The Talay IncidentCIS
Posted 27 July 2019 - 11:33 AM
An alert had come across the data pad as Hevn had been milling through the Confederacy archives. It was important to learn their history and the history of the men and women who fought for it. His attention shifts from the files and his ever growing bank of notes to the incoming message. The lady Knight Commander has issued a summons for details of an upcoming mission. He was to report to her office at once as the matter was of critical urgency.
His efforts on Tanaab had left a bitter taste on his tongue. It wasn’t failure or any feeling he could control that gnawed on his nerves. It was the impact he knew he could bring to build confidence in Alkor’s recommendation. In as elevated a position as Alkor found himself in, he felt it was a duty to honor him and the welcome given to a fellow Jen’jidai. Whatever Hevn could do to assist his new home, he would gladly rise to do so.
The only impression he had of Madalena Antares was the first hand experience of the summit. Dutifully guarding the room alongside Alkor. Hevn had not been anywhere near her during Tanaab following that, but it would seem she was already on top of the next possible threat. Vigilance is an admirable quality. Without it, the shadows command us, rather than we them. Hevn was thrilled to experience the power and skill that must rival that of his brother to hold her station, and thus his own.
Upon arriving within the lobby of her office a droid whirls off to alert the Knight Commander of Hevn’s arrival. He was moments away from meeting one of the wheels that kept this machine turning.
Posted 27 July 2019 - 02:48 PM
Madalena leaned back in her chair and blinked, looking at the large office around her. She had requested a big one, and received it, when she'd been appointed to Knight Commander. And now it lay before her, mostly empty save for a few things that she had collected mostly out of emotional baggage and less because of need. Truth be told, there was nothing she actually needed that mandates a big office like that. Most of the time she wasn't even in it, preferring to lead her missions almost always from the front. The infirmary knew her face well by now, and she'd even purchased all the employees there gift baskets for last Life Day, from her own personal pocket.
Looking back down, she stared at the stack of papers and datapads that lay before her.
A motherkrakking soul sucking stone. She'd assumed such a thing existed, that there was more than one of it that was in this realm, yet she'd never thought it would take this little bit of time before she ended up stumbling into one, and during her work, no less. She hadn't actually physically stumbled into it… Which, really, was a blessing, considering what it did.
But it could also not be left unchecked. Of all the other things that had arrived on her desk that day, there was no doubt that this was the most urgent. Urgent enough that she unloaded the rest of the paperwork to the droids, and set to personally scan over the Knights Obsidian's personal files to find someone to grab for the mission.
Most of the time, Madalena had little trouble collecting a group. But today… Today, of all days, was a low availability day. Those who had the years of experience, the ones she was used to seeing in mission after mission, were entire solar systems away and would not be making it on time. Of the new ones… She sighed. Many green ones, with little experience, who would be more of a liability than a…
Glowing green eyes looked at the file of one of the Mandragora. A Bedrovelse Hevn. She did not know the man, not personally, but she had seen him fight at the arena not too long ago. He was an admirable fighter – both he and Knight Commander Centaris were much better physical fighters than Madalena was in her current body. She was once one of them… Yet he transition from her sister's body into her current one had also brought her back into what she originally and naturally was – a Sith Sorceress, whose physical prowess was mostly to be used for self-defense. At any other time, it was the Force that she relied on, sometimes too heavily. But yes. He would do. Someone that good at physical battle would be great to compliment her own abilities, and give her a chance to see what it was about him that had made Knight Commander Centaris choose to show him off in front of Golbah City.
The summon was immediate, as time could not be wasted. One of the many droids that the Confederacy had to offer for both its leadership and civillians was already packing some of her weapons, info and communication devices, and more, as she received the notification that Hevn had arrived.
Immediately, the man was let into the room, where Madalena was sitting behind her desk, her glowing green eyes taking him in.
"Mandragora Bedrovelse," she smiled, and motioned to the chair across her, "please, have a seat." Snapping her fingers, a small droid wheeled in, bringing a tray of various non-alcoholic drinks and refreshments. "I apologize for the urgency, but the time we have to waste is limited right now. I need a right hand to come with me to Talay to take care of an artifact that may be causing more trouble than ignoring it is worth."
Sighing, she hit the button on her holoprojector, and the stone, which she'd decided to call the Soul Sucking Stone in her head, came into view.
"We know that those who come near this stone suffer some form of a Force Drain. Yet unlike most Force Drains on record, this one is much more violent and brutal. And this is where we come in," Madalena continued, "I am a Sith Sorceress. You, I have seen fight. I would normally pick someone with a little more experience within the Knights Obsidian, but the urgency necessitates this. Essentially, this could be your moment in the sun, if you're up for it. And if you're not, I would rather you tell me, because I'd rather come back with my team intact, and without any corpses for the funeral pyres."
The beeping of her datadevice caught her attention and she held a finger up for a moment, glowing green eyes scanning the file to see what it was about.
Another Mandragora - Vytal Noctura, was tagged as available for the mission. A handful of lines referring to her expanding the Mandragora along with more witchie sisters, but what caught her attention with that one was a recommendation left in by her sister - Scherezade deWinter. Madalena frowned. She knew of her sister's distaste for the Mandragora, and the reason for it. For there to be positive feedback in the file... It held weight. Plus, the woman had been part of the trio that saved one of their planets from a curse, and on top of that she was available today as well. Summons to her were sent out as well. She could re-do the mission pitch.
Madalena looked back up at Mandragora Bedrovelse.
Edited by Madalena Antares, 27 July 2019 - 10:42 PM.
- Bedrovelse Hevn likes this
Posted 27 July 2019 - 10:37 PM
Hevn’s proud form stares down at her momentarily before offering a rigid bow. “You honor me Knight Commander.”
His icy blue eyes spark with excitement as the holo projects a soulstone! Being a sorcerer himself, he was well studied on matters such as artifacts. After taking a hasty seat his massive frame leans forward toward it, inspecting every detail.
“They....exist! I’ve studied such objects with great passion my entire life. If what you say is true then we need a plan. A force drain of that caliber is likely not a dark side nexus, but a Wound in the force. This thing would be killing both the sentient and sea life on Talay with extreme prejudice.”
He was an ideal candidate for such a dangerous task. The nature of his very existence meant that the force fed into him almost constantly. It was likely that the soul stone would severely weaken his connection to the force, but his wealth of the power meant he would be slow to die simply of his presence. His capacity for pain and ability to sustain damage and keep ticking was top notch. Madalena was wise to select him.
“Are you capable in magics that can contain or destroy such energy fields? Otherwise I would strongly advise force nullification measures, Knight Commander.”
He bows his head again, in gratitude for hearing him out before returning his gaze toward the stone. Thoughts and calculations churning like a machine.
Posted 27 July 2019 - 11:09 PM
One did not just stop in the middle of a ritual. Vytal had clenched her teeth after she finished channeling the Force into a stable vortex of power. Her fingers jabbed at a console after setting foot outside of the ritual chamber. A message requesting her immediate presence before the Knight Commander appeared. What in the Winged Goddess' embrace could be so important, the Nightsister fumed internally. Obviously they were not under attack, or their own fortress would have felt the tremors. Had Vytal not completed the ritual she'd been performing there very well might have been a tremor the good Commander had felt.
Vytal didn't bother glowering at the young Sister that had delivered the 'urgent' message. The tongue lashing she'd provided moments ago would suffice. She recalled perhaps doing something similar when she was a child. Some in the Mandragora were too old for such foolishness, but they would soon learn. Perhaps the Commander had yet to see fit to appoint Pomsty or herself as the leader of this coven, but they would prove their worth. Of course the current Mother -- or leader -- could always step aside. It was an option among Offworlders. Killing her to assume command would be frowned upon, however, even by Vytal herself. Sent the wrong message. Perhaps they could demonstrate more productive results and earn the Commander's ear... Yes, that was Vytal's current thought.
So, with that in mind, the Nightsister's countenance improved as she strode out of the fortress of dark sorcery.
Until she arrived at the Knight Commander's office after passing through her outer chamber. Vytal's bright gaze fell upon Hevn, one of the male 'Warlocks' of their order. Truly, she was doing whatever she could to adapt to the Offworlder cultural concepts that did not run afoul of the Nightsisters. It was still... unusual to find men performing rituals, but it was becoming more familiar with time. "Knight Commander Antares," Vytal announced herself upon entering and closing the door in her wake. With Hevn there her thoughts turned back to the matter of why she had been summoned. And she did find his presence more captivating than the Commander's eyes. What Sister hadn't seen glowing green eyes before? Although, Vytal had the pleasure of knowing another woman with everpresent glow. Curious.
"Mandragora Hevn." She would not overlook his presence. Titles had yet to be fully addressed, but was a matter under consideration among outsiders. Whether the Commander truly was an outsider remained to be seen, however; the woman was a sorceress, after all. If she had true talent, the Mandragora would not spurn her for her larger role among the Knights.
Vytal strode up to the desk where a holograph of a stone spun in place. A matter of some mystical nature then, Vytal deduced. Difficult to ascertain what it with just an image, however; she expected the details would follow soon enough. "An object of power?" She hazard a guess to not play a passive role apparently late to the meeting. Best ignore that detail and forge ahead.
Edited by Vytal Noctura, 27 July 2019 - 11:10 PM.
Posted 28 July 2019 - 01:47 AM
Madalena looked quietly at Mandragora Bedrovelse as he looked at the holoimage and became excited, speaking of having studied such things his entire life. She nodded with a smile, having expected less from someone of the Mandragora ranks. Both them and the Archivists were nearly made to do just that- and she herself had been an Archivist for a brief period of time. Their collaboration was almost as natural as breathing.
Though now that he mentioned it, she did suddenly remember – the Flesh Stone. Once they were back from this mission, she was going to have to remember to assign him on that little project. It would definitely be much safer than the mission they were about to embark on.
He recommended nullifying powers. Madalena tapped her fingers against the table for a moment, before at last shaking her head. "Dealing various damage is my specialty," she admitted at last, "I can conjure a mean Protection Bubble, but if the stone is with me in the bubble when I cast it, it will sap me quickly, and efficiently." But… But that meant that something else could be done? "If I cast it over someone else, they will be trapped with it, but we will not be able to touch it from the outside."
The door opened, and the second Mandargora was let in. Madalena looked up at the woman with another smile and nod, "Welcome, Mandragora Noctura," before motioning for her to grab a seat. She saw tee Dathomiri's eyes taking in the holoimage, understanding on a basic level what the thing was. An object of power.
"Yes," she answered, "one that we will need to either contact or destroy. This objective performs a very violent version of Force Drain upon those who get too near. It's taken countless of victims thus and its power is growing."
With a sigh, Madalena leaned back in her chair, "it could be extremely valuable in our hands. It could be an immense danger to us and to the galaxy at large in the wrong hands. If we cannot find the way to control it, we must destroy it. Both of you have experience – but not much of it with the Knights Obsidian. Rather, it is the life you had before that, which makes you a potential asset to this mission. I've given Mandragora Bedrovelse the opportunity to bow out earlier, and now I give you the same, Mandragora Noctura. I would prefer that if you believe you might not be a help on this mission, to not join it. I would much rather not bring corpses back with me. If you don't join, none of you will be judged for it, and none of you will be reprimanded for it. I give you my word on that."
Sitting straight again, she looked to the two, "If you have questions, now is the time. If not, we shall meet at the dockyard two hours from now. The coordinates will be sent to you directly."
- Bedrovelse Hevn likes this
Posted 28 July 2019 - 10:53 PM
“If I....conjure armor of the force, while you cast your bubble over me it will be trapped in the neutral zone between our combined will. My body and strength should be sufficient to bear the burden of its transportation and security.” His train of thoughts were focused entirely on the specifications of the mission and every cell in his brain was dedicated to strategizing. It wasn’t until Mistress Vytal probed the reaches of his peripheral that he noticed her arrival. His excited gaze shifts from the Knight Commander, to the Dathomiri witch.
He was coming to respect the mannerisms of the Nightsister in a new light. She showed a maturity and composure in dealing with Bedrovelse that was about as close to considerate as the Dathomiri could probably manage. This was no fault of her own, simply the nature of her upbringing and the shadow that cast over her perception of a galaxy much larger and more complicated than the clans could have prepared her for. Time was helping them see the value in one another’s presence inside the Mandragora’s ranks, and Hevn saw this as an opportunity to build those bonds up stronger.
He stands from his seat, and offers Vytal a nod of acknowledgment, mimicking her greeting rather softly as his brain contained to swim through an ocean of possibilities. “ Mandragora...Mistress Vytal.” He paused for a moment considering which title to use, deciding to correct his words in the fashion of those the witch had chosen for introduction. He suspected her rank as a witch meant more to her than her rank within the Confederacy, and that being a Knight meant little to her other than moments like these. When magic belched out of places it should not be! A soul stone had no business on Talay and he looked forward to discovering whatever madness had been unleashed upon a planet of scientists and fishermen.
Hevn’s usual scowl returned as a taxation of his racing thoughts. Jabbing a comm button in his forearm, he addresses the crew of his ship.
::Hevn to Roarshen Alpha, do you copy?::
The Shistavanen responded with his usual bark of irritation.
:: I’m transporting the cargo, Hevn, can’t it wait a minute?::
Hevn’s response is cold and firm.
::No. I require Phtansmagoria and the Gauntlet at once. Remove them from the reliquary and bring them to my quarters. Tell Mad Claws to prepare any available information of the planet Talay, and have him send me the communications logs from the last planet’s last calendar month. ::
The bark turned into a growl of static, and finally an answer.
::As you wish, my Lord.::
He offers the Knight Commander a rigid bow while the data pad on his wrist beeps from input. He sets a timer for two hours. He was unsure if it would be adequate for preparation, but it was all the time they could afford to waste.
“I am delighted to make your acquaintance Knight Commander, and more so to be of assistance to you. I will rendezvous on your mark in two hours.”
With a final glance towards each of them, his long legs carry him marching swiftly away.
Madalena AntaresVytal Noctura
Posted 29 July 2019 - 07:42 AM
Vytal appreciated the man's consideration for her position. Though she'd never mentioned how she'd adopted the title 'Mistress' ont he spot when they'd first met. She'd been as new as he to the Mandragora; not that she let on. Pomsty hadn't thrown any objections at the time either. Likely a Sisterly consideration. Or perhaps just her expectation Vytal would measure up before formalities had occurred. Either way, she held no regret and felt her experience warranted recognition -- she had her pride, after all.
As to Hevn himself, the Nightsister had conducted herself amicably all things considered. He was not a Nightbrother, and the Offworlders had men using magick... these are indisputable facts and like other facets of her interaction with this larger world she would adapt. Though that wasn't to say that uncomfortable 'tickle' between the shoulder blades didn't surface now and again. Preconceptions didn't change over night.
Now, she did find his interaction with his crew amusing, not that she let it show. It was good to see the other side of the man from time to time. Long as he didn't try that on Vytal herself. Someone that would be willing to demand the world from others when the situation called for it, and not be so swept up in giddy anticipation he overlooked the dangers all around him. All that being said, Vytal preferred dealing with the knowledge-hungry Hevn in everyday interaction.
After the man had left, Vytal's attention turned to the Knight Commander. "With both Mandragora Hevn and myself you will have the full command of the Force and mystical arts. We will not fail you," she replied at last to the woman's concern.
"I do have two questions, Commander. First, do we know of any adversary that is already aware of this Stone?" As any details would help prepare for their intrusion. "And second, would there be room for more on whatever craft we will take?" The more of her Sisters that came, the stronger the magick at their disposal. Given the environmental conditions, however, space might be short. Either way, Vytal would make do. She simply didn't see the reason not to bring overwhelming force should it be an option.
As for the mission parameters -- to recover or destroy -- there was no doubt which Vytal desired; and she expected Hevn would want the same. A source of power in their possession was far better than one destroyed. But the Commander was right, destroyed was better than in the hands of their enemy.
With a few simple questions answered, Vytal smiled, bowed her head, and departed the room with a respectful, "We will meet again at the appointed time, Knight Commander." There were preparations to make. Supplies to be gathered. They would do whatever it took to secure this Stone.
Tag: Madalena Antares | Bedrovelse Hevn
Posted 02 August 2019 - 09:43 AM
The combination of a force armor and a force bubble at the same time was… Interesting. The theory put forth by Mandrgora Bedrovelse sounded right to Madalena's ears, though she wondered… "Get us a few live subjects we can experiment on while we travel there," she said, "if we can make it work on a small scope, it might work in a bigger one."
Quietly, she looked at him as he communicated with his crew, curious as to what the Phtansmagoria and the Gauntlet were. With such names, she hoped it was something as equally interesting. Still though, it would appear that time would tell. There was not much to add besides a friendly nod and a smile, and then the Knight Commander focused her attention on the Dathomiri.
"If anyone else is actively after it, we don't know about it yet," she answered truthfully. The idea that no one else was, was one that she was uncomfortable with. After all… "But we will operate as though there are, because the stone was active for at least a few days before we got to it.If smugglers, bounty hunters, or even rogue Sith who want to make a name for themselves don't know about it yet, I'll be surprised."
The question of the ship size, however, caught her by surprise. It was their first time meeting and although Madalena had met Dathomiri before, Mandragora Noctura was the first that traveled with other Nightsisters.
"I intended on taking a small ship," she admitted, "but if you need more space…" An Obsidian Knight that had her own squad – unofficially within Knight Obsidian. It was one of the things, she supposed, that you got when your own army of Forcies had people that came from so many different cultures. But, she saw no reason not to allow it. "How many?" "Four." "There will be space for all. Cramped, but you needn't leave any of them behind."
Once they were done and Mandragora Noctura left as well, Madalena got up and packed her emergency bag. There were two hours, yes, but these were not enough to go home. Quck messages were sent, to her sister first so she would know to come take the Loth Wolf and the duck, and then to Cardinal, to let him know she would be gone on a mission for a few days.
It was a day later when the ship Madalena had acquired for the group's mission broke through Talay's atmosphere, and landed a few miles away from the location of the soul sucking stone. They all had the gear; armor, weapons, anything else they needed from the Confederacy, and anything they had brought on their own.
Additionally, she'd brought a Nullification Resin with her to make sure they could actually carry the stone in the event that it would not be destroyed.
Looking to the sky, Madalena sighed. Even from several miles away, she could feel a certain allure, almost as if the stone was calling to her. It was only thanks to the experience she'd gathered over the past year that she knew better than to follow its sweet call; a younger version of herself would have completely fallen for it.
"We're about a mile off from where the ring of effect begins," she said as she stretched out on the ramp, trying to ignore the levels of humidity the area had, "while we were en-route, a small group of pirates made the attempt to get the stone. Nothing remains of them now but empty shells that I'm sure we'll see when we venture deeper into the territory."
Posted 05 August 2019 - 10:10 AM
Hevn steps down behind Madalena. The itch to sweat nags at his synthetic flesh and spreads like a disease quickly over his body. The Knight Commanders mention of pirates was cause for humor to him. “The fools. I don’t feel anything out here.” The signs of life are completely desolate. They were facing total annihilation. He could see why Madalena had issued her dire warning. This was not for the faint of heart and it would be a great honor to succeed.
His preparation included grabbing his two most powerful magic items. A gauntlet belonging to C’thulu Plaga, that gave Hevn’s cyborg body the ability to wield energy based force powers and was a major focus used in his magic. Phantasmagoria is a possessed Sith sword in the style of a katana. The powerful spirit within the blade invokes a terrible bloodlust in the wielder while enhancing their killing power. A tool Hevn controls and manipulates to enhance his mystical power and endurance.
He was ready. Always ready. Finishing his descent his attention turns toward the witches of Dathomir. Mistress Vytal seemed fond of her entourage and had never seen here completely alone before. A precaution or a coincidence? Waving the sword at her probably hadn’t helped any if she was concerned. He couldn’t imagine Vytal in would be very happy to see it at all.
Vytal Noctura Madalena Antares
Posted 05 August 2019 - 05:56 PM
Since Vytal had joined the Mandragora, she had brought the remaining four Sisters that had left Dathomir with her to their new sanctuary. No doubt there was plenty way of so many pale Witches roaming about especially ones that did not ascribe to the Mandragora religion; and were far from withdrawn or shy. The five of them -- the Fates of Midnight as they called themselves before -- did their best to integrate. To accept. There were philosophical and cultural disagreements, but they were settled; even if Vytal had herself had to settle it.
As strange as it might seem to some in the Mandragora, Vytal Noctura, avowed Nightsister and Child of the Fanged God was surprisingly... tolerant. Not one inch of ground had been given regarding the existence or power of her deities, but neither did she try forcing her personal beliefs on others. She settled disputes and maintained order in the Madragora. Sometimes with a booming voice, or conjuring the dark power of the cosmos to get people to respectfully heed her words, but no Sisters -- or Brothers -- had come to harm. None they wouldn't recover from within a day or two.
The five Sisters had boarded the craft possessing various gear and wear non-traditional garb of galaxy life. Many thought to see them in blood red or wearing bear hide or some barbaric nonsense -- as though Nightsisters didn't know how to weave cloth. Vytal graciously introduced them to Madalena as time permitted; and to Hevn if by some chance he'd not met her Dathomiri Sisters.
"We should hurry," Loura breathed as she began to take a step forward.
Vytal's right hand smacked dead center into the other woman's chest. Her piercing gaze leveled at her Sister. "Cautiously, Sister. The greater the source of power, the more likely it will consume you." So tempting it was to run ahead and seize the glory for herself. Ah, the sweet siren's call sang sweetly in Vytal's own heart; she knew well what the others felt. Likewise, she knew the narrow ledge upon which they walked. One slip was all it took.
With a snort, Vytal turned her attention forward. "Perhaps we'll reanimate those shells and let them replay their final, foolish moments." It was only a jest as that would be a waste of energy for such low lifeforms. Never stopped her from commenting about fools rushing to claim what was clearly beyond their means.
She stepped forward and laid a hand on Hevn's shoulder. "Are you ready to perform your own foolishness?" A smile crept over her black lips. The man had proposed the idea himself. Was it not foolish to volunteer to hold a stone that consumed souls? She believed in Hevn's abilities, however, or she would not allow him to dare try. It was true his beginning had been...turbulent, but they were family. Or they would be family if Vytal had to beat the concept into every single Sister and Brother in the Cathedral. Only together were they unstoppable.
Posted 06 August 2019 - 07:22 AM
Looking at the Mandragora, Madalena couldn't help but smile. There was humor there, a certain lightness that showed good omens regarding what was to come. She could only hope that her gut feeling was correct, that there would not messages to send after this was over and done with that announced what had occurred to the closest of kin.
They still had the mile to trek, which, given the planet's atmosphere, was going to feel more like swimming through the air. For a short while, Madalena had considered giving them speeders for that part, but had eventually decide they would walk, as that would shorten the amount of distance they would potentially travel into the bubble without realizing it and give them a better chance of coming out.
"When we get to the border," she said as she motioned for everyone to follow as she took the lead, "Hevn, I want to try your plan on more time. There are three of us now so we could add in more damage when we test it, without fearing for the ship to remain in one piece."
Glancing at the Mandragora, Madalena nodded to herself again. Their combined abilities would make it work. It had to. And as for the stone… "Those who will not be directly joining in would best suit as guards while we're at it. You never know who's going to show up."
Though, she did have some ideas. Aeshma. The word rang bitterly in the back of her mind. So many of the Knights Obsidian had lost their lives to that cult. So many children were still missing because of them. She would not be surprised if they decided to make an appearance – especially incognito.
"Anyone else got ideas, now'd be a good time to suggest them," she said, inviting the discussion and dialogue into the group. Because while she might be the Knight Commander, Madalena rarely enjoyed just barking orders. For better or worse, they were a team. They'd left Geonosis as one, and they would return as one, as long as she had a say in it.
Posted 08 August 2019 - 08:19 AM
Mistress Vytal claps a hand to his shoulder, and he looks down toward her inky black lips smiling at him in jest. This one was growing on him. Hevn himself was prone to fits of complete extremity. She had tasted first hand how quickly his blood could boil, and just as swiftly ice it back over. She did not seem to succumb to such bouts of emotion. Vytal had thus far proven to be a pillar. Firm, strong, and holding tough in the middle ground. He found allure in her back bone. It wasn’t every day someone stood up to him, and not even just to battle, but to impart wisdom and temperance. A far more impressive feat once one knew how stubborn he was, and how superior he thought himself.
Hevn smiles down to her. He noticed the relative comfort they had achieved in this moment. He would normally toss someone touching him across a room, especially uninvited, but the Nightsisters were teaching him something even greater than magic. How to connect with others. A great divide had ripped inside the man during the Dark Jedi civil war. Every bridge that wasn’t already set ablaze, he was forced to set a torch to, and never opened the doors to himself again. Alkor was the last man on any plane of reality he would call friend, let alone Brother.
He returns her pat on the shoulder, gently, and carefully in consideration of his own strength. “You May be on to something, Mistress. Knight Commander, if you would spare me but a moment!”
It was better to ask forgiveness than ask permission in Hevn’s book, and so he went to work. In the time in could take Madalena to answer him, he would be half way there. Necromancy was a unique power in its own right, but he had it down to an art form. His aura had already combed for signs of life and death alike. Of life he found none. Of death he found many. There was a peculiarity in the death though that he couldn’t make immediate sense of. There were whispers, where there should have been a howl. Talay should be screaming in agony at the presence of the stone.
Hevn turned away from Vytal and Madalena. It was time for the ugly part. The dark side of the force was enough to decay the body over time of use. Channeling the deeper and darker abyss welcomes something ultimately putrid upon the conduit of death. His facial features warp with ancient age. Black veins creep from the corners of his mouth, down his nostrils, and weep from his eyes down his face and neck.
Mentally, he steps into his little room of monsters. A circle of colored doors that rattle angrily at him as he paces the center of the room. Each calls to him. Digging their hooks in and pulling with all their might to be unleashed. He only came here when he needed one. This was how he organized his misery, terror, dysfunction, and the dark things you never tell anyone. The things you have to live with forever, alone, until you take it to your grave. And beyond.
Hevn steps up to the black door. He throws it open with a slam. Dead hands swallow him wholly, and pull him into their welcome embrace.
The darkening was complete. The living force was gone to him, and so the Knight Commander and the witches of Dathomir bled from his senses. He reaches out with his Gauntlet, his bladed fingers twisting in the air slowly, as the Qixoni gem gleamed bloody bright. “Let me show you.”
Smoky specters snake across the ground to life before their eyes. Some mimic being gunned down in a hail of blaster fire. Their chests shimmying as they rattle to the ground. The pirates doing?
Another mimics running, as fast as they can before collapsing. The specter wails as it is dragged backwards moaning in despair. The stone claiming its victim?
The last is cut clean in half. Torso tumbling over hips almost as quickly as it was summoned.
Hevn wrenches himself free from the realm of the dead. He slams the black door and locks it. It was time to leave this place.
He returns to the Knights Obsidian, his body shivering violently for a second before his normal rigid posture is resumed. He speaks quickly, to prevent any awkward silence, “It would seem we are not alone. Knight Commander, I second your desire to replicate the test. We will have no room for error. You have our honor that we will offer you none!”
Madalena Antares Vytal Noctura
Edited by Bedrovelse Hevn, 08 August 2019 - 08:24 AM.
Posted 09 August 2019 - 05:24 PM
The four sisters behind Vytal glanced quickly at one another. A subtle and short hand-sign between two questioned the role of being 'guards.' Before anyone could speak up on the matter, however, Hevn requested a moment to prepare himself. The collective assembly of Nightsisters remain quiet out of curiosity what the male caster and Warlock -- they did not much like this term, even Brother was preferable -- would do. After all, this was the one that had come close to killing their Sister; the one that had led them from Dathomir and kept them safe from the foul beasts of the galaxy. He was both powerful and dangerous -- or, in other words, not to be trusted.
Fortunately, Vytal overlooked the man's turn. She understood it, and his nature -- as best as someone that did not share it could, but not quite enough to unravel it. Despite her seemingly foolish disregard for the threat he might pose, however, the Nightsister was careful. The sword alone was noteworthy, but what Hevn dabbled in next had her attention. Fortunately it was but a shadowplay of past events and nothing so potent and conjuring such dead from beyond. A strong enough spell would raise Vytal's concern until she knew the man and his ability to control the power better. Perhaps the courtyard had been a moment's slip, just as Loura might have suffered if allowed to run free called by the source of power and death on the planet.
Honor? Again, the Four looked to one another in askance. They knew what honor was, but they did not understand why Hevn invoked it there resulting from a cultural and language disconnect.
"Myself and two of my Sisters will form a Circle and bolster our powers. The Knight Commander is welcome to join us, but if any one person leaves the circle before a spell is cast it will fail," Vytal explained, as few seemed to know of let alone understanding such ritual magick. So many Force Users and even Witches of the galaxy operated completely independently of one another. They might be strong, certainly, but they could stop worlds linked together. Such was not without its drawbacks, of course. A lack of multiple spells conjured at once. The draw upon each caster involved, although distributed. "Two will deal with intruders. Anything or anyone that attempts to interfere with acquiring this artifact." Vytal had hoped to involve all five of them, but with Madalena's intuition and Hevn's divination, it would seem foolhardy for all of them to be so consumed an enemy sauntered up and stabbed them in the back.
"How should the three of us contribute to your plan?" The pale Witch looked from Devn to Madalena, recalling their plan in buffing within and without. How the Sisters might play a part in it, however, was yet to be seen.
Posted 10 August 2019 - 11:48 AM
She barely had time to breathe before Hevn began to do something. Moving to stand in front of him, her glowing green eyes narrowed as she saw the black veins developing around his mouth. No stranger to the sensation of the dark side, she felt it all very tangibly as he began to work, but she could not quite figure out what exactly he was doing. It took her some moments to realize, that he was seeing. Madalena looked with curiosity now. It was not a skill that he had spoken of before near her, but now that she saw it in action…
Shifting her attention to the Witch, Madalena shook her head. "Unless there is a special reason that requires me to be part of the Circle, I think it's best to keep me open to other possibilities," she answered. Because if danger attacked them, she knew she would be responding as quickly as she could. The two Mandragora and the accompanying witches were under her care now; she was going to bring them all home, in one way or another, though she preferred to bring them home alive. Two of the Dathomiri's witches would be standing on guard as well, but Madalena could hardly shake off the feeling that there was more than ample potential present for that to simply not be enough.
"Do you have a spell that amplifies the Force?" she asked as Vytal asked how they could help, "If Hevn and I could use our regular spells and abilities, but have it amplified by you… Perhaps that would give us a better edge."
But before that, she wanted to know. Turning her attention back to Hevn, she asked, "What did you See?"
Posted 16 August 2019 - 02:26 AM
The tables were turning unfavorably in this position. Mistress Vytal and Hevn had their differences, but in the “devil you know” sense. They had established some boundaries for interaction and expectations in one another through a rather grueling series of misunderstandings on Ryloth.
His expression grows severe in response to what the other side had shown him. “I have seen the stone capturing the lives of those it drains. I have seen blasters dropping the fleeing constituents of Talay. I have seen men and women fold as if stricken by lightsabers.” His eyes carried the sentence on even though his lips stopped. ‘I have seen, you, Knight Commander.’
It was with hesitation and wariness that he proposed to agree with the Knight Commander. “Buffing her protection spell would be ideal. I believe the burden of carrying the stone and what it will do to me is inevitable. The safer you can keep each other, the easier it will be for me to work without distraction.”
He didn’t mean to condescend or assert his lone wolf nature upon them. Instead he felt as though they were the variables in the plan, and he was the constant. “Can we walk and talk? We’re on the clock.” He finally exhibits some bit of patience as he waits for Madalena to assert point, or turn it over to the Mandragora of her choosing.
Madalena Antares Vytal Noctura
Posted 17 August 2019 - 02:39 PM
The beginnings of a smile curled up the very corners of Vytal's lips. Behind her, the four pale woman glanced at one another and tried in vain to suppress their own mirth; but they did manage not to do more than smile knowingly at one another.
Afer Hevn responded to their Commander's inquiry, Vytal took the opportunity to follow up regarding the matter of bolstering their power. Whether they were on the move as she did so was left to Madalena's discretion. "We will be able to amplify your 'Force.' It is not as dissimilar from magick as some would be led to believe," the Nightsister remarked. A fact they had speculated about until arriving at the Cathedral where magick and Force users alike dwelt. There experiments had been run and quantitative proof found to support the idea. They were far from finished in that vein of exploration, however; merely the foundations being more than idle thought. Something evidently others had already begun to pursue as well. Ultimately it would be of vital importance, so Vytal was glad to find others researching such matters all ready.
"Do not concern yourself with our safety, Hevn," Vytal added, her eyes trained on the man that would be in close proximity to this stone, "focus on obtaining this artifact and I will tend to the rest." There would be no distractions caused by how dangerous the relic might or might not be. Vytal and brought all of the Fates of Midnight here; they had long since practiced the art of Circle Magick and would be capable of whatever Madalena required. None of them would be in any danger from the stone.
As for those that had wielded lightsabers, the Commander herself would have two Nightsisters to ensure physical safety just as much as Hevn had three to ensure their spiritual safety. Surprisingly balanced, and more than enough for him not to worry. An opportunity for them to work together for the benefit of them all.
Posted 21 August 2019 - 04:38 AM
Madalena paused. Of all the things she had imagined that Hevn could say, she had not expected that bit. Have seen, you, Knight Commander, he had said. She swallowed, waiting for him to say something else, to specify what it was about her that he had seen.
Knight Commander Madalena Antares had no secrets to hide. Her file was open, her face was open. But… She also did not know everything. Of the time before she opened her eyes and was in her sister's body, believing it was hers and always had been, she had absolutely no memories. None. She had been told by a Seer of Endelaan that in the dimension she had come from, she had been a Princess of Endelaan, one of many, with a lot of siblings and joy and happiness. She wanted to believe that, as life here in this dimension, if it would ever lack her love or her sister, would become easily unbearably lonely.
But instead of elaborating, he turned his attention back to the mission at hand. Ever the focus one, Madalena carefully filed her questions away for later, after they'd finish dealing with the threat that the Stone posed.
Turning her attention back to Vytal, Madalena nodded. "I'm not the one with Witch training," she said kindly, "but my mother and grandmother both received extensive Dathomiri studies. They claimed that the difference between the Force and Magick was nonexistent and it was all just a matter of perspective." And both were… For all intents and purposes, dead. Or rather battling each other in alternate dimensions and if her grandmother won it would spell out the end of life or potential of life for both Madalena and her sister and any other siblings, but that was not the time to discuss… Well, any of that. She had to focus at the task at hand – and she trusted both Vytal and her Nightsisters.
The group began to walk. There was no reason to remain standing like idle chickens.
As they did so, Madalena built the Force up around her and let it grow around them, sensing for any other people who might be within distance. Part of her hoped they would come across other poachers so that they could use those as Alderaan Pigs, conducting experiments before venturing into the ring itself.
"We're walking," she said, looking to Hevn and making sure Vytal was walking with them and not needing to walk behind them, "Let's do the talking. I need to know what you Saw; in detail, with as little vagueness as possible."
Edited by Madalena Antares, 21 August 2019 - 04:38 AM.
Posted 23 August 2019 - 04:23 AM
Was there tension he sensed between the Nightsisters and the Knight Commander? He agreed that the terms force, and magic, were potentially interchangeable. Hevn had come to learn the subtle special qualities that set them apart. The force was a tool, wielded by dark siders to manifest their will and power. Magic was a gift, bestowed by birth, and requiring elaborate practices to perform. Vytal snd Hevn side by side could surely summon a storm. In Hevn’s mind he would have to create and slam two fronts together to create the effect on some basis in science. Vytal’s ichor seemed to require less understanding of natural forces, and more faith in the power bestowed upon her to succeed. On such terms, he imagined the Witches ways to be faster, though he had yet to measure similarities in spells on their basis of power.
Now the tension shifts to him. Madalena’s capabilities were not a thing he knew of, nor anything other than her status among the Confederacy. The nature of her origins severely concerned him. He had only seen aura such as hers on something akin to himself, but she was neither dead nor...a creature of the abyss? Perhaps she was, and her beauty and level head concealed it well. Vytal struck him to be the more likely of the two to be some kind of covert demoness. His guard rises in full against the Knight Commander. She would have to force his hand if she was alluding to any more than the potentially obvious notes that she put on this mission briefing.
He strides beside the Knight Commander, curious as to whether Vytal would prefer his flank to Madalena’s. He would learn much about their relationship based on the choice, considering he could only imagine himself a figure of annoyance to the witch, on a great day. “I can confirm the presence of blaster and lightsaber kills. It’s difficult to say whether the pirates are to blame for the light sabers, there may be something more at work here.” He tried to chop his long steps short so that the ladies can keep up with the mechanical monstrosity.
An alert triggers as they near the edge of effect zone. Hevn stares down, confirming the alert, and dismissing it with a tap. He paces softly ahead, stopping just before the power of the Stone could begin. He could feel it calling him. Like a hurricane wind trying to push him toward it. “Ready.” He begins to calm his mind and draw the force upon him. The abundance of death’s trail made it a quick and easy task.
Madalena Antares Vytal Noctura
Posted 23 August 2019 - 06:41 PM
Vytal's head tilted a bit to one side at the Knight Commander's words. "I know another that once claimed as much," the Nightsister said, but did not elaborate further. They also possessed the same, green eyes. Back in the Commander's office it had been something dismissed as happenstance. There could be any number of people with bright, green eyes -- she was still not even sure she understood just how vast the galaxy was yet. How many woman could claim a 'mother and grandmother' of Dathomir, while their child held no such cultural lineage, however? Precious few so far as Vytal was concerned despite her lack of galactic scope.
At Madalena's command, Hevn and Vytal formed up alongside the woman to begin their journey. The other four pale Nightsisters formed a semi-circle trailing several feet behind to guard against assaults from the flank or rear while they traveled. As for Vytal herself, the Dathomiri Witch had taken up the other side of the Knight Commander's flank. She knew not Hevn's thoughts on the matter, but only sought to keep the leader of the Knights -- which oversaw the Mandragora -- between the strongest casters present. Just because the woman could handle herself did not mean she should invite being openly attacked on a hostile land.
To the man's credit, the Nightsister did not view him as an annoyance. Someone that certainly thought highly of themselves, certainly; and his rage-filled words deriding communion with spirits and the domination of gods had done little to ingratiate himself to Vytal when they first met. Nevertheless, she would have been a fool not to notice Hevn possessed ability with the Force and with Magick. Ignorant of the wider galaxy and its strange cultures as the Nightsisters were, they were not so arrogant they ignored what was right in front of them. If only the rest of the galaxy would do the same.
Was it any wonder Vytal got enraged when people started claiming her deities were dead?
"Then there is something more at work here." Bright eyes turned toward the pair beside her now. "We will prepare for the unknown, and be pleasantly surprised if it falls short of our expectations." Unless it was the Stone that fell short, in which case she would be appropriately pissed off. Fanged God help anyone if this all turned out to be some elaborate hoax or trap.
With a gesture, two Sisters took up flanks fifteen feet off to the fringes of the five that stood between them. They would watch for hostile men or beasts alike; their bodies peppered with spells enough to buy time to complete the mission of those dealing with the Stone to shift focus. Meanwhile, Vytal was flanked by the remaining two Sisters and stood near Hevn and Madalena. Her gaze fell to the brazen man that embraced and loathed his own existence before it moved to the Commander. "Do not pour your all into the ability at first," the Nightsister cautioned, "our combined strength will more than make up for it." If the woman chose not to heed the advice she might find a far, far stronger effect than what she had hoped for -- or could reasonably expect for their outlandish plan.
Their hands clasped together, the trio of Witches began murmuring an incantation and focusing the swirling green of Dathomir to amplify the power of their allies and Madalena in particular.
Posted 31 August 2019 - 01:07 PM
They had reached the outskirts of the area of effect. Madalena looked into it. For some reason, it felt so much greater than it had been in her text and image files that had shown and explained it. She was not accustomed to losing people on the battlefield; more than once, she'd entered a war zone with dozens of her Knights, and exited it when the fighting was done with everyone at varying levels of still being alive. But this… This was not a war zone. This was something so much more delicate, so much more potentially dangerous.
But they were there now. And they had to test their double shielding idea once more. Heeding Vytal's warning, Madalena nodded a she prepared herself mentally for what they were about to do. The plan was simple; they would be shielding themselves until they got to the stone, at which point… There would be the tossing of double shields. One by herself, one by Hevn.
"That tree," Madalena pointed at the nearest one that was still outside of the stone's area of effect. Walking to it, Madalena decided to abuse the fact they were outside and not on a ship traveling through hyperspace, and attached a small grenade to it. The explosion would be enough to remove fingers if it went off in someone's hands, but not much more beyond that. She set the time to 10 seconds.
Once she was next to Hevn and Vytal again, she summoned her shield first. Hevn's would go over that. There was no point in putting too much effort into it; from this distance, the grenade wouldn't do much damage anyway. But the practice, the making sure they got it right… That was always important. And with Vytal's crew fortifying them... Madalena could feel it now.
There was only hoping that all of them working together would be enough.