Ask The Path Less Traveled

Izel Thral

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Mygeeto was a planet Izel would have preferred not to return to. Three years had done nothing to make the world more hospitable. It was cold and barren, with nothing of interest to be found. Other than the immense deposits of kyber crystals that was. Even now as she stood on the frigid ground before the loading ramp of their ship she could sense them calling out to her from all directions. If nothing else was alive here, the Force certainly was. She turned to face her charges. Her own Padawan Isen as well as two more had come to partake in the Gathering ceremony, an ancient ritual through which Jedi initiates retrieved the crystals they would use as the hearts of their own lightsabers. Finding those crystals on a hostile planet like Mygeeto would be much more difficult than on a more pleasant world like Dantooine, but she was sure the Padawans were up to the task. Isen had been progressing in his training quite quickly, and Izel already considered Fiach her equal. She was more surprised that her once fellow Padawan had not already undergone the ritual herself. Delnor she had less knowledge of, but had been assured he was ready for this trial, and trusted the words of her elders. After all, if she had been able to succeed here she was certain they could as well.

And then there was Knight Maxims. Izel was surprised that she had been asked to lead this expedition and not him. He was the more senior knight here after all. Perhaps his true purpose was to test her and not the Padawans? To see if she was truly worthy of her knighthood? It didn't matter. She had a job to do and intended to do it properly, with or without the scrutiny of the Council watching over her back. Drawing herself up she turned back to the Padawans and spoke loudly so that her voice would carry over the biting wind.

"You all know why you are here." She stated firmly. "All Jedi are sworn to protect and serve the citizens of the galaxy. And while violence should never be our first course of action, there are some situations where conflict is inevitable. To that end we must be prepared to overcome whatever challenges we are faced with." She ignited her lightsaber pike, the emerald blade shining before the assembled apprentices. "The lightsaber has served both as the Jedi's badge of office and weapon of choice for millennia, dating back nearly as far as the Order itself. But more than that, this weapon is a reflection of who you are, for a piece of you dwells within it." She extinguished her lightsaber and turned to point towards the distant crystal spires jutting into the sky. "Kyber crystals. The heart of the lightsaber. The Force flows through them just as it flows through you and I. You will find here that there is a crystal somewhere on this world that is attuned to you, and no other." She turned back to her charges. "With the Force as your guide, you will make your way to the crystal caves, and discover your companion crystal. The path is long and arduous, but you are Jedi. When you act as one with the Force, nothing can stand in your way. Knight Maxims and I will be present to watch over you, and aid you should extreme circumstances demand it. But remember, this is your mission. You must succeed or fail on your own." Finishing her speech Izel glanced in Maxims' direction, almost looking for some sign of approval. Well... She thought it was a good introduction at least.

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Fiach Dubh

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Fiach had experienced two trips to find crystals and neither worked out as planned. But despite having crafted a saber, she knew she wanted to construct a shoto. It would serve two purposes – one was to provide an off-hand weapon and the other was for entanglements where room was tight, such as underground or on space-ships.

So, she’d been delighted to have the opportunity to travel with Izel to Mygeeto. She’d not spoken to her regular companion since she’d been made a Knight and as she’d not visited the planet before, it was an opportunity not to be missed.

Coming from a desert planet, Fiach suffered from the cold more than the average person – but was stoic. The crystals were here, so she simply wrapped her cloak close to her body and prepared to face the elements.

She nodded at Izel’s words after they landed and – as was her way – waited for others to speak before sharing her own thoughts.
 

Isen Ramm

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Isen was quiet, as was his way with most strangers and acquaintances. The only real familiarity he had with any in the party was the Jedi Knight Izel Thral, who the young Kiffar happened to be apprenticing under. He had instantly taken to Master Thral, though they were still feeling each other out a bit.

Isen was excited about the opportunity to do things the way of the ancients. He had come by one Kyber crystal already in a questionable and unsanctioned raid by a group of Padawan led by Byron Ryker. He had preferred to do things the right way, whatever that may be. If nothing else, his Kiffar spirit had a strong allegiance to tradition, and this was the traditional way of getting a Kyber crystal.

Isen Ramm was a dual wielder, so he needed two to complete his first set of self-made lightsabers anyway. This was exactly the opportunity he was waiting for. He listened to his Master carefully, his eyes stoic and still. There was a nervousness, not just about getting a Kyber, but the process by which one must procure it. "With the Force as your guide, you will make your way to the crystal caves, and discover your companion crystal. The path is long and arduous, but you are Jedi. When you act as one with the Force, nothing can stand in your way," Master Thral had said.

This relying on the Force, trusting the Force, and letting the Force dictate Isen's actions was the Padawan's biggest stumbling block, and success and failure here would largely be determined by his ability to do these things. As his Master finished with the speech, Isen's eyes directed straight ahead. He looked calm and stoic, but for those in tune with the Force, he was nervous and doubting his success.
 

Maxims Tionson

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Mygeeto.

Max had never actually been to the planet because he hadn't actually gotten his own lightsaber crystal from the twisted planet. No, he had gotten his from the lightsaber of a Jedi that had died in service to the Order. Was a bit morbid but if it meant he didn't have to come here for the crystal then he considered it a bounty rather than some deficiency.

He was here for the Padawans and for Izel. He wasn't watching her as she assumed but rather he was just here to assist her and to try and get over some of his own hang ups. Since... since the death of his Padawan he had withdrawn from the teaching side of things and he wanted, needed, to reconnect with that side of himself.

In time with Izel he ignited both blades of his saberstaff, standing behind the assembled padawans so the sound would come from behind them. It probably sounded threatening to them but it was just another test - they needed to approach the lightsaber as a tool and not a weapon. He extinguished his blades in sync with Izel.

He smiled at Izel from his potion behind the padawans and flashed her a thumbs up from where they couldn't see his hands. No reason to stress her out.

He'd let the padawans do that.


@Isen @Andrewza @Corbeau @Reyn
 

Delnor Riek

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Delnor stood wearing only a light jacket, the cold winds of Mygeeto reminded him of home. The cold weather did not bother the Pantooran though it was clear it would be colder in the cave so he had a pair of gloves in his pocket and a hat. Though Delnor had a lightsaber he never actually done the whole going to looking for the crystal part. So even though he had a lightsaber in a inner pocket of his Jacket Delnor was ready to seek the crystal that belonged to him. Though from what Delnor heard the quest for the crystal was more meaning full than the crystal itself.

Delnor wondered what the other padawans wanted more. The crystal for a lightsaber or the guidance from the force. Because for Delnor he could not wait for the force to show him his inner self.


After the two knights had done there introduction and speech Delnor looked towards the nearby white cliff side. "Does this mean we should start master?"
 

Izel Thral

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There was an awkward silence for a moment after Izel finished her introduction. Fiach just nodded in agreement with what she said, Isen was looking forward, stoic and rigid in appearance as always but she could feel the unease emanating from him, and Delnor appeared to be glancing off towards one of the nearby cliffs. She had expected some questions or... something. Perhaps she should have expected this from a group of older Padawans, one of which was practically a Knight already. Maxims was kind enough to offer her a smile and a thumbs up, though the Vratix still couldn't help but feel a tinge of embarrassment.

Thankfully Delnor spoke up, asking if they should start. The Vratix cleared her throat awkwardly before replying. "Uh yes. You may begin. There is no time limit on this task. Simply make your way to the caves. Use your senses to be alert for any natural hazards. I suggest you all stay close and work together to achieve your goal. One should always take advantage of allies when they are available. Knight Maxims and I will follow from a distance and observe. You may start whenever you are ready. May the Force be with you."

As the Padawans prepared to depart on their journey Izel would approach her apprentice and put a reassuring hand on his shoulder, leaning in close to give him some personal advice. "Remember your lessons." She said to him in a lower voice, referring to his training on Ajan Kloss. "Don't rely on the physical. Let the Force be your guide. Feel, don't think. You can do this." She glanced toward Fiach before looking back to Isen again. "Padawan Dubh is the most experienced here. She and I trained together before my knighting. Try to follow her lead."

With that she would pat him on the shoulder before leaving the Padawans to their own devices. Hopefully Isen would take this opportunity to socialize with some of his peers as well. As far as Izel was concerned that was just as important as the ritual itself. In the meantime she would step over besides Maxims, looking back to watch their progress. "Well... So long as at least one of them survives this will be considered a success right?" She joked to her fellow knight, although it was quite clear from her tone she was feeling rather nervous herself.

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Fiach Dubh

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Fiach surmised this was going to be a quiet group. Not that she minded – she was comfortable in her own company and in her own thoughts. But, and perhaps this was a reflection of her growing maturity and the level of training she’d received, she knew that to be successful as a team, they would have to communicate. Not just to convey essential information, but to bond as she had the concept explained to her. The Order had a sense of duty to protect each other, but if you could extend that to a personal level, the connection would be stronger and therefore more valuable. It was likely they would work together in the future – and so knowing of each other’s strengths, weaknesses, likes and dislikes could only be a positive.

Of course, Izel pushing her forward as some kind of role model increased the pressure on her to step up first, so she duly obliged.

She bowed slightly to the other Padawans. She recognised them from, but had only really met Delnor.

“Hi,” she opened, “I’m Fiach. Fiach Dubh. As you can see, I have a saber already but want to craft a shoto, hence me coming here. And yes, I have begun my Knight Trials, but like you I am a Padawan and I suspect we’ll need each other if we’re to be successful. At least until we reach the caves and the crystal or crystals that speak to us are close. Then, from my experience at least, it is a personal journey – albeit a metaphorical one.”

She smiled again, hoping one of the others would take the hint and introduce themselves.

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Isen Ramm

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One of the things that Isen really disliked was meeting new people. He didn't dislike people at all, but in fact enjoyed the company of friends. The truth was, however, he was shy and felt awkward meeting new people. Having fun and cutting up with friends came easy. It was getting friends that was the hard part for Isen.

Things were only complicated by his demeanor. His stillness and icy glaze was often misconstrued as arrogance or smugness toward others, especially to those who could not feel the emotions of others through the Force. On the outside, he had all the appearances of being calm and collected. For those more adept at doing so, however, he was a ball of nerves. But, by looks alone, it appeared to be a normal day at the office for the young Kiffar.

Those in tune with the Force around him, however, knew better.

Master Thral was a calming presence for him, to be sure. She was positive and assuring. He needed it sorely. Her words had a way of breaking through his stoic demeanor and garnering the slightest of upturned grins from one side of his lips. Such a show of emotion wouldn't last long with Isen, though. His sober countenance would quickly return.

He would rather face the caves alone, blindfolded, and shackled than do the standard introductions. Yet, Padawan Dubh had started the inevitable. Isen took a slow breath in and a slow breath out as Fiach gave her introduction. Isen glanced at the Pantoran who seemed to be more interested in entering the caves than introducing himself. Isen understood that completely. He got the impression that the Pantoran was more eager for the caves while Isen was more reluctant to do the introductions. Same goal, different reasons.

Isen thought it just best to get it over with.

Isen gave a short bow to the two Jedi Knights and then another to the other two Padawans. His voice was even, and he made sure to look all parties directly in the eyes, an unintentional but hard gaze, even if he did not address anyone directly. "My name is Isen Ramm. I'm apprenticing under Master Thral. I look forward to working and learning beside you both."

Isen didn't feel the need to tell them that he had one Kyber crystal already nor that he had not made his own lightsaber yet. Those were sentences that if left out, he wouldn't have to say. He took a step back, clasped his hands in front of him, and diverted his eyes directly in front once more.


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Maxims Tionson

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Max couldn't help the chuckle that bubbled up when Izel asked him if it was counted as a success if at least one of the Padawans survived. It was technically war time against the Sith so he supposed it probably would be considered a decent survivability rate if the place was to be suddenly attacked by Sith.

He doubted that would happen but, unfortunately, he had literally no experience with this rite of passage. They could literally be attacked by monsters made entirely out of living crystal and he wouldn't know if it was normal or a sign of the end of the planet.

"Not sure."
he joked back, "Never done this rite before as a padawan or with my padawans either. Pretty sure they'll be fine so long as they remember to wear a coat or something."

He gestured around with one hand as he spoke, loud enough to be heard by the Padawans now but not really addressing them.

"This? All this? It's as much a mystery to me as it is to them because I never had this rite - because I took my crystal and my saberstaff from the hands of a dead Jedi."


Before the return of the Sith and before any major offensives by the Hutts or whatever cartels remained even. It had been a clashed with a rogue Jedi - some might even consider it traumatic for the crystal and Max himself but he had rather embraced it.


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Delnor Riek

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Delnor gave a figured it best he introduced him self even though he knew a few of the people here it seemed like the proper thing to do seeing how the other two Padawans had introduced them self's. Facing them he gave a smile "Hi, my name is Delnor Riek. I to have a lightsaber but I never got my own crystal and so I am here to see what the force will show us." Looking ack towards to cliff face he took small but eager steps towards it. "If this world is any thing like my home I think we should start moving. Standing around in the cold means the net group will come here and find Jedi Popsicles."


Even though he was built to endure cold weather he was not immune to freezing to death and really did want to get to the cave where it would be warmer. The cliff face seemed to be made of ice, very old ice. Thankfully they had landed in a calm day and the Ice walls around them shielded them from the wind so the trip was very easy. then again the test was in the cave not getting to the cave. "Ok, since we working together we need to know each others skills. I used to go hiking back home on Pantoora so I can look after my self. Any one else have out door skills?"
 

Izel Thral

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Izel watched the Padawans closely as they interacted with each other. Fiach was taking the opportunity to explain to the others more of what to expect, and Delnor seemed to be seizing the initiative in getting the group moving. He was fortunate to be a Pantoran, it appeared the cold wasn't effecting him as much as the others. Isen for his part continued to remain mostly reserved and formal. While Izel certainly liked to see civility in her apprentice she feared too much could result in him isolating himself from his peers. Jedi often went on missions together, and she suspected that was only going to become more common with the resurgence of the Sith. It was better for Isen to start building a rapport with his fellow Jedi now, so they could be more effective in teams in the future. Not to mention things could get awfully boring on Ajan Kloss with no friends to talk to.

Leaving the Padawans to plan out what they were going to do on their own the Vratix turned her attention to Maxims. She was surprised a Knight more than twice her age had never even been present for a Gathering ritual before. Of course she would never word it like that out loud though. These days people came to the Order in many different ways and at different ages. And they often had unorthodox training as a result. So Izel could understand Max never going through the Gathering personally, but to take his lightsaber off a dead Jedi? That was quite a bit stranger.

"I see..." She said in response to her fellow Knight's explanation. "I'm sorry to hear that. Was the Jedi a friend of yours or...?" Or your master? She wanted to ask. Although she certainly hoped it wasn't, she could only imagine how terrible such and experience might be. Izel herself had experienced some exceptionally dangerous scenarios during her own training, but fortunately she had never had to watch one of her friends or comrades die.

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Fiach Dubh

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Fiach may have had the most training and experience amongst the Padawans, but she was still coming to terms with the requirement to direct operations – especially when observed. But this was a trial after all – albeit not specifically to do with progression to becoming a Knight – and leadership was definitely a development area for her.

Isen’s response was concise to the point of curt. She smiled and nodded once he’d finished and turned to Delnor.

“I’m from a desert planet, so cold, snow and ice are not really my thing. In terms of useful skills, mine are potentially redundant. I’m good at repairing things and a half-decent pilot, but I’m no mountaineer.” She turned back to Isen, wondering what he might add to the mix.

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Maxims Tionson

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During his period of reflection, Max had taken his saberstaff off of his belt and just held it in his hands for a few seconds before idly, almost without thinking, going through a few simple moves he knew. The blades remained extinguished, the activity more something to keep his hands busy than to really accomplish anything. They were the first few tricks he had ever learned with the saberstaff, tricks he had taught himself on the flight back from actually receiving it.

He hummed and smirked slightly at the obvious ending to her questioning.

"He wasn't my Master, no."
he pre-empted her with a small shrug, "He was just another Jedi cut down during the rampage of a rogue Jedi... a shame really, he had been a decent fellow. No, my Master was a young zeltron woman something close to twenty years my junior."

Max grimaced a little bit as he recalled his Master.

"My Master was the rogue Jedi."
he revealed without much emotion, "She went rogue from the Order for some reason or another... I didn't really pay much attention to her reasoning. Wasn't really given the option to 'join her' either so I wasn't getting the lecture or the recruitment pitch."

Left unsaid was that he didn't have much baggage in the way of his rogue Jedi Master because he had taken up the weapon of one of her victims and caused her death himself. He hadn't wanted to kill her but he had swung at her and she had moved to dodge - which meant another Jedi fighting her had an opening and her head rolled.

The assembled group of Padawans would be able to feel the area grow just a little bit colder as it drank in the Darkness associated with the member he had shared. He raised a finger to his lips so that Izel would know he had done it on purpose - he had researched the crystals and the area and learned that they were sensitive to changes in the Force. It would be enough to spark a challenge for them to face as they approached.


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Isen Ramm

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Isen nodded and listened to Fiach as she spoke about where she was from and what she was good at doing. He was glad someone was taking the small talk lead. He was also glad to be in a group with older Padawans. Fiach seemed to be quite a bit older at that. There was a small pause in the conversation and he looked at Fiach to see her looking at him. She was expecting a response. That was discouraging. Based on first impressions, he wasn't sure how his stoicism and dry wit was going to play in this crowd.

"I'm from Kiffex, but I don't remember it really. I've spent most of my life on Jedha. It's cold, but not this cold. I didn't like it much. I was happy to move to Ajan Kloss and the forests. I do like it out in the wild, but I prefer...trees." He saw that the group was starting to make their way toward the caves and he started walking with the group. "My skillset...well, it won't do much good here." He looked at Fiach and shrugged. "Sorry about that."

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Delnor Riek

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Delnor gave shrug as he started to walk towards the cave. The cold hard ground cracking under under every step. "While we should be safe, just use common sense. The gathering of old used to be done with younglings some of whom where half my age." Though the Jedi order had changed over the years the age of when most members join the order where much older. Delnor wondered if that was a good or bad thing. It did mean that a lot of new Jedi at least had some life skills, but it did make giving up your old life harder.


The cave was not dark. The ice inside seem to give of a soft glow. He waited at the entrance at looked at there leader. "The ground might be slippery but I think we should be fine. Though I don't know witch way to go." In side Delnor could more than one tunnel branching off. Delnor even wondered if it truly mattered. The force would guide them after all.
 

Izel Thral

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Well, Maxims certainly knew how to bring the mood down, literally. The strong currents of the Force flowing through the valley seemed to shift with the darkness brought about by the Jedi recounting his unpleasant memory. Izel looked to her fellow Knight only to see him raise a finger to his lips, indicating his actions had been intentional. As she grasped his meaning the Vratix slowly nodded in return and turned her attention back to the Padawans. Where kyber grew the Force was always strong and fickle, highly receptive to change from outside forces. Maxims influence would surely have an effect on the environment, likely a negative one. It would be a good learning experience for the students.

As the Padawans made their way into a nearby cave Izel hung back for some time before slowly following behind, making sure they were a decent distance apart. "That's terrible..." The Vratix said a bit awkwardly in reply to Maxims' story as they walked. She wasn't sure what else she could say. She had never experienced something quite so dreadful. "Well... I suppose I'm quite glad you never had the opportunity to join her." She said, trying to brighten up the conversation a bit. "I'd say you've become quite the accomplished Jedi. The Order is lucky to have you." Izel hadn't spent a great amount of time with Maxims, but she had heard things about him. She was sincere in what she said.

Meanwhile the cave the Padawans were entering was not the aforementioned crystal caves, but the Force still flowed through them as it did everywhere else on this world. And Maxims' efforts were clearly having an effect on the interior. The tunnels within would visibly darken, more so than was to be expected. And as the apprentices entered they would be able to see dark moving shapes in the ice and hear the faint sounds of shouts and clashing lightsabers, as if the cave was bringing the Jedi Knight's memories to life.

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Fiach Dubh

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On the plus side…Fiach’s brows knitted as she considered what they had between them that could be considered a positive. On the debit side, the cold could prove a challenge and the crystals themselves were most definitely an unknown quantity. A glance at the two Knights and their chatter made her wonder if they were here to help, or to be part of the test?

Delnor was definitely speaking common-sense and she appreciated that. She knew he was the only one among them that didn’t have a Master, but to an outsider, you would not know that was the case.

As they entered the cave, Fiach could sense the Force – but not necessarily the crystals. There were only a few possibilities. The most likely two were that the Force was somehow masking their presence – and the latter, the option she favoured, was that this was an ante-chamber.

The feeling of her surroundings was sadly familiar to her. It was not of the Dark-side itself, but an echo of it. To Fiach, the Force felt oily and tainted. And as her eyes became accustomed to the darkness, it seemed to dim further and the temperature – if at all possible – dropped even lower.

She brow furrowed once more. She wanted to trust the Force, yet she felt it was – at the same time – tricking them (or at least her).

“OK,” she finally ventured. “Which tunnel do we choose?”

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Isen Ramm

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Inside the cave, the caverns that sat before the padawans were pulsating with the Force. It was a pulse that could not be seen with the eyes nor felt with the hands, but rather by reaching out with the inner self. Negative and positive...dark and light, the caves before them emanated both. It was unlike any place that Isen had been before.

A sort of tug-of-war was pulling him in different directions, bring out his best attributes- kindness, loyalty, compassion, and determination. There was also a strong pull to draw out the worst of him- fear of failure, pessimism, impatience, and to a degree, vanity as it pertained to his perception to others. He was simultaneously confronted with the best and worst of him, and it was confusing.

While others attuned to him would feel that from him, he would not dare show it outwardly. His vanity was not vainness in how he looked physically or how he dressed. His vanity resided in not wanting to look weak or inadequate. He learned, here and now, that his vanity was the reason for his stoic nature. It made him strong. It made him solid. It made him decisive and tough. His social fears overshadowed his fears of pain or even death. These facts clearly played no small role in his rapid advancement as a duelist, and no doubt would be a robust warrior should the need arise. But, it was all born out of a dark weakness. Isen found himself even more confused. This weakness created strength within him, strengths he would not want to relinquish. He would have to deal with that reality at some time. As the Force played games with their emotions and their senses, he gave thought to Fiach's question.

“OK,” Fiach asked. “Which tunnel do we choose?”

Isen felt the same twist of the Force as Fiach. It felt as if the Force was calling them to one of the pathways before them. It could well be a trick, and Isen had considered that. But if it was, why would the Force do that? If nothing else, it would be a lesson that the Force wanted them to learn. Isen, not one to overthink or over analyze, pointed to the tunnel that the Force was calling to them- or tricking them- into.

"I vote that one." He looked at the other two and shrugged. "But democracy has been so successful for the galaxy's republics over the millennia, I'll be happy to go with the majority vote." Isen, a lover of history, thought it was a funny quip considering the failures of all the galactic republics to implode or be controlled by dark forces. He was unsure if others would find it as amusing. His lack of emoting with his body language would likely leave some wondering if it was a joke or if he didn't know history at all.


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Maxims Tionson

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He shrugged.

Was it an awful history? Yes it kind of was but he was far beyond letting it get to him. Letting the history saturate with emotion was just asking for trouble in his mind so he just didn't. He didn't focus on it and he had long since left it alone in his mind in a little box, almost like letting the emotions become strained and less vibrant over time.

"It happened."
he agreed with a small smile, "I would have made a terrible Sith - I get nervous about maiming someone, could you imagine them trying to get me to kill?"

He snorted in amusement.

"Would be a disaster - maybe should have joined up just so my failure as a Sith could screw them over."


Obviously a joke but still.

Within the caves themselves a voice began to sound out like a whisper to begin with. It was almost too quiet to be understood but those paying full attention would be able to tell it was there and it was calling to them.

"Which of you is strong enough? Which of you has the resolve to do what must be done?"



@Reyn @Andrewza @Corbeau @Isen
 

Delnor Riek

Character
Jedi Order
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Jedi Padawan
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Andrewza
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The force filled the entrance and was all most blinding to him. He had to stop and breath deeply as he tried to center him self. Isen pointed towards out where he thought they should go. "I Don't think this democracy thing. The force called you out in that direction and that is good enough for me. Some times democracy can lead people astray" Delnor was not joking when he spoke and even though he cam from a planet with a democratic assembly. The chairmen was all ways there to be the leader


Looking down the tunnel Delnor could see our the ice was smooth and that meant slippery. "Since you chose the tunnel Isen I think you should go first. The tunnel looks slippery and smooth so don't rush" There was no rush after all and it would be foolish to fail by twisting ones ankle
 
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