Beyond Measure of Merit - Diary of a Shadow Child - 2012 DD Challenge - updated 2/26

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by LexiLupin, Jan 1, 2012.

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  1. LexiLupin Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 27, 2011
    star 4
    [face_laugh] Is Shadow-ness a dominant or recessive trait, do you figure?



    Entry 17

    We received news from Jagged today. He has finished his basic introductory training at the academy and will now join the ranks of the cadets. Unsurprisingly, he is the only human amidst the chiss students; their reactions to him range from casual curiosity to cool indifference, by the sound of things. I will be intrigued to hear if that changes once he is tried and tested amongst them.

    The cadet commander is a humorless female of the Nuruodo family. Jagged says she will be a fierce warrior one day. I wonder where he sees himself in that future vision.

    He also says that the cadre remember Davin well; remember him as a brash young pilot who was overly fond of heroics. They mean it as a warning rebuke against Jagged, probably expecting the same attitudes and behaviors from two sons of the same family. What they likely do not realize is that Jagged will take every such remark as an honor to Davin’s memory and, in turn, could very well find himself more likely to emulate our oldest brother, even if unintentionally.

    While Jagged navigates the procedures and politics of the academy, I have my own intrigue right here at home- for the first time in my life, I have flown a starfighter.

    Well, not exactly. The day after father arrived from Bastion, he returned to our quarters unexpectedly in the middle of the day while Cherith and Wynssa were at their training and lessons. He beckoned me to follow him down the long corridor that separates our apartment from the private hangar where the Starflare and father’s shuttle are housed. In the few days since Cherith and I took our jaunt around Nirauan, a new fixture had been added to one corner of the hangar: a TIE fighter holosimulator.

    The chiss are not overly fond of simulator technology, preferring to train first in two-seater craft with an instructor. With some slight modifications though, father somehow arranged for a simulator to be outfitted to not only conform with the specs for the major TIE versions currently in use, but also for the Clawcraft.

    So this is to become part of my daily routine, two hours spent in the hangar learning how to pilot a craft beyond the family yacht. It will be a progressive development of skill, each day’s training determined by my prior advancements and struggles, and programmed each night by father after he evaluates my performance.

    Father must have initiated the process the last time he was in Imperial space, it surely took longer than the two weeks he was there this time to acquire and adapt the sim. I wonder who he trusted with such a bizarre request- not as much as I wonder his guiding purpose in it, however. He touted the usual line from my younger days, when I would gripe at the unfairness of being forced to learn seemingly pointless information- that being a shadow child does not equate to being useless. That just because I have no present need to skillfully pilot a starfighter does not mean I can discount the future possibility.

    Regardless of the reasoning, it only further proves my sense from aboard the Starflare, that father is always a step ahead. He manages to appease my restlessness by slackening the leash ever so slightly, bit by bit, year by year, like a pet nexu being raised to precisely the limits it can tolerate and then having those boundaries firmly entrenched, that it might happily accept them for the rest of its shackled life.

    But damn him if he doesn’t know precisely how to pique my interest. Even the chained nexu might be appeased by the occasional treat and praise for good behavior.


    X---X

    tags- @AzureAngel2, @Jade_eyes, @earlybird-obi-wan, @Ceillean, @Jedi_Lover, @TrakNar
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  2. Jedi_Lover Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2004
    star 5
    Every time I read about pet Nexus I wonder when Allana is going to be eaten by her pet. o_O Then my second thought is why would anybody allow their kid to have a nexu as a pet?

    Nice update.
  3. Nyota's Heart Fanfic Edited Winner / Combos & Paragraphs Host

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    Aug 31, 2004
    star 6
    Always like reading about Jag's progress. The almost-rueful cynical tone Cem has about learning starfighter piloting [face_thinking] Maybe he'll be the first to overturn a cultural tradition of questionable value? :)
  4. earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 21, 2006
    star 6
    Love to see Cem flying (it's a simulator but can lead to more?)
  5. LexiLupin Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 27, 2011
    star 4
    Entry 18

    We have further intrigue on Nirauan, and a mystery to accompany it. This time, however, the curiosity comes from without, a strange thing for our isolated empire, unless it be from potential enemies. While not precisely friendly and grudgingly tolerant of our existence, our suspicious neighbors have generally turned a blind eye to the activities of and in the Hand, even as more and more of the Ascendancy’s youth have chosen to join the House Phalanx and serve under Stent and ultimately Parck.

    The larger curiosity though is not that we have been acknowledged… but that we have been acknowledged by the highest levels of Ascendancy leadership, with a message reaching us on behalf of an Aristocra of one of the ruling families. After requesting a meeting with only the vague specifics that it had to do with one of Mitth’raw’nuruodo’s projects of old, an envoy arrived two days later to discuss what had occurred and to propose a formal meeting with Aristocra Chaf’orm’bintrano of the Fifth Ruling Family.

    The envoy apparently did not come with the authority to discuss too many specifics, but enough to test whether the Hand was familiar with the incident that occurred, by father’s count, some two decades even before its establishment. Father called it ‘Outbound Flight’; such a phrase has not come up in my studies of the galaxy, and he said it likely would not, filling me in on what part of the story he knew instead.

    It was to be an extragalactic expedition. Sponsored and funded by the government of the Republic, an ambitious undertaking of extraordinary cost which was to carry some fifty-thousand crew, scientists, and colonists, as well as a sizable host of Jedi. In the course of its journey to the edges of the galaxy, it was plotted to travel unknowingly through a remote corner of Ascendancy space; a corner, as chance would have it, to which Thrawn’s Defense Fleet picket force was charged security.

    Already Chancellor of the Republic, the soon-to-be Emperor dispatched a force to ambush Outbound Flight. His force was, instead, largely destroyed by Thrawn; his first contact with the galaxy he would later join and, indirectly, with the Emperor he would later serve. Whether he concurred with the Emperor’s view of the Jedi-run flight as a threat to the rising galactic order, or merely saw them as a threat to the Ascendancy I do not know, but- and here is where the mystery begins- he purportedly obliged the Emperor and destroyed the flight, utterly.

    Or rather… that’s the story he relayed to Parck and which was subsequently told to father. That story is not particularly well supported by the visit of the Aristocra’s envoy who claims that the remnants of the flight have just been found, intact enough to be identified…in the center of a star cluster that serves as an Ascendancy military stronghold.

    The first question that comes to mind is- how did it get there? The greater question, the one I know has been quietly irking father and probably Parck as well, is- why did Thrawn lie about it?

    What actually happened on that fateful day, a half-century ago? And the version of the truth that father came to know… for whose benefit was that story crafted? The Ascendancy, that they might sooner exile him and enable him to join forces with the Emperor? The Emperor himself, that he might not doubt Thrawn’s dedication and ruthlessness? For Parck, that he might exemplify that ruthlessness in his own days at the head of the Hand?

    And what other words from Thrawn- words clung to and revered in his life and death- were partial truths at best?

    X---X

    tags- @AzureAngel2, @Jade_eyes, @Jedi_Lover, @TrakNar, @earlybird-obi-wan, @Ceillean
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  6. Nyota's Heart Fanfic Edited Winner / Combos & Paragraphs Host

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    Aug 31, 2004
    star 6
    Awesome tie-ins to Outbound Flight & Empire of the Hand. =D= :cool:
  7. earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 21, 2006
    star 6
    Love how you tie all the books together=D=
  8. LexiLupin Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 27, 2011
    star 4
    Entry 19

    I ran a simulator routine today, by far the most difficult yet. I had to restart it twice before I survived long enough to even understand what was going on, and even then, I barely lasted two minutes. The adversary was a strange enemy, nothing like the other starfighters I have gone up against in this virtual realm. Irregular craft, abnormal sensor readings, a bizarre shielding system that I first mistook for a glitch in the programming of the routine.

    At first, I thought it a sort of mental exercise; a flight doomed for failure, and a test of how a pilot might react, whether or not he can still achieve any goals of the mission. A morbid lesson, but one that I suppose any instructor would utilize in training, to get a measure of the pilots under his tutelage.

    In some ways, I preferred the idea of that morbid exercise to the truth, which I learned that evening when handing over the sim data of the largely failed run. Father asked how it went, I laughingly told him that my performance was more than a little embarrassing.

    “Yes,” he responded in a low murmur, “my own attempt to run that flight was…not my finest hour.”

    Which is when I realized that it wasn’t just some training meant to make a point. “It is a real enemy? Who?” He raised a brow; my stomach sank. “The Far Outsiders?”

    “Our techs have been working at compiling the data brought back from Thearterra. That mock-up is the closest they can manage, considering the sketchy nature of our sensor readings against whatever strange technology they utilize.” I was still trying to wrap my mind around the fact that I had just faced off in a simulation roughly designed to equate to the battle that killed my brother.

    “You believe we will be seeing more of them?”

    Father pursed his lips. “Many, many more. This program,” he held up the datacard from the sim, “is to be distributed across our training centers, of both the Hand and the Phalanx. The instructors need a sense of what threats are likely to face the current and future training classes.”

    “Will you give it to the Aristocra?”

    An odd smile greeted the question. “Funny you should ask- it was the topic of heated discussion today with Stent. What do you think?”

    “That if they are as many and as fierce as you believe, they will invade Ascendancy space. The Ascendancy should be prepared for it.”

    “Stent doesn’t feel the Ascendancy should be trusted with our secrets.”

    “Then Stent is a fool.” Father blinked; surprised, perhaps, to hear me speak in such blithe terms of one in such high position. “His pride makes him forget one of Mitth’raw’nuruodo’s supposed reasons for creating the Hand in the first place- safeguarding the very people who banished him. He would see them punished for doing what Thrawn knew they would and contrived to make happen.”

    “Perhaps he merely feels that it is an insult to the capabilities of the Hand, to imply that we will not succeed in eliminating this threat as we have many others.”

    “Is that what you think, sir?”

    He considered for a minute before answering. “I think your analysis of the situation is better than Stent’s; I also think your analysis of Stent hits close to the mark. His willingness to sacrifice a high position in the Ascendancy makes him feel a certain moral superiority over those who abide by the long-standing rules of the Chiss which many are beginning to find outdated and potentially dangerous.”

    You left a great deal behind to be here as well.” It was one of those comments that escaped me before I could quite filter the thought.

    “And you wonder if I feel morally superior for it?”

    “I wonder if you regret it ever.”

    “Regret is a dangerous emotion to allow for one in a position such as mine.”

    I should have known he would not give me even that much. Regret would be akin to admitting that he had made mistakes in his past. Not particularly interested in continuing the conversation, I excused myself and stood. I was almost out the door before he stopped me.

    “Cem. I do not regret the work we do out here; but yes, I do often regret what it has cost the rest of you.”

    I nodded once and left.

    X---X

    Tags- @earlybird-obi-wan, @Jade_eyes, @Jedi_Lover, @AzureAngel2, @TrakNar, @Ceillean
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  9. Nyota's Heart Fanfic Edited Winner / Combos & Paragraphs Host

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    Aug 31, 2004
    star 6
    Very candid discussion =D= I like how open Cem is ... and you portray the threat-level of the "Far Outsiders" accurately; and the divided nature of the Chiss response to it. [face_thinking]
  10. Jedi_Lover Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2004
    star 5
    Very nice discussion! Great update!
  11. AzureAngel2 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 14, 2005
    star 6
    “I wonder if you regret it ever.”

    “Regret is a dangerous emotion to allow for one in a position such as mine.”

    I should have known he would not give me even that much. Regret would be akin to admitting that he had made mistakes in his past. Not particularly interested in continuing the conversation, I excused myself and stood. I was almost out the door before he stopped me.

    “Cem. I do not regret the work we do out here; but yes, I do often regret what it has cost the rest of you.”

    I nodded once and left.

    The discussion was really mind-blowing. [:D]
  12. earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 21, 2006
    star 6
    A great discussion and about the Far outsiders. They will become a great nuisance
  13. Kahara Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2001
    star 3
    Cem's reactions to his role as a shadow child seem very realistic -- of course the restrictions are going to grate on him and he doesn't have any real context to understand the reasoning behind it. Poor kid, having to see all his brothers and sisters go off to war while he has no idea why he has to stay and wait. It would be awful, wondering whether he's doing the right thing or if he's wasting his life blindly obeying the outdated directions of a dead leader.

    Can you put me on your tag/PM/whichever list for new updates? This keeps getting more and more interesting.
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  14. TrakNar Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 4, 2011
    star 5
    Perhaps when the Far Outsiders come around, Cem will build up some gumption.
  15. LexiLupin Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 27, 2011
    star 4
    Entry 20

    After a steady progression through the common Imperial training models to this point, father has me continuing to focus my efforts in the simulator on the Far Outsiders. I see three possible reasons behind this- first, that he truly views this as the foreseeable future of combat for some time to come; second, that he foresees some actual role for me when the inevitable invasion happens; or third, that he believes anyone capable of handling combat against these fierce warriors should be able to survive anything. Some combination of the above, perhaps.

    Cherith, meanwhile, has been assigned a training role in the base Operations Center, some form of low-level intel analysis and systems management. A temporary stint, for a few months, at which point she will undergo an evaluation of performance and decide with her mentors whether to pursue that path or switch to try out a different specialty. Whatever nervousness she may have felt over undertaking such a path, and father’s view of it, seems to have been assuaged. What she may have failed to account for was the fact that this will keep her on Nirauan far longer than did Davin, Chak, or Jagged’s paths.

    Father drew us both into a conversation this evening regarding this Outbound Flight situation. Aristocra Chaf’orm’bintrano left this afternoon after a two-day round of discussions concerning the fate of the craft which, interestingly, the Ascendancy seems determined to put in the hands of someone else. Lacking the connections to the galaxy-proper that the Hand has, if distantly, the Aristocra has requested Parck’s assistance in obtaining some form of diplomatic representative from the New Republic to see to the extrication and return of the long-lost flight.

    After Cherith left, I couldn’t help but eye father skeptically. Looking mildly bemused, he bade me speak my mind.

    “The Ascendancy wants a representative from a foreign government completely unaware of its existence to accompany a team into a military stronghold to take possession of a junked craft that most people today have never even heard of? They’re up to something.”

    Father grinned. “Oh, they’re certainly up to something. They don’t simply want a diplomat- they asked if we had any recommendations for any capable warriors who might accompany the team.”

    I would have expected that to be the last thing they wanted; people who might pose a threat to the security of an Ascendancy force. Father indicated that the Aristocra had something more on his mind, something pertaining to the violent end of the craft that Chaf’orm’bintrano was somewhat close-lipped about. In any event, I think the meeting has added more questions than it has answered regarding the story of Outbound Flight and whatever role Mitth’raw’nuruodo might have played in its fate. There is certainly a score of new questions surrounding the strange determination to return it to its somewhat rightful owners.

    Their request, at least, comes with an easy answer. I was about to retire for the evening when it occurred to me. “You’ll contact the Jedi again, won’t you? Skywalker?”

    “What brings you to that conclusion?”

    “He certainly seems to be a worthy warrior, based upon his ability in grounding Nirauan’s fighter base. He already knows we’re here, which I assume means he has a vague idea of the existence of the Ascendancy; more importantly, he’s shown a willingness to keep the existence of this base a secret, judging from the absence of attempts to fight us or liaise with us from the Republic. I should think the Aristocra would value discretion.”

    “Unsurprisingly, Stent is wary of the obvious choice, citing Skywalker’s actions from his last appearance here as reason to avoid further dealings with him.”

    “The Empire isn’t at war with the Republic anymore, and we’ve already established relations with Bastion. Considering any number of others would have sent Republic forces bearing down on us three years ago, I don’t know what Stent can truly find to complain of.”

    Father just smiled. “The status quo of our isolation is chipping away; Skywalker, then Bastion, now the Ascendancy… it makes him nervous. Events are spiraling out of his tight grasp of control.”

    “Does that not make you nervous?”

    “Of course. I merely choose to look onwards, to the day in the near future when we will be grateful for the relations and allies we have cultivated.”

    The more we talk and the more I consider, the bleaker I believe is father’s outlook on the future of the Hand. Possibly his outlook on the galaxy as a whole.

    X---X

    tags- @earlybird-obi-wan, @Jade_eyes, @Jedi_Lover, @AzureAngel2, @Ceillean, @TrakNar, @Kahara
    (A/N: Hi, Kahara! Welcome aboard! [:D])
  16. Nyota's Heart Fanfic Edited Winner / Combos & Paragraphs Host

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    Aug 31, 2004
    star 6
    Awesome tie-in to SQ. One of my faves, it's by Zahn after all ;) Soontir is very candid and [face_sigh] [face_thinking] seemingly pessimistic, but he sees all sides, or more than that not just those that are determined by self-interest. :p
    Last edited by Jade_eyes, Feb 1, 2013
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  17. Jedi_Lover Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2004
    star 5
    A SQ tie-in! I love it.
  18. earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 21, 2006
    star 6
    Love the connections to the books of Zahn
    And nice that he can continue his training
  19. AzureAngel2 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 14, 2005
    star 6
    “Unsurprisingly, Stent is wary of the obvious choice, citing Skywalker’s actions from his last appearance here as reason to avoid further dealings with him.”

    “The Empire isn’t at war with the Republic anymore, and we’ve already established relations with Bastion. Considering any number of others would have sent Republic forces bearing down on us three years ago, I don’t know what Stent can truly find to complain of.”

    Father just smiled. “The status quo of our isolation is chipping away; Skywalker, then Bastion, now the Ascendancy… it makes him nervous. Events are spiraling out of his tight grasp of control.”

    “Does that not make you nervous?”

    “Of course. I merely choose to look onwards, to the day in the near future when we will be grateful for the relations and allies we have cultivated.”

    The more we talk and the more I consider, the bleaker I believe is father’s outlook on the future of the Hand. Possibly his outlook on the galaxy as a whole.

    X---X

    Cultivating relationships is always important. The German term for it is "Bündnispolitik", to forge bonds with possible allies. Bismark was good at it, before some silly emperor blew it.

    But for the son the future might not be as bleak as for his father.
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  20. Kahara Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2001
    star 3
    More pieces of the puzzle, but each one raises more questions for Cem. It will be interesting to see where his path will lead. The way Soontir reasons about making alliances (and in one of the previous posts where they discussed his allegiance to the Empire) gives a distinct picture of how he views the world.
  21. LexiLupin Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 27, 2011
    star 4
    A/N: Whew! Finally! Schoolwork has been kicking my behind but at last.
    Happy news- aside from a teensy bit of rewriting for entry 23 I think, the rest of the diary is written. So it should be smooth sailing from here. 5 more entries I believe, and an epilogue of sorts. But we'll get to that soon enough. [face_devil]
    And glad you all like the Survivor's Quest tie-in! My goal in formulating the scheme for this was to bring as much canon as possible into something so not canon, lol.

    Entry 21

    Though he only recently began his new command assignment, Parck has authorized father to recall Chak for a new tasking. Having spent his military years in the cockpit, Chak is to undergo a basic training routine of ground officership in the next six weeks, with father’s hope that he can use Chak and his unit as eyes for the Hand during the strange mission to recover Outbound Flight. An experienced and capable team from the 501st has already been selected, that they might help guide the young officer smoothly through his accelerated training.

    Part of me is… strangely disappointed. Even as I contemplate it, the idea is as ridiculous as it is beyond any remote measure of possibility, but… that small part of me wanted to think that, just maybe, this was to be my task. A secretive mission with those who know almost nothing about us anyway… what would there be to lose?

    It is an absurd notion, but the idea that the past year’s work and study might have borne such intriguing results is a difficult one to shake.

    Cherith has taken diligently and devotedly to her new work. Every evening, she sits with her datapad and fiddles with mockups of system security protocols, learning routines for different emergency scenarios. Last week, she shared as much news of her new duties as she is able in a message to Jagged, a response to his most recent account of life on Rhigar.

    A dry humor always underlies Jagged’s messages, but I think it is a little forced. Cherith delights in his tales of the stuffy chiss personalities he deals with, but tends to overlook the smaller details- that he is singled out and wears a different uniform from his chiss peers; that rarely is his rank, more important to a military chiss than his own name, conferred upon him outside of the most formal of settings.

    Cherith does not seem to grasp that he is a bemusing distraction to those who, unlike the chiss with whom she serves here, have never dealt with a human before. On Nirauan, the Fels are given the benefit of the doubt, given father’s position and the fact that Parck, who is ultimately in charge of it all, is human. Outside of this base, and especially among the Phalanx forces, it is a constant fight for Jagged- as it surely was for Davin before him- to prove even the slightest worth, let alone his equality or, as Davin demonstrated, superiority.

    Nevertheless, Cherith seems to already be drifting slowly away from the restless and adventurous persona that claimed her only weeks ago as we chatted aboard the Starflare. I cannot fault her for possessing the same basic nature as all of the rest of them, but part of me is a little wistful, contemplating what trouble we might have wreaked if she were to succumb to her flights of fancy.

    In the end, it is little matter. Just a foolish dream, Cherith’s last flirtation with the childhood she is leaving behind day-by-day. Persistence of foolish dreams aside, I am not wholly sure when I left that childhood behind.

    Really, I’m not sure I ever had it in the first place.

    X---X

    Tags- @earlybird-obi-wan, @Jade_eyes, @Jedi_Lover, @AzureAngel2, @Ceillean, @TrakNar, @Kahara
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  22. Kahara Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2001
    star 3
    Cem is so wistful here. He really needs something to give him more of a sense of purpose, something to look forward to. Not getting to go do something must be twisting the knife, since he was starting to hope for it. His concern for Cherith is sweet, but it's sad that she will soon be leaving as well.
  23. earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 21, 2006
    star 6
    He likes to work but all is going to Chak and Cherith. Like his concern
  24. AzureAngel2 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 14, 2005
    star 6
    ...the strange mission to recover Outbound Flight...

    Nicely put! Great update! :D Even though someone sounds very, very bitter here.

    In the end, it is little matter. Just a foolish dream, Cherith’s last flirtation with the childhood she is leaving behind day-by-day. Persistence of foolish dreams aside, I am not wholly sure when I left that childhood behind.
  25. LexiLupin Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 27, 2011
    star 4
    Entry 22

    I foolishly thought that the pain of losing an older brother… a confidante, a friend… would be a hurt long unrivaled in my life; that the grief of losing their oldest child would be an anomalous feeling for my parents, while their children were yet so young. That half a year later, the painful feelings would be slowly replaced by fond memory of the duty-bound son and brother who, ‘til the very end, honored who he was as a Fel, as an Imperial, as a chiss.

    That was true, to an extent- until now.

    Now… how can you compare those you love and lose? How can you acknowledge the heroism of one death while agonizing over the unfairness of another? It feels wrong- it is wrong, a disservice- but I cannot but help do it.

    There’s little else to do, waiting with numb patience for what promises to be yet another blow. Because… if I don’t think about Davin…

    I’ll be forced to ponder dozens of horrid scenarios in which Jagged was, in all likelihood, killed in the attack which, according to early reports, claimed the lives of at least two-thirds of the cadets on Rhigar.

    And if I don’t think instead about Davin… if I let myself drift into the fitful sleep which has claimed Wynssa, a sleep she has twice now woken from in tears, looking wildly around my room in confusion… if I don’t distract myself…

    I will continue to see, over and over again, the image of Cherith’s limp and lifeless body in father’s arms.

    X---X

    Tags- @earlybird-obi-wan, @Jade_eyes, @Jedi_Lover, @AzureAngel2, @Ceillean, @TrakNar, @Kahara
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