Star Wars Roleplay: Chaos

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The Comb and the Crystal

The sun hung low in the distance, amber and gold streaks of light striking through the low growing understory. Trees of varying origins, non native and controlled by the well trained hands of the Morodin, grew without pause or hesitation. Despite the drought that once struck this land, leaving it barren and desolate, water now flowed freely through shallow streams and from the roots of the tap tree. Fireflies and bees buzzed in the reflection of approaching twilight, showing the last vestiges of productivity before retiring to their homes to avoid the onset of nightly dew.

This was Gabe's favorite time for thought and meditation. To collect on the impacts that he has had on this property, the homestead and beyond. The realization always quickly came to him, through the word crafting of Relit Vandal, that the environment would persist long after the Arkanian hybrid had returned to dust. He felt, in many ways, the slow drift of time as wrinkles formed on his face and wounds healed slower. He wasn't his brother, he wouldn't persist on the wings of the darkside, and his time would invariable pass. But in the woods of the Ankarres, he felt relief in that passage being staved, if only for a moment.

Soft foot steps took him across resilient path grass, cushioning and giving to his weight. Footprints left in the mixture of green blades and moss beneath, he felt comfort in the noise of the forest. Frogs croaking, birds chirping, the ever occasional hoot from a nocturnal fowl. His eyes drifted to the horizon as his hands clutched a prize worth claiming. In a knapsack, crystals rested, wrapped in cloth separately to avoid knocking against one another.

Satisfied with a happy view of the clearing over a small borrow pit, he crossed his legs as he sat. Rolled before him were stones of blue, yellow, and green. Hovering calloused fingers over each, mentally feeling the grooves and lattice structures, he closed his eyes as his hands retracted within the loose coat he adorned. As the quiet turned into the noise of the woods once more, he closed his eyes and drifted into fond memories and moments of deep healing.

[member="Taheera Sollo"]
[member="Gabriel Sionoma"]

Irritation and wariness crossed her tattooed features. She had a set of bruised ribs, hidden beneath her shirt and more bruises that marred her green skin along her lower back and hips. She'd just returned from Barkesh and the war with the First Order. Another war that seemed pointless and impossible. Another war where the people they promised to protect were left behind. Another war where people were caught in the middle who didn't ask to be there. Another battle where she'd felt like she'd made no different and no impact.

Just stalling the inevitable.

Why had she returned to the homestead?

Because whether he liked it or not, she felt there was a sense of home, maybe even peace, around Gabe. He knew her struggles and he seemingly accepted the mirialan - even with all her faults. So, she found herself back here. She passed the fridge, without testing it to see if Gabe or Dick finally plugged in her hand-print. Footsteps took her outside but she didn't go to Gabe.

She sensed him, not so far off.

For now, she stared out at the quiet wood, a hand cradling the pain at her side.
He recalled the moments spent in the infirmary, after a battle hard fought against Darth Carnifex. The way the sky bled that day, gunsteel seeping from orange and black wounds, gave him moments of regret. He was so convinced that he needed to prove himself, to become something more than the shadow of his brother - forever forsaken to be cast out by the face he wore. But these feelings held no longevity, cast away for the warmth of health and friends that visited the homestead while he recovered.

Avalore Eden, Jacen Voidstalker, even Omai Rhen sent correspondence on the Marshals recovery. Though at that time, he was nothing more than a glorified prisoner, given leave to wage war and bleed beneath the banner of the Galactic Alliance. How quickly things had turned, he recalled, where hope for asset transitioned to distrust among peers. He had hoped, as he did now, that the Alliance would become something more than a war-faring group, hell bent on removing the cancer of the darkside. It often felt the mission came at any cost.

He opened his eyes, the crystals sitting idle before him, as scarred palms had moved to float freely overhead. From left to right, from blue to yellow to green, he persisted on moments that provided comfort. The way Ava had looked at him with such disappointment, he pulled from that breath of self-reflection. That he was rarely ever right, it took a certain vigor to move and continue in the face of that realization. Particularly in the early days, where his mind was so clouded by the specter of love and attachment. Breached from one body only to cling to the first that caught him, he was an old clone with an immature soul - perpetually shunned from growth by the darkside of his brother. Those years that passed had changed him and he liked to think for the better.

Retracting from war for the love of others, he thought on the warm smile of Armaud and the grumpy sulking of a needy Destin. Two children, born from misfortune, highlighted the importance of silver lining. Where their biological mother was, anyone's guess was as good as his, but it didn't matter. They had their true mother, lovingly embraced beneath shingled roof he had repaired. And the healing she brought, through the circle and her own practices, came in physical and mental forms. For as the body healed through itself and the mind, he quickly realized the importance of a positive attitude.

The crystals shuddered beneath his aura, amplifying in the Katarn Apiary. The bees, despite the oncoming dark, began to collect around him. On his shoulders, on the crystals, his knees and the grass around him. Not anything approaching a swarm, but enough to give pause. The crystals slowly drew life from the world around them, each taking on an internal glow of soft fire. Like grounded fireflies of their own, the crystals hummed with power as the duality of healing and life flooded their crystal lattices. A great ocean, a wealth of the force, pushed it's way through the micro canyons of the otherwise mediocre stones.

[member="Taheera Sollo"]
[member="Gabriel Sionoma"]

A hot, quick breath filled with frustration, weariness, and defeat left between barely parted lips. Eyes scrunched up at the quickly setting sun. Head cocked to the side as she heard a familiar sound from far off. One she'd become more familiar with during her short, first stay with Gabe.

Bees. And lots of them.

Head turned as she let her senses expand, spilling over the surrounding farm. There. He wasn't hard to pick up - the old force master. Would he be able to sense her weariness? Her pain? Even if he didn't, he'd see it written all over the healer clone's face.

She'd let so many lives of Barkesh down. Now they were under the iron fist of some wackos sporting vader armor and who relied on the dark - who were lost in the dark. Maybe she should get lost in it too, or walk away from everything because what was the point?

Turning sharply, she cut a path toward Gabe. A sharp pain tugged at her ribs but she ignored it, continuing her march. The mirialan paused when she saw him. Boot scuffed the dirt and grass at her feet as she waited and watched those bees somewhat warily.
Night was upon them. She may have very well followed the setting of the sun, but it had seemingly outpaced her. What was once a forest lit with the dim amber of a distant star now found ambiance in the reflection of light from Sullust. While normally a planet was provided illumination by the nearby satellite, the roles were reversed where civilization found shelter on the moon itself. A sort of bronze afterglow took to the foliage, mixed with the motley of buzzing fireflies and glowing blue Ankarres Trees, sporadic orange lambent fruits, and the occasional baffor tree. It was truly a silent place, filled with the hum of ambient noise.

Gabe had, indeed, sensed her from the moment she stepped out of the homestead. There was a burden there, sulking beneath her green skin and myrtle eyes, that seemed forever hesitant to be pushed aside. A darkness, not unlike the world around them in its feint derivative form of the true thing, cast an enlarged shadow that followed her up the field that separated apiary from home. He knew all too well the weight of self imprisonment, mind and hands cuffed by chains of guilt and remorse from things not accomplished.

He was not without his connections to the Galactic Alliance, as a vestige of the former militant ways of the effort. He carried the badge of Jedi Marshal through past glories, though he still often had words with Omai Rhen. While he knew the Grand Marshal had taken to the fight, the leader understood that the scars that crossed at Gabe's palms kept the hybrid stationed on his own form of satellite. Both physically and mentally, he had done what he could to separate himself from the blood thirst of the alliance he knew so long ago. Long casting away the desire to smite what was spiteful, he found that the darkness was more easily combated through inward concentration. Which was why, when he sensed her oncoming presence, he did his best to ignore the feelings that welled up inside.


He lifted his hand as the bees began to disembark, taking flight back towards their massive hives. But one remained, a mated queen who had stopped on her maiden flight. Hazel eyes stared down on her, he abdomen wide and developed, as her compound eyes looked back with thousands of reflections of the forest behind him. His breathing slowed to match hers, to latch onto this wild thing in her most vulnerable moments, and appreciate the nature of this interaction. The animal control he had learned through bee keeping was something that seemed masterful, in these moments, if not for the pang of Taheeras footsteps behind him. The queen caught the conflict and with the binding broken, laid a single sting into the top of his palm before flying off.

He didn't so much as react, finding the response curious. It was often a defensive attack reserved for rival queens, just at the point of superseding. Without turning to Taheera, he moved to place his hands down on his knees. "They say more than bravery or will, curiosity will triumph over fear." His hand swung out to an empty patch of forest, near to the crystals. "Join me, tell me of your journey."

[member="Taheera Sollo"]
[member="Gabriel Sionoma"]

The empath felt the smallest spike of pain from Gabriel. But she was too distracted in her own grief to let her emotions linger. Wordlessly, she plopped down on the offered patch of grass. Knees bent upwards, the bottoms of her boots digging into the earth as her back fell backwards, laying on the grass. Chestnut strands of hair mixed with dirt and leaves. One hand remained cradling her ribs and the other went to prop the back of her head up a little.

Purple lips thinned further at Gabe's words. "Curiosity won't save a people from slaughter or slavery. Or ease the guilt of failure," a sharp inhale as she stared up into the canopy sky with the ethereal glow. "I was on Barkesh. We heard First Order was moving in. Most of the civilians trusted that we could hold them back and protect them. Most of them didn't evacuate or flee. Even if they had - where would they go?!"

There was a sharp sting behind her sinuses. Eyes scrunched closed for a moment. And for a second, she was there. Running with the others. Evacuating. A scowl pulled at her green features.

"There was a strong Sith in armor like...Vader's," a bitter laugh escaped her throat. "There were five of us, Gabe," head popped up, eyes snapping open to find his face. "Five. We had him. I thought we did. But...," voice trailed off and her head just as quickly hit the ground again, as if she'd never had any strength at all.

"They had reinforcements we didn't even see. We had to leave. Run away - like cowards. We just left them, Gabe. People we promised to protect. People we failed," voice trailed off.

She let the silence soak in until it was almost smothering.

"Maybe I should've stayed," she whispered. She wasn't completely naive. She knew that most likely would've meant death. Or worse, capture. But that might've been better than living with this weight, now.
"People live, people die. The sun rises and the sun sets. Guilt, curiosity, remorse - they are natural responses to these tragedies that are endured." He failed to attach possession to tragedy, as it was an inherent part of life itself. The insect falls from the branch, the bird loses a clutch of eggs, and the Galactic Alliance territory fell to the tyranny of the First Order. Relit had taught him, through the rare conversations they held, that adding any form of weight was needless in it's subjectivity. In similar gravity, a pebble and a boulder fall all the same.

Nevertheless, it wasn't his desire to remove the feelings that she gripped now in these moment of conflict. He was no Jedi and never intent on masking natural reaction. And as he opened his eyes, he turned to see her lying in the grass not far from him. Just, sort of plopped over, holding an injury on her abdomen. He was rarely an empath but with a constant connection of the crystals during imbuement, it was hard to block out the feelings of those around him. While the properties of the Jal Shey struck against the stone and adhered, the fires of her turmoil flared evenly at the center of the lattice structure.

"I spoke with Omai Rhen. I know that we lost the fight against the First Order. And I know there will be many more to come." He paused, knowing the feeling of self sacrifice and how attractive it might have been. To be a martyr, to soak in the failures of a mission in some vein attempt to redeem oneself. He knew that desire because he had gone through the motions in his own conquest. "If you would have stayed, all the sacrifices made would have been for nothing. And I would be speaking to myself in the deep deep woods."

He straightened out his back, the pulse of the crystals nearing completion. Retracting his hands, into the fold of the old robe, he let out a long breath. "There is no harm in failure, Taheera. So long as you learn from what occurred, you may progress and overcome this. No one is without their scars, without their missteps. It's our willingness to look beyond that defines us." He patted the grass next to him. "Now come, sit next to me and tell me what you learned."

Maybe if she sat up, focused on what he was doing, she might obtain a bit of the calming aura that not only leaked out from the crystals, but from the woods itself.

[member="Taheera Sollo"]
[member="Gabriel Sionoma"]

Her body and soul were beaten. She was tired. A palm quickly pushed away a spot of wetness on her cheek. The heat of shame and embarrassment quickly followed.

His command wasn't a simple one. He was asking her to get up but more than just in the physical sense. Sullen-gaze flickered to the master's eyes. Fingers came up to pinch the bridge of her nose. Hand lowered and very slowly, she pushed herself up. There was an internal wince as her ribs protested. She could've healed them but she wanted the reminder of pain, perhaps a bit selfishly.

Scooching over to Gabe, she settled in next to him, her knee just shy of brushing against his own. Green eyes filled with a lingering moisture turned away from his eyes and settled on the glowing crystals. Very slowly, she began to feel like she wouldn't break and shatter into a million pieces. Very slowly.

Eyes squeezed closed for a moment.

"I don't know what I learned," she mumbled, hesitantly bringing up the painful events again in her mind. "I saw the Sith first and I tried to reason with him. Perhaps that wasted too much time? Maybe I should've just attacked? But...," she frowned, eyes opening, the light of the crystals reflecting in her myrtle depths. "I can't do that. Just kill. It goes against who I am."

She was a healer. Perhaps that was weak.
"Absolutism is a burden..." He spoke with a long drawn out breath. He could tell just by the effort it took, that pain still resonated through her. Physically and mentally. But if she were truly a healer, she could have bypassed all of this unnecessary suffering. Which meant she felt some symbolism in its persistence. "...a sickness for which the Darkside considers weapon. But it's not, the inability to compromise and consider all aspects is as much a weakness as anything else."

He lifted his right hand, placing his palm upwards and in front of her. "When I first joined the Galactic Alliance, I made it my sole purpose to make a difference. I took to the field, challenging every Darksider who stood against me. In my wake, I left the body of Darth Carnifex smoldering and in ruin. Though I knew him as Kaine Zambrano. And having visions of his revival on Dromund Kaas, I rushed to prevent it. I failed and in turn, I was crucified and left for dead. Or did you think all of these wounds were born out of culinary mishaps?"

He scratched as his palm, at the encircled and raised edges of pink that still bore crude reminder of that days events. He didn't wear them as badge of honor or effort, but testament to the willpower of the darkside. It was a bar of tremendous height, one which every Jedi or Lightsider had to overcome. In some way or fashion, it was the most important obstacle. Resilience of the soul, to know that failure was always likely, and continue to persist in the face of such fact. Retracting his hand once more, he nudged her knee with his and smiled. "So you met a fierce Sith, one who could take on five of you at once? Does that make him mighty, that he sought your death while you sought to save him? Compassion isn't something to take lightly and in these darkest of times, impending shadow of the First Order looming above, it could not be more needed."

He looked back towards the crystals, pressing the tips of his fingers together. They once more began to glow, the fire within extinguishing. "I suspect you learned quite a bit, Taheera Sollo. Even if you don't quite know it yet." Beneath the desolate sun, the cracks of failure become ever apparent. But with the heavy rains of time and inner reflection, sand and silt flow freely and fill the cracks. It was in this strengthening and healing process, that the true foundation of knowledge and resilience was formed.

[member="Taheera Sollo"]
[member="Gabriel Sionoma"]

Myrtle-ellipses shifted to his outstretched palm. Surprise danced across her tattooed-features. She of course, had no idea. She'd been too busy wallowing in her own failures and too busy being introspective. And with that simple nudge of a knee against her own, he pulled her from her own self wallowing. Well, pulled her a little further away from the edge.

"I had no idea," she spoke quietly, after staring at that scar on his palm and his hands even as he retracted them. The faintest glimmer of a smile whisked across her lips. More like a wraith and not quite there. "I'd suggest you get someone else to do the cooking if that were the case," she quipped back. "There are droids for that."

Sitting quietly beside the master, she felt her own anxiety continue to lessen. She knew it would take time after Barkesh. There was no easy fix or cure but perhaps she'd be able to bear the weight of it all as she walked through it. Perhaps she'd learned something after all and perhaps the lesson learned had occurred after the battle.

Gaze shifted to the crystals.

"What're you up to out here, anyway? With those?"

She doubted he was hiding from that gangly-blonde girl she'd met for a passing moment in the kitchen.
Droids for that. He had his fill of that, Dick wondering around the homestead, hopefully in the dark. He blinked slowly as he listened to the confirmation, the realization of futility was something profound. While he was no servant to fate, he held a belief that things happened for a reason. Whether it was the hand of the force or stroke of luck, he couldn't say. But every moment, fleeting and frail, held value. Even those stained with failure.

"I don't talk about it often." He admitted it with an almost inherent flicker of pride. What once was bruised and mangled had recovered, squeezing happiness from the stone of defeat. But he had put many people at risk in his venture, drawing forces away from the attack, to settle a conquest that felt personal. If that meant he would retract from the purpose of the Alliance, so be it. It was a lesson worth learning, from which he readily took tutelage.

Dark discussion shifted to the objects before him and he sat next to Taheera. She had finally taken notice of the foreign objects that sat before them, resting on linen cloth pulled from the cupboard kitchen. "Peet Sieben was a member of an ancient order of force users. He sought to understand the force for intellectual reasons. He believed that War was a double sided dagger. In one hand..." He held up his left, showing the very same scars that he showed to her in his right. "It is a terrible and awful thing. And in the other..." He held up his right. "...we grow so much from conflict. From selfishness...sacrifice. From cowardice...courage. From destruction...rebirth." He lowered his hands back into his lap, gaze drifting from the crystals to the Mirialan who sat beside him.

"As I sit here, I follow in his footsteps. So that I may reconcile the war we wage. That while I disagree with every battle we must fight, I find the value in its lesson." He looked back towards the crystals. "These feelings that I have, and more, I impart on these crystals. As gift to those who can use them."

The energy of the Ankarres Apiary was siphoned from the leaves, the branches, the bud scars of every living tree and plant. The connectivity of the forest was on display as the wide berth of the root lattice structure beneath them became apparent. As if they sat in the heart of a great and singular creature, breathing and living and speaking to them. Giving strength from its own spirit, nourishment from swelling bark and satiation from sap. Everything they would ever need could be found in the woods, if they but knew where to look.

[member="Taheera Sollo"]
[member="Gabriel Sionoma"]

The empath-healer felt it. The surge of life around them, shifting through the intricate web of nature. It had a very distinct pulse that...whatever Gabe was doing, seemed to amplify it. For a moment, she felt herself lost in it, grounded and taken for a journey instantaneously.

Myrtle orbs traveled away from Gabe's face and his scars, back to the crystals. She eyed them cautiously and curiously. Then, she asked the million credit question. "Who can use them?"

Knee bumped against his own as she shifted.
He stared blankly towards the stones as he offered the only answer he could. "I don't know..."

Looking at Taheera from the corner of his eye, he smiled. "There's only way one to find out."

He might have known the answer, given that he was the one imbuing the stones and knew entirely the limitations of his own power. But her curiosity was piqued, he wondered where it would go without any guidance.

[member="Taheera Sollo"]
[member="Gabriel Sionoma"]

She looked at the older master. Wasn't hard for her to miss that smile or shift in his emotions. "Well, since you're being so direct," she spoke dryly, though the corners of her own lips twitched. Only slightly.

The force stretched forward from the center of her being. Weaving through and around Gabe's presence and his work with the crystals, she floated one up and closer toward her own form. It was like an introduction. She was saying hello and feeling it out.

Surprise wavered across chestnut brows. Hair shifted along her cheeks as her head bent in concentration. It felt like everything around them. And there was a very strong part of familiarity, as though Gabe was within the crystal himself. It was comforting in its own way, like she'd never be alone.

If only the crystal could also make sandwiches. Green palm outstretched and without opening her eyes, the crystal floated down and settled there.

"Why now?" She spoke quietly, Myrtle-orbs cracking open. "Why're you making these now?"

Did it have to do with the looming darkness of the First Order?
It wasn't his job, or anyone's in such a position, to force anther into movement. He was a Master simply through osmosis, a life time of suffering finding some utility within an old soul. No, he would force change in the same manner. That he might lead her to something without ever indicating intent.

"What time would have been appropriate?" He looked towards the crystal and nodded. "I've spent all my time, since new birth, in a jagged path towards these objects. Learning, mastering, becoming something more than my brother. More than...Wrath." He looked back over to the other crystals and shook his head. "I made it for you. And for the other Jedi and lightsiders who might need it."

He wasn't a healer, he wasn't sure he could ever use the crystal for anything other than a gift or bargaining chip.

"Have you constructed a lightsaber before? If you haven't, I will teach you. If you have..." He looked towards Taheera. "Take heed. The stone is brittle and will need cushioning within the core. And it will need an enhanced diatium power cell."

[member="Taheera Sollo"]
[member="Gabriel Sionoma"]

She didn't know what to say. And for the first time, she saw and felt his own internal struggle. It came with that name: Wrath. Fingers cradled the crystal gently in her palm.

It was an unexpected and weighty gift.

"Thank you," she finally managed, knowing to refuse such a gift would be frivolous and insulting. Still, it didn't mean she was used to receiving things like this just as a gift from....anyone. Back stretched a little as she shifted on the ground. She was still stiff from Barkesh. "I have a lightsaber from my predecessor but I mostly use a cortosis staff, I picked up along the way in my travels as a small village healer. It's a long story. But...I have an idea for how I can use this."

Eyes drifted back to her enclosed palm.

"Okay, I'm starving," with that, she began stretching out her stiff limbs to rise slowly to her feet. "Sandwiches? You staying out here for awhile or..."

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