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Old 08-11-2006, 03:14 PM   #111
No One Liners
JasraLantill's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Scotland, UK
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Current Game: SWOTR
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Chapter 13--Part 1

Ithra let out a doleful sigh, as she remembered the day her sister Kye took the Gem from Jantessa.

In the early morning hours on the fifth day after the arrival of the Jedi Revan, while Ithra and the rest of the Keeper Novices were gathering in the main hall of the Priory to make their usual dawn procession to the Haven, Jantessa’s Prime Keeper Kiana Do’Shaanan made an unusual appearance in the Priory’s main hall. “Only those of you who have passed your third level are to accompany me to the Haven this morning,” she announced to the Novices. "The rest of you are to remain here. No one is to leave until someone comes for you.”

For a Prime Keeper, Kiana Do’Shaanan was young, only twenty-five, but she had been elected to the position because out of all of the Keepers she was the most talented with tuning the Aylah’han Gem, the Jantessan’s most sacred relic, which entailed not only manipulating the Force, but also inspiring the other Keepers to keep in tune with her ministrations. No one ever questioned the Prime Keeper’s knowledge, abilities, or integrity. It just wasn’t the Keeper way. In balance with one another, in harmony with the whole, together as one—that was basis of the Keepers’ philosophy.

Their philosophy stemmed from whom the Keepers called ‘The Old Ones,’ although they only had a single reference to their existence—an ancient stone tomb marked with the name ‘Aylah’han’, and so he was given the honorific ‘The First’. A few, very fragile scrolls and a single, violet crystal had been found inside the tomb. The scrolls detailed instructions for the ‘Keepers’ of the planet, and the special violet crystal found with them was dubbed the ‘Aylah’han Gem.’ Over time, the scrolls and the Gem had become the very basis of the Keepers’ belief system.

No one knew for sure where the Gem had originated, only that it had been brought to Jantessa by the Old Ones. It had a very special link to the Universal Force, and the scrolls spoke of how the Old Ones had used the Gem to terraform the planet from a lifeless, barren world into a rich and fertile one through ‘tuning’ the Gem. The general consensus was that without the Gem the planet would revert back to its barren state, although, as far as Ithra knew, no one had ever been brave enough to test that theory.

But tuning and balancing the Gems’ harmonics was key to maintaining the order of Jantessan society. ‘Collective spiritual maintenance,’ they called it. Its vibrations echoed through the Force, touching every living thing—plants, animals, and people—keeping everything and everyone in balance and harmony with each other. And because it was the most important task that the Keepers performed, the Gem was ritualistically ‘tuned’ every morning.

The novices, Jantessan Force Sensitive younglings in training to become Keepers themselves one day, were always invited to watch the Tuning Ceremony. It was exciting, yet strangely calming at the same time, to feel the Force being gently manipulated by the expert minds of the Keeper Elders. So when Kiana told the Novices that morning that only Third Level Novices and above were to participate in the Tuning that morning, there was an immediate protest from her sister. Ithra was only a Second Level Novice.

“Miss the Tuning? But why?” Ithra had asked, to the shock of the other Novices. It was thought of as highly improper to question the Prime Keeper in such a manner, but as Ithra was her sister, and her prime pupil, she previously had been allowed some leeway in that respect.

But not today. “Because I said so,” came Kiana’s curt reply. “You will stay here and meditate until someone comes to fetch you. Do not ask any more questions. I have no more answers for you.”

With that said, Prime Keeper Kiana abruptly left the Priory with the older Novices, and, to the remainder’s great surprise, she securely locked the Priory’s door behind her. From the outside.

Some moments passed, as the confused Novices eventually ordered themselves and began their meditations. But so sooner than they had settled, they felt a sudden and colossal disruption in the living Force around them. It was as if a bolt of lightning had pierced through their very souls.

What happened next would always be a matter of speculation as none of the Novices could see what was happening inside the Haven just a few hundred metres away. But they could hear and feel the chaos.

Over the din of screams and dying wails punctuated with intermittent blaster fire, some of the Novices began to loudly chant the Keepers’ Mandate, in a vain attempt to drown out the sounds and overwhelming feelings of pain and dread. Some of the older novices, like Ithra, had run to the windows of their rooms, to see if they could see what was going on in the Haven temple across the courtyard. Some of the younger ones could only cry.

Keeping her vigil at the window, Ithra noticed her sister Kiana, the Prime Keeper, calmly walking down the steps of the Haven, still dressed in her ceremonial white robes—robes now stained with dark red blotches and spatters. Holding the Gem in her hands, Kiana had paused for a moment, looked once over her shoulder, then tucked the Gem inside her robes and hurried out of Ithra’s view. Shortly afterwards, all went still and silent, save for the lingering echo of one single final scream of anguish.

Ithra watched in horror as Revan’s Sith soldiers then appeared from within the Haven. They calmly marched down the steps and then headed in the direction of the Presidium, the Jantessans main governmental building, leaving a trail of bloody footsteps behind them.

The Priory had fallen silent. No chants, no prayers, not even the smallet snivel or sob was heard. “We have to do something!” Ithra had finally cried out, just then realising that she was weeping uncontrollably. But her plea for action went unanswered amongst her fellow Novices, for they all felt the terrible void, just as she did. There was nothing left to do. The older Novices and the Keeper Elders were dead.

“Tell me,” Ithra asked her sister softly. “Did you weep that day? The day you stole the Gem from the Haven?”

Roused from her own dark thoughts, Kye slowly raised her eyes and stared at her sister. For a moment, she said nothing, but finally she said, “No.”

Ithra’s mouth slowly dropped with disbelief at the apparent callousness of her sister’s response.

Kye lowered her eyes. “I wept the night before.”

Veni, Vidi, Velcro. (I came, I saw, I stuck around)
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