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Author Topic: A Corrupted Prize  (Read 659 times)

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Offline Jaydek

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A Corrupted Prize
« on: 02/26/18, 06:56:58 PM »


[001]
Approx. 5 years ago...


The perpetual hum of energy and metal was a much-loved melody in the dead of space. Tas’ra’s starship sat cloaked in orbit around Belsavis and the frost-encrusted planet stared up at the Sith from beyond the viewport, cratered with verdant pockets of life in the volcanic fissures that scarred the surface green from space.

“We’ve arrived, Lord Tas’ra,“ the ensign at the helm delivered the obvious news out of duty.

“Standby for new orders. I must contact Darth Avardice.”

Tas’ra’s boots scarcely made a sound against the sleek metal floor as he strode from the bridge, headed straight for the comms terminal in the cabin beyond. A moment later, the emitter flickered to life and the holo-likeness of well-dressed Sith woman was staring back at him.

“Tas’ra, darling…” the Pureblood looked up from a datapad and smiled demurely. “I trust you’ve made it to the Outer Rim without much trouble?”

The Chiss bowed his head deeply. “Yes, Darth Avardice. We are currently in orbit around Belsavis and ready to depart.”

“Unfortunately there has been a bit of a hitch with our plans,” Avardice frowned. “The Banta report that a Jedi and their padawan were spotted landing not to far from the tomb. Seems like you with have more than Lord Baehl to contend with down there. Are you sure you are up to the task, my apprentice?”

It was hard to tell if her gaze narrowed on him, or if it was a trick of the holo as it glitched across the frequency. Tas’ra’s jaw tightened slightly, but he did not show his annoyance so freely. He simply forced a smile and narrowed his own gaze on the hologram.

“Rest assured, my lord, I will retrieve the corrupted noetikon and ensure it does not fall into any enemy hands. I believe Lord Baehl’s greed will play in our favour.”

“Then why do you seem so troubled?” Avardice slowly smirked as Tas’ra face betrayed his surprise. “I know you, my dear. What is it that has you uneasy?”

The Chiss tugged at the cuff of his glove, straightening out the garment as straightened out his answer. “I feel a strange movement in the Force surrounding this mission. I have not been able to gain understanding of what it means, but it has grown stronger now we are here. Yet, despite my unease, I am certain we will emerge victorious. Lord Baehl will help us with our goals, and I will see you back at House Moros with your prize to present to Keeper of Mysteries.”

The Pureblood studied him a moment, before inclining her head.

“Very well. I look forward to your success.”

The cyan light flickered out of existence and Tas’ra returned to the bridge.

“Hail the spaceport and get us clearance to port. We need to get planet-side as soon as possible.”




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Offline Auryn

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Re: A Corrupted Prize
« Reply #1 on: 02/28/18, 08:55:14 AM »
Disclaimer: The Hazaly mentioned in this post is not the same Hazaly you are already familiar with. They are related, in a way, but... spoilers!







Old world. Towering ceilings. Dust trickles down into her hair.

Rustling robes, anxious heart. She’s in danger. The Force tugs at him through her, his other half.

Call out to her. Mouth doesn’t work. The cube, the burning old cube, sticks to his hand with heat.

Red eyes.

Old world. Pockets of life encased in barren snow. Too cold. Too hot. Too humid. Too dry.

“Feyda!” She reaches out towards him, fear in her eyes. Burning.

Old world. World of tombs. Old world of old tombs.

The dark-cloaked one stands over her body. The universe dies with her - a new one takes its place and the red eyes watch.

New body. Old tomb.




Feyda awoke from the dream as he always did; gasping, tears in his eyes.

He ran a hand through his dark hair, slowly catching his breath, nervously glanced around the darkened room… it didn’t look like he’d woken anyone up. Pippa was snoring. Garne and Tiry were still in their beds from what he could tell, and Jekk wasn’t here. Probably with the ship, or still out on the Promenade. He pressed his eyes closed, flopping back. ‘That dream again’ was too Jedi for his liking, too much a vision more than a dream, and subtly clearer every time.

He hadn’t slept through a night since the last time the team had come back to ‘home base’ on Shaddaa; home base being a repurposed basement laundromat with a ‘party room’ and ‘sleeping room’ bordered with large, cushy beds they’d stolen from some Alderaanian noble after hawking all the . They were a far-cry from the firm, thin mattresses of the temple back on Alderaan, it almost felt like sinking in puffy quicksand. ‘Luxurious’, Garne called them, teasing the half-Mirialan for not knowing how good he had it, and ‘how the kriff are you more comfy on the floor’? Not that it had anything to do with the beds.

Quietly, Feyda slipped from the room into the ‘fresher, trying to keep his focus on what imagery he could drag up before it shifted away into that shadowy moment between sleep and awake. A snowy planet… Alderaan? No, it had been a deeper snow, with glaceral walls. Hoth? No, not enough snow for that, there had been the heat of humidity and draping, twisting jungles encircling old, squat structures like flat-topped pyramids… that made no sense, though. Humid jungles and snowy glaciers? He flung water over his face and frowned up into the mirror. Where are you, Hazaly…?

Movement in the doorway caught his attention at the corner of the mirror. “Still can’t do these beds, huh?”

Feyda forced an easy grin, turning towards the Twi’lek. “Somethin’ like that. Did I wake ya?”

“No,” Tiry smiled sleepily, shaking her head, “you never do when you’re up and about at night. Quiet as a mouse.”

“Well that’s why Jekk keeps me ‘round, innit?” He joked, “that an’ I can fit in them tiny crates the Exchange likes te use fer movin’ their spice.” She wasn’t buying it. He could tell by the tip of her head to the side, brushing one pale-green lekku forward over her shoulder, and the way she gnawed on her bottom lip that she both knew was adorable and drew attention to said lips.

“You had that dream again, didn’t you?” She ventured forward. “You call out in your sleep when y’do. Sounds like a girl’s name.”

“Maybe. Why?” Feyda’s grin softened as she sleepily hugged him, wrapping her arms around his middle and rubbing her face into his chest, “ye jealous?”

“Maybe a lil’ bit.”

“Well, don’ be. It’s not like that.” He hesitated a moment, deep blue eyes shifting to the side and peeling away from her. “Hazaly’s me sister.” He looked over Tiry’s shoulder, making sure they’d roused no one else before going on in a quieter voice, “we were close growin’ up, so… sometimes I can still feel her through the Force.”

“Not close enough to ever mention before now that you had a sister.” Tiry’s brows rose, unimpressed. She watched some of the warmth leave his eyes, replaced with a touch of bitterness. He shifted out of her grip and moved towards the door.

Were close, I said. She became a Jedi. I didn’.”

There it was. That ol’ chip on his shoulder he had never spoken of, other than his very short ‘I flunked out of Jedi School’ story; and even then only Tiry knew he’d even ever been in training. Feyda hated having his attention drawn to it almost as much as he hated the feeling that something terrible was going to happen to his sister, something the Force was trying to warn him about.

What could he do? How could he help her? She was the star pupil, the successful Padawan. He was the reject that no Knight had wanted, who fled the Republic rather than stand for the shame of the Service Corp. Feyda went for the table at the centre of the room and rummaged around quietly as he could, checking if there was still a bottle not empty. What did the bloody Force think he could do for Hazaly, that she couldn’t do for herself? Even before their parents had dropped them onto Alderaan, he’d always needed her more than she did him.

“Salty, much?” Tiry’s words floated as a loud whisper through his mess of emotions, while flopping herself down on the bed ahead of him, hands clasped beneath her chin.

“Jedi don’ ‘ave family,” Feyda muttered, joining her after a moment holding a bottle of whiskey that was perhaps a fifth full, “an’ she’s a very good Jedi. Where do ye think that left our relationship?”

Tiry offered him a side-long look. “Non-existent, but you still dreamed about her.”

Feyda paused with the mouth of the bottle at his lips. Gaze locked on the ceiling. He and his sister were twins, both Force-sensitive. Which meant the ‘special connections’ holodrama trope and sometimes a complete lack of privacy. He hated to think what her dreams of him were like; despondent, lacking in drive or purpose; following his group of rascal friends on their smuggling and hauling trips, living off the next thrill and the next bottle of Corellian Gold. He wondered if she looked down on him, or felt sorry for him, or wondered where he’d run off to… or if she was such a good Jedi that she rarely thought of him at all. He felt his eyes sting a little at that thought and, pushing it quickly away, chugged from the bottle before he spoke again.

“She’s in danger. Or gonna be in danger. I can feel it.”

“Ooooh,” giggling, the girl rolled over onto her back and wriggled her fingers in the air, “I can feel it he says. So mysterious, such Jedi--!” She squealed as Feyda whacked her with his pillow.

“Quit it, I mean it! You don’ get it,” He floundered for a better excuse, caught halfway between frustration and the grin he couldn’t keep at bay as he watched her mischievous eyes sparkle at him from behind the now-claimed pillow.

“So you gonna go save her?” Tiry asked then, wiping that smile clean from his tattooed face.

“Dunno,”

Dunno?? I’m sorry, ‘she’s in danger, we used to be close, you don’t get it’ but dunno?”

He sucked in his bottom lip. “I don’ know where she is. The visioned aren’t… clear, babe. S’weird. I see…”

Feyda closed his eyes, trying to draw up the dregs of images from where they lay, in that dreamy place between sleep and awake. Tried to remember the cold of the glaciers in stark contrast to the warm, humid air and the old, crumbling walls… “It might’ve even been two different planets I saw, or two continents of the same planet. I’d have te look it up on the holo, maybe in the mornin’...”

“I been with Jekk the longest. Almost everywhere, we’ve gone.” She idly traced the black lineart stamped across his right cheek with the tip of her fingernail. “Anywhere worth going at least. Tell me what the place looked like.”

“Well… it’s weird. I saw big ice shelves, real tall-like, with massive grooves carved in ‘em. So you’d think a cold place, right, but then the walls give way te this tropical jungle.” He smoothed a hand over his brow, as though picking up the memory of perspiration beaded across his greenish skin. “So humid it was bloody oppressive. But then it got cooler, underground… not like caves, but,” he drew a box shape in the air, “big passageways. Old too, real old.”

“Like… tombs?” Tiry ventured.

“Maybe,” That caught his attention, “why? You know it?”

“Sounds like Belsavis,” she hummed, sitting up slowly, “Jekk an’ me used to go there with the old crowd, back when he was more into relic hunting and place was still ripe for the pickin’. Now he doesn’t like to, more danger than what’s worth for what little’s left there… Feyda?”

He was already up, heading towards his projector, discarded at their shared workdesk, brushing aside datapads, gamblings chips and pieces of droid and causing enough of a ruckass for Garne to start swearing at him from the beds. Belsavis. Belsavis. The name thrummed in his mind already. It couldn’t be a coincidence that had been Tiry’s first guesstimate. He’d never been to the planet before… a prison world, from the ancient times of the Rakata, repurposed by the Republic and the Empire, often visited by Jedi and Sith for its ancient knowledge…

… the projector flickered to life, and the white-green planet rotated gently before him, and he knew.

Now he really had no excuse not to go find her.
My drawing was not of a hat.
It was of a boa constrictor digesting an elephant.



There are many ways to serve the Empire

Offline Jaydek

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Re: A Corrupted Prize
« Reply #2 on: 03/29/18, 04:10:33 PM »


[003]
Two paths begin to merge.

Soon. Tas’ra had been aware of the presence for weeks, now. Awoken by visions of Belsavis calling out to deliver a prize, his mind had been set to depart for the chaos of the outer rim the very moment he saw the lead pass through the Shadow Banda’s system. Somewhere beneath the tropical chasms of humidity, within the entombed earth beholden to the Rakata, he knew it waited for him.

The commotion of the orbital station was barely noticable above the ominous hum of the Force. Here, the strange ripple seemed… louder. The feeling drew Tas’ra’s attention away from the bustling port staff and general chatter, like a siren song -- taunting him with it’s illusive tug.

“-weren’t prepared for you arrival, my Lord. My deepest apologies. If you could give us a few moments to simply dot our i’s and cross our t’s then-”

The nasal simpering of some Imperial clerk interrupted, and the Chiss returned in kind with the raise of a single hand. Inwardly, Tas’ra felt the swell of amusement, as the young man flinched -- showing a tick in his programming that was telling of the other Sith he’d encountered. But the hand was simply a hand, urging the Imperial to cease his grating apologies.

“Simply make it happen, Private,” his crimson eyes settled on the young man. “I do not need you to waste my time with grovelling.”

The raised hand gestured to the security station beyond. Glad for the dismissal, the intact Private hurried off, leaving the Sith to his thoughts. His crew stood at the ready, long since finished with the gear checks and manifests, but they all knew better than to interrupt his focus.
Another security officer was dealing with another group of interested parties, though the group seemed to be encountering resistance. He held his hand up, shaking his head as dark-haired Human held up a datapad.

“There must be something wrong with your scanner, try again. My pass was fine last month!” the Human man insisted, offering his documentation again.

A group of aliens gathered nearby, as roughly put together as the Human was. Mercenaries, most likely. Tas’ra watched with a narrowed gaze. Looters looking for a payout if they could pick the bones of Belsavis clean, no doubt. A young Trandosian towered behind the Human and on a bench nearby, a Twi’lek woman whispered nervously to a Mirialan.

Fed up, the officer shoved the datapad back at the Human and spat. “I said passage denied! It is not my problem that your papers aren’t in order. Now take your alien mangerie off this station, or I will boot you out the airlock myself!”

Curiously, the Human went back to the group, seemingly reporting to the Mirialan. The Chiss let his boredom dictate his curiosity and focused in on the conversation.

“Don’t worry, Jekka… it’ll be fine!” the Mirialan whispered.

The man sighed, irritably. “Yeah, right. I told you we should have taken our chances on the Republic station…”

“Just get the gear,” the Mirialan brushed him off, pushing past to the checkpoint with a look of determination on his face. “I got this…”

The security officer tightened his grip on his rifle, scowling as the young man approached. “I already told your boss, you are not getting through without proper documentation.”

Tas’ra had almost lost interest when he noticed something unexpected. The Force moved, ever so slightly, around the Mirialan as he leaned in close to the security officer flashing a charming grin and whispering something quietly. With a subtle gesture of his fingers, a small ripple of persuasion washed over the Imperial, who loosened his grip on the rifle in hand and hazily smiled back.

Tas’ra narrowed his eyes on the verdant-skinned man, curiously. Pulling the Mirialan’s attention from the object of his persuasion, the Chiss watched the flirtatious smile drain from the young man’s face with interest. Tas’ra could feel the tangible spike of fear resonating from him as he rushed back to his crew.

The Sith's lips curved into a smirk.

Oh, how curious…
« Last Edit: 03/29/18, 05:54:58 PM by Jaydek »




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Offline Auryn

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Re: A Corrupted Prize
« Reply #3 on: 04/28/18, 10:29:56 AM »

[004]
Two strings cross. One notices.

‘Their eyes met across a crowded room’ had never been so horrid a reality as it was now.

Briefly, the half-Mirialan felt rooted to the spot by the pure-red gaze, and the orbital station dropped away to leave him cold and exposed. His carelessness was forgotten to the pulse of the Force, rising like a tide scooping up sand and shells about his knees, connecting them in its omnipotent embrace.

A small, cool shiver rolled over the back of Feyda’s neck. He hadn’t felt it so strong, so urgent for his attention, not outside the visions that had brought him here. A slow swallow wrung the ropey muscles of his throat. He wanted to tear his eyes away from the stoic, unreadable chiss, his fierce gaze and darkly curiosity, but the tide held him fast… as though it were important he take notice.

“Sir? Is there anything else, sir?” The dreamy voice of the still-enthralled officer floated along the surface and finally crashed into him. Feyda gave a start, blinking furiously, gasping for air. The moment cracked, bringing with it the stark reality - he’d used the Force, and a bored Sith had noticed.

Shit.

“Feyda what’s--”

“I got us through, we gotta move.” He reached down and grabbed two of their equipment bags, slinging one over his shoulder. The blood pounded in his ears, and goosebumps still rushed to the surface of his skin up along the back of his neck. He felt the Sith’s eyes still on him, and the strands of reaction surrounding his gaze.

Amusement. Boredom flourishing to Curiosity. ‘What part do you play?’

He’d been so stupid, so utterly careless to do that sort of thing on an Imperial station. Of course someone was going to kriffing notice. Of course--

Garne’s clawed hand thunked against his shoulder, snapping his cycle of panic on two. It was a rough gesture, but everything the Trandoshan did was rough, even his concern. “Smells like fear,” He croaked in Dosh.

“Yeah well,” Feyda snapped, “you smell too but y’never hear me complain aboot it.”

It was more than that. He paid as little attention to the Force as possible, unless the need for some extra help was great, and contrary to general belief that kind of training was like a muscle as well. The less practised, the harder those feats were to perform. Feyda’s senses had always been sharp, along with the empathetic vibrations he stifled with practised ignorance and at times, copious amounts of alcohol… but something about this feeling was different. Intense. Specifically reaching out to him like a knotted string, tied between he and the Chiss.

He tentatively snuck a look back across the lobby floor. Blue eyes met deep, blood red, and Feyda felt the Force once again take special notice.

He didn’t know what it meant - and he didn’t care.

Please kriffing bantha-turd-on-a-stick let him be too busy to go people-shopping.

“Go now,” Feyda breathed, spinning around and pushing both Jekk and Tiry ahead of him to their loud dismay, the former trying to twist around and find what exactly they were rushing away from and grumbling things to the chorus of ‘I’m the captain you know’. 

“Listen to small green one,” Garne barked much to his relief, snatching up their remaining gear and keeping up the back of the group. He at least had the sense not to look back, scaly head bowed. “Sith watching us.”

‘SITH?’ Jekk mouthed exaggeratedly to Feyda, his face and doinky goatee pulled into almost comical aggro.

“I’ll explain later,” Feyda breathed, “just move.”


~


“So wait,” Jekk’s voice had been steadily rising with every accusatory question he slung forth, “you’re tellin’ me you’re a Jedi, and you’re here to find your sister?”

“M’not a Jedi,” Feyda shot back, bristling from the fifth time having to say it. “I never was, I din’ pass.”

They’d left the Imperial Minimum Security Landing Zone, and not stopped until half-way across the first map on their chit. By then it was dusk, and after a little fuss and some more hesitant-but-necessary Force-thick words Feyda had secured them a square of sleeping space within the towering walls of an empty prison block retrofitted as a Republic outpost. Now that they were planet-side, they didn’t have to worry as much about one faction or the other; as long as they ‘stayed out of trouble’, the trooper said, they could shack up in here for the night.

It was safer this way - Imps probably wouldn’t offer the same protection, but if they did, there was always a risk that Sith would pass through...

“Whatever,” Jekk shot back, not sounding keen or caring for details. His dark hair was scooped about his face awkwardly from the amount of times the frazzled human had run his hands through it. “You still lied to us, then tricked us into coming to butt-kriff nowhere for these Jedi artifact things that are ‘gonna make us rich’ if we don’t get murdered by Sith, Jedi or escaped prisoners, and on top of that you don’t even know they’re still there, because your real quest is saving the princess from the castle. All based on a dream you had.”

It all sounded terrible placed out on the table like that, even if Jekk was real good at spinning words his way. The young half-Mirialan sighed roughly, ruffling a hand vigorously back and forth through his own hair. When he was stressed he found it harder not to absorb the emotions of others, and the quirks that came with them. The motion was almost identical to Jekk’s. “Aroundaboots that.”

“Yeeaah,” Jekk drew the blaster from his holster, “I’m gonna shoot you.”

Everybody reared up, voices raised, and a couple of Republic troops looked their way warningly. “WAIT,” Tiry jumped in between the two of them, hands up and waving both off, “Jekk c’mon! I don’t blame Feyda for never tellin’ us about the Jedi thing, that’s not fair. Y’know how those sticklers are about controlling all the Forceys in the Republic.” She frowned hard at him. “And so yeah he lied, but this is about family. Blood, water, that stuff. So just… how about we all take a breath, put the blasters away and chill the kriff out?”

Jekk rolled his shoulders, in that overtly-manly way he did sometimes as though expecting it to command authority. He glared daggers between the two of them, then looked to Garne. Garne, a statue against the light of their bin-fire, arms crossed, just shrugged.

Jekk sighed roughly, and the blaster went away as he thunked back down on an upturned crate. It wasn’t the first time he’d threatened to shoot Feyda, sure, but it was most definitely the least playful.

“I’m still mad,” he warned, gesturing between the half-Mirialan and Twi’lek, “you two lied - don’t try to hide it Tiry, I know how sweet you are on him an’ your kriffing isn’t as quiet as y’think.”

“Aboot as subtle as when ye fap to it,” Feyda shot back.

“I can still shoot you, beanshoot,”

“Okay, we get it! Both your dicks are very big,” Tiry tossed a lekku over her shoulder with an annoyed flick, and Garne bared his teeth with that throaty sneer sound that they’d all come to learn was a snigger, “So what’s the plan from here?”

Jekk sighed heavily, leaning over his knees. He stared into the fire a while before speaking again. “Are we gonna get anymore trouble from that Sith-type?”

“I dunno,” Feyda admitted, gnawing on his lip, “S’a big planet, and if he was interested in snatchin’ me up he woulda done somethin’ on the station. Made a bit show of it.”

“Unless Sith want thrill of The Hunt,” Garne mused.

A stone sank in Feyda’s stomach. “Yeah… or maybe that I guess.” He felt Tiry brush up against his arm, and the vibrations of concern she emitted like a beacon, the warm desire to comfort him.

“Do you even know where your sis is?” Jekk had gotten his blaster out again, but this time with safety on to nurse it on one knee, and worked at the barrel with an oiled cloth. Feyda knew it was to avoid baring his anger more than he already had, even if he could still feel it. “Which tomb we should be headin’ to?”

“It’s one o’ the ol’ Rakata ones te the north-west still bein’ excavated. I did me research. Jedi go there all the time te recover things from the digs. Once we got close I’ll be able te sense her out.” And she’ll feel me too He thought, a little tentatively. If she hadn’t already. Feyda knew she was on the planet the moment he’d set foot on the soil. She was stronger than him, sure, but he just wasn’t sure if she cared enough to notice.

“She hot?” Jekk almost tried to disguise the question as a clearing of one’s throat.

The half-Mirialan was hardly surprised. “We’re twins, so if ye wanna kriff a female me, go for it.”

“I could be into  that,” Tiry mused, shooting him a side-long grin. Please feel better he felt rolling off from all over her.

“And what if the Jedi don’t like us being there? Or that blue Sith guy turns up again? You can do some Forcey shit to get us outta trouble yeah?”

Some Forcey Shit,” Feyda repeated incredulously.

“Well I dunno how that stuff works!”

“Jekk, it’s like I said, m’not a bloody Jedi. I was just an initiate fer a few years, I dunno the big stuff.” He sighed, staring off out of the south entrance to the compound and into the dark. Prisons were lit dimly by grounds lighting like ghosts pocketed in the distance. “The rest you know.”

“Can handle Jedi and Sith,” Garne punched his palm, and tossed his head towards their bedrolls, “Rest now. Victory for Scorekeeper needs good rest.”

A little while later the floodlights out over the grounds around the outpost brightened, the ones facing inwards dimming at the shift changeover. Event after Tiry crawled into Feyda’s sleeping bag with him and laid her head against his beating heart, he couldn’t relax, or sleep. Her apprehension bled into his own, and he couldn’t bring himself to remove her, not when she was just trying to help.

He stared at the starts for a time - though the lights from the facility his a fair few of them. As tiredness slowly crept up on him his defenses slid away, his senses overridden with the grumbling of a soldier; a security officer worried for someone out there in the dark; the primal caution and bloodthirst of a predator’s mind as it scampered up along the yawning branch of an upturned tree.

Feyda shut his eyes and breathed deeply. The familiar, warm glow of the ties that bound him to his twin, out there somewhere. The dark energy crackling at the brim of his senses of the chiss Sith, as he slunk through the night. They silently took notice of each other in the dark, in the Force. Feyda shivered.
My drawing was not of a hat.
It was of a boa constrictor digesting an elephant.



There are many ways to serve the Empire