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(L,F&E 83) Can You HANDLE the Truth?

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > Community Content > Fan Fiction
(L,F&E 83) Can You HANDLE the Truth?

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kalenath
08.13.2012 , 06:42 AM | #1
“Any change?” The soft, scared voice came from nearby but the black armored form did not move from where he stood. Will Kalenath barred the door as he had since he had arrived aboard the Sitolon homeship. Sharra Kalenath strode from the side corridor and paused as he blocked the door with his not insignificant armored mass. “Will…”

“Sharra, no. You go in there and she will kill you.” Will slumped a bit. “I don’t know whether it’s Istara, Sharlina or both of them. But she swung at me, Sharra. If I had been a millisecond slower, she would have cut me.”

“Will… They need her. She is the only thing holding the Bladeborn together. If she falls apart…” Sharra gulped softly and the small bundle that she held whimpered a bit. She gave the infant in her arms a pat and he subsided. “Wait a sec…”

“Sharra….” Will’s voice held warning, but Sharra did not move, just stood there.

“Anyone who is a threat to her will be targeted. I am, you are, even Sara and Sarai are.” Her face came up and she smiled sadly. “I know someone who isn’t.”

“Sharra…” Will shook his head slowly. “Anyone who goes in there is not going to come out.” He paused as his wife grinned sourly. He froze. “Sharra…”

“Trust me, Will. It’s a girl thing.” Sharra stared towards the com console. “Are the Sitolon awake yet?”

“They were paralyzed, not asleep.” Will winced and put hand to his head. “They have been talking to me this whole time and as mad as you and I are… They are furious.”

“I need to talk to Majistrona.” Sharra started off. “Can you…? Stay here?” She asked softly.

“I am not going anywhere.” Will said and his eyes were glistening. “She wouldn’t want me to.” He bowed his head. “Go… But Sharra… Be careful…”

“I am not taking any chances with James again.” Sharra said in an icy tone that had the babe in her arms start to cry. “Sorry, darling. Momma’s not mad at you. Easy… Easy…” She cooed as she walked away.

Sharra walked into a large room and was immediately assaulted by noise. Huge insects were moving and talking all at once. It was a cacophony. The babe in her arms cried out in discomfort and the noise in the room stopped as if cut with a knife. Sharra walked into the middle of the room and nodded to the huge insect that sat in the middle of the nesting chamber. “Majistrona… I am sorry…I grieve with you…”

“It was not your fault.” The ancient queen of the Sitolon said quietly. A bronze form was laid at the queen’s feet. “But to have her die in such an ignoble way… I expected my daughter to die in battle, from disease, perhaps from the Dark Cousins. Not like this…Not from a poison.” She stroked the still form at her feet. “Among our people… Drones have a finite span, queens do not. I… I am old, Sharra Kalenath. But no parent should outlive her daughter.”

“I know.” Sharra bowed her head. “Holianahyatoujikaimnana was a great being. One of the greatest I have ever met. I knew the moment I met her that she was special. ‘I am sorry’ simply cannot convey the sorrow and pain that I feel. I know that the sorrow and pain that I feel are miniscule compared to what you feel. But…” She broke off, unsure as to what to say or how. The ancient queen of the Sitolon made a very human sounding sigh.

“Istara is… not well at the moment.” Majistrona said and then made a soft and sad chuckle. “That is putting it mildly. Your husband is correct. She has no ‘friend or foe’ recognition at the moment. Anyone who enters that room…”

“Anyone who is threat will be attacked.” Sharra agreed quietly. “So we need someone who is not a threat.”

“Who might that be?” Majistrona asked cautiously. “I will not endanger an innocent. When Istara regains her senses…” Sharra noted that the queen said ‘when’, not ‘if’. “…she would not forgive that.”

“Not an innocent.” Sharra slumped a little. “But someone who is not a threat to her. Someone who she would recognize even in her rage.”

“You cannot mean…” All of the furtive movement in the room seemed to stop as Majistrona hissed in disbelief.

“She told me.” Sharra had tears in her eye snow. “We talked a bit, after James was born… I want to help my friend and I can’t. I think Kirina and Oli can. Kirina has been studying medicine and history, yes? She was sequestered in the safe areas when the ship was attacked, right? They never breached those, did they?”

“Raven got her there, yes. The Imperials were distracted. The Special Forces team was trying to get James to safety. But the Imperials moved too fast and we were…useless.” Majistrona hung her head low. “We assumed we were invincible on our ship because no one had ever found us. We will not make that mistake again.” There was steel in the queen’s tone now.

“Kirina is not a threat to Istara. Istara and Sharlina both know her. Both of them know Oli as well.” Sharra held her child close as he started to squirm, but her voice was soft and persuasive. “No one else I know of, who is close enough, would have any chance at all.”

“Sharra…” Majistrona’s voice was sad now. “We cannot endanger the young ones.”

“I would do it myself. I would take James in myself. But I am a threat, a danger. Is Kirina?” Sharra persisted.

“No I am not.” Came a soft voice from behind her. Sharra turned to find a young blonde haired human woman come into the room. She led a small girl who was obviously not comfortable walking just yet. But the eyes, face and red hair all proclaimed who the girl was. “Hello Sharra. I am glad James is okay.” The woman wore a loose scarf around her neck, but it did not cover the abnormal growth that covered where her voice box would have been. The Sitolon doctors had given her a new one, but it was obviously not human in nature.

“Kirina…” Majistrona sighed sadly. “This is stupid… Istara is dangerous in this mood. She will not hear us. She will not listen.”

“Then we need to make her listen.” Kiriana’s voice was soft as she scooped the girl up into her arms.

“Kirina… You go in there alone and she will kill you…” Majistrona tried again.

“She won’t be alone.” Sharra said quietly. “We are going in as well.”

“You cannot be serious!” The queen bug of the hive recoiled for the two mothers with children. “You would take you daughter and son into… No! I cannot allow it!”

“Majistrona… Think.” Kirina said quietly as she nuzzled the girl in her arms making Oli squeal with laughter. “Who would be safer in that room? You, me, or Oli?” She smiled tenderly at the red haired child in her arms.

“I…” Majistrona shook her huge head. “Sharra please… think about this…”

“I have Majistrona. We need Istara.” Sharra said as she rocked her son gently. “If that means I have to kick her in the head to get her attention, so be it.”

“Kicking the head of a wild animal is not a good idea, Sharra.” Majistrona protested.

“She is not a wild animal. She is a woman in pain.” Sharra said quietly. “But most importantly of all, she is my friend and I am not going to leave her like this.”
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
08.13.2012 , 06:46 AM | #2
“Mama?” Oli asked softly as her mom carried her through the still hallways of the Sitolon homeship towards the room where Istara was confined. “Bug mama angry?” Her tone was worried.

“No, Oli.” Kirina said with a small smile at Sharra’s reaction to Oli’s soft question. “Bug mama scared. We all are.” She hugged the girl who was her daughter in every point except conception and Oli snuggled close.

‘Bug mama’? Sharra mouthed with an incredulous smile.

“Well…” Kirina shrugged. “Many people have difficulty pronouncing her full name. We are not going to make a kid memorize the whole thing, now are we? So she said Oli can call her ‘Bug Mama’.” She snickered at Sharra’s expression. “But only Oli can get away with it.”

“Figures.” Sharra said with a grin. “Ah well…” She held her own son close. James had been fed and was now drowsing. “No time like the present.” She grimaced as she came into sight of the black armored form of her husband standing by the door. “Now the hard part…” She murmured. “Will…”

“Courage, Sharra.” Kirina said quietly as the two women stepped towards the blocked door. “Hi Will.”

“You are both crazy.” The soldier at the door shook his head. “I can’t let you do this.” He crossed his arms and blocked the way. “It’s insane. I can’t let you do this; she would be the first to thump me for letting you do this.”

“It is the only way, Will.” Kirina said quietly. “We need her. If we leave her in there alone, she will go nuts. She needs help, help we can give. We are her family, we are.” Her head movement included Will, Sharra and the children in that statement. “Sharra has the right idea. We are not going to try and trank her, or attack her in any way. She would pick that up through Ashla immediately. We are just going to talk.”

“Sharra…” Heartache sounded in the name that Will spoke. “I… I can’t lose you and him… Not now…”

“You won’t, Will.” Kirina smiled as she set her daughter on the floor. “Oli? Do you want to see Tah?”

“Tah?” Oli brightened, her face lighting up. She loved Istara, the Bladeborn was always nice to her. She had literally no way of knowing why. Of course she could not pronounce ‘Istara’ properly yet. But she did the best she could. “Where Tah?”

“Tah is behind Uncle Will.” Sharra said quietly. “You want to see Tah? Tah is sad. You will make her happy.”

Tah!” Oli made a beeline for the door and Will stood for a moment before moving aside with a grimace.

“You two fight dirty…” The soldier complained as he stepped away from the door so as not to be visible from it when it opened. Oli could not quite reach the door controls even on her tiptoes and was obviously getting frustrated. “Here, Oli.” Will had to smile as he hit the door control and she bolted in the door. He whispered to Kirina as she passed. “Be careful…”

Kirina had to pause as she entered the room. She had been prepared, intellectually, for what they had told her. But seeing it… Istara Sharlina Andal, feared warrior of the Bladeborn, lay on her side in the middle of the floor. Everything around her was in ruins. None of the furniture was intact. It looked as if the table had slammed into the wall hard enough to dent the durasteel at least four or five times from the dents. Her red hair was a matted mess, her face a mass of bruises. From the looks of it, she had slammed her head repeatedly into the floor. As Kirina watched, she did it again, hard enough for Kirina to hear bone crack.

Tah!” Oli’s voice was triumphant as she darted towards the woman only to freeze as Istara’s eyes came up. Kirina felt terror stab through her. There was no intelligence in those eyes. They were brown, so she was not lost to the dark side, but… A growl sounded from Istara’s throat, one that never should have graced a human tongue. “Tah?” Oli asked, suddenly afraid. “Mama?” The girl asked in a scared voice.

“Oli, I am right behind you.” Kirina came close to her daughter and knelt down, consciously placing her head lower than Istara’s. “Don’t move.” Kirina met Istara’s eyes and spoke softly. “Istara… I know you are hurting and I know why. We are not enemies. We are…” She broke off as Istara lunged. The feral Bladeborn cleared Oli in a bound and slammed into Kirina. Kirina did not fight, she went limp as Istara drove her to the deck, her head slamming painfully into the flooring. She choked words out past the hand that clenched around her throat. If she hadn’t possessed an artificial windpipe, she likely would have died right then and there. Istara either couldn’t crush the chitin or… She wasn’t trying to! “Istara…! No…I am not… your enemy. You are not an animal, you are Bladeborn.”

Tah! No!” Oli cried as she tried to pull Istara’s other hand from its death grip on Kirina’s arm. “No hurt Mama!”

Istara froze in place as the girl’s cries pierced the haze of her rage and pain. She stared from Oli to Kirina and back and then, without warning, she rolled off of Kirina and huddled on the floor, her head bowed. Soft sobs came from under her dirty hair. Her whole body shuddered as she cried. Kirina took a moment to hug her daughter before rolling slowly to a sitting position.

“Istara?” She asked softly, her focus torn between her sobbing daughter and the sobbing Bladeborn. She hugged Oli tight.

“I don’t want to hurt anymore…” Istara’s voice was barely audible. “Sick of hurting people. Sick of hurting. Sick of stupid prophecies. Sick of lies, of responsibility. Just want to be me… Sick of it all…”

“Why you cry, Tah?” Oli asked softly, unsure about any of this. “Why you hurt Mama?” She sounded so lost that Kirina sighed and hugged her tighter.

“She didn’t Oli. If she had wanted me dead, I would be.” Kirina swung her daughter up into her arms and winced as Oli hugged her neck tight enough to choke for a moment. Istara had not been trying to kill. “Istara… You are not alone. You will never be alone again. Not now, not ever.” Kirina shook her head. “Istara… look at me… please…?”

“Maybe the Sith are right. Maybe love is the most terrible thing in the universe.” Istara would not meet Kirina’s eyes and her voice was fierce now. “Maybe we should just take what we want and to heck with everything else…”

“You don’t mean that. That is your pain talking, Istara. Look Oli in the eyes and tell me you would not want to love. Tell me.” Kirina persisted as she turned her daughter around so that Oli looked at the sobbing Bladeborn.

“I… I can’t…” Istara collapsed onto the floor again, her head slamming into it. “Just leave me alone…”

“Mama?” Olia asked in a scared tone.

“Oli…” Kirina set her daughter down on her feet. “Walk to Tah. You can do it.”

Istara’s eyes came up, incredulous as the girl took a step, then another. The girl’s face was beaming as she took another step and tottered a bit. She tried another too quickly and the waif lost her balance. Oli fell with a cry of fear. But before she could hit the floor, Istara had her in gentle hands that held her close and soft.

“Oli… You… You walked…” Istara’s voice was incredulous. Amazement mixed with sadness and pain in her voice. “What a big girl you are.” Her eyes were bright with astonishment and happiness. But then they clouded again.

“Tah…?” Oli asked in a subdued voice. “Why you sad?” She asked as she hugged Istara tight.

“Oh Oli…” Istara sighed and brushed the girl’s hair gently. “Uncle Idjit is missing.”

“Hide and seek?” Oli asked, content to be held for the moment. She burined her face in Istara’s shirt and sighed contentedly.

“No, Oli. He is gone. I don’t know if he is coming back.” Istara’s face was a mask of dried and new tears. Tears that Oli tried to wipe away. “Or if he can.” Istara brushed the girl’s hair again and then tweaked her nose, eliciting a delighted squeal from Oli.

“It all right Tah.” Oli said quietly as she hugged her aunt. “It all right.” Her voice held the confidence of the child, when parents could make it all better.

“Maybe.” Istara gave Oli another hug. “But you are right Kirina. I have things to do, and moping in here isn’t helping things.”

“Glad to hear it.” Kirina said, rubbing the back of her head where it had hit the deck.

“Sorry.” Istara said as she rose, picking up Oli in a swinging move that had the little girl giggling.

“You were not trying to kill me. Just make me go away.” Kirina said quietly as she started for the door. It opened before she got there and Sharra stood there with her son in hand. “We are good.” Kirina said to Sharra and the other woman sighed.

“Good, James needs changing.” Sharra pulled her pack from her back and started towards another room, hopefully one with an intact table.

“Tah…?” Oli said in a soft and worried voice. Istara held her out to Kirina, but the younger woman shook her head with a smile.

“You had an oopsie too?” Istara asked with a smile that did not touch her eyes as she saw Will put his blaster away. They shared a grim nod. They understood each other just fine. Oli never noticed, her face was downcast.

“Made a mess.” Oli said in a discouraged tone.

“Its okay, Oli. This I can fix.” Istara smiled as she carried the girl that would have been her daughter to the room where Sharra was laying out the changing gear. She sighed as she laid Oli down to start changing the girl’s diaper. “I wish everything was so easy to fix.”
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
08.13.2012 , 06:54 AM | #3
The kids had been put to bed, and Kirina had been sent with them. Istara had apologized profusely, but her slamming the girl into the floor had given Kirina a mild concussion. The docs had fixed it quickly, but she was going to be out of action for at least a few hours. Kirina had smiled and kissed Istara on the cheek before allowing Sharra to lead her away. Sharra of course, would not let James out of her sight and anyone trying to separate them, for any reason, would likely get shot. So it was in everyone’s best interest to allow the two women to stay close to their children. Not that anyone really wanted to do otherwise. But that left Istara here.

“I can feed myself.” Istara said with a grimace as her minder held out a filled spoon.

“I know you can, Istara.” Sara Kalenath said with a smile. “But turnabout is fair play. You scared us.” The girl’s face and tone didn’t change but her sense in Ashla was one of deep hurt. Istara sighed and ate what was offered. Sara dipped the spoon into the bowl again and held it out again. “Besides, Hpilon doesn’t want you moving around a lot until the skull fractures have set.”

“I have been hurt a lot worse than this.” Istara protested, but did not try to move. The odd covering that was over her skull prohibited a lot of movements. She hadn’t just broken her skull, she had smashed it against the floor of the room she had been in hard enough to completely crush it in three places. Sitolon medical tech was impressive to say the least, but it still took time. Neither the Sitolon medic, the Sitolon queen, or any of her friends had been pleased. Sara had come with a team of Istara’s Bladeborn, and all were determined to help.

“Yes you have, Istara.” Sara agreed. “Mom…” She broke off for a moment and then continued. “Mom told me a little about what you did… How you came back to your ship on several occasions a bloody mess.” Sara shook her head slowly. “The way she describes it, the only thing keeping you going was your anger.”

“It…” Istara paused and then slumped a little, as far as the light neck restraint she wore would let her. “Yeah, that’s about right.” She sighed in memory. “I wasn’t… I wasn’t a good woman, Sara. Still am not one, but I am what was needed. Stupid prophecies… I just…I…” She felt the pain that she had sequestered start to rise. Then she blinked as a kiss landed on her cheek. “Sara…?” She stared at the girl who was sitting back.

“There is a difference now.” Sara said with a small, sad smile as she filled the spoon again. “You are not alone, Istara. We are not going to leave you alone. We need you, and you need us.” She held out the spoon and Istara shook her head a little and cleaned it again. “Good baby.” Sara crooned.

“You know I am going to thrash you when I get out of this bed, right?” Istara asked quietly as she focused on the girl.

“I will let you.” Sara replied in a quiet tone that had Istara reeling. What the hell? Sara never joked about such things and her sense in Ashla was anything but joking.

“Sara…? What?” Istara tried to sit up and was stymied by the apparatus she was ensconced in. “Sara…?” Istara’s voice was concerned now.

“I…I don't know. This isn't an urge.” Sara looked away, and Istara froze as she felt deep pain and fear from the girl now. “When Mama Lizard told me… I wanted to break something. She expected me to. She took me to a training room so I could work off my aggression… But… I couldn’t. No matter what I did, it didn’t come out. It didn’t… I can’t get rid of this… This crap…”

“Sara…” Istara stared at the girl and then rolled her eyes. Oh Sara... Why now of all times? “Look at me, Sara… Please?” The girl did and Istara was aware of the unshed tears that were limning Sara’s eyes. She held up the hand that was not festooned with medical gear and held to out to Sara. “I know what is happening to you.”

“You… You do?” Sara asked in a lost and bewildered tone. She was always so strong. She had been forced to be. She took Istara’s hand in both of hers and gave it a squeeze. “Help me, please.” That was a first. She never begged for help.

“I can’t.” Istara could not have missed the stab of fear that shot through Sara even if she had been Force blind. “Sara… Sara!” She gave the hands that held hers a squeeze. “I can’t help you. But I can help you help yourself. It is our way. You know this.” She gave the hands she held now a shake. “Calm yourself Sara. What you are feeling is natural.”

“It doesn’t feel natural. This is... I feel...” Sara said with a grimace. Then she stiffened. “What the…?”

“Welcome to a larger world Sara.” Istara smiled a small, sad smile as she pulled Sara close and gave the girl a gentle hug. “You just felt my worry turn to relief, didn’t you?”

“This is… This is part of the mind melded thing… Isn’t it?” Sara was shivering a little in reaction, and who could blame her?

“No it isn’t.” Istara sighed as she hugged Sara again. “Is Mama here?”

“No.” Sara let Istara hug her, utterly bewildered. “What is going on… I can… You are worried still… But how can I feel that? I am not a Force user…”

“Yes, you are.” Istara said into Sara’s ear quietly. Sara jerked back and Istara let her go. But then Sara jerked to her feet and backpedaled to the wall of the small room they were in. She stood there shaking her head in frantic denial. “Sara… Sara… Please listen to me. It’s not bad. It’s not the end of your world or your life. Please… Sara…” But Sara was beyond hearing. Istara shook her head and hit the call button on her bedside. Literally three seconds later, the door to the room opened and a familiar black furred form entered.

“Shar? What…?” Ona broke off as she saw Sara cringing against the wall. “Sara? What the hell?”

“Ona.” Istara sighed from her bed. “I need you to help Sara. I would if I could, but I can’t get up.”

“What happened?” Ona asked slowly as she carefully approached the frightened girl. She laid a gentle hand on Sara’s arm and stroked it gently. Her form was perfect, if Sara struck out, Ona would either block or retreat. This was hardly the first time she had dealt with a highly trained young being in distress after all.

“She has been having issues with control.” Ona nodded at Istara’s tone. It had been bothering the gentle healer quite a bit. “Her anger won’t come out so she can deal with it or let it run free. I know why now.”

“You do?” Ona asked quizzically as she continued to stroke the frightened girl’s arm. “Why?”

“Scan her with the Force, Ona.” Istara said instead of answering the question. “Deep.”

“Ooookaaay…” Ona looked at the injured Grandmaster with a quizzical expression, and then did as instructed. When she did, her breath exploded from her body in a solid whoosh. “Oh my god.”

“Can you help her?” Istara asked quietly.

“I don’t know…” Ona admitted. “My god… All this time, we thought she wasn’t… And she was…” Tears were falling down the black furred face as Ona hugged Sara tight. The girl stiffened and then clung to the Bothan.

“It’s coming out Ona. Can you bring her here?” Istara cursed the restraints that held her in the bed, but she knew she shouldn’t move. Ona gently led Sara back towards the bed. “I need to do this. Now. Can you help her regain her lucidity for a moment? I won’t do it without her will. If she chooses otherwise, who am I to gainsay her?”

“I… can try…” Ona said with a frown of concentration. “Sara…? Sara…? It’s okay girl. It will be okay.” Her hand came up to Sara’s head and stroked the tear streaked face gently. A pulse of power erupted from her fingers and Sara stiffened. Sara stared from the Bothan to the bedridden Grandmaster.

“Ona… Istara… Wha…? I…” The girl clung to Ona and the Bothan let her.

“Sara. It’s okay.” Istara said quietly. “You have taken your first step, all unknowingly, into a much larger world. I am sorry, but there is no going back. The Force is with you, Sara Kalenath.” Her words were oddly formal.

“This isn’t possible. I never had it…” Sara’s words were those of someone trying to disbelieve. “I…”

“Sara.” Istara smiled gently. “There are Jedi here, and I know where there are Sith. You need training.”

“Are… Are you sending me away?” Sara asked fearfully. She likely would have recoiled, except Ona held her in a gentle grip.

“Hardly.” Istara smiled at the girl and the tension in the room eased. “I am giving you options. You need to learn how to use the Force. You have been suppressing it, likely all your life. That is why your anger won't come out now. You subconsciously know it would be...bad. But this is your choice, Sara. You need to learn about the Force. Otherwise… bad things happen.” Istara slumped, her face desolate for a moment. “He knew. I know he knew.”

The raw pain in Istara’s voice shook both Ona and Sara. Both females looked at one another and without a word stepped closer to Istara’s bed. Sara looked at Ona and spoke softly.

“What do I say?” The girl asked in a soft, but unyielding voice.

“Sara… Be absolutely certain you wish this.” Istara cautioned. “We do not know as much about the Force as the Jedi and SIth do. If you do this, there is no turning back. It is for life. You have seen our basic training, what we do to our initiates to make them strong and capable. You have not seen the rest of it. I won’t be able to be partial to you, at all." Istara gulped a little. She loved Sara. "I have to love all of our kin equally.”

“What do I say?” Sara repeated in the same unyielding tone. Istara smiled sadly and held out her hand. Sara took it and something flashed between the two of them. Something silver.

“You don’t have to say a word, Initiate Sara. You just passed your initiate’s trial.” Sara stared at Istara and then at her arm, where a tattoo of a sword had just appeared. Istara grinned. “Be glad we don’t use the branding irons anymore. Welcome, sister, daughter.” The Grandmaster of the order smiled gently at her newest recruit and then turned to Ona with steel in her eyes. “Ona, you know what to do. I will not move.”

“You better not.” Ona had a wide smile on her face as she took Sara’s shoulders and guided the dumbstruck girl towards the door. “Jon will be in shortly.”

“Slavedriver…” Istara said to the door as it closed behind the healer and the newest member of the Bladeborn. "Will is just going to love this..."
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

kalenath's Avatar


kalenath
08.13.2012 , 07:00 AM | #4
Far from angry, Will was actually relieved.

“I wasn’t sure what it was. I thought it might be the Force, but wasn’t sure how to ask…” He admitted to Istara as she sat quietly trying not to pick at her scalp, which itched. She had been released from medical and was relaxing after taking a nice long hot shower. The docs had finally released her from their care, with a stern injunction to keep from hurting herself again. He grinned at her astonished expression. “…and there are worse things in the universe than being Bladeborn. Even for my sister.”

“Will…” Istara shook her head. “She isn’t your sister anymore. She can’t be. You know that. She has to cut all ties. It will hurt her, badly. But she will come out stronger for it. We know about these kinds of things.” Istara’s voice was sad, but adamant.

“All… ties…?” The other person in the room asked quietly. Sarai sounded so lost and alone. As well she should, Sara was the reason she existed after all. The girl had been captured and genetically altered to be a twin of Sara. The two girls had worked recently on looking and acting different, but still remained close.

“Yes, Sarai.” Istara said quietly and held out her arms. Sarai came close slowly, like beaten canine. Istara let her come, not moving unto the girl was snuggled in Istara’s lap, quivering with barely repressed fear and pain. “But we are not going to forget about you. We may not be able to remake you the way you were, but you will always have a place among us.” These words came out steely, an oath. Her hands were gentle as she stroked the girl’s hair and Sarai relaxed slowly, so slowly.

“Do… Do I have the Force?” Saria finally asked softly.

“I am sorry, Sarai. You don’t have enough to train.” Istara let the girl move as she wished on her lap. “You have the same amount most people do. Which I think bodes better for you in the long term, for the possibility of having a normal life anyway.”

“Normal?” Will asked incredulously.

“You shut up.” Istara glared at Will, but it wasn’t serious. She returned her focus to the girl in her lap. “Sarai… Listen to me. The Force is a burden, a curse if you will. It allows wonders and horrors to be done. Sara is going to need a lot of time, and a lot of help to be able to focus her power.” Istara sighed sadly. “She is not going to be…well… presentable… for some time.”

“What do you mean?” Saria asked, worried about Sara. “What is going to happen?” Istara looked at Will and he shrugged before nodding.

“I know you can keep secrets, Sarai or I never would consider saying this to you. Sara is a mess. She has been for most of her life. She is more of a mess than any of us realized. But this is what we do. Trugoy always took students from the ones that Sith didn’t want. The weak, the broken, the cast off. Ones like me…” Istara’s voice was soft and sad for a moment, lost in memory. Sarai, daring greatly, put her arms around the grandmaster’s neck and hugged her. Istara smiled and returned the hug gently. “I don’t know how powerful Sara will be, but…” She sighed. “She is not weak.”

“Any…general ideas as to how powerful?” Will asked carefully.

“She felt like Nia, Will.” Istara said quietly and the soldier recoiled slightly. “I fought Nia once, and then we worked together for a little while. Right before that Zelkin mess.” She shook her head, finding her sister had been a godsend, and then she had lost her.

“They are family… Aren’t they?” Saria asked curiously. “Wouldn’t that make sense for both to be powerful?”

“It would… If Will was as well. And he isn’t.” Istara shrugged at the soldier. “Sorry…”

“I’m not.” Will said with a laugh. “Bad as things have been and are… I wouldn’t have wanted to be a Jedi or Sith. And can you imagine me in your order?” Istara made a comically scared face and Sarai actually giggled a bit. “Right… ick…” He shook his head again. “Istara… I know you don’t want to do this… But you need to talk to them. To the seers.”

“I know.” Istara grimaced as she brushed Sarai’s silky hair. The girl had been working to get the black that was Sara’s to turn other colors. At least they had convinced her not to keep bleaching it. “But first, we have a wedding to go to.”

“Has Cole decided on a honeymoon spot?” Will asked quietly. “Juli wanted to send him to a resort on Naboo we know of.”

“Isn’t that the one Jikirt shot up?” Sarai asked with a smile and Istara stared from one to the other.

“Do I want to know?” Istara asked with a grimace. Just the stories of that berserk bunny were bad enough. She hadn’t actually met him yet. Sooner or later, she would. She just hoped to survive the encounter.

“He was trying to protect a fellow crewmember." Will said sadly." A weapon’s designer. Val was a bit naïve, but smart… So smart. She needed some downtime after the mess with Zelkin., She wasn’t ready to handle seeing what her weapons did. Didn’t help with what the scumsucker on the Freedom Lance did. I never would have thought I would say this, but I am glad that the bastard running that thing died the way he did.” Istara had to flinch at the rage Will projected before he dampened his emotions again.

“Missed that.” Istara said quietly. “Heard about it though. Friendly fire, my fanny.” An entire Mandalorian fleet wiped out because they were in the way? Oh yeah, that was sheer coincidence.

“Yeah.” Will shook himself and calmed. “Anyway…Jikirt took Val to this resort on Naboo and they were attacked. Sith, of course. He… um… Well…” Will made a face. “Nobody died except for one of the Sith agents, but Jikirt made one heck of a mess.”

“I take it he didn’t save the girl.” Istara’s voice was compassionate. Will shook his head.

“They wanted her alive. They won’t kill her, and we will find her eventually. And when we do…” Will’s voice trailed off, but no one had to be clairvoyant to know what the Stormhawk would do when they did find their missing crewmember. They had a certain reputation for such things, and it was well deserved.

“Let me know.” Istara said quietly. “I think a few…dozen… Bladeborn might help in such a case, don’t you?” Will grinned at Istara’s droll tone, and then Istara nodded to the chrono on the wall. “Time.”

“I am not going to ask where you got the dress uniform…” Will said with a grimace as he rose. “And in my size at that. But sheesh… Do I have to wear all the medals?” His uniform was a Republic navy one, but his medals… Luckily the Republic had instituted sashes for medals in class A uniform, otherwise he would have been absolutely covered by them. Istara wasn’t sure what all the medals were, or what they were for, but she knew they were all legitimate.

“Yes.” Istara’s tone brooked no discussion as she rose slowly, allowing Saria to rise carefully so as not to damage her dress. The girl looked radiant in the green dress that Mama and a couple of other Bladeborn had made for her. “Juli insisted. This is Cole and Miriam’s day. We are just window dressing.” Will looked at her oddly and she snarled. “Don’t say it!” Will shook his head but remained silent.

Istara was resplendent in her formal silver armor even without the helmet. The docs were not about to let her wear that just yet. It was funny that such unadorned and simple armor could look so pretty and at the same time, be completely functional. She held out hand to Sarai and the girl took it with only a little quaver.

“Did they ever decide who gets to officiate?” Will asked as he moved to the door. It wasn’t really needed for him to open the door for Istara, but it was traditional. Ordinarily, she would thump him for such a chauvinistic thing. But not today. “I thought if there would be blood on the floor at some of the discussions.”

“Juli ran an end run around Boss. Then Majistrona put all of her feet down. It’s her ship, she is officiating.” Istara grinned at Will’s expression. “But Boss is giving Miriam away since her family can’t be here. Juli ,of course, is ring bearer. I have no idea why Miriam chose me as maid of honor, but I know better than to buck Juli. She has this whole thing organized, almost minute by minute. We are good. For now anyway.” Sarai had to laugh at Istara’s sour tone.

“If anyone had told me a year ago that I would be walking through the halls of a huge insect hive in space, going to a wedding between a smuggler turned covert agent and a former nerf herder…” Sarai shook her eahd in wonder “…I would have laughed in their face or backed away slowly from the madman. I have wondered… what is Miriam? She was a nanny… But all the kids are gone. What is she now?” Sarai asked carefully as she tried not to muss the really nice hairstyle that two of the female Baldeborn had spent an hour doing for her.

“Kin.” Both Will and Istara replied in unison. Both looked at each other and laughed.
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
08.13.2012 , 07:03 AM | #5
“Istara!” The scared young voice pulled Istara out of her musing as she walked into the room.”Thank the maker!” The master of the Bladeborn order smiled as she looked at the bride to be. Miriam Chines was eighteen, with long brown hair and hazel eyes that were normally alive with intelligence, compassion and curiosity. But now, she was scared. “Have… Um… Have you seen Cole?” She was sitting carefully in a chair, obviously trying not get the beautiful white dress that she wore dirty.

“No, I haven’t.” Istara said as she walked towards the girl. She squatted down beside Miriam and took the girl’s hands in her own. “Traditionally, the first time the bride sees the groom on the wedding day is in the ceremony. Even I know that. Buck up, girl. If anything had gone wrong, you know Juli would have come running in.” Miriam had to smile at that. It was the truth. The Bladeborn gave Miriam’s hands a squeeze and smiled gently. “You are nervous. You have reason. Do you want a mild sedative?”

“Ona… um…” Miriam blushed brightly and Istara grinned.

“She already gave you one, huh?” Istara’s voice was quiet and Miriam nodded. “She has always been good at anticipating needs. It will be all right. I don’t know the Averumian customs for weddings. I do know that fourteen year olds usually don’t run them.” Now her voice was humorous and Miriam smiled wanly. Istara laid Miriam’s hands back in the girl’s lap and gave them a pat.

“Istara… I am scared…” Miriam said as she tried not to fidget. “I don’t want to be a wuss… but…”

“You are not a wuss.” Istara sighed and leaned close to kiss Miriam’s cheek. “Your life is about to change. You both want this. You both have earned this. Matter of fact…” Istara’s eyes went wide as she looked at Miriam. Her voice became openly admiring. “Oh Miriam, you minx! Does Cole know?”

“Ah…” the girl blushed even brighter. “Not yet. Ona and Jon confirmed it just this morning. I…” She broke off as Istara embraced her. “I wanted to ask if you would stand as a godparent for our child.”

“I would be honored, but… I am not a good woman, Miriam…” Istara said as she leaned back, a little distressed. “I can’t even guarantee I will be around.” That was an understatement, she wasn’t sure she would be alive.

“Don’t want a good woman.” Miriam said fiercely. “Want you. You could’ve shoved me aside, forgotten about me. You could’ve ignored me; I is a distraction to dat agent of yours after all. You didn’t. You was there when I was crying, when I was alone on this ship. You found me, you took me in, fed me and gave me stability.” As always when she got emotional, Miriam’s old accent came out. She never heard it, and denied it vehemently when pressed about it. Ona and the other healers simply shrugged. The brain was an odd thing. The speech patterns must have been buried deep in her memories, deeper than the damage she had taken. No one really minded, it was just kind of odd.

“You were hurting.” Istara said simply. “I know about hurting. From a coldly pragmatic point of view, you were disrupting the hive with your weeping and carrying on.” This last was in a mocking tone. Miriam had been so quiet that no one had possessed a clue where she had gotten to until Istara had found her, sobbing quietly in an unused stateroom. Istara hadn’t known who she was at that point, just a scared girl who was hurting. Someone who reminded Istara great deal of another young, scared hurting girl. “Had to shut you up somehow.”

“Aw, g’wan you…” Miriam said, giving Istara’s shoulder playful shove. “You didn’t got to be kind. You didn’t got to be nice. You could have tossed me over your shoulder, carried me back to where I was supposed to be, dropped me on my tookus, and left.” She smiled in memory. “You didn’t. And then you brought Cole back to me…And now…” Miriam sighed deeply. “I am leaning on you again.”

“Miriam…You are my friend.” Istara said quietly but forcefully. “I don’t have a lot of friends. I have allies, acquaintances, subordinates, people who want something from me, people who need something from me… You are my friend. Really the only one I have…” She looked at the chrono and smiled widely. “And… My friend… It is time.” Miriam took a shuddering breath and stood up slowly. “Come here.” Istara reached out carefully and gave the brown haired girl a hug. “Courage Miriam. Soon you will be an honest woman again.”

“Istara…” Miriam was giggling now. “You are bad.” She tried to curtail her giggles and couldn’t. “Aw come on! Don’t make me be giggling through my wedding…”

“Brides are allowed nerves, Miriam. This I know. I have to take my position. Where is…? Ah, here we are…” Istara smiled as the door opened and an armored form entered. The armor of Stomhawk Boss was battered and torn, but it was obviously functional. Istara spoke formally. “I give this most precious of our possessions into your care, Stormhawk Boss. Be gentle and be careful, or she will steal your heart as she stole ours.”

“Too late Istara.” The voice from the helmet was sour, but kind. “I accept this charge and will convey Miss Chines to her destiny.” The words were formal.

“Will you two stop?” Miriam asked sourly, trying to keep from laughing. “Sheesh…” Both the Bladeborn and the commander of the renegade cruiser Stormhawk looked at her. “You would think I was in a bad holo-romance… Oh no... She didn’t…”

“That is what you get when you have a librarian scripting a wedding, Miriam. Relax. It will be over soon.” Istara gave Miriam a quick hug and was out the door before Miriam could think of a suitable rejoinder. She was right on time. She got into the main room just as Juli started looking for her.
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
08.13.2012 , 07:06 AM | #6
“You are, there.” Juli Shanas said in her odd tone. Istara had to fight to keep her face controlled. Juli Shanas was a survivor. She had survived things that almost anyone else would have just curled up and died, including many Bladeborn. The brain damage she had taken had been extreme, but the rest of the damage had been repaired. The docs were optimistic that they could fix the speech center, in time. Until then, everyone just dealt with it as Juli did. “About to send for you, I was.”

“I know better than to be late for this, Juli.” Istara shuddered in an exaggerated way. “Where do you want me?”

“Up at rail, bridesmaids are. On far left, you stand.” Juli smiled widely at the Bladeborn. Her grin was wide, but a bit melancholy.

“Are you okay, Juli?” Istara asked as she took her place. She was the first one there. The others would be coming in shortly.

“Sure… Not…” Juli admitted. “But… Happy, father is. Worth that, a little bit uncomfortable is.”

“If you ever want to talk. You have but to ask.” Istara reached down and patted the girl on her flesh and blood shoulder. The other had been torn off by a land mine along with both her arms. “You know this.”

“Dress! Don’t muss!” Juli cried as she smoothed the dress on her shoulder. The dress was a nice off white that went with her skin tone nicely. It was frilly in places and smooth in places and just perfect for such an occasion. It showed a lot more skin than Istara was totally comfortable with, but it was not lewd or revealing.

“Worry wart.” Istara said in a teasing tone as Juli stared at her shoulder, her eyes going cross eyed. “I wouldn’t muss your dress Juli.” Her tone was slightly hurt now.

“I…” Juli slumped in place. “Worry I do. Happy my father, I want. But… Scared, am I.”

“It’s all right, Juli.” Both of them looked up as the officiator for the ceremony came striding in through the huge door of the chamber. Majstrona’s voice was calm and gentle when she spoke. “Nerves are to be expected. This is… a new thing for many people. Myself included. I have not performed a marriage in along, long time.” There was large cleared space beside Istara and Majistrona moved there, laying a gentle claw on Istara’s shoulder. “You look a lot better, Istara.”

“I am not over it.” Istara admitted, nodding to Juli’s worried look. “But I can put it aside long enough to get Cole and Miriam hitched.” She blinked as Juli smothered a laugh. “What?” She asked with a smile.

“Sound like working on farm, you do. Hitching.” Juli was almost doubled over, controlling her laughter. “Not a nerf, my father is.” Both Istara and Majistrona laughed at that.

“We are ready, Juli.” Majistrona had a smile in her voice that would never be able to touch her insectoid features. The girl controlled her mirth and started for the door. Majistrona looked at Istara. “Can you hold it, or do you need help?”

“I can hold it.” Istara said quietly. “For now.”

“Allow me, daughter.” Istara did not move or flinch as Majistrona clenched the claw that was on her shoulder, just a little. Istara sighed and relaxed. “Once this is done, we will talk. Here they come…”

Istara did not move as Majistrona’s claw left her shoulder. She felt oddly detached which was far better than the gut wrenching pain and betrayal she had felt. She did not have to force a smile as the rest of the bridesmaids came in and took up station beside her. Raven Markar, the former Sith who had joined the Bladeborn, stood to her immediate left clad in Bladeborn formal armor. Sharra Kalenath stood in Republic dress uniform just beyond with Kirina standing just beside her in a nice white dress. And then a surprise. Michelle, the former Islanian starship slave now turned fighter pilot for the Stormhawk, came in last and smiled at Istara as she took up her place.

“I was on duty, but Juli insisted.” Michelle said as the others looked at her with admiration, the former starship intelligence was wearing an absolutely stunning red dress. “I was whisked out of the cockpit, run through a shower and had to change on the shuttle over. Sheesh, I never want to get on that girl’s bad side.”

“We could have told you that.” All the others chorused. But then the door opened again. And Cole came in, followed by his groomsmen. The groom looked decidedly uncomfortable in his formal attire, but he took his place before Majistrona with a smile that barely hid his anxiety.

Istara wasn’t sure why Cole had picked Will Kalenath as his best man. Will had disagreed, vehemently. But then Cole had trotted out the big guns. No one sane got in Juliana Shanas Kalenath’s way. Even her step dad. Will wore an unaccustomed open smile as he took his place on the other side of Majistrona. After him came two of the Bladeborn in formal armor and two Stormhawk crew who looked distinctly uncomfortable in Republic dress uniforms. They all came to attention as the doors opened and the guests started filing in. Basically, anyone who knew Miriam or Cole had either come or was getting a video packet of the whole proceeding. So the hall was quickly packed but there was no disorder. Istara had to smile a little at that. Juli might be young, but she had the soul of a commander in chief. Then the music started and there was another surprise.

Two voices started singing from the back, near where the music synthesizer was. Istara’s eyes went wide as she saw Zinoa Trask Kalenath, clad in a stunning off white robe that set off her green scales nicely, singing a beautiful duet with Brianna Makarian Kalenath who wore a dress uniform. The human woman’s face as always was the impassive mask of Dragon Squadron, but her voice was anything but impassive. The two of them together… Istara felt her eyes burn.

“I never knew that tune had words…” Came soft words from Sharra as she stood nearby, minutely shifting from foot to foot.

“You okay?” Istara asked out of the side of her mouth as she watched the door, waiting.

“They must have used my old sizes…” Sharra said quietly. “I’ve changed a little since then, gained some weight despite my best efforts. I’ll survive as long as we don’t have to stand up here for five hours.” She shook her head minutely. “The music is beautiful…”

Then her eyes were drawn with everyone else’s to the door as a vision in white was escorted up by a figure in battered Republic combat armor. Istara felt her face stretch into a smile as Miriam started up the aisle. Istara looked over and Will and almost did a double take. Was he crying? Yes. Yes, the hard bitten old soldier was crying! Tears were falling silently down the man’s face as he watched Miriam come up the aisle. The odd pair were followed by Juli and Sarai whose faces were serene as they carried small pillows with the all important rings nestled on them. Istara made herself relax. This would be fun.

Miriam came up to the front of the chamber and stooped beside Cole who looked at her with admiring eyes.

“I didn’t think you could look any better, Miriam. I was wrong.” Cole Shanas’ voice was little husky, but he nodded to Boss as the armored form stepped to the appointed place.
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
08.13.2012 , 07:09 AM | #7
“Friends.” Majistrona’s rich voice soared throughout the room. “I call upon all of you gathered here to be fellow witnesses with me in the marriage of Miriam Chines and Cole Shanas. You were each invited to join us today so that you may share in the joy that Miriam and Cole are feeling as they pledge their love and commitment to each other.” The queen bug’s voice softened as she looked from Miram to Cole. “The decision to marry is based in love and founded upon sincerity and understanding, which leads to a relationship that is rich in confidence and trust.”

Istara was hardly the only one in the room who felt their eyes start to burn as the bug spoke. Majistrona may not have been ordained by any planetary priesthood, but if there was one thing she did understand, it was family.

“We have passed beyond some traditions, but others have remained. Some are needed even in today’s high tech societies. Who presents this woman to be married to this man?” Majistrona asked, not that she really had to but everyone was following the script. Juli was watching everything like hawk from her place behind the bride and groom.

“As her parents are unable to attend, I have taken the responsibility.” Stormhawk Boss’ voice was soft but carried easily. “I present Miriam Chines to be married.”

“Do you wish to be married to this man?” Majistrona asked quietly. “For no one sane will attempt to force you into anything. Not in this company.” Juli scowled at the insect and Majistrona stood and waited for Miriam’s response but a soft laugh circled the room. No, no one would dare.

“With all my heart.” Miriam replied, a smile on her face as Majistrona deviated slightly from Juli’s carefully laid plans. There would be hell to pay, later. But Miram relaxed a little, which was the bug’s intent. “Indeed, I love this man and would join with him in marriage. To have and to hold, until my dying day.”

“And you, Cole Shanas…” Majistrona turned to eye the former smuggler. “Do you also wish this?”

“With all my heart.” Cole replied quietly, his eyes not leaving Miriam’s face. “I will care for her, guard her, teach her, and love her until my dying day.”

“Then know this, the both of you…” Majistrona charged them with a stern voice now. “The hand you freely give to each other is both the strongest and most tender part of your body. In the years ahead you will need both strength and tenderness. Be firm in your commitment to each other. Don't let your grip become weak. And yet, be flexible as you go through change. Don't let your hold become intolerable. Strength and tenderness, firm commitment and flexibility, of such is a marriage made, hand in hand.” Both Miriam and Cole bowed their head slightly to acknowledge the charge that the queen bug had laid on them. “Step forward.”

Miram and Cole stepped forward until they were literally in the shadow of the towering bug. Majistrona’s small claws came down, one to Cole and one to Miriam. She nodded to both and addressed Miriam.

“Miriam, will you have Cole to be your husband, to live together as friend and mate? Will you love him as a person, respect him as an equal, sharing joy as well as sorrow, and triumph as well as defeat. Wil you keep him beside you as long as you both shall live?” Istara could tell that Majistrona was a little put out by the flowery language, but it did not show in the bug’s tone.

“I will.” Miriam said in a quiet tone that reached every corner of the room. Majsitrona nodded to her and turned to Cole.

“Cole, will you have Miriam to be your wife, to live together as friend and mate? Will you love her as a person, respect her as an equal, sharing joy as well as sorrow, and triumph as well as defeat. Will you keep her beside you as long as you both shall live?” Majistrona was still a bit annoyed by Juli’s scripting of such a thing, but she played along.

“I will.” The former smuggler said in a quiet tone that matched Miriam’s.

Majistrona nodded and her sense in Ashla was happy now. “Face each other, please.” The two did and Majistrona crossed all four of her arms so that each claw that had been on one was now on the other and the arms connected them in an intricate, living web. Majistrona nodded to Miriam and she smiled.

“I love you Cole Shanas as I love no other. All that I am I share with you. I take you to be my husband through health and sickness, through plenty and want, through joy and sorrow, now and forever.” Miriam was crying softly but anyone noticed no one was going to comment.

Without prompting, Cole answered her. “And I love you Miriam Chines as I love no other. All that I am I share with you. I take you to be my wife through health and sickness, through plenty and want, through joy and sorrow, now and forever.”

“The rings?” Majistrona opened her arms slightly and Saria came forward with Juli. Both girls extended the pillows that held the rings towards the recipients. Majistrona spoke again. “From time immemorial, rings have symbolized unions. No beginning and no ending. Ordinarily, these kinds of rings are made of gold alloy, to symbolize eternity. But for two very special people, we made a very special exception. Istara.”

“I am ready, Majistrona.” Istara took a step forward and nodded as Juli winked at her. “Crazy girl…” The Bladeborn said in a tone that would go no further than Juli’s ears. She extended her hands to where the couple held the osmium alloy rings, covering each with a palm. A powerful pulse of energy was felt throughout the room even by people who didn’t have the Force, and all the Force users in the room stiffened as power sang from Istara’s hands. But then it vanished as if it had never been. As Istara retracted her hands, all eyes in the room were drawn to the rings which were… glowing blue? “There we go.”

“Istara…Ah…” Miriam stared at the glowing ring of light in her hand.

“It won’t hurt you, Miriam. Go ahead.” Istara said with a smile as she returned to her place.

“Ooookay…” Miriam shook her head, obvious wanting to touch the ring to see if it burned her, then she grinned. It hadn’t burned her palm. “With this ring, I wed thee.” She took the glowing ring and slipped it over Cole’s finger.

Cole stared at the glowing ring for a moment before nodding and following suit. “I give you this ring to symbolize my commitment to you. Now and forever.” Miriam’s ring slid on as if greased and the two held hands, the light from their rings mingling. The light glowed brightly for a moment, and then went out, but there remained just the hint of bluish light at each hand.

“Miriam, Cole, I pronounce you man and wife.” Majsistrona spoke in the silence that followed. “What we have put together, let no one tear asunder. You may kiss your bride.” Majistrona retracted her arms and the entire chamber erupted in applause as Cole, needing no further urging, did his public duty to his new wife.
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
08.13.2012 , 07:16 AM | #8
Istara woke up suddenly aware of something dreadfully wrong. She had been dancing with Cole. She remembered that. Miriam had insisted, even though Istara had begged and pleaded that she didn’t dance well. Which was technically a lie, but she hadn’t felt very good. It had started after she had imbued Cole and Miriam’s rings with power. Just a simple glow and it wouldn’t last forever, but flashy enough to show how much she cared for both her friends. She had gone towards the punch bowl that Will had been guarding to keep any miscreants from spiking it with alcohol. The last thing anyone needed was short tempers on such a day. With so many dangerous people in one place at one time with differing allegiances, tempers were frayed enough. Then… It got fuzzy. Had she fallen? Was she sick? Was she still hurt? She didn’t feel any pain... but… She had been suppressing her pain for so long it… Wait a second! What the hell? She couldn’t feel her fingers and toes! She struggled, fighting the leaden feeling that suffused her and then a startled voice came to her ears.

“Istara… Easy… Easy…” A gentle hand swabbed her forehead with something soft, wiping away the sweat she barely felt. She knew the voice. “Shhh… Istara… We just got Ona to bed…We don’t want her to wake up.”

“Ashla Ti?” Istara could barely make herself heard. “What the heck?” The last thing she remembered, the Togruta Jedi Seer had been against one wall at the reception, with a group of Jedi. Jina Darkstorm, Ashla Ti, Diseree Mak, Michael Jonal, and Markus Sigmundson had all been in attendance at the wedding. “Where am I?” Istara asked, trying not to quaver as she tried to open her eyes and they wouldn’t. “I can’t feel my fingers or toes…”

“At the moment, you are floating in a shallow pool of nutrients. You are hooked up to monitors and IV lines as well as oxygen. The lack of feeling in your extremities is due to the…” The Jedi seer sighed. “Well… Ona explained it to me. But I didn’t understand half of what she said. Basically you seriously overdid it.” Now the Jedi’s tone was disapproving. “You could have killed yourself making those rings glow, Istara. There are easier ways.”

“She is my friend.” Istara said as she turned her head slightly. She paused as something moved with it. An oxygen mask? Probably. She cast out with her senses and found Ashla Ti sitting beside her. And on the other side, a sad form sat. “Diseree…?” A small hand came and traced her jaw gently, softly.

“You are not the only one in pain, Istara. You are not the only one scared of this. Of what is coming. Not just with the machines, but this plague and everything…” Diseree Mak’s sense in Ashla was a small, sad thing. Of course the human girl who sat beside her was not the being who inhabited the body. Diseree Mak had started as a Kel Dor, and through an odd series of events, had wound up with her spirit transferred into a human body. “You are not the only one who misses him. No, I am not his lover. But he was my friend.”

Is, Diseree.” Istara’s voice was cold. “Idjit isn’t dead.”

“I know.” The girl said quietly. “But you don’t know what he did or why. You need to understand. You won’t believe me. But I know someone you will believe. Someone who can talk to you while your body recuperates. Jainine, we are ready… ” Istara struggled, trying to open her eyes, trying to move, but gentle hands held her down and her strength was fading rapidly. Another voice spoke from nearby, but there was no physical presence for the kind female voice. Istara knew that voice!

“Istara… No… You need to recover… You need… to sleep…” Lethargy was pulling at her, and despite her best efforts, she was pulled into the waiting blackness.

Istara came back to herself standing on a wide open plain. But it was not the gray, featureless rolling place that the seers could go to. No… This place was verdant, grass carpeted the ground and living things all around. She shook her head, bemused. Her sister self, Sharlina, appeared beside her.

“Is this my… our… mind…?” She asked softly.

“No, it isn’t.” The voice she remembered from before answered her and a female form clad in familiar armor appeared nearby. Both Istara and Sharlina tensed and had hands on weapons, but the newcomer did not move or act hostile in any way. “Hello Istara. Hello, Sharlina. Come sit…” She sat down where she had been standing and smiled at the two. But her smile was melancholy. “This is… a mess…”

“Jainine…?” Istara said softly. Jainine Korr had been a seer of the Bladeborn. She had been one of the Elders of a hidden colony that the Bladeborn had run on the world called Kuria. It had been attacked and wiped out by another sect of Bladeborn. Jainine had been taken and enslaved, her spirit trapped inside a crystal. She had been rescued… sort of anyway. “What is going on?”

“Please…sit…” Jainine Korr asked quietly. “You are in no danger. Your physical body is in no danger. You just exhausted yourself. Given time and care you will wake with no ill effects. Luckily, as soon as Majistrona realized just how tired you were, we managed to get some of your Bladeborn to get you to Medical before you collapsed. No one else knows. Will, Mira, Michelle, and Jina have guessed, but they are not saying anything. Your loyalty to each other among the Seven is remarkable…” Istara shook her head and sat as directed. Sharlina snarled and remained standing. Jainine snickered. “Now, now, young lady… watch the language…” A strangled laugh came from Sharlina and then she sat as well, but kneeling so as to be ready to move at a moment’s notice. Jainine shook her head slowly, her long brown hair falling in waves. “I remember you, Sharlina. So young, so angry…So good…I am sorry I couldn’t help you.”

“Wasn’t your fault.” Sharlina said quietly. “I was doomed to self destruct anyway.”

“No, you were not.” Jainine corrected her gently. “What that scum Amrig did to you was unforgivable. Why he did it was worse. And the fact is, it was totally unnecessary.” Istara felt her eyes go wide, and she saw Sharlina’s eyes go wide as well. Jainine sighed deeply. “You need to understand everything Istara and Sharlina, both of you. What has happened and why.” Istara and Sharlina shared a glance, and then both moved to sit more naturally in front of the elder Bladeborn spirit. “Better…” Jainine let out a great sigh. “What do you know about the Seven?”

“Basically, only that there are seven of us.” Istara said with a grimace. “We are supposed to either save the galaxy or destroy it.”

“That is pretty much it.” Jainine agreed. “I have talked with Majistrona and various other Sitolon since I was… well, rescued isn’t the right word… Recovered is, I think. Since I am still stuck in the crystal.”

“Why are you?” Sharlina asked softly. “Your body is here, the crystal is here. Why have you not returned to it? I know the Sitolon can do it.”

“You may not understand this, Sharlina, but I bet Istara will.” Jainine said with sad look on her face. “How long have I been out of that body?” Istara’s indrawn breath was the answer that Jainine was waiting for. “Indeed. They grew a new personality inside my old body, an innocent personality. She has no idea what is going on or why. Do I kill her to take back what was mine? Is it mine now? I died, Istara, Sharlina. Is it my right to steal another life even though I willingly and knowingly threw my spirit into the Force to escape?” Jainine shook her head. “No… My time as a mortal is done. I can advise. But I did die. What is done is done. Now we have to worry about the future, not the past”

“Nia is going to freak.” Istara said in the silence that ensued after Jainine’s quiet speech.

“Nia… Nia is going to have problems, Istara. Darmuk is doing everything he can to twist her.” Jainine’s face was stricken now. “I can’t help her; all I can do is watch.”

“Do you know where she is?” Istara asked quickly but Jainine shook her head. “Jainine… I…”

“Istara… Listen. Events have been put into motion. Things have started to roll. That is why Idjit left you. He knew it would hurt you. He knew exactly how badly this would hurt you. But he had no choice.” Jainine leaned forward to look Istara in the eyes and the Bladeborn felt her eyes brimming. “He did what he did to save us all, Istara. But you need to focus on what needs to be done now. If this Force plague is not stopped, it won’t matter if the machines come or not. None of us will be around to see them devour everything. One thing at a time, Istara.”

“You know…” Sharlina scoffed. “For a descendant of the Jedi Exile, I would have thought you would be more thinking about family.”

“I am not descended from the Jedi Exile.” Jainine said quietly.

What?” Istara felt the blood leave her face as she stared at the spirit. “The Jedi believe you are.”

“I am not responsible for what the Jedi believe. Close minded idiots that they are.” Jainine said with a smirk. “I may have um… encouraged that fallacy…on occasion. But all we were was guardians of the Book. My ancestry is a bit more convoluted. The seers knew the truth all along and played along.”

“Can you explain?” Istara asked carefully. This was flying in the face of all that she had thought she knew about Jainine. She had thought that Jainine was a descendant of the Jedi Exile, the Jedi who had bested Darth Traya, Darth Sion and Darth Nihilus before vanishing to search for the lost Jedi Master Revan.

“It was… a mask of sorts.” Jainine said quietly. “The colony on Kuria was set up by the Bladeborn, by Trugoy over five hundred years ago. Backward world, off the beaten path, good place to hide, right?”

“Yeah…” This from Sharlina.

“A Jedi Master crashed on Kuria over three hundred years ago. She was badly hurt, and pursued by sinister forces.” Jainine sighed and then smiled. “Actually, she can explain it better than I can.”

A new form appeared standing behind Jainine. A red haired female human wearing Jedi robes over light armor. Her brown eyes twinkled as she smiled at Istara. “Dang, woman! You do look like me, don’t you?”

“Who are you…?” Istara asked, taking in the woman’s double bladed lightsaber, blaster pistol and the odd device strapped to her forearm.

“Istara Andal, Sharlina, meet Mira…” Istara felt her eyes go incredibly wide at that and Sharlina strangled an oath. Mira had started as a bounty Hunter on Nar Shaddaa until she had been recruited by the Jedi Exile and then trained as a Jedi. Jainine smiled at them. “My ancestor.”

“Yeah, well… everyone has an off day…” Mira grinned at the Bladeborn’s expressions. “Hey, how was I supposed to know you were evil scum? You certainly didn’t act it…Took me a while to recuperate, and how was I supposed to know that Mical had left me with a kid? We slept together once. Once.” Istara felt her mouth fall open at that and Mira snickered. “What? You were expecting some great and noble destiny trash? I am with Jolee Bindo on that. Swirling Force is just swirling Force sometimes.”

“And sometimes… It is something else interfering.” Jainine sighed softly. “You just happened to sleep with him, once. You just happened to crash on Kuria and not kill yourself or your unborn child. You just happened to birth my ancestor and leave him with the people there to be raised. You just happened to be related to one of Will’s ancestors who was a Mandalorian.” Jainine shook her head. “Pure coincidence. All of that.”

“Well… When you put it like that…” Mira’s Force ghost sighed. “No… Not coincidence. We were set up, from WAY back.”

“By who?” Istara asked softly.

“Who do you think, Istara.” Jainine asked sourly.

“Oh… crap…” This from Sharlina.

“Yep. The Sitolon have been monkeying with us for a long time.” Jainine sighed. “Maybe they will tell you why. They keep stonewalling me.”

“I think I will have a talk with Majistrona as soon as I wake up.” Istara smiled grimly, but then shook herself. “Until then… can we… talk?”

“Sure.” Jainine nodded, but Mira sighed and vanished. “She can’t stay long. Duties and all. You understand. What do you want to know?”

“I don’t know how to ask this…” Istara started but broke off as Jainine shook her head.

“I can’t interfere with what is going to happen with your sister.” Jainine stopped as Istara shook her head.

“I wanted to know if my mom was all right. If I hurt her the last time she appeared to me. I…” Istara felt her eyes burn and suddenly she felt arms surround her. Sharlina was holding her as she wept. “I was such a dunce, when I was younger…”

“Your mother loves you, Istara. Very much.” Jainine’s voice was soft as she came close and a waft of air passed across Istara’s hair, brushing it as if hand had. “Be at peace, Istara. I think you will see her again. But she does love you.” Istara buried her face in her sister self’s shoulder and cried.
My stories in order:
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kalenath
08.13.2012 , 07:21 AM | #9
“So… This was all a setup?” Sharlina asked as she held Istara’s sobbing form.

“Define setup.” Jainine said quietly from where she sat. “The Sitolon are trying to fix their mistake, and preserve their future and the future of the galaxy. At least they are gentle about it.”

“What did you mean when you said that what Amrig did to us ’wasn’t necessary’?” The nasty part of Istara Sharlina Andal’s mind asked quietly.

“Maybe you are ready to hear this. Maybe not.” Jainine shook her head and then nodded to the pair of women who were two souls in one body. “The Sith took you from your mother, like they do all Force sensitive children. Amirg was supposed to prepare you, the group of you, to attend the academy when you came of age at 14. He didn’t.”

“You don’t have to tell me that.” Sharlina said with a snarl. “I was there.”

“Were you?” Jainine asked softly. “What is your first memory, Sharlina?”

“Huh?” Sharlina stared at the Force ghost. “What has that got to do with…?” She paused as Jainine sighed. “Whatever. Um…” She shivered a little. “The students were pitted against each other in an obstacle course. Each of us had a training saber. Amirg’s apprentice, Con, was a nasty piece of work. He abused the other students. But he left me alone… Until that day…”

“What do you remember?” Jainine pressed. “Not what Istara remembers, although it seems you can access her memories. Which figures, since you are the same person, if split. What do you remember, Sharlina?”

“I…I was nine. The training was hard, but I was doing well. The students, all eight of us who had survived Amrig’s initiations, were put into an arena with training sabers and told to get out of it. We were not told he had filled it with hungry animals.” Sharlina shook her head. “I was down… I hadn’t tripped. I know that. Then Con… He was looming over me… He was… I couldn’t move! I was…” To her horror, she started to sob.

“Sharlina?” Istara’s voice was worried. “What? I don’t remember this…I went to that course and…” She blinked. “You took over, didn’t you?”

“You were in pain, Istara.” Sharlina shook her head savagely. “You were so scared. He was coming, and he was fumbling with his pants. You couldn’t move. He had hit you with something, I think it was the Force. I had to do… something…”

“I don’t…” Istara froze in place, her face going slack. “Oh my god… What did I do?”

“Istara… calm…” Jainine’s voice was soothing, gentle. “Sharlina… calm. It is the past. You cannot change that. Memories can hurt. But they cannot kill you unless you let them.”

“I… No! Please…” Sharlina’s voice was childlike now. “Please don’t make me see. Don’t make me remember!” Istara stared at her mental twin and then, with a wordless cry embraced the other her.

“You need to see this.” Jainine’s voice was irresistible. “You need to face what happened.” The plain around them changed. Suddenly, it was all stark, grim stone and walls. Blood and more horrible things coated many of the surfaces. Screams and cries of terror came from all around.

Sharlina curled up on herself, and Istara held her as she looked around wildly. “This is…” She broke off as a young girl came around the corner, a training saber in hand. It was HER! A growl sounded from nearby and the young Istara spun, saber at the ready. A young Tuk’ata dashed at her, but the young Istara’s form was perfect. It snarled and charged, only to meet the point of the girl’s training saber in its throat and fall dead. The girl shook herself and started off, only to freeze in place. A dark shrouded form appeared from the shadows.

“You are such a persistent thorn, Istara Andal.” The young human in Sith robes was sneering as he approached. “So strong and at the same time, so stupid. Did you really think you could get away with shaming me in front of my master? I think it is about time you learned you place!” Con made a gesture and his lightsaber ignited with the distinctive snap hiss of red energy. “The Force stasis will hold you until I am done.” A gesture for the Force and her robe fell open in back, exposing her flesh. “Let’s see… Hmmm… I think… Here…” The apprentice swept the very tip of his saber across the helpless girl’s lower back and the skin started to smoke and burn from the intense heat. Istara cried out and her hand went to her back, where an old lightsaber scar still resided. The image froze and Jainine’s kind voice was heard.

“Shh… Istara, it’s just a memory. But you need to see.” Jainine’s voice faded and Istara could only watch in horror as the scene unfolded.

“Now you bear my mark… You are mine. As a matter of fact…” His lightsaber deactivated and he smiled evilly at her. “I think you and I will get better acquainted. Oh, are you scared, girl? You should be.” Cone lowered the frozen girl to the dirt and started undoing the rest of her robes. “Humiliating me in front of my master. So what if I tumbled that unwilling wench? She had it coming. As you do. You holier than thou witch!” Con laughed delightedly. “What is this? Tears? Oh the ice queen melteth indeed. I will warm you up! Get ready…”

But suddenly, Con’s superior attitude seemed to fail as the girl he was manhandling looked at him and he froze in place. A strong hand on a man’s genitals will do that to anyone even remotely sane.

“You are never going to do that to another girl, ever again.” The voice of the girl he had been about to molest was icy cold. Blue white electricity arced from her fingers and a squeal sounded from Con. But it all stopped as a loud voice sounded from nearby.

“What is this?” A dark cloaked figure strode from the shadows and took in the scene at a glance. “Finally met your match, Con? Now, now, girl. None of that.” Sith Lord Amirg stepped forward and carefully removed the girl’s frozen hand from his apprentice’s nether regions. “Con. Begone. We shall speak… anon.” The apprentice rose and, without a word or backward glance, fixed his robes and left. The Sith Lord looked at the girl and shook his head. “You…are an enigma. You mother is a pain in the butt. But you… There is something odd about you. Who are you girl? Speak.”

“My name is Istara Andal.” The girl slurred the words out as if drugged. Or drunk.

“I know that.” The Sith said with a quick flip of an impatient hand. “But… Hmmm…” He nodded slowly and laid a gentle seeming hand on Istara’s head. The Istara watching made a strangled sound that was matched by the Istara in the vision. “What is this…? Two minds? One soft and weak, the other hard and strong? And what …” Suddenly the Sith Lord’s demeanor changed. “No…” He breathed. “It can’t be…”

The girl under his hand started to tremble and then to drool, but his hand didn’t move. Finally, it retracted and the girl collapsed in a heap. The Sith looked at her dispassionately and then nodded.

“Training is done for today. All surviving students are to report to the barracks.” His gaze fell on Istara who shivered. “You… will report to me for ‘advanced’ training when your classes are done. You should be honored, child. You are going to save us all. Whether you want to or not.” With that, he swept away, leaving the girl to shiver in the dirt of the arena.

Istara was shuddering, Sharlina was crying. Both were barely coherent as they reappeared in the grassy clearing. Jainine sat nearby, her face sad.

“Easy, girls, easy. It’s over and done with. You saved Istara, Sharlina. The only way you could. And you took the ‘treatments’ that Amrig gave you without flinching. He discounted Istara, but tried to program her anyway. Idiot. He never tried to program you, Sharlina.” Jainine’s voice held pride and sorrow. “You didn’t remember them, after he was killed, did you?”

“No.” Sharlina’s voice was muffled by Istara’s shoulder where her head was pillowed. “All I felt…was anger… I just… I couldn’t…Why did he do that? Program me to kill my mother?”

“Ah, Sharlina…” Jainine’s voice was sour now. “I gave up trying to figure out why other people do things a long, long time before I died. But if I had to hazard a guess... It was because of your sister. There is… a great divide in her future paths. One way, she becomes a great light, a beacon of hope a bringer of peace and healing. The other… Death walking. You know what she can do, what Darmuk and others wanted her for.”

“Yes…” Istara and Sharlina said in unison and then they looked at each other and smiled. “We will help her.”

“You will do your best, of that I have no doubt.” Jainine said quietly. “But the future is always in motion. And speaking of the future… You must be strong, Istara, Sharlina. You have been tested, but your tests are only beginning. The Seven are rising, and the galaxy will quake at their footsteps.” She paused as Istara snickered. “What?”

“The galaxy already trembles at Will’s footsteps.” Sharlina looked at her sister self and both shared a sour laugh with the Force spirit. But then Jainine sighed.

“Will is not going to survive what is coming. You saw… part of it.” The seer’s voice was sad, but then again, she had loved the man and borne him a daughter.

“I know he is dying. That he is in almost constant pain.” Istara shook her head slowly. “He is an ally, and a powerful ally he is. But… I had a vision of him charging a fleet, with the Stormhawk all but destroyed around him. It… It wasn’t clear. I woke up right after he opened fire the last time. He said… Oh no…” Istara breathed a horrified breath.

“Yes.” Jainine nodded. “Now you understand the true burden of a seer. You are not one, but you share some gifts, and curses with us. Do we tell his wife that she is going to die? Or do we not? We don’t know how she is going to die or when, just that she is, and that will push Will completely over the edge.” Istara shook her head, horrified, but remained silent.

“That is a definition of mortal.” Sharlina was shaking her head. “Knowing you are going to die, but not when, where or how.”

“Indeed.” Jainine sighed deeply and then nodded slowly. “Istara, Sharlina… I need your word. I am going to show you everything. Everything we have seen, everything we suspect. But you cannot tell anyone. You will understand why when you see.”

“Then why tell us?” Istara put it into words for both of her selves.

“Because you need to know. As grandmaster of your order, you must know what is coming, and why. Why Idjit did what he did, to save us all.” Jainine shook her head as forms started appearing behind her. Ashla Ti, Diseree, other forms in brown robes and black.

“I don’t want to know, do I?” Istara said quietly.

“No. You don’t.” This from Diseree who walked forward to stand right in front of Istara before kneeling. “But you must… Your word, Istara, Sharlina.”

“And if I cannot give it?” Istara asked in a tone of quiet dread. Diseree shook her head.

“Then you will wake up, with no memory of this. Slightly saddened, but with no idea why.” The young looking human female was almost in tears. “And then we are doomed. All of us.”

Istara looked around at all the forms in black and brown that surrounded her now and swallowed loudly. She looked at Sharlina who sighed and held out her hands. Istara took them and the pair spoke in unison.

“By blood and by steel, I will keep this confidence close. May my own blade end me if I transgress.” The pair froze as another voice spoke up.

“Good girl.” A black robed form strode forward and lowered his hood.

You!” Both Istara and Sharlina jumped to their feet, blades in hand. “This was all a trick!” The former Bladeborn known as Morey shook his head sadly. They of course had known him first as Ravishaw.

“No it’s not, Istara, Sharlina. I don’t have lot of time before I get yanked back to the master’s not so kindly embrace.” The man formerly known as Ravishaw was speaking without insane laughter, with deep sadness in his voice. He was…Was he crying? Yes he was! “You must know… and you mustn’t tell anyone, even the rest of the Seven.”

“You think I am going to keep this from them? Traitor!” Sharlina lunged, but her blade suddenly stopped, blocked by a yellow lightsaber in the hands of Diseree.

“We don’t have time for this.” Diseree’s voice was cold. “We don’t have time to be gentle.” Black and brown robed forms grabbed both Sharlina and Istara. Both women struggled but hands held them in gentle, but firm grips. “You won’t remember most of this until you need to. But ‘See’…” Her lightsaber vanished and she reached out and touched both women on the head. Both women screamed and collapsed. Diseree went to her knees beside them, her face stricken as many of the black and brown robed forms started vanishing. “I am sorry…” The girl said as she wept beside the still forms of Istara and Sharlina, “I am so sorry… We didn’t have a choice, not now…”

“Come Diseree. We have to get back before Istara wakes.” Her master took her arm gently and led her from the slumped pair. They took two steps and vanished. The back robed form of the man formerly known as Ravishaw sighed sadly.

“I am also sorry Jainine. I wanted otherwise. I tried to die, tried to fight… I couldn’t…Of all the people in the galaxy, I never wanted to hurt you, or him, or her…” His face was stricken as he raised his hood again, covering it.

“I know, Morey. You need to get back. Things will be slow until the plague is dealt with, if it is.” Jainine said as she knelt down beside the two sleeping woman and their hair ruffled a little. “Then… things will happen fast.”

“Should have just let me kill that shutta Darmuk…” The man groused as he vanished.
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
08.13.2012 , 07:27 AM | #10
“If we had… matters would be even worse, wouldn’t they Kaosis?” Jainine asked the empty air and then an older form of Istara appeared, her face stricken. Istara’s mother was in tears as she knelt by the still forms that were her daughter’s minds. Jainine sighed. “We had to do it, Kaosis… For what it is worth, I am sorry…”

Kaosis Andal’s voice was angry. “You hurt my baby. How am I supposed to feel?”

“The same as I do to when I see what that scum Darmuk is doing to my own daughter.” Jainine said in a tone of iron. “We can’t interfere. Such is the life and afterlife of seers.” She bowed her head. “We want to, but we cannot interfere. That is the curse of seers. But we had to do something.”

“Yeah, right…” Kaosis Andal was not mollified. “You did not have to do anything. You chose to tell her what you did. Instead of having faith, you meddle with no idea of the consequence. A lesson I learned in painful ways. You hurt my little one for no reason other than to try and assure yourself she would do the right thing. Surely you know the lesson that fighting visions sometimes brings them to life."

"We didn't have a choice, Kaosis..." Jainine was slumped, drained. "You of all people know we didn't have a choice...IF she makes the wrong choice, through lack of knowledge... You know what we saw... If we didn't do this, every single possibility was bad and worse... She will hate us, no question. And we deserve it. But she will be alive."

"So your answer is to make her freak out and fear it? You pull on strings like a puppet master. There are some fates far worse than death, and just because you see does not mean you know better than anyone else. It is her choice and you should leave it to her, have faith in her or the Force if you must." The scorn in Kaosis Andal’s voice could have cut steel.

"You have a right to be angry with us. But we are not the puppet masters here." Jainine sighed softly. "We gave her information, no more than that."

"Funny, Idjit got information and look what it did.” Kaosis’ voice was so cold as to freeze a star in its tracks. “Unhinged her far worse than anything. You people stress your lives so much, ready to simply die for another. Mindless of what that might do to others and the ripples it makes. All of you have so much worth dying for. Do a single one of you have anything worth living for?"

"I wish I knew..." Jainine said quietly and sadly. "Maybe we were wrong. But she needed the information. She needed to know why Idjit did what he did. She was coming apart at the seams, Kaosis. We couldn't just stand there and watch! her fail." Now the other Force ghost was crying. "She is such a great girl and she was going off the deep end. We had to do something."

"So let her." Kaosis stated with a maternal sigh of a mother watching her children go into the world and knowing the horrors that would shape them. "It is only in falling do you learn if you can fly."

"She did!" Jainine screamed aloud. "You didn't see her! She did fall!" The former Bladeborn seer was babbling now. "She was such a great kid, so hurt, so twisted, so... So..." She bowed her head and ghostly tears fell to vanish before they hit Istara's slack face.

"She fell so hard... She was falling again. Neither she nor Sharlina remembers, thank the Maker." Jainine shook her head slowly. "Maybe I was wrong to love her. Maybe I was stupid to love her. I don't care. She would have self destructed, and taken the Bladeborn with her. The Seven would have fallen...Idjit's sacrifice would have been meaningless." Jainine's voice was soft now, sick. "I watched her die not once, but three times, Kaosis Andal. Not in dreams, not in visions, for real. Twice by her own hand! We brought her back each time, and it hurt so much. Don’t tell me about falling and flying! Don't you dare!"

“And did it not occur to a single one of you...that her fall happened because of Idjit's sacrifice? Stupid boy..." Kaosis sighed deeply and shook her head slowly. “And as I said...there are worse fates than death."

"No...He wasn’t stupid." Jainine said softly. "He knew. We knew. He knew if he didn't go, right then, and do what he did, right then... She would have killed all the Imperials on the Sitolon ship. They killed the Sitolon she knew as Nana, Kaosis. Someone she loved. How would she have reacted? And then the Imperials would have fought her, the entire Empire, Kaosis. She could not have won, and she would not have cared." She grimaced. "Not to mention what Will would have done if the Imperials had hurt or killed his son. I love that man... But he scares the flarg out of me sometimes..."

"You expect her to change now? She is a creature of death and war, which is what the Empire and the Bladeborn created of her. It did nothing but delay the inevitable. How much can even the hardest of soldiers take before they snap? All you are doing is delaying and heaping the body count higher for when she crumbles." The non-Bladeborn seer could have been carved from ice for all the emotion she was showing. But it was clear she was no less incensed than Jainine.

"No." Jainine smiled sadly. "What I am doing is delaying the change that she will undergo until she is ready for it. Until it will not destroy her. You see... I do love her. I have since I first met her. She is not just a creature of war and death. She is so much more now. You know this. She loves, she feels, she cares, she..." Jainine shook her head. "She is exactly what the Bladeborn need, and she is what the galaxy as a whole needs."

Kaosis sighed. Why did these fools have to make things so complicated? "That is my point. The Force sees to the galaxy's needs. If you remove Istara from the equation it's plan will still go on. Istara is a person as well as a soldier, no one cannot be what they are. Both of my children though suffer from their lives being meddled in. Instead of preparing them, people sought to control them. It had crippled them in ways people do not see but is as terrible as losing a limb. Istara will change yes, but will lose how much of herself in the process is the question and no one but her can answer that."

"I know. But other people have denied Istara information that she truly needed." Jainine sighed deeply and stepped away from the still forms at her feet. "I wish there had been another way. There wasn't. For the first time in my life, all of the possibilities I saw said the exact same thing. We couldn't let her do it. We couldn't let her throw her life away for nothing... She was going to go to Drummond Kaas after Idjit. You know what would have happened." Jainine froze. "She is waking... I shouldn't be here..." She vanished as if she had never been.

"Mom..." A soft and scared voice sounded from the ground. "Have I made a mess again?"

Kaosis gave a small smile for her eldest. "No dear...Just everyone else making them now."
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here