Friends in High Places

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away... The Republic and the Empire maintain a fragile truce, but the threat of open war hangs heavy as both sides quietly vie for power and domination. In the midst of this volatile mix of factions and schemes, unlikely heroes must fight to preserve all they hold dear.
User avatar
Quaxo9
Secundae
Posts: 635
Joined: Fri Oct 30, 2020 9:33 pm

Re: Friends in High Places

Post by Quaxo9 »

Neva Xolte

"Yeah, it's true. The girls are on board. Them and Evanni, that is. They're at the house if you want to say hi."

Neva had holstered her pistol and was clearly more than happy to have a company of Mandos around. If she hadn't thought Kismet's intentions were true, she never would have offered up that information. Mandalorians were a lot of things, but they didn't tend toward lying. Especially when the target wasn't a hunting target. Mandos were crazy about their hunts.

Made her think of a certain other hunter. If only she'd spontaneously show up on the same planet paradise... should she risk it? Sure, Spar clan was dishonoured and, well, there was only one left, so it wasn't much of a clan. But Clan Cadera had been in a similar pickle, if she remembered correctly. If anyone might have some sympathy for Spar, well...

But why ask? Sure could probably dig out Akaavi's holo signal from the snarl of signals recorded from their last stop at Mek-Sha. Besides, maybe Akaavi wasn't that interested in hanging out. Did Mandalorians 'hang out'? Why did everything have to be so complicated?
User avatar
Monkey Kitty
Steward
Posts: 451
Joined: Fri Oct 30, 2020 2:31 am

Re: Friends in High Places

Post by Monkey Kitty »

"Yes," Kismet said. "I would like that."

The name Evanni was unfamiliar to her, but she was determined to make sure the Jedi and the other one were telling the truth about Tacia and Shandri. It seemed so farfetched. But if it was true, they were the luckiest girls in the galaxy, and she would wish them well. If not, she would take them with her and see that they were given the life they deserved... now that she finally had the ability to do so.

The Mandalorian glanced at the two figures still prone on the ground, and observed Visper nervously eyeing them.

"But you have wounded," Kismet went on. "I see that you are temporarily avoiding that fact, because you aren't sure what the Mandalorians will do. We mean you no harm. As I said, we didn't come here for you. As a gesture of good faith, we will help you get them back to your encampment so they can get medical treatment."

She nodded to the other Mandalorians, and they stepped forward to assist with carrying Trystan and Reyth back to the house.

***

Jesk poked furiously at his comm. "Come in! Damn it! Where are you? Come in!"

As his summons failed to be heeded, he was increasingly sounding like the Republic soldier he was rumored to see himself as, not a Jedi Master.

There was a rustle in the trees. Then a figure in Jedi robes floated eerily into the clearing. The man appeared to be lying down mid-air. He was deathly pale and unmoving. For a moment, he looked dead, but upon closer inspection, Siralai saw that his chest was rising and falling faintly.

"What...?" Jesk looked like he'd seen a ghost. Perhaps he thought he had.

A moment later, Lana stepped into the clearing behind him, one hand extended as she used the Force to hold the motionless Jedi aloft.

"I'm returning this," Lana said. Abruptly, she released her hold, and the unconscious Jedi tumbled to the ground at Jesk's feet. "Yours, I believe. He attempted to abduct Ebben Mahr. Because being around Siralai makes me feel unusually generous, I decided to merely render him unconscious rather than killing him. I can't imagine I shall feel so forgiving a second time. Take him and go. Leave this family - and their son - alone. If you attempt to harm any of them again, I swear I will pursue you to the end of the galaxy to take my revenge."

Jesk met Lana's gaze for a moment. Jesk faltered. Lana did not.

"This isn't over," the Master muttered. But he and the other Jedi awkwardly hoisted their fallen fellow and turned away toward their ship.
User avatar
Quaxo9
Secundae
Posts: 635
Joined: Fri Oct 30, 2020 9:33 pm

Re: Friends in High Places

Post by Quaxo9 »

Teizi Lin

The more she saw of him, the more she wondered just how much any of the rest of the Jedi Council knew about their fellow council member outside of the chambers. This man was not at peace. He acted from a place of ignorance. There was nothing serene about him. He was not in harmony with the Force.

In short, Jesk was, at this moment, not an exemplary Jedi.

As the remaining four Jedi turned to go, she allowed her blade to return to its hilt, depositing it on her left side. She nodded to Lana in greeting and with no small amount of respect. It had certainly been in the Sith's power to cut down the knight who opposed her, but she had stayed her hand. Generous indeed. Teizi turned to regard Pyrran and Arksynn. Speaking of Sith staying their hand. It would have been well within their rights to protect themselves from Jesk and his Knights, but they had not attacked.

She was starting to realize that the whole galaxy was a degree of shaded - not just light and dark as her teachers had wanted her to believe. Perhaps it had been wishful thinking on their part. Certainly, it was a lot easier to make a decision when there were only exactly two sides. Perhaps that is what never really sit well with her. What kept her up at night. Teizi knew all too well that there were as many sides as there were perspectives. And she was still certain that it was important for a Jedi to be able to discern the right path, no matter how many branches.
User avatar
Monkey Kitty
Steward
Posts: 451
Joined: Fri Oct 30, 2020 2:31 am

Re: Friends in High Places

Post by Monkey Kitty »

Visper Averrod-Iresso

"I don't think we actually introduced ourselves," Visper said as they walked back to the house. "I'm Visper Averrod-Iresso. This is Neva Xolte."

Kismet merely nodded to Visper's introduction, but when she heard Neva's name, she raised an eyebrow.

"Ah, the Neva Xolte? I've heard of you. I drank with Akaavi Spar. She spoke of you." Kismet didn't seem inclined to elaborate on that statement, but there was a hint of a smile on her lips. Playfully changing the subject with what appeared to be intent to knock Neva off balance, she said to Visper, "If you need to purchase any supplies before you leave Rishi, don't go to the city markets. They gouge you on the prices. There's another market in a village nearby where you can get everything you need and not pay an arm and a leg."

"I imagine you get a cut of sales there?" Visper asked bluntly.

The Mandalorian grinned. Far from being offended, she seemed to appreciate the candor. "No, not a cut, but you're right, I'm not unbiased. My friend and her tribe run the market. The tribe are Evocii - they have to cut good deals to compete here."

"Your friend is Evocii?" Visper asked, surprised.

Kismet grinned again, which Visper found a little incongruous, but she nodded. "Yes, she is. I'll take you there later if you want to resupply."

By the time the others arrived back at the house, Reyth and Trystan had been examined and were being treated. Reyth was resting comfortably; they were just waiting for her to wake up. Trystan had fared worse - he had a concussion, a couple of chipped teeth, a broken collarbone, and two broken ribs - but he had been very lucky. He wouldn't die and hadn't sustained any severe injuries. Siralai was relieved, but still worried about both him and Reyth... and Ebben. She could almost cry, thinking about what they had almost lost today and how fortunate they had been.
User avatar
Monkey Kitty
Steward
Posts: 451
Joined: Fri Oct 30, 2020 2:31 am

Re: Friends in High Places

Post by Monkey Kitty »

Visper Averrod-Iresso

Once Visper had checked on Reyth and seen to Trystan's treatment, she had thought she could take a break - that she had surely earned that. But mere seconds after she sat down, her comm buzzed. Without thinking, she opened it then and there, and an automated message began playing.

"Greetings from the Republic and Neutral Worlds Allied Committee on Children's Well-Being. This message serves to notify you that your request to adopt the child named Evini has been denied. It has been determined that your household does not meet our minimum adoption standards. It recently came to our attention that you, Visper Averrod-Iresso, have a troubling Sith history, and that your requested co-parent, Felix Iresso, is suffering from PTSD as a result of a prolonged Zakuulan imprisonment. For these reasons, you have been judged to be unfit as prospective parents, and your adoption will not be certified. Avenni must leave your household immediately. She will be transported to Coruscant for processing, and then will be assigned to an appropriate foster home. Due to our long waiting list, Avenni has been placed in a queue to await placement. Her current position in the queue is #3241. Please rest assured that the welfare of children is our highest priority, and we are committed to placing each and every child in an optimal care environment, which unfortunately you and your husband are unable to provide. Best regards. RANWACOCWB out."

Visper stared at the comm, speechless.

"What the hell?" Felix said angrily. "How can they...? They didn't even get her name right!"

Visper shook her head. "Jesk. It has to be. He must have said something to them. Days ago she was a slave being sold to a Sith, and they didn't care. There has to be a reason they care now, and I'm guessing it's because we pissed the wrong Jedi off. He can't do anything about Tacia and Shandri because they're legally adults and can live wherever they want, but he's going to do his best to screw things up for Evanni."

They hadn't realized Evanni had walked into the room until she started to cry. "Wh...whhaaat? They aren't letting you adopt me? What's going to happen to me...?"

Visper stood and pulled Evanni into a hug. "We're still adopting you. This is a misunderstanding - they must have misunderstood if they thought we were asking permission. We were telling them what was happening. It's still happening. I'm not letting them use my daughter as a political pawn."

"You're sure?" Evanni asked doubtfully. "You still want me even if it makes them mad?"

Felix nodded and hugged her too. "We're sure. You're our kid now. They can't change that. We're going to stay together and stay out of their way."

Visper noticed Hex lingering awkwardly in the doorway, and she beckoned him over too. "How about you?" she asked. It hadn't escaped her notice that the boy seemed to like following Felix around, and seemed to look up to him. "Are you staying with us too?"

Hex nodded shyly, and got pulled into hugs also.
User avatar
Monkey Kitty
Steward
Posts: 451
Joined: Fri Oct 30, 2020 2:31 am

Re: Friends in High Places

Post by Monkey Kitty »

Visper Averrod-Iresso

The kids seemed very reassured, which Visper was glad of... but she noticed Felix was still a little quiet, which concerned her. When they had a moment alone, she asked him, "Hey, are you okay?"

"Yeah..." he said, but he sounded a little tentative.

"Is it because of Jesk and that comm?"

Felix shook his head, then nodded, as if he couldn't quite make up his mind. "Sort of," he said. "Not about what they're gonna do. We've got that. We can protect the kids. It's just... what if they're right about me?"

Visper blinked, startled. "What do you mean?"

Felix shrugged awkwardly; his shoulders stayed tense. "I mean, about the PTSD. Not me having it - of course I do - but what if it makes me a bad dad?"

"Oh, Felix," Visper said softly, and hugged him. "No. No way. You're already a great dad. You love them so much. You're there for them. And honestly, these kids have had a really rough time of it too. You can probably understand them better than someone who never went through anything. The kids can talk to you about their feelings, knowing you've been there too."

"I hope so," Felix said sincerely. "I just worry..."

"I know you do," Visper told him. She had realized that the moment they were reunited - when he had told her he understood if she left him, because he was too changed. Because he had been too badly hurt. It had broken her heart. "But you don't need to. We're lucky to have you. We love you. This is what you want, isn't it, Felix?"

He nodded - almost hesitantly, like he was admitting a need too great to be spoken of. "Yeah, I do. I want this. You, the kids - I want us to be together. That's what I need."

Visper smiled at him and squeezed his hands. "Good," she said. "Because that's what we need too. We're going to be okay. All of us. I promise. We're a family."

"Yeah, we are," Felix agreed - and the confidence had returned to his voice.
User avatar
Quaxo9
Secundae
Posts: 635
Joined: Fri Oct 30, 2020 9:33 pm

Re: Friends in High Places

Post by Quaxo9 »

Neva Xolte

At first, Neva wasn't terribly surprised that Kismet had heard of her - she was famous in her own right in certain circles - but she was absolutely floored by the source of the information. Much to her dismay, her mouth gaped a popped itself open and closed a few times before she managed to snap it shut. She never had much of a sabaac face.

Of course, the question she wanted to ask was 'What did she say?', but she couldn't do that. Well, she could, but didn't that seem a bit...desperate? She'd hate to embarrass Akaavi in front of the other Mandos...or, if she was honest, herself. What was the worst that could happen, though? Of course, Akaavi was probably just talking about their exploits. Sure. They'd done some borderline crazy things that would certainly be worthy of a drunken story or two. Sure. That was likely it.

But still...

As soon as Kismet looked like she was hovering to the side, Neva leaned herself against the wall next to her. She wished she'd grabbed a glass of something - her tongue felt like it was stuck to the roof of her mouth. Why? She was a known smooth-talker! She could sell sand to a Jawa! Thus bolstered, she put a foot up on the wall behind her, folding her arms casually over her chest.

"So, Akaavi's been telling stories, has she? Hope she didn't leave out any of my daring heroics."
User avatar
Quaxo9
Secundae
Posts: 635
Joined: Fri Oct 30, 2020 9:33 pm

Re: Friends in High Places

Post by Quaxo9 »

Teizi Lin

She'd silently retrieved her lightsaber from Pyrran and proceeded to walk through the forest, retracing the steps of the panicked Jedi. Soon enough, she'd come across the body. Briefly, it occurred to her that she should be angry. That a Jedi Knight had been cut down in the line of duty, however dubious that duty was, and no one had retrieved him after the danger had passed. She knelt by the body, performing a silent rite as she rolled him over and placed his arms over his chest. Though there was no death, this one would never see the light of another day - let alone the light of Tython.

It was then she realized. Her path was clear. She couldn't ignore it any longer.

On her way to the house, she passed by the herd of tauntaun - all wide-eyed and snorting. She patted them on their noses, speaking to them softly. How they fit into her realization was anyone's guess, but she wasn't going to turn them aside just because they were suddenly inconvenient. No, an example needed to be set. As much as she shied away from the thought, Teizi knew that her life would soon come under scrutiny.

Moving now toward the house, she nodded to Dallyn, who appeared abundantly stressed. The small crowd of Mandalorians the likely cause, she surmised. Herself, she paid them little mind, but approached Siralai. The strain of the day was settled on her shoulders, and while Teizi couldn't lift that weight, she hoped that she might be able to provide assistance in the long game. Speaking quietly, not asking for privacy, she spared a small smile for Ebben before getting down to business.

"I must leave for Tython immediately. What Jesk has done...cannot stand. I can't allow him to have too much of a head start on bending the Council's ear. I'm sorry I wasn't able to prevent any of this. But I'm not going to stand idly by. The danger to you...to the Order.."

She stopped just short of heresy. Swallowed carefully, then continued. "I will take the body with me, and do my best to keep you in the loop. I can't promise...anything, really. But I wanted you to know that I will do my best to fight on your behalf."
User avatar
Monkey Kitty
Steward
Posts: 451
Joined: Fri Oct 30, 2020 2:31 am

Re: Friends in High Places

Post by Monkey Kitty »

"Akaavi, hm?" Kismet asked with good-natured fake innocence. "Ah, yes. She did talk about your brave exploits. She is... fond of you. Maybe you're fond of her too."

It was a statement, not a question, and thus wouldn't demand a response. But the Mandalorian was curious, and made no attempt to hide it.

***

"Teizi, are you sure about this?" Siralai asked worried. "Jesk is a dangerous enemy, and we are... risky friends to have. If you get involved, it could have consequences for you - for your future with the Order. I know you want to do the right thing, and we're deeply grateful for that. But you need to be sure you want to cross Jesk, and maybe some others on the Council."

Siralai had left the Order, and had done so on fairly good terms. It had been the right decision. But she didn't want to drag Teizi down a path that could lead to disgrace. Or worse.

"Thank you for taking respectful care of the remains. That is kind of you. But as for fighting for us... just be sure, alright? And stay safe. We don't want to see anything happen to you."

***

As soon as they were airborne, Jesk was on the holonet. He dug into Visper and Felix first, found out about the adoption, and made a few calls to disrupt it. He then weighed in on a certain custody matter on Coruscant, making clear that on behalf of the Jedi Order, the biological father of Ebben Mahr was being endorsed to take control of the child. Finally, he spoke to the other Council members... because someone else had caught his ire, and he always made sure his enemies paid.

"We need to begin an examination of Jedi Teizi Lin. I fear she is falling to the Dark Side. She is forming attachments that distract her from her duties, and throwing in her lot with Sith and Mandalorians. She must answer for herself and turn back to the Light."
User avatar
Quaxo9
Secundae
Posts: 635
Joined: Fri Oct 30, 2020 9:33 pm

Re: Friends in High Places

Post by Quaxo9 »

Neva Xolte

Not for the first time today, she wished she had a drink. Fond? Of her? Really?

Then again...what did she mean by 'fond'? Like...fond as in when you've been planetside a long time and upon your return to your ship you see your favourite droid? Fond as in...pleasure of a cold beer after a hot day's work? Or fond fond. As she felt it the first time she laid eyes on Akaavi. The kind of fondness that she now realized was colouring her cheeks in a most unfortunate way.

And realized that Kismet had an answer to her question, stated as one or no.


Teizi Lin

The muscles in the younger woman's jaw tightened, but her countenance remained its same colour. She clasped her hands in front of her, steadying herself.

"I think it is too late for that. As soon as I didn't pledge my undying allegiance when he first holoed me, my fate was sealed. And ultimately, I can't stand by and let this happen to the Order. Jesk...what he's doing...not just to you...he can't keep on.The only way forward is into the line of fire."

Here, her facade crumbled slightly, but she quickly regained her composure.

"I don't know how things will end. But I can't stay a Jedi knowing what festers in the Temple. As I said, I will let you know what happens as I can."

She paused, looking the other woman in the eye. It was strange. Teizi felt like she owed ... a better farewell. It was silly, really, she'd be talking to Siralai by holo. It wasn't like they'd have no line of communication. But, something just felt so final. And she'd learned so much.

"May the Force be with you." She bowed her head as she said the only words she could think of that might offer either of them some solace.
Post Reply