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To prosper, one must first know struggle. To struggle is to survive, and to survive, is to truly live.

- - - - - Shadowlands Silver Rest Task Force Raider

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#1
Setter Ryburn

Setter Ryburn

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FAR BENEATH SILVER REST

 

 

THE SHADOWLANDS

 

It took some...interesting conversations to get Setter and the Raider prospects where they were now. Setter could've had them do a million things. Line up, run through an obstacle course, this and that. But Setter had a simple objective for the prospects- the ones who were not initially invited to the Task Force, but those who wished to become apart of it. That meant becoming a special forces operator, and that meant having to complete a task. 

 

Some of them were in shape, some of them weren't. Setter wasn't overly concerned with physical fitness at the moment. After all, the fitness aspect would always come with the job, and with time. No, he was looking for qualities internal and external to each prospect. He called them prospects, because they hadn't even made it to the candidate stage. 

 

Being a candidate meant field work, meant missions. He had respect for each of the prospects for coming out- but they needed something more. It was raining, not hard, just softly. Setter wore a poncho, an older camouflage pattern keeping the rain off of his person. He was crouched, as the prospects were lined up. He walked over and turned on a light, illuminating the tree they were under. It wasn't cold, but it wasn't warm either. But he had the prospects in fatigues and t-shirts. Just enough to make them uncomfortable. 

 

Setter crossed his arms, analyzing each of them for a long while, before speaking. 

 

"I will be assessing your ability to think without a paradigm or a clear sense of direction while having an objective. There is no grading scale, there is no pass or fail for this assessment- there is only my word and my choice." 

 

He looked them all over, before continuing, tapping his foot.

 

"You will go into the Shadowlands, and remain with a ten kilometer grid marked by red lights. You go beyond those red lights, there's a good chance not even the best Wookie around could save you from being eaten. Stay within them and the chance is significantly lessened." He walked over, and flipped on a pair of floodlights that illuminated a set of crates near them. There were three distinct stacks. 

 

"There are three crates here, each filled with a different item. You are allowed to take one into the Shadowlands with you. The first crate contains Vibroknives. The second contains night vision, useful to the near-pitch blackness that you'll find in there. The third contains... pistols." He looked at the prospects, before walking back over to his original point in standing. 

 

"Contained within this grid square- is someone you have to find." 

 

He paused, looking around.

 

"Me. When you find me, I will ask you a question. You will then return here, and give the answer to the Task Force member upon your return." 

 

The vagueness he left in that statement was dangerous, if not downright terrifying for some of the prospects. Setter rolled his arms into a crossed shape, and nudged over one of the Raiders. He spoke quietly, before the fatigue-clad Raider nodded. Setter took off, disappearing into the shadowlands as he told the Prospects he would, and the burly Zabrak placed his hands on his hips after Setter spoke to him, facing the prospects.

 

 

His name was Ghorun, and he was known as a mercenary in the Outer Rim. His specialty was machine gunnery and the emplacement of defensive positions. Setter met him while working for the Republic on Coruscant. 

 

Ghorun did not look like the type of man to be crossed.

 

"You will have five minutes to pick your article that you are taking into the Shadowlands with you. Pick wisely."

 

Ghorun walked over to stand where Setter stood, crossing his arms. In the same manner that Setter did. One could wonder if one was copying the other, and who learned what from who in that regard. Ghorun said nothing directly to the prospects... letting them make their own choice, and offered no input.

 

Thirdas Heavenshield l Amon Vizsla


Edited by Setter Ryburn, 10 July 2019 - 08:58 PM.

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#2
Thirdas Heavenshield

Thirdas Heavenshield

    The Black Lion

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It has been a hugely busy and exciting time in Thirdas' life since his arrival on Kashyyyk and the Silver Rest. Upon arriving alongside his guide Nida Perl he was overcome with a plethora of sights, smells, and other sensations he'd never thought possible. He saw incredible alien species even the most vivid imagination could not come up with, all of them interacting with one another and their surroundings as if all were one people. There were many wearing robes of various sorts, and Thirdas assumed they were members of the Jedi from what he'd learned from his parents. There was no snow in sight, and he had yet to encounter any thus far. Instead there was lush green as far as the eye could see, and then there was the heat! Going from freezing tundras to tropical jungles was probably not the wisest move, yet he'd learned to cope with it.

 

Mostly due to having snuck into the nearest cold storage to cool off whenever given time off.

 

His induction into the Ranger programme started just a few days following his arrival, and he received his personal bunk alongside two dozen others around his age in the large sleeping quarters, one of many within the barracks of the military complex. He felt terribly out of place, watching all the other recruits and how familiar they seemed to be with this modern world of advanced technology available at every turn. Made him feel rather silly carrying around his trusty handaxe of such rustic but sturdy design, but he would not part with it for the world. Nor his other items from home.

 

Once boot camp got underway in earnest Thirdas found himself truly in his own element, out-performing many of his comrades where physical effort was concerned. Those who had mistaken him for just another Human were soon told otherwise when they saw him lifting several pieces of heavy equipment on his own, while others struggled with just the one even in pairs. While the Valkyri race had somewhat become the stuff of legend in Silver circuits in the decades following his father's departure as Grandmaster, few had ever actually met one in the flesh before. Besides, the name Heavenshield was known to all, though this not did give him any get-out-of-jail-free cards with the officers.

 

He'd received an invitation by one of his instructors the day before, informing him that he'd been selected for a "special nighttime exercise". He didn't learn the true purpose of this exercise until at the scene.

 

"Knife, night vision, gun," he repeated in his head as the other prospects approached the containers, taking their pick. Which would serve him the best? In the end it became a rather easy choice as he already knew knives and blades like the back of his hand, foregoing the perception of night vision and personal safety of the pistol. A good knife could do a great many things other than mere killing when one needed to survive in the outdoors.

 

Thirdas eyed the horned humanoid; a no-nonsense mean-looking guy by the looks of it. He tried not to stare but the Zabrak was yet another species he'd yet to encounter til now.

 

Then people began disappearing into the wilds, with Thirdas trying not to follow anyone but rather stick to his own path in the dark unknown. It wasn't called the Shadowlands for nothing, however for the moment Thirdas simply found himself a hidden spot where he could take a moment to enjoy the cool rain for once. A big green leaf had gathered enough rainwater to drink from, and so he journeyed off again into the darkness.

 

Setter Ryburn | Amon Vizsla


Edited by Thirdas Heavenshield, 12 July 2019 - 05:41 AM.

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#3
Setter Ryburn

Setter Ryburn

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It could become clear, thanks to his atunement to the force, that Thirdas Heavenshield was being watched. Watched very closely. And very thoroughly. In reality, there was a presence, very close to him. In fact, close enough to touch him, it felt like... but it wasn't malignant. Not malicious in intent. As if just passively watching him, for the moment. To say it wasn't unnerving at the least, was a lie. 

 

As Thirdas continued to walk, there was- in the intense darkness, a soft green light. It flickered, only once. It was far, far away- but in that darkness, any sort of light discipline breaking meant that you could be spotted from a great distance away. The green light flickered for a short while, then died out again. 

 

As soon as the light flickered, Thirdas could hear a snap several hundred meters away- 

 

And then a soft scream, which was quickly silenced. 

 

Thirdas was not alone.

 

Thirdas, as he walked- could see a few distinct markings of someone passing. Two sets of footprints, one leading Northwest- heavy in their footfall. The other, to the North- was light, and did not look to have the brutish way of walking as the first set. In the rain and mud, it was impossible to completely cover one's tracks. But there were ways to subvert it, when walking.

 

But- 

 

Without night vision, it would prove difficult for Thirdas to identify such.

 

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He picked a good spot, he thought. Nice and cozy. It was under a fallen tree. Setter checked his watch, humming to himself. He folded his hands on his knees, listening to the rain fall. He wondered which prospect would reach him first. Not that it mattered, who got to him first. He waited patiently, truthfully eager to see how they would answer his question. 

 

 

 

Thirdas Heavenshield

 


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#4
Thirdas Heavenshield

Thirdas Heavenshield

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It seemed at every turn there were the faint sounds of the jungle watching him, with russling of leaves and snapping of twigs, and he did not know whether these were predators or simply other recruits just as lost as he were. He wasn't foolish enough to call out and make sure, instead relying on his nighttime eyesight passed down from his mother; he'd never really had to rely on it until now, and even he was astounded how well he could make out certain silhouettes in such complete darkness. He now realised the truth behind her ability to see things few others could, and could not help but think to himself how ironically fitting it was that his father, who lacked one eye, had someone like her to lean on.

 

When he heard that scream and its sudden silence, Thirdas instinctively hugged the ground, eyes scanning his surroundings. While lying there in the mud and rain he figured he might as well remove his already ruined shirt, rolling it up and tie it around his waist; no doubt his commanding officer would chew him out for losing official Ranger clothing otherwise. He then grabbed several fistful of mud to smear all over his torso, front and back, as well as his face, caking it on until he was barely recognisable. He needn't worry about the cold as he'd lived in far worse temperatures all his life. Funny - for once he was free to roll around in the mud without anyone disapproving. Or think him touched. It felt strangely liberating.

 

Rather than follow the more open paths, Thirdas kept to the thicker bush in case someone would be laying a trap for the unwary, be they man or beast. He could not however shake the feeling that someone, or something, was watching his every step, as if right next to him.

 

Using his vibroknife he cut through the worst vegetation, such as any thorned bushes hindering his advance, but kept the noise down to a minimum. Hopefully the rain hitting the ground and leafwork would mask it well enough. Each step of the way he could feel his heart beating from the sheer adrenaline, constantly keeping him on his toes. This was what he'd been lacking all his life. Surviving any hardships, against any odds. Knowing each step, each action, could be your last. A sensation likely owed to the blend of Corellian recklessness and Valkyri lust for battle.

 

Happening upon the two sets of tracks, one larger and heavier and the other smaller and lighter, Thirdas thought about the mission he'd been given. Find that other instructor. Would he have left heavy or light footprints? Assuming either of these belonged to him at all.

 

To Thirdas, it seemed that the heavier tracks would be far easier for someone to find than the lighter, making them far more suspicious in his mind. As if being left there on purpose. So, instead he decided to follow the latter, still not stepping on the path but instead through the bush beside it. He had to hurry, lest the rain shower away what little indications there were. Fortunately he could tell he was tracking them in the right direction, meaning if he could keep up the momentum they would not fade away.

 

Setter Ryburn


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#5
Setter Ryburn

Setter Ryburn

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The noise was not what lead Thirdas to being tracked, so easily. It was the marks that he left. It was hard enough to track someone through the thick underbrush of the jungle- but someone cutting leaves, leaving fingerprints in mud, that was easier to track than someone carefully measuring their footsteps. 

 

He was being watched, very carefully. 

 

The lighter set of tracks was seemingly the right way to go... at least, for now. The tracks continued on for a long while, which no doubt Thirdas could follow, before they suddenly stopped. Where could the tracks have gone? It was an open area, a clearing where moss had overgrown the soil, making it nigh impossible to further track footprints. The eerie sensation of Thirdas being watched was ever prevalent, more importantly- he could tell he was being tracked just as much he was tracking someone... 

 

 

 

 

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Setter rolled his hands up, as a message came over the comm unit attached to his wrist. The kid was doing the best, by far. The other prospects were doing fine- save for the one who fell into a snare, and another who broke the light discipline that Setter had so strictly enforced. 

 

He smiled, musing to himself if any of them had figured out that this was more than an exercise of find-the-teacher....

 

More like stay alive. 

 

He gave the order. 

 

Press the prospects. Make them shake you or break you. They get too wild, put 'em down- but don't kill them. The Silvers already don't like us enough. 

 

 

 


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#6
Thirdas Heavenshield

Thirdas Heavenshield

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He felt he was on the right track. That is, until said tracks just stopped altogether. "Another bait?" he asked himself, somewhat at a loss for what to do next. He thought for sure he would at least find something by the end of it.

 

And something was definitely following him. By now even someone not attuned to the Force could tell as much. Thirdas was tired of running about aimlessly in the jungle. Where he comes from, one does not run from a threat. You face it.

 

So he decided his mission to find this instructor was put on hold, as his more immediate objective instead focused on either shaking or eliminating whatever is stalking him. He needed a good vantage point, and, being Kashyyyk, there were always plenty of tall trees around. Thirdas had always been a good climber, and so he began his ascent, using whatever sturdy branches he could find while resorting to stabbing the bark with his vibroknife where there was none to pull himself up. He figured the noise of the rain would again mask his ascent, and once a good ten meters above ground he stopped, found a good perch where he blended into the wood, pressing up against the trunk.

 

From here he would closely eye his surroundings, taking note of any movement below. If someone followed him, the most likely direction they would be coming from would be from behind, yes? At least he felt fairly certain they were not in front of him. "Could really use my rifle right about now," he said to himself. Its advanced scope would've easily picked out lifeforms hiding in the thick bush. Instead, Thirdas tried something new. His father's words spoken in his youth came to mind: "Feel, don't think."

 

His pulse slowed as he breathed in and out, slowly and calmly. He crossed his legs where he sat upon the thick branch. With an action which might seem contradictory to his want to locate his stalker, he then closed his eyes. "You can do this..." Somehow, he could feel his mind become detached from the physical realm, tapping into that ever-present, spiritual power which held many names. The Beorni called it "the Spirits", the Aelvar called it "the Frostvatn". But his mother and father called it "the Force".

 

Time seemingly slowed, as in his mind he could now sense the world around him. Its countless creatures, and their precise whereabouts. It was a strenuous process for one so untrained in the ways of the Force, but he could just barely make out one larger signature. Walking on two legs, blending into his environment as if it were a second skin. Thirdas opened his eyes, his spirit now filled with clarity. Without a sound he slipped off his branch and slid down the side of the tree in a show of incredibly agility, and as he hit the ground he brandished his knife by its blade.

 

"I see you." And the vibroknife sailed through the air until embedded inches away from his camouflaged stalker.

 

Setter Ryburn


Edited by Thirdas Heavenshield, 13 July 2019 - 05:39 AM.

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#7
Setter Ryburn

Setter Ryburn

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The reason Thirdas didn't see him earlier was for a simple reason- he wasn't looking up. 

 

Predators- apex ones, specifically, grew to be the pinnacle of death in their food chain. Thusforth, they didn't look up. Only winged creatures looked up, and they had wings so that they could run. 

 

The stalker in question was Sergeant Barn, a former mercenary, and before that- a member of the Republic's special forces arm, specifically in Havoc Squad. Sergeant Barn fully opened his eyes, the whites of his eyes coming to in the darkness. He ran through the kid's profile in his head. Who his father and mother were, where he was from. It wasn't hard to figure out how he found him. If he looked hard enough, he would've. But- he did something else. Something that not a lot of people could prepare for. 

 

Setter told him not to prepare for that contingency. 

 

Kid was big, but he could move. 

 

But he telegraphed a lot. Made a lot of movements before he attacked him. 

 

Which is why Sergeant Barn had a laser pointed at Thirdas' chest- not a weapon. Just a laser pointer. Made a point that if he did have a weapon, all the movements and talking would've gotten him shot by a competent enemy.

 

"Next time, talk less."

 

Sergeant Barn squinted again, the black and gray facepaint-adorned face of his disappearing into the inky shadows of the Shadowlands. For now, Thirdas had to track down Setter without footprints. Sergeant Barn seemed to disappear, and his signature mixed in with the encroaching darkness of the Shadowlands. To say that things were...different down in the Shadowlands was an understatement- even the force down here was murky. 

 

But now, Thirdas has a different problem- he was standing in moss. No footprints... Thirdas would have to find a different way to track a man through the intense underbrush now. 

 

Thirdas Heavenshield


Edited by Setter Ryburn, 13 July 2019 - 04:25 PM.

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#8
Kat Kenrid

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Kat was not the most heavily experienced individual, but she knew enough. The few years she did have of training with the woman that saved her life, at least made her a skilled enough bounty hunter to hold her own. A skilled enough warrior. But there was a discovery, a possible goal, a meaning she could gain beyond just running around and shooting people with bounties on their heads. A task force, teamwork, companions, friendship, goals.

 

A Falleen, generally known as attractive due to their features but particularly pheromones. Not something she bothered to hide, wearing clothing still covering enough to be useful but which was tight and which did have some revealing aspects. Just enough that she knew how to either appear to blend in, or to stand out, as she pleased. And easily covered up by a leather jacket. She found her abilities as a Falleen however convenient, just as much if not more then her combat skills. They were a bit more practiced after all.

 

Normally, she'd have worn her mandalorian armor if she expected to fight. As it was however, they wouldn't be tested by the equipment, but by their abilities. She crossed her arms and listened as the man began to explain their challenge more fully. He offered them pistols, night vision or vibro-daggars. Pistols were almost certainly a no if daggers were on the table. Her physical combat skill was definitely one of he greatest combat trait due to her dexterity and pain endurance. Though, night vision seemed to be particularly useful. But, on the other hand, she'd always had a rather keen intuition. In truth this was partially a result of her force sensitivity aiding her senses and mind, but that was not what she was aware of.

 

However the man continued, they had to find someone. Apparently him, and he dashed off, she almost sprinted off after him immediately but there was more to be mentioned. Five minutes the man said. Ok. She grabbed Night Vision, if the people here became her enemies, she could handle most of them who chose daggers. Though if they chose pistols, it did pose a problem. But sight was far more important then anything else, with that, she could make her way easily through the place and take a dagger if she ended up in a close enough fight.

 

She moved swiftly, she remembered the path he took originally, and with the night vision and what she'd learned from the woman who taught her, she'd be able to read the mud tracks much more easily. If he chose the route of vegetation, she could see the broken branches, and as a result would also be able to pass through more easily. And due to being so light, she herself wouldn't make much noise. Her green skin also further helped her blend in.

 

There were people ahead of her, and around. But many ended up on different tracks. Some trying to follow partners it seemed. Others trying stalking methods. She kept along her route at her own pace. But glanced around to ensure she wasn't also being followed as well. She'd get the eventually, it was just a matter of time. Likely, not that much time.

 

Setter Ryburn

Thirdas Heavenshield