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Silence of the Lambs

Verana

Junior Jedi Ranger
Character
“Sixty seconds ‘til we approach escape vector.” The voice of the pilot echoed across the small ship. “Prepare to exit hyperspace.”

A knot tied itself within Vera’s stomach that forced her out of her meditative state. These machines had not been something that the girl had grown up with. Her first experience with a spaceship was the shuttle that had once landed on her homeplanet many years ago and the technological revolution began. It had pulled her family out of the woods and towards the city for the first time after centuries of living in the Iakarian Wilds, deep in the heartlands of Kiara.

It was almost as if the council knew this and made the effort to force the redhead girl on missions that would keep on challenging her perception of the world whenever they could. So far Vera had seen precious little of the galaxy, but what she had seen always amazed her. From the claustrophobic cities that spanned planets like Coruscant to the deep entrancing marshes of Felucia, there was a wide host of planets out there that surpassed anything she had ever seen or dreamt of and it made everything all the more a wonder to see.

Her knees pushed against the floor and her ankles gave her the stability she needed to get up from the floor. Arms reached up to grab one another with a huddle for warmth as the fabric that had been pressed against her skin began to loosen its grip on her knees. Space was a cold place and one that scared her more than anything else ever had, and she had stared down a wolf pack on her own and gotten out with new friends. The blinds on her windows had been shut long ago to prevent the streaks of the hyperlanes blind her heart, and the lights turned off to allow her the peace she needed to let reality slip past her senses and let her seep into a deep rest until the trip was over.

The masters had said it was perfectly natural to be afraid of it when placed in Verana’s seat. After all, even a lightsaber was a concept that had once been little more than a myth to her until she found her place in the Silver Jedi Order. The call had been out of pragmatic necessity, and one that she had not come to regret. While her family still meant the world to her she also knew that her absence made their survival far easier than if she had stayed. One less mouth to feed was a blessing when you were the middle child of six siblings living in a once-forgotten wildland.

The ship shook as they exited hyperspace and began their descent to the planet down below. Verana worriedly took her first few steps out of her room and began to approach the co-pilot’s chair to see what her new destination was like.

Temperate. Valleys of green and rivers of blue. It reminded her of home for a second and she let out a sigh of relief at the thought.

“They briefed you, yeah?” The pilot asked Verana as they began to reach the surface of the planet and the homestead below. “Partake in an investigation of-”

“-a mysterious set of animal killings unlike anything we have ever seen before.” They both said in unison.

“I was briefed by Master Erran before we left.” Vera gave the pilot a nod of respect and then looked out again. “We’re expecting third parties to be there as well.”

“Potentially. We are not sure yet.” The pilot spoke with a nod of affirmation.

The ship touched ground outside of a large homestead carved out of stone and wood. The luscious gardens and extravagant art that was spread out across the place made it all the more obvious that they were dealing with someone with influence over the area. Vera looked to the pilot again and they shared their goodbyes before she left him.

The ramp to her ship was lowered and she took her first few steps outside…

One deep breath…

The smell of flowers and grass…

“I’ve missed this.” The girl said quietly to herself with a content smile on her lips.

[member="Alden Belmont"]​
 

Jairus Starvald

Eidoloclast
Character
Once [member="Verana"] stepped outside of the ship and onto the ground she'd notice that someone else was already there.

Alden Belmont, a Knight of the Jedi Praxeum, had been send by the organization as well to check out these nasty rumors. People killed by animals out of nowhere in a place that hadn't seen anything larger than a pupper in years. The planet was tranquil, didn't even have a name. Just one of the many agricultural worlds that fed the Core worlds with its lush and fertile ground.

"Hey there," Belmont greeted, one hand casting shade for his eyes so he could look without squinting. "Alden Belmont- Jedi Knight of the Praxeum, you?"

His face was honest, earnest, the smile came quick as Alden tried to ascertain if this was going to be a complication or a boon.

The lightsaber on her belt was immediately noted, as was her presence in the Force. Not a Sith. But that didn't mean much these days. Sometimes Jedi caused more trouble than their dark counter-parts and that was one of the things the Praxeum had to work against in terms of reputation.

Not easy.

"I have touched ground a day ago, been investigating the rumors of the animal killings, I am guessing you are here for the same thing?" His attention slipped back to the homestead. It was peaceful and silent now, but Alden had to meditate for a few hours to brush away the shadows that had invaded the place. It had been the last site of the killings.

Some wild animal tearing through flimsy wood and making a gruesome scene inside.

"What Order are you from, if I may ask?" Alden was already dreading the reply, because there weren't many options... and most of them concerned him.
 

Verana

Junior Jedi Ranger
Character
[member="Alden Belmont"]

A man approached her and Vera gave a quick bow at his approach to greet him. He was Alden Belmont, a jedi from another Jedi Order that Vera had only heard of in passing conversations. The Praxeum was a fairly recent Order from what she had gathered. She hadn’t heard anything bad, but perhaps that was because she hung in the wrong circles. After all, students rarely had much energy or desire to talk about it. Irma who shared dorm with Vera was certainly not interested in it, and Vera who had grown up outside of it all as a whole just didn’t see the point. At least not now.

“I am Verana Quizan.” She responded to the man’s question and gave him a smile. “It is good to meet you, Knight Belmont.”

Titles still eluded her. Was it Knight and then first name and last name? First name only? Only the last name? Her lip twitched for a second to broadcast her uncertainty for a brief second before it was gone again.

“Yes, my Order decided to send me to the scene.” She said and tried to answer his question to the best of her abilities, but he was a quick shooter. “Uh- the, uh… I am part of the Silver Jedi Order.”

Was that a wince? No, she must have seen things.

“My reports only tell part of the story.” She said and took a step towards the homestead and hoped the man followed along. “Is there anything you can tell me about what has happened? The distress call was rather vague in its description. Master Erran said the biggest loss were five nerf in two days.”
 

Jairus Starvald

Eidoloclast
Character
[member="Verana"]

"Alden's just fine, can I call you Verana?" Relaxed, casual, but there was tension around the corners. Most of it was from the scene and the effort it had taken to cleanse the darkness inside.

It wasn't an easy thing- you took some of it within you, couldn't do it any other way sadly.

Now... that tension only increased twofold when Verana brought up the Silver Jedi Order. He had feared that response. It had only been a few months ago that Dellalt had been burned, their families lost, Harper and him cast out into the Galaxy. Just because the Silver Jedi Order decided to invade Mirial out of fething nowhere and then fled the Tingel Arm after their defeat.

So many people left to the mercy of the Sith, while they were off sunbathing on Kashyyyk.

"I see." Careful tone, measured, not as relaxed anymore. "Things escalated since then- whatever is doing these attacks switched from nerfs to more. The homestead is a... it's not good. The wounds they left remind me of the saber cats back on my homeworld... Dellalt." That little piece of information might give her a hint why Alden had suddenly turned cold on her.

The sacking of the world with the Sith Empire rushing in hadn't been a secret.

"I don't know though. I have a hard time believing that a saber cat would be able to kill half a dozen people without getting even wounded. This wasn't some nerf herder hutt, these people had blasters at the least."
 

Verana

Junior Jedi Ranger
Character
[member="Alden Belmont"]

Her head bobbed in a slight bow at the man’s request to just call him Alden. This was what she did with the masters around the courtyards of the Silver Rest, so it just went with thinking he would expect the same treatment, right? She gave him a quick nod and stowed a few loose strands of hair back behind her ears at his question.

Way it seemed to Vera, the site wasn’t going to be a pretty one. She had grown up with the brutality of animals, she was quite adept at both hunting and skinning animals. Perhaps that was why she had been sent. Regardless she followed the man along the pathway towards the homestead itself and they began talking about the situation in full.

Wait, he was from Dellalt. A knot tied in Vera’s stomach and she couldn’t help but frown.

“I am so sorry.” She whispered and instinctively reached out for the man’s arm but quickly stopped herself. “I- I know what sabercats can do when they catch their prey, and the brutalities of men.”

The girl fell in line next to Alden and began to look at the ground trying to find a way to make it better. It was beyond her, but the wish was there and she refused to believe there was nothing she could do.

“Then let’s-” She started but hesitated. “Then let’s make sure that those who are behind this gets to face the justice that they deserve.”

Her voice was quiet, she couldn’t quite think of what to say other than that.

“As the senior ranked Jedi I will follow you, Alden.” She said and looked up at him again with newfound determination in her eyes. “Together we will find a way to make things right again.”
 

Jairus Starvald

Eidoloclast
Character
[member="Verana"]

The bow was weird to him, but at this point he didn't want to make too much of a deal of it.

If it became too much he'd let her know.

At this point Alden wanted to finish this and get to the bottom of the situation. The fact that she was a Silver... difficult and he didn't like it. Harper was the empath of the two of them, but even then Alden could feel that she wasn't a bad one. Concerned, worried, she had her heart on her sleeve much the same way he did. But somehow that didn't make things easier for him.

No, the fact that she was likeable made it more difficult as far as Al was concerned. "Yeah... yeah, it isn't pretty." The brutalities of men was worse. He didn't want to know what the Sith had done to Dellalt.

It couldn't be good.

[member="Harper Kade"] had gone to investigate a few days back. Worried about it? Undoubtedly, but she was fierce. Good, competent. She'd be fine there. As long as she stayed careful and cautious about things. Alden glanced over to her when she stepped in line and basically made him in charge of the operation. That wasn't a Silver Jedi trait at the least.

Usually they were bombastic, storming and charging in, then fleeing when things got rough. "I work better as a team, Verana. As far as I am concerned we are equal no matter the rank given to us by our respective Orders." A shrug. They weren't of the same Order after all. "Either way- let's go inside, I will show you the scene. It's gruesome... but it will give you a better idea of what we are facing."

Alden didn't want her to see, not really.

Nobody should have to watch what he had studied only a few hours ago. But she wanted to help and Alden wouldn't help her by coddling her.
 

Verana

Junior Jedi Ranger
Character
[member="Alden Belmont"]

She tried to nod back in silence but found herself unable to do so. Day-old carcasses were nothing new to her, but this was just something else entirely. Verana held herself back as they approached the barn and the smells of the scene unfolded before her and overtook every sense she had. Her brows furrowed, her lips pursed and her hand reached out to hold back the coughs that tried to burst on through. Vera’s eyes watered and her breathing quickly shifted from her nose to her mouth as they stepped inside. It was easier to taste the putrid stench that lingered in the air than it was to actually smell it.

Before her laid the corpses of the dozen livestock that had been murdered. Their torsos ripped asunder with clear signs of both cuts and bruises spread across their bodies. Crater-shaped scorch marks on their pelts and skins made the blaster fire all the more evident and for a mere second there was a burst of anger rushing through the young Padawan’s mind as she quickly knelt down to touch against one of the nerf noses as if to check for breathing when quite clearly they had been dead for some time.

Her eyebrows remained furrowed as she inspected the wounds.

“Not even close to the heart.” She muttered mostly to herself and the dead animal. “I’m so sorry they put you through this.”

Her finger dipped into one of the wounds for a quick inspection.

“This happened more than three days ago.” She said as her thumb rubbed against her blood-covered fingers. “With little to no care for the animal’s suffering.”

Vera smeared the blood on her fingers against her pants and rose to her feet. Her eyes glanced around her for a better look at what was going on, carefully watching her step as she walked from one nerf to the other.

“You’re right, Alden.” She spoke, her anger still evident in her voice. “There’s bitemarks, cuts, bruises and blaster fire on these.”
 

Jairus Starvald

Eidoloclast
Character
[member="Verana"]

It was going to get worse, before it would get better.... no, that didn't work here.

No matter if they managed to grab whatever / whoever had done this? There would still be innocents, lives snuffed out before their time because of madness and nothing else than that. Alden let her study the scene, the angry murder, the blaster marks that suggested more and then his hand softly touched her shoulder. Indicating that there was more for her to see and that this wasn't over yet.

"There's more. It... gets worse, much worse." No matter how karked it was to put an animal through it... it was still an animal. Life, yes, but Alden wasn't one of those Jedi that equated all life to equals.

You didn't grow up on a farm without butchering a chicken or two.

He hadn't liked doing it, but both [member="Harper Kade"] and him had gotten used to it at an early age. As long as you did it quickly, did it fast and efficiently? That was simply the way things were. You didn't need to enjoy it, but people needed to eat. Hand left her shoulder and he moved deeper into the barn. Weaving from one corridor to the next, before they entered the homestead itself through a side entrance.

There was nothing here yet.

Just the homely feel of home.

It reminded Alden of his own home... and that made things so much worse. Was this how his home looked now? "Living room around the corner. Second floor too, its even worse there." He let her go in first and then followed in next. The living room was gruesome and centered in the middle. A woman, her arms cut off with claws and they had fallen behind the bloody couch where an older man lay in his own filth.

Still cradling his stomach where the intestines were poking out.

Chewed.

"Much... much worse." Alden murmured haunted as he studied the scene again. It didn't make it any better, the second time.
 

Verana

Junior Jedi Ranger
Character
[member="Alden Belmont"]

Much…

Much worse.

The words seemed to echo around the girl’s skull as she laid eyes upon the two corpses on the ground, their blood pooling against the hardwood floors with the edges starting to dry ever so slightly. Vera’s breathing grew haggard as she took the first step into the room. Eyes peered into the lifeless eyes of the couple with terror, her hand reached for Alden’s to gather a measure of security to ensure that he was still there before it let go again as quickly as she had grabbed a hold.

Her heart felt like it had stopped or risen to her throat. She wanted to breathe but the situation was just too messed up to allow any real intake of air.

“Monsters.” She whispered under her breath as she stepped even closer to the bodies. “Who would do something like this?”

Glossed eyes turned around to try and catch sight of Alden’s. Vera struggled to keep herself together, but she had to. She took a deep breath and shut her eyes tight to let herself refocus. She still hadn’t quite figured out the technique for it but the basics were there. She just needed the clarity and peace of mind that meditation tended to grant her. She needed the strength to push forward.

A deep exhale. She was back, somewhat.

“I am alright.” Vera’s voice whimpered. “I can do this.”
 

Jairus Starvald

Eidoloclast
Character
[member="Verana"]

His reaction had been worse.

He had thrown up and had to spend an hour scrubbing to get it out- not because anyone was... left to mind, but because it was something to do with his hands. It was one thing to see a chicken slaughtered and plucked for food, it was... this was... different. His hand was on her shoulder again, fingers squeezing to offer some measure of support in the moment. "Take a moment, center yourself, leave the room if you need to. There is more to see upstairs and it is... worse."

Even now Alden wasn't sure how it could be worse even when he had already seen it before.

"I think-" Brows furrowed as Alden forced himself to look at the corpses. Respect the dead and what they had suffered. They had gone through so much worse, the very least Belmont could do was watch, learn and give them justice. "-I think whatever... whoever did this was trying to link it to the animal killings."

"Make us think it was a predator."

After all, there were no blaster marks here. Everything was claws, teeth, bits chewed and slaughtered.

"Calculated... that somehow makes this worse, doesn't it?" It did to him- to think that someone could sink into a place of cold, where they could design such a scenario just to draw their attention away. Alden shook his head, trying to shake the images out of his head and failing, because they were still here. "Are you ready to go upstairs?" In truth Belmont would understand if she wasn't. He hadn't been. Part of him knew that this house would be forever carried on his shoulders.

He wouldn't forget this day.
 

Verana

Junior Jedi Ranger
Character
[member="Alden Belmont"]

It wasn’t possible that there was something worse than this. Vera struggled to come to terms with what was going on in here, and yet the other room was even worse? It didn’t feel like such a thing would even be possible. Why would someone try to mask their murders up like this, what did they have to earn? Vera wanted to look at the corpses again but her mind actively refused to let her. The peace in her mind was not enough to let her do it, but it was enough to let her move.

Her footsteps echoed around the quiet room until she was outside. Her eyes closed, hands dragging themselves across her face to try and erase the image of their dead corpses from her mind with no luck.

Alden asked if she was ready. Truth told…

“No.” She whispered against the surface of the palms that still covered her face. “But we must.”

There were many things Vera still didn’t know about this world. There were many more things she didn’t want to know, but as a Jedi she knew that she had signed up to protect the people like those who used to live here once. It was hard not to take their death as an immediate failure in that regard but with the help of Alden…

She turned to look at him where they stood in the hallway, her arms reaching around his shape to wrap themselves around him to seek support for what had been seen and experienced in that room. She didn’t say a word, didn't care whether he wanted her to do this or not. To Vera this was exactly what she needed as her entire body felt like it had decided to freeze up into a rigid mess. With her arms still wrapped around Alden's she let out a shaky but prolonged inhale before a short whimper parted her lips in place of exhaling.

Their reports had been wrong.

This was so much worse.

“Our reports only mentioned livestock.” Vera whined under her breath. “This is so much worse.”
 

Jairus Starvald

Eidoloclast
Character
[member="Verana"]

The hug came as a surprise to him, but Alden didn't move away.

Awkwardly -- he didn't know her, after all, and no matter what she was still Silver Jedi Order -- he patted her back. Truth told Al had never been good at this. Harp had been the empath, feeling how people were keenly and being able to relate to them far more than he ever could. Give him a droid or two to tinker on and Belmont would be happy with that. But while it had never been natural to him, Alden had always wanted to help in any way he could.

If that meant a hug?

A hug she would get. "Reports are flimsy things, Verana." Alden murmured softly. "One day they are accurate, the next... they are not." What was there to say? What more was there to do in this moment besides hold her and hope that she would be okay?

"All we can do is take it one step at a time and do the best we can in the moment."

Slowly Alden detached from her, his hands still on her arms- not cuddling or holding, but there for her. "Do you need some water, fresh air maybe?"
 

Verana

Junior Jedi Ranger
Character
[member="Alden Belmont"]

“I’m sorry.” She said as they separated. The hug might have thrown him off, but she had held a need for it at the time. “I just- I don’t know what I would have done if I was alone with this.”

Her ragged breaths grew more stable as heard from the flow of air seeping in and out of her nose. Her heart slowed down and eased up on the way down from her throat, her lips curling into an appreciative smile as she felt herself return from her panic. She let in a deep breath and let the man know that she was ready to let him go.

“Thank you.” She whispered under her breath before she opened her eyes again to look down the corridor, over towards the room with the great staircase that would lead them upstairs to the room that was apparently worse than the one they had just been. It was hard to say she would ever be ready to see that place, but she knew that there had to be a separation of who she was and what she needed to do at some point. The Order had done their best to train her these last two years since she had joined them, and these missions were meant to test her strength both inside and outside.

Then again, had they known what happened here after the reports had been sent and the mission issued, she probably wouldn’t even have been here. This was a job for a Knight or even a Master, and she felt like she was anything but.

Not that it mattered. She was here now, and she had capable company.

“Let’s go upstairs.” Vera spoke with as much preparation to her stride as she could muster. “We need to find whoever- or whatever did this.”
 

Jairus Starvald

Eidoloclast
Character
[member="Verana"]

"Persevered. You are Jedi and you would have gotten through it." There was clear confidence washing from Alden when he firmly said that. That was what had defined Alden from the moment he could articulate a thought.

Hope.

The belief that everyone tried to be better and that tomorrow would be better. Sometimes he got disappointed... sometimes devastated, but somehow Alden always managed to bounce back from it. Sometimes it was difficult? But for now the Jedi had not yet encountered a thing where he couldn't find a bright future in the distance. As long as they worked hard for it and did the best they could.

"We are in this together now, Verana, no need to thank me." And she didn't.

He would have done this for anyone... it was only slightly more difficult with her presence in the Silver Jedi Order.

Would they have send people had they known the dangerous nature of the mission? Or would they have fled further into their holdings once more? A bitter thought, dark, but it was there and it was difficult to push away.

"Yeah, let's go." Quick with a nod. The best way to not think about such things was to work, Alden found. "Watch your... feet." Hesitation in that last bit as they walked up the staircase and paused near the first door to their right. It had splatters of blood, but was closed now. Even still- even with his meditation to purify the house... there were still echoes there.

Haunted.

Angry, sad, terror, Alden pushed open the door and inside it was mayhem.

Bodies ripped to shreds and scattered through the room as if a wild animal had eviscerated them. How many? Difficult to say at first glance.
 

Verana

Junior Jedi Ranger
Character
[member="Alden Belmont"]

Her mother had said perseverance would be one of the things to define who Vera would become on the day that they had shared their last hug, It was a strange memory to remember in this particular situation, but given the importance of her family perhaps not. To Vera the memory was still fresh as if it had happened just the other day. It had been a hug they shared right before she stepped aboard the Silver Jedi shuttle that would take the girl to her new home, her new life. The thought filled her with the same determination she had held at the time and she gave Alden a quick nod to show it.

Yet the hope she tried to hold onto began to flicker like a waning candle as they began their ascent. Each step seemed to reach out for her and scream at the very edges of her conscience. She tried to block it out but the sensation was far too new for her to do so with any greater success. Her mind clouded up with thoughts of doubt, fear, and the despair from the thick, almost palpable miasma of pain that lingered in the air. With time Vera had slowly but steadily come to realize that the awakened state of being a force user aware of their power was one that wore heavy on the heart and mind equally.

The door opened and for the first time in her life Vera found herself staring down the very worst humanity had to offer. This room didn’t have any visible victims, because they were already spread all over the place. For a second she froze up. A second later her hand reached for the nearby wall, and yet another second later she felt a familiar sensation rush from her throat and out her mouth.

The wall was plastered with a beige-red slew of content formerly recognizable to Vera had she remembered what she ate before she even got here. The smells of the room, the sights and the overbearing attacks on the senses she wasn’t even aware that she had yet all added up to something she couldn’t quite comprehend. Her lips remained parted in staggered breaths as she tried to calm herself but it was really no use. Her throat tried to expel more fluids but there was nothing left to throw up, and she hadn’t even entered the room itself yet.

Her tears welled up, her feet seemingly carried themselves as she began to make way towards the staircase again. She had to get out, she had to take a deep breath and get away from here. With a visibly shaken hand she reached for her hair to tie it back into a bun but all she managed to do was pull at it.

She needed to get away. This was too much.
 

Jairus Starvald

Eidoloclast
Character
[member="Verana"]

Alden was halfway through stepping in to hold her hair up at the least, when she got control over herself.

Pushing past him Al honestly let her go.

Because the moment her frame stopped obscuring the room it was his own attention that was caught up by it. It did no longer try and summon feels of nausea in him, in truth everything that had been in his stomach was long since expelled a few hours ago. The smell of fresh vomit wasn't pleasant, but the wash of gore was cutting through it in fresh ribbons.

Part of him felt sad that he had showed her the room, but... she had to see it for herself. See it in truth. Because only then would Verana be able to make an actual decision about the path forward.

A gesture of the hand and the door shut behind him.

He gave her a few more moments and then followed her. By the time that Alden caught up with her she was already out the door and standing outside.

Alden didn't immediately say something. Instead opting to stand next to her, watching the skies in silence as she calmed down. The Force... was in flux here, it was a crux point, that much Al knew. He wasn't as competent in empathy as Harper was, he knew that. But there were things that couldn't really be obscured, unless you were really trying.

"We are up against something bad. Really bad. You can leave, if you want to. I can handle this on my own."

Could he?

Maybe not- but maybe it was better to spare her from it.
 

Verana

Junior Jedi Ranger
Character
The image of not just blood but gore splattered along the walls in an almost elaborate pattern was forever ingrained on her mind. By the time Alden had managed to catch up with her she was already seated on a bench while huddled over in a shivering mess. Her chest rose and sunk in terror as her mind pressed the images against the forefront of her mind. The winds that carried her auburn locks tickled against her forehead and cheek before leaving a cold spot on the surface of her arm where she had wiped her mouth.

The sound of Alden’s footsteps growing nearer forced her to look up from her panicked heave and grant him at least a momentary glance before she looked back down again. From the overwhelming evidence it was almost an understatement to say this was something bad or ‘really bad.’ A sense of disgust seeped through Vera’s very being at the thought of what could even have done something like this and it all helped fuel the one part of her that she needed the most.

“No.” Her voice almost hissed as she swallowed air with an audible gulp. The fire in her eyes glowed but the expression left one hoping for more. Her lips began to part with another cough and she quickly bowed into her armpit to catch it. “No.” She said once again with a greater clarity and turned back towards Alden. “The day I was taken in to the Order I swore to uphold the law and protect those in need.”

Her weak form gave a meager push to get her off the bench and back onto her feet again with a shake that gave away the fear she tried to hide.

“To leave now would be to go against my word.” Vera spoke while she straightened her back against the poison that ran rampant through her mind. “To go against my word would be to go against all that I have.”

But perhaps that didn’t matter.

“We are going to find whoever did this and put them to justice, Alden.”

It was the results and intentions of her actions that would be measured equally.

“We owe it to the people in that room.”

[member="Alden Belmont"]
 

Jairus Starvald

Eidoloclast
Character
[member="Verana"]

Alden didn't try to help her up.

Even the small act of getting up with her own strength would help her in the long run, whereas him helping her up send a signal of helplessness. That wasn't exactly what Alden was trying to do here. In the end Verana didn't disappoint whatsoever, instead? She went far above his expectations. Because in truth Al didn't really have large expectations about any Silver Jedi.

They were... blemished in his mind after Dellalt.

Not worth much.

Far too busy prancing about on Kashyyyk to give a shet about the people they left behind in the face of the Sith's approach. Not a single shot fired... just, poof, gone right after their disastrous campaign against Mirial. "I am glad- I didn't really want to do this alone." Part of him was still in that room. Retching and sobbing. Hand extended for a shake. "We do this together. Bring those people there true justice."

"We will see it done no matter what."

They had clues aplenty.

This time around the murderers left clues that pointed to humans in the form of the cattle. Had it been done before? After? They could find that out and from there paint a picture for the investigation.
 

Verana

Junior Jedi Ranger
Character
[member="Alden Belmont"]

It would have horrified Vera to realize just exactly what Alden had truly thought of her at first. She chose a life in the Silver Jedi because life as a Peacemaker on Kiara meant nothing for the greater good. From a young age she had been raised to see some sort of bigger picture, to always consider what effect her actions had on not just herself but those around her. The survival of the many, her family in particular, relied on them all working together as a unit to do what needed to be done. Sometimes that meant tending to a small plot of land to ensure a small harvest of food during summer, and other times it meant picking up a rifle and hunting for whatever animals were found around their small homestead.

The idea here was the exact same but with higher stakes. The concept of family was one that had to meld with community, and the role Vera had decided to play in that community two years ago was one of a guardian and upholder of the rules. It was a hard test of her will but in the end there had to be something worthwhile waiting on the other end. She didn’t crave the satisfaction that came with attention and appreciation from those in her surroundings, but she would be lying if she said it wasn’t a great part of why she did what she did.

Verana let her hand clasp at Alden’s with a firm and perhaps a bit too wild handshake. Her family’s tradition of rubbing foreheads was something you didn’t do apparently. Something about intimacy and proximity that could be experienced as perhaps a bit too personal?

“Absolutely.” The kid said with an increasingly determined air about her. “I am scared, but I am with you.”

Her attention shifted back towards the barn and then the entrance to the homestead itself.

“Where do you suggest we start?” She asked and stepped up by his side. “The barn was the most sloppiest. Maybe they left more traces there that we haven’t seen yet.”
 

Jairus Starvald

Eidoloclast
Character
[member="Verana"]

"Makes you feel better, I am shaking in my boots." Literally... she would be able to feel a soft tremor going through his hand while they did the short shake. This was just as new for Alden as it was for Verana. Being a Jedi Knight didn't mean you had all the answers or the right type of experience for every job. He had trained, studied and learned as best as he could, but in the practical sense of the word?

Alden only had his training to fall back on.

Nothing practical about dealing with a potential psychopath murderer. "But that is good- being brave isn't about being fearless. It is about acting in spite of your fear." Alden looked back towards the homestead.

Eyes growing distant for a moment.

"Right now? We are brave as feth as far as I am concerned." A nod followed soon after. The barn did make the most sense to Belmont as well. That was the part where whoever had done this had lost control. Either in the beginning or at the end of the massacre. It would be the first scene where there could be some hint of where to look next. "Yeah, good thought, let's head on over."

"You take the second floor, see if there is something there, I will look at the... scene again, see if we missed anything there."
 
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