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Author Topic: Fate of the Aether  (Read 2041 times)
Lord_S_Gray
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Force Alignment: 27
Posts: 588



« Reply #15 on: June 27, 2018, 07:07:56 PM »

Chapter 4 — The Living

Milaea

This was where it began.

Only the invaders machines and bodies had been removed…the blackened buildings and scorched stones remained glistening in the light rain.

This was where the galaxy had declared war on the People.

She hadn’t understood…not fully…their point of view before now…

This had been the centre of their society, everything and everyone else was ‘outside’ - outside had attacked - half their population massacred, the rest enslaved, ripped from their home and thrown to death and suffering across the galaxy.

Everyone Outside was trying to kill or abuse them…they would never forget, never forgive - no arguments or ethics could undo what they had seen with their own eyes…the attack on Coruscant, the Night of Madness they called it, was another battle in the war forced upon the People…their culture was incapable of a distinction military and civilian only Us and Them.

The force…the aether was rich - a fog suffusing the sleet with pain and grief. 

Flow walking as her boots sunk into the mud of once compacted stone streets past wet black wood mossy from two decades in the elements she saw…

Here a group of children cowered after seeing their mother valiantly but futilely try and fight off six Gammoreans, there an old man hurled rocks with the aether from a roof, telling his teenage granddaughters to stay hidden…it did them no good – these were farmers, tailors, blacksmiths, their martial potential unrealised in a life of peace and safety overseen by a mere eleven Guardians.

In the main street….those Guardians had given their all…overwhelmed by the shock of strange flying machines, obscene aliens and incomprehensible weapons they had still killed hundreds…it was not enough…the echoes of her great grandfather…Andis…tearing himself apart to kill the Mandolorian who lead the attackers was still strong….

She wiped the rain and budding tears from her cheeks, long golden red hair stuck to her face and neck saturated. Now she could finally see, could finally feel the pain that could catalyse an Oblivion Army into life… the fanaticism for survival she saw in Valens, Jarys and Kiraea.

“You see it now don’t you,” the old man behind her,

Melron…the oldest of them…his regret at not having died with the others – to have to live with his cultural role unfulfilled - was a stagnating weight upon him.

“They came from outside…and tried to destroy you…I understand…” she replied over the dull patter of precipitation upon old wood.

 “hrrmph”  he grumbled, he was the last of the old culture…the others who had been in the galaxy at large were the first of the new, they knew they could never go back to how things were.  In his heart Melron did too, but was too old…too heartbroken to move forward…

They had been fading before the Devastation…a population below replacement level, dying of infections from cuts and scrapes brought on by aether wielding bacteria and viruses that had evolved in sync with their superior immune systems, lacking the technology to synthesize sufficient quantities of flower and fungi based medicines that could fight them. If even one of those disease escaped into the Republic…the Candorian Plague would become a footnote in comparison.

<Escape or be released? Chiss Technology, thin tubes encased within Ultra-dense shells dropped down gravity wells – billions dead in days, Plague preceded War in the Apocalypse of the Republic>

She shook the image of her overactive imagination off as she knelt down beside a small collection of rain worn trinkets - voluptuous feminine forms lovingly rendered….a gender imbalance that left two women for every man, and ecological disaster from the Collapse restricted them to one habitable Valley…in a strange way the Devastation by forcing the galaxy upon them may have saved them from a quiet death on a forgotten world.

“I don’t like the way you’re thinking,” he said at her thoughts,

“Perhaps not,” she replied, Milaea found the best way to deal with her guide was a bluntly as possible “But there is truth in it,”

“So there is…doesn’t excuse what the outsiders did to us,” he replied with equal parts scorn and humour,

She sighed, “No…no it does not…” she crouched into the mud and took a handful of the wet grey dirt, feeling each granule…sand, soil and ash…

This…this was her home…

<<<<>>>>

Her body seized and skin crinkled in the cold.  She pushed back up through the crystal clear waters to gulp in chilly air - it was cold enough outside without plunging into the pools fed by a glaciers barely melted snow.

The setting was picturesque…dark and light grey rocks, flecked with ultra hard blood red stone, deep green shrubs with delicate blue flowers which soaked up the splashes from the waterfall they called Aephrodaea’s tears.

“Want me to start a fire, you look cold?”  asked Kiraea, standing stood by the pool, left hand on her hip, right toying with precise arcs of aetheric fire completely naked.  Despite their fight on Corsucant, or perhaps because of it, Kiraea seemed determined to make Milaea feel comfortable and teach her everything…

“I’m fine,” she replied through quivering blue lips.  To be fully accepted by the rest of the Aethans she needed to go through somewhat tribal initiation rituals…One for each of their Goddesses… an anthropologists dream to study she mused. 

Milaea’s memories as Aethena took her only to the Collapse…700 years of isolation and technological regression had followed for the handful of survivors...the Goddesses once symbolic in the secular Technocracy were now real, their myths mingled memories of Aethena’s actual achievements, their sense of superiority now a violent insularity.

Kiraea slid in beside her, for a woman sixteen years her senior there was no visible difference in age…the ancient Aethans had successfully cracked the genetic puzzle to prevent ageing with stringent RNA encoding that prevented the replication errors that resulted in cell deterioration – it was the cutting edge and somewhat in doubt before the Collapse.   

Even so it was not perfect – Melron was visibly old – Milaea hypothesised it required more nutrients and vitamins than were present in the Valley to initiate the second pubertal phase at the age of 20 in women, 25-30 in men - with access to better foods in the Republic Kiraea and the others had benefited where Melron who was in his sixties at the Devastation had missed the key phase.

Kiraea seemed to find it hard to explain the details of the rituals to her…it was so ingrained in their culture that they ought need no explanation - Milaea had already surmised that like most traditional culture’s, they revolved around survival, seasons and especially fertility.

“These waters,” Kiraea indicated to the roaring melts plunging from high above,

“Are the tears of Aephrodaea, wept after the Collapse…for her lost children…her sorrow never ceases…”

“But the tears revealed the blood stone,”  she pointed into the water at the deep red lines of stone that peeked between the grey rock…a mythical explanation of erosion uncovering a rock formation….

“The symbol of her enduring gift…the blood all women shed…the essence of life with which the children of Aephordaea might have their own children,”  Milaea saw where this was going…they had associated the red stones with menstruation…no doubt why Kiraea had insisted they both be naked, this was a women’s initiation place.

“You think I’m some kind of know nothing superstitious fool!”  Kiraea suddenly screamed at her, she had a blazing temper that Milaea had seen far too much of on Coruscant…but Milaea could not judge her for her wanton slaughter…she had done just as much on Vyth…and Kiraea was of her People.

“Don’t think you can analyse us like some kind of professor from Bar’Leth…we know what’s a myth and what’s not…but these are our stories…these connect us to our planet, our past, the aether, our bodies and to each other…”  Kiraea’s expression was very delicate and wounded…it shocked Milaea to see this almost pathologically violent woman look so vulnerable…

“I…I’m sorry Kiraea,”  Kiraea looked away from her…in traditional cultures like this to not look at someone was a very serious act of ostracism…but thinking like that would offend her even more…

<Tears stung her eyes.  Blue flames licked across her body as she pushed apart blast doors like they were rotten paper.  The few remaining guards were in full flight, she didn’t bother chasing them, simply set them alight from within leaving withered ash inside creaking armour.>

“Truly I am…” Milaea added ignoring the scene that played in the back of her head.

Kiraea looked back toward her, her expression softened and she held out her arms…for all the brutality they showed outsiders, the Aethan women were extremely affectionate toward each other…on the trip back the eldest woman Selaena had stated playing with Milaea’s hair for no apparent reason whilst the other girls, Adaea and Lyaea had bombarded her with kisses, sniffed her and compared breast sizes thereby discerning which family lineages she was part of.

She waded forward and entered Kiraea’s embrace…she felt very vulnerable, hugging a woman she barely knew completely naked, out in the open like this…but there was a genuine warmth that flowed from Kiraea in the Aether.  The elder woman backed away and kissed her on the forehead,

“It’s ok…it’s not your fault the Jedi were too ignorant to teach you anything useful,” she went to move away but Kiraea kept her hand around her waist,

“Where was I…oh so these pools, when a girl has her first period she comes here, usually with her mother and sisters and aunts…to wash herself and be blessed by Aephrodaea with many children…and then when they’re older they learn the Arts of Aephrodaea here…” she gestured to a cavern behind the white falls.

Something about Kiraea’s aura suddenly flickered with anticipation and excitement, Aephrodaea was their Goddess of life…fertility…perhaps the Arts were about child-birth.

“That’s part of it…” Kiraea said responding to her thoughts…whilst she knew some Jedi could do that on occasion, Aethans seemed to use thoughts and spoken words interchangeably in conversation - more efficient – and when they did speak averaged 600 words per minute.

“Most important is learning about the divine form you’ve been born with - there are many Arts…some that lead up to children…some that stop you conceiving until the right moon…and some that are just for pleasure” now she seemed very excited…

“Umm…what exactly do these Arts involve…”  Kiraea suddenly pulled her much too close for comfort…

“Don’t worry…I’ll teach you every last one,”

<<<<>>>>

Of all the people she was to be taught by, this was the one she was most worried about…although had she known what Kiraea was going to teach her…and how hands on every delicate part of her it was going to be….

Her father…Jarys…stood on the ridge overlooking the forests of the valley, lightly armed with a few newly cut spears, rough leather armour that seemed to suit him all too well…

The first time they had met…she had slammed him into a ferrocrete wall then fought him to a standstill after he had almost killed Sofa…not the best reunion…Since then he had killed Gurrlum, Yoren half a dozen other Jedi and almost killed Soryu twice…not someone a former Jedi should feel safe around…

He looked over to her, he was certainly handsome in a way, dark brown hair that he had let grow a little since coming home rather than his previous efficient military cut, steely eyes…but there was a deep sadness to him…his wife, his child ripped from him along with his whole life…

<His body was a lattice of scars layered over genehanced muscles from a hundred branches, leaves and rocks scraping against predator strides >

“Here,” he called to her as she shook off another vision, unable to tell if it was past or future.

Old Melron she could relate to easily enough…he was like many a humorous old Jedi Master she had met, Maeson was much like a quiet uncle…the women…with their constant affection toward her, she couldn’t help but feel close to…and Valens she knew from long before…but Jarys….

She walked over, she hadn’t exactly had time to pack when leaving Coruscant and borrowed an ill-suited form fitting outfit from Kiraea, who had wider hips but a smaller bust.  He crouched low and surveyed the tree tops as she joined him…

The forests were alive…full of creatures of all types that used the aether…and some that repressed it, let it flow around them, or actively negated it…Soryu would’ve liked it here…so much to learn about the force in such a small place…and all of it so natural…yet there was an apprehension among the creatures…Odjina would’ve called it an imbalance….

“Too many Vorynx,” Jarys said picking up on her thoughts…

“We used to hunt them when they got too numerous for the Valley to support…but with us gone…” she could fill in the rest as she spied a lumbering animal of Orange brown fur the height of a human with small concealed horns – a Gormin –and behind it a group of utterly vicious animals in a pack…they resembled the vornskr’s of Myrkr…but bigger, muscular, bony plates under their skin, exuding a primal fury in the aether that seemed to resonate from a pearl like structure between their eyes…

She knew these creature…as Aethena…

Jarys looked at her oddly,
“I know them…I…before the Collapse the Technocracy took them for Myrkr, experimented on them…changed them…improved them…” she glanced around the forest with the aether as the beasts ripped the shaggy Gormin to bloody pieces.

“All of the creatures here we took from other worlds and remade…to be better…or what we thought was better…”

She could feel Jarys gaze upon her,
“How much do you…remember about…before,”

She sighed, “A lot…but it’s more like…remembering a dream just after you wake up…it’s you but not you who did those things…,”

“hmmm…” he nodded slightly, he clearly felt as uncomfortable as she did, “There aren’t many Gormin left…we need to cull the Vorynx…lets go…”

<<<<>>>>

They prowled silently through the dense foliage, their reflexes, speed and strength let them keep pace with the equally sly pack…the aether constantly shifted as they past Goslam, Gondurs, Gobrils, Snow-feathers, each using the aether to survive in its own way…a kaleidoscope of adaptations to the planet and each other…few Jedi could keep focused in such a shifting tangle of energies and life…and yet this was the essence of what the force was…a part of life….

Jarys held his fist up and she came to a dead stop upon a large branch, he was just below pressed against a fallen mossy trunk.

The pack had stopped…it knew it was being tailed…She looked around but was unused to the terrain…she couldn’t see anything but leaves and trunks…Jarys threw his blunted spear, a yelp, then a roar as the animals rush forth. 

The attack was not just physical, the Vorynx used the aether to pound at them as strongly as any Jedi would…she pushed against the attacks as one leapt up toward her its claws deep in the tree yielding thick black sap.  She swung her spear, but its reflexes were as quick as her own…she had to outthink the creature, she poked up, down, retreated along the branch as its jaws snapped and claws swung at her.   

She was right on the edge of the branch…the Vorynx yellow eyes sizing her up for a meal…the aether roiling forth from the pearl that concentrated it…the pearl…She let the aether open her eyes to the shatter point and she sent precise arcs of energy into it…the beast immediately spasmed, only its claws keeping it upright…she pushed past its pain into its mind…why kill these animals…there was no need…through the unthinking rage to the simmering semi-consciousness of a non-sentient

Calm… it began to shudder
Calm….its mouth closed, its eyes confused…
Calm…Friend…Pack…Family….It stared at her with new understanding…slowly it plodded up to sniff her…

Family…Pack…Calm….she kept it up.  The Vorynx lowered its head turned away and leapt off the branch to the others…

Jarys was sitting in the midst of eight other vorynx…they were all reclined about him.

“Well done…when I was your age…it didn’t do it half as easy….” He said as she leapt down and patted one of the more inquisitive creature’s that followed her,

“They can’t be tamed…” he added…”but they can at least be convinced you’re one of them…” 

She raised an eyebrow at that…there was a distinct undercurrent to what he was saying…

“The Vorynx…the Aethans…or both,”

“Both” he chuckled

She bit her lip as he patted the now perfectly contented Vorynx…so different to the utterly vicious powerhouse he usually seemed….

“I remember other things…I remember my mother…Cilina singing to me,” she said as she cautiously approached him…he seemed far more likely to snap at her than the Vorynx…

“She missed you…she hoped you’d find her and take her home…” he kept his gaze on the Vorynx pup nibbling at his hand, but in the aether she could sense him hurting

“I wish I had…” he said quietly as the wind picked up, causing the Vorynx to turn toward a new scent…a gesture from Jarys kept them docile though…he looked back at her,

“You’re too old to need a father now…and you had a far better one than I would’ve been anyway…”  Jarys had spared Soryu’s life in her honour…he wasn’t the killing machine the galaxy had tried to make him…

He stood up slowly, “You would’ve killed me when we first met you know…if I hadn’t run…” he said, “Somehow this is much more painful…” the Vorynx parted as he moved toward her,

“Whatever Valens did in melding you with…I guess the ancient you…you’re still my daughter...so if not your father,” he looked at the Vorynx who stared inquisitively at them, they could feel the tension in the aether between them,

“I can at least be your pack-mate?”  he held out his arms, but she was stepping into them even before that, she instantly felt his unwavering strength and protectiveness cover her.

<<<<>>>>
Logged

Lord_S_Gray

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

TheDutchman
Knight Commander
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Force Alignment: 671
Posts: 2695


Guardian Blue is my life


« Reply #16 on: June 28, 2018, 02:30:57 PM »

Here we are: more than just a glimpse of contemporary Aethans.  Now, while back at home, they probably feel like strangers in a strange land.  Especially with such a complex relationship between Milaea and Jarys. 
But once again I like seeing the reinforcement of "Aethan Only" as it transcends xenophobia.  BUT this also has one hell of a cost...

Quiet scenes like these are a nice transition from the breakneck action seen in the Night of Madness.  But we know that this can only be ephemeral...
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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; Sentinel LE v4 stunt, EG, Aeon LE v4 stunt, FO

Karmack
Knight Commander
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Force Alignment: 670
Posts: 3059


Light side points please.


« Reply #17 on: June 28, 2018, 03:06:32 PM »

I thought it was interesting that they felt compelled to run Milaea through the Rites of Initiation.  There's obviously more to these Rites than pure ritual.  But even if its just that, they're working very hard to bond Milaea to the rest of their remaining culture.

This desire to bring her "into the fold" is very tribal, which describes the Aethans to a "T". 

Another point: they very much feel like they are at war with the rest of the Universe.  I suspect that mind-set - an extended 'cold war' with pretty much the rest of the galaxy - will figure into their "Fate" as well as any ... future interactions, shall we say? 
Oy....
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Master Singer of the Mak'Tor

Lord_S_Gray
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Force Alignment: 27
Posts: 588



« Reply #18 on: June 30, 2018, 11:53:48 PM »

Chapter 4 — The Reborn
Sofa
She was dead…

Proof scrolled in white on the holo-blue screen…The Jedi Emergency Broadcast System listed the names of those killed in the Night of Madness detailing in brief bureaucratic tones an incident on Coruscant, ambiguous reference to terrorism and an electrical fault in the Council Chamber….the list of the dead was excessive for that story…she understood why they didn’t want the truth to spread too far.

But back to the main issue…her name…right there…Master Sofa Neirai, listed as deceased in the ‘electrical overload’…

She might as well be dead here as well…

After Valens had knocked her out she had awoken to the Pyromaniac Kiraea pointing a blaster to her head while Milaea was beating Valens to death in the wreck of the Council Chamber…she had no idea what was happening….after that she’d been put under again…

By the Stars she’d spent half her life unconscious….only to awaken with Milaea over her.

“Mili…where…”
“shh…its okay, you’re safe….” She had replied,
“But I have to go…they’ll look after you…I’ll be back soon,” and she was gone.

Reflecting on all this in a utilitarian room, slightly odd design, transpartiseel window overlooking a curve of a planet she couldn’t identify that was covered in odd gases and vast machines…a terraforming project?

The sudden hiss of the door, she braced herself for a fight.

An older man entered the room with a tray of what looked like heated ration packs,
“Here, something edible…its Chiss…but it’s not bad warm…” 

“Are you the good cop or the bad cop?”  she backed into the corner.

“Ha I’m no cop…just here to keep you fed till Milaea comes back…”

“Am I a prisoner?” she asked directly,

“As much as we all are…”

She probed him gently in the force…he was just…normal…

“You’re not one of…them…are you…”

“An Aethan…no…I work for the girls, Kiraea, Adaea and Lyaea…Kiri did a job on me some twenty years back…” he sat on the bed and placed the tray down,

“Been with them ever since…”

“You’re a slave?” she inquired further moving toward the table…it didn’t look appetizing

“Well…Kiri…programmed me to work for her…but to be honest…they saved me…I was washed up…couldn’t even filch a chit…the girls…were lost, had no idea about the galaxy at large…”

As he went on to tell his story, and that of the Aethans she took the seat beside and chewed down three of the ration bars…she could sense he genuinely cared for them…they had given him a purpose, chances he would never have had as a thief and impressive rewards in the form of returned youth and a wife Xandra. 

“So…Do you know what they want to do with me?” 

“They aren’t sure…usually Valens tells them what to do, but with the new Guardian Jarys and this Milaea…I don’t know…I hear you and her are lovers,”

She spat out her nutri-juice

“Whoa…not Milaea…Valens,”

That seemed to shock him,

“Really…strange he never mentioned you…”

“Wait how long have you known him,”

“I doubt anyone knows Valens…but about 15 years,” 

The scale of the double life he had been living…they had been lovers for nearly eighteen years…and she knew nothing about him…she could feel betrayed later,

“So what do you think will happen to me?”

He shrugged,

“I don’t know, I really don’t,” the force told her he wasn’t lying,

“But I’ll give you some advice…first never ever try and lie to them, doesn’t work and annoys Kiraea…actually make that first never ever annoy Kiraea, if you can try to make her laugh, she’s a bit bawdy and blunt.  Second try and be one of the team…they’re a very insular, hate outsiders…but if you talk like you’re one of them they’ll listen, and third…” he thought for a moment,

“Their big thing is survival…can’t blame them for that…if you make them think they’ll survive better with your suggestion they’ll go for it,”

She looked at him surprised, clearly he had some experience in managing this strange society Valens and now Milaea were a part of

“That is…very helpful…”

He smiled warmly,

“I try to be…they’re not bad just…children scared of everyone and everything that isn’t from their little world…looking for safety and lashing out at anyone they think will hurt them….”

<<<<>>>>

Maynard visited every 6 hours on the dot. The door wasn’t locked, but she still felt trapped.  On the second visit he brought a small bouquet of flowers - a species she’d never seen, the scent pleasant if overpowering, tied in a black and white ribbon that was Valens typical style. 

At first she felt abandoned but flicking across the news holo on the datapad she realised some alone time was appropriate.  The true scale of the battle on Coruscant was distressing, she knew Kimar was after Valens who in turn was determined to face him and get Milaea away…he had obviously succeeded – but at what price.

News images showed wanton chaos, Jedi gone mad with rage trying to supress it.  She should try and work out who was right and wrong - the Jedi thing to do.

Sofa was past that.  She had wanted to run away as soon as Milaea was Knighted - old enough to choose her own path…in a roundabout way, dead to the Jedi she now had her wish 

“Don't push too far your dreams are china in your hand…Don't wish too hard, because they may come true…And you can't help them,” she sang to a song now relegated to ‘classics easy listening’

“You don't know what you might have set upon yourself…”

Breathing out heavily she decided she didn’t know and didn’t want to know what had really happened. 

That wasn’t going to be her life anymore.  All being a Jedi, caring about who was right and wrong, had brought her was abuse, stress and restriction. 

As if in response to this decision Milaea appeared at the door. 

“Mili!” she rushed to her open arms.

“You all right? Have everything you need,”

“I’m fine, what’s happening?”

“I’m sorry I wasn’t here sooner I had to…People don’t always think about others…”

Milaea went onto explain where they were as they wandered around the station – her species home world being terraformed to repair damage from a long forgotten conflict.

Finally they came to a small lounge area where there was half a dozen of the cutest little animals she had ever seen
“What are Those!”
“Oh…that’s a gobril”
“Gorbrils…”
“No just one,”
Sofa looked intently there were definitely…six…no Seven…no five…
“What…”
“They use illusions to protect themselves from predators…it’s why children chase them - to find a real one to pet.”
Something about the mention of children set her heart racing…she could have children now…plus all the sex she wanted…no more hiding.

“Well…let’s do it!” she leapt after the nearest one which vanished in an instant.

They raced around the room trying to catch the amazingly fast little things, every time she grasped the fur she caught nothing but air.  It didn’t matter - moving around, playing with Milaea did her the world of good.

Finally Milaea managed to grasp the real one under the couch, it didn’t seem bothered by being caught, as if it was playing with them the whole time too. 

“They’re semi domesticated…they know they get fed if they play along,” she explained as the little furry creature nibbled at a curious pink fruit from the table.

“Is that some kind of veiled reference to me?” Sofa asked arching an eyebrow.
“Ha…no…but…” she moved to sit down taking her hands.
“When…when I healed you on Cygrat I did…” her voice was full of guilt
“more than I thought…changed you…you’re not…human anymore…you’ve probably noticed feeling…stronger, looking younger and healthier, hungry…”
Sofa nodded
“I…I’m sorry because it puts you…”
“No no no,” Sofa leaned over to hug her
“You saved my life, you did the right thing Mili, I’m not…I can’t be angry with you for that…”
“But…it means…I know you always wanted children and now you…”
Her stomach sank Milaea didn’t need to finish the sentence.

Now – now Sofa was truly dead – years of hoping, waiting to have a family…she knew it might need some intervention given Valens meta-human genes…but Milaea’s tone was fatal.

“You’re not human but not peo…Aethan either…and…you can’t go back I don’t have a template…you could only go…forward…be remade fully into one of us…”

Her eyes lit up as her mind squirmed in confusion…everything was possible with the force Soryu always said

“Is that possible…”

Milaea nodded

“Our People…long ago had a way to rebuild peoples bodies from the DNA up…to improve them…perfect them…with a template like Kiraea…I know how but…”

“If it means I can have a baby one day…I don’t need to know the ‘buts’”

Milaea shifted uncomfortably “It’s that the others might not approve...and Valens might not want…he…”

“It’s not about him…” She cut Milaea off, “It’s what I want…if I need donor I get a donor instead”

Milaea hadn’t the heart to tell her the limited options in that regard.

“I know…I just don’t want to see you hurt…are you really sure you want this…”

Sofa pulled her in,
“Mili…you’re my family…you always have been always will be…Valens too…but this is about me…”

She felt Milaea’s acceptance flow out like a warm stream.

This was Sofa’s chance to really break with the past…new life, new body -one of her choice this time leaving behind the Orders violence, restrictions and ‘bad or worse’ choices.  Just peace and family.

<<<<>>>>

They were all there…forming a loose circle around the observation decks meeting table except Valens slunk away in the corner looking unusually bitter.

The force a confusing morass of feeling, thoughts and communications…they all seemed to be talking across a dozen group conversations at once each with different emotions…outwardly they were ice statues.

“Well here she is then,” the old man began, 

Milaea stepped over and lead her to her side of the table,

“Sofa wants to be one of us, and I’m going to do it.” She said firmly “I half remade her on Cygrat, it’s unfair to leave her between…and more than that…” Milaea squeezed her hand
“She’s my sister and I love her,”
The others glanced around nervously

“She’s not one of us,” the old man said,

“No but she’s not far…” Jarys added

“She’s from a different culture entirely…” Kiraea sniffed dismissively

“So was I until this week,” Milaea struck back rapidly

“We’re not as wise as the Lady of Wisdom, or have the Womb of the Lady of Life to do this” the old man countered,

“It never stopped out ancestors Melron, they did far more…far worse” Milaea replied sternly

“She wasn’t born of us…” Kiraea added “I can’t agree,”

“We can’t just make anyone one of us…” Jarys noted, his deferential presence at odds with his imposing physique.

“I trust Milaea in this - but it has to be a once off”

By some mechanism of order she couldn’t comprehend all eyes tuned to Valens.  Sofa couldn’t tell if this was a vote or not, she suspected Milaea wanted consensus but would do as she pleased either way.

Kiraea sniggered, “Come on, he’s bias - been plugging into her power coupling for years….”  Kiraea looked directly at her,
“I can see the attraction…nice blue eyes and black hair…hey is the hair on your…”

“KIRAEA!” Milaea shouted slicing off the overly personal inquiry

“Just curious,” she said with a devils grin

Sofa remembered Maynard’s advice…bawdy and blunt….

“Answer’s yes, but I prefer to shave it…” she announced looking over to Valens who remained staring at the floor. She winked so they could all see…

Kiraea laughed, the expressions she earned from the other varied from puzzlement from to chaste smiles….Now that she had their attention…

“Do I get to speak at my own trial or what?...I mean look at us.”
A linguistic trick - if she used ‘us’ it associated her with the group.

“Arguing, divided, few in number…and we’re rejecting a Jedi Master… you’d be lucky to have me to be honest …I could survive on my own better than with a people who turn away such a resource…”

Jarys looked amused, Kiraea was on the verge of bursting out laughing, Melron about to explode in rage….She was on a tight rope…and they knew it

“We can see through the bravado …” laughed Kiraea…“But I like you now, Valens if you don’t want her I’ll have her,”

“KIRAEA! You will not use Sofa like a sex toy!” Milaea yelled sensing something Sofa didn’t

“I’ll share!” she called back,

“No you won’t!” one of the other young women said from the back, Adaea as she recalled,
“Well, she won’t” the woman added blushingly.

“Can we please stop talking about Sofa like she’s an object!”  Milaea seemed exasperated

“Right, so Valens what’s your opinion?”  Melron reasserted control over the situation,

Finally her lover stepped out of the shadows…voice glum as his countenance was dark.

“Sofa …she’s been good Milaea and I…without her…we owe her a great debt…the opportunity to choose for herself.”

Pausing for a moment his words settled into the others…an acceptance flowed over the force, a recognition that Milaea, Jarys Sofa and Valens arguments were the stronger. 

“I’m sorry for everything we’ve put you through.”  He looked downcast and left the room leaving her feeling alone despite Milaea beside her.

<<<<>>>>

She lay back on the cold stone…deep and black it felt like it had a gravity all of its own – the dark hole at the centre of the clinical Chiss designed room.

She’d spent the last two days drinking copious amounts of nutrient fluids with intravenous drips providing proteins of all kinds.

They had all wanted to come and watch – their disagreement and resistance forgotten beneath a curious consensus Sofa had felt very strongly in the force – like a spring returning to a state of rest - as if they couldn’t disagree with each other for long if they wanted to. 

Milaea limited observers to Kiraea, and Valens so Sofa would be more comfortable undressed…NOTHING about her fluid bloated flesh felt comfortable.

“Kiri…” Milaea asked,

Kiraea stood over her and looked her over with leering eyes, “hmm…maybe after you’re done I can take you to…”

“Kiri!” Milaea insisted “Not now…”

Kiraea rolled her eyes and with a swift flick of her finger cut her thumb with her nail, dropping three deep red blobs onto her breasts – she was to be the genetic template from which Milaea worked from.  Sofa marvelled at how quickly Kiraea’s cut closed and healed…would she able to do that?

“Close your eyes,” Milaea said placing a hand on her forehead,

“You’ll be just fine…Valens knows how to fix it if anything goes wrong,”  she wasn’t sure he would still sulking off to the side…in spite of sending her small gifts of ‘Kyla’ fruit and arrangements of their native flowers he hadn’t spoken to her…it was an ambiguous start to Sofa’s new life on the romantic front.

“And where do I fit into this legacy…” she had asked him before Coruscant was set ablaze…if he didn’t have an answer, she wasn’t putting her life on hold for it.  This was her body, her chance, her choice.

She closed her eyes and felt her skin tingle as though coated with static electricity…a sinking feeling, like falling…
falling…
falling…

She lost all touch with her body…floating in a deep black sea…a pair of eyes staring into nothing…but she could…hear… things outside…crackling…voices…

Within the black sea were…hollows…like moulds of statues…some male some female…and one…so large it was…all around her…it…the whole sea was her mould…empty now…yet what had filled it…was this where the ‘Goddess’ Milaea had mentioned had been entombed…

A flicker of red in the sea…two…eyes…looking at her…

Ancient…angry…hungry…coming toward her immaterial form…the voices got louder as the red got closer…this could not be good…

Something else …fast…a grey light - the red eyes turned and followed it as she felt invisible hands wrench her upwards.


<<<<>>>>

Gasping a sticky fluid dripped into her mouth and filled her nose as she flopped to her side, spitting and hocking it up…she felt grubby, sticky…was this how babies felt after being birthed…hands were on her, warm, supportive, Milaea. 

“Are you OK…we’ll get you up and get you some food…” she said, her once white one piece outfit was covered in reddish fluids, as she looked down Sofa saw it covered her too.  Milaea handed her a large flask to drink from…Sofa had never tasted anything as good as that horrid nutrient slurry.

As she came back more fully she looked around the room, Valens was in the corner hunched over, Kiraea bent over him like a mother would over a child who had fallen off a hover board.

“Waaa happ nned,” she slurred out finally,

“It worked…you’re…you’re genetically an Aethan now…”

“Balans…” she tried to pronounce…

“He’ll be fine…” Milaea looked over toward him, “Physically,”

<<<<>>>>
Logged

Lord_S_Gray

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

TheDutchman
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« Reply #19 on: July 01, 2018, 09:34:20 PM »

And so now Sofa is COMPLETELY Aethan.  Too bad that even with her addition to the Aethan gene pool isn't enough to mitigate the non-viable diversity in the population...

And it's nice seeing Mili both come in to her own as a leader as well as knowing that she doesn't have ALL of the answers... But what of Sofa and Valens?  I'd like to think that they're not doomed from the start but...well, Valens IS intended for (in fact, PURPOSEFULLY engineered for) the Goddess.

Of course, with Mili being a child of two cultures, we'll have to see which will take dominance...
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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; Sentinel LE v4 stunt, EG, Aeon LE v4 stunt, FO

Karmack
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« Reply #20 on: July 02, 2018, 06:51:49 AM »

Interesting....

Dutchman, you're point about viability is telling.  Though with people who can manipulate genes via the force it may not be as big of an issue as you're thinking.   If they can repair the fade and damage from the limited pool they may be able to continue, but they'll always be little more than an extended family. 

That final scene...  I also can't help but wonder just a bit if everything is 100% good with Sofa and her transition....
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Lord_S_Gray
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« Reply #21 on: July 04, 2018, 04:13:47 PM »

Chapter 6 — The Dead
Valens

A philosopher once said that the God’s are dead - and we had killed them…what then must we have become to be worthy of deicide but God’s ourselves?

He didn’t feel much like a God…sitting on a bed, Kiraea hovering protectively as Jarys offered him some more food.

“No one could’ve known Valens,” she said, for all her bluster few were as caring and generous as Kiraea.

That wasn’t true…he should’ve known…should’ve checked…even dead Gods can dream.  Sofa had been put at tremendous risk because he hadn’t made sure…

A ghost…an echo of Aethena still in the altar…something of her personality that hadn’t been transferred to Milaea....likely his unconscious intention when he had resurrected the majority of her years ago…he had left the worst of her behind in that altar…

“You should drink something…you really don’t look good,” Jarys offered again, Kiraea pressed it to his lips as he drank without conscious effort.

When Sofa’s consciousness had plunged into the altar as her body was remade…the remnant saw its chance…just sensed in time he Mind Walked – or Mind Charged in to save her.

The fight had been indescribable…smoke bashing a cloud with gauze fists, the purest untainted lusts and maliciousness a red mist…he had no choice but to completely desolate it…the last vestiges of his sister…his lover…his friend…killed to save Sofa and anyone else who used the altar in the future…

“You did the right thing….” Kiraea said picking up on his thoughts….

“No one else could’ve done it…not even Milaea would’ve known how…”

“She’s right brother…if that echo had gotten loose…”

That echo had been the last of Aethena…yes she had been less than the perfect Goddess she was designed and the people had thought her to be…manipulative…lustful…dangerous…but she was caring, protective, intelligent, loyal…she represented both the best and the worst of the Aethans before the Collapse…

Like his Grandfather had represented the best and the worst after…

He had destroyed both their shades…a petty mortal had slain the last of the Red Goddess, and an errant son had killed his true father.

<<<<>>>>

Hands of mist reached ever further down, the tips of aetheric fingers brushed against the top…if they could reach around to grip and pull it forth…it was just too far away…

Enough….

The soft feminine voice called

No just a little more…just a bit more

Enough… it called more insistently

He had to reach it….

He fell back up the well he was plunged into as her power disconnected….

He shook off the malaise and slammed his trembling fist against the altar. 

“We almost had it!” he yelled,

“No we didn’t,” Milaea replied puffing and sweaty, “We barely brushed the surface…”

He felt her hands on his upper arms in a supportive gesture,

“She’s gone Valens…she’s too far…they both are…”

“No…the fact we can still find them…we have a chance…if Jarys and Kiraea added their power…” he turned toward her as she shook her head.

“Even that wouldn’t be enough…its so far down…we wouldn’t have the strength to pull it forth…and honestly Valens,”  she looked down at the stasis pod on the altar

“There wouldn’t be much left…it wouldn’t be a full person…we have to accept they are gone...” she laid a hand across the pod that housed Shilea’s body… “They’ve been gone for a long time…”

This was the third time they had tried to pull their spectres back into the bodies…first he had tried alone with Shilea, then they had both tried with Cilina and now again with Shilea.  They had repaired the physical bodies to a sufficient level, they just needed their spirits back from the aether…with difficulty they found their distinct essence slowly dissolving into the infinite…if they could just grasp and bring them back up…they could live again.

“You need to let it go Valens…we tried...we learned a lot from trying…I’m glad we did…in the future…we could probably get anyone back if we act fast enough…a month…a year even…but this time…just let them be at peace,” 

His eyes flashed with anger,

“At Peace….”  He echoed, “At Peace…mutilated…tortured…murdered…what peace!  How can your mother be at peace after what that Quarren did to her!” he fumed making it personal

She turned away to look at Cilina’s pod,

“Her pain is over Valens…let that be enough,” she said quietly

“No…it’s not enough…it will never be enough…you…you promised to bring them back…we have the power we just need to find…somewhere the distance is less…there are places I’ve heard of…”

She sighed,

“Valens, Aethena would’ve promised anything to get out of the altar…she knew she couldn’t do it but she knew you believed she could and that was enough….let the dead lie…” 

She grasped his arms turning and pulling him into a hug,

“I’m sorry…but…we’ve done enough…” 

He could smell the crisp alpine scent of the pure waters of Aephrodaea’s Tears in her hair just beneath his nose as she held him…

<Across the blasted ground lay bodies surrounded by fire, in the centre a throne of corpses seeping blood into a black puddle gone grey combined with the ash.

Upon it knelt a God of War and Death, hand gripped on a sabre that pierced down into the pile.>


Milaea pushed out of the embrace, the aether troubled as she left without another word.

He had to find a way.

<<<<>>>>

The Andis cockpit was lit only by the glow of the Navicomputer…he flicked across the screens of planets he had been during his sojourns…

Ithor had a robust life energy over all…but no pools strong enough

Dormuund Kaas and Korriban had power…but too temperamental, too much of a potential stain…

Ziost, Jedha, Yavin IV, Ossus, Tython, Byss, Kesh, Malachor…the Aing Tii,, J’tp’tan, Dathomir…and two dozen more he had visited between missions for the Jedi…He had learnt everything those worlds could teach already…none had what he needed

He was left with the next list…places he hadn’t had time to find…

Ruusan, Sinkhole Station, Rakata Prime, Mortis, Ahch’To, amongst others…some were likely little more than myths…Yoda lead a mission to find Rakata Prime at this very moment…he needed somewhere with a vast pool of raw power in a single place…

Sinkhole reportedly had mind-walkers who could enter the aether itself and commune with the dead…Ruusan according to legend had a Valley of Jedi spirits, their power there for the taking…

He sighed and shut off the screen, the darkness instantly enveloping him…he knew why he was doing this…

Guilt…

He felt guilty that he had been impotent when his entire society had been desolated not once but twice…

Guilty he had not been able to fend off their enemies…He the second of the Aethenaean’s the male pinnacle of their sciences….reduced to a helpless babe at the Collapse, a confused young man at the Devastation as they now termed the genocide and enslavement of their people.

Guilt he had not acted fast enough…not struck hard enough to restore and find the People…wasting his time playing the Jedi and journeying the stars for new techniques and powers.

Guilt that he had seen his wife murdered before his very eyes and taken twenty years to avenge her…deep shame that he had betrayed her with Sofa…

Guilt he had destroyed the remnants of his Grandfather and Aethena…first to unbalance the Jedi for one night the second to save the woman he had cheated on his wife with.

And worst of all…guilt that in his heart he wanted…needed…loved Sofa more than he ever had Shilea.

If he could just find a way…bring even just one of them back to life…perhaps he could be free of this…redeem himself in his own eyes…live up to what he should have been all along…a Guardian of his people instead of a chaotic faux Jedi. 

Milaea…she was the one they needed now…the perfect fusion of Aethan and Jedi Woman and Goddess…the scion of their new age…he had failed them enough…

He would bring Shilea and Cilina back…or join them trying.

<<<<>>>>

Another crate piled into the Chiss Light Freighter, only a two more to go, then a short burst message before he went to hyperspace.  He’d already moved everything over from the Andis…his faithful old ship was too much of a risk…the Jedi knew it and Jarys ship the Vorynx…to use them anymore would put them at necessary risk.

“Going somewhere?” her voice rang in the empty hangar and off the blue tinged barrier that overlooked a grey slice of the orb of his home world.

He moved to lift the next crate, Chiss Expeditionary Defence Force Maintenance Supplies…only to find her leaning on top of it,

“Were you going to leave without telling anyone,” Sofa asked…she looked…amazing…eyes wide sparkling blue, creamy skin, lustrous dark hair that stirred memoires of running his hands through it…as young and vibrant as when …when he had wrenched her memoires from her…he couldn’t figure how she had known he was down here.

“Maybe we’re connected?” she offered as an answer to his curiosity rapidly picking up some of their telepathic abilities. 

She pushed off the crate to let him lift it,

“Maybe if you’re with someone for that long you get a second sense about when they’re in trouble…and maybe I don’t like that you’re leaving in the middle of the night…maybe I don’t like that you’re not talking to me,” 
She leaned forward accusingly “Maybe I just wish you’d frelling look at me!”

He plonked the crate in place and lowered his head…he couldn’t…he just couldn’t…the guilt and shame kept his eyes down. 

“So is this it, not a word…after everything not a word?”

He grabbed the last crate and hauled it up,

“Mili told me…told me what you’d been trying to do…” she called as he started moving,

“I’m sorry it didn’t work…but she’s right you need to let it go Valens…you’re going to tear yourself apart.” 

He put the last one down, tightened strap and headed to the cockpit.  A sudden bang behind him, he turned to see a heavy case dumped on the floor,

“I’m coming with you,” Sofa said “whether you like it or not,”

<<<<>>>>
Logged

Lord_S_Gray

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

Karmack
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Light side points please.


« Reply #22 on: July 05, 2018, 06:48:36 AM »

LSG, I love this chapter.  Valens is by far one of the most complex characters in these stories, and seeing how he's driven by his own guilt and fear of further loss is inspiring.  As powerful as these folk are, they are still in the most basic and important ways human, and therefore flawed. 

Waking them up to it and teaching them the most important lessons of all - human compassion - may be one of the greatest challenges of the Universe...

Meanwhile, Sofa is fully transformed and we now see Valen's quest.  Hopefully it is not a fools errand....
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TheDutchman
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« Reply #23 on: July 05, 2018, 09:32:36 AM »

Karm brought up an excellent point: for as powerful as the Aethans are (and their propensity towards xenophobia) they still are people of passion, emotions, love, and loss.  Who amongst us can't at least relate to those?  Especially a loss of inextricable value that hope had buoyed for so long...only to have it snatched away.  Wow...

And the self-realization from Valens that his feelings for Sofa are so much more than mere list or a biological imperative... And the attendant guilt of such.  I wonder just what Valens will find with Sofa...and if once he's found it if he'll be better or worse for it.

THAT is pathos.  VERY powerful chapter.  This is as much a departure from LotA as Legacy was from Children, and each better than the previous.
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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; Sentinel LE v4 stunt, EG, Aeon LE v4 stunt, FO

Lord_S_Gray
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« Reply #24 on: July 05, 2018, 11:48:53 PM »

Chapter 7 — Treads

Jorl'Taf

Had he not been on Coruscant, felt how the force bent like a reed under the hands of giants, he would not have believed it.

Had any lesser Jedi than the one before him brought this to him, he would not have believed it.

The ceramic clinks of cutlery in Dutch and Karm’s Bistro brought him from his malaise after watching the footage on a discreet visor – and into a galaxy he no longer recognised.

“This is…”

The Jedi Master nodded, it was beyond words,
“The Order did not wish anyone to see this…but as a Jedi I could not suppress the Truth.”

If Jorl’Taf and the Vhal’Dan he represented respected Master Soryu before, they all but idolized his strength of character now, to go against the Order to warn them of the – things – that had destroyed Kimar was gesture that would see him lauded for generations amongst the Gray orders…and reviled by the Order is they found out.

“I must leave…” Soryu noted quietly, Jorl’Taf nodded as the Jedi Master swept away with firm quick strides.

Jorl’Taf sat a long while in the bistro, the data disc repellent on the table.  He knew he had to inform Arbiter Anson D’Aklon immediately…yet already this knowledge had caused a rift between Soryu and the Order.

What Schisms would the truth cause amongst the Vhal’Dan?

Xithar

“Do you think it’s random,” he purred in its auditory sensors

“Pointless sadism…a power trip perhaps,” he gently glided the blade along the Herglics chest slicing a thin line through the yellow blubber beneath, the last of over two dozen slices in its flesh.

“Pain…despair…horror…are food,” he strode away toward the control panel

“Strong emotions coalesce, deepen and firm, into delicious morsels…that can be fed upon by those that know how…or…”

He pressed the retraction button and the Herglic floundered hung upside down by the feet as he was as the floor retracted to reveal the muddy brown pool beneath.  Squeals and shrieks called out as the Ziost wyrm larvae within sensed their next meal,

“…don’t know how to feed on anything else…Now…”

The fear boiled off the creature…after so much pain and despair it was the final ingredient to complete the larvae’s force development…now it was time for them to find a warm fleshy home to pupate in.

“It’s time to meet the children of your pain,”

As he splashed in the gritty water Turkans wounds stung…yet this was nothing compared to the feeling of something crawling into his body through them.

Jo Set Mack

There was little to be found in the girl Milaea’s room…he had found the location on the directory, it wasn’t cordoned off as he expected…normal security protocol abandoned to the aftershock.

It showed signs of having recently been rebuilt…and not used frequently…a few small trinkets, two changes of robes, some soaps… 

Master Neirai’s room was beside it…somehow this Sith girl had manipulated a Jedi Master for years.  He hadn’t known Sofa Neirai well, she had a reputation as a bit of a tralk…always off making out with someone…it was sad to think that gossip was all he could remember of her, but he knew Soryu had thought the world of her.

Here he found more of interest…four bottles of expensive perfumes beneath the bed with love letters and pressed flowers from “V”…Valens…it had to be…such manipulation sickened Jo…

Her wardrobe contained underwear and skirts appropriate for a strip club…perhaps her reputation as a slut wasn’t just gossip…a carnal minded Jedi would be easy prey for a Sith.

In the bathroom a small box hidden behind a tile…contraceptives, creams…everything a Jedi having an affair would hide…he could see it now…Valens seduces and then blackmails Neirai, using Kimars strict rule to keep her silent afraid of being punished herself…

Still nothing of real help…he leaned against the bathroom wall…in the corner of his eye a little red light flickered on a small bin indicating it needed to be emptied when the cleaning droid came around…no stone unturned he emptied the contents on the bed. 

The usual, soap packaging, shampoo bottle, make up wipes…and…a women’s sanitary pad…her blood…

It was of no use to him but…it was said there were ways to track someone through the force with their blood…she was listed as likely deceased…missing…if he could find her…

Tnbu

Keys tapped, datapads swapped hands, and overseers leaned over the desks of their workers as reports flooded in.  The Operations centre was filled with the quiet hum of conversations tight and clear as the blue holo screens.
 
There was purpose and direction to the Force once more, a common goal bringing the Order together – The Jedi no longer a beaten down vornskr whimpering under Kimars lash, toppling to Valens depravities, but a focused Order of Guardians seeking Peace for the Republic and Justice for its citizens.
 
In the centre of the room, an open central dais that encouraged moving freely about it rather than stratifying ranks, Master Nben Tnbu took in all but the furthest conversations with his wide Sullustan ears. 

Like the Carriers he used to command in younger days he kept a tight ship, and open thorough fares ensured communication and conversation flowed where and when it was needed.
 
“Master,” nodded Sentinel Hummu “Latest reports out of Socorro, Knight Yshen followed up on the Mandolorian Craft, belongs to Clan Hed,”
 
Tnbu offered a low nod, they were following up on dozens of leads on Mandolorian Assault craft, seeking out the Vorynx and the Andis – he strongly doubted Valens the Traitor or Jarys Bane of Jedi would use their compromised ships.  Nonetheless there was always a chance.
 
“Have Yshen return to Coruscant for assignment on the Ardent,” he replied, Acting-Grand Master Yoda was assembling a substantial force of Sentinels, one on Coruscant another on Dantooine, to strike against the Traitor as soon as he was found.
 
Tnbu’s black glassy eyes peered over to the South side, a dozen rows of senior padawans sorting through facial recognition data from across the galaxy, pre-filtered through matching programs. 
 
They would have gone to ground, Tnbu expected this, but the moment one of them reared their villainous head – the Order would be ready to exact Justice for Coruscant, their brethren slain in this very Temple – and the Republic.

Xithar

Ord Mirit was covered in old stores and warehouses, a logistics planet, ferrying vast amounts of food and other goods from the Colonies and core to Coruscant, from here he could control Coruscant without being on Coruscant…with virtually every union and transport company in his pocket he could cut off trade to the capital at any moment he chose…but typically he just took the fat off every shipment that came through the planet and ensured the Spice, Death sticks and sex slaves flowed.

One old warehouse beneath the surface he had converted to a meditation chamber…the vast empty floor littered with thousands of flimsi printouts the data infocyte Phoris had given him, bank statements, identity cards, holo-picts, traffic records…he needed physical copies…

He sat in black seat at one end of the cavernous space beside a bowl filled with the Herglics blood and a dirty cream pyramidal container…

He let the dark side suffuse him as he opened the pyramid, a high pitched screech from the mucus coated interior as the Ziost Wyrm energised from feeding on the Herglic leapt.  Lucovis caught it with the speed of darkness.   

The mucus covered worm thrashed as he threw into his mouth, biting and scratching tongue and cheek with its mandibles as he fought to swallow it whole…his saliva dissolving the Herglics fear off its skin and into his soul.

Darkness rose like smoke around him, he breathed it in as his stomach acids digested the wyrm…shaking as its poisons entered his blood stream…its concentrated emotional energies enhancing his power.

He opened his eyes to a black forest…each piece of flimsi exuded a black tree of smoke…he waded like a drunkard looking for those few with wispy grey…finding one he grasped at the insubstantial cloud and dragged it toward the next he saw…how long he was in this trance like state could vary…usually a few hours…sometimes days….the grey mists connected the blackened trees…a path of meaning and connection.

Finally he returned to his body, still twitching as the spasms died.

Awakened he looked upon his work…a trail of the Herglics blood created a pattern between the pieces of flimsi, he summoned the most drenched to his hands,

Knight Valens…a Master Sofa Neirai… the accounts for the Indigenous Peoples Habitat Reclamation Charity – a transaction circled in blood for an apartment purchase….

This he would forward to Vectivus…this time his connections were needed.


Yoda

Progress had been better than expected, morale was recovering across the Temple as the strike teams were prepared and intelligence gathering stepped up.

Yet it was tentative, there were rumours circulating that Yoda’s arrival a week after the Night of Madness and Kimars murder was all too convenient, the Chancellor was demanding daily updates on the search - Yoda knew if they did not get results soon all the preparation, all the build-up would not be seen as renewal, but waste.

As Tnbu’s briefing continued he felt Valens trail growing colder.  The few leads they chased had all come to nought, mistaken identity and over enthusiastic pursuits of tenuous coincidences.  Without success efforts to restore pride and focus would come to nothing.

“….No further reports of any ships matching the descriptions, nor facial matches, the pickup on Nar Shadda and Ando turned out to be a false positive, similar facial structure but distinct Cybernetics on the hindbrain…some kind of body guard called ‘Surge’” Tnbu explained

“The bounty,” Yoda inquired regarding the 10 million credits on Valens and Milaea, that could be a significant complication, but Yoda was confident they would find them before the bounty hunters.

“No confirmation on who placed it, it is underwritten by a Black Sun affiliated Shadow Bank…investigations are ongoing,”

<The deep core sensors> High Sentinel Yshrrk growled in Shyriiwook tones of distant thunder

“Nothing matching the ships they use, mining ships, automated transports, companies that have been around for decades, the only thing unusual are sightings of ships matching outlines we have of Chiss designs”

They knew Valens home world was in the deep core, but Valens had been thorough in deleting all records the Jedi had, not just on the Night of Madness but Yoda suspected for years leading up to it.

He leaned forward,

“Chiss…unusual that is,” still he doubted there was any link.

“Indeed Grand Master,” the Sullustan drew his datapad, Tnbu was dedicated to the Order as an organisation, he had served Kimar very well, but his loyalty was not personal and Yoda did not want to add to the destabilisation by removing him from his position. 

“So much so I took it upon myself to have an analyst compile all Chiss sightings over the last few years, most are scattered around the edge of Republic space as one would expect, but there have been some dotted about within Republic space, light freighters mostly.”

Something about that tugged at Yoda’s mind more than it probably should, yet he had ignored his gut instinct once too often of late.

“Recent sightings in the Republic have there been?”

“A few around Myrkr of late,”

Myrkr…known for its force sensitive flora and fauna…not the kind of place the Chiss would usually have an interest in – although to make any assumptions about Chiss motivations was folly.

“Keep me appraised of any developments,” he nodded Tnbu’s dismissal

Alone with the High Sentinel

“Status of the strike force,”

<Coruscant Force is prepared, Sentinel Oma reports Dantooine is three days from readiness.>

The blade was sharpened and ready for war, Yoda hoped they found the enemy it had been forged to defeat before it rusted.

Xithar

“Master” Vectivus quiet voice addressed

“Apprentice, what news,”

“I have completed my investigation, from the transactions analysed I can discern the following,” 

“I’m listening,” Xithar lay back, his head resting on his Sephi’s stomach as the holo-comm sat between her breasts.

“A single entity is, through various shell companies, extracting vast amounts of credits from financial institutions via inflating their transaction fees, subsequently purchasing shares in the same in institutions.  With the profits it has purchased numerous deep space cargo facilities, ships and terraforming infrastructure as well as raw materials, mining and industrial equipment.”

Xithrs eyes narrowed…how did this relate to the Knights Valens and Milaea

“Further I have cross referenced transactions to docking logs at various star ports, deducting time for filing papers and launch time one ship has a 75% correlation coefficient…named the Deft Player owned by the Indigenous Peoples Habitat Reclamation Charity which also owns the Coruscant apartment with two directors Andis Lyssiason and one Myzm Auferbish”

“Myzm Auferbish!” Xithar looked up, Vectivus looked uncertain

“Go on Apprentice…it’s simply a fake name…a Mon Calamari insult for a…soft male…odd to be paired with the name of the late Myzm…”

“I have details and a predicted route for the Deft Player based on its last citing in the Outer rim…the only reason I contact you directly is you are in a better position to intercept if you move immediately,”

Xithar thought for a moment…this was quickly becoming far more than just two force prodigies battling it out on Coruscant,

“Well done apprentice, continue your meditations on this matter, your insight is valued as always,”

Vectivus nodded and disconnected, leaving the small map of the ship in questions likely route.

“Hmmm…you haven’t been to my Nimban estate yet have you darling…” he purred to the Sephi, unfortunately she seemed too distracted by the Ziost Wyrm hanging just out of reach above her eyes - feeding on her terror - to reply.
<<<<>>>>

Logged

Lord_S_Gray

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

Karmack
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Force Alignment: 670
Posts: 3059


Light side points please.


« Reply #25 on: July 06, 2018, 06:16:51 AM »

And the moves begin...   All I can say is wow.   I love the details, the varied locations.  This feels soooo 'Star Wars' in these varied places and peoples.  The more I read Xithar the creepier he becomes.  His addiction to the Wyrms, how he feeds them...  *shudder*  This guy is just EVIL, and that's exactly what you'd expect from a true Sith.  Great story telling! 

His odd force walking under the influence of the wyrm was also very interesting.  Its almost like a form of Sith magic, again very appropriate, but the description was quite amazing to read and somehow plausible enough for me as a reader to jump right in and plow ahead without much question.

Jo'Set tossing Malia and Sofa's rooms was also very interesting.  Ironic that Sofa and the apartment that she and Valens used for their affair ends up being a key component in tracking them for both Jo'Set and the Sith.

The potential here is just amazing!  This is a worthy companion to the other members of this trilogy and I just can't help but wish that we had the resources to make a movie!  We'd be RICH!!!!!! LOL  (Casting Mark Wahlberg as Jo'Set was also a nice touch!)

And ....   Dutch and Karm's Bistro appears again!  Best Nerf Burger in the galaxy!  ;-)
Logged

signature picture by DarthScrub

Master Singer of the Mak'Tor

TheDutchman
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Force Alignment: 671
Posts: 2695


Guardian Blue is my life


« Reply #26 on: July 06, 2018, 10:44:08 AM »

And the moves begin...   All I can say is wow.   I love the details, the varied locations.  This feels soooo 'Star Wars' in these varied places and peoples.  The more I read Xithar the creepier he becomes.  His addiction to the Wyrms, how he feeds them...  *shudder*  This guy is just EVIL, and that's exactly what you'd expect from a true Sith.  Great story telling! 

His odd force walking under the influence of the wyrm was also very interesting.  Its almost like a form of Sith magic, again very appropriate, but the description was quite amazing to read and somehow plausible enough for me as a reader to jump right in and plow ahead without much question.

Jo'Set tossing Malia and Sofa's rooms was also very interesting.  Ironic that Sofa and the apartment that she and Valens used for their affair ends up being a key component in tracking them for both Jo'Set and the Sith.

The potential here is just amazing!  This is a worthy companion to the other members of this trilogy and I just can't help but wish that we had the resources to make a movie!  We'd be RICH!!!!!! LOL  (Casting Mark Wahlberg as Jo'Set was also a nice touch!)

And ....   Dutch and Karm's Bistro appears again!  Best Nerf Burger in the galaxy!  ;-)
There are SO many things that Karm stashed that I agree with!  From the excellent characterization to the extensive details (seriously LSG, is there ANY SW work that you don't know?!) to the easter eggs, this is shaping up to being my favorite Aethan story yet!

You've taken the established Sith sorcery and given it a delicious macabre mechanism.  Indeed, now we see that the torture is much more than just a means of itself.  Brilliant!  And now we also see that for all of their precautions the Aethans can still fall prey to the Galaxy's greatest evil: the paper trail. 
Which reminds me: seeing Yoda so proactive is a nice development.  Is it because of these actions or despite them that Yoda changes to the persons we know from the movies?  Either way: wonderful characterization!

And now I want a nerf burger with some Corellian 18  Smiley
Logged

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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; Sentinel LE v4 stunt, EG, Aeon LE v4 stunt, FO

Lord_S_Gray
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Force Alignment: 27
Posts: 588



« Reply #27 on: July 11, 2018, 08:45:51 AM »

 
Chapter 8 — Roads Less Traveled — Confessions
Part 1

Yoda
The Temple was returning to life, for the Acting Grand Master that meant a morning slogging through nearly three dozen briefings and four meetings.  It rankled him to deal with bureaucracy while Valens was still loose in the galaxy…His former apprentice…

His own damn apprentice. 

He scowled as he strode along the hall way, passing still down cast Jedi.  How could he betray him like that, how could a student he had trained turn into such a murderous zealot!

He paused in his stride to take a deep breath…anger…anger would lead to hate…and that could only lead to more suffering.  Whether it had been his training, Kimars influence or something intrinsic about Valens…he would soon find out.

This next meeting was a long time coming…it would be hard…but it had to be done. He paused at the door taking a deep breath…he was Grand Master now…if not out of fraternity…then the authority would get him results…he hoped it didn’t come to that.

It was time.

The door slid open to Soryu’s room, his old friend who looked disturbingly younger since the Aethans healing, sat crossed legged on the floor, Yoda was expected. 

Yoda sat as the door hissed closed to shut out the Temple.

“Valens,” Yoda said,

Soryu closed his eyes head bowed in sorrow, yet still a titanium core to his presence, conviction and calm Yoda had not sensed in the council meeting Soryu had all but stormed out of.

“I knew Kimar was sending him on dangerous missions…but I never thought…no…” he paused

“I didn’t want to believe he was using Valens as an assassin - I focused on Milaea…truly believing she was our future. I was wilfully blind and I own that”

Yoda could feel the depth of the guilt but also strength of will, Soryu had obviously already deeply considered his own failure - Yoda remained impassive

“I thought Valens sojourns, the new techniques he would teach me were, wonderful, impressive…it was like the happier days when the Mak’Tor were with us. I didn’t ask how he was learning these things or why…”

Yoda maintained his gaze, stifling any anger he felt as best he could,

“I’ve had a lot of time to think about this Yoda - I was a fool, I thought their connection to the Living force a thing of beauty a truer way to live, in harmony with the galaxy…I saw in them what I wanted them to be not what they were…”

“And Kimar,” Yoda spoke

Soryu looked up at him with a convicting gaze,

“We both stand guilty for allowing that to go on as long as it did,”

Yoda was taken aback, he rarely saw his friend so condemning…yet Yoda could not disagree. He had volunteered for the expedition to Rakata Prime…in all honesty… to get away from the Temple…to clear his head…he had run from the problem and used the pursuit of knowledge as an excuse…for that he felt a deep shame.

“Sofa and Milaea? Of them what did you know?”

Soryu sighed, Yoda had long known Soryu held more than a Masters interest in the pair, but he saw no harm in that till now.

“I knew about Sofa and Valens…”

“And you did nothing,” Yoda struck quickly,

“I only wanted to see her happy…Valens gave her what the Order could not…she was never made for a life of celibacy and service…we all know affairs happen…but…”

He paused, Yoda could feel him on the brink of saying something he had never said out loud, a tension held for years about to be released

“Sofa is a daughter to me, Milaea too, and as her father I could never put her in harm’s way by revealing to Kimar what was happening, and I stand by that, I won’t recant…if that means being expelled from the Order, then I accept that…I love the Jedi…I believe in what the Jedi can become, in serving the Living Force…but I love those girls more.”

His eyes were stained with the first dew of tears

Yoda sighed in sympathy…here was a man truly stuck - unable to reconcile his dedication to the Order with his affection for his apprentice…his love of knowledge and the living force with the realities of Valens perversion…his hope for the future unity of Order with the dogmatism of Kimars rule…

But this had happened before, when the Mak’tor were exiled Soryu had faced a similar struggle of conscience…now Yoda saw how that event had scarred and coloured his actions ever since.   

Our lives our circular, we face the same battles and make the same choices” Valens words from his knighting ceremony echoed in Yoda’s mind

“And Milaea,”  Yoda added sternly, it was all a show, inside he was breaking for his friend, but he was Grand Master now and had to remain above such things…such attachment was too dangerous.

“She should’ve been everything we want to be – and we failed her – confused her into the path of violence”

He hung his head, silence echoed in the room for a number of minutes, finally Soryu raised his eyes.

“Perhaps…perhaps something of her past…a legacy of her peoples suffering has called her away…”

“To where do you think she, or Valens will go?” 
“I don’t know…I truly don’t…”

That annoyed Yoda, surely he had some idea where they would go - and every day the trail grew colder and colder and the Chancellors complaints louder and louder.

“Something mentioned in passing perhaps…an intention or desire?”

“Hapes…Sofa had only been twice but loved it…if she’s alive…Milaea I don’t know…Valens…” Soryus eyes widened, he had recalled something,

Yoda shook his head at the poor lie, “Soryu, help anyone your silence does not,”

Soryu looked him dead in the eye “Yes it does…you want go after him…but not for justice”

“Allowed to roam free Valens must not be, where!” Yoda said firmly,

“You’re just as angry as I am conflicted Yoda,” Soryu said clearly, Yoda felt him brushing him in the force,

“You feel betrayed by your apprentice, enraged at what he’s done…and guilty you weren’t here to stop it.”

Yoda scowled,

“Correct you are…but my emotion regulate I can…this search sanctioned by the Senate and the Law is, the need to see justice done and unwind fear - Where!”

He could sense Soryu’s conflict…his wish to protect Yoda from what he thought a dark path, to avoid more losses to the Aethans…against this the knowledge that Valens was a danger and a desire to rescue Sofa and Milaea from him.

“A Jedi should always speak Truth...” Soryu said quietly,

“Myrkr”

“He mentioned he wanted to investigate the force sensitive flora and fauna on Myrkr,” 

<<<<>>>>

Jarys

He punched in the co-ordinates to Myrkr and pushed the toggle forward.  Arxis, the pack leader of the Vorynx he and Milaea had tamed poked his head up to watch the stars lengthen from pinpoints to streaks then dissolve into each other as they entered hyperspace. Unimpressed the Vorynx yawned and curled back up beside the pilot’s seat.

“Away we go!” Kiraea chimed from the co-pilots chair, her bare feet a stark contrast to the Chiss grey of the console as she played with his daggers.  Her lounging about and complete lack of any concepts of personal property, space or decorum was…refreshing…truer to how they had lived before the Devastation.

He was excited to be heading to Myrkr to assist in picking up new force sensitive species for their home world…A Time to Live.

“You killed two Jedi Masters with these alone…” Kiraea interrupted
“I haven’t fought a Jedi…well I fought Milaea and spar with Valens but I don’t think that counts…I wonder if I’ll ever get to…”

He looked across with concern,

“I don’t think going out looking for a fight with a Jedi is a good idea…”

“Why not, can’t be that tough…plus it’d be cool having a collection of lightsabre trophies…”

He shook his head…whilst he, Valens and Yorna were of an age Kiraea was four years younger when the Devastation happened, it seemed she still had a lot of growing up to do even now…

“I do not!” she said in faux offence, “I’m a grown woman you know,”

“Physically at least…” her tendency to stroll around Central Station wearing just her overly expensive yet insubstantial bra and panties left no doubt as to that…

She scrunched her nose at him, “Come on you’ve been in hundreds more fights than I have, you can hardly judge me for wanting a bit of life and death excitement,”

“I didn’t fight because I wanted to…” he recalled the brutal introduction to the galaxy he had in the fighting pits of Nar Shadda, “Only because I had to,”

“You still enjoyed it,” 

He couldn’t argue with that…a dozen hormonal systems in concert made them enjoy fighting, fearless and unyielding…yet even so there were limits.

“Maybe because I wasn’t given a chance to enjoy anything else,” he countered
That quietened her for a while.

“Do you still miss her…Cilina,” she said out of nowhere,

Jarys felt a familiar stab in his chest, seeing Milaea had reminded him all too much of Cilina, that he hadn’t been there when she needed him most – and that he never could be.

“Sometimes…we weren’t together for long….I miss the chances we never had…the things we never did…” he replied honestly while absently checking the estimated time of arrival, he didn’t avoid the thoughts but dwelling on that pain too much was not good for him.

“I miss all the things I’d like to have done with Yorna…to show her…all the sights on the different planets, the funny aliens…” her tone saddened,

“She was nicer, smarter, stronger than me…she should’ve survived instead of me…” 

Yorna had been the most mature…the responsible older sister to Kiraea, helping her climb trees, letting her win games, making sure she didn’t lose her shoes…but then…

“You looked after Adaea and Lyaea…built a home and a life for them…Yorna was a wonderful girl, but you don’t need to compare yourself to her, or me, or anyone else…You’re just as amazing as well Kiraea,” he looked over to her, she had curled up on the chair downcast,

“Thanks…” she said quietly as he wondered why she was telling him all this…but then he supposed she didn’t have anyone else really to open up to…He slid out of his chair,

“Hey come here,” he headed over to draw her into an embrace,

“Sorry…I…”

“It’s okay, you should talk more…you don’t always have to be exploding with rage or making dirty jokes, everyone know you’re more than that…Melron trusts you to look after Adaea and Lyaea, Valens trusts you to manage the Terraforming and deal with the Chiss and let you plan the attack on Coruscant…even Milaea trusted you to help Sofa,” he rubbed her back as she buried her head in his shoulder.

“You’re fine as you are Kiraea…well all need you just as you are…”

<<<<>>>>

Sofa

With all Adaea’s modifications crowding inside, the Chiss ship was cramped - single bed cabin, minimal refresher, impeccably organised by full storage areas - yet somehow Valens never to be in the same room as her…never passed her going to or from anywhere…she was convinced he could cloak or teleport.

They’d been dropping in and out of hyperspace for days…the last few hours had been constant jumps of less than an hour at time, rattling and bumping.  She had no idea where they were going…

The ship suddenly jolted out of hyperspace again and the bed she sat on twirling a disruptor pistol bounced…the most action that she had seen in a bed for weeks she sneered…

She wanted to be there for him…she knew he was struggling, yet this wasn’t how she wanted to start her new Aethan life new life – she didn’t want to have to share the man she wanted with memories…
 
BANG!

Lost in her thoughts a jolt caught her off guard, head hitting the thick wall behind her. 

“Right that’s it!” she screamed marching to the cockpit where Valens seemed extremely busy navigating between what looked like two black holes swirling with the dying light of a dark blue nova between them,

She flopped into the navigators chair just behind him,

“You want to know something!” she leaned toward him and said loudly,

He just kept on hitting buttons and checking figures,

“Well I’m going to tell you anyway!”

The ship jolted again and slid unnervingly to the swirling lights that rimmed the singularity on the right as Valens struggled to correct it.

“After I was in a coma for the first time…you know after you pulled my memories out of my head….I spent months…months in pain during rehab…I could barely sleep…my legs, my arms hated being still and hated moving even more…”

She could feel herself start to tear up, but tried to push past it,

“And then there was the fact I had missed my Trials…I was put back a whole year because of it…Soryu helped me…but he was often away back then…I felt abandoned…alone in pain…”

She hadn’t planned to say this and it didn’t really follow where she had been heading, but she didn’t care about getting her story straight right now, she just wanted to be HEARD.

“And you know what they used to call me…Six-Credit-Sofa…cause everyone knew I’d make out with anyone for six credits…I was easy…cheap…all I wanted was someone to show me some affection and I was branded a slut.”

Her head dropped as she remembered how it all felt…and still did

“When I couldn’t sleep for the pain…I’d sit naked on the floor and press my sabre between my breasts…against my heart…just thinking how easy it would be to make it all go away…” now her tears came,

“Just one button…but I couldn’t even do that…a hundred times I’d sit there and I just couldn’t do it…I was a coward…I couldn’t face my life and I couldn’t end it either…”

The ship shuddered as it found a slightly safe spot between the gravity wells.

“But then I met someone new…someone who wasn’t like the other Jedi…wasn’t a stuck up know it all, didn’t treat me like a good time girl…guess who that was?” she kicked the back of his chair in frustration,

He was still focused on keeping them from being ripped apart by the cosmic forces about them…but in the force…the aether she could sense he was paying her a lot of attention.

“You think about that,” she added as she went back to the cabin.

<<<<>>>>

Milaea

“People Don’t Meditate” Kiraea had said amidst their other…activities…in the sacred caverns of Aephrodaea behind the waterfall.

“Why would you sit there just thinking, when you’ve got two good hands, the aether and the Goddesses most wonderful creation between your legs?”

Milaea had turned red as the ultra-dense Bloodstone the cavern was carved from.

“Just look at yourself, so beautiful I’m almost jealous! I can’t believe you do anything else!”

Still Milaea found some meditation useful and the small visions since – returning? - home were troubling…

By siding with the People despite what they had done on Coruscant, she had hoped she averted their becoming the Oblivion Army running rampant across the galaxy.  Influencing them away from that path was the only way she could justify her choice to that part of her still infused with Jedi morality,

But Always in Motion is the future.

Something dark and violent teased her peripheral vision pushing toward the same outcome by different means.  She’d had visions as long as she could remember, mostly of being Aethena, but ever since she had fully accepted that part of herself they had faded into occasional dreams.   

Shifting into a more open position on the Gormin wool blanket the rush of Aephordaea’s Tears waterfall outside provided a soothing background noise.  As a sacred space for women she was undressed, despite the alpine climate the cavern was warm, heated by small aetheric fires that tinged the Blood Red Stone a fleshy purple. 

Milaea had to admit she found meditation too cerebral, the reason now was obvious.  For the Aethan women connecting spirit mind and body required actions very inappropriate for a Jedi mediation classroom – Kiraea might not call it mediation but her sacred Rites had very similar results with a deep sense of contentment, presence in the current moment, expanded awareness and deepened connection to the Living force….she idly wondered what Soryu would make of such carnal methodologies.

Using a slow strokes of one of the many Rites Kiraea had shown her, her blood flow increased, pheromones wafting slowly to her nose.  The increase in hormonal activity altered her brain chemistry making the meditation more…fertile…euphoric feelings reduced cognitive barriers and increased lateral thinking.

Connecting the thread of the sapphire crystalline shards of recent visions she followed them with closed eyes to an obsidian whorl of pain, loss…the Devastation…its jagged black shaded to bruised purple across every fractionally variant path in the lattice of potential futures…the Past could not be denied.

Near on the path was a splintering of glassy moments – painful topaz but not holding the same hopeless despair – something they could react to…

But how they reacted…Violence…death…ruby sheens of blood grew as stalactites from each edge upon ALL clustered coloured paths forward…unavoidable…some less bloody than others…only progressing along the path did it recede.

Twists in the geometry of the crystal lattice past this point were too complex too numerous - yet everything they did was magnified in the convex diamond glare of the future - their genetic, cognitive and aetheric superiority projected explosively onto monolithic edifices of fracturing quartz unrealized realities –like mercury it rippled out vast waves that spun knife fragments of ruby, each in turn yielding untold billions smaller shocks.

Brow furrowing as her hands worked faster she used the mounting pressure of her body to push down the metaphysical haze of the largest, most likely futures. 

Red…dark…but not the Red of the Goddess…a Master of Red who twisted blood and bone - not as the People did…darker more selfish…working from oily shadows to corrupt.

Emerald, aflame almost white slowly turning sickly and dark consumed by emotions he should be able to deny at his age – his hubris became blindness.

Between them…the People in Midnight clad – both protagonist and puppet…so lost, pained -failure, guilt, inadequacy, hatred steeled their oblivion swords as they struck feelings outwards  Others tried to manipulate their wrath for their own gain only for it to recoil and shatter them to chinks of sandy glass.

Three continental plates grinding against each other another – The sickly red, haunted green and light trapping black, lesser islands ground to dust between them before…

Golden red crashed and fell through the centre, an angel brought to earth with a sickening thud, through the cracks to reveal the shadow in the aether beneath – an emptiness not made of Oblivion Stone but punished flesh.

Her body reached its peak, eyes reopened a cavern lit red by energy arcing off her skin, sinking deep into the aether absorbent blood-stone. 

With a cry she fell back into the rug, skin at once numb and over sensitive as her breasts heaved up and down - neither wiser nor consoled – only burdened by the futures she wished she hadn’t seen. 

<<<<>>>>
Logged

Lord_S_Gray

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

Lord_S_Gray
Knight Commander
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Force Alignment: 27
Posts: 588



« Reply #28 on: July 11, 2018, 08:50:06 AM »

Chapter 8 — Roads Less Traveled — Confessions
Part 2

Yoda

“Third!” he called twisting out of a sabre lock, the Chagrian Hummu disengaged with a defensive roll as Lasat Sentinel Rwh’an took his place with a swift opening blow, to his left Sentinels D’Alyaa and Twi’lek Sintat pulled back replaced by Knight Karmin and Sentinel Arnora. 

As soon as the word Myrkr pass Soryu’s lips he had known.

Immediately he launched the Coruscant Strike force, three combat modified Consular Class Cruisers, housing eighteen Delta-2 Jedi Star Fighters and the Strike team of 12 Sentinels and 12 Knights and Masters. 

The three Jedi entered into a sustained assault against him - leaping and spinning, his sabre a shield of green and white against their blades.  Yoda pushed his speed to the limit – it would leave him exhausted, but was essential to the new tactics.

Force blasts and mental attacks sprayed against him as Karmin tried to lock his sabre, Arnora strafed behind - meeting Karmins blade off a high parry to Rwh’ans downward strike a stray blast from the combat to his right knocked him into their combined reach – pressing against Karmins blade Yoda released his sabre - dropped low, pivoted into a force blast against Arnora, dodged Karmins counter blast and only just parried Rwh’an mid-slash. – Good – any lesser opponent would’ve been beaten – but still not good enough.

“Fourth!” Yoda called - his opponents made strong defensive retreats, replaced once again by Sintat, Hummu and D’Alyaa.

Valens used his natural speed and strength to push opponents to draw on the force to the point of exhaustion – for Yoda it took about 8 minutes, an average knight less than two – tag teaming would counter this. 

He kept low to the ground against their lopsided formation, two left, one to his right, a second later the flurry of sabres ionized the air. 

To his right Yshrrrk fended off three of his Sentinels while three masters hammered him with force blasts.  Batting a Sabre staff away with a dismissive parry and pivoting into a sweeping kick knocking the Kel Dor Baran Tha to the ground, the Wookie Sentinel sidestepped Soryu’s half-hearted low sweep.

After Soryu’s confession of his paternal relationship…it was horrible…but a Grand Master could not afford to show unwavering trust toward anyone…Yoda had to consider he might betray the Order. On that basis Yoda determined to keep him close by.     

“Fifth” Yoda called and they switched again, while not completely refreshed, for experienced Jedi even half a minute was enough to restore stamina with healing flows. As Rwh’an, Karmin and Arnora moved back into the fight with strong offensive stances and solid force defences, Yoda felt a little of his fear at losing more Jedi to Valens subside.

This time they would be prepared.

<<<<>>>>

Kiraea

She slowly rubbed in the familiar relaxing rhythm to relax…it usually helped…but this was a problem that couldn’t be solved with a simple Rite…

Kiraea hated being uncertain…she couldn’t shake the feeling she had given Jarys the wrong impression… by showing her vulnerability did he consider comforting her the act of consoling a younger sister instead of supporting a future lover?

Still once they reached Myrkr…she would talk to him, he was so excited about finding new plants and animals…making a new life – together.

He was a strong, smart and handsome man, she had always had a bit of crush on him when they were young…she ran her fingers under her nose and licked them…checking the balance of hormones in her pheromones…as she suspected 5.74% higher than average level of cortisol …it would make them slightly bitter instead of balancing the sweetness…

Heart beating faster she measured her internal sensations carefully – the Rites were far more than just pleasure – she needed to ensure every part of her reproductive system was functional and well maintained – that required regular practice. 

They needed babies - lots of babies - to repopulate – the Clones would provide the bulk but they would need children through normal means soon enough, Kiraea had taken it upon herself as the only Female Guardian to ensure she knew everything possible to help ensure they got the babies they needed…and that meant having lots of babies herself just like she’d always wanted…

“When I’m grown up I won’t make my babies wear shoes if they don’t want to!” she had squealed as Yorna chased her to put them back on.

Yorna…here Kiraea was planning to capture a mate, have babies…all things Yorna could never do.  She would’ve been a better mother, everything Kiraea had said was true, her sister was better than her…

The sadness threw her off her rhythm frustrating the build-up of sensation…it was a minor annoyance…a delay in in her pleasure…such a simple pleasure…

A pleasure Yorna would never have again.

It should’ve been me who died…
<<<<>>>>

Sofa

She regretted it as soon as she left the cockpit – she shouldn’t have yelled at him.

“You’re a disgusting pervert I’d rather kill myself that have you touch me ever AGAIN!” she’d screamed into his face all those years ago.

An hour later she was in his arms “Don’t leave me, don’t ever leave me…”

Half an hour later she lashed out again “Get AWAY it’s over I never want to see you!”

Giving her testimony to the Commission on Child Abuse had reawakened the words whispered into her ear – she was worthless, dirty, a liar – believing it again she turned on him while Soryu took Milaea to Dantooine. 

She hated herself - so pushed him away from her vileness.  But he never gave up…for weeks he’d sit outside the apartment as she alternated between hurling abuse and demanding affection – always patient and quiet as she hurt them both.

Now he was hurting…she shouldn’t have yelled at him – it was just too frustrating - this wasn’t how her new life should begin…even if she knew all too well how quickly old wounds could re-open. 

Valens

Hands trembling as he punched in the next set of co-ordinates to jump between two voids that sunk as deep as his stomach had just dropped.

He felt utterly sick at what was happening…he didn’t want to hurt Sofa, to disappoint her – he wanted so desperately to just go to Hapes or Alderran with her, help her adjust, start a new life. 

The same feeling he had on Coruscant…Kimar stood in his way then – his own failing barred the path now.

Either way he chose he could not win - he failed Sofa by neglecting her and refusing her desires in his quest.  He failed Cilina and Shilea if he wasted another moment in which they vanished into the aether.  In both cases it heaped more failure on having lead them both on for years. 

“Hey…” she came back in as he tried to focus on keeping the ship from being ripped apart.

“I’m sorry I yelled at you…it’s just…” her frustration was his failure.  He couldn’t decide what to do, how to handle anything – it was so much easier dealing with Outsiders, Chiss, technical or strategic issues there was no ambivalence…but with People…his indecision tore him in different directions…

“I just didn’t think this would be how we start off – I want to help you, but you need to talk to me,”

He couldn’t do it…he had to do this…he thought…thought so hard in circles ending up in the same impossible place…seeing Shilea cut down before his eyes…seeing Cilina tortured to death…it was all his fault.

Sofa’s resentment rebuilt rapidly, “You’re making this really hard you know…I don’t want to regret choosing this new life a week into it!”

He was trying to learn…just like Yoda taught…from his failures…but they just kept repeating on him.  The more he tried to correct them the worse they got…

He had to grab his right wrist with his left hand to steady it enough to press the handle for the next jump forward…His guilt bloating larger as it fed off itself.

<<<<>>>>

Yoda

Hushed whispers and fear permeated the Ardent’s common room.

“I heard he ripped Knight J’Shinna’s heart out with his bare hands…just shoved in right through her fur and pulled,”

“No it was her own sabre, he made it teleport inside her body and switched it on, did the same thing to Kimar I saw a few frames,”

“That’s why they won’t let anyone see the security footage of any of it…they think if we see it we’ll all abandon the Order. “

Yoda stopped at the open door frowning and marched in,

“Rumours you speak,” he surveyed the four knights huddled round the dejarik table,

“And rumours all they are. No truth…Valens invincible may believe he is,” he gave each one a hard look, it troubled him that gossip and fear was being spread between Jedi Knights…

“But a man only I know him to be,”

The boldest of the group, Chagrian Hummu spoke up, “Then why not just show everyone the security footage Master? It would dispel all the rumours”

He shook his head, “No matter the evidence released, believe it rumour mongers will not, tampered they will say, a cover up…only by bringing to trial Valens and his agents can truth be assured,” 

Hummu bowed slightly…his suspicions were correct, Yoda had destroyed the footage because of the fear it would generate if more Jedi saw it, and the boldness it would bring to their enemies when - not if – it was leaked.  The incredulity everyone felt as rumours magnified to myths was preferable to the brutal reality…

If only by the slimmest possible margin.

His steps to his bunk were weighed by introspection…these were not truth affirming actions…the justification of limiting damage was poor consolation.

The room was small, grotty with the humid stink of old bedding - the cruisers had been taken from dry dock and rapidly refitted over two weeks, Valens would not recognise them as Jedi ships.

He stared out into the twirl of hyperpspace - Valens was out there…somewhere.

Hummu had touched a raw nerve…whatever he thought he knew of Valens was only a fraction of the whole…Yoda had seen techniques and powers on those vid’s  unknown I him.  How many other abilities, how much power could Valens wield that Yoda knew nothing of?

He was afraid.

Afraid he was not strong enough, that despite being nearly 300 years old he was not knowledgeable enough. 

This was an enemy that defied understanding, the ruthlessness of Sith without selfish malice, brutal efficiency of a bounty hunter without venality, precision of an assassin without a single target.

Afraid that he had trained a man who could destroy the Jedi on a whim…who could destroy him. 

And most of all afraid that some part of his teachings had made Valens what he was.

Yoda had to know, he had to find out what had turned him – Yoda needed to know if he was in part responsible for the monster Valens had become.

Yet for all this he feared - truly feared - the Truth he would find.

<<<<>>>>
Logged

Lord_S_Gray

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

Karmack
Knight Commander
*

Force Alignment: 670
Posts: 3059


Light side points please.


« Reply #29 on: July 11, 2018, 11:57:22 PM »

Another awesome entry.  :-)  The Kiraea - Jarys and Sofa-Valens matchups are amazing studies in interpersonal relationships.  Two very different relationships with motivations almost in direct opposition to each other.  I am greatly intrigued.

And Milaea's quest to guide her people away from being Universal Overlords is interesting as well.  There's more Jedi in her than I think anyone realizes. 

And Yoda...

I find it interesting how many of these characters - Yoda, Sofa, Valens, Jarys, Milaea, Soryu - are driven by their guilt and failures.  We all fail.  But the guilt...  That becomes a roadblock. 

How each of them overcomes that roadblock - avoid, dismantle, destroy, change course - will be very interesting indeed...

And ... golden-red?  Hmmm.....
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Master Singer of the Mak'Tor

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