This includes the full opening fiction for the finale of Scholae Palatinae’s Looking Home Campaign. It’s a long one but I hope you all check it out. Also don’t forget to click and watch the video below!
The Royal Palace
The morning light was beginning to break over the mountains that held the capital city of Ohmen. Nestled among the peaks, here beat the thriving heart of an Empire. But the Royal Palace held more than just system politicians. It held a much darker secret for it was also home to the Dark Jedi of Scholae Palatinae. And it was here, that the fate of the Empire was to be decided.
Xen’Mordin stared out the window of his spacious office with large dark bags sagging under his eyes. It had been another sleepless night watching the reports come in from his housemates. It had been another sleepless night reading the same thing over and over again. It had been another sleepless night of Fias Zhan, and his Scions of Cocytus, evading the mighty arm of the Empire. Another sleepless night of failure.
If everyone else is as tired as I am, Zhan probably could walk straight into the throne room and we wouldn’t notice. Xen thought as the sky changed through hues of pink and orange. It had been one week since Zhan last contacted the Empire. One week since there had been any solid leads on where the Scions were located. One week since Zhan swore the Throne was about to become his.
Xen wasn’t sure what he was more angry about. That Zhan dared to threaten his house and the Empire, or that Zhan had shown a complete lack of punctuality.
The main door to the office slid open. Xen didn’t bother grabbing his mask, or checking to see who had entered the room. He sighed knowing what was coming. More failure.
“Still no signs. Not a damn one,” Kell Dante said taking a seat. The Primarch put his legs up on Xen’s desk and leaned back. Even the career soldier couldn’t hide the annoyance dripping from his words.
“Maybe this is what Zhan’s great plan was. Taunt us just enough to keep expending efforts to stop him, then never show. We can die of frustration long before he ever shows,” Delak Krennel added. The Knight remained standing, obviously wanting to get his report overwith so he could get back out to finding the Scions. Xen paused a moment, stopping himself from agreeing with Delak’s comment.
“No, he will come. If he wants the throne, he can pry it from my cold dead hands. If it is the last thing I do, I will see that man die, no matter the cost,” Xen said slowly, hands clenched at his side.
Orbit over Judecca
Evant remained standing as he read and reviewed the incoming reports from across the system.
“Nothing, nothing, and look! More nothing,” he muttered under his breath as he scanned through yet another one. Unlike Xen, down on the surface, Evant seemed to be thriving in this environment. Every failure was another step closer to what would be a success. For the last seven days, Evant stood on the bridge of the Warspite, constantly changing deployments, running drills, keeping the fleet on its toes. Hopefully, at the same time it was preventing the Scions from finding a pattern to break through the blockade of Judecca.
If the Scions never reached the surface, than this could end without a substantial loss of Imperial lives.
“Osk-nine formation this morning. And tell the TIEs I want to see tighter groupings. They are getting sloppy,” Evant said as he finished reading the last report. One of the officers on the bridge nodded and moved to send word out to the fleet.
“Drawing these formations out of a hat Evant?” Koryn asked. The Rodian had just arrived on the ship, and silently made his way up to behind his fellow House Summit member.
“Oh yes, a big one with feathers,” Evant replied shaking his head, “People still reacting poorly to the system curfews?”
“They are dealing with it. But the longer we go without another incident with Zhan and the Scions, the more impatient they get. If this goes too much longer, they might do Zhan’s work for him. There is only so far we can push the civilians.”
Evant opened his mouth to reply, but was cut short by the flashing of red lights all around the bridge.
“Sir, we are picking up something,” one of the officers stated, obviously not noticing Evant was already at his shoulder looking at the screen. The Aedile’s jaw dropped as he processed what he was seeing.
The Royal Palace
Dante and Delak had given their reports and left to go back to patrol over half an hour before the Palace’s alarm system went off. Xen had decided that a quick power nap would be okay.
What’s the worst that can happen in an hour? was Xen’s rationale.
Xen’s head shot up from his desk as the sirens sounded. Blinking hard he sat there for just a second, confused, with the hold of sleep still tugging on his mind. Then the Quaestor’s eyes went wide. He slammed his mask on his face and stood, ready to fight off anyone who dare disrupt his system, his house, and his home. He was halfway to fully standing when the explosion shook the entire palace like an earthquake.
The red eyes of the Duro scanned the Square. Something was wrong and it was making his skin crawl.
“We need to keep up our patrol,” Kor Vaal said. The Kel Dor had a similar feeling, but knew they wouldn’t find anything standing in the middle of the busy square. Curfew had lifted just an hour earlier, and the citizens of Ohmen were moving quickly to get their business done.
“We patrol to look for the Scions. To find their plans. They are planning something here,” Xantros replied still scanning the crowd. Each face he saw was just another innocent civilian trying to carve out a life for themselves. Then he saw it, through the crowd across the square.
“There,” Xantros said nodding with his head in that direction. Kor Vaal turned and looked. His eyes came upon an unassuming young woman, eyes down, loitering at the edge of the square. Trying hard to not stand out, too hard.
“You sure?” Kor Vaal asked. Xantros nodded.
“I see it, move quickly and do not let her see you.”
The two Krath split up, approaching the woman from opposite ends. As they neared she spotted Kor Vaal. She turned to run, only to smack into Xantros. The Duro gave a reassuring smile.
“Everything okay miss?” he asked. She was up to something, he was sure of it.
“Get away!” She yelled. Her hands shot to a pocket, grabbing for something. Xantros sighed and grabbed her arms. For a moment the two struggled against each other. Xantros noticed a hard lump on her back. He managed to rip it off and throw it to the ground. Explosives.
Kor Vaal dived, grabbing the pack of explosives. Xantros, out of options slammed a fist in her throat. The woman’s hands instinctively went up, and the detonator fell from her pocket. As it fell, Xantros used the force to pull it safely to his hand.
Several members of the Scholae Palatinae military rushed to scene, having noticed the scuffle while on their own patrols. Kor Vaal got back to his feet and handed the package to one of the soldiers.
“That was close,” he said to Xantros, as an explosion from across the city roared out. Everyone in the square turned in the direction of the noise.
“The Palace,” Xantros whispered, wide eyed.
At the outskirts of the city, the sound of the explosion was muffled. Lucyeth and Zagro paused in their patrol.
“Was that an explosion?” Zagro asked eyebrows arched. They looked around, but had no clear vantage point. They raced to the top of one of the nearby buildings, only to see a large plume of black smoke rising from the direction of the palace into the morning sky.
“How could they hit the palace?” Zagro yelled as the two jumped off the roof and ran toward the heart of the city. The sound of several more explosions, some much closer, pounded the air. The two slid to a stop.
Ahead of them marched a several squads. Several squads full of soldiers who were proudly displaying the logo of the Scions on their armor. Lucyeth, thinking fast, tackled Zagro into a nearby recessed doorway before the Soldiers could spot them.
“We need to meet up with our own forces,” Lucyeth spat as they pinned themselves to the wall. His hand had gone to his belt and was holding a thermal detonator. He took several deep breaths and left it on his belt. Zagro noticed.
“No good being dead?” he asked. Lucyeth nodded as he peeked around the corner.
“Clear. We need to move fast.”
“Most of these ships are barely even flying. They are invading with this?” Flelm said as he banked his TIE Defender. He throttled down chasing one of the more lively enemy ships.
“Half of them aren’t even maneuvering,” Evant’s voice came through Flelm’s headset. The ones that were however, were diving toward the surface without a second thought to the Imperial Fleet shooting at them.
“Well, lets us know what ones to ignor-” Flelm was cut short of finishing. One of the less flight worthy ships detonated from within. Chunks of the ships went flying off in every direction through space. Flelm swore and tried his best to maneuver out of the way of the deadly debris. His shield indicator started flashing as some of the smaller chunks bore into the ship.
“Nightshade form up on me. We need to disable these ships before they get too close to one of our ISDs,” he said after clearing the wreckage. Behind him several more TIE Defenders fell in line ready to go out for a kill.
Evant looked through the viewport and saw one of the fleets VT-49s chew through another kamikaze ship. The issue wasn’t that the enemy was skilled, it was just the sheer number of ships inbound for the planet below. The space above Judecca had become a blur of reds and greens, punctuated by the periodic quick blast of an exploding ship.
“Concentrate on any ship that is heading toward us and not the surface,” Evant commanded. Sweat dripped from his brow as he worked to keep track of the chaos that was occurring in the battle.
“But sir, there are still ships heading for the surface,” One of the officers protested. Evant strode over with 3 quick steps and slammed the man’s head into the console in front of him.
“If these ships, any of them, collide with us we go up too,” he snarled.
The bridge was illuminated by another ship explosion, but this time it was due to the Fleet’s efforts. Flelm’s voice came through the comm.
“It is very satisfying to cause these ships to go up like that.”
Evant shook his head and turned his attention back to the fight as a whole. The suicide ships were doing their job well, many ships were making it to the surface.
“We need to clear this up quickly,” Koryn shouted. He was trying to help organize forces on the surface.
“Is it that bad?” Evant questioned. Koryn nodded still focusing on his terminal.
Xen, with several members of the Praetorian Guard at his back, carved his way into the entrance hall of the Royal Palace. The anti-fire system had already extinguished the flames of the explosion, but the hall was crumbling around them. A large frigate had crashed straight through the walls of the palace. From within, soldiers had quickly poured out killing those who survived the initial blast.
As Xen and the guards tore through the end of the crumbling hall, he saw that the frigate had doors on both sides of its cargo hold. Through the smoke and blaster fire, Xen could see straight through the ship and out onto the grounds of the palace. Skid marks extended out through the grounds and past the now broken reinforced outer wall. The Scions had direct access from the street outside the palace all the way into its heart.
Xen let out a roar of rage and cut down another Scion soldier before reflecting back a blaster bolt. There was a constant stream of enemy combatants pouring into the palace. Behind him, several of the Praetorian Guard had already fallen. By now the Scions were flooding into the other parts of the palace.
“Pull back,” Xen ordered through gritted teeth. Nearly every single member of Scholae Palatinae was out on the streets of Ohmen. Those who weren’t in the city were fighting in the skies above the planet. He had no choice but to retreat.
“Look, 4 o’clock!” Delak shouted. He took several more shots with his rifle, taking down another Scion soldier. Dante turned to look and saw Lucyeth and Zagro pinned by enemy fire.
“Cover fire,” Dante yelled. There was a momentary pause as the soldiers turned and let loose a blaze of blaster fire at the Scions attacking Lucyeth and Zagro. Lucyeth and Zagro dove out of their cover and ran toward the group of soldiers and fellow Scholae Palatinae members.
“Took you long enough,” Brandon teased. He and Shadow had ran into Dante and Delak mere moments after the initial blast from the palace.
“They are coming in from everywhere,” Lucyeth managed to get out between deep breaths.
“They were already here,” Dante replied. He gave another quick hand gesture in signal to the troopers. The troopers turned and focused fire, clearing a path deeper into the city.
“We saw maybe half a dozen different squads on our way here. We picked off some stragglers, but there are just too many,” Zagro said. Another explosion went off, closer than the rest had. The group slammed themselves down on the ground.
Dante reached for a comm unit to contact other squads.
“You’ve got to be kidding,” he said after a moment. He slammed the unit on the ground breaking it.
“Static. We are being jammed.” He jumped to his feet and continued, “Old fashioned way it is. This Empire isn’t going to save itself. Lets go be big damn heroes.”
That was when they noticed green gas slowly creeping its way through the streets toward them. It was thick and dense, rolling over the bodies of the dead like a river.
“Is that what I think it is?” Shadow questioned, wide eyed. The noises that came through the walls of the building answered her question. The unmistakable sound of terrified screams.
Field Science Lab
Tucked away in one of the caves outside Ohmen, the scientists were left away from the battle to work. But even there, they could still make out the sounds of explosions hitting the capital City. The first one heightened their attention, a dull aching noise softened by the walls of the lab. The siren picked up mere moments later.
“Looks like our guests have arrived,” Dr. Rei said looking up momentarily from the solutions of dark red she was working on. Several of the other scientists had stopped in place, staring into space, waiting, listening. Elincia gave an exasperated sigh.
“This isn’t the time to just stop. You’ve seen from the samples recovered on Caina what is coming. If we don’t make enough anti-toxin the city will tear itself apart.”
The seconds slowly turned into minutes. The alarms continued, but the scientists ignored them. All that mattered was the job at hand. Under the pressure, Dr. Rei became so consumed by what she was doing she didn’t hear the door to the lab open. Nor did she hear the hulking figure who stepped through the door approach her. When the man finally made his presence known, she jumped, nearly dropping the container she was holding.
“We are out of time doc,” Archangel said, standing tall over Elincia. After recovering from being startled Elincia glowered up at the soldier.
“Sent a brute for it? Aren’t you better suited for, you know… Grrr smash!” She said walking over to a pallet full of anti-toxin.
“Needed someone who wouldn’t get stopped or slowed down,” Archangel smiled grimly. He knew if the doctor had seen what he had getting here, she wouldn’t be questioning why he of all Palatinaean members was here to get the goods.
Men and women had been twisted into hulking beasts even bigger and more foreboding than he was. Civilians being ripped in two. Citizens running from their homes, shops, loved ones, and into the street screaming in terror. In many cases, screaming at nothing as the fear toxin coursed through their veins. Archangel himself had gotten rerouted three times by the advancing green mist.
Archangel grabbed the pallet. It would be easy enough for him to carry it into the city.
“Will this be enough?” he asked.
“Enough? For what? The whole city? Of course not. That might be enough to see the army through this. We will keep working on getting more,” Elincia replied. Archangel grunted in understanding, and heaved the package onto his shoulders.
“This has been child’s play. We severely overestimated their abilities. They didn’t even notice us slipping into their detection systems. They only knew we were here when the fire was burning them,” Zhan said as he strolled through the crumbling entrance hall.
“Better to over prepare, then not,” Bernard Leo said. One of the fallen Praetorian Guards let out an agonized moan of life. Bernard quickly strolled over and pulled out a knife. Zhan kept walking.
“They will regroup. We need to fully secure the palace and prepare for their counter-offense,” Lady Il-Kayd said. “I have the boys bringing in some of our toys now.”
“Kelac is already seeing them put to good use,” Zhan replied. He stepped over the body of another fallen Praetorian Guard.
“The grunts did learn their training well,” Zhan continued. With a flourish Zhan pushed open the ornate doors to the Throne room itself. Small chunks of ceiling had fallen here too, courtesy of their gate crashing. Cleaning it up was something that could be worried about after the fighting was done.
Zhan made the walk to the throne in silence as the adrenaline pumped in his blood. He let out a satisfied groan as he sat down on the throne. Even his careful practice couldn’t stop him from letting out a satisfied groan, his joy filled his very soul.
At long last, Palpatine’s true heir sits on a throne. The throne. **My* throne.* he thought.
“Now then. Go remind these misguided fools that they can kneel to the true Emperor, or they can die. And someone find me that fool who sat here, Vismorsus. I want to see his failed soul leave his body as I kill him,” Zhan ordered.
“Activate the lockdown system. If they get down here we are even more frakked than we already are,” Xen’Mordin commanded the few Praetorian Guards who managed to get down into the sub-levels. As they had fled from the entrance hall into the back portions of the palace they had run straight between two groups of Scions. The resulting crossfire had severely thinned their ranks. Behind his mask, sweat continued to bead on Xen’s face.
The Quaestor slumped away from his soldiers sealing off the elevator shaft. These levels, built for use by the House, were built to be able to be sealed off in the event of an enemy occupation. If this wasn’t an enemy occupation, Xen didn’t know what was. The clanging sound of the multiple blast-proof bulkheads echoed through the halls of the Palatinaean seat of power.
From here there was access to every file, dirty secret, mission, military plan imaginable. There was even access to some of the the Brotherhood’s secure networks. Xen walked straight past several rooms he could have used to watch the chaos going on above him.
He turned a corner and made his way down a very different hallway. This hallway was more ornately decorated than the stark walls that made up the other halls of these levels. He approached a meticulously carved set of double doors. With a gentle push, the doors swung silently open, revealing a room lit by candle light. The shadows of the room danced with the flickering light.
Looping front and center on a raised platform was a statue of Emperor Palpatine, Darth Sidious himself. Xen kept his head bowed out of respect as he made his way to the statue. He silently knelt before it.
“Well, my Lord, today we will see if we really are the ones who should carry on your legacy,” Xen whispered. He reached forward and pushed in several seemingly random locations on the base of the statue. A small terminal flipped down out of a hiding space in the stone. Xen stared at the screen for a moment, taking in just how very alone he was. How very far away all his brothers and sisters were. It was their fight now.
With the statue of Palpatine looming overhead, Xen keyed in the message that would broadcast to every member of Scholae Palatinae across the galaxy.
The Empire is threatened. The Empire is on the verge of collapse. The Empire needs **you.
Xen pressed the send button and the message disappeared. What would come next was out of his hands. The fate of the Empire and the Cocytus system now rested in the hands of his Housemates. In the hands of the members of Scholae Palatinae.
Welcome to the finale or our year long Looking Home Campaign. The Wrath of Zhan is now here and will be running through the end of December! There has been a lot of build up for this moment so I hope you are all excited to finally do battle against Zhan and the Scions of Cocytus. As a reminder all of the Looking Home Campaign fictions are posted on discourse and can be reviewed here. The last month’s worth of leading fictions start here, for those of you looking specifically for that. I apologize for how long that opening fiction ended up being, but I really wanted to set the scene, and I felt it was really important to highlight a lot of different members in it.
I know December is a busy month for pretty much everyone, which is why I decided to push this out into a full month long event. There is huge list of competitions for it, ranging from short to long, so there should be something there for everyone and their time constraints. As always there are a ton of medals to be won, glory to be earned, and bragging rights to establish.
So let’s jump into what is available to do.
Like prior LHC Events, participation and placing in the associated competitions will earn you points toward being the overall Wrath of Zhan winner. Winning submissions for many of the competitions will be recognized in the “ending” fiction and will be summarized as part of the wikipedia page that will be created for the event. So this is a chance to affect the continuing House lore and history!
Together We Stand; United we Fall: This is the associated run-on for this event. You can find the run-on thread here. With Zhan in control of the Imperial Palace, and chaos in the streets of Ohmen, you must find a way to save the city and weaken Zhan for the final battle. Above all Zhan’s Top Lieutenants Lady Il-Kayd and Bernard Leo must die. With their removal, the Scion forces will break enough that Zhan can be accessible.
The sooner you jump into this the easier it will be for it to finish, and for you to hit the minimum requirements for participation. Those minimum requirements are the standard run-on rules. Two posts of at least 250 words. This runon will also be judged, with the top three participants earning crescents. As clarification that does not mean most posts made. Two very well written posts that actively contribute to the story will score better than five mediocre posts that accomplish very little.
This Nightmare Pumping in my Veins: This is the “long” fiction competition. One of the many things Zhan did in preparation for attempting to take over the Empire, was the development of a powerful fear toxin (as discovered back in the Caina LHC). Infected by this toxin you must fight your way to receive the developed cure and ensure the death of Zhan’s lieutenant Kelac Lasha. I say this is the “long” fiction because it has no maximum word count, and a minimum count of 1000 words.
Acts of Violence: This is the “short” fiction competition. After being separated from Scholae Palatinae forces, you come across a hastily set up Scion outpost in Ohmen. You must get through the outpost to reunite with House forces. It needs to be between 500 and 1500 words. I’m also calling it an “action” fiction. How you choose to deal with the outpost is up to you, but it must be dealt with.
Ode to an Imperial Hero: This is the poetry competition. Not only has Zhan moved to control the Empire, he has directly threatened the civilians of the system. Your efforts to stop him have also led to having to save the people of Ohmen. It’s not everyday Dark Jedi get to be heroes, and today, you are. Write a poem detailing the heroic acts you and your fellow housemates did to save the day.
The Ruined Palace: This is the graphics competition. As seen in the opening fiction, the Scions crashed a ship into the palace as part of their way to break in. Now the palace has been taken, and the Scions have fortified their position. Show the damage and how they fortified the entrance hall to prevent Scholae Palatinae from marching straight in.
Assault the Palace: This is the Battleplan Event. This does not have to be a full battleplan. The only parts you need to include is the more creative part of the plan, the actual details of how HSP forces would strike at the palace. Along with this plan you need to include at least one contingency plan. Sections like objectives, military force break down, condition of the battle, are not required. However feel free to add them if you would like the practice.
Fffffffuuuuuuuuuuuu Zhan: This is a comic competition! Using a site such as ragemaker.net or paint or whatever is convient to create a comic depicting parts of Zhan’s attack and how your character responds to the situation.
I’ve blank it with these blanks in my blank-ing Empire: This is a mad libs competition. When you subscribe you will see a list of word types. Fill out the list with appropriate words and submit. Grading will be based on how humorous and ridiculous the resulting mad lib ends up.
Only one man would DARE give me the raspberry: This is a decryption competition. The Scions have broken into our systems, and are currently jamming main fleet signals, preventing communications between forces. Among the signal you detect a message. Decode it. This event is timed, starting from the moment you subscribe.
The Imperial Knowledge Test: This is the trivia event. It is timed from when you subscribe. You will be given 20 questions about the LHC, Judecca, and Scholae Palatinae to answer.
Snapshots of War: This is a flash game competition. In this case it is solving an online jigsaw puzzle. Fasted solved puzzle wins. Timer is on the puzzle itself so unlike the trivia and decryption competitions you don’t need to worry about time starting when you hit subscribe.
So here we are, the finale of the Looking Home Campaign. I hope you all have enjoyed the ride here and are really stoked for this final bit. This is also one of the last chances for practice you will have, as the Great Jedi War is currently slated for early next year. So let’s send 2014 out with a massively high note.
I do also want to re-congratulate both Evant and Lucyeth on their recent promotions. EQ2 and EQ1 respectively, are both massive accomplishments. Thank you both for your continued service to this house and this club.
Finally because watching it a million times wasn’t enough, here is a link to watch the teaser trailer for the movie. Dec 18 next year is a very long way away.
Now go out and save our Empire.
FOR THE EMPIRE!
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