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Author Topic: Starshine (Prequel Trilogy AT)  (Read 723 times)
Liera Buraaisuh
Knight Officer
*

Force Alignment: 32
Posts: 114


Mando'ad She'laar, Light Side Jetii


« on: March 02, 2021, 08:22:28 AM »

AN 1: Liera's race is one I created myself. They are a naturally force sensitive people that see the world through the force. Unlike the Miraluka the Haasufeilians don't just see a persons force signature, they see into their very being. There is no such thing as dishonesty to them because they can see directly into someone's soul. This manifests in colors and sensations that are interpreted by the individual. Haasufeilians also revere bonds, especially family bonds, and are very free with their emotions. They are a tribal society from a planetoid just past the outer reaches.

The people of Haasufeiliah are all milky white skinned with light hair ranging from pale blonde to pure white and have vibrant eyes of all colors. In the dark their bodies actually give off a faint glow as they are naturally bio-luminescent.

AN 2: Liera is a character I have done many 'what-ifs,' time travels, and alternate universes with. This is just one of those many stories.


Prologue: The Catalyst

The temple had been abandoned long ago. The force gifted who had once lived there slowly trickled away, some perishing and some never returning to the home that once supported them. Over time the location was forgotten by many while those who came to be known as Jedi moved to a new home. Yet the force was not an idle thing, it was all of life and made up everything. The spirits of those who dwelt within the temple did not fall into an easy slumber. Rather they floated aimlessly, whispering to themselves and eventually to each other.

Eons passed and the spirits’ voices began to fade. Seeing the flickers of life beginning to disappear, the infant presence in the force slowly began to lament. Where once there had been abundant life and emotion now there were endless dark halls, the faint whisper of the wind a sad counterpoint to the endless silence.

Every now and again sentient life would come to the temple, walking the halls and acting as a breath of fresh air. But never did they stay. Even as the temple welcomed them wholeheartedly the children of the force always flew away.

No longer able to handle the loneliness, the loss, something strange began to happen. Grasping what small threads of fading life it could find it slowly began to weave them together, desperately wishing for life to once more roam the halls. Over time a feeling of brightness and curiosity began to fill the many empty rooms, lighting everything it touched. With a hum of joy the being recognized that it was no longer scattered remnants, scraps of life and memory that had been forgotten and abandoned.

It was a being of calm and emotion, of peace and passion, a child of the force and a sentient in its own right.

It was a they, and they were Kaleidoscope. Named for the myriad of colored lights shining through the windows and scattering when it reflected off the glittering gems embedded in the very walls of the temple.

But even as they were now free to roam they were unable to leave the very temple their once fragments had been trapped inside. Just like before they were left with only themselves for company.

Until her.

She was a child of the force like them. A small ball of burning light that shone like a distant star. Her presence was steadfast and unwavering, even as the one she was with struggled with the darkness consuming his soul. Touching her presence brought a gift that Kaleidoscope had not considered before. Scattered paths rose before them and they could see the end of every one.

Kaleidoscope felt frustrated that their siblings were able to roam so easily, that their soft mortal shells were what gave them freedom. If only they had a soft mortal shell…

It was a decision that would change the very fabric of reality. The curiosity of a naive demi-god that wanted nothing more than to be surrounded by life once more. But their power was not unlimited. If they wanted to leave, if they wanted the mortal to survive, they needed more power than they had. So they did the one thing that they had never done before- they tapped into the well that sat dormant beneath the temple and drank deeply until there was nothing left.

The moment they latched onto her so many more paths opened up before them. Each one was scrutinized and carefully rejected. But as the power of the well continued to flow through them, and the force gifted they had chosen to be their vassal, the greater sea of the force finally took notice. It saw two children destined for loneliness in a darkened world and made a decision.

Kaleidoscope would get their freedom and the child of the force, this daughter of the light who did not shy away from emotion, she would be the catalyst for a better future.
Logged

Liera Buraaisuh
Knight Officer
*

Force Alignment: 32
Posts: 114


Mando'ad She'laar, Light Side Jetii


« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2021, 08:25:17 AM »

Chapter 1: Arrival

Gasping she inhaled hot, dry, air and choked as a small blast of wind deposited sand into her mouth. After spitting out the sand and taking a small sip from her canteen, to wash the rest of the sand out, she looked around her with a grimace. Above her two bright suns shone down onto a vast desert. Already she could feel it on her sensitive skin and quickly pulled up the hood of her cloak. She was lucky she preferred a mostly soft cream and white color scheme for her tunics, and that she didn’t wear nearly as many layers as some of her friends. In a desert dark clothes and extra layers would only bog her down.

Speaking of the desert… where was she and how did she get there? The last thing she remembered was touching a mosaic in an abandoned temple she and her master had taken refuge in. Then the world suddenly became far too bright- and now she was here. Getting to her feet she brushed herself off and pulled her cloak around herself. She didn’t know what planet she was on, let alone which system. Best to keep her lightsabers hidden just in case.

Seeing a town in the distance she sighed and began the long walk to civilization.

[***]

The town was as disreputable as she suspected it would be. It was not the first time she had been taken to a spaceport rife with crime or slavery but it was the first time she had been in one on her own. She pulled her cloak closer to her body, hiding as much of her features as possible. Even if she was a jedi her master had always encouraged caution, not that he listened to his own advice. Though she was only sixteen she had a deep understanding of the depravity come sentients indulged in. A young girl with human features but odd coloring traveling on her own? If she wasn’t careful she would invite trouble down on her own head.

She had to find somewhere to hunker down and try to call her- a lump formed in her throat as she tested the bond between her and her master. She had been so busy trying to get to civilization and figure out what to do she had forgotten that terrible feeling of something inside of her soul tearing in two. It was a heart wrenching feeling to be entirely alone, but she had to push the emotion aside for the time being and focus on survival. If she let herself get hurt or captured her master would be cross with her, regardless of whether he was out there or… one with the force.

Unfortunately for her she had no money and no goods for trade. In a place like this, where she could clearly see the greed and selfish nature of the many sentients who passed her by, she had nothing to offer in exchange for aid. Except for her lightsabers… or herself. Neither of which she would give up without a vicious and bloody battle. Of course she had her ability to heal but if she started to heal others in exchange for monetary gain then they would know she was a jedi. Not to mention she was loathe to force people to pay for healing to begin with.

“Hey!” Surprised her mind had gone wandering she looked down at the boy who’d stopped in front of her, blue eyes narrowed in confusion.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to walk into you.” The boy shook his head.

“No, it’s not that…” His eyes squinted further, as if he was trying to see through her. Something prodded at the edges of her force presence and her eyes widened. He was force sensitive! “Are you a spacer?” The question was blunt and the feeling of something prodding her returned.

“In a manner of speaking.” She mumbled. She would have to come up with a story fast. A few people had begun noticing them, stopped in the middle of the street as they were. “I’m a traveling… medic. I help the sick and the injured.” The boy began to smile brightly.

“Can you help my mom?” The hope and excitement in his voice made her throat constrict. She couldn’t act like a ruthless mercenary, not to a child. Besides, something in the force was pushing her to help him.

“I can try. But I’m low on supplies. Can you take me to her?” The boy nodded and tugged on her cloak.

“This way!”

[***]

When she found herself in the poor part of the town she nibbled on her lip nervously. The sentients who inhabited this area looked to all be slaves. It tore at her heart to see their suffering. The boy, Anakin he’d said his name was, led her to one of the many small abodes that were dug into the rock.

“Mom! I’m home!” He waved her inside and tugged on her cloak again, urging her forward. Now that they were inside she gratefully lowered her hood, glad to be out of the sun.

“Who’s this, Ani?” A young brunette woman, who couldn’t be older than twenty-seven, came out of the far room and stopped when she noticed Liera. With a reassuring smile she gave a small bow.

“This is Liera! She a Spacer and said she’s a medic. She can help you, mom!” The woman looked skeptical and a little wary but she smiled down at her son, radiating the gentleness and love that all mothers should have for their children.

“If my presence makes you uncomfortable I can leave once I’ve helped you. Or I can leave now, if you prefer. I do not mean to impose and I would not want to get you in trouble.” The woman watched her for a moment before sighing and shaking her head.

“No, that’s alright. Anakin is a good judge of others. But I’m afraid we can’t pay for a doctor and I am still perfectly capable of working.” The boy stood stiffly, watching them with worried blue eyes and a sense of urgency in the force. Liera shook her head.

“Ma’am, my life revolves around aiding those who need help. If you have some food or water you can spare, without harming you or your son, I would be grateful. But it is not needed for me to help you. It is my calling.” Something in her words seemed to click and both the woman and her son brightened.

“Thank you. Please, come, sit. I’ll grab you some water.” Taking off her cloak she folded it neatly and placed it on the end of the table. A loud gasp left the boy and Liera looked over at him, startled.

“I knew it! You’re a Jedi!” She blinked at him for a moment before wanting to groan and put her face in her hands. Of course he’d know, she hadn’t hid her lightsabers all that well to begin with. It wasn’t like there was anywhere she could hide them though, all things considered. The only hiding place she had was in her boots and they were already occupied by a small emergency blaster and a knife.

“I am, yes. But I’m only a Padawan.” While most of her hair was braided and carefully pinned to the back of her head there was one long strand, braided with a navy blue ribbon and white beads, that hung from behind her left ear. Reaching up she slipped the braid over her shoulder so he could see it. “When a Ma- Mentor chooses you, and you accept the offer, they braid your hair like this. It means that they will be your teacher and your guardian while you are learning.” His eyes were practically shining with curiosity as he came over to look at the braid. He reached out hesitantly and she giggled. “You can touch the beads if you like.”

Gently running his fingers over the beads he shivered. Belatedly she remembered that her master had woven her hair last and his force signature was in both the ribbon and the beads. “What was that?”

“You’re force sensitive, like me. You were probably feeling my Mentor. He was the one who gifted me the ribbon and the beads.” The boy’s nose scrunched up in confusion. “Think of it like an echo, or a shadow. A part of someone you can’t touch but you can feel.” After a moment of thinking about it he nodded firmly.

“Does that mean I can be a jedi?” Liera hesitated. She didn’t want to bring him any false hope.

“I… don’t know. I’m only a Padawan, a student. I don’t have any say in who gets chosen to be trained as a Jedi. But… I can teach you a little bit, if you like.” A look of understanding that was far too mature for a boy his age crossed his face and he nodded again, this time more solemnly. Thankfully his mother finally returned with their water and she took the glass gratefully. As much as a jedi could sustain themselves on the force it wasn’t exactly healthy to do so for long periods of time. She had been careful with her water but she’d still run out by the time she reached the town. Dying of dehydration or exposure was not on her lit of preferred ways to die.

“Thank you. My name is Liera, may I know yours?” The woman smiled and sat down next to her.

“Shmi Skywalker. And you already know Anakin.” The boy beamed. It was clear to see how much he loved his mother, it was very sweet.

“Shmi. Would you tell me what’s wrong?” The woman looked nervous, up until her son took her hand and squeezed it.

“It’s okay, mom. She’ll help, she’s a Jedi.” The absolute faith in his voice made her want to both hide and smile simultaneously. Jedi could do miraculous things, true, but they were just as mortal as anyone else.

“The other day in the market I wasn’t watching where I was-” Her son tutted, expression thunderous. “-going. I walked into a Trandoshan, one of Gardulla’s thugs.” The woman’s tone soured momentarily but she continued. “He knocked me down. Since then my stomach has been quite tender and my ankle a little sore.” Anakin pouted next to his mother.

“She can’t walk really fast and she hasn’t been eating. And she can’t hold things with her left hand very well!” The woman gave her son an exasperatedly fond look. Liera pressed her lips together in an effort not to smile but she failed. Miserably.

“Let me take a look.” Standing she stepped closer to the woman and slowly reached out to her, giving her plenty of time to move away or voice her disagreement if she was uncomfortable. Placing a hand on her forehead and the other against her chest she closed her eyes and allowed the force to flow through her. What she found almost made her lose concentration. Shmi was also force sensitive. But it was such a subtle and quiet thing that it was hard to see at first glance. Whatever she was doing with the force she was using it to shield herself and her son. Liera had no doubt that if the shields were dropped Anakin would shine like a beacon in the night. It was lucky he was still untrained and young, otherwise Liera might not have been able to stand his presence for long.

Healing the injuries she delved deeper into the woman’s presence and found older injuries that had healed terribly over the years. Knowing this was probably the one chance she had to help them she poured herself into healing the woman of all her previous ills. By the time she was done Anakin was hovering worriedly nearby and Liera was worn out. Sitting back down she gave Shmi a tired smile as the woman got up and walked around.

“Mom?” Hearing the concern in his voice Shmi picked up her son and hugged him to her. Laughing he hugged her back. Tears came from her eyes as she set her boy down.

“Thank you.” Liera smiled.

“It was my pleasure to help you, Shmi.”

[***]

After the hottest part of the day was over with Shmi and Anakin were called back to work. Apparently they both worked in a parts shop run by their master, Watto. Liera was allowed to stay in their home to rest and gladly did so. Finding a nice carpet to sit on she crossed her legs and fell easily into meditation.

Tentatively she checked on the tattered ends of her bonds and despaired when all of them were clearly damaged. Whatever that bright light had been it had cut her off from her master and even her crèche-mates. She was well and truly alone, with only her lightsabers as her companions.

Focusing her mind on the force she reached for it and relaxed when it reached back.

‘Soon.’ It seemed to say, soothing the echoing ache inside of her. ‘Patience.’

Letting out a breath she didn’t realize she’d been holding she gathered up her cloak and used it as a pillow. If something was going to happen soon then she wanted to be well rested when it happened. She wanted to be ready.
Logged

Lord_S_Gray
Knight Commander
*

Force Alignment: 288
Posts: 1592



« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2021, 02:31:47 PM »

That Kaleidoscope concept is fascinating, pooled energy forming into a proto sentience with primal desires for connection, I think 'child' as you've described it is incredibly apt, it is certainly determined but seems toddler like in its simple desires and jealousies of physical entities...that may not be a good thing for any 'soft mortal shell' it latches onto...always interested to hear such a fascinating new view of the force and how it could work.
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Lord_S_Gray

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

Liera Buraaisuh
Knight Officer
*

Force Alignment: 32
Posts: 114


Mando'ad She'laar, Light Side Jetii


« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2021, 02:38:10 PM »

That Kaleidoscope concept is fascinating, pooled energy forming into a proto sentience with primal desires for connection, I think 'child' as you've described it is incredibly apt, it is certainly determined but seems toddler like in its simple desires and jealousies of physical entities...that may not be a good thing for any 'soft mortal shell' it latches onto...always interested to hear such a fascinating new view of the force and how it could work.

Thank you! I have my own view on the Manda as a force-like entity as well, but that is for another story that I may or may not post later on. lol
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JNovaarii
Knight Sergeant
*

Force Alignment: 2
Posts: 86



« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2021, 11:06:45 AM »

What I have read of this is incredible so far.  I have also created my own race in the SW universe called the Fi’arii.  I have posted the start of a story on here if you are interested in taking a look


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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current saber : Initiate v4 with fire orange blade, soon to have Obsidian v3 sound and av switch installed

wishlist dream saber:  Dark Initiate v5 with gold claws, with most of the black anodizing removed to create a custom look

"I am neither a servant of the light or the dark, but a servant of the balanced will of the Force. and serve the greater good of the galaxy"- Jeskaaro Nova'arii, Suva'arii Knight and Elite Guardian of the Fi'arii Empire

Light or dark points appreciated as warranted, My alignment will remain more or less neutral

Liera Buraaisuh
Knight Officer
*

Force Alignment: 32
Posts: 114


Mando'ad She'laar, Light Side Jetii


« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2021, 11:22:43 AM »

All these chapters were written quite a while ago so if the style changes a bit it's because I grew as a writer while writing other works and I eventually came back to this story.

Tags: Underaged gambling.

Chapter 2: Trouble Brewing (Part 1)

When night fell Liera left bundled herself up in one of Shmi’s shawls and slipped outside. The market at night was just as dangerous as during the day, perhaps more so with all of the drunkards wandering between cantinas looking to drown themselves in spice and carnal pleasures. A sixteen year old Padawan she might be but she had seen the worst the universe had to offer when helping to take down slavery rings.

The slaves noticed her first, seeing as they were also keeping to the shadowed areas around the poor parts of town. To them she must have looked like a strange apparition, her skin glowing faintly from beneath the makeshift hood. Following the pull of the force she found a building that called to her and quickly ducked inside.

Immediately there were hushed sounds of surprise as two lanky men tried to bar her way forward. A pained cry came from a room farther in and she could hear the soothing sounds of voices singing or humming quietly to calm someone who was suffering. She pulled back her hood and looked the men in the eyes.

“I am a healer, I come in peace to give freely.” She lifted her arms, fists closed, and crossed them over her chest before splaying her fingers and uncrossing her arms. It was a universal symbol in slave circles. It meant she was an ally, someone who could be relied on to keep their secrets and give them aid. The men relaxed and gave her tentative smiles. They ushered her into the back room quickly. Liera took one look at the woman giving birth and nodded toward the women who were holding onto her.

Taking off the borrowed shawl she stashed it in a far corner of the room and hurriedly knelt next to the young woman. She couldn’t be any older than Liera and it made her heart clench in her chest. “Shh, all will be well.” Placing her hands on the young woman she sent waves of calm and eased her pain. She couldn’t take it away entirely, pain was the body’s way of telling you something was wrong, but she did reduce it enough so that it wasn’t excruciating.

She spent the next four hours helping the midwives. While she did so word had spread about her amongst the slaves, as she knew it would. She could come up with a proper plan later. Helping these people and gaining information about the place she now found herself in were the top priority.

By the time the suns were rising she had helped birth a baby girl, healed broken bones, burned out infection, and repaired damaged organs. The amount of damage these people had taken from cruel and uncaring masters filled her with righteous fury but she kept herself calm.

When she returned to Shmi’s home she brought with her some rations that had been shoved into her hands as a thank you. Normally she would have been more insistent in handing them back but she knew that she could not rely on Shmi and Anakin for food. They didn’t have very much for themselves let alone a guest.

After a small nap she spoke with Shmi about the local gambling dens and where she might buy some new clothes. Shmi offered her some of her own but Liera politely declined. “I am so sorry, Shmi, but what I need are clothes more suited to someone… less reputable.” The woman looked at her in surprise, for what could be less reputable than a slave? “A dancer, I want to go undercover as a dancer.” Shmi gasped and Anakin looked between them with a small frown.

“But you’re a Jedi.” She gave them both a small smile.

“I’ve been undercover as a slave before, and as a dancer with a Rylothi entertainment troupe. I’m not trying to start any trouble, I just need the right people to notice me just enough that I get invited to a high stakes Sabbac game.” Shmi frowned at her and she could feel the woman’s worry. “I’ll be safe, Shmi. I have the force to help me if something goes wrong. But I wanted to warn you about my plan just in case.” She reached over and took the woman’s hands in her own, squeezing gently.

“Please just be careful. If something goes wrong we cannot lift a finger to help you.” She nodded in understanding.

“I know.”

[***]

It took her two days to find the right game but in the end she was sitting at a table in one of the many shady cantinas with her blaster on her hip. Yesterday she’d had the shock of her lifetime when she learned it was considered an antique model, one that could be sold to a collector for a lot of credits. Of course she could tell the shopkeeper was lying when he tried to convince her to sell it for far less than its actual worth. It was when she’d been wandering the market that she finally learned what year it was. The knowledge that she was seven hundred and four years in the future nearly made her have a full blown panic attack. She’d had to hide herself in an alcove and force herself to calm down. Even as she told herself it was impossible the force rang with the truth of it.

She was stuck where she was until she could return to the Order and find out what had happened to her.

So here she was, waiting for a group of shady characters to appear so she could convince them to let her play. Speaking of shady characters… a couple of Weequays, a human female, a Whiphid, and a male Devaronian all entered the bar. They took a seat near the back and ordered a round of drinks, joking, carousing, and cajoling one another. Taking a deep breath to steady herself she waited until they’d started the first game before she made her way over.

Dropping her usual demure jedi ways she focused on what the Rylothi entertainers had taught her and fell into the persona she had crafted for herself when going undercover. Her chin came up, shoulders back, and she exaggerated the natural grace she had when she walked. She did not look at the floor or back down when eyes were suddenly drawn her way, to do so would be to invite trouble. She was not playing the part of a slave here, no, she was playing the part of someone with confidence.

“Is this game… invitation only?” Leaning over the table slightly she slipped some of the loose strands of her hair behind her ear and smiled at the group.

“Depends on who’s asking.” One of the Weequay snarked. She allowed her smile to become something more inviting and motioned toward herself, letting her hand trail close to her body for emphasis.

“Why, myself, of course. Unless you know of another game I could join instead.” The human female shifted in her seat and Liera had to force down a blush at the interest the woman was showing her.

“How old are you, sweetheart?” There was a sense of anticipation there that she wasn’t sure she liked very much but she forced her feelings of apprehension back and away for now. If her master could see her now she would be the one being scolded for recklessly endangering herself. But honestly she had no other options. Not on this planet.

“It’s rude to ask a lady her age.” She replied with a wicked grin that suggested she was either older or younger than they suspected. A look passed between the woman and the second Weequay but it was too fast for her to decipher in the moment.

“There’s a fee if you want to join, what have you got?” The Devaronian smirked at her from the other side of the table. Liera reached down and slowly slid the blaster from her boot. The whole table was on guard now. She set it down on the table with an amused look.

“A family heirloom. I’m told it’s over seven hundred years old and that collectors will be chomping at the bit to snatch it right up.” The human woman went to grab it but Liera pulled it out of her reach. “I wasn’t born yesterday.” She said, eyes going sharp. The woman rolled her eyes and held out her hand for the weapon. Liera scoffed and handed it over. If she had to she could cause a distraction and get it back in the commotion.

“Hm, looks authentic. Juhgal?” The Whiphid took the blaster and inspected it for a moment and nodded firmly, setting it back on the table.

“Alright then sweetheart. Pull up a chair.”

[***]

Once she thought she’d earned enough to get by without raising suspicion she took her winnings and her blaster and quickly made her excuses. From there she traveled to different gambling dens looking for easy to read targets. She would only use half of her winnings to earn her way into a new game then win back what she’d lost plus one third before moving on again. By the end of the night she had a tidy sum but it was nowhere near enough to earn her passage off of Tatooine.

Stashing her winnings she returned to the slave quarters to check in with Shmi and Anakin. She slept for the entire morning and only roused when the two returned home for the mid-day meal. She had taught Anakin the beginnings of proper meditation and asked Shmi to join them. She was hesitant at first but when she realized how much her presence calmed Anakin and allowed him the peace of mind to actually try she finally relented and sat with them.

When the two of them were gone, back to work, she went searching for a certain clothing vendor the slaves had mentioned to her a couple of times. The older man looked rough around the edges, his scarred and scowling face even scaring off some of the rougher looking thugs unless they were in a group, but his aura had a core of trustworthiness and kindness to it that belied his appearance.

She approached him and made a small hand gesture, something easy to miss if you weren’t looking for it. His attention shifted to her and he watched her for a moment before nodding and beckoning her forward. Inside the shop were clothes of all kinds, the sort of thing nightly entertainers would wear. “What are you looking for?” The man asked, voice gruff from the years of living in a desert environment.

“Something that will get me into the higher stakes gambling dens.” The man frowned at her. She glanced over her shoulder and made a couple of other motions with her hands. ‘One Ally, two Shackled, need funds.’ The man made an answering gesture and she felt the tension drain out of her shoulders. He slipped into the back and after a few minutes brought out something that made her inner entertainer squeal in delight and her inner warrior sigh. The dark red fabric wasn’t sheer, that would make her out to be too accessible, and it covered all the parts that needed to be covered. Only part of her stomach and her arms would be visible. The top showed off her shoulders and a bit of her collarbone and cinched beneath her breasts with a stretchy band. The fabric folded over the band slightly, creating almost a ruffling effect. The bottoms had ballooned pants that sat low on the hips and tightened before the ankles with an attached skirt that stopped at the knees. She traded her boots for dainty slippers and her white cloak for a rich cream colored shawl.

“I’ll return these as soon as I am able.” The man smuggled her out of the back of his shop and she hurried back to the hiding place she had discovered for herself. Once night fell she took her knife and blaster to hide under the skirt and the credits she had earned so far.

Climbing over the roofs, like the slaves did to avoid detection, she slid down into an ally and made sure she looked presentable. Some of the dancing girls had lent her their make-up skills, making her lips more visible and accenting her eyes with dark pencils and soft golden eyeshadow. Her hair had been done up with a borrowed hair comb, though her ears remained bare. She had never felt the need for earrings before and although it probably made her stand out more she didn’t regret not doing it back when she was with the Rylothi entertaining troupe.

It took a bit of force persuasion to ease her way inside but once there she found she blended quite well. The atmosphere was different than the other gambling dens. It was both more refined and twice as vile. At least in the cheaper gambling dens everyone was more honest about how greedy they were. Here people played at being civil while trading coded barbs at one another. Grabbing a drink to look less conspicuous she made her way over to one of the tables and stood with the crowd of watchers. After a time she wandered over to another table with less of an audience and noticed a vacant chair.

“What are the stakes?” She asked, holding her glass daintily in one hand and holding one arm beneath her bust to keep the shawl from slipping.
Logged

Liera Buraaisuh
Knight Officer
*

Force Alignment: 32
Posts: 114


Mando'ad She'laar, Light Side Jetii


« Reply #6 on: March 03, 2021, 11:34:30 AM »

I make it no secret that I dislike Qui-gon as a character. So this is a quick warning that his portrayal in this story is going to be biased. I ask that you please respect my characterization of the character even if you disagree.

Tags: Underaged gambling.

Chapter 2: Trouble Brewing (Part 2)

She spent her time carefully balanced between losing just enough to avoid suspicion and winning enough to add to her pot. With her ability to read others and the Force on her side she was doing quite well for herself. More importantly she was gaining more information that could be beneficial in the next few days. Like how one of the biggest events of the year was happening in two days, and how everyone was sure to bet on it. Including the local Hutt crime bosses.

Taking another sip of the alcoholic drink in her hand she carefully filtered it out of her system and focused on the sentients around her. It seemed that she was attracting a little too much attention now. Smiling at one of the ‘staff’ she asked to cash out her winning when someone took the chair next to her at the table. She stiffened and turned her attention to the stranger who was far too close for her liking.

“Hello sweetheart, you’ve certainly gone up in the world.” Keeping a tight hold on her emotions she turned and smiled at the woman from the night before. “I’ve been following your… career. A bit of an amateur aren’t you?” She feigned confusion.

“I’m not sure I follow…” The woman’s smile was almost vicious.

“I’m sure you don’t.” She thumped her fist against the table and a waiter came over to serve her immediately. Whoever this woman was she was more important, or dangerous, than Liera had first given her credit for. “One last game for the night. You win and I’ll leave you alone.” Liera felt a sharp spike in the force, this situation was getting a little too serious for her own good.

“And if I lose?” Which is what this woman clearly wanted.

“Then you come work for my boss as a private dancer. Jabba’s very interested in exotic pets, like yourself.” Her stomach dropped and she swore it fell past her toes. She was playing a dangerous game here, in more ways than one. She was not trained to go undercover, she had only ever done so on the fly for the sake of the mission. It was because of her impatience that she had put herself in such a precarious position.

“What if I refuse to play and just leave without my winnings?” There was a shift in the crowd around her and she wanted to curse. She was surrounded.

“Deal us in.” She ordered, instead of answering. Liera set aside her drink and turned her focus to the game.

[***]

She won by the skin of her teeth, as the old saying went. At first Liera thought the woman wouldn’t let her go, that she’d have to resort to violence and the force. But instead the woman let her collect her winnings and escape. But not before leaving her with a warning.

“You’re off the hook for now, pet, but not for long. Good luck trying to buy passage off planet.” The moment she was able to Liera slipped away from the thugs following her and climbed up onto the roofs to hide.

It was a long night.

[***]

After giving back the clothes she’d borrowed and buying something a lot less conspicuous she spent most of the day leaving a confusing trail for the Hutt’s enforcers. When a sandstorm started to blow in she hid among some of the friends she’d made in the slaves quarters. By nightfall she returned to to Shmi and Anakin’s home.

Coming inside she closed the door quickly behind her and carefully undid her cloak, making sure that most of the sand ended up on the steps where it would be easy to clean up later. “Liera!” Anakin’s shout of excitement and his joy at seeing her safe eased more of her anxiety. She had been gone for a night and an entire day, she must have worried them greatly. She turned to say hello and froze. Sitting at the table was an older man she hadn’t been able to sense well, since Anakin was such a bright spot in the force, and a girl around her own age.

Anakin ran up to her and took her hand, pulling her toward the table. “Hey, is this your Mentor?” Liera’s smile faltered and she shook her head sadly.

“No, he’s not.” She stopped and looked at the man before bowing at the waist. “But it is a pleasure to meet you, Sir Jedi.” It was a little less than polite, she could feel from his force presence that he was clearly a Master, but she didn’t like using that word around slaves. It was a cruel reminder of their current fate.

“Padawan.” He said politely, though he was looking at her hair judgmentally. She flushed slightly in embarrassment. Because of the danger being a jedi presented on a world rife with slavery she had chosen not to braid her hair like a proper Padawan.

“Padawan Liera Buraaisuh, at your service.” The man nodded.

“Jedi Master Qui-gon Jinn.” She saw the slight twitch in both Shmi and Anakin and sighed internally. She could already see from his presence in the force that the man was well rooted in his ways. She would have to tread lightly. “This is Padme and Jar-Jar Binks.” Looking to the two others she smiled and gave them a polite half-bow.

“Please, call me Liera.” They stood there awkwardly for a moment before Anakin tugged on her again.

“If he’s not your Mentor then where is he?” Liera sat down next to Anakin and looked down at him. The sudden realization on his face at her silence was enough to know that her grief was pouring out of her and into the air. Taking a few calming breaths in and out she slowly reigned the grief back in and let it settle in the back of her mind, to be dealt with when she was in a safer environment. The Jedi Master watched her for a moment and gave her a small smile of approval.

“I don’t know where he is.” It was the truth, she had no idea where or even when her master was.

“Oh…” Anakin looked subdued for a moment before he brightened. “Guess what!” She smiled, accepting a plate of food from Shmi with a look of gratitude.

“What? It’s obviously good news if you’re this excited.” Shmi’s presence dimmed slightly and Liera looked to her with concern.

“I’m going to be racing in the Boonta Eve!” Liera’s confusion must have shown on her face because he quickly added, “it’s the biggest podrace of the year!” Her heart stuttered in her chest and she looked around the table to be sure she heard right. No one denied his claim.

“Shmi?” She asked. The woman gave her a concerned look and she suddenly knew it was the truth.

“For Force’ sake, why?” Some of her protective anger must have registered in her voice because Anakin shrank away slightly, looking guiltily at the others in the room. Liera rubbed at her temples. “I’m sorry, I’m just worried about you. Why would you do something so dangerous?”

“He offered to race in order to get us the parts we need. We’re on an important mission and can’t be delayed.” From the tone of his voice and the urgency in the force she knew he was telling the truth. She only wished he hadn’t decided to pin all the responsibility on a force sensitive nine year old. Speaking of…

“It’s because he’s force sensitive, isn’t it? You believe he’ll win because of his inherent intuition.” The man frowned at her and the girl gaped.

“How do you know he’s force sensitive?” Closing her eyes for a moment she took a deep breath and reminded herself that snapping at a Master was not productive, polite, or respectful at all.

“It’s a natural talent of my species. I can see the force. Anakin is like a flickering star. His mother won’t be able to shield him forever, he’s becoming too powerful for her.” Silence met her words and she opened her eyes again to see everyone, including Anakin and Shmi, staring at her. “What?”

“I’m no one special-” The woman began.

“Shmi. If you weren’t the incredible woman you are I don’t think Anakin would be half as wonderful as he is. Please don’t put yourself down.” She spoke with soft sincerity with no hint of anger. Anakin beamed at her like it was a holiday and she tried her best to ignore the pointed stare of the jedi master. He wasn’t her master and besides, she could admit to herself that she was angry he was putting a child at risk.

“Is there any way to pull Anakin from the race?” Master Jinn shook his head.

“We have no other way to get the parts we need and we must leave as soon as possible.” Liera sighed.

“Sir Jinn, what do you think I’ve been doing while I’ve been here the past week? I have probably enough of the local currency to get the parts you need. But I have a condition.” The man looked gobsmacked, she had a feeling it wasn’t a look he wore often.

“We can’t pull the boy out of the race, it would cause too much trouble.” He watched her carefully, tilting his head ever so slightly and feeling curious in the force. “What was your condition?”

“Once I’ve deactivated Shmi and Anakin’s slave chips I want you to take us all off world.” There was a swelling in the force and she looked over at Anakin, who seemed to be the epicenter of the maelstrom. Knick-knacks and small objects began to rattle around the room as his emotions bubbled over. “Anakin? Anakin! Breathe with me. In, and out. In, and out.” Placing her hand on the boy’s shoulder she demonstrated the slow breathing she wanted him to copy, holding his eyes with her own. Once he had a moment to focus and calm down the objects around the room settled and the swell of the force died down.

“You’re gonna free us.” Came the near whisper on his lips. She smiled and knelt so he could give her a hug. Glancing over at Shmi she could see the tears in the woman’s eyes and felt her own misting up.

“Of course. I couldn’t leave you here while I ran away.” Reaching up she dried his eyes and nudged him toward his mother. The two of them practically collapsed into each other, relief and joy singing through them. She didn’t notice the master coming over to her until he was looming over her.

“Can I speak with you a moment?” It was not a request.

Outside in the quiet of the night they stood on a walkway that connected several of the small slave homes. The man stood there, arms crossed, as he contemplated her for a moment. “We did not come here to free slaves. The mission must come first.” He finally said quietly. Liera frowned but nodded in understanding. Not all jedi took part in the kinds of missions she and her master were often given. From the feel of him she believed that Master Jinn was most probably a Consular, more focused on diplomacy rather than battle. “What was your mission here?” He finally asked.

“There was none.” She sighed. “My master and I had taken refuge in an abandoned temple when his ship began to malfunction. I remember exploring what appeared to be the main meditation room when suddenly I’m waking up in the middle of a desert.” The man looked a little skeptical and sent out a tendril of the force to test her. She let him, she had absolutely nothing to hide.

“And the boy?” She shugged.

“He found me. When he asked me if I was a spacer I told him the truth.”

“Which was what?” She smiled.

“That I was a medic, someone who helped the sick and injured.”

“Is that all you are?” A small frown made it’s way across her face before she could really stop it.

“I’m a certified force healer and a battlefield medic. My master recently mentioned going back to the temple to learn to be a proper surgeon as well before we were… separated.” Master Jinn made a thoughtful noise.

“Do you have a sample of the boy’s blood by chance?”

“No, why would I have that?”

“To test the boy’s Midichlorian level.” Shmi called for her from inside and she gave the Master an odd look over her shoulder as she turned to head inside.

“I have no idea what a Midichlorian is, Master Jinn. Perhaps, when we’re back on board your ship, you can get the sample and test him yourself.” She stopped before going inside. “With his mother’s permission, of course.” Turning back to the waiting mother and son she smiled at them.

“Hey, uh, mom wanted to meditate again.” Giggling she pat his shoulder and motioned for the corner with the more comfortable rug.

“Of course, if Shmi wants to meditate before bed who am I to say no?”
Logged

Liera Buraaisuh
Knight Officer
*

Force Alignment: 32
Posts: 114


Mando'ad She'laar, Light Side Jetii


« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2021, 05:47:12 PM »

Chapter 3: Boonta Eve

The next day dawned bright and early, the twin suns shining down on the desert in a way that made her wish she had remained in bed. Traveling to the track with Master Jinn and Jar Jar she pulled her hood as far down as possible and kept quiet. She’d brought enough local currency to make a few small bets on the race, insurance in case Master Jinn’s plan went awry. Once they made it to the track she quickly blended with the crowd and made her way to where the bookies were taking bets. Looking over the odds she grimaced when she saw how little faith anyone had in Anakin.

Her plan was to place multiple smaller bets on different racers but something in the force nudged her, telling her to trust in the boy who had been kind enough to offer her shelter. “I’d like to place a bet on the human boy.”

Heading back to where the pit crews were servicing the Pods she locked onto Anakin’s force signature and quickly made her way over. The advice Master Jinn gave the boy was fair, if worded a little strangely for her tastes. Stepping over to the Pod she smiled at the boy.

“Remember what I taught you about breathing, okay? Don’t focus too hard on the consequences. Just focus on the finish line. We all believe in you.” He beamed up at her and she smiled back. “May the force be with you.”

Following Master Jinn and Jar Jar to the observation platform she heard Shmi ask if Anakin was nervous and the almost dismissive answer the man gave her. Frowning she gave Shmi’s hand a reassuring squeeze and a smile. “He’s a little nervous but he’s a very determined boy. He won’t let his nerves stop him.” The woman nodded, relaxing slightly. Jinn watched her but turned his focus to Padme when she spoke up.

“You Jedi are far too reckless. The Queen is not-” Master Jinn leaned down, almost looming over the girl.

“The Queen trusts my judgment, young handmaiden. You should too.” There was a sharp spike of indignation and anger in the girl and Liera paused to watch her for a moment. Oh. Oh no… Either she was related to the queen, a close confidant or even a good friend, or they weren’t talking to a simple handmaiden. Master Jinn had just put his foot in it- hard. Liera wanted to sigh in exasperation. Most of the Consulars she’d met didn’t act this… smug. She wondered if this was part of the reason her own master was such a clear-cut example of a Guardian.

“You assume too much.” Came the girl’s angry reply as the platform began to rise.

The race was a harrowing experience for them all, save, it seemed, for Master Jinn. Liera understood trusting in the force, she also understood when to let someone go, but the almost apathy she felt from the man worried her. Halfway through the race he went into a force meditation and it calmed her considerably. If he had to focus on keeping his emotions in check then perhaps she was reading him incorrectly.

Near the end of the race there were so many things that went wrong it made her heart race in her chest. She could see Shmi’s fear and concern for her son and quickly placed herself at her side, a hand gripping the woman’s shoulder so she knew that she had someone right there to lean on if she needed it.

When Anakin crossed the finish line in first they all let out relieved sighs before a feeling of bright celebration enveloped them. Shmi hugged both Liera and Padme, her force signature radiating joy.

Liera left them to go speak with the bookies and receive her winnings, bribing them with a cut of the winnings to forget she was ever there.

Later she slipped past the crowds and to Watto’s shop. The Toydarian was flitting around, muttering angrily to himself. “Excuse me.” He growled and turned to look at her, trying to smooth the agitation from his voice.

“A new customer! What’re you looking for?” Keeping her expression as neutral as she could Liera tossed the bag she’d been carrying on the floor.

“I’ve heard you have some new gambling debts, courtesy of an Outmain. I was hoping we could make a trade.” His eyes narrowed at her as she reached down and opened the bag. Inside was most of her winnings from the race and her previous gambling. She’d kept some back at Shmi’s home, just in case, but this was the majority of it.

“What is it you want?” He was wary of her but interested in her deal.

“All of this for your two slaves.” Watto shook his head.

“No good, the boy is already gone.” She stopped for a moment and scowled. Had someone offered to buy him? Had Watto bet the child during the race?

“Then half the price for the slave woman. She’ll be no use to you in a couple of years and I doubt you’ll get a better deal than this… especially at such an opportune time.” Gritting his teeth the Toydarian looked between the bag and her then back to the bag.

“Deal.”

“I want her transmitter now.” Once the device was in her hands she quickly split the money and made her way to the slave quarters. She had to find out if Anakin had been sold.

Bursting into the home, heart racing wildly, she saw Qui-gon kneeling in front of Anakin with Shmi sitting nearby. Her abrupt entrance startled them for a moment, Master Jinn standing to give her a look. “What’s happened?” The man asked her.

“I was just speaking with Watto.” Anakin and Shmi’s eyes widened. “I was able to buy Shmi away from him but he said that Anakin was already gone.” She knew that there was fear and anxiety in her signature, after all they’d been through together the past week she would easily admit she cared for the two who had taken such good care of her, even at the risk of themselves.

“Anakin has been freed.” Master Jinn said quietly. Liera almost crumpled in relief.

“Thank the Force.” A small sound caught both of the jedi’s attention and they turned to see a shaking Shmi, her hands over her mouth. Emotions poured from her so strongly that Liera shivered from the force of it. Anakin finally seemed to register the words and crowed with exuberance.

“Mom! We’re free mom!” Liera beamed at the two of them.

“I’ve already deactivated the transmitter. We’re free to leave at any time.” She looked at Master Jinn. The man was watching her contemplatively and nodded.

“Gather anything you wish to take with you. We should leave as soon as possible.”

[***]

The trip to the queen’s ship was not a short one. They rode through the desert in a group of six. Master Jinn, herself, Shmi, Anakin, C-3PO, and the guide who would take their eopies back to Mos Espa. The droid was a new addition, one that was a little on the obnoxious side but clearly meant well. The fact that Anakin had rebuilt the old droid himself from scraps was quite a feat. She was certain that even if he did not become a jedi he and his mother would find work easily on Coruscant as mechanics. She would be sure to speak the healers at the temple about finding them a good therapist to help with the slave mindset that was sure to follow them for years, even after they were freed.

Helping Anakin down from his eopie she smiled brightly at the blonde, his happiness radiating through the force making it impossible not to feel second hand giddiness. Shmi picked up their packs and came to stand next to her boy, eying the ship nearby with some hesitance.

Coming down the ramp was a padawan who looked to be older than her by at least five years and at most a decade. He eyed them all critically but she could see the friendly smile tugging at the corner of his lips. Beckoning Shmi and Anakin to come along she walked up to the ramp and gave the senior padawan a polite bow. “I am Padawan Liera Buraaisuh, pleased to make your acquaintance.” The young man put his hands in his sleeves and bowed to her in return.

“Padawan Obi-wan Kenobi, likewise.” He looked behind her at master Jinn who was helping the guide get the droid down off the eopie and raised an eyebrow before turning to regard the boy and his mother. “Good day, Padawan Obi-wan Kenobi, at your service.” Anakin smiled brightly at the man as his mother hovered protectively behind him.

“I’m Anakin Skywalker! This is my mom!” Liera giggled as the older Padawan blinked at the hyperactive boy.

“Shmi Skywalker, sir.” The woman said, looking nervously back at Jinn.

“Shmi, why don’t you take Anakin inside and find somewhere to put your things. It looks like Sir Jinn might need my help dealing with the guide.” Kenobi watched her, giving off a sense of mild surprise and curiosity. Shmi put her hand on her son’s shoulder and led him up into the ship, whispering to him even as she subconsciously masked as much of his presence as she could in the force.

“Sir Jinn? I didn’t realize he’d gained himself a new title.” Snorting in amusement she waited until Anakin and his mother were out of ear shot before she replied.

“You do not call someone master in front of recently freed slaves. If he were my master I would call him ‘Mentor Jinn,’ but he is not. So Sir Jinn is the closest I can get while still remaining respectful.” The older padawan watched her for a moment and she could sense a ripple of familiarity and sadness in him. He had dealt with slavery before.

“I see. I will help in whatever way I can to ensure they feel safe.” Liera smiled at him and nodded in appreciation. The more people who understood the better. Normally she would have been working with a much larger group to assess, heal, document, and resettle those freed from slavery. But without her master or any serviceable communications equipment she couldn’t exactly contact anyone to see where might be a safe place to send the two of them.

“Thank you.” Accepting her gratitude he turned and went back inside the ship, leaving her and Jinn outside.

Heading over to the guide she could hear the argument over whether or not C-3PO was counted as cargo or a passenger. She huffed and rolled her eyes, knowing her hood hid the action from sight. But even as their argument came to a close and Jinn was handing over the money her attention was stolen by an ominous feeling that was steadily growing closer. It took her a moment to feel the sensation through the blinding light that was Anakin’s force signature but when she finally recognized it for what it was she turned to Jinn in alarm.

“Master Jinn! There’s a darksider incoming!” The man turned to look at her, startled, before his attention shifted to the dunes. Instantly his lightsaber was in his hand as he noticed the rising dust cloud in the distance.

“Carry the droid to the ship and tell them to lift off.” Liera swallowed hard.

“I can’t.” The man gave her a stern look.

“You’ll do as I say, padawan.” She shook her head.

“No I can’t. I can’t lift him!” There was a moment of confusion then a spark of understanding.

“Get to the ship.” Turning she ran as quickly as she could for the ramp. Throwing herself inside she projected her need into the force and practically slammed into the older padawan’s mental shields. She felt him jump from the contact but it had him running to meet her.

“What in-” He took one look at her wide eyes and any anger died on his tongue.

“There’s a darksider coming. Jinn is going to take care of them, but I can’t get C-3PO. I can’t lift a droid.” Obi-wan looked at her in confusion. “I’ll tell the pilots to lift off, you get the droid and watch Jinn’s back.” Without another word she ran for the cockpit of the ship, using her ability to sense others to navigate the vessel. She nearly ran into a darker skinned man who grabbed onto her, looking confused.

“We need to take off, Master Jinn’s order. Something’s coming this way.” She didn’t know how much the man knew of darksiders but he felt like a protector to her in the force. The man let her go and they both ran to the cockpit.

They were able to catch some of the fight from the window and Liera found herself shaking as the ship lifted off the ground. There was a sick feeling pooling in the pit of her stomach but she shoved it away and focused on the fight. The red lightsaber was ominous, making her shudder with dread. Her master had faced down darksiders and remnants of the Dark Brotherhood before. This darksider felt similar to them, though nowhere near as powerful. The strongest of which actually knocked her unconscious for the duration of the fight.

“Keep the ramp extended and fly low.” One of the pilots looked back at her and frowned but the man next to her barked at them and they quickly obeyed.

Leaving the cockpit she ran back to the ramp but stayed well out of the way. Surprisingly Anakin’s droid was inside the ship. A moment later both of the jedi were inside and she was hitting the button to close the ramp, body shaking as she caught glimpses of the ground speeding away beneath them. She sank to her knees and took a moment to breathe through her panic.

“Are you alright?” Looking up at the older padawan she gave him a shaky smile and took the offered hand.

“I’ll be f-fine. Flying and I just don’t get along well, that’s all.” Kenobi looked a little taken aback but nodded in understanding.

“How did you sense the darksider so quickly?” Turning to Master Jinn she frowned slightly. It sounded very close to an accusation but he only looked curious.

“My master was sent on a lot of missions to root out darksiders, I’m familiar with the feeling by now.” She hugged herself and tried not to shudder again. “I’m also uniquely strong in the Living Force. I told you, Master Jinn, I’m a healer.” The man frowned but it wasn’t aimed at her so she ignored it.

“Where is your master, if I might ask?” Kenobi asked, brow quirked primly. Liera’s eyes found the floor.

“Gone. He’s… gone.” Without saying another word she turned away from the two of them and went to find Anakin and Shmi. They would need to be reassured that they were safe and if she was being honest she needed to reassure herself that they were safe too.
Logged

Liera Buraaisuh
Knight Officer
*

Force Alignment: 32
Posts: 114


Mando'ad She'laar, Light Side Jetii


« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2021, 06:22:21 AM »

Chappter 4: Journey

Sitting with Anakin, Padme, and Shmi in the small mess area she smiled at the blonde boy as he came to help her carry the mugs of warm tea. After they had escaped the darksider the pilots had quickly jumped to hyperspace and were now well on their way to Coruscant. It had been some time since Liera had set foot on the planet, months at least, and she wondered if any of her crechemates would be home to see her. With how spread out they tended to be she wasn’t surprised she couldn’t feel any of their force signatures. Especially with Anakin walking around, little star that he was.

“Thank you.” Looking up into Shmi’s kind eyes she smiled and ducked her head. She wanted to tell the woman it was nothing but she knew exactly how important freedom was to a former slave.

“You’re welcome, Shmi.” She hoped that when the arrived on Coruscant she would be able to find them a suitable program quickly. Maybe she would put in a word with Master Valixi and see if she couldn’t keep in contact until the mother and son duo were settled. She could offer to continue tutoring Anakin until he felt comfortable enough with a new teacher. She would need something to look forward to when she finally returned to the temple, now that her master was…

Hand trembling slightly she put the mug of warm tea on the table and took a few slow breaths to calm herself. She couldn’t go falling apart now. Watching Anakin snuggle against his mother, babbling happily, made her smile, although she noticed how the two of them were beginning to shiver and frowned. She had forgotten how cold space travel could be.

As if sensing the same thing she did Padme got up and disappeared for a moment before coming back into the room with a couple of blankets. Anakin thanked her loudly before bundling himself up tight.

“Why is it so cold?” He asked.

“Space travel is very cold in general, since we’re traveling between the stars, and your planet was very warm since it had two suns.” Anakin nodded and pulled his mug closer so he could sip at the hot liquid. Liera herself was used to the vast darkness and seeping cold by now, even if it still made her uncomfortable. Her cloak was enough to keep the slight chill off of her skin and it was definitely better than the heat of Tatooine.

Qui-gon entered the cafeteria and strode over to their table, his eyes scanning over the group and stopping at Liera for a moment before his gaze shifted to Anakin and Shmi. Liera kept herself calm and smiled politely as the man came closer. They hadn’t spoken after his fight with the darksider and she had a feeling he had a lot of questions for her. But for now his focus seemed to be on Anakin. Liera had a strange feeling about it in the pit of her stomach but she quickly acknowledged that the boy was not her responsibility and that Master Jinn was a Jedi and would not hurt the boy. She was still rattled from the darksider showing up, that had to be it.

“I was wondering if I could have a moment of your time,” he began, bowing slightly to Shmi, “to talk about your son.” Shmi looked over at her and she smiled reassuringly.

“What about him, Sir Jedi?” Shmi asked as she stroked the boy’s hair, being careful not to bump him as he took another sip of the warm tea.

“I would like to test his Midichlorian levels.” When further explanation wasn’t given, the man just standing there and looking at her serenely, Shmi turned to Liera.

“What are Midichlorians?” The woman asked her, biting on her lower lip in concern. “Is it something dangerous?”

“I’m afraid I don’t know what Sir Jinn is talking about either.” The man twitched and turned to regard her carefully with a small frown.

“I see.” The man said, something skeptical and wary coloring his force presence for a moment before he turned to smile at Shmi. “Midichlorians are used to judge how strong a connection a jedi has with the force. They are not harmful and your son is in no danger. It will just help us understand how much training he’ll require once we get to Coruscant.” Liera frowned. She had never learned of Midichlorians in any of her own classes and wondered when such a thing had been discovered. She was certain one of her friends who worked in the halls of healing would have contacted her to let her know something that big.

“Well… if it won’t hurt him…” Shmi looked to her and Liera gave her a comforting smile. She didn’t want to undermine the woman’s trust of the jedi and even if Jinn was a little on the abrasive side, in her opinion, it wasn’t odd for a master to want to test a newly found force sensitive’s connection with the force.

“Why don’t we let him finish his tea first. Then we can all go to the medical room and I can give you both a check-up.” The woman smiled and Liera could see the appreciation in her eyes. Of course Shmi wouldn’t want to leave her son alone with a strange man, jedi or no, in a new place she’d never been before.

“Can we get our chips out now?” Anakin asked, looking between Jinn, his mother, and her. Liera’s shoulders fell slightly and she gave him a sad smile.

“Unless they have an advanced med-droid on board I’m afraid we can’t take them out right now. I might be a healer but I’m not a surgeon.” Anakin looked crestfallen but his mother quickly pulled him closer and cuddled him.

“It’s alright Ani. The chips are deactivated. We can wait a little longer. Patience and endurance, yes?” Anakin nodded solemnly and drank the rest of his tea.

“Obi-wan, would you take them to the medical room and run a quick blood test on Anakin?” Jinn asked over the comm.

“Of course, Mentor. I’ll be there in a moment.” Liera stood to follow but was held back by Jinn. Frowning up at him she stepped back and waited, hands clasped in front of her.

“You wanted to speak with me, Sir Jinn?” The man’s brow wrinkled slightly and he watched her for a moment.

“Padawan, this disrespectful attitude needs to stop. You have been consistently trying to undermine my authority and I will have none of it. Our mission is too important.” Liera opened her mouth then closed it again in surprise. Is that what he thought she was doing? She reviewed her previous actions with a frown and sighed. She supposed that her actions could be taken that way. This man didn’t know her or her personal history, after all.

“Master Jinn, do you really believe that I am acting this way in order to thumb my nose at your authority? I may be a bit brusque, it comes with being a healer I’m afraid, but I would not purposefully disrespect a jedi master.” She shook her head. “I am certain that your mission is of the utmost importance, and the queen would agree, but it is not my mission. My focus is on Shmi and her son. They are going to need a lot of help and time to adjust to a life outside of slavery.” Jinn watched her, brow wrinkled with thought. “You do not call someone master in front of recently freed slaves. It makes them uncomfortable and confused, keeps them in the slave mentality longer than necessary.” She looked the man in the eyes as she spoke, letting him feel the truth of her words in the force. “On top of that, I am both a woman and young enough that Shmi does not see me as a threat. But a full grown man of your size… we don’t know what that woman has suffered through and I have not heard her speak once of Anakin’s father, living or dead. I can only assume that it is a touchy subject.” Liera looked toward where she could feel Anakin and Shmi’s presence. “From what I’ve observed she is clearly wary of men.” Jinn was quiet for a moment before the tension in his shoulders relaxed.

“I understand where you are coming from, young padawan. We will talk more about this later.” Liera bowed politely and quickly exited the room.

“Ah, there you are. Anakin and his mother were becoming a little anxious.” The older padawan said with a small, concerned, frown.

“Thank you, Padawan Kenobi, I shall go see them now.” She paused and looked up at the older padawan. “Do you know how to do this test Sir Jinn wants done?” The young man nodded. “Can you do one for myself and Shmi as well?” He frowned but slowly nodded. “Thank you.”

Going into the medical room she was almost bowled over by a speeding blonde body as it slammed into her middle. She gasped and wheezed as Shmi chastised her son. The boy looked up at her sheepishly, giving off waves of contrition in the force, but he still didn’t let her go. “It’s alright. No harm done.” Walking the boy back to his mother she sat down on the medical table with a smile. “Alright. Since none of us know about these Midichlorians I’m going to go first so you can see that it’s nothing harmful. Padawan Kenobi has generously offered to help me.” Anakin and Shmi looked at the young man, who gave them a serene smile, exuding calm and safety.

It was a simple blood test analysis, nothing to be particularly fussed over. He recorded the number then turned to her with a smile. “Your Midichlorian count is ten thousand. To be considered for jedi training one must have a count of over seven-thousand. Your count is fairly average.” Liera felt some of her nerves settle and she smiled.

“Thank you Padawan Kenobi.” The young man waved her off.

“Obi-wan, please.” She nodded and slipped off the medical table.

“Then you must call me Liera in return.” Turning to Anakin and Shmi she gave them a reassuring look. “Shmi? Would you like to go first?” The woman was a little anxious but she held out her hand so that Obi-wan might take a small blood sample. When he was finished Liera took her hand and healed the small puncture with the force. Shmi gave her a look of gratitude and hugged her son.

“Lady Shmi, your count is seven thousand and three hundred.” The young man looked at the woman in surprise. “But… I can’t feel you in the force?” Liera quickly jumped in.

“Shmi’s shields are top notch. I believe she’s been subconsciously using her abilities to hide herself and her son.” Obi-wan frowned a little, but moved on at her quiet prompting.

Anakin pouted but let himself be tested, gaping up at Liera in awe when she healed him as she had Shmi. She also gave him a quick once over with the force and healed any damage he’d suffered during the race. “Wizard!” He breathed in awe, sending waves of power back to her, trying to copy what she’d done. She shivered momentarily and let him go, cheeks flushed with warmth from the praise and his appreciation she could physically feel in the force.

“Maybe you’ll go on to be a jedi healer?” She teased. Anakin beamed at her before looking up at his mother.

“This can’t be right…” Obi-wan stated in confusion.

“What’s wrong?”

“Anakin’s Midichlorian count, it’s the highest I’ve ever seen. Not even Grandmas- uh Councilor Yoda has a count this high.” Liera was grateful he’d tried to stop himself from calling Yoda the Grandmaster in front of Shmi and Anakin. But this whole number business was a bit beyond her. “For now I’m going to tentatively say that his count is at least seventeen thousand. But we’ll have to check back at the temple for a proper count.” The young man looked indignantly at the machine, as if it was the sole cause of this strange phenomenon, making Liera stifle a giggle.

“Now that the test is concluded I’m going to do a quick check-up for Shmi. Then we can decide what to do next. Alright, Shmi? Anakin?” Mother and son both nodded in understanding and she quickly scanned Shmi with the force. Surprisingly the older padawan didn’t take his leave. Instead he chose to stay and observe her, trying to see what she was doing in the force. Once she was certain that both mother and son were in good enough health, at least for recently freed slaves, she led them out of the small medical bay with a quiet thank you to Obi-wan.

“What shall we do now?” As if summoned by the force one of the handmaidens appeared from another room on the ship and smiled at them.

“Her Majesty has requested an audience with you, Lady Jedi. Is now an appropriate time?” Obi-wan, walking along behind them, looked over at her and smiled.

“I will get these two settled in a cabin. Would you like the three of you to stay together?” Anakin bounced on his feet, still clearly full of energy.

“Yeah! I mean uh… can we mom?” He looked up at Shmi who smiled and ran a hand through his hair.

“As long as she doesn’t mind it.” Liera beamed at the two of them.

“I don’t mind at all. Besides, it would be easier to lead meditation before bed if we’re all in the same place.” With that matter settled she parted from Shmi and Anakin to follow the handmaiden.

“In here, Lady Jedi.” Liera entered the room and stopped a few feet from the young Queen, bowing politely.

“You called for me, your Majesty?” The young woman watched her carefully, dark eyes assessing. Liera could tell she was someone she had not yet met, her spirit had more greens than Padme. Her eyes slid over the assembled handmaidens until they landed on the young woman she’d met earlier. The girls seemed to notice this and bristled slightly.

“We wished to thank you for your assistance on our mission.” Liera looked back to the possible impostor and gave her a small smile.

“It was nothing, Majesty. Just doing my duty as a Jedi. Although your thanks are appreciated greatly.” She knew from experience than not taking compliments could be seen as the height of rudeness, depending on culture. So she played it safe, hoping that it was acceptable behavior for the Naboo.

“Nonetheless, we wished to speak with you about the state of slavery in the galaxy. We were under the impression that slavery had been eradicated.” Liera sucked in a breath and held it for a moment.

“May I sit, your Majesty? The explanation will be a long one.” The woman’s eyes flickered to Padme who gave a subtle nod. The ‘Queen’ turned back to her and caught her staring at Padme. The handmaidens all froze.

“You know, don’t you?” Was the question posed to her.

“I suspect, but I do not know. I have a unique power, even among the jedi. I can see into someone’s personality, their soul if you will. I’m also uniquely tuned to body language as someone who has studied to be a therapist and mind healer. To be fair,” she looked them over with a grin, “I think that only someone of my caliber might see it as quickly as I did. Although Master Jinn might suspect something already. He is in tune with the Living Force, which is based on intuition and following the force instinctively.” The girls all looked at one another before Padme came to sit near the front of the handmaidens.

“I am Queen Amidala, I trust you won’t tell anyone?” Liera gave her a deep bow.

“No one will find out from me, Padme. I don’t want to undermine whatever safety measures you have in place.” The girl relaxed, as did the others around her.

“Please, sit, and tell us about the state of slavery in the galaxy.” Sitting cross legged she steeled herself for a conversation she knew was not going to go over well. Padme was a deeply caring person with a strong sense of justice. Learning exactly how sheltered she had been on her planet was sure to be a blow. But Liera had faith that she would bounce back even more fierce than before.
Logged

Liera Buraaisuh
Knight Officer
*

Force Alignment: 32
Posts: 114


Mando'ad She'laar, Light Side Jetii


« Reply #9 on: March 07, 2021, 07:58:00 AM »

Chapter 5: Coruscant (Part 1)

The descent toward Coruscant was exciting for Anakin and Liera could practically feel the vibration of his emotions in her bones. If it wasn't for his mother she wouldn't even be able to stay in the same room as the boy. And it was only going to get worse as he got older.

"Welcome to Coruscant. The entire planet is one big city." The pilot said, glancing back at Anakin and Shmi with a small smile. The man had been very kind during the entirety of the trip, allowing Anakin to visit the cockpit and learn more about the ship to keep his mind occupied. It had helped Shmi immensely as well, since the woman was still coming to terms with the fact that she had been freed. "There's Chancellor Valorum's shuttle. And look over there, Senator Palpatine is waiting for us." Liera frowned a little, stepping back out into the hall. She should have expected a new Chancellor. If she was far into the future then there was a high chance she wouldn't know or recognize anyone. Yet she'd been trying so hard no to think of it, so focused on just getting off Tatooine with Shmi and Anakin.

She would have to spend some time in the archives going over all of the major changes since her... time period. It was still so hard for her to accept, even with all the proof she had been shown already. Her mind just wasn't ready to believe she was so far from everything she had known.

Following Jinn and Obi-wan out onto the platform she felt a small weight lift from her shoulders. She was so glad to be home after everything that had happened, even if it wasn't strictly the same home as before. Hopefully she could- a sudden dark and oppressive feeling in the force made her let out a small gasp. Next to her Shmi grabbed her hand and squeezed it gently in reassurance, looking down at her with concern. Anakin, taking his cues from his mother, took her other hand and gave her a shaky smile. She squeezed their hands in return and schooled her presence to calm, pulling Shmi and Anakin with her into serenity.

She bowed when Jinn did, letting go of Shmi's hand automatically when the woman pulled her hands toward her body to bow as she had been raised. Anakin followed her lead, looking a little confused. Brushing against his presence she sent waves of understanding and calm before subtly shifting so she could hand the boy off to his mother. He was getting a little too agitated for her to handle.

Next the Queen's entourage stepped forward, with Rabe dressed in black regalia. Next to her, dressed in the orange handmaiden's uniform, Padme glanced at them and smiled. Liera hid her grin and gave her a polite nod in return. Next to her Shmi ran her hands through Anakin's hair, shielding the both of them until they were like flickering candles. It was impressive but Liera couldn't help the spike of concern she felt. Shmi was clearly struggling to keep the both of them hidden, contained. She would have to speak with both of them about having Anakin learn to shield himself in the same manner.

"It is a great gift to see you alive, your majesty. With the communications breakdown we've been very concerned. I am anxious to hear your report on the situation. May I present to you the Supreme Chancellor Valorum?" Turning when the Senator began to speak she looked at the man curiously for a moment before her eyes finally registered what she was seeing. She had been so focused on the change in the force around her, on her relief of being back o Coruscant, and her concern for the mother and son duo, that she hadn't actually been paying attention to the newcomers. The Senator was a black swirling mass in the force, a ball of hatred and disdain. If she had to classify him she would automatically assume he was a psychopath, just from this vision alone. He had no warmth to him, although he did an amazing job hiding that fact.

"Welcome, your highness. It's an honor to finally meet you in person." While the Chancellor looked far more stern than the Senator there was an inner warmth to him as he looked upon the handmaiden playing the role of the Queen.

"Thank you, Supreme Chancellor." Rabe said politely as the group began to walk off the landing platform.

"I must relay to you how distressed everyone is over the current situation. I've called for a special session of the senate to hear your position." Liera was impressed, though not surprised. Naboo was not a core world but they had a strong enough voice in the senate.

"I am grateful for your concern, Chancellor." Rabe said politely.

"There is a question of procedure but I am confident we can overcome it." The Senator told the young queen with a friendly smile. Liera was starting to feel very uncomfortable near that man, and it was patently clear to her that Shmi was likewise discomfited by his presence. She pulled her son closer to her and looked to Liera.

"I must speak with the jedi council immediately. The situation has become much more complicated." Glancing back toward Jinn and his padawan she was given a stern look and quickly turned back around. Padme motioned them to follow along with the queen and she nodded in understanding. Either Jinn would let her in on what was going on or he would continue his mission without her.

Once they'd made it to where the queen would be housed Liera and Shmi were gently led away from the others by the handmaidens and taken to the large bathing room. Shmi almost shook with fear at the amount of water in the pool but Liera and the girls were able to sit her down and help her wash all the dust and dirt from her body. With the lack of sand in her hair and grit on her face she looked a lot closer to her age.

The handmaidens were gentle and kind as they coaxed Shmi into a lovely but utilitarian dress meant for high class servants, the only thing they had on hand for her to wear at the moment. Then that attention turned to Liera.

In the end she was given a handmaiden uniform to wear while they cleaned her tunics. It was a kind gesture, although she couldn't wear the headscarves. While this was happening the others had started working on making Padme up as the queen again, so she could take her rightful place when talking to the Senator. Liera hesitated a moment before addressing Padme. "I know we've only recently met and you might think I'm just trying to stir things up but... that man, your Senator? He is not a good person." The shocked looks on the girls faces made her wince. But Padme stared at her, silently assessing her for a moment.

"What makes you say that?" Liera felt all the air rush out of her lungs in relief. At the very least the other girl would listen to what she had to say.

"My unique ability in the force." Padme's eyes lit with understanding and she nodded. "That man is, at a glance, a psychopath." The handmaidens stiffened in surprise, almost looking as if they wanted to search out weapons to defend the young queen. Liera smiled grimly at them. "Do not misunderstand. There are many psychopaths in the galaxy, and not all of them are evil or harmful. With proper therapy and support a psychopath can learn to navigate society without hurting anyone their entire lives. The problem with your Senator is that he is also a narcissist, manipulative and cold, selfish and self-centered. He will always do what is best for himself first." There was a long silence as the girls took in this information. Padme looked right into her eyes and nodded.

"Then we will be cautious of his suggestions, but there is nothing we can do at this time. He is our democratically elected Senator." Liera nodded, feeling terrible that she had to be the one to once again upend the young queen's worldview. The handmaidens, noticing the time, quickly finished dressing Padme and went ahead to inform the Senator she would be out in a moment.

Before she left Padme took Liera's hands in her own and gave her a smile. "That must have been very hard to do, not knowing if we would believe you or not. I want to thank you for explaining things to me without trying to make them seem better than they are. If I want to enact real change in the galaxy I need to know the truth of it. So thank you." Liera squeezed her hands in reply, feeling tears prickle at the corner of her eyes. Not everyone would have thanked her for her honesty. In fact telling the truth had gotten her into more trouble than being on a battlefield ever did.

"I can promise you one thing, Padme, I will always tell the truth, even if it hurts. As a jedi I must do my best to be impartial, but I want you to know that we, the jedi, do care about those in our care. We just want what's best for the galaxy." Padme smiled and nodded. "Now, don't keep the Senator waiting. He might look it but he's not a patient man." Padme snorted, a fierce light entering her eyes.

"Well, unfortunately for him the Queen ranks higher. He can only advise, not order." Liera smirked. Queen Amidala had entered the building, nothing was going to stop that whirlwind. "Here." Liera blinked at the comm unit held out to her. "It is the same one that all the handmaidens carry. Just in case of an emergency. If you ever have need of our help we will do all we can to aid you." Liera took the comm unit with a bright smile.

"Thank you, your Majesty. I hope we can keep in touch." The girl smiled then turned, straightened her back, head held high, and swept out of the room like a highborn lady.

Liera left to find Shmi and Anakin. The three of them waited in one of the other rooms, not allowed to sit in on the talk taking place in the sitting room. Galactic politics was not for them and besides, the Temple escort would be there to meet them soon. Thankfully Liera was able to change back into her newly cleaned tunics and re-braid her hair properly before the jedi arrived. She wanted to look like a proper padawan.

When they arrived the two jedi looked at her in surprise and she looked back at them in resignation. Of course neither of them would know her and she wouldn’t recognize them. Next to her Anakin gave her a small frown, probably sensing her unease. Pushing her emotions to the side for now she gave him and his mother a calm smile before urging them to follow the older jedi out of the building.

Her unease only grew the closer they came to the temple. There wasn’t a single thing that was familiar to her, which she had suspected would happen considering Coruscant was ever expanding. At some point she would have to visit the places her old haunts had been located to see if anything she had known was still standing. The museum, the hospital where she used to volunteer when they were stuck in the temple between missions, the all-ages dance club where she used to blow off steam, and the beautiful bioluminescent gardens that reminded her of her trip to her birth planet.

Entering the temple she tried not to be surprised by the lack of familiar presences. She knew they wouldn’t be there, she knew. But knowing and feeling were often two different things. Instinctively reaching for her bonds to comfort herself she felt a pulse of pain inside her mind and winced, letting out a small hiss between clenched teeth.

The assistant healers must have sensed her sudden confusion and pain as they ran over and gently took her hands in their own, trying to ease her pain with the force. Liera shook her head, trying to clear it, but it was as if her mind was filled with a low buzzing static. “I’ll be alright.” Her voice was small and weak, barely above a whisper. She knew her friends wouldn’t be able to reach out to her. Just as she knew she wouldn’t be able to contact her master.

“Liera? What’s wrong?” Looking at Anakin she bit her lip, unsure how to explain it to him. Heck, she wasn’t sure how she was going to explain it to her fellow jedi. It was going to sound like the ravings of a mad person.

“I’m just a little out of sorts, Anakin. A headache, nothing more. I’ll be okay once the healers have taken a look at me.” Force she hoped so. It was as if something was pressing on the back of her eyes and pulsing in her temples. Shmi wrapped her arms around her son and pulled him back a little, trying to keep out of the way of the healers. She too was looking at Liera in concern.

"What is going on here?" A twi'lek healer came storming out into the hall, looking very much like she might throw everyone out if they caused her any issues.

"Master Che. We were told to bring these three to the halls for an examination, but she started to panic suddenly." The female looked at her and Liera had no idea who she was. But she was someone that held a lot of sway over other jedi, that was for sure. The knight standing nearby looked terrified of her.

"I am Vokara Che, Chief Healer of these halls." The female said, eyeing her carefully. Liera bit her lip and nodded.

“Liera Buraaisuh, padawan specializing in force healing.” She gave the woman a respectful bow, even as it made her stomach swoop with nausea. Whatever this was she wouldn’t be able to heal it herself, she could tell.

“Hm, you need to lay down padawan. I can tell from here that you’re in a lot of pain.” Anakin’s eyes widened and he looked at her sadly. Liera gave him a pained, yet hopefully reassuring, smile.

“A little rest will do me good. But please, see to Anakin and Shmi first. They will both require surgery to remove their slave chips and will need to be in the care of the temple until they find their footing.” Shmi looked at her in surprise, eyes shining as she hugged her son even harder to her. The boy just looked at the ground, scowling and tugging at his shirt in discomfort.

Following the healing assistant she sat down cradling her head and trying not to think about how Master Valixi would have liked his replacement. She was like a tightly coiled whirlwind of energy with a core of determination. Anakin found her brusqueness a little scary but with his mother there he wasn’t as afraid as he would have been otherwise.

Once the Skywalkers were being seen to by a senior healer, an older Tholotian female, Master Che finally came into her room to check on her. Liera looked up and cocked her head to the side curiously as the chief healer just sat nearby quietly. “What are we waiting for?” She asked, curious and trying to take her mind off the raw pain shooting through her mind. What was wrong with her? She should be able to heal herself, yet whenever she tried the pain would spike and she’d feel like throwing up.

“For your records.” Liera nodded. The first thing they’d taken was a blood sample in order to find her in the system. It wasn’t a long wait.

"Master Che!" Someone called from down the hall. Suddenly human male came rushing into the room, holding a readout. "We found her in the system." His face was drained of color and he kept staring at Liera as if she shouldn't exist. The master healer looked over the readout then back to the male then looked at her.

"Your name is Liera Buraaisuh, born 229 ARR, correct?" Liera nodded.

"Yes, Master Che. And despite how it sounds, it is the truth." The master looked back at the datapad before thrusting it at her assistant.

“This isn’t going to go over well.” She muttered before turning to Liera. “The last record we have of you is from 245 ARR.” Liera let out a small sigh, her shoulders slumping in defeat.

“I know, Master Che. I found out while I was on Tatooine.” Admitting to what she knew made her chest feel tight and she instinctively coughed to try and clear it of the heaviness. “I know what the current date is.” She closed her eyes against the burning heat building behind her eyes. “I know that everyone I’ve known is now one with the force. That they-” Her throat tightened and she let out a ragged breath.

“How strong are your bonds, Padawan?” Master Che’s voice was firm yet there was an undercurrent of alarm in the force around her.

“I’ve always made strong bonds, Master Che. I can feel my crechemates from the other side of a planet, and my master from other planets away. They know I can see into their very souls and that any bond they created with me meant that there would be no filter between us. My species is naturally empathic to begin with.” The master looked at her sadly.

“Have you ever lost anyone before?” She shook her head. So far none of her crechemates or close friends had died… until now.

“Oh.” She said, finally realizing why her mind was in such a tattered state and her shields felt full of holes. “My bonds, they’re all-” gone.
Logged

Liera Buraaisuh
Knight Officer
*

Force Alignment: 32
Posts: 114


Mando'ad She'laar, Light Side Jetii


« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2021, 03:28:56 PM »

Chapter 5: Coruscant (Part 2)

Snapping awake she gasped and gulped in a lungful of air, her heart beating heavily in her chest. Looking up at the ceiling she frowned as an incessant beeping drilled into her already aching head, sounding vaguely familiar…

Worried brown eyes met hers as she glanced over at the person sitting next to her bed. It took her a moment to recognize the woman as Shmi Skywalker. “It’s alright, the… healer will be here momentarily.” Nodding she carefully lifted herself up into a seated position, smiling thankfully when Shmi began to fuss and rearrange the pillows so she had something to lean against.

“How long was I out?” She knew she’d fallen unconscious and the reason why.

“You’ve been asleep for just over a day. The woman in charge told us not to worry but…” Liera nodded.

“Of course you’d be concerned, I would be in your position.” Looking around the room her eyes stopped on the slumped over form of Anakin. It appeared he’d fallen asleep in the middle of working on… something. His fluffy blonde hair was a mess and his mouth hung open as he snored. She couldn’t help the bright spark of warm amusement that went through her at the sight. An echo of bright joy flickered across her mind and she stilled in confusion.

There should be no one in her mind. All of her connections had been severed when she traveled forward into the future.

“Liera?” A sleep slurred voice called out from across the room. Blinking she looked into bright blue eyes and heard a startled gasp. Before she could register what had happened she found herself wrapped up in a hug, the little blonde dangling half off her medical bed as he poured excitement and joy into the force. It was almost too much.

“Ani, give her some room to breathe, she just woke up.” Shmi said gently, carefully tugging on the blanket to ensure Liera stayed tucked into the bed.

“I’m so happy you’re awake! Healer Che said that something was wrong with your head, that you’d been hurt.” He looked up at her worriedly and she gave him a reassuring smile, running a hand through his messy blonde locks. “I saw them take you out of the room and you were already unconscious. They didn’t know what was wrong with you but I told them you were disconnected.” She winced. Anakin was far more sensitive than she had given him credit for if he had been able to sense how her bonds had all been severed. “It was like you were bleeding, but from your soul.” His eyes became sad, filled with a seriousness she knew came from a life of familiarity with suffering. “So I stopped it.”

“You what?” She asked, uncertain she had heard him correctly.

“You know how when you’re bleeding you can use fire to make it stop?” She frowned.

“You cauterize the wound, yes.” He nodded and his mother looked pained.

“I did that, kinda.” Liera looked at the boy for a moment before she reached inward, looking for the tattered remains of her force bonds. Rather than the jagged edges of shorn mental bonds she found a solid golden ribbon shimmering in her mind’s eye. Examining it for a moment she brushed against it and watched the boy beside her jump in surprise.

“W-was that you?” With a groan she reached up and rubbed at her temples.

“Anakin… First of all I want to thank you for helping me. That was very brave.” The boy smiled for a moment then faltered when she began talking again. “However. Using the force on someone’s mind, especially without their express permission, is very frowned upon. You are not trained how to do it properly and could have hurt myself, yourself, or the both of us.” He swallowed hard, eyes finding the floor and chin lowering in guilt.

That would not do at all.

Reaching over she pulled him further onto the bed and gave him a comforting hug. “I’m not saying that it wasn’t a big help, that you did it for anything but the best reasons, and I’m not angry at you. But a sentient’s mind is sometimes the only thing they have left that is theirs. Abusing that kind of power has terrible consequences.” She brushed some of his hair out of his face with a small smile. “Although, now that we know you have the talent you may very well have a career as a mind healer in the future.” The boy looked up at her in confusion.

“What’s a mind healer?”

“Some hurts are invisible, hidden deep in the mind and the soul, where no one can see them. Mind healers are the sentients who find those hurts and help heal them. They are some of the people I respect most.” Looking over at Shmi she saw the woman nodding along, content to sit near them and wait with her for a healer to appear. By now the heart monitor had slowed to match Liera’s much calmer heartbeat.

The Chief Healer entered the room, mouth a thin line. Her eyes softened when she spied Anakin on the bed next to Liera but that didn’t stop her from shooing the boy away. “You can move back once I’ve had a moment to examine her.” She said as she reached out to place her fingers against Liera’s temple. Closing her eyes she watched the healer as she sent the force through her body, making sure she was physically okay before moving on to her mind.

‘Ah, you did mention you specialized in healing.’ She sent amusement and agreement in the force as Master Che gently prodded at her bonds. Nearby Anakin jumped, eyes wide like someone had jumped out and startled him. ‘He’s very powerful to have created a bond like this on his own. Are you planning on keeping it?’ She winced and Anakin’s expression became worried.

‘I believe dissolving it at the moment would hurt Anakin and myself. He doesn’t know enough to guard against such things.’ The chief healer grudgingly agreed as she carefully slipped back out of Liera’s mind.

“You can both stop fretting, she’s fine. A little tired still but I didn’t find anything immediately wrong. We’ll be asking you to return to the halls a few times in the next week or so to ensure we haven’t missed anything but as soon as you feel able you are free to leave. The quartermaster has already found a suite for the three of you.” Liera’s eyes went wide in confusion.

“Neither Shmi nor her son wanted to leave you, they said you’re like family, and they will feel more comfortable being in the temple if they are with someone familiar.” She frowned and turned to Shmi.

“Are you not going to go through the repatriation program?” Shmi smiled at her, her eyes flicking up to the master healer and back.

“Sir Jinn said that he wanted to talk to the Council about training Ani…” Liera frowned. As the jedi who found Shmi and Anakin she was currently their first contact and temporary guardian. A Master, normally the padawan’s own master, would be able to take over that position but not if Shmi or Anakin decided they didn’t feel safe with them. She would have to explain their rights to Shmi when the three of them were alone.

Tugging the blanket off her body she slid out of bed and onto the floor. Three pairs of eyes followed her and she could sense their emotions. Worry, concern, assessment.

“I’m alright. I’ve been resting long enough and the Chief Healer said I was free to leave, right?” Master Che nodded. “Then why don’t we all go find our suite and see what we have to work with. I might be a healer but even I don’t like these.” She motioned at the simple tunic and pants she was wearing. While they were very soft, made of an inoffensive fabric in a pale blue, it was not  her own clothes. “Besides, I could really do with a wash.”

“I’ll call someone to guide you.” Master Che said before leaving the room.

“She’s kinda scary.” Anakin mumbled. Liera laughed.

“All healers are scary and if they’re in charge of your health you should listen to what they say. Unless you feel it could hurt you or others.” She said with a serious expression.

“Is that your personal opinion as a healer?” Shmi asked her with an amused twinkle in her eye. Liera chuckled.

“Padawan Buraaisuh, I’m here to lead you to your quarters if you’re ready.” A Mon Calamari wearing padawan beads looked into the room with a gentle smile. Anakin stared and Liera could feel curious/confusion/apprehension through their new bond.

“Thank you, we’ll be right out.” The older padawan nodded and stepped back outside, letting the door slide shut.

“What are they?” He asked, curious.

“Ani, don’t be rude.” The boy looked sheepishly at his mother and Liera snorted.

“They are a Mon Calamari, from Mon Cala. It’s an ocean planet in the Outer Rim. They’re amphibious.” She sighed at the powerful flash of confusion in her mind. She would have to erect barriers in her mind to dim how much she received. Anakin really was like a miniature star. “Amphibious means they can live in water or on land. Now gather whatever it was you were working on so we can go. I really want that shower.” Anakin gave her a little grin and darted over to the table, gathering whatever it was he’d been working on and wrapping it up before stuffing it in his pocket.
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Liera Buraaisuh
Knight Officer
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Force Alignment: 32
Posts: 114


Mando'ad She'laar, Light Side Jetii


« Reply #11 on: March 12, 2021, 03:30:18 PM »

Chapter 5: Coruscant (Part 3)

When they reached their shared quarters Anakin rushed off to explore the rooms while Shmi hesitated just inside the door. Liera smiled and put a hand on her arm. “You’re safe here, Shmi. I promise you. I’m right here with you.” Nodding she finally took the first few tentative steps into the main living area, looking around curiously.

Liera wasn’t surprised when the first thing Shmi went to actually inspect was the small kitchen.

Checking in on Anakin she smiled and told him he and his mother could share the larger of the two rooms, as she didn’t need a lot of space. He wandered into the larger room to investigate while she picked up a temporary set of robes and headed into the fresher to get cleaned.

Standing under the warm spray, certain that she couldn’t be overheard, she leaned her head against the wall and let the tears come. She could feel Anakin’s alarm as her grief spilled down the bond but she brushed against his mind with reassurance and he settled down. She could sense that his mother had gone to see what was wrong.

Although she had the right training, had been raised to understand that everyone became one with the force when they died, it still didn’t stop the feeling of loss that overcame her. Embracing the emotion she let herself acknowledge what she was feeling and slowly let some of it out into the force. The rest she carefully pushed to the back of her mind for later. Grief and loss weren’t things you could just get over after a good cry, even if crying did help to release some of the stress.

She finished getting clean and following her usual routine, letting her hands work automatically as she thought about how to explain everything to the Skywalkers. Looking at her reflection in the mirror she saw the slight redness around her eyes and sighed. With her pale complexion it was easy to tell she had been crying. Not that she was trying to hide it.

Coming out into the living area she smiled at the Skywalkers who were sitting on the couch, Shmi’s arms around her son as he leaned into her embrace. The poor boy looked distraught. The moment he sensed her approach he looked at her and she swore she could feel the weight of his gaze. It was then she knew- whatever he chose to do with his new life he would succeed.

She lowered herself to a cushion on the floor across from the Skywalkers. On the table she found three cups of tea and gave Shmi a bright smile. “Thank you.”

“Please, it’s the least I can do.” Shmi said, trying to wave away her gratitude. She shook her head. These two really were too kind in some ways.

“Are you okay?” Anakin asked her, prodding at their bond although she wasn’t certain whether it was conscious or not.

“I’ll be okay, Ani. Sometimes, when we’re sad, the tears don’t come right away. Sometimes, for whatever reason, you have to keep the fact that you’re sad in check. Because there are other more important things to focus on. When we entered the temple I felt truly safe for the first time since I woke up on Tatooine. After all this place has been my home since I was a very small baby. Feeling safe meant that it was okay for me to let myself be sad, to cry and deal with my grief in a healthy way.” The boy looked a little confused but his mother gave her a look of understanding. “My mentor was like a father to me. One of those broken bonds was the one between myself and my mentor. I might have known he was gone but my heart didn’t want to accept it. Until now.” Understanding dawned and the boy squirmed out of his mother’s arms in order to come give her a hug. She chuckled.

“I know it’s not the same, but you’ve got us now. Right mom?” Shmi smiled gently at her son.

“Of course. She’s family.” Liera felt herself tearing up a little and tugged the boy to sit down on the cushion next to her, letting him bask in her feelings of joy and acceptance.

“Thank you, both of you.” Taking another sip of her tea she exhaled a breath and squared her shoulders a little. “There are a few things I forgot I needed to tell you, until I heard that Sir Jinn had gone to the council about training Anakin.” Shmi leaned forward, looking concerned. “As the one who found you I am your temporary guardian within the Jedi Order. Normally my mentor would take over the position, as he would have had more experience and authority than I do. But I’ve worked with the repatriation organizations before and as a healer I have special privileges. If you are uncomfortable with Sir Jinn trying to make decisions about your futures then you have the right to disagree with him.” She made sure to catch Shmi’s eyes. “I am here for you and I won’t allow anyone to push you into anything you don’t want to do. You are no longer a slave.”

The woman’s breath hitched and tears came to her eyes as she slowly nodded. “I…” She swallowed and looked down at her hands folded over her lap. “I do not trust him.” She admitted in a near whisper. Anakin seemed surprised by this before his expression darkened and she could feel some of his concern turning to protective anger.

“He is a very large and imposing man, who gives off a certain kind of aura. That much is true.” Liera said quickly. “His intentions seem good but I can understand why you don’t trust him.” She suspected that Shmi had been abused by men before with how she always seemed to cower slightly in Jinn’s presence. “I’ll let the council know your decision to keep me as our guardian. Now the only question is, what do you want to do?” Turning she looked at Anakin.

“I’m not going to lie. You are a lot older than the children that are usually brought back to the temple to be trained as a jedi. The council may not accept you as a trainee.” Anakin looked devastated.

“But I’ve always had dreams of being a jedi!” He practically yelled. Liera put a hand on his shoulder, keeping herself calm and letting it filter along their bond.

“Unfortunately I can’t help you with your dreams, I’ve never had that ability. But I do know that dreams aren’t always meant to come true. What you have now is an opportunity.” He seemed skeptical. “Why do you want to become a jedi?” She stalled him when he opened his mouth. “Not why you think you should be a jedi- why do you want to be a jedi?” The boy closed his mouth and sat thinking about her question. The intense focus making his blue eyes even brighter.

“I want to help people.” He finally declared. “I… I want to free all the slaves.” He added, biting his lip and looking up at her almost nervously. Liera hugged him.

“Those are both wonderful goals. But there are many ways to help people. The Jedi Order is a very old religious organization, Anakin, that means they have beliefs and rules that are very different from pretty much the rest of the galaxy. It could be that there is somewhere else out there where you would be able to fulfill your goals a lot better than becoming a jedi.” The boy was frowning and glancing at his mother.

“She’s right, Ani. The galaxy is very large. You have a big heart and are good at so many things. I know that if you choose to do something you’ll devote yourself to it entirely. But… I don’t want you to be unhappy.” She shook her head. “If Liera hadn’t been able to buy my freedom I would have let her and Sir Jinn take you with them. Even if it meant staying behind I would have been happy as long as I knew you would have a better life. My only wish was that you would be safe and happy in your new life.” Anakin looked appalled.

“No! We wouldn’t have left you behind!” She winced at the strength of his emotions, a small throb of pain in the back of her mind making the boy pause. “…did I do that?”

“Yes, Ani. You are a lot stronger than me and sometimes other people’s emotions can make force sensitives feel overwhelmed. That’s another reason why I’m not sure the jedi are the right fit for you. We learn to control our emotions at a very young age so we don’t hurt others by accident.” She ran a hand over his hair to soothe him. “We both know you’re too kind to hurt someone on purpose unless you are protecting someone but accidents can happen.” She sighed.

“So if I can’t control my emotions and I can hurt people by accident… that means I can’t be a jedi?” She hummed and felt another wave of emotion before she felt like smacking herself in the head.

Of course!

“As the one who found you it’s my job to teach you and your mother how to meditate, which can help you learn control. Meditation also helps you focus on what the Force is telling you. Why don’t we ask it?” He looked puzzled until she settled into her meditation pose. He caught on quickly and settled down before closing his eyes. Usually he had a hard time focusing but as he tried to empty his mind Liera nudged him along their bond, asking for permission to help him. Curious he allowed her into his mind.

Letting him feel her serenity she helped him pull up memories and sensations that felt calming to him. The feeling of tools in his hands, the scent of home cooking, the feeling of being held close and knowing that he was loved, even the sound of his mother’s voice as she sang lullabies. She wove a comforting image in his mind and slowly the tension bled from him and he finally stilled.

They breathed in at the same moment and released their breath as one. Slowly she let the image fade until there was nothing left but the two of them and the great river of the Force. He reached out to it, a bright star in the night sky. The moment he reached out the void that he’d always thought of as empty came to life. Billions of tiny flames, each flickering in a variety of colors, were suddenly so clear to him. For the first time in a long time he felt connected to someone other than his mother.

A warmth spread throughout his body and he felt Liera carefully nudge him. He knew what she wanted him to do without her speaking.

‘Should I become a jedi?’ He asked. Liera shuddered at the power of his voice and it nearly shook her concentration. There was a feeling of pain in the very back of her mind but she ignored it, all of her focus on the boy seeking answers.

Whatever the Force answered with seemed to surprise the boy enough that he lost focus and Liera found herself sprawled on the floor with Shmi hovering over her with a cloth. The undyed fabric was a dark pink and the woman looked frantic.

“Shmi? What’s wrong?” The woman dabbed at Liera’s face again and the cloth came away with more pink. She realized suddenly that it was her own blood.

“I’ll be okay.” She promised as she slowly sat up. Nearby Anakin looked dazed, a small frown on his face. “Did you get an answer?” She asked him.

Blinking at her he tilted his head, uncertain. “It felt like things would be okay if I waited.” His nose scrunched up, he was not a very patient boy. Liera snickered.

“The Force can sometimes be very hard to understand, that’s why jedi train their whole lives. Even then we still don’t know everything about the Force. We’re always learning new things.” She took a moment to heal the bloody nose and give off a feeling of calm safety for Shmi, motioning at the woman that she was alright now. “If you still want to try and become a jedi I will talk to the council on your behalf. But that doesn’t mean I can convince them to allow it. I am still only a Padawan, a student. But for you I will try.”

The smile she got in return was like a rising sun. Around them the force rejoiced.
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Lord_S_Gray
Knight Commander
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Force Alignment: 288
Posts: 1592



« Reply #12 on: March 14, 2021, 03:24:28 PM »

Surprised the Jedi allow Liera so much freedom, would've thought she'd be kept sequestered pending extensive de briefing on how she 'jumped' time.  Not sure how well her warning of Palpatine will go, after all can hardly act on her unverifiable 'bad feelings' about him, but might arouse a little suspicion. Looking forward to seeing what the Council make of her - and she of them given she has experience of what the Jedi were versus what they are at the susnet of the Republic. 
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Lord_S_Gray

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

DarthProdigal
Knight Commander
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Force Alignment: -200
Posts: 1077


Korriban Armory Chief, Sith Mage, Hybrid Sith...


« Reply #13 on: March 15, 2021, 07:13:42 AM »

Surprised the Jedi allow Liera so much freedom, would've thought she'd be kept sequestered pending extensive de briefing on how she 'jumped' time.  Not sure how well her warning of Palpatine will go, after all can hardly act on her unverifiable 'bad feelings' about him, but might arouse a little suspicion. Looking forward to seeing what the Council make of her - and she of them given she has experience of what the Jedi were versus what they are at the susnet of the Republic.  

I suppose the first part is a relatively valid point, but in truth it would seem there is little point in doing so... Medical records basically verify her identity and validate her claims when questioned. She was unconscious, and they did full medical analysis presumably. So they had adequate time to search her externally and internally for any device that may have made such a trip possible. Seeing no implants or devices, would lead them to believe it was an isolated event, inherent ability, or required something complex and not present currently. So if she "wanted to go" it's not like keeping her in a room isolated would likely stop her. But if it was some complex ritual or piece of tech in the past that did it, it's also irrelevant. I'd be more concerned with thoughts of her being some illegally created and very advanced clone (with somehow integrated/copied Force powers) and see that as more reason to keep an escort on her. She's an oddity for sure, but not seemingly dangerous enough to sequester. Plus it's probably harder to determine what else to do with her at the time if you accept that she's a Jedi, with no master. Best to just wait till the Council decides/deliberates than potentially worrying or alienating what may be a considerably powerful Jedi. Making her feel "less than at home" may lead to feelings of isolation and not prompt her to be as forthcoming when questioned/to the Council. At least that's how I'd approach the situation with limited knowledge and trying to keep things from becoming tense with all 3 newcomers. Why possibly upset 2 potential power house additions to the Order by seeming cold and distrusting? Although if she were both the size of Qui-Gon and radiating the Force like Anakin, I could see them reacting more like you stated for sure. An itty bitty Padawan doesn't exactly scream intimidation to the point of jailing her immediately, IMO.
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Dark Lords of the Sith have ruled collectively and individually for Millenia. One afraid to wield a power is ultimately unworthy of it. Ascendancy into the light has an apex, yet descent into the darkness is endless. The Dark Side can give or take anything, based on user strength. I claim the title of Darth Prodigal Dark Lord of the Sith as my own. Through pain, our Code, and right of combat it is mine; and so shall it be defended. Follow Darth Bane's wisdom. (Only Dark Side Points Preferred.)

Liera Buraaisuh
Knight Officer
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Force Alignment: 32
Posts: 114


Mando'ad She'laar, Light Side Jetii


« Reply #14 on: March 15, 2021, 03:20:47 PM »

Basically everything that DarthProdigal said. There was no real reason to keep her locked up when she is more than happy to stay in a room in the temple and cooperate with the healers/council. She was checked over for any potential darkside affiliation and they found her squarely in the light so there's not really any reason to do anything drastic until they've talked to her more.
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