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Author Topic: [End of an Era] - There Is No Death  (Read 1045 times)

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Online blingdenston

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[End of an Era] - There Is No Death
« on: 10/09/15, 03:01:35 PM »
This thread follows in the aftermath of the 'End of an Era' event last week.  A Jedi burial for Yarwin and the other lives lost during the joint Aylaa/Yarwin/Jaade assault, it serves as a chance for those close to Yarwin to meditate on his fate, as well as for other Jedi to spend some time dwelling on death and the Force!

The Masters' Retreat, The Gnarls, Tython

The great stone edifice of the Masters' Retreat blocked the light from Tython's moons, but the flare of torches defied the deep of night as the funereal patrol finished their work and walked, somberly, back to the gathered crowd.   The mirrored surface of the lake, hemmed in on all sides by spires of rock and ancient Tythonian masonry, reflected the starry sky above, giving the ceremony an air of otherworldly sobriety.

Ran-del Qardaak stepped forward and picked up a resin-coated torch from a small starburst set on a flat rock.  He held it, straight, and approached the fire-tender, who moved aside to allow Ran-del to light the brand and step forward.  The sound of moving feet, of breathing (and, in some cases, carefully hidden sounds of mourning) was joined by the crackle of ignition as Ran-del and other Jedi moved out onto the spar.

There, in the shape of an arrowhead, were set several pyres of varying sizes.  He headed towards the point, passing by the remains of the slain Jedi, some tragically small and all of them still.  He breathed carefully, controlling the flow of energy through his body, controlling the pain of his recent wounds, and the pain of the lost lives.

He reached the point, circling around to the far side of the pyre and looking down at the armored figure in repose there.  His hooded cloak was drawn up, but Ran-del knew that the neck was bare, for he had taken the head himself at the end of the fray.  "No water, no peace," the monster had said.

A deep and bitter rage flowed through him as he looked past Yarwin's pyre and to the other biers, topped with fallen Jedi and with other torch-bearing Knights taking their positions near it.  She played us like a electroharp...the whole thing, a set-up.  All of this, to steal an old book...  He scowled, face ghoulish in the light of the torches.

He looked down at Yarwin's gauntleted hands, placed in repose above the scarred breastplate.  He let go of the anger, letting it dissipate with a painful breath and feeling the soothing peace of meditative focus resettle over his senses.  There would be time for justice...not vengeance, but justice...in due time.  Now was the time to mourn, and to heal, and to rest.

He nodded to the other torchbearers and lowered his brand to the wood.  Licks of flame turned to a bonfire, and the fire began to consume Yarwin and the other fallen Jedi.  "No water, no peace."  The smoke rose from the biers and was caught by a wind, carried over the lake and into the air.
Pehn Qardaak - Captain of the Rodomontade
Ran-del Qardaak - Big Time Space Hero
Lastagir - Hunter for hire, no plans to retire
Hyse Qardaak - Scholar and Warrior of Peace

Offline Esk

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Re: [End of an Era] - There Is No Death
« Reply #1 on: 10/09/15, 05:53:46 PM »
Etirza Koonto bends and adds her brand to the pyres. The flames are reflected in her eyes, which shine bright against her dark red skin in the Tythonian night.

She takes a few steps back as the fires flare and spread, finding herself next to Ran-del. As she lowers her hood, her ring of polished horns gleam with the flickering of the flames.

"Master Yarwin, Jedi brothers and sisters..." She draws a breath and kneels, both hands resting in her lap, "Welcome home."

Imperial: Eskenah, Emlaira, Qoasha, Nochot, Linhua, Qorit
Republic: Etirza, Soori, Eswolyn, Annave, Foha, Nadimai, Yue-ming
Ialdon: Therem, Shilee
<The Koonto Legacy>

Offline Hawking

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Re: [End of an Era] - There Is No Death
« Reply #2 on: 10/09/15, 06:35:42 PM »
Thanks to the ever ineffable @blingdenston !

The pale moon Ashla's light barely cleared the Masters' Retreat above, the red radiance of its dark twin hidden completely in the Tythonian sky.

Aspasia Maguire, Initiate of the Jedi Order, wrapped her robes around herself once again, stemming the distracting flapping of the brown material in the brisk Tythonian wind. She cut a rather unimposing figure alongside her fellow Jedi, being still yet young and small, and by all appearances, somewhat confused by the ritual. She hadn't known the majority of those killed, aside from a few initiates and younglings she had bumped into once or twice, but still, the atmosphere was hard to deny. The flickering torches and roaring pyres, the solemn gazes and quiet words of reflection, it all made it very hard to remain aloof, as she had been told.

Hyse Qardaak, Jedi Master, stood nearby. His raw silk tunic and leggings were hidden by a hypercloth robe, his hood pulled over his face and eyes shining in the torchlight.

"Master Hyse," Aspasia whispered as loud as she dared, trying to get the imposing Master's attention, "Do I...uh..." She gestured with a finger to the rather oversized hood on the nape of her robes. Most of the Jedi present appeared to be hooded, but she knew she wouldn't have a hope of seeing anything were she to don hers. Such were the girls main concerns at such a moment of intense remembrance.

Hyse shook his head. "It is not necessary. Only meditation, only respect, are necessary."

Aspasia nodded, calmly allowing the serene winds of Tython's inland waters to do what it will with her fringe. "Um..." She paused awkwardly, not sure quite how to word it. "The other initiates and Jedi that were killed...I get why we're rememberin' them...but what about the big one? Wasn't he the one that attacked the enclave? Why's he getting a nice service?"

"The Masters said that all life is sacred...but...I wasn't even sure if he was...alive or anything." She trailed off.
"We do not memorialize the body. The body is material, and thus immaterial. We memorialize the man, the Jedi."
"But...wasn't it the body that killed all the others? Is it..." She struggled to find the words, shuffling over to stand next to the towering Hyse. "...well, is it right to have him next to them?"

"When Master Yarwin died, truly died, he did so in the manner of a Jedi. He sacrificed himself to save others, others he had not met and did not know. His remains were secured by the Sith, subjected to unholy treatments, turned into a weapon."

"But that was not Yarwin. The body is an expression of an ephemeral truth...a fortress of matter for a treasure more valuable than the most precious metal. They turned the body to a weapon...but it was the memory of the man, still within, that ended the battle."

Aspasia gulped, but, remained composed, doing her best to mimic the solemn steel in the eyes of her fellows. "Did you know Master Yarwin well, Master? I...I saw friends turned like him back on Maguire...though not as badly, I spose. He was...dead, when his body came back to attack us, right? Physically, I mean. Did he know what his body was doing?"

She was characteristically unapologetic for the barrage of questions, but, she seemed earnest.

 "I did not know him well, but I know those who he taught, and a teacher's touch is like a craftsman's. He was dead...the essence of what made him him is one with the Force. But his corporeal abilities remained...some of his strength, his power, and his knowledge. They meant to use that as a dagger against us...and, in the end, it was that that blunted their weapon and ended its threat."

"Maybe not soon enough." The girl noted sadly, gesturing to the other pyres.

Hyse bowed his head solemnly, looking to a youngling at peace on a nearby bier. He had known him, trained...he was an awful swordsman, but he had a gift for comedy, and unfathomable courage. Did he die defending his comrades? Did he die in his sleep? Hyse didn't know.

"Perhaps. This is the threat of the dark side...the threat of destruction unbound, of ruthlessness and cruelty without vision or relent. It is a fanged philosophy, that demands that you strip away everything that makes you mortal and die alone."

Aspasia quietly contemplated the words, feeling the radiant heat from the fire warming her face. "How do we fight that? We're Jedi, we learn peace and...compassion, or however you say it. We stopped the Sith here, but...so many died, Master. How can we win the war if we get one Sith for every dozen Jedi? The last line of the code..."

"Will it even matter, if we're all dead, because the Sith just kept killing and killing?"

"Look around you, child. Look at those gathered here. Watch us mourn our dead, watch us remember our losses. This is not a political function...we do not put our slain into pyramids and then fight over the scraps they leave behind."

"'There is no death; there is the Force.' This is not fatalism...this is our secret. We know that death is inevitable...but we know that it is not the ultimate power in the Galaxy. We know that life is sacred...but we believe that it is worth it to lay down ours in service to all life."

She looked up at Hyse, nodding with youthful conviction. "A lot of people died just so I could even be here...is that why the Sith hate us, Master? Because we're not afraid of death, but death is everythin' to them? Like...they expect us to just give up, if they kill enough of us?"

"The dark side is seductive. It tells you that you are right to think of yourself first; it tells you that the thrill of evil and conquest is a universal truth, rather than an atavistic dead end. I cannot speak to the Sith's hate, for I do not know it...but I can say this: the Sith are driven by hate and fear, and no one has ever faced and defeated the Sith more often than the Jedi."

Hyse smiled down at Aspasia. "Not even the Sith, themselves."

Aspasia returned the smile, feeling her chest well with newfound pride and conviction. She looked back to the fires that illuminated the night, and watched her new brothers and sisters return to the Force.

The moon Ashla broke over the Masters' Retreat, illuminating the lakeside and the smoke that carried over it.
« Last Edit: 10/09/15, 07:51:38 PM by Hawking »


-Hawking Shatari, Wandering Warrior
-Aspasia Maguire, Smack Talker
-Rieko "Boogie" Black, Agent of the Empire

Offline Joshmaul

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Re: [End of an Era] - There Is No Death
« Reply #3 on: 10/09/15, 08:45:34 PM »
Wearing his white robe with crimson and gold patterns, Tergahn Dai'lo added a brand into the fire and bowed his head. "From the Force, all are born, and unto the Force, all return," he intoned.

Still limping, wearing simple Jedi robes, Ediren Lorath contributed his own torch to the blaze, and bowed his head. "From the Force, all are born, and unto the Force, all return." The Padawan had been in a coma for several days after the attack, a number of broken bones and internal injuries from being tossed like baggage by the creature, and by the explosion that had destroyed much of the Enclave. He had awakened in the medical bay aboard the Custodian's Watch, the Custodum's Valor-class cruiser, in orbit over Tython.

In pain for much of the period since he had awakened, Ediren nonetheless made a point of coming to the surface to attend the ceremony...and to heal in the tranquility of Tython. Tergahn had come to him here, looking grim, as if he had something to say, but had said nothing yet until after this ceremony. Honor now done to the memory of the fallen Jedi Master, who was (hopefully) now at peace in the Force, the two Jedi made their way from the blaze. "I already know," Ediren said without preamble, looking directly into Tergahn's stoic stare.

"About your Master."

Ediren nodded. "I have always known, in a way, Master Tergahn...the question I have is answered now." His expression was utterly stoic. "I have decided that I will leave once I am of a condition to."

"Leave? Leave where?"

Ediren looked over the moonlit mountains of Tython. "I think I will go home. To Onderon. Just as the Jedi went to where they came from to find their center, so I shall seek mine."

"Have a care where your feelings take you, Ediren..."

The young man smiled, crinkling the scars over the left side of his face. "Worry not, Master Tergahn. I am aware my family has an estate in Iziz. It has been fifteen years...they probably remember me well enough, but I have no true connection to them. My grandfather was killed on Makeb, and my father became a Revanite who was killed by Imperials on Frosthaven. I have no real ties to those who remain; it is not emotion that guides me in this decision. I hope that perhaps I might be able to recenter myself, in the air and soil of home, just as our Order has done here."

Tergahn gazed at him silently for a moment...and then he nodded. "Perhaps you have the right of it, my young friend." He bowed his head. "May the Force be with you, Ediren...and may you find the peace you seek." He walked away, fading into the night, leaving Ediren to stand alone with his thoughts. He wondered if it was indeed the right decision. But he had made it, and he would follow through with it.

He would not turn to either of the starship captains he knew. No...as soon as he was fit to travel beyond Tython or the Watch, he would go on his own. Caradell's old ship, the Rehevkor, was still docked at Carrick Station. He would take the shuttle from the Temple, and from there, he would go. It left him to wonder: After the duel with Trakis Mal, the betrayal by his Master, and the attack against the Enclave, how long would he need to find his center again...and what would he become when he did?

He took a deep breath, ignoring the pain in his ribs as he did so, as he arrived at the answer he needed. The answer was in the Force. So, he would leave it to the will of the Force.

For now, he would wait, and heal physically. Then he would go to heal spiritually - and, if all went well, rediscover himself in the process.
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Offline Auryn

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Re: [End of an Era] - There Is No Death
« Reply #4 on: 10/09/15, 10:03:42 PM »
"Did you know him?"

Her voice moved swiftly and quietly to him through the sounds of crackling flames and the heavy scent of firesmoke and incense. At first he barely realised she had spoken, and wasn't sure to which of the dead she referred. The burning pyres were many, though his pale eyes were drawn to the one at the centre, which still had that faint waif of dark energy about the corpse.

"No. I saw him die though. The first time, on Nar Shaddaa."

His voice was low, and a little hoarse from lack of use. Maybe she took it for upset, for Aolanni shifted a little closer to his shoulder, and though they didn't touch, he felt the comfort of her spread out to encompass them both. Her head tilted upwards towards the night sky, where the light of Ashla dulled the glow of stars, and outlined her pale face and the rim of her simple veil with a gentle glow. The moon was only three-quarters full, and its brother Bogan could just be seen peering over the treeline of the horizon.

"No water... the flow..." She murmured.

"Hn?" He turned his head, a thin shaft of skin peering out from beneath the deep cowl of a hood.

Aolanni sighed, and shook her head. "Nothing," She dismissed, ruefully, "I am glad you came. Even if you did not know him, or the others who fell."

Does it help you? Does it make you feel as though I still want to be one of you? He didn't say what he thought. Now was not the time. Respectfully, he bowed his head once more, and folded his arms within the sleeves of the large robe that was not his. Firelight licked at the whites of his eyes, until he let them fall closed with an inward sigh to mirror her own. He had been told of the undead menace of stone and alchemy that had once been Yarwin, how it had stormed the temple with its Sith masters, and the devastation they had left behind had been the rubble he'd stormed in on. Soon there would be nothing left. Nothing but ash and memories - and things would, at least for the already long-dead Jedi Master, return to what they should be. Death would be death. The book would close. The story would end, for him at least, if a bit late and twisted.

"You know... I am starting to think..."

He heard her shift silently to regard him, though he didn't move a muscle. In her silence he continued,

"...That the Force is just cruel, 'Lanni."
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Offline SivWysan

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Re: [End of an Era] - There Is No Death
« Reply #5 on: 10/25/15, 11:50:17 PM »
Long and delayed post... this will set a lot of Maerin's directions going into the Jump... thanks everyone!

Update- hate leaving half written, but want to get this up before a flight, and allow some distilling in my head of the final segment

Maerin stood with some difficulty as the macrabre dance of flame and shadow flickered across her face.  She was only a few days out of Kolto, but had insisted on standing on her own two feet for this- albeit with a cane. 

Behind her- though holding back slightly for propriety's sake stood her brother in his Admiral's uniform, as well as Daimren and Piraden Vel-Korr, her Jedi stepson and ex-husband (her natural daughter, Nylaa had holo-commed earlier but was stuck in relief work on a remote corner of Corellia)  The Alderaanian nobles were here with a full delegation of the Blue Jedi Enclave, out in force to show their solidarity with the Custodum.  Doctrinal differences were firmly set aside at this shocking reminder even Younglings could still be slaughtered in the very heart of the Republic by the cruel reach of the Sith.  Masters, Monks and several Jedi Families were all in solemn attendance. 

Even the venerable Master Mer-Darma, founder of the Alderaan Enclave and former Jedi Advisor to the Panteer Throne had come.  He had surprised her, moments before the ceremony with a few words and a gift.  Appreciation for her actions "protecting the Jedi children"- a dark, richly carved Towerwood cane to replace her med-bay loaner.  She had thanked him, warmly but distantly the silent I didn't protect enough remaining unsaid on her lips out of a desire not to wound an old friend. 

As he returned to his place and the ceremony began, she gripped the staff firmly, her one unbandaged hand's knuckles white on its grip.  Its intricately carved and natural whorls were moving in the firelight, but brought little comfort.  Maerin's thoughts flickered back to the Enclave's founding in the wake of Alderaan's Occupation and the Sacking of Coruscant, and promises of "Never Again" they had all made, to protect Jedi children from the ravages of the Sith.  She had merely done her duty this time, as any Jedi should, though with the fierceness of a Jedi mother- calling for aid then guarding evacuees onto the first waves of Judicial shuttles until she collapsed from her wounds.  And yet, she had failed so many- more, even than she realized until after Jaade's trial, a matter she remained in shock about.  Had she been fully aware, she wondered what she would have said to him... though the chance was now lost, sealed in carbonite.  For the best, perhaps. 

She still did not know what she would say or do when her turn came.  As the staff in her right hand reminded her of bitter failures, the saber hanging on her other side represented her conflicted feelings towards Master Yarwin, the Sith's brutal warping of his corpse, and the blade she had forged to honor his noble sacrifice.  She had taken the lavender crystal, recovered from the Nexus out for now... though keeping it safe, it was simply too painful right now.  Her saber remained incomplete, its central crystal assembly an open gap mirroring the bewilderment in her soul. 

She had so much uncertainty... she did not know when she would return to Nar Shaddaa, nor how she could face Karmic or Ardeshir after this.  She was the first to argue Sith were not all the same... but this pain, so raw opened the pain of her earliest days after the Sacking... the very first steps that led her onto the path of the Jedi....

(to be continued...)

« Last Edit: 10/28/15, 02:39:06 PM by SivWysan »

Offline SivWysan

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Re: [End of an Era] - There Is No Death
« Reply #6 on: 10/28/15, 01:55:33 PM »
  “How could you?!” Maerin shouted  “The future of our planet, of our children… without even talking to me?”  Her slap rang out in the open air.

She and a much younger Piraden were standing just inside the balcony of their estate high above Paisvallia, the jungles of equatorial Alderaan stretched out far below the city’s plateau.  Just days after the signing of the Treaty of Coruscant, she had returned from relief work in the blood-drenched Jedi Temple- only to learn her noble husband had rashly endorsed the King’s stunning secession in a public address.  Though they had both had their disagreements with the Republic- in part fallen in love over discovering them, after her parents death- such a unilateral move on his part, so soon after the horrors on Coruscant, left her feeling vulnerable and utterly betrayed. 

It was one of their first truly intractable fights in six years of marriage; one they would never fully recover from.  In the days of silence and resentment that followed, however he offered one major olive branch, as an aide surprised her one morning with a request to help welcome some Jedi children and refugees from Coruscant and the formerly occupied corners of Alderaan.  In the weeks and months that followed, as the planet spiraled down into Civil War the project grew into a planetary effort, led by Mer-Darma and others to provide a lasting safe haven for Jedi and Jedi Families, the Alderaanian Enclave.  A place where she found a community and some peace with her long-hidden heritage in the Force, among more family-minded Jedi teachers… even some of the first few lessons that led her to the Corellian Masters and, eventually to Tython.  A bittersweet gift that sustained her, after their marriage failed- but for which she was still grateful to him. 

Despite her grief, a very small smile crept at those bittersweet memories.  But then faded.  Jedi were supposed to be shorn of attachment, to focus on serving all life, especially life’s most vulnerable.  Her own family and children accepted this difficult balance when she finally committed fully to the Order.  But Jedi were still expected to love, as expansively as possible and care for those in their charge.  She had tried to channel her sense of herself as a mother into that, to be a Mother to Many.  The Alderaanian Enclave, then the Greens, then the Custodum had inspired her to let go of her anger, to hope and care again after years of bitterness at her family and people’s losses to the Sith.  But she was again reminded, in the same place that no place was safe.  Was her life as a Jedi simply to fail again and again, to watch an endless stream of children sacrificed to war?  To embrace hot revenge, or wall herself off in cold, dispassion for the suffering she was powerless to prevent?  It seemed a grim future.  She felt despair she had not since the Sacking. 

She did not go up to the pyre to place anything.  She felt she had nothing left to give.  Simply standing,, leaning heavily on the cane was all she could do. 

She decided she would speak with Master Mer-Darma after this, and reconnect with some of her old teachers.  Perhaps even see if something could be done on Alderaan for the youngest, most traumatized Younglings of the Custodum.  Her new Padawan,  had expressed interest in lightsaber training on Alderaan as well- working with the Masters, and children there could be good for him. Though at the moment feelings of grief and failure outweighed any thought of seeing good come out of this tragedy. 
« Last Edit: 10/28/15, 02:35:24 PM by SivWysan »