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Author Topic: Schisms: The Vhal'Dan Civil War  (Read 19164 times)
TheDutchman
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« on: February 16, 2018, 02:17:19 PM »

I just wanted to give my thanks to all of the friends who helped in making this happen  Grin
**************************************************************************************
Kazic's lightsaber

Anson's lightsaber

Prologue

They had gathered around the medcouch, the atmosphere somber.  The body lying upon the bed was a shell of the man that he’d been, but Kazic Ovarug had lived over 1,000 years.  He knew that he’d been dying for almost 10 of those but the swiftness of the debilitating illness that struck had surprised even him.  In the last month alone he’d lost close to 20 kilograms.  Ironic that the same ancestry that was responsible for his long life was also the reason that he was now dying.  But, looking around the room, his gray lips cracked a smile; he was surrounded by his family which, in truth, was more than he deserved.

Slowly he turned his head towards his son.  “Father…I…” Zearic stopped, half-laughing, half-coughing, “…I passed my Test.  I…made maenowan.  Finally.”  He looked into Kazic’s red eyes, his own watery and bloodshot.  He knew that his death would hit his son hardest.  By the Maker he’d gotten big…

His rasping voice a whisper, Kazic wheezed,  “…Proud of you…son…proud…”  And for a moment, the Anzat’s red eyes cleared, penetrating and full of wit, “…About time…” Kazic quietly laughed, his entire body convulsing as he began to cough uncontrollably.

“Here Grandfather!  Drink…” Jorya gently held the cup of water to his lips, the water running from his mouth.  Seeing this, her large blue eyes began to cry anew.  Racking sobs shook her body as she tried to suppress her tears in vain.  Kazic laid a withered hand upon hers.

“…’S OK, Dear One.  Don’t cry…for this old…man.  He’s…proud to have…seen you grow…into a beautiful young woman.”  Kazic smiled again.  “…Just glad that I…could witness…your sixteenth…Life Day…”  He coughed, worse this time.  When he was finally able to see again, he saw that both his son and granddaughter were crying openly.  …No, Dear Ones, no… His sorrow was for their suffering but his lamentation was for himself …Not…yet...needs must…tell…

Kazic’s eyes fixed upon the shortest person in the room.  Weakly, he gestured to D’Aylanna bidding her to sit by him.  Quietly, he whispered to his Nur’us, his daughter-in-law.  “Nur’us…please send…Zearic and Jorya away…I needs…must…” His voice quieted as he attempted to reinforce himself with the Force.  Instead, he felt it flow from D’Aylanna strengthening him.  Simultaneously, she turned her head speaking softly to her husband and daughter.

Shakal, Dear One, Master Kazic has asked that you both retire; neither of you have eaten and he would not have you starve on his behalf.”  Kazic smiled.  …Bless you, Nur’us he thought.  Sensing his wife’s motives his son nodded and, approaching Kazic he leaned over to kiss the Anzat on his forehead, careless of the matted thinning white hair upon Kazic’s brow.

“I love you, Father.”  Zearic's usually deep voice cracked.  Jorya gently but passionately threw her arms around her grandfather, kissing his face while tears flowed freely down her face.  Echoing her own father, she told Kazic how much she loved him and that she would bring him a hot chocolate when she returned.  Gently stroking her lekku, Kazic smiled up at Jorya’s tear-streaked face and nodded.  Then, with one final look, Zearic and Jorya left the room leaving D’Aylanna and Kazic alone.

Feeling stronger thanks to D’Aylanna’s Force ministrations, Kazic’s voice was clearer and more forceful that it had been for awhile.  “Nur’us you will one day be Arbiter, if not Kage…” Kazic stared at the Hapan woman, and unspoken understanding between them.  “It is important that you know the truth…”  Kazic took a deep breath, expecting the question that D’Aylanna would ask.

“And what truth would that be, Father?” Her regal bearing was not marred by the tear falling down her dark cheek, her head cocking slightly while the light played off of her midnight blue hair.

Smiling knowingly, Kazic intoned, “The Vhal’Dan Civil War.  Everything surrounding it.  Especially the records.  The Archives are wrong…” Kazic winced in pain, his emaciated face twisting his pure white moustaches and beard as he coughed again.

Patiently with her hand on the Anzat’s, D’Aylanna spoke when his coughing quieted.  “…In what way, Father?”  Her clear dark eyes stared into Kazic’s red.

“…I…you see, I altered them, changed them.  Even…erased some of the records.”  Kazic’s face suddenly looked angry, the emotion giving more life to his visage since he’d fallen ill.  “…At first, I told myself that I was protecting the Vhal’Dan…or that I was ensuring success for the Order and posterity...but now…” He closed his eyes, his face falling.  “…Now I know it was because I wished to hide my shame…”  Tears began to form in Kazic’s red eyes.  “…and my failures.”  But once he’d spoken the last, he inhaled deeply, looking into D’Aylanna’s eyes with the strength of conviction and forcefulness.

“…Speak Father.  I will hear all you have to say.  And remember.” D’Aylanna said gently, her small delicate hands firmly holding Kazic’s as she continued to strengthen him with the Force.

At first Kazic said nothing.  But as he began, his voice deep and strong, his words flowed unhindered and clear as the Anzat related tales of the past that no one living but him would know, events that told of the truth of the matter concerning the Civil War.  And D’Aylanna listened.

And Kazic remembered…

**********************************************************************

The small retinue of Singers that followed the Kage had been surprisingly silent while Arbiter Anson D’Aklon and Master Gray Kazic Ovarug told of the organization and agency of the Gray Jedi of the Vhal’Dan Order.  And while Kage Li’I’Mack asked the occasional question, she was for the most part introspective.

“Intriguing gentlemen.  And you say that the Vhal’Dan have followed this format unadulterated since before the Ruusan Reformation?”  The tall lithe Kage halted her deliberate pace, causing both men to stop short, Anson’s light gray robes gusting outward.  Beside him, Kazic made no pretense of hiding his grin as the shorter man looked caught unawares.  But Anson’s face broke out in a wide grin, his handsome clean-shaven face bowing in deference before Kage Li’I’Mack.

“That’s correct Kage.”  Anson’s tenor-like voice was strong and assured as he sincerely described the differing ranking system between the Jedi Order and the Vhal’Dan.  “We Gray have determined that each level should be broken down into two ranks apiece.  For instance, an initiate is still referred to as ‘padawan.’  But once assigned a custodian, they become a Teidowan.  But then the next rank is that of Gray Knight.  However, even though they are referred to as ‘knights’ Gray Knights are still considered in need of further training and supervision before the conferral of full Knighthood.  This rank is known as ‘Koawan.’”  Anson’s rich brown eyes included all of the Singers around the Kage before he locked his again on her lavender eyes.  “Once a Koawan has reached the next level of training, they may either attempt the first Test for Maenowan if they do not wish to take any apprentices.  However, should they wish to teach, then the Koawan will take the test for Silver Knight.”

At this time Kazic spoke up.  “You see Kage that those Gray Jedi who wish to participate in the upper ranks of the Order must have experience at teaching.  All Silver Knights can become Maenowans but not all Maenowans were Silver Knights; only those that took apprenticeships can do so.”  The Kage’s beautiful face looked insightful as she absorbed the details.  For a split second she gave Anson an appreciative look before locking her eyes onto his.

“Pray, Arbiter, do continue.”  And while it could have been Kazic’s imagination, he thought that the Kage’s full purple lips almost smiled while she looked at Anson.  Regardless, the Kage was not some “frivolous waif” batting her eyelashes.  No, this was an incredibly powerful, intelligent, and determined woman who had more than earned her position.  Still...she and Anson were also human… Kazic smiled inwardly, thinking of Saani and the first time he’d seen her.  …Ah Saani… he mused.  As he remembered their first time meeting, he also recalled that she’d slapped him.  …Now why had she done that again…?  But Anson’s voice shattered his reflections bringing him swiftly back to the present.

“Thank you Kage.  As my esteemed colleague Master Kazic reminded me, the first master rank is that of ‘Maenowan.’  Should a Knight wish to confine their studies of the Force to themselves personally, they take the Test for maenowan absent any apprenticeships.”  Anson smiled again, his handsome angular face seeming to mirror the beauty of M’Tzigon’s M’Skigon Mountains.  “However, if one has taken on the role of teacher then a Maenowan can submit their intentions to the Council of Balance to become a Gray Jedi Master.  It is only these masters—“

“And not maenowans…” Kazic provided, slipping his comment in between Anson’s breaths, the Anzat’s dark gray robes gently waving against his dark boots in the comfortable breeze.

“—and not maenowans—that are allowed to apply for election of Kage.”  Anson cast his eyes to Kazic in mock-seriousness before returning his gaze to Kage Li’I’Mack, an easy smile still upon his face.

“Or Arbiter I take it?”  The Kage’s shrewd lavender eyes held Anson’s, a slight turning of her lips played upon her mouth.  Taking the joke for what it was, Anson laughed, the valley echoing as he did so.

Once again bowing his head in deference, he said easily, “Yes Kage, you are correct.  As Arbiter the office requires that a Gray Jedi have attained the rank of ‘Jedi Master.’  After all, it is the purview of the Arbiter to judge any Jedi regardless if they be petitioner or defendant.”

“Ah” Kage Li’I’Mack said lightly.  “And here I thought that such responsibility was under the domain of the Maker alone.”  Her soft beautiful face remained impassive, the silence around the group conspicuous.  And then suddenly, laughter.

Anson’s full bellied laugh was infectious and soon everyone within the group was all following likewise.  Before he’d even stopped, Anson spoke around his own chuckles.  “Touche Kage.  I bow to your wisdom.” He said sincerely.  Graciously taking the win, Kage Li’I’Mack smiled broadly, her eyes softening.

“I can see why Kage Arkady supported your candidacy for Arbiter.  If all your Gray Jedi are as astute and sagacious as you Master Anson then I can see a long and advantageous alliance between the Mak’Tor and the Vhal’Dan.”  With this pronouncement, the Singers surrounding the Kage moved to congratulate the two Gray Jedi.  But even as he smiled and shook the hand of every Singer, Anson had only eyes for Li’I’Mack.

            <<<<< >>>>>

As the hyperspace tunnel cast a blue illumination through the canopy, both men considered their time on M’Tzigon an unmitigated success.  Once locking in the coordinates to the navi-computer, Kazic withdrew to the ship’s lounge to join his friend.

Already sitting on the comfortable couch, Anson pointed to a steaming cup by Kazic’s seat.  “Well brother I can honestly say that that planet could qualify as Paradise.”  Cradled in his muscular arms, Anson had a book open.  For Kazic, to see something as archaic as a book only served to deepen his curiosity.  As he cocked his head to the side to get a better look, Kazic’s hair fell out of the topknot on his head.  Sighing, he retied his hair and—after a seconds worth of consideration—smoothed his close cut moustache and beard that surrounded his mouth.

Kazic was darkly handsome, his deep gray skin and jet-black hair indicative of his race.  As was his large, flared-nostril nose but it suited his broad face.  And while Anson was slightly wider, Kazic still had about ten centimeters on him.  Still, he had to admit that Anson was better looking; in fact, it was a running joke between the two old friends.

Which was why when Kazic saw the title of the book Anson was reading, he laughed.  “’How To Learn To Sing: 4 Easy Steps?!’  Anson, I don’t think that you need to impress the Kage if her looks were any indication to go by, brother.”  The Anzat sat, drinking the cup that Anson had filled for him while kicking his leg up on the armrest.  He closed his red eyes, enjoying the rich almost cloying sweetness of the hot chocolate as he slowly drank it.

“Ah but a gentlemen never kisses and tells.” Anson smiled mysteriously.  “But I will tell you one thing: those Mak’Tor sure have good genes.”  When he looked at Kazic, Anson’s face had adopted an innocent set upon it.  “You know, for their skill as Singers.”

“Of course.” Kazic intoned flatly, winking at Anson.

“See that’s the problem with you Anzati: always have your minds in the gutter.”  Anson’s smile merely widened causing Kazic to laugh.  But after he fell silent, the human Arbiter continued.  “On a serious note, I have to talk to you concerning two items of note.  First, I received a holovid from Arkady.”

That was unusual; during this mission both men had been corresponding exclusively with the Council itself, never once the Kage.  Kazic sat up, his red eyes concerned.  “Trouble?”

Anson inhaled slowly.  “…Not exactly.  Apparently, upon our arrival on Galtea you’re to ready yourself for departure, Arkady has chosen you to lead an expedition team to Yavin 4.  According to rumor, there is a sizeable cache of Force artifacts there.”  Anson closed his book and ran his hands through his wavy brown hair.

Kazic stared, expressionless.  “Me?”  He flatly intoned.  “Why?”

Anson didn’t so much as hesitate.  “Because Arkady knows that he can trust you completely.  Kaz…it’s possible that the Force artifacts are…Massassi.”  The human Arbiter’s face looked carved in stone.

Kazic sat back.  “Ah, wonderful.”  He shook his head.  “Damned Sith…”  Then he paused.  “You said ‘two.’  What’s the second thing you need to tell me?”  Kazic absentmindedly stroked his short beard and moustache, a habit that Saani had called him on whenever he was expecting bad news.

“Yeah, it’s bad.”  Anson said also recognizing his Anzat friend’s idiosyncrasy, his own hands flexing as if holding his lightsaber.  “One of the things that Li’I’Mack and I talked about was concerning the Mak’Tor settlement on Vyth.”

Kazic shook his head.  “Never heard of it.”

“I’m not surprised; I hadn’t either.  Anyway, the Kage told me that the Mak’Tor on M’Tzigon had lost all contact with the Vyth colony.  No holofeeds, squeaks, not even a warning fire.  Nothing, Kaz.  Nothing at all…”  Anson leaned forward, his elbows resting on his knees.  “But that’s not the worst of it: a single ship with a lone child landed at the M’Skigon Spaceport a week ago.  The astromech kept repeating some warning so some such.  And the girl is…well, she’s kriffing frightened.  And the only thing that the search teams found—besides the girl—was a lightsaber that she wouldn’t let go of and blood from multiple sources…”

Kazic looked introspective.  “Blood…and a lightsaber.”  He leaned forward, his topknot falling again causing him to curse.  Deliberately tying his statim—one of the few Anzati accessories he wore—tight around his hair, he continued.  “Anything else?”

Anson looked up.  “Just one.  The Mak’Tor have quarantined Vyth; they aren’t even confirming coordinates, much less offering to take us…”  He sat back on the couch, a poleaxed expression upon his face.  “I don’t know Kaz…something like that gets me thinking…”  The Arbiter’s voice trailed off as he became introspective.

“…And you happen to know all of this because…?”  Kazic left the question in the air.

Anson adopted one of his best innocent faces.  “I told you Kaz: I’m a gentleman.  You need to stop thinking such thoughts.”  But even as he joked, Anson’s face soon fell, again lost in thought.

Himself reflective, Kazic also wondered what could cause such a calamity.  The Singers of the Mak’Tor produced some incredibly powerful Force-users but they were small, only about a hundred or so...

The Vhal’Dan were over 5,000 strong and everyone a warrior, almost to a being.  Still, Kazic hadn’t lived almost 400 years by embracing apathy or becoming blasé simply because he himself didn’t understand something.  He desperately wanted to get to the showdown of this proverbial sabacc hand…

But he had a job to do; his Kage had assigned him a task which he would complete.  He just hoped that whatever he found on Yavin 4 wouldn’t be anything like whatever had been at Vyth…
Logged

Sig courtesy of DarthScrub

Maenowan Nexu Master 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

Karmack
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« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2018, 02:44:45 PM »

Hey Dutchman!  Amazing beginning!  I come away thinking that Li'I'Mack might be related to a certain Vice Admiral who had an association with Leia Organa some centuries later... Smiley

Great beginning my friend.  Compelling characters and as always a mystery to solve, and one that is compelling enough to the modern day that the dying Master feels the need to pass it on to the woman he feels will become Kage one day.  But what could be so compelling?

time will tell.  :-)
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Master Singer of the Mak'Tor

Lord_S_Gray
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« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2018, 04:25:12 PM »

Good start...ties back to your 'regular guys' so its not completely out there and makes one wonder what he could be so ashamed of.  Sets up Kazic and Anson well and how they relate to each other...still much to learn but then this is just the prologue!
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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."

Illyiss
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There are shadows darker still...


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« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2018, 05:26:21 PM »

The tugging strings of mysteries, and yet it feels almost as though jealousy is too easy a call, distraction to something developing deeper.  A civil war, the title portends, perhaps literal brother against brother, a sect humbling itself with blood spent in folly...  I look forward to seeing where this will take us, as it reflects from one time, to another, and throws light to the shadow of times sometimes seemingly blurred.
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Darth Pandćmis

Peace is a lie...

Jedi Council of Ohio

Dominix LE V4 Tri-Cree FO, Sentinel LE V4 BR, Sentinel V4 BR, Dark Initiate LE V3 CG

TheDutchman
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Force Alignment: 797
Posts: 3021


Avatar courtesy of For Tyeth


« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2018, 06:26:27 PM »

The tugging strings of mysteries, and yet it feels almost as though jealousy is too easy a call, distraction to something developing deeper.  A civil war, the title portends, perhaps literal brother against brother, a sect humbling itself with blood spent in folly...  I look forward to seeing where this will take us, as it reflects from one time, to another, and throws light to the shadow of times sometimes seemingly blurred.
That's it, LSG is right: we've GOT to have Illyiss do ALL of our chapter synopses!

This is better than "SW:Shakespeare!"

Wonderful Illyiss, superlative even!
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Sig courtesy of DarthScrub

Maenowan Nexu Master 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

Illyiss
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Force Alignment: -485
Posts: 912


There are shadows darker still...


WWW
« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2018, 06:41:54 PM »

That's it, LSG is right: we've GOT to have Illyiss do ALL of our chapter synopses!

This is better than "SW:Shakespeare!"

Wonderful Illyiss, superlative even!

*bows* Thank you.  I just calls it as I sees it.
Logged

Darth Pandćmis

Peace is a lie...

Jedi Council of Ohio

Dominix LE V4 Tri-Cree FO, Sentinel LE V4 BR, Sentinel V4 BR, Dark Initiate LE V3 CG

TheDutchman
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Force Alignment: 797
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Avatar courtesy of For Tyeth


« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2018, 07:34:41 PM »

Special thanks to LSG for the dialogue assist  Wink

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Chapter 1: Chance Encounters

“…Do you think she’s indigenous, Master?” The teidowan human asked anxiously, her cheeks still round with youth.

Kazic didn’t speak for a moment, distracted by the presence of the daen nosi.  He wondered what it could mean but he at least knew that it was centered around…her.  Crossing his arms, the dark gray sleeves of his robes rustled slightly in the breeze, the surrounding jungle’s heat momentarily relaxing its grip.  Kazic began to stroke his black mustache and beard, completely ignoring the sun beating down upon him.

“…No, Teidowan Fayar.  Not unless she’s a resurrected Massassi Sith slave.”  The tall Anzati turned to his apprentice, a grin playing upon his gray lips.  “…Unless, Kasah, you’re telling me she went into the Temple and walked through the wall, disappearing.”  Hearing the levity in her Master’s voice, Kasah relaxed as she smiled.  Winking at the short, blonde teenage human, he turned his attention back to the girl in the distance, her red hair distinctive against the jungle’s backdrop of moist greenery.

The girl.

Kazic and his small team of Gray Jedi had arrived a little more than a week ago, focusing their search on the Temple of Exar Kun.  Mistakenly assuming that the disturbance that he’d felt in the Force had originated from the Temple, Kazic was adamant that the team remain in contact at all times.  They searched the enormous Temple grounds, the rich, blue water causeways in stark contrast to the black obsidian megalithic constructs, often times obfuscating now submerged entrances.  Nevertheless, soon their exploring and patience yielded some surprising results: a primordial Massassi artifact and, amazingly, two ancient Jedi relics.  Still, Kazic wondered just where were all of the Force-related objects that the Kage had intimated about?  But even as they continued to search for the small cache, the disturbance in the Force remained…elusive.

And then the daen nosi had appeared.  At first Kazic had assumed it was the proximity of the ancient Sith Lord’s Temple but he was soon disabused of that.  During the third night of the expedition, one of the koawans had noticed that his food locker had been ransacked, the day’s rations gone.  The next night, some of the robes that Kasah had hung to dry as a result of a plunge into one of the causeways had been absconded with.  Even as these unsettling events continued, each time one of the younger Gray Jedi would whisper about “Exar Kun’s shade,” Kazic would flatly remind them that a dead person—Sith or not—would have no need for food and clothing.

But it was when Maenowan Jorol Qui-Xot noticed that his vibroblade was missing that Kazic finally put forth the personal effort to get to the bottom of the “Temple ghost” as the younger Jedi called it.  Besides: as Kazic concentrated on the disturbance that he’d felt and the daen nosi, he noticed that in fact, the foci converged into a single point.  Kazic knew that virtually no one alive could equal his mental ability, much less surpass it.  And the daen nosi were never wrong.  Ever.

And with that in mind, he decided that he would spend the 6th night on Yavin 4 on watch, his potent Force Detection flowing outward as it blanketed the entire area.  As bait, Kazic had left a large package of foodstuffs along the camp perimeter.  Using but a fraction of his attention, he was able to discern every disparate life-sign, along with its location and range.  Sitting comfortably surrounded by his dark robes in complete darkness, his multiple senses were completely alert, his awareness operating on a metaphysical level as well as physical.  Even as his senses collected the overabundance of information from his surroundings, Kazic was able to appreciate the purity of the jungle ecosphere, the myriad night-sounds intermingling with the almost absolute darkness of the night.  …Beautiful…

Soon, he was rewarded by his persistence.  Sensing a being far different than any of the local beasts, he opened his red eyes that were now adjusted to the darkness, his ability to see in the infrared active.  Careful to shield his eyes from the ambient light of the camp, Kazic remained motionless, his vantage perfect to witness just who—or what—the culprit could be.

Against the jungle canopy, the being’s heat signature was immediately distinguishable.  …Small…Bipedal, bisymmetrical…but not human… Kazic thought.  …The circulatory system is far too effective… The being crept into the perimeter of the camp, careful not to touch any constructed material almost as if…afraid to do so.  Making virtually no sound at all, the being suddenly stopped, head up and alert, cocked to side as if listening for something.

Kazic knew that he hadn’t made a sound nor had he moved, yet the being looked directly at him.  Quickly making a decision, he slowly rose from his crouched position, palms outward, as he adopted a non-threatening posture.  Part of him wanted to laugh: how “non-threatening” could a 191 centimeter, 99 kilogram shadow be?  Expectantly, the being stepped back on the verge of fleeing, their wiry frame tight like a coiled spring.  Grimacing, the Anzat stopped, careful not to startle the being.  This close, Kazic could see that the being was short and thin.  …A…girl…? Unhurriedly, he removed his hooded robe, folding it carefully before slowly placing it at his feet.  Then he withdrew, backing away from the girl.  Finally, with deliberate, careful movement, Kazic sat upon the ground and crossed his legs, folding his arms atop his knees.

For a long time, the girl did not move.  As Kazic waited, he could hear her soft breathing almost as slow as his own.  In the dark, the Anzat arched his eyebrow in interest. …Fascinating…  He wondered what kind of creature would have such a respiratory biology so similar to his own.

And just as he thought the girl would bolt, fleeing deep into the tropical underbrush, she instead advanced, one tentative foot in front of the other.  Making no movement whatsoever, Kazic just stared, his gaze never wavering.  As the girl finally came upon his discarded robes, she finally stopped.  A minute passed and she slowly sank to her knees, reaching out with her left hand to clutch at the robes, standing as soon as she had them in hand.  But instead of immediately running, she again stared straight at Kazic.  And just as silently as she came, she retreated back into the jungle.

Left to his own thoughts, Kazic’s introspection was all-consuming, so much so that he neglected to notice when the reflected light of the Yavin gas-giant shone upon him.  Even more amazing, he could see as the daen nosi collected around the area that the girl had been, churning around the ground creating eddies that only he could see.

Slowly, Kazic rose to his feet wondering just what this portended.

            <<<<< >>>>>

The next night, Kazic sat just past the perimeter, the light of camp casting its illumination upon him.  Even so, the Gray Master calmly meditated, his lidded eyes still seeing clearly into the dark surrounding environment.  As with the previous evening, the girl silently approached, careful of where she stepped.

But unlike the previous night, she responded to Kazic immediately.  Heading straight for him, she stopped several meters away from where the Anzat was seated.  And again, she slowly crouched, resting upon her heels.  Instead of a robe, this time she grabbed a package of foodstuffs with a water filter.  As she looked at him, Kazic gave a disarming smile.  Gesturing to the food, the Anzat then made offering motions to the girl.  And finally Kazic saw her face clearly in the light from the camp.  Youthful, she must have been five or so years younger than Kasah.  …So, a human preteen… he deduced.  She had shrewd light eyes and vivid red hair, her skin tanned on her face and arms but Kazic could see from her neck that she had alabaster skin.

And she did likewise to Kazic, her eyes perceptive but still full of controlled fear.  Silently she looked him up and down before snatching the food package.  Even as she did so, her eyes never left his, and a…an itch began to form on his nose.  Controlling his hands, he remained motionless, his face impassive save for the small smile that was reflected within his eyes.  And a moment later she left, swallowed by the jungle, the night-sounds uninterrupted from her passing.

But it was the next morning that Kazic got another surprise: waiting outside the constructed tent that he slept in, a collection of delicious berries had been artfully arranged on a bark bowl.  As Kazic ate the fruit, he casually felt around with the Force, scanning the jungle with his eyes.  Sure enough, he found her just beyond the jungle’s edge.  Smiling knowingly, he made plans for tonight’s “exchange…”

            <<<<< >>>>>

For the next three nights, Kazic and the girl conducted their ritual trades: foodstuffs for local exotic fruit, clothes for cleverly crafted utensils, and—on the last night—a leather belt for a finely crafted wood totem, one that had three women carved in low relief.  Its craftsmanship was exquisite, Kazic noticed, each woman signifying a different aspect.  One had a bow and arrow in her hands, the woman standing in front of a crescent moon.  Another woman held a mirror in one hand and a flower in another, her bare breasts exposed.  The third stood in front of an olive tree, a snake hanging from one of the branches while she held what looked like an…owl?  Kazic was amazed; he’d heard of such creatures having lived in days passed but, aside from holovids, he’d never seen one.  The Anzat shook his head; the totem was clearly indicative of an ancient pantheon.  The fact that the girl had such knowledge… Kazic wondered just where she’d gained such; he’d been alive over 400 years but he had never come across a system—much less a planet—that had such a theology as the one represented on the carved iconography of the wooden talisman.

Truly, it was a mystery that perplexed Kazic.  But he knew what he could do to help assuage his curiosity.

On the fourth night, he prepared a meal in front of a comfortable fire, two place settings evident so as to make his intentions plain.  He was not disappointed; the girl soon appeared for their nightly ritual, her intelligent eyes inquisitive and clearly pleased at the sight.  Sitting on the opposite side of the fire, Kazic smiled and offered for her to sit.  Hesitating only briefly, she slowly sat on her heels, tentatively picking at the assorted food that was laid out before her.  Soon, she was contently eating and drinking, her demeanor more relaxed compared to what the Anzat had previously witnessed. …Now… Kazic thought.

“Thank you for your gifts.”  He spoke softly, sincerely.  The sound of his deep voice startled her, her chewing halting.  But only for a moment; it was as if she was unused to hearing speech but she evidently knew what it was.  And, more importantly, she understood.  A small smile appeared upon her lips, her aqua-colored eyes reflecting her good mood.

Emboldened, Kazic continued, venturing a guess.  “You are not from…around here?”  His red eyes were soft, kind, his tone was gentle and compassionate.  Kazic reclined on his elbow, crossing his black boots while he stretched out his long legs.

The girl’s smile disappeared, her eyes lowering as sadness began to radiate from her.  “…no.”  Her voice was just above a whisper, soft and timid.  She was silent for so long, Kazic was about to ask another question when she suddenly spoke.  “…the night here is odd…that big, red moon… home doesn’t look that way…darker here…”  Her voice trailed off as her red hair obscured her face.

Kazic felt her fear but writhing below that, a sense of loss beyond expression.  “…Darker?  You mean…the stars…by your home…they were…brighter than here?”  He sat up, intently looking at the girl.

She gave a slight nod, her head still bowed.  “Brighter…much brighter…”

…So…closer to the Core…  “How did you get here?” Kazic’s gentle voice softly hung in the air, the girl finally looking at him as tears began to fall down her cheeks.  Her lips trembling, she again whispered.

“…The…evil things came…in carts of metal…that could fly.  They…took my entire village…”  Even as horrified as she was, the wonder in her voice was evident as she spoke in hushed tones concerning the prospect of flight.  Almost immediately, Kazic knew what that signified.  …Her family enslaved…poor girl… he thought as he ran his big hands through his black hair, the leather ends of his statim coarse against his palm.  Mistaking his gesture, the girl’s voice became shrill.  “I…I’m not lying!  They could fly!  And they had sticks that could spit lightning!”  She was getting upset, her fists balled as if she expected an altercation.

Holding his hands up in what he hoped was a calming gesture, Kazic quickly spoke.  “I believe you, Little One.  Please, worry not…” Again he spoke very gently as he attempted to placate her.  Sitting back down, her breathing somewhat ragged, the girl seemed to accept Kazic at his word.  When he was sure that she had calmed down, Kazic continued, “Your people have no ships, no machines…no ‘metal carts,’ of your own?”

She thought for a moment, her face scowling as she tried to best interpret Kazic’s question.  "We had forty blacksmiths…and I helped make the scaffolds and pump for a mine one summer!"  She smiled triumphantly, pride radiating from her, her posture straightening.

“I see…” Kazic said as gently as possible, the girl was obviously clever…but through no fault of her own completely ignorant of the nature of the galaxy in which she found herself.

He sighed inwardly…saddened to imagine what they must’ve suffered…a pre-spaceflight species set upon by these so called "evil things," most likely slavers or pirates…they would’ve had no way of fighting back and no understanding of what was happening to them…he closed his red eyes, ashamed that these things still occurred.  He balled his fists, his anger rising.  …Damned slavers… Even after 400 years, Kazic could not countenance any society that dealt in that retched institution.

It was both ironic and tragic: being stranded on this moon was probably the best thing that could’ve happened to this girl…as hard as life here must be…had she remained in slavery….his heart broke for those of her kind that had not been so fortunate.  

Before he knew that he’d made up his mind, Kazic spoke, his voice full of conviction and empathy.   “Little One…we’re staying here for another month…then we’ll be returning home…our home.  Until then, please feel free to visit us any time you wish, use it as an opportunity to learn from us…” Kazic paused, again surprised at the realization that he’d already knew what he intended to ask before tonight’s trade.  “…And consider whether you would like to come with us when we go.”  He gave a fatherly smile as she continued to stare at him.

 He felt a sudden brush against him in the Force, rapid and probing…strong…unusually strong… Shocked, Kazic kept his face impassive while deciding what to do: block the Force Probe or…lower his defenses… Unmoving, he chose the latter, siting patiently as the girl Delved into the depths of his mind, seeing his thoughts, reading his intentions…

All the while, as Kazic patiently endured, a thought percolated from the depths of his mind.  …Perhaps it was not simply luck that brought us together… The girl smiled, her eyes alight with newfound hope.  Kazic felt her presence within his mind withdraw, a not altogether uncomfortable feeling considering.

Red eyes met aqua as they both looked at one another, a bond having formed of trust.

“Thank you, Kazic.”  Her voice shook with gratitude and relief.  She was no longer alone.

And Kazic realized that—somehow—she’d…left a part of that yearning, that worry of being lonely within his mind, indelibly now a part of himself.  …Incredible… He thought, again marveling at how strong she was in the Force.

“And what is your name, Little One?”  Kazic wondered again just what agency had brought them together.

“Aresaea.” The girl replied, her face full of wonder.  Kazic could empathize.  He could feel it as well: the daen nosi rested upon them both, converging as they did so.  He knew that they belonged together, like family.

And the daen nosi were never wrong.
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Illyiss
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« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2018, 10:41:13 PM »

When you go seeking, you must also be open to being found, or miss what is waiting, alone.  When being found, there are many languages, some common to all beings, in all places.  Will you answer with fear, will greed be your message?  Patience and compassion will take you farther, and fill more than coffers, though with things less tangible, and in so doing multiple stories may converge, and become something new, an epic in the making, long before time fades it to just tales of old...
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« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2018, 11:10:36 PM »

Absolutely Awesome, very well done slow tentative introduction, and amazing treatment of his new character Aresaea and her….unique…qualities.  I think this really also brings out just what kind of a man Kazic is, patient, curious and compassionate -  a better Jedi than some of other Jedi who lived in this era....for now at least when you contrast that to how he appears in the Prologue or even the Zearic interlude...a lot changes in 400 years.

Some of the cooler little takeaways….
“Kazic knew that virtually no one alive could equal his mental ability”
Needs to get out more?

“And the daen nosi were never wrong.  Ever.”
This may be true…but his interpretation of what it means and the direction it is heading is a whole other thing…very nice subtle bit of foreshadowing…

“how “non-threatening” could a 191 centimeter, 99 kilogram shadow be”
Pretty good question!!!
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Lord_S_Gray

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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 #9 on: February 22, 2018, 12:22:08 AM »

“how “non-threatening” could a 191 centimeter, 99 kilogram shadow be”
Pretty good question!!!

6'3", 218.  Not too threatening.  Then again, I'm 6'4", and even if I got down below 10% body fat, I'd still be in at 250 ish... (I am no where near that light, but working on it LOL)
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Darth Pandćmis

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« Reply #10 on: February 22, 2018, 05:10:55 AM »

6'3", 218.  Not too threatening.  Then again, I'm 6'4", and even if I got down below 10% body fat, I'd still be in at 250 ish... (I am no where near that light, but working on it LOL)
Allow me to quote the eponymous Captain in the otherwise forgettable movie "Hook:"

"To a ten year old, I'm huge."  Grin


But I hear you Illyiss: I'm 6' and 298lbs.  Tongue  Wink
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« Reply #11 on: February 22, 2018, 08:30:52 AM »

6'3", 218.  Not too threatening.  Then again, I'm 6'4", and even if I got down below 10% body fat, I'd still be in at 250 ish... (I am no where near that light, but working on it LOL)

LOL  I'm 6'4" and at last weigh-in (Sunday morning) I was at 370.  And I am a black belt and instructor at my dojo.  So I teach, and I have learned to move.  But when we spar...  I see the fear.  It takes some time for the little ones to learn that they can trust me, that I won't hurt them and only want them to learn.

And to me, they're almost all "little ones".  :-)

So I can really relate to this approach.  His patience was rewarded...

And we find another Aethan.  I loved the totem.  This one has learned the lore of her people well, and replicated it for her own comfort and to prevent the memory's decay.  This has the beginnings of a truly special story. 
:-)
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« Reply #12 on: February 22, 2018, 04:28:16 PM »

LOL  I'm 6'4" and at last weigh-in (Sunday morning) I was at 370.  And I am a black belt and instructor at my dojo.  So I teach, and I have learned to move.  But when we spar...  I see the fear.  It takes some time for the little ones to learn that they can trust me, that I won't hurt them and only want them to learn.

And to me, they're almost all "little ones".  :-)

So I can really relate to this approach.  His patience was rewarded...

And we find another Aethan.  I loved the totem.  This one has learned the lore of her people well, and replicated it for her own comfort and to prevent the memory's decay.  This has the beginnings of a truly special story. 
:-)

Yeah, you and I are of a similar size, and I too am very familiar with even average adults being uncertain, especially if I am going someplace with a serious look on my face.  I was mostly going for tongue-in-cheek, because I KNOW I have a skewed perspective.  Then again, as a kid, size never intimidated me either, but being a headstrong ginger will do that to you...
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« Reply #13 on: February 23, 2018, 04:28:27 PM »



Chapter 2: Homecoming

Galtea.

Home of the Vhal’Dan Order, the planet was a verdant and pastoral world where agriculture and science combined, producing a veritable cash crop for the Gray Jedi.  Funding the Order in its entirety, Galtea’s exportation of foodstuffs had made the Vhal’Dan incredibly wealthy, to say nothing of the fact that any Jedi of the Order never need worry where their next meal was coming from.  There were reasons that the Vhal’Dan numbered over 5,000 Jedi, although Galtea had many other benefits.

Located on the very limits of Known Space, the planet was virtually left alone.  Aside from Galtea’s galactic position, it had the distinct provenance of being located in a rare triangulation of three massive pulsars, which limited hyperspace travel to one point of egress.  And while each of the pulsars emitted a deadly barrage of radiation across the sector, the Galtea System was unique in that the planet’s primary star had a heliosheath that protected the system from such.

In fact, it was due to these pulsars that the area known as the Marcol Void existed: spanning a distance of almost 30 lightyears, the Void was aptly named in that there was virtually no baryonic matter within that expanse.  Put simply, the combined solar wind of the pulsars pushed everything away.  As such, ships had been known to—successfully—achieve blind hyperspace jumps without fear of collisions.

Of course, there was always a chance of a lightspeed impact occurring but the odds were such that it was considered “safe” to attempt blind jumps within the Void.

Not that Kazic need have worried; with the coordinates fed into the navi-computer of his light expedition freighter, the Sojourner, he easily piloted the ship through the hyperlane, emerging in real space at the system’s boundary.  Consisting of five planets, three of which were habitable, the Galtea System was as secure as could be.  Ensuring that fact, the Vhal’Dan had stationed a Golan II Defense Platform at the hyperlane terminus, its powerful gravity-well generator casting a planetary shadow across the hyperlane.

In short: no one could get in nor leave that the Vhal’Dan did not want.

As Kazic fed the final orbital insertion data into the navi-comp, he could finally relax and relish the idea of making planetfall, especially this homecoming.  His wife, Saani, was also returning from assignment which—combined with his own success—warranted some much-deserved time alone.  Well…not necessarily alone per se, but definitely some “alone time.”  The Anzat smiled as he stroked his black moustache and beard.  Kazic had of course told Saani about Aresaea…but not exactly at length.  And while he felt confident that he knew his wife as much as any spouse could, he knew that there was always the possibility of hurt feelings.  Especially ever since Saani had lost…

Kazic shook his head, not wanting to dwell upon the past.  Not that he could change it, he remembered some advice that his own master, Maenowan Stryka Annix, had once imparted: “Don’t look back; you’re not going that way.”  Kazic smiled, the memory of the Gray Shifala female Jedi suddenly foremost on his mind.  A wry look upon his gray face, Kazic wondered if he would ever be the Jedi Master—and later Kage—that Stryka had been.  His smile turned into a broad grin: …Well, from one formidable woman to another… Regardless, he was eagerly looking forward to seeing his wife.

As the Sojourner landed at Cibuss Spaceport, Kazic delegated the tedium to the koawans and teidowans.  Collecting Aresaea, he exited the craft and, after a short walk, boarded the hyperloop to Vhal’Uhladv, the Gray Jedi’s capital city.  While in transit, the red haired girl stared wide-eyed at the sights that she beheld: from the large stretches of blue grasslands to the reddish-orange deciduous forests her eyes marveled at the plethora of colors.  Then as she saw the crystal clear waters of Lake Olucem’m to the towering Cthodral Mountains, her mouth hung agape at the spectacle of the  “new.”  But if she was amazed by what natural wonders she’d seen, Aresaea was completely dumbfounded at the sight of the city proper.

Vhal’Uhladv.  A technological utopia, the soaring scintillating spires of the kilometers-tall buildings gleamed silver in the bright light of the white star.  Webs of monorails connected most buildings, often at altitudes of thousands of meters.  Even with a moderate footprint of just over 3,000 square kilometers, the population density was such that the city proper allowed for vast personal housing without compromising privacy.  And while not every person within the city was a Jedi, one and all they were associated to the Vhal’Dan in one way or another.  The entire Medical Corps alone was over 10,000 strong, their innovations in cybernetics, medicine, and bacta production the result of their dedication.

But for Kazic, Vhal’Uhladv was home.  Admittedly he was often times gone but here was where Saani and he had been married and shared their residence.  When the hyperloop came to a stop, the doors opened, divulging waves of humanity upon the 547th floor.  And, finally approaching an inconspicuous door, Kazic thumbed it open, inviting Aresaea into the vast apartment.

It was three levels and it ran the entire width of the side of the building, one of the perks of being a married Gray Jedi Master.  But to Kazic, it had seemed a little…lonely, given that it was only Saani and himself.  As the young red-haired girl explored the rooms, Kazic smiled wistfully, suddenly grateful for company, especially one that could appreciate the enormity of the apartment in a way that only a child could.  

Slowly he walked up behind her, Aresaea’s face virtually plastered to the transparisteel window, the vantage from Kazic’s apartments an incredible vista overlooking Lake Olucem’m.  “Have you ever seen such a sight, Aresaea?” Kazic asked rhetorically.

Surprising him, she took his question at face value.  “…Not like this.  But when Father and Uncle would drill holes in the ground on the mountain top for mining, sometimes we could see our village’s lake like this…” Her aqua eyes affixed on the panoramic view in front of her, she did not see Kazic smile sardonically.  Then he sobered.

“‘Drill holes…’ Aresaea…do you mean ‘in-situ leaching?’” Kazic asked crossing his arms, naming the mining process that he thought the girl described.

She turned her head to look directly at Kazic, her mouth working as she sub-vocalized the new term.  Simultaneously, the Anzat felt her attempt to Delve him again; during the voyage home, this had become a regular occurrence between the two whenever someone (usually Kazic) used a term or turn of a phrase that Aresaea was unfamiliar with.  While he knew that he should be more circumspect, Kazic felt their bond of trust strengthen each and every time.  Still, a small part of him took a mental note and filed it away in his memory.  Absorbing the knowledge from his mind, Aresaea’s Delve withdrew as she turned back to stare out the window.  “…Yes, Kazic.  ‘In-situ leaching.’”  Her voice and demeanor were completely innocent, unaware that she had—once again—unilaterally acted absent of permission.

Sighing, Kazic tried not to sound pedantic.  “Aresaea…we’ve discussed this.  You must not automatically do that, especially to people that you do not know.”  His patient tone was reflected in his manner as well as the Force.  He smiled tolerantly.  “Little One, I must needs teach you for your own good.”  He took a knee so as to look directly into her eyes, readjusting his lightsaber hilt to a more comfortable position.  “Aresaea.  Do you remember what I had taught you?”  

Staring unwaveringly into Kazic’s eyes, the girl spoke in a monotone voice, reciting verbatim.  “‘It is not only rude but criminal to use the…Force against another in such a manner, in fact, tantamount to assault.’  Yes, Kazic, I remember.  But you’ve opened yourself to me already.”  She tilted her head to the side, her red hair falling over one of her eyes.  “Doesn’t that mean that you already gave me permission?”

Kazic was impressed.  She had made amazing progress, usually in fits and starts, with understanding—if not necessarily practicing—accepted social mores and norms.  But sometimes she interpreted things…quite literally and to a fault.  

But Kazic was nothing if not patient.

Explaining why her actions were mistaken, she nodded in understanding after the Anzat had clarified.  “Oh…I see.  Thank you Kazic for helping me.”  And like that, the problem solved (for her), Aresaea focused again on sightseeing and exploration.  Shaking his head in amusement (and some small wonder), the Gray Jedi Master went to unpack his luggage in his and Saani’s bedroom, the sounds and presence of life filling the apartment with a warm and comfortable ambiance.

Admittedly, one that Kazic had never expected since…well, quite some time.

            <<<<< >>>>>

It was night by the time that Sanni K’aval, Gray Jedi Master of the Vhal’Dan, Second Speaker of the Council of Balance finally returned home.  Her first act upon opening the door was to kick off her boots and rub her bare blue feet on the syncloth covering the floor of the vestibule.  Luxuriating in the experience, Saani let the Force flow through her, from her, ever outward until it reached her husband of almost 40 years.  Kazic smiled as soon as he felt his wife in the flows, a ritual that they’d adopted decades ago.  So much more than Delving, the connection that they shared was incredibly intimate.  Others may wonder and worry about the state of their relationship, Kazic thought, but what he and Sanni possessed was beyond description.  

He rose from the couch in the conservatory to join his wife, lingering for a moment as the comforting light of the Aurora Australis shone through the transparisteel wall, illuminating the room with hues of magenta and amber.  He’s always loved astronomy, even as a youngling.  He could still remember the sense of wonder when he realized that he would be able to go beyond the stars that he would stare at.  And someone to share the experience with.

Walking casually down the stairs, Kazic saw Saani performing her usual relaxation itinerary, starting with slowly rubbing her feet on the soft, fleecy carpet as she attempted to decompress from the tribulations of the day.  Looking at her husband as he descended the stairs, she smiled up at him, staring into his red eyes with her purple. …By the Maker she’s beautiful… Kazic thought as he took her in his arms, deeply kissing her blue lips.  She was tall for a Twi’lek, if shorter than him by almost 18 centimeters but she still possessed all of the benefits of her species: muscular yet slender, Saani was over 60 but still looked to be in her early 30s.  Theirs had been a wonderful marriage, full of life experiences, adversity, and intimacy.

K’ompo, why do you still have your tunic on?  I would have thought that you would have put on something more relaxing, appropriate for home.”  Her chiding was said with a smile as she looked up to her husband.  Her fingers traced the ridge of his pronounced brow as he tenderly stroked her lekku in return.  “Or is something the matter, Kazic?”

Even though Saani had asked the last in mock-seriousness, Kazic sighed, holding her at arms length.  “Kanp’a, did you forget?  I brought Aresaea to the apartment.”  Saani stared deep into Kazic’s eyes, her face unreadable; even the Force was of no help to him.

Suddenly, Saani gave a deep smile, the kind that Kazic loved witnessing.  “No, silly.  I’ve been looking forward to meeting her since you first told me!”  Saani looked past him, gazing into the atrium to one side and the livingroom on the other.  “Where is she, K’ompo?”  Saani’s voice echoed her eagerness, the light in her eyes making her face that much more beautiful.

Saani K’aval had always wanted to be a mother to Kazic’s children.  And in the beginning of their marriage, they’d tried despite the risks that a mixed Anzati offspring could encounter.  But the Vhal’Dan Medical Corps was able to assist, new innovations being discovered each week it seemed.  And while it had taken them two years, in their sixth year of marriage, Saani had become pregnant.  Both parents were ecstatic and they prepared to share of themselves with the new life that Saani carried.

But then the worst came to pass.  During the final quarter and to the horror of everyone involved, Saani went into premature labor.  Despite the advantages that Vhal’Dan technology gave, the girl fetus was stillborn and Saani herself almost died.  Given the choice between losing his wife and a hysterectomy, Kazic did not hesitate.  And while Saani understood, she still carried the scars upon her body of that fateful decision.

And, when she thought he was asleep, the scars on her mind as well.

And so when Saani’s entire demeanor changed, her excitement and inquisitiveness in equal parts, Kazic knew that he could truly relax for the first time since asking his wife if she was accepting of his idea to bring Aresaea home with him.  Gently putting a hand upon her shoulder, he replied, “Kanp’a, she is in our bed, fast asleep.”  He gave a wry laugh.  “Saani, it was all that I could do to keep up with her and the infinite number of questions that she asked.”  He started walking up to their bedchambers, arm-in-arm with his wife.

As they climbed the stairs, Saani began to run her fingers through Kazic’s thick black hair, the coarse leather of his statim in direct contrast to his topknot.  “Tell me about her, Kaz.  I still can’t believe that she was living on Yavin 4 all alone.”  

“Indeed.  She is incredibly intelligent, full of vigor and vim.  And while she was slightly underweight, she had no signs whatsoever of malnourishment.”  Kazic shook his head slightly.  “It’s odd, Kanp’a but given the arduous existence that someone alone—much less a child—would endure, she is remarkable physical shape.”  His voice trailed off as he became somewhat morose and brooding.

But his wife elbowed him in mock rebuke.  “Well, I’m sure that you took care of that little bother, feeding her like a herglic.  I swear Kazic you think that everyone has your appetite.”  Saani laughed, blowing away the clouds of doubt he sometimes carried.  But he was still felt introspective.

“I know, I know.  It’s just that…well, regardless of what she looks like, she’s not human.”  Kazic stopped short of the stair landing, turning to regard his wife.  “Saani, she went through the entire apartment.  I mean all of it.  And not just what you would expect of a human child.  Preteen.” Kazic shook his head, correcting himself.  “Aresaea is young but…Saani, I caught her reading books on Fourth-Dimensional Geometry, Ancient Massassi lore, and Odjina’s ‘Treatise Confirming the Maker.’”  He clasped his wife’s shoulder.  “Saani, she was reading the ‘Collected Poems of Illyiss.’  Kanp’a even I have to research some of the verbage that the intrepid philologian uses in his works.  She read the entire book.”  He paused for effect.

Saani stood there as she assumed an amused look upon her face.  “Kazic.  She’s a child.  So what if she can read and comprehend texts about polymathy.  Isn’t that what the Vhal’Dan do?”  She put her hands around her husband’s neck.  “Did she spend the entire time reading?”  Her purple eyes held a mischievous look within them.

Slowly Kazic answered.  “…No.  She…ran around the apartments, taking in the sights.  And then outside.  And then—” Saani unexpectedly cut him off.

“See?  An exuberant, gregarious child.”  Her wry grin silenced his concerns, at least for the moment.  …And you still have yet to tell her about Aresaea’s strength in the Force… Kazic thought but quickly pushed it towards the back of his mind.  Saani was right: this was a time to be celebrating and welcoming.  He could be responsible later.

Besides, he could tell that his wife was truly excited, a happiness that he thought she’d never have, ever.  And to Kazic, that was worth more than seeing all of the stars in the galaxy.
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Maenowan Nexu Master of the Vhal'Dan

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Illyiss
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« Reply #14 on: February 23, 2018, 06:09:10 PM »

Does my word selection really cause such vexation and the need for learning? *chuckles*  Again, I am humbled and honored, you as well do me a magnanimous obeisance.  Wink

Once again, the Aethans show the magnitude of their evolved advantages, with this glimpse into the curiosity of the advanced mind play of a child, pre-teen ( Wink ), is a refreshing, and fun addition to the lore.  I wonder, where will this lead, and how does she play into the later events we are already delved well into elsewhere... 

Not to undervalue this revelation fest of the Vhal'Dan, the prosperous home world, the natural beauty it clearly shows at this stage, yet we know that later the Vhal'Dan find M'tzigon to be the paradise...  Queries flaring to life and rushing out into expanses of waiting, wondering at the connections that bring the two disparate ideas into union...
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Darth Pandćmis

Peace is a lie...

Jedi Council of Ohio

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