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Salliche


Exodus

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Green eyes opened with a rumbling groan. The Wookiee sat up, examining his surroundings. The ship, having flown a good deal of its route towards the core from Falleen, had made away with many of its passengers, and had picked up some deal more, leaving the ship only slightly less packed than before. The dim lights which illuminated the passenger bay cast a faint glow upon the Jedi's surroundings. They had received one of the low-cost passenger compartments, with spartan accommodations and little in the way of noise insulation. Their small room wore only the accoutrements and equipment of the two Jedi, being otherwise threadbare.

 

Kerriwarr rose, sitting up from his bunk and looking to his right from the bunk he inhabited, gazing through the viewport and seeing still the blue glow of hyperspace, just as he had when his mind had first met slumber. He tapped the flight monitor which sat aside his bunk, checking the progress of their journey and noting that they had nearly arrived to their destination.

Just enough time for tea.

 

He stood from his bunk, being careful to settle his weight into the ship slowly so as not to cause undue amounts of noise, and exited the cabin as quietly as he could. Walking throughout the passenger bay, he gave polite nods to a Twi'lek family as he shimmied around them, weaving his way through the cramped quarters towards the galley.

 

The galley was manned by a simple service droid, from which Kerriwarr ordered a small kettle and a boiler for his compartment. He laid out the necessary credits, and received his order shortly thereafter, filling the time by making smalltalk with a lone Ithorian traveler, discussing her relation to the clan mothers and sky ships of her people.

 

Alas, he soon returned to the cabin he shared with the sleeping Master, and sat down on the floor between their beds. He unfolded and set forth a small, low-sitting table, adorned it with a small cloth from his satchel, and withdrew a series of small leather pouches, filling a filtered bag with the necessary ingredients for a bitter, refreshing brew of Saava root and Orchidfern stems with notes of Syren flower to lighten its taste and offer a sweet note to its flavor. Soon the soft bubbling sound of the kettle filled the space, and out of this symphony, a blossom of floral aromas appeared. Kerriwarr inhaled, tasting the earthy, sweet scent and let out a soft, contented sigh. A day is not started before tea. Kerriwarr closed his eyes, recalling the walks he had taken to harvest the very ingredients he now steeped, remembering the soft misting rain that accompanied his trip to the Saava grove, and how careful he had been not to fall prey to their carnivorous diet. He nearly fell back into his slumber, were it not for the soft whistle of the kettle. He withdrew the heat, extinguishing its flame and grabbing two of the carved wooden mugs from his bag, allowing the tea time to cool before pouring.

It was then that the ship lurched out of hyperspace, and his master stirred from her slumber.

 

 

The aroma of tea, earthy with its sweet hues, emanated to Master Sarna's nostrils as she woke, and she found Kerriwarr sitting cross-legged on a small cushion before her in the small space between their bunks.

 

"I found some rest, but I was not quite in such need as you. It is good that you have slept. You stirred somewhat in your sleep, though I imagine a healing mind stays ever active, even in rest. Should you find need of anything, Master, you need only ask." said Kerriwarr in greeting, pausing a moment to pour the mugs before meeting her gaze once more, "Tea? This is a fine mixture. Saava, Orchidfern, and Syren flower. One of my favorites for early mornings after a long day's toil."

 

He pondered a moment his dreams before speaking, taking a long moment - and a sip from his mug - to recall before answering, taking a fold of his chestnut fur along his jaw and beginning to twist it into a braid, adding the carved stone beads as he went.

"Only of green canopies, blossoms in the springtime, and the rumbling of distant falls. The sun as it speaks its warm and comforting glow about the upper branches and the taste of the Wroshyr berry. I dreamt of home, and I should imagine that to be all I see of it for the coming future. A bittersweet time it is, Master, but I am eager for the future, and for your wisdom."

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Kerriwarr mused over the porthole as the ship made its descent and his Master found her waking mind through his tea, admiring the swiftness by which the large ship made its way to the planet's surface. As the ship broke the cloud layer, the Wookiee marvelled at the endless sea of meadow and plain, cultivated by great machines, from his height only seeming like worker ants milling through a forest floor.

 

He turned, looking to Master Sarna as she apologized, immediately shaking his head with as soft a smile as his features could muster, "It is no mind, Master Sarna. I am glad to provide you respite." he said warmly as the new aromas made their way to the cabin, complemented by the soft hiss of the hydraulic landing gear.

 

"Shall we?" he said, grabbing his mug and the remainder of his things before standing and following her out of the ship.

 

A verdant array of waving grasses, far as the eye could see, caught his attention first, its waving strands in tandem as the waves on the Kyyyalstaad Basin. The warmth of the sunlight, both in hue and temperature, was a kind and loving embrace. This would make a fine place to live, he thought, save for the absence of trees.

 

"Well, here we are." Kerriwarr said, looking about the area around them.

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  • 4 weeks later...

-- Some weeks later, following the pair's orientation and allowing for some time to settle in. Master Sarna, being a member of the Jedi Council, has taken over operations on Salliche --

Thump, thump, thump
The rhythmic sound of wood on straw filled the small yard as the Wookiee ran through a drill
, his staff whirling through the air as he practiced his combinations. It had been a long time since he drilled Wrrushi in this way. The wrestling form had only a few weapons drills, but Kerriwarr had taken to practicing them in hopes of refining his abilities. Since the battle of Falleen, it had become apparent to the Tree Carer that his role as a Jedi would inevitably involve violence. While he shunned the idea, he would not allow himself to be incompetent in the event that need for conflict arose. As such, he practiced his forms, the rising sun a welcome accompaniment to the Wookiee's efforts. He stopped, savoring its comforting light and warm glow a moment before something caught his eye.

From across the courtyard, a slim figure approached. A Twi-Lek woman who had helped Kerriwarr and Master Sarna settle in not but a few weeks ago. The Wookiee paused his drill, settling the butt of his staff on the ground before him and pulling the hair from his face as the woman spoke,


"I have news for you and your companion, Master Jedi," said the Twi-Lek, "The farmers report a blight just past the eastern mountains. It is spreading quickly. Already it has taken twelve fields, and it is bound to have taken another by nightfall."

The Wookiee listened solemnly, paying careful attention to the Twi-Lek's words before offering her a nod. He turned, making way for his cottage where he rummaged about his belongings before retrieving his Holocommunicator, hailing his Master to report the news of the blight.

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  • 2 weeks later...

He stood about the courtyard, returning the holocommunicator to the folds of his robes as he awaited the arrival of his Master. From the entrance of his cottage, he contemplated the devastation wrought by such a blight. To have taken a dozen fields, with another within a day, was something nigh unheard of. He could not recall any native blight to Kashyyyk which moved with such swiftness. Whatever they were about to deal with, it gave the Wookiee a sinking feeling. Something was afoot, he was sure of it. Whatever it might be, he hoped that it would not somehow lead to more violence. After Falleen, he had quite his fill of it, and longed for him - and his obviously jaded Master - to be granted some respite.

He snapped back to focus, returning to the interior of his cottage and finding his things. He gathered his many pouches of herbs and medicines, salves and tinctures, and restored them to their places among his robes and the satchel he frequently carried. Finding his cloak, he slid his arms through its bell sleeves before returning his hands to his belongings and making his way back out - just as Master Sarna arrived.

"Master, what is our course of action?" he would ask tentatively as he approached, watching as she disembarked from her speeder.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Her words passed him by like leaves in a stiff autumn breeze. He was taken aback. Becoming a Jedi with such swiftness was already a whirlwind of change to think of, but taking up arms and becoming a fighter like those he'd seen on Falleen? That was another matter entirely. He could barely process the escalation that had come of this incident, hardly registering his master's response to his query. A blighted field had gave way to a matter much deeper, but unfortunately, necessary, if he was to find his place among the Order. The Wookiees contemplative gaze was brought to a halt as his mind came to focus for mere moments as he spoke, all but sighing out the words as he became subsumed into his mind,

"No, Master, I cannot say that I've given it any thought."

And yet as he voiced his lack of thought, his mind was now ablaze, coursing with ideas and various notions, contemplating different designs and styles. What would he choose? How would he construct such a weapon? He could barely wield the Force, after all, in the way of the Jedi. How was he to complete one of their most sacred of rituals without even rudimentary knowledge of their methods?

This confusion addled his mind as the Wookiee stared vacantly to the horizon, contemplating in nearly a stupor, the stress of the situation and the gravitas of Sandy's question being altogether quite thought-provoking for the newly-minted Jedi. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

He reached out, his fur-covered hands taking the blade as his expression faded to one of solemn reverence. The blade's hilt was heavy, though not physically. It's components were light in the Wookiee's great hand, holding the already larger-than-typical lightsaber in a single-handed grip, and yet its presence in the Force swelled, especially as the Wookiee made an effort toward more carefully studying the item. It was momentous in the ethereal landscape, bringing forth memories not of the Wookiee's own. Ones of strife, chaos, peace, and order, all in one. Generations of piety, and generations of malice, all in one storied and fabled blade, and yet - now, at its core - a presence of peace. A stability. Radiance. Holiness.

Kerriwarr took such care to study the blade that he nearly failed to comprehend Sandy's words, he looked up to her, bringing her gift of knowledge close to his body as he spoke in turn, the gravitas of such an act far from lost on him, even with his lack of knowledge of Jedi custom, he knew this to be an indubitably significant act.

"Thank you, Master. I shall cherish this, and learn from it well," he said, bowing his head in respect for her Concordance of Fealty.

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  • 2 months later...

"And I discern all I can from this great gift, Master. Thank you," said the Padawan, every bit of poise evident in his voice as he expressed a deep and genuine gratitude and curiosity about this precious object afforded to him.

The Wookiee remained still, the saber still clutched in his hands as he peered at its many congruent pieces of metal and mineral, the crystalline core perfectly cradled by the intricate technology which embraced, channeled, amplified, and contained its energy into a single, elegant alabaster blade. Kerriwarr's mind was abuzz, sifting the countless possibilities for his own weapon and its possible construction. This was a strong, bulwark of a blade. Brutish, yet regal in equal measure...

It was the shift in the air that drew him from his intent study of the weapon and shifted his focus to the terrain beyond the speeder they inhabited. The fragrant, fertile aromas of the endless hedges and plains, forests and streams, had given way to a vile contagion of decay and sickness. He looked about to the jaundiced fields about them, withering in the disease which seemed to permeate acres of the eastern flats as far as the eye could see. As he observed the countless blades of diseased grain whir by like waves in a torrential sea, he picked up pieces of information. Yet it was not with his physical senses, but in his minds eye, that a more sinister picture seemed to be forming. It was as if the very environment - not singularly the grain - were symptomatic of a greater pathogen.

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  • 1 month later...

As the vastness of the decay made itself apparent through the malaise which they now bore through, the Wookiee stifled a cough. The stench of the rot was strong, a great cloud of sickness and death. Kerriwarr listened to the words as he squinted, struggling to see through the cloud as he listened intently and deliberately to the words of his master.

As the Dark Side was mentioned, it all fell into place. He felt it, just as she mentioned, the perception of death and decay was not just present within the physical reality of the fields around them, but in the aura of the Force. The ethereal landscape seemed tainted, stained by darkness. It was as if the very light of life were being reduced to nothing, as the leaves of a tree wither in the presence of winter. Listening to her, he met her apologetic gaze with one of warmth and stability, keeping a straight face as he replied, the gruff Shyriiwook piercing over the sound of the speeder.

"Yes Master," he said, his voice unwavering, "I shall do as you instruct."

Despite his tranquil appearance, a growing concern blossomed from the pit of his stomach. A foul flower, borne of the turmoil and malaise of the Dark Side. He looked down, studying the lightsaber he had only just acquired in his hand, preparing for the eventuality in the case that he may find himself in need of it, and just how soon such things may come to pass....

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As if a flash of lightning upon the mountains of Kashyyyk, the arrow whistled by him, the hiss and silver glow of the blade arced before his frame, and the sound of arrow hitting flesh rang through the air. He watched with horror as his master's form crumpled into the inside of the cabin of the speeder. Her word of warning, as muffled as it was, was discernible nonetheless.

"Run"

She had given the command not but moments before, now freshly reaffirmed in the face of the very circumstance which had been its precondition. The Wookiee looked upon her with a solemn scowl now about his face. He stood up fully, high out of the speeder, casting his forest-green gaze upon the mire and grime of the wilting fields. The figure, a slim and feminine human, clad in hues of stygian and sable, approached. Her smile a reflection of the grim malice which radiated from her form in the Force.

Kerriwarr thought only for a moment. A split-second hesitation to frame his thoughts. There was no choice. It was self-evident in the Wookiee's scowling eyes. The Padawan looked upon her Master, and upon the first direct instruction given to him within the scope and breadth of his training, he responded:

"I would not dare,"

His form in the Force exploded, a roaring blossom of light and a pillar of peace, springing forth a font of Kashyyykian life in opposition to the Dathomiri plague. The Wookiee's solemn look was reflective of his dedication. His groundedness was certain as he stepped off of the speeder and into the gunge of spoiled flora and grime. He held aloft the long-handled hilt, hands spread upon its haft as the silver plume erupted to life, it's deep thrum as the peaceful rumble of a distant summer storm upon the hills and it's light as pure as the moon.

He would not obey.

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Firm, resolute, and unrelenting.

Such was the disposition of the Wookiee who stood before the dark witch. He had faced the horrors of the Shadowlands, readily and willingly. He was unabashedly unafraid in her presence, and as he noticed her falter ever so slightly, he knew he had the upper hand. Appearances, especially within the realm of dark and twisted things, were ever so often deceiving. Such was the only true power of evil - it's power over perceptions. Kerriwarr knew this, and readied the blade before him. He had some degree of training with Ryyk blades, and such technique would now come to his aid as he assumed a rudimentary, yet cleanly executed, defensive stance. To his dismay, the lightsaber was unwieldy in his yet to be refined grip. He was not used to such an immaterial weapon, and while with good foundation, wielded it somewhat clumsily.

Nevertheless, it was with a deep and rumbling snarl that the Wookiee spat a reply,
"Loyalty - something you must know little of, witch."

He summoned his resolve, his form in the Force now akin a towering Wroshyr tree, a bulwark of light amidst the sea of despair around them. With a deep breath, he began to advance. He would not stand idly in the face of evil - of that much, he was sure.

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