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Svata Dragoste

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About Svata Dragoste

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  1. "I really...really hope you don't mean that literally," Svata chuckled. "Well, you shouldn't have to wait long. Sarlaac isn't the kind of Jensaarai to let a student sit on their hands. I reckon you'll get put through your paces. He'll..." Svata paused, stopping in his tracks as something occurred to him. His tail swished once, twice, then he started walking again, a pondering expression on his face. "Hey...hope you don't mind me asking, but does it ever get annoying to you when people complain about pain and such? I mean, I imagine it's something like a blind man listening to everyone constantly gripe about the bright light, or a droid listening to his master constantly bellyache about how hungry he is. Something between background noise and consistently insensitive. Ah, here it is." He strode up the ship's' ramp and punched a few keys. The door whooshed open, and the faint smell of recycled air puffed out into Svata's face. "Anyway, take a minute to shake the dust off your boots. Defender Sarlaac should be back by now, or at least will be soon."
  2. Svata laughed. "That's a new one! I'm not that short am I? Heheh. No, I'm a Ryn. Handy tip, if there nose looks like a flute, then they're probably a Ryn." He grinned. Blowing out his lips, Svata dug his hands into his pockets as he sauntered along. "Well...Sarlaac is what you might call a true Jensaarai. A true believer in the ideals. And if call him slow and old, please do it when I'm in the other room. He might be the kind of guy to take that as an invitation for an "object lesson", and while you don't feel pain I can assure it ain't fun for the rest of us. As for what we're being sent to do...something regarding the Jedi I think. I'll let our master explain it." "Hey, if you don't mind fighting an old spacer like me, I'm good to scrap. Just don't break my nose and don't pull my tail. Seriously, a broken nose for a Ryn is a real hassle."
  3. Svata stepped out onto the Raka Nwul and breathed in. After a lifetime of breathing the recycled air of old cargo freighters and junk ships, it always hit him how good it was to breathe fresh air on a spacecraft. Ithorians were something else. "Alright," he muttered to himself. "Pick up a new apprentice. Sreth...Bones? Yeah, that was it, the Tognath." Svata hadn't met too many Tognath in his time, but the ones he had run into had all made an impression. Tognath were tough buggers, and not someone you wanted to get into a fight with unless you were a hundred meters away with a rifle. An endoskeleton and exoskeleton, combined with an immunity to pain, made them pretty memorable when things got hairy. Svata recalled one Tognath he'd seen in a bar fight. An Abyssin had sucker slammed the smaller guy with a cargo chain and snapped his leg. The look on the creature's one eye was one Svata would never forget when the Tognath not only didn't go down but hobbled right at the thug looking more pissed than anything else. It was about that point that the Abyssin discovered Tognaths grow up under significantly higher gravity than most other species, and are a lot stronger than they look. The next two things the Abyssin discovered was what the wiring above the ceiling tiles looked like and that synthetic glass shards in your face hurt no matter how quick you regenerate. "Well this should be fun." Svata wandered across the ship, without much of a plan in mind. Truth be told he just liked walking, and would take any excuse to do it. Wandering, meandering, ambling, it was all the same to him. Just so long as he got to keep moving he was a happy man. He chuckled as he remembered Parami shouting at him in a rare moment of pure irritation that she was going to nail his tail to his left foot if he didn't stop pacing around their little ship. His winding path took around the outer edges of the ship, and he nodded and waved at the other Jensaarai and residents of the big ship. Eventually, he heard someone pounding away at something, with the quiet but intense grunts that only came from training and training hard. He rounded the corner, and there was the Tognath, finishing a routine with...honestly some damned impressive power and control. That man would be a force to be reckoned with in a fight. "Yeowch! You got Sun-Dragon? I've heard horror stories about that guy. Word has it he skinned his last apprentice who gave him lip. Problem was it was a Givin." Svata grinned, mustache poofed up in a silly parody of the refined, mature elder. "Doubt a word of it's true, but the fact that the story is going around at all..." Shaking his head, Svata extended his hand. "Sorry, manners. Svata, apprentice of the Sarlacc. If you're Sreth, then I imagine I'm here to pick you up."
  4. Svata watched, dumbfounded, at the display his teacher put on. The whirling violet blades always seemed a hair's breadth from slicing the duros in half, but they never touched him. The old ryn looked down at his own lightsaber. He breathed in, and out. He activated the dual blades. Golden-yellow light glinted off of Svata's bits of jewelry. The two beams of light hummed and blurred as Svata slowly turned them. He grasped the handle first as he would a staff, and immediately saw the problem. The hilt was too short, and if he treated it like a staff he'd slice his own legs off. The weight, as Sarlacc has said, was off too. Every bit of muscle memory and experience Svata had conflicted with the weapon his eyes were seeing. Very, very slowly, he brought it around in a careful twirl. He cried out then growled as he singed his hip in the process. His footwork was wrong, he needed to find the right stance if he was going to swing this around. He closed his eyes and called to mind the lessons the Jensaarai had taught him on lightsaber forms. The best form for a dual bladed lightsaber... His eyes opened and he smiled, letting his feet move his body into a relaxed position. Form VI. He grinned. A relaxed form that combines bits from the previous forms to create a single, balanced style. Balance from the experience of masters past. He shook his head, chuckling. Perfect for me. He swung forward again, more confident, and struck Sarlacc's lightsaber. The blow was clumsy and the blade slipped and sparked along his master's steady blade. Svata dropped back and tried again. And again. And again. Hours passed. Svata went through the basic stances and attack routines of Form VI, repeating them over and over again. He found his tail lashing out to give him balance as he overstepped time and again. He learned to keep his eagerness in check. Form VI was a style that emphasized opportunities, not aggression. As Svata relaxed more, he found his bladework flowed in an easy rhythm. Time and again he saw chances for improvised attacks, tricks, and Force manipulation. His double-bladed lightsaber was ideal for the balanced style, the constant spinning and easy momentum of the form making Svata's attacks seem as much a performance as combat. Yet Sarlacc easily deflected every blow Svata sent at him. The Defender's speed was unmatched compared to Svata's rhythmic attacks. Eventually, Svata tired. Breathing hard, he grinned at his master. "How was that?"
  5. Svata considered. "I agree. This...this does not feel right." He shook his head. "When stuff starts making your skin crawl, that's a good sign the universe is telling you to move along." He held up his lightsaber and ran his fingers across the simple carvings. Protector He smiled as he looked back to Sarlaac. "I think it's high time I learned how to use this properly."
  6. Svata frowned, bowing his head as the weight of what his teacher spoke of hit him. "Destroy them...kill them all..." A sigh escaped him, and with it seemed to go a great deal of his strength. "That's...I'm not going to lie, that's more than I was expecting. War makes people hard and sharp, but for the Jedi to order the deaths of others..." Svata shook his head. "It goes against everything I know of their order." Svata rested his head in his hand. The light that had held the galaxy together for 10,000 years was commanding people to submit? The keepers of peace preached violence? The Sith had brought darkness to the galaxy, but was this fire what was needed to push them back? A fire that burned anyone unlucky enough to be caught in its path? "..............heh. Heheh. Hahahaha!" Svata's chuckle turned into a full-blown laugh. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I know that's inappropriate. It's just...something popped into my head and..." Svata's hand clamped over his mouth as he struggled to hold back his snickering. "Heh..Sarlacc...heheh...Let me tell you a story, and you tell me what you think after. I'll respect your decision, whatever it is." Svata sat down on the floor, and for a moment he was back with his family. Looking up at the wise duros only made his smile warmer. I guess I am back. Svata cleared his throat, and his fingers brushed against his nose as he began to speak, his words in line with the low, quiet strains of a slow, old song. He talked as he played, and as Uncle Meska had taught him, the words and the music flowed together. The tempo swung up, almost feverishly fast and high. "Svata was a screw up. He was a disgrace. He put his family in danger and brought them nothing but dishonor and pain. His anger at the world, at the harshness it gave him for nothing he'd ever done, justified his actions to him. If the universe would do nothing but take from him, then how could he live but to take back from it?" The song changed, dropping to a lower, mournful minor key, slower and quieter until it was almost inaudible. "But in his selfishness, anger, and fear, he did not see the harm he caused. He thought his family fools, or even cowards who clung to their name like a scared child hides under the covers. But it was him who was hiding." The tune shifted again, this time slowly rising and intensifying into a major key, hope and rising goodness evident in every note. "He was made to see though. They made him open his eyes. With hard grips and loving hearts, his family showed him what was in their name. They showed him his legacy...and what he was doing to it. The regret he felt then was overwhelming, and it choked his anger and hate from his soul. He turned around. He changed, and he brought honor and peace to his family. To his..." Svata stopped mid-note. After a few deep breaths, he quietly said, "...his legacy." Svata chuckled again, and raised his head to match Sarlacc's gaze. "That's the abridged version, but the point is that the Jedi are in a bad place. You see that, I see that, and I believe it's our duty to make the Saarai-Kaar see that. But...but I have so many stories up here," he said, leaning forward excitedly and tapping his temple. "So many stories of the Jedi, Ten millennia of peace and hope brought by these heroes, by these selfless men and women who gave their entire lives to protect a galaxy they would never truly live in. And that is a legacy that doesn't go away, no matter how much the Sith try to suppress it or the current batch lose sight of it. Maybe the Jedi are lost, but I...I have hope. I believe the Jedi will come back, bright as ever before. Maybe the Jensaarai will need to show them, or maybe there's dozens of Jedi right now making their voices heard." Svata shrugged. "Or maybe I'm a sentimental coot who doesn't know what he's talking about." A grin split his face. "Anyway, that's my take on this Defender. I agree that we should tell the Saarai-Kaar, but I also don't think we should give up on the Jedi yet. But...what do you think?"
  7. Svata listened, and as he did he remained one with the Force. Sarlaac's words, Svata's memories, the melody, it all blended together into something primal, indescribable, and beautiful. In the bowl, the bolt moved, slowly and hesitantly at first, then quicker and with more precision. Soon, it elevated out into the air, and turned slow somersaults around Svata's head. As the bolt spun, Svata grew more and more accustomed to the Force. He could almost see the purpose of it all, a maddening order just beyond his comprehension. Was this what all Force-users felt? No, not Dark Siders. No one could feel this and act as they did. They sought to control the Force. They were delusional, like a man who believed that because he shielded the sky with his hand he had put out the stars. Svata sunk deeper into the Force, and he glimpsed more with every layer. Finally, he saw the connection between himself and Sarlaac. It was a tiny thing, fragile and ephemeral, but it shone like silver in the darkness. The bolt orbited faster as Svata leaned down, eyes rolled back in his head but his sight never clearer. The thread was a thing of purity, light from nothing yet as tangible as durasteel. Where it joined with Svata's spirit, it frayed in a dozen directions, hopelessly tangled but slowly weaving itself back together. Where it joined with Sarlaac it was strong...but dim. Like a shadow was passing over it. Coming out of the trance as if coming up for air, the bolt dropped to the floor, and Svata's eyes focused on the duros. "Something..." He shook his head. "Is something wrong, Defender Sarlacc?"
  8. The washer zipped past Svata's head, but the old ryn's sight wasn't focused on the physical. Eyes half-lidded, he sunk into the Force, humming a tuneless melody. He called up memories of Uncle Meska, the hunched codger drilling the clan's history into a surly teenager. The man's voice, rough and clear, echoed in his mind, and Svata felt the legacy of the Dragoste's stretching out into time, as he had back then. Like standing on a mountain, he embraced the feeling, and embraced the Force. All things were connected. All things were everlasting, because all things existed within the Force. "I am an echo in the Force," Svata said, voice so quiet he could barely hear himself. "I am a ripple, an offspring...I am a shadow." He stretched out his hand and felt the depth of the Force. It had no bottom. It was eternity. In the face of that, Svata had no power. How could he even think to control something like that. But he would not control it. He would do as he had done as the Keeper of the Dragoste's. He would channel that eternity. In the bowl, a bolt shivered. Then, slowly, it turned, clinking as the hexagonal head rolled along the ceramic. Svata's humming sped up, the jumble of notes taking on a new cadence. The bolt, quivering violently and painfully sluggish, rose out of the bowl. Seconds passed, before Svata's song stopped, and the bolt dropped back into the bowl. Sweat beaded on his brow, but the fierce smile on his face was defiant. "Got it."
  9. Svata strolled in, and stopped as he saw his teacher's armor less than pristine. His eyes crinkled at the edges as he fought to keep from smiling. "So...guess you don't mind fighting dirty." Svata laughed, then awkwardly his voice petered out. "Yeah...that one was pretty bad. Anyway, no casualties on ours. Independent contractors and some old droids." Svata didn't ask if Sarlaac had had any casualties. He knew how professional and dedicated the duros could be, and no one on his team would have gotten overzealous. He frowned. "This isn't going to be easy. We hit a major hyperspace lane. We hit it a few more times and the Sith are going to respond how they usually respond to threats." He sat down and leaned his head against the wall, his age suddenly draped over him like a shroud. "Overwhelmingly." His eyes closed, and he took one...two...three deep breaths. Then his eyes opened, alight with the fire and vigor that the Jensaarai had given back to the old man. "So...where next?"
  10. Svata and the three crewmen volunteers got to their feet in the darkened hold of the ship. Jara, the human engineer, immediately walked to the wall and hooked up her datapad into the wall-jack. Kon and Veremo, the two fresh Pau'an apprentices and brothers, drew their gleaming blaster pistols and moved to cover Jara, somehow making crouching behind boxes look elegant and refined like every waking moment of a Pau'an's life. Svata, for his part, drew his blocky heavy blaster pistol and made a slow circuit of the room. "Do you think this will be worth taking?" Kon asked, never taking his eyes or blaster barrel off the cargo hold's single entrance. "Not about profit, it's about the message. And don't talk unless you have to." "I'm in," Jara called. Svata rolled his eyes and walked back to the grubby, scruffy middle-aged woman. "What are we looking at for personnel?" "Ship's records only call out two crewmen, the pilot and the engineer." "Droid guards then." "That'd be my guess. Can't access them through this connection. Maybe from the cockpit?" "Don't bother. On a ship like this, the droids will be under independent orders and closed off from transmissions. Standard wartime security." "So then we..." Svata's lopsided grin gleamed inside his bulky helmet. "We convince them to give us what we want the normal way." Kon and Veremo shared a look out of the corner of Svata's eye, unreadable. "Come on. Let's get to-" The door whooshed open, and a fusillade of blaster fire cut through the air. There was a moment of silence, then a clank as the unfortunate droid who'd opened it fell to the floor, it's club tumbling from its hand. Jara peeked out from behind one of the crates. Svata hadn't even seen her move. "Is...is that a police droid?" "Repurposed GU-model looks like. Betting there's tons of these things lying in the rubble of Coruscant. If this is all they got, we're in good hands. But keep on guard. They might have KXs or worse on here." _______________________________________________________________________________________________ The creeping pace the quartet made through the hallways was only occasionally broken by blaster fire as another droid met its expiration date. So far they'd come across two more GUs, and gotten surprised by an OOM-model that had somehow managed to cram itself into a ventilation shaft before jumping out them with a pair of knives. The brothers had shown their training by elegantly dispatching it before it hit the ground. Jara frowned as she opened another locked door. "Kind of scrappy for a Sith security force, isn't it?" Svata shrugged. "Cheap. Not much else to say. Doesn't matter what galaxy you come from, the government always has cutbacks." Jara didn't look convinced, but pointed to the next door at the end of the hall. "There's the cockpit. We take that, we have control over this ship. We jettison the cargo to the interdictor's tractor beams, then bug out." Svata nodded, and turned to the brothers. Even as serious as Pau'ans usually looked, their faces were grim and stony. They likely thought what Svata did. If you were going to defend one room on this ship, it would be this one. The trio of Jensaarai apprentices approached the door, blasters ready, as Jara hooked her datapad up again and got to work. "Remember boys. We leave the crew alive." Two perfectly mirrored nods were his only acknowledgement. The door slid open, Jara fell back against the wall and as much behind cover as she could, the three apprentices dove into the room, coming up blasters ready. Cowering in front of them were two Bothans, one male adult and one younger girl with a belt of tools around her waist. Neither was armed, and both were terrified. Svata lowered his weapon, though the brothers looked less sure. "Put those down boys. These are independent contractors, not leatherjacks." Hesitantly, the two Pau'ans let their grips slacken, though they didn't holster their weapons. Svata turned back to the pair of Bothans, to find that the male pilot (a brother perhaps?) had moved to shield the younger engineer with his body. "Knock it off with the drama boy, we're not going to hurt you. We're just going to relieve you of your cargo and be on our way." Svata motioned for Jara to come in. She entered but kept her eyes on the Bothan duo as he hooked herself into the ship's console. "We..." the male started hesitantly, but his tone growing stronger with each word, "we need that cargo. If we don't deliver..." "Whatever chubby clerk you're signing off with will realize you didn't rob the glorious Sith when he sees the damage on your ship. Oh...sorry about that. I understand this is going to be a loss for you, but I'm guessing you don't even own this ship. Am I right?" The expression of a slashrat caught in a spotlight seemed stuck to the male's face, and in a confused tone he answered, "Right...right we run it for one of the imperial contractors." "There you see? Your contractor will cover the loss, not you. Call them up before you get anywhere and mention that you'll tell the Sith about the security they gave you for the ship. I'm guessing they don't want their dark lords to know their contractor was using recycled droids to guard their precious cargo. They'll eat the cost to keep you quiet, and you'll be on your way. Jara, you got it yet?" "Just...got it. Cargo is away." Svata turned back and gave a bow with a flourish of his tail. "Pleasure meeting you both. Have a safe trip." He activated his comm-link as the group walked away from the confused but relieved Bothans. "Hey, open a door for us, we're coming back. It looks like we got lucky on this ship. Hopefully Sarlaac didn't get the worse pick."
  11. Svata gave Sarlaac a lopsided grin, his whiskers bristling. In one hand he cradled his iron staff, hidden blades sheathed. In the other loosely dangled his heavy blaster pistol. The old ryn looked every bit the part of a rogue. "It'll all depend on who's onboard and what they're transporting, but if this shipment is worth taking...well, it's probably worth protecting. We can hope, but I'd be ready for droids or troopers. We probably won't need to worry too much about reinforcements, but with the rebels stepping up their attacks I wouldn't put it past the Sith to start instigating piracy policies. Ships patrolling just off the hyperlanes, that sort of thing. Sith can get pretty ruthless when they get pushed. I heard a story about a freighter transporting explosives, only for them to go off once they were boarded by pirates. Turned out they'd been shipping those bombs back and forth for weeks waiting for a pirate to take the bait." Svata shrugged. "In the end we can't control what they'll do, just do our best to do the right thing. At least, that's what's always helped me sleep at night." He turned back, and a serious expression tightened his face. Old pain danced across his eyes for a moment, then it was gone. "Just gotta do what we can."
  12. Humming a marching song as he worked, Svata carved and assembled from the pile of tech and oddities on the table. Slowly, over hours, his creation began to take shape. The center of the construction was the bone hilt, hollowed out for the power cell, crystal chambers, and the various other bits that made the ancient weapon work. He set down the vibro-etcher and took a long look at the decorative carving running along the length of the soon-to-be lightsaber. Constellations adorned the whole of the hilt, a starfield as detailed as the night sky. A simple, small outline of a sarlaac weaved between one cluster of stars on one side of the bone shaft, and a tiny ship moved through the stars on the others. My teacher and my family. Svata smiled as he stared at the empty spaces between the stars along the rest of the hilt. Looks like I've got a lot of space to fill. Svata began the work of placing the crystals into their respective chambers. He sunk into the Force as he'd been taught, for only through his connection to the mystical, uniting power could he complete his work. A bitter but pleasant ache unfolded in his chest as he worked, a memory coming to mind... Parami laughed, clapping her hands in time with Svata's silly marching song. Behind the exaggerated goosestepping of her shameless husband, their first son marched in time, breaking pace every few steps to run and catch up to his father's longer stride. A durasteel strut lay propped against the 4-year old boys shoulder, his "weapon" that he used to hunt the ship's loth cat. Unfortunately for Svata, the universe seemed to have granted the young the equivalent energy of a collapsing star, and the proud ryn had to admit defeat and end the game. He pulled his son aside and held the boy's "weapon". "Now, why do we use weapons?" he asked. The little boy opened his mouth, but then stopped, cocking his head in a comical fashion as he thought. He'd recently figured out that stopping and thinking got him the right answer more often than just blurting out whatever came into his head. Unfortunately, he was also four, and Svata could tell after a few moments that his son had gotten distracted and was off on some internal tangent. Parami, no doubt guessing Svata's intention, walked over. "What does Aunt Kila use her weapons for?" she asked. This answer knew, and he shouted, "To protect the clan!" Svata smiled. "That's right. That's what weapons are for. To protect the people and things you care about." "I don't think Aunt Kila likes me." Svata couldn't help but smile a little. The abrasive Kila had problems with children, and their son's recent obsession with weapons had earned her an endless stream of questions on a few occasions. Her respect for Svata's position had kept her from snapping at the little boy, but children were more perceptive than people thought. "I bet you're wrong. You're a Dragoste. Kila's a Dragoste." This seemed to appease the boy. "What should I fight for?" Svata considered, but it was Parami who answered. "Son, you should fight for whatever you believe in and whoever you want to protect." "I'll be a great protector like Aunt Kila!" Parami smiled and looked at Svata. "I know you will." Click The last piece of the the emitter array snapped into place on the hilt. The weapon was done. Svata wiped his eyes. "Alright. You just need a name. ...Protector." He chuckled. "Simple, but I think that fits us, don't you think?" He pressed the activation switch, and the twin golden blades hummed to life. "Protector..." he muttered, still grinning. ___________________________________________________________________________________ Svata stepped onto the bridge. He grinned as he wrapped his new lightsaber hilt in cloth to hide it from casual sight. "Defender Sarlaac, if you're going to teach me the mysteries of the Force, the honor of the Jensaarai, and my place in the universe, I think it's only right I teach you something." He stepped up to the viewscreen. "How to enjoy your work. And there's nothing more heartwarming than seeing a bully get what's coming to them. So yeah...I'm ready."
  13. Svata let his mind sink into the Force. He hummed another old song to himself, and it took him a moment to recognize the tune his subconscious had chosen. It was a funerary dirge. The soft but steady notes thrummed in his head as they faintly escaped into the air. He saw the Sarlaac's lightsaber then, not in the physical sense but in another way. He saw the crystal, a focal point in the Force that glinted and gleamed with colors indescribable, yet an obvious reflection of its master. He saw hints of the deeds it had accomplished, or perhaps deeds it had yet to complete. Svata smiled. "I think I'll be fine."
  14. Svata burst out in a belly laugh. "You know, if I didn't know you better, I'd call that comment speciesist! Also yes. Probably know a few tricks and some good fake names to go under. Haven't heard about Gorri the Mad Dug in a few years, so I'm guessing he's dead. Can probably ape his signal pattern, maybe scuff up the ship with some scribbles of severed hands, that kind of thing." Svata grinned. "You just let me know how authentic you want it to be. Time was a ryn caravan couldn't pass through Sector R-27 without looking like a band of murderers who just ate a trandoshan slaver for brunch. Lesson one, you can never have enough industrial grade cleaner." He started towards the ship. "Enough said."
  15. "Oh I lived on a ship in the Cathar strait...with a man with a droid with its brain in a crate...badum bidoom badum..." The old tune came to Svata without thinking as he shuffled around the room, hand picking out bits of tech and squirreling them away in his pockets like a bird pecking berries off a bush. "Badum biddi bum biddi bum..." he mumbled. "And he said he knew a witch of lore on Dathomir so wild...Come with me and she'll teach you much of love and life my child..." Alright...that should be everything. Better go find Defender Sarlaac. Svata kept humming the old tune as he sauntered through the hallways, tail swinging to the silent beat, his feet occasionally breaking into a shuffle and a slide when the guards weren't looking. At least, he hoped they weren't looking. It took some wandering, but he eventually found The Sarlaac in a practice yard practicing his drills. It was easy to forget sometimes that the polite man was a warrior, but demonstrations like this showed off the years of dedication that man had spent to perfect his art. "Defender Sarlaac," Svata said without waiting. If his interruption was enough to break the duros' concentration, then his new master was in sore need of some retraining. "Did everything go well?"
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