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Author Topic: Children of the Aether  (Read 20852 times)
Lord_S_Gray
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Force Alignment: 307
Posts: 1660



« on: September 28, 2017, 03:55:17 PM »

After reading Karmack’s tales, Taegins Shadow of the Outcast and now Dutchmans Tarnished Knight, figured I’d finally put down a story I’d had for a while, maybe someone might enjoy it.

It’s set Approximately 700 years before the Battle of Yavin, the Republic is stable and still fresh, the Jedi ascendant and growing.  The first two chapters of part one are here (there are three more chapters).  It’s set up in a similar way to Game of Thrones with each chapter focusing on one person’s perspective.  Might be a little slow as the first part isn’t set in a typical ‘Star Wars’ setting (yet!) and is about establishing characters and their culture so some descriptions and explanations that might be tedious…and probably filled with spelling/grammatical errors despite my checks…Anyway here it is, Children of the Aether.

PART 1:

Andis
[/b]

Andis stalked silently through the familiar woods beside his farm.  For 60 years he had wandered through them, to the other villages, to the mountains, the dead lands and back.  He didn’t even need the thin light of the stars to know his way, or the currents of the aether broken by the dull life force of the trees, the paths were in his very bones.  Ahead were three lights, only one visible to his eyes, a low orange fire, the others were a greying light that had once shone so bright when he first saw it, and another an small glow like the sparks off a flint ready to ignite a large fire. 

He hated having to leave his daughter alone with her newborn son, but when another Guardian calls he cannot refuse to answer.  As he approached the fire in silence the stars faded from the sky against the ground based light.  The histories told how his people had once travelled and forged kingdoms across the stars, but that was before the Summoning, before the Collapse.  Melron knew the histories better than anyone, had travelled further into the centuries old bunkers and ruins of the dead lands than anyone, yet even he had no more idea why they had all come back to this world during the Summoning, or what had caused the Collapse…either no records survived to be found, or more likely Andis thought, in those times the pressing need to survive the environmental collapse meant none were made. 

Melron sat by the fire cradling the sparking light…a baby.  He looked up at Andis, the lines in his face deeper, the grey in his stubble more prominent than when he had last seen him, Andis knew he looked five years older too no doubt. 
“Ah good you’re here, sit down, have drink” Melron gestured toward a hide flask.

Andis sat and took a swig of the gormin milk flavoured with sappher berries, same old Melron.  “What bring you here Melron”, Andis cut to the chase, he was a straight forward man by nature, and his desire to get back home shortened his temper even with his long absent friend.

“I brought you this,” Melron lifted the child in his arms, “Heard you’re Lyssia had a pup, thought you could look after this one too, got a strong spark, will easily make a guardian” his tone was jovial but in his aura Andis sensed something lurking, a thought Melron didn’t feel he could let loose, but desperately wanted to unburden.

“Where did the child come from Melron?”
 
“Ah straight to the point Andis…do you really want to know”  Melrons aura fell back on itself a little. Andis Just stared at him with his cool blue eyes.  Melrons head fell a little and he sighed.

“the dead lands” he said quietly,  Andis expanded his aura with a questioning feeling, as if to say how, where, when, why?
“Does it really matter?  I just need you to look after him, Aethers Winds there are few of us as it is….you’re the best one to do it, the strongest of us…I’m no good with kids…and what I found, I have to learn more…there were things there…” his voice trailed off, Andis had never seen his friend so doubtful and conflicted.  Like him Melorn was a Guardian of the Aethan peoples, but whilst Andis guarded them from the aetheric predators, the vorynx, cisadda, and the people form themselves by acting as a judge in the villages, Melron guarded their history, their past, by investigating the ruins and recording his findings. 

“Something about the Collapse” Andis spoke.

“Something strange, take the boy Andis, raise him strong,” he got up and placed the child on the log he had been sitting on, “give Lyssia my love, and condolences, Marten was a good man….the winds call me…” Andis sensed his friends aura drawn by the Aether away, and watched him pick up his back pack and walk from the fire.

As Andis approached the child he called out, “What’s his name,”  Melron didn’t even turn just yelled “Aethers Winds name him yourself, do I have to do everything for you,”.
****************************************************************************************************
Andis silently opened the old wooden door, using the aether to still the air so the sound wouldn’t wake his grandson.  Lyssia had sensed Melrons call, and his return.  She stood from the cradle as he approached her, the door silently closing behind him, as warm as he was grave she looked down on the bundle in his arms.  Her aura at first curious, then warming.

Logged

Lord_S_Gray

Surik: "Kreia, what are you—are you a Jedi, a Sith?"
Kreia: "Does it matter? Of course it does, such titles allow you to break the galaxy into light and dark, categorize it. Perhaps I am neither, and I hold both as what they are, pieces of a whole."

Lord_S_Gray
Knight Commander
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Force Alignment: 307
Posts: 1660



« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2017, 03:58:23 PM »

Valens
[/b]
He tasted blood as Jarys wooden training sword slapped him in the cheek.
“too slow!” his brother taunted, come on make a move. 

Balanced on one foot on an old log, he faced his brother.  He could read his brothers movements in the aether, and in his body, but couldn’t decide how best to strike…Jarys was favouring a mid guard, but if Valens struck high Jarys might pivot and sweep low with a kick, if he went low Jarys might jump and strike down to his head.  He knew the moves but couldn’t decide which to u….Smack! another blow, to his chest this time.

‘are you even awake, aura’s glow but no ones home’ Jarys taunted again, Valens shook his head then made a low strike, Jarys countered and the wood rang as they clashed, one, two…now…on the third clash of swords Valens pivoted around and switched to standing on his left foot, altering his centre of gravity and leaning forward to put the tip of his training sword into Jarys sternum, knocking him off the log and into the muddy earth below.  Jarys looked up at him with a sour face,  but his aura was cheery.
‘You planned that didn’t you, didn’t he grandpa,” he turned toward their grandfather who was sitting on the porch reading.
 
“hmmm… Valens keeps a very still aura, you’d do well to copy that” he replied absently
“That’s not what I asked” Jarys pouted,
“No it’s what you should’ve observed first, that’s enough for today, go to your chores”.
Valens got down as Jarys leapt up with an aether boosted backflip, he ran a hand through his glossy black hair, ‘lets get to it then’ he said with a big grin.
********************************************************************************************************
“Its happening soon isn’t it” Jarys poked a sharp questioning feeling at Valens aura to emphasises the words.
“Prehaps….” Valens was not really paying attention, focused on the flow of water in the river before them, their chores done they had raced down to the river and competed in a no aether swim against the tide up to the old dock where they kept their boat,Jarys of course had won.  They were on the banks of one of five main courses of the river, the only river, in the only Valley left habitable after the Collapse. The last place where people could live, protected by the mountains it had avoided the worst  of the desolation with land fertile enough to farm, fourteen villages were scattered throughout, each a bright point in Valens mind as he followed the aether though the river.

“Well I hope it happens before the Gathering….the girls will be much more impressed if we come as full Guardians.” Jarys went on.
They had trained all their lives to be Guardians, the role for those strongest in the aether.  All Aethans could feel the aether and use it, children would play by levitating and throwing rocks and sparking each other with short bursts of aether lightning, but only the most in tune few became Guardians, strong enough to face the predators in the Valleys woods and mountains that used the aether to hunt, and powerful enough to use the aether to control others, suppressing rage to calm disputes, and wise enough through their reading and lessons to act as judges.  Their grandfather was one of only eight Guardians amongst the two thousand or so Aethans, two of whom travelled the dead lands in search of knowledge.

“so…who do you hope to be betrothed to, Shilea or Cilina” Jarys kept on
At the sound of those names Valens retreated back into himself,
“ooh embarrassed huh…better not be so coy at the gathering”
“It will happen tomorrow,” Valens said changing the subject, “I sensed Melron and Maloran coming this way…”  he had always been more sensitive than Jarys in the aether, and the coming of two Guardians could only mean it was time for their tests.
“Well,” Jarys stood and stretched, “best rest up then…bet I can beat you back home, and finish my trial before you!”  He suddenly tried to slap Valens with an aether push, but opened to the aether it passed straight through.  Always a competition with Jarys he thought as he set off after him with the aether in his steps.
*******************************************************************************************************
“You’ve trained hard for many years, I don’t doubt your martial, aetheric, technical skills, or knowledge, but you still have weaknesses that must be dealt with”  Valens pragmatic Grandfather Andis said in a stern tone, flanked by Melron and his brother Maloran,

“Melron has devised a test for Valens, and Jarys you’ll go with Maloran.  I don’t know what they have devised, but the essence is this all being have weaknesses, the question is can you turn that to a strength or at least prevent it becoming a threat.  Based on how you perform you will either be declared a Guardian or have to train for a further year before another chance, now go.” Andis turned and headed back inside leaving the two pairs of brothers facing each other, it was traditional for a trainer to outsource the final test to another Guardian, as it avoided potential favouritism.

Valens quite liked Melron, he and Jarys had spent nearly a year travelling the near dead lands with him when they were 15, his depth of knowledge was vast, and he had taught them many things about how to survive in the hostile dead land with his boisterous humour a constant delight.  Still all that time he had sensed Melron felt unsettled by one of them.

Melron lead him wordlessly for four days through the forests to the foot of the thundercloud grey mountains, then up the worn trails and ropes to a cavernous black hole in the mountainside. 

“In there boy, go in and go right down, you’re the smart one, you’ll know what you’re to look for…I just hope its still there! Haven’t been down there since…anyway…should’ve done, but these old bones,…now get!” and with that he plopped down on the rocky terrace before the opening and started drinking from his flask. 

Valens took a deep breath and entered the darkness.
*******************************************************************************************************
The cavern was not overly wide, perhaps the size of a large house, but deep, plunging as if into the abyss of time.  There were no ropes, just precarious footholds on granite wet from water that dropped from some unseen flow of water above.  Valens wondered how the water kept dripping…it wasn’t winter so no snow on the cap, perhaps a hidden glacier or….he almost slipped, he needed to concentrate on climbing down and nothing else…that was his weakness, a lack of focus, a curiosity for the world about him that kept him from focusing on the here and now.  Here he had no choice, focus or die. 

He descended for untold hours, his body store, limbs and hands cut from countless sharp edges, the darkness complete he had only the aether to guide him.  He must be well below the ground level, he had come across unusually straight lines over the last…hour was it… perhaps the remains of pre-Collapse bunkers or tunnels, built, it was thought, to hide from devastation above.

He saw the pale blue glow of the bio-luminescent fungi hours before he reached it.  It cast a glow over a still pool of black water.  He crumpled as his feet finally touched near flat ground, aching to the depths of his bones. He surveyed the cavern, larger than the straight descent had been there was a thin shore around the water, that thickened on opposite side.

There silently sat a deep black stone the length of a bed, behind which was the collapsed entrance to a bunker or tunnel of some kind.  Even as he looked at the black stone he felt the emotions of fear, disgust, anger, terror in the aether.  He swam across the pool, his physical pain overshadowed by his curiosity.  The emotions intensified as he approached, the screams and smell of sweat and blood ever more visceral.  What had this been used for.   By the time he stood beside it he wanted to vomit and run, yet beneath that feeling was a familiarity, a sense he had been here before in some dark nightmare…was this his test to stay and learn or turn and run? 

Around the collapsed tunnel and the rock were surgical instruments and old broken handheld machines, and semi-transparent crystalline fragments.  The contrast of the natural rock with the machined items was striking…what had happened here.  As if in answer he felt bodies move around him, phantoms of men and women chanted in a circle, floating above the stone screaming in agony, lying upon it moaning in ecstasy.

The sensations were overwhelming, he couldn’t still himself, and perhaps he didn’t want to.  In the centre of the perfect flat top of the stone was a single blemish, an indented crystal as big as his thumb, the sounds grew louder as he stared at it, the emotions flooded the aether and mingled with his, the line between himself and the visions blurred.  He didn’t know what would happen to him if he touched it, it was sickening in its darkness, the only clear thought was the choice - to touch and know, to turn and wonder.  Indecision was his weakness.

He made his choice.
Logged

Lord_S_Gray

Surik: "Kreia, what are you—are you a Jedi, a Sith?"
Kreia: "Does it matter? Of course it does, such titles allow you to break the galaxy into light and dark, categorize it. Perhaps I am neither, and I hold both as what they are, pieces of a whole."

TheDutchman
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« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2017, 07:51:51 PM »

Oh I LIKE this LSG!  OUTSTANDING setting, exceedingly original, and mysteries begging to be solved  Smiley.  Fantastic narrative device with the single character-multipoint of views^^  I love the "aether" euphemism; fits in a Post-Collapse era.  Your story is replete with excellent world building; this has the weight of an Epic  Wink

I am eager to find out more  Grin
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Taegin Roan
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Force Alignment: 2043
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« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2017, 08:00:53 PM »

Indeed. TD said it all. His "this has the weight of an Epic" is so incredibly true and I too am eager to read more.
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"I am the Outcast's Shadow" - Taegin Roan
"Confronting fear is the Destiny of a Jedi" - Luke Skywalker
"So this is how liberty dies: with thunderous applause." - Padmé Amidala

Karmack
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Light side points please.


« Reply #4 on: September 29, 2017, 11:16:49 AM »

Excellent!  I love the format and the way you verbalize their connection to the force is logical and unique!  I am also liking this setting very much, especially the idea of a formerly technologically advanced planet now regressed to a pre-space-flight society. 

I am intrigued and I hope more is coming soon!  :-)
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Lord_S_Gray
Knight Commander
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Force Alignment: 307
Posts: 1660



« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2017, 02:19:35 PM »

Oh I LIKE this LSG!  OUTSTANDING setting, exceedingly original, and mysteries begging to be solved  Smiley.  Fantastic narrative device with the single character-multipoint of views^^  I love the "aether" euphemism; fits in a Post-Collapse era.  Your story is replete with excellent world building; this has the weight of an Epic  Wink

I am eager to find out more  Grin
Indeed. TD said it all. His "this has the weight of an Epic" is so incredibly true and I too am eager to read more.
Excellent!  I love the format and the way you verbalize their connection to the force is logical and unique!  I am also liking this setting very much, especially the idea of a formerly technologically advanced planet now regressed to a pre-space-flight society. 

I am intrigued and I hope more is coming soon!  :-)

Thanks for the feedback everyone, appreciate it.  I wasn't sure anyone would be interested, guess I figured the setting might be a bit too out there. And Yeah more is coming currently on Part 3 of 5 (each with 5 chapters), main issue atm is just doing some continuity checks.
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Lord_S_Gray

Surik: "Kreia, what are you—are you a Jedi, a Sith?"
Kreia: "Does it matter? Of course it does, such titles allow you to break the galaxy into light and dark, categorize it. Perhaps I am neither, and I hold both as what they are, pieces of a whole."

Lord_S_Gray
Knight Commander
*

Force Alignment: 307
Posts: 1660



« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2017, 02:21:45 PM »

Jarys
They were deep in the forests, three days walk from the farm.  The air was heavy with moisture from the morning dew, Jarys could sense the flickering orbs of life around him as various small animals and insects went about their lives, some hunting with the aether, others hiding their presence by subsuming n the aether, and some even block the aether creating dead spots where it ceased to flow.

Maloran looked around for a moment then said finally “Vorynx”.

Jarys stood for a moment not knowing what to say, then finally, “What about them,”

“You tell me boy,”  Maloran was the surlier of the Guardian brothers but his aura had a hint of humour in it.

“Predators, hunt with the aether and scent, channel the aether through the pearl on their temple…”

“Got it, now go get one,” Maloran turned and walked off

“Wait I don’t have any weapons! How am I meant to…”

“You want to be a Guardian work it out,” he didn’t even slacken his pace.
***************************************************************
Being hunted by a Vorynx was a danger anyone who strayed too far into the forests risked, hunting one was rare.  Though they did kill people, they were as much a part of Aethas as humans were, the cycle of predation between the species was a natural laminar flow in the aether, only when the population was imbalanced was a hunt needed.  This was a test of his strength, patience and guile, it would all these to down one of the beasts.

He moved as quietly as he could through the trees looking for traces he paused for a moment to breath in the aether, too nubile to leave tracks or broken twigs, Voynx could be followed by the effect they had on other creatures.  He took in the sensations of life around him, the currents of the aether flowed about, around, through every living thing.  Valens as better at this kind of thing, another reason Jary had this task he though.  To the east Yalsam gathered, conspicuous by the dead holes they left in the aether like islands in a river, a predator could see the absence but not their place in it.  To the west insects swirled around a black pool in the aether, a corpse, perhaps a Vorynx’s kill.   

But even if he found a Vorynx how would he kill it? With the aether, no Athean was ever unarmed, yet Vorynx could surge crippling brute bashes of aetheric energy as well.  He could hide his presence in the aether, mask his scent with something…but even still once he was in sight…he would have to hit hard and fatally once, without the benefit of the aether to guide his attack.  To work without the aether was something he had struggled with more than Valens, his grandfather taught never to use the Aether unless you had to, even if it was hard.  Perhaps that was his test also.

It took 2 days to pick up the trail, another night to find the rocky croft where the Vorynx took its brief naps. Filthy he stank of the slimy half decomposed leaves he smeared himself with to mask his scent and tired from the painfully slow progress, crawling silently through the underbrush to avoid detection.
But he was finally at the end.  The Vorynx was returning he observed pressed against the lip of the cavern, his hand around a hastily constructed spear of Ambisha wood.  The beast approached sniffing the air, its pointed head, crowned by the pearl between yellow glass eyes.  For second that lasted an age he thought the creature had sensed him, but finally the mottled green skinned creature stalked into the shelter.  Just before its hind legs vanished beneath him he leapt.

Caught in mid turn, detecting the motion, Jarys hit it in the side of its long body, mid-way between its leg pairs.  He yanked the spear free…it had done far less damage than he though against the rough hide.  Tail and tooth came at him, he rolled out then leapt back in tackling the Vorynx core and putting it on its back. Here its reach was limited, he struggled against the thrashing creature, hammering blows to its rib cage with his fists and pushing his mind against its consciousness in the aether.

He was winning the tussle…blood spurted with each blow to the creatures face and core, its scratches bit too weekly at him from this angle…winning…soon the pearly would be his and then…then he felt his stomach drop…he was losing his chance at becoming a Guardian.  Everything was competition with him, he always wanted to win, to overcome his opponent, to crush them, prove his mastery.  That was his weakness, a desire to win at the expense of his rival.  Killing the Vorynx was not the solution, he had assumed Maloran meant just the pearl…

The beast was supine beneath him, crushed physically and mentally by the savageness of his attack.  He flooded his aura into the beast, subsuming it beneath wave after wave of his essence, yet with the back wash of the tide came images in his mind, scents sounds…memories of hunts through the Vorynx eyes, not just this Vorynx, its ancestors…back and back….and….pain…hideous pain, twisting of flesh into new forms, aetheric fire forging a creature taken from its own world into….  He let go and threw himself back his thoughts reeling.
****************************************************************
It took five days to reach home, his exhaustion and the Vorynx injuries slowed him, but the beast was healing with him.  He had overwhelmed its consciousness so thoroughly a mere thought of his would elicit a desired behaviour.

When he did he found the three old Guardians waiting.  Melron had jumped at the site of the Vorynx, Maloran nodded sagely, his grandfather clapped him on the shoulder.  A day later Valens arrived, looking no better than Jarys, though more cuts than bruises.  Something ahd changed he couldn’t pinpoint…it wasn’t that Valens wasn’t himself…rather too much himself…more distant yet more intense at the same time in his aura. But then he had no doubt changed too.  No one asked what had transpired on their trials, such knowledge was for the aspirants to reflect on in solitude.

There was no great ceremony to becoming a Guardian, Aethans were a practical people.  The brotherly embrace from each of the older guardians sealed it for Jarys and his brother. 
***************************************************************
Logged

Lord_S_Gray

Surik: "Kreia, what are you—are you a Jedi, a Sith?"
Kreia: "Does it matter? Of course it does, such titles allow you to break the galaxy into light and dark, categorize it. Perhaps I am neither, and I hold both as what they are, pieces of a whole."

Lord_S_Gray
Knight Commander
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Force Alignment: 307
Posts: 1660



« Reply #7 on: October 02, 2017, 02:25:38 PM »

Shilea
Another pin dropped to the floor, just didn’t seem to want to stay in.  she could hold it in place with the aether, but she didn’t want to be distracted during the ceremony.  She flicked it up with a thought and once again it slipped from her light brown hair. 

“let me,”Cilina said coming up behind her.  Her sister pulled back her hair almost painfully and put the pin in place.

“there, now help me with this”, she turned and handed Shilea the ends of her blue waist ribbon.

They were above the main hall in the Central Village, outside she could hear the chatter of people catching up, all the Valley was here for the yearly Gathering when all the adults of twenty seasons would be paired and married.  There was little surprise in who she would be wed to, the formula was designed to avoid interbreeding, a necessity with such a small population, she would be married to either the bold dark haired Jarys or the quiet brown haired Valens her sister to the other.  She had known both of them for years, being of an age they played during the Gatherings, on occasion visited her village of Valleys End.  But those brief encounters hardly made enduring bonds.

“do you think I look too fat in this dress”  Cilina asked drawing Shilea out of her reverie.

“No, of course not”, Cilina ran her hands down her sides and frowned, “hmm…make it a little tighter,”  Shilea rolled her eyes but obliged.  Cilina was no larger than her, they were twins after all, very common amongst Aethans, and in turn often married other twin pairs to cement bloodlines for that generation. 

Blue was the colour of their village, at the wedding their blue waist ribbon would be joined by the black of their betrothed, their children would wear blue and black ribbons to Gatherings to signify which families could and could not consider them as partners for their own children.

“There finished,” Shilea turned to have her ribbon tied. 

“I hope they have have lots of sappher cakes” Cilina said absently,

“I thought you were worried you looked fat?”

“I said too fat! Have to have some fat for winter!  Plus Nelina says it helps with getting pregnant,”

“You don’t even know who you’re marrying yet and you’re thinking of children!” Shilea said shocked

“Uh it’s so obvious, I’ll marry Jarys you’ll marry Valens, everyone know it”

“What makes you say that,”

“UH!” Cilina cried in faux exasperation, “they always put the older brother with the younger sister, plus they always put the most handsome groom with the most beautiful bride!”
Shilea lightly slapped her with the aether,
“Hey!...ooh I should shred your dress!” Cilina would too, when they were children Cilinas favourite trick had been to use the aether to shred a hole in Shilea’s dress.  But the mirth in her voice belied any real anger.

“hmm, I wonder who’ll live at Old Andis farm, me and Jarys or you and Valens?” Cilina went on, “either way we’ll have to visit each season…”

Cilina kept talking but Shilea paid little attention.  It was becoming all too real...soon she would be married…married…and then off to live in a different house, children…it had all been just a thought, an idea you never thought would come true…today it would become very real.
****************************************************************
Cilina had been right, Shilea was to marry Valens.  She stood on the main stage of the amphitheatre in the refreshingly warm midday sun, in a line with eight other girls, Cilina to her left, and across from her, Valens. 

The steps of the amphitheatre were packed with almost every Aethan on the planet, to publically witness their unions.  She had been here several times of the last three weeks to see the six Guardians present (two were in the dead lands) announce changes to the Law, pass judgement on disputes and oversee votes on plans to build a new mine and create a dam.  She had also seen the public announcement of three new Guardians and the presentation of the swords they had forged themselves, Yorna a girl from the Coast, Jarys, whose trailing Vorynx had caused not a little alarm, and Valens.

Valens before her now looked just as distracted and distant as he had then.  Whilst Yorna and Jarys had beemed with pride at being announced Guardians and taking on the light steel armour, Valens had looked at his feet.  She could see the board smiles of Jarys and Cilina, the air between them heavy with excitement.  She wanted to cry.  She had known Valens was a distant, shy person, but seeing him now before her….she could barely sense him in the aether even…just a distant faded whisper against the booming voice of Jarys presence.

She barely heard the words of Guardian Karintha who stood at the end of the row of birdes and grooms, against the drowning beating of her own heart and rushing of her blood in her ears.  She felt on the edge of fainting, it was a strange sensation, to feel like collapsing yet being aware enough to notice the fact.  The others around her raised their arms palms facing toward their partner.  Some hidden part of her managed to lift her arms of stone and step forward so her palms pressed against Valens.  She looked toward him, he was now staring right at her with expressionless eyes. 

“Let their light be one” called Karintha and the air cracked with aetheric lightning as both bride and groom sent fine bolts of energy from their joined hands.  Shileas’ lightning was slow to start, she began to feel less light headed as she focused on sending the energy out, Valens lightning was instant and quickly mingled with hers even trailing up her arms, bonding him to her.  In the fluctuating arcs between their bodies something odd happened, stray arcs seemed to stay in place forming a jagged heart shape between them….This wasn’t her doing…on Valens face was a sad nervous smile.

As they parted the final step began, Valens and the grooms kneeled before their brides and tied their ribbon around their waists.  He tied it gently and slowly.  Perhaps there was something she could learn to love in him.
****************************************************************
After the ceremony and the feast, always a short affair, Aethans ate quickly and efficiently, Shilea found herself with her husband in one of the specially built newlywed cottages west of the village’s public garden.

He closed the door silently as she looked around at the names of previous couples carved in the wooden beams.  He looked at his feet, then sharply looked to the east, staring into the wall, eyes furrowed as if trying desperately to make out some distant object.  She knew what was meant to happen….but doubted whether he would make the first, or any move..  She swallowed hard and walked up to him, placing one hand on his shoulder, she touched his cheek with the other and turned her head to face her.  His eyes only slowly moved away from the wall.

“Valens, are you alright” she asked quietly. 
“ummm…I…I’m…I’m glad, no happy, that it was, it was you…that I, that is we are together, I wanted to say that I really think you’re beautiful and…” he turned to the wall again this his expression changing from nervous to serious in an instant.

“You’re nervous I understand…and I’m happy I was married to you too,” she stroked his face and exuded all the warmth she could into the aether to make him more comfortable, her mother had warned her how critical these moment were to setting the tone for their marriage.  “It’s alright,” She moved closer and wrapped her arm around his waist, her hand trailed from his face to his arm to wrap his around her shoulder. 

For the first time that day he truly looked at her, his presence rushed like a sudden gale into existence, it was a cool steady breeze, but like the precursor to storm there was a troubling waver to it …he was just on edge she reasoned, in time she would learn to read him better.

She pressed her head against his, and tried to blow calm into his mind, slowly his tensed muscles relaxed, it was now or never, she tilted her head and leaned into their first kiss.
****************************************************************
The room was burning, flames licked the walls and turned to steel as they rose, losing none of their heat.  Women and children screamed their auras cyclones of fear. 

The amphitheatre was full of the dead crying out black smoke of rage and vengeance that poured coalesced into a single black stream, she turned to follow it and saw Valens standing on the peak of a mountain dressed in black his eyes alight with aetheric energy, the stream poured into him and his presence grew crushing the stone around him to dust. 
She reached out for him, but her arm was not her own, it was a metal claw of strange flowing design and it grasped his throat. 
His face turned to one of nervous uncertainty as she choked him, he mouthed words, “What” she yelled as the winds of the aether spun around them, as terrifying as the situation was she didn’t want to be blown away from the only other being that seemed to exist. He mouthed again “What!” the wind in her ears grew in volume.  “Wake!! Run!! They’re coming”.

She sat bolt upright as though shocked back to life, Valens was on top of her shaking her, a roaring sound echoed from outside like an unending peal of thunder. 
“Shilea, get up you have to run, get to the mountains,” he quickly kissed her on the forehead then leapt off the bed, she felt herself rise above the bed under his power, as he used the aether to fasten his armour her clothes flew toward her and he dressed her with his powers.
“There’s an old mine north-north west of here once you get inside collapse the entrance,” He drew his sword and gave it a quick spin, she heard the first shriek from outside as her boots tightened around her feet.  The door flung open and he pulled her out with the aether, “what is….”, she tried to ask, “Go…”, he looked to the east where the fires of the village seemed too bright and the thunderous sound emanated,
“I’ll speed you while I can my love…” with a sad look he sent her running. 
***************************************************************
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Lord_S_Gray

Surik: "Kreia, what are you—are you a Jedi, a Sith?"
Kreia: "Does it matter? Of course it does, such titles allow you to break the galaxy into light and dark, categorize it. Perhaps I am neither, and I hold both as what they are, pieces of a whole."

Karmack
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« Reply #8 on: October 02, 2017, 05:30:08 PM »

Now that's a nice cliff-hanger.  Lord Gray, I am greatly enjoying this.  Your style is very different than mine, but I like the fragmented feel of the story.  You're giving me just the bits I need to understand what's happening at the next step and nothing more.  That takes a lot of planning and tight execution, and you're pulling it off nicely.

I am very eager to find out what happens, how this is all going to tie into the continued story, and where we end up.  :-)

Thank you and keep it coming!  :-)
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« Reply #9 on: October 02, 2017, 06:40:01 PM »

I'm still wondering what choice Valens made, and now you add something else for me to wonder about.  Angry What is going on, and what is Shilea running from? This is some really good writing. Very different than I read most of the time, and actually very enjoyable. It may just be the story, but I feel like the style of writing adds to it, and that is that this story seems very dark. I am thoroughly enjoying it though.
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« Reply #10 on: October 02, 2017, 09:00:52 PM »

Now that's a nice cliff-hanger.  Lord Gray, I am greatly enjoying this.  Your style is very different than mine, but I like the fragmented feel of the story.  You're giving me just the bits I need to understand what's happening at the next step and nothing more.  That takes a lot of planning and tight execution, and you're pulling it off nicely.

I am very eager to find out what happens, how this is all going to tie into the continued story, and where we end up.  :-)

Thank you and keep it coming!  :-)
I'm still wondering what choice Valens made, and now you add something else for me to wonder about.  Angry What is going on, and what is Shilea running from? This is some really good writing. Very different than I read most of the time, and actually very enjoyable. It may just be the story, but I feel like the style of writing adds to it, and that is that this story seems very dark. I am thoroughly enjoying it though.
These two have said almost precisely what I was thinking  Smiley

To wit: I remember growing up with Lord of the Rings, Dragonlance, and the Wheel of Time; all I would group in the same genre.  Then I started reading A Song of Fire and Ice which had such a distinct tonal shift but such an incredible story that I was hooked in no time.  LSG, your writing is akin to the latter (compared to Karm's, TR's, and my own stories which are thematically similar, much like my former examples).  And your story telling is brilliant!  The details that come piecemeal evoke a dystopian society that enriches the larger SW universe (much like Karm's and TR's) but from such a different vantage!  And, incredible as these are, they're all found right here for the community to appreciate and enjoy  Cheesy

I sincerely hope that more members are reading your, Karm's, and TR's stories because, if they're not, they are missing out on some truly incredible tales  Wink
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« Reply #11 on: October 02, 2017, 10:43:34 PM »

Thanks again guys, glad you like it, still!  I think the great thing about writing is everyone has their own style, its great when people really digs in to what they can do with it.  I guess I just try and write what I like to read and go from there, which I get the sense you're doing in your stories too. 

Re Karmack - It does have a fragmented feel, I liked the Song of Fire and Ice style, and wanted to try writing different characters whilst also keeping them together in an overall arc.

Re Taegin Roan - Valens choice is a big mystery for now! I love mystery in stories especially dark ones.  It will be revealed, maybe not as soon as you hope, trying to keep the suspense. I know no one likes it to last too long but some things that happen soon might give you a hint.

As to what Shilea is Running from....Here comes Part 1 Chapter 5...time for a shake up.




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Lord_S_Gray

Surik: "Kreia, what are you—are you a Jedi, a Sith?"
Kreia: "Does it matter? Of course it does, such titles allow you to break the galaxy into light and dark, categorize it. Perhaps I am neither, and I hold both as what they are, pieces of a whole."

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« Reply #12 on: October 02, 2017, 10:46:55 PM »

Lyr'Ca'Njo
The only parts of the Valley not pitch black were the river reflecting the strong light of the stars this close to the core and the village where the people had all gathered.  Viewing the celebrations through his macro binoculars it seemed they were finally winding down and heading off to rest.  They had no idea what was coming.

“Lyr!” came a guttural yell masked by a helmet re breather from behind him.

Lyr’Ca’Njo was not his birth name, he haddn’t used that name since leaving Ryloth.  It was something screamed at him by an Ardorian in a bar that he liked the sound of, apparently it roughly translated as ‘tricky sleemo thief liar’, it seemed apt.  He had been all those things and more, from an orphan on Ryloth he had started as petty thief, moved into weapons dealing to get off world, worked as a smuggler, part time raider, and now was working for a respectable Hutt as a slaver. 

It was a dangerous world he lived in, by keeping his ambitions modest, his self respect and pride low and his fawning of superiors high he had managed to carve out a good place for himself. 
He stood up and turned around careful with his steps standing so close to the peak of the mountains to the east of the village where they had based themselves. 

Behind the Gold and Silver armoured Mandalorian who had called his name hovered three salver skiffs, the conglomerate crews of Weequay, Gamoreans, Rodians, the odd Twi’lek and human shivering at this high altitude.

“We on?” asked Kobar Neen, the Mandolorian in command of the military side of things.  Whilst Lyr was head of Myzm the Hutts slave operations, Lyr had no problem delegating the command of the fighting to someone more experienced.

“Yes, yes, lets get out of here, my lekku are about to freeze off” he replied, it was true he had already lost sensation at the tips of his light green lekku. 

The planet had been found by Ugnaught miners exploring the Core worlds where the high gravity increased the likely hood of finding deposits of heavy minerals.  Hutt slave scouts often followed looking out for isolated populations to enslave.  Whilst this world had little value for mining with so many radiated deserts and blasted craters it did have a small valuable population.

The scouts had captured a native in a rad desert, who knows why the mad old man was out there, he had put up a good fight though.  It required bringing in a Dathomiri Nightsister to crack him and find out the small population were all force sensitive, better still once a year they all got together in one place.  A single force sensitive slave was worth at least 100,000 credits, here they could capture upwards of two thousand, a fortune for Myzm and a nice bonus for Lyr awaited.

He leapt lightly from the peak to the platform of one of the skiffs, on the other side of the mountain from the valley, above the grey ash desert fifteen more assault skiff waited, with dozens of light fighters and eight larger slaver transports.
 
Lyr had no desire to underestimate the resistance they might face from a force sensitive population, stun collars were stocked and ready, overall he had a force of seven hundred and fifty lead by a seasoned Mandolorian.  They would hit fast and hard, sure there would be losses, but so long as he wasn’t oe of them he was happy to cop them.

“Move out” Neen yelled into his comlink and the swarm of skiffs, speeders and transports began to ascend over the top of the mountains down toward the village.
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Lord_S_Gray

Surik: "Kreia, what are you—are you a Jedi, a Sith?"
Kreia: "Does it matter? Of course it does, such titles allow you to break the galaxy into light and dark, categorize it. Perhaps I am neither, and I hold both as what they are, pieces of a whole."

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« Reply #13 on: October 03, 2017, 06:07:34 AM »

"Tricky sleemo their liar." OMG I literally had to Lol with this.  LSG, by your own admission you are going for ASoFaI feel; that is precisely what your writing evinces me of!  And I mean that as the highest form of compliment  Smiley

You expertly weave SW canon details into a unique narrative; I really can't wait for the threads to converge! 
But I will just have to be patient  Wink

Until next installment friends  Smiley
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Taegin Roan
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« Reply #14 on: October 03, 2017, 09:15:24 PM »

Saw this last night, but haven't had a chance to read it till just now. Great job. I knew I wanted to come back to it (other than because it is awesome), because when I first saw it, all I saw the name, and then Mandalorean somewhere. That was enough for me. Anytime there is a Mando, I want to read it. Grin Great job. A little shorter than your other ones, but still incredible. Can't wait for more.
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"I am the Outcast's Shadow" - Taegin Roan
"Confronting fear is the Destiny of a Jedi" - Luke Skywalker
"So this is how liberty dies: with thunderous applause." - Padmé Amidala

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