Star Wars Roleplay: Chaos

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Hard Times

Things had been busy for Kaalia. Up until recently that would've meant she had many missions given to her by the Ren and nothing more, but now that was very much different. Walking through the fairly empty hallways of the Bastion of Ren was a redhead who had just returned from a trip to a planet named Makeb, a much needed break from things after the conflict on Skor. It was a defeat that many took to heart, but she had counted her blessings. Although she had not seen every single one of them yet, checking up on the list of injuries and casualties revealed no names she recognized. One of the people she had not seen yet was [member="Ara Ren"] and although not seeing her for a few days every once in a while had become fairly standard it always made her a bit nervous. In addition to the regular nerves something felt off somehow, which didn't help things.

When the redhead took a deep breath however she calmed down a good amount. The breathing itself wasn't necessarily the reason, instead it was the lavender-rose scent she inhaled. The source was the jacket she was wearing, a faded black Starfighter jacket with a patch with the name Pavanos on the front. It had seen its fair share of abuse, showing patches and stains and markings that showed it had been sewn up on multiple occasions. The owner had got one a size too large, allowing Kaalia to fit in it herself despite the length difference. She had a habit of 'accidently' packing the jacket with her own things, even if everyone with half a brain could've figured out that the fact it happened every single time was a bit too coincidental.

Ara has to be somewhere around here, the Kro Varian thought to herself as her walk continued. She was eager to check up on her close friend and hoped she was somewhere within the Bastion. Perhaps a bit of training would be a good idea.
The blade in her hand felt off. The weight of the hilt far too heavy, each ridge and bump of metal feeling alien and uncomfortable in her hand. Narrowed eyes focused on the wall far ahead of her, unseeing the texture of the stone opposite, instead attempting in vain to once again call upon the power of the Force surrounding them. A growl of anger slipped from her lips as she flashed forward, three quick steps forward, hand flashing out in two sharp jabs, followed by a sweeping arc that would sweep an opponent off their feet if they were not fast enough to avoid.

The blade wavered as she followed the moves up with a quick retreat, feet flashing back two steps and out of range, crimson settling in a cross-bladed defense, hand shaking from the exertion of wielding an unfamiliar saber. The light pressure of her thumb against the activation switch, the light of the blade fading instantly. Swift, angry steps carried her over to the small side alcove where a multitude of hilts rested, two cross guards, one curved, and three standard.

Each blade offered a different material, weight, and heft, but none came close to replacing the lost blade of Ba’Vanim either in the Knight’s hand or her heart. Adding the current saber to the growing pile, her fingers hovered over each, eyes stormy as she contemplated. Choosing to once again attempt to use the curved hilt that might possibly be suitable for use in her preferred form of Makashi.

Stepping back into the center of the room, she performed the classic salute and launched into another round of movements, one attack flowing into another, the violet blade mixing with the red and black of her robes in a swirling dance.

How much time had passed while the girl pushed herself to the edge of her limits, Ara didn’t know. Sweat coating her skin as she finally stopped, arms and legs shaking from exertion. Frustrated with her lack of endurance, the lack of Force flooding through her limbs making each movement a struggle long before it should have been. Moving back to the collection of blades, she slammed the heel of her palm against the stone, a curse echoing the chamber around her as she rested her forehead against the cool stone, matted hair stuck to the skin above her eyebrows.

[member="Kaalia Voldaren"]
Kaalia had made a stop at her quarters, collecting a pair of lightsabers from their pedestals. Recently she had acquired a third lightsaber, one that rested in the Sonic Phantom and used for mostly personal business. Said business usually had to do with her dealings with the Sith, including [member='Krest'] who not only taught her in their ways but was also the one who had gifted her both the ship and the weapon. Within the Bastion however the woman still always carried the combination of Mirari and Cruentis Cor, although the fact she used different lightsabers for different occasions was more symbolic than anything. She clipped the two hilts to her belt and walked back towards the door, opening it with an absent-minded press of the release button. It automatically closed after she stepped back out into the hallway and she started making her way towards her new destination.

As the redhead arrived at one of the doors that led towards a training room, something stopped her from entering it, as if the Force was telling her something. She looked to the door to her right and instinctively walked towards it, stopping in front of it and standing there for a moment. Eventually her curiosity got the better of her and she let the door slide open, revealing the room behind it. Her eyes immediately landed on Ara's figure, her head resting on the wall while clearly exhausted and frustrated. That was not what concerned Kaalia most however; her friend felt different. A connection in her Force aura that was there before was missing, raising many question within the young Knight, the main one being what had happened to her. She slowly started approaching her close friend as the door behind her slid back shut.

"Ara," she said in a warm and friendly tone that was without doubt very familiar to the brunette, "what's wrong?" Kaalia wanted to tell her it was good to see her again, but it didn't seem the right time for such pleasantries. Her face shifted into a concerned but supportive look as she looked around, noticing the collection of sabers that was present. She decided to not comment on it, however. Her approach stopped in the middle of the room, not immediately coming too close. There was a swirl of emotion around her and she had no intention of making it any worse, and so decided to stay as respectful as possible, giving her space. "It's been a long time."

[member="Ara Ren"]
The sound of the training room door sliding open was her only alert. Another growl of frustration accompanied the immediate straightening of the spine that came with being startled. She shouldn’t have been surprised by the entrance of another, nor should she have been caught unaware with the identity of her unexpected guest. A week, maybe two, had passed since the fateful invasion of Skor, since her connection with the Force had been severed. If she believed Talon Ren, and he had yet to let her down in any way, it was a temporary predicament.

Turning to face her friend, she hid the automatic grimace that crossed her face at the acknowledgement that there was something wrong with her, with a soft smile. Years of practice keeping up the façade of interest and enjoyment as she mingled among drunks, gamblers, socialites, politicians, and the like, meant that the move was smooth and nearly perfect, only the vague glimmer of anger in her eyes would give away the storm of emotions swirling within. That and whatever aura now enveloped her.

The thought sparked another consideration, the change in her presence within the Force. Did she appear diminished? A sliver of the power she used to wield the only impression one might get when looking or inspecting her. The knight had only ever interacted with one other who had suffered from a similar, or the same if her suspicions were ever confirmed, affliction, and ex-Jedi and former lover. The first time they had met, the girl had no clue of his former position of Master within the Order of the Silver Jedi. His impression on her mind had been that of a disciple, weak and diminutive. The smile slipped from her face for a moment as memories crossed her mind, regret mingling with anger, before settling back into her polite mask. Thoughts of her former friend pushed away considering the presence of the one person she cared about.

”Is has.”

[member="Kaalia Voldaren"] wanted to say more, the knight could feel the restraint rolling off her friend. Not through power, but simple observation. Knowing the red-head, it was some form of platitude, a pleasantry friends shared when they met. Amusement replaced anger for a moment, the brunette leaning casually against the wall, eyes flashing to the table of sabers. How much should she tell her friend? How much was she willing to relive.

A deep sigh preceded a glance around the room, eyes growing hard.

”It is nothing, Kaal. Just practicing.”

As a lie, it was a feeble one.
Once again it seemed [member="Ara Ren"] was looking to hide her problems behind a façade. So many times had Kaalia simply backed away and respected the distance that was created, but that wasn't going to be the case this time. She wasn't going to play along with her game, the brunette's stubborn personality be damned. Not here, not today. Perhaps the last time she would ever do so was in the past already. "No." It was curt, to the point, and left no room to argue. "I'm not playing that game. Not anymore."

Dropping the hesitation to step forward, the redhead did exactly that. As she did she looked directly into Ara's eyes with a look of concern mixed with something resolute, an unwavering aura surrounding her that didn't take a Force sensitive to notice. "There are two people in this galaxy I care about more than anything. One is Ishana. The other, you." The politeness in her voice had dissipated. She trusted Ara, and it was time she did the same. "We both know there's something going on and hiding it from me isn't going to help anyone. Especially not you." Through this time she would not break eye contact unless her friend turned her head to prevent it from being kept up. "I'm your friend, right? Remember what I said about friends? They are there for each other through bright times and hard times. They help one another get through things, they support one another if they can't directly help with dealing with the thing that keeps the other down."

The woman finally glanced away for a moment, shifting her eyes to the stack of sabers for a quick moment before re-establishing eye contact. "As your friend, I look to do what I feel is something that helps the both of us. I can help you and at the same time I don't have to be concerned for no fething reason." It wasn't disappointment, it wasn't frustration, and it wasn't anger, either. Yet she was firm and not willing to compromise. Kaalia wasn't one to curse often, often making it have that much more impact when she actually let it slip into her words. "You're making it pretty karking hard on me here. So please," the emphasis on the final word almost extreme, "just tell me what's going on. For the benefit of the both of us."

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