Legacy of the Damned: Redeemer's Grasp

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Azra Avasara
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Legacy of the Damned: Redeemer's Grasp

Post by Azra Avasara » 2013-08-12 23:55

A lightsaber was, in a simple sense, little more than a weapon. It carried with it a certain measure of power, but the object itself was just a weapon, a tool...something that could be used to attain certain ends. To the under-informed of the galaxy, that was all they truly needed to know, and all that really concerned them. With how the old Empire had long attempted to wipe out and suppress information regarding the Jedi Order--not to mention its members themselves--it wasn't much of a surprise to find that this almost negligent measure of understanding indeed was the way of things in various parts of the galaxy. There were, of course, also people that still understood what it meant to see someone bearing such a weapon. Lightsabers, as a symbol, meant swordsmanship of exceptional skill and confidence; what's more, they implied that the bearer was either strong in the Force...or had managed to dispose of someone who was. In the right circles, the implications could be of substantial benefit to the one wielding the weapon; in certain places, however...well, there were still places in the galaxy where a Jedi had to watch his or her back more constantly than a crime gang whistleblower. To the initiated, a lightsaber meant even more. To each individual Jedi, the meanings could be different, but there was always at least one truth: a lightsaber meant power from and faith in the Force. Some saw it as a weapon of unmitigated power; others still, an implement of leverage, able to effect change of any degree in various situations; yet more saw the device as a companion...not in the sense of a living being, but still a friend, an ally, in adventures far and wide. Of interest was the ensuing correlation: as far as a Jedi was concerned, their understanding of their lightsaber had direct bearing on their understanding, grasp, and use of the Force itself.

For Thess, this understanding had been evolving over time. Her initial exposure to the power of the Force had been gradual, and had been heavily oriented towards what was commonly perceived to be the Dark Side: actions and philosophical musings that focused on harnessing and unleashing the raw force of emotion, with a general tendency towards gains of a personal or otherwise immediate nature. She had trained as a Royal Guard, up until such time as her talents had earned the merit of transfer to the Omega Order, the Empire's agency of Dark Jedi; it hadn't been long before she had been christened as a fully-ordained member of the Order, along with a title of address that, in her now-former master's mind, accurately summed up her views at the time...on the Force, her abilities with it, and herself. A brief sigh passed through her thoughts as she pondered the name itself. Azra Avasara...translated from the language of the ancient Sith people, it meant "Blood Rain". Perhaps the idea had been happy accident, but she suspected otherwise; at the time of this unholy christening, she had been little more than a cold-hearted machine of a woman, her thoughts centered almost as much on the infliction of abject pain as they were on the culmination of that pain's destiny, the eventuality of mortality. She killed and injured other life...purely for sport, it felt. The thought of that younger self gave Thess a cold shiver, as it usually did of late. Looking wistfully around the room where she now stood, she tried hard to remember better times. It was admittedly rather easy, what with where she stood. In some ways, she could still feel him, standing off to one corner of the room like he was watching the events that were about to unfold, a spectator with some measure of interest in the proceedings. No, he wouldn't have been that detached from the events, even without immediate, personal involvement. He was, after all, her late husband.

Her view on the Force had begun a slow transformation, a maturation, shortly after events of the galaxy had brought them together. It had been, she recalled, an excursion to Cinnigar that had sparked what existed between them: they had been forced to work together, with death or worse awaiting them if they failed. An initiate, and a young girl who had barely an inkling of the power the Force could bestow, playing dangerous games of Force trickery with vengeful spirits of dark power...oh, to have days like that back again. Still, that day had been the start of the maturation. The shift had continued ever since, but had truly come to be appreciable later on, around the time she had married that wondrous angel who had come into her life. Reflecting back on it, perhaps he had been completely responsible, though there was also something to be said for her decision to not stop it...to let it continue to affect her. She could have easily remained a monster; instead, she had allowed love and other such kindnesses to, in a way, shepherd her towards something...something more. She couldn't describe it, just that it was more. Now, here she stood, alone in a spacious chamber in the house they had once shared. The children they had together brought into the galaxy were safely asleep two floors above her, resting soundly and dreaming the innocent dreams of the young. Having them nearby made her smile...a soft, sad smile, but still a smile all the same; they were all that was left of her departed love, and they were her little darling angels. Even before they had been born, she knew she would rather die than see them in peril...and the more she thought about it, she somehow knew, before they were even conceived, that she would have chosen no other man to be their father.

In front of her in the lonely room, a hologram waited, the continuation of her normal routine. She concentrated on the hologram, the Force guiding her sight. Earlier, before Kyp's involvement in her life, this sight would have likely been hazed over with blood-red hate, blocking out everything that wasn't her eventual victim. Now, it was clearer, more refined. She could see--even better than she had seen before with her eyes--and see clearly; the Force had granted her that gift, at least. Drawing her lightsabers, she thumbed the activation switches, simultaneously channeling a small surge of the Force through the weapons to ignite them. Sound was also a familiar aspect, when considered in the context of a lightsaber. The snap-hiss sound that usually accompanied a lightsaber's activation was a sound of certainty; in many cases, potentially lethal certainty. Her own weapons lit with more of a slithering, fwoosh sound than the traditional noise of a lightsaber...

Or, at the moment, her one weapon. Thess turned her head, as if to stare at the offending weapon; her eyeless gaze seemed to will the device to come to life, and explain why it refused to ignite. In her right hand, the other saber positively hummed with energy, a deep purple blade casting a near-haunting glow about her. The orange-red glow from her offhand weapon, however, was still nowhere to be seen. She turned away a second later, deactivating the one that had lit; the reason had already dawned on her. With a wave of her hand, the hologram disappeared, leaving her alone again in the chamber. Calmly, she made her way to the workbench, gliding as much as walking despite the nature of her robes and the armor plates on them; once there, she pulled out the lightsaber in question and set to work, the Force quickly opening it and allowing for review of what was inside.

The Qixoni gem, exactly as she had suspected. Her touch of the Dark Side had been strengthened, if slightly, by the actions she had undertaken in acquiring the gem; now, as she looked at the faintly-glowing object, she came to the conclusion that she may have perhaps been mistaken in her desire to secure such a malevolent treasure. The Force still flowed around it; that much was obvious from the auras that she was able to perceive: flowed, like snakes coiled around some hapless prey. She would need to get rid of it...and with how much it had helped move her towards the Dark Side, it may yet need to be destroyed.

Her intent in designing the two sabers had been a twin-gem construction; the blades they produced were at their most effective, therefore, with two gems inside the housing, allowing the energy to do pass through both crystals. With only one in the hilt, the blade would be empowered by only the one crystal's effects, and would be only half as strong and coherent as it usually was. In this saber's particular case, the blade would become suddenly only a quarter as coherent, as a lava crystal's blade was naturally distorted, and the Qixoni had been holding it together. For now, however, she would need both weapons intact. While only one of them would work, she could easily use the presence of the second to dissuade people of certain inclinations from whatever they may be planning. There was, after all, a certain symbolism to carrying a lightsaber...and if there was a deep meaning in one, it was only stronger with two.
Last edited by Azra Avasara on 2013-08-21 04:13, edited 2 times in total.

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Azra Avasara
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Re: Legacy of the Damned: Redeemer's Grasp

Post by Azra Avasara » 2013-08-15 04:18

In hindsight, expecting there to be anything here had been the mistake. This was the Omega Order, Dark Jedi agency of the Federation...and here she was, accessing data about a gem that merely even sounded like a prize of the Light. Beyond the simple admission of that meager fact, the record banks held absolutely nothing about what she sought. Absolutely predictable. Sighing, she accessed the terminal's search history, pulling up the relevant informational queue. Doubtless, someone else would come for information at some point; the woman simply didn't want to chance leaving a trail, not for something such as this. The idea that a Dark Jedi were actively hunting for such a gem could easily be taken as vigilance in stopping the spread of Light-side material through outright possession, but it could also be construed as heresy.

Irony, she thought to herself, just before deleting the record. You'll be using the 'heretic' blade in combat. You're concerned about whether they all find out, when you know they will anyway. The thought was, she mused a little, completely sound. Hiding the information would indeed be of no use, at least later on. Besides, not a one among them had given her beloved any grief about walking a similar path. Perhaps they imagined her the dark bulwark that would have anchored him, keeping him from fully leaving the tenets of the Order; instead, he had shown her more of the virtue in striving to be better than the Order could let one become. Powering down the terminal, Thess stepped away from it, making her way out of the information archives and down towards the hangar. Her fighter, as always, was kept near launch readiness at all times; such was the benefit of a starfighter that didn't take much preparation in order to be up to flight grade. Likewise, there was also the perk of being among the Omega Order: namely, for flight purposes, she would not have to wait long to be cleared to leave...and the flight ops director wouldn't bother her terribly much about where she was going.

As for where she was going, that was yet to be decided. She sighed softly at nothing in particular, looking--as she did, without her once-beautiful eyes--at the stars around her. The Force was far better at this sort of work, anyway, guiding her along on journeys of major consequence. She had come to trust in it, at least more than might have been expected of her after one particular event in her life, and her faith in the Force had been, to an extent, vindicated. Allowing it to guide her actions now, she punched in a set of hyperspace coordinates--straight from the Force itself, no hint of recollection involved--and prepared for the jump to lightspeed. The trip would be a long one, so she also set her starfigter's internal chronometer to wake her when the trip was concluded.

As the stars became the lines of high-speed travel, and from there into the mottled blur of hyperspace, Azra Avasara began to sleep the meditative sleep of the Force. To sleep...perchance to dream. To dream...of a life once lived, as much as of things to come.

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Azra Avasara
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Re: Legacy of the Damned: Redeemer's Grasp

Post by Azra Avasara » 2013-08-15 04:19

The sky was gray, she noticed; gray with heavy clouds and the portent of ill weather in the offing. Indeed, she hadn't gotten far from her ship when the mist had set in, as though walking through a light sprinkler. It felt...relieving, somehow, to be in the mist, as though the water had managed to reach in and cleanse her spirit. She only wished that were real.

"We can't be saved from everything, darling," came a voice off to one side. It was unexpected, for sure; her meditations generally didn't involve voices with this level of informality. Yet, as she listened to it again in her mind, there was a strange sense of it being very, very familiar. It took an act of will for Thess to keep her movements calm and controlled as she turned toward the source of the sound; still, try all she may, she doubtless looked as though she had spun around to face him a heartbeat or two too quickly. It was impossible for her to hide it, naturally, around him...impossible, as she recalled, to ever hide her feelings near him. And oh, how her heart had ached for him, especially these past few months. As she turned to look at him, she felt overwhelmed by the desire to run over to him, hold him close, and never let go.

"I love you, too, Thess... but we can't always have what we want. Besides, you know I'll always be with you. Just like you're always with me." He brought one hand around in a sweeping gesture, indicating the mist around them and the scenery behind it. "Interesting dream...any significance to it?"

She shook her head, and could feel upon her the searching gaze that she doubted she'd ever see again. "Maybe exploring would help," she suggested. "Couldn't hurt...be just like old times." A smile flashed briefly across her features. Cinnigar... maybe the spirit would remember that. ...Like either of them could ever forget.

There was a splashing noise, lighter than air but still there, as he walked over to her, holding out his hand. "It would be my privilege," he said, the age-old charm certainly not lost from him, even in death. That tenderness, the touch...deep inside, her heart ached at the loss just a little bit more, and she felt a tear roll down her left cheek as their fingers laced together, just one last time. She didn't bother to try and stop it. Kyp, however, gently reached a hand over to brush it away. "It's alright, dear," he said, trying his best to cheer her up; his grin worked wonders of emotional magic on her, even now, and he could see her smiling a little wider after a few seconds. Together, like it had been on that dangerous misadventure so long ago, they made their way into the temple...two lovers against whatever lay inside.

Inside, the temple was deserted. Whatever had caused it to empty out had also forced them to move rather quickly, without regard for an orderly procession; the interior of the building was a total mess. Stepping carefully over fallen stone monuments and ornate metalwork, the two Dark Jedi came at last upon what appeared to be the source of the temple's powerful presence in the Force, at least in this dreamscape: a simple-looking gem, untouched by time and mortal hands alike. The Force radiated from it, a beacon of Light and purity calling out to the galaxy. Yet it wasn't fully there, Thess observed, eyeing the gem as closely as she could without reaching to pick it up from where it rested. Part of her fancied that doing so would force the vision to end prematurely; another part knew that if she tried, it would just vanish completely...and a third part of her felt the purity radiating from it, and came to the conclusion that the gem wouldn't attune to her if she tried.

"You don't know that yet," Kyp's voice came softly. He was right, of course; in that peculiar way the Force had, there was always a possibility for anything.

"Perhaps," she conceded at last, turning to look at him once again. "So...if the Light is so much of what's good in the galaxy...why is it raining out? I would have expected a clear, sunny day."

"I don't know, darling," Kyp responded; as he did, the dream began to shimmer, slowly fading away into nothingness. "I imagine you won't need long to find out."

A screaming alarm brought Thess back to consciousness shortly thereafter, the ringing alarm shaking a few cobwebs out of her mind as she was roused to a more awake frame of mind. Feeling around briefly, she noticed after a few seconds that her robes had become somewhat damp with rainwater...an aftereffect, she recalled, of the vision. Slowly, she opened her eyes... ...and then remembered that they were still without replacement, covered by a thin blindfold that kept the empty sockets covered. At least in her dreams, she had seen her husband again.

...At least, in her dreams, she could truly see.

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Re: Legacy of the Damned: Redeemer's Grasp

Post by Azra Avasara » 2013-08-18 03:26

The vastness of space was cold, hard vacuum. It wasn't that there was insufficient air to support living beings; more that there was simply no air, whatsoever. Had there been, the air immediately around Thess' fighter would have carried the stunning scream of the engines as she came out of lightspeed, the ship blasting through the emptiness of the void a few minutes out from...

...total bedlam. You were right, sweetheart! Indeed, it didn't take long at all to get a report on her sensors about what was going on, and she could feel a powerful ripple in the Force immediately on entering the system. Someone or something on the planet's surface was under siege. The rain she had felt--still felt--hadn't been meant to cleanse anything; no, the Force itself wept over what was happening. Something was going on; something very wrong. Almost as though guided by instinct, Thess reached out with the Force, attempting to get some estimate of what sort of fleet she had just encountered; in truth, she didn’t expect the Force to be able to make sense of it. The sense she was getting was that there was just so much fervent animosity...so much intense acrimony in every soul present, it threatened to wash over her in a tidal wave. It almost did, too, when the computer screen in her cockpit put a name to the flagship, hovering in space like a sword waiting to plunge into the world below it. Glaring at the readout for a second, she ran it through the computer again, just to be sure; there it was, plain as day. Of all the things to find during her flight, she had found this fleet...this one decrepit mix of Bothan and Republic ships...and she knew full well who was in charge. Hatred, bitterly cold and frighteningly electric, surged briefly through her veins at the thought of this particular group of monsters, and of what they’d done...specifically, of what they’d done to her.

It took more effort than usual to drive the anger down this time, to push the rage back to where it belonged. Forcing herself to calm down from the emotional tempest threatening to erupt inside her, she brought her fighter around for a direct run to the planet, pushing it to move as fast as it could go. The malevolence still whispered about her, however, swirling around like a cold vortex of raw power. She could feel the weapon she had brought with her, almost taste along with it as it fed off of that brief wellspring of rage. Struggling against the all-too-familiar lure it dangled before her mind's eye, she drew ever closer to the planet's atmosphere, and the siege fleet in orbit.

It didn't surprise her at all that her tactical display flashed a warning about two fighters breaking away from the fleet towards her position. In fact, almost as soon as she had realized what the fleet was, she had anticipated somewhere in the vicinity of half a squadron to throttle up and fly over to her. Nor did it surprise her, as they started their run, that their strike foils were toggled open, set for an assault posture. With what she knew of this fleet and those who served in it, anyone not part of their little gang of miscreants was considered an enemy, and standing orders were to kill on sight. No, what surprised her wasn't in any way related to this... but it was related to the third new ship registering on her sensors. It was an X-Wing, just like the two ships cruising along towards her...but it was also dropping out of hyperspace, along a trajectory very similar to her current course. Rechecking her display, she noticed that it couldn't have been anything but a similar trajectory, because it had come in on exactly the same flight path. Whoever was flying this last fighter had followed her here. Pulling up the local star charts, Thess bit back a curse. She wasn't in Republic territory, but her flight path had managed to skim right through it; deep enough that they must have caught an image of her speeding through, and on realizing who they were dealing with, sent someone to investigate. Or, equally as damning, there had been a Jedi nearby who had sensed her, and was in pursuit of someone he perceived to be a threat. Either way, now,everything was shot to Hell. Dealing with matters on the planet was one thing, and it wasn't even all that much; dealing with the monsters who had taken her husband from her, Thess could handle... ...But dealing with them, and a Jedi Knight...now that, she conceded, was truly something else. She just had to hope the Jedi was friendly, whoever it was.

A loud scream brought her out of that particular train of thought: a missile lock from one of the two approaching fighters. Not good! she thought to herself, swerving hard to one side to avoid the warhead's initial approach. It would come around again, and her weapons weren't in a position where they would be even close to charged soon; it would take piloting skill to get out of this jam intact. Sadly for her, that was a skill set she sorely lacked, having only rarely flown a fighter at all, and almost never for combat purposes. Fortunately, she did know a few tricks, thanks in large part to her husband and a few flight hours logged with one of the Federation's more decorated veterans of the skies. Steeling her nerves, she tightened her grip on the control stick, and revved up the throttle of her fighter; things were, she mused, about to get very interesting. Very interesting, indeed.

Of the two X-Wings closing in on her, the trailing one veered off shortly after the missile was fired. He didn't turn much, but it was just enough that he would carry over into a different attack pattern, most likely vectoring in on the Jedi who had pulled in behind her. That left Thess with the pilot who had opened fire on her, and who was following up his missile with a volley of laser fire, hoping to score some damage before the missile came back around and finished her off. A few blasts hit, and Thess winced when she saw the readout: her shields hadn't yet charged even as high as a quarter of total coverage, and had buckled instantly under the assault. Burn marks mottled the front of the hull where the blasts had struck, and a small fire appeared to briefly form on the sensor housing before it died away in the vacuum around it, fragments of circuit boards scattering. The Sith Light Fighter she flew also seemed to turn just a little less sharply, and she heard herself swear rather coarsely as the fighter lazied itself through a forced turn hard to the right. At least it answered in time, if barely. Just behind her, the missile had picked up speed, and was flying back to try another pass. Thess remained just ahead of it, lined up for a quick pass by the X-Wing that had fired it...

...right through the gap in his left S-foils. Screaming through the gap, she forced her fighter to nudge against the wings lightly as she passed through the gap between them. It wasn't much--for what could she do with a fighter that could barely steer--but it was enough. The hostile fighter's wings canted slightly, the fighter rotating just enough to put one of the wings right in the missile's path. When it struck, the X-Wing was no more, vaporized in a flash of brilliant flame that faded just as quickly into nothingness.

There was little time to celebrate the victory, however; between the two fighters remaining, she was in trouble either way...and with a ship that was having trouble steering, she knew that she would last only a little while if either pilot felt like fighting her. Still, perhaps she could do something... Suddenly, she turned her fighter around, the change in direction wide, slow, and particularly rough. The heads-up display recorded a target lock with one of the two fighters, and a quick probe with the Force told her that she had drawn a positive lock on the one not piloted by the Jedi that had followed her. Weak as her weapons were while still charging, they would at least do something...she hoped. It occurred to her, belatedly, that the shot that had fried her sensors could have just as easily taken out her weapons control system, rendering her helpless and useless in an engagement such as this. Taking careful aim, she depressed the trigger button on the control stick...to the demoralizing sound of just an empty click. For a few more seconds, her weapons did nothing, and out of frustration, she hit the button again, and again, and again. The fourth time she hit the button, something did happen... a couple somethings, actually. First, two green lances of energy fired forward, powerful enough to shake the fighter's frame. The blasts struck their target dead on, rupturing his astromech unit and the main engine housing in the fighter's fuselage. Shortly after, it blew up.

The second thing was that her starboard cannon also blew up.

It took a great deal of effort to get the fighter to pull up and fly over the fireball as it flickered into and right back out of existence before her. Cruising just past it as it finally died off, she turned her attention to the other remaining starfighter and its pilot, waiting for what was going to happen next as she tried to angle her own ship towards the planet. Her tactical display, effective as it was with the sensor board shot out, displayed no new warnings: no missile locks, no weapons tracking, and most importantly, no new ships launching from the invading fleet. That last part, however, she felt wouldn't remain that way for long. No, with any luck, the two of them had a few minutes to get into the planet's atmosphere before more fighters came over and ruined their day...perhaps permanently.

"Sith," came the voice over her comm, crackling with the sound of sparks flaring and wires popping throughout the electronics of the system. Another part, she noted, that would need repair before she could leave this place. "Never thought I would ever say this to one of your kind, but thanks for the save...especially with the hits you already took. Can you still fly?"

"Barely," she responded, reaching around the cockpit for various dials and levers. Some of them silenced the alarms ringing in her ears, whereas others started up various stabilizers and fire suppression systems. Right now, the latter were useless; in a few moments, when the two of them were finally free of the vacuum and in an atmosphere of some kind, they would be invaluable. "Flight control is busted, sensors are out, and you sound like you're in a popcorn machine." It didn't dawn on her until just then, what he had called her. It also didn't matter quite so much, truthfully; she would have time to correct him later. He'd probably sensed the darkness inherent in the blasted crystal, anyway, and just assumed it came from her instead...an understandable mistake. "Got any bright ideas?"

"One, off the top of my head. Capital city is on bearing oh-two-nine; turn that way and take lead. I'll guide you in as best I can." It was then that the voice stopped, a horribly loud bang coming from the communications console. He must have sensed it, because he kept on going through the Force; his voice was fainter, due to the frailty of the connection. "Before we reach the city proper, I'll guide us around to a nearby clearing. I might have to push you up, so be ready for that."

"Understood," she projected back, her thoughts suddenly laced with concern. It wasn't just that he would be in a prime spot to shoot her down if the desire so struck him; there was also the fleet nearby, which could easily send more fighters their way. Indeed, even as they sped along towards the planet--Thess' ship struggling to manage half-speed--four more fighters emerged from the invading flagship, their pilots angling them right towards the two Force-users. And this Jedi would be very, very busy guiding two ships to a rough landing. "Whatever you plan to do, make it fast!"

Without even a whisper of a response, the X-Wing behind her bumped into her fighter, pushing her forward with enough force that the two ships began to move as one, cruising as quickly as possible towards the yet-unknown planet. It must have triggered some sort of response, because the other four fighters turned around almost as soon as the two of them touched atmosphere and entered the planet proper. Unfortunately for them both, this was only the beginning of their troubles. Unhindered by the earlier lack of discernible gravity, the Sith Light Fighter now moved more quickly...at least, insofar as its vertical decline was concerned. What few warning klaxons remained operational were blaring in Thess' ears, louder now than they had ever been; behind them, she could hear a slight creaking noise, like sheet glass stressing around a crack. What does work on this thing!? she thought, a hint of irritation in her mind's voice. As she thought that, the sound grew louder, until finally it was a great and terrible cracking noise, and the transparisteel canopy blew apart in easily a hundred pieces. Air began rushing past and around her, swirling like a storm through the now-exposed canopy. Instinctively, she reached for the breath mask she had started keeping in her robes of late, and quickly snapped it into place.

When at last the two Force-users touched down near the city a few tense minutes later, Thess let out a sigh of relief she hadn't even realized she'd been holding. The attack on her fighter and ensuing push-ride down had jostled her around quite a bit, giving her a few sore spots and what felt like a sprained shoulder; on top of that, the shards from the broken canopy had managed to cut into her robe in some places, biting into flesh in her upper body. Blood slowly seeped from one of the deeper cuts, and as she forced her way out of the mangled wreck of a ship, she felt the arm burn with a sharp pain, the sign that her adrenaline levels were receding to normal. Looking around, she caught sight, as it were, of the Jedi who had helped to fly her in, and shot him a grateful smile. That expression faded once she sensed the look on his face. Disappointing as it was to observe, he was right; they weren't out of trouble yet, not by a long shot.

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Azra Avasara
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Re: Legacy of the Damned: Redeemer's Grasp

Post by Azra Avasara » 2013-08-21 03:22

"Can you do anything about the patrol?" he asked, pulling her aside towards the treeline. She didn't dare admit it out loud, but the pull actually hurt, which was a surprise in itself. She hadn't expected pain to be so vivid...at least, not unless she was actively managing it in some way; this was a pain she wasn't influencing, and that was what made it worse. For once, she had to admit that she'd gotten herself beaten up worse than she had initially expected. If this was supposed to serve as some sort of sign of things to come...things were likely to get pretty grim. Fortunately, at least, it didn't hurt for long, and they were at the obscuring cover of the trees before anyone else could arrive at their fighters. It was then that Thess noticed the blood on the ground; her blood, leading right along the path the two of them had taken. Left alone, it would leave a trail that would make the old bread crumb route jealous. Quickly, she pulled up on the sleeve of her robes, inspecting the damage. "How bad is it?" she heard him ask beside her, though she hadn't been expecting the question.

"Bad enough," she replied. With her other hand, she gestured behind them. "It left a trail. Give me a moment to patch up and I can probably misdirect them a little; not much, but enough to give us time to get inside the city." Unsurprisingly, she didn't bother to wait for him to respond to that. Instead, she went right to work, the Force flowing around her almost completely free of any restraints. The cut on her arm positively glowed with energy, as though a beacon in the darkness; a few seconds later, the bleeding had stopped, and while the injury itself was still there, it was noticeably better. It was, she assured herself, safe for travel, as it wouldn't split open again without warning and cause them to be detected unknowingly. With the source of their tracks covered, she could begin the work of distorting the actual trail. It took little in the way of concentration before she was able to determine what she wanted to do, and how to go about doing it; within mere seconds, the ground around their fighters began to shimmer slightly, and was replaced...

...by itself, albeit slightly different. Where earlier, the trail of blood had shown their true location, now it veered off in completely the opposite heading, along the most logical route to the city. "What in the Nine Hells are you doing!?" the Jedi asked, his whispered tone heavy with alarm. "Leading them right where we need to go like that; now we'll never get there safely, Sith." Sure enough, the entire group went along with the ruse, and headed along the bloodied path, bearing right towards the nearby city. A silent explosion of curses rained down from the Jedi's lips, each one a foul epithet against the injured woman beside him.

An equally silent curse slipped, alone, through Thess' thoughts. Clearly, she surmised, this particular Jedi had little to no practical combat experience, military or otherwise...he was more accustomed to a fair, straight fight than all this sneaking around. Oh, poor boy! she thought dryly, suppressing the urge to follow it up with a derisive chuckle. He would have sensed the mood in that, for one thing. It’ll be the cutest thing when the galaxy forces you to grow up. Suppressing a cruel smirk, she turned her attention towards the retreating forms of the three searchers. "So, Jedi," she began once they were out of earshot, her voice light with a withheld laugh, "three fanatical Bothans walk into a trap..."

"I fail to see what's so funny about this. They're walking into a trap, alright...one they'll get to set on us the second we get near the city." Frustration was evident in his voice as he continued to speak. "What's next, we walk right into them, give ourselves up?"

This time, the chuckle could not be held down. "No," Thess said with a smirk after her brief laughter subsided. "We spring the trap, of course. Stay silent, and follow."

The slow hike through the trees took approximately fifteen minutes; when it finally concluded, and the two were near the far tree line, they once again saw the Bothan search party. Everything that they saw was exactly as Thess had expected of it: their three scouts had been holding position for a few minutes, from the looks of things, and were spaced so as to supplement a patrol force that appeared to be comprised of natives. Thinking back to her arrival in the system not too long ago, Thess recalled the fact that the invading fleet had been alone in orbit, but that there had been sensor reports of unnatural wreckage behind their position, further out from the fleet’s orbit path. Perhaps there had been a naval force in orbit at one point, and it had been taken out prior to their troops landing here. That particular matter was irrelevant at the time, however; what mattered was that they were here...and from how things looked, were acting like they owned the place. Perhaps, in their minds, they already did. Listening closely, she could hear them leaving the local guards special instructions--no doubt, demanding to be informed when the pair of downed pilots were spotted, or something along those lines.

When a Jedi draws her weapon, she reminded herself, she must be ready to take a life; when a Dark Jedi draws one, she doesn’t do it for show. There is a purpose to the act itself; must be, every time. With that in mind, she pulled out the one that she knew worked, thumbing the activator switch. With a distinct sound, the weapon flared to life in an instant, drawing everyone’s attention. “Looking for us?” she called out, her voice tinged with menace; almost instantly, she leapt into the air, hurtling towards the scout party. She touched down next to the one on the left of the formation, and when she did, he was kicked up slightly into the air from a shockwave-effect she had projected into her strike. Hanging like that, just inches off the ground and largely disoriented by the brief launch, he was defenseless against the slash that cut through him, his right forearm dropping to the ground like so much dead flesh. The lightsaber died in a flash of purple almost as soon as it touched muscle, yet didn’t return to the waiting belt clip right away; instead, the hilt became a weapon of blunt force as Thess continued her assault on the disarmed scout, landing two swift punches to his head and chest. She followed this up with a swift roundhouse kick to the back of his head, knocking him down and out of the way. As he fell, she shifted her aura, willing it to become more porous, ready to take in anything that came at it, as much as to later send it back out. Within seconds, that change proved useful. Two blaster bolts, fired in quick succession, appeared to strike her in the chest, right over her heart; she had to admit, the shooter was good at aiming quickly. Much to his dismay, however, she merely smiled, the blasts absorbed into her aura. Raising her right hand, she extended it out to him, palm up as though to take the gun, though it wasn’t offered; at her beckoning gesture, it flew to her, and landed square in her hand, where it was crushed under the overwhelming force of her own strength, augmented by the Force itself. Tossing the gun aside, she projected two swift strikes to the scout’s head, and he, too, fell to the ground.

The third, she noticed, was already handled. Having taken it upon himself to attack the other Force-user, he found himself instead staring at the wreckage of his blaster, the ammo casing and barrel nothing more than smoldering wreckage. In the Jedi’s hands, a silver-bladed lightsaber pulsed patiently, waiting either for another strike or to return to his belt. “Not bad, kid,” she said, assessing him calmly, a smile on her face. “Not bad at all.” With that, she reached into the third scout’s mind, depriving him of consciousness with a simple gesture. She then turned her attention to the natives...

...to find them kneeling, as one might before royalty...or a deity, for that matter. “Awkward,” she muttered, staring at them. The Force offered a unique insight into their thoughts, and for the life of her, the Dark Jedi couldn't tell whether to feel flattered, or creeped out. At least they weren't also trying to attack her and the other. "Come over here," she shot over to him, not once taking that sightless gaze of hers off of them. "And tell me what you make of this."

It was the first time she'd felt the Jedi crack a smile; perhaps he'd found something in it that played to a comfort zone of his. His response confirmed as much, anyway. "You're in luck, Sith; family line goes back to House Alde, some twenty thousand years before your Empire's ancestor turned my home into a floating graveyard. I shouldn't have a problem getting them to cooperate." He closed his eyes, seemingly drifting in and out of consciousness where he stood; when he again opened them, the smile had faded just a bit, a more serious expression coloring his face. With that look deep in his eyes, he turned to face Thess, staring at the blindfold in such a way as to pierce through it, into where her eyes normally would have been. "We should be careful with this, Sith...they don't just see us as royalty of some sort, but rather as gods." It took him little effort to understand the gesture sent to him, and he nodded once, hastily. "Ah, yes..." Turning to the kneeling guards, he straightened out, taking on an imperious tone. "You may rise, men; rise, and speak."

The leader among them rose, slowly, while the others remained low to the ground. "Sergeant Terrath Harwood, Second Battalion, Fifth Infantry. My lord, my lady, it is a great honor and privilege to be in your company. I would be further honored, if you would command me and my men." It was impossible to miss that, as he spoke, he deliberately averted his eyes.

Sighing, Thess fought down the urge to grab the man and make him look at them; doing so would not win him over to them, despite his apparent proclamation of fealty, and she didn't feel the need to commit any further acts of violence at the moment, even a relatively light one. "Could we at least get going," she hissed in the Jedi's direction, agitation hinting in her tone. "You know, before we have company?"

He nodded smartly, as though anticipating that sort of necessity. "Then you shall have," he continued to the guardsman, "your chance to serve. Your men are to secure these three, and see that they are moved; while they do this, you shall bring us to the one who commands you." At this point, the Jedi seemed to be perhaps glowing a little, a tight, confident smile on his face. A rather subtle growl from Thess made his smile falter slightly, though it was back before the change was able to be noticed. "Do move quickly," he added, almost as the afterthought it had truly been. "Neither of these tasks has room for patience."

The men were as quick as one could have hoped, at least; within short order, the three incapacitated scouts were on their way to a more refined holding area, and the two Force-users were situated in a hovercar, heading straight for the heart of the city. For what she could see through the Force, the city looked very...well, very plain. The only real major landmark was the temple at the heart of it all...and for a second, she could feel the dream from before settling in on her thoughts.

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Re: Legacy of the Damned: Redeemer's Grasp

Post by Azra Avasara » 2013-08-27 04:41

It was exactly as the dream had depicted, she reflected with a sullen sigh. A lonely spire rose from the ground, the only true sign that anything even remotely resembling a place of religious assembly had stood there. Around it, the air seemed heavy with sorrow, with grief...the despair was so strong, it was almost palpable. Once wrought of stone and standing proudly, the structure appeared now to be nothing more than a semi-habitable wreck of shattered glass and razed rubble, strewn about in a heap as rough and misshapen as the hands that had torn it asunder. A gentle breeze blew on past, barely upsetting the dust that had settled over the pile near the main archway. Beside the mess, a single ribbon was fastened to one of the few undamaged sections of outer wall; long and red, it moved slightly in the breeze, as though a mournful soul had paused to inspect it closely. On closer inspection, the Dark Jedi could have sworn to herself that she did, indeed, see the spectre that haunted the archway so disconsolately. The wind shifted once, slightly, and the dust swirled just a little...just enough that it was noticeable this time; in that shift, the spirit became clearer, and this time, Thess was certain she had seen him. He looked familiar; hauntingly so, in fact...but it couldn’t have been anyone she knew, not really. Still, for just an instant, she felt her jaw move, as she opened her mouth to speak to whoever the shade may have been.

“You saw it, too?” came the unbidden thought, projected into her mind from the one who walked beside her.

It took a few seconds for her to remember that the other Jedi was still there. Perhaps she had simply imagined his absence; it had, after all, been just her and Kyp in the dream earlier. She had seen it, just then, yes; whether the Jedi had seen the same exact thing was another matter entirely. Nodding silently in response to his inquiry, she continued walking, following their escort into the ruined temple. Her gaze turned involuntarily towards the ribbon as she walked past it...towards the ribbon, and the spectre she had seen there. Silently, she mouthed the ghost’s name, as though asking if it had really been him there. The Force didn’t answer...save for a face frowning at her, and a familiar, mournful sigh in her ears. No, the Force didn't answer her directly, but it didn't need to.

Seating was overturned throughout their path, mingling with support beams and shattered glass here, and the occasional fragmented marble statue there. Even the altar, central to the raised dais at the end of the main aisle, was torn to pieces and left strewn upon itself in a cruel mockery of the proper pomp and ceremony it had once deserved. The guardsman escorting them picked up his pace a little, moving ahead of the two to reach the altar first, and by extension, to reach the man standing near what was left of it. Of that other figure, little could be sensed at the time, but there was something to him...something odd, Thess mused to herself, as though his soul were presently held together only by prayer and hope, struggling fiercely against despair, grief, and sorrow. It was a perfect image of how the planet felt, without the hope that made him seem somehow stronger than the rest. And where there was hope...where there was faith...there was always a chance to set something right.

"You may leave us, guardsman," came the man's voice, old and frail, like his soul itself was tired to permanent exhaustion. It seemed to fit him perfectly, down to the hint of kindness she had felt just beneath the subtle weavings of concern, curiosity, and fatigue. When the guard was gone, the old man spoke again. "It is said that some day, in our darkest hour, all hope would be consumed by despair...and that in the dawn of the second night, it would be reborn, at the hands of people just and valorous both." A wry smile crossed his age-creased face. "My daughter always put more stock into those tales than I did; but somehow...I feel differently, this time."

Thess would have blinked, had she eyes; the old man had indeed been rather blunt. In the back of her mind, she noted the same sort of mild surprise from the Jedi, which served largely to verify her assessment that this was just a strange man being inordinately informal with two guests. "I don't understand," she began, already feeling like this was beginning to get out of hand. Whether it was a fault of her reputation and prior deeds, or just how she looked, people didn’t usually ask their guards to leave them alone with her, and this man had no reason to trust either her or the man with her. "Who are you? We asked to be brought to the one who ruled here, and the guard brought us to you."

"A slight mistake," the old man said. "My daughter is our high priestess; she is in charge here. ...Or, rather, she was." His face seemed to grow sadder, more sullen, just then, as though a great pall of sorrow had been cast upon him by some unseen force. "She was abducted, two days ago, along with her daughter. Her husband tried to defend them...and paid the crimson debt for his decision. Ever since the abduction…” Here, he sighed, the gesture sounding for all the galaxy like the wind itself surging from his lungs in a mournful breeze. “Ever since, everything on this world has been sorrow. It is...difficult to explain.” The Jedi offered some words of encouragement, and the man continued. “Our priestess is the heart of this world, the heart of her people. Without her, there is little they can do, and nothing they can do well; they simply function without any real desire. With her, they are…well, superhuman.”

Thess was the first to respond. “And you allowed this to happen? Allowed them to be taken away without so much as a fight? With your son-in-law dying to stop what you dared not?”

“Sith!” came the Jedi’s protest, moments too late. “Do not speak to him like that. Have you any--”

“No…” came the old man’s voice, stern and remorseful together. “She is right to voice anger.” He turned to face her, then, looking into the blindfold like it was a singular window into the Dark Jedi’s soul. “What choice did I have, Sith? My daughter, my granddaughter...the only light left in my life. Their abductor wanted to capture them, but I knew that acting to stop him would have been to kill them. I could not allow it.” He sighed again, the pain evident in every word. “Our people are linked to her, deeply; her death would have been painful to us all...more than you can imagine.”

The two Force-users nodded; when Thess again spoke, the anger was still there, but not so prevalent in her tone. “You want them both back, obviously.” Once again, she found herself blinking behind her blindfold with eyes she didn’t have. During the entire time the old man had been talking, she’d gotten the nagging sense that there was something powerful about the temple and its immediate surroundings. The description of the interactions between the priestess and her followers, however, had been an integral part of determining the true nature of that sense; it was the priestess’ residual aura she’d felt. Sparing a glance over to the Jedi, she projected a thought to him with her assessment, and received in return a subtle nod of agreement. Clearly, he’d felt it, too...the presence of someone strong in the Force. “Tell me one thing, though,” she continued, turning her attention back to the old man. As she did, she drew herself to her full height, adopting the sort of posture that she thought fit the notion of a deity, and her gaze--sightless, yet all-seeing--fell upon him, cold and incapable of flinching. “When we first dealt with your men, they were struck with such awe as to genuflect before us. What is the meaning behind that? Why did they do it?”

It could easily have been just the first time in two days, but it sounded like it had been a lifetime for him since he had actually laughed, and even Thess had to admit that it felt good...even if it was directed at her. “My dear lady, forgive, but I know better; your posturing will not work on me as much as it might on the younger of the guardsmen. But yes, an explanation is in order...an explanation from long ago, and one that I shall keep short. Our civilization came unto this world ages ago, led by five beings of extraordinary power: four men and one woman. We understand, in this modern era, that their power was that of the Force, though it was not called by that name then. Your galaxy’s precious distinction of Jedi and Sith, wasted as it is, did not apply.” He seemed to smile suggestively at that, and glanced briefly at the Jedi Knight, before continuing. “Our ancestors came to revere the five as though they were gods, and the legends of their actions became so great that, to some, they indeed became something supernatural. Their names are long forgotten, so our scribes assigned names to them in our own language. Each was renamed after a trait they exemplified...traits found in all good, decent beings. Honor, Courage, Loyalty, and Wisdom were the men, each one strong in their respective trait.” Yet again, he paused for effect, smiling that wry smile; it was as though he harbored within it a secret he wanted to hold just a little tighter, reveal just a little slower. “The woman, however, was the most active among them...and though she was said to be blind, she was also said to be possessed of the ability to see all of the world’s truths. Her deeds earned her the name of Justice. You see, my men knelt before you...because in you, they see our gods. They see our salvation...they see hope.”

This time, the Jedi Knight responded first. “We shall give them that hope,” he said, voice brimming with confidence. Perhaps too much, Thess noted but didn’t say.

“Then if the gods are acting in this world again, may they choose to act through you.” With that, he turned away. “I would ask for some time alone, to think on these developments. Please...be swift, and true.”

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Re: Legacy of the Damned: Redeemer's Grasp

Post by Azra Avasara » 2013-10-13 06:28

The questioning session had been, fortunately, both brief and fruitful. In that regard, at least, Thess had her one opportunity to enjoy being mistaken for a Sith or some other sort of malevolent Force-user; it had placed into the mind of their lone cooperative prisoner the fear of powers beyond his mind's comprehension. Perhaps he was simply not as fanatical, as deranged, as the two of them had expected him to be, but he had practically thrown information at them, as though using it as currency to buy surcease from a suffering that hadn't even been a real consideration. Had she eyes, they would have glittered slightly with a look of subtle contentment; the prisoner’s eagerness had not gone unappreciated. So, too, had his honesty, which had been a refreshing relief. Perhaps it was simply fear...fear of what a Sith could do to him, had she perceived him to be lying for the sake of expedience, but the Force had shown nothing to indicate that he’d been dishonest in his answers. On the whole, it had left her in a rather pleasant mood.

“You surprise me, Sith.”

And just like that, the good mood was gone, the Jedi Knight’s voice crushing it with utter finality. "Perhaps," she remarked, biting each word out in a tone that was eerily more at peace than she admittedly felt, "we will get to the point of sharing names soon." A dark scowl creased her face for a brief instant, echoed in the way her forehead furrowed around the blindfold covering where her eyes belonged. "Or do you intend to mislabel me for as long as we're both here?"

"Ah...my apologies," came the Jedi's response; a response that took some time to form. Most likely, he had weighed the options of arguing that she, the alleged Sith, could have also initiated the introductions, and didn't want to risk having that blown back in his face...or worse, which he surmised was likely. "Jerred Sylvar, Jedi Knight..." He hesitated for a second, and then spoke again. "...Descendant," he continued, "of the House Alde, of Alderaan." He frowned, puzzlement on his features. "I must admit to not understanding the situation well enough to comment further. Perhaps you could explain who you are and why you are here...?"

For just a second, she favored him with a friendly smile. Her reply seemed to further carry that same smile. "Thessalia Baker, disciple in the Omega Order."

"Then you are, in fact, Sith."

The angry look came back for an instant, and the smile was lost for sure. "Dark Jedi...not Sith. Anyway, I came here after researching a certain type of Force artifact..." A pause, brief but discernible in its weight. "...And following the guidance of the Force. I take it you sensed me and followed once I drew near enough to Republic space to catch your attention. If not...why are you here?"

She noticed Jerred wince slightly. "I...I did follow you once I sensed you, yes. I am undergoing my trials to become a full Master in the Order; I presumed that you and your presence nearby were, somehow, related to those trials." He seemed to frown, the expression's emotional trail evident in his thoughts. "I appear to have been mistaken."

"And perhaps not," Thess responded. "The Force guided me here; it could well have done the same to you. You're here now, at any rate, so we'd best just get on with this." A smirk grew on her face, slowly at first. "And since you seem still rather new to combat situations in general, please, leave the planning to me." It only crossed her mind for a few scant seconds, the irony inherent in her taking charge of this rescue mission, but it was indeed a perfect example of the blind leading the blind.

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Re: Legacy of the Damned: Redeemer's Grasp

Post by Azra Avasara » 2013-11-14 05:39

Rest had become a rare and treasured thing among the crew; not even a soul, it seemed, had been gifted with enough of it. Perhaps it was what their guest wanted, but they were constantly up, day and night, going without sleep in the name of serving his whims. It was beginning to all get very tiring, their commander mused, silently wishing that he could go back in time and stop himself from making this horribly poor decision. Alas, the idea of time travel was just that: an idea...and, at that, an idea with neither the merit of research nor the potential for any forthcoming application.

Put bluntly, he was stuck in this mess, for however long it lasted. As a Bothan--and a prideful one, no less--the idea ran sour in his thoughts. Standing on the bridge of his mighty flagship, he stared out the forward viewport, the irony of his situation settling in all too harshly. Here he stood, master and commander of not just this ship, but the entire battlegroup in orbit over this relatively unknown backwater of a planet...and yet that authority existed only in name, because of a deal that might as well have been signed with Imperial Intelligence itself. Nay, was worse than that; at lease the Imperials would have allowed him a means is saving face and pride...a dignified death, if nothing else.

"Admiral," came a soft voice from behind him, the tone that of someone trying to remain calm amidst growing worries, "sensors indicate two incoming starfighters, X-Wing class."

The admiral didn't turn to regard his XO; indeed, it was as though he didn't even hear her. His fur remained practically plastered to his body, flat and unrippling, projecting a complete detachment from the goings-on of the galaxy around him. Silence presided over him, save the occasional background noises of the bridge and its crew. A dignified death...he thought to himself, the words icy cold in his mind. Far better than what he deserved at this point, he imagined. Hell, with the deal he had made, he would be lucky if he could ever deserve a demise so swift and gracious, so painless, as the one he really wanted.

"Sir, the--"

"Do they have a clearance code that permits their arrival?" Contrary to his posture and the appearance he projected, his voice was taut with concern...among other emotions.

There was a brief pause, almost like a verbal stumble. "Yes, sir," the response came at last, albeit shakily. "It expired two shift rotations ago, around the time that missing patrol team stopped sending us their reports." For a moment, she paused, unsure as to how to phrase her next remarks, and decided that with the mood her commander was in, it was perhaps best to just say it and have it done. "It's possible, sir, that these are the ones who intercepted the team. Shall I have them taken out?"

"No," he responded, taking far longer than was normal for such a response. Before the other officer could ask what was going through his mind, he continued. "See to it that they are given safe passage to Bay Two; remove all security teams assigned there." One could almost see the wheels turning in his mind as he thought out all of the possible outcomes, and how likely each one was. This, he was sure, was his moment... either to finally escape this nightmare of a bargain, or die trying. And with any luck, his crew would be able to leave safely, to get as far away from this mess as possible.

"Sir," came a third voice, this one sharp and crisp, yet unable to mask a strangely-placed sense of worry. "Our guest appears to be on the move, sir; he's taken a detachment of troops and is moving the prisoners to..."

The sudden pause was the most unbearable part of the entire report. "Krayt dragon got your tongue, son?" came the admiral's query, quick and biting. "Spit it out. Tell me where they're going."

"...Hangar bay Two, sir. By my estimates, they will reach the bay just before the X-Wings clear the bay doors."

Still, the admiral's fur lay flat and unmoving. Despite this outward calm, however, his mind raced with worried thoughts; worry, in particular, about how quickly his salvation and that of his crew could turn into so much vanquished hope. "Then..." he began to say, the words almost catching in his thoughts, useless as they seemed to be, "we respond." In a flash, he whirled on his XO, an idea forming quickly to replace the damnable sense of despair that had begun gnawing at him. "Inform Cipher Team Alpha to meet me at Bay Two, and to set their weapons for stun. You have the conn." And with that, he was off. For the first time in that entire exchange, his words had been mixed with the emotions he had been feeling: worry, fear...

...and to some extent, hope.

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Re: Legacy of the Damned: Redeemer's Grasp

Post by Azra Avasara » 2013-11-15 05:05

"Jerred, are you awake over there?" Thess didn't need to have the Force to feel the exasperation that had been projected in her voice; she did, however, need it to know the full measure of why she had felt that irritation. Her partner's absence of mind was an annoyance, yet it was also one that was out of place. The ride, after all, was a short one; and yet, the Jedi Knight was seemingly asleep at his joystick.

"My apologies," he replied, half-sleepily. "I was communing with my master."

"Next time? Do that sort of shit before we launch." Keying off the comm, she let out a soft sigh. Jerred's behavior of late had been...well, off-putting; ever since they'd put together their plan for this merry little rescue. Perhaps, in some regard, she should have expected him to want to handle the matter alone, but that option was completely off the table. She was here, and the elder had asked both of them to do what they could. How could she justify that by sitting back while the Jedi greenhorn ran off and got himself killed? And why do you even care? another voice inside her mind dared to ask, sounding for all the galaxy like it was her older, more sinister self. Perhaps you should ask the right question instead.

Another sigh escaped the dark woman, this one distinctly cold and just the slightest bit hostile. The Dark Side was just playing tricks with her, she resolved; tricks meant to make her question everything and everyone around her. That was how it went with her of late. Is that really what you think this is? What I am?

"You're the demon I used to be," she hissed, guiding her X-Wing up towards the hangar bay to which she and the Jedi Knight had been instructed. "Which means you're nothing. Absolutely nothing."

I am part of you... The mental whisper was soft, almost unintelligible; there was, indeed, just barely enough behind it to be heard over the rush of air past the cockpit as the fighter cleared the rise of the hangar bay. And I am the part of you that knows to worry about this encounter. Perhaps you’ll consider listening to me soon enough... As though on cue, a strange sensation pricked the edge of her consciousness; malignant was perhaps the best word to describe it at first sense, but there was something more to it than just being hostile and hateful... There were three different beings, she could sense, waiting in the center of the hangar as she and the Jedi Knight set down; two of them--from their senses, a mother and her daughter--had the presence of fear, one more stark and abject than the other, while the third was so malignant as to almost be a living tumor. He stood there, this pustulant infection, barely worthy of the admission of his sentience, feeding off of their fear like a man possessed; anger, disdain, and unbridled fury radiated from him, their psychological eddies flowing about as though revolving around the eye of a hurricane, and as the hatch to her fighter opened, Thess could feel that anger reach out to her, try to touch her. It was not the most pleasant of sensations…

...though somehow, it was strangely not all that unwelcome. Perhaps it was the thought of how she knew she was going to make him pay for it later. “Ah,” came the fallen one’s initial remark, his voice as cold and alien as his thoughts. “So, my apprentice has finally arrived; soon, my work here will be done.” The unblinking eyes fixated on Thessalia, met by a look of confusion returned to them with not a little contempt. “You are confused, girl; this is unfortunate. But make no mistake: before this day is done, you WILL kneel before me, and you WILL accept me as your master, When that time comes, I shall teach you the truth of the dark.”

Fortunately for her, the Federation had kept an extensive listing of most alien species, allowing her to recall some of the stranger creatures she had seen in the Omega Order’s archives from time to time. It had struck her as odd, at first, expecting that there would ever be an Ishori--was that what they were called?--wielding the power of the Force; it wasn’t that their kind couldn’t, but that the results seemed like they would be too unpredictable, given the ease with which the species gave in to emotional passions and prejudices. Even if one could master the Force enough to become even passingly adept at it, there was little in the way of discipline that they could exercise over their own emotional habits, and any prospective Jedi among their ilk would be condemned within short order. Such was likely the case with this one, though his derangement was another matter entirely. “You seriously think I’m going to serve you...that’s cute, that’s what that is.” A Sith only draws her weapon if she plans to use it, she reminded herself, noting disdainfully that the Ishori had already drawn his own weapon, and the deep verdant blade was lit. Anything else is an admission of insecurity, of weakness...of failure. “Do yourself a favor, and let the ladies go, before I rearrange your ugly-ass face into something that can be put on a holopic for your funeral.”

The laughter that came to her by way of his response was a mixture of different sentiments, but the most noteworthy two were amusement and hate. Without letting it finish, she drew her own--the one of them that would ignite for her--and charged; she was met halfway by his own running surge, and their weapons sparked with the impact of the inevitable clash. Arms moved as blurs, lightsabers dancing like flashes of light and shadow throughout the cavernous room as they danced against each other, each strike inches from being a life-threatening blow. The dizzying parries themselves rolled across the expanse of the hangar bay like clashes of thunder, roiling with the fury that must have been just as stunning to see as purple and green blades met strike after strike.

The dance ended swiftly, and Thess heard herself let out a gasp of undisciplined surprise as her lightsaber was knocked from her hand, skittering to the floor well beyond her reach. Even with a running start, she wouldn’t be able to leap over to it in time to grab it, before she was cut down by her still-laughing adversary...but at the same time, she didn’t need to give him the satisfaction. Such was how her training had been in the Dark Side, for such was how her aura had manifested, that for at least a brief moment, she could make her endurance greater than that of iron or steel. The shift was subtle, unseen, but as her foe’s blade came arcing down, ready to cleave her in twain, she reached out for it with both hands, grasping it firmly; throwing the Force into her movements, she yanked downward, simultaneously powering herself into a vaulting leap straight into the air. As she hurtled past his reach, her right hand shot out to grab at her lightsaber, and the weapon rose from the floor as though it was shot from a railgun...

...as it flew, the blade flared to life once more, and the weapon detoured towards her adversary with unerring accuracy, forcing him to shift his attention to deflecting each of the weapon’s three strikes. At the third blocked slash, her lightsaber darted sharply into the air, coming to rest in her grasp; as her fingers curled around the weapon, her stance shifted, and she began to descend back towards the cold, hard hangar deck. An invisible hand tugged at her left side as she fell, and the tainted lightsaber at her side slipped from her belt as she drew nearer and nearer, snapping to life in her adversary’s grip, but it was far too late for him to make any use of the weapon in defending himself; the impact of her landing, amplified and projected through the Force, kicked him into the air just above her.

A single twirl of her weapon through the space beside her was all the time she gave him before reacting, his movements like an open book for her to read; she ducked quickly under the twin strike aimed initially for her head, powering the motion into a forward lunge that put her in position to snap her weapon around in a hard, slashing arc right where he was going to land. The three lightsaber blades collided powerfully, the force behind her strike throwing his sailing form off balance, causing him to drop hard onto his backside. The stolen weapon shook free from his grasp as he fell, and almost immediately shot back to its master’s belt, where it promptly snuffed itself out; the thieving hand shot up to once more try to claim it, and that was when Thess struck, fast and hard. In two quick strokes, she stood straddled over her adversary, the Ishori letting out a scream somewhere between indignant anger and searing pain. Beside him, his left hand lay motionless on the deck, severed at the wrist; the lavender blade of the Dark Jedi’s lightsaber, radiating with the raw fury of her power, had been driven through his right palm, destroying his own weapon in the process. Throughout the entire ordeal, Thess hadn’t even suffered a bit of damage, and only a single drop of lava from her other weapon’s malformed blade had fallen upon her armor.

“Impossible…” the fallen Jedi croaked, his voice seething with rage even as it was weakened with exertion and suffering. “This can only mean...that you...are meant for more. You...you are here, child...to teach me...”

For an instant, Thess was startled by the white-hot hate in her voice as she snapped back at him. “Never, you sick freak,” she hissed, the words stinging with venom. It was all she could do to not kill the alien outright; instead, she snapped his head back into the deck plating, harder than any head ought to be slammed into anything without protective gear. He was out within a second, and her lightsaber was out a second later.

It was then that she felt a sense of dread and pain in the pit of her stomach, and heard a woman’s scream of anguished horror.

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Azra Avasara
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Re: Legacy of the Damned: Redeemer's Grasp

Post by Azra Avasara » 2013-11-30 17:26

The roar she had heard was one of a nightmare she could hardly imagine, and as she reached out with the Force to sense the cause of such anguish, she found herself regretting it deep down to her very core. The woman knelt low, her eyes running wet with tears, her throat cracking with cries of sorrow and fear; before her, her daughter was on the floor, her presence in the Force greatly diminished and practically drowning in pain. The girl was hurting--no, dying--and somehow, her mother was powerless to help her. There was something about the situation that didn't entirely add up, but she couldn't quite place it at the time. On top of that, it didn't necessarily matter right away; there was still the matter of the party to this atrocious act, and she was dead set on doling out a very heavy-handed brand of justice.

Turning, she brought her sightless gaze down on Jerred, her expression dark with an almost unholy sense of ill intent. As the cry of terror had loosed itself from the grief stricken mother earlier, so now did one unleash itself from Thess...one of rage, the sound akin to a dragon shrieking at some order of foul beast. The idea was, perhaps, not as far off as it would have sounded at first glance: she had quite the low opinion of the turncoat already, what with her low tolerance for liars...and her hatred for anyone who could harm a child. "Yes, yes, you're angry; are you quite done?" The maniac's voice, calmer than an iceberg, was almost unsettling. Hate began to boil within her as she listened further, briefly quieting the urge to charge right away and just be done with it. "That's right, Sith...stand down, and be silent. You are nothing against me now; just submit, and it will all be over soon. The priestess will strengthen me, and I will imbue her daughter with your essence to heal her." There was a sickening smile on his face; she could sense it, even all the way across the hangar. "Just be a good little girl and die...for her? Or do you plan to fight, and squander what little time the poor child has left?"

And that was when she finally put the last piece of the puzzle together. The mother was powerless to save her child, because she wasn’t the priestess after all. That particular fact was good...at least, from a particular point of view; it also meant, however, that whatever the girl was suffering through right then, everyone else on the planet was feeling to some degree. Even the mother was suffering, though her grief far outweighed anything else that she might feel. With that in mind, Thess knew that she didn't have time to craft some sort of fancy, elaborate plan to take down this maniacal betrayer; no, it would have to be quick, and to the point. Fortunately, that was how she preferred to operate: quick and ruthless, with a penchant for immediate results. Calmly, she kept her focus on the maniac before her, watching through the Force as he came closer and closer, his weapon drawn. Arrogance permeated his movements, pouring from him every step of the way, and overconfidence swelled in him as he felt the priestess' strength flow through his veins.

"Put your weapons on the ground, Sith," he snarled as he drew closer. His sense in the Force seemed elated despite the anger in his voice, a sign that he felt the power coursing through him, thought it was real. When he heard the clink of metal against metal, he resumed closing in, blade still lit off to one side. "Good...now just submit. It will all be over soon..." His empty hand reached down to grab by her throat...

...and in an instant, was ensnared by a hand that gripped like bands of iron. "You're right," Thess hissed back, hate burning in her voice. "It will be over soon." As his lightsaber came around to strike at her, her other hand lashed out, snapping hard around his wrist. Before he could struggle free, her right knee shot up at his elbow, the sound of the breaking joint all too loud in the sudden, shocked silence of the hangar. His saber fell to the ground, lifeless and dull, and he followed shortly after; ducking low, Thess shifted her hold over him, whipping him hard over her back to land face-up on the deck plating. A single fist shot into his face, shattering his nose and brow, and he was out in seconds. Sparing herself half a second for a slight, wicked smile, she made her way over to the priestess and her grieving mother. "Gullible fool..." she muttered to herself as the distance closed.

The girl's injury was severe, she noticed as she knelt down next to the child; it was a small wound, but the depth was the more distinct feature. She'd been impaled on the lightsaber, and from the looks of things, it had been a miracle of inches that her heart hadn't been touched by the blade. Without even missing a beat, she pressed her right hand against the child's injury, her eyeless face seeming to look dead square into the other woman's eyes. "My hand," she said in an icily calm voice, "does not leave her until I'm done. Do you hear me?" Not waiting for an answer, she began to channel the Force's healing energies through herself and into the child, pushing it to her very limits. Time lost all meaning for her as she continued, until she could no longer feel anything but the pain...and the distinct sense of losing consciousness, as the pain of the transferral slowly pushed her under.

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Re: Legacy of the Damned: Redeemer's Grasp

Post by Azra Avasara » 2013-12-29 04:43

When at last she felt the dregs of consciousness return to her, Thess felt the pain first. It was a mild, tingling sensation in some places, and a searing flash in others; in yet others still, the pain was as a tidal wave washing over her, as though it might consume her. Almost entirely on instinct, she turned her attention to dispatching the pain through the Force, channeling as much of her reserves as was available into the worst of the sensations. Gradually, the pain began to subside, replaced bit by bit with a growing sense of cold; as she slowly came awake, the pain was mostly gone, and the arctic chill permeated her essence down to the very core. The sensation was exhilirating...but just as much, it was disturbing, because of the depth of the chill; whenever she expended her energies healing herself, the chill was proportional to the severity of damage she had sustained. This chill was almost frighteningly deep...she had exerted herself much earlier, that was clear.

The second thing that she felt was another presence in the room...no, make that a few of other presences. First was the attending nurse, continuing about her duties; if she had noticed the Dark Jedi's gradual return to something resembling consciousness, she wasn't showing it. The others were seated near her, and were paying a far keener interest in her condition. She seemed content, at the time, to lay there and further convalesce under their watch...until their senses resolved in the Force, revealed to her in perfect clarity. The chill permeating her body seemed to deepen as she moved, every action deliberate. First came the sheet over her, tossed to the side like so much refuse. The ice within her gave way, cracking under the strains of an even colder tidal wave of focused anger. A ripping sound rose slightly in the stillness that briefly followed, and after it, the monitor displaying her vital signs let out a piercing shriek as she nearly flipped off the bed, landing on her feet in front of the old man from the church. Nobody was able to reach her to stop her, and in a flash, her right hand was like an iron vise, wrapping tightly around his throat; his feet kicked futilely at the floor, inches below them, and his eyes widened with dread. For a few tense seconds, there was a silence in the room that made even the screaming machine seem quiet. Nobody moved, nobody whispered, nobody even blinked; at length, the machine was silent, and there was nothing but the Dark Jedi and her surroundings, a man hanging just above the floor, squirming in her claw-like grasp. The black cloth over her eyes was llike a mask to hide her rage, though she knew that he felt it burning upon him, like a slow blaze creeping over his flesh, through his soul. "You lied to me," she hissed at him, her voice barely above a whisper; in the stillness of the room, it was as a battle shout.

"You lied," she whispered again, the words like thunder in the air. "I. HATE. Liars." The iron grip tightened just a little bit more. "Just a bit tighter than this," she hissed, "and your windpipe is so much nothing."

"I--" The old man gasped for breath, clutching at the few pockets of air he could manage to drag into his lungs; their passageway was so constricted, each breath hurt like wildfire coursing through his throat. "Please... I had to. It was..." Fighting the pain, he coughed ever so slightly, clawing for release from this torment as much as for air to breathe. "...Was...for their safety..."

Thess scowled, her face a mask of rage. "Some safety...your granddaughter could have died today, and your people along with her. How'd that 'safety' concern work out for you?"

The old man's coughing became more violent, more desparate, with each passing second as the noose of fingers tightened around his throat. As he hovered there in her grasp, he felt the strength of his life just barely holding fast as her iron hatred threatened to kill him...and then the grip eased, ever so slightly, and she turned her attention to something else in the room. There, just to her left, the little girl stood next to her, tugging softly at her robes. She didn't have to say a thing, the innocent little child; the expression on her face and her sense in the Force conveyed everything, in a manner that made words seem...inadequate. Looking down at the girl through the Force, the Dark Jedi let out a sigh before turning her face back towards the man squirming in her hand. Once again, the grip tightened like a vise, crushing his throat with the burning intensity of molten steel. His eyes began to roll upward towards the back of his head...

...and then, the floor rushed up to meet the back of his head, pain shooting along the length of his body. There she stood, the towering wraith of a woman, the haunting spectre of a violent, vengeful justice glaring down at him; her blindfold torn away, her eyes looked dreadful in their restored state, a terrifying mix of darkest shadow and blinding light. "You lied to me," she said, her voice this time carrying loudly, powerfully. "Yet the child wishes for you to live...and so, you will survive this sin." Hate radiated in her gaze, cold and terrible, and the glistening shine in their depths was that of a demonic madness rather than the virtuous strength of a goddess. "We shall not meet again..." she said, her words more brittle than sheet ice. Scowling, she turned her gaze on the child's mother. "My equipment..."

"...Is waiting for you in your ship, wanderer."

Nodding her head slightly at this, Thess turned, and left the room; behind her, the others simply remained there in stunned silence. From one who had been called a Sith, mercy was a rare, strange, beautiful thing.

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