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Thread: Abandonment - 10.045

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    Complete Abandonment - 10.045

    The Mando'ade were pleased with their fleet of ships. They numbered seven now, including the large Hammerhead-class ship they had built from pieces with their own hands. It was theirs. And with the addition of other, stolen vehicles, they had room for their families. They could take what they wanted from the galaxy.

    It was good.

    Mand'alor stood on the bridge of the Haran, hands clasped behind her back. It was all pointless. She was mining the arse-end of the galaxy for corusca gems and coming up with bits of glass. Pretty enough, but ultimately just a distraction. This - all of this - was a distraction from her purpose.

    How long had it been? A month since Woostri? And how long since Callidus had contacted her? Many months. He was content to leave her to rot with the Mandalorians, finally having rid Onderon of their presence.

    Of her presence.

    Malleus turned and walked off the bridge, heading toward the hangar bay in the belly of the ship.



    oh what a tangled web I weave


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    Bretak was taking his meal when someone messaged him on the comm. He frowned, and answered. "Speak."

    "Al'verde, Mand'alor is leaving the fleet."

    "Explain." He wiped his mouth and stood, pulling his helmet on.

    "She required a starfighter, and says she is leaving. For good."

    Bretak frowned. "I will be right there." To be honest, the only surprise was that this woman had not left the Mando'ade sooner. He had expected it every day, and as time went on he almost believed that the dark one was one of them. He had sent his son to learn with her apprentice, A'den... his heart felt pain at the thought. They had not returned to the Mando'ade in nearly a year. He assumed they were dead.

    As he made his way to the hangar, he began to run, if only to witness what would happen next.

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    She stood outside the starfighter, an X-Wing that had seen better days but had been acquired from a Tatooine junk yard and fixed up. Malleus reached up and took off the helmet of her armor, letting it drop to the durasteel deck plating with a bang. The Mando'ade in the hangar all turned toward her at the sound.

    The breastplate went next, crashing to the deck, and she was stripping off the arm and leg armor when Bretak showed up. He stood silently, witnessing.

    When she was down to just a grey bodysleeve and the armored boots, she stopped, looking her second in command in the eye. "They are yours now." His helmeted head inclined slightly - perhaps it was a nod.

    Malleus stepped out of the boots and climbed barefooted into the X-Wing, her lightsaber the only item she brought with her. Minutes later she was free of the tiny fleet, and headed toward the Hapes Cluster.

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    He will pay for ignoring us. He thinks he can just send us to harry the borders and cause trouble, as if we are accomplishing something? Better to find a starkiller and just destroy Coruscant. Blow the damn thing up, the Empire and all it's leaders in one fell blow.

    He is not as strong as we thought child. Or he simply intends to leave us out, while playing house with his lover and child. What a mistake. He will pay.

    I will make him pay, and I will take his power. You are weak child. You lose your master and pretend strength while clinging to her last words. And the next authority figure that comes along soon has your slavering devotion to his every whim. Pathetic.

    A'na Eldhil flexed her fingers, staring out at the sworls of hyperspace as the starfighter made it's way through the deep of space.

    history will remember us for our action, or for our inaction

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    The Transitory Mists eventually revealed it's secrets, the Hapes Cluster unfolding in front of the canopy of the X-Wing. Malleus took a moment to plot the hyperspace coordinate for Terephon, and stared at her hands. They were white and cold, her bodyglove not sufficient protection in the life support of the fighter. It was designed to keep a pilot alive in space, so she would not freeze to death, but sans helmet and gloves and boots the cold was getting to her.

    She drew within herself, deep in the warmth of the hate growing there, and ignored her body. The stars of the cluster stretched into lines and the X-Wing slipped into hyperspace.

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    Terephon. A dreary, murky planet, suitable for exile. Is this why he chose it? To isolate himself from his apprentices, to give himself a sanctuary for deep thoughts and dark purposes.

    The speeder raced across the moors, the fog swirling in it's wake.

    The house is as we remember it. Imposing. Quiet. Where I was born anew through their incompetence.

    Malleus kicked the door in, the double doors swinging on their hinges as she stalked inside. The Force called to her in her rage. The manor was empty. She stalked through the hall into the library, sending the books and datapads to the carpets with the Force. She moved on, like a hurricane contained in a bottle, the interior of the house no match for her anger.

    A petulant child. This may get his attention, however. And yet... to really get his attention... Anxia.

    Anxia. Malleus carved the name into the wood paneling and left the empty house behind her.

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    She felt almost droid-like as she went through the motions, getting clearance for landing on Hapes, and piloting the starfighter down. She was not an accomplished pilot, but her movements felt more self-assured than was warranted. The X-Wing settled softly on a landing pad in a starport, the name went through one ear and out the other. Irrelevant. It was all irrelevant.

    Traveling the Mists had been surprisingly easy as well, considering her lack of skill. When she tried to think about the journey there was nothing but blank space in her head.

    Anxia.

    Malleus stalked through the capital, Ta'a Chume'dan, her feet still bare and getting filthier by the minute as she walked, as if her body were just a temporary shell and needed no taking care of. Her lightsaber hung on her hip, perhaps the people around her thought it was a flashlight. Perhaps they didn't. No one stopped her.

    Callidus.

    The palace loomed ahead of her. When had she gotten so close? Malleus' hand tightened on the hilt of her saber as she found herself at a door, female guards stepping forward to stop her. Beyond was surely the Star Throne and Anxia, somewhere inside. They were trying to stop her.

    Her lightsaber ignited.

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    In the stone archway that was the sole entrance to the monumental Fountain Palace, a dozen royal guards lowered their pole-axes towards Maellus. Twelve women dressed in blue and gold, proud, the sun glistening against their armour and the points of their weapons.

    “Halt!” one of them barked, in native Hapan. Her eyes were full of fierce and righteous anger.

    Behind Malleus, something slithered up over the edge of the black basalt cliff overlooking Ta'a Chume'Dun: a living, breathing shadow that slowly congealed into the shape of a man.

    “Sssleep,” the shadow hissed, one hand outstretched, and the guards crumpled to their knees with a clatter of metal against stone.

    They'd barely hit the ground before the shadow raked his claws through the air and the Dark Side lashed around Malleus's throat, dragging her back towards him.

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    She gave into the pull, angling her lightsaber so it extended to her side, and pushed off with her feet, twisting her body in the air so she faced him. "Callidus!" She felt rage - why? - and pulled at his shadowy body with the Force as if to cause him to meet her halfway.

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    The shape of him solidified as he vaulted towards her, Callidus's ghoulish mask forming out of the shadows. His lightsaber snapped to life as he crashed into her, the blades meeting with a shower of sparks. The death's head mask was translucent over his features, a hint of his true face visible: lips curled into a sneer, white eyes full of fury.

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    I take full control of her body, my gathered energy potent enough to wear her as a glove. Malleus' face is blank, just hate in her eyes as I duel him, her mouth panting for breath as we fall into the forms of Vaapad. He brought me forth from the dream, my energy always attached to my apprentice by the thinnest of threads... I haunted her, driving her to greatness.

    She fails me again, seeks comfort with another master. And the boy - THE BOY! Such a failure and now a triumph of willpower. I see myself in him, my lessons.

    I will teach him another.

    Malleus parried his lightsaber, her movements slightly odd but fluid enough to hold her own. She thrust wildly, the Dark side surging through her like a torrent, stronger than she had ever been. Callidus blocked, their sabers locking bringing them face to face, two masks.

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    Two blades locked in a stalemate, Callidus pressed to push her back towards the palace. He felt her hatred, as strong and pure as it had ever been, and yet – her face was a void of emotion, even as she struggled to hold him back.

    High on the battlements above, figures in blue and gold cried out in alarm. Callidus took a step forward into his apprentice's guard, his eyes fixed to hers.

    “Don't make me destroy you.”

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    His eyes met hers, and for a moment there was confusion in her face. She pulled back, guard falling slightly, then as if a curtain was pulled over her face the confusion vanished and she thrust her hand out. The Force billowed out from her, buffeting Callidus back toward the edge of the cliff.

    Her lips peeled back in a sneer, her voice... not her own. "She is mine to destroy."

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    Callidus recovered without a beat and saw just enough of the ripple across his apprentice's features to realise what was happening. He should have known that it would not be so easy to rid Lilaena De'Ville of her demons. She was broken. More than that, she was a liability.

    Figures carrying long rifles took a knee in the embrasure's above: the Fountain Snipers. One of them loosed a bolt. Callidus spun his saber in a blur of light. The shot ricocheted back at Malleus, as more laser-fire rained down. Guided by the Dark Side, he moved faster than the sniper's eyes could process, catching the blaster bolts only to knock them at his sleep-walking apprentice.

    “Anxia,” his voice seared through the walls of the palace right into the mind of the one he sought.

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    I laugh inside, deflecting the bolts with ease. He seeks only to distract me, to force me to keep my distance.

    Anxia, he calls. She doesn't like it but can't define why. What a fool she is. Still chaste? And now her first school-girl crush. Somehow it makes infuriating sense. My fingertips crackle, dark energy forming in my palm only to be released at him like a shot from a gun. The Destruction with explode on whatever it impacts.

    I seek not to destroy but incapacitate. To...take over a more worthy vessel. She leaps toward the gate with a roll, staying away from the edge of the cliff.

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    At the octagonal gaming table that dominated the center of the Queen's Drawing Room, the sunlight reflecting off the Kamarian-crystal chandelier above cast prismatic reflections upon the glossy backs of the stacked playing cards. They went untouched tonight, as did the now cooling cup of floral tea that had been set to her side. It was not an unfamiliar sight for an evening, the present group of people clustered around the drawing room, each engaged in their own pursuits. Far from tired, Razielle had been about to play a few hands with Lucianus, but something unsettling had come over her and she had never picked the deck up. Nearby, his little pupil, Beatrix had just fallen asleep on a couch with her head resting against Lira, who had been reading quietly to her. The only person present in the room not seated and indulging in some pastime, but rather standing about like a piece of Per'Agthra, was the Chume'nor captain installed at the double doors.

    Razielle's feeling of disquiet only continued to increase, yet she remained still. The only outward showing of her mental unrest was her fingers, worrying at the amulet suspended around her neck.. She was conscious of her very attentive Chume'nor and the fact that someone had just brought him a message, which he said nothing about but his face had grown a little.. sour. She had no intention of leaving her seat to go and ask him, but had been about to call him over to determine the source of his pinched expression when darkness crept through her, like ice water spilling into in her veins. It began in the fingers of her left hand, which twitched reflexively, right before the voice she least expected to hear put her into action.

    Callidus..

    "Mars.." One syllable, but both Lucianus and Lira responded to the name at once. Razielle was not speaking to her daughter's tutor, or the courtier he sometimes chose to be. Her meaning would be understood, Lucianus too would have detected the disturbance.

    "I think I'll take our queen to bed.", Lira said automatically, sliding the limp little girl into her lap. She could move her fast and, more importantly, without waking her. She headed toward the doors leading into the royal apartments, and the bed chambers beyond.

    Rising from the cushioned seat, Razielle fixed an uncompromising stare upon the Chume'nor. "Stay with them. I am holding you personally responsible for them.", she indicated the retreating form of Lady Terranova, her tone did not allow for any protest. Anywhere she might go, the Chume'doro were also stationed about. The regent was well protected, and yet she was only regent because Ishara was without a head.

    When it was just the two of them, Razielle gave up her pretense of calm and turned to Lucianus. The courtiers disliked most of her non-Hapan favorites, they did not understand why she would choose to keep such people so close. They considered them all to be unjustly favored, lucky to be in the regent's esteem. Not so. She was the lucky one. Lucianus stayed because he chose to, not because she commanded him. She did not need to say anything. She had to go, and he would keep Beatrix safe, that was understood. She stopped only long enough to retrieve her weapon, keeping it tight in her grip as she moved.

    Anxia did not need cover of darkness to move through the Fountain Palace unseen. Her pretty exile had afforded her with plenty of time to learn how to do just that. There were ways that were known to some, things that the Chume'nor had shown to the queen regent for her safety, and things that she had discovered herself. She knew where to go. She could feel it. The main gate opening onto the crags above her city, Ta'a Chume'Dan.

    She moved faster, faster...

    She did not bother with skulking about in black robes, not in her own city. Her gown was blindingly white, as was the hooded cape she pulled over her dark hair, emerging from a side door tunneled into the black basalt, beside the main gate. Above her sniper fire continued to rain down, glittering golden uniforms were sprawled useless as puppets on the ground, and before her..

    Her master yes, and Malleus. Right there before the gate of the Fountain Palace, half dressed, filthy and common as ever, clearly assaulting both their master and the palace. Her master's blunt weapon was becoming a bit of a problem, and apparently was here to kill her. Anxia ran a tongue across her teeth, and stepped forward into the chaos, eager for the chance to be set free upon something for a change. Bolts flew. Anxia gestured and tore free and piece of a fallen female guard's chest plate, it rotated around her as she moved forward with purpose, deflecting fire as it came her way.

    "No further..", she confirmed, curling her hand around her weapon, beneath the folds of her cloak. She had ideas about how to proceed, but Malleus was her master's to deal with, she waited, hanging onto restraint with the sweaty tips of unwilling fingers.

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    The snarling, seething energy swallowed blaster-fire as it careened towards him. A moment from being consumed by unnatural flame, Callidus rippled away. At one moment in the path of the Destruction, within the blink of an eye he was further away from the palace but no longer in the spheres path. The energy field slammed against the cliffs edge, searing through the black basalt and spitting molten rock onto the rooftops far below. The blast of the impact gusted hot against his back, his cloak and robes whipping around him.

    A huge blaster bolt punched into the ground to his right. Callidus's eyes snapped upwards, where he saw the turrets of the palace's gun emplacements swinging their sights onto the three Sith, the Foutain Gunners adding to the Fountain Snipers ranks.

    Every minute their battle went on was a minute too long.

    The Sith Lord called out to his faithful apprentice.

    “Destroy her.”

  18. #18
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    She arrived, blazing white like a hero, and De'Ville spun on her heel, facing the new threat. Rather than wait for the Sith to approach, she went on the offensive immediately, leaping forward as a wall turret targeted where she'd been. The ground exploded behind her as she slashed high with her saber across Anxia's face.
    Last edited by Lilaena De'Ville; Feb 18th, 2014 at 10:37:42 AM. Reason: Mah brain all mushy

  19. #19
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    Despite the fact that the two Sith apprentices had never bonded as sisters, as Anxia and Creas had done, Anxia had long ago resigned herself to the knowledge that Malleus too served their master's grand design. So obediently, she had worked with her fellow apprentice. It was true, she resented Malleus, begrudging her every moment she could move about the galaxy freely, engaged in some purpose. One luxury that even the regent of Hapes could not afford. Hapes. Anxia had gained much from the Consortium, and sacrificed much for it, and she would be damned if she was going lose it all now to the indiscreet insurrection of Malleus.

    Destroy her. Callidus wanted this. That was all she needed to hear, and it became an objective to be met.

    There was a dark bond between master and apprentice, she drew passion and strength from his very nearness. It mingled with the anger that her role in the Consortium could potentially be threatened, and her eagerness for the sudden ability to loose her pent up aggression. She did not fear, she not not move. The gentle Hapan breeze tickled the trailing sleeves of her angelic gown. As the turret fire exploded on the ground just behind them, Anxia's weapon likewise exploded to life, rising upward to defend herself in a sudden flash of violet light, completing the action along with a powerful shove of the Dark side, right back toward the ground that was fast beginning to crumble away beneath them. Gravel, debris and unconscious royal guards all flew backward toward the cracking basalt foundations.

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    While his students battled, Callidus turned his attention to the face of the Fountain Palace. More guards were clustering on the battlements. In-between the shrieks of blaster fire, he could hear their captains calling out orders in Hapan. Dozens of them jostled for position, dozens of witnesses.

    Callidus vaulted into the air, cape billowing wide behind him like hideous wings. His boots grazed the stone archway above the palace's main entrance for an instant, before he launched himself higher, onto the parapet of the battlements.

    Two guards cried out in shock and were silenced as Callidus scythed his saber through the air, cleaving their heads from their necks. As he jumped down from the defensive wall, the Sith thrust his empty hand out to the left and a massive shock-wave crashed into the ranks of the Fountain Snipers there, hurling them over the edge of the wall. A sniper fired at him from behind and without looking back, Callidus twisted his saber into a reverse grip and bounced the blaster bolt back to its source, the shot striking the riflewoman between the eyes.

    “Stop in the name of the Queen!” a voice shouted as Callidus surged along the narrow length of the battlement. He snatched at the air and a guard was torn three feet off the ground, suspended just long enough for the Sith's saber to split her from naval to crown. Callidus gestured aside as if shooing a fly and the body hit the ground with a crunch, a matter of feet from Anxia and Malleus.

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