Star Wars the Old Republic
The Sith Imperium: Shadows of Solaria
The black crystal radiated a dark energy as Prince Zendrasa held it in his hand. Many apprentices of the Sith had killed and been killed to gather the energy that now would power their ritual. The Emperor had sent him to oversee the project, but he was not tasked with conducting the ritual. For that, the Emperor selected Darth Vergerre, Darth Andrann, and Darth Pasaiss, to be escorted by Speaker Rav’ara, Lord Agasling and a contingent of Marines from Vornskr Squad from the Imperium Marine Corps.
Prince Zendrasa hands the black crystal to Darth Vergerre. Darth Vergerre, a powerful and beautiful Sith pureblood takes the stone into her red hands and bows slightly to her friend and prince.
“There is a lot of power in this small stone” Darth Vergerre said as she took it.
“It should be enough to force our way through the barrier.” Prince Zendrasa says with a shrug. “Of course it could just cause a large Force explosion and kill us all if this doesn’t work.”
“It will work.” Darth Vergerre winks and turns to walk towards a cave flanked by Darth Andrann, Darth Pasaiss, Lord Agasling and Speaker Rav’ara.
Zendrasa turns to Darth Ezrian, who along with four knights formed his guard detail. They stood on a pristine beach. The sun was about to set, in the distance Sovereign hovered over head flanked by two Terminus Destroyers, a precaution that Darth Vaguest insisted upon in case this all went awry.
“They are going to be fine, Zen,” she says.
“Yeah… of course,” he says with his typical grin. It was apparent to her that he had misgivings about this mission. He turned back to the cave as their silhouettes disappeared from vision and waited. _________________________________________________________________________________________
There was a dark energy emanating from the cave. An eerie silence was broken only by the sound of their boots. Down a long path was a dim light which grew brighter and larger as they approached. They were careful. A survey team had found nothing in the cave but this portion of the planet was relatively unused by the Imperium and it was prudent to be cautious.
As they approached the end of the path the tunnel opened into a large cavern with a single, gray, unmarked, metallic door. Beside it two torches lit the room.
The door was large enough to be used by a rancor Vergerre thought to herself. “Probably best not to think like that.” She said aloud as the others filed in behind her.
“What?” Pasaiss said from just behind her.
“Nothing” Vergerre took out the stone from her pocket.
“Well lets get this over with then.” Darth Vergerre heads toward the door. As she approached the stone began to shine. A purple glow began to build as the stone got closer to the door. Vergerre stopped and looked down at it.
“The stone is reacting as it gets close to the door.” Andrann remarked standing next to Pasaiss.
“Nothing else has reacted to the technology on this world, the Emperor was right.” Darth Vergerre said she thought to herself about the possibilities that could be beyond this door. Could this be the advantage she needed to advance her own agenda. She focused herself on the mission so as not to get her hopes up.
Darth Vergerre closed in on the door. The purple light grew more radiant as it approached until she touched the stone against the door. Suddenly there was a quiet the stone’s glow suddenly faded as the energy seemed to transfer to the door but then there was nothing. Vergerre examines the stone which now seems dead.
“Hmmm,” she says.
“What happened?” Darth Pasaiss asked.
“I don’t kno-“ Vergerre begins to say while facing them, Darth Pasaiss points behind Vergerre as the door begins to change color, a darkness forms at it’s center, a black hole of some sort. Either a portal or something else. They did not have the time figure it out before Vergerre lets out a scream. A dark hand reaches from the hole, pierces Vergerre’s armor and chest and opens it’s four fingered hand. The hand closes and retracts leaving a bloody, gaping wound. Darth Vergerre, still alive looks down and collapses to her knees and then side.
“What is thi-“ She utters as she dies. Andrann, Pasaiss, Agasling and Rav’ara drop their jaws, stunned by the sudden action. For a moment there is quiet before a roar escapes the portal and then, the hand again. A shadowy figure crawls through the portal, then another, then another. They ignite their sabers and prepare to fight.
Prince Zendrasa’s head snaps towards the cave as he feels Vergerre pass in the Force. He ignites his white blade and breaks in a dead run towards the cave.
“Zen, NO!” Ezrian says at first but then the knights ignite their sabers and run after him.
They enter the cave. The buzzing of light sabers can be hearing, the grunting of the four who are fighting for their lives can be heard. Yelling, and then screaming. They continue their run and get halfway down the chamber before a series of yells and then silence. The flickering of the light that occurred as their bodies passed before the torches suddenly stopped.
There can be no mistaking it in the Force. Zendrasa knows that they have fallen in battle. He continues running.
The five enter the cavern and find the five bodies on the floor but elsewise the cavern is empty. Zendrasa approaches the center where Andrann, Pasaiss, and Agasling lay each of their hands reached towards their lightsabers. Rav'ara next to Pasaiss with a blaster. They died fighting.
The knights form a half circle around Zendrasa as he approaches Vergerre, his old friend.
“V…” He says in a defeated voice.
He takes a knee beside her and bows his head for a moment.
Ezrian’s voice breaks the silence.
“My prince we should get out of here.” She says. “It’s not safe. We should just collapse the cavern and go.”
Zendrasa clenches his fist as a rage builds inside him. The cavern begins to tremble as his rage is made manifest by the Force. Then a drop of a black substance falls near him. Zendrasa looks down. Another drop falls, a black gooey substance, he points his finger to touch the substance but is stopped by Ezrian.
“Zen look!” She grabs him pointing up. The white eyes of various creatures are seen piercing the darkness of the top of the cave. There were dozens of these shadow creatures now climbing down the walls, hissing as they approached their pray.
“Get the prince out of here now!” Yells one of the knights. They form a line by the entrance to the cavern while Ezrian grabs Zendrasa by the shoulder and pulls him out. She can see the portal opening again, more shadowy figures crawled through. They break into a run again, heading for the exit. The lights flicker behind them as the buzzing and whirring of the lightsabers signal that a pitched battle is being fought. Suddenly there are yells, the saber sounds stop, and the torches suddenly are put out.
Zendrasa looks back for a moment to see darkness.
“Don’t look back!” Ezrian yells. She looks back foolishly and curses herself as she sees the white eyes of the shadowy figures piercing the darkness. “I really need to follow my own advice.”
They run out the cave and their vision is suddenly whited out by light as their eyes adapt to the sun. Zen and Ezrian cover their eyes but keep running. Suddenly they can see two troop transports hovering just over the surface. Vornskr Squad runs towards them prepared to hold the mouth of the cave. They form a perimeter firing on the cave as a naval officer waves Zendrasa towards the transport meant to take him to the Sovereign.
“My Prince, this way!” He yells.
Several Sith jump from a nearby transport running towards Vornskr which has now began to open fire at the mouth of the cave and anything that is coming out of it. Several of the figures fall to the floor leaving black gooey corpses white eyes and teeth contrasting against their dark skin.
“There are too many!” Zendrasa can hear on the comms as he enters the transport. As he and Ezrian board it picks up just as a bolt of turbolaser fire brushes past the transport. Zendrasa snaps his head towards the source. Sovereign and the two escort Terminus Destroyers have begun opening fire on the cave intent on destroying everything in close proximity to the cave. The transport doors close as they head for the hangar deck on Sovereign which is still commencing fire on the surface. Explosions can be heard in the distance.
Zendrasa heads to the bridge, the Emperor observes the progress of the fire mission from there. He is silent.
Zendrasa marches up, Ezrian to his left and a step behind. They stop at the foot of the steps on the bridge and kneel.
Darth Vaguest approaches from the command and control section of the bridge and stands near the Emperor.
“Come, my grandson.” The Emperor says beckoning Zendrasa forward. Zen stands and slowly walks towards the Lord Emperor. Vaguest approaches Ezrian who stands and attempts to follow the Prince.
Darth Arestenax extends his hand guiding his grandson to take his side.
Vaguest stops Ezrian with left hand raised catching her shoulder gently as she attempted to move forward. She stops and heeds the cue. Darth Vaguest leans in and whispers into Darth Ezrian’s ear.
“We know about the Triumvirate,” he says to her. Her eyes widen as she knew what this meant. The Lord Emperor was aware about their plan to break protocol zero, the highest dictate of the Sith Imperium. Vaguest ignites his lightsaber piercing her center chest.
Zendrasa turns back in horror as he feels and hears what just happened. He grabs for his saber but finds that his hand is immobilized before it can ignite the blade.
“What is the meaning of this?!” He yells.
“Quiet, my grandson, everything is transpiring exactly as I have foreseen.” He says, turning his back on the scene and heading back towards the large window. He raises his hand signaling the bridge officer to stop firing. The sounds of turbolasers firing on the planet surface stops.
Darth Vaguest deactivates his blade. Darth Ezrian’s body collapses before him and he turns to slowly take the side of his master. Zendrasa releases his hand from his blade and runs to Ezrian who is still clinging to life.
“Ez!?” He yells as he takes her hand and body into his lap. “WHY?!” He demanded to know. His sadness, anger and confusion radiating in the Force being made manifest by a trembling in the deck. His eyes glow red as he looks towards the Lord Emperor for the first time in hatred.
“My… prince…” Ezrian says weakly. “Stop…”
Zendrasa calms himself and looks down at her.
“I am sorry… my prince.” She said quietly between her gasps for life. “We… betr-ayed… you.”
Life fades from her eyes as she dies in his arms.
A single tear falls from Zendrasa’s face, onto her hand. He places her hand on her chest, and clenches his fist. The Lord Emperor now hovers before him.
“Come… child” He says with outstretched hand. “It is time you knew.”
Zendrasa looks up at the Lord Emperor. At the end of the long bridge silhouettes approach in all black. Darth Azu’lae, Darth Krawsir, Darth Veldarius and Praetor Myara approach.