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The Grass is Always Greener [Lord Ashmedai]

Remote Spacestation
Somewhere in the Kessel Sector
Kiskla stood amongst the hustle and bustle of the population. A myriad of beings knocked this way and that, going about their business. Heavy, clattering sounds filled the station as workers loaded and unloaded different shipments of spices, parts, and other transportable goods. Kiskla was convinced that nobody was carrying any sort of conversation, simply because it was so loud. That being said, she was beginning to have second thoughts of this being the place where they met.

Well, in actuality, there was little other choice.

This location was unnamed for a reason. The people here wanted to be under the radar, and they were prime at it. Unnoticed and undetected, Kiskla had been able to dock without showing any sort of papers or credentials (although, the landing codes had been difficult to come across). Her transport had been unmarked, not identifying her as any member of any faction, let along The Republic. This sort of invisibility was key considering what she was hoping to do. As a member of The Jedi Council, it was certainly likely to be frowned upon to fraternize with a member of the dark side, a Sith, let alone seek out advice.

But, that's the way the cookie was crumbling.

This location provided key isolation, where she was unlikely to be recognized, as was her soon-to-be companion.

Nimble fingers tugged at the long, black sleeved garment under her casual top. She was careful to pull the hem over the alchemical cuff that was fastened indefinitely to her left wrist. Mostly because she didn't want some poor sucker to come along and think it was jewellery worth apprehending. It would end fatally for the poor robber. An impatient breath poured from her lungs and she looked around the dimly lit area once more for the familiar face from her past which she had summoned.

@[member="Cameron Centurion"]
 
The tall, dark-skinned individual entered the spaceport amidst the throngs of other individuals arriving with a low-budget freighter enroute to another location. The vast majority of people that he'd traveled with were on a pilgrimage to a place where they were hoping to find spiritual enlightenment and a meaning to their own pathetic existences. It had been a long journey for the darksider, but he was happy to be able to kill two birds with one stone, so to speak.

Lord Ashmedai had met Kiskla Grayson a very long time ago as Cameron Centurion. She'd presented a distinct complication to an operation he'd been involved in within the Spice Mines. The short and narrow of it was, they'd ended up having to flee the rock together after effectively blowing up a good portion of the mining operation. They'd both had suspicions of what the other was at that time, but they were both too busy protecting some element of their life to pry. From there, Centurion and Grayson had interacted on a handful of random occasions until...they just never saw each other again. The next time they met was at a party hosted by a Sith Lord. Kiskla had shown up, very much matured and on the arm of a former Jedi Grandmaster.

Since that evening, the Sith Lord had not heard a word of or from the Jedi Master. Her request to 'talk' had been definitively ambiguous. A part of Cameron had thought that perhaps Kiskla was setting up, but he rather quickly dismissed that notion. Kiskla Grayson had to know that there was no amount of civilian collateral he was willing to sacrifice to win. It was the real reason the Republic would forever be a step behind. Sure...there were other reasons but they had nothing to do with Cameron.

Dressed only in a pair of black slacks and a black cloak with the hood drawn, Cameron walked casually through the space station. Silver-green eyes shifted casually, taking in the present occupants of the space station. It was only a matter of minutes before the Sith saw the Jedi through the noisy crowds of the station. The vast majority of individuals he traveled with were wearing some manner of inexpensive, comfortable clothing. There were single individuals, families, old, and young. The radiant, blonde Jedi, however, still retained the ability to seemingly be a beacon in a dark room...well...unless she was actively engaged otherwise. It mattered little, Cameron's stature rarely blended anywhere in the galaxy. Stopping mere feet from the Jedi, he lowered his gaze just enough to stare into her eyes. "No line of admirers in tow today?" The last time Cameron had seen the woman, she'd certainly been surrounded by enough.
 
"You're the first." The young woman replied, equally snide. "If you brought any friends, they're going to have to take a number."

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The remark was indirectly in reference to any attempt of sabotage, but she was confident that Cameron worked alone. He was most effective that way, she had learned. 
When she was younger, and they'd fallen into running in a similar pact, he'd horrified her by his executions of darkness. 

And now, here she was, hoping to learn from him in terms of those executions. 



See, the thing was, Kiskla was both blessed and cursed by the god of darkness coursing through her veins and she figured it was about time she used that Sith garbage to her advantage. An impending war between The Empire and The Republic was encroaching, and she needed to start thinking more deviously. The Republic needed the upper hand, and their libertine considerations were more of a hindrance than an asset. No matter how vigilant their soldiers were, they were seeking justice and liberty and their opponents had no rules. Even now, Kiskla knew that if @[member="Cameron Centurion"] wanted her dead, it simply would be.

Well, maybe. If the Force entities didn’t see any value in protecting their vessel.


Despite his impressive size, and overwhelming Force presence, Kiskla wasn't intimidated. Overconfidence was going to be her ultimatum one day, she just knew it. But, treading on egg shells aside, she did appreciate his response to her plea, even without any story behind her random request.

"In actuality, I appreciate you meeting me." She gestured to the dock, to show how she had actually planned for the anonymity as a strategic element. "Consider it flattery, because I've got to ask you for some insights. Shall we?" Kiskla took a step, suggesting that they walk and talk to continue to blend with the crowds around them. Being swallowed by her surroundings was the goal. Perhaps she should have asked him how he'd been since she'd last seen him, but considering his evil nature, it was best she didn't know.

"To be completely honest," Kiskla exhaled, shoving her hands into her pockets "I'm not entirely sure how to ask this. But.." she paused, rolling the thought around in her mind before it finally spilled over her pouted lips "I need you to help me think like a Sith."
 
The faintest hint of a smile tugged at the corners of Cameron's lips. He could see the young Jedi had not lost her seemingly practiced wit. "No worries, child. This reservation is only for a party of two." While Cameron did typically work alone, that certainly did not mean he was above the use of pawns to his own ends. In fact, he can't remember the last time he really undertook an operation purely of his own volition. The Sith Lord found such exploits to be...somewhat beneath his reality. As a result, Kiskla was well within the realm of reality to suspect he might yet have an ulterior motive.

He didn't, of course. Somewhere beneath his impassive veneer of outright apathy to most all that followed Jedi teachings there was a level of casual respect for the young blonde. She had proved an at least adequate adversary in martial combat even in her younger years, and she was far more intelligent than most sentients he'd met in the galaxy. The moment the Jedi began walking, the Sith fell into step beside her. Clasping his hands behind his back, Cameron offered no immediate response to her follow-up comments and request. The pair snaked through the crowds for at least a good two minutes before he offered the woman a simple response. "As do most of the Sith, Jedi." Cameron was completely content in making such a declaration. It seemed to be a growing reality amidst the galaxy. However, that had nothing to do with Kiskla. "Why should I be anymore willing to assist you in this than I am with those of my own sect?"

The reality of Kiskla's...make-up notwithstanding, Cameron was intrigued by a Jedi actually being willing to understand their enemy better. He'd long been a proponent of trying to learn more about the Jedi than he did of the Sith. There was only one way to truly prevail over an adversary. Carelessly and continuously clashing against their ideals without purpose...was not the way.

@[member="Kiskla Grayson"]
 
Child. That hadn't been a term in her reference since her days with Antares Marclonus. Still, she supposed being an immortal did earn someone the right to title all saps that eventually died as children. The moment @[member="Cameron Centurion"] fell into step with her, was the moment the long-legged master mentally solidified her request. There'd be no turning back now, even if he for a moment denied her entry to picking his brain. Those two minutes felt immeasurably long.

She really should have anticipated a challenge from the Sith Master. Selling Cameron on the idea of actually helping her would have to be presented as more of a benefit to him. There was no way he would offload any information if there wasn't any return on his investment. Even if the point was only for entertainment.

He was an ancient Sith Master -- her leverage was minimal. Especially considering his blatant observation of their opposing view points. There was little more polar opposite than the Sith and the Jedi. They were in an eternal struggle, a tug-of-war that rarely inched in favour of either side. She wanted to change that. Despite her duty to maintain the balance of The Force, it was her selfish nature that begged her to tip it. To abuse her entitlement and manipulate the outcome to the manifestation of The Republic and it's forces.


"Because it'd be more of a challenge." Kiskla replied simply, playing at the Master's vanity. "There's little fun in conditioning the already indoctrinated." She nodded to herself, glancing sideways at her dark companion.

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Besides, a more informed opponent always makes for a more interesting outcome. Her alluding to the impending Empire threat would remain ambiguous, but Cameron wasn't an idiot. Her motives could remain as clandestine as she believed, but there would always be some underlying secret. There had to be a reason beyond selfish desires, something for the greater good, to motivate a Jedi with a seat on the high council to seek out assistance from a radical Sith Lord.

"Keep your enemies closer." She finished finally. The statement was in no way in reference to their relationship, but rather to his favour of few words rather than more. Kiskla and Cameron weren't enemies, nor were they friends. They were...unable to be filed into any category, really. At least, from Kiskla's perspective. She knew there was an unspoken level of respect in her regards to the Sith lord, as well as a strong distaste for his impure core.
 
"Keep your enemies closer..." Cameron tasted the words as they left his mouth. It was a very human sentiment, a saying that he'd heard from the particular species throughout the ages. The Sith Lord had never really kept anyone close with the not-so-obvious exception of his teenage daughter and her mother. The existence of both being far less than what could pass for public knowledge. "Take care, some enemies are best kept at a distance. In a very real sense, the same could be said of loved ones."

Waving a dismissive hand, the Sith Lord afforded the Jedi at his side a fleeting glance. Unlike the Jedi, Cameron's own emotions about his temporary companion were in no way negative. There was an inherent reality in the fact that the Force encompassed all living things. It was, in fact, life itself. To this end, the Force continuously sought balance, equilibrium. The people blessed with the ability to manipulate the Force were the ones that threw off that balance from time to time. The imperfections of the galaxy's sentients were the only reason for the galaxy's trials and tribulations. The Force was nature and nature fought against itself only to keep itself in balance. There were plenty of Sith that would think Cameron's particular viewpoints blasphemous or Jedi-like. Sentients focused on all the wrong things. Age, labels, and fancy titles were, in the long run, useless. In fact they only drew as much power as the masses were willing to give them by believing in the superficial. The only real power in life was the Force.

"I digress. There is, first, something you ought understand, Kiskla. My presence here, other than sheer, morbid curiosity, is a result not of any waning affection nor seething hatred. I regard with the respect I do warriors, vanguards of any cause." Cameron permitted himself a brief, thin smile. "I may not agree with your Order's views on the Force and life in general, but I respect them. Regardless of all they've been through, the Jedi endure. However, you are smart enough to understand that you will never win, nobody will. The strength and the fun is in the struggle...which pushes all sides to be the best version of themselves."

Turning a corner, Cameron walked with Kiskla down an adjacent corridor. "I and those like me care not for the rules of morality, conceived by those with no real concept of the galaxy's nature. This applies to many Jedi and Sith...but not necessarily all. The galaxy is, as I described earlier, immoral by nature. You hardly need to fully understand the mind of a Sith to prevail against them, you merely need to accept what you are. For instance, I know that the Jedi regard any attack on them by the Sith almost as a blessing. Your Order seems to fashion themselves the shield of the galaxy, designed to absorb the blows of those with a more destructive inclination. My response to that is to lay waste to innocent populations until the Jedi have little choice other than to bend to my will. Naturally, I know that the Jedi Order will never do this. They are so rooted in their own self-importance, they would never capitulate to the Sith no matter how badly things proceed. What happens then? The Jedi quickly become thrown into the same category as the Sith, oppressive and unfeeling."

Pausing for a moment, Cameron stopped in the corridor and turned to face Kiskla. Stepping in close to her, he delivered the overarching point of his miniature sermon. "The difference between Sith and Jedi, Kiskla, is that the Sith care not for the greater perception of those too weak to defend themselves. They indoctrinate their people with the same beliefs. It forces them to strive to be more, to be strong. Jedi are champions for the weak, the defenseless. It's a great children's story, but it is not a recipe for any level of success." Balance. That was the only reason Cameron was here, assisting a Jedi. Well...that and he supposed her physical presence wasn't the worst company he could entertain for a short while. What he was describing to Kiskla was not an honorable way to live, attacking the weak and defenseless, depending on your viewpoint. He suspected that was the greatest obstacle a Jedi had to such action. The solution was to change your viewpoint.
 
She listened solemnly when the raven spector decided to speak. Every word that dripped from his lips oozed experience and wisdom, and she was hooked on his insights. Mostly because he was articulating exactly how she felt.

The Jedi Master knew that even the terms 'Sith' and 'Jedi' were conceived by mortals; those finding it necessary to categorize in order to understand. The Ones had opened her eyes to that, and the Cameron was opening her ears to sayings she had been deaf to. Her pace, although matching his, was taken with heavy steps. The gravity of the reality the Sith was explaining was weighing on her. Some things he said, had more impact on her than others.

He was right about her intelligence in knowing that there was no out to the perpetual push and pull of the opposing Forces. That was something she'd known for a long time. But, that didn't mean she wouldn't stop trying to have an impact, even if it was temporary. It was when he said The strength and the fun is in the struggle...which pushes all sides to be the best version of themselves that @[member="Cameron Centurion"] had her completely captivated.

The best version of themselves.

Both sides were entities of selfishness, focused on self-preservation. It was inevitable, despite all the deemed 'selfless' acts of The Jedi. His reference to being in the position of a vanguard couldn't have been more accurate. When was the last time any Jedi reached out to a Sith for insight into their mentality? As far as neutrality between the dark forces and the light, it wasn't the first time. Their meeting wasn't strange in that instance. Even Darron, one of the purest beings after her first Master, had been in mutual admiration of the fallen empress. She'd helped them escape a targeted attack on a space station and sat in a rather confined space with a very dark person. Neither Jedi had been corrupted, however, despite the Jedi's bold warnings that any contact with darkness would be the end of any warrior.

In truth, the darkness was just as corrupt as the light; it just depended which version of the propaganda you leant an ear to.

Some people's personalities defined the outcome of their alliance. The pioneers of The Jedi were more partial to the empathetic side of the Force, and yet purged the emotion right out of empathy. The first Sith? They favoured the power of the darkside. Neither were to blame.

You hardly need to fully understand the mind of a Sith to prevail against them, you merely need to accept what you are.

Was he speaking of her as a representative of the Jedi Order, or her considering her genetic makeup? Kiskla Grayson was a sentient vessel.

Your Order seems to fashion themselves the shield of the galaxy, designed to absorb the blows of those with a more destructive inclination. My response to that is to lay waste to innocent populations until the Jedi have little choice other than to bend to my will. Naturally, I know that the Jedi Order will never do this. They are so rooted in their own self-importance, they would never capitulate to the Sith no matter how badly things proceed. What happens then? The Jedi quickly become thrown into the same category as the Sith, oppressive and unfeeling.


Kiskla hadn't even noticed that they had peeled away from the crowds. There was a tightness behind her eyes as the Sith unloaded his horrible perspective. To hear him speak so calmly of calamity was unnerving, but the more he divulged his opinion, the more the root of his message spread to her own foundation. YOLO. Not in the sense of only living once, but in the sense of making the most of the time granted in this galaxy; with little regard to how any actions affected others. But not all Sith felt that way.

The Empire promised to protect it's people, as did The Republic. They were both anchored by duties to their civillians, promises of protection. Perhaps The Empire saw some of their citizens as expendable, she didn't know. But she did know that The Jedi, were only a partial extension of The Republic. Republican soldiers had no depths in the spiritual nature of The Order, and therefore owed nothing to any creed other than to offer their best for that of their government. The Jedi needed to regard The Empire in the nature that The Sith viewed The Republic. Hurdles. Obstacles. Fools. Temporary.



The difference between Sith and Jedi, Kiskla, is that the Sith care not greater perception of those too weak to defend themselves. They indoctrinate their people with the same beliefs. It forces them to strive to be more, to be strong. Jedi are champions for the weak, the defenseless. It's a great children's story, but it is not a recipe for any level of success.


Kiskla had a thick, reeling moment but steadied herself. "Champions for the weak and defenseless, perhaps." Kiskla agreed with this sentiment. After all, it was what Antares Marclonus had drilled into her from the very first day of Padawanhood. "But that doesn't mean their incapable of overthrowing oppression." Why was she arguing. She was here for insight, not a debate. It was fairly obvious that everything Centurion said was credible and true; still it pained her to admit that The Jedi's morals would be their undoing.

Again.

She frowned, and stared back brazenly at the hooded figure. There was malice coupled with wisdom in those emerald optics; eyes that had beheld sights she couldn't fathom. But, if she tried hard enough, and if he willed, she could walk through the caverns of his mind and be eclipsed in a majority of his tales, absorbing more morals than this sermon had imparted. Had he always been a creature of darkness? Bred in the shadows of The Force?

Probably.


She felt increasingly raw. "Your inferred recipe for success seems to denote that there is little alternative than to create chaos." Her lips drew in a thin line, folding her arms against her chest. That sort of malevolence would simply not sway with herself, nor The Order she represented. "As if it's safe to assume that each foe to the Jedi will throw down someone weak to step on them, and rise up." She paused. Okay, she'd have to allude to her concerns about The Empire. "Even on a grand scale."

Kiskla was at the same wall she reached when meditating alone. Her morals restricted her from pursuing the path Cameron suggested. She couldn't tear apart someone who couldn't defend themselves, despite the shock factor. There had to be another way -- she needed further persuasion. She needed to plunge deeper into his type of mentality, to overcome her own intrinsic barrier.
 
Cameron allowed @[member="Kiskla Grayson"] time to complete her thoughts before he regarded her with a look of complete, utter disappointment. While it would be easy for Cameron to tell himself that the woman, despite her subtleties, was a Jedi, he expected more from her. The valiant Knight of Peace routine wasn't cute. Abruptly, the Sith Lord stopped in the corridor. This time when he spoke, his voice took on a harsher edge than normal. The darkness that his body naturally exuded into the Force quickly thickened as the very taste of the air around him rippled with his emotions on this...subject. "This will not be a rendezvous wherein I connect the dots of reality for you, Master Jedi. A foe, by its nature, will seek to exploit your weakness. The Jedi's weakness typically involves death and destruction of so-called innocent persons. The Sith regard all those that are not Sith, beneath them and therefore largely irrelevant."

Exhaling softly, the Sith Lord managed a warm, almost comforting smile. The abrupt change in mood meant...pretty much nothing. Cameron Centurion was an extremely emotional creature even if he rarely showed much of a spectrum. In fact, the simple reality that Kiskla was able to draw a strong emotional reaction out of him simply meant she had affected him in some way. It was merely another indicator of the regard he did hold her in. "Your response is the exact reason why you and your kind struggle. The galaxy is flawed. The galaxy's inhabitants are flawed. You cannot then hoist yourself above all as some type of perfection and expect them to just rally behind you because you give the impression of living like monks. The mob of sentients in the galaxy care not for your compassion. They merely want to live. When is the last time the Jedi Order presented an impediment to life? Never. Thus they stand to lose nothing by not standing behind you. To be clear, electing not to oppose you is not the same thing as standing behind you."

Casually, Cameron resumed walking. This conversation had already been too long for what Kiskla was seeking. He'd hoped that, perhaps, she would reach the inevitable conclusion on her own, but he had no problem helping her down the path. "Through the ages, the Sith have had one major enemy that routinely is the cause of their destruction. That enemy was, is, and shall forever be...The Sith. If you cannot take on the entirety of the Sith Empire, fracture them. This, of course, requires you being in a position to promise a Sith what they want; power and knowledge." The other option, of course, was to just let the Sith continue pressing the galaxy under their thumb and hope that maybe just maybe the last remnants of free people come running to the Jedi and create a highly contagious disease bio-engineered solely to affect Sith. Likely right?

Survey says no.
 
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That was an expression she hadn't seen in a long time, even if coming from an unconventional master. When he stopped abruptly, Kiskla continued on a step before halting and turning, not turning her back on the lord. So-called innocent, hm? Perhaps she should expand on that thought, and allow it to develop. To blossom.
Everyone had a bit of evil in them, just waiting for the opportunity to be exploited. Civilians, on average, only acquiesced to the rules of society out of fear. What was she afraid of?

Failure.
She was afraid of perception, and the potential for failure aligned with that. Kiskla reflected for a moment, and once again met strides with the massive sith. The ultimatum of their destination was unknown, but she couldn't bother to care. Whatever the result of this influential meeting, wherever they ended up, she was certain she'd be walking away differently.
For better or for worse.

The suggestion of fracturing and reconciling churned in the young woman's mind. On the surface, she looked only mildly perplexed, but internally she was almost suffocating with the whispers from both entities. She was unconsciously encouraging them, each of them wardens of the Force in their own way. Not only did she have @[member="Cameron Centurion"]'s words to consider, but the hollow whispers from the entity siblings. They were nothing but white noise at this point. They'd had this conversation with her before, and time, and time again Antares' teachings had prevailed and she'd silenced them.
Then, another question formed.

"Why do you call yourself a Sith?"

Was she a Jedi only because it was easy? Because that's what she knew? Was she so heavily rooted in the foundations a single man set for her in her youth, that she couldn't bear to break his unseeing heart? He'd hardly been a salvation, only a guidance and a forger. Metal needed forging to take shape, but not to be strong. Metal found strength in it's compounds. When everything else was uncertain, the only thing she had control over was herself (and even that at times, due to the alchemic gravities that weighted her down, was an unrealistic assumption).
 
Cameron watched the woman for a moment. Though he was not reading her thoughts, he could tell from her body language that she was in a deep thought, dare he say a struggle. Permitting @[member="Kiskla Grayson"] all the time she desired to continue the conversation, the Sith Lord allowed himself to focus his attentions elsewhere. It would appear that they still remained largely anonymous in the swelling crowds. The situation almost made him smile. Here was a shining example of all that had been discussed thus far. This space station was filled with all variety of sentient beings. Tapping into the occasional brain revealed the same basic reality. The minds of those too weak to fathom the true nature and underlying power of the galaxy filled their minds with all manner of useless crap.

Who is sleeping with who?

Why is that person wearing that?

What time is it?

poodoo, I'm going to be late.

On and on it went... Extricating himself from the activity of walking the conscious thoughts of the pathetic, Cameron returned his attention to Kiskla just in time to hear her question. His initial response, was to laugh. When the laughter subsided, a smile lingered on his lips. "A question with a simple answer." A brief pause. "Ignorance." Cameron allowed the response to hang in the air for a moment, seeing what Kiskla's reaction yet might be. "Millenniums ago the Sith were a flourishing race in the unknown regions of space. I'm sure you know the origins of the Lords of the Sith which soon came to be known as Sith Lords, so I won't bore you. However, ignorance is the reason that label has endured. The same way the Jedi label or any label has endured. Sentients require a word to describe someone or something. They require...classification. Why? Because the masses are both too ignorant to understand the deeper reality and meaning of being connected to the Force in a manner such as us, and they are ignorant enough to hear a word and allow it to force preconceived notions of our nature to surface."

Shrugging, Cameron allowed his smile to dissipate. "I call myself Sith because I was ignorant enough in my youth to place importance behind the title. In time I learned words were just that, words. If I ever describe myself as a Sith to someone now, however, it is because I deem them too incompetent to truly comprehend what it means to be a student and embodiment of the Sith Arts. I am defined by my actions." Pausing for a moment, Cameron considered something. "Point of clarification. The Sith 'way of life' is foolish and misleading. It relates back to the time of those Dark Jedi, squabbling over more and more power amongst each other. There are those that call themselves Sith simply because they posture and attempt to have more than the next. This is their weakness...if you are looking for one. Should you come up against a Sith that cares little for the importance placed on titles and land by mortals, you will fail." Cameron could only presume she would ask why, so he answered preemptively. "You will fail because there is nothing they will not do to better themselves, increase their own personal strength."

Placing a hand gently and presumptuously on the small of Kiskla's back, Cameron squeezed just lightly enough to draw her body closer to his own as they walked. When next he spoke, his voice was barely above a whisper. "You do not hide your inner struggle well, Princess. If you walk away from this meeting with but one thing, take this with you. You cannot walk in both worlds. You can only balance the Force, the galaxy from one end of the spectrum. To attempt by your own design or allow someone else to convince you that you can do both at once...is to suffer insanity for all time. There is no strength there, no control. Don't allow yourself to be a tool, be the weapon for what you believe in." Casually, Cameron released his grasp of the smaller woman. He was sure she would take his actions for...added discretion and that alone.
 
It might have been useless crap to an outsider, but to each of those persons, those thoughts were important. And it was that innate want to keep those who were blissfully ignorant focused only on their thoughts rather than the bigger picture. It was just easier to be that slobbering dog behind the window.

Had she been a dog, her ears would have flattened at his abrupt expulsion of amusement. She knew it was a cynical cackle, but was he laughing despite himself?

And to say she didn't tense at his touch would have been a lie. It was through years of Jedi conditioning, honing to be a weapon of instinct and reaction, that her first thought was to swat him away. He was closing the distance to whisper however, and keep her senses alert despite the bumping from the crowds. All innocent people she would probably protect if a Sith (or Centurion) decided they wanted to play with the tapestry of life.

This was the first time in a long time that Kiskla felt like a student again. Reverted back to the depths of her mind to discover just how many caverns there were yet to fill with knowledge.

The Jedi, although titled 'Master' was like a light fixture operating at half voltage. With the right wiring, she could shine brilliantly. But who was to say that she couldn't stand on the fence, with her fingers dipped in both sides of The Force. So she wouldn't be fully submerged, but Kiskla had the potential, despite Cameron's caution of insanity, to be a weapon and a threat to Force users of both light and dark.

Fail. Fail. Fail. Shut up, @[member="Cameron Centurion"]. His insistence that she, and by extension The Jedi, would fail was beginning to wear on her. "Being on one end isn't balance at all." Kiskla replied bluntly. It was basic physics when it came down to it, no one person could occupy a see-saw by themselves. Perhaps she was too tied up in the emotions of it all, and should take a lesson from the B'omarr Monks on Tattooine. But his advice was sound, encouraging her not to follow the pedagogies of The Sith, nor The Jedi, but for which she found worth her time.

And time was precious.

And she had come to this meeting to learn how to deflect the oppression of The Empire which was on a foundation of Sith methodologies. She could use The Son against them, if she used him as a taunt. There was little reason to believe any Sith would deny entry to knowledge, as Cameron had said. Kiskla literally had deities churning inside of her, with unlimited knowledge that even she had only portions of. His little whispered pep talk was the slight she needed to refocus her energies. She was not their prisoner, nor their warden. They were her stepping stones.

"What is it about the darkside that so many find so tantalizing." Kiskla thought aloud, the exasperation evident on her tongue. She'd tapped into it before, molded it to her will. It was nothing special, and hardly opened any more doors to impressive powers. "There are always those of light who are just as powerful, if there weren't well.." she shrugged, letting the suggestion of balance remain unspoken between them.
 
Her statement was accurate, her frame of reference was not. However, it was quite a simple matter to...redirect. "You think on too small a scale. There is not one sentient being in this galaxy that can usher in balance all on their own. Forget prophecies and the ramblings of age-old beings dead and alive that claim to 'have it all'. A God is only as powerful or true as those that foolishly choose to place actual belief in them. Remember this, Kiskla." The Sith Lord gave her a brief, knowing glance before continuing. "The concept is that there are many beings on both ends, thus eliminating the moronic need or presumption to be on both ends at the same time." It was all well and good to think one could dip into both sides while being effective. However, the harsh reality of possibility was that being on both sides simultaneously was not, in fact, possible. The strength of connection to the dark side required to delve into the Force's more destructive aspects could not be obtained while one really maintained any form of devotion to the light.

"To clarify, sure you can waiver back and forth if you really desire. That only means you serve one side at a time at random frequencies. If you possess the ability to actually change the composition of your existence that often and that easily, then you probably already are insane." And completely, perfectly useless to either side. Slowly, Cameron heaved a exasperated sigh. They had lingered on that subject too long. The young Jedi would come to see the reality of what was and was not possible before long. However, he needed her to be stronger and smarter than this to fulfill the request he had of her. If she did not, the person he was sending her to retrieve...would surely destroy her without much of a second thought. The irony behind that? The boy was no Sith...and never would he be.

"It is unlocked by emotion. It is much easier, so it draws many. It is...more natural to act on one's emotions than to not. However, even that divide diminishes with each passing second. One that follows the light must control their emotions just as much if not more than one that follows the dark. We use our emotions to fuel our actions, allowing us to push ourselves deeper into the depths of the Force. I have met Jedi capable of doing this too...without falling to darkness, but it certainly requires a great deal of finesse and a steady mind." Offering Kiskla a shrug, he did not know how to explain much better than that. "In the end it comes down to nature. I choose not to be chained down by my beliefs, restricted. I choose to do as I please when I please. I exist to take life, not to give life. My enemies and allies alike prey for continued mercy, not deliverance. So you see...though there are many powerful individuals following the light, they too often fade or give up. It's been long since I last...met one I would consider a great Jedi."

The Sith Lord affixed his acquaintance with an almost hopeful expression. "The tide of the galaxy is ever in flux, though."

@[member="Kiskla Grayson"]
 
Then she got it.
There were rivalries, at all times. That's what maintained balance.
She was supposed to be a selected one to restore equilibrium when one side overstepped their boundaries, but it was the composition of those sides that maintained the balance. One could not exist without the other. The Sith needed her, as much as all Jedi wanted to eradicate them. If the Jedi were to purge the Sith from the galaxy, they would fail. As the Sith would fail if they were to attempt to extrapolate all warriors of the light.



@[member="Cameron Centurion"] was one user of the darkside that she found to be unfathomably powerful. And for him to admit that there was no one worth his rivalry was somewhat, heartbreaking. So, she would silently pocket away that notion and take it as a challenge. Even without the encouraging shift in the nuances of the conversation.



Kiskla's eyes wandered from directly in front of her to appreciate the structure they had been circling. A space station was a suspension of an instillation. It was plunged into space, and orbited on it's own, not relying on the security of anything other than it's internal support. In terms of an analogy, it was a stretch, but inspiration came from the darndest places.



Kiskla didn't like the idea, nay, she revolted the idea that the darkside was an easy way out. It was emotional, and toilsome. With it, would come different kinds of pains apart from the ones The Jedi faced. But, they did have pains that could be exploited. Selfish ones.

"Thank you." Kiskla stated abruptly. Although much of what he had said had been condescending, he had taken the time to give her answers. Even when she was outwardly to be perceived his mortal enemy. "I feel like I should return the favour." She paused. That could be a dangerous offer.
 
Cameron was not foolish enough to believe that he was right about everything. He did, however, think himself a fairly decent judge of potential. His fair, frank assessment of Kiskla Grayson was the only reason he agreed to this particular meeting. The level of respect he had for her as a person, force practitioner, and foe was something that had built over the last few years.

As it seemed things were drawing to a close, Cameron reached into a pocket and withdrew a small, circular data disk. Offering it to Kiskla, he responded to her last statement. "Your feelings serve you well. Rest assured, I would have come regardless. This is not an 'I scratch your back, you scratch mine' situation. It's important you understand I hold you in higher regard than that. However, the favor I ask is one of importance, and your discretion would be most appreciated. Take this disk, it contains the identification code of a vessel and a list of known ports. I think you might find the Captain of the vessel to be...useful to your purposes and in any future...struggles. Oh, and I suggest you start with Commenor if you can arrive by the end of the week."

Managing a warm smile, Cameron glanced ahead of them. When @[member="Kiskla Grayson"] had taken the disk, he casually stepped away from the Jedi. Here's to hoping the next we meet its in the heat of combat. Far more enjoyable than idle talk. Once the silent message had been sent, Cameron merged into the throng of visitors and discreetly made his way for the refugee transport he'd arrived on. His final destination awaited.
 
It was funny how the galaxy turned. On minute, @[member="Cameron Centurion"] was obliging her curiosities and the next Lord Ashmedei was preparing for their next violent meeting.
Strange, indeed.

And in that moment, the Jedi's pouted lips curled upward in a grim smile. Those were the nuances the simple would never appreciate; there could be a balance between the two. It wouldn't be the first time Sith and Jedi united. There would always be a level of respect between the two ancient sects.

Curious, Kiskla turned the device over in her hand. Sneaking suspicions growing. She thought better than to ask more questions; besides, her sense of adventure and curiosity usually manifested in her jumping both feet in rather than to talk it out. Ashmedei had been right about that.

Kiskla waited a moment before heading back to her unmarked transport. She would allow the Sith Lord his privacy and put distance between them.
It wasn't until she was securely in her own vessel that she placed the data disk in a reader. When she synced the route to Commedor from the Kessal sector she pinched the area between her eyes. She was already gone for quite some time from her padawans, and the time gap was not something they'd appreciate.
Still, she was a woman of her word.
Destination: Commenor
 
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