Alex did not brood. She was too old and too respectable to adopt such a sour mood. However, if she did brood it would look shockingly similar to the pacing, she did on New Alderaan. The Morellian Jedi was far from the Capital City. She had waded her way deep into one of the larger forests covering the planet. She stood in a small clearing with her gaze focused upward. She was waiting. Waiting for her apprentice. Alex had tried to use this time to calm her fraying nerves, but they were in an impossible situation. The President asked for impossibilities. Years ago, she had hunted a Dark Side cult all through New Alderaan. They had disappeared when Yavain and her came too close. Apparently, they had returned in rather dramatic fashion. The Presidents own daughter taken into the forest. Alex managed to track them here before the trail went cold.
Now, she was brining a child into certain danger. Why? Because the Force hammered her over and over that Maura could be different. The child was special despite her odd behavior which Alex found strangely enduring. She listened to the Force and prayed she would not regret it. Maura was her responsibility. She would rather die than see anything happen to that child. Hopefully, this would all be far less dramatic than she thought.
The roar of shuttle engines hit her ears. Alex quickly sealed herself off in the Force. There was no need to let Maura feel her anxiety. She was the Grandmaster…nothing would happen to the girl. She would make sure of that. Plus, the shuttle would stay here and send help if there was trouble. Alex was not so foolish as to not cover all her bases. That would be reckless.
Maura did not brood. In fact, Maura didn't even know what the word "brood" meant, and she'd probably call anyone she saw brooding a grumpy pants for bringing down the mood. The mood was, according to the child, a mixture of excitement for adventure and the absolute elation on being given a lightsaber, if only temporary.
"Padawan Starwalk reporting for duty!" Maura loudly announced herself as if the roar of the shuttle hadn't already, then leap from the open door five feet down onto the ground. Her eyes were sparkling with a childlike zest for adventure, and she seemed totally and completely oblivious to Alex's anxiety and her seriousness.
"Sooooo what are we doing?"
Also, to her credit, the child was dressed appropriately for the mission ahead. Her wild mane was even tied back behind her head, though the blue cap she loved so much was still being worn.
Padawan Starwalk reporting for duty…the cry echoed in the forest as Maura vaulted down. A few seconds later, the shuttle would spin and head for the upper atmosphere. They would remain close but not in sight. Alex took a deep breath. Maura was dress for the mission and the Morellian Jedi could sense the kyber crystal ringing in the loaner lightsaber. She could only hope Maura wielded the weapon well. She needed to explain the mission but how? “The Sith are not the only ones who use the Darkside. Throughout history, and even now, there have been others.” Alex bent down to get a better look into Maura’s face.
“I hope I am not asking too much of you, young one. Years ago, a dark side cult took root on New Alderaan. They corrupted the capital cities governor and worked horrible deeds. We stopped them.” Only Sevrin was left from those days. Yavain…lost…Max…gone. It broke her heart. “The President fears they have returned. Signs from the old days have appeared again.” Signs she was not ready to admit were real. “He has asked for our help and in exchange New Alderaan will help field our naval forces.” Alex stood and gestured all around them. “Intelligence suggests they are in this forest…somewhere.” The feeling creeping up her spine confirmed that.
“We need to get moving.” Alex wrapped them in the Force and headed for the tree line. “You are with me, Maura. You are safe but you must listen to everything I say without question. No matter what happens I will be fine.” She would see nothing happen to the young colorful Jedi. Alex’s life would be given before that could happen.
Maura listened attentively, her ears perked up to show for it, though her eyes slowly narrowed to a squint as her master continued to speak.
"Sooo we're looking for old evil not-Sith in the woods?" Her eyes rapidly expanded wide open, and an excited cry followed her summary. "That sounds so cool!"
The not-Sith - the Others - reminded her of a scary movie she'd watched as a (younger) kid where a bunch of teens got haunted while lost out in the woods. "Master Voran and I aren't teens...so we're the perfect match for this evil!"
As for Alex's condition... "I promise to listen to everything you say! Pinkie promise!" Maura closed the distance between them with her pinkie held out so that Alex could secure the pinkie promise. Once the promise was made - and Maura would insist upon it - she'd start bouncing up and down from the balls of her feet to her toes.
"So, how do we find the Others? Do we have to find them through the Force?"
She looked down at the outstretched pinky. Raising an eyebrow, she linked fingers. “Pinkie promise.” The Force slowly extended out from her. A bubble surrounding Maura and Alex. Their footfalls suddenly softened as the planet life parted for them to pass. The less rustling around the better. “Searching the Force is easiest, but I cannot do it alone and it carries a risk.” Her powers were considerable but humming through the Force alone would still taken considerable time. Time they likely did not have. “If we find the Others in the Force, if we are not careful, they can sense us as well.” Alex stopped walking and took a deep breath.
“We must shield our minds while we look.” She stuck out her hand. “Take my hand and close your eyes.” When Maura took her hand, Alex’s mind would reach out…zooming across the Force. Gently, she lifted Maura’s sense with her. “Follow your instincts…search for what feels wrong.” The Morellian Jedi was careful to keep both their minds shielded. She had no inkling of what they faced. What she knew for certain was the danger was real.
Her mind plunged into the Force, her senses swept over the large forest. What was see looking for? Something off something Dark. Alex felt a pull. A whirlpool of other yanking her senses. There that was it. Her mind swung and she began to focus on that strange feeling.