MOTF Book II: Ascension Chapter 9

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MOTF Book II: Ascension Chapter 9

Post by Emperordmb on Thu Mar 12, 2015 2:42 am

Dathomir was a peculiar place indeed, home to the witches known as the Nightsisters, clans of warriors and shamans who could wield the power of the Force, though they did not call it the Force. Instead, they attributed their powers, or “magicks” to “the spirits.” For too long, the Nightsisters had sold the services of their hunters to the Sith Collective, and that made them a threat to the Jedi, and a threat to the Galactic Federation Triumvirate. As soon as the Jedi attacked Dathomir, the Sith had arrived to fight alongside the Nightsisters in defense of their home planet.

Now, across the plains of Dathomir, Arthur saw the crimson blades of the Sith, and the purple energy bows of the Nightsisters. They were approaching him. Arthur drew the hilt of his lightsaber from his utility belt, and felt the touch of cold metal on his hand. As his finger slid over the ignition button, Arthur watched the emerald green blade of his lightsaber flash into existence, just as beautiful as when he had constructed it on Ilum two years ago. Now at fifteen years of age, Arthur was substantially more experienced, wise, and knowledgeable as a Jedi than he had been when he first joined the Jedi Order.

Arthur raised his blade and fell into a Soresu sequence as a volley of purple bolts of energy rained upon him from a distance. His blade traced a tight path around his body as he deflected bolt after bolt of purple energy. A small band of three Nightsisters, four Nightbrothers, and two Sith acolytes raced towards him. Arthur could feel the anger burning inside of each of the Nightbrothers, he felt the hatred swelling in each of the Sith Acolytes, and he wasn't exactly sure what he felt emanating from the Nightsisters. It felt foreign, almost alien to him.

It wasn't long before the first of the group, a red and brown nightbrother wielding a spiked mace, reached Arthur. The Nightbrother swung at him from the right in a vicious and powerful swing, but Arthur parried before leaning back to narrowly evade the man's next swing. Arthur took another step back as the Nightbrother raised his mace high in the air with both hands, and brought it down upon him as hard as possible, with a loud cry of rage. Arthur braced his arms and strengthened his already formidable Innamortan musculature with the power of the Force before raising his blade to block. His arms did not budge a single inch as the spiked ball of the mace collided with his lightsaber. Instead, he simply stood there, staring into the Nightbrother's hateful eyes as a shower of sparks and green mist spouted from the point where there weapons collided. Suddenly, Arthur transitioned into an Ataru maneuver, twirling through the air and carving his blade through the Nightbrother's neck before he could even react.

By then, the other three nightbrothers and the two Sith Acolytes were but a few feet away from him, while the three Nightsisters were hanging back a few feet firing more plasma arrows at Arthur. The young Jedi fell back into the sequences of Soresu, this time, utilizing it for blast deflection and defensive dueling at the same time. As Arthur defended against his five close quarter opponents, it only took him a few seconds to analyze each of their fighting styles and strategies. The older of the two Sith Acolytes was a human male who appeared to be around sixteen or eighteen years old, while the other Acolyte was a male Keshiri who looked to be about the same age as Arthur. The human fought with a rather clumsy application of Djem So, and appeared to have lost his left leg and right arm long ago, seeing as both were replaced by cybernetic appendages. The Keshiri appeared to fight with Soresu as his primary technique, so he didn't seem to be much of a problem whenever Arthur was fighting in a defensive role. As far as the Nightbrothers went, they were all fully grown and heavily muscled adult Zabraks. One was a orange and brown skinned Nightbrother wielding two sickles, another was a yellow and red tatooed Nightbrother brandishing a large sword, and the third was a black and yellow skinned Nightbrother wielding a spear. Each of the Nightbrother's weapons could survive contact with Arthur's lightsaber, which he figured was because they were enchanted by Nightsister magic.

In an attempt to alleviate the offensive pressure that was driving him back, Arthur thrusted out with the Force and sent the Human Acolyte sprawling several feet away. Immediately, the sickle wielding Nightbrother charged forwards and attacked Arthur in a frenzy, taking advantage of the sudden opening provided to him by the absence of the clumsy Acolyte. Arthur, however, was already looking to take advantage of this man's change in tactics. Arthur feigned a desperate retreat, drawing the sickle wielding nightbrother forward ahead of his allies. After Arthur was able to draw him a few feet forward, he quickly transitioned into Ataru, flipping backwards and unleashing a saberswarm upon the Nightbrother, the likes of which he did not have the speed to defend against, and was quickly felled by three lethal stabs to the abdomen. Just as the other two Nightbrothers raced forward, Arthur sensed an impending danger through the Force and ducked down, looking up just in time to see a mace splitting the air where his head had once been and striking the sword wielding Nightbrother in the face, killing him almost instantly. Arthur quickly rolled a couple of meters away from the melee as the mace swung back at his head, ending up on his feet just in time to deflect the next volley of plasma arrows from the three nightsisters.

Then, Arthur saw the Human Acolyte charging at him, this time with the mace of the first fallen Nightbrother in his left hand, alongside the lightsaber in his right. This time, Arthur utilized Niman, drawing upon its versatility to adapt to the Acolyte's rather unorthodox attack, utilizing a combination of offensive and defensive maneuvers to drive the Acolyte back while at the same time defending himself from the Acolyte's reckless assault. After a couple of seconds, the Acolyte overextended his mace arm, and Arthur's emerald blade rended his left arm from the rest of his body. Arthur hurled the Acolyte into his remaining two opponents with the Force before the scream had even left his mouth, knocking the Human and the Nightbrother to the ground with great force, though the Keshiri was able to evade. Arthur advanced on the Keshiri, unleashing a fast paced Ataru attack sequence against the Acolyte as he spun and twisted out of the way of the oncoming plasma arrows fired upon him by the Nightsisters. In about three seconds, Arthur saw his opening. Striking with lightning quick speed, Arthur slashed at the Keshiri's legs, before immediately spinning around and brining his blade high as soon as the Keshiri had blocked his first strike. The Keshiri never even got a chance to scream before his head toppled off of his body.

Arthur continued to block the Nightsister's plasma arrows as he slowly began to advance upon the three of them. With a cry of fury, the spear wielding Nightbrother started to get back up on his feet, but Arthur drove his foot straight through the shaft of the spear, snapping it in half, and caving the Nightbrother's chest in when his foot plowed into it. As Arthur drew closer and closer to the three Nightsisters, it all seemed over when Arthur heard an inhuman shriek of fury from behind him. Risking a quick glance back, Arthur saw dozens of Nightsisters charging at him, but there was something different about them. They were unarmed, their flesh was decayed, their muscles heavily atrophied, and they were glowing green. But the most peculiar thing was that Arthur could not feel their lives through the Force. An undead army! Arthur recognized with horror and revulsion as they drew nearer to him.

When he snapped his head back to face the three living Nightsisters, they were no longer standing. Their bodies were strewn across the ground, and in the face stood a familiar figure. An elderly man in Jedi robes wielding a blue lightsaber, one of his eyes blue and the other green. It was his master! The Grand Master of the Jedi, Mongooku, had arrived. Not a word was spoken as Mongooku strode calmly over to Arthur's side, both waiting for the sea of enemies to reach them. When the wave of undead Nightsisters broke upon them, the two Jedi were ready. In mirror images, Arthur and his master both flew into a relentless Ataru flurry, cleaving through undead limbs and bodies with a frenzy of Force-fueled aggression, but on the inside, both of them were perfectly calm. As the next few dozen undead warriors swarmed them, both master and apprentice transitioned into Niman. Arthur fought with a practical and tactical calculation, utilizing whatever strategy and maneuver would be most effective in each situation he found himself in, sometimes hard pressed to bring up his blade in time. Mongooku fought by his side, cleaving through several undead Nightsisters with each strike, and frequently blasting several of them away or apart with a sudden burst of telekinetic power. At last, after a minute of hewing through undead Nightsister, when there was but a single cluster of a dozen left, Mongooku extended one hand towards them, and golden rays of light shot from his fingertips and the very palms of his hand. Immediately, the undead Nightsisters collapsed to the ground motionless, the strange power that had animated their corpses suddenly deserting them, melting away from the pure light side energy that now cascaded over them.

"I think you should open with that next time Master!" Arthur exclaimed in astonishment.

"Yes well, then I wouldn't get the chance to observe you demonstrate your skill with a lightsaber," Mongooku replied with a warm smile.

"Always a lesson or test Master," Arthur observed with a chuckle.

"Yes indeed!" Mongooku replied with a hearty laugh. "But now we must hurry. We cannot miss the rendezvous point with Masters Ilu or Nalaniel."

Arthur nodded as the two sped off in the direction of the main Nightsister compound. He knew the plan, just as all Jedi on Dathomir did. He and his master would rendezvous with Jedi Masters Amoye Ilu and Nalaniel at Mother Veliya’s Fortress, along with Terro and Jaira. While they targeted the leader of the Nightsisters, the rest of the Jedi on Dathomir would be fighting in a battle meld, a powerful force technique that allowed several Jedi to join their minds together, allowing them to draw strength from each other, and granting them near perfect coordination with each other. Such a power did not see much use, given that the typical ratio of Jedi to soldiers would make battle meditation more effective, but there were several Jedi involved in the Battle of Dathomir. Arthur had taken part in several battles and missions alongside his master and fellow Padawans, but this was the largest battle he had ever been a part of.

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Of all the vivid colors on the battlefield of Dathomir, red was by far the most prevalent. It was the color of the red skies of the planet, bestowed upon it by its red sun Domir. It was the color of the blood of most species, namely the Humans and the Dathomirians, spilled across the soil of Dathomir. It was the color of the blades of the Sith Acolytes that fought alongside the Nightsisters against the Jedi. It was the color of Darth Umbravon’s own lightsaber blade, but he was a Force more powerful and lethal than any of the other Sith Acolytes on Korriban, Dathomir, or anywhere else in the Galaxy. It had been two years since he had constructed his lightsaber, became an Acolyte, threw his rivals down, and gained the mantle of Darth. Since that day, Darth Umbravon had trained vigorously, perfecting his skills in Juyo, learning to harness more powerful lightning from his fingertips, and deepening his understanding of the Dark Side of the Force. Unlike some of the other Acolytes, who either joined one of the nine Spheres of Influence or apprenticed themselves to a Sith Lord or Master, Darth Umbravon and his friends, Sangara, Nighthawk, and Ignus, decided to train on their own, studying, sparring, and practicing their skills together. They had participated in many battles against the Jedi together, and now they found themselves on Dathomir, coming to the aid of the Nightsisters against the Galactic Federation Triumvirate.

The sound of blasterfire resonated across the battlefield as wave after wave of Triumvirate soldiers stormed the area. Each wave quickly broke upon the combined might of the Sith Collective and the Clans of Dathomir, transforming the battlefield into a chaotic frenzy. Umbravon was surrounded by a dozen Triumvirate soldiers, but he was hardly in a desperate situation, he was in a situation he was enjoying immensely. Channeling his fury into his blade work, Darth Umbravon launched into a vicious Juyo sequence, lashing out at the Triumvirate soldiers with strikes that were unpredictable, bold, and lightning fast. His blade slashed open one soldier’s chest before skewering the throat of another. Still in motion, Umbravon caught another soldier across the face with a sudden slash before felling two more soldiers with several strikes across their armored abdomens. The entire sequence had taken only a couple of seconds. Umbravon quickly transitioned into a Soresu sequence, twirling his blade around his body to deflect a volley of blaster bolts from the seven remaining soldiers, who were now beginning to step backwards, hoping to avoid the blazing fury of Umbravon’s blade. Umbravon had to admit it was an admirable tactic, but his lightsaber was not the only weapon he had at his disposal.

Umbravon could feel the Dark Side of the Force surging through him as he thrust out his free hand and hurled a wave of Force energy at the nearest three soldiers, sweeping them off their feet. One of the soldiers was completely unprepared, and his neck snapped back with the force of the impact. The other two soldiers had braced themselves, but one of them found his body broken on a nearby tree, and the other slammed into the ground unconscious. Before the other soldiers could react, Darth Umbravon gestured at them with his hand, this time releasing a barrage of crackling blue bolts from his fingertips, catching three of the soldiers in the blast. In a second, the soldiers’ smoking corpses were falling to the ground. The last standing soldier was firing at Umbravon, but the young Sith swept his bolts to the side with a casual disdain as he charged at him. Umbravon’s first sweep deflected a bolt to the right, his second deflected a bolt to the left, and his third cut the man clean in half at the waist. Quickly, Umbravon spun around to face eight soldiers that had amassed several feet behind him and begun to open fire. Umbravon leapt towards them with blinding fast speed, deflecting every shot away from them with his skill in Soresu as he soared through the air towards them. When he finally reached them, he fell into the fury of Juyo, and they were all dead in less than three seconds.

When Umbravon turned back around, the formerly unconscious soldier clamored back to his feet and whipped out his blaster pistol. Before he could get a shot out however, Umbravon tore the weapon from the man’s grasp and crushed his throat with the power of the Dark Side. Umbravon enjoyed violence, but he was no sadist. He did not take pleasure in the suffering of those he had no personal grudge against. The rush he got from unleashing devastating power against his foes however, that was pure ecstasy.

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Ignus flew at his enemies, twirling the twin blades of his saberstaff in elaborate and graceful arcs, hewing through the limbs and bodies of Triumvirate soldiers with every strike. Heads toppled off of bodies and the sound of screams filled Ignus’s ears. Alongside his friends, Ignus had trained immensely over the past couple of years, watching his powers and skills grow at an exceedingly fast rate. A few months ago, he had constructed a saberstaff, and had never regretted that decision since, becoming intimately familiar with its tricks and secrets, and adapting its advantages into his fighting style. As several of the soldiers drew vibroblades, Ignus transitioned into the furious sequences of Juyo, carving each of the soldiers to pieces in ferocious and unpredictable attack sequences, driven into a furious frenzy by the rage and anger he called upon. As Ignus cut apart every soldier that came within striking distance, the stench of blood, charred flesh, and ozone wafted into his nostrils. He might have been revulsed by the smell, were it not for the relentless and animalistic fury that burned within him like a fire, an inferno waiting to be unleashed upon the world.

His decision to become a Sith had been rather obvious. Back as Tormax on Innamorta two years ago, he had been presented with a choice. He could either stay on Innamorta, remain subservient to his parents, and watch his spoiled sister assume the throne, or he could become a Sith, learn to harness his anger, and attain power he had only dreamed of. What he had received however, was power beyond what he had dreamed of. He had not only become a greater warrior, he became powerful on a level he never knew existed. The Dark Side of the Force and the passion that harnessed it were invigorating to the very core of Ignus’s being. He was an acolyte of the Sith, a warrior of the Dark Side, and he was growing more powerful and skilled with each passing week.

Now that every soldier within striking distance of Ignus had been cut down, the remaining ten soldiers were in a circle around him, each one standing at least four meters away from him, all firing their blasters. Ignus leapt and twirled through the air with the acrobatics of Ataru while employing the blast deflection techniques of soresu, his hilt held close to his body in a two handed grip as he deflected the blaster bolts he was unable to dodge. Ignus drew upon his rage and fury and lashed out with the Force, hurling a group of three soldiers to the ground with enough force to break bone. Ignus then leapt towards them and stomped at their prone bodies with his boots, meanwhile dodging and deflecting blasterfire from the other six soldiers. Ignus then charged back at the soldiers at full speed, powering the muscles in his legs with the sheer strength of his rage. In a blur, Ignus cut down the nearest two soldiers with his saberstaff before the others could respond. He then gave his staff a quick twirl to deflect the blaster bolts that were fired upon him from the four remaining soldiers, who were trying desperately to gun him down. Ignus leapt forwards and twirled through the air with his body parallel to the ground. As his body twirled through the air, he spun his saberstaff in an elaborate arc, taking the head of one of the soldiers and cutting the other in half. At the same time, he threw his foot out, striking another soldier hard enough in the chest to cave his entire ribcage in. As the last soldier fired at him, Ignus twirled away from the shot, and stabbed the tip of one of his blades towards the soldier, skewering the man through the heart.

Ignus’s battlefield fury did not go unnoticed. A Jedi Knight wielding a blue bladed lightsaber charged at him, unleashing a sequence of quick and precise jabs. The Knight’s form was excellent, each of his moves seemingly flowing into the next. Ignus fought back against the elegance of Makashi with the grace of Ataru, driving the Jedi Knight back with a fast paced sequence of sweeps and elaborate arcs. The Knight’s force presence felt a little strange to Ignus. It felt a bit… complex and large, almost expanded. While Ignus was pondering this, the Knight grazed the edge of his left shoulder with the tip of his blue blade, before stabbing the tip of his blade at Ignus’s face like a spear. Ignus was forced to backflip through the air, narrowly evading the strike that almost killed him. As soon as his feet almost touched the ground, the knight was already on him, striking and jabbing at Ignus’s defensive lapses as he struggled to regain his footing. Ignus was furious. Furious at the Knight for driving him back, furious at himself for allowing himself to be distracted, and furious at whatever caused him to have such a strange force presence. Fueled by his fury, Ignus charged, forcing the Jedi Knight into a backpedalling retreat with the fury of Juyo. Suddenly, transitioning back into Ataru, Ignus swept the Jedi’s blade to the side, kicked him in the ribcage hard enough to shatter his ribcage, and twirled around, twisting and spinning his saber as he did so. When he stopped spinning, the Jedi lay in pieces on the ground. His legs had been severed above the knees, his head had been cleaved from his body, his arms were severed, and his torso had been cut in half. Strangely enough, Ignus still felt the strange presence he had felt in the Jedi, only at a distance.

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Nighthawk did not immediately charge into the middle of the battlefield with the same enthusiasm his friends had. He considered himself far too badass for that. Instead, Nighthawk stood on the fringes of the battlefield, his saber held tightly in both hands. Any soldier stupid enough to shoot at him got his blaster bolt returned to him through his skull with a casual flick of Nighthawk’s blade, or felt his throat crushed by the invisible hand of the Dark Side. Nighthawk longed to rush in and kill as many enemies as he could, but he needed to stand on the edges of the fight for a few more seconds looking badass before he did so. Just then, on one side of the battlefield, Nighthawk saw Ignus tear a Jedi Knight apart with his saberstaff. Right then and there, Nighthawk decided he had waited on the edge of the battlefield long enough to look badass. Now it was time to kill a Jedi!

Nighthawk slowly but purposefully walked onto the battlefield, his posture kept straight and his eyesight lined up parallel to the ground. He deliberately walked in a way that seemed casual and bold at the same time, deciding that’s what would make him look the most imposing and powerful. A single black vambrace with a fingerless glove was worn on his left arm, because he thought it would look awesome and intimidating. Three soldiers took notice of him and charged at him with their vibroblades, but Nighthawk quickly hewed them apart with his blade, decapitating the first one, cutting the second one in half through the top of his head, and stabbing his blade straight through the third one, driving it all the way through his chest before withdrawing it. Then he continued walking. Another group of five soldiers amassed in front of him, but he was already ready. As the five soldiers fired upon Nighthawk, he casually deflected their blaster bolts to the side, casually twirling his blade around his body to show them he was untouchable before he crushed them. Then, after a few seconds of establishing his invincibility, Nighthawk began to angle his blade, redirecting the soldiers’ blasterfire back into them with an application of Shien. One of the five soldiers managed to evade the deflection of his blasterfire, but before he could fire another shot, Nighthawk lifted him into the air in the steel grip of the Dark Side of the Force and pulled him towards his body. He stared into the man’s frightened eyes with a seemingly unfeeling gaze as he watched the man claw at his throat for breath. Eventually, his head drooped and his eyelids sagged. Nighthawk could feel through the Force that the man was no longer alive. Letting him fall to the ground, Nighthawk extended his left hand and called the soldier’s blaster pistol into his hand.

It was then that Nighthawk truly charged into the battlefield. Drawing upon his hatred to empower his body, Nighthawk ran out into the middle of the battlefield, towards the nearest cluster of eight Triumvirate soldiers. He shot the first two straight through the chest, whipped his saber left and right to deflect the soldiers’ blasterfire into the next two soldiers. As he drew closer to the remaining for soldiers, Nighthawk crossed his arms and fired a shot into the chest of a soldier to his right from the blaster pistol in his left hand, meanwhile deflecting a blaster bolt into the weapon of a soldier on his left with the lightsaber in his right hand. As the soldier on the left lost his weapon, Nighthawk raised his blaster and shot the man right between the eyes, killing him instantly. He holstered the blaster on his utility belt before taking his lightsaber up in both hands and cutting the last two soldiers down with Form V overhead chops.

Nighthawk's eyes searched the battlefield until he saw them. Two Jedi, a Knight and a Padawan. A master and apprentice duo fighting back to back, in almost perfect synchronization. The Padawan looked to be a new padawan, somewhere around the age of thirteen. Seeking to reduce the number of opponents he was facing, Nighthawk gathered his hatred and unleashed a blast of Force energy, hurling the Padawan several meters back and sending him sprawling, despite the Force barriers the Padawan had erected. The Jedi Knight turned around just as Nighthawk whipped out his blaster pistol and unleashed a stream of blaster bolts at the Jedi. The Jedi Knight transitioned into Soresu, deflecting the blaster bolts to the side with his green blade. Realizing the fight would not be won this way, Nighthawk returned the blaster to his belt and took up his blade in both hands, charging at the Jedi. As Nighthawk began a sequence of powerful overhand chops, the Jedi fell into a retreat, deflecting Nighthawk’s blows to the side at slight angles while giving ground. Remembering a technique Darth Umbravon often used, Nighthawk began to strike, slightly arcing his blade on his power blows to prevent them from being circumvented with Soresu’s tight deflections. The move had not been taught to Nighthawk when he had learned Djem So in the Prime Academy, or in any of his studies. It seemed to be an innovation by Umbravon, but it seemed like a pretty damn effective one. Sure enough, the Jedi Knight found it more and more difficult to defend against Nighthawk’s power blows. Knocking the Knight off balance with a couple of overhand chops, Nighthawk then swept his blade to the side with a powerful sweep. Taking advantage of the opening, Nighthawk strengthened his muscles with the power of his hatred and slammed his elbow straight into the man’s face as hard as he could, crushing his nose and shattering the front of his skull. As the Jedi fell over dead, his Padawan screamed, “No!!!” and charged at Nighthawk. Casually, Nighthawk whipped out the blaster pistol and fired a shot at the Padawan. As the Padawan moved his lightsaber blade to deflect the shot, Nighthawk hurled his lightsaber like a spear, impaling the Padawan through the heart. Satisfied by his victory and the fact that he had looked completely badass, Nighthawk extended a hand and called his lightsaber back into it.

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Sangara could feel the passion swelling within the core of her being, but, like always, she channeled it and focused it extensively before allowing it to be released on the outside world. She called upon this focused rage and hatred to draw upon the power of the Dark Side, feeling it permeate and saturate her very being. Several soldiers were firing upon Sangara, but with the power of the Dark Side sharpening her mind, empowering her body, and allowing her to sense some of the shots before they were even made, Sangara was able to capably defend against the barrage of blasterfire, dodging some blaster bolts and blocking others, depending on what the situation called for. That was Sangara’s strength in martial combat, her adaptability, and her immense connection to the Force. But martial combat was hardly the only means of combat Sangara had at her disposal, or even her primary one. Her true strength, was in her Force abilities.

As a couple more soldiers joined the group firing upon her, Sangara realized that she would not be able to deflect and evade their blasterfire indefinitely. She had to do something. Reaching out with the Force, Sangara pulled the nearest soldier off of his feet and pulled him in front of her, levitated facing away from her, serving as her meat shield. As some of the soldiers stopped firing and some of them kept shooting her meat shield, Sangara gathered her power for a couple of seconds, then she unleashed it. Sangara hurled the soldier’s body forward withe the velocity of a missile, striking several of the soldiers firing upon her, killing three of them on impact and knocking four other ones over. Taking advantage of the momentary chaos and confusion Sangara had thrown her enemies into, she extended a hand and channeled her passion and the power of the Dark Side through it, watching it’s power spring from her fingertips in crackling bolts of blue lightning. Four of the soldiers were caught in the blast and killed in less than a couple of seconds, their corpses smoking by the time they fell to the ground. As the three standing soldiers raised their blasters to fire at Sangara, the Sith Acolyte merely swept her hand to the side and tore their weapons from their grasp. The first soldier she yanked towards her with the Force and impaled. The second soldier had his neck broken by the impact of a fallen corpse slamming into it at a great enough velocity, propelled into the air by Sangara’s power.

The third soldier pulled out a grenade and hurled it at Sangara, but Sangara caught it with the Force and tossed it over to where the four knocked over soldiers were starting to rise to their feet, with three other soldiers rushing in to help them. Smiling, Sangara unleashed a blast of Force lightning into it just as it hit the ground, detonating the grenade in a violent explosion that killed all seven soldiers. Sangara turned back to the soldier who had thrown the grenade. His eyes were wide with horror as he tried to draw a vibroblade. Sangara casually extended an arm and snapped his neck with the Force.

Sangara suddenly flew backwards and hit the ground as a wave of telekinetic power struck her. When she looked up, she saw two Jedi knights standing over her, each with their lightsaber ignited and two soldiers behind them. One was a Nautolan, and the other was a Twi’lek. Something about the two Jedi felt strange, as if their presences were somehow merged. Yet even then, the presence felt more complex and widespread than just those two. Any other acolyte, except for perhaps Darth Umbravon, would be helpless in this situation, but Sangara knew what to do. Rather than attack the Jedi directly, Sangara instead reached out to the soldier who stood behind the Twi’lek Jedi, reaching into his thoughts, feeling the subtle intricacies of his mind. Sangara felt her own hatred and rage at the Jedi, and channeled that through her mind into the soldiers in a sudden burst, willing him with all of her might to make an action which might save her life. Without warning, the soldier suddenly shot the Twi’lek right in the back. Horrified, the Nautolan turned around just in time to cut down the soldier before he could shoot him too, but he left himself exposed. Immediately, Sangara extended a hand and unleashed a barrage of lightning upon the Nautolan Jedi. Sangara quickly spun around to decapitate the other trooper before he could intervene, before turning her attention back to the Jedi convulsing at her feet. With one final surge of lightning, Sangara felt the life of the Nautolan finally dissipate.

Sangara then glanced over at Darth Umbravon, who was fighting a Rodian Jedi Master and his Human Padawan. The two Jedi were fighting with perfect coordination and synchronization, and Sangara felt the a similar presence emanating from them as had been emanating from the two Knights who had confronted her. Sangara then glanced to the far end of the battlefield to see a large group of Jedi cutting through Nightsisters and Sith alike, fighting in perfect coordination and synchronization with each other, just like the Knights they had encountered so far. Only then did Sangara realize the truth of the situation. “They’re using a Jedi Force meld!” she cried out at Darth Umbravon.

“Good to know!” Umbravon shouted back as he hurled the Padawan several meters back with the Force, who had leapt behind him in an attempt to outflank him. The Rodian Jedi Master attacked him with a sequence blending several forms, sometimes Makashi, sometimes Soresu, and sometimes Ataru. As far as Sangara could tell, Umbravon was handling himself really well against the Jedi Master, seemingly matching him blow for blow, utilizing the offensive and defensive maneuvers of Djem So. Suddenly, the Human Padawan was back on his feet, charging at Umbravon from behind. As he leapt into the air, Umbravon extended his left hand behind him, catching the Padawan in the invisible grip of the Force, and hurling him face first into the ground between Umbravon and the Jedi Master. Sangara heard the Padawan’s neck snap as he slammed forcefully into the ground. Now free from worrying about the Padawan attacking him from behind, Umbravon flew at the shocked Jedi Master in the full fury of Juyo, hacking away at his defenses with a relentless barrage of aggressive strikes made so fast his saber was nothing but a blur. The Rodian desperately gave ground, but it was hopeless. In the end, there was a lapse in the Jedi Master’s defenses, and Darth Umbravon jabbed the tip of his lightsaber blade into the Master’s chin and straight through his skull, killing him instantly.

Sangara turned back around and saw the line of Jedi continuing to advance, barely sustaining any casualties as they overwhelmed the battlefield like a tsunami. Sangara reached out through the Force to Umbravon, Nighthawk, and Ignus. All the other Acolytes could die for all Sangara cared, but those three were her friends, and she was not about to abandon them. Surely enough they all approached her, carving their way through several Triumvirate soldiers to get to her. “We have to get out of here now!” Sangara exclaimed. “The Jedi are using a mind meld to increase their teamwork and capabilities, but I have a plan. Follow me!” And with that, Darth Umbravon, Nighthawk, and Ignus all followed Sangara off into the distance, away from that battlefield.

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“So let me get this straight,” Ignus began as the four Acolytes walked across the surface of Dathomir. “You are saying the Jedi are using something called a Force meld, which allows them to merge their minds and draw upon each other for strength?”

“I am” Sangara responded.

“And your plan is to find a location strong with the Dark Side of the Force, draw upon its energy, and see if you can disrupt the Jedi Force meld?” Ignus continued.

“Yes it is,” Sangara replied. Darth Umbravon could hear a hint of determination in her voice.

“We should be fighting them face to face!” Nighthawk protested. “Show them we’re stronger by destroying them in combat! There’s nothing badass about some elaborate hike and ritual.”

“Her plan is going to work,” Darth Umbravon told Nighthawk and Ignus rather sternly. “Besides, if the Jedi are pressing that advantage where we just were, they were probably doing it all across Dathomir, so if we don’t stop it, the Jedi could win this battle with it. We need to stop them, and Sangara has an excellent plan. Besides, I can feel our destination growing closer.”

Surely enough, the Acolytes soon came across a small, but imposing, black temple in the midst of several dead trees. Darth Umbravon could feel the power of the Dark Side of the Force swelling and swirling in this place, seething and burning within the walls, just waiting to be unleashed on the outside world. It beckoned to him and called to him, drawing him closer with its entrancing shadow. It almost felt like it was whispering his name. This place felt…

“I think this is a temple to one of the many Spirits the Nightsisters attribute their powers to,” Sangara explained as they approached the temple.

Darth Umbravon had never been to Dathomir or even met one of the Nightsisters before now, but for some reason, as he stared at the statue at the entrance of the temple, he couldn’t help but feel like it was somehow… familiar.

At the entrance to the temple, there was a statue of a gargoyle, carved out of stone so dark, it might as well have been fashioned from the very shadows themselves. Its eyes were set with red gems, and to Umbravon, it almost seemed like they were glowing. It almost seemed like they were staring back at him in anticipation. The midnight black gargoyle almost seemed to call out to him, seemed to look at him, felt familiar to him, and Darth Umbravon had no idea why. Neither him or any of his friends knew that this was, in fact, the Temple of the Fanged God.

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