Author's Note

I did it! I got out a chapter this month. haha! That has been my goal, at least one chapter per month. It would have come out earlier but I got a new job so I don't have as much time as I used to.

Also I'm surprised no one has figured out the secret of last chapter. hehe... oh it's going to be funny when I reavel this nasty secret.

Shameless plug, I stream over on Twitch under the name Enzinthebro if you want to yell at me about the chapter you can whenever I'm streaming.

"Fuck me this is cold." It was all agreed upon by the Sith that the frozen tundra of Beyond the Wall was indeed cold. Victarion grit his teeth as the heavy cloaks that they brought only helped slightly. Why anyone would ever willingly live here the Grayjoy would never know. The Wildlings in his opinion should just get good at building boats and get out of the far North.

"Maybe Lord Nagash has some Force power to heat himself up." Kavvin offered but the Sith Reaver suspected it was more likely some device from the stars than a power of the Force.

They had arrived just a few miles ahead of the Wall, past the Eastwatch-by-the-Sea. A camp had already been set up their expecting squads of Nightbrothers, numbering eighteen in total. It hadn't been much given that it was expected for Victarion to want to head off as soon as he arrived. They were right. So far the Grayjoy had been impressed with the aliens and their dedication to their service to Lord Nagash. Though he could have done without the religious reverence they had for the Lord of the Sith.

Beyond the Wall itself was also as irritating, the cold was biting and unlike the soft chill of a southern winters' better days. Winter was bad everywhere but at times the people of Westeros tended to forget how forgiving it was compared to the Far North. Victarion Would make it a point to avoid this place and any Ice World in the future.

"Pretty sure he just uses Tech for stuff like that." Not everything had to be solved with the Force, if anything Victarion was more interested in the technology of the wider galaxy. The Force was too mystical for his tastes and he knew that Darth Nagash practiced a more scientific style of the Force it was still too abstract for the Grayjoy.

"Sith, we have received the coordinates of the Wilding Camp. Shall we break camp and head out?" The leader of the Night Brothers, Fume Chelded, asked as he approached the campfire the Sith had been sitting at. The Nightbrother had been excellent in his role and the Reaver of the Sith admired such a strict adherence to structure.

"Yes. Kavvin, Gurner, Daltis, get your crap and be ready by the time the Night Brothers finish up." The other boys groaned and this only reminded Victarion on why he should have come alone. But he needed to be strategic. While Darth Nagash had expressed that he wanted to do away with the lethal element of Sith Politics, that didn't mean he wanted to get rid of Sith Politics wholesale. There would still be backstabbing, secret deals, even assassination and everything else that came with the cutthroat halls of power. Only difference this time was that outright murder and senseless violence would be condemned instead of at best tolerated and worst encouraged. Thus Victarion was… trying to make friends.

Gurner was tolerable as he like a few others had accepted they weren't the rising stars, but he was still undecided on just whom he should follow. While a member of the Sect of Morgoth, he didn't really fit in well. The guy was just self-centered enough not to be selfless but was too cautious to be ambitious.

As for the sole Northerner in their party, Daltis had insisted on coming. Victarion only allowed it because he needed someone in the Sect of Manwë's camp. The two had their own share of stare downs and tense fights in the training yard during their time as Acolytes. But that was then and this was now. The Grayjoy was able to put aside their time as children but he wasn't sure that the Flint could.

Lastly was Kavvin, and like Daltis wasn't a fan of Victarion. But the Reaver was pretty sure that Thoren had asked him to come with the Northern expedition to keep an eye on him. Didn't matter. Victorian had nothing to hide as his only objective was to serve Darth Nagash faithfully. Who could feel guilt in the service of the only person who is justified in their actions.

The unforgiving cold of the far north battered the company of Sith and their Nightbrother supporters. The all marched through the frozen wasteland in the direction of even greater cold northward. Passing through patches of pine forests among the glacial lakes and rocky hills. The Neophytes complained and asked Victarion why they didn't just take the shuttle all the way to the wildlings. Because they weren't supposed to give themselves away that easily. As stealthy as a flying shuttle could be, the skies were wide open and the wildlings had skinchangers that could inhabit the birds. Chances could not be taken.

Even now, Victarion had the sneaking suspicion that they were being watched. And soon enough the entire party felt it. The Force Users detected others around them through their powers and the Nightbrothers were extremely adept survivalist with a ear for ambushes. For now they all allowed the wildings to just keep to watching. They weren't dressed like Night's Watch and there were to many of them to just outright attack. So the wildings were being cautious. However that changed as the outsiders approached a ridgeline too close to the primary camp of the Beast King Beyond the Wall.

"Stop." Victarion held up a fist to single to the back to halt. A deep breath later and he focused his mind's eye on the shifting of the Force. To him it was like the rocking of a boat on the seas. His Iron Born blood and deep memories of sailing in his childhood before being taken by the Seekers shaped his interactions with the Force more than he liked.

"I feel them too… about thirty?" Kavvin moved his hand to his Force Blade in preparation for the enclosing ambush.

"Thirty four, two of them are strong." The Reaver smiled and the other Sith backed away from the Grayjoy, having seen what he could do in a duel.

Shapes started to form out of the snow and stone, immediately crossbow bolts and arrows trading between the two sides. The Nightbrothers had been provided some of the best weapons that Dol Guldur had crafted. The fires of industry had made steel and mechanical parts much more widely available. No longer were crossbows of excellent quality the sole domain of master craftsmen. The Offworlders may not have blasters, but the certainly were leagues above the wildings when it came to their arms.

The Sith on the other hand sprinted in different directions. Both Victarion and Daltis heading toward the nearest source of strength they could sense in the Force. Fortunately for everyone else that put them on opposite sides of the skirmish. The Grayjoy leapt high, the Force propelling him to the air and shocking the wildings at the display of power. With a great crash he shook the ground with his impact, a flying trident shot through the dust that had been kicked up. One, two, three, four dead wildings as two were speared clean through by the flying trident, the third was impaled into the ground and the last had a sword in his neck before he knew what was going on.

"What the fuck are you?!" Victarion spun around and parried the massive club that had attempted to swing down on him. A younger man, but whom had a morbid style of dress. Strung along his body the wilding had bones of all sorts, animal and human. "Doesn't matter, goin' kill you the same."

Victarion wasn't for fight banter, so without a word he sprung forward intent on killing this savage with one strike of his sword. Only to be surprised when the wildling dodged out of the way and kicked him in the gut, sending his reeling back. The bone wearing madman gloated for a bit but the Sith Reaver did not care what this idiot had to say. His pride demanded that he kill his prey before Daltis did. So rather than letting this drag out any further, he mentally commanded his trident to skewer his foe through the back of the head. Non-Force Users had to either be the very best as combat or have the equipment to even the odds… this man had neither. The Grayjoy looked back at the rest of the scene, finding that the rest of his entourage had similarly finished up their work as well. Now it was time to meet this Beast King Beyond the Wall.

"Welcome to the greatest city that ever was and ever will be. We humbly welcome such powerful and sophisticated practitioners of the arcane arts into our city." One of the Masters of the Thirteen greeted Nikola and his retinue of fellow Sith and Nightbrothers as the departed their ship. They had left Volantis some time ago, having sent word to Qarth of their arrival. The Sith Order had largely been a great source of gossip and discussion among the Essosi for better or worse.

"Thank you Master of Iron, we graciously thank you for your invitation." Nikola had a reassuring smile on his lips, despite the fact that he knew that the Master of Iron only invited the Sith to Qarth to inquire about the rumors of the industrial advancement they were making in Westeros. The Reaver of the Sith internally smiled as soon enough word would be spreading about how in Westeros steel was becoming common place due to the Open Harth Furnace that he himself help implement into the Industrial District. This merchant wanted to know if he was about to be rich or put out of business.

"When I got word of your visit to Volantis I simply had to extend an invitation for you to visit the Queen of Cities. As the last true child city of the Valerians, Volantis is an impressive city yes-yes. But nothing compares to the majesty of Qarth." He went on and on as he guided the Sith down the docks into the city where several saddens were waiting for them. Nikola tuned most of it out as this city was the same to him as some mud huts out on some Iron Born island. He had seen the future. Stone? Clay? Worthless to the might of steel.

"This guy could give Lady Melisandre a run for her money when it comes to unending praise." Dyron whispered back to the other two Sith that hung behind their leader and their host. As a former member of the Sect of Mysteries, it was natural for him to follow Nikola on his mission. If for no other reason than it seemed like an easy one where they could get showered in luxury by the lords of Qarth.

"I wouldn't take that bet for a second, at least the Red Woman is honest. Can't say the same for this guy." Royn chuckled as he watched his oldest friend handle the shady merchant lord well. Slipping and loosening the Master of Iron's worries and replacing them with eager excitement for possible trade. The exact details of the innovation of the Sith created uncertainty and concern from those of established powers. But all could benefit if they merely acquiesced to the coming change.

"I think your confusing honesty with crazy." Meralith muttered to herself trying to stay between the two boys and avoid the looks of the dockworkers. She had some of the strongest abilities in sensing emotions among the Neophytes, nothing so great as Jaesa's eyes or anything that could be called unique but certainly a cut above the average Force User. And right now the Force was telling her all sorts of uncomfortable feelings from those that were watching them.

"And so my good Master of Iron, the Sith Order and even Westeros at large will not only be looking for a greater supply of iron, but trade agreement with the entirety of Qarth for its many wares." Nikola had no intention of making good on this promises. He could neither speak for the Sith Order or the Seven Kingdoms on matters like this. But the Master of Iron didn't know that. One of the weakness of the Essosi were that they willfully kept themselves ignorant of Westeros' affairs as they saw the Seven Kingdoms as lesser than themselves almost universally.

"Truly, well I would be happy to arrange a meeting between you and the Council of Thirteen." The group was further escorted into the grand old city. All the luxuries and means to impress the foreign sorcerers, not so much because they had powers of the Force but because Dol Guldur was becoming a economic powerhouse. Despite not being connected to the seas, usually a prerequisite for such economic significance, its sheer growing population and industrial might were creating a network of trade lanes that forced others to come to it. This would only grow truer once the rail network is created.

The Sith were brought to the Master of Iron's own personal palace, a lavish complex decorated in sublime works of ironworks that spoke of its owner's trade. But all the attempts were wasted as all of them knew that this ancient city was nothing compared to everything they seen. If anything the Qarth ego of being the greatest city that ever was or ever will be was insulting. But they all had a mission, somewhere in this prideful cesspool was a tower, and there was once where a god plotted to escape her jail.

"Why are the snakes so big!" Karne shouted in rage as he shoved his Force Great Sword into the head of a twenty foot long monster of a snake. Among the beach on the shores of Southeros were littered the dead corpses of giant snakes that had slithered out almost immediately after Thoren and his group had set up a beachhead. But whereas in the past these beasts had a easy time with pirates and the unfortunate merchant that washed up on their shores… these invaders had blasters.

"I mean the only bit of information we were able to get was that these islands were once used by the Valyrians as a testing ground for blood magic so… I get it." Cayle poked his head out from the sandbag wall that surrounded a larger circle of pre-built wall segments that defended their camp. Turret towers and electrified barbed wire were some of the additions.

"Lord Rathari was unfortunately not involved in that part of the Freeholds." Thoren sighed as the last of the giant snakes died by the hands of their Night Brother guards. The hope was that the monsters would finally get the idea that this was a bad place to hunt but after so long of having an easy meal on the beach when something had landed was a habit that would be hard to break.

"Just think, right now Nickola is being pampered with the best Qarth has to offer and we have all of this." The Rider of the Sith motioned to their military camp and jungle beach. The heat was unbearable and the air was moist, bugs swarmed over their heads and now the entire place smelled of death and blood. None of them were used to tropical environments, neither were the Night Brothers though they were fairing better.

Two days ago they arrived from dropship and began setting up their camp, at first their own real problem was the weather however they did note they were already being watched. But the Night Brothers' equipment detected humanoid shapes among those that watched from the trees. Rumors and hearsay were all they had to go on, tales of hybrid monsters created from vile blood sorcery. The three Sith knew that the Force could create monsters, before coming they had viewed a Sith Holocron detailing some of the horrors that the ancient Sith made. Their primary task here was to discover just what was left over of the True Followers that had come to Southeros.

Whereas the White Walkers were in some way connected to the exiled True Followers, those that were in Southeros were not exiles but remains of the whole. Rathari knew that some of those that had escaped the Doom fled to the colonies here in the jungles. But given the state of the ruins and the lack of any real functional settlements, it was obvious that any who had tried to continue their work in Valyria had died. It begged the question why? Was it doomed to failure as they lacked the proper resources or was there something here that could finish them off for good.

"My lords, the beasts have retreated for now but there are too many heat signatures beyond the tree to know if they are merely waiting for another chance." One of the Night Brothers reported and the Sith were also just as blind. None of them were adept in the sensing aspect of the Force to truly identify anything other than a life sign. And there was just too much life in those trees to pinpoint the monster snakes.

"Keep high watch, there's something else here and it might be using these beasts to test our defensives." Thoren had spent a good deal of time learning military tactics and leadership duties in his studies as a Sith, from Neophyte to true Sith. It was likely the reason that he was chosen for Southeros. Where Victarion was hardy and unyielding, Nikola cunning and intelligent, he was ambitious and talented. Arrogant to say but it was true.

The titled Sith stayed outside the perimeter of the camp as the rest of them hurried back behind the safety of their walls. He glared at the jungle, while he couldn't sense the specific life signs he could feel other things in the Force. Even with the little skill he had in this ability, the presence was so massive and potent that it would be impossible to miss it. Deeper in the trees was something writhing and twisting through the vines and roots. Thoren knew that none of the Ones should be here, so it couldn't be them. Whatever this was it wasn't divine.

He was tempted to send a Force Push to topple some of those trees but he had just finished a fight and wouldn't start a new one so soon. The first instinct he had was to just start burning everything down, but that was something a brute would do. Thoren continued to step toward the mess of green and darkness, he could begin hearing the noises of the animals that lived in it. Stopping right at the beginning of the underbrush, he held up a hand and focused his attention on the air around him. Closing his eyes he pushed and pulled the wind until there was a small whirlwind around him. Then, with a closing of his fist, sent the torrent of wind through the jungle scattering whatever had been lurking at its edges stalking him.

"Dumb beasts." He scowled at how easy it was for them to turn to prey, but he knew this was the easy part.

"It's okay Rhaegar. It's all going to be okay." He stared into the mirror while idly rubbing his ring, it was the only calming presence in his life. The Prince that was Promised had torn himself so low, to begging anyone that would listen to his just cause. Already they were calling him the Begger Prince behind his back. These Essosi, they shunned his ancestors of old Valyria and now they mock him. But he would shove them all beneath his boot.

"Prince Rhaegar, the Sealord has arrived." A polite by not reverent servant. None of those that lived in this house showed him the proper respect. They were all on Her side.

"Thank you, I'll be out in just a moment." Rhaegar needed this to go well. Every single other person of note in Braavos had laughed him out of the room. The Iron Bank especially did not have kind words to say to him. Apparently his father had… issues with the bankers in the past and they saw him as another mad king. But not even king now to back up his bark.

From the moment he stepped onto the docks of this spiteful city he had been humiliated. Where he should be treated as a prophet and lord above all he was instead jeered and spit on by the disgusting common folk. These heathens with their false gods. Rhaegar had spoken with a actual divine messenger and those priests in red profaned with every word they spoke. They were all against him, all of them. Servants of dark powers both earthly and not.

His hand started to bleed, oh, he had punched the mirror. Quickly Rhaegar grabbed some bloody cloth he had been using for his wounds. This was not the first time he had lashed out while alone. He wrapped his bleeding hand and found a suitable pair of gloves to hid this tiny little mistake of his. After that he made himself presentable and left his room to meet the Sealord.

Ignoring all the servants and guards along the way he stood confidently towards his only hope of success. Every single soul in this house was a traitor, they all favored his witch loving mother. She was no longer the good and dutiful Westerosi queen and mother she once was. Disrespectful and proud of it. Rhaella actively went out of her way to make his life difficult, Rhaegar was sure of it. Though in truth, she did not. Rhaella only sin was not giving Rhaegar anything more than the bare minimum because her mate asked her to.

Rhaegar stood in front of the door, taking in a breath as he rubbed the spot where his glover covered the One Ring. Once he felt ready he opened the doors… then felt himself disappointed. There was only one man in the room. Not a retinue of advisors and guards that the Sealord often surrounded himself with. In fact the man casually sitting in one of the meeting chairs looked downright awful. Wet and long hair than draped over his entire body and a gaunt and ghastly face. His clothes were also similarly soaked and in poor shape, gray robes that had nothing to them.

"Who are you?" Rhaegar demanded as he shut the door behind him, never thinking that perhaps his life was in danger.

"A man is no one. But a man could help a prince." He spoke in a defeated yet defiant way. It spoke to something in Rhaegar, he felt much the same to his fate.

"How? Where is the Sealord, I was told he would be here." Rhaegar had his sword on him, he had thought it would be good to show as it brought legitimacy as the official sword of House Targaryen. Something he made up in his head but he would never listen to such lies.

"The Sealord is here." The strange man looked up and pulled back on his face. And to Rhaegar's horror the face was removed, now replaced with the handsome visage of the Sealord. The Prince had seen him some weeks ago at a parade in the streets. This was indeed the man he saw. "I have come Prince Rhaegar of House Targaryen because you and I share the same foe." He spoke with the booming low voice of the Sealord too.

"Just what manner of witchcraft is this." The shapeshifter pulled back his face to return to the previous one he had started with. Seemingly as it was its preferred look.

"The God of Many Faces' home was destroyed, no one was left in its wake. A man returned to his home, finding it sunk beneath the waters of his city. A man's brothers and sisters… gone. A man's mentors, tortured and left to suffer a slow death not pleasing to the Many Faced God." Rhaegar watched as the stranger started to shake in rage as it recounted its tale. Rhaegar used what little genuine intelligence madness had not touched to put together the pieces from rumors and tales he had heard. Before him was a Faceless Man, a member of the fabled assassin order.

"Why have you come to me? I have no need of a assassin, the man I seek to kill must only die by my hand." The Witch-King that had corrupted his homeland was for him and him alone to slay. It was by the gods own will that he do so.

"A Prince has a name. Speak it. And a man shall help a Prince bring the Many Faced God's wrath to this name. With a man, comes all of Braavos." Then things clicked into place. The Witch-King had gone to war with the Faceless Men, and now one of their last remaining members has come to him. A fellow seeker of justice. And by the sight of the Sealord's face and the nature of what this meeting was supposed to be… oh this made Rhaegar smile.

"You'd think that the death of a High Septon would draw a bigger crowd." Jamine smirked as he escorted his sister up the steps of the Sept of Balor. It was the funeral for the former leader of the faith. And the Golden Lion's words were true, the crowd was barely enough to fit within the walls of the Sept. Those allowed into the building were of course of noble birth or sufficient importance. The masses outside the sept were of greater number but far less than maybe they would have been in ages past.

"Or that there'd be more Septons or Septa in attendance." Cersei could not care a little for the plight of the Faith of the Seven. She was only here as it was demanded as Queen, a title she still rarely felt was hers.

"All of them are in Lannisport, trying to convince the captains there to take them to the Iron Islands. Mad fools thinking they can turn those savages into just and honorable men." The two Lannisters smile at the folly of the quest that the Faith had taken from the Grandmaster of the Sith. It was a thing of beauty and tragedy to witness the end of a era, so many of the old pillars of the world were crumbling or had already done so. The House of the Dragon as dead and gone. The Faith of the Seven was eating itself alive. And a growing number of the nobility of Westeros were seeing their lands prosper in ways that they never had before.

An increasing number of merchants and non-noble born men and women of wealth were gaining places in circles of power. There was even rumors that some poorer Houses were selling plots of land to landless commoners in exchange for sacks of Dragons. Holds and Lands were things to be gifted by a lord paramount or the King, not individual lords. But now there was a new class of common man in Westeros, one that had money and was hungry for more. There was no true law concerning these matters, only centuries of tradition.

Cersei knew that her father had seen to these coming changes already. He had instructed his bannermen to bring any offers of this kind to his attention and he would adjudicate. Any that were caught selling off land without his approval would be swiftly dealt with. Thankfully House Lannister had many years of experience dealing with a strong burgher class due to the many merchant guilds in Lannisport. But these new men were another breed altogether. Still, they would be swallowed up in the Game of Thrones as the Great Houses of Westeros still held the true political power of the realm.

"Queen Cersei, the Faith welcomes any member of the royal family in these trying times." One of the Septons greeted her as she climbed the last step. He was a mousey little thing that honestly would offend Cersei if not for the fact that he embodied what she thought the current Faith was.

"Thank you, my husband could not attend as he had other duties." She said diplomatically despite knowing that no excuse would be taken well. Afterall in these priests eyes there should be nothing more important than themselves and their affairs.

"Understandable. The Gods work through his grace and his grace's work is for the gods." The Septon smiled and Cersei had to wonder if this man was foolish enough to believe those words. Nevertheless she wouldn't say anything as the Faith preferred her over Lyanna so they were tangential supports of her. The Septon that officiated the duel wedding made it a point to marry her and Robert before him and Lyanna, Cersei appreciated the gesture no matter how meaningless it was in practically.

Oh sure she had at first schemed to remove Lyanna from Robert's eye but… damn was that pointless. Not only were those two in the kind of love from old maids' tales but Cersei had found she had so little power in the marriage that any attempt to change its nature was a effort in futility. Never mind the fact Lyanna did in fact try to approach Cersei on multiple occasions only to be shut down. The Lion would not lay among the wolves. The Lady Lannister then looked to outside the marriage to find the means to shift the balance of power and also found herself lacking in options. None of the Small Council were open to her words, the rest of court heavily favored Lyanna like the sheep they were, and even the citizenry of King's Landing were cold and aloof to her though she didn't really try with them.

"Why are we here anyway? The Hand could have come and the same result could have been achieved." She smiled at Jamie's candor as they walked into the Sept proper. The truth was she wanted to get an idea of just who was against the Sith. This funeral was the perfect place for those with grievances against the Sith Order could meet up under the cover of morning the High Septon's death. Whoever showed up would essentially telling the world that they opposed the Sith without actually saying and thus open themselves up mockery.

"To pay our respects of course." Even if they were among those that hated the Sith didn't mean the Sith didn't have eyes and ears here. Then there was the Spider, Cersei was sure there was a child or two in the shadows listening in for the eunuch.

Cersei moved through the various groups of mourners, some were genuine in their faith and grief but much more were politicking. Words were said and meanings were understood, promises and secret threats were made. This was where Cersei thrived. She felt comfortable here in the mix of the Game of Thrones. Feelings and her ego had been bruised by her marriage to Robert as effectively his brood mare, but slowly she was understanding that so long as she had her Jamie then perhaps she could leave love out of her marriage. A son or two for Robert and then she would remove herself from his and Lyanna's bed but remain a power to be reckoned with in court. It was… a acceptable future for her. But then she heard something.

"What do you mean you wish to break the betrothal?"

"I'm sorry, truly I am but…"

"But what? Our houses need each other, without you I can't move my crops to the other kingdoms."

"Yes but I've been offered a lot of Dragons for my daughter's hand."

"Who?! What House could be so important that you wish to break our bond?"

"It's not a House. He owns several factories in Dol Guldur, with this marriage my hold will have a trading partner so close to home that I'll be as rich as a Lannister in several years."

Cersei had to scoff at that notion but the entire conversation was frightening. A noble lord breaking a betrothal was highly controversial in of itself. But to do so for a landless commoner? Unthinkable. Was this the first time something like this was happening or a trend that is only now surfacing? This was unacceptable, Cersei needed to warn her father and they needed to find a way to stop this erosion of the foundation of their realm.

"I want all four of you on your best behavior." Fay lectured the Neophytes that had assembled on the roof of the Tower of Revan. Mysa and Nathar stood off to one side while Miana and Aymee stood on the other. The former Jedi had to give a somber smile at seeing the two girlfriends avoid looking at each other. Fay personally tried to stay away from the gossip rings but she did hear things. But she was also very unfamiliar with romantic relationships given how long she had avoided such attachment, plus her own knotted feelings weren't helping.

"You don't need to mother them." Rathari spoke as he exited the stairway to the roof. He was unusually late, and the look on his face spoke to a issue at hand.

"He's not coming?" Fay asked worried and Rathari nodded in confirmation. They were of course speaking of Naraiz, who had canceled his attendance to seeing them off at the last minute. His reasoning was that he needed to focus on some planning and detailing of certain aspects of the coming empire with Cipher Nine. But that could be done at any time, both Fay and Rathari were unaware of anything thing pressing that could not wait until they had left.

"He seemed… rushed. I did not ask why but there seems to be a urgency in him right now." The stalwart Sith crossed his arms, contemplating just what required the Master of the Sith's full attention. When he had entered the comm room Naraiz and Cipher Nine were only speaking of the daughter systems of Dromund Kaas. This hardly felt like something more important than saying some words of encouragement to some of his most promising Sith.

"I've talked to Lyarra and Joanna, they need to be with him. I still think what happened up north has affected him." It was a deep worry that everyone had. Naraiz had become something beyond mortal comprehension. And while he claimed he had no memory of it, both Talzin and the Three Eyed Raven also confirmed his soul wasn't scared by the event, Fay was unconvinced. There had been slight changes to Naraiz, he felt… colder wasn't the word. If anything she felt he had become more efficient and responsible. While on the surface that sounded good, it came at the expense of the approachable warmth that Naraiz held with those around him.

"Jaesa has been watching him like a hawk-bat, if there's something wrong, she would have seen it." The bitter truth that this most likely was just mundane trauma and not some lingering effect of the Tyrant's hold on Naraiz.

"And the fact none of have seen Saarai or Midwan since we returned to the material plane?" That was the biggest sticking point that something deeper was wrong with Naraiz. Fay had asked Naraiz about it and he waved it off saying that his Tsân had been severely hurt during his short fight with the Warrior and still need time to reform. But the former Jedi wasn't sure about that.

"It is out of our hands for now. We are off to the stars." Rathari brushed this aside but she could tell he was just trying to avoid the subject all together.

"Right, you sure that Korriban is safe to travel to? The Republic as maintained monitoring stations around the world since the end of the Sith Empire." The former Jedi had actually traveled to the quarantined Sith homeworld once. It was many years ago and she had only done it to get a better perspective on the Dark Side. Surprisingly there wasn't much resistance by either the Jedi or the Republic Military. And when she went to the station above Korriban she could see why.

What was once a bright red planet of dunes and rocky crags was now almost smooth and colorless. Fay could recall actually feeling sad and guilty that her order had destroyed Korriban so thoroughly. It had once been home to an entire race, and even among the original Sith there had been innocents, civilians completely uninvolved in the Dark Side. A world that had culture and history was reduced to not even a barren rock but a mockery of real landscapes. In fact, Fay was wondering just what sort of visit Rathari was going to have there.

"Cipher Nine has secured a blind spot in the patrols. Complacency and other distractions has hampered the diligence of the Republic forces around Korriban. Shouldn't you be more concern with your arrival on Tython?" The homeworld of the Jedi and arguably the most important site to the Order. Though that spot was currently being challenged by the Coruscant Temple. Tython had remained a verdant garden world sparsely obstructed by development. It only had one city and that was mostly to support the space port.

"Tython is different from the rest of the Order. I'm sure I will be safe there." The concern was appreciated and Fay had think how remarkable their relationship had improved over the years. She still found the stoic rather annoying but now she had come to understand his intent.

"Very well." Rathari nodded before looking back to the assembled Neophytes. "The four of you have been chosen for reasons each your own. To strength or reassess your path in life. Neophyte Sand and… Sand… both of you shall be coming with me to Korriban. There will begin an expedition to see if there is anything of worth left on the birthplace of the Sith."

"And for you Miana and Aymee, we will going to Tython. While there please do not mention that you are Sith, your cover story is that you are both Force Sensitives that I had picked up on a Feudal World and are training myself." The two girls nodded and Fay prayed to the Force that no Guardian Jedi were on Tython during their trip. The former Jedi could only dread the kind of reaction she would get from one of those hardliners.

They did not need anymore ceremony since the Grandmaster had decided to forgo seeing this moment himself. The six boarded their ship without much fan-fair. But both Fay and Rathari had this sinking feeling, that something in their gut was telling they must stay or something horrible would happen. Unfortunately by the time either had catalyzed these feelings into actual thoughts they were already past the rings and headed for Lockwarden Station.

Roose Bolten watched from his spot in the feast hall of Winterfell the controlled chaos of the Stark's first bannerman feast since the war. Surprisingly they were being very bountiful with the food and drink, though given the new expanded greenhouse yards that he had seen in Wintertown it should be expected. The Leech Lord had heard that thanks to the new second Lady Stark the Great House of the North had been able to strike a good trade deal with Dorne on the procurement of high grade glass.

"And then I kicked him into the pile of shit!" Great Jon roared as he hung his massive arms on the shoulders of two of Eddard's guards. These sorts of affairs weren't Roose's favorite aspect of lordship but it was a necessary one. Given his outsider status among the rest of the Lord of the North he was often ignored and thus could watch them all with impunity. But thankfully he was powerful enough that when he did want to have his voice heard they had to listen.

Moving his pale eyes back up to the high table with the rest of the Starks he could make out the forming dynamics of the new Stark family. The first Lady Stark Catelyn Tully was next to Lord Stark on his right. She was the perfect picture of a southern lady in a nice dress and proper manners. But. She was smiling. Where many southern ladies would be put off by the ruckus of a Northern Feast she was seemed to be enjoying herself. While small, Roose knew that his fellow countrymen noticed this sort of thing. The last thing a Northerner wanted to see was a Southerner look down their nose at them.

Then to the left of Lord Stark was the second Lady Stark, Ashura Dyane. She as well was smiling but also laughing at something Lord Forrester had spoken to her. By all accounts that he had gathered she was acclimating well to the North. Though there were also rumors that there had been some incidents surrounding her. A timid thing that disliked being around men unless in the company of her husband or sister-wife. Roose had half a mind to find out why a Dornish woman had issues with the other sex like that but saw no reason to explore that… yet.

Two southern wives, the first two words of that statement were troublesome for Lord Stark. It had been controversial to say the least that Brandon had been betrothed to Lady Catelyn to begin with, but it wasn't seen as any more problematic when that duty moved over to Eddard. War is war after all and alliances have to be made. But then to find out that Eddard was married to another Southern Woman? Roose knew for a fact his own bannermen were grumbling about it and was sure other traditionalists were none too happy.

"I see you Leech Lord, what have you scheming in that twisted head of yours." Roose glanced to his side where Rodrick Ryswell took a seat. The hard gruff man had been one of the few that Roose actually considered cunning enough to acknowledge as more than a brute. By every means Rodrick looked the part, almost as big as Great Jon and just as strong but with a darker look in his eyes and mouth that didn't hold back what went through his mind.

"Good-Father, enjoying the feast?" Technically they were no longer related as Roose's wife had died a few years ago, their only real connection now was his son Domeric.

"Of course I am, I get to drink the Starks' mead and eat their food." As if to make this even more clear he downed the mug of mead he had in his hand before continuing. "They look so happy don't they? Not the bet I would have taken when I first heard little quiet Ned had gotten himself a Riverland prude and a Dornish whore as wives." It was only the roar of the festivities that saved Rodrick's hide, but even still Roose felt that perhaps the older man should be more careful.

"Yes well he is a brother in all but blood to the king, that must have some perks." There was also opportunity here, the second that Eddard had a daughter with either wife Roose would be pushing to have her be betrothed to his son. The Starks were ascendant right now in the Game of Thrones, trailing a little behind the Baratheons and Lannisters. While the Leech Lord still held resentment to the wolves for the history between their houses, he was no fool and would put politics above personal issues every time.

"Are… you sure about this?" Pierce asked nervously as he looked at the orders that Quinn had just handed him. The Governor wasn't the one behind these based on the uneasy stance he was taking.

"It comes from Lord Nagash himself, now that he is the Master of Laws among the Small Council he feels he can begin taking more bold moves." Bold moves was one way of putting it as Pierce stared down at the outline for turning the Seekers of the Sith in a secret police force. A full blown secret police that would begin working from the shadows and silencing those that threaten them. Pierce had been expecting them to make something like this eventually, after all this was what the Cipher Core did too but… the old solider didn't think it was necessary at this time.

The Sith were at the height of their popularity, Naraiz had both unofficial and official power that anyone could see made him the true power of the throne, and their current enemies were failing about and were ineffectual. There was no need for secret police. While it was true that Westeros was a land of many spymasters and intrigue, none of it was external or even the kind that destabilized the realm too. The plan Pierce was looking at, it was harsh. Very harsh. The only reason why he could think of for making something like this now was if Naraiz was planning on accelerating the plans quickly.

"Quinn, are we talking about taking over the kingdoms now? Because the only reason we would need a secret police is if the population was going to have a reason to rebel." That is was secret police are for. To monitor your own population for sedition and rebellion. As far as Pierce knew Naraiz's plan involved a long drawn out manipulation of the kingdoms to end up with the masses begging for them to take over.

"I… believe that Lord Nagash sees our success as reason to expedite some of our plans but no. I have not seen any indication that he is making battle plans or those to remove the King." That didn't spark much confidence in Pierce. This was the fourth decision in a recent string of aggressive moves, first was cancelling the printing press and newspaper initiative in favor of moving the resources and time over to deepening their control over the developing worker societies. Then came the roll back of a number of civil liberties, nothing major but a heap of small changes that could make a big difference in people's lives. Lastly before this secret police thing was the move to revoke the ownership of the planned weapons factory from private to direct Sith ownership.

"Quinn, we need to speak to him." It wasn't the nature of these changes that concerned either Imperial. They came from a very authoritarian society where many of these things that Naraiz was now implementing were standard. But these people weren't Imperials, and would never really be. Naraiz had been crafting a very specific image as a liberator of the common man and beacon of progress for a very good reason. To contrast himself with the history of oppressive feudal lords. That way when he publicly made his bid of a take over the masses would welcome it. Having them oppose or even be indifferent would be a disaster as all other centers of power would likely fight them tooth and nail.

"Very well, you may voice your concerns." Quinn sighed as internally he was happy at his comrade's decision. He himself had concerns about the shift in direction Naraiz was taking but felt it wasn't his place to question his lord. The guilt of his past betrayal still stayed his hand at many things regarding Naraiz.

The two Imperials walked to Naraiz's office in silence, opening the door they saw Naraiz had something off to his son Lucifer who ran quickly out of the room in a hurry. The boy was growing fast and had been helping his father in his work ever since he had returned from the north. Quinn and Pierce both knew that while Jaesa hadn't had an issues with this both Lyarra and Joanna did.

"Governor, General, do you two need something?" Naraiz asked as he looked over a dataslate, such a open use of tech in a room that while secured was still accessible by a native was concerning. But then Naraiz smiled and looked up tot hem with a familiar smirk. "What fresh hell have you two brought me? Have the hill tribes of the Vale overthrown the Arynns?"

"No my lord." Quinn felt a little more at ease but Pierce maintained his stance. "General Pierce has questions regarding your orders on the Seekers."

"Oh is that it? I know its sudden but I trust you to get them all on board and trained up within one to two years." Naraiz waved off the issue and went back to his own work.

"Yes but… are you sure it's the right move now?" Both of them stiffened as he looked back up with a slight annoyed look on his face before sighing and his head fell into his hands.

"Yes. Right now the Seven Kingdoms are at the same time distracted with the Iron Islands and recovering from the war. I have the perfect situation to get away with things that normally would be questioned. All I want you to do is prepare for this, it will be implemented in the coming months." The Lord of the Sith then stood up and walked over to a tray of liquor and began pouring himself and two other glasses. After taking one he motioned for them to join him, both of the men complied but neither actually had any. "Everyone is now second guessing me, thinking that something must be wrong. Shit happened up north that has made all others jumpy around me."

"With good reason, I read Lord Rathari's report." Pierce pointed out, the report on what happened during the mission to the north. Or at least a version of the events that the Sith Lord felt was informative enough to give lay people a decent idea without going into depth.

"I will be the first to admit that I'm not fine. Everything that happened has been… taxing. But that's life. Shit happens. And you have to just get through it." Both Pierce and Quinn watched as Naraiz downed his drink. "I trust both of you, and everyone else in this castle. But I need you all to trust me when I say that my change in direction of our plans is because the situation has changed, not me."

"We may not fully understand things as the Force Users do my lord, but we can still see that you have been acting differently." Quinn calmly tried to assure his lord that they were only concerned with the shift in their lord's decisions. Not only that, but Rathari, Fay, and Jaesa all had a certain point. Naraiz had become a being called the Tyrant. And right now he was showing early signs of treading in that direction.

"Okay." He sighed as set the drink back down before pouring another. "If everyone is telling me something is wrong then something is wrong. I still want you to implement the orders I have already given but I promise to hold off on any future plans I had for the moment." He offered and while this seemed to pacify Pierce for the time, Quinn wasn't so sure. He was the Governor, he saw the requests and reports that Lord Nagash needed to be implemented even if they weren't large scale issues. And he had a sneaking suspicion that a recent geological survey for Sulfur wasn't just for possible fertilizer uses.

"We have entered the Horuset system, the window that Cipher Nine opened for us will only last for an hour." Rathari explained as he oversaw the Imperial Dragoon pilots. The cargo ship that they were using was beaten and battered ship, one of the first that the Dragoons had acquired in their early days. The reason for Rathari using such a junker was simple… it was nearly invisible to modern day scanners of the Republic. Or more accurately they simply picked it up a s space junk when put only on life support.

"That might be short my lord, given the range of their scanners and the distance we'll have to drift before we're past them is quite far." One of the pilots warned by Rathari was unconcerned. The window that Cipher Nine had given them was that the actually physical drones that scanned the orbit of the planet were currently all in maintenance. This left only the long range scanners of the blockade task force.

"Make do then." He grunted and turned back to see to his charges. Unlike Darth Nagash who wanted to maintain a certain reputation among the Dragoons Rathari had no issue falling back into old status quos of how he treated the servants of the empire. Sure, he would respect those that held equivalent rank as Darth Nagash had demanded but nothing more than that.

This mission had two tasks, establish just how destroyed the old sites of importance were and to see if anything could be salvaged from the planet. Korriban was the birthplace of the Sith Race and the truly the birthplace of the Order in a very spiritual sense. According to Fay the Republic had been far harsher on this world than on Dromund Kaas. Internally he was dreading what he was about to see. Centuries of history and culture reduced to dust in the wind. All because they were afraid. It was ironic that the Jedi claim such lofty things as being above fear as fear leads to the Dark Side but Rathari personally felt so many of the Jedi's choses were rooted in fear.

But such thoughts were for later, now he had to see to the other task he had for this trip. Inside one of the cabins of the ship were the two Neophytes that had been chosen to come along. Mysa and Nathar, both bastards of Dorne but couldn't be more dissimilar or here for more different reasons. Where as the girl was brought along to give her a deeper insight into the Dark Side by allowing her to feel and mediate on such a holy world to the Sith, the boy on the hand was brought to hopefully give him some deeper purpose than mindless destruction and arrogance.

"Neophytes, soon we will be on Korriban's surface. Once we arrive you are to stay by my side no matter what. Should you be lost then you will be abandoned." He had been given very clear instruction on that, Mysa was to be recovered at any cost as she was a promising Sith in the making whereas Nathar was a potential problem.

"What's it like Lord Rathari?" Mysa asked from her spot in the cabin's corner. The stalwart Sith knew that the girl was deepening her connection to the shadows as well as developing a healthy level of paranoia. Fay had already tried her little concerned parent routine and failed at changing Mysa's course. So thus Rathari endeavored to push her further so she might better excel at her chosen path in life.

"Once it was a red wasteland of shifting sands and rocky crags. Dotted across its surface were various temples and complexes of many Sith Lords, as well other sites of importance to the Order and people. It had long since been uninhabitable in a natural sense, only through artificial means could life remain on its surface." Rathari fondly remembered his Academy days, back during a time when acolytes would kill and backstab each other at the prospect of catching the eye of a Sith Lord to take them on as an apprentice. Sadly such practices were being put to rest by both the need of numbers and Darth Nagash's own wishes.

"What are we going there for, sounds pointless." Nathar grumbled but shrunk under Rathari's glare. This young man had been changed by his Crucibles severely. He was now reckless and brash, but also indulgent. Since becoming a Neophyte he had done little else than train and every now and then go and kill some bandit hideout that was in the Riverlands. Any talent he had was being squandered thus this trip to see if he can't have a course correction.

"We are going because Korriban is our history. Darth Nagash wishes to know the full extent of the damage that the Republic has done to the planet. Now get settled in, we're about to go to only life support." As if to confirm that the lights shut off and only a low glow of the emergency lights illuminated the room. The ship stalled and began drifting towards the barren planet.

"This is Fay, code seven-one-seven-two-two-Kyber-four." The former Jedi master hoped that whoever was on the other side of the line was friendly. Tython was just below her star fighter, things were a little cramped at the moment given the cockpit was not built for three people but this was the only way she was going to be able to get to the surface.

"Code acknowledged Master Fay, is this an official visit or a personal one?" The kind gentle voice of one of the many friends she had on the planet soothed her heart. But as much as she wanted to catch up and speak she had a mission here. There were two Jedi that she knew could be persuaded to return back to Terra with her. The business with the Maiden had only reinforced her belief that they needed addition experienced Force Users along with those that were already there. Plus any more Light Side Force Users would be great.

"Personal, I'm also carrying two young women with me that I'd like to keep off the records please." Miana and Aymee both were staring out the window in awe at the sight of Tython. The verdant lush green and blues of the homeworld of the Jedi never failed to amaze those that first visit it.

"Very well, welcome home master Fay." The line cut out and Fay had to hold back a tear at hearing someone call Tython home. It truly was. There was no other place in the galaxy that she considered her home.

Her starfighter flew past the minimal amount of traffic that passed between the surface and orbit. Tython was a critically important world to the Jedi but it was not the Republic. As such it did not benefit from high levels of economic development but for what was needed to support the Jedi on the world. Only a single space station orbited the world and perhaps a caravan of merchant ships came by every other month. But this provided the Jedi some breathing room and even more so for those that disagreed with the current state of the Order.

Traveling though the atmosphere and at last landing on one of the more secluded landing pads attached to the main temple Fay breathed a sigh of relief at how smooth everything was going. Immediately all three of the women exited the ship and stretched their legs after several days being trapped in the starfighter. But they would not be alone for long, as welcoming party had arrived consisting of a Jedi and several temple guard. If it wasn't for who had come Fay was certain this could be a poor sign.

"Master Fay, it does my soul good to see you well." Master Jocasta Nu bowed her head at the venerable former jedi. Fay smiled at her old friend, as memories of Jocasta first training here on Tython many years ago.

"Please do not call master Jocasta, I have left behind the Jedi and do not deserved to be called as such." Looking past her old friend to the temple guard she could sense all of them being on edge but it wasn't directed toward her, but a general sense of unease. "Has something happened?"

"We are in uncertain times and you've become something of hot issue. You weren't the last to leave recently, about a dozen other knights and two masters have left." That was deeply concerning, but what made even worse was Fay was certain that most if not all of those wer members of the Councilor Faction. None of the Guardians had any reason to leave or have feelings to want to as far as she knew. "But that isn't for now my old friend, who are these ladies with you."

"This Miana Snow and Aymee Hogg, two Force Sensitives I found on a primitive world. They have shown talent but were too old to join the order so I have taken them under my wing." Thankfully both of the girls knew their manners and while they gave a polite bow to the older Jedi they said nothing. Their cover story was partially true so few would sense any deceit here, but better safe than sorry.

"Ah, that's just like you. Well, I welcome you all to Tython. Follow me and I'll show you to your quarters." With that Jocasta turned and began escorting the visitors deeper inside the temple.

A conflict began bubbling in Fay, deeply she was happy to be here in her true home but at the same time there was a nagging feeling that something was wrong both here and back on Terra. Jocasta's answer of several Jedi leaving the order would not account fully for the deep disturbance she was feeling from the temple guards and from the world itself. Fay could only hope that whatever was happening here on Tython she and her students would not be dragged into it.


zhx.c - The timeline is so fucked up by this point no. The Father wants Naraiz to become the third in the Triarchy of Balance to replace the original Mother by becoming the Emperor. Each part of the Force is supposed to have three Ones making a total of Nine. But since four of them are imprisoned and the Stranger is missing the Ones are really out of sorts right now. This is all my AU lore so Canon lore is a bit irrelevant but does serve as inspiration.

ZhaWarudo - Thank you, i fixed it.

Charlie1284 - No. I shall now double down on world building.

Reads too much - The Three Eyed Raven did really want the Circlet for a reason. The new Dark Council will have an impact and will show up later in a few chapters but they are still just a seed planted for much later. Naraiz did not become a God of the Dead, the Tyrant is the One of Absolute Authority and used that power on the Dark Side souls fighting in Chaos, the fact they were dead is irrelevant. Had the Tyrant gotten into the material plane then he could have done that to any Dark Side user and non-Force user.

Juppinator - Thank you and I did try and get most of the mistakes in the recent large scale review rewrite. The Warrior is... trying, but the Curse of Guilt is super powerful. This chapter should answer about the Faceless Men... or Faceless Man as it were now. Pretty much guessed right on the legion but I changed the names to my own. The Ones already know and they have plans for him. Naraiz gave the one Ring back to Rheager due to it being very important to keep it on the dumbass prince.