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(L,F&E 56) Dancing on the Edge of a Blade

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > Community Content > Fan Fiction
(L,F&E 56) Dancing on the Edge of a Blade

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kalenath
07.02.2012 , 04:35 AM | #1
((OOC, Jedi Master Jina Darkstorm has been captured by large insects again. For a full explanation see A Memory Mystery. But things are not as they seem. Oh no, nothing is as it seems…))

Jina woke terrified. She focused on her fear and let it pass. It wouldn’t help her. She tried her hands and feet and found them unfettered. She felt… good. She hadn’t expected that. Matter of fact, she hadn’t expected to wake up at all, or to wake up in possession of her mind. She cracked her eyes and looked around as best she could without moving. She seemed to be lying on a bed in a standard ship stateroom. Four walls, floor, ceiling, everything said ‘ship’. But the gravity felt normal, and the air was not the sterile sameness that dominated shipboard life. She opened her eyes completely and looked around. She was clad in a white shipsuit that felt strange. Matter of fact… She scanned it with the Force and was astounded to find out it was alive! She stared at the sleeve, puzzled. Why would the bugs clothe her? They wanted her as a brood mother, not…

And then her breath caught as she saw something else. On a table nearby, her armor lay stacked neatly, and beside it… She summoned her lightsabers to her hand and they came, igniting in midair. Both slapped into her palms and a quick check showed both fully charged. She sat up, hissing as pain came from deep in her abdomen. She stared at herself and, after deactivating one blade, touched where it hurt. She could feel something underneath the suit, and it felt like chitin. Jina bit back a sob, but she knew what she had to do. She put the emitter of the unlit saber under her jaw and took a deep breath. But something stopped her, a voice.

“Please don’t do that, Ma’am.” She spun out of the bed onto the floor as something unfolded from near the door and entered her field of view. The large bug, very similar to the ones from her nightmares, didn’t approach, which was wise of it. Her blades hummed as she took a guard position. She froze solid as four physical blades, apparently vibroblades from the hum they exuded, materialized in the four largest of the bug’s hands. It didn’t seem to move at all, the blades just appeared. “Ma’am?” The voice was polite, and it was coming from the bug! Jina blinked as the room spun a bit, but then focused herself. The being was blocking the door. She felt tingling in her hands and feet now, but… She had to get away, she had to… “Ma’am, you are still weak. Please… we mean you no harm.” She wanted to move, to fight, to…

How had she gotten on the floor? Her lightsabers were no longer in her hands. They had fallen from her fingers and deactivated. She bit back a scream as a shadow fell over her, but the claws that touched her were gentle and... gloved? The blades had vanished to wherever they had come from. The large hands picked her up with no apparent effort and laid her gently back on the bed. Then the form withdrew back to the door.

"I apologize for frightening you." The insect spoke again. “I understand the ordeal you went through. I can only imagine what you are thinking at this moment, but we are not your enemy, and my hive is sworn not to harm you.”

Jina forced her mouth to work. Her voice was low, but intelligible. “You didn’t want to hurt me before. Just make me a mother to your race. Against my will. So you have…” She could have sworn the bug looked sorrowful, but that was impossible.

"You are wrong, Jedi." When the insect replied, it was quiet, kind and gentle. “The healers removed the eggs that were inside you. We were in time, none had gestated. It’s an organic bandage, not part of you. Look at it…” Jina felt something odd and blinked as the shipsuit opened over her abdomen. That had to be the weirdest thing she had ever felt, but then she stared at the chitin that was now flaking off her body. She slid a fingernail under it and it came off easily. Under it was soft, pink human skin. And it hurt when she poked it. The bug spoke again. “Please don’t do that, the healers get angry when beings pick at their repairs.”

Jina couldn’t help it, she laughed. But then she convulsed as pain came strong. From her abdomen among other places. She focused on it, trying to pass beyond it and after a moment, she did. She breathed heavily for a moment, and then focused on the insect near the door. It was subtly different from the ones she had seen before, and the one that had paralyzed her in her ship. For one thing, its scales were bit lighter. For another, its head was smaller, and the antennae larger. Its thorax and abdomen were marked with lighter colored banding as well, whereas the others had been pure black.

"I don't believe it." Jina shook her head. “You are one of the ones who hurt me before. Why should I trust the race who was trying to impregnate me?” Just the memory hurt.

The insect made a human sounding sigh. “It was our race yes, but not our hive. We bear responsibility for damage done to you. We didn’t know how badly you had been hurt by the lost cousins, so when we froze you… It hurt you. Words cannot say how sorry we are that we hurt you. We did not intend that.” Jina could feel something that felt like sympathy from the insect. But that made no sense. She sank back into the bed, there wasn’t any way to fight, so… discussion as probably her best choice now.

“I do not understand.” Jina said quietly, trying to get her mind around the fact that’s he was lying here having a polite conversation with a six foot tall insect.

"I will aid in gaining comprehension then." The insect nodded. “I am called Stuiamlanakolatalinecien. But you may call me Ecien. And yes, we have much to talk about.” Jina blinked, then tensed as the bed moved a bit, but then she relaxed as it just reclined, leaving her in a more comfortable position and allowing her to see Ecien without moving much.

She slumped, exhausted by what little she had done. But her voice was clear when she spoke. “I am Jina Darkstorm. I would like to say I am pleased to meet you. But…” She broke off as Ecien bowed. Now that was a sight, an insect bowing formally. But there was nothing funny about it.

When Ecien spoke it was sad. “We didn’t know where the queen of that hive was when you went to Tralus. We would have tried to stop you. The lost cousins were a massive danger. We had been searching for thousands of years, trying to find that hive. To stop them.”

"I..." Jina shook her head slowly. “I don’t understand, I thought Will destroyed them all.”

"He did." Ecien sighed. “He destroyed them as a group, yes. And when you see him again, give him our thanks.” Jina stared at the bug, was Ecien happy that her kin were dead? Ecien saw her scrutiny and shook herself. “You cannot know what it is like, to have part of yourself… mad. They were of our race, and we could not hear them. To be unable to talk to them… We tried so many times to speak to them, but they would not hear our words.”

"what?" Jina blinked in confusion at that. “I heard them just fine.”

Ecien slumped. “It is… difficult to explain in your language… may I… May I touch you?” Jina stiffened in immediate resistance, but then she relaxed. It wasn’t as if she could stop the huge insect. But Ecien shook her small head. “Too much has been done against your will. I will not harm you further by doing more without your permission.” The insect’s words were kind, gentle and compassionate and against her will, Jina felt herself warming to the large bug. She nodded. Ecien moved slowly towards the bed. “I swear to you this will not hurt or cause harm.” Then Ecien was right beside the bed and Jina tensed, but then forced herself to relax. To let Ecien touch her.

Instead of a claw though, one of the insect’s antennae came down and brushed Jina’s face softly. And she felt…

Pain, sorrow, loss, fear… Loneliness, horror (this was directed at Jina, no at what had happened to Jina), compassion, and a hint of envy. An image of the black carapace insects. Pain, fear, loneliness, silence where there had been song, determination. Fear, and then sad understanding. And then… loss…


Jina felt all of her energy leave her body as the feelings flowed through her. But then the feelings cut off as Ecien withdrew. And Jina felt revitalized. Ecien withdrew towards the door, but she stopped as Jina raised a hand.

“When Will killed them, you felt it, didn’t you?” Jina asked, horrified. Ecien bowed again, her form conveying measureless sadness. “I am sorry.”

"We are not." Ecien sighed, an amazingly human sound. “He freed them from their slavery to what that Jedi did to them so long ago. It is… lamentable. Our songs are sad now. But they are free of their curse.”

"Wait..." Jina shook her head slowly. “If they are all dead… then who attacked me on my ship?”

Ecien shook her head. “They are not all dead.” Jina felt all the blood leave her face. Ecien hastened to reassure her. “They will die out, and they are dying out. Without their queen, they have no means of reproducing.” Jina tensed, but Ecien shook her head. “And you cannot be that for them now, I am sorry, your reproductive organs…” Ecien looked away but Jina nodded slowly. “The eggs within you had taken the form of your reproductive organs. We had to remove them. I am sorry.” The insect was sad.

Jina nodded again, her face thoughtful. “I don’t understand, Trugoy said…” She broke off as Ecien stilled. “What?” She asked quietly.

Ecien sounded angry now. “He lied to you. It is what he does. We do not know exactly what he did to you, but he did not remove the eggs, he put them in some kind of stasis. They would have come out eventually and killed you eventually. Or worse.”

"But..." Jina shivered, but then she sighed. “I… I couldn’t get my mind around some things I discovered, but if he lied to me, then things become clearer.”

"Yes." Ecien nodded. “It’s what he does. He lies. Even when he intends to tell the truth, he lies. And he betrays. A good Sith.”

Jina blinked at that. “He is not a Sith, he is…” She broke off as Ecien seemed to swell.

“He is not Bladeborn.” Ecien shrank a bit and one of her arms came out, showing a mark on it.

"Wha...?" Jina tensed. “You are?” She asked, incredulous.

Ecien nodded. “We are. Let me tell you a story from long, long ago…” Ecien's words were quiet, but easy to understand and Jina sat back to listen.
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
07.02.2012 , 04:39 AM | #2
<A long time ago on a planet far, far away>

“Lania… Something is wrong… Can’t you feel it?” The worried voice flew around the large room, but only one being was there to hear it. The human female who sat in the sole chair on the dais shook her head as one of her chief advisors struggled to clarify her distress. Her four arms moved in odd patterns as she tried to convey her worries. “He has fallen…”

The human woman shook her head. “Jili, come on… He is one of our greatest. He is your friend and mine. Why do you say these things?”

The huge insect looked at the small human and shook her tiny head. Her antennae fluttered in obvious confusion. “You are the queen here, Lania. But you must listen…”

She stopped talking as the human sighed. “How many times Jili? How many times must I tell you? I lead the Conclave. I am NOT a queen…” The female insect abased herself, and Lania sighed deeper. “Now don’t do THAT…”

The insect know as Jili shook herself. It was a genetic imperative for her to follow the ruling female. Even when the ruling female wasn’t her own species. When she spoke it was quiet, calm and matter of fact. “You were not there. You didn’t see what was left of that camp. He slaughtered them all. Half of them had no weapons at all Lania.” Jili had tracked n outpouring of power that had led her to a scene of devastation the likes of which she hadn’t seen since the Wars had ended. Every living being in a large encampment, dead. The beings in the encampment had survived disease, starvation, drought, and attacks by marauders. They had survived the devastation of the planet by the battles fought between the followers of Ashla and Bogan. But something had entered the gates, taken them completely unaware and slaughtered them all like food animals in a pen. Jili shivered a bit in memory. She had seen far too many scenes just like that during the Wars.

"Jili..." The leader of the Bladeborn Conclave shook her head slowly. “There must be an explanation. Did you sense any Bogan there?”

"No." The insect shook her head. “There was great power nearby, but only residue. Ashla and Bogan, mixed. Like…”

"Ah?" The leader of the Conclave stiffened. “Like us… Jili… He wouldn’t do that. Not without a good reason.”

"Lania..." The insect shook her head slowly. “Then at least disarm him when he enters. That is within your prerogative as Leader of the Conclave.”

Lania shook her head. “No.” The insect stiffened in rebellion and Lania spoke sharply. “You would sacrifice courtesy in the name of security?” Jili slumped. She shook her head in silence. “I need you to check the northernmost watchtowers. Something was seen moving in that area. Possibly a demonspawn beast.” Jili bowed her head and turned to go. Lania spoke gently now. “You will see, Jili. It will be ok.” The insect left without another word.

<Two days later>

Jili limped back towards the cave and tried not to sigh. It had been one of the demonspawn. A powerful one. Not that they actually were demons. The followers of Bogan hadn’t limited their cruelty on each other and their enemies, but had applied their evil to every around them as well in the pursuit of their power. This poor creature had apparently been a large cat of some kind before being changed by the horrors of Bogan energy. It had preyed on a small village until Jili had arrived. And the battle had been fierce. Stealth, claws and teeth augmented by poisons against blades and the power of Ashla. It had been a close fight, but in the end, Jili had emerged triumphant. She had burned the corpse of the creature where it had fallen. They had learned early on not to assume that any Bogan creature was dead simply because it had ceased to breath and bleed.

It was a measure of her fatigue and pain that she didn’t realize that the sentry hadn’t challenged her as was proper. She was looking forward to seeing the healer, and then maybe getting a good rest, so she had actually entered the cave before she realized something was wrong. She tensed, but nothing was out of place, just… no one to challenge or greet her. She shook her small head slowly and moved further into the cave that her strange hive called home. And then she smelled it. The scent came into her olfactory glands and she stopped short.

“No…” Her voice was soft, horrified. The smell was one she recognized easily. Blood. She followed the smell and found what she had feared. One of her brothers. A young human named Frab. He had been the guardian, the sentry. He lay as he had fallen. She closed his staring eyes and examined his body. Then her inhuman gaze went hard. A sword had killed him. And whoever had wielded it had been short, even by human standards… She followed the trail of corpses until it led her where she had feared. She shook her head as she walked, her swords out and ready. But the blood had congealed. Whoever had done this was likely long gone. And each corpse was older than the last. Then she saw them… Two small swords… Broken. She didn’t need to look. She knew what she would find before she opened the door to the conclave chamber.

“No…” Her voice was quiet, sorrowful now as she entered the large room and found devastation. Bodies lay every which way. And on the dais… She bowed her head and knelt before the body of her friend. Lania had a look of horrified surprise frozen forever on her face. The female insect could feel the weight of pain and grief around her now. “Why didn’t you listen…?” Her voice held measureless pain now.

"Oh Jili..." A voice answered her. “I wish I had.”

Jili looked up into the eyes of a specter. Followers of Ashla who died with oaths unfulfilled were known to return as ghosts. To guard, avenge or instruct. Jili shook her head slowly. “What… What can I do? What… What must I do?”

"You must leave, JIli." The ghost nodded. “You must follow him. You must stop him. You are the only one who can, Jili.”

"But..." Jili shook her head. “I have to… The dead… I must…”

"No, Jili." Lania shook her head. “You must go. Now. Seal the cave. Return if you can. We… We can wait. He must be stopped.”

Jili bowed her head again and a blade appeared in her hand. It cut deep into an elbow, one of the few weak spots on her exoskeleton. “I will find him. Justice will be served.” Her blood dripped down to join with the pools on the floor. Then she turned and left the room, and her past, behind.

<The present>

Jina sat back in her bed and tried to get her mind around what Ecien had told her. “You mean to say you are…” She broke off, unable to get her mind to acknowledge the sheer time involved.

Ecien nodded. “I am a descendant of Kolpajanuteraljujili. She knew she could not find him alone, although she tried. Eventually she returned to her people, and recruited likely beings to aid her, and so the Order continued. Eventually, we will find him, and when we do…”

Jina nodded, but her gaze was thoughtful. “So… He betrayed them, slew them, and…ran? That doesn’t make sense…”

"I know." Ecien nodded. “We don’t have all the information. But what we do have is damning.” Jina nodded. But then she yawned. She was very sleepy now. “You should sleep.” Jina tensed, but sleep was coming for her now. Ecien nodded. “No one will harm you while I live, I swear it.” Jina took those calm clear words into slumber with her.

Ecien waited until she was sure the Jedi was asleep before moving to the bed and covering Jina with a blanket. Then she laid the two lightsabers back on the table and resumed her post.
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
07.02.2012 , 04:41 AM | #3
<A day later>

Jina was sick of this. Recuperating under healer care was nothing new to her. She got hurt a lot it seemed. Too much for her liking. But since most ‘normal’ people, non-Jedi normal people anyway, would have died from many of the things that hurt her, she considered herself fortunate. And these beings had helped her, a lot. But Ecien was… just too much.

“Come on, Ecien, I can move under my own power now.” Jina said with a glower as the large insect carried her through the halls of the ship.

"Of course you could." Ecien nodded. “I know you can move, the question is how fast can you move in this direction?”

And Jina had to admit that was true. Where on a Republic ship there were corridors, compartments and other things that humans in space took for granted, on this ship there were walls. And lots of open space. Jina looked down from her cradle in four of Ecien’s arm and bit back a gulp as she looked down, and down, and down. As far as she could see, and her eyesight was superb, there was nothing but space and wall. Each wall was pockmarked with holes, each apparently just the right size for Ecien’s feet to fit. Jina had been startled when Ecien had run full tilt at the wall in front of her and had been unable to hold back a yelp when the insect had run UP the wall as opposed to into it. Jina was sure she had felt a bit of amusement from Ecien at that, but then the insect’s mind had hardened with concentration and Jina hadn’t distracted her. Ecien was taking the wall at what was probably a slow jog for her. Already three dark blurs had passed them. And all around, movement showed. Lots of bodies moving in the shadows, all with purpose. What that might be, Jina had no idea. But no danger impinged on her senses. Well, besides the fact that she was dangling in the arms of a large insect who knew how far above solid bulkheads?

“Point.” Jina said as she sat back in the cradle Ecien had formed of her arms. It was surprisingly comfortable. But then again, this whole thing was surprising. “Where are we going?”

“Medical.” Ecien replied quickly. “They need to check you out again, and then Majistrona wishes to speak with you.” Jina nodded. Ecien turned and Jina didn’t flinch as the insect went at other wall, but she gulped as this time, Ecien went down instead of up. Ecien’s voice was regretful. “Sorry Jina, the guest quarters really are not convenient to the rest of the ship. Not long now.”

Jina closed her eyes carefully, her inner ear telling her she was falling, but the pressure on her body saying she was secure. “Whoa… This might take some getting used to…” Ecien laughed at the dry humor. “I have one question. How do you speak Basic so well?” Ecien looked at her with one set of eyes and Jina shrugged. “You speak well, better than I would have expected if you were isolated for so long.”

Ecien shook her head. “We are not isolated. We just try and maintain a very low profile, especially since what happened to the lost cousins. We do have some conduits for information, people we have helped over the years. They get us information, news and such. You will see our archives eventually.”

"Oh?" Jina smiled, she loved to learn. “I look forward to it.”

"You say that now." Ecien laughed. “Wait until the Archivist gets hold of you.” Her voice changed to an older human sounding querulous. “ ‘You did what to my record?’ ‘And what do you mean you lost that planet? Go find it.’ “ Jina couldn’t help it, she laughed. And then she coughed. Ecien quickly became all business. “Are you all right?”

"Yeah." Jina nodded. “It still hurts, but less.”

Ecien nodded again. Then she sounded sheepish. “Um… One thing…” Jina tensed as Ecien slowed. They were approaching another wall. This one had a recognizable opening on it.

“What?” Jina asked quietly as Ecien took the up wall and darted into the opening. Ecien stopped and lowered her arms to let Jina get out of them, which the Jedi did gratefully.

Ecien's voice was rueful. “Our master healer is old, and he, well… He is good at what he does; just… don’t take anything he says personally please.” Jina stared at the insect and then she nodded. Ecien started off and Jina followed, bemused.

<An hour later>

Jina lay on the table and tried not to flinch.

Don’t take it personal… Sheesh… Of all the bugs I have to get as a healer…a racist one…

The green scaled bug was speaking a harsh tone. “And I swear you humans are a menace! Always mucking about in things that don’t concern you. Better if all of you just went as fertilizer…” The gray carapaced insect waved a threatening looking thing in her direction, and Jina didn’t flinch. She could feel dislike from the healer, but she had to admit, he knew what he was doing. His voice may have been acerbic, but his manipulators were gentle.

Jina might have been determined to keep silent, but Ecien was anything but. “Healer you may be, and old you may be, but threaten my ward at your peril, Hpilon.” The ancient bug’s antennae and eyes turned to Ecien. And his diatribe changed.

He snarled at Ecien. “Larvae these days… I tell you, when I was a larvae, no one dared to talk back to their elders. No discipline anywhere anymore. Stupid know it all brats…” He grumbled as he continued to scan Jina, then he made a sound a lot like a human snort and turned away. He walked from the room, leaving Jina to stare after him. Ecien made a sound that was something like a recycler.

Only when Jina looked through the Force did she realize that Ecien was laughing softly. “He is done, and your scans are clean.” Jina sat up, realizing that the healer had put a new bandage on her abdomen, which hurt less now. And the chitin of the bandage was more flexible. Hpilon had cursed for ten straight minutes when she had arrived without the bandage that she had taken off the night before. She had honestly thought he was going to hit her at one point and even Ecien had almost drawn a sword.

Jina shook her head. “Is he always like that?”

Ecien laughed sourly. “Yep.” Jina shook her head, but got off the table and stood up. For the first time, her head didn’t spin. “He has reason to dislike humans. Sith humans mind you, but he doesn’t make any distinctions between humans at all. Come on, the queen is waiting.”

Jina nodded and followed the insect ou the door and smiled as she realized that they were walking down a ramp. “No wall running?”

Ecien looked at her and there was teasing in the insect’s voice. “We can if you want to.”

Jina raised a warding hand. “No thanks! I’m good…”
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
07.02.2012 , 04:48 AM | #4
Jina was sagging a bit as Ecien led her into a large chamber, but she kept her feet steady as Ecien led her towards one end of it. To Jina’s eyes the chamber looked like a cave. And spaced around it were dark shadows that moved. Jina’s breath caught as she relived her own personal nightmare, but then soft lights came up and she relaxed as she saw that most of the shadows were… Wait a second? Beings at control consoles? Spaced around the cave at regular intervals, something that simply wouldn’t happen in nature, beings of various races sat and worked. A few of them looked at Jina before returning to their work, and Jina shook her head slowly. Now that she hadn’t expected. She spoke very quietly to Ecien.

“I thought this ship just had your people.” Jina mused. Ecien shook her head minutely, measuring her steps carefully so as not to tire her ward.

“No, we have lots of space, and… well, we find people occasionally." Ecien explained. "Beings who fall through the cracks. Castaways, refugees, colonists left behind when Sith fleets move on after bombarding planets. We have to be very careful about who we bring here of course, but we try and help when we can, as we can.” Jina nodded slowly at that.

“And some of the people you have helped…” Jina said, comprehension dawning. Ecien nodded again.

“Like to help us in turn. Yes.” Ecien had a smile in her voice now. Jina shook her head slowly.

“I don’t see how you have managed to keep this secret." Jina said dubiously. "All it would take is one disaffected being, one missed in a sweep, and the secret is out.” Ecien shook her small head.

“Jina… These people would have all died." Ecien said sadly. "We helped them. But…” Jina stiffened as Ecien’s sadness came through the Force. Her face was a study of shock, fear and… Ecien hurried to continue. “Most of them genuinely want to help. And we offer them a better life than most have had. Only a few have ever tried to leave, or betray us, and…” The large insect slumped. “We can’t allow that. We are too few.”

“The needs of the many?” Jina asked quietly, fighting for calm. Ecien made soft noise of disagreement.

“I am not saying it was the right thing to do." The bug said slowly. "Ashla knows I have made my own disagreement heard often enough. But if the actions of one, or two threaten everyone, what is the better choice? Throw them out an airlock? Or try and rehabilitate them?” Jina tensed.

“Rehabilitate how?” She remembered how Ecien had shown her things straight to her mind. Ecien stopped in mid stride.

“Do you really believe I could do that? That any of us could?” The insect’s voice held sorrow. “And even if it were ethical to tamper with someone else’s mind, would it change the underlying problems? Anything we might do would likely cause more problems that it solved.” Jina thought about that and bowed in apology. Ecien was quick to apologize herself. “I am sorry, I… We sequester beings who cause problems. They are kept comfortable and we try and help them. We… We can’t always. We don’t want to keep them imprisoned, but what choice do we have?” Jina nodded. “Don’t think I and my people haven’t been tempted at times to change some beings minds. But it would be wrong.” The calm matter of fact sincerity in Ecien’s voice humbled Jina who bowed again.

“I understand." Jina said soberly. "Just because we have the power to do something doesn’t make it right to do it.” Ecien nodded.

"Agreed." Ecien said quietly. "Most of the beings we rescue are ones no one will miss. Occasionally, we find an escape pod, but usually we are too late.” Ecien’s voice was sad now and Jina started walking again. “Sometimes we will move the pod to where it can be found, never opening it. We do what we can.” Ecien turned towards an opening and beckoned Jina to follow. Jina did, perplexed. And when they got to the opening, Jina blinked as she saw three human children and two very young Twilek girls playing in an area with several small versions of Ecien. Jina turned to Ecien.

“Children?” Jina asked, unsure. Ecien nodded.

“The one thing we do not tolerate is slavers. Especially after what happened to the lost cousins. We tend to… overreact when we find slavers.” The cold hard tone brought Jina up short, but then she nodded. “These we found in a depot, no sign of parents, and no records of them. Two of them, the twins...” Ecien made a small arm movement towards the Twileks and sighed. “…We are helping them deal with what happened to them all. But of all of them, we hope and pray that the twins can get past what happened to them.” She turned to go, but one of the children saw her.

“Ecien!” One of the girls came running up and Jina could only watch in awe as the child literally swarmed up Ecien’s back to stand on her thorax and give her a hug. Ecien’s voice was happy, but with a trace of worry.

“Ola… be careful… My spines are sharp.” Jina had to smile at teh tone of 'worried Mama' in Ecien's voice now. The girl laughed and suddenly all of the young, insect, human and Twilek were surrounding Ecien and Jina. The girl, Ola, scowled, but slowly climbed back down. Ecien lowered herself so she was looking the girl in the face. “You know you shouldn’t do that.” Her voice was sad and Ola nodded, her face working. “But I am glad to see you, youngling.”

“We have all missed you." The child, Ola, replied with a smile. "The doctors say we are making good progress.” The five non-insects nodded and Ecien nodded back, her voice was happy.

“I am glad. Come, I want you to meet someone.” Ecien made a motion and the children looked at Jina who smiled at them. “Children, this is Jina Darkstorm, a guest.” All of the children bowed to Jina, who bowed back. Ola looked from Jina to Ecien.

“Is she one of the Seven?” Ola asked. Ecien froze and Ola slapped hand over her mouth. “I’m sorry…” The girl seemed to wilt, but then Jina realized the girl was bending over as if to accept a beating! Ecien shook her head slowly.

“Ola, you know I won’t hurt you.” The insect’s voice was calm, gentle and careful. The Twilek nodded.

“We should get back to the… I mean… I…” She winced as if in pain and Ecien extended a manipulator and the Twilek child took it in a firm grasp.

“It’s all right Ola. Go back to what you were doing.” All of the children bowed to Ecien and Jina before returning to their game. A few of them looked occasionally at the insect and the Jedi, but none spoke. Ecien led Jina away and a long sigh escaped the insect. Jina spoke carefully.

“What happened to them?” The Jedi asked, although she had a good idea. Ecien shook her head.

“We don’t know all of it." The bug replied. "All we know is that they had… things inside them when we found them.” Jina stiffened. That sounded too familiar. “We don’t know why.”

“Inside their brains?” Ecien froze in midstride as Jina’s tone registered. Resignation.

“You have seen this before.” Ecien's words were not a question but Jina nodded.

“The beings responsible have been dealt with, but… Friends of mine are still dealing with the aftermaths. The beings who did this to these children did it to hundreds of others.” Ecien stared at the Jedi and Jina felt hope surge within Ecien.

“They can remove these abominations?” Ecien asked, hope warring with despair in her tone. Jina nodded slowly. “We can’t.” Now there was sadness and Jina moved to touch Ecien on the arm.

“What happened, Ecien?” Jina asked gently. Ecien looked away and when she spoke it was in a monotone.

“There were six children when we destroyed that slaver base. One of them, a young human male, had horrible headaches. He asked us, he begged us to remove the implants from inside his head. But we said we could not. We did not have the skill. He tried to end his existence and failed. He said it was better to die than live like that.” Jina nodded. “So we attempted removal. We failed…” Jina could feel the sadness, the horror, the pain that Ecien hid deep within herself. “You say you have healers capable of doing this?” Jina nodded. “We must tell Majistrona of this, come…She awaits us…” Jina followed as Ecien led off again.
My stories in order:
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kalenath
07.02.2012 , 04:57 AM | #5
<A bit later>

Whatever Jina had expected on meeting the leader of this strange group again, this wasn’t it. She shook her head as Ecien offered more tea and sipped what she had. It tasted good, if different. All herbal, no synthetics or chemicals. She shook her head slowly. Here she was, ensconced in a comfortable chair, in a warm, well lit… cave. Drinking tea. On a spacecraft. Talking to a pair of large insects. Another day in the life of a Jedi, she thought with a small grin.

“No thank you Ecien, I have enough for now. Although this blend is very nice. I need to remember this one.” Ecien nodded and moved to put the jug she held away. The huge form of Majistrona moved slightly and Jina turned her head to look where the queen of the hive sat. From the décor, it was next to impossible to realize one was on a spacecraft. For all intents and purposes, they were sitting in a natural cave, complete with dripping water from stalactites. Jina had spent five minutes just watching the water collect in a pool on the floor and had loved every minute of it. It was relaxing, much as the pools in the room of a thousand fountains had been in the Temple on Coruscant. She smiled.”I like the pool.” Majistrona nodded from where she sat.

There was movement all around them as larvae were tended and fed, but for once, Jina was not afraid of the shadows. Maybe it was the fact that she had been talking to the others, or maybe she was finally moving past her nightmares. She hoped that was the case When Ecien had brought her in; she had frozen in fear on seeing the darkened room. It was so much like the cave in which she had been violated, it had been almost physically painful. Ecien had been gentle and kind, getting her to a chair, getting her something warm to drink, and allowing her time to move past her fear. Majistrona nodded again. Jina had to fight to keep from flinching as fear shot through her. Btu she was a Jedi and she would not let fear control her. Ecien seemed worried from nearby, the smaller bug had thought tea might help. Majistrona let Jina deal with her emotions before speaking.

“It helps to clear the mind, to focus on water." The queen bug said gently. "On being like water. Fluid, soft and at the same time, always in motion.” Jina smiled at that. Yes, the teachings were very similar to what Jedi were taught, which stood to reason, seeing as how Ashla was the progenitor of the Order. The survivors of the Force Wars had eventually founded the Jedi Order. "Better?" Majistrona asked kindly.

“Yes. Thank you.” Jina sipped her tea and the two Insects bowed to her. “I don’t know why I am reacting so strongly to this. To you. I thought I was past it.” The two insects looked at one another and Majistrona spoke carefully.

“When did you first feel this way?" The queen asked slowly. "This fear? Was it when the lost cousins had you?” Jina nodded.

"I was terrified the whole time I was awake. The drugs kept me from being able to focus, to move beyond my fear." Jina admitted. “They had me. I was so doped up I couldn’t think, couldn’t focus, couldn’t fight back. It…” She shuddered, but then shook herself and calmed herself. “This doesn’t make sense. I put it behind me. I dealt with the emotions. Why are they coming back so strongly?” Majistrona made a human sounding sigh.

“It is natural that we remind you of the horrors you endured.” Jina shook her head.

“This place is different.” Jina looked around the cave again. The chair she was sitting in might look like a boulder but in a hidden hollow, cushions were quite comfortable. And it was a nesting chamber, with eggs all around. But she felt peace all around her, instead of the malice she had felt the last time she was in a place like this. “I… I don’t understand why I am so afraid… It isn’t right…” She shook her head trying to understand her feelings. The two insects looked at one another and Majistrona spoke again.

“May I touch you?” Jina blinked but then set her tea down and nodded. “I need to use the crystal.” At that, Jina froze. Neither of the insects moved and Jina took several deep breaths. Then Jina nodded and closed her eyes. She felt Majistrona’s presence in the Force approach and then something cold touched her temple. She tensed, but nothing seemed to happen. Then she felt something twist inside her head. And pain came. The last thing she remembered before passing out was hearing herself scream.

<Some time later>

“…and I protest being called here to treat a human of all things.” Jina’s first thought on waking was to wonder why Hpilon was talking so loudly. The second was to wonder why her skull felt wrong. And the third was to pray that the pain in her skull was only temporary. She bit back a groan.

“Jina?” Majistrona’s voice came from far away and Jina forced her eyes open. The healer stepped back from her as she opened her eyes, and left in an obvious huff. Some things transcended species boundaries it seemed. Jina focused on the huge form that sat nearby. The insect queen radiated worry that dissipated slightly on seeing Jina looking at her.

“What happened?” Jina was amazed that her voice was so calm now. She wasn’t afraid anymore. Majistrona bowed to her.

“The fear was not your own. It was implanted. And whoever did so put a compulsion in you as well.” Jina tensed, but the bug continued. “Tell me, Jina. What would have happened, if you had been unhurt the first time you woke, if you had woken to find me standing over you. If you had possessed your lightsabers?” Jina’s eyes went wide.

“I wouldn’t have given you time to explain…" Jina hissed in horror. "But… I…” She shook her head and groaned again as pain lanced through it. Ecien’s voice came from nearby.

“I can’t believe I missed that." Ecin's voice was odd. "My life is yours if you wish it.” Jina stiffened and spoke quickly.

“No." Jina said quickly. Something about Majistrona's posture said that haste would be a good thing. "Not your fault. It was him wasn’t it?” This to Majistrona who nodded, and when she spoke it was sour.

“That means you can eviscerate yourself some other time, Ecien and not in my nesting chamber.” Jina shook herself, feeling as if her head was two or three sizes too small, but the pain was fading now. She turned to where Ecien sat, the female insect’s blades were disappearing into wherever she hid them. Jina blinked. Ecien took her duty very seriously it seemed. The Jedi sighed deeply.

“That is what he intended wasn’t it?" Jina asked, sad. "Me to kill you?” Majistrona slumped.

“Probably." The queen replied sourly. "He has tried it before. And that is how the other traitors control the lost cousins that they have in thrall. These…” She held up a small red crystal to the dim light. “These can do wonders. Or terrors. I personally wish my ancestors had shattered them all. We destroy all the ones we find.” Jina shook herself and nodded. Now the pain was a memory.

“I have so many questions." Jina mused. "I don’t know where to begin…” Majistrona nodded.

“Unfortunately, we don’t have a lot of time." The queen said sadly. "Matters are coming to a head. Events set in motion a millennia ago have finally reached fruition, no matter how we have striven to keep them from doing so. I can and will answer your questions, but we need your help.” Jina looked surprised at that.

“My help?" Jina stiffened. "What can I do that you can’t?” Majistrona sighed.

“You are a Jedi." The huge bug said gently. "You have training we lack. You can do things we can’t. We are soldiers. Defenders. You are more than that.” Jina blinked in surprise.

“I could teach you.” Jina said slowly. Majistrona bowed to her.

“We would be honored, but right now, we must find someone. Her life is in danger from many sources now, some she knows of and some she doesn’t suspect.” Jina nodded slowly.

“I will help you as I can.” Jina promised. Majistrona nodded. “Who is this being?”

“Her name is Istara Andal.”
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
07.02.2012 , 05:00 AM | #6
<Hyperspace>

Istara was dancing. She had always had an affinity for dance, but the only time she ever had shown it before had been in battle. Now however… The music in her quarters was low, but clearly audible. And she was the rhythm, she was the pulse, she was the dance… She felt free for the first time in, well, ages… Some part of her knew that it couldn’t last, that she had to come back to reality at some point, but for now, all that mattered was the dance. Dimly she felt scrutiny on her, but ignored it as well. Nothing else mattered, just the dance… And the Force that flowed in her as never before when she danced. She emptied her mind, trying with all her heart to just be the dance, swooping and diving, turning and spinning, jumping and crouching, all in to the rhythm that rang through her blood. And for just a moment, she saw…

She came awake lying on her bunk with a cold compress over her head. “Ow…” A voice came from nearby.

“You need to stop scaring me, Istara…” Istara smiled as she turned her head to see Anya sitting beside her bed. “My heart almost stopped when you froze in mid dance and collapsed. What happened?”

“I don’t know.” Istara said quietly, working past her pain as her instructors at the Jedi Enclave had taught her. “That was… weird… I was almost one with the Force. It felt… good… and then… It was like I was brought up short. Or maybe cut off?” Anya looked at her oddly.

“Istara, you become one with the Force when you die.” Anya said in an odd tone. Istara blinked at that and then laughed, rueful.

“Then maybe it’s a good thing I stopped, huh?” Anya laughed and Istara joined her. “But I have to admit, it felt good, up until I fell over anyway…” She sat up and Anya handed her a glass of water which she took gratefully. She sipped it and smiled, thinking how much her life had changed over the last few months. From Bladeborn to exile, to Jedi trainee, and now to true Bladeborn. As she sipped, she reflected. “You know I was meditating.” Anya nodded. They had discussed it in detail before Istara had tried this. Moving meditations were nothing new and Istara had always found solace in dance. “I saw… something… Something I have no words for. And a face… No one I know.” Anya tilted her head to the side in query and Istara shrugged helplessly. “Human female. Brown hair, brown eyes. That was all I saw. Before I fell out of it…” Anya snorted.

“You did more than ‘fall out of it’." Anya laughed sourly. "You fell on your face. I am glad I was here. You could have seriously hurt yourself falling from that position.” Istara nodded her thanks. But then her face became serious.

“Anya… I saw where Setie went next.” Istara said with a scowl. Anya’s face lit up but then she tensed as Istara didn’t smile. “And this is not going to be fun.”

“Where?” Anya asked quietly.

“She changed freighters at a spaceport on Dantooine.” Istara said soberly. Anya tensed.

“Dantooine?” The Jedi asked, worried. Istara nodded. The Jedi presence on Dantooine was substantial. The Enclave had been rebuilt after Darth Malak’s attack three hundred years ago, and while the population had waned over the years, the small academy there was still well staffed. The Sith Empire regularly made probes and attacks in the area, but the Jedi repelled them fairly easily most of the time.

“I sensed great sadness from her." Istara said with a frown. "It must have leaked past her shields. The thing is… If I picked it up, likely others did as well.” Anya nodded. “Which means we are likely walking into a trap.” Anya shook her head.

“Istara…” Anya started but paused when Istara shook her head.

“Anya, please… listen… The only reason I got away on Illum was I took the assassin by surprise. He is better than I am. If he is there, he will be ready for me this time. I can handle myself or flee, but not if I am worried for others. I need you to take Ina and Diseree to the academy there.” Anya shook her head and Istara sighed. “Listen, Anya. I couldn’t see what was waiting for me, just that woman that I am sure I don’t know.” Both stopped as the door hissed open and two figures stepped in. Idjit towered over the form of Diseree but both looked worried. Idjit’s voice was calm however.

“Her name is Jina Darkstorm, and she has been missing for two weeks.” Idjit said soberly. Istara looked at him and he shrugged. “You are walking into a firestorm Istara.” Istara nodded as she stood up.

“Won’t be the first time.” The two Jedi and the Sith all stared at her with equal expressions of worry and she shrugged. “Let’s get there and get it done…”

<Two days later>

Istara ghosted through the spaceport, seeking traces of her sister. The few she had found so far were frustratingly vague. Setsuna had been here, that was clear. And she had been very, very sad most of the time. Something Setsuna had said in Istara’s hearing came back. Setie had brought her love here, and they had spent time here… Istara shook her head. No wonder the girl had been sad. She looked around for clues and froze solid. No movement. No droids, no maintenance people, no nothing…

Aw flarg…

She danced back into the shadows as a door opened in the near distance and she froze solid as a small brown form entered. Grandmaster Trugoy of the Bladeborn met her gaze calmly. His voice was quiet.

“This ends now.”
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
07.02.2012 , 05:07 AM | #7
Istara stood silent as Trugoy approached. Her hand was on her sword hilt of course. His were clasped in front of him. With just a little of her awareness, she looked around the area and noted she was in an unused landing pad. Nothing to get in the way, and nothing to use as weapons or distractions. She nodded slowly as Trugoy stopped a certain distance from her. His voice was sad when he spoke.

“I never wanted this.” He started to side step around Istara and she turned easily to keep him in view. Her voice was just as sad and quiet when she spoke.

“You could have fooled me." Istara said coldly. "When you betray people, it tends to alienate them.” Trugoy nodded slowly.

“It is not that simple, Sharlina.” He replied sadly. Istara nodded.

“It never is." She replied, her face remote. "I could ask you so many questions. But… I can’t trust anything you tell me.” Trugoy sighed.

“It doesn’t have to be this way, girl." The grandmaster of the Bladeborn who had taken Istara in sighed and continued. "I don’t want to kill you.” Istara shook her head.

“Again." Istara retorted. "I can’t trust what you say. You will say whatever you can to get me to drop my guard.” Trugoy didn’t move, not even to blink and Istara sighed. “How many did you bring?” Trugoy smiled slightly.

“Enough.” He said simply. Istara smiled sourly. Bladeborn enough to keep bystanders away, to muddle the issue, to distract the Jedi from what was about to happen.

“You always did like to cover your bases." Istara said ruefully. "You always said it was experience of age versus enthusiasm of youth. This is only going to end one way, you know that.” Trugoy shook himself slightly, but his hands didn’t move.

“I hope we can find another way. I don’t want to kill you.” He said, looking tired and old for a moment. Istara just looked at him. “And I don’t think you want to kill me.” He tensed as Istara reached for her pack and then froze solid as she threw a bundle at his feet. Two small sword hilts peeked out of it.

“What I want is immaterial." Istara said quietly. "They called you 'friend', 'brother', 'champion'. And you betrayed them, slaughtered them. Half of the bodies in the cave had no weapons at hand. I would ask why, but I cannot trust anything you say.” Trugoy slumped.

“It doesn’t have to be like this." Trugoy said, his tone worried. "All I need is an oath of silence on this matter and we can go our separate ways.” In answer a ring of steel was heard as Istara drew her sword. When she spoke, her words were cold and precise in an ancient tongue.

<First you lie, now you ask me to lie.> She snapped in ancient Tythonese. <Choose your fate, traitor.> Trugoy shook his head. When he spoke it was in modern Basic.

“Don’t do this…” He begged her. Istara shook her head slowly. She had learned an awful lot from the few records she had taken from the cave. About things she hadn’t dreamed of. But it felt good to stand and speak as she had. It felt… right.

<By your actions I know you, by the Code I judge, by my Oath, I act.> And she was in motion, sword held in a ready position. She struck, but Trugoy didn’t draw a weapon, he simply moved out of the way, fluidly. But he met a solid kick and flew. He landed on his feet with a grunt. Then two lightsabers appeared in his hands and the fight was on.

Back and forth the two mismatched opponents fought. Neither seemed to have an advantage. Istara’s longer reach was negated by Trugoy’s blinding speed. Trugoy’s experience was offset by Istara’s odd style. It wasn’t anything that anyone had taught her, she had cobbled it together from a myriad of other styles. Lightsaber styles, sword styles, even unarmed styles were present in her fighting technique and Trugoy found himself on the defensive. But somehow he found time and breath to speak.

“Nice one. Good parry… What was that? Oh girl, don’t do that…” Istara caught a solid Force punch on the last sentence and flew, but managed to get her feet under her. She hit the wall and sprang off to meet Trugoy in midair. The two combatants exchanged blows, neither seeming to have an advantage. Istara connected with the flat of her blade and Trugoy recoiled a bit, but his voice was calm. “You can’t beat me girl…”

“I don’t have to survive.” At her cold words, Trugoy seemed to freeze for a moment. “All I have to do is stop you. As Lania asked.” Now Trugoy shook his head. Istara attacked again, but his defenses were strong. The small brown form’s voice was quiet still as he shifted from defense to attack.

“I can’t let you undo what I have done. I can’t.” He said soberly. Istara found herself pushed back, but then she shifted styles again, now to Soresu, or a close variant of it, and no matter what, Trugoy couldn’t find a hole in her defenses. “You have improved. A lot.” He jumped back and Istara followed him. But she flew through a cloud that had her wheezing. And why was her vision blurring? Nerve gas!

She focused on her breathing, focused on breath control, and managed to keep from passing out, but now the tide of the fight shifted completely to Trugoy. It was all Istara could do to keep his attacks away from her. Then pain erupted through her body. She looked down to see an overly long silver energy blade punched clean through her abdomen. She swung wildly, but something struck her on the head and darkness claimed her.

Trugoy stared down at the unconscious body of the girl who had been the best pupil he had ever had and sighed as he reset his lightsaber. Dual phase sabers were not common, but very useful at times, if just for the surprise factor. He shook his head. He hadn’t wanted this, but… he had no choice. He raised his saber to end Istara’s life. But when it came down, another silver blade stopped it inches from Istara’s face. Sparks flew as he stared up into the calm face of Jina Darkstorm.

Trugoy jumped back and reassessed the situation. She was fresh, he was near exhaustion. And Istara had connected a few times as well. Jina didn’t follow him, just stood near Istara’s unconscious body. He spoke.

“What are you doing here?” He asked, unsure. She shook her head slowly. “I wasn’t aware we were enemies.” Jina spoke softly.

“We are not, but…" Jina said quietly. Then she waved to the side. "I am afraid she thinks otherwise.” Trugoy turned to see a cargo door opening. He went pale as a large form appeared through the open cargo door. An insect form. Four blades simply appeared in the insect’s claws.

“Well met, traitor.” The insect was in motion, but Trugoy was gone. She shouted. "Run all you want, we will find you!" then she turned back to where Jina was crouching beside the still form of Istara. Their eyes met and they shared a nod. The insect lifted the unconscious form carefully and then they were gone as well.
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
07.02.2012 , 05:14 AM | #8
<Some time later>

When Istara woke, she was aware of two things. One was a burning ache in her gut. The other was a quiet argument raging nearby. A male voice spoke too low to understand and a female voice replied calm, but not happy. She kept her eyes closed and listened hard.

“I don’t care what you say, if you hurt her, I will take it out of your hide. Clear?” A mutter came and the female voice became cold. “You have done what you can. Now leave.” A mutter again and this time, it was angry. But the female voice cut it off in mid word. “Take it up with the queen, now get out of here before she wakes up.” The angry mutters grew fainter and then the hiss of a hatch cut them off. The female voice was soft as it came closer. “Sorry you had to hear that.”

Istara opened her eyes and was surprised to find the room she was in was lit dimly. Just enough to see easily, not enough to dazzle. She looked around and found the speaker. A woman wearing silver mesh armor. Armor she recognized. And the woman was the one she had seen in her vision. The woman sat beside her bed and Istara turned to look at her, but hissed as pain erupted in her gut. She lay back with a grimace and touched her abdomen. She felt bandages under the sheet. The strange woman -Did Istara know her?- nodded.

“Three centimeters to the left and it would have severed your spine. Are you thirsty?” Istara suddenly found her throat dry as a krayt dragon bone and nodded. The woman held a glass out to her, and Istara took it carefully, sipping slowly. As she did, she looked around. A standard shipboard stateroom. Three chairs, a desk and a bed. There were medical monitors attached to her as well as IVs and a tube that ran under her nose with a cool gas flowing. Probably oxygen. She was wearing a patient gown and the sheet of the bed covered her up to her chest. She finished the glass and nodded her thanks. When she spoke, her voice was low and scratchy.

“What happened?" Istara ordered to make her voice obey and she sounded normal to her ears when she spoke again. "I didn’t expect to survive.” The woman nodded.

“He is bad news." The woman said with a frown. "But you knew that. He hit you with a class three nerve agent, and then got you with his saber. I think you hurt him a bit. It’s likely the only reason he would have run when I showed up.” Istara shook her head.

“I am Istara Sharlina Andal." Istara said formally. "May I know your name?” The woman looked surprised and then abashed.

“I am sorry." The woman said quickly. "I have been tending you for the last couple of days, I sort of…Ah well. I apologize for the discourtesy. My name is Jina Darkstorm.” Istara bowed her head and Jina bowed formally. The woman in silver armor sat back down beside the bed and shook her head slowly. Her tone was sour when she spoke. “Taking him on alone was dumb.” Istara nodded, but sighed.

“He left me no choice, all of my companions…” The Bladeborn blanched. “Wait a moment, my companions…” Jina patted her hand.

“…are safe. The three Jedi went to the Academy on Dantooine. Idjit…” Jina broke off as Istara went pale.

“No… Trugoy will kill him…” She tried to sit up, and when pain exploded in her gut, she just kept trying. Jina held out a hand.

“Idjit is safe. Safer than you are. Lie down, Istara…" Jina begged. "You are not out of danger. We administered the antidote to the gas residue we discovered. But it was toxic as well. And as weak as you were… Only in the last day or so could the healers operate on you with good chances of you not dying on their table. So they spent six hours putting you back together. I am willing to bet they will get miffed if you tear yourself apart.” Istara surprised herself with a laugh. That hurt too, but she sank back into the bed and shook her head.

“Yeah, healers are healers.” Istara sighed as she slumped. Jina laid a gentle hand on Istara’s abdomen and power flared. The pain that Istara had been feeling ebbed and died. “Thank you.” Jina shook her head.

“All I did was deaden it.: Jina said soberly. "You still hurt, and the damage is still there. But pain distracts and right now, you really need your wits about you.” Istara looked at the other woman and blinked.

“What is going on?” Istara asked quietly. Jedi did not do such things without reason in her experience. Jina pursed her lips and spoke slowly.

“If I had my way, you wouldn’t be awake for another three days at least." Jina said softly. "You need time to recover. No matter how tough you are. But there are people who need to speak to you. Oh and…” Jina laid a wrapped bundle beside Istara on the bed. Without seeing into the bundle Istara knew it was her sword.

“Thank you.” Istara’s hand ran the length of the sword, but retreated. Jina bowed.

“Least I could do for a True Bladeborn." Jina said with a smile. "Not many remember the true Bladeborn. They just remember the Sith versions.” Istara nodded.

“Yeah. Best I could figure out, someone during the time of the Hundred Years Darkness probably found one of our swords and translated the inscription wrong.” Jina nodded. “Stranger things have happened. And yes, it is very Sith-like to want to kill with a blade instead of a lightsaber.”

“His name was Grundo.” A voice came from near the door and Istara froze solid as a shape appeared. Four arms, four legs, large abdomen smaller thorax and tiny head with four antennae. All of her attention as focused on the nightmare form that had appeared. Jina was saying something, but Istara didn’t hear it. The insect moved slightly, one arm came up and Istara felt her world rock on its axis as she saw the markings of a Bladeborn on the carapace. She stared at her own arm and then at the insect’s. The markings were identical. She focused on what Jina was saying with difficulty. "Well met, sister."

“…Istara Sharlina Andal, be known to Stuiamlanakolatalinecien.” The insect bowed, and Istara bowed her head. The insect spoke again.

“You may call me Ecien, many beings have a hard time remembering all the parts of our names.” The bug said formally. Istara felt faint. But she managed to get words out.

“Well met, Ecien." Istara said, forcing her fuzziness to fade. "I… I thought I was the last.” Ecien nodded.

“As did we. We have much to discuss…”
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
07.02.2012 , 05:18 AM | #9
<A few hours later, somewhere not to nearby>

He sat alone, in darkness. He hadn’t known what to expect. And he certainly hadn’t expected this. The few visions he had seen of what Istara and Jina were dealing with had been obscure, difficult to make out. He had been knocked unconscious by some kind of gas, and woken here. Wherever here was. A slot opened regularly and a tray with food came into his, well, prison was probably the best term for it. He wasn’t restrained, but he couldn’t use the Force. Something was blocking him. And it wasn’t anything he knew. It wasn’t drugs, neurolizers, those blasted ysamalari or anything else he had encountered. He couldn’t see.

That hadn’t bothered Idjit before, the few times in his life that the Force had failed him and he had been left in darkness he had dealt with it and moved on. But now, he had nothing to do, nowhere to go. He had no idea where he was or what had happened to Istara and that hurt. A lot. He had known that she would face Trugoy, and he had so wanted to tell her. But every vision he had seen where he had told her… ended badly for her. If there was a true definition of hell, it lay in knowing that someone you loved was in danger and not being able to do anything about it. This wasn’t a ship that he knew. And he knew he was on a ship. The vibrations, muted as they were, were distinctive.

He had found a bed, a chair and a small table by carefully feeling around the small room. The door of course, was locked. He had seated himself in the middle of the floor to wait. He didn’t have to wait long. A modulated voice, possibly a droid, came to his ears.

“The bed or chair would be more comfortable.” He couldn’t hear anyone else in the room so he assumed it was a speaker of some kind. He nodded to it.

“I prefer the floor." Idjit said quietly. "Beds are for sleeping. Chairs are for relaxing. I wish to do neither.” The voice came again.

“Is the food to your liking?” He would have blinked at that if he had possessed eyelids. Of all the things a captor might ask him, he hadn’t expected that. It was a bit different, but it was good. He nodded and the voice did not speak again. So he sat, waited, wondered and worried.

By his internal chono, he had waited about an hour and a half when he heard the hatch of the room hiss open and an irate voice outside. He sat up straight as he heard someone enter, and the irate voice followed, and now it was intelligible.

“Fine, when you tear your repairs apart I am not going to carry you back.” A snort came from nearby and he tensed as he heard Istara’s voice. Weak and weary but her.

“Leave us.” An aggrieved sounding hiss came and then the door closed again. He turned his head to where he heard her breathing heavily. He spoke softly.

“Should you be up?” He asked. He heard her sit in the chair and sigh. When she spoke, it was weary and he heard pain deep, deep down in her tone.

“Probably not, but we need to talk.” The fatigue in her voice worried him and he turned to face her.

“What happened?” He asked, not that he didn't know. Istara sighed again.

“Got my butt kicked. Trugoy ambushed me. But you knew it would happen.” There was no condemnation, no accusation in her voice, but he flushed anyway. “I was pretty sure myself he would show in person, but… He got me good.” He heard her grunt and he was on his feet.

“Then what are you doing here?" He snapped. "You should be in bed.” He heard her laugh and then grunt again.

“Darn it…" Istara gasped out. "Don’t make me laugh. It hurts.” He shook his head slowly and moved to the bed when he sat.

“I will try not to then. Why are you here? You shouldn’t…” He broke off as she coughed, but it was a sound to interrupt someone who couldn’t see gracefully, not fluid in the lungs.

“There is a lot you need to know." Istara said sadly. "That I don’t think you do. Extend your right arm.” He did, slowly and felt a hand take his. The hand guided his to her other arm and… He froze as he felt something on her arm, something that he could feel even without the Force. “I am not the only one left.” He went stiff as a piece of wood.

“That is… No… I…” He paused, he hadn't seen anything like that. Ever. Her hand released his and he withdrew it slowly. Her voice was quiet.

“Your clan, for so long, my clan, has been lied to for centuries. You knew part of it. Probably more of it than Trugoy thought. You are important, in so many ways. Not just because of how I felt about you.” Something cracked inside Idjit as Istara spoke of their shared past. “I think you need to hear the other side of the matter as opposed to Trugoy’s point of view.” Idjit nodded and Istara continued. “But you need to hear it from someone else, not me. We are too close… You need a fresh point of view.”

The door opened again and another voice came. Idjit turned his head to where it came from but of course, he couldn’t see anything. “I am Majistrona, well met, Idjit.” Idjit bowed his head in acknowledgement. “Istara has asked for me to speak of our oldest history to you.”

Idjit turned back to where he knew Istara was sitting and he felt a hand take his and give a squeeze. Then the hand let go and he nodded again. Majistrona spoke softly but clearly. “It was about twenty thousand years ago, the end of the Force Wars on Tython, when a young warrior was inducted into an order of warriors whose name translated as ‘Born of Blades’. His name was Trugoy…”
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kalenath
07.02.2012 , 05:26 AM | #10
<A few hours later>

Istara was fading. She knew it. But there were so many questions, so many things she wanted to ask. She forced her body to stay awake as she continued her questions.

“…so this Dark Jedi whose name you believe was Grundo found a sword of our Order and created a group he called Bladeborn?” Majistrona nodded, then for Idjit’s sake spoke.

“Yes." Majistrona said sadly. She disliked violence, that was clear from the moment Idjit had met her. "He was twisted by Bogan, what you call the Dark Side, by then and sought to slaughter any and all that got in his way. He found the sword useful… But in the end, other Jedi true to their code found and destroyed him and his so called order.” Istara nodded, her face pensive. Idjit shook his head.

“So all of the history we know… is wrong…” Idjit sighed. He wasn't really surprised. Majistrona sighed.

“No, not wrong." Majistrona corrected. "Incomplete. After the fall of Tython many records were lost. And Trugoy did a thorough job of sanitizing the records that were available to the Sith.” Istara shook her head.

“Now that, I wouldn’t have expected." Istara said dubiously. "How did he wind up with the Sith?” Majistrona sighed.

“We don’t know." Majistrona admitted. "All we know for sure is that for almost twenty millennia, my people sought him without success, and then suddenly about a thousand years ago, he appeared working for the Sith, the same age as he had been. We have ambushed him on occasion, but his resources…” Istara nodded. Trugoy could call on all kinds of support as a ‘special’ envoy of the Emperor. “He was probably in a stasis pod, buried somewhere. From what little we have been able to determine, the Emperor found him, recruited him, and now owns him body and soul.” Istara sighed.

“I tried, Majistrona. I tried." The woman said soberly. "And I failed. He was just… I don’t understand. After a few minutes, it was like fighting in quicksand. I started fast and then everything I did seemed to be in slow motion.” Majistrona looked at her and her voice was soft when she spoke.

“May I touch you Istara?” Istara shrugged and nodded. The huge insect approached and laid gentle antennae on Istara’s head. After a moment, Majistrona retreated. “He touched you with a red crystal at some point in your training, didn’t he?” Istara stiffened.

“What?” She demanded but Idjit scowled and then cursed quietly. Both females looked at him and he flushed under the regard he felt. Istara finally spoke. “What, Idjit?”

"I know what he must have done." When Idjit spoke, it was quiet, and sad. “The lens, he called it. A focusing agent is what he said it was.” Majistrona nodded and then spoke quietly.

“That is what they do." The bug replied soberly. "They focus Ashla to make wonders possible. Healing was their original use. But they can be perverted like any tool.” Idjit bowed his head.

“I know." Idjit said soberly. "He threatened Istara with it to keep me in line.” Istara hissed at that and then blanched. Majistrona looked at her.

“You should go back to the healers.” Majistrona said sternly. Istara slumped, but then she grimaced and nodded. When she stood however, her legs wouldn’t hold her and she collapsed. Something caught her before she could hit the floor and she felt waves of power coming from Majistrona that set her gently on the floor. Idjit’s voice was worried.

“Istara?” Idjit asked carefully.

“I’m fine…" Istara said quickly. "I will be fine, just…” She grunted as something shifted within her and Majistrona sighed, a very human sound.

“Nestlings…” The queen groaned in mock irritation. “I will summon someone to carry you.” Istara started to protest, but Majistrona was having none of it. “You need rest, not more exercise.” Istara started to protest anyway but a human hand found her arm and gave a squeeze. She looked up into Idjit’s ruined face and slumped.

“All right, all right, I will be good… For now…” She said, her voice fading. Then her head lowered until it was lying on a familiar shoulder and she was sleepy, so sleepy…

Idjit waited until the being who had come to carry Istara away had left before speaking again. “Thank you, she is dear to me, and doesn’t have the sense of a starstruck nerf at times.” Majistrona snorted.

“What is the human saying? ‘Pot, meet kettle’?” Idjit actually laughed at that. But then her voice turned serious. “What should we do with you Idjit, Seer of Trugoy’s Bladeborn?” He shook his head.

“I don’t know." Idjit admitted. "I am not like you, or her. I am too tainted, too dark… I…” He broke off unable to continue. “It’s too late for me.” Majistrona spoke softly.

“Too late? I don’t think so." The queen said gently. "I don’t see an evil being in front of me. I see a being who has been forced to do evil.” Idjit shook his head.

“Maybe." Idjit admitted. "But all I see… in my future anyway… is death and destruction.” Majistrona sighed.

“And are your visions infallible?” Idjit snorted at that and Majistrona spoke again, gentle. “For now, you must remain here. Know that we will tend Istara with all the skill at our disposal. It has been long since we had a new sister. And just as long as we had a brother. If you are interested…”

Idjit sat, shocked to his core as he heard the door open and then close.

She has got to be kidding…
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here