Shadow smiled at the emerald-haired Sith Lord as he moved along with him. He could smell the Jedi, beneath the sweat, beneath the ozone, beneath the rain. He left his lightsabers ignited, holding them in the reverse grip he favored. They moved around a stand of trees, grey from ash falling from the sky and debris kicked up by the battle.
Regardless of who would win this war, it was clear that New Tython would definitely feel the most pain.
And there he was.
Halcyon let the green plasma spill from his blade as he watched the man cut through a Sith in an old Imperial uniform. He waited for him to turn toward him, let the recognition bloom in his eyes.
"It's over, brother."
Halcyon threw himself at the Jedi Master, the verdant blade of his saber burning through rain and dust as it seethed toward him. Michael twisted low to the ground, catching the attack on his own guard, lashing out with a fist to catch the other Taldrya in a sensitive spot.
His fist collided, and his nerves screamed at him at about the same time that he heard the snap of bone against metal. Shaking it off, Michael spun backwards, his saber guarding his movement as Shadow smirked.
The dark haired Taldrya spun himself after the Jedi, his sabers a maelstrom of cauterizing light. Michael watched them cautiously, his analytic mind breaking down the unorthodox fighting style, waiting for an opening as the man barrelled toward him.
Halcyon let his lip curl up, a coil of Force rolling forth from his outstretched hand, hurling Shadow back, off his balance.
"He's mine." Halcyon Taldrya commanded.
As the rain sizzled on Taigikori's lightsaber, he deflected another of the Jedi's attacks, pulling the blade off center and trying to find an opening in the brown-robed man's defense.
Revenge was all he cared for now.
Liu brought the blade back quickly, the weapon held vertically as he stepped forward. Taigikori felt along the world's pulse and saw his chance.
He brought his bloodshine blade diagonally, catching the Jedi's blade and pressing into him. The sabers whined where they clashed, their muscles tensing as they pushed at each other, vying for position.
Revenge did nothing for Liu. All it did was blind people, make them act erratically.
Taigikori stepped closer, the glow from Liu's saber reflecting in the Headmaster's face. Liu blinked. It was a dangerous move to put himself so close. A twist of his wrist and he'd...
Cold steel bit into his throat.
Taigikori's hand had produced a dagger, the blade slipping past his notice and into the soft flesh beneath his jaw, through his mouth, his tongue.
Revenge was sweet. At least to Taigikori it was. The synthetic tongue in his other prosthetic may have processed the information as sweet, but he left that equipment on Lyspair. Taigikori watched as blood poured from his foe's mouth and spurted out around his blade.
Taigikori didn't even smile.
He just waited for Liu's hand to go limp, drop the saber that was now rightfully his.
Eojin deflected the Lion's crossed sabers, pushing the weapons away with his strength, emboldened by the soothing hand of the Force. The snap of leather, the click of steel, and the trickle of the Force made him aware before the screech of lightsaber ignition.
Eojin saw the green, the red spill into the dark air. Held by invisible hands, the blades tore through space toward him, his saber working double time to keep them from his throat, his face, his leg.
_Stealth, deception, and surprise,
these are the things that close men's eyes..._
Eojin bounded sideways, his blade bisecting a lightsaber hilt midair.
The Dark Lord didn't pause, another weapon taking the place, lifting from his belt and screaming toward him.
The flame raced toward the councilors, then hit solid air, recoiling back. Shikyo smiled at the crimson armoured Mandalorian, his hands forcing the wall of air closer to the man, encapsulating him as Korras did the same.
They tightened the shroud of air around the captain, the fire from his wrist-mounted burners splashing back toward him. He kept adding more fire, watching the beads of sweat form on the Councilor's brows, waiting for their strength to collapse, letting the fire splash out around them. His armor was fire rated and could handle it.
The flame surrounded him, licking at him. The HUD twitched at him, the tactical information glitching out under the heat.
Perhaps it was time to go.
The explosion ruined his ears, the concussive force rebounding against the wall of Force that encapsulated him. It battered him around, the high octane fuel charring the paint from his armor. He could feel his hair burn, the skin under his fingernails boiling.
The glass of his visor cracked only a moment before his vision went black, dropping to his knees before falling flat on his back.
The fire screamed out from its invisible prison, erupting at the heavens as though his warrior spirit was borne to the heavens on a dragon's breath.
Shikyo glanced at the Master at Arms briefly, his cerulean saber igniting in answer to the unasked question. The crimson of the Herald's saber responded, drawing a line of ruin through the dead man's smouldering throat as Korras' blade pierced the spot where his heart lay, half cooked beneath beskar'gam.
There could be no question.
Halcyon bludgeoned his brother, the deep groan of his green blade bounding across his brother's hastily constructed defenses. He was wearing him out, he had to be. The Sith Lord leaned into the strike, pressing the blades together, the snarl of energy painting them both in colored light.
He pushed back, recoiling his blade for a piercing blow, dropping his right hand from the weapon.
Michael smiled, the opening he was searching for in plain view. A few minute twitches of his wrist, and this would be over.
The Force swam across his pattern, the fingers of energy wrapping around his saber, the cerulean of his blade slurping into the hilt. He didn't even have time to change his expression before his brother's blade seared through his ribcage.
Halcyon let the weapon sit there, the sizzle of cauterizing flesh mixing with the sound of falling rain.
Michael grimaced as the cupric taste filled his mouth. He watched the green haired man, waiting for some final words, some proclamation, some catchphrase, some cocky talk.
Halcyon Taldrya had none.
The Sith Lord merely watched as the man realized he was dying, watched him feel the dullness of death creep over his extremities. Words were meaningless here, blood he shared spilling to the dust and dried grass of New Tython.
His brother was dead.
Eojin realigned his strike, clipping the floating lightsaber and sending it to the ground in two smouldering parts.
"You can't win."
He turned, proud of his agility, his ability to bring parity. It was too late, his blade too wide to defend against what happened next.
Muz dropped his weight, bringing both blades down through his shoulders. The force of the attack dropping him to his knees at the same moment. The wet sound of his arms falling to rain-drenched soil echoed in his ears.
Eojin hoped for redemption. First in his student, and when that had failed, he had decided that he must correct his mistake. He lost his apprentices, his friends, his legs, and now his arms in pursuit of this man. And for what? Ego? The Light?
Eojin felt no peace.
He didn't care anymore. All that he was, all that he ever did, now was scattered like blood in the oceans. He snarled, baring his teeth as he let out a bellow at the black eyed demon before him, the beast he helped to bring into being. Musashi Keibatsu, The Lion of Tarthos, Darth Ashen.
He fell backwards, off balance, his eyes burning as he screamed. There weren't any words, there wasn't anything but twenty years of wasted life, of suffering, of fear and of hate that billowed out from his lungs like a stormcloud of violence.
Muz looked closer, turning off his lightsabers, letting the Force put them back in their holsters. The Lord reached over, unfurling cold fingers from his prize, feeling the weight of it in his hand. He ignited the blade, letting the turquoise shine in the air in front pf his face.
Eojin stared at his weapon in the hands of his enemy, and for once in his life, he was not ready. His eyes, they stung with the fire of a thousand suns, like his tears were acid.
Ashen turned, walking away, words on the wind carrying to Eojin's ears as the mud caked him.
"Just another Sith."
Ji motioned with his hands, watching Jonuss and Quejo directing the few survivors into the temple. They could make their last stand there, use the narrow halls and doors to their advantage. If they were to die, they'd take as many of these Sith with them as they could.
They had to.
It was about balance.
His eyes focused quickly, a solitary figure two hundred yards away, just beyond the path of fire that led to a downed fighter. It licked at his coat, and he raised a saber to point at him.
It was him.
Ji froze, staring at the man across the distance.
The Lord's hand moved slowly down, the blade turning off.
In a moment, Ji understood. They weren't going to be converted. There was too much pain, too much life behind why they were what they became. It was hubris to think that some nice words would change all of them. He should have sussed it out from Michael's plans, his fevered scheming.
No one can beat the Brotherhood at it's own game. Once you treat with them, there was no destroying them. The Dark Lord didn't let them survive out of some long repressed goodness in his heart, or for the love of family he showed. It wasn't some philosophical point he was making. It wasn't even just to keep them as a stone to sharpen his men against, or to draw old enemies out of hiding to cut them down.
He was showing them why. As Ji heard the sobs of Jedi behind him in the temple, he felt the trickle of death passing over children and lovers. He felt the rage, the desire for revenge growing in their hearts.
He felt it in his own heart.
None understand hate more than the hated.
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