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Thread: This One is Not Alone

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    Open Thread This One is Not Alone

    For some time, Kazahan had needed to remain out of sight in Ossus. He did not like to think that the Jedi were blaming him, but he knew whether or not they did he needed to let things cool down, until his face would no longer cause a diplomatic incident.

    So, he had retired into exile into the forest some distance outside of Sanctuary, close to the mountains where the trees were humongous, and large enough to support a residence of the size he'd required. He loved that part of the Forest, where he could feel the magic of life everywhere. There he would build himself a tree house, and the labour and work would help him process his emotions and the consequences of his actions.

    A month passed, and while he'd always been gone on long reconnaissance missions to map and survey the planet before, he'd never simply stayed in one place and built something. The project was unlike anything he'd ever needed to undertake before; a home required planning, and resources, and diagrams and spatial awareness of a type he'd not quite understood before. The huge trees, the green ferny undergrowth, the streams and hills and creatures were all soothing and not tame; everything was a challenge. Solomon came and visited him, and would bring him supplies for his home and stay and give him company and teach him, but Solomon was a Master, on the Council, and he was needed back at Sanctuary.

    So he would go, and Kazahan would be alone again, unless Gossam visited him from the mountains. He liked the Gossam generally; they were not personable in the sense that he was used to, but they were direct and affable and not likely to take offence to things he said or did. Some would help him build his home, but not much, and not for very long. They had their own village to care for, and he wouldn't keep them from that.

    Kazahan would go, map and survey, speak to Ysanna that were not hostile to the Jedi and Gossam, and return and continue building a tree house.

    "Kazahan," Solomon said to him, some two and a half months into his exile. The Tree House was nowhere near completed; a stair case had been made into the tree going up a long ways, and presently was the only way up or down to the Tree House, which consisted of a bare floor plan of three rooms: one where Kazahan slept and another where he kept his things and spoke to other people who visited him. A floor, an exterior wall, and a roof, and a carefully maintained cooking pit of stones and dirt. He slept in a camping roll he brought with him. "The Jedi are going to be having guests soon. We'd like them to stay with you, if it wouldn't trouble you."

    He nodded.

    "Of course, Master. Kazahan will endeavour to be hospitable."

    Solomon smiled.

    "I have no doubt. I'm hoping the extended company will do you some good, and maybe after you'll come back to Sanctuary on your own." The human raised one hand, silencing his Trianii student's interruption. "You've been away for long enough. A Jedi does not dwell on the past. Accept, let go, move on. We've discussed this."

    Kazahan nodded.

    "Acceptance is much harder and much easier than most believe it to be, Master," the leonine Jedi apprentice said. "But this one shall do as you ask. When shall our guests be arriving, hmm?"

    Solomon's smile grew, and Kazahan's own expression, though opaque to most humans, was as easily read by the man as a book; the Trianii had, though not without hardship, grown and matured. Though he had not quite let go of his pain and frustration, he had at last comprehended.

    "I've brought you some supplies," the Jedi Master said. "Let's talk about it while we set everything up, hm?"
    Last edited by Kazahan; May 29th, 2016 at 09:59:08 PM.

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    It was not his first trip to the glittering gem of Ossus. However, this time he was not met with raised weapons. The Jedi were still cautious of him but familiarity was beginning to breed understanding. They still did not know who or what he was. That was not information that could be disclosed. Not yet. Zereth believed that Eleutheria, and the work it did, was a benefit to the whole galaxy; and they had nothing to hide in so noble a cause. Lilaena saw things differently, and he agreed that the secrecy was necessary. They were too few, too weak for the entire galaxy to know they were here. For now they would be but wraiths, skirting the galaxy; hiding, biding their time, to strike only when necessary. The Empire was their enemy, but it was not their purpose. Saving those born with the power of the force was. A new generation would rise in the future and take their place. Because of what they did here, in the shadows, the future generation would be able to stand tall, proud, and unafraid.

    That was his purpose on Ossus once again. Delivering not one, but two children into the care of the Jedi. A child and a teenager. Siblings. They both wanted to be Jedi more than anything, and when offered the choice, they jumped at the chance to meet the once legendary Jedi. It was always disappointing when they chose to not stay with them on Dantooine. They could use all the recruits they could find. It was not his place to make them stay. That was the entire point and purpose of Eleutheria. To create the freedom to choose. When they made their choice it was up to him, and the others, to ensure they were delivered safely to their destination of choice; whether it be family, friends, Ossus, Tanaab, or anywhere in between. The galaxy was a treacherous place and many would prey upon the adepts. They would not pluck them from the teeth of the Empire only to let them fall to another predator.

    With his delivery complete, and the day passing into the evening and the last of the transports had already left for the cycle. Zereth inquired if he would be allowed to stay the night. The Jedi were understanding, but could not allow him to stay in the camp. He was a benefactor, but one understandably not trusted. Lodging in the woods would be the next best choice. He would make camp away from them. This did not sit well with them either. He would still be a rogue element allowed to walk freely about the area. Instead they instructed him to stay with one of the Jedi, a Trianii man who had set up his own housing away from the camp, in the woods. Zereth had no objections, and after being gifted a sleeping mat and blanket, he headed off in the instructed direction.

    A pair of Jedi followed him all the way, only falling away when the flourishing tree house came into view. Dressed in his practical traveling clothes, black of course, and red cape he looked out of place among the Jedi, and especially here in the forest. Approaching the treehouse he called out, letting the inhabitants know he had arrived.


    To give help, a way, a place, and a hope to those who don't or have lost it.
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    "If you wish to go up, you are quite welcome," a throaty voice seemed to come from nowhere off to the side; a very tall, well built felinoid stood there with a creature slung on its back. "It is this one's home after all."

    The feline turned to look at where the Jedi who'd accompanied Zereth out here were heading back to Sanctuary. He turned and walked to the huge tree.

    "Are you the guest that Kazahan was told about? Come, come, we can speak while Trianii prepares supper."

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    Zereth's eyes panned until the felinoid came into view. Not a Cizerack, which there was plenty down in the camp, but rather some other felinoid species. In a galaxy that boasted many he had to admit he was at a lost about the species of this particular man. It was irrelevant in this moment. There was no tactical advantage to be had. He was, and would remain, a guest. There was no menace in his presence here on Ossus.

    "I am." He said at last, his attention wandering to the small animal at the felinoid's back. "I appreciate your hospitality, Kazahan. I am Zereth."

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    "This one hopes you are hungry, Zereth," the Trianii said, hanging the creature by a rope tied around a pair of its legs over a small platform. With a knife he pulled from his belt, he slit open the animal's stomach to its neck, causing blood and internal organs to spill out onto the platform, which seemed constructed for that purpose, as none of the entrails touched the mossy ground. "There will be much to eat."

    They had walked around the tree, bringing into view not only the platform that Kazahan had set up for cleaning the creatures he hunted, but also a small fire pit with a spit, laid round with stones making a wall about two feet high, and a small stone oven connected to it of about the same height.

    "What brings you to Ossus?" Kazahan asked while he began skinning the creature. He paused and thought a quick moment. "Apologies if this one is prying."

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    With a curious eye Zereth watched the cat man disembowel the animal. It had been many years since Zereth had enjoyed fresh game. In a galaxy full of protein goop and synthesized meals one could travel from one side of the universe to the other and never taste a drop of fresh food. This meal would be a treat indeed. He re-positioned himself to get a better view of the preparation. Every moment was a learning moment of you paid attention.

    "No need to apologize. It is no secret. I rescued a pair of force sensitive children from slavers who were going to sell them and more like them to the Empire. They wanted to become Jedi. They had heard the legends. They could not resist the opportunity. That brings me here, to deliver them to the Jedi Masters. They have a bright future ahead of them."

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    "This one was not a slave, but also had heard the stories of the Jedi. Great warriors, heroes, slaying monsters and righting wrongs throughout the galaxy. It is what brought Kazahan here to Ossus also," Kazahan replied as he cut away and tossed the last of the entrails onto the platform, and carefully started to skin the creature. The pelt would need to be treated, washed, and dried, but could serve as a floor covering or a blanket.

    "Though being a slave is not the worst thing that could happen in the galaxy," the Trianii continued. He looked back at Zereth seriously.

    "Why, one could have the horrible fortune of being married!"

    Kazahan's head tilted.

    "This one was attempting to make humor like many humans do," he explained after a moment. "Human humor is odd."

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    "Humor is odd. I appreciate the sentiment, nonetheless." He replied, without so much as a change in his demeanor. It was a good joke, even if a bit droll and overplayed. Laughing was simply not something that Zereth did. His face did soften, though, as he became more comfortable with his host.

    "I did not grow up with the stories of the Jedi. I did not hear of them until I was already a man. Rather I had the horrible machinations of the Sith whispered in my ears as a young man. They do not make for good stories. There are no heroes to look to for inspiration, only the twisted survivors. The only monsters they slay are each other. Perhaps in another life I will take the other path."

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    Kazahan glanced over curiously.

    "Ah, you believe in reincarnation?" He asked enthusiastically. "Kazahan has had many discussions and the concept still confuses. Is it really a continuation? If so, is it truly a new beginning, since then there is a link between past and present and future? And if there is reincarnation, what of the expansion of the universe and the possibility of the great Heat-Death? Entropy? What cuts are you most fond of? This one may cook tongue tonight if you are amenable."

    Kazahan hadn't stopped cleaning the animal even as he spoke; when the skin was pulled off, he took some metal boxes of different sizes which sat at the base of the tree and tossed several different cuts within them, and went about extracting tendons and the tongue, as well as cutting off the ears.

    "And if you do not like speaking of religion, Kazahan will quiet. Trianii is told that sometimes he may be overzealous in his desire to understand."

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    "At it's core I would call it more a hope than a belief." Zereth replied as he continued to watch the felinoid expertly butcher the wild beast. The ease of the process spoke of great experience. It had been some time since Zereth had been forced to hunt and butcher his own meals. The comforts of the Sith and Eleutheria had made him soft around the edges. "A hope for a second chance, to do things over differently. To see the galaxy again from another perspective. What I truly believe in is that we will live on within the Living Force long after we leave this material plane. A new existence, and a new adventure."

    "Feel free to speak your mind, Kazahan. I myself quite enjoy philosophy and belief. That which motivates a man. As for the cut, I will defer to your selection. I am unfamiliar with this beast but do not fear. My palette is broad."

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    "That is good to hear," Kazahan said. "This one enjoys conversation. Silence is uncomfortable."



    The next morning dawned slightly colder, a heavy mist hugging the ground waiting for sunlight to make it dissipate. Unusually for this time of day, Kazahan was awake, stretching and doing some forms.

    Even more unusual was that he had an audience, albeit one that waited politely for him to finish before speaking.

    "Kazahan," the Jedi said as the Trianii turned around. Kazahan could not remember his name, though the magnificent moustache the man wore made him embarrassed to have forgotten such a thing. "You have a mission from the Council."

    A small datapad and a lightsaber hilt large enough for him to use without being too awkward were held out to him.

    "Kazahan has a guest."

    "The Council has allowed him to accompany you. There is nothing too dangerous or too secret in it."

    Kazahan bowed and took the items, and watched the Jedi walk back through the mist.

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    After watching the exchange from where he laid on the dirt ground, Zereth sat up in his bedroll and waited for the man, another Jedi, to leave. Reaching up he pulled his loose, spiky black hair upwards and secured it into a topknot with a hairband.

    "Has it become customary to withhold weapons from the Jedi?" He asked as he took his own two lightsabres from where he left them beside his pillow and held one in each hand. In a show of peaceful intend he had laid them out in plain sight in case Kazahan had any qualms about an armed guest. Zereth had assumed his host was similarly armed, but the recent exchanged said otherwise as a weapon was given with an assignment, like a law enforcer given a blaster before being sent out on patrol.

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    Kazahan sighed, clipping the lightsaber onto his belt.

    "This one has recently come back from a mission where Trianii embraced the dark side of the Force," he explained. "It did not end well, and many people died as a result. The Council will not allow this one the privilege of carry such a symbolic weapon with the lack of maturity and irresponsibility Kazahan showed, unless such a thing is required in the process of fulfilling a duty."

    Kazahan paused, the memory of the great dragon's laughter reverberating in his soul darkly for a moment. It passed, and Kazahan glanced down at the missive.

    "Ah. It is the Ysanna. Kazahan must go and scout the rumored movement of a warband to the west."

    The Trianii turned and bowed to Zereth.

    "Apologies for the inconvenience. If you do not wish to come, this one will not attempt to compel you."

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    Zereth considered his words carefully. Already bubbling to his lips was a rejection of the Jedi mantra that was deeply ingrained in his mind from many years under the cruel thumb of the Sith Order. He liked to think he was a wiser man now and knew better, but he would not lie and say that he did not think the Jedi Order was narrowed minded and reluctant to take personal responsibility for their actions; choosing instead to put the burden on the will of the force and the temptation of the darkside. Zereth felt that there was far more to life than light and darkness, and that within every order and way of the force there was a grain of truth and worth.

    "I wish you recovery and redemption, Jedi Kazahan." He said at last, rising from his mat and stretching his limbs. "There is not one person in this galaxy who has not strayed from their path. What matters is we pick ourselves back up and continue the course. I too hope to achieve redemption some day, if the force will have me. Come, show me this world of yours. I am eager to see it's beauty with my own eyes." Grabbing his cloak from it's place hanging from a branch, he pulled the blood red cloth around his shoulders and fastened it into place. He felt somewhat unprepared without all his other weapons, but his blades should be more than adequate for whatever this planet could throw at them. What danger could such a paradise as Ossus offer?

    "Who are these Ysanna that we seek?"

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    "Ysanna are the natives of this planet," Kazahan said while walking back to the tree. "They live in tribes, much like the Trianii on this one's homeworld; many are hostile to the Jedi and others who have come to make Ossus their home as well. This one usually is tasked with keeping an eye on their movements and reporting on them so things do not descend into war."

    He ascended the staircase, taking some of the large steps two at a time. His cozy little home was still very bare, so it was a matter of moments before he'd packed what things he needed and had the pack slung over his shoulder and on his back. Simply speaking of war had reminded the Trianii of his last off world mission, the one that him and Loki interceding in an invasion of his homeworld by a mysterious army of droids and the great monstrous dragons that had somehow commanded them. His demeanour became muted, but he remained calm.

    "The Ysanna this one is to scout are gathering beyond the mountains to the west of Sanctuary. It is a journey that will take some time. The paths through the mountains are not well tread, and once that is past, we will need to approach with care that we are not seen. If these Ysanna are hostile and gathering the numbers for an attack, they will be numerous enough to defeat this one, and perhaps yourself, Zereth."

    They reached the bottom of the tree, and Kazahan put out the fire in the pit, covering it with a mix of gathered ash from previous fires and dirt.

    The morning was turning to midday, and the air was warm and dry. Kazahan took a deep breath and turned to Zereth with a closed eyes and the closest thing to a smile his face could physically reproduce.

    "This one apologizes, but we must make good time, so the pace will be difficult. Starting this late in the day, hopefully we will make the mountain passes before nightfall."

    With that, Kazahan leaped forward a good four meters and proceeded to run through the forest.

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    Zereth had barely the breath of time to digest the details the felinoid was feeding before the Jedi bounded off with an apology. Wishing he had taken the same precautions and stretched, he took off after the Trianii. He was no stranger to running through the woods, dodging between trees and through brush as he stayed on his host's tail. An agile warrior, Zereth kept pace. Without his usual suite of weapons he was much lighter, limited only by his heavy cloak which flowed in the air behind him.

    Whipping through the lush forest reminded him very much of the time he had run into a shapeshifting rebel in the forests of Corellia. The trees and animals were different, but the environment was the same. Wild and unpredictable. He had a feeling this one would not lead him to a conflict with the Empire and a hurried escape from the planet. As his mind wandered to what had come of the rebel, Ashe, he narrowly dodged a tree branch that would have made quite a mess of his nose. A wandering mind had no place in such a moment of action. He banished it from his mind and continued his chase after the Jedi.

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    The two were little more than blurs in the afternoon forest; a glimpse of color and then once more nothing.

    Kazahan reveled in the simple but strenuous activity of running. He could focus on the breath in his lungs, and the impacts of his feet, and the awareness of the forest around him, rather than the dark laughter which still haunted his soul, and the horror of countless deaths impacting his consciousness.

    Where Zereth was agile and quick, Kazahan was strong and enduring and he set the grueling pace with powerful steps and leaps. It was where he excelled in the Force magic of the Jedi, after all. They continued their run into the steeper hills and lower mountains as the afternoon wore on.

    Kazahan finally halted near a stream that babbled loudly along moss covered rocks and carved its way through the stony ground to the regions below.

    "You keep up well, Zereth!" Kazahan said, breathing slowly. "This one will speed up to make things more interesting when we begin again."

    The Trianii knelt by the stream and dipped his canteen into the water and filling it before dunking his head and pulling back out with a gasp of delight. He sat back and pulled a map from his pack, opening the flimsi-like folded atlas and marking it a few times before inserting it into a clunky device. A three dimensional map appeared, with different colors denoting the territories of the various Ysanna tribes as well as showing the extent of the Jedi's developing city and the Gossam mountain village as well.

    "This is the path we will be taking through the mountains," he said, tracing a finger along a single small route that wound and doubled back several times to make its way through the terrain. "We will be skirting the farthest Gossam pastures, since Ysanna keep eyes on them and we wish to remain unnoticed. If the weather and paths permit, we will be on the far side of the mountains within two days."

    Kazahan leaned back, considering the map.

    "Kazahan is glad you are here, Zereth," he said in an apparent non-sequitur. "This journey would be lonely taken alone."

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    Zereth knelt at the edge of the stream and bowed his head forward. With a hand he brushed debris from the surface of the water before scooping it to his mouth one handful at a time. Lacking any sort of container or supplies of his own, Zereth and Kazahan had shared the canteen and supplies. It was hardly a crutch. Out here on a beautiful and plentiful planet like Ossus there was fresh water at every turn and more than enough live game to hunt for food. They wanted for nothing.

    He washed his hands, arms, and face while listening to his companion, guide, and host explain the details of their journey. He was unsure of what exactly the Jedi were doing with this information. He doubted anything too sinister. Likely just keeping an eye on their troublesome neighbors. Zereth wondered if the natives saw the Jedi and Alliance as invaders stealing a place on their world. It would be interesting to hear their side of the story.

    'It is my pleasure, Kazahan. No one should be alone. I've known the bitter taste of loneliness. I would not wish it upon my even enemies, much less on a new friend."

    He was reminded of his years spent on Corellia, waiting patiently for the Sith Order to rise again. All that time, spent maintaining their allegiances in Coronet and preparing to return to Korriban, to wage war with the usurpers, was a waste. It came to nothing, and like the very army that pushed them from the Temple, the Sith Order has turned to dust. Realizing that there was nothing left for him on Corellia and finally leaving was the best decision he had made for a large portion of his life. Now he had allies, although he would be hesitant to call them friends. There was a honesty to this Jedi, Kazahan, that Zereth felt a kinship to.

  19. #19
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    "Hmph."

    He gave the natives of this little nowhere a narrow-eyed stare. Encouragingly, some of them met his stare with fierce glares of bravado.

    "You aren't half bad," he admitted, pointing at them. One thought he pointing only at himself, and shouted in pride. He cut that shout short, quickly. Loud noises annoyed him. The warrior stayed silent, wondering when the off-worlder had appeared in front him with a hand clutching his throat and lifting a couple inches into the air. "I did not mean you alone. All of you together wouldn't be able to defeat me, much less my companion. We will fix that. You've made a deal with my boss, who's a scary witch in her own right. She sent us. So you'll listen and train until you're ready."

    "TO DEFEAT JEDI!" one shouted, and the others cheered, though the cheers faltered and went silent when the warrior he held in his hand jerked and spasmed for a moment before falling still, his throat crushed. Mochi's eye twitched in annoyance.

    "Oops," he grunted, eyeing them all with intent. They shied back, and remained silent. He smiled, though the expression was only visible due to the way the corners of his eyes crinkled. He dropped the dead warrior and dusted off his hands.

    "Let's get started, shall we?"

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    "If you keep that up there won't be any left to train."

    The mountain beside Mochi growled. Standing head and shoulders above even the tallest man gathered, Decimator Jorus was a huge being made all the bigger by the bulky Titan Armor he wore. In a rare display his helmet was removed and the black lenses of his occular implants were visible above the protective collar that hid his lower face. His head was standard issue shaved. Scars and visible metal protrusions along his head hinted at additional cybernetic augmentations.

    Leaning further on to the great sword planted in the ground, he turned his attention from his partner back to the assembled barbarians. Their eyes noticeably went to the mighty weapon. A gift from the Emperor Beyond the Stars himself, the so called Warp Blade was one of a kind and designed to be wielded by a Titan. Any lesser man would not be able to lift it's incredible weight, nor would they be worthy in the first place. It was to be one of many great weapons to become icons of the rising true Empire. It was designed to be a Jedi slayer.

    "Never forget, my children. Without Death there can be no Sacrifice."

    "We have purpose!"

    "Without War there can be no Victory."
    "We have purpose!"

    It was unclear if these lesser lifeforms were taking any of the Brotherhood's mantra to heart, but they were at least becoming proficient at repeating the three words required of them.

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