The Tempest Quelled
“There is no chaos, there is harmony.”
Delste is certain that is what her Master, Nikdoris, would be saying to her if only he would rouse himself from unconsciousness to say it. She could feel it within her, her connection to the Force, stirring like a storm flecked with discordant lightning as she struggles to make sense of what had happened: one moment, she was leaning against a doorway within the spaceship, watching Nikdoris and another Knight, Varman Hale, playing an intense game of dejarik. She recalls the flickering holographic forms upon the table and the way her Master’s lip curled as he was about to dominate the match against Varman entirely. She had seen it before, the curl to his lip and the strategy of false security, and so she had looked away, having found no reason to listen to the inevitable cheers of victory from the Twi’lek.
But the laughter never came. Instead, Delste had found within the Force a tempestuous swell; a surge of strength, shock, and water that had come crashing down upon her as the spaceship was overtaken and was then left upon the firmament, shattered and grounded. When she’d come to, she had been coughing as though rain and salt were what was choking her; but now she finds her breath too thin to allow her any focus. She moves carefully through the wreckage, each step upon her left leg sending a wave of pain coursing through her limbs. It can wait. I can wait, she tells herself.
A crash to her left causes a bolt of fear to run through her - one she stifles quickly - and she turns her head to find Varman standing over the form of her master. A flash of light calls her attention to the lightsaber in the Knight’s hand, but even if she did not find her breath too weak with pain to protest, she would not be fast enough to call out to him as he lashed the blade across the leg of Nikdoris. Involuntarily wincing at the sight as her master slips back into unconsciousness, she waits for Varman to leave before crawling over debris to see for herself what had been done. The blood pooling about the floor and the scent of charred flesh in the air are enough to make her put her hand to her mouth and nose, closing her eyes to the sight. Kneeling, she reaches out through the Force to sense her master’s state; the steady downpour that was Nikdoris has quelled into a gentle rain: cold, but steady - he will live, for now.
Her gaze moves, for a moment, from the sight of her incapacitated master to the hallway which the other Knight had walked down. Reaching out further than her concern for her master, she still feels the Force crashing around her like a storm, buffeting against her and threatening to knock her over in her fear. Control it. Control it. There is no chaos, there is harmony. There is no chaos, there is… Her lip curls. There is a time and a place we could have been gone from Ilum, on a different ship, to a different world. What am I going to do, now, Nikdoris?
Aside from the pain in her leg, the trek to the village is not wholly unbearable. Delste has taken it upon herself first to assist with seeing that Master Nikdoris is transported safely, and does not fall further prey to shock or general weakness from the trauma. When the Twi’lek stirs or murmurs something unintelligible, she is there, lingering just beside. Though her touch of a leather glove likely does little to truly soothe any of his sufferings, it stills the storm in her heart to feel the warmth of her master beneath her: teeming still with life, just like the planet through which the group traverses. Though, the first blaster shot in the distance briefly brought to mind the image of a wave cut short: foam crashing down on a rock that protrudes up into the rain and the wetness but stifles the ebb and flow of the water.
“You owe me for this,” she whispers to the still unconscious form of her master as she hands her saberpike over to the strangers; no answer comes from Nikdoris, be it chiding or a joke in turn, and relief floods her chest at the silence. Even if she felt a twinge of discomfort at parting from her weapon, she finds it easier to do so when following the leads of Varman and Yerin. They have not led us astray yet, and it is not as though we have any other choice. Perhaps there will be some way we can treat our wounded if we do as they say.
When walking through the village, keeping herself close to the side of Nikdoris as Quillow aids in the carrying of Master Yen, Delste feels her eyes being drawn to the inked markings upon those who could carry them on their skin: just as eyecatching to her are those who wear the same on their clothes, be it in navy blue, or yellow, or even red. She feels bare without them, knowing that her company sticks out: perhaps her more so than the others. Even in her leather armor, her clothes were fine, and she had made the effort to tie her hair up again as they had entered the village. Now she wishes she had left it down, to hide her face and neck in their plainness from the eyes of the locals who watch, and the discomfort does not leave until they are ushered inside the tallest of the buildings.
Delste falls silent with the darkness that falls over her in the large hut; though the names of the anthropologists are familiar to her (she recalls having read of them briefly during her time on Ilum), she keeps her mouth closed to allow Yerin and Varman, whom she has found herself looking towards to lead, the right to speak and to explain their circumstances first. Her gaze falls to Nikdoris and his state alongside Master Yen, and much of the words concerning the sparstite mine falls upon her deaf ears; though, once the Elder Thuda is presented to them, she listens. His attire, the adorned sarong and the beads that glitter where they lie upon his respirator, force her attention. As Thuda’s plea is translated for their ears, Delste finds herself hanging on to every word.
To part with Nikdoris and leave him in the care of the locals is something that the Padawan finds to be the most arduous task asked of her; even with her saberpike in her grasp once more, it is not the same after having been reunited with her master after so long apart. Yet she cannot deny the way that the storm clouds within her seem to part as she walks with the other Jedi, leaving Nikdoris behind. Delste relies on listening to Yerin question the anthropologists as they walk through the village once more; she feels the urge to pose her own questions to the women or the Elder himself. Though she burns with curiosity at the Aurebesh markings that the locals bear, and the larger cultural relevance of the different colors that they wear, she stifles the words. I should not ask. It may look like vanity, and that is unbecoming. At… at the least, I can question the doctors on my own, away from prying ears. When they stop, high above the treetops and peering down at the jungle expanse below, glittering with sunlight and the pinkness of dusk, Delste rests her hands at her waist, bumping the leather case of her saberpike aside to do so. Now that the question has been presented by Varman to them all, she speaks.
“I see no reason why we should not help, even if that help is simply reaching out to the Republic and hearing what they have to say: if they even know of the significance of the Tower of Senlev. These people have helped to bury our dead and they nurse our injured. Let us see if we can find a resolution with the Republic. We can decide our next course of action from there.”