The planet of Bal'demnic was an ironic planet. It was beautiful when the storms were calm and when observed from a distance. But it was a harsh and unforgiving planet with more dangers than one thought possible. That was why Malakai liked it so much.
The helmeted and hooded head of the Grysk moved out of the wind swept rain and into the abode of Melkor. A black gloved hand waved in front of him to open doors. Tthe noise of the climate began to lessen the deeper he went. It's original owner was gone but the building would not go to waste.
Cuga Ren, he had decided on a name, looked around and began lighting the seemingly abandoned building. He had reached out to those who had previously met on Phaeda. He was not sure if any would come but the weak tended to shirk from change. The facilities were still operational but humble compared to other places the dark sider had ventured. It would do just fine.
It was believed to be a place of worship for another cult which was probably why its previous owner had taken a liking to it to begin with. The lights of the building were not brought to full brightness. The new leader of the Knights of Ren felt more comfortable in partial shadow. He felt closer to The Shadow. that way even when the previously notable dark side presence had dissipated over time.
Malakai looked over the service droid that was in its charging station before adjusting settings and afixing a new restraining bolt. Brightening up its photoreceptors it looked around. Its robotic face stared at him for a moment before the man spoke. "Prepare for guests." The droid looked down, noticing the new restraining bolt for a moment but otherwise silently complied. It would head to the kitchen and begin preparing some food and drink.
The lone legionnaire came to stop back on the first floor of the building after checking out the rest of the fortress. He pulled back the hood, causing rivulets of the previous rain to drop on the stone ground beneath him. He moved to the far side of the room and sat down cross legged with his vibro sword laying on the ground before him between him and the door. Cuga Ren sat, patiently waiting with an unblinking helmet slightly tilted forward, focusing on his weapon of destruction and slaughter until the others arrived.
The black and grey dagger tips of the Tie Elder pierced out from the thundering clouds the hung over the old temple. Trailing the craft was the distinct sound made by the ion engines. The starfighter flew directly down from the clouds until it was within gun rage of the old temple. Then it circled the temple and old tower once, before hovering where the old bridge met the steps on the ebony spike that jetted out from the rocks and ocean below.
"BG-66, after I land; taking the ship back into the clouds and wait for my signal. If I do not signal within a few hours, return to the apprentice" a cold robotic scrambled voice commanded. The droid beeping in droid speak to confirm.
The front eyeball like canopy of the ship would open suddenly then. Without a moment's hesitation, A black and silver figure fell from the pilot seat, flipped once and landed on the steps with minor aid from the shadow. The warn silver helmet would look upward to watch the ship turn on a credit and then ascend back into the clouds as he had instructed.
Balal Ren, as he choose to be named. looked up to the doors of the tower and he walked up the stairs. In a past life he had walked these very steps as a youngling. After the old Muun had found him on the steps of the temple. The shadow placed this fortress before, and had done so again now. Reaching the top of the steps the knight waved his hand in a dismissive manner to open the massive old door.
Walking past the entryway and into the main room of the first floor the Balal looked around. Un-surprised by the empty seats that circled the center of the space. At the far side of which sat the of yet unknown knight. Balal had not been among the first who gathered that forceful night, but it changed nothing. He served The Ren, and answered the call.
"Are we all that is left?" he asked his fellow knight.
As he had meditated in the relative darkness he could feel a draw from the planet. There was a sensation of great power, a place of darkness that shared the planet with Fortress Infernum. The desire to find the source of this calling rose in Cuga Ren until he felt the presence of a new arrival. He stopped pursuing the bekoning shadow for a moment and focused on the approaching Knight of Ren.
The covered Grysk did not move from his spot even as the doors opened. A flash of lightening back lit the new and seemingly only other Knight of Ren. The room was fully lit for a moment by the crackling light of the storm outside. but quickly returned to the ariticial light of he building's interior.
The voice of Kuga Ren was changed slightly by the voice scrambler though still understandable. "So it would seem." His head looked around at the obviously empty room. Always at least two He thought to himself. There were plenty of dark siders in the galaxy but historically the Sith had a rule of two. It was a rule that had not been kept and one that the disguised Malakai did not care about reviving. But it did make him think back to his days in training and the lessons of old that had been learned one way or another.
Holding out his right hand, palm facing the floor, he pulled the vibrosword up from the ground and into his palm before resheathing it. With his meditation over they could begin. "What should I call you?" He had not met the Knight of Ren before him. He was tall, strong, and he could sense conviction within him. "I am the new leader of the Knights of Ren. Cuga Ren." Rising from his meditative stance he looked at the T visor of Sin's helmet. He wondered if he was actually a Mandalorian or just wearing their armor. Of all places to meet one it somewhat made sense that he would be drawn to the shadow given that so many of those belonging to the warrior culture were in hiding.
Rowa had landed his courrier a little ways from the fortress, making his way into the inner workings of the stronghold to meet the one who invited him into the Knights . While he was not a fan of their stance of the non-use of Lightsabers he understood the reasoning behind it. He stood before the doors, the rain howling like a madman was countered by the deafening explosions of lightning. Rowa could feel the pull of the darkness from within here. He took a cold breath before stepping forward, the doors creaking open to reveal the interior of the fortress. It was light and dry, and that was about it for such a spartan Monastary of the Dark Side. He entered, his soaked blastweave cloak covering his blackened armor. His helmet gave no emotion save for the scrambled voice that breathed through his helmet. Rowa looked around, noticing two more beings there and made his way towards them.
"Are you two the only ones here?" he asked, his distorted voice asked. @Darasuum
The Echani cultist stood his ground. Unwavering, not unlike a statue for the moment. He really didn't know what to expect. Since their formation each individual was nomadic and left to their own goals. In was only recently that he himself was aware of the Muun's passing. The guardian who showed found him, and showed him the truth path of the force. But this. Just two of them?
He pondered that for a fleeting moment as the only other knight rose and retrieved his weapon. Asking his name. "Balal Ren." He answered plainly. Just as the other man then claimed the title of leader of their little army of two. The Echani cocked his head in question for a brief moment, before just as quickly correcting. "A title taken? Unlikely to be bestowed on you." He replied. Truthfully it didn't matter to Balal. He choose to be a knight for it's philosophy and beliefs of how the dark side, the shadow, should be. He had no care of concern for titles or ranks.
Balal would of continued, but he could feel the presents of another. Finally, he thought. Turning his back to the wall of see the other knight approaching. Seeing a humanoid in full armor. Odd for a force user like they all were, but the Echani said nothing. "So it would seem" he replied to the new knight. Likely in unison with Cuga.
Somewhere outside the rain-soaked temple a Blackfin blastboat landed with little ceremony, a large figure ducking his way out of the crew entrance and striding its way down the ramp. Shor made his way to the entrance of the temple just behind the one in heavy-looking armor, eyeing them up as he moved. The wookiee was armored himself, his fur entirely covered in some fabric or leather, his head concealed behind a creepy-looking helm. It lacked the smooth lines and modern-ness of the others inside the temple, but for Shor that worked just fine. On his left hip sat a particularly large vibrosword, wickedly curved and of sturdy construction, having been designed to mimic the traditional Ryyk blade of his people, a two-handed weapon in the hands of smaller species.
With thumping footfalls and long strides he entered the temple, slipping in on the coattails of peeling thunder, roughly closing the doors behind him. He looked around briefly, hidden eyes sweeping across the others in the room. All clearly other darksiders, none of which smelled familiar. Rain dropping off his oiled cloak he stepped forward, the sound of which was much louder in the relative quiet away from the storm, interrupted only by the distant crack of lightning. He planted himself near the other two, starkly contrasting the difference in size. The grinning mask on his face turned slowly, gaze moving to the elaborately masked individual facing the rest of them. A synthetic, distorted baritone thrust outwards from his face, a result of the translator inside the mask muffling his Shyriiwook and replacing it with one of the presets in Basic, devoid of emotion.
"I am here. What do you need of me?", he asked simply, awaiting an answer, the voice in the mask doing little justice to the seething desire to sink his claws into something simmering beneath the surface. Beyond all else, Shor was here to begin a hunt.
"Yeah, duh." He said in response to Balal's statement. His head looked towards the direction of a new arrival. His helmet cast in the side light of another crackling arc of lighting in the distance. The door opened smoothly at first and then the figure of an armored man revealed itself though it was quickly replaced with the figure of an obvious wookiee though he too was masked.
"Well I guess THAT answers THAT. Ha, welcome, all of you." An amused tone came forth from his own altered voice. A gloved hand raised and Cuga Ren moved towards the chairs. The Wookiee was already headed towards them and with this many arriving he felt they could begin.
He took the seat facing the entrance and waited for the others as well. Of course they were welcome to stand. Just so long as he could see each of them. He wanted to study those that would be under his leadership. "As I had just informed Balal Ren..." He gestured a hand in the direction of the knight that he introduced. "I am Cuga Ren. I may have met some of you without the mask under a different name but here...with this...." He pointed his unique symbol of anonymity, his mask. It was a trait shared with the others that occupied the room now. "I am the new leader of the Knights of Ren." The disguised Grysk looked at each of them before leaning back slightly. "Who's next for introductions. Let's get to know one another." Intentionally he made sure the mischievous tone could be heard through the voice changer. It felt like he had to over act or else it was all buzz buzz and reverb.
Rowa took a seat among the other Sith Cultists, his mask unyielding to what his emotions displayed. His curious mind however was pondering to the wookiee. It was both amusing and interesting that such a creature would use a translator instead of speaking in his own language. However, it was not for him to judge, just to obey.
"Rowa" he spoke again, looking over to Cuga Ren, "Rowa...Ren?" He said with a genuine hint of confusion, "Forgive me, I was only granted that name 'Rowa' so it is a rather new situation I find myself in." He stated as he recalled it was the only name Xerxes ever gave him. No surname, not even a nickname...just Rowa.
Shor chose to remain standing, having spent the entire flight to this temple sitting in a chair. He listened to Cuga Ren's little introductory speech, his own mask turning to briefly look at Balal Ren, then to Rowa when he introduced himself. Hard meat seemed bemused at how names work. Shor turned back to to the one at the table, the new head of the Knights of Ren, and bowed his head very, very slightly. "Khan Ren." He introduce himself simply and with little fanfare, electronic mimicry of a proper voice rumbling out once more. Something about the leader's tone through the voice scrambling was unserious, as far as Basic went, but he paid it little mind. Some meat quirk, probably.
Balal felt the hairs on his back raise and the cold chill of anger flooded his veins. This new leader boldly confirmed his ascension with a simply 'duh'. The carelessness of it burned in him. It was never confirmed for the Echani that the man who found him was the leader of this movement, but the Muun always seemed to have his hands in most workings of the cult. It was a loyalty that Sin or rather Balal never knew he had for the old guardian.
He quickly burned that feeling away. Sooner or later it would be his time, for that was the ren, the force. Balal ignored the rest up till the point that Cuga then gestured for them to all gather in the center, and face one another. Like the giant harry beast, Balal chose to stand. As he to hand spent the better part of a day sitting in the cockpit of a Tie to get here.
The the others introduced themselves he looked to each one. Sizing them up. Knowing one day he would likely fight beside each of them. Like his own apprentice, he could feel the nervousness and doubt rolling off this Rowa. The Echani did not sense weakness, more a lack of confidence in action, as the mask man apologized. Nest was the furry beast. Nothing about him was apologetic nor concerned with the name sake. In fact it seemed he came up with the name at random, if the robotic tone in the translator was understood correctly by the Echani.
"Balal Ren." The last of them finally chimed in. His own scrambler giving a tone not unlike the famed Kylo Ren. Distorted with a deep base. Not unlike his own voice, but with a volume in it that sounded like it should come out of the Wookiee rather then the Echani.
The first introduction caused the dark-lit warrior to smile underneath his helmet. Rowa either did not comprehend the purpose of having an alternative identity. But maybe that just showed how direct his thinking one. Simplicity of mind and purpose did not mean weakness. Maybe he did not need an different name. With the mask or without it he would be Rowa Ren. Malakai just shrugged like it was no big deal.
The tall Wookiee, He's probably average...maybe? introduced himself Rowa. There was something about the Wookiee. Almost like his actions and presence made him want to avert his eyes like an irritating pattern on an airspeeder or some kind of odd contrast. Cuga Ren looked into the shadows, a space between Balal and Khan. Underneath his eyes gave a knowing look at something that wasn't really there. Maybe the Wookiees presence was abrasive as his translator.
Lastly there was the man that the disguised Grysk had introduced already. He reintroduced himself but it was not difficult that he had a personal attachment of some sort that was tethering him here. It could be the place the Knights of Ren inhabited. It could be some sort of personal vendetta though Malakai doubted it. Cuga Ren had not made much of a name for himself. Connections to people are the strongest...wouldn't you say my love? The siren like voice in his own imagination reached into the front of his mind for a moment but he pushed it aside.
"Great, now that we have that out of the way..." He took a deep breath and let out a satisfied sigh. "Some of you are possibly wondering what happened to , Mardos Ren. If you were friends with him don't worry, he's alive and well...at least as far as I know." Malakai had allowed Mardos to remain in the Knights of Ren. It was not a hostile take over, it was just something that he took and Mardos seemed to understand that Malakai was better suited to it. Either that or he was apathetic and was not going to get in the way. "There's no shame in recognizing power." He raised his glove hand, palm up in front and curled it into a fist. "I won't discipline someone for understanding that." He gave a slow look at each of them to let them know he fully intended on being the leader of the Knights of Ren and if they wanted to try and challenge him they had better understand who, or what they were dealing with.
Relaxing, Cuga Ren activated a holoprojector casting everyone in the slight bluish glow. "If nobody has any objections I'll begin." A moment passed, a flash of lightening and the sound of the storm outside would continue if nobody had anything to add.
Rowa Listened with intent, staring at this Master of Ren speak. He had no objections, so long as he was used properly against their enemies it made no difference who unsheathed him. He simply gave a nod Cuga to begin his presentation...
Shor quite literally could not give less of a damn about what happened to the previous leader of the Knights of Ren, though he listened regardless. Nor did he have any interest in running the group of morsels in their activities. Shor did not lead others, he hunted and fought. It's all he'd known and it was his only desire. The Knights were simply the most expedient way to get to it.
Thus, he had no objections so long as angular meat lead them to the fighting. The big wookiee would remain loyal and true so long as their goals aligned, that's just the way he was. So he watched the holoprojector and listened to whatever angular meat decided to say next, feeling actually speaking aloud wasn't worth the trouble.
Balal stood silently as Cuga explained himself to him and the others. Taking note that not only was Mardos no longer the leader, he also didn't bother to welcome this new man. Likely he was following his own goals, careless to what ideas this Cuga Ren had. For the most part Balal felt much the same. Apathetic.
He spared a sideways glace through his visor at the other two. Both seemed to be equally indifferent to the new leader. The Echani knight took a deep breath and slowly let it out. About all else, he trusted in the ren and in the philosophy of the knights. So long as Cuga kept to those ideals, Balal could tow the line.
So he would nod as Cuga asked if they could begin.
Pleased there were was nothing else, Cuga continued. "Good. Firstly, all of you are familiar with a more traditional outlook of not using lightsabers but other weapons. I'm a progressive thinker and believe there shouldn't be any hesitation if the need arises to use a powerful tool." He said despite not having even forged a lightsaber for himself so far. The occasion had yet to arise.
"You might be aware of the Sith Temple here on Bal'demnic. After this meeting I'll be going there mysel.f If anybody lacking a lightsaber wants to forge one I think then it would be an appropriate time." There were dark forces whirling in the Sith temple and even when not focusing on it Malakai could feel its pull.
"You might be disappointing by the turnout but understand there are more of us. I don't just mean the ones that chose not to come to this meeting. I mean the warbands of the Knights of Ren that still ply the darkness of Wild Space and the Unkown Regions." The holoprojector moved to the part of the galaxy showing a relative lack of stars and charted routes. The 'true' Knights of Ren were marauders, a host of the Shadow that currently existed without direction. They were fragmented and warring against themselves even if Malakai's assumptions were correct. "I will make sure that the new Knights of Ren will be united under the Shadow. That also brings me to my next point..."
Small images of droids, designs of weapons and other warmachines came up on the holoprojector. Most of them were out of date designs though far from useless. "During the clone wars the Trade Federation nearly took over the galaxy with a droid army. I think we can learn from them to use some machines to bolster our strength for the time being." He expected people to take the initiative, to not just sit idle and wait for the Shadow to come to them.
"Not to make this into a history lesson but there was another organization some of you may have heard of. The Imperial Inquisition." He looked to see if there was any response or if he would need to expand on the group. "While I don't plan on reestablishing an inquisition the Knights of Ren can certainly fill the void. We need recruits, our future depends on those that will come after us. Some of you know this already." his helmet's gaze rested on Sin for a moment. He already had an apprentice of his own. "Supposedly there is a holocron containing information on the location and identities of new force sensitive children. Seek it out along with any other relics or regalia of the dark side. Droids, ships, and even legacies will make us stronger than before." His hand pointed towards the galaxy generally. Part of him wanted to claim it all, to conquer the galaxy and possess anything he desired within. The hand balled into a fist as if he grasped the essence of the galaxy itself.
"Those are my current priorities and announcements. With them we'll herald a new age of the Shadow. If anybody wishes to speak....now's the time." Cuga wanted to hear if the others had goals of their own. Questions about how Cuga planned on carrying these out were not out of line. But the man also was not going to spoon feed them information, especially if it was not asked about. Curiosity was something inside the mind and not something given like a trinket. He had a feeling that the people around him, at least most of them were not overly ambitious.
Rowa stood quietly, listened, and watched. He took in what Cuga said, his mind thinking of the various avenues of knowledge that would possibly provide them what they seek.
"Our gods former Enemies" he suddenly spoke, "Emperor Palpatine claimed their temple as his prize and palace prior to their first purge. I would imagine a man like him would have keep the archives intact long after the First Jedi were gone." He took a breath hoping that what he said sunk in, "If I'm a betting man I'd suspect that the knowledge is still there. Granted I heard the Temple is nothing more than a ruin now, but given its history i doubt any cretins ever dared enter the old temple and looted it. With Luck the archives there are still intact and complete. Any knowledge gleamed from there should be of worth."
He finished his peace, taking a step back to see what the others would say and more importantly what Cuga Ren would say.
Balal stood on, listening to Cuga explain some of his ideas to the group. It was a bit winded and dramatic for his own taste. But then the Echani was no leader of men. He was barely a teacher of one. Though he didn't know it, his form of teaching his apprentice was not unlike Vader prior to his fall. Actions over lessons, power over patience. The method seemed to be worked.
When the point of the droids was spoke, Balal visibly took a harder look at Cuge. They either seemed to share the idea of finding reviving the droid army as an easy build up. Or the other knight had good spies and was aware of Balal's movements. But he did not speak yet. Instead letting Cuge finish and ask for the opinions of the rest of the group.
"That is an interesting goal Rowa Ren. But trust me when I tell you that the Coruscant is not a place for us to start. These....Rangers have gained power on that world. And what they lack in knowledge of us or the cult, they makeup for in sheer numbers. Perhaps one of the Sith Lord's grand battle stations will hold something for you?
As for me I agree with the goal of raising the droid army. I believe I may have located an old droid factory, seemingly long forgotten by the rest of the galaxy. Once the old factory is found and rebuild, we will have the means to build and repair our first ground forces"
Hearing Rowa speak was not so much a surprise as what he said. "Yes, he undoubtedly did. Sheev Palpatine certainly was crafty and his knowledge was probably what gave him an edge." He agreed with the Knight and took a moment of pause before continuing. "But...It has been some time since he passed...each time. Undoubtedly locations where such knowledge might have bee, even if it's not Coruscant." He looked towards Balal for a moment to agree with his reservations about risking over action so close to a hostile party's headquarters. "....any location where it may have been has probably been seized, forgotten or otherwise looted by another party. All the same....If you're confident in finding power, Rowa Ren, follow that thread." He wanted to let the man know he was skeptical about his chance of success but he was still giving him the benefit of the doubt.
Hearing the Mandalorian helmed Knight talk about finding a droid factory. "Good." He brought switched the map to show Cholganna. "I learned of an old CIS ship on this planet, Cholganna. You feel up to the task of retrieving anything worth while?"
His hands adjusted the holoprojector again to switch to a redplanet. "You may have heard of Dathomir and their witches...nightsisters if memory serves. The Shadow is strong with Dethomir and it is steeped in potential. That's why I'm having a fortress built there." His fingers rapped against the chair, echoing in the dark chamber. "Not that current accommodations aren't adequate. I think a more central location could also prove to be useful."
With that being said if nobody had anything else to add the Grysk would move from his chair and begin heading towards the tunnel beneath the structure. If the others had been unaware of it previously, they now knew where to find it. The man would take them towards the hangar like cave. There was a skiff nearby for himself and any that decided to follow.
Rowa bowed his head slightly to Cuga, then turned to Balal, “With the right preparations, and if we keep a low profile, the Sector Rangers shouldn’t be a problem.” He turned back to Cuga, “For now I would like to volunteer for the mission to Cholganna. This could be good training in the event the ruins of Palpatines palace is in the same condition.”
Only Rowa followed it would seem. He understood. There was other business to attend to. He would take the controls of the skiff and have them head out into the storm. It was a good day to visit a Sith temple. Looking at Rowa he smiled underneath his helmet. "A fair point. I look forward to hearing of your success." The sky overhead stormed and the water was choppy even normally. It was a rough ride but nothing the skiff and an experienced getaway driver couldn't handle. "This will be a treat." Malakai said to himself as he looked forward to experiencing the temple that could only be accessed by a minimum of two dark siders.