3963 BBY - Jedi Temple, Coruscant
Eight years ago a younger, more conventional Catsai Windhost led her newly assigned Padawan into the diplomatic nightmare of the Sarkan Interregnum. Despite spending two days trekking through the jungles after an opportunistic would-be rebel sabotaged their airspeeder the pairing made it through safely and presided over the coronation of the young Queen Azsil to the general acclamation of noble houses prepared to go to war against her four standard weeks previously.
Six years ago the meditations of the Jedi pair at the Order's shrine on Lorrd were interrupted by a Myrialite invasion. The Jedi remained there for a full week in support of the fetal resistance before the High Council's decree demanded Catsai extricate both herself and her apprentice from this untenable situation. As a budding Sage with a raw gift in battle meditation that was still blooming under the Knight's tutelage, Vera-Li S’vrone was simply too valuable a resource in the Council's eyes to risk, for any reason. Catsai and her teenaged student left; reluctantly, to the loud protests of the resistance cells they were abandoning. The whole journey back to Dantooine she had reassured her student that the Lorrdians were talented and resilient. They would endure and surely find their own freedom, but the High Council's instructions must be obeyed. In the end her Padawan seemed comforted but despite her calm outward facade the Knight herself was deeply troubled. The first seeds of her disenchantment with the High Council's decisions were laid.
Two years ago with the news of the Republic Navy’s confrontation with the Mandalorians along the border near Taris, Catsai was but one of the younger Jedi who added their voices to those urging the High Council to act. The Jedi Order was supposed to be independent of the Republic, not beholden to it. Where in the Code did it speak of defending and protecting only Republic taxpayers, while those in need beyond her borders suffered like the Lorrdians had? Instead, their vision clouded and troubled, the Council kept the Jedi close to home and deliberated as war grew ever closer. During this period Catsai and Vera-Li toured half a dozen of ancient Jedi shrines, meditating on each and drawing closer to the full mastery of the Padawan’s battle meditation. Catsai had just enough of the gift to guide her student, to appreciate and observe her mind channeling the Living Force to her ends but at most she could reach out to half a dozen minds. When Vera-Li had come fully into her power she could reach across battlefields; maybe across worlds! Her Padawan had a beautiful mind, and often Catsai caught herself admiring her talented pupil more than she strictly ought. When their minds linked in training and during the occasional skirmish in the sublevels of Coruscant and their rare jaunts offworld, she was careful to keep her unseemly attachment to herself. The last thing she wanted was to frighten her student or damage their accord in any way.
When a band of dissatisfied young knights defied the High Council’s dictates and went to support the Republic Military after the fall of Vanquo, it was chiefly care for her student that kept Catsai from following the same path. Instead she led the blooming Sage to Corellia, where they became involved resolving a series of incidents among the local high society. Both Jedi had the opportunity to hone their own handling of customs in the wealthier strata of the galaxy, while the local more insular Corellian Jedi found it more politic to let the outsiders reap the rewards (and the blame) while they maintained their own working relationships with all the proud families in the future. All through their work there, they kept hearing news of the fighting and the exploits of the Jedi following Revan; how despite a lack of support they were beginning to hold the line and make the Clans work for their victories. Again and again the Revanchist called for volunteers from the Republic and the Jedi… and over time, some began to answer.
When they returned to Coruscant two days ago, Catsai was already making plans with Veri-Li for their journey to support the defense of the Republic. Surely this was why they had been recalled. Within the Order it was no secret that the Council had re-opened communications with the Jedi Crusaders; surely they were about to announce their full support for the defense of the Republic, and the preservation of countless innocents from the flames.
The doorway to Vera’Li’s quarters irised open with a soothing hiss, but the woman it revealed was oblivious to the effort. Her plain blue robes disposed around her, Catsai Windhost stalked into the living area, every line of her body rigid with suppressed feeling. She closed her eyes as the door slid back into place and inhaled deeply once, twice, three times. Clearing the emotions from her mind as she reached out to the Force and accepted its serenity like a crisp Skerrige alpine breeze through all the hallways of her being. Opening her lavender blue orbs more and existing within the peace of the moment, she found her pupil and made her way through the suite she visited so frequently until she sat cross-legged opposite her.
She had all the time in the world now and simply observed Vera’Li as she breathed, waiting for the Padawan to return to the present rather than interrupting her. When at last her eyes are focused on her own Catsai is direct and to the point as is her wont.
“They won’t let us go. It seems there was a rumour of a Mandalorian strike team in the Corellian Sector, so they recalled us for our own safety.”