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Thread: Shadows of the Republic: Road to Perdition, Part 1

  1. #1
    Istina Chriferre
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    Open Thread Shadows of the Republic: Road to Perdition, Part 1

    (If you would like to join in this, please PM me, and we'll work something out.)

    After landing on Coruscant, Istina was something of a wraith to the rest of the Temple. As she was primarily interested in healing at this point, wanting nothing to do with a lightsabre or with fighting itself ever again, she'd become a regular around the Medical areas of the Temple, helping the Healers with their tasks and staying quiet.

    On other days, she'd sit in the Room of a Thousand Fountains, listening to the water falling and splashing. The room was blanketed in the Light, and the ripples shivered not only through the water but through the Force. She felt somewhat normal on those days, as the ripples would sooth the still aching hole left by her dead master.

    On the whole, she seemed to be releasing her grief well; she smiled and would laugh, but to those who could tell, joy had left her soul, and she was left with something like a hollow within her. It was close to a void, but not quite. She'd not quite given up yet, but didn't know how to handle what she'd been through.

    Master Nytrau had been a great help to her, though he'd been distant the last few days. It wasn't like she was constantly looking for him and his soothing words and kind smiles; but she'd enjoyed the instances where he'd given them. She'd spoken to Master Yoda but once after they'd landed. Her childhood instructor never had seemed so distant in his serenity.

    The thought had brought her back to her memories of simpler days of her childhood, and she'd found herself among the younglings more and more as the days wore on. They were so innocent, it tore her heart out. So many were dying outside, off the planet; she herself would die to keep them ignorant of those horrible things, to keep them from ever experiencing the horrible feeling of loss and grief and sadness.

    She'd gone to where their rooms had been. One entire day had been spent sitting on the couch and looking out the window and remembering. For one entire day, she'd seen her memories of these rooms around her as if they were manifestations of the Force, or ghosts who wept and mourned the loss of any new memories by endlessly replaying themselves over and over again. As if by doing so Master Irkhaniel could take form from them and everything would be made right again; at least in that respect.

    That's where she was at the moment. She was staring through the windows of the rooms, surrounded by the familiar smells and solemn ghosts. Master Irkhaniel was standing there as he usually did at that time of day, to watch the sunset. In the glare of the fading light Istina felt that she could just walk over and be beside him once again.

    Through the corner of her eye, a girl walked past the couch where she sat, and took her place by her teacher and mentor. Tears stung her eyes as the memory froze there, just like time actually should have. But she continued to stare at the sunset, and see something that wasn't there.

    She never heard the chime, nor did she respond when the door opened.

  2. #2
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    Nor did she turn when the door slid shut again.

    Hands folded behind his back, head to toe in sandy shaded robes of the Jedi, Knight Ilias stood for moments, merely observing the girl that had somehow landed in his charge. It took monumental loss for the council to trust him with a singular student. Somehow the healing them and teaching them in groups was more acceptable. He could rationalize the reasons, but that somehow did not make it wholly right. She had suffered loss.

    So have I. Suffering, however, is not my place. There is no emotion, there is peace. How skewed the tenets of our order seem now.

    After several minutes' passing, he took a step forward, then another slowly following. He watched his own path. Whether she turned to see him or began to speak, he had not the care to bear with needless suffering. Push on. We must go forward. He'd reached her position by now, swiftly and silently stepping across the room to stand beside her, as he was sure her Master once did and he too looked toward the sunset. Each day drew closer to an end; an indiscernible end, a future that looked so bleak. His own Master had seen this, too. The future was always changing but for some time, his hope that it would be for the better had steadily dwindled. Still, a Jedi he was and therefore, he would act as such, seek the will of the Force as generations upon generations of Jedi had before him.

    "There is more beyond this day. Our masters would not wish for us to wallow in our circumstances." He said, his voice barely raising to the accepted indoor volume. "Although it is admittedly easier to reminisce, we must leave what is passed behind us. They were good Jedi and we can only hope we are worthy enough that the Force continues to hand us their wisdom along with its own."

  3. #3
    Istina Chriferre
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    ...They were good Jedi and we can only hope we are worthy enough that the Force continues to hand us their wisdom along with its own.

    Istina was slightly surprised to hear Master Ilias' voice, but she didn't give lie to the surprise, but listened quietly as he spoke.

    I understand... she paused, hesitant to give this man, as much as she respected him, the title that he had been given by the Council now in relation to her. Her eyes rested on him for a moment. ...Master.

    She turned back to the window, and found that there were tears in her eyes when the illusion of Master Irkhaniel and young padawan Ch'fer was no longer there. She sniffed and tried to hold her tears back.

    But all the understanding in the world isn't making the hurt go away. Sometimes I have headaches when I wake up, and for a few moments I don't know why, and I remember that he's gone, and it just starts hurting all over again, she rubbed her nose with her arm and sniffed again. I know that I'll move on, but it just seems so wrong to think of the day when I wake up and the pain will be gone.

  4. #4
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    There was, buried somewhere, a part of the Knight that would wish to console the girl with a hug, a firm grip to the shoulder, something. It was a side he had truly shown only one person,Yo a side he would likely never bring to bear again. There were pains attached to such emotions and it was simply easier to resist allowing them. Like a Jedi.

    "It might sound easier said than done, but you must focus on the present, the here and now." He glanced at the younger Jedi, then back out at the view. He got the distinct feeling that sometime in the not too far off future he would see a similar view and it would be the sun setting on an era. Ilias did not dwell on it. It was fair to be mindful of what might come, but lest you miss out on the here and now...

    "Worry not so much about such things, lest you miss out on what is around you now. You would honour the memory of Master Irkhaniel by following much the same path that he walked, much like he did in the wake of generations of Jedi before him. Being able to get through the pain and surpass it. Be a Jedi and honour him. Show the kind of master he was in how you live and carry yourself. Show that impact."

  5. #5
    Istina Chriferre
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    It was the right response. Let the pain go. Get through the pain, surpass it...

    But Istina felt a kind of deep seated satisfaction from the pain. It was like probing the wound and dulling the nerves around it, so that one was so inured to the sensation that one couldn't feel it anymore. She could already feel herself becoming used to the ache; and the process of grief was so soothing and painful at the same time, that she was afraid to let it go.

    But she calmed her features on the outside, and began to take deep breaths to calm herself. She knew that grief for a normal person was so much easier; because no matter how deeply felt, how hurt the non-Force sensitive was, it was simply a matter of time and healing and they could carry on.

    If she herself did not let go of the pain, the Force would magnify it. She would twist, and the repercussions of that twisting, that warping, would be horrendous, and the hurting coming from within her would continue until her death, warping not just herself, but all those around her as well. She understood that.

    It was just so hard to let go.

    "How?" she asked. "How do I get through the pain? How do I let go?"

  6. #6
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    Ilias sighed, then, the sun sinking further and further behind the vast spires that made the city-planet, stretching out in a multitude of colours that played across the tufts of clouds still hanging in the sky from the rains of two nights previous. Unlike the clouds, they could hardly afford to languish.

    "Accept it, Istina." He said plainly, not looking to see if he at all had her attention. She was open enough to listening to him only moments before, enough to ask after how she might go about moving forward. That was progress. "Accept that what has happened cannot be changed. You must choose what you feel, just as you are choosing at this very moment. Make a better choice, as the sun chooses to set every evening, so you too must choose to live. It is choice that keeps you here. Everything grieves, but everything chooses to stop, eventually, for their own good."

    He glanced out the corner of his eye then, at her.

    "You know where the path goes, otherwise. Surely, your belated master taught you that."

  7. #7
    Istina Chriferre
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    ...Surely, your belated master taught you that.

    At first, she wanted to get offended at what seemed to be an implied criticism of her master. Instead, she worked through to what Ilias was trying to say. And again, he was right.

    He tried, she responded. But I never understood what he was trying to tell me.

    She knew now what Master Feskin was trying to teach her when he said that the Jedi needed to be both more than mortal while still being mortal. He was fond of antinomian sayings like that. She moved her legs out from under her, feeling the soreness that told her how long shed been sitting in that position.

    Im ready to move on, I think, she said. She looked down at the lightsabre that hung from her belt. She unhooked it, and placed it on the table, where the dying light of the sun reflected off of the uneven contours of the metal casing.

    Id like to try and heal, she said timidly, instead of hurting.

  8. #8
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    He would have smiled, if it seemed appropriate, if he had it in him, if it was a happy occasion. In some way it was, but he merely turned to her, giving one small tip of the head, indicating approval.

    "A good choice, Istina." He looked again out at the sunset, which was becoming lesser and lesser as the minutes drove on. "I am glad you have chosen this way."

    Ilias turned his attention back to the girl. He stole a glance at the lightsaber hilt she had placed on the table. There was no specific significance to the act, but the Knight chose to match her action and withdraw two hilts from his belt, one of blackest night and the other of whitest ivory in colour, in his right and left hands respectively, placed them on the table. Then his hands once again retreated to their place, folded behind his tailbone.

    "Everything has a purpose, everything has a reason. Every one of our number - your master, mine, the students and masters of many - that have passed from this life, have done so for a purpose. They did not choose to pass, but it is an article of life. Everything lives, everything dies, everything has its time, for a reason." He stopped, breathing in through his nose, out through his mouth and letting the small yet present piece of tension pass out of him. "Do you know that the death of Master Feskin was not in vain, Istina? More than that, are you convicted that it was not without purpose?"

  9. #9
    Istina Chriferre
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    Part of her wanted to say yes, and hope that by saying it she really would understand and know. But the process of healing had only just begun. To the sixteen year old, there was a gaping hole in the universe where her father or the man who had acted as her father had been. The edges of the hole were frayed and bloody, and to smooth out those edges would require her to confront that knowledge that he was dead and gone. Never to return.

    She was, in fact, getting annoyed with herself for having decided to heal and then not being suddenly healed, happy, knowledgeable about loss, but able to pull through. The thought that it would take time for her to heal was something she pushed away.

    Not yet, she answered truthfully. Hehe died in service to the Republic, she started, so he would say that his death wasnt in vain. But Im not sure that it wasnt pointless. Not yet.

  10. #10
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    "Freedom, Istina, from oppression, from devastating war. Is it not true that predominantly, all we wish for is peace and understanding?" He pursed his lips, considering a thought, glancing off to nowhere in particular. "We are all Jedi to protect those who cannot help themselves, give voice to those who do not have it and uphold justice, rightful and abiding justice."

    Ilias looked back on this student that was now his own, who had suffered present pains much similar to his own, but did not have the experience to draw from in how to deal with them. Only, incomplete teachings from a master torn from this life at his appointed time.

    "Most of all, we follow the will of the Force, tempered with the belief that we do right in our ways of following it. Tell me, girl, what is a Jedi to you?"

    In his mind, line by line, played the basic code of the Jedi. One older and in his belief, truer than the popularized mantra of Odan-Urr. Not denying things, yet saying that despite the elements of human and other natures, there was still peace, knowledge, serenity, harmony and the Force. Balance, after all, was quite key to the Force. Robotic self-denial was not. It was a fine line, as he had seen in Fionn only so many days before and in himself, with his own struggles.

  11. #11
    Istina Chriferre
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    But hes dead, she kept thinking, hes dead and cant stop anymore wars. He cant help anyone now that hes dead. Whats the point? Even if he isnt dead, hes gone somewhere and cant help me anymore. Hes gone.

    Tell me, girl, what is a Jedi to you?


    Istina remained quiet for a moment, trying to formulate a response to the question, hopefully one that would please Master Ilias. To be more accurate, she already knew what a Jedi was. Her master was the standard she held herself, and all others to. But it had always been in a self-deprecating sense, where he was the unattainable model, and she could only try to get close without ever succeeding.


    Its the Code, she said. A Jedi is one who centres themselves by the Code. Master Feskin used to say it while he meditated. He didnt speak of it much otherwise.

  12. #12
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    He smiled small. Her answer was good enough, but something about it seemed false. It was a thing he quite deftly picked up on. Knight Ilias Nytrau nodded.

    "The Code." He seemed to muse on the words for a moment or two of time. "The Code is a guidepost by which we accurately divine the will of the Force. Self-discipline to follow the tenets of that Code and not stray from it and to judge which actions are most appropriate to take and whether action in any instance is indeed appropriate at all."

    His smile vanished.

    "Of course, this should be to such a point that it requires little deliberation and is more of a second nature. That one is attuned to the right path. A Jedi is a conduit of what is commonly called the Light Side of the Force. Of course, how does something so mysterious, that allows for many facets of use, have sides at all? Why do we believe the Force has sides, when it it so fluid? Something to think on, Padawan Ch'fer." And then, his smile grew again. "I seem to have went far off on a tangent. I apologize."

    He paused for a moment, gathering his thoughts, recalling what direction he had been taking with all of this. He had never counseled someone through their grief before. There was a first time for everything. He looked on his student, considering her face.

    "Do you believe in kismet? That is, destiny or fate?"

  13. #13
    Istina Chriferre
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    Istina paused, almost sitting down again. Now that she was standing, she wanted more than ever to leave the room that had been so abrasively comforting before. She remained however, pondering her masters newest question.

    Fate? It had been something that shed never thought of; and again, this was something that Master Feskin hadnt spoken of with her either. There may have been references to an opinion of his on fate, but nothing direct. There had been something about one not being able to completely divert the Will of the Force, but other than that... no.


    I... I dont know, she replied, keeping her eyes on the floor. I guess I do, in a way. But perhaps its not as...

    She paused once more, looking for the correct word. ...not as set as I thought it was before.


    She shrugged helplessly, shifting on her feet.


    I dont know, she said again.

  14. #14
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    "Nor do I." He nodded. "Insofar as that I do not believe our lives are prewritten. That would mean that every choice is but an illusion."

    And in that case, there would be no such thing as choice. It was a very confusing concept for a younger mind, but he believed that she could grasp it. That she could grasp anything if she were to - for lack of another word - choose to make the effort.

    "In farsight, we can see possible futures. If something comes to pass, the correct choices were made to get there. We are not limited to one outcome, no matter what choices they make. Quite simply, that would defy the laws of cause and effect."

    Ilias pursed his lips in thought.

    "The state of the galaxy, the universe around us can influence the course of things, such as why I am a Jedi." His mouth went into a thin line. "And why both of us have lost teachers to which we were so deeply bonded. Duty demanded that they went where they did. What happened to them is consequence of factors. Note that consequence is not punishment. There would have been nothing we could have done to keep any of it from happening, lest we had the power to change the state of the galaxy itself."

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