Posted 18 May 2017 - 05:45 PM
Posted 23 May 2017 - 05:24 AM
Maena. Perth knew little of the planet. Foremost was the fact that it was volcanic. And the small amount that wasn’t a wasteland of magma was a range of inactive volcano.
She knew it was populated, but the total sum of citizens was the size of a small city on most planets — not that she was here to meet people. Rather she was here to meet one person in particular.
Onley Xiangu had encouraged her to come here. For a while she wondered if he would become her Master — or rather her latest Master, for she’d had a few. Sith were the most common in her development and many had disappointed her. Not that she’d fared much better in the First Order, where only one Knight of Ren had shown any interest in developing her. Talon Ren had shown her how to wield a saber and she was thankful for that — but she’d learned nothing about dark-sided magic and that was what she yearned.
Most of what she understood was self-taught, either from the library she’d found from the notes in the old book she’d found in Darth Bane’s old mansion. There were no special secrets in the book, just lists of places or people or organisations. Some were straightforward and others were encoded.
And one such puzzle had led her to a planet — for that was all she was able to decipher from the clue, and there she had met Onley. Was that foretold by whoever made the notes? She doubted it and planned to return to the planet one day to continue her exploration. But for now, she’d taken the advice of the tattoo’ed man and sought an audience with his mother. For she was apparently well versed in dark-sided magic.
So she landed her ship at the designated coordinates and quickly disembarked. She was greeted with the view of offices — not the usual meeting place for Force users, who seemed to prefer temples or historic venues. But it was irrelevant to her where they met, it was knowledge she sought and she would give whatever was required to achieve it. And she had questions too — like how to use tattoos imbued with the Force.
She glanced down at the prosthetic arm that was in place of her own flesh and blood — the price she paid for acquiring her sabers and passing what she felt was a rite of passage. In her opinion it was not an expensive trade — she’d gladly do whatever it took to develop her understanding and power. For she had knowledge greater than her ability to wield it and needed guidance not from an enthusiastic amateur, but an expert.
And she now presented herself to someone the galaxy considered as such, following a droid escortto what appeared to be a suite of offices, where she presumed she would meet Matsu Xiangu.
Edited by Perth Levov, 23 May 2017 - 11:48 AM.
Posted 15 June 2017 - 07:02 PM
Posted 03 August 2017 - 08:36 AM
To the untrained eye, there was little to set Perth from the average galactic citizen. Her eyes were different — the lack of pigment in her irises a little disconcerting if you sought direct eye contact, but this feature spoke nothing of the person she was.
Her clothes were dark and nondescript, her overall appearance clean and tidy without being in any way seeking attention. Nor did her looks suggest she shunned the limelight — she was simply another humanoid in a galaxy full of them.
But if you knew what to look for, there were signs that she was not typical, and certainly not average. Her gait and carriage spoke of a military upbringing and her casual glances suggested she sized up the room on a regular basis, checking out exits, potential threats as well as opportunities.
Her lost limb was not precisely typical — but the replacement was functional, as opposed to ornate. One day she might get around to replacing it with a synthetic prosthetic, but for now, the functional but ugly robotic version served her well.
Never judge a book by its cover. Which could no doubt be said of the woman Perth was introduced to. And the young dark-sider never considered making snap judgements about trappings of success (or otherwise). The building was more than functional, it had a style — modern, crisp, clean. Maybe that was an indication of her host’s personality. Only time would tell.
Her host remained seated when Perth entered the room — although she appeared to give young woman her attention. Although with powerful dark-siders, you never knew how much of that attention you really wanted.
Perth approached the desk and remained composed and quiet. They both knew who each other was, and up to a point why Perth was here. All that remained was for the Atrisian to begin the conversation and — like a true warrior — Perth would identify where the path was leading…who promised what and most importantly, what the price of success and failure might be.
Perth sat as requested, a small smile playing across her lips as she nodded her acquiescence. It was a friendly gesture, no malice or playfulness intended. It seemed the polite thing to do. Perth was rarely subservient, but she knew what manners were appropriate for the situation.
And then the woman spoke and Perth allowed words and potential meanings to sink in before she responded.
“Thank you for seeing me.” There were those manners again. “I am a warrior and was part of the army back on my home world. But I found the Force. Or perhaps it found me? Regardless, I seek to learn.”
“I have knowledge. Not great by your standards I suspect.” This was no flattery but a simple expression of what Perth perceived to be a fact. “And it outweighs my control and by some way my power. I have learned things that are wonderful, but strip me of my energy in a matter of seconds.”
“You see my development is based upon self-teaching, but that only takes you so far. I seek the secrets of dark-sided magic. I believe I have a natural affinity. And I am prepared to pay the price of exercising the powerful rituals of the dark side.”
“Illusions interest me and I was inspired by your son to begin to investigate the potential of using tattoos to facilitate this aspect of sorcery. Practical markings that come to life in the mind of those I wish to influence. But more than that.” Her eyes flashed a sulphuric yellow as she spoke, the excitement in her voice subconsciously calling on the dark side. “I wish them to inflict real pain on others, to have a physical as well as mental manifestation.”
“Of course, this is just a wish. If it is to become a reality or remain a whim I believe will be down to you. If you are prepared to accept me as an apprentice.”
Posted 04 August 2017 - 03:06 PM
Posted 06 August 2017 - 03:25 PM
Perth knew her place. The power that her host was exuding was palpable to the young dark-sider but by the same token, she knew she was not invited here just to be toyed with. If Matsu wanted her dead…well, she’d have expired already. Perhaps the training might kill her, but that would not be the intention but merely an unfortunate side-effect. And for Perth a fatal one.
So she treated her host not as an equal, but as someone who she should respect, be wary of — but not be outright frightened of. That would be counter-productive and would hinder her development. So she paid full attention and minded her manners — as a soldier would to a superior officer, and in particular one that had earned their rank.
And she listened now, her head cocked slightly to one side as she took in both the words and the meaning. The conversation went in a direction she had not expected — Matsu’s son had said little of his mother, or her methods. But given the young Force-user had sacrificed a limb just because it seemed the right thing to do at the time, she was no stranger to the concept of making a sacrifice. Because the offer was unexpected, Perth gave it a thorough consideration before responding.
“Loyalty I grant unequivocally. Respect for your instructions is similarly given freely. I shall act in your interests for as long as I am your apprentice. I anticipate gaining from this situation and understand it is only right for you to do so too. So I accept these terms.”
Matsu then moved and Perth followed her with her eyes. And once she had heard her task — perhaps a test or initiation event — she closed her eyes momentarily and spoke carefully.
“My knowledge is based on various teachings I have come across as I have travelled the galaxy. But in terms of illusions I have sought out the work of Naga Sadow. I know he used technology and talismans but I have neither and rely on Sith magic.”
“I usually project the illusion into the mind of the victim but I suspect that would not work with someone such as you. So I will need to generate a visible, lifelike astral projection. Although my reading on the subject suggests that if you call on the Force, the image will dissipate from your perspective.”
Perth remained seated and ran her eyes up and down Matsu’s form. Replicating from memory relied on an accurate recall, but if she could see the intended object — in this case a person — then she was confident the image would be faultless.
Perth closed her eyes and when they opened, her iris were a deep shade of yellow. She wanted to apply the tip Matsu had offered but her focus was on the illusion and she did not want too many variables to deal with, given the size of the task.
Standing, Perth gestured with her hands. She weaved her ringers in a complex pattern in the air, reaching deeper to connect with the Force. Typically she would enter her victim’s mind at this point — often tapping into subconscious thoughts or memories.
But instead, Perth drew on the power of dark-sided sorcery, and projected an image from her own mind into the space between the two women. The entire process took less than a second.
Initially it was a ghost of an image but within a few moments it became more realistic. It was essentially a mirror image of Matsu — Perth hadn’t looked to make any obvious changes to her look.
"Can you see it?” Perth asked, hoping her trepidation hadn’t transferred into her voice. Perth could view the apparition, but it didn’t mean Matsu would.
Posted 09 August 2017 - 06:12 PM
Posted 13 August 2017 - 10:10 AM
Perth was comforted that her illusion was visible to the Sith Master — at least for a while. It was a difficult thing to work with, especially as she had no formal teacher.
But from what she had read, she believed she had a natural affinity for the dark side — which was not common. She was learning to summon arcane energies and to conjure power. She believed she was destined to become a sorcerer. And she saw it as a future, not as a present. She had some knowledge but appreciated she needed guidance to turn her potential for invoking the spells she had learned into a genuine focus and channel of her power for maximum effect. For she sought to achieve a power beyond the abilities of most dark siders.
And it was not as if she was a complete novice. From ancient texts she had learned to twist and torment the thoughts of weak mortals. She could make them see nightmares as reality and rip their minds apart with little more than a simple thought and a gesture. But her warrior training taught her that honour came from overcoming the strong and not the weak. And for that to happen she needed Matsu and accepted she would have to give something in return.
So she was open to any proposition and knew the woman she now hoped she could call her Master would have a plan. And Perth wanted to be a cog in the machination — however small. “I have nothing pressing in my diary,” she responded, “So I’m ready to roll.”
She was intrigued at what lay ahead. She presumed the Sith Master had pre-planned the journey and suspected it might form part of her ‘audition’ for the role of Apprentice. The young dark sider was willing to jump through as many hoops as possible to gain tutelage from the Altrisian and figured the quicker she was accepted, the faster any training would begin.
“Oh, and will this be a practical trip?” she asked — the curiosity in her voice evident.
Posted 19 August 2017 - 07:36 PM
Posted 24 August 2017 - 02:34 PM
And since she’d discovered the Force, most of her time was spent alone — either on her ship or on a treasure hunt (or as often a wild bantha chase). Most of the planets she visited were sparsely populated and rarely did she visit a city.
As they travelled now, she was struggling to find a comparison to any other place she’d been to. Coruscant was as close as she could remember, but this place made the city planet look like a vacation paradise.
Beggars were something she was not used to — dressed in rags, gaunt and demanding. Whatever had driven them underground must be terrible if this was their only option as she suspected their lifespan here would be measured in hours as opposed to days.
And all manner of illicit offerings were made as she progressed. It seems that someone would sell them whatever they wanted, and most of what was available, Perth had no idea of the benefits — but she suspected most of what was proposed was illegal and was either narcotics or slaves. She had no use for either, so ignored the pedlars and focused on what Matsu was paying attention to.
Much of the real estate here was covered in neon and the rest seemed to be daubed with graffiti in half a dozen common languages and pictographies.
And as much as she knew she needed to learn the ways of the dark side of the Force, she became acutely aware she needed to better understand life. Her background was military and her time spent in barracks or on the battlefield. People weren’t something she’d encountered often in her time in the Echani military. And since she’d left her post, she’d met civilians in passing — typically in ones or twos or even small groups — but never in this number. And she realised now how she was somewhat uncomfortable here, not knowing what people wanted or more accurately what they might want of her. But she pushed the thoughts aside and refocused on the main reason she was here.
Perth hadn’t paid much attention to how many levels they’d descended but guessed it would be measured in the hundreds as opposed to tens. And she was brought out of her musings by a change in their pace. Perth surmised they were closing in on wherever they were heading. So far, Perth had not spoken more than a few words to Matsu. In part because they were superfluous and also because she felt the need to keep her wits about her. The Force was one thing but sometimes it was not enough and she was only an Apprentice after all.
And at first glance, the building Matsu Xiangu had brought Perth to was like so many around them. But the young Echani knew more than to rely on first impressions. The neons here were different — and they spoke to her. For they were clearly works of art. Body art. Tattoos.
No sooner had Perth understood what the building was about than a ringing noise was followed by the appearance of a woman. Tall and incredibly striking in appearance, it was oddly her eyes that Perth noticed first. Unlike her own irises that lacked pigment, this woman’s eyes were white — and it was clear she had no sight. But Perth knew there were other ways to see and so was not surprised when the woman welcomed Matsu.
Perth nodded by way of a welcome to the woman before following the woman’s guidance and sitting as directed. The seat was comfortable enough but the shape and function suggested it was a practical design as opposed to one built for luxury.
But the young woman was not phased. She fished into her cloak and pulled out two notebooks. The first was aged and battered, the animal skin that covered it showing signs of extreme wear and use. The second was a similar size and also sported a hide cover but this one looked and smelled younger. It was one she’d acquired at the library where she first learned about Sith magic. It contained most of her notes and she opened it up now. But instead of beginning at the start, she turned to the back. Here were drawings and notes in Perth’s hand. Abstract images, words and familiar pictures were littered here.
“I want these. All of these.” The inflexion was clear…she wasn’t playing at being tattoed, she really meant it. “And then I want to learn to control them. To animate them and use them for my own ends. To use them against whoever I decide.” Her voice was slow and calm with a hint of malice. As Matsu had seen before, her irises flashed yellow from time to time as she spoke, as her passion grew and she accessed the dark side without conscious thought or effort.
“I trust we came to the right pace?” At this point she looked up at Matsu, no doubt seeking reassurance.
Edited by Perth Levov, 30 August 2017 - 11:38 AM.
Posted 31 August 2017 - 05:53 PM
Posted 05 September 2017 - 02:58 PM
Perth’s interest in body art was not in any way linked to vanity. The images she’d drawn she’d discovered in an extensive search of galactic inking — and some had occurred to her when she reviewed the dark-sided magic she already knew.
And her passion and intensity were obvious now — so much so that she hadn't even considered the fact that Malie might not be able to see the images she was presenting to her. But the fact that the tattooist did not say anything suggested to Perth that everything would work out just fine.
So she sat back in the chair. There was apprehension in relation to the inking. The pain was almost irrelevant, and certainly the prize was worth the price. If there was any hint of nervousness on the young woman’s face, it was due to the fact that she knew that the tattoos in and of themselves were largely irrelevant. Unless Perth and her Master figured a way to use them with the Force, then they would be nothing more than body art. But Perth was confident she’d found the best person in the galaxy to make sure these images would be a whole lot more than just decorations on her skin.
As Malie placed the instruments near her, Perth’s attention was on her Master but she was drawn back to the tattooist by her words.
“I understand. All I ask is that you make the best job you can. And the better the images, I’m sure the easier to animate them my task will become. We are both artists, in a manner, and if I can match your mastery, then I will do your creations proud. I am in your hands…you are the best there is. I appreciate your artistry and dilligence. Begin as soon as you're ready.”
And with that, she returned her gaze to Matsu as she lay back in the chair.
She smiled at the question her Master posed. “Actually your son sparked it. At least he sewed the seed that led to me considering how to use them. And pardon the mixed metaphor. The moment I saw them on his skin, I just knew I had to have some of my own and moreover, I understood they had a potential to serve me in my understanding and use of the Force.”
As the sound of the instruments filled her ears, Perth concentrated on her Master all the more. The pain? It was something she stored away — for it seemed a useful emotional response that would allow her to use the Force and the link to the tattoos was an apt one. But she also had a couple of questions to answer.
“I am a true warrior and the Force was clearly something for me to use. As an Echani, I am forbidden to use it due to the way I access it. So I knew I had to move on. But to what end I am still not sure. Because I am a true warrior, I need a cause. A fighter without one is nothing more than a barbarian.” Her eyes flashed yellow now, but it was impossible to tell if this was a consequence of the pain or her thoughts.
“And please take look at the book. I found it in Darth Bane’s estate. On face value it has no value — no spells or abilities are described. It just has names, locations and clues to both. It has led me around the galaxy. Sometimes I’ve found useful things…other times nothing was left to find. But one clue brought me to your son. It was a string of numbers that led me to the planet he was on.”
And then she closed her eyes and gave herself briefly to the pain. It was intoxicating.
- Matsu Xiangu likes this
Posted 11 September 2017 - 02:01 PM
- Perth Levov likes this
Posted 12 September 2017 - 12:21 PM
Perhaps if she’d had time to consider what she was about to endure, then nervousness might have set in. But she’d gone from not knowing where she was to being inked in the blink of an eye and besides, she was distracted.
But even those that can call on the Force feel pain, and she could not access the Light side to alleviate that. Not that the sharp instrument caused discomfort when it punctured the skin. It felt more like being scratched.
But most people came here for a single tattoo, or multiple times if the inking was significant. Perth planned to have her body covered from her neck to her toes. Wearing a typical cloak, she would not be recognised as having any tattoos — they would only be visible at her own bidding.
And as her body produced natural pain-dulling hormones, the areas being tattooed became slightly numb. But as the artist moved on, the pain began to come back in waves of varying length and intensity. And the longer the inking continued, the greater the discomfort — for even the body’s pain-reducing hormones begin to run out and fade away after a while.
Preoccupying herself with various distractions was helping, but a part of her brain wanted to feel the pain. The link between the inking and the various pains was going to be important when she came to use them — she somehow knew that innately.
And this mind-set oddly generated a general feeling of euphoria, the pain almost becoming addictive. The pain felt worse where the skin was very thin and stretched — the inner bicep and wrist were some of the most unpleasant. And where the tattoo was most intense, there came a burning feeling — although this was also the sensation as her thighs were being tattooed.
Perth had no idea how long the process lasted — but she would hazard a guess at many hours — and once complete, there was an adrenaline rush that she knew would give way to discomfort as the hours wore on. But she embraced pain as a way to connect with the dark-side and so stood to admire the look of her body. She turned in front of a full-length mirror, unashamed at her nudity — for the tattoos were almost like clothing.
“Onley was definitely the spark, but dark-sided magic was the true inspiration. And the opportunity to be a practitioner in my own unique way.” Her voice was level as she continued to turn and move her body, checking out each and every tattoo.
Then she turned to Malie. “I cannot thank you enough, other than to do your work justice in my own way. They are all as I hoped they would be…perfect in every way.”
And then she listened to the artist and shot a glance at her new Master — her first true Master. She wanted to help, but it was not her place to suggest and certainly not to demand. She suspected she knew Matsu’s answer but dare not overstep her role. But she felt obliged to at least nudge the decision.
“It might represent and excellent opportunity for me to put Malie’s work into practise, no?” And as she spoke, one of the serpents that was tattooed on her back appeared to move. It was subtle, hardly discernible unless you were looking for it, but it definitely coiled tighter around the dagger it surrounded…clearly keen for action.
- Matsu Xiangu likes this