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  1. #161
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    Neva Xolte

    Siralai's attempt to dismiss her injury was accepted simply because Neva knew she'd do the same. Still, she wondered what had happened upon their return that could have led to such a thing happening. Sithlings? Had the person responsible for the twins' condition come to take them back as expected? Speculation was soon sidetracked by the new additions. Neva blinked in a strange position between shock and incredulity.

    "Wait, you took in Anewe's apprentices? That violent pipsqueak from the arena - really? I mean...yeah, they...wow. They must have had a terrible life. I can't imagine what it would have been like...being around her all the time. That's gotta mess ya up. You're sure that they're...okay?"

    She wanted to say 'Are you sure they're not like her?', but something caught up her tongue. Like she needed to sit on the idea. They'd been taught by Anewe - which made her inordinately wary - but wasn't that a bit hypocritical? Weren't she and Trura from the same stock, the same family, the same life? Did Neva really have any right to judge someone by who they were influenced by? Sure, they might have helped, but if she couldn't even trust herself, how could she trust them?

    Neva was visibly agitated - whether more by her thoughts turning to her own connections to the dead Sith or by the idea that Anewe's apprentices were close at hand, she couldn't say for sure. She did lean against the counter for support, prompting Teizi to lean in.

    "Perhaps you've been up long enough. I will escort..."

    "No!" The word came out a little more pitched than she would have liked. She hated herself for that a little bit, but swallowed and carried on in a more even tone. "No, thanks. I'm fine. I'm not going back to that tube."

    The Jedi's brow furrowed as she pressed her case. "I don't think you are in any condition to say whether or not you are 'fine'. Your body has been through an ordeal and needs time to heal."

    Despite the calm and good sense that oozed out of her statement, Neva wasn't convinced. Even the thought of going back to that ship that was so much like Anewe's...only to be confined there... Neva shook her head and quite literally stood her ground in the small kitchen, chin lifting in challenge. "I'm not going and you can't make me - unless you were planning to carry me."

    Neva had intended her words to be saucy, but to her surprise, Teizi the Jedi simply raised an eyebrow and said, "It wouldn't be the first time." She made no further move toward the Zabrak, but it was equally clear that she would do exactly what Neva had suggested.
    Winner of the dubious Vaarsuvius Award for Verbousness!

    I support altruism.

  2. #162
    Siralai Mahr

    "They're just kids, Neva," Siralai said gently... very gently. Neva's concerns were utterly reasonable, especially in light of what she had suffered. Siralai didn't want Neva to feel in any way faulted for having misgivings about the apprentices of her torturer. But she also needed to convey how the situation stood. "Just kids who were mistreated by a very cruel Sith. There will be lessons they will need to unlearn - undoubtedly. But these kids were Anewe's victims too, in a different way. They suffered at her hands, physically and emotionally. I suspect their experiences have more in common with yours than with their master's. It's not too late to help them. It's not too late to undo what Anewe did to their young minds. Anewe doesn't have to win that round either."

    When Neva and Teizi began to butt heads, Siralai realized she should step in. Neither side was going to budge; she needed to offer a compromise.

    "I think we can keep you out of Kolto, Neva," Siralai said with a smile. "But you're going to need to take it easy for a little while - do it for my peace of mind, if for no other reason. Can we agree on that?"
    "Sleep to dream, and we dream to live..." -Great Big Sea

  3. #163
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    Neva Xolte

    She sucked her lips against her teeth and stared at a spot on the floor, arms folded around her. The words Siralai spoke were true - had to be true - else they'd never have taken in those apprentices. Her skin crawled to think of what Anewe practised on them. The games she played. She could very well imagine... Neva turned abruptly and started fussing with the carafe and various other caf accoutrements. As well as she could imagine, she really didn't want to. That path was one Neva didn't much care to travel down again - at least not now. A quick grin flashed over her shoulder with the vocalization of a compromise - as that was most certainly what it was - pouncing on the opportunity for distraction. "Yeah, we can agree on that."

    Neva's eyes slid over to regard a rather stern-looking Teizi, seeming a bit unhappy with the arrangement. "I still can't believe you're here." The Jedi's eyes snapped to Neva's - was that...alarm? The zabrak carried on, unsure of what Teizi was trying to communicate to her with that look. She still needed this distraction.

    "All growed up and a Jedi. I admit, I didn't see that coming - though I always hoped you'd get off that rock."

    "Yes, well...I should...go meditate..." Teizi was backpedalling out of the conversation as well as the kitchen, though not quickly enough to avoid the arrival of Dallyn. The padawan was bright-eyed and clearly curious. Before she could stop him, he was entering the kitchen and making himself at home at the stove next to Neva.

    "Hi! I'm Dallyn. You knew my master before she was a Jedi?" He purposely kept his back toward Teizi because he knew exactly what he'd find if he looked. At least, he thought he'd find a stern visage and a no-nonsense attitude about hassling a person he'd just met. If he had turned around, he might have thought twice about pursuing his line of questioning. Teizi looked like someone had a blaster held to her temple.

    Neva made some space for the padawan and chuckled at his brief introduction. Kids. "Sure did. She was a little younger than you when we met. I am pretty sure I was the first zabrak she ever saw. Ha! That was a fun day." As she turned her head to better see Dallyn's face, she caught Teizi's stare out of the corner of her eye. It took her by surprise as she couldn't fathom what the problem might be. It's not like she was going to tell an embarrassing story or anything. Pausing in what was going to be a grand tale, she turned toward the Jedi.

    "What? You tell him you sprouted full grown out of a pumpkin patch or something?"

    "Of course not." Teizi sputtered, taken aback despite all the effort she'd put into making her disapproval known. "It's just...the past should stay there."

    Oblivious the the seriousness of the situation, Dallyn piped up, "But master, you say we should learn from the past so we don't repeat the mistakes made in history!" He was startled by Neva's elbow in his side and looked at her before turning around. Teizi didn't meet his eyes before turning on her heel and making a line for the door, not taking the time to say hello to any fresh faces on her way out.

    "Some other time, kid." Neva didn't know what all that was about, but if Teizi didn't want her talking about her roots, she certainly wasn't going to blab about it when she wasn't there. There wasn't anything she could do about what she didn't know anything about, so she shrugged at Siralai and held out a cup, "Caf?"

  4. #164
    Siralai Mahr

    "Dallyn, remember that Jedi are only human," Siralai said gently. "We have our wounds, too. Try to be understanding of your master's."

    She didn't follow Teizi, or otherwise attempt to intervene. It wasn't that she didn't care. She was concerned - but as she had told Dallyn, not every scar needed to be prodded. Not every memory needed to be pried into, at least not when it felt so sore. Siralai thought the best remedy for Teizi was space, and time to recover herself.

    "Yes," she replied gratefully to Neva. "I could very much use some caf."

    She spent some blissful time relaxing with her family - happy to be back with her children, and with Trystan - then went to bring Reyth and Arksynn their morning meal.

  5. #165
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    Dallyn

    Why was it that every time he tried to understand his master, he ended up further from his goal? He knew that Jedi were to eschew emotion, but did that really mean that they had to also lose all sense of personality? Of self? Because that was what it was starting to feel like. If this was what it took to be Jedi...could he do it? Did he want to?

    He managed to nod his assent, but the excitement for the day was dampened. If he wasn't allowed to feel joy or pride in his work, then what was the point?

    Reyth and Arksynn

    It was nice. Waking up in his embrace. Just...waking up for no particular reason. That alone was something Reyth hadn't experienced for a very long time. She allowed herself to bask in the temporary bliss - it certainly was temporary - nothing good ever lasted for long. Arksynn stirred, nuzzling her head and holding her a little closer. A silent sigh was her reply.

    The simple state of just 'being' didn't last long, as predicted. Arksynn roused himself and immediately poked at her leftover stew. Being in a reasonable mood, she let him have it. There was no avoiding it now - they were awake - the Jedi was gone - and the problems of the day seemed to seep into her bones through the floor. What were they going to do? Going back to Dromund Kaas after Arksynn went in there with a troupe of Jedi to kill some Sith and free some useless Republic prisoners was not going to happen. He'd be thrown in jail, if he was lucky. Public execution if he wasn't. Even if that wasn't the case, how would they get a new lord to take them on as apprentices? Everyone knew they'd been Lord Anewe's...and even though Reyth knew they were pretty sheltered, it was still obvious to her that no one liked their master.

    Arksynn poked her in the ribs, earning him a deadly stare for a half-second before his worried face reminded her of her own. He'd seemed so happy when he'd holoed from the ship. And now? What did they have to look forward to, really? At the very least, she needed to bust out of here and get as far away from these people as possible. Who sacrificed themselves for horrible Sith apprentices? Crazy people, that's who.

    "We need to get out of here."

    Reyth's first words weren't very encouraging. He had hoped for maybe 'Good morning' or 'I am feeling better' or ... something else. Anything else. He didn't want to have to talk about this, but he supposed there was no avoiding it. This was their lives they suddenly had to have a plan for. He turned to face her, sitting with his back to the door so that he could see everything she said and everything she didn't.

    "I think we should stay. At least for a bit." Arksynn buffered his statement, hoping that Reyth wouldn't just clamp down on the idea of leaving. Staying didn't have to be forever...

    "Why? Don't tell me it's for the free food." Her mien fairly oozed sarcasm.

    "Well, in a way. We don't have any credits. We aren't lords."

    "Tell me something I don't know."

    He was losing her already and he hadn't even gotten to talk with her about the thing he thought was the most important. "They are good people. They give a crap about us even though they don't know us. I want...I want that."

    It was Reyth's turn to eye him up. She'd accuse him of going soft on her if she hadn't noticed the same thing. Rossi's patience with explaining the situation. The poetry. The singing. The saving. There was something about these people that just didn't make any sense. If they were intending to win their trust for some foul purpose...that wasn't yet clear. Reyth's suspicions weren't going to go down quietly - they latched on to the thought that there was a trap that simply hadn't been sprung. Well, staying put would probably help her find an answer to that too.

    "Fine. They are crazy, though, you know that."

    "Yeah, I know." Arksynn was relieved that the first step of their freedom could be taken together. Now, he just had to figure out why she had felt the way she did...why she thought that death was her only option. What if she tried to leave again?

    The outside door opened and footsteps approached. The rest of the conversation was going to have to wait. He supposed that if he never left Reyth's side, then he could make sure she was safe - that would have to do for now. Standing, he waited at the foot of the bed, hoping it was Siralai and not the other Jedi. Siralai had a way of making you feel valuable and he hoped that would rub off on Reyth.

  6. #166
    Siralai Mahr

    Siralai entered the med bay quietly, so as not to disturb the two teens if they were still sleeping, but seeing them up and about, she smiled and resumed her normal pace and demeanor.

    "Good morning," she said. "I hope you slept well. I brought breakfast, and clean clothes - if you want them, until we can get your things laundered."

    She took a quick glance at the two of them to try to gauge how things were going. They seemed calm and collected. Dropping the forcefield was a risk, but it would have to happen eventually, and they needed to eat.

    "Here..." she said, setting the breakfast tray on a table that had been out of Reyth's reach the day before when she tried to smash the room to smithereens.

  7. #167
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    Arksynn and Reyth

    It took the span of a second for him to cross over to the table and start helping himself - largely piling up his plate high with the items he knew Reyth would have a hard time eating. He offered a fast smile to Siralai and lifted his plate slightly toward her before proceeding to sit back on the bed and fill his face. The girl, however, seemed frozen at the edge of the where the force field would activate. It was as if she expected it to suddenly reactivate before she could step over the threshold. Her eyes were on Siralai.

    Reyth hadn't pulled her hood back up, which she regretted, though it didn't make her hide her gaze. She was focused on the left eye - the one that the Jedi said wouldn't recover. That eye had been sacrificed for her. The woman didn't even know her - at least not as anything but a hostile force - and had given up herself for her. So what was her angle?

    She lifted her foot and placed a toe over the imaginary line. From behind her, Arksynn managed to speak around the food in his mouth, "She doesn't bite, you know." Reyth's eyes dropped from calculating stare into an unimpressed eyeroll as she made a rude gesture behind her back. He laughed and nearly choked, which brought the tiniest of smirks to her lips. Served him right.

    Arksynn's joke was the push Reyth needed, apparently. She made up the rest of the distance to the table and stood with it between her and Siralai. The last time she'd stood this close to the Jedi, she'd clocked her on the head. Reyth coudln't fault her for that. The bizarre trust, on the other hand...

    Still staring at Siralai, she picked up a glass of some sort of liquid and selected an item without looking at it. Her next step was in the direction of the door.

  8. #168
    Siralai Mahr

    Seeing Reyth looking at her bad eye, Siralai got a little bit self-conscious. It must look gross, to catch Reyth's attention that way. Her hand reflexively flicked to cover it, then she realized how silly that was. Hopefully it would be less noticeable once the swelling went down. Maybe until then she should wear a hood, so others weren't quite so obligated to see it.

    When Reyth made her move toward to door, Siralai didn't try to block her. She didn't change her position at all. They weren't going to be able to just leave Reyth behind a forcefield indefinitely. At some point, they were going to have to accept that she might decide to leave. Extending her imprisonment wouldn't make it any easier, if that was the choice she made.

    "Think carefully about what you want, Reyth," Siralai said quietly. "I'm not going to stop you. I'm not going to keep you here by force. I know... that I've made life very difficult for you. I've asked a lot of you, and I'm sorry for that. It is not my intention to cause you further pain. If you are unhappy here, you're free to walk away and never think of us again. But just... make sure that's what you really want. Make sure there's a future you like better. Don't leave just out of habit. If you hate it here - if things are unbearable for you - I understand, and I won't hold it against you. If you think this could possibly be tolerable for you, though, give it more time. You don't have to decide the rest of your life before you even eat breakfast. I'm sorry I've put you in this position."

  9. #169
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    Reyth

    It was hard to look at her when she said things like that.

    Sure, she guessed that maybe having to pick a new direction in life might be difficult, but it wasn't like life was easy before. Her life had never been easy. It had never been without pain. And it had been such a very long time since she'd been truly happy. She forgot what it felt like. But 'a future you like better'? Really? Reyth had given up on having anything resembling a future - she had thought she was on her way to the top when she was picked up so quickly from Korriban by what seemed like an up and coming lord, but no. No, that had been the beginning of her end. She'd had her dreams sucked out of her and replaced with...what? Certainly not any dreams of Anewe's.

    So, this was it then. She really was free to choose what she wanted to do with her life. At least, if the Jedi could be trusted - and Reyth reasoned that by definition they were stupid enough to mean what they said - then she really could just walk out that door.

    Her feet were already moving, though she hadn't noticed her chin had dropped during her internal discourse, her unfocused eyes staring into Siralai's shoulder. She knew where the door was. She didn't need to see it. The first step she took into the light, however, dragged her out of her reverie. Sand with tufts of grass. Tall trees swaying in a gentle breeze. Rock cliffs. Birds overhead. Reyth knew what all these things were, but it was like they didn't all belong here in this place at this time. Despite the fact that her surroundings were very real, they seemed disjointed. Like fragments of memory spliced together into a patchwork holosim. She stood at the foot of the ramp, frozen in place.

    What did she want?

    Ever so slowly, her hand brought the biscuit to her mouth and she took a small nibble, teasing the crumb between her lips and her teeth. The Jedi was right about another thing. She certainly didn't have to decide her life before she'd had any breakfast.

  10. #170
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    Arksynn

    Tearing into yet another biscuit, he glared at Reyth's retreating back. What was her deal? Siralai had saved both their lives - and was even apologizing for doing so! And she couldn't even...nod? Blink? Anything would have been better than the vacant stare and desertion. Didn't she get it? If she didn't respond or just walked out for real that they might not get another chance? That they could end up two rogue Sith on some scummy pirate planet fighting tourists for credits? Steal a ship and turn to a life of short-lived crime?

    He swallowed hard and got up to refill his plate. As he drew near the table, he couldn't help but notice the Jedi's face. She looked...so sad. Because of Reyth being a sodding stiff, no doubt. Well, he wasn't going to just let her ruin things. Pouring himself a glassful of caf, he attempted to broach the topic casually.

    "We did talk about staying, you know. Before you came in. I thought I'd convinced her to give it a go - an' I think she will. She's just...you know..."

    What? Reyth was what? A jerk? So was he. A liar - again, him too. He didn't even know why he wanted to stay here really beyond what he felt when Siralai was around. Welcomed, maybe? The silence suddenly felt awkward and he blurted out the first thing that came to mind.

    "Thank you. I mean, uh, thanks for stepping in and saving Reyth. Sorry you got hurt."

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