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Nothing like GMing a solid Star wars RP with good old friends, then being invited to join back in on an old Witcher RP with another good group <3
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Alexa, play "I'm Deranged" by David Bowie for someone who thinks I stalk them, ty. Then follow it up with something along the lines of "Only Because It Bugs You". Thanksss!
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As a crazy plant lady, this outbreak and quarantine is not helping my random online buying sprees... I'm gonna live in a jungle by time this is over.
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Whale hello there 🐳
Ryloth 6 ATC 8, Week 7 Day 5: Evening

Ever since speaking to Cora earlier that day, Dominik hadn't the energy or the focus to move from his spot in front if the rock collapse. He mostly meditated, off and on, over the words Cora had said to him and how deep they had dug into his heart. He knew they were true. He knew he shut people out. But in Dominik's mind, it was for their own good. No one deserves to carry the grief he does. He was afraid that Lo would only ever see herself as a comparison if Dominik spoke too much about Evin. He was afraid she would look at him differently should he talk about his experience in Sith hands, or about the things he's seen during the war and the things he's had to do.

What good could sharing his burdens do for others?

He knew Lo cared, and that she wanted to help. But he was afraid that letting her in would shove nothing but negativity and grief into her young heart.

Lo watched Dominik from a distance. It had taken her the whole day to collect her courage and nerve to approach him. The perfect excuse came around meal time as she stepped into line and patiently waited for her turn. She told Sar she intended to take his meal to him which the older Twi'lek acknowledge. After putting a large serving of rice and various sauce and medley dishes on a leaf, she left.

With careful steps and balance, she managed to approach her master without an issue. Lo couldn't help the anxiety start to grow within her heart while she drew closer. She swallowed then recalled Cora's request, unsure of how to approach it. Her master's head rested in his hand causing her to gently tap his thigh with her boot toe.

Cora came out of a hut where a young man was laid up with a broken leg. Lo had set it well and there was no sign of complications, except that the young man was bored. Cora had given him her sternest look and let him know that she expected him to stay off of it for six weeks. She had promised him she'd see if she could fashion some crutches for him.

Looking up she saw Lo headed toward… Dominik? I told him bed rest! Stubborn man! As she watched Lo took him food. Has not eaten either. If he back slides I will Stasis him till I feel he is better. Please just talk to her. She needs you but you need her more...

"Master? I brought food, you should eat. You haven't eaten all day." She said quietly, looking worried.

He heard the footsteps as Lo grew closer, but chose not to say anything. After a few moments he felt a gentle tap on his thigh which caused him to focus on her words. He didn’t move at all yet as he thought about what she said. “Thank you Lo, but-” he stopped suddenly, recalling Cora’s words, recalling her request to let Lo in. He took a deep breath and pulled his head up, opening his eyes to look up at his Padawan with a faint, but true smile. “You’re right. A meal would do me good… what did they fix tonight?”

Lo’s chest tightened at the start of his rejection. Immediately her fur flattened and her eyes looked to the ground instinctively, trying to accept the pain. As he took a breath, her thoughts considered escape until she caught his question. A small, timid smile crossed her lips. The gesture was little, but the most meaningful thing to her right now.

Careful not to destroy the moment, she bent down and set the leaf between the two of them. Her finger pointed to each dish as she explained them.

“We have some roasted Rycrit in the center with cooked rice and some sauces to go with it. They are mainly a medley of vegetables and fruits, with some hot after-taste in some. This one is very bad with it.” She pointed to the reddish one nearest him.

“It’s called Kreen. Due to the root used in it. I would brace before trying that one and have a chunk of meat and rice to temper.” Lo’s voice took on a relaxed and childish excitement as she continued to explain each one to her master.

The smile remained on Dominik’s face as he listened and watched Lo go over every part of the meal. He watched the enthusiasm and couldn’t help a soft chuckle after she explained the Kreen.

“Becoming quite the cook are we?” Dominik said, smiling faintly to Lo as he looked over the meal.

“I loved helping in the kitchens as a youngling. Even when I put a lot of what I liked into the meals, thinking it would taste better. It turns out milk and nerf steaks… don’t taste too good mashed together.” Lo tried not to blush at her early experiments with food.

Dominik snickered at her comment, “I can imagine they don’t.” He said, reaching down and taking a small piece of the sliced meat. He lightly pulled it through one of the sauces before bringing it up and placing it in his mouth.

“Thankfully, I’ve learned more since then. I also know how to deep-fry nerf steaks with a crispy coating.” She had before; also trying some rice and one of the sauces, a deep orange one with some chopped fruit in it. A quick tense faded into bliss as the strong tang faded into sweet. She managed to lick her fingers clean.

“Soo… Cora told me I’m on three days rest. Did she tell you that you’re on five?” Lo chose an easy question to test the waters.

“She did.” Dominik said, taking another piece of the meat before dragging it through the same sauce as before and plopping it in his mouth. He wouldn’t openly admit it, but now that Lo had brought food over his stomach started to feel like an empty pit.

“Did she tell you anything else?” Dominik asked, wondering if Cora had mentioned yet anything about teaching Lo more about healing and helping the young Bothan to hone her skills.

“Yes. She was taking over until I’m done resting then going to help me with training and improving my healing. She says she’s impressed, but I don’t see why. I was flying by the seat of my trousers the whole time and even my organization could be better.” Lo commented, indifferent to her accomplishments, as she took some more rice and tried another sauce. This one was sour and savory, causing her to let out a little moan of enjoyment.

“Even if you don’t see the talent Lo, I see it. You are very gifted.” Dominik said in between bites, his free hand brushing over the robes over the scar on his abdomen. He looked over at her as she was enjoying her bite. He licked his fingers clean and then brushed them on his trousers before he adjusted the way he was sitting to be a little more comfortable.

“There also was something else Cora wanted me to do… but I’m not sure it’s a good idea.” Lo stated, trying to muster up her courage and strength.

Dominik took a deep breath at Lo’s words. He had a feeling he knew what she spoke of, but he could also be wrong. “What did she tell you? I’m sure you can do it, Lo. You can do anything you set your mind to.”

She wasn’t sure about this, even with her master’s encouragement. Her eyes closed for a moment as she inhaled then exhaled, letting her calm wash over her.

“She told me for the next three days, all I was supposed to do was eat, rest, and ask you every question that came to mind.” Lo fell silent, taking another bite. This one became tasteless the moment the truth invaded the air.

Dominik’s head moved to the hand resting on one knee again. His palm rubbed over his face as he thought over what Lo said. He straightened himself up again, turning himself more towards Lo before he spoke again. “And have you thought of any questions?” he said, looking to her and attempting to be as open as he could.

"Master... the more accurate statement is when don't I?" Lo pointed out.

The man nodded almost immediately at Lo’s statement. He couldn’t help the playful chuckle at the truth of it. Though it was something that Dominik had never really thought about until now. “What are your questions, Lo?” he began, looking directly at his Padawan as if to help show he was listening to her and only her.

Her tension cautiously began to drop from her figure. She gave a soft smile and sorted through her endless list, finally settling on one.

“We’ll start with an easy one. Since we’re currently eating, what’s your favorite food?”

The old man couldn’t help but chuckle again at the simple question. “Believe it or not… Colo Clawfish.” he teased, knowing good and well many of the younger generations of just about any species despised odd looking food before trying it. It definitely wasn’t the most appealing meal Dominik ever had, but it was a delicacy on his homeworld and something he had grown up eating on special occasions.

Lo tilted her head then blinked. “What’s that?”

“It’s usually a mix of two to three different types of cracked eggs mixed with a type of caviar from species of fish.”

“Caviar is fish eggs, right? How do they get those?”

“I’m not sure Lo.” Dominik said, snickering at her simple questions, though he figured it was only the beginning. “I just enjoy the taste. Though most younger ones around your age tend to this it’s disgusting.”

“I’m curious to what it tastes like, but I doubt I’ll get a chance. Maybe when I do, I’ll be the right age to actually enjoy it.” Lo retorted in a cheeky, playful fashion.

“What were you like as a youngling and padawan?” She asked suddenly, her figure leaning in to listen.

“My master often called me reckless.” Dominik began, laughing softly at the memory. “Master Ki always hated how little interest I had shown in the way of combat and dueling. I always preferred to watch and to wait before I made my decision.” Dominik paused for a moment, hesitant before he spoke again. “We fought a lot because of our indifference. Even then, he always told me how proud he had been. After I passed my Trials with great success, we stayed in touch and I continued to learn from him even though I felt like I was on my own.”

“Was it ever hard to talk to him?” Lo asked, hoping the question might enlighten her own issue and bring a solution.

“It was, at times.” Dominik said, thinking back to the first years with his master.

“What did you do and did it ever get better?”

“I kept working towards what I loved most.” He began, eyes closed as the memories slowly started to come back. “Soon he saw that my tactics and my patience weren’t such a bad thing. Soon he became more understanding, and we began to get along.”

A lengthy pause started as Lo took some meat and tried the spiciest of the sauces, absorbing what he had said. A few moments ticked by before she broke the silence again.

“Master, do you miss Evin?” Her heart thumped loudly in her chest, her head up and studying him. She didn’t know what to expect from her master with this question.

As Cora moved toward the hut that she left her belongings in she kept a close eye on the Master Padawan pair. The easy emotions coming off them were a good sign. The chat was going well. She set the old bag she carried her medical supplies in just inside the door and looked over her shoulder at the pair as they spoke.

She was going to try and get closer incase she was needed. She wandered over to the central area with a raised portion. Still watching the exchange.

Dominik choked at Lo’s next question. He took in a deep breath, his head bowing and eyes closing as hearing his previous Padawan’s name struck something in his heart. He exhaled slowly before inhaling sharply again. Finally, gathering strength, he looked back up at Lo.

“I miss Evin just as you miss your parents, Lo. It is… something neither of us can change.”

“I can’t miss my father. I only knew my mother and it’s been a long time. I barely remember her voice or her image. I don’t even know if I should feel guilty I can’t recall many memories about her.” Lo honestly admitted, her voice rather quiet.

Dominik’s breathing changed as the topic stretched on. He wanted to talk about these memories, he didn’t want to shut Lo out. Yet he couldn’t help the grief that seemed to resurface everytime he recalled that terrible day. “Do not blame yourself for something such as that, Lo. You had no control over the situation. You were very young… sometimes we cannot help but wish we could change the past.”

“If you could, what would you change? From the past that is.” Lo continued to watch her master intently, through her excitement and energy had spiraled down obviously. Several times she had considered altering the topic. However, she promised Cora she would speak whatever came to her mind. Even if it hurt.

Dominik exhaled quickly, holding his head in one hand as he struggled to keep his bearing.

"I would change nothing, Lo." Came his answer after a few long, silent moments. "Nothing can ever be changed, Lo. Everything is as the Force wills it…" he paused again, taking in a deep breath and glancing to his Padawan with tired eyes. "Even if it hurts. Nothing can ever be changed. That is why we must look around us. And look to the future."

Lo felt sick. A twisted, raw feeling had bunched itself up in her stomach. Growing stronger as the conversation took a less pleasant turn. She had stopped eating as the talking went on, losing her appetite with the change in subjects. Regret filled her at actually doing what Cora told her, but she couldn’t stop now.

“Is that why Evin is with the Force? Because it willed it?”
Ryloth 6 ATC 8, Week 7 Day 5: Morning

Adjusting himself on the bed, Dominik slowly began to stir as the minutes passed by. He felt Cora’s warmth nearby, both due to being in close proximity to her, and in her aura through the Force. The older Jedi slowly sat up, one hand holding his body up as the other rubbed his eyes. Glancing around the small room, he noted Cora sleeping next to him, and Lo resting, seemingly comfortable, on some blankets not far from the bed. The older man stood from the bed and grabbed a spare folded set of robes from the small crude stone table nearby. Soon he had disappeared from the room, leaving the two to wake when they needed.

Cora jerked awake startled by the lack of the rhythm of the sea. Her eyes snapped open and she pushed up shaking the exhaustion from her. Within moments she relived the last two weeks and she pushed to her feet. Softly padding over to her bag she pulled out her normal attire, her saber and a charcoal cloak. Tucking her hair behind her ears she looked over the Bothan girl but did not touch her. She was afraid that if she did the girl would wake up and she looked peaceful. Besides the girl needed the rest from the circles she had noticed that, while not as prominent as last night, were still there.

Peeling off her shirt Cora pulled on her white dress and shimmered out of the rest of her clothes under the dress. Tossing the cloak on she carefully clipped on her lightsaber. She strode out of the hut and barely stopped herself from snarling for Dominik. That man could try the patience of a Grandmaster. He was one of the worst patients she'd ever had.

Coming back from preparing for the day, Dominik held his old pair of robes draped over one arm, his other hand running over the freshly shaven bread on his chin. He spotted Cora outside of the hut and very briefly considered turning away. Taking in a deep breath, he continued forward. Unable to hide the slight limp on his right side, he walked slowly in an attempt to mask it as much as possible.

“How is Lo, Cora?” he asked, his first thoughts always on the well-being of his tired Padawan.

Lips thinning Cora's silver eyes snapped to his right side then back to his eyes. "She needs more rest as do you." Cora's tone was firm but unfailingly polite. Her diction was crisp and her words kept short. She was upset and her exhaustion still lingered. "Whom do I see to request information on the status of the situation from Dominik? Also am I to tie you to the bed like any other recalcitrant patient?" She used his full first name. Which he knew her well enough to know she was vexed.

Dominik caught the gaze she shot at him, he couldn’t help the shiver down his spine. Peeved healers were never a pleasant sort. “I can fill you in on most of it. Lo knows our healing situation better than anyone else. There’s also Sar, he’s in charge of his people.” Dominik explained, walking over to the open doorway of the hut and peeking inside. Seeing Lo still sleeping soundly, he placed the old robes just inside the doorway, draped over a crude table, before pulling back out from the doorway and looking to Cora.

“There’s much to be done Cora.” Dominik began, speaking almost sternly as an attempt to fight her attitude at his restlessness. “Lo has been working far too hard for a Padawan, Cora. She needs to rest, and I have my own duties to tend to.”

Nodding she pointed at the hut. "Correct. You do. She does and now I do. Your duties now include resting as do hers. I will not have you waste my talents by pulling your hip out of joint and having to wait in pain while Lo or I finish with someone else. Nor will I have her or myself distracted by your pain down the bond that we make a fatal mistake. You would crush her. At her age young girls are sensitive to these things. I shall also point out that you, yes you are the reason she has not healed more here. If you would not push yourself she would be better."

Her tone was firm and no nonsense and her posture loose. She knew her scant observations were hitting their mark as she watched his reaction. She'd come into her own in the ten years she'd been separated from the Order and surprisingly a better Jedi for it. She knew she was a force to be reckoned with since she'd helped anyone who sought her out on Manaan. She'd healed normal people and Force Users alike. Jedi, Sith and in between. She knew how to cut to the heart of the matter and give the cold hard truth.

Dominik found himself silent as Cora spoke the truth. Everything he had been holding in his heart was basically handed to him and made vocal. Nothing she said was out of place, it was as if she had been here this entire time. Watching, listening, learning. It was sad, Dominik thought, that it was easily noticeable the issues he and Lo were having by someone who had just arrived. It was the hard truth, and Dominik hadn’t quite expected it all to be said so bare boned and open. Nothing was hidden.

The older Jedi took in a deep breath as his mind rolled her words around in his head. He could feel her worry; about him, about their whole situation. The Ryloth relief mission had turned into something far darker and far more serious than before. It had burned holes in he and Lo’s bond in ways Dominik wasn’t sure he could fix quickly. He sighed deeply and stood in silence. Lately he had felt less like a master and more like an apprentice. He felt as if he was failing in his duties to Lo.

He took in a sharp breath as he moved from the doorway, glancing up as a few Twi’lek emerged from one of the huts nearby. “Your words speak the truth, Cora. I will not ignore them, but I must meet with Sar this morning.” He said quietly, smiling weakly at the younger Jedi before he moved past her in the direction of the healing tents and ration tables.

Lo's head nuzzled deeper into the assortment of thick blankets as she twisted about. Her body stretched out, moving the blanket, as she curled back into her ball. A slight burn etched into her muscles. Her body wanted to continue sleeping, but her mind knew better. She had to get up.

Sighing a bit, she pushed herself upright. Her hand reached back to scratch a budding itch near her ear. She then rubbed the grit from her vision before giving a loud, lengthy yawn. Her body tilted then plopped on her ass. She took in her surroundings before she frowned. This wasn't the medical tents.

Walking into the hut Cora sighed. She looked over at the slightly confused Bothan girl, Lo. "Good morning Lo. I was hoping you would sleep longer but I suppose not. My name is Cora. Cora Alcyon. How are you feeling?" Cora sat down on the bed and patted it next to her as an invitation for Lo and to continue the conversation.

Lo leaned back. Confusion increased as she looked at the Jedi, unsure where they met before. Her fur fluffed a bit at the lack of memories. She didn't even recall making it to her Master's hut before she collapsed. Her hand pushed away her bangs from her eyes as she began to move upright. Lo's sluggish movements gaining some strength with the effort.

"I need to get dressed and check on the one hurt in the cave-in yesterday and prepare Master Rothul's pain killer." She started to look around for her spare robes she kept alongside Dominik's.

Cora smiled indulgently. “That is not an answer.” She was warm but had that no nonsense tone that was long practiced to getting what she wanted from a recalcitrant patient.

Lo internally groaned. She hated that tone and knew it well enough to cooperate. Her hand paused inches from her outer robe as she turned to Cora, facing the older Jedi. A small, soft sigh escaped her muzzle.

"I'm feeling well rested, but sore from the floor." Her tone held sincerity and minimal information.

Cora nodded, still smiling. “Well done Padawan. A very political answer. Vague but truthful. Now you shall not like this next part.” Cora paused for a moment. “I am very impressed with what you have done for the past few months. Most especially when Dominik was incapacitated. That being said you need a break. You need a few days to relax and regain your strength. As of right now you are not the only one here that can heal. However I do need something from you while you rest. I need you to make sure your Master does so as well.”

Lo braced herself then bit her lip hard, a habit developed through stress. "One healer is not enough, even with some twi'lek assisting you. Add on the responsibility to figure out how to substitute the lack of Kolto, sterilization, and more with natural options. Then include more critical injured patients..."

She took a breath then collected her rushing thoughts. "It isn't a one person job. As for making my master rest... what do you think I've been trying to do? Best I got was being able to give him painkillers for my own selfish reasons."

Mischief sparked from Cora’s eyes as she grinned. “One Jedi Healer is more than enough to take over for a span of two to three days while you both recuperate. You have stocked up on the local useful flora, located a water source, cleared a useful camp, isolated the injured versus the sick.” She ticked off her fingers with each statement.

Lo gritted her teeth as she felt her fur press against her skin. A sense of depression washed over her as she listened to the praise she didn’t deserve. As well as it looked on the outside, most of the time she had been flying on the seat of her trousers. No plan or skill involved at all.

“So now that we understand each other I expect that you will find it interesting to know that I know just how you feel. During my trials to become a Knight I was under just as much and sometimes more stress than you are at present. So I know how much you need to rest. Besides, Dominik should be easier to handle after our little talk. You need some guidance in the healing arts since you have shown such a talent for it. I aim to make that happen. I will need your help once you have recovered to care for the wounded or sick and I will need your knowledge of where the flora are located and where you have picked them from. Furthermore Dominik has failed to teach you manners and that is his fault not yours. He’s about to have more time on his hands to continue your training. I intend to lighten both of your burdens. I may have come running for you but I intend to stay for both of you.”

“Training…” A small, bitter laugh escaped Lo’s lips. “I think the time for that has passed a long time ago. I’m already behind for a padawan my age by two months and I keep falling farther and farther. First being captured by the slavers, assisting the Twi’lek, then mortar attack. Now new Jedi arrive. It’s like the force is telling me that I shouldn’t be a Jedi now.”

Cora stood and walked over to the clothes and handed the girl the extra set. “It will go much easier if I have your friendship and agreement Lo. Should not be a Jedi? Heavens no my dear. When you have a calling you have a calling. What makes you think you are two months behind?”

“Master Rothul sent for me, but it took him two months before he came for me. Two long months. This is my first actual time with him since I’ve been a padawan.” Lo bluntly stated.

Blinking Cora looked at the girl. “Pardon?” She was in shock. “Did he explain why? No wait, do not answer that. I know he did not. He would not. Surely he would have a specific reason that he would have been unable to tell you or even, perhaps he did not recognise how you felt? That is… did he ever ask you what the matter is Lo?”

"He did, but… This isn’t the first thing he didn’t go into depth over. I know he's keeping things from me, and they are painful, so I stopped asking about them. I don't want to cause him more pain."

Lo took the clothes still held out to her as she turned to get dressed.

Tucking her hair behind her ears Cora turned her back to give the girl some privacy. She pulled a face as she realized that she was going to get to the bottom of this so that she could fix it. Her face was full of concern, which she honestly felt, but none of the shock or slowly building frustration and anger at Dominik. Oh she realized that there were good reasons. Good ones too. “Did not go into depth over? Painful secrets? I noticed that you did not state your answer. We shall get back to that. Let me ask you Lo, do you trust your Master?”

Lo’s arms paused midway putting her tunic on. The question caught her off guard and caused her to look back over her shoulder. A long awkward silence stretched between them. Giving a heavy thought to the question and its reason, she knew the truth. Yet saying it proved harder than she wanted it to be.

“That question is too vague. I trust my master to be a Jedi, to trust the force, and do his best. I trust him not to purposely harm me.” Lo stated, picking the answers she gave based on her understanding of the question.

“Goodness that is a long list. So you do trust your Master then?”

“If you’re looking for a specific answer, you need to be more specific. You left the question for me to guess about what you mean and I can understand it in various ways. However, I’ll take it as you mean with my life and training. That’s a… yes.” Lo commented as she began to pull down her tunic over her head, careful to avoid catching her muzzle on it.

Cora tilted her head in acknowledgement. “You will think differently within a couple of months. I appreciate your honesty Lo. Please know that Dominik cares very deeply for you or I would not have flown from Manaan at his, what I thought might be dying, request so that you would not be alone. You hesitate my dear but in time you shall not. All I want you to do for the next three days is eat, rest and ask Dominik every question you can think of that comes out of your head. Can you do that?” Cora smiled conspiratorially.

“Questions are never the issue, it’s getting answers and understanding that is.” Lo said as she began to pull her hair back and tie it against her head. Her padawan braid hung down over the side of her eye. She turned about then tapped the older Jedi on the shoulder, indicating she was done.

Turning around Cora looked down at the girl. “If you do not receive answers I will want to know. Now if it is a personal matter you are not getting answers to, just know it is not you. If you keep with it eventually he opens up like an Alderaan rose.” She stroked Lo’s shoulder and gave it a reassuring squeeze. “Now on to break our fast and then I want you both relaxing. You for three days and Dominik for five.”

“I don’t know if I have the strength for silence anymore.” Lo admitted, her ears perked up for the morning meal. She instinctively leaned into the touch to absorb the security and comfort it provided.

“A meal sounds good though.”

Turning Cora walked over to the rations table with Lo. Looking for Dominik Cora glanced at the rations. She could not partake of these when she had not been accounted for. Cora had some rations in her bag as some more on the ship. Looking around she noticed that even though they were underground shafts of sunlight slanted in. The beams were only halfway down the wall. They were thin but still there. Ventilation was assured as well as fresh water if it rained.

Her gaze fell on Dominik, who was sitting by the rocks meditating. She had to make sure that he was not going to stress himself out. Or Lo for that matter. They both needed a break and Cora was going to be that for them. She turned toward Lo and thought better of asking her to introduce her to the leader.

Catching sight of a male Twi’lek that was salmon colored with darker bands along his lekku. His profile showed a strong straight nose and a rugged jawline. She smiled as she caught his eye. She could be charming if she wanted.

Walking up Cora tipped her head up at the Twi’lek and grinned charmingly. “Hello my name is Cora. Cora Alcyon. I am a friend of Dominik and Lo and a Jedi Healer. I hate to bother you but can you point me in the direction of Sar, please?”

Lo tilted her head. She noticed the smile and shift in behavior, the sweetness oozing out almost.

"You've found him." Sar said, bowing politely to Cora as she introduced herself. He finished the last remaining but of his rations before placing the crude bowl to the side. "What can I do for you Cora?" He asked gently, moving slightly to the side as a couple Twi'lek children ran past them.

Cora blinked at Sar for just a moment. She smiled at the kids that ran past. “I did not expect someone so young to be the leader here. How did that happen, if you do not mind me asking?” Cora was genuinely interested and was hoping for something that wasn’t tragic in the least.
As Evemarie approached the two Twi’lek guarding the mouth of the tunnel, four more came out of hiding from the foliage and rock surrounding the area. All held blasters at the ready and aimed towards Evie, as the Twi’leks were not about to take a stranger for granted. Not after all they had been through. Speaking in their native tongue, one of the older looking Twi’lek instructed the initial two guards to pass back the word to the cavern that there was a presumed Force-wielder, judging by the lightsaber, at the cave of the mouth.

The two Twi’lek didn’t hesitate. They turned and bolted back into the tunnels, disappearing into the darkness that started to spread as the sun set over the horizon.

From the initial meeting of the stranger to arriving back at the cavern was a ten minute run for the two Twi’leks. They hurried past the small population that was moving around the cavern as they prepared for nightfall. Approaching the meeting of leaders and the Jedi, both were slightly winded as they slowed just a few feet from Sar.

“Bril, Nabat, what is it?” Sar asked immediately, eyeing the two Twi’leki males as they stopped to catch their breath.

“There’s someone at the entrance of our tunnel. She said she was responding to Lo’s message, and carries a lightsaber.” The man said in between breaths.

Before Lo could agree with Aren's words, she spotted the two Twi'lek guards moving in close. Her head shifted with concern plastered on her face. She narrowed her eyes while they exchanged words with Sar. When her long ears twitched at her name being mention, her eyes looked to Dominik and it clicked. The message sent out about two weeks ago.

"It seems more help arrived." She began to raise onto her feet as she paused, glancing briefly at her master.

"I'll go get her and explain the situation, so by the time we arrive she will have a grasp of what has happened."

“Do not be so quick as to accept them as help, Lo.” Dominik warned, taking his walking stick and using it to help himself stand slowly. “You sent the message to the Council, but who’s to say it wasn’t intercepted. It’s a chance you had to take.” He said, balancing himself before looking to Sar. “Lo and I will go see who it is. Send more runners to the other entrance, just in case.”

Sar glanced at Lo before his eyes moved to Dominik as the older Jedi spoke. He couldn’t hide the concern in his eyes but he knew it was best for the Jedi to go see first. He nodded and looked to one of the other leaders, who understood his look and immediately stood to fetch more runners for the other group guarding the second open tunnel.

Lo looked ready to argue, but her master had a point. She merely assumed the channel was secure enough not be sliced into. Her mouth closed as she gestured for him to lead the way. It was obvious he wasn’t going to let her go alone or likely first, despite any arguments. With a slight curiosity, she let herself reach out with the force. Nothing. No hint of the individual in the force aside from Dominik, Aren and her padawan.

Lo’s head tilted to the side in confusion at the discovery. She questioned if they were even a Jedi at this point as she followed behind her master, quietly figuring out the answers to her question.

Dominik saw that Lo had wanted to argue with him as he stood, but she didn’t, and he smirked. Walking past Sar, Dominik handed the Twi’lek man his walking stick after he got his balance. The Twi’lek man cautiously took it, giving Dominik a questioning look. After a few moments, he figured it out. No matter who it was, Dominik did not want them to see him using it at their first meeting. He didn’t want to look weak.

After leading the way out of the cavern, he slowed down, pushing his senses out around them as he attempted to feel who it was that's waiting for them. He took in a deep breath, limping only slightly without the help of his walking cane. He took this moment to look over to his Padawan as they walked before his eyes returned ahead.

“I want to resume your training tomorrow.”

“Master, not to be disrespectful, but that is easier said than done. With the new developments and concerns the village leaders have, they will be looking to us for assistance. We can’t simply brush off their request.” Lo pointed out, fearing there wouldn’t be time or a chance for training. The time for that felt like it had passed for them now. Her eyes turned to him while her feet kept walking in a straight line, her senses aware of her surroundings in a way she hadn’t been when they first arrived.

“We won’t be brushing off their request, Lo. We have other Jedi here to help as well. I’ve already spoke to Sar on the matter, he fully understands the duty I have as your Master. We will make time, even if it is just a few minutes.”

“All right, but I’m finding that hard to envision. What happens if you’re right and it’s not a Jedi that has come to our aid? I don’t sense anything and I can usually sense someone with the Force pretty well. Do you think it’s possibly someone here, of all places, managed to obtain a light saber and intercept the message?” She continued to keep pace as they drew closer to the entrance.

“Honestly, Lo, I’d almost prefer that over what else it could be that isn’t help.” Dominik said quietly. Slowly the pair emerged from the darkness of the tunnel, trailed by the two Twi’lek from before. As the dimming sun greeted them Dominik saw the darkened figure out the mouth of the tunnel, surrounded by Twi’lek scouts. As he approached, his eyes became more adjusted to the light and he was able to make out the figure’s features easier. He could sense her Light-sided aura, though it was obvious she was using her skills to hide it from those less skilled. Looks were deceiving though, as she wore no Jedi robes, bore a curved-hilt saber on her hip, and wore a darker tone to her appearance.

As the two Jedi grew near, the Twi’leks surrounding the stranger backed away slightly and lowered their weapons. Dominik stood tall and held his hands lightly behind his back as he stopped about a dozen feet away from the figure. He waited for a few moments, observing her stance and the way she presented herself before he spoke.

“I am Jedi Master Dominik Rothul. State your business.”

Evie casually awaited on whom she was going to make contact with, the Twi’lek guards were less then friendly but given their situation she’d be a bit on edge as well. Eventually two figures emerged and what appeared was an older gentleman with what appeared to be a Bothan. Both were wearing their robes but it appeared the gentlemens hung a bit looser than they normally would. When he spoke he was frank and to the point.

“Greeting Master Rothul. I’m Jedi Knight Evemari Barrall. I picked up a distress message about two weeks ago and thought my assistance may be needed. My apologies for not arriving promptly but I always do my best to cover my tracks. Especially when receiving such a message as one never knows whom else may have heard it. An old habit I picked up from my master.” she said courteously.

Lo wanted to blurt out that the knight didn’t look like a Jedi, but she resisted the urge. Instead, she fell into the role of student and simply observed the transaction between the pair. Her brown eyes flickered from Master Rothul to Knight Barrall casually.

Instantly, her name brought back old memories Dominik hadn’t thought of in years. He took a near silent sigh of relief as his nostrils flared. He glanced at the Twi’lek surrounding her, watching each one for a second before nodding at them. Almost instantly, they began to relax a little more.

“Knight Barrall, this is my Padawan, Lo Lya’Tre.” Dominik said, gesturing to Lo beside him before he glanced past Evie towards the horizon. “We can answer any questions you may have, but first we should get inside the tunnels. It’ll be safer.”

Lo’s head bow respectfully, but she still remained silent.

“It’s a pleasure to formally make both of your acquaintances, my apologies for putting you on edge but thought it was best to avoid wearing the traditional robes to not raise any suspicion. Please lead the way, I’m hoping that the situation has slightly improved.” Evie said calmly as she followed Dom into the tunnel.

"I don't think we'll see any true improvement until more support from the Republic or the Council is received." Dominik stated as they started into the tunnels. It was a topic he had spoken to Sar about often. Both before the accident and after he had woken from the mortar attack. The caverns were a maze, which was both good and bad for their situation. They provided cover and concealment whilst allowing movement easily within the tunnel system. However, they couldn't trust the integrity of the rock that made up the system, nor were their options for easy escape viable. Right now one of the tunnels was completely blocked, the one he had forced a collapse into. Which left two tunnels, both looking in poor condition after the mortar attack.

They needed to move the people. But with the eyes of the enemy on them constantly, Dominik knew movement into the open was risky. Especially with so many Twi'lek. Plus they were still running low on supplies. The supply drops the Council had provided, two of them so far, had gone a long way on providing for the people, but there wasn't enough rations, ammunition and weapons, and medical assets to help support this relief mission that seemed to grow closer and closer to a war each day. Dominik couldn't hide the facts, so he had to be honest.

"We still don't know everything about our enemy. It seems however that they know much more about us than we previously thought. The Zygerrians aren't capable of the feats they have accomplished so far, not without help. But we don't have the assets to attempt a reconnaissance mission yet."

As they walked, Dominik couldn't help his partial limp as he favored his right hip. The man kept his pace slow, allowing both Lo and Evie to keep at an even walk next to him.

Lo listened. She knew the situation nearly as well as her master, in some areas more. The tension had become thick enough it needed to cut, and she knew how.

“We still have local wildlife and plants to help some losses. It would help to do another search for healing herbs in the near future. We might be able to figure how to refit certain materials for new purposes, it will just take time.”

Evie took in the situation but two things stood out to her the most, the first was Dom appeared to be concealing a limp and the second being the capability of the Zygerrians. “Whom do you think would be guiding them?” she said calmly, completely ignoring Lo as if more sinister forces were guiding the Zygerrians. Sending scavenging parties would be fruitless. Especially if they couldn’t afford the man power but raiding parties would be potentially more fruitful. Albeit more risky and would violate terms of the treaty. However if the Sith are involved then they are violating it anyway. She did not like the idea of fighting with one arm behind her back. Especially against those devious masters of despair.

Dominik nodded towards Lo's direction as she made the point of foraging parties. He knew anything was needed right now, they still had the natural world to draw from in terms of healing and help. “I believe it’s the Sith. But I don’t want to spread rumors. We don’t have positive identification that the Dark Side is helping the Zyggerians. All we can do right now is wait until the opportunity arises… and hope we can get more aid from the Council and the Republic.”

Evie nods and looks down at the young Bothan girl and smiles. Ahhh to have such hope even when the situation is dire. I wish I was like that but alas I think that fire has diminished. She thinks to herself taking a moment to compose her words. She knew her blunt nature had not fostered many relationships and had alienated her peers. “How have the foraging parties been going? Hopefully yielding results to maintain for now. Also I take it was you who has been organizing everything when your master was injured?” she says with a smile.

“Right now, the herb stock is full. But I feel, now that it has been confirmed my message has gotten out, that we will need more. A dark, worried sensation seems to make me think the worst hasn't come yet and I want to prepare for that. We also found some of what I think are abandoned outposts and machines, but we haven’t had a chance to investigate it.” She answered the first question then moved onto the next after a breath.

“Yes, I have. Master Rothul was in a coma for about a week. I didn’t know if he would ever wake up, so I had to take charge and make some decisions I didn’t like. However, it was needed.”

“That is very commendable of you Lo, to take command of the situation when things seem bleak is quite the feat. And you did what you had to do, such decisions are never easy but need to be made.” she replied cheerfully before turning to Master Rothul.

“Quite the apprentice you have there Master Rothul. Now if it is the Sith… Are we prepared to deal with the threat if it presents itself and if not how may I be of service.” She replied. Her tone had noticeably changed when the topic of the Sith was addressed.

Dominik kept silent as he listened to Lo and Evie talk. He would never be able to undo what had been done. The hardship Lo had endured while he was in a coma was something very few Padawans faced during their early years as a Jedi.

He smiled at Evie's comment complimenting Lo, before his thoughts moved on to the rest of her question afterward.

Lo listened to the praise, but didn’t think she deserved it. Not fully. Her early lessons about hesitation and not weighing risk had humbled her in her master’s absence. A role she felt she was ill-suited for. She remained silent while Master Rothul and the Knight talked. Her awareness barely noted her teacher smile at her causing her to return a watered down version before returning her gaze to the front.

"We're prepared in certain aspects, but in others we are not." Dominik said, glancing to Lo for a moment. “Jedi Knight Aren Bec and I are prepared to fight any that come our way, but our Padawans are not. I'll discuss it with you later. Now is not the time." Dominik stated. He was grateful Evie had arrived, for now he had another asset he could use if it did come down to a fight. He had someone to look after the Twi'lek and the Padawans should he and Aren need to lead the Sith away.

“Aren???? She is here? Oh that is wonderful!” she said excitedly before composing herself. Such behavior is unbecoming but she couldn’t help it as she had not seen Aren in a year. Now she was going to be working with her elder sister.

Lo’s fur bristled from her ears to her toes from the Knight’s sudden outburst. Her step stuttered, but she managed not to fall on her muzzle. However, she tasted blood from biting her tongue. A painful lesson about being more careful where it wandered to. Swallowing the iron taste, her eyes darted to the Knight just as the apology came.

“My apologies Master Rothul, it is just that we were quite close at the academy and we are like sisters. Anyway, I take it that neither has been properly stress tested in duel? I can be of assistance with that.” she said in a flustered tone clearly trying to mask her excitement for working with Aren.

Evemarie’s excitement caught Dominik off guard, but it was a welcome reaction. The situation had become very serious and due to that many of the emotions Dominik sensed around him were that of worry, rigidity, and things slightly more grim. The Twi’lek children had managed to remain joyful, happy. Laughing and playing when they were allowed. Sometime he wishes Lo would join them like she used to, but he knew the experience she had whilst he was in his coma had changed her a lot. He hoped she’d still be able to have a little downtime once things were truly settled.

“No need to apologize, Barrall. It is a welcome emotion right now.” Master Rothul said, a faint smile on his face as they walked.

Lo’s head turned to one of the children waving their arms at her, trying to draw her into their play. Naturally she didn’t move. The days of carefree days and play had been replaced with overwhelming responsibility. A depressing enough thought that Lo pushed it away.

It was a long casual walk from the entrance of the cave system to where the cavern finally opened up. A couple Twi’lek followed in behind them as eyes from many others move to the trio of Jedi as they entered. It was early evening, so many of them were either grabbing a late dinner or preparing for bed.

“We should talk to Sar about a room and place for you to bunker for the night.” Lo commented toward Knight Barrall.
Her eyes seeking out the older Twi’lek from where the leaders once sat. They appeared to have departed for the night while waiting on the Jedi.

Dominik nodded towards Lo. “He’s the leader of these Twi’leks. He’s also the one that we met first once we arrived. They were wary of us when we first arrived, but they’ve proved to be reliable allies.” Dominik explained, leading the way towards the hut Sar usually bunked in for the night.

“I should likely check in on the patients while you two handle this. One of them is on high risk of relapsing and I’m scheduled to take the night shift today.” Lo spoke, giving herself an excuse to depart.

Dominik looked towards his Padawan at her words, watching her for a moment as he stopped walking. “Get some rest after your shift. Remember what I told you earlier.” Dominik said, watching her almost sternly before he continued walking with Evie. “Sar and I will be discussing more into the night, if you need either of us Lo.” Dominik called back to her before he continued leading Evie on a search for the older Twi’lek.

"Easier said than done. You know I'm the main healer here and there're things I can do, that others can't. I promise, I'll find some time to sleep. If I need help, I'll make sure to send someone or you'll sense it." She stated, leaving something unsaid as she moved toward the healer's hut.

Evie just took everything in and couldn’t help but smile a little. I wonder if my interactions with Padawan will be similar . she mused to herself before interjecting. “You will be of no use to your patients Lo if your fatigue gets the better of you. You’d do best to mind your master.” she said sternly as Lo walked off.

Moved to this thread!
No one could truly be prepared for what the day could bring. That's what Dominik's Padawan, Lo had said. Even though she was a young Padawan, sometimes the things she said reflected the thoughts of an aged Knight or Master. The day had been full of surprises. None of them pleasant. One of the patrols had been ambushed by Zygerrians, though the ambushers quickly fled. The second patrol team had discovered the remains of Dominik's ship where it had been hidden ever since they started living in the cavern. He was grateful his Padawan had emptied it weeks before, for there had been things he would rather not have destroyed, such as the Holocron she kept.

As all of the leaders sat huddled in a tight circle around a large cluster of crystals in the center of the cavern. Sar was joined by the lead Twi'leks skilled in medicine, many of the patrol leaders were also present. Dominik sat on the opposite side as them with his Padawan Lo. Aren Bec and her Padawan Val'ko also joined, seated right next to them. Only those who knew Dominik would realize how deep in thought he was just by glancing at him. As Sar spoke of the day's events to his fellow Twi'lek, Dominik Rothul's mind wandered. He played out their scenario, different aspects coming into play or not. They were greatly outnumbered, outgunned, and their enemy knew more about them than the Jedi did looking back at their enemy. The ship had been destroyed, which left only Aren's ship on the planet's surface. Why hadn't they hit hers either? Was it possible they hadn't detected it? What game was their foe playing.

"The Master Jedi's ship was found destroyed where it had been hidden. We've also recieved reports from our scouts that there are signs that more Zygerrian patrols are making their way around our position. It hasn't been clear if they know our precise location within the caverns, or if they know we're in the caverns at all. We do not know how our enemy obtained this kind of firepower, as the Zygerrians have never bothered with it before."

"We must remain vigilant." Aren began, glancing around to the Twi'leks as many of them started to quietly mumble amongst themselves. "Master Rothul, Sar and I will soon begin discussing possible relocation. If it is not safe here, we will not stay. We can scout the terrain for something less restricting, but more hidden and better fortified. Please... remain calm. Keep the children occupied, and don't let the elders worry. We will not abandon you."
Ryloth, 6 ATC 8
Week 7, Day 2, Evening

Jedi Master Dominik Rothul

Eᴅɪᴛs ᴍᴀᴅᴇ:
ᴿᵉᵐᵒᵛᵉᵈ ᴵⁿᵗᵉʳᵐᵉᵈᶦᵃᵗᵉ ᴰʲᵉᵐ ˢᵒ/ˢʰᶦᵉⁿ ᵃⁿᵈ ʳᵉᵖˡᵃᶜᵉᵈ ʷᶦᵗʰ ᴬᵈᵛᵃⁿᶜᵉᵈ ᴬᵗᵃʳᵘ ʷᶦᵗʰ ᵃᵖᵖʳᵒᵛᵃˡ ᶠʳᵒᵐ ˢᴱ 11
Jedi Knight Aren Bec

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