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Thread: Stranger Than Fiction

  1. #1

    Imperial - Closed Stranger Than Fiction

    Xi covertly bit her lip as Oskar's hand brushed against the merchant daughter's cheek. Around her, the Citadel library was as dull and drab as ever, but with the rumbling baseline of Captain Sweeg thundering into her ears and drowning out her surroundings, Xi was somewhere else entirely, feeling the course hands of rough Nikto skin brushing against the soft and supple porcelain of the young Alderaani. It was a culmination, endless chapters of agonising preamble and tension, and Xi Vanadís hated that she hadn't hated every vacuous, pretentious, poorly-written second of it. This was supposed to be an exercise in loathing, of dissecting the faults and flaws of Tusk Love to better condemn and criticise those who found enjoyment from such literary trash. Instead, Xi found herself invested, her breath trapped in her lungs as she waited for Guinevere's final surrender to the inhuman who had stolen her heart.

    Yet, as the climax fast approached, even the pulsating rhythm of Son of Xesh 51 could not safeguard Xi's privacy and isolation. She heard it, encroaching through the drum beats and quetarra riffs: the sound of something that did not belong. It was the sound of conversation, of people, of that which she had sought to escape by leaving the cadet barracks, encroaching upon the solace and silence she had come here to find. It was the sound of someone else's story, encroaching upon her own.

    Her eyes peeled away from the sigils displayed on the digital page of her data device, and towards the scene that transpired before her. The protagonist was Jensen Par'Vizal. He was new, relatively speaking, and recruited personally by one of the Imperial Knights, direct from a jail cell if the rumours were to be believed. He was kind of an ass, from what Xi had observed, but he regarded the other cadets and students with the kind of disdain they deserved, which elevated him somewhat in Xi's eyes, even if his assesment of his own standing struck her as a little overly confident. Then there were the antagonists: the Tahmores twins, Kaidan and Cohen. Xi had never paid enough attention to learn how to tell the two of them apart, and she clung to that, making a point of using the wrong name wherever possible, just to deter any unwanted attempts at friendliness. That was their vice, and the brand of antagonism they seemed to be unleashing upon Par'Vizal. Xi snatched a few words, read directly from one of the twins' lips: a welcoming committee, solidarity among new students, offers of assistance and cameraderie should they be required, whether they were wanted or not.

    Xi would have rolled her eyes, if they weren't already occupied watching the encounter unfold. Rumour was that Par'Vizal had flipped a police speeder. Maybe a little of that was in store for the Tahmores twins, if they maintained their irritation. Then again, perhaps Par'Vizal was still new enough to be blinded by the pretense of the Citadel, rather than the reality of it. They branded it a school, an academy, a training facility for the next generation of Knights. In reality it was a prison, a labour camp, a sweat shop for the exploitation of Force Sensitives. Some, like the twins, volunteered for their incarceration - or perhaps were volunteered, by a Security Bureau father whose seemingly benevolent efforts to fast-track his sons to a Knightly future could just as easily have been a smokescreen to disguise the hiding of a family disgrace. She wondered how Par'Vizal felt about his own arrival here: was he pragmatic enough to see it as the lesser of two evils, or did he buy into the optimistic delusion that this was an opportunity to be embraced and exploited?

    She could ask, but that wasn't her style, wasn't on brand with the narrative that she had chosen for herself. Vanadís surrounded herself with a cloud of anger, a shield that kept everyone at bay, safeguarding her solitary isolation, and giving her the distance she needed to watch the stories of others unfold without ever becoming a participant herself. That was the mentality that preserved her silence, halting the scathing rebuke towards the twins that wanted to springboard off her tongue, and instead left her glaring in silence at the Tahmores' attempt to make friends.

  2. #2
    How delightful. Or at least, Jensen supposed, that was what his reaction was expected to be, if the overly enthusiastic twins' shared demeanor was being gauged correctly. Instead, their greetings and offers of fraternity and other tripe was met with a rather blank stare as the younger man let his fingers drum in sequence - only once - over the display set on the table in front of him that he had been hunched over. They couldn't really be blamed, perhaps, he was new and it was cordial if nothing else. How were they to know that he had been deeply engrossed in familiarizing himself with the history and architectural details of the building they all resided in lest he find himself repeating a show of ignorance. They couldn't know he had been imprinting details to be called upon later, adding them to a museum of thought that already housed several layouts of the Citadel dating from it's original conception, to first build, to various pointed refurbishments and redesigns that it had gone through during it's existence, all leading up to the current configuration - the last of which he had made a point of ensuring he could recall in utmost detail to prevent the possibility of falling into the trap of finding ones' self lost in a new environment and relying upon others to find something as common as a washroom.

    No, it wasn't like Jensen had looked busy when the two had set upon him. Of course not. Not even those first few instants where he had been fairly certain their wayward snippit of conversation of I told you he would be in here was in reference to him and he had chosen to outwardly ignore their advance until it became impossible to do so any longer. It wasn't that he had kept a finger at the exact spot mid-sentence he had been, just in the off-chance his mind wouldn't instantly locate the position once more. No, no outward sign at all that could be comprehended by anyone with even the slightest grasp of what a library was for that could mean that he was not meant to be disturbed. Though, if the twins' rather boisterous prattling on were anything to go by...

    It wasn't that he didn't want to seem grateful for all the two were on about. It was more... Well, to be grateful meant you had to feel a certain amount of appreciation for another's actions, did it not? And just then, as Jensen finally surrendered to the idea that he was not going to be returning to the article in front of him any time soon and drummed his fingers once more, he wasn't feeling particularly appreciative.

    "I'm terribly sorry, I didn't quite catch all of that. Perhaps if you spoke in tones more suited to our surroundings and less in those exercised within a smashball court?"

    Not exactly the deterrence he had wanted to utter, but he'd given them a second chance as was only polite.

  3. #3
    Kaidan recoiled, inwardly at least, from the eloquent reprimand that Jensen Par'Vizal had offered. He understood the implication of it, silence in the library and all that, but balked at the premise. Maybe that was the premise elsewhere, in the kind of libraries that people who said fancy-pants things like terribly sorry and tones more suited. It certainly was the way that things worked in the poncy libraries and archives back home on Naboo. But this was the Imperial Citadel, for kriff's sake. They were Imperial Knights, if you were willing to squint enough to not notice the Cadet qualifier. That was pretty much the same thing as being a Jedi Knight, and here they were in the refurbished Jedi Temple, and if Kaidan's obsessive devotion to quasi-forbidden Republic era holodramas was any indication, the Jedi weren't exactly big on the whole silence in the library type deal. Sure, it wasn't like anyone was going to throw a rager in the Archives, but if the Jedi wanted quiet, there were meditation rooms, and contemplation gardens. The Archives were a place for learning, not silence, and sometimes learning required a modest amount of noise.

    Of course, maybe Par'Vizal didn't realise that, just like he didn't realise the historic significance of this being the moment that he first met the Tahmores Twins. Years from now, when Kaidan and Cohen were married to princesses or movie stars or whatever, personal friends of the Empress herself thanks to an intro from the objectively most awesome of their elder siblings, and were known to everyone as the saviours of the galaxy, Par'Vizal would find himself in front of an interview crew, and would tell them all how cherished his memories of this moment were. But, Jensen was new; Jensen didn't know the Twins yet; and Jensen lacked the necessary foresight to realise how inevitable their future amazingness was. In an act of cosmic benevolence, Kaidan decided to offer the new kid a little slack.

    "Don't worry," he countered, with a warm smile, "This is a library, not a mausoleum. It's not like we have to keep our voices hushed to avoid waking the spirits of the dead."

  4. #4
    Oh new kids... They always seemed to have this weird set of ideas about exactly what the Citadel was and involved. Okay sure, anyone who was in training to become an Imperial Knight probably had some sort of chips on their shoulder and dramatic ideas floating about in their heads but the reality was... well, not as exciting as all that. Oh sure it would be, when they were actual proper Knights, maybe! But this was the time and place of the Cadets, time for learning and meeting the people you would possibly eventually need to actually rely on to watch your back in some sort of life and death situation. Granted, Cohen had that sort of support built-in since birth, but others could at least benefit from it too, right? And the more the merrier, anyway!

    The only problem was... Well... Some people had ideas that the whole Imperial part of their titles meant they had to portray some sort of bad-guy mystery villain nonsense rather than just the plain truth that meant they were here rather than there. Sure there were some teachers that were a bit more dark than others, but Cohen was pretty willing to bet that if you really dug into the Jedi - the supposed good guys of the universe - curriculum of old, you'd find some pretty morally questionable things going down when it came to questioning prisoners and other means justify the ends sort of things.

    Old stuff versus new aside, Cohen had this weird - and he hoped he was dead wrong - feeling that poor Jensen had already subscribed to that particular way of thinking. They'd found the kid in a prison after all, hadn't they? If rumors were true. Which they usually were. Well... Always time to fix that and turn him into a better - more fun - member of society, right? The professors within the Citadel could fix some of the stuff, but as far as Cohen saw? He and Kaidan were teachers of a different sort - apparently the kind that the new kid needed badly if his seriously nerdy overly-wordy way of talking was anything to go by.

    "Wellll..." Cohen dragged out as he found his mouth quirking to the side and a cautious glance was given around the library. "Okay, probably enough people have died around here that you could look at it that way, but all due respect aside, something tells me they wouldn't exactly appreciate you looking at this place like their grave. I've heard that the librarian during the Clone Wars was a badass old lady, she'd probably appreciate a bit more life thrown into this place."

  5. #5

    The mask of jovial friendship that Kaidan had carefully prepared for Jensen Par'Vizal slipped slightly, a glimmer of indignant disbelief shining through the cracks as he glanced in his brother's direction.


    It was easy to see the similarities between Kaidan and Cohen Tahmores. Same homeworld. Same upbringing. Same genetics, same face, same physique. The similarities were so compelling that few people had the time or inclination to pay attention to the differences. When they did, it always came in absolutes. Kaidan was the smart one, while Cohen was the nice one. Introvert and extrovert. People saw them as a binary, as two sides of a coin, or two halves of a whole. People weren't entirely wrong on that, either. The twin brothers were as inseparable as Talus and Tralus, reliant on the presence and influence of each other for stability and survival, and just as likely to cause a devastating astronomical event if anyone tried to tear them apart. There had been two horrific weeks in their youth where school had attempted to place them in different classes. It had not gone well.

    The reality though was much more subtle than the neat labels that people liked to apply. Kaidan understood the impulse: facts and figures, labels, patterns, they were sort of his thing. He liked things that were predictable, that followed set rules, and patterns. He liked to calculate, and to coordinate. By comparison, Cohen was much more go with the flow, much more comfortable with uncertaintly, much more instinctive and last-minute than Kaidan felt capable of being. Those differences wove together, complimenting each other, binding into something stronger and more effective than either of them was individually. Cohen sparked an idea, and Kaidan gave it form. Kaidan dragged them into trouble, and Cohen charmed their way out of it. That was their binary. That was their balance. Usually, it worked for them. Sometimes, though?

    A badass old lady.

    For a brief moment, it was as if the two of them hadn't grown up in the same house after all, and hadn't endured a childhood spent with a father whose idea of fun games for infants involved memorising the identity of Jedi terrorists. Kaidan shook his head and mustered a sigh, turning his attention back to the Citadel's newest student, before Cohen's free spirit steered them too far away from Kaidan's expertly crafted plan.

    "You'll have to excuse my brother. He knows perfectly well that her name is Jocasta Nu, he's just trying to be cool."
    Last edited by Kaidan Tahmores; Oct 22nd, 2018 at 07:20:29 PM.


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