Ronovi and Solus gazed out on the crowded assembly hall, and the rows of Initiates and would-be Apprentices gathered together for morning exercises. In several minutes, these would splinter down into combat groups and other cells for instruction. From their high vantage point overlooking the hall, they could hear every cough, every sniffle, every clearing of the throat. It wasn't entirely an unsettling ruckus, but it was cause for some attention from the Headmaster and her chief assistant.
"And you say the sickness has been hitting new members at a regular pace?" Ronovi never turned her gaze from the gathering of Initiates and newest recruits among the Dark Side.
"Several members have sought out medical attention recently, and those numbers are increasing each morning," Solus answered, a slight nod preceding his comments. "For the last week, as records indicate, a possible flu outbreak has been reported in the medical ward. Numbers were initially small, and not to be concerned with. But, as the cases of similar symptoms are now being reported more frequently, I had the medical droids research those same symptoms for the past several weeks."
The Headmaster now turned her attention fully to her Praetor. "Found anything of substance?"
"Nothing concrete," Solus shook his head in the negative. "We always have people reporting flu-like symptoms, or outbreaks of disease they've brought from their home worlds. The first symptoms reported in these instances are generally mild. Cough, fever, chills. Some have reported excessive mucus production, others nausea, dehydration, vomiting. It generally appears as the flu, perhaps a stomach virus. One is in a coma."
"Have the culinary staff double check the food stores," Ronovi ordered, turning to leave the Headmaster's Perch over the gathering hall. "Order in new supplies if we have to, and get rid of anything that may have been contaminated. I want new bedding supplies for every member, no used materials. New robes and clothing. All dormitories are to be sterilized. And get everyone medicated if it comes to that. Weâve got to knock out this virus, or whatever the Hell it is, before it wipes out our recruits.â
"Right away, Headmaster."
"I have to inform the Grand Master," Ronovi said, turned on her heel, and headed towards her private sanctuary. "He needs to be updated on the possible virus outbreak, and potentially inform the Houses and Clans to have their new recruits report immediately for treatment at their own medical facilities. Solus, if you will, send out a transmission to the Houses and Clans of this potential epidemic, so that they can act to keep it limited, as well. And get me a drink."
"Again, right away, Headmaster." Solus Gar bowed in deference to her wishes.
In these last few days, Enaiasâ abilities had been drastically cut off. He was now weak, and completely bereft of even the simplest of abilities. He couldn't sense anyone, or anything around him. He had no concept of life or the Force around him. In a sense, he was entirely blind, without the depth of sight that he had been gifted with even before the Force was opened up in entirety to him.What was worse, though, than being cut off, was the feeling that it had been done purposefully by those who had accepted him.
His travel to Plagueis had been for naught, it would seem. As a member of House Plagueis, he had been taken in and inducted into all that was his new found allies and kin. He had been brought in as one of them, and while the rumors began to circulate that he was perhaps too gifted, too powerful to explain, he paid little attention. His powers were growing, and he attributed it to simply being in the place he was destined to be, among his peers, and within the line that would lead to his Knighthood, his mastery, and his path to ascension. As the hours had gone by, and his powers had continued to grow, he'd even
begun to believe he truly was one of the chosen, and destined to stand as one of the Grand Masters in the future.
But that had all died off. His powers had burst forth in brilliance for several days, scaring away even the greatest of Plagueis; those who could have taught him the deepest secrets of the Force, but who had then shied away from any contact with him. They were simply intimidated by his connection to the Force, and his innate ability to race towards mastery of the powers that he controlled. The Dark Side was his friend, his ally, his secret lover. All that was power, Enaias would now soon control.
"But like a flash, you took it all away from me," Enaias had said from what he assumed would be his death bed. There, in the medical ward of Plagueis, around a small number of others exhibiting signs of flu or other benign illness, Enaias had accused the Summit of Plagueis of treachery.
"You all saw my advancement, my potential, and wanted it for yourselves!" the Journeyman wanted to scream, to unleash his rage, but there was only weakness, his voice a raspy whisper. "You have stripped me of my power, and you had no right. No right! You should all bow to me, and revere me as a dark god among you."
"Enaias, you were not stripped of your powers," from Traâan Reith, Quaestor of the House. "I have counseled with the di Plagia and they state that no one has invoked such a curse upon you."
"Lies," the weakened man shook his head faintly. "I don't care what filth you try to feed me, I know the truth."
"Save your strength, and heal as best you can, Enaias," Tra'an Reith patted the Journeyman on the shoulder. "You are one of us, and we do not betray our own House. You have not been offended by any member of Plagueis, and we would never--"
Enaias finally managed to gain enough strength to slap the hand of his leader away, albeit weakly. But the action was enough to cut Reith's words short. Enaias closed his eyes, and imagined punishments and other torments that he would inflict upon these men for daring to insult him so. His breath seemed to rattle in his chest, and his cough continued to grow worse. He grew faint with every coughing spell, as his breath was violently taken from him, and only brought back with gasps and wracking shudders of pain from his weakened, sweat-dampened body.
The Shiâdo glanced around the ward that held several members of his House. It seemed as though an unknown disease was spreading among his brothers and sisters, his kin, and his warriors. And, what was more daunting was that others were now beginning to exhibit the signs of growing powers. The Force was blessing the House of Plagueis, or so it seemed. And, while that ought to have been seen as a boon, the figurative hairs on the back of the Quaestor's neck were noticeably standing tall. Something was most definitely not right.
You need to be logged in to post comments