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Time To Stop Monkeying Around

moderation
Writer
Time To Stop Monkeying Around
Atrisia
The Citadel
Midnight
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It was late when she slipped from the bed she had been given by the Inquisitors; usually Jyn would remain in place, attempt to sleep again while the Citadel creaked in an eerie silence, but tonight? Something felt different... Wrong. With a tiny little 'oo' Fuz was upon her, climbing up her leg, tugging on her night attire, to reach her shoulder. With one small gesture of her hand she hushed him, and the creature willingly complied, settling one hand around her head to rest upon her cheek, its forehead leaning into the side of her own. The touch was enough to send a tender shiver down the young girl's spine, stopping for a moment to cherish the tender caress of her one true friend. When she finally began to walk again Jyn found her gaze lingering upon the back of the door, where two things rested; a cloak which would keep her warm and a satchel. If nothing else it was a safe haven for Fuz, and as such she brought both down, wrapping the former around her body and settling the latter over her shoulder. For once Fuz remained in place; did he understand what was happening?

I only wish to feel the earth beneath my feet, the air against my face, the trees pressing in around me... There was naught wrong with such desires, was there? And yet each further step she took in leaving the room was measured, carefully calculated and placed. A pin-drop would have echoed about the entire, beautiful building, loud enough to wake them all, so Jyn's movements had to be less than such. As swift as a cat, as quiet as a mouse, as sightless as the breeze... But even then, even when there was little to fault, she felt a prickling sensation at the back of her neck, urging her to look back. Biting her petite, bruised lip she hazarded a fleeting glance over her shoulder yet nothing stirred; the room was as she left it, the window closed, curtain drawn. Another step forward, gaze retracting forward, yet still she could not wash away the feeling that something else was going on. Am I being watched? It would not surprise her in a place such as this. They are like to kill me for treading in the wrong place; is this what I traded the Sith for? To be afraid even of my own shadow like a whimpering babe?

Even upon Korriban I had places to hide, where they could not see me, where they could bring me no harm nor use me in their games. But this was not Korriban, and the board had changed, all pieces of the puzzle shuffled and rearranged. And upon the table I am a mere pawn in their eyes; but what of Tirdarius? Is he as much the player as the played? Have I been had for a fool? The child shuddered at the thought as she pressed on, practically tip-toe'ing through the upper levels of the Citadel, the hands at her side trembling; each corner housed some great monstrous evil, each tapestry concealing watchful eyes. No, Jyn... Not Tirdarius, any of them but Tirdarius. How could she accuse the man of wishing her harm when it was he who redeemed her? Jyn felt her breathing hitch a little, until finally the landing was passed and the images faded away. Fuz must have noticed that something was wrong, for he brought his head down against her own again softly.

In thanks her hand settled within his fur, scratching behind his ear in his favourite place. She could not speak to him, else she would; but this world was dangerous for her to speak her mind, and one word here and the entire Citadel would be wide awake. Softly creeping down the stairs she took care to ensure not a single creak was heard, taking the time to brush the hood of her cloak up to cover her features. Not that it will matter if I am caught. Next was the truly difficult part, to exit... The heavy doors would likely make a noise, was there no other way out? She shifted her gaze left and right, this building still largely foreign to her. One false move and they would have her head, if they didn't already. How do I know that this is not a dream? A sick, twisted perversion of their own minds? What if I have already fallen subject to their ways, and my mind has simply forgotten to catch up?

Biting her lip, somewhat harder than usual, she brought her mind from it's dark little pit and instead focused on the task at hand. Testing the door itself she found that it could infact be opened rather effortlessly, without any noise ricochetting through the halls. That was a relief, but would she be able to safely close it again? Tirdarius' lessons in Telekinesis had never surpassed a minor kinetic build up, which had resulted in the exploding glass, she knew she could not carefully close it through the Force. Breathe, Jyn, and focus... You can't do anything in panic mode. Tirdarius won't let them harm you, even if they caught you going for a stroll... Breathe. And when her body and mind complied with one another she made her way outside, the door surprisingly light and causing no issue. It seemed as though the Force was watching over her this evening.

Atrisia
Hidden Ruins
Late Night
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It had been quite some time since Jyn first stepped foot outside of the room on Atrisia, the moon having made its way further across the dark, waxy night sky, but now it had been made worthwhile. The treeline she had been walking within finally split in the distance, through which a cascade of moonlight shone through. When Jyn had first ventured to this hidden glade her feet had guided her, she did not know it was even here until she discovered it and as such the passing of time wasn't completely noted by her. This time, however, every moment was cherished. Somewhere between the lawn of the Citadel and the edge of the forest she had slipped out of her shoes and placed them into the satchel, her beloved Fuz remaining quiet throughout. It was good to know he understood, sometimes.

Now she could feel every blade of grass, every delicate flower and thorny bush, even the hrash stones which cut at her feet. All of it, it forced her into reality, it made her feel alive and real, like nothing else could. The heart of the Forest, the epitome of freedom; if I had wings I would soar above, fly until freedom was normality, and the notion of being caged a myth long forgotten. Alas I have sturdy feet instead, but if I must walk I will feel each grain of sand between my toes, I will cherish everything the earth has to offer lest I forget the basic liberties life entails. No one, not even the Sith, especially not the Inquisition, would take this from her willingly. For many long years she had fought to retain her autonomy at the hands of ruthless Sith, she had strained to keep her inner light in a world of pure darkness.

When she stepped through the veil and into the moonlight the young girl breathed a long sigh of relief, almost a whimper, as her legs buckled and she slipped to the ground. This was her haven, her sanctum, the only place on Atrisia she trusted, the only place to be herself, to speak freely to Fuz. It was like an open aired cave, warm and comforting, wrapping her in its embrace. She lay there for a while, while Fuz roamed around hunting down nuts and edible berries. Her eyes glazed over, set to the moon which lay just beyond the ruins. Her misplaced fatigue finally found her again, wrapping itself tightly around her until her eyes closed and she burrowed down against her cloak. Is it so wrong to wish to remain here forever? To avoid all that awaits me this morning, or the next? She felt honour bound to remain with Tirdarius, but would it be at her own downfall, her own undoing?

With a few shuddered breaths she rose and surveyed the area, looking for a glimpse of her beloved friend. But he was nowhere in sight. "Fuz..." she whispered as she stumbled forwards, blindly seeking out the little monkey. Her feet moved instinctively, body keeping its balance nicely on the uneven ground, and it wasn't too long before she could pick up on his little semi-sentient mind and it's emotions. But he was already deep within the ruins which lay before her. "Fuz..." Again she called out to him, feeling lost and bare without him there. Her feet, at this point, were somewhat bloodied yet it only heightened her awareness, forced her to press on. What would I do if I lost him? If he were not there when I awoke? It was a terrible thought, the darkest she herself could muster up. And thus she stepped into the labyrinth, the lair of darkness and forebodence, in search of her single shining star...
 

Teynara Jeralyr

Resident Sig Lord
Writer
Jyn really must learn to stop projecting, Tirdarius thought reflectively, dogging the footsteps of his apprentice from a distance, though he knew her to be unaware of it. Her mind was too active, too busy, not placed within the silence that was required for the level of awareness it would take to detect him, and his skills had be refined across decades of subtle operation, so she would truly have to be something special to pull that off, even so. Nonetheless, any with the skills to pick up stray thoughts would learn quite a bit from listening to her. Perhaps it was just as well that the members of the Inquisition had learned to stay away from her thus far - even though he was well aware that she did not see this.

The sense of isolation and the feeling of exposure was not lost on him, either. Jyn was truly alone here, beyond her attachment to the pet she had smuggled off Korriban during their departure. Even his own company was not sufficient for her - and why should it be? He was a cynical elder male with a dark heart and idealistic nature, combined into a being that was both dangerous and yet tended towards pacifist. Certainly he wasn't likely to offer her the lightheartedness that characterised youthfulness, and the nature of their dangerous existence here only added to the weight of those perceptions. Sufficed to say, she remains with me because I can be protector and mentor. What she lacks, however, is the company of her own kind. That much would not be something easily corrected.

Still, that attachment she had formed to her pet companion was a dangerous thing: had the Sith known about it, they would likely have permitted the connection, allowed it to remain, but only so that they might bend and twist her mind such that, in the end, they would coerce her into killing it with her own hands, severing their connection in the most violent way possible, all to bind Jyn to the Sith cause, and to understand one simple truth: the power held over you by another is simply a weakness to be exposed and exploited. Only if she mastered this, and understood it about herself, would she ever survive the ruthless life the Sith had offered her.

It had fallen to him to offer her an alternative: an escape from the brutality of the Sith, and a life of guidance at his hand, one more measured and less concerned with the exercise of violence, and more upon a reflective sense of what one could achieve with power - and the responsibilities that came with. Jyn needed to learn what it was to be a Sith of principle: to understand that the power gained from their doctrines was not simply to be wielded for herself, but rather there to serve a greater purpose, to use power both as a tool to rule and to guide, to benefit those who required the protection of a stronger unifying force. Not simply to serve ourselves and our own ascendency above those unable to protect themselves against us.

Even so, it felt necessary to offer her some escape from that path, if she wanted it: her destiny as a wielder of the Force could not be denied, true enough, but the nature of that destiny had to be hers to choose. The Sith would have forced her to their ends, and perhaps my own teachings will do the same, he thought morosely. It was not his desire to force this, but he knew such things could result from the best of intentions. And so, she must have the freedom to make those choices for herself, just as I was given once my training was complete. Perhaps that would be the best time, but he was not truly certain of it.

"Your thoughts betray you, Jyn," he remarked calmly, releasing his tight grip upon the energies at his command, the cloak he had wrapped around him dissipating, his image wavering softly in the diminishing light, dark robes against the darkness of the night. A soft light appeared in his open palm as he raised his hand, energy gathered and directed towards his hand, creating a pure, gentle white light that was not painful to the eyes, pushing back the darkness that surrounded them without banishing it entirely.

He had a suspicion that she was used to his sudden appearances by now - and part of him recognised the paranoia that might perhaps engender, particularly in one so young. To think that someone is always watching you - how can you truly be yourself when you are never alone? He had remembered thinking such thoughts, when finding himself with a quiet moment for reflection and finding Silencia intruding upon his thoughts as she frequently had. But there were lessons in that: one has to learn to be oneself in the midst of all distraction. The universe tries to change you simply by being there. To be true to yourself, you must weather the storm even as it assails you, and do so without changing as response. A difficult thing to achieve.

"Your concern for this pet of yours is touching, if perhaps somewhat misplaced," the dark-clothed former Sith Lord continued, as though they had been speaking for some time. "It is well that you respect the need to cultivate connections between yourself and those who lack your power, but in that creature, you have a dependent servant rather than a true companion: he relies on you for food, shelter, warmth and protection, and thus chooses to be with you for what it requires of you, rather than by true choice," he observed, finding a faint amount of irony in their own situation: was she, after all, not here with him because of her need of both protector and guide?

"In truth, you should rejoice if that bond is ever severed," he said, standing in stillness and observing her in the play of the light emanating from his hand. "Then will your friend understand independence, able to survive on it's own without you." The tall human shrugged slightly, his eyebrow arching slightly as if in response to his observations of her reaction. A hard lesson to learn, but truly, the greatest of gifts is to offer true freedom to those capable of attaining it. "To need another, to be dependent on them: this diminishes your spirit, fosters dependency, and ultimately saps your own will as it is shared with that of the other person. You cease to be yourself, and instead become a partner, a divided entity. Is this healthy, do you think?"

@[member="Jyn Sol"]
 
moderation
Writer
Jyn had never explored the ruins. The outlying forest and the small glade had been her comfort zone in this foreign land, and the exterior of the winding ruins had been her perch, her base so to speak, a point of reference... But never had she dared to venture inside. Truth be told she had no idea what lay there, what to expect, and thus it had been avoided. There could be people in here, a mini-society that even the Atrisians do not know of. Or there could be nothing. Ceilings waiting to come tumbling down, walls waiting to collapse.

But she could sense no emotions save for those of Fuz. What if this is a place of rest for the dead, and I am disturbing their eerie slumber? Rather than spook herself further she had leapt in and decided to face whatever lay there. She was too fearful, despite the fact that she often hid it behind a hard outer shell around the Inquisition. Perhaps this could be her own Dark Side Cave, her own Dagobah experiment - to tread into the unknown and face oneself and ones greatest fears. A Minotaur in the labyrinth, a thing to overcome or fall beneath.

I have no intentions of falling... She had been through too much for that. It was like she wasn't even really awake, stumbling in a stoic manner through the immediate chambers of the ruins, her bloodied feet leaving the occasional trail of blood in her wake. Had she been more alert she would never have permitted that. Where was Fuz? It felt so wrong to be so distant from him.

Her lower lip trembled a little, and when she stopped to look around she realised she had no clue where she was. You can be so stupid at times, Jyn Sol she scolded herself. Running a hand up through her hair she somehow managed to stay calm. Suddenly a voice rang through the ruins, causing her to flinch. Had they caught her?

But the voice was soft and careful, the typical icy tone of her Master. Spinning on her heels she faced him, relief flooding her expression. For a second she was confused, until he began to fade into her view. "M-Master" she breathed, half stumbling forward in her sleepy state. "I've l-lost him..."

It was only when she said it that the realisation set in, crushing her under the weight. Fuz had been her only constant, her only true companion, and it hurt that she could not find him when she needed him. She sucked in a breath of pain as the numbness drifted away and left the soles of her feet aching. Suddenly Jyn halted, realising what she was doing, how she was acting. You are not a little girl any more, Jyn, and he is not your parent.

Instead she bit her lip to hold back a sigh. She really had to stop behaving this way. You cannot afford to act like a child. And the next words which came from her Master's mouth were proof of such. Bowing her head she listened to what he said without interruption. She knew what he said was true, but at the same time she could not imagine Fuz not being with her.

"It... It's not healthy, Master, no" she murmured, "But... He's all I've got..." It pained her to admit it, especially to her Master. She hated to seem weak and dependant. "And he... He chooses to be with me, I never made him. I wouldn't, Master." As if on cue the little fuzzy creature leapt down from the top of the ruins and landed upon her shoulder, startling the girl. Her hand immediately lifted to fuss at his fur, specifically behind the ear.

"He could leave whenever he wanted, and even though I'd miss him... I wouldn't stop him." But deep down she knew that her Master meant more than that by his statement. Both would benefit, even if neither could realise it. Fatigue struck her again as Fuz nuzzled his cheek up against her own and her neck. "And I don't see him as beneath me." She never had, nor would; the Force was still regarded as a curse by Jyn, not an accomplishment or something to hold against others.

[member=Tirdarius]
 

Teynara Jeralyr

Resident Sig Lord
Writer
There were moments when a flash of concern surged through him, that his apprentice might inevitably fall further than either of them intended for her, drawn into the corruptions offered by the Dark Side merely because she cared too much. Compassion is a dangerous force, both in that it offers a drive by which to act, but also creates a vulnerability that might be played upon, Tirdarius mused. Her danger lies not in that she might become dispassionate or seek power over others, but rather that she will move to stop herself doing them any harm. Many billions had died throughout the millenia because someone failed to act when they should have done, simply because they cared.

The Sith had few illusions with respects to the nature of compassion: they saw it as weakness, a vulnerability, a chink in an otherwise impenetrable set of armour. To wish to preserve another from harm or protect their feelings was not the issue, as such: it was the fact that you weakened the person you would protect. A parent could stand with their child in the playground, ensuring that they were never bullied or got into a fight with another. When you do this, though, what it is they truly learn? That you are there for them? Or is it that they fail to learn how to look out for themselves? This, ultimately, was the true danger of compassion: it was a blanket of security that prevented any being becoming stronger, and all through fear of harm.

"Where you do the Force no justice, apprentice, is in assuming that it causes any of the horrors you may have witnessed so far," he said reflectively, a soft tone that was perhaps just a little introspective. "If you would understand the Force, look at a river, and observe how it flows. Water is a truly destructive force: it can wash away any obstacle in it's path, given enough speed and pressure. Nothing truly contains it: it erodes the lands, creates flows for itself, caring not for your concerns or the fact you are in it's way. Even dam a river and it will eventually break free. It is only a question of when", he remarked, another simple shrug his sole offering of expression.

"Think upon it: water is the stuff of life, without which we could not exist," he reminded her, knowing she would have to be aware of such a simple fact of biology. "Yet you can drown in water: it is both life and death. Too little, and you do not exist at all. Too much and it will kill you. So it is with the Force: those who ignore the Force, who do not allow it to fill them - it is these who live the mundane life, with little room to grow." That much was an obvious pattern, and frankly true for the majority of those who were given the gift of life: blind to the deeper currents of the energies around them, they were born, lived lives of little consequence and then simply died, barely a ripple in the stream. "Those who delve too deeply, they who try to take hold of that current and change it's flow, well, these are the ones who discover the dangers of being the obstacle in the river. Oftentimes it simply washes them away, obliterates them."

The latter were very much the Force Users of the Galaxy, at least those who tended to believe that their sole destiny was to rule, create chaos or change the universe around them such that they would never be forgotten. Always do they seek to alter the flow rather than ride along with it. They always forget that the Force creates counterreactions to every movement: throw a snowball down a mountain and it may be an avalanche by the time it reaches the bottom. Their way had to be a delicate balancing act: as they wielded the Force to their own ends, they also had a responsibility to see to it that they did something with it beyond merely advancing themselves. Otherwise we but waste our gifts.

"Your role here is to relax into the flow of the Force, allow the water to fill you and be channelled by you," he told her calmly, watching as he sensed his apprentice dip her toes into the proverbial waters, reaching out to the Force and trying to let herself truly feel it. "We are part of its flow, motes of energy caught up within a vast sea of it, but permitted to use more than our bodies alone can hold."

In truth, he knew it was quite possible that she was oblivious to his words, and part of him wouldn't have minded: the journey one took to discover the Force was very much a personal one, and his own sense of visualisation would perhaps make no sense if her perceptions of it were different to hers, as he much expected. No matter. I can only offer my insights as a means of guiding her through her own experiences, he noted inwardly. What she does with them is for her to choose.

"But let's cease talking of such abstractions," he said, returning his thoughts to the present. "You won't find much practicality in our talk for the moment - my Master taught me that musing on the nature of the Force tends to make sense only when we truly come up against a barrier of understanding." Enjoy deciphering that, Little One. "I think it's time we worked on something a little more practical: you've experienced mind-to-mind communication before, but that is me directing it to you. We refer to that as 'Receptive Telepathy', the skill of perceiving telepathic communication and understanding it. You, however, need to learn to communicate this way yourself: Projective Telepathy." He waited a moment for her to open her eyes and pay attention. "Does this interest you?"

[member="Jyn Sol"]
 
moderation
Writer
Jyn frowned ever so slightly. The talk had thankfully turned from trying to break her apart from Fuz and instead he spoke of the Force. Could it be true, that she had misplaced her distrust into the Force wrongfully? Trickles of condensation ran down the walls around them, catching the attention of the young girl as her Master spoke of the Force as a river of sorts. It reminded her of the immersion lesson she had undergone when they originally came to Atrisia - you had to allow the Force to flow over you, to find yourself within its path rather than forcing its path. "Perhaps I am wrong in blaming the Force, Master, but it is the influence of such and the power it may bring which drives many men to act as they do. As though they are untouchable beings who stand tall over those without such potency within them." In truth it frustrated her - she had done a lot of reading into the History of the Orders in recent years; of course in the Sith Academy it had all been twisted and biased, but she'd always taken everything they said with a pinch of salt anyway. Other texts she had gotten her hands upon, during her brief flight and escape and even within the Imperium and Inquisition's personal treasure trove, depicted Galactic History in another light.

Yet the same things are always conclusive in each: Force Sensitives always get too big for their boots at one point or another. Even the likes of the Great Hyperspace War, within which so few Force Sensitives fought, was created by the desires of two contending Sith manipulating your average men. Whole space nations brought to war, the devastation it caused, over a silly position of power. She doubted that the leaders would have fought in such a way without the bait. In fact she doubted that a non-Force user could have convinced them to with or without the bait. "The Force can be a dangerous force in the Galaxy, you're right..." But... But she sighed. "However you're right, like water it gives life, it saves lives..." Her gaze slipped down to her feet thoughtfully. It was times like these that she truly did feel cursed, and it wasn't even just a product of having the Force available to her. It was much more than that. I am both ignorant and aware in unison, my mind is too hectic and busy, it will not let me rest from thoughts and theories. Perhaps this was another reason she had been shown the immersion technique, a way to keep her mind from wandering, to quieten it and stop herself from projecting so many ill thoughts.

If that was the case then she had a renewed sense of responsibility in truly learning it. Which meant she had to connect with the Force and push forward with her learning in order to progress. Tirdarius made it seem so easy, but she doubted he'd found it so effortless to begin with. Time, patience, practise and care... She could do that. Jyn had a lot of resolve... When she really wanted to. How else had she survived the Sith without falling prey to their sickening ways? And so it was that she tentatively relaxed and eased into the Force, feeling herself at first become a ripple as she stepped into the wake of its flow. But soon it was upon her. You will not drown within its currents she assured herself as she ceased from closing off the Force from her person. It is as much a part of you as the blood which flows through your body, so allow it to. "And I don't have to divert its course?" she asked, finally lifting her gaze to look at him as though the question held importance to her. "I can just ride it out?" For now, at least. Her breathing slowed as she calmed herself, almost as though using a waking form of meditation. So tentative, so wary, yet for once truly willing to comply and try. "I do not wish to be worn down by its erosive path, or jutted aside..."

Her eyes closed when he suggested they moved on, her head nodding softly. The philosophical exert from his Master confused her for a moment, and she promised to mull over it soon enough. For now there was a question posed to her which she supposed she ought to get to answering. It would not do to ponder constantly, after all. "I think so, Master" she said, before looking to him. "In fact, yes, it would interest me." Now was not the time to uphold her childish fears and phobias where the Force was concerned. She had to learn to act, if only to defend herself and those around her. If only to please my Master and ensure he does not regret helping me from Korriban and through everything else since. After all, where would she be without his guidance? Probably still hiding behind the ruined sandstone monuments on Korriban, I expect. Or not. It mattered not either way, because that alternate reality within her mind had not happened. "What is it that I need to do, Master?" she asked, tipping her head very softly to the left while keeping her gaze focused up at his own. Jyn could not be rude where her Master was concerned, although at times she felt as if her childish ways could seem to be reflecting such a quality.

[member="Tirdarius"]
 
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