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Silence was the only answer this time around, for a while at least. One by one Jackson's ship, the Transient Plunder, activated its systems and gradually came to life. A somewhat surreal sight perhaps, considering that the old Wayfarer class looked like it belonged in the graveyard just as much as most of the other wreckage and debris. Like a corpse being brought back to life, reanimated.

 

The radar-like sweeping of the former apprentice's senses ceased and pulled back in on itself rather abruptly as his ship's engines roared to life. Pinpricks of light popped into view as the hidden thrusters installed in the Plunder's hull flared. The maneuvering thrusters were quick to begin their guidance, swiftly and deftly pulling their ship free of the debris field and guiding it along to an open patch of space not too far away.

 

"You should tell your pilot to back it up out of there. We can figure something out in open space, but I am not getting on board with... whatever that thing is. I have an umbellical I can toss your way if it comes down to it."

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She chuckled as his response was relayed through her communicator. "Don't worry, Jackson, he won't hurt you. Not unless I ask him to."

 

The ship lurched as it began to follow Jackson's into the blackness of space. The captain was experienced enough to keep up, even through the debris field. She'd picked well, the information she'd gathered at the spaceport paying off. While she waited, she meditated. The cold durasteel and vacuum of space brought her little comfort, but she could take solace in her companion. She'd never named him. He wasn't hers to name- even if he wasn't sapient, he had his own identity.  His own will, and his own drives. Still, he was a part of nature, and she could take solace in his presence whenever she traveled. The ship shuddered as the captain maneuvered it to connect to the other ship.

 

There was a sharp hiss as air poured into the connection before the airlock opened. She stepped forward, briefly considering bringing her lightsaber. No. She shouldn't need it- She wasn't here to take him back by force. She was hear to gather information, and if he was willing, to return him to the Order as a padawan once more. She stepped through the airlock, traversing the umbilical tube with little difficulty. She stepped through the airlock on his ship, her hands clasped behind her back. She flashed him a smile before speaking.

 

"A pleasure to meet you properly, Jackson. Now, I hope you intend to speak with me?"

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"You hope I intend to speak with you, wow, now that's one I haven't heard before. Mmno, no, see, you're the one who bothered wandering all the way out here. If anyone should have any intents on speaking with anyone, it should be you. So what is it? Why have you bothered digging me up, and, if you would be so kind, how exactly did you actually manage it? I've been very careful to keep a real low profile, y'see." Jackson, from the way he greeted Kadi almost right at the end of the pressurized tube and with his own saber in hand, was clearly not so trusting as she. He was always a somewhat paranoid human being, but that particular set of traits had only grown stronger in his time alone out in deep space. Medium freighters and transports often made for appetizing targets, and he'd had to fend off more than his fair share of boarders and slavers before. Even a few with their own smattering of force sensitives.

 

"I mean I have a few guesses of my own obviously, given that you really are who you say you are, but I'd rather hear it from you first."

 

The acrid scent of ionized gases and space clung to the man like an old friend. Even if he hadn't just stepped back aboard from the void, it was entirely likely that he carried it on his shoulders wherever he went. At least, if the state of his jumpsuit and still-equipped exo-gear were any indicator.

Edited by Moose
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Kadi raised an eyebrow at the man's display of his weapon. The outer rim hadn't done him any favors if this was his response to a parley. She hadn't come all this way just to fight him.

 

"There's no need for that, Jackson. If I meant you harm I would have brought a warship, and if I wanted your cargo I would have brought my lightsaber. As for how I tracked you down? That's what I do. I'm a wayfinder, a Jedi Guardian who excels at tracking and finding people who'd rather not be found. There's always a trail, you just have to know where to look. I'm here regarding your time as a Jedi Padawan, on behalf of the Jedi Council. All I want to do is talk, none of this-" She motioned at his lightsaber "Veiled threats business. I'm not Sith, and neither are you."

 

She stepped forward, motioning again, though this time towards a point deeper in the vessel.

 

"I don't suppose you have a place we can sit?"

Edited by Mavanger

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"That's a slick way of completely dodging the question, kudos to you. I'll remember that. Anyways."

 

The geared-up man turned on a heel and marched deeper into his cargo bay, tossing a wave to the emplacement containing his primary interior-security system. The quad laser didn't wave back or say anything, of course, despite having had mechanical arms and a digital readout grafted onto it at some point. "Don't mind the mess, but do mind your feet. Rather you not end up tripping over something expensive and getting the both of us in trouble." He added as he made his way over to a stable-enough looking nacelle, looking to be ripped right off the side of some luxury yacht.

 

"Alright. So, the Council sent you all the way out here for lil' ol' me huh? Why? Why now, of all times? What has changed in the time that I have been away?" Jackson crossed his legs and reclined against the bulkhead his nacelle was resting against, looking for all intents and purposes like he was just as much part of the chaotic scenery as anything else was. The amalgam of parts and additions slapped onto his old jumpsuit made him look right at home amongst the sheer amount of junk, scrap, and other trash stacked high in the Plunder's cargo container.

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Once the freighter settled itself from the jostling on the waves of hyperspace, Leena unbuckled her safety harness and hopped out of her seat with a smile to the squabbling squibs who were happily blaming one another for the rough take off. Soon enough, the trio of pint-sized squirrels would be climbing around, and through, the ship in effort to fix, improve, or alter for the good of the group their jostling ascent. 
 

Leena made her way to her Chiss traveling companion with a warm smile, “Definitely have had smoother rides; but there is nobody more useful than the Squibs. They’ve helped me out of a lot of pinches and they can get me into places formal Jedi approaches cannot. Don’t suppose you’ve had a chance to give that book a looksie over did ya? I know it can be hard to concentrate when you feel like your teeth might get rattled from your skull. Maybe some formal training of some sort to get you started? I must confess, you are the first person I’ve  taken to  formally train. Oh well, you’d think with a lifetime of being trained I’ve probably picked up a thing or two. At the very least, we can see how you do with the force. I felt you reaching out and touching it back on the planet. Nicely done. I was able to feel you reaching out. It definitely caught my attention.”  Leena rattled on excitedly, her talkative nature becoming clearer by the minute. She was excited to help this newfound hopeful on his way down a meaningful path of goodness and light; but even Leena knew that was easier than it sounded and was wary of the dangers that lurked ahead. Still, as one of the minority of classically trained Jedi, she hoped that her own experiences would impart a meaningful means of helping her fellow force user along his own path. “Do you know the Jedi Code Orpheus? Yes, Mantis told me your name,”  she winked.

 

”It goes, there is no emotion; there is peace. there is no ignorance; there is knowledge. There is no passion; there is serenity. There is no death; there is the force.” Leena paused as she finished reciting the mantra of their order. She could feel the sidelong glance that The Mantis was giving them from the doorway. It echoed on the force itself. Reaching behind herself with a hand, she shoo’d the Jensaarai Defender away. The still-armored being shook his head softly and turned and disappeared into the battered Naboo built ship. “You must understand. While the Jedi and Sith are like two sides to the same coin, we are not the only views of the force. There are others who view the force in their own way. Some with dark intent and desire, seeking only power and to better their own lot in life. Others, like the Jensaarai to which Defender Mantis belongs, who focus on the light with a dedication and zeal unmatched by even many Jedi. They are not wrong, nor are we. Just different. They trod what we see as a more dangerous path. So too do the exorcists and Knights of Empress Revan. Still, they are our brothers and sisters in the force and we respect them as such. We still ascribe to our own ideals though for the good that we believe comes from them.” Leena’s voice had grown uncharacteristically serious compared to her usual happy demeanor, signalling just how serious of a topic they had wandered into. Catching herself, she turned the conversation back to training, her telltale singsong pluckiness returning with a twinkle to her eye. “There are some things that Defender Mantis can teach you better than I, but we must start with the basics before we go delving into swordplay and such. Come on, let’s go to the main room. We’ll have a bit more room there.” 
 

Leena led her companion towards the circular central hub of the ship. Boxes and crates were stacked all along the sides, strapped to the walls. It did not fee like a ship for royalty or even esteemed dignitaries; but they were neither, and the ship served their purpose.

 

Settling to the floor near the middle of the room with her legs crossed beneath her, Leena rested her wrists on her knees, her palms facing upwards. She gestured for Orpheus to take her hand and join her on the floor. “I am going to teach you how to use the force to effect the world outside you. In time, you will be able to use this within your own body as well, when you are quiet and at peace. In fact, with the force, you can move mountains. I will warn you though, this is not to be delved into lightly. The dark side calls to us all and the temptations to use such a power tempt us all. Temptations to take the easy way out, gain power, show off, or control others. As Jedi we are servants of the force and to the galaxy. A Jedi does not use the force for such things and must respect the free spirit of all.”
 

Leena paused as her mind caught up with where her mouth was guiding them. “Maybe, we better do that first. Here, take my hands and close your eyes. Let your spirit find peace. Search within yourself and find that which is true and good. Grasp it, stoke it, and with it’s light seek out the darkness of yourself. Use that light and expel the darkness.” 
 

Leena closed her eyes and opened herself up to the force. She was at peace. Here amongst the stacks and boxes, hurling through hyperspace, her traveling companions about the ship; she was at peace. It flowed from the light that she carried inside, radiating out of her. It sizzled from her fingers to Orpheus. It surged in gentle waves around the room. Metaphysically, it illuminated every darkness and pressed it away, containing it and cleansing the area about them in warm energies of light. When it was gone, Leena opened her eyes and smiled at Orpheus. “Any questions?”

 

((Feel free to post doing, feeling, reading, whatever prior to this post, from us departing. Then just post what Orpheus feels, does etc with a focus on the force and the force dark side purge that we went into at the end.))

Edited by Leena Kil

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As the Jensaarai ship flew through hyperspace, Svata stared out the viewport. The blue light played across his weathered features, making him seem washed out. Faded.

 

Svata turned away, and his eyes met his teacher's.

 

"Sarlaac...I had forgotten. I had forgotten what people were capable of." He shook his head. "Fear, pride, it all ends the same. We seek truth but...what are we supposed to do with it? Teach? They won't listen. Protect? The fight never ends." Leaning against the wall, he took out his saber and looked at the carvings on it.

 

He remembered the rancor on Dathomir.

 

"There's so much potential out there. And it keeps gettin wasted by folks who can't see past the shadows under their beds. What are we supposed to do?" He slumped, tired. "What are we even doing?"

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The seasoned Duros watched his apprentice through pupilless red eyes. He had long since changed from his Jensaarai armor back into the space suit  he preferred to be found in. Sitting at the controls, the hum of the engines distance in the background mingled with the waivering gauges and occasional blips from the console. To a being born, and to many intents, bred from the mysteries of the cosmos, this was as peaceful and serene as one could hope. Even here the force buzzed gently, at peace with the world around them and whisked away by the alternate reality through which they traversed.
 

Yet, all was not at peace. Svata’s words revealed his troubled soul. The darkness of Dathomir had taken her toll. Like many a spacer, The Sarlacc was numb to the demands it could place on one not seasoned to it or prepared for it’s probing tendrilled reaches. Had he assumed too much of the wizened Ryn who now travelled with him? He probably had. The man had lived a full life, yet even now was expanding his understanding of the universe as the shroud was removed from the existence he had known. It had to be hard and the Defender kicked himself for not having seen or thought it sooner.

 

The Defender let his comrades words hang in the air for an uncomfortable period of stillness. A stillness only broken by the automized machinations of the ship about them. He turned his friend’s words over in his mind, chewing on them as if testing them for a hidden bit of gristle or fat that did not belong. And then, after nearly a minute of solitude within his own mind, he spoke. His words carried with them the weight of his thoughts and he spoke each as if it were a complete thought unto itself.

 

“So too were we.”   

 

The Sarlacc fell silent. The world about them returned to the embracing silence of the tomb that was hyperspace. He knew his words were enough. The Duros had spent enough time with Svata to know that the Ryn would take the words to heart and turn them over in his mind as he thought on them applying all their experiences and his knowledge of the Jensaarai to the comment.
 

Turning back to the console, The Sarlacc left Svata to his thoughts; his own mind turning to their future. The galaxy was in turmoil and while the Jedi and Sith made grandiose maneuvers to try and wrest the state of the galaxy towards their chosen ideologies, The Sarlacc knew it was in the small details, the daily acts of kindness and compassion that was where true change awaited. Regimes rose and fell. Truth lived on, held fast in the hearts of all who treasured it. And so, the duo would set off to enact small change as they had on Darhomir, where even now the forces of truth and knowledge steamed forward to keep the word of the Jensaarai and offer glimmers of hope and light in the shadowy underbelly of the grasp of darkness.

 

The Sarlacc’s fingers sailed over the console with precision expertise, diverting their course mid-jump. Turning around, he regarded Svata. “Perhaps some lightsaber training to help recenter your mind?” 

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Kadi followed him deeper into the craft, taking her time as to not knock over anything volatile. She followed his lead, taking a seat across from him as he spoke. He was jaded- maybe he had the right to be. She didn't know what his life had been since he left the Order. She didn't even know who he was before his temporary tenure as a padawan. She listened for a moment, letting him finish before contemplating how to continue.

 

"The council didn't find you. I did. On their behalf, sure, but under Grandmaster Adenna things were... Stagnant. I grieve her loss, as does every Jedi, but the new Grandmaster and her council have made massive strides towards rebuilding the Order to what is once was. We finally have the Jedi to tie up loose ends like this. Despite that, you must understand that there is no 'little ol' you'. The previous leadership thought it best to save lives where they could, as is the Jedi way, but that meant respecting your decision to lead. I was tasked to find you so that we could learn what happened, and if you were willing, to take you back into the Order, but our stance is still that you have no obligation to return. I truly just wish to learn. So, I ask that you tell me- Why did you depart the Order? I've heard a myriad of reasons, so nothing will shock me. I met one former Padawan who simply didn't wish to be involved in the conflict, and another who had grown disillusioned with the Jedi. There were a few who fell to the Dark Side... I think it best to avoid that topic for now though. So tell me- What drove you away?"

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Orpheon took the worn leather book carefully and began to open its pages as the ship lifted off. He could feel the rumble of the engines coursing through his feet as well as through the chair in which he sat. It was clear this ship was not intended with a smooth flight in mind. He gripped the book a little tighter, not wanting to drop this well cared for tome, but also flipping through the pages gingerly, desiring not to ear the old paper. Even at his own initiate stage of Jedi training, he could feel the history and the power of the Sight that was held within this book.

 

"There is no emotion, there is peace."

 

Orpheon spoke calmly, as he always did. He allowed those words and the ones that followed to sink into his mind, feeling the importance of the words even as they escaped his lips. The Chiss continued to flip through the pages, desiring to devour as much of this knowledge as he could. He was sure he would have plenty of time to delve deep into this tome, but he wanted to skim through and see wat he could find. He noticed a drawing showing three stone pillars, each with a word beneath it….Force…Knowledge…Self-Discipline. These seemed to be the tenants of the Jedi Order, the three most important facets that all Jedi seemed to live by.

 

As he became lost in the tome, he could almost feel his hands being guided by something other than his own will. They seemed to turn the pages on their, no conscious thought required. Eventually they began to slow as he turned to particular page. On the page he examined what seemed to be a hand drawn picture of two Jedi in the midst of combat.

 

"Form I Combat."

 

Orpheon drew his finer across the picture, feeling the history of those words. His vision began to swim. The glow from the green and blue lightsabers on the page began to shine off the page. The hum of the energy weapons began to throb in his ears before he slumped back in the seat as darkness took him. A mist seemed to the follow the warrior shrouded in dark blue. His footprints in the snow seemed to almost fill themselves in as he left them. The metal cylinder in his hand had a slight curve, fitting into the palm of his hand perfectly. His presence was the coming of the storm to those who would stand against him or flee from his judgement. Even overheard, dark clouds seemed to follow in his wake, the lightning building within those clouds, giving an air of menace to his approach. The wind whipped the dark blue cloak into the air revealing the black uniform beneath. The dual short swords sheathed at his were also revealed.

 

"Ch'ittoco in'a, your csact'i carcir mah an k'en. Vacosetahn out vim vepihn judgement."

 

He stopped outside the mouth of a cave, the wind still whipping his cloak to the side. His voice seemed to just slide from beneath the hood of his cloak. Despite the brewing storm, his words seemed to drown out the window and crashing thunder.

 

*SNAP-HISS*

A silver-blue blade erupted from the lightsaber in his hand.

……….

Orpheon startled awake. The silver-blue blade still burning bright in his mind as he looked around. He stared at the viewport as the stars began to elongate and the ship leapt into hyperspace. As he adjusted in his seat, he heard Leena approach and begin to rattle. He smiled inward as she continued to speak, each sentence flowing into the next, seemingly without thought. Ironically, her speech seemed to flow like the currents of her homeworld, as Orpheon followed her into the rear of the ship. As she recited the Jedi Code, he recalled those words from the tome he had now carried with him.

 

Reaching out, Orpheon placed his palm over her own. He had very rarely had dealings with Mon Calimari in the past, and he was surprised to feel the suction holes on her hand as he relaxed. Such things did not bother him. His own species was often gawked at over something as simple as blue skin and red eyes. Closing those same glowing eyes, the Chiss attempted to one more calm his mind and open himself to the storm that was his center. As before he could feel the pressure from the storm building as he neared it. Just as he had before, he reached out to touch the storm, wanting to release the building pressure to feel it course through him once more.

 

Yet this time as he reached forward, he felt a darkness within the storm. This is what Leena spoke of. The darkness within himself that he needed to purge. Surging forward, Orpheon searched for the darkness. Allowing his feelings to guide his presence, soon Orpheon grew closer to the dark presence. Growing closer, the pressure of the storm changed. Instead of the growing sense of power and strength, the pressure was full of dread, anger, and fear.

 

Within moments he had come face to face with the darkness. Looking down, Orpheon had taken form within the storm. He was clothed in the white tunic and robes of the Jedi. His blue skin contrasted starkly with the robes, almost making his normally dark skin seem very bright. As he adjusted to having a body within his own presence, he took a step forward, toward the darkness. He watched as the darkness also began to take shape. Even as its shape solidified, it rose from its knees to pacing before Orpheon, its face hidden by the black

hood.

 

"Csah vah vacosetahn ch'at retan'ci ch'ah, mon tocu'ren'mur?"

 

"I don't know what your saying, but you must be purged for me to become a Jedi."

 

With those words, Orpheon surged forward, the light that he represented clashing immediately with the dark form before him. Light and dark energy swirled, intermingling, clashing, some fading away, only to return in place of the other. As the light grew strong, the darkness was able to return beneath it. The light continued to cast shadows giving the darkness strength. As the darkness grew strong, what remained of the light burned all the more brightly instantly shredding away the darkness, only for the cycle to repeat.

After what seemed like years within the storm, both forms repelled. Each falling to their knees, breathing hard. The dark form raised its head, allowing the hood to fall back, revealing the same blue skin, the same glowing red eyes of Orpheon. He smiled as he spoke with the same calm cool voice that the Chiss knew as his own.

 

"There can vacosehn nag tohn..."

"Without the dark."

 

Orpheon finished speaking for the darkness. As he spoke he realized the truth. Balance was necessary for the universe. If one was to become too strong, the destruction wrought across the galaxy would be apocalyptic. But by serving the light, he could maintain the balance. By serving the light he could keep the darkness from becoming the reigning power. For now, that would have to be good enough. Opening his glowing eyes, he spoke calmly, though with a tone of regret.

 

"I am sorry Master Leena. I can't purge the darkness within me. While I can control it, I must maintain a balance within myself, as there must always be balance within the Sight and within the universe."

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