Star Wars Roleplay: Chaos

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Duty & Honour [Coci, Sorel]

The Assembly Chamber
Planet Voss

All things must come to an end.

Jedi Master [member="Sorel Crieff"] had been summoned to the Assembly chamber, where Thurion and [member="Coci Heavenshield"] - Grandmaster and Master of the Order respectively - awaited her arrival. While they waited, Thurion stood before the grand seat where he had attended so many council meetings over the years, ever since Iella inducted her into the Order. His fingertips caressed the sleek armrests, and for a moment he felt the faintest bit of regret over what was to come.

But one look over at Coci, now quite clearly with child, told him it was the right decision to make.

For two decades the two had guided the Order of the Silver Jedi, to a point where Thurion barely remembered a time when he wasn't Grandmaster. The council had elected him to succeed Iella E'ron following her tragic passing, and he had carried out his duties as best he possibly could, for better or worse. But he was tired now and, as much as he loathed to accept it, his spirit was no longer in it.

It was time for another to assume the heavy mantle of leadership, to guide the Order and its members into a new dawn.

Standing next to his wife, he couldn't help but placing his lips upon hers for an all-too brief kiss, his hand settling upon the rather obvious bump of Coci's belly. "We're finally, really doing this, aren't we," he asked her with an adoring smile.

By the time Sorel would appear, the two would greet her with a bow befitting her soon-to-be station, should she accept their offer.
It is funny how when one makes a decision like they have made, how the weight of the world seems to lift off ones shoulders and a sense of lightness enters the spirit. Every since she and her husband had come to the conclusioin it was time to step down, Coci had felt much stronger in mind and body. Yet, there would always be a sense of apprehension, letting go was never an easy thing to do but it was time indeed. So many years spent at the head of this Order, she could not remember when she was once just a Jedi.

They had both done their part that much could never be questioned, sometimes with great joy and other times with sorrow but never without the thought of those that had joined them in the Order to follow the Way of the Jedi, that their care was paramount. And once more Thurion and Coci place the good of the faction before them. This decision was made for the greater good of The Order of the Silver Jedi.

Even as the years have passed, Thurion's kiss never fails to rid her of any doubts, never fails to remind her of why they stand together not only as Jedi but as husband and wife. And once the kiss ended she rested her head on his shoulder for comfort for them both. It was time for them to start a new phase in their lives, evident by the child growing in her body strong and soon would want to see the world for himself.

Today is a good day.

Coci turned to greet Sorel as she would enter the Assembly and like Thurion, she bowed to her as would be befitting her new station.
[member="Thurion Heavenshield"] | [member="Sorel Crieff"]

Sorel Crieff

Ready are you? What know you of ready?
It was with a sense of trepidation that Sorel approached the Assembly Chamber on Voss. The reasons for her attending were not clear – she’d simply received an invitation to attend and her mind was running wild with potential agendas. And you don’t receive an invitation for a private audience with the Grand Master and Master of the Order without reason.

Without a very, very, very good reason.

She was sure she’d done nothing to bring the name of the Order into disrepute. As befits a state of minor paranoia, she revisited this option often as she counted down the time between being asked to appear and the moment she stepped into the chamber. But every time she discounted it for lack of evidence.

Next she cycled through a whole host of thoughts, each as valid as the previous one and yet none felt appropriate. They were either so mundane that she would have expected a memo on the subject and not a summons – or were so serious that she expected to have received a visit to discuss some significant breach of protocol.

She was sure she hadn’t inadvertently started a war, and none of her Padawans had fallen to the dark side (that she was aware of at least). And she’d shared no inkling she was going to fall to the dark side herself had she? Surely the lightness of her aura spoke volumes for her moral compass and the truth between her heart and the Force. And although she’d allowed two dark siders to flee a battlefield, she was sure she could argue her position from the Code’s perspective.

Which left just one thought in her mind as to why the Heavenshield’s might be asking to speak to her in private. That dance on Csilla?

She blushed and pushed the thought from her mind, less it betrayed her.

And then she drew a deep breath and stood still for a few moments. She was in the corridor that lead to the Assembly Chamber and she chose the time to meditate, to connect deeply with the Force and calm her mind from thoughts and emotions. She would find out the truth for the summons in a matter of moments and any conjecture was pointless.

So she opened her eyes, her mood lifted and her mind focused and clear. And with that she took the final few steps and entered the chamber, bowing to the two Jedi already seated there. It was a mark of respect she afforded every Jedi.

And then she glanced from one to the other and resisted the urge to second guess their motives. Thurion was seated comfortably and one hand was gently touching his wife’s bump. Coci for her part seemed equally relaxed, her head resting tenderly on her husband’s shoulder.

[member="Coci Heavenshield"] [member="Thurion Heavenshield"]
The confusion as to why she had been summoned so privately would have been palpable to anyone, even without Jedi training. Little did Sorel know what was about to be offered to her. Thurion beckoned her with a soft wave of his hand. "Approach, Master Crieff," he spoke.

Alongside Coci he stepped towards her, meeting the Jedi Master about halfway. Once within arm's length, he reached out to settle a hand upon her shoulder. "You may relax, Sorel - you haven't done anything wrong. Far from it, in fact." Turning to look back towards the Grandmaster's seat amongst the other Assembly seat, Thurion continued.

"You are in your twenties, are you not? I remember being your age; after spending my early adulthood amongst the stars I returned to this corner of the galaxy, and I came across a newly established Force Order. You may have heard of it," he smirked. "As you know, the Silver Jedi were led by Iella E'ron at the time. She was... a remarkable woman. Humble. Compassionate. A mother." His eyes wandered until they found the ever-present hologram of the former Grandmaster's bust hung upon the wall like a painting.

"When I was named Grandmaster following her joining the Living Force, I felt... guilty, for lack of a better word. Honoured, yet... unworthy. I swore I would give my all to try and follow her lead, to somehow fill her shoes. I can only hope I've done her proud." His eyes closed as he inhaled a deep breath, then turned back to face Sorel.

"Sorel. Coci and I... have come to a decision. A very important decision. One that was not made lightly." His hand found Coci's for a gentle squeeze. "Our part in shaping the future of the Order is ending. Our wish is to focus on what now matters most to us." He again placed a hand upon the bump of his wife's belly. "Thus, the time has come for another to take up the mantle of Grandmaster. That, is why we have summoned you here."

Thurion breathed an internal sigh of relief, having finally uttered the long-awaited words. Today was the day.

[member="Sorel Crieff"] | [member="Coci Heavenshield"]
Coci stood silently by as Thurion spoke. And she would give pause to allow Sorel time to take in the words and what was offered to her. The young lady before them had reached such great heights and had grown so strong since coming to the Silver Jedi and her devotion to the Jedi Way and the lightside of the force had never been in question. Nor her loyality. Sorel is wise well beyond her years which is something rare in this galaxy.

She took Sorel's hand and encouraged her to come and sit in one of the other Assembly chairs and Coci sat beside her. "What we ask of you is a lot, we know this. But we will not leave you alone, Thurion and myself will always be here to help you, if you require it and we will support you".

"If you .. take the position of Grand Master, take it as your own. There are no shoes to fill, no one that you must continue to follow, but rather find your own Way. Master E'ron foundered the Order under some very trying circumstances for the Jedi but she direction had been clear and her own and through it all she remained true to all this. Grand Master Heavenshield...", she smiled having very rarely called him this, "once accepting the station has built a stronger Order, again in some very trying times and he placed his own stamp upon it and took the Order to greater heights in which we now see many worlds under our protection and enjoy the freedom we can give them in doing so. All to the best of our ability. Mistakes are made, they always will be, but from them we grow and progress. But there has been more goodness that has come from his leadership that far out weigh the bad and now we see many Jedi come to the Silver Order under his time".

"Now it is time for a new phase", she said finally and let go of Sorel's hand.
[member="Thurion Heavenshield"] | [member="Sorel Crieff"]

Sorel Crieff

Ready are you? What know you of ready?
Sorel took their demeanour to be a positive. At least for now. And it was immediately supported by Thurion’s opening words. His voice was as friendly as she remembered from every other time they’d met – although she suspected it was somewhat different on the field of battle.

Even the term ‘Master’ Crieff felt friendly in his delivery – despite her reluctance to use the title herself. Here and now it felt entirely natural and appropriate.

Then he stepped forwards and placed a hand on her shoulder. It felt reassuring and his words echoed that sentiment. Fortunately, he continued speaking, stopping Sorel from beginning a new cycle of wondering what she had done ‘right’ to provoke the meeting.

She nodded as he mentioned her age. She had not yet reached thirty years old and it felt slightly strange talking about the man in front of her in his relative youth. She knew he’d been Grand Master for some time and hadn’t thought about the fact that he was probably her age when he took office. And Coci too would have experienced the same journey in her life.

Sorel had heard of Iella E’ron but had never met her. She was initially a Republic Jedi and had only joined the Silver Order after meeting her Master Matsu Ike. But that was many years ago and she felt a part of the family now – the Silvers were, in truth, all she knew and all she wanted to know.

And she was swept up with the story that the Grand Master spun, sensing his emotions and feelings as he was pressed into service under sad circumstances but how he was dutiful and devoted. And Sorel wondered how he managed that promise whilst also being a loving husband and father – and reflected he was truly remarkable to have achieved all of that.

Then he introduced Coci into the conversation and she sensed now the gravity of what they were about to say.

And then it was said.

Sorel stood speechless for a few moments and her mouth opened and only one word emerged. “Me?” She flushed slightly and composed herself as Coci took her hand and took a seat – purposefully avoiding ‘that’ seat for the present.

“If a film is ever made of this moment, I’m sure the words I uttered will be amended.” She laughed softly, aware of both the humour and the seriousness of the moment at the same time.

She turned to face them both in turn. “If I had words, they would be as profound as yours Grand Master,” she said, “And no less sincere.” Then she faced Coci directly. “I appreciate the support and would have expected nothing less.”

“I am a Jedi. That is not in doubt. My heart is true to the Force and I will always do my duty. Again, I suspect that is not something to be questioned. Am I capable of following in your footsteps? I suspect only time will be able to judge me on that one. And I know you said this is not about filling shoes, but it could so easily be. If I can find comfort and direction it is in that I have always seen you as Jedi first and Grand Master and Master of the Order second. Maybe third after being parents. This is an Order and we are as strong as our collective strength.”

“Which would not be an abdication of the duties of the Grand Master but a realisation that it is a responsibility that would ultimately rest with me but we will continue to grow in strength as an Order of equals.”

“Which is a way of saying that I am honoured to be considered and will do what I always do – the best I can. I shall never over-promise or under-deliver.”

“Which all feels a lot of words and not all of what I have said will necessarily make sense right now. But it shall. With your support and the Order unified, we can only go from strength to strength.”

[member="Coci Heavenshield"] [member="Thurion Heavenshield"]
It was no wonder they had taken the poor girl by surprise, but then again how do you prepare someone for this kind of news? He just hoped she didn't feel pressured into accepting their offer, for that was all it was in the end. An offer. She had every right to decline.

When her answer came, Thurion couldn't help but smile and sent her a nod of approval. "You will have our support, Sorel. Ours and the rest of the Silvers, I am certain of it. They know of you and your qualities, same as us." With the two ladies seated, he preferred to remain standing. He would have plenty of time sitting down soon enough. His hands resting upon the back of Coci's seat, they soon moved down to her shoulders for a gentle rub.

"Thank you, Sorel. Truly, you have no idea how much this means to the both of us." Thurion then stepped over to where Sorel was seated and knelt by her to look her in the eye as he contined. "I won't lie to you - the office of Grandmaster can seem both a blessing and a curse at times. There will come times when you wish you could just shed all responsibility and go back to being just one amongst many." He paused, perhaps reminiscing to himself for a brief moment.

"But there are great joys in holding such an office, getting to witness those under your leadership grow and become leaders in their own right. Such as yourself. You're always up-to-date on the goings-ons within and without the Silver space, and the knowledge that you can use this intel to further the betterment of the Order and its protected worlds is both a great responsibility and a constant test of your resolve. Above all, it is an adventure unlike any other - one I am glad to have experienced."

He looked back at Coci with a smile. "But all adventures eventually come to an end, and in their place new adventures begin."

Thurion then rose to his feet, returning to his wife's side. "Very well, then. There will be a formal ceremony held in the coming days where all the official... stuff take place," he said with a dismissive wave of his hand, trying to come up with a better word but failing spectacularly. "And you may finally see for yourself what that chair feels like sitting in. I, uh... may or may not have carved my initials into the back of it during one particularly boring session..." He awkwardly rubbed the back of his neck before giving his beard a good scratch.

[member="Sorel Crieff"] | [member="Coci Heavenshield"]
There was nothing more for Coci to add, except, "You will always have our blessing and support Sorel". And she was trying so very hard to stop a smile from breaking across her face after Thurion had told of his carving his initials into the grand master's chair. But it was even beyond her capabilities and Coci began to laugh. And then she realised, she had not laughed in a long time and soon the feeling shook her whole body. And it felt good.

She always loved it when Thurion would look all the world for a small boy when feeling awkward and rubbing the back of his neck, it was a trait their son had picked up in similar situations. "I am pleased you have decided to accept the position, you will grow in it, and into it with time". She managed to say once her laughter had subsided.

"But now I will leave you here as I must get back to duty", she said as she rose from the chair. The actually fact was, she was hungry .. and nothing will stop a pregnant woman from food. Besides it would give Sorel the opportunity to speak with Thurion alone if she had more pressing questions, from one grand master to another. Leaning forward she kissed Thurion on his warm lips before departing the Assembly room.
[member="Thurion Heavenshield"] | [member="Sorel Crieff"]

Sorel Crieff

Ready are you? What know you of ready?
Sorel had not expected the request but once she had processed the information, her mind was re-setting its calibration and her usual tempered thoughts were able to take control of her tongue — that had seemed to gain a life of its own for a couple of minutes.

“Forgive me for my stream of consciousness there. So much information to process and without any warning,” and she immediately raised a hand, “And please don’t take that as a criticism, I have no idea how you were supposed to soften the ask without tipping me off.”

“And I know I will be supported by you and all of the other Jedi. I expect I will come for advice from time to time and for the short term at least I will keep things just as they are now. I just have to think of an appropriate Master of the Order — for I don’t plan to change that structure either. It has worked for many years and I see no reason to amend it.”

“And in much the same way I see my ownership of my holocrons as more of a caretaker role — holding them for the next generation of Jedi, I see this role in much the same way. Not that it is temporary but rather that it is something that I have a responsibility to pass down at some point, much as you have. It is beholden of me to make sure I hand it over at least as strong as it is now. That is my promise to you both.”

“Or rather one of them. My other is to simply be the best Jedi I can be.”

She sat back in her chair, seemingly relaxed for the first time since she’d heard the news.“I appreciate your faith in me, both of you.” Then she stood and bowed as Coci made her exit.

“So,” she said, turning to Thurion again. “Official stuff. I guess there are some things that I need to know before any formal ceremony.”

[member="Coci Heavenshield"] [member="Thurion Heavenshield"]
There was no way for him to hide his boyish grin when his wife let out her laughter. It was good to hear laughter again after the state of Midvinter. Knowing the side effects of her current state, however, he sensed her reason for leaving him and Sorel alone were not entirely altruistic. Thurion sat down in his old chair in a rather debauched manner, putting his feet up on one of the armrests and hands clasped together upon his chest. "They do love their food," he teased as Coci had just barely left the room and was well within earshot.

"Right, onto important stuff..." He began twiddling his thumbs, leaning his head against the back of his chair and lightly chewing his lower lip. He looked over at Sorel and tilted his head to the side ever so slightly. "Forgive me for asking, but... you don't let your hair down very often, do you," he then asked seemingly out of nowhere. "You got any friends to rescue you from your duties, or get in trouble with?"

Thurion then sat up, leaned forward and with hands in his lap. "Do you have any family out there?" Although they might not seem such, these questions he posed were the important ones. For without friends or family, what else was there to life?

[member="Sorel Crieff"]

Sorel Crieff

Ready are you? What know you of ready?
Sorel smiled — she could not help herself as Thurion was clearly in a relaxed state now and the banter with Coci was a pleasant thing to be able to eavesdrop on — not that it was a private conversation anyway.

Sorel did not follow suit with the seating posture, but did seem relaxed and her face shared the fact with the Grand Master.

Her smile became a soft laugh. “You noticed,” she said, not taking offence at the remark. “I am a Jedi. I have been a Jedi since I was four. It is all I know and all I have ever wanted to do, to be. So I act as I expect a Jedi to act. I have few, if any, social interactions. I teach, I go on missions, I study. And then he cycle starts over. I have ever had the inkling to let my hair down.”

Her nose wrinkled now, as she was clearly deep in thought. “I guess I don’t know how to let my hair down. Maybe I’m afraid to? Maybe I see it as non-Jedi like?”

Her voice picked up an octave now. “When I have socialised, I have enjoyed it, but I tend to feel guilty afterwards. Is that normal? I mean typical? I mean…how do you be a Jedi and a husband and a father and a friend? How do you find the time? Seriously.”

“I mean I have a couple of friends,” her face flushed momentarily, “But we tend to go on missions together. It’s what we enjoy. And I don’t think I’ve ever got into trouble.” Her voice was not defensive, it sounded as though being naughty was the farthest thing from her mind.

“And I said goodbye to my family when I was four. I was taken by the Republic Jedi. It was their way. I have no idea what happened to them, or even how many siblings I have.”

She stared at the floor for a few seconds, as if it were the most interesting thing in the room. Then she looked straight into Thurion’s eyes.

“Am I odd? And are you having second thoughts?” Once again, there was no fear in her voice, merely curiosity.

[member="Thurion Heavenshield"] [member="Coci Heavenshield"]
"Four years old..." he sighed, eyes drifting down towards the floor between them. "I can't help but feel sorry for you, Sorel. And if my feeling sorry for you upsets you, then I guess I'm doubly sorry." If there was one thing he had worked for to stand the Silver Jedi apart from their Republic roots, it was the conscription of younglings. Joining the Jedi should be a conscious choice, not something you owe them simply because you happened to be born attuned to the Force. Padawans should not be torn from the bossoms of their loved ones, but instead be allowed to join willingly in order to fight for their loved ones.

Rising from his chair, he stepped over to where Sorel was seated and simply sat down on the smooth floor before her, crossing his legs as if about to meditate. He reached and took her hand in his. "Completely mental, same as the rest of us," he grinned up at her. "And I wouldn't have it any other way. I chose you to be my successor because of your dedication and your sense of duty. They will serve you well in the years to come."

He gave her hand a soft caress with his thumb. "But do not forget to live life while you're at it, Sorel. You asked how I am able to be Jedi, husband and father all at once. The answer to that is simple: I consider them all the same thing. To me, the woman sitting before me is not just a fellow Jedi, but also a dear friend and family member. A sister, a mother, a daughter. Because unlike the traditionalists of old, I do not think of love as corruptive or evil. It is as natural as breathing, and when allowed to blossom it can grant you unbreakable resolve and the greatest of strength in the face of adversity."

"When I face down Lords of the Sith, I don't fight for ideals or organisations. I fight for my brothers and sisters, my sons and daughters, and there is nothing that can stand in the way when you fight for those you love." He held onto her hand, gently as if her hand was made of the most delicate of glass. "If there is one last thing I may ask of you as Grandmaster, then it is that you live, Sorel. Love."

[member="Sorel Crieff"]

Sorel Crieff

Ready are you? What know you of ready?
Sorel was not expecting sorrow from the Grand Master but had been on the receiving end of all manners of responses to her history, so was not affected one way or the other.

“I appreciate your thoughts but rest assured, I was happy to join the Jedi and don’t miss what I never had.”

And as she responded, she was surprised that the Grand Master came to sit in front of her and took her hand. She allowed him to hold it and smiled at his appraisal of her. “Glad to hear I’m one of the crowd. And time will tell if your decision was wisdom or folly.”

“And I promise to take your advice. I can’t make the same commitment to loving — but I will do my best to embrace it if it finds me. I am comfortable being a Jedi. I am solid at being a Jedi’s friend. I just need to widen the gap a little I think.”

“And I suspect loosen up a bit too. Perhaps learn to dance?” Her smile became a beam. “Don’t worry, it’s an in-joke. Not funny, but maybe it will maybe go some way towards lightening up some?”

“And I have a personal question. How did you meet Coci?”

[member="Thurion Heavenshield"]
[member="Sorel Crieff"]'s promise to try was all he asked for, and so he raised her hand to his lips for a delicate, platonic kiss before releasing it from his grasp. Her next question had him grin wide. "Well..." he began, leaning back until his back hit the floor, arms folded under the back of his head while staring up into the beautifully crafted ceiling.

"It was on Catia, the moon of Shri-Tal, during the early days of the Order. I was a young Jedi Master at the time, having barely gotten used to the new title. She was a Knight, with a background in the Republic military. We shared a shuttle heading towards our objective, and the weather was fierce and unforgiving - one of the most terrible storms I've ever witnessed. We disembarked and marched through the jungle until we came across this narrow passage along the ridge of a mountain. Lightning struck the mountainside, causing a rock avalanche. I pulled Coci aside and pressed her to the wall, shielding her from the boulders."

"My back was badly mangled, and once the avalanche subsided she took me to a nearby cave where she patched me up. We were drenched and cold, and so we spent the night together to keep warm. One thing led to another, and... we made love for the first time, there in that cave." He could see it all before him, remember every scent and touch. "She was the most beautiful woman I had ever laid eyes on..."

"We went on a couple dates after that, introduced her to my adopted daughter Nina, and soon we moved in together. We journeyed to Midvinter, where she met my father - the High King at the time. We got married there and gave birth to Théo, who I believe you've already met. On Csilla, if I recall?"

Sorel Crieff

Ready are you? What know you of ready?
She smiled at Thurion’s chivalry. It was always a fine line between sexism and being a perfect gentleman and the Grand Master always stayed on the right side of the line, and with plenty of room to spare.

And she began to see a new side to the Jedi Master — one she’d not previously witnessed at the more formal settings she’d met him at. It was slightly strange but not at all uncomfortable. And as he spoke of how he met Coci, his story was truly mesmerising and she could see the love in his eyes and hear his devotion in every syllable.

And when he reached the end of his story, she blushed slightly. It was — perhaps — a little too much information. But that paled into insignificance compared to the question he posed. She thanked her lucky stars that she’d shown her minor embarrassment before he reached that part as she swallowed heavily before responding.

“Well. I haven’t met Nina that I recall, but I have met Théo many times. On Rhen Varr once and on a mission too. And on Csilla, yes, when we met the Iron Empire. You have a good memory. We left the proceedings to grab a bite to eat if memory serves correct.”

“Do you have to attend many formal functions as Grand Master?” she asked, keen to move the conversation on.

[member="Thurion Heavenshield"]

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