Jump to content

  • Log In with Google Sign In
  • Create Account
Photo

One More Time

- - - - -

  • Please log in to reply
13 replies to this topic

#1
Matsu Xiangu

Matsu Xiangu

    The Haruspex

  • Roleplay Judge
    • Character Bio
  • 2,374 posts
cvCEwep.png
 
“I’m hearing a lot about why this isn’t possible, and not the ways to make it happen.”
 
Her name meant goddess of the sea, and when she wasn’t in earshot they spoke of her as the icy waters of Kamino. Most Sith had a penchant for explosion – heat, rage, uncontrolled fission leading to meltdown. But Matsu was ice, some fathomless deep whose exact nature remained a mystery. It was when she went still that they worried. Her silence was more damning than any outburst. (It brought to mind the thought of what it must be like dying in some arctic ocean, light reflected in prisms through ice floes the last rainbow before being swallowed by the dark.)
 
The man in charge of the crew patching waterlines deeper in the New City took a hard swallow when he saw the little Sith Lady go still.
 
“It’s just that some of the men from down there, they come up from lower levels and steal our equipment...”
 
The Sith blinked – no nod, no shifting in her seat, not even a twitch of her fingers – before responding in a flat, quiet voice. “I can offer more security.”
 
"That would be helpful. But some of my men are starting to fear for more than the equipment. They worry it’s going to be their lives next. It’s just too dangerous down there, more dangerous than I originally thought when the contract was described to me. I’m not sure I ca--”
 
His voice lodged in his throat, hands snapping up at invisible constriction. She hadn’t moved. The only evidence she was doing anything at all was the deep amber of her eyes, the demonic constriction of her features. "A shame," she admonished quietly, though by then darkness was crowding the edges of his vision. The last thing he heard before it took over was the quiet hush of the door to the room sliding open before he fell forward, his face splitting on the conference table. (Something leathery, sinking downwards to some unknown blackness, sliding against his skin, gliding past him. On and on and on it went, great musculature curling around his own. Just as the sun ceased to reach him he saw it – one red eye large enough to blot out everything but fear, watching him as he sank. Minutes passed by. Hours. The hum of pressure against his eardrums steadily gave way to  n  o  t  h  i  n  g  at all. He couldn’t even hear his heartbeat. Hours. Colder. Weightless. When he hit the sand at the bottom he knew silence. It would never end. Here at the bottom he would dissolve – slowly, disintegrating in exactly as much time as it took for her to process him for fuel – and join all the others that made up this sea floor. Back and forth. Back and forth. Little grains looking up and waiting for another pale silhouette to join them.)
 
When he stopped breathing she looked up from his corpse, letting out a sigh. She’d vaguely registered the door opening and she turned her head to see one of her droids glide in, unfazed by the man lying in a heap on the floor.
 
“My Lord, the woman you were expecting - Miss Levov - has arrived.”
 
“Good, send her in,” Matsu said, stretching back in the chair in her suite of offices, rolling the irritation from her shoulders. “And...get someone to send that to the Unit.” She waved her hand dismissively at the dead man on the floor.
 
Perth Levov

matsu.gif

vS7F401.pngW9QmPLt.png


#2
Perth Levov

Perth Levov

    It matters not who I am. My power is all that should concern you

  • Character
    • Character Bio
  • 188 posts

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.

2LQ74cJ.jpg


#3
Matsu Xiangu

Matsu Xiangu

    The Haruspex

  • Roleplay Judge
    • Character Bio
  • 2,374 posts
It was unclear whether Matsu’s penchant for designer clothes, expensive construction choices, or slightly ostentatious taste in most things material was a character flaw. Perhaps it could be said that most Dark Siders had a thing for very specific and unmistakable aesthetics. But where the majority gravitated towards gargoyles, lightning in the sky over a dreadful castle, or some huge monolith of a building somehow sitting in a river of lava...Matsu liked high fashion, something clean and modern. Sure, Maena still had its fair share of lava-rivers. But the Sith Lord wouldn’t hear it said that her choices weren’t the height of taste. Or at least, whoever said something to the contrary wouldn’t be around long enough to repeat it.
 
The man dead for entirely more understandable reasons was dragged out moments before Perth Levov was brought in to Matsu’s suite. It seemed more a place to live than to meet, but she spent enough time there that it seemed prudent to at least be comfortable. 
 
It wasn’t unusual for her son to meet women. In fact, that seemed something he was particular skilled in. Not a power in the Force to be sure, but a talent nonetheless...if you wanted to call it that. Regardless, Onley hadn’t spoken of Levov in terms one might usually expect from him. Instead he’d seemed impressed. It would be good of him to take an apprentice in the Sith Lord’s opinion but he’d insisted Matsu was a better fit, holding knowledge on topics Matsu had chased and practiced for decades. After all - the woman had grown up in a warrior’s culture. She hardly needed Onley’s tutelage in combat. But Matsu’s sorcery…
 
The Atrisian didn’t get up from her desk when the woman was escorted in, though she did put her datapad down and give her full attention. Levov seemed to have a quietly confident way about her that appealed to Matsu, or at least that was the Lord’s first impression. She liked quiet, but she liked it paired with confidence even better. The droid that had escorted Levov glided back out equally as silent as it had come in, leaving the two alone.
 
“Please, sit,” she said, nothing the other woman’s prosthetic with a quirked brow and flashing a cybernetic of her own as she waved an arm to indicate a chair in front of the desk. Regardless of her curiosity, Matsu didn’t snoop unnecessarily with her mentalism. It was a waste of the Force and its drain upon her and besides...it made people boring. Despite wanting to know the story there, they had to get past introductions. Or at least, that’s what propriety dictated. “So, my son tells me you’re a warrior of sorts, but sent you my way because he thinks you’d be better served by learning under me. Why is that?” Of course, she knew the gist. But hearing it from the woman herself would be better - or, at least, exactly what she was interested in, or how much she already guessed and knew.

matsu.gif

vS7F401.pngW9QmPLt.png


#4
Perth Levov

Perth Levov

    It matters not who I am. My power is all that should concern you

  • Character
    • Character Bio
  • 188 posts

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.”

 

Matsu Xiangu


2LQ74cJ.jpg


#5
Matsu Xiangu

Matsu Xiangu

    The Haruspex

  • Roleplay Judge
    • Character Bio
  • 2,374 posts
Truthfully, Matsu liked someone who didn’t immediately pay deference in spades. Of course she expected a certain amount of respect from the get-go. But if Perth Levov had appeared in her office and dropped to her knees in fear, kept her eyes low in submission, wrung her hands while extolling Matsu’s virtues, the Sith Lord would have dismissed her outright. There was something inherently weak about a person who allowed someone else to have power over them just because of a Lord’s title and some dark rumors. The Atrisian did not require subservience. She simply required spine. And that did not seem to be a problem here.
 
If that had made her feel neutral about the prospect, the explanation brought her right in to interested territory. The excitement from the younger woman was not only obvious, but palpable in a sort of pleasantly enveloping way. That she understood there was a price involved boded well. The idea of tattoos as a medium through which to weave her powers...it was not something Matsu had thought of, and that infinitely curious part of her mind wanted to see what would happen. 
 
But she’d been disappointed before. She was no stranger to taking apprentices, some of whom had gone on to do great things for themselves. But the majority had been fallen far short. Some she’d dismissed as they’d floundered, others had left of their own accord realizing the challenge was too great, and some had died along the way. Taking an apprentice was an investment of her time, and one asking to be taught sorcery even more so - closely guarded secrets, knowledge available only to those born to manipulate it. Her son’s endorsement was a point in Levov’s favor, her demeanor and clear interest another.
 
But Matsu had to know.
 
“If those things - interesting, new, terrible things - are to become a reality, I would argue that it is entirely up to you. I appreciate the respect you show me by acknowledging that the choice rests in my hands but before anything else I would like you know that I am...unconventional. If you become my apprentice, I will not control you or act as if you are a glorified slave paid in knowledge, as some do. I would expect you to look after my interests, to be loyal after a fashion, to respect what I ask of you. But in essence I seek to form something symbiotic - we both win. You help me, and I will help you. Disappoint me, and I will leave you behind. So in the end, your success will be entirely your own.”
 
Matsu usually pointed to the Fringe when it came to explaining her absolute adherence to the concept of freedom, both in concrete and abstract terms. But truly, it was probably deeper than that. Natural.
 
Despite her instinct however, she wanted to see whether truly was in touch with the rare gift of sorcery. Standing up from her seat to reveal that she wasn’t all that much taller upright than sitting, she beckoned the girl with her out of her offices.
 
“The use of tattoos to emphasize illusionary powers is something that will be new to me personally though, I’m sure, quite possible. However, the other things you seek are well within my wheelhouse,” the Atrisian explained, moving with a natural grace that might suggest she’d grown up in refinement instead of the streets she’d truly known. Her suite of offices was on Level 1 of 600 in the monstrously-sized New City, looking down an Utapau-like channel until around Level 50 when the city became so built-over and criss-crossed that it was necessary to find other ways in to the underbelly. The view was beautiful and dizzying, glittering and breezy as they moved on to an open terrace-like walkway.
 
“You said that the things you have learned drain you very quickly. While in some way use of the power itself is the primary factor in growing accustomed, there is a way to begin using it without exhausting yourself.” Matsu stopped, leaning a hip against the railing lining the balcony. Crossing her arms in a relaxed way over her chest, she considered Perth. “Now, you must forgive me for this analogy as I am...to borrow your explanation, self-trained when it comes to combat and may be missing the finer points. But you save energy by being precise, directing your momentum, centering yourself. If you run wildly at an opponent, swing your weapon or fists without control, simply seek to drive them in to the earth without thinking - you might win, but more likely you will exhaust yourself and lose. It is much the same when it comes to your power. Of course, you know that intellectually but...how do you become precise with something less concrete?”
 
Matsu rarely talked as much as she did now. But few really possessed the gift, let alone the skill, to control the sorcery. The prospect of someone who might really have it made her excited, her eyes more a dark amber swirl than Perth’s sulphur-yellow. 
 
“Sith gain their power by letting themselves feel emotion. Too often this seems to be translated in to letting them control you, letting them run rampant. You must feel rage, anger, pain, sadness, joy, that...sadism that comes from tasting someone else’s agony. But tell it what to do. Compress it. Make it burn small and white-hot instead of overwhelming.”
 
Matsu maintained her position against the railing though she nodded towards a spot further down it.
 
“Try to make an illusion of me there. Think of how natural combat is - the emotions that make you strong, flowing to make you powerful but not out of control. Same principle. And don’t worry - I won’t be offended if it’s off.”
 
One side of her mouth ticked up in a playful smile.
 
Perth Levov

matsu.gif

vS7F401.pngW9QmPLt.png


#6
Perth Levov

Perth Levov

    It matters not who I am. My power is all that should concern you

  • Character
    • Character Bio
  • 188 posts

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.

 

Matsu Xiangu


2LQ74cJ.jpg


#7
Matsu Xiangu

Matsu Xiangu

    The Haruspex

  • Roleplay Judge
    • Character Bio
  • 2,374 posts
Unlike most abilities granted by the Force, anything possible through sorcery could be performed immediately. All it took was discovering it was within oneself, and having the strength to use it - the latter of which was typically the problem. Tolerance came with time, but some simply couldn’t tap in to the power they’d been given even at the start. A miserable tragedy as far as Matsu was concerned. 
 
However, the illusion that took form in front of her was impressive to say the least. Though there wasn’t any alteration to its form Matsu had not expected such a thing - that would take extra energy, and she had already asked Perth for something rather daunting for someone who’d thus far received instruction only from old tomes and recovered data. It had been a test to be sure and Matsu would have been satisfied, perhaps, with less. But getting more was a welcome surprise. To her, the illusion was only slightly imperfect in small details, but perhaps that was simply because the woman was so used to seeing herself in the mirror. It was - all in all - more than satisfactory. 
 
“Very good,” she murmured. Of course, there were many variables missing from this equation. Perth would not always have a quiet space in which to work, a subject from which to draw direct inspiration from, the luxury of being able to relax while she was thinking. Her background would give her an advantage in battle, but great practitioners of sorcery had been defeated in battle because of the distraction of trying to do both at once. It would take practice and tr-- all the sudden Matsu realized she’d almost agreed to take Levov on already. She’d trained all kinds, but promising mentalists and sorcerers were rare. 
 
But still, the nagging worry about disappointment. She had a lot on her plate. Time was precious to her, now more than ever.
 
“With no formal instruction, that is more than passable,” Matsu finished, pushing off the railing and acknowledging the vision as an illusion. As soon as she recognized it for what it was, it dissipated to mist, damp and glittering in the reflection of neons down below. “Sorcery, when used to craft illusions, is superior to almost anything else as I am sure you have read. Unlike purely mental manipulation, our power can truly hurt, as you mentioned earlier. Not even a computer would be able to discern a sorcerer’s illusion as false. But its one weakness is...truth. The moment your opponent spots the lie, the illusion disappears. So whatever you do must be without flaw, and you must hit hard and fast before they have time to think. When they feel something that should not be real strike them, they will fight for their lives and forget to convince themselves it does not exist.”
 
Matsu paused, considering the options before them. Her expression grew thoughtful, her mind turning to their conversation in her office. Her son’s tattoos… the potential for new, unique use of their sorcery…
 
“I have someone I’d like you to meet further down here in the City. If you are ready, we can go straight away…”
 
Perth Levov

matsu.gif

vS7F401.pngW9QmPLt.png


#8
Perth Levov

Perth Levov

    It matters not who I am. My power is all that should concern you

  • Character
    • Character Bio
  • 188 posts

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. 

 

Matsu Xiangu


2LQ74cJ.jpg


#9
Matsu Xiangu

Matsu Xiangu

    The Haruspex

  • Roleplay Judge
    • Character Bio
  • 2,374 posts
In truth, Matsu hadn’t planned a thing. Unlike many of her kind, she craved spontaneity. It was important to realize that everything you’d built could be knocked down, that it was only by the virtue of mental flexibility that one could truly succeed and outdo their rivals.
 
“Practical, certainly,” Matsu answered, a characteristic near-imperceptible hint of a smile curling one corner of her mouth. The trip deeper in the city served a two-fold purpose, at once introducing the younger woman to the place that Matsu had claimed as her own and would expect Levov to help with, and giving Levov some knowledge and a step forward in exchange. From there, it would be decided whether or not it was a partnership that should continue.
 
Getting down to the 200 Levels was not as difficult as some places, but still required a dizzying amount of lifts, elevators, air-walks, and walking. Matsu had a private vehicle that could take them as low as 50, but beyond that the city was simply too built over itself to allow air traffic to safely get any lower. Below there, sunlight could not reach. The ceilings were solid, the architecture claustrophobic, the place inescapable save for lifts and increasingly difficult public transportation schedules. The City sealed itself below miles and miles of duracrete, as seething as the volcano it used to be. 
 
It was impossible, of course, to truly control a place like this. That was the reason Matsu had fallen in love with it, had gravitated to it like moth to flame. The New City did not care who you were, what you’d accomplished, or the power you held. It was the sort of place that would always challenge her no matter how far she climbed. There was something to be respected in a recklessness like that, in an unstoppable beast of that sort. Regardless, her influence could be seen if one was looking, at least on the top half of the hundreds of levels composing the leviathan. Quiet geisha droids hissed through and along the edges of crowds, perfectly benign in appearance and behavior but hiding a powerful reconnaissance system. They could answer a tourist’s questions as well as report to Matsu every...single...thing they’d seen go on in the underground. Invaluable when one was attempting to press their footprint deep in to Maena’s criminal world. Matsu’s face, mouth moving to words unheard over the din of life, played on an endless loop on a holographic adboard plastered to the side of one of the ceiling-scraper buildings, reminding those on Maena that the Unit was still looking for bright, up-and-coming scientific talent.
 
Having any measure of master-play among the ‘elite’ of that sort of world required staying one step ahead, a ruthless personality, and having the right people at her side. Perth would, most likely, find herself among the right people were this trip to conclude on the same promising note it had started.
 
Level 283 was getting close enough to the territory that the Maenan Security Council advised tourists to avoid that they were nearly non-existent. Even craving danger in their monotonous lives, they weren’t brave - or perhaps stupid - enough to come down here. 
 
Like most other places in the New City, the building that the Atrisian brought Levov in to was plastered in neons. Inside though it was much darker - a strange fact once one’s eyes adjusted to see the chairs aligned through the place, the hundreds of tattoo examples on the wall. Too dark to work, truly. A chime rang out through the place once the two women entered, alerting its proprietor to their presence.
 
From a back room glided a tall, willowy woman with unnaturally long limbs and neck. One might have thought her a Kaminoan hybrid were such a thing possible, though her features were otherwise human, if overexaggerated. But most striking of all were her glassy, milk-white eyes. Completely and utterly blind, she still found and looked at Matsu and her guest with the same precision as if she had perfect sight as she walked gracefully towards them.
 
“Lord Xiangu, to what do I owe the pleasure?”
 
“Perth,” Matsu said, addressing first the woman next to her before responding to the willowy woman. “This is Vident Malie. I first met her on Coruscant, back in my One Sith days when I was Empress of that jewel. She has a..particular talent.”
 
The pale, sightless woman turned her ‘gaze’ on Levov, nodding in confirmation. “Yes, miss. I can...see. If you describe what it is you want, I can see it exactly as you do.”
 
“If you would allow her...I think this is as good a place as any to begin to work on your theories and ideas…”
 
That allowing Vident to put ink under Levov’s skin was required was evident. The commitment to permanence was proof enough of determination. Refusing would mean walking up and tossing away opportunity.
 
“I have a seat right over here for you, miss…”
 
Perth Levov

matsu.gif

vS7F401.pngW9QmPLt.png


#10
Perth Levov

Perth Levov

    It matters not who I am. My power is all that should concern you

  • Character
    • Character Bio
  • 188 posts
Perth wasn’t used to the density of people or buildings. Her background was military and she’d fought in some tight spots but the battlefield was typically open and the number of fighters significant but typically they reduced in numbers quickly.

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.

2LQ74cJ.jpg


#11
Matsu Xiangu

Matsu Xiangu

    The Haruspex

  • Roleplay Judge
    • Character Bio
  • 2,374 posts
Oddly enough, Matsu wasn’t much for talking. It wasn’t to say she didn’t enjoy it. It just seemed not to occur to her. When she needed to she was usually rather good at it - at least, good enough to control the populace of the galaxy’s jewel during her time with the One Sith. She’d  been young then. Not that she wasn’t now she supposed; 41 was hardly ancient, and she found most people had a hard time approximating her age due to the effect of the Dark Side on her anyway. It had served to make her angled, uncomfortably demonic, smooth and excessively pale even for an Atrisian. But she’d been born an observer, a calculating sort of woman who would prefer to watch the cards play and turn them to her advantage rather than force them through being loud and showy. Speech was usually wasted effort. Age had only made her believe that more.
 
Unless of course, you got her talking about something she was passionate about.
 
She hadn’t expected Perth to balk at the idea of beginning her tattoos so soon, but neither had she expected the carefully constructed map of art that the younger woman revealed to Vident.
 
Malie could not see the book in a traditional sense, but all the same the images appeared in her mind. Nor could see truly see the way Perth’s eyes changed as she spoke, but one did not need sight to realize the woman’s passion. It was clear in her voice. She carefully placed her instruments on the table beside her, a master reverent of the care placed in her work required to achieve perfection. 
 
“I can place these on your skin just as you drew them, my lady. But it is for you to give them life. My skill simply replicates them perfectly, so that they will serve you just as you intend,” the woman replied quietly, bowing her head respectfully before indicating to Perth that she might lie back. 
 
For her part, Matsu nodded when Perth spoke directly to her. 
 
“The best,” she answered. And that was true, for Maena at least. There were of course, other places in the galaxy where one could find a tattooist of special skill. But Vident was extraordinary even without the ability to touch the Force, at least not in the sense Matsu or Perth was familiar with. The Lord had often mused whether losing her sight had made Malie more attuned to the power around them in the way that others who lost a sense compensated with stronger hearing or touch.
 
“How does a warrior-woman come to find an interest in esoterica?” she asked her new apprentice quietly. For she’d passed the test, diving in without hesitation. Matsu wasn’t the sort to believe in stereotypes - any combatant could dive deep in the occult. But still, it was always an interesting turn. “You say you found the Force, but you could have used it for anything; to strengthen your skills in battle, augment your strength when you fought. So why this direction?”
 
Vident used a combination of needle and traditional stick tattooing, the whirr of the gun filling the room. “We begin, mistress,” she said quietly to Perth, leaning over intently to her work.
 
“May I?” Matsu asked, leaning forward with one metal hand hovering over the older of the two books Perth had with her.
 
Perth Levov

matsu.gif

vS7F401.pngW9QmPLt.png


#12
Perth Levov

Perth Levov

    It matters not who I am. My power is all that should concern you

  • Character
    • Character Bio
  • 188 posts

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


2LQ74cJ.jpg


#13
Matsu Xiangu

Matsu Xiangu

    The Haruspex

  • Roleplay Judge
    • Character Bio
  • 2,374 posts
What Matsu found most interesting besides Perth’s rare interest in the esoteric was her manner. Clearly she was not out of touch with passion - it swirled in her eyes every time she thought of something that fueled her. But she was...measured, precise, polite and cordial where it was deserved. And not in that insufferable way that Sith spoke to each other in stiff formality. Just simple, relaxed speech that elevated her. It would serve her well. It bespoke of power without proving it through clumsy shows of force as Matsu had seen far too many times from those of her brethren. It would make people listen...or at the very least, realize she was not someone to be trifled with even when she was saying something kind.
 
And while the Atrisian had never been the sort to fight very physically, she understood and identified with Perth’s explanation as well. There had to be something to fight for or they were simply base.
 
A fighter without a cause is nothing more than a barbarian.
She nodded in agreement.
 
“I think Onley would be pleased to know he was an inspiration. I find tattoos quite beautiful myself, but I never understood his fascination. He would most likely find your putting them to use a funny way of proving me foolish,” Matsu said, good-naturedly. Strange… they’d sent Onley away so young. By all rights he should have hated her, should have hated Reverance. But while she sensed that her son felt himself standing on the other side of a divide when it came to his father, he at least respected the man. And she’d grown rather fond of her brash fighter of a son, even if he found every opportunity to tease her. That was, at least, refreshing.
 
By then she’d let the book fall open, spine pressed in to the palm of her hand as the covers pressed to her thumb and fingers. She was not the sort of Sith that put much mysticism and esteem towards the Sith Lords of old, but even she had to feel some sort of awe at holding something that might once had been weighed down by the press of Bane’s hand while writing. He was, after all, a pioneer in the very fields she found most interesting. Flipping through the pages, she found lines of names and locations that Perth had already explored carefully covered over my other pieces of paper. Trismegis’ name lay on a recent page, sparking Matsu’s interest even further. In many ways she considered the system hers though she would never leash it so tightly that it failed to flourish. Had Onley & Perth found the secret buried there?
 
It would have to wait.
Malie sat back.
 
Matsu didn’t realize how long she’d been browsing the book, though she knew Malie worked fast. Closing it gently and placing it down, she turned her attention to the swath of ink now placed underneath Perth’s skin. It seemed to curl with each breath she took, though it was a natural illusion. What would sorcerous life look like curling their its edges? Malie ran a wet cloth over the surface, removing the last of the excess ink from Perth’s skin.
 
For her part, Malie had been touched by Levov’s words. As she had worked - careful, diligent lines placed painstakingly, her canvas’ pain transferred to Malie through the work as part of her gift - she had thought of the thousands of those she had tattooed for one reason or another throughout her lifetime. Many had been kind as well, and it was them she remembered best, for most of her life had been spent either being overlooked or abused due to her strange appearance and seeming weakness. As the whirr of her tools filled the air between the three women, Malie’s fingers pulling skin taut and pressing against hard lengths of muscle beneath flesh to smooth her canvas, she thought…
 
“It is done, Mistress,” Malie said quietly, placing her tools aside to be cleaned and sterilized when her guests had departed. She stood back to her eerily tall, willowy height and stepped aside so that Perth might rise and move to a mirror to inspect her new art. They all looked just as they had been drawn on paper, though on skin they almost seemed to find a personality - a dark strangeness that spoke of portent. 
 
“Mistress, it is not...right of me perhaps, but I must ask something of you. Some men came in here, a week past. They stole from me. Something personal...the sheets on which my Mother wrote down the tenets of our art. I do not believe the thieves knew what they were taking. They were carefully folded within a small chest in which I also stored credits which they no doubt found to be the valuable item. But I myself would not survive attempting to retrieve the sheets. It is not right of me to ask this of you, as beneath you as this task might be but...if you would retrieve those sheets for me, I would gladly perform all future work for you free of charge as often as needed.”
 
Matsu was...surprised to say the least, but reserved her own opinion for the moment, instead watching Perth’s response. Should the younger woman take Malie up on her plea, it would be a way to test the viability of her tattoos. If she did not, they would no doubt find other ways to experiment with them. But what she chose would be interesting in and of itself...
 
Perth Levov

matsu.gif

vS7F401.pngW9QmPLt.png


#14
Perth Levov

Perth Levov

    It matters not who I am. My power is all that should concern you

  • Character
    • Character Bio
  • 188 posts

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


2LQ74cJ.jpg