Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Kai Tsintah    47

Office of the Kaar of Ancient Knowledge

1 Week after the events of 'Ludus Summus' 

 

 

It took a while - her recovery from the first time Kai stepped foot in the Training Pits - far longer than the newly minted acolyte had originally anticipated it would. Apart from the numerous bruises and burns she suffered during Darth Tanit's lesson on perseverance as a Sith warrior, the Korun nursed some psychological wounds which seemed a lot more difficult to get past, than any superficial physical injury sustained in what she deemed to be, her most memorable training session to date.  Kai's ego was no worse for wear; she did not take anything that was done in training personally and knew full well that everything that took place here, even everything that surrounded her, was meant to be an ongoing lesson and a (hopefully) fruitful learning experience. 

 

Many days afterwards, she would lay awake in her bunk and replay 'moment by moment' the basic Shii-Cho velocities the Dark Lady had shown her.  Ever fresh in her mind, the exercises would become so ingrained that she would dream about the encounter almost every night. Her days were spent in the library, wisely keeping out of the way of the Guardians and other acolytes. Before Kai realized it, an entire week had passed without a single altercation. Neither did she manage to make any new 'friends' among her peers - likely due to her embracing the loner inside. But the solitary existence, however temporary, brought the Korun little peace and even less joy. Something was still bothering Kai; something left behind, there... on the sands of the blood-stained training pits.

 

In as much as pursuing her academic studies allowed the Korun to gain some temporary relief to sore muscles and joints, it failed to bring her sufficient closure

 

Don't just sit here, a voice whispered inside, prodding at her restless psyche. Go out there, and do.

But do.... what, exactly?

Do not play ignorant, Kai. It does not suit you. You know what must be done, now execute.

 

Standing up deftly, she closed the book her gaze had been pouring over for the past two and a half hours, and quietly tiptoed to put it back on the shelf where she had originally found it. The Guardians shifted past her, keeping sufficient distance as not to alarm the girl, neither approving nor condemning her behavior. They were simply there to observe, Darth Verrin's perpetually vigilant, ever-present shadow guards. 

 

Verrin. That's a good start, now run with it.

 

Disgruntled at her ineptitude at shutting down her overactive psyche, Kai returned to the desk and gathered up a handful of datapads. What about Darth Verrin? He isn't even here.... Quick dual-colored gaze swept over her surroundings, failing to note the presence of the Dark Librarian. Likely stepped out to use the facilities, the acolyte thought. Even powerful Sith have to succumb to nature's call once in a while.

 

You are one of the saddest acolytes in the history of this Academy, or well on your way to becoming one, the voice piped up causing Kai's brows to knit in frustration.

 

Whatever. I don't even think I am an Acolyte yet. Just because someone said something doesn't necessarily make it so. One pathetic attempt in combat training does not equal a promotion, she spat back inwardly, striding out of the Library proper. Enough! I am going to take care of my business when I'm damn ready and without your butting in between my every semi-coherent thought.  Silence answered  her. Relieved, the Korun moved down the hall, then another and another, not really paying much attention to where she was headed. Before long, the young woman would ascend to another floor and make her way toward the Overseers' Offices, with the occasional pair of eyes or two, watching her from the shadows. There must have been many guards scattered in plentiful nooks and crannies of this place, Kai thought, still walking about aimlessly and yet attempting to walk 'with a purpose.' 

 

Verrin. That's a good start, now run with it.

 

The thought echoed in her mind suddenly, as the acolyte haphazardly navigated her way to the center of the Facility. She saw a door in front of her, and caught the designation for what and who it housed inside, almost at the very last moment. Halting her momentum, she brought both her body and mind to a pause, still staring.... hesitating. It would have been so much easier if Maggie had stepped out in the next few moments, so she could inquire whether the Kaar was too busy to receive her. Inwardly, she laughed at her own audacity. A Kaar of Knowledge, seeing a nosy student on the latter's whim? Not bloody likely, Kai thought, already scolding herself mentally for having ventured this far. 

 

And then the image of her helpless, battered form materialized before her eyes, yet again. Like a fish out of water, the young woman was gasping for breath, reaching out for a weapon that lay far beyond her reach.... Her struggle was only the beginning of the long and harrowing journey. And if she wanted it to continue, Kai would have to step through the door facing her now, along with many others yet waiting to be discovered. 

 

Another moment passed, then another, and another.

Kai's heartbeat intensified; mind straining to conjure up a vision, willing Maggie to appear.

 

Here goes nothing. Or everything. Frak it.

 

Stepping up to the door, she could have sworn she heard a brief commotion behind the door and yet chose to ignore it.

Her arm lifted with guided determination, lightly balled up fist moving up to knock once.... twice.... before falling back to her hip and relaxing almost immediately as Kai stood.... and waited. 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Darth Verrin    2,127

As if on cue, Maggie was the one to open the portal, and peer outside.  The feminine-looking droid appeared to have been recently polished, because her outer coating gleamed and showed almost no signs of scratches or buffs. Her ocular implants blinked rapidly as her internal emotional processors worked their fastest to produce an appropriate facial expression on her animated-though-lifeless face, and in a second or two, she managed to produce a warm smile and look of recognition.

 

She spoke, and her vocal emitters were sultry as if she had been engaged in some seductive activity, and had not simply been charging in her station. "Acolyte Tsintah," she greeted the visitor, "how may I assist you?"

 

In short order, Maggie learned some reason for Kai's visit, and replied, "Darth Verrin is in his office, yes, but this isn't it.  Allow me to escort you."

 

It wasn't that Kai had gone to the 'wrong' place, but rather that Verirn's offices were in the Library proper, at the far back of the main room.  As the Head Overseer of the Academy, he possessed a physical set of offices in the place where Kai had gone. But he merely had some storage there, and had given use of the room to his droid for maintenance and recharging.  It was rare for him to be far from his beloved books.

 

So Maggie escorted Kai back to the Library, and then across the main floor of information to the back wall, where the portraits of post Temple Lords looked down upon them in judgement. Beneath those unforgiving eyes, and beyond the perimeter of patrolling Guardians, she led them to a door that looked like the others.  But upon opening it, she revealed the moderate-sized office of the Head Librarian. The sparse furnishings were no different than when Kai had first seen them, and the seeming 'mess' upon Verrin's desk was still intact, though likely in a different arrangement than last visit.  He too was present, sitting behind his huge wooden desk, and poring over the contents of a scroll written on what appeared to be a huge palm leaf. He was squinting and moving the leaf back and forth, trying to obtain better light to read by, though the room didn't appear to have any direct source.

 

Maggie huffed, "My Lord... how many times do I have to tell you to obtain and use a proper light source for that?  Where is the desk lamp I requisitioned for you?"

 

There was a snarkiness in the droid's voice, though the Darth didn't seem particularly perturbed by it.  He replied by simply pointing behind him to a nearly fifty-foot long back wall, where a small box sat, unopened.

 

Maggie's hands went to her faux-hips, and she raised an occular accessory (eyebrow) in disbelief. Verrin looked up and answered before she could ask another question, "Didn't have room on the desk for it."  He immediately turned back to his task of reading.

 

Maggie actually 'huffed' - or at least, her vocalizer emulated the sound of an exhalation of breath that sounded incredulous.

 

Verrin paid it no mind, and instead addressed Kai - though he still worked the huge leaf back and forth, and to and fro. "Good day, Acolyte.  What's on your mind?"

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Kai Tsintah    47

Something had to be said for the element of surprise. 

 

It was not that the effeminate robot suddenly appeared in accordance with Kai's hopes. It was the fact that she had stumbled into the wrong place entirely and was likely saved by Maggie's timely appearance. Otherwise, the newly minted acolyte could have easily ended up on some angry Darth's torture rack. Given that the droid offered her something akin to a smile, Kai quickly replied with a silly grin of her own. Her eyebrows rose in embarrassment as she quickly acknowledged Maggie's kind offer to take her to the correct location. 

 

"I do appreciate this, Maggie. I hope you keep this between the two of us, me getting lost like this." Not a single mention of the fact that she had a datapad with the detailed map of the facility ~on her person, and simply opted not to use it. A quick shuffle of deft feet allowed her to catch up with the robot with minimum effort. Before she knew it, they were both on their way back to the Library, crossing the main floor and heading well past the perimeter of patrolling Guardians. As they passed a row of paintings depicting  former Temple Lords Kai lowered her gaze as it now skimmed past Maggie's heels. She could almost feel their contempt of her, though the young woman consoled herself with the thought that it was probably all in her all-too-vivid imagination. 

 

Moments later they would arrive at an inconspicuous door which the droid opened without ceremony. Oh, boy.... now this looks rather familiar....! Kai thought, finally lifting her gaze from the floor and gradually bringing it to level with  the spartan furnishings and the messy desk she had seen at least once before. I should have just come here to begin with; why did I think that an Overseer would have chosen some high and grand, lofty office at the top of the Academy? Fool. Next time, use common sense.

 

While Kai stood there, scolding herself (and silently grateful that the chamber was rather dimly lit), Maggie was busy admonishing an Imperial Kaar. Something about a light source and a lamp, the Korun was far too busy attempting to make herself less visible by standing directly behind the droid to catch every word. Alas, Darth Verrin was only slightly preoccupied, not legally blind. And then there was that little pesky thing, known as the Force. It probably screamed her life aura the moment she tiptoed inside.

 

"Good day, Acolyte.  What's on your mind?"

 

Sliding from behind Maggie's feminine posterior, Kai shuffled her feet and bowed in greeting. Her gaze instantly caught the outline of a rather large leaf which the Sith Lord appeared to be studying most intently. "Apologies in disturbing you, venerable Lord." Still distracted by the leaf, she forced her gaze upward and away from the contents of Verrin's desk. "I was unsure of where else to go. My people have a saying that knowledge and experience go hand in hand for achieving success. You are the most knowledgeable individual I know. Thus, I came to ask if you would consider.... teaching me the ability to move and manipulate objects using the power of the Force."

 

Having recited that last bit in a single breath, Kai swallowed and fell silent; dual-colored gaze watching the Zabrak intently but without expectation, knowing full well that it was Darth Verrin's prerogative alone to accept or deny her request. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Darth Verrin    2,127

"I do appreciate this, Maggie. I hope you keep this between the two of us, me getting lost like this," Kai demurred, but if the droid she spoke to was sympathetic, she didn't show it.

 

Instead, she responded, "No trouble, Acolyte Tsintah.  I was heading that way anyway, and you weren't lost - this IS Darth Verrin's office.  He just never utilizes it."

 

Then, after the trip to the Library and futile attempt to get her master to use the lamp she obtained, Maggie moved off towards the dismissed box.  Whether she would retrieve it or remove it was unclear at the moment, but the resident Darth wasn't paying her any attention.

 

Upon hearing Kai's request, Verrin tried studying the leaf for another moment, but finally set it aside with utmost care, covering two of the many piles of items on his desk. He turned his attention more fully to Kai, who seemed interested in the oddly large leaf.  So he took a moment to explain.

 

"Many local tribes keep records of some sort on these leaves - sometimes they are recipes for medicines or poisons, other times they document the lineage of the leader of the tribe, and sometimes they are simple calendars that mark the passage of time between one ritual or another. In rare cases, they may contain highly useful information - we even have a few such scrolls that delve into rituals that allow one to channel the Dark Side of the Force in such a way as to benefit ones allies in battle.  Trouble is... we never know what the scrolls contain until we read... all of them. And some shaman have better penmanship than others."

 

That last part was a bit of humor on his part.  'Penmanship' was a VERY loose term to describe the writings he often had to read.

 

"As for your request though... I thought you already knew how to manipulate objects with your mind? I think your first day here, you demonstrated some ability in the art on a glass. What exactly do you want me to teach you - how to move larger items?  It's fairly simple, and the same way you get to Garneci Hall - practice, practice, practice."

 

Verrin smiled a little, amusing himself with his odd sense of humor. His quote about the infamous Hall was one most-used by musicians, galaxy-wide. But it had been adopted by any other skill-driven field that required repetition to perfect ones ability.

 

Unfortunately, Maggie heard him and piped up, "That Hall was destroyed almost fifty years ago, My Lord.  Acolyte Tsintah couldn't possibly get to it, as it no longer exists."

 

Verrin rolled his eyes, as he was facing Kai, and Maggie was behind him, dealing with the lamp. But somehow, her sensors must have detected the motion. "You know I hate it when you do that," she said, sounding truly hurt.

 

Verrin would have rolled his eyes again, even further, but either a touch of sympathy or desire not to distance himself from his daily assistant kept him from doing so.  Instead, he quipped, "It is said that Hate leads to the Dark Side, Maggie. Be careful - we may make a Sith of you yet."

 

This time, it was Maggie's faux-features that executed a perfect eyeroll. "Don't tease, My Lord - it doesn't become you."

 

Verrin sighed and spoke once more to Kai. "I'll teach you whatever I can, Acolyte Tsintah. How may I help, again?"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Kai Tsintah    47

The leaf - it was precious to him. Verrin seemed to take unusual care in handling it, so Kai assumed it was very old and perhaps the only artifact of its kind, even. She was not about to ask what kind of recipe this particular leaf contained, even if curiosity was eating her alive at that moment. Old relics were fascinating and those containing Force secrets, even more so. 

 

When the monologue switched gears and the Sith Lord saw it fit to point out that the young woman already possessed some knowledge of object manipulation, she bit down her lower lip in frustration.

 

"It is unstable, Lord. The power.... I have very little command over it. It appears to work in some situations but not in others. Why then, was I not able to call the lightsaber to my hand when Darth Tanit was about to strike me down, that day in the training pits? I focused.... and I pictured it in my mind; I could sense the energy flow through it.... how it connected to the sand, and the surrounding air, and eventually, to me, but it would not budge at all when I willed it to do so. Why?!"

 

Kai neglected to mention to Darth Verrin that since that fateful day, she had not devoted a single moment to her Force studies - not even to practice her meditation. Every time she was almost ready to do so, her thoughts would run rampant and scatter, as if mocking her. She could not focus properly, because of that one.... miserable.... hangup?

 

"You know, you are right, sensei," the young woman murmured gravely. "Maybe I need to return to the basics. When I first came here, my mind was clear, focused. I knew exactly what I wanted and I was able to keep my darker desires at bay. Now, after having tasted various knowledge, partaken in lightsaber combat, and been exposed to the overall atmosphere of the Academy -- I feel more unsettled than I have ever been. Did something break inside me, mentally? What am I missing? Have I bitten off more than I can chew?" At this point, Kai stopped herself, realizing that this frantic mumbling may be reciprocated with anger or disgust.

 

"I don't want to fail but inside, inside I feel like I am. I cannot spend the rest of my days here, pouring my gaze over countless library books -- no disrespect to you, sensei. But this, being left alone, to my own devices -- this is not something I am ready for. From the day I could crawl, I had a mentor, a guardian -- a father -- to show me things, to push me along on my path of becoming an adolescent. How then, can I prove myself to attract the attention of a new teacher, someone who can stand me upright and steer me straight toward my destiny?"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Darth Verrin    2,127

Verrin seemed to consider a moment, and then offered, "So... what you're saying isn't so much that you need someone to show you things, but that you're choosing to bind yourself with that particular chain.  You want to chain yourself to a master, a mentor, or some kind of guardian."

 

He let that sink in for a moment, and then added, "There is no shame in that, Acolyte. In many circles, it's even encouraged. It's a chain you choose to accept in exchange for something else.  Just as I choose the chain that this office provides - the mantle of Overseer - I choose it because I want something from it in return. Our Sith'ari chains himself to his position, likely in order to manipulate the power that comes with it. But the responsibility of running the Sith... or managing the resources of an Empire... it's a chain.  According to our Code, by breaking chains that bind us, we rise in power."

 

He smiled.  "Contradictory sentiment... isn't it? Break chains to rise in power, but we have to accept some to acquire the power.  I love the dichotomy of it."

 

He clapped his hands once, though whether it was in merriment or some kind of punctuation to his statement could only be guessed at. Then he stood, and began to pace around the desk, heading in Kai's direction.

 

"I need this Library, to satisfy my passion for knowledge.  You need a mentor - at least, at this point in your life - to sate your desire for knowledge. Some Sith take on partners... to sate a passion for lust, or comfort. Who is to say how long such a chain must bind someone? The real question, Acolyte Tsintah, is how to we obtain that which we desire? WHAT do you desire? Knowledge? Love? Comfort? Safety? Power? All of that?"

 

When he got within arm's reach of her, Verrin changed his verbal direction a bit. "You say the power you reach for is fleeting.  Sometimes, it comes to you, and other times, it flees from your call. But you can sense it... you can feel the connection.  So why is it that when you urge the power to come to you, it is fickle? Here... take my hand."

 

He reached out his own in an effort to clasp hers and then walk with her from his office.  He intended to lead her out into the Library proper, and beyond.

 

"When you first reach for something, there is a trial and failure stage.  Sometimes, it seems almost easy.  You reach out, and boom - it responds to you. But oftentimes, you grasp, and it's like water, or sand, falling between your fingers. And sometimes, the tighter you try to squeeze, the more rapidly it evades. It's a lot like that leaf I was just telling you about. I can read hundreds of those darned things, but how often do they actually bear truly fruitful information? My point is... you have to fail a bit to succeed.

 

A child, for example... attempts to walk like the others it sees around it. It has muscles, but the brain hasn't yet learned the pathways to get those muscles to respond in the manner it wants. The infant falls a few times, then learns to scoot - not even a crawl.  But the scooting builds those muscles, and the synapses to the brain.  It learns to crawl, eventually, and they tried to stand.  It struggles, falls, and tries again... and again.  It succeeds once, but taking a single step, ends up back on its arse. It crawls again, because that's easier... but not what it wants. It tries again... it stands... takes a step, and falls, cracking its head on the corner of some furniture. It heals, it tries again.  The muscles are stronger still... the mind gets them to do what it wants... it takes that first real step, then another, then another... it starts to toddle along.  Eventually, it's stumbling gait becomes a walk, then a run.  It runs once - too fast - and falls, skins the knees. Again... again... so many failures... but then each breakthrough builds upon the last.  And the next thing you know, it's running, and jumping, and somersaulting."

 

They got through the main Library, but instead of making it to the exit, Verrin guided Kai to a different door - one very similar to the one that led to his office. He opened it, and guided them inside.

 

The room beyond was devoid of anything - furniture, or people. It was simply a four-walled space with a floor and ceiling, and some kind of ventilation and indirect lighting - though that light was low, making the room appear dim.  He led them towards the center.

 

"You are at that early stage, Acolyte Tsintah. You are learning how to crawl.  Your efforts to control something telekinetically are the occasional effort to stand up. They are fleeting, chance agreements between your brain and untrained muscles. This is why we practice, this is why we train, this is why we meditate.  Here... sit with me."

 

Still holding her, Verrin took to his knees, and then sat on the floor. "Meditation is at the core of our training. We do it to help focus our minds. And no... you don't have to sit, or kneel, or assume some bizarre position. When a Force user is accomplished... when a trained Sith is in the middle of a fight, they are exercising the very same skills of meditation.  Do you see?  When Darth Tanit was showing you combat, she wasn't just hitting you with trained muscles.  She was tapping into the Force too, at the same time. We train ourselves to not only exercise our brain's connection to our muscles, to learn fighting techniques, and forms, and strikes.  We also - at the same time - are training to tap into the Force. It's a fundamental facet of the running, jumping child you want to become.  Sit for a moment.  I want you to watch something."

 

Verrin finally let go of her hand, and stood back up.  He took a few steps away from her, and withdrew a long shaft from his robes.  It looked like a lightsaber hilt, but longer.

 

"When I was new to it all... not unlike you... I dind't understand the connection of it all. I flailed with my weapons - nearly cut off my own arm several times. I thought that meditation was something to help me find peace, but it wasn't.  When I first used my mind for telekinesis, all I managed to do was create a swirling vortex of pillows and cushions in my master's room. No control at all. Then, I thought that one either used a weapon, OR used a power of the mind.  But when I finally learned to walk... it went something like this."

 

Verrin assumed a pose, and ignited the shaft in his grasp.  Not one, but two violet plasma beams emerged from it, revealing it to be a saberstaff.  He began a series of slow movements, strikes and counters, the basics of one of the lightsaber forms. But within a moment, he began to build up speed, going through them faster, and faster, until the lightsaber beams were a blur, humming in a two-note chord of harmony.  Still, he went faster, now adding footwork and twists of his body this way and that. 

 

"Reach out with your senses.  Don't just watch with your eyes.  Try to feel what I'm doing in the Force too."

 

Faster still.  Now the violet beams were arcs - the speed of the weapon was such that even though he had to be stopping their momentum, an untrained eye couldn't detect the points of reversal. And then, his own limbs began to blur, as the Force pushed him physically beyond what the laws of physics should allow.

 

Ridiculously fast - the only way to track him with the naked eye was to observe the trail of light he left behind, not anticipating where he was going next. It was like watching a sparkling firework, waved rapidly to and fro. Time seemed to pass differently, and the observer would witness where he'd been, not where he was. And then, of a sudden, he was no longer there in front of Kai.  He was gone.

 

But the sound of humming had dropped back to two distinct pitches - the saberstaff had come to a stop...

 

... behind her.

 

Verrin was standing still, behind Kai, with his weapon 'at rest'.  The plasma blades revealed significant sweat running down his face, dripping from nose and chin. He thumbed the switch, and the two beams retracted back into the hilt, leaving them both in silence and dim light once again.

 

"Unity of body, and mind... and the Force. Three sisters, not two. That's what makes us different from normal people.  That's what makes you different."

 

Verrin sat down again, this time instead of beside Kai, he was facing her. "Now.  Let's begin with scooting."

 



Ataru Expert

Force Power used: Teleport

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Kai Tsintah    47

 "So... what you're saying isn't so much that you need someone to show you things, but that you're choosing to bind yourself with that particular chain.  You want to chain yourself to a master, a mentor, or some kind of guardian."

 

She was looking for both, but not to chain herself - to learn. To experience. Evolve. Why did he always have to put everything in such blatant terms?

 

At the same time, the Sith Lord did not begrudge or ridicule her way of thinking. This encouraged Kai and calmed her nerves. "Sometimes, temporary chains are necessary in order to attain independent goals," she agreed. "As to what I desire? Knowledge, yes. Power, definitely." Safety? Went hand in hand with the previous two. Comfort? The Korun could live without it given the hardships in which she was raised, but even she could recognize the potential in the latter, from time to time. Love? No. Far too elusive, perhaps unattainable, even. Every ounce of love Kai Tsintah possessed, died with her father on Nar Shaddaa. She could not even recall what that felt like, anymore - to love someone, and to know that they cared in return - enough to lay down their life for hers.

 

Thankfully, Darth Verrin was already veering off onto a different track, the monologue continued. His hand came to clasp her own and she froze for a moment, still unused to the tactile contact and the uncertainty even the most benign touch awakened in the girl. The Zabrak appeared not to have noticed any of it and guided her toward the Library, continuing to explain matters of trial and failure. The longer he went on, the more relaxed and comfortable Kai became. There was something about the older man's voice that she would come to find unusually soothing.

 

They would traverse the Library proper before entering his office. But this one was different from the spartan chamber with the desk and insane piles of relics, tomes and other memorabilia. This was an empty room. A puzzled look became her as Kai turned to look at Verrin with a questioning glance. Why were they here?

 

Invited to sit, Kai did as she was bid, echoing Verrin's precise, simple movements. "Meditation is at the core of our training...." the Sith Lord began, his voice seemingly gaining in emphasis and power whether he was aware of projecting both, or not. She listened as he went over the basics of a Sith warrior's training and how the Force and combat technique were one. Her hand was suddenly released and the Zabrak drew to his feet, creating some distance between the two of them. From his robes he withdrew a weapon, not unlike a lightsaber but different. The hilt was longer, Kai observed at once. 

 

I thought that meditation was something to help me find peace, but it isn't. 

 

What was it, then, this key to absolute control?

 

The Zabrak's feet shifted, both ends of his weapon igniting in a splendid show of violet plasma. She watched with bewilderment and awe, as he began to execute a series of movements - slowly at first - then faster, and faster.... Yet every motion was deliberate, precise and lethal. Soon enough, Verrin's body and his weapon moved quicker than her eyes could keep up with, as Kai made every effort to follow the man's instructions.

 

"Reach out with your senses.  Don't just watch with your eyes.  Try to feel what I'm doing in the Force too."

 

Keeping in line with his suggestion, Kai stretched out with her senses and delved head first into the matrix of glowing lines created by the intersection of all living things. It filled her from within and surrounded her simultaneously. And although she could no longer see Verrin's silhouette, nor could she trace the flashing trail of his twin blades, Kai focused deeply, seeking Verrin's life aura. His line seemed to flicker and disappear, before appearing in a glowing arc that finally came to a stand still in her vision. Suddenly, she turned, sliding forward into a knee, forcing her body to spin about a half circle. 

 

And there he was, the Sith Lord's majestic twin beams momentarily disappearing from view as the room was once again, brought to a quiet pause.

 

"I am going to have to work on that third sister," the Korun acolyte admitted, humility infusing every word. "Teach me, sensei. I wish to become a master.... scooter."

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Holle    63

The harvest season had concluded, and with it the first successfully cultivated crop of Coffea canephora had been stored away for transportation to the Academy. Holle had surveyed the process from afar, choosing to remain at least partially active in the process considering it was tasked to her to manage replacing the lost sources of caffeine her master seemed to rely on. There were times in the sweltering jungle that she wished he had a far more easy to facilitate addiction, like deathsticks or spice, but his pragmatism no doubt kept him from pursuing harder highs than a simple cup of strong coffee. The tribe had become more placid around her and the slaves that had worked the fields for the entirety of the growth period.

 

To say the exchange was fruitful would have been a pun more bitter than the coffee itself, but she could at least take some small amount of satisfction in knowing that the supply had been a direct result of her unbowed effort to tame these savages. They valued strength and practical wisdom over trinkets and baubles, and once she had managed to learn that simple fact the diplomatic ties had become far more easy to knot firmly. The time spent learning from the tribe was the least unpleasant time, and those in the field overseeing the competency and productivity of the slaves had been the least pleasant. Despite having grown accustomed to the heat, it was the humidity that always brought her down.

 

She had been something of a curiosity to the regular tribespeople though. The tone of her skin had brought the most attention at first, being noted as something akin to one of the fruits that grew in the canopies. She did not mind the comparison, as there had been zero contact between these people and anyone of her kind prior to the Remnant planting themselves firmly here on Dathomir.

 

To be back in the Academy proper was perhaps the best feeling after her time spent supervising the construction of an agricultural facility. There were some key changes to the manner by which she carried herself upon arrival. Holle had become more confident, more fit, and had replaced her meager form with a more fit one. She had a runner's physique now, and had earned it working closely with the tribe to keep them vested in their local power against their rival groups. The Zeltron performed mostly scouting procedures, and had since then earned the facial tattoos the tribe bestowed on their skilled hunters. She had garnered acceptance, and with it she had a shift in her perception of the savage folk. They were much the same, but on a different technological level. Their motives were largely the same. Retaining their power and protecting their own, and having found an alliance that could keep them in that position, they had become more accepting of her presence and the Sith presence as well.

 

Holle had re-entered the Academy and with her she carried a small bag of the precious coffee beans that had been desired for so long. It was not the only thing she had brought though. With her were seven prospective learners, young women from the tribe's warrior caste that she had negotiated with the shamanic leadership over. The agreement that she reached was something that she decided on herself in her master's place. The women would be trained in the Sith ways, learn from the Academy, but would be permitted to answer the call to battle for their tribe should they be needed.

 

The Zeltron was greeted rather quickly by Maggie, who approached with, for a droid, a projected sense of frustration. "Apprentice Holle, welcome back. You should be pleased to know that very little has changed with your master's office since last you checked in. Everything is right where it does not belong. If you wish to speak with him, do please go ahead into his office. Feel free to tidy up if you wish to..." she said. Perhaps the most biting thing she had heard from the droid. It did make her smile.

"Maggie there are simply some battles that you cannot win no matter how much effort you put into it. Would you be so kind as to guide these prospective students through the proper registration procedures while I meet with my master? Bring them to his office when they are all in the system, please." Holle said, motioning for the prospects to stop while speaking to them in their native tongue. She had a gift for language and in her time among the tribe she picked up on how to communicate at least basic commands and interactions. Given more time she could likely learn their language more fully, but until the need arose simple things were sufficient enough.

 

Before Maggie could say anything about the students, her master's office, or whether or not he was present, Holle left to indeed visit Darth Verrin's office. She had but a small bag, but the roasted coffee beans were as fresh as they could possibly be after the transit from the tribe community to the Academy. Now was the time to test the coffee she had grown, and the only subject to test a fresh brew on was Verrin himself.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Darth Verrin    2,127

Verrin, seated in front of the new student, urged her to close her eyes and breathe.  "First, control your breathing. When you have that down, reach out and sense things through the Force."

 

His tone was quiet, even though his exertions from a moment ago left him breathing a bit more heavily than normal. It was clear he was a master of his own breath, and it was calming quickly.

 

"What will end up happening, with practice, is no matter how stressed a situation becomes... no matter how hard Darth Tanit presses you, or how hard you struggle to pull a lightsaber to your grasp, your breathing will not be affected. This is the part that Jedi masters like to call a 'zen' state, and they muck it all up with superstition and metaphysical nonsense. It's purely science. Our bodies use oxygen for processing fuel, and when we hold our breaths, denying that resource, we limit what our bodies can put up with.

 

If you read any of the works of martial art masters in the Library, you'll discover a similar modus operandi. In one, they state that the meditation is to clear the mind of outside influence, allowing oneself to focus on the matter at hand more clearly. Another dictates that by breathing and moving in tandem with the in-and-out efforts of our lungs, we meld the mind and body to act as one. Still another urges students to breathe... always breathe, no matter what you're doing... it's very important, whether painting a fence, washing a speeder, or sanding a wooden floor."

 

By now, Verrin's breathing was rock-steady again, and slowed. He added, "There are advanced techniques in the Force that utilize this control in particular, allowing the skilled practitioner to hold their breath for extended periods, or even survive in the vacuum of space. It's quite something."

 

All the while, Verrin's eyes remained open, watching his pupil. She seemed to be getting it, though he could be wrong.

 

"Some wind up meditating themselves to sleep... that's never good, especially with some of the more ambitious Sith students around.  Don't think of it so much as reaching a 'peaceful' state, but rather as a gateway to being able to utilize your senses and power. I liken it to potential and kinetic energy... pushing a ball uphill is meditation, the building of potential energy.  Releasing it on the other side of the hill is the kinetic... our powers being utilized. Now... practice..."

 

The lesson went on like that for several minutes, until Verrin sensed the arrival of his apprentice. He was going to have to wrap this up, at least for the time being.

 

"Continue... and please, use this room as necessary. I'll be back to check on you shortly."

 

He quietly got up and left the room, returning to his office. The closer he got to his own doorway, the more he sensed other presences in the chamber. There were at least half a dozen individuals, leading Verrin to wonder what his wayward apprentice was up to. He finally entered the room, and then immediately paused.

 

There were seven young tribeswomen standing there - warriors, by the look of them, and not green ones either.  Even as Verrin sized them up, they were in turn considering him, likely wondering if he was a threat or not. Two even moved closer to Holle, possibly in a protective manner. Verrin raised an eyebrow and sensed them through the Force.  They seemed to be pondering whether they had entered the 'tent' of a shaman, or a leader.  He was male, so inferior in their eyes, but he also got the impression that a couple of them recognized him from his visit to their tribe.  They didn't quite reach for weapons.

 

Then his eyes stopped on his apprentice.  "Good morning, Apprentice.  You've brought guests?  I'm going to need a much larger beverage cart."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Kai Tsintah    47

Kai concentrated her gaze on Darth Verrin's knees (of all places), although her mental focus remained on every word that fell from the Zabrak's lips.

 

He was still breathing rather heavily, her mentor.... her friend? If only. By now, the Korun had all but resigned herself to independent studies. She did come here; she did throw herself on the Sith Lord's mercy, asking for his tutelage? He made no formal acceptance of it, but neither did he throw her out with sunburst holes from the all-powerful Force Lightning, scattered all over her audacious self.

 

Better a part time master than no master at all, Kai reminded herself grimly as Darth Verrin went on to unleash a monologue peppered with wisdom and knowledge. 

 

Zen state (or rather, BREATHING) - check.
Advanced Force techniques for defying the vacuum of space, to be looked into later - check.
Potential meditation is the stepping stone to building up and releasing the kinetic - check.

 

She would continue to follow the sensei's instructions, practicing her breathing to the point of becoming aware of every heartbeat in the room, every inhale of exhale taken by both, hell, even the sudden vibration in the Force which told her that something (or someone), was coming. Or rather, it was already here. As if on cue, Verrin announced his departure, forcing Kai to merely nod her acceptance and sink back into the meditation as ordered. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Holle    63

Holle had already gone through the process of grinding and now brewing the first batch of regular coffee, letting the smell and the pot speak for itself as the answer to part of the question her master had asked her. "Guests? No, my Lord, these women are a cadre of warriors from the Splintered Footprint tribe in sector A-7, the sector which grew the coffee that is..." she turned and looked at the drip brewer completing its very simple task, "...now done brewing." Holle went to the coffee pot and poured a cup, and offered it to her master. It was a very simple thing, but it was also her taking pride in the fact that something she struggled to set into motion had finally yielded results.

 

The women that the Zeltron had brought relaxed when it was obvious to them that the man before them was not considered a threat to their guide. They looked at one another and spoke in their own language about the Academy, which Holle turned an ear to in order to listen more closely. A smile curled on her face, "These women are impressed by the facility. They say it is large, defensible, and could stand against nearly any attack from their rivals." She turned to them and in their language, gestured for them to seat themselves and relax, which they did though they appeared to be prepared for anything still. You can take the warrior out of the war, but not the war out of the warrior. 

 

Holle returned her attention to Darth Verrin, "They are the first set of warriors that Sector A-7 has offered to us to strengthen their forces against their rivals. I made an agreement with the head priestess, that these young women would be trained in the Sith ways, and would use the knowledge they learn to guide their tribe to victory with the power they gain through our Academy and our teachings. The one condition that I could not get her to relent on would be that should they be summoned to defend their home, they are allowed to return to defend their people. They are reluctant to allow us to station any of our own in their tribe, but that is also something that I have brought up a time or two with the priestess as well. Her misgivings are that they would completely deny her warriors the chance to face the rush of battle themselves. Personally speaking, I would rather deal with things in a more discrete way, but her people are proud of their fierce reputation as powerful combatants. I've had Maggie register them as students of the Academy and once they receive the facility tour and are assigned their living space, I will oversee their development personally, if you wish it." She said, seating herself in the usual armchair and crossing her legs. In the light the new facial tattoos that Holle had appIied by the warleader of the Splintered Footprint were completely healed. It appeared that Holle was quite satisfied with things as they were now, as things had come up more positively than they had before. There was but one truly lingering question, and that was if the coffee was up to snuff. It was always possible that the first harvest was substandard, but she was no agriculturalist and had little interest in anything beyond the results of the work itself. That was for the more agriscience inclined employees to deal with.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Darth Verrin    2,127

Just before Holle finished her answer, the smell of brewing coffee assaulted his nose, which made her statement seem like punctuation more than words. He inhaled deeply, drinking in the long (too long, in his mind) awaited aroma. It smelled... good.

 

As if her statement was a cue, the tribeswomen began to chatter in their native tongue, the content was mostly lost on Verrin, who didn't know their language. But some of their gestures, pointing, and facial expressions suggested that they were discussing the area rug that sat under his desk, or the curio cabinet in the corner, or the desk itself, with its myriad piles of things.  One of those things was a large leaf, which of course they recognized, but none approached to see the writing upon it. A couple even pointed at him, with a mixture of looks that included superiority, distaste, and careful consideration.

 

Holle translated their animated discussions as being impressed, and Verrin's eyebrow went up in skeptical doubt.  But he reached out to accept the offered mug of warm brew, and inhaled again, drinking in the smell more directly. It was fresh.  It was good.  It wasn't his beloved vanilla bean roast, but the foundation was there. The vanilla could be added in time.  He sipped once, pausing only to consider whether Holle was about to poison him or not, but then drank it anyway. At least if he died now, to her, it would be with this delightful beverage carrying him to whatever life came next... or oblivion.  He wasn't sure which, but knew that spirits in the Force tended to linger beyond their time. 

 

The taste was every bit as delightful as the smell, and a cozy smile spread across his aged features while he listened to Holle explain the warrior women who were taking seats on the floor of his office. He almost laughed aloud, remembering the last time so many people were in his office.  Back then, the room had been in the Library on Nogatan, and Darth Avaris had met him along with nearly a dozen Sith ladies, all jockeying for position, or seeking some step up against their peers. Avaris had teased him back then, calling him a womanizer for having so many showing up without any menfolk present. Here, again, the room was filled with women - through no direction of his own.  He was no womanizer - just a curiosity of circumstance.

 

As for the tribeswomen, their seated positions gave him the impression that they either didn't consider him a threat - there were nine of them, after all, counting Holle - or they got the impression that Holle was paying homage to some father-figure or the Sith equivalent of her 'shaman'.  Verrin supposed that wasn't so far off, either way.

 

The amusement carried on, as Holle sat herself, and then proceeded to cross her legs. Verrin knew they were artificial, yet she still affected the old habit.  Likely her brain found comfort in their position, or it gave her a sense of superiority over her followers who didn't sit that way. It was something of interest, and he wondered if she was even aware she was doing it.

 

Her words were more important though, as she explained the reason for the warriors' arrival. They were to be trained as Sith? No... it sounded more like they were to be trained in combat, not as Force users.  But Verrin reached out with his senses, trying to detect if they had any affinity at all that could be tapped and nurtured. All the while, he smiled warmly, enjoying the offering.

 

He drank again, and asked her, "You intend to train them to fight like Sith, or to BE Sith?  I'm not clear on this matter."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Holle    63

Holle spoke to the women behind her without looking at them, something that brought them all upright and holding their weapons at the ready, "The intention is for them to be entered into the Academy as students proper. They have proven to me in my time among them that they are pefectly capable warriors, but with their innate connection to the Force they could become so much more than simple tribal defenders. These women are perfectly capable of becoming a specialized fighting force loyal to one another as well as to the Sith Order." She said, while the women stood displaying their weapons and war tattoos as they had grown accustomed to in so many encounters against their equals. Here they were among those more than capable of standing up to them. The Zeltron raised her hand behind her and gave them the gesture to disperse, ordering them to wait outside of the door to Darth Verrin's office.

 

Once the women had left, reluctant though they might have been, Holle returned to the matter at hand. "These women are always ready to take the fight to their enemies. They might come from a technologically inferior tribe, but their intelligence should not be doubted. Just because the tools are different, does not make them any less effective against a foe that cannot respond to their attacks. They know the terrain, they are experts at learning how to use the lay of the land to great effect against their enemies. That is a lesson none of the Overseers have taught the acolytes." She said, sounding quite pleased that she had learned quite a few basic things that the Overseers seemed to either never consider or willfully ignored. Had she paid any attention to the Jedi she engaged on Dromund Kaas during the war, she would have known that the result would have been catastrophic for her. Her prosthetic legs were a testament to that.

 

"Though I am sure the current student body is large enough, adding them to the roster should not be too much for your Overseers. Either they perform their duties well or they should be replaced, right?" She asked rhetorically. Holle stood up and went to the drinks cart and poured herself some coffee after adding two fingers of whiskey to the cup. With a nice warming drink she looked back at her master, "I take it none of your current students or Overseers have been disappointments? I know you occassionally take a liking to a student and interact with them directly. Have you found any new pet projects? Is there anything that you require of me now that the coffee cultivation has proven to be successful?"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Darth Verrin    2,127

Verrin watched the brief exchange between Holle and the amazons with only passing interest, choosing instead to focus his attention more on the cup of coffee. Part of him wanted to make it last - to savor it.  The other part, however, was winning the argument and he was drinking it much faster than any 'savoring' permitted. Still, it warmed his stomach, and pacified his sometimes volatile temper.

 

It seemed that whatever Holle said caused the woman to bristle, and they brandished weapons and puffed up to show off their tribal marking and badges of honor. Verrin wasn't so impressed. If he only showed his torso to them, they likely would have a completely different opinion of his prowess if tattoos and scars were the measure of a person.  At this point in his storied existence, Verrin had more far more markings than bare skin throughout his body... and his mind.

 

The tribeswomen stepped outside, flocking within earshot of the door, and within eyesight of two Guardians. But the Library gargoyles didn't flinch or waver in their duties - merely checked the readiness of their weapons.  These women weren't currently threatening the Library or its Keeper.

 

Holle then spoke of terrain and technology, intelligence and effectiveness in combat.  She closed her arguments with, "Though I am sure the current student body is large enough, adding them to the roster should not be too much for your Overseers. Either they perform their duties well or they should be replaced, right?"

 

The student body wasn't large enough - not in Verrin's mind - and adding eight new people wasn't even a drop in the bucket to refilling the ranks of Sith lost at Dromund Kaas. But his answer to his apprentice was more direct, "Replaced?  With whom?"

 

He tried to let that sink in for a moment, and drained his cup, and set it aside. He further explained, "There are always disappointments - more than average, if you ask the Sith'ari. But we are not in a position to replace such disappointments so easily anymore. Now, we have to maintain our old speeders, and repair them. We can't just buy a new one because we don't like the color of our old one."

 

He clasped his hands behind his back and began to pace around, addressing Holle's earlier arguments. 

 

"I'm not saying 'no'," he prepared her, "but I have concerns with instructing people who are devoted to another master, rather than the Sith. I'm not saying they aren't capable warriors - they wouldn't be alive today, their tribes wouldn't exist, if they were anything less than proficient. I've fought them on a few occasions - not this tribe, exactly, but others around the planet - and they almost killed me.   They've taken out Sith and Jedi alike over the decades, arguably over the centuries, and their rapport with the Force is well-known. But just because they can feel it, or just because they can even affect it, doesn't mean they are one with us.  They've never allied with the Sith before.  This is all new territory for them. But if we train them to be Sith, and then the tribe turns against us, we've now trained our enemies.

 

The galaxy has Force sensitives all over - some gravitate to the Jedi, others to the Sith. Still others ally with neither. Many of the ones who lean to the Sith joined the Empire, while others maintain their own little factions and pockets throughout the galaxy. Why, back when I was a Sith on Nogatan, our 'faction' grew to the point where we challenged and defeated the Vitiate's Empire of Sith. Think it through, Apprentice... should we train these women to be more effective at combat, or should we train them to be one of us? How do you feel about having them as your peers?"

 

He let that last thought sit with Holle a moment, while his own mind processed her ideas. On one hand, she wasn't wrong - they needed people, bodies, to join the Sith and their cause so they could grow strong again and retake their position in the galaxy. But on the other, these tribespeople hadn't come to the Sith, asking to join. Holle was suggesting taking them in and training them without anything in return.  The matter of loyalty was a strong one for Verrin. These women could strike him down and put Holle in his place - and that would be fine - if the Sith ideal remained in place. If they defeated the Sith who had invaded their world, and simply went back to being tribespeople, taking over their home planet, then how did that benefit the Sith? If they ran back home every time there was an attack on their village, then what happened when both the village and the Sith were attacked? Who would these women stand by if the Sith were threatened by a powerful group like the Jedi - would they simply stand by their tribe first, and let the Sith be driven to extinction? The term, 'What's in it for me?' wasn't one to be tossed about lightly, but it seemed to matter in this case. The women had everything to gain, and nothing to lose.

 

"The Dark Side takes a toll from anyone who uses it... a price. Why should these women avoid paying our toll? At the least, I would suggest they swear some oath to us for this privilege.  And if we were to order a strike on their village... what then?  Do they serve me, or do they serve themselves? What about you, Apprentice... who would you side with if we discover a tribe of Jedi Zeltron? Your people, or your fellow Sith?"

 

Verrin also hadn't forgotten the tribespeople and their view of outsiders. "Do the women understand the current power structure of the Sith? How menfolk are not automatically inferior and 'breeding stock' simply because of gender? Do they understand obedience, Apprentice?  Or would you have me 'replace' any disobedient hopefuls because they are disappointing?"

 

Verrin raised an eyebrow and looked at his young apprentice, wondering if she heard her own words coming back to her.

 

"Make a case, Apprentice. Make me believe in your cause."

 

Verrin didn't mention the idea that he wanted to kidnap tribeswomen to breed a new line of Sith.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Holle    63

The problems listed off by her master were truly pertinent questions. These were things that, in her inexperience and youth, she did not consider. Holle looked back at the door where the warriors waited and back to Darth Verrin, "Forgive me master, these are edge questions that I did not consider in my ambition to provide the Academy more students. The gift of foresight does not answer that which is not asked. You are absolutely correct in asking those questions as well. So far they have shown that they are willing to follow me, but it may not extend to the Sith Order. I have lived in their presence for quite some time, they are accustomed to me, my manner, my abilities, but this entire place is a wholly new environment that may yet bring the worst out in them. Perhaps instead of making my case, I admit defeat on this move and simply allow our relationship with them to remain as it is, civil and coopertive but nothing more." She paused, considering the possible consequences of disallowing their warriors to return to their home to protect their kin.

 

Holle sat, cross-legged in silence for a moment and thought on the matter of how to expand the student populace and grow the Order. Her master was the head of the Academy sure, but she as his apprentice had to keep his interests close to her own as a matter of convenience. "What if..." she stopped for a moment to try and gather the proper wording for the idea, "What if, instead of drawing from our allies, we draw from the enemies of our allies? It would cement their position more firmly if their rivals were weakened, but we could also take the warriors from their enemies by force and enslave them in the Academy to try and create from nothing. We have nothing to lose by offending the tribes with whom we are not aligned, though it would be best to take them without a trace. If they do not cooperate we simply extract their knowledge by force." Holle sipped her own drink after her offering. She had not fully considered how to do what she suggested, but she did offer another idea that could bolster their numbers. The Academy was meant to cut the chaff and weed out the weak, so no matter what happened to those weak and infirm students, the strong they bring in would be sure to grow on the backs of their weaker comrades. The weak had their place in the Order just as the strong did.

 

"It would be more beneficial with that in mind, to focus on the students we have to ensure that they do not disappoint in the first place, right?"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Darth Verrin    2,127

Holle's answers to the questions gave Verrin the impression that she hadn't considered the many possibilities of her intentions. Fortunately, she didn't take the matter as a crushing defeat, but tried to work her mind around how they could have their cake and eat it too. She spoke of enemy tribes, and battle captives, which weren't out of the realm of possibility. 

 

Verrin hrmm'd.  "Hrmm..."

 

Then he went back to pacing and talking, partially to answer her question and partially to work the matter out for himself.

 

"The battle captive idea isn't terrible. I just wonder if we keep recruiting from a pool of people who are constantly beset by lost family members, are we getting better Sith, or are we getting more of the same?  I have said - many times - if I had five credits for every Sith hopeful who came to us and had lost parents, been raped as a child, or had outright killed those parents, that I'd be able to buy my own capitol ship. To date, I can't think of a single Sith who joined up and had a still-living family on the outside who supported them and their decision.  If we - the Sith - kill the relatives of these 'enemy' tribespeople, why would they JOIN our cause?  Wouldn't they simply seek revenge?  Wouldn't they band together, with other tribes against a 'common enemy'?  Gather their rancor allies, storm this facility, and end us all? Would they join up with the Jedi?  I'm not sure it's the best way...

 

... not that your initial idea was terrible.  The tribeswomen you brought back... maybe all of them wouldn't agree to our terms, but if one of them did, that's one more hopeful we'd have than before.  Maybe it's possible to pick some fruit from each tree, so to speak... I wonder..."

 

Verrin paused and sent a message, telepathically, to the new student - Kai - whom he presumed was still trying to meditate. His message was simple and clear, "Come to my office, Acolyte @Kai Tsintah - I seek your counsel."

 

Verrin then went on to talk more with Holle, "I have a new student who is showing some promise. She came to us from the jungle.  She isn't a tribeswoman, I don't think, but she has spent some time here and may know some things about the thoughts or influences of the nearby villagers. Plus... she should meet you - and you her. I suspect your paths would meet eventually, and perhaps there's a way you can work together to overcome this... unusual challenge."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Kai Tsintah    47

It took a while for this meditation to achieve any tangible results, Kai realized. Seconds felt like minutes and minutes like hours. If there was anything she had gotten down pat by now, it was breathing. Could not go wrong with that one! Her chest rose and fell with deep, rhythmic breaths that made her feel in control of things, in command of herself both physically and mentally. Her psyche was crystal clear, making it easy for Kai to attain crisp focus of whatever she put her mind to. Even Verrin's prolonged absence did not seem to tarnish her efforts. Initial anxiety at his ongoing disappearance made the acolyte curious, but Kai never let it get the best of her to the point where she would suddenly yank herself off the floor and leave the chamber in search of the Sith Lord.

 

There could have been a small element of fear playing a part in that? He never gave her permission to leave the room, after all.

 

Several more minutes passed. Given the bland setup of the room, Kai did not have much to play with but she did have the equipment she came in here with. Gloved hand moved to tap the edge of the sheathed vibro-blade on her belt before removing the weapon and balancing it on the fingertips of both hands, lifting it to the level of her eyes which then studied the object briefly before beginning to close. Within seconds, the vibro-blade began to tremble slightly, before finally lifting a few centimeters off Kai's gloved fingertips. The Korun's eyes remained closed as the weapon began to shift higher, assuming a slow clockwise spin. One, two.... feet up, one, two.... feet down. Repeat. Control the angle of the blade and the velocity of the rotations, and then--

 

--CLANG!!

 

Spinning out of control, the blade smacked down upon the floor, its tip embedding itself dangerously close to Kai's left foot. The acolyte's eyes flew open as an echoes of a message she had heard in her mind only seconds ago replayed themselves again, and again.

 

"Come to my office, Acolyte Kai Tsintah - I seek your counsel.... "

 

A grimace of confusion set itself in the girl's dark features. Her counsel? The venerable Zabrak's age must have been catching up with him, dulling his wits. What could a lowly academy initiate possibly have to offer a Sith Lord, in terms of advice?! Sighing, Kai leaned down to yank the blade out of the floor tile and slipped it back into its protective sheath before getting to her feet and straightening her tunic. However strange the message, there was nothing for it but to follow its beckon call. Heading to Darth Verrin's office, Kai dismissed her thoughts altogether and focused on her breathing, slow and deep and even - pausing only to emit a light knock at the door while waiting to be admitted inside.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Darth Verrin    2,127

Verrin and Holle bantered back and forth for the time it took Kai to arrive.  At one point, Verrin thought about the many people gathered outside his office, but then became distracted by the current conversation. And if the gaggle of native tribewomen posed any obstacle or distraction to Kai, it didn't show when she finally knocked gently on Verrin's office door. He called out for her to enter, and then made general introductions.

 

"Acolyte Tsintah, I hope your meditation was going well.  Meet one of my apprentices, Holle. Apprentice, this is the new Acolyte I was talking about."

 

Verrin vacated his spot to take his usual seat behind his desk, and gestured for Kai to sit in the second visitor chair, next to Holle. He watched carefully. In meetings like this one, it was possible that the introduction was being assessed by both women. On the one hand, Kai might be sizing up Holle, trying to determine what made her qualified to be his apprentice, and whether she could oust her from that role to take it for herself. On the other, Holle might be taking in Kai, wondering what made her special enough to attend this meeting, and wonder if her position was at all threatened. Knowing Holle as he did, Verrin doubted she was too concerned over her own standing, but if a threat was perceived, things could become volatile between the two.

 

Verrin decided not to let them think on it too long, if they considered it at all. "Acolyte Tsintah... you may have noticed the troupe of characters outside my door.  My apprentice has recently been on a... diplomatic mission to the local amazon tribe. Those women out there want to be trained as Sith, and Holle was kind enough to bring them back here for consideration. But I have concerns. 

 

Their loyalties seem to lay with their tribe, of course, and their lives are based on leadership by matriarchy. As YOU know, things are a little different here among the Sith, especially the higher up the chain of command you go. One of my issues is that should we train them, and accept them, what will they do should a situation dictate that we need to... disperse their fellow tribeswomen? Another is how they will respond to a chain of command not driven by gender.   If we deny them training, or force them to obey commands contradictory to their loyalties, would they band together with other tribes to attack us? 

 

When you first came here, I understood you had spent quite some time on the planet.  Have you interacted with these amazons?  Are you familiar with their culture, desires, and needs?  Even if not, do you have an opinion on the matter?  How would you feel about competing with them for positions in our organization?"

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Holle    63

There was nothing that Holle saw from the woman that entered her master's office that led her one way or another. She was a student in the Academy, and she could not begrudge her that considering it was another body that had come to them willingly. On the other hand, more students meant more competition among the Order. While there was a moratorium on the student body killing one another to gain standing, her lack of knowledge on Acolyte Tsintah did not give her enough to consider her anything more than an annoyance at worst.

 

"Ah, a fresh whelp desperate to claw themselves above the deluge of filth that birthed them." Holle said, sipping her fourth liquor infused coffee. It was a biting comment, but that was what the Zeltron did best. Provoking others into anger and poor decision-making was an excuse for her to defend herself. Of course, if this young woman was valuable enough that her master called her in for a second opinion then she must have something to her. Perhaps she had self-control that the average neophyte learner possessed.

 

She did not turn to the woman that her master addressed and continued, "Let me add to my master's request. Provided, of course, you interacted with the tribes in any capacity. That information could prove crucial in my efforts to bring the women of this planet to the truest path."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Kai Tsintah    47

Preoccupied with thoughts of why she was being summoned to give 'counsel' to a Sith Lord, Kai did not even notice the tribeswomen at first. Barely had given them a passing glance, in fact - assuming they were there at the command of the Sith Lord - at which point it was none of her business. Stepping into Darth Verrin's office after being bid to enter, the Korun noticed they were not alone. There was another present, a female Kai did not recognize.

 

The Zabrak moved to remedy her curious gaze, offering a brief introduction of Holle, one of his Sith apprentices. He would then speak at length, addressing the presence of native strangers outside his office door. Dathomir's nomadic tribeswomen to be trained as Sith? Interesting. Did they have enough instructors going around for this type of venture to achieve any degree of success? Harboring these and other reservations, Kai resolved to give this some thought before responding at length.

 

Kai responded by bowing deep at the waist, first to the Sith Lord, and then offering a somewhat more 'shallow' bow to the apprentice. 

 

Wow.... that skin! So startling.... and so pink. A Zeltron?

 

She had ran into Holle's kind before, back on Nar Shaddaa, when frequenting various casino and nightclub venues. This was the first time, however, that she would be faced with a Zeltron of the Sith.... variety. Kai wondered if the Sith Apprentice would unleash a string of biting comments her way, and she was not sure, why. Something about the woman just struck her as contemptuous and territorial. She did not have to wait long for the verbal vitriol to commence and mentally prepared for it, would not succumb to its obvious design.

 

"Ah, a fresh whelp desperate to claw themselves above the deluge of filth that birthed them."

 

Dark face retained its usual deadpan expression; dual-colored eyes flickered as she nodded. Due to Kai's lowly station, the Apprentice would not even turn when speaking to her. That too, did not bother the Korun; respect worked both ways, she reminded herself silently. On that platform, we are on even ground.

 

Flicking her surreptitious glance away from the Zeltron, she settled a calm gaze upon Darth Verrin. 

 

Breathe. Just.... breathe.

 

"Ah, sensei - forgive me - I did see the visitors outside but did not realize their purpose here until just now. It is true, I have spent some time here, living mostly in isolation to preserve my anonymity and hone survival skills. Therefore, I am not qualified to give adequate advice when it comes to having experience interacting with these people. Yet I feel compelled to point out that the ancient saying of 'united we stand - divided we fall' has much wisdom to lend in this situation. Wisdom that perhaps, we should build upon. 

 

First, I would investigate their numbers. When loyalties do.... get torn asunder, what quantity of natives would we be up against?

 

Second, I would gather intelligence on their technology. If there is anything I have learned from frequenting your Library, sensei, is that one should never judge a book by its cover. Just because they appear primordial, does not mean that they lack quality in their warfare strategy, weapons, or ancient knowledge we may know little about. That which we do know, may only be the tip of the iceberg. But if we fully get to know a thing, we can control.... that thing.

 

Third, I am not threatened by competition. It is but one means to hone the skills an individual needs, to strive for perfection. One of many."

 

Silence befell her at that point, as Kai realized she had been going on for longer than originally intended. She deferred from speaking further until her betters bid her to do so.

Edited by Kai Tsintah
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×