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Falleen


Darth Heretic

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The force was strong on this world, its dark hue battering against each of her senses as she strode down the boarding ramp onto the dark duracrete landing pad. Even the smell of the world was off, as if an evil was clinging to each molecule of oxygen. Clawing its way down her throat with every breath. Furtive gazes looked up from datapads as the pedestrians and techs did their utmost to not be seen. An oppression could be felt from their every action. Minds closed off from the outside worlds in fear and submission. 

 

She glanced back at the group behind her. Her whisper carrying only as far as their ears. 

 

“Remember, if we show ourselves as Jedi, and that includes calling each other ‘master’ we are likely already dead. Let us find a place to stay the night, and a place to base our operations out of.” 

 

She let her eyelids flutter closed as she tentatively reached out into the force, it was only for a moment, and she could feel a dim presence she had not felt in many years. A comforting presence, even if wracked by grief. She could not put her mind directly on the presence, and quickly withdrew behind her own silent mask. Blending into their surroundings as they walked towards the market square. There would be information to be found there. 

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Sandy could feel something off in the force. Not just the constant drudgery of evil that seemed to permeate the world, but this was coming from her new friend, someone who always struggled with her own evil. Sometimes thrust upon her, and sometimes, like now, the vain temptation put forward by biology and desire. This was certainly an odd world, and though she had experienced the pheromones of the local species before, it always came as a shock. It stirred emotions deep in the pit of her stomach desires that she hadn’t really put fully away after her time with Aidan. But she did learn to control those feelings so long ago, that it felt like secondary nature to let them pass through her and out. She took a breath, using a little bit of her energy to dispel temptation and desire, and replace it with the fierce calm of the force.

 

She reached out a scarred hand and lightly touched Keenava’s wrist. She let the force flow through her touch. Not the willful and forceful touch that she may have experienced from prior masters, but a calm reassurance. Letting her lean on that strength, should she need it, to resist temptation and to steady her nerves. There was no reason to harm herself to try to regain composure. 

 

She smiled warmly at the waitress, and took a seat next to Kirlocca, slipping a thin arm around him to give him fierce hug. He had lost much. More than all of them. And though his presence was a surprise, she was very glad to see him here. There was no one better to rely on than the wookiee Jedi master.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Sandy kept her place next to Kirlocca, playing the part of close company, her own hood pulled up enough to cover the bright platinum of her hair. She spared a smile for the imperial officer, but her pale green eyes kept watch between the door and the bar. Leena had done the right thing exiting when she had, and it spaced their already overcrowded group out. And gave an avenue for escape should the need arise. Her gaze turned to her apprentice and the hutt she was talking to. She would have cried out in alarm and grabbed her sabre from its hidden place had the force not told her that there was no threat from him. She kept her gaze on him for a moment until a new danger revealed itself in the form of two massive Falleen men and a lithe lilithesque figure. 

 

She let her gaze fall naturally down to the table. Willing herself and her allies to not be seen as a threat and for them to be passed over as normal patrons.

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  • 4 weeks later...

 

Sandy stood up beside the Wookiee, keeping herself in his large shadow. Her hood covering most of her human features, except for the scars that covered her chin in a latticework of lines. She was here, and despite her apprentice and Lenna leaving, she would stay beside her fellow member of the Jedi Council. And what better way to know the enemy than keeping in the heart of their plans.

 

“Name your price and target.”

 

A slight and nearly unnoticeable pull on the force and her voice carried a false dark aire. Portraying herself in the masque of a bloody mercenary. Someone who the dark leaders of this planet would trust with whatever mission this could be. But when she touched the force, Sandy could also feel something else. Something Kirlocca would no doubt also have felt. A darkness. Thick and unyielding at the edges of her perception. Danger

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

The avarice in the air was palpable. It bit at the back of her throat like an acidic bile, but there was no danger sense. But there was a stillness in the shadow of the Wookiee Jedi Master, a calm that brought reassurance, even as the storm rose into a gale outside. She pocketed the thousand credit chip, noting its Sith mintings before she slipped it into her cloak. Stashing it alongside the two lightsabers that lay hidden in their holsters. They were manufactured lightsabers from the Imperial Armories on Nar Shaddaa and Carida. Both had been gifts, and the smallest of them had belonged to Aiden Darkfire. 

 

She looked back to Kirlocca with a smile and extended her wrists as well.

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There was a pull there from the marking, a tap into something distinctly foreign and that called back to the terror of her youth. What was that call? It tasted of blood, sweat, and anger. If she bent herself to its will, how far they might go, how much could they partake. She could delight in it, she could wallow in the blood as Adenna once had. She could find that Togorian pirate that-

 

No. She blinked. Letting the call, the emotion, and the evil will slip off of her mind. She kept close to Kirlocca, not daring to touch the blood. He whispered the same advice to her and she smiled up at him as he towered over her. She nodded her head with a smile. 

 

Then the world exploded in the pull of the darkside. It flowed everywhere in the street in front of them. Like a many tentacled beast, touching everything and pulling them into the depths of hell. She stumbled from the shock of it and fell heavily against Kirlocca. Dangersense creeping up her spine. As she put a steadying hand on his arm, letting her calm sooth and protect them both from whatever wiles the sith had begun to spin on this planet. 

 

She reached a hand beneath her cloak and retrieved the long handled lightsaber, she pressed it into his hand. Trusting herself with the shoto. They were both Jedi Masters, but he was far better than she would ever be with a blade. They would need to work very closely together to get out of this mess. And if there was someone to be trusted with her life, it was Kirlocca. A stablizing figure that she had known since childhood. 

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A death echoed through the force. It barely registered among the claustrophobic press of the darkside, and the mass of death from the Alliance invasion on the northern stretches of the city. 

Close. Blocks away. A close moment of terror that spiked through the muck and quickly cut off in a spasm of death. But there was something beside that death in the force. A rage and malice that could only be attributed to…

 

The Sith Lords. 

 

This was not the ancient slumbering evil that permeated the planet like a fog, this was the same vigorous malice that had been supposedly ‘defeated’ in the months before. She could have thought herself mistaken, but then the evil presence declared itself openly in the force like a beacon. An avarice and lust that broke through any pretence. Calling, begging, for her to confront it. A familiar feeling. A familiar evil that harkened like a memory across the years to the first cracks in the Galactic Alliance, a Jedi Council that had sat in silent judgement, and a daring mission to Nal Hutta.  

 

The memories came flickering across her mind strong enough that she could almost smell the sweat and burned duraplast armour. She had been in her teens, when she had last seen that Massassi warrior. A man carved from the shadows of time. A man that had not taken a hand offered in redemption. A voice, a name, brimming with anger, whispered in her ear as the layers of memory echoed through her mind. 

 

 "I am Trodai Narat iv-Adas. Descendant of Adas himself"

 

A name that fit the evil that he had brought to this planet. She took a steadying breath and squeezed Kirlocca’s arm. She smiled in reaction to his force presence and let her own fully manifest itself. With a breath, fear melted away and she opened herself fully to the force. They were no longer alone indeed. Presences filled her mind as she reached into the force for guidance. Stern and loving Kirlocca appeared at the forefront of her mind. A creature of virtue and steadfast in the storm, whose sadness stuck to his fur like oil tar. She hugged him tightly, not knowing if they would see each other again until after the battle was long over. There would be victory over that pain. There would be victory over despair and revenge. 

 

In that instant she could also feel the presence of dear Leena and Lallu facing their own battle for survival. Brave Leena. A leader now among the Jedi Order. Strong Lallu, a woman undefeated by her demons. They would win their fight. And easily too. Her mind touched theirs, giving reassurance. The next second she could sense the Sovereign Knights, their grim determination and battlemeld feeling like a shield in the force. They were fighting like the heroes of their ancient houses. She said a quick prayer for their safety as she let the grey blue cloak fall from her shoulders. She ran towards that beacon of darkness. Her own rpresence a bright ray of light. 

 

It was time to face the Sith again without fear. It was time to put to rest forever their terror.

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There. She could feel him before she could see him. A man, such as he was, a head above and  standing in the centre of a sea of the perverse ‘Linnorm’ breed of Falleen. Outside his ring of men lay the corpses of the resistance. Crumpled, lifeless, and cut down before they could see their summer of freedom. More names to carve on the memorial to those who had fallen in the face of Sith tyranny. Names of simple folk beside the names of empresses and princes. Equal in courage and in death. 

 

The Massassi had grown since they had last met. Both in stature and in power, a power driven by the sharp burning of rage which echoed off of him like waves in the force strong enough that she could almost feel the heat of his anger on her face. An anger quickly explained as he opened his mouth to speak. She slowed to a stop, standing a distance in front of the Sith Lord as he spoke. In her experience with the Sith, save for cat-eyed Nryrys, there was always the desire to monologue. To build themselves up in cloaks of words befitting kings before they set to their bladework. To justify their evil deeds and to mock those they had destroyed. Trodai was no different. He spent his breath in a blusterous outrage about his desire for revenge and gratification for his destruction of all that may have been good about Falleen. 

 

“You may call me what you wish Trodaí, but I will not call you the name which you have claimed. It is a name of suffering, of agony and angst that does not deserve the breath it takes to utter its foulness. I only wish that you had taken the chance of redemption all those years ago for you have wrought only destruction in your pursuit of me. Show me what you have learned in the darkness.”

 

It was time. She took another breath, her bright green eyes glancing across the ruined street then back to the Sith Lord. She shook her head. Bright golden hair bouncing past her shoulders. It’s platinum locks catching distant light of fires that lit the horizon. Her hand fell to the lightsaber shoto that hung from a ring at her hip. Her other hand outstretched to the civilians and militia that lay in the gutters, their bright red blood mixing with dust and fallen ashes. 

 

“This planet cries out for Justice against you Troidai, and I will see it done.” 

 

The same thread of justice that had brought them together on Nal Hutta. The same justice that had shaken the galaxy to its roots. She pulled upon that thread, and prepared to fight. 

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The Jedi master took a centering breath. Listening for the song. Though the breath stank of copper blood and fading fear. The force moved along the street, tracing to the foundations of a planet that sang out in a mighty cry for Justice. The song sang for redemption though the Sith lord spat and prattled against it. 

 

Sandy’s bright green eyes flickered across the street, across the brainwashed Linnorms who stood in rapt silence, and across the stains of death. Death itself was no unnatural thing, countless generations who had lived and died in peace were buried in the soil of this planet. Princely bones lay in their great tombs. Their family names and crypts wearing away under the thunderstorms that beat down upon the industrial city. But the Sith had brought the unnatural stain of mass murder. Cutting threads of fate like a farmer with his scythe. He had brought slavery and wickedness, a brutality that cut to the heart of every person that had walked upon the streets of Falleen. But still its people had maintained hope. Its earth carried that great hope though soaked in martyrs blood. 

 

The very planet cried out in the name of justice. For where blood had spilled its crimson tide, the rocks wept the names of the dead. She could hear its song, a chant, a plea. A lament for justice against the heavy yoke of slavery. For its people had been stripped of their identity, they had been enslaved, and now they were murdered and discarded in the name of power. But still they hoped. Trodai had claimed his wrath and rage, he had striven in shadow, to beat the brows of all around him. Wrapping himself in the short stinted glories of terror. While the very earth below his feet screamed a song of rebellion. It called the names of its martyrs. 

 

Khalen. The mechanic who lay in the gutter by his work. 

Preseni who had been cut down before the gates of her father’s house.  

Old and feeble Thrandria who had dared lift her eyes and spit in the face of the Masters of the Sith. 

 

Names sang in the Jedi Master’s ears, joining a chorus that echoed from street to street, to the glens and hills, and into the untamed valleys of Falleen. There would be justice, there would be hope, there would be Redemption for this Land.

 

For Trodai had made his pitiable choice and marked it with a thousand meaningless words. There was a finality in him. A complete surrender to the darkness. He would be brought to face the planet's song of justice and answer for its slaughtered children. Sandy reached to the force and it flocked joyfully to her call. It gathered around her, spreading out along the street as the force moved. With every breath the world cried for her to act, a deep voice keening in joyous thunder for the end of Sith perversion. Its joy and hope touched her heart and the Jedi Master would gladly join its song. 

 

With a twitch of her booted foot, the street split in its foundations and the very rocks and earth moved like a mighty wave, to dash the massassi upon the stone facade of the streetfront. The earth would subsume him and all his perversion.

 

((1))

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The Jedi Master took another breath as she felt the force move. A violent and evil movement from the Sith warrior that split rock and stone with explosive vigor. His laughter echoed above the sharp reports of the shattering stone and moving earth. Dangersense pawed at the back of her neck and alongside the half heard laughter came also stones, sharp and propelled by the vicious nature of the dark side. Trodai was only a mass of fury and malice. A bright beacon of anger in the force, standing in stark contrast to the song which called in chorus for a turning to redemption. A song that the Massassi would never hear.

 

Her body moved almost of its own accord, following the rhythms in the force and pushing off with her booted feet. She moved quickly, the force guiding her steps and letting the majority of the shards pass her by as they wasted their hated energy against the air and fell harmless to the broken street. But two found purchase, one cutting a furrow along her jawline and the other skipping off her left arm. Both drew blood, and Sandy could feel its warm wetness oozing down her neck. Mixing with the dirt and sweat to stain her tunic a ruddy crimson. There would be time for pain and recovery later. Her own pain could wait until the Sith had been laid low and Falleen redeemed. Laughter died in her ears as she let the force flood her senses. 

 

The chorus sang again names of those that had had their fate cut short by the childish rage of Trodai and his men. So many names that reverberated in bass undertones. A song of mourning that would raise to a hopeful conclusion. 

 

Jin-har, the last of her family who died only minutes before.

Kaelin who had held a blaster for the first and last time in her life

For little Fenra who did not live to see ten summers and had been cut down in crossfire.

 

Bodies that would sit open eyed under the turning of the stars as their people were ravaged by the Sith. A people enslaved that cried for justice with every voice. Sandy raised her hand. Her fingers running across the threads of the force that tied the world to its foundations. She let the song direct her hand and the force flowed in a joyous chorus.

 

For Trodai had named himself Wrath and Anger. He had named himself Monster and the very planet raised itself in rebellion to his yoke of slavery. It only took a nudge of the force and a casm split and opened under his feet, to break and falter his spiteful advance. Falleen could not bear such malice to tread upon its streets save to open him a grave. She gestured with her hand and the crumbling stone facade of the buildings next to him tremoured in the force. What great buildings they may have been before the occupation of the sith, when all business and leisure were driven from its tall shadow. Abandoned now and rotting under the beating rain.  Great chunks of load bearing hewn stone and blast molded durasteel reinforcement split from the abandoned great structures and sped at Troidai with the awesome power of the force. A deluge to bury a pitiful monster in his grave.

 

((2))

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  • 2 weeks later...

The monster had been injured but not destroyed, but as with all great works, nothing was instant. A great work of symphony could take any minutes, hours even, to get to the crescendo. And the Force moved heavily as Sandy and the pitiable monster began their last chords. A clash of bright light and utter darkness. Threads of Redemption against bitter anger and brutalism. A planet and people long scarred by an oppression that had stolen everything from them. Trodai in his blind passion had destroyed the identity of an entire species, kidnapped their youth, and had led them to a slaughter. And for what? A crown that had already slipped from his brow? He was no Dark Lord. Others had seized that title and had dispensed of their entire galactic might leaving Trodai without the power he had sought so hard to find. 

 

Even in revenge there would be no relief. There was no final satisfaction in such an act, for a life consumed with rage and passion could never be truly fulfilled. There must always be an objective, a center of the rage, or passion or lust. For if there was none of those it would turn upon itself. It was a pitiable lifestyle. A snake eating the world until it had eaten all but itself. Turning to eat its own tail. A story, a song, as old as humanity itself. And somewhere beneath the song and the movement of the force Sandy felt her heart weep for Trodai. Even as he bounded towards her, his lightsaber reaching for her soul. For though there was a righteousness in the defeat of such an evil, he had still been at one point a man. Before bitterness and rage had filled every ounce of him and burned him beyond recognition. 

 

He had gotten close, and the song filled her ears as she began to move in concert with the Sith Lord. She could not defeat him blade to blade, that was not her battle. So the Jedi Master began to move as the song directed her. A thousand opportunities and a thousand more possible directions, most ending in almost instantaneous death. All required a sacrifice of pain. 

 

She took another steadying breath and let the force guide her, there was little time and the song was coming to its crescendo. She took a step back and pushed off with her right leg, letting the force flow through her to amplify her push away. The Sith would not find the easy delight of her death. 

 

The first and second blows found purchase, cutting through the light cloth and scoring a wicked burn across her midriff. The flesh burned painfully and the second blow caught her outstretched left arm as she pushed away. Burned to the very bone, a sudden stiffness catching at her tendons. Another wound that would take a very long time to heal. Just like the world that she was trying to save. 

 

Distance was what she needed and the threads of the force now lay arced to where she once had been. Where the Sith Lord glowered in malice. A malice that had led him into a deathly trap. The force moved heavily in anticipation. And the Jedi master let it guide her. 

 

Sandy flexed her uninjured hand, gathering the threads that the force had connected to her, and with a pull the song did the rest. 

 

The names were too numerous now, thousands and thousands. Those countless sons and daughters of Falleen that had been led to their doom above Nar Shaddaa. Whose bones would never settle in the earth of their home world. An unnumbered loss, which the planet cried out for justice. Tens of thousands of memories, of childhoods, of lives lost for useless wrath and useless rage. 

 

Justice the song sang in ten thousand voices. 

 

And the buildings all around where she had been echoed the song. How many joyful days the great stone buildings had seen. When avenues were full of smiles and laughter. Now long gone and the streets full of rot. Full of the one who had brought damnation to the world and its peaceful inhabitants. 

 

The buildings themselves fractured, their edifices already torn and their foundations shattered. The tall buildings came down as fast as the force could pull them onto the pitiable Trodai. The planets song reaching to smite him for his evil with every brick and stone. With effort Sandy lifted her injured arm and let the force flow through it. Letting it form a bubble of protection that expanded out before and above her. A shield of the bright white light of Justice. 

 

The Fanged God would be defeated even if it’s twisted minion threw himself upon her shield. For Justice had called his name and Falleen would be redeemed. 
 

((3)) ((Great Duel my friend))

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  • 2 weeks later...

A rain of boulders cascaded upon her shield, pushing her back step by step as her bleeding and burned arm shook against the pressure. Her other hand held steady, bringing the threads of the force together until they met. The earth beneath her feet trembled mightily, the planet giving its last vestiges of strength to defeat the sith lord that had held it under its sway for the last few years. The song exploded in her ears, voices singing for a moment in rejoicing as the bright spot of hate and anger before her shield vanished. Consumed in anger, rage, and death. Crushed beneath a thousand tonnes of earth and rubble. Buried alongside his men in the world he had long crushed under heel. A tomb that heralded the end of the Sith on Falleen. 

 

A tomb that would grow a field of wildflowers while the earth beneath reclaimed the flesh of its people and what remained of its conqueror. 

 

Rest now Trodai.

 

Her voice was soft, exhausted, and sorrowful. Perhaps in another life the Sith Lord could find the redemption she so wished for him. In another life he could carry a silver crown and not one of fangs and blood. In another life they could share drinks instead of crossing sabers. She took another breath and turned away, walking towards where she could feel the presence of Kirlocca and another being. She could sense also her missing apprentice, who had grown in strength and power in the force. A blessing.

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Deep exhaustion clung to her skin like a vac suit. Where on her body there was not a wound, there was the deep ache of strained muscles. The streets were mostly deserted now, dark and filled with stark shadows from the few fires in buildings that had been struck by errant missiles and ammunition from the battle in the north. She took a strengthening breath, letting the force fill her, letting it touch where she was wounded. The long carved lines on her chin, shoulder, and arm glowing with the healing power of the force. 

 

The battle was won. Such as it was. The Sith were defeated again only a week or so since their last great defeat. And when Sandy breathed in again she could feel the presence of many Jedi and their Sov Knight equivalents. And one light presence only a few meters away from where she had paused. An alien but honourable mind and the mind of a scared child. Hiding for protection. She took a few steps and looked into the alleyway where she could see a large wookiee and a wounded child. Not exactly the Wookiee Jedi she had been trying to find, but she smiled best she could despite the blood that still seeped from the deep wound on her face. Her Gala accent only slightly showing itself. Alongside the tattered jedi tunic that she wore. 

 

“Well met stranger, what brings you from the shade of wroshyr to these desolate streets?”

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There was a peace in the words he spoke, a lasting calm that could only have come from many years of meditation that shone through the more guttural language of his species. And when he spoke of his titles she smiled in return though the gesture browns some deel of fresh blood seeping from the deep cut along her chin. A mark made by the fury of defeated darkside. 

 

“Well met friend, I am Sandy Sarna, Jedi Master of Gala.” A backwater world that had once housed an entire division of the Jedi Order, a decade before the Sith had destroyed everything and everyone she had grown up with. It was now a ruin, with only skeletons and ruined machinery to mark what had once been the pinnacle of the reforged order. An order of which only her and Kirlocca, the presence she felt now very close, remained. 

 

On a second's reflection perhaps it was odd for her to be a Jedi Master. And though she did not carry the awkwardness she had felt several years before on the title, she had never desired the appointment, and her youth did not do her any favours. But still, she smiled and gave him a half bow. 

 

 “Thank you for taking care of this child, you do us honour with your presence.” She reached out with the force and touched Kirlocca’s mind. Feeling his exhaustion and inviting him to approach and take a moment’s respite. She herself took the moment to lean against the wall of the alley, breathing deeply as the force worked on her exhausted muscles.

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Sandy smiled as widely as the bleeding cut would allow her, sitting gingerly upon the flat piece of rubble and letting her back relax against the ruins of the wall. She took a steadying breath and let the force ease the pain that was coursing from her arm, shoulder, and face. She looked up for a moment to catch the eye of Kirlocca as he rounded the corner and her heart was glad to see him. They had both fought a bitter battle against the Lords of the Sith and from a look at him he was just as beat up as she felt. But the words he spoke made her feel like the likely concussion she had carried from the blow of Trodais had really rattled her brain. 

 

He carried Raven’s soul? That meant she had been killed by the Sith arts that had only been whispered about in the temples of her youth. A horrid thing to do to someone, a pure evil that was expected from the Sith that had ruled this planet. 

 

She held out hands that still trembled. Taking the lightsaber that she had loaned him with her right hand, leaving the other arm up for Kerriwar’s inspection. She could tell that the blade of the Sith had cut deep into her arm, into bone itself. As her hand grasped the lightsaber hilt her eyes widened in a moment of shock. And she looked back to the Jedi Master, puzzlement on her freckled face. 

 

“I do not sense death on this saber. You can smell it on my hands, they buried the master of this world and are covered in his death. We have both been much battered in this fight.” 

 

It had been an unavoidable death. A neccessary one. Her eyes looked over his wounds as she spoke. They were not words of criticism but surprise. It was not likely that the Sith Lord had given up his prize of the empress without one hell of a fight. She smiled again, surrounded as she was by the two massive Wookiees would have in any other instance been intimidating, but Sandy felt their presence a comfort after the hellscape that had been the last hour. 

 

“Kerriwar here was just looking to my wounds , though I feel like I must introduce you teo. Kirlocca this is Kerriwar the Tree keeper, and Kerriwar this is Master Kirlocca, of whom you may have heard quite a lot. He is a member of our Jedi Council and a great friend of mine.” 

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Sandy returned the smile with one of her own if slightly lopsided smile from the cut on her face. There would need to be an extensive conversation, likely with the whole council about this crystal that Kirlocca now possessed. It brought with it a thousand questions of which she was not quite prepared to think about. Bringing Raven back would cause an immediate divide in the current galactic government, a divide that could only lead to needless death. But she could sense Raven,and though she had never held a long conversation with the ‘empress’ she did not think she was some evil force like some of the old Jedi council had. But this was Kirlocca’s decision, it was his prize, and his love. And who was she to deny life? 

 

A numbness in her arm seized her from her thoughts and she looked down at her arm with surprise. The poltice mixed with the chants of the Wookiee was fascinating. The peace that rolled off of him even moreso. Untrained force healing. A blessing from nature and from the forest world itself. He was tapping into an ancient form of naturalism and Sandy could not help but keep a smile plastered across her bloody face. She looked up to Kirlocca then back at Kerriwarr 

 

“Amazing, thank you Kerriwarr, is this something you learned amongst the Tree Carers?”

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  • 2 weeks later...

Sandy reached out and picked up the berry from the palm of the Tree Carer. It was large and a distinct grey yellow, but she did not hesitate to place it in her mouth and its taste was refreshing. She smiled and looked back at the two wookiees. She had something decidedly clever to say, but it was lost with the crackle of Kirlocca’s comm link. She leaned back against the wall and let her eyes flutter closed. Her voice was soft as she spoke to Kerriwarr, she wanted to learn more about him and his people, but for now there was something she needed to do. 

 

“The Grandmaster calls for our aid to banish this darkness. Though I do not wish to ask you for more of your help, if you can but observe us both, there may be much to learn.” 

 

The silent offer was there, if he wished he could delve further into the force as he knew it, or sit and observe the two Jedi Masters, such as they were after their fight, and attempt to aid the grandmaster from afar. Her voice was hoarse and barely above a whisper as she spoke. 

 

“First we must find our centre amongst the turbulence.” 

 

Death, destruction, violence. All of it sang out in the force in a horrendous cacophony of sound and feeling. The Darkside spoke through such violence, and she could sense its familiar voice amongst the whirlwind of the planet. It spoke through the actions of many sentients on this planet, though it spoke mainly temple and the fountains of blood that had been spilled upon its alters. It would take many years she knew before the last vestiges of that darkness were washed away. But that was a mission for another time, and she breathed in a breath of fresh air. Darkness would not hold to her, she had confronted it many years before, and joy, love, and peace would displace the malevolence that clung to this planet. 

 

“Find your cornerstone.” 

 

Those long nights now turned to day. She found her assurance. She found the source of her joy, that justice that would be poured out on this world like perfume from a bottle. 

 

“And push back against the dark” 

 

Like wax would shrivel and melt before a wall of flame, so would the creatures of darkness. She had buried their leader, and this world would be free. She could feel the bright hot presence of Kirlocca and Kerriwarr, of Leena her friend, and the new bright light of dear Keenava. Also shone forth the bright presences of the Sovereign Knights, and beside them her old and dear friend Kyrie Eleison. Her presence brushed against theirs and together she knew that they would overcome the darkness that infested this place.

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Calix Meus Inebrians

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It felt like a thousand pounds of weight had lifted from her shoulders. Almost as if the next breath of air that she took was in the meadows of Gala that she had spent so many youthful springtimes in. She could almost smell the distant tiny blue flowers. Feel the warmth of the sun on her face as the rays dried the tears of winter. The darkness was fading and all around them the world rejoiced. Even in the ruins of the capital, amongst the burning and the rubble and the death, there was peace. 

 

But she was tired. Exhaustion from the last many hours was now flooding back into her system that had been relatively restored from her use of the force and the Tree Carer’s help. She leaned heavily against the wall for a moment then took another breath before pushing herself to her feet. She swayed for a moment then steadied herself and looked at her two companions. 

 

“There is much to be done and a galaxy that needs more healing than I can possibly imagine.”

 

 She made a half grin then friend at the pain from her cut face. She looked to Kerriwarr. Her voice recovering a bit of its cheery tones.

 

“It would do me much honour to have you by my side in this if you would come with me.”

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Calix Meus Inebrians

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She spared a glance over her shoulder to where sunlight was illuminating the street that she had fought the ruler of Falleen. Not a trace of him or his men, consumed by the world as it turned flesh to bone in its depths. Someday there would be flowers here, and children would again play along the avenues. That small vision was the hope of the galaxy. But what was on the horizon for her? She was not old, she had not even reached a quarter century, but she had never known peace. Even the days of her youth during the noontide of the Galactic Alliance’s power were filled with training, then tragedy, heartache and death. When she had achieved some semblance of stability and a knighthood, the galaxy had been thrown into bitter turmoil. 

 

First there were whispers at the edges of the galactic rim. Rumours of the unnamed terror, lurking there as it spread its web through the hearts of the Galactic Alliance. Political fracture happened next, the Remnant with all its good intentions carrying its sword into the outer rim to fight the resurgent Sith Lords. Shouting in the halls of the Jedi temple. Bitter words traded between master and knight, apprentice and master. A Council that stood idly by and let the Jedi Order itself fracture into a revanchist crusade while it sat in high towers or white stone. Ignoring the cries of a people oppressed. How many of those she had grown up with had left for the Remnant? They had slipped away in the night, leaving their lightsabers piled in front of the doors to the council chamber. Trading the white robes for the crimson armour of the Imperial Knights. Leaving the Galactic Alliance without those in the Jedi Order willing to defend it.

 

Though the council had tried in the end. And many of their bodies had not yet been recovered in the orbits of Duxn and Onderon, or obliterated at Coruscant. The great order reduced now to a pale shadow of what it once was, a victim of its own hubris. A lesson, or many lessons, there were to learn from the past decade. And a hundred faces that she would never see again. Even those of her apprentices, Frond and Kel whom she dearly missed, and a love long quested for which had been lost forever. 

 

All those bitter memories passed like a wave over her and she paused in her steps. Letting the emotion roll up and over her but not bury her. She took a breath. For a life without suffering was a life that had not been lived. She was grateful for those sufferings, those losses. Those great changes. Even those painful nights in the hands of slavers so many years before. Though each was a tragedy, each had given her insight and the ability to help others. To serve even as the galaxy fell apart. 

 

And now it was time for the wheel to turn again. For her to take an apprentice, teach him and to learn from him. To sow the seeds of peace and growth in whatever time they had before the Sith returned. But could she, a Jedi moulded only by suffering and war, really be an instrument of peace? Time would tell. She beckoned the Tree Carer to follow her as she walked towards one of the Sovereign Knight’s shuttles. There would be a path from Chandrilla to a Jedi holding in the core worlds, but for now…

 

“Tell me how the forests of Kashyyyk fair. It has been many years since I last walked under their shade.”

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Calix Meus Inebrians

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She thought for a moment as they walked towards the large array of Sovereign Alliance vessels that were queuing up to take the many injured and exhausted soldiers back to the core worlds. She gestured vaguely to one of the mixed transports, likely one for injured refugees, and turned towards it. It would take them to the Agricultural world of Salliche, which the order had been given to steward. The ramp was crowded so she chose to wait in the long line.

 

“I pose a question to you my friend.” She ran her finger across the scab that had developed along her jawline before continuing. “There are several planets that seem to be a consistent target for the Sith in their ongoing brutalism every so many decades. Why have your people not turned to rampant militarism as the once peaceable Naboo?”

 

((to space))

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Calix Meus Inebrians

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