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Maple Blosoms

I'm too old for this
Character
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eMUXVo5zq6A&list=PL6akIKaXBeU2Grz-eLgC_o7ddAxfYfGQl&index=1​

Kurenai slowly walked up the small winding path way that lead up to the still relatively new Isayama Dojo
a personal Dojo. Her long red white and black Kimino dancing lightly in the small breeze that inhabited the base of the hills which the duo where climbing, Kurenai looking more mature and clam then usual, but still carrying herself in a confident manner.

The complex had a temple like setting which Kuernai had commissioned for construction after the CIS took over Monastery. Funnily enough that military campaign being the first time she and Maple had properly met one another, let along found beside each other, it only made sense that she would bring the woman to the complex eventually.

By this time in the year the cherry blossom that she had imported from Atrisia where in full bloom, their light pink petals falling along the pathway and stair case, Kurenai using small bushes from the force to sweep the walkways clear. "You know, I could have very well made this place a hotel of sorts instead of a Dojo, the place has a very goo location and I often get tourist from the nearby villages". Maybe in time she could add a hot spring or increase the living area's for those that may want to stay a few more day, but for now just the mere sight of the buildings where enough to catch peoples eyes.

After all Atrisian styled building where not the most common around the galaxy, and watching a sparing match every now and then was good entertainment, or so she had heard. "If you wish I can prepare some tea or food, before I show you around, unless you wanted to do something else before hand", she replied to Maple, coming to the large wooden doors that bared the complex off to the world.

With a small flick of the wrist said doors swinging open, revealing the open court yard of the Dojo, a peaceful and almost tranquil feeling could be felt upon entering, quite, secluded, like being in your own little world. "Here we are Maple, Isayama Dojo, feel free to make your self at home".

[member="Maple Harte"]
 
The Golden Eye
Writer
Piloting: This: (http://starwarsrp.net/topic/124563-scarlet-phantom-modified-h-type-nubian-yacht/)

A crimson bullet had streaked through the skies of Monastery, carrying its crazy occupant since its acquisition in Golbah City.

The Scarlet Phantom had originally been Ursula Sandraven's craft. Not anymore. Maple had taken it, claimed it for the Mandragora and her own aims. Ursula wanted it back, she'd come out from whatever hole she was hiding in and get it. That was part of the reason. The other was because it meant she finally had a more "Official" starship to use...she loved the Silent Erika, but the Erika was old even when she had first acquired it. It had, along the way, stopped being just a prize and transport and became her home. Her only real one, used only out of necessity. She had risked its loss in battle for years long enough. Ursula's ship was the killer. It would do the work Erika was not meant to. It was just a tad cramped on the inside.

She had come wearing something nice. Hopefully something that would catch Yumi's eye (https://goo.gl/images/3btKaM), and as she was greeted by the energy vampire she realized that while her attire was more formal she was no less stunning for it. Could anything she wore look good just because it was her? Maple was starting to suspect so. She followed Kurenai through into the entrance. And she got this wonderful feeling of peace as she stepped through, her white heels clicking slightly on the ground. Loste Citadel never felt like this. Not even in the old days.

Loste Citadel was a place for planning murder in relative comfort and safety. Perhaps that was why.

"I would love to see the whole of the place, if you would show it. This is...really really nice..." she said quietly, breathily, the lies in her brain dulled for the moment by the sheer beauty and tranquility presented. It was like her little lake on Alderaan. The one she swam in. But larger than that.

She turned to Kurenai, smiling as much with her piercing green gaze as with her mouth. "And tea sounds lovely. How long did this place take to build? It...feels like its always been here...somehow..."

It was a passing observation. To set up so soon after Monastery was quite impressive. Most impressive. Everything after that was a bit of blur in terms of order, but she knew that whole horrible experience with Maranon was after that. She was shocked by how quick time passed, even with her condition, which would record over, rewind, and sometimes just playing skip to something else entirely. Seeing as she currently thought she had once been a tach monkey and tank commander, it was still in full force here as any other place as she stared warmly at [member="Kurenai Yumi"], waiting for her to show her around.
 
I'm too old for this
Character
Maples attire had indeed caught Kurenai's attention, it seemed kind of appropriate that they where both wearing white, even if her own Kimono had black and gold along with it. Still that was not what caught the Enegy vampire attention, no it was the way Maples outfit showed her smooth and alluring midriff, bare shoulders and quite the peak in cleavage. If kind of reminder her of a Twi'lek student she had not long ago that wore a similar outfit, but just without the bare shoulders.

"If I knew you where going to be going csual I would have wore my training outfit instead" she replied, closing the doors behind Maple as they entered into the Dojo area, noting the warm gaze directed her way. "Yes the old styled buildings and structure do give it that nostalgic feel of a rural Atrisian house from long ago, that was probably what helped it be built so quickly, the old styled structure, use of wood and more". In this day and age such building using old materials being erected in just a few days, over all the entire complex running a construction time of around 2 weeks.

Taking the lead she brought Maple on a small around about rout, going through the garden to the side before heading towards the main building that loomed over the other ones around the Dojo. "This here is a meditation garden, just a place to relax and take a load off, concentrate with the force or spend time with others, up ahead is the main living building, Ill show you inside in a bit but best check out the other locations". Continuing on Kuernai lead maple to the stair of the actual Dojo hall, opening the sliding door the polished wooden floor.

"This here is the actual Dojo training hall, for sparing mainly or demonstrations, though the courtyard out the front is often used, to the side connected to here is a storage room for practice equipment". From swords, spears quarter staffs, armor, heavy and light as well as some old fashion bows, but that was more a hobby then anything else. "If you ever want to use a weapon just give me a call, other wise you are free to par hand to hand in here anytime, though at the moment no one else is here". Kurenai locking up the place before the latest military campaigns the CIS called her upon, in a way it was like coming back home after a very hectic vacation.

[member="Maple Harte"]
 
The Golden Eye
Writer
Maple followed Kurenai on the route, relaxing more as she did. The skipping in her brain, and the intensity of the skips...some could last decades in the span of milliseconds in her head. Maple sometimes was not certain how she tolerated it. Perhaps it was because actual reality, at, what she thought was actual reality had come down on her so hard the skips, and the sometimes-nightmares she was put in...couldn't quite measure up. Or perhaps she was just mentally calloused to it by now. Didn't matter. Places like this had a habit of keeping her grounded. She let its soothing nature reach into her. She especially liked the meditation garden. Its smell...

It reminded her of training in the loose grasses of Dantooine with her rifle. Just her, the greenery, and certainty. When Kurenai led her to the actual dojo hall, Maple's eyes lit up as she saw the staves. They were her kind. Decent length and thick looking. Good weight if brought down hard.

Maple slinked almost as she turned to face Kurenai. "You have a lovely dojo, Yumi. Its a lot nicer. More warm than the one I used in my youth.

Maple looked around. "When I was very young I trained in a place like this. I loved. After I was taken in by The Marksmen I never saw it again. But it still sticks with me y'know?"

Maple went over to the staves. She didn't touch them, she was not ready to spar. But seeing these particular kinds brought out her nostalgia.

"Staff was the first I ever learned to use. An elegant weapon...for more civilized eras. Nothing fancy, nothing tricky, no strange curses or death gadgets attached. Just your skill and a long piece of shaped wood."

Maple thought of the current state of the galaxy. All the death she had seen so far since coming back to the galaxy. And all the death she was yet to before her work was done.

But for now, she could relax in this, this tranquil spot. Relax with Kurenai in particular. She turned back to Yumi.

"It'd be nice if all problems could just be settled with a good enough whack from a stick." she joked, though it wasn't quite a joke at the same time.

"No one else? Hmmm..." she trailed with mischief. "But about that tea? I happen to be a great fan of the stuff. I drank it like crazy back when I was a Jedi Shadow. Thermos was practically glued to my hands when they didn't have weapons in them. One time, my fellow Marksmen actually glued a thermos to my hand when I was sleeping once. Wasn't funny at the time...it was one of those special super-glues, y'know, the kind for bonding wood? But I gotta admit...had a pretty good laugh afterward...but I'm getting off track..." she added happily.

[member="Kurenai Yumi"].
 
I'm too old for this
Character
The one of her youth? that got her attention, come to think of it neither of the two really knew much about the others past, both seeming to have joined the CIS as mercenaries and worked their way up into different ranks. "Well these places do have their own charm to them, it would make sense that it would stick in your mind no matter how young you where, but it is a nice thought, to know you have experience in a place like this". Even if it was a different place, a different time with different rules, a Dojo always carried a familiar air no matter which one you went to.

Kurneai's small line of thought stopped as she could here excitement coming from Maple at the site of some of the practice weapons, herself at the pole arms section, wooned quarterstaffs, spears, lances, naganatas, nagamakis and yaris lined along the wall. "I see you like pole arms and staffs? yes I can agree with you there, I myself am a perfectionist when if comes to So Justu, if it can be held like a staff or spear I can wield with like a master, so yes my Dojo has no lacking of staff weapons". It made a poeintaly spar later on more exciting, to see how Maple handled a staff, but also it showed Kuernai a little into the woman's past.

She ran a hand along one of the women weapons, drawing away at Maples long 'hmmm', perhaps telling her the place was vacant was not the best idea... or was it? "Well that is an interesting story, I quite like tea making, though I will say the ceremony and method I use is a little different, but I can brew it up normally". Besides a tea ceremony, even a small one for two people took a bit to prepare, and considering they had just gotten home after a long time away getting out all the bits and bobs for it would take even longer. "Well we best be off to the main building, make yourself comfortable in the living room and I will make the refreshments, I think I should have a few rice crackers left over, or cake".

Taking the lead once more the mature woman lead the former Jedi back to the main complex, or home stead, opening the door and ushering Maple into the large open room that made up the kitchen, lounge room and dinning area. "The bath rooms and bedrooms are upstairs, right new besides my master bed room are a few living quater for visitors or trainees, though not a lot of people stay over night, unless they are serious about training".

[member="Maple Harte"]
 
The Golden Eye
Writer
"I know exactly what you mean when it comes to polearms. The...group I trained with? They liked to use sticks a lot too. That...uh...cane I used back on Orenda? That was my old Jedi one. Dug it out of mothballing when I came out of retirement."

Maple happily followed the woman admiring all the scents. Monastery was a beautiful place. It was such a shame all those animals had to die. She had not really wanted to. If there had been another way she would have preferred to subdue them rather than kill. But there was no changing the past. The gate of those creatures had been written long before she had stepped up to the scene.

Maple took on the sights of Kurenai's home. She immediately begin exploring its space. She would have touched stuff that looked really cool but it would have been rude. She was a guest after all.

When Kurenai said she would set up the tea, Maple nodded and sat down, also grinning at Kurenai's words about serious training.

"I gotta admit Yumi, I have been wanting to test out your polearm technique ever since I first saw it. It's a lot less...chaotic looking than my own form, I noted. My technique encorporates...oh wait that'll spoil the surprise. Silly me."

Maple looked around a bit more, before she spotted a comfy seat, crossing her legs. She didn't ask what kind of tea. All tea tasted good to her. Plus, tea would give them a chance to learn about eachother better. Seeing this dojo, the training staves, had only increased Maple's curiosity. Even the Assassin within, buried and immobile under the avalanche of madness, was curious, but this was more the professional sort, the desire to learn from an interesting, deadly, and irreparably smoking hot instructor. And she did not use the word 'Irreperable' often when describing the beauty of another. Yumi had the sort of beauty that drew one's attention like hypnosis. It was the sort of beauty that if it could somehow be added to (But what would have been the point?) would have actually threatened to go into uncanny valley territory...she was that high up on the chart. It was still fascinating to watch the movement of someone who looked carved to that smooth perfection by some frenzied and determined stoneworker, only to be murdered by a jealous God so they could have the credit for creating her.

By the Force, that is one gorgeous woman, Maple thought. Even her voice sounds like its wearing something sexy. How can a voice sound sound like its wearing something sexy? Wait can she hear me?, Maple thought as she waited for the tea, wondering more and more about her fighting method one on one, and how [member="Kurenai Yumi"] did at improv tactics.
 
I'm too old for this
Character
"Oh, I take it you where a Jedi at some point the? that's interesting to know, U have met quite a few during my years, both current members or wanderers, would you mind me asking the group you where in? I do not recall a Jedi order that focused on pole arms". It may have been a small group, or simply that she was much to busy with mercenary work back then, but she was certain a Jedi order that taught such a style would com to her attention... oh well there was always another time.

Walking towards the kitchen she could not help give smirk a bit as Maples curious actions towards most of the ornamentation throughout the house, the classic sensation to touch stuff that looked new and different. Taking small kettle Kurenai went to boiling some water while the two continued to discuss sparing, "Well I have had a few hundred years to perfect it, I could be said with good certainty that I may be 'The' master of So-Jutus in the Galaxy right now, no including saber pikes".

"So yes to say my method of fighting is more fluid is accurate assumption, but i guess we will see in the training room once pleasantries are out of the way". Giving a small enthusiastic grin Kurenai went about adding the green tea leaves to the kettle, a small stirrer being used to spread the flavor throughout the steamy water, slowly emitting a small pleasant smell. It was not often she made tea for solely on other person, usually partaking in a ceremony of sorts, or just making it for herself and family, but Maple, well she was certainly different, and quite honestly one of the present most interesting people in her life so far. The question was how far that interest took the two, Kureani having no doubt that the Dathimor woman had the hots for her.

If their first meeting on Monastery did not give the hint, then their last assignment did, and to be fair, is was definitely no one way, something about how bad ass Maple was, but at the same time the way she swooned at Dark Jedi's presence just seemed so... alluring. Perhaps it was her vampisic predator instincts or something else, but there was one sure thing, Kurenai likly likly. "Here you go Maple, just be careful it's a little hot" she replied, pouring the woman a cup of the green Jasmin tea, another following suit for herself before sitting down across from the brunette.

[member="Maple Harte"]
 
The Golden Eye
Writer
Maple sighed, relaxing in the seat.

"Oh, we were a small group of Jedi Shadows. Fifteen at our max. We were known as The Marksmen. We trained in a blending of lightsaber and stick weapons. That cane I pulled on you on Orenda? My old jedi weapon that I dug out of mothballing. I based it off my master's master, Hiram Loste."

The smell of the tea reached her nose, causing her to relax further.

"But though we trained in stick weapons, Our real focus was long range killing of Sith. I was particularly good with slugthrowers. But take it from a former shadow..." she gave a sigh, trailing into the air.

"...the work was brutal. Plus, the mission statement I realized, was ultimately futile. These days...the genie is out of the bottle, Kurenai. We could have put holes in a hundred darksiders a day, for the next twenty years, and we still would not have made a dent. And you know what they say about trying the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result. Worse, we had the mindset of those hardcore Old Republic types of Shadows, so not only were we all murderers, all of us, we didn't even let off any steam.

Maple frowned a bit, recalling her train of thought during her time with Ursula.

"I should have never joined them," she admitted quietly to herself. "But I was some rediculously naive, wet-behind-the-ears Jedi Sentinel who was a little too good with a blaster rifle. I wanted to prove myself. And when I met Ursula, my Master? She had this...mystique to her. She wasn't well known but...she could just make you believe in her cause if you were not careful...and I wasn't careful. Yellow lightsaber and robes were not enough at that point. Wanted to be just like her..."

Maple shook herself from the reverie. "And I got my wish...no take backs..." she said ruefully.

"Don't get me wrong...I did kill some 'very' bad people...and the galaxy was better for it...but not enough to truly make a difference. And when you find you cannot make a difference, no matter what you do, but you've done it so long you're almost afraid to let go...sometimes having the courage to tear your own arm off so the rest of you can survive is necessary. Not that Ursula didn't make it very easy for me to pick the arm-tear option."

Maple grinned back at Kurenai as she spoke of her technique. Skip. She was assaulting an airship with her Marksman brothers. Skip. Kurenai was handing her tea. Maple, who had just realized both of her arms were born pregnant, happily accepted. She took a sip.

"So, a few centuries eh? Pre-Gulag? Post-Gulag? I was always an avid student of Clone Wars history." she asked with enthusiasm towards [member="Kurenai Yumi"].
 
I'm too old for this
Character
When she asked that question Kurenai was not expecting a sort story on her life, not that it was unwelcome, any little hint to know more about the woman as welcome in her mind. Still she did raise a good point about the Sith, would could not simply kill them off, shoot one several more come to take their place, like a battalion of droids. Heck the only thing preventing the Sith from taking over the galaxy was the whole trials that their order did, where like 80% of initiates die to other prospective apprentices.

Such in contrast to the Jedi who taught anyone willing to follow their ways, preserving all those they could, and even then the odds where stacked against them. "Looks most of the that is in the past now, and those skills you cultivated from your time have served you well to now, even if you did make mistakes of some sort, they have shaped you into the person you are today". "Besides I know what it is like to be in such a business, beside mercenary work I did my fair share of battlefield assassinations and so forth, so don't feel quilting about anything you've done, I've probably done the same thing in the past".

She leaned back, taking another sip from her tea while the conversation changed to to her own past, Maple going back to her cheery self, "I was exactly 12 years old when the clone wars ended, around 884 years old I am". "Fought during the galactic civil war and all, battle of Hoth, was there, Endor was there, Vong and later Darth Talon there too". "Still I know quite a good deal about history, my great great grandmother has been a good help in that" Kurenai reminiscing to when she first met Sawa, soon finding out the woman was her relative and all, quite the shock.

[member="Maple Harte"]
 
The Golden Eye
Writer
Maple listened in fascination as Kurenai told her a little bit of herself. She had been old enough to remember the Galaxy before and after Darth Vader.

What a life. A long one at that.

What would I have done with so many centuries of life? Maple thought, sipping softly at the delicious tea, and then she mentioned something about her grandmother, and that was when it clicked. So that's what Sawa's connection to her was.

Looking again she could see it fully now, her features were like that of the Energy Vampire, but far more marble like. Sawa was not marble-like, that was the main difference. Sawa's beauty did not look sculpted from fine chisel, as Kurenai.

Maple, never one to let a rancor stay in the room, sipped some more tea.

"She helped me save Katanos Seven. Would have died without her help defeating an ancient Sith trying to pull a Valkorian."

Maranon rested in the trinket onboard the scarlet phantom. She knew it was tainted when Sawa had given it to her. She'd taken it anyway, quietly swayed somewhat by her words. About her own inner darkness. She kept it in case she ever got the courage to explore what she meant.

Maple finished her tea. "I do thank you for your words, Kurenai. I...I rarely see my prior service in a positive light. It did make me what I am...I just wish it had not been such a bloody learning process. But you learn what you can, right?" Maple asked, enraptured once more by Kurenai's extreme beauty. She wanted to fight her. She wanted to kiss her. She put her cup down.

"So what were you doing after the clone wars? Empire clamping down on everything couldn't have been fun. Were you a vampire at this point or had that yet to occur?" Maple asked, fascinated. She could write a book about the clone wars. In some of her less reliable memories, she had.

Maple was deeply afraid of telling anyone about her condition. Sure, she was pretty sure most Force Users could guess there was something up, but she feared the results of having it spelled out. History had been an easy hobby. History, unlike Harte's mind, was a solid. It gave her something to focus on. The Silent Erika played a large part in the rest of what helped keep her relatively glued to the now. Kurenai's history was a solid truth she could force herself to remember...she could not keep it too straight any more, what had happened and when. Had she just come from Katanos? Was she about to go to it for the first time.

Details, details...
 
I'm too old for this
Character
Kuernai finished her own cup a few sips after Maple, staring at the girl with a slight smile, this was one of the first times she had really sat down and talked to anyone in such a manner. Discussing ones past, thinking back on what had been done, it was the type of talk that made two people grow closer together, they type of things that formed an inseparable bond with another person, and to be honest Kurenai did not mind that it was with a person like Maple. Even if she did suffer from some sort of mental problems, but that would not be the first, seemed quite a number of closer relative and friends had similar problems.

Her talk about Sawa though was rather interesting to hear, what sort of stuff did her great great grandmother get up to in her off time? certainly seemed she was having fun, but then again the ancient being was a thrill seeker. The whole living so long and getting board of certain aspects adding to the woman's reasoning for doing such reckless things, but who could blame her. "Well that must have been quite the adventure, I would like to here more about it at some point".

"As for your past, you can use it as reason to improve and change, it also serves and persuasion not to go down a dark route again, experience it a very good teacher, dealing lessons you will never forget, though it is often the hardest". She slid her cup to the side, focusing back on the brunette woman as she continued to ask question about her past. "I live by myself after the clone wars, unfortunately I was in the village where order 37 was conducted... a contingency order that called for the extermination of the towns populations if demands where not met" She let out a small sigh before continuing, "It was from that event I found out I was a vampire, weather I was born as one or my mother made me one not long after being born I do not know".

"As such I live a lot of my childhood alone, scrapping by in the ghost town, doing what I needed to to stay alive... doing anything to stay alive". "In time I taught myself thing, eventually able to fly a ship of world, I believe I was around 21 at the time", during those years it was a little hard to keep track of how much time passed. "I did not join the reble alliance until the first Death Star was destroyed, but also after I learnt to hid my force signature, everything after that was just regular fighting, on and on, constantly coming back after so many years under a new name". "Leading a life of many persona's until 25 years ago".

[member="Maple Harte"]
 
The Golden Eye
Writer
Maple paused. A life of continuous fighting.

Maple knew she could not do this forever. She knew her body would eventually wear out, get too injured, get mangled. That her luck would run out. And unless she was willing to get a ton of crazy enhancements or become something like Kurenai, she knew and could guess at her own shelf life. Another good fifteen years, max, before she would be too worn out. Or too crazy. Maple dreaded the second more than the first. The first she would practically throw open the door for.

But given her situation, the second looked far more likely than the first...

"Imagine you're a twenty-two year old Jedi Shadow..." she trailed, contemplative. "And one day, after smoking a Sith Lord with your sabercane, you come across an injured and dying old man. Attacked by bandits. You get him off the road, try to attend to his wounds, but they're too extensive...he's done for...but he's thanking you. And then he tells you something interesting. He says he can see people's future. He looks at yours...and then he tells you you are destined to become the apprentice to a Sith Lord of terrible power and vicious appetites. A Sith Lord called The Mind-Binder. That's the name you hear on his lips as he passes."

"You've never heard of this Sith Lord. Even with all the connections you have. And its not long after that a woman's voice starts speaking to you as you sleep. It tries to tempt you, turn you. You resist. You look for this Sith. You look everywhere. You lose track of how many jaws you break to get answers. Meanwhile that voice doesn't stop. It gets louder. More insistent. But no matter who you interrogate...no matter how deep their own connections are...they all tell you the same thing, Sith Lord or Intelligence officers serving the Sith, it makes no difference...'The Mind-Binder doesn't exist', they say. They have never heard of such a Sith."

Maple paused for a minute. Recalling the solid details was sometimes difficult. Even with her current lucidity.

"And in the meantime, you're starting to question your whole purpose in life. You realize that the prime of your youth has been spent killing. And making no difference. And then during all your doubts, all your misery...you are sent on an assignment to Mimban, deep in the jungle. You have to kill a band of Sith Cultists. And shock of shocks, most of these guys turn out to be some of your old friends who turned. And they all claim they serve the Mind-Binder...while also claiming she doesn't exist 'yet'. And that you are this non-existant Sith's favorite.

Maple sighed.

"Because your master, who you still trusted up to that point, didn't tell you you'd be killing your friends, you still go through with it, because its the only way you leave that temple unturned. But you fake your death. And then...then you learn you have a hereditary, incurable, untreatable form of schizophrenia that makes every fear of the Mind-Binder suspect. Now you are not certain if your most solid, concrete memories are fully valid. You're starting to wonder if even that old man who gave you the prophecy to start with is real. And if he ain't real, how can the Mind-Binder be? And even if Mimban happened, maybe it didn't go down the way you remember it..."

Maple paused. That was the most she had ever dared to talk of it all fully.

"That's my problem in a nutshell. The enemy I hunt I...I believe her to be real...but I am not fully certain..."

Maple looked back at [member="Kurenai Yumi"].

"I made a living as a bounty hunter. Non-Lethal. I had actually planned to retire, live quietly...go crazy in silence before a new lead drew me out into the open. And in the course of it all...I have ended up here...in your lovely dojo..." she finished. "And for that I am glad I did not stay retired...and the Mandragora shaman, [member="Muad Dib"] suggested my madness might have a purpose...I'd like to believe that. Want to see if its true, if there is a point to me being nutty. But first..." she trailed, suddenly chipper. Maple could be oddly contemplative one moment, and then all about the experience the next.

"Let's spar!"



OOC: Just switch us over to the training area if you want. Maple will show Kurenai her arrow spell first if you like.☺
 
I'm too old for this
Character
Kurenai should have poured another cup, such a tale it was... story worthy, a tale that she could easily go to bed reading and find enjoyable. Well as enjoyable as a woman decedent into insanity through some strange means that may or may not exist could be. Perhaps she should take up writing as a hobby, maybe there would be a market for such stories, could also include a few of her own, but in all seriousness Maples past was worth investigating. "Retirement, that has often been something I consider day in day out, but there is always something that draws me to war not mater how much I enjoy the at home life and relaxing".

"I guess that makes two of us that would have more or less wasted away, though your, situation seems much more dire then my own, and thank you for the compliment on the Dojo, not many people appreciate the style of this place, and yes we can spar". Standing up Kurenai began to lead Maple to the courtyard, "lets walk and talk, though I would like to perhaps leave our pasts behind for now I have a kind of theory behind what the old man said and why the whole 'whispering thing has happened, though don't take anything i say as fact". Last thing maple needed was even more paranoia in her head of hers.

"You know how people talk of time travel, but also come to the conclusion that if people did go back in time to change the past it would have already happened, meaning any future person that has traveling to the past has already done so". "At the same time the future events though in motion and can always change are influenced by what we see in visions and so fourth". "Perhaps the old man saw you going crazy in the future, but at the same time was responsible for you going down that path in the first place without knowing about it or if this Sith lord was real". After all it was what lead Anakin Skywalker down his dark path in the first place, leading to the death of Pademe and so fourth, all while trying to combat it.

"Again just speculation, but you wanted to spar, so let us get to it now shall we", getting to the courtyard Kurenai disrobing into her Sarashi
and spats that she wore underneath her kimono. "So where do you want to start Maple? or are we going to be doing that magic stuff first"?

[member="Maple Harte"]
 
The Golden Eye
Writer
As Maple walked, she listened to Kurenai's theory, bringing two wooden staves for them.

"Oh, that possibility has crossed my mind more than once...that I might be actually causing it to occur by pursuing it at all. Or that the old man was wrong. Or screwing with me. Or that I might be simply more crazy than I realize. But I'm...reasonably certain the Mind-Binder exists, because I came across one of her...its...victims. The victim asked specifically for me...by my old name...so I knew it wasn't just some fluke. I found one of my old buddies long dead in his crashed courier...but he had been shot in the head beforehand. Granted, this could be one of my other enemies...but...it feels too...personal." Maple finished as she was led to the courtyard, watching [member="Kurenai Yumi"] take off the kimono. She tried not to grin at the obvious upside to this. Maple removed her boots and cape.

"Itd be a shame not to test your technique while I'm actually lucid..." she said with a grin, tossing Kurenai a stick.

Maple swayed as she got into position. Stumbling around at first as though intoxicated. But then her staff pointed forward at Kurenai and her stumbling and swaying took on a strange elegance as she waited for Kurenai to attack. Maple often preferred to be defensive these days. Uri Udinia had preferred going on the offense. That was who Kurenai had been forced to fight on Orenda...the echo...the ghost of something that had not had higher aspirations or a life.

The ghost of someone who had realized just how empty its existance was. That person had almost welcomed the oncoming mental collapse. Maple wasn't sure if her recall of such sentiment was accurate. Skip. Kurenai was the schizophrenic ex-shadow and Maple was the Vampire. Skip. Her intestines were made of bags of candy and she had been trapped in a black hole for thousands of years. Skip. Back to the courtyard. At least her teeth wasn't made of thousands of tiny bats anymore.

"Ready if you are."
 
I'm too old for this
Character
"Well if you are certain you are certain, though there is not much I can do to help you with that Maple, I would believe one of my relative would have a better time trying to unravel the mystery that is your mind". Assuming it was possible, a mental illness was quite hard to recover from, how much more that that was induced by some powerful Sith Lord. Who knew,perhaps she'd have to watch out for something similar in the future less the same thing happen to herself, unless the Sith needed someone with a tragic and morally questionable past and to work it's magic.

Getting into a ready stance sh caught the stick thrown to her by Maple, twirling it around in her hand a few time while keeping tabs on her would be opponent. The quarter staff was lighter then she was used to, often going for spears and naginata's but still it was a pole arm, 'just think of it as a shot double sided spear, that should work well'. Even so she could probably pick up how to wield one easily within a few seconds, she was not a master of spear fighting for nothing after all.

Taking an offensive space she eyed up maples position, her movements being drunk like for a moment, was she a user of zuì quán? that would be interesting to see, though considering how she moved during the expedition it may just have been her getting over another spout of insanity. Still something to watch out for , especially if the woman was taking a more defensive position, Kurenai could not afford to underestimate this opponent. At Maples pomp Kurenai would send forward a jab of the staff, holding the front end with her right hand and base with her left. Though once mid swing she would flip the end of the staff up, grasping it in her right hand and bring it down in an extended on hand overhead strike towards the former shadow Jedi.
 
The Golden Eye
Writer
"I know Kurenai. But I thank you for listening all the same."

Kurenai was magnificently fast, and there was power behind the jab too. Maple would have a difficult time parrying or blocking it. Too much force behind it and at this range, she'd barely make the parry. Sudden retreat was the best solution.

Maple drunkenly jumped back from the quick jab, then twisted out of the way almost too late of her overhead strike, using her staff to drunkenly bat Kurenai's weapon to the side once she had enough space to pull it off. That had been TOO close. It got Maple's blood pumping. She then bounded forward with a drunkard's sway maneuvering the staff around her body before whipping it at Kurenai's legs. If Kurenai dodged, Maple would have to try catching her in a jab attack towards the stomach, but Kurenai could always parry that and try a fast counter attack that would be difficult to dodge at this range. If she parried or blocked her current attack however, Maple would quickly try to retaliate with a follow up set of attacks, but [member="Kurenai Yumi"] was a fast opponent. Maple had witnessed this first hand. Plus she had centuries to figure this out. Maple had maybe two and a half decades at most. But her drunken style had caught even the most prepared opponent off guard occasionally.

An added bonus of the fight was her silently enjoying watching Kurenai's attack with that raven hair following behind her movements. Skip. Maple fell through the atmosphere of Corellia on top of a Basilisk War Droid waving Cad Bane's awesome hat around as she screamed "YEEEEEEHAAWWW!" over and over as she fell. Skip. Back to the Dojo and Yumi's raven hair.
 
I'm too old for this
Character
Maples way of fighting was strange to follow, her Echani martial arts like sense of predicting attacks from muscle and body movement of an opponent being put off by the drunken fist like style she used. Her overhead strike missing as Maple twirled around it, her own attack coming for her legs, Kurenai lifting he foot blocking the quarterstaff in it's tracks. As the jab came she pulled her practice blade blade, angling the wooden blade in a way to deflect the oncoming stab from maple, herself spilling back to put distance between the two.

"Interesting style, not one I have seen, but I will warn that will not be enough to beat me Maple". Ture she had to hold back a little, if such where a proper fight and not a mere spar the minute she had entered arms reach maple would have most likely been on the floor with a broken neck. Not a pretty sight to think about, last thing she wanted to do was harm the woman to badly, not a prospect she usually had to worry about, but in this case a constant factor she had to keep in mine each time she launched an attack on the young woman.

Her next assault was comprised of a thrust with the blade of the Naginata, following up with an almost rifle stock hitting motion coming from the let side of Maple. If blocked Kurenai would follow threw, trying to use her weight to push back on Maples body, a sort of crud shove, but in a fight sometimes simple tactic worked best.

[member="Maple Harte"]
 
The Golden Eye
Writer
Maple's attack was blocked and the raven haired vampire quickly followed through with a jab from her practice spear which Maple barely managed to parry with a one handed staff spin, but the attack from her left was too strong to block, so Maple made a hard lean backward, her hand raised to her lips as though taking a drink as she let the side blow pass over her-and then let her staff catch Yumi's weapon anyway, dragging and flinging Harte to the side, though she let herself veflung, using the momentum to help transition into a torso-axial flip that put her on Yumi's left. Maple advanced, stumbling and swaying, but the staff never stopped being manuevered around her as she advanced on [member="Kurenai Yumi"], deciding to go for a two-pronged approach whipping the staff around her constantly as she got to within striking range, having built up momentum to attack Yumi for a wide swing from the right, in an attempt to knock the stick out of Yumi's hand with the sheer built up kinetic force she had generated getting in range. But Yumi could react easily enough to block it, and the angle Maple had struck from had been deliberately awkward as to throw off Yumi's obvious Echani training. But it was still amazing with that earlier blow. Maple knew Kurenai was holding back, and that in a real battle she was not nearly so restrained. She attacked with everything in battle, as Maple could attest first hand.

If Kurenai blocked the blow, Maple would try darting to her left for a sweep attack at her angles. If Kurenai parried though, and followed through with a very fast attack, Maple's only chance was to block and hope she was not knocked off her feet, for if she was Kurenai could press the assault and possibly beat her easily.

But it all remained to be seen what she did. The skill disparity between the two was obvious and significant, just like it was with Matsu and Sawa. And Maple was no longer the best of the best in any case.

Still...didn't mean she could not put up a good fight...
 
I'm too old for this
Character
Maple was certainly flamboyant to say the least, something she could probably do with ease when fighting, even if her own method was more a take the punch and hit back 3 time harder then the more acrobatic dodging the brunette incorporated. Her style much like Kurenai's youngest children, putting their lighter frame and figure to use in order for one to avoid being hit, even if it was apparent said doge was putting the girl on the ropes. As Maple fell to her left Kurenai quickly turning attention around, riding the follow through of her own attack to bring the wooden pole arm back around to face the lumbering opponent.

As the wide swing came for her Kurenai decided to close the gap, knowing that the further you were away from a pole arm the more damage the kinetic energy was, best to get in close near the fulcrum, were the moment of inertia was the lowest. Something a Naginata user did not have to worry about to much, the blade being more then suitable for CQC. Getting closer Kurenai raised the back end of her weapon to parry the wide arc attack from Maple, trying to bat it in a downwards direction with the blunt end, while at the same time bringing up the bladed end in a vertical motion at maples center of mass. From her perspective the Naginata moving in a clock wise direction, hands on the center applying the spin, though the question remained if her attempt would have enough power to deflect Maple's attack.

[member="Maple Harte"]
 
The Golden Eye
Writer
Dammit she parried. And Maple didn't have the strength to try parrying it herself. [member="Kurenai Yumi"] was simply too fast.

A sudden lean backward as one end of her staff was batted to the ground, her naginata style fast and strong, was all that allowed Maple the time necessary to block, though the force of the blow sent the woman backward, and she was forced to use the momentum to assist in turning an uncontrolled tumble into a cartwheel which she completed by leaning over to take a "drink", deliberately stumbling backward drunkenly, before dashing towards the vampire, drunkenly whipping her staff at her opponent's legs in a feint before suddenly cartwheeling her whole body forward, the staff swipe a feint, going into a spinning kick targeting Yumi's shoulder. Yumi could either try dashing away or even try using her naginata to swipe Maple out of the air, but Maple had positioned the staff to at least try and thwart such a reaction should Yumi try it, but there was no guarantee it would be successful. The weakness of Maple's style became apparent. It was sort of like Juyo in one principal...very rewarding if it paid off. But very costly if it did not. The duel could be over right then, depending on Yumi's reaction.

But Maple was still having fun. Part of why her style was so weak was that it had been years since she had fought an opponent this skilled...she had truly meant to retire...but the hunt for the Mind-Binder made that impossible.

But Yumi's words, even though the scenarios she suggested had already been debated endlessly by Maple herself, they were still nonetheless troubling. What if Kurenai was right? Was Maple making it worse? Should she just stop the hunt altogether?

Maple did not know. And at the moment, truly did not care. Because she was too busy getting exercise.
 
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