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Nar Shaddaa - Rebel Alliance Headquarters

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Pale skin flushed red with a grin as Sandy let her shoulders relax. She was tired, run ragged for the better part of six months, but still she could feel the excitement on the fringes of her mind. An actual chance to go out as a Jedi knight in action against the Sith? Had such a thing been done since Onderon and its great disaster? Could such a venture hold by its own without the vaunted Imperial Knights like Darkfire, Cassandra, or Eleison? 

 

Sandy perched herself on the edge of one of the spare desks and pulled one of the armour plates from her satchel, she put a gob of the polish on the edge of a cloth and began to meticulously polish the burned chest plate as the grandmaster laid out the plan. She kept her eyes on the laid out holographs and star charts as she polished. The wax based polish melting into the duraplast and buffing it into a clean shine. She glanced at the outdated imperial emblem embossed on its centre and smiled. She was grateful for what the imperials had taught her at Nal Hutta, but The Jedi could do this by themselves. 


“We have our approach avenue then, Shipping. Which lanes are we mining? And what fleet assets do we have on hand?” 

 

She thought of the ongoing slaughter at Kuat and shuddered. If there was anything she was good at, it was not commanding a fleet. But if it gave her the opportunity to attack the Sith, then she would take it. 


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Jedi Master

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A week of sleep. That sounded about right. It was a strange sensation Aidan felt as he watched Ismael walk away, he didn't feel any more powerful, and yet here he was a fully-fledged Imperial Knight. Slowly the realization of all his newfound extra responsibility hit him as he retreated back into his room, flopping on his bed. He would likely have an apprentice in the future, and frankly he wasn't sure he was ready for that. Was anyone who came before him ready?

 

Several minutes passed before he settled on the idea that some things simply are learned by doing. He had triumphed over himself, coming to accept and care for the man he'd grown up to be despite his emotional issues with his past. However, the question before him that he couldn't shake, even as he tried to sleep, was could he live with his failures if they irreconcilably affected others? What if his student, someone the Knights would entrust to him in the highest of faith, turned to the dark side?

 

Aidan had his own brushes with the darkness, and while he was aware it gave him perspective, he also knew better than others how easy it was in contrast to the hard path an Exorcist needed to walk. If he was overbearing and controlling, he would push the pupil away, likewise if he slacked in discipline and mentorship they might simply slide that way anyways out of resentment, as Aidan had. Was this what was meant by the 'crushing weight of responsibility'? Briefly he wondered if his father had thought about the same concerns, but shook the thought from his mind and attempted to drift to sleep. Eventually, he managed to quiet his thoughts enough to pass into unconsciousness.

Still, though he slept, rest would not find him easily.


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The thrill of hyperspace faded quickly with stars resettling themselves and the glowing jeweled marble of Nar Shaddaa came into view in the distance. Even from here, the hustle and bustle of the planet was discernible.
 

Standing aboard the bridge of the oddly shaped EE-104 fisheye, Asha’ajak, two Jensaarai warriors stood in silence, taking it all in.

 

The first, a tall skinny being adorned in armor covered with seemingly decorative rings spoke, his voice soft and observing. “There it is brother. Take it in. From here on we are tasking ourselves to something bigger than our own. Through it, we will protect the people of Raka Nwul. With them, we will stop the forces of evil. Are you sure you are up for it?”

 

A soft chuckle emanated from the second shorter being, his grayed metallic armor covered with a white robe, “Yes. I owe it to the Jedi and to the force.”
 

“Very well. Captain, please disable the replicating armor. I am sure they will be scanning us soon enough. We might as well avoid starting off on the wrong foot.”

 

With a few taps of the control screen And a thumbs up the environmental replicating armor plating faded to a dull durasteel gray.

 

“Greetings brothers and sisters in the fight for freedom. This is the Jensaarai stealth cruiser Asha’ajak. We are requesting permission to land and discuss the ongoing hostilities presented by the growing Empire of the Sith. We also desire to speak with a member of the Jedi, to offer our aid in their pursuit of peace. 
Transmitting ship identification codes will commence immediately” 
The Jensaarai known as The Sarlacc spoke into the comms before turning to surveil the crew of their ship with a smile. “All there is now is to wait and hope they decide to not blow us out of the sky. Let’s prepare for landing anyway.”


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From behind, an old, serious ryn in colorful clothing strode up to stand beside his master. His iron staff tinked against the bridge floor as he rested it against his shoulder.

 

"Master, far be it from me to question the wisdom of our Saarai-Kaar, but is this a good idea?" Despite the fact that the ryn was clearly decades older than his master, he spoke formally, with honest deference and respect. "This rebellion is nascent, and the Jedi have a...sour reputation these days in some circles. They are not the group they were in the days of the High Republic, and the Sith are as powerful as ever."

 

As they approached the planet, Svata's fingers brushed against his good luck charms. Despite the good-natured ribbing the other, much younger apprentices had given him, he couldn't bring himself to part with all the ryn superstitions of his long life, and this was a situation that could use a little luck.

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Posted (edited)

The tall and lanky armored Duros did not smile to show his amusement at the elder Dragoste’s question. In fact, some wondered if the people of Duro even possessed the ability to smile. Instead, the green skinned alien cocked a hairless eyebrow as he tolted his earhole towards the Ryn. The question was a fair one, if not expected from someone who was not yet fully immersed in the ways of the Jensaarai.

 

Shooting a glance at the comm, The Sarlacc nodded towards the other armored being on the bridge, The Mantis. It was not something that needed words to be communicated. All Jensaarai Defenders were expected on some level to help train new initiates; some, however, followed a more Jedi-like approach in their methods and took a newfound seeker under their wing. Such was the case with the elder Dragoste and The Sarlacc.

 

With his helm tucked under one arm, nestled against the collapsed staff and lightsaber dangling there, the Duros gestures for the shorter being to follow him. Once away from the listening ears of the bridge, The Sarlacc spoke, his tone that of a friend. “I see you have been keeping up with your studies my friend,” he smiled noting the Ryn’s subtle notation of the Jedi-Jensaarai histories. “There are truths that can be learned here amongst these peoples; truths that would remain hidden. One truth stands out however; we cannot stand idly by while the powers of darkness run unchecked across the galaxy. If we did, what sort of Jensaarai would we be?” Rounding a corner, the duo stopped in front of a viewscreen built into the wall. With a fee quick finger-strokes the digital view of the outside world disappeared, replaced by a scene of a stream winding through a mossy forest floor, splattering against rocks and winding from one side of the screen to the other. “If the Jedi fall, then too will the Knights and their Empire,“ he continued, digitally sliding stones from the shores into the river and narrowing the stream to a single rushing surge “then countless other rebellions, until finally the galaxy is left to stagnate in injustice and fear. In that moment, we will not be able to hold back the tide of darkness.” Digitally picking up a final stone, the Duros placed it in the stream, blocking the flow of the water as it began to pool.

 

Walking onwards in silence for a few moments, he continued, “Ours is not to police the morals of our possible allies in the fight against the darkness. Remember the basics of the Jensaarai ways. Seek the truth, even when others are content in the lies they have chosen. Maintain peace even when all around you peace cannot be found.  Enable justice in whatever form can be found to be most pure. The Saarai-Kaar sent us here for a reason. Who knows, maybe if we keep our eyes open, we just might find it.” 

 

His voice rose playfully at the end, clearly trying to keep light a subject that could easily have turned into a lecture. Something he did not want. In truth, he too had questions about their task; but in the end, there was always a reason and he trusted that it would be revealed in time if needed.

 

As they continued to walk, The Sarlacc wanted to leave time for any questions that might arise, but he felt compelled to add, “I know you do not have a lightsaber yet. The Jedi put much emphasis on their weapon. It might be worthwhile, depending on how things go, to see if you can find any materials to begin construction on your own. Do not, however, borrow anything of value to the Jedi without permission. We are outsiders here. It would do us both well to not return to the Saarai-Kaar facing accusations from those we were sent to help.”

 

”Oh and you needn’t call me master. That is a Jedi and Sith thing. We are both Jensaarai, and right now we are walking the same path seeking the truth, just a few steps apart on the trail. If you must call me something, I am Defender Sarlacc, or The Sarlacc. That is what the force saw fit to call me.”

 

Finding what probably was a weapons locker, The Sarlacc gestures inside. “We are joining a war. It would be prudent to ensure you are regaled for it appropriately.“

Edited by Leena Kil

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Relaxing, Svata shook his head and chuckled, dropping the formal tone and letting his more natural, jovial attitude emerge. He didn't know the Sarlaac well yet, and he'd always found it was better to show respect and be proven wrong than vice-versa.

 

"Apologies, your lesson is well received. I spoke out of fear Defender Sarlaac, not wisdom. I've come to treasure my family in the Jensaarai and I am afraid to see us drawn to the attention of the Sith. But I understand, and I'll do my best to deal with that fear in the future. I won't dishonor the Saarai-Kaar or the Jensaarai."

 

He grinned. "And don't worry about me 'borrowing' anything. Those days are decades behind me. But I will look into starting construction of my lightsaber. I'll admit, I've gotten the basics of Cleddyfymladd from training, but swordplay hasn't been my strong suit." He fingered his staff. "Staff and spear fighting are more my style. Perhaps one of those double-bladed sabers with a long hilt..."

He absentmindedly blew a soft, trilling melody through his nose as he pondered.

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“Fear is a natural emotion my friend. The Sith embrace it. The Jedi deny it. Ours is to recognize it and control it. Emotions are not evil, they just need to be controlled. Feel it and put it in it’s place.” The Sarlacc said turning from surveilling the stores to look at the Ryn.

 

“Jensaarai fight with all manner of weapons. If you think that weapon will serve you best, then see that it is done. Before you begin your lightsaber though, perhaps it is time you learn the way in which we bury our presence from those who wish is harm.” 


Closing his eyes, the Duros’ fists loosely balled as he raised them from his sides at his elbows, exhaling. “Reach out. Feel the force around you. It touches everything, you, the floor, the walls, me, everything.” Opening his eyes, The Sarlacc smiled, gesturing for Svata to try. He hoped that some of the Jensaarai’s initial training had covered the simplest aspects of the force.  “Do you feel it? Feel how it extends beyond what we can see. You can feel the world beyond. In turn, it can feel you too. We are one with the force. Feel how it touches every part of you and connects you to the world. Grasp that. Deny it. Do not allow it to flow unchecked. You are connected to the force; but do not allow it to show you to the world outside. Draw it back to yourself in a continuous loop. You are the master. Focus first on your own body, once you have mastered that, we can begin expanding to deny the world around you.”

 

Smiling at Svata, The Sarlacc began to project an aura about him, cutting his visible force presence off from the force. He looked no different. Outside of his body though, it was if he was gone; the waves of the force seeming to flow as if there was nothing there for them to touch or be obstructed by.


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Kel stood observing the holo maps and other various digital displays with his hand cupped under what could be considered the chin of his antiox breathing mask. the bulk of intel, battle strategies, and resources was going to be a struggle to take in; but he would have to in order to live up to his new responsibilities as a knight. However, his train of thought was broken when a beep came from a nearby communications terminal. Kel answered the call and what came through was a message from a group called the Jensaarai. After listening to the transmission, their ship id codes came in.   

 

Kel's brow began to furrow. He wasn't familiar with the Jensaarai, But if their message indicated that they shared a common goal with the Jedi. And against the terrible might of the Sith, we would need all the help we can get.  And so Kel sent them a reply. "This is Kel Koon, Knight of the Jedi order. You are clear to approach, and I will greet you in the docking bay." Once that was done, Kel went off to meet their new arrivals.


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It all hurts. A burn beneath my skin fueled by hunger. It’s a deep and twisting pain, worse than when I was starving on Nar Shaddaa. This is something else entirely, like a command from the force itself. I hunger beyond imaging... 

 

*****

 

A consistent chill ran through her skin as the Exorcist moved through the warmed practice ring. The pungent perfume of exercising soldiers clung to the air and wrapped around her like an arachnid’s web. She was always cold now, even a month out of the bacta her new form’s physiology and nervous system was an enigma that even weeks of training had yet to unravel. 

 

The sand shifted beneath Kyrie’s bare feet as her opponent drove the particles to the side with a wave of the force, causing her to stumble mid-run. She twisted the fall into a roll and brought the long wooden weapon to bear against the rusty-haired man. The leather-bound grip of the polearm wrenched from her hands as the Imperial Knight snatched it with the force. 

 

Kyrie watched it sail away through the musty air to drive into the sparkling sand behind Helden Rave, her weapons-master. It was a polearm of her own design, the handle a meter and a half in length, with a meter-length blade a handbreadth in width, hewn from Shadnalyn briar. The reddish wood reflected the natural light that filtered through the skylights above and seemed to mock her weakness. 

 

In her distraction, Heldon brought his orange-bladed lightsaber crashing into her side, before igniting the weapon’s second blade and batting it across her pelvis, pivoting on his feet to sweep her into the sand. The blades were on a practise setting and left scorching welts upon her skin. He let out a roaring laugh and spoke in his calming Festian accent,

 

“If I must fall, I will rise each time a better man… or in your case a better Anzati.” 

 

He offered her a hand which she grasped with scarred and nail-bitten fingers and jumped to her feet. This form was vastly less strong than her first, but much more lithe and dexterous, another change she was getting used to. 

 

“Always bond your blade to your hands, weave it to you with the Force’s Embrace. You know this.” 

 

His tone carried disappointment but also understanding, but it did not make the hit to her self-confidence any less. Hate of herself rose unbidden, but she confined it again in its cage in her mind. She would work against it later, she could not afford to allow it to undermine her strength today. 

 

The polarm shot into her hands as she focused upon its form. She could no longer hear the song, how she had always found the force before, now all she had was hunger and a Revanchist’s resolve. To place the universe right, to destroy the Sith and their evil. It was a colder view of the force, no more was the life of the song attuned to her, and only through dispassionate focus could the Force answer her. 

 

Kyrie fed her self-loathing into the foci of her resolve and let it form into fire, tendrils of light bound her weapon to her hands and the wooden blade sprang to life with silvered flame. A revanchist’s resolve; to fight until the Sith were eradicated and the torturous enslavement of the dark side was banished into the Maw. Only then could she die and finally rest. In truth she hated the whole galaxy for the burden of it. 

 

I will protect those I hate. Even if the one I hate the most is myself.

 

The Revanchist steaded her feet within the sand, feeling the rough grains bite into her feet. She lowered her center of gravity by bending her knees and began to circle the larger man, letting her natural litheness reset her into the more predatory and aggressive form, Ataru in a way she had modified for her spear-like weapon.  

 

Helden was fond of Niman form, utilizing both his weapon and the Force to overwhelm and disorient his opponents, so she circled him with caution, slinking through the sand like a Vornskr stalking its prey. She held her weapon one handed, the polearm’s handle adjacent to her forearm, steadied against her shoulder, the blade tracing down through the sand, leaving a wisping trail of silver flame. Kyrie breathed in his scent, allowing her hunger to focus on him. 

 

There… 

 

She could almost see his intention, a half dozen combinations of attacks to offset her balance and destroy her. The choices cycled as he turned, starting to narrow in upon her footwork. She answered the intent by slowing her right leg, and he immediately focused on it. 

 

Trap laid. 

 

As the sand shifted  beneath her right foot, the Anzati girl sprang from her left foot, spinning into a crouch and animalistically transitioned her form into a hasty stance of Djem So, lowering herself even closer to the sand, but that itself was a trap. He advanced on the defensive posture with confidence but she bounded into his advance, channeling the Force through her legs, the lower posture giving her more momentum in her vaulting jump. She directed the leap to his saber attacking side, letting his momentum bring him into her blade. The tip of her weapon smashed into his gut, and she passed behind him, driving the pommel into the ground as if to impale the larger man on a stake and leapt on his back. The Exorcist channelled his faltering momentum into his off-foot and rode him into the sand where his pained laughter  began to filter through. 

 

“Godsdamn, Kyrie. I haven’t seen you fight like that.” 

 

He tossed her off of him, and she landed gracefully on her feet, sliding into her true form-stance, that of Juyo, a ferocious spirit rising from her in the Force, tinged with hunger. 

 

“Godsdamn dirty that wa-”

 

An officer pointedly coughed on the side of the practice ring, drawing their attention. Kyrie stood swiftly, embarrassed for not noticing him earlier. 

 

“Message for you, Master Kyrie. Of some urgency.”  


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Svata followed suit, closing his eyes as The Sarlaac spoke. His instructors on Raka Nwul had initiated him into the mysteries of the Force, teaching him to touch the power that had been with him all his life. However, he had yet to actually wield it.


Svata relaxed and searched for the peace through which the Force could be perceived, an old friend embracing him in warmth and strength. Svata had initially had difficulty perceiving the Force, having ignored it for so long that opening his eyes to its presence was as difficult as feeling his own heartbeat just by standing still. The trick to overcoming this handicap, as it turned out, had been to use something Svata had in abundance.


Memories.


Svata spoke, voice smooth and calming. Beside him, Parami played a low, sleepy song, integrating with and supporting Svata's reassuring words. He spoke of Hava, an ancient ryn of cunning and loyalty, and his many acts as he traveled the galaxy and founded the Dragostes and their four brother clans. He spoke of Hava's wisdom as he challenged alien rulers and outwitted terrible monsters, and how he brought his family through it all to prosper in peace. And throughout the story was Sarami's music, as lovely as her, rising and falling in soporific tones. Her nose's flutelike timbre blended seamlessly with her low humming, the two separate melodies harmonizing into something wordless and warm.

In the hammock before them, strung between two starship frame struts, their youngest son still shuddered in fear, but his nightmare was already fading as his parents reassured him. His breathing slowed and deepened, and Svata saw his eyes close midway through the tale.

He didn't stop until he'd finished the whole story. He didn't want the moment to end.



Peace came over Svata. The bitter taste of loss briefly tinged the memory, but Svata moved past it with well worn acceptance. He had lost much, it was true, but he would not lose the man of that precious moment.


He could feel the Force, ever present and ever constant, extending through and beyond him. He reached out, his hands mirroring the motions of his mind, and grasped it.

He couldn't describe how it felt. It was like swimming in an ocean, like holding a sun, like taking a deep breath, and yet it wasn't really like any of that. Did it respond to his will, or was he responding to it? Were his emotions feeding into it, or was the Force giving them to him? He couldn't tell where the Force began and where he ended, if there even was a distinction.

Before him, The Sarlaac was indistinguishable in the Force, just a part of the background, as impossible to spot as a droplet in a stream.

He acted as The Sarlaac instructed, turning the flow of the Force inward. He struggled, forcing himself to remain calm. If he tried to force it, it would only slip from him.

For a second, he held it, the Force flowing back into him, concealing him. Then he lost his grip, and his breath that he hadn't known he was holding escaped. Still, not bad for a first try.

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The Sarlacc felt the force as it shifted and morphed in the room. The air shimmered with the manipulations and for a moment, Svata’s presence in the galaxy vanished. Then he dropped back into existence. 
 

Reaching out to rest his hand on Svata’s shoulder, The Sarlacc spoke, “Well done my friend. The force is much larger than any one of us. Harnessing its power requires a mastery that we are still seeking to learn.”

 

_________________________
 

Back on the bridge, the comms pinged indicating that the rebels had seen them. Keying the comm, Knight Kel Koon’s message played across the bridge. As fitting for a stealth ship, dedicated to preserving all manner of being undetectable, the Defender known as The Mantis pressed a button. Across the ship, a blue light flashed a steady pulsing signal. To those in the know it meant one of two things, prepare to board or be boarded. “Begin landing,” the relatively silent Defender instructed in a soft but firm tone that carried with authority across the bridge.

 

Slowly, as if trying to avoid detection, the ship began to accelerate towards the planet and the landing bays of the rebellion HQ.
 

__________________________

 

“Ah. It would seem that either the rebels are less than thrilled to see us or it is time to prepare to meet our new allies.” Removing his hand from the shorter Jensaarai’s shoulder, The Sarlacc gestured towards the door. “Let us go and prepare ourselves for this important meeting. Just be mindful of the force and what it whispers.”

 

__________________________
 

Eventually the compact cruiser began to descend towards their designated landing zone. As the dust settled, the smooth, unadultered spherical hull opened up. A short ramp descended and there, in the entryway stood the representatives of the Jensaarai, adorned in their freshly polished armor and regalia. 


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As Kel descended the turbo lift he couldn't help but notice that the state of his attire had deteriorated. his Jedi garb had become tattered and frayed. and his armor had accumulated a small layer of dirt and grime. And judging by the reactions of passer by, he was likely starting to smell. So before he did anything else, he procured a fresh set of garments and went to use the refresher. The hot water washed away the sweat and dirt from his body and eliminated his body odor. With that out of the way he changed into his dark brown garb and tied his red sash around his waist. Then he began polishing his armor. Once he had polished the white duraplast to a glossy sheen he put on the armored boots, gauntlets, and chest piece. And finally he polished the alloy metal casing of his saber pistol to a shine.  Now that he was in what he considered a presentable state, Kel went to the hangar to greet the Jensaarai.

 

Kel had arrived at the designated landing spot just as the Jensaarai cruiser descended onto the landing platform. The Jensaarai representatives descended the boarding ramp. Their dark red armor and horned helmets reminded Kel of his recent encounter with the Sith in the maw. Kel fought to suppress the urge to reach for the saber pistol holstered at his waist. He knew that the group standing before him were not enemies, but that battle was still fresh in his mind and he had the bruises to prove it. He didn't want to start off on the wrong foot by appearing standoffish, so he decided a casual, but still respectful approach was in order.

 

Kel gave the group a short bow before speaking. "Good tidings members of the Jensaarai. My name is Kel Koon and i bid you welcome to our rebel headquarters." 

 

  


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Svata moved respectfully past the two Jensaarai Defenders to descend the ramp first, staff held straight like a herald's flagpole more than a weapon. He imagined he must have been a jarring contrast next to the dark, polished armor and grim helmets of the Defenders. His rough clothes, colorful scarves, and dangling charms were not exactly a uniform to strike fear and garner respect, at least in this crowd.

 

Eh.

 

Formal protocol for the Jensaarai was difficult to pin down, with so many traditions having blended and shifted over the centuries. Still, the old ryn was of the opinion that it was the job of the juniors to introduce their superiors at formal to-dos like this. It just had been a long time since he'd been a junior to anybody, but Old Meska hadn't raised a shirker.

 

He bowed low, charms glinting and tail curling in a flamboyant flourish. The tail thing was probably a little much, but Svata had been an actor at heart for his whole life, and he indulged when he could. As he bowed he touched his free hand to the side of his nose in a sign of modest respect, and his eye caught on the saber pistol.

 

"And good tidings to you. I have the honor of introducing Defender Mantis and Defender Sarlaac, representatives of the Saarai-Kaar."

 

Svata stepped to one side to allow the two Jensaarai to descend and bowed his head.

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Living is harder than dying, it is my choice to defend life. The Force gives us strength, it is my choice to use it to defend and not conquer. It is what sets us apart from the Sith… Strength to feed chaos, or to set the galaxy at peace. I will protect those I hate. Even if the one I hate the most is myself.

 

*****

 

The Exorcist straightened herself from her battlestance, flipping the spear on her hand for it to rest against her bare shoulder. The wooden handle felt cool against her skin, driving the fine hairs to stand on-end. When she spoke, her voice was gravely but kind. She stumbled over the basic, as the tongue was not her area of expertise, 

 

“Give your message, and stand to ease,”

 

The officer relaxed visibly, running a hand through his sandy hair before speaking,

 

“Trouble again, as always with the Jedi Order. There occurs another fracture. This shard names themselves the Jensaarai, and they are here on Nar Shaadaa.”

 

Helden gave a sigh and extinguished his lightsaber’s blades, stowing it in a leather holster on his belt. He crossed his arms and gave the Grandmaster an irritated smile

 

“The Jedi Order fracturing and crumbling is hardly news, it seems to happen every bloody week. No Grandmaster can keep them together…” 

 

Kyrie shook her head, her dark, shoulder-length hair coming to rest over her eyes. The tie had broken in their skirmish, and she brushed it back with her fingers. 

 

“I would have thought that Adenna would be up to the job, but she doesn’t have a diplomat’s deftness.” 

 

She smiled at Helden and bowed to the blademaster. 

 

“I shall meet with them. Pray to the gods for unity.” 

 

The man bowed back and walked her to the door of the training room, placing a hand on the small of her back, leaning in to whisper in her ear. His breath smelled of juja berry wine, badly disguised by mint tea. 

 

“If we cannot unify against the Spider, then we will all fall.” 

 

Kyrie nodded gravely, and passed from the room, blinking against the brightness of the hallway.  

 

We must unite instead of divide. When did it fall to me to be a diplomat? 

 

Rebel troops and civilians moved in the halls, and she caught their surprised stares. She glanced down to her sandy battle-kama and chest-wrapping, and turned towards her chambers, not wanting to offend the Jensaarai with accidental immodesty. The Jedi Master increased her speed to a trot, her bare feet making almost no sound upon the hallways’ flooring. It was smooth paneling, cold in comparison to the warm sand upon her toes, but not in an unpleasant way. The maze of hallways finally wound its way to her simple quarters and she slipped through the sliding doorway. 

 

Her medical supervision, a 2-1B droid that had the Tranzel Medical Systems name emblazoned on its chest piece greeted her at the doorway with its sarcastic tone. 

 

“Mistress Kyrie, back so soon? Did you break something?” 

 

The woman ignored the droid with a wave of her hand and brushed past him into her bedchamber, and to her drawers to find a more appropriate clothing for her encounter with the Jensaarai. 

 

Kyrie selected a simple black tunic, with a leather belt for her various weapons and a bandoleer upon which her saber-spear could be slung upon her back. As she changed she looked into the mirror. Her skin was ashen, a byproduct of the Anzati form, her eyes a bright violet. There was a slight rise to her cheeks where the proboscis-like feeding tendrils were stowed, but she had yet to use them. She had no desire to give into the hunger of death that was natural to her species. She tied back her long black hair into a series of braids, tied with a leather thong, and a headband of black cloth. She covered her feet with black boots of combat design, but of lighter material to add to her flexibility

 

The Rosary of Il-Andon Rorik caught her eye. It’s onyx beading and ornate design contrasted sharply with her simple dress, but it was her totem. It was her burden as a Master Exorcist, and so she wound it about her ashen wrist, letting the star upon its end hand into her palm. With her preparations in order, she turned and left towards where the Jensaarai were quartered according to her datapad. They were disembarking in the shuttle-bay. Speeding to a run, she made her way swiftly there, her lithe form and dexterity allowing her to weave through the crowds with relative ease. 

 

Kyrie caught sight of the Dorin, Kel, standing before a shuttle where armored and unarmored beings were disembarking. To them, she made her approach. She reached out with the Force first, letting the fiery presence of a Master Exorcist wash over them before she got all the way to them. 

 

Odd armor. Almost look like cultists. 

 

Stepping beside Kel, she placed a scarred hand to her chest and gave a small bow while giving the Dorin a smile of greeting,

 

“Kyrie Eleison, of the Imperial Knights and order of Exorcists, bidding you most welcome.”


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Orders

 

Sandy Sarna tapped the encrypted datapad against the open palm of her hand as she walked down the winding, prefab, halls of the rebel alliance command centre. The small, mass produced datapad still had its imperial emblem from manufacturing, now hastily covered with  a sticker marking it as Rebel Alliance property. The bright red emblem, with its white circular outline, blazing awkwardly against the dull gunmetal grey of the datapad. She slapped it lightly again into her palm as her mind began to crawl its way through the days events. Masterhood, assignments, and she had heard a rumour from the scuttlebut of the station that Darkfire had received his long due promotion. 

 

She was so tired, but she could let that wait. She couldn’t wait to congratulate him and share her own news. And as her footsteps brought her into the Imperial Knight quarters she shared a smile with a few of the Imperial Knights she passed, though a particularly sly smile from one of them gave her pause. 

 

Was she coming here to fulfill other needs than just congratulating him? Some old desires that should have died back on Kashyyyk? She felt a flush creep up her cheeks before she forced it back down. 

 

The answer was clear, and the war left no time for that nonsense. And love, especially unrequited love, could wait until after the Sith were laid in their graves. 

 

She she drew on the force to calm herself and let her presence expand out, seeking where Darkfire might be. She found him rather quickly, but she could feel that he was asleep. She let her feet take her across from his door, leaning her own tired frame against he white panelled wall. She couldn’t wake him up, especially since they had been run ragged for the last two months. So she slid down the wall and hugged her knees to her chest. Burying her eye sockets in her bony knees and letting herself finally relax. 

 

She meditated, letting her presence echo visibly through the force, letting Aidan know should he awaken, that a friend was there to see him. 


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Jedi Master

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Beneath his razor edged helmet, The Duros’ forehead wrinkled in amusement. This new apprentice was wise beyond his years and trying so hard. He would become ab excellent member of their society if given the proper guidance. 
 

Staring down at the Jedi awaiting them, the Jensaarai Defender was pleased; even if that sentiment did not go beyond the swirling vagueness in the force that he projected. 
 

With well placed footsteps the duo of armored moved in unison down the ramp, only stopping when they drew even with Svata. The Sarlacc placed an armored hand on the man’s hunched shoulders and gently pulled back until the man’s head rose. ‘The Jensaarai are servants, but bend the knee to none.’ He did not say the words aloud, but hoped that the firm gentle guiding of his hand conveyed it. It was then that he felt the rush of fiery power that emanated from the second arrival coming to meet them.

 

Turning to regard the Jedi and Imperial Knight before them, the Jensaarai warrior reached up to remove his helmet with a faint hiss. Pulling it oFf his head and cradling it beneath his arm, the green skinned Duros looked at the two representatives of the force. “Greetings people of light. We come bearing peace. We are the Jensaarai, seekers of the truth.  I am Defender Sarlacc and my comrade,” he turned to gesture to the second armored being who had not removed his helmet, shrouded in white robes draped over his armor, “Defender Mantis. This” he placed his hand on Svata’s shoulder, “is a trusted apprentice of our order, Svata. We are pledged as brothers to one another and to the cause of peace and justice. Only together might we hope to stand against the growing darkness. We are here to help.” The Duros raised his fist to his chest, rapping it lightly against his armor in return to Kyrie’s gesture.

 

Both The Sarlacc and The Mantis presented a whirling vagueness in the force, a skill that had been practiced for years to mask them  to outsiders seeking to expose them. It was something that came as a second nature to them at this point. It was not an assault though, more simply it was a state of being.

 

 “Perhaps there is a more formal place to discuss and solidify our offer of solidarity, a place where we might meet more of your Knights and Jedi that we may kindle the bonds of friendship?” The Mantis spoke his voice barely louder than a whisper. He was a man of action and words were used only when combat could not speak for him.


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With some of their plans set, Adenna realized the exhaustion that was hounding Sandy and, belatedly, dismissed the new Master to get some much needed and deserved rest and relaxation. Sometimes, after being cooped up in this office for so long, she forgot how stressing and draining combat and field work was. She missed that aspect of her role as a Jedi, missed it so much she was now determined to go back to it and the front lines. She had been needed here on Nar Shaddaa building up the Jedi's forces, but now it was time for her to go to the front.

 

News reached her of new arrivals wanting to see the Jedi's leadership. This was especially intriguing since she had long wanted to bring all of those who serve the Light into one unified group. Leaving the newly minted Knight Koon to show his potential by initially greeting them, she quickly had data and intelligence information on their group forwarded to her datapad as she headed towards one of the reception halls. She knew very little of their group and needed to know more before meeting them.

 

When she arrived at the hall, she noticed the preparations. The entire Rebel HQ had once been a Hutt palace that had been heavily renovated. This was once some minor Huttling's feasting hall that had now been converted to a reception area. It wasn't too large, but neither was it too small. Food was already being rushed into place for their guests, and Adenna was going to meet them here. She would not undermine Kel Koon by swooping in at the hangar, but would let him escort their guests here so they could all see what the Jensaarai wished.


Adenna Sig

 

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It was like a gentle nudging, but on his mind rather than his shoulder. Aidan woke up slowly, but with a smile on his face. Gingerly he rose, making sure to put his shirt back on and straightening the rest of his casual clothing, then went to the door. Sandy was still sitting across from his room against the hallway wall, and she wasn't quite yet asleep. With a half cocked grin, he called out to her.

"Hey. Hey, lady. You can't sleep here, you see. It's not a bedroom."

He stifled a chuckle, attempting to maintain a semi-serious face, and failing terribly. After it was clear the joke landed, he scratched the back of his head, leaning against the doorframe.

 

"You, uh...want to grab some caf?"


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Her green eyes snapped open from her half asleep meditative state at the first prick of Aidan’s voice. It took a second to fully adjust to reality but when she did she laughed, a pure laugh, not stained by any of the long exhaustion she had felt a few hours before. It was good to see him as well without the dark lines below his eyes. She held up her hands in a mock surrender and she stood up from her crouch.

 

“Then caf we shall have. What’ll you have? Mass produced imperial, GA, Rebel, or Jedi variant? All of which is overcooked and burned to perfection.” 

 

She smiled and walked with him to the caf station in the small barrack mess hall where she selected a distinctly new variant supplied by the Taipani. She grimaced as she took a sip, vaguely wishing it had cream and sugar. 

 

She sat down across from him and grinned she wouldn’t spoil whatever news he had to give.

 

“So….how did you sleep?” Taking another sip of what could have been the most bitterest cafe she had ever tasted.


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Jedi Master

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Kel watched in curiosity as the leader of the group approached him and Kyrie. He removed his helemet revealing the green skin and red eyes of a duros. He introduced himself as Defender Sarlacc followed by his companions defender Mantis who had yet to remove his helmet; and the apprentice Svata who Kel had initially greeted. Defender Sarlacc then went on to express their pledge for peace and justice and their hope for solidarity against the growing darkness. They say first impressions are everything and while on the surface the Jensaarai looked menacing, their words were of great reassurance.

 

The one called mantis then asked if there was a more formal area to discuss terms. "We have prepared the reception area for your arrival. However if some of you wish to inspect our facilities, then i would be happy to give you a tour. Now, if you would please follow me." Kel turned around and lead the small group towards the reception area. once they had arrived they were not only greeted by the wafting, mouth watering scents of food, but also the Grand Master herself. "I present to you the Grand Master of the Jedi order Grand Master Adenna."  


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Posted (edited)

The delegation of Jensaarai turned to begin following the Jedi Knight. The Sarlacc paused momentarily to turn and speak to Svata. “Please see that our ship is secure. Then begin looking around. I have no doubt that Knight Kel would be able to help you find your materials. Maybe you can gain some level of understanding of how the rebels seem to operate. I suspect your attire will be more naturally accepted than my armor right now and it would not hurt to keep practicing burying your presence.”

 

Squeezing the elder apprentice’s shoulder, The Sarlacc turned and fell in step with the others a calm silence emanating from the armored monks.

 

__________________
 

Upon reaching the reception/feasting hall, the Duros brown wrinkled with pleasure as he nodded taking in the sights and smells. “Surely this is not all for us.” he mused aloud. “Please invite your soldiers, warriors and fellow followers of the light to join us as they are able. Today is a grand day to be shared and celebrated in future years.”

 

Nodding in respect as Kel Koon introduced the Grandmaster of the order, the Duros and armored Corellian turned. In truth, they had known who she was long before their arrival, but pleasantries needed to be adhered to in such a time as this. Once their friendship was solidified would be a more proper time for the Jensaarai to showcase their abilities in finding knowledge by unorthodox means. “Grandmaster,” he coo’d happily, “It is an honor to meet you. Your exploits are spoken of far and wide across the galaxy. I,” he reached up to touch his chest with two fingers, “am Jensaarai Defender Sarlacc and this is my brother, Defender Mantis.”
 

The armored and cloaked being known as The Mantis finally reached up to push his white cloak away from his armored head and removed his helmet, revealing a bald middle-aged Corellian, stress-lines deeply accentuated across his clean-shaven face. “It is an honor to see you again Grandmaster,” he growled emotionlessly.

 

“We have much to discuss. Knights, Jedi, and Jensaarai, for too long have we served the force separately. Let us dine as equals and speak of the futures hidden within the force.” The tall and lanky Duros set his helmet at an open place along one of the tables before sitting beside it; the shorter Corellian taking another a short distance away, but enough to allow others to settle between them comfortably if they so desired. “The leader of our order, the Saarai-Kaar, sends greetings and wishes for us to assist the Jedi and Rebellion in returning peace and justice to the galaxy.”

 

Edited by Leena Kil
Punctuational error

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While Sandy seemed to prefer her caf black, Aidan preferred his with a good bit of cream and sugar. At least, until he noticed they were out of cream and sugar. War rationing. Lovely. So he poured himself a cup of light roast, hoping the flavor wouldn't be too terrible, and sat down with her.

"I, uh...I slept. I keep having these vivid dreams. As far as I can tell, they're just dreams, not prophetic visions or anything, but sometimes they're good, and sometimes they're about the war. More and more lately, they've been about the war. Firefights I can't escape, dead bodies littering a battlefield, that sort of thing. I spoke to a doc about it once, they said it had something to do with stress and I should try to get away from the front lines for a bit. Unfortunately, that's not really how the galaxy works, right?"

Aidan took a long sip, the awkwardness of his answer hanging in the air between them. He didn't want her to feel bad for asking, so instead he changed the subject. He'd been waiting to tell her, anyways.

"So, uh...I got word from one of the masters in the Imperial Knights...I've been officially promoted." 

He tried to act rather blase and casual about it, but couldn't help himself from letting a slight grin slip.


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Sandy absentmindedly tapped the edge of her metallic mug with the fingers of her left hand as she listened to him. She took another sip of the stimcaf, letting the bitterness slide across her tongue, and the artificial feeling of being wide awake began to slowly overcome her residual tiredness. She tapped her fingers again then a grin spread across her face at his wonderful news. Her green eyes flashed as she set the cup down and put both hands down on the table.

 

“Well done!” 

 

She grinned widely. 

 

“I am so proud of how far you have come Aidan. I couldn’t have made it without you.” 

 

And she couldn’t have, she knew it. She cocked her head to the side.

 

“Does that mean you will take on an apprenti- I mean a squire? Either way you deserve more than a break.” 

 

He wasn’t exactly falling apart, but the damage he had taken mentally was very obviously still affecting him. The dreams were just a symptom of the battle weariness and PTSD that was likely affecting not only Darkfire but an entire generation of Jedi and Imperial Knights. 

 

She tapped the datapad beside her with one finger. 

 

“I am being deployed at the end of the week myself. Away from the battlelines but its still dangerous. I am trained in some of the Healing Arts, would you like for me to try and help against the dreams at all before I go?”

 

Her eyes widened for a second. 

 

“Oh I also have my own news.” She made her voice as cool as possible though excitement bubbled at the edges of her voice, “I have been promoted to  Master for the events of the EV. All thanks to you of course." 


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Jedi Master

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The Grandmaster of the Imperial Knights had little interest in receptions and feasts, it seemed like there wasn’t a day that went by without this Rebel Alliance dallying with feasts instead of marching to war. As Kel presented Adenna, Kyrie turned to leave, but her mind wandered to the reports of destruction and the slaughter of a station of innocents. With sadness in her heart, the Exorcist spoke softly as she went, directing her words to the newly come Jensaarai, 

 

“Beware bastions of light, for they cast the darkest shadows.” 

 

Nodding her head, the Exorcist departed in a swirl of dark braids, heading towards the barracks and her assembling forces. The Imperial Knights had been assembling a fleet under the secrecy of the Order of Captains, supported by the treasury, and now they had a destination; Fondor and its vast shipyards. Slipping her datapad from her tunic, she opened the intelligence briefing, staring at the approximated wealth of such a prize. To wrest it from the Sith and their corrupt allies would bring the Imperial Knights one step closer to winning the war. 

 

The war this Rebellion should be leading. Instead they feast.

 

Stepping into the cafeteria, her blackened boots slapping softly on the hardened flooring, the Imperial Knight noticed one of her own dining alongside the Jedi, Sandy Sarna. It was Aidan, the Order’s newly minted diplomat to the Jedi. He wouldn’t recognize her by her features, every time she saw him now she was in a new body, and it distressed her how much she had failed him as a Master. Kyrie studied his features and saw his smile. It wouldn’t be a good time to interrupt him. Instead, she typed a message on her datapad to him while grabbing a handful of ration cubes beside the door. 

Quote

 

To: Aidan Darkfire. 

 

Congratulations on your appointment to the position of diplomat to the Jedi. Be wary of those like Vos, if you get the chance, Exorcise him of his evil. If you do not have the chance to redeem him, kill him. He corrupts this rebellion with the slaughter of innocents. Him and his are a cancer within this rebellion, spreading the corruption of the Dark Side. Keep Adenna safe from his influence. He is a snake in the grass. I depart for Fondor with my order, 

 

Kyrie Eleison, 

 

PS: enjoy your stimcaf with the pretty Jedi. 

 

 

Tapping on send, the Exorcist entered the docking bay for her own people. It was a smaller and separate hanger, apart from the rest of the Rebel Alliance. She had requested as such to keep her Orders operations secret, away from spies and the Dark Jedi that were a part of the Rebellion. The Imperial Knight caught sight of her friend that awaited her, a tall man all in black, with a headscarf and white beard, Al-Afdal Dyrrhachium, Maréchal of the Order of Captains. 

 

He would be her admiral for the fight to come, and to him she jogged, bouncing on the metal plating of the flight deck. Al-Afdal bowed his head in respect to her as she approached, the old man smiling widely. He had just finished transmitting reconnaissance data to the assembled Captains, and was now awaiting her departure order. 

 

“Grandmaster, the fleet is yours.” 

 

Kyrie smiled and bowed back, her tousled braids covering her vision

 

“I will meet you in space, Maréchal, I will fly with the rest of my pilots in our TIE-Uglies.” 

 

The man sighed and turned back to ensuring supplies were being loaded properly by the Dagermends and the Dagets. 

 

“Fly safe among your Watchers, Grandmaster.” 

 

With farewells said, Kyrie slipped into the confines of her TIE-Ugly, a bastardization of a Z-95 Headhunter and a TIE Interceptor. The seat was of worn leather, and formed to her as she began to check the preflight data. Her flight-helmet was worn loose, the breathing apparatus causing her enough claustrophobia as it was. Taking a deep breath of the recycled air through the nosepiece, she smelled the mixture of spices she had placed into the air-flow, bendrak root and crushed harrion seed making each breath taste of fragrance and giving her peace. Preflight checking done, The Grandmaster’s TIE-Ugly cleared the hanger, and departed into hyperspace and to lead her fleet to victory


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It saddened Adenna to sense the barely contained disdain coming from her counterpart in the Imperial Knights. She had hoped that this would be an opportunity for her to finally sit down with Master Eleison and discuss future moves and her own plans for the war, especially with the arrival of another potential ally. The leader of the Imperial Knights hadn't seemed much interested in working together since she recovered from her ordeal on Coruscant, but Adenna wouldn't force the issue. As long as they were still focused on fighting the Sith, it would work. The Jedi had needed some time to organize and rebuild, but it would be their time soon, and with new allies, they would be more ready than ever.

 

She used the experience of the last year and a half as Grandmaster to hide her disappointment both on her face and in the Force and remained congenial yet also dignified. There wasn't quite enough food here to serve a battalion, but it was a reception meant for diplomats with plenty of food that would match almost anyone's tastes. Most of the moderately large room was empty, but there was a table set near the throne where the former master of this hall used to recline that had been set for them.

 

She didn't recognize the one called Mantis, but gave a quick bow of her head when he spoke of having met her before. Many had seen her in the past and, try as she might, she couldn't recall every one. "I am glad you are here," she said warmly while they were seated. "The situation in the Galaxy is indeed dire, but I do have faith that the forces of Light can stand against the current evil we are facing. There have been Grandmasters in the past who do not embrace the Jedi's role as warriors against evil, but I am not one of them. I know the Jensaarai have a long tradition of being warriors and am glad for it. Even if we have differences in theology, I believe there is always room for alliances with all who serve the Light and eschew the Darkness."


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