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(L,F&E 54) Chasing a Dream


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kalenath
07.01.2012 , 06:00 AM | #1
((ooc, this story starts after Shattered and before a number of others involving the Bladeborn. And it runs until just after Of Lives and Loves))

<On a bulk transport, hyperspace>

It had been a long day. Istara wasn’t used to this. She was used to being able to go anywhere she wanted. And truth be told, her icy demeanor and lightsabers had allowed her to get away with a lot more than a normal person would. Not that she showed them or drew them now. She had no time for incidental skirmishes. But she was still flailing away in the dark. Setie had vanished. Istara had followed her sister’s trail to the spaceport and then… It was as if Setie had dug a hole and crawled in, pulling it shut behind her. The girl was seriously sneaky. And of course, now she had a whole lot of people hunting her. Istara reminded herself that if she couldn’t find her sister, then likely no one else could. The older woman had allowed the Force to guide her to a transport. One that needed another hand. It had been years since she had worked as a cargo mover, but the skills were still there. The ship was old, but a proven design, and the captain was competent. The crew was also somewhat eclectic, but none were Force sensitive, so she was reasonably safe from discovery. But it was a large ship, with large cargo holds. And with every droid pressed into service to move cargo, all the ship’s crew were helping out as well. And since she didn’t want to broadcast what she had been… Well… She was using muscles she hadn’t in a while. She sank back into her bunk and sighed. One perk on this ship was that everyone had a private cabin, even if all were wired for sound and video. Truth be told, she didn’t mind. It reminded her of… Well, her former home. She bit back a sob and focused on the now.

Funny, when she had left her old life in scattered shards behind her, she had thought it would be so simple. Catch up to Setie, get her somewhere safe, maybe to the Jedi… She shuddered at the thought, but that might actually be the best choice. Then, after Setie was safe, Istara would do what had to be done. One did not just ‘leave’ the Bladeborn after all. She was on borrowed time now. She knew that. She had to complete her final mission. And then… She shook her head. She needed sleep. Now if only…

<A dream>

Istara came to herself cursing. “Leave me alone you son of a barve!” But as always when she had appeared here, she couldn’t move. The voice came again, calm and reasonable.

“Sharlina…” But Istara screamed at the form that stood nearby.

My name is Istara! Go away, leave me alone!” The black clad man slumped, and even though she couldn’t see his face, she didn’t need to. Sorrow washed from him in waves. She would have turned her head, but she couldn’t even move that. The man’s voice was quiet, calm still.

“Istara then.” He sighed. “Istara, I am sorry. Yes I mislead you. Yes I distracted you. But I was under orders…” he broke off as Istara snarled.

“Take your orders and insert them where the sun doesn’t shine. Leave me alone!” She struggled against the bonds of the Force that held her, but nothing gave. The man sighed again.

“Look, Istara, there is more going on here than you know…” The woman snarled at him. Her words were sarcastic, biting deep.

“Of course there is and that justifies what you did. You used a juvenile attraction I had to you to distract me from my duty.” The man flinched back and she pressed her advantage. “I don’t care what games you and the midget are playing. Go away.” She would not call the master of the Bladeborn by name. Never again. It hurt. For the longest time, the small brown being had been the only stability in her life, and then to find out that he had been lying to her for so long. Small wonder she felt like her soul had shattered into a billion pieces when she had been told the truth. But the man in the black cloak just sighed.

“You have a right to your anger. But you and your sister were not the only ones betrayed. I can help you. I can’t ‘see’ you. We… I am too close to you. I can see her. She is on another transport at this moment, heading for some place called Station Seven Six. I think that is in Correllian space. But you will lose her there. She will vanish again. I can find her. We can…” But Istara had heard enough.

You can get the flarg out of my mind!” She finally broke loose and the Force exploded around her. She had sabers in hand and was advancing on the form who backed off quickly. She stopped and when she spoke it was cold. But the Dark Side flared in every word. “Leave me alone. You will just betray me again, that is what Sith do, isn’t it?” The word ‘Sith’ came out with a lot of heat and the black cloaked form recoiled away from her. Something changed and..

<Real world>

Istara snapped awake and cursed. Her head hurt. She staggered to the door and towards the ship’s medical ward. Behind her a low sigh was heard from… nowhere.

<Medical>

“Can’t sleep?” The doctor was an elderly human who doubled as ship’s purser and life support tech. Istara nodded as she sat in the exam chair. The doctor was professional was he ran a scanner over her.

“Nightmares.” Istara said sadly. The doctor looked at her.

“I didn’t think Sith got nightmares.” The doc said slowly. Istara was too drained even to be surprised. Her voice was dull and listless.

“Sure they do." Istara corrected him softly. "Every human has nightmares. But I am no threat to anyone on this ship. I… I am not a Sith any more…” the doctor looked at her again, an odd look on his face.

“I thought the only way you could leave the Sith was by dying.” He said, dubious. Istara snorted, but then grimaced as her head hurt more.

“Hardly." Istara focused, trying to move beyond her pain, but she couldn't focus. "One could be redeemed, or just leave. But in my case… It’s a bit more odd…” The doctor just stared at her and Istara sighed. “Doctor… the Sith won’t care about you as long as I don’t spill any secrets, so… please don’t ask…” The doctor nodded slowly and prepared a hypo. Istara didn’t move as the doctor injected the drug. Her headache vanished quickly. “Thank you.”

“You are welcome." The doc smiled at her. "I can give you something else for the nightmares, but… I don’t know anything about the Force.” Istara grimaced.

“I don’t know enough myself, and… Now... Well, it really doesn’t matter.” The doctor blinked at her tone. When he spoke his voice was cautious.

“Why not?” He asked. Istara met his eyes and she shivered just a bit.

“Because I am a dead woman walking.”
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
07.01.2012 , 06:03 AM | #2
<Station Seven Six, Correllian space>

Istara had not been sure of this at all. After all, Idjit had lied to her before... But the Force had led her here. Setsuna had been here, she was sure of it. Oh, nothing concrete, but it felt right. The problem was, she had left the ship when it had docked, after all the crew had been nice to her, and she didn’t want any of her trouble splashing on them. That had left her... well... broke.

She had never really had to worry about things like money before. When she had been a Bladeborn, if she had wanted something, she would have taken it. Yes, it had gotten her in trouble on occasion but... She shook her head savagely and the bartender glanced at her. She shrugged and resumed her scan of the cantina crowd. The past was the past, she had to focus on the now. This job stank, but it was good money, for this dive anyway. For some funny reason, none of the patrons would meet her eyes. It might have been the Trandoshan she had thrown out the first night she had worked. He had hit the pavement outside and bounced twice before lying stunned for several minutes, then crawling away. Yes she had been angry, but... She was careful not to use the Force, and while her lightsabers were never far from her hands, she hadn’t drawn them. No, she carried a shockstick in keeping with her role as a bouncer. The cantina owner had hired her as a waitress, but when she had stopped a fight with a glower, had hired her on the spot as security. And after a few minor incidents, the patrons enjoyed trouble free leisure time and even the music had improved a bit. Any musician would play better when not dodging things like rocks, bottles and the odd knife or blaster shot.

Istara sighed just a bit as she finished her shift and the Aqualish who did the late night shift took his place. They nodded to one another, one hard case to another. Then she left. But as she did, she caught a scrap of conversation.

“...I swear that girl is going to get herself killed. Idiot was trying to beg credits.” Istara’s ears perked up at that. But she kept walking. But then she heard something that made her pause.

“You know you could have... ‘helped’ her a bit... For the right incentive.” This came from another in a sly tone that suddenly broke off as Istara looked at the speaker.

“Where?” Her quiet word was a command and both men stiffened.

“Stupid hooded girl in throughway three. You...” But Istara was gone.

<A few minutes later>

“Look, girl, you pan handling or peddling on our turf, you got to know the rules. You with us, or you aint. And if you ain’t, well... We can’t have that.” The heavy set young man grinned at the cowering girl in front of him. If she was older than sixteen standard years it would be a miracle. He looked her over and smiled. “Now, I am feeling generous. We have a space, if you want it.”

The girl stared at him. “What...?”

“You want in? We could use a girl. We have all kind of uses for someone like you.” The girl looked around and shivered as the looks of avarice on the faces of the men and a few of the women registered. “Yeah, it might hurt at times, but we take care of our own.” The girl looked at him and her stance was defiant now.

“Whatever you do to me, I have had worse.” The gang leader laughed.

“I like you girl. You gots guts. Well, what’s it going to be? A bed, or a grave?” Everything stopped as another voice came.

“How about neither?” A large female form stepped into the light from the shadows she had been lurking in. The newcomer smiled slightly as she looked around and then snorted dismissively. The gang members immediately drew their weapons. Then they all froze as she shook her head. “One chance people. And I do use the term loosely. Leave now.” The gang leader aimed a blaster carbine at her and smiled.

“How nice. Two pieces of fresh meat. You got guts lady. We might just leave what’s left of you for the cops to pick up when we is done.” The strange woman just shook her head.

“Out of respect for a good friend of mine who disliked killing, I will say this one more time." The strange woman said. "Leave, now. And forget the girl.” The gang laughed. The leader smiled and made an obscene gesture at her with the carbine. The flame haired woman just shrugged. “Fine, be that way.”

Everything froze as a pair of silver hilts slapped into her hands. Two red blades ignited, and she was in motion. Someone screamed. “Sith!” But by then it was far too late for anything but more screaming.

<A few fairly horrible minutes later>

The girl lay where she had fallen, afraid to look. She didn’t want to see. She didn’t... She tensed as the woman’s voice came from close at hand.

“I won’t hurt you girl.” She looked up into the brown eyes of the woman who had just... She stared at the carnage all around her, the lopped off limbs, the heads, the... She turned her head and threw up what little was in her stomach. When she finally finished with that disgusting piece of action, she rose to her feet. The woman was squatting nearby looking at her.

“Are you all right?” The tone was kind, but the girl knew. She saw the hilts still in the woman’s hands and then her feet were in motion and she was running. Behind her she heard a curse but she didn’t look, she knew death was at her heels. So it came as a complete surprise when the woman landed in front of her, having jumped clear over her head. “Look... I don’t want to hurt you...” The girl spun again, this time taking a more treacherous path through the debris of the deep bowels of the space station. But suddenly, strong arms caught her and held her as she struggled, trying to get away. She screamed, but the hands just held her.

“I am not going to hurt you...” The voice hissed as the girl tried to hide something, but now the voice was stern. “What have you done to yourself?” The girl collapsed, if not for the strong arms, she would have fallen to the deck. A sigh was heard and suddenly she was in the arms and moving. She wanted to fight, she had to get away, but her eyelids were so heavy. And a gentle voice was in her ear now.

“It’s okay. I won’t let anything happen to you.” And now a soft song was being sung in her ear, a lullaby? She let go and slumber came for her quickly.

<Later>

When she woke, she was warm dry and clean. She hurt, but it was minuscule compared to the pain she had felt. A soft voice came to her.

“Good morning.” She looked up into a worried face. The woman from before stood near the bed she was in. When the girl looked at herself to avoid meeting the stranger woman’s eyes, she saw her wounds had been bandaged. She shook her head slowly.

“You are a Sith, why are you helping me?” She asked plaintively. The woman sat beside the bed and sighed.

“I am not a Sith." The woman said sadly. "Not anymore. I don't know what I am now. The red blades are the only ones I have. Are you hungry?” The girl in the bed nodded dubious, but she was amazed when the woman returned in a moment with a steaming bowl on a tray. “I will let you feed yourself as long as you promise not to attack me with the spoon.” The humor in the woman’s voice had the girl laughing. The woman set the tray down in easy reach and sat again, consciously putting herself on the girl’s level. The girl reached for the food and, carefully, slowly took a bite. Suddenly she was ravenous. The food vanished quickly. When she was done, the woman took the spoon and tray back to the food prep area. Looking around they were in a small apartment. Very small. Small refresher, one bed, food prep area, not much else. The woman nodded. “May I know your name? Mine is Istara Andal.”

The girl tensed, but nothing was making sense. Not that her life made a lot of sense anyway. “My name is Lara. Lara Holiisjai. I uh... thank you... I...” Istara nodded.

“Yeah, we need to talk...”
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
07.01.2012 , 06:07 AM | #3
Lara didn’t know what to think. This woman was deadly, no question. She had torn an entire street gang apart almost without effort. But here she was being kind. After assisting Lara to the refresher, the woman had helped her back to the bed, and Lara’s head was now awhirl with questions. But she kept her mouth shut and the woman, Istara nodded.

“Smart. Keep your thoughts close. Just because I won’t hurt you doesn’t mean anyone else won’t. It’s a hard galaxy...” Whatever Istara was about to say vanished as Lara’s brave front collapsed and she stared sobbing. In a moment, Istara was at the other girl’s side, holding her gently. And her voice was just as gentle. “What is it Lara? What did I say?” Lara couldn’t answer; she was too caught up in her grief. Istara just held the young woman and let her cry. The older woman murmured words that made no sense, just nonsense phrases meant to comfort or console and slowly, so slowly, Lara calmed down. Finally she lay limp in Istara’s arms and spoke in a monotone.

“I am from a planet called Agamar. My parents are farmers. I was raised on the farm.” Istara let her speak in her own rhythm and her voice gained strength and timbre as she spoke. “I worked on the farm, and was seeing this boy... It... It got serious.” The girl tensed and then relaxed as Istara stroked her head in a soothing manner. “We didn’t know what we were doing. We had no idea... I got sick...” Istara nodded slowly, but Lara was beyond seeing her, caught up in her story. “They took me to the doc and... I was pregnant.” Istara blinked, and then enfolded the girl tighter as Lara sobbed anew. After a few long minutes, Istara spoke.

“What happened, Lara?” Istara asked gently. Lara sobbed into Istara’s shoulder now.

“My dad... He said the life of a farmer was too hard for children. That I was too young. They killed it... I woke up one morning and the doc had come in the night... They had... they had...” Istara froze and then she was crying with the younger woman as Lara wailed. “They had no right. He was my kid... They shouldn’t have... I...” Istara spoke quietly when Lara finally rambled down.

“I am sorry, Lara." Istara said softly, head bowed in remembered grief. "I lost a child of my own once. I... It was my own dumb fault. But I know the pain, I know the loss, I know the grief...” Lara looked at her and the two women shared a look of complete understanding. Istara sighed. “I won’t pretend it gets easier. Because it doesn’t. But you learn to deal with it. I... I had to. With the powers I have, I didn’t have a choice. I was dangerous to everyone around me. Even when all I wanted to do was die.”

Lara stared at the older woman and then at the bandages that covered her wrists. Lara looked up and met the older woman’s eyes then. Her face was a mask, but underneath lay pain, fear, horror and grief. Lots of grief. Istara just sat for a long moment, letting Lara see what lay hidden behind her own eyes. Lara’s voice was hushed now.

“You... How can you go on?” Her voice was all sad. Istara sighed.

“Some days it’s easier than others." The flame haired woman said slowly. "It never goes away completely. But killing yourself isn’t the answer. When did you...leave?” Lara snorted, with no humor in her laugh.

“My dad wanted me back out in the field." Lara snapped, angry now. "Mom wanted me to ‘rest’. I ran off that night and I haven’t looked back. I won’t go back.” Istara nodded. She had done something very similar, but the Bladeborn had found her a day later. Obviously Lara’s parents were not as capable. Istara smiled slightly, this girl was tough, no question.

“So how did you get here? I assume you didn’t walk.” Lara surprised herself with a small laugh at the humor in the older woman’s voice. When she spoke it was quiet.

“I stowed away on a tramp freighter at the spaceport." Lara winced. "They... they didn’t like it when they caught me... I...” Istara nodded. “One of them was an older human, he said I could ‘work my way’. I had no idea...” Istara nodded again, but sat back.

“Bad things happen, Lara. What happened to you was awful, no question. But killing yourself won’t bring back what you lost.” For just a moment the older woman seemed far, far away. But then she smiled, just a bit. “If you had the chance, what would you do? If you could do anything?”

Lara blinked at that. She hadn’t ever thought about that. “I don’t understand. Sooner or later, you will drop me like everyone else has…” Her bitter words cut off as Istara laid a finger over Lara’s lips. Lara blinked as she saw the look on the other face. A total understanding. So much so that Lara’s eyes filled again. The older woman’s voice was kind.

“This isn’t about me." Istara said gently. "This is about you. What would you want to do?” Lara stared at her.

“I… I don’t know.” Lara stammered. Istara smiled.

“Sleep on it." Istara said gently. "You will feel better in the morning.” Lara looked around.

“Um… I… well…” There was only one bed. Was the woman planning on them sharing? Istara laughed gently.

“You have the bed. The floor here is actually fairly comfortable. Much more than some places I have slept.” Istara waited until Lara had settled before turning the lights down. “Sleep well.” Lara knew she wouldn’t be able to. Too much had happened. Too much emotion had spilled all over for her to be able to rest. So it came as a complete shock when she nodded off.

Istara waited until the girl’s breathing settled to sleep rhythms before taking the last of the drug the doc on the ship had given her. She hoped it would give her another good night’s sleep. She needed it. If this girl was what Istara thought she was… She had a lot of thinking to do. A lot.
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
07.01.2012 , 06:10 AM | #4
<A dream?>

Istara came to herself again. Same place as always. The red sand plain of her childhood home on Korriban stretched out before her and she cursed quietly, but... something was different. She could move. She blinked and smiled. If that scum who had betrayed her showed up here... She stiffened as something was heard. Laughter, almost a giggling.

Oh no...

She shook herself and stood erect, her lightsabers came to her hands, but she didn’t ignite them. A form coalesced before her and the laughter took on a maniac edge. The being lowered his hood and Istara nodded slightly. She knew who this was, even if she had never met him before. His eyes roved her, gauging, assessing, wandering. She didn’t react. Finally he spoke.

“You have led me a merry chase girl.” She didn’t move, didn’t respond and he smiled widely. “What is it with Trugoy’s brats? Always so serious. Lighten up girl. Life is too short.” She met his gaze calmly and he grinned. “I have to say, I have heard a lot about you Sharlina. We will do such great things together.”

In answer, Istara’s lightsabers ignited. She assumed a ready stance and the black cloaked form produced an ancient Sith sword. But the laughter continued.

“Do you really think you have a chance against me here girl?” Now Istara laughed.

“No. But what does it matter?” The man grinned.

“That’s the spirit. Oh you will make SUCH a great sister...” He moved towards her but her blades came up in a whirling dance of death and he stepped back, deflecting her attacks with ease. “Very skilled. Oh I will enjoy breaking you...” Istara stepped back, her blades at the ready.

“One of us is going to get broken, but I don’t think it’s going to be me.” The black cloaked figure moved forward sand she stepped to meet him. This time however, both the lightsabers and the war sword were evenly matched. But try as he might, the man could not find a hole in Istara’s defences, and she scored him several times lightly. Each one made him laugh harder however. She smiled grimly as she continued to laugh and attack. “You can’t beat me Ravishaw.”

The insane Sith lord just giggled again. “Oh my dear Sharlina.... Who said I was trying to beat you?” He grinned and something heavy slammed into her. She went flying and fell heavily. Her lightsabers flew out of her grasp. She struggled to hands and knees in time to meet a kick that threw her back to the ground, and then a boot was planted on her neck. She looked up into his eyes and saw what he held in his other hand. “This will be so much more fun...” She screamed and then...

<Istara’s apartment>

Istara came awake suddenly, conscious of her throat flaming as if she had been screaming it raw. She took a few deep breaths and then opened her eyes. What she saw made her freeze stiff. Lara lay beside her, the girl’s arms were up in a warding gesture, and she lay as if she had been...

No!” She had the girl in her arms and was out the door in moments.

<Less than thirty minutes later>

Istara watched as the medical droids worked. Only one fool had asked her about payment for services and she had left him alive. Albeit crippled for a long time, maybe for life. She knew what had happened. She had done it again. Lara had likely been trying to help her, while Istara had been in the grip of her nightmare and muscle memory had taken over. Luckily, the strike that Istara’s hand had done had been off center. If it had been square on, well... She sat down heavily in a chair.

“It’s not your fault.” She spun to her feet and then couldn’t move. The Force held her tight. She snarled but the form that stood at the door wasn’t in black. No, his robes were brown. “I apologize. But... given what you are carrying and what I sense about you... There are a lot of innocent people around here. I have no wish to do battle with you in such a place.” Istara blinked and then slumped. The Force released her head and she swiveled it to look the Jedi square in the eyes. When she spoke it was soft and sad.

“The Force works in mysterious ways. I was about going to go looking for one of you.” The Jedi arced an eyebrow and Istara sighed. “The girl... She is Force sensitive.” The Jedi blinked.

“Why tell me?” He asked softly. Istara’s face was sad as she turned her head to see the droids working again.

“Because she is not very powerful, and she has been through enough pain for one lifetime." Istara said sadly. "If the Sith get her... She will die. She isn’t strong enough to survive what they do.” The Jedi stared at her and Istara sighed again. “I give you my word, a pact that I have never broken, that I will defend myself only. And as soon as I am sure this girl will live, I will leave this station and never return.” The Jedi shook his head slowly.

“I wish I could believe you...” He broke off as Istara shrugged and sat. He blinked at her, tense. She smiled sadly.

“Force stasis is powerful, but it does have limits. I am not your enemy today, Jedi. Tomorrow maybe. But not today.” The Jedi nodded to her words, but he didn’t relax. “My name is Istara, may I know yours?”

“My name is Micheal Jonal.” Istara nodded to him and returned her gaze to where the droids were still working.

“Let me tell you about a farmer’s daughter named Lara...”
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
07.01.2012 , 06:16 AM | #5
<Some time later>

When Lara woke, she was unsure where she was. The last thing she remembered was waking up hearing Istara screaming and trying to wake the woman, then... nothing. She didn’t hurt at all. That was a definite improvement. She smiled slightly as she opened her eyes and then tensed as she saw Istara sitting beside her bed, her head in her hands. The woman had been crying. She opened her mouth and managed to speak, just a little.

“I...Istara...?” She was amazed at how weak she was. Istara’s head snapped up and her eyes filled with joy as Lara met her gaze.

“Lara. Thank the Maker.” The older woman took Lara’s hand in her and gave a squeeze. Lara smiled but was puzzled.

“What happened?” Lara asked. Istara had a guilty look on her face now.

“I think I hit you. I... I was having a nightmare. Sort of anyway." Istara shook her head before continuing. "You tried to wake me up?” Lara nodded, but then grimaced. That hurt. Istara took her head in gentle hands and returned it to where it had been. When it went back to it's original position, the pain faded. Something went click and she couldn’t move it again. Not that she wanted to. “Don’t move. I... I hit you hard.”

Lara tensed, she had seen how hard this woman could hit. “But you will be okay.” Lara looked around as best she could without moving her head and was amazed. She was in a medical center. She had avoided those like the plague ever since she had fled her home. She had been terrified that they would ID her and send her back. As if reading her mind Istara smiled. “You don’t have to go back. I... Uh... well...” She broke off unsure and Lara looked at her.

“What?” Lara asked with trepidation.

“Someone wants to talk to you.” Istara sighed and continued. “And yes, he knows who you are and has said the same thing. You don’t have to go back.” Lara tensed, and then relaxed as she heard the end of Istara’s talk. Istara looked towards the door and Lara tried to follow her gaze, but whatever held her head in place was firm, if very soft. “Don’t move... okay...? They sealed the fracture. But it does need time to heal. If you move you may start to bleed internally again... And if that happens you will probably die.” Lara looked at the older woman and sighed.

“I don’t want to die." Lara admitted. "I...” Another voice came and Istara held her head in place again as Lara tired to look at the speaker. A man came into her field of view. His voice was gentle.

“I am glad to hear that.” The man said soberly. Lara stared at him, he wore Jedi robes! She turned scared eyes to Istara, who shrugged.

“It’s... well, until you are out of danger, we have a truce of sorts.” Istara said with a small frown. The Jedi nodded and Lara relaxed. But then Istara moved away and Lara spoke up.

“Don’t...” Lara broke off unsure of what she was asking or why. Istara came back into her field of view. Istara smiled gently.

“It will be all right Lara." Istara promised. "I will be right outside.” A touch on her hand and Istara was gone. The Jedi sighed.

“I never thought I would say this of a Sith, but she truly does seem to care.” Michael said with a smile. Lara would have shaken her head, but it didn’t move so she spoke slowly.

“Yes, and she has never said why.” Lara replied, unsure. The Jedi shook his head.

“My name is Michael Jonal, Ma’am.” He said formally. Lara smiled at him and he smiled back.

“Lara Holiisjai, pleased to meet you." Lara said politely. "Um... Why are you and she being so nice to me?” Lara asked with an edge of trepidation in her voice. Michael sighed. “I mean I’m just another streetwalking runaway, right?” Michael shook his head.

“I don’t know why she is being so nice to you, but I like being nice to people." The Jedi admitted. "For one thing it is a lot easier than apologizing to everyone I irritate when I am not.” Lara surprised herself with laugh at that. She grinned.

“I can see that. But... Why are you...” She broke off, something hurt. The Jedi sat beside her and she felt a touch on her arm and suddenly the pain vanished.

“I’ve deadened a few nerves, so you still hurt, you just won’t feel it.” Michael said with a smile. Lara smiled again.

“Handy ability.” Lara said and then tensed as the bed inclined. Then she relaxed as she realized she could see the Jedi and the door easily from her position. Michael grimaced.

“I should have done that earlier, sorry..." The Jedi aplogized. "She is... There is an undercurrent of barely repressed violence about her. She makes me nervous.” Lara snickered at that.

“How do you think I feel?” Lara asked with a smirk. Michael snorted, but then became serious.

“She didn’t know how badly you were hurt." Michael said softly. "I doubt you did either. She did detox the residue of the poison.” Lara tensed, but Michael just continued. “From the wounds we found when we examined you, I am assuming it was self administered.” Lara sighed.

“For all the good it did me. Made me sick, and nothing else.” Michael shook his head.

“It would have killed you eventually." The Jedi said soberly. "Slowly and in great pain. I am glad it didn’t.” Lara looked at him and there was no pity, no condemnation, just honest thankfulness in his expression. “You don’t have to go back to your family. There are other options.” Lara swallowed.

“Such as?” Lara asked after a moment. Michael sat back, a smile playing across his features.

“Have you ever heard of the Jedi Service Corps?” Lara blinked. She hadn’t. Michael smiled again and sat forward, ready to remedy her lack of knowledge.
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07.01.2012 , 06:20 AM | #6
<A few minutes later. Nearby, yet at the same time, very far away>

Istara cursed. She had only sat down for a second. And she must have fallen asleep, because here he was again. At least, she reflected ruefully, it wasn’t Ravishaw this time. The gray plain stretched out before her, she remembered someone saying it was a representation of the inside of her mind? Or something like that. She didn’t remember. She focused on the other presence. Idjit stood as he always had. But now, he just looked at her. She smirked inwardly. He had tried the silent treatment before and it had never worked. She could out stare him any day. She met his eyes and smirked. But she didn’t speak. She felt his senses sweeping over her and snarled, but there wasn’t anything else she could do, bound by the Force as she was. And it wasn’t Force stasis, no, this was something different. It allowed her limited mobility, but at the same time, held her in place. And it was a lot stronger than the time she had managed to break it. Finally he spoke.

“It wasn’t you.” She blinked. But she didn’t speak. He sighed. “Istara, it wasn’t you. Ravishaw wanted to hurt you. And what better way than to make you hurt an innocent? Someone you were trying to help. That is why she didn’t die. He didn’t want her to.” She just glared at him, remaining silent. He shook his head. “Come on, Istara, I know you are mad at me. Maker knows you have reason, but please, let me help.” She shook her head the little it would move and now Idjit cursed. “You always were boneheaded, but this is ridiculous. I know what you are planning. With the kid. Don’t do it.” Now Istara snarled at him and spoke.

“So I should trust you to help her." Istara snapped. "Yeah, right. Like the last time I trusted people to help someone I cared about. See what happened then.” Idjit bowed his head.

“Istara..." the seer said with a sigh. "I know I hurt you. I know... I messed up. But... All I can say is I am sorry.” Istara stared at him, her face working as she tried to struggle past her rage. Finally, she managed to speak.

“You are sorry.” Her voice was low, and cold. “You are sorry? Oh, well, I guess that makes it all better then.” The sarcasm in her voice could have cut durasteel. “You lied to me. You used my own desires for comfort against me. I trusted you as much as I trusted anyone, and you used that against me. Oh well, betrayal is the way of the Sith, isn’t it?” Now Idjit flinched. But she wasn’t done. “If it had only hurt me, I might be able to forgive you and only blame that little brown pile of garbage. But it didn’t. You lied to me. You and the midget took away the only thing in my life that was stable. And then you hurt the only person I can love now. Go. Away.” To her horror her eyes started burning. Idjit slumped.

“I was wrong." The blind man said softly. "To do what I did. I should have told you. But she scared me.” Istara snarled at him.

“Of course she scared you." Istara shook herself and calmed a bit before speaking again. "You locked her up! How would you have reacted? You know the curse she bears. You know. How could you do that? Allow that to happen to her? And to use me like that, to hold her...” Istara shook her head, and wetness flew. But she continued. “You... I loved you... And you threw it away.” Now she was calm again. Idjit sighed.

“I feel the conflict within you, Istara. I am the same way." Idjit said sadly. "Duty, or love... I do still love you. Open yourself, and see...” Istara shook her head again.

“Another lie." Istara snapped. "Some means of helping you and the Bladeborn find Setsuna. Forget it.” Idjit slumped and then he straightened.

“If you go with that girl, they will never let you leave." Idjit said slowly. "You know that.” Idjit pleaded. Istara smiled grimly. “Istara... Don’t do this...”

“Why? You afraid the Jedi will kill me? Or is it that might I find out something you and Trugoy don’t want me to know?” At that, Idjit recoiled back. Now Istara’s voice was hard. “Did you really think I wouldn’t figure it out? All it took was a bit of thought, and I have had time to think.” Idjit was shaking his head.

“Istara, don’t do this.” He begged. But she just smiled.

“What? Ask questions?” Istara snapped. “I wondered. Who could be crazy enough to brand himself with a Bladeborn brand? Why would he? He is insane, yes. Then I remembered him. I had forgotten. Like so much else, I had forgotten him. But...” Idjit was shaking his head savagely now.

“Istara stop.” He said sadly. “You do not want to pursue that line of inquiry. You do not.” But Istara just sighed.

“It was going to come out, Idjit..” Idjit stepped back now. “Sooner or later, people who matter, people who are not already dead will be asking the same questions.” Idjit shook his head.

“You are not dead.” In answer she held up her arm with the gruesome wound on it where her brand had been. “You are not dead. And he won’t give up, Istara. He won’t, until he has driven you as mad as he is.” The woman nodded.

“I know. That is why I am going to Tython.”
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07.01.2012 , 06:26 AM | #7
<Two days later>

Everything was ready. Istara had told her boss at the cantina she was leaving and closed out her account for the apartment. The Bith had been dismayed, but had consoled himself that her sheer reputation would keep many of the lowlifes away. After all, who knew if she would come back and if she did and found more scum in ‘her’ cantina, well... Istara had taken leave of the few beings who had sort of become, well, not friends, she didn’t trust herself to have friends again. Not after what happened before. But close acquaintances. Not that there were many of them. Basically the staff of the cantina and a couple of the regulars there. And she had dropped the hint that she might be very displeased if anything were to happen there while she was gone. But now, she hoisted her few belongings and walked towards the landing bays.

As she left the lift, she had to so smile a little. Lara was technically mobile now. But no one, Istara especially, wanted to take any chances, so she was in a droid propelled wheelchair. But the smile vanished quickly. Michael was walking beside the girl, speaking in low tones and Lara was replying in an animated tone. For a moment, Istara felt a stab of jealousy, but she acknowledged it and let it fall away. Now was not the time to be angry. Michael looked up and nodded to her. She nodded back and moved to join the mismatched pair. She had to admit, Lara looked good. Istara smiled at Lara and the girl smiled back.

“You ready to go, Lara?” Istara asked softly. The girl pursed her lips, and would have nodded, but the brace that still held her head in place denied that. She grimaced.

“Yes." Lara snarled, but her heart wasn't in it. "Maker, I will be glad to get out of this... thing.” Istara matched her pace to the wheelchair and took Lara’s hand in her own.

“I am sorry, Lara. What happened to you was my responsibility. I will see it made right.” No shouted declaration could have been more final than her quiet words and Lara’s eyes glistened as Istara took up position behind the chair. From his own position, Michael nodded. They reached the hangar bay without incident. But then Istara tensed as two robed forms approached. More Jedi, a female human and a female Togruta. She squared her shoulders and slowly reached for her sabers. The two forms visibly tensed, but then relaxed as she handed them to Michael. It was almost physically painful, to lose the only things that she really had left of her past. She had her clothes and armor, yes. But her lightsabers were special. She had taken them as prizes from Dark Jedi and had rebuilt them to her own specifications. They were, literally, extensions of her own will. And to surrender them without a fight... That hurt. A lot. The other two Jedi nodded to her and she extended her hands, as if for binders. The human spoke.

“Like that would make you any less dangerous?” The woman asked with a smile. Istara surprised herself with a snort of laughter that the Jedi shared. Istara sighed.

“What should I do then?" The former Bladeborn asked carefully. "This is not what I trained for.” The Jedi nodded.

“Follow me please.” Istara looked at Lara, but the girl smiled and Istara smiled back. She followed the Jedi to where the ship waited. It was small and looked fast. The Jedi spoke again. “I apologize that the quarters will be cramped...” Istara snorted again.

“As long as it’s not a prison cell, it’s got to be somewhat comfortable." Istara said philosophically. "Even cells can be, occasionally.” The Jedi looked at her as they entered the ship.

“You speak as if you have been in more than a few.” The other woman said with a quirky expression. Istara nodded.

“More than a few.” Istara didn’t elaborate and the Jedi didn’t press. The Jedi led her through the ship to a small dormitory and there, Istara got a shock. There was another figure in Jedi robes there, a very young looking Cerean. The kid couldn’t have been older than four or five. The kid was making tea, but Istara shook her head, dumbfounded, before turning to the Jedi.

“You put a child in danger.” Istara's voice was flat, unemotional. The Jedi nodded.

“Of all the beings in the galaxy, who are you least likely to hurt, even by accident?” The Jedi said slowly. Istara’s eyes shot open at that.

“It is not safe to be around me right now.” Indeed, the night before she had heard laughter in her dreams. While she had managed to wake quickly, it left her very, very afraid. And to have a child near her right now... She didn’t want to do anything else horrible. She didn’t. The girl walked up to her, a steaming mug in a small hand. The girl extended it to Istara who stared. The girl bowed and Istara sighed. She took the cup and smelled it. Then she shook her head. “You have been talking to someone who wears black.” She wasn't sure how she felt about that.

Neither Jedi responded, but Istara knew. This was her favorite blend of tea. She hadn’t had it since she had last talked to the Barabel who had adopted her as a child. The ship shuddered a bit, and a voice came over the loudspeaker warning of imminent take off. Istara sat, and fastened her harness. She didn’t like flying. The Jedi followed suit, but Istara noticed that the older woman stayed between Istara and the hatch. Istara shook her head, but the Jedi spoke first.

“My name is Anya and this is Ina-Ta-Mal, my Padawan.” The young Cerean bowed from the neck and Istara did likewise. “We were detailed to escort you to Tython. Would you mind if we talked?” Istara tensed, but Anya smiled. “Nothing sinister. I would just like to know who you are.”

Istara forced herself to relax. This was what she wanted, right? A way to break the holds that people had on her mind. When she spoke it was quiet, but easily understandable. “There are some things I cannot talk about. But what I can speak of, I will. My name as you know is Istara Andal. What else would you like to know?”

Anya nodded. “What forms do you practice? I saw two sabers.” Whatever Istara had expected that wasn’t on the list.

“Well... I know many forms, but Shi-cho is...” Istara was distracted, so never felt the whisper light touch on her mind.

<Nearby>

“By... The... Force...” The small Kel Dor was holding tears in, barely. The Togruta nodded.

“As we feared. She needs help. Help we can’t give here. I hope the Council or the healers can. Otherwise...”

“He will come for her. Master...”

“I know. I know...”
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kalenath
07.01.2012 , 06:31 AM | #8
<Hyperspace, three days later>

Istara shook her head. “I don’t want to sleep. I...” Anya sighed. She had dealt with stubborn people before, being a Jedi meant she dealt with lots of them, but this was ridiculous. Istara had been up for the entire trip!

“I understand." Anya said soberly. "But you have to. You have already been up for almost sixty hours. Even with the Force, there are limits Istara.” Istara shook her head.

“You don’t understand.” She froze as Anya touched her on the sleeve. The Jedi wasn’t one of casual touching, but they had talked a lot over the last few days. And Istara would not hurt Anya, not knowingly anyway. It was a measure of Istara’s fatigue that she didn’t pull away. Anya’s voice was gentle.

“Nothing will happen to you." Anya promised gently. "We can protect you from him.” Istara shook her head.

“I’m not worried about something happening to me...” She looked at Anya and the Jedi nodded soberly.

“We can help you sleep, but...” Anya broke off and grimaced. Istara nodded.

“You will need to restrain me, and... I...” Istara slumped. “You know what he does.” It wasn’t a question. Anya laid a gentle hand on Istara’s shoulder.

“It won’t happen.” Anya promised again. Istara smiled sadly.

“If it does, don’t let me become a threat.” Anya nodded again, her face set. Istara stood for a moment, then went to the bed that was in the quarters she had been provided. She sat down and slumped. “I hope your restraints are strong...” Anya nodded and pulled a set of stun cuffs out of a pouch. Istara looked at them and shook her head. “You will need a lot more than that."

Anya raised an eyebrow and Istara nodded. She lay down and let the Jedi restrain her. Every fiber of her being was crying out that this was bad, that this was wrong. But she just lay quiet as the Jedi strapped her in place. Finally, the Jedi stepped back.

“Do you want sedation?” Anya asked. Istara thought about that.

“You may have to." Istara said soberly. "I’m too far to sleep naturally, I think.” Anya nodded and pulled a hypo out of her pouch. Istara met her eyes. “Don’t trust anything I say, until and unless you can scan me thoroughly. And whatever you do, don’t release me, or let your Padawan anywhere near me. Until you are sure.” Anya nodded again. She laid the hypo against Istara’s arm and a tingling swept though the supine woman. Then...

<A dream or a nightmare>

Istara was standing alone on a large red plain. And she heard laughter. She felt fear, but she didn’t flinch. Her voice was steady when she spoke.

“Show yourself.” Ravishaw’s form appeared in front of her.

“Ah, Sharlina. Come to swear allegiance?” He crooned. She shook her head. “Oh, so stubborn. You do your momma proud.” Tendrils of thought swept over her, but she held firm. When she spoke again, it was still calm.

“I have a question.” Ravishaw laughed, a merry sound that was just so out of place.

“No doubt you do. Come, walk with me...” He waved towards the distance, but Istara just stood.

“I don’t think so. What happened to you? I finally remembered you.” Ravishaw froze, but then his face split in a huge smile. He laughed and all warmth seemed to flee from his merriment.

“Sharlina, I confess... You have amazed me. I never expected you to guess the truth. Or be able to handle it so well.” Istara shook her head slowly. “Come girl, this is only going to end one way. Come on, I guarantee you will enjoy it.” His grin was wide, but her eyes were cold and hard as she met his and wonder of wonders he stepped back.

“My name is Istara.” Ravishaw tensed. Everything seemed to stop. “And I will not serve you, or your sect.” Ravishaw grinned again.

“Oh yes you will. Willingly or not, you will serve us. Actually I prefer when they fight.” His blade appeared in his hand but Istara didn’t move. “Come on girl, make it hard. You know you want it to hurt. Let it out, give in to your rage again.” Istara spoke quietly.

“There is no emotion...” Ravishaw’s face went slack, and Istara continued to recite the Jedi Code. “...there is peace.” After a moment, Ravishaw laughed again.

“Oh, a good jest." He chortled, deeply amused. "You, a Jedi. Now I have heard everything.” But Istara just spoke again, quietly.

“There is no ignorance, there is knowledge.” Ravishaw snorted and a strong pulse of Force energy threw her back, but she didn’t fight it, no, she rode it and wound up back on her feet. “There is no passion, there is serenity.” Ravishaw snarled now and he moved in to attack, but Istara made no move to defend herself. “There is no death, there is the Force.” Ravishaw attacked, but... his blade stopped just short of her skin. Istara met his gaze calmly. “You can’t can you?” She sighed, melancholy. “All this time, all this pain. My own, Lara's... And it was my own rage, grief and anger that let you in. Get out of my mind, Ravishaw.” Ravishaw snarled and struck gain, but the blade didn’t, indeed couldn’t, bite into her. His face contorted with rage.

“You think they will take you in?” Ravisahw demanded. “Protect you? You have killed Jedi, many Jedi.” Istara shook her head.

“No." Istara said sadly. "I don't think that. But I will not be your puppet.” Ravishaw grinned.

“You will be mine girl." Ravishaw snapped. "Remember that. Sooner or later, your wards will fail. All it will take is time and I...” he broke off as other forms started appearing around them. All in brown robes. “This isn’t over, Sharlina.” Istara met his gaze again.

“My name is Istara. Get out of my mind and stay out.” He smiled, made an obscene gesture to all the Jedi surrounding them and vanished. Only after he was gone, did she fall to her knees and cry.
My stories in order:
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kalenath
07.01.2012 , 06:39 AM | #9
<Quite a bit later>

“I don’t understand.” Ina-Ta-Mal stood beside her master and both looked through the observation window into the hospital room where a woman lay sleeping. Istara hadn't woken even when they arrived at the Enclave. The healers were not sure she ever would. “Why won’t she wake up?” Anya sighed.

“I don’t know Ina. The docs say a whole bunch of things. But... I think they are as stumped as we are. To tell you the truth, I don’t know myself how she managed to keep him out of her mind. I do know it hurt her, whatever she did. Not physically, although there are physical results...” Ina nodded. They had found Istara asleep on her bunk when they had checked on her the morning after sedating her, but they had been unable to rouse her. And now, the docs were unable to rouse her. “Most of what we know is what she isn’t. She is there, but she isn’t. Her mind isn’t in her body.” Ina thought about that for a moment.

“Then we need to get her mind back into her body.” Ina said with conviction. Anya sighed.

“Easier said than done, Ina." Anya said sadly. "We can’t find where she is hiding now. The mind is a tricky thing.” Ina blinked and looked thoughtful. Anya waited and Ina finally spoke.

“When I was growing up, I heard a story, about humans. It was what they called a fairy tale, a tale meant to entertain. They called the story ‘Sleeping Beauty’.” Anya blinked and Ina shrugged. “I know it’s just fiction, but maybe we could find a prince for her...” She broke off as Anya smiled.

“Out of the mouths of Padawans... Come with me.” Ina-Ta-Mal blinked and then followed her Master a bit dubious, but trusting.

<An hour later>

Both seers stared at the Anya with the exact same expression. Dumbfounded shock. Finally, Ashla Ti broke the silence.

“You want us to do... what?” The master seer asked slowly. Anya licked her lips. It had made so much more sense when she had been thinking about it, but now...

“She has withdrawn so far, none of us can find her. Can you?” The two seers, the old Togruta and the very young Kel Dor exchanged a glance and shook their heads.

“And you think someone...else can find her.” The Kel Dor asked dubiously. Anya nodded. After all, the information they had on Istara had come from a very odd source. It wasn’t every day a Sith seer asked for favors after all...

“He may be the only one who can.” Anya said with a frown. The seers looked at each other and Ashla Ti sighed.

“We can ask, but..." Ashla TI shared a glance with Diseree before continuing. "There is no way to be sure he can help. Or if he will be able to. He is bound by as many restrictions as we are. More even.” Anya nodded.

“They will put her on full support this afternoon. I wish Nolkas were here, but... There is nothing wrong with her.” Ashla Ti shook her head.

“Yes there is." The seer corrected her colleague. "She had to give up everything she believed in to keep that scum out of her mind. It hurt her, badly. The backlash of Dark Side energy did damage as well. We caught it, but she retreated before we could talk to her. And she is very good at hiding herself.” Anya nodded. “But we will ask.”

Anya bowed to the seers and left the room quickly, hoping. Diseree looked at Ashla Ti and sighed.

“He might take it better coming from me...” Diseree said slowly. Ashla Ti nodded, but her face held worry.

“Be careful.” The Togruta said quietly. Diseree smiled.

“Hey, it’s me.”

<Later, outside of time and space>

“Out of the question.” The cloud that was Idjit of the Bladeborn was still, almost motionless. No energy coruscated across its gray expanse now. Diseree stood in front of him, her posture pleading.

“Idjit, please..." Diseree begged. "If you don’t she will die.” The cloud seemed to convulse, but his voice was still quiet and calm when he spoke.

“So instead, I should help you turn her.” Idjit's voice was cold now. Disree shook her head.

“We don’t want to turn her." Diseree said soberly. "We want to help her. She is hurting in so many ways. You know that, better than any...” The girl broke off suddenly. “What happened?” Idjit’s form withdrew a bit, but Diseree followed slowly. “Idjit what happened?” For a long moment, it seemed he wouldn’t respond, but he finally spoke. When he did, it was sad.

“I couldn’t help her. He did... something... to keep me away. I couldn’t get close. But I could hear. Did you hear what she said?” Diseree shook her head. Idjit’s voice became cold. “She quoted your code.” Diseree stiffened. “And to keep him out, she had to do more than quote it, she had to believe it. I can’t help her now. I want to, but I can’t.” Diseree nodded slowly. If Istara had turned, that made her much more than an exiled Bladeborn. It made her a traitor to the Bladeborn. And if that were the case...

“She hasn’t betrayed you." Diseree corrected him. "She was trying to survive, anyway she could.” Idjit snarled and Diseree felt fear, but held her ground.

“If she had accepted my help..." Idjit snapped. "None of this would have happened...” Diseree shook her head.

“I don’t know what happened between you two and it isn’t germane at the moment. If she falls any deeper unconscious... Idjit they are already putting her on full support.” Diseree was nearly crying. A sob escaped the cloud. “Idjit, please, if you ever loved her, help us help her.” Diseree retreated a step as Idjit shouted.

I still love her!” The sound reverberated across the emptiness around them. The cloud condensed. It was still gaseous, but man shaped. Diseree looked at where the head would be on a human and nodded.

“Then help her.” Diseree said soberly.

If I can.” Idjit’s voice was quiet. "I will."

<Later>

Anya relaxed as Istara’s eyes opened. She smiled. “Welcome back, sleepy head.” Istara stared around the medical bay in bafflement.

“What did I miss?” Istara asked groggily. Anya grinned.

“Not much, Ina should be in with breakfast shortly.” With all of Istara’s befuddled focus on Anya words, she didn’t feel a dark presence in the Force withdraw. But Anya did. She sat beside Istara’s bed and smiled.

She hadn’t really believed, but when the ghostly presence had kissed Istara’s lips, the woman had stirred. She had been told it wasn’t a true ghost. But she didn’t know, and truth be told, didn’t care. Sleeping Beauty was awake, and if her Dark Prince had withdrawn, well, there was time for them to figure things out now that Istara wasn’t fading away.
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kalenath
07.01.2012 , 06:41 AM | #10
<Two days later>

Istara had had enough. The Jedi were kind, in their own way. But also definitely a bit on the obtuse side. or at least the healers were turning a complete blind eye to her need for exercise. So she had been in the bed for a sevenday, so what? At least they had taken the last monitors off of her. She sighed and sat up.

"Ma'am..." One of the healers came over and Istara looked at her then focused on her feet. The appendages hurt, but they moved. "Ma'am you shouldn't be moving just yet..."

"Too long in the bed, doc. Need to move..." The healer didn't move any closer and Istara sighed inwardly. Being thought of as highly dangerous had its drawbacks.

The healer didn't budge. "Miss Istara... You have been asleep for seven days. You need rest." Istara managed to get her feet over the side of the bed and the healer shook his head. "Ma'am, if we have to, we can restrain you."

Istara grinned, but her heart wasn't in it. "You and what army, doc?" She managed to get her feet on the floor, but the room spun and she was saved from falling on her face by the healer's strong arms. He set her upright and stepped back out of reach as she gripped the side of the bed.

"Ma'am..." The healer's tone was exasperated.

"Suspect that one would be difficult to restrain, I do," Someone stated from out of Istara's sight. There was the slight clacking of wood meeting the floor as a small green figure came around the healer. Brown eyes studied the patient in a thoughtful manner before looking at the doctor. "Some fresh air be in order think I."

The doctor stared from patient to the newcomer and nodded, reluctantly. "If you start to feel bad..." Istara nodded, but her eyes were on the newcomer.

"I know..." Istara tried to bow, and nearly fell again, but this time, she caught herself. "I am Istara Andal. May I know your name?"

The grey haired newcomer gave the doctor a toothy grin. "Watch her health I will. Not the only healer you are," She said as if the entire situation was a joke before looking to Istara. "Yeri I am, Master healer for this enclave I be. Students that slack off in their lessons call me slavedriver, they do." The first doctor sighed, but shook his head and moved to assist other patients muttering under his breath.

Istara nodded, a bit bewildered. She had never met any of Trugoy's race before anywhere else in the galaxy. "I don't mean to be a bother, but I can't stay in the bed."

Yeri kept a smile in place and the air around her seem to give off waves of calm. "Bumps on logs, we are not. Come, come, outside shall we go. Stretch the legs we must. Remember the old and small are not as fast as the young and tall though please."

Istara surprised herself with a genuine laugh. "Why do I doubt that I could ever outrun you? Lead on Master Healer." Istara made her way slowly to where Yeri stood. Yeri gave a nod and turned, her staff clicking away as she lead the way out into the fresh air.

"Pleased we are that you recovered," Yeri stated as they walked. "Not many retreat so far."

Istara shook her head. "I don't know how I came back. I just... well... it is going to sound dumb..."

Yeri snorted at that and slanted a glance, "Never dumb what is true."

Istara smiled. "But does it have to make sense?"

"Always make sense does life?" Yeri asked, "To us, not always sense makes, but in the greater creation..." She left the question hanging leaving Istara to answer that one on her own. "What so dumb was?"

Istara sighed, her face melancholy. "When I was young and foolish I fell in love with someone. I... I could have sworn he was there when I woke up. But that is impossible. He couldn't come here of all places."

"Why?" Yeri asked bluntly. "Perfect are we in our ways here?"

Istara tensed, but then relaxed. "No, it’s just... well... He is sworn not to come here. And he takes, well took, his honor very seriously. He wouldn't have come here, although part of me wishes he could."

Yeri stopped the pair by a bench then. "Allow this old one to rest please?" she asked as she sat carefully, having to hop to get onto the bench. "Stand if you like though." She sat silent for a moment then as if pondering events, "Did he love you?"

Istara tensed at the question, but then sighed. "I will sit if you don't mind. Sheer stubbornness has its limits." She sat down carefully. "And... I thought so... I really did..."

"Then found a way he did perhaps," Yeri pointed out. "Sees no oaths, orders, or borders does love; not when real it is." She grinned a bit then and chuckled at some memory, "Odd for a master to learn from a student..."

Istara sighed. "Well, it doesn't matter now. He is my past." She looked around and smiled a bit sadly. "I suppose this is my future."

Yeri raised a brow at the statement. "Decide now do not. Many wounds crisscross you Istara. Rest and healing required for now. See clearly when blinded one cannot nor move can one when loaded down so heavily."

Istara nodded and took a deep breath. Then another. "I don't know what to do. My life was a lie. My duty is… almost totally unattainable. All I know is war, fighting and death." She fingered the huge scar that crossed her left forearm.

"Hmm, then perhaps get to know peace you should," Yeri gave a small impish grin then. "Rest in their sheaths blades do, holstered blasters are, and sit in infirmaries till they go mad, even warriors are known to do."

Istara blinked at the small figure and then she laughed. "You… are bad." She sighed. "You remind me of someone I knew..." Her face turned sad.

Yeri reached out a hand and patted Istara's back. "Mourn the losses you must, for part of healing it is. Speak of what you must if you wish to. Always a friendly ear I have. Plenty of time you have here."

Istara nodded. "Thank you, Master Healer. I... I think I will sit here for a time, and then I should return and apologize to the doctor. I know he is just doing his job.”

Yeri chuckled, "Yes was he. Used to handfuls he is. Sit with you may I? The bones, still tired they are."

Istara nodded. “I don’t mind. It is good to just... sit. I have never... really done that.” She had never been in one place for any length of time. Always a mission, a job, a fight. Never any time to be at peace, to be still. It felt… good…

"Sit and do nothing then let us. A wonder of the universe it is, and for clearing the head good," Yeri said with a smile as she simply watched some birds chase each other. Istara smiled as well and watched the birds, free for once, from worry and fear. No one to fight. No one to worry about. Free to just be... someone else. Someone who wasn’t a bloodthirsty witch.

((Much thanks to Setie for her assistance with this post and allowing me to use Master Yeri for this post))
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