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Even in the still-holo it was big. It was also rather unmistakeable.

Yon did the only sensible thing left to someone in his position. “Why.”

Beside him Vette lost her fight against laughter. The only thing keeping her upright was her grip on his shoulder. “That’s what, fifty meters? It’s bigger than the one on Dromund Kaas!”

Jaesa made a valiant attempt at tact. “It’s very,” It was many things, most best left unsaid. “Memorable?” Her Master groaned and buried his face in his hands. “I mean it’s really well made?”

The questioning lilt was somehow made even more audible by Vette’s near breathless hilarity. “And it made it, what was it, three thousand years? They must’ve really wanted you to stay down!”

Sewlor cocked his head and viewed the object of their attention from a slightly different angle. “Indeed. That’s definitely bribery. Wait, I think,” he leaned a bit closer to the image, “I think it comes with a pyramid, too.”

Lost for words all Yon could do was pat his Twi’lek friend’s shoulder when the next bout of laughter made her struggle for oxygen. “A statue. They made me a kriffing statue. A kriffing, K’lor’slug infested monument. On Korriban.”

“And a pyramid, Master.” Sewlor’s wit could have drained the water out of a Kaas City summer storm.

“Thank you so much, Apprentice. I almost missed that.”

“I’m not sure how, Master. It’s huge.”

Well, at least his kids were having fun with this.

Chapter Text

„You wish for me to read this to you.“ Yon’Sar sounded about as blank as a Lord of the Sith could. Which was to say very, with an edge of tension that had all beings in hearing range tense for the inevitable explosion.

Seeing as the man had yet to do anything that could be classed an active threat, that wasn’t as terrifying as it might have been. If one discounted the initial standoff.

Tahl was inclined to do so. She was, in all honesty, not sure who had pulled their lightsabres first.

It had been about a month since their small exploration group had stumbled over the wrong rune in the last Temple and torn the fabric of the universe right down the middle just long enough for it to spit out a time-displaced Sith.

As it turned out, a month could be a long time. Especially dragging their asses out of a half-collapsed ruin to limp homewards with a broken down hyper drive. Never let it be said that cramped quarters did not make for strange bedfellows.

Not literally. Force, now I need brain bleach.

As much as their acquaintance had been devoid of murder, so far, it was hard enough to sleep with that vast presence right there, at the edge of her perception. He kept it nebulous and well-shielded but it was still heavy.

The one time he had brought it to bear, in the Temple when they had all still been in shock, the feeling alone had made her knees weak and reduced her student to a shivering wreck. The power of it, fierce and Dark.

He could have killed them in that moment, Tahl was certain. Could kill them, even now.

That certainty wasn’t enough to pass by the opportunity to gain historic knowledge, first hand, that had been lost centuries ago. Hadn’t been enough barely a week in, when she had first started to ‘poke the rancor’ as her Padawan put it. Micah is going to kill me, if the damned Sith doesn’t.

It was so fascinating.

For Force’s sake, the man dated back to a time when ‘Sith’ could mean the Order or a race, interchangeably! They had managed to pinpoint his origin to ‘sometime after the Great Galactic War’ before the lack of history about anything regarding the Sith had made itself painfully apparent.

And he had been there.

‘Fighting against the Republic!’ a part of Tahl, that sounded entirely too much like her old Master, kept screeching but it could take a short hike out the airlock in hyperspace. She wasn’t getting an opportunity like this again.

Then Sar had, in an offhand comment about code of practice dictating that Sith acolytes be educated on Korriban if they wanted to get anywhere in the hierarchy, hinted at his own family traditions.

Traditions that were, apparently, passed down for more generations than her understanding of the Jedi library wanted to comprehend. Tahl felt a little like taking hold of someone and shaking them. She wasn’t sure whom. Whomever it was that was responsible for their abysmal lack of continuous historic records.

Was this what it felt like to be lured to the Dark Side? If so it felt entirely too much like being saddled with extra reports for requesting access to holocrons Jocasta Nu did not feel like airing out.

In short, she was doing her best to drag every shred of information she could out of their increasingly bewildered travel companion.

There is no ignorance, there is knowledge. Tahl was rather sure if her old Master could see what lengths she was taking the maxims to he would be appalled. She was hard pressed to care.

Her latest foray into ill-advised information gathering was fuelled by the discovery that their guest could read honest-to-the-Force High Sith. Not only that, Yon’Sar kept calling it ‘Kittât’ and cursing over grammatically challenged idiots every time she handed him a pad with scraps of text younger than a millennia and a half. It was wonderful.

She was, Tahl was certain, enjoying herself entirely too much.

Chapter Text

“Crecheling, to Initiate, to Padawan, to Knight, to Master.”

“Novice, to Neophyte, to Acolyte, to Apprentice, to Lord.”

“But both of the first ones mean a beginner!”

“No, no, no. A novice is a youngling. A neophyte has found the Path to be theirs and is committed.”

“Wait, are you trying to tell me a Sith Apprentice equates a Knight?”

“…” Silence. “When do you have your Trials?”

“Which ones?”

“The ones where they stuff you into a ritual chamber, the serious ones.”

“Knighthood.”

“Then I’d say an Acolyte equates a Knight. Or they did before they stopped doing the traditional Force-Trial for all whose family didn’t take care of it, to increase graduation rates.”

What!

“It was war. I’m not saying I agree. Strength of will is paramount.”

“But- That- The Acolytes?”

“Even without the Trials they are expected to hold their own in study and battle. I’d put them on a level with your Apprentices at least.”

This was entirely disturbing.

The look on his face said he agreed wholeheartedly. “Why would you lot send Padawans into the field? Why? This scale can’t be right, they’d be babies.”

“Well, some of them are. Some of them are not.”

How does that even make sense.”

Chapter Text

In another life, things might have been different. Yon might have spent his life doing his utmost to be a symbol, a flawless representation of passion, strength and honor. A faceless spectre, unrelenting and unstoppable. Someone whose presence would bolster the morale of their troops and break the spirit of their enemies.

He would have served well and faithfully, his doubts a private, quiet thing.

There is no space for doubt here. Not when these damned brats are trying their best to be the end of him, sometimes literally. Not so today but that doesn’t change that his pulse is already pounding with aggravation. He hasn’t even had breakfast yet.

Yes, had things been different he would have been silent, looming menace, for all of his five feet in height.

Wrath he might not be but Yon still manages to appear larger than life. His presence in the Force is blooming like a burgeoning explosion. His students cringe almost as one.

“What the kriff were you thinking? That tablet was five thousand years old!”

Yare, who is both braver and more eager to please than the rest, dares venture into an explanation. More fool he. “Well. Uhm. You said-”

“I karking know what I said! ‘Get the pieces’ not make more!”

There is really nothing quiet about Instructor Sar. He seems at a perpetual simmer of irritation that is just waiting for his Acolytes to provide it with a spark. And provide it they do. Often and with accuracy.

Yare watches as their collective teacher’s temper detonates into recriminations and punishment details, liberally peppered with more curses than he has heard since they dragged him from the slave pens in Bosthirda. If their instructor is to be believed they’ll be shining the atrium until the next century.

That will probably turn out to be about a month. A month of their taskmaster breathing down their neck until their assigned space is absolutely spotless, or so help them the Force. Which it won’t. He has heard Rinali venture, very very quietly, that not even the Force would be stupid enough to mess with Instructor Sar’s detentions.

Yare can’t help but agree. Very, very quietly.

Sar’s a little terrifying. He doesn’t doubt their teacher would actually make them de-infest one of the more obscure tombs from the latest outbreak of whatever vermin manages to crawl back from the recesses of extinction through some Inquisitor spell gone wrong, or sheer dumb luck because this is Korriban and such things happen here.

Who is he kidding, ten creds say it will be the Sith magic and whatever idiot spawns the little monsters won’t even have the decency to die doing it.

But, if they’re lucky that won’t happen until the next disaster. Maybe. Seeing as Instructor Sar has to threaten them with cleaning duty instead of a horrible, drawn-out death.

Chapter Text

I have to be there.’

‘Do you?’ Idle curiosity.

‘Yes. Circumstances might require my intervention in some way.’

‘I wasn’t aware you had a gift for precognition.’ Marr had caught the implication. Yon expected nothing less of a mind like his.

‘It’s rarely this clear. I must be there. There is every chance that I will not return.’

‘And I should allow the possible loss of one of our greatest assets at the hands of the Jedi because-?’

‘Because it will be worth it.’

A moment of silent, mutual examination.

‘Very well.’

 

Chapter Text

Sometimes, Obi-Wan did wonder whom he had displeased in his last life to deserve this one. ‘Interesting times’ indeed.

Raising a Padawan that had the dubious pleasure of being the subject of a prophecy that was over a thousand of years old was taxing enough. Finding out the damned thing might actually be Sith in origin was a shock fit to turn him grey before his time.

Naturally, it had gotten worse from there.

It had seemed so logical, to search for the roots of the verses in question. When that had only lead to tablets in nigh untranslatable cuneiform, to at least try and bolster their understanding of the language.

‘How,’ he lamented, in the privacy of his own mind, ‘do these things always end up like this.’

The answer, likely as not, was connected to his incredible luck and Grandmaster Yoda, in equal measure.

That the series of Temples and Shrines they had dug up the location of at the arse end of the galaxy was as temperamental as it was steeped in the Dark Side hadn’t been a surprise. Not even that it tried to devour them, much as something without a digestive system could.

The surprise, Obi-Wan thought, was that despite the fact that he and his fellow Knights were the only living beings within ten klicks, they weren’t alone.

Sith hells. It was supposed to be a myth!

 

 

/Well, this thing is worse than useless./

The words echoed through him as if they were meant for a species communicating in the lower bass spectrum. Obi-wan tried to hold on to his hard-earned control. It wasn’t an easy feat. Encountering an actual, honest to the Force Sith spirit, thousands of years dead and still making a nuisance of himself, had been bad enough.

Now there were two. And they were, by the look of things, picking apart his efforts at decoding the Prophecy he had come here to research.

In no universe should a quest for knowledge have translated to taking a wrong turn in an ominous Temple, finding a trapdoor instead of solid flooring and tumbling into the company of actual ghosts like an uninvited guest at a deeply disturbing tea party.

At least they seemed to find his data pad more interesting than the Jedi it belonged to.

The one holding it, a faceless figure all in white, was turning it this way and that before flipping it upside down entirely. /Ah! Now we’re getting somewhere./

His companion, friend?, a floating spectre shrouded in voluminous black robes seemed less than endeared with the venture. /You’re wasting your time./

Obi-Wan got the impression that the first one was rolling his eyes. /We have nothing but time. At least this is entertaining./

A deep, heartfelt sigh seemed to come from all directions at once. It sounded somehow both resigned and aggressive at once. /Cousin. There are Jedi in our tomb./

/Yes, yes. Let me mock the sentence structure, if nothing else, will you?/ The lighter see-though entity floated out of reach of the other one as if to prevent it from stealing the pad.

Obi-Wan watched the slow dance in bewilderment, before something else made it through the fog of disbelieve and fear he was trying to release into the force. “You can read it.”

He could have kicked himself.

Both Sith halted, immaterial robes fluttering in the stale air that couldn’t have seen a breeze in centuries.

Then the white one floated a little closer. Obi-Wan tensed with the shrinking distance, cold sweat on his brow. The Dark surrounding them was like a shroud, heavy and all encompassing. He had to use every meditation exercise he had ever learned to keep his breathing even. /Well, of course./

It must have been the same urge that saw him flirting with his opponents so often that guided his tongue. “Will you tell me what it says, then?”

/Hm./ He had, it seemed, intrigued at least one of them. /Maybe. What will you give me if I do?/

/Cousin!/

/Oh, shush, Callin. We might get those Jedi off our back after all, wouldn’t that be nice?/

/We could just kill them!/

/Where’s the fun in that?/

/Yon’Sar al Thum! By the Seven Hells, if you try to make friends with them I will tell our Grandmother on you!/

/Now, see? That is just mean. That’s why none of the other kids want to play with you anymore Cal-ly. That’s why you’re stuck with me./

/Argh!/

The black robed figure expanded in a shout of displeasure, disturbing the still air with the force of its ire. Obi-Wan shielded his face against the sudden wind. ‘What in the name of the Force have I gotten myself into?’

 

---

 

After some more deliberation (that took all the longer for how often it was interrupted by the bickering of the dead) Obi-Wan managed to get himself, Quinlan and Siri free passage out of the hell-hole of a Temple if they swore not to take or destroy anything. A mere promise might not have meant much in the face of so much Darkness roaming free but the oath seemed to reverberate through his very being once spoken.

Honor aside, he did not feel like chancing Sith magics.

On the upside the white one, Darth Sar? Lord Al Thum?, seemed to know his way around the brain-breaking language the Prophecy of the Chosen One had originally been worded in. One had to count one’s blessings. Even if the blessings were on the cranky side and nit-picking the grammar of millennia-old revered Jedi Masters. Or Sith. Whomever had produced this damned piece of prescience and then translated it.

/What kind of spice-addled moron wrote this?/

Thankfully his less-than alive but entirely too aware interpreter didn’t seem to require much in the way of answers to his diatribes. Obi-wan still found his tongue tied more often than not by their sheer spine chilling presence.

/I mean, this a passage alone. ‘And he will be born to this world but be without Father.’ How is that in any way useful? You don’t need a Father. Immeasurable amounts of Sith had no Father. I had no Father./

“What?” That… His brain refused to make sense of that.

There was a silence.

Then the black cloud of temper swirling around at the edges of the chamber broke out in peals of dark laughter that only ended when its companion chucked a rock right through it.

/Kriff you. I hate basic. At least Kittât makes sense!/

/Sense? Have you lost your last bit of sanity? It has twenty tenses, fifteen genders and sounds like a swarm of angry wasps!/

/At least it’s not obsessed with binary sexuality and biological indicators of familial relations!/

Obi-Wan had the feeling that this was going to be a long, long day.

 

Chapter Text

 

Before Master Timmns could say anything the Sith’s end of the connection picked up a sound so unexpected it left him slightly stunned. “-can’t believe you said that!”

Lord Sar’s expression dissolved into a mask of longsuffering pain. “Vette! I’m on call with the Jedi!”

That seemed to do little to curb the riotous laughter. “With a straight face!” The Twi’lek was far enough not to be picked up by the holo but her voice came through loud and clear, much to her master’s chagrin. “Like a Dorn-movie villain, oh my stars!”

Sar stopped mid admonishment. “Wait, I don’t even rate a Cresh? Really?”

“Not with that line, you don’t.”

The Sith seemed to recall they had an audience at the last moment. He gave the frozen Jedi a quick look. “I’ll… get back to you on this.”

The last thing Somminick heard before the call cut out was, “Dorn, Vette? You break my heart.”

A moment passed in absolute silence.

“What the kriff did I just watch.

Chapter Text

 

 

This was a disaster. It was- it was a crisis. Maybe one of the greatest the Order had ever faced while its safekeeping had been in her hands.

Satele resolutely banished any other thought from her mind.

Her strict gaze wandered over the assembled Jedi. Masters and Knights, to the last, seasoned and proven. Their best, their brightest, in mind, body and spirit.

And they had been subverted.

This insidiousness would be brought to an end. Now.

“Alright.” They were too disciplined to wince at her tone. That didn’t mean the Force didn’t ring with how much they wanted to. “Show of hands. I do not care if he’s a- a fling, an acquaintance, a friend with or without benefits or a, “ Force help her, she couldn’t believe she was saying this, “booty call, exactly how many of you have the Emperor’s Wrath on speed dial?”

 

 

Chapter Text

 

 

“I’m incredibly sorry Master Drallig, I have no idea how this happened. Someone must have triggered it in transit.” Considering the subject matter that was speculation at best. For once Master Cin Drallig let it slide. Time was of the essence. “We attempted to put it back into stasis but it won’t shut off.”

“Are you telling me it’s active, right now?”

“Yes master.”

The venerable Jedi swallowed a curse and quickened his steps. No telling what the mere exposure of his guards to this thing was doing to them. “Who has come into contact with it?”

“Me, Iolande, Razik and Vos.”

Great. Tholme was going to kill him. That damned brat. “What was padawan Vos doing down there?”

“I couldn’t say, master.”

Well, what can you say? Master Drallig shook off his irritation and released it into the Force. “Start from the beginning.”

“We were transporting the artefact from vault Wesk Leth Isk to the lower levels when…”

 

<<You're all screwed.>>

The sibilant language sounded nothing short of menacing. Quinlan really wished the holocron would just shut up already. Judging by the glower its inhabitant was sporting that wasn’t happening any time soon, though.

<<Are you listening to me? Is this thing on?>>

The guards were studiously ignoring every word. Quinlan really wished he has the same fortitude. There was just something about that tone that was incredibly familiar…

As someone who had grown up in the Jedi Temple and been a troublemaker from the start, his response to disgruntled exasperation had become almost instinctive.

<<Suck my dick. Are you serious? You're going to stand there and ignore a perfectly good warning->>

Thank the Force that was the point Master Cin Drallig finally stormed through the door. The padawan was starting to have the uncomfortable itch to do something about whatever the projection wanted, if only to make it stop talking.

One hard look at the situation and Master Drallig’s presence flared. “Not another word, Sith. You’ll find no one to corrupt here.”

<<The Force fucking wept.>>

“Here’s what’s going to happen-“

<<I mean that literally, you pompous asshole! Have you lot gone deaf on top of stupid? Get your Force connection recalibrated!>>

Quinlan had the feeling they were all lucky the speakers of holocrons had a limited range. The Sith seemed to be seething with thwarted rage. Although he was nothing but a projection his eyes flashed dangerously.

“Quiet! You will shut down, willingly, and return to stasis or you will be destroyed. Chose.”

Master Drallig’s demand echoed with Force-enhanced strength and cleared all confusion from the air. Even the guards in all their veiled glory seemed to breathe more easily.

<<... kriffing hells.>>

With that parting shot slithering through the calm left behind by the Jedi’s imposition of his will, the holocron began to close. It folded back into a perfect pyramid, red light casting a shiver over the surface that should rightly be solid… and all was still.

“Get this thing out of here before it changes its mind, Force preserve us.”

Quinlan spent the next ten standard minutes getting chewed out by the captain of the guard and trying very hard to ignore the shimmer he caught out of the corner of his eye as the guardians packed the Sith artefact up.

… who was he kidding, he has never been the best at impulse control.

 

“You what!”

“Shut up Obi! Do you want them to catch me?”

“Yes! You stole a-“

“The Force wanted me to have it!”

“The Force wanted shit!”

“Sssh!”

<<Heh. Crafty little bugger.>>

“See? It’s already trying to get into our heads! You need to put it back!”

“And get shafted by Master Drallig? I don’t thinks so. Come on, Obi-wan. Just until I’ve figured out what the Force wants from me, okay?”

<<At a guess? It wants you to get your head out of your collective asses so you won't die.>>

“… fine. But if you start… if it gets to you I’m turning you in, Quin. I’m not kidding.”

“Thanks, Obi.”

“Don’t thank me. This is such bantha shit.”

<<This is going to take a while isn't it.>>

 

 

Five years later, on a solo mission gone sideways

 

<<You idiot. I will kill you. I will strangle the shit out of you and dump your body on an asteroid headed straight for a sun.>>

“Whew. Thanks for the distraction back there, kind of saved my bacon.”

<<By all the little gods, you illiterate fuck. Goddamned busted translation matrix!>>

“Okay, okay! I'll be more careful! Happy now?"

<<I swear by the bones of Thum'En'Ka, one of these days, motherfucker. Strangling. Asteroid. Sun.>>

"You know, it’s nice not being alone out here.”

<<... fuck me sideways. Learn Sith, Quin. Please.>>

 

 

Chapter Text

 

 

Ventress studied the gleaming pyramid with fascination. “Wow. I thought all of those got scrapped. Where did you even get this thing?” The ‘thing’ in question squawked something vaguely menacing and made a gesture that looked a little anatomically incorrect. “Yeah, you me too.”

A chuckle sounded from where Quinlan was half-buried in their mangled ship console. “Long story. He’s alright, for an animated Sith-holonovel.”

<<I will give you a holonovel, you constipated bantha! Right up your ass.>>

The Dathomirian snickered. “And so colourful too. That was a good one.”

“Wait a damned second, you understand him?“

“Kind of-“ The rest of Ventress’ explanation drowned in a tirade of enraged Sith. “Like one word out of three! Slow the fuck down!”

“What is he saying?”

“Something about po-faced cunts. Gimme a second.”

 

Five minutes later

 

“Vos. Get that damned piece of junk working, we’re going to Coruscant.”

What?”

“Look, I want to see the Jedi Order burn as much as the next darksider but shooting up nurseries does not fly.”

 

 

---

 

-- So, you claim to have information on the Sith Master. --

Even Mace Windu’s trademark glower didn’t make a dent in Ventress irreverence. If she could get through an apprenticeship under Dooku with her aesthetic intact no stuck up Jedi was going to ruin it for her. “I’m not claiming shit.”

The holocron in her grip snarled something uncomplimentary.

“And he doesn’t care for your bantha poodoo.”

-- Very well. If you turn yourself in we will verify- --

"Tatki tu'iyia irdinoha diâ armonsi, j'us cûry atara dziaronira!"

“What he said.”

Oh wow. This is going to be fun. I didn’t want to go back anyway, did I?

Well, kriff. Quinlan wouldn’t put money on the Council actually listening to them but it was worth a try, at least as long as you had a rerouted holo-comm connection at your disposal. Yeesh.

“Every time I think I’m starting to get the hang of this…” He glanced at his companion. “Something about a trap and then... the downsides of music and a nerf?” That didn’t sound very likely.

Ventress snorted. “Try dog.”

“But doesn’t dog mean shorja?“

“Female, Vos.”

“… did he just call Master Windu a punk-ass bitch?”

Now you’re getting the hang of it.”

 

 

Chapter Text

 

Every day in a galaxy far, far away:

 

Empire goon: Oh my Force! Lord Wrath please save us from this monster / bastard / catastrophe that we totally didn’t cause ourselves / the Republic! Please!

Wrath: *flipping up their sunglasses* … it’s cool. Someone hold my flower.

Quinn: *punting everyone else out of the way* MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

Wrath: Quinn you held it last time. And it got a wrinkle.

Quinn: T________T *sobbing*

Pierce: Eh. I’d rather kick ass, anyway.

Vette: Me too. Not that your flower isn’t pretty, boss.

Broonmark: *roar that roughly translates to a desire to eat someone's first-born*

2V: May I hold your flower, master? I will make sure to return it in perfect condition!

Wrath: Alright. Next stop, insert name of random planet from hell!

Vette: I CHANGED MY MIND! Gimme dat flower you bucket of scrap!

2V: *Terrified screeching*

 

Chapter Text

 

Breathless silence descended upon the room. The kind of quiet a group of people generated that knew, for a fact, that at least one of them was guilty.

It was only a matter of who, or rather, who would break first.

When the inevitable happened it came from a quarter Satele hadn’t expected it from, even after she had told herself to expect anything.

The almost bashful clearing of his throat rang like a blaster shot, drawing the same wide eyed reaction from his fellow masters it might have if the man in question had pulled a blaster instead of raised his hand like a youngling caught with the cookie jar.

“Master Timmns?”

He flushed at Satele’s blatant disbelief. “Well… friend, in a manner of speaking. Not- Just, for the record.”

Just for the record, we’re not banging. Force save them all. Before Satele could gather her bearings and demand why and how and most important of all for how long someone else took courage from his bold example. It didn’t help her recover her wits.

Yadira Ban squeaked under the scrutiny. “Uhm. I mean, you remember that one time on the Black Talon with the- uh,” the Twi’Lek trailed off, cringing. “He’s really more of a frenemy?”

Someone in the back did a poor job of suppressing a snicker.

It went downhill from there.

“You see…”

“He’s a surprisingly good listener.”

“Occasional hook-up?”

“… he does that thing with his-“ Dear bloody hells. Satele would need to meditate until her brain leaked out of her ears to forget about that imagery.

The worst, though, was without a doubt Master Raan. The hero of Tython was growing smaller and smaller the longer the ordeal went on until someone groaned, “Oh, come on, everybody knows! Just get it over with!”

The cathar looked so mortified he might die on the spot. Beside him Master Nahri, youngest member of the High Council and one of the few who did not seem to be fraternising with the enemy, startled and gave his friend a bewildered look. “Really? Are you even physically compatible?”

Raan buried his face in his hands with a whine. “I don’t know, okay? We haven’t done anything yet- I mean- Kriff.“

Stars and Void. This was going to be along day.

 

Chapter Text

 

 

A conversation Sewlor isn’t awake for, or close enough to overhear:

 

“Master, you really should talk to him.”

Yon is about a breath away from burrowing his face in his hands. As he is the master in this equation and she the apprentice, he does not. Instead, he says, with all the dignity he can muster, which isn’t a lot at this point, “I know.”

Jaesa gives him a look. It’s a very jedi-like expression that reminds him uncomfortably of his childhood, his great-aunt and certain incidents that involved one of his more annoying cousins, three pounds of flour and a jar of honey and were absolutely not his fault.

With a heartfelt sigh, Yon banishes the association to the best of his ability. “I just don’t know what to say. It’s not exactly easy to navigate a conversation with a jedi.” They share a moment of quiet reflection. “No offense.”

In the long-suffering tone of those who have permanently leased the moral high ground, his apprentice answers, “None taken.” Yon has a feeling they need to have another talk, too. Oh, joy.

No one told him having a student involved so much… talking. Not that he minds, exactly.

“Well, master, what would you say if he were Sith?”

“I’d tell him I took out his master and that he’s mine now because I want to keep him.”

“… don’t tell him that.”

“I know.”

 

 

 

(( Dear goodness. Sith do have a certain laissez-faire approach to... uh... comparing their Order to, say pirates, produces a few parallels, doesn't it?

On the other hand, I’d like to remind everyone that Jaesa is Yon’s first student (and he’s still a student himself when he takes her on). His only example for a master are shitty jedi and… Baras, the very picture of the absentee authority figure even when he’s trying to kill you.

Yon does his best. He does. Possibly a little too much. Maybe someone should give him a Sith apprentice before he gets ruined for them. ))

 

Chapter Text

 

They didn’t even make it through the introductions.

Granted, tension was running high from the get go but Yon had had hope that it would take more than five minutes for a semi-diplomatic incident to occur. He had had such hope.

He really should have known better.

Everything was fine, they almost made it and then, while Yon was putting the last name to a face on his side of the equation, which was his latest apprentice, Vette added helpfully, “He’s his new pet.”

Tsubaki’s expression might have been amusing if the only thing that currently kept Yon from making very interesting faces right in front of the Grandmaster of the Jedi wasn't his facemask.

Small mercies. So much for meeting the in-laws, Theron was going to kill him.

“Excuse me?” Satele’s eyebrows drew into a thunderous frown, while Malcom (Yon was never asking how that happened. Never ever. Some things were not for him to know, dear Force.) slowly turned a vivid shade of red.

Without a hint of the panic he was above of, thank you very much, he glared at his best friend, much as he could with an almost solid plate of metal in the way. … he sent glary vibes in her direction. “He’s not my pet. He’s my student. As you well know.”

The burning regard of the Empire’s Wrath himself didn’t make a dent in her momentum. This is what he gets for being such a pushover for her. She can walk all over him and she knows it. Slowly, Vette’s lekku curved into a judgemental bow. “Yesterday when Sewlor brought you that thingy you wanted, what did you do? I mean after he was done telling you how he had waded through the blood of your enemies and sacrificed their puppies in your honor, bla-di-bla.”

There was a somewhat awkward pause.

“… I patted him on the head and called him a good boy.”

Did you now.

Kriff.

 

Chapter Text

 

Revan is the most infuriating bastard Marr has had the displeasure of dealing with short of Vitiate. Even in death he manages to make a nuisance of himself.

… which admittedly underscores certain parallels. Never. Mind.

Marr disembarks their transport with a growl of pure frustration before half their landing party can disgrace themselves and start a brawl. Even Beniko shudders in his wake but at least she has the strength of will not to emulate their ground troops.

Before his feet have touched the ground all activity in the yard ceases. Some of the soldiers downright drop what they have in hand as all higher brain function vacates the premises of their head and leaves room for nothing but blank staring.

Right in front of Marr’s eyes the well-oiled machine of their supply depot grinds to a halt. By the Force. He’s surrounded by idiots.

The quiet snarl his vocal modulator doesn’t quite catch and the accompanying change in his pheromone output sends a flinch through the crowd, or at least through the Imperial part of it.

“Commander Sakan. Get me an armor sealing kit.” Marr grinds out between gritted teeth. His HUD is flashing warnings of a containment breach at him as if he can’t damn well see the results, or feel the oppressive moisture of this benighted moon creep into his mesh underlining through the ragged tear in his back plates.

Commander Sakan, in an uncharacteristic lapse of conscientiousness, doesn't even salute. No, he's too busy making nerf eyes.

It's safe to say Marr's limited supply of patience is starting to dwindle rapidly. “Commander, i will crush you like the insect you are. Move.”

The man’s throat clicks. “Yes, please, sir.”

What was that?

The all but audible creak of Marr's last nerve seems to finally remind him of propriety. Possibly also of how close he is to losing his head but after that last bit of nonsense Marr isn’t as sure of that as he'd like. “Yes my lord! Right away my lord!”

Sakar takes off at speed, one can only hope to do his damned duty.

“Unbelievable.” At this rate he will have to retire to an isolated location. Ridiculous. Marr isn’t even scratching at a battle rage and his soldiers are swooning like a newly presented alpha over their first meeting with an omega.

He expects such a spectacle from the Republican dogs, they certainly don’t have the discipline required, his own men should be better. His displeasure curls around him like a living thing. Seeing as his seals are still broken it makes anyone close enough to be affected cringe.

Even in the oppressive silence the only thing that informs him of the Wrath's approach is a faint sense of danger. At least one of them managed not to get smashed against rocks until their armor went to pieces. Marr has no desire to imagine how that would have ended. The return flight was tense enough as is. The last thing they need is Jedi fighting over their attention like teenagers.

His agitated baser instincts helpfully point out to him (and anyone currently under his thrall) that his fellow Sith is the epitome of grace and he should kill that sort of competition on principle.

The Wrath regards their bristling audience with an air of indulgence. “They adore you,” is his prudent observation, while the angle of his shoulders speaks volumes. Marr looks away to avoid what will doubtlessly be another excursion into their finest warrior’s questionable sense of humor but can’t help reading ‘How cute’. That’s more than enough.

If the faint amusement in the Wrath’s filtered voice wasn’t clear, the coy dip of his chin would be. He's all but laughing, the wretch.

That he has glided into a position precisely at Marr’s shoulder, if one half step behind, not in the way if he draws his saber yet close enough to rise to a defence, is incidental. It has to be. Force, the entire affair is humiliating enough, he doesn't require protection.

“I don’t need their adoration! I need their competency!”

“Of course you do.”

 

Chapter Text

 

Master Kaedan grinds his teeth with enough force to make Theron’s ears ache and he’s done. This is it, he quits. He folds. He gives up.

They’ve been bound up in this song and dance for hours and it’s going absolutely nowhere.

And whose fault is that?

With the very last vestiges of his willpower Theron keeps a straight face as the argument they had just managed to quell flares up again. Tempers are running high, at least on one end of the table. It’s not the end you would expect.

“How dare you, you morally bankrupt heathen-“

“Master Kaedan!”

Kudos to Satele. Seriously. Going by the furrows between her brows she’s holding on to her cool by the skin of her teeth but holding onto it she is. It’s more than Theron can say about some people.

Not that he doesn’t understand their difficulties. Don’t get him wrong, watching some of the most uptight masters of the Order blow their top is hilarious… or it was. Three hours ago.

“And here I thought the Republic doesn’t discriminate. I am shocked by your conduct, master Jedi.” His lover, the son of a Hutt, has the gall to sound reproving. Force, he's sleeping with the galaxy’s worst troll.

Who knew. He’s never playing Sabbacc against the bastard again, that’s for sure.

Across the table, Satele rallies to the best of her ability. “Perhaps it would do us all good to take a short break,” before you manage to taunt one of my masters into falling right here in front of me, she doesn’t say. Theron can read between the lines though, Master Kaedan looks about ready to try his luck at strangling the Wrath.

Now that would be a show and a half, no doubt. One might even say a spectacle. If this goes on much longer Theron is going to cry and he’s not the only one.

Yon concedes the Grandmaster’s request with a faint inclination of his head, all grace and entirely above the antics of his counterparts.

Suns and stars, this has to end.

Preferably before somebody actually attempts to kill someone.

 


 

“Yon.”

“Yes?”

“I will give you the blowjob of your life the second we get out of here if you stop baiting the Jedi for five minutes.

There is a pause. “Is this reward singular or additive?

Considering how dearly Republican citizens in general and Jedi in particular like to talk a topic to death… “If I have to work off this entire conference I’m spending the rest of my life on my knees.”

“Now there’s a thought.”

“Oh, shut up.”

 

Chapter Text

 

 

starrypawz:

So a concept

Youth Culture in the Empire

This was sort of born from an observation on a show I was watching about Japan that basically explained a lot of like the ‘Japanese street fashion’ type stuff apparently is/was intended as a form of rebellion basically.

And you know apparently The Empire is meant to be very conformist and usually totalitarian?

Like obviously we know Sith (Pureblood or not) seem to be a law onto themselves apparently.

But like what is considered the ‘edgy rebellious teen’ thing to do in the Empire for your average  citizen, like is there some sort of underground scene? Does some variation of punk exist? Like how far could things be pushed before you end up on an Imp Intelligence watch list?

I mean it’s likely not ‘accepted’ as such but is it fairly typical to have older imperials going on about ‘Oh I remember that stage-’

Do ‘working class’ imperial citizens have more leeway than the higher classes? Or is it the inverse.

 


 

inquisitorhotpants

I 1000000% headcanon there is a very robust punk scene, even if it is somewhat more underground than it was in the 80s in the US, lmao. (I’ve mentioned it in some ficlets, too.)

Any society like the Empire, especially when it’s a martial society that can be turned into official martial law at any point, unilaterally, is going to have such things.

The variations, I think, lie in how the Empire deals with it. If you show up to work, and you don’t cause problems, and you’re not disrupting the status quo TOO much, you’ll probably end up on a list but not much else. If you fall in with the more… direct action types, then the response will likely be more amplified.

 


 

 

doomhamster:

-grins- For that matter, since the official aestethic of the Empire and especially of the ruling Sith is so dark and aggressive, I like to imagine Imperial counterculture being very colorful in response. Less with the black and the spikes - that’s *so mainstream*, dude! - more with the bright colors and eye-searing patterns, and a sort of… defiant cheerfulness to it all. 

 


 

 

darkshadeless (yes that's me)

Oh my god, you did not just tell me the My Little Pony theme is Empire underground style.

 


 

 

doomhamster:

…would I do such a thing? 

(The Care Wampas is a cartoon series much beloved of Republic children aged about three to six, and also to Imperial teens and twenty-somethings. Though they totally watch it Ironically.)

 


 

 

AND THEN CAME THE ASKS

 

anonymous asked:

Did Yon have a rebellious teen phase?

 

darkshadeless

The short answer is ‘No.’ <<;

The longer answer is this: Yon grew up in an environment /incredibly/ isolated from outside influences. Until he was sent to Korriban his entire social sphere included people he was related to, even if sometimes to the 16th degree removed. (Or adopted in the case of his ‘cousins’, like Callin.)

On top of that, once it became clear he had talent in the Force he went to school for that which… uhm. Think martial arts military boarding school, only run by your family and you don’t go home for summer breaks. Yeah. 

His family is incredibly traditional and expects a certain level of discipline from their offspring.

The best parallel I can find is that, concerning sensibilities, Yon is literally a smalltown boy from bumfuck nowhere, from a village with three houses and a church. If that church sent you on wilderness survival trips with nothing but a knife at thirteen. But hey, that was his normal.

He has uh. Broadened his horizons since then >>; but he never really had the chance for a rebellious phase, you know? Unless you count the times where he got into trouble (which was a lot) but that was less of a rebellious phase and more the Sith version of ‘kids will be kids’?

Honestly, I’m pretty sure even the ‘rebels’ of his generation thought smoking a self-made joint behind the weapons shed was the height of punk.

 

darkshadeless

I forgot to add: He also hit Korriban at sixteen, so… time for rebellious teen phases was severely limited. (He’s such an over-achiever. It’s not always to his benefit.)

(… though there was a certain branching out into the ‘rebellious’ territory the farther he got in SWTOR canon so… maybe he just skipped the ‘teen’ part. The pastel colored underground movement of the Empire youth is still the first thing I can honestly say scandalized him and it’s freaking hilarious.)

 

darkshadeless

Yon: Dear kriffing Force, what is that?

Vette: Uh. That’s… glittercore?

Yon: what.

 


 

bunny-loverxiv asked:

what would Yon do if an apprentice or student got into gittercore/pastels rebel things?

 

darkshadeless

He would endure it in silence XD

He’s very much the dad that finds out you want a tatoo, tells you in a faint voice ‘that’s GREAT, honey’ and then helps you find a good parlor instead of a hack while dying inside.

I’m sure that student would milk it for all it’s worth >>; SAFE WAYS TO MAKE MASTER SUFFER HAHAHAHAH

 

darkshadeless

Ironically enough as Wrath he’d probably be known in those circles seeing as his entire armor can, technically, be seen as a giant Fuck You to conventional Sith fashion XD

It’s all white with blue accents. (He picked it for the color meaning but, I’m just saying.)

 

bunny-loverxiv

Yon be careful. You could start a fad.

 

 

Chapter Text

 

 

As read on EmpLer, the independend posting platform for imperial citizens.

(Be advised that we, as a company, value your privacy but do comply to all applicable laws and regulations. For further information read our Terms of Service subsection 5: Cooperation with state authorities.)

 

CakeOrHugs: SOMEONE DID IT; I’M DYING OH MY GODS

FluffyDeathBot: whut

CakeOrHugs: (picture: The walkway in front of Kaas City’s Sith Citadel. Among the dark buildings, darker visitors and red decorative lights there are two Sith in the center of the apparent photograph, one in black robes and one in an armor so white it looks like it has fallen right out of a toothpaste commercial. The seams are lined in light blue biolights.)

CakeOrHugs: LOOK AT THIS ASSHOLE I CAN’T

CakeOrHugs: THE BDE

FluffyDeathBot: *rolls eyes* Chill my dude. Nice photoshop tho

CakeOrHugs: HE’S REAL FIGHT ME

FluffyDeathBot: Yeah, right

YouKNowY: That ain’t fake

YouKNowY: (links: several official news websites)

YouKNowY: That’s the new Wrath

FluffyDeathBot: … you are shitting me

 


 

CakeOrHugs: I'M DONE

CakeOrHugs: (gif-set: several cuts from different appearances of the Wrath. The creator has managed to isolate a few truly iconic moments. In one of them the Wrath flaps his hand at Darth Ravage in a put down that requires neither words nor additional footage.)

CakeOrHugs: HE'S SO EXTRA

FluffyDeathBot: -_- are you ever going to post without all-caps again?

CakeOrHugs: NEVAR

FluffyDeathBot: seriously

CakeOrHugs: (gif: The Wrath, conveying complete disdain in a single tilt of his head. It is captioned in sparkly, pink letters: 'Judging You')

FluffyDeathBot: Where do you FIND all these?

CakeOrHugs: I don't have a life okay

FluffyDeathBot: ... is this what you were doing last week when you bailed on me for that home-network party?

CakeOrHugs: maybe

YouKNowY: I do not envy the ImpInt agent who has to read all this, I really don't.

 

 

Chapter Text

 

 

“Which brings us to the next topic. Ravage?”

“Hear me! The Blorish Enclave merchant’s guild and its outrageous attempt at neutrality right on our doorstep must be brought to an end! I say no trader may operate on the Hydian way if they do not respect the might of the Empire-“

“Oh, I took care of that.”

Silence fell in the chambers in the wake of that lackadaisical claim. Darth Ravage, still caught in the current of the rant he had been building up to, was opening and closing his mouth like a space whale trying to comprehend a collision with an asteroid.

In the one corner, where after some deliberation (and someone’s complete loss of temper, no one was quite sure who and no one was telling) they had axed the Emperor’s Throne and, a few very awkward sessions later that culminated in the one person in attendance who was doing so in an advisory capacity demanding they either holo him or allow him to bring a folding chair, installed a thirteenth seat, the Wrath was tapping armored fingers against his very own lithic monstrosity in a mild expression of impatience.

Whose idea was it to make these damned things out of solid stone anyway?

There was exactly one throne that had mysteriously manifested cushions. Their greatest warrior was currently lounging upon them like a lazy Hutt with an ease that might move anyone who had to combat the effects of extended Council meetings on their spine with minor Dark Side application to tears.

If they weren’t Sith. Sith don’t cry. Not even over chiropractic nightmares no masseuse can fix.

Marr took in the tableau and did not sigh. Sighing was unbecoming of a Dark Lord, especially one pressganged into unwilling leadership of the Empire. “Very well. Moving on.”

“What!” Ravage’s squawk of outrage all but shook the artfully gloomy light fixtures. “What do you mean you took care of it!”

… oh Force, where they really going to get into this again. As if they didn’t all know the answer to that.

Wrath, in as much as a masked being can give anyone a look, gave Ravage a look. “I made a detour, met some officials and hammered out an agreement. It’s in your files.”

There’s some more and less discreet shuffling around the room as several attendees pretended to have read the advance notes and perhaps need a refresher at the most. Made wise by years of membership of this august body, Marr dialled down the audial input capacity of his amour and not a moment too soon.

“FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT- ACCEPTANCE OF INABILITY TO TRANSPORT MILITARY GOODS- ARE YOU INSANE!

At the very top of his voice, Ravage managed to make Marr’s audio feed squeal with interference despite his precautions. How did I end up in charge of this circus? And more importantly, was it too late to indulge in a permanent sabbatical?

Not that he had taken a single day off in his life. His sense of responsibility was a burden and a curse.

The Wrath huffs, unrepentant. “If you check the fine print, they’ve agreed to transport components and raw materials in volumes per our specification, payment rendered per favourable conditions and so on and so forth, unless such materials are absolutely and irrevocably of none but martial use. Darth Vowrawn assures me it’s a fine deal. We even get a long-term discount because we’re being so reasonable.”

Somewhere to the side, Darth Nox makes a failed effort at stifling a sound of amusement. “Is that what we’re calling it now?”

“Says so, right there in subsection C.”

Forget assassination attempts that have been entirely too thin on the ground since Marr took over imperial leadership, those two will be what does him in.

Ravage, Head of the Sphere of Expansion and Diplomacy, was slowly turning as red as a pureblooded Sith. “You- You- You can’t just fuck your way through a negotiation!”

“I don’t know, it seems to work just fine for me. You should try it sometime.” The councillor made a sound not unlike a boiling kettle. “Oh, right. They’ll see about facilitating some connections with their cousins over on the Corellian Run. No promises but if we sweeten the pot we could get in on their underground network. And by ‘sweeten the pot’ I mean give them some sugar so send someone with a sense of humour who’s ready and willing to take one for the team as necessary.”

One of Acina’s perfectly manicured eyebrows proclaimed her polite disbelief. 

Somehow their Wrath managed to look and sound entirely decorous as he bowed his head in acknowledgement of her bemused reprimand. “Maybe five. Endurance is a plus.”

“Oh, truly?” Vowrawn chuckled faintly, every inch a gentleman who was politely ignoring that one of his colleagues was indulging in an apoplexy. At least Ravage was too upset to get another word out. Small mercies. “I’ve been looking for a way to get around those cargo restrictions on the Run for ages. Well done. Do tell,” or maybe not quite a gentleman, “how did they rate?”

Pausing for a moment, the Wrath raised a hand to make a see-sawing motion. “Six out of ten? Points for enthusiasm, major detractions for surprise-tentacles.”

“Oh dear.”

“That’s one way to put it.”

 

 

Chapter Text

 

 

It’s the budget meeting that does it.

They’re going to find a way to word that differently for the official news cast but that’s it. That’s the how. The why they’re all trying not to consider too closely but if Yare is completely honest with himself it’s probably also bound up in there somewhere.

The Imperial Budget Conference.

The most dreaded of all gatherings in the Sith Empire.

When he clawed his way up the ladder of Sith succession from his nightmare of an involuntary stay on Korriban to the dizzying heights of a Dark Council seat, he considered many pitfalls. That… wasn’t one of them. It should have been.

Literally no one outside of the hallowed chambers of their autocratic government has any idea just how much of a speeder wreck it is.

And it is. Dear Force, is it.

It’s his first. He had the good fortune of being absent last year by virtue of being in the process of murdering his successor via drawn out bloodsport, also known as the honourable tradition of Kaggath. Yare isn’t sure whether to thank all gods he has ever heard of for that period of grace or curse the same for his lack of forewarning.

In the last twenty hours he has witnessed things no one should be subjected to, up to and including the most powerful of Sith in the entire galaxy breaking out what has to be the full range of dirt they have on each other in an attempt to secure funding for their respective Sphere for another year.

For the first time since it has occurred to him to be worried about the slowly dwindling number of Councilors appointed to this august body and the implied political stability of their Empire, he sees the other side of that coin: only last year he might have had to have this debate with double the attendants.

Privately, very privately, Darth Nox suppresses a shiver.

Then he rolls up his metaphorical sleeves and wades back into the morass of their discussion. He’ll be damned if he allows his Sphere to be short changed because the rest of these bantha-spawned bastards think they can sting him. (Possibly literally. His researchers will never forgive him if he has to cut their funding. Dear Force.)

“Excuse me, Darth Malora,” his purr is nothing short of malicious. If he had to practice that in front of a mirror no one has to know. It’s perfect now, anyhow. “Did you just imply the study of degrading biological matter is more important than the conservation of knowledge already gained?”

And how ironic is it that Yare is making this point. Sometimes he has to lock his door and have a good laugh at the fact that he is the Head of the Sphere of Ancient Knowledge. Not today but sometimes. Today he gets to watch elitist nerfherders grasp for arguments to dismiss his points and getting hung up on their own speciesism. On second thought, maybe this Budget thing isn’t all bad.

But honestly. Twenty hours? He’s hungry, he’s tired and he is one snide argument away from strangling someone.

That,” Ravage manages to put all the emphasis of ‘filth’ in one perfectly innocent word, “is entirely moot! If there is an undesignated public position left, it will-“

Oh, gods, not again. They’ve been over this five times. Even Vowrawn looks tired of it and he is quite possibly the only one in attendance who is sadistic enough to enjoy how his colleagues are making each other suffer.

Nox has to swallow a fierce burst of envy. Logistics and their damned foothold with the, now clustered, Spheres of Military Everything. Damn Vowrawn and Marr right to the pit. They’ve divided the Gundark’s share of funds between them with a practiced ease that makes him seriously consider regicide.

Is it regicide if you are, technically, the same caste?

Usually he gets along with those two of his colleagues well enough (If anyone on the Dark Council can be said to ‘get along’. That’s a little like saying the carnivorous piranhas in the piranha pond like to play with each other.) but Nox has spent the last fifteen hours scrabbling to save his next fiscal year from the vultures in attendance. “Oh, shut up! I don’t see why you get a single credit, it’s not like we do any diplomacy outside of Marr’s competence anyhow!”

Oops. Brain to mouth filter? Officially broken.

Ravage gasps for breath, while at least Vowrawn all but inhales the truffle he was snacking on. Good. Yare hopes he chokes on it. Those subsidized storage units had his name on them, kriff Vowrawn and his entire line to the seventieth generation.

“Why you- you- you alien scum-“

Nox can feel the prickle along his lekku that means they are curling into a threat display very much without his input. “Repeat that. I dare you.Give me a reason to kill you and take your cash for my outreach program.

Like the last… he has lost count. Like every time the Conference threatened to end in a bloodbath the Force comes down upon the table like a shroud made of lead and antimatter. The pull of a neutron star couldn’t hope to rival the Wrath’s aura when he wishes to, or so it feels at any rate.

Since he dragged Darth Arrid in by the ear, who hasn’t said a word outside of mumbling to himself, Yare's fellow member of the Empire’s Fury has stationed himself at the door and not moved an inch. The message was clear: No one leaves until the budget is finalized.

Not alive at any rate.

Until now, Yare is almost ashamed to say he hadn’t quite considered what that might mean, in the terms of everyone’s temper slowly wearing thin.

The Wrath’s aura flares in acidic displeasure. Unlike the last however many times since he started slipping enough to let them feel more than threat it keeps building. Nox glances at the unmoving white figure. It has clenched its fists.

It is telling that none of the attending councillors seem to so much as breathe.

When the Wrath speaks into the ensuing silence, his presence pulses with barely leashed rage like a sun about to go supernova. “You will. Grow. Up. And get. Your asses in gear. Or I swear by the Force I will slaughter the whole lot of you and crown myself Emperor and either way we will have a budget.

While Yare is still trying to push back against that... one cannot rightly call it a Force suggestion, Darth Vowrawn, wisest and most crafty of them all, crinkles the wrapping paper of his chocolate box with a look halfway between blank shock and... Nox can’t quite place it. The faint sound is audible to the very edges of the chamber.

Not a second later he raises a hand, as if his mind isn’t paralyzed, by all the little gods, how stubborn is that old snake, and intones, “First and third motion submitted, presupposed the second one isn’t.”

What he means doesn’t quite penetrate until Acina’s eyes widen and she seconds that gesture with the merciless swiftness of a starving slave being put in front of a full course meal. “Supported.”

What?

Darth Mortis, who seemed to have given up on the entire affair after securing what had to be the bare minimum funding necessary to run their Empire’s judicial forces, raises his head from his hands for the first time in three hours. His eyes burn with unholy light. “Motion carried. All in favour?”

 

And that is how the second Emperor of the reconstituted Sith Empire begins his reign.

… he does try to kill them. That’s a failure Yare will put down to the kind of teamwork only desperation can breed. That and Darth Marr realizing that there is exactly one way he’ll get off the de-facto throne without dying and this is it.

Yon will be more forgiving once he has had a meal and a good night’s sleep. Hopefully.

 

 

Chapter Text

 

 

The trouble with an actually physically and mentally present Emperor is… he is…. present. It’s possible a few of them have gotten used to a head of state that is, as they say, useful mostly as a place to stash your hat. Ornamental in nature.

And after Vitiate made his exit… (True to form, also ornamental in nature. That is not something they are aware of at this juncture though.)

No one would claim Marr was a figurehead but neither did he take on the role of an Emperor anything but grudgingly. He could not give less of a damn about a Sphere that makes its best attempt at pretending something as close to competence as it can manage. As long as it wasn’t obviously shedding parts it was unbroken enough he had other things to worry about.

Honestly, who could blame him. These days it often seems half their Empire is on fire with the other half trying to douse the flames with engine fuel.

Any ruler would have enough problems without borrowing trouble.

If only someone could find the words to tell his newly elected Highness that.

 

 

“Lord Ravage, if I may ask,” Darth Nox very carefully does not wince. There is a burr in their former Wrath’s voice that his mask almost swallows. Almost but not quite. Unless he is mistaken (HE ISN’T) that’s the sound of a generally level-headed man trying very hard not to scream. “What do you mean to tell me when you say you don’t have progress reports?”

Ravage, who seems to have problems remembering that the person he is speaking to actually outranks him, sneers reflexively. Yare is going to assume it’s a reflex because if it’s on purpose he is either braver than the twi’lek thought he was or just not that invested in his continued ability to breathe unassisted.

He’s still waiting for Yon’s spike in temper over his election to abate.

Seeing as said election was three months ago and their beloved Emperor has yet to regain most of his (still occasionally pants-wettingly terrifying but) not actively murderous disposition, Nox is starting to suspect it might be a permanent feature.

Maybe it’s stress. Studies show high stress levels can lead to an increase in Dark Side supported feedback loops. He’s pretty sure he read a paper on that somewhere.

“Diplomacy is a fine art. You have my latest prognosis-“

“I have a bullet point list of the planets you currently run missions on.”

Uh-oh. Made wise by three months of their former Wrath taking a hold of the power they had unwittingly handed him, turning around and using it to beat their (his) Empire into shape makes Nox sink a little lower in his seat. Seeing as the only person in the room that outdoes him in sheer physical presence is Marr, who has taken off to regions unknown as soon as it became clear he can actually lead their fleets in battle again without some part of basic infrastructure imploding behind his back and is attending via holo, that’s not much of an improvement.

He’s still smarting over his own run-in with Emperor Sar, first of his name, and his unholy love affair with proper procedure.

 

(“Nox. What is this.”)

 

Yet unburned, what a fool he had been, he told the whole unvarnished truth. “My budget plan?”

Yeah, he’s not making that mistake again. It’s not his fault he grew up in a slave pen! Numbers weren’t even a thing for him until he was almost twenty! His budget was fine! It was- okay, it didn’t quite look like it should but he- he had done alright! He did research and everything! It’s not like he had anyone to show him how budgeting works!

… he’s trying not to think about what that must have done to his reputation. They’re all in the same boat here anyhow.

Not even Acina got out of revision without a reprimand for isolationist tendencies and obviation of progress. The Head of the Sphere of Technology. Obviation of progress.

The only one of them who isn’t nursing their pride is Mortis, who has somehow managed to become teacher’s pet by virtue of perfectly indexed tax reports and footnoted demographic spreadsheets. Yare finds he hates him a little bit for his organizational skills alone, never mind that he can apparently turn a credit over five times without breaking a sweat.

Just a little.

Seriously. Yon is a demon. He knows no fear, no mercy and no respect. If anyone thought his rational, hard-working approach to his duties as Wrath would translate to this new position… they were perfectly right but might have, possibly, underestimated his dedication. Or what form it might take.

Marr got his spikes polished just last week for overquoting on his prognosis of fuel costs, transportation and personnel requirements. (Marr, I will end you. Amend your notations.)

Okay, so maybe Nox felt more than a little vindicated over that but that’s his business and no one else’s. So are the subsidized climate controlled storage units his Excellency, Force forbid anyone call him that in his earshot, wrested from Vowrawn’s greedy paws and dropped in his lap. Only half of the funding he wanted but he got them. That’s the thought that kept him warm while he was licking his bookkeeping induced wounds.

It was creepy. Marr didn’t even complain. Actually, his assent sounded suspiciously choked. Nox maintains that was outrage because the alternative is unthinkable.

Their Emperor’s dulcet tones, hitting the perfect balance between treacherous calm and simmering fury, draw him out of his reverie. “Ravage. Where is your paperwork?”

Oh dear.

 

 

It. It turns out Ravage doesn’t keep paperwork. He… he doesn’t see the point.

For a moment there Yare is convinced he will witness their Emperor’s first in-House execution.

His Imperial Majesty leans back on his throne, stapling his fingers in front of him. “Please, correct me if I’m wrong,” All the quiescence that had evaporated with his inauguration is quite suddenly back and Nox wishes it wasn’t. The foreboding hanging over every syllable makes his lekku curl. “Do you wish to convey to me you have no records of what your underlings are up to?”

Ravage probably does, they all do to some degree even the worst of them, they have to. Whether those notes are presentable in a meeting of the full Dark Council is another matter entirely. You have to filter them for plotting first, at the very least.

Even their chief diplomat seems to slowly cotton on that he has gotten himself into hot water. How that man got his seat is anyone’s guess. “Your- your… Grace,” Anyone’s guess and not Yare’s, he has no idea. Is that supposed to be respectful? It sounds like he’s biting the honorific title in half.

Their Emperor, immortal or otherwise, tilts his head and in a moment of terrible clarity Yare is sure underneath his mask he smiles. The impression is so vivid it sets his heart racing in fear. Across from him Darth Malora hastily reorders her stack of forms for the sixth time.

It’s color-coded for navigation. Force preserve them.

In the expectant (horror-struck) quiet Yon says, sweetly, “You are fired.”

What!”

What. Can he- Can he do that?

In that same tone one might expect from a Jedi expounding on fluffy clouds, peace and puppies, their overlord adds, “Arrest him.”

Mortis with more courage than sense and a faint tremble in his voice, glances between his speechless colleague and his Most Revered ruler, “My lord, if you’ll excuse… for what?”

Slowly, their Emperor turns to his minister of Laws and Justice. His head tilt grows more pronounced and something like saccharine approval washes over them like the candy-coated touch of death itself. “Gross incompetency and dereliction of duty. Make it so.”

Mortis swallows. “Yes, your Highness.”

“And give him to his successor for assistance in cross-referencing. Who is his successor?”

Should they know this. Is one of them responsible for knowing this? Dear gods, is it Nox? It’s not him is it?

Marr saves him form that line of thought. Even across a holo connection Yare would swear he is staring fixedly at a gaping Ravage, who is too stunned to fight the awkward hold the Imperial Guard has taken on him, as he proclaims in what Nox would swear borders on veneration, “Lord Serevin. Your Highness.”

“Wonderful. Someone tell him he is promoted and expected to detail his proposal for restructuration of the Sphere of Expansion and Diplomacy in front of this august body post-haste. He has two weeks.”

The assembled Dark Lords of the Sith shudder as one.

We have created a monster.

 

 

Chapter Text

 

 

The ship was quiet. Most of its inhabitants had left on missions, leaving the Force-sensitive part of the crew to their own devices.

It could be a welcome reprieve if not for the niggling feeling that had been bothering Jaesa lately. Somehow she was unable to quite put her finger on it, much less release it into the Force. So it was there, at the back of her mind, elusive and bothersome.

Her Master would tell her to be patient, that it would reveal itself in time. He would be right, of course, and hearing the words would help but seeing as the feeling seemed to be connected to him made the matter… difficult.

Oh, who was she kidding, she knew what it had to be. It could be little else if the scene she had spent her afternoon spying on made hurt flare up where there hadn’t been any before.

Jaesa ducked back into the corridor and sighed. No one would mind if she took an interest. Her Master probably knew she was there. Still she felt the need to watch him and his new student from the shadows.

It was obvious that Sewlor was struggling with meditating on the Dark Side. His face scrunched up in concentration instead of smoothing into peaceful contemplation.

Not that touching the Dark Side made for very peaceful contemplation. It certainly hadn’t the few times she had tried to reach out for it with her Master’s assistance.

In the end Jaesa had shied away, confessed how uneasy it made her.

He hadn’t offered again. A part of her had been grateful.

A much smaller part, that she was only now acknowledging, was watching her fellow apprentice in his training and feeling- feeling-

Feeling things Jaesa should not be feeling. It was unworthy of her, of her Master. He had been but a student himself when he had taken her on but he had always given her what she asked for. At times things she hadn’t asked for but needed. He trusted her, even leaned on her sometimes and the experience was more validating than she could say.

And yet… he had been distant lately. The last time they spoke she had felt something from him she had never felt before. A sense of uneasiness.

He had never feared her powers, accepted them like no one else. That that may have changed was a hard pill to swallow. Another thing she had been unable to release in meditation.

This was getting her nowhere. Perhaps it was time to confront her fears head on.

 


 

The knock that stirred Yon from his evening meditation was soft but purposeful. He didn’t need the Force to know who was waiting on the other side of that door. It had been inevitable. He should have been the one to come to her but every time they had talked he couldn’t seem to find the words.

“Yes?”

Jaesa entered silently, chewing on her lip. The tell made Yon smile despite what he knew they would have to speak of tonight.

“Master, a moment of your time?”

Jedi-calm and determined. How he envied her sometimes. “Of course.”

He watched his apprentice take a deep breath, her stance settling into something more braced. “It has come to my attention that you-“ She paused, releasing an emotion he caught the very edges of before it dissipated. “Have I displeased you?”

Just as I thought. He should have faced this sooner. He hadn’t and this was where it got the both of them. Quietly, Yon sighed. “No.”

He stopped a (no doubt exceedingly formal) protest short with a wave of his hand. “Not as such, no, but there is something I should have addressed with you and didn’t. I apologize.”

If he had to make mistakes, he would own them at the very least. Even now it was still hard to say it. “Jaesa.” The solemn way Yon said her name made her eyes widen in surprise. “When we were on Belsavis.”

Her confusion was palpable. “Belsavis, Master? But that’s been-” Not that long but also not that short.

A small, self-depreciating smile tugged at his lips. “A while, yes. What you told Master Timmns…” His gaze dropped to the floor before he braced himself and met her eyes again. “That you believe I will change. Is that how you think of me?”

Because if it is we need to have a long overdue conversation.

 

 

Chapter Text

 

 

From the moment the pirates capture them, Sar is absolutely unbearable.

The light is too bright, the sounds are too loud, the criminals are too stupid and who would even wear this shit, Timmns! Do these idiots buy the same vegetable sacks you are!

He… probably complains about a lot of other things but that’s around the time Timmns tunes him out. Sar can go for hours when he’s in a snit and Force, is he, not that Somminick can’t sympathize. He has the worst stun-grenade-induced hangover he has ever had to experience too.

When they finally take over the ship (read: when Sar has killed every last one of those pitiable pirates) and land (read: crash) it planetside only to end up being arrested by the authorities, that doesn’t exactly improve his coworker's mood.

The chairs in their interrogation room aren’t nearly comfortable enough to fall asleep on or Timmns might have given that a try. As it is he has to make do with leaning back and flipping his hood over his eyes because, even if he’d never admit it, Sar isn’t wrong and the lights are too bright. At least if you’re busy having a migraine.

The judicial forces they have been picked up by haven’t bothered to actually interrogate them yet. Part of that is owed to the fact that while some fashions might be universal Basic sure isn’t around here. If Timmns got the gist of what their new acquaintances were saying, they’re still waiting on a protocol droid. Or a lawyer. That’s a toss-up, he hasn’t quite managed to convince his beleaguered brain to process conjugations.

While Somminick is still pondering that with the speed of a Fenner’s Rock that's trying to consume particularly hardy lichen, the soothing drone of his colleague’s nagging changes. Sar’s tone drops into a growl accompanied by a spike of irritation and Timmns is saying “No.” before he can even process the words.

“Just a little! Maybe then they’ll finally get their-“ Oh, he knows how that sentence ends.

No.”

“Whose side are you on!”

The side that doesn’t have us fighting our way out of here. Gods, Somminick can barely be bothered to deal with the ordeal of existence right now. “I wasn’t aware there are sides to this.”

“There are always sides!”

Suns and stars, Sith can be so exhausting. How does Sar have the energy for this kind of hubbub? He has to be just as sapped as Somminick and the Jedi knows for a fact he’s scraping the barrel of his reserves. He’s not actually sure he could fight his way out of here if he had to.

Which… means… Sar would drag him out and that’s- No. Just no. He has been there, done that and wishes he didn’t remember. Yon made him pay for every single joke he ever made about his diminutive size in that stair-infested Force-forsaken prison complex and Somminick isn’t even sure it was on purpose. Either way, his bruises had bruises. They’re not doing that again. Ever.

Timmns lifts his hood enough to squint at his partner. “Look, nothing has happened so far. I think we can afford to lay low for a little while. How about you calm down, hm?”

The look Sar gives him could have melted durasteel. Yeah. That’s what I thought.

“How about you,“ He descends into the hissing, guttural phrases of Kittat. Somminick’s throat hurts a little just listening to that language but that’s not the only thing that has him wincing. “Get a move on or I will punch you in the dick!

“Really? Really, Sar? Can’t we behave like civilised beings for once? One time, that’s all I’m asking.”

“I will show you civilisation! In fact, I’ll shove it right up your-“ Dear goodness. Somehow he has the feeling this is going to be a long day.

 

 

Chapter Text

 

 

He’s fast. Too fast. Kira only realizes they’ve been goaded into a trap when it’s already too late.

She should have known, should have taken a moment to think like Raan keeps trying to encourage her to do but the opening had been too good.

Too good to be true, more like.

They were playing catch with an assassin. Why did she expect to take him by surprise again?

Sweat is beading her brow. A faint tremor in her blades is the only thing giving away her exhaustion.

Where are you, you bastard?

Where she least expects him, that’s where. The Sith glides out of a shadow seamlessly, lightsaber snapping online with a hiss almost too late for her to whirl and catch his blade on her own. He’s so silent. No quipping, no grandstanding, no nothing. Her well of sarcasm has run dry under his relentless assault.  So far they’ve held their own but… it’s not looking good.

Kriff. We’re in such deep shit. Raan where the hells are you when your crew could do with a flashy rescue?

Probably neck deep in his own share of problems, if Kira knows him at all.

She retreats, is pushed back step by step as they trade blows. For an assassin the guy is unfairly solid. He hits like a tauntaun kicks, pressing the attack, but Kira has learned better than to get complacent. That almost cost her her head no five minutes ago.

True to form at a random point in their sequence her enemy is just… gone. He’s not where he should be, swerving instead of going straight. Prepared as she is Kira manages to parry his flanking strike with grim satisfaction. She has always been quick on the uptake.

This time it might not be enough.

With the instincts of the Sith-trained she catches the glimmer of satisfaction in his cold, cold eyes. Oh no.

There’s no time to react. His blade hooks hers. She has to give it up or lose her hands.

While her guard is open he knees her in the guts mercilessly. Kira goes down tasting copper. Shit!

This is where she dies.

Or she should. A blaster whines overhead. Kriff, Doc no.

That loyal idiot. He’s going to get himself killed and who will look after Raan then, if they both croak here? (T7 that’s who. He’s gonna have to. Gods, how Kira wishes the little droids was here to help her whip some Sith butt. She could use it right about now.)

Breathing hurts. That kick must have been Force assisted, there’s no other way he broke one of her ribs from that angle.

But fuck that. Her entire existence used to be pain. She’s not about to give up, especially not with Doc’s voice in her ear, choking on nothing. Kira blinks the tears from her eyes and claws for her lightsaber.

There’s a faintly disapproving sound from somewhere above her, “Ts. None of that.”

A booted heel comes down on her hand with crushing strength. She swallows a gasp, barely. She’s not even sure why.

 

Don’t show weakness. Don’t. Don’t ever.

 

It’s scary how much hold those lessons have on her sometimes. Not that Kira cares right now. Doc’s fading, she can hear it, feel it and if she doesn’t do something soon-

A comm.link rings.

It’s the most surreal sound, like a commercial break in the middle of a damned blood bowl match. ‘Happy Hutt Burgers! You should Eat our Meat! Aaaand back to Zellday Murder Mayhem! Who will be disembowelled first?’

It sure as hell isn’t her unit, she knows better than that. Who goes into a fight with their comm. unmuted?

A kriffing Sith assassin, that’s who. He sure enough postpones murdering them to pick it the void up. What the fuck.

“Talionis.”

Whatever. Maybe she can get at her weapon while he’s distracted. Kira glances at him out of the corner of her eye.

He stares right back at her, unblinking. Great. Just great.

While they’re still locked in that breathless second before she goes for her ‘saber and he runs her trough for it, his comm. crackles to life and bleats, #Kriffing finally, you cocksucker! Where the hells did you put your damned comm! Up your ass?!#

… what. What the shronk.

Talionis doesn’t so much as blink. If anything he almost seems to… relax. Minimally. If Kira hadn’t been mentally cataloguing his every move for the last half-day or so she wouldn’t have noticed.

“Sar. I’m glad to hear you are in such good spirits.”

#Good spirits?! I’m about to cut you to pieces and feed you to a brackled rancor! I thought you were dead! Where the void are you!#

Whoever is on the other end of that line hasn’t ever heard the term ‘inside voice’. That’s more what Kira expects from a Sith than what Talionis has thrown at them. Even now he is eying her every move with calculated cruelty.

Think. Think, think, think!

“Your concern is noted and appreciated.” Talionis increases the pressure of his boot on her hand, bit by bit until Kira barely bites back a whimper. “I haven’t encountered anything that would give me trouble.”

#Concern. I’ll show you concern!# If the voice were any less grouchy Kira would call that a shriek. They take a few audible breaths. #Anyway, I’ve run into a Jedi over here. Weirdest thing.#

A rock the size of Coruscant descends into her stomach. Raan. It has to be. If the Sith is still alive-

No. Can’t be. He’s fine. He has to be.

At any rate, Talionis grows very still at that claim. His fire-lit eyes bore into hers. “Oh, really?”

#Yeah, looks like they’re stranded here too, he and his crew.#

While Kira is still trying to process and release an influx of emotion she can’t deal with while she’s fighting for her life, she’s treated to the dubious pleasure of seeing the asshole who’s about to murder her make an honest to the gods expression for the very first time.

He looks like a man who would dearly like to pinch the bridge of his nose but knows exactly how bad an idea it is to leave a mortal enemy out of his sight. “Don’t tell me. You’ve made a deal.”

#Kriff you. Do you want to spend a moment longer in this hellhole than you have to? Because I don’t.#

Now Talionis does pinch the bridge of his nose. “Sar. What did you promise him?”

#Nothing much. We hitch a ride, no one dies, we share sugar-cookies and blue milk at snack-time, the works. You wouldn’t have seen some shrimp with a moustache and a red-headed Jedi, would you? ‘bout my size. He says he’s not leaving without ‘em.”

There’s a rather awkward pause.

Kira’s eyes flicker to the comm. but she’s pretty sure if she tries to make a single sound, she’s going to get Force-choked. Thankfully, she doesn’t have to.

#Somminick.# The voice sounds wary now.

“Yes?”

#Tell me you haven’t killed them.#

Technically, that wouldn’t be a lie. Not yet. That seems to occur to the Sith too but he pauses just a hint too long.

#You’re killing them right now, aren’t you.# It’s not a question. There’s no question mark attached in any way, shape or inflexion. The twist Talionis' mouth falls into might have been funny in any other situation.

“I suppose you want me to make good on your promises.”

#I don’t know, what do you think?#

“Jedi lie.” The Sith delivers that line with so much finality, Kira is sure without a doubt that she will die. That’s not just run-of-the-mill Sith hatred. That is real hate, insatiable as a black hole.

The irreverent asshole at the other end of the line shatters that impression just like he has bulldozed over everything else so far. #And if they are we’ll deal with it. Do you want to make me a liar?#

Talionis’ face does something complicated. Kira has no idea what it is, it’s there and gone but it looks somewhere between raw and furious. He comes out the other end with a faint air of resignation, expressionless once more. “Fine. Have it your way.”