Lena Galassdow, second year Jedi student and Representative to the Council for those same new arrivals, walked into the Council Chambers carrying a datapad and sat in the seat nearest the door.
She bowed deeply to the Masters already present. Master Kalamytha Du'Sau and Master Alida D'med were already seated, while Master Tory McNeil was present via holo.
Du'Sau nodded back
"Master Skywalker will be joining us shortly. Until then," Alida looked over at Du'Sau, "Master Du'Sau has recently returned to Yavin."
Lena looked up. "Master? Did you have a pleasant trip?"
"It was not a pleasure trip Lena, and the return ... was equally tiring." Du'Sau answered, thinking of her words.
"How so, Master?"
Du'Sau looked at Alida as she answered. "Darkness is ever growing young one." She then looked up as Luke Skywalker's holo came into focus.
Tory bowed to Luke as he entered. Lena stood to bow to Luke from her position near the door.
Luke bowed his head to all in the room. "I'm sorry I am late."
"Greetings, Master Skywalker."
"Greetings, Master." Lena sat again, her seat especially brought in because it was short like her. "Did you have an uneventful flight?" she asked Luke.
"Mostly. I saw many different things in the future through the Force about the situation regarding student Octavia and Jedi Kaliandra."
"Well...since the future is always in motion, as Master Yoda has said, these things I saw are not necessarily going to come about."
"Do you have any idea of where they are?"
Luke turned to look at Master Du'Sau and then around the room. "Yes. I have been with Kirienne - she has been able to help me determine that they are on the planet Coruscant."
Du'Sau lowered her head.
"They are being held prisoner there and have been interrogated under the authority of Lord Vader."
Lena lowered her hood over her features slightly, thinking furiously.
"Was Kirienne ... able to see if they still live?"
"She and I both felt their Force signatures for a moment during the time that I was conferring with Kirienne. As to right now, we cannot be certain." Luke's jaw was a little bit on the tight side...
"They are being held in Force-damped areas."
"Master Skywalker and I discussed only briefly that it may be difficult to retrieve them."
Du'Sau nodded. "Yes, that is not a place one just walks into." She looked at Luke. "Do you have any suggestions?"
Luke sighed quietly. "I was hoping to hear ideas from everyone else. Their situation is very grave."
"Direct attempts on Coruscant for rescue have not proven fruitful in the past. There must be another way," Alida noted.
"I feel negotiations will not be listened to," Du'Sau said.
Alida shook her head. "No, I doubt the Empire has any desire to return them to us, much less negotiate for them."
"Perhaps a third party? Like the Corporate Sector?" questioned Lena.
"Does the Alliance currently hold any Imperial citizen in detention?" Luke asked.
Alida shook her head. "The Empire has, in their grasp, two Jedi they probably consider very valuable, Lena. Kaliandra was trained in the old ways. Octavia has been trained by Master Skywalker, for whom the Empire has no great love."
"Yes, Master," Lena said. "The Corporate Sector has shown an interest in Force Users however and may be in a position to negotiate for them where we are not. We could more easily deal with them, I would think."
Lena looked at Luke a moment. "The only alternative that I can think of is to offer them something in trades that they would want even more."
"What do you suggest Lena, we offer another life for theirs?" Du'Sau questioned a bit too sharply.
"Master, I did not say lives. Only someTHING."
"Do we have any idea what they were doing on Telos to even be captured?" Du'Sau questioned. "Perhaps that would give us a clue?"
"As far as I know, they were going to Bandomeer," Alida answered. "They were to take some time to recuperate. The only thing I can think of is that both women were aware of the fact that Telos and Myr'kr were planets somehow related to the voices that I had heard."
Alida nodded slowly. "Yes, Lena. Voices."
"What did they say?" Lena settled against her curved chair back.
"They were the voices of dying beings."
"Do you know who they belonged to, Master D'med?" Du'Sau asked.
"To Jedi long since gone from this existence. Master Tahl and Wai Cha Jinn."
"Not dead voices then, dying?" Lena was confused.
"A long story and one best put off for now while we discuss the issue at hand."
"We need a pool of ideas on how to retrieve Student Octavia and Jedi Kaliandra, before --" Luke trailed off.
"Before they are beyond retrieval," Alida finished.
"I notice that our number with which to get these ideas is very small," he said
"With what is happening right now, Master Skywalker, there is much call for Jedi off of Yavin," Alida noted.
Lena remained quiet, having already offered her ideas.
Du'Sau asked, "Has anyone spoken to the Alliance, to see if they have any suggestions?"
"We have not had any response yet to the information gathering that was agreed upon when we last met," Alida answered.
Du'Sau nods. "I know the Alliance is occupied with the ... war."
"As you said: darkness is ever growing."
"I suggest that I should communicate directly with Lord Vader about Octavia and Kaliandra to see what information he is willing to give us about why they are being detained," Luke said.
"You have open communication with him?" Alida leaned forward to look at Luke's holo.
"I just know that he will speak with me."
Alida knows she doesn't have to remind him to exercise extreme caution.
"What I don't know is what he might be willing to tell me about them. But I intend to ask anyway."
"Force be with you," Alida intoned.
"I think you know we all wish you success Master Skywalker," Du'Sau added.
"Force be with you Master Skywalker." Tory shook his holographic head, "I doubt they will be all too cooperative."
"No need for any of you to concern yourselves over me - I will be speaking with Lord Vader over the comm."
Lena smiled. Finally, someone was taking precautions.
"Forgive me, Master Skywalker," Alida said, "but I've seen and heard what he can do from even a great distance."
Luke's smile was solid. "I assure you, you need not be concerned for me. Please direct your concern for the captives."
Du'Sau looked at those assembled. "As I stated when I was asked about my trip, a Darkness is rising, and we each must do what we can to fight it." She smiled at Luke, "And our concern for you is valid Master Skywalker."
"Our concern is with the captives, as well." Those assembled would feel the briefest flash of emotional pain from Alida. "But it would not be wise to put yet another in danger, that is all."
Luke nodded to both Masters in agreement. He was frustrated and working at keeping it from showing.
"Perhaps a prerecorded hologram Master Skywalker?" Tory suggested. "Then you would not endanger yourself."
"I would not put myself in harm's way unless it were agreed upon in Council, Tory. And that is a very good idea. I will attempt to use that first."
Alida looked at him questioningly and sent on a tight focus: *Master Skywalker?*
*Something troubles you with this?*
*I just wish for this meeting to be over so that I may prepare to speak with Lord Vader.*
*We are no closer to finding any other solution, Luke. Please feel free to excuse yourself whenever you prefer.*
"Thank you, Master D'med. If the rest of you have no other comments, I will go to prepare for making the recording for Lord Vader."
Du'Sau shook her head. "Force Be With You Master Skywalker."
Tory shook his head, as well. "The Force Be With You."
"Thank you. And with all of you."
Alida sat back as Luke's holo fizzled out. "Master Du'Sau, you were speaking earlier on how the Darkness seems to be ever growing."
Du'Sau glanced at Tory's hologram then back to Alida. "Such as the one called Miranda has learned."
"The girl that arrived with you?" Lena asked.
"Yes, she was .. tortured and her injuries were ... intensive. I began her healing too late."
"You did what you were able to, Master Du'Sau," Alida reminded her.
"I have not asked her position or where she desires to go." Du'Sau stated. "I wish her to be fully healed before I cross that path with her."
"How much more healing will she require?" Tory inquired
"Not much, the main damage so far has been to bones, joints stiffness of muscles." Du'Sau pauses. "I've asked the healers to be certain I have not overlooked anything."
"Does she have family? I could contact them," Lena offered.
"At this time young one, I'm not sure of her family."
"Has there been time to search for her family?" Tory asked. "Do we know how she came to be in the condition she is now and why?"
"She came into her condition by the hands of Darana Cairnfell."
Tory nodded, "And why was she in her hands?"
"She disobeyed an order."
Tory nodded, falling silent again.
"How is the girl now?" Alida asked.
"She is sore, but like I said medical believes she will recover fully."
"Trauma?" Lena questioned.
"There is a possibility of that. I'm sure the healers will do a through examination." Kala paused. "Once they have cleared her, we can see what she wishes to do."
"Any idea when that will be?"
Du'Sau shook her head, "Not at this time." Du'Sau paused. "Master D'med, I know this might be inopportune time, but I have to inform you, I will not be staying long."
"Oh? Where are you going, Master Du'Sau?"
"I cannot say Master D'med." Du'Sau's eyes held sadness.
"I ask you to rethink your plans."
"Master Du'Sau are you then saying you intend to leave the order?" asked Tory. "Otherwise we are all tied to follow the directions given by this Council and its leader."
"I have my friend." She looked at Lena and at Tory's hologram image. "I leave to find my student, and in that I do not know what I will face." Du'Sau rose to her feet. "I formally step down from the Council as well as the Jedi order."
Alida sat back in surprise. "Master Du'Sau --" Alida found herself at a loss for words. She had not expected this from Du'Sau, not at this time.
Lena blinked in surprise -- unwelcome surprise. Du'Sau was one of the more active Masters, and much needed.
"Master Du'Sau? To find your student? Why is it necessary?" asked Tory.
*You leave to find one who has reverted to the ways of the Sith. In doing so, would you so willingly weaken this Council and the Jedi order?* Alida sent to Du'Sau. *Please, Kala. Think this through.*
"I understand your position Master McNeil, but the life of my student is at risk as well as her mental health."
"But, why must you leave the Order, Master?" Lena asked, sounding perplexed.
Du'Sau looked to Lena. "I cannot allow those I will run into to use my position here against any of you."
"Saying you are leaving does not change who or what you are," Alida said.
"Perhaps, but I failed Miranda when she was being tortured, I will not turn my back on my student."
"How did you fail her?" Tory wanted to know.
Du'Sau turned to look at Tory. "I did not prevent her torture. In fact, my actions increased her damage."
They all stopped for a moment as the holo of Tory broke up and failed to reassemble.
Lena breathed deeply. "Master, resigning will not change that you *are* a Master, or your position here. Others have gone in search of their students without resigning." Lena turns to Alida, who did and did not reign. "Please, Master."
"We will accept only a temporary resignation, Master Du'Sau, " Alida said, "if only for your own safety. However, this Council expects you to return and retake your place."
Du'Sau looked at Lena then to Alida. "I will accept the Council's advice, though you should know my student is a Sith."
Du'Sau paused. "IF this doesn't' effect your request, then I will return." Du'Sau shook her head. "Yes, Lena. Jenefer."
"I expect you to return."
Lena nodded. "Do you know why she is missing?"
"That is the reason I need to leave Lena."
"Will you ask others to go with you?" the student asked.
"No." Du'Sau's voice was sharp. "I'm sorry Lena, this is a path I need to walk alone." She turned to Alida. "I will return, Alida."
"Others have shown it is not safe to go alone, Master," she persisted. "Surely there is someone."
Alida frowned. "Lena, enough."
"Child, I appreciate your concern, but I am your elder." Du'Sau bowed. "I will go and see to Mirenda, then I will make arrangements for my departure."
Lena sat back. So were the others who went and were captured and hurt. Elder or not, did no one learn?
"Keep in touch as you can, Kala," Alida said.
"May the Force be with you." Du'Sau left the chambers and headed toward medical.
"Master, may I be excused as well?"
"Yes, Lena, you may."
Lena bowed and departed, closing the great doors quietly behind her, leaving Alida alone in the now silent Council chambers. She rubbed her forehead tiredly as she wondered if there really was hope for the Jedi.
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