[Story] SWTOR – Reunion

The tent where Malavar rested was guarded by two Republic soldiers, their fingers close to their rifle triggers. Still, they allowed Zamarra inside to see him, once she explained that she knew him. Inside, the same medic that had seen her tended to Malavar’s injuries; she could just see the angry and jagged wound before it disappeared beneath the fresh bandages. The medic gave her a brief nod as he left the tent, and she imagined that she saw sympathy in his eyes — or perhaps regret.

Malavar looked much older and weaker than she remembered him, his color pale against the white bedding, his eyes sunken. He certainly did not look like a threat, which made the guards outside seem even more unsettling. Zamarra sat on the little chair beside the cot, watching his shallow, shaky breaths rise and fall.

“What happened?” she asked finally. “Why didn’t you tell me?”

Malavar exhaled a ragged sigh. “You don’t need to scold me. I’ve already told myself everything you are about to say.”

“People have died, Malavar. Innocent people. And there will be more if we’re not able to stop it. I think some scolding is justified.” Zamarra couldn’t help but think of the Sith acolyte who had reached out to contact them, how foolish and naive he had sounded. What else did he think would come of such senseless destruction? But Malavar had believed it too, at least for a time. Jordan had mentioned him by name. 

“He made it sound like it was a part of something so much larger. I thought — he told me you’d been killed. So it didn’t matter anyway.” Malavar moved his gaze to the rough fabric of the tent, unable to meet her gaze.

She didn’t think that his excuse was any better than Jordan’s. It sounded just as foolish and reckless, and she mourned the loss of the Republic soldiers and the civilians who the Others had killed. But she could not allow herself to be angry. “Then you came here — to help them?”

Malavar grunted, shifting a little. “Not exactly. I knew the Others were coming, but I thought they would leave me alone. That wasn’t the case. I didn’t know where else to turn. You said–”

“I can help you. Yes.” But Zamarra was not certain that the soldiers outside would feel the same about aiding a Sith. They didn’t see anything else when they looked at him. Yet they’d allowed the medic to treat him, they surely wouldn’t do that if they only planned to shoot him later, Zamarra assured herself. She had no idea of the procedures required for Malavar to remain in Republic space, but they were likely not present. Still, they had to be better than what awaited him back in the Empire. And his former comrades in the Phalanx were no doubt hunting for him as well. This little tent was probably the safest place he could be for the moment. “You should speak with the leader of the soldiers. Tell them that you wish to abandon the Empire. They will tell you what to do.” In truth, she didn’t know that they did, but it seemed like the right step. Trying to hide him would be much worse — for both of them. 

“I will keep my promise,” he said quietly. 

Zamarra furrowed her brow. “What promise is that?”

“I promised Mother that I would look out for you. I haven’t forgotten.”

“Malavar–”

He winced at the word. “Tas’okh is my name. You remember… don’t you?”

Zamarra nodded, her hands folded neatly in her lap. “I don’t need you to look out for me. Let me look after you this time.”

Malavar — Tas’okh — grunted something that sounded like assent, his eyes closing again. He would need rest to recover, and for what lay ahead.

[Story] SWTOR – The Others

“Feeling better now, Miss Jedi?” The Republic army medic stood hesitantly in the doorway of the tent, fiddling with his diagnostic device. He looked scarcely older than a child, Zamarra thought, or perhaps she was just starting to feel old herself. He’d nimbly cleaned and dressed the ragged tear on her leg, and the wounds were neatly stitched up. There was less he could do about the bruising on her ribs, but they would subside on their own soon enough. 

“I am, thank you,” Zamarra said, and it was only halfway a lie. She knew that he meant physically — and in that regard, she felt fine. She did not engage in physical contact often, especially at close quarters, and being injured had threatened to distract her, but she had been able to push through it. Moreso, she didn’t want to frighten the poor medic, who already looked ready to spook. As she watched, he gathered up a few of his implements from the nearby table and hurried out again. 

Mentally, she felt much worse. Worry and fear threatened her mind like hungry beasts scratching at a door. Of course she had faced dark enemies before, but nothing like what they’d experienced in the ruins. It was a crushing, oppressive wave of darkness that none of them had been able to even stand against, threatening to tear hope from their very hearts. The Commandant had not even been their true target — had he only been bait to lure them? And for what purpose? It was possible that the mysterious dark figure sought nothing but destruction — as much as Zamarra could not comprehend it, many others before had done the same. But usually there was some goal in mind, no matter how twisted. 

The strange device had opened a portal of sorts deep within the tomb — to where, Zamarra could not be sure — but from within it poured monstrous creatures that she had never experienced before. They had some semblance to normal beasts, but it was as if they were viewed through a dark and twisted lens, their limbs and bodies warped and jagged. More confounding, they were not affected by any force powers, and Zamarra could not understand how this could be possible. Every living thing, even the planets themselves, were bound by the force. 

And why Voss? That, Zamarra thought she had the answer for: the ground beneath them thrummed with raw energy, moreso than any place she had visited. It was likely that it amplified whatever effect the strange artifact had, and perhaps the dark figure’s abilities as well. She had not been able to get a very good look at him; she had been so blinded by the staggering darkness that she could scarcely open her eyes. What had they unleashed on this unwitting planet and its people? The Voss had their commandos, and the Republic had this small outpost of soldiers, but it was hardly enough to hold back the swarm. Even armed with the force, their small group had rapidly been overwhelmed and forced to retreat. 

She worried also about Malavar, wandering in the twisted darkness of the Nightmare Lands. He had agreed to come out, but she had not heard from him since that time — and since that time, the scourge had been released upon Voss. Would they pour into his hiding place and devour him there? He could not even rely on the force to protect him. Every time she called and got no answer, she imagined greater and greater tragedy had befallen him. Perhaps he had been found and imprisoned by Republic soldiers – but she had not seen him at this camp. Or perhaps he had changed his mind, and slipped further into the darkness after all. 

It would do him no good to worry, nor would it help her and her allies. They needed to remain focused, to prepare and learn so they might be ready for whatever might come. As soon as she felt better, she would visit the archives on Tython to locate the star charts for a place called Brighthome. Sixe had said that they might find someone there who could help them, and Zamarra clung to that small spot of hope.

[Art] SWTOR Valentines

I know I’m way behind on writing! RL stuff has been rough this month, and I’m also moving in… 3 weeks or so.

But here are some dumb Valentine cards featuring a grophet and an orokeet!

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[Story] SWTOR – The Nightmare Lands

Malavar perched atop the twisted roots that overlooked the canyon, the tangled growth winding over and around the stone concealed the entrance to the temple below. Though the evening sun bathed the landscape in a golden light, it did little to dispel the feeling of dread and ease that emanated from below, like an old throbbing wound upon the planet’s surface. He had been here — well, Malavar could not be exactly certain, but he knew it had been some time. Alone with the fervent whispers of the darkness, he had lost track of anything else, even despite the Commandant’s orders. 

But then, quite unexpectedly, he had sensed other presences above him. Not the ravenous, mindless beasts that stalked the cliffs, but something keen and bright and sharp — other aware beings. He had intended to dispatch of them quickly, for disturbing his peace if nothing else, but that hadn’t happened. Kif, the spacer, had been among them, and brought word that Zamarra was alive — and seeking him. There were two others two, who claimed to be allies of his sister’s, and he sensed no deceit about them in that regard. 

They had found an object inscribed in High Sith, and they needed him to translate it. Malavar greatly suspected that it was the artifact that the Commandant sought, and even if not, curiosity demanded that he see it for himself. But the cathar refused, nor would he say where it was located now. Still, if Malavar could help them, they would bring him to Zamarra, and — he claimed — cleanse this rot within him. Malavar had his doubts that this was possible, he had himself tried for years and he felt he had only lost ground, felt more hopeless than he ever had, like gradually losing one’s grip at the edge of a chasm. 

But could Zamarra help him? Despite being younger and smaller, she had always been stronger in the Force. He and their mother had seen it, so had the Jedi who came to take her away for training. Zamarra would never have succumbed to hate and rage, no matter what they had done to her. At least, Malavar believed so. She was more fortunate than many in that she never had to find out for certain. Could they be together again, despite all the years and all the things that Malavar had done? Zamarra was able to accept and forgive him before, surely she would do so again.

He turned the comm over thoughtfully, hesitating before activating it, the device coming to life with a gentle beep. His sister appeared on the other end, her expression showing more worry than Malavar had ever seen on it before.

“Zamarra? It’s me.”

[Story] SWTOR – The Vision

Strange shapes shifted in the darkness, feral and sinuous, their jagged teeth glinting in the dim light. The walls were close, pressing in, etched with ancient and profane symbols. The air was still and stagnant, cool and damp. From the edges of her vision, the darkness crept in closer, yet she could still not see her brother.

Zamarra took in a deep breath, steadying herself, as the vision faded. It had been like the others; vague and lacking answers. She was no further to finding him than she had been before, but now there was even more at stake.

“Tas’okh, where are you?”, she asked aloud, but neither the reflecting pool nor the shrines or crystals held any answers either. 

She had tried to make much of the fact that she could not actually see him in the visions; Zamarra took this to mean that he was physically hidden. But where was he hiding, and from whom? At the cantina, Kif had said that they’d spoken not long ago, but was vague about the specifics. Could the darkness have seized him in its grip so rapidly? It was a terrifying thing to imagine. But something else Kif had said troubled her more: he said that Malavar had seemed edgy, as if he hadn’t slept for some time. The pilot had said it was merely worry, but Zamarra did not think that was the case.

When they’d met those years ago, after so long apart, Malavar had been warm and kind, the protective big brother she remembered. She’d sensed no trace of anguish or trouble within him then, though he admitted he’d struggled with it previously. Now, she could not be so certain, and she worried that she might be putting both him and her new associates into an impossible situation.

Malavar was not their concern, but they had agreed to seek him because he might be able to translate the strange transmission from the civilian ship they had aided. The message, what they were able to decipher, had chilled Zamarra to the bone. There was much more at stake here than simple piracy, and now it seemed that the council was attempting to keep it secret as well. 

But what might Malavar do when faced with strangers asking too many questions? Zamarra could not be certain. Her brother, Tas’okh, would never harm someone innocent, but he was Malavar now, shaped by years of abuse at his owners’ hands, and trained to kill on Korriban. Would he flinch before he used that training? Zamarra believed that he would — the alternative was too awful to contemplate. She’d told another Jedi that she would strike Malavar down if it came to that, if he could not be pulled back from the darkness, but was it really true? And was she even strong enough to face him in a fight?

It was some consolation that Kif was the one doing the initial search. She knew it was very unlikely that Malavar would harm him, especially as he said that they’d spoken recently. But the darkness didn’t follow rules, might not honor the bonds of friendship forged in the past. They would find out soon enough, for better or worse.

Zamarra moved to her desk, picking up the recording on the subject of force sight. She’d had a long with Meishu, a Miralukan, on the subject. He could not only see but sense the Force in living things, like a texture in one’s mind — the darkness might feel rough and jagged, while the light was warm and comforting. Zamarra thought it fascinating, and he’d suggested that she might be able to learn to use it herself, even offering to help her. She very much looked forward to the idea, but she felt like a little child staring at her first book of the alphabet — there was so much to learn and she wasn’t sure where to even begin. 

She brought the recording over to the reflecting pool and began to read again.

[OOC/Screenshots] Happy 8th, Kazta!

My favorite small angry spiky girl is 8 years old!

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Kazta by inkabunga @ ArtFight

She’s still my absolute favorite character to play, and she’s had so many adventures both in her PVE storyline and RP. I went through and found some screenshots of her! And I can’t mention her without her loyal Cat Husband, who has been at her side since day 1 — except for that time she was frozen in carbonite. But he never gave up looking for her!

Vanguard Trooper has also been super fun from a gameplay point of view, it’s never changed too much in all the time I’ve played, which I really appreciate. Nothing like coming home after a long day and blowing up some stuff with her big gun. Here’s to many more years of spiky goodness!

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Reunited ❤

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Custom Funko POPs

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The birth of Snacky!

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Cat kissin’

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Sith are jerks

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This is the VERY first picture I have of her!

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[Art] Best Present Ever

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[Art] Merry Kifmas

Featuring Kif’et the Smuggler!

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[Screenshots] SWTOR: Onslaught

The new SWTOR expansion is out, and I’ve played through the main storyline with Kazta. (I think there might be more on the planets, but I haven’t gone to them yet as I’m working on getting everyone to the new level cap first.)

I also took my Knight through, because some important companions returned to him, and my Sith Juggernaut because I wanted to see the Imperial side. I was really impressed with how the storylines managed to show the same events from both sides — I mean, that’s always been a thing but I think it was done particularly well this time. I recognized scenes and situations from the other. I also really liked the  new characters and look forward to seeing more of them.

My Juggernaut is a Saboteur, which means he’s secretly helping the Republic while maintaining the appearance of helping the Empire. So from time to time, he will get options for actions or lines that are labeled “Saboteur”. I was worried at first, because it didn’t seem like the story would allow him any chances to do so, but later on it definitely picked up. I have to say, I really enjoyed his Saboteur storyline and I expect it’s more interesting than the loyalist version, but I’ll find out later on.

Pictures are behind the cut, as always. I tried to keep them in correct order, but I never do, people should be used to that by now around here. I have a lot of pictures with Cat Husband looming ominously in the background, he’s good at that.

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[OOC] Not-WoW Roundup

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With Eowyn in Rohan

SWTOR’s new expansion was due in September, but it’s been pushed to October to make sure everything is working well. That’s perfectly fine with me, I’d rather wait a bit longer for a better product than try to play something that’s got major bugs. I do wish they’d do another bonus weekend before then, but I already have enough alts leveled that it’s not a big deal.

Also, it gives me more time to try to finish leveling my Hobbit in LoTRO — she’s 93 now and the level cap  is 120 (I think?). I have really been enjoying that, the mounted combat is a bit tricky at first but not too bad now that I’ve had some practice and my war-horse has some talent points. I was struggling a bit to kill things after 85 but it was because I was using my old weapons, kind of like how BC greens are better than Vanilla raid gear.

And speaking of Vanilla, I don’t have any plans to play Classic WoW. I already played it once, and I enjoyed it enough, but I don’t really feel any need to do it again. And for me, the best part of Vanilla was the questing, which any number of other games do just as well or better for free, LoTRO and SWTOR included. LoTRO even has better dungeons, in my opinion, with the skirmishes that scale to both level and number of players. If I could have paid 5 bucks for a Classic-only subscription? Yeah, I might have bought it for a while at least. But I’m not paying the full price for a 15-year old game, so Blizzard will continue to get from me what they’ve got for the past 16 months = absolutely nothing. I’m waiting for November to figure out whether I’m done permanently or not, but it’s quite likely at this time.

I’d really like to get back to FFXIV as well, but it’s kind of rough for someone with grouping anxiety who also can’t commit to large blocks of time at once. I’m “stuck” at an 8 person raid before I can progress the main story. I suppose I could pay to skip it, but I am really liking the story, and I’m pretty sure there will be more grouped things I will need to do later on. Maybe once school starts I’ll have more time, right now I’m driving kids around to tons of activities and can’t devote too much time at once for game stuff.