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Exodus

Savareen

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Savareen


Astrographical Information
Region: Outer Rim
Trade Routes: Corellian Run
Orbital Position: --
Grid Coordinates: --

Physical Information
Class: Terrestrial
Atmosphere: Type 1 Breathable Oxygen Mix
Primary Terrain: Deserts, Oceans

Points of Interest: ???

Societal Information
Indigenous Species: Savarians, Humans
Immigrated Species: --
Primary Language(s): Basic
Faction Affiliation: Neutral

Defense Rating:  One

 

Description:

 

Savareen was a planet that was located at one spur of the Kessel Run, in the galaxy's Outer Rim Territories. The planet consisted of sandy landmasses and huge oceans. Savareen was also known for its famous brandy drink. The Crimson Dawn once had a business there and they chopped off the tongues of the natives.

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Great. Just great. Dump refugees on a desert planet with a moisture vaporator, half the farming implements needed to set up a workable farm, give them fewer supplies than necessary to subsist on, and expect the local population to help out. Super.

Granted, Ash was probably overlooking the fact that the Galactic Alliance had just been dealt a huge blow to its available resources what with Coruscant's moon crashing into it and all, and if anything he should be thankful he escaped with his red skin intact. But still, here he was, wondering how he was going to survive the next few days, much less get back to the galaxy proper and reestablish his life. Things had always been funny like that for him. When he was a toddler, some madman named Faust had caused the shields to drop on Coruscant, killing a significant chunk of its population to include his biological parents. Now this?

At the least, they had shelter, if it was only a couple dozen community tents, and for the time being they had water. The locals had already shown they weren't too keen on having to put up with a bunch of refugees, but nobody really had any say in the matter and nobody was around to truly accept blame for the situation they found themselves in. Except the refugees, of course, they were the outsiders, so naturally they weren't to be trusted. Already there had been several incidents of theft among the three hundred or so refugees, and a few isolated reported events with the locals, so at the least several bad apples had already cast a pall over their group.

Ash was just ready for it to all be over. He closed his eyes as he rested on his cot, trying not to think about how the rest of his belongings were now getting sand in them as literally his only personal space was directly beneath him, and there was no floor.

Super.

Maybe tomorrow things would change. Maybe tomorrow they'd all die. He tried not to think about it.

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The small settlement drew extremely weary with time and the erratic abuse of sand storms that hounded them at every sunfall. He could feel the tension bleed from every tent, and the mouths of the stragglers all around him. Countrymen, refugees, and travelers all blended upon these shores of Savareen, combing their experiences together in order to survive. Aurion was no more than a fly on the wall, wrapped mysteriously in the bleached raiment of a merchant, with no more than the clothes on his back to offer. He was a survivor, with ties to no one in particular amidst the rubble, but an affinity for helping them all. 

It had been his third night enduring the wild winds, and the harsh thrashing of small stones, in order to operate in the chaos of the nightly tempests. Reports of theft had spread like wildfire, fueling the strain on the ungainly community, but he insisted. Under the mask of pandemonium, Aurion made his way by taking from the rich and lending to the poor. There were men and women who possessed more than what was necessary to continue forward, and hissed at the mention of splitting their hoards. These were the individuals he preyed on, indiscriminate of their reasons. Rationings of food and water appeared to be divided without bias, but as a fly on the wall, Aurion watched an undercurrent of corrupted power begin to slowly surge in the administration. Desperation would reveal the wolves in sheepskin, it was only a matter of time.

He suspected the refugee Ash knew nothing of his little excursions, even though proximity to his resting place essentially made them neighbors. For now, the comfort of his cot steadied him to sleep and worked to ease his subtle wounds. 
 

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Morning came without warning. Blazing heat following freezing cold, with the humidity from the shores not making things easier on Ash, who was used to temperature controlled buildings and luxuries like hair product. Live or die, he was certain this was Hell, or at least some extension of it. His adoptive parents used to talk about it quite a lot, taking him to religious services as a kid, but he mostly just relegated that kind of talk as fairy tales meant to scare him into doing his chores. Still, it worked.

One of the things he'd been taught by his human guardians growing up was to never use his pheromones. He'd been lectured long and hard about how as a Zeltron he had certain gifts that were unfair to unleash upon the unwitting. Ash had a strong moral code, and wanted to make his way in life honestly. He'd been taught moral virtues well, but desperate times called for desperate measures, and hunger was a powerful motivator.

So, at lunch, he allowed a bit of his pheromones out. He'd been practicing over the last few years anyways, working as a waiter it was appropriate to keep customers happy, but Ash never did it to get significant tips. That was unethical. The cook at the end of the line, if he could even be called a cook, was a raggedy man. Grey hair and wrinkles told the tale of weariness and hardship that the galaxy tended to offer to most, and he was no exception. But without knowing why, he looked at Ash with a smile when it was finally Ash's turn, and at short request, gave him a much larger portion of the hardbread than most others. He stuck it in a pouch he was carrying, of course, and handed it over without so much as a second thought. The people behind him who had seen said nothing, they were mostly smiling and enthralled by Ash's handsome features.

He'd been told it was like being drunk, but in a bubbly and happy way. All Ash knew was that if others were happy, it meant he was happier, but to force these feelings on others without their explicit permission was wrong. At his cot, he stared at the pouch for a long time, thinking about what he'd done. What if it meant less for someone else, someone who needed it? But there would be more, the refugee aid personnel wouldn't let people starve, and the community was large enough here that they could make more food and water soon... Still, it weighed heavy on his mind, and for a long while he debated with himself whether or not he should take it back. His stomach eventually won out the argument, and without another thought he pulled out the bread and took a large bite.

Precious crumbs dribbled down his lips, and the taste wasn't particularly amazing, but it was food, and instinctively he continued. A small sound behind him alerted him a few bites later, and he turned to see the man who had the cot next to him staring at him. ((Aurion)) Ash was nearly certain the tent was mostly empty, there were a few people at the far end resting from the midday heat, but he'd somehow missed a man napping right next to him.

Slowly the scene dawned on Ash, and there was a long pause as Ash looked at his bread for a moment, before breaking off a sizable chunk and offering it to him. Not to silence him, though if Ash wanted he likely could have made him forget by distracting him with pheromones, but that would likely just cause more problems. That's how it always was, anyways, you cheat once and you wind up having to cheat again and again just to cover it up until it all crashes down on your head in a brutal tidal wave. It was better to just face the music in most cases. Here, though, Ash simply wondered if the man was hungry. It was the right thing to do.

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These dreams never end


Aurion rolled over on his side, and brushed the sleep from the corner of his cursed eyes, aches and pains still riddled his calves from his hunt. Blinking curiously, he found at his surprise, a hand extended with a courteous offering. Aurion covered his mouth with his left before he could respond, only because the yearning of a hearty yawn could not wait to escape him. He stalled for a moment, wondering if there was purpose hidden behind the gesture, but the murmurs of his own belly persuaded him against better judgment. The appropriation of food had been his sole objective for the last several sunsets, feeding those left underfed. However, when it came to his own rations, he had starved himself beyond belief. 

 

“Thank you,”

 

The tradesmen twine that composed his sleeves hung loose as he reached out, and snatched the bread piece from the outsider. Without pause, Aurion shoved the small loaf into his mouth and savored the arid taste that came with it. It was in this moment, that Aurion had painted himself with a mark that would stick with him for the remainder of his time inside of this settlement. He broke bread with an outsider, one that fell from ships not of these sands. There were those that scorned those not of these lands, rejected the instruction to share equal in the plunder that was afforded the encampment. Aurion did not choose sides, for had traveled, and had witnessed a power unlike any that ordinary man could fathom. 

 

“I am born of Savareen, what brings you here, stranger?”
 

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Born of Savareen...Ash's mind raced a bit, realizing his social faux pas. Well, at least this local was talking to him. That was an improvement. But why was he sleeping in the refugee tents? Maybe it was something to do with cultural property norms? Or maybe he just found a nice tent to get out of the midday sun for a bit. Most of the cots looked empty, anyways, and they were close enough to the settlement that practically anyone could come and go as they please.

"I, uh...I'm from Coruscant. Its moon crashed into it. That's why there's a lot of offworlders here right now, we were kind of dumped here as refugees by the Alliance. I don't really have anywhere else to go. Much less the means to get there."

Why did you tell him so much? Ash momentarily felt vulnerable. But with a deep breath, he suppressed the feelings, simply allowing things to be. It wasn't like it mattered much anyways, the truth of the matter was he was vulnerable, a stranger in a strange land. And that was when Ash noticed that he couldn't really feel anything from the person who he'd shared the bread with. Normally there was some kind of emotion he picked up on and reflected. He'd had to suppress it many times since coming here, else he risked starting fights and kicking off a chain of events that could easily end with his death. But this...it was kind of nice. He didn't have to worry nearly as much, and it was calming.

"I'm Ash. What did you say your name was again?"

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".. The name is Aurion,"

 

Colorless pupils met cardinal ones, the differences between the two were quite noticeable. One from the sands, and one from the stars. Aurion watched for a moment to discern what Ash actually was, but distracted himself so he did not stare for too long. He was a creature he had not witnessed before this, but his physical characteristics closely resembled what was familiar to him. It mattered not, the two were interconnected as bread was broken within their encampment. Eyes were everywhere, and from here, they would have to walk with caution. Aurion shifted his weight closer to where the out-lander sat, brushing the prussian blue from his face, speaking in a quieter tone. 

 

"There are some inside the camp that would see the outsiders disappear, will the Alliance come back for you?"

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"I...I don't know."

Ash swallowed hard as the words escaped his lips, cementing the fear he had been avoiding for so long. Desperation had begun to set in among many of the refugees, and as a Zeltron, Ash felt it loud and clear. Using his breathing exercises, he slowly calmed back down, suppressing the negative emotions. He never expected to have to use them in a place like this, but he was glad his parents had forced him to learn them at so young an age. Still, something else was nagging at the back of his mind, and in an effort to shift the conversation a bit, decided to blindly stab at it.

"It's strange. Normally I can feel what other people are feeling. Emotions, the like. My people are empaths like that. But from you...from you I get nothing. I can read some of the locals, but not you. And I apologize as I say this, it's not really something I can help."

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"Don't sweat it. Could just be my stubborn nature." 

 

Aurion chuckled lightly, masking the discomfort in learning what it was this individual was capable of. Perhaps his training was the reason Ash was unsuccessful, or an even more clouded reason he was unfamiliar with. Did Ash know what a Jedi was? This was no time to disclose such information, the universe was a much darker place now, and none could be trusted to hold their tongue. Besides, the last Aurion had heard, there was a bold bounty for all practitioners of the force, and he could be the last of his kind. Aurion pressed his palm against the warmth of the sand beneath him, seiving through with the loose terrain as if all the secrets of the land lay just below.

 

"Besides, if others know what you and your people can do, imagine the fear they have of you? These people are a territorial kind, living off of a land that offers scarcity. Be careful with your truths, Ash."

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Ash paused for a moment. He hadn't considered that. On Coruscant, most were at least familiar with Zeltrons, and usually they knew that being around a Zeltron meant having a good time. Here however, he was a stranger in a strange land. Many of the locals might have never even left their homeworld before, and they wouldn't know the finer details of some of the other humanoid species that inhabited the galaxy.

"I hadn't thought of that."

He lowered his voice even further, wondering if this new friend was really a friend. At the least, he spoke friendly enough. And after all, as far as Aurion was concerned, the supposed secret was already out.

"I...worry. There is much unrest among the refugees here, and a lot of tension between them and the locals. Much more than is openly said. I fear open hostilities are about to break out. Last night, I..."

He paused, again wondering if he was sharing too much information. Still, he was in it this far with the stranger.

"...I had a dream. The settlement burned, bodies everywhere. The sands ran dark with blood. The only refuge was in the sky. I had a similar dream before Coruscant was, well... you know. I think something really bad is going to happen."

Another pause as he reflected on what he'd said, realizing slowly that these dreams weren't that uncommon. 

"I overheard one of the Alliance administrators talking a few days ago. There's supposed to be a relief ship coming tonight to drop off more supplies. I think trying to convince the captain to grant me passage anywhere else is a good move. You... you should come too."

Why did I say that? Ash almost couldn't help himself. What was it about this man that made him feel so comfortable? Still, if Aurion's mere presence was what caused him to realize the impending danger and formulate a plan to get away from it, then perhaps inviting him along was a good thing. Ash just worried that if things came down to it, he wouldn't really be able to look out for anyone else but himself, and he could barely do that well as it was.

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The mention of a dream, one that hoarded blood and fire, such words arrested the attention of the wanderer. Aurion froze, the sound and interest of another relief vessel passed through his ears. He heard what was said, but blood and fire danced inside of his eyes now, as if he knew what Ash spoke of, better than anyone could ever understand. Even the lift of his chest stopped moving, and his breathing slowed to a desperate crawl, was he even breathing at all? There was a quiet between them now, an awkward tension that did not better itself the longer the silence lived. This is where the dead neutrality of color inside of his eyes really made sense, an unimpassioned gaze that saw more than what lips could tell. "How is this possible?" 

 

You see, Aurion knew this dream well. It came to him in his first sleep at this settlement. The first moonrise, and the first time he had found decent rest in well over a month. Exhaustion stole him, for the miles traveled and the worlds crossed, Aurion began to lose sight of things. So, when the heaviness of tire forced him asleep, that is where he saw it. The sand drank of blood, and became a tide of red death. The fire consumed whatever it could, from flesh to hope. Yes, Ash was correct, there were bodies everywhere. Men, women, and children burning whether alive or dead. The dream was not a dream, but perhaps a warning. For the man in the dark that held the torch to all of that chaos, standing and smiling in the dance of destruction, was Aurion himself. Did this Zeltron know?

 

"If you'll have me."

 

Aurion smiled, and reached out to shake his hand.

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Ash couldn't have known what that handshake meant. Neither of them did, really, though Aurion might have had some guess. That one moment of destiny, shattering the spiderweb of what if and realigning their future to a much narrower outcome. One of danger, hope, despair, redemption, pain, joy... Their clasped hands represented the beginning of something greater than the sum of both of them, of intertwined fates few had the opportunity to experience.

But to Ash, in this moment, it was just a handshake. A beginning. A pact, hopefully one which would see them safely from this nightmare. 

That night, the unmistakable whine of the freighter's engines alerted them that the time was right to move. Ash had his small bag of clothes slung on his shoulder, and had readied himself to talk to the captain...persuasively if the need arose. Aurion was supposed to meet with him near the landing area, but Ash hadn't seen him in the few minutes it took for him to jog over. That, and there was an eerie glow coming from the nearby settlement, as if the locals had lit a bonfire for some kind of celebration. Ash rounded a corner, and the ship itself came into view, the crew busy offloading supplies. As there was a few minutes worth of time, he figured he'd wait for Aurion.

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"Psst."

 

Aurion crept low, and rounded the same corner. A hint of distress covered his expressions, perhaps it was panic, but the uneasiness was hard to address. He did not have much to collect for this, but loose ends needed tying, and through his farewells he could sense the commotion that awakened in the settlement. Slowly, his fresh presence here had become welcomed mostly, for he became a beacon of candour in the midst of those in the settlement that were low on the priority list. The low-hanging fruit had a savoir in him, but there was a danger in him that many began to question. "Ash, there is unrest everywhere, I saw a gathering on the way here. They seem to be rallying, but it is nothing festive." Aurion looked over both of his shoulders as he spoke in a hushed tone, his face and features now covered by a kaleidoscopic desert shawl. His darker skin tone was harder to discern while dusk ruled over the land, but his monochromatic optics somehow shed light where no source could be found.  "Our window is closing, you sure about this?"

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"Not really. This whole thing seems crazy. But I still have a really bad feeling that if we don't, we're never leaving here."

Hefting his bag on his shoulder, he approached one of the crew, greeting them with a smile befitting the best customer service he could muster. The crewman spoke up first, though, gruffly rebuffing him. As he talked though, his features began to smooth out, beginning to be affected by Ash's pheromones.

"Look, there's nothing for you here, you're going to have to get food in the line like everyone else does. What, uh...what are you doing here, anyways? This landing zone is off-limits."

Not backing down, Ash held his smile, warmly responding to the man. "We're looking to talk with your captain, perhaps? We have a very lucrative offer in exchange for passage off this rock."

The man smiled, displaying teeth that looked to have only been taken care of by liquor and death sticks for the last several decades. "I'm the captain, sonny. What's this lucrative offer?"

"We used to be ore prospectors working for a Coruscanti-based company. We happen to know the location of a very rich deposit of kyberite, and are willing to give you that information after you transport us to wherever you happen to be going next."

The captain scratched his chin, mulling the offer over. It was apparent he'd only heard of the mineral in passing, which was fortunate because Ash had only heard of it in passing from a customer at the restaurant he used to work at before becoming a refugee. It was a simple lie, but an effective and highly tempting one. "Isn't that the stuff that they find those crystals in? I got a buddy that does mining on the side, he might-"

"CAPTAIN BRONSON!"

The captain was cut off by a yell from one of the on-site Galactic Alliance refugee organizers, running up to the landing zone. "It's the natives! They've gone crazy! They're rioting and heading this way! We need to get out of here, now!"

Ash's stomach sank. So Aurion was right, as was his dream. The captain paused for a moment, his brow creasing as he thought. He gave a long stare at Ash and Aurion before motioning for them to get on the ship. "Fine. Looks like we can't stick around to debate the finer details of your lucrative offer. We'll talk in transit. You two and you-" he pointed at the refugee organizer, "Get on the ship. Hastings!" he practically screamed into his comm, an older model that looked to be in a state of disrepair. "Fire up the engines, we're leaving ahead of schedule. Ask questions later, just do it now."

Ash shot Aurion a brief look, before turning and hastily walking up the cargo ramp. This was it.

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The scene unraveled at a pace that was too fast, and the actions of men and monsters drew nearer as the seconds ticked. Ash was speaking, words exchanged between people who were both uncertain and fearful. Aurion could sense it, he could feel the dread that crawled all about them. The ship roared loud however, and the flickers of fire in the distance were muted in contrast to the thunderous vessel. Panic was a fascinating feeling, it could be felt in the stomach, it could be felt in the throat, and there was nothing one could do to wash it away once it came over you. Wandering alone, far from the places he had called home, dulled him to these sensations he could now feel in the air. 


 

"It's the natives! They've gone crazy! They're rioting and heading this way! We need to get out of here, now!" The man shouted.



Before he could chime in with the ebb and flow of power at his tips, the crew barreled up the ramp, while Ash turned back to shoot Aurion a look of confirmation. “This was it.” Aurion played at the shawl that covered his features, readjusting the edges to make sure it hid enough while the gusts of the cargo ship intensified. Ash turned and entered the vessel, but Aurion froze for a moment more, all he could manage was to stare down the swarm headed his way. His extraordinary eyes, searching the faces of the mob. The dissection of their features was important, a guilty plea of the orchestrators of unrest, a confession of those that would continue to seed turmoil in the lands of Savareen— his home. Before the ramp could close, Aurion hissed and neatly pitched himself inside the hold. The bells and alarms of the craft were louder here, and as he stood to recover balance, he noticed the mess of supplies strewn across the floors. Perhaps he could turn back and cut down those that would arrive with fire, and hand out provisions to those that sorely needed them. This was not how he would have done it, but he could not bend time to his will as he could command the Force around him. "No one can know what I am." 

 

The thought just left his mind, and he could feel the transport lift weight from the gear linked to the landing pad. Weightlessness hushed over the passengers, and would feel like freedom, narrowly escaping tragic bloodshed. If he stayed, was that what the dreams warned against? Carnage without prejudice. "Ash! We——". Aurion yelled out-loud, but the alerts sounded off even louder than before. The force of a locomotive punched into the ship mid-flight and blacked the power completely, Aurion hadn't managed to grab hold of anything to brace himself and whipped across the cargo hold into the opposite wall. Red lights, fueled by a secondary source, wheeled ceaselessly while the pandemonium of emergency sounds remained deafening. One of the crew was dead, Aurion could feel when the pressure of impact blew the life from his eyes. He was too shaken to see if he had lost his new friend, with his eyes squinted, the world spun just enough for nausea to take hold of him. The ship was still flying, but for how long was the question. Aurion was slipping from consciousness..

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"Ash! We-"

 

Ash whirled at Aurion's shout. Something felt distinctly off. Unfortunately, he didn't have much time to follow through on that thought as the shock wave from something hitting the ship sent him careening face-first into a nearby wall. The one small mercy he had was being knocked unconscious quickly, though it really only meant that the headache when he woke would be that much worse.

 

Meanwhile in the cockpit the pilot fought the ship controls as the ship hurtled away from the encampment. For a while, the ship gained altitude until another subsystem failed, making escape to space impossible. As they hurtled back towards the planet, there was one simple thought on the pilot's mind: he was a leaf on the wind...

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