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Once the smoke and debris of war had been cleared from the high streets of the Capital Planet, in the wake of the Great Battle of Coruscant, the people of the Galactic Alliance began to take stock of those who had paid the ultimate sacrifice -- not just in defense of their planet, but in defense of the Alliance. The Brotherhood of the Maw had hardly seen fit to give quarter, with the collateral damage of their assault on the Jewel of the Core encompassing a wide range of fallen. Soldiers had certainly been the largest casualty during the defense of the ecumenopolis, but ordinary citizens had also been killed from falling debris, crashing ships and stray gunfire. Chancellor Adhira Chandra herself had been among the intended targets. She escaped the cold grasp of death. Yet Aarav Chandra, First Gentleman of the Alliance and well-loved husband of the Chancellor counted among the dead.
No life was too great or too small in the Galactic Alliance. All sentience was precious and worthy of defense. The tremendous loss of life on Coruscant impacted the people of the Alliance deeply. The faith of the citizenry had been shaken, their sense of security melted away in the face of the surprise attack.
In one of his first official appearances as Chancellor of the Alliance, Aerarii Tithe
declared a faction-wide Day of Mourning to remember the loss of those who fell in defense of Coruscant. This provided an opportunity for the bodies of the fallen could be entombed and placed to rest. This reprieve would allow the entirety of the Alliance to process the events of the last several days, reassure them of a continued structure of government, and - most importantly - give Chancellor Tithe the precious time needed to formulate their path forward.
Along the Avenue of Core Founders, now draped with vast bolts of black cloth, citizens of the Alliance pressed together along the pathway in their mournful garb. Meanwhile, a cadre of floating caskets processed to the plateau that dominated the front of the Senate Building. There, they would be honored before being transferred to a nearby monument commemorating the battle. This is also where Chancellor Tithe, gazing down from his podium, would have his first opportunity to address the people. With this speech he would need to prove, not only that he was the natural success to Chancellor Chandra, but that he could succeed where she could not.
This was a day of sorrow, of mourning, and of pain. But it was also a new beginning for the Alliance.
A mournful note rang out along the expansive corridor and the procession began.
As the mournful tone rang out against the wide-open stone corridor of the Avenue of Core Founders, Ishana Chandra jolted and her dark brown eyes raised upward toward the horizon. Her vision was blurred ever so slightly by the presence of tears. Directly ahead of her, the black plinth that bore her father's casket was practically the only thing visible for the young Balmoran woman. To her right, her older sister Ashanti stood with her husband and children. They were all in black. Her sister wore a veil that draped to the ground.
Ishana chose to let the world see the tears as they rolled down her face.
Not only was their father now dead before them, but their mother lay unconscious in the Alliance Medical Facility far across the plaza. Ishana could hear her niece and nephew sniffle. Then, with a sudden shift, the plinth - pulled by two massive, armored ungulates - began to creep forward. Thousands, perhaps millions of Alliance citizens had gathered and lined the Avenue, quartered off by the bright blue armor of the Senate Guard. Some of them threw flowers onto the street as her father's casket floated by.
Ishana simply looked at the ground and let the hot tears flow freely down her cheeks as she marched dutifully alongside her father's scorched corpse. It's what her mother would have wanted, she thought bitterly.
In one of the handfuls of times that anyone paying attention would see him in traditional robes, Caltin stood off to the side and out of the way. This may be his old home, in many respects, but it wasn’t anymore, and guests should not get in the way of others. So he stood there, watching the proceedings, and feeling like a failure. He did not blame himself for the actions of the Sith, not by any means as that was self-defeating. What he felt like he failed on was the fact that he could not do enough, he could not save more younglings, more Padawans.
Was that feasible though? The big guy was holding the main entry point and doing his best to coordinate the defenses of the main entrance and level. He’s just one man, one Jedi, and he had to trust that the others were doing their thing. He could not be blamed, none of them could (There was no blame to be sent or spread around), but it was out there and there was nothing left to dwell on. As the procession entered and gathered, he watched those around. This was something that he had experienced before and there was a big gaping hole in his gut. The memories of it were vivid because the feeling was coming back right now.
As the gathering began to listen to the names being called, the massive Jedi Master bowed his head and softly spoke the words of a prayer that he remembered being spoken during a processional on Naboo. He knew none of those who were fallen, but it did not matter. They deserved better.
” May the road rise to meet you, May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face, The rains fall soft upon your fields.”
Not much more than a blessing, but something he felt important. Some around him seemed to be touched by those words.
Turning and witnessing the memorial for those Jedi who had fallen, the big guy closed his eyes and spoke a convocation that he had learned after the last sacking he had experienced:
” Almighty Force,
whose command is over all and whose love never fails,
make me aware of Thy presence and obedient to Thy will.
Keep me true to my best self, guarding me against dishonesty in purpose and deed
and helping me to live so that I can face my fellow Jedi, my loved ones, and Thee without shame or fear.
Protect my family, those by blood and those by choice.
Give me the will to do the work of a Jedi and
to accept my share of responsibilities with vigor and enthusiasm.
Grant me the courage to be proficient in my daily performance.
Keep me loyal and faithful to my superiors and to the duties
my people and the Silver Jedi Concord have entrusted to me.
Make me considerate of those committed to my leadership.
Help me to wear my uniform with dignity, and
let it remind me daily of the traditions which I must uphold.
If I am inclined to doubt, steady my faith;
if I am tempted, make me strong to resist;
if I should miss the mark, give me courage to try again.
Guide me with the light of truth and grant me the wisdom
by which I may understand the answer to my call.”
A bad day happened, but that was in the past. The people would move forward from this, the planet, the sector, and the Galactic Alliance would heal. They needed to. Pain and loss were a natural part of life and of existence, but so was putting a stop to it. They. All. Would. Put. A. Stop. To. It.
Today was a day of mourning and a day of reflection. It was the dawn of a new age. One where the humble citizenry content to let the Senate, the Military, and the Jedi wage their war in far off sectors of space were rudely awoken to the truth -- that no where and no one was safe. Terror gripped the masses. Fear of shadows began to grow in their hearts and in their minds. Doubt the Alliance could weather the storm was brewing.
Naturally, the Chancellor sought to bring unity and focus back to the masses before they spun apart at the seems. A prudent and welcome choice.
It changed little from where Dominique stood, however. Oh, yes, this was the dawn of a new era in the Alliance. One where Denon would prosper greatly. With so much damage done to the 'Jewel' of the Galactic Alliance where else could so many turn to, but other Ecumenopolii. The Corporate Authorities of Denon would not sit idly by while such a lucrative opportunity landed in their lap.
Sure, the attack had destabilized shipping lanes. People were hesitant and unsure where the Maw might go next as though every planet in the Alliance was worth notice. Such disruptions delayed the acquisition of wealth, but if you positioned your resources correctly once the disruption was overcome and the markets rebuilt you stood to make mountains of credits.
Provided the Alliance didn't collapse. Which was why Dominique Vexx attended the memorial. To help support her fellow politicians in avoiding the worst case scenario in order to rake in the most money. The morale of the people had to be managed. Dominique's ordinarily white outfit was black today in solidarity with everyone's terrible loss. The Senator of Denon stood patiently with others as the procession began at the appointed time. Today would not be the most enjoyable function attended, but it was certainly an important one.
It felt good to cry. Tears became a perfect release, relaxing every muscle in her body, letting herself let it out. She had a hard time crying around other people, and it was harder still to stop crying, even if people showed up. But, Adhira wasn't doing much, so Auteme had no qualms about sobbing quietly in her seat at the Chancellor's bedside.
Despite how good it felt, Auteme was getting a bit too exhausted by it. She didn't sputter, or wail, or cry out; she just sat there, silent, letting the tears roll down her face. She stayed still, as though moving might disturb Adhira -- as though that would have been a bad thing. No, it was mostly for herself. It almost felt wrong to speak.
But the doctors had said something about how sound might help coax the Chancellor out of her coma. Auteme wiped the tears from her face- a temporary fix- and put on a brave face, as though Adhira could see her. It didn't last long.
"You were always so put together," she mumbled, knowing that speaking up had the risk of making her voice break. "I wanted to be just like you."
She shook her head. Now, looking at the woman to whom she credited so much of what she'd learned about politics... still Adhira was serene. Far from the commanding presence she had when awake, but dignified nonetheless. It seemed like the woman couldn't be broken, even in this coma.
"I want to be like you," she said. "And I want you to be there to see it."
If they're going to watch you, do something extraordinary.
It all was getting hard to watch, but not for the reasonable reason.
Sighing, the secret Sithspawn leaned her hooded head back against the marble pillar top behind her. Her eyes fell closed, the first moment of rest she had allowed herself since the invasion, and quickly tumbled off the balcony railing into a daydream rivaling the morbidity of the precession below:
Coruscanti duracrete, shimmering for all its memories of smoldering masonry and blasterfire, morphed into the amorphous dark of the Core. And just there, where it certainly didn't belong, a black hole. But before Damsy could even finish her identification, she was tumbling into its gravity field,
plunged into unyielding cold and lonely,
tugged head to toe,
little by little,
until the sensation was too much to even scream,
and her very foundations begin to shift
as the darkness pulled all her electric rage through her bones.
Her center of gravity jolted deep in her stomach, jostling both her eyelids and her supper. She only barely kept the latter down, doubling herself forward over the barrier on which she sat. Then, she stretched herself out on top of wide railing and lay her head on top of crossed arms.
Some tidal force internal rage. It made sense now, coming on at once and dangerous like a rouge wave your back was to, why the Sith were all so stereotypically mad, and how some of them used it as an excuse to wrong the galaxy. But she wasn't sure if she was relieved or horrified that she was feeling not only pangs of sympathy but an entire echo of their experience. She—not just Syreni—wanted to hurt the survivors below, punish them for doing just that, as if she would, could, somehow find a shred of self-satisfying mercy in that.
Or self-sacrificing. The only way to make sure she didn't explode was to make sure she imploded instead. If ever there was a time to become an austere and deny one's own desires, now would be the hour. She just didn't know how long she could manage it for.
Maybe if she stayed here until it rained, which the skies had been threatening for hours, then the problem would take care of itself...
Jax stood at attention, the hood of his Jedi robe over his head. He was relying on mostly the Force to remain standing as he was still having problems walking ever since the Brotherhood ambush at the Jedi Temple. Thoughts of Pom Stych Tivé
still swirled in his head as well as the warnings of Master Oda. But Jax set it aside for now, it was not a time for questions it was a time for mourning. The great capital of the Galactic Alliance: Coruscant was bombed out with hundreds of millions from what Jax heard dying. Those who survived still carried the physical and emotional scars. Jax can sense the people around him weeping with some saying prayers for the fallen.
Grief had washed over Jax as well, the Chancellor Adhira Chandra
was mortally wounded by the brotherhood and countless of fellow Jedi fell in battle. After spending the entire Stygan Campaign making sure that the Sith Empire did not reach Courscant, the Brotherhood managed to reach it within half the time and made a statement. The Jedi held the grief in side of him as he thought about the comatose Chancellor. Her vital signs were stable at least that was some comfort that the people take in. He closed his eyes praying that this would be the last time so much hurt would be inflicted to innocents, but Jax knew the counterattack would be inevitable and more innocents will suffer. The best that he and the Jedi can do was to minimize the casualties while getting rid of the threat.
Jax passed by the memorial and said a silent prayer to the dark sky. Tears started to form in his eyes as he closed his eyes "this shouldn't have happened." he muttered to himself. "But it did, everything we did to protect the people of the Alliance was all for nothing as the Brotherhood came and killed countless people. Sometimes you wonder how in the world can you move on when so much bad has happened?"
He continued to walk past the names of the people who died. "How can you move forward?" Reaching into the Force, a small sad smile formed on his face. "A new day will come," he said. "The best we can do now is to do what we can to save those who are left and to never forget those who passed on."
It was hard to accept, but It was something a Jedi needed to understand so they can move on and continue to protect others.
I was a tired man. After the Brotherhood began to pull out, what was left of the 253rd pursued as best we could. After that, endless meetings and ceremonies filled my schedule. I’d spent more time working than sleeping in the Damaged Jewel’s nights. Still more work flooded in with the promotion.
Another meeting. This time with Captain Sorrene. She’d performed miraculously well, given the circumstances. I’d been meaning to discuss doctrine on how to properly utilize small craft in battle with her for some time, and now was a better time to do it than any. I was waiting for her in my office, using the opportunity to get some more work done.
Finally, the door slid open.
“Captain,” I looked up from my work. “Please take a seat.”
Idle Hands Inside Adhira's Memories // The Alliance Medical Facility // Coruscant Auteme
// Marlon Sularen
"...if I hear even the faintest word of subterfuge or Ashla-forbid rebellion, my Chancellery will come to Byss and shake your administration to death like a rancor." The Chancellor was dangerously close to Denzul Vosh-Sularen's face, the white hot venom of her threat brushing against him with every breath. The scene played out exactly as it had on Byss many moons ago. Only... this time, Adhira did not turn on her heel and storm out of the room. The Senate Guard did not move. Sularen did not respond. A wash of of discontentment fell over her like a high tide and she felt herself stumble back, grasping at a stone pillar to steady herself.
Her vision swam. The Imperial Throne Room of Byss rippled like a cool reflection disturbed by the wind and Adhira had to close her eyes tightly to keep from tumbling backward down the stone stairs. "What foolishness?" She was a cornered animal, devoid of orientation. "Guards... arre-arrest Senator Sularen..." What she perceived as some chemical attack on her senses subsided and she opened her eyes to see that she stood alone in the same vast room. Sularen was no where to be found. Nor were his guards. Nor were hers. She could feel her heart flutter in panic and her knees gave way, causing her to fall back against the pillar and sink to the ground of the empty chamber.
The air was heavy in her lungs and she struggled to draw breath. Something was not right.
"Please come back,"
The words were a distant echo all around her, but she knew the voice. For the first time she noticed that the world outside the windows of the Byssian throne room seemed... off. She heaved herself to her feet feeling all at once too light and too heavy. Gathering up her skirts, she stepped carefully to the carved ingress and could see clearly that the world beyond seemed incomplete. It was like a data connection that was in the midst of disconnection. "Please come back..."
Adhra looked around as the familiar voice repeated itself.
The lines between dreams and reality had been blurred for Adhira Chandra as she lay motionless in the pod of the Alliance Medical Facility, towering high above the surface of Coruscant. She could not tell which part of her existence in that moment was to be believed. Her encounter with the Byss traitor seemed so real.. so potent. But the voice of Auteme
had evoked something so powerful within her.
Adhira's pinky twitched.
"Hm?" the medical droid chirped instantly, turning to examine Adhira's body. "Not to worry, Master Jedi," it buzzed cheerfully to Auteme, "just an involuntary muscle reaction. I assure you she remains quite stable..."
"I'm here..." her voice was hoarse, even inside her own thoughts, "I'm here, Auteme."
"Asleep... but stable," the droid busied itself with Adhira's medicine ports. Adhira felt herself drift again, like falling backward into the abyss.
Seto Du Couteau, Senator of Empress Teta
Location: Corusant, Senate Building Attire
Bright sapphire eyes gazed outwards, snowy white hair gently tussled by the winds as the young Du Couteau heir stood out on the balcony. The ceremony for the dead would encompass a large portion in front of the Senate building. His eyes turned back towards his office, the time before the speech from the new acting Chancellor would be soon. And what kind of impression would I make if I’m anything but punctual? Seto’s musing thoughts bounced around in his head.
Once inside the office, Seto grabbed his data-slate and walked out and into the hallways. With the attacks from the Brotherhood, the markets took a nosedive and several institutions and brokerages halted trading to keep the whole institution from collapsing. Banks were demanding for better leverage, Corporations an excuse to miss a loan payment and countless of brokers simply running out of capital to facilitate all the trades happening.
His walk slowed as he rubbed his temple, fingers attempting to push away the early onset of a headache. Numbers, statistics and more numbers. When Seto had first taken the Chair position of the Committee of Finance and Commerce he had expected a team of data-driven analysis with a complement of quants. Instead I have to deal with more greed than the entirety of the Tetan Corporate Bloc. It almost drove Seto to near fuming anger with how little humanity he saw with this Committee.
Seto wearily thought of how much easier things would go if he allowed himself more freedom to use his Force abilities to help convince people to his side of things. A gentle nudge, always a gentle nudge to make it appear as if they were the ones with the brilliant idea. Seto sighed as he increased his pace to attend the ceremony of the fallen. No doubt many more will follow before this war with the Maw ends.
Another statistic for the history books to record.
The cold claws of the Brotherhood lay fresh in mind, Embedded in her thoughts. Stinging her ears, the shrill screams of Coruscant. Clogging her breath, the taste of iron-- no, Blood. And carved into her eyes: The ANV Revenge's hastily set triage center, reeking of blood, of decay.
The notion of the Maw's crimes drew the memory further from the shadows.
She treaded flat ground, textured only by lifeless and dried pools of blood, hastily discarded scalpels that the medical staff had overlooked in the earlier flood of casualties. But with the last of the injured admitted to Sickbay in proper, the last of the dead gathered for ceremony, she noticed the remains of Brotherhood's handiwork disappearing in greater frequency. Equipment vanished first, and with Relynia's next round, she brushed over the air were stretchers had once been. She paused, examined her surroundings and caught the eyes of an exiting nurse. The two stared, nodded, and parted ways.
And Relynia was alone again, and cold. So unbearably cold...
SCREECH. She shuddered, tossed, panicked under the weight of clangs, of screeches, of screams. Of long silences... Quiet. Relynia's quickened breathing settled in place of maddening noise, and settled in pace. She lay still under the covers, quiet to the point where even her breath merely came over a whisper.
Relynia's eyes closed tight, as the muddled snippets of audio began to crescendo. Screams. She could assign each agonizing plea to a name, a face. The first, she recognized, as the voices of subordinates; the unfortunate victims of Coruscant, Csilla... The next: quieter. A single ear-piercing scream rocketed into her eardrums and resounded with the force of a turbolaser barrage. Yavana. Relynia couldn't save her either.
She climbed out of bed, feeling around in the dark for the cold, flat surface of a desktop. Her hand shivered as it felt around a clutter of unread datapads, stopped as her fingers wrapped around a thin, golden ring. Her ring.
The screams finally went quiet.
She tried to fall asleep.
[0900 Hours - Next Day]
Relynia lingered in front of the commodore's door. Or, rather, the rear admiral's door-- high command had taken notice of Constantine Oliva
's career, and granted him the promotion after Coruscant. She couldn't say she blamed them, Constantine was a worthy leader, seasoned by his experiences, calm in the face of danger. He commanded the respect Relynia could never manage to summon. But when it came to the troubles of the pilots, he needed her. For that observation, she allowed herself a guilty feeling of self-worth.
Though quickly banished such emotions with a single chime of the door's buzzer.
Relynia took long strides inside, brimming with the perfect atmosphere of confidence she utilized in mission briefings. "Commodore." She nodded gently after delivering a crisp salute and deftly adopting an at-ease posture.
From orbit there was little to see what was wrong on the planets' surface. On the descent, everything seemed normal more or less. The Alliance cleaned up well, but then again, this was their capital. Nations that had been struck in the heart of their very being either reinforced themselves, or collapsed.
One needn't look too far to see evidence of that in modern times.
While he hadn't been on Coruscant when the Brotherhood had dealt its bloody attack, Zaka knew what it was like to be raked by the Maw's claws. They were a cruel and vicious enemy, that were only befit destruction. Chaotic beings like them did not deserve redemption or absolution. The flames of retribution would have them.
Tugging his black half cloak over his shoulder, he stared out over the Avenue to watch the proceedings. The feel of mourning was in the air, as if the air itself was heavy, even from so far away.
Persona: Senator of Denon Location: Coruscant, Senate Building Attire: Black Suit, Vexx of All Styles
Dominique turned her head in time to see Seto as he stalked through the corridors. The Chair of the Committee of Finance and Commerce -- an incredibly powerful Committee given it could sway the entire market for good or ill -- seemed particularly tense in that moment. Hardly a surprise under the circumstances. While great opportunity had been handed to Denon, there was still great risk and the considerable damage done to market confidence to be overcome to ensure those opportunities became reality. Not an easy burden to bear, and seemingly one Seto refused to set down even for a moment.
Well, he would be someone Dominique would enjoy speaking to under the circumstances. It seemed Seto hadn't been swept away by the countless tears of the fallen; or perhaps he simply hadn't allowed himself the emotional luxury yet. So Vexx turned to calmly, but with a little extra step to her pace, follow after the man in order to catch him.
"Chairman Couteau," Dominque called out after she'd gone far enough no one outside indulging in the emotional parade would overhear. "If the Alliance has any hope of overcoming the trials ahead, it will need you in good health, Chairman. The responsibility of any committee should never be the burden of one soul."
Of course Vexx was an opportunist. How else had she risen so far in power on Denon? That did not mean she was a heartless monster, or unaware that forming bonds with others came with its own rewards. Sometimes you fell and it was nice to have trustworthy people around to help you up again. Actually, that was strangely poetic under the circumstance if expanded to encompass the Alliance as a whole.
"To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die." - Thomas Campbell
Caltin was done being "standoffish" and keeping out of everyone's way. He saw Jax, and had something to say to the Jedi Maverick, so the big guy got over himself, got over his natural(if not ironic) shyness, and walked his way through the crowd. Patting others on the shoulder and offering compassionate non-verbal encouragement, he noticed the Jedi who once asked if he was a ghost, yeah, we remember that, was actually crying. This was the place for it, and there was nothing wrong with that.
It was when Jax' back was turned and his hand was on the marker that the big guy touched his shoulder, not to make Jax move, but to simply be someone he could talk to if he wanted such.
They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old: Age will not weary them, nor will the years condemn. At the going down of the sun, and in the morning: We will remember them.
Giving him another second, Caltin took that time to acknowledge a few around him and speak with a couple. This was a day of mourning, yes, but it is a day of remembering the good about those around you and those who had fallen as well. That was important too.
Delicately crafted glass of Maldovean Burtalle in hand, and a Chandrilan cigarra haphazardly held between his teeth, Harson Thaddeus had all but exiled himself to the comfort of his own home.. Unable to bare the aftermath of what he saw as his own failure for any longer than he had been obligated to by his superiors, he'd swiftly resigned himself to his personal quarters-- or as his wife often labelled it-- his man cave. Bookshelves adorned the wall beside him, occupied with ascending rows of military theory and history. Not that it had changed anything.
Even the building he resided in, his very home, now bore scars of his failure to change anything and his uniform was heavy on him.
Lifting the cigarra from between his lips, the tired General released a puff of smoke into the well ventilated air of his office, credited to his significant other, who'd had the foresight to install such facilities given her husband's habits towards the Chandrilan product. Eyes following the dissipating cloud of various amalgamated carcinogens, the uniformed man leaned back in his chair, cigarra now firmly held between two of his fingers, thoughts beginning to consume him again just as they had before. During one of the many ceremonies he had been rushed around the Senate District for in the previous hours.
Coruscant. The heart of the Alliance, and the galaxy at large. It had been attacked before-- many times in all actuality-- but never had these attacks appeared so humiliating. Evil had set foot on the ecumonopolis many times before, but it had always been.. Dignified, or at the very least formal. Legions of well-equipped, disciplined and trained soldiers, supported by efficient-- if not immoral governmental systems that generally stood opposed to the ideals of the galaxy's past democracies. But this? Bands of barely-dressed lunatics, tribal sadists, deranged death stick abusers and slobbering monsters rampaging freely through the mantle of galactic civilization? It was an embarrassment.
And that was the point of it all.
Time and time again the Dark Side had arrived on, and even occupied Coruscant throughout its millennia long history, but it had typically been to varying degrees civilized, even sophisticated, albeit oppressive all the same... Perhaps the General had been thinking too much into it, perhaps he had been too influenced by the stories of great men and manifest destiny that currently made themselves comfortable on the shelves next to him. But if these.. Cultists could have their way with the very capital of the Alliance, even if only momentarily, who was to say that the New Imperial Order, or Confederacy would not try next? Suddenly emboldened by a disastrous display of woefully inadequate homeland security on the part of their neighbor's intelligence and naval apparatus. Unlikely scenarios to be sure. But until recently, so had been the notion of Mawites invading the Galactic Senate.
Returning from the abyss of galactic geopolitics that was the confines of his imagination, Harson's attention jumped to the door of his office. His wife's voice emanating from the other side of it, muffled by the material between them. "Harson. Come out." She asked, implication clear-- however subdued it was-- in her tone. Who would know him better, after all? Staring at the door for another moment, he abruptly raised himself from his chair, lowering his glass of aged Burtalle and snuffing his cigarra out on the nearest ashtray, one which sat on his desk, and that had been a gift to him from one Corellian military man or another at a formal occasion years prior.
Approaching the entrance to his quarters, the ordinarily reserved General was well aware that his significant other would be expecting a not-so insignificant amount of heart to heart conversation. While not entirely comfortable with the idea, she always managed to soothe his concerns all the same. It would in all likelihood be better for his health to be out there than where he had been, wallowing in his own pity and hypothetical scenarios with nothing to keep him company than a alcohol and nicotine. The door opened.
CORUSCANT | NEW JEDI TEMPLE REMNANTS | INFIRMARY |CLOSED - I JUST THOUGHTPOST TYVM THE BRIGHTER THE LIGHT
THE DEEPER THE SHADOW
Ishida remained silent through the duration of the assessment, and the early stages of her leg’s treatment. Regrettably, her pensive introversion wasn’t in reflection to the devastation of Coruscant. It was far more selfish, and that sad, thoughtful expression was distant from the smoke and flames that still plumed above ground. In truth, her mind was bouncing around like a tiny animal trying to escape a predator.
By now, the medical staff within the temple were used to the somberness that stretched through each of their patients. And, gratefully, Ishida’s condition was stable, outside of the bruising to her ribs and the unignorable giant wound in her thigh –– A few inches to the right Padawan, and this could have been devastating. This blade cut right through all the tissues, somehow narrowly missing your femur. Devastating, yes devastating to a rare but potentially life-changing condition, in which the pressure within the bone's compartment rises above the capillary perfusion gradient, leading to cellular anoxia, muscle ischemia, and eventual paralyzation.
The droid’s assessment fell on deaf ears, the Jedi’s expression distant. Despite how real the hurt felt in her leg, it was hardly comparable to the aching fear that bloomed in her stomach, spreading and itching at the base of her throat. No, not fear. Something worse. It turned spiked and slippery, pulling at her cheeks and hollowing out the space behind her eyes. Making a small wet choking sound, Ishida motioned to cover her mouth as a wretched sensation gripped at her belly, tearing it out of her body and tightening her lungs like a superhuman sense of vertigo.
Air filtered through her teeth in the shape of her brother’s name: “Inosuke”.He was dead. The place where his wakizashi had cut her hand throbbed, confirming the connection. She put it to her face, heels against her eye sockets.
Which one? She almost asked out loud, but it came out as a soft, single sob instead.
Qi’Yon was with the Brotherhood. Inosuke was dead.
Does that hurt, Padawan? The 2-1B asked as if concern could be conceived through the lights in its face. He’d noticed her reaction but was met with slumped shoulders from the girl, who kept her eyes downcast until they were squeezed shut but she shook her head no while the droid went through the final, lip-biting moments, of the stitching process before cauterization.
In normal conditions, where the infirmary wasn’t so busy, she would have access to a full bacta bath. At least for below the waist. But there were those far, far worse than her. She’d at least been able to limp in.
“No, it’s fine. Thank you.”
The wound hurt little compared to the ache in her soul, and she leaned back against the bed’s support to force herself away from her thoughts.
But they wouldn’t abate.
Over and over again, they played. The inhuman scream of He Who Was Lost
’s pain reverberated through her bones, and the coldness she’d felt take over after she’d hurt him. She’d pushed him to the brink of the light, and the darkside had been there to ease him back into power.
That’s what hurt the most. Inosuke’s death was painful to feel, but the responsibility of that turn bore down heavier than an anvil on her chest.
An anvil that turned into a barrier.
As much as she wanted to find Bernard of Arca
now, through the smoke and rubble and processions of death while Coruscant tried to recover from this strike, she couldn’t. His was the first name she’d said when disaster struck, and when she thought she might be losing everything, but the last person she wanted to see. Now, anyway. Now that she’d been incapable of even the most basic attempt of outreach and understanding, to her own brother. Every conversation ended up with her admission of failure. How she’d failed the promise to hesitate enough to understand.
The conversations played out in her mind in different scenarios, all converging on the same outcome.
‘Your leg! How did this happen?’ He’d be concerned.
‘My brother stabbed me because I tried to best him and put him in his place instead of trying to talk to him. Instead of trying to understand him.’
‘Your brother? The Jedi Knight, is he alright? Did he survive?’
‘Dead, because I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be with a Jedi.’
or he'd go a different route
‘Where were you.’
‘Not here, because I wasn’t with the Jedi’.
'Are you alright?'
'No. I've destroyed my family.'
There was no way she could see wherein they were together, and she would be able to bring about that bright, happy smile of his in the face of all this adversity. She only saw his broken concern, disappointment in her failure. Their imbalance would be struck again and she couldn’t bear the thought.
It stung and contaminated the spaces of her heart, and she clutched at the bacta patches pressed to her ribs. Though she might want, with everything she was made of, to be with him. To make sure he was alright, not overwhelmed, not lost. The Jedi, being Jedi, meant so much to him and this attack was cataclysmic. Coruscant was covered in ash and terrible realizations of fallibility.
She was suddenly aware of a stinging pressure behind her eyes, and she forced a sharp inhale in. The breath forced the building tears back down, and when she exhaled it was ragged and wet.
Heavy-hearted, she forced herself to think of something else, anything else.
..SOME TIME LATER
The only reason she was visiting her quarters was to retrieve her belongings, and maybe get a wink or two of rest before she made any rash decisions.
She was about to collapse on the cot when a note stopped her from dropping to the mattress. It was in traditional Atrisian — which immediately limited the potential authors. The only people she spoke in her mother tongue with were her brother and Aiko Hayata.
And her brother was dead. She’d felt it, like a whisper, a breath against her soul.
Squinting at the note, the logographs communicated one thing:
There was no hesitancy in the language. Only clear, direct language.
She dropped to the edge of the bed, covering her mouth and staring at the note. As if the harder she looked at it, the more information it would give her. When had he written this? Was this before the attack on Coruscant? She’d felt him die, the Force had rapped against her ribcage and taken out a piece of her heart.
Surely the Force wasn't wrong, was it?
Looking up to the ceiling, she sighed heavily. Tiredly. The Force could, perhaps, be wrong. If it was infallible, this many Jedi would not be suffering.
Seto Du Couteau, Senator of Empress Teta
Location: Corusant, Senate Building Tag: || Dominique Vexx
Seto turned his attention to a new voice, one he was sure was not just in his head. He turned around to see one Senator Vexx, a new arrival to the Committee he was the Chairman of, and one that he had not yet met. He briefly took a single moment in an attempt to recall anything, but the last thing he remembered was a memo asking him to make an appointment with Senator Vexx. And of course the Maw attacked Coruscant. . . Oh how the galaxy operates.
“The Alliance is capable enough of surviving without me, of that I’m certain. . . the markets though, I’m not positive public trust will return anytime soon without a heavy dose of subsidies and Treasury bonds.” Seto commented as he lowered his data-slate down to his waist with his left hand.
The young Du Couteau heir raised his right arm to offer his hand, “Senator Vexx. I apologize for how long it took for us to finally meet.” Seto began, his head lowered in respect.
“Perhaps I can amend this error by offering a vacation to Empress Teta on my credit. It’s beautiful this time of year, and I’m positive you and anybody you take with you will enjoy themselves profusely.” Seto added.
His cerulean eyes met with the golden iris of Senator Vexx, his smile tugged the corners of his lips expressing a more boyish grin than political smile. Seto needed to take care of how the other Senators felt about him, especially when they were a part of the Committee he was overseeing. Plenty of people striving for chances to climb over one another for a better title, willing to do anything to anybody even if they're well liked let alone despised. So Seto took the approach of making the others enjoy their time with him, and offering gifts certainly helped with that goal.
Ere the Sun Rises The Steps of the Senate + Avenue of Core Founders + Coruscant
// Alliance Senators // Alliance Government Officials // Foreign Dignitaries
It had been mere hours since Mirana Praji was chosen to succeed the Alliance's new leader as Vice Chancellor and yet she had already found herself thrust into the public eye with her newly found notoriety. Shortly after the Dean of the Senate (the most senior Senator) had handed concluded administering the oath and handing her the Speaker's Staff, one of her new assistants appeared at her side, babbling about the details of the memorial service that would be held for those that fell during the Battle of Coruscant. The only thing that Mirana could thing about, though, was how surprisingly light the scepter felt in her grip. It seemed almost heretical that it was not heavier.
She thought something very similar as she stepped out on to the dais of the Galactic Alliance Senate building and peered out over the Avenue of Core Founders. Hundreds of thousands of people lined the wide, stone boulevard and in the distance, she could see the haunting outlines of dozens of floating caskets, lead in procession by the carriage which bore the body of Adhira Chandra
's husband. In a way, she was almost glad that the Adhira was in a coma... it would spare her the grief -- for a time.
Gathered with her on the steps of the Senate Building were a number of other Senators and other high ranking members of the Alliance government. Absent only was the newly christened Chancellor, Aerarii Tithe
who had not yet arrived. She imagined this was either a security concern or to spare him the lengthy amount of time he would have to stand before the fallen finally reached the foot of the staircase - at which point he would address the entirety of the Alliance for the first time as their leader.
The attack on Coruscant had shattered any illusion of security that the citizenry of the Alliance held dear. It was presumed indefensible, not only by the people whose homes rested behind the safely held borders of the Alliance, but also by the government whose seat was situated on the capital planet. Everything was uncertain now and it was the responsibility of the new Chancellor to put their fears at ease. To an extent, she supposed, it was also partially her responsibility. And so, there she stood, in flowing robes of periwinkle, her golden hair wound tightly into intricate knots about her head. Her expression was solemn, but calm and she held her new staff upright for all to see.
The state of the Alliance was strong. They would endure and they would repel the forces that sought to harm their people.
Mirana inhaled deeply as the procession began, her icy blue eyes following the carriage as it made its way forward. "May the Force be with us..." she prayed quietly.
Persona: Senator of Denon Location: Coruscant, Senate Building Attire: Black Suit, Vexx of All Styles
Dominique extended her hand to take Seto's as he apologized. A smile touched her lips as the man smoothly sought to assuage any perceived slight that she may have felt. "I would love to visit Empress Teta; I could hardly turn down such a generous gift. In return, let me extend an invitation to visit Denon, Chairman Du Couteau. The nightlife there is quite invigorating, and it would be my pleasure to show you to some of our finest establishments." As a woman that led a double life as both Senator and Slicer, Dominique knew of many 'choice' venues of hospitality in both walks. Which Seto would appreciate more... Well, she'd just have to find out ahead of time through interacting with him.
"With the markets so rattled, an opportunity to get away from it all will be well deserved. In the meantime, I hope I can be of service restoring stability and confidence in the galactic market. A few assurances to the right people can build a strong foundation for a swift recovery." It was a bit much to expect any one person to manage deciding what concessions to make and contact all the big players in the market in a galactic market. Asking someone to do that for a single planet would be too much. With the right people at Seto's side, however, they could manage. Not easily, but what worth anything in the galaxy ever came easily?
Auteme looked at the woman's hand, shocked for a moment out of her tears. She started to wipe them away as if the Chancellor might wake at any moment. The feeling passed soon, though, and she just stared.
"Could you give us some privacy, for a moment?" she asked the droid, and it complied.
She pulled her chair a touch closer. In her mind's eye she could see a sort of iron cord connecting herself and Adhira. After a few moments of silence, she found a bit of strength in her voice again, and when she spoke that cord thrummed.
"I- I was selfish," she admitted. "When I saw Solipsis in the Senate Building, I couldn't think of anything else. Then when I saw the skyline, and the Temple -- it was like I'd forgotten what mattered, and everything I had to lose. And honestly, I had- I'd barely given a thought that I might lose you, too.
"I couldn't always tell you, but... you have no idea how much I admire you. You're- you're like who I want to be when I grow up. Before- only recently I've felt like I've really been growing, but now that I'm here, I-"
The words caught in her throat. She tried her best to calm down, but it took her another minute before she could say any more.
"I still need you. Just a little more, a little longer, and not- not like this.
"Give me something. Anything. Please. A sign, a- a blessing, for where I'm headed."