1.05: Judgement Day

Dates: 9/4/1999

Chronicle Day 18-19:  1 yr. Pre-ANH

Location: Aleron, Daekun City

Marking… Runes … Glyphs… what were these things?

The apartment had produced a large amount of information that had to be sorted through.  They had a whole portion of encrypted memory that the Mecetti investigators missed, plus the rune found on the door.

The incident in the penthouse seemed to have been covered up, because despite the amount of damage that was done, no mention of it was heard on the news-casts in the morning.  Despite this, they all split up and planned to arrive back at the ship the following morning, separately.  Until then, all would deal with their own business, and perhaps make some head-way on the new information found.

Upon returning to the ship, they were shocked to find Lonell murdered, heinously tortured and spiked to the ceiling of the Cadriaan’s Hope.  Tarsus discovered it first, blood dripping down the gang-plank, a look of pain and horror on the man-servant’s face. He was glad that Brendaron was too busy with local politics to be here.

As he cleaned up the mess, the others arrived.  He pointed out to the other the rune on the old man’s forehead, as if burned into it.  Another rune… probably a warning more than a marking.  This was the second rune they had seen.   Tarsus removed a older from his pack, stating he found this near a marking on a table – the marking symbolized his family crest.  In these papers, another rune was sketched.  They had 3 runes now.

Last to arrive was Janice Marks, considerably late in the morning.  Marks claimed he was out on an information gathering quest.  Behind him was a droid.

“Remmy”, a Model RM-85-B Archive and Information Handling Droid, was a present from House Reena, according to Marks.  Apparently someone important deemed it necessary for them to have this particular item.  Pyre only wished it had less of a “personality”.

Pyre, with the help of their new-found “library” droid,   hacked into the re-directed cache of information on the local network. This cache of data was well-hidden by lady Ilm, and only because Pyre seemed to share an equally devious and covert mind, was he able to find the data.  It would take hours for the droid to sort through the data.

Marks also came back with very interesting information about the runes.

Reena is well-known for it’s wealth of information, rivaling even the Mrlssti in academic prowess.  And with that vast network of knowledge, only the truly ignorant would not assume that some of that knowledge was of a darker nature.

Marks explained that his contacts know of these runes, know them to be of the Mecrosa runes of Death.  The Mecrosa, an old almost mythical sect of assassins that served the Mecetti of the Old Republic era, used these runes to mark their prey.   They had special meaning, all unique and always in places only the Mecrosa would look.

To get the meaning of the runes found by the group, they had to contact someone named The Judge.  He was rumored to be ex-Mecrosa.  There weren’t many of those. Most “ex-“Mecrosa were dead.  This one was different.  This worried the Pyre and the others.

Rex heard the Judge’s name, and turned ice-cold “You don’t want to meet him, no no…. much danger…”

“Rex, do you know this man?” Pyre peered into the Herglic’s eyes.

“Yes, unfortunately.  And he is no ordinary man.”

“Can you contact him?”

“umm….” Rex hesitated. His regular flatulent burp from his blow-hole punctuated his pondering.

“REX!!  No games!!” Pyre grew impatient.

“I might. Let me see what I can do.  I must contact a few of my cohorts here on planet.”

He left, and Kragar joined the Herglic, to simply watch and make sure he didn’t do anything stupid.

****

While Rex was gone, Pyre decided to deal with his Hutt situation early in the morning.  The idea of slavery to a Hutt was weighing on his mind and he hoped to modify the deal to his advantage.  Besides, despite the short amount of time, the Hutt might actually have something for him.

When he arrived back at the complex, he easily dodged the local authorities and the ISB agents investigating the penthouse incident with his talents.   He took a side elevator to the proper floor where the Hutt was.

There, he saw that the Hutt’s grand doors to her court were blasted open.   Two guards lay dead. The smell of burned flesh filled the hallway.  He drew his hold-out blaster.

He slid the door open to see the Hutt and her entire court slaughtered by blaster fire.  Who could have done this?

He heard a noise coming from the Hutt’s thrown.  A whimper of sorts… a dancing girl stirred, bad blaster burn on her back, spine exposed.  Pyre ran to her.  She rolled over into his arms.  Her face was suddenly awash with fright.

“You!  Why??  Why did you do this?  Why have you come back?  To finish us off?  You have killed us all… killed us ahhhhhhlllll…..” he breath trailed off, as she died in his arms.

Pyre now realized he had just been framed for the murder of a Hutt.   He knew that no one would care here, but back in Hutt space, he would not be a popular person.  That ISB agent was good.

But Pyre was better.

****

Tarsus had found some papers in a cantina on Lamuir IV, under a table.   They were marked with his family crest, a broken sword.  This was no coincidence.  Someone had left them there for him.

Inside was a description of one man’s investigation into Mecrosa activity in the area.  Tarsus had personal ties with the Mecrosa; years ago, his mother was taken by them.  They rarely take prisoners, and he wanted to know why she was taken.

The papers also described an organization formed by one of his ancestors to fight the activities of the Mecrosa, and this organization used the broken sword as their symbol.

There was also a Mecrosa rune sketched inside.

He recently made contact to friends in House Callipsa that might have more information on this subject.  He was just returning from hearing from them when we felt a burning sensation on the back of his leg.  As he turned he saw a flash of red dim out from some direction, and smoke rise up from his armor on the back of his left leg.

He now had a Mecrosa rune on the back of his leg.

****

Rex was able to find an old Duke of House Adrios, located deep in the slum region of the capitol city.  Duke Agrados Fiz Adrios, Keeper of the sixth Book of Gan, and Merchant of the ninth Cache of Horash…  Agrados was now nothing more than a smuggler and a thief with a makeshift court of stray Herglics looking for a home to be welcome in.

For what he had available, in an abandoned warehouse, Agrados had done well with himself.  Rex was impressed, but Kragar was not.  To him, it was a grimy dump, with too many over-weight scantily clad Herglic females.

The High Lord Rexilor interrupted an apparent meeting between the duke and a robe-clad human.  When Rex entered, the human quickly ended his business, and left the room through the back.  Raphie spotted something on the man’s belt as he left – an ornate cylinder with controls and buttons on it. It was no lightfoil, it was a full-fledged lightsaber.

“Duke Agrados, I am High Lord Rexilor… ” Raphie tapped his foot while the names were exchanged “I need the services of your court.”

Flustered, the duke relinquished his throne to the High Lord. “Please forgive me, High Lord, I did not realize your presence was here on Aleron.”

“It’s quite alright, just do me this service and I will consider any indignation a simple oversight and forgotten.”

“Yes, ma’lord.  What can I do for you?”

“I need to contact the one called the Judge.” Rex settled into the makeshift throne comfortably.  Servant girls brought him a beverage, and some food.

The Duke turned cold.  “Oh, m’lord, anything but that… ”

“Is he here or not?!!”

“Yes, m’lord. According to those I know, he has been here a while…   he…”

“Can you contact him?!!”

“I may be able to, but sire….”

“Do it!!  At whatever cost!!  I must have an audience with him.” He got up from the throne, and walked passed Kragar who stood amused. “Leave the man payment, Baronette.” Kragar was no longer amused, but did as he was asked.

Upon returning from the Duke’s “court”, Rex and Kragar were nearly at each others throats, arguing over the dishonor Rex showed Kragar in front of the duke.

However, Rex went too far when he insulted the House Pelagia name. In a split second, he was facing a lightsaber leveled at his face. The others, who had heard the noise coming from just outside the ship, hurried to see.  Tarsus quickly moved into to arbitrate the potential duel.

Rex, ever so arrogant, brushed off the sudden movement, “Dueling is beneath an Adrios High Lord.  I choose a champion. I choose you, Tarsus.”

“I can not, I do not serve House Adrios in anyway.”

Rex, flustered for a moment remembered the figure in the Duke’s court before they entered.  He too saw the cylinder.

“Give me time to find one. I will be back within the hour.”

*****

He returned with Haromosk Edran of House Pelagia, in service of House Adrios.  It was apparent he was less than honored to serve House Adrios in this way, but bound by something to do it. Rex smiled in his arrogance as his champion removed his blade… of steel.

The new champion was older, looked wiser.  He had a few battle scars on his face, showing some experience.  But he did not look evil in anyway, but understanding and reasonably honorable.

“I choose cold steel for the weapon, arbiter. ”  He said.   Kragar accepted, and borrowed Tarsus sword.

“First blood, then” Kragar said. Edran agreed.

The duel started with both lunging and slicing.  Sweat already began to bead on their foreheads. The blades sparked as the met, their sounds of clashing echoing in the hangar.  Tarsus was glad they were in a private port.

After some time, Kragar made a desparate lunge, almost risking the duel.   It paid off as his blade cute into Edran’s arm.  However, blood was not drawn. A white liquid poured out, as the slice revealed cybernetics underneath.

Edran waved his hand, and a metal chair leaped from a corner and hit Kragar.  He then waved his hand again, and Tarsus dropped to the floor unconscious.   He then stood over Rex with a blade to his throat.

“Apologize to the man!”  He then disappeared soon afterwards, down a  hallway and out of the corporate complex.  Sensors and security systems never saw him.

As Tarsus awoke, a sharp pain stabbed him in the neck.  His pulled out a small dart from his neck… a dart?  That was no Jedi… but he sure imitated one well.

****

Once Rex apologized, there was no further talk of it.  They had something to do this day, and most didn’t look forward to it.

Rex was contacted by the Duke, and was told that the Judge would contact them.  The only thing left he could do was to make them as a group, available to the Judge. So he proceeded to take them on a grand tour of Aleron’s underground.  He used it to establish more contacts and run up a bill with a repulsor-limo charged to Brendaron’s corporation.

But finally, they turned into an alley way, where Rex said they were close to where they needed to be.  The Judge awaited them beyond this alleyway, he told them.

An explosion interrupted any response to Rex’s one-hundredth promise.   Something knocked out the limo’s repulsor engine, as it slowed to a stop. Smoke arose from the sides, blurring vision to the outside already hampered by the late evening darkness.

Tarsus drew his blaster, as did several of the others. Tarsus stepped out of the ruined limo first. He was greeted by a targetting laser to his chest from above. But as swiftly as it came, it disappeared, and a figure fell as if thrown from the roof above, landing with a deadly crunch.

“Come through the door before his friends arrive.” A voice echoed from nowhere.  A door opened in the shadows.  Darkness laid beyond.   Kragar was not feeling good about this situation.

The group walked into the darkness as if it were beckoning them.   Beggars and homelss scattered all about, watching them from hidden shadows.   They knew something.  The unseasonably cold night made it all that much more forboding.

The door lead to a desolate area of an abandoned office building. Now, barrels of burning trashs littered a wide open area with a floor of dirt.  No one greeted them until they reached a fire-barrel in the middle of the room.  Out from the dancing shadows came a cloaked figure.

Tarsus approached, proudly making his assassins mark visible as a challenge to the figure.  The figure did nothing to acknowledge his presence.

“Are you the one they call the Judge?”

“I represent the Judge, yes….”  He said in a deep commanding voice.

“We are here to ask about these…”, Tarsus presented holo-images of the marks.

“The Judge has seen these markings before.  They are well known to him.”

Tarsus sighed, knowing he would have to draw the information out of the figure.  “What do the mean?”

The figure drew back and began to speakine a deep monotone voice.

“The Mecrosa, as part of their vast network, use these runes to mark potential targets. The particular rune”, he gestured to the marking from the Lady’s apartment, ” is used for a low-priority target. Low-Priority targets are usually used in training young assassins. These runes hold special information for these young assassins, including a point value and some basic instructions on the type of target and any special instructions. This is part of their training; to be able to read the more complicated runes.

“These runes are secretly implanted onto the target in some way, and young assassins are to be on constant look-out for them. Once the target is eliminated, the assassin-trainee is supposed to take an image of the rune in some way, and report in. The point values are used to evaluate the assassin.

“This system is one of the best-kept secrets of the Mecrosa. Because so few people know of the true meaning, and the runes are so varied, local authorities rarely make a connection. If they do, they are usually targeted. The trainee system is also a strict system, for if anyone is caught cheating, the penalty is death. Misuse or unauthorized use of any of the runes, by Mecrosa or someone outside, is also punishable by death. The Mecrosa are very protective of their secrets.

“This particular Rune”, again the Lady’s rune, ” instructs the potential trainee that the target is a female noble of Mecetti, and for a low priority target, she has a VERY high point value. This would mean that there would be assassin competing for this target. Competition between assassins is discouraged except for the higher point values where it’s worth the death of a few trainees. Also, there is special instructions inscribed within, asking for a ‘mop-up-contingency’ if unfriendly nobles stumbled across the scene.

“Not only is the Judge well-versed in the meaning of these runes, but he also is aware of all the known targets currently marked by these runes. He does not recognize this rune.  Who was hte target?”

“Lady Katrina Ilm.”

“He does not recognize the name. This was an unauthorized use of the rune.   The Judge pities the perpetrator.”

The figure also explained the other runes as simple non-training runes, and they too were unauthorized uses.

The group left the building with a deep forboding feeling that there now was much more involved in this mystery than they wanted to be into.

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