I find myself assigned to a task I have not had since I was a Padawan under Master Koya: to keep a daily journal of my experiences and feelings. While this would normally not be an unpleasant task and indeed, was one I did on a regular, if not daily basis prior to this, the situation is rather different now.
It was to have been a simple apology. Xanatos Du'Cruet would come, speak with the Council and leave. While not seen as a fully satisfactory closure to events, it was the one least likely to cause additional strife between Telos and Shardakour and the Jedi.
Lord Du'Cruet permitted questioning beyond what I had expected. I also had not anticipated a young Council member's suggestion that he rejoin the Jedi Order. I believe it was an ordeal for all concerned and one all were glad to see brought to an end.
I retired to the garden to calm my thoughts and feelings. While I spoke there with Lord Daniels and my brother, the sound of an explosion echoed through the garden. By the time we made our way into the Temple and to the site of the attack, three that had called themselves Jedi were dead and the Telosian and Shardakourian parties were tending to their wounded. My heart sank. Such a thing should never have occurred on Yavin, or anywhere else. The three who attacked were three I had known through classes I had taught in meditation. That such darkness could hide right there, in the Temple, was a frightening and sobering thought. That I had neglected to see that darkness grieved me beyond measure.
Having sworn upon my life that our guests would be safe upon Yavin, I named Zuren my successor in that position to the Council and contacted Lady Alderson. As was her right, she laid claim to my life. Present was Lord Daniels, who surprised me greatly by speaking on my behalf. In truth, I cannot recall another instance in which a Sith has spoken as such for a Jedi. I am grateful to him for his words and actions.
Yet even more surprising, humbling and frustrating, were the actions of Tory McNeil and his wife, Brin Cheverra. They offered themselves in exchange for my freedom. Merciful Force, I have no idea what was going through their minds. I do know that I have never been so honored, yet unhappy at the same time. I know in my heart that I am following the will of the Force. How to explain that to Che's satisfaction seemed to escape me, while Tory seemed accepting of that fact. I was well aware of what Che intended to do to make me 'see her way', if she had to, and I do believe I may have unintentionally slighted Lord Daniels and Ms. Matthews, when they tried to intervene.
Also taken to Shardakour was Miranda, who is currently being treated by Shardakourian physicians. She seems to believe that it is her duty to return to the Empire. How much of that is a true sense of duty and how much was implanted in her mind is unknown. Force willing, we've made the right decision regarding allowing her to be taken with Lady Alderson.
Each day brings new lessons and experiences. Some have been tedious, such as being fitted for a wardrobe. This alone I found to be a somewhat wasteful exercise - few beings can truly need the range of clothing that was obtained that day. Yet, this is what this culture seems to accept as the norm. A very different view from what I've known all my life - simplicity in all things, even attire.
A physical exam and genetic profile were taken. I will admit to being very uncomfortable with this in particular. Too often in the distant past, such things were used to create clones or perform experiments. While I cannot say I suspect those are the end results desired, they are in the back of my mind.
The physician I dealt with, Andre Stiasny, surprised me. I had not expected to find such a kind hearted, caring being here. Yet that is just what he is. He and I spoke at some length and I was invited to join him for tea, which I did late that evening. We spoke on many various subjects, including my small experience in an old sailing vessel. He seemed to have a real desire to experience such a thing for himself.
I have yet to continually keep in mind that my thoughts are not my own - for I was surprised when Andre told me that the Lady Alderson had gifted him with one of the sailing vessels he had so desired. He could not conceive of such a gift and believed it a temporary loan, yet when I spoke with Lady Alderson, I was assured that it was indeed a gift to him. At the same time, it was strongly suggested that I not become any further involved with Andre. I did not realize that Lady Alderson had an interest in Andre, nor was I aware that she had been 'drawing' him out. She is of course correct that because of the position I currently occupy, becoming close to Andre is not a good idea. He seems to be a man who feels deeply and I would not wish to bring him undue distress, should anything happen.
***** Finding Out About Octavia
While assisting in preparations for an execution to be held on Shardakour, I was called in to Lady Alderson. Perhaps she expected me to attack, I do not know, but I was told to kneel and not move. At the time, I was unsure what to expect. Being told that Octavia Syn Jinn was Lord Xanatos Du'Cruet's guest was not one of the possibilities I'd entertained. I assumed, based on past dealings between the two, that she was his prisoner. This seemed to upset Lady Alderson, for I had assured her that I did believe that Lord Du'Cruet had changed. Yet, that she was alive would have been indication that he had changed, would it not? However, she seems to truly be a guest of the man, even assisting him in his work. It was a pleasure to be able to spend time with Octavia once the Telosian party had arrived. To talk to her again, to know that she was well, lifted my spirits. I had begun to believe that perhaps she and Kaliandra would be lost to us forever. She had no work on Kali, but I am reminded that there is still hope. I was familiar with one member of the Arridorian party, but have not yet had the opportunity to speak with him. Captain Tor Kyrsk, formerly a Lieutenant, was one Octavia and I dealt with on Arridor when we went in search of Zuren and found a bit more than one old Jedi Master.
Lady Alderson has given me much to think about. While I disagree with the harsh punishment accorded to the prisoners sentenced to execution, I think I do understand why this culture demands such a penalty. Do I agree? No, not necessarily. Is it my place to question? Again - no.
I questioned why she did not distance herself from the executions. On many worlds, the rulers do not sully their hands with such things. Yet, she seems to be fully involved and dedicated to her people. To distance herself would not do that justice. After agreeing with the points she made, I would have been a hypocrite to accept the choice of being Force nulled during the execution. Instead, I chose to monitor Lady Alderson during her portion of the execution.
Prior to the sentence being carried out, the platform was attacked. I am grateful to Lady Amalie for lending a lightsaber to me during the attack. After all was cleared and the surviving attackers were taken away, Lady Alderson and Lord Du'Cruet returned and the executions were carried out. As promised, I monitored Lady Alderson during her participation. It was a singularly unpleasant experience, even second hand as it was.
In what appears to be retaliation, forty children were taken from their homes on Drysani. Lady Alderson gathered together a number of Force users and together, we searched for the children on the astral plane. A unique experience, it was not a way of utilizing that aspect of the Force that I had attempted before. I am shamed to say I had not expected such dedication to finding and protecting innocents from the beings here. Perhaps I have held too long to a belief in black and white when it comes to matters of the Force, for those that were gathered let nothing stop them as they searched for and then helped rescue the children, both those held physically and those who were held both physically and in the astral plane.
In the course of the long evening, Lady Anna Woven-Alderson made a remark that I considered ill thought out, but apparently, Lady Alderson considered to be much more so than that. At the time, I was unaware that Lady Nyssa C'rman's nephew, Dylan, was the son of one of those executed and saw only that the Du'Sau line had been spoken of in anger.
Yet, even though Lady Woven-Alderson seemed to later accept her punishment without question, I question the severity of the punishment for speaking out of turn. I have been called 'on the carpet' many times over the course of my life, for various infractions, none of which have been repeated… was humiliation not enough? Apparently, not to Lady Woven-Alderson, who was asked to tell me what it was Lady Alderson wished to accomplish. Even so, I question physical punishment as a valid reminder and continue to do so.
Which brings me to this… after finding myself questioning this yet again when two guards were called to task and flogged for neglecting their duties, which led to the attack at the execution, I was not very careful in my thoughts. I now find myself looking forward to traveling Shardakour and speaking with the beings that reside here, to discover if indeed they are as content as they appear, or, as I so rashly allowed myself to think in an unguarded moment, if it is fear they feel instead of contentment.
I shall keep a journal of my experiences, thoughts and feelings on a daily basis, not unlike my previous practice at the Temple.
Regardless of what happens in the future, I believe that I am learning lessons long neglected or forgotten. I have not been on Shardakour long, yet I am finding myself questioning many of the things I have held dear since childhood. While I cling to my beliefs, I am finding that many of the things I have believed were either right or wrong, are sometimes neither.
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