Ask Ajan Kloss A First for Both

Vayla Mirana

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This is a master-apprentice thread for @Manufactorium and I. We're gearing this as an introduction thread and whatsuch, but if you can think of a cool reason to join then by all means, ask!

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‘A Dance of Krayts’
By Pilemon Az’gar

‘A Tale of Two Souls’
By Vara Hildon

‘The Canyon of Dirahn: A Survey’
By T. Mannnaloe

On the Question of Potentium
By Zzin Qoris

Vayla took a deep breath, held it, and sighed. She felt indecision escape between her lips to blow against the books before her. Fiction or nonfiction. Fiction or nonfiction. It was a great debate. She had spent hours upon hours in the library of Ajan Kloss, day after day, and as much as any other Jedi who took to poring through the wealth of knowledge and understanding. Just as often it was of entertainment and amusement. History, science, philosophy—the library had much and more, and was expanding. Rey Skywalker had planted the seed all those years ago and it had grown. If she could see it now, if she isn’t watching already, she would surely be smiling. Vayla was.

In the end, she selected what eyes had seen first: Pilemon Az’gar’s ‘A Dance of Krayts’. It was a story about two rival dragons, or so they were dubbed, as they were closer to warriors—practitioners of the Force, no less. It was a somewhat hesitating choice on her part; there was some concern that she would end up reading about the kind of lightsaber combat that might come off more as a lightshow than anything else. With combatants who are written more as gymnasts than warriors. Still, it had to be worth its trouble, given that the library saw it fit to store it. Either way, Vayla doubted that she would have much time to dive into the book, given that her appointment would be arriving any moment now.

It was midmorning, and she had spent a couple of hours already in the library reading at leisure. Part of her time was spent on idle recreation, and another part saw her engrossed in personal study. Her goal was to prepare her mind for the object of the day. And many more days to come. Months. Years. Vayla had been a knight for a handful of years now, but she had never been a master. Today she would be receiving her first apprentice. Between master and apprentice, then, it would be a first for both.

Taking a seat at an empty table, she set her datapad down beside a pot of tea and two cups. The tea was freshly brewed though the cups were presently empty. The library, not so much. Other knights and padawans were about, browsing the archives or sitting on their lonesome, and a handful of children were being tactfully rebuked by a librarian who would have none of their running. Vayla smiled at them. One of them she had seen in the temple the other day; a sweet boy whose tears were being caught by the floor. He missed his mother, and had almost mistaken Vayla for her, never minding the Human-Pantoran disparity.

Orphans. Are they, though? After rescuing the parentless children, it stood to reason that the Jedi Order became their parents in more ways than one, and certainly their guardians. Ajan Kloss became their home. A new home. A new hope. Vayla dismissed the thought as she looked down at the datapad and the holobook within it. Dance of Krayts, is it? She licked her lips as though she were about to eat a meal. Let’s see how well you can dance...
 

Ke Eoto

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@Vayla Mirana,

Jedi Knight Vayla Mirana might have had few moments to dwell into the Dance of Krayts laid out in front of her on the table, perhaps getting a good taste of the text and its style, however soon enough she would be able to catch a glimpse of movement and the sound of soft footsteps on the floor near her. Should she turn to look upon it, she would see a youthful adolescent boy, with a head full of dirt-blonde hair and a starry looks in his eyes. The boy would give her a smile and a soft bow as their eyes met, however if Vayla was briefed about who her Padawan would be and knew what to expect, she would know that the boy strolling near her was not him.

If she wasn't aware that her Padawan was an alien, then any notions about the starry-eyed youth with dirt-blonde hair being her pupil would disappear as the boy turned aside and disappeared between couple of bookshelves, making it clear that he was one of the patrons in the library as well. Hopefully she's been told what to expect, however, and given an image or description of her Padawan, for then she would have no doubt that her Padawan arrived when she would see three elongated fingers with too many joints to be human, covered in golden chitin and adorned with black talons, peeking out from behind one of the bookshelves. The rest of her new Padawan appeared a second later, strolling out from the cover of library shelves.

Ke Eoto was over a decade younger than her, but still he was about a third of a meter taller than Vayla. His golden face swiveled on slender neck, the chitinous plates of his split beak hugging his face close to flatten it into a smooth mask as tight, narrow eyes the color of arctic ice scanned over the library. Finally his pale gaze rested in her direction and stopped there, any doubt whether this was her new Padawan or not ceased as the alien form raised his three-fingered hand and waved his talons in her direction in a casual greeting, black spines extending from the back of his head like slick-back hair shuddered lightly. He moved closer towards her, propelled on long, thin legs that ended with powerful-looking claws on wide feet, currently covered in wraps much like his hands were, and barely visible from beneath his long tan and brown robes and tunics.

Perhaps she could remember the alien from their time working in the kitchens, although they didn't spoke much that day it seems. Perhaps she would remember the difficulty he had working with technology, or that he was sent to the cooking duty as punishment for being caught eating one of the smaller animals native to the planet live in the woods near the temple. Perhaps she was also told about the traditional sword and rifle the alien was allowed to keep in his quarters, or about the finer points of his species' culture; for example the fact that being given a compliment instead of critique was a grave insult to the Blood Carvers. That last point was especially important, considering couple of incidents the Blood Carver was involved in during his early days in the temple, although his time with the Jedi since then tempered his imprinted instincts and made him more understanding that not everyone would be aware of his customs.

Either way, the tall, skeletal, golden alien came up to Vayla's table, moving almost silently through the room, safe for swishing of the fabric cladding him,

"Maas-ter Mirana,"

The alien begun, croaking out the sounds necessary to form words in human tongue, flaps of his chitinous beak twitching lightly as he spoke,

"I am your Pa-da-waan leaar-ner, Ke Eoto."

He informed his Master-To-Be, or Mistress depending on whether she considered the term to be gender neutral or not, and if she cared about such things.
 

Vayla Mirana

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Maegon Arlyrian walked across the sands with a purpose to conquer them, his tattered black robes making him appear to be gliding. He was ten dunes away from her, a shadow before the setting sun, but Dasha Blacktear could make out the craving that carried the conqueror even from this distance. Conqueror indeed. Maegon the Conqueror. You have returned. He was not alone. Idling beside the Sith Lord was a red behemoth that could swallow the sun itself. She had seen it before but it never failed to impress, with its massive tail and claws like sabers, serpentine body littered with scales like steel and a lizard’s head filled with a canyon of teeth that could hurl flames from in between them.

Vayla stopped reading from the datapad as soon as she noticed that she apparently had a visitor. Standing beside her table like a statue was a little boy with dirt blond hair and a starry look in his eyes. He did little besides stare at her and smile, as though his whole reason to exist was to exchange a greeting with the lady and be happy about it. She couldn’t help herself as she smiled back in delight, struggling not to giggle, and bowed. And like that, he skipped away. What a joy! Children’s faces were like the stars, gleaming in myriads and a thousand different ways when you looked at them.

When she looked away, her gaze descended the length of her table to find a being who was not quite a common sight on the Jedi grounds. She was looking at a Blood Carver, and he was looking back with a wave. Vayla returned the greeting, recognizing the individual in an instant. My appointment has arrived. Though this would be the first introduction between the prospective master and apprentice, it would not be the first time that the two had been in each other’s presence. They had last laid eyes on each other that day in the kitchen, when Byron Alduun led the team in making meals for the day. However, they hadn’t exchanged much more than passing looks.

When the Blood Carver spoke, his accent was unmistakable, and not a bit surprising. His species’ primary language, Batorese, was a wonder of sounds and scents and even skin coloration; a tongue and then some that even protocol droids struggled to comprehend. Vayla was fascinated by it when she had read upon the language earlier that morning, but she dared not try to speak it anytime soon. Basic will suffice.

“Greetings, Ke Eoto! I am Vayla Mirana. A pleasure to meet you.” Her own Pantoran accent came in a tone that was as cheery as composed, meeting the pale ice in his eyes with her own electric blue gaze. “I am glad that you made it—on time, to boot. Please, have a seat. Would you like some tea?” She began to pour herself a cup, and him too if desired. “Sorry, I’m not sure if you are partial to tea or not, but if nothing else this brew permeates a soothing scent. Blue Chawau, though more violet in color, made of tart rosehip, sweet apple and blueberry.” She slid a cup and saucer toward herself and took a slow sip. “I find that it relaxes my nerves.”

She shrugged unabashedly. “I sit across from my very first apprentice. An exciting prospect to say the least!” Vayla kept her hands on her cup, the heat warming them amid her white robes and the relaxing temperature of the library. “The last time I was in a situation like this, I was in your seat and an Anzat male was in mine.” The memory brought her back to her homeworld of Pantora, and two cups of Blue Chawau brewed from the moon’s own soil. "Jedi Knight Kint Hashis, a man gifted in negotiations if ever there was, whose footsteps I sought to follow." For a time. "And here I am, hoping to be as good if not better a teacher to you, Ke Eoto!"
 

Ke Eoto

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The Blood Carver bent in his waist at the introduction, giving Vayla a bow before taking hold of a nearby chair and moving it out from the table to slip into the seat, joining the Pantoran by the table. He sat there silently at first, pale blue eyes looking right at Vayla as his newfound master spoke at length, describing the tea. That icy gaze flickered down to the cup, looking over the hyper-porcelain before Ke Eoto nodded reluctantly,

"I will have tea, yes."

He agreed in a soft croak, bringing another series of twitches to the split chitinous plates on his beak. He reached over the the cup, his long fingers wrapping around it and sticking out at the same, longer than its circumference it seemed. He felt the heat of the liquid permeate through its container into his body as well, looking into its colors and turning it back and forth lightly as if inspecting the cup and it contents for any imperfections as he listened to Vayla reminiscent about her own time when she was meeting her master for the first time, her description of him and her hope to be a good teacher to the Blood Carver as well.

"I wel-come and look forward to oppoor-tunity for scru-tiny from someone of your exper-ience, as it is of high value to my people, value I was taught in chiild-hood."

Ke Eoto groaned out the words in a way to communicate that he was welcoming their partnership as well, and to make sure that Vayla was aware of the more important points of Blood Carver culture.

"I will be dili-gent in aiding your better-ment too by making you awa-re of your flaaws."

The Blood Carver promised, although those words probably carried more warmth in their meaning to him and his kind, rather than to the way Galaxy in general would understand them.

"Although, I think the Coun-cil hopes my time with you will inten-grate me more to human-staandaard culture, or tempeer and meek me at least."

He mused out in another groan as he brought up his cup of tea up in his hands, falling silent now to hear Vayla's thoughts in retort to his. Ke Eoto opened his maw up wide, tilting his head back as he brought the edge of the cup to his lower jaw, its chitinous plates shifting visibly to widen the bottom portion of his beak into a bowl-like arrangement. The insectoid poured the content of his tea into his mouth, his throat shaking and tensing back and forth visibly like an aquatic avian swallowing down small insects it fished out from the water. The Blood Carver closed his mouth then, tilting his head back down to look at Vayla as he put the now empty cup down on its saucer with a dainty little ding, the plates of his lower jaw shifting back to their place.

"You should consid-er in the future that cups are not opti-mal way to drink for speecies with no liips."

Ke Eoto croaked out a criticism in neutral intonations as a way to butter Vayla up on their first meeting. By Blood Carver standards, this was equal to him complimenting the quality and bouquet of flavors within the tea, except better because it would not lead to the sin of pride within the tea and stagnation of progress of tea-kind.
 

Vayla Mirana

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Vayla had watched as Ke Eoto lifted his cup to inspect it as though it were some alien contraption or work of art. Truth be told, it was both and neither all at once. Despite her fondness for refined tastes of tea and teaware, she had at least elected to bring to this table larger cups given the company to be had. His holding it, then, seemed to be a first success, and for that she was thankful. But not too thankful. Must be careful on that front.

Blood Carvers, she had learned, tended to treat compliments as insults, more or less. If they made a statue and held it up to your gaze, they wanted you to tell them what was wrong with it, not all of the ways in which it was right. One could not improve upon what needed no improvement. In fact, much to her blinking, she had even read an account of executions being carried out due to the condemned having complimented works of art. Certainly, this kind of cultural quality would be quite a challenge for someone like Vayla, who would instinctively wish to commend her Padawan in all the right ways. Well, as long as he doesn’t kill me, I think we’ll be okay. Even better, he’ll be kind enough to point out my flaws. Jesting aside, that was a relief. Teachers didn’t just teach—they learned how to teach. And I’ll need all the help that I can get.

"Although, I think the Coun-cil hopes my time with you will inten-grate me more to human-staandaard culture, or tempeer and meek me at least."
Vayla digested Ke Eoto’s words as tea slid down her throat. She had to wonder just what the Council had indeed conveyed to him, particularly in regard to his culture, customs and conduct. Certainly, there was wisdom in counsel and consideration on how to carry himself in a greater galaxy that did not cater to the Blood Carvers. And in an order and society with values that may be as alien to Batorine as Batorine’s are to theirs. As she thought about it all, she watched him drink his tea, and was fascinated by the process. Yet another success for her tea-toting teaching, and she received a firsthand experience of watching a Blood Carver drink to boot.

"You should consid-er in the future that cups are not opti-mal way to drink for speecies with no liips."
Vayla almost spat her tea out as she giggled, setting the cup and saucer in her lap and leaning back. She already felt a little more comfortable as the two conversed, her nerves settling. Whether that was on account of the tea or Ke Eoto himself, or the Force, or a mixture of all three amid blueberry, apple and rosehip, was not for certain.

“I shall endeavor to rectify this for future occasions,” she replied in a tone laced with raillery, but not bereft of formality. As much as she would have to get used his ways, he would have to get used to hers, and one of them was a particular sense of humor. “Though I hope you enjoyed your drink!”

Hers was only a quarter of the way gone. “So, if you’ll pardon the textbook query, what made you want to become a Jedi, Ke Eoto?” A personal question might have warranted using his personal name once more, but she did so as much to get familiar with the two words as they glided off her tongue. Or fell. By the stars, I hope I’m pronouncing it right.
 

Ke Eoto

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Gave out a rattling hum at Vayla's hope that the tea was enjoyable, leaning back in his seat with the elongated hands planting on his knees as he chose his words carefully,

"Drinking it was an enjoy-able proo-cess, and it will take time and foo-cus for me to finds flaws in it."

The Blood Carver croaked out in a brief critique, walking the fine line on giving his master a compliment on the beverage. At her question about his decision to become a Jedi, the Blood Carver gave out another hum. He voiced no corrections as to how she pronounced his name, however, so that was probably a sign that she pronounced it correctly enough.

"The stories my tribe will tell to our fuu-ture broods when I am gone."

The alien rattled out the response, letting the words hang in their strange intonations at first before elaborating.

"I grew up hearing legends of great hero Ke Pasa, my ancess-tor. Blood of Force is strong in our line, he was a Farseeeker, shaaman-hunter. In moment of weak focus, he accepted a compliment on my people's-"

He paused then, thinking about the words to say,

"-Social media holo-site. For this he was sent on Extensioon. A great exile. He fought for An-cient Ree-public, alongside Jee-di, with his battle-brother Eoto, a gro-tesque creature with chitin on the inside and fur on its aged boo-dy, a Boo-than."

The Blood Carver reminiscent, describing his ancestor and the alien partner that became his namesake.

"In the end, he slayed great beast in the Shadow-land of Wookiee planet. Ke Pasa parted with Eoto then and each reeturned to their faa-milies. The story becaame a lesson on redem-ption. Many of his children, and their children in turn become Farseeekers too, but my stoory would be of first Blod-Carva to become a Jeedi to teach our broods that we do not have to be boound to the dunes of our homee-plaanet."
 

Vayla Mirana

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Vayla just might have smiled like a dolt in relief that her companion’s first response wasn’t in any way, shape or form a criticism of her pronunciation of his name. That morning, she had learned the nature of punishments that Blood Carvers doled out to their own, chief among them ‘extension’, or probation, and she wasn’t terribly sure how they took to an outsider mispronouncing their own names. Then again, they are logical enough to recognize their own language challenges amid the galaxy, so there's that.

Such thoughts were quickly dismissed as Ke Eoto beguiled Vayla with his answer, which served more as a tale than an explanation. The teacup between her lips was like popcorn at a theater. ‘Blood of Force’. That sounds strong. Farseekers, they were Batorine’s own Force order of sorts. She had read that in a book. She hadn’t read that the Blood Carvers had a social media holo-site, though. She could only imagine...then thought better of it. Extension. There it is again. Maybe it was the immediate thought of loneliness and talk of exile, or the way that the Blood Carver recalled his story, but Vayla could have sworn that she felt a shiver down her spine as Ke Eoto spoke of a monster.

Though, it was definitely his speech that enlightened her a moment later that the “Boo-than” bogeyman he was speaking of was, quite indeed, none other than a Bothan. She had to stifle a giggle at her own misunderstanding there. By the end of Ke Eoto’s tale, Vayla was a robe of smiles. “Fascinating! I should like to learn more of Ke Pasa. I’m sure that he had many adventures, both on Batorine and beyond. By the way you convey your words, he sounds like quite the hero indeed!”

For a moment, Vayla thought of her own homeworld, Pantora, and the heroes on offer there. One had been something of his own action hero, Zalwiski Igga, and fought for a Republic too. If the stories held enough weight, he was quite the gunman, carrying two pistols into battle. Though, when all was said and done, her mind wondered to one hero beyond them all. My father, Oro Mirana...

“I respect your reasoning, Ke Eoto. In a universe of Jedi, there is no universal reason to become a Jedi. Stories are more than the sum of their parts, if I may. They are chronicles and lessons, and sometimes even a fable carries more truth than any fabled holocron.” Quickly, she held up a hand. “Not saying your own story about Ke Pasa is a fable, mind you, not at all!” She cleared her throat. “I guess what I’m trying to say is that I, for one, value stories of all sorts; the ones of yesterday and the ones of today; the ones told and the ones we tell. They offer as much freedom as that which you desire for your people. More tea?"

She took the pot to refill her own cup and his if inclined. At that, Vayla sought to stare into Ke Eoto’s eyes with a wickedly curved grin and a teacup poised beneath her chin. “Oh, stick with me, Ke Eoto, and I will show you the stars! What stories they tell!” So many stars. So many stories. “Hmm, your kind are artisans, are they not? I wonder, is there any particular planet or moon out there that you would most like to see? Sculptures to study? Poetry to analyze? Do tell!”
 
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