Revenge of the Sith: Part X: Return of the Jedi

REVENGE OF THE SITH

Part X – Return of the Jedi

 

 

The Jedi Order and its followers – looked upon now with distain – have always helped the Republic when the need was so great, there was no other way. In the wake of the Mandalorian War and the Jedi Civil War, there are very few Jedi left to even combat a small resistance of Sith troops and members.

In the darkness that is to come, will those last remaining persons that call themselves Jedi answer the call from the Republic? Or have the Sith influenced the hands of war?

 


 

To be a specter, kept alive by the power of the Force, was something all Jedi Masters sought to achieve. It meant that one was so truly in touch with not only the Force itself, but who was also in touch with the needs of the Republic and its citizens. It was something only a handful of Jedi were able to accomplishment. The feat would then allow that spirit to speak to someone who needed guidance and counseling.

The opposite was true for those that called themselves Sith. To achieve the power of everlasting life was something that took a hold on you and one that could not be undone. A very few of these individuals managed such a feat, as it was always paid with a high price if one achieved it. However, despite the cons to doing so, the practice left too much to the imagination and those that actually lived on through the Force were able to instruct new legions of Sith.

It was tradition.

One of these spirits was that of Freedon Nadd, one of the first of the new Sith to be converted. He, like many before and after him, had been a student of the Jedi. But their meandering and their reluctance for anything that evolved any real skill forced him to seek his destiny elsewhere. He hungered for power and the rightful use to the Force as a means to that power and the Jedi denied him that right. So he sought off looking for his destiny, finally coming in to contact with the spirit of Naga Sadow, who trained him and molded him.

Soon, the ambitious Nadd was everything that Sadow could not be as a spirit and as in all Sith passages, the apprentice defeated the master. Nadd was soon to become one of the most glorious of Sith lords in quite some time, especially one who was not pure blooded like his master. But that was all right, because the True Sith have always watched and waited. And when Nadd was finally defeated and locked away in the tomb of Dxun, there were others.

One of those was a student of Nadd’s; another overachiever in the stoic and weak Jedi Order. This was Exar Kun and it was his war that started the downfall for the Republic and the rise of the Sith. Though this former lord was betrayed by his own apprentice, he had made a name for himself. Even now, fifty some years later, the Republic still talked of his exploits, of his deeds, of his treachery.

It was these two specters that held special places on the Sith Council. In the ancient times of the Sith, ten members would sit on this council, all members being made up of Dark Lords. It was these ten members who oversaw the Sith Empire and their worlds and who would make decisions regarding the planets they had overtaken. The present Sith Council however, was only a little over half of what it would normally be. It was headed by the spirit of Marka Ragnos, one of the most feared and admired of all the dark lords. Ragnos’ death had prompted the end of his empire as he knew it, while his spirit was known to set the course of the Exar Kun war — joining Kun and Ulic Qel Droma as master and apprentice. It was only fitting that he be seated as head.

It was Ragnos who first felt the signs of hope stir within his ghostly soul at the prospect of regaining his empire. The two other lords who sat with him, those he never knew by name, were pushovers and inconsequential to his plans. So when he ordered a group of his Sith troops to destroy them with the amulet he possessed, they were quickly removed from the works. That left him, the spirits of Nadd and Kun – both who reminded him of his other apprentices, Ludo Kressh and Naga Sadow — and two others. The former two were a little too eager at wanting to destroy the Republic once and for all, but even he took a liking to their ruthlessness.

However, he had concerns. He had another vision and like those he had had before, it was short and seemed an omen. He called forth his higher council mates to warn them of what he saw. ‘An omen?’ asked Kun, a small smirk on his pale face. ‘It sounds as though our Lord Trayun will prevail yet.’

‘It is not him that I worry for,’ Ragnos insisted. ‘It is that apprentice, Lord Casus, that concerns me. Not to mention that of his wife and child.’

‘Do not worry yourself, Master Ragnos,’ Nadd replied, bowing slightly. ‘Lord Kun and I have that all taken care of. We have discussed it at length and we have our own way of combating the problem.’

‘Do the two of you now run the council alone?’ seethed Ragnos. ‘Am I to understand you decided this yourselves?’

‘Forgive us, Master Ragnos,’ Kun said. ‘We meant no disrespect; only that we talked about how to handle this situation. You have to understand that Lord Nadd was extremely upset to learn that his own apprentice was aiding a Republic spy, but as he stated, we have discovered ways of handling that problem.’

‘And what of the girl?’ the elderly ghost asked. ‘In my vision, she is present, but I do not see what happens afterwards. She is a liability to him.’

‘Allow us to then present you with our thoughts, Master,’ Nadd interjected. ‘If Lord Trayun wishes to keep the girl, he may. We would like to view this as a…tutelage, if you will. Certainly, the ancient race of Sith believed in hierarchy and that of passing down one’s powers to their offspring. Simply transfer this to our own situation. Once the girl has stopped breeding, we’ll simply rid ourselves of her, keeping Trayun and his offspring within the Sith.’

Ragnos seemed to take this as an appropriate response, for he nodded his approval to both the specters in front of him. ‘It is sound,’ he murmured. ‘However, in future cases, do not assume to easily sweet talk me. I am head of this council and you will both do well to remember it.’ With that, the spirit shimmered away, off to some part of the planet that he called his own. The two remaining spirits stood, looking at the faded mist that signaled their master had left.

‘Meddlesome fool,’ Kun spat, his face twisted in anger. ‘Who does he think he is?’

‘He is Marka Ragnos,’ Nadd answered. ‘Once feared, now only a simpering and battered ghost. Are the plans we have for him in place?’

‘Yes Master,’ the younger specter nodded. ‘However, may I suggest we put our plan concerning Lord Casus into effect first?’

‘We may need to,’ the master replied. ‘Word comes that Revan and the Republic are coming for us.’

‘So Trayun has turned on us.’

‘Not necessarily, my former student,’ Nadd said. ‘I think when he sees that we hold his wife and when he gives into his hatred and anger against Revan…I believe that Ragnos’ vision will be correct. But we must push him into anger first. Yes, Master Kun, your idea is an excellent one and one that needs to happen while Revan tries to find us.’

‘And Marka Ragnos?’

‘Will hopefully not be with us when we confront Revan and Lord Trayun.’

Both spirits laughed at the implications. Kun nodded at Nadd. ‘It is good to be working with you again, Master,’ he said. ‘I’m glad you didn’t hold my destroying you personally.’

Nadd laughed at the notion. ‘Why would I?’ he asked. ‘It is the way of the Sith; the apprentice shall challenge and defeat the master if he is to become Dark Lord. I did the same to my master in order to achieve all I did. Think nothing of it.’

Kun again nodded, a small grin on his face as he gave a farewell shake of his head and disappeared in smoke, leaving Freedon Nadd with a grin on his face as well.

 


 

Though the galaxy seemed calm on the surface, all around people could feel a nervous tension in the air. On the planet of Coruscant, the main hub of the galaxy itself, plans were being made for a war. The grisly realization that another war would be upon the Republic had been acknowledge by only one man for nearly five years, hoping against hope that his thoughts were mistaken, only to discover his former friend had helped along their enemies longer than anyone had thought.

News of this war had spread quickly through secure channels, asking and seeking aid in the matter. Of course the first calls were answered immediately, but when it was learned that not one, but two former Dark Lords of the Sith were leading the battle, many thought this was just a ploy for a take-over. It was only when the Supreme Chancellor — someone who had also doubted the validity of the claim of war — told those in power that they stop and listen.

As they feared, their army was small. Gone was the first class elite of the Republic Fleet and their powerful ships and men; replaced by ensigns and junior recruits who had never seen battle outside of the simulators. The true toll of the Jedi Civil War was seen in the small array of battleships the Republic had to offer; many of them having been destroyed in either the Mandalorian War or that of the Jedi Civil War. Most were thought to be a lost cause due to Revan and Malak’s defection to the dark side, when they took a third of the ships with them to the Unknown Regions. Though their aid would come from the battered but alive Queen Talia and her forces on Onderon, the Mandalorian tribe of Ordo, and that of the Wookies, many were leery about these people and creatures.

They were even more leery about who their commander would be.

Revan never tried to pretend that people would flock to him once they knew the situation, but he felt slightly disappointed that many of the Republic officers gathered had so little respect and time for him. It seemed only the crew of the Sojourn had any inclination to listen to anything he said. It also didn’t help that those who were assembled had also seen Ellis standing in the shadows, still dressed in his Sith attire. The group was assembled within the Senate building, with a much larger debriefing room. The Supreme Chancellor had called together those military leaders that he knew and trusted, most notably Admirals Carth Onasi and Forn Dodonna. The others Revan didn’t know, but they certainly knew of him by the way they glared at him.

They also assembled Queen Talia and some of her staff that she trusted, Mandalore and the men he trusted, as well as a holo recording from Chief Zaalbar of the Wookies from the planet Kashyyyk. Revan would have also liked to have had Ellis’ number two man with them, just to judge where this young man stood on everything, but as they had already discussed, this Lord Casus was soon to be under suspicion by their True Sith masters. He would have to have another talk with the young lord. Once everyone who should be assembled was, he felt it only fair to try to introduce this meeting.

‘Thank you all for coming,’ he began, clearing his throat as he saw the looks from his audience. ‘I won’t pretend that most of us here are on friendly terms, but I will hope that the fate of the galaxy is what will keep those that know me to stay and fight.’

‘Excuse me, Lord Revan,’ stated a young commander. ‘We’re all under the impression that there is to be another war. However, I find that completely hard to believe. There have been no large threats to the Republic, at least not ones that would warrant the call of our non-existent military.’

‘Commander Warcent,’ the Supreme Chancellor addressed. ‘Surely you remembered the answer I gave you when I asked you to this meeting.’

‘Yes sir, I do remember,’ the young woman replied. ‘But…what happened must be an isolated incident. Surely you are aware that we truly have no military to speak of!’

‘That’s what we’re here for, princess,’ Mandalore replied, turning to look at the young woman. ‘In case your boys get tired before the real action starts.’

‘How dare you!’ Warcent exclaimed, standing from her chair and trying to intimate the clan leader. ‘In case you have a short memory, Mandalorian, it was you and your people that started this mess in the first place! You’re butchers, the lot of you!’

‘Sit down, Commander!’ Carth ordered, surprising those who had yet to see his role as a military leader. ‘You were invited to this meeting to get first hand information about what we’re up against. If you can’t find it in you to be quiet and listen, perhaps we made a mistake in asking for your assistance.’

The young commander was put in her place, blushing deeply as she once again found her seat. ‘We don’t have time to argue,’ Admiral Dodonna responded. ‘Now I know many of us remember the dark lord Revan and I’m even positive that a small portion knew the Revan who came to the aid of the Republic when even the Jedi would not. All of that is in the past and where it needs to stay. From what I’ve heard, I think we have a serious problem on our hands and that’s all the more reason to listen to any ideas that may come up.’

The heartfelt speech mollified those reluctant officers and earned a nod of respect from Revan. ‘I’ll try to keep this short,’ he continued. ‘Any thing you need to know, you may ask after I’ve finished. In a nut shell, the Mandalorian War was not started by the Mandalorians, but a group known as the Sith; a species that began on the planet of Ziost. These are the same species and offspring that begin the Great Hyperspace war, the war fought between the Republic and that of Naga Sadow and his Sith forces. These forces didn’t die out as originally thought.

‘It was Naga Sadow’s spirit within the Force that taught Freedon Nadd, a fallen Jedi who went on to rule the planet of Onderon. In turn, it was Freedon Nadd who was the master to Exar Kun. I’m not sure who it was that approached Mandalore the Ultimate, but it was this encounter that lead the Mandalorians to begin raiding the worlds of the Outer Rim and the Republic.’ He waited to make sure everyone was still listening before he continued. ‘I…I don’t know when, but at some point during the war, I stumbled on to some Sith artifacts and that in turn lead me to the planet of Malachor V. It was my hope to end the war on that planet, as it was a forbidden planet to the Mandalorians.

‘From my studies, I delved more and more into the dark side of the Force, until I got to the point where…well, I basically converted several members of Jedi and Republic officers to my cause. That you already know. What you may not know is, after I was ‘redeemed’ by the Jedi and after the Jedi Civil War, I went looking for my past, which also involved destroying all of the Star Maps that had been used to make the Star Forge. Unfortunately, it only brought me closer to discovering something that had been bothering me since returning to Coruscant.

‘Again, I don’t know how, but I just know I discovered that these ancient Sith had not died out as we had originally thought.’

‘How can you be sure?’ Dodonna asked. ‘That this…species as you called it aren’t gone?’

‘Because I have seen them,’ Revan stated. ‘And so has Darth Trayun there.’

Everyone’s eyes moved toward the lone figure that stood against the wall, unmoving. ‘How can we trust him?’ asked a lieutenant. ‘Isn’t he one of the Sith?’

‘The True Sith have something he wants back.’ Revan stated.

‘And that’s all you need to know,’ came the muttered retort from Ellis.

‘You also need to know about the occupation on Onderon,’ The Chancellor replied. ‘As well as the trouble on Geonosis. These are not unrelated incidents, I assure you. Something has been afoot for some time and just today…just today, I was informed that there may be several members of the Senate who belong to the ranks of the Sith.’

Some of those unaware of this development were visibly and audibly shocked. ‘That’s impossible!’ Warcent breathed.

‘I assure you, Commander, it is no joke,’ the Chancellor insisted. ‘I was not only told by my would be assassin, but I have also spoken with Lt. Belyn here who also had her suspicions. I’ve only now confirmed these truths today.’

‘This is a much more troubling situation than we originally thought,’ Bastila stated, the first one of the crew to voice an opinion.

‘The Chancellor is right,’ Revan began. ‘These incidents are not isolated; certainly not. This was a calculated move by the Sith to make sure that all was taken care of before they moved in completely.’

‘If that’s the case, then where do we go from here?’ Dodonna asked, receiving similar nods from around her. ‘How do we proceed? How do we stop this threat from fully reaching the Republic?’

‘That’s where you come in,’ Revan said. ‘I know the Republic is on shaky ground. I also know that the military is stretched thin, but we have to come up with a plan that will combat this new threat. I have such a plan, though I wouldn’t say it’s spectacular in any means.’ He walked over to a transmitter, turning it on to reveal a planet, covered completely in ice. ‘This is the planet of Ziost,’ he began. ‘This was the former capitol for the Sith empire before Naga Sadow’s attack against the Republic.’

‘I remember that planet,’ an elderly man murmured. ‘I read about in during my military history. The Republic and the Jedi made a complete sweep of that place, burning anything and everything, including anyone who may still have been on the planet. Cleansing, they called it; purging the world of the wrongs.’

‘Retaliation is more like it,’ Ellis spat. ‘But you’re right. That act alone assured that no living creature could live on the surface of the planet. However, I can tell you from experience, that underneath the surface is an area that quite inhabitable.’

‘Go on,’ Revan motioned, startling the Sith lord. He nodded to the image of the planet and repeated, ‘Go on.’

The younger man took one last look at Revan before pushing himself off the wall and walking towards the holo. Pointing to an area near the northeastern side, he said, ‘There’s a mountain range; not a very large one, but large enough for an entrance. My…the Sith have built an underground base within this mountain range. It doesn’t seem like much, but when you consider the power that they have, the power that they control along with the Force, the area is immense.

‘You need to understand how the Sith use their power,’ the young man continued. ‘Their species was one that used heavy magic and alchemy. Their discovery and mating of the fallen Jedi only accentuated their control.’

‘Are you saying that these Sith can use magic as well as the Force?’ asked Dodonna incredulously.

‘That’s exactly what I’m saying,’ Ellis responded. ‘And the expertise in which they use it is quite efficient.’

‘How do we combat something like this?’

‘If we know the Sith,’ Revan stated. ‘Which we do, they will have both air and ground troops. The key for the Republic is to stop their aerial assault. If even one of their real ships or even holographic ones get through to the Core Worlds, we’re all in trouble. The best course of action is to have the Republic Fleet fight off their air carriers.’

‘Where does that leave you?’ the Chancellor asked.

Both of the men that stood before the group looked at each other, both knowing where their positions in all of this would be. They better than anyone knew the Sith and knew their tactics; if anyone would get to the inner workings, it would be them. ‘They’re handling the ground troops,’ Carth replied, seeing the knowing looks past between both men.

‘Are there even Jedi left to combat ground troops?’ asked one commander. ‘There’s no way we’d let the two of you down there without some sort of back up.’

Canderous laughed from his position. ‘They’ve got it.’

‘I know I’m asking a lot of you,’ Revan said, his eyes scanning the people before him. ‘To be truthful, this should be a fight that I should be doing; that I should be conducting alone. However, I never realized how far this had gone, how far the Sith had gotten into the Republic itself. This is truly a responsibility that should rest with me.’

‘Revan…’

‘It’s true, Carth,’ the young man interrupted. ‘The burden is clearly with me, because I’m the one that brought about the destruction of the Republic in the first place. The point is, while I appreciate any help you can offer me, I will not be offended if anyone got up and walked out. This will be a war unlike any others, as we are clearly the underdog in this. You may be injured or you may even be killed. I won’t hold it against you if you wanted no part in this.’

It was silent as those in the room contemplated what Revan had said. He was serious in what he had brought up — it had been his actions in the Mandalorian War that had not only torn apart the Jedi Order, but was paramount to weakening the Republic. He regretted the weakness he had shown on Yavin 4 when he had seen the True Sith for the first time in years; he should’ve stood his ground and not left until they had been stopped.

‘Of all the speeches I’ve heard in my military career,’ Carth responded. ‘That has to be the most idiotic and insulting.’

‘Excuse me?’

‘You really think none of us in this room would die to keep the Republic safe for our families and our loved ones?’ the Admiral continued. ‘Look around you, Rev; these men and women fought in the Jedi Civil War and the Mandalorian War. Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if some even fought against Exar Kun. We fought to keep our home and everything we cared about safe; do you think we wouldn’t give a second thought to doing it again?’

Everyone was slightly taken aback by the heart that Carth showed in his speech, none more so than Revan.

It seems that we finally see Adm. Onasi in action, Bastila ribbed.

Indeed.

‘Adm. Onasi is right,’ Dodonna said. ‘We all became officers for a reason and in situations like these, it’s important to the Republic as a whole that we stand together. What better cause than to ensure our way of life and in keeping people we care about safe?’ Agreement went around the room, the apparent distrust that had been heavy earlier now seem to fade against the words of Carth and Dodonna. Revan gave his friend a smile and a nod in thanks.

Now the real planning begins.

 


 

The Czerka Corporation headquarters within the residential east wing of the Telos sector had seen a lot of activity since its conception after the Mandalorian Wars. Jana Lorso, the leader of this section of Czerka, had thought she had seen the end of the problems that plagued her work. With the help of the Jedi Exile, she had been able to assert control over the ridiculous Restoration Project started by those incompetent Ithorians and make sure that it was Czerka that ran the show. However, in light of the much talked about return of Revan, things hadn’t been going so well for her.

With Revan back in the game, there had been some considerable heat leveled at her and Czerka, especially on the planet of Telos. She had heard that the Telos Council was looking into the actions of Czerka and the way they seemed to have driven the Ithorians off the planet; there was even the talk that Czerka would be ousted from Telos entirely. Jana wasn’t that worried — the exile and the Sith had virtually taken care of the opposition that would be needed to rid her and her operations. She wouldn’t have anything to worry about.

She had an appointment later with someone who wanted to discuss making changes within the Czerka controlled region of the planet. She had balked at first, but when the man had explained what his plans were, she had to admit that it sounded interesting. So she had set up this appointment, to meet this man, and to hear his ideas. There was of course the thought that this was just a ploy for that new Sith Lord Trayun — just to see if she was truly on their side. But Jana was always on the winning team and whichever side made the most money was one she was highly interested in.

What Jana Lorso didn’t know, and couldn’t know, was that her next appointment was with one Adat-ack, a Bith musician who just happened to be in the employment of a Sundjask ‘Sunny’ Ishim. Sunny had told Revan, nearly a year ago, that he would find a way to get Telos up and running again and that it wouldn’t involve the Hutts or Czerka. It had taken him this long just to find contacts that weren’t afraid to step up to those in power. He also had to keep a lowdown on the refugees that he was smuggling out of Nar Shaddaa. But in time, he was able to secure not only the contacts he needed, but some high profile ones as well. It wasn’t a secret anymore that the Senate was crumbling due to corruption and that many of its members were actually members of the Sith. It was the right time to get people to consider what life would be like if the Sith were able to rule again, making it easy for Sunny to get the contacts that he did.

He was lucky enough that one of his refugees was the daughter of someone within the Senate — someone who was just as appalled at the fate of the government as the rest of the galaxy. That contact was able to tell Sunny that the Ithorians, who had been running the Restoration Project on Telos, still wanted to help the planet as much as they could, but they were banned by Jana Lorso and Czerka. However, this contact was close to someone else, someone else who just happened to remember that Senator Robert Belyn, Jr. was sending money to the Czerka Corporation. All the person could say that it wasn’t a venue that the Supreme Chancellor was aware of and that he thought the money was for ‘services rendered’ by Lorso. Sunny wasn’t concerned what the supposed reason was; only that he notify someone who could do something about it.

Again, his contact within the Senate came through. This contact was himself a senator, a well respected one at that and someone who knew someone within Telos as well. It was all Sunny needed to pull off this plan. If it worked, Telos wouldn’t have to worry about anything as long as the Jedi Force allowed it. If it failed, the Sith may take the planet or Czerka would continue to run it into the ground.

Neither option was a good one.

 


 

Veroba Dee was not happy. She had searched all of Dantooine and had yet to feel the Force of these ‘lost Jedi’ that the Sith masters had told her about. She had been on such a high after killing that intrepid old master Kumar; it had been so ridiculously easy to overpower him. Even if he had been a former Jedi, he was no match for her; none at all. She had left Ossus to head to Dantooine, the place the masters felt at least one of these Jedi were, but she had found nothing. She had debated about heading to Onderon, but the masters felt they had lost the planet for the time being. That’s when they called her back to Ziost, where they were setting up for an attack on the Republic.

She wasted no time in getting there.

The former Jedi master wondered if the masters would be angry at her failure. She had returned without taking care of the mission they had given her. While she knew that the Jedi wouldn’t have done anything about this, the Sith were not as forgiving. They wouldn’t think twice about killing her. Perhaps that’s why they were calling her to their planet. As she sailed through the stars, she only had a general area of where this new planet was, but as with the planet Thule, she had never been to this place, nor had she known of it while acting on the Jedi Council.

Her navigation systems didn’t go off, but her connection to the dark side did. She could feel the darkness of the planet within a few kilometers and she changed course to head straight into the murky depths of the galaxy.

The planet had been one giant forest at one point. Back when it had been the birthplace of the Sith species, the entire planet was covered in trees and the like. But after the defeat of Naga Sadow, the Jedi — along with the Republic Fleet — had made sure that nothing could ever live or even thrive on the planet ever again. What they didn’t count on was the rich array of area that was underneath the tattered and barren remains of the top soil. It was to this clearing that Veroba was sent.

The True Sith had used their magic and resources to make the beautiful illusion of what their world once was. Only in the area that she landed did the former Jedi master see anything that once resembled the Sith world, a small forest literally growing in the backyard. But even this forest was not like any other. The trees, the creatures, the very earth was tainted by the dark side; everything was dulled in blacks and grays, making the planet even more eerie to those that could not handle the power that the darker side of the Force emitted.

Landing her ship in the midst of these trees, she was met by a small group of Sith troops. Their commander welcomed her to the planet of Ziost, saying that their masters wanted to make sure she was given an escort to their citadel. He explained that the area was only an illusion and that her trek would lead her to the underbelly of the world, the belly of the beast so to speak.

The commander led the Sith apprentice up a cleared pathway, which led downwards nearly 20ft under the dirt they had left. Their passage downwards was that of a lift, with the commander telling her of the toll that building this underground structure had taken, saying that further down was a multi-level building — at least three stories tall — that held all the operations that the masters needed to converge on the Republic. The two walked through the first level — which seemed to house the mounts of the true masters — coming to another lift elevator. ‘This citadel is based on one that had been here for many centuries, top side of course,’ the commander replied, as they rode up to the top floor. ‘The masters have hopes of turning this into a formidable fortress.’

‘What exactly is on each floor here?’ she asked, haughtingly.

‘As you saw when we came in,’ he said. ‘The first floor is mainly for the creatures of the true masters, as well as our training facility. The top floor is where the masters have their counsel set up, along with a small landing pad for our ships, while the second floor is where the true masters have set up ingenious traps for that insufferable fool Revan and his band of rebel scum.’

‘Do our masters really think Revan will make it this far?’ Veroba asked, raising an eyebrow. ‘That he’ll actually manage to breach the hold of the dark side?’

‘I can’t really say, ma’am,’ the officer said. ‘Only that the masters want to be as readily prepared as necessary.’

The lift took them to the topmost part of the building, that of the third floor and where the True Sith council now sat, eagerly awaiting the arrival of Veroba. And when she entered, she found herself facing their ghostly images. Exar Kun and Freedon Nadd greeted her first, as did the lords on either side of them. Veroba knew there must have been some sort of ‘house cleaning’ as the commoners would say. There were several members of the council missing, most notably that of Marka Ragnos. ‘You’ve noticed the changes, Master Veroba,’ Kun replied, smiling as she stepped forward before them.

‘I couldn’t help not missing them, my master.’

‘The council needed to ensure the mistakes of the past did not hinder our progress towards the future,’ Nadd responded.

‘That is why we requested your presence before us,’ one specter said. ‘We are aware you have not found the remaining Jedi that you were entrusted with.’

Veroba bowed her head; she knew she could hide nothing from her masters and she would be punished as she had originally thought. ‘However,’ it continued. ‘It has come to our knowledge that there is some dissention within our ranks.’ The Falleen’s head popped up to look at the council.

‘Who dares try to defy you, my lords?’ she asked, vehemently.

‘It seems that Lord Trayun’s apprentices can not be trusted any longer.’ Exar Kun stated. ‘This is why we asked you here, Veroba.’

‘We have taken care of the woman,’ Nadd replied. ‘But that leaves us with the problem of Lord Casus. We want you to take care of him.’

‘It would be a pleasure, my master.’

‘We thought you might need some help in the matter,’ another of the spirits said. From an inner door, several Sith troops strolled in, with a large Wookie in between them. His furry paws were shackled and he seemed to be causing a raucous with his loud howling. Kun immediately stepped forward and put the beast down, sending several blasts of Force Lightening through the poor beast.

‘You are ours now, beast,’ the Sith lord sneered, forcing out the last word through his teeth. ‘We only spare you in order to put you to our uses. Besides, we have a mutual threat that seeks to destroy both of us.’

‘When these shackles are unchained from me, I shall kill you with my bare hands, spirit!’ the beast growled, only to be met with the laughter of those around him.

‘Ellis Yoly,’ Kun continued. ‘You know the name, yes? He was your captain aboard the Ebon Hawk.’

‘I tolerated him because he knew of death.’

‘Then you will tolerate us,’ the Sith lord replied. ‘His people are a threat to us and you, along with Veroba here, will take care of them for us.’

‘My lord,’ the Falleen whispered. ‘Are you sure you trust this…creature…to carry out something so decisive upon our cause?’

Kun turned to look at his servant. ‘While he may be a beast,’ he said. ‘He has the strength needed to crush our opposition. You do realize that once Lord Casus is disposed of, Lord Trayun won’t be far behind. And if he has teamed with Revan, we will need someone to hold him.’

Veroba nodded, finally seeing the larger plan. ‘It will be my pleasure killing Revan, my lord.’ She said, smiling widely. ‘I’ve wanted to be rid of him since his days as an arrogant, insolent brat at the Jedi Academy. I had hoped wiping his mind would be his death.’

‘Think of this as your chance to right those wrongs.’

‘We have sent Lord Casus and those loyal to Trayun out with the Necrosis,’ Nadd began. ‘We will download their trajectory to your nav-computer once you have left. You are to board their ship and kill everyone on board.’

‘And what if Trayun or Revan finds us?’ Veroba asked.

The council looked at her, all of them wearing the same Cheshire type smiles. ‘That’s exactly what we’re hoping will happen.’

 

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