(Collab between Brye and Selene.)
Brye had never really had a chance to talk to the Commander before, much less be it in a more relaxed sort of way. She had hardly had a chance just to sit and talk. Talk about things that weren’t pertaining to her training or the war. Just, talk.
After going their separate ways, due to duties both she and Jace had to see to, Brye made her way back towards the chambers Jaslyn had been delivered to earlier. Hopefully the Grand Master was done talking to her fellow Padawan, for Brye felt the need to just sit and talk. She had been furious with Jas before, she still was now, but she wanted to talk to her on more of an equal level. Or try at least.
There was no denying that the padawan was slightly distracted on her way back to the Grand Master’s chambers. The day had been very eventful, things had happened that Brye still couldn’t comprehend nor did she really want to gain a full understanding of. But if one was to be at peace with the recent violence, she had to understand what had happened and why.
The longer Brye walked, the longer the corridor got. The very painted walls of the Jedi Temple simply ran infinite, every light fixture repeating in equal distance, but gone were any doors or intersections. There was simply empty, endless, corridor ahead. When Brye realized it, when those very first pangs of anxiety would start to hit and Brye would turn her shoulders and head to look back, to find the familiar and the safe?
She would find only more empty, endless, corridor.
From the farthest she could see the light fixtures began to snuff. The one further in Brye’s sight, backwards and forwards it didn’t matter, began to shudder bright and dark, before snapping black. The moment the Padawan noticed it, the pattern would get faster, as if it knew it had been spotted. As if it were headed fast and furious for the Padawan, as if to strike first, until the very lights on either side of Brye went dead, and darkness ruled the corridor.
There Brye’s heart could beat. There her mind could leap and wonder and question. That little voice in the back of Brye’s head could speak up. It could scream, that voice of fear all Jedi liked to suppress and push to the back.
Selene enjoyed letting them hear it loud and at the forefront, their own scream of fear the very fanfare of her arrival. “Hello,” came the voice, from behind Brye, and when Brye turned that direction, it echoed from the other direction.
The light that came from the light fixture right beside Brye was red, and came so dim it might have well just been another shadow, except that slowly it revealed the hand next to the light fixture, and a moment later, got bright enough to reveal the entire Dark Sider’s image, smiling wicked and big and bright as her body leaned against the wall casual and cool.
“You needn’t fear. You all have me in chains, after all. I am harmless, and bored, and you want to talk to me. Hi.”
Lifting her gaze from the floor to the walls, Brye noticed how the corridor seemed to stretch on and on. Her surroundings seemed to start repeating themselves, leading down to the corridor that went black at the farthest point, no end in sight. The Padawan felt a sharp pang of fear in her chest at the sudden change of atmosphere. She was not in the Temple, not mentally; her mind was swimming in an odd dream that was not of her making.
The girl could feel her heart beating in her chest as she turned quickly, looking behind her only to see the same image of the endless corridor as it stretched on.
Lights started to go out, left and right, closer and closer as darkness threatened to overtake the Padawan as fear and panic. The young girl took a deep breath and closed her eyes, trying to calm her emotions as darkness swallowed her.
A voice, vaguely familiar, but at the moment Brye’s mind was too distracted to remember. She whipped around as it echoed, it’s source unknown to the young Padawan. From eyes still closed, Brye noticed a reddish pink glow. She opened them then, noticing the red light next to her and the figure that was slowly revealed as the light seemed to grow brighter.
The Dark Sider.
The young Jedi took a deep breath as she observed the figure next to her. Taking a few moments to calm her senses, the young girl than took a seat where she was, taking up a loose meditative position, hand resting on knees as her legs slightly crossed, eyes watching the Dark Sider with intent.
Another deep breath in and out and Brye nearly relaxed completely, letting her body rest in it’s seated position as Brye seemed to take up a defense through meditation, should the need arise. This was not real, it was just a dream. The girl couldn’t recall how she had fallen into this realm, but she knew where she belonged; in the real world, in the halls of the Tython Temple.
“When did I make it clear that I wanted to talk to you specifically?” the young girl asked, watching Selene closely.
Wicked smile cut deeper into a grin, as innocent and silly as any child’s grin, her body slipped from the wall and beginning an absent minded pace--circling the meditative and seated Jedi. “Why do you do that? The moment you finally saw me that little light went off in your head. So soon after Dxun, another Sith? Aah, but she is no Sith. What is she then? No more red lightsabers?”
Suddenly she stopped, her head leaning down towards Brye’s head to whisper, “Maybe I can get that lightsaber back for you?” Quickly as she’d stopped and leaned down, she stood up straight and kept encircling Brye. “They cut you, they bled you, they humiliated you--and she saved you.”
A sound occured, something distant, like a locked door snapping open. The second the sound echoed, Selene’s head snapped in that direction. There was no sound, there was no door...but it was a sudden bit of memory Selene felt by prodding other areas.
The memory begged a single question of a single word, the Dark Sider’s head turning slowly to Brye, a new kind of fascination shadowing her black eyes. “Manaan? And what did we find there? What ancient, hidden, thing was there? Do tell me, I love nothing more than digging up ancient, hidden, things.”
A request punctuated with the tiniest of playful pouts.
Brye watched as Selene started to pace around her. The Padawan wasn’t sure if it was meant to intimidate her, but it was definitely a challenge to calm and collected attempt to keep her emotions reigned in.
“You’re not a Sith, that much I know.” Brye began, taking deep, almost meditative breaths as Selene paced around her. She jumped slightly as Selene’s voice was suddenly in her ear, hands tightened around her knees. Was she teasing Brye? How could she possibly take back a lightsaber that was somewhere with a Sith Inquisitor? What was her goal, why was she doing this? Questions came, but Brye would not answer them. There was no reason to reveal anything to this Dark Sider that was also knowledge of the Jedi.
Brye heard the door as it echoed through the realm. The young Jedi took a sharp breath inward, attempting to maintain her composure through Selene’s prodding. “Why do you think,” Brye began, opening her eyes now and eyeing Selene as she came around, “I would tell you anything about what I know? Dxun, Manaan, what we found. None of that knowledge belongs to you,” Brye challenged, eyeing Selene before her eyes closed again, “you’re naive if you think otherwise.”
“You’re naive if you think knowledge is a possession to be clung to. Exchange it, or it dies, and you usually die along with it. The trick is exchanging it in ways that are advantageous to either yourself, or your...cause.”
It was clear in her tone that she thought of it in terms of advantageous to self, and only inserted the bit about cause after recalling she was, in fact, communicating with a Jedi. Selene found herself shrugging, a small snort accompanying. Lights began to flicker bold and white and bright, up and down the endless corridor.
“Knowledge unlocks doors. What’s on the other side? You don’t know. If you did you wouldn't worry about telling me, or not telling me. You'd know the result of telling me, of opening that door and stepping through, and seeing what I had to tell you, or pause just past the door and wait--who can say how long? Maybe one day I do become a Sith, it seems blissfully unlikely, I'm going to the exact prison I was hoping you Jedi would send me, safe enough they won't get me unless we're destined to be ruled by them. What could go wrong, right? I got a great feeling about my plan. Worked out just fine so far. But say a trick of fate, or Sith, sends my life in an unexpected direction? What if the knowledge we share today factors into much large events later on? What if one day we meet again, and save lives because of an exchange of information and ideas we had already established so many years before? Just talking to me now is a leap of faith for you. I sense it. You're young, you're afraid of messing up...I'd say I get it but I'm not wired that way."
Selene pushed off the wall and stared at Brye, as lights ceased to flicker, content in the same warm glow they'd had in the temple since installation. No more darkness, no more flickering. "I find Satele Shan intriguing...that amount of power...I wonder what it's like to study under someone wise, someone interested in my success as much as their own, someone so renowned..."
Selene sounded as close to sad as she was like to get in that moment. It lasted a beat of the heart before her mind just moved on, letting it go. Sadness, regret...Selene tried to avoid them. "You are lucky, Jedi. Cruel spirits, Holocrons found or bought or stolen, old texts that somehow survived, various other...methods--all ways I've learned. Never a teacher. Never even a fellow student. And you, awash in them, like Jaslyn. Of course before I left home and stayed gone I was a student surrounded by other students. I hid my identity, fair enough, but I never did feel all that compelled to engage my fellow students anyway. They were slower, less intelligent...it was difficult for me as immature and scared and angry as I still was."
For the second time Selene shrugged. This time the motion seemed quicker, colder.
"Still am, if we're being honest. The only thing that's changed is instead of usurpers and traitorous family hunting me it's an Emperor and his bloody Empire. So before I disappear into a cell even that Emperor can't reach me in, I've seen a lot, been a lot of places, I have a lot of unusual and rare knowledge. So I'll trade you: something I know, for what happened on Manaan? The hell are those little fishies up to?...or was it something else? Someone else?"
“And if I were to share knowledge with you, what if it comes back to harm the Jedi Order?” Brye retorted before Selene pushed off the wall.
At that moment, Brye was very wary. Wary of sharing secrets that could come back to harm her and those she cared about, that could harm the Jedi Order as a whole. What they had found on Manaan had been a vault that only the followers of Revan seemed to know about. Or was it only known to Revanites? What if the Sith knew about it, those not openly followers of Revan? Would it still have been there, the vault and everything it had held? Or would the Sith had infiltrated it sooner?
This Selene was confined to a cell deep within the Tython temple, yet it seemed she had influence over almost anything she wanted. At least, Brye hoped Selene’s ability to pull her into this realm wasn’t due to her own weakness. What was her body doing now that her mind was elsewhere? Brye hadn’t even felt a hint of change until she noticed that the corridor had been altered. It seemed as though the young Jedi had no influence in this realm, that she was under this Dark Sider’s trick until she seemed satisfied.
Bryethe seemed to contemplate over her next actions very carefully, watching Selene for a few moments before her gaze moved elsewhere, then back to the Dark Sider.
“The Revanites had revealed that Manaan held a secret vault from the days of Revan,” Brye began, watching Selene to gauge her reaction. “Master Shan told me she had made a deal with a Mandalorian during a fight on Dxun. So when we arrived at the vault, the warriors who were with us took back what had belonged to their people. Armor, weapons. Satele and I explored the vault further to see what else was there. Information, though I’m not sure of what, was what we found the most of.” The padawan explained, taking a deep breath and exhaling as her heart beat fast.
At the moment, she didn’t know what else to do besides adhere to Selene’s wishes, to believe that the Dark Sider was telling the truth. Infuriating her would only lead to trouble as Brye had no way out of this realm, nothing that she could clearly see that is.
The most immediate and pressing question that leapt to the forefront of Selene’s mind was obvious: What the hell is a Revanite?
It was a question that remained unasked. The only hint of it a stutter of Selene’s big dark eyes; to the floor, then sharply back to the Jedi’s eyes. It was literally a matter of a second, and it was gone, and the question with it. Not that she stayed still, fidgeting and shifting her weight.. She was alive, her heart beating harder, her mind stuck on the sheer gravity of what was said: Darth Revan, secret vault, Mando treasures no longer hidden in said vault, and information. What information? Selene could only dream.
And oh was she dreaming.
“I’ll give you this; for the first time I regret being sent to a prison instead of getting to hunt down the next vault.” Selene was certain it was incredible, just as she was certain Satele Shan and her Padawan had likely missed something.
Amateurs always did their first time. A soft shake of her head as the dreams began to feel distant, an impish smile flashing across dark full lips. “What would you like to know? If I know it, I will share it.”
What did she want to know? What could Brye ask? She wondered just what the extent of this Dark Sider’s knowledge stretched. What on earth could she ask that she actually wanted to know? Something about what had happened on Tython? Something about Satele?
Brye recalled what Grim had mentioned back on Dxun. That Satele was what they needed to win the war. And not just her, but the Revan within her. But if Satele went Revan, would it pull her to the Dark Side?
“There are some people who think my Master is the one that can win us the war. That if she harnessed Revan from within, that we could beat the Sith.” Brye wasn’t quite sure if this was something Selene could even answer, or if she had an opinion on this at all. “But I’m afraid that if she allows herself to do this, it would not end well,” Brye took a deep breath and sighed, feeling foolish for even confronting the Dark Sider about this. She took another deep sigh before continuing, “What do you think? I don’t know what Revan would do to her. But I know she hates that name.”
Selene’s head ached. It was something that shouldn’t be possible, unless she was being attacked. The Jedi Padawan hadn’t been difficult to connect with given the Padawan had, deep down, WANTED to talk to Selene. Combined with the way the planet Tython made her feel, the way it made her connection to the Force feel deeper, the connection to the Padawan wasn’t really that hard.
Where Selene had difficulty was containing the mind-bending visions she was still attempting to process. Through clinched teeth in a moment of pain, Selene snorted a bit of amused speech: “She’s the very reason the Sith had to sneak attack Coruscant. No accident the Sith switched tactics after Rhen Var. Even I heard about Rhen Var: there were other Jedi, other Masters, even, but everything I’ve read and heard says your Master literally turned the tide of the war that day. Far as I can tell she did that as Satele Shan, not Revan.”
Her head shook, slowly. “She isn’t done with Revan, or Revan isn’t done with her…?” She let out a deep breath, her mind attempting to grasp what she was seeing, what she was hearing, what she was processing from the Force vision. “The war darkened her. The war darkened the entire Jedi Order. She’s still fighting the war, she never stopped. She will descend into darkness if it means saving the Republic.”
Though Selene’s eyes never left the Padawan’s, their look changed drastically. Before she began to speak about Shan not being with Revan (or was it the reverse?) her voice grew quieter, more distant. Not as if she were suddenly guarded, but as if she were further away than she really was.
As if something else was speaking through Selene. Even if now, there was no doubting the intensity in Selene’s eyes. There was no doubting she was ‘back.’ “She’s right, I fear...the war isn’t over. It was never over…” A tiny groan escaped her lips, as her gloved hand touched onto the right temple of her head, dark hair a mere shadow behind her. “That’s all I have for you, now, Jedi. Please continue walking to Jaslyn. See her. Talk to her. She could use a friend right now, odd as I find that…”
Another deep breath, and Selene was pushing pain to the back of her head, daring to sneak a crooked smile on her dark lips once more. “Thank you, Jedi, I appreciate the conversation. Good luck. I hope you enjoyed the nap.”
The second the last syllable of the last word was spoken, Brye’s eyes would snap open, and wakefulness would wash over her like it was a brand new day, situated as she was comfortably in an oversized chair in a small lounge tucked into a corner of the Temple’s second level, a spot most Jedi used for sitting for a small chat, or a quiet corner to read--like the youngling with sandy blonde hair and big blue eyes that stared up at Brye from over the information pad the librarians had let him take to read, seated in the large chair so large for the youngling his feet didn’t even touch the ground.
“Hi, I’m Jace.”