And to the very walls of Hell

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Beorht
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And to the very walls of Hell

Post by Beorht » Wed Nov 02, 2011 9:03 pm

The Delaya-class courier Aletheia, once the ship of Lyn-Char Beorht, broke through hyperspace over Vorzyd V.

"Can you feel it?" said Benna Kol-Rekali. The girl sat in the copilot's chair as Iara Beorht - redeemed Sith Lord, widow of Lyn, Jedi Knight - took the courier down into the planet's gravity well. "There was a lot of fear here, not long ago."

"And now?" That was Iara, focusing on flying. Her perceptions had never been especially broad or far-reaching. She knew what had happened here, of course, what the Cult had done, but to sense the echoes of it - that was beyond her. Apparently not beyond the flow-walker, she thought.

The Jedi Shadows had provided a bootleg bland Tion Consortium registry for the ship, and after a tense hail and counterhail with traffic control, she brought the Aletheia down on the casino world in a region of strobing, thumping lights and holo-adverts that bewitched and seared the eye. They were right in the middle of the good part of town, the high buildings, the canyon streets, all lit at night by blue and purple. Happy laughter everywhere. Much fun was had by all.

Benna shivered.

They left the courier in a landing bay and headed for a trendy tapcafe deep in the heart of a block that boasted forty-eight major entertainment venues stacked on top of each other in layers.

"We're looking for a slicer named Maggs," said Iara. "Stay together unless the Force prompts you otherwise. This may look nice but it's no place to get lost. Mikhail, Jace, I know you're worried about her, but we can do this. Benna, keep a close eye on the immediate future if you can manage it. We'll need all the advance warning we can get, if the CCOs find us."

"CCOs?"

"Central Command Operatives. Most of the local Sith wear uniforms - tan shirt and pants, long tan jacket with a red hood and trim. They usually stick fairly close to the rule of law, from what I hear; I know a couple of Jedi who've been told that as long as they keep their noses clean, the CCOs won't give them a problem. But they're still Sith, and I doubt the new regime has them that well under control." And some of them are my old people, she thought.

"Maggs will lead us to Sorosel, and Sorosel will lead us to your friend Felicity. With luck we'll be done in a couple of days. I'd like that. I haven't spent much time with Alu lately."

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Re: And to the very walls of Hell

Post by Halcyon508 » Thu Nov 03, 2011 6:41 pm

The Jedi walked around the streets. Mikhail and Jace stared at the various casino's and pleasure houses which lined the street in wonderment. Mikhail reached out with his senses and looked ahead of them trying to sense danger in advance, the way Iara taught him. As he reached back with his vision he could see Benna staring at him. He blushed as they passed a colorful casino.

It was in this brief moment that a troop of security officers. "Scatter." Max said pulling Jace with him. Iara followed leaving Mikhail and Benna together. Mikhaill grabbed the girl and pushed his way into a Casino nearby. The two walked through staring at the lights as Mikhail used his sight to check behind them.

"We should be safe in here." he said to Benna. It was only after he had said they would be safe when the security forces walked into the casino. The crowd was covering their every movements, but it might not be enough. "I spoke to soon." Mikhail said standing up. "Don't look but we have two security officers behind us at 5 o'clock."

Benna looked. The girl stared into the face of the officer and the man stared back. With a greater pace the security officer started to walk through the crowd pushing gamblers out of their way. Mikhail for his part linked his arm with Benna's and worked their way towards a backroom. As they entered into the room the first thing Mikhail noticed was the noise and the lights. It was a dance floor.

The two made it across the dance floor to a bar and ordered a drink, which came promptly. "Play along." Mikhail said as he sipped the drink. His face contorted as he tasted the beverage. "Just enough into your mouth and lips for the smell." He said taking another sip spilling a little on his shirt. Benna's face puckered much like his as she sipped the drink and coughed a little bit. Mikhail held her hand and turned to stare into her eyes. He watched through the force as the security forces approached the two. The two's eyes were interlocked as Mikhail put one of his hands on the girls cheek. His face went bright red as his mouth closed with hers. The two kissed just as the security guards approached.

The Officer pulled the two apart. His nose flared with the smell of alcoholic. "Break it up you two." He said checking their faces.

"Sorry officer." Mikhail said slurring. "I just wanted to shhhow my lady friend a good time ish all."

"Son." the officer said, "You're drunk and in a gambling establishment."

Mikhail furrowed his brow, "I thhought that was legal here? No ages limit."

The other officer sighed, "Damn tourists." He said, "These aren't the ones we're looking for."

The first officer spoke again. "Only certain establishments are like that. We're going to have to ask you to leave."

"Oh c'mon." Mikhail said squeezing Benna closely to him, "Can'ts you make an exception?" The officers responded by grabbing the two youths and forcefully ejecting them from the building. Mikhail landed hard on his face in the alley behind the small casino. He stood up and extended a hand to Benna, "And now we're tourists." he said helping her up. His face beat red, "I'm sorry I took liberties... I just figured they wouldn't think a pair of love birds to be infiltrators." Their gazes met again for a brief moment until Mikhail lowered his head and eyes to stare at their feet....
Domani, forget domani
Let's live for now and anyhow who needs domani?
~ Frank Sinatra, Forget Domani

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Beorht
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Re: And to the very walls of Hell

Post by Beorht » Fri Nov 04, 2011 7:57 am

Benna's mind went blank, or felt like it, so she was surprised to find words coming to her so easily. "We're Jedi. Aren't we supposed to be in favour of liberties?"

Mikhail's face was priceless - he had to be just as embarrassed as she was. She burst out laughing. "And love birds? Come on, you can do better than that..."

She looped her arm through his and led him back into the streets.

*** *** ***

Iara followed Max and Jace. As a Lethan Twi'lek, she knew that her genetics - to put it politely - would be the only thing anyone saw, and of course she wasn't dressed like a Jedi. Modest and classy was the name of the game. So as her Theran Force-listening monitored the guards behind them, she laughed and flirted and swayed like any other Lethan Twi'lek. And the guards focused on Max and Jace.

They were in a tight spot between two casinos, where a holobooth and some unnamed kiosk blocked a lot of visibility. The guards might have timed it that way, but Iara doubted it. "Sirs, we need to see your identification."

Max turned. "Of course, officers-"

And Iara raised her hands.

The alteration of memory was a specialty of hers, a power she'd employed for years to great effect. Staged amnesia, short-term wipe, complete reformatting: she could do it all, given the time. The guards blinked and stared at nothing.

"They never found us spuspicious," she said. "At least, that's what they think. Every bit of notice is gone. Yes. Max, Jace, turn around and keep walking." They did, and lowering her hands, Iara finished the process. As the guards' minds settled back into the routines of conscious patrol, Iara sauntered by them. One checked her out.

She rejoined Max and Jace. "Let's find the kids. I could kick myself for letting them go off alone."

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Re: And to the very walls of Hell

Post by Halcyon508 » Fri Nov 04, 2011 5:39 pm

Mikhail and Benna wandered the streets, the stentch of party liquor and sweat offend the pairs nostrils as the two moved through the crowd. Benna watched Mikhail intently as the two walked, the boy for his part looked not with eyes but the force and examined every thoroughfare, every alley, for trouble. As the two walked Mikhail realized that without intending to he had grabbed Benna's hand, the better to be aware of her, he thought to himself as he noticed, especially when his senses were focused elsewhere.

"Where are we?" Benna asked finally.

"I don't know." Mikhail replied walking towards a side alley. "I'm looking for a map that says 'you are here" with an arrow, and maybe we will get lucky and another arrow will tell us where Iara is." He flashed a smile at the girl before continuing on his way. "We can't use our coms, and I can't sense Iara over the mire of this place." Walking along the side of the building they noticed the back door to one of the apartments was open. After walking over the two could plainly see that the door had been broken off its tracks and pushed open. "I wonder what happened here." Mikhail said.

Benna's face froze before contorting. "We need to hurry." She said finally. "We can prevent a murder."

"What are you talking about?" Mikhail asked as the girl, still grabbing his hand, set off jerking him into motion.

"I saw them take a woman, a pit boss's wife I think." Benna said. "They took her to a warehouse." They reached a fork in the road, "This way!" She yanked Mikhail, "They are going to kill her to send a message that they aren't to be trifled with."

The girl was huffing and puffing until finally Mikhail pulled her back stopping her in her tracks, "What do we intend to do when we get there." Mikhail said, "I agree we need to save this woman, I believe what you saw... but what are we going to do about it? What's the plan?" He huffed catching his breath.
Domani, forget domani
Let's live for now and anyhow who needs domani?
~ Frank Sinatra, Forget Domani

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Re: And to the very walls of Hell

Post by Beorht » Sat Nov 05, 2011 7:02 pm

Benna focused, then shook her head, eyes wide. "It's gone - the vision's gone." Her gut said that something had changed, but even this new clarity brought on by Mikhail's presence had its limits. Flow-walking was far more precise when it came to examining the past. "I don't know! We're kids, Mikhail! We're fething kids! And now I've lost the trail and..."

"All right, calm down." Mikhail's jaw clenched. "How close are we?"

"I don't know - half a block?"

"Warehouse." He took her by the shoulders and led her into a wide street. "Do you see it?"

"That one, I think."

"All right. I wish we knew some illusion...it comes in handy. Bravado? We could pretend to be Sith..."

"Or we could just, I don't know, fight them?"

"Somehow I don't think Iara would like that much." He bit his lip. "And there are so many patrollers around. We're not here for this. All right-"

"The patrollers." Benna blinked as another hint of the future percolated into her brain. "Mikhail, there are Sith coming this way, Sith patrollers, the ones that Iara told us about. We could lead them to the warehouse, and they could take care of it. This place is strict."

"If we can do that without getting identified, sure. Wait - Benna, is that them?" Down the street, a pair of tall Elomin men in red hoods and long tan coats had turned a corner and come into sight. They entered the warehouse that Benna had identified. Mikhail hissed. "What are the odds of that? I don't understand."

"Iara did say they did law enforcement." But none of it made sense - was her peculiar connection to time busy sorting through possible futures? There were so many things about flow-walking that she didn't know, and Mikhail's presence tripled that hypothetical number. "Come on."

They peeked in the door of the warehouse. The two Central Command Operatives were clearly visible, as were a woman and three men. The woman was sobbing in front of one of the operatives. The men stood against a wall.

The other operative drew a blaster and shot one of them in the face with a sound like a thunderclap. Most of him crumpled to the floor. The next fell to his knees, the front of his trousers going wet; the third bolted and ran. The operative shot the kneeling man, then stretched out a lazy hand. A streak of silver flashed from his hand, and a molten orange blade spiraled out from it, lancing through the running man. The woman stopped crying, frozen. The other operative kept asking her questions, calmly. Holstering his lightsabre, the executioner called back his lightsabre and tucked it into a purpose-built leather sheath in the small of his back.

Benna shivered and drew back from the window. "I don't like it here."

"Me neither. Come on. I've figured out how to find Iara."

*** *** ***

"Theran Force-listening," said Iara, "lets me do all sorts of interesting things. One is track. I can hear things from far away, skim across the sounds and conversations of a city - given enough time, I might be able to find them that way. They might go back to the ship, or they might go to the tapcafe, Jostrum's Earl, though I hope not. What do you think - any gut feelings?"

"Mikhail may be my best friend," said Jace, "but he's your Padawan. I've got nothing." Max shook his head.

Iara let out a breath. "I'm starting to think our best bet is to continue to the tapcafe. It's closer than the ship, and Mikhail wouldn't just head back like he'd given up. I think he'd think it was juvenile."

"So let's keep going to the tapcafe," said Max, "and trust that they can stay alive in a casino world for a couple of hours on their own."

*** *** ***

"...for a couple of hours on their own."

Benna opened her eyes and grinned. "Tell me you're not impressed." She'd found a quiet place, and flow-walked back through her own and Mikhail's past until the point where they'd lost Iara, Max and Jace; then she'd followed the other three. She was getting tired, very tired. Even with the strange boost of Mikhail's presence, she'd never flow-walked this often or this precisely. That, and seeing three people summarily executed will take the starch out of anyone, let alone a teenage Padawan.

"I'm impressed. All right - so they've gone on to Jostrum's Earl to look for Maggs. I think I remember where that is in relation to us."

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Re: And to the very walls of Hell

Post by Halcyon508 » Mon Nov 07, 2011 7:25 pm

"I thought you said you remembered where it was." Benna said as the pair walked down yet another dusty alley.

"I do," Mikhail replied pointing ahead. "I'm taking us in the back way." he finished. He pointed up ahead at cluster of buildings. "Two more doors up is the place, around the corner." As they turned the corner two men in armor stood watch. "The front will be guarded, I'd rather avoid confrontation."

Benna saw the men first as they rounded the corner and spoke up, "Apparently the back is guarded too." Two men stood with armored chest and blasters at their side. It made sense that the hangout of a slicer and goodness knows what other criminal elements would have armed guards. Guards that most likely wouldn't let two meddling jedi, or even children, into the cafe.

Mikhail pulled Benna back around the corner before the guard could see them. "No violence." he said picking up some old rags off the ground. He wrapped himself in the rags as one would a blanket and started murmuring to himself. As he stumbled through the alley the guards approached him.

"Get out of here you damned vagrant!" One of them yelled pushing him to the side. Mikhail made sure to fall away from Benna's position behind the guard to turn their attention. He watched as the girl approached from behind the two guards who kicked the boy as he was down. Arms folded he was able to deflect most of the damage, but still felt a bit of pain.

Once Benna was in position Mikhail kicked up hard catching one of the men in the crotch. Benna struck the other in the back of the head with a blunt object she found as the one Mikhail hit buckled over. Mikhail stood up and pressed a hand against the mans head focusing the force until the man fell asleep. "I have no clue how I did that..." Mikhail said staring at his hand...
Domani, forget domani
Let's live for now and anyhow who needs domani?
~ Frank Sinatra, Forget Domani

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Re: And to the very walls of Hell

Post by Beorht » Mon Nov 07, 2011 8:32 pm

Iara, Max and Jace looked around a corner at the tapcafe. The door to the Jostrum's Earl boasted a couple of heavy-duty bouncers. Iara glanced at Jace and grimaced. "I forgot. They don't like minors. If Benna and Mikhail get here, they may not be able to get inside."

"We may not even be able to get you inside, Jace," said Max.

"Oh, don't worry about that," said Iara briskly. "Two-stage plan. Follow."

She sauntered towards the tapcafe. One guard looked at her and grinned. The other looked at Max and grinned. Iara noticed and grinned wide enough for both of them. She lofted an eyebrow at Max.

A few moments' flirtation gave her the edge to slip in a memory-stun. They walked right by with the underage ex-Assassin. The guards retained a pleasant but vague memory of some agreeably flirty patrons. Iara kept grinning at Max.

"Shaddup," he said, and grinned back. Lots of grinning.

Inside, the Jostrum's Earl was quiet and civilized, in the sense that the powerful handguns were kept discreetly holstered under trendy jackets. It was the sort of place where upper-middle-class entrepreneurs congregated to compare notes on their less regulated operations. Iara made a beeline for the bar. It started to get quiet. "Iara?" murmured Max.

Iara sat down at the bar beside a man in gilded fur. His moustache drooped almost to the lip of his shotglass. "Hey there, Maggs."

"Careful, One-Tail," said the barkeep. Maggs stayed silent. "Don't make this a repeat - I'm not in the mood."

"Relax, Jendro. I'm just here to ask my old friend Maggs a question or two."

Something rumbled behind her. "And what kind of question does One-Tail Clane have for my partner?" Iara half-turned and examined the augmented human, an eight-foot-tall and proportionate woman. Iara smiled out of one corner of her mouth. Really it was a sneer. Max and Jace tried to look large.

"A polite one, Maryss. Nothing more than a question, I swear on your mama's grave." It felt good to be back, maybe too good. She swiveled back to Maggs. "Ald Sorosel. Where is he?"

The moustachioed slicer scrambled off his bar stool; his glass fell and broke. Panic in his eyes, he flickered some kind of finger-talk at the augmented woman. She growled but backed off. "You can't be using that name around here, One-Tail. Things have changed. There aren't many of'em, but when things get interesting, the cops call for Sith these days. You think I want that kind of trouble?"

"Maggs, you remember the time I..."

"Yes. Don't show me again."

She leaned very close, felt the air of him licking his lips. "Don't make me."

He hesitated, then leaned forward and whispered in her ear cone. "Sarastro."

"What about him?"

"Nobody knows, and I mean nobody. Listen, we can't be talking, they're going to find you, you have to get away from me-"

"You're saying they're the same person?" She was whispering now, stunned. If Darth Sarastro, Dark Lord and absolute ruler of the Sith'ari Centrality, was actually Ald Sorosel, Dark Side healer, lightning fanatic, slicer...if that was true, then the whole Dark Council was probably a lie. Which meant it was backed by someone serious, someone with resources equal to or greater than the ancient Sith offshoot order they claimed to be. The concept chilled her. She leaned back - nobody nearby had heard a word, and Max and Jace were too busy trying to have a staring contest with an eight-foot woman. Mikhail and Benna appeared in a far corner of the tapcafe and made their way towards Iara. Maggs shuffled off his stool.

"I mean that, yes," he whispered. "I mean I wish I didn't know him from way back, and I wish I'd gone to do something safer like help the Tetan rebellion or juggle chainsaws one-armed. Maryss, let's get out of here."

"Maggs."

He froze half-way to the door. The bar went still again.

"Maggs, I need more."

"There isn't any more, Clane!" By now, she realized, her identity was probably in the hands of law enforcement. Coming here, where she was certain to be recognized, had been a calculated risk. She gestured and Maggs rose into the air, kicking and wailing and flailing and screaming. The augment moved towards her; Max and Mikhail stepped between them, and the augment blinked as she realized what they were, more or less. The barkeep ducked under the bar and came up with a Czerka HeadBanger. Jace folded his arms. "Go ahead. Try to pull the trigger. I guarantee you can't."

"Not in my tapcafe, One-Tail!" said the barkeep. "I've hit the panic button - cops are on their way. Get out while you can."

Iara brought the hovering Maggs towards her. "I need more, Maggs. A little girl's life is at stake. That, and I swear on my husband's grave I'll kill you right now if you don't give me what you're hiding. I can feel it dancing around inside your head, Maggs. I could go in and take it."

"Bitterroot!" It was a scream. "Bitterroot!"

Iara probed the edges of his mind; he'd said what he knew. The augment trembled but kept her cool. Iara dropped Maggs into a quivering heap on the floor and looked at the group. "All right. Time to run."

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Re: And to the very walls of Hell

Post by Halcyon508 » Sun Nov 13, 2011 8:47 am

Iara said run, so they ran, out of the club and down the street getting nearly a hundred meters before security forces appeared. An open topped speeder drove down the roadway, inside was several security troopers. "No lightsabers." Max called. Mikhail frowned as blaster bolts raked across his path. The speeder closed quickly and soon overtook the group forcing the Jedi to jump to either side of the road or be run over. Max smiled as Jace blended himself into the Shadows. "You know what to do." The Jedi Knight called as the speeder made a lazily slow turn to face back at the group.

Max stepped forward into the street to draw the vehicles attention. It worked. a prow mounted blaster started to fire on the young man who quickly ran for cover taking out a blaster and firing it, with the stun setting, at the troopers. Force enhanced skill allowed him to pick off two troopers firing over the side of the transport, their unconscious bodies falling harmless inside the vehicle. The Speeder, having fully made it's turn, charged once more at Max.

From the Shadows Jace had made his way to the top of the building, near the roof. He hung onto the side of the building with the force and waited as the speeder darted toward max again. Jace dropped down, looking like a shadow to any onlookers. As he fell into the bed of the speeder he quickly dispatched the troopers flailing with his arms, punching, kicking, and felling the enemy. The cabin now was the only obstacle. Launching forward he broke though the glass barrier between bed and cab and grabbed the driver in a choke hold. The man slowly passed into an unconscious realm. The speeder careened out of control as there was now a lack of pilot. Jace pushed the body aside and grabbed the steering wheel stabilizing the vehicle and stopping it.

"Anyone want a ride?" Jace said with a smile as the others approached.

"Good job." Max said as he approached. He helped Iara up into the bed and watched as Mikhail did the same to Benna. Jace took the wheel in the cab and Max stood on the bed manning the blaster turret. The speeder took off towards their ship. Max sat down and turned to Benna, "There was never any Jedi here." He said. Jace had made sure that the entire scene was shrouded in shadow preventing anyone from seeing what really transpired. Benna nodded. Max turned to Mikhail and stared at him. The boy merely nodded understanding the meaning. "Sith may be on the way, we'll need to get out of here in a hurry."

It took them five minutes of fast driving before they finally reached their vessel. Everyone jumped out of the speeder and headed towards the ship while Max jury-rigged the accelerator sending the vehicle careening towards an open area sending it careening down a canyon and destroying it. Entering the ship he turned for a brief moment staring back at the planet before hitting the button closing the ramp. The ship took off and quicly broke atmosphere and made its way into hyperspace leaving the planet behind.

"Where next?" Mikhail asked looking at the swirling blue of hyperspace.
Domani, forget domani
Let's live for now and anyhow who needs domani?
~ Frank Sinatra, Forget Domani

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Re: And to the very walls of Hell

Post by Beorht » Sun Nov 13, 2011 10:31 pm

"Bitterroot was a code word, a Detori code word for a specialized network. Nobody was ever quite sure where the satellites were, or how far they broadcast, but by working entirely outside the mainstream nodes and channels, Quinis Asanis could communicate in almost total security with his Dark Saber agents."

"Dark Sabers? Really?"

"Terrifying duellist. Capable leader. Horrible at naming things. Bitterroot was our code word for it, when we were hunting it during our invasion. If someone's still using some of those satellite relays, there's a chance we can tap into some of the remaining ones that we left intact. I'm taking us to a totally useless little system, a red dwarf star with a couple of little planetoids and not even the dignity of a name. Following up on this lead lets us wait a moment before we have to call this in to the Jedi Council."

The Aletheia dropped out of hyperspace several hours later. Iara ran a full spectrum of scans, but nothing presented itself. The sullen dwarf star was small, even as close as they were to it. "The low radiological background profile of the system lets the satellite function at highest potential. In theory, it orbits so that the plane of its orbit is nearly perpendicular to the directions of incoming and outgoing transmissions. We busted this one, installed a slice module...let's see if it still works."

SHe brought the Aletheia up beside a large satellite, easily starfighter size. "Slice module's gone. Someone's been here. Querying...yeah, there's new code passing through. I can't crack this, but fairly late in the invasion we learned how to backtrack it. See, Bitterroot never worked off standard comm tech; that's another reason it was so secure. It's FTL, but it works off some kind of reverse-engineered...blank looks? All right. Bottom line is, we can track it. Someone is getting orders or directions, and we can find them. That'll give us some kind of operative for Sarastro, who can tell us more about where we need to be looking." She started adjusting the comm scanners. The Aletheia's computers were large, on par with a Victory-class Star Destroyer's mainframe for power and storage capacity. Once the right parameters were input - pulled from Iara's memory by judicious Force clarification - the computers worked with the satellite, tracking the encrypted data.

"Two jumps down, the data stream ends at..."

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Re: And to the very walls of Hell

Post by Halcyon508 » Sun Nov 27, 2011 7:41 am

Empress Teta. Max stared at the dataslate with a distasteful frown. They were still in hyperspace after having discerned the location of the Sith who had taken Felicity. It was a city planet, and one locked in turmoil. Large numbers of rebel groups fought the imperial garrisons and nobility and each-other. Republicans, Unionists, Royalists, Imperialists, and Anarchists all existed on the planet dabbling in riot and the occasional act of violence. The entire planet was a powder-keg, just waiting for a spark. Max dreaded to think what trouble a Sith could be getting into on the planet.

En-route they had changed transports into something more inconspicuous, a low rent YT-1210. The old freighters engines had been heavily modified sometime in the past before the owner had sold the aging ship to a used starship dealer. Through this dealer, Max was able to purchase the ship with clean registration. Iara's vessel was flown home by a cankerous chirping Droid, who was none too happy about being left behind on Ossus. It took them five days to reach Teta.

The small freighter landed in a smaller spaceport outside of the capitol city and away from prying eyes. Max was first to smell the stale recycled air with a frown. "We know Teta, but we don't know anything else really. It's a big planet." He had reviewed the situation on the planet, and also the history and knew there were several places to look. "I suggest first we find a safe place to lay our head."
Domani, forget domani
Let's live for now and anyhow who needs domani?
~ Frank Sinatra, Forget Domani

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Re: And to the very walls of Hell

Post by Beorht » Tue Nov 29, 2011 8:40 pm

After setting up a safehouse in a local hotel, offloading some equipment and supplies, and getting some good local food, Iara and Benna and the boys met to review the local situation. The revolution was in full swing, but they had to dive into the complexities of it, looking for flashpoints, using the Force to guess between the most likely scenarios for Sith Empire involvement or just plain Darksider machinations. Once they narrowed it down to a few likely scenarios, they could run checks for the Bitterroot frequencies and transmission methods. They'd made sure to outfit the 1210 with the proper sensors to detect the Bitterroot apparatus, non-standard as it was.

After three days of comparing event datafeeds with the results of Force meditations, then running events and timeframes past suspected Bitterroot intercepts. It was a matter of luck, or destiny, or good odds, but they set out with lightsabres hidden under civilian clothes. They'd also spent some good time training...and in Iara's case, getting to train with Mikhail for the first time in forever. They didn't have much time, of course, but though it was awkward in some ways, Iara felt good about the results.

It was nice to have him back, even with Benna always hanging around him. Whatever had happened to him on Ruusan, it had affected him permanently, and Benna's Aing-Tii flow-walking produced strange results when she was near him. It frankly unsettled Iara, who'd had dealings with the Aing-Tii years before and knew only that their techniques tended towards the weird and terrifying.

They left the hotel suite and headed into the city, fairly sure they were homing in on the endpoint of the Bitterroot intercept - and knowing only that it was possible that the endpoint was Felicity.

Or someone who knew where she was.

Only problem: they were descending into the dormitory district of a local liberal arts university, one whose students had revolted wholesale. The huge numbers of Moffs' children who went there required a softer touch, but the violence in the streets of the huge dormitory district - hundreds of thousands of students - was a mix of riots and stormtroopers.

And somewhere in there was the target.

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Re: And to the very walls of Hell

Post by Halcyon508 » Fri Dec 02, 2011 6:39 pm

Jace walked besides Mikhail and Max with Iara and Benna taking up the rear. Mikhail stared at his master with a concerned look on his face. Something didn't feel right, it was as if a stone weight was pressing down on him every time he thought of his mentor and no amount of lifting could ever overturn the grievous stone. Their cover was simple, Max played the Grad student and Iara an administrator, escorting some prospective students, played by the younger members, around the premises. Iara played a member of the staff with startling efficiency.

Chaos was reining in the lower levels of the Dormitory complex. Riots were breaking out as protesters were being violently suppressed by Tetan Security and Imperial Storm Troopers. A day earlier the storm troopers had even open fired on a group of students in the large luscious garden of a courtyard. "Don't" Max said as Mikhail looked down on the crowd below. "If we jump in sabers blazing think of the chaos we will cause. No doubt the troopers will open fire again and we will have caused more pain and misery."

It was true enough, but still the youth felt compelled to go down to the lower levels and help the activists. He frowned as they moved towards a communications complex in the dorm room. All mail and transmissions alike came through this single room where droids would relay communications through to the various dorm rooms and sort through packages meant for matriculating students. Although to call it a room was something of a misnomer. The facility was huge with both a complete holonet system, a relay system, and a warehouse for packages moving into the dorm.

The intercom blared to life "Please access the Data Terminals to determine the staging location of your package. For lost packages please have a routing number provided by the delivery service provider." The droid over the coms continued on in this manner for some time. "This is where the trail leads?" Jace said irritated.

Mikhail felt his friends frustration but didn't speak, instead waiting for Max to calm his apprentice. "This is just another stop." Max said placing a calming hand on the boys shoulder. "Quorl would say that it is only another roost before you reach the nest."

"He's a very clever bird." Benna said beaming a smile at Mikhail....
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Let's live for now and anyhow who needs domani?
~ Frank Sinatra, Forget Domani

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Re: And to the very walls of Hell

Post by Beorht » Sat Dec 03, 2011 5:31 pm

"If the Bitterroot datapackets end here," Iara said, "someone did us a favour. There'll be a database. Whoever is operating here is staying relatively close to campus, and perhaps has some kind of cover identity. The Bitterroot transmission disguised itself as a packet from TransSpiralWays Couriers - if we can get into the database, we can find out how many dozen students got a datapacket from TSW within the last day or so. That way we'll have something hard to go on. Sadly, you can't mind trick a droid."

"So how do we get into the database?" said Jace, obviously thinking of stealth.

Iara grinned wide. "The computer science department. I'm too old, Benna's too young, but in the right dress..."


A few hours later, Benna Kol-Rekali emerged from the computer science department's undergraduate lounge with a very tight dress, four guys' numbers and the passcodes to a backdoor in the mail system.

"How'd it go?" said Max.

She slipped on a huge blue sweater (TOKNA UNIVERSITY OF NATURAL ARTS - GO TUNAS!) over the dress and sighed. "Went like you'd expect. I needed to stop delivery of a letter to my parents...you know how it goes." She batted her eyelashes, aware that her dad would most certainly not approve of what Iara was teaching her.


A couple of hours after that, they had a list of two dozen addresses.

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Re: And to the very walls of Hell

Post by Halcyon508 » Mon Dec 05, 2011 9:00 pm

Mikhail found himself staring at Benna despite himself. Benna in the slinky dress was a sight to be seen to the young man. Even now as she wore the over sized sweater the skimpy dress revealed her long slender legs. It distracted Mikhail, distracted him to the point where he didn't even see the man running away from the nearby imperial recruitment center.

The explosion knocked Mikhail off his feet as Jace jumped in front of him and Benna trying to shield them from the blast. Max, having moved ahead watched in horror as the flame seperated him from the group.Blood ran down Jace's arm as debris ripped his shirt and pierced his skin. A large speeder drove through the street as Imperial Soldiers ran from the recruitment center. Blaster fire erupted felling those who tried to flee. Max ran towards the car trying to stop it before it could escape. He failed. The vehicle motored through the flame. Jace tried to stop the men as they ran out and grabbed the stunned Mikhail and Benna, but failed succumbing to his wounds and passing out. The boy was in dire need of medical attention....


Mikhail's ears finally stopped ringing. He found himself tied and on the ground laying with Benna's back pressed up against him. He could feel Benna's dress with his hands which caused him to blush and display other physical symptoms. It was dark, and soon he realized he had a hood over his head. "What are we doing kidnapping kids now?" He heard someone say.

"They broke in and got addresses. We need to know what they know, we to know whats going on." He listened intently before suddenly the man said. "They are waking up...." He felt the needle punch through his skin almost instantly after that and slowly drifted back into darkness....
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Let's live for now and anyhow who needs domani?
~ Frank Sinatra, Forget Domani

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Re: And to the very walls of Hell

Post by Beorht » Mon Dec 05, 2011 9:23 pm

Flow-walking plus Mikhail plus drugs...

Benna dreamed time.

She saw their kidnappers as children, as old men and women, as fresh young corpses.

She saw Mikhail training under Iara and then Sirena; Mikhail younger, older, much older.

She saw her mother smiling but afraid.

She did not wake up.


Iara was trying to stop the blood - hers and Jace's. Shrapnel had lacerated her left breast and ribcage, down to the bone, and her jaw was gritted so tight that she felt her teeth might break.

Sirens rang out, and a growling roar. Stormtrooper transports came into view, shouldering aside lesser vehicles: too late. As the troopers fanned out, Iara stood, holding her chest together with one hand. "Combat medic! Here, now! This kid's bad but savable!"

A stormtrooper medic hesitated; several of his fellow ducked into what remained of the building. The Imperial medic made up his mind. He came and started fixing what was wrong with Jace, which was quite a lot. He kept his eyes front, of course, though the remains of Iara's shirt gaped open. He examined her wound clinically, without a spark of emotion. Thank the Force for stormtrooper training.

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Re: And to the very walls of Hell

Post by Halcyon508 » Mon Dec 12, 2011 7:25 pm

The scene quickly settled as Max caught up with Iara and Jace. The two were being patched up and Max managed a weak smile. "Good as new Jace." he said to his one remaining apprentice. Iara must feel now how he did about Felicities loss, but no doubt also shared the pain of guilt over the loss of Benna. "We need to get you back to our hotel to heal." He said. "Me and Iara will find Benna and Mikhail while you rest up..." That was the plan, as they traveled across the cityscape to get Jace to safety, and away from Imperial Interrogators.


Mikhail didn't have his lightsaber when he woke up next to Benna in a dark room. "Benna." He said nudging her a little. She was still in her slinky dress. "Wake up Benna." the girl started to slowly come around. The situation was exciting if nothing else. Where were they? What would happen to them? Who had taken them? All these questions created a sense of anxiety and a thrill within him. Or maybe it was just his close proximity to Benna in a slinky dress. The girl was awake now, but still groggy from the medicine given to her, fading in and out as Mikhail shook her. Mikhail assumed the reason he wasn't feeling the effects was because of the Valley's potent power flowing within him. "Benna you need to wake up." He said finally, "We need to find a way out of here." Instinctively as if a voice inside of him was commanding him he embraced the girl. Suddenly a faint glow surrounded the two of them. Benna slowly started to feel the effects of the poison leave her body, as if burned from her blood stream. Mikhail squeezed her tighter, "You need to be okay Benna..." Mikhail said softly.
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Let's live for now and anyhow who needs domani?
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Re: And to the very walls of Hell

Post by Beorht » Mon Dec 12, 2011 7:54 pm

The quest was thus promptly derailed, Iara Clane Beorht thought to herself as the medic bandaged the gaping rent in her chest. She accepted an injection of painkiller, then clouded his mind and moved on once Jace's more life-threatening injuries had been taken care of by the stormtrooper medic.

They reached the hotel, clouding minds left and right, then deposited Jace on his bed. Blood had leaked through the bandages. "That'll stain the sheets," Iara said, bending over the boy. She called on the Force and began to heal him as best she could, which wasn't horrible; she'd been training with Chirushk and Boolon Murr lately, ever since her failure to help Arice Quinn. Jace was stable; she felt it, knew her efforts compounded with those of the stormtrooper medic had borne fruit, and eased off the flow of power before she became even more exhausted. Unsure about leaving him, she thought of Mikhail and Benna.

"You gonna be alright?"

"I'll be fine, Max." Between a bacta patch and a little bit of Force healing - just a tiny bit; most of her efforts went to Jace - Iara knew she could walk, even run maybe. She could keep going. It hurt bad enough to cloud her head, but she could keep going. "I think you're going to be the one to find our kids."

He gave her an odd look, then shrugged. "No point in being a Sage if they don't teach you cool stuff. Besides, Mikhail is family. This way, I think."

They started walking, heading in a direction that Iara considered rather random, but her head was still fuzzy. If it came to a fight...

Well, it always came to a fight.



Benna woke up slowly but in pain; whimpering, still half asleep, she squirmed back against Mikhail. As the poison burned itself out of her system, she gritted her teeth and refrained from further sound. She opened her eyes and saw the glow.

"I'm...I'm ok." Suddenly embarrassed - what had she been thinking, letting Iara stuff her into this dress? - she shuffled on her side, creating a little space for propriety's sake.

So you're Mikhail. Well, I suppose you won't be the last who intends to spoon with my daughter, but have the decency to do so while she's conscious, if you don't mind.

Over them stood a very faint outline, far less distinct than your average Force ghost.

Your rescuers are on their way. In the meantime, there is a nail protruding from the wall by your feet that you can use to wear through your bonds. Hurry! The Dead Hunter is on his way to this world. You need to be gone before he gets here, or nothing is safe.

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Re: And to the very walls of Hell

Post by Halcyon508 » Mon Dec 12, 2011 8:15 pm

Mikhail smiled embarrassed as he felt for the nail. He started to scratch the bonds. "This will take too long." He said. Instead he closed his eyes and focused on the force. He tore the rope from his wrists and burst out of his makeshift shackles. "I don't know who this dead hunter is." he remarked aloud, "but I don't think I want to be here when he arrives." It took a few minutes before he could grasp the random combination of knots used to tie Benna up, but once he did he loosed them and lifted the girl to her feet. "By the way." The boy wondered if the voice was still around, and then stopped caring, "I should have said this earlier, but you look really..." Pausing he thought, "well pretty seems too plain a word...." Hsi face reddened, hopefully it would help her with her embarrassment though, "In that dress I mean." Quickly he stumbled over added words, "not that you don't look pretty all the time... we should get going." Mikhail stared at the locking mechanism in front of them and thought about it for a moment. Instead of trying to burst down the door or try anything fancy like picking the lock he focused on the mechanism itself and pushed hard in various directions, a torrent of force energy swelled and crashed against it until finally whatever mechanism had held the door in place loosed to a click. "Lightsabers and escape Benna." Confidence radiated from him as he boldly stepped out into the hallway, and a blaster was pointed right at his head....
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Let's live for now and anyhow who needs domani?
~ Frank Sinatra, Forget Domani

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Re: And to the very walls of Hell

Post by Beorht » Mon Dec 12, 2011 8:29 pm

"You thought we'd keep the lightsabres anywhere near you, kid? Real smart."

The various people pointing weapons at them - all from one side of the hallway; no chance of getting them to shoot each other - had a somewhat less rough look than the criminals Benna was used to. Tough people, yes, but rebels, not really gangsters.

A voice whispered in Mikhail's ear: If you'd taken the time to use the nail, they'd have moved on and you'd only have one patroller to deal with. Limitless power and limitless wisdom are not inseparable. In fact, they rarely coincide.

They got marched down the hallway, surrounded by the rebels. Attempts at politeness were answered with light taps of a stun baton.

Three steps after you turn left, fall down. Both of you.

Benna and Mikhail shared a glance and a light shrug. The rebels took them around the corner into a warehouse. Benna counted three and folded herself into a ball; Mikhail's fall was more of a sweeping kick to the knee of the man beside him. A horrible groaning of steel and wood resounded through the warehouse as a forklift, its forks high, slammed into a rack of huge crates. One flew off the shelf in a parabolic path that struck the heads of the nearer rebels and the waists of the farther. It was a disgusting and tragic mess, and when Benna got up she promptly vomited.

That's what they get for kidnapping a commando's daughter...I've been haunting this place all day. Run for the doors!

"But there are men with guns-"

Trust me, Benna, run!

They ran...and as the rebels raised their guns, Iara Beorht and Max Sage hit them from behind.

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Re: And to the very walls of Hell

Post by Halcyon508 » Mon Dec 12, 2011 8:45 pm

Their lightsabers were ignited and blocking blaster bolts quickly. After awhile the rebels slowly started to to disperse. Max and Iara threw a set of lightsabers to the two youths who caught them and started to deflect bolts from blasters as they retreated. "Wait!" Mikhail yelled remembering something the vocie had said about power and wisdom. "Cease fire!" he yelled as Max and Iara closed on him and benna. "Stop firing now." He yelled loudly, inadvertently using the force to echo his voice and cause the room to shake.

"Let the boy talk." A voice called as a man walked down the aisle towards them. "Say what you have to say." The man was hooded in black.

"I just want to know why you kidnapped us. What did we do?"

The man stopped and frowned. "We needed to question you." He said finally staring at the four Jedi. His men started to surround the group. "We're resistance fighters against the Empire, the Koros Imperial Royal Army. We're trying to throw off the shackles of Imperial rule and put our local leaders back in powers. You penetrated our secure network. We thought you were agents of the Empire."

"We aren't. That much is clear to you now right?"

"It is." The man said lowing his weapon.

"So we can go?" Mikhail asked.

The man thought for a moment and then looked up into a shadowy catwalk. A figure cloaked in shadow gave a nod. "You may." He said finally after seeing the nod. The four left all the while watched by guards. As soon as they were out of sight the man turned to the shadow. "Why did we let them leave mistress?"

"They would destroy all the work you've done here." The voice called down to them. "No, others more suited to the task will take care of the Jedi..."
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Re: And to the very walls of Hell

Post by Beorht » Mon Dec 12, 2011 8:54 pm

Benna looked back and shivered. For a moment, she'd thought she saw a dark figure with a pale face, its black lips stretched inhumanly wide across its cheeks. "There was a voice," she said, "my mother's voice. She said someone called the dead hunter was coming."

"That can't be goo..." As they turned a corner, Max collapsed. The whole party, on edge, moved away and then back in, like pond-ripples from a stone. Iara, clutching her bandaged chest with one hand, laid another hand on his forehead, then on his belly. Her eyes opened wide. "Internal bleeding. The idiot turned his nerves off..."

As Iara healed Max to one extent or another, just around a corner from the rebel warehouse, Benna stood silent, staring at nothing. She thought she might have been looking for her mother; some other, clinical part of her mind suggested she was in some kind of shock or fugue. Sensing her discomfort, Mikhail stood with her and let her sag against him as Iara did her work.

"That was your mother, then?" he said quietly. "She doesn't look like your average..."

"A monster ate her soul," said Benna. "That's what found its way home. It's still her; at least, I think it is. My guardian angel."

"I wish I could help," he said, and she wasn't sure if he meant the injured Max or something else.

"Can't you? What can you do, really?"

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Re: And to the very walls of Hell

Post by Halcyon508 » Mon Dec 12, 2011 9:09 pm

Mikhail paused at the girls worlds. Was she somehow challenging him? Doubting he really had the power of the valley? Or was it something else, something less sinister. "I don't know." He said finally. What he really wanted to say is that he could do anything, but he knew that wasn't true. "What do you want me to do?"

Smiling at Iara, Max said, "Finally got you to pay attention to me after all." he laughed a little and started to get himself back up. "Iara." Max said a surge of energy overtaking him and forcing him to stand. "I need you to take the Children and Run." He ignited his blade. Mikhail looked on confused. With a burst of supernatural speed Max lunged forward into a nearby Shadow. Two red blades met his own blue one and pushed him back. The shadows evaporated and suddenly the area was well lit. Max frowned and ignited his second purple saber. The two fought viciously for several seconds before Mikhail registered what was happening and ignited his own blade. "Iara go now!" Max yelled as the Sith Assassin lunged a blade at him which he only barely avoided. Go now! The man said telepathically even as he fell to his death, You are all injured, and cannot fight, so go... please... don't make my sacifice be in vain...
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Re: And to the very walls of Hell

Post by Beorht » Mon Dec 12, 2011 9:17 pm

And Iara screamed in frustrated rage. Exhausted in body and spirit, wounded deep, she ran with Benna and Mikhail.

It doesn't seem so, but she'll lead you safe.

That was all the sympathy offered by Brembla Kol-Rekali. Benna ran on, even when Iara's bandaged burst and blood dripped on the streets.

They came to the hotel. Iara slapped a fresh bacta patch across her deep laceration and collapsed on a chair, leaving bloody handprints on it. Jace was asleep. Benna could barely stay on her feet.

A knock at the door. "Ma'am? Is everything all right in there?"

Mikhail answered the door. "She cut herself, but my dad's a doctor. If you could bring up some more sterile gauze, he says that would help a lot." He threw in a bit of a Jedi mind trick and the door shut. He threw himself down on the edge of a bed, waking Jace, who blinked. "Where's Max?"

"I don't know how you stay functioning, Mikhail," said Iara through stiff lips. She slouched in the chair, blood pooling on the cushion as she did her best to self-heal. "I don't know."

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Re: And to the very walls of Hell

Post by Halcyon508 » Tue Dec 13, 2011 5:11 pm

The display of lights would have been beautiful it wasn't for the lethality in which the strikes were delivered. The Sith Assassin's blades were fixed to her wrist giving her extra power behind each strike. However it also diminished her flexibility allowing Max, despite his wounds, to maintain his defense against the women. The assassin struck with speed and cunning as the man fell back attempting to find an escape route. Mikhail, Benna, and Iara were out of trouble now, that's all that mattered. As the assassins stepped over a curb Max noticed her footing was poor and riposted furiously sweeping his two blades at the woman and pushing her back. Pain wracked his body as the internal bleeding continued, and he no longer had the energy to numb it.

Escape was the only option left. Max ran over a small bridge sparing a careful moment to stare down from the top of the building to the large drop below. Just like Coruscant the planet was a giant city built upwards and the sight nearly caused vertigo in the man as he ran towards the landing pad. As he ran forward he hoped that the pad would contain a speeder for him to escape. Sensing peril he quickly ducked and slid across the sheer metal surface. Pieces of metal flew past him, the assassin having used the force to throw shrapnel at him. Standing back up he felt himself beginning to feel severely fatigued.

Turning he saw the assassin charge him. Under normal circumstances he would use the Sith's energy against her and throw her from the pad, however he was slow and weak and instead barely managed to bring his saber up in time to deflect the first blow. The woman's attack knocked his footing and forced him in a backward retreat. His vision began to blur as he became suddenly very aware of his precarious position near the edge of the platform. Desperately he stopped and stood his ground as the flurry of blades wrapped around him as he attempted to push back and get away from the ledge. His movements became sluggish as his vision faded and suddenly he felt the impact of a hand upon his chest.

The womans hand was holding onto his shirt, gripping it tightly. She smiled sickly at him and moments before he blacked out pushed him ever so slightly off the ledge of the building. Max Sage fell, vanishing under clouds his presence gone from the force...
Domani, forget domani
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Re: And to the very walls of Hell

Post by Beorht » Tue Dec 13, 2011 5:45 pm

It became clear rather quickly that things were not going to happen anytime soon.

Imperial lockdowns and patrols could be circumnavigated, but getting offworld was not an option when Jace was in such bad shape, and Iara found herself constantly exhausted from the effort of healing him and herself. She was able to teach what she knew of healing to Benna and Mikhail, though, which helped greatly.

Benna focused on learning to heal. She and Mikhail discussed trying to get a message offworld to Rach or Adam, but they felt in their guts the need to stay with Iara and Jace, and the equipment they'd initially brought to the hotel room wouldn't punch past Imperial security. She listened for her mother to speak again, but either her efforts in the warehouse had exhausted the Force shade, or they'd missed some opportunity to get offworld before this Dead Hunter arrived, and Brembla's prognostications had suffered as a result.

Whoever and whatever it was, they would just have to try to stay under the radar.

For the next couple of days, the Empire gave them that option, cleaning up the streets and dealing with riots and the occasional audible explosion. In hushed and rasping tones, Iara informed them just how stupid of an idea it would be to use the comm gear: they basically had a rebel cell's worth of equipment, plus lightsabres. The diplomatic consequences would be colossal. Mikhail's unique connection to the Force manifested itself near the end of the second day, and the bulk of Jace and Iara's wounds knitted themselves together, leaving the two Jedi weak but functional.

The loss of Max was a similar burden.

And then, on the evening of the second day, a knock sounded at the door.

"Hello, my name's Serek Brin. Adam sent me." He eyed the hotel trashcan full of bloody bandages and the mounds of bloody sheets. "What can I do to help?"

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Re: And to the very walls of Hell

Post by Halcyon508 » Tue Dec 13, 2011 6:20 pm

Mikhail stared at the man and then to the trashcan. "How do I know who sent you?" he asked steadily staring at the white haired man. It is what Jace would have done, the boy was always smiling but still had an air of suspicion about him. "You're a stranger to me." Mikhail finished firmly.

"I was a creman on the Money Maker during the Xen'Chi war." Serek said sternly. "I got stun batoned by Wosino and watched Kiel Argent crossblades with a white haired girl. Following that I served at the battle of Ruusan and if Max, or Jace or Felicity is with you they could tell you I am a friend."

Mikhail sighed and opened the door letting the man come in. "Jace do you recognize him?" The boy nodded and the man came in fully closing the door behind him. He knelt down next to the boy and tended to the wounds. "Where is Max?" he asked, "I heard he might be in trouble."

Nobody spoke until finally Jace replied, "Max isn't here..."

Serek knew exactly what he meant without asking. "How did it happen?" He asked in a hushed tone.

"He fought a holding action so we could escape."

"He isn't dead." Mikhail said firmly. "I'd know if he was dead, and he most certainly is not dead."

"Mikhail..." Jace started...

"Don't Mikhail me!" the boy said walking away. "My brother isn't dead. We didn't have enough time and he wouldn't have shortened it." The boy moved into the adjacent room and closed the door behind him.

"Someone should tend to him." Serek said looking at Benna. "I'll make sure the woman and Jace are both cared for."
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Re: And to the very walls of Hell

Post by Beorht » Tue Dec 13, 2011 6:28 pm

"The woman? Really?"

Serek Brin found himself pinned to the ceiling with no memory of how he got there, and no clues apart from a sudden headache and a red-skinned Twi'lek woman, bandaged but more or less conscious, somewhat older than him, with one hand raised.

"Iara Clane Beorht, at your service. We might have met once on the Sage's Destiny."

She dropped her hand and he fell, landing it like a pro.

"The woman has been handling things just fine so far. Benna, go see if Mikhail needs some comforting."




Elsewhere, a totally nondescript shuttle disgorged a huge, armoured figure with a steel plate for a face and a ratty black cloak. The permacrete quivered underfoot. A smell of rotting carrion and fouler things penetrated the section of the city that held a hundred thousand freshmen from the local college. And somewhere in there was a group of Jedi, who were - as usual - trying to mess up things that shouldn't be messed up.

Seren Irreantum Teancum Mordavo, former High Inquisitor of the Empire, current lieutenant of the Sith Empress, stalked into the city, two hundred and fifty pounds of undead muscle and cursed armour and deep, quiet frustration.

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Re: And to the very walls of Hell

Post by Halcyon508 » Tue Dec 13, 2011 6:57 pm

Serek stared at the woman and smiled. "Max told me about you." He said walking over to look at her wounds. "Was he still... you know?" Suffer effects of a Sith Spell? The words seemed wrong.... "Either way he spoke about how much he liked you, and how he wanted you to become part of the family so to speak."


Benna walked into the room with Mikhail in it. The boy was sulking. They all were really, but it seemed to hit him the hardest. "Go away." He said. He thought about what Iara had said. How does he stay functioning? Is he functioning? No he was letting her down, he was letting Max down.. "I'm okay." He said sitting up finally, "I'm okay." Taking a few deep breaths he looked the girl in the eyes, "I don't know what to do. Max was, is/ my brother. And he's out there... lost..."
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Re: And to the very walls of Hell

Post by Beorht » Tue Dec 13, 2011 7:07 pm

"You really don't have any conception of how to choose your words, do you?" spat the reformed Sith Knight. "But no, Max got past that. He was an honourable man. Even after the..." Part of the family? She'd heard that from him while under the curse, but...

"We're all healed up, don't worry about us. We have to get out there and check this list of addresses. One of them has a mind-controlled Sith operative - a kidnapped Jedi Padawan. Felicity Sage, as it happens. If you can't help with that, then you're useless to us."


"It's a big city," Benna offered, "and there are Sith and stormtroopers everywhere. He could just be being careful not to lead anyone back to us. That sounds like him, right?" In her heart, of course, she believed Max dead.

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Re: And to the very walls of Hell

Post by Halcyon508 » Tue Dec 13, 2011 7:32 pm

Mikhail aproached Benna. He knew she was just telling him what he wanted to hear. She didn't believe Max was alive anymore than the rest of them. "Benna..." He said softly as he brushed a bit of hair from her head. He didn't say anything else, he merely looked her deep in the eyes leaned in and kissed her. "Thank you." he whispered pulling her in tightly to him. Mikhail pulled the girl towards the bed and sat her down. Leaning in he sat down next to her and pressed his body up against hers. "Benna... I don't..." He adverted his eyes from her, "Just stay with me?" The youth pleaded turning back to the girl and laying her down on the bed....


Serek stared at the woman. "I can check addresses." He paused and stood up. "There are others on the way as well. I'm supposed to deliver the message and arrange for their arrivals here." Serek stood and walked away preparing to leave and check on the first site and make arrangements. The Echani looked the woman over once as he reached the door, "It wasn't his condition which made him love you. And it wasn't any sorceress whore that made him want you as a member of his family." And with that he walked out the door, blaster holstered around his waist.
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Re: And to the very walls of Hell

Post by Beorht » Tue Dec 13, 2011 7:36 pm

Frustration and guilt boiled up in Iara Clane Beorht. She punched the wall to the adjoining suite.

One should be careful of doing such things when one is telekinetic.

Through the resulting hole she spied Benna Kol-Rekali and Mikhail Sage, on a bed, covered in drywall dust. Iara's eyes went wide.

"Get out here now."

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Re: And to the very walls of Hell

Post by Halcyon508 » Tue Dec 13, 2011 7:49 pm

A dejected Mikhail walked out of the room followed by Benna. The two filed out and stood in front of Iara as Jace watched with a wide knowing smile on his face. "Yes master Iara?" Mikhail asked innocently giving her a strange look. It had been a long time since he had seen Iara this mad. The last time she had raged as bad was... well when he was a Sith apprentice and not a Jedi. It made him sad and irritated at the same time. He had changed, why couldn't she? And then his thoughts shifted to Lyn-Char Beorht. Mihail had help from loved ones, whereas he had taken away Iara's loved one. In addition now Max, her near constant companion since turning to the light side of the force, was now gone. It wasn't fair for him to judge Iara.
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Re: And to the very walls of Hell

Post by Beorht » Tue Dec 13, 2011 7:55 pm

The parallel, the deja vu, was not lost on Iara either, and for a moment she was silent. "Keep it in your pants, Mikhail. Benna, you're fifteen. Whether or not he's walked through the Valley of the Jedi, this isn't how your father raised you. Rest assured I'll be having a talk with him. I'm beginning to regret bringing you without your Master." Benna, if possible, went a deeper shade of red at the thought of having Rach around.

"Our new friend is checking out addresses for us. Hopefully within a few hours he'll be back with news and we'll be ready to move. If this transmission dead-ends at Felicity, we're nearly there. If not, it'll at least give us someone who might know where she is.

"Limber up. Meditate. Something dark is out there...something darker than whatever got Max."

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Re: And to the very walls of Hell

Post by Halcyon508 » Thu Dec 15, 2011 10:43 pm

"Limber up is perhaps the wrong phrase..." He stared at her defiantly standing with his arms crossed. "Of course that does seem to be your standard operating procedure." Pausing the boy started to walk away adding, "Limber... playing into the stereotype." As he reached the door he quickly added, "Like you have any right to talk to us! I mean what you pulled with Rach?" Mikhail lashed out.
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Re: And to the very walls of Hell

Post by Beorht » Thu Dec 15, 2011 10:48 pm

The door lock clicked in front of Mikhail as he reached for the handle.

Iara very carefully didn't say anything for a long, long moment. She didn't trust herself to.

"Leaving aside how you know about that, you're obviously in possession of limited information. Allow me to fill you in, my very young apprentice. During the Battle of Mon Calamari, Lyn took command of Rach Kol-Rekali's body in order to save our lives. Rach has no memory of the experience. There is a galaxy of difference between what I do with my husband, and what a couple of fifteen-year-olds do in a hotel room when they think nobody's watching."

There were harsher words possible. She refrained from using them.

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Re: And to the very walls of Hell

Post by Halcyon508 » Thu Dec 15, 2011 10:51 pm

"He wasn't your husband, and we both knew that." The boy remarked. "You're husband is dead! I watched him die." Mikhail stopped for a moment. "I... I watched him die..."
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Re: And to the very walls of Hell

Post by Pryde » Fri Dec 16, 2011 12:18 am

Temple of the Current on Ossus

Keira Sage paused in mid motion when she felt a familiar presence behind her. "Leaving," Adam asked, it didn't surprise him to see her packing.

"If you're here to try and stop me then don't," Keira answered, stuffing a few spare shirts into a duffel bag.

"I'm not here to stop you, I just want to make sure you're leaving for the right reasons."

That made Keira pause again. She sighed heavily and her shoulders slumped. She'd been feeling restless ever since she felt Max's Force presence wink out of existence. She knew he had been on a mission to rescue his apprentice but she didn't think... "Look, I wasn't particularly close to him but this thing in my head is driving me nuts. If I don't do something I'm liable to go crazy."

Adam allowed himself a smile despite the grief he felt. "You go with my blessing, Keira, but I want you to be careful. This mission has already claimed one life and I will not lose another member of my family."

"You don't have to worry about me," she answered confidently while casually tossing her lightsaber up and down, "I'm a survivor."

Again Adam smiled. "I'm sure," he answered and Keira took a moment to glance at the little wolf girl asleep on her bed.

"While I'm gone can you--," she started to say but sheepishly interrupted herself.

"I'll watch over her."

That made Keira feel better which surprised her. At first she had found the girl's constant presence annoying but somehow along the way she became genuinely concerned. "Just keep her out of trouble. I'll be back before you know it," she said and then she shouldered her duffle bag and walked out of the room. As she headed down the hallway towards the hangar she pulled her datapad from her pocket and glanced at it. Empress Teta, not a particularly friendly planet, Force help whoever it was that killed my brother...

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Re: And to the very walls of Hell

Post by Halcyon508 » Sat Dec 17, 2011 9:53 pm

Quorl, Rach, and Keira all gathered in the rented hotel room with Mikhail and Iara. Serek was standing at the end of the table looking over the locations the crew had gathered. A group of five Rangers had joined them in transit removing all forms of identification. Jinkins was a slicer, and had worked heavily with Serek to get floor plans of the various locations. Each in turn was put under surveillance. It was at one of these sites that the group hit the jackpot. "It's too convenient." Serek said.

"But its the only lead we have." Jinkins said.

Jace tended to agree with Serek that it was far too easy, but they found the Sith Assassin who killed Max far too easily. The woman had been seen at one of their surveillance sites. After a ship had landed one of the Rangers had worked his way to another nearby building to catch a glimpse of the woman entering through a coded door. The building it turned out was a warehouse and factory of a small distributor that fabricated and sold aftermarket speeder upgrades. "What interest does she have there?" Jace said. It seemed clear now that these Sith and the one that had taken Felicity were linked. Everything seemed part of some bigger conspiracy. Twice a week the woman arrived by speeder. The Rangers had tried to trail her when she left but failed. The same routine for three weeks before the arrival of the entire team confirmed it.

"It doesn't matter." Mikhail said staring at the dataslates. "It's a lead and we have to act on it."

"But we shouldn't act without information."

"What more information can we get on Max or Felicity doing simple surveillance?"

"I agree." Serek said stepping forward. "It is a risk. But to live is to risk." The Rangers had been instructed that Serek would be leading the team. Whatever suction he had with the Rangers and the Jedi it was from the top levels. "We have two options. We can sneak and peak entering that warehouse and seeing what exactly is going on there. Or we can snatch and grab this sith witch and make her talk examining the area after we've contained the situation."

"Snatch and grab." Mikhail said staring at the pict of the woman. After a quick debate it was decided; Snatch and grab.

"We wait until she arrives hiding in the abandoned factory across the alley." Serek said reiterating the plan. "Then Jinkins penetrates the security door on the far end of the building."

"Why don't we do that first and wait inside?" Mikhail asked.

Jace answered the question, "Because there may be hidden countermeasures and alarms that, no offence, Jinkins could miss. If he fails we can still go in hard and fast."

"Correct." Serek said continuing. "The first team moves in through that door, the second team will repel from the building across from the landing pad and breach through the door the Assassin entered." He looked over at Quorl and the two Rangers. "We will have her surounded and the takedown should go smoothly."

"What about workers?" Quorl asked.

"What workers?" Serek said, "As far as we can tell all the work is done by droids except the hailing of freight."

"What if though?"

Pausing at that Serek thought and then said, "Risk of civilian casualties should be a minimum, and we can set our weapons for stun so that even if they are in the crossfire..." He let his voice trail off. The team was ready, as ready as they could ever be....



The group was in position. Team 1 was on the ground standing by the far door. Jinkins was with them, though all the others were Jedi. Standing atop the neighboring roof was Serek, the Antarian Rangers, Jace, and Quorl the avian Jedi who could easily swoop down. Serek stood watch as they waited for their prey to arrive. Serek had made everyone agree that if something looked wrong they would abort, but he himself knew that it would never happen. Too many emotions were clouding the mission.

The speeder came and landed. Serek signaled with a beeping of static so that anyone listening to their coms wouldn't suspect their true intent. The woman walked to the door and entered the facility. The Echani gave it a few seconds before signalling the team at the front door to breach. As he did so he watched as Jace quickly ran down the side of the building and to the door, with Quorl flying behind him. The Rangers repelled down the wall and approached the door. Hopefully once inside they would be on a catwalk over the action instead of in a melee between Jedi and Sith.


Mikhail watched as Jinkins sliced into the doors controls. Suddenly the device showed unlocked and the team signaled. Together with the team up on the bad the groups breached.

Both groups found themselves in a large dark cavern, heavy machinery off to either side and away from a loading bay. What hit them first was how dark it was. Pitch black stopping those present from seeing. The lights came on revealing multiple forms.

The figured stepped forward flanking the Sith assassin who killed Max. It was a clever trap. The group consisted of a Anzat with his probes sticking from his cheecks quivering. By his side was a young boy with blinders on his eyes, his apprentice no doubt and by the look of things a Miralukan. A darkhaired woman stood on one flank away from the Anzati. On the furthest end behind all of them stood a strange looking creature who reeked of rotten meat. He raised his hand revealing two dozen droids of an unknown design. "All of them." The creature said as the Sith charged forward...

The Anzati ran towards Jace and Quorl, Mikhail running quickly to intercept. Benna was beside him and in turn was slammed in the side by the young blond apprentice who proceeded to strike wildly with his saber at the girl. Mikhail threw his own blade as Quorl set off in the air to destroy the droids closing in on the vulnerable Rangers.

Mikhail and Jace, together, locked Sabers with the Swift Anzati. The Alien smiled back at them causing their spines to shiver as he fought. "This is perfect!" He said staring at them, "Leave me to deal with the nubile ones...." Licking his lips the man shot into the air and landed behind the two Jedi fighting him.
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Re: And to the very walls of Hell

Post by Beorht » Mon Dec 19, 2011 6:33 pm

She'd arrived on Teta with the most urbane, unassuming Sith zombie in history.

Seren Mordavo, retired Inquisitor, current spymaster for the Sith Empress, was a found of useful stories once she cracked him. Behind the rotting, magic-fortified corpse that housed his spirit - or maybe it was the cursed armour that housed his spirit; he was unclear on the subject - lay a first-rate mind and a thoroughly reasonable person. For one of the most powerful Darksiders in the galaxy, at least. She'd thought she was strong after breaking La-Reia's Crystal, after the hospital on Mon Cal, after Hagron's teachings and the holocrons' efforts to perfect her with or without her consent. She was strong. She still couldn't top the quiet menace that she felt in Seren when he let his guard down.

Besides. Velok had told her about helping the undead Master create a Force Storm in the outskirts of the Sith Empire, battling pirates and asserting Sirena's dominance. He'd informed her candidly that Seren could outmatch her.

On a good day, Ashin Varanin, Sith Lord, could challenge Velok at his worst. His testimony added a certain something. What was it? Ah yes, the intention of never challenging Seren Mordavo.

She'd stuck with him as he covered the tracks of the Jedi strike team. The Empire and the Jedi had a treaty, but some things were just too messy for public relations, and if word got out that Jedi were helping spur the rebellions here, it would send shockwaves through the galaxy and destabilize certain plans of Sirena's. That wasn't like the Empress, as far as Ashin knew. Sirena hated Jedi with a passion. But even Palpatine (who, in fairness, hadn't hated the Jedi so much as despised them and seen them as a threat and an obstacle) had waited to make his move. Being on the edge of plans like that, and having one or two of her own, was a thoroughly pleasant experience.

On the other hand, now was the time of her test. Here she was, about to fight Jedi and perhaps kill them, for the first time. Her power was not in question; her loyalty had to be assured. Her commitment.

She'd considered it coldly, in terms of what needed to be accomplished. And now she was here.

The lights went on and a dozen Force signatures flooded Ashin's perceptions. Rolf Valkner and his apprentice took one flank, Ashin the other, and Seren stood behind commanding the droids. As Valkner squared off with two young men - just his type, from what Ashin heard, and considering her rank she heard quite a lot these days - the Anzati's apprentice slammed bodily into young Benna Kol-Rekali, who rolled with it and turned their fight into a no-holds-barred grapplefest on the warehouse floor. Ashin winced as Benna and the Miraluka skidded across the permacrete, lightsabres gouging tracks in the floor. She knew the Rekali children, not very closely but enough so that Rach had developed a significant crush on her at one point. The huge bird Jedi and various others squared off with the droids.

Ashin met the eyes of someone she actually knew: Iara Clane Beorht. The Twi'lek's eyes widened, then narrowed. She moved towards Ashin, lightsabres ignited; Ashin ignited her own.

Then Samanthe Amae, a Krath assassin but under Seren's command for various semi-secret reasons, lunged out of the shadows and slammed into Iara in a Jar'kai fury. The former Sith Lord cried out and fell back, nursing a shallow burn, then recognized the assassin who - Ashin had been informed - had killed Max Sage. Apparently they were friends. Iara's single lekku writhed as she fell into a Jar'kai stance of her own and returned Samanthe's energy. That whole corner of the room became a blur of red and blue light so complex that it energized and enlivened the duels that came near it. An unwary droid stepped too close and took the edges of it.

Rach Kol-Rekali, fury all over his face, moved through the mess towards Ashin. "You chose them? After everything my family's done for you, you chose them?"

"I don't feel like defending myself," said Ashin, and hit him with a Force shockwave that turned his lanky body into a pinwheel. He skidded through the chaos of the warehouse and plowed through a paneled wall. She stalked after him and ignited her sky-blue lightsabre. She had no intention of changing it. Blue had worked fine for Exar Kun. She hesitated as she passed Benna and the Miraluka, but Benna was giving as good as she got.

Ashin shook her head and walked on. Rach was dusting himself off in a patch of sunlight; he came back inside, sabre raised, and laid into her with a flurry of professional, controlled Djem So. His father was one of the Order's top power-fighters, and Rach had been raised fighting Djem So specialists, and it showed. She absorbed the attack with tight, economical Shii-Cho, a simple style but the one she knew best. The Force amplified her strength, let her deal with the tall man's power...

Behind her, a girl's voice, yelling; Seren's basso profundo, so thick she could almost smell the halitosis. Lightning crackled. Ashin circled around Rach and put her back more or less to the wall, at ease enough that she could afford to examine her surroundings.

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Re: And to the very walls of Hell

Post by Beorht » Tue Jan 10, 2012 7:46 pm

Mikhail locked sabers with the Anzati. He desperatly pushed against the man's own blade but was slowly losing ground. He recieved a reprieve as Jace jumped into the fray attacking Valkner directly. The Anzati quickly deflected the blow and threw the boy across the room with a well timed burst of telekentic energy. "Your mother wants you back." He said to Jace before licking his lips. "That's why I was sent, I have a way with wayward lost boys.... and I think I'll taste your friend before I turn you two in."

Benna cursed in frustration as she tried for the tenth time to get the Miraluka in some variation of wrist lock. He kept sliding out - unusually flexible, perhaps double jointed. And all the while their lightsabres were gouging the floor. Then, in a motion so quick she didn't see it until it was over, he reversed and got her in a rear mount, hooks and all. Their sabres clattered away across the floor. Her vision went dim as she clawed at the arm across her throat. Then she was thrown violently into the air. Mikhail stood over her, slamming the Miraluka into the wall with the Force. Hyperventilating, she looked over his shoulder and saw Jace alone fighting the Anzati.

"You think you can match me, my nubile friend?"

"Just hold you off - that's all I need to do."

Valkner leaped above Jace; the former assassin spun to strike at the Anzati as he landed, but he never landed. He looked up in time for Valkner, floating in midair, to grab his face. "You're weaker than you think, boy. They always are." Jace's sabre hung slack by his side; Valkner touched down lightly, still gripping the boy's face with his palm. He was working fast, circumventing the boy's skilled but ultimately insufficient mental defenses. He stunned Jace further, implanted a simple but powerful command, and threw him towards Mikhail and Benna...his new targets. The compulsion wouldn't last terribly long, but in the meantime he could take a solid look at what was going on around him, and what else he could do to the children.

Mikhail darted towards Benna. Jace understood the risk as the two friends shared a silent message of support between themselves. The Miralukan boy, was latched to the girls back with his arms pressing into her throat. Mikhail knew it wasn't lack of air that would damage the girl, but a restricted blood flow. Powering himself with the force he increased his pace to superhuman speeds and slammed the blunted edge of his saber into the boys head knocking him to the ground, and putting him into a stupor on the ground. It was only a brief repreave as he turned to see his best friend jumping towards him. Instinct was the only thing that saved his life as he reached his hand up and deflected an incomming saber. Benna would be up in a second, but Mikhail didn't know how long he could fight his friend

Across the room Quorl engaged with the droids backed by the rangers and Serek slowly and meticulously (I have no clue how to spell that word) clearing the room of the droids and providing support when practical and needed. And right now Benna and her little friends needed it. Serek fired at the Anzati with two blaster pistols as Quorl dived from the air and slashed with his saber.

Valkner's reverie was interrupted, but then again he'd noted the eradication of the droids and saw the next part coming. His sabre hummed an instinctive pattern to intercept the blasterfire; if not for the avian Jedi's sabre strike, he would have returned the bolts to sender or otherwise incapacitated the gunman. He blocked with sufficient force to throw off Quorl's dive; the owl banked too hard and plowed into the back of Ashin Varanin.

The young Sith Lord tumbled and came to her feet again in seconds; she pointed at Quorl, but whatever she was about to do faded as Rach tackled her from behind. The Force exploded out from her, sending both Knights flying. As Quorl banked to come back at Valkner, the Sith Lord blasted Serek with crimson Force Lightning, only to cut his counterattack short to deal with Quorl's next dive-bombing sabre attack.

Meanwhile, Samanthe kept Iara busy, and other elements unfolded around the duellists.

Mikhail and Jace fought against one another as several more droids piled into the room. They picked up weapons and fired at the Jedi. Jace and Mikhail launched attacks at one another. Mikhail didn't want to hurt his friend. With a frown he struck low, however Jace was much faster than he was and able to block and repose putting him desperatly on the defensive. Jace paused slightly leaving an opening for Mikhail to smack him across the face with an open handed strike.


Benna staggered to her feet, coughing. She fell back to her knees and forced herself to breathe. She blinked. "No...that's not right."

Surprising herself, she jumped over both Mikhail and Jace; and just as Mikhail struck Jace, she hit him with a wave of the Force in psychic spectra. That, at least, was the idea, but Jace simply shuddered. He launched a few more attacks, but his heart wasn't in it. Then all of a sudden he stopped. "What was I..."

"Sith mind control," Benna snapped. "That fething Anzati." The three Padawans looked at the unconscious Miraluka, then ran to attack Valkner. The Anzati Sith Lord tossed his lightsabre up in the air, sprayed lightning across all three of them with both hands, then caught the sabre and launched himself at Mikhail. The Padawan intercepted the sabre strike, but Valkner's momentum threw them both skidding across the floor. The other two Padawans leaped
to the attack. Meanwhile, Quorl dove again, this time at Seren, who'd been leisurely batting away the Echani gunman's fire as he focused his considerable power on something else entirely: keeping everyone and everything away from this warehouse.

A crack sounded across the warehouse, flat and hard, as Rach Kol-Rekali kicked Ashin Varanin in the face. Blood fountained from her nose. She grunted and staggered back, intercepting his sabre. Then she shrugged, raised her hand, and made him dance. Blue-green lightning snapped between his limbs and around him. "Proportionate response, Rach."

Mikhail, Jace, and Benna all attacked the Anzati. Together they all fought against the dingle opponent who parried and threw them aside as rag dolls. Mikhail stood defiantly in front of the others maintaining his balance after a particularly powerful telekenetic burst from the Sith Lord. Both Jace and Benna were knocked over but Valkner had expended a great deal of energy. Mikhail saw an oppertunity and took it lunging at the man. Valker showed a look of suprise on his face as the boy's saber penetrated through his own defensive line. If it wasn't for his superior reflexes the youth would actually have run him through, however he did have superior reflexes and was able to side step sending a chop across the back of the boys throat as he passed. It stung, but not as much of the thought of Iara's disapproval stung the young man. Jace was next to try his hand at attacking, his movements enhanced by the force giving him blinding speed. Instead of keeping up with the speed demon youth however Valkner merely lifted a hand and shot lightning at him. Jace fell to one knee stopping in place until the Man had stopped.

"My mother would throw more powerful bolts at me for misbehaving!" Jace said trying to stand.

"How delicious, the pain you can withstand." Valkner said throwing him across the room while walking towards the girl.

"Run Benna!" Mikhail said, still wobbly on his feet.

Valkner lifted his sabre and swung, a fast, hard strike that would break the girl's wrists if she countered in time. Benna grunted...but her stance held firm. There were benefits to being a daughter and student of a Djem So master, skilled in improving the strength and speed of the human body. Valkner's next strikes were similarly blocked. He smirked and threw her into a nearby forklift.

Ashin ceased the flow of lightning; after a few seconds, Rach staggered but kept his feet. He threw his sabre at her, blade first like a dart; she sidestepped, but her concentration was elsewhere and it burned her along the flank. Hissing, she limped back a step, unwilling to finish him. He got to his feet, eyes wide and hate-filled and defiant.

After a punishing series of Force blasts, Quorl drew back to catch his breath and make sure nothing critical was broken.

Seren lurched forward. "Valkner, enough." The Anzati grimaced but stepped back from the fight.

"You're beaten," lied the undead emissary. "The usual offer applies. Some of you are rather exceptional, and I'd rather not see you wasted."

The Anzati's expression quickly changed into a smile. Benna was only begining to stir from her spot on the ground next to the forklift. Valkner walked up to her and slammed a foot down onto her chest driving all the air from her lungs. Sliding his foot up her body he slowly pressed the balls of his feet onto her throat.

"Stop!" Mikhail yelled deseperatly. Him and Jace prepared for another assualt.

"Take another step closer and I kill her!" Valkner replied forcing both boys to take a few steps back.

"Let her go...." Mikhail said putting his lightsaber up.

"No." Valkners foot presed down harder until the boy lowered his guard. "I know Seren's mission, but it isn't mine. I'm here for you two boys."

Jace started to step forward but was stopped by Mikhails hand extending outward. "Then trade me for her."

Valkner smiled, "I came for both of you."

"But that isn't what you really want is it?" Mikhail dropped his saber to the side letting it fall onto the floor. He slowly walked forward towards Valkner. He knew the man, or at least the rumors. Mikhail pulled at a rip on his tunic and loosened his robes as he moved. "I'll go with you. Think of about it..."

Valkners probulars extended from his cheek. The power that eminated from the boy was nothing short of amazing, by consuming that so
by consuming that soup he could become something much more than a Sith Lord, an Emperor, putting that witch in her place! And the boy.... dark thoughts danced across his mind. Yes, it was a good deal for him.

Mikhail aproached and stopped a yard away from the man. He looked around the room and noticed that all eyes were on him. "Turn around." Valkner said as he raised his foot from the girl. Benna choked finally recieving air as Mikhail did a short spin. Valkner kicked the girl aside causing Mikhail to stir before darting forward and grabbing the boy. He was face to face with his victim when something came over him. "Turn around and see you friends." The predator said as he began to rub his hands up and down the Padawans body. He squeezed tightly standing behind the boy and bringing their bodies together. Two tenticle like probes extended from his cheeck to caress the boys face as he began to imply his normal methods. Mikhails eyes started to grow cloudy and his face contorted into a sullen and vacant smile. "Say goodbye to all of your family." Valkner said....

"Oh, frak," whispered Ashin to herself.

And Seren Mordavo raised his armoured hand, clutching the sigil of Sirena. Bound to serve Sirena faithfully, he nevertheless had the authority to interpret and innovate and expand upon those compulsions. And letting someone like Rolf Valkner gain the power he now sensed flowing from Mikhail...that was absolutely, utterly, not on the agenda. His mind lanced out, found that of Ashin Varanin, and instantly found her in accord. Their powers united, and Mikhail and Rolf Valkner shot apart like shrapnel from a grenade. Dazed from the experience of draining a small portion of the boy's soup, Valkner landed poorly. Seren pointed across the warehouse at Mikhail and his momentum drained away just before he hit the floor. "The boy turns or he dies. Taking his power is not an option."

Valkner sneared at Seren, the man had no soup to drain, and then looked back to Mikhail. The boy was crawling towards Benna. "Then use the girl." He said. If the boy could be turned he would be nearer and easily acessable to the Anzati. It was a win, win situation for him. Turn the boy now to allow for easier acess to consume him later. "She makes him weak!"

"Yes, the girl does seem to be his weakness," Seren said in a voice of utter boredom. The medallion of Sirena, the symbol of his office, was back in its pouch. He stalked across the floor towards the Padawans. "You. Boy. Turn to the Dark Side - strike me with it - or I torture your friends to death."

Rach lunged forward; Ashin intercepted him, and their duel recommenced with greater urgency.

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