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Topics - Joshmaul

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Cantina / At last, a palace that fits what appears in my head
« on: 03/18/20, 05:39:27 AM »
I made a brief mention of Malagant's new digs in the story I'm writing up... given that his personal sanctum has been in fairly high mountains, it's about time it actually LOOKS like a mountain stronghold. So, here we are: Malagant's Palace of Winterhome.

Holocrons and Info Nodes / The Guns Fall Silent
« on: 03/07/20, 04:01:23 AM »
The deck was strewn with bodies, Imperial, Republic, and all in between. Crawling across the floor, spattered in blood - most of it his own - Captain Eidan Zherron reached out for a weapon.

A black boot stepped down hard on his wrist, snapping it with a twist of the heel. He looked up and saw that there were at least two dozen Imperials there. The one with her foot on his wrist was an agent of Sith Intelligence, her eyes like two pits of ice. In one hand, she carried a silenced blaster rifle. In the other, she held one of his pistols, pointing it at his head.

Behind her were two people he had hoped never to see again, always hoping whenever he'd heard of their deaths, it would stick. In this case, he was disappointed. "I applaud you for your bravery, Captain Zherron, but now it is over."

Zherron sneered. "Typical Sith arrogance. Always talking and not able to back it up." He laughed. "I'd get that gloating out of the way now, Malagant. Any moment now... the others will come and put you out of their misery."

"I don't think so." Darth Malagant lifted him up off the deck with one hand and slammed him up against the bulkhead. "If you have a message for your daughter, Captain, I will be glad to take it for her. After this, I think I will make it a point to get to know her... quite well."

The captain seethed with rage at the very idea, but nonetheless kept up his mocking smile. "You wouldn't know what to do with her. I think she's a little... out of your range. She doesn't look enough like your mother, you sick bastard."

Eyes wide with fury, Malagant's hand tightened around Zherron's neck until the bones began to crack...


Two days earlier...

"Well, you certainly know how to keep things interesting, Leric."

Inside her BT-7 Thunderclap Wayfaring Stranger, still presently based in the Onderonian capital of Iziz, Colonel Ashmara Danrei listened with barely-concealed trepidation as the orders cape down from her old comrade-turned-boss, General Aleric Savel. Standing on one side of the holoprojector with her were her CSM, Toral Linavil; both Captains Zherron - Eidan, white-haired and battle-scarred, and his daughter Lucia, black hair tied back; and Jedi Master Tergahn Dai'lo, his white and red Zakuulan robed armor matching the red-and-white of his skin. Around the edge next to Tergahn was Jedi Commander Ediren Lorath, whose hand tapped on the hilt of his lightsaber in a rhythmic pattern. On the other side of the table from the colonel were Captain Nelys Lorath of the Brigantia, Ediren's cousin and Lucia's foster brother, and Captain Zulim Bazsha of the Iron Shrike, Nelys' former first mate.

The general chuckled. "Interesting is one word for it, Mara."

"I've got a few more to describe this," Toral muttered. "Sending in the expendables on a suicide mission."

Mara glared at him. "You secure that shit, Toral."

Savel raised a hand. "Let him speak, Colonel... you have a problem, Sergeant Major?"

"I do, General. We're all 'pardoned' deserters and what not, so we're getting sent to take this on because nobody in Republic Command gives a damn about us. How much longer do we need to get sent to do this kriff before they start treating us decently instead of sending us into Imperial guns with nothing but sharp sticks and harsh language?"

"The way you can swear, Sergeant Major, sometimes I wonder if you give yourself too little credit." The general sounded amused, but sobered quickly as he continued. "I'll correct you on one point: You have one person who gives a damn about you in Republic Command. That might not seem like much, but you know I don't lie to fellow soldiers. Certainly not to one like you, Linavil." He sighed. "I'll admit that part of this is because of the fact that the Irregulars are only a step or two up from a penal regiment, but it's also because their 'irregular' training gives them skills we want to put to use against these Imp bastards. It may seem like you're getting thrown away just for the sake of it, but believe me: Your contributions to the war effort have worth."

"I hope so. Sir."

Savel looked back to Mara. "How soon can you get underway, Colonel?"

She glanced at the Zherrons, then at Nelys and Zulim. All of them were carrying her men on their ships. The four captains all nodded. "Just say the word, General."

"Then good hunting, Colonel. I look forward to hearing from you." Savel disappeared in a burst of holographic static.

Holocrons and Info Nodes / The Voice of Thunder
« on: 10/22/19, 11:34:26 AM »
The dreadnought Stormwatch sat at station-keeping just outside a massive asteroid field surrounding a solitary planet, one that looked from this angle to be habitable. But Admiral Bardin Krysiak, commander of the Imperial 14th Fleet - presently assigned to the Imperial Wild Space Command - knew not to take things for granted.

"Detecting a ship coming through the field, Admiral," reported the sensors officer. "Also, having a better look at it now... look here, sir, you see them?"

Krysiak glanced at the display the young man indicated... and nodded. "Navigation beacons. Probably equipped with solar batteries to navigate the repulsors to compensate for the changes in the field. Imperial design, if I'm not mistaken. It seems perhaps we're not on a wild orobird chase after all." His instructions from Dromund Kaas had been vague. The fleet remained near Belkadan, headquarters of the IWSC. But the flagship, his flagship, had been ordered here, to this planet near the edge of Imperial space, not far from Voss.

And no one had told him why.

"Detecting the ship now... a Fury-class interceptor. Interference from the asteroids is blocking the ID signature, though."

Now Krysiak had an idea what it was about. Fury interceptors were almost exclusively used by the Sith. "Give it clearance to land. Honor guard in the hangar."

"Yes, sir."

That detail dealt with, Krysiak left the bridge to go and greet their Sith guest himself. Inwardly, he seethed with impatience. His fleet had remained in Wild Space for years. Most of the people who had been their commanders in that period had either died or moved on. No one had seen the Heermanns, for instance - the architects of the IWSC - since the whole mess on Nathema with the Cult of Zildrog. The inaction had stretched the admiral's patience to breaking point. And now he was being made to play glorified chauffeur for a Sith on some backwater along the border?

As he stepped into the hangar bay, Krysiak watched the Fury's ramp descend. A dark armored figure began to descend from it... and as he saw its face, his eyes widened in absolute shock. He had thought this one another casualty of war... given that he had not been seen or heard from for some time, either. The years had certainly not been kind to him; his hair and beard were now an ashen gray, and he moved slowly, carefully. Upon seeing him, the Sith smiled. "I see you have kept things in good shape here, Bardin. Very good." He looked around. "You have chafed at the idleness as I have, languishing in Wild Space because no one gave you a second thought. But that will change. Inform your fleet to rendezvous at Dromund Kaas. We will all be needed for what is to come."

Krysiak was dumbfounded. After a long silence, when he was sure his voice would not break or stutter, he asked, "And... what is coming, Lord Malagant?"

"What else?" Darth Malagant smiled cruelly. "War."

Holocrons and Info Nodes / The Darkening Sky
« on: 06/04/19, 02:52:10 PM »
Nearly a quarter of a century after the end of the First Great War, and more than three hundred after Darth Malak had rained fire from above, Dantooine had become a sort of sanctuary again. He certainly saw it that way, anyway. After forty years or so of rattling around the galaxy, most recently with all the hubbub on Ossus, he was hoping that finally, finally, he was home to stay - and that the war would stay off his front porch.

Not that he didn't keep abreast of developments, of course. He kept in touch with his daughter, who was running the Direwolf out of Odessen and trying to keep out of the rising conflict between the Empire and the Republic. Not that he felt that was possible anymore, and he was sure she knew it, too. The Alliance had been going downhill ever since the Eternal Fleet and the Gravestone had gone up in smoke, and it was only inevitable that the great coalition to fight Zakuul would at last collapse, and everyone would go back to where they came from. Which meant that she'd come home. Maybe.

Lucia had always been a stubborn one, though - which was why (though it pained him to admit it) he was not surprised that of his three daughters, she had been the one who lived when the Empire came at the end of the First Great War.

That homecoming had been bitter, partly due to being blinded by the grenade that had killed his old captain, Vorian Tanis, during the liberation of Reydovan Prime, and not being able to see it until he'd gotten the cybernetics. (Though he mused it was probably for the best, he didn't have to see the actual attack...dealing with the aftermath was bad enough.) He had signed on with the old spacer to avoid this pastoral life he now was hell-bent on preserving. It had also been because he had wanted adventure and excitement, but didn't think he'd get it following in his father's footsteps and joining the Republic military. All those rules and regulations. He knew that rules had to exist, but did they really need so many?

All these years later, he couldn't help but smile as he remembered the old saying about how you could take the boy from the farm, but you could never take the farm from the boy...

Out in front of the house, he heard a noise in the air. Ships flying in low. Damn hotshots, he thought, until he realized he recognized the colors of the ships. Of all the pirate crews that had to come and spoil the peace and quiet, it just had to be the Nova Blades.

"Ah, well," Eidan Zherron said to the universe in general, as he turned to head back into the house to get his gunbelt. "No one said it would be a quiet retirement."

Holocrons and Info Nodes / Visions in the Void
« on: 02/10/19, 08:49:32 AM »
In time, even death itself might be abolished; who knows but it may be given to us after this life to meet again in the old quarters, to play chess and draughts, to get up soon to answer the morning roll call, to fall in at the tap of the drum for drill and dress parade, and again to hastily don our war gear while the monotonous patter of the long roll summons to battle.

Who knows but again the old flags, ragged and torn, snapping in the wind, may face each other and flutter, pursuing and pursued, while the cries of victory fill a summer day? And after the battle, then the slain and wounded will arise, and all will meet together under the two flags, all sound and well, and there will be talking and laughter and cheers, and all will say, "Did it not seem real? Was it not as in the old days?"

- Berry Benson, Confederate veteran, 1880

During the years the Republic spent under the thumb of Zakuul, he had been Commander Ediren Lorath, leader of the Republic Army's Sithbane Squad. He had been a Jedi Knight before, but had stayed to fight when the Order dispersed to the galactic winds, inspired by the rabid anti-Sith rhetoric of Chancellor Leontyne Saresh. That seemed a long time ago now. Circumstances had worked to change his perspective. That year he had spent on AZ-1194 had been an awakening. So had the period he had spent at "New Talaos", the sanctuary built by Master Alieth Taldir in the sands of Tatooine. And so had the battle for Coruscant, marking the end of the Eternal Empire.

Since then, he had not been seen in the "public" settings of the galaxy. No cantinas in Nar Shaddaa, no plazas on Coruscant, nor even on the battlefield of Iokath. He had donned his hooded cloak and concealing mask, travelling the spacelanes aboard his Defender, the Dream Voyager, with only the old astromech T7-J5 to keep him company...and sought to disappear. For the most part, he had succeeded. Few remembered him with any particular fondness, and those who did had their own lives to worry about. That was as it should be, so far as he was concerned. Worlds continued to spin on their axes, the stars continued to burn in the heavens, and life went on.

Yet there was a vision in his mind of late that brought him back to the Core...or at least to the edge of the Core, on the line between the darkness and the light. An ancient place, where toxic desert and snow-capped mountain combined amidst the ruins of the past. A place of importance in Jedi history, he could see, from the architecture, but he was not familiar with its name or location. He had been a warrior, not a librarian. He had not even known there was a colony here, which he discovered was the whole point of it - it had been established by a band of Jedi led by Master Gnost-Dural, the Order's chief archivist, as a sanctuary to hide from the Eternal Fleet - and they had been working around the clock to adapt farming techniques to deal with the radioactive soil.

Only then did he find out that he was in fact standing on the lost world of Ossus, and he began to remember the old tales he had paid half-attention to at the Academy on Tython, about how it had been the jewel of the Jedi Order for generations until Exar Kun had laid it to waste three hundred years ago. At that same moment, he saw figures he vaguely recognized, but only two of them he could put names to. One was Master Hawking Shatari, one of the leaders of the Jedi Custodum (the leader, he discovered later; Iaera Farworlder had gone off on her own voyage of seclusion, some months before). The other was the rogue Twi'lek Sith Lord, Quarasha, the mocking presence he had often seen at the old Dancer's Palace and other such places. And he could immediately see that they were here for a reason that had nothing to do with Gnost-Dural's colony.

It was then that he began to realize he was there for the same reason they were, even if he did not yet know what that reason was.

And that was why he approached them.

Though not for lack of trying, certainly. :D No death, no teeth, no problem! (Seriously. I have no teeth. Makes trying to eat anything more solid than pasta a lot of fun, that's for sure.)


Holocrons and Info Nodes / Blue Lady Blues
« on: 12/16/17, 06:20:27 AM »
She felt more than a twinge of anger and bitterness in her heart as her speeder left the Dancer's Palace to return to Mezenti Spaceport. She knew it would be there, but after close to a decade, she had not expected it to still hurt this much. Oh, she had kept up a brave face in front of the others, including the loud drunk human who had been pounding his chest in her ear most of the night, and that opportunist Quarasha. If there was one thing she had learned after all this time, it was to hide her true feelings to avoid giving anyone an opening to use against her. Even in the more "progressive" Empire since Acina had taken power, a Sith was still a Sith.

But today, the memories came back hard. She remembered the days when she had been known as Kelt'hal'irisai, or Thali for short. She had been a young conscript in the Household Phalanx to House Torv, to which her family had been associated for more than a century and a half. Those days were long past. In a way, her old self had died that day she had arrived on Reydovan Prime, when that Cathar's cold gaze had fallen upon her.

Now, she was called Nemiya, Lord of the Sith.

Not a day went by, these past few years, where she didn't curse Varan for taking her with him from Csilla. She had felt her powers awaken when she was fifteen, and had taken great pains to hide them - from Varan, from his father Aristocra Valsar, and from society as a whole. She had seen what had happened to Veerak, Varan's younger brother. Though Varan had stood by him in the Empire, that didn't matter for much in the Ascendancy - and neither had Varan's war record.

After Varan had killed Valsar, ostensibly for his acts of treason against the Ascendancy in trying to break their alliance with the Empire, House Torv's Phalanx had experienced a schism, where Varan had taken part of the guard with him to serve as his elite force while he commanded the Imperial Reydovan Defense Force, the planet's militia. The remainder rallied under Varan's uncle and semi-namesake, General Verane, who had taken over as Aristocra and exiled Varan from the Ascendancy. Not too long afterward, he had offered clemency for anyone in Varan's guard who wanted to come home.

Thali, as she had been then, had considered it, in spite of the risk. Even at that young age, she had thought serving in the Empire seemed too cutthroat a business. But then she had met her Master...


"You possess gift, just as I did when I was gladiator." Lord Tethik Nadun spoke thickly accented and broken Basic, but the ice in his stare and the lightsaber at his belt made her wary of mocking him for his speech. So did the next four words he spoke, clearly and bluntly: "You feel the Force."

Thali's red eyes had widened in sudden terror. "You must be mistaken. I'm nobody. I'm just a conscript..."

"Nonsense," Tethik replied, waving a dismissive hand. "Force brings you with Varan, brings you to me. It is sign. Just as when Darth Cyanoculus find me on Korriban. Force wills it. Destiny. You are meant to be Sith. You are meant to be apprentice. My apprentice." He smiled, showing fangs. "I train you, as I trained."

Rather than being honored or excited, Thali looked equal parts terrified and sickened. "No, you don't understand. You can't."

"Can't?" The Cathar stared at her like she had grown another head. "You say I can't? Who are you to say?"

"You don't understand! I've kept this from my family, my commanders, even Varan - and he would know better than anyone about my impurity! I can't risk this getting out."

"Impurity?" Tethik looked genuinely confused. "Force is not impurity. Force is gift! Force is power!"

"The Force is an aberration, in the eyes of my people. They tolerate its use in the Empire, but it's rare among my people...and it's not allowed. Anyone who is shown to be able to use it is given a choice - surgery, or exile. Anyone who uses their powers in the Ascendancy is executed for it. Varan's brother, Veerak - they banished him, and he had no choice but to come here. That's why Varan is staying in the Empire now." Actually, word was the new Aristocra had banished Varan for killing his anti-Imperial father, but that was beside the point. "If you send me to Korriban, they'll know, and I'll never be able to go home!" Thali's expression was pleading. "You don't understand...."

"Not understand, no," Tethik agreed, his expression surprisingly sympathetic. "My family is dead. My home, Ord Mantell, barely remember. Before I was Sith, I was slave, gladiator to amuse Hutts. Then I was slave to stupid Imperial. Force freed me, brought me to Korriban. I never had choice in life...but you do." His expression had hardened, and that she wished she could avoid that stare. "Consider choice you have, Thali. Either return to Ascendancy, and be killed; refuse to go to Korriban, and be killed; or train on Korriban, and live, but never go home again." Again, a hint of sympathy. "Hard choice. But one you make."

"You're forcing me to choose under threat of death. How is that still my choice?"

Tethik gave a slight shrug. "It is choice we all make, every day. We choose life, or death. Death at own hands, or get killed in stupid charge - still choice, even if stupid choice. Darth Malagant was Veerak's Master. He say Veerak made choice. He chose to train, to use gift of Force. He also chose treason against Malagant, chose death - but he made choice."

Thali seemed to absorb this, and Tethik smiled again, showing fangs. "You make choice now, too. You have gift. With all you know of what Empire will do, of what Ascendancy will do, what say you? Use gift, or reject? Live...or die?"


She still thought fondly of her Master, even after all this time, even with this doubt she felt. She was about the same age now that Tethik had been when he had fallen on Nikaea...

After her training on Korriban under the direction of the aged Overseer Charva (who had also overseen Tethik's instruction when he was at the Academy), she had joined him in the field hunting for the traitor Darth Verulam and his ally, Jedi Master Merken Netalis, and had cleared out a "temple" - here on Nar Shaddaa, ironically enough - dedicated to Revan and his mad crusade. After Revan had fallen on Yavin 4, Malagant, Tethik, and Varan had led a force to Nikaea to finish off Verulam and his remaining loyalists. Tethik had taken a barrage of assault cannon fire intended for Malagant, and Malagant had responded by slaying the shooter - Republic soldier Melena Linavil - on the spot.

To honor her Master, Nemiya had gone from focusing solely on her bladework to following in the strengths he had encouraged in her - moving and attacking in the shadows, seeking knowledge (she had spent a lot of time in the Academy archives during her time on Korriban, so that came naturally to her), and protecting the Empire from its enemies both within and without. It had been a task she began to relish when Acina had taken power, becoming one of the new regime's shadowy enforcers - maintaining the peace imposed by Arcann, yet still hoping (and secretly helping to prepare) for the day when the Empire could rise up and overthrow the Zakuulan usurpers. She had begun to believe what Tethik had told her, that the Force was not an impurity, not a curse, but a gift.

Throughout the occupation, she had not thought about what had become of the Ascendancy. They had not cared about her, and so she was not entirely sure she had cared about them. But after Copero, the Ascendancy seemed to be back in the news - and the memories seemed to be back in her head. That purist fool in the Palace hadn't helped with that, either...nor had the strange connection of her mind on seeing the silly Life Day decorations, and remarking on the oddity of seeing snow indoors, that the only way you saw snow indoors on Csilla is if the roof caved in. It was days like this that made her doubt the "gift" she had been given.

As she stepped out of the speeder to make her way back to the ship, Nemiya's thoughts again drifted to Varan, cursing him again, and remembering how he had met his end in a Sith power play, a war of wills between Malagant and his twisted "creation", Darth Insomnius. Part of her had wished that she had been able to get her hands around Varan's neck and strangle the life from him for making her feel like a pariah amongst her own people. Yet there was a part of her mind that knew it was not his fault. Varan had merely brought her to the Empire, not knowing she was Force-sensitive...because she had not told him. And even when he had discovered it, just as he had done with Veerak, he had been supportive of it, clearly not of the same line of idiots as his father and uncle had been (and that his cousins, Verane's heirs, were now). It was the ruling elite in the Ascendancy, with their stubborn, narrow mindviews, that was the problem.

Damn them, she seethed. Damn them all.

As she made her way back to her ship, the Imperial troops guarding Mezenti Spaceport took one look at the scowl on her face, and made it a point to keep their distance. Hell hath no fury, as the old saying went - and it was even worse with Sith...

Holocrons and Info Nodes / Sons of the Empire
« on: 10/25/17, 03:06:29 PM »
With all the ongoing conflict on Iokath and Umbara, Darth Malagant was glad to have this place to call home. Well-protected, comfortable, and entirely his. It had been one of the military surveyors who had called this place "the Palace of the Eternal Ocean", and it had stuck with him, too. Now if only someone could come up with a better name than "IC-711"...

Malagant sat in the gardens outside of his private archives, on the upper level of the main residence. He had just concluded his meeting with his chosen agent in order to find out what was going on with the Shadren usurpers, and she had gone to conduct it in her own way - likely with help from her colleagues in Sith Intelligence. While Malagant would have loved nothing more than to get into the fray himself, he had learned from bitter experience that sometimes the obvious solution was not the best solution. So he had told her to act as she saw fit, and to report to him as well as to her superiors. The Sith took their greater authority over Intelligence seriously.

The doors from the archive opened, revealing the commander of the palace's guard force, Colonel Menrim Tekan. "Lord Malagant, a communication from the dreadnought Sanguinar in orbit," the Cathar officer said. "Moff Caudell and the general in command of his support troops have requested a meeting."

Malagant's eyebrow rose. He recognized the Moff's name; he had been an admiral in the Imperial Navy before being named governor of the Nikaean sector, which had rebuilt its economy in the mining industry. It was somewhat ironic that it was another man who commanded one of Malagant's conquests, for he had taken the sector during the Cold War and then burned the inhabited planets of that sector nearly a decade ago when they sided with the Revanites. Odd that the governor of the sector would call on him now... "How about this general? Who is it?"

"He didn't say, my lord. In seemed to me that he went out of his way to be evasive."

Typically not a good sign, he thought. "Well, we'll soon find out why. Tell him he may come down, but not to waste my time."

"Yes, my lord." Tekan bowed and made his way back inside. The shuttle deposited the visitors, and within moments, they were escorted into the garden. Matthias Caudell was an average-sized figure with a neatly-trimmed mustache, with brown hair going gray at the temples, and deeply set dark eyes. He wore an Imperial uniform in black with gray trim, his task force patch on his right sleeve. The other man, who Malagant pegged as the general, was also of relatively average build, and wore a well-worn suit of what looked to be Deathshadow armor, crafted by the Caymarnian Weapons and Armor Manufactory on Reydovan Prime. He also wore the helmet, obscuring his features.

"Thank you for seeing us, Darth Malagant," Caudell said as he and the general bowed. "I understand that this is rather...unorthodox."

"The fact that you made a point of obscuring the identity of your associate even as you stand in front of me, Moff Caudell, makes that something of an understatement."

"A personal decision on his part, my lord. You had other things on your mind, and to a degree, still do. But with a new conflict in the offing, I thought it best that we know who our friends are...and if indeed, they are something more."

That comment piqued Malagant's curiosity, as he looked to the armored man, and then back at Caudell. "Explain."

Caudell looked to his companion. "I think it's time to let our secrets go, General." The armored man nodded once, and then reached up and removed his helmet, showing his battle-scarred face and the cybernetic set into his right eye.

Malagant recoiled, his expression one of utter shock. His eyes were wider than laigrek's eggs as he stared at the other man. Scars and cybernetics aside, he recognized him instantly. His mouth was open for a moment, but unable to say a word. When he could find his tongue, he finally said, "Impossible!"

"No, Masac," the general said, using Malagant's birth name. Only one man living had ever dared, and so far as Malagant had known, that man was dead. "It has pained me to keep you in the dark like this, but Thias was right in the end, as Bassel was before the end. I would have to tell you eventually. And with a new war seemingly imminent, now is the best time."

The look on Malagant's turned from shock to rage as he looked at the Moff. "Is this some kind of a joke? Explain this, Caudell!"

"I would not seek to deceive you, my lord," Caudell replied calmly. "I counseled him against maintaining his silence, but it was his decision to make. The Jedi Katran's lightsaber strike required extensive reconstruction of his cardiovascular and respiratory systems, but Moff Krysiak - General Krysiak, as he was then - arranged it all, and saw to his every need before he left with you for Nikaea. He was brought in a life support chamber from Tatooine to Dromund Kaas for his recovery."

Malagant reeled, unable to believe it. Bassel Krysiak, the brother of the IWSC's fleet commander, had commanded army forces at Malagant's behest during the taking of the Nikaean sector, and had been the first military governor. He had been killed by the Jedi-backed uprising on Nikaea, not long after the incident on Tatooine. An incident that had made Malagant particularly vengeful towards Saxtus Fayhan and the Miraluka orphans he had rescued during the war, including Caradell - the future Darth Insomnius - and Katran, who had struck the killing blow...or at least, what he and the Mos Anek garrison had believed was the killing blow.

He looked back to the general, eyes searching. "If you are who you you remember what happened that night?" His words implied a hidden meaning, one that Caudell did not pick up on.

The general, however, did. His single eye met Malagant's without hesitation. "We were stuck in that rat-trap apartment in Kaas City with the nanny. How she treated us while Father was away for the war...then I remember her screams of abuse turning into screams of agony. The smell of her flesh as you fried her from the inside out with Force lightning. That look in your eye....I still see it now. I remember Father came home, and told the Sith. I remember that old Pureblood who came to investigate, and took you away to the Academy. What Father said when you were being taken away....'Look upon our future, Andav. For a soldier to father an officer, that is a badge of pride...'"

"'But to father a Sith is the highest honor'," Malagant finished. His eyes widened further, wondering if this was some kind of illusion. But then he put a hand on the man's shoulder, and realized... "It is you."

Andav Undjo smiled grimly, crinkling the scars on his face. "It has been a long"

Holocrons and Info Nodes / Politics by Other Means
« on: 07/31/17, 09:55:47 AM »
"We see, therefore, that war is not merely an act of policy but a true political instrument, a continuation of political intercourse carried on with other means. What remains peculiar to war is simply the peculiar nature of its means."
- Carl von Clausewitz (1780-1831)


Imperial Dreadnought Warspite
High Orbit, Iokath

"Insolent bastard! I'll have his head on a plate for this!" Darth Metheius was livid. "Who does he think he is, threatening my servants in this manner? And why hasn't Heermann done something about this? He's supposed to be curbing the fool's excesses, not encouraging them!"

Lord Ammenkayn stood near the door to her old teacher's private quarters, arms folded across her chest. "Heermann has the support of the Ministry of War, Master. The Empress herself gave him the command. And the core of his command's naval forces is the former Reydovan Sector Defense Fleet. He gave it to Heermann himself about a year ago, when Insomnius took control of Reydovan Prime - attempting to undermine her and increase his stock with the Imperial Military. It worked, all things considered."

"If I didn't know any better, Ammenkayn, I would say that was a hint of admiration in your voice." Metheius' blue eyes flashed red for a second. "Don't tell me he softened you up during your visit to his new pleasure palace."

"He mutilated my father's corpse, Master. I have no admiration for that man." It was only a half-truth, and Ammenkayn knew it. She knew Metheius would, too.

Before Metheius could respond to that, a transmission came from the captain. "Apologies for interrupting, Lord Metheius, but there is a ship approaching. Sith transport Shadowlight, out of IC-711."

"Malagant's ship...where is he going?"

"They're on an approach vector for the Ziost Avenger, my lord."

Metheius set his jaw. "Reroute them. Bring them here."

"My lord, that is a Sith vessel assigned to Imperial Wild Space Command. The Avenger is their command ship. We --"

"I answer to the Empress, Captain, not Moff Heermann. Reroute them! Now!"

"Too late, my lord. They've already landed."

Cursing angrily, Metheius looked over at Ammenkayn; her expression was implacable, but something in her eyes told him she was not all that put out about it. "Then open communications. I want to speak with Darth Malagant."

"Yes, my lord."


The Ziost Avenger - Flagship of the Imperial Wild Space Command
Low Orbit, Iokath

One of Heermann's military adjutants was waiting as the Shadowlight's ramp lowered. He bowed. "Welcome aboard, Lord Malagant. Colonel Tekan."

"Good to be here again," Darth Malagant said with a smile. Then he looked around, not seeing someone he had expected. "He is not here?"

"The commander is currently attending to personal business with the Governor of Belkadan, my lord. But I have word from the bridge that we're receiving a message for you. It's Darth Metheius, from aboard the dreadnought Warspite."

"Of course it is. He doesn't like the fact I'm not running around in sackcloth and ashes." He snorted. "I'll take it in the comms room, Lieutenant."

"Yes, my lord. If you'll follow me."

As they followed the adjutant in the corridors of the ship, Colonel Menrim Tekan leaned over and spoke in a low voice. "He must be sniffing around us again, my lord. What do you think she told him?"

"We'll soon find out," Malagant replied. As they entered the comm room, the adjutant patched the transmission from the Warspite, then nodded to the Sith Lord. "Thank you, Lieutenant. You may return to your duties...oh, one last thing." He pulled a small datapad from his coat. "The report from IC-711 from the colonel and I, for the commander when he is unoccupied." The adjutant took the datapad, bowing, and then departed.

The image of Metheius appeared on the holoprojector. "I knew you couldn't keep your hands clean. Building another pleasure palace so soon after we took your old one?"

"My personal finances remained solid even after you plundered the Temple of Introspection. I still had that house on Nar Shaddaa - you know, the one you came grovelling on your knees to me in, fleeing from that eyeless whore who usurped me and tried to give the sector you now rule over to Numair and his army of the dead?" Malagant smiled icily. "I made something of a killing, so to speak. Floating palaces on the Smuggler's Moon are at a premium nowadays...but I don't suppose you're interested in Huttese real estate, Metheius. What do you want?"

"I want to know what you and Heermann think you're up to with this business on IC-711. Installing yourself as a king already?"

"Commander Heermann and I have discussed the possibility of my overseeing this new colony as governor, yes. Not quite a sector, like you've got, but it's a start. Say, how is the weather on Reydovan Prime nowadays? Or has your patriotic duty kept you from overseeing the sector that our Empress granted you?"

Metheius seethed. "We're not here to discuss my conduct, Malagant."

"No? Perhaps we should be. From what I hear, you haven't left your ship since you arrived. How many of Tyth's machines have you waded through? How many Republic soldiers and Jedi have you killed?" He tilted his head slightly. "You don't look like someone who has been down there, dealing with our enemies. You look...rather comfortable, actually. Kind of like how you were on Dromund Kaas, safe and away from the fighting, while I was away on Zakuul for four years, two of them rotting in a swamp. Constantly wary for any threats - Knights, skytroopers, Heralds of Zildrog...even the wildlife."

"Enough! I will not --"

"I will not be spoken to like a slave acolyte," Malagant replied coldly. "I am not one of your pets for you to whip into compliance. I do not answer to you, Metheius, nor will I ever. Your proximity to the Empress has inflated your sense of self-importance. You think because you stayed in the heartland at her side, you're better than me. Tell me, when the uprising came on Reydovan Prime, when did you arrive?" He snorted. "Too late, that's when. She called you...and by the time you got there, it was over." He raised his nose imperiously. "Now, then, if you don't mind, I have real business to attend to here, and I don't have time for your paranoid inquisitions."

Metheius was absolutely livid. "Listen here, you pompous --" Before he could finish the sentence, Malagant had closed the communication.

Tekan looked uneasy. "We could be looking at a repeat of Yavin 4, Lord Malagant. He could try and convince the Empress to shut us down again."

"Then the Empress will see what a fool he truly is, Menrim. And he'll find I'm a lot better prepared this time..."

Media Gallery / Malagant's Manaan Madhouse!
« on: 07/12/17, 12:16:27 PM »
Otherwise referred to as the Palace of the Eternal Ocean on Imperial Colony IC-711. And I remembered I had an Imgur account from way back when, so finally, somewhere other than Photobucket... (So be warned. Lots of pics, and they're all .pngs.)

Holocrons and Info Nodes / A Knight is Sworn to Valor
« on: 06/02/17, 06:57:01 PM »
A Knight is sworn to valor.
His heart knows only virtue.
His blade defends the helpless.
His might upholds the weak.
His word speaks only truth.
His wrath undoes the wicked.


Senate Plaza Spaceport, Coruscant

Tergahn had been right after all. His trip to the Custodum Enclave had been worth the risk, and it had proved most illuminating. While he found some views narrow - the focus of some solely on the defense of the Republic, but primarily the way the old Zabrak talked to the people in the room, himself included, like prepubescent children - he also found them...comfortingly familiar. After all, he had been raised under a code...a code that was perverted by the childish aspirations of insane tyrants. It distressed him that he had once sworn himself to such...evil. In hindsight, he saw that for what it was. His homeworld had been set ablaze because of pride and insanity. Where once it had ruled an Empire, now it was ruled by the Alliance of Odessen, which was now where he resided.

But he had not come to them from the Core Worlds. Until relatively recently, he had been among those who had helped to conquer the Core Worlds. He was a Knight of Zakuul.

He had spent most of his life as one of the golden armored warriors who used the Force to serve the cause of justice. He had been among those who had once marched behind Arcann and Thexan as they raided the holy worlds of the Jedi and the Sith in the name of Valkorion, and marched again across both the Galactic Republic and the Sith Empire at Arcann's command when Valkorion fell. But that was over now; the gold had worn away, showing the true, battered surface beneath. He found that somewhat appropriate. The Eternal Empire had begun in glory, as all dreams do, but then it had descended into insanity and destruction before, finally, it had collapsed, swiftly and totally. In a thousand years, no one would even remember Zakuul except as a footnote in a distant, blood-soaked era.

It felt like so long ago already - even though it had all begun less than a decade ago, when the princes had led their armies into the Core. While Arcann and Thexan had plundered the Jedi ruins of Tython and the Sith tombs of Korriban, his introduction to the rest of the galaxy had begun on a border world of the Sith Empire, one that would play heavily in his realization that the Eternal Empire would not, in fact, last forever...and that those who commanded him had not been truly worthy of his loyalty.


Seven years earlier...

"According to what information we have, there are two major cities that play a part of the false Empire's command structure on this planet: The planetary capital, here, and a city of museums, libraries, and institutes of high learning. Admirable goals, though doomed to failure by the heathen ways of the planet's leadership."

He listened attentively as his captain gave the briefing. He and his fellows were aboard one of the Eternal Fleet battlecruisers of this small task force, sent to worlds along the borders of the Sith Empire to pacify them for the greater incursion that was no doubt to come under Arcann's command - his sole command now, ever since Thexan had fallen to the foul Outlanders. Strangely, however, most of the forces the brothers had commanded in the Core had returned to Zakuul, and there was no explanation as to why.

"I will lead the main force into the capital and seize or eliminate its leadership. This is their Sith governor, a bloated, self-important bulk of a man." The captain showed a holoprojection of the figure in question. While not "bloated" per se, he did seem somewhat rotund, and the smug expression on his face spoke volumes about the arrogance within. He wore heavy armor partly concealed by an embroidered robe, and carried a lightsaber in one hand. The captain disabled the projector, and looked up. "Knight Tavener, as my lieutenant, I am charging you with the seizure of the other city, and whatever records, artifacts, or other items of value you may deem suitable for salvaging. I doubt you will find anything of any real value - we've learned enough from our prior interactions with these 'Sith' to form a clear picture - but I will leave that to your better judgment."

"As you command, my captain," Galen Tavener replied with a solemn nod.

The captain smiled. "Don't think you'll be missing out too much, Galen. If knowledge is as important to these people as having an entire city to contain it implies, you may be in for a fight."

"If I am, so much the better, Hedrath - for you," Tavener returned with a slight grin. "The more I have to deal with will be the less you will need to worry about when you seize the capital."

Hedrath Jadre chuckled. "Ever the pragmatist, Galen. I like how you think." He looked around to them all. "To your drop pods. In Valkorion's name."

"Forever may he reign," the Knights replied in unison.

Colonel Ashmara Danrei was not happy. Not happy at all.

She had been prepared for deployment to Iokath with the rest of the Republic forces, commanding the "New Talaos Irregulars" - the company of disgruntled soldiers whose records had been faked to indicate they had died in battle, while instead joining with the colonel and Jedi Master Alieth Taldir at the Jedi's sanctuary on Tatooine. It had been a form of protest of sorts against the authoritarian regime of Leontyne Saresh, maintained even after she had left office. Danrei and the Irregulars had returned to Coruscant when the Eternal Fleet had gone on a rampage, protecting evacuees against hordes of skytroopers. When she had admitted the ruse to Supreme Commander Malcom, he had granted them full pardons.

The day before her departure, however, Master Taldir had put Captain Eidan Zherron, the ex-privateer who had commanded the Jedi Custodum's flagship Custodian's Watch during the recent battle, in touch with her. He had asked her to join a group of Jedi to confront that chest-thumping blowhard Colonel Exephos with his crimes. They had, and it was not what she had expected. Not in the slightest. After leaving Exephos' stronghold, she had gone to the Custodum Enclave, searching for the captain. She had found him on the enclave's balcony.

"You underhanded son-of-a-bitch sneak," she growled at him. Zherron turned at the sound of her voice, not having heard her come out of the enclave. "Why didn't you tell me this was all a ploy?"

The captain's cybernetic eyes hid whatever expression they might have had, but he still looked mildly confused. "What do you mean?"

"Exephos, you bastard! Why didn't you tell me this was all some kind of conspiracy? And that your Jedi friends here were in on it, for that matter! I didn't even want to be back in uniform, Zherron! My leg has hurt like hell for twenty years and still gives me a bit of a limp, so you can imagine I'm not thrilled with having all this damn weight on it."

"Now just back up for a minute, Colonel," Zherron said, anger in his voice. "What are you talking about? You went with Master Reymark and them to confront Exephos?"

"I did. And I found out that this whole mess is a sham." She explained what Exephos had revealed about the cabal, about his son, and what had become of the meeting in his stronghold. "Reymark kept looking around the room, and it took me until now to figure out what she was looking at. There was a spy camera in that room."

When she had finished, Zherron had the same look of confusion (sans the eyes) that Danrei had seen on the face of Colonel Artheer, the man Exephos had accused of being an Imperial spy. It was then that the Zabrak colonel realized he had no idea what the hell she was talking about. "You didn't know, did you?" She laughed. "You're blind more than physically, it would seem."

Zherron did not reply - he was still dumbfounded by the revelation. It sounded like a bad holonovel, but he knew Danrei was not one for exaggeration. "What is to be done?"

"What is to be done, Captain, is that I am going to Iokath with the Irregulars as planned. I did not get called back into the service by the Supreme Commander to get involved in witch hunts. This is a problem for you and your Jedi pals. So you deal with it." Without another word, she turned on her heel and marched back into the enclave, making her way to the exit.

Zherron just stared after her, still stupefied. He knew Exephos hated Jedi, but murder and torture seemed off the mark, even for him. "It was all for show?" he asked aloud, even though no one was listening to answer.

Holocrons and Info Nodes / 'Tis But A Change of Base
« on: 03/24/17, 07:35:35 PM »
Darth Malagant stood on the bridge connecting the main temple to the outer halls, looking over the dense jungles of Yavin Four with a pensive look. The woods, the waterfalls, the aura of the Force from the ancients' works, here and all around, soothed him. The Heermanns and their troops had departed for Belkadan, off to safeguard the frontier, with Valkorion dead, Zakuul fallen, and the Outlander ascendant on Odessen. Malagant did not envy them the task ahead.

"Lord Malagant." He turned to see his apprentice, Lord Lazhna, standing nearby. "A Fury and five troop transports have just landed outside the temple, and a number of cargo transports are en route. It's a delegation from Dromund Kaas, and they insist on speaking to you."

"Then they can wait. I am enjoying the view, the solitude, the time to think. This is my domain. I will not be interrupted by petty bureaucrats from Kaas City."

How wrong you are, Malagant.

Without warning, Malagant found himself picked up off the ground and hurled into the obelisk in the center of the bridge. Lazhna stood, expression grim, but stoic, as a dozen Dark Honor Guards approached, lined in formation...and behind them, three Sith Lords. A Chiss in a purple and red hooded robe and a Pureblood in heavy armor flanked the human in the center, his face branded with Sith iconography. He wore lightly armored robes of white and dark gray, trimmed with gold, an embroidered cloak running down his back. A gold-chased lightsaber hung at his belt.

"Metheius," Malagant hissed. "You backstabbing son of a --"

SILENCE! Darth Metheius' hand shifted, and Malagant hung suspended in the air, over the sheer precipice below. "You are not very difficult to find, Malagant. A single ship could wipe you out from orbit." His fingers shifted, and Malagant was slammed to the ground. "Is this how you spend your days? Resting on your laurels, playing king in your own palace? Wasting our resources to fuel your ego?" Metheius' blue eyes glared with contempt, and then glanced at the Togruta warrior. Her head was bowed, and she refused to meet his eyes.

Malagant looked up at her, then at Metheius...and then back at her, astonished. "You called him here?"

"Lord Lazhna understands her duty to the Empire. It is a pity that you do not." Metheius knelt next to him, grasping his face to force him to look up. "She has questioned your judgment in recent days. You took two Jedi traitors as your apprentices, made them Darths...and they betrayed the Empire. And then you killed them both to rectify your error. Darth Verulam trained your Master, and then betrayed the Empire. You fled...running and hiding on Jaren, on Zakuul...while true Sith defended the Empire. And then you return and kill an Exarch, and destroy his Fortress." He sneered. "You think a single victory makes you a hero? The way you act, you won the entire war for us. Nevermind the Empress and her fleet on Voss, or the losses we took on Dromund Kaas when the Eternal Fleet went rampant."

Malagant's look turned to Lazhna, hate evident in his burning red gaze; Lazhna could not meet his eyes, either.

Metheius stood and raised his voice. "By order of Her Imperial Majesty Empress Acina, and with the full support of the Ministry of Logistics and the Ministry of War, all artifacts and properties here are to be immediately confiscated and returned to Dromund Kaas. The garrison is hereby recalled, and will report to Vaiken Spacedock for reassignment. As will you." He looked around. "Where is the commander?"

"There, my lord," the Chiss said, pointing. "Colonel Tekan. One of Commander Varan's students. All of his men are light recon." She indicated the Cathar officer standing nearby in his light armor. "Commander, front and center!"

Tekan stepped forward. "My lords."

Metheius' gaze turned to him appraisingly. "Commander Tekan, assemble your men. You will be boarding the shuttles shortly."

"No!" Malagant staggered to his feet. "I will not allow this!" His lightsabers entered his hands as he charged at Metheius in a rage.

Metheius raised a hand and hurled Malagant back into the obelisk with a burst of lightning. "The ministries have given the order, and the Empress has endorsed it. Your self-centered idleness is over." He looked pensive. "As I recall, the newly-minted Moff Heermann is a friend of yours. He's recently relocated to Belkadan, where his wife is the new governor. Perhaps that will be your new home as well. You want to continue to cultivate a good relationship with him? Consider this your chance."

"I will not be humbled like some slave-born acolyte," Malagant spat.

Metheius snorted. "I am not giving you a choice, Malagant. You will either accept...or you will die." He glared at him. "The formal announcement will be transmitted on the HoloNet soon...the Empress has commanded me to clean up the mess you made of the Reydovan Sector. Your misjudgment with that eyeless witch nearly gave the sector over to that corpse-fondler Numair. I will allow General Daltyn the honor of governing the sector capital in my name, and the other planetary governors of the sector as well. Save for Sugilar, which you burned to a cinder in an act of spite. Acts that will be...restrained from now on. That is, unless you would prefer the 'other' option?" Malagant looked as if he wanted to spit curses at him, and yet shook his head. "I thought not. Now then, Darth are to take your ship and return to Vaiken Spacedock. There, you will await further orders from Dromund Kaas."

Malagant's hateful gaze now met his, but he said only, "So it will be."

The Custodian's Watch - Valor-Class Cruiser
Flagship/Mobile Enclave of the Jedi Custodum
Stronghold Adega - Two days after the fall of Reydovan Prime

Eidan Zherron excused himself from the discussion on the crew deck and walked into the archive room, not wanting to let them see how he was feeling. He had felt surprising anguish in his soul since the news had broken, even though he had seen the inevitability of it for nearly thirty years. The Imperial news media had just reported that the attempted rebellion in the Reydovan Sector had been quashed, and that Darth Insomnius, the rebel governor, had been executed. It was for her that he felt this pain, because he remembered her as someone else: Caradell, the former Archivist of this enclave.

Ever since they had found her on the destroyed Miraluka colony, six years prior to the Sacking of Coruscant, Zherron and his old captain, Vorian Tanis, had been wary of her. So had her eventual Jedi teachers, Aken Tyrell and Gadren Zulek. She had been nine years old - a year younger than her elder brother Huldref, who had been the oldest survivor - when they had found her. The Direwolf had landed with Master Tyrell and his old Padawan, then-Jedi Knight Saxtus Fayhan, in the destroyed village where the Miraluka had lived in peace. The brightest flame had been young Katran, who had been a fine Jedi Knight until she was killed on Nikaea following the Revanite war...ironically, by the same one who had killed Caradell, and Huldref, and most of the others.

"There is no emotion, there is peace" was the first line of the Jedi Code. Zherron had worked around Jedi for most of his adult life, and he liked to think he picked up on their Code and their philosophy. Certainly, he had a greater appreciation for what the Force was capable of than most men like him. But he was not a Jedi...a Jedi did not feel anger, despair, and grief, or at least they did not allow those emotions to sway them. He tried not to let them sway him, either, but there were times he could not help it.

He looked around the archive room, seeing the banks of holorecords, the datacrons, the artifacts. She should be here, he thought. She should be in this room, maintaining and cataloguing the records and items in here. She should not have been a Sith Lord...and she should most certainly not be dead. He let out a tired sigh. There are a lot of people who shouldn't be dead these days. His mind went to them all, all people he wished were there, fighting the good fight against Zakuul - Saxtus Fayhan, Kieran Devaneaux, Aken Tyrell, Gadren Zulek, Ketana Linavil and her daughter Melena, Katran, Huldref, Corlam, Caradell...

Elmira, Mina, Arabella... As he thought of the dead, his mind always went to his beloved Mira, and the two of their three daughters that had died with her. He silently thanked the Force - or whatever else was listening - for at least having one of his children. Lucia had been believed dead too, but had shipped off with an old friend of Tanis', Davyd Lorath...and he, too, had died, killed on Makeb while trying to aid the people against the Hutt takeover. Lucia worked on Odessen nowadays with the Alliance, often in the company of the Jedi Master Tergahn Dai'lo. The Republic had declared them both renegades, just as they had the Custodum.

He had told Telline he would see if he could ask Tergahn for Alliance help in getting more supplies. He had not heard back...yet. He wondered if Lucia had found herself caught up in the ongoing mess after the Outlander defeated Arcann on Odessen. Admittedly, despite being a man born to flying ships (even gargantuans like the Watch), Zherron looked forward to the day when the worst things he had to worry about was eating properly, getting enough sleep, and getting to the next destination on time - not whether there were enough parts for the gun turrets, or whether the hyperdrive would give out at the wrong moment, or whether the Eternal Fleet would find them and blow them out of the stars.

Someone out there - Rooks, he believed - had said something about the trade of fresh air for recycled air...he had to admit, after five years on the run, he looked forward to setting foot on terra firma again. Preferably not while freezing his balls off waiting for rescue, like that incident on AZ-1194...

Enough of this, Zherron chastised himself. It can't do for the aging, battle-scarred, yet still handsome captain to be feeling maudlin. He chuckled to himself as he stood up, then winced as his knee cramped, before he went back out to join the others.

Storyboards / Ending the Reign of Nightmares (Closed)
« on: 12/17/16, 04:52:01 PM »
((The first IC post is yours, @LarhrNaor - this is just to set the stage, as it were, heh heh...))

"The invasion of the Eternal Empire was the darkest hour for the Sith since the Great Hyperspace War, more than a millennium ago.

Back then, the Jedi were the enemy, and we were deceived into following a creature that sought to consume us all. The cataclysm on Nathema had been blamed on the Jedi, but I discovered - in my brief period as a mindless zealot of the Tenebrous Gospel - that it was in fact the work of Lord Vitiate, the creature who would call himself our Emperor. I had never thought to see such events repeated in my lifetime...a world consumed by a hungering would-be god, and the Empire for which we fought brought low.

And yet, in a short span, both occurred.

Following the death of the planet Ziost came Vitiate's new form - the Immortal Emperor Valkorion - and his grand 'Eternal Empire' of Zakuul. Within a year, his bloodthirsty scion, Arcann, brought both the Republic and the Empire to the brink of annihilation with disturbing ease. We surrendered, choosing to live to fight another day.

For the next four years, an uneasy peace - much like that which followed the Treaty of Coruscant - reigned over the galaxy, and I spent those years in a sort of exile. It could not last. It took one individual, known as 'the Outlander', to rally like-minded folk to make war against the Eternal Empire, and perhaps even topple it.

Yet there were those, like me, who saw those who answered the Outlander's call as traitors for abandoning their homelands to fight for a 'better cause'. Even with my own doubts as to the future of the Empire, which began with the revelation on Nathema, I could not follow the herds who flocked to Odessen. Thus, I returned to fight against Zakuul - not for the 'Alliance', but for the Empire. A new Empress had taken the throne in my absence, one who could act as a beacon of unity for a fractured society. Though I doubted her at first, she proved worthy to wear the crown.

Yet there were those who chose to fracture the Empire further, believing it to be weak and unstable, ironically making it more so with their selfish desires. One such was Darth Insomnius...a former Jedi archivist, and a nightmare of my own creation. Fortunately, however, I was able to awaken with that nightmare.

But I could not do so without an ally...and the ally I found was not who I expected."

- from the journals of Darth Malagant

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