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Messages - Joshmaul

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Holocrons and Info Nodes / Re: Visions in the Void
« on: 02/12/19, 10:09:03 PM »
"Leaves, some the wind scatters on the ground—So is the race of man." Leaves, also, are thy children; and leaves, too, are they who cry out so if they are worthy of credit, or bestow their praise, or on the contrary curse, or secretly blame and sneer; and leaves, in like manner, are those who shall receive and transmit a man's fame to after-times. For all such things as these "are produced in the season of spring," as the poet says; then the wind casts them down; then the forest produces other leaves in their places. But a brief existence is common to all things, and yet thou avoidest and pursuest all things as if they would be eternal.
- Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

The years had not been kind to Darth Malagant, Lord of the Sith.

In the months since Heermann had disappeared and the Wild Space Command began to lose importance in the grander scheme of things, Malagant had begun to rely more and more on his younger brother, General Andav Undjo, as his link to the Imperial military. Andav and his superior officer, Moff Matthias Caudell, had decided to reveal the truth of Andav's survival to him. Admiral Bardin Krysiak, the commander of the 14th Fleet, had elected to follow Caudell, a fellow naval veteran, after Heermann had vanished, and were no doubt seeking glory elsewhere. Then a message had come to Malagant from another Moff, Arik Daltyn, the military governor of Reydovan Prime. The former general had expressed displeasure at the hands-off administration of Darth Metheius, who had not left Dromund Kaas at any point since assuming control of the sector.

Malagant had elected to take that matter into his own hands, both as a means of expediency - Daltyn would officially take control of the sector, without a Sith holding his hand (he didn't need it, so far as Malagant was concerned) - and as a means of getting back at Metheius for years of humiliation. Accompanied by a pair of HK droids, he had entered Metheius' residence in Kaas City. While the HKs killed all of Metheius' bodyguards, Malagant himself had entered Metheius' sanctuary and impaled the other man with one of his lightsabers, forever removing any chance of his interfering with Malagant's life and work again. As he had watched the sorcerer slowly die at his feet, he had wondred if he had not done Acina a favor by removing him. But Metheius had also been a devoted chronicler of ancient history, just as Malagant himself had been trained to be.

So, as half-insult, half-compliment to his slain rival, he had decided to make Metheius a part of history. He laid out the body in a sarcophagus and left it in the audience chamber of the Temple of Introspection, his old sanctuary on Yavin Four. Then he had sealed off the temple, marking the entrance stone with the dead Sith's name and the markings that had been branded in the Sith tongue on Metheius' face: "Knowledge is the path to power, and ignorance is the true enemy. Power is good, but only in the hands of those who can wield it wisely. The sadist and the powermonger cannot be trusted." As a final twist, Malagant had added: "Let this be a warning to those who do not heed their own advice."

Then he had abandoned the temple and left Yavin behind - with all its ghosts, its leftover Revanite holdouts, and all the money he had spent on that damn place. Perhaps in a thousand years or so, someone would rediscover the temple...

He had decided to search for a new sanctuary, and found it on an uncharted planet not far from Voss, just inside Imperial space. He named the planet "Kelenek'che'sa", meaning "Halls of the Blind" in the ancient tongue, which referred to the magnetic asteroid field that made it difficult to navigate. He had established himself like an old hermit in the wreckage of a downed Republic cruiser. Near the wreck, he had also happened to find an old sky carrier, much like that used by the InterStellar Regulators on Makeb during the Republic's war with the Hutts. Andav had been good enough to loan him a few engineers to restore it. A place to look over my new domain, he mused.

Malagant presently sat alone on the makeshift terrace of his new home, gazing out across the beach where his ship was landed, and contemplating the weight that time and conflict had put upon him. His hair and beard, starting to show gray little by little over the years, were now entirely the color of ashen snow. He tired a lot more easily of late, and his body was plagued by aches and pains that the kolto injection system (put into him after his near-fatal victory over Exarch Jadre on Reydovan Prime some years before) could not alleviate. He began to face the realization for the first time in his life that he was merely mortal, no matter how many times technology, the Force, and sheer willpower had brought him back from the brink. He had begun to wonder in recent days if he would be better off retiring from active service, and instead pass on what he had learned to the new generation of Sith - essentially becoming like the old overseers back on Korriban when he was a boy, who he had mocked for being confined to the Academy while he got to go out and see the galaxy...

Gazing out towards the setting sun, Malagant couldn't help but laugh at the irony.

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.)


The trouble with reviving the community and the health of SWTOR is that the "doctors" - the developers - are the only ones with the real power to do so, and honestly, their efforts leave a lot to be desired. Speaking for myself, just throwing out one new story (which you can finish in less than an hour) every six months so they can focus on strongholds and the Cartel Market is simply not enough reason to keep coming back. The time it's been out is not a factor; World of Warcraft will be 14 in November, I've been playing that almost continuously (except for about an eight month period back in 2013, but that was personal issues rather than issues with gameplay) since 2005, and I have found it to be far more vital and engaging, especially now that we're three weeks out from expansion #6. Age is no indicator of vitality, either high or low. It also helps that Blizzard has a far less toxic business ethic, far less tainted reputation, and far better track record than EA of late, but I digress.

Maybe you're right and I'm being a trifle alarmist, defeatist, or simply lazy and unmotivated. But when the multiverse seems to be passing you by, you don't simply lie down and let it. That's how I feel, at any rate.

Part of me is kind of indignant that those of you who have already gone on to the other server have the unmitigated gall to make this suggestion (to which the retort of "you want us there, how about YOU pay for it?" came to mind), but in all honesty, the rest of me feels that it's gotten to the point where nothing BioWare does will matter. Their veteran developers and management people have been bailing for months, and the company has put their reputation (and possibly future existence) on the line with Anthem.

I'm going to be even more brutal than Bling: This game is dying. No amount of strongholds or side stories or other distractions can change that. The fact that a mass exodus from a failing server - one of a handful that remain, and one that had to be put on life support by merging it with others - is even being thought of, let alone considered, speaks more to the health of the game itself than it does the community. For years, I've used the example of Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning, another MMO from a fairly popular IP that was overseen by EA. The number of servers dwindled, and dwindled, and dwindled, until finally, shutdown. The game now exists solely as a private server, and how EA (or Games Workshop) has not gone after them to shut them down after all this time, I have no idea. Either this, or utter oblivion, is the future that awaits SWTOR.

I have not been here for a long time. I've tried coming back, but the fire has simply gone out. Whether it's here or on Star Forge, there is simply nothing left to bother with.

Events and Occasions / Re: Dancer's Palace Aurevoir
« on: 05/21/18, 08:11:35 PM »
I admit I have not been to Palace in a long time, but it's sad that events have led it to end with a whimper rather than a bang. All this Tea-Drinking Sith Organic (thanks C9) can say is thanks for the memories.

Cantina / Re: Roll Call - How active are you?
« on: 05/12/18, 05:18:18 AM »
I'm pretty much one of those people who logs into this game only periodically - especially when there's an advancement in the story (and brother, what an advancement Nathema ended up being) - but at the same time, I'm one of those guys who marvels at the fact that the game is still here at all. I've expressed this often enough, and if it sounds defeatist, sorry, but...I'm not going to be surprised when it's not. And no matter BioWare's apparent optimism, I think that will be soon.

Cantina / Re: Your RP character's voice
« on: 04/25/18, 03:52:07 PM »
They should sound -- I don't know.  German or Scandinavian, I'd think, with the crisp pronunciation standing in for Cheunh.

That would probably work; Lars Mikkelsen, who voiced Grand Admiral Thrawn in "Rebels", is Danish.

As for me...hmm, digging through my archives (though I admit I don't play as much as I used to - though maybe this new patch might entice me).

Darth Malagant: Bit hard to pin this one down; as Malagant is supposed to physically resemble me, it would stand to reason he'd sound like me as well. Except I'm not British, and can't do accents to save my life. If I had to choose, however - a character based on/named after me was part of a Star Trek RPG, the U.S.S. Excelsior-C, that the guy who played the captain eventually made into an audio series. He made "me" British, a guy by the name of Gareth Bowley. His vocal range is a bit higher than mine, but it works.

Admiral Bardin Krysiak (NPC, commands Malagant's fleet): Kevin Whately (Detective Sergeant/Inspector Robert Lewis in the Inspector Morse and Lewis TV series).

Moff Arik Daltyn (NPC, military governor of Reydovan Prime): Philip Jackson (Chief Inspector Japp in the Poirot TV series).

Captain Eidan Zherron: Louis Ferreira (Colonel Everett Young on Stargate Universe).

Master Alieth Taldir: Salli Saffioti (First Arcanist Thalyssra in World of Warcraft, among other things).

Ediren Lorath: Brian Bloom (Matt Horner in the StarCraft II games...and coincidentally, the male Trooper in SWTOR).

Cantina / Re: Make a (fashion) statement
« on: 01/27/18, 07:13:35 AM »
I believe the gloves are from the Hallowed Gothic set. All the pieces for that (except for the helmet) are sold by the reputation vendor on Oricon. The helmet's from a rare spawn, also on Oricon - though I had thought it was from possible rare finds with the Seeker Droid deal from way back when.

Cantina / Re: Monthly CM Giveaway!
« on: 01/15/18, 09:32:22 AM »
That Sith Recluse lower armor would be lovely. Easiest character to send to would be Nemiya - she's Imperial.

Outside Realm / Re: the last jedi [spoiler city]
« on: 01/07/18, 10:01:23 PM »
I went and saw it just after Christmas, but haven't gotten around to posting on it, so...probably just repeating what others have said, but my take on this whole mix.

Rose. I liked her. :D I recall reading something that called her "the new Jar Jar". I did not get that vibe at all. Jar Jar was a chronic screwup (and remember, kids, he helped make the Empire!), whereas Rose is more of a chronic smartass. And a potential complication for a love shape in the works - because when we started, it was Finn and Rey, then Kylo Ren made it a triangle, and now Rose making it square. Although it could be more triangle-square-pentagon, since some might say it actually started with Finn and Poe...but I digress.

Leia's Force trick. Or, as I sarcastically said to my stepfather, "Carrie Poppins". I think that sums it up. And it's sad because Leia is given a HELL of a lot better treatment - a lot more stable family life, for starters (well, except for the kid who turned Sith, Jacen/Darth Caedus, the proto-Kylo) - in the EU, or the "Legends" canon or whatever the hell they're calling it nowadays. I mean, they actually let her have a lightsaber in the EU, for God's sake. She was a Jedi in her own right - as well as on-and-off Chief of State.

And at the risk of sounding snobbishly nitpicky, what the hell was up with Leia and Holdo in the fancy dresses when they're supposed to be military types? I mean, granted, it's more "paramilitary" than anything else, but jeez. Even the Rebellion had a sense of military decorum - the flowing outfits were saved for the civilian leadership, like Mon Mothma. And...were we supposed to care about Holdo and the way she went out? I mean, granted, it was cool and all,

Luke's fate...I'm a bit torn, I'll confess - again, growing up on the EU, I think I kinda got spoiled by the idea of Luke actually being successful in creating a new Jedi Order, even with the bumps in the road along the way. By contrast, the underlying message of TLJ was basically that "failure is always an option", which - though true - seemed to be shoved down our throats here, particularly with Luke. The fact that first Han and then Luke died as broken shadows of their former selves (Luke especially), basically making one last big splash and then being tossed aside, kind of bothers me; it begs the question of "was it all worth it?"

I suppose that'll be what Episode IX is for...

I have long feared and long expected that, even with the Cartel Market as an attempt to bolster it, SWTOR would go the same way as another EA-run MMO based on someone else's IP - Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning (which is now run as a private server entitled "Return of Reckoning", and is apparently doing better than it was when it was run by EA/Mythic). The exact same deal happened there. Oodles of servers at launch. Then fewer. Then fewer. Then finally one for the western US, one for the eastern US, and one for Europe. Then shutdown.

This fear has been reinforced somewhat by the fact that the player character has been shoehorned into the role of the tyrant of the universe (benevolent or otherwise), with only minor recognition of any kind of their prior stories, usually in the form of "oh hi, haven't seen you in a while" when meeting a former class companion. With such power in their hands, how do they go back to just being another Jedi/Sith/spacer/agent/etc.? With WoW, it's not quite as narrow - granted, in-game, you're looked at as the "big damn hero" (especially if you are the outright leader of your class hall, like paladins), but the entire geopolitical setup of Azeroth has not been completely upended by the player character becoming the "big damn hero".

Outside Realm / Re: A return (sort of) and an overdue apology
« on: 12/21/17, 03:08:14 AM »
Nice to see you, Hawk-man. Now get back into that damn pit. You haven't suffered enough. :P I kid, I kid.

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...

Cantina / Re: Valkorian's True Identity?
« on: 12/12/17, 04:35:52 AM »
From the original KotFE cinematic, I always thought Valkorion looked a lot like Aidan Quinn:

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