Leaving the Imperial Palace Hotel & Casino, the Dealers agree to go move on to Lehon, but first they will leave a message for Styvv at the Stumbling Tiger cantina. Arriving there, they find the cantina guarded by stromtroopers — glass is broken and there is smoke drifting out from the inside.
As Ja tries to get information from the stormtroopers, a stooped, robed figure approaches the others. He growls and chastises them for putting his pal Chum in danger. Fero recognizes the figure as Styvv the Wookiee and immediately tells him of Choi Moi‘s death. Styvv rages and flees, grabbing a stranger’s speeder bike and heading for the docks.
A speeder bike chase ensues! Fruit carts are knocked over, and after some back & forth Sandovar pulls a pin from Styvv’s bike and causes him to crash. Unhurt but unconscious, Styvv is taken by Fero and Sandovar back to the Triple Deuce. A holograph message in Styvv’s belt leads the Dealers to a bith professor at the Ord Mantell Museum of Antiquities.
Ja, Gand, & Brosef head to the Museum. Gand & Brosef pay their way in. Ja gets a guest pass as a potential future donor. They are introduced to Mu-Shin, who has been trying in vain to open a Jedi holocron — seemingly the holocron stolen from Tangu-Yu by Styvv. Gand & Ja, with their knowledge of the Force, open the holocron. It is [[44: The Holocron of Hsan | The Holocron of Hsan]], a Jedi from over 10,000 years ago. It concerns THE EYE OF LIGHT & DARKNESS, a symbol used to combat the dark side…
“Of those signs effectively sealing the festerings of the dark side, the most potent is THEY EYE OF LIGHT AND DARKNESS.
“Inscribed into the substance of a high place near the haunts of evil, and nor further than 30 paces from them, expels the evil strength for so long as the sign exists.
“The Eye must be created the afternoon before the rise of a full moon, or moons. At moonrise, the blood of an innocent must fill the pupil of the Eye once per drumbeat from the moonset.
“As the first blood is given, chant the words ‘sa-ma, sa-ma, te-yo, sa-ma,’ and continue until the moon sets.
“When next the moon rises, the Eye opens to ward and to guard. Gather the friends of good to work this wisdom, for too few shall surely fail.”
Later Jedi added their own commentary to Hsan’s own findings…
“The ineffable Eye must be worked into an organic substance which is naturally hard.”
“The unrivaled light of the marvelous Eye transcends taint if all evil presences have been dispatched or dispelled.”
“He who first chants must be able to create the gift of an Elder Sign.”
“The wondrous Eye must not first burn where evil beings or creatures lurk.”
“Only one incorruptible Eye may guard any location.”
“All who chant must detest evil.”
After unlocking the holocron and failing to convince Mu-Shin to accompany them, Ja punches Mu-Shin in the face (possibly puncturing his eye), and they take the old professor away with them. They are picked up by Fero & Sandovar, who have tied Styvv up in the ship. Styvv is incosolable over the death of Choi Moi, who he considers they only good person left in the Galaxy. All the same, Styvv is calmed down enough to share his tale with the Dealers…
As far as I can make out, we’re all in a lot of trouble. The more I learn about the situation, the more scared I get. When I spilled the beans to Woorbly, I figured he’d warn the people that could make a difference, and they’d do something about this cult. Sorry he ended up that way. All the same, I did warn him, and I didn’t hold nothing back. I’m warning you guys too: the cult plays for keeps. Choi Moi could tell you that … [agonized growl]
Well, right from the start I knew that Kieran’s dathomiri girl was trouble. She was as tough as they come and she had him around her finger. He must have known she was trouble too, because the more he saw her, the more crazy dreams he had. I thought it was great when he wanted to go to Krayiss — that’d be the end of her, see, and things would get back to normal. I liked the guy, and I owed him a lot.
It seemed for awhile that everything would work out. Corellia was a lot of fun, but once we got to Krayiss II, Kieran started having dreams again about meeting a god, crap like that. but now he wasn’t drinking, and the girl wasn’t around, and the gentlemen Kierand had asked along started acting nuttier than Kieran did, and so I said to myself, “trouble is somewhere up this road.”
After I paid Faraz Najir for his junk, Kieran spent some time with it. He went off the deep end. There was a black kind of head-and-shoulder statue that he’d stare at for hours. And there was one of them holocrons. He’d stare at the holocron too, like he was trying to figure out how to make it work just by looking at it, the way a normal guy might look at a great looking woman. And then, one morning, he said he’d figured it out. He said the holocron had spoken to him the night before, and had told him that he could meet the god as soon as he "destroyed the eye and opened the path.”
That hotshot Dr. Doodo should have talked Kieran down, but he only encouraged him. So the first night that we were up the river, Kieran snuck out and climbed up the Red Pyramid. Any of you guys ever climbed a pyramid? They’re steep! Kieran started up that pile like a monkey. Never looked back or hesitated once, which proved to me that poor bugger was absolutely crazy. But I followed him up, so I guess that makes me crazy, too.
For about two-thirds of the way up the Red Pyramid, you just climb up and over big blocks, sort of like something some dumb kid could make by piling up a million great big construction blocks. The pyramid builders filled in all the gaps with nice smooth stone, but then later people stole that nice stone from around the bottom of the pyramid — the high stuff was too hard to grab, and they couldn’t finish the job. Well, Kieran zipped right up this part too, with me still behind, my eyes bulging out cause I could barely find handholds, even with my claws.
There’s a little flat place at the tip of the pyramid. When Kieran reached the flat place, he put on some kind of robe and started making weird sounds, as though he had flipped for good. But then there was a hell of an explosion with all kinds of funny echoes and screams with it, and a big red flash of light. Well, I lay there for a minute until it seemed safe to go on. He looked at me and said, “The eye is gone, Styvv. Now we can be gods.”
Well, that was just Kieran-talk, you know, but beside him there was a big patch ripped right out of the stone, and it looked fresh. When I went back the next day, the patch had been filled in, as thought the pyramid had repaired itself. But near the base of the pyramid, I found part of a rock which looked like it could have been in that patch originally, and it had this sign on it:
Now I know what it is — it’s something to do with the Force, and it kept evil things away from us, and Kieran deliberately broke its power.
Two days later, the whole gang — Penhew, Kieran, Doodo, and Hypatia — gave me the slip and disappeared into the Red Pyramid. Some of the messenger boys went in to find them, some locals we’d hired to help excavate. They came out shrieking that the pyramid had eaten the respected scientists, woe, woe, woe. And bingo — the workers ran in every direction. The whole dig was deserted. In five minutes the only person left in the whole area was me. Well, I went in. Sure enough, nobody was inside. I was worried.
But a long time later, out come all the missing people from the pyramid. Kieran says they’d been to the Sith Worlds — the real Sith Worlds. And that was about the most sensible thing he said. Penhew looked like had lost about five years. And Hypatia and Doodo both seemed somehow changed. Nobody would explain where they’d been, and nobody cared after that it was hard to hire workers, even among those strange red-skinned guys who still live there.
After that, when I’d wake up in the night, the rest of the gang would be talking creepy lingo like I’d never heard before. Then one evening, Kieran said that he was going toe how me the power of what they’d learned. We went out into the desert with a passel of the red-skinned aliens. Everybody started screaming weird words and songs, and Penhew beat the drum we got from Najir. When creatures started coming out of the ground and eating the red-skinned aliens, and Kieran and the others started laughing, well, I took my leave, as they say, an went on a real toot. Kieran found me the next day and warned me that I’d better change my attitude. Well, I owed the kid, and I wouldn’t desert him, but after that I started thinking real hard.
After that, we went to Dathomir. Kieran filled me in during the trip. We had found a true god, he said, who would rule the Galaxy, and we would rule with that god, for we were the chosen of the god. The god had picked us to open the way for his return. And there was enough in what they said — and in what I saw — to make me listen. Every week, Penhew seemed a little younger and a little livelier. Hypatia started getting sick a lot. We were going to leave the Imperial Outpost on Dathomir for some place in the mountains where there was no river, no spaceport, no holonet, no Imperials even. I figured ol’ Styvv wasn’t going to last long in that place, so I made some arrangements. On the last night in the Outpost, I drugged Kieran, stole some credits — it was all Kieran’s money, anyway — and got me and him aboard an unscheduled freighter to Vinsoth.
Later I heard that my guess was right. The holonet said a lot of people died, but Penhew, Doodo, and Hypatia weren’t among them.
Anyway, my arrangements went off without a hitch — that happens when you think small and carry a lot of credits. When we got to Vinsoth, we got off before Imperial inspection and found a smuggler willing to go to Agamar for a few hundred credits. From there we hopped a trader to Ithor, and on Ithor I dyed my fur, got Kieran some tattoos, and booked passage to Ord Mantell.
Now, on the way to Vinsoth, Kieran got some sleep, and he seemed to wake up a different person. I guess that being away from the influence of some of those other people let him return to his old self. I told him we were in a lot of trouble, and that we needed to hide out, and reminded him about the red-skinned aliens being killed on Krayiss, and the god stuff, and so on, and he could remember it all right, although it didn’t seem very important, somehow. But he understood the logic of the situation. After a week or so, though, his nightmares started, and he began to go off the deep end. I think he was beginning to realize some of the things he’d done.
I had been in Ord Mantell as a merc a few years back, and I had some friends here. By time our ship put in to Genassa, Kieran couldn’t go any further. He began shrieking at shadows and everything that moved. So I put him in an Imperial medical facility. I had to use up most of the remaining credits to get him settled. Then I went on to Ord Mantell, believing that I’d never again see any member but Kieran of that damned expedition.
So I thought, until I looked through a pair of electrobinoculars at a certain corvette, and saw Aubrey Penhew walking down the landing ramp of the DARK MISTRESS. Now that ship and some others are going back and forth between Ord Mantell and the Grey Dragon Moon. Transporting people and supplies. They’re planning something, but I don’t know what.
The Dealers present the scrolls found in Nom Kussar’s estate to Mu-Shin for translation, but as they were written in Galactic Basic, no translation proves necessary. The scrolls speak of NOM KUSSAR reluctantly deciding to open the SITH HOLOCRON OF MARKA RAGNOS, to ascertain its historical importance before destroying it.
He later reports the Ragnos Holocron speaks of another — a holocron of KING ADAS, an old king of the Sith people who lived for 300 years and helped repel the Rakatan invaders from the old Sith worlds some 30,000 years ago. Kussar feels THIS holocron would be of true importance in the ongoing conflict against modern-day Sith. If we can only understand WHY Jedi turn to the Dark Side…
Kussar begins to have visions of a BLOATED WOMAN who tells him the answers he seeks lie in wait on Krayiss.
Kussar is visited by Kieran Prin — the Chiss — who he shows the Ragnos Holocron to.
Some kind of jump in time — it is unclear how much — and Kussar speaks of another Holocron, but it is unclear whose it is. He speaks of a true path revealed, and that the old Sith are different from these new. They knew things. The King has learned even more since his death, and he will pass it on. He’s transcended good and evil, Jedi and Sith. Transcended his very name. He wears many masks. He is the King, the Woman, the Sand Mynock, the Bloody Tongue. All are Adas.
The last scrolls speak of a rebel agent who has infiltrated his warehouse operation. MAS AMEDDA, heretofore unmentioned, believes she knows of a lost Jedi Holocron that could endanger their plans. It also speaks of THE PALE VIPER, who plans to blast the dragon and bleed Ord Mantell.
Styvv makes it clear he has no will to live, and only wishes to destroy as many of the cultists as possible. He plans a suicide run at the Dark Mistress and, if possible, the fortress on the Grey Dragon Moon. The Dealers let him out near the spacedocks, but they send Mu-Shin to sleep in Gand’s quarters.
Before he goes, Styvv tells the Dealers that the cultists have increased security around the corvette called the Dark Mistress, but smaller yachts have also been making supply runs to the moon. The Dealers spy one such yacht, called the LUXURIENT GODDESS, manned by a Gungan captain and a motley crew of half-a-dozen pirates. Fero lures one of the pirates to a shady corner of the docks, where Ja knocks him out. Fero takes a medallion from the pirate, showing a beetle-like sigil, and hides the other Dealers in a storage crate.
Stormtroopers help Fero load the crate onto the Goddess, and the Dealers find themselves being smuggled onto the Grey Dragon Moon, headquarters of the Order of the Bloated Woman…
XP & DUTY
Ja: 15. Duty: 0.
Gand: 15. Duty: 0.
Brosef: 15. Duty: 0.
Fero: 15. Duty: 0.
Sandovar: 15. Duty: 0.
- The Jedi Holocron of Hsan
- Cultist medallion