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#141
Choli Vyn

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Why did he have to smile like that?

Trextan rarely did and seeing it was disconcerting. It made Choli fumble a bit, resulting in her attempt to try and make herself appear as nonchalant as possible. It only resulted in her sitting down awkwardly and going,” umm, anything is fine.”

You are being an idiot, Cho. Enter a small grimace hidden in an awkward smile. Asmus would have made fun of her again. Quick, what would Janes say?!

“Beer?” Humor rose over her Olive face.” Sure you're old enough for that Voidstalker?”

Ugh, better than nothing!

#142
Trextan Voidstalker

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The smile didn't go away. Instead, as he stood up he caught her hand as she awkwardly sat. He took it for just a moment before taking a step back and releasing it.

“Well...this being Tatooine and your home I guess it's you that would know that?” He grinned. Then his eyes darted off to one side and it turned to an expression of confusion. “Actually, no really, what is the legal age here? Do you actually have laws here? I'm not even sure.” That last question was quite obviously less serious. The concern that he would go off promising to return with beer and come back with juice was serious however.

The smile came back. He could flip back between moods quite easily. Concern for her safety would resurface again. Like most his age he wasn't certain what his own emotions were most of the time, let alone able to describe them to another. When he had heard that she was in intensive care after Mustafar he would have said he felt hollow. Hollow and empty and helpless.

#143
Choli Vyn

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Trextan Voidstalker

 

Watching him switch back and forth was a rather confounding, but an amusing experience. Granted, Choli had never had to experience another with a bucket full of problems much like Trextan.  There was more to the story there that meant that the Justicar in training was more like his father than he’d preferred, along with all sorts of quirks that might come to a head at a later time.

 

For now, Choli merely would study Trextan with growing bemusement. Was he being serious? A few blinks and her eyes dazzled a bright moss green in humor. Now she was easily able to swing more of attitude the young Rogue had shown when Trextan first met her -- shoulders shaking in amusement and an arch of a brow.  At least until the distraction of Trextan taking her hand and holding it but for a few spare seconds took a part of the edge.

 

“Are you serious?”  she attempted to sail back to her original train of thought instead of the slight itch of her palm. “A drinking age here? On Tatooine?”  

 

“There isn’t any as long as you can pay for the swill you want to drink.”  laws were not really the lay of the land here. More like everyone knew where people stood. People protected their own.  Arceneau Trade, for example, held the same tit for tat reciprocity. One didn’t mess with Arceneau unless they were expecting their due tenfold.

 

“The general rule of thumb of don’t do anything stupid unless you want to get shot tends to be as much of a law as you can expect.”



#144
Trextan Voidstalker

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“Oh dear, I am in trouble,” was all he said to that with an arch of his eyebrows before heading inside. In truth he was taking the warnings seriously now. He had caused enough unnecessary trouble in one day. The last thing he wanted was for Choli to feel like she was babysitting a child through the wastes.

His father had taught him that at times you had to shut up, listen and study. The man had a mixed effect in Trextan's upbringing. He tried to encourage him to work hard at school but it was always against a selfish motivation. Listening and working hard brought you personal benefits. It was a sharp contrast to the things Jacen had taught him. He'd recited bits of the Jedi code and teachings to Trextan when he was small. The Justicar didn't know it, but Jacen had hoped his son could perhaps succeed as a Jedi one day where he had just failed.

Kellan caught him as he stepped inside. “Ah there you are. Something to drink, eat?” His uncle had more plates in his hands than Trextan thought it should be possible to carry at once.

“Oh, yes. Please. I was just heading inside quickly. Some beer and…”

“Of course. I'll leave them and some snacks on the counter,” he replied. If Kellan had any qualms about the alcohol they certainly didn't show. As Trextan went and relieved himself he wondered what it would have been like growing up here with Kellan. Would he have been content here, perhaps just working in his shop? Would he have looked up and pined for adventure. The question intrigued him.

He returned to Choli with a tray. Two cold beers in bottles that had no labels. A bowl of mixed snacks and some little pots of dips. He set it down carefully, smiled at Choli and sat down next to her.

“Did you ever tell me how you ended up leaving tatooine?” He asked as he took his beer.

#145
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R4 gave Choli a distinct nudge along her leg during the time Trextan left to gather some snacks.  A low, knowing whistle and rabble of chirps resulted in heat once again blooming over Choli’s face.

 

“No, we are not getting into that kind of trouble.”  The Pebbledrone had been within earshot of Janes and his other Wraith goons poking fun at Choli over the teenager that kept trying to gather information on her health status.  It resulted in the astromech giving his own teasing barbs now and then.

 

“How about you scan the holonet for anything that we’ll need to know about what’s been going on around here rather than leering like Captain Janes’ squadmate.”

 

Omar had been particularly aggravating that it resulted in more than a few rolling of Choli’s eyes and prompt walking away.  Granted, her face had been flaming in minor embarrassment in the end.  

 

This was about the time Trextan came back with his booty of beer and snacks.  Thankfully,  he didn’t catch the end of that conversation.

 

“Thanks,” a brief upturn of the corners of her mouth at the bottle, fingers curling around the brown glass to cradle between her hands.  The inquiry about her past didn’t surprise her; she had given versions of the story to those who had shown interest before. Just hadn’t quite given Trextan the entire story.

 

“Uhh… I don’t think so.”  Honest as she could be, the girl leaning back against the chair, legs spread a bit in a comfortable lounge.  Not quite so feminine but it was more for comfort than posture.

 

The bitter tang of the beer went washing over her tongue, swallowing the brew a second later.

 

“I think I told you I had been picked up by Arceneau Scouts right?”  Trying to recall what she had said before.



#146
Trextan Voidstalker

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“Yes, think so,” Trextan replied. In turn he attempted to sit casually, but was too aware of himself. It made it awkward to do anything. Even sitting down was a difficult task of you tried to do every part of it consciously.

“I was just trying to imagine what it would be like to grow up here,’ he said. Then he tilted his head to his right briefly. “Though here isn't there,” he added, drawing a line between Espa life and where she had grown up. He fell silent and R4 have a brief whistle before Choli could continue.

Trextan took a swig of beer and looked towards the horizon. He did that because he felt concerned he was staring. Even though he hadn't been. The Justicar was entirely oblivious to the buzz he'd created around the pilot. Or at least had when those around her had stopped worrying for her life and started enquiring about her love life. There hadn't been one to joke about before that.

The twin suns weren't quite kissing the horizon yet, but they were closing on that line. Considering it. The fabric hung across the trellises caught some breeze and made a soft sound. At least the wind didn't carry any sand. Instead it brought the first hints of cool air. Cool had quickly become a relative thing, Trextan realised.

The beer was relatively bland, but at least it was cold. He imagined it would be quite drinkable.

#147
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That was the thing; Choli couldn't really elaborate on the nuances that was her youth growing up on Tatooine - much the less with the Tusken Raiders. Telling the story of how she grew up in the Wastes was rather surreal. There was always some retelling of the story with a different tint of perspective. Choli was well aware of the prejudices and stereotypes held against the Sand People; be it warranted or not. So it stood to be understandable why she didn't really elaborate much on her past; especially to those who were particularly sensitive to them.

 

"It.. is different," she began, R4 rolling over to pause beside her. The corner of her mouth lifting, she tugged the other glove off and went reaching over to gently tap over the some of his head. "But a simpler life. Didn't really have to bother about anything beyond surviving the desert and the raids of other clans. " she brought her drink up to her lips, taking another sip.

 

"Certainly didn't have to worry about crashing from the sky and having a Jedi ready to pluck me out." Mild humor and a twinkle in her hazel eyes referenced the past.



#148
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Trextan only caught the first glimmer of her eyes shifting. His own gaze dropped to his beer, an abashed smile on his face. It did not mean that he didn't like her referencing that moment. Trextan hadn't missed the affectionate way she treated R4. He decided it would probably be worth learning droid or else suffer further cheeky comments that widened Choli's eyes and left him outside of the loop.

"Sometimes I miss simpler times," he admitted. "But I guess there's also less opportunity for mischief out in the desert too. I'm fairly sure that one nurse was more pleased at our recovery than we were," he said.

He took another swift of beer and met her gaze again. Trextan leaned forwards, keen to hear more. "So what was it like...going from that life to the outside world?" He grinned. "You gave me the short version once and demanded snacks for the long version." He waved at the table. "Snacks. Admittedly no vinegar."

If he'd started to feel less sell conscious about himself it changed again when R4 made a low noise at the exact moment he leaned closer. After he's asked his question his eyes flicked to his dome and back. Definitely needed to learn the language. It was easy to see Choli in her own element her. It had been no exaggeration to pander to her feelings when he'd admitted it brought him joy to see her that way. He had worried endlessly over what state she would be in after Mustafar. But it was still a leap to go from that to seeing her as a raider in his mind.

#149
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Trextan Voidstalker

 

 

It was a curious sight, seeing Trextan lounging there, legs half spread, arms resting on top of his thighs and his face ducking under the flop of his dark hair.  Even the setting sun wasn’t able to completely hide away the angles of his face. Instead it enhanced them,  giving him more hawkish features.  It made him appear a little older, a little bit more rugged. Then again, the battles on Skor had done a number on him.

 

Mustafar had certainly done the same for me.

 

A small flick of her finger gave a tap against the dome of the Pebbledrone’s head,  a faint glare and a narrowing of her eyes at the droid as if to say, stop it!  Granted, there was a token note of the mirroring of an abashed expression.  It was easier to answer Trextan’s question than continue on with R4’s teasing.

 

“More of a shock.”  after a few seconds of pondering, she answered.  Her face gave a small scrunch in thought, recalling back when the Arceneau Scouts found her and brought her back to Mos Eisley.

 

“By all accounts, most saw me in the attire of the Sand People, so needless to say… “ a small grimace,” wasn’t the most heartwarming.” another scrunch of her nose, remembering. “Most either treated me as a victim or others stared at me as if expecting I was going to slit their throat.”

 

Prejudice is a terrible thing.

 

"But it wasn't all that bad.... just... surreal." she took another swig of her beer, feeling the carbonation tickle her mouth and nose. "Honestly... I just wanted to go home."

 

Choli turned back to Trextan,"Had a few say that I was safe now and that I was home."  a small grimace and a shrug of her shoulder followed.

 

"But that's the thing... I wasn't.  This wasn't my home. Some still don't really understand that."  



#150
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Choli Vyn

Trextan mirrored her grimace. The initial reaction was a simple empathic one, but it continued as he mapped that onto his own experiences.

"People said that a lot to me too," he said. "Not the same," he admitted with a shrug. "Don't think I'm planning on running off to find another cult of sith." He chuckled. "I know they were taking advantage of me - now - but it was all very confusing to suddenly be on Sullust."

Trextan hid behind his beer quickly again. This was her story and now he felt as if he'd interrupted to turn things back around to himself again. He knew that he could get caught up in himself, but it wasn't an easy habit to break. His mother and father had always taught him to look out for himself and the sith teachings were all about the strength of the individual who could take power for themselves.

"For what it's worth you seemed at home at the controls of a ship, but you seem more at home here. How old were you when this happened?"

#151
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Another sip brought the bitterness of the beer back into her mouth,  the young girl watching Trextan with a mild mix of amusement and curiosity.  At times it was easy to simply flow into conversation with him and forget the sudden awkwardness that came at being aware of his presence; at others, well, it was all she could do to avoid his gaze and try to mentally calm her fluttering nerves and anxieties.  Things were far easier when she was part of the clan.  To a degree things were arranged, but it was just typical standard life.  Not that she knew personally;  she technically never had her coming of age ceremony -- by all accounts, she was still a child to the Sand People.  

 

Compare that lifestyle with that of Rogue Squadron and the stark contrast of blunt and near shameless actions,  it took a bit of getting used to.  Well, getting used to and trying to blend in.  Choli was a survivor,  she was able to survive out in the desert simply by adapting to environmental changes.  Be it a heatwave,  a sandstorm,  a drought, or the necessity of surviving the crossing of one dune sea to the next.  Adapting and overcoming hurdles that would ensure the clan was fed by working together.  

 

Maybe in that way, it had been easier to blend into the raunchiness of Rogue Squadron banter simply by going along for the ride.  Didn't mean that the young brunette truly was shameless or lewd.  Just meant that she could mimic well. 

 

Case in point, the sudden shift of shy and almost abashed reactions when Trextan would linger holding her hand or look at her curiously so. 

 

"Well... I guess Chloe and Jan had more to do with that."  she admitted, speaking of the Warden of the Sky and the Jedi master who had taken her under his wing.  "And I've always had a knack for tinkering with tech.  Flying it after fixing it was an easy transition." 

 

A scrunch of her features at his inquiry followed.  How old was she? It seemed like a lifetime ago yet it hadn't been at all.

 

"About two years ago."  the corner of her mouth drew up, as if trying to make light of it. "Haven't quite gotten rid of all the sand you see." 

 

It was interesting to think that Trextan also had been taken from his home.  But had it been by choice? He didn't really go over into much detail after that. 

 

"You ran off to the Sith Academy, though, didn't you?" she asked, trying to recall what he had told her back on Polis Massa. 



#152
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Trextan's gaze had fallen from her own. He'd been thinking about plucking up the courage to reach for her hand and started to silently berate himself for being cowardly about the matter. The idea suddenly flew from his mind.

"Just two years? Two years and you went from raider life to being..." He realised he was speaking more loudly than appropriate and lowered his tone. "...trained in the Force and a member the the Rogue Squadron. Wow."

He sat back a little, his expression shifted from being slightly shocked to downright impressed. He'd spent nearly an entire year just moping and trying to adjust to being on Sullust. Admittedly it took time to unpick some of the sith behavioural conditioning.

He leaned forwards again, considering her question. "It's a bit difficult to say if I was led or followed. I was very angry, upset and confused. They took advantage of that. They tell you that you're special that you have purpose. That you have the power to right all the wrongs. To get revenge." He shrugged. "I guess it was an easy sell."

In the Voidstalker they had collected they had the perfect cocktail to use. A foundation from his parents that placed him in the centre of everything. Pain and anger that could be exploited. A sense of helplessness. And above all an easy target to paint.

"Have you been back here since?" He asked with sudden interest. If she had he would likely look a tiny bit dissapointed.

#153
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When he said it that way…

 

Choli’s face contorted in a mild wince. It made her sound a bit…

 

“Not exactly.”  she began,  leaning forward to rest her forearms along the top of her thighs.  Olive hands gave a small flare, as if attempting to explain what she could not.  

 

“By no means to I know much about the Force.  Actually, it is still quite an odd concept for me.”  she said, admitting a bit of her uncomfortableness with it all.  Chloe and Jan managed to ease her into it, but there was so much out there that she still couldn’t quite put her finger on, much the less, master.

 

“Where I came from, it just meant you were touched by the ancient gods.  Or demons to be exact.” Another grimace. “I’ve told you of the tales that are said about the demons who have left clans decimated. Took a bit for me to realize it wasn’t actually demons as much as Sith.”  

 

Choli let her fingers cradle the neck of the beer bottle, letting it sway back and forth a bit. “Flying is just flying… I ended up in the seat of an x-wing by mere chance. They needed pilots in the air;  I was visiting with Chloe and at the time… just felt right.” the corner of her mouth gave a twitch. “I was lucky I wasn’t shot off the sky the first few minutes.  I have Chloe’s training in flying to thank for that.”

 

Another pause and then she gave a nod,” Yeah,  I have.  I couldn’t quite stay away.  Sometimes I take leave for a few weeks and go off the grid.”  her clan was still out there somewhere.



#154
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That kind of would have been cool if this was her first trip back in a long time, he thought to himself. It made sense that she did visit of course. It started to build more of a picture of who she was. She had been quite fiercely against any help back on Polis Massa originally. Choli was independent and resourceful. Had been through hard times and still achieved a great deal. Yet there were times when she was almost shy, vulnerable. Trextan found himself falling a little further for the pilot.

“For some reason in my head I was thinking you'd been picked up five years back, when you were twelve or so.” Had Choli told him her exact age? He couldn't remember if she had or if he had only found out from the nurse he had attempted to ask in a subtle manner.

“I could try and help some,” he offered. “They've had me do some tutoring of the younger padawans. Not that I'm saying you're like a child padawan!” He added in a rush. “Think they thought it would be good for my learning to teach a little.”

Trextan checked their surroundings. There was a clink as he moved the bottle to his right hand and dropped his left to the floor. With one finger outstretched and the others loosely curled into his palm he started to draw little circled in the air. Soon the sand that covered the stones started to cloud around his finger. He opened his palm and lowered it. When he brought it back up to his lap there was a miniature vortex of sand spiralling upwards from it. R4 made a little whistle. Closing his hand the sand instantly dropped straight down in a small cloud. He brushed the rest off on his trousers and looked back up at Choli. It would probably be worth getting some proper food soon, he thought to himself. Another part thought that it would be better to gather the courage to hold her hand again. If he couldn't manage that he would never get around to kissing her again.

#155
Choli Vyn

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Five years back?  That was a lifetime ago.  Certainly things wouldn't have been the same if it had been that far back.  Choli gave a slight contemplative frown,  pondering it all. Where would I be if it had been five years ago?  Endless possibilities really.

 

The corner of her mouth gave another twitch, “No, I’m not that old.”

 

Of course, R4 took the time to give a hoot as if to say, says who?!

 

Another flick of her finger at his dome and he gave a disgruntled hoot.  Course, those was about the time Trextan took it upon himself to offer his services in training in the Force. Well more like bumbling over himself elaborating that it wasnt like she was a padawan or anything.  

 

Humor shone in bright, jewel like jade hues within her slanted eyes, brought up all the more as he made a little display at showing off.  He immediately appeared a bit sheepish after, awkward and unsure of himself.  It was endearing, if amusing, watching him there as the flop of his hair fell over his brow again. R4 was impressed.

 

“Well you certainly are more skilled in it than I.”  She admitted.  No sense in beating around the bush with that.  Choli gave Trextan his due.

 

“I guess you can say, classically trained?” Her nose gave a small wiggle. “Ive only learned a few bits here and there.  Just practical applications that seemed to make things a little bit easier-- although Chloe and Jan pointed out that I had already been using the Force on an intuitive manner when turning a wrench.”  

 

Interest piqued across her eyes, and she bent a little closer.

 

“So what else can you do?”



#156
Trextan Voidstalker

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“Classically trained…” he repeated in amusement. “Guess that's about right really. So telekinesis, speeding myself up, keeping myself going for longer, I can just about form a complete barrier now. Oh and reading people, mind tricks, that kind of thing. Haven't come on much with that whole ‘leaving my own body’ thing.”

He tilted his head to one side, which only seemed to make it more obvious to him just how close they'd come together, small increments at a time.

“Anything there of interest?” He asked with a grin. If a smile was rare from the troubled, young Jedi then a grin was exceptional. “Trade you for the speed reading trick, because that sounds amazing. Those books I'm told to memorise over several days…”

He rolled his eyes in mock irritation. Actually spending time in the Sullust library from time to time was a welcome interlude. It depending on what mood he was in, but sometimes he appreciated a few hours to himself. He heard the mechanical whirr of R4’s dome swivelling between them.

#157
Choli Vyn

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Seeing the broad grin split his face in two was disarming. It took a few embarrassing seconds for her to finally answer. Anything of interest…

Janes would have loads to say about that.

Face warm, Choli hid behind a deep swig of her beer. It was warm, but everything was pretty much warm on Tatooine. Notably, the bitterness of the brew was fading with each sip, bubbling away as the alcohol ran through her body.

“Well I think any sort of mind dabble isn’t going to work for me.” She admitted, rocking the bottle in her hand again, needing them to keep busy. R4 gave a knowing toot, so Choli gave him a tap of her foot against his chassis.

“So mouthy today!” She told him, looking away from Trextan’s grinning visage over to the Pebbledrone.

“Well, speed reading isnt’ so bad. Just more of a meditation I guess.” Trying to explain it again. Although one item he had mentioned did catch her interest.

“Reading people? What do you mean by that?’

#158
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“I was thinking I might have to learn some droid. Or get a translator unit. I get the feeling…” Trextan turned his gaze towards the droid slowly. “...that someone would be a bit less cheeky if I knew what he was saying.”

The droid rocked a fraction and Trextan raised his eyebrows, daring R4 to protest. He didn't. He would probably have something to say on the matter to Choli before long though.

His expression became more serious as he considered the question. “Emotions are the easiest,” he said hesitantly. “People who feel very strongly tend to change the way the Force moved around them. That thief earlier!” He said, gesticulating out towards Espa and sending the dregs of his beer sloshing around. “Could see what he was up to with my eyes closed. But the well attuned Jedi can have entire conversations telepathically. Some can bond and fight as one without exchanging a word. But I've never really picked up much from you,” he admitted before finishing his own beer.

#159
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“Well don't knock yourself down,” Choli replied, taking in what he said about how he wasn't able to really pick up much from her.

Good. A bit of a selfish thought, but it was more out of potential mortified preservation. If he could read how jumbled he made her feel at times or as confused, well that would be rather annoying.

“My mind has always been pretty good at blocking things out. Natural knack I guess.” The corner of her mouth gave another twitch. If he were to learn binary however…

Yeah, R4 would need to learn to keep his vocal processers shut. Warmth once again flooded her face.

“Binary is a bit difficult from what people tell me… but it's just practice.” Well at least she was honest.

A thought came to her.

“So have you been able to bond with someone like that then? With fighting I mean?” It was such a strange thought. It both piqued her curiously and made her wonder if there was anyone else close to the teenager. That Mirialan perhaps? They'd been separated for some time and to be honest, she really didn't know much about his background. What he did. Who he did it with.

Why he kept calling to find out how I was doing?

#160
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Trextan picked up on the quick clarification to the question. Was she concerned he'd been getting close to anyone else whilst they'd been apart? Was that, perhaps, wishful thinking on his own part.

“No,” he admitted with a shrug. “I've never tried to connect that closely. It takes an awful lot of training together I think. Though I think I've read of several siblings who just learned it as they grew up.”

Trextan took a moment to think about what to say next. He was far more self aware of how he spoke and moved around her.

“I've heard some people can learn to block out having their minds reads and that sort of thing without being able to wield the Force themselves.”

His expression grew more dark suddenly. “Maybe that's some of the reason…”

Oh why did you start saying this.

“That you got brought back without being able to remember what happened?” She didn't need his support. That much he'd learned of Choli's personality so far. But he still reached out to find her hand with his own. Sometimes things were easier to do when you weren't thinking about them.