Author Topic: Tales of the Orell Legacy  (Read 27735 times)

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Offline Orell

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Re: Tales of the Orell Legacy
« Reply #75 on: 05/27/18, 02:32:11 AM »
A Jedi Holiday (Part 4)

Ten days later, at the Treslanis Governor's Mansion

"Captain Derris, any updates at the starport?" Asori said, lounging in the Governor's chair, only occasionally glancing at the vid screen on the wall.

"There's been a few locals asking for transport off-world. No organized resistance yet, just people not wanting to be here," Derris said on the vid screen, shrugging. "I haven't been expecting much to come around here, and they haven't been surprising me. No incidents worth reporting."

Asori paused, gave her officer a long, long look, knowing well what 'worth reporting' actually meant. She set down her datapad. "And off the record?"

Derris chuckles. "I've had to chew out a few enlisted for 'fraternizing' with the locals. Rotated things just to be safe, but it sounds less like strategic probing and more like youngsters being impressed by outsiders with fancy uniforms."

The chorus of Captains gave their own guffaws, and Asori couldn't quite hide her smile. "I'll count that as good news, then. Captain Rhizar, your report?"

Rhizar saluted, even on the viewscreen, the very serious pureblood one of the few not to laugh at the antics of young civilians and young soldiers. "We're being tested, I know that. No shooting incidents, but twelve troopers have reported being struck by projectiles in their patrols."

"Projectiles meaning what?" Asori asked, frowning.

"Four rocks, eight rotten vegetables." Her face remained impassive as the other captains laughed. "Troopers maintained discipline per orders, no escalation." She paused amid Asori's nod of approval. "Permission to speak freely, ma'am?"


"While these assaults were not life threatening, they were still assaults and have impacted morale. I would prefer to authorize my patrols to apprehend individuals if they are attacked again."

Asori sighed. She had chosen Rhizar to lead the patrols because the woman had iron discipline. If you ordered her to stand at the mouth of an active volcano, she would run there at full speed, no questions asked. But even for a proud imperial, some things were too much. "Denied, Captain. We aren't here forever, and sending soldiers to grab children throwing fruit would inflame things. Keep a lid on it."

The faint flicker on Rhizar's face was all Asori needed to see to know the pureblood was unhappy with the order, but she gave the nod all the same. "The other task was completed as well. Is there any reason why you had my troopers drag in a mousey scientist?"

"Yes," Asori said, staring back at Rhizar, daring the woman to challenge the lack of a true answer. "No need to treat her poorly, just keep her contained. I don't want what she knows to get public, but I'm going to want some answers from her." She looked over at the one Captain that wasn't dealing with the Sorialas mess. "Captain Hainleysen, is Zhel's site secure?"

"Of course, ma'am," the Zabrak said. "There's hardly anyone around for kilometers around, not even hikers."

Asori nodded, frowning faintly. "Just remember, if locals show up, arrest them, take them somewhere safe and then kill them quietly. We can't let the locals know what Zhel is up to..."

Meanwhile, at Gherrod's Corner Store

"...still not sure... weird and complicated... still safe... love..."

The clearing of a throat broke Merrant's meditation. He opened his eyes and looked up at the Cathar shopkeep, clearly not enjoying the Jedi's presence. "...hello," Merrant said, diplomatically.

Gherrod sighed, shaking his head. "Imperials are here for a week and a half and the most you've done is sit in my basement and restock the shelves."

"And eat your food."

"...and eat my food," Gherrod muttered, again. "The Empire's been sending out patrols, but the bait that worked in the past hasn't drawn them in. All they're doing is standing around, looking in charge and making everyone nervous. And all you've done is sit there and eat my food!"

Merrant nods as he stands, gently clasping the shop-owner and part-time militia-man's arm. "Good, we know things. Best to do this Soresu style," he said, carefully ignoring the lack of actual progress.

"...what the hell does that even mean?" Gherrod said, shrugging off Merrant's hand and stomping towards the crates of munitions that he'd hidden in the basement long ago.

Merrant had taken a look at them over the past week, and he wasn't impressed. Most of the weapons were cheap slugthrowers that had zero chance of penetrating armor, or blasters that were either poorly designed, poorly made, poorly maintained, or all of the above. He'd fixed up the ones that he could, but spare parts were at a premium. Even in a good day, these weapons wouldn't stand up to a serious firefight, and were only slightly more dangerous to the people being shot at as they were the shooter.

Merrant shook his head, sitting back down. "It's a lightsaber stance. It means you go on the defensive, stay safe and alive and wait for the right moment to strike. A master of Soresu can spend ten minutes dodging and blocking attacks, watching their opponent, getting ready, and finish it in a single, perfect strike."

Gherrod growls again, glaring back at the far-too-calm Zabrak. "That's all fine and dandy for the Jedi. It's my people being stomped on here. My people that are afraid that the Empire's going to turn on the fire from above or start seizing farms or start taking people as chattel!"

"I know," Merrant said, a sorrow in his voice that Gherrod couldn't quite ignore. "I want to act too. It hurts, not helping, knowing people are scared and desperate. But acting now won't help them. Waiting will help them, in the long run. We do what's right, no matter how much it hurts. Because we can take the hurt for a few weeks, if it leads to a sunny sky."

Gherrod stared at Merrant, his hand repeatedly clenching into a fist, anger and hatred and desperation coming off the older Cathar in waves... until it suddenly subsided. "'re probably right. I hate that."

Merrant gave him a little smile. "Same. I've had to give myself that speech often enough. Relax, I'm sure we'll find an opportunity soon enough."

"Bah..." Gherrod muttered, before movement above caught his ears.

"Gherrod, are you down here?" came a familiar voice.

Gherrod sighed. "Store's closed, Shaney. Besides, just take what you need, alright?"
Sheney clambered down the steps to the basement, giving Merrant a wide smile. "Master Jedi, good, you're still here."

"Yeah, you sent him here." Gherrod said with a weary sigh, giving Merrant another dark look. "What's going on girl, you shouldn't be leaving Thol alone with Imps around."

The human glared at her alleged friend, holding her chin up high. "Tholmir is being looked after by a friend, thank you very much. And if you don't want to know what I've heard about the Imperial occupation, I can go right back to him."

Merrant couldn't quite suppress the chuckle, which only made Gherrod's glower deeper. "Your husband never gave me this much shit, you know."

"Shimoln loved you too much to call you out on your shit, Gherrod," she said, a smile cracking her face. "Well?"

Gherrod glanced at Merrant, who just smiled that indecipherable Jedi smile, then gave another groan. "Fine. I'm sorry. I'm sure Thol is fine, even if she has a schutta for a mother. What's your information?"

Merrant couldn't hold back the guffaw after seeing Sheney give Gherrod a very particular finger. "I'd be grateful to hear the information, madam," Merrant said, trying to break up the too-amusing argument before things got serious.

Sheney nodded at Merrant, only a slight smile playing her lips as she tried to look serious. "Some 'Doctor Jaena' was arrested by the Imperials last night and taken to police headquarters."

"Why?" asked Merrant, just a Gherrod butted in with "Says who?"

Sheney sighed. "I don't know why. Carabelli said she was arrested, and Mr. Oris said the convoy went right to police headquarters."

Gherrod stared at Sheney. "Did you speak to either of them?"

"...well, no, bu-" She sighed at the Cathar's beleaguered groan. "Jenny and Sal both heard it from Carbelli, and Mick heard it from Mr. Oris himself, and you know Mick's not one to exaggerate things!"

Gherrod gave Merrant a long, long stare, who just shrugged back. "We go to war with the intelligence we have, not the intelligence we want," the Jedi said. "Don't you have someone that can talk to the original sources and confirm?"

"...yeah." Gherrod shook his head, somehow getting more grumpy at the knowledge that, sadly, everyone else was right. "And it'd take me time to get people in place for a raid. You think some random scientist is worth it?"

Merrant nodded. "The Empire's playing with kid gloves here. Odd, but okay, maybe Alnas is being smart."

Gherrod nodded. "...the kids nailed a couple troopers in the head with rotten produce, and the Imps did nothing..."

"Exactly. So why arrest a random scientist? Police headquarters is a hard target, but this feels off. She knows something, even if she doesn't know what."

Gherrod nodded back. "Finally, we can do something." He turned to Sheney, a feral look growing on his face. "Talk to the original sources, make sure that they're accurate. I'll round up some of the cops that the Imps retired on arrival, we're going to show the Imps our teeth..."
« Last Edit: 05/27/18, 11:15:36 PM by Orell »
Character List:

Pub side: Lien Orell, Kyri Orell, Shaantil (possibly Dumas), Norland, Everen (bank alt ATM), Quarashaa (Pub version of the real Quarasha), Merrant

Imp Side: Quarasha, Effet Ornell, Arazel, Zedney, Zhel, Asori-Alnas

Offline Orell

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Re: Tales of the Orell Legacy
« Reply #76 on: 05/28/18, 02:29:25 AM »
A Jedi Holiday (Part 5)

Sewers beneath the Sorialas Police Headquarters

Merrant looked around at the assembled motley crew, all of them forcibly-retired cops, Gherrod excluded. Every single one of them was trying to avoid stepping in anything that smelled particularly bad, trying not to smell anything at all and trying to avoid making it look like they cared too much about where they stepped.

On the whole, they were failing on all points. Merrant couldn't blame them, it had been a while since he had hidden in a sewer, and there was only so much a nose could get used to. At least it covered the smell of Merrant's borrowed clothing, looking much less like a Jedi and more like one of the other assorted, recently 'retired' police officers.

They'd spent the last hour or so trudging through the damp, dank and dark sewer system underneath Sorialas City, trying to reach the police headquarters undetected. There were sensors and cameras and locked gates in their way, but the people that had installed and maintained those systems in the first place were part of this team.

The plan was simple enough. Head in and split into two groups, one to rescue Doctor Jaena and get her to safety, the other to reach the armory and steal whatever real weapons and armor they could. Given that Gherrod had nearly forced Merrant to take a slugthrower sidearm with him, he couldn't exactly complain about the second part of that plan.

"Merrant," Gherrod said, tapping the Jedi on the shoulder and pointing at an older human woman, loaded up with an ugly scattergun. "This is Tiln, she's going to lead the team you're on. Stick with her and stay on the damn plan."

Tiln looked over Gherrod with a distinct sneer on her face. "...he's not a cop. Why are we bringing him along?"

"He's an offworlder, but he has a few tricks that might come in handy," Gherrod said.

"What kind of-"

Merrant just sighed and pulled his lightsaber out from under his jacket. "No, they're not here for me, yes, I'll follow your orders, we just don't want to let the Sith know I'm here." He looked at Gherrod. "See? Much faster."

Tiln stared at Merrant for more than a few moments, then just shook her head. "...alright. If things go ugly, break out the Jedi ass-kicking. I don't want my team dying because you want to keep a low profile, alright?"

Gherrod just glared at the two of them. "Fine. It's your part of the operation. Waz, how's the security coming?"

"Cameras looping, even if I can't get a feed from any of them, door unlocked... we're good!" said Waz, a skinny little Twi'lek that the cops had busted at least five times for slicing their systems. Used to just be a prankster but now, not so much, now that there was a good cause for his work. "I'll stay here and let you know if we have problems."

Gherrod nodded, finally raising his voice. "Alright, people. Let's get this done, nice and quiet."

The maintenance area was almost completely deserted when the teams slipped inside, slugthrowers and saturday-night-special blasters checking every corner. The police officers were on home turf and they weren't going to waste their advantage.

As Tiln moved forward, Merrant stayed on her back, and he could help but sense the confusion spreading through the team. The building felt more deserted than anything, little sound echoing throughout, even when the ascended to the main floor, there was almost no chatter.

It was slow going, though. Tiln seemed to know what she was doing, motioning to her squad to clear rooms, check the corners, always behind cover, always going from safety to safety, always with the deafening silence of the building surrounding them.

"...this is weird..." one of them finally muttered. "I know the Imps have arrested a few people, burglary and shit. They've got to have some people doing reports..."

"You never liked doing them, Rad," Tiln replied, but her tone was worried too. "...Waz, you're in their systems, right?" she said, tapping her comm. "Can you see if they have any arrest reports filed?"

"Sure, easy enough... huh..." the Twi'lek said, into the squad's comms. " arrest reports. Not even for the scientist. No reports at all. Maybe they're just not logging them into the local system?"

"'d be more secure." Tiln mused, although Merrant could tell she was trying to convince herself more than anything. "Okay, stay quiet, we're almost at the main holding area."

They approached down the hallway, checking the corners, staying in cover, double-checking everything until they finally reached the door to the main block of holding cells. Tiln nodded at the squad, keeping her voice low. "Okay. I'm left, Rad you're right, sweep and clear, if you see any Imps don't stop until they're all on the ground. On three."




Tiln kicked the door and rushed in, the man known as Rad behind her, scatterguns sweeping over the room, a room completely devoid of Imperials...

...but not devoid of anything at all.

In the center of the main holding cell laid a small pile. Bodies, nearly two dozen of them, haphazardly piled up. Mostly humans, some near-humans, clothed, just dead and discarded in the middle of a cell.

By the time the squad could process it, the smell hit them, rotten flesh and feces and more, causing all but one of the group to mutter curses and back away, horror and confusion coming off of them in waves.

Merrant, on the other hand, stepped forward, looking over the pile of carrion. Each one shot in the back of the head at close range by a blaster, even Merrant could see that. Some a day or two old, some longer.

"...sweet mother of..." muttered one of the squad, staring at the pile. "...what... why?"

Merrant stared at the pile. He didn't want to be right. He didn't want it to be true. But he also wanted to be back on Coruscant, to be trading barbs with too-clever initiates, to be reassuring Dassalya that everything was alright.

What he wanted didn't matter. Only what was right.

Enough strange decisions were adding up. He'd heard Asori was a 'nice' Sith... but she was a smart one first. And a smart Sith could be very cruel indeed.

"They're not going to be here for long," Merrant finally said. "They're here for something, then they're going to leave. Probably after killing everyone."

"Then.. why do the patrols?" Tiln muttered, staring at Merrant now, confusion winning out over horror for the moment.

He sighs, standing and walking back to the group. "They want to keep you afraid and docile. And thinking about attacking their patrols." He stepped back into the hallway. "Hear that? Nothing. They're probably shorthanded here. They probably have a dozen or more troopers out in front, looking official and important. But nothing inside, they can't support those numbers."

Tiln nodded slowly, then tapped her comm. "Gherod, what's your status?"

"We're at the armory. The idiots only kept two people on guard, we took them down without firing a shot, Gherrod said over comms, a tone of smug Cathar pride filling his voice. "What about you?"

Tiln looked at Merrant, who shook his head in response. "...she's not in the main holding area. We'll figure something out." She sighed as she flicked off her comm. "Alright, if not in a holding cell, where would they hold her?"

"If they're shorthanded," Rad spoke up, doing his best not to look at the pile of bodies, "they'll probably hold her somewhere centralized. Building security maybe? Third floor, right near Tiln's old office. It had all the hookups for the city security grid."

"Is there a holding cell up there?" Merrant asked.

Tiln nodded. "Sort of. Interrogation and interview room. Locks from the outside. I guess we're taking back my office," she said, grinning at her squad.

The stairs were just as abandoned as the rest of the building, but as they climbed their way up they heard soft chatter, slowly coming into focus.

"Patrol 8 is at the halfway point, no rotten fruit this time."

"Thought they were vegetables."

"Nah, round and sweet, that makes them fruit."

"It's not what they look like, it's how they're grown."

Tiln's squad stayed low as they hit the third floor and creeped towards the pit, an open plan office space with monitors and charts and consoles everywhere, chairs for twenty officers to keep a watch on anything that might need attention in the city, but right now only two soldiers manning the fort, their eyes glued to the monitors.

"No one cares about that. Red, round and sweet, it's fruit. Anything happening in the building?"

"Fuck all. And they don't taste like a fruit anyway. Get over it, it's a veggie."

Tiln nodded at a pair of her officers. They drew knives, still staying low and in cover, creeping down into the pit, Merrant's frown having little say in the matter.

"Fine. Rotten produce hasn't defaced our glorious troops as they scare the local trash. I bet they're hoping someone takes a real shot at them."

"Come on, no one likes getting shot at."

"Being shot at is at least interesting! They've spent the last week just driving around doing nothing at all."

"Best part of the job if you as- gurk..."

"...Tomas, you ok- hhhhk!"

The officers held the troopers in place, knives keep in their necks, trying to hold their arms down as they breathed their last, convulsing in their chairs, trying to scream but no breath could come, no panic buttons pushed as they finally faded away.

"Disapprove?" Tiln finally said, looking at Merrant.

Merrant sighed. "Wish it wasn't the best play. Where's the interrogation room?"

Tiln pointed at a pair of doors along the wall, watching her officers return, cleaning their knives. "Right is the interrogation room, left is observation."

"I'll take observation," Merrant said, staring at Tiln.

" it how you want, Jedi," she finally said.

Merrant slipped his way to the observation room door. The weight of the Lightsaber was heavy in his borrowed jacket, but... no, not yet. Only if he needed to.

He reached out with the Force. He couldn't distinguish between individuals, not exactly, but he could sense two different varieties of boredom nearby. One tired and withdrawn, the other bored but scared, afraid, worried about what's going to come.

Merrant took a long breath, steadied himself, then pushed the door open.

The man inside was lounging in a chair, feet kicked up onto a desk, full armor but his helmet was off, resting on the table.

But there was a blaster on his hip.

The trooper tried to stand, but Merrant charged him, pulling out the antique pistol and bringing it down like a club on the man's head, sending him to the floor.

A wild swing stung Merrant's shoulder but he stomped down, catching the Trooper's other arm before he could draw the blaster. Another swing with the pistol, catching the trooper's temple, the man's head swaying, nearly unconscious.

Merrant dropped down, pining the trooper to the ground, his hand on the unprotected neck, squeezing, not too hard, just hard enough, cutting him off from oxygen, forcing the trooper to slowly, calmly, fade into unconsciousness.

Merrant kept him pinned for a few moments further, making sure he was out of it, before standing up and slipping out of the observation room, crouching down beside Tiln. "Clear. Get the package out of here."

Tiln nodded, a touch of approval in her eyes as she motioned to her the other officers. Distant shouting and shushing followed, and soon enough the officers exited interrogation, a scared, wide-eyed scientist in tow, creeping back towards the stairs.

"If we can get through it this easily, I'm going to be a very happy-" Tiln started, but went quiet, hearing footsteps down the hall.

"Hey, Tomas, Wick, brew's up," said an approaching voice. "Get it while it's not entirely shi-", the voice said, cutting off mid-sentence in a gasp.

Three of the ex-cops popped out of cover, slugthrowers and scatterguns at the ready. The trooper was in armor, but her helmet was off, and the rounds of slugs and flechettes tore into her head, sending her to the ground with a very pink splatter on the wall behind where she once stood.

"Run for it!" Tiln shouted, the staccato of the slugthrowers no doubt breaking any need for stealth.

The officers raced for the stairs, the scientist already on the second floor, when Merrant heard a door kicked open. The door said 'Chief Tiln' on it, but it was someone in full armor emerging from it, lifting up what could only be a very high-end assault cannon.

The barrage from the cannon tore into the retreating officers. Merrant tried to tackle Tiln, keep her out of harm's way, keep her safe... but when he looked up, her body stopped short at the neck.

Rad was taking cover, another officer clutching at his shoulder behind another piece of furniture, the whine of the heavy cannon taking chunks out of their cover.

Merrant could hear the shouts. Pinned down. Can't move. Someone shoot the bitch. The cannoneer's armor was too heavy, no slugthrower would do.

He grasped his Lightsaber and lept.

The saber ignited when he landed in the pit, the cannon's fire slow in tracking to him.

He rolled left, the Lightsaber's beam batting away the few shots on target.

Another leap, over the full spray of fire. He could feel the trooper's shock now, shock and recognition. She, and it was a she, wasn't surprised to find a Jedi on planet, just a Jedi here.

He spun to cover, the cannon pounding on the pillar he was cowering behind. She'd tear through it eventually, but not yet.

The glimpse his elbow sent the cannonfire to the right, but he stepped out to the left, another leap, closing distance, the trooper only a few meters away.

The cannon turned to him, too slowly as the Jedi stepped forward, each heartbeat feeling a minute long as he focused on the strike. It rose up, into the cannon, into the arm holding it, into the chest behind it, into the heart that beat within.

That cannonfire stopped.

Merrant breathed, slow and heavy, staring at the Imperial trooper. His eyes flicked at her armor. Captain Rhizar.

".....y-you..." she stuttered, choking on her own blood, the black visor of the trooper's helmet staring into him. "'ve... known... it was... you... bastard..."

Merrant stared back at her.

Rhizar... she was just a Lieutenant back on Corellia. Her position had been broken and she was looking to regroup with the men she still had with her, she thought she could do it behind Lord Merrant.

He'd gotten half of them killed, and another third badly wounded, because he was chasing down a Jedi that had mocked him in a previous fight. He didn't care, he got the Jedi, way back then. He broke her nose when she complained about it.

He looked back at what was left of Tiln, seeing Rad crouched over her, whispering a short prayer. He remembered the bodies in the holding cell down below. Rhizar didn't give the orders, but she did execute them.

He looked back at Rhizar, breathing her last, hatred still coming off her in waves... and withdrew his lightsaber without a word.

He nodded at Rad and picked up Tiln's body in his arms. People didn't want to leave the fallen behind. He fell into step, following the others down the stairs, down the hallways, down into the sewers, down to... safety.
Character List:

Pub side: Lien Orell, Kyri Orell, Shaantil (possibly Dumas), Norland, Everen (bank alt ATM), Quarashaa (Pub version of the real Quarasha), Merrant

Imp Side: Quarasha, Effet Ornell, Arazel, Zedney, Zhel, Asori-Alnas

Offline Orell

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Re: Tales of the Orell Legacy
« Reply #77 on: 05/30/18, 01:49:47 AM »
A Jedi Holiday (Part 6)

Sorialas Police Headquarters, a few hours later

"...sounded a little quiet out there for a bit. Thought they just got tired of talking. Then this guy, Zabrak I think, rushed in and started pounding on me. A club or something. It... gets fuzzy after tha-" Corporal Wilings coughed, rubbing his neck. There would be an impressive bruise there in a few hours. "...sorry ma'am."

Asori gave him a quick nod and turned away, letting the medics continue to treat him, her eyes fixed on Lieutenant Gaines, giving his best nervous salute. "Gaines!" she said, going into full, haughty Sith mode. "You were Rhizar's senior Lieftenant, right? Until further notice, you're in charge of Besh."

"Y-yes ma'am."


He hesitated. "We're... still putting things together. They left a small trail up from the sewers, that's probably where they came i-"

"Why wasn't that being watched?"

"...w-we had cameras on the approaches. We're pretty sure the attackers had a slicer with them, they must have disabled them."

Asori growled. "How?"

He hesitated again. "I think they were cops. Before we pushed them out, I mean. And most of them were probably insurgents back when we ran this place."

"...Rhizar wanted to round up and execute all of them," Asori muttered. "I told her it would've made things worse."

Gaines took one look at the Sith Lord and kept his mouth shut. It was an old trick any Imperial officer learned early: If the Sith is angry, don't make yourself a target.

"So, they got the scientist. Anything else?"

Gaines cleared his throat again. "...they cleaned out the armory too. Mostly police issue weapons, but-"

"But they're real blasters, and are strong enough to penetrate body armor on a decent shot," Asori finished, muttering another curse.

"They... also probably found the..... holding cells," he said, carefully avoiding the term 'corpse pile'.

"And news could spread," she said, shaking her head. "With luck, Zhel won't hit any more delays and we can get away from this kriffing shithole before the riots start..."

Gaines hesitated, again. Nerves and fear were coming off of the officer in waves, and Asori had to hold herself back from throttling the man. " you have any changes to our orders, ma'am?"

She wanted to tear the man's head off, a pathetic excuse for an officer begging for direction now?

...but Rhizar rarely suffered fools in her company, let alone one that would command large segments of it. Rhizar demanded excellence from anyone wearing bars under her command. If Rhizar had a useless officer under her command, she would've thrown him to the dogs. Asori knew that.

She took a long, slow breath. Just an officer feeling nervous and out of his depth. One that had no doubt heard "stories" about what unhappy Sith would do. He just needed some direction to put him back on the right path.

"Double the presence here and button up," Asori said, using her best professional voice. "Make sure any backdoors are kept secure. Cut down on the patrols, they only go out at double strength. You got access to the department's arrest files?" She smiled as Gaines nodded. "Look for someone that's been arrested for slicing. Bet that's who the rebels used."

Gaines nodded back at Asori, making notes on his datapad. "Consider it done. Anything else, ma'am?"

"Yeah, one thing," she said, stepping close and lowering her voice. "Step up. Rhizar told me you were the best officer she had, and right now, your soldiers need you to prove it. Keep. Them. Safe."

Gaines blinked, then gave Asori a quick nod before stepping back, turning to start shouting orders at what were now his soldiers.

Asori sighed, looking down at where Rhizar fell. Her armorcam had recorded the attack. Most of it indistinct, too close to an assault cannon firing full auto, but it had gotten a distorted picture of the Jedi that had killed her. A brown-skinned Zabrak man weilding a green lightsaber, probably the one that had subdued Corporal Wilings. Sith Intelligence might know who he was.

And she'd know what to do with him when she got her hands on him.

Meanwhile, at Gherrod's Corner Store

Most of the cops had left by now, trickling out in ones or twos, trying to look inconspicuous as they hurried home towards a nice hot shower to get the filth off.

It was an option that Merrant was wishing he had, although Gherrod had mentioned that Sheney had offered to let him use her shower. It wasn't far, at least, but he had a feeling that it might be a good idea to keep his head down for now.

No matter how bad he smelled.

Tiln's body was being taken out into the sewers, though. Rad promised he'd see her buried proper, once all was said and done, but he needed to get her someplace cold for now.

One of the others mentioned having to break the news to a kid. Merrant knew how that talk would go.

He shook his head. Do what's right. The ex-cops would handle their own, he was sure of that. Right now, he had a tiny, shaking scientist on his hands, and a scowling shopowner wanting answers.

"Th-thank you..." Doctor Jaena said, hugging herself in the corner. She looked 25 maybe, probably some kid looking for a cushy job fresh out of university, trying to make the degree pay a bit. She didn't sign on for anything like this. "I... I'm sorry about-"

"Why did the Imps-" Gherrod began, before Merrant grabbed his shoulder.

"...mind if I handle this? You should probably make it look like your store's open," Merrant said, staring down the Cathar.

Gherrod stared back, but quickly gave in. "...fine. You can coddle the nerd," he said, stomping upstairs.

Merrant sighed, walking over to the scientist and plopping down next to her. "...he's always like this."

"I know," she said, giving a weak smile. "He gets really cranky if you open a drink before you pay for it."

"You're a regular here?"

"...I came by every now and then. Usually if I'm running late..." she said, taking a deep breath. "...D-Doctor Else Jaena. Agricultural sciences, learned on Dantooine." She extended a shaking hand to Merrant.

He clasped it gently, giving it a shake as he sat down beside her. "Came from there originally. Knight Merrant, Jedi Order." He smiled at her shocked look. "Yeah, long way from the Republic. Long story." He gave her a quick once over. "...they hurt you at all?"

Jaena shook her head. "...just grabbing and shoving. And shouting. They shouted a lot. I... thanked you for saving me, right?"

Merrant nodded. "A few times. Do you know why they grabbed you?"

She nodded back. "The governor was sending messages to me, they probably found out," she said, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear. "They hired me a few years ago. Help increase crop yields, preventing blights and droughts and stuff. Good work, especially during the summer."

"You mean, when all the plants are planted and growing and you just have to worry about rainfall?" Merrant said, smirking a little.

Jaena let out a small laugh, relaxing just a bit. "...yeah. Spend an hour looking over the weather data, the next seven arguing with people over the holonet about why the Frogdogs suck."

"Hey, their passing game's been legit the last few months."

"Oh, kriff off, yeah they can get a few fancy scores but they can't play defense, can't win if you can't hold the mid-" Jaena stopped, clearing her throat. ".......uh, anyway."

Merrant chuckled a bit before looking back at her. "So, those messages the governor was sending you?"

Jaena shrugged faintly. "...I have them on a datachip, I... figured I might need to hold onto them." She glanced at Merrant. "...uh, I hid them... somewhere..." she muttered, gesturing at her chest.


She looked away from the Jedi, trying to focus. "...the messages were weird though. The first one... he wanted to know what would happen to us if the Chasin Mountain Range was to go away."

Merrant frowned, fully not getting it. "Not much?"

"Not much? A whole lot much!" She shook her head. "To... extremely oversimplify modern agriculture-"

"Thanks for doing that," Merrant said.

"The core of it is about two things." She pauses. "Three- no, wait, four things..... But, uh, getting a lot of sunlight and making sure the temperature is in the right range is obvious."


"Another part is managing the soil, toxicity and nutrients and that sorta crap. Because it's mostly crap doing the work there. It's why the ranchers are so important, their herds of walking steaks turn simple grass into cheap fertilizer."

Merrant sighed. "...I like steak. Don't ruin that please."

Jaena ignored him. "But the important bit is water. The farmlands around the city? Most of their water comes the rivers and streams, fed by the rainfall and snowmelt in the mountains. Some of the farms could get by with groundwater and normal rainfall, but it'd nut-punch the whole farming industry here."

"......that's your professional opinion?" Merrant asked, trying to hold back the smirk at 'nut-punch'.

She glowered at him. "They kidnapped me. I'm allowed to be weird for a bit."

He only gave a slight smile as he nodded. He could fell the tension was starting to drain. "I'll give you that. So, mountains go away, bad things happen to the crops. I don't want to be curt, but is that all?"

She shook her head. "The next message was... well, asking what would happen if the mountain exploded." Jaena shivered at the thought.

Merrant already knew the answer. It was the only one that made sense. "Everyone dies," he said, trying to keep the horror out of his voice.

She nodded. "On planet, eventually, at least. It'd depend on the explosion, but there's a massive amount of earth and stone in those mountains. Anything big enough to make the mountains disappear would send enough debris in the atmosphere to kill sunlight over the nearby farmlands. Anyone that didn't die when the big pieces fell would need to import food to survive."

"...and the Empire's not going to," Merrant muttered. "Why?"

Jaena shook her head. "All he said was mining. I haven't heard about anything worth mining in those mountains though. Unless it's real deep in." She paused, then turned away, digging around under her shirt. "...his last message was some schematics. I couldn't understand a bit of it."

Merrant politely looked away, flinching slightly as an unfortunately warm datachip was placed in his hand. "...I'll take a look at it. Just... stay safe, okay?"

She nodded, looking over at Merrant. "...who was she?"


"...the woman that died. Who was it? I... just want to-"

Merrant held up a hand to cut her off. "...barely knew her. Seemed like a good woman. Probably chief of police before. Want my advice?" he asked, smiling when he saw her nod. "When this is all over, find some of the cops and buy them a round or five. She went out a hero, they'll praise her like one. And they'll tell you all about her."


He patted her shoulder as he stands. "...Gherrod will make sure you stay safe. He's a hardass and a smartass, but that also makes him a badass, so he can be useful at times."

"You're going to stop them?" she asked, the young scientist looking very much like a little girl for just a moment.

He smiled back at her. "They don't give you the nice robes if you aren't good at thwarting Sith."

Jaena looked over him again, frowning at the borrowed clothing. "You might wanna change into them then."

Merrant let out a laugh, waving her off as he headed upstairs, the mirth falling away in favor of duty. He plugged the chip into his datapad, pulling up the schematics, eyes pouring over all the bad news.

" bad is it?" Gherrod said, leaning on the shop counter, glaring daggers into the Jedi.

Merrant didn't bother taking his eyes off the datapad. "Rocks fall, everyone dies."


He looked up from the datapad. "...need to read more. Schematics get complicated fast. But from what I've seen and heard, they're going to blow up the mountains."

Gherrod blinked at him, clearly not understanding.

"The irrigation that the farmers use will be severely kriffed. And that's assuming the rocks don't land all over their fields. And in the city. Which they will."

"...why?" Gherrod muttered, his jaw dropping at the news. "You said this... Analas was smart, why..."

He ignored the intentionally insulting name for the Sith, partly because he had his own slurs stockpiled. "Strip-mining. There's something under those mountains they want. They just want to get the mountains out of the way." Merrant raised his head, another long frown.


"Their numbers have been low. I was thinking quarter on the governor's mansion, quarter on the starport, half running police operations. They didn't have half there. Probably a quarter."

Gherron blinked and slowly nodded. "Meaning a quarter somewhere else."

Merrant nodded back. "Get your people together, Gherron. The Empire's building something in the mountains, and we're going to stop it. Because if we don't, everyone in the city is going to die."
« Last Edit: 05/31/18, 02:10:56 AM by Orell »
Character List:

Pub side: Lien Orell, Kyri Orell, Shaantil (possibly Dumas), Norland, Everen (bank alt ATM), Quarashaa (Pub version of the real Quarasha), Merrant

Imp Side: Quarasha, Effet Ornell, Arazel, Zedney, Zhel, Asori-Alnas

Offline Orell

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Re: Tales of the Orell Legacy
« Reply #78 on: 06/09/18, 04:54:22 PM »
A Jedi Holiday (Part 7)

Several days later, at Gherrod's Corner Store

"...the green of the fields will smile upon you, for they know that you did what none else could do. So if we too see the end of this fight, we'll shout out your name, and we'll sing it all night. The city will see us, the city will care. The blood on the streets is a price they must bear."

Merrant paused as he climbed the stairs, hearing the dark, gruff, rough voice quietly singing.

"I hope that one day that no fights will be near, that I'll think of my friends and not shed a tear. But 'til that day I'll fight as one of the brave, and not spend a thought on my waiting grave. So drink up my friends, for it's freedom we'll save."

Gherrod stayed quiet for a few moments. His eyes were locked on a datapad, bad news most likely, not that there had been many other sorts lately. Finally, he spoke up. "......Jedi."

Merrant stepped forward, eyeing the Cathar with a careful eye. "...didn't mean to intrude. A prayer?"

"Something like that," he muttered, pushing away a tear, somehow managing to scowl at the same time. "Back in the resistance, we'd sing it when we lost a friend. The bastard that wrote it thought that it might make things hurt less."

"...there's some hope in there."

Gherrod spat, glaring at Merrant. "Yeah. A bright future that they won't see!"

"I know."

"What the kriff do you kn-"

"The man that trained me as a Jedi, before I went Red? He was killed by Sith in front of my eyes. I didn't handle it well." For the moment, Gherrod didn't have a thing to say, and so he pressed on. "The woman that reminded me what the real point of power was? She was killed by Sith, months after I came back to the Jedi. The Jedi that taught me most of the tech I know? Killed by Zakuul, defending a ship keeping an entire planet alive."

Gherrod still had nothing to say, but there was a different look in his eye as he grunted.

"...Jedi know pain and loss too, friend. I don't know one that doesn't, comes with the job it feels. We just don't have any songs to make it hurt less."

The cathar shopkeep stared at Merrant before giving him a slow, solemn nod. "...we survive this shit, I'll teach it to you."

"Good. I intend on surviving." He raises his datapad, smiling as encouragingly as he could, with his mind sandbagged by memories of Corran, Soldin and Mireth-Kar. "I think I understand how their device works. To oversimplify, a really strong drill that lays mining charges behind it when it drills. The good news is that I know how to disable it. The bad news is I need to be inside it with maybe fifteen minutes to work."

Gherrod grunted, looking back down at his own datapad. "...I have my own good news and bad news." He took a deep breath. "The good news is that I know where the drill is. The Imps are keeping a wide perimeter, but one of my scouts slipped behind their lines and found it. Big, ugly and steel, like you said."

Merrant stared into Gherrod's eyes, seeing the tears still threatening to pour down. "...bad news?"

"I sent a dozen scouts. One got through. Two found nothing." He said nothing else.

Merrant closed his eyes, taking a deep breath. "...tell me their names, and I'll sing them all night. But we're not done yet, we need to be ready to fight."

"You're no poet," Gherrod muttered giving the Zabrak a nod. "I'll get my people together. We know where to hit them, we'll give you the hole and the time you need. Any chance we'll get help?"

"Probably. If the Force wills it." He smiled at Gherrod. "And if my friend is coming as fast as I think she is, the Empire won't know what hit them."

Meanwhile, at the Treslanis Governor's Mansion

Asori looked over the reports from her Captains, plus the unfortunate Lieftenant Gaines. Fewer incidents at the spaceport. No increase in protestors outside the Governor's Mansion. No incursions at the police station and patrols going uncontested.

Plus nine hikers apprehended in the mountains around the Hillbreaker. Up from zero before the attack on the police station.

But hey, who knows, maybe it was all a big coincidence.

The doors to the office opened, Lord Zhel née Bresix striding in, in full dress, clean shaven, and maximum arrogance. "Asori, you requested a meeting?"

By all rights, Asori's glare would've left naught but a smoking outline on the wall behind Bresix. Sadly, she did not live in so just a universe. "I told you to get your useless ass here because you're behind schedule. When will you be ready?"

Bresix sneered at Asori. She'd seen that sneer before, on high-born nobles, on prideful Sith, on rich bastards. "Dear Lord Alnas, technological advancement keeps its own schedule, I can only provide estimates. We'll be good and done with soon enough, I assure you."

Asori stared at him. "Hours, days or weeks?"

He sighed. "Less than days, more than hours, assuming no more delays of note. Rushing the project will only make it take long-"

"The rebels know about your project. Or that you're up to something out there," Asori interrupted, staring the Pureblood down. "They will attack. They might have numbers, but they do have a Jedi."

Bresix stared at her. "A Jedi here? Since when?"

"Since Day 1." She gave him a mocking, if brief, smile. "You didn't need to know. I have a blurry picture of him, Sith Intelligence identified him as Merrant-"

Bresix laughed, clutching at his side as he slumped down into one of the Governor's overstuffed chairs. "Merrant? As in Lord Merrant?"

"That was his name in the Empire," Asori grudgingly acknowledged.

Another laugh from the alleged Lord Zhel. "He was Darth Zhel's kath hound. He has as much wits as it takes to open a jar. We'll be fine, Asori."

Asori's gaze was unshaken by Bresix's reassurances. She'd gotten Sith Intelligence's notes on the man, and he wasn't so one-note. SI felt the Jedi could sabotage the drill... and no matter how much of a humiliation it'd be for the loathsome Bresix, it wouldn't do her any favors either.

"Only days? Then I'm going to be paranoid. We'll set-up at your base-camp, pull all of my ground forces besides a skeleton crew at the spaceport. It will take the locals a while to realize we've left, and if the rebels don't know about the device, it'll be too late by the time we finish it. Just get your job done, Bresix, and let's this done with.."
Character List:

Pub side: Lien Orell, Kyri Orell, Shaantil (possibly Dumas), Norland, Everen (bank alt ATM), Quarashaa (Pub version of the real Quarasha), Merrant

Imp Side: Quarasha, Effet Ornell, Arazel, Zedney, Zhel, Asori-Alnas

Offline Orell

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Re: Tales of the Orell Legacy
« Reply #79 on: 06/28/18, 08:29:32 PM »
Battle of Sorialas (Jedi Holiday Part 8)

Note: This is a converted chat log from the event I ran for Dassalya, SivWysan and LVT. Stuff happens in it, a lot of it, and a lot of combat too. These tend to be a bit clunky to read, as RP often can be. Aside from a few edits for readability, reorganizing things so each scene is handled alone, clarity (and spell-checks), this is all of what happened...

When we last left our heroes, Merrant was on Treslanis IV, when the Empire invaded and have been up to some less than polite things. The Republic is aware that the Empire seems interested in strip-mining the planet using a device called the Hillbreaker.

The Republic has "graciously volunteered" three Republic frigates, led by Captain I Don't Care of the Abstello, the 22nd Marines and two SpecFor Squads, Patchwork and Lancer, to foil the Republic's plans, under Knight Dassalya Nasadee's command.

Merrant has 'sent word' to Dassalya, telling her that now is the time to attack, and after a time in Hyperspace, have arrived in the Treslanis IV system, with Three Frigates, a Thunderclap Gunboat, Lancer Squad aboard Daimren's vessel and the various dropships holding the 22nd, along with a certain stowaway...

Hark has donned a troopers uniform, one from an attached navy officer of the ground assault. He'd keep to himself, as the navy and the army don't often mingle, and do his best to not be noticed by any others who may know him and be in attendence.

Harkasone remains unnoticed on the dropship, a combination of "someone else's problem" and everyone getting ready for the fight to come.

Dassalya, aboard Patchwork Squad's Gunboat, now has the chance to look over the map. Three Imperial warships, clearly outmatched, seem to be moving to engage the Republic force.

Dassalya stands over the shoulder of the gunboat's co-pilot, watching the ship's readings as they come in. "Captain Abstello," she says, loud enough for the comm to catch her voice. "I do not sense any additional danger. Shall I leave the naval engagement to you?"

"It is Captain I-Don't-Care, Master Jedi," says the Captain of the Abstello over the comm.

"She doesn't care," muttered Captain Brightstar, head of Patchwork Squad.

"I apologize. Mirialan naming convention," Dassalya amends smoothly. "Are you ready to engage?"

"Closer." There was a pause over the line. "We should be able to handle the Imperial warships. We'll screen for you until you hit atmosphere."

There's a crackle from the comm system, a voice coming in very weak but still just audible. "Knight Merrant to any Republic forces, please respond and let me know I got the comm codes right."

"You have the comm codes correct," Dassalya replies. Only the most observant in her vicinity would notice the faint relief visible in the easing of tension around her eyes.

There's another short pause before Merrant speaks up again. "...good. Too long. Sending position of the Imps construction site. They're building a device here that's going to blow up the mountain and kill a lot of people. I know how to disable it, but I don't know how long until it's done."

"Need a few things," he continued. "Local militia is approaching the site from west, up from the city's direction. They're not well equipped and they'll need support. There's also a decent landing area to the east of their base. Second front would help thin the Imperial line, give me room to get inside and start sabotaging. Also, in case we screw this up? Need someone to get to the comm center in the city. Tell people to get somewhere safe and take cover. Hope we don't need that."

Captain Brightstar looks over at Dassalya. "We've hot-dropped into firefights plenty. Bet the Marines could use the decent landing zone, though."

She nods her understanding, and then turns back to the comm. "Your sit-rep is appreciated, Knight Merrant. Please alert us if your understanding of the situation changes." She waits a moment to see if Merrant has anything further to add, then addresses Brightstar. "Captain. Have the 22nd land at the proscribed landing zone to the east. Patchwork Squad and I will drop to the west and unite with the militia. Lancer will assist Daimren in taking the communications centre. We will make our assault at—" She checks her chrono and makes a quick calculation in her head. "—13:00. We want to hit them as simultaneously as possible to ensure as much distraction as we can."

Brightstar nods and starts relaying the orders. Aboard the 22nd's dropships, an annoucement comes in: "Attention, all hands. We will be deploying to the planet's surface shortly and assaulting a light Imperial fortification in the mountains. Report to unit leaders for additional orders and be ready to move."

The ships move in, the heavy frigates racing ahead of the dropships and gunboat. Before long, turbolasers can be seen streaking across the vacuum, fire and return fire between the Republic and Imperials. No fire can be spared for the smaller craft, however, and they streak towards the planet and the city below.

From above, it looks fairly normal. A small urban area, surrounded by kilometer after kilometer of farmland in the basin formed by the heavy mountain range. The atmospheric entry rocks the landing craft, with Daimren and Lancer Squad arcing away towards the city, while Dassalya, Harkasone, Patchwork and the assembled might of the 22nd race towards the mountains, mountains where, even at this distance, blaster fire can be seen.

The City

As Daimren came in low, he smiled thinly, pleased to see a fairly clear flight path into the city's Comm center- but suspicious of anything too easy. He put the ship in a hard drop before leveling off with a wobble, looking to take full advantage of his ship's EM stealth while looking to all eyes a civilian craft struggling to flee from the firefight. He tapped a few side keys, blowing some extra O2 tanks on one wing, starting a small localized electrical fire in a backup area, and struggling to like the ship had taken damage. Then he stood up, facing the crew and continuing to fly with his cybernetics with his back to the oncoming cityscape.

Daimren eyes Lancer Squadron from under 3 days grizzle and an old spacer's cap over his customized but somewhat worn looking cyber-assault light armor. He had played up the role of a sympathetic ex-Republic vet doing merc work on the Rim brought on to advise and handle the tech situation without taking too many shots- or revealing his Jedi identity, hopefully. His lightsaber rested tightly in a hidden leg pouch he kept lined with scanner-jamming mesh.

"Alright folks, here's hoping we're in and out before they know it, and this is a cake walk. In case they don't though, I want Tetch and Eben's to stay up top, man the side guns and keep the landing secure in case of fast evac. Everyone else, we will land like a wounded garbage scow looking for shelter, and hit the door before they know what hit them. The ship will have a 6 meter jamming field to fry a few extra hidden alarms, though once inside we're on our own. Remember, the faster we can get this done, the less risk of alarm to the Imps and more lives we can save."

"I'll have my carbine, but trusting you folks to cover my six so I can work the keyboard magic. We'll try and shut the power first, but if we can't we'll fight to central control and pull the plug on any alarm fast as we can."

The SpecFor troopers nod, although Daimren could sense a bit of a chuckle coming from them. "Good plan, we'll keep your ass nice and shiny."

A couple others seemed initially visibly alarmed at Daimren's leaving the ship pilotless, then chucking when he tapped an implant and they figured it out. He then spun back around, guided the ship the rest of the way in and yelled a final "brace!" as they came down hard and skidded a few feet at an odd angle- yet one that helpfully ended up with their rear deployment hatch pointed at a slight angle to the sole rooftop entry. The air shimmered slightly as a jamming field sizzled into life, and the troops pulled off their belts and sprang to leave in 2 lines, covering the roof with their sights, looking for any trouble.

The roof is still oddly clear, an obvious door leading the way down. Even a convenient map noting where you are, where the emergency exits are and where the primary comm station is. "Force praise fire codes," one of the Lancer squad mutters.

Daimren chuckles. "One of the blessings avoiding Imperial construction methods. Here's hoping this will help keep it that way."

"Don't let your guard down though. I'll check the locks, then clear the first landing while I try and locate the power conduits." Daimren quietly slides a custom lock-breaker over the door, letting it run while flicking his left wrist to reveal an EM scanner and several auto-drills on bendable serpantine mounts, hoping they get lucky with the power grid

The lock's broken before he even finishes his sentence. The building was built to withstand pranksters and thieves, not a serious incursion. The analysis of the building's EM signature is odd, though. There's really only one place with power on right now, the main comm center. Everything else is at barely background levels of power, as though the lights are off and nobody's home.

Daimren frowns reaching out slightly in the Force, though his sense powers are lesser, and activiating his suit's flickering partial camo blur effect, "I have a bad feeling about this," he murmers. "Too easy. A moment." He pretends to finish some scans, but actually sprays a small dose of recon nanotech out of his wrist mounts, tiny drones that scope out heat or hidden power sources ahead. Then he motions the troopers forward, following in the middle himself and moitniong for a tight recon formation.

Daimren and Lancer don't hit any conflict at all, until they approach the comm center. A good baker's dozen of heat signatures there, seemingly on guard.

Daimren drops low, doing a final scan of the area outside the comm center, looking for any possible points to plug in to further distract. Meanwhile he waves the troops in, tossing a lock-buster on the door and motioning for stun grenades, concussion only. "Try to keep the fire to a minimum in there, we need that equipment intact. And leave the door, in case we need to defend this place later."

Imperial Marines were capable, Lord Alnas' force especially so, but against Special Forces with full information on the enemy and time to prepare? The doors were breached, stun grenades were sent in, and barely more than a dozen shots were fired to eliminate the twelve soldiers within.

The only figure within unharmed was the one without a weapon, a shaking, balding man, stunned both by the sudden violence and the liberally applied stun grenades.

While Daimren worked the systems, regaining command and quieting what few alarms were raised by the assault, one of the soldiers gave the shivering man a salute, recognizing him from a briefing. "Governor Baylen? Captain Olsen, Lancer Squad, Republic Special Forces. Are you alright?"

"...y-yes..." the old man stuttered, his eyes fixed on the corpse of the Imperial captain that had, so recently, been browbeating him into submission.

"Sir. Intel suggests that the Imperials intend to detonate a device that could kill most of the citizenry. We are working to disarm said weapon, but in case of problems, we need you to inform the public of the situation."


"They should get inside, sir. Preferably underground, until the situation is resolved." He looked back at Daimren, still working the computers. "Our... 'advisor' should be able to get everyting set up. Can you tell your people they need to get inside and underground?"

Baylen blinked. Then blinked again. Then, nerves finally finding purchase, he stood. "Yes. Of course. Thank you, all of you. And I hope your friends are as fortunate as you."

The East

The 22nd flew over the Imperial camp, and the slumbing hulk of the Hillbreaker, and soon found the landing zone, a brief bit of flat land in the jagged mountain range, no Imperials to contest. The soldiers within raced out, officers around shouting to secure beachheads and get ready to advance. No imperials... yet.

In the din of the criss-crossing orders, Harkasone slips quitely away to the hills and casts away his uniform for his Jedi battle armor while watching the battle set-up, looking for signs of a counter attack by Imperial forces after they organize against their new foes.

A few troopers give Hark a curious look, but either assume he's scouting or that he's someone else's problem. But the distant sound of stomping boots tells them all exactly where the Imperials are coming from. Imperial Marines in heavy armor race across a pass ahead, blaster fire spraying both ways as the soldiers keep each other honest... and from his vantage point, Hark could see the sign of a small flanking force, moving through some more rough path.

Hark checks the terrain of their small path. A ridge above them perhaps, is the path on a ledge itself... there is a small ledge overlooking where the path probably is, not easy to reach or approach. For normal people anyway.

Hark summons the force, hoping the burst is small enough to mask over the din of battle, and pulls down the ridge with full force, with the objective of slowing the small group. He fires his borrowed blaster up in the air as the Imperials become preoccupied, hoping that the soldiers that this squad was flanking, would be alerted.

It does the trick, Hark could see the soldiers starting to regroup and reorganize to cover that flank. But Hark easily senses a familiar feeling from the flank, and the sound of a pile of rubble being thrown out of the way with the Force.

"As always..." Hark glances back, to silently observe to main push; collecting his thoughts on his friend's situation. After a moment, Hark throws back the hood of this robe and stop trying to conceal himself in the force. He leaps into the path, into the path of the signature.

A dozen rifles are raised when Harkasone lands on the pass, but a raised hand holds them off. "...hello, Hark," Asori says, igniting her Lightsabers. "Here to convert, talk or fight?"

"What's the likelihood that either one of the first two would work?" Hark gives her a bitter, wan smile; laced with sadness.

"I meant you converting," Asori muttered, staring him down. "...Sergeant, find a different path. I'll handle things here." She slides into a combat stance, waiting for the troops to fall back.

Hark watches them go, moving from a crouching stance; to balancing on the pile of rocks. "Yeah... Let's talk, I guess. What is it exactly do you want to do here?" Hark asks, without hostility, though with definite curiosity in his voice.

Asori glowers at Harkasone, staying in her combat stance. "The Empire needs the minerals here. People will die, yes. But a tiny farming colony in the middle of nowhere for the whole of the Empire? There's no question."

"If the colony you came from had minerals that your Empire needed to survive; would that constitute as a 'small' sacrifice? This place is only slightly bigger, isn't it?" Hark holds her gaze, a serious expression written on his face. "If you remove the people from the government they should be serving, What's left in its purpose?"

Asori scowls, glaring at Hark. "Nima'Kluub doesn't have those minerals. And my path is with the Sith. You told me to pursue that."

"I did. And you should do do what you feel is right. I stand by that." Hark gestures around them. "You signed on to protect innocent people like this, right? You said you had the flexibility under the Sith to do it."

Asori growls. "I'm defending my people. Either get out of my way or try to stop me."

"This place is under Imperial martial law. These ARE your people. But you let Zhel loose on these people?" Hark shakes his head, unfazed at her threat. "I wanted you to be the best person you could be. Is this it?" He asks, his question purely honest.

"They murdered one of my finest officers, because I was too soft to do what was needed. They aren't worth a damn thing." Asori shifted, in a way that Hark knew was the precursor to a leap.

Hark moves his hand under his robe as he balances, looking at her. "Letting Zhel loose, and planning to destroy the planet didn't originate as a revenge plot."

"It's what the Empire needs, Harkasone. So is this." She says, and leaps at him, bringing both Lightsabers down at his shoulders.

Hark brings his prepared lightsaber from under his robe; having read her move, bringing it up with an easy block. He pulls her smashing down into the pile of rocks with the force as she hangs in the air from the parry without holding back.

Asori gets smashed into the rocks, her armor taking most of the blow but still leaving her hurting and off balance. She tries to make distance, throwing herself away from Hark while sending a few smaller stones at his head.

Hark leaps off the rock, circling around the larger once for cover. "I'm here to make you think about yourself. Improve yourself. Be a better person. I know you can do it."

"I don't need lessons from you, Hark!" She shouts, pushing one of the rocks at him and starting to close the distance.

Hark quiets, muttering only to himself for a moment. "As long as you keep your memory of this, anyway..." before going silent, and ducking behind the stones; using how they're strewn about as a line of sight maze.

Asori moves quickly, trying to track Hark, moving to slash at him when she can, well aware that fighting a Jedi in a rock garden is like standing in a pond and mocking a Sith.

Hark ducks back, staying out the way of her deadly blade. He leaps back onto another rock behind him, before slipping down onto the other side of it, and disappearing into the maze.

"Stop hiding and fight me!" Asori shouts, still pursuing him, going around the boulders instead of over them, ready to attack the first thing she can.

A blade lashes out from behind a bolder quickly slashing at head level before retreating back into the rock it was behind. "Do you sleep well at night, Asori? Do you ever wonder if you are doing the right thing?" The voice echoes around the many walls of their battlefields.

Asori growls again, turning aside the strike before continuing to pursue, chasing the echoes, hunting him down with a greater and greater rage. "I sleep great! And I'm doing the right thing!"

Hark's voice is honest, not at all judgemental. "Shouldn't you be asking yourself that?" A rock flies at her from dead ahead flying at a good speed.

Asori cuts the stone in two, still trying to find Hark in the Jedi in the maze of stone. "I don't need to!"


"Because I know!"


"Because I know!" She repeats.

"That's a pretty childish response, you know." Hark steps out from behind the last rock of the maze, slashing low with his saber, letting her momentum do his work for him.

Asori flips over the saber, landing briefly before striking at Harkasone, the spins, flips, rolls and slashes graceful and light, like the dancer she had always insisted she wasn't. Her muttered "Shut up," however, lacked a certain finesse.

Hark leaps back, towards the edge of the a cliff this part of the path curved around. "It's over Asori. I've bought enough time." He gazes at her, expectantly.

Asori paused, staring him down. "...diversion. Two pronged attack. Third prong somewhere else. Smart." She sighed, shaking her head. "Gaines, get back to the site!" she shouted, charging at Harkasone, double-feinting before swinging at his waist.

"You'll learn from this and be a better person in time. I really do believe in you." Hark deactivates his saber and takes the slash, letting it sink into his armor.

Asori seems almost shocked that the blade managed to sink in, a moment of fear hitting her.

With the adrenaline of his injury. He grabs her wrists, and takes them both over the edge of the cliff together. "For now... take some time to sleep on it..."

Asori was taken entirely by surprise, only barely able to hit her comm, shouting that she needed help... before going silent.

The West

As Patchwork's gunboat slows, approaching the noted path, Dassalya could see the fighting going on underneath them. A large collection of maybe-civilians, some wearing body armor but most in civilian clothing, being pinned down and struggling against the entrenched, and up-hill, Imperial position, including what looks like a pair of heavy cannons at the top of the path.

Dassalya activates her personal comm and radios Merrant upon it. "Merrant. Do you have any further information on the militia? We do not wish them to think us Imperials before we have an opportunity to explain ourselves."

Merrant chuckled. "I told them you're coming. The person in charge is the second grumpiest Cathar I've met, called Gherrod. Just shoot in the same direction they're shooting and you'll be fine."


Brightstar races towards the exit. "Patchwork, go! Sal, get the ship to safety once we're down, I don't like the looks of those cannons!" he said as the other members of Patchwork started to drop down to the ground.

Dassalya leaps from the gunboat and executes a three-point landing. Her senses immediately reach out, seeking for danger, for the forms of the militia, and scouring the area for pitfalls and places of advantage.

The Gunboat takes a few potshots at the Imperials, but the press of the cannons are too much and it's forced to withdraw, leading to a chorus of groans from the militia.

The locals are mostly scared and angry, and the reason for the fear quickly becomes apparent. The weapons in their hands, some of them are stolen Imperial weapons or police-issue blasters, but between the civilian grade blasters and the antique slugthrowers bouncing rounds off Imperial armor, they feel outmatched.

Dassalya ignites her sabre and launches forward, aiming for the head of the militia's line. "Militia! To me!" she shouts, holding her sabre aloft in a holovid shot of a valiant Jedi. Without waiting further, Dassalya whirls to face the Imperial line, grasps a shattered outcropping of rock, and hurls it at them.

The rocks smash into the protected position and send the soldiers first scattering, then dead as the few decent weapons the militia had gathered tear into them. There's more hope in them now, a Jedi is a good thing to have at your back.

"Jedi, we need to take out those cannons!" Brightstar shouted over the cheers and blasterfire. "If we get much closer, they're going to tear us to shreds. I think my team can take the one on the left, can you do the right?"

"Yes!" Dassalya struggled to keep up with the blasterfire now directed at her—the majority of her deflected bolts went spinning off into the sky or studded harmlessly wide of their targets. She juked to the side, darted back, then leapt forward to gain herself some manoeuvring room as the Imperial's were forced to track her.

The Imperials are definitely firing a lot at Dassalya, so much that most of them fail to note Patchwork forming up and slipping along the left flank. The Squad's heavy gunner carried something that might, in another light, be considered a handheld artillery piece. A few careful shots and the gunner is clear, lifting up the cannon and firing a stream of blasterbolts right into the stem of the enemy emplacement, creating one more explosion for the embattled ground.

Dassalya takes advantage of the chaos created by the explosion to charge the right cannon. With a whirling of green light, she slashes the main targeting computer and uses the lightsaber's blade to form a near-instantaneous weld of its aiming mechanisms. Before the Imperials can recover, she leaps beyond and continues batting away blaster bolts.

Another cheer from the militia as the Imperials fall back again, the local forces advancing, a few enterprising souls charging up to the top of the hill after them... only to be met by a new wave of blaster fire and the telltale crackle of Sith Lightning arcing through them.

"Hold back!" Dassalya shouts. "Advance as one with the troopers!" She doesn't, however, follow her own advice. Lightsaber readied to catch lightning, she storms the ridge to face the foe on the other side.

Dassalya's met by another torrent of blaster fire, Imperial troopers huddled behind barriers and rocks. And she sees the Sith in question, a Pureblood wearing black and silver, and a particularly distasteful expression as he looks over Dassalya. " this it?"

The militia does slow down their advance, even seeing Dassalya race forward, with Captain Brightstar and a grumpy looking Cathar trying to keep order among the force.

Again, Dassalya struggles to keep the blaster bolts at bay. One slices through her robes just shy of her bicep, another is barely deflected into the dirt beside her toes. With a gathering of Force, she leaps to the side, disarms an Imperial trooper who has approached with too great of confidence, and throws out a telekinetic wave towards the bulk of the enemy soldiers.

The troopers are scattered, but not badly harmed, and quickly get back into position once the militia, supported by Patchwork, make the ridge and get to their positions. The Sith, however, cares little and throws lightning at Dassalya, the exchanges of blaster fire focused on soldiers vs soldiers, leaving Dassalya and the Sith to their dance.

Dassalya catches the lightning on her saber and, with grit teeth and painstaking care, redirects it into the sky and away from her own troops. "Surrender," she says, falling into a neutral, low guard. "No one else needs to die here today."

"Your surrender is not accepted," the Sith says with a sneer, more Lightning, more crackling. "You think you could defeat Lord Zhel, girl?"

Dassalya once again catches the lightning on her blade and redirects it with the same care. "I think Zhel died five years ago." She slips into a more active guard—one hand before her, her saber held parallel to the ground, pointing forward. "You do not need to meet so ignoble an end as him."

Zhel growls. "I am Lord Zhel, girl! You will die here and your-" His stream of lightning is cut off by a blaster shot from Captain Brightstar, easily battered away by the Sith but still earning a glower from him. "Do you mind, we're busy here!"

Dassalya seizes the moment and lunges forward. As her saber thrusts forward to strike at Zhel's center mass, her free hand tugs him towards her in the Force.

Zhel is dragged in, but he seems to catch the trick quickly enough, bringing his saber around just fast enough to push Dassalya's blade away. "Die schutta!" he shouts as he tries to strike at her, seemingly as effective in the melee as anyone that uses lightning as their first, last and only option normally would be.

Zhel's blade is thrown off its mark by a carefully timed push of the Force. Dassalya recovers her saber from its errant path and thrusts again at Zhel's chest. For as vengeful as the Pureblood is, she is calm. "Your namesake was more eloquent."

Zhel scowls, stumbling away from the stab before his free-hand unleashed another volume of lightning. "I am destined to surpass him! Who cares about eloquence?!"

The green saber shifts to catch the lightning on its blade, but, even as it does, Dassalya reaches out to send a hail of fist-sized stones at Zhel.

Zhel swings the Lightsaber around, intercepting most of the stones, but taking a pair to the ribcage. His cry of pain is short, though, and it's second verse same as the first, more lightning, trying to overwhelm her guard.

Dassalya struggles against the onslaught. Loose hairs about her head begin to stand on end as the charge of the contained lightning builds. She twists her saber in an attempt to send the torrent arcing back towards the Pureblood.

Zhel yelps as the lightning feeds back on him, backing away, batting away a pair of stray blaster bolts as he sizes Dassalya up. "Let me guess, the humidity is just awful?" He says, mocking her hair before sending another wave of lightning.

Dassalya is already on the move. Her saber snaps the lightning into an Imperial trooper who ventured too close to their duel, then darts to the side with Force-enhanced speed and sends a violent jet of telekinetic energy Zhel's way.

Zhel winces at the friendly fire, about to say something curt about how people shouldn't get in the way... and then he gets thrown into another set of Imperial marines, making about as comfortable a landing as heavy armor would be. The marines just push him aside and continue firing back at the militia and Patchwork squad, something of a stalemate in the blaster battle for now.

Zhel is momentarily off-guard while he finds his feet.

Dassalya seizes him with the Force to plow him face first into the ground.

Zhel is about to fire off more lightning at Dassalya when he realizes what's about to happen, and can only just close his eyes before he's slammed, face-first, into a mountain. He does, however, manage to throw another blast of lightning at her, mid painful groan.

Dassalya could even sense a twitch of amusement from a few of the nearby troopers, even as they point their rifles at her, trying to drive her back.

Dassalya deflects the lightning, but it leaves her open to the first salvo from the troopers. A bolt burns across her thigh. With a wince, she retreats to find cover behind a nearby outcropping of rock.

She puts her back to the moss covered stone and attempts to recover her breath. Her saber stays ready by her side.

Zhel muttered as he took cover himself, clutching as his bleeding nose. "...yes, yes, I'm fine. The Jedi will have to do better than that to beat me!"

One slow breath. Another. Another. As Dassalya allowed her calm to centre her, she focused her inner eye on the wound on her leg. Flesh slowly knit. Pain eased. She extended her senses beyond herself, seeking to pinpoint, exactly, the nexus of Dark Side energy that would Zhel's location.

"Is that all you have, Bresix?" she called, her voice pitched to carry to the Sith.

"Shut up you kriffing schutta!" he shouted back at Dassalya, albeit somewhat nasally. He did stand, however, and sent out another blast of lightning at where he thought Dassalya to be.

The outcropping caught the brunt of the blast; Dassalya whirled out from behind it and made to seize Zhel yet again with the Force.

Zhel grimaced, seeing the outcropping explode instead of the Jedi... then an all too familiar feeling of being seized by the Force, a muttered "not in the face" coming from the Sith.

Dassalya disengaged her saber and let it drop to her belt in a telekinetic, controlled fall. Then, both hands thrust before her, she set the Force to pin Zhel's hands to his side and drive him to his knees.

Zhel is forced to his knees, struggling against Dassalya's grip, when two things happen.

First, the Imperial troopers with nicer gear and more stripes stop firing and look around. Something's changed.

Then, the loudspeakers in the base speak up. "This is Knight Merrant. The Hillbreaker has been disabled. Job's done, nothing left to fight for here."

There's a cheer from the militia, even some of Patchwork getting in on it, but the Imperial troopers act quickly, several of them pouring fire down on Dassalya, the others falling back.

The saber snaps back to Dassalya's hand, but her hold over Zhel is broken. She deflects the blasterfire clumsily, nearly hitting one of Patchwork with a redirected bolt, before she is able to retreat beyond the angle of the upward-firing Imperials.

She casts a glance either way down the line of her troops—were any hurt? Were any cut off from the group? Did any require assistance?

The Imperials grab Zhel, who's still protesting that they can somehow win this fight, and fall back, heading to where shuttles might be found, but with plenty of covering fire as they fell back. Comms from the 22nd would tell a similar story, retreating Imperials.

Many in the fighting force are injured, however, mostly the civilians, and more than a few on the hillside that couldn't make the climb. The Cathar shouts for everyone to hold position. "We won, let's not get killed trying to win more!" he shouts, glaring at the Republic Captain making his own arguments on the subject.

Dassalya activates her wrist comm. "Captain I Don't Care, there may be additional Imperial shuttles departing the planet. Do you have the resources to intercept?"

She moves to the nearest wounded in cover and begins triaging injuries.

The first roars of shuttles sound as she hears I Don't Care's response. "We will try. The Imperial warships are losing this fight but they have not lost it yet. And if we were to 'sell out' for an intercept, we would expose ourselves to a flanking strike. What, prepare a flanking course. Soon, try to work out firing solutions in case we cannot close."

Shuttles roar, not that far off, lifting off, either to reach other soldiers needing evacuation or making for the stars themselves.

"Understood, Captain. I trust your judgement."

She turns her attention fully, then, to treating the injured.

Captain Brightstar muttered as he came close to Dassalya, helping with the triage. " you really? His pilot's name is 'Who'."

Dassalya decides to ignore that comment in favour of her work.

Those looking, up in orbit, as the string of Imperial dropships returned home, would see a few explosions, long-rage fire intercepting the retreating units, but not so many. In not too long, word would come down that the Imperials had retreated, albeit after losing most of their orbital fleet.

And, as Dassalya is treating another of the injured, a familiar brown hand drifts into view, helping keep pressure on a wound. "Hey."

Her eyes flick up to take in the face she knows so well. A smile flits across her lips, and then she returns her attention to the task at hand.

"I am glad to see you are here."

"I'd rather be seen somewhere else," Merrant says, smiling at her. "Has Gherrod given you much trouble yet?"

"I cannot say I have exchanged two words with him," she replies. With his help, she bandages the wounded civilian she's treating, administers a pain reliever, and relieves her into the care of her companions. Dassalya rises, looking about for others to assist.

An angry looking Cathar walks up to them. "...Jedi, couldn't you have done that faster?!" he growled, but beneath the angry face, Dassalya could see a bit of warmth and relief in the man.

"Wanted to disable it without blowing anything up. Harder than it sounds." Merrant gestured at Dassalya. "Knight Dassalya Nasadee, Mister Gherrod, local corner-store owner and part-time revolutionary.

Seeing no one in immediate need of her, Dassalya allows Gherrod the courtesy of her full attention. She bows her head at Merrant's introduction.

"I am happy to meet you, Mister Gherrod. I hope the next time may be under more favourable circumstances."

Gherrod sighed, looking her over. "You saved my city and everyone that I talked into fighting here. From a Sith too. Seems like a good circumstance to meet."

Merrant just rolls his eyes.

Dassalya, again, bows her head, but this time in acknowledgement of his gratitude. "I did not save it alone. You and yours had the courage to stand against the Empire. That is not a small feat to be ignored."

Gherrod nodded, then tries to bow his head like she did. "...I don't plan on ignoring it. But thanks. So, is this where you give me the speech about joining the Republic?"

"Do you wish to join the Republic?"

"No." He said, sighing. "But I want to join the Empire a lot less. I'm sure the politicians will fight over it. Assuming they didn't kill all our politicians."

"If you join the Republic, it is true that it will better be able to send you aid if the need should arise again," Dassalya says calmly. "However, if your world does not wish to join the Republic, then I will not attempt persuade you otherwise. Your fate should be yours to decide."

Captain Brightstar jogs up at that. "Got word that Lancer Squad manage to rescue your governor. I mean, the one that was here before. Not sure if that's good news or bad, but it's something." He quickly salutes the Jedi. "Any orders for us, ma'am? Abstello's holding orbit, pretty sure all the Imps scampered off."

She turns to Brightstar. "They may return in an attempt to recover their assets here. I feel it wise to remain a little longer to deter any such efforts and to offer aid to the people."

Once again, her attention shifts to Gherrod. "If you are amenable to our continued help, that is."

Gherrod blinks, then looks around. "...wait. When did I get put in charge?"

"When you started shouting," Merrant replied.

"At me," chimed in Brightstar.

Dassalya hides a brief smile.

"...fine," Gherrod muttered. "You are welcome here by me for as long as it takes for the politicians to find their ass with a map. That work?"

She nods. "It is." She looks to Brightstar. "You have your orders, sir."

Brightstar nods, then starts relaying orders into his comm, particularly about sweeping the city, checking the infrastructure, making sure that Sorialas City would be open for business tomorrow, and the days after. Gherrod goes after him, if only to make sure that the right things were given priority by the offworlders.

Meanwhile, Merrant just smiles at Dassalya. " time, you're coming on vacation with me."

She chuckles and shakes her head. "I believe we found ourselves in a similar state of trouble last time we attempted to go somewhere together, did we not?"

"Exactly. If I'm going to stumble into a giant mess of chaos, I want you with me." He smirks.

Another smile. "Yes. I do seem to have a way of getting you out of it, do I not? Come, let us see what else the people need of us."

Merrant nods, going off with Dassalya... and looking forward to going home.
Character List:

Pub side: Lien Orell, Kyri Orell, Shaantil (possibly Dumas), Norland, Everen (bank alt ATM), Quarashaa (Pub version of the real Quarasha), Merrant

Imp Side: Quarasha, Effet Ornell, Arazel, Zedney, Zhel, Asori-Alnas

Offline Orell

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Re: Tales of the Orell Legacy
« Reply #80 on: 04/08/19, 01:37:09 AM »
The Lesser Evil

One week after the Battle of Ossus

"You want what?!"

"A meeting with one of your very talented intelligence operatives."

"...I knew I should not have picked up this comm. Unknown caller, obviously suspicious, but what do I have to lose? And just on principle, I should never pick up a comm, I have people to pick up comms, if my comm rings, it is bad."

"We live and learn, cutie, but-"

"You are not my type."

"Is it the breasts, the lack of hair or the occasional dalliance in shameless evil?"

"All three. Why are you wanting this... meeting?"

"I wish to offer my services to the Republic, of course. An ugly war is coming and I'd much rather be on the right side of it. But I'm no idealist, I know that such things would need to be handled under the table."

"I am sure. And why should I even consider such a request from you?"

"You know my abilities. You know my position regarding the Empire. It's hardly a shocking request."

"Not yet convinced."

"Fine, I tried. Because you are a good, noble government official that's being contacted by a foreign agent wanted for numerous crimes. Clearly, as a responsible elected official who has done nothing wrong, you would report this communique to the correct agency to ensure to them that you are not compromised. And would have to divulge the subject of the conversation."

" are blackmailing me for picking up a comm."

"You were correct, you really shouldn't have picked up."

Corellia Palace Casino, Nar Shaddaa, some time later...

Agent Wellin sighed, carefully polishing a glass behind the bar. The annoying part of working undercover was that civilians rarely got the message. And that the casino's patrons would always order the most obscure drinks that they could.

"You really shouldn't water the drinks down so much," Sariana said into his ear, the handler's voice annoyingly clear through the background chatter of the casino. "If you get them drunk enough, they'll probably leave you alone."

"Or they'll pester me for more drinks," he muttered under his breath. "Eyes on the contact yet?"

"Negative, party pooper. She's twenty minutes late already, good odds she's not going to-" There was a pause from the other end of the line. "Huh."

"...please don't hold me in suspense, Sar."

"Eight o'clock? And, uh, sorry. Just saw her."

Wellin turned his head, his eyes tracking onto the yellow Twi'lek woman at the edge of the bar, waving vigorously at him. "Excuse me sir, do you happen to know how to make Corellian Tea?" the woman said, her grin so wide it threatened to split her head in half.

Wellin strode over, giving his best managing-a-potential-asset smile to her while motioning for the other agent behind the bar to deal with the actual customers. "I think so, miss. Is that the one where you frog blast the vent core?" he asked, slipping the code phrase into the conversation.

"Oh, yes, but only after you lightning the rubber with ozone," the Twi'liek replied, her own code phrase coming in just as bluntly. "You really need to start leaning on encryption, you know."

"It has downsides, and you're late," Wellin said, smiling while looking over the woman. She was dressed in a run-down outfit, probably purchased from a second-hand store and thoroughly cleaned, but no obvious bulges he could see. Older than most of the dancers he'd seen on Nar Shaddaa, but he wasn't expecting a set of barely legal lekku to waltz in tonight. "How do you like the security?"

The woman smirked, looking around half-theatrically. "Three snipers, a half-dozen other agents and what I'd guess is a bulky scattergun under your coat." She gave Wellin a grin, extending her hand. "Either that or you're exceedingly happy to see me. Go ahead and call me Quarasha, I'm not your enemy here."

Wellin took a step away, looking down at her hand, his own showing a brief movement to the weapon hidden under his jacket. "If you want to hold onto that head, you'll keep your distance. Also, you missed a few," he added, giving a quick smirk but not shaking her hand.

She retracted her hand, letting out a long sigh. "This isn't a scheme of mine, my motives and actions are sincere."

"Positions reversed, would you believe that line?"

"No," Quarasha said with a faint, false laugh. "But that doesn't make it a lie."

"Well, how about you pretend like I don't know anything about you but your rap sheet," Wellin said, eyeing the Sith. "A few dozen murder charges, accessory to at least four digits of murder, a few of the fun charges like 'Attempted Regicide', let me tell you, that's a special one." He gave his own quick, fake smile. "Why should I believe a word you say?"

Quarasha stared at him. Her eyes remained focused, five seconds, then ten, then twenty and more, her stare boring a hole into his forehead. Wellin stares back, or at least he tries to, his eyes flicking away for relief as her eyes bore into his skull.

He'd heard that getting into a staring contest with Jedi was foolish, but at least you didn't have to worry that the Jedi would kill you with their mind if you stared too hard.

"You know more than my record, agent," Quarasha said. "The person that set up our meeting has plenty of collateral on me, as we both know. She's too smart to not share that with you."

"That's not-"

"Do you mind if I cut through your espionage-style kath crap so that we can get to the fun bits?"

Wellin hesitated, looking back over Quarasha. He thought of her as a schuuta, sure, but that didn't mean he thought she was wrong. "...fine." He sighed. "I know of Nima Kluub, I know about your troubled relationship with the Sith Lord Alnas, I know that you pitched in to save us from Zakuul." He gave Quarasha another smile. "Congratulations, we'll print you a medal. But none of that proves you're on our side, and we don't have a place for traitors."

Quarasha couldn't help but laugh. "You work, gleefully I might add, alongside the Jedi Order, which accepts ex-Sith with open arms. You truly wish to say that the Republic has no room for traitors?"

"Jedi are Jedi, SIS are SIS, we don't share personnel..." Wellin sighs. "Fine. You're a schutta, but you're capable. We're suspicious assholes, but we're... not against getting help. Like you said, let's skip the kath crap and move on." He leans on the bar. "What assets do you have that you're willing to use to help?"

Quarasha smirked, leaning on the bar herself. "Large accounts of credits under assumed identities-"

"How much?" he interrupted.

"8 digits to start with. Trusted connections and blackmail on multiple Imperial officers scattered throughout the Imperial military-"

"Multiple meaning two?" he cut in to ask.

There was a flinch from the Sith. "I'll give you a redacted list. But for now, less than you hope, but more than you suspect. Accurate Star Charts of Imperial holdings-"

"How accurate?"

"More than weeks, less than months." Quarasha let out a smirk. "There's other things, knowledge of Imperial hierarchy, intelligence on Hutt schemes, intelligence on what Republic officers have been compromised..."

"Compromised by people besides you?" Wellin asked, knowing she wouldn't answer, not that it mattered too much. If someone's been compromised by a minor Sith in Hutt Space, they might as well be on Sith Intelligence's payroll.

"Oh, and you'll get me," Quarasha said, standing up and giving the SIS agent a little twirl. "A Sith Assassin with more kills than you can pin to me, and an asset that your organization can set loose on the enemy without any of those poor, terrified voters back home knowing about it."

"And you'll take out anyone we tell you to?"

The Sith's voice went cold. "You need to work on your comedy. I'm an ally, not a minion, and just because I'm willing to do your dirty work doesn't mean that I will do it sight unseen."

"You have to trust your handlers. We don't always get the full picture, just what needs to be done."

The anger was starting to come on strong for the Sith. "I spent years in the Empire doing what I was told. I gave the Jedi information on another Sith because I loathed what he was doing. If your people want something done sight unseen, find someone else."

Wellin held the stare, then leaned back, smirking. “...well, good to know you’re not trying to charm us.”

“Charm would make you suspicious. I’m here to be taken seriously.”

“Shouldn’t we be suspicious? Given your history-”

“Everyone’s suspicious of me, and I tired of it years ago.” She pushed away from the bar, eyes sharp, staring daggers into the intelligence agent but leaving a comm behind. “My offer is made. Contact the saved number on that if you have something for me. Anything else?”

Wellin hesitated. “Your colony, Nima’Kluub-“

Is. Not. To. Be. Touched,” Quarasha interrupted, leaden tones landing hard. “Try using them as leverage, and I’ll show you just how much damage I could do to the Republic if I wanted.”

He backed away from the counter, raising his hands. “Easy, easy! I was just talking about trade, resources, maybe a refueling point for covert operations! There’s a bit of a resource crisis going on, you know, that whole reason your ex-apprentice tried to murder an entire planet?"

Quarasha stared down the SIS agent, mind spinning at the seemingly earnest information. "I'll consider it. The threat stands."

"Fine, fine, I'll make a note, Agent Q is really bad at playing nice." Wellin sighs, lowering his guard as he looks over the Twi'lek. "...if you don't mind me saying... I wish teaming up with you didn't make sense."

Quarasha snorts and walks away. Wishes were a fool's game... and if she had her wish, she wouldn't have to do any of this at all...
Character List:

Pub side: Lien Orell, Kyri Orell, Shaantil (possibly Dumas), Norland, Everen (bank alt ATM), Quarashaa (Pub version of the real Quarasha), Merrant

Imp Side: Quarasha, Effet Ornell, Arazel, Zedney, Zhel, Asori-Alnas

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Re: Tales of the Orell Legacy
« Reply #81 on: 09/26/21, 10:36:38 PM »
Old Hatreds, Part 1

Approximately 6 years after the fall of the Zakuul Empire

Republic Regale Hotel, Piena City, Feldinar

Peace. Calm. Serenity.

A young girl, beaming with victory as she figures out the puzzle. Warmth, pride at seeing the girl's triumph...

Peace. Calm. Serenity.

A holo, a young boy, clumsily eating lunch, dropping his fork. Reaching out for it, the fork moving a centimeter towards his hand, entirely unnoticed by the child.

Peace. Calm. Serenity.

A bald man, a few more wrinkles now, cybernetics overdue for a refit, smiling and laughing as stories are shared, countless parsecs away.

Peace. Calm. Serenity.

"Mom, we're gonna be late..."

A faint smile cracked Shaantil's face as she withdrew from meditation, hearing Soldin's petulant tone, no doubt glowing at her mother. The girl, so close to becoming a young woman, had been talking about the gala for days, weeks even, the highlight of their diplomatic tour of the midrim before returning to Erini with contracts and offers and deals galore.

"I am never late, Soldin. I always arrive-"

"-precisely when you mean to," Soldin finishes with a huff, toying with the ruffles of her gown for the evening, the eleven year old miraluka-erinian girl showing every bit of the impatience of youth. "It's not like Dad ever believes that, I don't know why you expect me to," she adds as Shaantil rises out of her meditative stance, still joints protesting with the movement.

...too long in meditation, too long away from action, too many rich meals... Shaantil groused at herself as she waved Soldin out of the bedroom, momentarily annoyed at the ravages of middle age. "Your father knows the value of a la- of arriving on your own schedule," she said as she slipped off her bathrobe, finding her own gown for the gala.

It was rather in fashion for Erini, admittedly, but it still gave Shaantil pause. It was as though a determined fashionistas had tried to mesh an elegant, extravagant ball gown with Jedi robes. Long skirts but overlapping at the front, tassels on the sleeves with 'important' meaning to them, a modest amount of cleavage for an Erinian dress. Another sign of her people's growing fascination with the Jedi... or perhaps just with Shaantil, as though by wearing what their beloved Princess had once worn, they'd fully understand her as well.

It was a wonder that blindfolds had never reached dominance in Erini's fashion world, although particularly opaque sunshades had grown in popularity, much to the miraluka's frustration.

"Your own schedule, which is late?" Soldin asked, and Shaantil could hear the grin on the girl's face, having caught the stuttered word.

"Only from a certain point of view. If I arrive when I mean to, then perhaps everyone else is early," Shaantil said with a faint smirk on her face, easing herself into the expensive dress and slipping a cerulean veil over her vestigial eye sockets.  "After all, if they need me to be there for things to begin-"

"That just sounds like you're being mean to them," Soldin said with a huff. "Besides, this isn't a boring meeting, it's a party!"

Shaantil chuckled as she brought the zipper up her back with the Force, shifting in the close fitting, delicate fabric. Even now, after years of living as a member of Erini's royal family, she still preferred her old Jedi robes, worn and loose fitting and even a little rough, over the softer fineries. Something that she could move and fight in, not a gown that a simple combat maneuver would likely leave in tatters.

"A gala, Soldin, not a party. There is a difference," she said, looking over herself with the miraluka version of vision, making sure that everything was alright before stepping out towards her daughter.

Soldin smiled at her, nearly beaming, the auburn haired girl looking beautiful in her own gown. "Yeah, the food's more fancy and I'm not allowed to run around, but come oooon!" she whined, grabbing at Shaantil's hand and dragging her laughing mother along.

Shaantil followed her daughter's lead after pulling her purse with the Force, leaving the hotel room behind and waving goodbye to the Erinian Throneguards stationed there. The hotel had once been called the "Imperial Jewel", back during the Sith Empire's reign over the world, and while the owners had been very eager to rebrand as soon as possible, it still felt like a Sith Palace: Opulent to a fault, luxurious, gold everywhere, a subtly menacing, imposing figure in the sky.

It was a favorite of visiting Senators, she'd heard more than once.

Still, as the lift descended towards the ballroom and she gently mussed her indignant daughter's hair, things felt... off. Something... familiar, but not, remembered, but distant. Not darkness precisely, but... a memory of darkness...


Shaantil started, looking down at her daughter, and then seeing the lift's doors wide open, the gala's ballroom not far away. "...sorry, Soldin, just... thinking."

Soldin nodded, once again grabbing the former Knight's hand and pulling her along. "Let me guess, some of that Jedi stuff that you say I don't get."

Shaantil couldn't help but give a little laugh, letting her daughter drag her along the hotel lobby's floor. "I would be lying if I said that I fully understood it either. Just... I don't know, a presence that I haven't felt in a long time..." She paused for a moment, ignoring the pleading tugs on her arm. "...oh, alright, it's probably nothing," she eventually said, following Soldin to the hotel ballroom.

The room was lavishly decorated, and for once Shaantil could see the good reason. Feldinar had suffered much under the Empire's yoke, and every year on the anniversary they made certain to celebrate their freedom. Not that the Jedi was one for grand celebrations, but true freedom from the Sith Empire was something anyone could find favor in embracing.

Unfortunately, as much as Shaantil Keyis wished to enjoy the food and festivities of the event, Princess and Lord Ambassador to the Republic Shaantil Keyis had many hands to shake and voices to hear out. Ambassadors from faraway worlds with trading interests, Senators from nearby worlds, local representatives, wealthy industrialists with aims at cheap labor or cheap materials or wealthy customers or all three, engaged celebrities with pet causes, all the sort that someone who'd found themselves forced into politics had to appease with a polite smile.

They all had kind and generous words towards Soldin, of course, how the girl was growing so strong, so beautiful, how much she looked like her mother, all while carefully evading the obvious differences, like the two eyes on Soldin's increasingly annoyed face...

"We look alike?" Soldin said at one point, eight dignitaries into the event, the girl clearly growing petulant at the feigned and insincere adulation.

"Well, of course, darling!" The elder man said, some old money businessman who probably had never seen a scrap of the ore that his distant employees worked themselves half-to-death for. "Both of you are beautiful examples of your people!"

"...Soldin..." Shaantil warned with a faint sigh, doing her very best to keep the requisite smile in place.

Soldin either couldn't, or more likely wouldn't, stop. "But you can't see half of Mom's face, and we're only half the same people! Are you just trying to butter-"

"Sweetheart, why don't you visit the buffet!" Shaantil said, cutting off the entirely accurate accusation with a smile. "Just remember, save something for me!"

The businessman chuckled politely as Soldin rolled her eyes, but did indeed hurry off to the table piled high with sweets. "Ah, the impatience of youth. I do apologize if I offended," he said, and the oil on his words could grease engines.

"Oh, everything is fine," Shaantil said, not believing a word of it, turning her focus back to the man as she prepared for the sales pitch. "You were saying?"

« Last Edit: 09/27/21, 12:37:10 AM by Orell »
Character List:

Pub side: Lien Orell, Kyri Orell, Shaantil (possibly Dumas), Norland, Everen (bank alt ATM), Quarashaa (Pub version of the real Quarasha), Merrant

Imp Side: Quarasha, Effet Ornell, Arazel, Zedney, Zhel, Asori-Alnas

Offline Orell

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Re: Tales of the Orell Legacy
« Reply #82 on: 09/26/21, 10:38:31 PM »
Old Hatreds, Part 2

"Ahn, where are you?"

"The darkest corner with the best view."

".........generally speaking, I prefer to know actual locations. Just saying."

Quarasha sighed. "Fine. I'm well up in the rafters. I'm in full costume, I can't exactly blend into the crowd," She said, her costume consisting of head-to-toe pitch-black cloth, only a faint gap for her eyes to see through.

"Fine," the handler said, Agent Wellin, the same SIS spy that'd been harangued into accepting the former Sith Lord's help years ago. Quarasha had to admit, he wasn't a bad spy. A bit stiff and predictable, but he did his homework and knew his stuff.

And, unlike a lot of The Family's more senior members, he was capable of working with a Sith Assassin with a modicum of decorum. "Do you have any idea who this Darth might be targeting?"

Quarasha sighed, leaning against the wall, crouched high up on the extravagantly carved pillar. "No. My contact had records of transit and some loose chatter, he didn't send out a message saying exactly whose head he was here to collect. This just happens to have all the big heads in good view. Just..." She sighed, "Anyone important in the crowd?"

There was a chorus of chuckles, not just Agent Wellin, but all the other SIS spies monitoring the gala. "Pretty much everyone here is important on some level. Senators, diplomatics, rich farts with more creds than sense," Wellin said, drawing a few more chortles from the crowded channel. "It's why bomb and weapon detectors are on full alert, we've secured our fair share of special galas, Ahn."

Quarasha had to admit that Wellin had a point. Every entrance was covered in scanners, the walls and windows were heavily reinforced, courtesy of the paranoid Sith that once controlled the building and were always prepared for assassination attempts at their parties, every employee had been thoroughly vetted to death. Even she wasn't sure if she'd be able to sneak a decent weapon into the event, anything with a power source would get flagged.

Her eyes scanned over the crowd, the 'fashionably late' attendees arriving finally, the ones that understood that there was a Game but were still figuring out how to play it right. "I'm hardly here for the canapes, Wellin. Think... someone unusual. Someone a Sith would go out of their way to kill."

"You're the expert on that last part."

"Oh, like you never talk to yourself when solving a..." Quarasha's eyes found their target. The target, most likely. Logic would say that there were a dozen other people in the room that were more important, more valuable, more in danger from a Sith's attention... but Quarasha knew the bemused whims of the Force better than most. "Sector... Besh-4. Blue Dress and veil, miraluka woman, red hair."

There was a pause over the channel, everyone on the comm channel trying to catch up. "...think I see her, are you sure she's miraluka? Got a name for us?"

Quarasha hesitated. It wasn't a name she liked to think about. Certainly one she wasn't particularly comfortable sharing a room, or a city, or a planet with, but she nodded to herself. "Shaantil Keyis. Probably representing Erini here."

"You mean-"

"Yes." The daughter of the Jedi Master I took credit for having killed. The in-law of the royal family whose head I tried to cut off, and whose palace I bombed. Who cut off my hand and was about to take my head too, Quarasha thought to herself, eyes tracking the woman.

"...there's more prominent targets in here," Wellin ventured, although his tone belied that it was mostly for show.

"I doubt it." She paused. "ID and cover the others, in case I'm wrong. I'll watch the Princess."

Another pause over the comm. "Ahn-"

"Trust me or don't, just don't blow smoke up my ass."

"........good luck."

Quarasha barely had time to mute her mic before letting out a snort. Any good luck to be had was long gone by now, and she tapped the Lightspear on her back, as though to reassure herself that it was indeed still there.

Odds are it would be used tonight, one way or another.
« Last Edit: 09/26/21, 10:43:24 PM by Orell »
Character List:

Pub side: Lien Orell, Kyri Orell, Shaantil (possibly Dumas), Norland, Everen (bank alt ATM), Quarashaa (Pub version of the real Quarasha), Merrant

Imp Side: Quarasha, Effet Ornell, Arazel, Zedney, Zhel, Asori-Alnas

Offline Orell

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Re: Tales of the Orell Legacy
« Reply #83 on: 09/26/21, 10:39:05 PM »
Old Hatreds, Part 3

Nod and smile, listen for cues. An old dance by this point for Shaantil, but one that she had learned to at least perform effectively, if not master quite yet. Understand what they're looking for and offering, yes, but the goal was to project confidence and assuredness.

In truth, more of her attention was focused on keeping tabs on young Soldin. The girl hadn't exactly strayed far, but she had struck up brief, impromptu conversations with a few strangers that Shaantil didn't recognize.

Perhaps paranoia... or, rather, definitely paranoia, but also the sort of precaution that she couldn't help take. Shaantil would always strive to be a strong, protective guardian of her children... even if that meant coming off like a mother hen at points.

The local representative's droning speech about the wonderful vegetables that Feldinar had been growing, perfectly suitable for export, had finally come to an end, thankfully, and Shaantil shook her hand, accepted the datachip with real information on it that would actually matter, before excusing herself for her next diplomatic farce... possibly after checking on Soldin.

She'd probably feel better if her Throneguards were allowed to assist with security, but this gala was a point of pride for the locals. No weapons in the grand ballroom, no outside forces 'assisting', the only uniforms allowed were local security, no doubt the very best that the city had at the ready. It had been only fair to give her usual bodyguards the night off instead, no doubt liaising with the other unoccupied security forces that had come here.

The stories about the Security Dejarik games were legendary, apparently. A shame she had never been able to join one.

Still, the least she could do was do without the pretense of them escorting her through the fifty feet to the gala itself before having to turn back, and just let them enjoy the night off.

Shaantil turned toward Soldin, who seemed to be in a vigorous discussion with a delighted looking rodian, when one of the servers stepped forward, smiling at her. "Princess Keyis?"

She let out another sigh, turning to the man. "Yes?"

Shaantil was distracted by minding after Soldin, but a lifetime as a Jedi does not fade. The warning came through the Force the moment the server lunged towards her, a large kitchen knife appearing out of the man's long sleeves, aimed at her stomach.

She was faster, though, a hand coming down to grab the attacker's wrist, the Jedi stepping aside to evade the strike. The follow-up counter-punch came almost from pure reflex, the assassin staggering under the blow, screams erupting from the nearby guests, slow to catch up to the sudden violence.

He drove at her, trying to wrest free control of the blade from Shaantil, a foot coming forward, trying to trip the Jedi up, barely evaded. Even a simple knife could be a deadly weapon in a melee, there were few ways to easily and consistently win against one when unarmed, and the best she could do was using both hands to try to control the knife.

A swing at her face came next, the warning from the Force leaning her away from the blow. Her reply was a strike with her forehead, blunt but effective, a cut opening over the assassin's eye. More shouts were coming now, guards with sub-lethal weapons trying to fight the tide of guests to reach the brawling pair, too worried about shooting the wrong person to stop the fight just yet.

"Darth Anzel sends his regards," the assassin muttered, and let go of the knife, trying to drop it into his free hand, the one that could cut the Jedi to ribbons... but the hand closed on thin air as the knife was flung aside, batted away by the Force, halfway embedded into a marble column.

The assassin's jaw dropped, and he looked at the cold, dispassionate gaze of the Jedi. No knife to deal with now, and the fight was over in moments. An elbow to the nose to disorient, an uppercut to the gut to wind, and a Force-assisted leap sending her knee into the assailant's face, a blur of blows that left him unconscious before he even hit the ground.

One of the security guards finally reached Shaantil, motioning for the others to lower their weapons and cover the assassin. "Princess Keyis, Agent Wellin, SIS, what the hell-"

Shaantil gave the agent a double-take, surprised that the SIS was involved with security. "Assassin, crediting Darth Anzel." She scanned the crowd, using her miraluka sight to pick through them... too many panicked people, too many sharp, disorienting emotions, too much distraction, but... "...m-my daughter..." she croaked out, fear rising within her, far more than the unexpected knife ever could draw.

The rodian was gone. Her daughter was gone. It hadn't even been a minute, but Shaantil couldn't see Soldin anywhere.

Wellin looked around, muttering a curse before activating his comm. "New situation, assassin secured but we have other players, look for small girl, she might have been- hey, wait!"

The words of the SIS agent were cut off when Shaantil started to move. That presence, that familiar feeling, it was back again... and it wasn't as hidden this time. Some old threat, moving fast, out of the ballroom and into the service corridors used by hotel staff. Likely the same ones used by that assassin.

The Jedi lept from a stand-still to a small pillar, using that as a launchpad to propel her even faster to the doors. Her heels were left behind as she was on the chase, moving with speed and grace, drawing astonished comments from the crowd...

...and more bitter curses from Agent Wellin, who had a particularly bad feeling about where this was going.
« Last Edit: 09/26/21, 10:44:41 PM by Orell »
Character List:

Pub side: Lien Orell, Kyri Orell, Shaantil (possibly Dumas), Norland, Everen (bank alt ATM), Quarashaa (Pub version of the real Quarasha), Merrant

Imp Side: Quarasha, Effet Ornell, Arazel, Zedney, Zhel, Asori-Alnas

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Re: Tales of the Orell Legacy
« Reply #84 on: 09/26/21, 10:42:45 PM »
Old Hatreds, Part 4

Shaantil's sprint, at Jedi speed, drew no shortage of attention from the staff that she had to dodge around, or more frequently over. The dress complained, and later investigation would no doubt reveal many broken seams and lost tassels, but for now was the chase, and that presence, so familiar, growing closer.

It led down a flight of stairs, which the Jedi cleared in a single leap, rolling with the landing and hardly losing a step of speed. A door slowly swinging closed was blasted open with a wave of her hand, instinct and fear and rage mixing within the mother as she chased the one who had stolen her daughter away.

The back of Shaantil's mind was screaming at her: This was obviously a trap. A distraction in the ballroom to grab Soldin, drawing her to a place only she could reach so quickly, isolated and alone. There would be no backup here. The SIS was here, the smart thing would be to use their help to lock down the building, prevent escape, and arrive in force.

She paid it no mind. That was all very logical and sensible, and she had no time for either.

The presence faded away up ahead... but two new sights crept into the miraluka's vision: Soldin, still alive, still safe, no doubt terrified... and a larger figure, fully consumed by the Dark Side.

...and yet...

A wave of her hand blew the doors open once again and she landed, a dozen paces from the Sith, her dress tattered and frayed from the journey, but the Jedi's clenched jaw and fists spoke volumes. "Let her go!" she demanded, staring down the Sith.

He was indeed an imposing figure, tall and strong and broad in shoulder, clad in heavy armor from head to toe, even a full mask... and a lightsaber in his hand, the glowing red blade held at the terrified young Soldin's throat. He let out a little laugh, infinitely pleased with himself, and drew the blade an inch closer to the girl, drawing a whimper from the girl and a growl from the Jedi. "You forgot to say please," he said, a distorted, mechanical sound filtering into his voice.

Shaantil was silent. She couldn't attack, even as every muscle yearned to throw herself at the monster. One slip of that blade...

"...mommy..." Soldin sniffled out, trying not to cry, trying her best not to draw any attention... already scared out of her wits.

"It's been a long time, Knight Shaantil," he said, the armored gauntlet of his free hand stroking Soldin's hair, a threat baked into the motion. "Of course, you were a mere Padawan back then, and I was but a minor Sith Lord. Lord Anzel back then. You were trying to stop one of my little manufacturing operations with your very powerful master, and we ended up dueling on the factory floor, one on one..."

The Sith sounded almost... wistfully nostalgic about the whole event, and it was enough to break through the Jedi's rage, forcing a brief pause from her. "I have no idea what you're talking about," she growled at him, but tried to force a measure of calm upon herself, trying to fight the darkness within. "...let her go. She has nothing to do with this."

Darth Anzel laughed, his gauntlet coming to a rest on Soldin's shoulder. "She's your most cherished thing, is she not? Your great prize, named after your own master?" He laughs again, the mechanical tone of his voice beginning to grate. "Surely you remember your Trial of Skill, Jedi!"

More confusion flooded Shaantil. This... it made no sense... his presence... it wasn't what she felt... and what he was saying... " Trial of Skill was on Tython. A full speed spar with a true master of the Lightsaber, as is commonly done. What planet are you talking about?"

Anzel let go of Soldin's shoulder, the Lightsaber swinging away for a moment in a wild, passionate display. "It was on Kalas III, Jedi fool! We dueled, a simpering Padawan against a Sith Lord, and you nearly cut me down! Over twenty years ago we fought, but I am stronger now than ever before, and your Trial of Skill will be your undoing!" he bellowed, bringing the lightsaber back to Soldin's neck before the girl found the nerve to run.

Beneath her veil, Shaantil's brow crossed. This Sith... it wasn't the presence she had been chasing. And this Sith, looking every bit the menacing, powerful warrior he wished to be... who?

She was about to speak again when she heard a voice. Barely audible, mechanical distortions, but not belonging to anyone else in the room. "Gift Horse. Next chance, pull."

Shaantil had to stop herself from nodding, but she looked down at her daughter, putting on a weak smile. "...Soldin, sweetheart, it will be alright, I promise."

Even as Soldin nodded, the Sith growled at her. "You can't promise that, Jedi! You're not leaving this room alive!"

Shaantil let out a sigh, looking back at him. " was over twenty years ago, Darth... Ansol, was it?"

"Anzel!" he roared, drawing another whimper from Soldin, and a skipped heartbeat from Shaantil.

"...of course. I simply mean to say that it has been so long, I can hardly recall the event. Thwarting Sith... Master Soldin and I did it fairly often, and she encouraged me not to keep score on-"

"You lie!" the Sith roared again, his rage almost exploding now, every muscle in his body tensed, ready to fight. "Our battle was the thing of legends, a trail that forged me into the mighty Sith I am now!" He reared himself up, pointing his Lightsaber at the Jedi. "And you will your attempts to cripple me will-"

Mid-monologue, Shaantil crouched down and reached her arms out, using the Force to pull Soldin to her as quickly as she could risk. The young girl's eyes went wide as she was yanked from the floor, and Anzel's Lightsaber descended, seeking to cleave the innocent in two...

...and then was stopped, the snap-hiss of a purple Lightspear marking the arrival of a new fighter. Clad in black fabric from head to toe, and a particularly unusually shaped head, the figure sprung just in time to hold the striking Lightsaber back.

Shaantil embraced her daughter as soon as she reached her, holding the girl tight, Soldin holding on for dear life. "You're okay, it's okay, you're safe," Shaantil whispered to her child, her words trying to reassure more than just Soldin.

"I-I'm sorry, I d-didn't know what was happening, i-it happened so fast-"

"Shh, shh," Shaantil shushed, giving her daughter a kiss on the forehead. "You did nothing wrong, you've done nothing but make me proud, Soldin."

It was a weak smile on the daughter's face, but it was there at least, and Shaantil's heart rose... but then the two Keyis women remembered about the battle still going on. " she winning, mom?"

The slighter figure was battling hard, the purple Lightspear moving with grace and speed, dancing around Darth Anzel's guard. Her assault had managed to press him onto the backfoot, the heavily armored warrior focused so much on his defense that he couldn't strike at the unarmed pair in the room... but it was a Soresu variant. He was studying her, looking for an opening. It wouldn't be long before he found one.

Shaantil's gaze set on her bobbing and weaving defender. In a moment, she disappeared and reappeared a half-step away, trying to create an opening. Another strike, a burst of force, used like a Sith might use Lightning, destabilize a foe before a killing blow, but shaken off by the Dark Lord.

Shaantil's 'defender' was losing. She just hadn't lost quite yet. But it wouldn't be long.

And Shaantil remembered where she last felt that presence.

"...Mom?" Soldin asked again, breaking into Shaantil's mind before the flood of memories could overwhelm. Before the darkness could regain its hold.

Shaantil looked back to her daughter and gave a faint smile. "Not yet," she said, putting her hand over Soldin's eyes, turning her head to look away... and then her gaze snapped back to the battle.

Anzel beat back another thrust at his midsection, creating the opening that he was looking for, no doubt triumphant glee present beneath the mask as he lowered his Lightsaber towards his defenseless-seeming foe... when he stopped. His arm couldn't move. Neither arm coul, nor his legs, his head, his whole body.

His eyes flicked open to Shaantil, and saw the strain on her face. Force Stasis, holding him in place, holding him... defenseless.

The Lightspear struck with little preamble. Slash across the thighs, up through one bicep, down the other. Before the Sith could break free, the stasis was disrupted by the quick slashes, lances of sheer and complete agony shooting all through Darth Anzel's body as he fell to the ground, in five different pieces.

The defender injected a few vials into Anzel's neck, no doubt to keep the Sith Lord alive but unconscious by treating the shock that four lost limbs can create. She then straightened up, turning to face Shaantil. The person under the black coverings was clearly a twi'lek, and even more clearly uncomfortable as she looked over the huddled pair. After a long pause, the mechanical voice said, "I had him, you know."

"Did you," Shaantil said, staring down her defender.

"...I'm here with Agent Wellin. He has your location, backup will be here soon."

"Will it,"

The figure ignited her Lightspear, reared back and flung it forward, just as Soldin, eyes still covered by Shaantil's hand, let out a gasp... but the Jedi didn't sense danger from it. She was ready to move, ready to deflect the weapon thrown in her direction, a moment's hesitation possibly leading to disaster, for both her and the young girl held in her arms...

...but the Force said something else.

The Lightspear, undeterred, flew maybe a half-meter over Shaantil's head before embedding itself in the rodian that she had seen earlier. She had been drawing a Lightsaber of her own, appearing from the hallway, likely the Darth's favored apprentice, but was dead in a moment, a Lightspear beam where the woman's heart should be.

The figure walked past Shaantil and Soldin, calling the spear back to her hand. "You're welcome," she added, casually chopping off the rodian's head for good measure.

She turned the corner, and even though Shaantil tried to focus on her presence in the Force, after a few moments there was nothing to see...
« Last Edit: 09/26/21, 11:01:26 PM by Orell »
Character List:

Pub side: Lien Orell, Kyri Orell, Shaantil (possibly Dumas), Norland, Everen (bank alt ATM), Quarashaa (Pub version of the real Quarasha), Merrant

Imp Side: Quarasha, Effet Ornell, Arazel, Zedney, Zhel, Asori-Alnas

Offline Orell

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Re: Tales of the Orell Legacy
« Reply #85 on: 09/26/21, 10:47:07 PM »
Note: If coming here from the "recently posted" tab, you might want to start out with Part 1 up above first!

Old Hatreds, Part 5

A Few Hours Later...

Shaantil stroked the slumbering Soldin's hair, the pair curled up together in the master suite, the girl not wanting to leave Shaantil's side, and Shaantil not interested in being anywhere else.

It had been a... difficult time since the fight. Agent Wellin had indeed arrived quickly, along with a medic and a dozen local guards and SIS agents to control the scene. Darth Anzel was still alive, at least what was left of him, but Agent Wellin promised that he would never escape, and that the information he would give would be used to save lives.

A few guards had questions about what happened, quickly dismissed by the Agent, no doubt used to having to explain away Lightsaber wounds on enemies when no Lightsabers were supposed to be present.

There was also the matter of Soldin. She was trying to stay brave, and that courage in the face of danger would come in time, but eleven was too young to suddenly face death and expect to remain composed. A sightless glare from the Jedi was all the answer they needed for now.

But the worst had been the apologies. From Wellin, from the other agents, from the guards, from their captain, both the Governor and Senator had already sent an urgent message to express their regret... even the Throneguard she told to enjoy their night were sorry. She already had to send a quick message back home, back to Cordae and the rest of the family, giving them the simple version of the story to help them understand why so many apologies had been sent their way.

Even Soldin had been saying sorry. That she strayed from Shaantil's side, that she got grabbed, that she just froze...

Shaantil kissed her daughter's forehead. No one could possibly blame Soldin for what happened, no one but Soldin herself... and that was an enemy that would be hard to defeat. One that Shaantil would make sure that her daughter would overcome.

A gentle knocking echoed through the room. Not from the door to the rest of the suite, rather from the balcony door.

Shaantil stared at the door. An army couldn't pull her away from Soldin right now... but if this was who she thought it was...

She carefully pulled herself away from Soldin, another kiss on the forehead comforting the sleeping girl's rest, and the Jedi strode to the balcony, calling her Lightsabers to her on the way.

The evening was brisk, to put it lightly, as she stepped out onto the balcony, privacy shielding hiding the Jedi and her tattered dress from the legion of illicit press that might be looking to capitalize. "How did you get here?" she asked the seemingly-empty balcony.

A moment passed, then another, and then a twi'lek was suddenly visible, sitting down at one of the balcony's tables, a glass of wine in her hand. "...the privacy screens are mostly focused on visuals, and aren't expecting someone who can traverse buildings like we can." A pause. "I'm impressed, you're still faster than me," Quarasha said, eyes flicking at the Jedi.

Shaantil leaned on the balcony railing, not looking directly at Quarasha yet, her miraluka sight focused on her daughter, making sure her rest was unobstructed. "...I meant at all."

Quarasha nodded faintly, sipping her wine. "SIS and I have an accord. They'll deny it if you try to go public, of course, but a Sith with my training, fighting against the Empire? They'd be fools to say no."

"They were fools to say yes."

The Sith snorted. "Tonight, you wish to say that?"

Shaantil paused, and then took a breath. "They were fools to say yes. That I might be... fortunate that they did does not change that."

"You really ride that Jedi philosophy hard, don't you? Ignore the self, all for the greater good?"

"Broadly speaking. But pithy lines make for good philosophy, not good policy." Shaantil paused. "You wanted me to chase you."

"I tagged the apprentice the moment she grabbed your kid. The longer they had her alone, the more they could..." Quarasha glanced up at the Jedi mother, before finally saying " I figured you would be acting on instinct, and gave you something you couldn't resist chasing. It worked out."

Shaantil finally looked at Quarasha fully, rage briefly rising on her face. "You led me into an ambush."

"I led you into Plan... D, most likely. Possibly E."


Quarasha sighed, taking another gulp of wine. "Plan A, the first assassin kills you. Plan B, they grab the girl and make it back to the Empire for evil Sith things," she said, waving her hand mystically. "Plan C, they get her out of the building but can't get off-world, but still can set up a better ambush somewhere else."

"...and Plan D would be a one on one duel, with me likely unarmed and alone, but not certainly so," Shaantil finished, her expression calming.

"Well, one on two. The apprentice, remember?" Quarasha shrugged. "I mean, I figured out the specifics after the fact, but I advised on the security here, only a great mind would have been able to get his agents in place, and a great mind would've had more escape plans in mind. Keeping the pressure up removed those options, and gave us a fighting chance."

Shaantil looked back over at the Sith. Very professional, very calm, very matter of fact. But... a clever mind wouldn't come here without contingencies. She focused, letting go of her monitoring of Soldin for a moment, trying to search the area... "...make sure to remove the shock-traps you planted here when you leave. All... seventeen of them? Really?" At Quarasha's raised eyebrow, Shaantil stared back. "'re right. All twenty of them. They wouldn't be delivered in such an odd number."

A small smirk crossed Quarasha's face, and the Sith seemed to relax a bit. "Nineteen, actually. I dropped one over the ledge." Shaantil's stare continued, and she let out a sigh. "Fine, I'll try to find where it landed, don't want some gardener getting an unusual wake-up call tomorrow. Are you going to ask me the other question, or should I just start running?"

"Why did you come up here?"

Quarasha blinked. "...well, I was expecting you to ask why I aligned with SIS-"

"That's hardly a mystery," Shaantil said, the cold tone returning to her voice. "Self-preservation. You're a traitor to the Empire, they'll kill or muzzle you, so you're helping their strongest enemy to get revenge and hoping to gain favor to help you avoid punishment."

Quarasha held the staring contest this time, setting down her glass of wine. "Are all Jedi of your generation such cynics? Whatever happened to people's hearts changing?"

"Sith frequently attack under flags of surrender or peace or while begging for mercy. And one would need to have a heart for it to change," Shaantil added, venom in her voice.

Quarasha's eyes narrowed. The words to bite back were there, on the tip of her tongue, but the former diplomat stayed her tongue. She knew where those words came from. "Bit far there, Jedi," she eventually replied, her own tone cold, but more soft than sharp.

".......perhaps," Shaantil admitted, the fighting posture she didn't realize she had slipped into fading.

'What you said? That is part of it. Most of it, even, I will admit that," Quarasha said, settling back into her seat. "But the rest... if the Sith conquer the galaxy, everyone that I care about will suffer. Anyone that I even could care about would suffer. A handful would thrive, and the rest left in pain. It took me too long to realize the inevitable contradiction of the Sith Empire, why it can never reign unopposed... but it's wisdom I can't ignore."

Shaantil's brow creased. "And which contradiction is that?"

Quarasha couldn't help but chuckle at the word 'which' there. "In short? It is best for all that the strong lead... but only if the weak can accept that they are not leading. And everyone that has any strength at all thinks they're one of the leaders."

"And every Sith thinks that they're one of the leaders," Shaantil said, gently nodding.

"Well, almost all of us.There's a few weirdos out there, like Beniko who seem to enjoy being a servant. I swear, that girl, when I first met her I pictured her as holding the whips, not taking them so m-"

"So, a dominant Empire would lead to galactic collapse," Shaantil said, cutting in before the topic grew too uncomfortable. Or familiar.

"Every time the Sith Empire's about to win big, some idiot thinking they should have more power sabotages the whole mess. I think that's the rather definitive proof, wouldn't you say?" Quarasha shrugs. "Maybe some magnificent bastard can find a way to align the entire power structure right, but I doubt it'll happen in my lifetime... so, best to let the side that doesn't try to conquer the galaxy because it's not competent enough to dominate it win." A pause from the Sith. "No offense meant," she lied.

"I consider it a compliment to the Republic." Shaantil looked over Quarasha. It... didn't sound like a lie. She'd had her own observations on the Empire that matched that in the past, the Empire's defeat at Corellia had become practically legendary for how little the Republic actually had to do to crush the Sith there. "And this attack?"

Quarasha shook her head. "My sources have given me good intel on other strikes, but this mess and 'good intel' were about as far from each other as possible. Just barely enough chatter from old contacts to be worth taking seriously, given the event. And Anzel was supposed to be overseeing training exercises four sectors away, he was completely in my blind spot. No offense meant, again... but he talked like he knew you. Were you just messing with him, because if so, color me impressed."

Shaantil shook her head. "I would have feigned confusion if I had to, but truly, I don't recall the encounter he described. Fighting with Sith while investigating hidden plots with Master Soldin... it wasn't an unusual occurrence. It certainly wasn't the first time I fought a Sith alone."

"Who was?"

"I don't know. But she was a woman, and... did not escape the battle. Besides, it's not like many Sith who fight me bother to introduce themselves."

"Really? Most of the ones that try to kill me can't help but be dramatic about it all." Quarasha shrugged, but gave Shaantil a quick look before finishing off her glass of wine. ", about the Rancor in the room..."

"Do you regret it?" Shaantil said, turning away from her visitor, staring back at the sleeping Soldin, her tone... quiet, like she doesn't want to hear the answer.

" might have to narrow it down." Quarasha waved her hand, cutting off the Jedi before she could respond. " oversimplify? Not as you want me to."

Shaantil heard the words, took them in, breathed, in, and out, focused on the resting girl, safe and secure thanks to the actions of the people on this balcony. Seconds passed, the tension drawn out until she finally had to ask, ".......meaning?"

"With....... her namesake?" Quarasha ventured with, tiptoeing around the name, and when the Jedi didn't fly into a murderous rage, she went on, "the actions were almost entirely above board. The intelligence on that world wasn't as definitive as I pretended later, and I wasn't even present there, but... she was there, operating and defending an illegal espionage platform. She was knowingly violating intergalactic law and multiple treaties of neutrality."

"I know."

"And the... 'attempted regicide'..." she said, looking away from the stiffening Erinian Princess. "Not... precisely. The actions were the correct ones, based on my objectives and what I knew at the time."

"Were they," Shaantil said, her voice leaden.

"I know the Jedi see it differently. It's why I'm not a Jedi, Princess," Quarasha said with more than a little bite. "My teacher, he taught me to do what is needed to achieve my goals, however much or little that might be. If my goals require the brutal, painful murder of a wise, benevolent ruler? Then I'll grab my very best torture knives and searing hot poker. If they require rescuing the daughter of a woman who hates me, then I'd best save the damned damsel in distress. Do what you must, regret nothing."

"Then you regret nothing."

Quarasha stared at her empty glass, wishing there was a bottle or four to help her through this discussion. "...I regret the goals."

Shaantil frowned. "The goals?"

"To secure my power in the Empire. To appease more aggressive Sith in the Empire. To establish myself in the Empire. To make the Empire stronger," she shook her head, disgusted at the idiocy of youth. "An Empire that enslaved me. That sneer at my kind. That is destined for self-destruction. That would only see worth in me if I was among the most powerful to ever exist, something I will never be, not if I want to keep what shreds of sanity I have left."

She looked up at the Jedi, a beginning of understanding starting to dawn on the woman. "I regret thinking that what I did was the best thing to do, that I thought it was the smart play. Sol- Your master's death was regretful in that it robbed the galaxy of a flexible Jedi who was good at fighting the Empire. The assassination attempt was regretful because I thought killing your father-in-law would make my situation better, when a Republic weakened by his death would only have made things worse in the long run."

"Also, you lost your hand."

"The smart play is the smart play, no matter what actually happens," Quarasha replied, standing from her chair. "Besides, getting a cloned replacement was quite affordable in the end. In any case, I've intruded enough. Try not to give Wellin a hard time for this, none of any of this was his idea, and he's not that bad of a spy. And... you should get back to her. You shouldn't be gone when she wakes," she said, the Sith's voice going soft as she looked towards the dozing girl.

" a moment." Shaantil took a deep breath, and looked at the Sith that had haunted her dreams and visions on more than one occasion. "I cannot forgive you for those actions...  no. I could. A Jedi should. But... I will not. And I do not approve of the SIS's dealings with you, they are taking a very foolish risk, and I do not trust that your aims will remain aligned with them or the Republic. Or the Jedi."

"I don't recall asking for either forgiveness or approval."

"Indeed. I believe you are a ticking time bomb, one that will leave a large radius of devastation when you do explode," Shaantil said, stepping towards Quarasha.

The Sith tensed as the other woman stepped into the array of traps.... all 26 of the shock-traps failing to go off. She took a step back, a hand going back to the Lightspear on her back, all too aware of the Lightsabers on Shaantil's hips, that the last time they fought, Shaantil won handily, and a rematch now would at-best be too close to call...

...but the Jedi stopped, two paces away from the Sith. "But I do remember one lesson from Master Soldin that... I find hard to forget. To never underestimate just how far a Sith will go to prove a Jedi wrong."

Quarasha stared at Shaantil for several moments, feeling like she was standing on the edge of the abyss, ready to bolt or fight or leap, whatever might be needed. " is always fun to see the looks on your faces..."

"Then for Soldin, I will say this..." Shaantil took a deep breath. So much of her didn't want to do this. Half of her was screaming that this was a mistake. That the dead deserved better, that the wicked needed punishment, that this lying Sith schuuta would be laughing all the way back to Korriban about this tomorrow. And yet... she stepped forward, took a deep breath and nodded. "...thank you, for what you did today, and I hope that you do end up proving me wrong."

Quarasha stared at her, and extended her hand, offering a friendly handshake. "'re welcome, Jedi. And... we'll see about that other part, won't we?"

Shaantil just stood there, ignoring the offered hand. Too much had been done by her to accept it now. "...did you really have him?"

"You interrupted a counter that I was baiting. It would've taken longer for him to die, but he wasn't about to kill me," Quarasha said, pulling her hand back, a polite smile on her face.


Quarasha's gaze returned to the room, to the sleeping Soldin. "She's cute. Very outgoing and charming, from what I could see."

"...she is," she said, the words enough to bring a faint smile to her face.

"She must take after her father." Quarasha couldn't help herself. She really should, but some things were still beyond her.

Shaantil only stared.

"Doesn't seem very strong in the Force, however."

"The cause for some to have a greater innate connection to the Force than others has been a mystery for millenia, but it is certainly far more complicated than bloodlines." She shrugged. "Do you think I care?"

Quarasha looked back at Shaantil, studying the Jedi's immaculate sabaac face. "Yes. But not nearly enough for you to stop loving her." She looks back at Soldin again. "...a lot of Sith in the Empire would care that much. It'd be enough to disown, or accuse their partner of deceit, weakness or infidelity." She shrugs. "Another reason I'm glad I'm gone. May the Force serve you well, Jedi."

"The Force guides me, Sith, not serves. If it did not guide me, we would both be dead tonight," Shaantil replied.

Quarasha returned a curious look, but faded from view, even from Shaantil's practiced sight as she slipped away from the balcony.

Shaantil remained there for a moment, thinking about the Sith's words... but beyond making a note that the Thorneguard should double-check the balcony for any more 'presents', she went back inside to her daughter, laying down next to her. Soldin had a horrible enough day as it was, the next morning would find her waking up safe and warm and loved, no matter what.
Character List:

Pub side: Lien Orell, Kyri Orell, Shaantil (possibly Dumas), Norland, Everen (bank alt ATM), Quarashaa (Pub version of the real Quarasha), Merrant

Imp Side: Quarasha, Effet Ornell, Arazel, Zedney, Zhel, Asori-Alnas