LegendsLog:Sith: Bloody Tombs
With enough luck and a good eye, a traveler may be able to spot an old metal ladder baked into the canyon. Old bones from fallen acolytes have piled up along the bottom of the rock face. At a glance up, a looong way up the edge of the cliff carved in the redrock is the entrance to a powerful presence. It's the tomb of sadist design, one created in the honour of a long forgotten Sith Alchemist.
The decrepit climbing device is covered in dull slits that act like the jagged teeth of the many beasts who roam the valley. It can be assumed that the path upward was meant to inflict pain and allow only the most determined to climb it. By the look of the ancient corpses, it can be assumed that few were able to endure the climb to seek the riches the caves may hold.
Enough research has been poored into his current goal, and ultimately, Rotas doesn't particularly plan on giving up easily. Especially not when all that readily stands in his path is simply that... A ladder. A climbing device.
Sucking in a deep breath of the blistering, hot Korriban air, he steps forward, looking up the device for a moment to consider it, not caring if the skull of a former student crunches under his boot. "Time to get climbing..." And then he jumps, not incredibly high, but enough to get a small bit of a head start in climbing the ladder, calling on the Force to minimize the damage the ladder itself may cause.
Maybe the rungs at the bottom of the ladder have been worn down by the acolytes before Rotas...with the sharpest slits nearing the top...not that the tomb raider has to worry about /that/ just yet...there is still quite a way to go. As the Arkanian ascends the sadistic ladder, a strange presence reaches out to him. It's a tickle in the force. The sort of thing that may make most lose their concentration and focus...slowing them down and increasing the time they spend on each razor-like bar.
As he climbs forward, the Force protecting his body from any significant injuries, Rotas drives forward with steeled determination. As that strange presence reaches out to him though, his focus fades, shifting to examine the presence for what it is, and then devoting himself anew to his task, now with the intention of putting the presence out of his mind. It's just another distraction, one that he can't spend himself to focus on. At least, not until he has reached the top of the ladder.
With a renewed focus, the tickle goes away, removed from the acolyte's thoughts. Some time goes on, bringing the man about halfway up the ladder. A glance to the bottom would show the long drop down. It's a certain death. A glance up would be motivating! Only half the distance left on the ladder....but then it hits.
The presence returns and reality begins to warp around the Sith! The rock face seems to be growing taller, increasing the distance up to the mouth of the tomb. What's worse? The ladder appears to have gained rungs!
Is it a trick? Could such a tomb be real as to stretch from the base of the cliff?
Smirking with satisfaction, pleased to have bested whatever unknown presence that attempted to assail his mind, Rotas presses forward. "Peace is a lie, there is only passion." He assures to himself, stirring the anger within himself to drive himself forward.
And then, the presence returns, attempting to deceive him. He growls, attempting to dispell what he presumes to be a trick of the mind, and focusing himself further. "Through passion, I gain strength!"
The ledge of the tomb shifts back into focus, closer than ever before. The air feels cleaner and a small snake slithers through cracks in the red rock. It's a peaceful scene until the wind picks up. It's not clear if it is a manifestation of the force...or a legitimate weather phenomenon. The gust is -not- enough to knock even the weakest Sith from the rungs, but it may be enough for the climber to reinforce his grip.../into/ the serrated metal.
THE RUNG JUST UNDER HIS FOOT BREAKS OFF AS HE PUSHES ONTO THE NEXT!!
A close one to be sure! The old material produces a loud, "CLANG!!!" as it bounces off the hard rock and down into oblivion...1....2.....3.....4....5...6..7..8...ping.
"Through strength, I gain power!" Rotas demands of himself, increasing his fury, now pulling his anger directly from how the tomb he has spent so, so long to delve into seems to be attempting to evade him further even still. All of his time, his research... All of his efforts will NOT be in vein. "Through power, I gain victory!"
If the wind forces him to grip the ladder more aggressively, he does so with intent. The Force challenges him, and he ups the anty, gripping each bar on the ladder even more than should be required, growling with the pain and using it to urge him forward. "Through victory, my chains are broken!"
As the bars become sharper, the liberation at the end grows nearer. The powerful presence returns to pester the acolyte and pulls out the last stop to force him to fall. The bars glow red hot...but it is only an apparition...a falsehood that one with enough focus would be able to see through. The glow slowly fades as the last runs are mounted.
At the peak of the ladder is the tomb and the tomb is protected by a humble rock wall. The door is closed and the journey for artifacts is far from over. A cursory inspection should reveal ancient markings discussing the fate of the Sith Alchemist. The forgotten man was a tragedy of his own design. Pictures detail his quest for power through old forbidden magics...images show a rough depiction of the man turning vials of his blood into rare minerals.
Unfortunately, at least according to the inscriptions...he accidentally turned the blood within his veins to rock.
"The Force shall free me!" Rotas calls further, pushing himself harder and gripping each bar of the ladder with intent, aiming his hands now at the barbs along the way until finally, he pulls himself up and to that ledge, now looking at the door that stands in his way. Slowly, his fingers curl and uncurl, relaxing his hands after the challenge, and staring down the door that provides him with his next challenge.
"So, you old fool... Your death came from your own lust for power..." He observes, stepping forward and peering carefully at the inscriptions. One hand lifts up, rubbing at his chin as he appraises each symbol carefully. "If you turned blood into rock, what then, will happen if I apply my own blood?" He considers, still looking the inscriptions up and down before committing to an action just yet.
With no obvious answer making itself known to him, Rotas kneels down before the door, his eyes leveled on the inscriptions as he draws a vibroknife from his boot. Rising back to his feet, he draws the blade against his right palm, his non-dominant hand, causing himself to bleed. Once there is a good gash on his hand, he presses his bleeding hand onto the door.
The rock wall melts away into a wave of reddish liquid. The red flood stops at the ledge, not rushing over as if a haunted waterfall....lingering around as a hellish puddle. The smell of iron taints the air and a pitch black passage is revealed.
Smirking with his victory, Rotas lowers his hand from the wall, reaching into a pocket to pull out an handkerchief, which he carefully wraps around his bleeding hand tightly, to manage the blood lose. Then he steps forward, lifting his left hand to call his lightsaber from his belt and igniting the crimson blade of his weapon, to provide him with some light as he moves forward, into the black passage.
The dark passage glows red as Rotas makes his way through. After a short walk, the passage opens to an insignificantly sized chamber of remembrance. It's small, tight, and about what you would expect for a Sith Lord that led themselves to their own demise. The blood on the acolyte's hand turns to a chalky substance as the scent of iron leaves the room. The cuts on his hands sealed by rock. No pain...just a thin layer of mineral blocking the wound from 'bleeding' further.
At first, as he moves further into the tome, Rotas might not even notice how his blood chances as a result of the air around him. But he does eventually notice, peering at his once bleeding hand and shaking away the unnecessary handkerchief. "Curious..." He observes, looking down at his hand, and then his lips curl into a soft grin. "Had you mastered this, you would have had your wounds heal much faster. You did not, however, and I understand now, why you died the way you did." Under a small altar is the grave of the Sith Lord. When we was burried, he was burried whole. The flesh rotted away to reveal bone and rock. His circulatory system turned to stone...and was left in a twisted looking mold.
Unfortunately, it is clear that someone...maybe many someones had made it hear before. The rocky after-image of the man's critical organs have been looted as trophies for acolytes from before...but some parts still remain.
Stepping towards the long dead Sith Lord, Rotas kneels down next to the withered body, still using his lightsaber to illuminate the area. "Nothing left, but your corpse, old Sith. Looted, harvested by the many generations of Sith that came after your failure." He observes, reaching in to the crumbled old body to carefully grip his fingers around the last remaining lung of the dead Sith. He gently pulls the organ from the corpse, then rises to his feet. "This will have to do. A lesson learned from the Dark Side."