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Ripples in the Water

Anara Valnor

The Crimson Siren
Writer
Bright sapphire eyes stared up at the clouds above as they drifted lazily by, a soft breeze stirring the grass in which she lay. This planet was just another on her long list of worlds she wished to visit, but its name escaped her in that moment. As the clouds drifted by she began finding shapes among their wispy forms exactly as she had seen young children doing weeks prior upon another planet in another park much like this one.

Smiling to herself she felt a strange sort of peace settle over her as she continued to pick out the shapes she saw in the clouds. The simple activity allowed her mind to be free of her ever racing thoughts so that she was solely in the present for once in her short life. At first she was picking out overly complex shapes, but eventually she found herself being the child she had never been allowed to be. A soft giggle passed her lips as she continued in her game, the fact that she was alone never once bothering her.

@[member="Cronos Aegir"]
 

Qhorin Solas

Guest
Q
I often compared the Force to water. It could be an ocean, vast and deep, or a river borne of innumerable tributaries, flowing where it ought. No matter the simile, it was always changing, always shifting; I could see those shifts, feel them, if my mind was clear. The currents of the Force were mine to survey, but for all my skill, I couldn't discern them all -- I couldn't even see them all. No one could.

I rode those currents now, let my awareness spread across rolling hills and dense forests and gentle rivers. I felt grass beneath my feet even though they were covered by boots; I felt the sun's heat warming my face, though I stood in shadow; I felt water running through my fingers, though I remained on dry land. And I felt a presence, young and free and strong in the Force, brighter even than the twin suns of Tatooine. I had never felt a being so pure, not even in my clashes with Jedi. Who was this creature?

A little girl, I realized some time later, having followed my senses to her. Even laying down she looked small, her red-hair spread about her head like a halo as she lay in the grass. And what was she doing -- some sort of meditation? There was only one way to find out.

"What are you doing?" I asked, not bothering to hide my curiosity.

_______________________​
@[member="Anwen Talith"]​
 

Anara Valnor

The Crimson Siren
Writer
"Hmm?"

Twisting about on the grass she tore her gaze from the clouds drifting by to level her glittering eyes upon the man that stood just a few paces away. Blinking she sat up and met his gaze, her bright eyes studying him for a moment. He didn't feel like a threat and her didn't look like one either, so after a moment she smiled up at him. "I was watching the clouds." As though to drive her point home she looked skyward for a moment, before meeting the man's gaze yet again.

Her head fell to the side a bit and she motioned for him to join her. She looked away once more and didn't turn her attention back to the man as she stared up at the clouds. "I saw some children picking shapes out of the clouds a few weeks ago...I was giving it a try..."

@[member="Cronos Aegir"]
 

Qhorin Solas

Guest
Q
Not a little girl, I realized when she sat up and faced me, but a young woman, with eyes like sapphires. She said nothing at first, merely studied me with her gem-like eyes, but after reaching some internal conclusion, she smiled and said,

"I was watching the clouds."
Watching the clouds? I glanced up into the sky, brows furrowed in confusion. Watching the clouds for what? I didn't see a storm coming... She motioned for me to join her, then looked away and resumed her cloud watching. Curious, I walked nearer, even going so far as to sit beside her on the ground, despite my confusion.

"I saw some children picking shapes out of the clouds a few weeks ago... I was giving it a try..."
Ah, a children's game. That made sense. As I'd never had a childhood, I'd never been privy to the games of the young, but this game seemed particularly useless. How did you win? "All of them are shapes," I told her, looking up into the sky. "Ill-defined shapes, perhaps, but shapes nonetheless." I felt my lightsaber digging into my hip, and absently unclipped it from my belt and laid it on the stretch of grass beside me. "Are you looking for a particular shape?"

________________________​

@[member="Anwen Talith"]​
 

Anara Valnor

The Crimson Siren
Writer
"Not really..."

She glanced over at the man briefly, before lying back upon the grass once more. A sudden breeze stirred the grass around them, but the clouds seemed unaffected as they continued their lazy trek across the sky. "I am just...experimenting." As she spoke she spotted a cloud that looked a great deal like a beast she had seen once, but the name of it escaped her in that moment.

"It's oddly relaxing."

@[member="Cronos Aegir"]
 

Qhorin Solas

Guest
Q
"I am just...experimenting," she replied. "It's oddly relaxing."
I could understand the merits of lazing about under the sun, watching the skies moves -- it wasn't altogether that much different from meditation. I decided to give it a try, and lay back in the grass, folding my arms beneath my head. For the first few moments, I saw only white blobs, but as my breath evened and my mind began to clear, my thoughts being dominated by the glorious, bright blue backdrop, those blobs grew into shapes.

A hawk bat. A wookiee sitting down. A kowakian monkey lizard. There were several Hutts -- probably because they already resembled blobs -- and the occasional grinning ewok.

"I suppose it is relaxing," I murmured, voice light. "Not quite the same as true meditation, but --" I shrugged, "I could understand why children would enjoy the activity."

_____________________​
@[member="Anwen Talith"]​
 

Anara Valnor

The Crimson Siren
Writer
A smile graced her lips as she looked over to the man lying beside her as though they had been friends for years. Her attention only rested on him for a moment before she returned her gaze to the sky, absently raising a hand to trace a cloud as though she could touch it. After a moment she lowered her arm allowing it to rest upon her abdomen once more. "I'm Anwen." She spoke as though it were an afterthought, her bright eyes cutting over to glance at him.

"Meditation is so boring..."

@[member="Cronos Aegir"]
 

Qhorin Solas

Guest
Q
"I'm Anwen," she said absently.​
"Cronos," I replied, sparing her a glance. Our eyes found each other for the briefest of moments before I returned my attention to the clouds above, nose flaring as I took a long, deep breath. Her innocence made me uncomfortable; feeling her purity in the Force only highlighted my own inadequacies. The thin lines of black that greyed my Force signature were thick and bold in comparison to her light.

"Meditation is so boring..."
"Meditation is only as boring as you allow it to be." I sat up, shifting to lean on my elbow as I looked down at her. "There are many different types of meditation... you can focus on yourself, on calming your own thoughts, or you can turn your focus outward to the world beyond -- instead of imagining creatures in the sky, you can feel real creatures in the Force. You can focus your meditations on a question, or a problem, or even an object... past battles, future worries." I shook my head. "The possibilities are endless." I could show her, I realized, just as I had showed Krae. I couldn't help but wonder though, "Who taught you to meditate?"

_____________________​
@[member="Anwen Talith"]​
 

Anara Valnor

The Crimson Siren
Writer
Anwen said nothing as she turned to look at Cronos, rolling onto her side. One arm was still draped across her abdomen while she used the other to support her head, a frown upon her lips. "No one...really. I've had to figure it out on my own..." A thoughtful look found its way to the face and she looked at the grass that lay between them, her mind elsewhere. After a moment she met his gaze once more, "should someone have?"

@[member="Cronos Aegir"]
 

Qhorin Solas

Guest
Q
"No one...really. I've had to figure it out on my own... should someone have?"​
"Yes," I answered simply, one eyebrow arched in confusion. "Have you no master? No one to instruct you in the ways of the Force? I'd assumed..." I trailed off, considering. Her presence in the Force was strong enough that I'd been certain she was someone's apprentice, but if no one had showed her how to meditate, it was highly likely that she was completely untrained. How to correctly meditate was usually one of the first lessons learned for padawans and apprentices. "I can teach you." I sat up completely, shaking the bangs away from my face. "It's not all that different cloud-gazing."

____________________​
@[member="Anwen Talith"]​
 

Anara Valnor

The Crimson Siren
Writer
Surprise was clearly written upon her features for just a moment and then it looked as though Cronos had offended her. Brow furrowed she sat up and pulled her legs beneath her as she faced him, "I am not against having a teacher, but no one shall be my Master..." The words were final and allowed for no argument as her eyes seemed to literally glow beneath her bangs. Anger was not present in her demeanor or voice as it was yet another emotion she could never truly grasp.

Slowly she relaxed, her frown becoming a smile once more as she adjusted herself upon the grass. "Besides...I might miss something if I were constantly studying...or something."

@[member="Cronos Aegir"]
 

Qhorin Solas

Guest
Q
"I am not against having a teacher, but no one shall be my Master... besides... I might miss something if I were constantly studying...or something."
I couldn't help myself -- I laughed at her words and her show of spirit, eyes crinkling as I loosed a great bellow that shook my sides and shortened my breath. What an absurd thing to say -- what would she miss? Cloud gazing? "When learning the ways of the Force," I began after I'd recoverd, "a teacher and a master are more often than not the same thing. It's merely a matter of vernacular." I titled my head in consideration, wondering the best way to go about convincing her the merits of meditation, even as I wondered why I was bothering at all.

It's her presence in the Force, I told myself. It was almost... alluring, for lack of a better word. I considered again the rarity of such a pure soul, and made my decision.

"Give me your hand," I said, extending an open palm, "and I'll show you how to meditate. Trust me; you won't 'miss' anything." I looked pointedly at her sitting on the ground. "Nothing more than you're already missing, at any rate."

_______________________​
@[member="Anwen Talith"]
 

Anara Valnor

The Crimson Siren
Writer
Her brow knit together and her head fell to the side in puzzlement as he laughed. Did I say something funny? After a moment she shrugged to herself and looked to his outstretched hand. There was no hesitation on her part as she lightly placed her hand in his own, her bright eyes never looking away. Her eyes danced with excitement that was translated into a smile upon her lips and the soft pulsing of her blinding aura.

Trust was something she handed out to freely or so she was told. However, she was learning how to read people and this man, Cronos, did not seem like the type to want harm to befall her. His aura was darker than her own, significantly so when the two were compared, but he was not so dark as her eldest brother. All in all she felt as though she could count Cronos as a friend, despite the fact that they had only just met.

@[member="Cronos Aegir"]
 

Qhorin Solas

Guest
Q
By the Force, her aura... it was like a star, warm and so very bright. My fingers closed around her hand in a moderate grip, absently returning her smile before I took a deep breath and closed my eyes. It wasn't necessary, but it always helped -- meditation such as what I was about to perform could be disorienting. In fact, "You might want to close your eyes." I inhaled another deep breath, taking in the soft smells of the park, and with preternatural ease, slipped into the Force.

It was like plunging into the ocean. My awareness spread wide across the planet, and I pulled Anwen along with me, mindful of her inexperience. I sensed worms and other vermin burrowing in the dirt beneath us, heard the flutter of feathered wings carried on tepid winds in the sky above, witnessed the sea's shifting currents and rising waves, felt the creatures swimming in its depths. They were all connected in life; connected in the Force, simply by existing. How could she think this was boring?

My awareness expanded further, rising even to the stars above to float atop the planet and feel the sheer power of the sun as the planet revolved around it, its energies unfettered by the atmosphere. Everything moved. Everything changed. There was no stagnation -- merely shifting sands, twisting winds, and rivers flowing to-and-fro. That was the true nature of the Force. Movement. Progress. Change. Life. The key is to focus on everything but yourself. To look beyond the here, but still focus on the now. As a method of meditation, it was perfect for discerning the ebbs and flows of the Force, seeing how it moved through all aspects of reality -- even the immaterial, for as I sharpened my focus and concentrated, I heard the echoes of the dead and the twinkling trill of the not-yet born, ghosts of the past, present, and future.

Do you still think meditation is boring? I spoke directly to her mind, incapable, in that moment, of speaking with my mouth. I -- we, were simply too far gone. Just as I have turned my focus outward, so too can I turn it inward, and view myself -- my thoughts, experiences, worries and anxieties -- just as I view the Ibbot birds in the sky and the Glimmerrfish in the seas. I didn't go there, though. Whether she knew the truth or not, I didn't want her to see what I was; at least not so completely as I would be revealed if I took her into myself. I enjoyed her unflinching acceptance and trust -- so often the Force-adepts I encountered were wary and cautious, and rightfully so -- and I didn't want to lose that. It felt good.
___________________​
@[member="Anwen Talith"]​
 

Anara Valnor

The Crimson Siren
Writer
Anwen's smile fell away as she did as she was bid. Her eyes slid closed and her breathing evened out as Cronos pulled her with him into the currents of the Force. The ebb and flow of the Force was not an unfamiliar sensation for her as it was always with her, a constant hum in the back of her mind, but this was so much richer. Small fingers curled around his hand as her smile returned, brighter than before. She could see everything all at once and it was awe inspiring. His voice in her mind was not startling, though it likely should have been. Anwen simply accepted it and his presence.
I was doing it wrong...I wasn't meditating at all.

As the waves of the Force crashed over them, her excitement grew. She was flying as free as a bird through the Force; there was nothing she couldn't see or feel as far as she could tell. Basking in the warmth it brought her, Anwen's mind began to wander to her mother and eldest brother. She could always feel them within the Force, but now she could see them if she so desired. What would she see? The Darkness that encased them was untouchable by her, but it was like a flame and she was the moth. It was a curiosity.

No...this is...amazing, Cronos!

By now she was beaming. However, her rising enthusiasm and curiosity was fleeting as an all to familiar sensation started at her finger tips. Steadily the familiar tingling in her fingertips grew and traveled up her hand to her arm. Anxiety replaced her excitement and she ripped her hand from Cronos' with a wild gasp as the sensation blazed up her arm to her elbow. Glowing sapphire eyes snapped open and her aura swelling impossibly until it exploded outward in a burst of flames that erupted from her skin. Ripping herself from Cronos' deep connection with the Force made her feel ill, but she was to preoccupied with the flames traveling up her hands to her elbows to care in that moment. Eyes wide she scrambled back from Cronos' as best she could without touching anything that might catch fire; she did not wish to burn him.
"Frak!"

Her stomach rolled as she stared at the brilliant green flames upon her arms, defeat evident in her gaze as she refused to look at Cronos.

@[member="Cronos Aegir"]
 

Qhorin Solas

Guest
Q
The rising upswing of her emotions brought a smile to my face, for connected as we were, I felt them almost as my own. Her excitement and delight were like soothing balms on an aching back, dispelling pains -- doubts -- I hadn't even realized existed. Amazing indeed... I trailed off as I felt a warmth blossoming in my hand; it was subtle at first, but quickly grew into a sharp burn that brought a slight grimace to my face. What is this feeling?

I felt a sharp spike of anxiety before she forcibly pulled her hand away from mine, snapping our connection in two. Somewhat disoriented, I returned to myself and looked to Anwen as she scrambled backward, a question on the tip of my tongue --

Only to stare, mouth agape, at the verdant flames flickering along the length of her arm. My hand still smarted, but with the Force I buried the pain in the deep, dark recesses of my mind, stored as strength, should I need it. It was a small enough wound that I could heal it, given time, but I didn't bother to do so now. I had other concerns.

This wasn't the first time I'd seen a woman erupt in flames, and for a moment, I entertained the thought that I was cursed in some way. Not cursed, I corrected myself. Blessed. The Force had led me here, to her; I hadn't known why at first, but I was slowly discerning the truth of its guidance. I tried to catch her eye, but she steadfastly refused to look at me.

"Does that happen often?" I began, sliding closer. Judging from her expression -- both on her face and in the Force -- she was ashamed. "Look at me Anwen." Concern and curiosity warred behind my eyes and echoed in my voice, colored ever brighter by amusement. I had seen red flames, orange flames, and blue flames, but never green flames. "It's fine -- I'm fine. I can handle a little fire." I'd braved far hotter flames when I'd created my synth crystal. I scooted towards her again, gesturing for her to come closer as well. "Let me see." Reaching into the Force, I pulled atoms and molecules of air and water to my hand, set them to churning above the skin, and a thin, shimmering blue shield formed over my palm. Again, I held out my hand for her to take. "Everything is alright," I coaxed, voice gentle.
___________________​

@[member="Anwen Talith"]​
 

Anara Valnor

The Crimson Siren
Writer
Orbs of glittering sapphire slowly met his gaze, his closeness causing her to tense and the flames to brighten for a moment. She was a Talith, shame was beneath her or so she imagined Soliael would say. However, the flames were something she did not understand and she felt they were wrong. Frowning she stared into Cronos' soft gaze for a long moment, slowly forcing herself to relax. She could never know fear or anger, but she knew anxiety all to well. Swallowing she looked down at the space that no longer separated them and then to his outstretched hand.

This time she hesitated, but not because she didn't trust him. Anwen did not wish to harm him and did not trust herself because she didn't know what all she was capable of. Chewing her bottom lip she tentatively placed her hand in his, pulling it away more than once before she was sure that the green flames would not eat through the shield he had woven around his skin. Relaxing with her hand in his own once more, Anwen met his gaze with a soft smile.

"If I get to excited...or overwhelmed..."

@[member="Cronos Aegir"]
 

Qhorin Solas

Guest
Q
For a while, I didn't think she'd acquiesce. She stared at me for the longest time, and I could almost see the thoughts behind her blue eyes, see her worries and anxieties. There was doubt swimming in those oceanic depths. Doubt, and hesitation. Despite her feelings, however, she placed her hand in mine and graced me with a smile; I returned it without hesitation.
"If I get too excited...or overwhelmed..."
"The flames erupt," I finished, studying the green fire. Though my hand was safe from burning, I could still feel the fire's heat against my face. Flame that reacts to emotion... Was she a Kro Var, like Lexa? I didn't think so, but this was far beyond the realms of normalcy. "I suppose this is my fault," I muttered, running my fingers up her forearm. The skin was completely unmarred, seemingly impervious to the strange, green fire. It was the same with her other arm; nothing but smooth, soft flesh. I imagined that the size of the flames was proportionate to the strength of her emotion. "If you calm down, will the flames recede?" She seemed to be calm already...

And yet the fire persisted.

@[member="Anwen Talith"]​
 

Anara Valnor

The Crimson Siren
Writer
Watching his hand travel up her arm Anwen suddenly snapped her head up, a frown upon her lips as he blamed himself. "No...I should have been more careful." A blush stained her cheeks as she chewed her bottom lip, her eyes dropping his gaze so that she could watch his hand once more. "Sort of..." The ghost of a smile graced her lips for just a moment as her eyes slid shut, her head falling forward just a bit as she slowed her breathing. Cronos had shown her something she had never experienced before, but as she sat there before him she was falling into what she had originally thought was meditation.

Everything fell away, every sound and smell that reached her, every sensation. Nothing remained except the rhythmic beat of her heart that enveloped her, but it was far slower than normal. Her limbs felt heavy as her heart slowed further, a warmth spreading throughout her limbs and filling her mind with calm confidence. She hung suspended in that warm place of soft light for what felt like ages before she finally felt it was time to return to the present. As Anwen pulled herself from a very raw and untamed place within the Light, her aura rolled outward from her in soothing waves that coaxed the flames lower and lower until finally she was flame free once more.

Slowly her senses returned to her and the warmth of the Light slowly slipped away, leaving her a little disoriented and exhausted. Glowing eyes fluttered open, the last of the power she had just been basking in leaving her as her eyes gradually returned to normal. She looked tired, but smiled happily at Cronos as soon as she saw the flames had vanished.

"I hope it gets easier...I always want a nap after..."


Again a soft blushed stained her cheeks as an equally soft laugh passed her lips.

@[member="Cronos Aegir"]
 

Qhorin Solas

Guest
Q
I noticed her blush but said nothing of it, my thoughts centered solely on the blinding brightness of her Force signature. It still amazed me, even now, and I had been basking in it from the moment I'd sat down. The light of it shown through her eyes and warmed my skin, and it only grew stronger still when she reached into the Force to calm her ever-shifting emotions; as her mind stilled, the flames slowly receded, fading away into the nether.

"I hope it gets easier...I always want a nap after..." She blushed again, laughing softly​
"Practice will lessen the strain," I said, studying her with more intent. She was strong in the Force, with a signature that put a Jedi to shame and an innate pyrokinetic ability to summon green flames. This girl, this Anwen, was simply put, a great and perplexing puzzle. Where did she come from? I wanted to know so badly, my mouth opened seemingly of its own accord, questions slipping forward before I could stop them. "Who are you? Where did you come from?" I looked down and, realizing I still gripped her hands in mine, released them as if burned. The thin blue shield over my skin faded away.

@[member="Anwen Talith"]​
 
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