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 Jedi Rising... (ATTN: Ava, but AW)

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Avadedra Hetarra
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PostSubject: Re: Jedi Rising... (ATTN: Ava, but AW)   Mon Sep 22, 2008 11:09 pm

Ava let out an involuntary terrified gasp, her hands rising to clasp over her mouth. She took three stumbling steps backward and collided with another patron. The being, a species Ava couldn't recognize, gave a surprised grunt. The shock turned into anger as he, she supposed it was male, looked down at her pale face.

"Sorry," she sputtered, stepping away and colliding with the wall. Her knees gave out and she slid to the floor, panting heavily. Her back was to Meric, but she could feel that he still radiated the calm that Luke had pointed out to her. He and Luke were both calm, which was very different from the confusion roiling around them. She crossed her arms over her chest, her fingers digging into the flesh beneath her clothing, and she squeezed her eyes shut, trying to force the image of Cradossk's death from her mind.

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PostSubject: Re: Jedi Rising... (ATTN: Ava, but AW)   Tue Sep 23, 2008 12:18 pm

Ignoring the curious faces of some in the cantina, the astonishment of others, Meric made his way through the jumbled maze of bodies to rejoin Luke and Avadedra. "It is done," was all Meric said, to which Luke gave a nod.

"You did seem a little off your game," Luke commented, "Perhaps now that the Jedi are to return, you ought to dedicate yourself to your training again." Meric could easily have retorted to the younger Jedi's admonishments but for the truth contained therein.

"So long as I have the Force, Luke, I am never without arms," Meric counseled him, "but you are correct. I would certainly enjoy the opportunity to spar with you, when we have the time." Any reply from the younger was cut off by a single sound: a clapping that somehow would reach the ears of the three even across the crowded hall.

Meric turned to see a lone man approaching the trio. He appeared to be older than all of them, even the white-maned Cathar. His hair had grayed with age, and was tied up in a neat bun just behind the crown of his head. He stared at them through sightless eyes whose pupils had long since been whitened by scar tissue. His angular face was wrinkled and hardened even beyond what age must have wrought, as if he had fought all his life in service of some great cause now forgotten. He was clothed in old-style battle armor that predated the empire: A green body glove covered his torso, legs and arms, while plates of durasteel armor were prominently displayed over his torso and shoulders. Lighter alloy grieves protected his upper arms and his shins, underneath which he had slipped a pair of brown, worn combat boots. The ensemble, Meric guessed, provided him a great deal of protection without sacrificing his agility.

Without warning, Meric felt something probing against his mind. It was as a tendril of thought, a whisp of consciousness so light and delicate that it would be undetectable unless one was trained in the Force. Soon, it withdrew.

"Well done, boy," came the steel-edged voice of the old man, "We had wondered whether you would survive an encounter with your oldest enemy."

Meric knelt, a show of fealty and respect for one far older and more experienced with the Force than he. "Master Rahm Kota," he said, "It has been long since we last met."

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PostSubject: Re: Jedi Rising... (ATTN: Ava, but AW)   Tue Sep 23, 2008 10:41 pm

Slowly, agonizingly slowly, Ava got herself under control again. She opened her eyes and sucked in a deep breath, reaching a hand to smooth her hair from her brow. She turned and leaned her head back against the wall, concentrating on the dark ceiling above her head.

"Well done, boy. We had wondered whether you would survive an encounter with your oldest enemy."

Ava turned her head slightly, looking past Luke and Meric at the blind old man approaching them. Something about him was... she couldn't figure it out. He was old, older than most she'd ever known, but he was still strong. That much she could tell by the way he moved. Her panic fuzzed mind wouldn't concentrate just yet, so she settled to letting her confusion remain until Meric was ready to answer her questions.

Her confusion grew when Meric went into his bow, but she could feel the respect rolling from her Master. Not trusting herself to stand yet, she contented herself to sit still until she was called. Checking that her blaster was still secure to her hip, she waited.

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PostSubject: Re: Jedi Rising... (ATTN: Ava, but AW)   Tue Sep 23, 2008 11:00 pm

Luke knelt down beside Ava, deferring his respect to the aged Jedi Master as well. He knew nothing of Rahm Kota, but that a more experienced Jedi showed such submission before the newcomer meant he must be one of great power and wisdom indeed.

Rahm Kota closed his sightless eyes and shook his head. "Don't bow down to me boy," he chastised, "I'm not your master... and I'm not a Jedi anymore. I wouldn't even expect the same from some wet-behind-the-ears padawan."

Chastened, Meric stood, bidding Luke and Ava to do the same. Luke helped Ava to her feet. "Luke Skywalker, Avadedra Hetarra," Meric said, "Meet Jedi Master Rahm Kota, commander of the sixty-second squadron of the Grand Army of the Old Republic, and god-father of the Rebel Alliance."

Luke's eyes widened. Was it possible? He'd heard the history of the alliance in great detail, but never in those annals or in the chronicles passed on by those who had served did he hear tell of such a man... a Jedi no less!

"Aww... Don't start fawning," Kota groaned, "It wasn't my work. I just pointed the spear that eventually flew through the Emperor's black heart. I neither the weapon, nor the wielder."

"Even so, it is a wonder that the entire galaxy doesn't know of the work the three of you started," Meric answered. "I'm glad to find you here though... We've come to Coruscant to find-"

"I know who you're seeking, young knight," Kota answered. "And I can promise you that she remembers you well... but take caution. Even after all this time her heart has not fully healed from what happened those years ago."

Luke glanced at Ava, wondering if she was as confused as even he was feeling. Even Artoo released a curious string of beeps, as if asking what the the two jedi masters were discussing.

"You will take us to her then?" Meric asked.

"I will," Kota agreed. "Go outside and wait. I will arrive shortly with a speeder to transport the four of you to her hiding place." His eyes focused directly on Artoo, and then on Ava, and she would feel his consciousness probing against her, as if searching. When it withdrew, Kota grimaced, but said nothing. He merely turned and walked from the Cantina with the ease of a man in his prime, with full vision.

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PostSubject: Re: Jedi Rising... (ATTN: Ava, but AW)   Wed Sep 24, 2008 12:02 am

Ava gave Luke a thankful smile, giving his hand a quick squeeze while her knees stopped shaking. She stayed near the wall, not trusting herself quite yet. As Kota talked, she studied him closely, trying to read his intentions through his actions. He couldn't see, but he seemed to know what was going on around him. Either his connection to the Force was strong, or his other senses were that much better. Or perhaps, it was both.

In turn, she studied Meric and Luke, as well as the other beings around them. Her guard was falling back into place, and she rested her hand on her blaster again. The words passing between Meric and Kota fell into the background of her thoughts.

Vaguely, she felt something brushing against her mind. She glanced around, her eyes narrowing as her gaze settled on Kota. In a matter of moments, the touch faded, but Ava didn't miss the experession that crossed the old Jedi's face whe he turned to leave. She wondered at that as she moved toward Meric.

"Master?" she said softly, placing a hand on his arm and searching his face. "Are you alright?"

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PostSubject: Re: Jedi Rising... (ATTN: Ava, but AW)   Thu Sep 25, 2008 10:36 pm

As the group turned to leave the Cantina, Meric heard the question of his apprentice. He nodded. "I am uninjured if that is what you mean," he promised her, "Cradossk was a strong opponent once, but in the end, his hatred, his lust for vengeance is what cost him his life... As for this meeting... Well... even the Jedi cannot always control their own emotions."

Luke raised a brow. He could sense the apprehension coming from Meric, and though it was a feeling to the younger Jedi, it was a surprise to feel it from the more experienced. It wasn't fear that Luke sensed, but rather, a mixture of anticipation and curiosity, awash with the warmth of memories long passed, almost wistful.

Before Luke could question him, Meric came to a halt just outside the Cantina. "Ava, there is something I believe should be accomplished before we move on," he told her. "You have begun to learn to control the Force, but to feel it... to understand its true nature... You must be willing to open yourself up, or any attempt is doomed to failure."

He turned the Correllian girl around and looked deep into her eyes. "I want you to close your eyes," he told her, "Don't think... Don't try to do anything. Just relax. Open your heart and your mind... and listen... feel..."

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PostSubject: Re: Jedi Rising... (ATTN: Ava, but AW)   Thu Sep 25, 2008 11:40 pm

Though startled by the request, and the suddenness of it, Ava nodded, licking her lips. She took a long look into her Master's eyes before closing her own. Shoving aside all of the thoughts and questions that threatened to consume her, she cleared her mind of everything.

She felt the movement of the Force, starting within herself, then radiating outward. Then, like a rush of silent sound, she felt everyone and everything else. All around her, feelings and emotions flooded her mind, twisting into her own dark fears and anger, moulding against her hopefulness and strength. She twitched, fighting against it, her eyes squeezed tightly shut. It felt like she was swimming through her own brain, trying to stay afloat in the massive onslaught of the Force.

With a sharp cry, she reached out her hands and grabbed Meric's arms, but she kept her eyes closed, knowing that her Master wanted her to do this, wanted her to succeed. More and more, the Force tumbled through her. Each being that passed by too close sent another spike into her being. Good and bad, right and wrong, well or ill; the onslaught continued. Ava's head felt ready to burst when she sensed something familiar, something that reached straight to her. Inwardly, she reached out, swimming through all that she felt, toward that familiar light.

"M-master!" she gasped out, falling to her knees.

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PostSubject: Re: Jedi Rising... (ATTN: Ava, but AW)   Thu Sep 25, 2008 11:50 pm

Meric closed his eyes, letting his mind reach out to that of his apprentice. He could see her, could feel her thoughts, her fears, her dreams. "Listen to me," he said, his words not audible, but echoing within her mind, "Do not turn away from the sound... Face it... Do not fight, Avadedra... Let yourself be at peace..."

As he felt she was doing as he asked (though he could not be absolutely certain without delving deeper into her mind, an intrusion he did not want to make without her permission), his mental words continued. [i]"Feel the touch of Coruscant.. The ebb of life... This is the Force, Avadedra, and all our actions, from the smallest to the least, create ripples within, and the ripples travel.. As a Jedi, you will touch all these lives in some way, however small, be it for good or ill... This is why our responsibility is so great, and our power so dangerous if misused... now relax... Slowly, focus your mind again. Close off your perceptions until only I remain... good.... good... This is only the first step, Avadedra... I cannot teach you how to block out the pains of life, nor the glories... but I can teach you to accept them, and to aide where you can... It is from here, my apprentice, that you must truly commit yourself if you desire... Until now the choice has been yours to turn back. Once we continue on, your life will be forever altered, and your destiny will affect the entire galaxy... but fear not... Though it may not come without struggle, I see great things for you in the future, if you persevere in this path set before you."

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PostSubject: Re: Jedi Rising... (ATTN: Ava, but AW)   Fri Sep 26, 2008 12:30 am

Avadedra's eyes snapped open as she panted for breath. She still held tightly to Meric's arms and her head was swimming, but she felt something within herself fall into place. Past the anger and fear that she felt at the edge of her conciousness, past the bare thread of hope that she held for herself, she felt the spark of her future ignite. Lifting her watering eyes, she stared up into Meric's face, her heart thudding in her ears.

"All of those feelings," she said, her voice shaking, "all... all of those emotions. So raw, so open. And the voices, Master, all of the voices. There's just so many. So many."

She pulled herself to her feet, glancing past Meric and locating Luke where he stood next to Artoo, concern lingering in his eyes. She brought her gaze around to the beings passing them by, unnoticing to the Jedi in their midst. She shook her head to clear the last of the clouds from her mind, reaching up to wipe the tears from her face.

"I... Thank you, Master," she said, forcing more strength into her voice and stature. "Thank you for showing me."

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PostSubject: Re: Jedi Rising... (ATTN: Ava, but AW)   Fri Sep 26, 2008 11:10 pm

Meric nodded slowly. "Your path is yours, Ava," he told her, "I will guide you where I can, but ultimately you will be the one to decide your own destiny." It was then that the Jedi did something expected. He knelt down and embraced his apprentice, not as one might expect, but as a father might hold his beloved daughter. The embrace was brief, but it said an immense amount.

It was by this time a dented yellow speeder pulled to a halt before the group. Shaped like a dagger with the ending point cut off, the vehicle appeared somewhat ancient in design from what Meric could tell, possibly from about two thousand years before the Empire, but still in remarkable condition. Like many speeders of its kind, it was held aloft by repulsorlift engines that caused it to emit a high-pitched whine. A pair of turbines held closely along the rear provided propulsion, while a third was contained within the center of the dagger, concealed for all intents and purposes from sight.

Meric was thankful that it would at least be easier to load Artoo onto this speeder. As Luke did so, Meric turned to look at Ava. "Was there something else you wanted to ask?" he questioned, sensing some curiosity from her.

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PostSubject: Re: Jedi Rising... (ATTN: Ava, but AW)   Fri Sep 26, 2008 11:26 pm

Ava stiffened only slightly at the embrace, but returned it just before it ended. She felt the warmth of the action, and perhaps a touch of Meric's pride, but that was it before he was withdrawing. She turned as he did to watch the approach of the speeder. Ava's eyes roved across it, as much confused as she was intrigued by its design. At Meric's inquiry, she looked up, a pale blush spreading across her cheeks.

"I apologize Master," she replied, trying not to have to look at him. "I was only wondering what it would have been like if my own father had loved me."

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PostSubject: Re: Jedi Rising... (ATTN: Ava, but AW)   Fri Sep 26, 2008 11:29 pm

Meric smiled and shook his head at that. "Don't be afraid to question," he said, "Questioning is how we grow. Come... we should climb into the speeder. Master Kota is not a patient man... There is a reason he never made it onto the Jedi council." He winked and stood back up, heading toward the speeder where the Jedi Master sat with their two companions, but then he turned back.

"Your father did love you, Ava," he assured her, "He protected you as best he knew how... No matter what, remember that no heart is so dark that some flicker of light cannot be brought forth from it." So saying, he climbed in.

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PostSubject: Re: Jedi Rising... (ATTN: Ava, but AW)   Fri Sep 26, 2008 11:50 pm

She stood still for a long moment, running Meric's words through her mind. Kota made an impatient sound in the back of his throat, and she darted forward. She scrambled into the speeder with only milliseconds to spare before they were off. Turning slightly, she watched the Cantina fade away behind them.

Ava settled back next to Meric, her hands twisting around themselves in her lap. She could still hear echoes of the Force in her mind, but at least the... screaming... had stopped. Yes, that was it. Screaming. There was no other way to put it. When all of the sounds and thoughts and feelings and general chaos was added together, it became one loud, long, painful scream. Like a broken holo-projector, it was stuck on an infinite loop, threatening to drive her mad. Reaching out with her mind, she brushed against Meric, drawing calm and silence from his example. Taking a deep breath, she strengthened her resolve.

"Master," she said, just loud enough for him to hear, keeping her eyes forward, "my father didn't leave my mother and I to protect us. He left to protect himself. When his loyalties were questioned, he walked out on wife and family. He'd rather have served the corrupt and lived, than loved us and died."

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PostSubject: Re: Jedi Rising... (ATTN: Ava, but AW)   Sat Sep 27, 2008 10:01 pm

Meric leaned back and closed his eyes, allowing the constant thrumming of the speeder's turbines to soothe him even as he listened to his apprentice's words. Even Luke seemed as relaxed as he'd ever been, although whatever his thoughts were on the matter, he left them to Meric and Ava to discuss.

"Perhaps his leaving was for the wrong reasons," he admitted, "Yet, in what you've told me, I see evidence that he tried to protect you. When he told your mother to try to quash any latent talents with the Force you might display, why do you think that was? The Galaxy was a changing place then, unstable as the last remnants of the old republic evaporated into nothingness. The emperor hunted Jedi without mercy, and even Force Sensitives, those with Jedi talents but who were not members of the Order, fell prey to him. Those he did not kill, he broke, and twisted them into his agents of evil. Many a youngling were sacrificed to satiate his hunger for power, often becoming royal guards, or worse, Shadow Guards. There are even some rumors of a few Force Sensitives known as emperor's hands, whose talents made them an extension of Palpatine across the galaxy, from Coruscant to the farthest reaches of the Outer Rim."

He opened his eyes again and gazed at Ava. "Your father's greatest flaw was, perhaps, his fear," he told her, "But never doubt that somewhere past that, he loved you... A father has no choice but to love his child... for she is a part of him."

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PostSubject: Re: Jedi Rising... (ATTN: Ava, but AW)   Sun Sep 28, 2008 12:38 am

Ava fought down the sharp retort she felt burning on her tongue, forcing her eyes to sweep the passing scenery. Meric had no clue what he was talking about. A man who loved his family would stand by them, not hide behind his fear and leave them. That wasn't love, that was shame.

"Master, begging your pardon," she began, suddenly turning to face him, leaning slightly as Kato banked the speeder in another direction, "but you can't possibly know that." She glanced up at Luke and Kato, noting that they both seemed to be distracted by other things. "Master, my father was... my father... died for his Empire. For that... that foul, corrupt, self-serving evil being that cared only for himself and his own ends. He spoke of the Empire like... like it was some great living thing, like it would bring the galaxy back to what it was, before the Clone Wars. He was so duped by it all that he left us and died."

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PostSubject: Re: Jedi Rising... (ATTN: Ava, but AW)   Sun Sep 28, 2008 3:46 pm

Meric didn't seem too put off by Ava's reaction. In fact, he'd almost expected it. He saw that she had a lot of anger in her heart over her father's actions, and it was that which he was trying to bring to the surface so that it could be dealt with before it consumed her. That would be a dangerous prospect when she became more skilled in the ways of the Force.

"Do not despise your father for his actions, Ava," he counseled, "if not for his sake, then for yours... That anger and that hatred will consume you if you let it, and whatever his actions, let there be no doubt in your heart of his love for you."

He took a deep breath. "The Emperor held a great many under his thumb," he went on, "Anakin Skywalker was my friend, deceived by Palpatine into doing his bidding... Raith Seinar was a brilliant engineer, whose starship designs were commandeered and turned into the empire's weapons of war. And so many others found themselves under his influence, good and evil, light or dark... very few escaped. Those who did escape were often killed, and it was only through the provision of the Force that a few, like me, like Luke... like you, survived... For that at least, be thankful."

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PostSubject: Re: Jedi Rising... (ATTN: Ava, but AW)   Sun Sep 28, 2008 5:50 pm

Ava narrowed her eyes at Meric, so completely blown away by his lack of reaction. She'd been snubbed before, and once almost outright killed, when it had slipped that her father was an Imperial. She'd been expecting him to at least pretend to be shocked by her admission, but there he sat, telling her what wasn't true. She fought back a surge of anger and impatience, slumping back against the seat as they changed direction again.

The speeder came to a hault on a side avenue. Ava looked around, taking note that the area they were in, though not quite deserted, was much quieter than the main part of the city (under the city), and probably more run down. Kota powered the speeder back to stand-by.

"We walk from here," he said. "It's the best way to get where we're going."

Ava stepped from the speeder, her eyes sweeping their surroundings, her guard up as usual.

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PostSubject: Re: Jedi Rising... (ATTN: Ava, but AW)   Sun Sep 28, 2008 11:31 pm

Meric flashed Ava a cautionary look, indicating he could sense the anger rolling off of her. It would be a constant struggle, but such was the way with one of Corellian blood. He wagered Han Solo might have been the same way were he Force Sensitive.

Now the group piled out of the speeder, Luke pausing only briefly to bring Artoo down with the aide of the Force. Meric glanced to the side a couple times. He could sense the life in the abandoned buildings that lined either side of the small side street, but there was little of it, and much consisted of rodents and insects. He thought he could sense a couple other creatures whose presence he had never felt before, but their essences were distant and faint to him.

Kota led the way down the street. Slowly the lights of the city faded and shadows encroached on the way ahead. Kota paid it no mind. Artoo edged closer to Luke, twittering nervously, to which the young Jedi responded with a calming, though unintelligible whisper. Kota turned westward, toward the setting sun, and soon turned into a dilapidated building. Meric coughed as he entered. It was filled with dust and mold, having been abandoned for some years the Cathar estimated. Still Kota did not stop. He led the group through the building and down a concrete stairwell.

At the bottom was the unexpected. An entire home, an entire command center had been set up in the bowels of the building. Fiberoptic cables snaked the way from crystal viewscreens lining the eastern wall to the ceiling, and then from there Meric knew not where they went. A centralized computer kept track of all the information displayed on the screens, which included news broadcasts, telemetry from Coruscant's defense satellites, ship registration entries, cargo manifests, and whatever other information might prove damaging to the empire. Against the northern wall stood a large holo-projector for receiving secure transmissions. Meric wondered if Kota had managed to hack into the network. The southern wall was a simple plascrete panel which contained a door leading into another part of the centre. A pad next to the door would scan one's handprint and bio-electrical readings, while a retinal scanner stood above. Evidently, Kota wasn't taking any chances.

"Wait here," he said. He placed his hand and eyes against the respective scanners, and the door opened, revealing little more than darkness within. He stepped inside and the door slid shut.

"Impressive," Luke muttered, though he shouldn't have been so surprised after the jury-rigged defenses on Hoth.

Meric nodded, though he wasn't so impressed by the technology as the life that technology protected. As if to answer his thought, the door slid open, and out stepped Kota... followed by an attractive woman in her late twenties. Her straight blond hair was tied in a bun behind her head, save for a few locks which fell to the side of her face and one bang which had managed to slip between her sea blue eyes. She wore an old-style imperial uniform jacket and a gray shirt. Black slacks and boots completed the ensemble.

Luke stared at Meric, wondering whether the older Jedi had accidentally led them into a trap, but there was no such reaction from Meric.

The woman stepped forward, her cherry-red lips curling into a smile. "Meric," she said softly.

Meric nodded. "It's been a long time, Juno Eclipse."

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PostSubject: Re: Jedi Rising... (ATTN: Ava, but AW)   Mon Sep 29, 2008 12:13 am

As per her usual habit, Ava fell to the back of the group, though without the rush and tumble of a crowd, the motion seemed useless. Still, she kept her guard up, reaching out with her senses, though on a much smaller scale than Meric, and pinpointing a very small percentage of life around their small group. Artoo's worried chatter was reflected in her own inner unease at being so out in the open.

As they moved, she forced some of her anger away, peeling it off of herself almost like shedding layers of clothing. Master Meric was right; she'd have to learn to control herself. No matter what her father had or hadn't done, she couldn't keep hiding behind the pain. She couldn't forgive, that much was certain, but she could do her absolute best to move on. Besides, she was going to be a Jedi, right? Shouldn't she start acting the part?

Lost in her own thoughts, Ava missed Kota's departure and would have missed his return were it not for the ripple of surprise Luke sent through to her mind. Blinking, she brought her surroundings back into focus. Almost in the same instant, though neither knew it, the same thought occured to both Luke and Avadedra, though she dropped her hand to her blaster. Her guard slipped slightly when the woman spoke Meric's name, and shattered completely when Meric returned the favor. And there was something in the sense she got from him... just a flicker of something... unfamiliar and... old.

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PostSubject: Re: Jedi Rising... (ATTN: Ava, but AW)   Mon Sep 29, 2008 12:25 am

For a brief moment, the Jedi and the former imperial officer regarded one another. Like Ava, Luke caught the sense of familiarity between the two figures, although his own feeling ran much deeper. He saw something Meric would doubt existed if ever questioned.

Juno Eclipse stepped forward and wrapped her arms around Meric, embracing him as one might embrace a long-lost brother. Meric returned the favor, but quickly let his arms fall to his side. "Who're your friends, Meric?" Juno asked.

"Juno Eclipse," he said, "Meet Luke Skywalker and Avadedra Hetarra, my friend and fellow Jedi, and my new apprentice." Artoo twittered indignantly. "Oh, yes, and Artoo Detoo." Meric should have been used to introducing machines, given his connection with Katarn.

Juno stepped back and saluted Luke and Ava both. "Juno Eclipse," she introduced herself, "Of Corulag."

Luke raised an eyebrow, looking questioningly at Meric. "Juno is what you might call the mother of the rebellion," Meric explained, "It was she, General Kota, and one other who managed to gather Garm Bel Iblis, Bail Organa, and Mon Mothma together to create the Rebel Alliance... although it did not come without pain."

Juno winced, but she quickly hid it. "Well, nothing good comes without a bit of a sacrifice," she stated plainly, "I am pleased to see our efforts so well rewarded. The imperial coms and news holos have been buzzing with activity over the past couple days. It seems the Rebellion scored a great victory at Endor."

Meric nodded. "Better than we could have dreamed," he answered, "Both Emperor Palpatine, and Darth Vader perished, leaving the Galaxy free of their tyranny."

Juno shook her head, far less optimistic. "You don't know the Empire as I do, Meric," she answered, "Others will come... Warlords and Grand Moffs, and even Grand Admirals will fight to take the Emperor's place... The war against the Empire is far from over."

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PostSubject: Re: Jedi Rising... (ATTN: Ava, but AW)   Mon Sep 29, 2008 12:43 am

Ava narrowed her eyes at the woman as she embraced Meric, suddenly realizing what the emotion she'd felt from Meric was. She remembered her manners enough to nod and smile tightly when Juno introduced herself to them.

Listening closely to the words passing between Meric and Juno, Ava eased closer to Luke.

"Is she serious?" she whispered to him, looking from her to Meric with worry in her eyes.

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PostSubject: Re: Jedi Rising... (ATTN: Ava, but AW)   Mon Sep 29, 2008 9:39 pm

Meric found himself fighting back discouragement when the news reached his ears. The rebels had fought tooth and nail not only to protect the Galaxy from the Emperor and his super weapons, and it was only through the will of the Force that they had managed to slay Vader and the Emperor. Could they truly hold out? Hope to hunt down the Emperor's warlords and destroy them before they managed to reek havoc upon the fledgling New Republic?

"I am quite serious," was Juno's response, "I served the Empire for well over seven years before.... before the Rebellion." She paused, as if biting back a painful memory, accompanied by the taste of bile in her mouth. "I witnessed the destruction the Empire was capable of causing, and I know the lengths that some of those who were benifited will go to in order to see it continue."

"Which is why we must continue fighting," Kota picked up the conversation, "Now more than ever, the Jedi will be needed to help restore peace to the Galaxy."

Now it was Luke who stepped forward. "That's why we've come," he said, "We're here to scout the Imperial Palace. Perhaps just as Palpatine spread his poison from here, we can spread its antidote."

"I see..." Juno said, "Are you all sure that you are in agreement regarding this?" Meric and Luke nodded immediately, but Juno cast a questioning look at Avadedra.

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PostSubject: Re: Jedi Rising... (ATTN: Ava, but AW)   Mon Sep 29, 2008 10:20 pm

Ava dropped her gaze to the floor, twisting her hands together as she fought back the surge of hopelessness. It wasn't exactly what she'd wanted to hear, but there was no changing the truth now that the words were spoken.

As Luke spoke, she glanced sharply at him, wondering at his conviction. She turned her attention to Meric, then caught Juno's gaze on her. Ava's eyes widened, realizing that she was being scrutinized.

"I suppose you want to know if I'll stand or run, don't you?" she asked boldly, shoving fear aside and drawing herself up. "I'm not a child, and I've seen more war than any my age should have. I think I can do what needs to be done."

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PostSubject: Re: Jedi Rising... (ATTN: Ava, but AW)   Mon Sep 29, 2008 11:20 pm

Juno stepped forward, staring hard into Ava's eyes. Her whole demeanor was one of very military bearing, a trait left over from her younger days. "I did not take issue with your age, Avadedra," she said plainly, "I take issue with your fortitude. You think you have seen war? I've seen things you could never imagine... Have you ever had someone you loved struck down right before your eyes? Have you ever felt the gaping hole in your heart left by the loss of someone who had become your center? Those are the things that war brings... It brings death and destruction on a scale you cannot even begin to comprehend... Entire worlds torn apart... beings slaughtered by the millions... Have you seen it, Avadedra? Have you heard their cries of pain while their world died around them?"

By now, it was Meric's turn to step in. "I can't speak for Avadedra in all those things," he said, hoping to avoid a scene, "But she is Corellian, and they're a tough stock. Even on Kashyyyk we had respect for them, roguish though they are."

So hearing, Juno stepped back. "I do have a way we might be able to get into the palace," she stated, "But not all of us... Ava, you and I will go together the first time... We need to be sure that Master Meric and Luke Skywalker don't still have their faces being looped in holonet transmissions, and if they do, we need to put a stop to that...." She turned to Kota and nodded. "Get PROXY."

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PostSubject: Re: Jedi Rising... (ATTN: Ava, but AW)   Mon Sep 29, 2008 11:50 pm

Throughout Juno's speech, Ava's fingers had clenched into fists. Her eyes narrowed as her whole body shook, visions of those last moments above Endor mingling with images of Hoth flashing behind her eyes. Hot tears welled into her eyes, the pain made worse by Meric's intervention. Pain like lances pierced her heart as Juno seemed to skate past what she'd said.

"As a matter of fact," she ground out, her voice shaking harder than her limbs, "I have. Only, the cries of pain were my own. I've seen my loved ones die before me, more than once. My mother died on Hoth because some hotshot sergeant wouldn't let me go back for her when a wall exploded and buried her. She died when the first wave of Storm Troopers found her. I've watched ships with friends, people I'd traveled with most of my life, explode because they'd run amuck of a Star Destroyer. My father... I literally watched him die over Endor, when the second Death Star exploded. He was there, on it, with it, serving the Emperor, and he..."

She stopped, suddenly realizing what she'd said. She dropped her gaze, the tears leaping free.

"All I want to do is learn," she said softly. "To learn and grow and find a way to make the pain stop. I want to be a Jedi, like my mother should have been, like she was training to be. Before me."

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