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Fennic Town, Temuera II, Lor Exlcusion Zone, 13.0.7.3.1

 

The planet Temuera sat on the edge of the Lor Republic, a blasted rock that was barely able to support life. It would probably have been of no interest to anyone but the Science core if it wasn’t for the deposits of Tepeyoite a glassy mineral with numerous uses in high tech equipment. Hence places like Fennic Town had popped up around the more generous veins of the mineral.

 

Beneath the blasted surface of the planet however there was secrets long buried bought to light but the miners that didn’t know what they had discovered. Other did however and raiders had arrived to try and claim these sites, and the precious minerals, to try and profit with those that would purchase such things.

 

The raiders needed to be stopped so through all the subtle channels a call had gone out for heroes, as rough and ready as needed, to help defend the people of this nowhere planet.

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The light scout frigate appeared from a fold in space itself high above the surface of the small independant mining collective and angled it's thrusters for descent.

 

"I'm getting signs of habitation perhaps a lost colony or ..."  Jolan trailed off, "This isn't Eagle-tp97/M  is it."  the ascetic sighed heavily.

 

"No but it's on the way!"  Fa'Rua replied from the pilots harness as she angled the ship for atmospheric entry.  

 

"You fold space itself Fa'Rua."  Her brother scolded though already resigned to whatever had drawn his sibling to this place.  "There is literally nothing on the way."  he corrected none the less.

 

"Or everything is on the way."  she countered with a cheeky grin as she sent the frigate into a steep descent, "They need help Jolan, and out here we may be the best they can get."  the scout explained as the ship began to shudder at atmospheric entry.

 

By the time they had landed at the small spaceport among the independent freighters willing to brave runs in the exclusion zone she'd passed on what limited amount she'd gleaned about the settlements plight.  As the gangway lowered Fa'Rua abled down her scored scout armor still a mark of Lor authority if without any actual enforcement powers.  Jolan followed in his simple robes, "We should seek out a headman or mine supervisor."  he suggested as his sister scanned the closest buildings, "We should check the bar."  his sister replied with a grin, "They'll have the real down low."

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A brilliant shooting star flared through the thin atmosphere, a pretty sight to even those jaded by cosmic routine. 

 

It quickly became apparent, however, that the shooting star was failing to burn up, and in a few seconds had enlarged into a brassy lump afire from 'sphere entry! It hurtled towards the ground, threatening destruction the little town hadn't weathered since

 

Then the jets fired, the lump slowed, and a horned Star Knight slammed bodily into the ground, bouncing and rolling and coming to a gentle rest beside the two Lor. Unsteadily, it rose to its hooves, swaying gently before the scout siblings. Sizzling with the friction of its descent, the unmistakable armor of Mentor's Citadel of heroes shone like ruddy gold, the figure inside already hefty and imposing, made more so by faceless metal. A faint hum within indicated the activation of Star Stone-powered machinery, and the horned helmet slid back to reveal the face of the newest arrival. 

 

A fuzzy brown snout, large, floppy ears and soft, shy brown eyes peered down at the duo. Giving lie to the arcing horns of the armor, the Knight's own horns were two rough, uneven stumps. He was unmistakably one of the stodgy Khered from the backspace breadbasket worlds. 

 

"Hey," he said, looking back and forth between Jolan and Fa'Rua, "is this the planet with a lot of bad guys? I need to know before Squire Kath'lana gets here. I got us-I mean, we got lost. I'm B'ka. Squire B'ka, I mean. Who are you guys?"

Edited by Ari
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Fa'Rua stopped in her tracks as the meteoric re-entry lit the skies overhead eyes narrowing, "That's no meteoroid."  she intoned suspiciously and began to reach out ot twist it's path away form the settlement when her brother gave a  small shake of his head placing a hand on her shoulder to halt her efforts.  As the Star Knight Came to a rest before them the Lor scout stepped forward and shook her head, "No this is a planet with a bunch of miners looking for help with some bad guys."  she corrected perhaps a bit harshly before her brother shot her a quelling look and stepped in diplomatically.  "Greetings honored Squire, may you bring honor to the Citadel."  the Lor intoned solemnly.  "I am Jolan of the Lor Star Republic and this worthy is Scout Sergeant Fa'Rua."  he introduced with a deep bow.  

 

Fa'Rua frowned at her brothers interruption but had to acknowledge the Star Knights were unlikely to strike out at the world as a whole and the aid of even a trainee of the citadel could be of great help if the situation was as dire as reports indicated.  She hung back and allowed her brothers way with words to carry them for the time being.  "As mentioned this is indeed a world in need of aid."  Jolan continued and pause glancing skywards, "You mentioned another?  Are more Star Knights expected?"  he inquired and glanced to Fa'Rua as if this would be proof enough their own aid would be in surplus.

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"No, don't think so." B'ka scratched the side of his snout, glancing up at the stars. "Our trainer doesn't want Squires risking themselves, so I kinda snuck away when we got close to this system. Our Knight's got stuff to do, so he's not likely to swing 'round, but it's all negotiatin' and stuff, so I figured 'lana'll come looking, and when she's already here we'll have to help out!"

 

The young bull Khered cracked his armored knuckles, taking stock of the blasted, dreary landscape. "A true Star Knight's about action," he said, though to whom was a mystery, "d'you know when they'll show? The pirates? You're with the Prophets, right?" he asked Jolan, "y'can see the future?" 

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Dirge

 

Kanemu of Ku'unum had only rudimentary knowledge of what the Lor Republic considered "modern technology" or the underlying science which made it function. He knew enough that he could understand what he was reading if he had to look something up, just not enough to remember what he'd read later. But his understanding was sufficient for the sorts of menial labor he subsisted on when mercenary work wasn't available, and that included the broader industrial applications of Tepeyoite ore, and, more likely relevant for his purposes, the best ways to mine it. And mine it he would, unless a more exciting employment opportunity presented itself, perhaps even the opportunity to die like a true Fryxian, to die a death glorious enough that his people would live on in the tales told of his great doom.

 

The passage he'd bought on the transport had drained the bulk of his credits, not that he'd ever had many to begin with. He'd lain on the bare plasteel of the not-really-converted cargo bay crammed in with other flotsam of the stars, mostly prospectors hoping that their fortunes would turn if they could catch some crumbs of the Tepeyoite boom before it ended. When the transport dumped them on Temuera II, one of its crew members repeatedly imitated the noise of a toilet flushing as the "discount" passengers filed out through the cargo bay doors. The massive blue-furred sheep-man turned around the second his feet touched the planet's soil, the moment he left the ship captain's legal jurisdiction, and head-butted the crewman hard enough to knock him out cold. There were two audible *CRACK*s, one when Kanemu's rack of curved horns and thick skull struck the man, and another when he fell and his head smacked against the inner hull of the cargo bay. Then Kanemu immediately turned back around and kept walking, oblivious to the reactions of his fellow passengers or the unconscious man's fellow shipmates.

 

The last Fryxian checked the pouch hanging under his scarlet loin cloth as he moved through the settlement. A few credits left on his stick, and a handful of tiny gems and ingots. Enough for a meal or two, maybe a night's drink, but he'd be sleeping in a barn tonight if he were lucky, or out in the street if he weren't. He needed paying work, and he needed it fast. The Fryxus deserved a better end to their saga than for the last of their herd to starve to death in a back alley. He strode purposefully toward the nearest bar.

 

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Squire Kath'lana

 

Another brightly colored "shooting star" began to approach the atmosphere of Themuera II, this one a bright green. At the center of the bright green anomaly, Squire Kath'lana snarled slightly inside her helmet, somewhat annoyed at having been sent back to look for the wayward B'ka. Her armor picked up the telemetry from the Hapisian's entry into the planet's atmosphere and she followed the path down, quickly seeing that it led towards one of the major population centers, or major for this world at least.

 

A short while later, another armored form dropped down along the street near the scout and seer were conversing with Squire B'ka, this one smaller and in emerald green Star Knight armor. Unlike the first arrival, this newcomer landed with an easy grace befitting the catlike appearance of its armor. "B'ka, what do you think you are doing altering your course like that?" The newcomer hissed, the feminine nature of her voice clear, even with the metallic filter of the armor's helmet.

 

Yet even at the F'terrix scolded the much taller B'ka, she turned to regard the two siblings, giving them a small bow of her head. "Greetings representatives of the Republic. I am Squire Kath'lana. I apologize for any interruption my fellow squire has caused."

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Jolan looked up towards B'ka with a pleasant if practiced smile, "It is more art then science, I know they will come, and may have insight in how to best prepare."  he acknowledged evenly with a slight sigh, "But the threads of fate are not so simple to trace as to name a time and place for any but the most significant of events, and even then it can be abstract."  Fa'Rua rolled her eyes and shook her head, "He means it's a jumbled mess and rarely has a timer attached."  she scoffed and followed her brothers gaze over the khereds shoulder at the growing green streak across the sky, "Looks like your companions inbound."  she noted with a grin and took a couple steps back from the likely landing zone letting her eyes wander to the minor scuffle a the exit ramp of the transport.  

 

"That is no common laborer."  she noted as yet uncertain if the wooly mammoth was likely to be friend or foe.

 

With the arrival of Kath'lana Jolan offered greeting once more and demurred, "No interruption at all good squire."  He assured her, "We were merely remarking at the luck that brings you both to a planet in need of aid." 

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Xuli'pans were not terribly imposing looking, standing in the average height and build. Bliss was a little bigger than most of them, but nothing exceptional.  She was, however, an intimidating stone b**** most of the time. So the descriptions by clients and people who put up wanted notices always said she was a far larger.  And she always got a seat on a transport, or little shuttles in the cities public transport.

 

She was here, because it was a place to be, no real design, ever since her stint as a gladiator was ruined.  So wandering merc who had a small rep was on this backwater, looking for something, what she wasn't sure.  A job, and some cash.  Bliss wasn't hurting for funds, but she needed more to get some space between her and whatever was out there.
 

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Dirge

 

The last Fryxian may very well have been the least observant sapient in the galaxy. Still, the gathering of Lor Navy and Star Knights alike, more or less directly in his path toward the structure which appeared to be the local tavern, was too unusual in its current context (or many others) to escape even his notice. His bright orange eyes squinted at them as he approached, silently appraising them. Strange. You barely see Lor civilians this far from...everything, let alone their military forces. You rarely see a Star Knight out here either, and never more than one. I did not know the local piracy problem was already so severe. Or it could be another matter entirely...No matter. If anyone on this world knows the best chance for a worthy death, it is they. He snorted derisively and sighed as he got closer. Puny, hairless monkeys. He raised an eyebrow at the male. Even more hairless than usual, that one. Perhaps he is dying from radiation poisoning. After all, the monkeys are quite fragile, ill-suited to the rigors of space travel even by the standards of the lesser races. The feline...I have seen her kind before, though I do not remember their name. The idea that there may be more than one felinoid race in the galaxy did not occur to him. They are stronger than they look. Powerful jaws. Filthy degenerates. Flesh-eating heathens. Great warriors, but they fight for no herd. Kanemu knew nothing of the Hapisian or his people, but when he examined the group and saw one among their number, he breathed a sigh of relief instead of disdain. Still, her prowess is doubtless what ingratiated her to a proper bovine. His glance ran up to the ragged stumps on the bull's head. One who has clearly seen battle, and sacrificed much.

 

"STAR KNIGHTS!" The bellowing blue-furred behemoth towered head and shoulders above the Lor and the F'terrix, and half a head above even the Hapisian, but he also appeared to be unarmed, save for the massive rack of curved horns running atop and alongside his skull, and unarmored, barely even clothed. He wore no robes, not even shoes, merely a belted loin cloth which left precious little to the imagination. He gave a nod of acknowledgement and what appeared to be a salute of some sort to the Hapisian. "Cousin." He shouted in Galstandard with a thick and muddled accent, nearly impossible to identify, frequently clenching his three-fingered hands into fists for even greater emphasis. "WARRIORS, HEED MY BLEAT AND REJOICE! For when your lambs and theirs ask you to sing songs of glories past, you can tell them of the day you first met KANEMU! Of the KRALLOS Herd! Son of DRUGO, he son of AMANI! DIRGE of The FRYXUS, BANE of the Star-Khan, the TRUE and RIGHTFUL masters of Ku'unum and the lesser worlds of the Harsaf! The stellar winds carry upon them rumors of DEATH waiting upon Temuera II! GLORIOUS death, for those with the COURAGE to seek it out! Tell me where to find it! And if that death eludes my grasp this day, if I emerge VICTORIOUS, then tell me who will set leaf and root upon my plate as fair recompense for that victory!"

 

Edited by Grumblefloof
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It was hard to tell which approach Squire B'ka was more surprised by. He shuffled his hooves awkwardly under Squire Kath'lana's ferocity, but whatever reply he was about to make was swallowed up in the power of Dirge. "YES WE ARE STAR KNIGHTS!" he shouted before catching himself.

 

Perking up at the 'cousin' bit, the young bull looked with redoubled curiosity at the blue giant. At the mention of victory and death, his eyes positively shone.

 

Walking up to him, the sturdy Squire offered a hand, his armor retracting to expose callused, scarred fingers and a powerful arm covered in the same coarse hair as his square, honest face. 

 

"Squire B'ka, from the Hapis herds, well met Kanemu! She's my partner, Squire Kath'lana. We're also chasing these pirates, and these" the bull ponted eagerly to the two Lor, "are with the Prophets and the Star Navy! Taking down a pirate gang in the Colonies, that's gotta be worth a few hundred thousand, at least!"

 

"I don't have anything to give you, Kanemu," B'ka suddenly looked very grave, staring up Dirge with his warm, dark eyes, "but I'd count it an honour t'fight beside you." He turned back to his fellow Squire, "Which is why I left Sri Darvo, 'lana! we gotta deal with this! He doesn't need our help talking to some broncos!"

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Squire Kath'lana

 

At Jolan's comment about the arrival of two Squires on a planet in need of aid, Kath'lana was beginning to understand why B'ka had diverted his course to this world. But before she could press the Hapisian on the issue Kanemu made his very boisterous appearance.

 

The young F'terrix looked up at the towering Kanemu as there was a hint of recognition in her mind at his appearance and mention of the Fryxus. It took a moment, but the Squire recalled a lesson from a few years ago on CITADEL about the Khanate’s genocide against the Fryxus.

 

During that pause, B'ka took the opportunity to step forward and introduce himself and her to Kanemu, joining the Fryxus' enthusiasm to face what was apparently a pirate gang threatening the world. Kath'lana was thankful her helmet was still in place, as it concealed her snarl.

 

Taking a breath, the F'terrix then responded, "it is not our place to question what assistance our mentor does or does not need B'ka." She paused only a moment before adding, "but we are here, and apparently this world is in need of assistance."

 

Looking up to Kanemu, the Squire then continued, "Greetings Kanemu. I was unaware there were any Fryxus left in the galaxy. I am pleased to see that is not the case."

"I am afraid we are just arrived here, so we have little information about what the exact threat is to these sentients, or where it might be found."

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The Traveller

“I guess that where I come in!”

 

Sitara had been on the planet for a little while now, uncovering some of its more hidden secrets. One of the reasons she’d put the call out for whatever help she could get. To fit in a little better, she’d put on the flowing robes that the locals tended to prefer for when the wind blew up a storm, that helpfully also hid her blasters which were useful for when trouble happened.

As she spoke, she pulled down the cloth covering her mouth, revealing her features underneath with a smile.

 

“Ser’s, Bliss, it’s good to see you both again. For everyone else, I’m Sitara Shanshikala, pleased to meet you, and I’m a member of the Praetorians, though I’m not here in an official capacity. Which is why I put out the call that you all followed here, no one officially cares enough about this little planet to help its people. Which is why we are going to have to be the ones that care!”

She gave a little shrug before continuing.

 

“But fancy speeches always make me thirsty, let’s hit the Cantina and I’ll lay out what I know about these raiders.”

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Dirge

 

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Walking up to him, the sturdy Squire offered a hand, his armor retracting to expose callused, scarred fingers and a powerful arm covered in the same coarse hair as his square, honest face. "Squire B'ka, from the Hapis herds, well met Kanemu! She's my partner, Squire Kath'lana. We're also chasing these pirates, and these" the bull ponted eagerly to the two Lor, "are with the Prophets and the Star Navy! I'd count it an honour t'fight beside you."

 

Kanemu met B'ka's handshake with one of his own. "Well-met, Cousin B'ka."

 

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"Greetings Kanemu. I was unaware there were any Fryxus left in the galaxy. I am pleased to see that is not the case."

 

"If the records kept by the Star-Khan's LACKEYS are accurate, I am indeed the last. I am...their DIRGE. THEIR story is now MY story, and IN my story THEY SHALL ECHO ACROSS ETERNITY long after the carrion-birds have picked my bones clean!"

 

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"Let’s hit the Cantina and I’ll lay out what I know about these raiders.”

 

At the Cantina, Kanemu checked his pouch, did some arithmetic, and made a decision. I could obtain food, drink, lodging for myself...but my funds are better spent on the group. He who eats like a cougar also lives like one, away from the herd.

 

"BARTENDER!" The last Fryxian slammed a meaty three-fingered fist upon the bar. "A round of drink for your saviors!" His fist opened to reveal the meager pile of tiny gemstones and ingots that were his life's savings. Lowering his voice almost to a whisper, he added "Your CHEAPEST drink." Claiming his own mug of swill, he turned back to the assembled warriors and raised it above his head. "A TOAST!"

 

He addressed Jolan first. "It is no surprise that a Lor would fall prey to terminal radiation sickness. Even by the standards of the lesser races, your kind are known to be ill-suited to the rigors of space travel. What IS surprising is that, while already hovering at Death's door, you would choose not the comfort of soft cushions in a hospital bed, but to PROVE YOURSELF WORTHY, spending your final days seeking battle against hopeless odds! Your FLESH may be weak, but you have the SPIRIT of a TRUE WARRIOR!" He turned to Fa'Rua and Sitara. "As do you. Instead of abandoning your brethren to die alone, you JOIN him in CERTAIN DOOM! All three of you are a credit to your people." The blue ram then directed his sincere if backhanded compliments toward Kath'lana and Bliss. "HONOR...COURAGE...SACRIFICE...HERD. These are things most FLESH-EATERS do NOT understand, sleeping alone and striking without warning from the shadows and the treetops. But YOU..." He addressed Bliss. "YOU have CLEARLY seen battle, and you embraced AUGMENTATION, TRANSCENDING grievous injury and innate frailty alike!" He turned to Kath'lana. "And YOU are no mere FELINE, but A KNIGHT OF THE CITADEL! You HAVE a herd. YOU understand. No doubt thanks to a PROPER BOVINE taking you under his hooves." He turned to B'ka and slapped him on the shoulder with his free hand. "One who has SACRIFICED a great deal! None would begrudge a blooded veteran such as you some sort of prosthetic, whether it be for tactical value like the squid-waif here, or simple vanity! But YOU bear your scars OPENLY, PROUDLY, as if to WARN your foes, you need NOT your horns, for you are DEADLY STILL without them! It is A GLORIOUS BOAST!"

 

He snorted and released a sigh, satisfied at having so quickly and shrewdly taken the measure of his new comrades. "It will be MY HONOR to die alongside all of you."

 

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Fa'Rua didn't precisely jump at the boisterous arrival of the Fryxian but she noticeably tensed drawing a brief hint of amusement to her twins face.  Jolan turned toward the new arrival with a slight bow, "Greetings Kanemu, may the Krallos graze eternal in the green beyond."  He welcomed formally, records on the fallen people were sparse but he held some recollection of what the Lor knew of the fallen peoples.  "I would be remiss to allow such misunderstanding to continue, I am hale and healthy, it is a sacrifice my order makes in our  pursuit of enlightenment."  he explained running hand over his neatly shorn pate.

 

For her part Fa'Rua raised a brow at the confusion and laughed off the mistake, "I personally prefer my doom uncertain."  she joked readily and nodded greeting to Sitara, "Well then I might have known there was more to this than some desperate miners." she inclined her head in respect to the Praetorian.  "And I'm not the sort to turn down an offer of a drink."  she added readily and followed the group to the cantina with an rolling swagger.  She eyed Bliss with some uncertainty but if the Praetorian vouched for them it was good enough for the Lor.

 

Inside Jolan carefully demurred the  spirits on offer but accepted a glass of milk on grounds of not refusing a gift freely given.  For her part his twin artfully passed a credit chit to the barkeep to ensure the bottle was left at her side after the round was served.  After a moment Jolan raised his voice over the raucous aftermath of hte toast, "So what can you share of these raiders lady Shanshikala?"

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"Yeah, definitely," B'ka said, avoiding eye contact with Kanemu, "I totally taught Squire 'lana everythin' she didn't learn from Sri Darvo! I, uh, almost, uh, feel sorry for you, Dirge of the Khanate! P-people must see your horns an' figure ''this guy's not so tough, he's never been in a real fight!'" He reached for the glass slid his way across the bartop, only to freeze for a moment as he caught Kath'lana's eye. 

 

"Uh, I, uh...we're going t'be fighting soon, so I-I want to keep a clear head. Drink up, Dirge!" the Hapisian Squire thumped the Fryxian freelance heartily on the back, forcing a smile, "I'll keep watch tonight!" Casting a longing glance at the cup of tantalizing amber liquid, B'ka pushed it gently away and leaned against the bar, doing his best not to look like the most downhearted creature on Temeura II. 

 

"'lana," he whispered across to his fellow Squire, "is it bad to lie? 'Cause I sure know it can be dangerous!"

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The Traveller

In her travels in the Khanate she’d come across the sad tale of the Fryxus and how desperate their situation was, this boisterous warrior could be one of the last of his kind and that was always sad. She’d seen enough of over the centuries and it never became any better, all she could do was remember the lost and try to make sure it happened less often.

 

Whilst he was making his speech Sitara leaned in a whispered into the ear of the androgynous Dotrae barkeep, reminding her just what Sitara had done on arrival. Quickly the alien agreed with her suggestion.

 

Drinks for our brave protectors, on the house of cause!” looking at Sitara they added “And a meal after such long journeys.

 

With a smile Sitara picked up the jewels and offered them back to Kanemu.

 

Come on mahAja I have a booth in the corner, the rest of you as well, once we have something to eat and drink I fill you in on what I know.”

 

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Bliss hissed and chittered a little as she folded her arms across her chest.  A booming idiot, a Praetorian, and some Star Knights walk into a bar. She hadn't intended to be embroiled in such things, but then her intent never seemed to matter.  "Praetorian, if it isn't official, then you aren't press ganging me.  You know my prices. And conditions.  How much latitude are you going to let me have before you get squeamish?"  She almost barked at Sitara, though it was more a raspy burr of a voice.  Rough.  Sharp.  Grating.

 

She hadn't answered a call, her luck was like the droppings of a ch't'akta, greasy, messy, and impossible to wash away. Bliss was damn sure not going to be hampered by their idiotic idealism.

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Squire Kath'lana

 

Kath'lana turned at the sound of Sitara's voice, giving a slight bow of her head in greeting. "It is an honor to see you once more Praetor Sitara." The Squire stated as she considered what Praetorian had to say and looked about at the rather unusual gathering of individuals that had responded to the call.

 

The young F'terrix did not hesitate to follow when Sitara lead them all to the local cantina, retracting her helmet as they made their way in. When Kanemu continued with his grandiose proclamations inside, she could not help but note he certainly could be inspiring, even if his words often showed a rather narrow -minded view of the galaxy. She managed not to laugh when he turned and showered praise on B'ka, though her emerald green eyes narrowed slightly at B'ka's response.

 

When her fellow Squire whispered his concerns to her, she looked up at him with a quite response. "Just keep digging a hole for yourself. See how it turns out."

 

With the F'terrix picked up the drink that had been poured for her. "Did you not pay attention during the lectures on respecting the customs of the species we encounter? Would not want to insult those we are here to protect by turning down a drink?" She then followed over towards the booth Sitara had indicated so they could learn what they would be facing.

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Dirge

 

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"Yeah, definitely," B'ka said, avoiding eye contact with Kanemu, "I totally taught Squire 'lana everythin' she didn't learn from Sri Darvo! I, uh, almost, uh, feel sorry for you, Dirge of the Khanate! P-people must see your horns an' figure ''this guy's not so tough, he's never been in a real fight!'"

 

Dirge laughed and slapped B'ka on the back. "INDEED, Cousin B'ka, why THIS VERY DAY some flesh-eating FILTH dared insult my honor, forcing me to prove that this rack is not merely decorative! My prowess in battle is almost a CURSE, having left me so devoid of REAL SCARS. But YOU, Cousin B'ka, YOUR dismemberment announces to your enemies, 'DO YOUR WORST! For I have ALREADY suffered its like, and GREATER!' Truly the gods have marked you with their favor." For a few moments, his orange eyes narrowed and the smile vanished from his face. "But those same blows to the head which robbed you of your horns also seem to have damaged your HEARING. I am not the DIRGE of the Khan, but his DOOM. It is the mighty herds of THE FRYXUS whose funeral song I sing WITH EVERY BREATH THE KHAN AND THE IMPOTENT WRETCHES WHO SERVE HIM FAIL TO STEAL FROM ME!" By the end of the sentence he was screaming at the roof rather than B'ka, having seemingly forgotten that he was having a conversation with the Hapisian at all.

 

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"I would be remiss to allow such misunderstanding to continue, I am hale and healthy, it is a sacrifice my order makes in our pursuit of enlightenment."

 

Dirge's eyes widened and his mouth fell open. "You...you had a HEALTHY fleece...SHORN from your skin?!" He sighed, shook his head, and rested a hand upon the Lor's shoulder for a few moments. "I had NO IDEA your species was capable of SUCH sacrifice, such COMMITMENT to your herd. HAH! Like B'ka, you terrify your enemies with a GRAND BOAST! All who see you know that there is little they can do to you which you have already not done to YOURSELF!"

 

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Drinks for our brave protectors, on the house of cause!” looking at Sitara they added “And a meal after such long journeys.

 

With a smile Sitara picked up the jewels and offered them back to Kanemu.

 

 

"So be it." Dirge scooped his meager funds back into his pouch, then turned back to the bartender. "And two mineral lick bars." The Fryxian handed one of the foil-wrapped rectangles-on-sticks to B'ka, then peeled the foil from his own, revealing several layers of salt and other crystals and metals which had been crushed into grains and then compressed together, a savory treat and vital source of nutrients for an herbivore. He licked at his between gulps of beer.

 

Edited by Grumblefloof
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"You're not even supposed to be here today."  Fa'Rua smirked to Bliss with an easy laugh, "Point taken."  she nodded and followed to the table taking her bottle with her to lounge loose limbed in the booth as the others joined.  Jolan carefully watched the interplays in action and offered a polite nod to Kanemu, "It is something like that I suppose."  he acknowledged such ostentatious displays of piety were in part to herald the orders membership.  Hanging back slightly with the Star Knight squires he gently offered, "Pursuit of glory is not my path, but there is much to be said for braving danger despite fear not because one lacks it."  he advised quietly and slipped off to join the others.  Seating himself in a chair nearby he watched expectantly for what might come next.  Though the quiet smile he hid in his cup suggested he had some clue at least.

 

"So you put out the call Traveler?"  Fa'Rua asked as the group settled in, "What are we dealing with that draws the Praetorians interest but not prowess?"  

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The Traveller

Let’s make this very clear this is all my own deal, I’m here as a private citizen and not a Praetorian. As such I’ll cover anyone fee and expense's, very generously I might add, I have interest on this rock but for now you’ll have to trust me. And these are raiders, so we’ll do what needs to be done to stop there threats.”


Touching a panel on her wrist guard and hologram appeared on the table’s unit, it showed an impressive mountain from which a series of what must be ancient walls jutted out to form an enclosure. The walls looked like they could handle anything up to orbital assault and whilst there were no doors it would be difficult to assault directly. In the rough middle of the enclosure there was a ship parked with a series of small shelters set up around it, it was difficult to make out numbers but there was apparently quite a few of them

“The raiders have secured this area and set up some defenses around the entrance, so a direct assault would be near suicide. There have numbers but few enough we might be able to sneak in another way, though the wall will offer some difficulty.”

 

Sitara gave everyone a moment to consider the task that was before them, this was when she found out then everyone was in or out of this gargantuan task before them.

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Dirge

 

The furry blue giant used his meaty three-fingered hands to shovel several heaping plates of salad into his snout while half-listening to The Traveller's proposal and the ongoing banter at the table. At several points during his meal, after swallowing a few bites, he would loudly regurgitate a wet, sticky clump of chewed-up vegetable matter back onto his plate, only to scoop it back into his mouth and gulp it down again, followed closely by a mug of ale drained in a single breath.

 

"I came to this planet in search of GLORY, in victory OR death! These PETTY MISCREANTS fancy themselves CONQUERORS, but they are merely GRIST FOR THE MILL! And when they are GROUND, it is not my people's MOUTHS they will feed, but our LEGEND!"

 

After answering The Traveller's offer to the table, Dirge made one of his own.

 

"Would any of you care to engage in the traditional rutting and grooming this night? I do not wish to give false hope to those of you capable of bearing children. The DNA of lesser races has always proven too weak to mix with the PURE UNFETTERED MIGHT of the Fryxus. Not that it should be of any concern, since copulation between comrades is for bonding and release. Reproduction is for one's mate. But I have found this a distinction many less-enlightened peoples have trouble understanding. Still, if any of you desire release upon the eve of battle, my flesh is available."

 

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Hustling to the inner table, Squire B'Ka chewed his own meal as thoroughly as he did Squire Kath'lana's words. Even without him talking, she could see the gears turning in his mind just by how his face shifted along the course of thought. 

 

The plainshez burrow to defend themselves from larger predators, so they can't be attacked from behind or below. So if I keep at this, I'll be exposed. But if I find a way to a more defensible position, I can just fold into that good grace I've established and be protected by it. Whuf, 'lana gives some good advice! But, how do I follow it? Wait! Traveler is saying something!

 

B'Ka nodded politely as he listened to Sitara's broad-strokes outline of the situation, their obstacles and their plan. "Those walls look like they're from older than the Republic," he said, eyes wide, "who could've built 'em? What happened to 'em? Uh...pro'lly not important right now. I'm not much for sneakin'," he confessed, pulling a snout, "but I can bash n' blast pretty good, make a big shiny target for them to shoot at while people go 'round the tail?"

 

"And, uh...if you don't mind, K-Kanemu, I, uh...I'd like to take you up on your offer? We do a similar thing where I'm from, but, uh, I've...never, uhm...I'd like to, uh..." the armored bull squirmed awkwardly, stammering in his seat as his ears reddened to ochre.

Edited by Ari
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"The release I'd demand would be for you to shut your maw," groused Bliss, "Or for you to shear yourself and jump into some methane snowdrifts."  The Xuli'pan's nasal slits flared in annoyance, as she made a click in the back of her throat, her lips pulled back to show the beak as her head tilted to the right a bit, a gesture of annoyance from her insular people.

 

She wasn't eating, or drinking.  That was hospitality, and this was not a friendly thing. Her eyes shifted to Sitara, "What aren't you telling us?  If they are just bandits then I could handily take them out, or more accurately you could have.  What variable is there you haven't revealed for your precious sake of drama?  They have someone's spawnling?  A spawnling sidled up and there is political ramifications? They have some ancient tech?  A super weapon?" She didn't like how passive the others were, or just idiotically seeking a fight.

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