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Star Wars--So[m]ething Something Evil Rises (Jabba x Firesblood)

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Offline Jabbathejack

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"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?"


Online Firesblood

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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."     


Offline Jabbathejack

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"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?"


Online Firesblood

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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."



Offline Jabbathejack

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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."


Online Firesblood

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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.”   


Offline Jabbathejack

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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."


Online Firesblood

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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?”


Offline Jabbathejack

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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.


Online Firesblood

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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.


Offline Jabbathejack

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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.


Online Firesblood

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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.   


Offline Jabbathejack

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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.


Online Firesblood

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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.”


Offline Jabbathejack

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"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."