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Thread: Every New Beginning

  1. #1
    Drin Kizael

    Retro Every New Beginning

    [OOC Edit: This little bit of thread necromancy is to reintroduce a character into the rebooted universe. These events are a flashback to 14 BE]

    It was summer on Atraya, the largest southern continent on Dinati V. The sun and clear skies were a welcome relief from the places that Drin Kizael and Lianna usually called home, for as long as any one place in their travels could be called such.

    Kizael had lost count of how many planets had borrowed that label these past 10 years. Not that he'd stayed in one place too long before then really, but life in hiding was a different matter entirely.

    His story began at the end of the Clone Wars, where most stories ended. He was alone on long range reconnaissance on Ryloth, the kind of mission only a Jedi Knight could be expected to take on. Bringing any troops would have only slowed him down.

    He returned to his ship to find two messages. The first, an emergency recall to Coruscant. The second, a sliced message on the same carrier beacon warning him of a trap, and to stay away from the Core at all cost.

    Conventional wisdom would have told him to go bury himself out in some wilderness in the farthest reaches of the Outer Rim. Maybe become a farmer on some backwater world. But he'd never been one for conventional wisdom.

    He'd still been trying to decide if it was for or against his better judgement that he kept planet hopping through the Colonies when the arrival of Lianna settled the debate for him. He knew nothing about the human child, only the name she had been given, and that she was gifted with the Force. An orphan and a death sentence. Welcome to the galaxy, kid.

    From that point on he was more careful. It wasn't just about his own survival anymore. But he couldn't allow himself to raise a little girl sheltered from the universe. Although she was like his own cub, he would not deny her a life of experience. It would only invite disaster. But more importantly, what kind of life would that be?
    Last edited by Drin Kizael; Mar 22nd, 2009 at 09:47:07 PM. Reason: Rebooting the character

  2. #2
    Drin Kizael
    So it was that they found themselves on Dinati V. By that point Lianna was fluent in Trianii, Rodian, Duro, and Twi'lek, passable in Hutteese, could understand most Sullustans, some Wookies, and even have a brief, but informative conversation with a Ithorian, despite having only one mouth.

    Lianna was growing strong in the Force, even as Kizael himself grew to understand it in a different manner than the Jedi Order had taught. The words of his old friend Qui-Gon, and his own master Moorja Djreeshan, came into clearer focus with each new step, each new discovery.

    "C'mon, Kizael," Lianna called out as the big Trianii approached. "Play with us." She grinned, beaming at him through wild locks of long brown hair.

    The rolling lheet fields around the Mal Pannis farm easily made the best playground the little girl had ever seen. Wide open areas with scattered trees beyond the tilled soil proved ideal for sports. Today her game of choice was vectorball. Their host and adopted uncle, Jonar, was the pitcher.

    Kizael marched toward Lianna, flashing that fiendish grin that always promised trouble. "I have a better idea," he said with a laugh.

    Before she could react, he hefted her up in his thick arms and tossed her over his shoulder. Lianna screamed. Lately she had been protesting she was too old to be treated like this, but somehow couldn't stop giggling when he did.

    "Training!" Kizael laghed when the girl's giggling turned to whines of despair.

    "Noooo. Vectorball."

    With one arm, Kizael held Lianna in front of him by her legs. "It's always time for training."

    "I don't need training," she retorted, feigning indignity.

    "Oh yes you do. I picked you up far too easily."

    As if responding to some sort of challenge, she narrowed her eyes, spun in Kizael's grip, and flipped to the ground with a startling grace. Then she stuck her tongue out.

    Jonar shook his head with a smile, heading off toward the farmhouse.

    "I bet you didn't treat the kids at the Jedi Temple like this."

    The Jedi's eyes widened with a smirk. "I didn't have to." The long wooden stick Lianna had found in the shed that was supposed to be her bat flew to Kizael's hand. He extended it to her nonchalantly. "Practice."


    She eased into dueling stance as casually as a Mon Cal would tread water. With a gesture from Kizael, half a dozen small stones rose up from the grass.


  3. #3
    Drin Kizael
    Unlike the younglings of the Jedi Order, Lianna had been raised to control her emotions not by denying them, but by embracing them. She was given free reign to express herself, but she was never allowed to forget that the Force flowed from a place of calm and focus.

    So she didn't fool him. Not for a second. She knew she was cute and loved exploiting that. But it was but one of the many faces she put on for show. Someone who didn't know her may think her pouting was genuine, but the Jedi knew better.

    Lianna was as precocious as any child trained to touch the Force. Trained was the wrong word, though. After the Clone Wars, he --and he hoped all other surviving Jedi-- had to reexamine the Jedi Code. Not to rewrite it, but to reconsider its intent, and how it is taught. If they did not adapt with their enemies, the galaxy would remain a place of fear and oppression.

    Kizael allowed his pupil to untap her own potential under his guidance. His focus was always on survival, his lessons pragmatic. For now, the Living force had to take precedence. At this stage, he feared that to attempt anything beyond simply being aware of the more abstract nature of the Unifying Force would be counter-productive.

  4. #4
    Drin Kizael
    Lianna faced off against the floating stones. The smooth white stones, six in all, circled around each other in lazy patterns, then without warning one would fly at her.


    With blinding speed and alarming ease, she deflected the stone. One after another, then two at a time. The little girl allowed a grin to creep into her features.

    "Beware your pride, young one," Kizael chided. "Overconfidence is a path to the dark side."


    "Remember the Force itself is neutral. A tool, not unlike that stick you're wielding. It can be used constructively."


    "Or as a weapon."

    "When do I get a lightsabre?" Lianna asked, as if for the first time.

    "When you're ready," Kizael answered simply, again as if for the first time.

    At one time, Jedi training was so intense that students in the Order were entrusted with lightsabers at an extremely early age. But given the circumstances of living in hiding and constantly moving, the number of reasons why he wouldn't trust a 10 year old with a blade of pure energy was almost too high to count.


    "I am ready."

    "No you're not."


    Lianna frowned. "C'mon Kizael. We have all the parts. You said that crystal was good. I can recite the formulas for the modulator and core settings in my sleep. I won't blow us up."

    "It's not your technical aptitude that worries me, little one," Kizael replied, stifling a sigh. He paused as two more stones floated up. With a subtle nod, all eight fanned out into a circle around Lianna.

    "It is your control."

  5. #5
    Drin Kizael
    Lianna eyed the stones as they surrounded her. She pulled a folded cloth strip from her pocket and spread it open in her hands.

    Kizael narrowed his eyes. "What do you think you're doing?"

    Lianna narrowed her eyes in turn. "We're doing the circle exercise, testing my Force sight. I'm putting on my blindfold." Each line seemed to end with an unspoken, duh.

    "Neh-neh-neh-no-no," Kizael retorted with stifled amusement. "The blindfold was to force you to ignore your sight and focus on your other senses. You're well past that point. If you want to wield a lightsabre, you must be able to filter your awareness of the Force and the physical world you see with your eyes."

    Lianna tucked the bandana away, took a measured breath, and returned to a defensive posture. Two stones flew in, deflected a fraction of a second slower. A third sailed in and angled away awkwardly.

    "Not as easy as it sounded. Is it?"

    Two more darted at her from oblique angles, in front and behind. Both hit the ground with a single swing.

    "The Force is a powerful tool, and will do whatever you ask of it. Push your physcial body beyond its limits, sense the flow of motion around you, even see into the future."

    *whak*whak* *thak*

    "But always remember, you are doing nothing. It is the Force. Confidence is a strong emotion. You can use it. But be mindful if it turns to pride. Pride can be slippery, harder to hold onto. Pride can turn to arrogance, and that is the dark side's favorite path."


    "Blocking the emotion entirely, pretending it doesn't exist, is a waste of energy. But controlling them is the core of a Jedi's being."

    Saying that aloud even now, he could hear Ki-Adi-Mundi's retort in his mind. He missed their debates.

    Kizael smiled softly. "There is an expression among pazaak players. Play the game. Don't let the game play you."

    *whak* *thak*thak*

    "Remember when you first did this exercise with the blindfold. You learned how much your eyes can deceive you. They still do, but you're not about to just pluck them out, are you."

    Lianna continued to whirl her weapon in smooth, graceful arcs. Kizael's eyes remained closed as he focused on the flow of her emotions. A swell of hope crept into Kizael's features.

    Three more stones flew in. She whirled the stick around in a front arc and abrubtly whipped it straight up and back over her shoulder.

    *thak**whak* *thump*

    Kizael opened his eyes, meeting Lianna's gaze as she tried to look innocent.

    "Not only did you not deflect the stone," he said matter-of-factly. "But you just severed your own leg with your 'lightsabre'".

    Lianna frowned.


    He just looked at her expectantly as she slumped in defeat. Eventually she looked up. "What? Oh c'mon Kizael!" she protested. He simply looked back her. She knew the penalty for losing her concentration in an exercise full well.

    "Alright, alright," she sighed as she bent down and eased into a handstand.

    "One hand," Kizael admonished. Lianna complied, steadying herself.

    "One finger," he demanded. Lianna scowled, evoking a husky laugh from the big trianii.
    Last edited by Drin Kizael; Mar 22nd, 2009 at 09:33:10 PM.

  6. #6
    Drin Kizael
    He was kidding, of course, about trying to stand on one finger. Despite popular myth, Jedi could not fly, at least not in the literal sense. The exercise was a fundamental of control training. Although he framed it as negative reinforcement, the focus and balance required to do it was as important as any kata.

    Kizael sat down atop a small grassy knoll, folding his legs beneath him. He closed his eyes to better enjoy the warmth of the sun against his fur. A slight breeze drifted over the field, as if in response to the peace that the trianii felt through the Force.

    "So what color will your lightsabre be?" he asked.


    "So sure are you? Traditionally, Jedi Guardians chose blue, Counselors, gr--"


    "My first one was silver, you kn--"


    Kizael chuckled softly, accepting defeat. "Very well then," he said, taking a deep breath of the fresh air.

    Even with his eyes closed, he could see Lianna smile. "And you know the oscilator setting for viol--?"

    "Point 42 microns."

    "Purple it is," Kizael conceded with a smirk. "Like Master Windu."

    It came as silently and swiftly as the breeze itself, virtually unnoticed. A shadow had whisked over the field, causing an almost imperceptable ripple in the air.

    Drin Kizael looked up. Lianna --from her perspective-- looked down. It looked like little more than a spec against the sun. Whatever it was, it was big, but extremely high above them based on the speed that its shadow arced across the ground. Lianna squinted, a flash of curiosity crossing over her face. In sharp contrast, Kizael looked as if he just woke up from a nightmare.

    Though its edges were obscured by the sun, the source of the shadow had a distinct wedge shape.

    "Get in the house," Kizael said firmly, climbing to his feet with his gaze fixed skyward.

    Lianna scrunched up her face. "Huh?"

    "Get in the house! Now!"

  7. #7
    Drin Kizael
    "Jonar!" Kizael burst into the house, calling out again with an uncharacteristic urgency. "Jonar!"

    A human woman in her early 30's stepped hurriedly out of the kitchen, wiping her hands on her apron. "What is it?" she asked with genuine concern.

    "Kizael what's going on?" Lianna's voice piped in from outside. Both the trianii and the human suddenly looked outside, both with the kind of alarmed faces parents get when they don't know where their child is. That kind of greeting only confused the little girl more when she suddenly ran inside. "What's wrong?"

    "Kaida, where is your husband? Do you have the transceiver on?"

    The woman started to answer when a voice bellowed from downstairs, "You better come listen to this!"

    Everyone made their way quickly to a stairwell in the back of the house. Jonar met them at the foot of the first flight, leading them across the spacious basement used for storing farming tools and equipment.

    They then passed through an opening in the wall into a musty room filled with several cots, supplies, foodstuffs and, most noticeable amidst all the maintenance tools and wooden shelves, a data terminal with a comlink relay console.

    "*schhzzt* --all approach vectors, quadrant 4, grids 16 to 40 Ov*schhzzt* --ound all gates. All bays. Get those holding lanes moved to grid 117! No*schhzzt* Copy *schhzzt* Field 3 is secure. *schhzzt*"

    "They're scrambling to clear orbital traffic. It's an Imperial Super Star Destroyer," Jonar interjected into the starport link chatter. "The Executor."

    Kaida stifled a gasp.

    "They're not here for us," Jonar quickly added, instinctively trying to comfort his wife. But by his tone, it was clear that didn't make the situation any better.

    "Then why...?" Kaida's voice trailed off.

    For years, ever since Dinati's President was replaced by Moff Neeley, their house had been a waystop along an underground transit for refugees, sentients whose only crime was either not being human or not having the capacity for living under government instituted oppression in silence. Most were either former or would-be slaves.

    Some of the more vocal members of their group, scattered across the galaxy, started referring to it as a rebellion. But as far as the Mal Pannis family was concerned, they were just doing right by their neighbors. Aside from the comlink, no one had used this room in some time, though that didn't make its purpose any less illegal. Due to the presence of their current guests, they had been especially cautious to remain hidden.

    That realization answered her own question. Kizael and Lianna had been with them so long and become so much a part of the family, she didn't see them through the filter of "a rebel".

    Her husband confirmed the fear by activating a hologram. It was an image of a male trianii in tan robes. His name flashed in at least six languages in neon red with credit amounts, vital statistics, and a list of charges scrolling down the side.

    Jonar Mal Pannis looked at the Jedi with grim resolve. Kizael's gentle hazel eyes looked back with an unspoken apology.

    With a calming breath, Kizael looked down at Lianna. "Come, little one," he said softly with a nudge toward the doorway. "Take only what you need. We must hurry."

  8. #8
    Drin Kizael
    Less than five frantic minutes later, Lianna ran downstairs with a loaded backpack, having gathered everything she owned in the galaxy with practiced ease, just as she'd done so many times before. Too many times before.

    Kizael turned from his hushed conversation with Jonar as she bounded down the last stair. Lianna looked him up and down, studying him. The tall felinoid was now donned in looser fitting clothes and a green cloak. Besides the obvious situation, she knew something else was wrong.

    Kizael steeled himself. He'd trained her too well.

    "Where's your bag?" She said, with the slightest waver in her voice. It wasn't really a question.

    Lianna hesitated another heartbeat, then suddenly pushed her backpack to Mrs Mal Pannis. "I get it. You're planning the escape route. Here, put this in the speeder. I'll pack for you, Kizael."

    She started to turn, but was stopped short by a furred hand on her shoulder. Kizael knelt down to face her. She didn"t look at him.

    "Listen to me very carefully," he began softly.



    "The Empire found us again so now we have to go. It's what we always do. We've practiced it a gazillion times so no one can trace us to Jonar and Kaida. Let me get your stuff. We have to hurry, right?"


    Lianna whirled around, pushing his cloak aside and grabbing the gray cylinder off his belt. "Don't Kozhi me! You said you'd never have to do this! You said we'd always run!"

    "This is different and you know why. You sensed it. He's--"

    "Even if it was him! Especially him! Even if it was him you said you'd still run away like we always do! You PROMISED!"

    Kaida had apparently left the room, because now she appeared with two bags more bags of her own. She handed them to her husband. Lianna looked back and forth at the bags, over at Jonar hurrying outside, back at Kizael.

    Kizael set his eyes on her. "I raised you to be stronger than this." He gently took back his lightsabre. The 40 centimeter hilt was almost as long as her arm.

    Lianna's eyes started welling up. "You promised you'd never leave me."

    The trianii furrowed his brow. "So now you forget everything I've taught you? Close your eyes. Close them."

    She did. Kizael's soft voice echoed in her mind. "Can you still see me?" Lianna nodded. The master Jedi was as visible through the Force as if her eyes were open. "So long as the Force is with you, so will I."

    The Mal Pannis' old speeder roared to life outside. Lianna turned with a start. Kaida stood at the back door, waiting quietly. She looked back at Lianna with a look of genuine worry and anticipation. But behind that the young girl saw a flicker of something else. Hope.

    Lianna jumped up and wrapped her arms as best she could around the trianii's broad shoulders. Kizael steeled himself again, holding his cub for what he knew would be the last time. Next time he saw her, it would be as a spirit. One way or another he would keep his promise.


  9. #9
    Drin Kizael
    Drin Kizael allowed himself a moment to pretend that his universe was not ending. There was no sense of chaos on the fringe of his senses. No Imperial chatter on the comlink array from inside the house. For a good dozen heartbeats, he just stood there in the yard behind the Mal Pannis farm, watching the land speeder hover away.

    Lianna had been looking back at him over the seat through the rear window for a good stretch of that. At last she sat down at Kaida's beckoning, leaning into her and settling into her arms.

    With that final image, the Jedi took a cleansing breath. She was safe.

    Kizael marched to the barn. With his mind firmly planted back in the here and now, he focused on the mission ahead. He had to hurry to Port Atraya to delay the Imperial scouts landing even now. If he could deflect their attention long enough, Lianna and the Mal Pannis' would make it to the distant coastal starport, aptly named "Smugglers Reef", before they had time to send out patrols. If he really made a lot of noise, the Empire would be too busy to get a blockade set up in the southern hemisphere before they were well off-world.

    The big Trianii rolled back the dusty tarp off the old rebuilt swoop in the barn. For a fleeting second, it almost felt like old times. Until a shrill buzzer and an intense white light flooded through his mind.

  10. #10
    Drin Kizael
    2 Years ABE

    The searing light quickly faded into muted gray tones as Drin Kizael's eyes fluttered open. Finally the buzzing stopped, leaving a dull ringing in his ears. The images of his dream scattered from his mind like scared rats. Reality set back over the next few seconds, triggered first by the metallic scent of the walls and ceiling. Without moving, he eyed the red jumpsuit hanging next to him.

    "Prisoner 186942 Zeta," a harsh, vaguely human voice grated over the intercom. "Solitary Detention period has expired. Three points have been credited on your record. Prepare for transfer back to general quarters."

    An LED panel came to life on the wall, barely a meter across from his bunk. Green lights counted down, followed by a sequence of unlocking gears until the wall slid aside and a refresher stand popped out.

    Kizael sat up, rolling his shoulders. With a quick breath, he rose to his 210 centimeter height, stretching a few beyond that for a second before slumping in front of the new mirror on the wall.

    The Trianii frowned. He was a mess. More knots than he could bother to count had crept into his already mottled fur. He stroked a hand over his jowls, where the lighter blonde fur seemed to get closer to white every year.

    Of course "year" was a very relative term on Mytus VII. By his estimation, he'd been here five years and ten odd months as standard orbits go. But out here, on the prison world dubbed Star's End, time in the rest of the galaxy was anybody's guess. He knew this much; as of three months ago, the Empire was still out there. That was when two Rebel spies had tried to infiltrate the prison to rescue a comrade. Instead they got a slicer by name of Morgan who had fallen into his cell by what anyone else would call blind luck.

    Although the whole affair had fallen apart into such chaos that it landed him in solitary confinement before he could see it play out, he took comfort in the fact that not only was there a formal Rebellion now, but they were organized enough to send spies all the way to Corporate Sector space all for a comrade. Helping them break out the fringer was the least he could do, especially when the kid didn't seem to realize his attunement to the Force yet. That was how he knew they had survived. He would have sensed at least Morgan's presence -- or death -- had they not escaped.

    "Ready," he called out in no particular direction. There was a tone from the intercom and another section of the wall opened up to form a bin. Kizael grabbed the red jumpsuit off the peg and tossed it in. With that a door slid open, leading him to a long overdue shower and the relative comfort of his own cell.
    Last edited by Drin Kizael; Mar 26th, 2009 at 10:23:14 PM.

  11. #11
    Drin Kizael
    Gears shifted nearly silent from the door frame, followed by the droning sound of a force field powering down. An array of metal bars retracted and an Espo guard pushed Kizael forward.

    A protocol droid approached the big trianii, holding a scanner to the bar code printed on the lapel of his red jumpsuit. The old PD series droid showed years of wear on his banged up, albeit well polished blue frame.

    J8-K33 looked up. "Acknowledgment: Welcome back, Prisoner 186942 Zeta," he said, taking the heavy manacles off his wrists.

    From somewhere overhead, a voice echoed off the durasteel hall. "Hey it's Drin!" Slowly more calls chimed in, followed by the almost musical tone of metal tapping on force fields.

    "Good to see you, too, Jake," Kizael said to the droid with a soft smile.

    From the other side of the transparisteel observation deck, an Espo guard turned to his director. "What's this all about? Who's the furball?"

    Director Trenig raised an eyebrow at the young guard. "Your kidding. How long have you been in the SP division, son?"

    "Two years next month, sir," the kid said proudly.

    "And you're assigned here already? Don't advertise that, Cetan. It's not something to brag about." Trenig looked back out the window, watching the procession lead the trianii into general population. "That," he said at length, "is Drin Kizael. He was a Ranger, now five years into three consecutive life sentences for sedition, conspiracy, about four dozen counts of corporate property damage, and murder."

    "Who'd he kill?"

    "That big kitty is the name behind all the black ink in the report of the Zhenos incident. He killed a squad."

    "He killed a squad leader!?" the young Espo blurted out.

    Trenig turned casually. "No, I said he killed a squad. Single handedly. They seriously don't tell you about Zhenos Valley in orientation?" He looked at another one of his men incredulously.

    Office Cetan returned the look blankly. "If he murdered that many Espos, why is he in gen-pop and not death row?"

    Trenig returned his attention back to the prisoners. "It was part of the treaty negotiated with the Trianii."

    Another Espo spoke up. "It's hard to get a read on that one. Usually he's quiet. Not timid by any stretch, but keeps to himself. One of the best behaved on the block. The prisoners love him, as you can see. Some of them look up to him like a kinda leader. His clan, I guess, is a pretty big deal with the other cats. But he never goes below four demerits on his record. Every now and then he gets into it with one of the gangs that form up in here. He's on this wing to try and keep him away from the Aquala in K-Block. Not that it stopped him from beating the snot out of a couple of 'em three months ago."

    "He actually likes solitary confinement," Director Trenig added. "Just ask him."

    Cetan scrunched his face skeptically. "What? Put a furball in lockup with no windows and they can't sit still. You get tired just watching them pace."

    "I know," the other junior officer said. "Not him. He spends half the time just sitting there on the floor."

    Cetan joined his boss at the window. Drin Kizael's guard escorts had been replaced by a number of prisoners greeting him with friendly smiles. It was an almost surreal sight. Yesterday they threatened to riot over cold soup in the mess hall. Suddenly he shook his head and walked away with a dismissive shrug.

    Below, from twenty meters away over the heads of the milling crowd, Drin Kizael watched the observation booth with a wry grin.
    Last edited by Drin Kizael; Mar 31st, 2009 at 09:42:09 PM.


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