Ask  Plot Traps for Troubadours

Discussion in 'Deep Core and Core Worlds' started by Callum Attar, Aug 10, 2019.

  1. Callum Attar

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    .

    Traps for

    .
    Troubadours


    [​IMG]

    Callum never had spent much time within capital ships, having spent most of his days avoiding those deemed capable enough to lead this much firepower like the plague. And when the Darth had told him there was some further explaining required, the Coruscantian assumed that they would move locations to somewhere the Mirialan felt more comfortable. Never had he anticipated it would've been a ship of this magnitude, in space. It went without saying that escape really had never been an option, but even still, this was a little much.

    Around him was a spacious room, filled with monitors and information that was completely devoid of personnel aside from the Darth and the Acolyte. Spacious, and a certainly aesthetically pleasing, but practical and definitively overwhelming.

    The trip this far had been exhausting, to say the least. Nerve-wracking didn't even begin to cover it. Every moment the Acolyte followed behind this green-skinned individual felt like he was being drawn deeper and deeper into the lion's den. Callum's singular solace was thinking of all the ways he was going to skin those sycophantic paper-pushers if he managed to get out of this in one piece. ... He wouldn't actually do no such a thing, of course. Tagus had found him by these individuals, and if they suddenly started showing up with fewer body-parts, the Sith Lord would no doubt notice.

    So Callum walked, and walked, and waited, and now stood, in a Commander's Office wholly foreign to him, in silence, facing a being that could choose to end his existence, if he so wished, after having very recently deceived the man. The Acolyte had to admit, he'd looked better.

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  2. Darth Tagus

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    Tagus had had Callum brought to the capital ship he was travelling with because he wanted to make an impression on the young acolyte and on anyone who happened to be following their affairs. He wanted everyone to know that he was not going to be taking it easy on Callum in some neutral place; Callum was going to be grilled in a place of Tagus' choosing, of Tagus' control. It was a carefully structured approach.

    It was also something of a lie.

    Tagus did intend to grill Callum but the appearance was set up to make it appear as though he was going to throw the book at him when that may not be the case at all. It all depended, really, on what Callum had to say for himself. Entering the office, Tagus reached out with the Force and took possession of Callum's lightsaber as he passed the man, sitting himself down behind the main desk of the commander's office.

    There he paused for a moment as he considered the blade in his hands before gesturing for Callum to take a seat opposite him. He set the lightsaber down on the table, emitter pointed away from himself and instead in Callum's own direction. He began to roll it from side to side slightly with the Force, keeping the weapon under his control.

    "Acolyte Attar."

    There was no smile.

    There was no anger.

    He was entirely neutral as he regarded the young man.

    "Do you know why I brought you here today?"


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  3. Callum Attar

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    Callum enjoyed material things. He would not allow himself to be controlled by his urges like some junkie, but the man was by no means a monk. The Coruscantian had been raised to be was arrogant, condescending, and all other things Sith. But he did also believe him to be aware of many of the follies of his brethren, and had strived to rise above many of them. So, when the man's lightsabre was snatched away and toyed with, and worse, when it had become evidently clear that depending on his answers, he would be injured with is own weapon, his pride hurt in ways he hadn't thought possible before. He had thought himself better than this. His rational mind told him this was a tool, and little else, and that as a result it could be used against him, but evidently he'd grown more attached to the weapon than he'd believed. It was his, after all. Truly his. It did not define him, but had accompanied him longer than kin, friends or family. And only now did he realise the value he'd afforded it. Rather stereotypically, Callum only saw what it meant when he lost it.

    But though fear and melancholy assailed him, this wasn't the time to dally. Callum slowly and calmly took his seat in the intended spot, and it seemed the game was afoot. One wrong answer, and he'd be in serious trouble. So, in full view of the Lord, who had no doubt felt most if not all of his emotions through the Dark Side, the Acolyte took a deep breath, that was shaky in the beginning, but straightened out towards the end, as the final bits of air escaped his lungs, and he forced himself to maintain eye-contact with the Mirialan, and to not look at his blade, that might just cause his doom.

    Facades fell, and a strange feeling of honesty welled up in Callum. He was a practical man, after all. And he would survive a wounded pride. "I can only assume I've done something wrong." The Acolyte truly did not know why he was here. He had skirted the rules in his last assignment, the one whose report Tagus had witnessed, but he had done other things, and for all he knew the Darth had him on the ropes for that. Or maybe even something else entirely. He genuinely did not know.

    "But I've never been in this situation before, and I do not know you well enough to understand how my actions could have caused you to act in person." Callum's mind scoured through the wrong and questionable decisions he'd made over the years, desperately trying to figure out what was the key to his salvation. He had a feeling Tagus would not take kindly to this answer, but at this point it was all he had.

    "The best I can tell you, my Lord, is that as of right now I am an open book. Anything you ask, I shall answer, to the best of my ability, in whatever level of detail you wish. No games, no skirting facts, only truth." - the Acolyte maintained eye contact, and struggled not to plead or beg, but hoped Tagus would see he meant what he'd said.

    ... This was not a good day. The Acolyte wondered for a moment if this was why people prayed to Gods, or the Force. It certainly seemed to help them make peace with events out of their power. Alas, he was Sith, and had no such luck. He was alone, and he either got out of this alone, or not at all.

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  4. Darth Tagus

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    Ah there it was... a spark of pride, of anger, that showed that Callum was more than just a spoiled Corusanti up and comer. It was what showed that he was a Sith and someone worthy of actual interest, unlike so many of his fellows. The fact that the young man knew well enough not to immediately act of those feelings was also appreciated.

    If he had been foolhardy, Tagus would have had to clean the room.

    He allowed a small smile to grace his face beneath his Sith mask as Callum's emotions were laid bare before him. The young man could have done some mental exercises to try and hide some of them but he seemed to be doing the smart thing and giving him full freedom of access instead. It was better for Callum in the long run anyway since Tagus would have just battered down whatever mental defenses he erected and left the young man with a killer headache and all of his emotions laid bare.

    As he spoke, the smile slowly disappeared.

    Eyes flashing yellow, Tagus lashed out with the Force. Callum's lightsaber ignited and launched itself forwards, impaling the chair Callum was sat in, between Callum's legs but far enough away to not cause damage. Well, not cause damage to the human. The chair itself now had a neat little hole in it and the chair was getting hotter.

    The fact that the still-ignited lightsaber was still close to Callum's junk was likely not lost on the man.

    "Do not take me for a fool." Tagus hissed, "You are no longer dealing with officers impressed with your flattery and pretty words. You are dealing with me."

    The lightsaber shut itself off and returned to Tagus' outstretched hand.

    "Your report was a fiction. Partial or full, I do not know. What I do know?" he leaned forwards slightly, "Is that you are going to tell me the truth of the report and why you lied."


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  5. Callum Attar

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    He could smell the material melting and burning in such close proximity, and had more than been caught by surprise by the immediate action taken. Yet again Callum wished for there to be Gods in the realms of his belief, this time so he could curse them and blaspheme until the skies blackened around him. He'd been caught, and the situation was more dire than he'd originally hoped.

    As the sabre returned to the green-skinned individual's grasp, Callum's open hands slowly rose to shoulder height - the universal signal of surrender - before they turned palm up, and a nothing I can do pose took to the man. The Acolyte closed his eyes for a moment, and let off a sigh-like exhale, before his lips curled into a smile of self-derision. After this beat of silence, eye contact was reestablished, his hands clasped together in front of him, and the man crossed his legs, desperately trying to erase the image the Darth had hinted at from his mind.

    "Point taken." - the Acolyte responded to the Sith Lord, still coming to terms with the situation and frankly just glad nothing was actively burning a hole between his legs anymore.

    Tagus's words revealed he had a clear objective, and that was a good thing. Had this been some sadistic game the Darth was playing, the odds of him leaving in one piece would be much slimmer. At least this way there was something he could do. A way out. As promised, the Acolyte would offer nothing but brutal honesty to the Mirialan, so he could only hope his story wouldn't end up stepping on the Darth's toes somehow, and that the near-human would make good on his threats.

    "There are a few reasons why I acted the way that I did. The first is that the assignment was resolved by in large as a result of the actions of an orphaned teenager, living in the streets of Nar Shaddaa. Though the boy has no idea of how much he accomplished, I felt the Empire would not take kindly to an outsider interfering in its business, and so decided to take him out of it." A pause. This was the gospel truth. There were a few details left out, that he'd need to resolve that factor quickly. "The remaining reasons will, I believe, be made clear along with the facts of the matter."

    Here, Callum considered whether or not to point out the fact that he'd never lied outright to the Empire - as that would be simply asking for punishment - but ultimately decided against it. Tagus did not feel like the type who would care about the difference between lying to someone, and presenting a set of facts knowing it would lead to a mistaken conclusion.

    "I will say, though. It is a rather long story." - Callum chose to mention, allowing the man holding all the cards to decide whether to receive an abridged, unedited version, or the whole thing.

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  6. Darth Tagus

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    Ha.

    Point taken - amusing.

    Tagus clenched his fist around Callum's lightsaber, now in his hand, as he eyed the acolyte severely. He was the kind of man who did everything severely but even so he doubted that Callum was suffering under any delusions about just how Tagus was feeling as he sat across from him. He narrowed his eyes at the young man and considered punishing him for what he had heard so far but he refrained for now.

    Callum would likely clam up and refuse to tell him the whole truth if he shocked him with Force lightning for even the first element of the truth. Instead he just looked expectantly at Callum.

    There were no words said but the message was as loud and as clear as if Tagus had shouted it into the young man's face.

    Continue.



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  7. Callum Attar

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    It truly wouldn't be easy to deal with this guy, would it? The Mirialan didn't even try to offer so much as a word. Instead it was just gloom, darkness, and more gloom. And evidently the Darth truly didn't want the abridged version, it seemed, which meant every nook and cranny of this story would have to be laid bare... Honestly, the Coruscantian had thought the words things aren't looking good so many times by now he was growing tired of them. But, what needed to happen would, and then, maybe, at the end, he'd get a chance to leave this place as physically whole as he'd walked in. Mentally, that ship had sailed and he knew it, but there is no such thing as bottom when it comes to these things.

    Another breath, to steel himself, and he was off to the races. Callum knew that the moment the story picked up speed, his usual charisma would take over and things would become easier - unless the Darth chose otherwise, that is - but this first bout of inertia was nerve-wracking, just like everything else.

    "Very well." - he acknowledged the silence as agreement and began - "In my experience, Imperial assignments are straightforward. The How is usually left up to whoever is undertaking it, but the What is always explicit. Go to location A, kill person B. Extract information through torture. Persuade. Intimidate. The list goes on. Imperial Intelligence does its job particularly well, and when assignments are issued, the only thing an operative has to do is execute the instructions. Sadly, every now and again, things slip through the cracks. This, was one such assignment."

    Callum's storytelling instincts were kicking into gear. He'd hoped the Darth, having no doubt run plenty of these assignments in his day, would be able to relate more than he'd dislike the dig at whoever provided the intel to begin with.

    "Januun, the target, resided in Nar Shaddaa, and was reported to having security befitting a mid-level asset of the Clan. Nothing an Acolyte such as myself couldn't handle, so long as I greased a few wheels. Sadly, presumably between the time when the assignment was issued and the instant I picked it up, I'm guessing Mr. Januun cracked under the pressure of acting in secret against the Empire, and significantly upped his security detail. World leaders might not have that level of protection. Armoured buildings and vehicles, a lot of assets from a high-grade security corporation, all of them armed to the teeth with top-of-the-line weaponry. Needless to say, long before I even considered making a move, it was clear I was out of my depth."

    In one fell blow, he'd admitted wrongdoing... Kind of. He'd sort of blamed someone else for his failure, but that didn't change the fact that everything he'd said was the truth, without omitting any fact.

    "It became clear that Intimidation, what I was originally tasked with doing, was impossible to achieve. As a result, it was time to get creative. But, by the point I'd made that decision, I'd gathered quite a lot of intel on Mr. Januun myself, and had even mapped out the location I was originally going to strike in. A high-end, secretive bar in Nar Shaddaa. External security is considerable, but due to how sensitive the information the people within possess is, staff is sparse. This was where I was originally going to hit, and rather ironically, it ended up being the man's undoing."

    "So. I'd decided a direct assault was out of the picture. My next best option was looking at why the Muun had chosen to bare his teeth to begin with. His former Zeltros lover, who now had a child with a member of the Empire..."

    "You could write a reality holonet show with this, I swear..." - the Acolyte muttered under his breath, in visible distaste of the Muun and the memories of the assignment. He'd said it hoping the Darth would hear in no small part to try and earn some sympathy points, but also because of how truly ridiculous the situation was, and the headaches it'd caused him.

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  8. Darth Tagus

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    Tagus noticed the way that Callum paused for a breath to begin with and prepared himself. He prepared himself to punish Callum if what came out of his mouth next was another pathetic excuse for a lie. And he also prepared himself to endure the long version of what had actually happened if Callum decided not to insult him again by lying to his face.

    Callum might not see it that way exactly but that wasn't important; Tagus was the one with the power in this situation and he thought that lying, by omission or otherwise, was a blatant show of disrespect towards himself from the young Sith human.

    He rested his chin atop his steepled hands as he listened.

    And listened.

    Throughout the long version of the truth, Tagus said absolutely nothing to Callum. He didn't so much as twitch or shift in place. Instead he sat entirely still as his eyes bored into and through the human Sith.

    "You wouldn't attract high enough ratings with the Pilot episode." Tagus quipped, "Not enough sex and violence within the first hour of the first season dooms your show."

    He got bored during hyperspace and watched holonet shows.

    He leaned back in his seat slightly.

    "You can continue but I can see, somewhat, where this is going." he tilted his head to the side, "What leverage did you exploit?"


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  9. Callum Attar

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    An eyebrow rose at the Darth matter-of-factly letting slip some strangely pointed commentary about reality holonet programming. This very much felt like territory he should not tread on, and so the man decided to promptly ignore it, lest his lightsabre find perch between his legs again.

    "I thought I'd seen it myself. But unfortunately, the intelligence I received assured me that this Zeltros woman now lived within Imperial space and their relationship had ended. I could've tried to hold some ghost of a former relationship over the man's head, but in all honesty I doubted the Clan would care." - a pause, as he tried to figure out how to make this story interesting. This whole being wholly truthful thing was far too limiting. It didn't agree with the man.

    "So, for a while I was stumped. Then I met the kid I mentioned earlier. A street urchin, living on the streets or Nar Shaddaa, who had managed to curry some favour with the owner of this secure bar I mentioned, and on occasion roamed its halls, where he was supplied with food and sent back out onto the streets. I suppose this owner felt the teenager was far too young and uneducated to understand anything that had been discussed, and when I approached him for information I wasn't surprised to find others had, before. I asked about a lot of people, to hide my intent, and the kid had a lot to say. Sadly, there didn't seem to be anything I could actually use. Until, that was, that he told me our little Banker was cheating on his wife. Information I thought I knew, except the boy described a Twi'lek mistress... Yes, sadly, Mok Januun had had both a Zeltron mistress and a Twi'lek one, simultaneously. I genuinely hadn't thought it possible to stereotype 'exotic', but here we are." - once more, a twinge of annoyance crept up on the man's face. This soap opera garbage he'd landed face first into was painful to even recall.

    "Evidently, this boy had developed a bit of a crush on said Twi'lek. Puppy love, as it were. Now, if our banker had found himself a new mistress, then the previous relationship wouldn't amount to much. I suspect he was challenging the Empire out of Pride or Spite, but that doesn't really matter. I'd lost any leverage I had on him. But I had found plenty of leverage on her. As well as a little orphan birdie to deliver my messages for me."

    "The Zeltros woman's child was mysteriously placed into a mid-level Imperial school, and effectively turned her into a citizen of the Empire. All she had to do was account for her life before she joined the Empire in a recorded interview. Which she did. In graphic detail." - The implications were there, as was this notion that he'd learned things he never wished he knew.

    "And before long, I had a woman scorned and a pure, orphaned soul convinced he was going to save this Twi'lek from a terrible man's grasp. This Twi'lek girl... I forget her name. She'd apparently been seeing the Muun for quite a while. Long enough to know where the bodies were buried. Before long, she'd gotten me proof. Hell hath no fury, as it were." - Darth Tagus was a smart man. He'd fill in the blanks just fine.

    "It seemed that in his paranoia about possible repercussions from the Empire, this individual had been embezzling from the Clan, to pay for the very unholy amounts of private security that deterred me from a direct approach. Embezzlement, the IGBC is not as likely to forgive." - by now, the Acolyte was a little out of breath. His charm had failed him, and really, all he wanted now was to finish the story as quickly as he possibly could.

    "So that was that. I ended up bringing the orphaned child to an Imperial Agent training facility, figuring anyone who managed to weasel their way into a location like this Nar Shaddaa bar probably had talents worth cultivating. I allowed him to bring the Twi'lek woman with him. He's still taken with her, and her being in our grasp is yet another thing we get to hold over the Muun's head. I figure by the time his training's done, they'll ask him to kill her. At which point I can either entice him with the promise of more adventure, or wave my hand and have her live. Either way, the Empire gets one more loyal soldier, and one less banker causing trouble."

    "The Empire's assignment was completed, the Muun has seen the error of his ways, his Zeltros and Twi'lek lovers are now living comfortably under the Empire's wing, and a street urchin now has food on his plate, and is looking at full-time, paid employment for the rest of his days. Everybody wins, except for me. These were weeks of my life I'll never get back." - the last part was all but mumbled. A sigh of exasperation followed. Any semblance of facade had faded away. Callum was tired, and upset at this promised truth. He hadn't done it in so long he'd forgotten how bad he was with it. Right now, all he wanted was to finally be able to put this past him.

    "Januun will be making an announcement to the Clan that is in accordance with Imperial specifications tomorrow. I have been cordially invited to the interview, via holonet, as a representative of the Empire. If you were to appear as well, Lord Tagus, this little goblin would be even less inclined to try something stupid in the future." - and I wouldn't have to waste more of my time, the Acolyte wanted to say, ultimately choosing not to.

    The story had been told, in all its pathetic glory. Now came the moment of truth.

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  10. Darth Tagus

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    Tagus reached into the draw of the desk.

    His hand passed straight over the blaster that was kept there and instead he withdraw a small silver box. Placing it on the table, he took the lid off of the box and set it to one side. From within the confines of the box he withdrew two large, expensive, cigaras. He cut them both with the Force with barely a thought before pushing one away from him.

    It rolled to a stop just in front of Callum.

    "Take the cigara." he commanded the young acolyte as he picked up his own, "I want you to do something for me, acolyte. I want you to smell the cigara."

    Odd request but one he was sure would be followed.

    "You can practically taste it's flavour from it's scent alone and you and I both know you can almost feel how expensive it is." he remarked as he ran his own cigara beneath his nose, "One of these cigaras costs as much as three months worth of your salary and I want you to smoke it."

    He lit his own cigara with a brief spark of the Force. Taking a small, luxurious, pull from the cigara, he eyed Callum.

    "Sometimes the work we do is terrible. Sometimes it is exhilarating. More often than not?" he took another pull, "It's boring."

    He gestured outside the room with his cigara.

    "Do you know how many man hours of the Imperial Military's time is spent on paperwork?" He asked with a dismissively wave of his hand, "Day in and day out our people toil under an existence that forces them to do the boring, the mundane, interspersed with spots of terror and rapturous joy. You, acolyte, did something you found dull, boring, by choice. Why? Because it got the job done in the best way possible."

    His lips moved slightly into a small smirk.

    "The fact that it was also the path of least resistance helped that choice I'm sure." he deadpanned before growing serious again, "I'm curious though - will you be taking this kind of approach in the future?"


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  11. Callum Attar

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    Callum Attar was a complicated individual. In a sense, it could be said that the Sith was too smart for his own good. An overwhelmingly arrogant complaint, as was the case with Sith, but at the same time, perhaps, a little more. A Sith among Sith, perhaps The individual's intellect made dealing with the mundane aspects Imperial life feel uninspired and dull. He needed to be challenged. Alas, the very same brain hindered him in these very pursuits. Self-awareness and keen judgement left him much too aware of danger to pursue these challenges under common channels such as warzones, or dangerous assignments.

    This was his plight. He could've done a lot worse, but it never was simple to live with a foot in two worlds. It meant that he could never belong to either. Ironically, perhaps, that is what left him so fit to pursue the Sith ways. He'd walked his own path for as long as he could remember, and the darksiders' endless pursuit of unfettered freedom spoke to him like nothing else ever had.

    But these were not things to be shared. His path was his own, and that is how it would remain.

    --- --- ---​

    As Tagus extended the cigara, the Acolyte did as he was told. It was unfortunate. He hadn't been that far off when he'd read the Darth originally. The Mirialan knew his stuff, and had seamlessly transitioned into a sales-pitch, while still keeping a grasp on both carrot and stick. Callum supposed it made sense. No individual could've made it this far without delving into the political realm, even if Tagus very much felt like he'd much rather not bother with such trivialities most of the time.

    For better and worse, though, the Darth was trying to bullshit a bullshitter. The Coruscantian had promised honesty, and as a result he wouldn't lie, but that didn't mean he had to spell everything out, every time. As a result, when both cigaras were lit, and the vicinity covered in a thin mist, his superior had finally reached the core of the matter. Would he do this again?

    Abso-kriffing-lutely. Like Tagus himself had mentioned, most of their jobs were lifeless sucking black-holes, and the bits that weren't tended to be unreasonably dangerous. So why would any sane man sacrifice their mental and physical well being if they didn't have to? As long as things were done right, and he never got taken for a fool, why would he ever go about it any other way?

    A pause, as the Acolyte carefully considered his words. "I believe every situation requires its own handling, my Lord." - Even if it seemed to clash with this inner monologue that seemed to be Callum's mantra, this was gospel truth. Practicality needed to speak above all else. The path of least resistance wasn't always the better option, even if it did usually feel like the more appealing path. Otherwise, the only thing waiting at the end of the road was unholy amounts of pain. And perhaps a lit lightsabre carving a hole in metal inches away from your privates.

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  12. Darth Tagus

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    Tagus hated politics.

    He hated selling something to someone.

    But one thing he had thrown himself into with full force was, in a word, seduction. Oh nothing so crass as the physical type of seduction that people thought about whenever someone mentioned the word. No, to Tagus seduction was an extension of the Dark Side itself. It was what made every atrocity and every sadistic twist seem oh so utterly reasonable when it was whispered darkly into your ear like poison tipped in slowly.

    He could already see it.

    The Dark Side had it's hooks in Callum so subtly, oh so very softly.

    "Good."

    He flicked his hand and the lightsaber of the young acolyte was flicked by the Force, spinning gracefully into his waiting hand no doubt. Tagus leaned back and let out a puff from his cigara.

    "Is there anything else you would like to admit to me, Acolyte?"


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