Ask The Path to Balance: Perspective

Yulie

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"Okay. That is, if you're sure." 'Padawan' meant little to Yulie; all she really understood of its meaning was that it was a Jedi word for a lower-ranking subordinate. That certainly didn't bother her, but it might bother someone else if they thought it more than she deserved. To a proper Padawan, it could be offensive that someone like Yulie might answer to it, especially since it meant little to the Dathomirian. At least, that's what she thought. It was definitely better than the degrading nicknames she had collected over the years, and it felt pleasant being spoken to like she deserved to exist.

"What is taking him so long?"

"He might have given us some space if he overheard us." This was the best plausible excuse that Yulie could come up for him on his behalf that wouldn't annoy his teacher. If she had to guess, she imagined he was teaching the giant lizard some commands, or perhaps recovering the tray if it had finished eating.

It did not take him long to meet them once he had be called, and Yulie took great interest in the twin hilts when he produced them. She had seen several today, but they were legendary weapons, storied blades wielded by larger-than-life characters. Made of durasteel, they looked vaguely similar to her own although in much better shape. A working lightsaber was fascinating, no matter who held it. "If you were to find those in...the middle of nowhere...is there some way to tell if they need to be purified? Or is this something that you would do with any you might find, just to be safe?"

@Reyn @Isen
 

Izel Thral

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Izel nodded in reply to Isen when he put down the lightsabers. Turning her focus on the weapons she could feel the darkness oozing off of them, filling the air with the same unpleasant aura she had experienced back on Onderon. As Yulie started to speak one of the sabers would start to rise up into the air, being lifted by Izel's telekinesis.

"Once you've trained your Force sense it will be easy to tell whether or not an object has been corrupted." The Vratix answered her question while keeping her eyes focused on the levitating lightsaber. Slowly the weapon would start to come apart, it's interior components gently returning to the table and leaving only it's blood red kyber heart in the air. As Izel continued speaking the crystal would slowly rotate in the air.

"The purification process is fairly straightforward but can take some time." She explained for both Isen and Yulie's benefit. "Kyber crystals are alive in a sense, and are naturally aligned with the light side," She said, something that she considered evidence to support her theory on the natural way of the universe. "The Sith turn them red through a process called bleeding. They pour all their hatred and other negative emotions into the crystal, breaking it's will and making it subservient to them. This is how the crystal is corrupted. It follows then that all a Jedi needs to do to purify a crystal is to subject it to more positive emotions of peace and serenity. It is somewhat similar in principle to Beast Control, in that you typically form a bond with the crystal, and may even become attached to it and wish to use it. All this can be done through meditation, although the time might vary given your level of focus." As she spoke Izel did exactly what she said, pouring her own feelings into the crystal and forging a bond with it. As minutes passed Isen and Yulie would be able to see the stone slowly shifting in color from red to a shade of green reminiscent of Izel's first lightsaber. Izel stopped before the process was complete however, gently returning the half-changed crystal to the table with the rest of the lightsaber's components. She looked across the surface at her apprentice.

"I'll let you complete the purification yourself, it should be good practice." She told the young Kiffar. "Don't be discouraged if it takes you some time to work. It could take anywhere from an hour to a few days. Patience and dedication to the process is what's important. That is the only way it will work." She looked between the two young Force users. "Any questions?"

@Isen @Zohrael
 

Isen Ramm

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Isen listened and watched carefully as his master began the process of purifying the kyber crystal. He watched in amazement as he could see the red being drained from the crystal and slowly beginning to take on a greenish-hue. What Isen did know was that crystals that had been bled would be purified to white when the process was complete. At least that is what he had been taught.

Then she stopped. She passed the components of the lightsaber back over to Isen, the crystal included. She instructed him to complete it. She had come so far in a relative short period of time, but Isen knew that she was more focused and had more control in the Force. She would be faster than Isen, but how much faster? Isen did not know. There was only one way to find out.

"Any questions?" Izel asked.

"No, Master. I'm willing to give it a shot," Isen said. He closed his eyes and reached out with the Force to locate the crystal. He made it levitate and hover in just in front of his face at eye level as he poured his own concentration into it. He considered all of the emotions that the Dark Side cultists and Sith would use to corrupt the crystal- hatred, envy, fear- and tried to instill the opposites into the crystal to rebuke them- feelings of compassion, kindness, and inner peace. He could sense a change in the crystal, but in his meditation, he lost track of himself, his surroundings, and time itself, much like he did on Yavin before they departed for this trip.

He was lost in his Force-induced trance focused on his crystal, and he would remain so for hours. He could feel the tide continuing to turn in the crystal. Slowly but surely, the crystal was transitioning from Izel's natural inclination of green to Isen's crystal color of blue. And yet, while the color was changing, it was also slowly dissipating, becoming more translucent and clear. Isen, however, could not see it as he stayed in close concentration and focused on the crystal. Still, he could sense it.

He would stay in this meditative state without regard for the time. He had lost sense of it. For some stretch of hours, Isen would be preoccupied, leaving Yulie and Izel to continue to their discussion...wherever that may lead.


@Zohrael @Reyn

 
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Yulie

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"Once you've trained your Force sense it will be easy to tell whether or not an object has been corrupted."

Perhaps in an uncorrupted sanctuary with a deep connected to the Force, there may have been something about the relics of a Dark Side cult that would draw her notice. Clenched in the hungry maw of Ambria’s gravity well, their virulent corruption was lost in the background taint, any distinction too subtle for her to sense. Only when Izel began to fill the bloodied heart of a lightsaber’s furnace with feelings long forgotten by the crystal did Yulie feel anything.

The shortest hairs on the back of her neck stood on end, and she felt a sense of foreboding that harkened to the days of her youth. It was the feeling that a calming place was not as safe as it appeared. These feelings were echoes from the crystal, the Dark Side’s panic when a bright light blazed upon it. Just as a Jedi would sense a crystal’s agony as it was being bled, the resident Darksider responded to its fear of being changed.

Even though Ambria was tightening the girl’s tethers to the Dark Side, her ability to sense the Force had not developed to the point where she could even suspect the source of these feelings. Yulie confused these emotions being imposed upon her with ones borne naturally from within, and she thought it was Izel’s teachings that were making her feel so uneasy.

"The Sith turn them red through a process called bleeding. They pour all their hatred and other negative emotions into the crystal, breaking it's will and making it subservient to them. This is how the crystal is corrupted.

It was just like what the Obelisk demanded from her. Stormkirk’s apparition told her that she was filling the wrong object with her hatred and pain. It wanted to help her fill the crystal around her neck instead. She still did not know why the apparition wanted her to corrupt it; the crystal did not even work in her lightsaber anyways.

But what if that’s why it won’t work in the lightsaber? What if I need to break its will and make it subservient first? She thought grimly. Izel had reassured her that the Force-fueled illusion was just an elaborate deception without any truth, but it spoke truly about the ways of the Sith, and there was no lie in the corrupt ritual it meant for Yulie to complete.

And you did lie about Ambria having no wildlife. Yulie thought to herself, stone-faced as Izel passed the lightsaber to her student. Isen made the lightsaber weightless through the Force and began the process of completing his teacher’s work. He did not have any questions, but Yulie did.

Nnno.” She lied. Badly, at that. But she needed to sort out her thoughts from her feelings so that she could actually ask it properly. The idea of asking made her fearful, for she thought she already knew the answer and that was something she didn’t want to know. Ignorance was not a choice she could make, however. She knew that to be against her way. If she let her emotions decide what she could or could not know, that would be two laws broken.

Yulie clutched her shirt to hold her crystal in a ball of fabric. The Obelisk was right; she never put her negative emotions into it. The lightsaber was the object representing her worries, so she wound up accidentally Choking that through the Force instead. There was an audible “snip” as the pressure harmlessly depressed its activation button. Without a crystal, there was no danger of it ever igniting.

Okay, I do have a question.” She paused uncomfortably. “Am I a Sith?” She had no way of knowing for certain if Izel would answer truthfully or completely, but if she could justify the question then there would be less of a reason to hold back the truth, even if it was an unpleasant one. She wondered if that was why Isen seemed so stoic around her, that the Jedi knew something about her that went unmentioned. Maybe she was only tolerated because she wasn't a threat.

The Obelisk wanted me to put all my bad emotions into something I found on Dathomir.” She reluctantly lifted the homemade necklace off her neck and rested it on the table. The oily green stain trapped inside the kyber bespoke of a corruption of a different sort, a natural taint imbued by Dathomir’s Ichor during its formation. It had not been bled, yet it was naturally impure. There was the distinct possibility that it would react just as violently to being purified as it would to being forcibly corrupted.

It doesn't work in lightsabers, though. Not for me, anyways. I thought it just wasn't kyber, but you said that a Sith needs to break its will to make it subservient, so…is that the reason?

She had other supporting reasons to suspect it; her instincts were the opposite of theirs. She thought the Force was something she could fix and change, like it was one of her machines. She thought the Obelisk was beautiful and opened herself right up to it. She was not forgiving, and felt inclined to assert dominance over animals rather than befriend them. And she wanted to eat the lizard, almost killing it with kindness by accident when she overfilled the tray of meat. She knew almost nothing about the Sith, but did not think that defying the Obelisk and feeding the last of her bread to a starving beast was enough to distinguish her.

@Isen @Reyn
 
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Izel Thral

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Izel kept her focus on Isen at first as he continued the process of purifying the crystal, although she did spare a glance Yulie's way at her unconvincing "No". While allowing the girl to collect her thoughts she watched her apprentice. As usual Isen seemed to pick up the principles of the technique quite quickly. How long it would take him to complete the process was unclear, but she felt confident he would succeed.

She then turned her attention back to Yulie, waiting patiently for her to muster up the courage to say what she wanted to say. She could feel the anxiety in her, and the hints of mistrust as well. It was somewhat disappointing that the Dathomirian was still slow to open up completely, but Izel understood that it could be a long process given her circumstances.

“Am I a Sith?” She asked finally, bringing up her episode with the obelisk and revealing an unusual kyber crystal that she carried. She mentioned Dathomir and one of the girl's memories flashed in her mind briefly. It was only a few scattered images that she had pulled from the girls mind while they were bonded but she was able to put two and two together. The Vratix leaned forward curiously, antennae twitching as she inspected the crystal. She had never seen something quite like it before. It must have been the work of Nightsister magic, or something along those lines. When she looked up at Yulie again she did not answer immediately, trying to figure out the best way to explain. When she finally did speak she did so softly, in one part to avoid breaking Isen's concentration and in another to try and help Yulie settle down.

"You are not a Sith." She assured her. "At least not yet. You have the potential to become one as we all do, but that is your choice to make." She hesitated again, hoping what she was saying would not worry the Dathomirian or give her the idea that the dark path was the only one for her. "The dark side is strong in you. I can feel that much. For a lightsaber to function properly it's kyber crystal must be aligned using the Force, and there must exist a bond between the crystal and it's wielder. But tell me Padawan: do you really wish to subjugate others after what you've experienced yourself?" She would pause to let that thought linger for a moment. "How you bond with your crystal will be a template for how you will act as a Force user. It can be one of control, or mutual respect." Her voice would take on a more gentle tone. "I don't think you want to be cruel. I've seen the true face of the Sith, and it is not an existence I would wish upon my worst enemy. You aren't a bad person Padawan. You're just afraid. You're afraid because of what you've experienced and what you may experience in the future. You can let that fear determine the course of your life, as a Sith would, or you can let it go and become stronger for having done so. That is the path of the Jedi."

@Isen @Zohrael
 

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The padawan focused on purifying the corrupted crystal and did not hear any of the conversations that went on around him. Focused intently on the crystal, Isen's entire essence was pouring into that piece of kyber. He was vaguely aware of the process itself, and while he had lost track of time a long time ago, he could sense that the crystal was not as quickly to respond to his urging as it did Izel's. That was to be suspected no doubt, as things of this nature were right up her alley...and she was a Master of the Force in all but name. Truth be told, Isen shouldn't be as fast his Vratix master, and he most certainly was not. Still, he was content. Relish the process. Enjoy the learning. He told himself these things, and he
made sure to take pride in his learning.

Some of the positive feelings he poured into the rock were happiness and satisfaction with some of his accomplishments since leaving Yaving. He had brought a sense of hope to the hssiss here on Ambria. He helped a small, dirty mining outpost become a profitable destination and its workers put on a path of genuine prosperity. Isen had come a long way during his Jedi trials. He had matured more on this trip than the entirely of time before it.

Even as he poured the positive emotions of love, happiness, kindness, compassion, and hope into the crystal, his mind drifted to the reality of his place. He had passed the test on Mon Gazza. He passed the test here as well. He knew that Izel had one more trial to throw at Isen to see if he was worthy to be called a Jedi Knight. Isen had never cared much for titles, but now that the title of Knight was so close...he felt like he could reach out and grasp it...he was ready to have that honor.

But first, Isen would finish purifying this crystal, take some sleep, and then purify the other. After that, only Izel Thral knew.


/exit thread attempt
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Yulie

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"You are not a Sith."

Well, that was relieving. Yulie obviously had an incomplete idea of what they are and what they represent, but the similarities she suspected that she shared with them were troubling. Ambria’s dark fate was a powerful deterrence against embracing their ways.

"At least not yet. You have the potential to become one as we all do, but that is your choice to make."

And now the caveat.

"The dark side is strong in you. I can feel that much. For a lightsaber to function properly it's kyber crystal must be aligned using the Force, and there must exist a bond between the crystal and it's wielder. But tell me Padawan: do you really wish to subjugate others after what you've experienced yourself?"

What? No.” Yulie scrunched her face like she found a long-forgotten stash of food and all the unwelcome odours it would have made. The idea was absurd to her, and she dismissed the question in the time it took to pass through her ears.

I hate people like that! Her thoughts turned to her intolerance of power and those who abuse it, wondering how anyone could confuse her with someone like them. It wasn’t even a question worth entertaining; she gravitated towards the lowest depths of civilization and chose to scrape by in the humblest occupations therein. No, she wasn’t like the slavers, or the landlords, or anyone else who fed off those tread beneath them. Those people deserved to suffer.

Yulie’s face softened as she remembered that, contorting to confusion, then doubt, and finally shame. Intolerant as she was to the abusers of the Galaxy, watching someone made to feel liken unto herself had a habit of burying her mercy and self-control. Could she really say that she had no desire to crush the powerful, drive them into the dirt, lower them beneath those whom they exploit? Would she not break their spirits, their resolve, their bodies and their minds if given the chance? It would not be the first time.

I am nothing like them. I don’t punch down at people who wouldn’t even dare to defend themselves! But it still made her an abuser of a different kind. Anger isn’t righteous when you enjoy causing pain; it was just vengeance with a pretty mask. The choice always felt like she would be doing harm either way, that being a bystander to abuses of power was no different to the abused than being the one victimizing them. Inaction could be just as violent as murder and fighting back could break chains that would otherwise be worn a lifetime.

Doubt was winning this fight, for if it was in her convictions to torment those she hated, she wouldn’t be so remorseful later and she wouldn’t be horrified by her actions.

"How you bond with your crystal will be a template for how you will act as a Force user. It can be one of control, or mutual respect."

How could this thing possibly respect me? She thought to herself as she put the necklace back on and tucked the crystal back beneath her shirt. Yulie had no desire to force herself upon the crystal; she credited that small, glassy fragment of her ancestral home as the reason she had even survived her first visit there. Mutual respect would be difficult so long as she had trouble respecting herself, however.

"I don't think you want to be cruel. I've seen the true face of the Sith, and it is not an existence I would wish upon my worst enemy. You aren't a bad person Padawan. You're just afraid. You're afraid because of what you've experienced and what you may experience in the future. You can let that fear determine the course of your life, as a Sith would, or you can let it go and become stronger for having done so. That is the path of the Jedi."

It’s the path of the Nightsister, too, but it’s the part I struggle with the most. I don’t fear what happens to me, but what happens to others. I get so angry sometimes. I think I am a cruel person…I just don’t want to be.

@Reyn @Isen (not sure what the proper etiquette is for tagging people if they exit a thread, so I tagged you, Isen, just to be safe)
 

Izel Thral

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“It’s the path of the Nightsister, too, but it’s the part I struggle with the most." Yulie said. "I can see that." Izel agreed. That would be where they would need to begin then. Where Isen's greatest weakness had once been his inability to open himself to the Force, Yulie seemed a bit too open, letting the dark side strengthen her negative emotions and dig it's roots deep within her. Izel looked again at the young Kiffar, seeing he was still trying to concentrate on his task, and stood up, gesturing for Yulie to follow her. She would lead the Dathomirian back outside so they would be able to speak without being a distraction. The hssiss had finished it's meal and now approached the Vratix, probably desiring more. Izel would extend her hand and touch the creature's nose, using the bond to extend feelings of peacefulness to it. The reptile followed her wordless command, pacing away and resting in the shade of the ship.

"As I said, I suffered from the same problem." She spoke at a regular volume to the girl. "Understanding the Sith brought with it a deep hatred for what they are and what they do. But my animosity never made me stronger, it only clouded my judgement and made me act rashly." She looked at Yulie with an understanding expression, not that such was easy to read. "Righteous anger feels good. But so does a fistful of spice. Neither are healthy. When so much cruelty has been done unto you it feels right to return that cruelty, but every time you do you grant a victory to those who transgressed upon you. When you choose cruelty a part of you is accepting that they are correct, and that one should feel good for committing it. It's not wrong to fight injustice. When you see people being taken advantage of, being oppressed by the cruelty of others, you should use your power to put an end to it. What you shouldn't and must not do is turn that oppression back on them. Because when you do, you teach them not that what they are doing is wrong, only that they must be stronger. We must choose to be the end of the chain of hatred, not another link in it."

She paused as she turned her attention to the reptile lounging a few dozen feet away. "Take the hssiss as an example. The dark side has made life on this world harsh and unforgiving. Because life is so strained, because there is so little, those few that remain struggle more than most other wildlife you will find across the galaxy. Even in other desert biomes circumstances are still not as hopeless as they are here. Perhaps that was the design of the dark side when it spared them. The desperation of their existence drives them to cruelty. They lash out in ways animals normally would not, given to slow slaughter as a means of feeling more powerful. Why add to such misery needlessly? The creature still must hunt yes, but our actions can draw that hatred out, and allow it to live a more natural and untainted life." She looked back at Yulie to see if she was making any sense to the Dathomirian. The Vratix herself had not experienced nearly the same level of suffering in her life. She had lost plenty, she had dealt with pain, but she had much more to hold on to. She wondered how she could help the girl to let go of her anger. Perhaps the best way would be to help her forge bonds with others that were not built on such wretched foundations.

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Yulie hesitated when gestured to follow. Her eyes flickered between the levitating gem and the ship’s bow. Taking a moment to think, she silently drummed the table with her fingertips and then followed the Vratix. Yulie had no idea how long it would take Isen to purify the crystal, but if the Captain thought they were freaks for being friendly with the local wildlife, things could go sideways if he saw them practicing levitation in the common area.

Emryc’s broadcast made it clear that the Galaxy’s goodwill for the Jedi was on the wane, and there were many places where opinions towards them had soured long before. The Captain was a mystery to her; he kept everyone so far away it was hard to tell how he really felt about anything. No, she could not let him wander unprepared into the middle of Jedi business.

Plucking one of the unfilled sheets from the back of the pantry’s manifest, Yulie snatched a pen, a knife, and stopped for a moment at the doorway. She was able to pry her way into the door controls so quickly that she would likely be able to slide into a comfortable life of petty crime if honest work dried up. Being small and thin had its advantages in this line of work; she was able to snake her arm in without having to pull anything out, and it only took a few seconds to find what she was looking for.

With a slight tug of her pinkie, a quiet hiss escaped from the panel. There we go! Another few moments of finger magic and the hissing stopped. She retracted her arm, fit the panel back into place, knocked it with her fist and the door locked with an unhealthy shunk.

On the blank side of the sheet of paper, Yulie scrawled “O.O.O.” in thick letters. It was the illiterate equivalent of an Out of Order sign, an achievement only possible by honouring the Captain's orders to work on reading. Bending the edges of the paper, she was able to wedge it into the viewport to block any line of sight to what Isen was doing. If the Captain was so determined, he could find a way to force his way in; all Yulie did was manually trick the pressure seal, but he seemed more likely to give up and simply find a passive-aggressive way to encourage his mechanic to bump up that particular repair job to a higher priority.

With that out of the way, she was able to freely tag along without having to worry about the Captain. If the Jedi were to reveal themselves to him, Yulie reasoned that it should be on their own terms at a time of their own choosing. Do they know about that broadcast? Yulie wondered. I should probably tell them. They might not have any idea about Emryc’s call-to-arms, or how people are responding to it.

The timing wasn’t right, though. Izel was relating her own struggles, and imparting a lesson on the inverse relationship between anger and justice. Changing the subject to the month-old ranting of some self-important talking head would be grievously impolite.

"...Perhaps that was the design of the dark side when it spared them. The desperation of their existence drives them to cruelty. They lash out in ways animals normally would not, given to slow slaughter as a means of feeling more powerful. Why add to such misery needlessly? The creature still must hunt yes, but our actions can draw that hatred out, and allow it to live a more natural and untainted life."

"So even though they're cruel, they're also victims. And that's why you think they should be healed, because they wouldn't have a reason to be cruel if they aren't victims anymore. Like with the crystal."

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Izel looked at Yulie and nodded at her response to the lecture. "That would be the heart of it yes." She said. "Of course there are some who are just fundamentally broken people, and in those cases it might actually be impossible to affect change. But I've traveled to many places across this galaxy, met many different people with many different motivations behind their actions. I can tell you with certainty that the vast majority of beings in this world are decent folk who will not go out of their way to cause harm. Some are only doing what they believe is necessary to survive. Some do not understand that what they do harms others, some think what they are doing is ultimately for the sake of good. Others have been taught not to view others with the same value as they view themselves, and thus have difficulty showing empathy. But given the chance, most would rather be helpful to their fellow sentients than harmful."

She realized her view of the galaxy would seem overly optimistic to some, especially someone like Yulie who's experiences with others would have been almost universally negative. But surely even she would be able to draw upon instances in her life of people looking out for one another, even when it afforded them no tangible reward. "You'll see." The Vratix assured her as she looked out across the barren landscape of Ambria. Even in a place so drowned within the dark side Izel fought back with every ounce of strength she had, trying to help the light shine through even if just a bit. Since their arrival the landing area had grown warmer, if only just slightly. "The ugliness of the universe is hopelessly outweighed by it's beauty." When the Vratix spoke, she did so with the certainty of someone who was describing a basic reality of the world, rather than simply voicing an opinion.

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".... Others have been taught not to view others with the same value as they view themselves, and thus have difficulty showing empathy. But given the chance, most would rather be helpful to their fellow sentients than harmful."

Yulie shook her head. Given the chance, most people deigned to do nothing. At least, that was all she really got to see in her limited travels. By their very nature, positions of power were occupied only by a small number, and those who answered to them were widely outnumbered by everyone else. No matter how brutal the leadership, the everyman was able to keep his hands clean.

Given the chance, would the average person rather be helpful than harmful? To Yulie, it didn’t really matter what they held in their minds. Maybe they were more inclined to lend a hand than raise a fist, but almost everyone kept their hands to themselves. They kept their heads down, reminded themselves they just wanted to get by, and pretended they either did not see or could not change anything that happened outside their reach.

Izel told her that turning oppression against those in power would fail to teach them what they were doing was wrong, but every time someone chose to go about their day like oppression was normal, they were giving silent consent, teaching those in power that their system was right, or just, or fair. Would most people rather to help instead of harm? However they felt, it meant nothing if they chose not to act.

There were moments when people found ways to defy the pattern in small acts here or there. Yulie remembered how the elderly were treated at the prison. Too old to work, the system would have them quietly starve, but people found reasons to provide them rations. The sharper or able-bodied could help teach or entertain younglings so their parents could rest or work, but even the feeblest person with a mind long gone rarely died of hunger. And the same charitable people would keep silent when they overheard someone being beaten by the guards.

I think most people would rather not get involved at all.

"You'll see. The ugliness of the universe is hopelessly outweighed by it's beauty."

I haven’t seen much of the universe, but everyone I’ve seen considers beauty to be a luxury. Fashion, art, architecture, a room with a view. Never had the money for it myself, but I suspect you’re talking about a different kind of beauty.”

@@Reyn
 

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Izel turned her attention back to Yulie as she piped in, antennae twitching a bit as she considered the girl's opinion. "You're right that the average person usually tries to avoid involving themselves in conflict. But that is more the result of fear than apathy. For a person without power to stand directly in opposition to someone who holds it, they are more likely to be hurt or killed than make a difference. In situations such as those people will naturally prioritize the short term safety of themselves and their loved ones. They are unlikely to realize that doing nothing ensures continued risk. It doesn't mean that they don't want things to be different. We shouldn't be hard on such people. Rather we should strive to set an example worth following. All movements that ever changed anything started out small, but once those brave few showed that fighting successfully was possible they quickly gained countless supporters to their cause. As Force users we have the power to be that symbol that drives people to be courageous."

As for her other observation about beauty, well Izel was certainly talking about something else altogether. Once more she turned her eyes forward to take in the scenery. "I was." She said. She wasn't sure how to put what she meant into words. "It's not what you see it's... What's behind it. The Force. How it's always pushing life forward, no matter what. You and I, the beasts, all the people that have ever been and will be. We're all connected, even if we find ways to separate ourselves. When you get a glimpse of it, one that isn't obscured by the dark side's corruption, you'll understand what I mean. We just need to... Get off this planet..."

Izel couldn't help but feel a bit frustrated by the circumstances. She had never expected to find Yulie on the journey. She didn't have the sort of experience other Jedi did with this sort of thing. But she did know that Ambria was a terrible starting point for an introduction to the Force. Even she was unsettled when walking the world's surface and she was practically at a master's level. She could still see the purities that existed in the Force here, and with effort Isen could too. For Yulie such a thing would be practically impossible. She sighed and looked at the Dathomirian again. "I want to show you, help you see a brighter side to the galaxy. You'll just need to bare with me for a bit. None of this was planned for."

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"As Force users we have the power to be that symbol that drives people to be courageous."

Yulie tried to give no reaction to that sentiment. She was highly attentive to the health of a ship's instrumentation, dutifully alert to the subtle wear that accrues beneath the stress of deep-space travel, but the Vratix seemed able to diagnose the slightest mannerism far more acutely. Untrained in the ways of the Force, Yulie had no ability to conceal her turmoil from anyone observing the ripples her emotions would cause. Her dispassionate expression was more fitting for a beginner's table for playing cards, possibly a tell of its own, considering how expressive she tended to normally be.

Even with the Force empowering her, she saw nothing in herself that could inspire courage. She was just an unsightly kid that scuttled around in the shadows, performing tasks that no one else wanted to do. She could sweep the floors at a Jedi stronghold, or do their laundry. Perhaps repair their lightsabers if they permitted her grease-stained fingers to touch them. But inspire courage? She avoided eye contact even around people she trusted. She was used to keeping her head down, fearful of bringing unwanted attention down upon her, but lashed out when others were forced to do the same. Izel disapproved of both those paths.

If she was to become such a symbol, she would first have to know what one even looked like, how they acted, the methods they used. And then she would have to learn how to believe in herself when trying to do the same. Without anyone to model the traits such a person would have, her shortcomings felt all the more prominent. Izel was large, Isen was strong, the Captain was loud. Unless she was slamming someone into the ceiling, she couldn't think of a reason why anyone would pay her any mind. She simply didn't have the presence she thought would be required.

"I want to show you, help you see a brighter side to the galaxy. You'll just need to bare with me for a bit. None of this was planned for."

"You know, you don't actually have to involve me in your plans. You already have a perfectly good student who exceeds expectations." It was implied that Yulie would not be so adept. "And I've got a job now. A generous Captain. My own room, sort of."

She wanted to learn, and was bound by her own Way to not refuse the opportunity, but she always negotiated from a position of weakness. Not wanting to impose on the passengers, her starting position gave the Jedi permission to leave her behind. It was this style of bargaining that landed her an unpaid job on the ship without so much as a bedroll to use in the engine room, and yet she still thought she was getting a good deal.

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Once again Yulie voiced a dreadfully low opinion of her own abilities. Even after feeling the Force within herself to an extent she seemed unable to imagine herself being capable of anything approaching Izel or Isen's level. The Vratix just tilted her head curiously in response to her words, the girl trying to imply she had no obligation to involve the Dathomirian. "Of course I do." She responded casually. "You asked to learn the ways of the Force. I don't see any other Jedi around here who can show you."

She glanced towards the ship. "I'm sure you could do perfectly well as our Captain's assistant, making repairs, cleaning toilets and changing sheets..." She looked back to the Dathomirian. "I think you'd be doing yourself and the galaxy a horrific disservice though. You can't possibly know what you're capable of until you've made the attempt. You think Isen is a good student because he meets all my expectations? He's made plenty of mistakes of his own in his time. He's a good student because he keeps pushing to better himself. The only things you need are the will and dedication. Everything else will come with time."

Besides, as much as the thought may have saddened her, Isen was just about finished with his apprenticeship. He would be a Knight of the Order himself soon. Why shouldn't she take Yulie as a Padawan? Izel had stated her mission. She wanted to change the galaxy through peaceful means. To be a teacher of the next generation, to impart knowledge of how resolve conflict rather that perpetuate it, what better method was there? Yulie might have been suffering heavily from the darkness within her, but that was more reason to make the attempt, not less.

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"Of course I do. You asked to learn the ways of the Force. I don't see any other Jedi around here who can show you."

Yulie opened her mouth to raise an objection, but closed it instead, taking the moment to wonder why she was about to argue against something that she wanted. Yes, Izel did technically have the freedom to pass her along to a different teacher, or select a more promising student instead of a Dathomirian castoff, but Izel didn't need to have this pointed out. The young mechanic thought it was just a manifestation of a self-destructive pattern, some new way to undermine her own efforts when things were looking they might go well.

"I'm not really good at deciding things for myself." She confessed. "I'm used to doing what I have to do, or what I'm told. That's why I choose jobs like these, I guess. It's easy to know where you stand when you're on the bottom rung. I can be...indecisive...when it comes to things that I actually want. It's like I'm waiting for the Galaxy to say 'no'."

But the girl was wrong; that was not why she almost raised an objection. Were it so, she would have felt a lot better when she was told that Izel had no doubt about their arrangement. Yet in spite of the reassurance and the relief that came with it, a thin membrane of pain encapsulated it. There was no gatekeeping, no tasks to prove a baseline of worth, no indictment of her flaws. If being welcomed here was like a light shining upon her, being unwelcome on Dathomir was the shadow that it cast behind her. Shadows were always less clear when there was little light to begin with.

"How do people usually begin?" She asked. It was plainly evident that a pilgrimage to a near-dead planet of festering predators and malicious monuments could not have been standard learning.

"I think I've done some Force-tricks before, but they just sort of happen if I'm in danger. If I get mad enough, I can make people weightless. And when I'm hungry, small animals and crawlies kind of do what I want." Her omission of Force Choke was entirely innocent; even now she had no idea that she lashed out with it when she was afraid.

The Dark Side was like a wrist loop that tethered its influence to her fears, and with a sharp enough jerk the Force would crack like whip, striking the closest object that was vaguely connected to her fear. When the Captain yelled at her, it was the plastic cap on some cleaning supplies. Only minutes ago it was the defective lightsaber hidden beneath red cloth. She may have touched other Techniques during her years, but with such instinctual and clumsy use of them, they may have fallen from her grip before she could integrate them as thoroughly as her existing few.

"I thought it was just adrenaline, or showing dominance, but you guys are doing it when you want to, and on a much bigger scale, and you're not even hyping yourselves to pull it off." She tried to think of it like her trade work, though she knew better now than to let the metaphor go too car and carry herself away. She was banging away with tools she didn't understand and was probably not even holding them properly, let alone safely using them as intended. She knew the first step to learning how to use anything in the engine room, but the Force was a toolbox wholly unfamiliar to her.

She'd have to start at the beginning.

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Izel watched the Dathomirian as she explained herself. It made sense that she would find trouble in decision making. It was something that required confidence, belief in one's own judgement. Slaves were brought up to be broken of their confidence, malleable and easy to control. It was sad that even when free of physical chains it could take potentially a very long time to have a free mind. Then Yulie turned the conversation to how things were supposed to work when training in the Force, and mentioned some of what she was capable of. Izel nodded slowly, not showing any signs of uneasiness even after hearing some of the girl's 'feats' thus far.

"It sounds like what you've been using mostly is the dark side." The Vratix admitted, but quickly raised a hand to make a calming motion, in case that might have unsettled Yulie at all. "But that can be quite common for someone who has just discovered their sensitivity. Especially for people like you and I, who discover it later in life." She clarified. "We have stronger emotional connections at that stage in life, the later teens and beyond. So it's more natural for us to access the Force first through something like a distressing scenario. As I said before the dark side is very easy to use even for someone with little or no training. It's very alluring as well. There's no shame in making such a mistake when you're ignorant to the dangers." She looked forward again and crossed her arms, clicking to herself as she recalled her own induction into the Order years ago.

"Usually the first thing the Jedi teach is how to properly access the Force, with self control rather than raw emotion. That is done through meditation." She continued. "We find a place to sit down, nice and quiet, center ourselves and try to relax. Purge yourself of all emotion and just concentrate on feeling the energy moving around you. With enough practice you'll be able to use the abilities you spoke of, telekinesis, beast control and such without needing to get angry. It's a technique that takes a long time to perfect, but you'll find yourself completely coolheaded and in control while doing it. That is why Isen was able to tame the hssiss earlier while remaining so calm. He has learned to control his emotions and not be unsettled even by a hungry predator twice his size." She looked back at Yulie.

"Of course it's much harder to concentrate on meditating when the dark side is acting like an obnoxious sibling," She added with a bit of humor. "Nagging at your mind constantly and drawing up your most unpleasant memories, exacerbating your negative feelings towards yourself and others. If you want to try it here I can show you how. Just don't expect to make any significant progress while we're on Ambria. It takes a lot of training before you can maintain your control in a place so corrupted. It can be straining even for me."

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"It sounds like what you've been using mostly is the dark side."

Yulie clenched the landing gear in frustration and felt a different anger from deep within. Izel raised a hand, beckoning her to listen further, which she did. Why did it have to be a Vratix to explain all this to her? Why didn't the Clan Mother do that years ago? All this time she thought there was just something wrong with her, something fundamentally broken, all because she wasn't told why she could not be brought into the Clan. Instead of being told these simple truths, she was sent into exile until she could figure it out on her own. It was the first time since she reclaimed her lightsaber that she was angry at someone for wronging her.

It's just this planet. Ignore it. It wants me to pay attention to anything but the Jedi.

"Usually the first thing the Jedi teach is how to properly access the Force, with self control rather than raw emotion. That is done through meditation. We find a place to sit down, nice and quiet, center ourselves and try to relax."

That was certainly the opposite of what she was doing. Shortly after being set free, she was robbed on a bench while she slept. She managed to keep her boots if not her money, but with a black eye, bruised cheeks and broken nose, she didn't even look like a Dathomirian for weeks. A homeless man told her it wasn't always the size of the beast in the fight, but the size of the fight when you unleash your beast. His knuckles were red, but he had no black eyes. With that advice, her next fight went differently.

Anger didn't win those fights, though. It was the Force. Take that away, and she was just an undernourished whelp biting off more than she could chew. If the Force could be wielded calmly, she could control the outcome. She could stop herself from going too far. And she could decide how things would end before they had to start. It was definitely worth a shot. Unleashing your beast might be an option for someone who has nothing else to unleash, but she had the Force as a potential ally. The Laws demanded that she use it wisely, not recklessly.

"If you want to try it here I can show you how. Just don't expect to make any significant progress while we're on Ambria. It takes a lot of training before you can maintain your control in a place so corrupted. It can be straining even for me."

"After what happened earlier, I'd rather not do any training on this planet." The Obelisk had intent, it was somehow alive in a way that Yulie never thought a life form could be, and it was clever. It had an influence on her thoughts, making some things easy to dwell on, tempting trains of thought to a destructive end. Other things were harder to think about it. She did not know what she might do if she tried using the Force, and doubted that this place would allow her to properly meditate even if she knew how.

"But I know a good spot in the ship to try meditating. The maintenance crawlway connects to an alcove directly between the engine and central cooling unit. The floor is warm and the ceiling is cold, so there's a really refreshing breeze whenever the air cycles." She would find her way into that spacious nest of tubes and paneling when she needed to relax, only subconsciously aware of the balance she found in that spot.

The engine's hum would rumble through the floor as a gentle purr, while the coolant and other fluids would make a soft whooshing as they were shunted through a labyrinth of pipes throughout the ship. It was an open space surrounded by claustrophobic tunnels, and had tastefully dim lighting by the courtesy of a myriad of tiny bulbs in hexagonal patterns throughout. Not everyone would be drawn to it or find it as pleasing, but she felt centered by the duality of its atmosphere.

If there was anything less than ideal about it, there was the matter of the ship's design. Engineers had the tendency to be ethnocentric with their blueprints unless being specifically mindful of other body types taking full access to the ship. Unless the Vratix were flexible, Izel might have trouble squeezing through the crawlways. The insect was rather sizeable, and Yulie tended to make the most of her diminutive stature to her advantage when exploring the crevasses of the ship.

"I'm not sure how accommodating the maintenance areas are to non-humanoids, but I can wire a two-way speaker from the alcove to your room if you ever want to coach me through some meditative techniques." Then she starting doubting herself again. Was it inconsiderate to suggest a location that might be uncomfortable or inaccessible to the one teaching her? "Or we could find somewhere else. The ship probably has a lot of good spots, the engine room, maybe. Its a lot more open, and I don't think the Captain has ever gone inside it since I started working."

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*I kept mixing up our shades of green when highlighting dialogue before posting, so I switched back to red. This was decided right before the final edit, but if a lore-friendly reason is needed, you could consider her anger at the Clan Mother as a dark victory for Ambria, a small crack in her devotion to their Way.
 
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Izel Thral

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"We can do whatever makes you most comfortable." Izel answered Yulie with an amused chitter, turning to start moving back towards the ship. "Remember it's you who needs to be able to concentrate. We'll try the crawlway and see how that works. If it doesn't we can try something else." The girl was probably right about the snugness of the maintenance ways. It was difficult for Izel to find chairs that accommodated her kind, let alone starships. Of course not being present didn't necessarily mean she would be unable to coach Yulie. If anything it would allow her the chance to impart another lesson of the Force. That physical distance and other material obstacles were ultimately irrelevant to one who could connect with it. It was worth a try at least.

The group would stay on Ambria for no more than a week. Even Izel couldn't stand immersing herself in the corruption any longer than that. It would allow her further time to familiarize Isen with Sith philosophy and culture, help him formulate strategies for confrontation. She would begin running Yulie through the basics of Jedi training, all the while using her own powers in an attempt to shield her mind from the outside forces of Ambria and make it easier for her to concentrate. She and Isen would continue helping the hssiss return to a healthier state, using the Force to guide it's mind towards a less confrontational demeanor towards sentients. It would learn to stay away and hunt only the other creatures of the desert world. More than that, the deep, unnatural hatred within it's mind would be rooted out, allowing it to continue it's existence in a more peaceful state. Izel wished she could do more for the beast, but they had other matters to attend to. Hopefully in the future she and other Jedi could return and continue Master Thon's work to purify the planet.

She would grow nervous towards the end, wondering if the training had been enough, and if Isen would be able to accomplish his final task. He didn't want for physical ability. He was one of the most promising duelists she'd seen. His power over the Force was growing by the day as well. And he had learned valuable lessons over the course of this journey and his entire apprenticeship. He was no longer rightfully a Padawan. Still she couldn't help but fear for his safety. She knew where they were going next would be a tremendous challenge, one that could end in disaster. Coming to Ambria had more purpose than one. It also left them close enough for her and the Captain to monitor activity in the surrounding region of space. Izel had previously known little of the fugitive Alsuna Sylias, but had researched her before embarking on this mission. She had been a Jedi once, but fell to the dark side around the same time the Vratix was still a Padawan. She had been roaming the galaxy since, causing nothing but harm. But now they had an idea of where she was, and Izel intended to stop her with Isen's help. She would be a powerful fallen Knight by this point no doubt. But Izel was certain if they faced her together they would succeed. Once they had completed their training they would leave Ambria headed for the Ghost Nebula. Of course, the Force always made light of plans set out, to create the results it desired...

/Exit Thread
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