Knights of the New Republic

Session 11 - Irsin & Q'ayla Interlude

(After leaving the battleground and setting up a basic fire pit, Q’aleane settles down to the side to meditate.)

(After a short while, she comes to after feeling a torrent of emotion flooding at her. Suppressing an instinctual fight or flight response, she tries to quiet the link between her and her sister enough to maintain calm.)

(The jungle noises seem undisturbed and the storm of life around her continues to light this world like a thousand suns but something still feels off to Q’aeleane. Emotion flows over her bond with her sister, a new one, a complex one. Irsin appears to be sitting by the fire pit coaxing it to life and nothing seems wrong.)

(As Q’ayla returns to the clearing that Irsin and Q’aleane had picked out for their camp, she sees Irsin sitting on a fallen log poking a fire to life. Q’aleane is off to one side, sitting cross-legged, apparently lost in meditation. Irsin looks up when he hears her approach. His face is blank except for a slight tightening around the eyes and quirk to his mouth, apparently in concern.)

(Q’ayla enters the clearing, walking slowly – almost aimlessly if she wasn’t heading in the direction of the fire. As she comes closer, it becomes apparent that she’s been physically sick; she looks pale, and some of the hair on her forehead is matted and sweaty. She walks up to the fire, going around the log to sit on the other end.)

(Realizing that the two are probably still angry at her for trying to help earlier, Q’aleane settles slightly and tries to calm herself enough to allow her body to remain passive. If either had noticed her slight tensing in her meditation, neither seemed fit to note it.)

Irsin:
Are you ok?

Q’ayla:
Yeah, I’m fine.
You should get some rest. I’ll take the first watch.

Irsin:
I’m not tired. That’s why I’m taking the first watch.

(Waiting a moment for a reaction)

It’s not an easy thing you did. I know it doesn’t help to think of it this way, but it needed to be done. He had already killed himself in his own mind before you ever swung the sword. It was a mercy to end it quickly.

(She doesn’t move. She looks tired, for sure, but she seems determined to stave off sleep.)

Q’ayla:
It doesn’t help to think of it that way.

Can’t you see…? It didn’t need to be done. A Jedi doesn’t kill, Irsin. She may defend herself from attack, but she doesn’t kill. She respects life – even if that life doesn’t respect itself.

(Quietly now, perhaps more to herself, but still audible)

She isn’t me.

(Once again remembering some of their words from earlier, Q’aleane resists the temptation to try and comfort her sister through their link thinking to herself that she probably needs time alone and feeling uneasy about being able to deal with the emotions.)

Irsin:
Listen, Q’ayla. I know little about what it means to you to be a Jedi. I didn’t grow up with you, and I don’t know how long you’ve dreamed of it. What I do know is that you’re a good person. Perhaps one of the best I’ve ever met. No code of rules that some wrinkly old man thought up thousands of years ago can convince me otherwise on that count.

You may not see it, but that warrior, Shado, he gave up as soon as he was crippled. He only answered as many questions as he did because he’s been brainwashed his entire life to believe that women, especially Force-wielding women, rule his universe – even an enemy woman is above himself.

As soon as he realized we didn’t operate under his rules, he decided his clan was in danger and shut his mouth. In that moment he decided he was going to die. He was crippled, and useless to his clan. He would have likely been killed or left to die even if they’d found him, he said so himself. What you did spared him suffering, as hard as that may be to accept.

What I don’t understand, is why you didn’t let me do it? I have already…crossed that line. You didn’t need to.

(She waits, silently, as Irsin speaks. She doesn’t interrupt, though she shuffles a bit when he refers to the first Jedi as “some wrinkly old man.” Once he finishes, there’s a little time before she speaks.)

(Satisfied that Irsin has a handle on the situation, Q’aleane settles and draws her focus internally into the damped down emotional feed. She examines its effect on her the same way a scientist would observe a dying animal, compassion for what it is going through, but intent that what they are going through not be in vain. She observes with an almost obsessive desire that everything that can be learned from the sacrifice and pain be learned. As she focuses on the stream rushing by, she begins to focus back inward becoming unaware of her surroundings again.)

Q’ayla:
Being a Jedi – I don’t think it’s what I’ve always wanted to do… but I can’t remember a time before that. Growing up on Alpheridies, we heard a lot of stories about those who came before. Miraluka have been part of the Jedi Order going back… well, way back. But even though we all use the Force – to see, that is – not everyone is sensitive enough to become a Jedi. When my parents saw that Q’aleane and I were strong, they began to tell us what life might be like as a Jedi – helping those without hope, bringing evil to justice, protecting the galaxy. I remember being so excited at the idea of being a part of that…

Heh… this wasn’t part of the plan.

And don’t dismiss the Jedi Code so easily, Irsin. You… in another life, you would have made a great Jedi. It might be harder to see with all the Sith in the way, but I can still see it.

The kindness, the compassion, the determination. Circumstances have robbed you of these things – Grale has taken them from you through bitter betrayals. But I can tell – they’re starting to come back.

And…

(Quietly again)

…that’s why I didn’t let you kill Shado.

I … I didn’t want you to go back to that life, Irsin. A life of mistrust and survival at any cost. It just seemed like a step back for you; but me…

…I’ve already betrayed the ideals that I’ve desperately sought to shape me.

One more death… what does it even matter?

(She shudders – from the cold? or something else?)

(Irsin snorts a bit when she says he’d make a great Jedi, and grows quiet when she says kindness and compassion. Though his face doesn’t register much, Q’ayla seems to sense guilt at those words. As she finishes he hangs his head a bit.)

Irsin:
I’m sorry you felt like you needed to do that for me.

I…have not been as righteous as you seem to think since you met me, though perhaps I can see how you would think that.

In this case, one more death always matters – especially since for you, this was the first time you have taken someone’s life so deliberately. I never would have wished that weight on your shoulders.

Your words would make far more sense for me. I have done this many times, another stone among many is hardly noticed.

(He shuffles closer to her… hesitating upon putting an arm around her shoulders and then changing the motion to putting his hand on hers.)

Thank you.

(She goes rigid for a moment when his hand touches hers – perhaps snapping her out of her own head – but her shoulders sag again soon after. She lets out an audible breath, but doesn’t move her hand. She keeps her eyes on the fire even as she speaks to him.)

Q’ayla:
…This isn’t exactly the first time, though. Maybe I keep trying to deny it but… I killed a man on Bespin who was defenseless against me, and when we were ambushed just now… Seeing you and Q’aleane injured, and feeling my own body being damaged… I just… lost control of myself. I had two of them on the ground, barely conscious, and I… couldn’t stop myself. I killed them there where they laid…

I’ve always said that juyo is where I feel most like myself, but… if this is what I’m capable of when I slip into the emotion of battle… what does that say about me, Irsin?

I’m… just a killer.
That’s all I’m good at.

Oh, I keep telling myself – it’s about the art of the saber, Q’ayla. You’re going to be a fine Battlemaster someday, Q’ayla.

But it’s not true.

I’m just really good at killing – snuffing out life all around me.

(Her shoulders seem to sag more, and then she shudders a bit and sniffles hard)

Ashla, I’m no good.

(She leans into him, still shuddering every few moments, and bends her neck, putting her head on his shoulder almost absent-mindedly as she continues speaking)

And I’m going to tell them I’m no good.

(He seems to not notice himself reaching up and brushing the hair out of her face as she leans on his shoulder. He is very quiet as he speaks)

Irsin:
Q’ayla…you have done what you have had to do. You can’t let the pressure of those actions let you begin to believe that they were not justified and necessary. You are a passionate person, that’s why you are at home in juyo. You have character, and strength, and a lot of courage to be who you are. You say you want to be a great Battlemaster? You are good – possibly the best I’ve ever seen, with both the lightsaber and yourself, but you need to believe it first. The Order? They don’t matter, not really. What matters is how you see yourself.

You want to know why Q’aleane is okay staying in the Order? When she doesn’t agree with their philosophy? Because she is who she is, and she knows it. She doesn’t let them define who she can be, or should be.

I just wish you could see in yourself what everyone else sees, and trust that you will find a way to be who you should be – whether the Jedi approve or not.

(She’s sniffling more consistently and breathing out of her mouth as Irsin speaks – she takes off her visor with her free hand and places it in her lap)

Q’ayla:
But… how can the Order not matter? Why do we join these causes, live the lives we do, if they mean nothing? Q’aleane… it’s the same thing I asked her Master back on the ship… why remain a Jedi when you aren’t really one?

Doesn’t commitment to a life of service mean anything? Have I been so foolish for so many years…?

Jedi teachings have inspired generations of service throughout the galaxy… all I want to do is add to that. But… I just keep failing. I try… Ashla, I do. It’s hard to believe I even made it to Knight… and I thought that would be a turning point. Instead I’ve sunken to even greater depths. I’m sure the Council will remove me when I tell them about what’s happened here… and I’ll be truly lost then.

(She’s trying to keep it together, but she’s losing it bit by bit)

Irsin:
Q’ayla…don’t you see? You do inspire people, everywhere you go. Did not your student aspire to be like you when fighting the rakghouls to save her man’s life?

(He lifts her chin so he can look her in the eyes now. Hesitating and quietly he says)

Did you not inspire me? To consider a life outside the Sith? A life I thought I’d lost a chance at years ago? Where would I be without you? Doesn’t that mean anything to you? Doesn’t that in and of itself show you how strong you are?

The Councils of the Jedi huddle behind their rules and their Order and the ideals that don’t work when faced with the cold, harsh reality of the world. The truth is, people fall to the dark side not because the dark side is so seductive, but because the Order is so unyielding. If there was more understanding and support, and less condemnation, they would find themselves less a group of zealots, and more a group of like-minded people working for a common goal.

You are finding that the Order doesn’t fit your ideal of right and wrong, that is nothing to be ashamed of. If you must be honest with the Order for your own conscience, so be it, but don’t tell them as a failed student seeking absolution. Tell them as a grown individual seeking to help them understand how they have excluded a person who had great passion for doing justice and good.

(Not breaking his gaze, she nods slowly several times, as though trying to parse his words – trying to understand him more fully. After yet another crying shudder, she suddenly moves in close, bringing her lips up against his. She doesn’t really do anything else – she’s clearly unsure how it’s all supposed to work – and after a few brief moments, she pulls away and sits up straight again – rigid once more against her sobs – and goes back to looking at the fire.)

Q’ayla:
I…
I’m… sorry.

(He seems to hesitate for a moment, clearly startled when she kisses him. Then he pulls her close again and leans in, kissing her fully. This is clearly not his first time, though he seems tentative, at least at first.)

(External awareness returns to Q’aeleane again. Sensing a strong shift in the emotional stream, she draws her attention outwards. Realizing they were kissing, she takes a moment to mentally congratulate which ever one of them finally decided to make a move.)

(She’s barely gotten her apology out before she finds herself in his embrace again. She’s tentative, still unsure of herself or what she should be doing, but she follows his lead as best she can. When they part again, she leans her head down on his shoulder, placing her hand on top of his, and wrapping the other around his arm. Several moments pass in silence)

Q’ayla:
…Irsin… I don’t know what to say…

(Sniffling hard, trying to be herself more)

…I mean… obviously the Sith teach more than I ever imagined…

(Try as she might, though, she can’t get a hold of herself, and begins weeping again… though the emotion in it somehow feels different this time)

(As she was attempting to explore the probable ramifications and awkwardness this turn of events would bring, Q’aleane is suddenly bombarded by emotion.)

(He reaches around with his other arm and holds her)

Irsin:
I’m sorry… I didn’t mean to presume…

(He reaches out with his empathy to see if he can sense her emotional state)

(She’s all over the place; he can feel the emotions that she’s been projecting since she got back – despair, frustration, self-deprecation, resignation – but on top of that, new emotions are emerging… fear – as though being out of her element – trepidation, tenderness, caring… satisfaction?)

(Q’aelene struggles with the onslaught of an even more complex flood of emotion: sadness, anxiety, happiness, love, fear, and more. Every mental muscle she has exercised comes into play barely allowing it to pass over her.)

(She shakes her head into his arm)

Q’ayla:
…No…no.
It…feels…right.
Ashla, I’m such a mess…
But this… this feels good, and right, Irsin.
These feelings…
…I just don’t know what to say… or do.
…I’m a killer, not a… lover.

“A Jedi shall not know hatred, nor anger, nor love.”

(He reaches out gently, and tries to smooth away the negative emotions. Not forcefully, but gently)

Irsin:
I don’t think you’re a mess. I think new discovery is scary. And you’re discovering. Maybe you need to think of yourself as something new…

The Sith say, “Through passion, I gain strength.” This, at least, is true – but it’s not enough. Neither Sith nor Jedi have the truth. Perhaps something like… “Through passion I gain peace. Through love I gain understanding.”

Perhaps we are not so different after all…

(She lets out a sigh as she feels the worst of the despair and resignation begin to flutter away)

(Q’aleane is finally able to adjust slightly and damp the link even more. Once done, she realizes that every physical muscle followed suit seizing in response to panic. Relaxing each muscle in turn and putting aside the intense pain as they shift acts as a focus to her meditation, allows her to do the same to the emotions flooding over her. Panic averted, she once again observes outwardly fully expecting them to have noticed her or for her to have cried out in pain.)

Q’ayla:
Bastila… she told me that I needed to follow Vergere’s quest for myself, not simply for Q’aleane’s sake…
I think… I think I understand now.

I… I just don’t know what to do. Throwing twenty years of my life aside… it’s just so overwhelming, Irsin. And there’s still so much that I have to learn – have to perfect. I can wield the blade, but if I lose myself to its call… I’ve seen what I’m capable of now.

(She turns her head slightly and buries the bridge of her nose gently into his arm, letting out a deep sigh)

(Realization that her sister is on the cusp of coming to grips with her path in life, Q’aleane starts to prepare her muscles to move in order to share in the moment when she realizes with a pang of emotion that she would not be welcome. Looking at that emotion, barely a trickle in the torrents coming from her sister, she is flummoxed. She stares at it as if it is an alien thing. …She is actually jealous of or is it at Irsin… The same way a child might poke at an injury out of sheer fascination and novelty despite the pain, she spends some time immersed in that feeling. Eventually she tires of it and lets it go into the flood. Feeling relief wash over her as it floats away, she finds herself glad that Irsin is there to help her sister. Assuming all will be well again, Q’aleane settles her mind and focuses back inwards.)

Irsin:
Bastila is right. This quest we’re on, it needs to mean something to you. Not just to your sister. And don’t think of it as throwing twenty years away. Think of it as though you needed to go through these trials in order to understand what you really want and need.

Hell…if you wasted twenty years… where does that leave me?

Maybe before you tell the Order…we should figure out how we go forward from here? Maybe try to find out where we’re going from here before you sever ties…

Q’ayla:
That’s not really fair, though. I went to the Jedi willing and hopeful. You were part of the Imperial Knights, and then the Sith; but in both cases, it was lies that led you. You haven’t wasted time, Irsin… you just didn’t know.

Irsin:
Haven’t I though? I’ve spent my whole life chasing a lie. Trying to find my mother’s killer… and all this time she wasn’t even dead. First with the Knights and then with the Sith, finding my parents’ killers was the defining action of my life. Not to mention that for half that time I’ve been following a philosophy that teaches me to use everyone I can and kill everyone I can’t… How is that not a waste of time?

(His voice trails off a bit at the end, as though he can’t finish…)

(She tilts her head up slightly to try and get a better look at him; her thumb unconsciously begins brushing up and down the top of his hand)

Q’ayla:
Hey… what is it? You can tell me.

(He struggles to continue, but swallows and tries to speak again)

Irsin:
I missed everything… friends… even the relationships I had were all lies. It’s almost worse, finding you, and discovering that I still have an opportunity to make something good, where before I had only one thing to drive me. Now I feel as though I could have any number of things, and I wonder how much I have lost that I never knew I had.

Wasted time? I think I understand.

(He looks as though he wants to say more for a moment. Something that seems to tear at him. But he shakes his head to himself and remains silent)

(She can feel the stress in him, shaking himself into silence; she slowly sits up and faces him, keeping one hand on his. Still quietly, but seeming to be in control of herself more now)

Q’ayla:
It must be hard talking about all of this… tell you what, go ahead and ask me something – anything you want – about myself, and I’ll tell you. Maybe that will help some?

(He takes a deep breath…seeming to get a hold of himself. His face becomes smooth again)

Irsin:
I…uh…
Well…
Why don’t you think you…

Why is it that you don’t think Q’ayla is a good enough person to be a Jedi on her own? Why do you keep her hidden?

(She smiles a bit)

Q’ayla:
Heh— that one’s easy.

Q’ayla learned a long time ago that her personality doesn’t necessarily mix well with the Jedi.
Or her Miraluka beliefs…
Or her opinions on certain subjects…
Or her emotional outbursts.

(Small laugh; then, more seriously)

Getting into arguments with teachers, not letting go of Ashla and Bogan – that stuff wasn’t so bad. But after Bespin… after I saw how much I disappointed my master… I just couldn’t bear to see that look on his face again. I realized I needed to change. So I started trying out a ‘Jedi’ persona. When I’m around the masters, I just behave differently – like I feel a Jedi should. Honestly, I based a lot of it on Q’aleane… though considering what I’ve learned about her recently, maybe that wasn’t the best idea…

But to answer your question… I guess that Q’ayla isn’t good enough to be a Jedi on her own because she never really fit in. Hiding her made everyone’s lives easier, I guess.

Irsin:

(Perfectly seriously)

I like Q’ayla better. And she fits in fine with anyone worth fitting in with.

(She can’t help but smile, trying hard not to blush, but failing terribly.)

Q’ayla:
(teasingly) Oh, you’d fit in just fine with Master Tahl – you’re both so serious all the time! And Q’aleane and I are pretty sure that Master D’Vorn is a Sith, so that’s two!

(Still smiling) See, I’m an open book. You can keep asking me questions if you’d like… or you can tell me what’s got you so troubled. Trust me, Irsin – I may look like a mess, and sound like a mess, but I can handle it. You don’t have to worry about telling me things.

(He stares at her for what seems like a very very long time…and then he lowers his eyes.)

Irsin:
I find… I find that I don’t want you to think less of me. But I know that if I tell you this thing, you won’t be able to help it.

And yet though I’ve kept it from you this long, partly to protect you, I also do not wish our….connection, or… relationship… whatever… to be based on a lie.

(Though she was smiling at him, the seriousness of his tone focuses her again)

Q’ayla:
I… don’t quite understand. But I won’t think any less of you, whatever it is. I know that you’ve had to – and chosen to – do things as a Sith that I don’t agree with, or could understand. But… that doesn’t matter now.

Irsin:
And if it was something that I did since I’ve met you? What then?

Q’ayla:
It’s hard to say, not knowing what it is.

(Sensing the anxiety in him, she tries again to lighten the mood)

But it’ll have to be something really bad to make me forget the fact that you just kissed me after I threw up in the jungle.

(Can’t control a laugh, but keeps smiling at him warmly)

(He actually smiles at that. Somehow he hadn’t noticed the smell on her breath)

Irsin:
Okay…
I…
On Taris… when we were separated… while I was investigating on my own…
I ran into some people who you used to know.
I didn’t know it at the time…

(He hurries to say this part, as though hoping it will excuse him somehow, and knowing it doesn’t)

I…didn’t know who they were. They were just people of interest who had information and contacts I needed. I worked with them for a day or so to get the intel I needed. I… did some pretty bad things while in their company.

I…

(He seems to choke for a second and then looks at her trying to gauge her reaction)

(She seems puzzled, as though she’s trying to piece together who she might know on Taris that would be people of interest to Irsin… her head is shaking slightly, as though she’s waiting for him to fill in the details)

Q’ayla:
I don’t understand. Who did you run into? What do you mean you did pretty bad thin—

(Then it hits her. Her hand, which is still resting on his, goes rigid – as does the rest of her.)

(Two thoughts occur to Q’aleane simultaneously as new emotion floods in. The first is one that she could have sworn she said out loud. Luckily the conversation continues making it appear like she didn’t. It consisted of a single sentence, “Can’t you too just let me sleep.” Which was odd as she thought about it since she wasn’t sleeping at the time.)

(The second is a far colder thought and was accompanied again by a very slight stream of emotion of her own, so slight that she doesn’t even register it despite feeling it. It was simply, “Who is going to die.”)

You… you don’t mean…

Q’ayla:
Ashla … you don’t mean…
Trasa?

(He nods slowly…his facial expression sickened)

Irsin:
I thought she was just another mercenary – I worked with her to find Grale. And then when I found out who she was to you… I couldn’t tell you. I couldn’t bring myself to admit it and hurt you like that. All you wanted was to leave her in the past. We didn’t know each other well yet… I was afraid you would tell your sister to leave me behind if you knew I’d lied.

I’m…
I’m sorry.

(She’s silent. Utterly silent. The hand resting on Irsin’s is shaking – as though in shock – but it’s her other hand that she raises to and covers her mouth.)

(Looking at the last thought and listening to the context, Q’aleane is able to piece together that Irsin had apparently had some history with her sister’s abusers. She observes him as he now tries to simultaneously confess, apologize and comfort at the same time.)

(Not for the first time, Q’aleane feels amazed at the emotional gymnastics others could do. The idea of not only having an emotion but riding it is difficult enough, doing so with three or more at the same time was enough for her to shock herself out of her own emotion.)

Q’ayla:
…Oh.

Oh.

(After a few moments, with a now flat affect)

What… did you do with her?
Did you…

…torture… people?

(A thought slams into her, and she lurches in place, as though sick again, but nothing happens)

Ashla… did you… did you… were you… with her…?

(His head comes up quickly)

Irsin:
With…? Oh no…
Not at all, not like that. Not ever!

(He says the last a bit more forcefully than strictly necessary)

I did not… torture anyone. I did however witness her extracting information from one man – a bartender. Oh, by the Force – I didn’t know her for anything but a two-bit criminal I could use to find where Grale went.

(She nods slowly with his words, then speaking to no one in particular)

Q’ayla:
She is good at what she does, isn’t she?

(Her hand falls away from her mouth and lands in her lap; she re-focuses on Irsin)

So… if you only watched her, then what bad things did you do with her?

(He swallows slowly.)

Irsin:
The bartender had…accomplices. In order to get her to give me information, I had to get her to trust me. So I helped her put them down… and… silence the witnesses.

(He refuses to look at her, but also doesn’t move his hand from under hers. She can feel a slight tremor in his hand too…)

Q’ayla:
I see.

(She seems to be struggling for the right… anything… at this point)

Did… she… mention me? Was she on Taris looking for me?!

(Now she’s shaking even more)

Irsin:
No…no she didn’t. That’s why I didn’t realize who she was until you mentioned her name. She was just there out of convenience. Apparently she was hard up for money, accepting jobs, like the hit on the senator – which seemed crazy – to try and pay for the cybernetics necessary to save her Twi’lek friend. The money was the leverage I needed to get her to help me, and she needed the man who was supposed to pay.

Q’ayla:
(again, to no one) Oh… Ashla… Trasa, what have you done? Desvin is alive… how is that possible? I saw him die. Or… at least I thought I did… everything is so hard to remember— and then it’s not…

(She’s visibly trembling now; finally, her hand shakes away from his, and it falls to her side)

Are you still working with her, Irsin? Does she know where you are? How to contact you?

Oh Ashla

(She brings her legs up close, huddling into herself, trembling)

Irsin:
No. I made sure she couldn’t find me. That’s an old habit. She gave me a method of contacting her. I never used it though…

(He’s speaking quietly, his voice almost dead now. There is no longer any need to hide anything. She’s feeling terrible anguish and sadness in him now, and also resignation. He believes he has lost any hope of anything with her now)

I believe if I ever see her again… I’m going to kill her, for what she did to you.

Not that it matters now.

(He finally pulls his hand away from the spot where it had rested next to her. Still now. And hangs his head.)

Q’ayla:
You’re… you’re going to have to fight Q’aleane for the right to kill Trasa… she wants it too. I tried telling her… that I want Trasa left in the past… but you know Q’aleane…

(She must realize that she’s rambling, because she goes quiet for a bit, and then raises her head from her knees, looking over at Irsin)

(Hearing this, Q’aleane almost says out loud “That’s ok, we can kill her together” when once again she realizes she is probably not welcome. Slowly, stronger and stronger emotion actually starts to build from her. While still quiet compared to the emotions coming from her sister even now, this one at least would be seen by others as a real emotion. This being only the second of even remotely close to this strength in her life. Before she realizes it, she is caught up in it, unable to move from the sheer shock of it. Unable to gain distance from it or root herself to allow it to pass. Anger, fear, jealousy, panic, despair all crash into the empty that is the normal emotional context of Q’aleane, creating as they did a vortex of emotion that try as she might Q’aleane could not pull herself from.)

Q’ayla:
Irsin…

…could you do me a favor?

(He looks up slowly… as if expecting her to ask him to kill himself. He seems to be shrinking in on himself a bit. Closing off… and he nods slowly)

(By this point, she looks like she’s freezing to death, though it’s only slightly cool in the jungle)

Q’ayla:
Could… could…
…hold me?

(He looks thunderstruck. Dumbfounded. His shoulders, slumping, appear to sag even further… then he reaches over and pulls her close)

Irsin:
If you want me to… always.

(She lets him pull her over to him, and she tries to control her breathing as best she can)

Q’ayla:
S…sorry. I think… I’m just having… a panic attack…

It happens sometimes… the memories from Ansion…

(Her breathing starts to slow again, though she remains trembling against him)

Th…thank you.

Irsin:
It’s okay… you’re welcome, I mean.
I…
I thought you’d never want to speak to me again.
Thank you…for wanting to.

Q’ayla:
Irsin…

…I wish you had told me about this before, when I asked. But… I can understand why you didn’t. I mean… you were trying to protect me, weren’t you? The same way I tried to protect you by killing Shado…

We keep trying to protect one another… there has to be a reason for that, right?

I think… I’m more hurt at the thought of Trasa being around you more than anything else…
Though… I can’t help but be disappointed in the killing of those people, and the… the torture…

But…

(She buries herself further into his chest, even as one hand slides up against his face)

…how did you put it?

Something like… Maybe we need to think of ourselves as something new…
Can’t we… can’t we just leave everything in the past— where it belongs?

(He nods slowly, a slow smile spreading on his face)

Irsin:
Yes… yes we can.

Don’t the Jedi say, “No one can walk so long in the darkness that they cannot come back to the light?”

Perhaps that’s true.

And perhaps no one can walk so long on one path, that they cannot find something greater.

(He hugs her closer against him)

Q’ayla:
That sounds about right… there are always stories of those who fall and find redemption…

Maybe… that’s why the gods brought you into my life… maybe that’s what Vergere’s quest is all about…

A new path.

(She sighs deeply, her trembling beginning to subside)

Irsin:
A new beginning.

(He nods slightly, then turns the motion into kissing her hand on his face)

You should get some rest. I can take the first watch instead, it’s okay.

(She smiles, almost giggling into his chest)

Q’ayla:
No…
You get some rest.
You had the first watch, now it’s my turn…

…I mean, it’s been what? Hours? How long?

Heh heh… I’m such a mess.

Irsin:
Has it?

(He checks his watch and whistles softly)

It has been hours. Actually, it’s almost time for the third watch. We’ve stayed up half the night. Perhaps we should just wait a bit more and wake Q’aleane? Then we can both sleep, and nobody needs to give ground.

(He smiles at her as though patting himself on the back for circumventing her arguments)

(She looks up at him – grumpy – and then playfully pushes her other fist into his stomach gently)

Q’ayla:
What’s this? You’ve got no fight in you, Sith…
…I could take you…

(She’s obviously very tired)

Listen… I’m going to take the third watch, and I’m staying here, just like this. You wouldn’t want to go and leave now… I’d catch my death in this frigid jungle…

I’m … just… going… to…

(She begins to stretch out on the log as best she can)

(He chuckles softly)

Irsin:
Undoubtedly you could defeat me. (He keeps his voice soft and even) But just this once, let’s pretend we’re an even match… for my pride, of course.

You can have the third watch…

(He drones on agreeing with her for a minute or two more until she falls asleep. Then he gently lifts her up off the log and carries her to her blankets, tucking her in and covering her.)

(Unaware of her own actions, a single tear falls down Q’aleane’s face and drops onto a blade of grass as Irsin carries her sister away physically and in her own mind mentally and emotionally.)

(Irsin wakes Q’aleane before going to sleep himself, and falls asleep watching Q’ayla – her visor-less face is the last thing he sees.)

(Q’aleane’s single tear forged among talk of “new beginnings” remains unnoticed as Irsin touches Q’aleane’s shoulder to wake her and she just nods which seems enough to convince Irsin she is “awake”. That single tear, perhaps the most unique and newest thing on the planet, the first she has ever shed remains unnoticed as she struggles once again to come to grips as an emotional vortex swirls around her from emotions she didn’t know she had.)

Comments

[[ note: Per Alon’s request, I added the stuff I had originally posted as a comment inline with the rest… given the perceptual differences of real time vs thought time and the stylistic differences between the writings, it is a little cumbersome at points but if you can see of a way to clean it up, please do so. ]]

 

Just fixed a few of the tenses that during the editing to put it in there got twisted around and were out of place.

Taellosse

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