Sure, don't want to steal anyone's spot! Maybe another time.
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Posted by Amilthi Camlenn on 31 December 2017 - 10:29 AM
An addendum to that Palpatine/Snoke comparison: regardless of his lack of background in the original trilogy, Palpatine was established as a bona fide awesome space wizard (who also, despite his ugly face, had a definite sense of style). That guy had something to back up his words, even if he ended up dying kind of comically because he was just slightly worse at manipulating people than he thought. Snoke pretty much never did anything but be disfigured (but without the sense of style) and talk big.
Posted by Amilthi Camlenn on 29 December 2017 - 04:38 PM
The group of Jedi Amilthi had met on Deneba were now scattered to the for winds, and she had found herself alone again, travelling the south and east of the galaxy, avoid the war and, uncharacteristically, the question whether that was the right thing to do. On a grand scale, the world was complicated, and in all its transience on some level unchanging. Any side in a war looked like the wrong side, and so many well-meaning attempts at improving things had a tendency to just make a bad situation even worse. And so she had let go of that ambition.
She had immersed herself again in the pursuit of knowledge, to learn and to preserve, without ulterior purpose. If one found oneself thrust in a broken reality like this, what was there to do but to take it as it was and explore? What she was after was not the knowledge that could be found in books, that could be written down and read, but the knowledge that needed to be experienced, which had to be reached on a practical path for which the written word was at best a crutch. Insight, perhaps, was the better term. It was the kind that was better transmitted from teacher to student than from book to reader. Some teachers were willing and approachable enough. The Chalactan Adepts had needed no persuading to permit her to stay at their temple for several months and had been happy enough to introduce her to their teachings. They had let her part with the same kindness with which they had received her, and told her to come back whenever she felt ready to continue on the path. Others, such as the B'omarr monks, shut themselves off from all outsiders, and she had still not figured out how to convince them otherwise.
But the goal of her present journey was not another congregation of any sort, at least not that she knew of. The Silver Jedi Order had been so occupied with their political and military goals that they had had left potential treasures in their former territory unexplored, which she had some of them hear express regret over. Now, free of any obligations to anyone, it had occurred to Amilthi to investigate what was still left of the ruins on Centares. It had not been difficult to find passage to the planet, located, as it was, right on the Perlemian Trade Route. Once there, she had been able to rent a landspeeder that would take her to the location she had found in the Silver Jedi Order's archives. Her inner clock was thoroughly misaligned with the conditions on the planet, and so set out long before sunrise.
The night was cool, but Amilthi did not freeze wrapped in the heavy cloth that she relied on for protection against heat and cold alike. For the better part of the hour-long journey, the sky was clear and she could see the stars above. It was very dark, more so than most nights, as the planet had no moon, and Amilthi frequently couldn't see anything at all beyond the range of the headlights of her speeders, slowing her down considerably. In the first light of dawn, she entered a more mountainous landscape in which she frequently had to consult the map on her datapad that showed her the likely location of the ruins. It was probably not accurate beyond the level of plus-minus one valley in any direction.
The sun had already risen, though the bottom of the valley still lay in shade, when Amilthi spotted a towering structure in the distance, melded into the cliff that rose above a beck. As she drew closer, she noticed, to her not inconsiderable surprise, that there were tents in front of the building and a couple of spacecraft as well. It appeared that someone else had had the exact same idea as herself at the very same time. If those people were awake, they had quite possibly already spotted her, but nonetheless Amilthi stopped her speeder close to the cliff and proceeded on foot along the rock face.
Amilthi felt a sense of novelty and discovery about the situation, but that could just as well be a reflection of the state of the landscape, the cool air of the morning, the moisture rising from the ground wet from the night's rain, and the light that was gilding the peaks of the mountains and slowly descending from them, promising warmth. A curiosity and joy took hold of her that made her speed up her steps. A motley band of people were scattered across the camp, picking up their things to get ready for the day's work, whatever that might be. Whether they were here out of archeological interest or because the hoped to plunder the place, Amilthi could not speculate, but she spotted no heavy armaments and felt no danger. Not all of them were male, either, so the worst they might do was tell a lone woman to get lost.
Amilthi let her roomy grey robe fall open, revealing the lavender skirt and beige tunic she wore under it. The clothes were of coarse fabric and the kind that was worn by the rural poor in many places in the galaxy. Drawing back her hood, she stepped out into the open.
"Good morning, fellow travelers", she called out to them.
Posted by Amilthi Camlenn on 29 December 2017 - 01:58 PM
Posted by Amilthi Camlenn on 27 December 2017 - 01:36 PM
Amilthi was travelling along the Triellus Trade Route on a civilian liner for people of modest means, and as such the journey was anything but luxurious. She cared little for material comfort, however, and found it easy enough to blank out unpleasant sensations and retreat into her own mind by way of meditation. Her simple attire suggested, if anything, a station below that of most of the other passengers, and those who inevitably approached a lone woman travelling by herself were always met with an unresponsive sort of politeness that had them come away thinking her odd and not very interesting.
Lunch was being eaten in some sort of mass when the ship dropped out of hyperspace once more, presumably to adjust course. Amilthi noticed an ominous feeling rising inside her. She looked around, but naturally none of the other passengers paid much attention to the perfectly regular event, and there was no sign of anything unusual. The feeling did not recede, but grew further, a sure sign that something unfortunate was about to happen. After a few seconds, Amilthi rose from her seat and with swift, purposeful strides walked over to the counter where the food was served.
"I need to talk to the captain, now", she told the server sternly, the fingers of her right hand tracing and arc in the air before her. She would do the same to the captain to make him jump the ship out of the system, no matter the course. If she was to do anything effective to prevent the imminent calamity, rather than stand by, bound by propriety and social rules, then these people's self-determination didn't matter now. "I see, you need to talk to the captain..." "Hurry!" hissed Amilthi. People frowned and then looked at each other in alarm as the server suddenly started to run towards the door, followed with swift strides by a woman in a flowing skirt.
The bridge was a few stairs away, and they were only a few metres away from the door when suddenly an alarm began to blare, red lights flashed above the door, and a second layer of metal closed over it, sealing it shut. A blink of an eye later, a jolt went through the ship, accompanied by the noise of an explosion.
A question came to the fore in Amilthi's mind: was there anything she could have done, how many seconds faster would she have had to be? By an act of will, she pushed it aside as unproductive and irrelevant. Now she needed to remain calm and wait for the events to unfold to react as was appropriate. The past was already settled.
The terrified server looked at Amilthi as if she wanted to be told what to do. The fact that she had just done what Amilthi told her seemed to have triggered a general presumption in the young woman that Amilthi was a person to look to for directions. "Get -" The Jedi was interrupted by a voice suddenly bursting from speakers, drowning out the alarm. "This is the captain, get the passengers to the life pods!" He sounded shaken, and as if to comment his words, a second explosion followed.
It had been no more than a few seconds since the alarm had begun, and now, suddenly, that was the only thing that remained audible. No further explosions followed, and from her position, Amilthi couldn't see any signs of damage to the ship.
It could all have been a critical failure of the engine or some other component of the ship, but somehow this didn't feel right to Amilthi. She felt menaced, as if there was some indeterminate external source of threat. She waited, and the silence, or rather, the alarm, continued uninterrupted. If whoever was there wanted to blow up this ship, they would have done so already - the half-minute or so that had passed was plenty of time for that. If Amilthi was right that this was someone else's doing, and no an internal problem, then whoever that was was going to board the ship.
She suddenly sprung into action and ran down the stairs they had come, back towards the mass. As she entered it, people were scurrying out at the other end. There were anxious screams and the cries of children that made it more difficult to keep calm. Instead, Amilthi was growing impatient and annoyed at the fact that she couldn't do anything as long as she didn't know where the hull would be breached. Not that she was exactly looking forward to a fight, inevitable as it now felt. But she experienced a certain indignation at the idea that someone would target a completely defenceless civilian liner, and that made her want to deal with that someone.
Suddenly, her eyes widened in horror at the scene she witnessed: a metal thorn of some sort ripped through the hull of the transport and hit right in the middle of the corridor at the other side of the mass, through which the passengers were trying to escape. One was smashed into the opposite wall, others were hit hard and thrown to the side. The few who had remained on her side of it were turning back and running at her in panic. Amilthi reached for the lightsaber at her hip under her robe as the metal thorn retreated slightly and then suddenly split, opening a passage to the vessel it had come from, and in the process ripping apart parts of the floor and a hapless man who lying on it, unconscious from the initial impact.
The blue blade sprung forward from her lightsaber hilt with the familiar faint buzzing sound as the Jedi advanced toward the opening. There was no satisfaction in her feelings having been entirely correct. A cold, eerie calm descended upon Amilthi as she stood right next to the hole in the wall, her lightsaber raised, in anticipation of what would emerge from there. Her mind was razor sharp and she was acutely conscious of so many things at once. The feeling of the grip of her sword in her hands, of the soles of her feet in the boot on the ground, of the position of her legs that would allow her to step forward and retreat swiftly, of the smell of heated metal that emanated from the damaged parts of the ship - and, finally, of the approach of something not yet visible behind the outer wall.
Posted by Amilthi Camlenn on 23 December 2017 - 04:38 AM
Amilthi smiled briefly at Mysa, but her expression quickly and awkwardly dissolved into one of confusion, thoughtfulness, and perhaps even skepticism as she listened.It was not a look that put others at ease. The hints Mysa gave her of the thicket from which she had just emerged gave Amilthi a better understanding of where that desire for purity she had witnessed came from, and it also gave her a better idea of how to talk to the young woman. She would need no training in how to engage with the Force - she was here to learn how to engage with herself and the experiences the world might throw at her.
The Jedi studied the Force and cultivated themselves, and much of it they did through the same means. But it was perhaps to some extent an accident that various meditation techniques served both purposes, and it was possible to connect to the Force without undergoing the changes in being that the Jedi aspired to.
For a moment, Amilthi looked into the distance, pondering where to start. Then she turned back to Mysa and looked at her intently.
"There is one thing I want you to be aware of: you have nothing to make up for. You must not think that having emerged from these events burdens you with a duty you must discharge to redeem yourself. It may help you, now that you are a Padawan learner, to avail yourself of a luxury this station affords: to let others determine what your duty is to be considered to be. You can trust this order not to be concerned with your past", she stated firmly.
"The past is gone, it cannot be changed, and it cannot touch you if you do not let it. You should not dwell on the topic. Study yourself and your experiences as they are in the present, discover new ways of being, and do not let yourself be caught up in a narrative. You may think I am asking you to ignore the past and throw away its lessons, and to some extent I am. You must be able to look at it and regard it without regret, to view it as simply a fact of the universe that does not pertain to you, personally, in any particular way. You are not the person to whom this happened. But this insight you will not obtain from trying to force yourself to face the past immediately. It is the wrong place to build your strength. It is something you will return to later."
Suddenly, Amilthi's serious, almost stern expression dissolved into a soft smile. "Let me ask you something, Mysa - do you know how to be happy?"
Posted by Amilthi Camlenn on 16 November 2017 - 02:54 PM
Amilthi reflexively smiled at the librarian, even though she consciously knew that a human's facial expression could only be meaningless to him. She had been on the receiving end of telepathy a few times in her life, but never had she experienced it with such clarity. Some Jedi practiced a form of telepathy that actually evoked what were essentially auditory hallucinations: they projected a voice into the other's mind. Others managed to convey pictures held before the mind's eye, or even feelings. But this was extraordinary: what the librarian was conveying to her had simply no sensory character at all: it was pure thoughts, unbound from language.
As the alien form floated up to one side of its tank, Amilthi regarded it with calm curiosity. She didn't know what species the Librarian belonged to, and his, her, or its demeanour made her wonder what their sensory modalities were. Did they have organs for the perception of light, heat, or electromagnetic fields? After a moment, she realised that looked at this body wouldn't do anything to answer any of these questions. She could probably ask any of the local Jedi here and they would know about the peculiar attributes of this keeper of knowledge. So she abandoned the attitude of inquiry she had thus identified as pointless.
For a moment, Amilthi felt almost impolite for addressing Oros in spoken words in return. She reminded herself that this was an entirely unreasonable concern, as the librarian was surely aware and understanding of the fact that many Jedi, like herself, did not have the ability of telepathy.
It seemed likely to her that this librarian was a sufficiently detached academic that he would not be disturbed by a very direct reply. "I have been studying what lore I have been able to find on the Seventh Form. I would like to, and believe I can, contribute to keeping alive this knowledge among the ranks of Jedi."
Posted by Amilthi Camlenn on 16 November 2017 - 01:48 PM
"Far be it from me to wish to make further unnecessary demands on your time, Grandmaster. I'm sure I will be able to sort out the practicalities with Miss Swail here", said Amilthi politely, throwing a friendly look at Stephanie.
She smiled faintly, almost as if preoccupied, when the student expressed a somewhat sudden interest in books. Amilthi wondered to what extent that was genuine interest speaking and to what extent she was only doing what the situation had made her think she should be doing to fulfill others' expectations. "If you have a specific thing in mind that you believe would advance you on your path, by all means seek out the help of books. But do not scold yourself for mere lack of erudition and go up to the shelf to pick whatever book may look interesting. You're likely to waste your time." She considered for a brief second, and then added. "Unless you have that feeling telling you that doing so would be precisely the thing to help you move forward."
She assumed that Stephanie would know, and would ask if she didn't know, what she meant by that. The Force had its curious ways of nudging people to do things without telling them why it was a good idea, and while it took much practice, Amilthi had found that it was possible to learn to tell apart this kind of inspiration from other sorts of thoughts that might come into the mind with seeming randomness, and which were usually much less valuable.
Eventually, her thoughts returned to the unsettled matter of logistics, which Amilthi would have preferred to be out of the way before she would turn to reading. "Well, perhaps it will indeed be easier if you would be so kind as to show me where I might spend my nights, before I return here."
Posted by Amilthi Camlenn on 16 November 2017 - 09:47 AM
Amilthi listened with patient attention, a pensive expression creeping onto her face. Mysa spoke of re-walking the path of a Padawan, and of a lightsabre she had brought from her previous life, which was most curious. What was more, she appeared to regard this previous life as a failure of some sort and to be driven by a desire to correct it by doing things right this time. Her thoughts of a new lightsabre spoke of a wish for purification - redemption was the word she had used. Amilthi would have certain things to say about that, but perhaps this wasn't quite the time yet. First she wanted to know more about what was behind this mysterious student.
"Certainly there is no reason to give up your lightsabre", Amilthi confirmed as if it were a matter of course, seeming even surprised at the thought. "Forgive my curiosity - would you tell me about what you call your 'previous life'?"
Posted by Amilthi Camlenn on 12 November 2017 - 08:59 AM
"Amilthi Camlenn", Amilthi introduced herself. "Grandmaster Kitra has kindly allowed to stay and study in your archives. And since Kashyyyk is closer to my home, I thought I might as well help you move."
She looked the other Jedi over for a few moments. He was maimed from battle, and perhaps in more ways than just the physical. Apparently the order's surgeons and technicians had not yet found the time to remedy these physical deficiencies, and Amilthi could only imagine the great strain that the constant reminder of their presence must put on the mind that inhabited this body. On top of it all, the need to be practical about the move made it understandably impossible to find the time and quiet to contemplate and deal with these issues. She would have liked to say something useful or at least encouraging to the other Jedi, but could not find anything to contribute. It was hardly the other's fault for making himself somewhat unapproachable, nor even really her own fault for not coming up with anything. It was simply a property of the configuration they had found themselves in and which had to be accepted.
"You're busy, of course. I'll leave you to it", she excused herself politely and respectfully.
Posted by Amilthi Camlenn on 12 November 2017 - 08:52 AM
"Thank you, Grandmaster. You are very generous, and I will be sure to give thought to your offer", said Amilthi. She did not smile so that her words would not be taken to be insincere. She couldn't say that Valae's offer was unwelcome, as she was on some level considering the possibility of getting more involved with a community of Jedi again. But this was indeed a matter that would require much observation and contemplation on her part. Considerations announced themselves - whether she would be distracted from her path, whether she was ready to carry the responsibility, whether she would find herself pushed in an unwholesome direction or on the contrary uplifted. Amilthi noticed and noted these concepts as they drifted into her mind and watched them pass away again without engaging. Things needed to be thought through, but at the proper time. Now was not this time.
A thoughtful look fell over Amilthi's face when Stephanie voiced her interest in what she was studying. She had unearthed some knowledge of the form already and could probably have taught the other woman something new immediately; but she was quite wary of the idea. She had got the impression that Stephanie was already struggling with her stressful position in life, and it seemed doubtful that she could muster the control and stability that was apparently necessary not to be put off balance by the study of Form VII.
Amilthi looked at Valae, seeking to meet her eyes. She wished to see the Grandmaster's own reaction to the request, and also hoped to convey her own reluctance and have it understood. If possible, she would have liked to avoid being he first to alert Stephanie to the ways in which what she sought was potentially unwise.
Posted by Amilthi Camlenn on 12 November 2017 - 02:28 AM
Amilthi regarded the shinai with a curious look, but didn't take it from Mysa's hands. Perhaps the sensations arising from balancing it on one's fingers could form an interesting object for meditation. But the fact that Mysa had kept this remnant of a primitive age as a keepsake from her former life was something that might warrant attention. "Just be mindful of the pull the past might want to exert over you", she pointed out. "It's known to do that, and to be driven by that pull, either to give in to it or to be sent fleeing by it is not a good thing. Just note it and let it be, if it arises." Amilthi had gained some confidence in this student's ability to hear her words and take away from them what was useful to her, instead of missing the point by becoming unnecessarily defensive, getting caught up in the defence of some sort of self-image. If she was right about that, the young woman had already attained important truths and would be rewarded with rapid progress in her studies.
"I rather like it, too. But then I've got a thing for deserts, I suppose", remarked Amilthi with a wry smile as Mysa expressed her appreciation for the garden. "And you're quite right, it can be useful to challenge oneself in this way to learn to deal with more... intense inputs. Some people also find it to be of significance that there are other living things around here, though I'd be the wrong person to talk to about how to incorporate that into your practice." The whole matter of being aware and feeling connected to the world around oneself, and the live in it in particular, was indeed not Amilthi's strong suit. It was on her list of things to pay attention to and study more closely at some point in the future, but there was so much to explore about the mind and the Force, and so the list was long. She had still not attained the mastery over her self that she aspired to, and that was a higher priority for now.
As a sudden afterthought to their previous conversation, she asked: "But you do have a proper lightsabre now, do you?"
Posted by Amilthi Camlenn on 07 November 2017 - 05:05 PM
"Again, I'm sorry about that... And I'd call that a form of meditation", remarked Amilthi with an almost mischievous smile. "But if it does what you need it to do, I suppose you just keep doing it." She gave a shrug and turned to leave the room, apparently satisfied by the answer. Perhaps Mysa had adapted to it so much that for her, breathing in that way required much less concentration than for other people - or, more likely, this was actually a kind of moving meditation for her, where she became absorbed not in the observation of the breath, but precisely in directing it, and over being so engaged forgot any emotional troubles. In Amilthi's estimation, it sounded like a practice that was unlikely to lead anywhere further, but if it was meant to serve a specific purpose and did so, and no more was expected of it, then she didn't see much of a reason to advise against it.
"You seem to have a predilection for the unusual", she pointed out as they walked. "That... thing I saw you holding when you were meditating - what is it?" she asked, this time more curious than skeptical.
The Enclave's garden, into which they stepped soon after, was a neat and orderly arrangement. Its floor was paved with light beige stone tiles which also framed the flowerbeds, which contained stones from between which emerged cacti and a handful of low-growing, knotty trees. Benches of the same stone were set next to them. On one side, there was a parapet that separated the garden from a deep cliff that offered a magnificent view into the valley below. A wind frequently came up the cliff, providing the garden with some coolness even on hot days, but this early in the morning, the air was actually somewhat chilly this high up in the mountains.
"Some people do indeed prefer to meditate here, though it's not always as quiet as the practice rooms. I understand the custom is that if you come here, you need to be able to cope with people occasionally talking in the background", explained Amilthi.