Star Wars: Dawn of Darkness

Episode XVI

Twisting of Minds Eye

The Crawl

aving cemented their new business alignment with The Tarisian, our heroes have set off to learn of what has transpired on the planet Bodir, home to a thriving and profitable business operation with which all contact was lost several weeks earlier. Yet emerging from Hyperspace over the planet Bodir, our heroes have only now learned of the planets sad fate. It’s surface devastated, it’s surface cracked to it’s molten core, the planet sits a ruined grave in the dead of black space.

As asteroids pummel their tiny ship from every direction our brave heroes can only rely on their own wits as they strive to do what they can and learn at the least if any survived the cataclysm that decimated Bodir. Yet all know onboard that should they falter in their quest they may never find their own rescue, as they now find themselves in a chaotic sector of space deep in the dreaded Uknown Regions of the galaxy…

The Ruins of Bodir

The player party was speechless only for a moment before the Renegade’s proximity alarms went off, forcing Akira to react to the oncoming asteroids that now surrounded their ship. The maneuverering was tight to say the least, but Akira steered the ship to safety, taking only minimal hull damage from the asteroid field. Those onboard the bridge let out a brief sigh of relief, only to enter a near panic at the sight before them, the ruined world of Bodir, it’s atmosphere thinned, it’s surface decimated, it’s surface fractured to it’s molten core, and no signs of any surface life.

Akira and Nyla speculated that an large asteroid must have hit the planet, causing the devastation, but soon more questions arose. The asteroid field the Renegade had just passed through had not been caused by the planet breaking up, but rather were the remains of one of it’s moons. Sensor scans then revealed that both of it’s two moons had broken up into asteroid fields, something that seemed all but impossible to believe. Quaggo and Baccitcuk, the two Wookie’s on board the Renegade roared with sadness for the loss of their families and friends on the Bodir settlement of Raalbar Bora.

All was not lost however, as Akira soon detected a faint signal eminating from the low orbit of the planet, a distress signal and a ship that seemed to be Big Berta, Bukah Hozard’s GR-45 Medium Transport. What was strange was that the signal wasn’t a civilian distress signal, but an Imperial signal.

None on the Renegade could imagine why this would be the case, but finding any survivors what so ever was their only priority now, and Akira piloted the Renegade down low towards the ruined world of Bodir to intercept Big Berta.

A Bad Situation Worse

As the Renegade came up along side Big Berta they could see the ship had suffered great damage to it’s exterior. It’s engines seemed wrecked beyond repair, and it appeared to be controlled by maneuvering thrusters only. The hull had also been burned by extreme heat, though there were life signs on board and so Aiden hailed the wounded ship.

An Imperial Stormtrooper responded, and seemed to be under the impression they were an emergency re-supply ship. Aiden explained they weren’t, which disappointed the Stormtrooper. Even still, the trooper requested any aid they could offer, and so Nyla put on her space suit and joined Aiden for a spacewalk so that they could enter Big Berta, both weary that it could be a trap, but seeing no other way to find out if there were any survivors from the devastation of Bodir.

Once they entered through one of Big Berta’s airlock, they were met by five Stormtroopers, the only troopers on board. The commander was Captain Flak, and the subordinates were Seargent Darius and Troopers Mac, Kick and Titan. With them was Bukah, who was relieved that the The Tarisian had finally sent help.

Bukah explained that five weeks earlier a comet with a strange trajectory entered their star system’s outer edge, a comet that appeared to be breaking up according to their long range scans. Bukah said that the settlement dispatched a scout ship named Hopper 9 to investigate the comet, but that they lost contact when they approached the object. He provided a datapad to Aiden that contained the last conversation shared with Hopper 9 from the Raalbar Bora base.

Cpt Hudge: Roger that Raalbar Bora Base, this is Hopper 9 and we are approaching Yirmar Prime (Yirmar Prime is 6th planet in the Yirmar Star System, home to Bodir)

Raalbar Bora Base: Roger that Hopper 9, are you getting any new readings off of the comet yet?

Cpt Hudge: Raalbar Bora Base we are getting some crazy readings now, there is a electrical storm in the Yirmar Prime atmosphere, it might be interfering with our readings of the comet, stand by.

Raalbar Bora Base: Roger that Hopper 9, we are standing by.

Cpt Hudge: Uh Raalbar Bora Base we’re almost passed Yirmar Prime now and we’re starting to isolate the atmo STATIC from the comet, we’re reading one hell of a magnetic field around the damn thing, and it seems to be breaking STATIC

Raalbar Bora Base: Say again Hopper 9, your reading a magnetic field from the comet?

Cpt Hudge: Roger that Raalbar Bora Base, it’s one hell of a field too, it’s starting to STATIC and having difficulty adjusting STATIC

Raalbar Bora Base: Hopper 9 please say again, your signal’s breaking up, I repeat please say again your signal’s breaking up.

Cpt Hudge: Raalbar Bora Base we’re attempting to boost power to transmitter but STATIC definitley breaking loose, possible ice covered asteroid with large metallic core composed STATIC

Raalbar Bora Base: Hopper 9 if this is a comet that’s breaking up you don’t need to get close, please return to Raalbar Bora Base at earliest discretion, do you copy?

Cpt Hudge: Raalbar Bora Base these readings are incredible, detecting a surge in radiation emanating from STATIC controlled STATIC possible primitive sens STATIC

Raalbar Bora Base: Hopper 9 you are instructed to return to Raalbar Bora Base, repeat you are instructed to return to Raalbar Bora Base!

Cpt Hudge: STATIC definitely an asteroid within the core of the disintegrating comet, massive STATIC being scanned STATIC

Raalbar Bora Base: Hopper 9 are you receiving our transmissions? Your signal is breaking up!

Cpt Hudge: STATIC dodging ice field over Yirmar Prime STATIC approaching visual range STATIC

Raalbar Bora Base: Hudge y’old spacedog get your fat ass back here now! HUDGE! RETURN TO BASE! DO YOU COPY?

Cpt Hudge: STATIC of activity surrounding STATIC small craft STATIC have made visual contact STATIC asteroid

Raalbar Bora Base: Hudge say again REPEAT Hudge say again!

Cpt Hudge: STATIC Repeat Raalbar Bora Base we have made visual contact and it is NOT an asteroid STATIC

Raalbar Bora Base: Hudge! Hopper 9 please return to base immediately!

Cpt Hudge: STATIC

Raalbar Bora Base: Hopper 9 do you read us?

Cpt Hudge: STATIC

The last words from Hopper 9 sent chills down Aiden and Nyla spines, but even more chilling was yet to come from Bukah. Within a day the comet or asteroid had somehow changed course, and directed itself to an extreme high orbit of Bodir, where while it was on the far side of the planet away from the settletment it fired a massive discharge of energy at the planet’s surface which caused the cataclysm. Bukah explained that the devastation began with a massive earthquake, the draining of the planets oceans and then the collapse of the massive trees the settlement was built upon, leaving only enough time to get Big Berta into the air with only an even 60 of the settlement’s 300 plus members.

Flak then spoke next, explaining that he and his squad were from the Imperial Dreadnaught Ellison’s Fury, a pre-Clone Wars warship that was part of a top secret expedition in this part of the Unknown Regions. He claimed that his commander Captain Granger had intercepted Big Berta’s weak distress signal two weeks ago and came to offer aid. Upon learning about the devastation to the planet and the mysterious asteroid that may have caused it Captain Granger changed their mission from one of rescue to one of search of exploration, and left a squad of troopers (Captain Flak’s squad) with Big Berta while they would go investigate the mysterious asteroid on the other side of the planet. After two weeks no transmission were made, and the Ellison’s Fury had not been heard from since, leaving Captain Flak and his small squad to tend to the hungry and starving survivors since. What’s worse, Big Berta’s low orbit was rapidly degrading, and though it could be manually towed out of a dangerous low orbit, it could not make the jump to hyperspace, and there was not enough room on board the Renegade for all of her 60 passengers, especially as the nearest port was the planet Muunilist, which was 14 days away.

Captain Flak told Aiden he was extremely concerned about the fate of his ship Ellison’s Fury, and wanted to know if they could investigate if it was still on the far side of Bodir, adding that it could easily transport all the survivors of the settlement and tend to their needs. Aiden agreed it could work, but wanted to consult with Akira, Kalko and the Wookies before taking an even more dangerous mission on. In the mean time, Flak dispatched Darius to show Nyla to the sick and wounded survivors.

Nyla and Darius took the opportunity to discuss how things had changed so much since when last they met.

A Meeting By Fate

As Nyla tended to a malnurished Wookie, Darius, the very Clone Trooper who more than a year ago had risked his rank and life by refusing to fire upon Nyla upon the issuing of Order 66, asked her how long it had been since she’d dyed her hair purple, which Nyla responded almost two months since she had visited Nar Shadda.

Darius confessed that not a single day had gone by that he hadn’t thought about Nyla, and that he became so worried for her when he found out about the assassination of Governor Craz Oduur that she was blamed for. He told Nyla that he’d hoped she’d run as far from galactic civilization as she could, even to the Unknown Regions if that was what it took. He added that it was that vague and distant hope that lead him to volunteer for this dangerous assignment in the Unknown Regions with his expedition.

Nyla inquired what the mission was Darius was a part of this deep in the Unknown Regions, to which Darius replied was part of a much larger squadron under the command of a very mysterious commander named Captain Thrawn, a unknown alien who was fast rising in the ranks of the Imperial Navy. Darius explained that their squadron of 43 warships was spread over a wide area charting smuggling activity for the time being, but that he didn’t know what the broader and wider goal of Thrawn’s expedition in the Unknown Regions was.

Darius then reasurred Nyla that she needn’t defend herself against the assassination accusations, and that he believed them no more than he did the original betrayal accusations against her more than a year earlier. Darius promised he would never let any harm come to her while he was near her, though Nyla assured him she could take care of herself, she appreciated the gesture, and placed her hand on top of his for only a moment.

The Survivors Only Hope

Meanwhile Aiden spoke to Akira and Kalko concerning their options. A Wookie elder amongst the survivors convinced Aiden there was no hospitable world they could drop the survivors off at for a month or more while more supplies and rescue ships were readied, and even if they could many survivors might die for a lack of supplies in the mean time. Aiden reluctantly agreed with Flak that the best option would be to try to determine if the Ellison’s Fury was still operable, and if so use it to return the refugees to safety.

Therefore after Nyla said goodbye to Darius, promising to return to him, Aiden, Nyla headed back to the Renegade with Captain Flak in tow, determined to return to Big Berta with the salvaged Imperial Dreadnaught. Akira advised the twins Elsae and Eldewn to avoid talking to Flak.

Once on board Flak directed the crew of the Renegade to the location on the far side of the planet he expected to find the Ellison’s Fury, along with the mysterious asteroid at the heart of the devastation of Bodir, yet none could have expected to see the sight in the center of a cluster of small asteroids, a massive asteroid that was no asteroid at all.

Before the party stood a 10km long and 9km wide asteroid, but one with a giant face carved into the front of the celestial body, one nearly as side as the asteroid itself. It was a humanoid face, a bearded one waring a horned crown, with a massive smile and open gaping mouth, a whole large enough to fit a Star Destroyer through.

At the bottom of the asteroid was a massive orange glow eminating from a five km wide open slit, a slit that massive iron looking box shaped droids were flying in and out of, droids the size of the Renegade gathering chucks of rock and asteroid in their twin extending arms and bringing back into the glowing orange furnace at the bottom of the asteroid. There were thousands of such droids, and though the Renegade flew through swarms of them, they paid little interest to their ship. On the top of the massive asteroid was a giant citadel/castle complex, but one seemingly made of riveted iron with great spanning glass windows that spanned kilometers in width and height.

In the rear of the asteroid ship were three massive thrusters several kilometers wide which seemed dormant, and several dozen much smaller thrusters several hundred meters wide, most of which were glowing bright orange with power.

The player party, the twins, the Wookies and Captain Flak agreed that none of them had ever seen anything like this in their lives, or even heard of such a vehicle, an entire spaceship made out of an asteroid, and yet they were looking at one. Akira then spotted the Ellison’s Fury docked along the port side of the asteroid ship via two of the Fury’s extended docking collars.

Flak was able to use the Renegade’s computer to remotely gain access to the Fury via his Imperial command codes, which R4-B6-3 was only too happy to secretly copy for future use with the player party. Once in communication with the Fury’s computer, he commanded it to extend it’s own port side docking collar which the Renegade would then dock with, but not before remotely viewing the Fury’s security logs to determine the condition of the ship.

The ship was empty evidently, devoid of the more than 9,000 crew that made up it’s compliment. It was almost entirely devoid of supplies as well, as well as it’s service droids and military hardware. By accessing the Fury’s data tapes, Flak as well as the rest of the player party were able to view from their own bridge what had apparently happened on board the Fury two weeks prior. It had docked, sent over five squads of Stormtroopers, but none returned. In fact, several hours after they first docked with the asteroid ship the ships officers, crew and troopers alike all suddenly abandoned their posts, and in an orderly fashion gathered as much supplies as they could by hand and then left their Dreadnaught for the asteroid ship they were docked too. Soon later the droids followed suit, commanded to according to the Fury’s computer logs by new orders emanating from inside the asteroid ship.

Aiden speculated that this Fury’s crew had fallen under a telepathic force of some kind, and Nyla and Akira could sense a strange Force presence emanating from the asteroid ship, but one unlike any they had felt before. While viewing the security tapes the party also witnessed small groups of resistance fighting their mind controlled comrades, groups of twenty or more taking up arms to fight off their fellow Imperials only to be massacred by their zombified brethren. The party was reluctant, but they knew they had to at least get control of the Fury to save the refugees on the other side of Bodir. They docked with the Fury, and leaving Quaggo behind the party with the twins and Captain Flak made their way onto the abandoned Imperial warship.

The ships was indeed abandoned, and as it was did not have the supplies needed to house even the sixty survivors on board the Big Berta, the important food stuffs and rations being taken onboard the asteroid ship by the zombified human crew and droids. While on the Fury’s bridge Flak was able to slice into the captains personal logs, where he was able to view a top secret holonet transmission from Imperial Center. In the transmission, a gaunt Imperial officer of high rank named Tarkin told Captain Granger that he was right to have contacted him with the news of the discovery of this planet devastating super weapon and not the untrustworthy Thrawn, and that any information concerning this asteroid ship would be very useful for his project at the Maw Installation.

No one in the party, nor Flak or Baccitcuk knew who this Tarkin was or what the Maw Installation was, all that mattered was saving the refugees. Flak was somewhat angered that this Tarkin breached the chain of command by giving Captain Granger orders over their squadron commander Thrawn. With Flak’s help Kalko was able to slice into the ships droid command hub, and located the Fury’s droids throughout the giant asteroid ship in various expansive caverns throughout the craft. They activated the cameras on a single mouse droid that seemed to be working inside a giant factory forge, a massive room with furnaces two kilometers high and massive assemply lines constructing droids of a similar aesthetic of the gathering droids outside their ship. The mouse droid was only transmitting for a moment before it was crushed beneath the foot of a similar designed robot, and then all access to the ships droids were cut off. Akira traced the source of the signal cut off to a secondary computer core of Imperial design, one located on what seemed to be the bridge built into the citadel section of the asteroid ship.

With everyone’s help they were able to make a scan of the asteroid ships interior, and plot the best route to the ships bridge. One that would take at least a day to travel on foot due to the crafts massive size, a route that would take them through several giant cavernous chambers not unlike the factory forge room they had just witnessed through the mouse droid. Throughout the asteroid ship the Fury’s sensors detected faint life signs, as did Nyla and Akira through the Force, but the life signs were so faint they were unsure they could even be called life signs at all.

Flak suggested that they use the Fury’s compliment of BARC Speeder Bikes to better and faster navigate the long hallways between the giant rooms of the asteroid ship, which the party knew could come in handy in later adventures if they could hold on to them once this was through. The party agreed with Flak, and after leaving Baccitcuk and the twins to guard one of the Fury’s docking collars to the asteroid ship, set forth into the mysterious asteroid ship.

Chariot of the Navigator

The party was impressed immediately with the hand carved hallways with ornate supports and pillars, but wasted little time speeding away towards the asteroid ship’s command bridge. The first giant room they entered was a sort of archive or library, one that stretched more than a kilometer high and at least three long, lit by massive glowing yellow orbs suspended from the ceiling, illuminating massive shelves that held books and scrolls that towered to the top of the kilometer high ceiling. Ornate brass staircases and open air lifts provided access to the shelfs hudreds of stories high, though only the odd iron droid tended to the shelves, repairing and maintaining them. Along the walls and great pillars that supported the great chamber were carved the likenesses of short humanoid men, bearded with helmets and weapons in hand, a species that seemed to be simply short humans.

Akira boasted that this library alone dwarfed the great Celebratus Archive on Obroa-skai, and may be the single biggest library in the entire galaxy. Nyla wondered how many periodicals may be in the room, while Kalko wondered if this might be any value to Ingle Mothheim back on Dantooine as he was an expert in Xenoarcheology. Towards the center of the great hall was a very elevated platform, one with a large scroll laid out on it.

The party took turns studying it’s script, a form of runes that none could understand except for Akira, who said it vaguely reminded him of a language his master had him study once, a language believed used by early Duros spacers in the days before hyperspace travel. Akira closely studies the parchment scroll for several minutes, and soon was confident he could understand the ancient Duros Runes. He then read for the scroll to his friends surrounding him.

LET IT BE SAID AND LET IT BE WRITTEN

In this the eight hundred and fourty third year of the twelfth age of Golond the Wise, I Rolanthal, son of Hagorthal and King of the United Clans of Underhelmer have with my own eyes seen and by my own will, and the grace of Great Tarkond the Mighty raised the mountains of Lakoman to the skies above.

With this our sacred mountain now becomes our vessel of the celestial seas, and so it shall sail to new and unknown lands, the wealth of which in stone and metals shall be ours by divine right of Great Tarkond the Mighty.

The likeness of my grandfather, Moranthal the Endeavourer will grace the temple of Lakoman in it’s epic journeys, so that all the worlds of creation might know that it was he who first dreamed that we would raise a mountain from the shackles and ruins of our Kyrainian homeland and conqueor worlds yet unseen as our brethren and feeble neighbours fight over the remaining scraps and pitiful lands left behind in failed Kyrain.

Our clans will find new homelands with new mountains to mine and new metals to forge, so it shall be by my will and by the grace of Great Tarkond the Mighty.

HAIL TARKOND THE MIGHTY AND HAIL THE TEMPLE OF LAKOMAN

The party reacted with surprise to say the least, imagining that this massive asteroid had been a mountain that was somehow lifted into outer space was a fantastic thought. What’s more the party wondered what had happened to the aliens who built this ship in the first place. The long benches and tables throughout the great room struck Kalko as being extremely low to the ground, quite low for someone of his height and the party’s height to sit comfortably in. He suggested to the party that who ever these aliens were, they were likely a very short race. None of the party could think off hand of any such species that even remotely reminded them of the short height Kalko estimated nor the ornate carvings of bearded and armoured warriors.

Aiden told the others to get back on their bikes to move on with their journey, but Akira sensing the importance of this great library took all the scrolls he could safely carry on his bike, seventeen in all. Two of the scrolls seemed to be about Kyrainian lore, three were about life sciences of Kyrain and the various worlds the Kyranian’s had explored, three were about social sciences, two were about military tactics, three concerning physical sciences, two were about the Kyranian’s technology, and two were about bureaucracy.

Nyla herself grabbed five scrolls from the shelves, and six golden scrolls from a massive shelf that seemed to be some sort of a central index for the entire library. Of the scrolls she carried one was about social sciences, two were about military tactics, one was about lore and one was about technology. Of the more ornate golden index scrolls, two were about lore, one was about social sciences, two were about tactics and one about the physical sciences.

After boarding their speeder bikes once again the party travelled to the next large room almost an hour later on their journey to the bridge. This room seemed to be a mess hall or a galley of some kind, where thousands of low tables stretching for hundreds of meters sat side by side in the kilometer high room. Tables had been set on hundreds of vertical levels as well, with the higher tables being more ornately carved of different woods and metals. Adjacent to the dinning hall was massive kitchen like room, with rows of sinks and cast iron ovens that stretched forever. In the dinning hall there was a raised podium several hundred feet in the air, and a large spiral staircase that lead to it where a single scroll was once again displayed. Once again, Akira read the scroll which was written in the same language as before.

LET IT BE SAID AND LET IT BE WRITTEN

In this the nine hundred and seventeenth year of the twelfth age of Golond the Wise, I Nulanthal, son of Rolanthal and King of the Celestial Clans of Underhelmer do claim the great satellite world of Moranthal Keep to be a conquered land by my will and by the grace of Tarkond the Mighty. Yet it is with a heavy heart that I proclaim this conquest, as my father Rolanthal now walks in the presence of great Tarkond the Mighty in the Hallowed Halls with his father and his father before him and could not see the triumph his lifetime was lived for.

It is with great remorse that our greatest priests and inventors have yet to devise a means to travel between the worlds at great pace worthy of Tarkond the Great’s name. Many generations have now passed since the Great Temple of Lakoman did break the shackles of terrible Kyrain to set sail in the Celestial Seas, and many more shall pass I fear before we reach the worlds of the Far Reaches and beyond.

I do pray that Great Tarkond the Mighty will honor me with the sight of these worlds before me before I am called to join him with my father and his father in the Hallowed Halls. High Priest Ikoranth has told me of a method by which one may sail the void between the stars in righteous time indeed, a method by which a burst of flame and might, the likes of which was never seen in all the combined wars of failed Kyrain would send our temple hurtling to new worlds at speeds so great light itself would fall in our wake. This means, though worthy of Great Tarkond the Mighty is not without it’s perils, for nor Ikoranth or his priests and inventors have a means by which we could truly harness this power, and use it to steer our great Temple.

It is in Great Tarkond the Mighty that I put my faith now, that he will deliver unto us these means to that the burst of flame and might will then take us to the Far Reaches and beyond in the time of my life.

HAIL TARKOND THE MIGHTY AND HAIL THE TEMPLE OF LAKOMAN

The party agreed that the dilemma the ship and it’s builders were describing in the scroll was a lack of lightspeed capability, but none could still understand how this ship had become trapped in an icy comet to being with or for that matter if it did ever develop the means to travel at in hyperspace. It seemed to have been a problem that bridged an entire generation, as now a man named Nulanthal, the son of Rolanthal, the writer of the first scroll had taken over ruling the ship.

Aiden beckoned the party onward, and they boarded they’re speeders and headed for the bridge again. The next room was even more wondrous than the library and the kitchen, a incredible menagerie of fossilized animals and beasts still in their cast iron cages. Some cages held creatures that resembled a four legged avian the size of a nerf, while others housed giant tusked animals the size of a three storied building. Some cages were suspended high up the kilometer high room and held massive bird like creatures, while others seemed to be water tight and held the crumbling remains of aquatic sea serpents. Other cages were just bizzare entirely, some held multi-headed lizards, one held a giant cycloptic skull with tentacles stretching out from it’s head, but no feet or wings to move itself.

Once again the party found a raised platform on which lay a single scroll, again written the same rune based language as the previous two. Akira took to the podium and once again read aloud the scroll for his friends.

LET IT BE SAID AND LET IT BE WRITTEN

In this the nine hundred and nineteenth year of the twelfth age of Golond the Wise, I Nulanthal, son of Rolanthal and King of the Celestial Clans of Underhelmer proclaim that Great Tarkond the Mighty has answered our years of prayer and offering. We have found our SAVIOUR. It was he who came to us as the Great Temple of Lakoman did unleash the holy light Aukwar unto Moranthal Keep below, and found in our Great Temple a vessel he could steer, that he could guide.

He is the Navigator, and for him I thank none other than Great Tarkond the Mighty himself.

He has shared with us a knowledge as old as time itself, a knowledge of stars our greatest of scientists have yet to even see, yet he speaks of them so fondly as one who had seen them himself with his living eyes. This I do not doubt, for surely he is a being of divine grace, one sent to us to guide our Great Temple to treasures and mountains beyond ones imagination.

At long last the dreams of my great grandfather Moranthal shall be realized, none in the Celestial Seas shall deny the might of the Great Temple of Lakoman, and it’s divine journey to unleash the wealth of the stars themselves.

HAIL TARKOND THE MIGHTY, HAIL THE TEMPLE OF LAKOMAN, and HAIL TO THE NAVIGATOR

It now seemed to the party that the ship not only had developed at some point the means to travel at hyperspace, but someone who could navigate for them through the dangers of hyperspace travel, and they all agreed that this individual seemed to be held in high regard by this King Nulanthal.

Kalko took several visual scans of the creatures in the menagerie, and then took back to their speeder bikes and traveled on to the bridge once again.

The next giant kilometer high room the party came across was the most bizarre one yet, a room that housed a massive unending primitive analog computer. Unlike the other rooms this one was a buzz with the activity of small cast iron robots, busily hustling about tending to the controls of the massive room spanning machine, their clanking joints adding to the roaring hum of a massive computing machine. Akira commented that this was the most primitive computer he’d ever seen, and couldn’t imagine how effective it could be, despite it’s size. The giant carvings of the Kyrainians on the walls and pillars of this room seemed to depict electronic crafts people with goggles and fine electrical equipment in their hands in place of weapons.

Again in the midst of this massive computer the party found a raised platform with a single alter, and a single scroll upon it which Akira read once more.

LET IT BE SAID AND LET IT BE WRITTEN

In this the nine hundred and twentieth year of the twelfth age of Golond the Wise, I Ikoranth, High Priest to Nulanthal, King of the Celestial Clans of Underhelmer do relish we have reached the Celestial family of Kapurt, a land of worlds and a saphire star I never dreamed I would see with my living eyes. It must be said that this could not have come to pass without the command of the Navigator.

It is by his wisdom that we now find our temple at the saphire star of Kapurt, a star I had thought not even my grandson would live to behold.

As our great holy light is unleashed now to mine into the mountains of Kapurts many worlds, and our legions celebrate in the great halls of our Great Temple, I wonder, can the Navigator be trusted. His wisdom may be beyond all measure, yet his nature is truly peculiar. In none of our archives and records of the ages past on failed Kyrain has one like him been described. He is a frightening aspect to be behold to be sure.

When I spoke to him of his origins, his age and from where he came, he told me that he his people were a civilization of space farers, one that lived at the end of the time of their realm. As their realm came to an end, he and his people sought refuge and escaped their far off realm, arriving in our Celestial Seas millenia ago. He claims that he seeks only to share his knowledge of the stars with others, and in our Clans of Underhelmer he has found great students with whom he will share his long lifetime of knowledge.

Yet how much of these fantastic stores are true, until we might visit these far off worlds he describes, and see this Far Realm from which he came with our living eyes this we can never believe for certain. I shall trust in the Navigator, for my sovereign commands it.

I am not alone in my suspicious however, of this I know.

HAIL TARKOND THE MIGHTY, HAIL THE TEMPLE OF LAKOMAN, and HAIL TO THE NAVIGATOR

This scroll raised more questions than the previous ones had for the player party. Where were these far off realms that this Navigator claimed to have come from? And could he really have traveled back through time? These questions seemed completely ridiculous to even ask, and yet the Asteroid Ship itself stood here as a testament of how something unbelievable could come to pass. The party wondered what happened to the Navigator and this high priest Ikoranth as Aiden lead them onward, commenting “This could only happen in the Unknown Regions”.

The next room left the party speechless, a room that could only be described as a grand treasure room. Gold pieces with various symbols and alien faced minted piled as high as the kilometer high ceiling, gems and diamonds pilled every bit as high, bars of gold, silver and other metals none recognized, stacks of parchment with writing and signatures and stamps resembling some sort of primitive bank notes, all filled the eyes of the player party who beheld a vision of more wealth than any of them could ever have imagined.

While Kalko gathered as many gold pieces as he could carry and as Nyla and Akira searched for crystals and gems that could be used to build their lightsabers, gathering seventeen between them, they found yet another raised platform with an alter upon it where a single scroll rested.

LET IT BE SAID AND LET IT BE WRITTEN

In this the nine hundred and twenty second year of the twelfth age of Golond the Wise, I Draun, High Commander of the Legions of Nulanthal, King of the Celestial Clans of Underhelmer recount our great, if not troubling triumph over the Hoquri heretics of the fourth world of the Celestial Mandi family of worlds.

It is true that many of my soliders and paladins alike did not wish to so quickly end our conquest of the Kapurts Celestial family and begin our journey to the Mandi. Yet here in the tribes of the Hoquri people we found a foe unlike any we ever faced. They’re weapons were strange indeed, ones who fired controlled bursts of light from projectile like devices. It is to my shame that so many brave warriors did fall in our initial assault to these dishonourable weapons of war.

It was then that the Navigator, hero to our Celestial Clans and the Great Temple itself came to our aide. With the power of his intellect our foes the Hoquri did fall under his command, they turned on each other and only hours after striking down our warriors they had all but struck down each other.

The sight of the Hoquri turned on one another was not an honourable victory however, for the horrors of seeing brother turned against brother by the will of the Navigator is one none of my warriors wish to see again. Yet nothing, no tale from the darkest damned soul from the depths of hell could have prepared us for the next sight we beheld, the sight of the Navigator consuming the minds of the still living Hoquri. Heretic as the Hoquri were it was fate deserved by none in the expanse of creation.

The Navigator has now taken a dozen Hoquri as his personal slaves, slaves not in binding but slaves to his mind itself. That great intellect that guides our Great Temple now binds heretics to his very well. My warriors now stir with great anxiety, for which I cannot blame them. The ranks of us who dare to speak out against the Navigator grow with every passing day. It is believed by many that we may be best to leave the Navigator now to his own accords, so that we may return with the wisdom and metals of our great journey to failed Kyrain and transform the failed world into one of our making. None could ever oppose us now, a glorious victory awaits us in the ancestral lands of our fathers.

HAIL TARKOND THE MIGHTY, HAIL THE TEMPLE OF LAKOMAN, and THANKS TO THE NAVIGATOR

This scroll brought great fears to the player party, ending the mood of overwhelming joy at the sight of limitless treasure. The previous scroll had described the Navigator as being horrific to look at, but this suggested a truly hideous nature. Aiden commented that the powers described made it seem to be a sort of telepath, while Nyla and Akira wondered if it may have been a Force sensitive creature. Kalko wondered if it was still alive, and controlling this ship now.

This last question gave the party great pause, and little else was said before Aiden told the party to move on once again.

The next room the party entered was combination of barracks and armoury. It was filled with racks of ornate hand made weaponry, from ancient pole arms and hammers and axes to what seemed to be gold plated slug throwers. What seemed to be armoured space suits also filled the room, each one different from the other with different symbols and gems built into each unique one. It was clear to the party by now that the race who built this had a great love for craftsmanship. Giant tables with massive maps and models of terrains and battlefields also filled the room, it was clear that this room would have been the center of all the Asteroid Ships military operations.

Again the party found a raised platform with a single alter where a single scroll rested, one that Akira read now easily.

LET IT BE SAID AND LET IT BE WRITTEN

In this the nine hundred and twenty second year of the twelfth age of Golond the Wise, I Nulanthal, son of Rolanthal and King of the Celestial Clans of Underhelmer do lament the great treachery that has befallen our Great Temple. None other than Draun, High Commander of my legions and Ikoranth, High Priest to the Inventors themselves did speak to me of the apparent dangers the Navigator, our true saviour now poses.

They spoke of his use of dark and unnatural powers to achieve our great victory over the heretic Hoquri people, as if to say that the victory was any less glorious for it. I wondered then if perhaps Draun was jealous of the power of the Navigator. It was the treachery of Ikoranth that hurt the most, to hear my great friend speak so ill of the one who guides our temple between the stars was a blow against my very soul.

I wondered then if Ikoranth too were jealous of the wisdom the Navigator possessed, clearly one greater than he and his inventors combined. These fears of mine I must woefully say are now confirmed, by the Navigator himself no less. It is his counsel that I seek now, and who`s wisdom I trust more than any other. He tells me of the ever growing resentment towards me, resentment that it is I who`s name shall be spoken throughout the Celestial Seas for all eternity. For it will be by my will that our Great Temple completes it`s greatest feat yet, the journey to the Greatest Celestial Family.

The Navigator has told me and me alone of this great wonder, a family of stars so plentiful that they number greater than the grains of sand on all the beaches of failed Kyrain. It will be in my name that we build mines and forges on the worlds of these stars, and my likeness that shall grace the new mountains that are raised into the skies of these worlds. Our seeds shall be spread throughout all creation, and it is my name that will be remembered as the one who made our triumph over creation possible.

The Navigator has offered to right these wrongs if I so wish it, and wish it I shall. By his powers our legions will obey me without hesitation, and our inventors shall toil for me without question, by the power of the Navigator all will be as it should, and all will bow before the Celestial Clans of Underhelmer.

HAIL TARKOND THE MIGHTY, HAIL THE TEMPLE OF LAKOMAN, HAIL TO THE NAVIGATOR AND hail to I, NULANTHAL THE VICTORIOUS

The story was now beginning to take shape, one that took place oh so long ago. It seemed the Naviator was now a more trusted friend to Nulanthal than even his most trusted advisors. He seemed to be filling Nulanthal’s head with visions of grandeur, and turning him against those the Navigator didn’t trust. Akira wondered what this Greatest Celestial Family was, perhaps a large star system? After Aiden and Kalko each took with them an armoured spacesuit they headed for the next room on their journey with the rest of the player party.

The room they entered next was a sort of temple, a place of worship it seemed where stone engravings of Kyrainians with tools of invention filled the kilometer high room. Banks of candles long since extinguished filled giant tables, and an awe hush fell over the room in this place of reverence unlike the other rooms the party had visited. There were shelves with scrolls and books of parchment, ceremonial fountains long since dried up, and giant kegs of what may have once held some sort of alcoholic beverage.

As with the other rooms the party found the alter with the single scroll upon it, which Akira read aloud.

It is done, but at what cost I ask. I Ikoranth, High Priest to the fool King Nulanthal have done what I should have done when we first laid eyes upon the abomination that is the Navigator. Our Great Temple, the sacred mountain of Lakoman whom by the grace of Great Tarkond the Mighty was raised to the skies shall now be a tomb to the dream of King Moranthal, who dared to touch the face of Gods.

Yet it is now a prison too, a prison in which the so called Navigator shall never escape. It is with my last ounce of strength that I reach out in thanks to our long forgotten Gods who allowed me the power to encase our once Great Temple in the ice it now rests in. Our holy light cannot be fired to mine deep into the mountains from the skies, our great forges cannot take in the new metals we blast free, all who now walk the halls of our fallen temple shall walk it forever until the end of time.

It is with great sorrow that I saw brave Draun fall in battle with the Navigator and his forces, and now must walk as a slave to his monstrous will. Now Draun and his enslaved legions search our temple for me, and I fear they shall soon find me and my remaining inventors. It is a horrible curse that we are fated to walk as his slaves and never lie in the sacred dirt where our fathers and grandfathers lie. It is a burden we shall carry though, less the evil of the Navigator ever be allowed to escape the icy crypt I have condemned him too.

I know not if we shall ever reach the Great Celestial Family the fool King Nulanthal spoke so fondly of, I shall pray to my last breath that we are destroyed long before that time comes. I know not if there are others like the Navigator, I again pray that there are not. I shall relish this the last victory of my times, and delight in the prison I have forged for the Navigator to rot within.

HAIL TARKOND THE MIGHTY, HAIL THE FALLEN TEMPLE OF LAKOMAN, AND PITTY THE FOOL KING NULANTHAL

The party now understood how the confrontation went with Nulanthal and the Navigator and those who opposed them. It seemed they, Nulanthal’s general and high priest did try to kill the Navigator once and for all, but even though they failed they still managed to trap the Asteroid Ship inside a comet to prevent the Navigator from escaping.

How they could have trapped a ship this large in ice however was something else entirely, as none in the party could imagine how such a thing was possible, even to Force users such as Akira and Nyla. Kalko mentioned that it seemed to be old fashioned fabled magic the high priest was describing, which no one else could refute.

With no time wasted the party was off for the next room, the last room in the winding maze of tunnels and chambers before they reached the bridge.

The last room they reached stood adjacent to the bridge, and it seemed to be a personal palace chamber for King Nulanthal himself. His own treasures, his own library, his own menagerie, his own barrels of long since dried up alcohol, all the treasures a Kyrainian King deserved no doubt. Amongst the statues of King Nulanthal and his family was a single scroll laid out on a desk, a scroll that seemed hastily written, and one stained with ancient dried blood. Akira worked through his nerves and with a deep breath read this the final scroll.

Oh what I fool I have been. What was once the promise of a triumph greater than the expanse of creation now curses me with every breath, fleeting as those breaths may be.

I have struck him down, the true traitor in my midst whose treachery I saw only too late. He fed my mind with poisonous lies, and turned me heart against my dearest friends and brothers. They are all dead now, my soldiers, my inventors, my minions, and the slaves to the Navigator. Yet he lives, though only barely. I struck him down with the hammer of my father as he tried in vain to slave me to his will. Perhaps his strength and power are not all limitless as we`d thought once.

Though in striking him down I was myself felled, fatally fear. Though I miss with a great pain in my heart our homelands, I am grateful that they will never know of failure in the Celestial Seas. They will never know of how I betrayed my brothers in blood to the madness of the Navigator, and how his want to dominate life consumed me to the dishonour of my father and Great Tarkond the Mighty.

As for the Navigator, I know not if he can ever die. I know not if whatever God created him and his kind wanted them to die, or if his kind killed their Gods long ago before cursing our lives with their damned powers of the blackness.

My time is short, I am not long for this world. I shall pray that one day I will walk the Hallowed Halls with my father and his father, so that I may beg their forgiveness for what I have done.

HAIL TARKOND THE MIGHTY, DAMN THE NAVIGATOR, AND FATHER FORGIVE ME

Akira’s voice trembled with pity as he read the final lines of the scroll, the final testimony of a King who convicted himself for his own mistakes that cost him everything he held dear. The party stood in silence imagining the great failure this Asteroid Ship now was when it must have once held such promise to so many. None were sure how old the ship was, or when these tragic events took place, but all in the King’s private chambers agreed this ship was a part of ancient history.

As for the Navigator, Kalko’s theory seemed more likely than ever as King Nulanthal himself wondered if he could be killed. No one had to tell them all to read their weapons as they entered the adjacent bridge.

The Lair of Madness

The bridge was the most spectacular sight to behold. An oval shaped structure that rose more than five hundred meters high with massive glass windows allowing for an incredible view of Bodir below and even the Ellison’s Fury docked to their left. Massive iron pillars supported the ceiling as well as the stone sculptures of Kyrainians throughout the expansive room. Below the party in great pits that went down for dozens of stories toiled the crew of the Ellison’s Fury, zombified Imperial officers and crewmen, slaving away at ancient controls and mechanisms with no emotion or life in their empty vacant eyes. It was a horrible sight to behold, but an even more ominous feel fell over the party when they eyed a massive staircase that lead to a throne atop of the bridge. A robed figure had risen from the throne, and now descended the staircase to meet them.

“The Navigator” said Kalko.

“You have come, this I have known would come to pass for some time” said the robbed figure as it descended the massive staircase in a voice that seemed to echo in the party’s minds across the massive distance. “It would seem then that even more fortune has found itself to me in these seas, as you can only benefit me, as all others have come to do”.

The figure then somehow appeared directly in front of the party in an instant, startling them all including the captain. “If only you knew how long I have waited for this, my reward” said the robbed figure to the party as it now descended the last step of the great staircase.

“We will never bow to you, whatever the hell you are” said Aiden defiantly with his blaster aimed square at the Navigator’s head.

“Whether you give me them or if I take them, your minds shall be MINE”!!! shouted the Navigator, as it cast off it’s hood revealing a truly horrific sight. A creature with squid like tentacles dangling and twitching from it’s face, covering it’s mouth, with white pulsating eyes and sliming blue rubber like flesh, pot marked with scars and tears or extreme age.

Before the party could fire a single shot, a terrible screeching blast filled their minds and deafened their senses bringing them all to their knees in absolute agony.

Comments

Seeing Darius was so important to Nyla! She was so worried that she had gotten him killed because he let her escape the first time she was branded as a traitor. She always had him in her thoughts as well.

Episode XVI
Dyluth

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