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My only real, in-depth experience with cults permeating the ranks of the Empire has been with the Revanites. And indeed, the Revanites are among the finest examples of suchs groups that i may find in modern history, they share traits with many other cultist group across the galaxy. One such other group has made itself known, as if arriving from out of nowhere, and then becoming established as if it has always been around. These "Disciples", as they call themselves, have dedicated their worship to the ancient lord, Marka Ragnos. Their true motives are as of right now an enigma, but there is sufficient proof as to their wish to cleanse the Empire, they openly admit to such, and claim to have support far and wide. Their leader, a cultist by the name of "Dessan Orda", claims to hold power beyound that of most. I was not the first to encounter these cultists though.
Enclave was the first to come into contact with them, he brought relics to Dessan Orda in return for credits, not knowing their purpose, or Ordas. He told me one day that he was suspicious about an employer of his and required information from the Korriban Academy Archives, to find out who this Dessan Orda was. The issue that hindered even me from accessing the archive there was that there had been multiple recent security breaches, and until everything had been secured, there would be added security measures. Only Overseers could access the archives, they could bring an apprentice and at most one additional guest into the archive, but no more. Nah'ti volounteered for the mission, and so we arrived on Korriban under cover. Nah'ti is an agent, she needed no disguise or additional purpose. But me and my brother, we needed to pass for different people entirely, a circumstance he had planned for. I was to play the part of Overseer Skalth, a man that was long dead after a trip to Onderon, and Enclave disguised himself as Skalths apprentice. Our landing was smooth enough, and access was granted without hassle to the Academy landing pad. While within the Academy we had Nah'ti lead the way past most of the guards, aswell as the people that might have known the real Skalth. Upon entering the archive we met a few Overseers that asked what we were doing, they were simple enough to convince that we were who we claimed to be, Skalth had been dead for some time, but even so it would seem as if his "sudden reapparance" was not too unbelievable. We found data on Dessan Orda, but the records were ancient in comparison, they were atleast four hundred years old, it made little sense. But when we connected the dots, we realised that Dessan had managed to prolong his lifespan through unnatural means, and that the relics Enclave inadvertedly handed over to him were surely going to be used for the same purpose.
We departed Korriban, with only slight trouble, and nothing much came of this little stunt. Enclave almost got us in trouble with the inquisitors by mentioning slight details in public, about how he impersonated a Sith, but a simple denial of the event was sufficient. Somehow though, the Cult managed to find out that we had searched for information on Orda, and their retaliation was swift. Orda himself and i met by circumstance in the Cartel Bazaar aboard Vaiken Spacedock. He wished to know what we did on Korriban, what we searched for. He already knew of course, and had proof, he wished only to hear my reaction. He departed shortly after hearing me deny any involvement, and that is when his cult made itself known. An agent aligned with the Disciples tried to spy on me and on Helanya, who arrived after Dessan left, we could see past the shoddy attempt at trying to stay hidden with a cloaking generator. But when i managed to corner the agent, he announced something troubling. They had Enclaves biological father, an old bartender named Kadrinn, and would kill or maim him if i made any sort of attempt against them. So i reluctantly had to let the agent go. The Cultists sent Enclave a holocall to taunt him, showing Kadrinn in binds.
This was the cause of our mutual investigation, and our first order of business was to find out where Kadrinn was kept aswell as try to find more members of the cult. Interestingly enough, when i spoke of the matter back at the estate on Alderaan, one of my barons, Alekad Thul, volounteered. I asked him why, and he revealed to me that his many years serving as a member of Alderaans Order of Extermination was merely a cover, to learn more about the order, and their Killik-hunting methods, aswell as be given almost instant good standing with the houses, on behalf of Imperial Intelligence. This was years ago, and i had no clue he was an intelligence asset in any way until he told me. He had found an intelligence agent wounded in the snow during one of his hunts, and helped the woman back to health. She then requested his assistance in an urgent Intelligence matter, and according to Alekad, the following adventure was enough to pique his interest, and be assigned to Imperial Intelligence. With the disbanding, reformation into Sith Intelligence, and semi-dismantling after the Zakuulan Invasion, he was understandibly not able to do much. This time though, he was going to help with information gathering. While Enclave and i traced where the signal had come from to try and locate Kadrinns whereabouts, Alekad traced some odd characters to the Shooting Star Casino. The cultists were trying to locate Enclave, Nah'ti and myself by trying to go through our friends. Alekad reported that the cultists were denied entry, due to some individuals among its personnel, Andriel especially, having already been threatened bu the cult. The Casino was in lockdown when the stealthed Baron arrived to spy on the frequent arrivals of different disciples attempting to gain entry to find out more about us, each one rejected. His report was somewhat amusing.
On my own and Enclaves end things were slow to start with. We traced the signal to Dromund Kaas, but nothing was found at the spot, it was an old apartment used as a hideout by the cultists. I recieved interesting tidings mere days afterwards though by an old friend. Darth Expletus. He had encountered one of the cultists, Vraad, and fought the robed cyborg man when he attempted to harm Andriels daughter. They had Vraad cornered when Andriel got there, and together the three of them managed to kill him, out of sight from anyone else. During the encounter he had commanded Andriel to smash Vraad communicator, the Disciples used those devices frequently while relaying news to oneanother. Although stomped on once, a last transmission was sent to it, an unclear voice said through the static that Kadrinn was being moved to Tatooine, and shortly thereafter, Expletus said that the device failed. With this lead, Enclave managed to track Disciple activity to a slave camp in the Dune Sea, our arrival was merciless, as we gave the mercenaries doing the Disciples bidding no quarter. The camp seemed to be in the process of being relocated and dismantled. I cut open the improvised metal cages and let the captives free, until we came upon an old man. It was not Kadrinn, but we decided to ask the old captive of his whereabouts. The old man appeared to be a bit out of it, the sun and heat had likely gotten to him. He did tell us that, in the absense of the Overseer of the camp, the now deceased Vraad, that another older fellow had managed to escape. We freed this individual and would head back to the ship, hoping to recieve any word of Kadrinn.
In the Interim, something happened. A monumental breakthrough. An ally within the Bounty Brokers Association, a Hunter codenamed "DragonSmith." He announced to me that he managed to infiltrate the Disciples of Ragnos. There was a caveat to this though, he had not gained their trust just yet. In order for that to happen he was sent by the Disciples to kill me. He was a friend, and was thus not going to comply with that order, but if we wanted to find out where they were all hiding, we had to go through with this. So, i devised a plan with his help. He needed something of me as proof of the kill, my mask. I was not about to give it to him, but i could forge a replica. I replicated Lord Aricevs mask when i made my own, thus, replicating my mask would be no trouble. While i took to beginning the building process by my workbench in the Embassy, Smith called in a bit of help, quite a bit, actually. They outfitted a holodroid that assumed my appearance, and was equipped with a set of my armor. The hunters gunned it down, making sure that it was recorded from both their perspective, and the perspective of the droid, via the hidden armor-cam. We then took said recordings and edited them slightly, uploading them to the holonet afterwards. It went up in flames with how many had seen or heard of the news by then. One of my Barons, Alekad, and Darth Expletus knew the entire time and they were diligent in spreading the news around. I had to let some people know, Enclave of course, but also my sisters, Ameraldia and Lin. Once i delivered the mask over to Smith, the first stage of the plan was finished. Now, i needed to go into deep cover, find Kadrinn, and dismantle the Cults efforts as best i could. For that though, i needed a new identity, a new mask.
Becoming Lord Ferron has been a strange thing. I needed this identity so that i could move around unnoticed in public, i am proficient enough in hiding my aura, but there are many physical things i have no ability to change, only adapt around. I had to adjust how i walked, how i talked, what i said, and how i appeared to be. The mask i wore as Ferron, it was designed in such a way to constrain the throat when it felt too much movement, causing pain. Ferron had to wear the mask at all times, naturally so that i could conceal my identity, but also because he endured a lightsaber wound to the neck when he was in battle during the Zakuulan Invasion. There was no Ferron prior to me forging the identity, but i had some friends work on creating documents, files and recordings to make it seem as if he has been around for atleast three decades. Luckily it was convincing enough, i am fortunate to have as many diverse allies as i have, and people in Underworld circles are always useful. As him, i walked with a slight slouch, intentionally leaning forwards, and i often kept my right arm and hand behind my back at all times. Finally, the mask itself had as many voice-modulation devices as i could fit in to it while still keeping it bearable to wear.
Nah'ti, Lord Ax'zl and Lord Talarian knew of my current circumstances, and i told my old friend Talarian to explain to the Council and the rest of the Dominion that i was indeed well. I delivered a disposable datapad to Lord Ax'zl personally, while being Ferron. Surprisingly enough she could not sense that it was me, it was my first real confirmation that the technique worked. And this gave me an idea. As i awaited for DragonSmith to get the information we needed from the Disciples of Ragnos, i spent time coordinating efforts with Darth Expletus and his various contacts among the Inquisition, to get my branding lifted. He was not at all aware of it until i told him of it, though his superiors had been, and found discrepancies in how the matter was handled. We agreed upon solving the situation, but to do so we needed the evidence supporting my innocence to be spread around amongst Inquisitors of a higher station. He suggested i approach Nah'tis sister, Vidriss, for she was both Sith and Inquisitor, in the sphere of Laws and Justice. I knew of Vidriss, for she has tried to investigate me before, we even dueled oneanother in futile attempts from her side to arrest me. Knowing that she could not go about it that way, she pestered me through verbal means, in places where retaliation would paint me in a bad light.
I approached her as Ferron, and claimed to have information regarding the "Now deceased" Lord Thanadans supposed heretical branding. We spoke of the matter, and she seemed convinced enough, she had the dilemma of needing a lot of information before she could properly conclude her investigation done prior to my "demise". A simple matter to deal with, we already had all the evidence we needed, we only had to make it seem as if we did not. So "Ferron" assisted Inquisitor Vidriss in her investigation. Handed her holorecordings of what actually happened regarding the previous Inquisitors claims, data of my actions in the Empires favor, and naturally, a witness to the events on Alderaan. The diligent Baron Alekad Thul once more becomes involved in matters of a sensitive nature. It turned out that he was keeping a close eye on me even then, unbeknownst to me, and saw everything happen, he vouched for my innocence. I am not sure how i feel about him having basically spied on me, but he has proven himself a friend, and vowed that he was merely making sure that i was not going to be stabbed in the back by those i traveled with during the events on Alderaan that would lead to my unjust labeling as a heretic. The conclusion to this investigation, was that Expletus called a meeting with Vidriss' superiors, aswell as some of his own colleagues, to finalise a post-mortem verdict of wether i was a Heretic and Traitor or not. I was there, saw and heard the entire thing, five Darths gathered, they together declared the brand null and void, and all who questioned it would meet grand resistance by the fullest extent of the law. I was pleased, indeed, for it was a grand deception, but a necessary one. I have Expletus to thank for this plan coming to pass. There is only a minor sub-sect of Inquisitors that seem to even take that brand into account, so it should be no issue in the future, as they will be the only opponents.
Moving away from that subject and on to other matters, i have seen the aftermath of my death while still being alive and it has been, strange. Many reacted strongly to it, some people that did not know me as well most still talked about it publically, where i could hear it all. There were those that ultimately suspected that i had not fallen, i appreciate that sentiment, it shows that they have faith in my abilities and for that i am glad. Several of them even conducted their own investigations, to see if i was indeed still out there somewhere. It was a humbling thing to witness, and to hear about. There were some people that i needed to alert, some that deserved to know. One by one did we meet to speak discreetly. Some even offered themselves, and their forces if applicable, to assist in dealing with the Disciples. Humbling that so many were prepared to aid in that purpose. Andriel pledged to do what she could, and my friend Xorn from Clan Otajayr was eager to lend his blade to this cause. Their combined personnel coupled with my own proved to be a formidable force. The Cult had entered a war it was unable to win.
They did have one advantage though, i could make no moves against them until we found Kadrinn and brought him to safety, so i had my agents scour Tatooine for any trace, whilst i tried to find out more through idle chatter on Vaiken. A bounty hunter named Silas Varn, a Mandalorian under the Disciples payroll, was evidently contracted to retrieve Kadrinn, who had been recaptured after escaping on Tatooine. While my agents kept track of their movements, i used one of my other disguises to approach the hunter. The old armor i claimed from Exarch Prelims armory would suffice nicely for a disguise, because i could not guarantee that the hunter wouldn't report Ferrons, or rather, my own, hostility to the rest of the cult. So, this additional disguise was a necessity. I went to Tatooine, disguised fully as a Zakuulan Exarch, flaunting the treaty to get past imperial forces. Silas was nearby, and i did not hesitate to attack him. Silas had told some of his men to transport the recaptured Kadrinn over to his ship, encased in carbonite. I tried my best to attack Silas out of range of the Imperial patrols around the spaceport, but his men took Kadrinn too far away, and had i followed the Imperials would have surely helped him, so i disengaged and came up with a somewhat different approach, one more aligned with my style of problem solving. I approached Silas as Ferron, and asked him rather bluntly, to retrieve Kadrinn in return for compensation. I knew from past experience, that Silas was loyal only to two things, Credits and the Contract. He fulfilled his end of the deal, and stole Kadrinn right back from the cult, mere hours after having delivered him in the first place, the deception must have stung greatly for the Disciples.
I had no idea if this gamble would work, but appealing to the loyal hunter in Silas proved to be a profitable gamble, and thus, Kadrinn was saved from the hands of the cult. And after a week of mostly remaining in seclusion from that point on, i recieved long awaited word from DragonSmith. Not only had he found out that the cult had holdings on Dromund Kaas, Ilum, Yavin 4, and Tatooine, but he had also recovered a powerful relic of theirs. A scepter, one that could imbue power into those it affected, we stored it away in the Embassy, where it would be safe. All of this, was but the groundwork for a triumphant return. One which was long awaited by many, and a curse to the Disciples to find out. And my return was a glorious one. The holonet was brimming with activity that day.
All would know, that Thanadan Vaner shall never kneel to false prophets, nor will he ever change to fit the will of others.
The first few days of my return were hectic to say the least. It turns out that, keeping ones primary datapad frequency deactivated for two weeks causes quite a few missed calls and messages to pile up. So as soon as i could come out of hiding it was right back to business, which i didn't mind one bit. Loving what one does helps that process along quite considerably. Some notable events, that coincidentally contrasted eachother quite nicely, will be explained in detail within this following entry. Starting with the first thst occurred, one the same day that i came back to the public eye.
After having met and spoken to my good Twilek friend Tira, a somewhat relieved, if not slightly bewildered Darth Trionis, aswell as a friend of a friend that had been asked to keep me safe, Darth Trucidatio. a towering Sith clad in armor reminiscent that of the Mandalorians, we were approached by two others. A pair of Sith, Lord Inquisitor Darth Ulciscor, and Lord Qartho. They had a clear purpose in wanting to meet with me, and that was information on the Disciples. Seeing this as a good way to smooth things over within the Inquisition i of course accepted their respectful request for a private audience, with the added caveat that Trucidatio would be able to come with me. They saw no problem with this, and so we took a shuttle to their flagship. While aboard i detailed tge cukts purpose and movements, aswell as where they could reliably be found. This seemed quite pleasing to Darth Ulciscir, and thus he, aswell as Trucidatio, deemed it worth their time to combat the Disciples wherever they could be found. I gained allies within the Inquisition besides Darth Expletus, truly a strange day.
The second event was however much more familiar. I was approached by Lord Xairo of the Imperial Guard, who wished for me to come along to speak of recent matters. I knew about his contacts, and that he associates closely with heretic hunters. So, after quite a bit of initial reluctance i eventually came along to speak. He promised that no harm would come to me, and as i am here and able to write these words i can safely say that he was by no means a liar. One of the agents within the compound i was brought to, an imperial woman called Nyviel, was chosen by Lord Xairo to question me. Unsurprisingly the threat of a traitor cult was less pressing to them than my old and now defunct branding. The agent was sceptical and wondered if i had somehow created this cult myself and merely set things up to attain me a higher standing in the Empire by dealing with them. A preposterous notion, one that i dismissed quickly. I was doing what they were supposed to do, upholding the Empires sovereignty, nothing more and nothing less. They too would know that the Disciples are a credible and real enemy, if they cared. I was once again asked if i utilised the light side, which i clearly explained to her that i do not. These people never seem convinced though, fortunately for my sanity and their well-being i was let go without any further trouble.
Life as a dead man had its merits, could avoid foolishness like that, but alas, no rest for the wicked.
Miniscule perhaps, in its overall impact upon the galactic scale of events, but major indeed for my reputation, as this might well be my greatest diplomatic achievment yet. I recieved strange reports from contacts, of a nobleman with a strange accent and mannerism, that had come to the Empire looking for counsel. I made myself known to him, and he introduced himself as "Grand Duke Frans Le-Chalivare". A peculiar name, and a rather angry fellow, he almost puts my uncle Atrimos to shame. Emphasis on the word *almost*. His emotions aside though, the purpose of his visit to Imperial space was clear, he requested an audience with an Imperial Diplomat and as such i stepped forwards, in the absence of Diplomatic Service personnel. As i still had access and free reign of the place, i figured i would use Lord Aricevs compound for the sake of negotiations, sitting down on the throne there was a reflective moment, and reminded me both of my past as his apprentice but also of when Father offered me the Embassy after his temporary disappearance.
The Grand Duke came on behalf of the King of the planet of Tarrois, a world unknown to me, and likely to most, due to how secluded it turned out to be after i had looked it up. And his King stated, that he wished to establish relations with the Empire, the Ambassador though had more invasive plans than mere relations and trade deals. It was his intent to turn Tarrois over to the Empire completely, if he had Imperial support in trying to claim the throne, and thus gain major influence over his worlds nobility and politics. A very bold request of him, and as such i saw fit to deny him any such support, though i maintained contact with him all the same. He openly admitted that the King was well liked and trusted by the Nobility aswell as the people, ending his reign would put Tarrois into political turmoil like that of Alderaan. The difference being that it would fall almost entirely upon the Empire to solve the issue. As i wished to avoid another incident like the chaos that was, and still is, the crown war after Queen Silara and her heirs untimely demise i suggested a different approach. My suggestion was that he continues to support the King and that the Empire does the same. The King was dealing with a peasant uprising as it turned out, not unlike the one Alderaan has been dealing with in recent times, and as such i felt it best to not cause further strife for the people and the nobility by putting a usurper on the Tarrois' Throne.
Ambassador Le-Chalivare however was a man of greed and this showed, and was as such not too keen on this idea. We departed on decent enough terms but any semblance of trust in the man was tarnished. If Tarrois was to become an Imperial planet it would not suffer foolish leadership. Some days afterwards the Ambassador got into quite a bit of trouble on Vaiken, insulting Imperial officers and Sith to their faces in public. He did so in such a crude way that arrest was the only appropriate outcome. A friend of mine, Dev'err, was around when that happened and was the one i told to arrest the Ambassador for distruption of order, after i had left though it would seem as if Dev'err saw fit to shoot the man in the back of the head with his blaster. In retrospect, i won't complain about that but i would've rather preferred that didn't happen. Dev'err is an intelligence agent with a military past, and quite a sadistic mindset at times, the antithesis of an Imperial human in many cases and follows orders to the letter from his superiors. Except this one, it seems, though perhaps i should have specified that the Ambassador was not to be harmed unjustly.
Some days after this event, i recieved a missive from an agent containing the stolen notes of another Tarrois’ Duke, the Kings former(now deceased) financial advisor and evidently a known Republic sympathiser. The main part of the message that i cared for was that the Nobility expected fierce retaliation from the Empire due to the Grand Duke Le-Chalivares failings, and that the peasant rebellion was the largest they had seen or encountered for a very long time. From this point onwards a long series of messages between me and the king were sent. And i pledged a small amount of resources to aid in the Tarrois’ Rebellion Crisis. Their archaic and technological inferiority is strange for a completely human world and as such the resources and forces i sent were more than sufficient to tip the scales heavily in the Kings favor. Upon my request, the King sent the bastard son of the Grand Duke, a young man by the name of Valroian Malcaivros, as his peoples Ambassador. It was with young Valroian that i negotiated the final draft which would result in the fealty of Tarrois into the Empires fold. A long negotiation between him and me within the Embassy to bring out the best benefits to the Empire, and to also allow Tarrois to develop into a modern world unhinged by archaic and ancient limitations. And now, with many of my contacts in the Empire aware of the worlds existance and new resources pledged to bring Tarrois up to speed technologically, it is up to King Salan and his people to grow.
So, this is how it would feel to be an Inquisitor, looking for traitors and heretics that attempt to destroy and wound the Empire that is, in order to create an Empire in their own image. Can't say i blame the ones i have met in the past for jumping to conclusions when i was judged wrongly. If people like the Disciples are able to walk around on Korriban unopposed then i can understand a bit of scepticism and doubt in the resolve of the Sith around the Inquisitors in question. But unlike me, the Disciples are actual traitors, and this is an accounting of the most recent incursion against them that i had some days ago. It was an impromptu operation, based on the feedback i recieved from a soldier in the ranks of an old ally to the Shadow Dominion, the Sixth Expeditionary Fleet. The soldier was a kinsman of Alderaan and part of the Nobility, and his name is Besilarius Silvius.
A Lieutenant and good man overall, Besilarius informed me on Vaiken Spacedock that a certain Darth wished to meet with me, and would do so in the Dark Temple. This on its own was suspicious enough, seeing as how only an incursion into the Dark Temple itself would make sense given the context of the request, a simple meeting. Since i had my doubts, i asked that the Lieutenant followed along, along with two other allies of mine to act as added support in case things went south. Lord Ameraldia, my sister, and Vrakkel, a gruff and shrewd Rattataki man, and former security chief of one of the larger branches of the Exchange Crime Syndicate. Together the four of us would travel to the outpost closest to the Dark Temple on Dromund Kaas, to investigate this mysterious summons.
Ameraldia had fashioned a mask to look like my own in the time since she became part of the family, a humbling gesture from her side, didn’t quite expect it but i appreciated it nonetheless. And Vrakkel, interestingly enough, knew of an old Exchange equipment cache hidden amongst a couple of rocks on the path we walked. Evidently planted there during the first entry into the Dark Temple in recent times, which caused all of the maddened or possessed Imperials and slaves to cover the expanse of the Dark Temples vicinity. Some grenades were claimed by Vrakkel, and then our journey continued. We encountered a lone Mandalorian warrior who was already traveling through the temple grounds in search of his quarry but found only our own group. He stuck around for a little while and acted as escort until his sensors picked up something back in the direction whence we came, which he had to investigate. I let him go, though in retrospect his help might have been useful within the temple itself.
For within the temple, we met Vraad, one of Dessan Ordas closest allies within the Disciples of Ragnos, and a man presumed killed by Darth Expletus. It was a trap, as i surmised. And i could clearly feel that Vraad had been greatly empowered since last i met him. Because i have indeed seen and spoken to him before but never been in a position to fight him personally due to the Disciples keeping Kadrinn, Enclaves father, hostage at the time. We attempted to defeat him but to no avail, Besilarius had an idea to plant explosives on some old support beams as an emergency measure just in case and we managed to keep Vraad occupied long enough for the charges to be set. Vraad focused this newfound strenght during the encounter and one after one we were bested, lightsabers clashing against and blasters being fired upon the swift cultist, in an attempt to atleast weaken him. Besilarius was the only one left conscious towards the end, crawled up against a wall due to a lightsaber wound to his leg, and used a remote detonator to explode the charges, bringing a large bit of the roof down to collapse around us. Vraad ran away and left us all for dead when he heard the rumbling after the explosion, a mistake on his part.
Upon recovering and being able to stand up, i figured out what had happened, seeing the large stone blocks around me. I sensed Besilarius nearby and went over to check on him, he was tending to Ameraldias wounds, and i provided a medpack which would help in bringing her vitals back to stability. Vrakkel was completely out, but thankfully not dead or mortally wounded. When Ameraldia could stand, she and i used our lightsabers to cut through the slab of stone that now blocked the exit back to the rest of Dromund Kaas. Once enough damage had been done, we used the Force in tandem to blast through it, and the four of us headed off, Besilarius and myself being the ones to carry Vrakkel as we made our way back to the outpost nearby, for medical attention and to alert the personnel to what had occurred.
I will search for Vraad after this, but will take special measures to extend my power. I shan’t be defeated by him again.
A day or so after this mission to Kaas, i contacted Vraad via datapad through the frequency of an alternative alias of mine, he was tricked into coming to the hangar ring on Vaiken to meet with me, and quite soon after i saw him i used the holochanger device to drop the disguise i used and appear in my signature set of armor, so that he could see that i was quite clearly alive still. Another battle ensued, but i was ready this time, and remember the battle clearly. With lightning we began, one trying to overpower the other but to no use. We both fought using Jar’kai, one lightsaber in each hand, and were evenly matched to begin with. While he slashed high, i ducked under his strikes to retaliate, then a low cut towards my knee, parried as i held the offhand saber in the reverse grip, pushing it to the side to counter with a stab with the mainhand one. A dodge from his side, and then he pushed back, literally. The force attack knocked me into the hangar itself, where his own ship was docked, i rode the blast like a wave and managed to land nimbly enough on my feet to first stabilise myself, and follow up with a leap towards the cultist to re-enter melee range. It was parried, both of his sabers clashing against both of mine, until he disengaged.
When he did he attempted to use the Force to fling a crate towards me, which i suspended in the air at the right moment, as i leaped into the air so that i may land upon it. A ruse on my part, and he played right into it, when he started to pull the crated from under me. I felt the shift, and flipped backwards, and when the crate was lined up with my sight i pushed with the force to send it darting towards Vraad, who had already begun to pull it in his direction. He was hit hard and knocked back far, almost hitting the ramp leading inside the ship but managed to stumble to his feet at the last moment. The coward decided to remotely start the flight-sequence of his ship and stood by the entrance. I knew that killing him then and there would be pointless as Orda would just use whatever ancient sorceries he has learned to bring Vraad back, and if the Disciples lost an important figurehead, even if temporarily, their threat to the Empire might’ve been deemed “minor enough” to put on the backburner. So i challenged him as he stood on the ramp of his ship, as it was ready to fly off, a lightsaber pointed towards him as the blade of the other caressed the floor and seared through. I gave him the chance to finish this, finish me, but he escaped, pride lost.
He will return, but so will i, and one day the Disciples will become dust. I will make it so.
Lord Talarian, it is a name synonymous with a friend, a man i have known since i was but a simple Acolyte in the Dominion, and a good friend i would trust with my life. I will attempt to keep this entry brief as i retell what had transpired yesterday, something that incited much thought within my mind. While in the Dominions headquarters on Ashas Ree, i spoke with one of the Agent of Dominion Intelligence, a Chiss woman calling herself Eon. She had been severely underutilised so far and had only been acquainted with the Commandant so far, which made her feel as if she had little purpose in the Dominion. Underutilised by Intelligence perhaps, but her she would be given a task by me when i recieved a call from Lord 'Talarian', a request for assistance. I told Eon that she could act the part of my support, and so she came along.
We met the Lord within the Headquarters and took a Dominion shuttle together to an isolated jungle world, and landed at the designated coordinates to witness an old temple near to the clearing we landed in. I sensed something awaiting our arrival, a dark presence. He explained to Eon and i within the shuttle that we were there to eliminate a rival of his, a certain Lord Kaban, who had been tracking Talarian and forged some form of alchemical "Creation" as Talarian put it, which would be our second target. We traversed the eerily silent jungle in the approach to the temple, and came upon an old starfighter. It had been left without maintenance for the jungle to claim, and it showed, as it was in a bad state. I told Eon that it might be worth to check the travel logs, but little of use was found when she attempted to slice the worn out navicomputer. But we could conclude that someone had landed here long ago and remained within since.
And sure enough, Kaban was there, waiting for us. He spoke, but i cared not for his words, there was nothing redeeming within him, and he proved this with the dark sorceries he used against us. Blackened mists began to seep from the rock of the bridge he was standing upon, mists that lashed out against us with tendrils, like sharpened knives aimed wherever they would inflict most harm. Battle ensued and continued for a long while, but between Talarian and myself, Kaban was no match. Eon however took the brunt of the damage and was extremely wounded by the end of the encounter, in which Kaban was crushed by the unseen hand of the Force, a death inflicted upon him by myself.
I used the alchemical technique taught to me by Darth Suthre, to conjure a K'lor'slug that would serve to protect Eon, just in case she was attacked in her wounded state, as she made her way back to the shuttle, whereas 'Talarian' and i went inside the temple. I had started to become quite suspicious at this point, and for good reason. 'Talarian' was acting strange, unlike the man i know, said peculiar things that weren't in accordance with his personality. And i would soon notice why. We came across a Kolto tank, keeping a suspended body within, a living one. It was Talarian, the actual Talarian, i knew this as soon as i saw the man. The one that had been with me, an impostor. The impostor wanted me to kill Talarian as he floated in the kolto tank, still adorned in robes. But i wasn't that foolish. I told the impostor that i would speak to the "clone" and determine what was going on. When i did, i began to ask Talarian questions to determine his state of mind, confirm beyound all doubt that he was who i thought he was. And indeed, i was correct. I told them to settle the matter in combat, i knew how Talarian fought. And after seeing Talarian fight and gain the advantage over the impostor, i interjected, and helped him defeat the false one. I will not speak of whom the impostor turned out to be, that is not my story to tell. What matters though is that Lord Talarian, the real one, was saved.
I do wonder though, what did Kaban and the Impostor actually plan to do?
Recently i recieved a curious message, a message that has kept itself on my mind until this very day that i write this entry. It was written by someone referring to themselves as "Kai'lamai". She wrote, that she had been observing my many interactions on Vaiken, aswell as the many individuals i call friends. She found it admirable and amusing to watch, and praised my ability to forge connections so easily. It was a peculiar read, but that was not what interested me most, but rather, what seems to have stemmed from it.
I had a dream that night, of a familiar and rocky landscape. Snow was falling from the sky, and many ships could be seen flying above, heading away from the world. I was on a path, and on the end of that path, i could see a city. As i walked upon it i slowly observed that all color had started to fade in contrast, subtle features such as the appearance of flora would become warped, and the snow covered with patches of ash, the closer i got. When i reached my destination, the city was all but gone, nothing around me but a dead landscape. I looked up to the sky and saw a great rift, it was a sky that i had never seen in person, though always heard of. The sky of Ziost. The dream ended abruptly when i sensed a presence there, a presence beckoning me there, aswell as a loud roar. Upon waking up i would make preparations to head to Ziost within the day, and when i did i could feel the presence again.
As i traced it through the Force, piercing the veil of the enduring Darkness that permeates Ziost, i heard a signal sound from my holocom. It was a distress call from an open channel, upon activation, i heard the voice of a woman. She called for help, as her research team had been attacked by a Monolith. Realising this is what the Force wished me to investigate, i would make my way through the deadlands of this once proud world and former capitol of the Empire, to find the woman, an Echani, hiding behind some rocks to remain out of sight of the Monolith nearby. She introduced herself as Kai'lamai, and when i had approached to lend aid, she was the only one there. It was the two of us, and a Monolith off in the distance, in between us an expanse of dead earth, that seemed much larger than it was. I had never seen Ziost like this in person, one of my better memories of Ziost came from a night in New Adasta, but that is another story entirely.
She drew her blade, and as she did i could sense the Force within her. She did admit to having been trained in the Force informally, but never officially as a member of the Sith order. And it showed when we approached to fight the already wary Monolith. She was more or less trapped where she was seemingly, and the Monolith paced about on the nearby cliff as if searching. Almost as soon as we had begun to move though, it became aware of us, and charged ahead. It was an arduous battle that lasted longer than i would have expected, but we managed to make it out without too major injuries. Nothing a kolto tank wouldn't fix by the end of the day, though we were very lucky. She had been conducting research with the help of some Imperial scientists, it regarded the essence of the "rifts" that have sprung up on Ziost, spewing out dark side energies. Interesting study, and beneficial if anything tangible could be used thanks to it.
I was impressed by what i saw, and decided to eventually assist in inducting Kai into the Dominion, a worthy addition indeed.
While on Ziost with Kai i felt something else stirring, far off in the horizon. I didn't quite understand what it was at the time, and i still don't, but i am a step closer to it nonetheless. I was relayed a message in the days after visiting the dead world, from a certain Lord "Himau" of the Sith Empire. He spoke on behalf of my friend, the newly saved Lord Talarian, and told of grave news. Talarian had supposedly fallen. I was to visit Himau at the designated coordinates that he sent me, to speak further, and provide me with something in accordance with Talarians will. I insisted that i bring someone with me just in case, and to that the Lord agreed. My companion would be Krannig of the Imperial Guard, Son of Darth Expletus, much to the Darths own personal dismay, due to Krannigs half-blood traits.
The two of us made our way through the busy corridors of Vaiken Spacedock to enter the hangar i usually docked my ship, "The Legacy, within. It has been mine for a long time now, though i never did resolve who actually owned the thing before Valtasis, one of my oldest friends among the Mandalorian Clans, stole it and gave it to me. When i entered the coordinates into the navicomputer they led to a place which was familiar to me, though i have not written of this world before, Skillon. Skillon is a mostly barren world, which Lord Talarian has chosen to use as his refuge, within a fortress constructed in his name.
I suppose it is fitting that i met Lord Himau here, within Lord Talarians home away from home. My old friend was originally from Ziost, and i think that this was the moment that i sensed approaching some days ago. While Krannig stood at the ready to protect, i asked Lord Himau, who had met me outside the landing platform to explain what had happened and what connection he had to my old friend. It would seem as if Lord Talarian stayed behind on a mission aboard a ship, whereas the intent was to rescue the Magistrate, Darth Exitus, who had been captured at the time. He bought the rest of the Dominion time to escape, but couldnt be saved himself before the ship in question was destroyed. Lord Himau claimed that no trace of him could be found in the aftermath.
I would have sensed Talarians death, of this i am certain. Though i was sceptical i didn't intend to press the matter with Lord Himau and thus accepted his words as truth until further notice. Himau told me that he acted as an instructor to Talarians apprentices, when Talarian himself was absent. This was fair, and i sensed no deception im his words. He provided me a datapad, and departed afterwards, leaving me to my own devices. The datapad showed a map of Skillon, with a single spot highlighted out in the desert, which i traveled to with Krannig.
Upon our arrival there was nothing but sand and heat in sight, so naturally knelt and investigated what might lay beneath the sands. With the pommel of my lightsaber, i hit the ground in front of me, and a metallic clank was heard upon impact. Right below a sheet of sand a small container was hidden. Within, lay my old friends "inheritance" to me. A scorched lightsaber, old and unusable, a stone shard, once part of a larger piece, and a note. As i read it, Krannig stood watch, but nothing was there. Many questions were left unanswered.
And though the note itself gave some closure, i had a feeling that this was not quite the end.
This entry must be brief for there is much to do, an old ally made himself known to me again upon this day, and this has made all the difference. Lord Aricev himself has returned from another disappearance once more, and this time seems intent on staying. We met on Vaiken, and as soon as i sensed his aura, to later see him personally, i knew that something was wrong. He employed much the same tricks as myself when i need to stay out of sight, a disguise aswell as a voice-modulator in a different mask. Ragged gray robes and a heavy vibroblade, it was clear to me he did not wish to be discovered. I led him along as we spoke to join me on a shuttle that would take us to Dromund Kaas, to his old compound. I have been using it as an outpost and a place to convene with allies less inclined to believe in the Alliances cause, it has worked well for this purpose and would house me and my old master both as we discussed.
Aricev explained to me that his old partner, Darth Exitus, whom we both knew as Lord Vhexra previously, was the cause of his disappearance. She awaited his arrival at an old temple of which only they knew the exact location, and he fully expected her to have him killed. So in order to escape such a fate aswell as trick Darth Exitus into believing he was dead, Aricev sent someone in his stead. Evidently he spent all that he had to his name to remove any sort of connection to himself that remained, that was not favorable, even going so far as to put the decoy under heavy surgery to appear just like Aricev himself. I have no clue of Darth Exitus suspects, but will hope for the best for Aricevs sake. I offered him a place by my side, where he could masquerade as his new alias: Kyrrick, the Mercenary. From that moment on i had a new "Bodyguard", one that would defend me to the death, and one i would give the same courtesy.
I did not expect this turn of events. But if Darth Exitus truly tried to kill Aricev, that changes where my loyalties lie.