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Saga - PT Before the Saga Saga - Legends The Tale of Noora and Seyf | Pre-TPM to RotS, OCs, drama/tragedy | Epic, Celtic Song Challenge

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Chyntuck, Sep 9, 2017.

  1. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Title: The Tale of Noora and Seyf

    Timeframe: 45 BBY – 19 BBY (chapters 1-5 take place before TPM, the rest during the PT)

    Continuity: This story borrows minor elements from both Canon and Legends, and can be read as either Canon or Legends.

    Characters: OCs and a few established characters in secondary roles.

    Genre: Drama/tragedy

    Length: Probably multi-post short, although this may end up crossing the 30K-word threshold

    Summary: Two Force-sensitive children form a strong bond while they grow up together in the Jedi Temple, but they have different projects for their lives. Predictably, it does not end well.

    Notes: This story was written in response to the Celtic Song Challenge, for which I got the song Barbriallen. I’m not much of a Celtic Song person (not that I have anything against Celtic songs, it’s just that they’re not part of my culture at all) so I had some trouble figuring out an adequate response. The solution finally presented itself in the form of a resurrected very early version of my OC Ayesha Eskari from Ἀνάγκη – Necessity beyond Sway, from back in the day when her name was Noora. Ayesha ended up being someone entirely different but Noora is finally getting her own story today. Alternate versions of a few other OCs from Ἀνάγκη may also appear in this fic.

    Table of contents
    Chapter 1: The Nursery
    Chapter 2: The Gardens
    Chapter 3: The Sacred Spire
    Chapter 4: Initiation
    Chapter 5: The Gathering
    Chapter 6: The Trials
     
  2. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    The Tale of Noora and Seyf

    Chapter 1: The Nursery

    There was the before, when she was him and he was her. Her warmth was his warmth, her sounds were his sounds. He was floating in the dim-lit inside, rolling and tumbling and swirling within her. She was always with him, he was always with her.

    Then came the jolts, the shoves, the churning, and together with them, the cold, the noise, the emptiness of the outside. The fear of being – of not being her. The want, the absence, the craving. Yet she was still there, and he could feel and smell and taste her, but she was another, and he longed for the days when they were one.

    Then there were others, others whose scent and sounds he didn’t know. Others who carried a light, but he yearned for the light of the inside, of her, even though she didn’t give it to him anymore. Others who were around him, inside him – but he didn’t want them. He wanted her, only her.

    But this was the now, and she was gone. Forever.

    From the moment she brought him out of his induced sleep, Seyf hadn’t stopped crying.

    Jedi Master Yamma Ummia had fostered infants in the temple’s nursery for decades. She knew that every child reacted differently to being separated from his or her family. There were those who took it in stride, oblivious to the world as long as their formula came on time, their nappies were changed regularly and a general aura of serenity and well-being was made to immerse their minds. There were those who displayed intense curiosity, staring at their new surroundings, reaching out to them through their primitive Force powers or rubbing their small hands in her thick fur when she picked them up. There were those who fidgeted for days on end, aware, as much as their tiny souls could grasp it, that their environment had changed, that they weren’t at home anymore. And there were those who experienced a deep sense of loss, who direly missed the touch, the scent, the presence of their mother, who had somehow developed a strong attachment to their birth family in the early weeks or months of their lives before the Acquisition Division came for them. This little boy from Corellia clearly belonged to the latter category.

    By now Yamma had lost her optimism that the child, being Human and therefore a mammal, would be easier to soothe than an infant from a cold-blooded alien species that she couldn’t fool into complacency through sheer physical warmth. Seyf had been going at it for hours as she cradled him in her furry arms, and she was beginning to doubt that his bond to his family could ever be undone. Moreover, she was finding it extremely difficult to prevent his overwhelming grief from flooding the minds of the other younglings in her care. All were drifting in and out of sleep, the fidgeters were beginning to make noises, she’d had to enlist the help of a few Padawans for meals and hygiene, and she could sense growing discomfort among even the quietest of her wards. She took a slow, deep breath to find her centre and she drew the Force to herself, sending a wave of tranquility across the small, dim-lit room.

    She suddenly sensed a minuscule, yet-unformed mind joining in her effort, and she briefly diverted her attention from Seyf’s cries to focus on the younglings. Noora, a little girl from the valleys of Jelucan, a baby so tiny that Yamma had been uneasy about bringing her to the Temple at such a young age, was wide awake in her crib. The newborn was cooing softly as she lulled the rest of the Force-sensitive children back to a peaceful sleep.

    He was wrapped in darkness and she was bringing light. He was cold, numb, hollow and she gave him warmth. He was empty, but she was full of colours and sounds and scents, and she let him taste them, touch them, feel them as they swirled within her, around her. She was giving him her world, she was pulling him inside, back to before the rupture, to the moment when he had been one with the other her. He didn’t know who or what she was, but she was where he wanted to be.

    Yamma Ummia stared at the two infants in wonder as she stepped forward to accommodate Seyf in Noora’s crib. She was amazed, after all these years, to still discover the endless possibilities of a small child’s mind. Noora was already dozing off by the time she was done tucking the soft blanket around them both, but her reassuring presence in the Force was still there. The Wookiee Jedi waited until Seyf’s eyelids became heavy, then summoned a nursery assistant and went off to find Master Yoda. He needed to see this.

    -----------------------------------

    Wookieepedia links:

    Acquisition Division
     
  3. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Oh, cool! Beautiful & vivid descriptions of Sayf's perceptions and Yamma's attempts to soothe. Intriguing that Noora has the empathic ability to sense and console the other younglings.
    @};-
     
  4. DARTH_MU

    DARTH_MU Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Feb 9, 2005
    This song....
    Remind me of another.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suliko

    Okay seriously reviewing the fic now:

    Bummer Chapter 1 is so short, but so sweet. If you follow the song, at least they will have some good, happy times together.
    Oh the lives of the Jedi.
     
  5. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    Jedi Master Yamma Ummia had fostered infants in the temple’s nursery for decades. She knew that every child reacted differently to being separated from his or her family. There were those who took it in stride, oblivious to the world as long as their formula came on time, their nappies were changed regularly and a general aura of serenity and well-being was made to immerse their minds. There were those who displayed intense curiosity, staring at their new surroundings, reaching out to them through their primitive Force powers or rubbing their small hands in her thick fur when she picked them up. There were those who fidgeted for days on end, aware, as much as their tiny souls could grasp it, that their environment had changed, that they weren’t at home anymore. And there were those who experienced a deep sense of loss, who direly missed the touch, the scent, the presence of their mother, who had somehow developed a strong attachment to their birth family in the early weeks or months of their lives before the Acquisition Division came for them. This little boy from Corellia clearly belonged to the latter category.

    Wonderful descriptions how the Jedi order takes care of children so young and vulnerable. At least there is kindness. When I think about Palpatine´s way to raise children I shiver:







     
  6. Mistress_Renata

    Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 9, 2000
    Poor Seyf. Don't think he'll make it to Knighthood; attachment is so much a part of his being. Yamma trying so hard to calm him and soothe him... and I liked the touch of the one unhappy one unsettling the rest of the unhappy ones. Isn't that the way it goes? You can be in a roomful of happy babies, one starts crying and it sets all the rest of them off.

    Oh dear, these Celtic Songs...! The only ones that aren't full of tragedy are the drinking songs...
     
  7. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    I'm very intrigued by the way this is starting out. :cool: A very interesting parallel to the song is showing itself already: Seyf and Noora are just as intertwined at the start of this story in the same way Barbara Allen (Barbary Allen, Barbriallen) and her beloved (who has different names in different versions of the song) are intertwined in death at the end of the song. And of course strong attachment is a huge theme of the song too. Even at this very early stage, Seyf's overwhelming need for attachment seems even stronger than that of most babies; he's so desperately trying to recapture a lost closeness, and we get a hint of the reason why in the opening paragraphs, and especially later when he recalls the time when he was "one with the other her": this sounds very much like he was [hl=black]split up from a twin[/hl]. I love the glimpses we get into his thoughts and feelings, with all the senses coming together and spilling into each other in an almost synesthetic way (which in a way is a perfect fit with the fact that they're still babies, still making sense of how even to use their senses.) Noora's empathy is just as impressive—even at this tiny age she seems able to tell exactly what kind of closeness Seyf needs, and to provide him with it. As others have noted, that talent could prove to be a real double-edged sword in her later life as a Jedi; no doubt Yamma is thinking that same thing (and she would know).

    By the way, I love that you made the custodian of the younglings a Wookiee—you always do such a wonderful job writing them, and this Yamma Ummia is a real dear. [face_love] She's really doing all she possibly can to help the poor disconsolate Seyf, but it also says a lot for her that she listens to, and accepts, Noora's unspoken, Force-transmitted offer to help. I'm also enjoying the real-life connections in the names you've chosen: Noora is clearly related to "light," Ummia to "mother," and I'm sure there are others (Seyf, too?). :)

    I will be most intrigued to see where the intense bond between these two will lead, even if—in true Celtic ballad spirit—it doesn't end happily! And I'll certainly be keeping my eye out for any alternate versions of Ἀνάγκη characters. @};-
     
  8. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    It's never a bad idea to recycle an old draft, return to it and turn it into a completely different story. It's like the words take over you and take you through a labyrinth you never expected to go through. And that is what makes this beginning awesome!

    The very start of this story is breathtakingly beautiful and captivating. I have never seen this amount of sensitivity in your work and I'm delighted that you're exploring different approaches to describing emotions. :) The way you described the union of these two beings - presumably a mother and an infant son (though Findswoman's theory makes sense too, plus it's very starwarsy) - makes me want to press the laptop against my chest and hug it. [face_love]

    I love it that Yamma Ummia is an alien, too! And a Wookie! I know how fond of them you are. :) And the whole idea of different ways to soothe a youngling is intriguing - have not thought about that before.

    But I sense that the attachment that Seyf is instantly forming with Noora will eventually become trouble - just like it was the case with Anakin and Padmé. Then again, I'm known for jumping to conclusions without thinking, so doooon't mind me.
     
  9. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Thank you for the reviews and thanks to everyone who stopped by to read! Here are a few replies to your thoughtful comments before I post chapter 2.

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Thanks! Noora is an older version of Ayesha, so of course she would have some of the qualities you know and love :)

    DARTH_MU Thank you! Yes, Noora and Seyf will have a happy childhood together – although I should warn you that my specialty is to make characters happy and demolish it all afterwards [face_devil]

    AzureAngel2 Thank you! I've always been curious about how the Jedi Order would handle tiny Force-sensitive babies. They couldn't be putting a lightsaber in their hands before they even walk and talk, could they? So I tried to develop a bit on the aspects of the Force infants and toddlers would get to explore before they formally became Jedi Initiates, and that would involve a lot of things that are actually unsaid. While that definitely has nothing to do with Palpy's idea of early childhood "education", there's still a disturbing element to it IMO in the fact that these younglings are uprooted from their "natural" environment and taken to the temple.

    Mistress_Renata Thanks :)
    Hehehe. It looks like I'll manage to surprise you after all!

    About the roomful of babies... yes, it can be a nightmare. I once took one of my nephews to a birthday party when he was two years old. The birthday boy was horribly intimidated by the presence of so many people (his parents had gone a bit over the top with the invitations) and started crying. The first hour of the party was a disaster, the kids started weeping and bawling one after the other and it got completely out of control. The parents learned their lesson after that and the following parties were much, much smaller.

    Findswoman Thank you! From the moment I received Barbriallen as my prompt for the challenge I knew that I would be writing a Jedi story, since the theme is feelings of attachment that are not voiced until it's too late, but it took me a while to figure out the how – until I remembered Noora. Regarding names in this story, they're all pretty obvious and simplistic, e.g. Yamma Ummia means mum-mum (in Arabic), Noora Foteeou means light-light (in Arabic and Greek), Seyf Spathy means sword-sword (in Arabic and Greek again), etc. This is because I'm using the "working names" I had for these characters before they evolved into the ones that ended up appearing in Ἀνάγκη (namely Messiri and Ayesha for Yamma and Noora respectively, Seyf is a character that I haven't used yet). In the coming chapter there's another Ἀνάγκη character that turns up, and I kept her name as it always was because I never had a different name for her.

    Ewok Poet Thanks! As you probably already noticed I'm not very big on introspection in general and it's not something I often write, but in this case it seemed appropriate (although I did write a few passages in this style already in Ἀνάγκη but I think you dropped out before I got there). For once your "jumping to conclusions" is serving you well, because this is a Celtic song story, so yeah, there's trouble ahead, lots of it for that matter :p

    Oh, and...
    It's definitely mother and son here – although I did consider making Noora and Seyf siblings for this story and making the bond between them a bond between twins instead of a romantic bond, but then 1) it was too similar to another story I'm writing and 2) I decided to stick closer to the theme of the song.

    Thanks again, everyone! Next chapter coming right up.
     
  10. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Chapter 2: The Gardens

    Seyf took Noora’s hand and held it tightly as the younglings of Briar Clan lined up to follow Yamma Ummia to the gardens. The Wookiee always took great pleasure in teaching her wards about the wonders of nature and she was looking forward to seeing their reaction to the lush plant life that grew on the rooftop of the ziggurat that towered over Coruscant. She waited patiently until her little cohort of toddlers organised themselves with a semblance of discipline and led the way to the turbolift as they waddled behind her. She was confident that she could persuade them to start a gardening project until they were old enough to begin their formal training as Jedi Initiates.

    Master Yoland Fee was waiting for them in the wide alley separating the Jedi Temple’s orchard from an eglant thicket whose branches were covered in immature, tightly wrapped flower buds. A short, stern-looking woman with eagle eyes was standing at his side. He made the younglings sit in a semicircle to face him and introduced his visitor as Nazmat Koch. “Master Nazmat is one of the Republic’s most famous artists,” he said without further explanation. He was about to begin his lesson when a little Rodian raised her hand.

    “Master Yoland,” she asked, unfazed by the gardener’s rigid appearance, “what is an artist?”

    “Artists draw!” Noora squeaked excitedly. “They play with colours and they make pretty things.” She pointed at the amygda tree across the alley. It was covered in white and purple blossoms. “Pretty like the flowers, but not real flowers.”

    Nazmat Koch gave the three-year-old an approving look as she took a seat at one end of the semicircle. “Indeed. If you want, you will be able to watch me draw later. But now, we must proceed with your class.”

    Master Fee invited the younglings to close their eyes for a moment and reach out to their surroundings with the Force. There was a brief silence, broken only by the murmur of the breeze and the mournful chirping and peeping of an avian. Meditation sessions were extremely short with younglings of this age and this one didn’t last for more than a few seconds. “There’s water,” a Nautolan boy said almost immediately. “Water in the trees.”

    “And little animals in the grass,” the Rodian girl said. “They’re carrying things.”

    “And the flowers,” an Ithorian said dreamily. “They want to grow.”

    The master gardener let the children share their observations a little longer and he was about to lead them into a second meditation session when Noora let out a sob. “It’s hurt,” she said in a small voice. “The little bird. It’s crying.” She pointed at a spot behind him.

    Yoland Fee turned around to inspect the amygda tree. There was indeed a gold-and-brown fledgling holding on tightly to a branch with its prehensile tail; it was half-hidden behind the trunk and its wing stuck out at an odd angle. “Noora is correct,” he said calmly. “This convor is injured. What must we do?”

    Seyf jumped to his feet. “We must help it!”

    “Indeed. Why must we help it?”

    “Because it makes Noora sad.”

    Yamma Ummia stifled a chuckle. [We must help it because we are Jedi…,] she rumbled in Shyriiwook.

    “... and Jedi protect all life,” the younglings replied in unison.

    “Can I get it, Master?” Seyf asked impatiently.

    The Wookiee came to kneel behind him and Noora and pulled him back to a sitting position. [Let Noora try first. It was she who found it.] She placed her paw reassuringly on the little girl’s back. [Come now, Noora. Focus on the little convor and bring it to us.]

    Noora closed her eyes, raised a pudgy hand and focused on the avian with all her might. Yamma could feel – almost physically – the whirlwind of colours, sounds, scents, tastes and textures that flashed through her mind as she drew the Force to herself, and it made her wonder once more at the child’s unusual relationship to the living energy field. In all her years as a fosterer, she had never encountered a youngling whose visualisation of the Force was so material, for lack of a better word. Noora’s meditations always resulted in the creation of an image in her head, and, more often than not, she would seek to re-create it out of random bits of material in the dormitory during playtime before going to bed. No doubt Yamma would spend her evening poring over one of the girl’s collages, seeking to decipher its deeper meaning while Briar Clan went to sleep.

    The bright splashes morphed into a mass of green interspersed with white, but the ebb and flow of sensations abruptly receded and Noora folded her hands in her lap. “I can’t do it,” she said shamefacedly. “There are too many things here.”

    Master Fee’s eyes travelled from the convor to her and he gave her a genuine smile. “You did well, little Noora. You may not have brought our avian friend to safety, but it is feeling much better now. Can you hear it? It’s not crying anymore. It’s singing.” He paused for a moment to let the younglings listen to the bird’s cheerful twittering. “All right now. Who will fetch this convor for us, so that Noora can take it to the healers?”

    “Me, me!” Seyf shouted. “I’ll get it for Noora!”

    [Will you really, Seyf?] Yamma rumbled. [You seem far too excited to be able to focus.]

    The toddler reverted immediately to a more serious demeanour. “I’m sorry, Master Yamma. I’ll focus. I can focus, I promise.”

    The Wookiee allowed for a few seconds of silence that felt like centuries. [All right then. Proceed.]

    It was Seyf’s turn to close his eyes and raise a hand. Yamma felt his Force sense wrap itself gently around the tree, the convor, the wounded wing – the boy was impetuous, but his friendship with Noora had already taught him the benefits of being cautious and kind, she thought with a smile of satisfaction. She reached out for the avian as soon as it moved off the branch, in case Seyf’s grip faltered, but he didn’t need her help. The bird floated across the air as if of its own accord, and soon it was nestled in Noora’s lap, its tiny head resting against her tummy.

    Noora planted a slobbery peck on Seyf’s cheek as the little group of younglings broke into joyous cheers. Master Fee clapped his hands to get the class’s attention. “That will be your lesson for today, Briar Clan. Master Ummia will lead you now to the Halls of Healing, so that you can look after our little friend, and I will be waiting for you here tomorrow. Hopefully its wing will be fine and we can let it fly among the trees again.”

    Noora cradled the convor as she stood up. “But I wanted to watch Master Nazmat draw,” she said hesitantly.

    “And I wanted to show you how I draw, little Noora,” the artist answered. “But worry not. I will be here tomorrow and so will you.”

    The younglings of Briar Clan lined up behind Yamma Ummia in a far more chaotic fashion than on the way up – they all wanted to see, touch or pat the injured avian – and were off towards the turbolifts.

    “She is an exceptionally talented child,” Nazmat Koch told Yoland Fee as the children walked away.

    “Yamma Ummia agrees with you,” the master gardener said. “She has mentioned repeatedly that this girl is a powerful empath. She has a particularly strong connection to the Living Force.”

    The stern-looking artist gave her old friend a wry smile. “Yoland, sometimes you Jedi are so absorbed in your studies of the Force that you fail to notice the obvious.” She gestured towards the thicket on the other side of the alley. The immature buds had erupted into bright-white flowers. “She caused this to happen.”

    The Jedi’s eyes followed the movement of her hand. He could barely contain his astonishment. “When did she do this?”

    “While she was trying to bring the avian to herself. And look.” She took a step forward and ran her palm over the petals. “She didn’t only make the flowers blossom. There is a pattern to this. Unless my eyes are deceiving me, little Noora just created a primitive grass painting.”

    ----------------------------

    Notes and Wookieepedia links
    Yoland Fee
    Convor
    The eglant thicket is a plant I “invented” for this story; I named it after the eglantine or sweetbriar rose. The amygda tree is my GFFA version of an almond tree.
    Nazmat Koch is a character that appears in
    Ἀνάγκη – Necessity beyond Sway. This story features an alternate version of her. I considered re-naming her but she’s still essentially the same person and I never had another name for her, so I kept her as she always was.
    Grass painting
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2018
  11. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    She waited patiently until her little cohort of toddlers organised themselves with a semblance of discipline and led the way to the turbolift as they waddled behind her. She was confident that she could persuade them to start a gardening project until they were old enough to begin formal training as Jedi Initiates.

    This sounds exactly like work. All of it.

    Another thing I liked about this update is the convor. Not only you described it well, but I actually felt sorry for it immediately.

    The most fascinating aspect though was that Noora was able to compose a grass painting, primitive or not, while healing the convor. She seems to be a natural talent.
     
  12. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Happy squeal! Nazmat makes an appearance! [face_dancing] Love her observations and realization about Noora's talents. :cool: Her empathy & creativity are unique and strong. She makes collages and connecting to the Force involves artistic patterns. :D Seyf is also benefiting from her influence, becoming kind and less impetuous. I like Yoland Fee as an instructor too. He seems to balance flexibility with structure and a keen knowledge for younglings' attention spans. [face_laugh]

    I am totally absolutely captivated by Convors. :D Not only are they lovely but they seem to be quite gentle as well.
     
    Findswoman, AzureAngel2 and Chyntuck like this.
  13. Mistress_Renata

    Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 9, 2000
    Such a nice look at the gentle introduction to the Force these little ones are getting, and I like how the different children perceived different aspects. Of course the little Nautolan boy would be attuned to water, and the nature-loving Ithorian would sense the flowers. I was a little worried when Seyf tried to take the little bird to safety; he was so over enthusiastic that I was afraid he'd accidentally hurt it. And another warning is that he wanted to help the bird was to please Noora, not to help the bird for its own sake. Hmm.

    Loved Noora accidentally creating a grass painting. Times like this I wish you could add illustrations to the boards!
     
  14. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Beautiful chapter—what could be a lovelier setting for the burgeoning of Noora's beautiful abilities than the Jedi Temple gardens?I didn't know about Yoland Fee before, but I just love that there is an officially established Jedi Temple gardener—doing that kind of work must take a very special kind of connection to the Living Force. And of course it's wonderful to see good old Nazmat Koch again, as dear and Denchlike as always. [face_love] She seems like she could make a really good mentor for someone like Noora, just as she was for Ayesha.

    The contrast between Noora's keen empathy and Seyf's impetuousness is so striking. In a way Seyf's impetuousness is his brand of empathy, since his eagerness to act stems directly from his desire to cheer up Noora (which of course Yamma Ummia calls him on, in true and understandable Jedi fashion)—but as others have said he definitely could have done that little convor more harm than good if he had jumped to its aid. Noora, on the other hand, managed to soothe the little bird's pain so much that it came to her on its own, which in a way is much more impressive. And that the grass painting of eglant flowers happens at the same is just the icing on the cake. A beautiful scene all around that speaks volumes about Noora and what she's capable of (and, potentially, the ways Seyf's more impulsive nature might interact with it).

    Once again, wonderful tie--ins to the prompt song in the eglant/sweetbriar-like flowers, and, of course, the name of Seyf and Noora's clan. @};-
     
  15. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Thank you all for reading and reviewing, and thanks to the faithful lurkers who stopped by to read!

    A few replies before I post chapter 3:

    AzureAngel2
    :p I had some expert technical advice at home about this (namely my cousin, who used to teach KG and now teaches primary school).
    Thanks! Indeed, Noora is naturally very talented for the arts in general (she *is* an older version of Ayesha, after all ;) ) and this will play an important role in her story.

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Thanks for your comments [:D] Nazmat Koch is one of those characters that turned up all formed in my head one morning when I was minding my own business, and I love writing about her. She will play a more prominent role in this story than in Ἀνάγκη, beginning in a few chapters down the line. I always pictured her as being friends with some particularly grumpy Jedi, but that was an aspect of her I didn't get to develop in the other storyline so I'm doing it now. I liked the idea that she would be friends with the master gardener, since she likes painting Coruscant cityscapes and where would you find a better view than on the roof of the Jedi Temple?

    Mistress_Renata Thank you! I'm enjoying writing about how very young children learn the ways of the Force. It's always presented in such abstract terms, "energy field blah-blah, binds all living things blah-blah, light side dark side and whatnot", but my nephews and nieces couldn't care less about all that :p They need to downsize everything to dimensions they can understand, and it would have to be the same for Jedi younglings. And of course, there would be minor "Force accidents" in the Temple, à la magical mishaps in Hogwarts :D I shudder at the thought of the chaos the little Chyntucks would cause if they had an ounce of Force-sensitivity!
    Seyf is quite impatient and impetuous – actually, scratch that; he's just a normal little boy who doesn't like to wait and cares a great deal about his best friend. But he's also a good baby-Jedi in his own right and he's been learning from those around him. There's more about all that in the upcoming chapter.

    Findswoman Thanks for your review! Just to clarify, the convor didn't come to Noora on its own, it was Seyf "carrying" him to her and he definitely wouldn't want to hurt the little birdie whose pain made Noora cry (although he did need to be reminded to do it calmly of course, what with him being a three-year-old and all). He has much better control over his Force powers than Noora, who failed at the task she was trying to accomplish but achieved a few other things accidentally instead. But then, she also has qualities that he's learning from her, so I guess we can call it a draw.

    Thanks again, everyone! Next chapter coming right up.
     
  16. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Chapter 3: The Sacred Spire

    Yamma Ummia felt a pang of sadness when the younglings of Briar Clan lined up to follow her for the last time. Over the past five years, she had patiently guided them through their first steps in the ways of the Force. They had learned about the Jedi Temple’s layout, they had visited the archives, they had explored the gardens, they had discovered the Room of a Thousand Fountains, they had memorised the tales of the Four Masters and their contribution to the Jedi Order. They could recite the Jedi Code without the faintest hesitation and they had mastered the basic skills of harnessing their Force powers. Some had even had visions of sorts upon discovering the Force-sensitive tree that ornamented one of the courtyards. And today, after she took them to meditate near the nexus that resided within the temple’s Sacred Spire, she would hand them over to Mace Windu. Despite his recent appointment as Master of the Order, a position whose authority was second only to Master Yoda’s, the Korun Jedi had chosen to act as the clan’s instructor and mentor until the children were old enough to take their Initiate Trials and be formally apprenticed to a Jedi Knight as Padawans.

    The Wookiee fosterer would miss them. Savra the Rodian who always paid attention to the smallest details, Psary the Nautolan who was so eager to help his clan-mates when Yamma had taught them how to swim, Fysê the Ithorian who decorated the dormitory with all manners of plants grown from cuttings from the gardens, Pontik the good-natured Squib who comforted her friends in moments of failure and cheered them on in moments of success… and of course Noora and Seyf. Yes, she would miss them, especially those two – and she was more than a little concerned about their future as well.

    The bond that the little girl from Jelucan and the little boy from Corellia had formed on their first day in the nursery had only grown stronger over the years. Wherever Seyf went, Noora was never far behind; whatever Noora was doing, Seyf would come to do it with her. Yamma Ummia had engaged more than once in barely civilised arguments with Mace Windu over the appropriateness of this behaviour. The Korun’s interpretation of the Jedi ethos was so rigid and rigorous that he thought of anything that could be construed as attachment to a living being as anathema; it should be, in his own words, ‘stamped out’ of the souls of the temple’s wards. The Wookiee, on the other hand, drew on her long years of experience working with the Order’s youngest recruits to argue that forming such bonds was a natural part of early life for most species and that learning how to overcome them was intrinsic to the process of sentient development into adulthood. She feared that Mace Windu’s decision to take over as the instructor of Briar Clan was misguided and that the heavy-handed approach she expected him to favour in dealing with Noora and Seyf’s friendship would backfire. Furthermore, she had seen over the years how beneficial this friendship had been for both younglings. Seyf showed great aptitude at controlling his powers whereas Noora could be a little airheaded at times; Noora was calm, patient and serene whereas Seyf was impetuous and reckless – and their constant association was letting them learn from each other and helping them achieve their full potential as wielders of the Force. Yamma Ummia was convinced that keeping them apart would make them lesser Jedi in the long run, and lesser beings as well.

    She stifled a sigh and spun on her heel to lead her little troupe of five-year-olds to the heart of the temple. The convor that Noora and Seyf had rescued on the roof gardens two years ago, which was now named Pooly and had become a mascot of sorts for Briar Clan, came to perch on her shoulder and rubbed its head against hers. She smiled at the memory. Even the austere master gardener had fallen under the two children’s spell on that day, and she had obtained from Mace Windu that Noora and Seyf would be allowed to continue their extra-curricular activities with Nazmat Koch during their free hours. The girl and the artist had become fast friends; Nazmat Koch taught Noora the art of grass painting while Seyf, under Yoland Fee’s guidance, helped her channel her talent to influence flowers and plants. It had been many decades since the temple had produced a Jedi with such an inclination towards the arts, and Yamma Ummia had been grateful for Master Yoda’s support in this matter. “Answer her calling, little Noora must,” the elderly alien told Mace Windu when he raised a half-hearted objection to the Wookiee’s request and invoked the excessive burden that supplementary art classes would place on Noora’s studies. “To the Journal of the Whills, I refer you: ‘No craft of sentience is so inessential as to not serve the light. A craft left untouched is merely a path not taken.’ The youngling will continue her art training, and her partner with her.”

    The Grand Master and the Master of the Order stood by the turbolift doors on the central level, together with the other knights who would be taking over as instructors after the ceremony was complete. The various clans that were due to accede to initiation had mostly gathered already and the platform was a buzz of chatter, excitement and anticipation as the younglings eagerly discussed their expectations from the meditation session. The wildest rumours flew among their ranks: they would have visions of the future, they would see the outcome of the Jedi’s most ancient prophecies, they would be tempted by the dark side and overcome it, they would be attacked by monsters rising from the depths of Coruscant… The hint of a smile on Yoda’s face had Yamma Ummia struggling hard to maintain her composure. In truth, the visit to the Sacred Spire usually turned out to be an underwhelming affair for most children, as their limited Force senses did not allow them to experience the full power of the nexus. While there had been notable exceptions to this across the ages, there was no particular reason to expect that today’s session would be any different.

    The instructors and the fosterers paired up to lead their clans to the meditation alcoves that surrounded the spire while Master Yoda took his position atop the rocky promontory around which the temple was built. Mace Windu sat at one end of the semicircle formed by the Briar younglings and Yamma Ummia settled at the other. The Wookiee closed her eyes briefly to find her centre and sent a wave of tranquillity across the room, soothing the most anxious of her wards. Again, she experienced a pang of sadness at the thought that this would be the last time she did such a thing for them. From the expression on Master Windu’s face, there would be little soothing for the clan in the years to come – although, for all her disagreements with the Korun’s exceedingly stern approach to the education of children so young, she knew that he fully deserved his reputation for being fair, principled and fiercely loyal to the ideals of the Jedi, and she had to believe that under his guidance the younglings would acquire any number of skills in which she was lacking. There was, after all, a reason why the Council had chosen Mace Windu for one of the highest positions among the Order, and she didn’t doubt their wisdom in the least.

    Master Yoda tapped his gimer stick to the rock to call for everyone’s attention and began his speech – a speech that he had repeated so many times over the years that it was by now extremely short and concise. “Your first visit to this sacred place today is, but not your last,” he said reassuringly. “Many times you will return here to seek the guidance of the Force. Focus on the things you see, and remember them. The past, the present or the future, friends gone or friends to come, life itself – it matters not what they are. Many long years are ahead, to explain and understand what you have seen.” He tapped his stick once more and added, “Nothing to fear, there is – only what you bring with you.”

    The elderly master bowed his head to begin his meditation and the entire assembly followed suit. Yamma Ummia focused on the thoughts swirling across the younglings’ minds. Each one of them was visualising the currents of the Force in his or her own way. To Savra, it was a swarm of luminous specks that pulsed like a living being; to Psary, a translucent blue mass that ebbed and flowed; to Fysê, a lush forest of green and brown where vibrant spots were born, grew, withered and died only to be born again in a resplendent explosion of colours. Pontik didn’t so much see as hear laughter, merriment and every form of joy at the miracle of life; Seyf was surrounded by bright flashes of green, blue, purple and red, and Noora…

    Noora’s meditation had taken her to the Jedi Temple’s rooftop gardens, to the very thicket that her nascent powers had once caused to bloom. She stood there, sad and alone, cradling the little convor that she had found and rescued, holding it tightly to her chest as if it were in danger of being stolen from her. The greenery around her suddenly erupted into a ravenous blaze that devoured everything in its path. Plumes of smoke and ashes clouded the atmosphere, but she remained there, still as a statue, waiting for the end to come.

    Yamma Ummia and Mace Windu looked up abruptly. The sense emanating from the girl shifted to hope for the briefest of moments when a whirl of dazzling blue appeared in her thoughts to keep the flames at bay, but soon that emotion was gone as the fire flared up again. Yet her earlier despondency didn’t return. She released Pooly into the skies and let the blaze engulf her, and soon all there was to see was a sea of cinders, with only two small, thorny bushes growing entwined in their midst.

    The fosterer and the instructor exchanged puzzled glances as the meditation session wound down. There was an undeniable darkness to Noora’s vision, one that Yamma Ummia had never observed in the girl so far. But Noora was smiling serenely when she opened her eyes, as if the apocalypse she had witnessed had somehow come to a satisfying conclusion – and what perplexed the Wookiee to no end was that Seyf was staring at his friend and smiling peacefully too.

    -------------------------------

    Endnotes and Wookieepedia links
    Room of a Thousand Fountains
    Four Masters
    Jedi Code
    Force-sensitive tree
    Sacred Spire
    Initiate Trials
    Master of the Order
    Grand Master
    As stated in a reply above the names of the characters in this story are quite simple and obvious, especially if you know Greek :p Specifically: Savra (the Rodian) comes from σαύρα – lizard, Psary (the Nautolan) from ψάρι – fish, Fysê (the Ithorian) from φύση – nature, Pontik (the Squib) from ποντίκι – mouse, and Pooly (the convor) from πουλί – bird.
     
  17. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    I love Yamma Ummia's introspection and genuine affection for those in her charge. [face_love] I too share her reservations about Mace's heavy-handedness. Obi-wan would be a better choice, for although he adheres to the Code, he is a very approachable and resourceful individual [face_laugh] who has a strong circle of friends and is not abashed about forming attachments. ;)

    Wow, Noora's experience with the conflagration is worrying but she and Seyf don't seem to be particularly bothered about it. [face_thinking]

    =D=
     
  18. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    I like you playing with Greek words and create plan miracles.

    As stated in a reply above the names of the characters in this story are quite simple and obvious, especially if you know Greek :p Specifically: Savra (the Rodian) comes from σαύρα – lizard, Psary (the Nautolan) from ψάρι – fish, Fysê (the Ithorian) from φύση – nature, Pontik (the Squib) from ποντίκι – mouse, and Pooly (the convor) from πουλί – bird.

    The Wookie´s insight about caring for Force sensitive children shows that the entire Jedi order should have listened to her:

    the Korun’s interpretation of the Jedi ethos was so rigid and rigorous that he thought of anything that could be construed as attachment to a living being as anathema; it should be, in his own words, ‘stamped out’ of the souls of the temple’s wards. The Wookiee, on the other hand, drew on her long years of experience working with the Order’s youngest recruits to argue that forming such bonds was a natural part of early life for most species and that learning how to overcome them was intrinsic to the process of sentient development into adulthood.

    Noora and Seyf´s future is still wide open, but laced with darkness.
     
  19. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    It’s striking to see the darker side of Noora’s amazing artistry-empathy combination come to light (!) here. The chapter has an air of foreboding from the start, as soon as we hear that Briar Clan will now be led by Mace Windu—famously uncompromising on issues like attachments—instead of Yamma Ummia. Like Yamma Ummia (and like Ny), I have some definite misgivings about what this will mean for Noora, Seyf, and their bond—things are starting to enter tragic ballad territory now for sure. (The fact that Pooly the convor has become the clan’s de-facto mascot seems like another hint, given the way convorees are essentially the GFFA’s "bird of ill omen.”)

    At the same time, it’s encouraging that Noora and Seyf have been allowed to work with Masters Koch and Fee, respectively, at least on an extracurricular basis (and I'm so thankful good old Master Yoda spoke up to Mace on their behalf). It looks like the symbiosis between them is starting to take a very particular form: if I read aright, Seyf’s energy is serving as a sort of catalyst and/or conduit for Noora’s unique brand of artistic talent. I have to say, what you’ve done in this story with both the Force talents and the nature of this attachment is pretty darn awesome. :cool:

    Now, what to make of Noora's extremely vivid and specific vision atop the Sacred Spire! :eek: Just what is it she’s seeing happen? I’m not going to try to interpret any of it except to say that it looks like part self-immolation and part apotheosis (perhaps taking place during Order 66). The twined vines of the prompt song of course make for an arresting final image of attachment beyond the confines of life. But what’s most puzzling perhaps is how calm Noora is about it—and Seyf, too, as if he saw it all at the same time! Color me very, very intrigued about where this all might lead!
     
  20. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    Catching up with chapters 2 and 3. :)

    The second chapter's setting is beautiful, but there's an aura of darkness even there, probably because the bird is a convor and convors are trouble. And there we arrive to the dichotomy, to the impulsiveness that is Seyf and the calmness that is Noora. He wants to retrieve the bird quickly and she reaches out with the Force. They could make a team, their connection is strong, but she is far more powerful than him.

    Love seeing Nazmat Koch again! I know she's dead in your universe, but bringing her back to life in this story is a great decision - we get to see her younger and even sharper. And I always imagine Judi Dench's face when reading about her.

    The third chapter is a bit intimidating. I didn't expect such an ending - which is exactly what makes it cool - and now I wonder if there's a dark side spark in Noora. She is very young, yet she is capable of creating an unresting and disturbing image through meditation. Mace Windu is in for a lot of headaches, methinks! One option here is that Noora is going to be the girl who cried wolf, but I feel that there's much more to it than what's obvious.

    I think there's a bit of Noora and a bit of Seyf in all of us - because we're balanced. But are they? *raises an eyebrow*
     
  21. Mistress_Renata

    Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 9, 2000
    Ooo, that is a dark and ominous vision to have at such a Sacred Space and on such an important occasion! What's even odder is that Seyf seems to have shared it and neither he nor Noora seems at all bothered by it. Eeeerie...

    Mace Windu taking over the care and training of a group of five-year-olds...THAT is even SCARIER!!!

    Have absolutely no idea how this will turn out! [face_dunno]
     
  22. Pandora

    Pandora Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 13, 2005
    Firstly, I find the idea of bringing back an older version of your character, who I gather turned out to be quite different, to be an intriguing one--yes, sometimes you can return to take the path not chosen.

    It's clear even in the first few chapters what the two protagonists' natures are: Seyf for sword tends towards strong emotions--probably not overly so, but the Jedi have different standards on these things--and a natural need to bond with other beings. I hadn't any doubt that the opening describes the bond between an unborn child/newborn and the mother, from the time when the child doesn't experience the mother as a separate individual, and how that time comes to a crashing end. Noora for light is an instinctive empath even as a newborn, and she is also a natural artist whose Force abilities compliment her talents.

    Their bond is good for them both, as Yamma Ummia has the wisdom and experience to see; they complement each others' strengths and weaknesses. It is obviously going to continue as they get older, regardless of how things go once Mace Windu--who does seem an odd choice to take on the instruction of a bunch of small children--is in charge, and perhaps even in spite of him. But I can easily see them going in different directions, even if your summary hadn't indicated as much: I can see Seyf doing well with the lightsaber, and making padawan status, and (given the timeline) ending up on the front lines of the Clone Wars. But I'm not so certain about Noora's path. The Jedi Order isn't exactly known for producing artists.

    As for Pooly--when the convor reappeared in the third chapter, I realized it would have a larger role to play than I had originally thought. I'm not familiar at all with the Disney canon material in which convors appear, but I have never cared much for attaching ill omens or any such thing to animals. So basically: if something bad happens to Pooly, I may weep actual salty tears. But in a mature delicate way, and in private.

    Then there is that vision Noora has, that she seems to have shared with Seyf, and that image of the two entwined thorny bushes in the ruins calls to mind the similar image from "Barbriallen." It can't bode well. But other than that, as Mistress_Renata said, I don't have any real idea how things are going to turn out.

    Finally, thank you for writing this for the challenge!
     
  23. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Thank you all for reading and reviewing! Just a note to say that I'm not neglecting this fic – there's just a passage in the next chapter that I'm not particularly happy about, but I haven't been able to change it to something satisfactory yet. I'll give it a few more days and if I can't figure it out I'll post it as it is.

    Meanwhile, a few replies:

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Thank you for your comment! Indeed, I can think of many better options than Mace Windu to be the instructor of a group of young children! One possibility I had looked into for this story was Qui-Gon, but that forced me to take a very long and convoluted way to the outcome of this story. It couldn't be Obi-Wan, since we are in 40 BBY in this chapter and Obi-Wan is still a Padawan; but they'll both make appearances in the near future.

    AzureAngel2 Thanks! Yes, things would be quite different if the entire Jedi Order thought like Yamma Ummia, wouldn't they? But then we wouldn't have a story ;)

    Findswoman Thank you! Things will certainly change for Briar Clan in general and Noora and Seyf in particular now that Mace Windu is in charge, but there's a limit to what he can do without becoming a bully to young children and Yoda won't allow anything like that. Furthermore, by acting as the clan's instructor he'll see for himself how Noora and Seyf will help each other grow, even as he tries to pry them apart.
    At this stage of their lives, yes, this is the general idea – but we're still talking about five-year-olds right now who don't really know what they're doing with the Force, and as they grow up they'll gain more mastery of their respective skills and they'll naturally become more independent too. There's more of that in the next chapter, as soon as I manage to re-work it.

    Ewok Poet Thanks! I wouldn't precisely say that Noora is more powerful than Seyf; it's more that they have very different talents, and for now Noora is growing up faster (that's been my experience with little girls vs little boys at any rate). But yes, as children they make a good team, and they could still make a good team in the future if... [face_whistling] [face_shhh]

    Mistress_Renata Thank you :) The idea of Mace Windu in charge of a group of kids is scary, but I don't know if it's scarier for the kids or for Mace Windu himself [face_laugh] Seriously though, I don't think that Mace would be a bad instructor. He's not only a powerful Jedi, he also comes across as very disciplined and this would certainly be a skill that Jedi younglings need to learn. At the same time, I thought that all Jedi would be required to act as instructors at least once in their lives, because I loved the idea that Yoda himself was teaching younglings in AotC but also because it would be part of their personal growth as knights and masters. But obviously it won't be easy for anyone!

    Pandora Thank you for your review and welcome to this story! From your comments it looks like you guessed a lot of what will be happening here, so there isn't so much I can answer without giving away the rest of the plot :) Two points though:
    As I said above in my reply to Renata, one reason Mace Windu chooses to become the instructor of a youngling clan is that he's more or less required to do that at one point or another of his "career" with the Jedi Order. However, there is a reason he chose this specific clan, and that reason is very much Noora and Seyf's bond, which he disapproves of and would like to break (without being too obvious about it). I hesitated a lot to create an OC instructor who would be the rigid Jedi type like Mace, but in the end it came across as pointless when there was a perfect canon character to bring into this story and showcase the failure of the Jedi's dogma.
    [face_laugh] To be honest I don't know much about convorees either, not in canon, not in Legends. The Wook only says that they were popular pets, and it was their appearance that made me think that they are birds of ill omen – apparently that's the case somewhere in established lore too (maybe Finds or EP can clarify where) and it works just fine for this story.

    Lastly, to everyone, I'm not answering any of your comments on Noora's vision, because it's obviously key to the story and I would be spoiling the end if I did :p

    Thanks again for the kind reviews, and thanks to everyone who stopped by to read! I'll have the next chapter up sometime this week.
     
  24. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Chapter 4: Initiation

    Noora’s favourite class was meditation. The quiet moments when she could immerse herself in the Force and feel its shifting currents were the highlight of her learning hours. Most of the other younglings were grumpy and bleary-eyed when their instructor gathered them every morning and led them into a meditation session, but Noora was always heedful and alert. She sat cross-legged among her peers, and more often than not she projected such serenity by simply being there that everyone’s attention improved within minutes. For all her shortcomings in other areas of their training – she was still very much a daydreamer and failed occasionally at simple tasks such as telekinesis – Mace Windu had to admire her concentration and empathy. It was uncommon for an eight-year-old to be so focused on an assignment that didn’t involve running, jumping or flashing one’s talents, and while Noora’s mastery of some basic skills was still lacking, the Jedi Master acknowledged that she displayed rare maturity when it came to meditating and helping others reach the trance-like state that was expected of them.

    Seyf’s favourite class was lightsaber practice. One could sense the excitement rolling off him in waves every time Briar Clan followed Mace Windu to the training room, and he was so eager to learn that he spent an inordinate amount of time in the archives, reading up about duelling forms while Noora meditated at his side. In his first three years as a Jedi Initiate he had mastered Shii-Cho faster than any of his clan-mates, he was making fast progress on Makashi and Soresu and he was already looking forward to learning the acrobatics of Ataru. The Korun instructor had seen him demonstrate somersaults and leaping strikes in the dormitory before bedtime, and while the boy more often than not fell flat on his face when he attempted difficult moves that were far above his skill level, Master Windu was confident that he would grow into one of the finest blades of his generation. As a matter of fact, he was keeping a careful eye on Seyf’s state of mind, in the hope that the child would evolve into a suitable candidate to study and develop the art of Vaapad.

    What both younglings enjoyed above all, however, was the two afternoons every week when, instead of joining the rest of Briar Clan in the library or the prep room, they left together to the rooftop gardens for Noora’s art lesson with Nazmat Koch. Mace Windu could hear their happy laughter and the patter of their feet as they gambolled away, accompanied by Pooly the convor who was twittering and chirping cheerfully as he fluttered over their heads, and more than once he had left his clan in the charge of a Padawan to follow them and observe the session. Three years on, he was still of two minds about this. He could see that Noora’s talent at everything artistic was outstanding. The girl’s work truly channelled the light side of the Force, which she drew upon to complete the tasks that the artist assigned to her, and Seyf’s advice helped her enhance those practical skills with which she had difficulty, while she, in turn, contributed greatly to the development of his long-term concentration and patience. However, the Korun master was adamant that the rest of her training should take precedence over what remained, for all practical purposes, an ancillary activity to the growth of a Jedi. Moreover, he was still extremely concerned about the strength of the bond between the two children. He often felt as if their lives were inextricably entwined, and nothing he did, from assigning them to different working groups to cultivating Seyf’s passion for lightsaber combat, seemed to produce any tangible results in pulling them apart.

    There was also the matter of Noora’s sinister vision near the Sacred Spire that repeated itself every time Briar Clan visited the holy site, and the fact that, while Seyf didn’t appear to share all its details, the children’s bond was clearly at work here. Mace Windu had pondered this enigma at great length, he discussed it with Yoda and even brought it up once in a full session of the Jedi Council. But there was no darkness in the girl that any of the masters could sense; it remained unclear how and why the two younglings’ minds connected during their meditation; and the meaning and implications of the apocalyptic images that formed in Noora’s head was as elusive as ever. The consultation was fruitless but only reinforced the Korun’s decision to have a hand in the education of Noora and Seyf. He had originally chosen to mentor Briar Clan because of his concerns about their bond, but he had now developed a deep mistrust of the girl and he had this constant, nagging feeling in the back of his mind that a great ill would befall the Jedi Order and the galaxy at large within his lifetime. He was determined to do anything necessary to prevent it from happening.

    A day came when Mace Windu had to forego his teaching and supervision duties to attend one of the political events where his presence was required as Master of the Order. The representatives of four new worlds that had recently joined the Republic had presented their credentials to the Galactic Senate, and it was custom for the chancellor to accompany them on a tour of the temple. The Korun’s dislike for the sort of polite small talk that was expected of him in such circumstances was somewhat tempered by the presence of Sheev Palpatine at Chancellor Valorum’s side. The Jedi and the Naboo senator had developed a rapport through their brief encounters over the years, and Mace Windu thought that Palpatine displayed a much better understanding of the principles and purpose of the Jedi Order than most politicians. The two men lingered at the back of the group so as to be able to catch up on the most recent developments in the galaxy as Master Yoda guided the little troupe across the various public areas. Palpatine was exposing his concerns regarding the Trade Federation’s growing clout in the Senate when they reached the rooftop gardens. His face suddenly broke into a warm smile and Mace Windu followed him to the alley between the eglant thicket and the amygda tree where Nazmat Koch was busying herself with Noora and Seyf.

    “I would have expected to find you admiring the vista, my friend,” the senator told the artist after they had exchanged greetings. “This terrace must be among your places of choice to find inspiration for one of those Coruscant panoramas you so love to paint.”

    Nazmat Koch returned his smile. “Indeed it is, my dear Senator, and the view from this roof had me badgering Master Fee for years until he granted me access to the temple a few years ago. Since then, however, I had the privilege to teach these two darlings.” She gestured for Noora and Seyf to step forward and bow to the newcomers.

    Palpatine stared at the younglings curiously. “I was not aware that Jedi training involves developing children’s artistic sensitivities. This is very welcome news.”

    “It isn’t a standard part of Jedi education,” Mace Windu explained. “But we do encourage initiates to engage in extra-curricular activities that suit their interests, talents and inclinations.”

    “And Noora has displayed a particular affinity for the arts since a very young age,” the artist added. “Especially with grass paintings, although we are currently experimenting with building structures to support her works. For all practical purposes, she is developing the concept of grass sculptures, and as you know this is an art form that no one successfully achieved in the past.”

    The senator’s eyes went from Noora, who was smiling placidly as if she didn’t grasp the extent of Nazmat Koch’s praise , to Seyf, who was staring at his friend with undisguised admiration. “What about you, young man? Where do your artistic talents lie?”

    The boy laughed. “I don’t have any artistic talents, sir. I’m just happy to watch while Noora works. We practice other Jedi skills together here, so I’m learning a lot too.”

    “Young Seyf is quite gifted in the more traditional areas of our curriculum where Noora is lacking,” Mace Windu intervened. “He’s been working hard to overcome his temperament and he’s well on his way to becoming a skilled duellist.”

    Seyf cheeks took a deep shade of crimson, but what struck the Korun master was how Noora literally glowed with pride at the compliment he had just granted to her friend, oblivious to the implicit reprimand to herself. Palpatine noticed it too. “It is heartwarming to see this display of selfless devotion between these children,” he said. “Surely such selflessness is an important quality for young Jedi.”

    “It is,” Mace Windu admitted reluctantly. “But Noora and Seyf aren’t guaranteed to be Jedi just yet, they still need to work hard to deserve that title. Initiates who fail their Padawan trials are transferred to the Agricultural Corps.”

    The shadow of a grin played across the senator’s face. “Indeed, and I am certain that Noora will invest the time and effort to acquire those skills with which she appears to have some difficulty. You wouldn’t want to be sent off to the AgriCorps, would you?”

    Noora merely gave him her serene smile. “I’ll be happy to go where the Force guides me, sir. Master Yoda always says that there are many ways to serve the light.”

    “More of your selflessness!” Palpatine said enthusiastically. “You are a truly delightful human being, Jedi or not. Now we will leave you to your work. It was lovely meeting you two. Master Koch, a pleasure, as always.”

    The senator and Mace Windu had only taken a few steps away when Seyf piped up behind them. “Noora will be a great Jedi, sir. I’m sure of it.”

    The two men spun on their heel to see that the Seyf was now holding Noora’s hand and watching them anxiously. Palpatine’s grin widened. He stepped forward and patted the boy’s shoulder. “And I am sure that you will become an excellent Jedi as well, young man. I will be watching your career with great interest.”

    ------------------------------

    Wookieepedia links

    Shii-Cho
    Makashi
    Soresu
    Ataru
    Vaapad
     
  25. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Superb update =D= I am not surprised that the bond between Noora and Seyf remains as strong as ever, if not stronger. I am happy to see them thriving in their own spheres of talent: her artistically, him with sabers. Mace's concerns are well-founded when it comes to the troubling recurring vision of the future Noora is having [face_worried] The entire encounter with Palpatine is rife with ironic undertones :p The praise is certainly something to take with a very big grain of salt [face_laugh]
     
    Ewok Poet, AzureAngel2 and Findswoman like this.