the world.
Ernordeth Puer-Irae sat in the Quaestor’s office of the Phantom Complex as he reviewed the most recent of Kanis’ reports. The last few hadn’t contained good news, and Adas knew the red-hued humanoid needed some to give some to Legorii during their next chat.
Our recent mission to one of the Blue Talon’s bases was successful. Sort of. The only casualties were those insipid insurrectionists. We were able to gather locations of what we believe to be the only other bases. Interrogations of one of the Blue Talon leaders were only slightly revealing. He told us where his datapad was located, but refused to relay the encryption codes to us. I find this hard to believe, but this rebellious scum accused a fellow Arconan of aiding the One Sith agent who has been helping the Blue Talon. It seems to be a false lead, attempting to use her absence as an excuse. It seems to convenient, if I had to guess. I await your orders before giving mine.
“Sith spit!” the Sith Warrior cursed. He knew something had seemed odd about all of this.. Even with her departure, he had had at least one shadow assigned to watch over her. Despite her brief time away, she had no contact with anyone from One Sith. Could there be an inside source?
Ernordeth grit his teeth as he suddenly remembered the report he’d seen from Deimos. Apparently, someone had infiltrated the labs and made an attempt on the Cythraul. Fortunately, Deimos had halted the attack.
With a sigh, Ernordeth opened up a comm with Legorii.
“I need good news, Ernordeth,” the Anzat said almost too quickly. Ernor winced slightly.
“There’s never only good news. Good is, and always will, be joined with bad.”
Ernordeth updated the Proconsul with the latest progress of Shadow Phyle. Shadow Gate had remained radio silent which again was either a very good thing, or a bad thing. Still, for all his aloofness, Strategos was more than capable of handling a bunch of pirates. He hoped.
Marick Arconae stood tall, his entire being wrapped in the steel quietude of Deadheart, down to the last, silenced molecule, and locked his eyes on his mother’s. Her true-ice gaze was cold, sinister. He knew the cunning, proud monster that lay just beneath the fair skin of her mask. It sat there in her eyes and gleamed at him, critical, clever.
Her words were sure poison. “Hold now, if you please. I could not be fain to allow you merely to depart. Unkempt children do not traipse off with their mother’s possessions. The ships you arrived in belong to Hapes, and so do you.”
The Obelisk opened his mouth to rebuttal—
Something was wrong. The Shadeborn Assassin relied heavily on the gifts of precognition through the Force, but something more guttural churned. Very slowly, he eased himself out of Deadheart, and subtly reached out with the Force to swirl the liquid in his cup.
Marick froze. No wonder he had not sensed any immediate danger. Something was blocking out their connection to the Force.
She would have a Yslamari...cursed woman! Marick swore to himself as he bit down on his molars. He should have known better. He put everyone at jeopardy...and for what?
“It was brave of you, child, waltzing, feint of some distant king, back to this place. Did you presume I would not see through your facade? You are nil but a worthless bastard, and the only reason you still breathe is because I wished to make use of that wretched Tyris scum. The only thing of value he left was a Force-sensitive but otherwise uncouth knave. Do you at all fathom of the humiliation I endured? No, I do not think you would. You lack the mental capacity for such proper graces.”
The words rocked Marick to his core. Tyris? Was that a clue to who his father was? She had never so much as mentioned him before, other than in passing snears. He had grown immune to the word ‘bastard’, but without the protection of his zen-like state of mind, he could feel a pit form in his stomach.
“Thought you that these harlots you tamed could impress me to movement? Even bringing one of our own was clever, I will say, but like the rest of your gender, you comprehend so little. That Assault Cruiser will indeed make a lovely addition to our fleet, and I am most certain that this...Brotherhood will endeavor fine contributions to have their pawns returned to them.”
The Consul’s mind churned. Had Marick really lead them all to doom? What had he expected? He was no diplomat.
Across from him, Atyiru screamed. It snapped Marick out of his melancholy, the sudden realization that his friends were in danger taking control. Atyiru must have been terrified. The Force was her only visceral connection to the universe around her, and the sudden plunge into a black-hole would be overwhelming.
The sound was an agonized howl, ripped straight from every nightmare anyone had ever dreamed, lanced through with true horror. It was a dying scream, and it tore through the stifling tension in the room. Socorra bolted to her feet, her chair falling backwards, throwing herself forward, her hands slamming onto the table, as if she was barely keeping herself from leaping across it.
“What? What? Atyiru, what’s wrong?! Atty!” The Socorran half-demanded, half-shouted hysterically, but the Miraluka just kept wailing. She fell out of her seat, grabbing her head, tearing out gleaming white strands of hair. Verse stood, moving almost to help, and Socorra, enraged and distressed, nearly did too, only refraining from movement at her Consul’s cold eye.
“Atyiru.” Marick snapped, stealing his gaze to his subordinates despite keeping his awareness keenly fixed on his mother.
The Miraluka sobbed out an incoherent string of her own language, the volume of her shrieks fighting with her lack of breath. She choked on air, another scream morphing around half-recognizable, panicked, madly repeated words, “I can’t see! I can’t see! I can’t see!”
At any other time, Socorra would have pointed out the irony. Instead, she drew her blasters. Verse’s hand went to her lightsaber, but she seemed to realize it would not be as effective without the Force.
Erin rose and had her blaster in hand at the same time. From each of the room’s doors, a squad of soldiers piled in. Each wore stylized armor and bore blaster rifles and electro-staves. The Del’Abbot Royal Guard. Angelica remained seated, a smug smile drawn on her painted lips.
Diplomacy had come to an end.
Nadrin slumped down into his makeshift throne crafted out of cargo boxes. Wes leaned against the side of it and talked idly with his Battleteam Leader. Inarya sat next to Riverche, who had busied herself with her datapad, eyes focused. she was silently thankful that the mission had been successful despite her reservations. Something about the entire thing seemed to be larger than just the Cythraul getting sick, though. She could not put her finger on it.
Off to the side, Andrelious chewed on his molars, pacing slowly back and forth with his hands clasped behind his back. They had heard nothing from the Darkest Night since entering Hapan space. He could sense Kooki’s presence still lingering in the Force, but there was nothing that keyed him in to her well being. For all he knew she could have been captured and forced into slavery. He shuddered at the thought, his fist balling unconsciously. If Cethgus let anything happen to her, he would personally remove the Zabrak’s head and place it on a spike. He continued to seethe as the Nighthawk darted through hyperspace.
The battered members of Galeres pressed close in on each other, a deadly tangle of limbs and weapons, surging forward and pulling back like crashing waves as they fought their way through scores of finely-armored guards. Lexi and Anduriel stood at the flanks, having just caught up with their comrades moments before after defeating the Ysalamiri. Atyiru moved at their head, blade in non-stop motion deflecting blaster-bolts, while Cethgus commanded slaughter at their rear, as if he had little more than a flesh wound. Verse stood at their heart, an Arconan among Arconans, her blaster fire downing far-off enemies.
Hodgepodge but effective, the unit worked their way towards their Clanmates, determined to leave none behind. Ahead of them, Del’Abbot forces fell against a combination of Anduriel and Lexi’s sabers, cutting deadly patterns.
"Press forward!" The Galeres Quaestor roared, as he willed the Dark Side to numb his pain.
The last of resistance fell with a screech, and the Arconan finally pressed into the room to rescue their Consul. Atyiru was first to enter, and froze in place. Even on the countless battles she’d endured over the Dark Crusade, Atyiru had never felt death like this.
To say that a storm had blown through the dining hall would be inaccurate. A storm or a tempest had no rhyme or reason for why it wreaked havoc; it simply acted by its nature and thrashed chaotically at anything in its path.
There was nothing random or natural about the slaughter that had transpired. Every single artery severed and cauterized, every puncture in every piece of armor, every weapon broken or discarded. It was artwork of the worst kind. Systematic, clockwork; a perfect execution. Atyiru felt what little light she had clung to slipping away. Then she saw him, in her own unique way. His presence was unmistakable. He carried something, a woman in his arms, and she nearly fainted with grief. Marick was carrying Socorra and walking towards the group slowly. His aura was distinct but his color and hue was darker than she’d ever seen before.
“What happened? Where is that tramp?” Cethgus sneered as he pushed past Atyiru. He looked down and saw Erin Del’Abbot laying on the floor, eyes blank towards the ceiling, a single puncture wound in her neck that spilled blood down over her uniform. He looked up and saw Marick walking towards him, anger flaring.
“Marick!” the Iridonian growled and strode forward. “I should kill you where you stand, Arconae be-” he stopped when he saw the look on the Consul’s face. There was no anger, no fear, no passion, no life. His eyes were dead and hallowed, his robes soaked with blood, yet none of it seeming to be his own. Cethgus let his words of anger fade into the ether, realizing this was not the best time to settle whatever feud the two Arconae had to settle.
“Let’s go home,” the Consul spoke woodenly, pushing past the Quaestor without having to signal the rest of the Arconans to follow. Lexi and Anduriel idled a few moments longer to grimly admire their Consul's work. Who said there were no poets in the world of Assassins?
BAC Darkest Night
“That all of them?” Kordath asked, wiping sweat from his brow.
“Should be,” Celevon replied curtly. The remaining Hapan boarding party had been detained to their cells, and the assassin busied his hands with a dirtied rag, clearing the last remnants of blood clean. Kookimarissia let her hands fold behind her back as she followed Celevon and Kordath towards the ships docking bay. K’tana had remained at attention on the bridge for a whole five minutes. With the threats to her team under control, she had embarked on yet another quest to find her Monkey Lizard.
“C..ome...in. Dar...est...ight.” an eerily calm voice attempted to scythe through static.
Kordath nearly dropped his communicator as he fumbled with the small device. He banged it gently against the hull of the ship and pressed a set of buttons, and the static dampened.
“This is the Darkest Night, over,” Kordath replied.
“Kordath,” the voice said much more clearly now. It was unmistakably the Consul of Clan Arcona, but something seemed...off. There was a flatness to his tone that was uncharacteristic even for the level-headed and soft-spoken Arconae. “Mission complete, ground team is preparing for extraction. I trust the Darkest Night is ready to launch immediately?”
The Ryn paused and looked to his teammates for assurance. Celevon nodded curtly, his fingers brushing the hilt of the knife at his side idly, ready to kill anyone that came through the door that was not Arconan.
“Sir, yes sir,” Kordath replied.
Something was wrong.
“Commander,” Teroch said, suddenly rising to his feet. He looked around for immediate danger but realized that the Force was telling him something else entirely. They were being followed.
“Kalon, prepare for immediate evasive maneuvers when we exit the jump.”
“Just do it!” The Captain demanded. The rest of the crew snapped to attention and went about their duties with sudden gusto.
The Nighthawk lurched as it exited hyperspace. Just as the Adept had feared, four Hapan Nova-class cruisers winked into existence, flanking a Hapan Battle Dragon. Each ship was painted in a black and red hull, and each bore a pair of skeletal fists crossing. The Swa’kata pirates.
The crew froze as everything processed. They had come so far, but each of them knew that there simply was not enough time to mobilize Soulfire or the ships defenses. It was all for nothing...
A signal alarm went off, but it was from the communications terminal, not the ships security. Uji looked at Teroch, and the Captain nodded a wordless, Answer it.
“This is the AGV Nighthawk,” Uji said through a swallow, his entire body tense.
“All ships, open fire,” a familiar voice cut through the comm. Teroch blinked once, not sure if he was flustered, relieved, or infuriated.
“Confirmed,” Legorii echoed from the Serpentine Throne. Uji had always meant to learn more about the thrones unique ability to communicate with the Arconan Fleet...
From the viewport, Teroch and the crew of the Nighthawk watched as the ISD Eye of the Abyss II materialized from the shadows of space. The NSD Invicta moved into position as well, followed by the rest of the Arcona First Fleet. The Arcona Flagship’s long range lasers fired, leading a cacophony of pure destruction in the direction of the pirate ships. The Invicta followed suit as well as the Majestic Gunships and the BAC Shadow.
It was hardly a fair fight. The Battle Dragon took the initial volley full on, it’s hull shuddering and combusting. The Nova cruisers attempted evasive maneuvers, but it was no use. They were outnumbered, outgunned, and surrounded. One of the Nova fighters broke away from the others, and fired it’s primary weapons not in retaliation at the Arcona First Fleet, but at its own comrades.
It was over before it truly had begun. The remaining ship hailed an open comm.
“Uh, hello?” another familiar voice called.
Teroch grit his teeth and sighed.
“Strategos, what are you doing?” Timeros’ voice was cold as ice.
“Well, you made us infiltrate the pirates, so, um, yea,” the Adept replied. “Here we are. You’re welcome?”
Teroch rolled his eyes and signaled Uji to kill the comm.
“A lot of help you were,” the Captain grumbled.
Teroch shook his head. No, it hadn’t been Strategos or Timeros that had thought this far ahead. Suddenly, the message he had received earlier from Marick played back in his head.
Clever... the Adept murmured thoughtfully. I need to remember that he’s just as much a Son of Sashar as I am. I’m still better looking though...
Marick Arconae wrapped a dark grey cloak around his entire body, obscuring his torn and tattered Shadeborn robes. His face still bore stains of dry blood and grime. His eyes were focused on the transparisteel window in front of him. Through it, Deimos barked orders to his lab minions as he decanted liquids and pointed at various different tools and ingredients. Atyriu hadn’t taken a second to herself, her face determined to work as quickly as possible. At her side, Maaks Erinos mirrored her diligence.
Time seemed to move at an immeasurable pace as Marick stood watching. His mind was in no less than six different directions, but the main concern for the Cythraul had finally overwhelmed the others. That did not stop the Consul from thinking on them.
Marick did not know how long it took. He had entered an odd state of half-meditation, and had to ask Atyiru to repeat herself as he came back to full attention. For the first time since embarking on the mission, he saw her smile. It was faint, but unmistakable. Something inside the Shade Assassin cracked. He should have felt relieved, but despite his primary concern dissipating, five others jumped in to fill its place.
No rest for the wicked, he mused darkly. The Consul placed a firm hand on Atyiru’s shoulder, thanked her, and turned without another word. She had questions, no doubt. There would be time later, however, and the Cythraul needed time to recover. Marick pulled his hood up over his head and disappeared into the shadows of the Citadel.
Arcona Citadel Throne Room
“Adam Bolera,” Ernordeth announced, standing off to the side of the Serpentine throne. Legorii looked down at the Journeyman, glancing from the report in his hands and then back the young man. The rest of Shadow Phyle stood at attention behind him.
“Impressive work hunting down this... Espada,” the Proconsul said slowly, his voice gruff.
“Thank you, sir...”
“However, it seems that she was still able to somehow get away?”
“Well, you see sir,” Bolera started. “The woman we captured was not the actual “Espada”. She was simply a decoy, and after interrogating the one we captured we regret to report that the actual target managed to get away.”
Legorii nodded once, his eyes remaining on the datapad in hand. “And yet, it looks like the Blue Talon won’t be seeing action anytime soon.” The Anzat looked up at Adam, and then at the rest of Shadow Phyle. Off to the side, Marrek Gunstinson flashed a tight grin.
“The Shadow Lords mission was successful. Prepare for debriefing later. Otherwise, dismissed.”
Adam and the rest of Shadow Phyle saluted in unison, balled fists moving against their chests.
Espada kept her cloak tight to her body as she made her way down the dark alley. She had set decoys dressed similarly in each direction and made sure she had not been followed. Her Master was very specific about where and how they met, and he was not going to be happy to report her failure. There were multiple things he could do to her, but she had done what she had originally set out to do, which was poison the stupid animals and cause a stir in Estele. It was risky, but she had earned at least a part of her reward.
“Stop right there,” a watery voice said, quietly. Espada halted and looked around the alley, her fingers brushing over the hilt of her lightsaber more out of nervous habit than anything else. She was no match for her Master.
“Master, I have done everything you asked,” she said, trying to find where the voice had come from.
“Yes, good work with that. However, it appears that the Cythraul have made a full recovery, and this “Shadow Phyle” unit was able to thwart your entire efforts of causing a stir.
“That’s not entirely true, my master, I still-”
“Silence!” the voice said louder. A hooded figure stepped out of the shadows behind her, causing her to spin about, saber jumping into her hands.
It was futile. The hooded figure raised a flipper-like hand, a torrent of blue-white lightning bursting free. The tendrils of the darkside energy wrapped around the poor womans frame and rattled her to her core. She cried out in agony as she dropped to her knees, saber dropping first before her lifeless body followed.
The Master slowly pulled down his hood to reveal a pair of bulbous amphibian eyes. Without turning, the Dark Jedi Master spoke to the shadows.
“I’m glad to see you make it back in once piece,” Troutrooper said out loud.
From the shadows themselves, Marick Arconae shimmered into view. Troutrooper turned to face his Consul and offered a slight bow.
“Thank you,” The Arconae said slowly, returning the bow. “Everything went exactly to plan. The One Sith will know better than to try and attack us on our home turf now. The Nighthawk worked as well as expected, and our new Interceptors will begin to patrol Selen and we’ve been granted additional special forces from our...exploits in the Crusade. ”
“How thoughtful of Lord Ashen,” Troutrooper said dryly.
A silence passed between the two, a stray gust of wind making a tiny howl. Trouty spoke first.
“I am still surprised you would risk the lives of the Cythraul, and the bulk of Arcona’s strength. The risk surely outweighed the gain.”
Marick shook his head. Poisoning the Cythraul had indeed been a gamble. He had known it would be the only way to convince enough of Arcona’s strength to mobilize, as well as a surefire way to motivate Teroch and the Nighthawk project. He had also needed to instill a sense of doubt into Verse, to later allow the Hapan woman to prove her loyalty to the Clan. Likewise, it allowed Marick to set up a clearer line of communication with his younger sister who was now in charge of the Del’Abbot estates. Emily would be far easier to work with in terms of getting valuable supplies from the Hapes Cluster, and Shadow Gates had done well to establish a link with the Swa’kata pirates.
All it had cost him was a part of his soul. He would find time to think on it, and he had his own questions left to be answered, like who Jedwin Tyris really was. There would be time for that, one day. For now, Marick again had to put the Clan before his own needs.
“We can’t rest on our laurels or become complacent, Trouty. War is coming to the Brotherhood, and we have to be ready.”
The Mon Cal nodded solemnly, and the two Dark Jedi walked off down the alley back towards the direction of the Citadel.
Competition Center: https://www.darkjedibrotherhood.com/competitions/7487
Continuous Three Week Events
Each Battleteam will work as a separate team for the Run-On, but will be contained in a single thread. This means while you will be focused on your teams tasks, you also need to be conscious of what the other teams are doing.
Week One Events
Write a hymn or a chant that your Battleteam or close friends would use when getting ready for battle. Bonus points can be earned for presentation. Must be at least 3 lines long, with no limit on verse (I’m going to regret saying that *cough Atty*).
This is my rifle.
There are many like it, but this one is mine.
Without my rifle, I am nothing.
Without me, my rifle is nothing.
Create a plant that could serve as part of the cure to the Cythraul’s sickness. The image must be identifiable as a type of plant to be counted for participation.
You entry must also include the following:
- Plant Name
- Which Planet it can be found on
- A short description of the plant
Winning entry will be featured in the Main Story.
Winning Entry: Maaks Erinos (Will be featured as canon in the story line)
- "What does the scouter say?"
Create a Scouting Report on the Hapes Cluster: http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Hapes_Cluster
Your report should contain the following information:
- Description of the Hapes Cluster
- Points of Interest
- Notable Organizations
- Historic Landmarks
- High Value Targets
At least one visual reference
Week Two Events
Marick's decision to parlay with his family in an attempt to keep the Consortium's attention away from the Nighthawk and Soulfire's mission has made the Consul face a past he would sooner forget. There were reasons for him dropping his family name, and everyone has at least one aspect of their past they often wish they could erase or forget.
Tell a story about such a time in your characters life.
Minimum 750 words. ...no word limit. (I'm going to regret that...).
The Hapes Cluster is known for its riches and treasures. Create an artifact of power that could be found somewhere in the Hapes Cluster during the Shadow Clans Sojourn. It can be anything from a weapon to a holocron to a rare book.
Entries will be graded on artistic presentation and creativity. Submission must relate to the topic (artifact) for participation to be counted.
Marick's sister, Erin Del'Abbot, is undeniably beautiful. True to her Hapan breeding she appeals to even alien species and those of both genders. Her true nature is yet to be seen, however. With little to go on other than her beauty and the culture of the Hapan, there is still much to be learned. For the sake of Arcona, you must win the heart of this beautiful woman.
Your task is to compose a poem of your choice that you would use to serenade Erin Del'Abbot.
- Poem can be of any type or style (Haiku, Limerick, Sonnet, etc.) as long as the topic is related to winning the heart of Erin Del'Abbot.
- Poem must be at least 3 lines to count for participation.
- Bitches love sonnets
Week Three Events
Bonus: Rage Comic
Marick Arconae: Personally leading the Expedition Force from the ISD Invicta.
Legorii: Command of the Arcona Citadel and the day-to-day operations of the Clan.
Qel-Droma: Lead by Ernordeth and Valtiere, House Qel-Droma's main force will stay behind to help Shadow Phyle coordinating the defense of the Dajorra System with the main strength of Arcona away.
Galeres: Lead by Atyiru and Cethgus, the non-Battleteam forces of House Galeres will accompany Arcona to Hapes for support.
Shadow Phyle: Security detail. Routing out and identifying insurrectionists in Estele City that have forgotten to fear the Shadesworn in Arcona's absence.
Nighthawk: Coordinate with DIA intelligence to route out a source for the cure. Take advantage of the Nighthawks systems to avoid detection.
Soulfire: Escort AGV Nighthawk, Invicta, prepared to take on any complications the Expedition Force would encounter.
Shadow Gate: Infiltrate the Swa’kata Pirates, a notorious group that would allow Arcona to establish contacts for easier extraction of the Hapes Cluster.
Dark Forge: Acting as ground reinforcements for confrontations in unfriendly system.
Arete: Weapons free. As the independent team, you are free to chose where you go. However, I think Verse would want to venture to the Hapes Cluster.
** NOTE: These are outline points for the prompt. Your fictional prompts are on the RO itself in the form of a post by Marick.
Nighthawk / Soulfire: Using the Darkest Night as a decoy, the Nighthawk has broken off and will be making its way to Milnar in search for the cure. Communication will need to be established with the Citadel via the Serpentine Throne, which Legorii will be operating out of. The Throne has the unique ability to communicate with all Arconan ships. Finding the cure won’t be easy, and there are still pirate ships and patrols the Nighthawk will need to take steps to avoid.
Galeres: The BAC Darkest Night has landed on Telkur Station. Marick will be accompanied by Cethgus, Atriyu, Anduriel, Lexi, Socks and Verse as an honor guard to discuss negotiations between Arcona and the Hapes Cluster.
Dark Forge: With K’tana attached, stays with the Darkest Night to guard it. They are under surveillance and heavy guard. Their standing orders are to make sure no trickery happens, but Kordath and team are eventually distracted by a group of seductive women who end up capturing and imprisoning Dark Forge, putting them into a sticky situation of having to escape and warn Marick.
Qel-Droma: Lend support to Shadow Phyle in maintaining order in Estele City. Investigate who is behind these attacks, because it is too calculated to just be happenstance. Blue Talon is responsible and the target has been set.
Shadow Phyle: Shadow Phyle is being given aid to help stave off the insurrections in Estele City. They are being lead by a strong hand, possibly a member of the One Sith, however, and should proceed with caution. Blue Talon is responsible and the target has been set.
Shadow Gate: Condar, Etah, and Strategos lead the infiltration of the Swa’kata pirates. They are to establish firm identities with the crews, and make their way towards the edges of Hapan space to help secure ex-filtration.
Phase III: Weapons Free
Nighthawk / Soulfire: Finish the mission. No matter the cost. Find the Blood Cups, and make it home. The Hapan Fleet should be focused on the mayhem caused by the Darkest Night. The Cythraul’s lives depend on it. Kote depends on it.
Dark Forge: Help secure the Darkest Night and Hangar for extraction. Full lethality and destruction authorized.
Galeres: Weapons free. Diplomacy is over and the only thing that matters now is getting out without leaving anyone behind. Full lethality and destruction authorized. Cethgus, Lexi, and Anduriel need to eliminate the Yslamari that has now driven Marick and team into a tight spot.