Within the Temple of Serenity on the planet Turask, the Hunters of the Noble Rose continue to undergo the Jedi trials set before them by the Holocron of the Jedi Master Celista. Having passed three of the trials, they only faced two more, the Trial of Spirit, and the Trial of Flesh, before the Holocron would reveal the truth of the Noctis to them.
In the Trial of Spirit, the group faced reflections of themselves, dark visions that mirrored their movements and actions. Striking at one would cause it to retaliate in kind. But through some tricky movement and equipment tricks, they could be thrown off, forced into bad positions, or made to fore go actions. Or, instead, the party could simple tackle them and force them into the water, or throw themselves down into the water, drowning both themselves and the doppelgangers. Overcoming their dark selves, they passed the trial… kind of…
Finally, the Trial of Flesh was to be a sacrifice of self, and took the form of a large orb. Placing a hand upon it, the Hunters felt an intense pain, but understanding the nature of the test to be one of enduring physical pain in order to succeed, they persevered (and more then persevered as Lieutenant Martell and Rusong Lah were knocked unconscious by the test) and passed the final trial.
The Holocron of Celista emerged from the set-in pillar to which it had been placed, and the image of Celista congratulated the Hunters for passing the trials. If they were to do battle against the Noctis, they would need to learn the truth of it’s existence, and so the holocron urged them downward into the temple depths, to reveal the full history of the Noctis
In the depths of Wild space, the Dark Lord Lord Soror craved power, and crafted the three Stars of Noctis as a device for obtaining that power. The three stars were foci needed to fully stabilize the path to an unlimited source of Dark Side energy, or so it seemed. Lord Soror built his fortress on his home world of Corcin, and he used that planet’s moon as the location where he would bring his abomination to life. Building an elaborate altar, he used the Stars of Noctis and created a massive rift in the Force, a crack in the life energies of the universe that let the Noctis in. It emerged as little more than a simple shadow, but even as such, its power was immense, and Lord Lord Soror eagerly embraced it. He was the first host of the Noctis, and it used him to gather power, feeding off his dark emotions and of those around him, his servants and his victims.
When he was finally confronted by two the Jedi, Celista and Nalu, Lord Soror lost the battle, and the Noctis sought a new host. Unbeknownst to the Jedi at the time, it latched itself onto the Padawan Nalu, influencing her dark emotions as it continued to feed and grow stronger. As Celista was ascended to the rank of Master and granted a seat on the Jedi Council. But her Padawan Nalu was not allowed to take the trials afterwards, despite what she felt was her obvious skill. She watching Celista garner fame and glory from the victory they had shared, and it drove her further and further into darkness, until finally, she shattered, and the Noctis took complete control.
Celista was forced to fight her former apprentice, and by now seeing the same darkness that had affected Lord Soror, she came prepared. On the Moon of Corcin, the Noctis sought to widen the rift in the Force, but Celista arrived and engaged Nalu in combat. In the end, Celista was triumphant, defeating Nalu. For a moment, a chance presented itself to destroy the Noctis once and for all, but Celista found her herself too weak to fulfill that chance… But as the Noctis prepared to attack Celista for a new host, she regained her composure, and sealed the Noctis back within the rift from which it came.
Seeing the horrible corruption the Noctis had caused, and fearing what would happen if the Jedi became involved and attempted to free the Noctis in order to destroy it, Celista hid the knowledge from them. She resigned her position on the Council, and left the Jedi Order, claiming the stress of killing her Padawan Nalu had left her unfit for service. But secretly, in the depths of Wild Space, she began to study the notes and holocron left by Lord Soror, and she discovered the Stars of Noctis, a means by which the Noctis could be freed again. Unable to destroy them, Celista continued her research, and devised a way to strength the seal on the Rift. She constructed three temples in a particular fashion that would, in alignment, with the stars placed in a particular point, maintain the seal indefinitely.
These three temples, looking to all outsiders as tombs built to honor her Padawan, pity her enemy Lord Soror, and prepare for her own eventual death, were focal points of Force energy designed to keep the Noctis contained within the rift on the Moon of Corcin, with the Stars of Noctis at their center. They were also serve as testing grounds should the Noctis ever break free again, for it was only with the Stars contained within the temples that it could be resealed.
And now, the trials completed, Celista was prepared to grant the Hunters access to the third of the Stars of Noctis. Under the temple, they found her tomb, the final resting place of Celista empty save for the ornate battle armor that appeared to be for entirely ceremonial uses, but there was an interesting crown-like artifact which served as a powerful force artifact. Deeper down, the group discovered the altar upon which the Star rested…
Rusong Lah immediately leaped up onto the altar, and grasped the orb, only to discover it was not what they had expected. It was not one of the holocron like Stars of Noctis at all, but a dark orb which, upon being touched, seemed to melt and suddenly expand, a massive twisted visage of darkness, a Vergence of the Noctis rising up out of the altar. The temple grew suddenly colder and darker, and the thing let loose an entirely too inhuman wail, its oozing form lashing out with dark shadowy tentacles and moving forward to engulf the Hunters within it.
Devouring Lieutenant Martell, the Hunter found himself empowered, becoming stronger, but the cost was that the Noctis wrapped itself further and further around him, spreading like a vile black skin across his body. Finally breaking free, he continued to attack the Noctis, but when it was finally defeated, he was unable to control himself, and continued to attack his own allies. Kith’ruin’du quickly ended the nonsense with a well timed strike to Lieutenant Martell’s head, and the corruption coating him turned to dust just as the Vergence of the Noctis itself did.
The group limped out of the temple. Someone had already entered that temple, left the traps and trials untouched, stolen the Star, and replaced it with a trap of his own, the essence of the Noctis waiting to strike. And as they reached the forest edge, Jarn Organa emerged leading Noble Squad in a rush. The soldiers were nearly out of breath, and Jarn seemed at the edge of panic. While the group had been exploring the temple, ODIN’s primary lock down facility, a base on the planet Opteras, had come under attack!
The Augur had somehow tracked the Seer to that base, and was attacking in force to see him dead. Now, the Noble Rose must rush to the aid, before the Augur kills everyone in the base, including the Seer…