28 November, 2015

SW:TOR, Knights of the Fallen Empire, Chapter IV The Gravestone

Streaking away from Vaylin, her Skytroopers, and the destruction she left in her wake, Ravanor and his new crew prepare for another chapter of Knights of the Fallen Empire, join them won’t you?

star wars the old republic, Knights of the Fallen Empire, Chapter IV The Gravestone banner

Chapter IV The Gravestone


The stolen shuttle careened through the lower levels of Zakuul, a city bathed in twilight, a tail smoke and flame billowed from the wound inflicted by Vaylin’s telekinetic attack. It became immediately apparent that the shuttle wasn’t going to touch down neatly; Koth Vortena vacated the pilot’s seat to allow to Ravanor guide them to their earth-rupturing landing. As they emerge from the wreckage Ravanor surveyed their surroundings; the foetid Endless Swamp, under the dark cover of a leaning treeline it teemed with aggressive fauna.

star wars the old republic, Knights of the Fallen Empire, Chapter IV The Gravestone endless swamp

An exchange between Koth and Lana hinted at a colourful history, cultivated over the past five years during which Ravanor was incarcerated. The two see to rigging the crash site with booby traps, a greeting for the inevitable pursuers, while Ravanor and HK-55 investigate soon strange metallic readings the droid’s sensors picked up.

For the first time in this expansion the world opened up, revealing other players, Imperial and Republic alike doing battle with swamp creatures and scanning scattered metal objects. However, the moment passed quickly, and soon Ravanor and HK-55 were alone once more, investigating a meandering jungle path.

star wars the old republic, Knights of the Fallen Empire, Chapter IV The Gravestone endless swamp iknayid

From the gnarled trees all around them emerged chitinous arachnids, carrying a swelling luminescent body upon powerful blade-like legs; Iknayids. The Iknayids ranged in size from waist high adolescents up to two meter tall behemoths. Ravanor supressed his rising fear and released a burst sniper rounds into the encroaching horde, HK-55, free from ‘meatbag’ emotions opened up without hesitation.

Clearing several swarms of Iknayids they soon found themselves confronting a far more destructive foe; a Rancor. Horned and bearing a thick hide from a long lifetime of hunting deadly prey in the swamp, the Rancor charged headlong into an unending salvo of high-powered blaster fire and wrist-launched rockets. 

star wars the old republic, Knights of the Fallen Empire, Chapter IV The Gravestone endless swamp rancor

Having ended the threat they paused briefly, HK-55 offered his compliments at Ravanor’s obvious skills and explained that he had been programed into Ravanor’s service by Lana. They pressed on through sporadic skirmishes with the local wildlife and emerged into a clearing, beyond which rose a tall and utterly out of place silhouette; a construct hidden in the mire.

star wars the old republic, Knights of the Fallen Empire, Chapter IV The Gravestone endless swamp discovery

HK confirmed that this was the technological reading he picked up upon their landing. they approached and were joined by Koth and Lana. Unmistakeable in its intent, this was a warship; the construction of its armoured hull, the positioning of weapon ports, yet it was equally clear that it wasn’t of Zakuulan design.

Koth entered the downed ship for a quick inspection, all he needed it seemed to decide that it was the ‘Gravestone’. The Gravestone according to Zakuulan legend was the only ship to go up against the Eternal Fleet and win, though evidently it did not emerge victorious from whatever ancient war it was last embroiled in, having been left rotting in a swamp. The whole situation felt far too convenient for Ravanor’s liking, Koth called it destiny, but he was more inclined to believe it was a setup up. He wondered what Valkorion was making of all this, but the spectral Emperor did not appear to answer his unvoiced question. The party spread out and purged the ship of its denizens; Iknayids and other aggressive wildlife.


The scene cut back to the throne room of Zakuul where Vaylin and Arcann held court and tracked Ravanor’s movements. A Knight of Zakuul approached the throne and identified himself as the one responsible for the security of Arcann’s vault, the very vault that had held Ravanor until just recently. Vaylin killed him without hesitation, much to her brother’s surprise. The surprise is short lived however, as Arcann ordered a detachment of the Eternal Fleet to assault the Endless Swamp.

Resigned that for the foreseeable future the Gravestone was their only option, the party spilt up to undertake repair and foraging duties. Ravanor first assisted Lana in locating fresh water; they moved from location to location scanning each. As they ventured Lana explained how the war had deteriorated quickly, and described the state that both the Empire and Republic had been left in. She spoke of the effectiveness of the Imperial fleet, that only the ships retrofitted with Isotope 5 systems could evade and combat the Zakuulan ships, Isotope 5 being a resource that Ravanor himself had secured for the Empire during the Hutt Cartel’s gambit in Makeb system. How the war had really only last a few months, with the capitals; Dromund Kaas and Coruscant respectively, being blockaded within the first year.

star wars the old republic, Knights of the Fallen Empire, Chapter IV The Gravestone endless swamp lana history

According to Lana, the Minister of Logistics and certain republic senators were able to broker peace with the Eternal Empire, Chancellor Saresh was removed from office, but still very much orchestrates the Republic from the shadows. While Darth Acina, last surviving member of the Dark Council, took control of the Empire and declared herself Empress. Both the Empire and Republic are held in check by economy-crushing tributes to the Eternal Empire, though they continue to fight each other wherever possible.

star wars the old republic, Knights of the Fallen Empire, Chapter IV The Gravestone endless swamp lana water scan

They finally found a pool of fresh, drinkable water, Ravanor attempted to steer the conversation away from the grim visage of recent galactic events, in the hopes of kindling the fire that had once existed between them. A mood settled on the small water side camp, but was quickly dispelled when Lana broached the topic of the power that seems to now exist within Ravanor, a power she can see through the Force. The Emperor; Valkorion and Vitiate both, though she doesn’t yet know it. Ravanor could tell her everything, he should, she is a Sith after all; perhaps because of her understanding of the Force she could rationalise this relationship of his?

star wars the old republic, Knights of the Fallen Empire, Chapter IV The Gravestone endless swamp lana beniko conversation lie

But he can’t, not yet, not when they have only just found each other again. Ravanor lied and Lana clearly did not believe him, but fortunately any objection she might have had was silenced when a figure dived from the bushes and rolled into a combat stance. Ravanor braced himself to put the attacker down hard, until noticing it was just HK-55, who was allegedly on patrol. Silently, Ravanor thanked the droid for his timely intervention.

Returning to the Gravestone Ravanor offered his aid to Koth, who rather inconveniently needed to return to the predator-infested portion of swamp to recover parts of the ship’s repair. This trip went quieter than Lana’s had, at least until Koth decided to beat the destiny drum again. Fate and the preordained were not concepts that truly held much sway over Ravanor and he made as much clear, oddly that didn’t kill the conversation and Koth revealed a little of his past. He had been a captain of a warship in the Eternal Fleet, up until the events at Denon, a planet upon which he and his crew were ordered to stamp out civilian protest with extreme prejudice, they deserted soon after. None to surprisingly, Koth continued on to berate Ravanor over his handling of the reactor incident back in the city. Ravanor produced an apology, all lies of course; the civilians of Zakuul were an asset to be used, nothing more.

HK-55 called and the two men went running to respond. While dispatching errant Skytroopers HK had stumbled upon a gaggle of Zakuulan exiles, political enemies of Arcann. True to his unuttered words, Ravanor offered them sanctuary aboard the Gravestone. No doubt Koth believed that Ravanor did this to atone for his earlier mistake, but the truth was that Ravanor needed all the bodies he could get to put between Arcann and himself, and this wasn’t costing a credit.

star wars the old republic, Knights of the Fallen Empire, Chapter IV The Gravestone endless swamp zakuulan exiles

Events took a turn for the sillier back at the Gravestone; the four of them set about cleaning and repairing the ancient warship, all to a track of funky sounding cantina music. HK-55 assumed patrol duty and waged war with a seemingly endless colony of Iknayids, he chased them from bow to stern and back again, before resorting to his weapon’s under slung grenade launcher.  It’s a kind of montage that almost approaches Mass Effect 3: Citadel levels of dumb.

(Click to enlarge).

star wars the old republic, Knights of the Fallen Empire, Chapter IV The Gravestone HK 55 montage iknayid
star wars the old republic, Knights of the Fallen Empire, Chapter IV The Gravestone HK 55 montage star wars the old republic, Knights of the Fallen Empire, Chapter IV The Gravestone HK 55 montage grenade

Power having finally been restored to the Gravestone, Ravanor explored the deeper parts of the vessel and was stunned by what he saw. Suspended in the centre of a balefully illuminated room was an almost organic looking core, its length punctured by bolts. It was then Valkorion decide to wake once more.

star wars the old republic, Knights of the Fallen Empire, Chapter IV The Gravestone core

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