CADENCE OF THE INDEBTED
Written with Ripley Kühn



Togruta make for vicious combatants.
Especially if pitted against each other in great numbers.
There is a tale of a woman who attempted to insight such a conflict.
In this tale, the daughter sees through the deception and outed her Mothers treason.





… At the end of the war, a young girl sat alone.

A storm overcasted the planet with fierce strikes of lightning shaking the skies and briefly lighting the path below. Near the edge of the village cliff, sat a young girl upon the cold stone.

“You may catch a sickness...” The proud Togruta warrior spoke, standing a few feet from the much smaller petite girl. She was holding a satchel tightly to her chest, bent on not letting it go. Her fingers dug into the fabric, as through afraid that the wind itself desired to take it.

She did not say anything at first, simply shivering slightly under the cloth that was draped over her as she stared out over the vast forestry. It was yet another treacherous path, one that she pondered heavily of traveling or heeding the warning of the fellow Togruta.

“The battle is over, little one.” He said, “There is no more reason to keep watch like this.” He would try to ease her out of her otherwise determined gaze to the horizon.

“I have been tasked.” She said softly, her voice quiet but clear. The girl scooted closer to the edge before beginning to climb down the side of the stone, digging her feet, keeping a tight grip where she could. Her grey gaze peered up to the man, barely visible from her hood. “...Thank you for sharing your food.”

The man chuckled with a nod and waved his hand. “Be swift, young L’yoom”

L’yoom descended down the steep cliffside, her decision made.





Hours later…

She sat beneath the shroud of night, held against a shelter of stone. The rain was patting the ground just a few feet ahead of her as she gathered materials to begin a flame. However, it was far too damp. She thought for a time, heart racing though her panic was not apparent in her expression. In that moment, her eyes widened, turning her gaze to the satchel at her side.

Her hand placed upon the flap to open it, revealing a pristine silver handle that she carefully retrieved. In both hands she now held the strange device, inspecting it methodically. She felt every groove and smooth surface, completely enamored with the device. A cascade of fear washed over her as she held it out. The memories of her tyrannical Mother beginning to return. The device that ended her reign ...as well as the debt she owed to the unknown warrior she had met. It was all in the palm of her hand.

With a firm press of the switch, the everfloressent light of the device suddenly filled the cave walls with its lime glow, casting her shadow upon it. She looked as though she were a tall and wise robed figure.. However, her eyes trained only on the light that had ignited before her, grey eyes glimmering with color for the first time.

Carefully, she used the blade to begin the flames, catching fire to large sticks and smoldering it here and there with keen precision. In no time at all, the flame was lit and the world was at peace once more.

The light would vanish shortly after, now hidden away once again in the satchel. Her arms wrapped around her knees as she sighed softly, bathing in the warmth as she grew drowsy and before she knew it...







After another day's journey toward the evening…

The village was much more advanced than what L’yoom Ka was used to. Her Mother never took her to the more advanced civilizations of their people, believing that their advances only weakened their internal flame. It was strange to be surrounded by so much but it was a paradise of sorts and she could see it. If she was to find the place, it was here.

L’yoom cautiously entered a small traders shop, a soft cling of the bell indicating her entry. She was startled by the noise, leaping from the door and gazing up at the bell as it vibrated softly. Her eyes stared dead center upon it, a hand already defensively in the satchel.

“WELCOME! GOT A HEAD FOR ME DO YA?!” A loud rambunctious voice spoke aloud, practically echoing against the walls. She once again was startled by the noise, darting her attention back to the counter, seeing a decapitated head of a beast idle upon it. A large alien fellow with that of a pig head snorted to the girl. “Eh? In that bag? Small head, inddnit?”

The girl was frozen for but a second or two, maybe a minute-- but her eyes quickly darted from her hand dug into the pack, then back at the large monster man. She abruptly pulled her hand from the satchel and darted it to her side as she straightened up, awkwardly for a moment. Never before had she seen such an ugly creature. “Excuse me?” She asked cautiously.

“A head. You selling a head?” He said, giving a pat to one of the many assorted skulls and such that they seemed to have on display. “I can already tell. Whatever you got in that bag ain’t going to cover much. I can only offer five credits for anything that small.”

L’yoom was sufficiently confused. “I-I am not here with any heads..” The girl responded finally, adjusting her foot and taking a step forward, “I want to know the direction to Je-Di. I was told it could be found here.” She steadily composed herself as she spoke, more direct and firm.

The large fellow stared at her for a moment, squinting to the girl wondering if she was serious. “To… Jedi? Like, a Jedi?” He wondered, raising his large hand to his fatty throat and giving it a rough scratch or two. “Mhmphh, no place I know called Jedi. Know of a Jedi, that I do.” He chuckled, looking off to the side with a smile. “Brings me good heads.”

Even more confused, she simply repeated herself. “Point me in the direction of Je-Di.” She stated firmly, no longer wavering in her determination to find this place and return the device to its rightful origin.

He gave her a hearty chuckle and sent her off. Key monuments were the guide. She was fascinated with much of the advanced city, looking like a scraggly dog among the more refined of the settlement. She eventually found it, a kind of strange large tent. It matched that description perfectly, if she should say so herself. “I did not expect Je-Di to be so… small.” She uttered softly to herself, wondering if she was sent to the wrong place.





Inside the tent…

Aurik felt her presence as she approached. The innocence of a child, a force-sensitive one at that, stained by confusion and weariness. He took another sip of the tea as she drew closer, until her presence lingered outside. A grey eyebrow arched. Rising, his brown robes flowed around him as he stuck his head out of the flaps of the tent.

“Hello there. Do you need help?”

He waved the girl in before returning to the pillows on the floor, the small table in front of him. In the corner, Azriel looked up from his scrolls.

“A visitor?”

Aurik grinned at the young padawan.

“Now, now, back to your studies. Don’t need you scaring her away.”

He motioned to the child once more, offering a seat across from him.

L’yoom was with certainty, in the wrong place. Though, something compelled her to take a step in, shifting her jaw slightly as she pulled the satchel close to her, noting the other in the quaint tent. She cleared her throat softly, looking back toward the taller robed gentlemen. “I am on my way to Je-Di. The head merchant said you know where I can find it...” She said firmly, looking about the room cautiously, noting those with scrolls.

“On your way to Je-Di? Well, this is not Je-Di, but I am a jedi.”

A chuckle escaped his lips as he took in the sight of her. She was very young, no more than eleven or twelve, but still older than him when he had begun his own training. Her determination was fierce for such an age, even admirable.

“The Jedi are an organization my dear, not a place. We all follow the code, spread across the galaxy, helping protect life and bring peace. We also help those we can, those who are lost and need a hand. Was there a reason you came searching for us?”

Her posture relaxed as she came to this realization, discovering that it was more so a people than a place. Is that who had fallen to protect her people? This… Jedi? L’yoom took in his message, understanding what it was she was actually looking for this entire time. She squeezed the satchel one last time before pulling the strap over her head and placing it down to the floor between them. As she let the flap fall over, the hilt of the device was clear as she opened it. Her gaze went from the device to the man before her with sternness.

“Returning this… I am indebted.”

His brow furrowed at the sight of it. It was not saber he recognized, but that made no difference. No Jedi he knew had ever willingly left their blade. It was the embodiment of their training, usually forged as a padawan, guided by their master. If she had come to possess it, another one of his brethren had fallen. Their numbers were already dwindling after the fall of the Alliance. It saddened him another had gone.

“Indebted for?” He asked, confused. “I must ask, how did you come across this? Though, first, I suppose I should exercise my manners. I am Aurik, Jedi Master. I sought refuge here after my order was all but dismantled. That,” he said, pointing to the padawan. “Is Azriel. He has trained under me for some years, learning what our code truly means, preparing for the day he is knighted. And you are?”

The girl took in his expression, knowing it all too well. A hesitation in her eyes was apparent, lashes fluttering slightly when she looked away to the floor beside her. As he introduced himself, her eyes trailed back, quite attentive before he offered her a moment. “My tribe has named me L’yoom Ka. . . I am a Huntress.” She would cautiously state, as she was not entirely of that skill set yet, but considered herself along that path.

“It comes from a Togruta in robes.. Like yours… Protected home from war.” L’yoom was withholding details but more so wanting to keep to her mission of returning the device. “I was asked to bring this back to.. The Jedi?” At least, she assumed that might have been the case, given the similarities she was not taking note of. “I hope it brings you peace knowing it is returned.” She gave a modest smirk, though it was clear she was having troubles internally about parting with the device. In such a short time, it had been more useful of a tool than she anticipated.

He nodded at L’yoom, giving her a sad smile.

“That is the way of a Jedi. Duty and sacrifice stand at the forefront of our values, the latter often manifesting in the grimmest of ways.”

His hand raised to his chin, assessing. The girl’s hesitance to hand over the device was clear. He couldn’t blame her- before he had been picked up by the Order, in days where he was just a babe, he fairytales he was told at bedtime sent him running through the streets waving a stick, pretending it was a glowing sword. The first time he had held a real one, the excitement had made him giddy.

“I thank you for making the brave journey to bring this to me. It shows character. However, I would be remiss if I didn’t ask what your plans were next. Are you going back home?”

As Aurik spoke, the young girl’s eyes widened slightly as though the duty itself spoke volumes to her. She did not entirely understand it but it was the very essence of what drove her to oppose her own Mother, despite the hardship it brought her thoughts. It was the right thing to do but still somehow felt the guilt of betraying all that she was raised to believe. She took a steady breath, a gentle shake in its flow to her lungs before portraying her firm and withheld nature.

L’yoom retreated within herself at the question, pulling her own cloak around her shoulders to hide beneath them, looking up to Aurik from just below the rim of her hood. She wanted to speak, but her lips were clear with hesitation. Her grey gaze was settled upon him, but quite at a loss as it seemed. “My Mother is a warmonger.. My tribe sees me as the traitor..” She primarily spoke to herself aloud. Her jaw shifted from side to side in uncertainty.

“I do not know.” Her eyes dimmed, looking down to the cloak she held firmly.

Aurik’s smile faded, his lips shaping to a frown. The lines on his face became accentuated as his brow furrowed and he thought on the statement. The sense of shame and regret radiated off of her. Whatever had happened, it seemed much too heavy a burden for one so young. He looked to Azriel, who was already staring at him. Both the master and padawan were intimately familiar with the emotions the L’yoom felt. He winked, before looking back to the girl once more.

“I’m sorry to hear that, L’yoom. Whatever you did, though I may not know the details, doesn’t deserve you to be outcast. We all make mistakes; children especially. Everyone should have the chance to prove themselves once more.” He paused, considering his wording. “You are more than welcome to stay the night here. It grows late, and wherever you’re going, can wait until morning. However, if you'd like to stay longer, you’re welcome to. I can sense you in the force- an untrained sensitive, as I once was, as Azriel once was. Perhaps an end with your tribe means a new beginning with others.”

Children certainly had no place in violent conflict. There was much she had to process indeed but she was happy to feel understood in that respect. Her eyes shot up at him as he spoke of new beginnings, adjusting in her seating slightly. She glanced over briefly at one of the scrolls and then back to him. “If I stay, do… I get one of those?” L’yoom asked, pointing lowly over toward one of the spawls of rolls. While not the most studious or educated, the sprawls of scrolls were enamoring to say the least.

L’yoom held a gentle smile as she was surrounded by what could be potentially an entirely new kind of tribe, one not devoted to war and slaughter-- but keepers of the peace.

Aurik chuckled at the question, nodding.

“Yes, you’d get many of those, in time. Knowledge is another of our tenants- the only way to combat ignorance. Studying is part of a padawan’s day, as well as combat training, meditation. I myself am a sentinel, finding the balance of things and living among the ordinary folk, but I prepare those in my care for whatever path they may choose to pursue. If learning piques your interest, there’s even a road for that.”

He picked up the cup again, taking a sip as he awaited her answer.

It had to be something more that led her here. It was all too sensed with purpose for the girl. L’yoom would return her own nod. “Mother said literacy is dangerous.” She mused, allured with the idea of expanding her knowledge beyond just the hunt. There was more to this world, she knew it. There had to be. There simply had to be. “Perhaps… She is wrong.” Her hood slowly fell back as she looked up, revealing the grey striped and black montrals. L’yoom displayed her sharp toothy grin to Aurik, aspirations of enlightenment crystal clear in those eyes.