Star Wars Roleplay: Chaos

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Hail-fellow-well-met (Sorel)


Since the first time he'd seen Ahch-To - the first time the Jedi had returned to their home in centuries - the uncompromising rocks and stubborn grass had held a special place in his heart. He'd set foot on nearly ten thousand worlds at one point or another, near as he could figure. He’d called plenty of them home: Nar Shaddaa, Ord Mantell, Q-27, Port Mynock, even Fondor for a while. Ahch-To eclipsed most of them.

He could never have lived here - not nearly enough processed food or chop shops - but every couple of years he came back to center himself. Ahch-To offered pure solitude, the opportunity to take your bearings in relation to the Force and the universe.

A while back, some unknown Jedi had brought in ugly prefabs, permacrete landing pads, One Sith military vehicles, and an interstellar surveillance network in an effort to turn the simple Jedi ruins into a base for exploration. He and a number of other senior Masters had nearly thrown the lot into the sea before they decided not to taint the sacred place with conflict. As ever, he landed on a stretch of rock and took an old path up a hill, ignoring and avoiding the developed area. The islands offered plenty of untouched areas.

One such place was a ridge overlooking a near-vertical drop into the raging sea. He’d built his first lightsaber here, and moved his first pebble, six years after he’d been named Master of First Knowledge. Damp moss soaked the knees of his mechanic’s coverall. He closed his eyes and listened to the gulls.

[member="Sorel Crieff"]

Sorel Crieff

Ready are you? What know you of ready?
She’d been there once before, with one of her Padawans. A place the Jedi once called home — long before they called so many planets home.

Not that Sorel called any place home. She’d left her own planet when she was four and spent the following years on Coruscant, before the Sith took control, and then Ossus, until her Master died. From that point on she’d called a cockpit her place of residence. Until Voss of course.

Not that Voss felt like an actual home but it promised to be. Until she came to her senses — until she realised she was living a potential lie. Or maybe she’d just turned a blind eye to the truth. Naivety? Possibly. She was known as a Jedi wise beyond her years. So how did she come to her current course of action?

She piloted her ship — her old and externally nondescript vessel towards the planet that was calling to her. She’d been gifted with Farseeing and so the images she’d experienced were ones she paid heed to.

And now she exited hyperspace and headed to the surface. The planet was mostly ocean, dotted with a sprinkling of islands formed of black rock. Greenery capped the stony outcroppings, falling in emerald waves toward the sapphire sea.

And then Sorel banked toward one of the bigger islands, slowing as she did.

A wide, flat area at the base of the island's central mountain provided just enough room for her ship to touch down. It sat there for a while before Sorel emerged.

Then, slowly, she began to walk up the steep incline ahead of her. So old were the stone steps she climbed that grooves had been worn in the front edges by the steps of no doubt thousands of Jedi before her. The climb was steep and why she was making it unclear, but the thought of stopping never once entered her mind.

[member="Jorus Merrill"]
[member="Sorel Crieff"]

One of the particular joys of being Jorus Merrill was his total lack of the normal Jedi senses and abilities. He'd moved a pebble exactly once, right here. Here, too, the Force whispered that he wasn't alone. He stood up, brushed grass off his coveralls' damp knees, and turned to see who was ascending the slope.

It had been a good while since he'd known all the prominent Jedi by sight, and he didn't recognize this one. She looked vaguely Atrisian or Epicanthix, but he couldn't pin down anything about her beyond that. She walked with a genuine Master's self-possession and gravitas, though. And he could have been wrong, but she seemed sad.

“I tend to come here looking for solitude,” he said as she approached, “but there's plenty of room for two. If you're after the same, I'll keep out of your way.”

Sorel Crieff

Ready are you? What know you of ready?
Eventually, she found herself in a small clearing. Around her, there was no movement save for the hurried retreat of small, covert creatures. And then she sensed something else. Someone else.

She halted abruptly and then turned sharply.

Some distance from her, knelt a figure. He stood and faced her. He was not precisely what she had expected. Maybe she was hoping for some mystery figure shrouded in a cloak and robe, rather than simple coveralls.

She walked towards him as he spoke. “Solitude? I get plenty of that,” she said as she waved her hand at the approximate location of her ship, although it was not visible from where they stood. “No, I came here because the Force told me. Or rather it suggested it.” She smiled. “It’s complicated but not particularly relevant.”

She stared out at the ocean that stretched as far as the eye could see. “Maybe I was supposed to meet you? Or perhaps I’m just in the way?” She smiled again. “I can chat if that works for you, or meditate alone if you’d prefer.”

Her eyes returned to the stranger. “I’m Sorel by the way.” She bowed slightly. “And if you’re open to talk, that would be my choice.” The smile was fixed and seemed genuine but her eyes shared a different emotion. Sadness? Confusion? Most likely a combination of the two.

[member="Jorus Merrill"]
"[member="Sorel Crieff"]? That's a name I've heard. Good to meet you."

Ahch-To offered more than its share of weathered boulders. Jorus took a seat on one, right at the edge above the water. "I'm Jorus Merrill. Haven't been out to your side of the galaxy much, not since the Levantine Sanctum packed up. I live in the Outer Rim Coalition these days, or on my ship. Mobile chop shop, ship mods. It's a living."

He tried to recall what someone with Silver connections might have heard of him. The Mara Corridor terminated in Silver territory; he and his wife had built that hyperlane. He'd created the Jedi Order Library Card network, and built the boltholes and hidden enclaves that helped the Jedi retreat from the Core during the One Sith conquest. He'd given Boolon Murr's holocron to the Silvers. Oh, and he'd been heavily involved in the Levantine Sanctum, once upon a time. But all of those things had happened years ago. It was entirely possible she'd never heard of him. Wouldn't be the first time.

Sorel Crieff

Ready are you? What know you of ready?
Sorel smiled. The welcome was friendly enough and the man clearly wasn’t about to judge her — although she was surprised he’d heard of her, so she took a seat on one of the nearby boulders and folded her cloak around her — to shelter from the stiff sea breeze.

“I picked up with the Silver Order just about the time they split with the Levantine.” She was still curious to know why he had heard her name, but she decided to wait until it re-entered the conversation naturally. Assuming it did of course.

“Your name has a familiar ring to it, but I’d be a poor liar if I said I remember why. But I suspect that’s not so important. And I’ve travelled aplenty despite my years, but I only ever visit, never stay. Until a few days ago it was wherever the Silver Order needed me to be.”

That faraway look returned to her eyes and she stared out at the ocean once more.

“I’ve made a terrible mistake. Or maybe two — but definitely one.” She smiled at her own confused rambling.

“Is it worse to stick to your convictions and let many people down, or do what your heart feels is wrong and let the Force down?”

[member="Jorus Merrill"]
[SIZE=11pt][member="Sorel Crieff"][/SIZE]

[SIZE=11pt]Jorus chewed on that for a while, looking out over the water. [/SIZE]

[SIZE=11pt]"Mistakes happen. Most of’em are fixable. Those that aren't, you can still try and pay for’em, most of’em. And then there's things that feel like mistakes but might not be. You wouldn't be the first to leave a Jedi Order over a question of conscience, not by a long fething shot. Far as I’m concerned, letting people down isn’t a factor worth considering.[/SIZE]

[SIZE=11pt]“Nah, when it comes down to expectations versus conscience versus whatever, I just ask myself this: is anyone going to die one way or the other? Are there actual lives at stake? Folks getting hurt? I can’t speak to everything, but look at it this way. The Silvers might have spent the last decade and a half bouncing between different kinds of broken, but they’ve also kept a good chunk of the galaxy safe and at peace the past few years. They’ll probably weather this Sith mess too. I doubt you leaving’ll make them any less safe: they’ve got numbers and resources and real big guns. So I don’t see any harm in following your principles this time around, just based on the little I know anyway. So have some patience with yourself, eh?”[/SIZE]

Sorel Crieff

Ready are you? What know you of ready?
Age as not always a definer of wisdom, but Sorel always deferred to those whose experiences in this galaxy outlasted hers. Unless proven otherwise of course. And her own wisdom was based not on original thought per se but her assimilation of other’s ideas and logic.

So she was prepared to hang on Jorus’ every word and given him not only the benefit of the doubt but the space to expand on his words, even if they would sting initially. Advice was invariably free, regularly asked for but rarely listened to. Sorel was not typical in this regard.

And so she held back from jumping in at the first opportunity and allowed the argument to flow until she understood what Jorus was saying in an holistic way.

“Well, nobody died, and nor will they. Nobody’s life is on the line, that’s for sure.” His line of thought was simple and straightforward and entirely sensible too. It didn’t life Sorel’s spirits instantly but she felt a little more at ease — and so she opened up some more.

“My life is about principles, that much is for sure. And you’re right, the Silvers will be fine without me. And I’m glad for that. In truth, I suspect I’m the one who needs help. But I have the Force and that’s enough of an ally right now.”

She stared into Jorus’ eyes now. “Are you patient? With others and yourself?”

[member="Jorus Merrill"]
[member="Sorel Crieff"]

"With others, sure. Maybe more patient than I should be, sometimes. With myself, feth no - why do you think it's the first thing that came to mind? But as hypocrisies go, it's a pretty mild one, so I don't mind sharing what I'm doing wrong in hopes it'll keep folks from making the same mistakes I do. No, I'm probably way too hard on myself. Tend to blame myself for other people's choices, which isn't really respectful of their agency."

A few tiny raindrops dotted the stones and hung on the moss like dew. Not worth going inside for. Jorus ran his fingers through damp hair.

"But let's talk about the help you need. You've left the Silvers, so you're looking for a place that's in line with your principles, whatever they are. The Order of the Silver Lotus might be worth looking at - Beth Kismet is nothing if not principled, by all accounts - and the Alliance's New Jedi Order can make some similar claims. Me, I live in the Outer Rim Coalition, at the edge of Wild Space on the other side of the galaxy. Can't pretend it's the most ideologically sound or principled crew, at least not how most Jedi would define it, but they're my people, so I do what I can.

"What're you looking for in allies? What principles get your focus?"

Sorel Crieff

Ready are you? What know you of ready?
Apologies for the delay. OOC poodoo sapped my mojo somewhat. I’ll be slow for another couple of days and then I suspect I’ll be back to normal :)

Sorel smiled. Most recently she’d been in a place where political correctness and open talking weren’t precisely frowned upon, but in her role she was, at very least, supposed to be wary of saying what she thought before she checked it with her brain at least twice. So Jorus’ openness was something of a breath of fresh air.

She ignored the spots of rain and ignored the initial reflex to pull her hood up. It felt like a defensive and closed act and anyway, a little water never hurt anyone.

She was pleased he’d picked up quickly on her need for help and she was always open to advice. She didn't always take it, but at the very least, she took it at face value and reflected on it.

She knew little of the Silver Lotus, but made a decision to rectify that. The Alliance she was aware of and figured she owed them another look.

“It goes without saying, for me at least, that the light side and the Code mean a lot to me. Everything really. But on a more personal level, other things are important too. Openness is vital and a place where you’re welcomed. The Alliance is big and maybe just a little too impersonal for me, but I’ll visit them again and see how I can help them. And if they can help me too, who knows?”

“And maybe I’ll just go somewhere quiet — like here, but not here. To centre myself and reflect on what I have learned. Both of the galaxy and myself. All I now is that I want to continue to teach Padawans. That feels like my ‘thing’ right now."

[member="Jorus Merrill"]
[member="Sorel Crieff"]

Jorus scratched his neck; the rain made his stubble itch. "Yeah," he admitted, "I guess I know what you mean about the Alliance. My daughter helped found'em, but I've never had much use for'em apart from one or two that're long gone or retired. Not that they're not good folks, but they've got a knack for turning other good folks into the next best thing to fanatics." He thought of Coren Starchaser and Sarge Potteiger, and how close they'd come to outright madness in the Alliance's service. "Seen that happen to a couple old friends that signed on with'em. Save the galaxy, screw compassion - the old Dista, Moridena, Ike, Raaf, Halcyon, Apparine kind of dickery." He shrugged. "Then again, that was a while ago. Maybe getting slapped by the First Order's humbled'em to the point where someone like you could teach'em what they forgot."

The rain washed the air clean of the dust and exhaust that recent Jedi had brought here. Jorus took a deep breath, let it out slow, and adjusted his seat on the rock.

"I'll tell you this much: you're one of the few full-time trainers. You've got a rep for that, far as I've heard, same as Rasu Gan and Corvus Raaf and a lot of others used to have. Most of us got tired. Couldn't handle another decade of watching kids quit or fall. The 'verse needs Jedi who like to teach and can stay the course. Screw Silver politics: if your heart's with finding your centre and raising new Jedi, then fething do that, for sure. Heck, I've got a quiet place or two in mind, all the spots I looked at when I was building boltholes and evaccing Jedi out of the Core Worlds. Auratera, Dagobah, Mimban, Zhar, even Naboo -- there's tons."

Sorel Crieff

Ready are you? What know you of ready?
Sorel continued to listen. She’d travelled the galaxy and for a short while had been Grandmaster of the Silver Order, but her knowledge of politics was limited. In her rather simple world there was light and dark — as well as good an evil. The subtleties of governments and politics would never be a comfortable conversation for her. But at least she knew her strengths and weaknesses and more importantly was prepared to admit to them. And thankfully, hypocrisy was not one of them.

She smiled at the compliment. “Not sure I’m up for teaching any Order anything, let alone one that doesn't want to listen. The Code is clear and we all walk our own path. The trouble is that in our mind we believe we’re doing the right thing — and that becomes our beacon. Whereas it is our heart that needs to be true to the Force, and few seem capable, or willing, to listen to it.”

“And right n my heart says to reach out to other Jedi — to whichever Order they call home — and see how I can help. But as a guest, not a member. And after a while I’ll know where my true home is. Or maybe accept that I’ll never have one and rely on my ship to be my constant.”

“Meanwhile, I’ll find a base to teach from and take it from there. It seems a sensible option and I fear I’ve strayed too far from sensible of late. I am a Jedi. It’s what I do and what I want to be. It’s that simple and I think I may have over-complicated it recently.”

She looked to Jorus again. “Do you have a life philosophy? Something that helps you make the right decisions?”

[member="Jorus Merrill"]
[member="Sorel Crieff"]

“Sounds like a solid course of action for all the right reasons. If there's any way I can help, let me know. Need a ruin turned into something livable, need a ship tweaked to be a mobile praxeum, I can do that, no sweat.”

He didn't have a ready answer for her. One formulated itself as he watched the sea crash on the boulders far below.

“I used to believe in the Code. I still believe in its core tenets, but I served six or seven years as Master of First Knowledge, guarding the Great Holocron, the Codex of Tython, holocrons from Tionne Solusar and Yoda and all the rest. I watched how the bulk of the Code changed since, oh, twenty-five millennia back. The core stayed the same, but the rest got better or worse, usually for politics or someone's whim. Bits got retranslated or buried or added. There's ugly things in the Jedi ledger, on the Code’s account. Not an easy thing to admit, but the truth was right there in front of me.

“And the truth was that the real truth, a good chunk of it at least, got lost somewhere along the way. We're all just stumbling along. All we can really count on is our conscience and our sense of proportion. Maybe the full truth will come back someday; maybe it's out there waiting for someone to dig it up again. Just hope I’m in tune enough to recognize it when I hear it.”

Sorel Crieff

Ready are you? What know you of ready?
Sorel smiled. Often conversations were based upon politics. Way too often, at least for Sorel’s liking. People wouldn’t say what they believed but rather what they felt was appropriate to say. In a way that was the way of the Jedi. Personal opinion was rarely relevant — it was what was right that mattered and local laws and customs prevailed, even if they were at odds with a Jedi’s morality.

So it was refreshing to speak to someone without an agenda and without a need to influence her one way or another. Instead she was simply sharing her innermost thoughts and someone was telling her how it was — from his perspective. And she could follow his every suggestion or choose to ignore his ideas. And neither of them would be hurt either way.

“I’ll be sure to ask for help if and when I need it. I have an idea for a base — away from it all — and that may require some assistance in making it liveable. I know ships and I know droids, but my expertise ends sharply there. Engineering and stuff? Way outside my comfort zone. A long way.”

And then she listened to his response to her question. She would not have minded if he’d chosen to ignore it, or hold back. But she sensed he wouldn't and she was thankful for that. The more he gave, the more inclined she was to reciprocate — and she needed to air her concerns and worries if she was to choose the right path.

“I don’t doubt we all have our own interpretations of the Code. Even back when it all started. I’ve rarely heard two Jedi agree on anything contentious in its meaning. Which is why I believe in what I believe in, but stopped judging others for their interpretation if it was different to mine. But I won’t back down on my core principles. Like good and evil. And light and dark. They’re not the same and I don’t confuse them — but each is important to me and I shan’t be swayed.”

“And a perfect answer sounds…well, perfect — but I don’t expect to find one. And even if I did, who’s to say anyone else would believe it or agree with it. Perception rules in this galaxy, it always has. We see everything from our own perspective, with our own beliefs and morals colouring that vision. It took me many years to understand that, but now I have, I have to respect my journey at arriving at that outcome. And live by it.”

“Do I sound pompous?” she asked, her voice revealing the fact she was earnest in her question.

[member="Jorus Merrill"]
[member="Sorel Crieff"]

"Hm?" Jorus looked away from the seascape and blinked. "Pompous? Not to me. Someone else might though. I find that particular thing gets a lot more traction the simpler you say it. Live and let live. To each their own. Don't impose your principles, whatever they are. That about sums it up for me - though I admit I'm still pretty quick to call out the uglier kinds of Jedi hypocrisy when I see'em. As for building a base, I've done plenty of that. Shouldn't be hard to set up."

He looked back to the sea.

"There's a thing I learned in one of the oldest holocrons that's stuck with me. You ask any Jedi what the Dark Side is and they'll say any number of things, mostly about connecting to the Force using anger and all that. But those are all paths to the Dark Side, not the Dark Side itself, just like fear and attachment can be paths.

"The Dark Side is selfishness. The Light Side is selfless compassion. Those are core definitions from the best authorities, and they really ring true for me. I've known some hurt, confused, angry folks who were way more selfless and compassionate than some serene megalomaniacs with Council seats. I guess what I'm suggesting is this: be real sure you know who's on your side."

Sorel Crieff

Ready are you? What know you of ready?
Sorel laughed out loud.

She was known for having a positive disposition and for smiling frequently, but she rarely laughed — and even less often with the volume she was currently exhibiting. And it was not that anything Jorus said was particularly funny. Maybe it was the context in conjunction with the words?

“I’m laughing with you, not at you,” she explained as her fit of the giggles died down. “So rarely is the truth shared so openly and quite frankly unembellished, that it caught me a little by surprise.”

Her face returned to its usual state, her lips curled slightly upwards at each corner and her eyes confirming she was still happy with the tone and direction of the conversation. “I’ll come and see you when I need help with the base. I have a place in mind, at least I believe I have. I just haven’t found it yet.” She waved her hand to illustrate she knew she was being cryptic.

“I know the location and I know where I think I’ll find it — the Force has guided me, and I trust it. Just as I trust your counsel and your definitions. They make perfect sense and I can only concur in your summary of the differences. Some see selfless as a weakness. I, for the record, do not.”

“But as to who is on my side?” She looked away again, out into the distance — although the light drizzle meant she could no longer see all the way to the horizon. “The Force is. And always will be. As to who else?” She shrugged. “I recalculate that on a daily basis. Sometimes hourly. I serve the light in any way I can that does not conflict with my view of the Code. Beyond that I do my best to take everything at face value. To reserve judgement and to do my best. It’s all I have to offer.”

[member="Jorus Merrill"]
[member="Sorel Crieff"]

Jorus slapped his knee. "Good gorram, it's been ages since I met a real Jedi Master. Love it."

The rain intensified, plastering his hair to his scalp and his coveralls to his back.

"I'm thinking it's time to head inside. The little corvette parked on the rocks down there, that's mine. She's called the Wretched Hive - mobile chop shop, vessel mods, that kind of thing." Jorus slid off the boulder. "I'm aiming for some hot food and a proper hull over my head. If you want to come aboard, there's plenty. My wife's not home - Alna's off consulting​ - but you could meet my crew. None better at finding a place you already know in your gut."

Sorel Crieff

Ready are you? What know you of ready?
Sorel laughed again — maybe it was the local air? “I’m a Jedi. And a Master. And I’m real. But I’m just an average galactic citizen in my eyes. But I’m glad I don’t appear to have two heads. And that’s no offence to races with…you know…two heads.” She pointed at her face with two fingers by way of an explanation.

When the rain-drops grew heavier, Sorel looked to the skies. “Good idea,” she said as the offer of shelter came. And a thought passed through her mind. She flew alone — with just a couple of droids for company. But how good would it be to travel with people? It had not occurred to her before but the concept was worth considering.

Hot food sounds good. I tend to live on ration packs when in space — so something a little more homely would be wonderful, thanks. And how many crew by the way?”

[member="Jorus Merrill"]
[member="Sorel Crieff"]

Humility, too, was refreshing. He'd known Jedi who literally referred to non-Force-sensitives as lesser beings, who declared themselves destined to lead, even rule. Too many of those, really. He started making his way down the slope. Rain-slicked moss and rock offered treacherous footing; he chose each step carefully.

"It changes. Always hiring new folks, dropping off old ones at this port or that." He slipped a little, windmilled, but kept his balance. "Right now there's me, my wife Alna, sometimes my daughter Mara when she's not raising Hell. A Krevaaki named Dingo Darr's my chief engineer, a Twi'lek called Shenna'vala is his second, and they've got a couple dozen outlaw techs at any given time. Then there's Noomay - Bereth-Aku, think tortoise - the medic. Adurak, Djembara, Vars Aveppar - they run the bridge. Couple dozen others doing this and that. Oh, and there's Saggy, my droid. Not gonna lie, they might get twitchy around a proper Jedi, but they're great folks, good hearts. Salt of the earth."

The rough trail ended; he ducked under the Wretched Hive's flank and rapped a code on the bulkhead. The ramp came down, emitting the scents of fast food, cheap alcohol, and mechanics.

Sorel Crieff

Ready are you? What know you of ready?
Sorel listened and as each new crew member was added, she fought back the urge to look shocked. She had considered the idea of a small crew based upon what Jorus had been saying — maybe two or three. Four at a stretch. But thirty crew-mates? For some reason that made her feel uncomfortable. Not that she wasn’t used to being around that many people, but she was invariably passing through. Transient. This sounded more like a village in space — and home was something she’d not had since…well, ever.

Maybe she was running away from putting down roots? For a fear of what that might mean or require?

The thought was front and centre in her mind, so she pushed it to the side and focused on the here and now. “I hope there’s not a test as to how many names I remember,” she said, “I’m good with faces, less good with what people are called.”

“And I like salt of the earth. Too many I’ve met are pretentious at best and egotistical at worst. People who like to put in an honest day’s work are rarely the sort to disappoint. In my experience at least.”

And as they approached the ship she was pleased with the aroma of food that wafted towards her as the ramp came down. And the smell of ships too, there was nothing like it — the blend of lubricants and cleaning fluids. If she was forced to describe what home meant to her, that aroma was as close as she could describe.

[member="Jorus Merrill"]

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