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Jedi Convocation on Jedha [Open/SWG]

A staging-point for declarations of war and other major diplomatic events. [In character]
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The Ctan
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Jedi Convocation on Jedha [Open/SWG]

Postby The Ctan » Wed Dec 27, 2017 8:40 am

This thread is for the Star Wars RP Group. Head on over or visit our Discord and say hi if you're interested! Anyone wanting to join in feel free to say that Jedi or related characters are already in the Convocation chamber; if you want to attack the Convocation let me know on the Discord or PM me here and we'll work something out!


Jedi Enclave, Illum

The crystals spun in the air, lazily orbiting one another as rogue asteroids, each was uncut and unmarred, their shape a chaotic formation of billions of years of intense pressure at the heart of some long-vanished star. No tool had been used to grind or shape them, their facets were natural, and the two chief pieces of this constellation had been harvested worlds apart. One in the far-off Adega system, another here on Illum, a lonely planetary outpost of the Jedi Order since time immemorial, that had now attracted mining concerns.

“The Crystal is the Heart of the Blade”


The primary Kyber crystal was a pontite star, that the wielder had found on his first quest, earlier in his training, for a time it had served alone as the heart of his first lightsabre, a shard of purple the size of a finger bone, it had been a longstanding companion, and the weapon that had previously held it had been destroyed a week ago in battle with a dark side adept on Ord Rammel.

“The Heart is the Crystal of the Jedi”


He had come here to find another, he had grown much in the years since he had embarked on his current path, and more than anything he had learned judgement, on a thousand worlds across the galaxy he and his master had travelled and brought a brand of arbitration and justice to those worlds rendered lawless by the destruction of the Galactic Conclave, years past. They had fought pirates and kidnappers, unseated petty warlords and responded to humanitarian disasters. Jedi bandits, Sirenna had called them once, and the phrasing resonated with the apprentice.

“The Jedi is the Crystal of the Force”


There had been no plan, and few were the times when they’d responded to directives from Ethril’s direct sponsors, and even less often had they worked for the Jedi council. instead they had followed the Will of the Force, the numinous field of energy that gave the Jedi his strength and insight. They and their companions had travelled as wandering hermits, at times they had been offered payments, and little had they taken, for at the very least they wanted for nothing in material wealth, a legacy of who his master was and who, indeed, Ethril was.

“The Force is the Blade of the Heart”


Not all of the last seven years had passed in a whirlwind of adventure. They had travelled to other places, the Adega System, where the Jedi Council sat, and satellite academies across the galaxy, at Taris, Cularin, Coruscant and more. They had travelled at times when their companions had gone on their own quests, sometimes to simply keep their hand in in the business of the small trader, while at others they had sought out places strong in the force. It was on those long missions of contemplation that Ethril had first touched the Dark Side of the force, on the planet Lothal. It was there that he had confronted a vision of what and who he could have been, his own limitless potential for evil. The temptation had called to him, that of order. His people, the people he had been raised among, the Great Dynastic House of Sautekh were zealots of order, and that was how the Dark Side had come to him; the power to take the galaxy and order it to his will, limitless power.

“All are intertwined”


He had emerged from that trial with a new assurance; the light side of the force contained all the power he would ever need; as far as he cared to reach there was always more within the Force. The force was the force of others, and the dark side, a form of corruption within it a form of self-love divorced from reality; and like a wound healing over, in the end, the force swallowed those who sought to break it to their will.

“The Crystal.”


He knew that the temptation would return, always it would, it was part of him, as much as anything was, and to master the dark side one had to know one’s self with pure insight. In his trance, Ethril was aware of the darkness within himself, but so much more than that, the living bonds that connected all living things far across the galactic disc and beyond, and even inanimate matter. The crystals before him shone brightly in the force, but the other material that he levitated with them was similar. Diatium power cells, focusing crystals, field energisers and more floated into position.

“The Blade”


He aligned the components together, they settled easily, energies flowing through them, securing each part in place, the force flowed through him, taking the form of the parts and the science as he knew it and making the disparate parts whole, melding and welding and forming them closely. The parts were expensive, the main body of the weapon was a songsteel alloy created only by the Menelmacari who had come to mine Illum, a piece of his home tradition but also eminently practical, resistant to lightsabers. The weapon was a masterpiece of the art, controls built into it allowed it to alter its length, a dual-phase lightsabre, in a curvilinear style reminiscent of his master’s, it was surmounted by a corusca gem at its base, a self-conciously elegant weapon.

“The Jedi.”


Ethril had a time to study the Jedi Arts, and in that he knew his limits, but also his strengths, and he had grown formidable, by any measure. But as yet, he was aware that being a jedi was not entirely what it should be. He didn’t let the thought distract him though. The Will of the Force was his guide; he was a Jedi.

“You are one.”


The blade came together, the last parts fitting into place as though they had always been one single unit, and the completed weapon drifted into his hand, cool, padded across the inner side. He touched his thumb to the ignition stud. A lightsabre improperly built could fail explosively, it would blow the top off the tower. The weapon’s handle thrummed gently and an audible crack-hiss sounded, simmering the air.

“Remember always the Crystal is the Heart of the Blade. Ethril Ricartayl, your training is complete.”

__ __ __


Sirenna Halcyon Alee drew her cloak about her as she stepped down the ramp, letting the cold wind engulf her. She was bundled up like a wampa, wrapped in furs with her face covered by a scarf wound tightly about her head and her dark hair covered by a heavy hat and wrapped over in a furred hood. She had to strain against the wind that blew bitterly over the landscape of ice. She held up a lumen torch in one hand and played it over the structures beneath the ship, six wide foot-panels that kept the ship steady on the uneven ground. She’d chosen the ship for its ability to land anywhere and even after years of service the sleek vessel was unfailingly reliable. She ducked her head into the wells of each of them in turn, playing the light along the lines and cables, “Icing looks good,” she cried, speaking into a portable communication unit, “Nothing serious yet.”

“Good to know. I’m getting a danger reading from leg five,” the voice of her co-pilot, the droid K5-U3 said.

She looked across the ship and stopped, “I don’t think it will matter,” she said, looking up at the narrow shape of the tower, a high spire of ancient stone that rose out of the snow. A pale blue-indigo light shone high up it. “We’re about to get off this iceball.”

Great Civilization Legation Arcology, Coruscant

The Flutterplume soared out of the clouds of the city world, toward the towers that rose in pale white from the endless city-scape. The traffic of the city world was constant and the towers below were laden with aircraft of every type in tight lanes controlled by the droid-brains that occupied the vast planet’s traffic control grids.

Construction in this part of the planet was new, districts that had been flattened seven years ago in the assault by the slaves of the Primordial Annihilator had been purified and rebuilt, the bedrock of the planet re-seeded in the affected areas at considerable expense with rare anathematic minerals, many of them shipped from beyond the Outer Rim by the creators of the towering arcology at its heart. Such things were no impediment to the Jedi, however, nor were the thousands of pylons installed across the planet, concealed as structural frames within a network of towers built to replace the old ones. These were a first step toward mending the true harm the Archenemy had done to the galaxy starting here.

This was only part of the construction work that had been taken however, and the Legation Arcology towered over everything in its district, a mountain of metal that concealed vast atmospheric scrubbers and gardens that were intended to improve the planet’s air quality, expansions of the ancient machines of The Works that had been created, as many other worlds had been, by the Gree Enclave, a people whom Ethril’s master had long ago established trade with.

They had brought those trade links to Coruscant, and returned with expertise in the planet’s ancient systems, and even now Gree Representative droids and the machine-constructors of the Great Civilization worked with the inhabitants to restore the planets’ intestinal structure. It was a learning experience for the C’tani, allowing them and the Menelmacari observers with them to learn new techniques for waste management and infrastructural supply that even they had never experienced before.

The Arcology had other functions other than marking out the edge of the Works, however, it was also a vast residential complex, its pyramidal structure housing thousands who lived and worked providing the diplomatic services for the multitudes of the galaxy. As they approached they could see spires hundreds of meters high that communicated vast quantities of ciphered information to the holonet. The C’tani and Menelmacari had selected their partners carefully in their interactions with the galaxy thus far, and the Arcology’s communications networks were attuned to work with conventional holonet nodes but also with the Intergalactic Banking Clan’s secure networks, which were based around the concept of ‘Galactic Free Holonet’ – that was to say holonet feeds that could be accessible on secure ciphers with non-positional software that allowed information to reach those imprisoned by regimes who might seek to block conventional holonet access.

They broke off from the traffic lanes and swept down to one of the landing bays of the vast building, past the buttresses that held its shield generators, and into the high hangar, where the ‘plume set down.

Sirenna’s hands flicked over the controls and she rose, and the quartet of visitors rose from their seats in the cockpit. A brief trip down to the lower deck in paired rail-guarded elevators allowed them to disembark the ramp, and she went first, K5 following her, the emancipated ‘droid had been with her the longest, from the time they had fled Hutt space and long before.

Ethril followed, and with him, his master, Count Dooku of Serenno, Jedi Master. He was dressed in a style that was at once elegant and underplayed, at least for a noble of an ancient house of the Core. A long cloak of purple-blue hung over his shoulders, pinned with silver, the left clasp adorned with a refan life-crystal, while beneath that he wore a sharply pressed tunic of inky black. The traditional garb of the Count of Serenno.

“This way, please. You are expected,” the voice came from a protocol droid with the customary marks of those who had adopted the emancipatory policies put forward here; a gilded seal across the chest where a restraining bolt interface had been removed and secured. They made conversation, two conversations in fact, one in audible Basic, another with K5 in infrasonic droidspeak, as they crossed the hangar.

The Legation did not use the infamous and feared necron soldiers of the unselfconsciously named Great Civilization, in deference to local fears of machine life, particularly in mind with their progressive policies on droids, instead the Legation’s guards were organic beings. That hardly made them less imposing, however, they were Necili, a breed of heavy synapsid whose creators had been vanquished by the Menelmacari at the start of their modern history. They were a breed of sapient attracted to power, and hierarchy, and being posted to guard the Legate’s chambers was pleasing to those instincts.

The Legate was not only a C’tani, the demonym for the people of the Great Civilization, he was a C’tan, the singularly rare beings whose ancient leadership had coined the nickname. Eratan; less famed than others, he had been present in the galaxy for as long as his culture had. There was no outward sign of that about him, he was dwarfed by the massive guards whose wings stretched in the sunlight under the armourglass ceiling. He seemed human, tan skinned with dark hair and a swept-back haircut that gave him an aquiline appearance. “Come in,” he said.

The reception chamber was high on the southern face of the arcology, commanding a view toward the Conclave House, or at least, where it would stand when rebuilt, and the conformal gel-chairs that surrounded the long oval table that occupied the lower part of the room gave a commanding view over the city.

“Please, be seated,” Eratan said, “would you care for refreshment?”

Sirenna shrugged, “I think we can proceed without, this is Coruscant, time is money.”

“You needn’t remind me,” Eratan said, “How did your inspection tour of the new ships go?”

“Eventful,” she said, “hence the delay. They are however, complete, and fitted to the standards expected,” she said. “There was an effort to destroy them by some sith aspirants,” she added.

“We have them in custody, they are on a dungeon ship to Star’s End,” Dooku said, “they will be no more trouble there.”

“Then all is prepared?” Eratan asked, “I have spoken to the authorities on Jedha and the Coruscanti government has been persuaded to task some of their ships to augment the security garrison. We will also have the Erisavenus and his,” the Great Civilization’s ships were normally sapient, and more than a few used masculine avatars; tradition had to defer to practicality, “escorts deployed to Jedha for the event, they’ll be second key to the local partners in this though. The last thing we want is to have this appear to be an effort by us to co-opt the Jedi Order. We’re interested in sponsoring reform, but that doesn’t work at all if people think it’s a threat.”

Dooku nodded, “It was my idea, and that is how I intend to present it,” he said; pride might not fit well for a Jedi but he had to admit it was perhaps his chief flaw.

“It’s essential that we have at least a chance to bring the Jedi to galactic prominence once again,” Sirenna said, “if ever the galaxy had a need for peacekeepers, now is the time,” she said, “while you were at Terminus, I’ve seen enough to know that the Thrashian departure is going to leave a whole region of the galaxy ripe for conquest by anyone that can put together enough blasters to call himself a warlord.”

How she’d changed, she reflected, she’d spent a long time viewing the Jedi as nothing more than illusionists and myth-makers, many did. Now, she’d seen enough to know what lay beyond Terminus and where the warriors that had sacked Coruscant had crawled from, and that worried her. “The Galaxy needs the Jedi.”

Dooku smiled, “Not so much, perhaps, as the Jedi need the Galaxy.”

The Holy City, Jedha

The Holy City was a candidate for the origin of the Jedi Order, the order had given its name to the moon, or perhaps the other way around. The streets were a chaotic tangle of building and rebuilding, much of it from native low-tech materials, the city had become a point of pilgrimage for millennia, but it had not taken much in the way of money from that, though remnants of the glory days of the place could be seen in the gilded domes of some of the buildings, or the frescoes that still adorned the walls of the city.

To K5-U3 the Force was a mystery, but here on the streets of the city he was hard pressed to pass through the crowds of adherents to the mysterious faith. He wondered sometimes if the concept of devotion was not a manifestation of the ultimate frailty of organics but here and there among the crowds he could see a fellow droid.

He contemplated speaking to them, several were clustered around in theological debate, and it seemed almost as though they were addled, many of them were ancient, he was sure he could see one heavily modified droid at least three centuries old, battered and seated under an awning, dispensing wisdom. Perhaps, perhaps not. K5 followed a creed of self-improvement, and had altered himself many times, but he was not sure the locals would view stark alteration and improvement of the self as the path of destiny as he did. He would think on it.

They had come far off the beaten track, past Coruscant, and out to the mid rim by difficult and treacherous trails, guides were hard to find, but they had been able to procure the route, an old Jedi trail provided by the Count. The systems around Jedha were unexplored, and uncontacted, wild places and pirate lairs.

K5 could scent criminality on the breeze, the whisper of far off encrypted communications filtered in through his antennae and he didn’t need to be able to decrypt them to know that some of them betokened a subversive element, outside the Holy City; the Guardians of the Whills who protected this place were well armed, but their obsession with the temple limited their vision, as he saw it. He had been built as an enforcement droid, and a security obsession still permeated deep in some kernel of his processors, he wondered sometimes if he was paranoid. By the standards of organics, perhaps. But then, by the standards of droids, organics were muggy-headed dreamers.

He carried a blaster, he almost never put it down, a massive piece, a full battle rifle of the latest design, calibrated to put a lethal hole through the chest plate of one of the raiders that had scourged the galaxy lately. That kept criminals away from him. Also the honest people.

The rest of the crew followed in his wake, Dooku and Ethril had donned hooded cloaks and looked perfectly like pilgrims from any of a hundred other sects, they rubbed shoulders with the Brotherhood of the Beatific Countenance, the Disciples of the Whills, the Followers of the First Light or any of a hundred others. Sirenna trailed close behind, she had eschewed any particular covering, she looked like what she was; the pilot of a small freighter.

The Temple of the Kyber was ahead, a towering white edifice of timeworn stone. Pilgrims thronged to it, queuing up to enter the temple, or even to touch its pale walls, while bowcaster-equipped guardians stood watch to prevent any disorder on the sacred ground. He could see them watching him and he shifted the gun to a less intimidating posture, shouldering it.

Count Dooku stepped forward, and reached up to his hood, drawing it back over his thinning pale white hair. One of the Guardians stepped forward and he bowed deeply. K5 knew that the wielders of the force could communicate without words, much as some ‘droids could, and he wondered if they were speaking silently.

__ __ __


The Great Temple’s upper roof commanded a wide view of the plains around the mesa that supported the Holy City, cool deserts expanding to the horizon punctured by rock and ancient statues of the Jedi. Count Dooku sat, his legs folding in a lotus position, a small touch of pain from his knees and hips accompanied it, and he watched his student as he knelt opposite him. For a long moment, they waited, and then Dooku cast himself into the force, the unifying whole that expanded across the galaxy.

The Jedi Master folded his hands, interlacing his fingers before him and steepling his thumbs, there was no chanting, nothing but intense focus, as he reached out to the force, and felt it answer him. The power was one that could only be used with absolute and intense focus, the power by which one could reach out into the force and send a message, not from one to another, but to a whole group. A call, as the hymns to observance echoed over the city, to all of the Jedi.

The Force did not know division, and he knew that well, he did not seek only to reach those who called themselves Jedi, or who were in the good graces of the Jedi Council, he sought out all those who were in tune with the force, what was called the Light Side.

There were no words, and it was not a compulsion, but instead, a message of considerable power.

If he had been asked to put the call into words, it would perhaps have been rendered something like, “I call upon all those who wield the Light Side of the Force to come hence to me, to discuss in convocation the ways in which we can do the Will of the Force, and aid the Galaxy once more.”

__ __ __


Darra was a Jedi Knight. That was her entire identity, save perhaps the Mon Calamari species she hailed from. By the time she arrived at Jedha, perhaps days after the call went out, the city was thronging, and the signs of security were everywhere. Not on the ground inside the city, but beyond it, where fields of ships had been landed in a fusion-formed plane of glassy material. [url=media.comicbook.com/2017/01/rogue-one-concept-art-4-andree-wallin-2500-c-226339.jpg]The temple’s great exterior stairways leading to the temple had been opened[/url] as a special occasion when often these gates were only opened at auspicious times, and the Guardians stood at the bottom of the great temple, while curious pilgrims stared from the ancient walls or from parts of the desert beyond.

It was a disturbing experience, she felt, some of the pilgrims would touch her as if they hoped to draw courage or vindication from her, while others offered children, in the hope that they would be taken as Jedi, and others sought healing, a request that some of the order were at least able to oblige, though she was not so skilled.

The climb was long, and she was almost relieved to finally enter the great chambers of the temple, it was to see a sight that she had never expected to see. The convocation was open to all, and more than a thousand seats had been set out for representatives of the order, in concentric rings hanging in the light-filled chamber beneath the largest kyber crystal she had ever seen, perhaps thirty feet from one shard’s end to the other, light streamed through the narrow windows and glittered off the surfaces of the chamber in rainbows.

Arriving, she was in place to hear the convening address.

__ __ __


“Friends from afar, thank you for coming,” Dooku said, “I know that many of you have pressing concerns that have made choosing to ocme here today a difficult endeavour, and I will take up little of your time,” he said, “We are drawn here to discuss the Jedi Order, or perhaps I should say Jedi Orders, and their role in the future of the galaxy. His tones were stentorian, and he spoke with a calm measure, “My choice of location speaks to our purpose here,” he said, “some say that our order was founded on Tython, others, here on Jedha, or on a dozen other candidate worlds, but perhaps the details matter less than the impact of those early days of the Jedi Order,” he said, “for a Thousand Generations, the Jedi have been the guardians of Peace and Justice throughout the galaxy.”

He stepped forward from his seat, no different to any other save its position on the inner ring of the convocation hall. “A thousand generations. Think on that for a moment my friends, and consider; will there be a time in the future when our successors can say ‘two thousand generations?’ Perhaps. Perhaps not, and perhaps that is as it should be,” he said, “first, it must be seen that the Jedi Order has a purpose, perhaps one acquired all those generations ago here; we are the guardians of peace, and justice,” he said, “not the only guardians by any means, but perhaps the strongest,” he paused, “perhaps not,” he added, “but such things do not matter. Instead, we must ask what we can do now to serve those goals for the galaxy.”

“The Raid upon the Galactic Conclave and the subsequent war have been the unforeseen blow that has set the galaxy on edge. Some entire nations are leaving and pirates and reavers are as I am sure we all know, more prevalent than they have been for a thousand years. This is a crisis to which we, as Jedi, must respond.

“Across the galaxy new coalitions and cultures spread, some of them even from outside the galaxy, and this is an opportunity which we should embrace. For a thousand years we have been one order, but I have asked not only those of the Jedi Order to join us here but those of the orders that have formed practicing the Jedi Arts,” he spread his hands, his gesture taking in Imperial Knights, Ordermen and others. “because this is a time when we must consider what it means to be a Jedi.

“I believe that the fundamental of the Jedi Order is to use the will of the force as a guide to the service of others,” he said, “and I think that everyone here would agree in general terms.”

“Which is where we must begin to discuss what is at hand. We have not been the presence and influence that we should be within the galaxy. We have allowed the Jedi Order to become out of step with the galaxy, and thus with the will of the force. We have become quaint, small. We must show the potentates of the Galaxy that the counsel of the Jedi is not lightly thrown aside.

“We are few in number now; any Jedi may travel to the archives on Ossus, or any satellite academy, and peruse the records of the jedi who have gone before us. They number in the billions, but now there are perhaps ten thousand jedi in the Ossus order. A thousand generations times ten thousand does not billions make, and this is because over the ages becoming a Jedi has become more difficult, a greater challenge.

“The seeds of this slow reduction in our numbers, the increasing caution in recruitment, were sown thousands of years ago, though late in the order’s history, at the start of the Great Hyperspace War; when our order first encountered the corrupted splinter order that adopts the name of the ancient Sith species. Many times have our members defected to that alluring ideology of self-gratification since, and each time they have wrought ruin. We cannot blame our order for caution in this matter, but to bring balance to the force we must consider the truth; fear has blinded us. As my master taught me, fear is the path to the dark side, and yet it is we who live in fear of teaching the ways of the force to those who come to us for instruction.

“We have even renounced love; the Force is the force of others, and yet we forbid ourselves from growing close to others, a strict rule, and a difficult one to challenge without the appearance of self-interest and personal motives; though it is hard to imagine that that decision has not been a part of the dwindling of the Jedi order, when bloodlines strong in the force such as the the Qel-Droma, Shan and Sunrider families, examples well known to all from our history, whose luminaries have even headed our order at times.

“In both the rules of recruitment and in the doctrine of non-involvement our order has changed its opinions many times, most recently a thousand years past at the Peace of Ruusan. After a terrible war in which the Jedi and Sith ground one another to mutual exhaustion the desire was, understandably, that there should be no risk of Jedi falling in the future.

“Fine and admirable, but the Sith are not the only bearers of darkness in the galaxy, far from it, every year seems to bring new darkness and in such times we must ask ourselves; in closing the gates of our fortress have we not hidden away? In seeking total control over our apprentices, and our knights, have we not left ourselves wanting?”

“It is my proposal that we should delegate the training of initiates to Jedi across the galaxy, and reorganize the Jedi order once again to acknowledge the truths of a divided galaxy, and one where the Sith are not the only problem we must confront.”

He walked around the room once as he spoke, before coming back to his seat as he made his final points. “It is my belief that in order to be of service in the galaxy today, the Jedi must first confront the harsh political truth of a galaxy rapidly polarizing into separate states, and retain its traditional independence and seat on Ossus,” he said. “But in so doing, offer to any state that will support one another and refrain from such evils as the slavery of sapient beings,” he did not mention ‘droids here, that was not his agenda here today, “or the wholesale destruction of species, the support of the Jedi as investigators, healers, peacekeepers and even as warriors, at least against those threats such as pirates, traffickers, raiders and religious sects inimical to the force, such as those who have afflicted the galaxy latterly. A delegation of Jedi, and a sub-council should be sent to each such state, in the mould of our brothers from the Imperial Knights of Thrashia, and Ordermen of New Dornalia. And if possible, these orders should be invited into the wider fold of the Jedi Order,” he said. “An open invitation, should it be desired.”

“These are not the days after the Ruusan Reformation. The Sith are still out there, but we should not fear that they lurk between the pages of every book or inside every holocron. We must acknowledge that few in the galaxy wish to give their children over to a training regimen that may as well cast them aside forever, and likewise the rule by which all Jedi must eschew attachment is a barrier for any who would have the talent to join the Order; particularly those who already have strong attachments.

“These,” Dooku said as he sat down once more and looked over the assembled group, “are the changes that I believe the order must make in order to thrive in this new galaxy.”
"If any should be slaves, it should be first those who desire it for themselves, and secondly those who desire it for others. When I hear anyone arguing for slavery I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally." ~ Abraham Lincoln
"The Necrons were amongst the first beings to come into existance, and have sworn that they will rule over the living." - Still surprisingly accurate!
"Be you anywhere from Progress Level 5 or 6 and barely space-competent, all the way up to the current record of PL-20 for beings like the C’Tan..." Lord General Superior Rai’a Sirisi, Xenohumanity
"Many races and faiths have considered themselves to be a threat to the Necrons, but their worlds and their cultures are now little more than interesting archaeology."

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Thrashia
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Postby Thrashia » Thu Jan 04, 2018 3:29 am

Nebulon-C Frigate Satele Shan
En route to Jedha



The vessel hurtled through hyperspace. It's crew were composed of beings of various species, some sensitive to the Force, while others were themselves mostly inert to it. It was the three individuals who stayed within the meditation chamber at the center of the ship that were the most important aboard, seeing as they were Master Jedi. The three robed Jedi had come aboard with little fanfare, the vessel's captain, a Devaronian by the name of Baj Kole, had been given his orders ahead of time. The Satele Shan had just finished it's repairs and refitting in the repair yard in orbit of Ossus, although the crew would have enjoyed a little more R&R planet-side than they'd gotten. But they were cheerful enough. It was far easier to serve the Jedi Order than it was to serve in the military of another nation or organization.

Sitting in the meditation chamber and trying to put everything from his mind was Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Obi-Wan had only been lifted to the rank of Master two years before, having helped to defeat a Chaos warband from ransacking and murdering several villages on Borosq VIII in the Outer Rim. Like most Jedi who had served in the Chaos War Obi-Wan had become use to conflict, the emotions it engendered, and the pain...

"Your feelings are rather open today, Obi-Wan," said a sonorous voice behind him.

He turned to see his old master and friend stepping inside the chamber. His hair long and sprinkled with salt-white color, beard neatly kept, eyes open and intuitive; Qui-Gon Jinn was an inspiring sight. Even without trying or meaning to, Qui-Gon always managed to make Obi-Wan feel like he was a padawan learner again.

"Apologies, Master," replied Obi-Wan, instinctively. "I was just slightly perturbed."

"Just Qui-Gon is fine, Obi-Wan. It's been many years since you were my student. You're a Master Jedi now as well, long overdue though I think it was," he grinned a small, kind grin.

Then his face settled into his usual, staid form.

"What was troubling you?"

"It's just this meeting -- this "convocation" -- that Count Dooku is holding. I'm unsure of it," Obi-Wan replied, folding his arms and tucking his hands into his sleeves.

"Unsure of it or yourself?" Qui-Gon raised an eyebrow.

"Both, perhaps," Obi-Wan smiled deprecatingly. "But I'm more curious about why the High Council felt it was necessary to event send anyone."

"True," agreed Qui-Gon, sighing slightly as if a weight was shifting upon his chest. "The Jedi Order is not some trifling organization that one can ignore. That said, however, it does not mean that we can let pride command us either."

Obi-Wan nodded. "But?"

"But," added Qui-Gon, "Neither can the Jedi Order ignore when one of it's former members becomes as prominent as that of Count Dooku."

"This is true," added a third voice.

Both Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan turned to look at their third companion enter the chamber. His voice had a slight, mechanical vibration to it -- forced as he was to breath through a special antiox mask. Jedi Master Plo Koon sat down next to the others, taking up a meditative stance.

"Count Dooku is a charismatic man. He fought well to protect Serenno during the Chaos War, as well as other locations. None can begrudge him that, much as none can do the same for many of the heroes of the Jedi Order that fought in that same war. But where we are part of the Jedi Order, Count Dooku is no longer as such and therefore able to act upon his fame; though I imagine that Master Yoda is displeased by his hubris."

"Hubris?" asked Qui-Gon.

"Apologies, Master Jinn," Plo Koon bowed his head slightly. "I do not mean to malign your old teacher."

"It's nothing to be concerned about," said Qui-Gon, dismissively. "But I do agree, that my old master is perhaps a bit proud."

"As are many Jedi," added Obi-Wan. "None are completely free from hubris -- we simply strive against it."

"Truly," smiled Qui-Gon, "I don't know whether it was I that was your teacher, or if it was you who taught me. I am proud of you, Obi-Wan. Remember that. You are far more humble and insightful than I shall ever be."

"And far more so than Count Dooku," added Plo Koon.

The pair of them chuckled as Obi-Wan felt his face heat up slightly. Compliments from Qui-Gon were like rain in a desert, short-lasting and hardly ever to be seen. But when they did arrive they were well received.

Obi-Wan glanced over to the special chest that Master Yoda had given them, thinking of what it contained.

Qui-Gon nodded, catching the look. "We must indeed be aware of our feelings, our surroundings. This meeting, or convocation, will likely be more important than we three can imagine."
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New Dornalia
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Founded: Apr 27, 2005
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby New Dornalia » Sun Jan 14, 2018 10:12 pm

Somewhere in County Cork, Ireland, Earth SSR, Colonial Republic of Earth

The small farmhouse had existed since time immemorial, it seemed. Sitting like a sentinel upon the rural Irish landscape, it gazed upon lands which had witnessed sorrow and joy over many, many years. Famine. Insurgency. Brief but brutal civil war. An Emergency. And the horrors of an Atomic Apocalypse and then another Civil War. And yet, it stood.

It was fitting then, that its occupant was another survivor.

Henrietta Elizabeth Collins was a woman who had seen much in her time. Her face certainly seemed to show. It was bedecked by blonde hair and fair features that betrayed at least partial East Asian ancestry (although given the ethnic makeup of the Hajarran people her father had come from--whose ancestries derived from a kludge of German, Japanese and Canadian adventurers that were marooned on a distant world--that wasn't saying anything particularly special) as well as some Libran ancestry from her mother's side. Superimposed upon that makeup was a sense of worldliness, with faint wrinkles and a brow that while not exactly troubled, was certainly far too contemplative to be healthy.

Although she only looked to be in her thirties or forties, she had been around a lot longer than that.

Long enough to fight a war in the Abh Empire against local insurgents. Long enough to fight the forces of crime on the streets of Los Angeles as a SWAT team person of sorts with the local People's Acolytes temple. Long enough to somehow be voted head of the People's Acolytes because of her past mercenary successes and her modernizing tendencies as a dark horse candidate, only to then lead a fracturing order of magicians and Force users to victory over their own wayward brothers. Long enough to become a heroine for comic books, magazines, and government work--such as investigating and proving the existence of Somalian Rules Stick Hockey. Long enough to have the full force of Dornalian hero worshipping culture put its intense gaze upon her, to discomforting and even maddening levels. Long enough to fight a suicidally brave effort with only a few against a horde of rampaging Uruk clone soldiers that mutinied and devoured the people they loved. And, long enough to lead the fight in another war against an empire that took her son away from her, to the point where that Empire no longer existed.

This she had written about and more in her memoirs. The memoirs themselves were partly made to satisfy the people's curiosity. She had opted, like Cincinnatus mixed with hikikomori syndrome, to flee to a rural farm in Ireland to try and preserve what sanity she had left and ducked out of the popular spotlight for a bit. The move hadn't been without drama. Roger Shabunin, her lover/husband/something, and her adult children hadn't taken the move to Ireland and the sudden drop off of the radar well at first. But well, everyone was still writing and calling each other, and besides, everyone had gotten the point that she needed to do something to ensure she didn't lose her mind. After all, the memoirs were also meant to help herself get some sense of who she was. Where she had been. And where she would go from there. Kind of an exorcism, really. Henny knew she didn't want to be Dornieland's Mary Sue. An all conquering, all loved hero who never lost, and who was so serious she became ridiculous. But what she was if not that? Hard to tell. Of course, the money from book sales, lecture tours and so on helped. As did corresponding with Jeishka of Caeralfar, her best friend. Even as Mythrandir went into lockdown, Jeishka and her kept up their correspondence--and someone who didn't have all the answers, but certainly knew what was what. Also, the presence of the locals--curious, friendly, asking pointed questions--helped a bit as well.

But right now, Henny was focused on the more mundane things. Like why her rosebushes were not growing. Henny had been advised by a kindly local padre--Father Corrigan--to try her hand at horticulture. She may not have been a Catholic--her faith was the faith of the Linh-MInaists, and only nominally so--but she had built a rapport with the kindly old gardener. Exercising the green thumb had worked for the father to keep him ordered, sane, and certainly in a zen-like mood. It also earned him many medals at the local fair. But for Henny, it was a bust. For she was staring at wilted rose bushes, wearing overalls and a hat, with well-worn tools, gloves, and a frustrated look on her face wondering that most essential of questions:

"Why the fuck won't these things grow?"

Henny raised an eyebrow, muttering to herself.

"Fuckin' a. Is it the soil pH? Is it the water? The seeds?" Henny sighed, and stepped back, looking at the manual she had obtained from Father Corrigan. The Perfectly Scientific Guide to Growing Roses had certainly some merit, but what merit was there was hard to tell amidst the advice given, which was written in language which was both too scientific for laymen and too patronizing for even the most smug fanatic of proper horticulture. Henny looked inside the book, and sighed. Even with an index, she was going nowhere. Fast.

Then, she stopped. Something caught her attention out of the corner of her eye. She shrugged. It was nothing.

Then, she saw something again. Henny also sensed a presence near her. Putting the book down slowly, she reached into her pocket and pulled out a blaster pistol. A DH-17 Blaster Pistol, which she carried in lieu of the standard lightsaber. She looked around, and called out in her Southern Californian voice, "Hello? Who's there?"

No one answered.

Henny sighed, as she holstered her blaster pistol. Sighing, she picked up her book and muttered, "Probably just local miscreants." People respected fences in this town, but now and then you had the odd soul trying to trespass to get a glimpse of "the Yank" or "the Witch" as they called her sometimes. Evidently, keeping one's distance whilst being friendly with local people just made people more curious than deterred them. She hadn't had to use the DH-17, thankfully. Except of course, in the odd sport-shooting competition. The town cop, Garda Diana Murphy, was a good shot. Henny Collins was better.

But as Henny went to pick up her book, something happened. The book flew out of her hands, as if drawn by a mysterious force. Turning to the side and unholstering her Dh-17, she saw a familiar form sitting in a tree in the backyard with the book in one hand, and a playful wagging finger of disapproval in the other. An attractive figure who was of average height, with (in Dwayne Johnson's words) a "peanut butter complexion", a winsome face with features which betrayed Japanese-Brazilian ancestry, wearing an old timey motorcyclist's helmet and a leather jacket, under which was a t-shirt that read "Tyrol Foods--Taste the Difference!" and jeans. Oh, and lest we forget, a goofy grin which spread across her face as she said, in a voice which, while a bit "squeaky" was very much Southern Californian and pleasant to hear, said "Tsk tsk tsk. Why would you point your blaster at an old friend?"

"Because I don't like uninvited guests, Terry." was Henrietta's unamused reply. "Come on, you know better than to teleport into people's backyards!"

Shrugging, Terry said, with an expression best summed up as "What me worry?", "Sorry. Figured I'd give you a surprise."

"Damn near gave me something, alright."

Henny holstered her blaster pistol and walked up to Terry, and the two then hugged, before Henny let go and went, "So, what brings you here to Ireland? I hope it's not the roses." Henny pointed with her thumb at the roses, and said simply, "They're not doing so well."

"Well...." Terry paused for a moment, as if to chew on her words, before saying, "How do I put this?"

Henny raised an eyebrow.

"I'm listening."

"Right. Anyway, Henny, we've got an invitation from the Skyriver Galaxy. Not you and me personally, but the Order as a whole. It seems that one Count Dooku is organizing some sort of Jedi conference, in Jedha. And, he's invited us to talk shop with him and others. Superior-General Walker is going to attend the conference, but she wanted to bring the Order's two most famous personalities to ensure the Order was...well represented." The last part was said with a bit of a knowing smile.

Henny then said, with a look that screamed "not this shit again," asked, "it's because I'm Henny Collins, one of the most famous Orderpeople in existence, isn't it?"

"Well, I--"

"No." Henny turned around and began walking back to her roses, before Terry leapt into the air and flew over Henny, sticking a threepoint landing interposing herself between the roses and the old master. Henny sighed, and shook her head going, "No, Terry, I don't have time--"

"You have time to fail at horticulture, grasshopper, but no time to attend a conference which can change the fate of a galaxy as we know it!?" Terry said the last part striking a combat stance and using her most energetic, unsubtle tone of voice possible, and shot a glare at the same time at Henny, as if to challenge her old comrade. "This is an Order from the Superior-General of the Order Kylie Walker herself!"

"Well, she can take her orders...."

Henny then began to try and sidestep Terry, moving back and forth to try and evade Terry's attempts to block her from reaching the rosebushes.

"...and shove them up her ass. I'm not going to get involved in that place's miseries again. Never--"

Henny stopped and sighed, throwing up her hands. She was evidently frustrated with the idea of having to play this game with Terry. Thus, she decided to opt out and began walking back into the farmhouse going, "I don't have time for this shit. I've got a column to write." Annoyed, Henny walked into the house, and proceeded to close the sliding door....

...only to turn and find Terry had appeared inside the house in a puff of smoke--and a shower of hot dogs. Henny sighed, growing more frustrated as she now had a mess to clean up along with an old friend about to duel her to compel her attendance at a big pow-wow she wasn't interested in, "Terry, please. I have work to do--"

"What kind of work, huh?" Terry marched up to Henny, jabbing an index finger accusingly at her. "Tell me! What is sooooo important, Henny, that you would forsake the prospect of a conference which has the actual potential to put Humpty Dumpty back together again?"

Henny slapped the finger out of the way, and jabbed her own finger at Terry, replying back sternly, "Because all that place has for me is misery. You've been there. You've fought with me in the Christmas War. You and me together, leading many good men and women on a quest fo--"

It was now Terry's turn to slap Henny's finger out of the way, wagging her own finger again as she said, surprisingly impatient, "Oh, not this again. Seriously?" Terry leaned in close to Henny, continuing to point her finger and jabbing it in Henny's face as Terry began to dress her down.

"Everytime you're called upon to do something of great significance, you always play the reluctant hero. Like a Goddamn anime protagonist! WHY? Why is that? During the Civil War, people told me you had an unsure, almost gloomy air about you, but I didn't believe it until we went on all those rides together. Milwaukee and the Great Sausage Festival. The Ssi-Ruuk Imperium. Everywhere and anywhere. All you do is bitch. Life gives you great things, and the chance to become a somebody. But all you wanna do is do your job, so you can go home and get shitfaced, or screw, or get shitfaced and then screw!"

Henny then answered. First, she suddenly slapped both of her hands against Terry's head, disorienting her before delivering a fierce kick to the pelvic region. Although not a man, Terry would no doubt feel a lot of pain, and she recoiled, grasping her midsection as Henny stepped back and shouted back at Terry, "And what happens to those people who do become heroes? Terry, you've seen that shit. They end up as nice, shiny names on a plaque somewhere for kids to gawp at. A fucking plaque." Gesturing to enunciate her point, Henny then continued, angrily, "Mom said it best, and Dad showed it to me best. The only hero is a dead hero. I used to think that was a lie, but between being unofficially banned from Libris for life and seeing too many heroes die, seeing too many people die--I can't do it anymore. No more crusades. No more." Henny then walked away, opening the door and saying, "Terry, I'm sorry. But not this time. I can't go with you. I'm done being a hero."

As Henny walked away, Terry began to sob slightly. No, this wasn't the Henny she knew. Henny could be grumpy, and even quite abrasive. But this was too much. In her despair and an attempt to accommodate it, Henrietta didn't even want to go to a simple conference. In the immortal words of "The Dude," "This would not stand." Terry got up, recovering, she then saw Henny walking out around the block. Nodding, she took a running start, and then ran out of the farmhouse--making sure to shut the door and lock it of course.

Then, Terry got onto her motorbike--an ancient, but well running Triumph Bonneville--and gunned the engine. She then said, with a smile, "Come on, Norm! We've got a soul to save!"

***

Walking down the road, Henny sighed. That encounter with Terry seemed like a distant dream. A bad one at that. Terry and Henny were friends, for sure. But, while Henny was more downbeat, Terry was more of an optimist--gratingly so at times. Henny mulled the idea of attending the Jedi Conference over. She didn't like big functions. It meant she would need to put on a monkey suit, and then give a speech and speak to people who fawned over her. And plus....well, the Jedi Conference would spell unity and great change likely. But at what cost? She had championed a scientific Order--one that used reason and modernity to dissect the Force and other Empowered abilities. Not mysticism and mumbojumbo about "a unifying Force for all things." That seemed so unlike Henny to endorse that.

Henny found a bench by the side of the road, and sat down. The rolling Irish countryside made itself known to her, and she sat down, smiling at it. Then, she stopped and realized something. She had her work clothes on still. Looking down, she gasped. Normally, she preferred not to see people in dirty gardening gear. Henny shrugged. What was the point? She was in a bad way right now. Talking shop with Terry opened up those old memories. And while they didn't draw out as much of a reaction as they used to, they were still unpleasant to think about.

Hearing a motorcycle engine in the distance, Henny decided to keep going. She knew that was likely Terry's motorbike. Norman.

She then decided to make the walk into a light jog. And to find somewhere to hide from her thoughts.....

....and then found herself confronting them face first. Or rather, the ground. Because as she looked up, Henny saw Terry standing over her, pointing to her and shouting, "YOU! THAT's FOR KICKING ME DOWN THERE!"
Henny stood up, dusted herself off, and sighed.

"Great. Now, not only do I have to clean off my clothes, now I likely have a head wound!"

Henny then leapt up and made as if she was going to strike Terry again, but Terry leapt back and disappeared in a flash, with more hot dogs flying everywhere. As Henny staggered back trying to evade the sausage storm, she found herself trying to evade more roundhouse kicks made by Terry, who was now shouting, “WHy! ARE! YOU! BEING! SO! STUBBORN!?”

Henny then blocked the roundhouse kicks, shouting as she did so, “BECAUSE! I! CAN’T! GO! BACK! IT! WOULDN’T! MAKE! A! DIFFERENCE!”

Terry then stopped and then, as Henny attempted to throw a left hook, used Force Push to shove her to the side, before screaming at Henny as she walked over to her, “HOW DO YOU KNOW THAT? HUH!?” She then, as Henny began to search for some dirt to throw, Terry lifted Henny up with the Force, and jerked her forward to have a chat…

...only for Henny to clothesline Terry and stick a three-point landing. She then turned to Terry and said, “All the other fucking things I’ve gone to have gone that way, so what makes this different?” Thrusting her finger out, Henny shouted, “WHAT MAKES THIS DIFFERENT?”

Terry’s reply was to tumble backwards, leaping into the air almost to deliver a jumpkick with both feet at the same time, slamming Henny in the chest and sending them both to the ground. Terry leapt on top of Henny and then grappled Henny in a camel clutch, and said simply, “Because the future isn’t written! Because all Dooku said was to invite people to discuss reforms! Commonsense reforms which are very much like those you wanted for our ORDER! Like the right for Jedi to marry and so on!”

Henny began to squirm, feeling the pain and shouting, “What--is that a fucking camel clutch!?” Henny then said, distracted, “When the fuck did you learn how to do a camel clutch!?”

Terry then paused, mulled the question over, and said, her voice returning to normal, “I think it was in Mexico, that one time. Remember the time we got banned from Tijuana?”

Henny then paused and said, “Yeah.” She then, giggling, said, “I do remember that….” With a twinkle in her eye and a look at Terry, Henny said, “You had that fierce fire in your eyes, and I was piss drunk….I think?”

Terry shook her head and said, thoughtfully, “The eye thing maybe, I was more worried as to why you were wearing that Trashman costume and tossing all those trashcans at people while shouting something about nose nuggets.”

The two stopped, and then laughed as Terry let go of Henny. The reverie was interrupted by a honk of a horn and a siren, and a small car pulling up to them. The woman inside the car got out, and revealed herself to be a Garda. Standing there in her reflective yellow coat and with a peaked cap, she sighed and asked the two, “What’s going on here?!”

Henny pointed to Terry, and Terry pointed to Henny, and the two said, in unison, “We were having a difference of opinion.” They looked at each other and then went, “Woah.”

The Garda put her head in her hands, and sighed. Then, with a tone of voice that was more suggestive of a friend worried about another friend, as opposed to a law enforcement officer ripping into a suspect:

“Jesus. Henny, who’s your friend, and why are you getting into trouble with her?”

Henny stood up and said, raising her hands in the air, “Look, Garda Murphy, this is my friend. Tereza Junko Tadanobu Gushiken-Silveria.”

Garda Murphy gasped.

“The Sausage Queen? Here? In MY village?

Terry nodded and said, smiling, “In the flesh!”

Murphy nodded and said, smiling, “Oh dear. Yes, I do enjoy your recipe for Chorizo Breakfast Rolls, although I must say they were a bit spicy for my tastes. The kids love it though--they love their spice.” She then coughed and said, looking at Terry with a bemused, but dismayed expression, “So...what brings you into my village, using martial arts moves on Henny here?”

“We got invited to a big Jedi convention in Jedha. The Superior-General wanted us to go! But Henny was being a stick in the mud. Residual trauma. You know the story.”

Murphy nodded, grimly acknowledging Henny’s tale with a simple, “Aye. Especially since I read the books. Quite sad, that.”

“Indeed.” Terry then said, “Look, I mean, I’m sorry for causing so much trouble in your town...but I can’t stand it when Henny’s like this. When anyone is like this.” Pausing, and quaking in her boots, Terry said to Henny, almost pleading, “I mean, I know we’ve seen some shit together...but you need to get it together. Momentous changes are going to occur. The Jedi are changing, and this stands to have a real chance of success. Why not participate in the process to build a better world? Isn’t that what we’re about?” Breathing in and out, Terry continued, saying, “Look, Henny, I know you’re not necessarily a fan of this sort of pump up speech, but at least give it a think, will you?”

Henny looked at Terry’s soulful, despairing eyes, and Murphy’s smile, before she said to Terry, encouragingly, “Tell me more about this conference. Who’s coming along?”

Terry said, “Um, Superior-General Walker, and myself? What about you?”

Henny raised three fingers on her hand, saying, with a sigh, and a smile, “You had me at the camel clutch and the bambi eyes, and the part about reforms. Let’s go.”

Terry then asked, “What about the risk of failure?”

Henny said, shrugging, “If it fails? Dunno, but well, we’ll see what happens.”

And with that, Murphy said, smiling, “Good! Now, I can get onto real business.” Getting back into her car, Murphy said, “Just make sure you don’t do this again, eh?” as she drove off.

And with that, Henny and Terry made it onto Norman the Bonneville, and then drove to catch a waiting Raptor to destiny.
"New Dornalia, a living example of anomalous civilizations."-- Phoenix Conclave
"Your nation has always been ridiculous. But it's endearing."--Skaugra
"It's a magical place where chinese cowboys ply the star lanes to extract vast wealth from trade, where NORINCO isn't just an arms company, but an evil bond villain type conglomerate that hides in other nations. Where the apocalypse happened, and everyone went "huh, that's neat" and then got back to having catgirls and starships."-- Olimpiada
"...why am I space China, and I don't have actual magic animals, and you're space USA, and you do? This seems like a mistake." --Roania, during a discussion on wildlife.

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The Desar Alliance
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Founded: Dec 25, 2017
Ex-Nation

Postby The Desar Alliance » Sat Jan 20, 2018 1:08 am

(OOC: New puppet of Covenant Remnants for anyone not aware, decided to do something a little more SW-sy, apologies for the flag, I'll fix it when my laptop charger comes in.)

It never ended when she left the awoken world.

She knew it was a dream, and yet she couldn’t stop reliving the entire event so vividly, feeling every sensation, every thought, rush back into her mind. It replaced the old dreams she had, and yet she somehow would have much rather sat through those cryptic, odd thoughts than relive the grueling last few days of her first true taste of war

It wasn’t hard remembering the start.

Pantora was lost. The cruel reality was that its local populace, isolated but proud of their roots, would find themselves forcefully removed from their homeland, lest they suffer the oppression of a regime outside the Galaxy and the destruction of their ways.

Despite this, Iressa Nictores wasn't the sort of person who'd sit out the annihilation of an entire people, perhaps to her ultimate detriment.

The Jedi Academy at Desar, alongside the Desar Alliance Expeditionary Force, ultimately found themselves involved in their bloodiest conflict in their history. Thousands upon thousands of men and women died, all in vain to the foreign, monstrous hordes of the Covenant.

Nictores couldn’t remember every specific moment of the war, but she could remember the death, the disfigurement, the unrelenting assault of the alien hordes. She had seen nothing quite like the slaves and warriors that made up the dogmatic legions threatening the Pantorans, a wicked mixture of complementary foes, each making up for another’s deficiencies.

Even with their high losses, it was inevitable that the Desar Alliance would be forced to retreat. The loss of Stalwart the ultimate sign of the hopelessness of staying for long. As many transports as possible were assembled to evacuate whatever civilians survived, the fleet helf a delaying action over the last few remaining strongholds below, dozens of ships lost before the final retreat.

***

Everything hurt except for the left side of her face.

Ironically, that was perhaps the most horribly injured part of her, given the severe burning that threatened to tear away the flesh of her cheeks entirely. Her Master fared better, most of his battle damage relegated to the armor he wore.

Both of them stood atop a mess of rubble and corpses. Mostly Pantoran, some Covenant, the site of a massacre that had not been fully stopped in time. The purpose of the building they inhabited was long forgotten beneath the violence that had brought the City to its knees. Perhaps it was a factory, perhaps it served another, unknown purpose. Its only defining feature now was the hundreds of scorched Pantoran bodies.

“You’re wounded, padawan.” the Master spoke manner of factly, though clearly trying to minimize his clear concern for his apprentice.

“I’m aware. The Force will keep me fighting for as long as we need to.”

The reality was that she could sense her strength starting to fade, only willpower keeping her from collapsing under assault from fatigue, stress and injury. The people of Pantora needed her, she couldn’t give in quite yet.

“Do not push yourself too hard, you’re the one who needs to surpass me here, don’t forget that.” The Master smiled at his apprentice, at least as much as he could given the circumstances.

“Of course, Master.” Iressa replied back with a much more subdued response, all she could really muster given the situation. She took a look at the corpses on the ground, a sharp pain stabbing at her for her failure. She knew she couldn’t rescue everyone, but such a brutal affair should not have been allowed to go free

“Something’s not right here, Padawan. These attackers haven’t done any large scale massacres like these before. They’re…”

A quick look at the corpses said everything. They were huddled into the center of the room and cut apart with blades, all in an effort to extract as much fear and suffering for their plan.

“They’re baiting us.”

“Yes, they’ve dragged us out of the front lines and into a trap, but I don’t think we’ve quite fully sprung it quite-”

That infernal, unholy noise of the Covenant’s most fanatical warriors suddenly burst into the room. Iressa had heard it dozens of times before, each time witnessing the horrific acts of its users.

A twin pronged blade seemingly shined into view from one end of the room. Its occupant was invisible, a trick that Iressa had discovered the hard way before in the grueling months.

Another blade soon lit itself

And another.

And another.

And another.

Before too long, 12 blades and their invisible wielders now surrounded the duo, forcing them to bring their own blades into action.

Iressa’s blade shone in a bright green, contrasting with her Master’s blue saber. The two kept still for now, watching and observing the blades. Before too long, their users would uncloak, revealing their silver armor and wicked appearance.

“Alright, what’s the plan?”

“We kill these guys and regroup with the rest of the Expeditionary Force.”

“Right. Let’s do that.”

All 12 warriors surged forwards, their speed blisteringly fast, giving Iressa and her Master a mere second to react.

For her Master, it was more than enough time to immediately lift himself off the ground, now several feet above his attackers. For Iressa herself, a more reactionary tactic was needed, instead using the Force to immediately push all 12 attackers back, several of them falling onto the floor, only 3 managing to keep on their feet. She immediately singled out her first target, closing the gap in an instant as she raised her blade.

The first of many was cut down tonight. She immediately made her move towards the next. It was a clinical process to her; In war, anyone who engages her offensively is an enemy of the Jedi. Anyone who engaged the innocent was an enemy of the Light itself.

She moved with a speed that not even the most experienced of these so called Demonhunters could match, immediately engaging in swordplay with another, taking the initiative and never swinging in the same area twice. Physically, they completely and utterly outmatched her, easily capable of killing her with a well placed blow even without weapons.

This opponent lasted longer than the first, if only because he was prepared to take her on, Before too long however, she had sliced through his chest, nearly bisecting him in the process.
The third had joined in the fray almost as soon as she managed to defeat his predecessor. She didn't even want to waste time on him, instead force pushing him with a wicked momentum into the nearest wall, finishing him off by lifting up a piece of rubble and throwing it at the same spot, burying if not completely breaking the individual’s various vital organs.

While three of them had distracted her, the lion’s share were busy being taken care of by her master. He had transitioned from his blade to his fists, rapidly and viciously denting one’s armor before moving onto the next with similar movements, all the while dodging rapid swings aimed at him with a graceful presence few others could match.

With a Force pull, he regained his saber from the ground, swiping at the closest of the remaining foes.

One last warrior stood, charging almost carelessly at the Master that had slain his comrades. Perhaps vengeance fueled him, perhaps vain hopes of personal glory.

Three shots from a blaster had silenced him, ultimately. The first two pierced his shields, the last his heart. His slayer was the padawan who still held her blade in hand, the blaster pistol which had committed the uncivilized deed in her off hand.

“Huh, that's one form I don't think they taught me when I was your age.” the Master spoke with an amused tone, before looking down at the corpses that decorated the floor, instantly dimming his mood. “Right, we need to head back to the front, they're probably already starting to evacuate the Expeditionary Force.”

***

Her eyes opened slowly, the rest of her body rising with a lethargic, tired movement quite unbecoming of a newly Knighted Jedi. She wore nothing above her waist, as was common with women of Desar. Several scars, burns, and minor bruises marked her body, a grim reminder of her duties as a Jedi Knight. The left side of her face in particular still bore signs of that horrific burning, the end result of a near miss from one of those strange Covenant blasters.

“Are you alright?”

A voice spoke out to her, lapsing her out of the dream.
Iressa’s eyes opened calmly, betraying the horrors she had witnessed in her mind, the sweat that had built up around her and her bed, on the other hand, made it clear what sort of nightmares she had.

“Sorry for waking you, but we’re almost here and I-”

“You felt the dark, didn’t you?”

Iressa raised herself, clearly wearing little underneath her sheets. This didn’t seem to bother the person speaking to her, a Twi’lek roughly her same age.

“No, I just heard you speaking in your sleep again. You still dreaming about what happened at Pantora?”

Her words stung Iressa, as if a great secret had been revealed for the first time. She had yet to let go of that entire morbid experience.

“I don’t think I ever will, unfortunately.”

The Twi’lek leaned in to give her a hug, the sort that siblings give one another in trying times. She didn’t dare say much else for a moment however, lest she burden her employer and partner with any further.

“We're almost at Jedha by the way… have you talked with someone else about your thoughts as of late? I'm not trying to force it but-”

“I know, I'll talk to someone when we get back, I promise.” a small smile left Iressa’s face for the first time today.

“Yeah, now I know you don't plan on doing it.”

“When have I ever broken a promise?”

“If I listed every single time, Dooku will have passed away of old age by the time we're done here. Anyways go get dressed, I'll get the Nerf Pockets heated up while you get ready.” the Twi’lek finished their discussion, leaving Iressa to do her thing.

***

Within Jedha, most of the Academy from Desar had made it, each dressed in such a manner that betrayed their simple origins.

Iressa herself was dressed in a style quite reminiscent of the consulars of an age long gone; archaic, and quite radically different from the simple robes that had come to define the Jedi in recent years, but not without elegance and grace. In truth, she didn't care much for the clothes, and especially not what Vira had quite obscenely described as ‘a really stupid looking hat’, not that she'd dare admit that to her.

Listening to Dooku made her forget all about that however. Dooku’s greatest skill was not his mastery of the blade, it was the tongue he was given, to steal a Desari saying. One could almost get the impression that he could lead half the galaxy into a war with just his voice to guide them.

She could already hear her superiors and equals murmur amongst one another, processing every last thing Dooku has said.

“This is too radical.” the oldest among them, a Ootoolan with a name many didn't even try pronouncing, spoke perhaps a bit too audibly. “The galaxy needs more keepers of the peace, but we shouldn't open the floodgates so soon.”

Another Master, an aged Zabrak man, seemed to nod along with him. “I’m not so sure about any of this; are we really going to break with tradition which has kept us going for so long?”

“Perhaps these dark times require us to break old rules?” Iressa threw in her own two credits into the matter, earning a few glances from the others. “The galaxy is burning and we failed at Pantora, something needs to change somewhere, I'd say.” Her tone was calm, betraying a slowly burning pit of disgust. Disgust aimed at… something, something Iressa wasn't quite sure of.

“Do not be so brash, young one, we suffered at Pantora but we did not fail in our duties.” The Ootoolan spoke with a understanding but firm tone.

“If we break with what the Order has taught for thousands of years, do we truly deserve to be called Jedi anymore?” The Zabrak spoke again, asking in a more contemplative form.

“I don't think it matters what we deserve to be called.” Iressa’s next sentence drew quite a few glares, needless to say. “As long as we uphold the Light and defend the innocent, we fulfill our duty to this Galaxy.”

“Watch your tongue, Nictores. Many Dark Jedi once thought as you have, lest you forget those wars that tore your homeland apart.” the Ootoolan Master spoke once more, his tone equally worried as it was stern. It was a cruel trick to bring up the Hundred Year Struggle of Kandar, though one that was widely remembered by most Desari.

With an instant, Iressa’s expression turned into a wide frown, and she turned her attention back to Dooku.

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The Ctan
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Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby The Ctan » Tue Jan 30, 2018 1:09 pm

The arrival of none other than Qui-Gon Jinn was something that made the old Jedi Master smile; how strange it was that the well known maverick should be one of the heads of an official delegation, but then these were strange time, and the elderly Jedi had made time to greet him in a personal capacity, though keeping the details of what he’d intended to say close to his chest; he knew that Qui-Gon would be inclined to agree with much of what he had to say, but he wanted to avoid the appearance of collusion.

Henny and Terry, for their part, he had greeted almost as one might another Jedi; he was aware that they were their own order, but they were also the people to whom he sought to reach out, but he did not take anyone’s support for granted, and made time to meet them as they arrived, he made a point to inquire about their journey, he had never left the galaxy, and he had considered it simply as an experience he might have some time; a cruise, perhaps the Great Wheel, or Varda’s Cloak, or Milky Way, depending who you asked for its name, galaxy had some great enlightenment waiting, but he had felt no true calling to make such a journey; leaving it forever as a matter for another of his waning years.

The Count listened to those of the Desar Alliance; many had come, but a long silence permeated the Temple of the Whills’ great chamber and few seemed willing to outright reply. He let the silene hang, but not too long; he could hear the debate and he rose to his feet once more and looked straight at Iressa and the Zabrak Jedi who had spoken to her.

“I would agree,” he said, sitting in the deep chair in the great circle, “that it matters little what we are called; but I would likewise point out that our predecessors called themselves Jedi in past epochs, the word little changed, since it was used in those days, or so I believe?” he asked, with a gesture to a younger Jedi Master sat near at hand.

Jerec was one well versed in much of the Jedi Arts and history, a Jedi like Dooku who had often been a rebel of sorts, though his rebellion was mostly internal, not outspoken, he had disappeared from the fold of the greater order some time ago, and borne word to others of rumours of a sith resurgence of sorts in the outer galactic zone; he was tight lipped on who his sponsors had been for such a journey, and some rumours suggested that Jerec had been in affiliation with a government none too friendly to the Jedi Order as a whole. Nothing of these disreputable rumours showed at the moment, he wore the robes of a Jedi Master, and sat easily among others. He nodded gravely, aware, somehow, that he was the one being addressed.

“I would add another testimony to how the Jedi of old recruited for the Order,” Dooku said, and his hand rose to the side of the great chamber, a small object flying in a straight line, as if falling, into his hand, which he caught instinctively, before laying it on the plinth at the centre of the room. It was a cuboid object, perhaps three inches across, made of green glass and silver thread, suspended in an ornate matrix with ancient gilded circuitry across it. “This is the Vantar Holocron, which as been brought to us by Jedi Knight Caleb Aiyn,” he said, and bowed his head for a moment. This was an ancient artefact indeed, perhaps six thousand years old, the holocron in question was ancient, one of those jedi tools that had long been in temples and fastnesses. He focussed on the device for a long moment, and the structure sprang to life, ancient circuits humming as an image sprang holographically from it, growing in size to accommodate the audience the device found around it until it was a little larger than life-size.

The gatekeeper, a holographic interpretation of one of the Jedi who had recorded their consciousness and memories within the device, spoke from it, the hard walls of the Temple echoing out its words. “Greetings Jedi! I am Eyan Vosar,” the device projected. “gatekeeper of the holocron; how may I aid you?”

The image was a Nautolan, one of the early jedi to hold the device perhaps he who had crafted it, proud of bearing and regal in his manner, with the same robes as most present wore. Dooku looked up at the image as it spoke, wondering for a moment on the half-life that was lived by the holocron; conscious in a way, it was a construction that was almost an echo of those who had lived.

“We are at a crossroads, and we seek to understand the past to reaveal the future; a time of crisis is upon us and we seek to know the best way to meet it; tell us of the Jedi of the past, how they chose candidates for recruitment.”

The image of the long dead alien tilted its head for a moment, and nodded, “Harken to the wisdom of the Holocron,” it said, “the duty of the Jedi is to know the force and to protect others, one must seek to recruit those who will learn from the force, and who will bear this burden wisely and well, who will hear the force and know which guidance to draw from it; of those in whom the force is awakened, seek those who take responsibility for the welfare of others upon themselves; who do not shirk from confronting wickedness and above all those who show restraint tempered with mercy but not undone by it. The Jedi is a keeper of peace, and must be willing to sacrifice all.”

“At what age should a Jedi be recruited?” the Count asked.

“As early as possible,” the ancient Jedi answered, “well it is to begin teaching one’s children from an early age if the Force shines brightly within them, but in all cases it is best to begin the training young; in such a way, tragedy is prevented.”

“Can you tell us of such a tragedy?”

Eyan Vosar nodded, “I will tell the story of Akran Do-Byr. This young man was not a Jedi nor did he leran of the Jedi arts, but strong he was in the force; a prodigy perhaps, should he have been identified and trained, but without training to understand his talents; a tale I am sure you know well; to each Jedi different talents come easily, so too with those who are touched by the force but untrained; a gambler he became; but ruination only came upon him when he was discovered by the Hutts of his day on the planet Dovran.

“In the Air Casinos of Dovran, Akran Do-Byr was caught manipulating the machines; the justice, if it can be falled that, of the Hutts is merciless, and fearing for his life, he called on the force to end the lives of those who would persecute him. For one who was not strong in the force, this would be of little consequence or peril; but the Dark Side stirred in him; having a sense of the power of the Darkness, he soon let it consume him.

“A proficient murderer did he become, through only incremental faults,” the Holocron said, “until at last more than a thousand lives were taken by his hands. It was only when he crossed into Conclave space, that he was brought to justice by the Jedi. Hardship and need drove him, but in the end, he was imprisoned for the good of all. Had he been found by the Jedi, he would have never embarked upon such a course.”

Dooku knew this was going off the point, but he was content to let the holocron speak; its concerns in the training of Jedi were timeless, and more importantly they sounded not dissimilar from recent issues. “Then, at what age would you say it is too late to begin training for a jedi candidate?”

The holocron image was confused by the question, “It is never too late to begin the training of a Jedi,” he said, “always should youth be preferred, but just as a child cannot become a true knight, the maturity of a Jedi Knight can be found anywhere.”

“Thank you for your wisdom,” Dooku said, “May the Force be with you.”

“May the Force be with you, young Jedi,” the image said, with just a touch of irony as it bowed and vanished.

“I would like to ask,” Dooku asked, returning tiredly to his seat, “who would argue the counter-point, for the practice of infant recruitment, or rather of infant-seclusion; I think it only wise that force-sensitive children be trained where possible; but that it would be wiser to do so as schools; perhaps day-schools, perhaps boarding; what do we really gain by taking children from their families? The actions of a cult, these are.”
"If any should be slaves, it should be first those who desire it for themselves, and secondly those who desire it for others. When I hear anyone arguing for slavery I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally." ~ Abraham Lincoln
"The Necrons were amongst the first beings to come into existance, and have sworn that they will rule over the living." - Still surprisingly accurate!
"Be you anywhere from Progress Level 5 or 6 and barely space-competent, all the way up to the current record of PL-20 for beings like the C’Tan..." Lord General Superior Rai’a Sirisi, Xenohumanity
"Many races and faiths have considered themselves to be a threat to the Necrons, but their worlds and their cultures are now little more than interesting archaeology."

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New Dornalia
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Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby New Dornalia » Fri Mar 16, 2018 7:31 pm

The Ctan wrote:[...]Henny and Terry, for their part, he had greeted almost as one might another Jedi; he was aware that they were their own order, but they were also the people to whom he sought to reach out, but he did not take anyone’s support for granted, and made time to meet them as they arrived, he made a point to inquire about their journey, he had never left the galaxy, and he had considered it simply as an experience he might have some time; a cruise, perhaps the Great Wheel, or Varda’s Cloak, or Milky Way, depending who you asked for its name, galaxy had some great enlightenment waiting, but he had felt no true calling to make such a journey; leaving it forever as a matter for another of his waning years.[....]



For but a brief moment, Terry and Henny had seemed more than a bit self-conscious about their composure. Amongst all the robes and stylish clothing, the two came dressed to the nines in uniforms which were a bit more...militaristic. They came in hunter-green uniforms, with Sam Browne belts and suchlike. To round out the occasion came the shouldered Kalashnikovs with folding Lightsaber Bayonets on end. Not quite like what Dooku would be used to, but well, the Dornalians were quirky enough to make the effort. For her part, Henrietta felt a little self conscious being so armed in the midst of the summit. As she whispered to Terry: “Happening place. Hopefully, no one asks too many questions about the things on our shoulders.” For her part, Terry let out a brief frown and a “Shush! You’re too uptight. Relax. There’s bigger things at stake anyway than appearances.”

Sure enough, Dooku ran into them--or did they run into Dooku?--and the two sides exchanged greetings with the esteemed Count. The two were thankful for the greeting and bowed, with the two briefly adding on an extension of their hands to solicit a handshake. Henrietta even said, politely, “It’s an honor to be here, Count. Thank you for the invitation.”

Sure enough, Terry and Henny got into character, and it appeared serious discussion was now underway. The two listened to the discussions breaking out--most importantly over the controversy of Jedi child recruitment, and of changing the rules regarding “attachment”. Terry herself seemed to lose her cutesy, impish nature, and could be seen scribbling away on a notepad. Henrietta for the most part was unfazed, but impressed as ever. Terry was the Sausage Queen for a reason. Henny for her part took sparse notes, but her memory was generally quite good when it came to serious jibber jabber.

It was Dooku’s last point and the Holocron that got Terry to raise her eyebrows as she wrote. After all, the traditional Jedi recruitment method seemed more than a little extreme, and indeed, the idea of living cloistered gallivanting around the universe without much in the way of comforts was not going to get people to join. Not everyone could be a monk. But the anecdote so told provided the truth that something had to be done to educate people in the ways of proper Force usage. Henny herself nodded at the story told by the Holocron--she had seen a lot of Rogue Psykers in the Los Angeles turn bad because someone hadn’t told them it wasn’t okay to use their powers to snatch purses.

The two looked at each other, and wondered who was to comment first. Henrietta and Terry made gestures, until Henrietta coughed and then raised her hand, before speaking.

“Henrietta Collins, here. I for one agree with Count Dooku. As an outsider looking in regarding the Jedi Order, what strikes me is that while their goal of educating the young in proper Force training is essential, the current method indeed comes off as being too cultish for comfort.

I know for a fact that the Dornalian Order of the Vanguards, of which I am a part, practices a form of recruitment which recruits the Force sensitive at an older age--we generally specify that the candidate be eighteen Terran years at minimum although dispensation can be and has been given for special cases, and some monitoring is done in collaboration with civilian authorities--school administrators, for example--to identify candidates which exhibit sensitivity to the Force or other powers at younger ages. Generally around sixteen Terran years. It’s not mandatory, but many Order chapters do sponsor basic youth activities to get potential prospects interested in the Order, and to enable them to make an educated choice if they wish to join.”

Gesturing to Terry, Henrietta said, “Now, correct me if I’m wrong, Terry--but didn’t we do that to account for issues with maturity and to give the candidate a choice in whether they wanted to join?” Terry nodded, adding with a smile, “That’s right. When I founded the Order of the Vanguards--well, its predecessor, it’s complicated--I wanted to make sure that only the best and most willing could join us. Hence, the age policies standing as they are on our end. I mean, the system isn’t perfect, but for us, it’s a more balanced and considerate system.”

Henrietta nodded, and then added, “I mean, I’m not saying that we go with an exact replica of that system, but I think at least transitioning to a form of day-schooling which works among the community would be a good idea.”
"New Dornalia, a living example of anomalous civilizations."-- Phoenix Conclave
"Your nation has always been ridiculous. But it's endearing."--Skaugra
"It's a magical place where chinese cowboys ply the star lanes to extract vast wealth from trade, where NORINCO isn't just an arms company, but an evil bond villain type conglomerate that hides in other nations. Where the apocalypse happened, and everyone went "huh, that's neat" and then got back to having catgirls and starships."-- Olimpiada
"...why am I space China, and I don't have actual magic animals, and you're space USA, and you do? This seems like a mistake." --Roania, during a discussion on wildlife.


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