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Author Topic: The Burned One: A Templar’s Path  (Read 3413 times)
Lord_S_Gray
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« Reply #15 on: April 30, 2018, 07:29:52 PM »

Lot of wreckage to sort through after the Vong war, and not just the psychical kind it seems. How much have either of them really recovered, there is a grudging sort of acceptance to both o the characters here  that 'the Vong took something from all of us," exactly what that was i'm not sure is not as simple as the old archive and a brother.
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Lord_S_Gray

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

Karmack
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« Reply #16 on: May 01, 2018, 07:29:05 AM »

Well, if the trajectory of the Legends canon novels are a guide, the Jedi lost a LOT of their innocence.  Jacen fell to the dark, killed Mara, and was in turn killed by his sister Jaina during the Vong war.  Luke lost his son Ben and his wife.  Han and Leia lost a son and nearly a daughter.  And the Jedi became a fighting force, not the peace keepers that Luke had hoped they would become. 

I imagine that loss of innocence and hope for the future was far more universal, and honestly the Vong were a very unique challenge for force users. 

I would be VERY interested to see how an Aethan might have dealt with them...  ;-)
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TheDrunkenConsular
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« Reply #17 on: May 01, 2018, 08:25:25 AM »

Well, if the trajectory of the Legends canon novels are a guide, the Jedi lost a LOT of their innocence.  Jacen fell to the dark, killed Mara, and was in turn killed by his sister Jaina during the Vong war.  Luke lost his son Ben and his wife.  Han and Leia lost a son and nearly a daughter.  And the Jedi became a fighting force, not the peace keepers that Luke had hoped they would become. 

I imagine that loss of innocence and hope for the future was far more universal, and honestly the Vong were a very unique challenge for force users. 

I would be VERY interested to see how an Aethan might have dealt with them...  ;-)

Jacen's fall to the Dark side was actually after the Vong War and after this story, but it was almost my certainly an aftereffect of the War.  Force Lords with PTSD; not a pretty thing.

Another interesting note about the War and the Yuuzhan Vong's abhorrence of technology: the YVH battle droids such as those that our protagonist uses as bodyguards were designed from the ground up to be capable of defeating a Vong warrior in single combat, for there could be no greater shame than being bested by a piece of tech.  The YVH had a devastating effect on Vong morale.
Thanks for the kind words all around!  I get the impression that some folks don't 100% dig the later period, but have no fear, I'm not leaving the GCW behind.
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Lord_S_Gray
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« Reply #18 on: May 01, 2018, 03:29:39 PM »

Jacen's fall to the Dark side was actually after the Vong War and after this story, but it was almost my certainly an aftereffect of the War.  Force Lords with PTSD; not a pretty thing.

Another interesting note about the War and the Yuuzhan Vong's abhorrence of technology: the YVH battle droids such as those that our protagonist uses as bodyguards were designed from the ground up to be capable of defeating a Vong warrior in single combat, for there could be no greater shame than being bested by a piece of tech.  The YVH had a devastating effect on Vong morale.
Thanks for the kind words all around!  I get the impression that some folks don't 100% dig the later period, but have no fear, I'm not leaving the GCW behind.

Personally I love this setting, the Vong were a great enemy, the problem was I think the novels dragged a bit and things stopped making sense when a second galactic civil follows a few years after...but anyway that's not a reflection on your story but on the EU.  I think you've adapted the setting very well and especially looking forward to delving into what these characters lost fighting the Vong, notably the Templars in terms of man power, we already see a huge loss in the old archive, who else isn't around...


I would be VERY interested to see how an Aethan might have dealt with them...  ;-)

Well the biggest advantage the Vong had over the Jedi was being dead in the force, as per LotA C 34

What was an Aethan without the Aether?

A being that possessed reflexes and physical strength four times that of a human, an endocrine system primed for war and reproduction three times more efficient, cognitive capacity that rivalled Givin and Siniteen and a culture that taught them never ever rely on the aether to survive or fight nor be shocked if it were stripped from them.


Plus their utter ruthlessness, Chiss intelligence and habit of watching how their enemies fight before striking and relatively safe position in the Deep core...lots of Vong blood if they tried anything.
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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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Light side points please.


« Reply #19 on: May 02, 2018, 06:16:21 AM »

What was an Aethan without the Aether?

A being that possessed reflexes and physical strength four times that of a human, an endocrine system primed for war and reproduction three times more efficient, cognitive capacity that rivalled Givin and Siniteen and a culture that taught them never ever rely on the aether to survive or fight nor be shocked if it were stripped from them.


Plus their utter ruthlessness, Chiss intelligence and habit of watching how their enemies fight before striking and relatively safe position in the Deep core...lots of Vong blood if they tried anything.

LOL   To true.  Pity the fool Vong who ventures into the deep core!  :-)
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TheDrunkenConsular
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« Reply #20 on: June 14, 2018, 02:40:30 PM »

CHAPTER 3: A Minor Annoyance

       Coruscant.  The Second Time.  X-Wings streaked across the sky, chasing Coralskippers.  Every few seconds, a fighter on one side would destroy one on the other, and it would shriek down to the surface like a meteor, blending with the chaos of constantly dropping artillery. 
       Edda was arguing with Tasrii.  The two were alone, separated from their battlegroup.
       We can’t just leave them!  They’ll die! Tasrii shouted.
       If we don’t get to the objective, EVERYONE will die! Edda screamed back.
       We can’t just leave them!
       We have orders!
       I’m not a soldier, and neither are you!
       Tasrii ran off then, and Edda felt like howling in frustration, but rather than doing so, set off towards the objective before changing her mind.  She sprinted off towards Tasrii, activating her red saber.  The alleys were winding, and cramped, and there was no sign of Tasrii.  Soon, though, she bumped into someone else; a Yuuzhan Vong warrior, armed with an amphistaff.  She brought up her saber, but before she could step forward, something hit her, knocking her onto her back.  Edda sprang to her feet and brought her saber up, to find… Tasrii, with an amphistaff buried in her chest.  It had been thrown by a Vong warrior on a fire escape above them.  Tasrii fell to her knees, and then, with a gasp, Edda was lying in her bed, the sheets soaked with sweat and the blanket thrown to the floor.

       She swung her feet off the side of the bed and sat up with a sigh, reaching for the datapad on her nightstand that was tied to to the ship’s nav systems.

       Six hours to Tattoine.  Great.

       What followed was an almost nightly routine for the Templar.  She went to the kitchen, and had the droid make a pot of coffee.  Then, returning to her quarters, she dug through a chest filled with priceless tomes and manuscripts that had been on loan from the Archive for far longer than they were meant to be, and curled up in one of the chairs in the common room with a cup of the coffee and a book.  This would generally last for about two and a half to five minutes, before the book and the coffee were forgotten in favor of turning on music that was both loud and offensive and pacing the ship.  The pacing would go on either until morning arrived, or she wore herself out and passed out in the captain's chair.

...

     The hard edge of the seat’s headrest dug painfully into Edda’s cheek, which was the first thing she noticed upon waking.  The second thing was an awful crick in her neck from sleeping with it twisted, and the second was the collision alarm filling the cockpit as the great red disk of Tattooine rapid swelled in the viewport.  She stretched her arms and yawned languidly, then her hands danced over the controls.  The ship slowed to a safe entry speed, and she sat back in the captain’s chair, blinking the sleep out of her eyes before bolting upright.  It was time for her second daily routine; a shower, a second pot of coffee that she would actually drink, and then half an hour of healing meditation.  The meditation served a dual purpose; to lessen the effects the contracture scars covering most of her body had on her movement, and to slow the process of aging.  That practice had fallen out of favor among many members of the Templar Order, and the secrets of the technique were shared with only masters of the Order, but Edda wasn’t quite ready to resign herself to the passage of time.

       By the time she was done, the ship’s computer had landed it in the middle of the desert.  According to Kepressa’s coordinates, the compound she was looking for lie ten kilometers to the south, and that meant a long walk through the scorching desert.  She commanded her droids to watch the ship and double checked her gear before setting out.  Plenty of water, a datapad loaded with mil-spec slicing algorithms, a pair of macrobinoculars, a quality audio headset and her trusty lightsaber, alongside a handful of other useful gadgets.  She wrapped herself in a loose fitting robe made of light brown material, very similar to the garment worn by the native Tusken Raiders, and set off.
       
       The walk was peaceful, and would have been almost pleasant if not for the scorching suns high in the sky.  It took the better part of two hours for Edda to reach a suitable vantage point from which to plan her attack, as after the first few kilometers the terrain turned to foothills before becoming mountainous.  The compound the coordinates led to was nestled in the base of these mountains.
       It was fairly typical for Tatooine; a handful of low white domes sticking up out of the sand, with a majority of the structure being hidden underground to protect against the elements.  Security at a glance seemed minimal, but first impressions are often wrong, so Edda settled in, hiding herself in a stone outcropping and producing her headset and datapad.  Before doing anything else, she keyed up a list of booming Mandalorian music.  Then, as the angry vocals and rhythmic thumping filled her ears, she she reached for her binoculars and patiently began to watch the compound.

       There were routine patrols of Gamorrean mercenaries at the perimeter, but there was no other obvious security.  Edda made a note in her datapad; Possible landmines.  She kept scanning.  She noted peculiar windows near ground level in the domes which could potentially hide snipers, but beyond that, nothing.  Hours passed before she saw what had been in front of her face the whole time; a discolored spot in the rocky mountainside behind the building.  She grinned and zoomed in on the spot.  Under close observation, the rocks could be seen to occasionally flicker and shine unnaturally.  Satisfied, she carefully retreated from her hiding spot and picked her way back into the desert.  By the time she made it back to her ship and shook the sand out of her clothes, it was midnight.  She briefly considered climbing into bed, but decided against it.  Instead, she pulled a crate of equipment out of her closet and began to gear up.  An unadorned black flight suit with a high collar, some old Hit Squad web gear with a compact sawed down blaster, medpacks, and several thermal detonators hanging from the belt, heavy leather boots and gloves and, finally, something that she didn’t often get to use.  A burnished steel mask with a T-shaped black visor that concealed her head and tucked into the collar of the flight suit.  Edda picked up her lightsaber, spun it in the air and clipped it onto her belt.  It was time to go.



       The three Gamorrean mercenaries were trudging along the perimeter dutifully, grunting amongst themselves in complaint about the food in the base’s cafeteria.  One of them squealed suddenly, and pointed out at a nearby hilltop.  Vaguely, against the backdrop of a clear night sky, the silhouette of a person could be faintly made out, though the Gamorean’s eyesight was far too poor for them to be certain.  They began to squeal anxiously back and forth, arguing over whether or not to raise the alarm.  Unbeknownst to any of them, as they argued a black gloved hand had dropped a thermal detonator into one of their backpacks.  By the time it went off with an earthshaking blast, Edda Veek was approaching the domed buildings.  A quick probe with the Force had revealed that these building were devoid of life.  Edda couldn’t help but shudder, the thought reminding her of the war, and of the Yuuzhan Vong warriors who were invisible to the Force, but it didn’t slow her down.  She kicked in one of the glass windows and dropped inside the building just as an alarm began to blare.  The room was completely empty save for dust.  Should have put snipers in here. she thought to herself with a grim smile as she strode to the door and peered outside.

       Sure enough, the holographic camouflage on the mountainside rippled and blinked as as the mercenaries inside rushed out to investigate.  She pulled a datapad from her belt and started the music from earlier back up, then counted slowly to five and snapped her fingers.  At that moment, one of the mercenaries fell to the ground, then another, then another as sniper fire whistled in at an astonishing pace from Edda’s YVH battle droids hiding in the hills.  That was her cue, and she took off at a sprint, lightsaber hilt in hand, out of the building and across the sand towards the rock face as the defenders scattered and ran for cover.  She activated her saber as she hit the holograph, the red blade screaming to life as she dashed into the unknown.

     It was, as she’d suspected from the size of the opening, a speeder bay.  There was a row of old military speeder bikes along on wall and a smattering of different utility speeders along the other.  There were half a dozen mercenaries strapping on helmets and night vision headsets by the bikes, and a few were already straddling their bikes and warming the engines.  It took a second for one of them to notice Edda and shout, and two seconds for her to lob a thermal detonator, using the Force to slam it into the shouting man’s face as she sprinted for the cover of the utility speeders.  The detonator went off a second later, causing a chain reaction and turning the row of bikes to scrap metal and the riders to paste.  The door to go deeper into the base was located at the opposite end of the speeder bay, and Edda wasted no momentum, sprinting towards it even as the shouts of mercenaries grew closer.  She reached the door before they did, and waited patiently, spinning her lightsaber in one hand and bobbing her head to beat of the music playing in her headset.  The door slid open with a hiss to reveal a dozen mercenaries, and the spinning lightsaber became a scythe as Edda charged into them.  Within seconds she was the last thing standing, and all of the mercenaries lay on the floor in various states of disrepair.  She could feel a Force-sensitive presence close by, along with more panicking mercenaries, but most of them were in the opposite end of the facility.  She put a spring in her step, hoping to make it out before reinforcements arrived.  It didn’t take her long to reach the room where the boy was being held.  Outside of it were two Gamorrean mercenaries, who didn’t even slow Edda down.  What did slow her down was the electronic lock on the door, but not for long; she slowly plunged her lightsaber into the top of of the door and began to cut a circle big enough to step through.  By the time she’d gotten halfway there, the sound of boots on the hard stone floor approached.  Five or six mercenaries rounded the corner into view and began squeezing off rounds, forcing Edda to stop cutting and weave her saber into a defensive pattern with one hand, drawing her blaster with the other.  It only took a moment for the flurry of bolts she loosed to deal with the mercenaries, and she went back to cutting.  As soon as she finished, she grabbed the center section she’d cut out with the Force and lifted it away.

     The room on the other side was tiny, and barren but for a bed.  There was no sign of the boy, but she could sense him hiding under the bed.  She sighed and deactivated her lightsaber, then knelt and removed her mask.
       “Hey, it’s okay.”  She said, reaching out a gloved hand.  She realized that her raspy voice and scarred face might not be terribly reassuring, but it was better than the mask.  She hoped.  “I’m gonna get you out of here.”
       “Are you with the Hutts?  Is this another trick?”  A small voice came from under the bed, shaky and afraid.
       “No, I’m not with the Hutts.  I’m a Templar, and even though you probably haven’t heard of us, I can promise you, we don’t do bad things to little children.”
       “Do you want my powers too?”
       “No, little one, I have powers all of my own.”  To prove the point, she took the crystal Templar pendant from around her neck and levitated it under the bed slowly.  “See?  I just want to help you, but we have to hurry.”
       The boy was silent for a moment, but after a few long seconds, a small hand appeared from under the bed, followed by a head of shaggy blonde hair and a dirty, tear streaked face.  Edda helped him to his feet with a smile.
        “My name is Edda.  I need you to stay right behind me now, okay?  We have to move fast if we want to make it.”  She gently took the Templar pendant from his hand, and placed it around his neck.  “Keep this on, and it’ll keep you safe, okay? Now, let’s get out of here.”

       The boy nodded, and Edda replaced her mask and drew the lightsaber from her belt.  As they ran through the halls, it was only a little while before the ran into the pair of YVH droids, who, having cleared the outside of enemies, had switched to heavy blasters and cleared a path for Edda’s escape.  Before they knew it, they were passing through the hologram, and their feet hit the warm sand.  Edda picked up the shoeless boy and carried him from there, over the nearest crest of dunes and to her waiting ship.  An hour later, and they were safely in space with a course set to Oros, and the boy was in the kitchen, rabidly scarfing down food as quickly as the culinary droid could provide it.
       “You have to pace yourself, little one, or you’ll make yourself sick.”  Edda said, sitting down across from him.  The boy swallowed and looked embarrassed.
        “I apologize, ma’am.  My mom taught me manners, I swear, but the Hutts only ever gave me scraps.”
        “What happened to your mother?”  Edda asked.
       “The Hutts killed her.  My dad died in the war.”  He mumbled, and a tear began to slowly run down his face.
        “I’m sorry.”  She said sincerely, and point to the scars on her face.  “When I was young, maybe only a little older than you, my family’s ship crash landed.  Both my parents were killed, and I was burned.  I was lucky, though, and I met a group of healers.  They saved my life, and taught me to be a healer too.”
       “The Hutts wanted me to hurt people.  They wanted me to be their soldier.  I don’t want to hurt anyone.” The boy said with a pained look.  “Why did you become a soldier if you were a healer?”
       Now, it was Edda’s turn to wear a look of pain.  “I had to.”  She paused for a moment, and a determined expression came over her face.  “Little one, I have to make a holo call, so I’ll be gone for just a moment.  Did you know that the droid can make sweets?  Anything you want, just ask her.  I’ll be back soon, okay?”



     It was sunny on Coruscant as Edda’s ship sat down on a landing pad at the new Jedi Temple.  Standing on the pad, with a brown cloak covering his shaggy black hair, was Jorn Bollin.  As the ship’s ramp came down, the young boy was the first one to descend it, very nearly running into Jorn, and bubbling with questions.  Jorn laughed, a rich, hearty sound, and patted the boy’s head, advising him to take a breath.  Edda had also made her way down the ramp, but she stopped and leaned against one of the ramp’s pillars, arms crossed and a smile on her face.  As the boy ran back to her, she knelt and caught him in a bear hug, and made him promise to behave, then stood to leave.
       “Wait!”  the boy said, and pulled the pendant off of his neck.  “You forgot this!”
       “No, you keep it.  It’ll keep you safe, remember?”  She replied with a smile, and giving the beaming Jorn a final nod of appreciation, ascended the ramp and, within a few moments, the ship was lifting off.  With a curse, Edda dried a spot of wetness from her eye, and dialed a number into her holocommunicator.
       The form of a human woman appeared over the console, leaning against a bookshelf and eating a piece of fruit.  She had messy, unkempt brown hair, and tanned olive skin.  She was abnormally tall, six feet four inches in the measurements of her father’s home planet, and her eyes were a deep brown, and permanently bore a look of sorrow, even though she was always grinning.
       “Hey Aunt Edda, what can I do for you?”  She asked cheerfully.
       “Funny you should ask that, Rhia.  I need you to find some way to tell Kepressa that I gave the child to the Jedi, preferably before I arrive in…” Edda glanced at the clock. “...twenty hours.”

CHAPTER END
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TheDutchman
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« Reply #21 on: June 15, 2018, 05:57:11 PM »

For choosing one specific Templar to focus on, I'm glad that you did so with Edda.  MANY disparate, hidden layers, especially given the adversity that she's encountered.  The Vong War was literally galaxy changing; it's no surprise that its individual citizens (those that survived) would carry the scars ever-after.

I have to admit, the more that I learn about Edda's past, the more that I want to know.  And just who is Jorn to Edda?  Regardless, thanks for including more of this, TDC!
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Lord_S_Gray
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« Reply #22 on: June 15, 2018, 08:37:42 PM »

For choosing one specific Templar to focus on, I'm glad that you did so with Edda.  MANY disparate, hidden layers, especially given the adversity that she's encountered.  The Vong War was literally galaxy changing; it's no surprise that its individual citizens (those that survived) would carry the scars ever-after.

I have to admit, the more that I learn about Edda's past, the more that I want to know.  And just who is Jorn to Edda?  Regardless, thanks for including more of this, TDC!

Indeed she's a bit different for various reasons, and some of her actions, like giving the bo to the Jedi don't seem to be strictly what the Templars want - a to of back story here slowly being resolved - which i think is good it feels like something that shouldn't be rushed. .
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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."

TheDrunkenConsular
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« Reply #23 on: June 17, 2018, 06:24:08 AM »

Thanks, guys!  Edda is really one of my favorite characters to write for, and it seems like I'm actually conveying to feelings and information about her that I want to.

Also, if nobody caught the reference at the end, I'm a bit dissapointed.

Testing the spoiler function on this board real quick...

[Spoiler]test[/spoiler]
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Lord_S_Gray
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« Reply #24 on: June 17, 2018, 03:11:11 PM »

Thanks, guys!  Edda is really one of my favorite characters to write for, and it seems like I'm actually conveying to feelings and information about her that I want to.

Also, if nobody caught the reference at the end, I'm a bit dissapointed.

Testing the spoiler function on this board real quick...

[Spoiler]test[/spoiler]

You mean Edda's 'Niece' who seems to share coloring and a certain lassiez fare approach to grooming consistent with another character currently absent in this time series apart from a statue, i noticed that but wouldn't want to get my hopes up...
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Lord_S_Gray

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

TheDrunkenConsular
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Force Alignment: 44
Posts: 163


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« Reply #25 on: June 24, 2018, 03:15:58 PM »

Decided to finish this chapter off a bit early so I can concentrate on the next installment for Brothers.  I'll have part 2 up soon!

CHAPTER 4: The Summit, Part 1

     Tasrii was on her knees, her armored hands wrapped around the amphistaff.  Edda was still on her back, but a scream of rage tore itself free of her lungs.  The Vong may have been outside the grasp of the Force, but the world around them was not.  She sprang to her feet, and with a motion of her fist snatched down the fire escape were the Vong warrior who’d who’d thrown the spear stood.  The heavy metal structure came down with a crash, crushing both Yuuzhan Vong.  Satisfied that the Vong were dead, Edda rushed to Tasrii’s side.  Before she could decide what to do, the amphistaff became pliable, and snaked out of the wound it had left and towards the shadows.  It’s deed was done; Tasrii had been impaled and poisoned.  Edda reached for her communicator to try and raise a medevac, but before she could speak, the scream of a crashing X-Wing split the air, then the sound turned to a screech as Edda’s alarm snatched her away from restless sleep.  She rubbed her bleary eyes and climbed out of bed.  Time to land the ship.

...

     She sighed as the ship’s engines powered down.  She sat there for a moment, contemplating whether or not she could get away with taking off again and flying to another planet, and at the same time noticing that landing pad was unusually crowded.  Unfortunately, a welcoming party was already walking across the tarmac, led by Tasrii and Rhia.  By the time she got to the ramp and let it down, they were waiting for her, Tasrii in front, her face bearing an exasperated look.  Behind her, Rhia gave Edda a wink and subtle thumbs up. 
     “Tas…” Edda started, but the other Templar cut her off with a motion.
     “Was it the right thing to do?”  She asked.
     “Yes.”  Edda replied firmly.
     “Then let that be the end of it.  I will say though, in the future, keep in mind that we have a hard enough finding recruits without giving them away to the Jedi.  Find me for a full debriefing later.”  Edda nodded in response, wondering why the Master was in such a rush, as Tasrii turned around to return to the Archive, her escort of Templar knights following dutifully.  Only Rhia stayed behind, the eldest “child” of Rakham Crescentfall charging Edda and wrapping her in a bear hug.
     “It’s good to see you!” She exclaimed as she crushed the air from Edda’s lungs.Edda returned the hug without quite as much enthusiasm, but couldn’t stop a smile from creeping into her face.
     “It’s good to see you too, little one!  Where have you been lately?”  She asked
     “Outer Rim.  Standard stuff, digging through dusty old temples and caves.  I think we just missed one another on Tattooine.  Sorry about the goons, Tasrii seemed to have this idea that you might cut and run, and she wanted you around for the meeting.”
     At the word ‘meeting’ Edda’s eyes went wide in realization and she immediately spun on her heels, but Rhia grabbed her arm with a laugh.
     “Sorry Aunt Edda, but I’ve got clone strength.  You can’t escape.”  Edda cursed and turned back around.
     “Clone strength isn’t a thing, you heartless monster.  You have your father’s strength.”  Edda said, resigning herself to her fate and cursing herself for forgetting the date of the Templar Order’s annual summit.
     “His eyes too, according to Mother, but I suppose that makes sense.  Come on, the meeting isn’t that bad.  All of us are here this year, they’re saying.”
     “This many Templars in one place makes my teeth itch.”
     “Come on, the only place I’ve ever been that’s safer than the Oros Archive is the Vhal’dan headquarters on Zonama Sekot, and it isn’t our fault we couldn't find a living planet to set up on.”
     “Safety is an illusion, young Crescentfall.”  Edda said, cracking a small grin.
     “Well in that case, I think training is in order.  Come on, when’s the last time we had a good sparring match?”
     “The winter of ‘28.  When I ushered your test for Knighthood.”
     “See?  That’s entirely too long.  It’s a miracle that my skills haven't rusted enough to get me killed.”  Rhia joked.  “I bet we could manage to get to the training grounds without too much trouble.”
     “Alright, let’s go then.”



     The Archive was generally a busy place, but at the annual summit, it was absolutely crowded.  Along with the ever present visitors from other Orders, every Templar Knight and Master had been recalled to the Archive.  Normally, there would be stragglers who had business too pressing to leave, but this year all five hundred and seventeen active members were there, and with a few dozen guests on top of that, the Archive had standing room only.  The underground Templar barracks had overflowed, and late arrivals were sleeping either in their ships or two to a room in the guest quarters.  While the summit was officially a business meeting, the affair looked much like a party outside of the council chambers, all of which would be in use constantly for the week the summit lasted, with apprentices being evaluated for ascension to Knighthood, Knights evaluated for ascension to Mastery and general scheming being done.  Everywhere else, long time friends reunited over games, drinks and music.  Young Apprentices were given the week off from their studies, and, in general, the Archive went from a place of quiet study to one of fellowship and camaraderie.

     Edda, of course, did her best to avoid all of that as she and Rhia made their way to the training grounds at the back of the complex.  They could hear the sound of lightsabers humming and clashing before the grounds came into sight.
     The training grounds were in a shaded grove behind the main Archive building, nestled against the great stone wall surrounding the facility.  Great trees grew around the grassy field, and at intervals along the field were around twenty circular stone pads.  On these pads, the Templars sparred.  There were several ascension tests going on, with young apprentices facing off against more experienced Knights to prove that they were ready for Knighthood themselves, and others simply honing their skills.  Rhia made her way to a pad towards the back, somewhat isolated from the busier sections, and shed her heavy brown cloak to reveal a sleeveless sand colored tunic.  Her arms were covered in a myriad of tattoos.  She did a few stretches to warm up, then reached for her lightsaber.  The hilt was massive and immaculately polished.  It bore a three-pronged emitter, with a curved neck and bulky handle that terminated in a mace-shaped pommel.  A shimmering blue blade sprang into life as she pressed the activator.
     “Still haven’t built a saber of your own?”  Edda asked as she drew her own battered hilt.
     “Sure I have, but I prefer this one.”  She responded with a smile.
     “I can understand that.” Edda said, holding up the hilt Rakham had given her all those years ago at the original Archive, and without further comment, she activated the blade and assumed a low guard. 

     Rhia moved first, closing the distance between them, but staying just out of Edda’s reach as the two circled one another.  The permanent lopsided grin her face constantly bore flashed into a smile, and she pounced on the smaller woman, opening with a flat strike towards her neck that bounced off of Edda’s parry and turned to an off-hand shot at her opposite hip, but Edda’s party came with more force than she expected, knocking her blade aside and opening her up to attack.  Edda took advantage and unleashed a savage overhand strike, forcing Rhia to skitter sideways.  Edda pressed the attack, swinging her blade into a series of alternating strikes to her left and right sides.  After losing half a dozen paces of ground on the defensive, Rhia regained her composure and managed to trap Edda’s blade with her own, and she attempted to use that leverage to spin the saber out of Edda’s hands.  However, Edda slipped her saber away, causing Rhia to lose her balance, and with a quick sidestep, brought the crackling red blade to her chin before deactivating it.
     “Good work!”  She said sincerely, reaching up and patting Rhia on the shoulder.  “Your defense has gotten very, very tight.”
      “I’m gonna beat you, one day.”  Rhia said back with a smile.
      “Anything’s possible.”  Edda allowed, hanging her saber from her belt. “I’ve gotta find Tas, do you know where she might be?”
      “Probably the Memorial.  I should head there myself.” Rhia replied, a look of sorrow forming in her eyes.
      “I’ll go with you.”  Nadia said, and wrapped an arm around the young woman as they walked.  It still shocked her sometimes to see Rhia all grown up, when in her mind she was still the little girl with dirty knees and a gaptoothed grin she’d once been able to carry around on her shoulders.



     Visiting the memorial was one of the most important traditions of the Summit.  As Rhia and Edda reached the Memorial, located in the very center of the Archive, they both pulled their hoods up as a sign of respect before entering.  They opened the door gently and entered the Memorial.  The courtyard they stepped into was brightly light by beautifully clear sunlight, and the ground was carpeted in lush green grass, spotted by beds of flowers and bubbling fountains, and crossed by stone paths.  There were several great stone slabs standing in the courtyard, their faces carved with names.  Tasrii had knelt by the one furthest from the door, and Edda and Rhia took places by her side.  The names on each stone were from one battle: this one was the Battle of Yuuzhan’tar, or the Second Battle of Coruscant.  Edda glanced up at the names, even though she’d long ago memorized them.

G. HALLO
C. MORN
S. MORN
N. KEPRESSA
K. CRESCENTFALL

And on, and on.  Tears ran freely down Tasrii’s face, and Edda began to put a comforting hand on her shoulder, but stopped herself.

     You don’t deserve that. she internally scolded herself as she stood and walked to a different stone.  This one contained even more names, all from the first battle the Templars fought in; Dantooine.  Edda knelt before it and stared at the names. 

B. TARUN
TEKS
R. CRESCENTFALL
H. CRESCENTFALL
S. WIN
I. FARAD
F. GLAYZ

The list was a dozen names long, but Edda had squeezed her eyes shut long before reading all of them, and her breathing became ragged. Over and over in her mind, she repeated the same phrase like a mantra, even without willing to.
   
     I’m sorry.  I’m sorry.  I’m sorry.  I’m sorry.

     She didn’t know if she imagined her master’s voice, or if his spirit was reaching out to her, but the sound filled her ears regardless.

     Don’t be.

TO BE CONTINUED
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Lord_S_Gray
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« Reply #26 on: June 24, 2018, 09:08:09 PM »

Tragic...sounds like they got the heart of the organisation ripped out in the war...and its still ripping based on Edda's repeated reminiscences and painful half in half out way she approaches the other Templars, Tasrii in particular.
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Lord_S_Gray

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TheDutchman
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« Reply #27 on: June 25, 2018, 04:29:32 AM »

I remember reading the Vong War (some good books, some...not so much...) but just the number of casualties--in the trillions--was something that always stuck with me.  Edda's memories and especially her reticence to visit during the annual Templars gathering is MORE than understandable considering all that she lost (that last memorial with virtually all of the "main" timeline Templars names makes the scene all the more haunting).

Edda is one of my favorite characters because we see the juxtaposition between the girl she was and the stoic warrior she becomes...yet there is still SO much that we don't know about her.  This makes for the best writing  Smiley

Oh, and I LOVED the Vhal'Dan easter egg TDC!
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TheDrunkenConsular
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« Reply #28 on: June 25, 2018, 06:57:10 AM »

Yeah, the Legends timeline is definitely the darkest one for the Order.  I'll be doing a Canon timeline story as well however, and it won't be as dark.  Not sure which one I'll consider canon in my story, but it doesn't matter so much.
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Karmack
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« Reply #29 on: June 25, 2018, 08:23:23 AM »

I agree with you guys, the names are heartbreaking.  Nice writing, btw: We have investment in these characters, to see the names through Edda's eyes in this way brought her sorrow right into our own experience.  That was well written.

The Vhong war ripped the heart out of the Republic.  No one was spared.  It was utterly horrific, made the Galactic Civil War look like a friendly.  That is captured here, as well.  Nicely done.
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