Stryfe Origins I: Destiny Has A Price (SW: GDA)

Stryfe Family Homestead...

Nez Peron, Outer Rim...

Thirty Years Ago...

Golden crops glistened in the sunlight, waving in a soft eastbound wind alongside the branches of fruit trees in one of the largest orchards in the system. The trees seemed like an ocean to him from upon a lone hill, a place a young Sargon often ventured to see the horizon. He couldn’t do so otherwise, unless he climbed high into one of the massive Pink Starfruit trees, something his father scolded him for. But the hill sufficed. It had no name or bore any historical importance, it was a simple place. Sargon would grow to miss it fondly, more so even than the small house nestled amidst his family’s surplus.

On this particular day, Sargon, stick in hand, begun fighting imaginary enemies as he often did, his favorite of all was battling a vicious Krayt Dragon due much to a fable his father told him. It always ended with Sargon victorious, never harmed or hurt but exhausted as he sprinted, tumbled and rolled in action. A mere eight years old, Sargon glorified these stories although their significance would come to shape this lad as a man.

As Sargon heaved himself over his fictitious foe’s back, he executed a well done combat role and pointed his stick directly at the “beast’s” skull as if it were a blaster only to find his father’s shadow behind him.

Amun spoke to his young son “You haven’t killed the dragon yet, boy?” He said with a smirk on his face.

Sargon retorted quickly “I kill one every day! You only killed one once in your life!” He himself smirking, mirroring his father.

Amun nodded. “The difference is I killed a real one Sargon, but in turn that same Krayt took my brother that day; your uncle and namesake.

A silence fell for a moment, only for Amun to enforce a set of principles and a lesson. “But your uncle was welcomed into the holy army of Kad Ha’rangir, he now lives forever, awaiting us to join him.

Resting his hand on Sargon’s shoulders, the purple eyes of Sargon gazing upwards to meet the cold black eyes of his father, Amun guided the boy to descend down the hill and home. For food and further training but seeing as he had upset his son he began to speak “I kept the dragon’s pearl, blood red in color, I will show it to you sometime later after blaster training and some sparring.

The story of the Krayt Dragon was Mandalorian rite of passage, His father Amun Stryfe, head of Clan Stryfe, was an impeccable warrior and a loyalist to the fallen House of Tamur; exiled from Mandalorian Space for warmongery and anti-Republic sentiments. Styfe, Vexx, Raze and other clans now sought refuge in the Outer Rim, mercenaries who practiced the traditional faith.

Hence, Nez Peron, the haven for an unblossomed Neo-Crusader movement.

Making a living as some of the finest merceneries in the galaxy, these particular Mandalorian clans were infamous throughout the Outer Rim and hired by the wealthiest and cruelest in the galaxy. Sargon however, secretly wanted no such lifestyle and merely wanted to grow beautiful things for the rest of his life but this was not the way of his people...

...This was not his destiny.

It was War.

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Stryfe Family Homestead...

Nez Peron, Outer Rim...

Twenty Five Years Ago...

Sargon stood upon the lone hill, overlooking his family’s homestead, searching for the horizon but only found smoke and cinder rising upwards in a sea of fire in the night. His violet eyes, streaming tears, as shackled arms clutched for the distance but found only the stock of a blaster striking his back and he plummeted. Surrounded by a Trandoshan hunting party, large reptilian bipedals with savage teeth and a lust for sport, the young Sargon listened to a formation of hisses and growls which composed their language, Dosh.

“<This one will be worth something!>” Three stout fingers wrapped around Sargon’s skull, inspecting his skin and eyes as one continued. “<Mandalorians slaves are worth much in Hutt Space!>”

One beside him shook his head, large red eyes staring down at the boy with ruthless intentions. “<We should kill him...this one’s father killed four of us.>”

The first one hissed at the other, baring its teeth and salivated “<Yes, but we killed the rest and we could make a tons of credits from him and this pearl!>”

A large fist collided twice with Sargon’s head, this time by the leader of the hunting band, causing him to go unconscious “<Get him on the ship, I know a Colicoid on Nar Shaddaa who will pay a pretty penny for the likes of him...and Zodoh the Hutt for this.>” Holding up the deep red gem of Amun Stryfe.

He waved his comrades to the shuttle vessel, the largest of the Trandoshans lifting the Mandalorian orphan over his mighty shoulder. Grasping the lad, he spoke with an absent heart “<This turned out to be better than expected, a huge payout! I was just happy with Bellerophon’s money in the first place.>”

“<Yeah, well here is to hoping another Merc fails him next month.>” The leader jested as he boarded first with the others, and Sargon not far behind.

Leaving the Styfe homestead in ruins and flames, as the last Pink Starfruit tree, charred and old, fell from its height and crushed his home and the bodies within.

There young Sargon also left behind his heart...

...dead and burning.

To be continued...

Next: The Battle Circle of Nar Shaddaa

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The Ruins of Bhargebba- Entry Two (SW:GDA)

Stryfe’s Hidden Base...

Not Long Ago...

The Mad Mandalorian entered an elevator, canary yellow lights shown down on his crimson mantle which starkly contrasted the rusted surroundings of a once empty station. As he descended down, an Imperial shocktrooper accompanied him and remained silent as an officer addressed the issue at hand.

My Lord, the hostages have been productive, although it has taken some...convincing. We believe however there has been some insurgency amongst them and at this stage we cannot recover from a well-executed sabotage for many weeks. If it is my Lord’s wish to begin the warpath, I suggest a personal touch to this matter.

Sargon said nothing.

He was devoid of speech but raw emotion seemed to spill from his being like an unstable reactor. The elevator began to vibrate unnaturally, even in its age it was still quite stable, but now had befallen into an induced turbulence which made the officer quite alarmed. The shocktrooper turned his head to look upon his master for but a second, and then kept his head forward, counting the floors as they rode deep underground.

The officer likewise remained quiet, clutching a travel sized holomap projector close to her chest, only to stare at the wall as it rattled madly all the way down.

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Everything in him, down to his very soul made Sargon want to explode from the elevator as it opened its industrial sized gate and bring wanton death to hostages by the dozens, but he knew better. A massacre may reinforce the insurgency and he would drive the proverbial knife into his own chest with such animalistic actions. Making martyrs was not on the agenda either. He needed a display of power.

He needed to instill hope. Or fear...

As the Red Raider approached a large chamber, were durasteel was welded and arcs flew down from above like a rain of micro-stars, a number of guards rounded up the hostages who toiled away and were lined up in a seemingly endless single concave lines awaiting the man they knew as Darth Stryfe.

Bow before your master!” Proclaimed the Officer, her voice echoed through the chamber and the hostages began to kneel.

But Sargon lifted his gauntlet into the air and gestured them to cease without a word.

His voice boomed incorporeally from beyond the void of his hood. “Stand.

There was a silence that overtook the area, only the whirl of distant machines and service droids was but a backdrop to Sargon’s soliloquy.

You come from many worlds. Some from the Republic. Some Rebels. All ripped away in violence and subjected to the cruelty of my victory. You however where taken for a reason: you are shipwrights, engineers, ordnance and various construction careers. What you are building here, alongside my Engineering Corps, are starcraft and weapons used not against the Republic. Against the Rebels. Or even the Federation. These will be used to slay my enemies from within...your enemies. Members of the fractured Empire.

There was a look of confusion on the thousands of hostages in a makeshift auditorium for the theatre of Sargon Stryfe. His posture was welcoming yet somewhat sarcastic as he displayed his arms as a slight embrace and he continued.

You will not leave here until my war is complete, so sabotaging my equipment may simply leave you here to rot on a lifeless desert planet...in the farthest edge of Sith Space...far, far away from everything you love. Or worse, I live. I live and seek revenge with all of you waiting down here for me...and then I will personally travel to each of your homeworlds and steal ten thousand more, for each and every one of you and make them build me another armada. Then kill them too. If you were wise, you will heed this warning and give me what I want. Then go home.

Stryfe made a motion simply by clenching his fist, summon several troopers out from behind him to capture and carry away several individuals, those believed to be the three most radical of the lot and spoke to the crowd a final time before summoning them back to work.

These fools will not go home...do not follow their lead.

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Outside the Base...

Approximately Midday...

Not Long After...

Looking towards the East, Sargon saw splintered shadows begin to take shape, far away yet roosted atop towers, other buildings and stationary were the beginnings of a series of groundside turbolasers of an assortment of sizes, and the makings of his planetary defenses against invasion should the time come. Further, test flights had begun on starfighters, taking to the sky after a millennium but forged with newer technology.

But worst of all, as it shall be known, were the legions of manned modified Swoop Bikes that soon exited the various warehouses at a startling speed. A single thruster propelling them out and then up into the air for low altitude reconnaissance war-games. Blood-red, nearly black in shade, they were adorned with Sith emblems and featured compartments for blasters. Skirmishers and vandals they would be called. Hellions.

The infernal howl of his cannibalized ‘Nightbringers’ had begun.

His army was growing, but so too was his impatience for bloodshed.

Sargon turned to see a group of hostages now forced to their knees with electrified torment via troopers who listened intently on Stryfe’s words.

We Sith wield lightsabers to mock and best the Jedi and the Force is far stronger than any machine of our creation.” Sargon lifts his arm and forms his hand into a draconic claw and summons a grounded and idle blaster from the ground telekinetically into his grasp. Pointing it skyward with a vertically bent arm, he observed the lines of the weapon for a moment. “And yet...” The Red Raider extends his arm outward and points the blaster at the center and restrained hostage. “...there is something incredibly fulfilling about this.” Instantly Sargon pulled the trigger of the blaster and fired a single bolt into the skull of the captive.

Before doing the same to the hostage’s compatriots with hollow cruelty.

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The Ruins of Bhargebba- Entry One (SW: GDA)

Outside the Drescri Wris Hyperlane...

Somewhere Within Sith Space...

Not Long Ago...

Amidst the vastness between star-studded nothingness and worlds long haunted by the inheritors of the dark side of the force was but a single spacecraft. With its crimson spewing ion engines, its thrusters propelling it forward and its crescent shape carving its wall through emptiness and on its starboard side the enormity of the Stygian Caldera, with its toxic green-yellow hue, formed the seemingly endless nebulous barricade of Sith Worlds. The Dawn Eater, as this craft was christened, stalked tirelessly and its crew, many ex-marauders and pirates, served a Darth hellbent on not conquest, but rather an endless cycle of war, ruin and... strife.

The Dawn Eater was a weaponized transport ship modified for the sole purpose of assaulting larger vessels, boarding them for slaughter and then scavenging for supplies. It was infamous for ravaging fighters and bombers prior to leaving only skeletal husks of enemy craft as tombs.

And the name of Sargon Stryfe and his legion of Imperial headhunters were spoke in whispers.

Aboard the Dawn Eater...

The Bridge...

The chamber was small in comparison to a frigate, manned by a likewise comparably small staff of a pilot, co-pilot, astrographer and a cohort of specialists. The commander's seat, fashioned as a throne, lay at its center and the clenched fist of Sargon pressed against his cheek as he leaned upon the armrest. Violet eyes, like tarnished amethyst, gazed out from the bridge and into space and beheld the Stygian Caldera and its bile colored oppressiveness and the nearing world at its opposite, Bhargebba Six and its many broken moons.

This planet was the site of total genocide in legend...it is lifeless and barren.” His face concealed partial by the scarlet hood of his robe allowed a strange grimace to emerge on his pallid visage. “How dull would the galaxy be, if all sectors met this fate?

Lifting himself to his feet with ease and grace, Sargon made his way down the metallic steps to meet the glass of the bridge and stare out into the distance as he did before, now his vessel weaving effortlessly through the debris of shattered rock and engaged in higher velocity as it approached Bhargebba Six.

..with no worlds, no opposition left to destroy...the galaxy would be dull indeed.” Sargon spoke with the same grin before a voice sounded in his ears.

Entering the planet’s atmosphere in thirty seconds.” The pilot stated.

Stryfe merely nodded and responded “Proceed with landing at the usual coordinates.

Bhargebba Six...

Coordinates Unknown...

Deserted Shipyard...

A labyrinth of expansive roads was spread like a spider’s web among a multitude of desolate half ruined buildings and structures that once thrived with manufacturing more than a thousand years prior. Shelless shuttlecraft and starfighters lay unfinished throughout various bays, all but forgotten to the select few who have occupied this planet as a secret base. Casting an enormous shadow, in the twin suns that proceeded down, rendering a spread of ruby and tangerine twilight behind a crippled, stripped and barren but skeletally in tack dreadnought class capital ship left unfinished during the aforementioned genocide.

Pneumatics billowed forth as a landing bridge descended and pressed firmly on the concrete structure of a major road and a swarm of Imperial troops poured out followed by the prizes of war-torn space. A number of cannons were escorted out on levitating lifts, small scale shield generators and various technological implements such as logistics and radar systems were also unloaded.

Hostages, shackled and beaten, followed.

Finally, as the plunder was logged, quantified and placed into many of the once empty storage bays and the hostages escorted to the unknown, Sargon stepped onto natural ground for the first time in months.

His scarlet cloak danced in the light wind as he made his way to a command tower, converted into a headquarters of sorts, he was approached by a uniformed officer who had remained with the broken fleet.

My Lord, we have intercepted communications between Miltiades and Impero from the former’s capital ship, it is our suspicion they are allied more than we have anticipated and, on good standing, I believe Impero will converge with Bellerophon on the Imperator. Also, the message mentioned relics...I am assured you are interested.

The Red Death stopped suddenly, his chin lifted upwards and his purple optics fell on the incomplete capital cruiser and his ancient armada.

And hatred burned like Oristricon’s rebels.

It would be very unwise to proceed with aggression, I acknowledge that the Imperator would crush my fleet by itself...not to omit its horde of starfighters and troops and the Old B******’s resources. Perhaps there is another way to...balance the odds.

The Tower...

Minutes Later...

Sargon made his way through self-sealing door, followed closely by the officer into the uppermost chamber where a number of strange artifacts lay in display cases, with one in particular that rested on a pedestal in the center.

I have harbored this for little over a year and I do not yet know its secrets.” Stryfe approached the tetrahedron with apparent caution, but rather its was admiration that caused him to take in the moment. “This was ransacked from a Republic base on Skyrees...it is a treasure of Odan-Urr.

The officer moved beyond the statuesque Sith and likewise admired the object and spoke softly. “...A Holocron?

Indeed. A Sith Holcron as a matter of fact. Very Old. But it pains me to admit...I only showed you because it has become quite the burden to not speak of such a wonder to a single soul since I acquired it. I murdered all of those who had knowledge of its existence or laid eyes on it since it has come into my possession.

A bead of sweat trickled down the forehead of the officer just as the signature bright red blade of the Sith was activated.

Thank you for understanding, Lieutenant.” Sargon quipped.

A whirl of cardinal red became an elliptical streak amongst the blackness of the room and the smell of burning flesh tainted the air.

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