Visionary Tales

IC => Fandom => Topic started by: Firesblood on November 14, 2019, 05:11:19 PM

Title: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Firesblood on November 14, 2019, 05:11:19 PM
The man was not really a man anymore, but rather an unsettling amalgamation of man and machine.  Most of his parts and pieces had been replaced with durasteel and circuitry long ago, and every movement he made was accompanied by the subtle hiss of hydraulics buried within layers of armor. 

Only he wasn’t moving.  He remained as still as a statue, peering straight ahead with eyes that seemed little more than red light on black glass, the lights expanding and contracting randomly while he pondered.  He was waiting, his internal processors running the scenarios back and forth through his mind until the one he had called upon arrived.  There were many calculable paths that his particular problem could take moving forward, but there were few of them that he liked. 

Darth Cygius expected the best possible outcome of any given situation, and anything less than that was unacceptable.  He expected practicality in his apprentices and those who served him, a certain blend of logic and survival instinct, not to mention intellect.  He expected satisfactory results in a timely manner in all things, and if his expectations were not met, the mistake was never allowed to occur a second time.  No one under him received favor over the other, but there were those whom he did trust more to exercise his will.  One of them had gone missing. 

It would not do.  His former apprentice had been tasked with meeting one of his informants on Nar Shaddaa, and Marigon was a full four weeks late on her report.  More, none of his contacts on that cesspool of a planet could track her whereabouts.  The spaceport logs showed that she had docked and that her ship remained in the bay, but after her first week on the surface, all record of her simply disappeared.  No video feeds, no access to her credit lines…simply gone

Normally Cygius would assume that she had been killed in action and send one of his other lackeys to pick up wherever she left off, but for reasons he could not begin to fathom, he had not been able to let it go.  Marigon had given him the least cause for disappointment out of those who served him, and she held a great deal more of his secrets in her hands than any other could claim.  Perhaps it was verification of her death or capture that was required; she was a dangerous loose end to have, after all. 

More important than Marigon herself, the mission was incomplete.  He could not source one of his other apprentices to it, as none of them had the competency required and were currently working on other things.  He did not have the vast networks that other Sith had, but this usually provided him excellent opportunities to fly beneath the radar.  That being said, it proved most unhelpful now when there was no one left who could be counted on. 

He had reached out to a young Sith named Reynik.  His dossier was straightforward; a former slave turned acolyte after murdering his overseer with the force, he had proven himself throughout his apprenticeship as just the sort of dependable Cygius looked for.  Reynik had potential; that much was evident in the way he had crawled from the deepest holes of Imperial status to what he was today.  Cygius gave credit where it was due, and the upper echelons of the Sith had already begun to whisper his name to one another.  He wanted to see if Reynik was capable.  If he happened to discover the whereabouts of his former apprentice, all the better. 
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Jabbathejack on November 14, 2019, 05:44:39 PM
Reynik marched down the corridor, moving with a lithe, confident gait. He was of average height, with neat short cropped dark brown hair, but his face was hardly average looking. Perhaps, once, he had been good looking, but that had been shattered long ago with the long scar that ran down the length of his face, from just below his eye, through to drag the corner of his mouth down into a perpetual sneer.

His simple black robes hid a powerful, muscular frame. A light saber was tucked into his belt, ready for use at a moment's notice.

He was punctual, entering the room silently and lowering himself to one knee with his head bowed.

"My lord."

He waited in that position, not looking up until he had been given leave to do so. He had never met the Sith Lord before, but he had done his homework, finding out as much as he could the moment he had first heard about this meeting. It was a good sign, to be invited personally to a meeting like this, but Reynik knew damn well that he would have to earn this honour. What he did not know was how. This meeting would be pivotal; whether it would spell the launch of his career, or the end of it was entirely up to him.
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Firesblood on November 14, 2019, 06:29:18 PM
Darth Cygius watched Reynik as he knelt.  By his internal chronometer, the young Sith was on time.  An auspicious beginning; it was a surprising few who ever showed up precisely when they were supposed to.  The cyborg rose from his seat and gestured to Reynik.  "Rise."

Keeping the desk between them, Cygius waited until Reynik had done as he bid before he began.  "You have been noticed.  All that you have worked so hard for is at hand, but I sense that you know this already," Cygius drawled, his voice tinned and strange.  "I have reached out to you for two reasons.  The first is that you have managed to accomplish all the tasks given to you with, to my eyes, what was the best possible outcome.  The second is that I believe you may be uniquely qualified to perform the missions I command, given your background.  My specialty, Reynik, are the sensitive situations that seek to undo our Empire.  These things go unnoticed in the bigger picture, but they can have disastrous effects if allowed to go unmaintained.  It is work often without accolade, but the connections you will make in my employ will secure your future in the Empire in ways you have yet to imagine."

Cygius clasped his hands behind his back, studying him closely.  "Now, to the matter at hand.  My primary enforcer Marigon has gone missing on Nar Shaddaa while on a very crucial mission.  I will provide you all the pertinent information regarding the mission so that you may review in transit to Hutt space; I expect you to finish what she did not."  Cygius indicated the datapad placed neatly on the desk before Reynik.  "You will be meeting my informant in the Star Cluster Casino.  He has been gathering information on a cult hiding in the lowest levels of the planet.  The cult itself has radicalized against the Dark Council and sought sanctuary away from Imperial Space after orchestrating a devastating attack to Kaas City.  It must be rooted out and dismantled.  You will collect the data that my informant gives you, and from that data you will formulate a plan to eradicate the cell.  You will report to me when the mission is done, and I expect it to take no more than a month."  He paused then, the red lights of his eyes contracting slightly.  "And if you happen to discover what happened to Marigon, it would further prove your skills."   

Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Jabbathejack on November 14, 2019, 07:02:44 PM
Reynik obeyed silently, standing tall with his hands behind his back. Those who had had military training often stood to attention, staring into space, yet Reynik fixed the Sith Lord with a calm, unwavering gaze.

His expression remained neutral, not even flickering when Cygius spoke of his success. Perhaps he was merely stoking his ego to try and gauge what sort of a man he really was.

"I do not do this for the accolade."

The statement was true, for the most part, but Reynik was most certainly not without ambition, yet he saw it merely as a drive to survive. It was his ambition that had kept him alive.

His eyes narrowed slightly at the mention of Marigon; of course, her name had cropped up in the brief research that he had managed to do.

"I understand." He took the datapad and glanced at it briefly before tucking it inside the folds of his robe ready to study it properly at a later point.

He had no questions, trusting that he would learn all that he could from the data supplied and from the informant, when they met.
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Firesblood on November 15, 2019, 11:38:29 AM
Reynik’s comment gave Cygius reason to pause, his drum-tight white face tilting ever so slowly to the side.  His glowing red irises flashed and flexed multiple times, echoing the thought processes of a computer. 

Interesting… Cygius thought, and a ghost of a smile hovered around his thin mouth for a fleeting moment.  “Then you may be a better fit for our goals than I previously suspected.  A transport awaits you at the spaceport.  Once you arrive on Nar Shaddaa, report first to Hanger B34; there you will find Marigon’s ship, Stygian Moon.  You have my permission to board the vessel and use what ever data you find that is relevant to your mission.  No doubt there will be at least one crewman on board, and they are at your disposal.  If Marigon herself cannot be salvaged or found, you may keep the ship.  You will need one for future missions.  Go now.”

Cygius did not wait for the niceties that were standard among the Sith.  Turning abruptly, he glided to the side door that led deeper into his wing of citadel and departed from the room.

---- 

 The cult in question, the Exiled, had been created by the sons and daughters of a disgraced house.  Imbittered by their fall, they had begun to sow the seeds of discord among the lowest of Imperial society.  Slaves and indentured servants, common laborers and military grunts, even failed sith acolytes and apprentices joined their cause, and their message spread like wildfire.  For years they had been trod upon by the upper echelons and powerful houses, and the cult preached change.  No more would the common and average man bear the brunt of the Empire’s wars, their feuds, their greed and arrogance.  It was time for the people to make their voices heard, and to fight back if necessary. 

Before long, what had been scoffed at as a doomed endeavor was forced to the forefront of the council’s minds.  When words and diplomacy failed to make an impression on the Dark Council, the Exiled orchestrated a bombing of the Citadel in Kaas City, the very epicenter of the Empire.  Their plan had mostly failed, but three bombs had not been recovered before the time ran out and they lost over 200 vital individuals. 

The Exiles escaped from Dromund Kaas before the first bomb went off, and all known logs tracked them to Nar Shaddaa where the Empire had no jurisdiction.  Eradicating them was now a matter of subterfuge, as operating beneath the nose of the Hutt Cartel could prove dangerous.

Unfortunately, there were signs that the cult extended beyond the group that had fled Dromund Kaas.  There was thought to be no less than three cells located on three yet-unknown worlds. 

And every last one of them needed to be destroyed.
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Jabbathejack on November 16, 2019, 05:18:43 AM
Reynik bowed but the gesture was lost as Cygius turned away. Reynik wasted no time before he left, having already prepared for a journey before he went to the meeting.

He spent the journey studying the data pad, reading and rereading the details, trying to absorb as much information as possible. For the last few hours, he settled down to meditate, following the techniques that his master had taught him. For Reynik, it was as essential process, strengthening the tight control that he held over his emotions as well as broadening his affinity with the force.

Nar Shaddaa, the Smugglers' Moon; Reynik grimaced as he looked out of the window, watching as the pilot brought them into land. It was a hive of activity, an urban warren.

He'd changed out of his robes, feeling that such attire might draw more attention than he wanted right now. More attention than his face would. Instead, he wore a battered flight jacket, looking like any other questionable pilot.

The first thing he did was to find Marigon's ship, the Stygian Moon. He found the sole crew personnel half obscured by an access panel, checking the engines.

"Is she ready to fly?"

Reynik didn't bother with introductions, keeping his attention on the ship.
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Firesblood on November 16, 2019, 09:15:38 AM
The crewman had already begun to finish his task and stand when Reynik spoke, having heard his footsteps drawing nearer on the metal floor.  He was a small man and old, with flyaway white hair and a permanent frown etched in the folds of his face.  His clothing was well made and well cared for, though beginning to show signs of age and wear at the seams.  The back of his neck was a mass of melted and silvered scar tissue, an indication of long time slavery and frequent shocks delivered via collar at some point in his life. 

He studied Reynik with unusually clear blue eyes, wiping the engine grease from his hands on a soiled rag.  “Aye, she’s ready,” he finally replied in a short tone graveled with age. 

He didn’t bow or scrape or introduce himself, though he knew why Reynik was there and what it meant; it meant that Cygius had given Marigon up as a lost cause, and the young man was her replacement.  “Darth Cygius informed me that you would be arriving to take over the kid’s mission.  Told me to have her files ready…” He paused then, a scowl curling his upper lip.  “I don’t care what that mechanized bastard says, she’s not dead.  Don’t get too comfortable here.”

The old man stuffed the rag into his pocket, the scowl remaining on his face as he pointed towards the door.  “Come on then.  If we stand around all day, he’ll grow impatient and send someone to replace you too,” he said bitterly, leading the way towards the ships databanks.  “I pulled up everything regarding Marigon’s mission, including her final logs.  Should be able to find something useful.”     
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Jabbathejack on November 16, 2019, 06:28:33 PM
"Good." Reynik nodded, sparing the pilot a glance. He noted the man's neck, knowing immediately what that meant. He made a note to check the man's record; he liked to know who he would be working with, especially when it came to his pilot.

The scarred side of Reynik's face twitched at the outburst, but it was unclear whether it was an attempt at a smile, or if it was simply a result of his injuries.

"I assure you, I'm not here to be comfortable."

He followed the pilot up into the ship, looking around him as they went. It was a small ship, cramped interiors, but it was ideal for what they needed.

"As for whether she lives or not, well, that remains to be seen. I don't like to make judgements before I've seen the evidence."

He paused as they reached the databanks, his eyebrow lifting as he looked up at the pilot.

"What makes you so sure she's still alive?"
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Firesblood on November 18, 2019, 11:26:18 AM
The old man let out a grunt in response to Reynik’s reply regarding comfort.  “You’re in the right place then.  Worst damned ship in the Empire, the Stygian.  You have to walk sideways to get from one side to the other, there’s not a cushion to be seen, and if you fly her too hard in atmo she’ll scream at you like a bloody rancor.  Here we are,” he gestured to the databanks and input the proper codes.  Several files appeared promptly enough on screen for viewing, though the screen flickered once or twice as if to prove the old man’s point.

Instead of answering Reynik’s question outright, the old man tapped on what appeared to be the most recent log entry.  The holo unit sitting next to the bank crackled to life, and an image of a young woman appeared.  She was average looking and clad in dun robes, a braid that she could have easily tucked into her belt resting over her shoulder.  The shadows beneath her eyes were deep and visible even with the shoddy resolution of the projection, reminiscent of one who had gone without sleep for extended lengths of time.    She began the recording with a small bow at the waist.  “My Lord.  I have tracked the Exiled to their hideout here on Nar Shaddaa.  It is located in the shadow sector, several levels below the Imperial prison.  Listening to their conversations has proven most useful, though they are very careful never to mention the locations of their cells on the other three worlds.  I have discovered that they plan to liberate a number of Imperial prisoners to bolster their numbers, specifically those imprisoned within the carbonite wing. 

“They plan to leave Nar Shaddaa within two weeks of this message’s recorded date.  Once they leave this place, I fear it will be almost impossible to track them until they resurface again with what will undoubtedly be a more cunning and successful attack on the Empire.  For that reason, I plan to infiltrate the Exiled under deep cover.  I have already contracted a convincing criminal dossier, and I am scheduled to be placed in carbonite this very afternoon.  If all goes smoothly, I will be among the number of individuals that they will free and take with them to one of their hidden cells.  From there, I can begin to gather the intelligence we need to destroy them from the inside. 

“This will be the last communication that you will receive from me until I have successfully infiltrated their ranks and it is safe for me to do so.  I know that you have given me a time limit, but please understand, My Lord, that this matter requires delicacy and patience if we are to destroy them in their entirety.” The young woman paused then, glancing down at her hands.  “I have taken the liberty of having a homing chip implanted at the base of my skull.  The frequency of the beacon is included in the data packet I am sending along with this message.”  Marigon bowed at the waist.  “Until we meet again, My Lord.  Glory to the Empire.”

With that, the transmission cut out and the old man fixed Reynik with his gaze once more.  “She sent that message right before she left to do her work.  I was able to determine that she was, indeed, among the number of prisoners that the Exiled took with them when they left Nar Shaddaa, and I was able to track her homing beacon to within two parsecs of Dantooine, but unfortunately all signal from the chip ceased broadcasting at that point.  Cygius assumes it is because she is dead, but I think it’s more than likely deactivated.”  He paused, frown deepening.  “I’m assuming he wants you to destroy whats left of the cell here on Nar Shaddaa?”     
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Jabbathejack on November 18, 2019, 02:00:04 PM
Reynik frowned as the recording flickered into life; it was not something that had been covered in the information he had reviewed on the way, perhaps as a test to his abilities, or a planned oversight, he had no way of telling which.

Reaching out, he tapped a couple of buttons, pulling up the listed time stamp of when it was transmitted. More than a month ago.

"It's possible that there was a malfunction in the chip from the carbon freezing process, or simply that they decided to scan the prisoners for chips." Reynik's frown deepened. "That's what I would do, if the tables had been turned. If they had found the chip on her, then it is likely that she would have been executed."

He was expressionless as he talked, his tone remaining calm and controlled. If that had been the case, then it would have been obvious that she would have faced extensive interrogation before execution.

It was Reynik's turn to leave a question unanswered, as Reynik handed the pilot a datapad.
"I want to review the information. Download everything relevant that you have onto this pad. Bring it to me when its ready."

Reynik made his way through the ship to the cramped crew quarters in the rear. Two bunks, set on either side of the small room, with barely enough room to stand between them.

He sat down and reached for the data screen, tapping in the details of his pilot. Esbern Hullis. He spent a few minutes reading over the man's record; it made interesting reading.
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Firesblood on November 18, 2019, 02:26:41 PM
“Not necessarily,” the old man countered.  “Most slaves are implanted with homing chips as a way to keep track of them, same with Imperial prisoners on the off chance that they manage to escape.  It would have been more suspicious if she had been imprisoned without one.  Chances are they disabled hers when they were disabling the rest of them.”

Esbern accepted the datapad with a short nod and got to work, placing the datapad into the dock. 

The old man had earned himself a rather colorful file.  He had been a former intelligence agent for the Republic, captured when he was still new to the job and enslaved as punishment rather than imprisoned.  He had been a slave for 45 years with more demerits than most slaves could ever hope to get away with, but he had also proven himself invaluable, especially in service to Cygius.  Most of the demerits involved mouthing off or some other kind of disrespect.  His slavery had been ended by Marigon immediately after he was gifted to her by Cygius, and despite his freedom he had remained in her service.

When Esbern tracked Reynik down to give him what he asked for, his eyes rested briefly on his own information currently being displayed.  If he cared, he didn’t show it.  “What you asked for.  I reached out to your contact at the casino; he’ll be waiting for you this evening.” 
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Jabbathejack on November 18, 2019, 03:01:18 PM
Reynik took the datapad, nodding grimly. It was true what he'd said about implanting slaves with chips, although Reynik had not been, he had just been a child at the point of capture. He glanced at the pilot, idly wondering if he had been chipped and whether the device remained active.

He noted Esbern's mention of the contact, wondering exactly how much of his mission he was aware of. He was immediately wary, but he did not comment on it, with only a slight tightening of his lips on one side betraying any such thoughts.

Esbern was indeed an interesting person; as a captured spy, it would have been difficult enough to survive the extensive interrogation process that he would definitely have endured.

"Why do you remain?" He fixed the older man with his cold, unwavering gaze. "It says here that Marigon released you from your servitude, and yet here you are?"
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Firesblood on November 18, 2019, 03:49:39 PM
Esbern’s eyes narrowed to mere slits, considering his question and, likely, deciding whether he wanted to answer it or not.  After what felt like an age, the old man’s mouth twisted downward even further, and he spoke.  “Not that it’s any of your damn business…but I was the one that flew her to Korriban when she was just a little thing.  She was small for her age, soft as soft could be and scared out of her mind, and it never really left my head.  I felt for the kid.  She didn’t belong there.  I don’t know how she survived that hell but she did, and managed to get an apprenticeship under Cygius to boot.  No easy feat,” he hesitated, shaking his head a little while his hand absently rubbed at the melted mess on the back of his neck. “More surprising was that she remembered me.  First thing she did after she set foot on this hunk of junk was take my collar off, give me my freedom, and thank me for the kindness I showed her way back when.  Then she asked me to stay.  After years of hearing nothing but commands and demands, being asked for something…being given the choice…made all the difference.  I stay because she’s a good kid and I like her, and that's that.  If she dies, you can rest assured I'll be on my merry old way.”

Esbern shrugged dismissively.  “Anything else?  I have fuel lines to double check and I can’t do it standing here chit-chatting like an old lady in a knitting circle.”   
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Jabbathejack on November 18, 2019, 04:54:42 PM
Just as he was thinking that Esbern wasn't going to bother answering him, the older man spoke up. The description reminded Reynik of his own first journey to Korriban, the year after she had arrived, as her records had informed him.

When Reynik had regained consciousness, he had found himself face to face with the metal skull face of a medical droid, leaning over him. He'd been half delirious with pain, his face feeling like it was on fire.

The scarred part of Reynik's face twitched; a violent jump of the damaged muscles that happened at sporadic intervals.

"Carry on, Hullis." He muttered hoarsely, turning back to his data files. "I've got work to do before I meet this contact."

***

A couple of hours later, Reynik emerged from the ship, ready to meet his contact. He kept his lightsaber concealed in a side pocket of his trousers, out of sight, but within reach if he needed it.

From what little he knew about this contact, he wasn't sure if he was going to need it or not. Jiggs, a Twi'lek sabacc dealer at the casino. The game was probably rigged.

He pushed his way into the casino, heading over to the sabacc table. Sure enough, the dealer was a Twi'lek male. A disgruntled traveller got up from the table, muttering curses over his shoulder as he stumbled away and Reynik took his seat, laying some credits down as he waited for his hand to be dealt.
 
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Firesblood on November 18, 2019, 05:49:36 PM
The Star Cluster Casino was a popular hotspot on Nar Shaddaa for all the ill-reputed denizens who happened to be passing through Hutt Space.  Frequented by high-rollers and thieves, there was no shortage of players at the various game tables and machines offered.  There was also no shortage of conflict; even as Reynik entered the floating casino, he would witness the shot-up body of a Rhodian being dragged through the front entrance, only to be shoved over the edge of the precipice like trash to the ground far, far below. 

Hired guards watched Reynik closely as he went inside and looked around for his contact, and several of the patrons also stared openly, some of the softer ones horrified by his extensive scarring. 

The Twi’lek watched the disgruntled player trod off and leave his table empty, then turned his watery eyes on Reynik as he sat in the newly vacated spot.  His lekku twitched irritably, and his hands began to shuffle the deck with a fluid practice.  His mouth twitched downward at the credits he put down.  “This is a high-stakes game, friend.  If you want in, you’re going to have to put more than that on the table,” He informed him.  The alien had a voice like silk, smooth and far too slippery to be trusted; perfect for a Sabacc dealer on a Hutt world.   
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Jabbathejack on November 18, 2019, 06:00:34 PM
Reynik gave a soft sigh, leaning back confidently in his chair as he reached into his pocket for a small black bag. Opening it up, he let the credits spill out onto the table. Reynik smiled with one side of his face.

"Is that enough for the buy in... friend?"

It was all an act; he was to play a few hands, betting higher with each play. Then, his luck was due to change and he was set to win a sizeable pot of credits. When the management decided that it was time to swap the dealer for another, with better luck, then Reynik was planning on leaving the table with his winnings. Then, he'd be able to find the chance to talk without arousing too much suspicion.
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Firesblood on November 18, 2019, 06:22:09 PM
Jiggs eyed the credits, a hungry sort of greed flitting through his features before it was gone again.  “That will do for now,” He agreed amiably and dealt the cards, first one to Reynik and then himself, then a second to each of them, both face down.  “First player to my left starts by calling the total of his hand.  That would be you,” he said, his voice returning to its former greasy tone. 

From that point the game moved onward and exactly as Reynik planned.  The higher the stakes, the more excited Jiggs seemed to get.  Likewise, the more Jiggs lost, the twitchier his lekku grew until it seemed as though they may simply fall right off of his head.  Upon the end when the pot grew tremendous, another Twi’lek, female this time, tapped Jiggs on the shoulder.  “It’s time for your break, Jiggs.”

Jiggs promptly rose from the dealer’s chair, saluted, and headed for the private rooms that lined the sides of the main casino.  The female sat down and smiled brilliantly at Reynik.  “You beat Jiggs out of a heap of credits.  Will you try your luck against me now?”
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Jabbathejack on November 18, 2019, 06:30:33 PM
Reynik made a show of eyeing the pretty girl up and down; that was the secret for a lot of dealers, they made damn sure that their players spent more time watching them than they did their own cards. She was good though, not focusing on his scars in an attempt to make him feel like he was worth looking at.

"Maybe later." He smiled, sliding a credit across to her as he stood, sweeping the remainder into his pouch. "I think I need a break myself."

He scanned the casino; out of the corner of his eye, he saw Jiggs retreat into a room, the door closing behind him, and Reynik headed over.
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Firesblood on November 19, 2019, 11:10:18 AM
Jiggs was reclined lazily across one of the plush couches inside of the room.  The room was bathed in neon lights of blue, green, and purple, and richly appointed to appease the craving for luxury that the wealthier patrons of the Star Cluster so desired.  A low table sat near the couch, dressed in various foods from all over the galaxy; it was clear that someone had been in the room before them, as most of the food had several helpings missing from the otherwise pristine setup, and some used but empty plates and cocktail glasses lay scattered on the open surfaces. 

Jiggs had a plate of food balanced on his lap and was casually watching a projected hologram of a slave woman dancing seductively in the corner.  He hardly spared Reynik a glance when he came in.  His entire demeanor had changed; gone were the twitches witnessed at the Sabacc table, and when he finally did rest his full focus on Reynik, the alien’s gaze was calculating and far more intelligent than he had let on.

“I’ve already swept the room for bugs.  No one is listening,” Jiggs assured him immediately, popping one of the small, pickled fruits from his plate into his mouth.  “I spoke to Esbern.  He told me that your employer is looking for the group of Exiled that landed over a month ago on Nar Shaddaa.  Call me crazy, but aren’t you Sith types usually pretty good at solving these problems the first time around?”  Jiggs set his plate on the cushion next to him and leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees.  “Then again, I had my doubts that the mouse they sent me the first time would be able to get the job done.  Not what I pictured when I found out one of you people were coming.  I hope for her sake that they killed her quick; I doubt she had the fortitude to survive slavery for long.”

Jiggs rifled around in his vest.  “But I digress.  You’re not here for a friendly chat.  You want the information, and for the low price of everything you won at the Sabacc table, you can have it.”
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Jabbathejack on November 19, 2019, 06:19:38 PM
Reynik glanced around the room as he entered, confirming that they were alone. He approached the Twi'lek and, instead of sitting, he took out a small device and did a quick sweep of the room.

"No offense, Jiggs, but I like to be thorough."

Only when he was finished did he lower himself into the empty chair opposite.

He chose to ignore the snide comment on Sith ability, knowing that it would be pointless in attempting to argue any preconceptions that Jiggs might have. In his experience, it was far better to prove with deed rather than words alone.

The mouse, as he called her. Reynik gave a one sided smile at the thought. Mouse was hardly what he was led to believe having read her official record. They had overlapped at their time on Korriban, although Reynik did not know her directly, but he knew damn well that no one could have survived training like that and still be classed as a mouse. A tiger that could pretend to be a mouse could be useful indeed.

"We come in all sizes." Reynik murmured, his voice soft.

His movements slow and deliberate, he reached into the pocket in his flight jacket, mindful in the way that his contact twitched as if he expected him to pull a blaster. Instead, he took the pouch that held his winnings and dropped it onto the table in front of them.

"I'm listening."
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Firesblood on November 20, 2019, 11:17:12 AM
Jiggs smiled as Reynik dropped the pouch and shifted forward to the edge of his seat so that he could reach it.  He hefted it in his hands for a moment like a man trying to guess at the weight of gems or gold, then nodded to himself. 

“More reasonable than I’ve been led to believe too,” he muttered, having clearly expected a bit more of a fight.  “Right, your information.  I’ll tell you what I told her; their hideout is in the shadow sector, twenty levels down from the Imperial prison.  They were squatting there before, but that was a month ago.  I’m pretty sure that most of them are already gone, but there may be a few left,” Jiggs drawled.  “They rented out a hangar in the space port, but that’s been empty for weeks now and their destination was a fake.  Just before they left there was a break out at the prison.  Apparently the carbonite wing was almost entirely emptied, but no one saw anything during or after and all of the video was corrupted beyond repair.  In other words, friend, if you hope to track them off world, you’ve probably already lost your shot.  Should have sent someone who could do the job the first time.”

The Twi’lek picked up his plate and set it in an empty space on the table, standing with the pouch of credits clutched in his hand.  With his free hand, he dug a small chip from a pocket and extended it to Reynik.  “This contains all the vital data you need.  Coordinates, codes, security footage; everything you need to clean house.  Beyond this planet, though, you’re on your own.”
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Jabbathejack on November 20, 2019, 04:55:31 PM
From the sound of it, Jiggs had already written off their mission before he had even had a chance to start it. His twisted lip twitched into a sneer that said simply wait and see.

Instead, he stood, taking the chip and immediately sliding it into a pocket in his trousers.

"Thank you for your assistance." His sneer deepened a touch, adding some danger to the sentiment. "I hope I'll find something useful here."

Otherwise that would be a heavy cost for a whole lot of nothing.
"If you can think of anything else to add to this, then let me know."

With that he was gone, heading out of the casino wthout a backwards glance.

Reynik returned to the ship, giving a nod to Esbern as he settled down on his bunk to study the new data.
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Firesblood on November 20, 2019, 06:10:11 PM
“There’s nothing, I promise.  Believe it or not, I have stayed appraised of the situation as instructed.  Everything that can be gleaned is on that chip,” Jiggs assured him, pointing at the chip. 

There was no sign of Esbern upon Reynik’s return, though the sound of voices coming from somewhere in the bowels of the ship echoed vaguely through the durasteel corridors.  The voices continued, unaware of the Sith’s return to the ship.  As Reynik drew closer, the sounds of Esbern’s voice clarified, gruff and low, and a woman’s voice answered—far quieter. 

“—your replacement.  Boy named Reynik.  You can’t contact me again.  It isn’t safe.” Esbern whispered.

“So Cygius finally trapped his prey...He's been trying to get to him for years.  What is your impression of him?" Marigon asked.

"Seems a quiet lad, not easily riled, but it's too early to tell."
 
"No matter.  Scrub the logs just to be safe, and know that all is well and goes as planned, my old friend." Marigon's voice replied.

“Of course.  Take care, and force guide you, kid.  I know you can do this,” Esbern murmured.  There was no further response after that, save for the sound of rapid key strokes as Esbern set about erasing the call log. 
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Jabbathejack on November 20, 2019, 06:37:29 PM
Reynik paused as he heard the quiet mutter of voices coming from below. Slowly, he moved to get a better sound, leaning against the bulkhead as he listened in. Not easily riled? Was that what they thought of him? Reynik grimaced; it looked as if they had given him the perfect opportunity to prove them wrong. Yet he was curious what they meant by Cygius' prey.

He heard the call end and he knew he had a split second to react, to either hide what he had overheard or to confront them. In that instant, the decision had been made and Reynik did not move from his position by the bulkead, waiting for Esbern to emerge.

"I suggest that you save us both a lot of trouble and just start talking. How long have you known?"
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Firesblood on November 21, 2019, 08:19:26 AM
Esbern finished what he was doing, double checking that any traces of the last call had been erased.  He briefly feared that the call had gone on too long, that there would be trace amounts of data left that could be retrieved, but he did the best that he was able to do.   He stepped back and swiped a hand through his hair, exhaling softly and listening for the sounds that would herald Reynik’s return, but heard nothing.

He replaced the panel on the bulkhead, shoving his hands into his pockets after and exiting the cargo hold.  He was only a step through the door when he saw Reynik.  Esbern stared at him, his composure unchanged and unbothered by the Sith’s presence.  He leveled his gaze seriously, then crossed his arms over his chest in a subtle act of defiance. 

“How long have I known what, exactly?” Esbern asked casually, one bushy white eyebrow rising nearly to his hairline.  “That Marigon is alive?  I seem to recall telling you that the moment you boarded this vessel.  ‘She’s not dead, don’t get too comfortable’, remember?”
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Jabbathejack on November 21, 2019, 09:46:32 AM
"You know what I mean." The ruined side of Reynik's face twitched violently, but the rest of him remained cold and unmoving.

"How long have you been in direct contact with her? Where is she now? What are her plans?"

Yet from Esbern's defiant stance, Reynik doubted that he was going to get anywhere with him.

"You might well think of me as just a boy, I don't care about that, but you know I am Sith. You must know that I can extract the information that I need whether you will it or not. Save us both the time and trouble and just talk to me."
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Firesblood on November 21, 2019, 10:13:33 AM
Esbern regarded him coldly, unphased.  “That was the first contact she’s made since leaving Nar Shaddaa.  As you can imagine, trying to get a line out when you’re surrounded by a bunch of paranoid expatriates of the Empire can be sticky,” he replied blandly. “I don’t know where she is; the signal bounced off half a hundred planets and moons between there and here.  As for her plans…you know exactly what they are.  She detailed them in her last log.  You saw the same thing I did, and I know as much as you do.”

At Reynik’s threat Esbern actually smiled, eyes gleaming with sharply edged amusement.  “Aye, you can certainly try.  Sith far stronger and a hell of a lot smarter than you have been trying to crack open my head for years, and not a damned one of them has ever gotten a thing out of it.” 

The old man’s arms relaxed to his side, some of his combativeness melting away.  His tone was reasonable when he spoke again, almost gentle.  “I don’t know you, kid.  You’ve been in Cygius’s happy little outfit for two minutes, and Sith are notoriously reckless and untrustworthy, especially if they think they can advance themselves.  Tell me honestly now…what exactly are you going to do with the information you want once you have it?  Say you do manage to track her location down.  What’s your next move?”
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Jabbathejack on November 21, 2019, 10:47:32 AM
"Do I?" Reynik countered sharply. "Do I really know what her plans are? I know what she put in her logs for me to find, but you must know there's talk of her having been compromised. I'm here to find out the truth."

There was something about the old man's confidence that Reynik found to be a touch unsettling. Then he remembered his history of having been an intelligence officer before he was captured. Did he mean that he hadn't been broken? Not even then? For someone who was not adept in using the force, protecting their mind against such attacks would be nigh on impossible. Reynik had witnessed the result of an average human trying to fight against the mind probe; by resisting, the subject had risked their mind being damaged irrevocably.

Two minutes? How about closer to fifteen years? Yet Reynik did not bother to correct the old man.

"What happens depends on what I find. I will follow my orders."
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Firesblood on November 21, 2019, 11:26:42 AM
Esbern sighed, a sign of patience long-tried.  “Listen to me very carefully, Reynik.  The goal of the mission is to completely eradicate a rebel cell that has the power to bring the Empire to its knees.  If this could be done by brute force, I assure you it would have already been done, but as it happens the Dark Council chose Cygius—and by extension us—to accomplish that.  We don’t know just how wide-spread this movement is, in fact, we don’t know much of anything right now beyond their goals and the fact that there are multiple cells on a few different unknown worlds. 

“You can be as suspicious of her loyalties as you want, just as you can be suspicious of mine, but in the end I work for her, and she works for Cygius and the Dark Council.  Her loyalties aren’t in question.  Now…Marigon has infiltrated this network of rebels and is working to advance in their ranks enough to get the information we need to make a move.  Success depends completely on what she is doing at this very moment, whether Cygius has the patience to wait it out or not.  He may have brought you in on this, but one wrong move from you can destroy everything that we have been working to do here, and if the location of the cell she’s in gets out, you can be assured that other Sith will act before the time is right and all will be lost.  We cannot allow that to happen.  If you track her down, go to her half-cocked or make any sort of wrong move, you risk the chance of busting her cover and getting her and most likely yourself killed, and you risk what small window of opportunity we have to nip this in the bud before it gets any further out of hand.  You have to use your head, and you have to make a plan that doesn’t compromise the mission in any way, and so far you haven’t given me any reassurance that you won’t be like the rest of your brethren and charge in like a ham-fisted idiot trying to prove he’s the best.  Do you understand where I’m coming from?  Do you understand what’s at stake here?” 
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Jabbathejack on November 21, 2019, 01:07:06 PM
Reynik was silent throughout Esbern's speech; he felt as if the pilot had already dismissed him before he had even had a chance to act in this mission.

All the reports that he'd read and the information that he had gathered, none of that had suggested that this cult was as potentially powerful as Esbern was suggesting. Yet he had already decided that he would look through all of the information with as clear a head as possible to avoid underestimating anyone.

"I understand." He replied quietly, his lips set in a firm line. When he spoke again, Reynik's voice was heavy with sarcasm. "With your permission, I will review this fresh information before I formulate my predictable plan."
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Firesblood on November 21, 2019, 02:28:13 PM
Esbern studied him silently for a moment, then answered with a small salute.  “Carry on, sir.  You know where I’ll be if you need assistance,” he muttered, the barest trace of disappointment in his voice.

With that, the Old man shuffled past him and headed to their shared quarters, hands shoved in his pockets again.   

The information that Reynik acquired from Jiggs proved to be a minor update on the very same information that Marigon herself had been given.  The data matched the records they had on board the ship, though it did include more recent sightings and developments.  At least ten people remained behind long-term on Nar Shaddaa, no doubt to recruit new people into their cause.  There was plenty of traffic going in, but only half were ever seen again—all of them leaving by body bag.  The other half simply disappeared, and Jiggs had been unsuccessful in tracking down how they were getting out, or even which ship they were somehow filtering into unseen.

They were cagey and watchful.  Attacking head on was unadvised.     
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Jabbathejack on November 21, 2019, 05:42:24 PM
Reynik spent the next few hours lying on his bunk going through the information as thoroughly as possible. He frowned; it was hardly an easy situation to work through, but he was determined to handle it in the best way.

Eventually, he got up, sighing softly as he stashed his datapads in his pack, sliding it underneath his bunk. There was something very different about reading reports and seeing the situation for yourself.

He could hear Esbern outside, by the sounds of it checking something with the engine. Reynik made his way down the hatch, pausing just outside the door to look at his pilot.

"I won't be long." He muttered quietly and then turned, heading off towards the area where the sect had been reported.

He pulled up the hood on his flight jacket, hiding his face as much as possible, but in a place like Nar Shaddaa, he blended in. Apparently there were around ten members of the sect left here, but Reynik did not expect to come across any of them, not on his first pass. As he neared the location, he kept his gaze fixed firmly in front of him, yet he felt out with the force, getting a far more detailed picture than just with his eyes alone.

On this level of the city, few strayed unless they absolutely had to, so Reynik opened up dialogue with a scrap merchant, claiming that he was looking to buy. Of course, the merchant didn't have what he wanted right then and there and he left, with the excuse built up to be able to return.

Instead of heading back to the ship, Reynik headed higher up in the city, looking not for the command areas, but areas that he could use to access them without fear of getting caught.

Again, he made himself appear as unobtrusive as possible, hiding in shadows when the security personel made their rounds. He found the waste disposal centre, knowing that something like that, certainly in a place like Nar Shaddaa, would barely be watched.

Here, he found an unattended computer panel and pulled out a small interface panel. He worked quickly, bypassing the rudimentary security systems, looping back to the command unit system, searching until he had found what he was looking for, a list of the ships that came and went over the last few months along with the details of who owned them. He had already seen a similar list on the data that Jiggs had sold him, but he was interested in the anomalies, data that could slip through the cracks.

He found the ship that Marigon had been tracked out of. He knew that the specified destination of a trading centre on the outer rim was false, but he knew that the owner of the ship was much harder to falsify. The merchant was named Taylon and Reynik made a note to track him down. He searched on the ship's serial number and could see that it was a regular visitor, always listing the trade port on the outer rim as its final destination.

Hearing the sound of someone approaching, Reynik unplugged his device and flattened himself against the wall. He gave a slight wave of his hand, clouding the mind of the maintenance worker so that he was not seen. Once the coast was clear, he headed back to the ship.
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Firesblood on November 22, 2019, 09:34:33 AM
Esbern only nodded when Reynik mentioned he was leaving, continuing to work on his maintenance tasks.  When the Sith returned, he was in the same place doing the same thing, though he was in the process of buttoning up the job. 

Upon sight of Reynik, he wiped his hands on his trusty rag and gave a small nod of acknowledgement, his expression careful.  The length of time that Reynik was gone suggested that he had been doing a thorough job, and while Esbern had been tempted to follow or watch him via the copious security feeds available in the Nar Shaddaa sectors, he had resisted.  He wanted to see what the kid could do and how well he could do it, and this was his chance.  Between the length of time he had spent studying the pre-gathered material that Jiggs had given him and whatever it was he had been doing while he’d been out, Esbern had more than a little hope that his expectations would be met.  Few Sith he had known over the years ever collected more info than was required to wreak havoc upon their enemies.  If Reynik proved himself different, than maybe he wasn’t so bad and could be trusted with the more sensitive aspects of the mission ahead of them.  After all, Marigon had mentioned that Cygius had been wanting Reynik for his operation for a while, and whatever else Cygius was, he had an eye for the best sort of people for what they did. 

“What did you discover?  Anything new?” He asked gruffly.  He wasn’t certain whether Reynik would answer or not or whether the young man would include him in his plans, but he still wanted to get the point across that regardless of differences, he was there to help.       
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Jabbathejack on November 24, 2019, 08:26:48 AM
"Too early to tell." Reynik's face twitched violently as he spoke. He still did not know if he could trust the pilot, especially considering his history and the conversation that he had overheard earlier.

He was well aware that his every move was being scrutinised by this man, reporting back to Marigon at the very least. Who else he reported to remained to be seen.

Reynik left it at that, heading inside the ship to his bunk. He sat down cross legged, his back leaning against the wall and he set his lightsaber down in front of him.

Closing his eyes, he began to meditate, using the lightsaber as a focal point. Using the force alone, he lifted it up and began to dismantle it whilst keeping it steady. The casing opened up, revealing the crystal within. Feeling the different parts, he rebuilt it slowly and when it was completed, he started the process again. It was a technique that his master had taught him, using it as a way to regain control over his own senses, particularly the pain that was almost constant in his first few months of training. Even now, meditation was an essential part of his routine.
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Firesblood on November 26, 2019, 12:16:14 PM
Esbern considered him silently, then nodded rather than pressing the issue.  It was Reynik’s prerogative to keep his discoveries to himself; the outcome could be judged just the same. 

He watched the Sith return to their quarters and then went to the communications room, dialing in the appropriate channel to Darth Cygius.  As usual, Esbern was made to wait by the Keeper that organized the bulk of Cygius’ missions, a quiet man with only slightly less cybernetic implants than Cygius himself.  There was no idle chat between the two of them as the silence stretched on, but several minutes later Cygius appeared on the holo. 

“Report, Hullis.”

Esbern straightened from digging out a crust of grime beneath his fingernails and nodded in greeting.  “Marigon reported in, lord.  She’s alive.  Still digging out the originating signal of her call though; could take a few days or even a week.  It’s highly complex.”

Cygius shifted and his gaze drifted down for a brief moment.  “…She did not run into trouble as suspected?”

“No, and I don’t mind telling you that I told you so,” Esbern growled, crossing his arms over his chest defensively.  Cygius, who had more years of experience with Esbern than most anyone, let this slide. 

“And what information did she have for you?”

“Nothing yet, just that she’s landed safe and was successful in infiltrating the Exiled, lord.  The call was short.  She didn’t have much time.”  Esbern hesitated, scratching at the mess of scar tissue on the back of his neck.  “There was a complication with her carbonite freezing, though.  Turns out the job was imperfect.  She woke up blind like most people do when they come out of carbonite at first, only….only it didn’t come back for her.”

Cygius stroked his chin, his thin mouth pressing thinner.  “Hardly a death sentence for a force user, but this does complicate things.  There is a reason why many of our kind choose cybernetic replacements if something happens to our sight.  Certainly one can use the force to see after a fashion, but such abilities are usually only obtained after trespassing a path more often walked by heretics and Jedi,” he said, spitting the word ‘Jedi’ like a curse. “This could complicate things, especially given her current company.”

“With all due respect, Darth Cygius, Marigon isn’t a traitor,” Esbern snapped defensively.

“Perhaps, but even the most loyal could suffer doubt when faced with something so life altering as losing one of one’s most important senses.  Were she here instead of nestled in a den of rebels, my concerns would be less.  I suppose we have no choice but to wait and see.  Send me your report of the conversation and I will decide how we will proceed.  Inform me once you have managed to track the communication source.”

Esbern gave a silent nod, his jaw setting tightly. 

“And my newest acquisition?” Cygius asked, changing the subject abruptly.

Esbern gave another short nod.  “So far, so good.  His self-control is impressive.  He’s cagey, but that’s a positive trait in this line of work.”

“How close is he to completing his mission?”

Esbern shrugged. 

Cygius’ eyes narrowed.  “You do not know?”

“Like I said, lord.  Cagey.”

“Is it not your job to pay attention to these things, Handler?”

“You wanted judgement on how he handles himself, and you’ll have your answer when all is said and done same as me.  This isn’t a test to see how well he works on a team, it’s a test to see if he has the appropriate skills to get the job done our way.  He can either work well with his own leads, or he can’t.  He either climbs the rope he’s been offered, or he hangs himself with it.  The choices are all his.” Esbern said gruffly, going back to digging out the dirt beneath his nails.  “Personally though, I think he’ll probably do just fine.”

“If you say so, but I do not enjoy being kept in the dark.  You know this.” Cygius said

“I do say so.  As for being kept in the dark, you’ll just have to deal with it.  That’s the nature of the beast.” Esbern replied firmly.  “That’s all I have to report.  Any further orders?”

“No.  As you were—oh and Hullis?” Cygius queried, head tilting slightly.  The old man merely raised an eyebrow in answer.  “I can still activate the chip in your head and blow your skull to a million tiny pieces if the whim takes me.  I know it must be difficult to learn new habits when one is of your advanced age, but…you will observe the proper courtesies expected of you when next we speak, or I will be finding a more respectful and obedient Handler to take your place.  She is not there to shield you from my wrath now.”       

Esbern scowled, but bowed his head after a beat of hesitant reluctance.  “Yes, Darth Cygius.”

The transmission cut without another word between them, but Esbern muttered several obscenities as he left the communications room and headed for his bunk.

The old man came upon the sight of Reynik’s meditation, and rather than entering the room properly, he stayed just inside the door and watched.  Most Sith in his experience meditated on their rage, letting it seethe until one could feel it clear across the ship.  Marigon had been different; she preferred the rarely viewed meditations used by her race.  Reynik’s way was more unique than even her method, however.  It was practiced, controlled.  Lightsabers could be deadly to the wielder if even a single component was off, but as he dismantled the weapon and reassembled it, Esbern couldn’t help but note how flawlessly the young Sith did.  He had no right to the pride that he felt, but he felt it just the same.  It spoke greater volumes as to Reynik’s character than anything else had so far. 

Yeah…the kid will do just fine, Esbern thought to himself again, with no small amount of approval. 

Careful to disrupt Reynik as little as possible, Esbern moved with a surprising silence to his bunk and got into it, wincing in discomfort at the hard mat that was the ship’s excuse for a bed.  He didn’t sleep, but rather watched and waited. 
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Jabbathejack on November 27, 2019, 05:02:18 PM
Reynik could sense Esbern's presence before he even appeared in the doorway. During his meditation moments, Reynik was more in tune with the force than ever before and sometimes, he found that he was able to sense a person's motives and feelings. He wasn't sure whether the older man would have mental shielding, especially considering how he could withstand both physical and mental torment.

To his surprise, Reynik found that he could sense more than he had expected to be able to. The pilot actually seemed to be impressed, even if it was just a touch of the sentiment; that was more than enough. There was frustration, irritation and mistrust, all of which Reynik had expected to see, but it was not clear exactly who those feelings were directed at.

Gently, Reynik reassembled the lightsaber and lowered it to rest lightly on the bunk in front of him.

"Any news?" He asked, his eyes remaining shut.
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Firesblood on December 02, 2019, 11:39:59 AM
“No,” Esbern said, peering at the wall an arm’s length away.  Nothing new had come up, and even the brief chat with Cygius had offered no new insights.  He was still reluctant to tell Reynik much of anything regarding Marigon, though it was more from a place of paternal protectiveness than anything else.  But perhaps… 

“I recalled the information from Marigon’s call,” He finally said, deciding to offer some small amount of trust.  “It will take a while to unbury the signal and track it to it’s originating planet, but I am working on it.  If and when the answers come…I’ll share it.”  The old man said this with no small amount of reluctance, but it wasn’t exactly personal, at least not against Reynik himself.  The silence stretched on a moment, and Esbern sighed. 

“You gotta understand…The Empire stole any chance I ever had at having a family of my own a long time ago.  She’s the closest thing to one of my own kids that I’ll ever have, so…it’s nothing personal against you.  I’m…afraid for her.  She’s never done anything like this before, and when you showed up…I wasn’t sure that you wouldn’t jeopardize her life more than it already is.  But…but you seem to be a good kid in your own right, so…I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt for now.”  Esbern gave him a sarcastic grin, flashing a few gaps where some of his teeth had gone missing over the years. “I know, that means the world to you, don’t it?” 
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Jabbathejack on December 03, 2019, 08:57:29 AM
"Good." Reynik replied softly, his eyes remaining closed. It was a start, even if it wasn't much.

He opened his eyes as Esbern continued, turning his head to look at him.

"We know the risks." He replied softly. "That's part of our training."

He paused; they had both been slaves, but their experiences with the empire had been very different. For Reynik, the Sith lord had saved him from an unpleasant death and given him freedom. No doubt Esbern already knew that; the security lock on his records would be easy enough for a man like that to bypass.

"I'm here to do a job, part of that means finding my predecessor. I do not plan on killing her."

He paused again, choosing his words before he spoke them. He kept his voice soft.

"If you have any further information that could help me with this, then I would appreciate your assistance."
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Firesblood on December 09, 2019, 11:37:44 AM
Esbern turned to eye Reynik more closely, searching for any sign that he was lying.  Whatever he saw seemed to assure him that Reynik was speaking the truth, and he gave the young Sith a small, satisfied nod.  “I believe you,” he murmured, voice barely above a whisper. 

Esbern had understood from the beginning what being a Sith meant for Marigon.  It was part of the reason why, while shuttling the little girl from her homeworld to the academy on Korriban, that he had been so sorely tempted to alter course and take her to Coruscant and to the Jedi instead.  Had there been any way to do so, the old man would have done it in a heartbeat.  He still thought that he should have hung the risks and done it anyway; even after surviving Korriban and her apprenticeship under Cygius, he still feared for her and her survival, still felt that she was ill-equipped for a life twisted beyond recognition by the dark side.  It didn’t seem to matter that she always managed to find her way out of the worst trouble one way or the other, or that she had an uncanny knack for finding just the right way to manipulate things to her advantage.  It didn’t matter that whenever he mentioned his fears to her, she would only smile and pat his hand, and tell him not to worry so much, that she was trained for this—just as Reynik had said.  He supposed he would worry until his last breath, and there was no changing it.  That Reynik did not degrade him for expressing himself, for trying to explain just why he was so wary, served to lift Esbern’s opinion of the boy by many levels.  Other Sith would have laughed, perhaps called him pathetic or weak.  Other Sith had tortured him for far less in the past. 

Reynik went on further to inform Esbern that if he had any more information that could help him, he would appreciate it, and the smile Esbern gave in return was much less sarcastic than the previous.  “I’m a wizard when it comes to slicing.  Say the word, and I’ll mess up their security systems and tech so bad that it’ll take ‘em years to get it straight again—or would, if they lived that long.  I’d have done that for Marigon, but she suspected that this particular cell was a ‘port of entry’ to the Exiled, so to speak.  She chose to use it as a gateway rather than end them like Cygius ordered.  I’ll take a look at what you’ve got so far and see what I can do for you.” 


Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Jabbathejack on December 09, 2019, 01:43:40 PM
This time, it was Reynik's turn to scrutinise Esbern, gauging his request for information before he responded. His face twitched, but he had made his decision.

He shifted his position, uncrossing his legs and planting his feet on the floor as he reached beneath his bunk for his pack. Removing a data pad, he stood up and passed the information over.

"Here is a breakdown of what I have found so far."

The data pad contained the details of the scrap merchant that he had been talking to, as well as the information that he had gathered on the owner of the ship that had taken Marigon away from the city.

"I plan on tracking down this Taylon. He might be a link to the sect. Either he's involved or they're using his operation as a front. Either way, it might be a way in."

The undamaged side of his face pulled into a thin smile.
"A slicer might come in handy."
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Firesblood on December 09, 2019, 04:21:23 PM
Esbern sat up and took the datapad, skimming over the information that Reynik had compiled with a sharp eye.  When he finished, he raised an eyebrow at the younger man.  “You did well with this.  You dug up some decent leads.  Follow through with those, and we could come up with one hell of a plan to mess these guys up.”

He returned the datapad, scrubbing at his chin with the heel of his hand.  “Let me see if I can dig up the blueprints for the area and get you a floorplan of the place.  It may take a little time to crack into it, but I’m sure I can do it.  I’ll test their network while I’m at it and see if they have any droids; if I can bring down their security system and remotely program their droids to cause mischief, it could give you the upper hand over them when you’re ready to make your move,” Esbern thought out loud. 

“Either way, I agree that this Taylon fellow could be your way in,” he commented.  His brow furrowed heavily. “When will you approach him?” 
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Jabbathejack on December 10, 2019, 04:15:47 PM
Reynik watched Esbern intently, gauging his reactions to the information he had just supplied. He had taken a big step in trust with his pilot, but he was still not sure if they were entirely on the same side or not.

He accepted the datapad silently, sliding it into his pocket.

"A blueprint would be useful." He nodded grimly. "As would some well placed mischief."

"As for when, I'm not sure. Soon. Bring me what you get and I will advise. For the moment, I'll carry on checking it out."

He reached into his pack and removed a couple of rations packs.
"You eaten yet?" He threw one of the packs lightly over to Esbern before opening his own one. It was basic sustenance, but it did the job, designed to keep an agent upright and fighting on the bear minimum. Some of the others in his training had complained about the taste, but Reynik had never uttered a sound; it was better than what he had been raised on.
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Firesblood on December 10, 2019, 05:24:46 PM
Esbern accepted the ration an opened it with a muttered thanks, having the same perspective as Reynik.  He had experienced plenty of lean times; slaves were replaceable in the Empire, always, and feeding them when supplies were low was less of a concern so long as those in charge had full bellies.  Food was food. 

As the week progressed, Esbern did as he said he would.  He tracked down the blueprints for the area that Reynik was scouting and accompanied Reynik for the sole purpose of slicing into the network after discovering that he would be unable to do so from the ship.  Once there, however, it took Esbern less time to access their databanks and files than it did to make a rude hand gesture—which he did when a passing Rhodian tried to rob him.  It took him even less time and effort to pull the gun from his hip and shoot the alien in the face when it turned out not to like Esbern’s initial response.  Between what the two of them had discovered, there was very little left in the way of information they needed to pull the job off.

At the end of the week, Esbern called Reynik to the communications room, expression grim and fixed.  The holo displayed a sector of Wild Space, specifically zoomed in on a hunk of rock orbiting one of the three gas giants in the system.  When Reynik arrived, Esbern pushed a button, and everything known about the moon flashed up on the display.

“I tracked the original source of Marigon’s call,” he explained, his tone careful.

Savat, one of the least hospitable moons in the known galaxy.  Once the home of a small sect of purebloods who left the ancient Sith Empire to pursue a path of balance instead of darkness, the planet’s rich echo system and sizeable population was obliterated by the Immortal Emperor’s atmospheric bombardment.  Due to the moon’s unique atmosphere and biome, the weapons used to bombard the moon created an unexpected, powerful and dramatically altering reaction.  The surface of the moon became a desolate wasteland of chaotic energy, perpetually assaulted by violent lightning storms and static bursts.  This not only made it impossible to scan the surface of the moon, but it also made it impossible to pilot in the atmosphere, let alone survive on the surface.  Anyone who had tried since the Savati Cataclysm were never heard from again.  It had been assumed that no one had survived the deadly assault and save for what little was available in ancient archives, it had been long-forgotten. 
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Jabbathejack on December 14, 2019, 03:16:40 PM
Reynik worked ceaselessly over the next week; with each step, he was inching his way closer to their quarry, noting details that would be important when the time came to strike. All of his moves went unnoticed, blending in for the most part, yet in the times where he might have been seen, a simple force mind trick worked its magic.

His communications device buzzed in his pocket and Reynik glanced at it with a frown; Esbern was calling him to the comms room. After working with the pilot closely over the course of the week, he felt that he was learning the measure of the man; he did not make calls like that for nothing.

The moment he entered the room, his attention was drawn to the projection and he walked around it slowly, scanning the information that Esbern produced.

"Excellent work. It looks like they've chosen a place as remote as possible."

He nodded at Esbern.
"Once we've finished work here then that will be our next destination. Start looking at ways to modify the ship to power in that sort of atmosphere. They must get through there somehow, so must we."
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Firesblood on December 28, 2019, 11:28:47 AM
Esbern snorted.  “Remote is definitely a word for it,” he replied quietly, a note of skepticism in his voice.  Personally, Esbern thought ‘suicidal’ was more apt, but he didn’t say anything.  At Reynik’s request, his thin lips pressed together in a small grimace and he gave a short nod.  A small part of Esbern had hoped that Reynik would see the results and dismiss them, determining them to be a mistake.  The entire moon’s atmosphere was a never-ending electrical storm, making it impossible to live on the surface.  Piloting vessels into such a storm was dangerous, even with right shielding.

“It’ll take work,” Esbern finally said, eyes squinting as he studied the readouts.  “Piloting on that hell hole is one thing, but we also have to look beyond that.  If we can somehow survive flying in Savat’s atmosphere to begin with, that still leaves us trying to find a place to land, not to mention some safe place to shelter up.  Worse, we have no idea where on the moon her signal came from,” the old man sighed.  It seemed this would be the harder task of the two Cygius assigned.  If the Exiled were truly on Savat, it was obviously possible to survive there as Reynik pointed out, but the difference between the Exiled, and Reynik and Esbern, was that the Exiled knew exactly where on Savat to go, thus lowering the chances of certain death by a modest percentage.  Marigon’s decision to infiltrate and let the Exiled do the hard work seemed a lot smarter at the moment.  Would that they too had such an option. 

“In other words, we’ll be going in blinder than we should be,” Esbern added, turning to begin calculations on the modifications they would require on the Stygian Moon. “This would be a hell of a lot easier with a new ship.  We’ll be lucky of old Stygie here doesn’t explode outright, modifications or no.”

He set to work all the same, complaints and doubts aside.  That was something to be said for Esbern; no matter how much he bitched about something, he still did it anyway. 

 
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Jabbathejack on January 06, 2020, 05:49:38 PM
Reynik kept his eyes on the projection, but he was well aware of the pilot's reaction.
"I have full confidence in your abilities."

The Sith meant every word, but of course, he had another plan.
"I'm going tonight. I will need your assistance."

Without a backwards glance, Reynik left the room.

***

He sat, perched up on a precarious point, high above the city. Below him was the area that he had tracked the group to, the focus of his painstaking research. When he was sure he was ready, he spoke quietly into his communicator.

"Hullis. I'm ready. Jam their signal."

Without waiting for the response, Reynik dropped from his perch, soaring through the air until he landed in a light crouch. Immediately, he launched into action, his lightsaber springing into his grip as he ran.

The first people that he met, he cut down without hesitation. He batted away a couple of blaster shots, throwing the shooter backwards with a blast of the force. He moved exactly as he had been trained, quick and brutal, ending lives in the blink of an eye.

Yet there was one that he hesitated at, releasing the force choke before the man's throat crushed. Stooping down, he pulled the man's body up onto his shoulder, carrying him easily.

"I'm done." He spoke into his communicator, his voice calm as he left the devastation behind him.

***

Returning to the ship, Reynik set down the unconscious body of the man that he had taken. He fixed cuffs on his wrists and ankles, ensuring they were secure before he straightened up, turning to Esbern.

"Let me know when he wakes up. I have questions."

He turned away, going back to his research, but even so, his attention kept returning to Esbern, even if he did not look up at the older man. The man he had brought back was a pilot, one that he had targeted from his research as one most likely to shed some light on exactly how they found their way through the moon's difficult conditions. His intentions were abundantly clear and Reynik wondered how that would effect a man like Esbern, considering his history.
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Firesblood on January 07, 2020, 11:13:05 AM
Esbern sat before his slicer kit, fingers and mind working furiously to make certain that everything was ready when Reynik was.  The system that the Exiled had in place was a tough nut to crack, but thankfully the old man had already cracked it ahead of time.  Just the same, the pathways he needed to navigate were tricky.  He broke through mere seconds before Reynik’s voice sounded over the link, and the old man swiped a gnarled hand through his flyaway hair, then did as asked.  With a tap the frequencies went dead, and Esbern turned in his seat to watch the screens he had linked via Nar Shaddaa’s vast surveillance network.

The boy was fast and deadly, cutting through his opponents with an efficiency that would have made any master of the dark side swell with pride—or jealousy, depending.  He leaped from one monitor view to another, making quick work of those who had set their old loyalties aside in favor of their rebellion.  It mattered not whether they wielded the force or a blaster, all fell before his burning blade as surely as one with no training at all. 

And just like that, the massacre was over.  Esbern watched the boy sling an unconscious man over his shoulder, and as he breezed through the doors of the base, the old man cut the feed and withdrew from the network.  He returned to the small cargo hold, where some few new upgrades awaited their installation ahead of the next leg of their journey.   He was still skeptical, doubtful that they would do anything to spare them the chaos of Savat’s atmosphere, but there was little he could do other than what he was told.

He still served, after all, free man or not. 

When Reynik returned, Esbern took a break and met him at the entrance, following after him while eying the unconscious man with a frown.  He trusted that Reynik knew what he was doing, that he had a reason for sparing him.  He acknowledged the young man’s command that Esbern let him know when the man woke.  If there were any ill feelings about the situation, the old man was an expert at hiding them within and without. 

Sticking close by so he could do just that, Esbern went back to work on the shield generator that was meant to protect them from the violence of Savat’s unrelenting electrical storms, sucking at his teeth and shaking his head slightly as he reviewed the statistics that had come with it. 

We’re gonna fucking die, he thought to himself sourly, glancing over at the man when a brief movement caught his eye.

Reynik’s man had begun to stir, his head bobbing once, twice, before rising fully.  His eyes blinked at the harsh lighting inside the room, wincing at the pain in his throat.  He began to struggle when he realized he was bound up, eyes searching the room and falling on Esbern.

“Help me…please help me!” The man hissed, knuckles white as he pulled with all his fruitless might against the circles at his wrists and ankles. 

“Nah,” Esbern said dismissively, wandering over to the com with a grimace, his lower back twinging slightly from his stooped posture.

“Please!  I don’t know anything!”

“Then I wouldn’t want to be you right now,” Esbern replied, punching the button.  “Reynik, he’s awake.”

“I’ll pay you!  Whatever you want!” the man hissed under his breath insistently. 

Esbern turned clear blue eyes back to him, staring at him silently for a long moment.  Finally, the old man turned and went back to work.  “Nah.”
 
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Jabbathejack on January 07, 2020, 04:44:07 PM
Reynik opened his eyes as the voice came through on the comm; his heart was still racing after clearing the area of Exiled, but a few minutes of meditation had managed to regain some semblance of calm over his emotions. Silently, he stood and made his way out of the bunk room through the cramped ship to where Esbern and his prisoner lay.

"Good." He kept his gaze fixed on the prisoner as he entered the room.

"Hullis, you might want to leave." Again, Reynik's gaze did not waver from his prisoner. "For a few minutes. While I talk to our guest."
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Firesblood on January 07, 2020, 05:04:48 PM
One bushy white eyebrow rose nearly to Esbern’s receding hairline, eyes glittering with wry amusement at Reynik’s words.  Kind of him, the man thought, thinking to spare him the horror of witnessing what he himself had endured countless times over the last several decades.  Not even Marigon had given him such consideration, not that he minded any.  His gaze moved from the young Sith to the prisoner, noting the unveiled fear radiating from him.  He knew what was coming, sure and true, and even now those terrified eyes turned to Esbern, silently begging for the help he’d plead out loud for only moments before. 

The old man straightened from his work, bony shoulders heaving upwards in a shrug.  “As you say, Sith,” he muttered, gathering a large crate in his knobby arms. “I’ll be about.”

When the old man was gone, the pilot peered up at Reynik, lips pulled back in a pained grimace.  “I don’t know anything, I swear it.  I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Let me go, please…please!”
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Jabbathejack on January 07, 2020, 05:28:35 PM
"Of course." Reynik spoke softly as he approached, settling down on his haunches as he watched his prisoner. "Wrong place, wrong time on all those occasions."

He shook his head, a mocking smile crossing his twisted features.
"So unfortunate."

Reynik looked as if he reveled in the pilot's fear. Perhaps, there was a part of him that did. The two men weren't far off the same age, but Reynik's scars made him seem twice as old as the young pilot.

"I know who you are, Jettis Garin."

His smile faded as he concentrated on the young man. He reached out with the force, touching the man's mind. With this technique, the more a subject resisted, the more painful the experience was. Without the force to defend them, all but the most disciplined of minds were like an open book. Of course, there was always the chance that he was like Esbern was, but Reynik doubted that; Esbern was unique in his ability to withstand both the force and other methods of interrogation.

Steadily, Reynik worked, relentless in his drive for the information that they needed.
"Give me what I need, Garin." Reynik whispered softly, pushing the suggestion into the pilot's mind. "Do it and all this will be over soon. You have my word."
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Firesblood on January 08, 2020, 03:33:16 PM
If Esbern’s mind was a steel trap, Jettis Garin’s was a sieve with vast holes, no good for holding anything at all.  The pilot was ruled by fear; fear of what he had gotten himself caught up in, fear for his family, fear that this moment would be his last. 

Jettis Garin piloted a ship he had fondly dubbed Lightning Bug.  It was a small freighter, a ship unlike any other.  It had been assembled by Garin and his husband, every last piece from frame to bulkhead outfitted in materials and parts that could withstand the harshest climes in the galaxy—thus opening potential for contracts in places most pilots didn’t dare to go.  Of course, once word got around that his baby could go where no other ships could, he received no shortage of offers for work in some of the most dangerous places known and otherwise.  One such contract, the highest paying one in fact, had come from a man of mysterious origin.  The freight he would carry, Garin discovered much later and far too late, were people.  Those people happened to be rebels, enemies of Empire and Republic both, and all manner of others besides.  If that wasn’t bad enough, the place he was taking them to was a long-dead moon, where no one could hope to survive. 

Without resistence, Garin’s mind fed Reynik the answers he so desired; the quickest and safest way onto Savat, the hidden port in the southern hemisphere, and even the briefest glimpse of vast underground corridors, tall gables carved high in stone, the view of a dimly lit city nestled within a kilometer-sized cavern.  He knew that the people who had once lived on Savat had gone deep underground where it was safe instead of dying out as thought, where their presence had gone unnoticed for centuries, if not longer.

Lastly, he knew that Marigon had been one of the people he had taken there on his last run.  He knew no names of hierarchy, nothing beyond what he absolutely needed to for the job he did.

Garis let out a shuddering breath, his features pale and tinged with green like he might be sick.  “I told you I didn’t know anything, not really.  They don’t tell me anything.  I just ship their people, that’s all.”   
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Jabbathejack on January 08, 2020, 04:36:15 PM
It was as if the pilot's entire life was rolled out for Reynik to pick through at his leisure. The Sith took a moment to process what he saw, probing still further, just to be sure. Eventually, he released the pilot's mind, relaxing.

"On the contrary, Garin." Reynik smiled as he stood up straight. "You've told me everything that I need to know. For the moment."

Leaving the pilot where he lay, Reynik headed out to find Esbern. The old man's anger led him straight to him, no doubt directed at an inanimate object. Or perhaps it was aimed at him, for working over the pilot. Right now, Reynik could not guess. He paused in the doorway, watching him work.

"We're gonna fuckin' die." Esbern muttered under his breath, glaring at a component.

"Perhaps." Reynik replied quietly. "But not just yet."
He nodded his head towards the door. "Come on, I want you to see something."
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Firesblood on January 08, 2020, 04:53:37 PM
Esbern cursed when he realized that the component was incompatible.  "You would be," he sneered at it, setting it back down carefully in the crate so that it could be sold for some of the credits he'd spent on it.  The Stygian Moon was an old ship, the parts new.  Despite the data stating the contrary, the shield would not work with the core they had in place now.  Replacing the core was an expense he couldn't reconcile, not with this hunk of junk. 

He looked at Reynik when he entered the room, scowling, but followed the young Sith anyway.  "Like hell.  It's just not going to work.  The Stygian is too damned old for this sort of retrofitting, not without completely overhauling everything from the engine to the circuitry."  Esbern quieted, shaking his head.  "What did you discover?"
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Jabbathejack on January 11, 2020, 11:41:48 AM
Reynik did not answer immediately. Instead, he led the pilot through the space port, winding around a few corners until he stopped beside a ship, set away from all of the others. It was quite a bit larger than the Stygian Moon was, a solid looking trader vessel.

"That's his ship."

Reynik stepped back, allowing Esbern a chance to have a proper look at it.

"Check her over. I was thinking she might come in useful. We'll take the pilot too, he might be useful. For a while, anyway."
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Firesblood on January 11, 2020, 01:54:48 PM
It was easy to tell that Esbern was perplexed when Reynik led him off of the Stygian Moon and out of the hangar.  Whatever he had expected Reynik’s discovery to be, it had obviously not involved leaving the ship.  The old man voiced no complaints, however, following on the young Sith’s heels as they traversed the spaceport. 

Upon entry to the separate hangar, Esbern let out a low whistle at the sight of the ship, passing a gnarled hand through his flyaway white hair.  It bore little resemblance to the common models of spaceship at first glance, and as the old man wandered closer, his mind began working out the pieces of just why that was. 

It was an experimental homemade vessel, built from the ground up by people unaffiliated with any known manufacturers.  The exterior was made of a smooth, dark material that Esbern couldn’t immediately identify.  He wanted to assume it was some sort of carbon composite, but a couple taps on the bulkhead put that theory into its grave almost immediately.  Closer inspection revealed that the material had been hand-formed rather than machined, something he would have thought impossible given the inherent imperfections in man-made things.  Whomever had made the ship had put a lot of love, dedication, and care into it, and so far he’d only seen the outside of it. 

He was itching to get a look under the hood, so to speak. 

Clear blue eyes wide with wonder, Esbern fixed his gaze on Reynik, fingers subtly fidgeting at his sides in his excitement.  For an old man, he sure made a good impression of a child in a sweet shop.  “This is the ship he uses to take people to Savat,” he said, more of a statement than a question.  He circled around and eventually found his way into the compartment just to the side of the airlock, messing around with the wires until the doors slid open with hardly a sound. 

The inside of the ship was much less impressive than the outside, but if that dulled Esbern’s ardor it was impossible to tell.  The inner walls were a mix of undressed durasteel and open wires and components, as though there hadn’t been enough of the paneling to thoroughly button it up after completion.  The cargo hold was massive, taking up at least 80% of the ship’s space, not strange for a trade ship.  The far wall housed a room which turned out to be crew barracks (big enough only for two), and a ladder beside the door which led to the level above the barracks and served as the bridge of the ship.  A hatch at the center of the hold led to a small engine room underneath, where the most vital of the ships parts were hidden away from prying eyes.  Everything was open and lent the ship a ‘bigger on the inside’ feel, especially with the distinct lack of cargo in the hold.  The engine and systems were unlike anything Esbern had ever seen in his life. 

After much searching, Esbern found everything he needed on the ship’s makeup, no doubt kept on board in the event that something went awry and needed replaced.  Further study only put him in deeper astonishment, and he couldn’t help but shake his head. 

“The exterior is impervious to electrical, plasma, and light-based weapons and conditions.  More than that, it throws off the sensors—makes it hard to track.  It’s a goddamn stealth ship is what it is, specifically built to fly under the radar and shake off a hit from pretty much anything else flying out there.  Whoever built her is a damned genius and I wouldn’t mind shaking their hand,” Esbern told Reynik sometime later.  “That baby will take us anywhere we need to go, and I do mean anywhere.”

Esbern eyed Reynik, feeling a great deal more enthusiastic about their chances.  “So when do we leave, and what’s the plan?”           
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Jabbathejack on January 11, 2020, 02:33:31 PM
A small smile crossed Reynik's face as he watched the pilot's eyes light up with wonder at the sight of the ship, but after a moment, his face twitched painfully, destroying all hint of the smile. Grimacing, Reynik followed Esbern into the ship.

"I knew that they had to have made the trip somehow. Otherwise our intelligence had been flawed. It makes sense that we simply take his ship."

He paused, taking a moment to look around the interior.
"You've already met the creator. Or one of them anyway. He's in shackles."

Reynik led the way back to the Stygian Moon, waiting until they were safely on their own ship before he continued the conversation.

"The ripples of our actions might already be felt. Even with something as simple as a missed communication. We will need to leave as soon as we can. Strip your gear. Take only the bare minimum. Essential kit."
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Firesblood on January 11, 2020, 03:28:44 PM
Esbern nodded.  He still has some misgivings about the whole thing, but a ship that would survive Savat’s atmosphere seemed to put a great deal of his mind at ease.  They had the ship that the Exiled would expect to see, a familiar face in the pilot as well, so perhaps they wouldn’t be killed outright.  There was still plans to make and information to gather from said pilot, but that could be done on the way.

“Right then,” Esbern said, heading for the cramped crew quarters to gather what little of his things he would require, clothing at the least and his slicing kit, just in case they needed help getting into something.  He wasn’t certain how they were going to get the pilot to cooperate, but given that Reynik had managed as much as he had so far, some of the doubt was fading away along with the worry of getting disintegrated once they reached the moon. 

He was ready in short order, putting in the codes that would keep the Stygian locked up—the cost of the hangar was coming out of a deposit, so worrying about coming back to a missing ship was not as much of a concern as finding her broken into in their absence was.  Nar Shaddaa was, after all, the moldering armpit of the galaxy, and one could never be too careful. 

Upon return to the other ship, Esbern began the pre-flight sequences, more excited than he’d ever admit to fly.  “We need coordinates, and we need to know everything we can about where we’re flying and how they usually proceed.  Once misstep could get us all killed, and I don’t know about you, but I’m not quite ready to die yet,” Esbern said gruffly.   
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Jabbathejack on January 16, 2020, 04:55:54 PM
"I'll get them." Reynik replied quietly and he stood, heading to one of the Lightning Bug's storage containers where he had stashed the bound body of the pilot.

He hefted the man's body out and dumped him unceremoniously onto the floor in front of Esbern. Stooping down, he removed the man's gag and straightened up.

"Listen to me, Garin." Reynik's voice was cold. "Pay attention or your death will be as slow as I can make it. I assure you, that's something I am skilled at."

"You know that I can peel back your mind all too easily." Reynik smiled coldly as he fixed the pilot with his intense stare. "Save us both the trouble and tell me the coordinates for Savat."

He kept the cruel smile in place as he waited, hoping that the pilot would see sense and start talking. Surely he would save himself the pain and speak?

"if you lie to us, then I will personally see to it that your family suffer. I'm sure there's a labour camp somewhere that would be glad of a few slaves."

Reynik's face twitched violently, but his gaze snapped back to the pilot's.
"Coordinates. Now. Along with your access code protocols."
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Firesblood on January 18, 2020, 11:45:03 AM
Esbern glanced over when Reynik brought the pilot in, one bushy eyebrow rising towards his receding hairline.  Garin was a soft man, not only of mind but of body.  Everything about him screamed weakness, but if the old man had any qualms about Reynik's handling of the situation, he gave no sign.  The Pilot was cringing away from the Sith as if he were some sort of poisonous snake, his chin trembling beneath the shadow that had grown along his jaw.  He looked to Esbern for mercy, for anything, but the old man simply stared back with an expression of boredom on his face, waiting for the answers that Reynik sought.

When it became clear to Garin that there was no help for him there, he expelled a hard, shuddering breath, heavy with all the fears that Reynik's threats had summoned forward in his mind.  Bringing up his family had been the ticket; there was nothing that Garin wouldn't do to prevent such a fate from befalling them.  "Fine I'll...I'll help you."

Garin sat up a little, grimacing as if in physical pain.  He rattled off the coordinates and Esbern took them down immediately, setting their flight ahead of takeoff.  "First we'll need to make sure that any tracking devices either of you have are removed.  The Savati are...very particular about that," Garin began.  "Intake begins immediately upon landing.  They'll search you, take a list of your skills and abilities, peruse your dossier, and then take you to another room."

He paused here, looking at Reynik fearfully.  "From there, everyone is inspected by some old Jedi.  He...he does what you did to me--looks inside the mind and heart and seeks out ill intent.  If he finds anything off about you, why you're there, anything...you're killed.  They don't show mercy to spies and invaders, and that's Savati law--not Exiled.  Their world, their rules.  If you pass that test, you're assigned to wherever you'll fit best among the ranks.  I can help you get there and I can help you get through the initial intake, but...I can't do anything to get you through the Sniffer's test."

Amazingly, Garin's chin tilted upward, the tiniest glimpse of steel in his eyes.  "You will need me alive to get beyond the hangar.  They employ only a few pilots, and they will not hesitate to kill anyone that they don't recognize.  I'll play my part and help you as much as I can, but only if you give me your word that you will not harm my family ever.  You give me your word, and I'll give you mine, and when all of this is over we go our separate ways and no one is any the wiser.  Yeah?"

If this revelation was cause to hesitate, Esbern did a good job of concealing it.  He wasn't worried, really--Marigon had obviously passed whatever test this 'Sniffer' inflicted, and he was coming to realize that Reynik was a great deal more capable than he had initially thought.   
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Jabbathejack on January 18, 2020, 12:43:33 PM
"You have my word." Reynik replied solemnly. "Help us and I will let you return safely to your family. But I want you to know that I have a coded message ready for automatic sending. If I don't return to shut it off, your family's location will be sent to some friends of mine. Understood?"

It was a lie, but the pilot didn't need to know that.

Like Esbern, Reynik did not seem to be worried about the prospect of having his mind subjected to such torment; withstanding it was a fundamental part of Sith training.

"Now that we understand each other, I feel that these might not be necessary."

Reynik leaned down and removed the chains that bound him, allowing him a little comfort.
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Firesblood on January 18, 2020, 02:02:55 PM
Garin scowled.  He couldn't exactly prevent Reynik from dying if things went south in the test and it didn't seem fair that his family's lives should hang in the balance, but he wisely chose to remain silent.  He had Reynik's promise, and he doubted he would get anything better than that.  The pilot nodded grudgingly, rubbing at his tender wrists and wincing at the ache in his joints after the chains were gone.  "Thank you," he muttered, eyes scanning the ship with the critical eye of a man looking for anything out of place.  When he seemed satisfied that nothing had been tampered with, he rose from his sitting position on the floor and gestured to the stand of lockers against the far wall.  Leading the way, he opened the third one down and withdrew what could only be an extractor, along with a medical scanner. 

Esbern stepped forward first, muttering something about 'getting this over with' so that he could climb to the bridge above and get their traveling underway.  Garin was silent as he scanned the old man, the scanner sounding off when it confirmed the presence of a tracking chip embedded at the base of the old man's spine.  He set the scanner aside as Esbern shrugged out of his jacket, pulling the tucked length of his shirt out and lifting it up to his ribs.  Garin pushed the extractor against Esbern's back, and with a hiss, a shrill beep, and a grunt of pain from the older pilot, the blood-sodden chip fell into the small glass reliquary hanging from the bottom of the device.  The chip promptly dissolved in the viscous liquid at the bottom. 

Garin turned Reynik next and scanned him, but unlike Esbern, there was no chip to be removed.  "You're clean, Sith."

That done, Garin stashed the extractor in the locker once more and followed Esbern up the ladder to the bridge, where a prompt argument ensued regarding just who was going to be piloting the Bug to Savat.  Garin won out, but only after a few of the ship's quirks made themselves known.  He bowed out with little grace and insisted on standing nearby to watch and learn, a silent and glowering presence over the pilot's shoulder.  He broke from this only to work up two convincing dossiers for himself and Reynik to give to the rebels once they landed; Garin had been rather insistent that the information would be expected.

There was little in the way of trouble on the flight, though the path Garin took was indirect and more lengthy than a straight-shot would have otherwise been.  Eventually, the moon grew visible in their sights.  From the outside, the moon appeared to be as gaseous as the planet it orbited, the swirling atmosphere shot through with constant racing flashes of lightening and thunder.  Garin directed the ship towards the southern hemisphere, heedless of the roiling violet clouds and the electrical storms.

After descending through the soup, the clouds broke over barren, blackened and mountainous terrain, lightning striking everywhere in sight with no break.  There was no life on the surface, no plants or animals, nothing but scorched rock, twisting glass spires left bare by wind and time, and spare, scattered ruins of what must have belonged to the Savati people before their genocide at the hands of the Empire.  The electricity seemed attracted to the ship more than anything else, and further descent was anything but smooth as strike after strike pummeled the outer hull relentlessly without any obvious effect aside from turbulance.  A vast mountain towered ahead of them and he headed straight for it, already communicating with the hidden port ahead of their landing. 

"This is it," Garin called to Reynik.  "Five minutes to landing.  I hope you're ready."
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Jabbathejack on January 19, 2020, 07:00:28 AM
Reynik nodded grimly.
"My chip came out at Korriban."

Yet he still weathered the scan, just in case. It never hurt to be too careful.

For the majority of the trip, Reynik sat on the floor in silent meditation, knowing that he had laid enough threats for Garin to be trustworthy as a pilot.

Part way through the flight, he made his way over to Esbern and asked to review the dossier.

"It's good." He muttered, returning the datapad. "I've made a few minor adjustments."

When the call came, he made his way to the cockpit and stood just behind Garin, stooping to have a first glimpse of this strange moon.

He glanced at the pilot, pleased to see a note of concern, it meant that his ruse was working. It was the best way of ensuring that this man was fighting on their side.

"I'm ready. " He gave a confident smile, just before the expression was lost with the painful twitch that wracked his face.
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Firesblood on February 13, 2020, 09:54:34 AM
Garin nodded, satisfied but still skeptical.  The mountain loomed before them, a massive spire of scorched rock littered with holes; hundreds of cave entrances dotted the surface of the stone, some naught but pinpricks at a distance, others large enough for a ship twice the size of the Bug to land in.

It was one of those large entrances that Garin flew them into at a careful, slow speed.  The entrance opened into a bare stone tunnel, lit by hundreds of tiny blue lights along the top, sides, and bottom. 

Then, in no time at all, the tunnel opened on a vast cavern.  Nestled within the hollow mountain was a city carved of stone, lit from above by countless luminous spheres seated in the uppermost recesses. 

Garin navigated them to the northernmost part of the city where three empty landing pads waited.  As the ship lowered, a group of people emerged into view.  All but two of them wore the same armor and gear; Savati guards clothed in sleek black, tattoos of the same color decorating their deathly pale faces.  Only the tattoos differed; Garin explained that the marks beneath their left eye denoted the house they belonged to, while the marks under the right eye revealed their chosen career path. 

Garin climbed down from the bridge and led Reynik and Esbern down the ramp of the ship to meet them.

One of the two men escorted by the guard embraced Garin like a brother, a brilliant smile on his face.  "Welcome home, Garin.  What have you brought us?"

Garin glanced at Reynik and Esbern.  "Two hopefuls.  One is a pilot, the other is a former slave turned Sith chattel.  They wish to join the cause."

The man nodded, sobering as he looked Reynik and Esbern over.  "Excellent.  I am Novash Kin.  Welcome to Savat.  I assume Garin explained the intake process?"
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Jabbathejack on February 14, 2020, 11:56:27 AM
Reynik nodded.
"For the most part, yes."

They had discussed the approach a little during their flight, with Garin obviously worried about whether they'd pass the tests that they would face. Perhaps a little nervousness would work in their favour, although Reynik was confident that they would pass.

He stepped forwards as directed, ready for their tests. They were taken through to a large chamber and made to line up, along with some other of what Garin had called hopefuls.
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Firesblood on February 15, 2020, 11:38:28 AM
The intake process was lengthy and tedious.  Novash Kin led them to a featureless room where five other people stood waiting, each taken to another room off to the side to answer in-depth questions about themselves and their motivations, the reasons for joining up with the Exiled.  Two Savati guards stood watch at the door, remaining silent and watchful, their grim, tattooed expressions never once betraying any underlying emotion. 

After a few hours, once everyone had been taken aside, Novash Kin returned and led them to a vast chamber, lit with the same soft, recessed lamps high above.  They were directed to line up and wait, and no further explanation was given.  Esbern stood at the head of the line, hands shoved deep within his pockets. 

Some several minutes later, a woman glided in from one of the other offshoot corridors of the chamber.  She was small, and so pale that she seemed to glow even in the gloom of the room.  She wore plain dun robes that seemed over-sized for her stature, the bottom hem trailing behind her on the floor.  Dark hair was loose, hanging down to the backs of her knees.  Savati tattoos marked both of her cheeks, though the one denoting her path was one that none of the Savati they had seen so far bore.  Her steps were slow, pale eyes fixed somewhere above their heads.    Esbern sucked in a soft breath. 

Novash Kin frowned when she halted beside him.  "Doma Marigon, I did not expect to see you.  Where is Master Sika?"

Marigon tilted her head towards the man.  "There was an emergency in Kunik.  Sika's presence was required.  I am here in his stead."

Novash Kin nodded immediately, gestured to the line of hopefuls.  "Very well, Doma. They await you."

Marigon inclined her head and turned to the line, staring above their heads.  "This is your third and final test, Initiates.  I will probe your mind to discover the truth of your intentions.  Know now that if you have anything you have been hiding up to this point, I will discover it.  If you are here for any reason other than those which you have given in your previous testings, I will see it.  If your motives are not pure, you will not leave this chamber alive."

A few of the initiates glanced at one another, but no one spoke.  Without another word, Marigon moved to the head of the line where Esbern stood, raising her hand inches from the old man's face.  Esbern bore it in silence, staring at the woman who had freed him.  A small smile touched the woman's lips, gone as quickly as it had appeared. 

She lingered for less than a minute before moving onto the next, repeating the same palm-out gesture.  When she was satisfied, she moved down the line. Onto the third, the fourth...Marigon's head tilted, sweat beading on the Initiate's face as she delved into his mind.  The man's face twisted as if in pain, a grimace scrawling itself across his face.  Without a word, Marigon's hand closed into a fist.  The sickening wet crack of bone echoed too loudly in the vast chamber, and the man abruptly crumpled to the ground, his skull grotesquely misshapen beneath his skin.  Two Savati guards moved forward, dragging his body away and out.  Marigon's expression never changed. 

At last she stood before Reynik, hand extending to hover in front of his face.  Her invasion of his mind was gentle, so subtle that it could be missed by one not trained to recognize such things. 
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Jabbathejack on February 15, 2020, 01:15:54 PM
Reynik weathered the initiation process, remaining steady; he had spent most of the journey preparing himself mentally and he was confident that he was ready. He answered their questions carefully, sticking to the dossier that they had concocted. It worked well, following mostly on the truth, with only a few minor details omitted.

Even if he had not recognised the Savati woman after so long, Reynik would have been sure from Esbern's subtle huff of surprise. It was an emotional reaction that the pilot needed to be more careful about; if someone like Cygius ever caught wind of it, they might end up trying to use it against him. It was certainly a chink in his otherwise inpenetrable armour.

Marigon's eyes looked strange, different from how he had remembered them. As she neared him, he realised with a start that she was blind, navigating using the force alone. Indeed, she was strong in the force; Reynik could feel it radiating out from her.

His expression did not change as the man beside him fell to the floor, twisted and broken beneath her force grip. Of course, there was the question of her loyalty, whether it had been swayed by the group she remained with or whether it was still loyal to the Sith, but Reynik did not want to take any chances. He kept his mind as he had prepared for; besides, it was too late to change it now.

His entire plan had been to hide certain aspects of his mind simply by overshadowing them by a more important part of him. By giving his interrogators something to pick over, it meant that they missed the gaps in his mind. With Reynik not appearing to resist, she would be able to see his faint memories of being dragged away from a home that he could no longer recall the name of and his time in the labour camp. What was still as raw and vivid as the day it happened was when the guard used the laser cutter across his face, in retaliation for a small act of defiance. His memories of being released were sketchy, as he had spent most of that time in a haze of agony.

In contrast to the memories that he left there for her to see, Marigon's touch was strangely gentle. If she had not recognised him before, she would do now. They had been at Korriban together, although Reynik doubted that they had ever spoken. They would all have known him though, what other child would have had a face like his?

He waited, ready for the next step in the process.
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Firesblood on February 15, 2020, 01:44:45 PM
Marigon pieced through his offered memories, weathering the remembered emotion that came with each one.  Even when she pushed beyond what he offered her, her touch within his mind felt unobtrusive.  Recognition flickered quickly in the brief furrow of her brow, the slightest tilt to her head.  Her second hand rose, fingertips skimming feather-light over his features, his terrible scar, verifying that she had indeed recognized him for who he was.  Her touch did not linger, withdrawing the moment her suspicions were confirmed. 

Without a word, Marigon turned away and moved on to the last initiate, completing the testing process shortly thereafter.  She returned to Novash Kin's side, folding her hands within the loose sleeves of her robe.  She nodded towards Esbern, and then the third man in line. "Pilots, well versed in engineering and mechanics.  The one at the head of the line is a skilled slicer.  Both will do well with Gideon.  The second, sixth and seventh should be sent to Sarilla." 

Sightless eyes fixed somewhere above Reynik's head. "The fifth man will be brought directly to me after his intake is finished.  He is a force user.  Sika will want him."

Novash Kin nodded promptly, inclining his head towards her in a small bow.  "Of course, Doma."

With that, Marigon turned and glided back the way she had come, and Novash Kin led them out the opposite way to begin the final processing and assignments.  The atmosphere was a great deal more relaxed once the testing was finished.  Novash led them through seemingly endless tunnels, their number gradually tapering off as he directed them to the specific places Marigon had designated for them.

Reynik's destination was the last on the long walk.  Novash led him down a series of twisting corridors, easy to get lost in without knowing the way.  It eventually opened up into a moderately sized wing, comprised of living quarters, a common room, and a few other simple amenities.  There were only a few people there, one in meditation while the other two sparred with one another.  They paused when the two men entered, eyes promptly falling to Reynik. 

"This is Reynik," Novash Kin introduced the sith. "Please help him settle in.  I believe Marigon wished to see him after."
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Jabbathejack on February 15, 2020, 02:38:01 PM
Reynik did not pull back as she reached up to touch him gently. Ordinarily, he did not permit people to touch him, particularly on his face, but he understood the need to verify his identity. As she withdrew, Reynik's face twitched painfully, although as it happened to him with such regularity, it was not clear whether it was as a result of her contact or not.

Her movement through his mind was not what he had expected either; as Sith apprentices, each of them had learned what it was like to give as well as receive this mind probe. The Sith method was painful and brutal, without exception, until now, that was.

He followed the others, noting what route Esbern was directed to, along with the other pilots and engineers. Gradually, the others split off, leaving him as the last to follow Kin. He nodded to the others, remaining silent as his eyes swept over the area.

He turned towards the bunk rooms, noting that there were more rooms available than there were people.
"That one's vacant." Reynik turned at the voice behind him and the green skinned Twi'lek man who had been meditating stood in front of him, gesturing to one of the rooms.

"Thank you." Reynik nodded and headed inside, dumping his pack onto the bunk.

The Twi'lek hovered in the doorway, watching him.
"He said you were Reynik?"
"Yes." Reynik glanced at the room briefly before turning back; it was plainly furnished, but that was still more than Reynik was used to.

"I'm Skendar, over there is Dajid and Vorrag. You must be a force user if they've brought you here."

Skendar paused, obviously waiting for him to elaborate, but Reynik remained silent, heading back out into the main common room. The others had finished sparring and were heading over.

"All right then." Skendar did not seemed to be put off by his silence. "Come this way, he said Marigon wanted to see you."
"Thank you."

He was led down a long corridor to a room that seemed to be completely dark. Skendar left him to it and he knocked on the door and waited.
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Firesblood on February 15, 2020, 02:57:44 PM
"Come," Marigon's voice bade him in response.  The room beyond the door was dark, its occupant having no use for them.  When Reynik entered, however, she uttered a soft command which activated them.  The lights were still dim, but made all the difference.  She sat utterly still on the floor in the center of the room, only a few meager possessions visible; a few spare robes and tunics, a walking stick leaned against the wall by the bed, a dual-ended lightsaber resting within a small set of recessed stone shelves, empty save for the weapon. 

The door slid closed behind Reynik, and Marigon didn't rise.  Rather, she gestured to the place in the floor in front of her, features impassive.  "I remember you from Korriban, and I heard much about you in the years that came after.  It is good to finally make your acquaintance," she said quietly.  "I am correct in assuming that you are here because Cygius wanted me found?"
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Jabbathejack on February 15, 2020, 03:44:11 PM
Reynik obeyed, entering the room. He spared a glance to his surroundings before he approached Marigon and settled down in front of her, cross legged.

"I hope that what you've heard has been... fair."

He had no idea what people like Cygius said about him behind closed doors, but if it was too negative, then he doubted that he would have even been selected for this mission.

"I've been sent primarily to ensure that your mission is carried out. Cygius wasn't sure if you were even still alive, so that was a secondary part of my mission."
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Firesblood on February 15, 2020, 04:38:34 PM
Marigon tilted her head, a ghost of a smile hovering around her lips for the briefest of moments.  "The stories were...impressive," she finally replied.

She listened while he spoke, contemplating his words.  She had known that he was there at Cygius' behest, simply from her quick delve into his mind.  He was fortunate that it had been her committing the scan and not Sika, for Sika was far stronger in scanning the mind than she was, but she did not say as much. 

"I suppose there is little purpose in keeping this from you.  I have no intention of carrying out the mission that Cygius has given us," she replied, her voice never rising above that same quiet octave.  "For many reasons.  The most important reason is that the Exiled are correct at their core.   The Empire holds life to be utterly meaningless.  They enslave without prejudice, kill without thought, and have no plans but to consume, conquer and control."   

Marigon hesitated, sightless fixing on his face. "I fear you came here for nothing."
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Jabbathejack on February 15, 2020, 05:30:31 PM
Reynik was silent for a long moment, letting her words sink in.
"Thank you for your candour."

Yet her words had major implications. If she was not going to assist in their mission, that she had changed her loyalties to lie with the Exiled, then it stood to reason that she would try her best to prevent him from completing it also. The news of what had happened at Nar Shaddaa would have hit them now, surely. She must know what he had done.

"Yet my own experiences contradict what you have just said. It was not the Empire that had me enslaved, it was a group of marauders out to make credits. It was the Empire who saved me."

There was no point in skirting around the issue.
"Where does this leave us?" He watched her steadily, watching for any changes in expression to give him a warning.
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Firesblood on March 06, 2020, 09:57:29 AM
Marigon fell quiet, eyes cast down to the floor between them.  Her features remained smooth, thoughtful.  Silently, she rose from her place on the floor and went to a smaller alcove to the side, feeling her way around the things nestled there; a kettle, a small jar of loose leaves that filled the room with an herbal scent once opened, a few earthen cups and a matching pot, a water tap.  She moved methodically, and before long the kettle began to sing. 

"That is fair," she finally said, carrying everything over on a ceramic tray.  She knelt and placed it between them, then settled back into her original spot, though she waited another minute or two before she poured.  "The sum of who we are is dictated by what led us to this point in time.  Your experiences and determination have allowed you to rise.  Mine...are far different, but no less affirming to me.  Neither of us will budge from what we feel is right.  I believe they would call this an impasse."

A ghost of humor flickered in her features as she poured them each a cup, setting one within his reach and cradling the other between her hands.  "Yet, I also believe that the Force works in ways we cannot comprehend, and that you would not be here if you were not meant to be here.  So perhaps there is another way I may entice you--one that does not, strictly speaking, cause you to betray that which you believe to be correct."

Marigon sipped her tea, thumb tracing the web of repaired cracks that ran along the surface. "It is not only the Empire that we seek to bring down, but also the Republic and the Cartel.  We seek a new way of life, yet it cannot be attained if parts of the old, broken system still go on.  Destroy one, and the other two will only fight harder to fill the vacuum the one left behind, effectively nullifying whatever progress we make.  Our goals require different perspectives.  Your goals may not align with ours in their entirety, but as a faithful son of the Empire, Reynik, what would you sacrifice if it meant two of the Empire's enemies could be destroyed?    What would you choose, if there was even the slimmest chance you could manipulate things in your favor so that your Empire survives and thrives, unchallenged, unbroken, and fully possessed of this whole galaxy?"
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Jabbathejack on March 06, 2020, 05:12:55 PM
Reynik tensed as Marigon crossed the room, half expecting her to pull some form of weapon from the alcove to attack him with. Yet all she produced was tea and he watched her make it silently, wondering how she could focus on such minute movements in the face of such an arduous situation.

He remained silent, but on some level he agreed; impasse was the right word for their situation. Something had to give, whether she threw her tea in his face and attacked or took some other move.

After a long pause, Reynik finally stepped forwards and sat, cross legged on the floor in front of her, reaching for the small cup. He lifted the cup and sniffed lightly, assessing it before he took a sip.

"I find that destiny is best analysed after the events have unfolded. Whether I am here because of the movings of the Force or simply because I have been ordered to be is something that neither of us will ever be sure about."

"I will not hypothesise on impossible situations. Your claims to be able to bring down both the Republic and the Cartel at the same time as bringing down the Empire is laughable."

Despite his words, Reynik's tone was not unkind. It was simply that he believed her to be wrong.
"Fight beside me, follow your orders and we will defeat them together. We will bring order to this chaotic universe."

He paused, frowning.
"Yet what is the alternative to your plans? If I stick to my orders to the letter? Will you have me killed?"
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Firesblood on March 07, 2020, 11:23:32 AM
Marigon shook her head slightly, head ducking as she took another sip of her tea. "If I wanted to kill you, Reynik, you would be dead."  It was said with such casual simplicity, without doubt or falsehood.  He had been at her mercy already standing in that line, at her mercy from the moment he entered her room.  Her weapon remained on the shelf collecting dust, untouched in all the time she had been there because she didn't need it to kill.  Though he might have disagreed with her assertion, for her it was as easy as finding the substance of him in the space he occupied, strangling and crushing with only the briefest twitch of her hand. 

"I will admit...the offer to escape with you is far more tempting than you realize," she offered candidly, setting her cup on the floor beside her knee.  "If I knew as little as I did before arriving here...if I were not..." She hesitated, the placidity of her features twitching slightly with a barely-held grimace. "This is my home, and I am...honorbound to see the goals of my people to fruition.  Even if I did not agree with their assertions, there is little I can do to break their hold now.  I was lost the moment I set foot on this moon.  Everything I was...everything I thought I knew equalled to nothing at all.  I thought much the same as you about all of this, then."

She was aware that she was being cryptic, but shy of allowing him to crack her mind open like an egg and see things for himself, she didn't know how to describe what she had been through properly or why it should matter to him at all.  More, giving him that sort of information was tantamount to the most vulgar acts of betrayal among the Savati; the secrets of the Exiled were one thing, but the secrets that the her people had inducted her into was something else entirely.  The Exiled was a shield and a flash grenade, hiding them from view and causing useful distraction.  Savat was the body hidden behind them, and it was more vast than even she could imagine.  For thousands of years they had been working quietly, and the culmination of their work was broad indeed, encompassing almost every known world in some form or another.

Marigon sighed, passing a hand over her eyes wearily, deciding.  "Did you know that Cygius is my father?"
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Jabbathejack on March 20, 2020, 11:17:27 AM
"Home, family..." Reynik shook his head, giving half a faint, bitter smile. "Not really things that I understand all that well."

In truth, Reynik could not even remember what his parents had looked like. He had vague memories of someone, possibly his father, being killed when they were captured on his home world, but other than that, nothing. He could not even remember the name of the planet that they had been snatched from.

He could not hide the surprise in his expression from the revelation that Cygius was her father. Inwardly, Reynik found himself going over the conversations that he had had, analysing every mention of Marigon that he had uttered. He had not ordered him directly to find her, she was seen as an after thought almost. Tying up loose ends.

"And he knows this?" Yet he was already suspecting the answer to that question. Cygius prided himself on his knowledge and for something as personal as this to go unnoticed was unthinkable.

"Have you always known?"

It was Reynik's turn to sigh, frowning as he thought through the turbulent situation that he found himself in the middle of.
"So, tell me your plan. How do you expect to bring down such powerful organisations?"
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Firesblood on March 29, 2020, 11:35:13 AM
Marigon clutched her cup of tea a bit tighter between her palms, the tension in her shoulders betraying a subtle, unseen weight.  "I do not know if Cygius is aware.  I believe he may suspect who I am to him, but that is only because I find it doubtful that a man so keen upon gathering intelligence could be oblivious to a personal weakness beneath his very nose. He knows he has a daughter somewhere in the galaxy; my mother took me and left him shortly after I was born.  If he does know, he has never brought it up.  As for me...no, I have not always known.  It was one of many revelations upon my return to Savat," she sighed, setting her cup down and resting her hands on her knees. 

A subtle twitch at the corner of her lips was her initial response to his following question, her head canting slightly to the left.  "My plan...You assume far too much of my involvement in all of this.  I am merely a piece in the grander puzzle.  I can tell you that while the Exiled is a newly formed rebellion, the Savati have been at work for centuries.  My people have infiltrated every level of the three factions by whatever means they deemed necessary, and I am the result of just one of these means," she said, sightless eyes drifting to fix on his face. "We are on every world in this galaxy, hidden within every command, council, and exclusive sub-faction inside the greater whole.  For every one of us you find, there exists tens more, hundreds more.  Within the Empire alone, we have married or seduced our way into the oldest, purest Sith families, and we sit within the highest echelons of the Imperial military.  This goes far deeper than you can comprehend.  I've been here for months and I am still..."

Marigon shook her head wearily. "It has been a...daunting experience.  I came here with every intention of carrying out Cygius' orders.  Even now my feelings on these matters are complex.  I was raised Sith.  I survived Korriban and my apprenticeship, and though a part of me always felt out of place there, it is still a difficult thing to turn one's back on the only life one has ever known.  It...still bothers me to know the extent of Savati reach, how futile my previous goals really were.  They have already begun the subtle systematic weakening of the internal structures of the Republic, Empire, and Cartel--inciting wars both within and without.  Everything from petty infighting to simple corruption, manipulation, and political power plays, whatever and wherever they can sow discord, they do and will.  Beating them is highly improbable.  If you cannot beat them, join them."     
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Jabbathejack on March 29, 2020, 03:44:51 PM
"I had come to the same conclusion myself." Reynik grimaced; he had the feeling that he was only seeing the tip of the iceberg when it came to just how convuluted this entire situation was.

"Presumably, he must know that the woman he was with was Savati? That you also share that blood. I would imagine it would be safer to assume that he does know than the opposite."

From the way she spoke, it sounded like an intricate web of progeny throughout the Republic, the Empire and the Cartel. Sleeping as if they were waiting to be activated.

Reynik shook his head.
"Wait. You're telling me that, regardless of how you were raised, you're still following a set of orders that you were... born to receive? Activated when you arrived here? How is that even possible?"
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Firesblood on March 30, 2020, 11:43:28 AM
Marigon shook her head promptly.  "No.  Believe it or not the Savati--despite their quiet spread through the galaxy--have managed to remain entirely anonymous.  We are human-passing, though there are subtle physiological differences that set us apart.  None of those differences are obvious unless you know what you are looking for.  Cygius had no idea who or what my mother really was.  As I am sure you are aware, Reynik, it is far from difficult to obtain counterfeit credentials, and all Savati who abide offworld are assigned such in order to facilitate easier movement."

She quieted, carefully refilling her cup with more tea, though not without accidentally splashing a few still-hot drops onto the hand around her cup.  She didn't attempt to refill his cup, though she did set the pot a bit closer to him as an open offering.  The invisible weight on her shoulders seemed to grow just a bit heavier when Reynik shook his head and posed more questions.  "It is...a bit more complicated than that, and even more difficult to believe.  Several millennia ago, there was a group of Pureblood Sith who deviated from the whole after discovering how much more powerful following a path of balance made them.  Just as Revan walked the middle between light and dark, this group of Sith found that utilizing both light and dark opened up new levels of force ability that neither light nor dark on their own could tap.  It led them to this moon, where it was discovered that the moon itself was alive and capable of its own will and desires.  After settling Savat, even more possibilities opened to them when they formed a symbiotic connection to the lifeforce of the moon, and their power grew exponentially--enough that the Empire grew fearful and sought to either forcefully re-assimilate the Savati, or destroy them outright.  They were heretics, after all, but potentially useful ones," she murmured, sipping her tea again.  "The Savati refused.  They had thrived here, had built an unshakeable bond with the very soul of Savat and a civilization to be proud of, and they decided that they would rather die than submit their ways and their home to the oppressive yoke of the Empire."

Marigon set her cup aside again and folded her hands within the sleeves of her robe. "This is where it gets even more impossible; The Empire surrounded Savat in force, but the people refused to back down.  The most powerful Savati joined together in a ritual beseeching the moon to offer assistance against their foe.  The Savati made an offer; if the moon could somehow save and preserve the lives of their people, protect them from their enemies, they swore that so long as a single one of them still drew breath, Savat would live on within them and be avenged.  Savat accepted.  At this point in our histories, it is said that great caverns opened within all of the mountains, beneath all of the cities, which led deep within the moon and safely away from the worst of the cataclysm.  The Empire unleashed hell upon the surface, decimating all life above.  The weapons they used caused an unexpected phenomenon to take place within the atmosphere; unending lightning storms which made it impossible to scan for life, impossible to fly without being destroyed.  As Savat was dying, it used the remainder of its power to further protect the people by physically altering them so that they could adapt to the new and hostile conditions, and then forced the vestiges of its soul into all who were left, effectively imprinting itself and their oath right into the bloodlines.  Until the oath of vengeance is fulfilled, every last Savati serves the will of the dead entity which protected them from the onslaught of their enemies, and we are bound irrevocably by it.  The blood oath and the pieces of Savat's soul are passed on from generation to generation.  No one with Savati blood is immune, though some of us remain unaware until it is triggered.  Coming to this moon is not even necessary for that trigger to take place; it is the pieces of the soul that are responsible for such a thing, Savat's will to collect on a promise made by people desperate to survive."

Marigon shook her head ruefully.  "No brainwashing, no conditioning.  It does not matter how you are raised, to whom you are loyal, or how satisfied you are by the life you have built; all Savati serve the blood oath.  And the pieces of Savat's soul have grown bitter.  It does not recognize the difference between Empire, Republic, or Cartel.  All three factions are simple facets of the same monster, all three rotten at the core, all three capable of the very destruction which sealed the fate of Savat and my people.  In order for new, better ways to take root, all of the old rot must be cut away and burned."

Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Jabbathejack on May 02, 2020, 02:04:00 PM
Reynik frowned, considering what she had told him; this entire situation was far more complex than he had been led to believe. He leaned forwards, keeping his movements slow and measured as he lifted the offered teapot and refilled his cup before setting it back down.

"Thank you." He murmured softly. "Thank you for taking the time to explain this to me, especially when you had grounds to have both of us killed the moment we set foot here."

He was in a difficult position; he knew he could not fulfil his mission as Cygius had ordered. It was his duty to report back on at least some of what he had found out, but he knew he would have to watch his words when it came to Marigon's involvement in the plot. He had given his word to Esbern to try and keep her safe, although he was loathe to admit as much to her directly.

"I hope our presence here hasn't caused too much trouble for you."

If they were caught, it might not look well on the person who allowed them in with a mind probe.

Reynik drained his cup and set it down beside the teapot before he stood.
"I will consider what you have told me."
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Firesblood on July 25, 2020, 07:22:33 PM
The corner of Marigon’s mouth twitched upward briefly in amusement. “There were no grounds to kill either of you.  I scanned you, if you would recall.  You were good, but it just so happens that we can only consciously block a scant handful of big memories against an attack, and everything besides those specific memories remain.  I saw everything that I needed to, and you passed anyway.”

She tilted her head slightly as he finished his tea.  “So far, your presence has caused me no trouble at all.  I suppose we will see how long that lasts.”

Marigon rose when he did and nodded.  “That’s all that I can ask of you, Reynik.  I am grateful to you for hearing me out.” 

She opened the door for him and gestured towards the common room beyond. “I will show you to your room.  I’m sure you are tired after today.”

She guided him down another offshoot corridor, passing three doors before she came to a stop.  “Press your hand to the pad, then key in a lock code that you will remember.  Meals are often communal, but that isn’t required.  Either way, food is served in the cantina, and someone will show you how to get there when you are ready.”   
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Jabbathejack on July 26, 2020, 04:12:58 PM
Reynik bowed his head gently at the news that he would have passed his first real mind test. Hopefully, he would not have to face another quite so soon.

"I do not want to be your enemy." He replied quietly, yet he had a feeling that there would be trouble no matter what.

"Thank you." He murmured softly, following her down the corridors. It did not concern him that he was being led by a blind person; he knew all too well that there were many ways of seeing, not just with one's eyes.

"I will speak with you again. When the circumstances permit."

Nodding, Reynik made his way into his quarters, settling down on his bunk to meditate. It had been a stressful few days, with precious little time to relax, but Reynik knew that it was important to take some time to unwind, even if it was just a little.

An hour later, Skendar poked his head into his room.
"Food's ready. You coming?"

Opening his eyes, Reynik nodded and got up, following the others towards the canteen area. Taking a tray, he lined up with the others, waiting silently to be served. It was simple fair, hydroponic vegetables and some meat that he could not identify, but it was far better than the basic rations that he had been living off for the duration of their mission.

He found Esbern and sat in a space just across from the pilot.
"You all right?" He murmured softly as he took a bite of the meat; it didn't taste too bad. "I spoke with Marigon."
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Firesblood on July 26, 2020, 04:29:49 PM
Esbern looked up at Reynik as he sat down, hardly pausing between bites of food to grunt a wordless greeting.  Focused back on his plate, he grabbed one of the grain rolls from an earthen bowl at the center of the table.  If he was bothered by their currant situation, it was impossible to tell.  If anything, some tension had melted from his bony frame.  At Reynik’s asking after him, he barked out a laugh.  “I’ve been enslaved to Sith for years.  This is a damned vacation in paradise by comparison.”

“Oh?” The old man asked casually, peering at Reynik while he sawed his chunk of meat into smaller pieces.  He eyed the others around them in the Cantina and lowered his voice accordingly.  “I figured that you would run into her.  What’s your impression, then?”
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Jabbathejack on July 26, 2020, 04:52:03 PM
Reynik's face twitched into what could possibly be seen as a painful one sided smile.
"Figures. At least the food is decent."

He sat back at Esbern's question, thinking for a moment before he replied. He didn't change his tone, but he was careful not to say anything that could be incriminating if they were overheard. At this point, it might be seen as more damning to be whispering.

"She's interesting. Sharp mind. Blind, yet not in a way that poses any disadvantage." He paused, taking another bite of food. "I'll need to consider things carefully."

He gave Esbern a pointed look; there was more that he needed to say, but not in a place like this.
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Firesblood on August 02, 2020, 03:24:48 PM
Esbern pointed at him with his fork in a wordless expression of agreement about the decent food and listened to his answer regarding Marigon.  He nodded along in agreement, but otherwise kept his opinion to himself on the matter, rather than trying to convince him any which way to think about her and the situation they were in. 

 When Reynik finished and mentioned what he needed to do, he passed the young Sith one of the rolls he had grabbed for himself.  “Yeah, you will.  I’m glad that you met her.  I’m sure she’ll help you acclimate quickly.  Try this, it’s good.”  He then pointed at one of the pots nearby, which looked to be holding some sort of jam.  “I wouldn’t eat that, by the way.  It’s made from fruit from the native carnivorous plants they have here.  Want to know what kind of meat a plant eats on a moon with no more natural animal life except one?” Esbern asked casually.

“Interesting to look at, though, even if they stink worse than a dead rancor.  I’ve been to a lot of worlds, and they rival the ones they have on the forest floors of Kashyyyk.  I was down there earlier working on the climate regulators.  Want to head back with me in the morning and check it out for yourself?” 

It would probably be their only real shot at talking out of range of anyone, as not even the Savati liked the reek of those particular tunnels and avoided them whenever possible.
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Jabbathejack on August 03, 2020, 06:20:37 PM
Reynik nodded his thanks as he accepted the roll, reaching for the pot of jam and dipping his knife in even as Esbern mentioned it. He paused, looking up at Esbern's warning. Reynik held the older man's gaze steadily, listening, his knife still poised in the pot.

After a slight pause, Reynik withdrew the knife and sniffed at the thick, dark red substance that coated it. He shrugged, then continued to smear the jam onto the bread before taking a bite.

"In my experience, you get your protein where you can."

He had eaten worse. It had been no secret on the mining colony that the slaves were fed the bodies of their dead companions. Anyone that refused died, then they would be served up in the next meal. Perhaps Esbern would think him as callous, but Reynik had plenty of other things to worry about right now.

"That sounds like an excellent idea." Reynik nodded, glad of an excuse to get away from prying ears so they could communicate properly.
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Firesblood on August 05, 2020, 12:12:25 PM
Esbern shrugged and nodded at Reynik’s assessment of the jam and helped himself to some as well.  It wasn’t bad and in a place like this, the sith couldn’t be more right; on a moon like Savat, one did indeed get their protein where they could.

The two passed the rest of the meal by in silence.  Esbern stuffed his face like a man who hadn’t had a decent meal in years, hunched over his plate in a manner reminiscent of one who expected someone else to take it away from him at any minute.  When he was finished, he picked up his tray and gave the sith a small nod.  “See you at breakfast.  Don’t die.”

---

The following morning, Esbern could be found at the same table, nursing his way through a pot of caff while he worked on another tray brimming with more food than a man his size should have been able to polish off.  Marigon sat opposite him with one hand wrapped around her walking stick, the other around a cup of her own—but no food.  Occasionally he would stop eating and stare at her, wrinkled brow furrowing in thought.     

“Say what’s on your mind, Esbern,” she finally said, tone resigned. 

“Are you…okay?” He murmured softly.

“Not really,” Marigon admitted, her voice pitched a little quieter than before. “I will be eventually.”

“Have you been adjusting alright?” 

“Not as well as I project,” she said, her hand gripping the walking stick just a touch tighter than before.  She didn’t elaborate, and Esbern didn’t press. 

They passed the time in silence from that point, and after Marigon finished her cup, she stood.  Esbern reached for the hand that wasn’t wrapped around her walking stick, giving it a gentle squeeze.  “Missed you.”

“I missed you too,” she murmured, smiling.  “I got used to our late-night discussions.  I only have myself to talk to now when I can’t sleep, and I’m boring.”

Esbern snickered at that.  “Maybe you’ll luck out and they will send you back out again.”

Marigon shrugged. “Time will tell, though I doubt luck will have anything to do with it.  Take care, Es.”

“Be safe, Marigon.”

With that, Marigon drifted away and out of the cantina, leaving the old man to finish his breakfast and wait for Reynik.   
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Jabbathejack on August 05, 2020, 06:38:20 PM
After he'd finished eating, Reynik headed back to his quarters. His new bunkmates paused what they were doing as he entered the room, watching him with curiosity. One of them, a dark haired and blue skinned Chiss named Dajid approached.

"Sith." There was no mistaking the contempt in his voice. Reynik held his gaze steadily, until his face twitched violently.

Reynik knew it was rare for one of that species to display any Force sensitivity at all, but he was not about to underestimate his abilities based on what he had heard rather than what he had experienced for himself.

"Was." Reynik lied, approaching them. "I passed the test, didn't I? They would have killed me the moment I landed otherwise."

Even so, the Chiss did not seem happy about his presence.
"You have a problem with me." Reynik did not voice it as a question, but a statement.

Even before the Chiss moved, Reynik knew what he was about to do, feeling a stirring of the Force sensing the man's intentions. Wordlessly, he held out his hand, sending Dajid slamming back against the wall. He held him there for a moment then released him, letting him fall to the floor.

His lip curling in contempt, Reynik retreated to his room to meditate, yet he kept his wits about him just in case any of them took exception to his display.

The next morning, they gave him a wide berth, but Reynik did not care. He made his way into the canteen and found Esbern, sliding into the seat in front of him as he ate his meal.
"Survived the night." He muttered quietly.
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Firesblood on August 05, 2020, 08:31:22 PM
Esbern looked up from pouring himself another cup of caff.  There was a glint of humor in his eyes as he considered Reynik, setting the pot just to the side between them.  “Never doubted you for a second.”

The old man took a long swig from the cup despite the furious steam it put off, and set it aside in favor of some sort of noodles swimming in a sharp-smelling sauce.  He seemed dead-set on putting as much food away as possible, despite mentioning the night before just how awful the tunnels they would be traveling to smelled. 

“I hope you had enough time to sleep while you were surviving the night.  We’ve got a bit of a walk ahead of us, but I think everyone should see the gardens at least once,” he said conversationally.  “I brought a salve along that should help dampen the stink, otherwise…there’s really no point in breakfast.”

The old man gave a soft grunt of laughter, slid an empty plate Reynik’s way and gestured at the food on the table.   The population within the cantina had lessened a bit since Marigon left, but every so often a person would eventually trickle in and find a place to sit with their food.  One such individual entered through the left-hand side corridor and paused, surveying the dwindling number of people.  Somewhere in his late forties or fifties, the man had the bearing of a Jedi but the rough exterior of a vagabond, with shaggy black hair, sun-weathered skin, and sensible clothing frayed with age.  The shadows beneath his eyes made the iris’ seem that much brighter, like burning flame.  Human most likely, without the facial tattoos that confirmed him a native to Savat. 

He lingered a little longer over Reynik and Esbern, the intensity of his gaze switching from one man to the other.  It was accompanied by the subtlest of tingling sensations in the back of the mind, there, and yet gone so quickly that it was difficult to determine whether or not it had ever actually happened.  All the same, Esbern paused mid-bite and straightened, narrowed eyes shifting to view the man through the peripheral. 

It was impossible to tell whether he had found what he was looking for—let alone what that was, and before long he was off to the line to get food, a look of disinterest in his features.  Once he was loaded down with some sort of bread and a pot of caff, he went back the way he came without a backward glance. 

Esbern let his fork drop to the tray in front of him, the resulting sound of metal on metal causing more of a clatter than the level of voices.  “I’m gonna take a wild guess and say that’s the Master Sika that Marigon mentioned she was standing in for yesterday.”

The old man wiped his mouth with a napkin.  “I’m just going to assume that since we’re still alive, we passed again.”

“You get used to it,” a Devaronian female not too far from them said.  She wore the same uniform as Esbern, had the same bag of tools resting at her feet as the old man did.  She offered a small, apologetic smile, sharp toothed and unsettling despite the friendliness of her tone.  “Master Sika likes to check in.  If you’re still alive, it means you’ve got nothing to worry about.”
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Jabbathejack on August 06, 2020, 03:25:32 PM
"I have a strong stomach."

Reynik shrugged as he took the empty plate and helped himself to some food. He had managed to last as long as he had in the spice mines where the air had hardly been decent, he felt that he could deal with a fair few environments.

He felt the presence, pushing subtly at his mind, but Reynik had been expecting some sort of mind interference; he did not even look up. In a place like this, he was always on his guard, even when he was meant to be at rest. That was one way where Korriban had helped to prepare him for life.

Reynik did not spend long eating. When he was finished, he cleared away his plate and nodded at Esbern.
"When you're ready."
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Firesblood on August 06, 2020, 03:54:17 PM
Esbern nodded when Reynik indicated he was finished and rose, shouldering the bag with his tools.  Once their dishes were divested of, the old man led the way through tunnels of varying sizes, pausing ever so often to make sure they were on the right path.  A flat lift took them approximately 30 levels down from where they had been, and from there Esbern led him down another twisting maze of tunnels. 

The deeper and further they ventured, the hotter and more humid it got, soaking their clothes through.  Finally, the tunnel opened into a cavern even greater than the one in which the Savati city above nestled.  The light within mimicked the natural shades of the binary stars that used to be visible from the surface of the moon, casting mellow shade of violet over the jungle contained within.  As lively here as the surface of the moon was dead, the smell was a combination of damp, rotting vegetation, sickly-sweet floral perfume, and the strong, overwhelming stench of decomposing meat.  Everywhere one looked, massive, fleshy, toothed blossoms in vibrant shades of violet and blood-red swayed in a nonexistent breeze, barbed tendrils actively seeking a meal.  The ground they grew from at first glance was a rough sort of compost, only the color and the occasional shards of bone revealed that it was anything more than soil. 

Esbern fumbled for a tin in his pocket and popped the lid with his thumb.  Getting enough on his finger, he wiped the salve just beneath his nostrils and offered it to Reynik so that he could do the same if he wished. 

The old man continued into the cavern, edging as far away from the gargantuan flowers and their extended reach as possible; as they passed, those same tendrils reached and strained towards them. 

Once Esbern had determined that they were hidden well enough and out of proximity of any immediate danger, he turned towards Reynik and raised a wild, white eyebrow. 

“Alright, lets have it then.  What haven’t you been able to tell me about your meeting with her?”
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Jabbathejack on August 06, 2020, 06:04:32 PM
Reynik's face twitched as he followed Esbern deep into the caves, yet that was the only suggestion that he might be ill at ease. Deep down though, he found the area unsettlingly similar to the mines where he had been held. So much so that the smell was actually the least offensive part about being there.

His feet crunched on the uneven floor and he looked down, realising that he there was bone under foot.
"I will need your assistance with encryption. I need to speak to Cygius as soon as it is possible. The situation is not what I was led to believe initially. We will not be able to complete our mission as we had planned. Needless to say, we cannot be detected."
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Firesblood on August 06, 2020, 06:29:30 PM
Esbern frowned, scratching at his flyaway hair as Reynik detailed what he needed.  He looked rather skeptical at the mention of Cygius, but this was hardly considered abnormal.

“It will take time.  I don’t know how Marigon got word from this place before, and I haven’t seen a single communications station anywhere yet,” he muttered, shifting just to the side when a longer plant tendril bumped against his arm.  “The encryption part is nothing.  I can do that, no problem.  I’ll ask her how she managed to get the signal offworld next time I see her.”

That said, Esbern’s gaze grew a touch sharper. “How bad is it?”
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Jabbathejack on August 08, 2020, 10:38:09 AM
"Use the ship, perhaps?" Reynik's gaze moved around the caverns, his injured face twitching perhaps more violently than usual. "At least we know that Garin is on our side. Even if I had to threaten him to ensure it."

He turned back to Esbern, frowning at the question, yet he was glad that he had something to focus on other than their surroundings.

"It was... a challenging conversation."

He sighed heavily, knowing that he had to choose his next words very carefully. Esbern's connection with Marigon had not gone unnoticed and he knew damn well that if she had not been involved, then the pilot would not even be with him. His loyalty was to her, not to their cause.

"I realise that the information we had been supplied with before the mission was wrong. We had no idea the scale of what we are dealing with. I need to talk to Cygius and we cannot afford to be discovered."
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Firesblood on August 08, 2020, 11:56:53 AM
Esbern nodded in answer to Reynik’s suggestion.  “I’ll see if I can’t figure out a way to get to the hangar without looking suspicious.  Could be tough.”

Despite that admission, he didn’t seem to be against it.  As Reynik went further into describing, albeit vaguely, that they had been misinformed, Esbern grimaced.  “It doesn’t take a genius to figure that out.  We were sent to disassemble a newborn rebellion, not…this.”  The old man gestured in a general manner to their surroundings.  “I don’t know the full depth of it, but from what little I’ve been able to put together since we’ve been here, I’m beginning to understand how much bigger it is.”

Esbern scrubbed at the stubble on his chin.  “Anything else?”
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Jabbathejack on August 09, 2020, 06:10:45 AM
"This movement is by no means newborn." Reynik shook his head, yet that slight movement seemed to spark yet another violent twitch and he gave a slight hiss of pain as it happened. He recovered quickly, grimacing as he continued.

"From what Marigon told me yesterday, they have been planning this for a long time. Placing operatives deep within both the cartel and the Empire, dormant for years. They hope to bring both down at the same time."

Perhaps it was the stench within the cavern, yet Reynik was finding it increasingly difficult to breath down there. He was sweating, feeling as if he had just completed a gruelling training exercise, rather than just a walk into the caverns and a difficult conversation.

"Bold claims, I know, but if it is true, then it has the power to change everything."
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Firesblood on August 09, 2020, 09:28:27 AM
Esbern’s brow furrowed as Reynik went on to relay what Marigon had told him, considering his words carefully.  The Sith was struggling, that much was clear to him.  In the time that he had known Reynik, the young man had been composed, controlled; if he felt anything in the way of nerves, the only sign of them was the way the scarred side of his face twitched.  This was different, more.  Something was really bothering him, but Esbern couldn’t tell if it was the situation they had found themselves in, or something else entirely. 

Esbern’s hand twitched at his side, and he was tempted to rest a hand on the Sith’s shoulder to offer some small comfort, but he was all too aware that the gesture would likely be awkward and unwelcome; they had not acquired the rapport that he and Marigon had.  The concern in his voice when he spoke was genuine, though; he cared for the young man in his own way.  “I’ll check in with Garin and see if I can’t work out a line to Cygius for you.  In the meantime, you don’t look so good.  Are you alright?”
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Jabbathejack on August 10, 2020, 01:22:31 PM
Reynik eyed Esbern, his expression suddenly wary as he realised that he'd given away too much. If he had still been in training, he would have been beaten for such an oversight. A weakness like this could easily be taken and used against him. Something, even as seemingly insignificant as being reminded of a part of his life that he would have liked to forget, might be the end of his life or, at the very least, cause even more trouble to an already increasingly difficult mission.

Esbern had read his file, he knew where he had come from. If he had shown an inadvertent weakness, then it was probably one that was expected of him. It was his job to ensure that he proved himself beyond such pathetic fears.

Reynik nodded, his expression hardening.
"I'm fine." He replied almost mechanically. "You are correct. This is the best place for us to talk properly. Good."

"We should head back soon, we don't want to be missed."
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Firesblood on August 17, 2020, 12:22:03 PM
Esbern’s brow furrowed, but he didn’t argue.  “My work is here.  You had best get a move on back the way we came if you don’t want to be missed.  I’ll see you later.”

Without another word, Esbern collected his tool bag and headed in a different direction towards the climate regulators, slapping at a few creeping tendrils from the plants that sensed him along the way.

---

When Reynik returned to the quarters sectioned off for Force users, it was mostly empty.  Two of the men whom he shared a room with were in an offshoot room doing their meditations; the Chiss who had assaulted him the night before was nowhere in sight.

The only person immediately apparent was Master Sika, who was settled cross-legged against a wall and working on what looked to be a disassembled practice drone.  The pot of caff he had taken from the Cantina earlier sat next to him, which he seemed to be using as a large cup on its own. 

When Reynik entered, the older man looked up sharply, then went back to his work, nostrils flaring slightly.  “Good.  I trust your secret meeting in the graveyard went well?” he asked bluntly, eyes narrowing as he replaced a minuscule screw in it’s appropriate place.  Once that was done, he gestured to the floor.  “Sit.  We have expectations and duties to discuss.  I’ll be brief; you stink worse than a week old corpse and it’s messing with my concentration.”   
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Jabbathejack on August 21, 2020, 05:05:37 PM
Reynik was only too glad to escape the confines of the cave, yet he tried his best not to show it as he nodded to Esbern and turned away, heading back the way they had come. By the time he reached the entrance, his face was twitching painfully at regular intervals. He took a moment to compose himself, focusing on controlling his emotions as he made his way back into his quarters.

He paused as he saw Sika and approached him slowly. Reynik did not show any surprise at the comment on their meeting. Instead, he smiled as he sat down cross legged in front of him. There was no point in denying the obvious.

"Well enough." He replied quietly. "I like to know what's around me. Besides, its nice to get some fresh air every now and then."

He debated offering to change his clothes, but he decided against it; Sika could have his concentration skewed a little more. He waited patiently, wondering what duties they would assign him.
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Firesblood on August 21, 2020, 07:55:09 PM
Sika paused and stared at Reynik, eyes narrowing slightly before he emitted a quiet snort and went back to work.  “I suppose as a Sith and a former slave of the Empire, you would be used to the stench of death and decay.  It is such a common odor on worlds controlled by them after all.”

Once Reynik was sitting, the Master set aside the probe and sighed, pulling a small datapad from one of his pockets and extending it to him.  “I have taken the liberty of preparing an itinerary for you.  Your duties are listed within, and you will be expected to see to them in a timely manner every day—We all pull our own weight here in Sehtvan.  I’m afraid none of those duties require venturing to the sub-tunnels for a stroll amongst the daisies, so it would be deemed very suspicious if you were to be seen going down there again.”

He paused a moment, taking a long drink directly from the carafe. “I also require your presence in the sparring room an hour after evening meal is done for the foreseeable future.  My opinion of the Empire notwithstanding, they do churn out some formidable warriors, and you have the skill set I need for this particular case.”

He picked up the probe again and dismissed Reynik, going back to his work without another word.  The itinerary in question seemed basic enough; time was allotted for meditation and training if needed or desired, and the rest was assorted odd jobs.  Tomorrow, he was assigned to the granary caverns, helping to move loads of foodstuff to the Cantina’s storeroom.  The rest of the week he was assigned to clearing out a massive cave-in in the South East arterial, which was currently disrupting the supply chain between Sehtvan and half a dozen other cities.   
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Jabbathejack on August 22, 2020, 09:24:27 AM
Reynik watched Sika, remaining silent for the moment. Sika's assumption that he had been a slave of the Empire amused him, but he did not try to correct him. Being here, amongst enemies at every turn, he kept his mind closed off.

He took the datapad, glancing at it briefly before looking back up at Sika.
"Thank you. I will study this. I don't think you will have any issues with my performance."

He smiled thinly.
"I shall endeavour to keep my wanderings out of restricted areas in future."
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Firesblood on August 22, 2020, 12:01:09 PM
Sika didn’t acknowledge him, having already declared an end to their conversation.  The itinerary had nothing listed for Reynik to attend to that day, so it was up to him what he would do with it.

The rest of the day went by without any hitches and with no sighting of the Chiss, though the others who shared quarters with Reynik made their appearances occasionally throughout the day. 

The time for evening meal came and found Esbern sat at the same table, freshly bathed but still carrying the subtle aroma of rot beneath the soap, as if spending the entire day in the gardens had somehow permeated the old man’s very skin.  Marigon sat just beside him, though her tray of food remained largely untouched in favor of the mug of tea she was cradling between both hands.  Neither of them spoke, choosing instead to remain in a companionable silence.  An empty spot across the table had been kept empty for Reynik, for whenever he arrived.   
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Jabbathejack on August 25, 2020, 12:36:58 PM
Reynik spent the rest of the day in training and meditation, pushing himself both physically and mentally. Since he had been on missions, it was not always possible to ensure that he kept up with his regular training regimen; it was good to be allowed to have the time to hone his skills.

Even during training, he made sure to keep his mental defences up, just in case. You could never tell who was watching.

Reynik noticed the absence of the Chiss, but as everyone seemed to be busy, he did not have a chance to ask someone where he was. Getting up from his meditation, he changed out of his training robes and headed over to join the others for food.

He slid neatly into the vacant space, greeting others with a nod as he began to eat.
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Firesblood on August 27, 2020, 10:49:42 AM
Esbern grunted in greeting when Reynik joined them, and Marigon dipped her head in a small nod of acknowledgement.  The old man hardly missed a beat in stuffing his face, with double the amount of food on his tray as per usual.

He elbowed Marigon and nudged the tray in front of her, which earned him a small, ireless glare in his direction.  “Eat, girl.  If you were any thinner, you’d disappear the moment you turned sideways.”

“Harder target,” Marigon muttered against the rim of her cup, but after that sip she chose the roll from her tray, picking it apart into tiny pieces and reluctantly eating. 

Esbern scowled at her, but held back the retort that had flown to the tip of his tongue.  He returned his attention to Reynik, apparently having decided that he might provide a less frustrating distraction.  “So how did the day treat you?  Anything of note happen?”   
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Jabbathejack on August 31, 2020, 12:21:24 PM
"I met Sika." Reynik spoke quietly, eating his food without hesitation; Esbern was right, they needed to eat to keep up their strength ready for when they needed it. If they didn't eat, then they would die, but that had always been the case throughout his entire life.

"He's sharp, all right."

He did not elaborate, knowing that he couldn't trust anyone listening in right now. Not that he could even fully trust the people who sat at his own table.

"One of my new bunk mates seems to have disappeared without trace, but I haven't had time to ask anyone about him. Did you hear anything?"

Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Firesblood on August 31, 2020, 12:54:18 PM
Esbern listened, pale blue eyes fixed on Reynik as he spoke of meeting Sika.  The wrinkled skin around his eyes tightened briefly, but relaxed just as quickly; if they were in danger, then no doubt they would have sign of it by now.

“Aye, so I’ve heard.  I asked around about him from some of the others.  He was a Jedi, and a damned good one at that—for a time.  I don’t know how he ended up here, nobody willing to talk seemed to, but he’s been a fixture here for coming on two decades,” Esbern said conversationally, shoveling a large spoonful of some sort of mash into his mouth. 

Marigon tilted her head slightly when Reynik mentioned his roommate had gone missing, asking if they had heard anything.  She finished chewing some of the bread and washed it down with more tea, fingers skimming her tray for something else to eat.  It seemed to take her more effort to do things when she wasn’t in the comfortable space of her room. 

“Mazelor,” Marigon murmured, skimming her spoon over the pile of mash to collect a small helping of it.  “Sika reassigned him to the borer tunnels within an hour of his return, for population control.  No reason was given and we all know better than to ask, but that’s his favored method of punishment for people who land themselves on his bad side.”

Giving up on the rest of her meal and blessedly unaware of Esbern’s scolding expression when she pushed her tray away, Marigon rose without another word and grabbed her walking stick, heading back to the force-users wing without a backward glance.  Esbern shook his head and slid her tray closer, piling what was left on top of his; waste didn’t sit well with him, another lesson taught by slavery. 

“Garin and the Bug are gone.  Shame—I’d have liked to say goodbye, but he comes back ‘round about every two weeks, so we can give him our regards then,” Esbern commented lightly, subtly following up on their discussion from the gardens. 
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Jabbathejack on September 06, 2020, 05:57:11 PM
Reynik frowned as he heard the explanation of Mazelor's whereabouts.
"I had an issue with him." He spoke quietly, sounding as if he was simply relaying just another piece of information. "He disliked the idea of a former Sith being here."

He grimaced, knowing that it must be the reason why the Chiss had been disciplined. Reynik looked up at Marigon, wondering how much anti Sith issues she had to deal with when she first arrived. He nodded as she left, turning back to his meal.

He raised an eyebrow at the mention of Garin; from the way he spoke, it sounded like Esbern was actually taking a liking to the young pilot, despite everything that had happened.
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Firesblood on September 09, 2020, 11:30:12 AM
Esbern said no more on the subject of Garin or his ship, preferring quiet while he shoveled what remained of his and Marigon’s meal.  He didn’t acknowledge the trouble Reynik had faced; it stood to reason that Savati recruits might share their hatred for the Sith, given that the Sith had nearly wiped them out.

The old man finished the rest of his meal in silence, and when he was done he gave Reynik a small nod.  “See you tomorrow, Reynik.”

--

“—nearly killed me.  Yet, you immediately throw him in the tunnels after he attacked—”

“Silence!  I will not be scolded by the likes of you, I don’t care whose belly you spawned from.  I warned Mazelor, he disobeyed, now he is being punished for his folly.  Now sit down!  And if you ever question my methods again, I’ll make what Mazelor did to you feel like a walk in the park.” 

Silence stretched within the room for a span of a few seconds before the rustle of cloth indicated movement. 

“That’s better.  Now, Reynik should be arriving soon—”

“Why?” Marigon interrupted sharply.  There was the sound of something hard impacting flesh, followed by a sudden flex of dark, fathomless rage within the dark side of the Force—but the sensation faded almost immediately. 

“Because I wish it, that’s why.  For reasons unknown to me, they have decided to send you back to Cygius.  You must be as good, if not better, than before.  He will test you the moment he has you again, and if you do not match up—you know what that will mean.  Reynik is exactly the sort of foe you will face, and if you can’t hold your own against him, then only one path remains for you to take—are you ready to pass the piece of Savat you hold onto the next generation, Doma?”

“…No.”  There was revulsion in Marigon's voice.

“I thought not.  You will comply, you will learn how to function fully again.  I have been too soft with you.  It ends now.” Sika said.

“Is there no one else?” Marigon asked, voice barely above a whisper. 

“Let go of your pride.  You haven’t the luxury of it any longer, as low as you’ve fallen.  It no longer serves you as it once did.  Besides, Reynik will be returning with you when you go back.  It is likely that Cygius will use him to test you.  Best you learn his fighting style now, so you can defend against it in the eventuality its turned against you.”

“He is better than me.  He was better than me before I went blind.”

“Then you have a lot of work to do, don’t you?”
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Jabbathejack on September 13, 2020, 04:10:16 PM
Reynik slowed as he approached Sika's room, following his orders. Yet he felt the others within through the force, long before he actually heard their words. Something was not right. He stopped, remembering to shield himself through the force before he listened.

Of course, the news was no real revelation. He had expected immediately that Marigon would be an issue for him and now, he was receiving confirmation of that fact. However, his meeting with her had suggested that she was not outright against him. Perhaps there was a chance to utilise this in his favour?

As their voices died down, Reynik cleared his mental defences and knocked loudly on the door, waiting to be admitted.
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Firesblood on September 14, 2020, 11:29:09 AM
“Yes, yes, come in,” Sika called, annoyance still edging the timbre of his voice. 

The door opened on a moderately sized cavern, furnished only with racks of training weapons, a shelf of practice drones and blinders, and some other accoutrements specific to exercising ones martial skills.  Marigon was sat cross-legged on the floor, hair bound up for once, and wearing fitted garb more appropriate for sparring than her usual oversized, shapeless brown robes.  She looked far smaller without them, but no less a challenge; it was clear that she took great pride in keeping herself in peak physical condition.

Sika was pacing about a meter in front of her, her walking stick held loosely in hand.  He gestured for Reynik to come forward. “I’ll keep my explanation brief.  You’re here to assist me in retraining Marigon.  Normally I would continue working with her on my own, but we are now on a deadline.  In as little as a months time, both of you will be returned to the Empire, and she is nowhere near ready.  You will help me to remedy that—since the two of you have already built a certain rapport with one another.” 

Marigon rose to her feet, staring past Sika with a stony expression on her face.  It was clear that she was unhappy about this, but she said nothing.     
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Jabbathejack on September 19, 2020, 02:48:03 PM
Reynik stood listening in silence, standing tall and unmoving. He did not react to the task that he had been given, not letting on that he had overheard any part of their conversation.

"As you wish."

He had never been asked to teach anyone anything before now; he had only ever been the student. It was no easy task, especially with a blind person still learning to cope with their situation. Even with him being aware that this was simply a ruse for Marigon to learn his fighting tricks, he would still be required to produce results.

"We will start immediately."

He watched Marigon, noting her obvious annoyance, although he showed no amusement at all at the prospect of what lay ahead. His painful facial twitch was the only reaction at all.
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Firesblood on September 21, 2020, 10:52:44 AM
 Sika grunted and took several steps away to clear the area, leaning on the walking stick casually.  “Practice sabers to begin with, moderate burn.  Don’t hold back, Reynik.  Pain is a useful teacher.”

Marigon turned and made her way to where the practice weapons were, hands skimming over each one until she found her preferred dualsaber.  She adjusted the burn strength as she returned to the center of the room, then closed her eyes for a moment of meditation to better hone her focus.  After a minute or two, her senses amplified and her sight through the force strengthened.  She exhaled softly and faced Reynik, saber held loose at her side. 

“You’ll need to work on that,” Sika muttered.  “Your enemy isn’t going to wait for you to find your way, and I’ll only allow it for a short time more.  You must find a way to live in the space where you are at now.” 

Marigon said nothing, unseeing gaze fixed on the floor as she waited.  Sika gestured wordlessly for Reynik to attack.
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Jabbathejack on September 22, 2020, 05:53:14 PM
Reynik watched Sika step away, his expression blank. He nodded in response and for once, his face was still as a rock. He glanced at the practice weapons and waited whilst Marigon selected her own one. The moment she was clear, he held out his hand and a saber jumped into his grasp.

Non lethal, unlike the one that was strapped to his leg. Reynik's eyes narrowed on his target, the saber sparked into life. Sika was right, pain was a useful teacher indeed. That was a lesson that he had learned, even before he had started his training.

Marigon had endured the same training that he had done; she would know what was coming. She would also know that he was under as much scrutiny as she was, if not more, especially considering they were out to learn all of his sneaky little tricks.

After a split second's pause, Reynik attacked. A real enemy would not allow any leeway at all and neither would Reynik. When he struck, it was hard. Yet, of course, he was still on his guard, ready for her to counter him at any moment.

Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Firesblood on November 23, 2020, 12:19:54 PM
For the span of two breaths, Marigon’s senses crystalized; the intake of breath, the subtle creak of the mat beneath their feet, the sound of skin dragging over smooth wood as Sika turned her walking stick within his tight grip, waiting, and the steady hum of the practice weapons in their hands, loudest of all.  If she focused harder, she thought that she could even hear their heartbeats, perhaps even the slow drip of water leaking through one of the tiny fissures in the stone wall.

Reynik moved, and Marigon’s saber clashed against his, blocking his initial attack; the young woman gritted her teeth, her arms jarred from the strength he had employed.  Sika bade him not to hold back, and it seemed he had no plans to disappoint.  The sound of the locked sabers grated on her nerves; it was so much louder than she remembered it being, but she forced those thoughts from her mind.  There were so many things that could disrupt her, and she couldn’t allow them to. 
   
Block, parry, block, dodge—

“Marigon, this isn’t a defense lesson.  Attack him back!” Sika demanded. 

But she couldn’t.  He was too fast; every time she thought she might have a window to go on the offensive, the Sith dealt another shattering blow that came far too close for comfort.  As time wore on, signs that she was losing the mindset she required to function became more apparent.  And then came what would have been a killing blow had they been using true sabers, and Marigon hissed softly, the smell of burnt flesh acrid to her nose.  Her concentration broke.  She tried to slip back into defense, but she was too slow.  Blow after blow landed, and her anger crippled her further.

Sika watched wordlessly, his features a stony mask.  It was clear to him that Marigon wouldn’t be able to regain her composure or her calm without a break, yet he allowed Reynik to continue.  Pain was a useful teacher, and she would receive no mercy among her enemies.  She needed to learn. 

“Please, I can’t—” Marigon tried, voice trembling with barely-contained humiliation and rage. 

“Keep going,” Sika interrupted coldly, leaning on her walking stick. 
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Jabbathejack on November 23, 2020, 01:29:41 PM
At first, Marigon tested Reynik, parrying his strikes decently, even if she failed to land her own attack. He breached her defence, feinting towards her head before flipping his sabre and cutting midsection, slamming home across her gut.

After he had broken her concentration with that first strike, the battle became easier, until it dissolved into nothing more than Reynik beating Marigon without mercy. Other instructors would have stopped the bout, even Sith ones, yet Sika did not.

Even when Marigon balked, Sika insisted that they continued and for a time, Reynik obliged. He deflected her sabre with a flick of his wrist, leaving her wide open for a well placed kick that knocked her off her feet and flat onto her back. Others might have pressed the attack still further, but Reynik stopped, his sabre spluttering into silence.

He turned to Sika, his face twitching painfully as he waited to see if he had incurred the instructor's wrath by his silent defiance.
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Firesblood on November 23, 2020, 02:25:14 PM
Gravity seemed so much heavier as Reynik landed the kick that sent her flying to her back.  Her practice saber fell from her hands and skittered across the mat a few feet away, immediately going out.  She waited for the blows to keep falling, but then heard his saber go silent as well, heard the shift of his feet as he faced Sika.  She couldn’t smell sweat—his breathing hadn’t changed.  This had been nothing at all to him.  In a steep contrast, Marigon felt partially soaked with perspiration, and every breath she took seemed far too difficult to draw than it should have. 

Sika stared at Reynik for a beat, then shifting his gaze to Marigon as she slowly sat up, her shoulders hunched in defeat.  He could feel the anger boiling inside of her, threatening to break through. 

“Get up,” He murmured, knuckles white as he gripped her walking stick all the more tightly.  Marigon complied, getting to her feet.  Her face was dark with shame, and her eyes remained fixed on the floor.  “Less than a minute.  That’s how long it took to break you—and your anger only made it worse!  How many times have I told you—you must abide in a place of calm and relative peace in order to use the force as a second sight!  These Sith practices you cling to will only be a detriment in this.”

Marigon remained silent, and Sika shook his head.  “I expect failure at first, but I also expect you to make improvements, Marigon, and far more quickly than you have.  You are getting in your own way.  Now, find your calm and try again.  And this time if you lose your focus mid-fight, do whatever it takes to get it back.  Let him hit you, let him land his blows—it doesn’t matter right now.  Just find your center again and keep going.  The rest will come later.”

Marigon exhaled and retrieved her practice saber, facing Reynik again.  Calm was far more difficult to grasp this time.  It was never easy for a Sith to display any sort of weakness to another Sith; the weak were the first to go among their ranks.  If he really was returning to Cygius with her, he would know that weakness better than anyone, and he would know exactly how to exploit it.  These thoughts and more ran rampant through her mind, and the peace she was meant to find slipped right through her fingers. 

“Again, Reynik,” Sika ordered.
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Jabbathejack on November 23, 2020, 04:30:40 PM
Reynik watched silently, half expecting Sika to round on him. His expression remained unchanged, even when the instructor turned his attention back to Marigon, seemingly putting him off the hook. Perhaps he would wait until later, but either way, Reynik was not worried.

He remained silent, acknowledging Sika's order only by firing up the lightsabre and launching into an attack once more. He kept the same intensity as before, remaining cold and calm as ever. At first, she focused on her defensive position, parrying his relentless strikes, but throwing little of her own.

Reynik threw a flurry of attacks towards his opponent, breaking through her guard to strike home with a glancing blow. He readied himself for what would be a killing blow, using a subtle force push towards her elbow to knock her off balance. It was hardly a strong push to the body, but often, that was so unexpected, it had the effect of pushing his opponent out of step and leaving them open for his next attack.
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Firesblood on November 24, 2020, 12:05:08 PM
Marigon wasn’t entirely ready when Sika made the call to begin again, but she forced her doubtful thoughts away with a will and finally managed a firmer grasp on the center that the Master was always going on about.  The blows came in a dizzying flurry as before; Reynik was a more gifted duelist than most, and it was enough to her for now that she managed to block most of what he sent her way.  As before, his attacks inevitably breached her defenses, and the young woman hissed as his saber glanced off flesh.  As it had before, the blow interrupted her tenuous calm, and it was all she could do not to immediately revert to the conditioning she had received on Korriban. 

It took more time than it should have, but she eventually found her way back.  More of his attacks got through than not, but she kept trying.

When Reynik grasped the Force with the intent to use it against her, Marigon felt it.  She was no martial expert and never had been, but when it came to manipulating the force for sorcery, she was unparalleled—and by doing so, he had unwittingly changed the rules of their match in her favor. 

His subtle force push was met with an unrelenting wall of force, which slammed into him with enough strength to send him end over end into the nearest wall.  Marigon advanced on him without hesitation and took advantage of the small opening she had made for herself, striking his saber from his hand and following with what would have ordinarily been a decapitating blow to his throat.  It might have been tempting for any other to keep the burn against his skin out of sheer spite for the beating he had dealt, but Marigon withdrew almost immediately, trying to slow the rapid pace of her breathing and heartbeat in the aftermath. 

“All well and good, but not what we are meant to be focusing on.  This is a purely martial exercise.  Apart from your ability to grasp aspects of the Force you are not trained to use, your skill with force sorcery and manipulation is not in question,” Sika said flatly.

Marigon grimaced and glared fiercely at the Jedi Master, the hand gripping her saber tightening. “At no point did you express that we should not use the force in our tactics.”

Sika shrugged lazily, leaning against the staff.  “The only things I want you using the Force for is enhancing your senses and refining your secondary sight.  I will say that you did better this time.  Still god-awful, but better than the first go.  Shall we go for round three?”   
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Jabbathejack on November 26, 2020, 05:35:20 PM
Reynik fell back, slamming into the wall with enough force to knock the breath out of him. Before he had the chance to recover, Marigon was on him, slashing out at him.

Marigon's sabre struck his face, carving a burn across the oppsite side to his previous scar. Despite the severity of the strike, the only noise he made was a faint grunt. The moment Marigon stepped back, Reynik was back on his feet, his fallen lightsabre springing back into his hand, even as he caught his breath.

Sika's reaction surprised him; surely as the instigator of the force attack, he was due the lecture, even though it had been a decent move that he had used in a number of combat situations.

"I will ensure that I only use permitted techniques in sparring in future."

He spoke up quietly, even though Sika had chosen to virtually ignore him. It seemed as if he was picking every opportunity to berate Marigon; certainly, Reynik disagreed with the man's style of instruction.

Reynik's face twitched; the practice sabres were far lighter than normal, but they still left a painful burn, yet that was nothing like what he had faced before. As Reynik stood waiting for instruction, he looked as if he'd barely been scratched.

At the order to continue, Reynik's sabre sparked into life and without hesitation, he attacked.
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Firesblood on November 27, 2020, 11:05:30 AM
Sika voiced a non-committal grunt at Reynik’s assurances.  “I don’t care if you use it.  Marigon is meant to be focusing on using the Force in one way right now, and it’s not to send you hurtling across the room.”

The third fight went much the way the other two had; Marigon’s grasp on her calm faltered, made worse by the occasional remark that Sika threw at her whenever he felt she wasn’t doing something she should be doing.  All the while, the young woman took the verbal abuse in silence.  She knew what the older man was doing—why he had become so harsh with her since his return.  He had coddled her before, and she could admit to that.  Upon her arrival to Savat, the former Jedi had taken her under his wing and displayed all the grace and patience of the order from which he had come, but finding out she was to be sent right back into the rancor’s den that was the Empire had shined a bright light on how ill-suited she was to handle such a return—not to mention his own failure to properly train her.  She understood, but it was still a difficult thing to forgive.

By the time Sika called it a day, Marigon was aching in ways she hadn’t since Korriban.  Countless places on her body stung viciously from the burn of the practice sabers; Reynik hadn’t pulled a single punch, and she found that a part of her was grateful for that.  Too often, the few partners she had squared off against since coming to Savat had been hesitant, unwilling to strike—there was no honor in hitting a person who couldn’t see it coming.  She supposed that was why Sika had chosen him—he was a Sith like her, and Sith didn’t hesitate in the same ways that Jedi might.
 
She powered down her saber and bowed slightly at the waist to Reynik, before returning the weapon to the rack.  That she could tell, the Sith seemed completely unaffected, as if he had been out for a mere stroll rather than sparring.  She, on the other hand, was much the worse for wear. 

“We’ll begin again tomorrow after evening meal.  Thank you, Reynik, for your assistance,” Sika said, dismissing them both with a wave of his hand.  He didn’t return Marigon’s walking stick to her, and she didn’t ask for it. 

Instead, the young woman turned and limped slowly of the room, one hand extended out towards the wall just long enough to get her bearings before she began making her way back to her quarters
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Jabbathejack on November 28, 2020, 08:27:12 AM
Reynik returned the bow to Marigon, although he knew damn well that she couldn't see it. He waited until she had left the room before he followed.

"Thank you." Reynik spoke up quietly. "I haven't had much chance to spar since I left Korriban."

Killing, yes. Sparring, no.

He paused before he continued; not everyone was open to suggestion, especially in this sort of situation. Even so, he felt that he would have more chance at surviving this mission if he kept Marigon as an ally.

"I found meditation useful with my concentration. If you need assistance..."

Reynik lifted a finger to push tentatively against the burn on his face, but he did not wince. It was not too bad.
"Where is the medical facility? I would be best off cleaning this before an infection creeps in."

Marigon would probably need it as well, but he left the insinuation unspoken.
Title: Re: Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)
Post by: Firesblood on November 28, 2020, 10:40:10 AM
When Reynik spoke, Marigon paused and looked in his direction, her features resolved once more into their usual placidness.  Of all the things she might have expected, gratitude for the fight was not one of them.  It would have been easy to dismiss it or make a derisive comment, but…no.  No, that wouldn’t do.  Despite her embarrassment at being beaten so thoroughly by someone who could so easily hold her weakness over her head, she realized that she was far more grateful for his approach than bitter. 

“…You are welcome.  Thank you for taking it seriously.  For…not holding back or…making it worse or more humiliating than it already is,” she murmured, struggling to find the words.  For better or worse, Sika had chosen Reynik to help train her.  Their fates would likely be intertwined for a time, given that they were meant to be returning to Cygius together.  Beyond their return she couldn’t say what would happen, but in the interim keeping civility between them seemed the best option.  Sith were a rarity in this place—currently they were the only two.  Perhaps sticking together wouldn’t be so bad; Mazelor was hardly the only one here with a chip on his shoulder.   

Reynik went one further and offered to help her with meditation, and a flicker of surprise skated across her features.  He didn’t have to do anything more than what Sika asked him to do, and yet he was offering to help her outside of the circle?  Why?  Sith rarely did anything that didn’t benefit them, so what was in it for him?  She thought to ask but resisted the urge.  Whatever it was, she was certain she would find out soon enough. 

“I would be grateful for your help,” She said instead.  She began walking again, glad that her room was not too far off.  Reynik asked about the medical facility and Marigon tilted her head slightly.  She had gotten him at least once with her saber; likely that was what he was worried about.

“Four levels below this one, and a mile down the left-hand corridor,” she said, stopping briefly until the door of her quarters slid open.  “All they will do is put a salve on it—I will share mine with you and save you the walk.  They gave me my own tin of the stuff after my sixth trip down for burns.”

Venturing forward into her room, some of the tension melted from her frame once in her personal ‘sanctum’, far surer of her movements and the placement of things there.  She went immediately to one of the many shelves built into the wall, fingers skimming over a metal tin briefly before she grabbed it and extended it towards him.  “Go ahead.  I’ll get mine after.”