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Author Topic: Children of the Aether  (Read 20849 times)
Lord_S_Gray
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« Reply #15 on: October 04, 2017, 03:09:34 PM »

Interlude
[/b]

Thanks again for the comments! While I finish off Part 2 (haven't had as much time this week) thought I'd offer this up.  Its a chapter I wrote mostly for my own development of the Aethan culture, and bridges the gap between the Andis and Valens chapter, didn't include it in the main arc as I felt it slowed it down and doesn't overtly lead anywhere. 

Anyway if you're interested in a little more of the back story while I polish part 2 take a look.


Lyssia
[/b]
She had never asked her father where the child had come from, as the daughter of a Guardian there were many things she knew that most people did not, but there were also some things Andis didn’t even trust her with.  Nonetheless her trust in her father was absolute.  Twins were very common on Aethas, no one would think twice about it. 

Her father was living permanently with her now, with Marten gone she needed the help with the two boys.  After she had married Marten she hadn’t seen him as often, he often followed Melron into the dead lands during those years.  But as Marten sickened, and Lyssia fell pregnant he had returned rapidly sensing her worry across the mountains that separated the life giving valley form the blasted dead lands.

Disease was generally uncommon on Aethas, but when it hit, it hit hard.  It had been a silly cut at first, but the infection had left Marten ill for a fortnight.  He had seemed fine after that, but the disease was in him by then.  Apart from old age it was infections following cuts or other haemorrhages that killed the most, but not swiftly, Aethan biology was too strong for that.  Before the collapse there were medicines for such things, now long lost, this was a key role of Guardians like Melron, to find that lost knowledge.  The greatest risk for any Aethan was child birth, the unavoidable exposure it brought meant many women died within five years, those stronger in the Aether lasted longer, but it always a risk.

She looked over her sleeping boys.  Already at the age of three their personalities were starting to form, the bold adventurous Jarys who would chase after anything new or unusual, as if afraid he would miss out on something if he didn’t catch it, and the quieter Valens who would focus intently on the smallest oddest things as if trying to discern some hidden meaning in shape of a tool or pattern of dress. 

Her sons were her life, they burned so bright in the aether, she hoped she would seem them Guardians and married happily.  She felt a short stab in her breast, and prayed by the Light of the Aether the disease she had incurred brining her biological son into the world would hold off until then.
********************************************************************************************

The breeze was light and cool beneath the clear skies, the Gathering was winding to a close.  She sat by the banks of the lake watching Jarys and Valens running about with the other children.  As always Jarys was in the fore leading them about, Valens hanging slightly back.  She noticed two of the little girls with blue ribbons amongst the group, blue was a colour she could match with. 

She slipped into the aether to sense them, though not strong enough to be a Guardian she had been close.  One of the girls was lively and bubbly, her presence sparking like the crackers Guardian Taran would make for children, the other strong and warming like a welcoming hearth on a winter’s night.

“Lyssia?” the voice shocked her out of her thoughts,
“Oh,” she turned to see a woman with blue and red ribbons, “sorry I was just…”
“It’s fine, you’re boys are what seven now, of an age to be looking for a match, I’m Kassyndra,”
“From Valleys end right,” she had seen Kassyndra about the place, there were few stranger with such a small population, but being a little older and living at Valleys end than her was not someone she really knew,
“That’s right…so tell me about your boys,” there was little dancing around when it came to working out a match
“Oh well Jarys has the dark hair and is all storm, Valens the lighter brown is more calm,” she adopted the wind terminology Valleys end people tended to use when speaking of the aether,
“hmm, my girls are Shilea, the warm one, and Cilina the glimmering one“ Kassyndra reciprocated with Lyssias terminology of light and temperature.

They spoke as the sun set and the children tired comparing the personalities of their children to see how well they would suit each other.  Kassyndra was determined to do the best for her daughters, and she couldn’t do much better than Guardians in training.  By the time the day was done Lyssia had good matches for bother her sons, the pain in her chest all but forgotten in her joy at the happiness her children would one day have.
********************************************************************************************
“No Its not…I don’t, arrgh,” Jarys stormed out of the room tears barely held back, Andis gave Lyssia a look, and she returned a gentle nod, he went after him. 

She had fallen sick a week ago, but only now did she really how close her time was, Valens sat beside her his hand in hers weeping quietly, Jarys had not taken it as well.  They were twelve now, the personalities they had shown as babes were now set, while she was proud of how they had progressed in their education and training se worried about them.  Jarys was headstrong and hated to lose at anything, he hid it well, but she feared he might find himself persisting in a fight he could not win.  Valens was too reserved, too distracted and indecisive, forced to make a choice. She feared he might overcompensate for this and make a bad one.

Andis lead Jarys back in and he sat on the other side of the bed taking her other hand.
“My boys,” her voice was ragged from laboured breathing, “I’m so proud of you, I can see one day what strong Guardians you will become,”
“You’ll see it yourself Mother,” Jarys protested, she just smiled at him, he truly believed it, that she could fight off this disease, Valens she could sense too believed there was some way, some hidden code he could crack to find a way to solve it.  Nothing in the aether was random, perhaps by her passing into the aether she would teach them both a lesson her father never could.
********************************************************************************************
The boys were both asleep, they had been at her side for nearly three days, Andis levitated them off to their own beds gently then sat beside her.  He was always a stoic man, a Guardian chiselled from the very stone Melron often joked. 
But here he was openly showing his grief,
“My girl, my beautiful little girl,” he stroked his hair and she took his hand
“It’s alright dad, it’s the course of the aether,” she softly intoned
“So I taught you, but I hated it when your mother left, and I’ll hate it when you leave…”

How long they sat in silence after that she didn’t know, suddenly she felt herself slipping into the aether, like when she meditated, but this time it was not intentional, she was dying.  Andis felt it and held her tightly as though if he could just hold her tightly enough she would not slip away. 

Lights filled her eyes, a brightness drowned out the world around her, shapes coalesced in it, bodies, her sons, opposite Kassyndras daughters,
“their wedding,” she said aloud
“Lyss….” Her father whispered, she knew it was common to have visions of the future just before death, for many it was a blessing, showing them their loved ones future happiness, for others a dread portent of suffering they could not prevent.

Jarys silhouette twisted slowly into an animal like shape, snarling, Valens darkened and grew smaller as though he were galaxies away, and the brides, Valens bride turned burning red, Jarys’ dulled but within her womb burned a light like a sun.  And above all four of them was…

She cried out loud
“Lyss its alright”  her father was crying, pushing all the love he could into her as she slipped into the aether,

....a figure, feminine shrouded by flames that seamlessly blended into fiery hair, blazing eyes, white perfect face yet….impassive....
A Goddess?
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."

Taegin Roan
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Force Alignment: 2043
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Lord of the Force


« Reply #16 on: October 04, 2017, 11:26:40 PM »

This one is really interesting. Definitely different from the rest, but that's okay. I like how you delved more in depth into the Aethan culture, getting into how they don't have a lot of tech or medicine. I see why you say it doesn't fit in anywhere, but I still feel like it is necessary to the story, if only because it explains why Valens and Jarys don't have a mom. I also like how you did a lot of time progression. Not something I like all the time, but it really fits this part of the narrative. Good job. Like I've said multiple times in Karm and TD's stories, I like story, to me it is more important that action, though action is needed as well. 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

TheDutchman
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« Reply #17 on: October 05, 2017, 07:33:53 AM »

LSG you have a gift for exposition without being pedantic; the solemn underlying sorrow throughout the timeline is palpable (ha! I didn't mess up this time  Tongue Grin). This is damned fine writing^^

This one is really interesting. Definitely different from the rest, but that's okay. I like how you delved more in depth into the Aethan culture, getting into how they don't have a lot of tech or medicine. I see why you say it doesn't fit in anywhere, but I still feel like it is necessary to the story, if only because it explains why Valens and Jarys don't have a mom. I also like how you did a lot of time progression. Not something I like all the time, but it really fits this part of the narrative. Good job. Like I've said multiple times in Karm and TD's stories, I like story, to me it is more important that action, though action is needed as well. Can't wait for more.
TR is absolutely right: the story has facets, each new chapter contributing unique perspectives that build and supplement^^  I am eager to see where you are taking us  Cheesy

Until next installment friends  Smiley
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Karmack
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« Reply #18 on: October 05, 2017, 10:05:21 AM »

LSG, thank you for sharing!  I can only echo the others on how much I appreciate the depth and clarity of your imagery.  Nicely done!

I am getting echoes here of Tolkein, both in the style and the way you're building such a deep background.  There's a lot of work here and its comprehensive.  The craftsmanship is evident and the foundation for the overall narrative of the actual story makes that story all the better.

Hmm...

So if you're Tolkien, does that make the rest of us Lewis, Williams, and Barfield?  ;-)
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Lord_S_Gray
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Force Alignment: 307
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« Reply #19 on: October 05, 2017, 02:48:28 PM »

This one is really interesting. Definitely different from the rest, but that's okay. I like how you delved more in depth into the Aethan culture, getting into how they don't have a lot of tech or medicine. I see why you say it doesn't fit in anywhere, but I still feel like it is necessary to the story, if only because it explains why Valens and Jarys don't have a mom. I also like how you did a lot of time progression. Not something I like all the time, but it really fits this part of the narrative. Good job. Like I've said multiple times in Karm and TD's stories, I like story, to me it is more important that action, though action is needed as well. Can't wait for more.

Thanks All,
Yeah this was a hard one to cut because of the need to show just how close to collapse their society is, population of 2000, restricted to one valley, and worried about a single cut killing them (which makes Jarys / Valens trials all the more risky for them to undertake). Lyssia was a character I wanted to do more on, but felt overall it just wouldn't quite fit. 

I think this is something no doubt we've all had issues with our respective characters.  Anyways as promised....worlds collide....
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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
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Force Alignment: 307
Posts: 1660



« Reply #20 on: October 05, 2017, 02:57:05 PM »

Part 2
[/b]

Andis
[/b]
His world was ending.  Houses all around the village were burning, strange black metal things floated in the sky, creatures the like of which he had never imagined charged in pack through the streets loosing blue and red bolts from weapons he had only read of in the histories. 

Wordlessly he charged toward them, sword in hand.  It had been years since he had raised his sword to kill, now he knew he would never put it down again.  His grandsons scream in the Aether had woken him and the rest of the village just before the metal things had arrived.  It had given them time, but not enough.  The attackers were everywhere at once, firing from their metal craft that hovered above, buring houses, targeting everyone, the old, the young, women, children.

There was no time to ask why, his people were being attacked, he had to kill them, and if he could take some alive for questioning later.  There were eight before him, as they opened fire he leapt and twirled landing in their centre with the aethers grace, he spun to cut through them, severing arms and torsos with a blade that crackled with the aetheric lightning he poured onto it.  He had no time to study the anatomy of these creature, he guessed by their human like form the head was still the best target, with what concentration he could spare he crushed in the heads of those not sliced by his blade.  But even as these fell he heard an alien shout and more charged toward him. 

He leapt to dodge their blasts and felt danger from above. Darting behind a building veranda he saw blue lightning crackle toward the metal ship the floated nearby followed by an armoured figure and a Vorynx flying towards it.  Jarys.  The threat from above nullified he turned to his attacker, guided by the aether he dodged all but one of the blue blasts, it struck hard, but didn’t break his stride.  He felt an internal injury, a disruption to his nervous system weakened only by his connection to the aether.  Any other Aethan hit by such a blast would not fare as well.  In his right hand he wrought bloody death with his sword, from his left poured aetheric fire more copiously than he believed he could. 

A large green alien caught alight, burning from without and within, a smaller teal alien was pierced in the face by his sword.  A wrinkled brown one swung an electrified pole toward him, he pivoted away pulling his sword through to cut it in half…but it didn’t, the poles metal was too strong.  His sword stuck, the brown creature tried to wrench free, in anger he mentally grasped the creatures face and pulled, tearing it free from its skull.

As he pulled his sword out he surveyed the battle in his mind. Jarys and his Vorynx was above, alien auras blinking out one by one, Karintha and Yorna were on a rooftop nearby unleashing waves of lightning against smaller craft that darted about.  Of the other guardians present, he only sensed Taran, Yira and Corba on the other side of the village, Kiso…Kiso…was a fading candle of hate beneath a flood of alien auras.  All around he sensed regular men and women fighting back, the aether alive with lightning and crushing pushes, the air filled with blocks of stone lobbed at the metal ships. 

He reached to find Valens, there to the West near the cottage a metal ship exploded in blue fire leaving only a figure lit by the starlight in its wake.  Satisfied he headed forwards. 

Peering around into the main street he saw bodies of men, burned holes in their chest of head, and aliens putting rings around the necks of women and children.  On the ground sat two of the metal ships, he sensed eighty or so alien auras.  In their midst was Gold and Silver armoured creature pointing and giving orders – their leader.  He couldn’t take that many alone, he sent a thought coursing through the aether, power, control, come, attack.  He felt instant acknowledgement from Karintha and Yorna, a boisterous scream of determination from Jarys, and steely so be it from Taran.  Another explosion lit up the night to the south and Yira’s light winked out of existence.  In the fiery glow he saw more, even larger ships approaching.  Expanding his awareness he tried to estimate their numbers….hundreds….it struck him how dim they were in the aether, they had not yet attacked them with it…he couldn’t understand what were they doing that for….were they were pooling their energy for some kind of mass attack…or integrated into a battle meditation?  Perhaps Valens could sense something, either way they had to hold back some energy in readiness for an aetheric attack. 

Melding his aura into the aether he connected with the others, felt their position, their resources as an over consciousness melded their thoughts began to direct them.  Yorna started, sending a razor thin blade of aetheric force straight into a group of aliens, in an instant severing them in half at the waist.  Taran and Karintha unleashed a dozen concentrated balls of aetheric fire down on alien heads with pinpoint accuracy, burning them alive.  Andis felt the call and charged out, from the other end of the street came eleven other Aethan men armed with swords and axes, from above Jarys leapt down into group of aliens. 

Andis plunged into the bloody melee, cutting, electrocuting, burning, crushing any who stood between him and the armoured leader.  But Aethan deaths also came thick and fast each one diminishing the battle meld, their expanded consciousness sensed more metal ships laden with troops closing around them, they were surrounded.  Taran fell first, shot to pieces from above, Yorna second, too drained to dodge the oncoming blasts. 

Two large ships sped above the street, yet before their crew could fire Valens landed atop one of them and unleashed a terrifying combination of lightning and fire obliterating the crews, but leaving him drained and unable to leap off as the ship exploded from the damage. 

Andis cut and wove till he saw the leader, currently locked in combat with Jarys, his Vorynx tearing chunks from any aliens who tried to come to their leaders support.  Jarys swung in precise arcs, but his sword could not pierce the armour, he tried to fire lightning but was too drained. As the fists of the leader began to pummel him, Karintha tossed him to safety, only to be struck by red bolts form behind. 

Andis surged forward and the leader turned toward him.  With his every cell he pulled in all the anger, fear and rage about him, infusing himself with the aether till his skin glowed. He had pushed past the point of no return, he would not survive this.  Ten paces from the leader the first shots hit him, blue and red energy bolts each taking chunks from his useless armour and flesh, one hit his left calf, another his right thigh and he stumbled, the leader drew a pistol and fired directly at him.  His enhanced aetheric power instinctively deflected the bolts, but he was using up too much power too fast, he took three more painful steps, more bolts tore at his back, the aether alone held his body together now. 

As he was ripped apart by the sustained fire he sent a final concentrated though of pure hate at the metal man before him, with grim satisfaction the last thing he saw was the armoured man exploding outwards against the backdrop of his ruined ships crashing to the ground.
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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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Master of Ceremonies
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Posts: 5594


Light side points please.


« Reply #21 on: October 06, 2017, 07:21:51 AM »

Wow....

Remind me NEVER to mess with your force users!  ;-)

Seriously, that was a great scene!  Tragic, heroic, horrific...  Everything a battle to the death should and would be.  Well done.
I also love the descriptions of the aether (force)...  how the characters interact with it and within it.  How they use it.
Also how it uses them.  Having a set amount of endurance in the force is something I hadn't really considered before, either, or being able to channel it TO heavily, to the point where the power flowing through you would actually destroy you.

And I am on the edge of my seat (metaphorically) wondering if the guardians were able to win the day?  And even if they did...  Well, as you said.  The population was very small.  Even a victory at this point, with so many dead, would be an ending of their culture.

So I am very interested to see how this resolves.  :-)

And as always, excellent!
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Taegin Roan
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« Reply #22 on: October 06, 2017, 10:15:17 AM »

Indeed, Karmack put his thoughts into words better than I could. Your "Aether" kind of reminds me of Egyptian Magic, where the magicians have access to it, and can even see inside it, but if they use too much, they could easily overtax themselves and completely fry their brains if not kill themselves. It is really cool how they have fire powers too, not just the normal lightning and telekinesis. I have to say though, Andis was one of my favorites already. Cry
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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

TheDutchman
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« Reply #23 on: October 07, 2017, 06:13:51 AM »

Wow that was intense LSG!  Excellent action sequences; reading, I could feel the dirt from the explosions, the burn of the blasters, the electricity in the air.  Andis' almost preternatural determination (and confusion as to why the invaders would not utilize the "aether" in their attack; understandable given the perspective).  Heh, I think Karm hit the proverbial nail on the head: do NOT mess with your Force users  Grin  Speaking of....

Another departure that I enjoy (and appreciate) is the "raw" and almost primordial nature of your Force users, almost like...
Indeed, Karmack put his thoughts into words better than I could. Your "Aether" kind of reminds me of Egyptian Magic, where the magicians have access to it, and can even see inside it, but if they use too much, they could easily overtax themselves and completely fry their brains if not kill themselves. It is really cool how they have fire powers too, not just the normal lightning and telekinesis. I have to say though, Andis was one of my favorites already. Cry
...yes, TR's example is perfect^^ 

And let me second the sentiment: Andis is...was a favorite of mine as well  Wink

Until next installment friends  Smiley
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Sig courtesy of DarthScrub

Cataphract Triarch of the Vhal'Dan

My sabers:Zearic's Aldrnari, Archon v3 (modded w/ activation box) w/Obsidian, AS; Zearic's shoto, Apprentice v4 w/Obsidian, AS; Graflex SE w/Obsidian, GB; Archon v3 (modded w/ activation box) w/Obsidian, CG; Dark Sentinel v4 w/Obsidian, BR; Sentinel LE v4 w/Obsidian, GB; Initiate v5 w/Obsidian, AS; Sentinel LE v4 stunt, EG; Aeon LE v4 stunt, FO; Dominix v4 stunt, BR; Aeon v3 stunt, SY

Lord_S_Gray
Knight Commander
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Force Alignment: 307
Posts: 1660



« Reply #24 on: October 08, 2017, 02:52:21 PM »

Wow....

Remind me NEVER to mess with your force users!  ;-)

Seriously, that was a great scene!  Tragic, heroic, horrific...  Everything a battle to the death should and would be.  Well done.
I also love the descriptions of the aether (force)...  how the characters interact with it and within it.  How they use it.
Also how it uses them.  Having a set amount of endurance in the force is something I hadn't really considered before, either, or being able to channel it TO heavily, to the point where the power flowing through you would actually destroy you.

And I am on the edge of my seat (metaphorically) wondering if the guardians were able to win the day?  And even if they did...  Well, as you said.  The population was very small.  Even a victory at this point, with so many dead, would be an ending of their culture.

So I am very interested to see how this resolves.  :-)

And as always, excellent!

Thanks All,

This was the chapter I was most concerned about, glad it came through well.
 
Karmack/Taegin - glad you picked up on the destructive element of the Force/Aether use
One thing that I had in mind was in the Expanded Universe NJO the example of Luke using the force to move a Vong black hole weapon and Jacen becoming one with the force to kill Omini – both these things dramatically drained them, they displayed overwhelming power but the mechanics as I understand it is they are accessing a near infinite amount of power in the force, but it is channelled through a very finite body, essentially I think there is only so much power a finite set of cells can channel before it is destroyed utterly.  Still this is a concept that I’ll be returning to….

Dutchman – the confusion re invader not using the aether was something I really wanted to get across glad it worked

I’m glad I got the rawness of their power across, the Guardians are trained, but not like Jedi or Sith, it is a practical power, it has nothing to do with a philosophy or morality, only outcomes – hence Andis uses “all the anger, fear and rage about him” to achieve his goal. Having said that you'll see more of their subtle powers as the story progresses....

Andis was a solid character but this is called Children of the Aether….

Just hoping the next chapters can live up to your expectations.  Appreciate your support as always!
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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 #25 on: October 08, 2017, 02:59:12 PM »

Shilea
[/b]

The hum of the ship was constant, punctuated every six seconds by a metallic clank.  Everything smelt of the gritty oil that coated the tiny cell.  It was barely big enough to sit in so she was forced to lean, the collar around her neck rubbed her skin raw and left her head reeling whenever tie livered its electric shock.

She wanted this to be a dream, to wake up the day after her wedding and tell her new husband about her vivid nightmare.  But this was all too real.

After Valens had sent her out she had caught up with seven other new brides, including Cilina, propelled by Valens aetheric power as well as her own she had managed to get nearly six paddocks from the village as it burnt behind her.  She had heard explosions, and felt the death and terror reeling from it, but dared not turn to look.  They had found her nonetheless, a metal flying machine crowded with creatures of nightmares they could  not outrun circled in front of them, they fought as best they could, loosing bolts of lightning, hurling aether sped rocks, flinging the creatures off, but it was not enough, the blue bolts they fired downed them one by one.

She had awoken on the hard deck of one of their ships, the collar around her neck, in the middle of the ruined village.  Burnt out houses and broken bodies lay all over the main street, the main hall in which she had dressed for her wedding the day before crushed by a fallen ship that still slowly burnt. 

Dozens of Aethans were tied and collared like her, along the street the elderly were marched, lined up and shot with red bolts, cutting the air from their auras in an instant.  Some of the men tried to fight back, but were just shot with the blue bolts.  Jarys, the only Guardian Shilea had seen amongst the nearly four hundred Aethans that had been rounded had been especially violent, at least a half dozen times he would break his chains and attack the aliens, every time he would kill one or two, only to be shot and tied again.

Her sister wept quietly beside her then, and wailed so loudly when four huge green aliens pummelled her husband, the nearby guard had shot Cilina with another blue bolt to shut her up.

Group by group they were loaded onto the huge metal squares that sat atop what once were houses, and pushed into the cells where she now found herself.

She had searched the aether for others, her father, mother, aunt….husband…but could sense none of them…she hoped they were on other ships somewhere.  Cilina was in a cell five down from her sleeping restlessly. 

How could things change so much in one day?  Who were these aliens, why had they come, what did they want with them…Why Her?  She had just gotten married, not even a whole day with her husband…just an afternoon and evening…as she looked at her new confines she silently prayed by the Winds of the Aether and the Burning Eyes of the Lady she wasn’t pregnant.
******************************************************************************************************
Time had little meaning in the constantly lit cell.  She tried counting the times a hairy creature with a collar like hers would bring around a thick gooey paste for them to eat, but soon gave it up.  At first she vomited it all back up, unused to such…she didn’t want to call it food.  With no room to move she was forced to stand in her own filth until, less regularly they would spray them with water.  Anyone who talked was subject to a collar shock from the reptilian guard that prowled the walk way between the cells.
 
At first everyone had stayed silent in the aether fearing a similar retaliation.  But gradually they had realised their captors seemed not to notice any feelings they sent through the aether.  There were fifty of them on this deck in twenty five cells in two rows, above and below were another fifty making one hundred and fifty on this ship.  Most were women and children, the men had largely been killed in the fighting, and none seemed older than forty.  They began to realise only one thing made sense, they were being taken as slaves. They did what they could to comfort each other emotionally through the aether, it was false hope at best, delusion at worst.

Shilea had read of slaves in the histories but never imagined being one, but then she never imagined beings still travelled the stars, or there were such strange creatures in the universe.  They spoke a guttural tongue, that with the aid of the aether in reading the airs of their meaning she was gradually understanding. 

It was of little use, no one could fly the vessel, they could sense at least a hundred aliens on board with them, any sign of trouble and they would be shocked, and the poor food kept them too weak to gather the energy for any real attack.
******************************************************************************************************

She didn’t know how long it had been but they ship landed somewhere, a planet with a turbulent aetheric wind.

Aethas has such a beautiful aetheric feeling, it surrounded you like a shadow that cools you on a hot day, or warm like a blanket on a cold night, dark and comforting, here it was distortion, twisted, confusing.  She felt sick.

They were taken in small groups through a labyrinth of rank tunnels to new, larger cells, relatively clean, a bowl kept filled with water, a thin mattress and worn one piece suit they were to change into.
 
The cell was fronted by a transparent material, on the other side strange beings in opulent outfits would come each day and gawk at them, taking them away one by one.

By the time Cilina was taken by a hideous cream coloured creature with a gigantic head her tears had run dry and she had accepted her life was over.  Her only hope was to somehow remove the collar and gather strength enough to aetherically burn herself to death.  Horrors that awaited her till then terrified her.   

A minor consolation was when her cycle came and she knew she wasn’t with child.

One day the creature came.  Of the many disgusting creatures she had seen this was one of the worst, it had a triangular head and hideous tentacles for a mouth. With it came a repulsive scarred woman with intricate white and black tattoos all over her face, her left arm cut off at the elbow, and as usual the green skinned thing with two long tentacles on the back of its head. 
The latter one she had seen so often she assumed it was the seller. As usual Shilea had crawled into a ball, trying to make herself as small as possible, and retreated her aura.

But this time was different.  For the first time she felt the breeze of the aether from one of the aliens, the tattooed woman’s air was moist and dark like the deep forests only the Guardians dared venture into.  It pressed her.  She was terrified she would be chosen, but the tattooed woman moved on pressing the other remaining Aethans in turn. 

Finally the tattooed woman retuned to Shileas' cells and mouthed words behind the barrier.

Shilea didn’t need to hear them to know what she had said –

“That one.”
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 #26 on: October 09, 2017, 07:11:37 AM »

Excellent LSG; each chapter offers more of the wonderful community of Force-users you've created. Reading, I could feel Shilea's utter despair underscored by the fact that everything is so alien (heh figuratively and literally) to her experience. And, once again, I find myself at the end of the chapter too quickly, wanting more  Smiley

Well as you said: it is children of the aether so I know that more is forthcoming...but I hate the waiting  Wink

Until next installment friends  Smiley
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Karmack
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« Reply #27 on: October 10, 2017, 06:37:52 AM »

LSG, this was no doubt a hard scene to write.  It was hard to read, but it was meant to be hard.  Like most of my fellow Americans, I love a happy ending, and going through what amounts to a genocidal event is heart-wrenching.  That being said, I care about this person, because you shared enough of her life with us to help us identify with her.  Also, we mourn with her at the loss of her entire life.  And yet, still, a sliver of hope remains.  :-) 

As Dutchman said: the CHILDREN of the aether.  The question I find myself pondering: is Shelia one of the children in question?  Or the mother of those children?  :-)

Looking forward to the next installment!

Karmack

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Lord_S_Gray
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« Reply #28 on: October 10, 2017, 03:28:43 PM »

LSG, this was no doubt a hard scene to write.  It was hard to read, but it was meant to be hard.  Like most of my fellow Americans, I love a happy ending, and going through what amounts to a genocidal event is heart-wrenching.  That being said, I care about this person, because you shared enough of her life with us to help us identify with her.  Also, we mourn with her at the loss of her entire life.  And yet, still, a sliver of hope remains.  :-) 

As Dutchman said: the CHILDREN of the aether.  The question I find myself pondering: is Shelia one of the children in question?  Or the mother of those children?  :-)

Looking forward to the next installment!

Karmack



Thanks Karmack, actually it was surprisingly easy to write, the harder bit was knowing what was going to happen in the first place...but once OK with that it sort of flowed.

Glad you identify with her, that was why I kept the first part so focused on their little world, it makes the destruction all the more galling and devastating for the reader.

The galaxy I see as a very brutal place for a lot of people...
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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
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Force Alignment: 307
Posts: 1660



« Reply #29 on: October 10, 2017, 03:31:44 PM »

Jarys
The cold was manageable, the lack of food survivable…but the shocks…every few seconds he would be given an electric shock to keep him from focusing long enough to use the aether to fight back.

Since the battle he had tried to escape and killed so many aliens he had lost count.  Now only they most hardened of their warriors guarded him, he couldn’t sense much off these creatures with their strange auras, but he knew many of them feared him. With good reason, given the chance he would delight in shredding each one of them to pieces slowly, but in the situation would happily settle for quickly immolating them from within.

The screeching sound of his chains against the mental floor also annoyed him as he was dragged into a far cleaner part of the building he had been taken to after the transport ship.  Mostly he had been rendered unconscious, during the brief times he was awake, first he tried to rip a hole in the ships fuselage with the aether, second to dominate the mind of one of the guards, but the strangeness of the alien mind had made it difficult, it was more complex than the Vorynx, it had ended with the fat green thing a mindless drone.

They dragged him through an overly wide hallway, brightly lit with hideous what he guessed was alien art work on the walls, and through an oversize set of oval doors.

Behind them was the most hideous creature Jarys had seen yet.  On top of a long lounge at the other side of the large chamber, big not just to impress and awe but also, Jarys mused, possibly necessity for its owner, surrounded by a gaggle of creatures was a massive fat brown slug like creature with wide hideous black eyes. 

It was freely drooling, stains down its equivalent of a belly, and shoving huge eyes from a pot into its maw with stubby hands.  Jarys could not imagine what environment would, through natural selection, birth such an abomination.
<Master this is the fierce one> said the green skinned humanoid with tentacles on the back of its head beside the great slug.  Jarys had gradually picked up the language these foul creatures spoke, the aether coloured by the dye of meaning had helped with this, the only thing he could manage in the aether amongst the shocks.

The slug made a hideous slurping sound as it downed another eye then stared straight at him. 

<It’s smaller than I thought it would be> the slug droned in hideous gurgling accents <you say this killed forty?>

<At least master, we have to keep it sedated it is so fierce…there is no prospect anyone would buy such a beast….>
Jarys almost laughed at the irony of that, thing, calling him a beast.

<You think it would win?>

<I…think we will profit more from it in the arena than at the markets>

The slug laughed in a guttural manner
<uh uh uh…very well, let us see how it fares, still seems to small>

Jarys sniggered and spoke, <Untie my chains and you will see how I fare beast>

The pommel of a guard staff slammed him in the head as all eyes turned on him for having spoken out, another guard moved around in front to beat him but was belayed by a sound from the slug.

<hoooorrrrm….it speaks, I didn’t think they spoke the beautiful tongue, Lyr?> the slug bellowed
Looking slightly unnerved tentacle head rubbed his hands <They are quick learner’s master….just like we have told all our buyers….>

The slug looked back at Jarys with a wet disgusting smile

<If I released you what would you do>

Jarys didn’t miss a beat despite the blood trailing down his skull and onto his mouth <As you like them so much, I would rip out your eyes and feed them to you, then I would shove everyone of your servants eyes into your mouth whole till you rupture> Jarys stared at tentacle head <starting with him>

There was a deafening silence in the room, Jarys thought he would be killed instantly. The slug bellowed in laughter.
<take him away, put him in the arena…I will watch myself> as they dragged him back out the slug added to tentacle head <if he loses I will eat you Lyr>.
***************************************************************************************************
They had first stuffed him with food, taken off his shock collar, then quickly pushed him into the tunnel.  The walls were solid, the door behind him thick, in front was a grated gate, beyond that a vast empty circle of ground.  He could sense thousands of dim lit alien beings above him in roughly a circle, and below them other beings who wetted the aether with flows of despair, anger and violent rage.

The gate began to rise and the aliens above shouted.  He had little choice, so stepped out.  It was just like the Ampitheatre on Aethas in shape, but made of the aliens metals.  A transparent reddish glow separated him from the crowd watching him…he realised what this was, from the histories he had read of games where doomed prisoners were set to fight each other to live another day and provide entertainment for the masses…now he was one of them.
 
Was that to be his world now?  Win in the arena or die, obey his captors or live in pain. 

He looked around the arenas patrons and saw above the rabble, boxes with better clothed creatures, some even human like him…yet none had the buoyancy and Aethan should in the ocean of the aether.  Soon enough he spotted the slug and tentacle head, talking with a hideous creature he dubbed tentacle face. 

He would win, he would survive, as he stared in hate at the slug the primitive instincts to live welled in him, deepened by the connection with his slain vorynx had left behind.

On the other side of the arena another gate opened and four creatures came out, two like tentacle head, but bigger, one with a bizarre T shaped head and another spindly thing with six limbs, all were armed with rusty metal, and variously attired in thin worn out leathers.  A sudden clash sounded all around the arena and the four charged. 

He weighed the threats with the instinct of a cornered animal, the tentacle heads looked strong, but humanoid posed less uncertainty, the six limbed thing worried him as it tried to flank him, T head jumped up and down on the spot for no reason he could determine.  He raced to the six limbed thing, meeting it mid rin it swung at him with a rusty blade, Jarys skidded  and rolled beneath it grabbing its leg limbs and pulling, the creature balanced on its mid limbs as Jarys released, rolled, sprang up and reverse leapt onto its back, his weight forcing it to go on all six limbs to steady, but Jarys had his arms about its spindly torso and with what aetheric might he could muster squeezed hard to crush its organs, hideous brown goo oozed out and it collapsed. 

The tentacle heads came at him next, one with an axe, the other a spear.  Spear was smart enough to pace around him, axe edged forward, soon they were on either side of him, it was then T head charged.  He was caught in the centre of the tringle his opponents had made, backward and to the side were covered by axe and spear, he had to go into the charging beast.
 
He charged with a primal scream. 

Letting the aether flow he increased his speed as T head bore down to smash him, as he reached closer he leapt into the air and grasped the tow side of the T, performing a back flip the momentum of the T creature powered them in a circle, Jarys landing on his feet behind the charger, the charger lifting up over Jarys head flung as he released it into the side of the arena with a bone crutching crash.  Axe and spear charged from opposite sides, he could feel their movements in the water of the aether, a spin kick just before they reached him put axe out as spears overextended to put his spear through axe.  As he realised what he had done Jarys was upon him, pulling his tentacles as he put his foot in his back, he was rewarded with a wet crack as the creature died. 

The crowd cheered wildly, Jarys tugged the limp body toward him, reached around and squelched out the eyes. Raising one in each had in triumph he stared very deliberately at the slug far above him.
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."

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