Enter Black Flag, Finally

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Enter Black Flag, Finally

Post by Aurrelius on Thu Jun 02, 2016 1:45 pm

All Exxeter could see was a swirling sea of black and blue before him. He blinked, and again, then slowly he could make out, red eyes?! He jolted the rest of the way out of slumber in a panic, only to realize that it was his chiss friend Blackout standing over him.

“Ever heard of bubble space Blackout?”

“Good to see you too Exxeter!”

Then it hit him, the massive headache that he knew would eventually catch up to him. A reminder not to get high on stim so much...This was followed quickly by the throbbing ache in his side where the HK droid had hit him. He looked around for the first time. He wasn't in Castle Black anymore, neither was he even on Drummond Kaas, as far as he could tell. It appeared that he was in a normal med-room surrounded by the surviving members of his old team, Death Mark.

“Where am I, and what happened?” came the two logical questions.

“You're in one of the Death Mark safe houses. We made it out okay, and sent the soldiers back to the command ship. We thought you might appreciate a more private facility,” answered Jarx from his position behind Exxeter's head.

“And Aurrelius? Where did he get off to?”

His reply was poignant silence, at least until that bear of a man Shimas walked in. Snow and Ryiena filed in after. Exxeter was too tired to think through all the ramifications of showing a jedi one of the safe houses at that moment.

“To our knowledge, he didn't make it out. He sacrificed his life for that of my brother and mother. Pity he had to go out like that. Though he always did seem secretive, he appeared to have good motives.”

Exxeter smiled weakly. Shimas didn't know the half of it! “How many did we loose?”

“62 soldiers, and eight members of Death Mark.”

Such high casualties... So much blood spilled, and for what? The freedom of a boy and his mother... Was this objective really worth it? Aurrelius thought so. “S'where does that leave us?”

It was Ryiena's turn to chime in. “That's what we were hoping you could tell us. With Aurrelius gone, you're now the leader of this bizarre band.”

The irony of the situation was not lost on Exxeter. Here he was, little more than a common mercenary, hooked into a hospital bed, and with a ludicrous hangover to boot, and some of the greatest warriors in the galaxy were asking him for advice! Tired as he was, he directed his thoughts to his leader's orders for this contingency.

“The soldiers are to be returned to their garrison, and their pay doubled. Any captured prisoners are to be turned over to the next of kin immediately... Oh what else... Ah, and any captured loot is to be devided among Shimas and crew, Death Mark, Snow and Ryiena. Death Mark is to be paid in the usual way... I think that was it...”

“Didn't capture any treasure, or loot, Exxeter!” Dexter bitterly complained.

The mirialan grimaced. “Well those are the provisions that were made. Now if there are no more questions, comments, or emotional outbursts, I'd thank you to let a sick man get some rest!”

Shimas nodded and walked out. “Thank you Exxeter. You seem like a honorable man. Rest well.”

When no one else left after a few moments, Exxeter looked around and asked, “Problems?”

“Uh, yeah...” came the cautious reply from Blackout. “We were wondering where all this leaves Death Mark. We were assembled and trained to do one thing, and we've done it. What's next, boss?”

“You are dismissed. Go where you please. Death Mark is disbanded.”

The air seemed to be sucked out of the room. Dismissed? No more Death Mark?!

Jarx vocalized well the thoughts of the remaining mercenaries. “Are you sure? Will we ever be needed again?”

Feeling the full effects of his hangover, injury, and giving up his team was getting to be too much for Exxeter. He fell back on his bed with a plop and sighed. “I have no idea Jarx. I hired you on Aurrelius' orders, and like Blackout mentioned, your job is done. You'll be paid for this, don't worry, but this is good bye.”

Confused, and slightly dissapointed, Dexter nodded to Exxeter and walked out, followed by Patch, and Jarx. Blackout paused by the bed side. “If you ever need me, you know where to find me,” he said with all sincerity before walking out as well.

This left only Snow and Ryiena in the med room, both girls sitting in stunned silence, still processing the weight of Aurrelius' passing. Ryiena spoke first. “I just can't believe he's gone. I know our alliance was temporary, but still... He promised to teach me to read stars...”

“Over a decade of wandering and hiding, tormented by my past, then the one person who I felt understood me, the person who gave me a purpose, and now he's just gone...”

Exxeter's drug fogged mind finally put all the pieces together. He chuckled slightly before coughing and falling back to the bed. “You thought he was dead, didn't you?”

The two females looked at him incredulously. “Are you saying he isn't!? He went up against Darth Malefestus himself!”

The green man's purple eyes twinkled in the light of the room. “Aurrelius is a warrior, and a damn good one at that! He always has a backup plan. Granted, this night didn't end like anyone thought, but I'd bet blasters to dreadnaughts that Aurrelius is out there, somewhere. He'll find us when he's ready, I'm sure...”

***

Malefestus blinked rapidly, trying to recover his vision after the bright, blinding light. The moon had now passed the opening so the only light was that given off by Lifebleeder. After a minute, he looked down, fully expecting the mangled corpse of his enemy to be lying there at his feet, ruined by his fabled battle blade. But there was nothing! Not even a blood stain! Lifting his gaze to the normally blank wall in front of him, he saw, not a body, but a banner, a meter high and two long. It was all black, but in it's center was the insignia of a bright red dragon. Aurrelius' Black Flag!

Enraged by even the thought of being bested by this upstart slave in his own home, Malefestus took his 'saber and slashed viciously at the symbol of defiance on his wall. Again and again he struck, until all that was left of the banner were a few pieces of unrecognizable cloth. He stormed off through the tunnels back to the castle to begin plotting his next move.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g1fPUejOTB8

High above Castle Dark four stars danced together in the highest heavens. The Pale Horse, the Reaping Scythe, the Thunderous Hammer, and the Blood Drop, all coming together and uniting around the star of destiny. But behold! Another star moved to join them! It was the eye of that great constellation Draco, the star of the Penndragon! It lingered for only a moment. Then the first rays of dawn appeared over the distant horizon, enveloping the unusually clear sky in a warm orange glow.

Aurrelius
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