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Tales of Darth Skuldren: Ch. 5-8

 
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Tales of Darth Skuldren: Ch. 5-8
 PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2008 10:42 pm Reply with quote  
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  Darth Skuldren
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Tales of Darth Skuldren - Ch 5

My master was a warrior, one of a dying breed.
Darth Skuldren

Some people are forced to be warriors. Some of them actually do well in battle. Rarer still are those who are born warriors. They are drawn to battle like a beacon.
Darth Cabal

From Vex Ratalla’s The Worlds of the Katarri Sector and Its People…

Introduction

I have spent five years in the Katarri Sector and have managed to survive encounters with all of its peoples. Let us begin with an overview. The sector is of average size and is located on the edges of Wild Space, beyond the end of the Corellian Run. It is dominated by a large brilliant blue sun that is surrounded by three smaller suns. Each sun represents a system of planets. The closest system is Wallonia, which consists of four primary planets. Past Wallonia is a large elliptical system known as the Fortune Drift. The drift is home to thousands of small planetoids rich in ore and rare minerals. Part of the drift is known as the Katarii Cluster. The cluster is composed of seven lush planets inhabited by the native Katarii. On the other edge of the drift is a string of large planetoids that were terraformed by the Feranzati and turned into host of colony worlds. Lastly is the Trullgor system. Trullgor is shrouded within rings of colorful, nebulous stardust making for an excellent natural defense. There are several small, uninhabitable planetoids and only one large planet capable of sustaining life. Other than that, the only other noteworthy feature is the void.

According to the locals there is a region, out beyond the black curtain of space, where the Muulags live. Sadly I was not able to venture into this perilous, forbidden realm. No one in the sector, not even the brave Moldavian crusaders, would take me out there to explore. Nevertheless I did get to speak to a Muulag and he gave me a broken and vague description of the void. According to it the void is but a barrier between their worlds and others. It is not outside of the galaxy, as some have speculated, though it does provide a wide window to the great beyond. They have several homes, all of them covered with black waterfalls and gloomy shadow forests. Apparently the Muulags are an asexual species and reproduce at an above average rate. Thus their species has been forced to create massive constructs of artificial living space between their worlds. Yet that was all I was able to get out of the wretched creature before he leapt to tear my arms off. Thankfully a guard was on hand to render the thing unconscious…
…end of excerpt.

Darth Cabal and the Katarii

I ventured to this exotic land of civil strife nearly seven years ago. Somewhere in the Outer Rim, in a lively smoke filled bar, I overheard a conversation about some religious cult of furry little beings that practiced some bizarre art of Krudesh. To most people the word is meaningless, but to some it is the lost secret of a great race. According to legend the celestials built amazing machines and civilizations. Among their great discoveries were the findings of Krudesh. Krudesh was a celestial scientist and most likely a force sensitive. Somehow he was able to bend one of the fundamental laws of nature, to create matter. He obtained great fame for his findings and was a celebrated hero among his people. Eventually the celestials disappeared from the pages of time. No one knows exactly who they were or what happened to them. The story picks up again when a Sith adventurer, known as Pollo Dyak, wiped out an obscure force sect who called themselves The Pawns of Creation. Amidst the carnage was an ancient datapad with portions of text translated in a rare dialect of Vus’swa. Dyak was able to read portions of it and quickly realized the potential power of this knowledge. From the datapad Dyak formed the Krudeshi Rituals. Supposedly these rituals could alter the realities of life to the point that you could create it. There is only one book left in the galaxy that details any of this knowledge and it resided in a Sith library for thousands of years. At one point a copy of it was made and it fell into the hands of the Jedi. Yet neither order pursued any investigations. No one showed an interest.

Well when I heard the word Krudesh I immediately became intrigued. I casually moved over to their table and introduced myself. The company in question consisted of a Caamasi, a Draethos, and an orange skinned Em’liy. At first they were uneasy, but after buying a couple rounds and some small talk I managed to loosen them up. Kalos, the Caamsi, and his friend Maori were adventuring. They had employed the services of the Em’liy as a bodyguard. So far they had spent sixteen years exploring the realms of space. They heard of Krudesh when they traveled through the Katarii Sector.

“The Katarri Sector, I’ve never heard of it.” I replied.

“Oh its an interesting place. People had shown interest in it, but there’s always so many wars going on out there that no one bothers. Too expensive to get involved.” The golden Caamasi took another drink of his zeltron mixer. “You see there are a dozen people in the sector and they’re all at war with one another. First you would have to pick a side, then you would have to help them win and… well you see…its messy.” He picked up his glass and finished it off.

“Are you interested in the sector or the Katarii?” asked Maori.

“Actually the religious cult is what I was looking for.”

“Well that would be the Katarii, it’s their cult. Funny, you don’t look like a pilgrim. By chance, are you a fellow scholar, such as me and my compatriot?” Maori looked on with earnest anticipation.

“I do keep an open mind to new cultures. I think the Katarii would be one I would like to visit.” I took a moment to catch up on the tab and ordered another round.

Then the Em’liy spoke up, “We were planning on heading out past Alzoc III, the Katarii Sector is not that much farther out of our way. We could drop you off if you like.”

I shuffled a bit in my seat. This was it. Now they would ask me for a favor. “That’s awfully generous of you…”

And the Em’liy cut me off, “In the twelve years I have traveled with these two, you are the first to ever buy me a drink. I have seen ten thousand beings and a thousand cantinas and you were the first. Besides, you have the look of a warrior upon you and I could use the company. It’s a 32-hour flight to Alzoc from here. The last thing I want to endure is another scholarly argument between these two.” He gestured to his friends with a sweep of his arm.

“That’s a great idea Ozo, we could leave in two days, will that suit you?” asked Kalos.

“Two days will be fine. Where are you docked at?”

“Bay 12, look for the ship with an angelic Woostoid blazoned on the cockpit.” And with that we parted company for the night.

Three years passed and I found myself in the middle of a three-sided war. When I left the Sith, I threw away my moniker as Darth Cabal and reverted back to my given name, Panzer Dokken. As such I became a mercenary general for the people of Wallonia. They had allied themselves with the Katarii, and hence, were now in a war against the Muulag. On top of that, they had to deal with the continuous attacks of the Trollgans. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, they were fighting the Moldavians on their home front. They paid me and I delivered victories. Soon after they put great trust in my abilities and they gave me overall command of their forces. All of the sudden the fate of a million beings were put in my hands. Thankfully war was something I knew how to handle.

My first task was narrowing down the threats that my army faced. The Muulags were the main threat. They wanted to take over the sector by conquering all its peoples and they had the will and the numbers to do it. Yet they had only just begun their offensive and they were still way out in the Katarii cluster. So they would wait. The Trollgans were a pain that everyone in the whole sector seemed to deal with. If they could be ignored then so be it. The most pressing matter on hand was the Moldavians. Moldavia shared the same system as Wallonia. Both had been at war for over a decade. Oddly both civilizations were very similar. They were based around a warrior led society and had reasonably sized armies and navies. The Wallonians were a more civilized warrior class, more refined. On the other hand the Moldavians were down right barbaric. Their warriors took trophies, consumed their enemies, and fermented blood into a strong lager-wine. As bizarre as it might seem their battle tactics were outstanding in practice. Moldavian troops could fight without the logistical complications of most armies. They would simply charge into battle, kill the enemy, and use them as supplies. It was efficient but brutal.

In the beginning these two peoples disgusted each other. After ten years of war they couldn’t tell the difference. Wallonia was ready to offer a peace treaty, but Moldavia couldn’t accept it. Through their traditions peace could only be brought by the victor of battle, so they looked to me to settle it. Simply put, the Moldavians wanted the Wallonians to choose a champion who would fight the Moldavian chieftain. Whoever won would dictate the peace terms. Though the Katarri sector was a long ways out from the core, the Wallonians still knew about Jedi. Of course I tried to explain that I was a Sith, but to them a Jedi was a Jedi. I had a lightsaber and could wield the force. Thus I was a Jedi. Either way, I was elected their champion. Twelve days later I found myself standing on a red-orange mountainous planet in the middle of a crowded arena. Thousands of screaming Moldavians were seated around the arena in a typical circle. The sun was setting and it cast a magnificent golden glow over the horizon. My opponent was a towering beast of a man, clad head to toe in hulking armor. In his hands was a huge broadsword. Atop his head was a helmet crowned with antlers and bemused with an engraved grin of fangs. Before me was a table full of primitive weapons. Reluctantly I traded my lightsaber for a finely crafted katana-like weapon. I soon regretted it.

The battle began. Being the warrior that I am, I refrained from using the force. After all this was a contest between warriors, are honor was at stake. With a huge thunk his heavy sword came swooshing down past my shoulder. Seeing this iron clad knight I went for a weak spot. Spinning around, full blast, for a 180 degree slash to the back of the knee, bam. The hulking knight fell to his knees, but the strike did not penetrate his armor. To my surprise he was actual completely armored. The armpits, the back of the knee, the ankles, even his neck. There was not one weak spot to be found. I had to act quickly. While the knight was still recovering from the blow, I threw my sword aside and went in. I grabbed his head, tucking it in under my right arm, and used my body weight to bring him back hard. It wasn’t enough to break his neck, but it did bring him pain. Using the immobility of his armor, I pinned his legs with mine and put him into a submission hold. With my arms I stretched his head back and with my legs I pulled his back. At this point I used every ounce of strength I had to pull his contorted body until he could take no more. In screaming agony he surrendered.

Silence fell over the crowd like a blanket. Slowly the Moldavian knight rose to his feet. He took off his helmet to reveal a rough bearded face with gray menacing eyes. Inside those eyes was a sparkle of death’s bottomless star. A madness earned in war. Those eyes were familiar. We stood there eye to eye, measuring each other up. Suddenly he dropped to one knee and with bowed head he spoke…

“With honor, you have defeated me, my clans are now at your command. We await your orders.”

“Get off your knees warrior and do not be bested so easily next time. If you’re going to serve in my army you better fight harder than that.” I admonished. Sadly I could see the old warrior’s soul was as hurt as any weapon could have ever achieved. This man was valuable. I needed to give him spirit. “You will serve as my right hand and together we will conquer many enemies. First we will crush the Trollgans. Then the Muulag. Only after the heads’ of our enemies hang as trophies from the helms of our ships will it be at an end. When that time comes we will have peace.”

The chieftain rose from his knee, bolstered by my words and with the authority of a true commander he said, “Let us fill our skins with the blood of our enemies and drink to the days of peace!” He handed me a wine skin. Inside of the canteen was fermented blood-wine. I had to know, “Whose blood is this?” And with a grin he replied, “The blood of a Muulag Khan, he fell to my blade seven years ago to this day.”

“Then let us drink to their doom.” The liquid was thick, sweet, and very strong.

After that the Moldavians joined the Katarii alliance. That night I was haunted by nightmares. I saw my apprentice on a distant world being swallowed by a swarm of fireflies. Then a vast armada of slug ships flooded the sky. They continued on like a plague filling every corner of the galaxy until it suffocated and died within the universe like a diseased lung. Burning waves of electricity surged through my body and everything turned red. Right before I woke, I remembered my joints rusting up and my brain exploding. I woke to a puddle of sweat. My bed was soaked. A shower and a meal later I thought about the dream. At the end there was something strange. It was as if I was looking through the eyes of a droid and my circuits were overloading. All around me were these slugs, all of them bowing down, huddled around giant coiled wires. The force had showed me something. Something about my enemies, the Muulag, but what was it?

Two years passed and many battles were fought. Following the treaty with Moldavia was a six-month war against the Trollgans. The Wallonian-Katarii-Moldavian Army, or WaKaMA, drove the Trollgans back into their home system of Trullgor. Since then we’d been pushing the Muulags out of Katarii space. Thanks to the neutrality of the Feranzati, the Muulag had free reign over the Fortune Drift. With my forces tasked between patrols, guarding the Wallonian/Moldavian and Katarii worlds, and pinning down the Trollgans, I was left with next to nothing in offensive forces. Something else was needed. It was time to break out the magic cards. I sent a message to an old friend of mine. Two weeks later I got a reply.

At first I was disappointed that he couldn’t come in person. Matters must’ve been pretty bad for my old apprentice to turn down an opportunity like this. However the strike team he sent was exactly what I needed. There were three of them: Darth Adder, Darth Iconoclast, and Darth Lotus. All of them were pure warriors, obviously I had taught my student well. He had trained these three to the very core of their souls. Later I would dub them Merchant Force, for they would be my sellers of death.

“You have come a long way, I hope you’re ready for a fight.” I jested.

“Our master said you know something of the Krudesh scrolls, in return you would need a favor.” Spoke a broad shouldered man wearing a dark green tunic.

“I need you three to help me end a war. If you succeed you get what remains of the Krudeshi rituals.” I replied.

This time a lean deadly looking man spoke, “Who do we need to kill?” The sincerity of his words was startling. Then the female broke in, “You seriously expect us to fight an entire war for you as a favor?”

Then lean and deadly spoke again, I came to learn that he was Darth Adder, “It’s not that hard, every group has a weak spot, a singular person whose death would bring down the entire structure, in this case it would end a war…” “I don’t think that’s what he had in mind Darth Adder,” said the broad shouldered one, he was Darth Iconoclast.

“You’re right,” I replied. “Though there probably is someone whose death could bring an end to this war, problem is I don’t have the intel to identify ‘em.” Striding over to the darkly clad bunch, “What I had in mind was a special mission. Currently I’ve got three fleets tied up and no one left to play with. Yet if you three can work as a team I could use you as an elite strike force. There is a species called the Trollgans. Nasty, hairy, stocky little creatures who live their lives as nomadic pirates. We managed to push them back into their home system, but it’s too well defended to go in and take them out. Thus they’re tying up one of my fleets.” By the look of their eyes I could tell that they were intrigued. These warriors thirsted for battle. This was probably their first opportunity to try out the new methods they had learned. I’d get to see just how well my old shadow was doing. “My plan is to infiltrate Trullgan space and make them agree to a temporary alliance with my forces in order to wipe out the Muulags. After that, they can go their own way.”

“The Muulags?” Asked Darth Lotus.

“They’re a species of slug-like beings. Kind’a look like Ithorians and Sluissi. There’s a couple million of them and they’ve got a fleet of ten thousand ships. To make matters worse, they’re determined to wipe out everyone in the system. Plus they’re not the kind of people you can make deals with.”

“But these Trullgans are?” Inquired Iconoclast.

“The Trollgans don’t torture their prisoners to run their ships. Trollgans are pirates. You can persuade them with money and common sense. Muulags are bred psychotics. Somehow they developed a technology that lives off pain. To fuel it they subjugate other species as power cells. They keep you alive as long as they can in perpetual pain. It doesn’t get much worse than that. Like I said, they’re not the kind of people you make deals with.”

Darth Adder rubbed the hilt of his sabers, “I see what you mean. Any ideas on what it will take to win over the Trollgans.”

With a grin I said, “A little bit of everything. Presents, money, promised gifts, and a display of power. Go in, do some damage to show you mean business. Then, to soften them up, give’em some gifts and make friends. Trollgans are smart. They know the Muulags will turn on them as soon as they’re through with us. Right now they think we’ll win, so they attack our ships while we’re too busy to do anything about it. Plus they put too much faith in their system’s natural defenses. Show them that we’re vulnerable and that they are too. Together we can end this thing quick and afterwards we’ll cut them a huge slice of the spoils of war. Trollgans are born salvagers. They can fix anything. The Muulag have a lot of ships and after the war there’ll be a lot of scrap. That ought get their attention.”

With a stern face Iconoclast remarked, “But first we will need to show them whose boss. A display of power. A threat.”

“Correct.”

And with that a whole new war broke out in the Katarii Sector. Just one more amongst many.

From Darth Cabal’s war journal.

Personal Notes: This journal was written by Skuldren’s Sith Master. Throughout the journal are numerous entries about the Krudesh and its rituals. Master Rayne wants a detailed report on the Katarii Sector and what the Sith did in the system. The council has already agreed to allow a mission into the sector to probe into the Krudesh mystery. Things are proceeding swiftly. Perhaps I can persuade Master Rayne to take me along.

The Trollgan Raid

Amongst the blackness of space a lone sleek craft is wading through a sea of stardust. The Trollgor system was completely engulfed in debris. It made for a perfect defensive barrier. However, it couldn’t keep out a single ship. And so three Sith commandos infiltrated Trullgan space and landed on its primary planet, Trullgor. In the cover of darkness the Sith, code named Merchant Force, crept through the shadows of a sleeping city. Each Sith had a mission and by dawn’s early rise their work was done. As the sun cast its blazing light upon the sprawling city, the Sith marched openly down the street. They were heading for the capital. The king of the planet was about to get an unpleasant surprise.

“Heads up, three armed Trollgans at the corner. Looks like their interested.” Spoke Darth Adder.

“Let us show them whose boss.” Replied Darth Iconoclast.

Suddenly each Trollgan trooper was lifted off of his feet, slung twenty feet, and sent crashing against the side of a café. The troopers called in for back up. Five minutes later four assault LAVs pulled up and unloaded two dozen troopers.

In guttural basic the squad captain yelled out, “Halt where you are, Trollgor is off limits to all outsiders, surrender peacefully or we’ll be forced to open fire.”

As soon as the last word left the captain’s mouth, the entire squad opened fire. Blaster bolts bounced off street lamps and reinforced display windows. The few rounds that didn’t go stray were deflected by three ruby lightsabers. The Sith deflected the bolts back and quickly dropped half the troopers. In the distance the sounds of sirens wailed. Now a small army of troops were flooding the streets behind mobile barricades. Undaunted the Sith moved on. They broke into a full pace and waded into the troops, hacking away in close quarters combat. Amid the carnage emerged a bloody pathway that slowly led to the capital. Forty-five ruthless minutes later they arrived. Outside a long tower of steps was a fat, well dressed man. He was the king of the Trollgans.

Darth Lotus quietly remarked to Adder, “I’m surprised he came out to greet us. We just laid half his police force to waste. He should be hiding in some hole or calling down a wave of artillery on us.”

Coolly, Iconoclast approached the king, “We represent the might of the Katarii Alliance, we want to make a deal.” His words flowed with a hint of the force.

“You are brave warriors, you killed one of my finest legions in order to get here. I’m impressed, but what kind of deal do you have in mind. I take business very seriously.” Grumbled the portly creature.
“The Wallonians are at your door but the Muulags wait just beyond the horizon. When they come they’ll not offer peace and come they will. Join our alliance and we will crush the Muulag. You will get 75 percent of their captured equipment including their massive ships and orbital structures. After their defeat your system will be left alone and your raids will be lived with on a fair game basis. For starters we brought a small present to show are good will.” Iconoclast held a small controller. On it he pushed a button that decloaked a small repulsorlift. Upon it sparkled a mound of shining treasure. The king’s eyes twinkled before the splendor.

“What if I refuse?”

Darth Adder stepped forward holding a different remote control, “Then we will begin blowing up your city, with each push of the button, a thousand lives get blown to smithereens. We mean business my friend.” The devilishness of that smirk sent a chill through the king. He saw the sincerity of their words and quickly agreed to their alliance. Now Dokken’s army would include an armada of vicious outlaw pirates.

Three days later, Merchant Force arrived upon Dokken’s massive flagship, the Blade of Eternity. It was a Katarii ship-of-the-line without equal. It stretched an astounding 14,000 meters and bristled with over a thousand weapon emplacements. Along its sleek frame were 100 hangars berthing over a 1,000 fighter spacecraft. Strolling across its bridge was a former Sith Lord, now dressed in an Admiral’s uniform. He no longer went by the name of Darth Cabal, but by his given name, Panzer Dokken. Walking behind him were two seasoned warriors.

“Your just in time, my commando team just returned with the Krudesh scrolls. I think your master will find them very interesting.” The admiral gestured for them to walk with him.

“I thought you already had the scrolls?” Asked Darth Adder.

“Oh I knew where they were, but getting them was another matter.” He looked back at Adder, “A Katarii priest had the scrolls locked away in a sacred tomb. The Muulag pillaged the tomb a while back and took the scrolls. To get them back I had to lead a shock force onto a Muulag Khan’s ship. Luckily we found the scrolls in his treasury. While you three were taking care of the Trollgans, I took care of the Khan.”

“You led a strike force onto an Muulag Khan’s ship. You are crazy.” Said Lotus.

“Ahh don’t be so hard on ‘em. Any admiral who can pull his share on the front lines is a man of brilliance!” Exclaimed Adder.

“Well the Trollgan business is settled and you have the rituals, is there anything else?” Asked Iconoclast.

“You three have done enough. This war will get pretty interesting now. I suppose your master will be eager to hear from you and to get a look at the scrolls. Though I have a feeling you’ll be back.” The admiral had a sly grin on his face. He knew something, perhaps the force had given him a glimpse of the future.

“I have to admit, this war stuff is right up my alley. I’d be glad to serve under your command any day admiral, but we do need to report back to Master Skuldren. Maybe afterwards he’ll give us another assignment out here.” Spoke Darth Adder.

“Something tells me you know more about the Krudesh scrolls than you’re letting on, what is it?” Asked Darth Lotus.

“It has to do with the Katarii doesn’t it,” replied Darth Iconoclast.

“Exactly. You see the scrolls are copies of scriptures from the original ones written by Dyak. Somehow the Katarii got a hold of them and put them into practice. There is a lot of knowledge in those scrolls, but the Katarii have already studied them. In fact, some of the Katarii high priests know more about the Krudeshi rituals than what is contained in the scrolls. They’ve rediscovered the secrets that the celestials developed, things that have gone unrecorded for thousands of years.”

“So the Katarii priests are what we really want.”

“Yes Adder, the priests are the key. That’s while you’ll be back. Maybe Skuldren will come with you next time. Anyway I’ve already convinced the Katarii to try and teach me the rituals. By the time you get back I should’ve made some headway.”

“What about the war?” Asked Iconoclast.

“The war will take a bit longer. The Muulag still have a riddle I haven’t yet figured out. Something to do with a robot and the odd technology they use.” Dokken replied.

“Well admiral, good luck.” Adder turned and left with his companions. They began the long journey home. As for Admiral Dokken, he now had two fleets to play with, something the Muulag wouldn’t expect.

Excerpt from the recordings of Jedi Holocron 1783-MZK of the Jedi Archives,
Personal Memoirs of Darth Skuldren.

Personal Note: According to Skuldren’s holocron, his apprentices returned with the scrolls and the Katarii knew of the rituals and practiced them. Unfortunately Master Rayne returned from the Katarii Sector yesterday and discovered that the sector is no longer inhabited. Thus the search through Skuldren’s records continue. It would be easier if the holocron would just tell us where the scrolls are, but it persists in telling stories. Hopefully they’ll be worth listening to. I’m not sure how long the council will allow the matter to be investigated. Researching Sith Holocrons usually ends badly. May the force be with us.

Chapter 7 in the Tales of Darth Skuldren

"The Defenders Return"

Darth Adder, Iconoclast, and Lotus returned to Kajji XII, and were met by a world of change. In their absence Master Skuldren had taken four new apprentices. The academy hadn’t grown any, but it was progressing well. Student’s were attending classes and roaming the various libraries. Here and there instructors were teaching students to use the force. Some were lifting objects while others were waving lightsabers. Yet there were these strange robots and creatures mulling about. Nobody else seemed to pay them any attention. Darth Adder approached a furry little creature with big brown eyes.

“Lets see if he’s friendly.” Said Darth Adder. He reached down and patted the cream furred thing on the head. It made a soft cooing noise.

Lotus couldn’t resist, “Ahh look, Adder has gone over to the cuddly side. Now he can reduce his opponents to cooing fur balls begging for love and affection. You must teach me this new power. Just think, I could turn the Jedi Council into little puppies and pet their bellies until they submit to the will of the Sith…”

“Knock it off will ya, I was just seeing if it was a pet or some new guardian.” Adder replied sharply.

“I don’t think that little fur ball would make a very effective guardian.” Iconoclast moved in closer to the animal to get a better look.

Then Lotus said, “Actually it’s not a bad idea. No one would suspect that it was a spy or a sleeper assassin. Maybe it works on command. You know, the right catch phrase and it leaps into the air and rips your throat out with hidden teeth.”

Darth Adder backed away from the creature. He gave it a long look and began to wonder if there were fangs hidden in that cute little face. Master Skuldren had always said that surprise was the key to defeat. Catch your opponent off guard and the odds are 50 percent in your favor.

“Are you looking for the creator or the maker?”

“Did that thing just speak?” Asked Darth Lotus with a startled look.

“Yes I did, now are you looking for the creator or the maker?” Spoke the little being once again.

“We’re looking for Master Skuldren.” Said Darth Iconoclast.

“Oh, well he is currently with the creator.” The little creature hopped along the stone sidewalk, leading the way. It led them through stone archways and narrow paths. Finally they came to an open doorway guarded by tall, lanky, blue reptiles. Each had strange appendages and lengthy claws. Small purple slit eyes watched suspiciously. Unperturbed the furry little creature hoped past the sentries and through the door. Hesitantly the three Sith followed. Inside they were met by plumes of incense. The walls were lined with shelves full of strange jars and containers. In the middle of the room were two long tables covered in intricate beakers, funnels, and lab equipment. Two people stood at the end of one of the tables. One was wearing a glossy black knee-length tunic. He was Darth Skuldren. The other was wearing a gray smock splattered with bright colored stains. His face was adorned with a pair of complex spectacles that wrapped around his head. Several different lenses were attached to various apertures. He looked up from his work, his eyes were magnified by the current lenses.

“I’m glad to see your return. Were you able to help Darth Cabal?” Asked Skuldren.

“Yes master, we also have a copy of the Krudesh scrolls.” Replied Iconoclast. He walked to his master and handed him the scrolls.

“Excellent. It will take some time to study these, but it will be worth the effort. By the way, this is Darth Xenon, he will be are Sith Alchemist. As you can see he’s been rather busy.” Skuldren gestured at all the lab equipment.

“Is that furry creature by any chance a weapon in disguise?” Inquired Darth Adder. The fur ball had nested itself along side his foot. Again it was making a low cooing sound.

“No my apprentice, it is what it seems, only sentient. Xenon made him so the children would have someone to play with. He’s very intelligent. It also seems that he has become attached to you Darth Adder. You didn’t pet him did you?” Asked Skuldren.

“Why?” Replied Adder.

“I made the same mistake when I saw him. It followed me around for two days. I finally tricked someone else into petting him so he would follow them instead.”

Darth Adder looked none too pleased. Lotus flashed him a sly grin.

“Master, Darth Cabal said that the caretakers of the scrolls might know more about the Krudeshi rituals than what is contained in the scrolls. As of the moment they are teaching him their discoveries. Perhaps we should return later to see if he has learned anything that could be of use.” Iconoclast looked slightly uncomfortable. Skuldren couldn’t tell what it was. If only he had a little more power in the force. Most force users could perceive such feelings from others. Alas Skuldren was left in the dark.

“It will take my master some time to learn these rituals. In the mean time will study the scrolls. Eventually I think I will personally see to the matter. I would like to see what my master is up to in the Katarii Sector. Is it still plagued by war?” Skuldren turned to set down a beaker.

“Yes master, currently Darth Cabal is leading an alliance against a species called the Muulag. The people of the Sector have made him an admiral and head of their armed forces.” Replied Darth Adder.

“An admiral. I bet he still goes out to the front lines though. Probably leads a commando force. Let me see. He goes to the system looking for the Krudesh scrolls, befriends the Katarii to learn their secrets, and as a bonus gets to wage his own little war. He’s probably having the time of his life.” Skuldren turned toward Xenon, “Darth Xenon let me know how the experiment turns out, I’m going to introduce our company to the new apprentices.” He gestured towards his pupils, “Please come with me, we have much to discuss.”

And so the Sith walked through the busy happenings of the academy. It was now home to a hundred forty two Sith students. In order to keep the location of the school a secret, Skuldren had sent out recruiters. If a person met the requirements they would be brought to Kajji. Most of the new students were weak in the force. The Jedi had overlooked them and the Sith were not interested, so they heard of a secret group that practiced its own philosophy. At the academy they could find a purpose for their weak powers and all knowledge was open to them. They could explore the vast libraries or train with instructors. In turn the instructors were trained by Skuldren. Though his powers in the force were weak, he knowledge was unsurpassed. What he could not do he could teach another to master. It was through his brilliance at teaching that his students sought him out.

“Master, how many students have you taken as apprentices since we’ve been gone?” Asked Iconoclast.

“Four. You’ve met Xenon, as of the moment we’re going to see Darth Bacillus. He is a droid maker.” Skuldren pointed to an emerald coated droid walking down the street. “You see that droid, unlike most it can reproduce, starve to death, and suffer from boredom. Rather than making servants, Bacillus make metallic beings that are as much alive as the rest of us. Through the force he gave them the freedom of will and creativity.”

“Did you say reproduce?” Adder looked shocked.

“Yes, but I don’t really know the details. Each droid’s personality has a determined sex and somehow the reproduction requires one of each. Eventually the female droid gives birth and the little new born actually grows. Mind you they consume metallic foods, so that is how they grow.” Off to Skuldren’s left was a towering man instructing several students in lightsaber combat. “That man over there is one of my new apprentices, his name is Darth Ziam. Let’s go over and meet him.”

The four Sith walked over to the crowd of assembled students. They were standing around the edges of an open courtyard. In its center stood a man clothed in a simple red shirt with a black vest and pants. His gold lightsaber hummed in the air. In front of him was a shorter student completely engulfed in a thin black cloak. Ziam held his saber over his head in a high guard. The other man held a shimmering silver lightsaber and slowly waved back and forth from left to right. Slashing down hard in an overhead strike the golden blade swooped down. Then suddenly it reversed and spun in an arc. Now instead of sweeping down on his opponent’s head, it curved back, down, and up to hit the hip. But his opponent was on guard. The cloaked man hit the blade and parried it down and away. He then somersaulted behind Ziam and kicked the back of his calf. Ziam fell to his knees and ducked as the silver blade sweeped over his head. He rolled back to his feet to face his opponent. Both men shut down the their lightsabers and bowed slightly.

“Very good Praxus, you are learning quickly. Praxus, Ziam, I would like you to meet Darth Adder, Darth Iconoclast, and Darth Lotus. They have much to teach you in the ways of combat.”

“It is an honor to meet you.” Bowed Darth Ziam, his gaze lingered on Darth Lotus and the look did not go unnoticed.

“Likewise.” Said Darth Praxus. He had lowered his hood to reveal a shielded mask. Thick lenses covered his eyes. The trunk revealed that he was a Kubaz.

“Darth Praxus is another one of my apprentices.” Skuldren looked to Darth Ziam, “I was on my way to see Bacillus, do you know where he is?”

Ziam closed his eyes and opened himself to the force. “I believe he is at the church.”

“Thank you Ziam, we’ll be back shortly. I think Darth Adder would be most interested in showing you some new sword tricks.” Adder and Skuldren smiled at each other.

After a short walk the group arrived at the church. It was a simple stone building chosen for its size. Inside were a couple dozen rows of benches and in the back there was a podium. Before Iconoclast left for the Katarii Sector, he had held mass here at the church every other week. In his absence the church was left empty, except for Bacillus. He wore a brown leather jacket covered in pockets. His tan cargo pants were stuffed with tools. A hydrospanner was stuffed in his left boot. He had short brown hair and unshaven face. Noticing the company he rose and walked over to them.

“Hello Master Skuldren, these must be the defenders.” His voice was rich and smooth.

“The defenders?” Asked Iconoclast.

“After you left the name kind of stuck. After all, you are the leading combat experts in the academy.” Said Darth Skuldren.

“Master Skuldren tells me that you ran services here.” Bacillus nodded to Iconoclast.

“That’s right. I guess I’ll probably start again as long as people are still interested.” Iconoclast looked to Master Skuldren. He nodded in agreement.

“Bacillus wants to know if you would allow droids at your services.” Skuldren looked to Bacillus.

Uneasily Bacillus began, “You see droids have an odd affinity with creation. They see the people that make them and their masters, but for some reason they hold on to an idea that a creator made everything. It has something to do with the electricity flowing through their brain circuitry. Somehow they have an insight born into their creation. I told some of my droids about the church and they became highly intrigued. They want to attend.” Towards the end he was looking down at his feet. He managed to get the strength to look Iconoclast in the eye.

“We would be honored to have their presence. I think I’ll have something to say that will interest them.” Iconoclast was now deep in thought. What would his wife think of him preaching to droids. His kids will have a field day. Dad’s ministering to the droids, he’ll baptize them in holy oil and bring them salvation from the maker. Who know, maybe Xenon’s creatures will show up too, it’ll be a regular circus. If the Jedi could see the Sith performing such a spectacle they would probably fall to their knees from laughter. All well, beggars can’t be choosers.

“Well now that you’ve seen everyone I suppose you’ll want to get settled in. Iconoclast, your wife is on the north terrace waiting for you. Lotus, you might want to see Xenon about making some new disguised spy creatures. Adder, I think you and I will go see if we can teach Ziam and Praxus some new tricks.” Skuldren took a moment to look at his apprentices. Much had been accomplished in these last few weeks. Things were progressing well. His defenders had completed their first mission successfully. They would need a new one. In time his other apprentices would be ready for missions. In time he would uncover the mysteries of the Krudesh scrolls. Everything became a matter of time…

Meanwhile back in the Katarii Sector a full blown war is being waged. Admiral Dokken had led a Muulag fleet into a trap. Using a Katarii fleet as bait, Dokken drew the Muulag fleet out of hiding. The Muulag though to use their overwhelming numbers to slaughter the Katarii fleet. Now they found themselves trapped within the clutches of half the WaKaMA navy. Huge, hulking Muulag ships hung motionless in space. Clustered around them were thousands of small frigates. They were trading blows with the surrounding ships. To the left was the 3rd Moldavian Fleet. It was comprised of small, spherical strike ships and customized Moldavian Battlecruisers. In the center of the fleet were ten large battlestations, each armed with over a thousand weapon emplacements. To the right was the 2nd Wallonian Fleet. Amongst the numerous frigates, cruisers, and battleships were two identical flagships. Each measured at 6,000 meters and housed over 4,000 fighters altogether. In the forefront of the battle was the majestic Katarii flagship the Blade of Eternity. From there Dokken directed his forces against the Muulag.

“Captain send in the battleships for strafing runs. Use the battlecruisers for cover. I want those strike cruisers to maneuver around behind the enemy and infiltrate their rear echelon.” Dokken gave his orders from command deck.

“Yes admiral.” The captain gave the orders to the crew while Admiral Dokken gazed out at the battlefield. Nineteen thousand meters of deck stretched out in front of him. Massive turbolaser beams launched out into the distance. The Muulag battleships were huge. In fact they were so big that a capital ship had to struggle to find a vital spot. Most of the Muulag battleships were wasted space. It made a good substitute for armor and shielding. “Captain, as soon as the battleships engage I want the Gemini Fleet to move in and launch all star fighters. That Muulag Khan knows he’s cornered and he’s going to fight to the death. We’ll use the Moldavian battlestations as support. When I give the order I want the Face of Death to move in and take that Khan’s ship out.”

“Yes admiral, we’ll let those slugs know who’s in charge.” The captain continued with the crew.

The Face of Death was a massive Moldavian battlestation. It was the largest ship in the Moldavian fleet and was the sole reason why the Wallonians couldn’t win a war against them. It was a spherical ship, like most of their designs, and was 20,000 meters in diameter. It had enough firepower to engage a fleet in all directions. Painted on the outside of its hull were a dozen sneering, vile faces, all depicting various Moldavian demons. The sight of the ship could break the morale of the most seasoned veterans.

In the cold blackness of space these fleets danced in a collage of destruction. Wallonian battleships flew straight through the enemy fleet. Their ships firing full broadsides at highspeed. The armored hulls plowed through tiny frigates and fighters in order to deliver their arsenal. Behind them were battlecuisers flanked by star fighters. Slowly the twin Wallonian flagship carriers moved in. Continually the forces escalated and the rainbows of laser fire intensified. The Muulag battleships were breaking up. Then the Face of Death approached the storm. Simultaneously it opened fire of three Muulag battleships. Each disappeared into a cloud of dust, engulfed by a gigantic barrage of laser fire. There, still lying intact, waited the Muulag Khan’s flagship. It was 12 kilometers wide 18 kilometers long. The tremendous heap of metal was taking punishment from all sides. The Face of Death concentrated all fire onto the Khan’s ship. Scorching beams of light raced across the distance of space to slam into the ship. Two more salvos followed. The Muulag’s flagship broke into two. The Face of Death split its fire into the two pieces and pummeled them into oblivion.

Admiral Dokken watched the destruction with interest. The Muulag had been surprised. They had never fought such ships before, but they would learn. As powerful as the Face of Death seemed to be it was vulnerable. While it unleashed its barrages its shields became weak. With all its firepower being put forward it left its rear unguarded. Dokken’s own flagship, the Blade of Eternity, was too large a target and always became a focal point for the enemies fire. These limitations needed to be dealt with. Today’s victory would buy them some breathing space. Nevertheless the war was far from over. There were tens of thousands of Muulag ships waiting in the void. And there was still a riddle to be solved.

Excerpt from the recordings of Jedi Holocron 1783-MZK of the Jedi Archives,
Personal Memoirs of Darth Skuldren.

Personal Note: The workings of the Sith Holocron are very mysterious. Some how Darth Skuldren was able to copy a semblance of his spirit into the device. It shares his personality as well as his reflections. Nevertheless we are getting closer to the Krudesh rituals. Now we know how Skuldren received them. We also have further excerpts on Darth Cabal, aka Admiral Panzer Dokken. Amazingly I found a record on Panzer Dokken in the Jedi Archives. According to the records he was indeed elected as an Admiral for a species on the edges of Wild Space. His forces conquered the Katarii’s enemies then disappeared from the pages of history. Supposedly a Jedi task force was sent out to try to employ the services of this fleet for use in the war, however they were unsuccessful. The question is what did the task force find? Did Dokken turn them down or were they unable to find him? Alas these questions may remain unansered. Perhaps I can ask the holocron…

Chapter 8 in the Tales of Darth Skuldren

" Lessons and Dreams"

“Praxus, you must not be ruled by your anger. Use it but maintain control. If you let your emotions rule you, you will loose, whether it be a battle or a game.” Darth Skuldren patiently instructed his apprentice. He walked over to his side and laid his hand on Praxus’ shoulder.

“But Master, are not your instincts a potent weapon.” Asked Darth Praxus.

“They are, yet you must first look at what you are. Most think of themselves as one being when in reality they are two. There is your body and there is your essence. The body includes the mind and is stimulated through emotion. Your essence is what you truly are. It controls the mind, which in turn controls the rest of the body. If you allow emotions to control the mind and body then your essence loses control. In battle it can be handy to let the mind take over, for it can act independently of the essence’s control. That is why you condition it so that it can work on its own. By doing this your essence can pursue the force and ultimately determine the battle.” Praxus tipped his head in understanding.

“So a true master fights as two.” Spoke the apprentice.

“Correct.” Replied the master. “Now show me what you’ve learned from Darth Adder.” The Sith ignited their lightsabers.

Meanwhile Darth Adder and Bacillus were hard at work. In a dark enclosed area Darth Adder stood motionless. Around him were four droids. Each was ordered to kill. Adder waited, eyes closed, and focused on the force. The currents spilled over him. Through it he could see the ripples that the droids made in the force. Two were approaching from behind him, a third stood far to the left, and the fourth was running at him at full speed. The droid was aiming its arm at him like a lance. At the last possible second Darth Adder dropped to the ground and grabbed the droid with the force. Using its momentum he threw the hulk of metal at the third motionless droid. Both clattered to the floor in a tangled mess. Seamlessly he rose to his feet and gauged the response of his remaining attackers. In the darkness they were completely invisible. Remarkably quiet as well. One of them pointed at him and fired. Adder rolled to the side expecting a blaster bolt. To his surprise it was a flamethrower. He stopped to extinguish the flames on his leg and was blasted by a cord around his neck. The droid had fired a bola and now it was constricting around his throat. Struggling to free the cord with his hands, he instantly realized how fruitless the effort was. Instead, he concentrated with the force and crushed the tiny receptors within the bola. The cord slackened and he was freed. Taking the bola he wound it through the air and unleashed it on the flamethrower droid. With a satisfying pop he heard the bola snap off the droid’s head. Now there was only one. Something urged him to duck, a tingling sensation. Trusting in the force he dove to the floor only to be zapped with a stun blast.

The lights kicked on and Darth Bacillus strolled across the floor. Clad in his usual assortment of belts, pouches, and tools he jingled as he walked.

“I told you I could give you a run for your creds with my droids. You should have more faith.” Bacillus teased.

Shaking off the effects of the stun ray, Adder got to his feet. “How’d you do that?”

With pride Bacillus beamed, “I created a device that can mimic the danger sense that the force creates. So you felt a tingling sensation, thought it was the force, reacted, and were shot. The droid makes you move towards his target area by scarring you from the opposite direction. Pretty good huh.”

“Perfect for taking down force users. What about the other three, seemed like pushovers to me.” Adder dusted off his tunic and looked over to the piles of droids.

“Well, I thought I would make you underestimate your foes. Take down the first two without a sweat. Get a little flustered by the flamethrower and bola, but by taking them down you bolster your confidence even higher. By the last one you’re feeling invincible and fully trusting in the force, then bam.” Bacillus pulled out a datapad and began running some figures.

“How are the combat droid schematics coming along?” Asked Darth Adder.

“I’ll have one done by tomorrow, by the end of the week you can begin training it.” Bacillus said.

In one of the courtyards Darth Ziam and Xenon sat on a stone bench. In the distance they watched Iconoclast play with his kids. One child was standing on the shoulders of another holding a pole while two others were doing the same thing. They were trying to knock each other down. Iconoclast was distracting them by throwing pebbles at their heads.

“Well Ziam, you think we’ll have families in our future.” Xenon looked at his friend with a probing glare.

“It would be nice, but then again it makes you soft. Instead of living for battle you live to end it so you can get back home to your family.” Ziam distractedly caught a glimpse of Darth Lotus in the distance.

“Hey, what do you think our first mission’s going to be. Adder, Lotus, and Icono over there got a combat mission because that’s their area of expertise. On the other hand, I’m an alchemist and you’re a… what exactly is your expertise?” Asked Xenon.

“Persuasion.” He replied.

Four days passed and Darth Skuldren called forth his apprentices. It was time to hand out a new mission. Two more apprentices would be tested.

“Darth Ziam, Darth Xenon, your time has come. I am giving you each a mission to test your talents.” He took a moment to look at each and gather their full attention. “Darth Xenon, I want you to retrieve a ancient Sith book. An Anzati collector by the name of B. B. Sholmz has it in his collection. He has an estate on Zagduhl, one of the Feeorin’s commercial trade centers. Find him, locate the book, and return with it. You may do whatever you feel necessary, but do not allow yourself to be followed back here.” Then Skuldren slowly turned to face Darth Ziam. “Ziam, I want you to go out and return with a force sensitive Hutt child. A child mind you, not an adult. I do not care how; use your own judgment. They say Hutts are extremely strong willed, perhaps an even match for your own. You’ll need every trick of persuasion you have to pull this one off. May the Force be with you.”

The apprentices murmured among themselves and then went back to their tasks. Xenon was eager to get under way and quickly went back to his lab in order to get his equipment. Ziam was anything but anxious. In fact he was bewildered. He walked after Master Skuldren.

“Master, how can I find such a Hutt? You know just as well as I that Hutts are rare force sensitives, in fact there might not even be a force sensitive Hutt in the galaxy. Not to mention why. Why would you want a Hutt anyways?” Ziam was flustered and aggravated. His mission was anything but straightforward and simply. Instead it was vague and nearly impossible. Seemingly he was on his own.

Master Skuldren looked back at his apprentice. Though he could not feel the mixture of emotions, he could see them. Just the look on his face said it all. “Darth Ziam, I have faith in you. You will be a leader and you will need to be able to act on your own accord. This mission will help you discover what you are capable of. Look to the force and use your brain, it will come to you.” That was all the wisdom he would give his apprentice. Ziam needed to do this on his own. Eventually he would have no one to get answers from. He needed to find trust in himself. He needed confidence.

Ziam didn’t feel much better. Now he realized that he had to do this on his own. First things first, it was time to meditate. Emotions were clouding his thought. A good washing in the force would clear that. Choosing a remote hill out in the rolling green plains, he sat quietly. The sky was overcast and cloudy, much like his thoughts. Closing his eyes he removed himself from the swirl of life. Rather than the blackness of space, he envisioned a void of white. His being was engulfed in the whiteness and there he found the guidance he needed. Breaths came and went rhythmically. Gently he opened his eyes to the world in front of him. What did he know about Hutts? Well they lived on Nal Hutta. Hutt children were of an age between one and seventy. Force users were very rare and very few of them were taken by the Jedi. Most were too greedy to give themselves selflessly to the service of the galaxy. They live in clans call kajidics and all Hutts are ruled by a council of elders. They have command over all Hutts. That would be a good starting point. Now assuming there is such a Hutt child, how can he persuade them to give it up.

“So Praxus, tell me about your vision.” Master Skuldren spoke in very low tones. This matter was of importance and required secrecy.

“I saw a Hutt child wielding the force, he stood in front of Ziam’s unconscious body and was pummeled by blaster bolts. Using the force it knocked the attackers to shreds and saved Ziam’s life. Both survived. The thing that struck me was the bond between Darth Ziam and the Hutt. As far as I know Hutts are selfish, yet this one was willing to give his life.” Praxus looked up with his goggled eyes. The thick black lenses were glared by light.

“So Ziam’s life depends on this Hutt, it will become his apprentice. The fate of the entire academy relies on this mission.” Master Skuldren put a hand to his chin in thought and began to pace. “Darth Ziam will lead the academy when I am gone. It is up to you to pass on my knowledge and to watch things from the background. The key to your success lies in your ability to come and go as you please. I made the mistake of tying myself down to this academy. You cannot afford to sacrifice such freedom. Oh what I would give to go to Katarii, to study with my master and learn the Krudeshi rituals directly from the Katarii priests. When the time comes you will need such freedom.”

“Yes my master.”

In the church a modest gathering had formed. Among the crowd were a dozen robots and three of Xenon’s creations. Sitting in the front row was his wife, Nora, and their nine children. Next to them was Master Skuldren. Iconoclast noted that Bacillus was seated in the very back. This was not his first sermon to the droids and creatures. Since his return from the Katarii Sector, he had learned that the droids were fervently religious. Perhaps it was due to their expanded freedom of thought.

“Today we have gathered here to pursue the insights of the mind, the galaxy, and life. I have a few words to start us off, but feel free to join in.” Iconoclast was wearing a neatly pressed, gun metal, suit his wife had bought for his birthday. Unlike cheap or flashy Corusanti suits, this one did not rustle as he moved about. Strolling away from his podium, he approached the attendees. “The creator gave us life, all of us. The droids among our attendance are perhaps the most gifted of all since they will most likely outlive us. Yet for some reason he chose to grant some of us a link to the force. These individuals are granted enormous power and responsibility. It is the way of the galaxy that the force gifted among us should use our power to do good. Such power enables us to lead and to act. We are natural leaders. To rule a galaxy of beings is beyond the capabilities of a senate. We should be the leaders. Yet that is the very point that has driven the Sith and the Jedi to war for thousands of years. The Jedi have such power and out of fear they do not use it. Instead they passively try to instill peace amongst the galaxy. More could be done if we took the reigns of control. However we cannot take such power because the Jedi stand in our way. Historically the Sith have been selfish and violent. But that is merely the reflections of bad leadership. There have been good Sith, alas they seem to fade away with time. Patience will be our virtue. Right now the Sith and the Jedi are at war. When the war ends the victor will have to deal with us. For better or worse the government will be weakened and ripe for the taking. It will be our moment of opportunity, our time to shine. Nevertheless we must be careful. The creator guides us through the force, and we must listen. Those who go against the force perish like a nomad in a sandstorm. Thus we must let the winds of change guide us in the right direction.”

“Iconoclast, what place do you see for us in this future?” Asked a bronze coated droid.

“The real question is where do you see yourself. Do you want to lead, to follow, to help, or to ignore the shaping of the galaxy?” Asked Iconoclast.

“Personally I would like to help. I am more human than most droids but I still do not understand them well enough. I will leave the leading up to other beings, but I do not wish to be left out.” Replied the droid.

“Good, then you will have a place in the new order. Master Skuldren will lead us, for the darkside poses but a small threat to him. And behind him shall we stand, all of us.” Iconoclast waved his hand in an all-inclusive gesture.

“If you wouldn’t mind, I think I would like to leave us with some parting words.” Spoke Master Skuldren from his seat. He rose slowly, nodding his thanks to Iconoclast. “What Iconoclast says is very true. My vision for this academy was at first but an opportunity for me to teach my wisdom to others. Now it has become something entirely different. Our purpose in this galaxy is not a new one, but our position is. We have an indispensable moment of chance before us. Until this war is resolved, we must prepare. Through the force we will find guidance. Tonight we will dream of the things to come.” And with those eerie words the gathering departed. That night, they dreamed.

Ziam’s dreams were filled by a mysterious woman whom at the time, he didn’t recognize. While Lotus’ dreams were dominated by a tall, dark, handsome man who was bathed in shadows. Iconoclast dreamed of his nine children sailing away on a ship and playing pirates. Adder was standing in a battlefield, knee deep in blood, and with his friend dying in his arms yet again. Bacillus dreamed of a beautiful, female robot, more exquisite than any woman he had ever seen. Xenon dreamed of pills. Before him was a table covered with colorful little pills. Each one he swallowed had a different affect. Some made him strong, others quick, and one was the key to the universe. Praxus saw something else in his sleep. Through the force he was able to shield his eyes and move about the galaxy without the protection of his mask. Somehow the beauty of it was overwhelming. Through thousands of miles of empty space, Darth Cabal envisioned a robot being worshiped as a god and somewhere in his mind the wheels fell into place. A riddle was solved. Last, but not least, was Darth Skuldren. His dreams were rich and vibrant. Every detail was so strong that when he woke he could recall everything. First there was a gathering of hungry shadows on the horizon. Each phantom hungered for power. Then the shadows faded and a force of light swept across them. But their light was dim. Yet there was another light that burnt brightly. Its radiance grew and grew and suddenly burnt out. All that remained was the faint light. From shades to pictures Skuldren saw the growth of his apprentices. Their powers grew and time passed. All was well. At last he saw himself standing with his master on a giant galleon cruising the ethers of space and then he woke. Dawn had arrived. The time for dreaming had ended. Now was a time for recollection.

In Katarii Space, Admiral Dokken woke from his luxurious bed. His cabin onboard the Blade of Eternity was grandiose in all its facets. The Katarii spared no expense. Dokken hadn’t had a good night’s sleep in over a week. That stupid riddle was driving him insane. Sometimes the force could be a curse. And yet now his face was covered with a massive grin. He felt both rested and relieved. The puzzle was solved. Somehow the Muulag were worshiping a droid. It was the driving force behind them. It was just like Darth Adder said Every group has a weak spot, a singular person whose death would bring down the entire structure, in this case it would end a war. The weakness was revealed, now all he had to do was get to it. It was time to get his commandos together for another mission.

Excerpt from the recordings of Jedi Holocron 1782-AZL of the Jedi Archives

Personal Note: After asking Skuldren’s holocron several questions it decided to lock itself out. Until it decides to begin cooperating again, I have returned to Master Wasseur’s holocron. Some how her life force became entwined with Darth Skuldren’s and now her holocron follows his life. Master Fulumn noted that the holocron is not the typical Jedi construction and may have been created by Skuldren. Regardless this tale has revealed Dokken’s mysterious secret. The Muulag seem to have been led by a droid. This may tie in with a tale of a rogue Sith assassin droid that masqueraded as a god on the Outer Rim. I will have to look into this.
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