Warning! Obligatory Wall of Text Incoming! If you are a non-Tarenti and aren't too interested in reading the clan story arc updates, feel free to scroll down to the next section of the report.
_Ronovi had not had any pre-conceived notions on how the discussion between her and the interim governor of Yridia IV would proceed, not even when she had stepped from the platform of her transport followed by two guards and viewed the construction sites around her. It was as if she had walked straight into a laboratory rather than a developing city. The steel frameworks of buildings, plotted out by men pretending to be artistically motivated architects, reminded her more of skeletons with metallic flesh being stretched over their bones. On each side of the makeshift road, there was dirt scraped up from their resting places like scabs from skin. Set up fences keeping screaming and staring people away from the approaching Prince of Yridia protruded like broken ribs out of a rusted cage. It was like walking by a giant corpse. The whole project looked dead even if it attempted to put life into this colony.
The thin, frail-looking Yridian sitting at the governor's desk visibly sweated throughout the entire meeting, and now the perspiration threatened to stain his navy blue suit a deep black as his porcelain hands shook like they would shatter. It didn't help when Ronovi furiously slammed a fist onto the desk halfway through his stammering sentence, causing it to leap up like a terrified mutt who had been given the sharp end of a stick.
"You have made enough mistakes for one week, Kritt, and I won't tolerate it anymore!" the Consul barked, and her voice echoed in the bare-boned office of the new government building. "If you can't handle your own planet without cowering behind your desk, I can find someone else who can!"
"Madam Consul," Morrisey Kritt stuttered, and his eyes flickered helplessly to his advisors who did not seem any more confident than he was, "there is only so much I can do. If the workers continue to riot, then construction and excavation cannot continue..."
"And what, are your police forces just sitting back with a glass of ale?!"
"No, but our forces are still learning, and they've been given such little time to train up during this project..."
"If you continue to make excuses for yourself," Ronovi snarled, "I will drag you from behind that desk myself."
"But Madam Consul!" Kritt sputtered, his words rather audacious compared to his terrified tone. "Think realistically! We don't have sufficient enough authority yet here, so what can we do if the masses can overwhelm -- "
Ronovi's hand shot out, twitching, ready to Force choke the puny human where he sat. She could feel her lips peel back into a strained grimace, the skin in her forehead creasing in dark folds. She willed herself to relax. The sinews in her arm muscles loosened. She stifled a laugh.
"You know why I agreed to let you oversee this planet's development, Kritt?" she asked with a simpering inflection in her voice. "It's because you're not a fool. You know what has to economically happen for Yridia IV to become more than just a couple of villages on a useless landscape. Agricultural production needs to grow. Businesses need to be founded. And for that, we need the number of resources to multiply."
The interim governor attempted to speak again but found he could not do so. It was as if his tongue had been glued to the roof of his mouth.
"However, you're only proving to me that an intellect can't be a suitable leader if he doesn't have the stomach to deal with the typical problems that come with development. What the Hell did you expect, love and peace? Get your police forces to take care of the rioters and protesters. There are dozens of people rallying outside your building this very moment. Start now."
Kritt could only nod dumbly at Ronovi, who sneered in reply. She rose from her seat and nodded to her guards, who moved from the door to flank her.
"I'll give you seven days, Kritt, to improve the situation. Do not make us expend our military resources just because you can't handle a handful of of whining civilians. This development will go forward...with or without you."
With that, Ronovi turned on her heel, leaving a scuff on the cheap red carpeting, and disappeared from the office. She allowed Kritt's tongue to flutter again as he continued his usual stammering, his usual fidgeting and fretting as he tried to remedy the situation. Some things would never change. Morrisey Kritt was an intelligent man but a coward. He was no Rend; he wasn't even close to Griffin's potential. And Ronovi knew all too well how that man came to his end.
The Consul shielded her eyes from the setting sun as she exited the government building, the sounds of the natural world being swallowed up by angry words and shouts. The crowd of Yridians clustered around the building's entrance had not lessened, as men in simple law enforcement uniforms attempted to hold them off with stun batons and blasters. On the horizon, Ronovi could see sites unfinished, plantations unkept and poorly supervised. It was a shame that Yridia IV could not be more like Yridia IX and have been at least somewhat stable economically before Tarentum had swooped into the system and seized control; the clan had more on its hands then ever imagined through this development.
But war debts had to be paid. New profits had to be made, exports and imports increased. Ronovi had to remind herself of that even as the angry chants of the Yridians grew louder and they hissed obscenities and threats at the Consul. "Monster," was what they kept repeating, as well as "Tyrant." Typical labels. Typical insults.
Ronovi smiled and boarded her shuttle without a word, while her guards trailed behind her. She was disappointed by how reserved the Yridians were, having half-expected one of them to cast a stone or swing a fist at her. She would have enjoyed playing up to the role of "tyrannical monster" and leaving someone with a snapped neck. She approached the pilot of the transport somberly, watching as he adjusted the ship's controls.
"Take me to the County of Messina," she ordered. "I need to speak with a fellow Tarentae."
Dralin loved the sound of breaking bones in the early morning. The guttural screams of the assassin: even better. He reveled as he bent each finger back, hearing the crackle of each phalange against cartilage like stone scraping against rubber. Teia watched nonchalantly, arms folded across her chest, as Balia Donos emerged from the hallway and entered the interrogation chamber, indifferent to the cries of anguish.
The lieutenant of the Reckoners raised his head at the sound of Donos's footsteps and grinned. He maintained a grip on the assassin's hand, as the half-naked prisoner groaned against his restraining binders that fastened him to the sleek steel wall like he had been crucified. "Here's a joke for you, Donos," he said, his thick Coruscanti accent cutting through the tense atmosphere of the chamber. "How many Dark Jedi does it take to break every bone in a man's body?"
Donos snickered as Dralin bent the assassin's thumb back sharply, brutally, until it almost snapped in two. Shrieks soon split the prisoner's lips, still swollen from faceplanting into a wall a few hours back. None of the Reckoners were worried; many residents of the Mirage in Eden City were still awake, dancing and drinking with the music overpowering their senses. To them, it would just seem like a sexual escapade gone horribly wrong.
The "interrogation" abruptly stopped when the door of the chamber slid open again, and two figures stepped into the shadowy vicinity. The three Reckoners recognized the two in a heartbeat. They said no words to them, only stepped back so that the second-in-command of Kaerner could take a look at the prisoner. The assassin soon found himself gaping into Aedile Tyyravis Nami Dantes' cold, green eyes.
"So, this is the punk who tried blowing the governor into tiny pieces," Nami said, before turning to look at the man beside him. "Jagen, stay here for a while. If any information he has turns out to be on a bigger scale, Spectre may be needed."
"Yes, Aedile," Jagen Phoenix replied, as Nami turned his attention to Commander Coran.
"So...is he talking yet?"
Teia shook her head, an amused smile dancing on her lips. "We're starting small now. If broken bones aren't enough, we'll see if other mutilations will make him talk."
"You'll get nothing out of me!" the assassin cried, though his noticeable fear heightened the octave of his voice and made him sound like a terrified kitten. "Do you hear me, you Jedi swine? Nothing!"
At this, Dralin shrugged and cast a glance at Nami and the others in the room, waiting for approval. If breaking fingers wasn't enough, then perhaps a more sinister form of torture was necessary. Groping for his holster, the Knight lifted his DL-44 heavy blaster from its resting place and set it to low power. No device would be needed after this.
Donos's eyes widened as Dralin approached the wall and brandished the weapon at the assassin's nether regions. Donos loathed using blasters, and this sort of torture was one of the reasons why. The assassin looked down at the blaster as if skeptical, then screamed in utmost agony as Dralin squeezed the trigger and tore away the flesh from the man's right thigh. Blood-smeared bone was exposed underneath, and it was fortunate that everyone in the room naturally had a strong stomach.
"You know what this is, little man?" Dralin hissed into the howling prisoner's ear. "We like to call it the Burning. Now, I figured I'd start with something a little fleshier, and then maybe move to here..." he fired again, stripping an area closer to the man's groin to the bone. "...or maybe here..." Another scream, as fabric melted away with flesh. "And I'm going to keep going until you talk. Now, unless you'd like to be a charred skeleton soon, spilling the beans doesn't sound like a bad idea, does it?"
"Bravo, Dralin," Jagen whispered just as the Knight obligatorily aimed for the crotch area. That was enough for any man desiring to keep his "honor" to talk. The assassin's words began to tumble out of his mouth rapidly, choked with pain.
"The Ghost Lady told me to do it! She didn't go by any other name! She just gave me credits and told me I'd be rewarded in more ways than one! The Ghost Lady told me to do it!"
These words were received in silence. The majority of the Tarenti there knew who he was referring to. Still, Dralin pressed the barrel of the blaster hard into the assassin's groin, spittle landing on the man's red, stubbly face.
"What did she look like? Give me a description."
The prisoner sobbed and drooled as he spoke. "She was dressed in white. Had pale hair. Real pale skin. She kept one arm under a cloak. I didn't see it!"
"And has she hired any more of you? Are others working around Yridia?" Dralin could hear the man's heartbeat quicken, could see the sweat forming on his brow.
"Just a few more. All the others have been caught or killed. Five men were sent to Yridia III, to take care of a clan base. They were all thugs, I remember. Real cheap mercenaries. She didn't give me that much information. I swear to you, that's all I know."
Yridia III. That was the home of House Reinthaler. Nami's brows knit together in a furious frown as he directed his attention to the Spectre commander next to him.
"Jagen, get back to Joran and report to Saitou. See if any siege has been attempted on the Pyramid," he ordered. "Teia, Dralin...do away with this scum. Do what a Jedi Hunter and a Krath Priest should do."
With that, Nami disappeared quickly from the chamber, with Jagen at his heels. Dralin and Teia exchanged surprised looks before they hastily reveled in their newfound promotions. Then Dralin turned to bore his eyes into the assassin's white visage, raising his blaster at the man's skull.
"You may want to turn around, guys," he told Teia and Donos. "This is going to get gruesome."
"What?" squealed the prisoner. "No. No, NO!"
And the fizzle of a bolt subdued him to silence.
Pergitor was worse than Yridia IX. The sealed cities nestled in the ruins of a once intact environment were a shining example of how not to mine on a planet. In their encased generated atmospheres, it was surprising how the citizens could breathe properly. Then again, that could have also been caused by the fear that their breath would be choked out of them if they made the wrong move or spoke the wrong words. A planet run by a fundamentalist religious group with an iron fist would certainly have that sort of effect on its populace.
Lady Nilani delicately traversed the streets of one sealed city, the hood of her silver cloak pulled over her nearly colorless hair. She kept the stump of her arm hidden under the folds of fabric; she had made no move to replace it with cybernetics after Lord Khyven had vainly removed it shortly before his death. It had not hindered her too much in her fighting techniques, and the months she had taken to learn how to wield one blade as well as she wielded two blades had been a refreshing vacation. She stepped out into the middle of a seemingly abandoned city center, knowing all too well that the lack of people was due to low population as well as intimidation.
The massive cathedral that hovered before her was as gaudy as any attempt to praise a religion by building the most ridiculous fortress or temple for it. She approached the doors and naturally found them locked, but that wouldn't be a problem. While the Keepers' demise cost her the secrets of necromancy, which she herself had never bothered to learn; her gift for simple means of entry had not changed. She drew a blade from her side and swung it at the rusted padlock with all the strength of ten men. The chains fell to the ground in pieces as the doors squeaked open.
Nilani was met by dozens of staring eyes. She had stepped into the heart of the church, filled with men and women, all haggard looking and all wearing deeply colored robes. Nilani wondered if they carried blasters or swords under those garments; she wouldn't have been surprised. A gravelly voice emerged from the main altar, as a middle-aged man with grayish-black hair stepped toward the intruder. His beard hung long and limp from his chin. His hand was at his belt.
"Who dares disturb the proceedings of the Church of Infinite Perception?" he rasped, pointing a gnarled finger at the Ghost Lady. "Answer now, and we'll decide whether or not we should purge you."
Nilani laughed at this attempt at intimidation. She swept her blade in a defensive position against her chest, and she heard the clicks of hidden blasters. She heard the mutterings of "prayers" under each member's breath.
"You must be the Preceptor," she said to the bearded man before her, and surely to his amazement, she bowed deeply to him, her cloak billowing outward as she did so. "I am but your humble servant. I come only with a request."
"Yes," Nilani said, her smirk never fading. "It involves purging a bit of...unnecessary paranormal activity."_
Hello, everyone. That was Chapter Two of our clan story, and we now know who our enemy is. You may be wondering, "What the heck is the Church of Infinite Perception?" Well, would it surprise you that it's on Wookieepedia? Due to its minimal information and its cult-like behavior, we figured it'd be a perfect opponent for Tarentum to face in future conflict. Here's the link below if you want to read whatever information is on the Church:
Some of you may also be wondering, "Okay, who's Lady Nilani?" That's a good question to ask. She showed up in our last storyline and is now our main enemy. However, I wanted to start the story without too much exposition. One section of the next chapter will have some exposition explaining who Nilani is. We'll just do it stylishly. :P
And finally, some of you may be wondering, "Okay, why are the Reckoners hogging all the spotlight?" Don't worry; their part in the preceding chapters is over. Now I want to focus on the other battle teams and the rest of the houses. But I need your help. I will soon be talking with your house leaders and BTLs to see how they can contribute to Chapter Three, because I don't want to write these all by myself. You are also invited to contact me with any ideas you have for the storyline.
In the meantime, we still need title ideas for this arc. I have had a few people submit titles, but we can always do with more. Feel free to send me as many titles as you like. Remember, send them to my e-mail address or I won't be able to count them. As submitting titles is now officially a clan-wide competition, you can earn a medal if you send a good enough title.
While Raiju Kang's ideas have been instrumental in the development of this storyline, it is unfortunately his last contribution as Rollmaster of Fiction. Due to real life constraints and personal motives, Raiju has decided to resign from the post. Ji and I would like to thank Raiju for all his work; he has done some amazing outlining for this storyline and it wouldn't be so established without him.
However, with Raiju stepping down comes the desperate need for a replacement. In order to update you all with fiction regularly (every two weeks) and keep the story arc intact, we need a new RM of Fiction quickly. Therefore, I am giving anyone who's interested one week (until May 8th) to submit applications for the position. The requisites are fairly lengthy and somewhat demanding, and are as follows:
Submit all applications to me and Ji and CC your house leaders. Remember, you've got one week to do this! So don't let this opportunity slip away!
Applications are still open for the Aedile position in House Reinthaler. Raimi has returned as acting-Aedile until May 3rd due to Saitou being somewhat busy grading students' (apparently less than subpar) essays. So if you're still interested in being Reinthaler's Aedile, submit your applications to me, Ji, Saitou, and Raimi. The requisites are once again as follows:
You have until Monday, May 3rd, to submit your applications. We've gotten some very strong applications so far, and it can't hurt to see more. This is a great opportunity to get some leadership under your belt and assist in further developing a newer house.
If you guys have not seen it yet, we now have a Tarentum Library on the Tarentum message boards. If you've ever written a poem or fictional piece that has won a crescent or a nova, and you want to present it, the Library is the place to do so. This will be the official archives of the best of Tarentum fiction, but before clicking on the link below, there's something you should be made aware of.
Due to some Tarentum fiction having potentially mature content, Muz has built the subforum so that it is password-coded. If you'd like the password to the Library subforum, please e-mail me or your house leaders for it. DO NOT share this password with anyone or post it in an e-mail thread, as Google archives all information. This is mainly to avoid angry parents' bickering and headaches all around.
If you already have the password, here's the URL to the library. Please read up on the pinned topic before posting your work:
And now, it's time for Tidbits.
Master at Arms Korras is looking for applications for the now open Praetor position. If you're a DJK or higher and feel like working with medal and promotion requests, then this is the job for you. For more information, check the main DB website and e-mail your P:MAA applications to Korras. The deadline for applications is Wednesday, May 5th.
Due to Ji being completely swamped by schoolwork and end-of-the-semester projects, he will not be able to release his PCON report until possibly some time next week.
Members, check the "Stuff that Matters to Me" section of the Competitions page on the main DB website if you wish to see the competitions that your BTLs or house leaders are releasing. If you have any suggestions for competitions, e-mail them to me, your house summit, or your BTLs, depending on what level you'd like to see the comp run on.*
**NOTE ON THIS:* There is a proposal being discussed that may somewhat change how we run competitions in the Brotherhood. Keep your eyes open for updates on that.
And that concludes this report's edition of Tidbits.
Unfortunately, no dose of Biweekly Awesomeness this time around, guys. Nothing was awesome enough to garner my attention these past two weeks. Maybe next time.
In this week's edition of "Ask the Consul," we have a question from Sanguinius Tsucyra:
Just why do you put up with those measly Arconans?
Geez, not the nicest thing to call your clanmates, is it? Though the words you could've used may have been much worse...anyway. The reason I "put up" with Arconans is mostly because of our super special awesome clan alliance. If you want the sappy answer, though, it's because you Arconans are pretty cool people. Sure, you've pwned us in the recent vendettas, but both the clans really help each other out and offer support if needed. I remember working on a clan power project for you guys, and that was a great experience.
So...yeah. Enjoy having your question answered, Sang. :P
Well, since this seems to more popular among non-Tarenti, Arconans specifically, if anyone wants to send questions to me, e-mail them to me or hit me up on IRC.
And now for the long-awaited:
Until next Consul report, Tarenti, keep on rockin'.
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