Alida smiled, watching as Nyssa tugged Tor onto the dance floor. She turned to Octavia. "You seem to be enjoying yourself."
Octavia nodded. "I am, very much so." She turned her attention to her friend, "And you? Are you enjoying yourself?"
Alida seemed to consider that for a moment. "Yes, Octavia. I am." Her voice carried a note of surprise. "I'm not certain I will ever grow used to such things, but…" She trailed off.
"What?" Octavia asked. "Haven't you ever done this before ... relax and just enjoy, I mean?"
"No, not really. My life has always been focused on service. I did little that could be considered relaxing or enjoyable, at least from the viewpoint of others outside of the Jedi."
"There are different ways of relaxing that many people don't understand, and many don't view it that way. Do you think they would understand why we are here?" Octavia asked becoming serious.
"They? The Jedi I was raised amongst?" Alida frowned. "Some might understand. Some might not. Many would have said I did the right thing, but should have asked for death when given the option." She looked at Octavia. "As for what you have done, they would have understood the need to keep things as they were, to protect Telos and Shardakour and the beings involved. They might not have understood much more than that, though. Your grandparents were rare among the Jedi, Octavia. I am glad Master Jinn spoke to you about this. He would have been one of the few who would understand and appreciate what you are going through."
"Still, the others ... The present council as well as the present Jedi, do you think they will really understand either of us. I know having talked to Qui-Gon, I feel better centered." She looked at Tor laughing. "And there are other reasons for my ... willingness to stay now."
"I doubt most on the current council would understand either of us right now. Masters Zuren and Du'Sau may be the only ones to truly understand, or at least the only ones who would try to understand." Alida nodded toward Tor. "Although a few might at least wish you well in that area."
"It's going to be strange when he has to go back to Arridor, but we each have our duty." Octavia let out a breath. "Master Zuren might understand, Master Du'Sau, I'm not too sure about, she seemed quite eager to expel me a while back." Glancing back at Tor, Octavia shook her head. "As for Tor, I'm sure many would see that I'm turning my back on the Jedi for personal reasons."
Alida shook her head. "Yes, some may. Some may question why you do not do as others have and continue to Knighthood, just realizing that you may not serve on the council."
"I'm not cut out to serve on the council. I just don't see things their way. I know I should go back and talk to them but ... I have a feeling if I do, I won't be able to leave."
Alida turned toward her. "Not be able to leave? Why, Octavia?"
"I have this ... this feeling that they won't let me. It's not that I think once I get there that I will view my time here as wrong or that I made a mistake it's not that. I care ... no, I love Tor and I trust Lord Du'Cruet, even if he is acting a little more protective than I'm used to."
"It doesn't say much for the Jedi that you are worried about that, does it?" Alida asked quietly.
Octavia lowered her head. "No, it doesn't." Her voice was barely above a whisper. "I think it would be more out of concern, but now I wonder if Psylocke was right, we did invade her mind ... we broke our own rules to try to get her to turn. I was guilty of that as well and now matters are worse."
"Tell me how matters are worse," Alida encouraged.
"Now Psylocke is more set against the Jedi than before. It's not a good development, Alida. She is so full of hatred." Octavia shook her head.
"Make one decision, make another," Alida said softly. "Either way, Psylocke would have been against the Jedi. Her hatred is something she must deal with. What was done… was done, as you said, out of concern. Misguided concern, perhaps, but we must acknowledge that and move on. That is what you worry about now - that you will also be the recipient of such misguided concern when -- or should I say if? -- you go to Yavin?" Octavia nodded. "If it was done once, reason stands it would be done again. Though Master Kirienne said she would stand with me as before, the fact is she is still a spirit."
"I believe Master D'med would stand with you, Octavia, even if he did not agree with what you might be doing."
"It's all so confusing, the one I thought I could ... would never trust I'm living under his house on his planet. The ones I thought I would trust with my life, I'm now questioning."
Alida sighed. "I don't know what to tell you, Octavia, except that things change. Situations change. Even people."
"Do you think it's wrong that we are using the enhancers?" Octavia asked, changing the subject. "I mean the way we're training is so different from what either of us is used to."
"I see the reasoning behind it. I don't necessarily agree with it, but it's what is done."
"I know, and it does seem to make you focus harder."
Alida huffed a little, a wry smile on her face. "Yes, that it does."
"Master Fer'rer seems pleased that I don't have a lightsaber, he says it makes me focus on my hand to hand as well as Force abilities. I think he could give Master Skywalker a run for his credits in how much he makes you go over techniques and drills."
Alida nodded. "Perhaps he could."
"I've never run from anything before Alida, and I feel the longer I stay away from the Jedi that I am hiding."
"Hiding from what, though, Octavia? From them? From yourself?"
"I don't know."
"Have you told anyone else that you want to return?"
"No, it's something that has been forming in my mind."
"If you were to do so, when would you want to go?"
"As soon as I could, I just feel something is wrong and things need to be set right and I don't know what it is."
"Do as the Force leads." Alida looked at where Tor had been passed off to a local woman. "Your young Captain won't be pleased."
"He's concerned about the enhancers ... no he wouldn't be pleased. I'd wait until after he goes back to Arridor."
"You wouldn't tell him?" Alida was surprised.
"I don't think so, he'd worry needlessly and I'm not even sure Lord Du'Cruet would agree."
Alida chuckled. "Agree? Think carefully, young one. You know more than a little of him. Tell me truthfully what you expect his reaction will be."
"Not very pleasant or agreeable." Octavia said after a few minutes of thought.
Octavia couldn't help but laugh. "I've never had that said about me."
"Oh?" Alida looked serious. "It showed in your handling of Pardee."
"What do you mean showed?"
"Your diplomatic ability was evident there, Octavia."
"I just never thought about it, I just wanted to see Pardee's side his thoughts on why he acted the way he did."
"Which is what a good mediator must do."
"I never considered it."
"Oh? But you are a Jedi, Octavia. Jedi are mediators."
"I know Jedi listen and try to get people to talk when they can't ... I just never viewed myself that way I guess."
Alida smiled. "But that is what you do. Perhaps you do it naturally, but you did it well."
"I don't know which it was, I'm glad that it did go well. At least Pardee will have a chance to rebuild his career."
"As long as he has worked through his anger."
"I think that will take time, he was hurt deeply by his brother's murder."
"Such a thing is difficult to reconcile oneself to," Alida said. The topic was at odds with the music swelling around them and the couples on the dance floor.
"You ladies have sat for too long." two men from town stated. The older of the two stated looking at Alida. "Will you join me?"
"Change," Alida said quietly, giving Octavia a small smile before she looked up at him. "I would be honored."
"Wonderful." He offered her his hand.
She took it and let him pull her to her feet to lead her to the dance floor.
"Will you dance with me?" the other one asked of Octavia.
"Yes, I'd love to," she said, taking his hand.
"Don't you like dancing?" the man asked Alida.
She looked up at him. "Excuse me?"
"My friend and I were watching you two, you sat there for a long time. Guess 'm not use to seeing pretty women just sit and talk."
Alida had to laugh at that. "We have much to talk about."
"No, just good friends." Alida smiled a bit. "I didn't get your name."
"Nikolas ... Nikolas Jession the one dancing with your friend is my younger brother Swift."
"It's a pleasure to meet you, Nikolas."
Tor tried to fend off the advances of the local woman who was dancing with him, keeping a respectable distance between them. He searched the crowd for Octavia as he danced, finding her only about five couples away, dancing with someone he didn't recognize.
He shot a look over at her when their eyes met. Sort of a "I'm ready to cut in anytime you're ready for me to" look.
*How about ten minutes ago?* she sent to him
He excused himself from his partner and went over to Octavia and her partner. "Excuse me, do you mind if I cut in?"
"I ..." the other man looked at Tor's uniform. "Guess not, if she doesn't mind."
"Not at all," Octavia answered turning to Tor. "Captain."
"Miss Jinn," he said with a grin. "Thank you," he said to Swift, taking the other man's place.
Swift frowned and shook his head, scanning the crowd for the next free woman.
"Why is it that the ladies are always taken by a uniform?" Nikalos asked Alida.
Alida smiled. "It's the man that makes the uniform."
"Maybe, but ...never mind. Swift will find another to dance with," Nikalos stated.
Alida frowned. "Is something wrong?" she asked Nikalos.
"No, not really. I look after my brother too much, he's young and will enjoy himself."
"There are quite a few women here for him to dance with."
"Yes, there are. Are you visiting? I thought I knew everyone in town."
"Yes, I am here for a short while."
"Good, maybe we'll get to see each other again." He continued to lead. "What do you think of our little gathering?"
"It's quite pleasant," she said, looking up at him as they danced. "Do you come to many of the gatherings?"
"As many as I can. I help my parents in the selling of gems and jewelry."
"That must be interesting," she said.
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