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Falleen


Darth Heretic
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Leena tried not to wince against the firm grip of the powerful Wookie. It would not look good for a potential pirating employer. If they were going to be going adventuring for jewels, she needed to be tough enough to get the job done; or at least appear so. Withdrawing her hand, she slipped the jewel back out of sight within her cloak. She nodded slowly in agreement to Kirlocca’s query. Such a thing as the master’s toll begged explanation.  
 

Still, the air was heavy and the idea of a table for the group, the one offered by the sultry waitress seemed a possibility. Leena was prepared to accept the offer when she felt a sharp pain flash through the force as Keeneva pinched herself. She winged momentarily as the lain arced across her mind. It was enough to slap Leena’s mind out of the fog.
 

“I think we’ll pass on the table,”
 

she smiled to the waitress.
 

“Our crew won’t be needing it anyways. A bottle of green champagne though, something from the back stores, would be most appreciated. Something to celebrate this new alliance.”

 

Leena looked off trying to catch Keenava’s eye, she wondered where her apprentice, @Basi, had gotten off to. She hoped he had not fallen under the sway of the locals. Falleen pheromones were potent stuff.  Locking eyes with the Twi’lek, Leena let her eyes wander the room raising a questioning eyebrow. 

Edited by Leena Kil
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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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The waitress let her well groomed eyebrows creep towards the dark shadowed ceiling as the ‘crew’ made their welcomings.  She took her green thumb back towards the bar top, then looked at the wookiee, who seemed to be the most in charge.

 

“It’s the tax to the temple. The priests, all the rest.” She tapped the serpentine locket whose beady crimson eyes stared platonically back at the travelers. “Any business, transaction or contract signed needs to be witnessed by a priest, and the proper toll paid to the serpent God. And don’t think you are exempt because you just stepped off the ship from Taris-stan or wherever.”

 

She sighed and looked at the fish faced Calamari. 

 

“So you want a bottle but don’t want a table?” 

 

Outworlders, how bleeding exhausting. She reached behind her and dragged one of the free standing chairs from a partially occupied table to this one. Well this tip would be atrocious. Outworlders were two types of people, core logged spacers whose flight hours included the Hydian way who came to slum in the mid rim with all that remained of the sith empire. Or those that were truly lost and preferred to keep it that way. But there was a third type of Outworlders. Those the priests screamed on about in their sermons. Those that would seek to undermine the god himself. If only they were that lucky. She sighed and went to grab the bottle and a few clean glasses

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Keenava found a reliable groove to follow that effectively smothered the whispers conspiring to drag her into very uncomfortable territory. That is, until Sandy's scarred hand clasped her wrist.

 

At the fragile contact, Keenava's defenses vaporized like tissues in a typhoon. Catalyzed by the surprise, chutes of electricity shot up the sinew of her arm, exploded like fireworks at the crux of her skull, and fell down the length of her brain tails. There the sensations lingered, smoldering at the tips of her lekku, taunting her.

 

Keenava's imagination hadn't sufficiently emulated the touch of a callused master's hands as they slid across the thin flesh of her forearm, eliciting a soft yet vibrant blush in the apples of her cheeks. Images of ecstasy danced in her brain at the razor's edge of decorum. And, without the ability to rely on the force for fear of doubling down on her fantasies, Keenava was trying to tread water as the surface rose quickly above her head. 

 

But then, almost as quickly as it came, the candle was snuffed out. The sensation of peace washed over her, replacing and renewing her confidence. Sandy's power was a gentle rock to lean on, standing against the tide, and it helped Keenava regain her footing.

 

Perhaps she would investigate and unpack her curiosity at another time, but loosely indulging her ego or id was not something she deemed appropriate anymore. Especially when it was very possible her feelings would not be returned.

 

"Hey, miss," Keenava hailed the waitress as she walked by, "can I get a Hyperdrive?" Keenava asked, flashing a warm smile. "If you don't have that, please get me a nice juice or some water. I don't need alcohol this early. Thank you."

 

The former Sith Lord leaned against a wall near the table they were gathering at and handed the waitress a modest credit chip as compensation. The ident on the account had no details about her in particular if anyone chose to investigate. The creds ran to an account on Corellia owned by a woman named Ullanna Gwynn. And, at least in this case, it wasn't because Keenava was incredibly prepared. It was due to the fact that that was the only account Keenava had ever opened, and she still remembered the access codes.

Edited by Keenava Dira
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The hug he got from Sandy as she sat down in the booth was both welcoming and warm. In fact, it was the first time someone had touched him outside of a handshake or attempted kill since he was brought back. Outside of Raven that is. It reminded him of many memories of he had teaching younglings and the countless number of apprentices he trained over the years. But such feelings had to be kept down for the moment, as the group was larger than what he expected. In fact, when he suggested coming here to Korvo, he didn't imagine that they would encounter other Jedi. The Force was betraying him to a sense. Or rather he was too emotionally compromised to fully feel it. The later was more likely to be true as opposed to the first. As the waitress left for a moment, Kirlocca withdrew from a pouch under his bandolier a credit chip. 

 

<< We're going to have to pay that tax, most likely a few times unless we're okay with drawing unwanted attention to ourselves. >>

 

The Jedi Master leaned back into his spot on in the booth, brining back in with him his creditchip as to not draw attention to himself from the waitress.. He took a moment and looked around at the group. Leena, the Jedi Master whom he knew from Chandrila seemed to be the point person for the group of Jedi. Sandy, the always warm and welcoming presence. A male Togruta whom he had never met before, along with a Twi'lek whom he felt like he should know, but didn't have any memories come to mind or name.  Then there was the brown haired Korvo, Imperial Lieutenant who decided to accompany the Wookiee to keep him from getting into trouble. The group did not truly meet any standards of a working pirate crew, so Kirlocca knew he couldn't make any comments out loud about them knowing each other from that. 

 

<< Korvo, this is an old friend->> He said as he pointed towards Leena. << She was always good at finding jobs that paid well. She even gets her own hand dirty sometimes, mainly when Mandalorians are in the mix. >> 

 

The comment was made in reference to when the two did have to engage against Mandalorians on Chandrila. It was a way to openly let the Imperial officer know that the new crew was indeed a friendly contact. He felt comfortable using Korvo's name, as it wasn't well known to anyone. As the waitress came back with glasses and a bottle, he decided to address the main issue head on.

 

<< I have about three hundred and fifty credits, how much is the tax? Or does it change upon the deals made? >>

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They opted to remain quiet, conserve energy, the battalion although really a squad of three Clones, the "Bad Company," spent their time reloading abd repairing equipment and weapons. This also included repainting and fixing the damage on the armor of primary black and accented orange, not the standard colors of the Galactic Alliance nor the Imperial Remnant, but it works better than not. When Falleen was mentioned the Clones hid the Grand Republic insignia as their battalion symbol was left on, they didn't know what situation Falleen was in but given it was originally either a Sith occupation or a sieged world they did not was to run the risk of the republic patch being recognized.  It was always nice to work for someone you don't openly "associate" with from time to time, doing illegal things for the sake of the law was fun in itself. 

 

Neither of the Troopers had been on Byss, however they remained silent and more or less focused on the tasks at hand. Still they would be traveling alongside two Jedi this time, maybe even pick up some souvenirs or a drink. Once they landed the soldiers suited up and checked their gear, and  after exiting Tilt would tell the duo befire they passed the squad, "We'll be shadowing you, Generals. If something goes wrong we'll relay you, but otherwise we got your backs." 

 

On e everyone was on a move, the squad would literally blend in with the surroundings, walking more like actual mercenaries than soldiers, looking around for trouble and of course a "job" if they picked one up. Of course right now they were keeping an eye on their Jedi to make certain they weren't in trouble... Not that the Jedi would be, still, it was best to have backup in case things got too hairy. Upon the rain getting heavier the Jedi moved faster until going into a nearby bar where the Clones would follow. No one had said much, just that they were more or less tired from the back to back missions and combat they were involved in, but at tge same time the squad was very much awake and focused. 

 

When entering the bar Tilt immediately led the group to the opposite end of the bar to a lone table. They took their seats and started to quietly chat, however in truth they were very much keeping tabs of the ongoings of the bar. 

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The bartender, an overlarge and gregarious Hutt watched the three clone trooper swho  sat at the long table, their armor gleaming in the dim light of the cantina. They were a sight to behold, each one a perfect copy of the other, their faces set in determined lines. The bartender watched them from behind the counter, a feeling of unease settling in his many many stomachs. These were not ordinary soldiers, but fighting machines, created for one purpose: to serve the Republic and fight in the Clone Wars, or at least it was, many many many years ago

 

As he mixed various, idiotic and fizzy drinks, the bartender couldn't help but wonder what horrors they had seen on the battlefield. What atrocities had they committed in the name of duty? And yet, despite everything, they remained stoic and resolute, their loyalty to, perhaps The Republic unwavering. Or was it the Empire. Or perhaps some form of Sovereign Alliance. Or maybe they were Jedi. 

 

The clone troopers lifted their glasses and clinked them together, their eyes meeting in a silent toast. The bartender watched as they drank, his greasy hand shaking slightly as he wiped down the counter. These were not men, but weapons, and he couldn't shake the feeling that their presence bode ill for the future of his comfortable and definitely not a mafia or Sith Front of a bar. 

 

The overfat Hutt couldn't help but notice a Twi'lek across the room. She was tall and slender, with a lithe grace that caught his eye. But it wasn't her appearance that captured his attention, it was the way she moved. It was almost as if she were dancing, her body flowing with an unconscious grace that he had only ever seen in one other person.

 

Lallu.

 

The name hit him like a physical blow, bringing with it a wave of memories and emotions that he had thought long buried. Lallu had been a dancer, or maybe a Sith Assassin or something, a Twi'lek like this one, with the same flowing movements and captivating presence. He had met her in a cantina much like this one, or maybe a Sith Temple, or maybe on a Mission, and they had spent a wild and passionate night together, at least in his mind. But in the harsh, and yet dim light of the bar, he had realized that he could never truly be with her. She was a dancer, and he was just a Hutt, he was a punk, she did ballet, what more could he say

 

He had said goodbye and slithered out of her life, hoping that she would find someone who could give her the life she had deserved. And he had never looked back.

 

Until now.

 

As he watched the Twi'lek across the room, he couldn't help but feel a sense of longing and regret. He knew that he could never go back, that the past was the past. But he couldn't shake the feeling that he had made a mistake, that he had let something special slip through his greasy, chubby, dirty fingers.

 

Great crimson eyes, welling with tears, stared from behind bright blue contacts while his greasy hand fiddled with the poorly made prosthetic beard and large hooked nose that adorned his face. He couldn't help but notice a Wookie, all too familiar, speaking to a young blonde woman at the other end of the counter, and what may well have been Admiral Ackbar himself. The Wookie was tall and muscular, his fur ruffled and unkempt. He gestured wildly with his hands as he spoke, a look of intense concentration on his face, as if reminiscing upon the time he slept with an Empress or something. The young woman listened intently, her blue eyes fixed on the Wookie as he spoke as if imagining his ringlets of fur deep in her nostrils. She was slender and graceful, her blonde hair falling in soft curls around her shoulders, something of a flitmoth. She seemed to be hanging on his every word, her expression one of the rapt attention that often graced the faces of mindless young women

 

The Hutt watched the pair with interest, wondering what could have brought such disparate beings together in this seedy cantina. But he knew better than to ask questions, especially in a place like this, or meddle in a new budding romance, rife with shower scenes. He had learned long ago to mind his own business and keep his fat head down. So instead, he turned his attention back to those clone troopers, their presence a constant reminder of the dangers that lurked beyond the doors of the cantina, and that some people didn't know how to dress for a covert ops mission.

 

With their distinctive armor and precise movements, they stood out like sore thumbs in the dingy cantina. It was as if they wanted everyone to know exactly who they were and what they were capable of. The overlarge and sweaty bartender watched them cautiously, his grubby hand never straying far from the blaster concealed beneath the counter. He had heard stories about the clone troopers, about their strength and their bravery on the battlefield. But he had also heard rumors of their ruthlessness, of their willingness to do whatever it took to win. His mind wandered to the Nightsister Quesadillaea, and how she had slept with a clone or two. 

 

He couldn't help but wonder what had brought them to this backwater planet, to this seedy cantina in the middle of nowhere, so filled with phermones. Was it a mission to retake the planet, or were they simply passing through on their way to somewhere else? Perhaps they could use a large Hutt for some nighttime activities... 

 

His multiple, greasy folds seemed to quake with potential excitement. 

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King Kheldar vos Correlli said:
Sheog, I have to ask, overkill much?
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     The air tightened. The number of bodies began to test the edge of subtlety. It became increasingly obvious that something was going on, even to untrained eyes.

 

     Troopers of no indicated allegiance, mysterious hooded individuals, and a scant few nameless patrons that could easily contribute to the mess combined into a stew of suspicious origin. Her eyes gilded the cantina, leaving no inch untended. Conflict was inevitable, and her instincts fought to keep her aware of each ebb of the growing dissonance. The soothing touch of Sandy’s guidance was a boon, and she managed to successfully divert her intrusive thoughts, but it was a silver thread amidst a rough-hewn thatch.

 

     When she finished with the bulk of the building, her eyes fell on each patron in turn. And though his paltry beard was enough to give pause, the price tag clinging to its tawdry fibers diverted her gaze to a very familiar Hutt, gazing at her from behind the bar. The misshapen contacts did little to hide his crimson eyes, and his crooked nose looked like it was almost falling off his slimy face.

 

     Sheog...

 

     Despite herself, Keenava laughed. It was a bright sound, full of joy; there was no hint of the chaos she once possessed.

 

     The smell of blood and sod lingered in her mind. She could almost feel the scabs ghost over her arms, and she could remember the feeling of slime upon her lips. Alters warring against themselves, antiseptic burning the fibers of her skin, and uncertainty clashing with anxiety merged to form a lovely bouquet. The planet of Trulalis wasn’t the best memory she had. But it was where she first met Sheog, so it wasn’t all bad. And though she hadn’t always treated him as well as he deserved, he, Rose, and Raia were the only real friends she had until a few days ago. It was not the reunion she expected. But she was glad it was him.

 

     "I’ll be right back," Keenava said quietly to Sandy before making her way to the only open barstool. Like the others next to her, she sat with a mask of patronly indifference. However, her beautiful eyes—a brilliant amethyst replacing their former crimson hue—told a different story.

 

     "I’ll have a Hyperdrive or a cup of something fizzy if you don’t have it." Keenava said, settling her elbows on the bar. After a beat, the Twi’lek found a lapse and penned something discreetly on a small piece of paper. Then, through practiced sleight-of-hand, she pinned it to the back of a credit chip that she handed directly to the bartender. "Plus a little tip for your trouble," Keenava added with a genuine smile of gleaming ivory.

 

     When her drink came, she grabbed it happily and hopped off the stool, finding her familiar place on the wall a foot or two from Sandy and the others.

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Leena smiled warmly at the waitress as she accepted the drink, sliding a pilfered Sith credit chit, the kind still accepted on such a world, to the Falleen. 

“Keep the change.”

 

She smiled, probably warmer than she needed to. The bar was getting crowded; possibly a side effect of the regular workday ending and people

looking for a small window of escape from the world around them, even if they refused to acknowledge the hopelessness of their situation.

 

Turning towards Kirlocca, Leena’s eyes passed over @Basi, shrugging her shoulder forward indicating him to join them.

 

“Getting a little crowded in here.”

 

She mused,

 

”Lets adjourn back to our ship. All to many friendly faces about this joint.”

 

Leena raised the whole bottle toward the @Wookiee Jedi
 

“Better to enjoy this in private with fewer . . . Imperial . . . eyes,”

 

She shot a sidelong glance to the gaggle of commandos that had made themselves at home about the bar. She didn’t know who they were, but at a place like this, nine times out of ten they’d be unfriendly. Bounty hunters at best. Sith enforcers more likely.

 

Donning her hood again, Leena slid out into the lightly falling night rain, set to make it back to their transport. Her mind drifted to the letter from a long lost associate and the memories of the catastrophe that  had heralded a Sith invasion of Mon Cal, the world of her people. She was getting a déjà vu feeing about the whole thing. It was strong enough she could not help but steal a glance upwards for looming warships through the night covered clouds.

 

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Having lived primarily on a Sith occupied world for the last several years, the waitress was not adverse to seeing strange sights. An entire armoured squad of look alike human soldiers was certainly not ordinary even before the departure of the grand fleet. In fact they were so look alike that the waitress could swear they looked like clones and they carried a distantly familiar face. A dangerous element, especially with all the heavy crack downs the government had been doing recently. Her mind wandered as she selected the best and most expensive bottle for her patrons. Could this be the rumored rebellion coming? After leaving them to their own devices for so many years, having defeated their sons, brothers, and fathers, over Nar Shaddaa, now slowly seeding the world with operatives for a final confrontation?

 

No, that would be silly. Something out of a holo-film. Not real life. Nothing interesting happened here, she was not a main character of anyone’s story. She knew that, and had no aspirations to be a part of anything grandiose. Still, this development bothered her and a glance back to the bartender, told her he felt the same. She swallowed the sudden bile of fear that pulsed up into her throat, and she smiled back at the Wookiee. 

 

“I am sure three fifty will be far more than enough. You are most welcome to hire yourselves out as contract mercenaries or whatever you have a desire to do, just make sure that the Priests and masters get their cut. I can call a priest for you if you would like.” 

 

____

 

Outside the bar, in the dark streets amongst the oppressive tide of the darkside, three individuals approached the bar. Two huge and muscular men and a lithe woman who was covered with ornamental jewelry of a priestess. They tread past the hooded Leena without a second glance.

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Kirlocca almost looked confused at the sudden amount of movement and activity happening within the cantina, so his quick response was to down all that remained of his Garrmorl. His eyes went wide at the sudden intake of a lot of strong alcohol, but quickly recovered. His eyes darted towards Leena, who wanted to adjourn away, but he knew he couldn't leave, not after he set himself up as an ex-pirate looking to be hired. So he gave her a formal wave of goodbye, as if there was zero chance he'd follow her. Besides for his own past memories of getting into strange ships seemed to have been joged enough with the drink he just inhaled. 

 

He turned towards the door, to watch Leena leave, only to see two semi muscular men and a very tiny girl walk past her. They were covered in a bunch of fancy looking clothes and bright jewels, which were made to stand out. They looked as out of place as a Jawa at a senate party. His own fast working mind knew that they were the priests he was told about by the waitress who would need to be present to lock in a contract. Since she was still next to him, he felt he could further lock in his cover, which was already greater than perhaps the others. 

 

<< Would one of those outlandishly dressed people be priests? >> 

 

He had said it in a typical drunk pirate fashion. Loud, obnoxious and designed to be insulting. His experience with pirates, including his own dad allowed for him to know that they sneered at people who dressed royally in any fashion. They made themselves a mark, unless they made themselves an ally. With any bit of luck, or the Force, he would attract one or all three over. And if he played his cards right, information could come his way that would greatly profit him in what path the Jedi should take. Assuming they were all here for some purpose. He was simply just following the Force's guidance. The others here seemed like too much of a coincidence. 

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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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"The dancer, she seems like a fun little thing..." Riggs said quietly as he watched the woman almost in a hypnotic state. 

 

Tilt replies in equal near silence, "You should go for the Hutt, the one with the beard, he's been staring at ya for quite some time."

 

Behind the group were a gang of punks who had very good ears and were talking about everything that the Clones said to their buddies. They chuckled, and Thumper caught on quickly before jumping in, "Imagine it this way, all that flab makes for good leverage, you got natural oils that are so thick they could be used as lube, and let's not forget how loose and slimy they can get, the noises would be like churning butter."  

 

Thumpee made sure to make lireral churning slushing noises while rotating his fist abd moving his arm back and forth.  Some of the gangsters spat out their drinks, all of them standing up and cussing the Clones as they walked out with a ruined mood. Good. Riggs looked uncomfortable now and leaned his head onto his hand, replying, "Oh... Not feelin' too good... You're an ass Thumper..." 

 

"Speaking of which, I'd seen the menu, cheese sticks look good. Figured I'd go for a burger and fries too. Anything for you?" Tilt asks, being the vocal one of the group,  would wait until the waitress came back around. He watched every action and reaction, every movement that all had committed to their current placements. He watched as the Jedi left, which they could easily be tracked given his record of running into the bastards constantly back during the war. His war. But he didn't reminisce about that, instead if things went awry the Clone already thought up of every exit, enemy, and how many casualties there would be. 

 

 

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Berry fizz tickled,

              an expression of wonder;

then nothing remained.

 

 

     Keenava savored the dregs of her beverage. Bright notes of red fruit clung to the inside of her palate as the fizz settled at the back of her throat. It was a lovely bouquet, one that Keenava had hoped to repeat. But, as she bent from her post to discard her glass on a nearby tray, three newcomers joined the throng. The first figure was small and covered in ornamentation. The others who loomed behind were almost certainly hired muscle to cover the first.

 

     Bodies were displaced, pressing closer together, and the heat of the room rose a few degrees. She could feel the distinct weight of influence as everyone’s tempers shifted. It was as if the entire cantina tensed in unison, save for the troopers. They seemed content to continue their crude jokes and gestures.

 

     Keenava sidled up to Sandy and bent ever-so-slightly toward her master, letting one of her lekku—the one facing the front of the bar—fall in front of her before whispering, "I'm following Leena. If you need me, I’ll be at the ship."

 

     This close to her, it was almost impossible to ignore her intrusive thoughts, but Sandy’s guidance still sang beneath the chaos of her mind, keeping her away from inappropriate diversions.

 

     That said, getting out was easier said than done. She could simply walk out the door, but who's to say their new guests would let her leave?

 

     The repugnant behavior from the trooper’s table reached a fever pitch to the point that a group of toughs nearby were preparing to leave. Keenava, though also disgusted, saw her opening. She fell in step behind the rough-looking individuals as they left, shuffling her silhouette with theirs to mislead those that chose to follow. Once her tail hit the door, they veered into the crowd. Keenava broke and carefully followed her steps toward the shuttle, intentionally brushing Leena’s shoulder as she continued.

 

Edited by Keenava Dira
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Offworlders. Her lip twisted into a sneer at this vague collection of huddled masses and drunken soldiers. They were always far much more trouble than their credits were worth. It stank of them in this shoddy bar. Their fear was palpable, their rowdy alcohol fueled sexual discourse even more so, it mixed with the pale calming pheromones of the waitress to create a stink that curdled in the back of her throat. She sighed loudly and looked towards the Hutt bartender with a wry expression before turning her eyes to the cluster of soldiers that were making themselves known with a disgusting display. Ruffians. 

 

 Kali-Kera, priestess of the fifth temple, smirked at their harassment of the Hutt and walked straight to their table, stopping behind the leader and placing her hands on his shoulders. Strength she could pull from the Fanged God. And she applied that strength to the man before her, pushing down with a might that rooted him in place and made the durasteel chair he was sitting in groan, as she leaned forward to whisper into Tilt’s ear. 

 

“I do not know where you came from. Perhaps you have been in carbonite since the clone wars, or you are friends of General Delta, or General Delta himself. But we do not tolerate these kinds of shenanigans in our Domain.” 

 

_______

 

One of her bodyguards smirked at the display and turned his head to the Wookiee, giving him a look of a man long bored by stupid questions. 

 

“Yes this is one of the representatives of the Gods on our world, how may we assist you.”

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Consume us

 

Bare feet made little noise on duracrete walkpaths as she ran. Gods she ran. It felt like the very spirits were with her as she made her aimless sprint. Anything to get away. Anything to leave that terror behind. She could feel the cold ice of the blade still pricking at her chest, even though she had left the temple far behind. Every ragged breath an exposition of agony as her lungs struggled against the rising blood that was likely filling them. She could feel her knees weaken with every step, but still. 

 

Still she had to find mother. She had to tell her she was all right. That she was alive and to stop worrying. But every breath was an agony. And she could feel the thick foam of blood upon her lips. 

 

But running felt different, duracrete had turned to durasteel, and though she blinked her eyes to bat away the black at the edges of her vision it still covered most of it. Was she at the space port? She took another breath and broke into another coughing fit. The black disks covering her eyes like a shade as she pitched face first into the ground at the feet of a hooded Mon Calamari.

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Leena shuffled through the crowd, catching sight of @Keenava Dira as she brushed by. Sensing @Basi nearby, Leena moved with purpose back towards the spaceport, avoiding eye contact with the mulling crowds. The oppression was almost palpable in the air, but the glimmer of light that Leena and company carried with them cut through the darkness like a knife.

 

Seeing their ship up ahead, Leena’s pace quickened. The ship was their bastion of safety on this world and it carried their gear, specifically, a relic of Leena’s past. That was what she sought now. Before they could reach the ship though, a child tumbled to the ground in front of them. Had the force not been guiding Leena, she would have inevitably tripped. As it were she was able to jump over the child, reacting in the blink of an eye. Quickly the Mon Cal spun, sensing the fear, the pain, that seemed to consume the child.

 

Leena knelt, cradling the girl’s head in her arm. “There there my child,” she coo’d as she looked the girl over from head to toe attempting to sense or see any injuries visible and invisible. And then she came to the child’s eyes. They were glassy and dark. The Jedi felt a chill go down her spine as if the cold glove of the dark side had passed over her. Looking up, Leena waved Keenava towards them. “Get down here. We must keep the darkness at bay.” Leena pulled on the Twi’lek’s hand to pull her down to them. “Focus on the light. Find it within yourself and drive the darkness back from her mind.” Leena looked into Keenava’s eyes. “This girl needs you.” 
 

Tearing her eyes from the two, Leena looked up at her apprentice. “Get aboard the ship. Clear a space and find a medkit.”

 

”Oh,” he called as almost an afterthought, “and there is a piece of my gear tucked away. Find it. We’re going to need it.” She spoke of the lightsaber owned by her former master stowed aboard.

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On 1/17/2023 at 6:01 PM, Non-Playable-Characters said:

Offworlders. Her lip twisted into a sneer at this vague collection of huddled masses and drunken soldiers. They were always far much more trouble than their credits were worth. It stank of them in this shoddy bar. Their fear was palpable, their rowdy alcohol fueled sexual discourse even more so, it mixed with the pale calming pheromones of the waitress to create a stink that curdled in the back of her throat. She sighed loudly and looked towards the Hutt bartender with a wry expression before turning her eyes to the cluster of soldiers that were making themselves known with a disgusting display. Ruffians. 

 

 Kali-Kera, priestess of the fifth temple, smirked at their harassment of the Hutt and walked straight to their table, stopping behind the leader and placing her hands on his shoulders. Strength she could pull from the Fanged God. And she applied that strength to the man before her, pushing down with a might that rooted him in place and made the durasteel chair he was sitting in groan, as she leaned forward to whisper into Tilt’s ear. 

 

“I do not know where you came from. Perhaps you have been in carbonite since the clone wars, or you are friends of General Delta, or General Delta himself. But we do not tolerate these kinds of shenanigans in our Domain.” 

 

_______

 

 

 

One instant Tilt was about to go make an order, tired of waiting and starving though he was calmed about it. The boys had been getting a little more than riled up that MRE's wouldn't do a damn thing and he was getting a bit too afraid to get anymore drinks, Thumper was surprisingly vulgar when he's buzzed and Riggs... Riggs was Riggs. Things didn't help that eyes were on the boys in the tavern constantly, it was enough to keep Tilt's paranoia on edge. But it also didn't help that they were clad in gear and looked exactly alike.  

 

As soon as the pressure dropped on Tilt's shoulders he went with it, he had seen from the corner of his eye a feminine individual before and now must have been them. What strength, it excited the Clone Captain rather than scare him! He was buzzed, but certainly not drunken enough to cause a scene. Well discerning the fact that they were surrounded by individuals, and the bar itself was enclosed and crowded enough they could be heard. Immediately Tilts' hand raised up halting the two subordinates as he had seen the slightest indications they were about to start blasting. He then heard a whisper in his ear, a warning, harsh and true,  however he wasn't born to be submissive, but then again he'd show respect and understanding... Contradicting the fact he would argue what she said.

 

Tilt calmly and quietly said, "We haven't caused too big a ruckus. But, since we have liquor in us perhaps we're being a little too... Loud, for other's comfort. So sorry 'bout that. It's not easy being us when people don't know how not to stare."

 

Tilt turned his head, an obvious glance to the priestess that he was completely calm with the situation.  He had jerked his head lightly to the Hutt who had been watching them, "Afterall, can't blame 'em either for staring, but it's to the point it's made us uncomfortable enough that... Well... We start to make fun of people, instead of just walking up and tellin' them to quit. All we want is a drink, a bit to eat, and we'll be gone. Now, we can let bygones be bygones and continue to pay for the services, hell maybe you could even join us. Or we can leave, other than that-" 

 

"Wait you knew Delta? CT-073?" Riggs asked the woman quietly... A bit louder than his brother, his brows furrowed as he seemed more inquisitive now. 

 

Thumper interjected,  "Hold up Thumper, you knew Delta? I call crap on that." 

 

"No no, seriously, I was under his service for a short few months before I got moved onto our battalion. Was originally a Sarge for a heavy-weapons unit, we talked here and there. Guy was a bonnafied badass and a great leader, but lady- C-Can you tell us where he is? Is he alive? It'd be great to see the tough bastard again!" 

 

"Riggs, inner voice!" Tilt silently hissed as the EOD starts to get a lottle too excited. He sighed and shakes his head, looking back to the woman, "Look, I get we... Are causing some serious worry  amongst your patrons just by being here, and I do apologize about that, getting back on topic. Truce?"

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The noise and excitement level, which was fairly high for a covert operation, but not terribly too surprisingly for Kirlocca who had done enough of them in his long life kept some of his more overt hand motions down to a minimum. But it was mainly due to Sandy keeping a hand upon him. Her tension could be felt due her proximity to the Wookiee.  Her gaze, side eyed gaze, was focused on the Twi'lek who came in with them and her interaction with the Hutt. Doing his best to ignore such a distraction, responded to one of the bigger guys who was acting as a bodyguard for the tiny and fragile looking girl. He kept his voice on the louder side, but not distracting. A typical drunk within a cantina. If he raised his voice any more or did more actions, he would have all attention. That was something he simply did not want. 

 

<< I'm told I need to pay a cut to your god for whatever services I provide. >> 

 

Kirlocca leaned in to make sure his voice was more directed at the man. He wanted them to respond. He needed them to give him more insight into what he was dealing with. 

 

<< Seeing as you guys represent a god or something, I figure I should know all the rules before I start hiring myself out. Like would this god get mad if I tore someone's arms off or shot them up? Is it female or male? First time on Falleen. Want to be welcomed back, or make this place home. >> 

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   A sliver of ice tickled the base of her neck. Her feet brushed steel through thick boots, pounding hard with desperate speed. Panic, fear, and terror spread from her shoulder; it was a familiar touch, gripping hard. But she saw no assailant, nor any looming darkness. Yet the dread she felt was exigent.

 

     Hello darkness, my old friend…

 

     A young Falleen collapsed at their feet. But Keenava could not see her. She felt the floor drift, and her gaze shifted.

 

The gashes began to blister on her back, and fresh whip lacerations stung as air rushed by. Her heart pounded the melody of suffering. Hot salt bit at the skin of her face, and her mind warred…

 

     Keenava stood, her body limp and forgotten—a prisoner of the cologne of misery that the victim effused. The twi’lek’s eyelids drooped, and her gaze focused on nothing.

 

Her body felt numb from the waist down. But, in a way, so did her mind. She tore at her own lekku, trying to feel something—anything—but nothing happened. She was nothing…just meat… Only meat…

 

 

     "Focus on the light. Find it within yourself and drive the darkness back from her mind."

 

     Leena’s voice washed across her; cold water brushed over her sordid trance, shaking her from her reverie. She slowly flexed her hands and felt as her mind rose from the murk bit by bit.

 

     "This girl needs you."

 

     Keenava felt Leena’s gaze on hers, and a rush of ice cracked against her mind. Awareness was restored like a flash of lightning, which almost brought Keenava to her knees. Warm streaks tickled her cheeks, and now she could see the injured girl at their feet.

 

     "Right… yeah, we need to move her." The Twi’lek looked around quickly, spotting a pile of crates that seemed just large enough to obscure them from view. "Alright, help me get her over there." She made a sign with her lekku.

 

 

  On the way, Keenava tried to do as Leena asked, but… how? 

 

  She'd just given up on twisting the force to her advantage. How did she…find the light? Did she just ask nicely? Would the force respond to that?

 

  Fake it til you make it, I guess?

 

 

__

  She imagined herself going outside and seeing stars, a moon, a sun, or any other brilliant astral body; she pictured herself lighting torches, candles, light emitters, flashlights, etc. But she couldn’t ‘find the light’ as Leena said.

 

What a beautiful little one!

 

  Confused, Keenava probed her mind, but nothing was there.

 

She looks lost and afraid. You remember that, don’t you?

 

  A song of regret and pain gripped her for a second, to be replaced by a ballad that stung with a visceral sadness.

 

  A voice called from somewhere. It was soft, gentle, and familiar.

 

M-m-mom? 

 

Kiki. It’s nice to hear my strong girl’s voice.

 

But I’m not strong. I ran away for so long. I killed so many people. I caused so much anguish.I’m not worth forgiveness. Why am I here? Why did I come back? Why didn’t I just stay floating in that void?

 

Free from the confidence she’d built to protect herself, Keenava’s heart was bare, and streaks of tears flowed freely now. Whether her tears were real or imagined, she didn’t know, nor did she care.

 

You’re right. You did run. You ran from a world that threatened to consume you. All the cards were stacked against you. And yet, you never gave up. You kept fighting. Do you remember this?

 

__________

A cloudy scene enveloped Keenava. She was pre-pubescent again, and the darkness of her cell was a dim black, lit only by a sparse arrangement of blinking light emitters. It had been a few years since she volunteered to take her mother and sister’s place. She sat staring at the space between the bars, hoping for things to melt away and go back to how they were. Scratches throbbed up and down her lekku. They made her a little lightheaded, but she barely noticed.

 

"You gave us a lot of trouble, you druk. And, as punishment, you get to watch us do this!"

 

The cruel face she had known for so long swept across her vision. And, in his hands… 

 

"NO! MOM?!" 

 

"Oh, so this lady right here means something to you. It’d be a shame if something happened to her."

 

"YOU GET YOUR HANDS OFF OF HER RIGHT NOW!"

 

Flames erupted from Keenava’s arms and lit her mother’s captor ablaze. Her mother’s eyes widened with concern, but her mouth was gagged. 

__________

 

Why are you showing me this? I lost control.

 

Yes. But why did you lose control?

 

To protect you from them, but it didn’t mean anything. I know what comes next. I couldn’t save you.

 

And you can’t save everyone. But maybe that’s okay.

 

How could you say that? You’re gone, and I didn’t even get to say goodbye!

 

Her mother appeared to her in a spectral form of lavender light that bent down and put a hand on her shoulder.

 

People die. I never got the chance to talk to you about it, but it happens. If I hadn’t died there, I would’ve died somewhere. The important thing is that my strong girl held on. She kept on living. And if she hadn’t, none of us would be around anymore. Your sister would’ve been alone, and you would likely have passed away sometime later than me when they deemed you too much trouble. You may be lost now. You may have a hard time forgiving yourself, but I’ve never blamed you. Never once did I look at you and see anything but my strong little Kiki. You even have my eyes now, which makes my heart soar every time I look at you.

 

Keenava sniffled. The beauty of her mother's aura transfixed her.

 

I don’t deserve you.

 

Of course you do. They do too.

 

Keenava’s mother stretched her arm out, revealing Kana, Kara, Kava, Malive, and all of her daughter’s alters.

 

Many people made a strong impression on you, giving you a voice to speak for yourself. But, in all of that, you lost your voice. Now they’re all here to remind you that there’s only one Keenava. There has always been one, and she’s right here.

 

The figment of her mother touched a hand to Keenava’s chest.

 

All the alters joined hands. And the closer Keenava looked, they all looked a lot more like her than they used to. They all cried together. The murdering, the sadistic, and the chaotic were all weeping in tandem. And then all of them faded into Keenava’s mother’s hand.

 

They are only fragments of you. And now that you can think again, the whole galaxy—no, the universe—gets to hear your voice: my fierce, protective Kiki. Now you get to be the beautiful soul you were always meant to be. And maybe, just maybe, you can help others do the same.

 

Thank you for everything, Mom.

 

The Twi’lek looked up to see her mother once more, but she wasn’t there. All that remained was a vivid light glowing in the palm of her hand.

__

 

 

Keenava smiled. It was a small gesture, but it echoed in her physical form as she bent over the Falleen that lay mired in darkness. She stretched her hand out and connected to the light she still felt in the palm of her hand, letting the force flow through her. She gently ran her fingers along the young woman’s brow as a mother would her child, tucking stray strands of hair behind her ear and wiping the blood from her cheek. Under her breath, Keenava hummed a lullaby that her mother used to sing. Soft tears continued to flow across her cheeks as she tried to share her light with the young woman.

 

Edited by Keenava Dira
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“No. Fret not little clone.” The priestess smiled a bitter smile, revealing teeth that had been filed into brutally sharp points. “We are looking for someone. And we would pay top dollar to those mercenaries that might be interested in some contract work.” She shrugged her scantily clad shoulders and looked back at the cluster of cloned soldiers. “It is, as you would say, easy money.” 

 

______


 

Her bodyguard shrugged at the Wookiee. “You can tear off any enemies of the state’s limbs you want in fact. And with a physique like yours, well you would be welcome in the service of the temple any time.” He grinned and walked towards the table where Sandy and the Wookiee still sat. “We have been sent by the very same temple on a mission should you be interested in joining us. Quite good credits, and there can be some suitable arm pulling if you wish it.” 

 

______

 

Consume us. 

 

The sound of running feet echoed in the landing zone. Lights flickered and died, and the earth trembled. What was that feeling in the air? Fear? Hate? Resolution? Despair? It mixed together like a paste, scooped and dumped onto the planet's surface. It felt ancient, though it was reflected in new faces of shallow pale green.

 

A sweep of dark shadowed fog swept its way into the landing bays. Its deep dark bringing the shiver of the darkside. In its wake pedestrians froze, and children cried in fear as they clung to parents and buried their faces. But those soldiers, those Linnorm beasts that had been made by the Sith it did not cower. They raised their furrowed brows and walked into the darkness. Their red eyes joining the masses of others that stared out of the abyss. Looking to all before them like a field of red stars in the pitch black of night. 

 

A solitary woman walked before the storm of fog. Almost lazy in her jaunt, her footsteps matching those of the young girl as she strode towards where she lay. The woman stared towards the trio, her red eyes glowing like iridescent pools of blood. Pitiless in their stare, set like rubies in her skull, ancient beyond the years of the form it now possessed. 

 

Consume us

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Leena felt the struggle as @Keenava Dira fought against the darkness until finally a glimmer of

light burst forth. A smile played at the edge of her lips as she focused on the fallen girl. She knew the new Jedi initiate had it in her, even if the twi’lek had doubted it herself.

 

The smile was short-lived however as Leena’s senses probed the girl’s form. This was no ordinary illness. Not that she would expect that on a world so saturated in dark side power as this; no, nothing was as it seemed here. Leena almost recoiled at the darkness that pulsated beneath the surface of this small girl’s body. She was a conduit for the darkness and little more; a victim of the ravages of the dark side.

 

Suddenly from all around them the very world seemed to pulsate and dark fog roiled into the air. The darkness within the girl seemed to manifest about them, appearing on the fringes as cries of fear and pain laced with the fog and the green shadows cast the world in eerie hues and icy shadows.

 

Leena lurched backwards on her heels, grabbing at Keenava’s arm to pull her backward. Shooting to her feet, the duo were joined by @Basi as he bounded back down from their ship to Leena’s side, pressing the silvery shaft of Leena’s old blade into her palm. With her face steeled against the advancing horde of red eyes piercing through the fog in the distance, Leena slid the hilt up her own sleeve as she grabbed Keenava’s and Basi’s hands.
 

“Together,” she whispered. “We shall not be overcome.” Leena reached deep into her soul and felt for the light that rested within her soul. She grasped onto it and let it flow like a surging spring throughout. She felt for the light of the memory that glowed within Keenava and reinforced it with the exponentially expanding light from her own soul. Leena found the light that burned like a fire in Basi and with the peace of her soul bolstered it. She expanded her senses outwards, feeling for the glimmers of light in the world around them, even in the form of the consumed girl at their feet. The glimmer of hope that was her mother, warm memories of embrace, and that too she grew and into the web of light that was beginning to invisibly weave around them. 
 

At the head of the seeming army of evil marched a single woman, a leader of unknown origins and power. Leena felt her presence, felt the darkness that swirled about her. Leena felt the waves surge in the dark priestess’ wake and bolstered the light about their trio, prepared to stand in the gap, healing life-filled energy beginning to crackle and pop as any tendrils of darkness began to interlope within their aura. 

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