Written with the help of the most excellent Ryv Ryv


Frost; a coat of white snow, hiding a fire beneath. The heat of her breath became wisps in the clear air. It was crisp in her lungs, yet still she held that warmth of life. For a moment the glaciers ahead were silent. An empty waste, frigid, but hardly inhospitable. It arrived, spreading; a wildfire in a dry field, a river breaking through a dam. The silence of that vast, white empty broke with the low hum of life.

A beating heart. A warm breath. The cold of adversity but far from empty; life flourished.

She looked to that great blue sky, the world turning and turning. Clearest of days to brightest of nights; three dark moons flitting about in the sky, the snow tossing and turning until it all slowed.

A wildfire in a dry field. Power. Built, shaped by life; yet the antithesis of it. A warmth beyond warmths, ripples in the water, then a cold like death.

Auteme bolted upright in her bed. It was always cool in the Temple at night, but she found herself drenched in sweat. A terrible feeling pushed at her mind, as though a stone had been dropped into the galaxy’s pond. It took her a moment to remember her connections -- Jend-Ro had taught her. Not just her, also-

She got out of bed and moved to the door, throwing it open. He stood right outside.

“Perfect,” Ryv said. “We can skip the awkward conversation and get right to the point,” he turned on his heel and motioned for her to follow. “I’m thinkin’ we should make our way to the council chamber. Should make meditation easier on the both of us.”

“Y-yeah,” she said. She needed to get out of her room. They started to walk.

He slipped his hands into his pajamas pants.
“What you see, Auteme?”

“It was… feelings. Cold, but- I don’t know. An ice planet. Ripples in the water. Three moons… people. Life. And then heat, and death.” Her hand rose to wipe the sweat from her forehead. “Let’s- let’s go.”

“Cold, hmm,” he didn’t look back at her as she spoke. His focus remained on a distant point at the end of the hall. Not unlike his fear-stricken counterpart, what Ryv had seen in his dreams had rattled him to the core. An abomination loomed closer. It rested over its prey like a great shadowy beast leering down at its next meal. Only, this catch still struggled through its death throes. It made for the perfect meal.

“Something this dangerous hasn’t been seen in a while, huh?” he turned a corner with Auteme not far behind. The chamber he sought awaited them both at the end of the corridor. Once the seat of the Jedi’s power, the High Council Chamber was reduced to ash when the One Sith pulverized the Temple. Now rebuilt, the room collected dust.

“That’s the most nervous I’ve heard you in forever,” she muttered. Not antagonistically -- from what she’d felt, it was no wonder that they’d worry. It’d just been some time since she’d seen that in Ryv. “Did you see something else?”

“Mercy,” he slowed to a stop just outside the room. “That’s what they all kept screaming out to me. They were begging me to make it stop, to stop the pain and save them from their torment…” his gaze fell to the floor. “These people, they- they didn’t want me to save them. They wanted me to put them out of their misery, Auteme.”

He pushed open the door with one hand and looked back over his shoulder as he entered the Council Chamber.

“Mercy…” he repeated with a shake of his head.

“I… it’s easy, I think, for me to… not imagine that. Seems so alien to decide you don’t want to live anymore. Just-” She stopped, then entered the Council Chamber behind him.

“I have a guess, but I think we should meditate,” she said, moving over to sit on the floor at the center of the room.

“Yeah,” he nodded. Taking his position directly in front of her, he dropped down and crossed his legs. Though the position was familiar to him, he couldn’t remember the last time he stopped to actually meditate on anything. In the hospital, days passed by in a blur. Hours spent motionless. It would’ve been the perfect time to calm his mind and think on recent history.

Yet, he hadn’t bothered to try.

Meditation meant self-reflection. It required Ryv to silence his mind and sift through the mess. That thought alone scared him. There was so much wrong with him, so much to be ashamed of, to hide away in hopes it would never see the light of day again. His dreams scared him more. Something loomed closer. It waited in the shadows, poised to strike. Death was preferable to whatever horrors awaited those caught within its clutches.

Before he knew it, his eyes were closed. His breathing slowed to a comfortable rhythm. All but Auteme faded away, replaced by a dark, limitless void. It stretched infinitely in all directions.

He reached out to Auteme with his right hand. The warmth she exuded calmed it. It eased his nerves and reminded him he was still a person, regardless of the struggles he faced. She was the light that pierced the void.

A guiding light -- in the vast, empty ocean, it was difficult to find one’s way. The tides pushed and pulled, the waves rocked the boat. But with enough focus and the stars above they’d find their way.

Stars. That was what she saw first; a starry sky, vast and glittering. She breathed deep, icy air filling her lungs once more, but this time she was next to Ryv. He surely felt the same.

The stars shifted. Ripples above, disturbing her view; she knew they were only a reflection, subject to the changes of the Force.
“We’re here, and it’s…”

A wave washed over the both of them. Auteme managed to stay upright at first, but when she searched for the source, she couldn’t see it.

Buffeting winds accompanied each crashing wave. A distant flash of bright, white light heralded an ear-splitting thunderclap. Never before had he witnessed something so tumultuous within his own mind’s eye. Even at his worst, this place was somewhere to find respite. The waves, typically gentle, lashed out in unchecked fury. He struggled to keep his footing as they slammed into his body.

He looked over to Auteme and found her searching the horizon. Unsure of what it was they were even looking for, he did the same. His gaze jumped elsewhere while he struggled to ease his nerves with slow, drawn out breaths. Each deep breath provided an inkling of serenity. His body worked on its own, shifting with the flow of the storm, working to follow it, rather than fight against it.

He lost her within the chaos in seconds. He turned a full circle, interrupting his dance in search for his companion. In turn, a massive wave ripped him from his feet and sent him tumbling into the waters below. He fought against the sea with all he had, but it was not enough. The current pulled him deeper. Darkness converged on him from all sides, and within it, flashes of memories he had not yet experienced.

Opposites; the cold around them hiding warmth, life, energy. The heat above, concentrated, then the cold and darkness. Infinite light and infinite dark; a new age of fire, a new age of void.

Auteme was tossed into the storm, thrown about into the moments of each side until they began to bleed together. A space between extremes. The moderator, the decision, the crossroads. She was unable to breathe, yet the air tasted fresher than ever. She reached out in search of a thread to pull on; instead of finding her way out, she ended up pulling him.

Out of the water, to the sky; higher and higher to the stars -- looking down at a blue sphere, watching vast shadows creep across its surface.

Ryv tumbled head over heels through the flood before he felt the familiar sensation of Auteme’s fingers slide between his. He closed his hand around hers and opened his eyes. She lingered on the edge of his vision, but the sight of stars rocketing past him captivated him. It was like a trip through hyperspace. Surrounded on all sides by vibrant shades of blue, intermingling with streaks of white zipping by.

Their brief trip ground to a halt overtop a snow-covered world. As it drew nearer, so too did a gargantuan shadow. Starfighters shot by at breakneck speeds, dogged by an odd assortment of ships belonging to all manner of forces. A string of explosions rocked the planet’s surface. Plumes of smoke climbed higher and higher in the sky, almost close enough for the two Jedi to reach out and run a hand through the smog.

Ryv felt his body shift beneath him.The world righted itself around him as his bare feet sunk down into several inches of thick, freezing cold snow. Another soft thud to his right sounded Auteme’s arrival. His gaze flickered first to her, then to the shadow they passed through the fall. It hovered just above the planet, large enough to blot out the sky directly over them. A distant red light burned into life upon its surface. Five beams of energy fed into the central node.

Clarity -- focus. She could find it. Find it- three moons, ice; stars, cold, heat. That terrible ball of death, focusing its power, bringing it to bear on-

A soundless flare. The beam hit the planet, melting the snow, and tearing the world asunder; millions of voices crying out in terror, then, silence.

Auteme gasped awake, once more finding herself drenched in sweat. Though she feared, she also found clarity. When she looked at Ryv again, there was no hesitation or indecision.

“We need to get to work.”