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Thunder All Around Me And There's Poison In The Air (Coryth)

Ashin Varanin

Professional Enabler
Writer
NABOO

Another return to mortality carried with it several connotations, not many of which Je'gan liked. Those that he did like, of course, he liked rather a lot. Tahira had persuaded him of this, at some length. But mostly, mortality struck him as awful. Too many opportunities to kill things; too many situations where violence was required of him.

It suited his sense of balance, then, to track down one of his very, very few remaining students, a woman he'd taught bent-light illusion when the worlds were flat -- all of them. Coryth Elaris, tiny and titian (sometimes mislabelled 'titan' by the uninitiated, a misnomer which carried all sorts of predictable amusement when applied to Coryth), had been one of the best. Oh, he'd trained Link Tolen, Wickim Totim, Nohemi Allaneh, Chloe Blake, Lono Draclau, but ultimately, apart from his One True Heir Aleidis Ijet, this particular redhead had done the most with his teachings and taken the biggest steps.

Apart from Aleidis, Coryth was certainly his greatest pupil. He'd given her the basics of mental illusion, naturally, started with the ground level of illusion's principles and best practices, but she'd transcended that. She had a gift for one of his rarer and more treasured kinds of illusion.

Bent light. It had been a Jedi skill, then a lost art, one the Disciples of Twilight had called their own. But even the greatest Disciples had focused on invisibility, gloom and so forth, and Je'gan had transcended that, oh, three centuries back.

He was now capable of duplicating himself for a holocam, among other things.

Suffice it to say, he'd taught Coryth an awful lot, and now that he was back from the dead after a good few years, it was time to see where she stood and continue her education.

Naboo. Decent choice, all told. Enough holocams to make things challenging, plus he had unfinished business here ever since his wayward-Padawan son Cerberus knocked up a nobleman's daughter here, thirty years back. He'd asked Coryth to meet him at the edge of the Theed waterfall.
 

Coryth Elaris

Shortstack of Fire
Character
It had been some time since the petite Jedi had walked this world. A several months at least, it had been allowed to fade from her mind. After she had said goodbye to her lost love, buried here some decade before. She'd never been able to visit his grave and say goodbye until recently. For when she had come to do so nearly a decade prior in her grief, her weakness she'd been taken by a Sith and drug into the Unknown Regions, far from the reach of anyone who might have been able to help her.

Her escape took three years alone to bring it into reality. With stolen funds from the very Sith who had taken her, it was seven more years before she could work her way back to Known Space. And now returning to Naboo was a bit bitter sweet. It was no easy road to walk. Her first great love had met her on this very planet, and he was naturally laid to rest here not too far from the cabin they shared together. It was her most recent trip here, that left her nearly lost to the dark side. A simple differences of opinion, a matter of a friend trying to push her in the right direction had nearly ended with her permanently lost. She'd thrown a coffee table, shattered glass windows, nearly turned on him before she'd been able to reign it all it. It had all taken so much from her, and Naboo not a place she'd wanted to come, didn't wish to be reminded of her failings.

She'd been so close that evening to remaining in the darkness. But light prevailed, her oath on the saber she carried. I shall do no harm, seek the weak, feeble, ill and wounded. Above all else, help those who need it most. No matter the side. No matter the cost. It was the final guard to keep her in check, and the one that had saved her from killing a dear friend.


A soft sigh came from the tiny woman as her bare feet touched stone as she came off the boarding ramp of her ship. A hooded grew cloak, pulled up over her fiery locks and wrapped tightly around her body. Slowly, calmly she moved through the streets her feet barely making a sound as she moved, as was her way. Small quiet, almost timid in nature but she could be the vicious warrior given her talents if one was foolish enough to tick her off. Otherwise, she remained a simple healer, a kind but tortured soul though she rarely let what the years had done to her show through. Despite the brutal torture that had left her body so badly scarred, save for her face, neck and hands, despite the kidnapping, despite the time away from all she had ever known, despite losing those closest to her time and again. Despite all that she still was one of the kindest, sweetest spirits one would ever meet.


Walking now along the banks of the river, she could hear the fall ahead. Closing her eyes for a moment, a smile came to her lips as she drew upon the force and wrapped her body in a cloak of light as it were. Bending light itself around her to cover her body and to organic beings, she literally disappeared from sight completely. Figuring what better way to greet her old Master than to use one of those very tricks he taught her, remain hidden from sight and test him for a change. Some distance ahead she could just now see the falls and quickened her pace.


Finally the roar of the falls grew steadily louder. Almost there. Steel grey eyes moved over the flowing waters and for a moment just watched the way it flowed over the edge of the cliff and down to the large pool below, flowing onwards to disappear in the distance. As she neared the edge, still invisible she took a seat out of the way to merely wait for her old friend. If he hadn't already beat her there and was hiding off somewhere as well. But the little redhead did not announce herself, no she remained hidden for the time being.
 

Ashin Varanin

Professional Enabler
Writer
To Je'gan's mind and experience, there was only one reason any well-adjusted adult sought to get the drop on their student, and that was to test and teach situational awareness. Coryth was a woman, and a small one, and like him she had tasted pain at the hands of more experienced teachers. The thought that he could teach her anything about situational awareness was laughable. And any other purpose for getting the drop on one's student stemmed from a triad of pride, nastiness and insecurity, and he wanted no part of that.

As for a student seeking to get the drop on her teacher -- well, that was nearly a duty.

These days he had forsaken the pale Jedi robes he'd worn for centuries. In their place he chose the kind of clothing that could pass unnoticed in a billion spaceports. During the Darkness he'd felt it proper and fitting to, at least visually, show people that the Jedi still existed -- no matter how abysmal of a Jedi he had been. But now Tython and Coruscant and even Ruusan had temples or enclaves, and brown robes fanned out across the universe. He could afford to dress as he liked; the Jedi image was as well-maintained as it had ever been.

A truism not worthy of close examination, not on a happy day.

Uncloaked by illusion, he went to one of the ornamental bridges that linked small islands at the waterfall's edge. Vapor fountained up around him, giving at least the semblance of hiding him from sight. Even his subconscious, it seemed, sought for concealment.

...a truism not worthy of close examination, not on a happy day.

Some Nubian performer played a stringed instrument, a high one, elsewhere in the city, and Je'gan leaned on the bridge rail to listen. His head bowed, though not far enough to lose his hat, and he closed his eyes. The music was not, per se, good, but the strings were played honestly and with life, brave and free of pretension.
 

Coryth Elaris

Shortstack of Fire
Character
A familiar presence she could feel close by. Still wrapped in the light virtually impossible to detect, Coryth started to move again. Holding her concentration, watching, eyes flicked about looking for her old Master. He's here, for sure. Her eyes spied the hat, and she knew she'd found him. A smirk on her lips she snuck closer, she had a simple goal in mind with this one.

She ducked between a couple on a romantic stroll for the evening and waited again for a moment. She was quite close now. Her mischievous side was out in full force. And given all the miseries that she had suffered, it was nice to see the tiny redhead playful again. To see that beautiful smile on her face. It had been so long since she'd seen him, so very long indeed. There were doubts that he knew of her trials and tribulations and so she had chosen to hide the scars that deeply crisscrossed nearly every part of her but her face hands and neck. So beneath that grey cloak her clothing was simple, a black long sleeve shirt and a pair of dark pants to match, tailor fit to her tiny body. Only place her scars would be visible were on her bare feet.


Now so close, she was just about three feet to his left, masked within the light. Her joy, barely contained. Finally she stepped forward and reached for his hat, aiming to take it from his head. Still, she remained in the light, not showing herself just yet, but she would soon. Just wanted to see the look upon his face first before she dropped the force cloak.
 

Ashin Varanin

Professional Enabler
Writer
He flinched; he couldn't help it. She was a Master now, one of his best illusion-students, and her focus had always been on bent-light work -- the one kind of illusion that even he couldn't see through like tissue paper. Teras Kasi muscle memory being what it was, he sidestepped against the rail, snatching for his hat, and snagged it. But consciousness caught up in time to stop him from ripping the hat from her hand entirely, and he found himself holding one side of it while she held the other. He let it drop after a second, as she faded into view.

"You look well," he said, and meant it at first. The well-tailored black couldn't entirely hide a certain stiffness, a quality he'd seen in the mirror after injuries -- or torture. An illusionist was, fundamentally, a noticer of details. Her feet didn't escape him.

Then again, she'd last seen him in an entirely different body. Same general size and weight, and eyes gone black at the pupils, but otherwise he didn't look much like his last incarnation. He'd been pale, very dark, Zabrak, Ithorian, robust, lean -- it had been a long half millennium. Frankly, he didn't even remember what he'd looked like when he'd begun teaching Coryth to bend light.

"And that was well played," he said, after almost no pause. "Patience, precision, no flaws in the cloak, Force signature masked at the same time so I didn't sense you coming. I literally couldn't have done it better myself. How are you hiding your presence these days? Qey'tek? Art of the Small? White Current? -- no, can't be, I'd have felt that." He'd given her the basics of all of those techniques back in the day, though she'd been young enough that Art of the Small hadn't entirely clicked at the time. But who knew.

He grinned. "It really had been too long, Coryth. Welcome back to Naboo."
 

Coryth Elaris

Shortstack of Fire
Character
@Je'gan Olra'en

Beaming from ear to ear, she took the hat in both hands and held her prize for a moment. He'd reacted so quickly she was certain she would have lost it to him. She bowed her head slightly, "As do you, though a different face from the one I remember. You still feel much the same in the force to me. Makes you easier to find."

She'd come so far in the last ten years, in the last year alone. "I've missed you, very much, my old friend" She sighed heavily burdened without him being there for the worst of it. To be fair no one was, not when she was off in Unknown Space and most Jedi assumed her dead. Quick to shake off the thoughts she pressed on to more happy thoughts their reunion for a start.

She gave a small nod to him, extending her tiny hands towards him, the hat still clutched between both. "Thank you .. I do try these days to be far better than average." Her grin returned just as bright as ever, knowing full well she was far beyond average. Far beyond what most would ever be capable of. "As to the question, Art of the Small.. Same thing I've taken for healing purposes. It's about the easiest one for me to slip into without much focused thought. Too much thought and concentration and I can't maintain the illusion quite as well. I need every drop of focus and concentration alone to maintain the light around me, pulled so tight."

"And truth be told, I just wanted to sneak up on you. So very difficult to do in my youth. But nice to know that over a decade of practice and I've put some of those lessons to good use."


Turning she looked over the railing, watching the water for a moment. "Far too long, Master. Far too long. Feels like a life time."
 

Ashin Varanin

Professional Enabler
Writer
"Art of the Small with a bent-light cloak. Now that, right there, is brilliant." He reclaimed his hat, settled it on his head, leaned against the railing beside her. "You're a Master now, aren't you. It's like you've got this big shining label on ya all of a sudden. And that means I could probably teach you just about anything you haven't figured out for yourself already.

"There's a power, sort of the apex power of the Jedi, our equivalent of things like Force Storm. It flows naturally from what you already know. You can manipulate light, and at a higher level you can create light; maybe you already can, I don't know. But even beyond the creation of light is the power called Force Light -- I'm sure you know about it. It can purify tainted locations or objects, erode Dark Side constructs like Spears of Midnight Black, even dull a Darksider's connection to the Force. My hope is that I can attain the right degree of serenity to make this work and show you how to do it.

"That's assuming you don't know how to do it already -- I'm guessing in the dark here."
 

Coryth Elaris

Shortstack of Fire
Character
She blushed a little, never used to compliments like that. "Was the most natural conclusion that I could come to after all that you've taught me." A bit of a chuckle came form the small woman. "That obvious huh? I supposed they figured it was about time to present me the honor. Stars know how much different I feel for it, but doesn't make me any less of a student. Still learn things constantly, never gave that up. Never will."

Coryth nodded slowly as he went on, "Heard of it, yes. Tried it, not so much." Shuddering to recalled memories from long ago. There had once been a time she'd hunted dark objects for the council. A foolish use of a healer if ever there was one. The objects back then, she'd never been able to do anything but merely return to the temple and allow for someone else to purify the objects. They in the end nearly consumed her. "It was something I longed for in my youth. Never seemed able to gasp it, but then again... Back then I couldn't even hide my presence in the force and it oft led me into far too much trouble." Trouble magnet? Oh, yes. What redhead wasn't?

"But truly I've got little idea how to manage it. I'm sure ... it's just a matter of finding the right extension of what I already know to be able to learn it." Or at the very least she hoped so.
 

Ashin Varanin

Professional Enabler
Writer
"Well, excellent. Let's give it a shot. I was hoping you'd say that."

Leaning against the railing, he pulled a cloth-wrapped lump from his pocket. Once free of its packaging, it was revealed to be a blob of hard orange resin that trapped a shard of red crystal. "Nullification resin," he said. "Used to be standard for Jedi Shadows; I've still got some applicators lying around. The recipe is complicated, and you wouldnt' believe me if I told you, but it works -- it blocks out the Dark Side aura from whatever it surrounds. This crystal-"

He slammed the lump of resin into the railing, and it crumbled away. The crystal's aura filled his senses.

"-used to be part of a crystal assemblage that could amplify Sith Magic to create a supernova. Focus with me, and let's give this a shot."

The explanation took, oh, twenty minutes or so. At some point it transitioned from directions to a sort of guided meditation. And then, very gently, their hands began to glow.

@[member="Coryth Elaris"]
 

Coryth Elaris

Shortstack of Fire
Character
She smiled a little and watched as he removed the cloth covered item from his pocket. Her brow furrowed unsure of what exactly it was that he held but nodded at his explanation. "Oh, I just might considering where I've been the last decade I just might."

The redhead jumped as he slammed the lump against the rail. Gasping as she felt the dark aura wrap around her, instinctively she took a step back hating dark objects like that with a passion. Her eyes filled with a deep concern, and a subtle fear. One she was quick to hide. Unlike most, she had far too much experience with dark side objects and had avoided them for much of her adult life sticking to healing instead of the shadow work she used to do.


Everything took time, and this was no different. Her fingers trembling nearing the crystal. The darkness that remained in her seemed drawn to it, but it was something she quashed quickly and in this state would not ever relent to. Not when she was dead focused on the light side of things. Time passed for her without mark, she just never noticed this deep into the force. With the glow that came between their hands, so light, so gentle, her eyes slowly opened to watch. Still maintaining the needed focus, Cory had to see this.
 

Ashin Varanin

Professional Enabler
Writer
@[member="Coryth Elaris"]

The radiance swelled, then dimmed. The crystal dimmed too, and its aura did not return. His hand closed and the crystal turned to powder. It tumbled over the waterfall.

"And there we go. One more deadly thing gone." Je'gan opened his eyes. "Nice work, Coryth. And now that I know you can do it, there's another problem that needs our help.

"When the Protectorate took this world, they massacred a couple of hundred Bando Gora cultists in the palace. Portions of the Bando Gora are Force-sensitive, and though most of these people weren't the really impressive kind, I'm told that there's still a minor Dark Side nexus within the palace, an echo of that fight. My thought is that we infiltrate the palace, as only you and I can, and Force Light that nexus out of existence."
 

Coryth Elaris

Shortstack of Fire
Character
Coryth smiled softly, looking at her old master. "It's always good to learn something new. Still learning, always, everyday." Despite so much, the woman had gotten through it all without it taking away who she was at her core, good, kind and sweet, lest you piss her off but that is another story. Another story indeed.


She took a step back at his words. There had been problems in the past in dark places. "Je'gan ..." Using his first name, a rare occurrence with her. "I don't walk dark places. Not anymore. It nearly pulled me under last place I walked. I avoid this places for good reason. I know your intentions... but ...." She sighed, eyes on the ground hating to admit such weakness. "It's all I used to do for the council. It pushed me so closed to the darkness, over the edge. I almost didn't come back." That the complete truth. It took so much effort, so much work from those who cared to bring her to the light, to tear her from the darkness and even still darkness radiated in her. She was on the edge of a fine edged blade, and could fall, cut herself if she was not careful. It had already nearly happened twice to her recollection, twice to nearly fall, but recovered. This ... while a small Dark Side nexus, had her afraid.


"May the Force always stand between you and harm in all the empty places you must walk." She reminded herself more than spoke to him. Reminding she was strong herself. Stronger than she knew, but still her situation left her with a certain level of apprehension, and fear. She was always close to the darkness, and always would be. It had touched, grasped her and it wanted her back. To walk in evil temples, dark places, there was always a chance for the darkness to pull her back to it. To change her into a true monster of destruction. One the galaxy would likely never recover from. And that a fear that was a constant in her mind.
 

Ashin Varanin

Professional Enabler
Writer
@[member="Coryth Elaris"]

"Fearing yourself is better than the alternatives," said Je'gan gently, "but always remember balance. Trust yourself too much and you'll fall; too little, and you'll break or become a follower. Or learn to hate yourself. That's the path I took, you know. After I left the Sith it took me years to trust myself again. And I won't lie, there have been times when I slipped. Times when my fear was justified. You ever wonder what would happen if I combined mentalism, the White Current, and Sith Magic? I've done it -- and as a Jedi. Major slips. Sometimes it's taken me months or years to work back to where I was, but it was always worth it. Slip-ups are not the end of the world."
 

Coryth Elaris

Shortstack of Fire
Character
She felt a bit on the edge of tears, but held back. Knowing too well, he'd been through similiar if not worse that she. "No, but they are when it ends a good thousand lives. That is when it is the end of the world. I've not forgiven myself for that. Likely won't ever. I stole so much from those people. They'd not deserved it. To suffer the way I made them." She sighed and looked up to him. "I cannot afford to fall again. The price is too high. My life is not worth a thousand others. Never." Suggesting something she was implying, hoping he'd catch her meaning without her stating it outright. Should she fall, she wanted someone to stop her, end her before she took another life.

Coryth valued all life far above her own and in doing so, she'd dare not risk what happened back then to happen now. Seeing visions of the future, one she'd seen was the fall. It's why she made sure people knew, because she knew it could happen. It was coming, but she was doing everything she could to prevent that future from becoming reality. It was the one time she wanted to be wrong.

A hand ran through her hair looking down. He wasn't around when she fell that far. Hadn't seen it. "You weren't here for that, and in a way I'm glad. I never want you to see me like that. I didn't deserve the second chance I was given and I'm not about to squander it." A shrug following trying to push it away. "He had me down, badly wounded, but stayed his hand. He didn't have to, but he did. I never got the chance to ask why." Her own fiance the one who stood against her. It hurt still, the blood she could still see in her nightmares. "If it wasn't a backwater planet most haven't heard of, I'd likely have been executed. It got swept under the rug and love was the singular thing that pulled me back. I don't have that safety net anymore. I don't. So, I walk with great care. On the edge of a sword."


"I've reason to hesitate, but I should not. This is our life. Our duty, and I cannot shy away from that." Another sigh, and she steeled herself pushing all of that to the back of her mind. "But, we've a job to do. I can't stand here and say no because I hold fear. Fear of myself more than anything else. I've walked through the gates of hell and returned, a small darkside nexus, should be nothing." It shouldn't have been anything. She should not have hesitated on it. But she did.

"So, by all means my dear friend, lead the way." She said with a nervous smile and a flourish of her hand, to let him show her the way. He, she trusted. Any day she'd place her life in his hands. Any day she'd go straight to the depths of hell for him. It was just how she was about those she called friend. But unlike most, she trusted him without a second thought. Others, that took time.
 
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