All the things I wish I could forget.

Within the ruined cathedrals of a wasted mind resides the falling star.

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All the things I wish I could forget.

Post by Fourth » Thu Nov 13, 2014 1:27 am

They were gone, so many of them. Dead and gone.

Ap'sala’s world was one kept at bay by the thin walls of a plexiglass view port. Upon the bridge of a frigate belonging to the Republic’s fleet, Melanie felt chained in place, half alive and woefully confused. Before her, a world was dying. A single lance from on high had shattered her world, set alight ten thousand fires and unleashed the pent up fury of an already unstable planet. In some ways, she was so much like her home world. Volatile, dangerous, tightly controlled and ever ready to explode into a million jagged bits. The last words of her dying lord, the one called Mandalore the Unwilling, had been to report, to beg and to plead for the promised assistance. As her world’s dying breath become marred by the sea of streaking lights that signaled the vessel’s entrance into hyperspace, she slowly turned towards the men and women situated behind her, officers all of them.

Backlit by the eery, desolate glow of space, artificial light shone upon the battle scarred and dented armor she wore with such disdainful pride. Gunmetal and dark blue, it missed only the helmet she never wore. Tied behind her head, strands of ebon hued hair, some lost raiment of a fallen angel, spread along the angled, elegant plates of metal that marked her station. Though these men and women, like most creatures in this time, knew so little about the Mandalorian culture, it was impossible to assume that Ap'sala was anything but some strange, alien manner of royalty, elite. It was seen in her carriage, the proud, almost haughty lift of her shoulders and in the way that she kept her chin high, her words short and her tone clipped, even if the words were couched in her mysterious, smooth accent. It sounded, to them, like rain water falling from ruptured cliffs, each word rushing into the next until it spilled into a pool filled with hidden, razor sharp spires of obsidian rock. But more than that, it was in the flat, endless expanse of her eyes, young eyes that seemed old enough to have walked with the founders of empires and the first Jedi. For the moment, they scanned back and forth, curious and searching for answers.
For long moments, not a word was said. Ap'sala kept her silence only because she needed time, seconds to collect her fury and bottle it beneath the iron will of her composure. The others, however, remained silent due to the sense of awe, though it was a dread, fell feeling, that flooded the room as she filled it with her presence. Rarely exposed to these mythical beings, the pure blooded Mando’a, they were unsure, all of them nervous. How, they wondered, could such a beauty, tragically flawless, be the culprit of such legendary martial feats? How could slim shoulders and graceful feet hold the weight of a five thousand year war? How could hands so small, fingers so delicate, herald so much doom? And, above all, how could such lips, lips set in a luxurious, if annoyed, expression, sing so many songs of valor, victory and glory? Silently, they wondered while one man, more brave than the rest, spoke.

“Ap'sala, we move to Coruscant as quickly as possible. I believe that was the wish of your Mand….Mandalor….commander?” Unfamiliar with the strange words, the Admiral bowed slightly as he butchered the word.
“Apparently so, Admiral.” Melanie’s voice, already strained with the events of these past few days, the pressures of a losing war and the grim knowledge that, at long last, her people’s stalwart legions had been defeated, her fortress home breached and her culture essentially eradicated, were clipped and frigid, terse and bordering on murderous.
“Ah, yes. You will find suitable boarding on the lower decks, I imagine. If you have any questions….” The man, the poor man who was so used to absolute command, faltered as he gestured towards a lift door behind them all. In the back of his mind, if what he had heard was true, he knew this could only end poorly.

For her part, Ap'sala summed the man up quickly. It was in his eyes, laconic things that held no remorse, that she found most of her ire to be targeted. They were the cold, calculating eyes of a man who knew loss only from behind the wide, safe screen of his battleship. They were the eyes of a man confident that he would never face gunfire, though he would order thousands to do so without a second thought. “One question, Admiral, a single question. Where is the rest of the fleet?”

It was the question he’d been ordered to answer, and while it had seemed easy enough in his own brig, it felt horrible right now. Always so aloof, he’d never understood the fact that Mandalorians, though so much more than human, are not emotionless killers. He, in the moments he’d spent face to face with the living embodiment of a nearly forgotten culture, had quickly realized how wrong his entire people had been. He could see it in the slump of her shoulders, the way a sigh broke her lips open when she murmured the question in her lilting, melodic tones. It was visible in the hope that lived within the starfall’s of her eyes, the slight perk in her posture as she looked to him for some answer.

“They are…well, Ap'sala, they are responding to another threat. We could not spare the resources, you see. A ahhh…a tactical choice, surely you understand, commander that you have been, yes?” The men and women around Admiral Eckto tensed, though there was no hope that they could stop the following action. Like the wind, screaming from above, Melanie shifted her feet and crossed the wide floor in a single bound. Her fist, a small thing covered in her people’s masterful metal, slammed into the poor man’s jaw, sending his continued words into a garbled fit of whimpers, spit teeth and pooling blood.

“You gave us your word!” As she knelt across the man’s prone body, the Admiral’s bodyguard stared in mute wonder, though a healthy dose of helplessness aided their pause. “As we gave you ours! In trade for the destruction of the Sith fleet, we sacrifice our planet, yeah?” Her words were tinged with desperation, a panic bordering on blind, manic disbelief. She had, in her heart of hearts, hoped for more. She’d needed more when her people gambled. “Five thousand years ago, renewed once every ten years, Admiral! When the moment was right, we would draw the Empire into war and you, you and your famed Jedi, would finish the fight! This was that moment, and….” As the awful realization hit her with the force of a million blaster bolts, she stood and returned to the window, hoping to catch one more glimpse, one more flare of light that would be, she knew, the last she’d ever see of her home. As one hand rested against the glass to support her sagging weight, she heaved a great sob, the sound ripping from her throat as it passed the gates of her teeth. Barely audible, the emotion was written in her bent, defeated posture. The men, Admiral Eckto included, waited with baited breath. This, they knew, was a moment in their lives that they could never forget. Such sadness, such grief contained. The silence was pregnant, heavy and poignant with a traitor’s stench and a zealot’s blind hope.

“I hope the shame kills you, Admiral, for it will not kill me. I, on the day prior, died with my people, my child, my love and my world. Do you know, Admiral, that they all died for the word we gave you while you, you and your Republic, did nothing? Do not weep for my people, Admiral, weep for the shame you will carry with you for the rest of your lives.” Upon turning, she’d found time to steel her nerve, to hide the misery, agony and overwhelming heartbreak that had stunned her into such meditative, calm words.

It was there, in that moment, that the assembled men and women felt and realized two things, just two. The first realization was that they would, somehow, win this war. All of them would, though it would be won on the backs of those few that remained, the armored assassins that’d survived and slipped through the blockade of Imperial ships.

The second, however, was not filled with hope. Rather, it was a realization that inspired dread, feelings of cowardice, feelings of shame and abject failure. It was the sight of her, one who had been forced to watch her world die, one who had sent her only son into a pointless battle, one made pointless by their own failures, the sight of a woman, a mother, who had given all of this, a nation who had sacrificed everything. It was this sight, it was this that brought the moment full circle. While she stood tall, proud and honored, bold and inspired, they had all failed. They had failed the Mandalorian people, lied to them and lead them into a trap, used and forgotten them, gone back on a sacred oath signed in the blood of thousands.

More importantly, they had failed her. All of them had, and deep inside, they knew this to be the truth. They knew her words to be the truth.
Last edited by Fourth on Sun Dec 07, 2014 12:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Fourth » Wed Nov 19, 2014 10:06 pm

Three men sat, each clad in the dark, muted brown robes that could have, on first glance, labeled them as monastic men. In some ways, this wouldn’t have been far from the truth, for the Jedi hold a near mystical station within the dying universe’s heart, dying thing that it was.

Two men sat, each wearing the smug smiles of benign ignorance. A third, however, sat across the circular table set before windows that opened to Coruscant’s opulence. Built to stare down from on high, the circular room atop a tall tower perched, symbolic of the Council’s aloof nature, so much so that many accused them of being above the law. That, once more, would not have been far from the truth. Too close for comfort, some might say.

This third man, the oldest, was slumped in his chair, his knees drawn close and one elbow propped atop on. Within calloused fingers, he held the angle of his chin as if he were in some deep, introspective moment of thought. Troubled thought, judging by the tense lines of his forehead and the baffled expression in dark, worry aged eyes.

The other two, by contrast, were younger men, men more self assured and filled with the smug sense of rightness that comes from knowing no wrong. Not yet, at least. Could they have seen what Master Bet Tho saw, they might have worn the same careworn, haggard set of stares. Not yet, though. Not quite yet.

“She is coming, yes?” The youngest of the three, a man most likely born on this fabled terracity, turned his placid, arrogant eyes towards the aged Jedi Master as he spoke the laconic, bored words. Named Jeska, he was a young member of the council, barely tested and hardly tried. All the riper, Bet Tho thought, for the manipulation of whatever unseen, by most, hand pulled the strings of this world’s heart and so many others.

Before the wisest of them all could speak, he was cut off by the dark skinned man, the third’s, booming, resonating voice. “Yes, Jeska, she comes. Tell me once more why she must come here?”

This time, Bet Tho cleared his throat in a harsh, demanding manner. As the senior most member present, speech was his age old right and the Jedi were nothing if not rooted in archaic tradition. “Impatient words, Miskal, impatient words she will prove quite wrong, esteemed council members. Sit back, for one moment, and listen to an old man speak words that have been ignored for far, far too long.” Aged beyond belief and venerated to his careful chronicling of the council’s history, he leaned back into the austere chair and settled his gaze out across the bustling city, a city that had yet to taste the fires of war. A poignant seeming gaze, pregnant with meaning, would the others have taken the time to notice such a minute detail.

“As the librarian here I am privy to some old, and by old I mean atavistic, holocrons. I have, within the past few years, been researching a very specific set of information that, much my my chagrine and shame, seems to have been pushed aside and intentionally covered.” Upon hearing such words, doubt cast upon the famed order’s integrity, both younger men moved to speak. Wrinkled and tired, Bet Tho’s hand rose and held the rash words off for the moment.

“As we know, Mandalore has fallen prey to the-….” This time, however, Jeska spoke quickly. Too quickly, almost as if he knew before the words were spoken.

“We do not know what the world fell to, nor should we openly care. They are a tribe of barbarians, savages who know nothing but war, detest peace and refuse to enter the Republic. As far as the destruction of Mandalore goes, they most likely started the war and should be blamed for it. Once more, why must this Ap'sala, strange name that is is, come to speak with the Senate and the Council?” Though he seemed angry, the words sounded almost annoyed by what would surely be a disruption of the routine his people favored.

Again, Bet Tho held his hand up for silence. “She comes to tell us who destroyed her home, this much is truth. However, we already know the perpetrators of such a crime, should we but listen to our own holocrons. Too often, I think, we forget crimes of the past in favor of today’s glory. As he spoke, his words grew, conviction spread like wildfire on some parched grassland, a world built on the empty promises of rainfall, left to wither and die as it stood its ground. Old eyes lit anew with the fervor of truth. It seemed, for a moment, as if the aging historian was on some cathartic crusade. “The Sith, and I speak not of the twos, nor the threes that we have grown used to, invaded her homeworld, proud, poor Mandalore. I speak of a hidden Empire, a shadowy world layered in secrets and kept in thrall by a draconic government. Too long have we ignored the warning signs, and for that, we lose the one people who were willing to stand up to the terrors of the night. A pity that we could not, no that we would not, do the same for them….”

Decrepit and weak, the aged speaker’s voice dwindled as he cast misty eyes against the ceremonial windows that had kept the world, reality, at bay for so long. As if a sign from a wayward god, the clouds opened and heaven began shedding tears for the truth that so many had ignored. As water poured down the darkening window, he wheezed a rattling sigh and shrugged softly. The other two, stunned into an angry silence, stared with baffled, astonished eyes.

Miskal, the more mature of the two pawns, was first to speak. “Carry on….” Intrigued by this tale, he lent the poor soul his full attention.
Should either have them been in a position to notice Jeska’s cold, calculating smile, they would both surely have been given cause to wonder as to the nature of the man’s devious, knowing look.

“Thousands of years past, gentlemen, the council of those days was aware of the splintering the Force had undergone. How could they not be? To avoid a pointless recounting of a history I am sure we will all be forced to understand with all too much clarity in the near future, I will skip to what matters most. Knowing that the split they had caused would have dire consequences, the Council employed a small, warlike group of people who inhabited a world near the edges of known space to watch the dark areas most likely to draw the rogue faction’s interest. We know this rogue faction as the Sith today, and we know this elite force as Mando’a. Do you see what this means?”

Miskal, at least, seemed to understand the glimpes of truth Bet Tho had let fall. Jeska, on the other hand, shook his head and rolled his eyes. Had the light been different of the mood less somber, they might have noticed the wry, cynical humor that fluttered across his granite features.

After a long pause, the aged archivist spoke again. “In trade for Mandalorian vigilance and, if needed, bloodshed, the council promised, upon formation of a Republic Fleet, to defend the Mando’a homeland should there ever be forward action taken by what they assumed would be an organized grouping of the Sith. I can only imagine that this particular council thought that the action would be taken quickly. I think none understood the patience that the Sith, as we call them today, seemed to show.”

Yet again, silence loomed like an assassin’s shadow. It filled the normally well lit room with a sense of melancholy that had pervaded the very ship that contained Ap'sala the moment she’d spoken the same words, or words of the same thread. Two of these men knew, without the shadow of a doubt, that terrible repercussions were at hand. One other, however, seemed not to care. Though the truth was becoming obvious, Miskal beckoned for Bet Tho to continue. Such an absurd story, plausible as it was, must be heard to be understood.

“Apparently Ap'sala knew of this treaty, this agreement, and understood it to be binding still. The very moment she was taken from her dying world, she demanded to know where the fleet, the savior of her people and the token of Jedi integrity, was. I imagine she is quite curious.” After speaking, Bet Tho shook his head and offered a shrug that summed his mood nicely. Without a clue as to what they, the council, should or even could do, he left the idea hanging in the dense air.

It was the youth, Jeska, who spoke first. Perhaps he spoke with ulterior motives, for the reach of the Sith, ever invasive and ever enthralling, had grown. Like some sentient plant, the tendrils of such a living beast reached across time and space, underestimated by those who should have known so much better. Woe to the ignorant, the sheep who ignores the wolf’s howling, hoping against hope that the winds have carried a distant noise close rather than face the impending threat.

“She will demand these things and, once again, we will make use of her. She will want revenge, therefore we can likely turn her upon these invaders, invaders who I still don’t think of as any organized group of Force users. Should they be, would we not have felt them long ago?” He scoffed, thinking his lies and intentional misinformation was solid enough to sway the others present.

Bet Tho’s laughter was a soft thing, the crawl of a slow wind across scarred canyons, rock walls weathered by age and polished to a dull sheen. “Do you think yourself the most powerful Force user alive?”
“Surely not, no.” The young man’s words were haughty, almost as if he spoke simply to placate his elder.

“And yet you can not sense her, can you?” He was, for a moment, back in his role of patient instructor.

“She is not a Force user, so of course I can not.” His answer was quick, assured. Unaware of the Sith’s double crossing, he had become caught up in his own web of lies, unable to guess at the depth of his handler’s duplicity.

At this, Bet Tho’s wizened face crinkled into an amused, benign smile. “Arrogance is ugly thing, young Jedi Master. Ap'sala is a Revanite, direct heir to Revan’s untapped power. Do you think the council so unwise, though I often wonder at the wisdom they failed to show, as to leave the fate of the galaxy in the hands of common soldiers? We have been lied to, my peers, lied to about the presence of a Sith Empire and about the nature of these people, the Mando’a, more specifically the ones pure of blood, creatures they call Sa’ha. Everything we think we know, sadly, is a lie. This much I can assure you of.” Resigned, the words were. Calmly given, they seeped across the room’s empty spaces and echoed with the sound of a haunting dirge.

“We are not prepared.” The words smacked of finality, they were rife with his acceptance.

“For what, Master?” Again, Miskal asked the obvious question, entirely unable to fathom the only truth they were left with. “The Empire, the war we have ignored or this Ap'sala, this Revanite, legend from the past? Which are we most ill prepared for? I hazard a guess, I assume we speak of this ghost’s rising, a specter with the ability to topple the entire Republic. Should this go public, we are all…..we will all, the Jedi Order, be seen as traitors. What can be done?”

Though this was not the time, or so it seemed, for laughter, Bet Tho allowed more of the rattling sound to pass the grate of his teeth. “What else can be done? We beg her, Miskal, we rely on her once more. We do all that we can do, which is what the council of bygone days did. We plead at the feet of a people we must villify, we place our lives in her hands and we trust in the true balance of the Force.”

No sooner had his words fell upon doubting ears did a uniformed man appear in the fuzzy lines of a projected image. His words could not have come at a worse time.

“The Mandalorian, Ap'sala, has just entered Coruscant’s sector. I assume she will arrive presently. Prepare yourselves, for she is in a most foul mood.”

“And so it begins….” Miskal, this time, managed to catch Jeska’s eyes, eyes filled with malice and spite. From these eyes, stalwart though he was, the man who felt caught in the middle recoiled, too shocked and astounded by the events of this day to even begin pondering on the source of such a hateful, dangerous look.

"She is a criminal, should half the words be true. And if she is not, the people believe that she is, and so in the courts, she will be." Satisfied with this logic, Jeska turned his stare back towards Bet Tho. "She will be arrested, naturally, and justice will be served. She is a vigilante, vagabond and outside of the law."

Before, Bet Tho's laughter bad been that of an old man, tired and mournful. This newest rendition seemed honestly amused by the young man's transparent attempts. "They, her people, are outside of the law because we, the law, betrayed them all."
Last edited by Fourth on Sun Dec 07, 2014 12:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Fourth » Fri Nov 21, 2014 10:45 pm

To Ap'sala’s mind, war was not filled with glory, nor was there room for decorations and ribbons, awards or praise. It was simply her profession, her calling in life. Stripped of the pointless frivolty some people laid at such a tarnished altar, it had become less mythical. To her, it was mundane, a day to day activity. The depth of such a realization was the heart of a collective society’s trauma, a group of people’s failure to progress. When killing is as normal as shaving, a collection of monsters has been bred.

She wore no ceremonial uniform, no long dress and surely no pretty jewelry. Her people, a loose confederation at best, had no battle dress outside of a single, grim totem. As she entered the well lit room where three men, two nervous and one smug sat waiting, the twin tusked skull, an image branded into the chest plate of flat grey armor, stared as if it were some unblinking, all knowing eye. Her hair, the halo of some fallen angel, was a crown far too heavy for any mortal to wear. Though the armor was not the cause, her steps dragged, her body seemed exhausted. Silence greeted her, the silence of men, three of them, who were stricken with a sense of awe, awe and dread. Before them stood, to eyes gifted with no second sight, a woman in her late teens, strikingly beautiful. Not even the harsh façade of battle scarred, smoke stained armor and blood encrusted gloves could take from such an obvious impression. The aforementioned did little to hide the elegant curves, but true glory was more readily seen in the tilt of her chin, still proud. Honor lived within eyes that burned with a zealot’s fury, devotion to a cause. This was, however, no misguided paladin. She knew the truth, and from it she created her bastion. Still, the silence loomed heavily.

To the men before her, all of them standing by now, she was a symbolic figure, a totem ripped straight from the books of legend and the data crystals of yesteryear. An almost iconic figure within the third, and frequently unknown, cult that’d grown from the Force’s second fracture, Ap'sala bled the raw, living Force unchained. It had no direction, no focus. No limits. Powerful men in their own rights, they did not draw back from her armor. It was this power, exotic and unknown, that caused them to recoil in their seats.

“She stinks of the Dark Side.” Jeska’s voice had regained much of its former arrogance, though it seemed to wither in the face of Ap'sala’s cutting stare, her attention having been drawn by the man’s words.

“It is as if he walks among us, Ap'sala. Tell me, does he watch you so closely?” Bet Tho’s words were more curious and, fortunately for the younger man, gave the volatile assassin something else to look towards.

“Not everyone betrayed my people, Jedi. Not everyone left us to die.” Her words, though composed enough, were laced with toxic sarcasm. Humor, however, did not live within the obsidian pits of her eyes. Should they be windows to the metaphorical soul, these were barred, locked and shut tightly.

“No, I suppose he never did. One might ask, though, what did he betray?” Bet Tho, the perpetual scholar, tapped wizened fingers along the central desk as he leaned forward and studied this alien figure most intently. While fully aware of the legends and rumors that swirled around the nomadic warrior culture that was so wonderfully represented before him, he still sensed that there was something wrong, something more. Deep within, he hoped he was correct in his guess.

“He betrayed himself in assuming that you, those who banished him, were ever to be trusted. He did so willingly, and could I hazard a guess, I would imagine he did so knowingly. You, masters of the liar’s pulpit, leave those you deal with no real choice, do you? You speak of justice, yet you deliver it when, where and how it suits you.” The force of Melanie’s anger was a wild thing, something akin to a fire sparked in dry woods, woods lost in the hazy heat of a midsummer night’s sleeping terror.

“Ah….the first of many accusations, I presume.” Bet Tho’s voice cut through the pair of objections, each coming from his side. The words came slowly, weighed down by the simple knowledge that she, in this moment and in the next, would most likely be correct. “Come, let us hear them. Anger that festers is the enemy of control.”

“I will give my testimony to the Senate, as was arranged.” Imperiously, Ap'sala’s posture turned and started for the door.

“You will waste the sacrifice of your people, for this you will do and surely more effectively than we ever could, should you speak the truth.” Bet Tho rose, soft steps trailing the twisting, roiled shadow that seemed to follow Ap'sala so haphazardly.

As soon as he’d spoken, he knew he’d stepped too far and too quickly. Lines had been drawn in the recent past, gaping canyons where fertile fields had once stood. Fields now soaked with the blood of so many innocents. His breath froze as he turned, his throat collapsed under unseen hands. Ap'sala’s use of the Force, the perverted, unhallowed force that flowed through the storm of her anger, was an abject insult to those around her. Within the halls of the Jedi Temple, among those who proclaimed the Dark Side the great enemy, Ap'sala used such a thing with absolute impunity. Moments later, she lowered her clenched fist , thus relaxing the man’s strangulation, yet pinned him with a stare he knew he could fight even less than this woman’s potent mental arsenal.

“Hear me speak, please. I ask one more favor, and I do not ask in the name of the Jedi Council. No, I ask personally, simply.” His voice was weaker than before, a product of the violence she’d forced upon his tranquil, pristine world.

Amused by the man’s efforts at life, for he had fought death’s calling, Ap'sala relented and assumed a bored pose, both dangerous hands resting across her chest. “Quickly, the trial begins soon.”

“Do not go, please. What good does chaos, unless we can manage it, bring? Your testimony will doom the council, Ap'sala, we will be dissolved, eradicated and removed from power. Who will step up then? Will it be some benign leader, elected by the people? Or do we dare risk a Sith infiltrator, a puppet who lacks the strength to fight those who would seek to pull his strings? We are not prepared for this war, yet you bring it to our very door step. Please, consider another option, though I know you will hate me, all of us, more than you can possibly despise us now. Please, sit.” As his voice grew in power, a strength created out of desperate hope, he gestured towards a chair.

After a moment’s consideration, Ap'sala shook her head and leaned one shoulder against the wide, glaring windows. Caught within the sun’s light, she seemed smaller, more human.

“I invoke the pact made so long ago once more, but I offer no terms that we can possibly betray. Before you turn and leave, listen. Should you be, as I know you are, so willing to hold to the terms we have ruined, should you grace us with such a concession, I know of a way to solve this, or at least put a bandage on a bleeding wound.” Bet Tho, old as he was, found his seat much more to the liking of aching, weary legs.

Still, Ap'sala remained silent.

“Allow us to….by the Light, my stomach turns at the words I must speak….make a criminal of you. Allow us to call you a liar, allow us to denounce you in public. Allow us, once again, to deny the presence of a Sith Empire. We will blame the destruction of Mandalore on warring factions, not an organized force. If you speak to the Senate, we are forced into war. If you are the criminal, the great traitor to your own people, we will have a common enemy. Sadly, it will be…”

Ap'sala’s eyes turned towards Bet Tho, the only man who had spoken since Jeska’s nearly fatal observation. For what felt like hours, the aged, wise man could not tear himself from the haunting radiance that held him in such a binding thrall. Within her eyes, eyes that had seen so much loss and known so little peace, he found his answer. Tragedy danced hand in hand with fatal glory, desolation dined at a table filled with honor and skill, dedication and sacrifice. He, without having to ask, knew the answer to his statement.

“Me.” Her voice, always so quiet, trembled under the weight of unseen, unheard tears. Like a bridge that’d stood for far too long, one with weak, crumbling structures still neglected, it faltered and swayed in the face of a storm she knew she could never control. “You ask me, after all that my people have done, to take the fall for those who have betrayed us, those who left us with empty promises and orphans, false hope and abandonment. In good faith, we pledged our lives, and in good faith, you ask for one more.”

“Yes, Ap'sala. I ask for one more moment of heroism, one more act that none will sing of. I lay one more weight on tired shoulders. I can not force this upon you, this we both know. The choice is yours. I beg you, m’lady, to show your honor once more. One last time, please. Courage, Ap'sala, is nothing you lack. Revan would not have chosen a weak or petty apprentice. I ask this of you because…”

It was as if she had heard the man finish words he never spoke. The angle of her chin, the defiant pose, broke and shifted lower. Arms that had crossed in an arrogant manner tugged and squeezed, they held tight. In the depths of her mind, she knew that no others, not now and not in the future, would ever hold her again. Not after what she was forced into agreeing with. “No one else can bear the burden. Give me a day, please? One more day among the truth before the lie begins to kill me, just one more day on a world that has known peace, and will know it. One more, twenty four more hours before this, please?” Hidden by the shadows that played along Ap'sala’s porcelain features, tears ran deep rivulets, only noticed by the sullen, subtle drops that died on the floor’s callous surface.

“Thank you, martyr. None must know, none but the four of us. The frigate that brought you here, it must be…silenced. Carry on this war, fight in the shadows while we, those who claim to live in the light, grow blinded by our own inner darkness.” Bet Tho’s words were the utterances of a broken man, one who knew he had no choice but the wrong one. There was no justifying what he’d done, nor would there be peaceful sleep for this executioner. “We must make an enemy of you, we must give the public someone to blame. Therefore, we’ll be forced to attempt to bring you in. One day, Ap'sala, I can give you no more.”

During the course of the poor man’s speech, she had already turned and started for the doors. "You were wrong, Jedi. I do not hate you. I pity you." All that remained, after the words faded, was the sound of booted steps, somehow more hollow than before, that echoed through the minds that’d been forced to witness such a shameful hypocrisy. As the men aboard the ill fated frigate had known, these men understood the depths that humanity, no matter how pure, would sink in the name of self preservation.

Strangely, it was Miskal who broke the terse, tense silence. “As one age dies and gives way to another’s birth, we bath our hands in bloody water. She is the best of us, all of us. Who are we?”

Neither man had a suitable answer, each only able to meet the other’s eyes for short seconds. Like a disease revealed, they could only stare inside of themselves and wonder at what they’d just been a part of.
“Once more, the fate of the Republic lies in the palms of a Mandalorian, a Mandalorian we have just sentenced to a fate worse than death.”

It was Bet Tho’s voice that could be heard at long last, a voice that was disgusted, horrified. “But what else could we do?”
Last edited by Fourth on Sun Dec 07, 2014 1:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Fourth » Sun Dec 07, 2014 12:54 am

“She must die, Nocens.” The hoarse voice, a sound that brought the grinding of rusted gears to mind, sallied forth from a hooded figure projected into Jeska’s private rooms. As the man knelt before the holo projector, he dipped his head in a most subservient fashion.

“I have contracted the remnants of the Death Watch, a rogue faction from her people’s history. My disinformation campaigns, and her naive ignorance, have turned her into the scapegoat for our invasion, Lord.” Within the confines of the dimly lit room, Jeska’s voice was a plaintive, pleading murmur. When Jhe finally lifted his chin in order to look up at the figure before him, it seemed as if he acted against his own will.

“Do not fail me.” Uttered in such quiet, malignant tones, one could not fail to understand the implied threat. One did not fail the Sith, after all.


-Days later……


In the seedy underbelly of a world called Aariss III, Ap'sala had found a resting place, some form of a home, a place to rest her feet and live in the silence she needed so badly. Needed, but wasn’t allowed to have.

“You must be more, Sa’ha! The title is not simply a name, child, nor is it an honorific. It is an obligation, a call to arms. Have you forgotten what you were raised to be?” The floors of this room were poorly tiled, a shabby apartment on the far edges of colonized space. Seclusion. Revan’s voice ripped through the thin walls like a hurricane on dry, desert land.

For the first time, Ap'sala sat and showed the most dangerous of her emotional arsenal. Apathy loomed like a silent specter on some ruined throne, Thanatos with a rotting scepter, each motion spreading strife across the fallow fields racked by the fires of war. She did not cry, she did not breathe. For the first time, she did not care. Nor did she answer her dread patron.

“It will not be easy, Me’shla, this I know. Trust me, I walked through the same fires, physically and mentally, as you now must. Emotionally, I can not, nor will I try, relate to. I am….” The ghost’s words haunted the space around him, though the silence, the eery, strange silence. Like a blanket that covered an unknowing child’s mouth, the weight of his hesitation wrapped around her like the sickly touch of some ancient pantheon’s long dead leader. “....sorry, Me’shla. I am sorry for this now, and I am sorry for what you will endure, I am sorry for what you must become. It haunts me, the way you once smiled, the way you once laughed, honest and open. I know you can not remember, but those who watched you, the hope for your people, adored you. Those who remember the truth still do, Ap'sala. Please, understand that, for your own sake. But more than all of these things, I am sorry for the part I played in this.”

“Cold comfort to the sacrifice, Revan. A pretty sacrifice, one that everyone is so sorry for, but one that everyone was so ready to use, yeah? How ****ing stupid do you think I am? Why should I eve--...” In steadily growing tones, octaves that could have been ripped from an orchestral organ’s bleeding heart, Ap'sala’s voice rose to a fever pitch. Dangerous, desperate. Cracked, worn, detached. Insane, volatile.

“For those who will walk free, Me’shla, while you walk chained.” Ap'sala’s motions, he knew, were nothing he could contend with, this much was sure. Nor was her use, not control, of the Force. As she formed the shadowy power around her, deadly intent locked within eyes that still held traces of regal, royal purple, Revan felt a different tugging on his Force sensitive mind. Her’s was grey, the spaces between. This intrusion, however, was as black as the death golem’s flesh, rotten and wasted. “And so it begins. Ware, Ap'sala.”

Like a raven driven from a weeks old kill, the deathly paragon fled, fully aware of his physical limitations. Ap'sala, as well, was more than aware of the presence she felt slam into the jaded walls of her mental defenses. Abruptly, she pressed her feet against the bed’s railings, bolted to the floor, and threw herself directly at the wall before her. Though most Force users claimed a relatively high midi-chlorian, Ap'sala’s blood was of the ageless, the triumvirate. A being fused with the Force at birth, she dissolved her physical essence and melded with the living energy quickly enough to blink out of existence inches from the wall’s hard surface. As she passed through the material, internal senses painted a picture more clear than any eyes could have hoped for.

Her people’s armor, her people’s armor and a man with a glowing, burning red lightsaber. As her feet touched the warm sand, she flickered her form once more, adding her fell presence to the miasmic darkness that trailed the man who claimed a twisted relation to the omnipresent Force. Even before she’d taken a step, her own blade erupted into black fire, a comfortable feeling within a naked palm. As she found purchase on the gritty ground, she fell to a knee and slid past the first man, one who had been poised to fire into the building’s door. Only the elite few, warleaders, were granted armor formed of beskar, that wonderful metal. This poor man, as Melanie drew the vibrating blade of luminescent death under him, was not so fortunate. He crumpled, his wounds instantly cauterized, without the use of either leg.

As the others reacted in awestruck panic, a hail of blaster bolts rained down upon the assassin’s location, always too slow. A veritable moving shadow, midnight in motion, she danced a step above the erratic, horror guided projectiles. First one, two, another and a half dozen, fell to reflected bolts or a shockingly precise strike of her antiquated, archaic weapon. In the second’s worth of hedonistic chaos, Jeska, Nocens, had fled, left this terror to her own devices, to her pathetic prey.

One man lived, though his legs twitched inches before him, fully shorn from his body. As she turned in his direction, eyes the color of unburnt coal, she stalked the shattered sand with a grace that burned holes into the world around her. Unchained, a broken vessel for such raw power, the very sky seemed to tremble as lightning ripped the air in twain. The last Revanite, her fury was a weapon in and of itself, when brought to the front lines of her ruptured sanity. As she loomed over the doomed soldier, she reached down, fingers latched to the collar of his armor. Aided by the reality that bent to her will, she lifted the half alive body up, held him at eye level.

“Should the stars demand that I be the example, aureti, than it will be a fate we share. I know they are watching, they will come back again.” Filled with the vile vitriol of unadulturated anger, she tossed the dying man back onto the dirty, dusty ground. “They will bring battatlions next.” Her blade, an elegant weapon, began a slow, almost ponderous waltz. “And I will kill them all.” Like the circle of life, string held forever in servitude to the Fate’s keen scissors, the obsidian blade fell once more and a helmet spun from armored shoulders.

Before the high could wear off, Ap'sala took one final glance at the carnage, one last look at the building she’d occupied, and fled once more. As the darkness reached for a vulnerable heart, she threw herself into clouds stricken with deafening thunder and faded back into the warped chasms of the Force, no home for the faint of heart.
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Post by Fourth » Wed Jan 07, 2015 2:49 pm

Melanie was lost in the crevasses of her own delusional thought processes, far and gone as she perched atop a broken pillar of some ancient city. She was drawn to these places, though she did not know why, how or for what reason. She sat in her armor, her arms wrapped around her own chest and her knees drawn up, chin atop them. Though cut an imposing figure to those who understood the nature of her bold challenge to the world, a white skull etched onto black armor, she seemed...confused. Dangerously so.

There are things you must forget, Ap'sala. You must forget them, for if you recall these events, you will become what you were not ever meant to be, Daughter of the Shadows.

"I don't care!" She shouted to the wind, her voice torn by the turbulent storms that seemed to follow her every step. She was young, she was far from innocent and absolutely not ignorant. Like a dangerous addiction, this new found power, all of these things, drained her even as they lifted her power to levels most could never dream of. The very world trembled when she walked, the clouds blinked when she stared.

Control was hard to find, however. So very hard.

The voice boomed in her mind again even as a face was formed in the storm walls. As large as the sky itself, Revan's hood and mask were super imposed on the twisting, buffeting winds that spattered sand against her dented armor like so many pellets fired from a madman's shotgun.

I can not explain to you, not now. You would not understand and you would hate me more than you already do, snake spawn. You will.....you will despise us all before long, but I must teach you before then.

The voice sounded comforting, or as comforting as it could ever sound. It was a raspy sound, a grating crescendo that poured from a mask as black as the night's empty sky.

"I want to remember him, Revan! I want to remember his father, I want to know my child! Why did you steal the memories from me?!" Where his voice was well modulated, her own sounded off balanced, tilted and skewed. Volatile. Out of control, spiraling further and further into the madness she used as a self defense. "I need to, please?" She pleaded, proud scion of a ruined people that she was. She begged, her voice plaintive and her eyes wide, wet and open.

You will be given the memories, child, of all that you lost when it is safe, this I promise. When you have a measure of control, we will give them back.

She looked so happy, an instant change. Her eyes dried, her shoulders rose and her chin tipped upwards once more. There was, she knew, a small measure of hope. Revan, however, was not done speaking.

His voice was saddened, this she could discern quickly. The words came slowly, as if they were heavy and dragged from the very depths of a soul endlessly more compassionate than her own.

And when we give them, you will hate us more than ever before. For what we did to you, child, for what we stole, you will hate as you have never hated. There will be a choice, Ap'sala, perhaps the most important choice you will ever make. The prophecy, dear child. There will be a moment where the sword is better sheathed inside your own body than out. Will you, in the future, kill everything you loved, once more, in order to keep what you once had?

For once, she had nothing to say. Chapped lips remained still, wild hair was whipped across her armor coated shoulders.

When you have found a sense of stability, I will give you the option to have what you once had, my poor girl. To gain that what you once were, you can not be what you might become. I am sorry, martyr, I am sorry. This I assure you.

"What....do you mean?" She did not understand, this much was clear to see.

You killed them all, each and every single one of them. For you, they died. You brought the Sith, Ap'sala. They were looking for you, and in your place, the father and your son were slaughtered. Everyone was. It was your fault, child. It always will be.

She had guessed, she had thought such things in her darkest days, her deepest sleeps. Presented with the facts, she stared up at the sky and absently wondered out loud.

"I wonder if the lightning would hurt very much? It was always quick for those I called it down upon. I am so tired of hurting. I want it to end easily."
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Post by Fourth » Fri Jan 09, 2015 3:20 pm

A soft kiss of wind created enough of a breeze to blow wavy blankets of midnight hair across armor that was, moments before, so very black. Though she stool like a solid mountain, unable to be buffeted by the storms that crawled through the heavy air she did not breathe, Ap'sala's feet were mired in a pool of life's most precious liquid.

It coated her armor, her hands and her boots like a sickly reminder of the cancer one that they'd thrown away hours before. Her hair was wet with it, her lips painted in the gory ichor and her gloves drenched, sticky. What had once been pristine, the fabled plates she wore with such errant denial, had become a sullen, angry red. All but the white skull, the maniacal, grinning skull that seemed to twist away from her chest and take up residence in the sky before her.

It changed and it became more, embodiment of nothing that it was. Her hands reached for her face even as her head shook in erratic, jerky denial. "No!" They were rising, the bodies. From the blood that coagulated near her feet and the stains that marred her form, the remnants of life rose like a mid summer's crimson sunrise. She screamed her denial as the legions formed, a pressing weight that forced the humid, hazy air down her throat. "NO!"

The words caught as an ethereal hand ruptured the flow of air she'd drawn in past her smoke streaked throat. She was held still in the specter's grasp, for she could not fight this monstrosity. Not yet. It was as it had always been, the nightmare states that gripped her with such a paralyzing touch. They'd whispered during these events, the breaking and the shattering, the actions behind closed doors that had given life to her abject fear.

In her mind's eye, she saw the skull, twin tusked, drip blood into the pool she couldn't swim from. It tugged at her feet like hateful silt draws the struggling man into a quicksand tomb. She flailed, her fingers tearing at her face, she kicked and she vented silent screams that none could hear, not but the skull.

It laughed, dismembered jaw twitching as rotten tendons and torn muscle slithered across the bleached bones that formed so ghastly an image. The voice, the hateful voice that spoke in her darkest moments, cackled madly. Yes, Viper spawn, yes. Drink it, consume it. Be it! She had no power, she could not fight. In the span of seconds, her mind was torn from her body, and once more, she was made to watch the horror unfold before her.

They had been nothing but simple traders, men and women who had come hoping to trade. She had taken up residence on the fringes of a Rim Colony, a backwater planet that could barely be called civilized. She watched, always, for signs of those who could come before, the forerunners of an empire's dark hands. It had been a relic, something that none of these ignorant caravan runners could have understood. It was not their fault.

She had not cared. The rage, it tugged at her heart like the ropes of bondage that had held her so many years ago. Waiting, knowing it would happen. Watching, learning. Learning to hate. It had come as a storm, a shift in the air that man, woman and beast understood as a change in weather. They had joked, she had heard them mutter about the strange patterns of this world's clouds. And she had smiled that awful smile, lips spread wide and eyes blank. Dead.

She could feel the air struggle as she clenched her fist so slowly, so amused. She left the rocks in which she'd reclined behind her. At first, they'd hailed her as a lost guard, or perhaps a soul who simply enjoyed living alone. It was all she could to keep her soft, sibilant laughter behind her teeth. As she grew nearer, however, the men and women began to stare nervously, eyes shifting from one to the other. None had worn this armor, not that they had seen. Why did her shadow walk before her, when it should have been behind? Why did the air feel heavier as she came closer?

"Give it to me", she asked. "What do you want, stranger? A place at our camp? We would turn no soul away, less she meant us harm..." The wiser of the group, the more experienced, began to think she might mean just that. "Give it to me!" Her voice was breaking, her control falling like sand through a man's fingers. These simple souls, poor souls, knew not what she wanted. They began to worry, their expressions shocked and countenances drawn tight with apprehension.

Of a moment, stark lightning ripped the sweating air and dug jagged trenches in the dirt behind her. It had been a storm, a living one. Her hand was held to her side, her fist balled in anger. She could feel the tips of her fingers digging into her palm, it hurt. They were hot, so hot. As one, the men and women felt the breath still within their throats and the air grow heavy as it rattled through their lungs. The pressure grew slowly, matching the turn of her smile. Eyes began to bugle and fingers, hands, feet and arms began to shake. Not her's. She remained deathly still, the figure of death before so many innocent sheep.

"You did not give it to me." She sounded, in mocking tones, sad. Regretful. As her words crawled into the thick air, the world erupted in a shower of blood. She'd finally let her hand go, she'd released the pressure built up within the bodies of these traveling merchants. Like an over pressured bottle, they broke at the seams, humans and aliens alike. The world turned red, the sky cried tears of blood. So much blood.


"I will not! I could not....." She sounded weak, her voice projected no conviction. Not after what she'd done. "I could not have..."

The skull's macabre grin split wide as she felt the hand, cold fingers, on the back of her neck. They pushed down, down, down. She could not breathe, she could not move her face or her body. Fleeting images of a bath filled her tortured mind, but the water was red, the water was too thick. It smelled acrid, like copper. "You did this, Ap'sala. You enjoyed making them wait. You laughed, YOU ENJOYED IT! THIS IS WHO YOU ARE. Murderer, slayer of the weak, she who will cull the herd. YOU ARE WHAT YOU HAVE BEEN, DAUGHTER OF REVAN. Worlds die at your feet, and while you try to stop me, you never will. Much like you could never stop them when you were younger, yes? Poor girl, poor innocent girl. Did it hurt when they stole it from you, did the whips hurt when you cried? YOU ENJOYED IT ALL. As did we, weapon. WE MADE YOU, BE WHAT YOU SHOULD HAVE BEEN." As the image faded, the skull's laughter boomed within the crumbling walls of her mind. Torn from the third layer of her own existence, she felt control return to numb, heavy limbs.

And yet she sat, her knees drawn to her chest, in a pool of innocent blood, a graveyard with no purpose.

As time passed, no rain washed the blood from her face. Tears did. What am I, that I can do these things?
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Post by Fourth » Wed Feb 11, 2015 2:47 pm

"I did."

It was the cave allegory all over, a trapped existence within the confines of what she could see. Within the layers of reality that she could understand, she'd created her own lies, lies so ironclad and locked tightly enough to become reality. The world was her cave, the cave was her understanding. Outside, where the sun burned away untruths and fresh winds blew change like the scent of fresh blossoms across a springtime field, she dared not tread.

Truths blew away comforting lies, delusions that sheltered her from so much that she could not, at this moment, understand. Courage, however, was not in short supply when it came to this most cryptic of vault dwellers, shadow kin prophet five thousand years behind her time yet always there when required.

Slow steps, motions filled with anxious trepidation, brushed sand and dirt from the cave's mouth as she cautiously started towards the entrance. Like some macabre artist's brush, the touch of her gloved fingers left a smattering of dried tears and caked blood, sticky hair and the dust of shattered bones. Fingers grasped at the air, each seeking some stability that'd never existed within her scattered thoughts. They wrapped around the jagged walls, sunlight leering at her from on high.

Before she could lose faith she'd clung to for so long, she threw herself into the unforgiving light that, strangely enough, faded as she stared up, squint eyed, at the sun. One hand rose to shade her eyes, sensitive things best suited for abyssal darkness and murky gloom. As she stared upwards a single cloud crossed the sun's face, and within it she could almost see the sign of her people, a message broadcast by the hands that tugged so many unseen strings.

It was a soothing thing, the rain that rain wet, cold rivulets down the filthy lines of her armor, her boots and her face. As the cleansing liquid washed weeks worth of blood and detritus from her angular form, she stood in a shadow of her own creation, arms folded, chin turned down.

She knew there was a settlement on this colony, there had to have been a place where the traders, the one's she'd slaughtered in a fit of rage, were going. She reached into her mind, her first instinct leading her towards a step into the shadows, a quick and explosive journey that would take her away from the rain that she knew would grow annoying.

As always, her slender weight, small even when draped in the plates she wore so easily, left footsteps that forced depression in the sand not in line with what should have followed behind her.

"I will make a place among these people...I have to."

There it was once more, the voice that had screamed from the skull's last visit, the grim reminder of what she'd always been.

"Stupid, stupid GIRL! She will fail, as we all have FAILED, and through her, I find so much amusement....perhaps I should LET her try?"
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Post by Fourth » Wed Mar 04, 2015 6:49 pm

Like the forced displacement of tainted material from a dying man's mouth, the very sand at Ap'sala's feet bubbled and writhed. Tormented sand burned a path, upheaval the first indication of a rotten warren seeking desperately to force poisoned blood out of a raw, gaping wound.

The skull that had taken to lingering near her shoulders shrieked grim laughter as its loosely attached jaw shifted in totemic, surreal motions. WE come, Viper! We come to remind you, to remind you so that you can NEVER forget who you are! It seemed to dance across the last gasps of what had been a glorious sunset, each dune seeming to be a throne for the fiery ball, that withering, callous eye that witness everything, yet passed no judgement on those lost in the depths of ruptured sanity and skewed reality.

As the sand was blown from side to side, he formed. Wreathed in smoke, Revan was a nightmarish figure torn from the delusional dreams of an addict who's not felt the needle's touch in too many days. He stood, his armor battered, his hands held wide and to the sides. Fingers coated in slick gloves rained offal atop the burning sand, blood sizzling as drops fell from the executioner's hands. Acrid smoke roiled around black, the color of a night's sky with no stars, no moon, robes danced across the ground between them. It was, however, as it'd always been. The ruined man's face was unseen, a sheet of slate grey metal visible beneath the drawn cowl. Anonymity, we are the faceless killers, those with no emotion. Those who can not be tracked. We are not humans. We are remorseless.


I can not fight him here. She could feel oppression waft off of him in sickening waves, living hate wanting nothing more than to sink tyrannical fangs into all that the faceless mask surveyed.

Summoning the impressive depths of will was a matter that was as natural as blinking, walls thrown up before the awful force that marred the planet's skyline with fell, regal horror.

I am your curse, Serpent. I am you, and I am that which always has been, but never should have been. Ruined image of pride cast down and forced to accept the crushing weight of impossible expectations, I am the hate that fuels you. You gift and your curse, you my prison and I your torturer. Do you not, Ap'sala, hate them as I hate you? THEY GAVE ME TO YOU! Revan's voice boomed across the empty desert, a figure seemingly as titanic as a jagged spire. In tandem with the specter's voice, the skull chattered exact copies of the haunted, twisted voice.

"No." Ap'sala's chin was held high, the turn a defiant post that'd often taken up residence on features that showed her conviction, her honest devotion to a cause she could not understand, could not justify. "You are my people's curse, then sun that must be swallowed. I am the viper, Revan, who's mouth will collapse around the dying sun's suicidal explosion." She, serene and composed within the comfort of acceptance, canted her lips into a saturnine smile. This was her life, her purpose. This was all she'd ever been, all she ever could be.

Two souls, a mirrored image highlighted by comparison and shown in stark relief, each detail a counter point. The best of what her people could be, silently courageous to the point of suicidal last stands, a tyrant intent on destroying everything he could touch. One who would, until breath left rasping lungs, stand in the face of devastation, laughing and dying for those who could not fight. One who laughed in the face of the weak, one who destroyed with no concern. Revan was these things, the awful side of what Ap'sala should have been, could have been. Would have been were it not for the defiance she showed at this very moment.

I must not allow him to take me. I can not give him control.

I fear what he will do, what he will have me do. What he will do through me.


Laughter skipped across the ground as heavy foot steps traced a wolf's stalking circle around her. Each orbit left Revan closer to her shadow, his motions fluid and her mind barely lucid. Seconds before he faded like a curtain thrown over cold, wintry windows, she could feel his heavy pressure on her neck. Close, intimate. Like a lover's touch, his words fell on her ears and sent a disgusted, afraid shudder through her entire body, her mind.

I will have you, Ap'sala. I will corrupt you, I will be with you until the day you die, may it be soon. What you touch, I will feel. What you feel, I will know. You will make a mistake, arrogant puppy, and I will have my moments. Moments when you can do nothing but watch the things I will do through you.

The words were hammer blows in a mind filled with the rapid thump, thump of her beating, skipping heart.

The things I will do to you, girl. You will watch. If I can not be freed of you, then I will at least enjoy what I can, when I can. I will at least enjoy.....you.
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Post by Fourth » Thu Apr 02, 2015 7:38 pm

Present day, in a village outside of Rhy'Din.

A moment's worth of indecision, something barely thought of yet paid for in priceless currency, left even Melanie's flawless physique in abject danger. As her steps faltered and the blade dance stumbled for a moment, a blaster's bolt slipped past her typically perfect defenses, the lightsaber able to easily beat most shots aside as if it worked with her mind, not her body.

A ceremonial answer to a challenge uttered in her own words, she wore the black veil, not her armor. Arrogance had always been her downfall, but even as the bolt seared through her shoulder and forced her into a more defensive posture, rage answered pain and exploded. A petulant, virulent burst of emotional defeat shattered this world's boundaries and sent the offending man against a nearby wall with enough force to sunder his spinal cord. They'd signed on to kill a Sa'ha, but these men, no matter the weaponry they boasted, understood the daunting challenge before them. Whispered by Mandalore's agents across the galaxy, armies mobilized, mercenary bands salivated at the price placed on the final link to an old truth, an old crime.

The building was seedy, walls moldy and lights dimmed, though the men clearly cared for weapons and armor. Knife scars and hard eyes jumped at her sudden entrance, something forced through a broken portal formed entirely in her mind. Black on black, Ap'sala's blade sung a deathly dirge, a keening symphony as bolts screeched against raw energy and shouts bounced off of the corners of the decrepit building.

Too many, however, in too small of a building. Her grace, her speed, her monstrous dexterity, meant little to nothing when gunfire and rockets forced her into a corner. Small explosions hemmed her in, cut off angels of retreat and ignored deception. Systematically, the mercenary band forced her, locked her in place. Under a hail of red bolts and orange explosions, they were sure, too sure, that they would collect on a hefty bounty, that they would gain fame and be known as those who ended the one who'd slaughtered entire worlds. Pity the fool, or so they say.

I am ascendant, he WILL not let me die!

Faces turned and flesh began to melt as the explosions were caught between beskar covered fingers, captured and turned aside with the ease of a fly being swatted. Caught on the brink of sanity, Ap'sala stood on the very edge of infinity, but how much could her mind handle? How much power could flow through arteries all too human before she collapsed due to the strain? Bloodied and scarred in countless places, burned and filled with cauterized holes, she drew only on the pain, the injustice, and clutched the blade all the more tightly. She was, physically.....

Different. Ascendant. Armor flowed across a form wrapped in a black robe, a faceless mask obscured her features. Blank metal, the mask formed an obscure killer garbed in silent anonymity. Pushed into the proverbial corner, with her back against the wall, she'd given control to Revan's specter, that destroyer of worlds and time. As she staggered under the weight of her own inner pressure, her mind, Vesuvius laying dormant, blew the top off of a long dead volcano. It could be felt in Rhy'din proper, a place miles and miles away, the over pressure. Rifts in the very ground grew, time and clocks were distorted easily as she harnessed the power of a dying sun and forced it through broken bones and bleeding flesh. Insanity loomed as reality died under her touch, nightmares danced with heaven sent dreams as a release of energy buckled the fibers of this world and that. Left for nothing, a very living, alive body stumbled against a wall, Ap'sala once more, frail and fragile again. As blood poured onto the dirty floor, she reached towards a nearby corpse, incinerated and barely recognizable, and found a radio.

"I am ascendant, Mandalore, I am that is and I am what has once been, defeated and broken, yet I stand, once more. Forsaken once, forgotten never, accepted rarely and understood pathetically. Send your armies, send armies against the last paragon of what you were, and I will kill them all. I stand on the brink of infinity!"

It was all she could do to utter the words, words screamed into crackling radio silence, words endlessly poignant. A last challenge, given through a killer's dying breath, they rattled and wheezed past lips stained and teeth painted in dark red. She would not, however, could not, will not, did not, pass from this world. Beaten and broken, her form slumped against the corner of two walls, held up only by a hand clad in beskar gloves, a world lit only by the illuminating star of a dark skinned, dark haired woman.

Like an animal chased and crowded, she felt her fingers dig into the sand, undying will pushing her forward, and she began to crawl, slowly, ever so slowly, towards the city once more. Far, far to weak to dare traveling within the paths of her mind, she left a trail of bloody furrows, all elbows and knees, before she finally managed her feet once more, her march marred by a limp, her breathing marred by a harsh, haggard knell.
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Fourth
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Post by Fourth » Fri Apr 03, 2015 8:52 pm

A bloody hand print on the door, red smeared steps washed across the typically pristine surface of her and Terry's porch. Ominous rattling, air flowing through blackened trenches cut across and through tanned flesh exposed slender, fragile ribs as Melanie forced herself against the door of her home. The proof of her people's alien make up was an easy sign written across the rising sun that painted her with feeble, half awake light. As the first rays chased away her shadow and followed her into the front hall, she stumbled when the door handle snagged at her hip, practically fell into the entry table. Like nails against chalk, clawed feet ran along polished wood and echoed down the still, silent hall.

"Ayo, you're home late babygirl. Do we not check our phones anymore?" Terry's voice floated from the living room, precisely where Melanie expected her to be. She was too angry to die, too bitter to give in, however. Even Terry, dear human Terry, would likely feel the rising temperatures and hammer blows of an enormous psyche slamming against mental walls that were quickly growing weaker and weaker, barely able to contain the monstrosity that was her awful truth and miserable secrets. Barely able to recognize footsteps when she heard them, one hand shot out and latched onto the edge of the aforementioned table as she felt the loss of blood begin to make her knees sag, her vision blurry. In such a posture, she still managed, somehow, to meet Terry's eye with a haughty, defiant turn of her chin.

"No...guess we don't?" Still teasingly amused, Terry was quite aware of Melanie's rather poor communication skills, she rounded the corner and drew in a shocked gasp of breath, a harsh expletive. "Fuck, you got shot? Fuck, what the fuck?" As Terry stepped closer, feet fueled by panic's mad rush, it was all Melanie could do to keep herself standing, speak sarcastic words.

"A few times, yeah. Happens." Her voice was weak, the accent gone, the lilting, twisted chirps devolved into an exhausted murmur, though she had no need of her voice as the ground rose quickly and the last thing she felt was hard wood, that most domestic of things, cradle her body in an uncaring, quiet embrace.




What must have felt like hours in Terry's mind passed, moments that became years, years that became decades of dread as she and Melanie's personal doctor stared through a glass window at a resting form, chest rising once, maybe twice an hour. Her mouth was covered by a respirator's mask, though she was devoid of any transfusion tubes, no matter how massive the blood loss could possibly have been. "She gonna be a'ight?" When asked a question the poor man couldn't possibly answer, he shrugged and turned more fully towards Terry.

"I've treated her for quite a lot of things, but this is a stretch. I've come to understand her anatomy rather well, I think as well as anyone can with nothing to base it against, and if she does pick herself up, it won't be due to anything I can do for her outside of providing her a place to rest and taking some of the stress off of her internal organs." His voice was exasperated, fatigued and piqued with professional concern.

"Can't you give her blood, somethin'? She had to have lost, fuck, I don't know. A lot?" Another question he couldn't answer.

"I would, Miss King, if it would do any good. Truth be told, it would likely make this worse. Her body would, and has before, reject it instantly. She's told me before that there's some way her body rejects anything that should not be there, if you will. Her blood type is something...." Hands held to his sides and spread wide, he turned away and shrugged again. "I've never seen before, nor has anyone I know. She lacks white blood cells, and while we've seen that before in certain species here in Rhy'din, I've never seen someone who has replaced every single white blood cell, and creates more of these alien cells, in the same manner that you or I create blood. Like I said, all I can do is make it easy on her body. She'll typically get up in a few hours and then refuse to stay here. You try arguing with her. It won't work." Rueful laughter tasted as bitter as day old coffee left in a dirty pot.

"...the fuck? Is she immortal or somethin'?" Incredulous, Terry asked with raised brow and could not, should not have enjoyed the fact that, once more, she was finding things out second hand, from someone else.

"Ah, no. No, she is not that. Look, Miss King, I'm not a witch doctor. I deal in modern medicine, and while I accept that there's something else keeping her alive other than myself, I'm not ready to really give any validity to the fact that she, though her body shows signs of normal damage and surely does not heal any faster than mine or your's, that she's able to ignore that and move on. All I can say is this fucking power, whatever it is, the damned Force, seems to ebb and flow. The weaker her body is, the stronger the connection becomes. I've reason to believe that this is related to her erratic moods, as well. From past experiences, she's going to come out of that room incredibly angry. I'd not take it personally if she lashes out at everything that's close enough." If she didn't pay me so well, I'd let this fucking freak die. That was what the man's final glance, filled with disgust, said as he turned away once more and left the room behind him.


In fits and starts, Melanie's fingers began clutching at the sheets that she was dimly aware of. Eye lashes began to flutter, the pace of her breathing quickened, stilled, stopped and settled into a pattern of one beat, a single motion, for every sixty seconds. Bleary eyed and still rather weak, first one foot, and then the other, found the floor's cold surface as she rose to a seated position. The last time she'd ripped bandages off, she'd been made to endure Terry carefully securing them in place once more. The first step was always the hardest, a staggering thing that tested balance. Like a badly damaged puppet still attached to strings held by the finest of fingers, she resumed her elegant, abjectly martial composure after tearing the mask from her face and shaking long hair out of her eyes, recently cleaned and freed of the matted, drying blood. Her first reaction after shoving the door open was to reach into a case lined in her people's flawless metal. If this entire building was destroyed, this case and it's life giving contents would remain safe, safe and ready for macabre fingers and the resumption of sanity. As the precious liquid flowed from the syringe's tank, Melanie's eyes shifted from inky, impossible black and further towards the star lit orbs stained by flecks of purple gold. It'd been quite some time since she felt the cocktail of drugs flood her veins, but it'd been even longer since she'd needed the soothing touch of what should have instantly killed any human.

Alerted by the noise, Terry's sleeping head jerked from room's single chair's back, sent there by an all too human need for sleep, the result of panic fading into exhaustion. As Melanie stood under her lover, her best friend's eyes, she shrugged and turned away, her chin finally lowered, the pose given up in a rare show of concern, compassion and trepidation.

"I didn't have any choice. It was this or...." She gestured towards her own body, "I can die, you know. Stopping them now prevents a forced fight I won't be able to win. I'll give it a week of just working out and fighting, if even that. I promise."
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