THEME (OOC: Open to all Jedi! Come congratulate our new Grandmaster!)
It was another perfect tropical evening on the Outer Rim planet of Yavin IV. The sun had already set, disappearing behind a distant mountain. Darkness had fallen over the moon, but deep within its jungles there were signs of life.
Tonight was a very special occasion, something the Jedi Order had been looking forward to for a very long time. After the passing of the former Grandmaster Oota Boan at the hands of the Sith on Ajan Kloss, the Jedi Order had been left in shambles. Their temple had been desecrated at the hands of their enemies, and they had been driven from the planet they had called home for so many years.
Grandmaster Oota Boan had fought valiantly until the end, but the Sith had shown him no mercy, and he became one with the Force. His death left a void within the Jedi Order, a void that would go unfilled for four long years.
That void had now been filled, with the recent appointment of Alexandria Voran to the position of Grandmaster by the Jedi Council. The Jedi once again had someone to help lead and guide them, and the majority of Jedi were in agreement: Alexandria Voran was the only Jedi qualified for this position.
Open war with the Sith and growing hostility with the ISC meant that it was a long and difficult road that laid ahead of the Jedi Order, but the light that was Grandmaster Alexandria Voran filled the Order with renewed hope and confidence.
Tonight was a celebration of that renewed hope, a celebration of Grandmaster Alexandria Voran.
Stepping back to examine the completion of her work, Atris examined the courtyard that had been set aside for just this occasion. Market lights and paper lanterns hung from stone and trees and were strewn along stone pathways to light the way.
To one side of the courtyard sat a table full of punch and every finger food imaginable, from pretzels to fresh fruit to fresh fish and everything in-between. The most eye catching food on the table was without a doubt the cupcakes that bore the face of Grandmaster Voran on top, prepared by the very talented culinary artist Sabatha Sayall (@Charndley ) who had been kind enough to offer her talents.
A few tables and chairs had been set up to allow for seating, with fresh flowers and candles placed at the center of each table for decoration. Music played in the background, faint but audible. It was simple, but it would do.
All that was left now was for other Jedi to arrive.
Kyp Eridan had never been much for parties, he devoted himself to a life of asceticism and meditation, as well as to studies. In fact, even as he entered the courtyard for the party, his face was still buried in a book. He hungrily flipped through the pages, his eyes skimming, translating text in his mind almost as fast as he read. He stopped, barely recognizing that he was in a place for a party. He closed the book with an audible thump. While it was not large, it was written on some kind of paper or parchment, the covers laden with embossing in what could be translated as either a Gamorrean Romance novel or a text on the theory of the unconscious mind and how the Force interacted with it. Looking about, he allowed himself a faint smile, at least he had arrived here intact. Given his predilection for walking and reading even in the most difficult or dangerous of terrains, this was genuinely a miracle. He slipped the book into his robe and exclaimed at the sight of the food.
"Ooooooh Is that a Vercupti of sgazza boleruueé?! Perhaps it was right to attend after all..."
He stopped himself. Kyp looked about, was he really one of the first to arrive? Perhaps it was best that he hold off as well, giving in to one's desires and passions was a dangerous road, and even something as simple as a beloved dish of his, well, that could start a whole chain of events that could lead him to the dark side... well... probably not, but still it would most certainly be impolite. He did not wish to be impolite. He had not been back to civilized space in some time, off in the wilds hunting out information to better help his padawan, Altina. He looked about, wondering if there would be any familiar faces. He did so need to apologize to Maxims, after all...
Kyp could consider Byron a bird of a feather if he knew the Knight. The two of them probably shared a lot in common. At least this is what the bearded Jedi thought to himself as he entered the party. There were plenty of other Jedi whom he had yet to meet or truly get to know. That wasn't always the case.
Byron wasn't wearing anything particularly flashy. An outfit composed of a green jacket with a black T-shirt underneath showed his bulk a little more than Jedi robes. He had work trousers and boots to match, they were all at least clean and devoid of any engine grease or smell of coolant which was a rarity. The Sentinel wasn't carrying any of his custom made blasters today. Only the gauntlets and a fusion cutter remained on the Jedi's person while he was at the Temple on Yavin IV.
The enhanced cybernetic that replaced his left leg from mid-calf down was no longer causing Byron to limp. The limb replacement had been expertly done by MorataCorp and Doctor Morata herself. But even then it had taken time to get used to.
Byron used his two legs to walk casually over to the food table first and loaded up on finger foods. He made no efforts to say hello to any of the other Jedi tasty treats drew his full attention. Finger krill, hogs in a quilt, assorted vegetables and dips, was there even a cheese and chocolate fountain? Making burly figure scoot bit by bit down the table, Byron almost forgot why he was here. Looking around at the end of the food table he craned his neck to find anybody he did recognize. Mainly the guest of honor. However he had yet to work with that Jedi Master as well. Byron chewed on a savory cheese and cracker combo and was content remaining a wallflower until spent calories were replenished.
She felt silly and out of place. All this for her? Choosing a Grandmaster to replace Oota was momentous. Alex was proud the Order felt she was the right choice, but it felt awkward to celebrate. She was elevated because a man far better at the job was cut down. Many far more deserving fell before they ever got the chance. So, it was left to Alex. Becoming the leader of the Jedi was a burden, more than it was a celebration. She had grown into the Jedi the Order needed. The leader tasked with guiding them through these dark times. She was ready. The Force had made her ready.
But…in these quiet moments alone she felt doubt. All this for her? The girl without a home, drug addled parents asleep in the street, the Jedi who had shunned the Order…all this for her?
Alex took a deep breath. The galaxy was dark, and the Light would ask much of them in the coming months. The Order needed a reason to celebrate. A reason to laugh, smile, and remember those who were lost. They’d have a party even if she thought it was silly. Deep breath, Alex. Let’s go. The Morellian Jedi’s steps carried her swiftly to the party set up. She knew a few particular Jedi had worked very hard on the presentation. For once, Alex eschewed typical Jedi robes. It was a party after all, and she rarely wore anything else. The Grandmaster allowed her presence to float across the gathering as she drew closer. A warm light growing warmer. She stepped into the small clearing and smiled.
“Please…no staring.” A small laugh escaped. She started to hunt around for food. Getting dressed had been tiring work and was starving.
Sabatha lingered by the food table, merely for practical reasons. She'd spent so much time trying to get the cupcakes just right that she felt a little protective of them. Still though, after her experience in the night markets, she'd been glad to stick to the kitchens of Yavin IV for a while. Less chance of strange bounty hunters wanting to kidnap her, for some unknown reason.
It was a lovely party, Atris had done well. The lights and lanterns shimmered above everything, casting a soft, warm glow over them all. Sabatha had even managed to root a dress out of her things for the occasion. A pink dress, with pale floral patterns. She'd topped it off with a darker jacket over the top, just for practicality. It'd be a shame to get cold arms.
Sabatha went straight for a cake though. She was a Jedi now, she could have cake before her mains and nobody could stop her. She'd make her way to the dips and vegetables later. The variety and mix of food was astounding, even if a lot of it was meat-based. It was still nice to look at though, and the smells...
She was halfway through the cake when the Grandmaster herself arrived, her presence radiating through the air. Brushing off the icing from her mouth quickly, she waved and gave her a big, beaming smile. She owed a lot to Grandmaster Voran for helping save her from those bounty hunters, she would not be forgetting that any time soon. She didn't want to crowd her too much though, she'd probably be quite busy. There'd be more important people for her to talk to than one padawan. The other two close to the table seemed more interested in the food, understandably. So Sabatha went for the one other person she recognised.
"The lanterns are really quite lovely," Sabatha announced to Atris, stepping up closer to her, "they really set the trees off well. It looks wonderful." Her gaze drifted back over towards Alexandria, sighing a little. "I hope she can enjoy it. Relaxing is important." It was certainly a maxim that Sabatha tried to live by, anyway.
A few lightminutes out, just as the celebrations were kicking off on the Jedi Temple, a transport ship emerged from hyperspace. The ship was on fire, blasting a distress signal on all frequencies, and literally falling apart as its engines died and the gravity of Yavin IV started to slowly pull it in. In its wake emerged a wing of ships, a small cruiser, and a dozen or so patchwork starfighters. Pirates, harrying the ship, intent on finishing the job they had started before the transport had jumped to hyperspace.
Deep in the Jedi Temple, an alarm started going off in the communications room, the Jedi padawan on duty turned to check the warning, her eyes grew wide as she read the distress call.
This is the Floating Bantha, transport ship out of Ord Rodama, requesting immediate aid. We are being hunted by pirates, shields are down, life support is failing, and we have lost propulsion. We have over a thousand refugees onboard and not enough escape-pods, if anyone can hear this we need help, and fast!
Without a moment's hesitation the padawan reached across her console and slammed down on a big red button to put the entire Temple on red alert. The Jedi though would sense things even before the warning was sent out, they could sense it in the Force. The fear of a thousand souls sang like a beacon in the Force, and one by one eyes would be drawn to the sky as alarms started blaring all around.
Aboard the doomed transport a lone Jedi was doing his best to keep the ship's occupants calm, but his best was not enough. Unaware of where the ship had jumped to, and feeling the ship falling apart around him, Wax felt something in the Force that he hadn't felt in a very long time. Acting on a hunch, he reached out through the Force to anyone who could hear. No words, just a simple plea.
"You cheated Gorgor!" Drow Venn laughed as he was thrown out of the wrestling pit with what he felt was a very cheap move. As part of the night's festivities, a few games had been set up outside to amuse the party guests. Holodarts and bobbing for apples were all well and good but the only game that appealed to Drow was the wrestling pit that the Temple Guardsmen had set up. As of right now, Gorgor the Gamorrean Guardsmen remained undefeated and it looked like he was going to stay that way.
Laughing off his defeat, Drow spotted a familiar face. Ordinarily, the Jedi Master maintained a civil air and tried to at least remain a little dignified in the presence of youngsters and Padawans. But the libations provided this evening kept finding themselves in the Ishi Tib's cup and he was, to put it mildly, having a good time.
"Hey you son of a bantha! I still owe you that drink!" Drow clapped Byron on the shoulder as he stumbled his way past two younglings who were giggling at the sight of the Chief of Temple Security plastered. The drink he was referring to had been incurred after he and Byron had been captured by Pyke slavers on Kessel in, frankly, an embarrassing incident that had ended up with Drow stunning Byron. He pulled a flask of Old Trusty from his pouch and shoved it into Byron's hands.
"Been saving this one for a special occasion and tonight seems pretty ffflippin' special wouldn't ya say buddy?" Drow hugged the Knight fondly. As he was giving the bottle, the Ishi Tib was panged with the sense that something was very wrong but in his clouded state of mind, the feeling was vague and unfocused.
A party for the Jedi Order's newest Grandmaster was something Haldir never expected to find himself in. He was the loner, after all, who tended to keep himself in the background and not once had he tried to call attention to himself. Spies never did that, and despite his return to the Order he knew he would always be what his clan had raised and shaped him to be.
A spy who would always be at the very edge of the background.
And yet his mindless wandering around the Temple had led him to a party. He was clad in black, as usual, though only the lower half of his face was concealed by a mask. Instead of mingling with the others the Arkanian remained content and stayed where he always belonged – in the background, on the edge of the festivities, nursing a glass of fruit juice one of the passing Padawans had given him.
Oddly enough the Knight didn't feel out of place. Perhaps taking on a Padawan learner had strengthened his belief that he would always have a place in the Order. It was a nice thought, something he would probably never stop entertaining. And besides, Willa was a nice person. Of course there were also Knights Crix Aran and Mikko Falco, fellow Jedi he'd worked with. Pale blue eyes surveyed the party but found neither. Busy, perhaps? Crix had his own Padawans – two, if he remembered correctly – to teach, and Mikko seemed to be the kind who preferred to go on missions as much as he could.
The Force then whispered a faint warning at the Knight, snapping him out of his musings. What followed was the sound of an alarm being raised (@Wit). In the middle of festivities? Haldir moved forward, gaze drawn to the nearest Knight (@llamallove) as the cry for help through the Force reached him, and lifted both hands to sign,
It has been a long time. Too long, in fact. Being left behind in the temple left her with far too little to do outside of the training that Kyp instructed her to do on a daily basis made Altina extremely bored. Once she sensed that he had arrived on the planet, Altina was immediately out of her room and in search for her master.
With the training that Kyp had made her do, Altina is more mentally prepared to deal with the unwanted visions and whispers of her condition, but little has been achieved in overcoming them entirely. It remained a chore to be able to discern what is real and what remained a vision, giving others the impression that she was avoiding shadows for no apparent reason, but those who have seen her around appear to not mind it anymore.
She pushed her way through the crowd to where she found her master contemplating the prepared food laid out at the buffet stand. He seemed completely unconcerned with checking in on her, which annoyed her, to say the least.
"You should have taken me with you, Master!" she called out after him.
As Kyp reacted to her, Altina crossed the remaining distance and tossed a light punch to his shoulder. She gave him an exasperated look. "It was boring without you here."
One by one, other Jedi began to file into the courtyard. Some look pleased to be there, others like they'd only wandered into the party on accident (@Srota ). Either way, the majority of partygoers made their way to the refreshments table, perusing the bountiful selection. Thanks to the combined efforts and the contributions of many Jedi, there would be no shortage of food tonight.
The presence of the Grandmaster (@Valen Pelora ) was sensed by those in attendance before she was seen. Atris' brown eyes searched the guests for that one face that would outshine all of the others tonight, relieved to see the guest of honor had shown up after all. The Grandmaster had promised to attend, but with the weight of the Jedi Order and sometimes the entire galaxy on the woman's shoulders, you never knew when urgent business would call her elsewhere without a moment's notice. Atris had never worked with Alexandria Voran before, but hers was a face that was known by most Jedi. She offered the Grandmaster a welcoming smile before turning to face Sabatha Sayall (@Charndley ).
"Thank you, Sabatha," Atris replied, smiling fondly at the Jedi Padawan beside her. The dirty blonde Padawan's presence always managed to light up the room—or in this case, the courtyard. She had an easy going nature, lighthearted and occasionally other worldly. "I hope so too. If anyone deserves a night of relaxation, it's her.
"By the way, thanks again for taking the time to make the cupcakes." Gesturing toward the crowded buffet table, the Jedi Knight offered the dreamy teenager an impish grin. "I snuck one earlier, and they're delicious."
An older Jedi (@Hawaii Stateball ), probably in his mid thirties if Atris were to guess, appeared in the gateway that led into the courtyard. "You're not late. You're right on time," she assured the Jedi, inviting him in to mingle with the other Jedi and join in the festivities.
Startled, Atris looked around for the source of the plea, her eyes scrutinizing each party goer. Was she hearing things? Surely not. The Jedi Knight couldn't have been driven to insanity yet—she wasn't even twenty-seven! Her fears where mitigated when a masked Jedi Knight (@Forsythe Crowholde ) approached her, signing to ask if she had heard the call for help. So she wasn't the only one. That meant she wasn't going crazy after all. That was a relief.
"Yes, I heard it," she answered right away. "We better go check it out."
Whether or not he or anyone else followed, the brunette hurried through the nearest gate of the courtyard. Crossing the stone pathway that led to the entrance of the Jedi Temple, the sounds of the Temple alarms grew less muffled, no longer drowned out by the sounds of the party.
More and more people began arriving, entering the courtyard and encroaching on the refreshments, so many people, none of whom he really knew. Time away had changed things here, and he had found himself almost overwhelmed by the state of the order. He was dressed simply, unlike some of the others, favoring simple brown robes and a lack of armor, the simple metal tube that was his lightsaber still hung at his belt and was another indicator of where this man spent his time. To be honest, he wasn't even sure if it worked really these days, he used the thing so rarely. Instead, he favored reason and calm, trusting in the will of the Force to guide him, as it had these last few months. He had left his padawan at the temple, for he was not about to bring her wandering with him, as he knew not where he would wind up. Instead, after they had left Ithor, he had sent her back here, safe from the Sith and the other dangers. Had it been a rare moment of attachment in his life? Perhaps. But he had trusted in the Force, and the force had guided him to that decision. It had been a wise one, at least this way she had been given the chance to interact with others, closer to her age, a chance to try and build those meaningful relationships and friendships she would need when she passed her trials and became a full fledged knight. After all, sitting on a mountaintop on Rhen Varr, seeking guidance from the Force for almost a month was no way for any padawan to learn.
The ancient ice world had yielded little, despite what felt like tendrils in the Force, pushing and pulling him, guiding him towards something. Had it been a metaphorical treasure in the form of some self-enlightenment, or had it been a physical treasure? He had not had the chance to find out. Instead, he had been called home by the Force, had been called to find his Padawan and begin allowing himself to indulge in his wanderlust once more. They had much to explore, much to see. Kyp looked down at the Vercupti of sgazza boleruueé he had just moments ago slid onto a plate piled high with food. It was his favorite, after all. He shoved it into his mouth just as the shout echoed across the courtyard sending him turning in surprise! Suddenly the light punch hit his shoulder a moment later.
"Mmmmmmf... mmmfmmmmmf mfffffmmmfmfmfmfmfmmmmmm... mmmmf...." He said to Altina, his mouth still full with food, before turning and smiling at her, crumbs flecked all over his beard. He was thinner than she would have remembered, a little gaunter, for gaining sustenance through the Force while meditating was not conducive to maintaining muscle mass. He gulped, swallowing the mouthful of food at last.
"Altina, I am sorry it was boring, but I have to admit so was my own trip, nothing like our little misadventures on Bracca! But even so, you were diligent in your studies and practice... Ahhh! Yes, do you feel that, my padawan? Emergency... The Force calls us to aid someone in need." He turned and set off towards the entrance where his padawan had come from. There was never a bad time to test his padawan, to see how she had grown in her abilities with the Force under her own tutelage, and a chance to guide her in turning theoretical into practical.
"My young padawan, come and show much how much you have learned. And don't worry, I'll be alongside you the entire way." He placed a hand gently on her shoulder for a moment and then began walking once more, his long legs and loping, easy, gait bringing him to the entrance alongside Atris, and simply, quietly, followed her as she set off towards the source of the alarm.
Her master’s slimmer and gaunter appearance did not escape Altina, though she could not guess the reason for it. The best she could surmise is that whatever happened, he was not taking good care of himself in the process. Honestly, she could probably have made sure that he doesn’t lose weight.
Altina was hoping for a greeting and some catch-up time spent between them, but Kyp was already on the trail to another escapade. She did her best to suppress a pouting expression as Master Eridan headed off in the direction she came from. The padawan sighed.
“The entire way to your next sojourn, perhaps,” she muttered before jogging to catch up with her master.
Although Altina had sensed the warning prior to finding Master Eridan, she didn’t realize that it was a real one until her master pointed it out. With the assurance of its reality, Altina’s eyes narrowed as she focused. Her senses found the blaring alarms and traced it back to the padawan who triggered it. From there, Altina heard the echoes of what was said just minutes before.
“Floating Bantha… Pirates… Refugees… Help…” Altina repeated as she sought to isolate those voices from the nearby party and other noise from her connection with the Force: her words being just loud enough for her master to hear.
The strain tired her, perhaps more than what would would expect from tapping into the Force, but Altina did her best to keep a tough look as she looked over at Master Eridan expectantly.
Warmth floated through the Force. Alex felt content basking in the easy comradery around her. She missed this simple pleasures. The feeling of comforting companionship. It was not meant to last. As with all things, Alex’s life quickly turned to chaos. She felt the sudden burst of bright emotion before the call went out. Her mind was floating across Yavin until it was being pulled to the sky. She heard the call for aid ripple through her mind. Fear…panic…hunger. Alex flipped through the emotions pouring from above the Temple. A second later her datapad buzzed alarmingly. She sighed. Well, the party certainly had been nice while it lasted.
The Morellian Jedi raised her voice. Calm authority cut through the air. “A vessel is about to crash land…one of our own appears to be aboard.” She had gotten just a flash of that presence. Did he not know where he was? “The danger will not pass until and the hunters are chased off.” They needed to act quickly and decisively. “Drow, Byron, we’ll need to secure the landing area.” Alex’s gaze swept around the gathering. Time to put them to work. “The rest of you will need to be prepared to treat the wounded.” Already fighters were streaking from the Temple hangars to engage the pirates. Alex’s orders traveling swiftly from her datapad. She took a deep breath.
“I’ll buy us some time.” She sunk into the Force. The Light exploded within her heart as she reached for the sky. The transport was crumbling, there was little she could do beside delay the inevitable. While…that would be fine. The Force gathering around the ship, pressing to hold the decaying vessel together. Alex hummed as she worked. Her eyes closed and her soul straining. They just had to hold on a little longer.
Zareth was all smiles as he wandered around the party honoring the new Grandmaster. Atris had done a fine job setting up the place. Zareth made the rounds, stopping here and there to share a joke or laugh at a story. He was about to congratulate- and thank- the woman when the Force pulsed in warning; at first faintly, and then getting stronger. A few seconds later, alarm bells rang out and the danger he sensed became real. Overhead, a transport streaked faintly across the sky in a desperate race for safety with other craft nipping at its heels.
The party was quickly forgotten as various Jedi rushed to respond to the distress call. Zareth resisted the urge to hop in a fighter or run to the landing pad- he was not trained in Force healing nor would he be as helpful in a fight- so instead, he sank down into a meditative trance a few feet away from Alex, lending her his strength through the Force as she fought to hold the transport together.
The beautiful appearance of the new Grandmaster was a welcome one. Byron's bearded face was full of meet jerky that had the some sort of sautee technique applied. It really brought out the umami in the finger food but the Jedi would stop. A pin prick of unease that was all too familiar. His hand began to move the plate and set it down to one side.
The sentinel's gaze turned skyward subconciously even as Drow hailed him a merry welcome. "Drinks later. Be right back." He replied to the friendly-firing ishi-tib. Without waiting for a reply, the muscular form of the Knight raced into action. His body summersaulted acrobatically over anybody between him and his ship. "Or follow!" He added over his shoulder. Byron didn't apologize as he bobbed and weaved amid people unaware of the violence about to be occuring in high orbit. He nearly ran into Alexandria. She was even more stunning up close. "Congratz by the way" He said without slowing down. Byron was never one for formalities.
The man summoned the force in his legs and dashed his way to the Triskele. Reaching out a hand, the cockpit came to life as the vehicle was turned on with Byron's telekinetic will. With the cockpit opening, it barely made it wide enough for the Knight leap up and into the seat. Engines flared to life and out of the Temple's hangar came forth the Jedi's ship. The temples defenses would have already begun reacting.
He wasn't wearing his flight suit. That was fine he knew how to deal with vacuum in the off chance he experienced depressurization. None of that mattered when it came to what he was feeling right then. Engaging the illegal modifications he had put into the ship himself, the starpilot sped ever faster and his body pressed harder into the seat.
Once he was within range the weapon systems began locking onto the closest pirate ship. Byron depressed the trigger to launch a missile the moment it was made and banked to begin targeting another. Harassing the harassers enough to get them to stop paying attention to the civilian transport. They needed some breathing room.
Kyp stopped in his tracks, watching as the others swept into action. He looked down at Altina and smiled warmly. "That is true, my young padawan. There will be times when I am travelling without you. But that just means that I trust you to act on your own and to do the right thing even when I am not around. It is why I trust you now." He watched the others as they ran, each Jedi seeking to find a place to help where they could do the most good. He thought for a moment, wondering where they both might best serve the force. He let his eyes close, and he began to reach out into the Force, his emotions and thoughts spreading slowly throughout the room. He could feel the fear up in the skies, could feel the sense of urgency from the others around him. The disappointment in his padawan. He wished he had been better, wished he had done more for her in these last few months. The briefest hint of disappointment leaked out from him into the Force. Sadness that he had failed to do his duty to his padawan, that by running to find a place to meditate and search the Force to help her, he had missed the true role of a master. Determination flooded from him a moment later, leaking into the room like a warm, solid, heat through the Force. There was a sense of calmness he could feel, a sense of unity here, of peace. A sense of understanding. He knew what he had to do.
"Altina, gather as many of the healers as you can, go and make for the landing pads, prepare to aid any and all survivors. We spent that time on Ithor, we must put the learning to good use. I will head there first and begin arranging a triage. You're faster than I am and you know this temple much better. Hurry, my padawan." Kyp opened his eyes suddenly, and took off running,not towards the landing bays yet, but back to the garden where the festivities were to be taking place. He poked his head into the room and shouted.
"Grandmaster, can you bring the ships down on landing bay AA-23? My padawan and I will begin setting up triage there so we can aid any and all who survive!" With that, he took off running once more, he needed to get to the landing bay, he needed to get prepared. There would be people in need of their support.