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  1. Light met dark like a crescent moon. The being had some merit to what he was saying, or communicating. The draw was full, but he seemed to be resisting it. But for what reason? Why did he keep such a temptation so close and claim that it held no power over him? “Why?” Corán shook his head doubtfully. “Why would you keep such a temptation though. You dangle this temptation in front of you saying its balance, but that thing has power over yo-” Corán’s silver blue eyes went wide for a moment and his jaw slackened. Beyond Shadows? He took a sharp intake of breath, then set his jaw. His eyes flittered up to the horizon, where the star was giving way to dusk, and the mountains were cut like teeth against the fading horizon. A thousand sharp teeth that stretched from horizon to horizon. There was no balance when the daylight gave way to night. And if this was the path to go back beyond shadow, Corán would take it. He smiled warmly and reached with a hand towards the sabre. He touched it with one finger and the clear blue eyes rolled back into his head and the force moved heavily. And they saw it as one. Three cloaked beings carried a wooden casket filled with broken saber hilts like men carry a body to the grave. They walked heavily, each barely carrying the burden as tears marked their harrowed faces. Three great beasts mauled a young woman with the stars of heaven’s field on her brow. Her blood as thick as gelatin, staining the grass a satin black. A field of grass covered with bodies of young Jedi, tattered standards blown in the wind. A thousand toothed smile that stretched imperceptibly from sky to sky. His mouth moved to form words he did not speak. His finger slipped from the handle and he slid back onto the bench of fallen oak. His eyes staring into the dusk as the light of Adega Prime and Adega Besh fled into night. He shivered as he regained his strength to speak again.
  2. If he was around for five thousand years then he would have enjoyed the state of Ossus as it had been back then. Back before the Sith ruined everything. Back when the library was filled with students. Before Kun, before all of that. He hitched up an eyebrow. “You mean your philosophy is always changing? Is that why you haven’t been able to stop the sith after these thousands of years?” He recoiled momentarily at the way the being reached into its own chest cavity, then withdrew some kind of log. Perhaps a sabre hilt? It was… Corán winced from the buffeting darkside that roiled off the device like smoke from a forest fire. He coughed and worked for a moment on his breathing exercises that he had been taught before he could look back at the device. It felt like some of those holocrons he was not allowed to touch in the archives. It was hungry. He could feel it wanting to latch onto something. Onto anything. But he had to be brave, this being needed his help. And Jedi were supposed to help. The boy swallowed his doubts and spoke. “Why would you keep that if it's so dark? Why not throw it away or destroy it? Its eating the air with its desire!” Corán shook his blonde head. "We aren't supposed to be around stuff like that, its super dangerous....."
  3. Corán was puzzled by the words about the force for a moment before sitting himself down next to the giant tree being. He listened for a moment again to the flow of the force, letting it touch and fill his lungs in a breath and expelling its refreshing fragrance the next moment. He let that cool touch fill his mind and let him look deep within himself for the knowledge that he was looking for. The being had changed, into a strangely familiar form. “Yes the force moves freely here, there is generations of knowledge and experience just laying at our feet. If you reach out you can catch little eddies of those past Jedi. Walking almost like they were here now. It is so exciting.” He turned his crystal blue gaze back upon Frond. “And what bothers you? You spoke to the Son of Darkfyre with some spirit of frustration,i believe, or at least I felt it echoing from him. It still does.” He kicked at the grass at his feet, thinking. He finally spoke again. “ We are both apprentices, though you have lived a life longer than mine or at least that is what Master Akelbeth tells me.” His eyes narrowed. There was something here to be picked at. A memory stirred in Corán's head. Was it a vision from long ago? One with the pool and the the dark grin of ice like teeth? “Show me what bothers you. I’m not afraid of frustration.”
  4. The young apprentice watched the tree with some degree of wonder and a mix of interest, it was not every day that you got to hear the trees themselves speak, and this one held a world of trouble in his shaking leaves. There was something lurking there behind his voice that Corán could not yet identify. Hope? Fear? They both bled together in the force, interlinked by passion and past failures. The Being talked in riddles which had never been Corán's strong suit, but like everything at the old temple of Ossus, the challenge had to be overcome. His voice was hesitant but found its strength as he spoke, his fingers playing with the Hem of his ten tunic. "Then speak and show, a Jedi's life is service. Let me help."
  5. After some unexpected delays, a new Carrack-class cruiser joined the Jedi fleet massing in the system. It featured four squadrons of a brand-new type of starfighter that had been the brainchild of Jedi Master Saria LaRone. Jar-Kai (AP 2) completed. Construction begins on another AP 2 ship, to be completed 7/8/18.
  6. Zar'dash nodded. "You have my word," he said solemnly. "And mine as well," another of the Jedi chimed in. Zar'dash pulled out a datapad and entered a string of commands. "I'm giving you access to all areas where our hopefuls--potential Jedi candidates--have access. The staff are available if you need assistance locating your ward." He scanned the droid and the datapad beeped. "You're free to enter. Thank you for your cooperation. I hope your future relationship with our Order is better than this rocky start." The Rodian wrinkled his snout. "When you're ready to leave, the gate guard will notify us, and we'll take care of the memory wipe." Zar'dash held out a hand. "One last thing: we are doing this in a show of trust. Don't prove us wrong."
  7. Zar'dash took a calming breath, pushing back his frustration. "A child is not a large security threat," he stated flatly. "A droid with Force-knows-what hidden programming is. I have no doubt that you think your purpose is harmless, but I've met droids who didn't even know they had buried programming that activated suddenly, or hadn't know they were in fact transmitting locations to unsavory characters. One even had been captured, implanted with explosive devices and a remote detonator, then mind-wiped and sent on it's way unaware of what had occurred until a crime syndicate detonated it." He paused. "As for proof that I will not destroy you, I have only my word to give you." He was a Jedi, and he wasn't going to lower himself to the same implied threat the droid had just given him about having opportunity to attack, even though Zar'dash had had plenty of opportunity to destroy him, too. Just then, a team arrived from the droid bay, comprised of an astromech, a worker drone, a Rodian tech, and two Jedi Knights. "Well, Alem'Chee?" Zar'dash asked. "What's it going to be? Will you trust us and allow this situation to resolve peacefully?"
  8. When the droid mentioned it was armed, but was willing to surrender it's weapons, Zar'dash raised a hand. "I'll take those," he said. Waving a hand, the grenades and blaster flew through the air to land on the ground behind Zar'dash. The Zeltron considered. The droid had complied with every order he had given it, and was even voluntarily disarming itself--though he noticed the droid hadn't surrendered his electrostaff. But despite all of this, Zar'dash knew droids could have hidden programming, turning them from innocent workers to deadly assassins in a split second. The very knowledge of the temple's location itself was dangerous. Zar'dash sighed. If only the droid was a living being whose motivation he could sense through the Force! But since he couldn't, he had to follow protocol. "Thank you for cooperating," he said smoothly. "You are not allowed access to this facility. However, if you provide a holo of the child you are seeking, you have my personal guarantee that I will search the entire temple for him or her, and if he or she is here, bring them to you and you may leave in peace. Either way, you will not be allowed to leave here with the knowledge of this temple's location in your circuits. I'm sorry, but that's the best I can do for you." He hoped the droid would cooperate and that this was all really what it was face value. But with the Sith on the rise again, this was no longer a Jedi Order that could relax around strangers who didn't bring any credentials from other Jedi.
  9. Knight Zar'dash didn't change his posture. "What makes you think this child is here? How did you even find this place?" It was suspicious. Zar'dash knew his history--a MagnaGuard droid was skilled in combat, and could even stand their own against Jedi. If it was working for the Sith, it would mean that the security of the temple was compromised, and Jedi might die today. Well, not on Zar'dash's watch. He tapped the comlink on his wrist, his eyes never leaving Alem'Chee's. "Yellow status. Requesting Code Silver." A team was immediately dispatched from the droid repair and maintenance section of the temple, bringing equipment to run diagnostics on the droid, assuming its reply satisfied Zar'dash.
  10. Knight Rink Zar'dash, a Zeltron with an abnormal taste for studying history, was on guard duty at the Temple entrance platform. Hearing a clink-clink-clink on the rocks caused him to turn curiously and defensively towards the ramp, and he blinked in surprise at the sight of an old droid traveling alone. He palmed his lightsaber. "Who are you and what are you doing here?" he demanded, not harshly, but firmly. They had not received any landing requests--clearly, the droid's earlier message had gone awry.
  11. "We will begin with a meditation training," the Cathar murmured as a graceful striped hand indicated the corridor before her, leading the way, "in which you will be challenged to quiet your mind and listen to the Force itself. All new apprentices also receive a physical evaluation since one of the great duties of the Jedi is the defense of the innocent." Jalavi's chatter did not cease until they had sat down at breakfast, and even then, she tried to continue speaking between mouthfuls, illuminated with excitement to be charged with the important task of escorting the newcomer about the grounds. Before long, they were finished with their meal, and she led him to a vaulted, airy chamber, where they bustled in alongside a dozen others. The Cerean Master stood in the center of the room, his hands clasped before him serenely, and offered a nod and a smile to each one who entered. "Welcome, my friends, students led by the Force to these halls. Today, you will begin to grasp your place in the infinite galaxy. Today, you will see the galaxy in a new light." His hands rose before him, and the light in the room waned, the shadows growing as the fluorescent beams tamed to a dull hum. "Begin by closing your eyes. "Peel back the layers of the space around you. Hear the breathing of your classmates. Feel the sound of your heartbeat. Let them fade away. From within yourself, call stillness. Feel the heartbeat of the rocks around us, the planet that sustains our presence, the peoples who make their home here. Find the current that unites them all. Listen until you can hear it. And once you have found it, be prepared to describe what you have heard." Silence reigned in the stillness of the meditation chamber, as the pulse of the Force danced between all the gathered apprentices, daring them to dive in deeper.
  12. In the morning, which was notated only by the faces of chronos and the artificial lighting this far underground, a young Cathar apprentice appeared outside Kel's door, knocking once--twice--three times. In her hands, she clutched a small satchel of fabric, and wrung it between her hands on and off as she waited for him to appear. "Kel Koon? My name is Jalavi. I arrived just two weeks ago, and Master Pulthar asked me to escort you around the temple this morning." Extending the bundle of brown fabric sheepishly, she smiled. "Your robes. I thought--I was wondering--would you like to accompany me to breakfast?" --- With the new Lancer-class frigate procured, the Jedi's contacts began working on a Carrack-class cruiser (to be completed 2/28).
  13. Before long, they arrived at a small dormitory-style room, with a refresher and a data terminal, which would serve as a sufficient apartment for the young Koon until such a time as a master could be found. Escorting the Kel Dor inside, Pulthar offered him a serene bow. "You will find sustenance and water to your liking just down the hall at the mess, where you may also meet several of your fellow students. But here you may rest, and I would encourage you to meditate and find quiet within yourself until tomorrow morning at which time we will begin our lessons," he said quietly. "I will return to collect you in the morning. In the meantime, feel free to look around." ---- Meanwhile, the new CC-7700 Solari joined the fleet amassing outside the system (on 1/31/18), and construction began on another Lancer-class frigate (2 AP, to be completed 2/14/18).
  14. Master Pulthar smiled, leaning down to lay a hand on the young Kel Dor's shoulder. "My friend, you are welcome to study within these halls. The mantle of a Jedi is no small burden to bear. It is no mere method of collecting power. You hang in the balance of life and death to allow each to have their say in the galaxy." The Cerean clasped his hands together and nodded serenely. "However, since your desire to serve the Force among your brethren here has driven you to seek us out, I am honored to offer you a place among our ranks. You will be considered a Hopeful for the Jedi Order, and eventually shall be accepted by a Master to take you on as a unique Padawan learner. I cannot, as my place is here, but I do give instruction to those who have yet to come under the tutelage of a Master. Allow me to show you to your room, and in the morning, you will attend your first instruction in the ways of the Force." Indicating to the Kel Dor that he should stand once more, Pulthar began to trace the spiral staircase down into the depths of the Temple, towards the dormitories and the large mess hall.
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