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The Shield Of The Heavens

It felt strange, setting foot onto the same planet he once called home. Now it was little more than a fragmented memory, with only tiny pieces of it swirling around deep within his mind. He'd come so far in such short amout of time; he was an aspiring Jedi, a protector of the innocent. He had unlikely friends; a shapechanger without words, and a member of the Sith, both of which creating feelings of love and warmth inside his entire being. He had his dear master, @[member="Asha Seren"], acting as his guide and moral as well as emotional centre. She was like a mother to him, the only one he could remember ever having in his life. Suffice to say, he had never been more glad to leave this former home of his, and the tragedies he'd have to endure here on Pelagon. When the ship carrying the two of them had touched down, and the ramp had been brought down, he had felt a great hesitation to leave the ship. But his immovable centre, Master Asha, urged him on to take his first steps into his past. Once standing on Pelagon ground, however, oceans of memories flowed back into him. It hit him hard, almost knocking him off his feet, figuratively.

He slowly wandered his way out of the hangar, stepping right out into the wide-open marketplace, stretching out before them as far as the eye could see. His hand instinctively sought out Asha's, and walking hand-in-hand they traversed through the market, packed with people. He'd never been one for large crowds, and as such this place was one he'd never feel very comfortable in visiting. Only his brother accompanying him could ever persuade him to come here. Finally coming out the other end of the chaotic and bustling throng of people, he took a sigh of relief. "A-Are you sure about this, Master?" he asked her, despite already knowing the answer. They journeyed onwards, leaving the marketplace behind them. He knew where they were headed, and no guidance was needed to help him find the way on his own. As they grew ever closer to their destination, he could mentally point out all the places he'd spent time with his brother and the rest of the orphans, playing and chasing eachother through the ragged and now abandoned hallways. Not much further, he thought. And sure enough, beyond the next bend, there it was. Emphasis on "was". The site of his utter ruination had now been turned into a sectioned-off construction-site. Thurion could not believe his eyes. "Th-They're rebuilding it...?"
the bedbound bard
Asha had gently urged him along the moment reluctance set through him, with gentle words and a soft hand placed within his hair. "You can do this, Thurion" she whispered as they began to walk down the ramp. "All you need to do is trust yourself." Then she slipped her hand down to grasp his tiny one as they walked down the pier of Pelagon, through the main city where the markets bustled. Asha didn't much enjoy this, and from the looks of it neither did Thurion, yet he kept at it all the same. It made her proud to have him as her Padawan, not that she wasn't already. He had come so far, and to have him finally back on Pelagon, ready to face his fears, well it meant a lot for her, not only as his Master but as his Guardian too, a responsibility she took onboard before Thurion even knew of the Jedi. It felt strange for the Knight herself to be back on this planet, surrounded by water which she was still uncomfortable around, confronted with the realities of part of her past, that which contained the will of the Force which had led her to the burning building and from there on in the only survivor of the fire. And here he was, just a year on, befitting in status of any Jedi.

And finally they made it out of the busy crowds into cleaner air, and Asha couldn't help but smile. She allowed Thurion to take the lead on their direction, while she answered his question. "I'm certain about it, Thurion, and if I wasn't I would not have brought you here. It is no small feat, undergoing your Trial of Courage." Raising a hand she settled it within his hair and urged him softly on. Through the meandering streets they roamed while a thoughtful silence spread over the pair. She could tell that Thurion was reflecting, and as they neared the location of the former orphanage site she could feel him begin to tense up. Still she remained there, willing to help him through anything in the Galaxy. When he saw the construction site she couldn't quite tell how he was feeling, the emotions were too conflicting. "Speak to me, Thurion, how are you feeling right now?"

@[member="Thurion Heavenshield"]
He did not answer her question, for he did not truly know what or how to feel at the moment. There, on the same spot his old, rickety home had stood, now a new, modern extravaganza of a building had taken its place. The odd thing was, it still retained the look of the old one, except with better standards and of higher quality. How should he feel? Should he be glad there's no traces of the old building, the place he'd lived in and called his home for years, and find that it's been replaced by *this*? The boy had no clue whatsoever. Maybe he'd rather find it the way it was, what little there was left of it? He paced slowly along the outside of the sectioned-off area, taking in the scene from every angle. Without a word he then stepped through the yellow tape and onto the reconstruction area. The site was empty, so nobody would know. The building was all but finished; only the surrounding area needed to become a bit more estethically pleasing to the eye.

His hand touched the wooden door, following its carvings with his fingers. They were the same as before. Upon entering the still unfurnished house, he found that every room was as it used to be; the same size, in the same locations. He knew where every door lead, every nook and cranny there was. Once he entered the room where he and his brother had once shared a tiny bed together, he couldn't take it anymore. He ran outside, to where Asha was awaiting him. On his way he tripped on a stray toolbox, making him fall to the ground. Scrubbing both knees and elbows in the fall, he did not shed tears until he realised he was on the ground, crawling in mud. He was too exhausted to cry out to @[member="Asha Seren"], instead lying in place hoping she'd notice him falling. A steady stream of tears ran along his cheeks, with the cries to match it. He felt nothing but pain and confusion at the moment.
the bedbound bard
Asha made no move to stop him and instead allowed him to explore, while being somewhat on edge, incase of any danger he might face. Truth be told she knew that this was something he needed to undergo himself if he was going to find any condolence, if he was going to be able to set it aside and move on. When he slipped inside she bit her lip, and began to nervously fuss with her hands, rocking back and forth on the heels and balls of her feet. It worried her to have him out of her sight when seeing to such an intense part of his past. Part of her wanted to move through the tape herself and join him within the next section, but that would be counter productive. No, Asha couldn't do that to him, she had to let him try, to give him the chance to do this for himself. The minutes dragged on while Thurion was gone, each passing moment made her edge closer to the tape, but never did she cross it...

When he rushed outside she could pick up on all of his emotions, they hit her like a tonne of bricks and knocked the air from her lungs. A moment later, however, her Padawan lay upon the ground where he fell, having tripped over, and he didn't even attempt to get back up. He was shaking with choking sobs, much in the way he had when she first met him here, hidden in a ventilation shaft. Without hesitation she stepped beneath the tape and neared him, crouching down to his confused form. Wrapping her arms around him she scooped him up and settled him against her chest, the way she had done a year before. She began to hum to him as she rocked him there, whispering to him to try and calm him down. "It's okay..." She soothed, raising a hand to his hair, "Thurion, it's okay..."

@[member="Thurion Heavenshield"]
There was nothing to hold back his tears now. Being cradled in her arms, by the woman he loved like a mother, he let loose the feelings he'd felt for so long, but wouldn't let himself become made aware of. There was one distinct difference this time, though. He did not cry for himself, but to mourn his brother and the others lost in the flames. The humming of his master drowned out his cries, and reduced itself to sobbing, and then tiny whimpers. His quivering body became relaxed, letting go of the tension he'd felt. He found himself listening to her tune, which he'd heard many times before. It was one from her kin, the Epicanthix, if his memory served him. The tune was a hopeful one, its melodies hauntingly beautiful. He couldn't help but humming along with her, even though he struggled with some of the melodies. His tears had finished their seemingly unyielding onslaught, and the last ones were wiped away by his sleave.

Minutes passed while still in her embrace. He felt bad that he'd made her kneel into the dirt and mud, her robes usually being so pristine and spotless. The humming had stopped, both of them lingering in silence. He had wrapped his arms around her neck, but finally his grip loosened. No longer was he stuck, and found it easy to get back up on his feet. His robes were ruined, filthy and covered in mud all along the front, and he felt sloppy and dirty. The boy turned around to face the empty building, and noticed he was standing in the exact same spot he'd found himself in over a year ago, witnessing his old life go up in flames. A heavy sigh left his lips, before saying: "Thyrian... I'm sorry. I'm so very sorry." He paused, realising he'd almost forgotten the name of his brother. "I'm sorry I couldn't save you, or any of them. But I will make it up to you, I swear it. To all of you. You have my word." He bowed his head in silence, closing his eyes, and remained such for a few minutes. He then raised his head back up, and turned around. He did not look at the building for the remainder of their visit on Pelagon, and a smile made its way to his face once again. He looked to @[member="Asha Seren"], who'd watched him like a hawk the whole time. "I'm ready, Asha." His words were those of one who had made peace with himself, overcoming the grief of his past. "We can leave now."
the bedbound bard
Asha did not cease the humming, keeping her hand gently moving through his hair in a comforting manner, while resuming her personal strand of Battle Meditation to confer a feeling of calm and serenity in waves around him. Leaning down she settled her chin to the top of his head and just let it play out. It was needed, and Asha had this under control, the only kind of situation where she would allow it - to do it outside of a controlled environment would be dangerous. When he ceased sobbing she just held him there, the humming disappearing diminutively. There was no need to rush this, they had all the time in the world, as long as he required. When he moved away from her she felt a vice tighten around her heart, and for one fleeting moment she panicked. Her hand brushed down against his shoulder, giving it a small squeeze to show she was still there, before she rose to her full height and stepped away. It was clear that he needed his moment.

When he spoke she felt his regret, his pain, but at the same time she could sense that he was slowly letting go, while it would never fully leave him the pain had begun to numb, she could feel it, to a more manageable state. Part of her wanted to tell him that there was nothing he could have done to save his brother, or the others, but that wasn't her duty here. No, he was here to learn that for himself, in one way or another. When he bowed his head she followed suit out of respect, yet her eyes lingered on him all the same. It wasn't until he turned that the Knight also lifted up her head and extended out a hand. His inner peace shone, as did the tiny smile upon his lips. "If you are sure you are ready, Thurion..." And then she offered him a tender smile, which promised him the Galaxy.

@[member="Thurion Heavenshield"]
Walking away from the sectioned-off construction site, along with his past, he no longer had to rely on Asha to urge him on. This did not stop him from holding her hand, all the same. Never had he felt so free, so serene. While the memories would surely continue to cause him pain in the near future, it would not break him and he would not let it control his present, nor his future. His thoughts went to his dearest friends: Daux, Kära, and of course, Asha. All of them had allowed him to impact their lives, as he had allowed them in turn, and they were the ones he would live for, fight for, and if necessary, die for. His brother is dead, and nothing would change that. Now he had to shift focus on those he cared about in the present, instead of the past. This was all a huge revelation to the young boy, who could right at this moment feel a hunger coming on in his little tummy. Without consulting his master, he tugged at her hand to follow. They had returned at the marketplace, with the spaceport barely visible on the horizon. Only this time, he was no longer having problems navigating the crowded area. His goal in mind was one of the stands, where they would always sell the most exquisite fruits, he recalled.

Much to his relief, things hadn't changed very much on Pelagar, it seemed. There stood the same old lady with the same stand. Hopefully she's not selling the same fruits, as well, he thought. Approaching the stand, he searched his pockets for any credits. Did he even bring any with him from Coruscant? A momentary panic gripped him, but was quickly disposed of as he found just enough to purchase one item. He looked and he looked, almost stuffing his nose into every basket like only children would do when deciding on something. He finally found a big, round orange in pristine condition. Having paid for it, he was about to dive into it with a vengeance, but then he saw something heartbreaking. A couple of children, much smaller than himself, was standing beside him, overlooking the stand with hungry eyes. They wore filthy, tattered clothes and had no shoes to speak of. He older was carrying the younger on his back, as he was too tiny to having learnt how to walk yet. Thurion's hunger was no longer a pressing issue, as a sense of guilt washed over him. He remembered himself and his brother having been in the same exact position not five years ago. Without really thinking about it, he handed them the fruit with a smile on his face. His hand then placed itself in the hair of the older one, ruffling it much like Asha would his own hair. He bent down on one knee to face them.

Looking them both in the eyes, he said: "You take care of your brother, okay? He's the most precious thing you'll ever have in life, and one day you may owe your lives to eachother." He paused, taking a heavy breath. "There's an orphanage being built on the edge of town. You could go there once it's finished being constructed. You'll meet others there, kids like yourselves, and you will be happy." The words he spoke was more of a retelling of his own life rather than advice for the two children, admittedly, but he meant every word of it, nonetheless. Leaning in to plant a tiny kiss on the baby's forehead, he then rose and walked away, back to where his master awaited him. He gave her a quick hug before resuming their hand-holding, now making their way to the ship. This was good. Very good.

@[member="Fiera Eldaska"]