A sympathetic smile creased Aria’s features as Kira spoke of Voldon and Manus’ friendship, the Champion shaking her head as she mumbled. “Poor Voldon…” she couldn’t have imagined what the Elder must have been feeling...she had been concerned of course when the Qyaari had first formed against Bracknell, that Vano and some of the others would rather choose to side with Bracknell than join up with Yerbol and a “bunch of Jedi”, but they had been lucky for them to come around and become integral members of the team. Manus on the other hand….well, she didn’t want to imagine how Voldon thought this would have to end, in order to protect those the Qyaari cared for. At Kira’s comment, Cheriss rolled her eyes.
“Hey, watch it youngster.” the former Sith’s voice took on a purposefully strained, elderly tone as part of her retort. “I’ll outlive all three of you yet, you mark my words!”
A brief chuckle was shared amongst the group, before Aria frowned.
“Well, that explained Manus and Voldon a little...but Cheriss, you looked about ready to strangle Kartan in there, what…?” the Champion was well aware that she might have been overstepping her bounds by asking, but curiosity was getting the better of her. The Dathomirian cleared her throat awkwardly, waving a hand towards the exit dismissively.
“That was...a lapse of judgement on my part. Nothing against the Twi’lek personally, only some of the company he keeps.” a thin smile was all that accompanied the cryptic statement, followed by: “A lot of us are confronted with old ghosts, dealing with these neutral Force users...but sometimes, those ghosts are best left undisturbed, my dear.”
And thus, the two Champions found themselves accompanied by Ailel, Kira and Cheriss to the meditation garden, where they were just in time to witness the training session out in full swing. After dismissing the youngsters back to their practise, the trio made their way over to greet the Champions and the Elders. The Cathar and Chiss were friendly and seemed very approachable, however the third and final of the tutors hung back, a scowl painted over his face that gave the impression of him being far less friendly than his peers...although, Aria noted, not unsavoury. There were no ill intentions to be sensed in Waylon’s demeanour, while he was certainly abrasive, there was nothing about him that gave her cause to be suspicious. Of course...she wouldn’t have expected any less from people hand-picked to join the Qyaari’s efforts by Cheriss, considering how suspicious the Elder was of the newcomers.
“It’s good to meet you all.” Aria nodded politely as they shook hands with Kinso, and then Paix, Waylon was less than keen and simply grunted in their direction, muttering a comment about the state of their classes’ progress.
“Yes, I believe they do, sir.” the Champion sighed, for a moment feeling somewhat guilty for the state of their students’ learning, since she and Yerbol had been so absent trying to chase after first Illesia and the Xiis and now Manus and his cult. “It would be nice for them to have some consistency in their tutoring, especially when Yerbol and I are needed elsewhere….that is unfortunately one glaring problem with there being only the two of us.” of course, this was no-one’s fault, and Aria could only hope that the Elders wouldn’t assume she was attempting to prod at their organisational skills, however it was a fact that was easily observed within the Qyaari until the new tutors had been enlisted. “They’re going to need all the training they can get if they’re going to be strong enough to handle whatever Manus throws at us.”
Cheriss chuckled in response to the Chiss tutor’s query, mouth turned upwards in a smirk as she gave her assessment. “I would say just as well as I had expected of you, Master Paix. Your students learn quick, and I daresay there may be a handful of Champions amongst them in the future when their abilities are more sharpened.” the Dathomirian Elder’s gaze rested on the training students as they worked to follow Waylon and Kin’s instructions; Aria spotted Iruba who, while still being levitated and thrown several feet backwards towards a group of other Novices and their pumpkins, managed to slow her descent with the Force in order to land firmly on her feet and charge at the Cathar once more, along with Tobe and some more of the older students who had showed promise a year prior under the Champions’ tutoring. As they watched a nervous young Togruta misdirect a flying pumpkin to bounce off Waylon’s head (much to Paix and Kin’s amusement), however, Cheriss clucked her tongue in teasing disapproval and added: “The rest of them...well, we may make librarians or archivists of them yet.”
A chuckle was shared amongst the group.
“I think our librarian would take issue with that statement, Cheriss.” Aria smirked, wondering how the Mirialan would feel if she had been privy to the Elder’s comment.
“Indeed.” the Dathomirian raised an eyebrow, her attention diverted momentarily as she watched Kartan and Vaerth approach one of the student groups and start up some idle conversation; perhaps the newcomers were trying to glean what level of training the students were at and thus where the other youngsters from Kartan’s group could best attempt to slot in, but at this distance it was impossible to hear what was being said and more than tricky to lip read. “Or she may appreciate the company.”
“Of course, the Council is under no disillusion about Vano’s ability to put that saberstaff of hers to use when the need arises.” Ailel put in with an amused snort of her own, before the Elder’s face once again became grim as if she were already trying to somehow predict where Manus would strike next. “....Force knows we will need it, the question now is only when.”
As Paix and Kinso began to excuse themselves from the conversation to return to their class (since Waylon looked as if he were at his wits’ end with having pumpkins, and on a few alarming occasions other students, bounced off his head and/or body), they were interrupted by Ailel and Cheriss’ comlinks blaring simultaneously. Cheriss tore her gaze from the newcomers sharply to attend to the message. Ailel too, sported another grim frown.
“....What is it? Cheriss, Ailel….what’s wrong?” the Elders’ initial silence on the matter was disconcerting enough to set Aria’s teeth on edge, though before she could interject and demand at least SOME form of explanation, whatever had stunned them into silence released its hold once more and Cheriss spoke as she turned to head back inside:
“Talk of the devil, that was Vano. There are an awful lot of distress frequencies coming through from the Outer Rim.”
Ailel quickly fell into step with her counterpart, both Elders making for the upper floor where the communications hub was located after putting a frantic holocall out to the other Council members.
“No way to be sure.” Ailel called over her shoulder. “We shall have to look into it!”
“Right.” the Champions cast an apologetic glance at the now concerned Chiss and Cathar instructors, Yerbol offering an apology:
“Aria and I will join you to go over some of the lesson material and see where you’d recommend we start to focus in light of...recent events.”
“Unless of course, the Elders are expecting us to join them?” his wife’s question that was called after the pair however, was not met with a definitive answer as the door whooshed shut behind Cheriss and Ailel.