Wooded clearing several klicks outside the Jedi Library
Ajan Kloss, Outer Rim Territories
Open to Jedi only
Ky wasn't the type of Jedi to sit on his ass and wait for everything to be decided in a committee. Admittedly, that was one of the reasons why he and the Council didn't always see eye-to-eye. But this time, he had a good reason. Freshly back from his mis-adventures on Mimban, Ky decided it was time to bring more Jedi in on what he and Saul had been doing over the past standard month. Especially given the recent broadcasts over the Hutt HoloNet, there was more of a need for the formation of a cohesive Jedi information network.
To be honest, Ky had not expected much. That was to say, he expected maybe a few wide-eyed Padawans and a few fellow skeptical Knights to show up. But the clearing in woods several kilometers outside the library was full of Jedi of various ranks, specializations, and demeanors. Just as he had told the Council weeks earlier, everyone could sense the growing sickness in the Force; and more than a few of them were concerned about it. This was good. This was very good.
"Thank you all for coming." Ky was leaned back against a thick tree trunk, legs crossed, and arms folded. "I know you must all have questions, but I want to wait and see if any stragglers are coming first. Once we're all together, I'll let you know what this is all about."
So it was no surprise that Max had made his way to the clearing to hear Ky speak. It appeared that news was coming in thick and fast these days and he wanted to make sure that he was there at the front when it arrived. There was nothing worse than the feeling of helplessness that came from arriving too late to actually do anything after all.
As he approached he nodded to his fellow Jedi Knight in greeting before taking a seat on a patch of soft grass. There was nothing to do but wait for the others to arrive - attempting to rush Ky would likely yield no results so he didn't even try.
He just sat and waited, feeling the living beings around them in the Force as he waited.
These commitees were getting out of hand. Yes, it was good to be informed, but Mila couldn't recall having to rush back to Ajan Koss so many times in a single galactic year; though given how quickly things seemed to be unfolding, perhaps it was for the best. There was a storm being brought up throught out the galaxy, and the agents of the Sith were on the move, if the order was too slow to respond, then they risked being out maneuvered. Best be prepared than to be caught unawares.
Perhaps she needed to take more measures as well, clearly her day to day travels were not what the order needed now. It was time for action, the days of adventuring had long since left her after all, though as she sat in this clearing, she could only wonder what news this would bring. Her recent encounters with the Sith had seemed to unnerve members of the order, perhaps the information had not been as forward as it should have been, and the fault of that laid upon her. But there was no time for talks of doubts and what she needed or should have done, now was a time to listen, and plan on the next moves the jedi would make in this intergalactic game of chess.
Each Jedi had a path that the force guided them along, but it was clear that if they were going to rely on the council for guidance it would be little too late--if history was anything to go off of. Oren was strong and ready for a challenge, but most of his focus had been against the Hutts and small time pirates, he never had an interaction with a darksider, everything had been simply teaching, counseling, and small time missions.
Jedi like Ky had dedicated themselves to seeking out the inklings of darkness. The holonet was enough to signal that they needed to be proactive. Oren was prepared, and would begin to train his students for the fact that things were likely not going to be peaceful. It's unfortunate, but it's the fact..we must all be prepared. He found himself sitting among a group of Knights that he recognized, Mila and Maxims, both of them were great knights in their own right and he respected them immensely.
Though new to the Jedi Order, Riz'kacha felt that 'an important meeting open to all Jedi' was something even she should come to. Especially with the growing tensions over their order lighting up various parts of the HoloNet. Surely there was some sort of information here that would help her out in the field. Even if it was as simple as, 'hide your lightsaber, people might attack you,' any preparation was appreciated.
Until then, she sat and waited, looking around the clearing as others came in for familiar faces. She hadn't met many people, true, but she did have a nice little group of acquaintances slowly growing. It was only a matter of time until she had friends.
Among the assembled jedi, Noone Shabar stood quietly in attendance, a perhaps rare sight to behold around temple grounds. Since making the decision to unite with the Jedi Order he had been chasing his senses across the stars, seeking to find cinders of the dark smoldering in some forgotten corner of the galaxy—hopeful that he might snuff them out quickly.
Now, he feared, it might be too late. The Anzati jedi's brow was tense as he watched and waited for Ky to share his findings. The man was an unfamiliar face, but to him many were. Regardless of whether or not Noone felt he could trust the knight's findings, he was patient. He could not deny that he was ready, finally, to face the darkness that haunted him. For now, he would listen.
Among the Jedi that had gathered was the Whiphid, as usual. While he didn't like spending his days on Ajan Kloss, the events that had transpired during the past few months made him realize that it was better to stick around for a while. Staying informed and up to date was important, and it seemed like some of his fellow Knights agreed. The white-haired giant recognized a couple of them. Most notably the middle-aged Knight who had been present during the last gathering, Oren and Mila, who stood next to him. But the majority of the Jedi present? He didn't know them yet. But the amount of Knights and Padawans present renewed his faith in the Order. This briefing was to be taken serious, and he was glad to see that so many of his fellow Jedi agreed.
With his arms folded, he patiently waited for the briefing to commence.
Having intel on what was going on was key; ever since the first public accusation to the Jedi, she had been keen to understand what exactly had happened; she kept her gait light and easy as she stepped into the clearing, spotting a few familiar faces... and finding relief at their presence. Seems she wasn't the only one seeking answers. Giving a warm nod and smile to her Master and a wink to Oren, she paced over to sit comfortably in the shade of a tree, arms crossed.
There was a time for being social... and a time for answers. And she needed those answers, not only to satiate her curiosity, but to find a way to assist her new alliance in what ways she could.
Walking through the forests on Ajan Kloss was always a delight. Somehow the temperature of the woods near the temples borders always seemed to be in perfect weather, at he felt so anyhow. Though today he had to admit he was tinged with nerves as he made his way to the clearing Ky had chosen. Their investigation into the growing darkness had been growing more and more fruitful in the past weeks, and Ky was right when he decided to share what they knew with their peers.
It was for that reason Saul thought it important he was here today. Undoubtedly there would be questions, answers, planning, and the possibility of turning this into something with real weight.
And they would need that, Saul had no doubt at this point. It was no longer seeming as simple as a set of Darksiders deciding to have shown their face once more. There was a purpose to it, one they had to discover before it was too late.
Arriving at the clearing Saul spotted a number of familiar faces within the crowd, giving them a nod as his demeanor became more serious as he found his way to Ky's side, the cybernetic's on his legs thumping against the ground,
The next one up to slip through the tree line was Ke Eoto, the Blood Carver padawan. He slipped into the clearing from behind a tree in smooth graceful movements, making almost no sound as he strode on his elongated, skeletal limbs. The insectoid alien still wore his tan and brown tunic and robes, as well as wraps over his large feet and hands adorned with thing, long fingers. The rustling of his clothing was the only sound that betrayed his arrival as he approached on silent footsteps.
He uttered no greeting as he came to join the circle of Jedi gathering for a second moot in such quick succession, scanning his pale-blue inhuman eyes over the other knights and padawans gathered and offering a nod of his elongated vibrantly-golden head to anyone who met his gaze. In particular, he would dip a slight bow to Kraud, should the Whiphid meet the Blood Carver's eyes. Although the chitinous plates that composed his head and beaked snout did not move or betray any easily discernible expression, he was glad to see another alien Jedi in an order that felt populated primarily by humans or near-humans.
Either way, the insectoid's attention turned towards Ky as he waited for the discussion or announcement to start.
As much as she loved the temple and longed for the library, there was something natural and spiritual about gathering together in the forest clearing; Jedi standing beside one another, surrounded by wooden sentries and the sounds of the trees all around them and what was within, but soon the noise would be dominated by one man’s voice who the others had come to hear and heed.
Vayla followed Ke Eoto as he entered the glade, the two presenting themselves as master and apprentice, though in a way that meant little and less amid their brethren. Everyone present was a Padawan or a Knight, but all were simply Jedi—simply individuals who had questions and needed answers, no matter how many meets or moots it might take to acquire them.
There wasn’t a great deal that Vayla knew about Ky Maryk but if he had information that the others lacked, including herself, then he had done a good deed by inviting the members of his order to join him and be privy to whatever this was all about. Vayla waited patiently for him to begin, and the more souls who stood beside her, the better. It was Ke Eoto who was closest, standing at her side as she lifted a vacuum flask to her lips, letting hot tea soothe her body and her mind.
Ky sighed. He had waited long enough. If any stragglers came now, it would be up to the rest of those gathered to fill them in. He unfolded himself from against the tree and paced forward until he was clear and visible to all. Then, he reached into his pocket, retrieved a palm-sized holoprojector, and tossed it onto the ground between him and the other Jedi. A hologram sprang to life from the disc showing a man spinning a red lightsaber about. Those who kept up with the news would know that it was a recording of the HoloNet broadcast Durr the Hutt had transmitted throughout the Outer Rim barely a standard week earlier.
The hologram looped several times before Ky strolled around in front of the recording, hard eyes scanning the crowd. "Darkness rises," he said, deep voice booming in the clearing. "And Light to meet it. That is the task that falls before us today, brothers and sisters. But this?" He pointed a thumb at the looping hologram behind him. "This is just the latest. For approximately a month now, we have all felt something stirring in the Force. Some of us have expressed it, while others choose to believe it is a passing blip. An anomaly in the Force. I submit to you that it—" He turned and toed the projector with the point of his boot "—is not."
The image changed as Ky stepped to the side and out of the way. The hologram now displayed, in full color, the remains of a village. It would not be hard to see the still-rotting corpses in the village. The hologram recreated the scene with such vivid detail that those who squinted would be able to see the vibro-weapon-caused lacerations on the corpses of some... and the lightsaber wounds in others.
And then the image shifted yet again. This time to several facilities on a different world. Clearly, this was security footage. It showed two ships—a strange TIE fighter design and an unknown snubfighter—going up against sector security Y-wings. The snubfighter was quickly reduced to a ball of burning metal, while the TIE fighter knifed through the Y-wing formation and escaped. And there the footage ended.
"The Dark Lords of the Sith died on Exegol over a century ago, but the dark side of the Force did not," Ky went on. "The first image I showed you was a village I investigated on the words of our own Saul Devan—" He gestured to the man still standing beside his tree "—on a planet called Mimban. The village, and Saul, were attacked by a masked man calling himself a 'Knight of Ren.' All of the villagers were murdered. Using my psychometric powers, I..." He steadied himself and took a shaky breath. "I saw their murders. Some were killed by red lightsaber, while others were killed by vibro-blade."
"The second image depicts an attack by several masked individuals fitting the same M.O. as the Knight on Mimban. Only, this time, they were attacking critical food distribution centers on the ever-important agri-world of Ukio. Saul has just returned from there with this footage and the black boxes of the destroyed fighter you see in it, and our old friend Yoddle has elected to remain behind to help the Ukians with their investigation of the incident." He paused, having realized he was pacing, and folded his arms. "I do not know if Durr the Hutt encountered a Knight of Ren or something else. But the frequency of these attacks, and the similar methods used in them—mass-slaughter and terror, namely—suggest that these Dark Jedi may be in league with each other and are growing more brazen with each appearance."
"It is critical we uncover the truth behind these attacks. But, before I unveil my proposition, I know many of you must be burning with questions." He spread his arms in supplication. "I cannot promise answers to them all, but I will try."
Well, he was almost certainly late to the party. He'd taken a hot minute getting functional today, and had insisted on going through his daily training routines before anything else. On the plus side, he was decently dressed at least, his helmet standing in fairly stark contrast to the colors of everything else. He wouldn't be absent for long, considering the speed his swoop could hit, moving from the temple to the meeting area in around half a minute, the rumbling engine more than likely announcing his arrival before he could be seen. He slowed on his approach, swinging to a stop a small distance from the others, his droid Ego swaying melodramatically and clinging to the back of his jacket. The helmet was slipped off and placed on the bike's chassis, quickly replaced with a smoothly lit cigarra as he hopped out of the seat, disengaging full engine power so the bike fell silent and floated in place.
Hannibal had arrived somewhere around the words "stirring in the Force", casually slipping his earbuds from their place in his ears and moving booted feet to stand boldly close to Nashyr, leaning against the same tree but not sitting, smelling of caf and smoke. He didn't speak, just listened to the remainder of Ky's explanations, eyes locked more on the holograms than the man speaking. His expression was the usual passive smirk, cocky and selfsure, though anyone who knew him might be able to notice it was curiously frozen in place.
When the time came for questions, Hannibal straightened and left the lazy comfort of the tree, raising a hand. "I do, in fact!", the young man announced loudly and cheerfully, grin widening on his face, in an attempt to draw attention in his direction with the usual brashness. He didn't have a question about the contents of what the other Knight had just covered, per say, but since when was Hannibal one to care about minor details like contextual relevance? With a noir-ish air resembling an old timey announcer he asked, "Has anyone seen this man?", his non raised hand producing a holoprojector mid-sentence and activating. A half-sized image of a robed and masked figure was produced from it in, a reconstructed holoform wielding an older style blue lightsaber, along with the label 'Masky Mcbombsalot' tacked on above the figure's head. "Above average height, creepy vibes, has a thing for blowing up spice dens? Seems like it might be related to what you've found." Alongside the previously mentioned characteristics, which were noted to the side of the figure, was that the robes and mask had been identified as originally belonging to pre-Empire Jedi temple guards.
Unserious demeanour aside, he did seem to be taking the situation seriously enough, having put together this bit of information while other data compiled back on his ship. He had been planning on more aggressively investigating the masked fellow as is, so when he'd heard about a gathering it felt like a decent chance to recruit a partner or two and see what else was being planned. Honestly, the fact he was stopping by the temple as often as he was these days should be taken as a sign of recent events being serious enough to affect him. Ordinarily, getting him here was like pulling a rancor's teeth. "I've encountered him twice on Nar Shaddaa, both times causing trouble for Syndicate-controlled assets in the guise of a Jedi of some kind.", he elaborated briefly, planting the projector atop Ego's head, the droid moving helpfully forward and down so the image was more or less at average eye level.
Her stomach dropped, hearing it. Her old home could still be a bit of a sore spot... and seeing what Ky had to show them made her stomach turn to lead. She gritted her teeth, leaning forwards to stare at the figure before them... and felt herself start to slip. Her hands shook for a moment, and she clenched them in her lap, willing the sickened feeling of dread in her stomach away, and the anger. So many helpless people in that village holovid... it staggered her.
She took a breath... and ears flicked at the sound of a distant swoop bike. She briefly glanced at Hannibal... then blinked when he stood next to him, surprised. Why was he so close all of a sudden? She shifted back slightly, getting a better look at the holo image, committing it to memory. She wanted to help... but didn't quite know where to start.
"Nar Shaddaa was once my home turf." She spoke quietly, willing herself to keep calm. "What else do we know of these... Knights of Ren? Aside from that they know to use us, our image for their actions, and that they are apparently agents of Darkness." Her gaze panned from Hannibal back to Ky, features set.
"And how can I help? I may have some connections... Will we be going in teams to hunt this information down?"
Oren listened to Ky speak, mentioning the various devastation that occurred across the galaxy from those that called themselves the Ren. His eyes also shifted over to Saul, who's body had been outfitted after the harrowing damage he suffered on Ifrane, he hadn't seen him since, and seeing his condition only left the knight wounded. I'm sorry.. He thought quietly to himself.
He thought back to what Mila had stated, about her encounter on Mustafar. Everything she described about those encounters did not strike him as someone who operated under the guidance of Ren. They seemed interested in their own self interest and power, something that he knew the followers of Ren cared little for.
His eyes shifted towards Hannibal, who stood somewhat close to Nash, a curious brow raised, as his eyes scanned over the masked man and robes. He felt that the Ren would care little for framing the Jedi, maybe if the force willed it.. He would turn his head away with a sigh as he rubbed his face with his burnt hand.
"Let's let Ky speak of his proposition before we dive into specifics of a case." He'd suggest to the crowd.
Riz'kacha watched the various holograms as the various members of the order spoke, doing her best to commit the atrocities to memory. This wasn't the work of the Jedi, that was for sure. At least not one associated with the order. Something was off. Clearly, the rising light was casting a shadow, and hiding in that shadow were the dark side practitioners that caused these horrors. Not to mention that they were blaming the Jedi for it. To her mind, she figured that they were attempting to pit others against the Jedi. To frame them for actions they did not commit and to aggravate other forces in the galaxy to prosecute them. Such were the ways of the Sith.
Though the purple-skinned Twi'lek apprentice undoubtedly had questions, she was content to wait until others had asked theirs first. Some of what she wanted to know was already asked. Riz'kacha wanted to help, but it wasn't as though this information session would just be for information. At least, she hoped so. Hopefully there was a call to action as well. For both her and the other members of the Order. Something they could do to prevent the Sith from triumph. Such was the way of the Jedi.
Mila looked about, wondering if anyone else in the order had encountered these darksiders before. She had her fair share of run ins to be sure, but given this was to catch other members of the order up on the matter, she held off on sharing her tale. Whoever these 'Knights of Ren' were, they should not be taken lightly. Hannibal seemed to pipe up now, seeking to know a man that he was seeking out, perhaps related to these 'Knights of Ren', perhaps not. His questions would have to be delayed however, as before Mila could advise delaying such talk until later, Oren had said what she had planned to say.
It did concern her with how interested many in the order were with this matter, as was she in all honesty, but a small part of her wondered if this was the part of some plan; was this merely a rouse to trick jedi into a trap? That was a possibility, though could very well be her superstition getting the best of her. She thought back to Mustafar, and all she had was the name of one man; Edwast. Least that was what his companion called him, but she had no clue if that man was dead, same with the rest of those Sith she had seen with her. She raised her hand slowly, as she had a burning question that needed to be answered, but it most likely was an unknown; after all, they didn't even know who these men were. "Do we know if this is a coordinated effort on some part, or merely isolated incidents carried out by one man?" Seeing the group on Mustafar suggested a coordinated effort, and this strike on the Hutt, something in her gut just told her there was more at play, more to the mystery unfolding before their eyes; she just wanted to know what it was. @Malon
The Blood Carver stayed quiet still, even as his pale blue eyes scanned over the holographic projections of various scenes and evidence other Jedi submitted for their scrutiny. He found it easy to keep his emotions in check while witnessing the visages of atrocities and hostile figures, perhaps too easy than it was appropriate for a Jedi. Then again, it might have had a greater impact on him if he saw these things in person. For now, the images of red alien blood, so different from the golden yellow and orange hues a Blood Carver would bleed, and the fleshy twisted bodies instead of cracked and splintered chitin, did little to stir chaos within him.
So he stood there in silence, listening to the viewpoints and contributions of other, nodding from time to time as he considered each word in peace and serenity, judging their reasoning keen scrutiny true to a Blood Carver, carefully seeking out flaws. He did not say anything yet or raise any questions, like Oren, he wished to hear the plan proposed by Ky first before saying his piece and passing his judgement.
Ky has outlined all the worries that had been building in his mind, and the evidence they had gathered in their searches so far. Until he had analysed the back box from Ukio, there was little more to add. Perhaps other Jedi had encountered similar experiences, now was the time to share it then.
As some questions began to be voiced by the crowd, he moved forward to join in. He himself didn’t have any, until Ky voiced his plans anyhow. And even then, he thought he had some idea of what his suggestion might be, the two of them seemed to float on a similar wavelength in this situation.
In regard to Mila’s question, Saul spoke up,
Skkk-bhrk, his rebreather wheezed as he raised his voice up to respond,
“We know a Ukio was coordinated, there were a set of simultaneous across the planet. Those we believe were all the work of the Knights of Ren” he replied, though he knew that wasn’t all she asked about,
“But these other events, Nar Shaddaa especially, do not act as the Knights are expected to. The Knights are keen to let the galaxy know who they are, while these others want to remain anonymous” Sauls mind ticked over, two there were at work in the galaxy. He hoped in short order the Knights would be confirmed, and perhaps that would lead to more,
“For the time being it seems there is another group out there. If there are other leads any of you have experienced, it’s best all are aware. Perhaps there are links we have not recognised” he finished with a look around those assembled before giving a nod to Ky. He hoped he had not changed the focus away from the plan,
“Though we can coordinate such information afterwards”
Ky could sense the crowd of Jedi becoming antsy and was thankful to Oren for redirecting Nashyr's question. Saul's helpful addition saved him the trouble of having to go over what they had learned so far from the Ukio data and move on to other subjects.
"I cannot say definitively that the incidents on Ukio and Mimban are connected to the strange events on Nar Shaddaa. But I know this." He held up a finger. "This is not a one man operation. Early estimates out of Ukio suggests at least four perpetrators. Mimban makes five. Assuming the masked man on Nar Shaddaa isn't one of them, that makes at least six. But there's more." Ky inhaled and turn the holoprojector back to the image of the village on Mimban. "The perpetrator on Mimban switched from a lightsaber to a vibro-weapon once he could be seen. This suggests that some of these 'Dark Jedi' prefer to hide in plain sight, while others—" Now he was back to the Nar Shaddaa footage "—masquerade as Jedi. In other words, they are deceivers who blend in with the general population until they are ready to strike."
"That said, here is my proposal: Go out into the galaxy. Foster good relationships with local communities. Work together with the Sector Rangers in the Free Worlds' Alliance, if you can. A Jedi derives his strength from the Force and the trust he or she is able to foster with the people they serve." He held up a second finger. "Secondly, be vigilant. Keep your eyes and ears peeled. If you hear whispers matching these descriptions—" He gestured again to the holograms "—or you encounter one of them yourself, report your findings directly to me."
Here, he reached into his utility belt and pulled out a small pouch of datacards, which he tossed to the nearest Jedi to pass around to the others. "Those datacards have on them a special comm frequency I have set up to allow you to contact me directly and report any findings you make. Codename: 'Fulcrum.' Once you have reported your findings to me, I will compile the information to make our investigations into these matters easier, with the hopes of stopping whatever is happening out there before more people can be hurt. I will also pass around any information that comes to me via that channel to ensure we are all up-to-date." Ky again folded his arms. "This information network depends on your discretion and your vigilance. Don't drop your guard, and call for help if you need it. I fear we are headed for dark times, my friends. Be safe out there. And may the Force be with you all."
His piece said, Ky glanced at Oren and nodded his head. "Alright, now I will take any additional questions. If you have none, you are free to leave."