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  1. In Memory of LAJ_FETT: Please share your remembrances and condolences HERE

Star Wars CLOSED Star Wars: Episode VI: Twilight of the Force III: A Son’s Destiny

Discussion in 'Role Playing Forum' started by Sinrebirth , May 4, 2021.

  1. Sinrebirth

    Sinrebirth Mod-Emperor of the EUC, Lit, RPF and SWC star 10 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Nov 15, 2004
    the Gods were done, and their part was over

    this was not their story, anyway

    not just theirs

    it was the story of Feyna, Nola, of Tor, Ka'rta, of Adalia, Kyp...

    what became of them, at the End of Twilight?

    one wonders what they said at the funeral of funerals...

    ... or became of them in the future...


    A future that Anor already looked to...

    But the past?

    Leia, lost, Madelyn, gone, Xundel, succumbed...

    would Vhardia and Renn say goodbye to each other one last time...

    ... the Epilogue continued...

    ... for now...

    TAG: @Adalia-Durron, @JediMasterAnne, @galactic-vagabond422, @darthhelinith, @galactic-vagabond422, @darthbernael

    OOC: Please finalise any 'post-scripts' you have in mind, Happy Endings, or reminisces. I would like to End this game on the 3rd May 2022...

    Options for singles, or combos...

    Mentions only for @CosmoHender, @TheSilentInfluence, @Shadowsun, @Mitth_Fisto, darthbernael (Father), for now
     
  2. darthbernael

    darthbernael EU Community Mod, Fuego, Pyrofuego! star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Apr 15, 2019
    IC: The Son & The Father - combo with Shadowsun and Sinrebirth
    House arrest on Mortis

    The shore along the lake had been colder than he had expected. The Son's sith-colored eyes wandered towards that of the man sitting by the body of water. Who seemed, outwardly, to be at peace.

    [​IMG]

    He took a step forward as he looked down towards the sitting man. The Son placed his hands in his pockets as he began to speak.

    "The others are deluded that we have somehow won," began the Son. He paused as he looked over to him. "How do you feel?"

    The figure, the Father, turned toward him, looking up at the Son. The corners of his lips turned up as he took in who was standing before him. ”It is good that I finished the conversation with Anakin, and that he left before you arrived. I doubt he expected any of you to broach my prison so soon.” he said rather calmly.

    He didn’t look quite as he had, even that short time ago. He appeared younger, almost like the son that had been lost, save the all white eyes that looked up at the Son.

    [​IMG]

    ”I had an interesting conversation with our benefactor, met many of the dead we created, his decision to do so. As though it would change who I was or what I would believe needs to be done.” The smile broadened at the last. ”Apparently, this reality is the only one that is truly free of the Master and all he wished accomplished. Which doesn’t mean the others are…”

    "Yes, that is what I have gathered too," he spoke, looking towards the man.

    "We are all trapped it would seem... the others seem content to live out the rest of their days," he inclined his head, considering something.

    "If you could, would you?" A pause. "Stop the Master, I mean,"

    A snort, ”Did you honestly believe I chose to hide myself here, lock myself in, rather than act as my nature demands?” he asked in reply.

    ”I won’t deny that my goals and yours are all the same. However, one thing we both agree on is that he must go.” The Father answered that much of the Son’s question.

    "Good," nodded the Son.

    "Which leaves us to the next questions..." his eyes glinted towards the Lake.

    "How the hell do we get out of here?"

    The Father chuckled, ”Well, you are already Changing things by being here in the first place. But Anakin did say it would take a Change or one of you to unlock the door to his prison. So you being here should have already weakened it, possibly opened the ‘door’.”

    He pushed himself off the rock he was seated on, surveying the Lake. ”I believe we must only follow your trail back how you came and it should open to us.”

    "Well that would be the case..." he murmured "...if I was actually here," He gave a smile. "I wanted to see where your head was before I try and get you out," he chuckled. "Though I am entombed on Mortis as are the others so we are not in a much better position,"

    The Father’s head fell back in a laugh. He laughed deeply for a few moments before his white eyes blazed. ”Almost every aspect of this place, save the Lake, the empty Pool and Font, and the lock itself are mine to control. Which means,” he gestured and a darkly shimmering thread came into being, stretching from the Son out into the metaphorical distance, ”I know that the key is in the lock, even if it hasn’t been fully turned, or you wouldn’t have come here, even in essence.”

    His hand waved again, the ‘cord’ vanishing from sight, ”Of course, there is a difference between coming to taunt me about the possibility of what the greater goal is and actually seeking my aid. Aid which will not be given, even one whit of my power, while I am locked in here.” A cold grin covered his face as he spoke, ”You, above all, should understand why.”

    The Son's face remained placid.

    "Given our... history... I think you can understand my desire to confirm that you will not try and kill me at the first opportunity, and even barring that to ensure that you... understand the significance of the threat before us and are willing to counteract it,”

    He tilted his head.

    "I am willing to try and get you out... but what do we do about the others? Daughter and Mother?"

    The grin did not abate as the Father’s gaze was locked on the Son’s. ”They seemed willing to defeat the Master here. But…your tone seems to indicate that they have already become placid in their choices.”

    He stroked his chin, ”The Ones were designed to work at our strongest when all together. If we must without them, then it may be necessary.”

    "Yes," murmured the Son as he looked up to the sky. A half tilt of his eyes as thought for a moment.

    "So where do I begin?"

    They had much to discuss, but fundamentally it would be a matter of the Son manipulating the remaining forces of evil and darkness in the Twilight Timeline to trigger an imbalance sufficient to warrant a Change. It would take time, but, fundamentally, they had ample - they were Gods, after all.

    And never before had Darkness and Chaos been so clearly aligned; it would be considerably quicker than the seventy thousand years a Change had taken the first time... and several alone had occurred during the Twilight Wars of antiquity... and it had been a mere thirty thousand years thereafter before Palpatine had wrought his.

    They would need to find an angle, a faction that had escaped the violence.

    The Empire, the Sith, the Yuuzhan Vong, even the other, lesser Old Ones and the innumerable Unknown Terrors - they were all spent forces.

    But the Son, as a Force user, had met a herald of the antecedent of one last factor.

    His vast knowledge would introduce them to the Silentium; the star-fish droid...

    ... and the Abominor, their mortal enemies...

    ... and the identity of one such droid monstrosity...

    The so-called Great Heap lived.

    It was odd really, the Son did not know how he knew it... but...

    Yes, surely so. Father had perished. He hesitated as he felt the presence of the Great Heap...

    Darkness maligned, this he knew. Chaos enshrouded in league with the dark, this was also known. But the sense of defeat that emanated from his source long lost. How could such a thing be? Such Will that wished to consume the stars and heavens be but a pitiful serpent unworthy of admiration. Aye, when the two doubted, scorned in their oddness even he could not help but feel reproached from his inner self. For a thing crafted for oneself and enjoyed by none other is no worthy craft.

    Falsehood shrouded by a degree of separation, incapable of discerning truth from fiction. Such was the way between him and the Father now. And between Father and his Friend. Great Work undone, stored, kept hidden for oneself to be tinkered and toyed with in the dark. Unseen by all but himself. For too few keen, too many distracted with the Other.

    Idle thoughts, and not his own. The Son knew this, perhaps the residual mess from his disentanglement with his progenitor. But all the same it left an open question to his further goals. Without the need to stop the one known as Patriarch, what need was there at all? Yes, Master. Master and his plans of manipulating Darkness. That remained.

    But they were safe within this time, the overlaying threat of invasion was no more. Master would be back, for sure, but they could prepare for such a thing, there was no need to venture outward.

    The Son's eyes glinted as he surveyed from afar the Heap of metal and machine. His mind was puzzled and troubled by his course of action. Secluded from all as they had no desire to interact with him... yes... troublesome indeed.

    The Father’s white eyes sparkled as he waited and watched the Son, seeing that the other was deep in thought. He didn’t need to know or understand what the Son was thinking, it mattered little to him unless it led to his release from this prison.

    Reaching down from his seat on the stone, he picked up rocks, using his fingers to feel their shapes, his eyes remaining on the still form of the Son. He let the other muse through what he must, it was up to that one to find the right trigger, the right point to break the chains that bound him.

    He leaned back slightly, placing a handful of the rocks he’d picked on his lap. One at a time he took them, using thumb and forefinger to hold them. Whipping his arm, he threw them out into the Lake, smiling softly as they skipped across the surface before sinking.

    When the pile was fully diminished he turned to the Son. ”You have much to consider, much to decide upon. But, should you desire to destroy the Master you must find the way to release me and us find him. It is on you to find that Change that can be affected. Until then, I will deal with the infernal peace of this place.”

    He stood, turning and pacing away, leaving the Son in his contemplation.

    TAGS: @Sinrebirth, @TheSilentInfluence, @CosmoHender, @Shadowsun
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2022
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  3. Sinrebirth

    Sinrebirth Mod-Emperor of the EUC, Lit, RPF and SWC star 10 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Nov 15, 2004
    Years passed, yes, and the Heroes of the Galaxy passed into Legend; obscurity, celebrity, or neither and both...

    But let us rewind a bit, perhaps, to a meeting.

    Who could say how long they had been apart, or whether they had spoken to each other since the Funerals.

    But the call went out.

    A message.

    Heroes of the Galaxy,

    I did once tell that if I was ever reported dead, I would return.

    And so I have.

    Please come meet me on Exegol.

    I have news.

    Yours, Thrawn.​

    Those that received this missive?

    Feyna, Nola, Tor, Ka'rta, Anor, Adalia, Kyp...

    Would they answer?


    What had happened to them, in the time since they last fought at Coruscant?

    TAG: @JediMasterAnne, @galactic-vagabond422, @Adalia-Durron, @Mitth_Fisto

    This is the always intended post-game to the Twilight Trilogy. Please come, and we shall put to an end this epic...

    ... until the Unnumbered Episode: The Epitaph of Twilight...

    OOC:

    Many thanks to @HanSolo29, @Lady Belligerent, @darthbernael, @CosmoHender, @darthhelinith, @Shadowsun, @TheAdmiral, @TheSilentInfluence for your service... it is time to rest... to continue on elsewhere, or nowhere... or perhaps, I should say, else-when, or no-why...

    Who knows?
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2022
  4. darthhelinith

    darthhelinith Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Feb 10, 2009
    An Epilogue ~ written with @darthbernael as always a pleasure


    The heart of the force.

    A place, and not.

    Everywhere and nowhere.

    Nothing happened here.

    Nevertheless, it was full of life.

    Outside of time, yet its roots were deeply entwined within it.

    The seeds in its earth grew beginnings and endings, their shoots, pushing up into the semi-twilight of choices.

    Light and darkness were here, of course. A pair of ocean currents; their vast areas driving across the stars. Lifeforms rode on those currents as if tiny sailboats, driven ever onward to new destinations as the force enacted its will. Yet the huge expanses of both, when you zoomed far enough out, were just the meeting of two bodies of water in a still pool, set between the trees of a forest.

    Ripples crossed that pool sometimes, as the tiny beings within tried their best to enact their wills upon others, to take charge of ideas and peoples, with varying motivations and degrees of success. Even rarer still, a drop of rainwater might fall from the canopy above, and scatter across the surface, sending shudders of darkside or lightside energy echoing across the galaxy.

    Sunshine filtered in from the canopy above, dyed a soft green hue by the leaves, but strong enough that no part of the wood was ever left in deep shadow. The very air itself seemed asleep, motionless, there was no wind here. Nothing drew breath. But the trees were very much alive, the sound of their growth was deafeningly silent. Time stood still here but marched on deep within the rich soil.

    But the water remained silent, content. And on the bank, Vhardia sat and observed its course for a while.

    Often, most beings saw the heart of the Force when they became one with it in their own way. If Renn had been on his own he suspected that what he’d see was the flow of the Force through the entire universe, riding the waves of it as he became more and more one with it over the eons.

    But…Vhardia had changed that, as much as he was what he was or had been, an ancient Neti, his time, their love, had changed him. Yes, when he’d merged with the Force it had been as he’d suspected, for a few moments, but when she joined the Force all that had changed.

    He’d felt her, felt as he was sure she had, all of herself ‘melt’ into the Living Force. But, even in the Force a fragment, a shade of self remained and he found that he was drawn to her. He knew she could feel him as he felt her.

    When he found himself in what appeared to be a grove, sunlight dappling the ground through the canopy, he smiled, her peace was beautiful. His phantasm being changed more into that of a tree and the canopy overhead rustled lightly as his branches kept the light rain that was falling around the almost still pool to fall on her.

    He didn’t need to see but could feel her reaching out to feel the forest. One branch, shifting slightly, descended as silently as he could. When it lightly touched her shoulder it was his usually large hand. “Your vision of the Living Force, it is so peaceful.” he said softly, not trying to break the stillness of the place.

    Vhardia smiled to herself. “When you mentioned Myrkr during our travels, I imagined something like this. Living beings inherently connected to the force. Being able to watch it move, flow.”

    Renn smiled, slowly shifting into his normal form. He settled onto the ‘ground’ beside Vhardia. Looking around again, he took into the ‘world’, feeling it, sensing it. He sighed, “It does feel like home. I wish I could have taken you there but we were eons too late to do so.” his tone soft. Looking over at her, “But I am glad this is your peaceful place.”

    Vhardia watched the pool in front of them both, the surface of the water was still as glass. “Hopefully it will remain that way.” She murmured to herself. It wasn’t clear if she was referring to what Renn had said, or the pool itself. She frowned. "I don't think this is my place. Perhaps once it was, but it seems more…" she frowned again, struggling to find a word that seemed appropriate. Real. But more than that. Much older than old.

    Vhardia's head turned to look through the trees, to the other pools she could see scattered throughout the nearby area. All of them as still as the one in front of them, but life stirred beneath each surface, dozens of worlds beyond. She wondered what would happen if someone came along and stirred the water with their hand, but felt at the same time it was not her job to do so. This was a very solemn place that seemed to have its own rules sewn into the fabric of its being. Throwing stuff in the water seemed inappropriate somehow.

    “Do you think it’ll stay balanced? The galaxy, I mean.” She sighed. “It seems a shame that just because something got changed, the whole timeline is messed up. It just seems… unfair somehow.” She was remembering back to her conversation with Helinith, many years ago.

    He thought about the question. As he did he relaxed in the ‘sunlight’. Finally he spoke, “I hope so. I do hope those still alive won’t have to fight their own wars, or their descendents.” He sighed, “But, the history of the galaxy speaks against that. Some threat or another always seems to raise its head.”

    Vhardia turned back and leaned against Renn's torso. "At least be able to rebuild, and have time to recover. To rest." Watching the pool in front of them was a peaceful occupation, despite the darkness that would ripple across it from time to time.

    Rest.

    Yes rest, seemed good, seemed right, about now.

    Renn nodded, then leaned his head down, gently resting it on Vhardia’s. “I do hope they have that time, that our actions and those we fought beside bought them that time.”

    His arms moved, wrapping around her, just as gently. Her warmth, somehow still present in this place as it had been in life, touched the bark that was his skin. A soft smile crossed his face as he looked down at the pool. “But…I think we’ve earned our rest from such worries, love.” he whispered.

    Concentrating for a moment he let a flower grow on one arm. Picking it, his fingers nimbly brushed her hair behind one ear before he slid the stem between her ear and scalp, the flower peeking just above her ear. “And I cannot think of anyone else I’d rather take that rest with.”

    ~*~

    The heart of the force.

    A place, and not.

    Everywhere and nowhere.

    Little things happened here.

    Luminous, it was full of life.

    Outside of time and within deeply entangled roots, the spirits of two curious individuals, neither quite light, neither quite dark, took refuge in a peaceful moment beside a pool of liquid reality.

    TAGS: @Sinrebirth @darthbernael
     
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  5. Sinrebirth

    Sinrebirth Mod-Emperor of the EUC, Lit, RPF and SWC star 10 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Nov 15, 2004
    IC: Thrawn
    Unsurprised

    He hadn't expected many to come, if any.

    The peace was hard won.

    Hard fought.

    Perhaps he had expected to see Feyna, perhaps not.

    Ka'rta and Tor he could not tell, because they had dropped off the face of Mandalore after a surprise reunion.

    The Galactic Alliance embraced New Republic, Imperial, Hapan, Keshiri, Sith, Yuuzhan Vong... it was a true coalition.

    Thrawn nonetheless did not blame any of them.

    Instead, he regarded what his droids had wrought. Correction; the droids he had aligned with.

    Exegol was an open rend, ripped open long since the battle there had ended a war.

    It was said it had been carved apart by the Abominor, sentient and junk-shaped droids that had their own plans for the cosmos.

    Their opposition, the droids of symmetry known as the Silentium, had brought this to Thrawn's attention ten years after his 'death'.

    Apparently Exegol contained a vergence in the Force, which was why the Sith had buried into the planet in the first place, and why the Celestials had hidden it so firmly... no mysterious way to other dimensions and times had been found, but a great deal of Kyber and other natural resources had.

    Thrawn wondered if the Sith had simply been distracted by their supply of raw materials of war, and given up.

    He also wondered if the Celestials had built Exegol around the vergence in such a manner to prevent the Sith from overcoming their greed.

    But if they had, the damage to Exegol had allowed the Abominor to dig in.

    Thrawn turned, unsure if he would be regarding a villip, or a comm transmission, or maybe even the man himself.

    "Anor, shall we proceed through?"

    He didn't even know if the Yuuzhan Vong would answer.

    Nor would he would know that Helinith and Renn had not made it to the afterlife, no, there was something... preventing them.

    Instead they ended up here, regarding a world that was opened to the void where it should not have been, revealing twinkling kyber as it floated in space, and a great, terrible tear in the Force.

    [​IMG]

    A wound, one that had interfered with Life and Death.

    TAG: @darthhelinith, @Mitth_Fisto, @darthbernael (singles only), mentions but not tags for @galactic-vagabond422 and @JediMasterAnne
     
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  6. Mitth_Fisto

    Mitth_Fisto Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Sep 29, 2005
    IC: Supreme Leader Vezrra Anor
    Annoyed

    Having been summoned was one thing. Being questioned was another.

    Through tattered lips she sighed as she stood fully enshrouded in biots, triggering a villip with a thought - the Oggzil transmitting the message to the questioner. Thumbing a Sensislug she nodded through that message. "Yes." It was all she needed to say, and she felt was more than she should of had need to.

    Her small fleet of her peoples most advanced designs and biots was with her. Woe to all who stood against her or the Yuun! For she was here, and she would not play by any rules except theirs and her own.

    TAG: @Sinrebirth
     
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  7. darthbernael

    darthbernael EU Community Mod, Fuego, Pyrofuego! star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Apr 15, 2019
    IC: Renn Turon
    Exegol

    Death should have been eternal, falling into the embrace of the Force. The endless moment with his wife had given Renn peace and contentment but that all changed. The moment they had occupied seemed to fade in a blink. When things resolved again he knew he must still be stuck between life and death as there was no way, except for several minutes as his body died, that he could be floating in space over a world.

    ”Well…part of a world…” he muttered.

    Anger, sadness, emptiness of emotion as well, filled him as he hung there, the broken world filling his senses. He had had peace, even if it may have been an in between place, between Life and Death. Yet this was here now, the peace disturbed, their rest broken, brought back to reality, the destruction and chaos of it. ’For what reason…’ he thought.

    As he hung there, above the surface of the desolate and broken world, the heart of it exposed to the vacuum, he could feel the death, the scarring that had taken place to cause such a momentous act of destruction. It made his soul shiver to contemplate.

    Glancing around once more, he could sense, feel, Vhardia closeby.

    But, even as he desired to draw nearer to her, the world drew his attention once more. Not only had it been decimated but there was more. The life of, the beating heart of the galaxy, as it were, was the Force and yet…

    And yet, it felt as though something had ripped through the Force, had opened it, had scarred it. He’d seen the voids of matter that sucked matter into them that populated the galaxy, and this was similar. But it was not matter that was being drawn in but the dark and the light both, or so it felt to him.

    This hole in all, this void…this was what had not let him, or Vhardai, cross over to Death, had drawn them back into reality, to a degree.

    As he drew closer to Vhardia, he reached out, ’Something brought us back, brought us here…we need to find out or we may never see that peaceful glen again.’

    TAGS: @Sinrebirth, @darthhelinith
     
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  8. darthhelinith

    darthhelinith Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Feb 10, 2009
    Vhardia
    Exegol

    Vhardia followed Renn's indication and watched the planet with intense interest.
    She did not know this place, and that, even in itself, interested her.
    Why were they here, able to observe so closely, something that seemed to be happening in time?
    Or was it past? Or a presesnt? Or not a past? Or a different future?
    Well technically, it was always someone's present, as long as there was anyone living here to observe it.

    'I wonder if... is this even the same place that we came from? Or are we in one of the other ponds?'

    The planet seemed unwilling to give away such clues willingly.

    Tags: @darthbernael @Sinrebirth
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2022
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  9. JediMasterAnne

    JediMasterAnne Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 24, 2004
    OOC: Combo with Sinre.

    IC: Queen Mother Feyna Organa-Chume, Prince Isolder, and the Black-Coat

    The Fountain Palace, Hapes

    The Funerals had been hard for Feyna, reminiscent of the days after the First Civil War. Organizers of course asked her to speak, but she declined each request as politely as possible, deferring the eulogies to those closest to the deceased. Perhaps it was undiplomatic of her, especially in cases like Han, or Madelyn and Leia. Qwi Xux. Even Ben and Aryan. But she just didn't have it in her.

    She was depressed for a long time after; though she and Isolder and the children were finally able to safely return to Hapes, it took a long time to repair broken trusts between the Houses. But they slowly rebuilt nonetheless, and while the system's borders remained open once stability was achieved, and trade continued with their partners, Feyna, over time, withdrew herself from the galactic political stage. Isolder remained her ambassador to the Senate, and she maintained an interest in the New Alderaan colony and the Alderaanian community within Hapes, but she focused herself on running the Consortium.

    Winter and Tycho kept in touch from Hosnian Prime, and visited often. Nola and Del returned to New Nubia, though they drifted apart from the others over time; last Feyna had heard, they'd had a baby a couple of years after the war, so between that and running a government, they would have their hands full. Nola had stepped down from the Senate just before the birth, so they couldn't get updates that way either.

    Her family was one of the few things that kept her going. Feyna and Isolder gradually healed together from the traumas of the war. Their son Kalen was sixteen at the time of the war's end, and one of the hardest things had been having to tell him of Han's and Ben's fates. He'd been upset for a while; he'd been a sensitive child, though he'd become withdrawn in his teen years, as many boys did. Over time, he moved on as well, and when he wasn't shadowing his father in the Senate, he was working toward becoming a pilot in the Hapan navy. Feyna worried for his safety, as all mothers did, but he seemed to enjoy it.

    Rosara was only eleven at the end of the war, and so was spared some of the darker details until she was older. She was rather saddened by the loss of her Uncle Han and cousin Ben, though. As she entered her teen years, work began on grooming and training her to one day replace Feyna as Queen Mother. Feyna did not plan on ruling for life, but she would not abdicate until her daughter was well and truly ready.

    The Darkness had long been silent, but Feyna did not believe it was gone. She learned to live with it, but she did not inform her children of it; it remained a jealously guarded secret that only Feyna, Isolder, and Winter knew, and perhaps Tycho. It was certainly not something Feyna wanted her enemies to find out about.

    When Thrawn's message came, Feyna ignored it. She wouldn't deny the tiniest bit of curiosity, but she was certain that to go to Exegol would only lead to stress and drama, two things she had far enough of in her life already.

    Isolder found Feyna with a datapad in-hand.

    By how mildly the woman looked, he didn't need to know what they were doing about it.

    "I agree," he tucked it into a pocket of his tunic. "I'm not interested either."

    Taking a seat on the couch besides her, he went to envelope her in a hug. They'd been as warm as ever, but with a shadow of hesitancy, as if Isolder was still, all these years after the war, and with this long, long peace, he still didn't believe they'd be left alone. But he still loved her, and he would overcome those fears, for her - the woman who had lost more than anyone in this galaxy to the trials the galaxy had faced.

    In his eyes, Feyna was the Hero of the Galaxy.

    So, he kissed her forehead, and quietly asked. "Are you okay?"

    Feyna relaxed a little in his embrace, if only a bit, resting her head against his shoulder and her hands on his chest. She still loved him, of course, and she was grateful everyday to Arek for saving him when he'd nearly died on Coruscant. She knew she'd become distant with him, though, but it wasn't his fault.

    "I don't know," she admitted. "I mean, there's nothing pressingly wrong, I just..." She trailed off, not sure how to explain.

    "Would it be terrible of me to say that I don't want to care about what goes on in the rest of the galaxy any more?"

    Even as she said it, she felt guilty. "It's not that I don't care, and obviously I still have to care to some degree, as a ruling head-of-state. I just...I don't want to keep being the one they come to when things inevitably come apart again. It feels like all our lives, we've had so much drama, so many bad things happen, and they keep happening and keep happening...I have so many painful and stressful memories, and sometimes I feel like there aren't enough good ones to balance them out..."

    She was quiet for a moment, before she pressed on. "And negative experiences aside, I have a life most would envy. I have wealth, power, and a family that I love. And for all that we've gone through, we've come out with our social standing and our repuations mostly intact. Most people would say I shouldn't complain. And I chose my path, I made the choice to run for Chancellor, and I knew what I was getting into when I married you. I knew it would be hard. I knew it would be stressful at times. But I feel like we were dealt more than our fair share of it. I'm at a point where I just want us to be able to live the rest of our lives in peace, finish raising our children and settle into a quiet, semi-happy retirement.

    "It feels selfish to think that way, though...to say such things."

    "I disagree," Isolder said, perhaps too quickly, and so he amended. "It's more that we have done our part, and so much more besides. We fought as hard as we did so that there would be another generation, and another after that. Peace in our time is not the exclusive provenance of us; it doesn't belong to us, we do not earn it. Thrawn will assemble a team to resolve whatever issue there is left; he's not going to make a grab for galactic power, not now."

    A shrug, muted, as they were so close he didn't wish to unnecessarily jostle her. "We've done enough; it's not our job to keep doing it. We've made sure there are other people who will, after all." He squeezed her. "I'm retired from heroism, if I can manage it. We all know the mentor-figure dies to give added reason for the next hero to carry forward, anyway." Sarcasm. "I'd rather not."

    "I would say, again, that Ben wasn't your fault, and that Han is still missing, rather than confirmed to be dead, and whatever private struggle you have with Darkness is clearly won..." He smiled softly. "But I know that you won't allow me to say that."

    He leaned back. "Mostly, nowadays, I wonder what's happening with the other Feyna's out there. The Isolder's, too."

    Feyna relaxed a bit more, feeling a little better; still conflicted, but not quite as guilty.

    She thought of Kalen and Rosara, and prayed they wouldn't have to face the same troubles their parents had done, to have to fight those hard fights over again.

    "Hopefully they'll have an easier time keeping the peace than we've had," she replied.

    "I'm sure they'll have their challenges," Isolder said softly. "But nothing as monstrous as us. A millennia-old Sith plot, invasions from another galaxy, an ancient droid armada, cosmic imbalances..." He slightly shook his head.

    "If that is the legacy of the Force, I'd rather we didn't have it," he chuckled slightly.

    Oh, is that so?

    Isolder stiffened; the voice had seemingly come from nowhere, and everywhere, permeating he and Feyna.

    It was the Black Coat's voice.

    Feyna tensed immediately, shutting her eyes, trying to shut out the voice. "Go away!" She told the unwelcome guest.

    The shadows at the corner of the room parted to reveal him. “Now is that a way to speak to someone who you shot?”

    Isolder reached around in the couch and pulled out the emergency blaster. It was technically under the cushions, and locked to his fingerprint to prevent accidental usage, but he still didn’t like that it was necessary. “I can do it again, if you like.”

    Feyna wouldn’t know about the weapon, but Isolder gestured with his hand as he freed it from under her by sitting up. “There’s one for you in the other arm of the couch.”

    “Okay, okay,” he held up his hands. “Bad time, I get it. I’m not gonna drag you into anything. I just wanted you to know that Han is alive, he just happened to leave this timeline for another. It’s not a problem. I just didn’t want you to worry about him.”

    “He left a hole because he’s, well, supposed to be here, y’know?” The Master grumbled. “A few holes left by a few people who jumped the timeline-ship apparently.” A sigh. “Who knew?”

    Isolder didn’t care. He openly moved the selector from stun to kill.

    "Why even bother telling us?" Feyna asked angrily. "Dead or not, he's gone either way, I doubt he's coming back." And I wouldn't blame him, she added to herself.

    "No, but I'm trying to make sure your happy timeline is sealed shut, and nobody can ruin things here. Like, perpetual cosmic balance, and all that. Mother of Balance Leia, Daughter of Light Barriss, Son of Darkness Azathoth, and Father of Chaos Bernael. The four of them will regulate each other, and if anyone tries another Change, I've made sure it won't stick."

    A lazy gesture, his arm sweeping outward. "Happily, ever, after."

    "How nice of you," Isolder said, just as angrily, pointing more firmly with the pistol. "You didn't answer the question; not really."

    He grumbled. "I'm sure there's no harm in this, but, well. The only way I'm going to plug a hole is with someone whose detached from a timeline. So because Han left - and Aryan, by the by - I need to put someone here. And, well, I thought you'd want me to give them to you so you can keep an eye."

    Isolder seethed. "Are you handing us a problem?"

    "More like..." He rolled his hands again. "An apology. I didn't expect Palpatine to work out how to wreck timelines. He went multiversal, and, well, that's a problem I caused. And I want to give you back something you lost, from another wrecked, well, probably wrecked timeline."

    The Prince looked to Feyna. "Am I shooting him yet?"

    Feyna scowled. "Unfortunately, we do that and we might trigger a new Change," she realized bitterly.

    She looked back at Black-Coat. "What are you offering, exactly? Talk fast."

    "Nah, you can shoot me to your heart's content," the Master said, a shrug. "In my timeline, the anchor I've attached my spirit too wasn't destroyed, so I'm alllll good. The Master in this timeline, well, he went a bit cray-cray and Madelyn killed him. Sad times."

    Conscious he could lose them any second, he snapped a gloved finger. A dark portal appeared, and a young man tumbled out of it, unconscious.

    It was Ben.

    Ben Skywalker, by birth, and Ben Solo, by adoption.

    He was in his teens.

    Before he was ruined by Palpatine, and whomever.

    Before he became Vader.

    "I wanted to put him here, somewhere safe, especially when I plug the other holes... his timeline has been ruined, sadly." He sounded a little glum. "I've not found what happened to Feyna over there, but I know Isolder had his neck snapped by a Sith Lord." A shrug. "Can't apologise for something I didn't do, and I'm definitely not to blame for that Sith figuring out how to complete a Change."

    Isolder was speechless.

    "I thought you'd adopt him," the Master explained.

    Feyna looked at the teenager in astonishment, then to Isolder, then back to the Black-Coat.

    "How would we explain where he came from? Ben died in this timeline, even our children know that much, and there are people who know what he became."

    Not to mention the many other complications of bringing someone over from a different timeline; all of this had to be incredibly confusing and distressing for the boy.

    "In his timeline, his family is shattered," the Master said gently. "He has already lost everything. His mother, dead; his Jedi Master and cousin, now the Dark Lord of the Sith; his father, in self-exile for his failures."

    "I just wanted to save him from worse... and you're the best person I know, across no less than four timelines." He crouched besides Ben, who looked almost peaceful, clearly slumbering. "He deserves a second chance." His voice was very small.

    Isolder pursed his lips, not sure what to say.

    That did not answer her question, and as much as Feyna felt sympathy for the boy, as much as she wanted to help him...

    One, she still did not trust the Black-Coat, and did not appreciate him dropping emotional bombshells into her life.

    And two, taking the boy in was something that she and Isolder had to discuss and agree on together. Her husband hadn't openly objected--yet--but she wouldn't make that call by herself without consulting with him. If it came to it, if they were both agreed that it was the best solution, of course she would help the boy, love him as her own, but what would they be signing up for, bringing in someone from a completely different timeline? One with so much trauma?

    "Does he know that you've taken him out of his own time? Does anyone there know? You said his father is alive, what if he goes looking for him?" Unlikely that the father would be able to cross between timelines to find him, but Ben would likely have the same questions, if he hadn't already asked the Black-Coat himself.

    "Luke Skywalker left," the Master said, solemnly. "He blamed himself for what happened, and had a vision of himself becoming the Dark Lord of the Sith if he went after Darth Caedus. So he doesn't care. He has recused himself, rather than make it worse."

    Isolder bit his tongue. "Someone needs to give him a good talking to."

    The Master shrugged. "Are you volunteering? Or shall I find Feyna in his timeline to do the deed?" He snorted, lightly. "Ben knows, I put him in a mindscape so he could process it." The Master tapped the side of his own head with a gloved finger. "In is own head, he can absorb what I've told him. This Ben, he's lost a lot, and he's ripe for conversion to the dark side. If I leave him there, there will be more Skywalker-Sith, and those who are left, well, they won't have a chance."

    "Do you intend to give us a minute, or force the decision on us?" Isolder said, cuttingly.

    The Master held out his hands, mock-surrendering. "Hey, hey, hey. I just wanted to give this Ben a second chance." He stood up. "I'll take him back, if you'd prefer." He indicated the lad. "I can wake him now, if you really want me to."

    Feyna frowned again, feeling stuck. Ben couldn't go back to his own timeline. She wasn't certain that here was the best situation for him, either (despite Black-coat's apparent faith in her) but at the same time, sending him somewhere else seemed...irresponsible, on some inexplicable cosmic level.

    "Let him be," she conceded. "We'll make sure he's safe, he can stay." She gave Isolder an apologetic look, but turned back to the Black-Coat.

    "I do have one request, though: that you never show yourself near any of my family again. And that includes Ben. He's been through enough, we all have. After this, you leave us alone."

    The Master paused. "I mean... that is the aim, to be honest. I don't want to be here, I just want to plug a hole or two that might mean someone tries to hurt you all."

    He held out his hand. "If we shake on it, my word will bind me. If it's broken, I'll be undone."

    "If my name isn't ________."

    He went to touch his throat and tried again. "________".

    Isolder frowned. "What are you doing?"

    "I'm trying to tell you my name..." He sighed. "I guess it doesn't belong to me, still. Stolen." He sounded rueful.

    He brought his hand back up. "Either way, I'll be bound. But so will you, if you can't look after Ben."

    "Can't," said Isolder. "We've raised children, hell, Feyna is basically mother of the Galactic Alliance -"

    "I don't mean if Ben grows up and isn't a fan, or goes off the rails," the Master interrupted. "I mean if Feyna is struggling with anything she's not disclosed." His tone was arch. "She did have a brush with a Darkness, after all."

    Isolder looked over to Feyna, frowning.

    The Master's hand was held out, ready, and Feyna would know, in her very essence, that if he accepted her terms, he would be eternally bound by them. The Master would never, ever interfere with her life again.

    Feyna frowned again, hesitating slightly. The Darkness had been silent since it had been weakened at Coruscant, she didn't expect more trouble from it, but now that he'd brought it up, it did raise a few concerns.

    "It won't be a threat to Ben, will it? My Darkness? It wasn't happy at the prospect of being trapped in me, will it stay there? Or could it be tempted by him, could it try to escape?"

    Without any close relations with Jedi now, Feyna didn't have anyone to comfortably ask about this, and since the Darkness didn't speak to her anymore, she couldn't very well ask it--nor would she have trusted its response, anyway.

    She didn't trust the Black-Coat, either, but he was the only one who might have an answer.

    The Black-Coat shook his head. "Your heart is strong, Feyna. It is fundamentally trapped within. It was damaged by the war, and it will not trouble you." He paused. "I can take it with me, if you prefer, though."

    Isolder bit his lip. He didn't want something like that anywhere near them, and it saddened - and heartened - him that Feyna had managed such a thing. The best that anyone could reason was that the Darknesses that had surfaced years ago were in-fact the remnants of ancient Force entities known as the Old Ones. One had caused grief on Mimban, during the First Galactic Civil War, for example, but Madelyn and Han had overcome that.

    Ben was stirring; awakening...

    Feyna paused again. To be rid of the Darkness, for good...but then where would it go? And could it grow stronger again if it was free of her? Would it be safer to leave it with her? She didn't enjoy having it, but if it was no longer a threat to her, or her family...

    She didn’t have time for many more questions, Ben was starting to stir, but she wanted to be sure. "If you take it away, what happens to it?"

    "I'll take it unto myself," a shrug. "It's the least I can do. It didn't originate from this place, it cannot be divided into alternate realities. So my taking it will secure the wall between your timeline and the rest."

    Ben sat up, eyes widening, and the Black-Coat gestured, seizing him in a stasis field. "I need to be gone before he wakes."

    Isolder pursed his lips. "We will take the boy, but it's Feyna's Darkness. She's mastered it, I have faith in whatever decision she makes."

    "I understand." He began to turn back to the shadow. He was, in-fact , beginning to fade out, to dim, to depart. "The way is closing, and it will close, once and for all, soon."

    Feyna nodded, held out her hand to the Black-Coat to shake. "Take the Darkness, leave Ben with us. And as I said before, I hope we never have to meet again."

    “I hope so too, Feyna,” he said softly. “Well… I hope I do see the other Feyna’s… but not you.” Removing a glove he took her hand, and a swirling liquid like blackness flowered in her chest and flowed down her arm into his.

    She would feel, immediately, lighter.

    Free, almost.

    “May the Force be with you, Feyna.”

    And with that, the Black-Coat was gone.

    Isolder released a deep breath, one he hadn’t realised he had been holding. Ben Skywalker’s eyes fluttered open, and he looked over. “Prince Isolder? I thought you were dead -”

    He looked more pained than worried or scared. “It was just a nightmare.” He reached out for Feyna. “Thank you -“

    Ben began to cry. “Can I see my mother?”

    Feyna crouched down to take the boy's hand, though she glanced over to Isolder--the Black-Coat had said he'd put Ben in a mindscape before bringing him here, to explain things, but it looked like he'd still need some help to process it all. One thing at a time. She helped the boy to his feet and put a motherly hand on his shoulder.

    "Come with us, Ben...we have a lot to talk about."

    TAG: @Sinrebirth No one.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2022
  10. Sinrebirth

    Sinrebirth Mod-Emperor of the EUC, Lit, RPF and SWC star 10 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Nov 15, 2004
    Thrawn and the Chimaera stood at the edge of the Exegol Rift.

    The world had cracked open from the stresses of the battle upon its surface.

    Droid forces, some smooth and spherical, and others jagged and monstrous, warred for something they did not truly understand.

    He had gathered what allies he could, and perhaps the Yuuzhan Vong under the command of Anor had arrived, but no forces from the New Republic, Empire or Hapes had come.

    He did not blame them; the war had been long, and harsh, and painful. Feyna, Nola, Ka'rta, Tor... they had lost so much.

    He did not know of Renn and Vhardia, invisible to him, unable to pass on because of the disruption here, which was impacting the Force itself.

    But the world opened, yawing, and drew them all in.

    And that was it.

    This reality was freed.

    Cut-off at long last.

    Ben Skywalker, in the case of Feyna, he would grow into a great man, and his children, Kol and Nat, would keep the peace.

    The Tribe of the Sith became nothing more than the Tribe, as the Keshiri became more prominent, and the humans joined the wider Jedi Order.

    Even the Yuuzhan Vong found their way back to the Force, in time.

    The Ones - the
    new Ones, Mother Madelyn, Daughter Barriss, Son Azathoth, Father Bernael... they were kept in-check by themselves.

    There were no Masters, Makers, Darknesses, Old Ones... none left.

    The Twilight Wars were over.

    Forever.
     
  11. Sinrebirth

    Sinrebirth Mod-Emperor of the EUC, Lit, RPF and SWC star 10 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Nov 15, 2004
  12. Sinrebirth

    Sinrebirth Mod-Emperor of the EUC, Lit, RPF and SWC star 10 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Nov 15, 2004
    this timeline wandered on its own, kept independent, apart… balanced. It was not a Change that threatened anyone or anything.

    The Ones of other timelines had died, more than once. Eventually, a solution rose up. Ones of Ones. Individuals separated from time to keep the peace between timelines; to keep the Changes from happening again.

    And yet…

    A One of One unlocked the ways between, those sealed by the Master of Masters to keep the peace in the Twilight Timeline.
     
  13. Sinrebirth

    Sinrebirth Mod-Emperor of the EUC, Lit, RPF and SWC star 10 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Nov 15, 2004
    Prince Isolder
    Hapes

    The long peace was marked by a funeral.

    Feyna’s funeral.

    The Chancellor of the New and then Restored Republic, his wife had created a firm and powerful legacy.

    Survivor of the Death Star; resistance fighter against Darth’s Wyyrlok and the fallen Luke Skywalker; saviour of the galaxy against the depredations of Supreme Overlord Palpatine.

    Their children now and their own children.

    Their adopted son, Ben, he had grown into a great Jedi Master. It was a private eulogy, the one before the rest of the galaxy had opportunity to mourn. The others were on their way, but aged Isolder and Ben, he was here.

    Some mysteries had never been resolved.

    The disappearance of Han Solo, Aryan Graul and another seemingly unimportant woman named Sybelle.

    The elevation of Barriss Ofee, Madelyn Linnett, Darth’s Vicrul and Bernael to Ones, and how that had brought an end to fifty years of war.

    But in this quiet room on Hapes, it wouldn’t matter to them.

    For now, the decades of peace had come and gone.

    Now there was only their ending.

    And it was into this that Sistros, the One of One and former Aryan Graul of this Twilight Timeline, decided to visit and put to bed demons so.

    Whether those ripples reached the Ones of this reality, free or imprisoned, who could say.

    Potentially.

    Maybe.

    Doubtful.

    But it wasn’t a Change.

    It was merely… an Epilogue.

    TAG: @HanSolo29 (primarily), @CosmoHender, @TheSilentInfluence, @darthbernael (separate combo opportunities of course)
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2023
  14. HanSolo29

    HanSolo29 RPF/SWC/Fan Art Manager & Bill Pullman Connoisseur star 7 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Apr 13, 2001
    OOC: The following is a combo with Sinrebirth, with contributions from Lady_B – thank you so much you two!! [:D]

    IC: Sistros, Isolder, Ben Skywalker, and the Darkness
    The Palace, Hapes

    Sistros arrived with little fanfare, passing through the luminous veil of time to access the realm of Twilight. It was a bittersweet homecoming, knowing that his transgressions had helped shape this reality into its current iteration. He had brought terror, death… and suffering to so many innocent beings. He truly had a monumental task ahead of him to atone for those indiscretions.

    The only consolation he found was in the resolve of the people, which, in turn, strengthened his own determination. They had somehow established peace in the interim, rebuilding entire civilizations from the ashes of war. It was a remarkable feat; one he had no intentions of impeding on.

    That’s why Sistros remained in the shadows, silently observing the somber scene before him. It was a celebration of life to remember a brave and compassionate soul; a strong woman who had endured great adversity as Chancellor of the New Republic.

    Feyna Organa-Chume.

    Sistros inwardly winced and bowed his head to acknowledge her passing. He recognized that he had not been conducive to her authority. His selfish ambitions had caused her unnecessary pain, and despite failing to make amends while she still lived, he felt it was his duty to honor her memory. He owed her that much.

    Inhaling deeply, he turned his attention to the other two beings in the room—Prince Isolder and his adopted son, Ben. He was unfamiliar with the latter, but the Hapan royal had arguably suffered as much as his wife. Even from this distance, the man appeared tired and sad. Time had permanently taken its toll on his once handsome face, leaving prominent lines around his eyes and mouth. Despite their tumultuous past, Sistros almost felt sorry for him. Perhaps he could appeal to Isolder’s sensibilities, almost like a conduit to acclimate himself to this reality.

    Either way, it was worth a try.

    Stepping forward, Sistros emerged from the shadows and angled his chin to meet Isolder’s gaze.

    "All beings pass into the Force," he began softly, keeping his tone amiable to not provoke the man. "But you have no need to worry. Feyna will always be with you."

    [​IMG]

    Ben turned immediately and ignited his lightsaber, a crisp blue blade.

    He hesitated when he saw that it was a single man, narrowing his eyes, but keeping his guard up. His father turned slightly, listening for the moment, but almost nonplussed.

    Isolder pursed his lips, clearly not wanting to say what was foremost on his mind. But then he sighed, letting it go. "I know, Aryan."

    Ben tensed again. He knew who Aryan Graul was.

    "Why are you back?" He indicated Feyna's coffin. "She's gone. Was that what you were waiting for?"

    "No," Sistros replied simply, his expression softening to convey his sympathy. "The timing is purely coincidence. But I am sorry for your loss."

    He ventured a step closer, sidling up beside Feyna to place his hand along the copper trim of her casket. Through the Force, he could perceive memories… impressions of both joy and sorrow; pain and pleasure; success and adversity. She had led an illustrious life within this reality. Hopefully, she had found peace.

    As he paid his respects, Sistros was mindful of Ben’s uncertainty and how his presence had prompted the young man to ignite his lightsaber. Nevertheless, he did not engage, nor did he flinch. Their reactions were perfectly justified, and he did not blame them for their suspicions. He already knew it would be a difficult task to earn their trust, but he could certainly start to make things right.

    "I’ve come to atone for my sins," Sistros explained after a moment, turning to regard Isolder once more. "When I was here several years ago, I wasn’t in a position to make a difference, but I’ve since had an epiphany. I know it sounds cliché, but in many respects, I’ve been reborn. The Force has granted me Light, and I wish to make amends."

    "Is that so?" Isolder said, not overly convinced. He had disliked Aryan even before he went full psychopath.

    Ben had put away his weapon for the moment but remained on guard. "I don't see how you can atone for the millions dead, Eternal Emperor Aryan Graul," the young man said, slightly abrupt.

    Isolder looked curious as to how he would answer.

    A sad smile touched his lips, remorse reflecting in his eyes. The young man’s words caused his heart to constrict painfully in his chest, stirring a tempest of repressed memories. He allowed them to flow freely to the surface of his awareness. Afterall, it was a poignant reminder of his past; who he was, and how far he had come. He wasn’t about to run from the truth. He accepted it.

    "I understand that anything short of my permanent incarceration in a Republic prison—or untimely death at the hands of a firing squad will appease you," Sistros stated humbly, nodding his head in acknowledgment. "I empathize with those sentiments. I deserve the harshest form of corporal punishment for my crimes. I don’t deny that."

    Sistros lifted his chin, his face seeming to adopt a slight ethereal glow with the gesture. "And neither does the Force. When I departed this timeline, I found myself at the heart of a cosmic war against the dark forces that encompass this realm. But it was also a spiritual journey to discover my true self. I had to overcome my inner demons to achieve that, including the darkness that corrupted my soul as the Eternal Emperor. So, in a sense, I did succumb to the flesh; I died and was reborn in the metaphysical sense. The Force granted me that gift. I became the Light to Protect others; to Protect the many diverging timelines that comprise our universe.

    "Part of my journey has brought me here; to the beginning of things." He moved away from the casket and slowly approached Isolder and his adopted son with tentative steps. "Or rather, the beginning of my existence as Aryan Graul. It’s my duty to make things right, even if you can never accept the merits of my actions. It’s purely for my own peace of mind—however, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to have your blessing."

    He paused to study them intently before extending his hand.

    Isolder held up a hand, first. "Ben, this is relevant to you."

    "What do you mean?" Ben looked panicked briefly.

    "I didn't want to tell you this, but, he's not lying about the concept of cosmic wars, across time and realms."

    "WHAT!" Ben's jaw dropped.

    "The Ben Skywalker here, or Ben Solo, as he was adopted by Han Solo, he died as Darth Vader."

    "I thought you named me for Ben, as he was corrupted by his fallen father, Luke," he frowned. "To redeem his name and legacy."

    "Luke fell because the Death Star killed Padme and Leia Skywalker, yes," Isolder confirmed.

    "So what? You didn't name me for Ben?"

    "Well, no," Isolder said, sadly. "You were named by Luke and Mara Jade Skywalker. From a different timeline. The Black-Coat asked us to care for you. Said that in your reality, it had gone wrong. That a Sith Lord named Darth Caedus had killed his twin sister, and you weren't safe. That people had escaped from our reality and left a hole."

    He walked over to a cabinet and drew out a dusty datapad. "Han, a Chiss named Sybelle, and Aryan here, they all escaped our timeline in the chaos of the war. You were brought here to be protected, but also to plug that gap."

    Ben was speechless.

    "Your Mom told me to tell you. She wanted to herself, but the dementia..." Isolder looked forlorn.

    Pursing his lips, Sistros awkwardly dropped his hand back to his side and stood silently to allow father and son to work through their differences. He never intended to cause strife between them, but perhaps it was for the best. Under these circumstances, discussing Ben Skywalker’s heritage was necessary, especially if they wanted to remain impartial and honest.

    While Sistros was already aware of the need to seal the void caused by his departure from this timeline, he never learned the truth about Ben’s origins until now. Despite not mentioning it by name, it was obvious that Isolder was referring to the Caedus Timeline—or Maelstrom. It was an alternate reality where the eldest Solo sibling, Jacen, had seized control of the galaxy after murdering his twin sister Jaina. It was truly an unfortunate situation.

    However, he knew it wasn’t a total loss. At the very least, it provided him with an opening to contribute to their discussion.

    "We live in a sprawling universe with endless opportunities," Sistros confirmed as he strode forward with a soft smile. "As long as those alternate pathways remain open to us, there’s really no limit to what we can accomplish… providing it contributes to the greater good."

    He paused, angling his chin to seek Ben’s gaze. "I have a link to your home timeline. I consider him an intermediary of sorts, carrying out my duties in my absence—even if he’s presently unaware of the wider narrative. He’s my counterpart, an anchor to that reality. I see what he sees; feel what he feels. In many respects, we are one and the same."

    Sighing, he placed his hands on the young man’s shoulders to soothe him. "You were brought here to fulfill a specific purpose, and I do not wish to disrupt that balance—but that doesn’t mean you need to lose touch with your legacy, Ben."

    Ben's face was suddenly a storm of emotions. He didn't belong here? He could go back? His home timeline?

    It was enormous.

    Incredible.

    "What is happening in my timeline?" He gestured to the room generally. "Is it much different?"

    Isolder also overcame his hesitation and concern. "What of the seal the Master placed on this reality? The one that Ben plugged?"

    Stepping back to give Ben some space, Sistros nodded, understanding Isolder’s concern. The Master had been specific about the need to avoid any more inconsistencies. He had designed the seal to serve as a safeguard; to prevent instability in the timeline and to resist the forces that could precipitate a Change.

    "That’s the only catch," Sistros explained carefully, his eyes shifting briefly toward the young man. "We cannot undo the Master’s work in this instance. The seal is like a lock with Ben serving as the key; if we use him to open it, he may be able to leave—but we risk the destruction of this reality. That’s something I can’t condone, not after the suffering I already caused here. There are forces out there with powers you can’t even begin to understand; they will take advantage of such an opportunity."

    Inclining his head, Sistros then smiled at Ben. "But as I said earlier, it does not prevent you from losing touch with who you are. There is so much to learn." A wistful glint reflected in his eye. "Palpatine never died that night in his executive suite when he encountered Mace Windu. Imagine a world that evolved from that point—the rise and fall of a tyrannical Empire; the resurgence of the New Republic; and the perils of the Galactic Alliance, led by Darth Caedus. You can see all of that… and more."

    Ben looked stunned. "I need to see it, to understand it."

    "You were just told going back will break things," Isolder said firmly. "We sacrificed too much for the peace -"

    "Dad, I appreciate that, but if you had this opportunity, to know, wouldn't you want to know?"

    Isolder was silenced and then glowered at Aryan. "I don't need to be here for this, do I? I need a walk."

    A slight frown crossed Sistros’ countenance, but otherwise, he allowed Isolder to take his leave. The outcome was far from ideal. In essence, he had potentially lost any chance of regaining the other man’s trust; it was his fault for placing Isolder in such an impossible situation. And yet, it had been necessary. Despite the risk of animosity, it was his duty to tell them the truth.

    At least Ben Skywalker seemed receptive to the concept.

    Inhaling deeply, Sistros approached the young man at a steady gait. "Your father’s right," he began evenly, peering down into the boy’s face. "No matter what happens; no matter what you see, you must resist the urge to go back. Think of this as a two-way mirror. You are able to view events safely from this side of the divide… but the people who inhabit your reality are unable to interact with you, and vice versa. This is to ensure the safety of everyone involved. We cannot afford to disrupt the equilibrium of time and space; we must avoid a Change. This is only a journey for knowledge… and to find peace. Do you understand?"

    Sistros gently laid his hands on Ben’s shoulders and smiled to offer him some reassurance. "Before we begin, do you have an object that you have a personal attachment to? Maybe it holds sentimental value, like a family heirloom or a totem; it could be something as simple as a favorite toy from your childhood."

    Ben hesitated, held out his lightsaber hilt. "This? Mum gave me the Kyber within when I was little."

    Isolder shut the door to the room; it would be a tomb when the shadows began to creep in. For the moment, it was merely where they stood, in that moment.

    "That’s perfect," Sistros grinned as he lowered his hands and tentatively ran his fingers along the metal hilt, pausing slightly to feel the indentations under his touch. Each lightsaber exhibited its own unique design to reflect the personality of its owner; this one was no different. "A well-crafted weapon; you should be proud."

    He then adjusted his grip and rested his hand on top of Ben’s, curling his fingers so that they both held the hilt tight. "I want you to relax… and concentrate. Reach out to the Kyber and commune with the crystal; the Force will guide you—"

    As he spoke, Sistros closed his eyes and poured forth his essence, encompassing Skywalker and willing the Force to imbue the hilt with the power of clairvoyance. He ordered it to open; to serve as a gateway between the Twilight realm and Ben’s home reality. He directed it to reveal its secrets.

    He saw it all.

    So much.

    Family.

    Cousins.

    Anakin killed, Mara killed, Jaina killed.

    Jacen the new Palpatine and Vader.

    Everything lost.

    His mind resisted the horror, pressed on, through, tried to find reason -

    All of a sudden his mind was in the One Timeline.

    Anakin killed, Mara killed, Jacen killed.

    Luke, Leia, Han all gone.

    Palpatine and Snoke and Kylo Ren -

    Ben's mind ran, found another place -

    One where there was no Anakin Skywalker, and no him -

    Another, where Anakin was dead, and Luke and Leia servants of a Kaminoan Sith Lord -

    Rage filled Ben Skywalker.

    Not only could Sistros feel the intensity of the boy’s fury through the Force, but he could see its physical properties as well. It converged around Skywalker’s body like a red miasma, congealing and twisting as it tried to find a means to break free from its host… and dominate. In many ways, it was a sentient entity—much like his own struggle with the Darkness known as Skelm. It had consumed him, altered his mind, and transformed him into a monster…

    Ben Skywalker had taken the bait and was on the verge of falling into an identical snare. It was an inevitability; Sistros had expected him to succumb to his vulnerabilities. It was the same path he had followed all of those years ago—but Skywalker would not surrender to the same fate. The boy needed to know; to understand that there was no escaping adversity. It wasn’t about maintaining control or obtaining power to rise above the rest. The galaxy was far more diverse and offered innumerable opportunities. One only needed to open their heart and mind… and seize them. That was the true way to generate Change.

    As if to reinforce this notion, Sistros felt something brush against his cheek. It was a gentle caress as if an invisible hand had reached across the cosmos to provide him with comfort and strength.

    He recognized BellBraata, instantly.

    Instinctively, he reached out across their bond to reciprocate her affection. It bolstered his resolve, and using that influence, he removed his hand from Ben’s lightsaber hilt and pressed his palm against the boy’s forehead.

    "There’s nothing you could’ve done to stop the outcome," Sistros relayed calmly, his voice echoing inside the young man’s head. "However, it was necessary to reveal the truth to fend off temptation. Your rage fuels your ambitions; you would’ve become a slave to the Darkness. That would’ve led to more destruction… more lives lost. Don’t make the same mistake I did. I only recognized the consequences of my actions after it was far too late to change my path. I wanted to show you now before you reach that critical moment; you still have a future. You’re exactly where you’re supposed to be. Carry on the legacy of your father… and his father before him. You can do good in this galaxy."

    With a reassuring smile, Sistros applied physical pressure while simultaneously extending out with the Force, penetrating Ben’s subconscious to target his recent thoughts. With a subtle push, he worked to purge all memories relating to the timelines he had glimpsed in his reverie. It was a gentle process; one that should not leave the boy feeling violated.

    "Now, go forth," Sistros said softly, removing his hand after he completed the technique.

    Ben actually slept. He dropped, not heavily, but lightly, as if cushioned by the Force.

    He was down, his unconscious rewiring itself.

    But then the door burst inwards.

    It was Isolder.

    And... not.

    He tilted his head, eyes yellow and glowing.

    The voice that emerged from his lips was not his own.

    Is that you, Skelm?

    The hair on the back of Sistros’ neck stood on end as he gently eased Ben Skywalker to the floor. He would’ve preferred to oversee the boy’s recovery, but he could not ignore the disturbance that permeated the Force. It caused a ripple effect that resonated with his soul—a persistent needling that felt as if something had burrowed under his flesh and was struggling to escape.

    He instinctively placed a hand on his heart and rubbed at his chest to ease the discomfort. It was likely a phantom presence, the product of his own overactive imagination—especially since Arb had relieved him of Skelm’s essence—however, he knew it was no mere coincidence. There was some greater significance.

    Steeling himself, Sistros slowly turned and straightened to his full height to confront the creature that had adopted Isolder’s likeness. He stared hard into those cold, inhuman eyes. Was it a temporary possession? Perhaps to deliver a message?

    There was only one way to find out.

    "You must be mistaken," Sistros replied firmly, his gaze hardening with conviction. "Skelm no longer exists. He met his demise when the Light extinguished his flame."

    He stepped closer to Isolder’s form and raised his chin. "I am that Light; you can refer to me as Sistros. And who am I speaking to?"

    I don't have a name yet. I am Shapeless. I have been... here, waiting. For decades, now, for the dust to settle on the Twilight of the Force...

    The Darkness walking to the right, away from Feyna's coffin.

    Pacing.

    You're from here, and also... not, no? Some of Skelm, some of Sistros... some of the Eternal Emperor Aryan Graul...

    "I am now whole, yes," he replied simply. "I’m precisely how I’m supposed to be."

    As Sistros continued to circle, appraising the lone Darkness, he could feel the penetrating cold emanating from the creature. It bit into his exposed flesh with an icy chill, though he did not react to the sudden disturbance. He was more curious than surprised. They had conquered the Six in the World Between Worlds, and he had not foreseen the emergence of another Darkness.

    "You, on the other hand, appear displaced. You’ve been waiting here for decades?" Sistros reiterated calmly, brushing his chin with his index finger as he considered this revelation. "Then you witnessed the End of Time—or rather, the schism that was supposed to result in the complete annihilation of this timeline. Obviously, the inhabitants of this reality found it within themselves to ward off the apocalypse, earning them a second chance, but you should not have survived the outcome. You are an anomaly."

    Exhaling softly, Sistros came to rest directly before Not-Isolder, an impish smirk evident on his features. "Tell me, how did you prevail, and why did you choose the Twilight realm as your refuge?"

    A dark chuckle as he continued to pace, the circle turning slowly.

    No, I did not hide here. I was made here. Your silly Master of Masters, he never realized, did he?

    Isolder stepped forward, a slash of a grin to his expression.

    A Change births a new Darkness.

    A wave of energy buffeted out, pushing Ben over in his limp state, upending Feyna's coffin, and knocking ornate Hapan paintings from the walls -

    There was no time to process this new revelation. Sistros’ eyes widened as he instinctively raised his hands to rebuff the energy emanating from Not-Isolder’s fingertips. His heels sank into the floor, but despite the added leverage, he still felt himself slide back several feet in an effort to dispel the attack. Remaining idle for decades did not affect the Darkness’ ability to demonstrate its power.

    Gradually—tediously, Sistros was able to diffuse the energy and harness it into a physical orb within his hands. It shone brightly in the dimly lit room, illuminating his face in a brilliant white light. With a wry grin, he then corralled it into his palms and turned them outward to direct the furious tempest back to its source.

    "You’ve done me a favor by revealing yourself," Sistros drawled in a dangerous tone, his eyes narrowing. "It’s my duty to protect this realm and the dozens like it across the multiverse. It’s only a matter of time before we isolate the disparities."

    As he spoke to distract the Darkness, he reached out temporally through the Force, touching the Master’s essence—as well as caressing the bond he shared with Bell.

    We have a problem. You miscalculated. Every Change spawns a new Darkness; they have returned.

    The Darkness gloated.

    Six is all we need.

    The Master wasn't at the End of Time.

    Six is what we have.

    He was somewhere else.

    Six become One.

    He was beside Bell -

    You become None.

    No, he wasn't.

    Only together could you defeat the First. The Second.

    Who was besides Bell?!

    Isolated, you can be destroyed.

    She vanished into the mind of Lumiya with whomever it was.

    Four, three, two, one.

    Isolder leaped at Sistros, hands clawed, eyes feral, over Ben, for him -

    None.

    Bell.

    Bell?!

    Sistros felt a colossal shift, even as Not-Isolder advanced on his position to engage him in combat. He instinctively unclipped his lightsaber and ignited the azure blade, easily side-stepping the aggressive strike and allowing the creature’s forward momentum to carry him past. This afforded him a brief reprieve to search for his partner. He reached out to touch their bond—

    Something was wrong. It was as if Bellorum had disappeared into a void; a proverbial black hole that had opened up within the Force to swallow her whole. But she was not alone. A stranger—an imposter in the Master’s robes accompanied her. They disappeared together into the ether.

    Into a mind?

    A dark mind.

    Spiraling ever deeper…

    Spiraling

    BELL!

    Sistros swept his hands outward and unleashed a flurry of energy, a crackling blue wave that matched the vibrancy of his blade. He angled it at Not-Isolder, intending to sweep the man into its vortex and pin him firmly against the adjacent wall. The aim was not to cause harm, merely to immobilize.

    "If isolation is a weakness," he corralled the energy to form a cocoon around Not-Isolder’s torso, "then you are susceptible to the same limitations. You are alone, acting as a single entity, which makes you… vulnerable."

    He emphasized the last word by dropping his voice to a row rumble, causing his presence to reverberate around the room. He then pressed inward, probing the mind of the man who stood before him, seeking his consciousness; his true identity.

    I know you can hear me, Isolder. You are not alone. I need you to fight back... to resist. You can break through and defeat this Darkness. Use your will… your mind…

    Isolder landed behind Sistros, having missed him with the leap over Ben’s unconscious form, and for a moment confusion replaced his snarled expression. The Force of Sistros’s Will slammed into Isolder, and a scream echoed out as a vestige of shadow was driven from him and erased -

    A vestige -

    Where was the core?

    The leap over Ben had been a feint -

    What was left within Isolder had been intentionally little -

    The Darkness had dropped down into Ben Skywalker.

    A wave of power announced the possession of the young man, and the palace exploded outwards -

    The Darkness stood, Ben’s red hair electrified upwards for a moment, and he smiled drily. "See ya soon."

    A snap of a finger, and the Darkness vanished.

    Left.

    It had left this reality.

    Isolder groaned, struggling over to Feyna’s upended coffin. He cupped her pale face and turned her, crying.

    They’d lost.

    Or, rather, the Master hadn’t told them - or hadn’t known - about what a Change truly wrought.

    He’d let Sistros down.

    Let them all down.

    A flurry of emotions poured into the Force as Sistros stood helplessly among the wreckage. Anguish, frustration, grief, and guilt. It all percolated in the very depths of his being, churning furiously in the pit of his stomach. The Darkness had fooled him, had possessed Ben Skywalker, and escaped into the ether. He had failed to achieve his mission and threatened the integrity of this reality in the process. It was arguably in a worse state than when he had arrived. There was no accounting for that mistake; it was his fault for being so reckless.

    And then there was the Master’s negligence about the nature of a Change. Sistros wanted to believe that he had been unaware of the danger, but a small voice inside his head told him otherwise, planting the seeds of doubt. Had he always known? Was it possible he had purposely withheld the truth from them to sow more deceit?

    No, he couldn’t accept that—not after his journey toward enlightenment. He wouldn’t betray that trust.

    It did not help that when he reached out to find Bell for comfort, his perceptions were decidedly vague. It was as if a dense fog had descended to hinder their path, rendering it nearly impossible to tap into their bond from this distance.

    It was all too much.

    No longer able to contain his inner turmoil, Sistros unleashed a primal scream and fell to his knees. Once more, the palace shook on its foundation as a shockwave rippled through the Force, channeling his anguish.

    It was unclear how long he had remained in this vulnerable position. Time had felt meaningless—until he heard the quiet sobs of the only other occupant in the room.

    Isolder.

    Despite the grim outlook for their future, the former Prince represented hope. He was whole once more; Sistros had extracted the man’s soul from the Darkness and rescued him from certain death. It was a personal victory, but a victory nevertheless.

    Inhaling deeply, Sistros used that knowledge to bolster his resolve as he rose to his feet and crossed the wreckage to stand at Isolder’s side. He tentatively placed a hand on the man’s shoulder to console him. "I’m so sorry," he uttered softly.

    Isolder punched him in the face.

    Or, rather, tried to.

    "This is your fault."

    The Force bristled, sending a chill down Sistros’ spine to warn him of the impending attack. However, he refused to counteract the punch; he took it head-on. Isolder’s fist connected with his nose and left cheekbone with a sickening crunch, the force of the impact sending him spiraling into a piece of ruined furniture. It was a decisive blow that proved even gods had a tendency to bleed...

    [​IMG]

    … which was why he had elected to absorb the hit instead of defend himself.

    He deserved it for what he had allowed to transpire here today. Despite his divinity, he wanted to prove that he was not infallible. Having made a mistake, he was prepared to face the consequences of his actions; it was something he probably should’ve accepted a long time ago.

    The moment served as an epiphany for Sistros—at least, that’s how he perceived it through the Force. It was the only way to explain what happened next.

    A window seemed to open within his mind’s eye; a celestial gateway that appeared to encompass the cosmos. He saw an astral plane that stretched beyond the horizon, connecting several diverse pathways that he understood to represent the various timelines inherent within the multiverse. One in particular called to him, touching his mind and soul as a voice softly recited his name.

    A woman’s voice.

    "Listen closely, Aryan…"

    There was a caress upon his cheek.

    "... I need you, my Sistros. You are the Light to my Dark…"

    "Bell," he uttered quietly.

    And then he saw everything.

    Braata.

    The memories inside the Dark Lady’s mindscape.

    And the Darkness—

    No.

    It was Ben Skywalker.

    He had found him!

    With cleansing breath, Sistros rose to his feet and turned to address Isolder. "I know there’s nothing I can do here that will soothe your pain," he said with a short sniff, idly wiping the blood from his nose with the back of his hand. "But if it’s any consolation, I was able to locate him; he’s not far. I intend to make you whole… to bring him back. He’ll be safe."

    Pushing forth with the Force, Sistros offered comfort and strength to the ailing Isolder. He then disapparated, traveling across time and space to join Braata in the One Timeline.

    TAG: @Sinrebirth; @Lady_Belligerent; @JediMasterAnne (for mentions, if you are still around)