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Let the onslaught begin

Posted on Wed Sep 8th, 2021 @ 8:37pm by Master Deakon Iersa & Knight Sice Isatu & Darth Revan & Apprentice Johal & Apprentice Marlo Jarotay & Darth Sonne

Episode: Episode I: Rise of the Sith
Location: Surface of Saleucami, Saleucami System, Suolriep Sector
Timeline: Day 4 at 0800

Johal arrived at the front lines of the fight for Saleucami with a minimum of fuss. She was in full readiness to commence the assault on the Republic forces and their Jedi allies if the need arose, and she could see the battle had begun to unfold whilst she could sense the Jedi either in orbit or on the surface of the planet.

The Sith approached the Sergeant she'd spoken to via the holo and his squad not bothering to acknowledge anyone who else, she had no time for formalities, the Jedi could not be permitted to interfere with the Empire's mission on Saleucami. The presence of the Grand Army of the Republic was diverting her focus away from the real reasons she was there, finding out what Revan wanted on Saleucami.

"Status report Sergeant," Johal demanded of the Sergeant as she approached the squad.

"We made significant, rapid progress towards the forest dwellings, but the Republic forces have launched a stiff counter-offensive and the push is at a stand still," the Sergeant frowned beneath his helmet, unsure as to what the new Sith might react.

Sonne stepped into the conversation, newly heralded into this specific warzone and devoid of any intel besides his personal contact. He stood tall, shoulders back, gaze alert and regarded the soldier before him with contained frustration that bled only a little into his tone. "So no one has reached the forest homes as yet?" He asked, seeking immediate clarification. "Who lives there?" That question went to Johal. "Exactly how many Jedi are we dealing with at this moment in time?" He needed facts, not generalisations, but he sought this first by the process of simple queries. "Who and what - exactly - do we have deployed?"

"A good question. We have deployed most, if not all, of our forces. We must crush the Republic now before more Jedi and troops arrive and make seizing this planet difficult," Johal replied.

"Always hold offence some back," advised Sonne, his gaze moving outwards via the Force to observe beyond this currently unsatisfactory response. "And you - Johal, right - what have you personally done? Have you gotten your hands dirty yet or simply observed from these sidelines?" There was no overt derision in the man's voice, but Sonne did raise an eyebrow as he regarded his pureblood comrade.

"I've been coordinating things leading up to now. Now I am heading into battle with these troops," Johal replied "What have you done so far?" she asked Sonne.

"Coordinating things," Sonne repeated with a definite sense of mockery. "Ground troops and vehicles - how many units? Do you have any air support? Any other Sith fighting?" He frowned. "Have you remained back here, safe, simply observing?" He had only been here a few hours at this point, but that wasn't an excuse, so Sonne's answer to Johal's own question was simple. "I have a scout deloyed behind enemy lines," he advised. Then, as Marlo's voice spoke within his mind, Sonne added. "Two Jedi, one Master."

"I have been observing and commanding them from HQ, I did not wish to commit myself until the right time," Johal told Sonne "Two Jedi, now things get more interesting," she added.

"Better to be out here in the field," noted Sonne with a serious edge to his tone. "And yes, we should seek them out, once my source finishes their recon." A brief pause, and he regarded Johal, studying her with interest. "Have they told you what we're protecting yet?"

Johal shook her head "Not a clue, i was dispatched here to find out what Revan came here for," she told Sonne "Do you have a clue as to what is really going on?" she asked Sonne.

"Same here," he admitted. "So, no. I only know that something here is worth all of," he gestured to the world about them. "This." Sonne sighed with the heaviness of a deeper frustration. "Have you even seen Darth Revan yet?"

"No, I have not," Johal replied "The sooner we deal with these Jedi and Republic soldiers the sooner we can find out what brought Revan to this godforsaken world," Johal replied "Have you seen Revan?" she asked Sonne.

Sonne's expression steeled darkly. Frustrating as this was, Saleucami was a mystery he intended to solve in time. The less time the better... "So, let us deal with them then," he declared. "Mere soldiers should not present too much of a problem for once such as yourself? What are you waiting for?"

He regarded the Sith with a curiosity born from lack of current military intelligence - this battlefield was new to him. "I have not seen Revan, no," Sonne admitted. "Perhaps he tests you? Perhaps he waits to see if the simple destruction of petty troopers is within your ability before he seeks you out for more?"

Johal did not react to the comment. "Sergeant, let's put these pathetic Republic scum to the sword, the sooner we deal with the scum the better," she said to the Sergeant.

"With pleasure my lord," the Sergeant replied.

Johal ignited her lightsaber and moved off with her troops, headed straight for the enemy lines, she would do her utmost best to kill or capture as many as possible along the way.

Calmly sending out invisible tendrils of consciousness into the world around him, Sonne on the other hand remained absolutely still. He sought the nuances in the Force, the trees around them, the wildlife in the canopies, in distant hiding places within the low fern level and below in the earth beneath his feet. Above, there were few critters audible to his outstretched mind. Arboreal rodents in the high branches, insects and birds finding safety at the periphery of the bidepal army and their accoutrements.

To complete his own personal first recon on this Citadel the Jedi held, he needed his brother, so Sonne eventually cast his mind in the younger man's direction.

Johal led her troopers forward, the remains of buildings littered the ground, bodies lay here, there and everywhere, some of them were Imperial soldiers, others were Republic soldiers, and the rest in all likelihood were civilians. The dead meant little to Johal, only the living meant anything right now.

The first enemies Johal came across was a small Republic Recon team, who had the extreme misfortune of appearing on Johal's right emerging from the ruins of a building, none of the scouts managed to raise their weapons before Johal beheaded one of them with her lightsaber, and the other two were shot down by her troopers.

[Forest Dwellings, Grand Army Offensive Lines]

Trees that had stood in the forests of Saleucami for thousands of years exploded all around the Republic forces as they fought against the vicious enemies. Republic troops, clad in their white armour with different coloured trims, worked in groups to try and gain ground on their Sith opponents - with varied success.

He wasn't fighting, yet. No, Marlo was working the advance scout routine he often chose in a new field of combat. Best offence and all that. So, safely ensconced in his Force Cloak, the younger Jarotay walked covertly amongst those deployed troops of both sides, keen to see who exactly had come to join the party.

Standing mere yards back from the front line, her hands clasped behind her back, Sice Isatu watched in silence as the troopers under her command fought back the advancing Sith troopers. She had not been in command of the Unit many times before, but the troopers were more than supportive of the young Jedi, happy to follow her instructions.

Towering above the Jedi, several enormous, mechanical walkers stood stationary, waiting for the right moment to begin their advance into the forest. Inside the lead vehicle, and watching those below, Master Deakon Iersa mimicked the stance of his apprentice. You could be forgiven for thinking that the situation looked somewhat dire if you were an outsider, but to those in command, the problem was far worse. Had the Jedi reinforcements not arrived, the Republic forces would have been overwhelmed for certain.

Almost simultaneously, the two Jedi closed their eyes as a connection formed between them from across the divide of the Force. Moments later, Sice ordered her troopers to advance before they were crushed by the gigantic feet of the walkers behind them. Igniting her lightsaber, an emerald blade was accompanied by the trademark hum of the device as she began to move forwards with her soldiers.

Interesting... considered Marlo as he noted those present. He did not know the young woman, but she was unlikely to be here alone. An apprentice, no doubt, to a more potent threat. He sought his brother's mind with this information and smiled indulgently to himself as he slipped into a wider circle. Should the two become separated, Marlo might chance his arm, but against two, the fight was not worth more than the potential for more intel on the enemy. Were there others or just this implied partnership?

As the troopers began to gather pace, and the walkers gained ground on their stroll through the forest, the Master Jedi suddenly lifted a hand to his head, a familiar pain indicating something - a disturbance in the Force. Something nearby was causing him concern, and he had to communicate that to his Apprentice. Tagging his comm on his wrist, the voice of his Apprentice came through.

"Yes, Master?"

"I sense a disturbance, Young One. Be mindful as you proceed," he instructed from within the safety of his walker.

Sice stopped in her tracks, looking up at the massive vehicle behind her. When Iersa felt a disturbance, it was not to be scoffed at.

Marlo, too, paused. He'd been told not to engage, to gather information and report back. But he watched this 'Young One' with amused interest - he could take her down, win an early victory... As her gaze shifted skyward though, he followed that gesture. So... that was where her Master was then? Inside the walker? He should increase the distance between those allies, draw the apprentice away from her support.

His mind sought the local wildlife, something to pique her interest besides a fight and amongst the forest that surrounded them he pulled a few small herbivores from their hiding places with mental promises of sustenance. Their visceral screams were quiet in the big scheme of this battle-torn world, but perhaps enough to draw a Jedi's soft attention. A trap, with Sice's name on it.

And draw the apprentice's attention it did, the Noobian youngster's connection to the Force twitching and drawing her to a halt whilst the Troopers around her continued their advance. She sensed a nearby disturbance, and it felt like something she had to investigate. Lifting her arm, she pressed the comm button and a hologram of her Master appeared. Her brown hair floated behind her in the wind. "Master... I sense a disturbance I need to investigate."

"Be mindful of the Force, Young One. There are many trials sent to test us on this world," the far wiser Jedi told from the safety of his Walker. "If you feel you must proceed, do so with caution. I will not be there to assist," Iersa advised.

Sice took a deep breath, looking rather pensive as she stared into the Forest beyond her. "Understood, Master."

Iersa. Marlo noted the image, the tiny representation of the Jedi Master held in the palm of the young Jedi's hand. Information he imparted to his brother via their link before positioning himself within the trees beyond the immediate line of sight of those great walkers beyond them both. She looked... thoughtful? Concerned? Marlo grinned, waiting for her to close the distance between her current position and the little forest corpses.

Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, the Jedi opted to move no further, choosing instead to simply drop to her knees, deactivated lightsaber in hand. Once she was comfortable, with her hair blowing in the breeze behind her, the Noobian took a deep, calming breath and closed her eyes. Something was near, and she was going to use her connection with the Force to establish what it was.

Patience, Marlo's brother had told him. Patience and forward planning. He had the latter down just fine, but all this waiting around was far trickier to stomach. As he watched the Jedi seem to meditate before stepping any closer to him, he felt frustration rush up inside him and channelled that into red-hot anger. He was ready, spoiling for a fight, but suicide by walker was not on his to-do list either. He pulled on his empathy talent again, encouraging every living creature in his close proximity to gather between him and this Jedi apprentice.

Sice was aware of something occurring nearby, something influenced only by manipulation of the Force, but she was unable to pinpoint who, or what, was using its abilities to manipulate events. She probed further, she focused her mind, trying desperately to gain the clarity needed to solve the conundrum...

The Apprentice's head snapped in the direction of a 'presence', her eyes wide open as she jumped to her feet and drew her blade. "Show yourself," she demanded.

His laugh preceded his visible presence, Marlo's lightsaber held lazily in his right hand, as yet unlit. Cocky and self-righteous, he kept a smug smirk on his face as he leant casually against the nearest tree. "You're not the boss of me," the young man said. "Are you a threat?" Nothing about his clothing marked him as dark or light, Jedi or Sith, he wore pale forest camouflage colours in both trousers and shirt, his dark brown boots were scuffed from regular use and his darker eyes searched Sice's own. "You seem very irritated," he taunted, mildly.

A single press of the ignition switch on the hilt of her lightsaber activated the thirty-two inch, emerald coloured blade of her Jedi weapon, the hum of the device a welcome, and trusted, sound to her ears. She held the blade back in a one-handed grip, angled forwards with the blade arm held parallel, her other hand held up in a challenge to her attackers. Her dominant foot was placed back, flat and firmly poised on the ground while the other was extended forwards and to the side in a brace position. Soresu at its finest.

"And you are out of your depth here, Dark one," the young woman remarked sternly, her stance unwavering.


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