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Nar Shaddaa - Rebel Alliance Headquarters


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The Zabrak smiled at both of the interactions the students had. "Siolo, reach out... What can you feel about them?..." The Jedi trainer walked slightly closer to the students and away from the container. He paused for a moment before Alliera. "Yes, that is the Force you feel. It has always been there, but perhaps now you have begun to realize it." He looked down and offered up a smile. "Maybe once this exercise is over, everyone here would benefit from a field trip perhaps?"

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For @Cloak

 

“Oy don’t got much to say mate.” Whispered the young Rodian, his eyes somehow bulging even more than they naturally did. He tried a nervous grin but the trembling at the end of his proboscis like mouth kept the smile from being realized. He did not know much about the Jedi Order but he did know that they were dangerous and extrajudicial. His eyes focused on Britt’s belt, where the lightsaber dangled from its cord and he sighed.
 

“I work for Calmine. Calmin the Tall. Trandoshan, red sector.” He bowed his head. “Please let me go and don’t tell my parents.” 

 

Britt laughed and shooed the youths away, free to go. She smiled at Cloak and indicated the long staircase that would descend into the lower levels. “You did well there CorSec. Now concentrate while we walk into the lower levels. Think deeply and find your center, then tell me what you feel.” It was a very introductory lesson in the force, but it would start the path. 

 

((Describe what your character feels, and how he feels what he does. How does the city with all of its life feel around him?))

________

 

For @Katakros

Liam nodded, “Tell me about this sight? How do you access it and what have your people taught you?” They walked together towards the center training hall where many young people were receiving training from several jedi knights. Liam indicated one of the training mats and sat down upon it, indicating that the Chiss should sit down in front of him. 

 

“Show me how you access this Sight.”

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“Dirty tricks squad. Ungentlemanly warfare,” Draygo grinned at the Jedi Master. “Fireworks. Not the traditional Jedi bowing and brandishing lightsabers and making clean stabs through the heart. I do want to win this war.”

 

The smile fell away and the veteran Jedi’s expression grew serious. The overall effect on her appearance was to give her the air of an overgrown hawk. “You have a few days. I have some preparations to make. Messages to record, repairs to make, programming spikes to prep, explosives to pack. I’ll be… somewhere on this base, trying to not blow myself up.”

 

Armiena gave Vos a quick nod and departed. A familiar presence had just arrived at the Rebel base. As she descended into the landing bays that surrounded The Red and Black and the presence resolved itself into a familiar identity, Draygo made out the lines of her Barloz­­-class Freighter and steadied herself for the task of meeting her mother.

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Siolo felt a strange, cool, rush flutter across his arm. "I just got... chills on my arm. Is this what it's meant to feel like? My knowledge of the Force primarily comes from fairy stories I would hear from people older than me when I was a little boy." He shut his eyes, and focused. He felt the chills again, and this time. He let the Force take over. After a few seconds, Siolo opened his eyes up, disappointed to see that nothing changed. 

 

"Field trip, huh? Sounds good to me. You coming, Alliera?"

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Cloak nodded as he followed Britt, descending into the bowels of the Hutt world. Focusing on his inner self he began to feel something flowing through him. Something he hadn't felt before yet something he's felt all his life. Like an invisible extension of himself. " I feel.......sadness....fear....lust....so many different sensations. I feel euphoria....and pain. LOTS of pain."  Cloak opened his eyes, he wasn't aware he had shut them in the first place, looking around at the different decor in the area they were now in, again with his hand dropping to his side to assure his blade is still there, looking to Britt. "What just happened? How long have we been walking? And how in Most Espa were my eyes closed? Was that the force?" Anxiety started to set in and cloak hit the snap on his blasters holster, instinctively, without thinking. "Do you feel that Britt??......What's going on?" Glancing over to his left, there seemed to be some sort of rukus going on. "Should we intervene?"

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“I hate desert worlds. All this… dust.” For the first time in the mission, Bryce was quietly grousing, picking at the sleeves of her bodysuit. She had removed her gauntlets during the hyperspace jump and was pulled at the seals around her wrists. Grains of sand occasionally spilled out. “Ugh. It’s everywhere. It somehow got under this bodysuit. I grew up on Bespin. You know what’s great about Bespin? It’s clean. Whatever mess we had to clean up, we made ourselves. Oh, coming out of hyper in five, four, three…” Ticking down the remainder of the journey on her fingers, Bryce pulled back the levers to reveal the concrete-clad moon of Nar Shaddaa. 

 

The descent was routine, aside from a pair of old TIE Interceptors that followed obnoxiously close as their escort into Nar Shaddaa’s atmosphere. A few minutes later, however, the U-Wing settled at a landing pad near The Red and Black and the Exorcist, the Jedi Master, and the Rebel Talon were finally safe at home.

 

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On 12/31/2020 at 1:02 PM, Wookiee Jedi said:

  "Yes, that is the Force you feel. It has always been there, but perhaps now you have begun to realize it." He looked down and offered up a smile. "Maybe once this exercise is over, everyone here would benefit from a field trip perhaps?"

"It must be, the classes I've been too have discussed the basics of the force, but I've never tried to reach out and touch it before." Alliera said, looking up at the Jedi Master "where would we be going?" 

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Orpheon was still taking in everything around him when the Knight before him came to a stop. As the Jedi asked him several questions about the Sight, he indicated for him to take a seat on what appeared to be an exercise mat. Disconnecting the mag-sheath from his waist and unclipping the blaster holster on his thigh, Orpheon sat down and crossed his legs. The Chiss placed his weapons at his side, but close enough to grasp if the need arose. He thought for a moment on the questions asked him before responding.

 

"The Sight is what you Jedi call.......how do you say it ....... The Force? I have not been taught much of it. I only know I have an unusually strong ability to use the Sight for my people. Among the Chiss, the Sight most notable reveals itself through the 2nd and 3rd Sight. The 2nd Sight is a low level ability to read minds, or speak using only thoughts. The 3rd Sight is the ability to see and predict the future."

 

"I have received no training in using the Sight. My skills in this area have been mostly instinctual, such as the short altercation where you found me."

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The Imperial Knight stared hard at the corpse that lay beside her, a humanoid female with a tangled mess of dark hair, draped in a white sheet. The woman had perished only hours ago in the underworld, a victim of predation slavery, and was kept biologically alive via bacta and artificial blood-flow. The Azanti sighed, her probiscis flicking weakly at the air.

 

She felt it inside, the fire sat like a weight of molten lead in her belly, flaring out through her veins with every breath. The pureness of the Light Side of the Force held within that fire was contrasted with the corroding and corrupted vessel within which her soul was contained. She shuddered, fear creeping its way up her spine.

 

…Why hide from death? Why fear the burial mound?

 

The Exorcist stared up at the candlelit ceiling, at the phantom-eyes of Il-Andon Rorik, and at her own mortality. Pain wracked her in a shuddering cough. She had barely survived Korriban. She stared into the darkness, contemplating the temptations and the shadows of the past. She held her lightsaber to her chest, cradling its worn handle in shaking hands.

 

Why leave us?  

 

This darkness does not bargain. You do not reason. You are rot.

 

The longer you hide from us, the longer our shadow grows.

 

She could feel it within her, wrapping its hands around her heart, tearing into her mind with ravenous hunger. A desire for power.

 

And now you have taken hold. Will you take the seat of my soul, devour me until there is nothing left?

 

Do you want us to?

 

Would all my suffering will be at an end? Would the darkness finally give me peace

 

Taste and see. 

 

The hunger became a primal beat, twisting the song until it was all she could hear. She could see the Jedi fighting her now, her silver blade piercing the heart of Sandy Sarna, cutting the life from her. The reflection of a devilish delight with the woman’s fading eyes.

 

No.

 

Horror came to her then, shocking disgust at her own fantasies. Shame. 

 

I will not allow this.

 

She turned her mind to the Sith. To fighting the Spider and its minions. Her fingers twisted the saber spear, her every ounce of strength devoted to one act. She would listen no more to the voices of the underworld.

 

I will go to the bed of demons; I will look them in the eye. I will go to war.

 

Snap-Hiss

 

The Exorcist drove the shimmering, pure, silver blade deep into her breast, piercing the rotting heart below. Black smoke poured from the wound as lifeless fingers dropped the sparking spear. The white sheet moved, and a pale hand caught the falling spear. A tinkling, laughing voice came forth. A new voice. 

 

“In the end we all fall, even the gods from their heavens, but it is not yet my time to rest eternal.”  

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“Grandmaster! Grandmaster! I’ve been looking for you all day. ”

 

Only seconds from setting foot on the boarding ramp of her freighter--no longer stained with rust, she noted--Draygo sighed and cast an irritated glance at one of the many clerical workers hired by the Jedi Order for the myriad beancounting duties that the Order generated. She silently grumbled; these paperpushers were hired for the specific purpose of keeping paperwork from requiring the attention of the higher ranks. The Togruta paused and her satisfied smile faltered for a moment before the bureaucrat remembered to present a dataslate for Armiena’s attention.

 

“Sorry, Master Draygo, but no one else was authorized to sign for this one. It was supposed to go to Alluyen directly…” 

 

Draygo didn’t waste time reading the paperwork. She just stabbed her finger into the screen of the dataslate and made a jerky motion in vague facsimile of a signature--any signature. As she turned in a slow swirl of brown robes turned and began to board her ship, something niggled at her attention that the moment called for something more than a thoughtless scrawl…

 

“What did I just sign?”

 

“Order of droids from Mechis III, Master. It was a custom contract--and large enough that it required a Master’s signature, Master. There were some irregularities with the delivery…”

 

“Oh. I’ll… have one of the kids look at it.” Draygo mused as the unpleasantly warm air of Nar Shaddaa’s upper levels was replaced by the cool, but stagnant climate control of her ship. “Some bright, eager Knight with too much time on their hands. Wait, irregularities?”

 

But she had already gone out of earshot of the clerical worker.

 

____________________

 

“‘Lo, Mother.” 

 

“Grandmaster.”

 

Armiena sighed as she spilled a duffel bag filled with circuitry and far more volatile components out onto one of the workbenches on the lower deck of the McShipface. It didn’t surprise her that the ancient Miraluka had somehow learned of her seizure of the leadership of the Jedi Order--she had long ceased to question how deeply her sources had penetrated the Order--but the uncharacteristic coldness was a distinction from her customary support. This promised to be a difficult conversation, and a second sigh escaped her lips as she idly sorted out the pile of explosive components and wiring.

 

“It’s the cloning, isn’t it?” Draygo removed a thin plastic glove that covered her right hand, revealing not the coppery metal of a prosthetic, but space-pale flesh and bone. “I think this is the first time that your sources are out of date. This isn’t even my first time getting popped out of a cylinder, though they exercised some artistic interpretation this time. It’s been… five times? Six? I’m not sure about one of them.

 

“The first was Tatooine. Stupid mistake of a young Jedi Knight, I got ambushed and shot down like a kath in a miserable cantina. Second: Borleias. Head exploded by Kakuto Ryu. Three: Butchered like a nerf by Ar-Pharazon. Was not pleasant. Fourth: buried under a tower on Coruscant by Trowa Barton. The fifth… I will never speak of again. Mistake of a stupid, idealistic idiot, never try that again. And the sixth you see before you.”

 

My difficulties with the decision of the Jedi Order to clone its casualties has never been from a superstitious belief in the nature of some indelible soul, Grandmaster.” The grey-clad Miraluka limped heavily from one side of the workshop to the other. Despite Armiena’s close observation of her mother’s physical condition, the Miraluka never made “eye” contact with her daughter. “No. You’re still my daughter. The flesh is of no concern. I’ve always feared that by granting this immortality to its agents, your Order is teaching itself to become… cavalier with life. That you hoard and spend lives like credits. And you--”

 

“Mother, that’s a load of nerfshit and you know it. I earned of those deaths and I made some Sith assholes on my way out. That first time--”

 

“I don’t care what--”

 

“Jedi on the run from the Empire managed to get away. As I understand, she’s living on a farm somewhere in the Mid Rim. Second? The old Dojo was being overrun by a horde of drones that SEED sicced on us. Folks were literally getting eaten alive. I was so effective in culling their numbers that the Dark Lord decided to deal with me personally. Third? Leth-Aurek-Peth is now rotting in a prison designed specifically for bastards like him. Four was in the process of saving billions from a planetwide bombing attack--fair trade, if you ask me. And the sixth…

 

“I gave Ryu a choice. something that he hasn’t enjoyed in decades. Keep killing as a Sith, continue as a murderer without a cause, or be someone new. I had no idea who that person would be, doubt he did either. He chose… poorly. I will see to it that he never forgets his choice.”

 

Misal’s arms crossed, and for the first time she “looked” her daughter in the eye. “Did that speech make you feel any better?”

 

“What?”

 

“You ‘survived’ the last war barely a person.” Those frail arms hugged around the body of the Miraluka more tightly. “We found you suffering horribly at the bottom of a bottle. It took months of therapy before you were prepared to face the Jedi again. What will happen this time? Slaughter is still alive--hasn’t even faced justice for his crimes. Vos--”

 

“I never saw to it that Starlisk faced justice, either. I won’t make that mistake again.

 

“And as for myself, I don’t care how many times I need to get cloned. I’d hoped that Aidan would be able to live his life in peace. I won’t make him face this war alone.”

 

____________________

 

After that, the two Draygo women fell silent. There was a lingering sense that anything that could be said had already been aired and that neither person’s opinion would change. Rather than simmer and resent, the two got to work. Misal had always been far better than her daughter at programming and quietly sat at one of McShipface’s terminals, constructing a rudimentary consulary worm into a data spike that could be stabbed into a standard scomp port.

 

Armiena’s talents had always been more mechanical. Idly humming to herself, she began to assemble circuitry and wiring--and a nergon-14 warhead with a generous payload--into a satchel charge. Contrary to what some in explosive ordinance disposal believed, assembling bombs was not the work of amateurs. Amateurs routinely made critical errors that caused their charges to misfire, or fail to respond to a detonation code… or improperly construct their fuses and blow themselves up in karmic fashion. Bombmaking was the work of professionals, and the younger Draygo soon found herself in a familiar state of focus, oblivious even to the return of two Jedi Masters to Nar Shaddaa. Her thin, space-pale fingers carefully soldered and welded proximity and lifesign sensors, speakers, a multitude of electronic parts and comlink components, and an extremely complicated holographic fuse into a charge that would fit tidily into a small satchel, barely even breathing for fear of an errant twitch.

 

Some hours later, the device was stuffed with protective packing and she finally trusted herself to step away from the workbench. Gratefully accepting a glass of water from her mother, Armiena shoved a mop of sweaty black hair from her face and coughed and wheezed away several hours of irritation from breathing caustic fumes.

 

The next piece of kit to overhaul was a lightsaber that she had been loaned nearly a year ago.

 

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The Zabrak looked from Siolo to Alliera with a slight grin upon his face. "Ossus. To the Capital, Knossa. There is a Jedi temple there, rebuilt from an ancient and ruined temple by Jedi Master Kirlocca and few others. It is a prime place for young Jedi hopefuls to learn much. From what I hear, as I have not been there myself yet, that it's a safe environment to learn and holds some special things that are designed for younger padawans such as yourselves. It's also rumored that Jedi Master Kirlocca will be heading that way upon his return from his special mission." The Zabrak gave them both some time to let the information sink in, but also to leave room for questions, which he was sure both held. 

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For @Cloak

Britt gently guided the ex CorSec agent as they descended, feeling the first ripples of the force stretching out from him. Hesitant at first, but stronger as they went. Feeling the emotions of the world, however tumultuous they could be as she guided him down towards the underlevels of the once hutt owned city asteroid of Nar Shaddaa. But like all the other times she had been in the lower city a fight of some kind was breaking out. She gave it a glance and nodded. 

 

“That was the very beginnings of the force my friend. There is much still to learn. But for now, yes let us intervene, but be cautious. The thugs here are not above kidnapping or murdering Jedi Knights should we cross their paths and they outnumber us. Lead the way CorSec.” 

 

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for @Katakros

Liam nodded briskly from where he sat and considered for a moment before he responded. 

 

“It may be best that you have little training. Some find the power that lurks behind the sight or the force addicting and are lost to it. But for now I will ask you to close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Then when you have focused, begin to reach out, open that mind to the presences around you. While we may be in a mixed base of Imperials, Rebels, and Jedi, I believe you may be able to pick each one of us out by our attitudes.” HHe let his own eyes flutter closed. “Listen for the stern confidence of the Imperial Knight, his resolute righteousness even as he shines his armour in the room above. Expand your senses and tell me what you see and what you feel.”
 

((Describe three NPCS you can feel through the force.))

 

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Sandy futility rubbed at the slight windburn that had grazed her freckled ears as she disembarked the tattered U-Wing. The ride home had been brisk, or at least as brisk as an old model support bomber could be with its 3rd rate hyperdrive. She took in a breath and then crisply saluted the Rebel officer. It had been a pleasure to work with her, and Sandy would write as much in her report to the council. When her verbal report to the officer in charge was finished she made a beeline straight to her quarters, where she deposited her satchel and equipment before climbing into the sanisteam. 

 

A few minutes later she was changed into her exercise outfit and jogging down the concourse towards where Sandy could feel Aidan in the force. He felt different than before, almost contained, as if he was somehow restraining himself. She hoped, as she jogged through the entrance to the Imperial Knight and Exorcist wing, that he was doing better than she had last seen him. The mission led by Adenna had been a disaster, though Sandy could not blame the ex grandmaster for the situation she had gotten herself into. She had stumbled her own apprentices nearly into a death trap made by Flynn Relmis not even six months before. 

 

But what was this? She had felt deep into his heart and his very soul right before his mission. They had meditated together from across the galaxy and she had seen his struggles. His doubts, his angers. 

 

But this feeling was different and it worried her deeply. She said a quick and archaic prayer before rounding the corner to his doorway. She reached out a hesitant hand and knocked thrice upon the door. Plastering her face with a cheerful if careful smile. 

 

Whatever was bothering him, she was going to cheer him up. And what could cheer him up more than a jog and some exercise? But she had her own secret doubts. 

 

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Calix Meus Inebrians

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Cloak nodded in response to Britt. Following her eyes to the fight that had broken out. Removing his blaster from it's holster he made his way towards the commotion. After attempting several times to get the groups attention he fired three shits into the air. Looking to who appeared to be the aggressors of the altercation he said. "What's this about?" Cloak closed his eyes while somehow still able to see his surroundings. Feeling more focusedtha. He had in his life, he let the sensation of the 'force' guide him. Let the subject talk. Use this feeling to decipher the truth he thought to himself. "And I suggest the truth be applied in your explanation."

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There was no time in the present emergency to make a visit to Ilum or Dantooine. At the moment, Armiena would have to rely on the kindness of strangers for her equipment. From McShipface’s armory, the veteran Jedi had retrieved a small metal box and placed its contents in front of her as she sat cross-legged in the workshop. She unrolled a length of soft microfiber towel, revealing a fire-scarred lightsaber hilt. This one once had ornate, almost feminine engravings wrapping around the hilt, but the oxidation and fire of the detonation of its own battery had scarred them beyond repair.

 

It was a pity that the damage seemed permanent. She had been given that lightsaber by a Sith during a desperate moment, during the failed attempt to halt the fall of Hesperidium and prevent the ruin of the capital of the Galactic Alliance. The two had never met before. There was no conceivable reason for a Sith to loan a stranger--and a Jedi stranger--a weapon. Armiena thought of that day frequently. Even if the weapon was irrevocably damaged, its destruction had at least been in the course of saving billions.

 

Armiena took another gulp of water and breathed deeply. She laid her space-pale hands on both ends of the weapon and gently turned it over in her fingers. Crystalline deposits had built up around the clasps and welds that held the weapon together--probably residue from its battery, highly toxic. Restoring this weapon was likely to require a full day of work, if not more.

 

“Mother. Shut the boarding ramp. Don’t let anyone interrupt me… unless… the Sith fleet is in orbit or the sun is exploding or something of that nature. Imminent death and destruction, that kind of crisis.” She called out into her ship.

 

She closed her eyes and just felt the weapon--not the grimy deposits of battery waste and the ragged scarring of oxidation around the blade emitter, but really felt the weapon. Almost immediately she gasped and doubled over, tears leaking from her eyes in shared pain. This woman had known horrible trauma, recent tragedy--something so horrible that touching it threatened to tear at scars within herself. Was she healing from that trauma? Was it even possible to heal from an experience that had left an impression like this on her weapon? Armiena pushed herself away from that pain and forced her attention into the innards of the weapon.

 

Ruined. All that remained was a mass of melted plastic, metal, and smoke. The solitary crystal, however… was intact. Its heart was at least functional.

 

“‘m alright,” she heard herself croaking. “Need parts, scouring brush. Oxy-Aurek torch--the little one, the one with the adjustable head. Right. Never built one. Let you know.”

 

The handheld torch soon arrived and the younger Draygo began making a delicate pass over the surface of the weapon with the scouring brush. To her relief, much of the carbon buildup simply fell away from the weapon in ashen clouds--and with a curious sense of prickling that travelled up her right arm, Armiena realized that she was scraping away at the charred remains of her own right hand, from another body and another life. The plasticky, oily grime simply fell away, revealing the curved engravings. Her fingers travelled over the length of the hilt--there was no detectable seam between smooth metal and the etchings. They had been etched into the hilt with acid. She smiled--that was technical, delicate, and dangerous work.

 

Gripping the weapon with The Force like a vise, Armiena pulled the hilt apart at its seams.

 

A melted mass of batteries, insulation, circuitry, and wiring fell out and landed with a thud on the deckplates. Armiena gave it a nudge with her finger. It did not move--it had stuck to the metal. It also stuck to her finger, and the veteran Jedi had to grip the wad of material with a rag and fling it into the unseen distance. She heard only one impact. She made another pass on the inside of the hollowed hilt with the scouring brush and a second with the oxy-aurek torch. Something liquefied and spilled out in a black sludge. A single crystal shone out from that puddle.

 

Armiena called out for parts. Circuit boards. Superconducting fiber. Insulator strips. Capacitors. Magnetic stabilizers. plasma focus matrix. Power cell. Flux aperture. Field energizer. Hands moving in well-practiced motions, she gradually assembled the parts into a shape resembling a lightsaber. She breathed in the fumes of the oxy-aurek torch as greedily as though they were the scent of a pleasant tea.That single crystal fit neatly into the focusing chamber. Curiously, she felt no hesitation in building this weapon, unlike Dantooine--restoring it didn’t feel merely instinctive to her, it felt right

 

All that was left was the microfusing of the hilt. Armiena took another long sip of water. The cup of caf--when had it become caf?--refreshed the dryness in her throat after days of delicate work. Armiena lifted the weapon with her hands and took a long look at its entirely in The Force. Again, she had made… minor errors in its construction, requiring a longer trance than was typically necessary. The focusing crystal was perhaps a micrometer out of alignment and the insulating strips had not been perfectly sealed--an easy error to make, but one that would turn the weapon into a fireball in her hand upon its first ignition.

 

Armiena took the weapon to her breastbone and let herself lose her awareness into the study of the weapon. The woman who had given her this weapon had known agony unlike anything she had ever felt, and hopefully would never feel. The veteran Jedi had known the death of her friends, the vaporization of her home, torture at the hands of the Sith, and the ruin of everything she had built, and this was still a new pain. She could not even identify its source. Despite the freshness of the pain, despite the fact that Armiena was a complete stranger to her, despite the fact that she had every right to remain as armed as possible during an emergency of historical proportions, she had given her that weapon… almost without hesitation.

 

Armiena decided that she would cherish that memory and carry it with her.

 

There was a microscopic shift, one that could not be detected with the naked eye. There was a brief sensation of warmth against her breastbone. And then it was done.

 

Armiena rose from the deckplates. She gave a few weak coughs and blinked slowly, rolling the tension out of her shoulders knees. The veteran Jedi lifted the silvery-grey hilt to her gaze and pushed sweaty black hair out of her face. It was no longer stained with oxidation and burned carbon, but as polished and smoothed as though it had just been constructed by its first owner.

 

No, not its first owner. Its only owner, Armiena decided. She would merely safe-keep the weapon and return it at first opportunity. Until then…

 

Her finger found the ignition switch, a little round protrusion on the side of the hilt, and pressed it to give life to a brilliant bronze blade. Armiena regarded the white-hot core of the blade and held her left hand close to the edge of the unshrouded emitter.

 

“I hope you understand,” she whispered to The Force alone. “Emily Zsahra.”

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There was a slight ripple of the Force and Aidan's door slid open for Sandy. Inside she was met by a strange sight: Aidan's room was much neater than it typically was. Spotless, even. Sitting at the small table just inside was Aidan and a Lasat she had never seen before clad in the armor of the Imperial Knights, both of whom were engaged in a game of Dejarik against each other. But while Aidan's eyes were firmly fixed on the game board, the Lasat's eyes were firmly fixed on Aidan with a serious look as if Aidan had just made another small infraction. But while the Lasat remained silent, Aidan spoke, still focused on the board.

 

"It's a bit frustrating, but I suppose it's a good test of patience. Fifteen games and I haven't won a single one."

 

After a brief pause, Aidan reached for the controls, moving one of his pieces, after which the Lasat moved his, seemingly cornering the younger human on the board. Aidan muttered something under his breath, something about he knew that was going to happen. Finally, Aidan broke from his concentration and turned his attention toward Sandy.

 

"Hi. I know I haven't exactly been personable recently, but...there were...reasons for that." His gaze shot back to the Lasat, who was already back to staring at him. Aidan gestured vaguely at the third wheel across the table, "This is Hunan." The Lasat briefly averted his yellow-eyed gaze, looking at Sandy fully with a respectful nod. "He doesn't speak much," Aidan continued, "but he's a bit of a necessary evil right now." Hunan's disapproving look soured even more at the remark, but still he said nothing. 

 

This assignment wasn't the best for Hunan, but deep down he understood why it was necessary. It was more than internal politics, more than a grace to a grandmaster's son. Hunan had the wisdom and experience that Aidan lacked, not because he was better but simply because he was older. Right now, they didn't quite enjoy each other's company, but Hunan intimately understood and agreed with Aidan's assessment of it being a necessary evil. Still...it was a rather rough way of phrasing it.

Edited by Inquisitorius

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Though the Lestat yellow eyed gaze seemed not incredibly  threatening to Sandy, it brought with it the culmination of that feeling that had been growing during the last few hours. It was a strange dread. Perhaps it was a realization of what the week of silence from the young imperial knight had been growing to. Was he in custody? Had he done some drastic thing on Serreno? But she had read that report and it was no fault of Aidan’s that they had been ambushed by sith marines. What was this then? Was this some knife held against Aidan’s throat by his order? 

 

Then her mind found its conclusion. THe Imperial Knights must think that he had begun to slip, or to fall to the darkside. But she had been with him, she had meditated with him to release all of that? But then again he had seen everything fall apart far too many times. Just as she had. They both had been fighting for the better part of a decade, since their early teens at least. Sandy even before that. And the shadow of Thalassia passed over her wit that thought. But even if that had once broken her, she had been redeemed of it. So too could Aidan. 

 

But she knew what her face must be showing to the pair of Imperial Knights. The colour had drained away from her cheery face, leaving her freckles a sharp contrast. She lifted a water bottle in her hand and let a shy smile creep back over her face before she made a bow towards the newly introduced Knight. There was no love in that bow, and she did not think her face hid her dislike of the way the Imperial Knights treated their wayward sons. She spoke formally though kindly to her friend and long time pursuit. 

 

“Knight Hunan, Knight Dakrfire.” She did not broach the door but still stood in its archway. “I was hoping that I could go on a run with Aidan, and perhaps discuss some of what had happened and get some fresh air before the next mission whisks us away again…”

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Calix Meus Inebrians

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Aidan looked to Hunan, who nodded.

"Sure. Maybe not a full run though? Go pretty fast and you start breathing hard and speaking just...sucks." Aidan stood from the table, walking over to Sandy. Hunan stood a moment later, and in addition to his tonfas strapped to his sides, Aidan's saber also noticeably hung from the Lasat's belt. Aidan neared the door and pointed down the hall. "Maybe a few laps around the hangar? It's not far away."

 

Aidan picked up a brisk jog with Sandy.

 

Hunan began jogging a short distance behind them. Out of respect he didn't stay immediately behind them, but he wasn't about to let Aidan out of earshot.

 

Meanwhile, Aidan turned to Sandy. "So, what did you want to talk about?"

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They started the jog at a slow pace, one that warmed tired and sore muscles from the long ride in the uncomfortable U-Wing. Though it wasn’t a true exercise in that it would not leave her panting and exhausted, she could feel how good it was for her. One could get used to relying on the force to carry them through a hard day or a hard mission. This was very different. She could feel the good it was doing her as they jogged for several minutes. But she did need to eventually speak her mind which she did after they had made it into the hangers. 

 

“Well Aidan…” She began hesitantly as she led them on the right lane footpath beside lines of X-wings and Javelin fighterbombers which were being fueled from large hovertrucks. Which could only mean one thing from their new paint and even newer uniformed crews. A large force was being sent out within the next few hours. She gulped down a breath and plunged ahead with what had been on her mind. “...Aidan, I don’t know what this escort means but I have a little clue. I care a lot about you, hell I know you could feel how I feel about you when we were meditating together before...that last mission.” She let out an anxious sigh as they made another turn beside a line of assault shuttles which were being outfitted with new munitions. “I don’t know what you are struggling with, but I want you to know I am here.” They took another turn past a small group of Jedi in their ‘Ace’ flightsuits who gave them a nervous wave which Sandy returned. 

 

“Ahg, not just here but like I want to be here for you. We are friends and I want to help you if you need help.” She flushed suddenly. “Unless I have completely misjudged what is going on then if so, I am sorry again for butting in.” She let out a laugh of frustration and spared a glance back to the Lasat then glanced to Aidan before returning her gaze to the pathway.

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Calix Meus Inebrians

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"No," Aidan blurted out, getting the feel of talking between breaths, "you haven't." He waited until they passed a maintenance crew working on one of the many starfighters in the bay before continuing. "The Imperial Knights are...kind of worried about me, you could say. I have a feeling I've been allowed special treatment because I'm the Grandmaster's son because they've sent Inquisitors after other Knights for less. Imperial Knights don't worry about their own, they remedy the problem. Still, I'm not really uncomfortable. The first few days were awkward, but once you get used to him you barely notice him."

There was a slight pause as Aidan let her mull that information over. He was more irritated with Hunan's presence than anything else, but rather lightly. If anything, the Lasat's presence was simply a reminder that the Imperial Knights had their eye on him, and not in the best way.

 

"I'm not supposed to engage in combat. Since we're in a bit of dire straights I've been allowed to advise a commander, but I'm expected to keep my use of the Force rather limited. Hunan is here to monitor me, but also defend me in a worst case scenario. He's very...professional about things. Quiet, too, almost in a scary way."

Four meters behind them Hunan plodded along, keeping pace with the Humans. A slight grin crossed his face momentarily at Aidan's last comment, but that was all he allowed himself.

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A spike of apprehension stabbed straight through her heart at his words about the inquisitors. She had not heard any rumours of extrajudicial killings in the name of the lightside and nor did she have any great impression of darkness from Aidan. But did she deceive herself? She let the thought flow through her as fast as the apprehension had moments before. But the answer was before her no matter the direction she turned it. No one was beyond redemption. Not even Relmis, who carried the weight of millions of deaths on his shoulders, had been beyond it. 

 

What was this forlorn death cult that they would condemn someone so caring, and so talented as Aidan to death? But again she asked herself, was she in deception? She let a tendril of the force snake out and touch Aidan, not a forceful probe, but just a touch and it reassured her. There was no billowing darkness, just what she could describe as the weariness that affected anyone so long deployed. But maybe something lurked there. 

 

She glanced again to his face and gave him a warm smile as they turned for another rotation around the bustling hangers. “Surely they would not like kill you if you felt the darkness pull at you?” It was a dour and dire question, so she followed it with another less serious one. “And does he have to stay around like all the time? Can’t I check you out like a library holo from his care since I am a Jedi master?” She hoped it would make him at least crack a smile. But she knew it would only be a matter of hours before they were thrown back into the front of the war. 

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Calix Meus Inebrians

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Siolo asked, "So this place is like... Jedi School?" Siolo wasn't 100% sure if he trusted this master just yet. "How can I know you won't try to brainwash me or anything? You seem cool and all but this whole Jedi thing is still really new to me... I'm not sure if I'm fully on board just yet, you know what I'm saying?"

 

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Alliera had heard of Ossus, old legends of the Jedi spoke repeatedly of the Grand Library, a place unparalleled in it's ancient lore...a place lost...Alliera thought it was fake, a fictional addition to old stories to make things seem bigger to the young of clan Tal'verda. This knowledge of Ossus' reality caught Alliera off gaurd, and so she didn't respond before Siolo did, and heard what he had to say. "This is the Grand Library he's talking about, an obscure legend handed down by my clan...It was thought lost to history time long ago." Alliera said, turning to Siolo "If he wants to take us there, then it's worth it; The Jedi Lore and Teachings there would be without equal, the fact that the sith havn't found and taken it is a miracle." 

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For the first time since Sandy had seen Hunan, the Lasat finally spoke up. His voice was a surprisingly deep bassoon for how softly he spoke, with a timbre that reflected wisdom and only carried as far as he allowed it to. "This is not a matter the Jedi have a say in." There was a soft undertone of regret rather than confrontation, Hunan was fully aware of the nature of the relationship between the Jedi and the Imperial Knights, and the history that had led to their departure.

Aidan came to a stop after a few steps to catch his breath, looking plainly at Hunan in simple acceptance of the situation before returning his attention back to Sandy. "He's right. And I doubt they would kill me, they only do that in dire circumstances, but they may attempt to exorcise me or even cut me off from the Force should I prove to be too unstable." His tone turned to mockery toward the end out of irritation at the split between reality and the politics of the situation. His meditation with Sandy had purged him of much, but after his failure at Serenno he was again unsure of himself. Failure was part of life is something the Jedi would say, but Aidan always had a hard time forgiving himself when he knew he was capable of so much more and still fell short of the mark.

 

He flashed an insincere smile, not out of deception, but because he really was trying to make the best out of a sour situation. "It'll be okay. It's only temporary, or so I've been told. I'll be glad when it's over to tell you the truth, because all Hunan here does is gossip, gossip, gossip." Aidan shot a grin at the Lasat. Hunan did not return the look. Instead he looked to Sandy, knowing what her next question would be: when? "I have been entrusted to determine Knight Darkfire's fitness for duty." Noticeably, there was no timeline, no concrete finish point, no light at the end of the tunnel. This was an ordeal, and Aidan would endure.

Or he wouldn't.

Edited by Inquisitorius

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The Zabrak gave a smile and looked from student to student. He pondered for just a moment on how his response should come, but quickly decided that both knew only half of what they were talking about. So his response was quick. "Perhaps the knowledge there is enough for both of you. But I think that you both do not understand fully what you ask." Quickly, he turned to walk towards the main door and stopped in the door, lifted his hand to point towards the hangar bay. "There are two libraries on planet. One that lays in ruin, and the other within the Jedi Temple there, built from archives of famous Jedi Ara-Lai Kaipi. That location is also much closer to more populated systems. So if you choose to not follow the path of the Jedi, you are free to go."

 

The Zabrak walked out of the room and put his arm down after talking, but with a smirk turned to both Jedi hopefuls. "Also, there you will meet Jedi Master Kirlocca and he will take over for me, as I have other duties that I must attend to."

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A solemn alarm began to ring in the hangers and flight decks of the Nar Shaddaa base. Ships long in drydock fired their engines as couplings were pulled away. Every knight, pilot, or soldier had their orders beamed to their encrypted comm links. 

 

For the combined arms of the Rebel Alliance and Jedi Order would yet again venture into death to find its salvation and the freeing of the galaxy so long under Sith yoke. 

 

Oppression would be lifted by sword and blaster. 

 

For they were going to war. 


((All Jedi, Imperial Knights, Mercenaries. and Rebel Alliance fleet commanders. You have your orders. May the force be with you))

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Pretender to the Galactic Throne

Leader of the Rebel Alliance

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Had Serenno really changed him that much? She had seen many deaths in her short career as a Jedi, she had been horribly abused and even murdered by a Sith Lord, so she knew this self defeat very well. Even if it affected Aidan very differently, the root was the same. He had turned into the insular arms of his order, while she had once played a blade across her wrists. Both were equally bloody in their end. But Aidan was now horribly distant, more than he had been before their meditation, and that did hurt. But she let it go along with her anger at his order. If they tried to kill him or something that would have been a different story, but she accepted this, and let her attachment fall away. What could she say after all? Could she promise to cut every Imperial Knight down if they tried? No. 

 

With a breath it was gone, gone were the frustrations of the love she felt, frustrations with his order, with his insincere grin. And she replaced it with a relaxed love. The frustrations banished. And that was enough. 

 

She stopped as well as they together caught their breath. 

 

“Well at least I still get to see you, even with such a noble escort.” She flashed a smile to the larger Imperial Knight before looking back to Aidan. “We will get you fit for duty in no time at all.” She lowered her voice so only the two knights and herself could hear. “It is noble to fight, even in a long defeat. They were not words about the sith conquest or the rebel defense, but the personal fight against the darkside. Its constant pressure, and its horrible face. For while they might each overcome and even vanquish the evil within themselves, one misstep and it would overcome each of them. And the path of the Imperial Knight was a lonely one. One that she would not see him walk completely alone. 

 

“Keep fighting, we will make it through.” 

 

She looked down towards her belt where the red light of a mission briefing was flashing on her commlink. She sighed and flung her arms around Aidan. Giving him a brief hug before turning to his companion and giving him a bow. 

 

“I will see you on the other side Aidan. May the force be with both of you.” 

But she did not tell him that she loved him. For he knew that already. And there would be plenty of time after his ordeal to figure all that out. Right? 

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Calix Meus Inebrians

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The solid little ramshackle Squib-made corvette slipped from hyperspace and silently made its way towards the combined Rebel and Jedi headquarters.

 

As the trio of Squibs chattered excitedly, Leena looked down warmly at the planet. The Jedi seemed to have a knack for building bases in locations that had at one time been steeped in darkness. The slow reclamation to good was as beautiful a thing as the ever constant suppression of an incurable disease. Even now, Nar Shaddaa seemed to glow a little bit brighter.

 

Once landed, the small squirrel-like creatures departed with haste wanting to rendezvous with their brethren. Even if their clan had business arrangements with the Jedi and rebels and even a warm regard for Leena, they enjoyed the company of one another most. With the promise to be ready to depart as soon as Leena notified them, they were off.  
 

 

Aboard the Imperial Momship Formally Known As Admiral Sairdonga a mad chaos of organization was underway. Hundreds of Independent Squibian Spacers, and a smattering of other adopted-race members of their crews, not much more than pirates and salvagers aligned with the forces of good prepared for imminent departure and action. A swarm of smaller ships made their way from the surface to the MC75 Star Cruiser bringing supplies and removing anything of value before the upcoming campaign. Once the battle was over, the Squibs had every intention to salvage any and all wreckage of value from the enemy’s devastated remains. After all, it was part of the deal.

 

 

Back on the surface, Leena smoothly made her way through the bustling throngs of pilots, crewmen, soldiers and rebels towards the Jedi area of the base. She shook her head as she watched the preparations for war. She knew, for she had seen it firsthand too many times, that the excitement that now buzzed in the air had a way of bringing pain, suffering, and fear. It was the w of the galaxy it seemed. With a downward glance, the girl shouldered forward. She was not going to the front lines at this point. It seemed much of her Squibian companions were and it saddened her that some of her friends may not survive. The newly minted Jedi Knight had other business to oversee.

 

Making her way into the Jedi Quarter, Leena’s shoulders relaxed some. There was less hustle and bustle here, but still even the Jedi seemed to be preparing for the upcoming engagements. Leena opened her mind and heart up to the force, allowing the inner glow that she carried to stream outwards and mingle with the force signatures of so many others. She felt chaos and darkness, fear and doubt. They were ever present and only grew in times of conflict. Still, she felt calm and compassion, goodness, order, confidence, and light. They glowed even stronger. The righteousness of the light side easily holding the prowling tendrils of darkness at bay. It was to this peaceful cacophony that the girl lent her spirit to mingle and strengthen their cause. She pushed forth a calm confidence that would find recess in the hearts of any touched by it, instilling them with vigor and conviction. And still, she walked onwards, the inner mingling of the force with the exterior world invisible to the naked eye.

 

Leena wound her way through the haphazard streets. She needed to check  on the crystal stores of the Jedi. Crystals had many uses from lightsabers to healing and with the galactic wars upon them, they would be in short supply. Furthermore, finding someone to assist her in scouting the icy world would be a boon. As Leena looked around, she knew that Nar Shaddaa was becoming a ripe target; one that the Sith would eventually seek to pluck. Leena hoped to help avert some of the inevitable pain that would someday wash through these streets. Ilum was desolate and remote. Preserving and building a remnant of the Order there would ensure that even if the Sith conquered this world, the Jedi would live on, the flame of light would not be extinguished.

 

In her white robes and salmon skin, Leena stood out as a healer of high regard. The chromium plated hilt that swung freely at her waist, dangling from her white cloth sash was the only outward sign of her Jedi affiliation. Still, here amongst the Jedi, Leena felt at home, at peace.

 

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 Orpheon nodded as gently as Liam explained his task, as well as some of what happened to those who touched the Sight. It seemed, like all power, it could corrupt those who wielded it. The Chiss had seem those in power slowly lose themselves to that power. Not necessarily the Sight itself, but it could be authority over others, or an excessive number of credits.

Taking in a deep breath through his nose, Orpheon allowed his glowing eyes to slowly drift close as he let the air slip between his lips. He continued this exercise as his allowed his mind to calm. Despite his nearly always calm exterior, his mind had always been thinking, planning, and anticipating. Calming his mind would definitely be a challenge if that is what was required to utilize the Sight at a conscious level. He took Liams' advice and just focused on the breaths entering and exiting his body.

As he focused on the breaths, he could begin to feel something within himself. His brow furrowed as he began to turn his focus towards what he felt. It felt like a growing pressure deep within. Surging forward he could sense the pressure was contained within a sphere. He could almost feel the energy within leaking out. As his presence neared the sphere, he could only compare what he was feeling to that of a storm about to erupt.

Should I do this?......Can I control what I am?...what I could unleashed?....

The young Chiss could only feel the strength getting stronger as he paused. Deep within the sphere he could feel the storm growing. He could almost feel thunder rolling within, could almost see lightning flashing within clouds forming.

"This is who I am. I can't fight it. I can't run from it. I can only embrace it."

Reaching out with his hand in the physical, symbolizing his acceptance and desire, his presence touched the sphere and he felt it explode within. The energy of the storm coursed through his body, filling him with strength. 

Immediately he stretched out with the Sight. Directly in front of him, he could feel Liam. The Jedi Knight was a writhing mass of controlled eagerness. He was waiting to see how this new potential Jedi reacted when touching the wellspring of power that was the Force. As Orpheon reached out to touch that mass of power, he could feel the surprise and excitement come over the Jedi Knight. It was proof that the Chiss could touch the Force, and could wield it, even if only at the smallest level. Orpheon also allowed the joy to enter him as well.

Reaching beyond the mat, the Jedi Initiate searched for others. Beyond their own training mat he could feel several apprentices conducting their own training. As each succeeded in a task, their elation radiated from them like a light. When they failed, frustration and determination seemed to turn inward. As he noticed this, Orpheon began to wonder why different emotions seemed to interact with the Sight differently.

Pressing forward, his presence pushed beyond the training area. Reaching the marketplace he began to feel a wider range of emotions. Some of them were stronger in their specific emotion, but most people here felt a variety of emotions at a weaker level. At one moment, a mother would feel love for their daughter as she spoke her first word, then intense fear and sadness as she realized the world her child was growing into. A shopkeeper would cover themselves in happiness as a customer walked in, using a false smile to hide the contempt for the species that only looked to make a simple purchase of food.

The overload of emotions caused Orpheon to recoil back to the training facility. He cringed as he also realized he was taking steps in a much larger world. He was going to be one of the Jedi Knights. He was going to be responsible for protecting the galaxy. That mother would look to him to make sure her daughter grew up in a better galaxy. Even though his own people did not utilize the Jedi, their suffering, their portion of the galaxy would still be his responsibility to protect.

Squaring his shoulders, he continued to press on. Forcing his presence up, he indeed did feel the Imperial Knight above them. He could feel the determination and desire for his armor to be as clean as possible. There was even a small strand of fear that he was not good enough. That no matter how clean his armor, now matter how well he trained, no matter how much he pushed, he would not be good enough to protect his charges. But that strand was consistently squashed beneath the determination and desire to do his duty and do what was right.

Somewhere between Orpheon and the Imperial Knight, he felt a small nugget of pure fear blended with the desire to feed. Reaching out to that ball of fear, Orpheon realized it was a baby womp rat. The Chiss felt the rat scurry back and forth, having no drive other than fear of the noises and smells, yet driven to move by the desire to feed. He felt sorrow for the small creature. Nothing should exist purely on fear. He wished he could insert some small level of joy into the creature’s life. Taking hold of his own presence, he reached out to the womp rat. Initially he felt the fear surge within the creature until he pressed his own confidence to the rat. For the briefest of moments, the womp rat surged with defiance, just long enough for Orpheon to reach into himself. He searched for a moment of pure joy, something he knew that had brought him only happiness. And there he found it, shining within him like a bright ball of lightning. And with that, the Chiss forced that emotion to the womp rat. It seemed almost like a lightning strike. The womp rat squealed and took off. But at least there was the emotion of joy, trailing behind it like a cloud.

Orpheon gasped and opened his eyes. Immediately he fell forward, catching himself with one hand and breathing deep. While on one level he felt incredibly refreshed and focused, on another level he was exhausted. Sweat covered his brow and his now damp tunic stuck to his chest and arms as he gasped for breath. Raising his glowing eyes to the Knight before him, eyes wide, almost beaming.

"That was...The Sight......It was amazing...I could feel everything. All of the strength. The fear."

As he finished speaking, he noticed a small womp rat emerge from an air grate. He watched as it took small sniffs of air before locking onto the Chiss’s own red eyes with his black beady ones. Its black fur, initially raised in fear, flattened as it began to bound towards the Initiate, scampering between the legs of a Mon Calimari who had just entered the facility.

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Hunan nodded in respect to the Jedi Master as she took her leave. He could feel the turmoil inside his younger ward, Aidan wanted to say something more, do something more, but was emotionally conflicted that he couldn't. No matter what Darkfire thought of himself, he was not as together as he thought he was. Overconfidence was a poison many Jedi choked on, it was a weakness that took Hunan himself a long time to rid himself of. Being at peace with life was not the same as being numb to it, but there were many similarities, differences Aidan would need to learn on his own. Briefly, the Lasat considered chiming in, adding his opinion that Master Sarna was correct, but it was something Aidan wouldn't want to hear. Not coming from him anyways. Patience.

 

Aidan wiped his forehead from the slight slick that had formed there from their jog as he watched Sandy walk off. He wished things were different. He wished he was different. But right now this was just what it was. With a brief sigh, he began walking back to his room to grab his go pack, keenly aware of the Lasat following behind him. Half an hour later Aidan boarded his transport, picking a seat where hopefully nobody would bother him. Mercifully, Hunan allowed him his space. After all, there weren't many places he could go.

 

As the transport rose through the atmosphere, Hunan reviewed the details of Aidan's assignment, something the younger Knight had yet to do. Interestingly, he had been attached to a ground assault platoon, and while he was not the assigned commander he would be the ranking officer with them on the ground. Considering the events of Serenno Hunan was a bit surprised they would give him another command so soon. Perhaps the Rebels were hurting for good officers worse than they preferred to let on. Perhaps someone had pulled strings. Regardless, the upcoming conflict would prove to be...interesting. For both of them.

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