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Ban Ulfson

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Ban Ulfson last won the day on February 10

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  1. The Kosai The Kosai are descendants of Revanchist practitioners who learned various philosophical principles from Sith teachings over the generations. While they strongly believe in the Living Force, they also take a more naturalistic approach to seeing their place in the galaxy, believing that their influence and purpose is minimal in the grand scheme of things. Their beliefs center around cause and effect, taking a very neutral stance on happenings and the understanding that supposedly derives thereof. Much like many aspects of nature, the Kosai think that the Force has a very strong tendency to balance itself out, like karma, which will occur when the Force determines and no sooner. Some take it upon themselves to be conduits of that change, but the wiser Kosai tend to understand that it is hubris to assume they know what is right, and leave things to chance. However, it is strongly ingrained in their beliefs that everything comes with a price. As a side note, Kosai also tend to wear darker colored robes or light armor to make it easier to blend into shadows, though this is merely common and not standard for all members. Following the example of Bane, they adopted a form of the Rule of Two, nomadically travelling the galaxy. No more than two Kosai, a Master and an Apprentice, would journey together. When groups would meet, they would part soon after, believing that gathering together brought greater risk to themselves and their beliefs. Every community they came to they offered services, and generally only asked for food or supplies. Sometimes, a Force sensitive individual would be found by a Master lacking an apprentice, and the offer would be made to the potential recruit to train them. If accepted, tradition dictated that they immediately leave the apprentice's life behind, travelling to unknowns to learn the ways of the galaxy and the Force. The unknowns were always dictated by the experience of the apprentice, meant to expose them to as many new situations as possible. Eventually, once the apprentice learned enough from the Master, the Master would confer upon them the rank of Journeyman, and they would need to train their own apprentice to fully come into the rank of Master. While all Kosai share a similar belief system, they share no overarching organization or support structure. They are regarded by most as mercenaries, but unliked due to how they conduct business and how they often coldly interact with others. Everything, after all, has a price, and the Kosai tend to not lift a finger unless that price can be met. However, to some, this price can sometimes be metaphorical, and because of this from an outside perspective the actions of a Kosai can sometimes be seen as unpredictable and random. At the end of all things, most Kosai are simply trying to find their place in the galaxy, and understand that their place is often as nomads, travelling at the will of the Force. Is this faction appropriate for those new to the site or RP?: No, it is recommended that players attempt to play characters in other factions before making a Kosai, especially if they can eventually bring one in at Journeyman (Knight) rank. What do I need to do to get started? So you want a Force User outside of the typical Jedi and Sith flavors? The Kosai fit that bill perfectly as nomadic Force Users that span the grey spectrum. This culture is wide enough and large enough that most RPers are welcome to try their individual takes on it. However, as this is not an official faction, you will need to approach an existing Force User faction to take your trials. For those leaning towards the darkness or the more zealous characters this might mean hunting down and challenging a Sith to a trial by combat, or for the more peaceful characters approaching the Jedi and requesting trials. While characters belonging to this organization may train other characters, they cannot administer proper trials without being considered a faction, nor do they really hold any significant rank in an OOC sense outside of those an actual faction pseudo-grants them. For these reasons, it is recommended that newer players bypass these extra required hurdles for making their first Force User character. Any active Journeyman or Master can help train you towards being a Journeyman, and then when you feel you are ready (usually either after helping to train another character to Journeyman or participating in two lengthy plot arcs that include combat), you are free to seek out the Jedi or Sith to attempt your Master trials, traditionally as described above. Please PM Ary the Grey if you have any questions regarding this faction, he would be more than happy to give more advice on how to get you started.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.))
  4. 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?"
  5. 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?"
  6. 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.
  7. Faith. Faith. That was Ban's test. That it was impossible to bear the burdens of the galaxy on his back alone. Sometimes the Force might call him to a place where he couldn't directly help, but it was still his role to be there and play his part. That was what it meant to be a servant of the Living Force, to truly surrender one's own will and exist in harmony with a power greater than any mortal could ever be. One day, Ban's path would end. But the moment he tried to take the burden of others onto himself instead of simply acting as the catalyst of the Force's will, he would fail, because his own power paled in comparison to the infinite majesty and intricacies the Force offered. It wasn't faith in himself, however, and while it was faith in the will of the Force, it was also largely faith that Kari would pull through. And pull through she did, violently even. Ban had hoped to not desecrate the bodies of her family, but she carved through them in rage as she dove for Tori. It was then that Ban reacted, reaching out through the Force and connecting with her, fueling her but also sharing his thoughts and emotions. "Kari, wait! This only serves the darkness. If you strike her down in anger, you only seal away the pain and allow it to fester. Remember, the greatest illusion a Sith can cast is a lie you believe. She is powerful because you give her that power, she influences you because you let her." Ban extinguished his sabers, taking a slow step or two forward, still ready should he need to be, but clearly trying to de-escalate Kari's blood rage. "I know it's going to be hard. Maybe the hardest thing you've ever done. But you need to let her go. Forgive her. You told me on the ship you'd already forgiven her, but you need to be willing to be at peace no matter what she does. I'm not saying disown her, she is still your sister, and you can still love her, but you don't have to let her darkness become your own. She has made her choices. Let her go." When the last words left Ban's lips, so did the Force's influence from his body. Wearily, he dropped to one knee, barely able to hold himself off the ground. They were still connected, but he had given her everything, his resolve, his tranquility, and his compassion. His role had finished, and whatever happened moving forward, he was at peace with it. The Force would find balance, and he was content to be its instrument. ((5)) ((It's been a pleasure writing this. Ball's in your court, send it off with a bang!))
  8. Desperation grew in the back of Ban's subconscious as he fought on, both from feeling the physical strains his body was put under as well as the lack of Kari's response. The two reanimants continued to press the assault, Tori having decided he wasn't worth directly attacking anymore. Instead, visions of Kari's past filled the cave, some events she'd told him about on the ship, others he saw for the first time. It was hard to pay full attention to them as he continually had to deal with the assault from her undead family members, but the idea Tori had intended to convey was painfully clear: Kari had fallen further into the illusions. Ban's influence was waning. The darkness had begun to swell like a cancer, and stopping its spread would become harder with every second. One of the reanimants swung at him, which Ban dodged, blocking a strike from another, then evading with a Echani maneuver that spun him around the second reanimated corpse, repositioning him to start the cycle fresh again. The corpses showed no signs of letting up or stopping, and while both they and Ban were fueled by the rampantly strong energies of the Force, they didn't need to worry about preserving their bodies. Is this what Ban would become? A corpse, forever locked in battle in service to the Force, his will and mind long withered away, until they became dust once more? No. More influence from Tori. More doubts and illusions. Ban redoubled his efforts, but he knew the seed of doubt had been planted. This was a losing battle. He had lost, he had lost Kari, and he had failed to maintain the balance. He could not win this fight on his own. The fractures of frustration in his subconscious widened, and he noticed a subtle shift in his combat flow. A counterattack every now and then, a shove here, a kick there, all to off balance them he told himself. Deep down, he knew the truth. He didn't want to desecrate their bodies, to add to the pain, but his own pain had already begun to do that. The pain of failure. And then, something clicked. A soft realization, an answer that had been right in front of him this whole time. The reanimants punched at the same time, but he caught both their blows in his palms, his strength renewed. He had been fighting the wrong fight. This was a test for them both, and Ban had finally understood his own test. ((4))
  9. The game became one of keep away as Ban dodged and blocked the attacks of the two reanimated corpses. He didn't dare use his saber on them and desecrate them further, as doing so would only help cement the wound already present. But this time, it was less the wound in the Force, and more the one in Kari's mind. This was the connection, the misstep that Tori couldn't have planned for. "Look at them Kari...see them, remember who they were. Would they want this?" Ban shoved from his position, flipping over one of the reanimants, avoiding a grapple and repositioning closer to Kari. He could feel his body growing weary despite being fueled from the Force's embrace. He wouldn't stop until his part had been played, but when he did he knew he would need serious time to recover. But right now, Kari needed him. "She is feeding from your assumption that she is more powerful than she really is. We are, all of us, just puppets dancing to the music of the Force. You just need to see the strings." He ducked, rolling backwards into a crouch that followed up with a spin kick, tripping one of the reanimants and leaving it as a barrier for the other to get through before it could strike at him again. "The greatest illusion a Sith can cast is simply a lie that you believe. I know you can still hear me, Kari...seek the truth." ((3))
  10. As Kari's assault started, the Force became tumultuous, a roiling ocean stirred to storm. Ban moved as the waves dictated, gently guided by its touch. Indigo and crimson met violet and silver again and again and again, their violent impacts showering the area with sparks and briefly spiking the illumination in the cave. He deftly caught the blast of Force lightning on one blade, maneuvering slightly to parry another of her blades to block in for him. So it went, move, countermove, attack, evade. Her onslaught was relentless, but his defense was near impenetrable, far better than he would have normally been able to maintain without the direct conduit of Force the nexus was providing him to direct the flow of his blocks and parries. If he only had one blade, defending against three others that could attack from unorthodox angles with unorthodox strikes would have been a futile task, but he held his ground, moving only when he had to. After several moments, neither of them had exchanged much ground, and it was clear Ban didn't intend to. He softly spoke, his words clearly reaching her ears despite the volume, and yet as he spoke there seemed to be something else behind his words. "It appears we share in our lack of limits. Kari, I know you can hear me, listen to my voice. You can fight this. You must fight this. Believe in yourself, and trust in the Force. I have no right to be your beacon in the dark, but I would still offer my light." Ban knew if she didn't hear him, he would be forced to end this eventually. Injury or death in service to the Force he didn't mind, but he knew that if anything but the will of the Force happened here, the nexus would stay scarred, the manipulations of the Sith fueled by the pain and loss. There were two ways this could end for Ban, either Kari would overcome her internal struggles against Tori, or one of them would likely die. ((2))
  11. As Tori revealed herself and tensions rose, Ban could feel the Force surge. It was strong here, reacting to their presence like an exposed nerve. But because of this, he was also strong here. Until now, his blades had remained extinguished, but Kari's strike necessitated reaction. The deep purple of his main hand blade sprang to life as he moved with practiced fluidity to intercept her, his offhand saber erupting in brilliant silver to guard against the follow up strike that came. For a handful of heartbeats they shared the staccato rhythm of lightsaber combat, Ban continually retreating as he could and never counterattacking. Kari represented a focal point for his future, it was something he could feel very clearly now. This was a test for him as much as it was for her, his actions here and now would determine the spectrum and hue on his future path. This was why the Force had brought him here: to test his mettle. His Master had once spoken of such events happening to him, but never described them extensively, choosing to keep them as private moments. Now, Ban understood why. As their movements came to a standstill and Ban managed to put some steps between them, he disengaged his sabers and motioned for her to stop, keeping them ready but lowered. He took advantage of the momentary hesitation by speaking clearly to her. Clearly she thought he was someone he wasn't, tricked by the Force. "Kari. Center yourself. Open your thoughts to the will of the Force, your eyes to the truth. You know inside this isn't right. Find your truth, and trust me to help you through this. Your emotions are understandably strong, but right now they only serve your sister." He stood unmoving, refusing to attack her. Should she press forward, he would be ready, the Force guiding his movements with unmatched elegance. He was never much of a swordsman, rather relying more on the Force to make up for his shortcomings. As the Kosai worshipped the Living Force, they felt its pulls and listened to them more readily than others skilled in communing with the Force. Here however, the nexus seemed to magnify that beyond what Ban thought possible, his body's movements almost guided for him as he merely thought about the path he wished to take, a living conduit of the raw potential the Force offered. Not in control of it, but in harmony with its ebbs and flows. Here, for the first time in his life, he truly felt like a Kosai. ((1))
  12. Now this was something unlike Ban had ever witnessed before. He'd heard of the Dark side manifesting in such a manner, but they were always rumors that came off more like urban legends than actual truths. But reanimation of corpses? This had to be the work of a powerful Sith. That was the only real explanation in his mind. "Lusef. You said that name before. Wasn't he the Sith that trained you as he masqueraded as a Jedi?" He found his lightsaber hilts in his hands but restrained himself from activating them, there was simply no need to at that moment. Kari had neutralized the threat posed by the reanimants, or at least it seemed she had. Ban was keen to keep his wits about him should another threat present itself, but there wasn't any other immediate danger.
  13. The scene was grisly. Ban could feel the influence of the Darkness here, seeping against the light as it tended to do. This was not a natural balance like he had tried to calm her into thinking it was. Someone had done this, perverted the natural order to corrupt the light and enhance the influence of the Darkness, using that influence for...well, Ban could only guess, but it was rarely good. For a moment, he let her weep. It was good to let her grieve, to have the moment to understand the pain and accept the loss. From what she'd told him on the ship, it wouldn't be a foreign process to her, but that didn't mean she would be any more comfortable with it. When the moment passed, he somberly stepped forward, placing a hand on her shoulder, reinforcing her grief with his own connection to the Force. "Come. We can give them a proper burial. Honor them as your people would have wanted them to be. It's the least we can do right now. This place may be steeped in Darkness, but you heal scars...you don't meditate on them or allow them to control and define you. We should allow this scar to heal."
  14. Ban thought about what she said as he watched her leave the hut. For a moment, he considered going in unarmed, knowing that illusions often were only dangerous in that they caused people to hurt themselves. But he was Kosai, a servant of the Living Force. If he stayed true to himself, and to the Force, then they would safely find their way through whatever obstacles were in their path. Shaking his head of the doubt, he started after her at a brisk pace, intending to catch up. He couldn't let her go through whatever waited for her alone. It was not his purpose. Wordlessly, he followed.
  15. "Do you feel it?" Ban felt like the half hour walk had been unnecessary, as there were several closer spots they likely could have parked the ship. However, it was likely that it would have taken some skill to pull off, which spoke mildly to Kari's piloting abilities. He still said nothing about it, there really was no need to. He could use the exercise anyways, and the views had been nice. Like she had said, the Force was strong with this place, thick in the air to the point it was like he was swimming in it. He felt...stronger. But it wasn't him, it was the Force. Ban had never been to a place like this before. "You say it is unnatural, but my master used to say 'natural is subjective.' What might be natural for us might not be natural for someone else. If you mean do I feel the influence of the Dark side...then...yes. It's subtle, but it's there. I was not trained to know the darkness as an enemy, but rather a wild animal. If you understand it well enough you can prevent it from harming you, dangerous as it is. I am not a servant of the darkness, but it in and of itself is not my enemy. Light and Dark, the Force is as one, tying us all together and providing the current that changes the face of the galaxy as we know it." He looked at the mask she held, then back to the rest of the hut, something still not quite feeling right. "Still...the servants of the darkness are another matter. From your tone I take it it's not supposed to be like this here. The influences of those who would wish malice on others are hard to tell until they strike. What about this place feels unnatural to how you remember it? Perhaps we can uncover some of your mystery here and now."
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