Star Wars: Dawn of Darkness

The Crawl

ur heroes now find themselves in the depths of galactic intrigue as they wade their way through the nobility of the Tapani Sector in a desperate attempt to find their ally Parias before it’s too late.

Little did they know as they observed, spied on and mingled with the Tapani elite on the planet PROCOPIA that the Director of COMPNOR itself, ISHIN-IL-RAZ would make an appearance as an honored guest before his loyal Imperial hosts.

Now our heroes sense that time may be against them not only in the search for Parias, but to head off a plot that AIDAN DYRE fears is an assasination attempt on any one of the thousands of nobles gathered to celebrate so that they themselves are not framed or worst yet captured by the sinister forces of the expanse…

Allies of the Empire

Ishin-Il-Raz gave an impassioned and proud speech to the crowd of gathered nobles below from atop his repulsor platform as Lord Bodé Leobund XI of House Mecetti and Lord Raj Jaset III of House Melantha stood by his side, high over the assembled nobles of the Tapani Sector in the grand Malgrin Palace. The speech concluded with Il-Raz boasting that because of the efforts of the Tappani nobles, theirs was now an Empire that would last for ten thousand years.

Where other crowds had roared with applause at boasts of Imperial strength before, the Tappani nobles merely applauded approvingly, as if the Empire’s existence was merely something they approved of as an in style trend of the season. After the speech concluded and the lords retreated from sight on their repulsorlift with their distinguished COMPNOR guest into the vast distant halls of the palace, the player party, Aidan Dyre, Kalko the Colossal, Akira Ben-Toshi and Nyla Hawklight, along with Nyla and Akira’s padawan learner’s Eldewn and Elsae Sarvool then took to mingling through the crowd in an attempt to learn anything at all about the mysterious Parias, who disappeared in this sector whilst hunting the Corpse Droid.

Nyla overheard two noble women from House Melantha discussing the discovery of a secret trade route that would help save their house a fortune in credits by bypassing the Freeworlds province, Kalko overheard several House Mecetti nobles boasting at how dejected and humiliated the poor nobles of House Pelagia in attendance appeared to be, the family who had recently negotiated the end of a year long conflict that saw their Jedi-aligned province decimated by a surprise attack and continued offensive at the hands of House Mecetti and House Melantha. The Pelagia family, as Kalko overheard had been a great supporter of the Jedi Order, and had even contributed several of it’s family members as knights, but ultimately they now seem to have met the same fate as the Jedi Order itself, broken and reduced to a shell of it’s former self.

Aidan witnessed a sight that took him utterly by surprise, two nobles in quite rediculously elaborate military uniforms dueling, with thin looking lightsabers dressed with unique and hand crafted hilts, arguing drunkenly over which branch of House Melantha’s military did more to defeat the fools of House Pelagia, the army of the navy. Eventually the two drunken nobels gave up their duel in a draw, and after a handshake and a return to the bar the crowd of nobles around them roared in applause, even more so than they had to the speech by Il-Raz.

Akira made some progress in speaking with a Melanthan noble woman named Adira, who boastfully chuckled at how easy it was for her family’s military to launch a sneak attack with House Mecetti against House Pelagia, and conquer nearly all of their territory. In the end however Akira couldn’t keep her interest for long, as she told Akira she simply couldn’t be seen talking to a non-human such as Wroonian like Akira for too long. This served as yet another reminder to Akira that the nobles of the Tapani Sector, or at least the nobles of House Melantha and Mecetti were as high-human and anti-alien as they came.

Friends of the Freeworlds

Disappointed that his best lead of the night in Lady Adira slipped away on him, Akira wondered away from the crowds of mail ballrooms of the palace for a good hour, until he found himself in a nearly deserted chamber where the only company was a single human female bartender. Akira ordered a straight shot of whiskey, which the young woman gladly provided. Akira struck up a conversation with the young woman, who he learned was named Uhnri, lived by herself in the Freeworlds province of the sector, and was a part time employee of a company providing staff for the gala tonight.

More interestingly Akira got the clear hint that she was also in the information brokering business, as she told him that ever since the purge of House Pelagia began more than a year ago the houses of the sector have all re-doubled their spynets and intelligence gathering resources. When Akira steered the conversation towards the Rodian mercenary Parias, to his surprise Uhnri told him that she’d heard about a Rodian in heavy armour looking around for someone in the last month, but that she’d also heard he seemingly just disappeared. Uhnri told Akira that it was rare for someone to “disapear” on the planet Procopia, as treaties established it as a perpetual neutral planet where no battles or military action of any kind could be taken. She added that of course houses would always approve absolute secret actions and or measures if they felt it was worth the risk, meaning that this Parias was worth the risk to someone to make disappear on the neutral world of the Tapani Sector. When Akira asked if someone could have made him disappear without the help of a noble family Uhnri flat out rejected the notion, telling him that nothing ever happened on the planet Procopia without the approval of at least one of the noble families.

When Akira asked if she had ever heard of the Corpse Droid, she quickly looked around to be sure that no one was around them in the hall, leaned in closer and told him that she’d heart the name before. She explained that more than a month ago her “friends” had heard about a strange and grotesque droid who’d been spotted meeting with a sector noble in secret, but that nothing else was known about the meeting or what was agreed upon. Akira now feared that one of the noble families of the Tapani Sector may be in league with the Corpse Droid, but to what end he did not know.

Akira thanked Uhnri for her help, which Uhnri said was no problem and gave him her merchants card with all her contact information. She wished him the best of luck, and told him not to hesitate to call if he ever needed any information from her or her “friends”. Akira thanked her again, and after leaving the lavish but empty hall used his comlink to contact Aidan, relaying all the important information Uhnri had just shared with him. When he was finished Aidan told him to come back to the group right away, so that they could decide what to do next.

A Fruitless Endeavour

After Aidan had asked Akira to return to the groups location of sorts in and amongst the crowd of nobles he himself was drawn to the sight of Il-Raz giving a more intimate speech to a small group of nobles in a much smaller parlour room off to the side of the more grand ball room Aidan and the party were mingling in. From just around the edge of the entrance to the parlour, unseen by Il-Raz and it’s two dozen or so noble occupants, Aidan watched and listened to the speech being given, where Il-Raz was thanking the noble houses of Mecetti and Melantha for their help in purging the pro-Jedi and pro-Republic House Pelagia, even though officially the Empire considered this a regional conflict that they wished to remain neutral in.

As a reward for their efforts in the war against House Pelagia, Il-Raz announced that they would be issued the very first[House Guard Troopers]], elite members of the houses military forces given special advanced training by Imperial forces and equiped with the latest in Imperial Stormtrooper armour and equipment. Il-Raz added that a full regiment of such troopers for each house had already been trained and were ready to deploy immediately, then declaring that this advantage would ensure that neither House Pelagia or any of the other houses of the Tapani Sector would ever gain the upper hand over the friends of the Empire, House Mecetti and Melantha.

Kalko, meanwhile after being asked by Aidan to return to the group via comlink himself casually overheard two nobles arguing in a corner as he passed by. They caught his attention as one whispered forcefully “There isn’t any time! It has to be tonight if he’s here!”. Kalko at first wondered if this was something unimportant that he needn’t concern himself with, but after one of the two nobles snuck away into the crowd, only to see the other silently walk to a hidden corner behind a massive staircase and disapear into a hidden doorway. With his curiosity peaked, Kalko returned to Aidan and the others and relayed what he’d just seen. Aidan agreed, it might be something worth looking into in the event a dangerous plot was now underway.

Once the party was assembled together, they made their way to the hidden doorway behind the winding staircase. Once inside the door they walked down a long narrow winding stone corridor, leading them to the bowls of the massive castle’s foundation, and eventually a dimly lit reservoir that seemed to extend for kilometers in every direction.

Though they were drawn in particular to two figures huddling under lit torches on the docks of the underground reservoir, a human and a large Herglic next to two repulsor-boats. Even from a hundred feet away the party could hear the two arguing about the apparent danger of something they were plotting to do. The Herglic was unsure if the timing was right, but the human kept insisting that they now had an opportunity that might not come again. It was then that the human saw the party approaching in the distance, and immediately opened fire on them with his side blaster.

Just as Aidan and Kalko drew their own blasters to return fire the pair had jumped into one of the two boats and sped away down a long corridor out of sight. “Should we follow?” asked Kalko, to which Aidan replied “Hell YES we follow” as he charged down the winding staircase towards the second of the two boats.

The party boarded the repulsor-boat with Akira at the helm, and started after the first boat with the two conspirators on board. The long dark coridor soon gave way to the open canals of Estalle Island’s historical district at night. The human male was driving the lead boat, while the Herglic co-conspirator fired at the pursuing player party as their boats weaved in and out of back alley canals and waterways, dodging other boats and ducking under low lying bridges along the way.

Aidan and the party were hesitant to open fire on the conspirator’s boat they were pursuing, lest they draw even more attention from the authorities than they already were. The conspirators didn’t seem to care of such matters however, as after missing several shots at Akira in the drivers seat with his blaster, the Herglic produced a massive shoulder mounted rocket launcher and fired it straight at Akira. Though the projectile missed Akira head on, the fire of it’s propulsion badly burnt him.

Aidan decided he’d had enough of this Herglic’s recklessness and used his rocket pack to fly to the conspirator’s boat. Once onboard he attempted to shoot the driver, but the Herglic grappled him, throwing Aidan and himself off the boat and into the canal below. Nyla asked if they should turn around to help Aidan, to which Akira assured her that Aidan could easily handle the much larger Herglic. Indeed the two fought fiercely under the water, with the Herglic attempting to crush Aidan. Aidan however was able to free himself from the Herglic’s grasp and once again used his rocket pack, this time to fly out of the water and catch up with his friends again.

Just as Aidan landed back in the party’s boat, Kalko made a daring leap through the air onto the conspirator’s craft, now manned only by the human driver. He drew his blaster on the human’s head and ordered him to stop, which he promptly did.

Once Enemies Now Allies

After docking their boats in a darkened alley under the Estalle Island night, the party took the conspiring human with them to a deserted promenade overlooking a picturesque harbour, and demanded to know what he’d been planning to do and why he’d shot at the party. The human explained that he was a member of a noble house who had been loyal to House Pelagia in Pelagia’s province of the Tapani Sector. His house’s homeworld however had been conquered by House Mecetti in the recent war of conquest, and all his family and house members who refused to pledge alliegance to their new masters were deported to the Freeworlds after having their assets and wealth seized. The man then explained that some allies of his had obtained a massive anti-capital ship Assault Concussion Missile from a House Mecetti warship that was lost during a battle, and that they had planned to launch the missile at the palace, killing Ishin-Il-Raz and framing House Mecetti for the crime. The human noble then told the party where the safe house was in the city where the missile was being kept, and Akira then used the Force to tell the noble to go to sleep. Confident that he wouldn’t be found by police who were now nearby looking for the boats that sped through the city’s canals, Nyla quickly headed Akira’s wounds and the party headed off for the safe house.

After an hour or so’s travel by foot the party found themselves outside of a nondescript but well made carved stone rowhouse. Outside from a distance the party observed a single Sullustan male standing guard outside in a very casual manner. Akira approached the guard and warned him that he had a live grenade in his pocket, and that if he were smart he would let him and the rest of the party into the house. The Sullustan granted Akira his requrest, as Akira expected he would, and the party was lead into the house where a young human noble man and a Mrlssi woman stood by a massive assault concussion missile, just as the noble from the repulsor-boat had said. The party introduced themselves to the Sullustan, the Mrlssi and the human noble, and told them that their plan to use the missile to destroy a portion of the palace was reckless and dangerous, not to mention senseless considering how many innocent lives would be lost, with Akira thinking of the bartender Uhnri whom he’d met just earlier that night.

Akira suggested that instead they might be wise to use their information sources to learn when Ishin-Il-Raz’s shuttle was going to be arriving in the city to take him back to his ship in orbit, and that the shuttle or his personal ship should be a target instead. The nobles in the safe house listened intently, and signaled that they were interested in Akira’s proposal.

Suddenly however the wall of their safe house facing the street outside was lit with the fire and arcs from cutting torches, slicing and breaking through the house’s walls and cutting a massive hole in seconds, a hole that when the smoke cleared revealed three young and blond nobles, a man in a faux-Imperial uniform, another man in stylish attire, and a woman in a long and flowing gown. Flanking the nobles were a squad of what looked like Stormtroopers, only their base armour was reflective silver with green highlights, the green of house Mecetti as Aidan recognized.

The man in the faux-Imperial uniform stepped forward to order the party to surrender immediately for conspiring to commit an act of treason, but before he could finish his sentence the young Mecetti noblewoman who was studying the player party intently interrupted him, showing him a datapad she held in her hand, telling him that “There’s no question, it’s THEM!”. The nobleman who only seconds ago was demanding surrender now drew his own lightfoil from his belt, and activated it, shouting to his fellow nobles and the House Guard Troopers “Take them alive, but don’t use your blasters, it would be rude to damage the craftsmanship of the property”. The other two blond nobles drew and activated their own glowing red lightfoils, as the House Guard Troopers behind them drew their vibroswords and shields, with the exception of a single Trooper who looked to be a captian, who drew a double-bladed vibrosword.

Sparring Fates

As the parties Pelagian allies hurried to draw their blasters the nobles of House Mecetti descended on the party with their lightfoils. A fierce fight was born as Mecetti’s crimson blades classed with Akira’s lightsaber while deflecting Aidan and Kalko’s blaster bolts. Aidan lobbed a single adhesive grenade against the noble in stylish attire, bonding his feet to the ground. As the troopers advanced to join their noble lords in battle the young noblewoman ordered the troopers to stand down, so that she and her fellow Mecetti nobles could take the scoundrels prisoners themselves.

The party fought hard for several minutes, with Aidan and Kalko taking more of a bruising in the opening attacks than they had taken in almost all the combats they’d fought together combined. As the two, along with Akira took ever more and more extensive damage from the nobles lightfoils, Nyla along with her padawan Eldewn worked furiously to cure their friends with the Force. After the young noblewoman fell Akira with one swift slash of her blade, Nyla took pause from her heailing actions to to stretch out in the Force and levitate the massive assault concussion missile into the air, and then throw it at the nobles and their troopers. With a moment to spare now with the nobles pinned, Nyla and Eldewn healed Akira enough to stand on his feet again.

Their joy was short lived however, as the nobleman in a faux-military uniform stretched out into the Force himself, lifting the missile up into the air, and throwing it back at the player party, damaging the device beyond repair, and also revealing themselves to be Force users as well. The skirmish raged on, first the Pelagia nobles fell one by one, then Kalko fell for the first time in the party’s adventures together. Aidan too soon fell not long after, and Akira once more. Though one at a time the party brought down the nobles of House Mecetti as well, with Akira, after being healed by Nyla once more hurling the noblewoman a hundred meters into the canal behind them. Akira also tried to bluff the Mecetti nobles and their Troopers into surrendering by threatening to fire his blaster at point blank range into the now badly damaged missile, blowing everyone up. The Trooper captain however called out Akira on his bluff, pointing out that the missile was so badly damaged it would likely never explode again.

After Nyla brought Aidan back to conciousness a second time, and after the last of the three Mecetti nobles fell, the House Guard Trooper captain decided he’d had enough and charged into combat, striking down an undefended Nyla, and dropping an already weakened Aidan, Akira and Eldewn to the ground. Elsae, summoning every ounce of strength in the Force pushed back at the charging Trooper captain, grabbing her unconscious sister and fleeing into the adjacent alleys.

As Nyla fought a loosing battle to maintain her own conciousness she heard the Trooper captain order his men to chase the two girls and to bring them in, and also to go fish “Her Highness” out of the canal before she drowns. When one of his subordinates asked him “Will the girls be added to the package?”, the captain responded simply No, the Corpse Droid only wanted these four".

Parias the Rogue

Akira was the first to regain consciousness to a strange weightless sensation and a blue emersive energy field. After several moments of blinking eyes and growing focus, Akira realized that he was imprisoned upside down in a Universal Energy Cage, a cage built specifically to hold Jedi. Moments later Nyla, also imprisoned in an energy cage regained consciousness as well, followed by Kalko and Aidan who were chained to a fall in iron shackles, upside down as well. Though Akira’s vast experience as a spacer operating in high atmospheres and gravity wells allowed him to keep his bearings while being inverted, the sensation was quite unpleasant for the rest of the party.

The party was then greeted by a third individual, a middle aged long haired human male with a clear cybernetic limb for a left arm who was also imprisoned in a universal energy cage, beside Akira and Nyla. The man introduced himself as Parias, the operative who had been on the hunt of the Corpse Droid but had been caught two weeks earlier by what appeared to be nobles in the Tapani Sector he’d made a deal with. When Aidan asked why Parias was clearly a human and not the Rodian he masqueraded as to the public. Parias explained that a secret identity was crucial in his line of work, but conceded that his Rodian persona was now obsolete.

Parias told the party that they had been in the prison they themselves were now trapped in for nearly two weeks, and that they had been brought in about twelve hours earlier, but confessed his ability to track time was somewhat limited. Parias asked what the party had done to incur the wrath of the Corpse Droid’s employers, the Hunto Pawa. Akira recounted the events on Manaan where they robbed the incompetent Hutt lords King Duumba and King Larngo and then destroyed their kolto harvesting platform. Parias laughed and agreed that such a deed would annoy the Hutt’s in charge of the infamous cartel. When Akira asked what Parias had done to become imprisoned by the cartel he was told that would have to wait for another time, as he was still trying to ascertain where exactly they were. The sparingly lit room was stainless durasteel, no more than one fifty meters by fifty meters without any features other than three cages and several empty shackles hanging from the wall.

Aidan told the party that they needn’t wonder where they were as he knew exactly where they were. He told the party that he was quite familiar with their current residence, as his people, the Mandalorians were the ones who built the dreaded Lictor-Class Dungeon Ship. When Aidan suggested out loud that he might be able to break at least one of his shackles, but only if he worked at it for hours and hours on end, Parias responded that it seemed that they had plenty of time.

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