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Ylesia


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Kirlocca felt the wind slowly move through the air, carrying with it a freshness of the tropical atmosphere along with a slight hint of glitterstim, which the planet was well known for exporting. As he moved, he could feel almost the heartbeat of Raven, as her soul was still tied into the crystal like gem. But he wanted to assume that it was due to the fact of the planet being so close to Nar Shaddaa, the last place he got to interact with her. His movements around the spaceport were designed to observe and see what sort of state the population was in, and who had taken refuge in the wake of the destructive war. Mostly at first glance one might assume that it was left rather untouched or changed. A few smaller pockets here and there, but overall no major adjustments. 

 

But even as the Wookiee walked, he was reminded that it had been such a very long time ago that Raven was lost. The battle that took place was well long and done and many locations such as this one had moved on past it. It seemed like only he was stuck in a loop of constantly thinking upon it. It wasn't until very recently that he had even been able to let go of his own grief. But the words of his Master rang within his mind. The mission of the Jedi is the one thing that moves us from from ourselves. The phrase seemed weird to him when she first told him, but as time would pass and he would indeed carry out the will of the Jedi Order, he found that there never were such truer words spoken to him as a padawan. 

 

Stopping for a moment to let out a breath, he could feel the Force actively guiding him towards one of the starport areas. Understanding that the Force never did such a thing without warrant, he followed the prompting and headed that way. As he neared, he could begin to make out Keenava, the Twi'lek whom he had now served alongside a few times within the past few months it would seem. A smile came to the Jedi Master's face, as it was good to see her still around. He decided to throw out all caution and walked up towards her and the group around her, of whom he could not make out yet who they were. 

 

<< It is good to see some familiar faces. >>

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Hellfire. A wave of strong emotions washed over her like a stormsurge on the beaches of her homeworld. All of her senses flared as they were caught up in the other woman’s memories. Memories that stirred her own. What was that smell which suddenly filled her nose and pitted at the back of her throat? A familiar smell that cut through reverie and the taste of expensive wine like a vibroblade and brought her back to the ruins of Naboo in a millisecond. The sickly sweet smell of burned human flesh, the juttering bone aching blows that had nearly driven her to her knees. The pungent taste of ozone so powerful that it was the only thing she could taste as her yellow blade met the dark swords of a sith lord. She took a stuttering breath. Breathing in fresh air that was not tainted with the stench of death. The emotions were so powerful that she could almost feel the presence of a Sith lord on the landing pad alongside them. 

 

She took another breath and was preparing to reach her other hand out to the woman to steady her, but there was no need. Whatever secrets the woman may be hiding about her past, they were certainly dark. But Alcmene smiled, this woman had stared evil in the face and turned away. 

 

There was no better candidate for the Jedi Order. 

 

A prickling of a presence tugged at the edges of her mind and she turned her head towards it. It was a presence she herself was not intimately familiar with, but it had the edge of comfort. Home. Like a smell from her childhood. 

 

Kirlocca. 

 

She stood, letting her legs push the chair back and away from the table before she gave a bow of recognition to the great Jedi Master. 

14365472_Alcmne.png.bfda32e929e4ce0bf873f82d453f414b.png

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At the egress of her darkness, Keenava could feel the touches of other memories on her mental periphery. Devastation and war were not familiar to her, but it wasn’t a stretch from Sith and their destructive lifestyle. Alcmène’s memories weren’t lucid, but the sensory dynamism pricked Keenava’s mind as the pair navigated the miasma together. It was strange but familiar, and Keenava felt a surge of hope at their mutual exchange.

 

A presence upon the field shook Keenava and her master from their mental exploration, but before the Twi’lek could turn to face the arrival, she lingered in Alcmène’s eyes. Keenava almost expected fear or apprehension. However—considering Alcmène was a Knight—resolution or righteousness might have been more appropriate. But something different lingered there—an impossible acceptance. Her smile was warm, and her cold gray eyes glittered with possibility, shining with the afternoon light that bathed the starport in a warm orange glow. Two of Ylesia’s three moons were peaking above the canopies of the trees and reflecting within her crystalline steel eyes.

 

Keenava couldn’t help but return the Jedi’s smile, feeling her heart lift. She lived so long under the shroud of attempted betrayal that paranoia hedged her optimism until it was cynical survivalism masking as jaded realism. It was invaluable for her time as an Assassin. But she was starting to feel more and more open to change with each passing day under the custody of the Jedi Order.

 

When she turned to face the new arrival, her smile stretched further across her face, alighting two dimples on her ebony cheeks.

 

Taking a moment to nod her head to her prospective master, the Twi’lek nimbly shifted off the back of her chair into a graceful flip that carried her past the top rail of her aluminum seat and sailing through the air until she stood a few feet from the Wookiee that approached them. When her callused feet hit the tarmac, she dipped into a respectful bow.

 

“It is nice to see you again, Master Kirlocca. I trust your travels have not weighed too heavily on you."

 

 

 

Keenava Two Suns.png

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The welcome for Kirlocca was enough to bring forth a smile to his own face. As he came closer and those around Keenava turned around, he saw Alcmene. He knew of her through stories and short proximity only. The galaxy upon which he travelled now felt like that would become a more common occurrence rather then a rarity. It appeared that they were in the middle of training to some degree. Although it was hard to tell which one was doing to learning versus the teaching. He wondered for a moment how much he could learn from both if he remained around them long enough to observe. Returning a formal bow, he turned to directly answer Keenava's question to him. 

 

<< Most of my travels these days weigh upon me-for random assortment of reasons too. But I would say that the Force is starting to heavily guide my footsteps. So there is always comfort within that. >>

 

The Wookiee moved his position to become fully relaxed before them. There was a sense of warmth and purpose around Keenava and Alcmene. A soft echo within the Force let him know that it may even be something neither of the two were aware of. Perhaps there was something he could impart to them if he hung around for a while. Or perhaps maybe even they would impart wisdom to him. He made up his mind rather quickly to stick with them for a bit until the Force moved him elsewhere. 

 

<< What brings you to Ylesia? >>

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“I accompanied Grandmaster Leena here in what would have a rough time passing for a flying ‘tin can.’ She had to attend an important meeting and left me alone, so I decided to get acquainted with my new ship,” Keenava said, waving her arms at the light freighter that stood a few feet away from them. 

 

“When I finished my tour, I started a good training workout. Alcmène found me after some time and offered to join, but I was much too tired, so we decided to take a moment to eat and recoup. Basi joined us soon after, and we made an impromptu picnic out of it. She offered to be my master either to replace Leena or until Leena is available to teach me again. We were still kinda working that out when you got here.”

 

Keenava wasn’t sure why she was so comfortable spilling everything that happened the last few hours to Kirlocca, but something about the Wookiee always felt like home. His warm smile, his friendly aura, and his confident stature reassured her. Everything about him was earnest and it made Keenava feel safe. 

 

Lallu would’ve gagged. She would gape at her infodump and shame her for being so open with someone she knew so little of. But that part of her life was gone. 

 

And, in hindsight, Keenava hadn’t truly known anyone. No one stayed long enough for her to know them. Furion’s love was mercurial and inexplicable—so much so that one could barely call it love. It was a love of convenience, which wasn’t love at all.

Edited by Keenava Dira

 

 

Keenava Two Suns.png

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How to best describe her reasons for being on the desolate world? She had come by chance, seeking to help refugees but had arrived late from her time in hospital. And the war and conflict were decided while she had been in hyperspace. More friends and innocents snuffed out while she slept in a medical cot as droids rebuilt her lower spine. The muscles still screamed in pain when she moved, though with proper breath control and application of the force all that could be seen of her pain was a tightness around her eyes. But as to how to answer the question…

 

“I am here by fate Master, without much to do since the end of war while I was in Hospital. I was hoping to stretch my muscles and regain some fighting ability in a mock duel, which I am quite looking forward to since our meal is finished.” 

 

She looked from the Twi’lek back to the Wookie.

 

“Unless you would like to spar master?”

14365472_Alcmne.png.bfda32e929e4ce0bf873f82d453f414b.png

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Kirlocca took a moment to take in everything before him. The large ship, the group that quickly formed out of need or proximity. Either way, he understood that the Force had moved those who needed each other to become close. It always happened that way. The Force was a will that moved in ways that always fascinated him. Looking from each person present, he let out sigh of relief. 

 

<< Fate is rarely at work without aid from the Force. But maybe a spar duel would be very beneficial to all. A reminder that the Force is still at work and it is our guide. >>

 

Kirlocca offered up a smile to everyone. The Jedi Master had not sparred in a very long time. In fact, his own training regime was dropped since his return to the living. A quick movement of his paw touched the crystal where Raven's soul was captured that sat around his neck before he turned to find a spot to drop off his own robe. He picked up the lightsaber hilt off his belt, to which reminded him that he needed to craft a new one again. The Wookiee turned to face the group. 

 

<< Perhaps a quick one on one on one? Or we could all take time to go one on one. >>

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  • 4 weeks later...

Combat was something that she had yearned for since she had been a toddler staring at the tournament fields from a castle window. The pageantry cut to her heart, the great red banners, men and women dueling in rituals that stretched back a thousand generations. A thousand generations of peace. No dreams had struck that young mind of fighting in an intergalactic war. The war of endless hours of tedium. Punctuated by brief engagement of brutality. The smell of blood. When fighting for her life was all that she could think of. Where lofty ideals were dragged through muddy trenches filled with corpses. Friends found with eyes that stared lifelessly into the dirt. No great banners. Just the horrible sound of the breaking of her spine by a nameless mandalorian warrior. The white hot burning of a blaster bolt passing through her abdomen and burning out any chance of continuing her bloodline. The despair of days laying paralyzed and wishing for death as a city burned and everything she had fought for came to naught. 

 

Even the small victories had come with a bitter ashen taste in her mouth. There was no joy to be found in gutting a sith lord and watching his body fall into a pit. For it had come at such a heavy cost. And the city had still burned. The children had still died. And what good had the great ideals that she had striven for all her life done for her then? Laying in the dust of a destroyed city, staring into a smoke filled sky while she prayed for death. 

 

But this was not such a fight. This was a friendly bout between Jedi that did not care about winning or loosing. A therapy all in its own. Alcmene reached down to her satchel and pulled forth the golden lattice, strapping it to her arm as she took a step back from the table. She grinned with the motion, letting the force and a breath of air carry away the pain and frustration. Her basket hilted saber came next into her right hand, igniting the same time as the energy shield.

14365472_Alcmne.png.bfda32e929e4ce0bf873f82d453f414b.png

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Kirlocca’s offer of a three-way spar was promising. It had been a while since Keenava had put her fighting skills into practice, so she looked forward to shaking off some rust. The Twi’lekk smiled in response and made enough space between them for their bout. 

 

The midday light bathed Keenava’s features with a bright amber glow. She flexed the fingers of both hands and let the callused balls of her feet grip the tarmac. She lifted the bottom half of each leg behind her and leaned to one side, then the other. After returning to a standing position, she twisted her body back and forth, hissing when one of her shoulders popped. She bounced a little into a ready position and was about to take a fighting stance when she heard the snap-hiss of a lightsaber. Immediately, her expression changed, and her stance faltered. 

 

“Hey, I wasn’t aware we were saber fighting. I might need to sit out because I don’t have one.” She left out the ‘anymore’ because she wasn’t proud of the corrupted canister of metal that rested in her pack. Keenava raised both her hands in a silent surrender and backed off a few steps. The memory of saber burns from previous ‘practice’ sessions still lingered, and she wasn’t looking forward to more. 

 

 

Keenava Two Suns.png

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Kirlocca moved his body around and tossed up a lightsaber hilt from his belt. Not one of his own, as he had yet to recreate and build one for himself since his return. This one belonged to Tobias, an orange hue of a blade with a hilt that felt small even within his paw. He slowly turned down the setting of the blade as to not produce any harm to his fellow Jedi. He then moved to stand with his blade downward, yet still defensively positioned, along with hold his body at an angle. The typical opening stance he had developed for his own form, Wru'torr. 

 

The words from Keenava though broke his stance ever so slightly, as the last thing he wanted to do was to move forward into a training sessions without her if she wanted to participate. He took a moment to search around himself to see if perhaps he had a spare, or even a training saber on him, but it was to no avail. He turned a quick glance over at Alcmene to see if she had something for their friend. 

 

<< I would hate for Keenava to miss out, but I do not have a spare. >>

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  • 2 weeks later...

The adrenaline rush that always came with a fight seemed to be drained in an instant. She placed the yellow blade against the plastine table and it had no effect. A slight plasma burn on flesh was expected but against a solid target, there was no danger. And they were not Sith Lords who delighted in burning their friends and allies. 

 

“Your hands will do you fine in a battle with training sabres, though if you do so wish…” 

 

She reached out a hand towards her satchel and from the bag arose a handlength of silver metal. Intricately carved in the flourished style of the Outremer. It floated before the Twi’lek, a gift should she wished to accept it. A sabre that Alcmene had trained against for years herself. A thousand memories were embedded in that blade. 

 

“I do have another training sabre, though it has not been attuned since its last owner was killed by the sith.” 

 

A sister, much beloved. Taken before her time.

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     The silence hung awkwardly for a moment. Keenava’s eyelids started to droop, her heart rate rose, and her lekku began stringing themselves across her shoulders in a conflicted heap. She gripped the upper part of her left arm with her right hand, and her forehead started to bead with sweat. 

 

     Her stilled expression belied the subtle dismay writ on the hard edges of the Twi’lek’s face. No alter to rush to her defense, Keenava was forced to sort through the murky emotions alone. Her whole mind came to call. But the echoes of scarring on its broadside made it a little more complicated to focus on. She was whole, but every experience she had at regulating her emotions was from a place of instability. It was still a new concept. She’d made progress, that was certain, but every step was as if through thickened Corellian molasses, and her recent journey through her mindscape brought everything to the fore once again.

 

     She had control. That was an importance that bore consistent repeating, but it didn’t make her issues any less difficult. Keenava had a reset. Someone put her in an alternate reality where she grew to be the woman her mother dreamed she’d be, and she would make the most of every moment. 

 

     The Twi’lek stood as two suns. One was rising powerfully into the sky, while the other was setting. But both suns tore at each other, attempting to wrest the other from the sky. And yet, they both had a place. They were both essential to stabilize the planet beneath them.

 

     Taking a note from their recent lesson, Keenava let her focus drift to Alcmene. She paused and took a deep lungful of humid air. It coated the inside of her body with something she couldn’t place, but she didn’t let that distract her. She took another deep breath, letting each thought drift through the air and into the trees surrounding the landing pad. The Twi’lek stilled her mind, briefly exacerbating the sweating upon her brow. But after a beat, her turmoil quieted, and the only thing that remained was a sweet lullaby that her mother sang to her when she was little. 

 

Take me through the mist and stones, in waters that are still unknown, under a guiding starlit sky. We will learn how to say goodbye…

 

A cool sensation brushed the length of her frame, freeing her lekku and allowing her whole body to relax.

 

     “My apologies. My apprehension stems from particularly traumatic training exercises. My previous masters—as Kirlocca knows and you can no doubt surmise—were not kind. Every training exercise was with live weaponry. To them, each exercise was a waste if you didn’t attempt to recreate an actual combat situation. They coined the phrase ‘dodge or die.’” Keenava nodded gently to her new master and let her arms shift to her sides, stepping slowly from side to side. 

 

     “I am beginning to understand that others aren’t so malicious and that practice can just be practice.” The Twi’lek gave a small smile. “Thank you for the kind offer, Alcemene. I would feel… ‘odd’ doesn’t feel like the right word, but I don’t like the thought of touching a Jedi’s saber when Sith killed them. My hands aren’t clean in that regard. It would feel wrong. I will remain unarmed for this spar. Whenever you’re ready.”

 

Keenava shifted to a ready stance. She put her weight on her back leg to root her body and shifted her hands into pointed tips resembling a bird’s beak.

 

 

 

Keenava Two Suns.png

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  • 2 weeks later...

Kirlocca offered up a smile to Keenava. She, like so many others whom have walked away from the Dark Side have had very traumatic experiences. Another reason why slowly training was a good practice for Jedi to carryout. That and lots of grace. They would help her in a manner that suits her. Opening himself to the Force, he pushed his presence, thoughts and emotions into the flow. He wanted for Keenava to fully trust the process of the training exercise. 

 

<< We will keep things simple. Do not do anything that could exhaust yourself, no put yourself in any harms way. >> 

 

The Jedi Master made sure to look at Alcmene for the last words, as it was easy to put yourself in a bad position when you attempt to care for another in these duels. He didn't want either to come to harm from an accidental misstep. With his words lingering in the air, the Wookiee lunged forward at a good speed, but no where near as fast as if his life was on the line. He made a sweeping horizontal arc with his blade, his long reach able to force a reaction from both ladies with him. It was a very basic move, one that he was sure both would feel within the Force coming and have nothing but plenty of time to move. 

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The princess of Outremer gave a soft smile, and lightly shook her head. Her thoughts flitted away to years before, the smells and feelings. The strong embrace of a sister that had always excelled in everything. The star of the planet, of whom her father had placed every hope. Cut down in some forest on Onderon. A failed and fickle jedi assault which had wiped an entire generation of young Jedi Knights from the face of the galaxy when the people had needed them most. 

 

“Her death was not by your hands, you carry no ancestral guilt for her death. You have chosen a different road than the one walked before. Keep your chin up and do not dwell on a past that has been left far behind. Step instead forward on this path, those chains do not hold you any more.” 

 

She would not force the woman to take the sabre with its intricate carvings and gilding, but the option was there. When she was ready. But for now the first strike would be to the more dangerous opponent. She pushed off her back leg as she brought her left arm up, the lattice work igniting into a plasma shield that she used to crowd and push against the Wookiee Jedi Master. Holding her saber in a high guard.

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  • 2 weeks later...

((Introspection))

 

“...Step forward on this path. Those chains do not hold you anymore.” 

 

Chains. It always came back to chains. 

 

Keenava’s cursed lightsaber hilt, forged from the very first shackles she wore as a slave, hummed quietly to itself from her pack.

 

The Sith maxim echoed in her mind, her former conditioning making it nearly impossible to ignore:

 

‘Through passion, I gain strength. Through strength, I gain power. Through power, I gain victory. Through victory, my chains are broken.’

 

But what did that mean? 

 

Jzora, Furion, Exodus, and many other Sith before and after them believed that the world—nay, the galaxy—was against them. They felt they needed strength to push beyond the feeble limitations of mortals. Ignoring the glaring fact that not only were they mortal, but they were ripping the fabric of nature apart for their pointless and selfish self-aggrandizing. 

 

Keenava used to be one of them, struggling against the universe as it seemed determined to keep her isolated and enslaved. But now that her mind was free, she could see the futility of it all from a new perspective. She grew desperate for the power of the Dark Side but created a new shackle for herself, draping the chains across her pulse point until Ailbasi could tighten the cord and end her life.

 

It was a grim realization, one she'd already seen. However, reminding herself of her past helped give her an understanding of her progress. Her former masters and colleagues would no doubt balk at her for standing at odds with a darkness that claimed her for decades, but she was at peace with it.

 

________

((Spar relevant text))

 

Keenava flexed her bare toes against the tarmac. The pocked, rocky surface pushed against her callused feet as she released and contracted her muscles upon the rough surface. Calluses were hard-won. Each layer was proof of her exertion and a mark of history. Some experiences were difficult to navigate, and others were simple. But every experience was formative. 

 

Keenava took a deep breath of the oddly tangy marshy air before the first steps of the spar began. The space between them was thick with potential. And, as soon as Kirlocca's swing began its arc, Keenava felt the hum of battle begin. The rush of adrenaline sprang to her pointed fingertips, but instead of embracing it like she used to, the Twi'lek opened her heart and mind to the force. She allowed her movements to follow its flow and acknowledged Kirlocca's presence amid the ebbing tides.

 

The Twi'lek swept low and tumbled under the Wookie's strike, weaving between Alcmène and Kirlocca as the former closed to counter. Feeling the urge to strike at either or both of their sciatic nerves and bring them down, she decided against it and instead used her momentum to drag a low kick across the back of Kirlocca's inside leg in an effort to trip him. She let the force of her blow push her through the gap between them to the other side, standing a few feet from Alcmène's shoulder and—optimistically—outside of Kirlocca's range. 

 

She kept a watchful eye on both and let a smile tug at her lips.

 

((1))

Edited by Keenava Dira

 

 

Keenava Two Suns.png

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Kirlocca found himself grinning rather lightly at the start of the spar. Movements made within the Force spoke clearly to all, and the joining of the presences made the warmth even more so enjoyable. With Alcmene blocking the very first strike and holding to a strong defensive form, made him almost fully engage against her. Keenava on the other hand tumbled and weaved, making the arc strike with more force and locking into Alcmene's shield. The Twi'lek then jumped, or kicked off his back leg. He wasn't sure which one she attempted to do, but the result was a quick pain in his calf muscle. In response, he pulled his blade away from Alcemene and went for a wide swing towards the Keenava, to which failed, as she was out of range. The movement gave him a moment to readjust between both. 

 

Taking a small side step, he brought his blade downwards towards the ground and not within any striking distance of either. But as the Jedi Master began to bring his blade back up, somewhere in between the two, his focus poured onto the blade, feeling it's energy buzz and humm with life. As the blade rose, he pushed on the blade with the Force, creating an arc of kinetic energy that seemed to ripple off the blade and outward. He raised awareness of the two, knowing that the energy could do damage if either was not fully expecting it or knew how to defend against such an attack. His breathing seemed to go quiet as the spar went on, something he was told he always tended to do, and it was eerie to those not used to it. 

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