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RaveN
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With explosive concussions that rippled the very air about them, Ruin brought his hammer down. It was an uncivilized weapon from a less civilized age, but it was just the ticket to solve the ever-expanding cloud of dark evil. Anything lesser may have fallen to the wiles of the broken and enraged spirit.

 

As the spirit shrieked, drawn as if by an otherworldly force beyond the dimensions of this time and place, the wind howled as if caught in a vacuum. The hot winds grew cold in the moment as the very air was torn from Leena’s mouth. Even the remaining sabers that lay within the now scattered circle of healing light side energy had their dark taints swept away as if purged in a cleansing sandstorm. Everything, light, life, dark, and death were drawn into the maw of eternity beyond.

 

And then suddenly, it was over. The warm still air of the desert hanging heavy over them all. An awkward natural silence stretching from horizon to horizon. 
 

A smile creased Leena’s worn face as Ruin spoke to her. “Still in one piece brother Ruin. Thanks to you and that Byssian hammer. Kinda glad you snagged that thing.”

 

Leena looked up, her attention drawn to the battered woman on the approaching dune. What were the chances of someone else stumbling across them all the way out here, so far from civilization? And not a fabled Tusken or scrambling Jawa at that. Maybe a moisture farmer? She didn’t look like it though. 
 

She did not feel like it either. Leena reached out on the force to probe, gently caressing the aura of the woman before them. She put up no defenses, innate or intentional, all of her mind lay bare. Leena was a healer and the icy suffering and pain of the tortured twi’lek’s being, body, and soul were frigid beacons against the scorching backdrop of Tatooine. The Master Healer saw her pain, felt her wounds and scars. What she did not feel was the  tortured festering darkness of the dark side gnawing with hunger at whatever it could grasp.

 

The woman spoke and as she did, Leena drew in a sharp breath. A Sith? She said it. Even if she did not feel like one, even before she said so. A tortured soul; another victim of the Sith’s machinations for power, for their corrupt ideal of freedom at the suppression of others, desire at the expense of the weak. 
 

Still, she had said she was a Sith. Leena’s eyes leapt from the haggard girl to Ruin. She might not know who this woman was, but she knew her companion. He was singular in his focus. Their entire time

together, he had yearned to follow his primary directive. Now, here, for the first time, he had a potential Sith in the crosshairs. She had a pretty good idea what he would do. Current or former Sith, could he tell the difference without feeing the change about her in the force.

 

With a force-fueled lunge, Leena rolled from her kneeling position forward. She called one of the cleansed sabers to her and stood, igniting it’s sunny yellow blade in a singular motion holding it out st shoulder height and arm’s distance directly in from of Ruin, between the droid and the stranger. “She isn’t a Sith, Ruin. I don’t know what she is, but she needs our help.”

 

Leena’s eyes drifted from Ruin to Keenava. “Are you armed? Do you need help?”

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At the words ‘ former Sith Assassin’, Ruin instantly began to act. Hands still carrying the hammer, a retwist of the hilt activated the weapon again, humming to life and emitting sparks of energy at the head. 

 

“Kill Sith…” Ruin started as he took a step forward. However he stopped. The Jedi’s lightsaber, now cleansed, made Ruin halt, and her words did very much the same. However, the weapon stayed activated. 

 

>Ruin remember all of your protocols< Fera began to beep and buzz, her small form crawling from one shoulder to the other. >Primary Directive: Eliminate all active Sith Forces. Secondary Directive: Eliminate Active Sith Sympathizer Forces.<

 

Fera looked towards the female and seemed to point out the fact that it was mentioned she was no longer an active Sith. 

 

Ruin kept his focus on the female entirely. His entire body language spoke aggression and readiness. Something like a wild nexu in a gladiatorial pit. But after a silent moment, Ruin twisted the hilt again, powering the weapon down. 

 

However, the Terror droid did not holster the hammer, and instead, stayed ready, entirely focused on Keenava. 

 

“Kill Sith. All Sith die. Repentings or dyings. Hunting or watching.” 

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Posted (edited)

What would somebody normally feel in this situation? Fear? Anger? Rage? 

 

Keenava's mind wandered as the rampaging murder droid was halted by his friend the Master Jedi Healer. The Twi'lekk stood, arms out, waiting for something she wasn't sure of. What did she want? Absolution? Vindication? Freedom? Another chance? death? food?

 

Yes, food... But that was hardly the first thing on her mind.

 

If death is what she wanted, all she needed to do was jump at the Sith-killing synth and go, 'BOO!' But that didn't seem right. She wasn't given another chance at life just to waste it on something dumb like that. That's not entirely true; she'd been given a second chance at life before, and squandered it living the life that used to be hers. But this wasn't just a second chance. This time it felt odd. Even if she was fixed, Keenava still somehow felt broken; as if, in fixing her, they did something that they shouldn't have.

 

Why me?

 

The yellow blade hummed in the lingering silence, accenting the rustle of sand in the wind, poised to stop the droid from bringing vengeance. But why? Why did she protect me? What did she have to gain?

 

Not everything is about what you have to gain, my little kee kee... 

 

kee kee?

 

Keenava tried to reach out to the force in order to see something of her fishy protector, but there was a block. Pain, rage, trauma, hate, and whatever other emotional garbage she relied on to draw the force out, were all gone; the embers of her passion were worn tinder on a burnt out pyre. All that was left was emptiness; numbness, regret, shame, humility, and resignation. They were her new bedfellows. They did very little except remind her how stupid she was, and that every escape to try and recreate how she used to be was fruitless, stupid, and ignorant. That Keenava was gone. That Keenava was broken. This was something new and she had to accept it. But that realization didn't help her draw from the force.

 

Instead, the obsidian Twi'lekk felt her head pound. She felt her thoughts try to coalesce into something. But just as her thoughts broke into some noticeable pattern, they drifted away. Her head began to float in an uncomfortable - slightly spinny - way. Before she could get her knees underneath her, she buckled and fell to the sand.

 

The blood seeping from the nigh infected lacerations on her back, was still slowly dripping; the biting sand refusing to let them close or scar. As the Twi'lekk tumbled, her body began to tremble. She blinked a bit as her lekku lightly spasmed. She slowly faded from consciousness there on the dune, mumbling soft words under her breath.

 

Images floated to the surface of Keenava's mind; mysterious images from memories that weren't entirely hers... 

 

The feel of her lekku as they wrapped gently around a little finger... 

Those kind deep purple eyes...

That warm smile that claimed the lower half of her soft features...

That deep beautiful alto sound as she cooed... cooed... 

 

My little kee kee... 

Edited by Keenava Ootunavi
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Leena stood like a sentinel even as Ruin growled his mechanized assessment of the situation. His assessment was not entirely off, repent or die. Even as the Jedi reached out on the force, she could not tell entirely who or what this being was. Vestibule traces of darkness, like smoke that lingered after a forest fire, seemed to waft from the twi’lek; and yet, her presence was not marked by that of a true dark sider.
 

Was it a ruse? She had seen the Sith do such a thing before.

 

Was this woman alone, so far away from everything? Logic seemed to indicate that was improbable in and of itself. Still, she did not feel anything or anyone else as her senses reached out beyond the dunes, attuned to any sign of life.

 

Leena could see, moreover feel, the wounds inflicted on the young woman’s body, the ravages upon her mind. It called to her, for Leena was not just a Jedi. She was a healer, the antithesis to all that the Sith seemed to stand for. Where the Sith destroyed life, the Jedi preserved. She chanced a glance at Ruin and Fera; and yet, she had learned the hard way, sometimes a portion needed to be severed to preserve the whole.

 

They stood for a moment. It was a moment that seemed to last for an eternity, but was mere seconds at most. Leena watched, assessing the situation and awaiting a reply. None came. The stranger seemed to be trying to access the force, and failing? Or was it the shadows of a cleverly laid snare?
 

Suddenly the woman’s eyes seemed to roll and she waived, collapsing to the sandy dune before them in a heap. The woman twitched and spasmed there on the sand. Still Leena did not move but to lower the saber, pointing it to the ground in front of her, grasping it in both of her hands, sensing something amiss about the whole situation.

 

And finally, as the twi’leki stranger’s body stopped spasming and Leena felt her consciousness release from the pangs of her own trapped mind into the sweet release of nothingness, she acted. She shot a glance towards Ruin, acknowledging that he had been crested by the Jedi, with a purpose, a noble albeit violent one, and she would be wise to heed it. “Fera,” she called to the smaller of the mechanical duo, “please go and collect our belongings. We ought to get out of the hot sands as soon as possible.”

 

With a hiss, Leena deactivated her saber and hung it on her earth-toned belt. “Brother Ruin, I do not know what trickery may be afoot. Keep a watchful eye. I am trusting you to protect me should things go awry. Whoever and whatever this is, unless it is a clever trap, needs our help. Maybe even in spite of this being s trap. That lady needs our help. Watch AND hunt my friend.” 
 

Cautiously, Leena moved forward, toward the downed stranger. She drew on the living force. Across the miles, she could feel the life forces of the tough hidden lives that called this world home, moisture farmers, men and women of fortune, native tribesmen, flora and fauna. She drew from them, her life strengthened by their own and in turn offering refreshment of the body and soul in this parched land. The force itself seemed to hum about the young Jedi Master as she knelt in the sands alongside the fallen Twi’lek. Gingerly she rolled the woman over, pulling her face from the sand to make sure she was still breathing. Seeing that she was, Leena set to work.

 

Outside a surgical suite, and with only the barest of medical supplies at her aid, Leena relied heavily on the force. Using her teeth to tear open a bacta patch, Leena reached out with her free hand, running it inches above the fallen woman’s form. She was feeing and assessing injuries with skill beyond the greatest diagnostic equipment in the galaxy. As her hand moved, healing energy seemed to radiate with a glow as it purified the wounds, driving infection and foreign material away. Chunks of sand and necropsied flesh fell to the ground as healing energies already began to take hold, nurturing and encouraging the woman’s own body to begin healing. She offered energy beyond the girl’s own to jumpstart the healing process. Already smaller wounds began to close as the bleeding ceased and the healing began. Finding the deepest laceration, Leena applied the largest of the patches, before tearing open a second, third and final patch, applying them with skill and knowledge. “What sort of torture chamber did you find yourself in? Were you a true Sith or just a pawn to advance the cause of someone who lied to you?”

 

Looking up from the unconscious body, she called out to Ruin. “Bring the speeder around.” This woman would require more help than Leena could offer here, in the moment, with the twin suns bearing down overhead. Even now, Leena felt drained; the battle with the dark side spirit and snared sabers had siphoned her own energy. Leena was an aquatic being, to even survive in this harsh world, she relied on the force. “It is hot out here. We need to find some shelter or even better, a medbay.” She could feel her own flesh baking and beginning to dry and crack. They all needed to find shelter and soon.
 

“A bacta bath; heck a regular bath would be great!” She added with a whisper as she worked to wrap the wounded form of the woman, securing her wounds and shrouding her from the hot sun.

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Fera beeped and buzzed as she went about her task. As small as she was, she could still utilize speeder bikes and the concept of leverage thanks to her advanced intellect. For some advanced droids, such tasks would be beneath them, and for other, more menial droids, such tasks would be above them. But for Fera, who cared only for the advancement of her ward, such tasks were no more than another task. 

 

Ruin on the other hand, remained perfectly still. It was impossible to tell by sight alone what was running through the droid’s processing core. A sentinel and a terror, weilding an unbalanced hammer in the desert sands, keeping an eye on the potential still-Sith. 

 

>According to the sensors on the bikes< Fera beeped at her Ward. >There are several structures northward.<

 

Ruin nodded and holstered his weapon and gestured in that direction. 

 

“Restings and plannings” Ruin simply stated with a pointing in that direction. “Followings and interrogations” 

 

-------

Little more than an hour later, the group came upon Sunfire Outpost. Little more than a rundown town, the buildings had been stripped long ago of most of its useful equipment by the Jawas who plagued the sands. Still, a passing by trader of the same species was willing to sell several containers of water at an only slightly extravagant price, and one of the built-in bathrooms was functional enough to hold the water.

 

Ruin himself patrolled the entire outpost twice before he returned to the Jedi. Weapon armed, the speeder bikes secured from snatching hands, and a small power pack up and charging, the droid sat down on a makeshift bench watching the two.  Fera also observed, albeit atop Ruin’s shoulder. Despite Ruin’s efforts to secure the location, even she knew the capability of the desert rats that inhabited the sands. 

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The unconscious form of @Keenava Ootunavi was carefully placed atop a stone table that jutted naturally from the rocky hovel that made up the outcropping of the desolate fort. A short and rather hotly contested debate between Leena and the scurrying trader’s caravan ended quickly when @TerrorBot materialized. In no time Leena had what she needed, several rolls of medicated bandages, a pair of scavenged first aid kits that were, to everyone’s surprise, still stocked, and at least two days worth of water. The water in the attached refresher unit was welcome, but it’s brown grainy texture was questionable at best. Not something Leena would be encouraging anyone to drink unless absolutely necessary.

 

For the next several hours Leena poured over the downed woman, bandaging her wounds and drawing forth infection and foreign masses wherever they were found. She poured forth life-giving energies to encourage the natural healing possessed by all organic lifeforms. Before her very eyes, she watched as the woman healed. She could feel her patient’s body knitting itself back together beneath her guidance. Within a protective aura of soothing calm, Leena simultaneously sought to buffer the afflicted woman’s mind, to carry her consciousness back towards the light in a protective healing embrace. Mental trauma was often much more complex and deeply damaging than all but the most deadly physical wounds and infections; but with the help of the force, even the most fractured mind could be made whole once again.

 

About the time that the woman’s eyes began to flutter open, Leena stopped her gentle babbling talk and smiled warmly down at the lost vagabond. At the same time, a burst of wind slammed the dry wooden door shut on it’s hinges, the herald of the sandstorm that was upon them as the subs set on the horizon.

 

Leena hoped that the droids were alright outside and would return soon, scavenged supplies in hand.

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The serpent kana? ... found the mouse: scared, broken, and alone. She coveted the mouse, encouraging growth as long as it was in her service. In exchange, the serpent vanished, abandoning the mouse to her fate like so many would continue to do...

 

The wolf kara? found the cat snared and mewling to the void. He sought not to comfort, but to strengthen. He spun pretty words of strength and freedom. In exchange, the cat was left with servitude, pain, and a deep ebbing loss...

 

The spider kava? found the caterpillar lost in his web. Instead of eating the defenseless creature, he tried to use her; to manipulate her instead of encourage her to fly. In exchange, the caterpillar never reached her chrysalis. She never turned into a beautiful butterfly...  

 

But before them all - before the serpent, the wolf, and the spider - there was warmth. With all of the corrosion swept from her mind, Keenava could see and feel the memories that lay beneath with open eyes. Veridi'ana Dira, and Seela Dira stared back at her, matching purple eyes filled with nothing but love and warmth. Of course, their last names weren't really Dira anymore, but Keenava refused to acknowledge her late father. He was the one that cursed their family, and he paid for his crimes. It was the one murder that Keenava never regretted. Even now, knowing that she had another chance at a clean life, she couldn't confidently say that that wasn't the right choice.  

 

ki ki...

 

A small stab lingered at the base of her heart remembering what happened to her mother; those soft green-blue hands cradling her small form, rocking her back and forth. She could never hold them again. But the light of her love did not fade. That voice; the voice that woke her barely a day ago in darkness. It felt like her mother. It felt like she was still here, giving Keenava a guiding hand; a guiding light through the miasma of her past.

 

Seela still lived, as far as she knew. She was living at the house on Talus, probably enjoying the lavish amenities. It was very secure due to the last break-in, but it wasn't exactly the happiest place to live. Many dark echoes lingered there. 

 

Keenava's mind was flittering about in no certain order as Leena tended to her. As wounds were mended and her form recovered some measure of vitality, she began to exude a slight aura. The area around the Twi'lekk dropped a few degrees. But instead of biting like the chill of Hoth's blizzards, it resembled the cold bracing air of the morning as the sun was just about to rise; the grass was littered with fresh dew and animals began to sing the first of the day. When Keenava's eyes began to flutter she choked, fighting a few grains of sand that stubbornly clung to where they didn't belong, bracing herself on whatever surface she'd been laid upon. 

 

She took a few moments to sit up and winced expecting there to be a jolt of pain. But nothing was there. 

 

"Huh. You do good work doc." Keenava said, her head still a little woozy. 

 

"I suppose you want to know what I was doing out here on this ball of sand," Keenava continued, vying to get right to the point just in case she passed out again. "I honestly couldn't tell you much. The last thing I remember was I was fighting someone on Korriban - a nasty piece of work that did nasty work - then I died. I woke up not too long ago - very clearly drugged - and in the arms of the local slavers." 

 

Keenava took a moment to breathe and settle, remembering the sting of the whip against her, now surprisingly unwounded, back. 

 

She does really good work. Damn

 

"I managed to threaten my captors into letting me loose and then used a prison break to cover my escape. I didn't have the means to ensure everyone's safety, but I am glad that most of them made it out. Then I just ran and ran and ran. That's when I found you two." Keenava finished. Her posture was upright and her tone suggested no hint of sarcasm or derision. Not only had this Jedi saved her from the presumably homicidal robot, but she made the pain go away in more ways than one.

 

"I suppose what's left is what to do now. I don't suppose either of you has any food?" Keenava asked, her stomach agreeing in turn with a growl that sounded like a mad rancor.

Edited by Keenava Ootunavi
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Posted (edited)

During the Healers work, Ruin had gotten up and left the building quietly, off to double check the security precautions done to the speeder bikes. Glancing over them. It was obvious it wasn't much: a rusty pipe bent to hook the bike's fronts and then both ends slammed into the wall. A makeshift lock if there ever was one. 

 

Still, Ruin rechecked them and gave each bike a solid tug. They remained stuck to the building via the pipe. They weren't going anywhere. 

 

>Ruin,  I must say I am proud of you< Fera beeped as Ruin did his work. 

 

The terror droid had to stop and look at the small bug like thing. A moment of confusion if there ever was one. Fera crawled off and rested herself on the bike. 

 

>Two years ago when I found you, your entire purpose and function was dedicated to the eradication of the Sith. To a point where I worried that the mere sight of a targeted individual would send you into a rage-like state<

 

'Kill Sith. Eradicate and decimate. Crush and crash. No quarter" Ruin interjected, still looking at the tiny buzz droid.

 

>Indeed. Your primary function remains the same. But upon meeting that young female and ex assassin, you did not immediately give in to your programming and proceed to kill the female. You are beginning to grow beyond your programming.<

 

Ruin glanced towards the open desert. The twin suns were setting. It was a rather gorgeous setting all things granted. The wind was blowing harder now, the signs of an incoming sandstorm. The sands were rolling in the distant red light. 

 

The larger droid, after a moment of silence, stomped the ground over and over, growling ferociously. Fera said nothing, understanding exactly what was running through the terror droids circuits. 

 

After a bit of the stomping, Ruin stopped, looked up suddenly, and charged in the distance. A short time later, the sound of several barks and yelps could heard, followed by the ignition of ruins flachette launcher. No more then a few moments later, Ruin was back, dragging two corpses of bleeding Anoobas, pieces of shrapnel in their sides. 

 

Ruin continued to growl slightly as he made his way toward the building. 

 

"Kill Sith. Kill all sith. Burn and bash and smash and crash and crush…"

 

>I know, I know, I understand< Fera beeped and buzzed, returning to her post on ruins shoulder. 

 

In the room that held the jedi and the now awake female, Ruin dropped the bodies rather unceremoniously. Outside, the full force of the sandstorm beated on the building mercilessly 

 

"Eatings and feastings" Ruin commented. 

 

>For your consumption< Fera added. The two then returned to a sitting position next his charging cell. 

 

"Huntings and killings" Ruin started, looming from his position and staring at the new recovering female. "Findings and killings. Kill Sith. Kill associated sith. Slavers and sith. "

 

Ruin glanced at Leena and gestured, trying to get the jedi to understand what he was saying. "Slavers and sith. Sith and slavers.  Huntings of slavings.  Hunting lead to savings. Ending of slavings.  Kill sith."

 

>what Ruin is trying to say…< Fera chimed in, facing directly towards the girl. It was a known fact the jed did not understand binary, but perhaps the girl did.

 

>is that he is curious on where you escaped. The sith has always been two steps away from slavery, and perhaps he can find more sith via hunting these slavers<
 

Edited by TerrorBot

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Leena smiled as she helped their newfound associate slowly sit up listening quietly as the woman explained her situation. From behind the woman, Leena scowled. Straight from the heart of the Sith Empire to the sands of Tatooine…

 

The woman was hungry. They’d continue to investigate this strange situation, but the mention of food made Leena realize how famished she too was. Turning to her pack, Leena dug out several ration packs, but as she turned, Ruin and Fera entered, the door slamming behind them against the billowing maelstrom that passed outside, bits of grit sneaking in wherever a crack might be found.


Observing the carcasses, Leena smiled. She appreciated Ruin’s thoughtfulness. She offered a slight bow to the pair of droids, “Many thanks brothers, for not only thinking of our nourishment but for ensuring that these predators did not set upon us while trapped within the storm.” Truth be told, butchering an animal was not a skill Leena possessed in the least. As a healer and surgeon, Leena was intimately familiar with the bodily construct of the majority of the galaxy’s overall physiology. She could probably figure it out. She had long since forgone the consumption of flesh, in part due tk her oath as a healer, in part in her dedication to the Jedi way of life. She looked from the bodies to the Sithly woman. He did not know ablut her though. “I do not suppose either of your programming includes an idea how to butcher these uh things?” She asked the droids earnestly. “Our friend could use more nourishment than offered by these measly military ration packs.” 
 

Hearing the droid’s words and thoroughly not understanding the binary beeping of Fera, Leena thought she got the gist of Ruin’s rumblings. To hunt the slavers would save lives and in saving lives they might discover the link to the Sith that had brought the Twi’lek to them. A clever assessment to one’s primary programming. All that remained was the stranger. Turning to the woman, Leena spoke again in response to her pondering. “As for what to do, I believe you are stuck with us until this storm abates. Perhaps in that time we can eat and you can decide where you wish to go after. My associates would be interested in locating the slavers you seemed to have escaped from; but if you desire to be free of this life, we can arrange transport for you away from this place to a place where you can continue to heal in mind and body. Perhaps, one day, you will even remember  the circumstances that led you here. Really, it is up to you.” Leena shot a knowing glance to Ruin. They both knew that there was danger present in this girl, whoever she was. They would need to be on their guard. They would help her as they could, but if she gave indications of betraying them to to Sith or of returning to their way of life Leena knew she could not stop Ruin; nor would she try.

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Keenava cocked her head to the side, a playful smile tickling her face. "What, Jedi aren't trained to survive in the wild?" Keenava chuckled lightly, her tone light-hearted, and warm.

 

She hopped off the table that Leena found for her and began to stretch her hands out, letting her fingers reach their full extension and then further still. She stood on the tips of her toes and held her arms on top of one another to stretch the joints in her upper back and shoulders until they hit that satisfying pop. Then, for the first time since she woke up, she started taking stock of her environment. All the while, as she walked around the room, she started answering Leena and Ruin’s questions.

 

“Sith with the slavers? I'm not so sure about that,” Keenava intimated, shuffling a large pile of debris to the side. "And I'm kind of glad, because if one of them found me on this dust ball, it's anyone's guess what they'd do to me.” And regretfully Keenava had a very active imagination.

 

“Nah, the slavers were your usual Hutt scum, surviving on the fringe of society and selling flesh for money. That said, their boss' boss' boss could potentially be a Sith - In fact, I used to know a Hutt Sith - but I saw no evidence of a single force user during my time there. And, likely, the reason they had my DNA is because a scumbag I killed years ago sold it to them."

 

The mere thought of him made Keenava's lekku spasm reflexively. She didn’t even notice her body pause for a beat mid-search before she continued shuffling things around.

 

But how would Keenava continue? 

 

The word ‘kill’ seemed to hang a bit longer than she wanted. Her demeanor suggested that she was detached from the act, as if it had been committed by a completely different person. So, to her, it was just another thing. But considering her present company, she could feel that a little elaboration was needed; somehow she felt that this Jedi was judging her with those big yellow fisheyes of hers. Keenava couldn’t tell what the big guy was thinking, but she was pretty sure it was something along the lines of: ‘Bashings and crashings. All Sith die.’ 

 

After all, silence was oftentimes more damning than confession. If she didn’t say anything, her silence would.

 

"My Dad..." Keenava started, pausing for only a moment before discarding more detritus, "... was a real piece of druk. He sold me, my sister, and my mother into slavery to pay off his gambling debts. And then, seeing no end to his vice, he joined the loan sharks that were hounding him. Pretty soon he made a name for himself and ended up being instrumental in their operations. Because of him, I had to watch my mother die while I was chained to a wall. Because of him, my sister and I never got to live a normal life. That may not excuse murder, and I apologize to you if it hits you the wrong way, but I can’t feel remorse for him. Even now, though I can’t summon the will it would take to face him again, I am not ashamed of what I did to him.”

 

Keenava’s tone was soft and her expression unreadable. In the past, just mentioning him would’ve incited a fit of tears or explosive anger, but the flame was exhausted; spent. And any tears that were shed had already been shed. She felt none of it. 

 

Before now she hadn’t told anyone about her father - not even Furion. Exodus only knew about him because he pried it from her mind. And yet, here she was unloading her life and troubles to someone she just met, spelling it out like it was bullet points on a to-do list; like she was going to go shopping later and needed to remember what to pick up.

 

“My life has never been a big topic of discussion. The Sith were only interested in what they could get from me. They masqueraded their lies by covering them with inspiring stories of strength and independence, failing to illuminate that following the dark side was just trading shackles; you spend your life trying to climb higher until you realize you’ve climbed as high as you can, and you still want more.” Keenava continued picking around the room, checking a few of the cabinets on the far side of the building. 

 

“Aha! I found something! ACK! The Twi’lek squeaked, tumbling to the ground in the corner of the building as the cabinet she’d been rifling through collapsed. “I guess the construction isn’t what it used to be.”

 

Dust and sand billowed about the room and somehow managed to get into her mouth… again.

 

She showed off her loot with a soft triumphant smile, holding a very dusty - deactivated - vibro knife in her hand, spinning it from finger to finger with practiced accuracy. “Now all we need is… Ooh!” 

 

Keenava’s eyes lit up as she spotted an empty stove on the other side of the room. She grabbed the broken pieces of the aged cabinet, broke them into even smaller pieces and shoved them into the bottom of the apparatus. She set the knife down for a second and went back to one of her earlier piles, fishing around to find a discarded blaster pistol that hadn’t seen use in a while. She aimed it at the stove, hoping for at least one more blast, but the power pack had burned out a while ago. 

 

“Crud. That would’ve been nice” Keenava commented, tossing the old blaster aside and resuming her search.

 

______________________________________________

 

After a few minutes, Keenava scraped together a fire and even managed to clean the knife with a bit of heat and drinking water. She skinned both Anoobas as cleanly as she could, but it was evident that - while knowledgeable - she wasn’t very skilled at this kind of food prep.  

 

“Interesting... Anoobas. They would not have been my first pick,” Keenava grumbled a little with exertion as she made quick work of the pair. “But thankfully, unlike most predators, Anooba's are usually taught to gorge themselves at a young age, and you managed to catch these two right after a heavy meal. The shrapnel doesn't help but I think I can pick through that.”

 

With only a little more effort, Keenava had slightly uneven but decent cuts of meat cooking over the fire.

 

“Referring to your earlier question, the slaver outpost is a few clicks west of here. If you really wanted to stop them you’ll find no issue with me. As for my ‘memory’ I don’t know how much I will actually be able to know about what happened. I wasn’t alive when this ‘purification’ happened so I don’t know who to thank or why. And I’m pretty sure I don’t remember coming back to life on this planet because I was heavily drugged. I think I’m better off not remembering that particular moment.”  

 

While she waited for the meat to cook, Keenava perched herself on the nearest stool, oblivious to her continued lack of clothes and turned to face her new… friends? 

 

“You’re a curious lot; a Jedi traveling with a killer droid? It’s not something you usually see. If you don’t mind me asking, what are you two doing out in this dust bowl? There have got to be better places to be. I mean Coruscant has to be better than this. Noisy, but at least it's clean.” 

 

She sat next to the oven, listening to the crackle of the meat and keeping an eye on everything. But her eyes were filled with genuine curiosity and her body language was open, suggesting nothing else. Even the knife, which she’d used to skin the Anoobas, was left by the stove and no longer in her hand.

 

Edited by Keenava Ootunavi
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As the girl began to ramble, Leena managed to scrounge what amoubted to little more than a baggy poncho-esque robe and an emergency blanket from their immediate area. Both she offered to their newfound associate. After that, the Jedi was content to cautiously lean her shoulder against the wall and observe, a calming aura of healing and peace exuding from her every pore to fill the room as the Twi’lek continued to speak and work at preparing the meat. Leena contented herself with tearing into one of the crumbling ration bars and chewing heavily on the gritty contents. She paused at the mention of the girl coming back to life, but did not interrupt or speak until she was asked her and the droid’s business on such a world.

 

Leena smiled. Everyone had heard the ubiquitous phrase ‘Jedi business’ thrown out almost like that was a standard line taught at the Academy. It would be a simple enough and 100% truthful answer that did little to answer anything. Still, what were they doing in Tatooine? Well, it was pretty simple, their ride had deposited them here, their agreement complete. What were they doing in the middle of the desert? Purifying dark side booby-trapped lightsabers. Why and where did they come from? Which in turn would lead to questions about Byss, the dark side, maybe even more Sith tie ins. A dizzying potential of conversation played out at the thought of how they might answer their new associate’s seemingly simple query. 
 

So with a tired smile, Leena looked at the girl and answered simply. “Jedi business. The force brought us here, to you even. Once this sand storm subsides perhaps our friend Fera can arrange for a ride off world,” she winked at the droids adding, “let the Council know we picked up another friend.” And by friend, clearly she hoped Fera might be able to convey the  curiousness of their predicament. Such a story seemed all too well to be completely palatable, bit still the force worked in mysterious ways. As they waited for the food to cook, Leena turned the conversation back towards the Twi’lek. “What did you say your name was again? You have quite the remarkable story of survival and you seem to recognize the lies that you have been force fed. Do you remember anything about when you died or came back to life? If there is someone here on Tatooine with the power to resurrect the dead, I am sure that Ruin and I ought to meet them. Their help could be of great use in the war against the darkness.”

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Ruin and Fera paid close attention to the conversation, though the only obvious listener was the small buzz droid who turned and faced each speaker. Ruin on the other hand sat like the stoic automaton that he was, not giving any indication he was even active save the cooling motors running inside. 

At Leena’s request, Ruin did take a moment to glance at the Jedi, then down at the buzz droid. 

 

>I will do what i can, but I will need better equipment than what we have in this run down place. I am sure we can find such equipment in a proper settlement<

 

Ruin only gave a shrug at Fera’s beepings and buzzings, leaving it unclear to the Jedi what the buzz droid’s response was. 

 

Ruin unsheathed the small vibroblade at his wrist and, utilizing a nearby rock, began to scrape at its edges, attempting to sharpen the blade. A fruitless effort given the vibro tech, but the terror droid needed to do something. Sitting and listening was never something it was programmed to do, nor many droids in the galaxy. They performed their programmed tasks, and that was it. 

 

Still, the conversation involved magic, and magic meant the force, and the force usually included the Sith. 

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Keenava chuckled a little at Leena’s statement but took a moment to check the meat before responding.

 

       “My name is Keenava…” she paused, hesitating before mentioning her father’s surname. Instead, she replied with… “Keenava Dira.”

 

Note to self: change your name in the future to reflect your new life choice.

 

       “As to your observation, judging by the lack of scars, prosthetic, and general wear and tear, I’d guess it was your usual cloning procedure. I just wasn’t aware of the first few moments of my ‘awakening.’ Why or how I wasn’t aware, are not details I really need answered. Unfortunately, I don’t think it was as glamorous as you’re making it out to be – Though I have been resurrected before, and you really don’t want to know the person that did that. It is interesting to think that, in a sense, I’m not the same person that had the experiences that fill my memory. But my spirit has always had a way of finding its way home. Call it fate, the force, destiny, or whatever you wish, the essence of what makes me the way I am always finds its way back. This time though, something changed.”

 

Keenava got to her feet and tested the meat. The Anooba was nice and crispy on the surface. Pieces of the skin flaked off when Keenava poked the cuts with the knife she set down nearby. Before eating, she shuffled the pieces off the heated surface and waited for them to cool before grabbing one and eagerly digging in.

 

       “Picture this,” Keenava continued between bites of her food. “You’re you, and all of your memories are attached to emotional energies that you felt when you experienced these events, like pieces of a puzzle that are themselves composed of multiple pieces. Now, picture that your emotions in these memories were all corrupted to uncontrollable extremes by outside influences, so much so that you cannot imagine these events without being emotionally charged. Or, continuing our puzzle analogy, picture that the components of each of your puzzle pieces are glued together so you can't distinguish between the parts that make up each memory; it looks like your puzzle cannot exist without these emotions mixed up inside.”

 

The meat, though still very warm, was a welcome salve to her aching hunger. She wasn’t sure if the food tasted good, or if it was the warm feeling of satisfaction she received from her stomach.

 

       “I’m not exactly sure what happened while I was dead, but something or someone affected my soul. And the effect of its interference robbed me of the deleterious effects of my emotional trauma. Or, to use the puzzle analogy again, this mysterious entity took my corrupted emotions out of the puzzle, essentially breaking all my memory puzzle pieces back down to their component parts. Then it left the events as they occurred without giving any emotional context. Therefore, I still had my puzzle, but now it had holes in it where the emotional elements used to be. I still have my emotions. I can still feel. But I have no emotional connection to anything I did or anything that was done to me. I can think clearly about my life and the things happening in it. My mind is no longer clouded by the chaotic broken miasma caused by my PTSD. Therefore, without feeling infatuation or obsession for the people that manipulated me, I can look at them and examine their words without bias. That is how I can ‘see’ their lies and how they used me.”

 

Keenava sat quietly for a beat, taking a breath and reveling in the feeling of satiety. When she came back to herself, she took care to drape the impromptu clothes over her nearly naked form.

       “I don’t know if I said it yet but thank you. You didn’t have to help me. I know you’re a Jedi and there are certain expectations you need to follow. But you didn’t have to save me from getting bashed by … Ruin, was it?”

 

Keenava smiled then looked over at the pair of droids sitting nearby. “Thank you for not crushing me, Ruin. I appreciate it.”

 

With some makeshift clothes and a full belly, Keenava sat cross-legged atop her stool.

       “Now that you know my name, what’s yours? Oh, and if we need help getting off planet and you have a comm link, I know a smuggler that owes me a favor.”

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Leena was not sure what the little bleeping droid was saying. Ruin offered no clarification to it. She could only assume that the duo would be able to help get them off this world before they rusted solid. She was confident they could. The pair had shown a tenacity and resourcefulness she was unaccustomed to in regular droids within a medbay.

 

As Keeneva spoke, Leena did her best to hide her disappointment. Another cloning facility, another cloner, nothing more. She sat silently as the girl offered her. They were hardly based in scientific fact, but Leena offered no correction knowing full well the benefit of such a belief in such gray waters. Yet the girl spoke some of her past, even without emotional connection, she acknowledged them. It was hopeful that their new associate could see through the lies of the Sith. Still, it would do them well to get off planet sooner than later for all of their sakes. The deserts of Tatooine were not for the untried and untested.

 

When asked, Leena offered her name, making by sure to leave her position of Master Healer and member of the Jedi Council. As the sandstorm blew itself out, Leena happily offered bits of wisdom and conversation. She felt a fondness for the girl. She needed help and Leena could offer it. She did not have a comlink and was relying on the droids to find them passage offworld, assured that they had access to authorization codes and financial backing if needed. She had had enough of unknown smugglers for the time being; and where they were going, trusted, authorized, transport was a must.

 

Once the storm had subsided, the group managed to reacquire their craft, some of which had taken to drifting and dune-ing during the storm. They took a bit of digging to get back.

 

Heading into Mos Eisley, the group was easily able to bool passage coreward, Ylesia it seemed was quite happening these days. Leena grimaced, sure that Ruin would be disappointed having missed some sort of climactic battle with the armies of the Sith Empire. In truth, she was sad for him. He might have saved countless lives.

 

Aboard the aged Nubian freighter the group blasted skyward and away from the burning sands of the most popular non-vacation destination in the galaxy. 

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