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handofthrawn

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Still weakly on one knee, Ban witnessed the end of it, saw everything happen, and felt the Force begin to return to balance. He wasn't sure how much of it was the illusions Kari had warned him about, but at this point, he didn't really care. His job was done. He wanted to be there for Kari, to comfort her in her time of sorrow, but his exhaustion overtook him and he fell to the cool ground. It wasn't necessarily a Force induced healing trance, but it certainly was a deep sleep. He would feel sore and bruised for the next several days, but that would pale in comparison to his satisfaction, to the memories he made here that he would not soon forget.

As his consciousness slipped from his control, he lightly brushed Kari with the Force, as if a hand had come to rest on her shoulder. After a brief moment, it was gone, and soft snores emanated from the Kosai.

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Kari wept, knowing that in Tori's darkened heart, that her family was eternally lost. Tori had corrupted their souls, twisted them into darkness, and because of that, they were lost to its chaos. This broke Kari's heart more than anything. But Tori had chosen this path, walked it with absolute disregard, and because of it, she condemned them, and Kari only survived by allowing them to their fate. Such was the the price they had to pay to the natural order of the Force.

 

But why was she spared? Kari had been willing to pay the price herself even though, like her mother, Kari did not ask for Tori or Angela to make such travesties in her name. So why did she still live and breath? This puzzled Kari in ways that even she could not comprehend. Wiping the tears from her eyes, feeling a brief hand upon her shoulder before it disappeared with Ban's fate into unconsciousness, Kari looked back with a chuckle at his snoring form. He didn't even know her, and yet, her fought for her when she was all but lost in her memories. Truly, there were good people out there in the Galaxy, and it gave her the feeling of hope like none had ever had before.

 

Rising, she shook a little bit with trembles as she got used to her new form, or rather, her original one. But she managed and was soon sitting at the small pool at the cavern's center, looking at the moon filled sky reflecting in the water as much as her own, not having seen this face in many years, almost seventy in fact. Taking her hands, she palmed some of its water out and drank, feeling it's cool touch flow down her parched throat, it being a weird feeling to be alive in her own form again, even her tastebuds different. And when she was done with the moment, and her confusion passed, she gathered her things including her sister's momento, the Sith Mask Ventra had worn for years before she walked over and stood over Ban with a smile.

 

When Ban had regained himself, and awoke from his deep sleep, he would find himself and Kari back out on the plains, Kari enjoying tastes from her homeworld through her own form around a small lit campfire, the smell of roasting flesh seared on a small metal rod. If he had any questions, Kari would gladly answer. After what he had done, he deserved them. Or he could enjoy her cooking, a treat in an attempt to repay a debt she felt she owed. But until he did awake, Kari sat in silence, taking in the moment and pondering on why and how she survived.


 

"People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own souls. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious." - C.G. Jung

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Ban's eyes slowly opened, and consciousness returned to him. He sat up with a start once he realized he'd been sleeping, but quickly relaxed once he took in his surroundings. They'd prevailed, that was the only explanation for why he was here and not back in the cave...or dead. The Force confirmed this, the whole area feeling a bit more serene and natural to him, moreso than he'd felt when first coming here, though it wasn't something he would have noticed until after the change. Almost as if he'd gone noseblind to it, assuming that was just how things were here.

 

Kari was more relaxed, tending the fire nearby, not worried at his reactions. Being at ease was a nice feeling, and they both deserved it after what they'd been through. Ban still didn't know how much of all that was an illusion manifested by the darkness, but frankly he didn't really want to know. It wasn't his place either. A Kosai's purpose wasn't to seek knowledge, it was to act as a physical representation of the will of the Living Force. As far as he was concerned, this was a job done well. Still, he worried about how Kari had come out on the other side of their trials.

 

"Well, hi there. How, uh...how are you doing?"

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When Ban began to stir, Kari was gazing up toward the stars, a serene gaze glazing over her eyes as she sighed and looked over toward him. It was true. She felt complete again, whole, no longer an abomination condemned due to her sister's actions. So when she smiled, handing him some meat that had been broiled over the fire, it was genuine. She may have not fully understood why she still lived or how her true form had been restored, but here in this moment, none of it matter.

 

"I'm better. Thanks for asking." Kari replied to his question, an awkward uneasiness briefly settling over her at what he saw. "I apologize for everything that happened. I didn't know that Ventr... Tori held such power, nor of her plans down there. I should have know the dangers ahead of us when I led you here."

 

Yet, despite her forward apology and the sincerity behind it, a part of the Togruta was happy that he had been there. For if he hadn't, she could have lost herself eternally, being reborn as many times as Tori planned until it was finally gotten right, countless souls lost to her sacrifices. But now, everything had returned to it's natural order and her homeworld had found its balance again. And for that, she was forever grateful.


 

"People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own souls. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious." - C.G. Jung

karismol.png

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Ban stifled a chuckle.

"I still don't know how the Force seems to work, sometimes it even runs contrary to itself. I think we're more adrift in the ocean of the stars than we realize, slowly twirling about each other in the Force's embrace, dancing to the pace of fate."

He reached out to grab some of the fish, biting into the meat and savoring the smokiness. Gods what he'd just said had sounded super pretentious.

"But hey, I'm just glad to be here...especially if I'm still on the payrolls of your alliance. The work gets done, I go where I'm needed, and I get paid my share. That's just how things work."

There was another long silence, and he knew he'd stepped his foot in it. Bringing up money at a time like this was a serious faux pas, but Ban didn't want her forgetting her promise. Still, it wasn't that he had anything against her or anything, he actually rather enjoyed her company, especially when concentrations of the Dark Side weren't trying to possess her.

"So, uh...where next?"

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Kari smiled. She hadn't forgotten her promise, and with a nod, she answered his question without a word as her canine cuspids tore a fresh piece of meat from her own stick, her gaze staring out into the vast void above them. Shili had always held a semblance to her state of mind when it came to her thoughts and plans, letting nature take its course and guide her to where she was meant to be.  But now, back in her own skin, she silently questioned its symbolism. Scrunching her toes in the dirty beneath her feet, she pondered his question.

 

"I honestly haven't really thought about it in truth. With Tori's programming of Ghost and her plans here, I figured it would end here." Kari began to speak as she swallowed her bite, her gaze focusing upon the sky. "But given what happened here, and the wound I produced during birth, I'm wondering if there are other places disturbed by me."

 

Kari let her words linger. Tori's ritual here to bring her back had started this all, but Kari had visited many places during her second life and it stood to reason places that held significant attachments to her could have also been effected, which made her mind wander to Gala, the place where her mind literally broke during her confrontation with Faust. Or perhaps her tutelage as a youngling on Haruun Kal. Both could very well have remnants of the wound that she was. Perhaps not as strong as Shili, if at all, but it wouldn't hurt to investigate. Her gaze shifted back to Ban.

 

"I was raised at Haruun Kal as a Youngling after the death of Angela." Kari spoke, taking a sip of water to moisten the dryness of her mouth. "But Gala was where my guidance under Faust boiled over and I lost myself. Either would make a good place to start investigating, if you're still willing to aid me farther."

 

Kari was leaving the choice up to him if he did intend to aid her a little more.


 

"People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own souls. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious." - C.G. Jung

karismol.png

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Ban scratched his grizzled chin. He wanted to help her, and Kari was a very enjoyable person to spend his travels with. But the way of a Kosai was nomadic, abandoning most attachments in service of the Force. His path dictated that he leave his destination more or less to fate. 

 

"I mean, I guess I was asking more for you than for me. Kosai need to be on the move. We fix a problem here, we move to the next place. It was the will of the Force that brought me here, but I'm not positive that's where it wants me to necessarily continue on with you. I'm sorry."

He took another last bite of the fish, and gathered his things.

"If you drop me off at the nearest spaceport, I should be fine."

 

((I completely forgot I hadn't dropped a post. Definitely needed the whip.))

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Kari's eyes fluttered as she smiled and gave an approving nod, her lekku shifted against her vestiage. In truth, she had half expected his answer, especially given what she had just gone through and how much aid he had truly given. Reaching into the satchel she had gather from her former host, she tossed a cred stick in his direction with more than enough compensation for the job he had done. He had deserved more than she could offer, so she did not worry about what part of it belong to her.

 

"I can do that, or you can take Tori's ship as a bonus. It lays just on the other side of the ridge north of here, maybe an hour walk at best." She spoke with a unhindered smile, a sense of balance having settled across her soul since her form returned. "But if you decide to take it, I think I will stay here a few more days and leave this chapter of my life behind me on a good note thanks to your aid, even if you feel it isn't deserved, my friend." 

 

With that said, Kari took another bite and grabbed the flask of water laying near her thigh.

 

((I've never really described Tori's ship or named it, so have at it.))


 

"People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own souls. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious." - C.G. Jung

karismol.png

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Ban gave a low whistle as Kari described his bonus: a ship. Ban wasn't a great pilot, it was why he preferred public transportation, but he'd also never had the chance to even consider acquiring a ship before, and now Kari had given him one. Granted, it was her sister's, she likely had little use for it and there were a lot of hard emotions attached to it, but it was still a very large gift. Ban caught himself after a long silence, too long, staring off in the direction Kari had indicated.

"Uhh...that's a very large offer. Of course, I guess I'm not going to question it, I appreciate it. I'm not much of a pilot myself, but maybe I can, uh, muddle through how to work it."

 

There was a moment more of hesitation. Ban wasn't amazing at goodbyes, he generally wasn't amazing at socializing in general.

"...Welp, no time like the present, I suppose. And Kari, keep in mind, you did a great thing here. Let yourself feel good about it. May the Force be with you."

With a nod, Ban set off in the direction she'd pointed. She hadn't lied, it was a bit over a good hour of walking even at a decent pace, and as Ban crested the ridge, he saw the ship through the trees in a clearing in the valley on the other side. It was an ominous looking shuttle with two large wings pointed up at the sky, but now it was his ominous looking shuttle.

Once Ban got down to it, it took him a few minutes before he figured out how to open it up, but he finally found an access panel hatch on the exterior and lowered the boarding ramp. The inside was musty, but otherwise the setup was clean. There was a moderate stock of long term space rations that he could chow down on while he figured out the ins and outs of the ship. Thankfully Ban knew how to navigate the Holonet, and once he'd managed to establish a connection to the local hub, the first thing he did was pull up a free guide called Piloting for Dummies: the Holobook.

It was going to be a long couple days.

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The next few days for Kari went by like a passing Mynock. She spent most of it cleaning and dusting the old hut, tossing out the cages that had been most of her pain, and over all tidying up her old homestead. There were moments when memories flooded back, causing tears to form and flow, but for the general time spent, her memories were of her childhood and the good moments she remembered, however few they were. And with each passing evening, Kari made the small trek to where Ban had stationed himself and left a meal for her companion whether he ate it or not.

 

But as the third day came, Kari stood outside in the sun, her bare feet dug into the sand as she gazed at the finished product. Wiping the sweat from her brow, she smiled. The old hut looked livable again, as if she had fixed it up to stay. Yet, that was not the case. She simply wanted it to remain, just as she would in spirit. Taking a drink of water, she sighed. For the first time in a long time, she felt no pain, no anger, no imbalance. It was almost as if the Force had willed her life to this very moment, and she smiled at the thought. Gathering her things, and loading them aboard her ship, she made a small detour to Ban one last time before she would leave, if only to say goodbye.

 

"Ban." She yelled as she made her approach. "Just wanted to say farewell my friend and goodluck. Think I'm going to head to Haruun Kal next, just to make sure there isn't any residual effects lingering there as well. If not, I'll head to the Temple at Gala then. If you ever need anything, do not hesitate to hit up my comm. I owe you more than you know."

 

She paused, letting his words reach her from afar, before she turned and departed. It was a casual departure, almost as if a weight had been lifted to never return, and the walk back was one of the few enjoyable walks she had had in many years. But as she grew near her ship, a sudden sadness rushed over her and she gazed back briefly in Ban's direction. In truth, she had grew a sense of reliance and attachment to the human, something she hadn't done in many years. Turning away, she climbed aboard her ship and in minutes, blasted away from Shili into space and then hyperspace. Next stop would be Haruun Kal.


 

"People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own souls. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious." - C.G. Jung

karismol.png

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