(with thanks to Togin's original player)
Alida reached out to answer the incoming holo. "Alida Rein-" she trailed off as the solemn features of her first Padawan formed in front of her. "Togin?"
"Master." Togin inclined her head at Alida. "The Padawan at the Temple on Yavin was kind enough to explain to me how I might reach you."
"Master no longer, young one," Alida said. She smiled slightly, wondering if Adan had directed the Padawan to make certain Togin contacted her via holo. It certainly was a way to assure Togin would be able to see the physical proof of the changes Alida had undergone.
"So I was informed," Togin said. She eyed Alida. "This, then, is the path you followed? Away from the Force, away from the Jedi? Far from the way you so meticulously instructed your Padawans in?"
"Not away from the Force," Alida defended in an even voice. "I have followed the path the Force led me down, Togin. It is not with the Jedi. No longer. I serve the Force, simply in a different manner than that which you were trained."
"How did this come about?"
Alida exhaled slowly. "It is a long story, Padawan, but to understand it, you must also understand the Jedi Order as it exists today. It is far from the Order you studied as a child, but even then, there were rare instances of Jedi within the Order taking matters into their own hands when they believed the Council acted improperly." She knew Togin was well versed in the history of the Jedi Order from the time before the Purge, and was aware of the very few who had done such things.
Togin nodded for Alida to go on and the woman did so, explaining the attack upon the Du'Cruet/Alderson party and the oath she herself had sworn.
"You gave your life as guarantee for their safety?" Togin sounded vaguely surprised.
"I did, indeed." Alida shook her head. "In my arrogance and in my firm faith in those we were training, I refused to consider that there would be those who would disagree with the decisions made. I paid the price for that. My life was forfeit."
"Yet you were allowed to live."
"My life was claimed." Alida sighed. "I do not expect you to understand this, Togin. I know most Jedi do not and I do not expect them to. It was not the easy transition many seem to think of it as. I was forced to examine, and utilize, parts of myself that we, as Jedi, push aside."
"Your emotions are in full force, obviously," Togin said dryly with a glance at Alida's physique.
"Indeed, they are," Alida said. "What were you told when you contacted the Temple?"
"That you were no longer a Jedi." The younger woman raised one shoulder up in a slight shrug. "That you could be contacted here, working with a fallen Jedi by the name of Xanatos Du'Cruet, under the guidance of a Sith."
"There is more to the situation than that, Togin."
"What is the situation, Alida?" Togin asked. "Were you living a lie all those years or are you living a lie now?"
"I have never lied to you, child," Alida said softly. "I have left the path I was on, yes, but that does not mean that my time among the Jedi was meaningless or a lie. It is a path I have left and I have been able to be of assistance in other ways, beyond what I could do as a Jedi."
"Now you 'assist' . . . as a slave?"
Alida's eyes widened. "Togin Conpeq!" she snapped. "That is enough of such talk. I gave my word willingly, it was not coerced. I am here now by my own choice, married to a Telosian and expecting a child. Yes, it is far from what I once was, but it is who I have become. And I have not become a slave."
"Except, perhaps, to your emotions?" the Knight questioned as her right eyebrow formed a delicate arch.
The older woman took a brief moment to calm herself. "I no longer deal with my emotions as a Jedi, but I am far from controlled by them."
"As you say." Togin's voice was calm as she parroted the words Alida herself had often said, usually in acceptance of some unpleasant concept.
"Yes, it is." Alida shook her head. "All this, Togin, and you have yet to tell me how you are faring."
"I still follow the path of the Jedi and will continue to do so."
Alida smiled. "I am glad to hear that."
"Are you?" Togin sounded vaguely surprised.
"Of course. I may no longer be Jedi, but that does not mean I do not believe the Order has its place in the galaxy and that it can be and will be a force for good; peacekeepers, as the Order once was."
"You know that I have no plans to travel to Yavin, don't you?" Togin questioned.
"I know, Togin. You are doing what you were meant to do and serving where you are most needed."
"My Master taught me to listen to the Force," the Jedi said, her voice even as she eyed the one who had trained her.
Alida nodded. "And you've done well."
Togin frowned faintly. "Thank you, Ma- Thank you" She reached out to prepare to cut communication. "May the Force be with you."
"And with you, Togin."
Alida watched as the stern features of her former Padawan faded, the holo communication ending. She had not expected Togin to understand and she had not been disappointed.
A smile crossed her features. No, she hadn't been disappointed. Togin was a Jedi; what she was trained to be. With a quiet sigh, she turned back to her paperwork, only to be interrupted by a knock at the door.
Nyssa opened the door and stuck her head inside. "Have you had lunch?"
"Good afternoon," Alida greeted her. "No, not yet."
"Would you like to join me?"
She nodded, pushing aside thoughts of her former Padawan. "That sounds nice."
"I'll meet you in the gardens, what would you like?" Nyssa questioned.
"Whatever sounds good to you," Alida said.
"All right, I'll prepare lunch and see you down there in ten minutes?"
"Very well," she agreed. "Thank you, Nyssa."
"You're welcome. Don't be late," Nyssa teased lightly. She grinned and chuckled at the oft-repeated admonishment.
"I would never think of being late," the older woman assured her with a small smile of her own, listening as Nyssa's laughter echoed down the hall.
It took Alida only a few moments to complete the task that had been interrupted by Togin's call. Putting the files aside, she stood, taking a moment to stretch. As she headed out of her office to meet with Nyssa, she smiled, realizing she could now place the feeling that had been spreading through her: she had truly had become content with who and where she was.
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