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Thevshi

Sword and Shield (IC)

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Citadel

Lor Timemark 1792.4 [March 4, 2018 (Terran Calendar)]

 

The planet Citadel was perhaps among the most unique in the known galaxy.  The world had long ago been terraformed so that is contained dozens of different biomes and even atmospheres, many sealed off from one another to prevent contamination.  All of this was possible thanks to Mentor and incredibly advanced technology that made the division possible.  The various biomes and atmospheres allowed for the incredible variety that made up the membership of the Star Knights, providing barracks and recreational atmospheres as well as training grounds for the Knights and its potential members.

 

On the largest continent of the planet stood a massive fortress consisting of a ring of a dozen towering spires.  Each spire was the width of several city blocks of a major Terran city and rose up well over a mile in height.  From this inner ring, dozens of smaller buildings, each no more than ten stories high, extended outward like spokes for several miles.  These reached out to connect to some of the major atmosphere sectors of the most unusual planet.

 

This was the central headquarters of the Order of the Star Knights, the interstellar guardians of freedom and justice.  Within those walls were the vast processors which contained Mentor, the enigmatic cybernetic computer network that contained the knowledge and experiences of thousands of individuals.  There were also training facilities, living quarters and various administrative and support offices for the Order.

 

As the sun rose in the sky over the headquarters of the Star Knights, many members of the Order and its recruits were just beginning their day.  For the group of recruits that were recently officially given the title of Star Squire, today would mark the first day they would be leaving Citadel to continue their training working alongside current Knights, undertaking the sorts of missions they would one day be expected to carry out on their own.

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"Armor....ACTIVATE!

 

B'Ka stood motionless, his brawny arms stuck out at 90 degrees from his body, big soft eyes squeezed tightly shut, his titanic musculature quivering in concentration.

 

~"Armor lock engaged. Armor will not deploy without authorization. This will continue for 30 more cycles or until student receives permission from-"~

"Fine! I get it!" Snorting through his sensitive nose, the khered stumped out of his quarters and into the hall. And into the mill of seemingly countless other students. The bullish boy topped most of them by a head at least, but that didn't make them any more easy to be around. B'Ka was from the rural pastures and fields of Netypayatet, where if he was really lucky he would meet five new people a year. Ever since he had first arrived it seemed like just turning around was dangerous, something could be lurking and waiting to strike with terrifying novelty.

 

Even worse, everyone knew why he was one of the tiny handful of Squires not allowed to activate their armor unsupervised.

 

But he had a job to do. Today, he could ignore the kindly half-smiles, the well-meaning words of encouragement and the earnest compliments for his willingness to take risks!

 

Marching up to Squire Kath'lana's door, the hornless man-bull gave what for him was a sharp and brisk rap-tap. What it was to anyone else was a mighty *THUD*

 

"Hey, Lana? You ready?"

 

No answer.

 

"Hey Lana!"

 

He paused, ears flicking slightly as they dipped to the door. He decided to try again.

 

"Lanaaaaaaaaaaa!"

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Squire Kath'lana

 

Kath'lana had awoken an hour before the sunrise, taking a trip toward one of the outer biomes a few miles from the inner circle of the Citadel.  This biome was a warm heavily vegetated jungle, rather similar to F'terrix Prime.  Once she had arrived, the young F'terrix had disengaged her armor and spent some time prowling through the jungle, re-acclimating herself to the environment, its sounds and smells.

 

Today would mark the beginning of her final path towards completing her training and eventually becoming a full Star Knight.  While Kath'lana was excited to begin this journey, she did not want to forget her past.  Stalking through the trees like her ancient ancestors once did was one such reminder.

 

When the first rays of sunlight were just starting to pierce through the jungle canopy, a soft chime sounded on a bracelet on Kath'lana’s wrist.  The F'terrix stopped on the branch she was on, looking down at the device.  Glancing back in the general direction of the center of Citadel, she let out a small sigh and leapt off the breach.


"Armor ACTIVATE!"

 

As Kath'lana flew through the air, gravity starting to pull her toward the ground, green tinted armor of a Star Knight quickly folded around her, encasing her completely before she had dropped more than ten feet. 

 

Once the armor was on, she was no longer falling, instead, she quickly rose back up into the air, soon rising above the jungle canopy completely.  Turning toward the distant towers that rose up above all else nearby, she then flew toward them, a trail of green following in her wake.

 

A short while late Squire Kath'lana was making her way through the halls of one of the living sections of one of massive towers in the inner ring, nodding politely to other students as she passed in response to their smiles and well wishes.


She heard the sound of her fellow squire banging on her door before she even rounded the corner.  "I am here B'ka."  She stated as she came around the corner, moving over towards the towering youth.  She was still in her armor, though had the helmet retracted. 

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Spinning around with far more power than grace, B'Ka straightened up smartly and snapped a salute, subtly easing his powerful body in front of the dent he had pounded into the door. With his head.

 

It wasn't that the dent was something easy to notice. It was ten centimeters across and two deep. Which was the problem.

 

I have to look cool in front of the uppersquires, or I'm out of the herd

 

Though that was a little difficult, seeing as she could summon her armor at will and he needed the say-so of a fully-trained Star Knight for his.

 

"Ah! Fellow Squire Kath'lana! I see you have been hard at work! I also have been. Just not on the plains." B'Ka rubbed one horn stump against the wall "The grass is too soft, can't get any traction for a decent charge." 

 

Swinging one muscular arm down the hall, barely avoiding clipping another Squire in the face, the khered bowed his head slightly. "After you."

 

Falling in behind her right shoulder, B'Ka went on "Who's training us? Sri Gana? Sri Solarus? Maybe Sri Montoya?"

 

 

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Squire Kath'lana

 

Kath'lana did her best to just ignore the large dent in the door to her quarters, trusting that the maintenance robots that oversaw much of the operations on Citadel would have it repaired by the time she was able to head back to her quarters.  Instead, she focused on the towering form of B'ka before starting off down the hallway toward the assembly courtyard.  "I honestly do not know."  She replied in response to his questions about who would be handling their training that day.  "But I am certain we will find out soon enough."

 

The F'terrix squire nodded at several fellow squires as she and B'Ka joined a growing crowd that was moving towards one of the nearby courtyards.  Those gathered around them represented the most advanced among the Squires that had been recruited since the end of the Communion War, the first of the new batch of recruits that were filling the strained ranks of the Order. 

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GM

 

Both Kath'lana and B'ka soon arrived at one of the many courtyards within the inner ring of the fortress headquarters of the Star Knights.  Several dozen other squires were already gathered, starting to form into their all too familiar positions within the formation that was part of their morning ritual.  Before B'ka could make his way over toward his position in formation near Kath'lana, one of the Star Knights overseeing the assembly stopped him.

 

"One moment Squire B'ka."  The reptilian Star Knight stated.  "Armor deployment authorized."  The Star Knight stated, allowing for B'ka to don his armor before taking his place in the ranks.

 

Once the two were in their places, they were required to wait several more microcycles as the remaining squires made their way into the courtyard and took their places.  Finally, all were gathered together, as a Star Knight called the formation to attention.

 

A figure dressed in a white robe appeared on a balcony overlooking the courtyard.  It was an older Lor with white hair that was quickly recognized as A'lan Koor, one of the greatest Star Knights in generations and a member of the Inner Circle, the senior most Star Knights that assisted Mentor in overseeing the administration of the Order.

 

"Good morning Squires."  Koor stated greeting as he looked out over the gathered beings from across the galaxy.  "May I congratulate each of you in all you have accomplished thus far in your training.  Know that myself and all the other members of the Inner Circle are proud of how far each of you has come."

 

"In times past you would be entering the final stages of your training here on Citadel, and within a cycle or two be ready to take on the full mantle of a Star Knight.  But the challenges facing the Galaxy have changed, as have the needs of the Order.  As such, starting today, you will be organized into small groups and assigned to an active Star Knight for continued training off world.  As part of this training you will rotate from the field back to Citadel, to be reassigned to other Star Knights for further off world training.  Know this, you will be facing the sorts of threats and challenges that you will be expected to overcome upon reaching full knighthood."

 

"While the dangers you will be facing are great, trust in yourselves, your training and your fellow members of the Order and you will overcome them.  You will be representatives of the Order, and your actions will reflect directly upon us all.  We trust that you will carry yourselves as you have been taught to do so."

"Always remember the oath,"  Koor stated, beginning a chant that was quickly be joined be the assembled Squires and Star Knights.

 

"Sword and shield, Star Stone's light,

shining beacon in our fight,

for justice, honor, truth and right,

evil beware – the true Star Knight!"

 

"Best speed and may the stars shine upon you all.  I look forward to seeing each upon your return."  Koor finished giving the assembled Squires a small smile before making his way back inside the fortress.


A Star Knight moved forward from where she had been standing on the balcony to address the squires.  "Squires, you will now be provided your assignments."

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In step alongside Squire Kath'lana, B'Ka held his head high and eyes forward, certain all eyes were on him. Halting for the Star Knight to unlock his armor, the muscular khered bowed his head slightly in bottomless thanks. In a flash and a hissing rattle of matter solidifying out of energy, deep bronze plates assembled themselves, casting the already towering bull into an even more imposing silhouette.

 

He stepped into formation beside Lana with perfect posture and poise, looking up at the appearance of Sri Koor with the utmost reverence. Koor wasn't as young as he used to be(a turn of phrase B'Ka was still puzzling over), and his place in the Inner Circle had come after a long and storied career. Up there was standing everything B'Ka hoped to achieve.

 

This was the year he would become a Knight. Then the years of trials that every recruit knew about, joining forces with the greatest company of heroes the universe had ever seen, battling back the forces of darkness and tyranny wherever they lurked, harnessing the might of the cosmos for the sake of defending the weak! Already B'Ka could see his path to the very balcony on which Sri Koor stood, the great evils he would destroy, the petty system lords to be brought down. He would defeat BlackStar himself in combat, end the line of the Khans forever, find the fabled Black Land and regrow his horns with draughts from the sacred River of Blood. B'Ka shifted his footing, seeing nothing but the coming glory: smashing Gruen Prime, overthrowing the crime lords, winning his kind new worlds to settle. And at the end of it all, a white robe and a place alongside the other greats, who would look upon him as an equal and worthy of all honors.

 

On 3/6/2018 at 9:38 PM, Thevshi said:

"-ing beacon in our fight,

 'No! I didn't hear his words of wisdom!' Wretchedly, B'Ka burst into the Oath with all speed. 

   "For honor, justice, truth and right,

   evil beware-the true Star Knight!"

 

As the echoing voices died down and the new Star Knight appeared to decide the fates of the Squires, B'Ka seemed to shrink inside his armor. He didn't dare look away, but that didn't make the suspense any easier to bear.

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Squire Kath'lana

 

As Sri Koor spoke to the assembled Squires, Kath'lana had listened closely to the elder Star Knight, feeling a sense of pride at his compliments that include both her and her fellow Squires.  At the mention of the next stages of their training being out in the field, the F’terrix felt a sense of excitement come over her. 

 

After spending several cycles on Citadel, it would be good to be back out among the stars, seeing other worlds.  And, of course there was the thrill of working alongside more senior Star Knights complete her training by carrying out the very types of missions that she would be expected to perform once she was a full member of the Order.

 

Immediately joining in with the recitation of the oath, she then remained in place as she awaited her new assignment. 

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GM

 

The Sri Haldin, the Star Knight that had addressed the assembly following Sri Koor's speech, began naming off pairs or trios of Squires, assigning them to work with a particular Star Knight, who would step forward and then led his or her new Squires off for their first assignment. 

The assembly had shrunk by about two dozen squires when Sri Halden made the next announcement.  "Squires Kath'lana and B'ka."  He looked out over the crowd toward the two named squires.  "You are to join Sri Darvo for the next stage of your training."

 

Sri Darvo stepped forward in the courtyard, a Wynn humanoid male in red armor stepped forward and awaited his two assigned Squires to join him.

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At last!

 

B'Ka leapt to the Star Knight's side....and crashed into another Squire, the two going down in a metal ball of yells, swinging cosmically-powered fists and crackling lances of energy as the Squires struggled furiously to disentangle. Kicking savagely out at the other, eel-like student, B'Ka accidentally activated his armor's propulsion system and careened into the tower head-first. For a moment he hung there, dangling helplessly, stunned by the impact, before peeling away and landing with a *THUD* back on the parade grounds, where he lay insensible.

 

Suddenly the young bull lurched to his feet and marched up to Star Knight Darvo, long, jerky steps guiding the bronzy Squire beside his now-mentor.

 

"Greetings. Sri B'Ka is recovering from the impact, onboard AI will record this briefing for when he is able to fully process the information. He is already mostly-fine, please proceed."

 

"Y-yeah I'm fine," B'Ka's voice mumbled, "Sorry, S'rroth!" he hollered over to the Squire he'd hit "I'll make it up to you later, I promise!"

 

S'rroth paused in their slithering to meet their own Star Knight, glancing askance at B'Ka "That will not be necessary, don't mention it. Please."

Edited by Ari

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Kath'lana

 

The young F'terrix squire felt a surge of anticipation and excitement start to build up as she waited to receive her assignment.  As other squires received their assignments she added her congratulations to those of others before quieting once more to hear the next assignment.

 

Finally her name was called, along with B'ka's.  The large Hapisian quickly moved to greet their mentor, causing a minor disturbance as he collided with Squire S'rroth, sending both into a tangled pile.  Kath'lana stayed slightly back from the scene, not wanting to make the situation any more embarrassing for either of the two squires. 


Once B'ka was disengaged, she moved over to their mentor along with him.  "Squire Kath'lana reporting as ordered Sri Darvo."  She stated.

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"Who'll we be up against, Sri Darvo?" B'Ka's helmet was up but it was easy to imagine his eyes sparkling. "Pirates? Corrupt Prophets? A dragon?" The Squire's hands clenched at the idea of battling one of the ancient terrors of deep space. Dragons of any kind were rare on most worlds, but Star Knight sectors being what they were, especially after the massive losses from the Incursion War, most Star Knights had at least seen one, even if far off and from the traces they left in gravity wells. But that kind of distant encounter wasn't what most Squires thought about.

 

"I've heard there'll be a fight between some of the Star Khan's children that'll spill over the border, are we going to put a stop to their mad schemes?"

 

That was almost certainly not true, but frankly it was hard to tell with the Khanate these turns. 

 

"Will you show us how to do that thing where you shoot a whole bunch of Star Stone energy out of your breastplate? Or how to win an arm-wrestling match with a Cholaxan? Or where you go when you dream?"

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