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Eye of the Beholder(Izzy)

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Eye of the Beholder(Izzy)

Post  Rani Churs on 20th February 2013, 15:18

Sera won in the end, she always did.

For months Rani had steadfastly refused her request. He was too weak to even consider such a thing as marching into the Sarlacc’s pit. Yet as he slowly edged away from death’s dark doors, she began pestering him. They had to know what was going on, she insisted. An immortal would comprehend the flow of time in ways that the pair couldn’t, she would add with fervor. He had visited them on behalf of the Empire once, she reminded Churs, he would know if this was more of their chemical meddling and mental probing at work.

“He helped Malak overthrow me.” Rani said for the timeth innumerable, though they were already descending onto Commenor.

“The brat did what you taught him to do. You wanted the Sith to reclaim Bane’s favor, and they did. The immortal and Omega were as much puppets as they were puppeteers. You wanted out of the game of the dark side, and they let you out the only way that would allow you your life.” The brief lecture had held more impact the first several times they had this very same debate, but the entire subject had been reduced to going through the motions.

“There has to be a better way to find answers.”

“Who else is there to go to? We can’t find Aiden, no one we have spoken with has even heard of them. We cannot find a trace of Strife, and he tried to kill you last time shared common space. Ordona, I’ve chased the rumors of someone with her name and description halfway across the galaxy and come up with nothing. You’ve read the reports about Salem, but he’s too mobile to catch up with him. You know where to find the immortal, and we can’t go to Ziost.” Personally, he would have rather they continued to follow the trail of Ord and Sal, but then again he would have preferred a durasteel blade to the gut over a meeting with the strange machination of man and machine that seemed impervious to time and death.

Rani watched the countryside pass by with growing dread despite the scenic landscape below them. He had expected something more akin to Bast Castle, but the manor below him was…quaint was the word he would have used. The word felt strange to wrap his mind around, as it was not part of his typical diction, but Churs knew that was just a deflection to avoid thinking about what might be waiting for him in the cozy estate. The harmless appearance of the castle and the quiet settlement below were misleading, he knew.

“Take us down near the village. I want him to know we’re coming.” Because you don’t sneak up on monsters and nightmares.
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Re: Eye of the Beholder(Izzy)

Post  Morlenoth on 20th February 2013, 18:55

The Cromwell Estate. An ancient castle more in common with palaces than citadels. Renovated for the needs of modernity on the inside, but just as ancient and just as quaint as the surrounding structures and the village below. It was easy to forget one was living amongst the star faring civilizations when surrounded by such atmosphere of rural hinterlands. Nerfs...cattle, were raised here. Vegetable fields enjoyed the benefits of a marriage in technology and tradition. The simple villagers with their poor but practical clothings, compared to the smartly dressed honour guards that stood to attention along the old walls that were more designed to indicate the beginning of private property than to keep any serious assailants out. Durasteel gates formed the only entryway short of digging under or clambering over the walls no more than three meters in height.

Nearly a kilometer wide land divided the outer walls of the state to the inner one. The inner walls were sturdier and newer, but again, did not serve more than a shield from curious eyes for the reclusive Lord and Master of the estate. Genetically engineered roses adorned these walls to give them a semblance of colour and thickness. The lands between the outer wall and the inner wall was dotted a few smaller estates. Either guard houses or barracks for soldiers stationed in the bygone days, former houses for vassals whose lives started and ended within the estate serving their Liege Lords.

It was even home to a small but extensive cemetery.

The castle, or palace itself boasted a single tower-like keep five storeys in height connected to a larger three storey house The keep and the four corner "towers", each four storesy tall created a distinct shape with the slope of the estate grounds to create a form of hand outstretched with fingers reaching for the skies. To one side of the house was a courtyard surrounded by a more modern extension. Beyond the palace, just meters away from the inner wall, was the cliff. A narrow, steep valley formed the back of the old estate. On the cliff face itself appeared several large blast doors that no doubt served as extendable landing platforms for the modern convenience.

At the center of the courtyard was a single fountain. A single sword, pointed down. Interwining it were two bat winged serpents raising their open jaw with fangs and their talons of their wings to support a single orb with a clockwork pentacle enshrined within it. Atop the orb was perched a single raven clasping in its beak a single rose.

Surrounding the fountain was a path. From the path branched in equidistant distance from each other a separate path that lead to the wall of the original house, and the outer corners of the extension corridors as if depicting a lambda. Rose bushes surrounded the circular path, divided into three bushes by the three paths. Black, blue and red roses bloomed in each of the bushes divided by colour.

Today, as any day, the grassy section of the large courtyard had one occupant. Sheltered from the sun by the roof of the circular gazebo. Dressed in a black double breasted frock coat, matching waistcoat, trousers and leather shoes, white gloves adorned his hands and a black cravat adorned his neck. A tea set with accompanying cup and saucer, a tray of cakes and other sweet delicacies with accompanying plate and silverware. Waist long raven black hair neatly and carefully tended to straight draped over the garden chair. Datacards and a datapad were neatly piled to the side and a separate pile of flimsies were within an arms reach.

Isaac, Lord of House Cromwell, the Benefactor, the Everliving, the resident of the Cromwell Estate and the immortal mastermind of the Order of the Contra Mundus, sat there, with his favourite cup of tea in hand, looking over reports from his agents throughout the Galaxy, but mostly within the ever shrinking Galactic Empire. To the side, behind the shadow of a pillar of the gazebo, waited Benjamin Cromwell, the chief manservant and castellan of the estate.

The pleasant afternoon was disrupted by the rythmical march of leather soled boots. A young man in his early twenties, fair skin (unlike his master's deathly pale), dark and short cut hair, appeared before the gazebo and awaited to be admitted by the Liege. His eyes were mismatched crystal blue and dark brown, he was tall for a human, but not as tall as his two meter tall master, at 1.9 meters. His physical body appeared well trained and his black tunic, while lacking in rank insignias and symbols definitely shared its origins in an Imperial surplus uniform.

"Ah, Otto. Come. What news do you bring, my child?"

"Pardon the intrusion, my Liege. Sensors picked up a small vessel landing near the outskirts of the village. Its transponder codes do not match an of ours, nor those of the Commenorian authority."

Isaac made a slight frown as he considered the situation. All trade between the village and the outside world more often than not happened through land travel to the nearby town at the bottom of the mountains. It was a rare event for anything to come up here save their own ships or the local Commenorian vessels at the Cromwell Estate's invitation. The village had nothing special behind them. They left the Cromwells alone and the Cromwells in turn ignored them. Occasionally some meetings were held but it was always as if the Cromwells were their Liege Lords and thus the villagers reverred their "landlord" who had established his household here when the eldest villagers were but young children. There was always that underlying sense of fear to the unaging Lord Cromwell in their hearts.

"Make the soldiers guarding the gates keep a close eye on the approach from the village. If the vessel has visitors for us, have them enter without a fuss. Also, summon Rahven. Have him deal with the guest and see what they want."

"As you wish, my Liege."
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Re: Eye of the Beholder(Izzy)

Post  Rani Churs on 21st February 2013, 10:58

The climate was comfortable, yet still the hike to the estate taxed Rani extensively. Had he not had Clawdite lineage to hide the evidence of the strain upon him, he would have been baked the crimson hue of the Emperor’s Guard by the time the pair reached the durasteel gates.

Rani nodded to Sera, too tired to speak and in truth he did not remember the immortal by his true title. The elusive creature had given so many that Churs suffered difficulty keeping track of them even when he had been of sound mind and body.

“We seek council with the Obsidian Lord, Izaak von Schwartzkrieg” Imperial Sith and the galactic spider, Rani added silently to her request. And here they were, walking directly into his web.

The fact that they had made it this far as reassuring, but the Benefactor had never suffered the vice of impatience. If they were determined to walk into certain death, then he could certainly wait for them to come to him. It was easier for all involved, that way, as even in his weakened state Rani would not purchase death at a cheap rate. A diminished risen Dark Lord and lost Jedi Master was still a force with which to be reckoned.

“We are Sera and Rani Churs, here in search of answers.” The silver haired maverick added wearily, ready to cease standing on niceties and either sit down or skip to the part where someone tried to kill them.

His surprise was not inconsiderable when one of the guards said something low and crisp into a hidden com and the gates owned without resistance. The ease of their progress worried Rani, but he sensed nothing with the Force beyond his own fatigue and aches.
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Re: Eye of the Beholder(Izzy)

Post  Morlenoth on 21st February 2013, 15:21

"Izaak von Schwartzkrieg...I quite like the sound of that. Its very similar to my current name. Isaac. I think I will add it to my collection."

Isaac nodded in approval to the holographic display of the pair. A flicker of recognition appeared in his void black eyes. A flicker of confusion as well once the name was given to the face. As if something was not exactly right. Nonetheless, he did not order the men to do anything rash. The gate-house had an accompanying carriage house. Normally, it would have had beasts of burden to pull a gilded wheeled contraption up the kilometer long hike up the steady slope of the plateau they were on, but the benefits of modernity had replaced such contraptions...save one for special occasions, in favour of speeders. Depending on the guest at hand, most of them were elders of the village to meet with the Lord. The price tag and level of comfort of the speeders themselves often reflected these needs. There was one, however, for the occasional official or nobleman who enjoyed the walk through the quaint little village and so a state car awaited the pair upon the durasteel gates' opening.

The guards and the gardeners, the vassals or servants that lived within the outer walls. Even the speeder chauffeurs, had high collared clothes, as if hiding the back of their necks. They all were clones of those who had entered, willingly or otherwise, into the service of the Benefactor. While they varied in age and appearance, there were inevitable duplicates of certain genetic codes. Most of the villagers pretended not to notice, but even they had heard the news surrounding the Clone Wars back in the day.

The Chauffeur apologetically refrained from making idle chatter. His orders were to bring the guests to the main estate. Lord Rahven was due to meet them at the steps of the main entrance.

The drive through the outer estate was lengthened by the need for the main throughfare to be accessible to most of the major points within these walls. The main barracks, now converted into a storage facility and the main housings for the vassals of old, now converted to a general quarters of the gardeners and the guards much reduced in number, were all reached and even the edges of the cemetery was connected by a small footpath to the main road. The road itself was wide enough for two large freight transports to zip past each other with ease and were paved, somewhat diminishing the atmosphere.

As the main gates approached to the inner estate, it entered an outer courtyard where a stables was set aside to one side while the road twisted into a round-about. At the center of the roundabout was a statue, a small replica of the family symbol that was the centerpiece of the inner courtyard fountain. Directly opposite the gates was the narrower end of the main house, the primary tower-like keep directly opposite in the rectangular structure. A small flight of five steps lead up to a platform protected from the elements by the overhead terrace of the second floor supported by two pillars. Under the shadow of the terrace itself, stood a man in dark blue/purple tunic of velvet with a matching cape with a high collar. White cravat and black gloves with matching black, heeled shoes. Black hair coming down a little over his ear and partially over his violet eyes, contrasted with his porcelain white skin.

Lord Rahven was no taller than the average stormtrooper and his physique bordered on unfit in how slim he was. Like most high ranking servants of the Benefactor, his air of arrogance fitted his noble identity quite well.

"In the name of the Benefactor, Lord Isaac of House Cromwell, I bid you welcome to our estate, Lord Rani Churs, Lady Sera. I am Lord Rahven of House Cromwell, the current head of our House."

A flicker of recognition, confusion and suspicion slipped past his otherwise smug smile and Lord Rahven made a shallow bow to the two guests. Without further delay, he made way for the pair to slip past him through to the open doors of the estate, if they so wished.
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Re: Eye of the Beholder(Izzy)

Post  Rani Churs on 21st February 2013, 16:34

Rani’s sense of unease and trepidation only grew as the pair progressed further into the estate. His conflict was two-fold: he was both disturbed and comforted by the familiarities all around them. Sera had been the only familiar and stable figure in Churs’ life since he had narrowly escaped a death he would never return from. The galaxy had ceased making sense long before that point to the master of questionable allegiance, but of the past few months his confusion had been so overwhelming that he felt likely to collapse under the pressure. The sights, evidence of more of the immortal’s trademark genetic manipulation unless Rani missed his guess, and sounds both terrified him because of his experience with them previously and reassured him in a strange way that took comfort in the embrace of the devil you know.

His memories were a skewed and blurred by traumas too numerous to list, not the least of which included biochemical manipulation, blunt force and death narrowly escaped by abandoning his body to overtake another, but he suspected Rahven was in those murky catacombs that he called memories somewhere. Again he was both distressed and relieved by this tentative recognition.

Rani wanted to question the Lord about these suspicions, but felt it was unwise to reveal his disorientation. If he was wrong, he would be handing the puppeteer his strings without contest. Still, he racked his exhausted mind to produce some sort of opening move to gain his bearings.

“We thank you for your hospitality, Lord Rahven. It is nice to allow someone else to be the host for a change.” Churs didn’t watch for a response but instead continued through the threshold, trusting his senses more than his sight to cut through the mists of deception. Sera would also no doubt note his reaction with her peripheral vision, and be able to dissect any visible reaction.

It suddenly dawned on Rani that a major oversight had been allowed in permitting them to enter. They hadn’t, at any point thus far, been asked to surrender their weapons. He reasoned that immortal did not fear them, but it was still strange that there was no concern for the destruction they might cause. This lead Rani to believe that he had been so diminished in the eyes of the Benefactor that he was of no threat to person or property. This revelation meant that Izaak either knew everything about their bizarre situation or nothing at all.
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Re: Eye of the Beholder(Izzy)

Post  Morlenoth on 22nd February 2013, 05:34

Lord Rahven followed the pair in and gently closed the doors behind them. Several lesser servants moved towards the pair and offered to take their coats, hats and other accessories that may not be needed indoors. As Rani had noted to himself, they made no move towards any weapons.

The entrance hall was illuminated by holographic replicas of candles, as well as more modern forms of illumination. The only windows were on the side where the entrance doors were and the back of the chamber had a set of stairs that split half way up to the second floor, before going both left and right to the balconied corridors that was the second level. Behind the stairs, as well as beyond the corridors upstairs, appeared to be doors that lead to a corridor illuminated by the outside world via large windows in the corridor. Doors existed to either side of the hall on both floors though it seemed to lead to smaller quarters for use of servants.

While Rani and Sera were being hounded by the servants to unload any excess weight off their shoulders, now that they were in the comfort of the indoors, Rahven clicked his fingers and a different servant came out to attend to him. Using his left hand alone, he bent his fingers in a pattern that denoted a preset sign language which they had come up with beforehand. It was a means to communicate without disturbing a conversation of guests and also a means to silently prepare for a trap or assassination attempts. Before the purge, there were many noble houses of Commenor that had resorted to similar tricks. It was even considered protocol to ignore such actions when servants were going about their business. If one had reason to doubt the sincerity of the host, the guest had rights to seek an answer from said host.

"Lord Isaac is awaiting you in the private courtyard. This way." (Purple is just unreadable I found, not bothering with colour codes.)

Rahven went past the stairs to the lower right door, opening it to a wide corridor that had windows on the far side. The rectangular main house also had a courtyard, though it seemed to be more for large scale parties and a private garden. Platinum blonde hair could be seen bobbing up and down in a hedge maze, One longer, the other shorter, but both belonging to a child no older than ten with similar physiques. Ignoring the twins, Rahven lead the way to the right. A dozen doors down, the corridor took a sharp turn to the left and after a few equally distanced doors, the right hand wall was also replaced by intermittent windows revealing a smaller courtyard, but equally impressive. In a gazebo, on the far side of the fountain, in between the two "legs" of the lambda, shielded from the worst of the sunlight, sat a figure in black.

Rahven opened the only door for meters that corresponded directly to the middle of the length of the square courtyard, allowing Rani and Sera to enter. To the doors opening, the manservant turned around and smiled as he made a motion for the pair to come forward. Lord Isaac Cromwell stood as well, another servant clearing the last of the paperwork and datacards away as he did so.

"Welcome to the House of Cromwell, Master Rani Churs, Mistress Sera. I was not expecting company this day, so please forgive my informal appearance. I am Isaac, Lord and Founder of the Noble House of Cromwell. Would you care to join me for tea?"
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Re: Eye of the Beholder(Izzy)

Post  Rani Churs on 23rd February 2013, 11:46

Blood ran cold as ice, while the pulse leapt to hammer through the blockage, for the pair of former Sith. Rani forced the mask of composure to remain in place, but the reality was the seemingly idle comment about tea sent his instincts into screeching chaos. Shortly after the end of Tigon's reign, the deposed Dark Lord had allied with the Jedi and Rebellion to intercept the liege lord's tea supply. The attempt had failed, but the demi-Echani thought they had managed to escape without recognition. A thought further supported by the lack of retribution.

Now, with that casual reference to tea, Rani was sure that Izaak knew. With his cover blown, there was really only one way for the lost and confused renegade to play. He knew he could no sooner beat the immortal in a game of diplomacy than conquer him in chess, but that was the only route open to him.

"It seems tales of my death have been greatly exaggerated. A rumor that plagues us both, I'm sure." Churs stated mildly, holding out a chair for Sera to be seat. The latter shot him a sour glare of confusion and apprehension before sliding into the offered hair. Having played the role of the gentleman in this little primitive ritual, Rani then seated himself. It would be rude to skip straight to accusations and the meat of the afternoon calling, and to be rude in present company would probably cost the pair their lives beyond the possibility of return.

For now they would have to entertain this polite little illusion and navigate their way through the labyrinth of niceties and form before they could broach the dark truth of the visit and shed light on the matter at hand.

"I love what you've done with the place." Sera added, nodding in the immortal's direction and apparently taking Rani's lead for once in her life. "It must be quite a welcome retreat from the Citadel." Or maybe not, as she seemed determined to make that life a short one.
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Re: Eye of the Beholder(Izzy)

Post  Morlenoth on 23rd February 2013, 17:36

A trace of confusion shadowed the otherwise pleasant...if only slightly pallid expression of the Obsidian Lord as he seemed to disaprove of making his own guests seat themselves rather than having enough servants around. For all his household attendants, there was a surprising lack of their presence here at the inner courtyard. His left hand twitched ever so slightly as it rapidly went through a sequence of bent fingers that only his servants seemed to react to, and it was not long before Rahven appeared next to them with an Ysalamiri and several packets of a mysterious medication in hand.

"Forgive my current ailments. Master Churs, Mistress Sera. As you probably know, I am quite the fan of testing the limits of life and my current medication makes my body slightly erratic in terms of stability. For some reason, this...lizard creature makes it all go away so I had a few of them imported. Not the most reputable sources...or so I have been told, but it works."

Taking a cool glass of water, Isaac popped a half dozen or so of these black pills into his mouth and drank it down. Putting the rest aside for Rahven to retrieve it while he resumed his conversation with the guests.

"As you probably know, Master Churs. Not everyone believes in my gifts. There will always be sceptics."

Benjamin Cromwell, his long greying hair tied back into a fine ponytail and his monocle over his left eye, approached the two with a pot of tea, the chief manservant picked up from the tea trolley two saucers, two tea spoons, two matching cups to the tea set with elaborately patterened motifs of stars, and poured them a generous portion of the hot dark beverage before placing them before Sera first, then Rani.

"Today's tea is Manellan Jasper."

A random selection of the finest cakes for today and other delicacies were placed on a smaller plate almost like a sampler for the pair to enjoy their tea with. Isaac almost looked apologetic with the half finished plate of his own. As he heard the term "citadel", he raised an eyebrow as he seemed to consider which citadel she was referring to.

"Yes, I quite like this place. Given to me by the father of the previous Duke of House Zenos for my service to him and his people. It once belonged to one of his vassals but after the incident well over half a century prior, they no longer had any use of it so I made use of its facilities. Unlike the more modern look of the Emperor's Citadel, I must say this place has more character. Its also far superior as a place to live.

I must say, I had not heard the name Rani Churs in a long time. Admittedly you look worse for wear but I had heard you had been killed off. Tell me, how did you survive?"
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Re: Eye of the Beholder(Izzy)

Post  Rani Churs on 25th February 2013, 10:44

Finally, someone was willing to speak freely. So they had thought him claimed by the mysterious captor that had filled his veins with toxins and his mind with darkness. That explained why no search parties had been issued for him, whether to seek or to destroy. Perhaps Sera was right about this meeting; he was finally getting answers.

Of course, with the presence of the Force nullifying Ysalamiri he wouldn't be able to call upon it to gauge the truth of Izaak's words. Still, Izaak had been frank with him in the past.

"That information is false by the grace of this lady," Rani gestured to Sera as he paused to sip the tea. Poison was the least of his concerns at that very moment, and it would be a grave offense by the old standards that he believed the immortal lived by to refuse his courtesy. His research on this forgotten society also lead him to believe that accepting the hospitality was a strange form of protection all its own. "Her social skills may be rather rough, but she is quite the formidable opponent in other areas."

"Which is why the blue-boy is here. We need to know what happened to us." Sera added impatiently, fidgeting in her seat uncharacteristically. The lack of the Force was making her uncomfortable, Rani realized. It had be off-putting for her to be severed from the Force and her connection to him.

"What she means is that everything is different. No one we've encountered has any knowledge of the Jedi or the Sith. Until you granted us this audience, we have not recognized a face since Sera made the jump to get us out of the middle of the battle. Even familiar names have been sparse, and difficult to track. Is this the Jedii, Sith or Imperial work?" It was risky divulging so much information, but clearly Izaak was well informed of the galactic situation and it was better for Churs to pose the questions in a civil manner before Sera's disorientation lead her to say or do something rash.
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Re: Eye of the Beholder(Izzy)

Post  Morlenoth on 27th February 2013, 12:56

Isaac peeked a glance at Rahven as if accusing him of something, but the shorter man shrugged innocence. Rani Churs was a name associated with an unusual experiment that the Benefactor had partial oversight over. It was primarily the department of the Dark Jedi and the Sith acolytes of Lord Sidious. For the most part, the Benefactor provided with clones of selected individuals for the Sith dealings, presumably, alchemical but also scientific manipulation at the genetic level to make what they termed as...posession...that much easier. The Benefactor was a loyal supporter of the Dark Lord, but not an acolyte. The Force within the Immortal was deemed too weak.

The birth of the program itself followed the declaration of the New Order. It was worked in under a program of scientific research of the Empire. Isaac himself knew that Lord Sidious sought to use it for his own use. The project was scrapped for unknown reasons, presumably, all the clones and genes had been deleted or eliminated. Naturally the data that Isaac himself was privy to was still in his archives. What became of the force sensitive clones...that was a separate issue left to the Inquisitorius on Prakith.

Then why would they know of the Jedi? Well, it was common knowledge, it wouldn't hurt to tell.

"The Jedi had not been heard of as an organized group since Year 16 (OOC Note: 19 BBY) of the Great ReSynchronisation. The Rebels made quite the claim when they put up some Moisture farmer brat from Tatooine to be the relative or another of Anakin Skywalker...about three years or so ago, when the Emperor was killed over Endor. Lord Vader died aboard the second Death Star as well that year. Quite a shame. So the Sith have gotten a lot more quiet as of late while the Jedi have been getting a few publicity campaigns by the Rebels. Things people forget after an odd twenty years. You'd think people had the collective memory of five the way things are being run nowadays."
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Re: Eye of the Beholder(Izzy)

Post  Rani Churs on 7th March 2013, 02:00

Rani listened attentively to the immortal, hardly daring to breathe as the man spoke. With each word the gentleman shattered the last resilient remnants of hope that Churs had stubbornly maintained. It was outrageous, pure insanity. Yet all signs pointed to the same destination: they had somehow slipped backward through time.

Despite the cold wrenching weight of the trouble in his gut, Rani could not commit himself to the idea wholeheartedly just yet. He could be locked in a dreamscape, for instance, and this could all just be a projection in his battered mind. It would certainly explain the consistency of the story the galaxy presented him, as everyone encountered so far had revealed a similar testimony to Izaak. He needed physical proof, and he could think of only one way to find it.

First, however, he would test the dark waters to see how this bizarre scenario would appear to others. If the immortal was too encouraging it, perhaps he was still pulling the strings in some conspiracy to prevent Rani and Sera from aiding the Jedi.

"On the year of the Battle of Yavin, shortly after the emergence of Skywalker, a pair of Force sensitives calling themselves Jedi stole a clone of altered Echani genetics from one of your projects. This body I inhabit now was the genetic source for this clone, and the stolen child was me. That child is still out there, now in custody of pirates. Given your history of having a hand in everything and of believing my death, I would think it's a fair guess to infer that you arranged for the couple and the child to encounter the pirates. If that is the case, I ask you to provide me with what information you have on this raiders so I may find them."
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Re: Eye of the Beholder(Izzy)

Post  Obsidian on 17th March 2013, 22:36

It was obvious some vicious cogs were at work here inside the infinite mind of the Obsidian Lord. Not so much infinite in cognitive functions but infinite in memory. Flickers of a sneer replaced a saddened frown. A hint of a smile melted to reveal a grim but determined simmering hatred. In the end, he raised his hand for his cane and Benjamin Cromwell was there, silvery metal in hand.

"A child, abducted you say. In pirate hands you say. Yet you yourself stand here a full grown man. Either you speak a paradox in one phrase or you travelled in time. Lord Rahven, to me. Let us show our guests our little secret."


His tea forgotten. His cake half finished. A blood curdling scream echoed down from the larger courtyard and the Benefactor himself wrapped his slender, spindly fingers around the Ysalamiri. The reptilian creature did not even react to its neck being broken, its protective force bubble dissipating like a bad morning mist.

Yet Rani would not feel a thing from the Benefactor. A slight force sensitivity, fluctuating but not enough to command the force. It was his cane, however that swelled in the Dark Side of the Force. A malignant entity seemed traped within. Forged by Sith sorcery, tempered by Sith alchemy. Its corruption seeped from its very being and the thin dark line that separated scabbard from hilt.

"A little under half a century ago, I first came to this planet. Lord Rani Churs. Here, I died. Caught in a blast from a meteor strike. Lord Rahven was there to greet me when I awoke. Not dead, as I had feared, but quite alive. But tampered. Knowledge and memories I had yet to live through flickered through me and I understood. Time travelers do exist. You are the proof. But accident is what forms time travel. It is not a science and it is not an art to be mastered.

You will find this boy with the Blue Star Pirates. A small time bunch of brigands with naught to their name. Their lack of value to anyone dead nor alive is what keeps your past self safe. Believe me for what I say or take them as lies to manipulate you. I do not care, but if proof is what you need, then proof is what you will get. I take it you know me from your future, and know me to be timeless."
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Re: Eye of the Beholder(Izzy)

Post  Rani Churs on 20th March 2013, 14:33

A light blossomed in defiance of the darkness and tribulations that had been plaguing Churs for days beyond counting. He had always known that he did not belong here, in this place and time. As seemingly impossible as time travel was, it was one of many such unlikely situations that Rani constantly found himself immersed in. He was a clone of himself traveling with a droid brought to life through ancient and forgotten magics. Shadows lurked in his head, ghosts without bodies haunted his sanity and grey nightmares had sprouted beneath a crimson mane that was now sapphire. Rani had killed himself and lived to tell the tale, he had brought back the dead and created new life.

And now he had traveled through time and space to save himself.

How could he have forgotten it was the Blue Star Pirates that had tormented his youth and turned a young Echani's heart black. His memories of that time were a haze of misery, desperation and rage. The child had grown to resent the Jedi that had stolen him, the closest thing he had to parents, for their inability to protect him and themselves. The pirates had killed them, and for years they slowly tortured the young clone until he was a creature without pity or remorse. It was because of them that he sought out the Sith. It was because of him that he wanted to carve away the cancerous rot from the galaxy, those too weak to defend themselves and those they cared for. It was the pirates that thought young Rani, inadvertently, that power was the currency that could purchase anything in the pathetic and sadistic galaxy.

A lesson of false truth, one that lead Rani down a ruthless path to a dark place far from the light. A place without love, despite the passions that drove him there. Love was of the light, and his fall had taken him far from both. It would be a long way back for him, but if he could find his younger self in time...

"I thank you for this information, and indeed we have met as others. I ask more thing of you; do you happen to know where I can find the pirates?"
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Re: Eye of the Beholder(Izzy)

Post  Obsidian on 20th March 2013, 19:47

Isaac breathed in the turmoil. His very eyes drank in the conflict in Rani's essence as if the two orbs lead to the voids of space itself. As he was about to comment as to the place to find pirates, which was always limited to the Hutt Space, the doors to the inner courtyard opened to reveal two demons wearing children flesh. Their crystal blue eyes glimmered in the reflected sunlight and their silvery platinum blond hair complimented their pristine porcelain skin making them look even more like wights. This pristine youthful beauty was marred only by the splatter of blood and human gore. The little girl with her hair grown down the length of her back to the hem of her skirt just below her knees was combing out an internal organ and a strand of intestines from her proud hair while the boy with medium length hair coming down to his ears licked from his lips a bit of the blood and thoughtfully chewed on a piece.

"Dear Uncle, do we have guests?" Asked the boy. He carried in his hand a combat hatchet, finely crafted but presumably with limited vibro-tech. The blade itself was the length of his torso and he carried it still like it weighed nothing.

"Look Dear Elder Brother. A young Mister and Lady! They have come for tea!" The girl squealed in delight as she cradled a cloth bundle slightly taller than she was. A vicious looking bayonet covered in blood peeked out from the cloth.

The twins reached up to Isaac's lower hips in height, given the Immortal's above average height of two meters, they came up to most people's waist. As they approached the Gazebo, the girl pinched the side of her skirts to make a courtsy while the boy made a shallow bow. The two did not once break their toothy smiles that seemed to go from ear to ear.

"Ah, Tiferet and Chesed, Lord Rani Churs and Lady Sera Churs."


Isaac made a quick introduction while the twins eyed Rani with interest and amusement. They circled around the outer edges of the gazebo, like prowling lion cubs playing with their prey. Speaking mostly to themselves while their "Dear Uncle" allowed them. Blood still dripped from their weapons held in non-threatening ways, while their black leather dress shoes that matched their black and white mourning clothes left crimson footprints.

"Dear Elder Sister. Isn't he...?"

"Yes, Dear Elder Brother. He is..."

"We played with him before didn't we, Dear Elder Sister...in the labs."

"That boring man...the king of clones. When we helped him with his predesigned memories, Dear Elder Brother."

"What did that boring man call it Dear Elder Sister? Combat training?"

"But he was younger...he was one of us, Dear Elder Brother. Locked away with all of our brothers and sisters."

"Oh yes Dear Elder Sister! I remember now. The room with all of our friends. I cut open his stomach once or twice and he tore my head off! I think his sister impaled you and you made her look like cheese!"

"I know, Dear Elder Brother. We had so much fun together, didn't we?"

The twins had been tightening their circle around Sera and Rani. Marvelling at their height and their age. They were skipping now, as if playing a game. Their weapons forgotten as they seemed to welcome back old friends from pre-school, malice glimmering in their eyes until a soft but authoritative tap of Isaac's cane broke the spell.

"Do not trouble Lord and Lady Churs now, Tiferet, Chesed. They are here as my clients. Before I am interrupted again, Lord Churs. You will likely find the Pirates someplace where law does not reach them. Vagabonds tend to move around so you might have better luck in cantinas of Tatooine or Nar Shaddaa to begin your search. It has been years afterall. Who knows where the Imperials drove your friends to."
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Re: Eye of the Beholder(Izzy)

Post  Rani Churs on 22nd March 2013, 13:05

Three thoughts flitted through Rani's mind in quick succession, each one more fleeting than the notion preceding it.

His thought the first was that their was something oddly familiar about the children. On that heels of that moment of familiarity was that the gore covered children were quite possibly the creepiest things he had seen in this time zone or any other. The youngest inkling of the trio was that the demons clad as children were playing a sick game with his eternally questionable sanity.

Sera, on the other hand, had one thought three times: kill them with fire.

"What the-" NO. Any other woman likely would have betrayed some sign of the silent message, but Sera was an expert at self control and simply stopped talking as if she had not started. The mechanical aspects of her personality were fading, but she still held mastery over her outward appearance.

These monsters are unstable; they cannot be trusted or believed. Rani explained, all too aware that his companion would be able to feel his uncertainty. Just looking at the twin hellions made his stomach burn with the fire of a nova star, an unpleasant sign given their claims of having disemboweled him. He had sustained a similar injury in the past, and decapitated the opponent. His foe had been quite a bit taller than the eerie child of darkness, however.

"I'm afraid you must have mistaken for another couple." Sera grinned widely at the daggers Rani was glaring at her for her word choice, but the expected reprimand never came. Something in his forced composure unnerved her, and then realization nearly bowled her over. He was afraid. "I was a child, younglings. I used to be a droid, you see. I was built like this."

If the absurdity of her trying to explain to two children how she used to a machine didn't snap Rani out of his bizarre funk, nothing would. Well nothing that he was willing to do with her, despite the amount of alcohol she imposed on him.


Last edited by Rani Churs on 26th March 2013, 12:53; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Eye of the Beholder(Izzy)

Post  Obsidian on 22nd March 2013, 13:52

Confusion shimmered over the twins' expressions before innocent laughter echoed down the hallways, around the courtyard.

"So that is what happened to our friends, my Dear Elder Brother! Memory manipulation. Memory uploading projects."

"Indeed, Dear Elder Sister! We were given so many wonderful memories of our brothers and sisters as well, Mister, Miss. We can remember me cutting up my own legs when I also remember me cutting my brother's legs at the kneecaps!"

Isaac shooed the pair away while he apologetically nodded to Rani.

"Ah, yes, vital for clone and memory preservation, you see. Not only the uploading of existing memory through chemical and electric data, but also the creation of data is required for the establishment of sound and sane clones for espionage and other such nonesense. We also have growth control, deceleration and acceleration for clones to better control their life cycles. We can...in a year or two, make you your very own replicas for your immortal pleasures if ever you were fearful of death."
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Re: Eye of the Beholder(Izzy)

Post  Rani Churs on 26th March 2013, 13:13

Are they telling the truth? I'm not noticing any signs of deception in their body language. Rani had been hoping Sera would not ask that very question. He had even gone to the extreme of tucking away the answer in a mental cache that even Sera could not reach, a piece of him she could not read through their bond. The part of him that belonged to her mistress.

The truth was that Rani had tried to call upon the Force to clear away the mists of deception, and it had slipped from his grasp.

You can feel his connection to the Force, as faint as it is. He would not if we made a move. A lie, and one he knew Sera would feel. Churs could still connect to the Force, and their telepathic conversations were second nature to him but his ability to wield the Force had been significantly hindered since his capture. It felt alien to him now, a distant relative to the energy he had known so well.

"I'm very interested in replication." Sera admitted, almost despite herself. She was a replica of Rani's young love, after all.

"We would love to discuss the process more thoroughly, but we really should be off if we're going to catch up with the pirates and avert..." The Jedi trailed off, mentally chiding himself for the grievous slip. He was in the Rancor pit, and he had nearly lead the beasts to the secrets of the future. "Avert the further torment of the child."
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Re: Eye of the Beholder(Izzy)

Post  Obsidian on 28th March 2013, 16:52

"If the child has waited for seven years, he can wait another seven hours. The pirates are not going anywhere and I must insist you stay for dinner. Otto!"

One of the side doors to the courtyard opened and a tall man with short dark hair, mismatched eyes and black Imperial military uniform without any rank designations appeared.

"Get one of the guest rooms prepared for the guests to use tonight. They will be joining me for dinner this eve. Inform Schultz to get their ship to my hangar, there should be a tractor vessel in one of our maintenance fleet. That should be enough power to pick their ship up...unless...."

The twins heads popped up from the rose bushes, their faces running red with the thorns tearing up their skins, bloody eyes peered over to the Gazebo with expectations while bloodthirsty tongues licked equally crimson lips. Meanwhile, a glimmer of cold currents ran through the void black orbs that were Isaac's own eyes as if answering the twins' expectations. As if all the cold promises of vengeance and revenge alongside the untamed contemptment for all things before it simmered in an icy hell of the Voids of space, the current wreathed like a snake begging to be unleashed to consume the entire galaxy in flames.

"...Unless Lord Rani and Lady Sera Churs wishes to decline my invitation? It would be such a pity to see you come all this way just to leave us so soon, wouldn't it my Tiferet? My Chesed?"

"Oh yes, my Dear Uncle. One would almost think they lacked manners."

"Or they were hiding something from you, my Dear Uncle. So many of your clients run away after hearing you will accept their requests...they never stay."
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