[Art] Art Fight

A batch of space kids! After these I am working on getting some revenges done, since I’ve been neglecting them from the beginning of the month.

artfight_chell

Chell Zavash ~ keelah

artfight_vagua

Vagua the Manipulator ~ Inkabunga

artfight_zurr

Zur’kii ~ barn-owls

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[Story] Character of the Week – Malavar

[[ Malavar is the older brother of Zamarra, my Jedi Consular. He was reluctantly trained as a Sith Assassin but primarily to earn his own freedom. With Zamarra still missing, he decides to take matters into his own hands. ]]

Malavar rubbed his eyes, the little dots of the holo-map blurring and merging before him. He’d pored over the coordinates for hours, studying each pinpoint of light, watching — for what? Some sort of clue that he was on the right track perhaps, some flicker of her signal across the frequencies. Not long ago, that privateer had located Zamarra’s ship, docked at the fleet, of all places. She was not in it, the ship’s droid and navigation system had guided it back to safety. Kif had scoured the logs for the navigation history, but they were encoded, and Malavar had not heard anything since then. Breaking codes could take time, but the more days that passed, the more Malavar began to lose hope.

You’ve lost her again, they scolded him. Just as you did before. You couldn’t keep her safe. You couldn’t keep any of them safe.

Malavar did his best to push the voices further back; he had not long ago believed that they were actually gone, that he’d rid himself of their interference for good. And for a time they had been quiet, and Malavar had allowed himself to believe that he might be able to carry on as everyone else, have something normal after all. But it had only been a trick, another of their cruel games. Just as the world around him began to crumble apart, so too did his sense of normalcy. They had only receded, and now they flooded up onto the banks of his consciousness, as they did whenever he was distressed. Sometimes he could ignore them, at least for a short time, but they were always there, and he could not pretend not too hear them for too long.

Frowning, he tapped on a planet for a large view of it and its satellites. Belsavis, Kif had said that was the most recent location he could clearly identify. While Malavar wasn’t sure if he could entirely trust Kif, he did believe that his goals aligned with his own in this case — even if his motivations were more selfish. The blue twi’lek had been attempting to court his sister for years now, and though she’d never seemed to reciprocate, Kif was persistent. Malavar knew he’d be willing to help locate her, and he had been. But there had to be some mistake, why would Zamarra go to Belsavis? It was a remote and hostile planet, housing some of the galaxy’s worst criminals. That is, if the local fauna didn’t tear her apart first. Malavar stared at the image of the sphere, turning in its artificial orbit on the map. There were a lot of moons. Were any large enough that she might be there?

Kif’s snooping had turned up information that Zamarra had departed Tython with some children during the attacks. It hadn’t been that long ago that Malavar had seen her, and she hadn’t had any children then. But it was possible — likely even — that she’d fled with some Jedi students. A remote moon of a planet that nobody wanted to visit would be a good place to hide. But even then, why would she have sent away her ship? Likely to prevent being tracked, but then she would be stranded. He should go to her.

You’ll just ruin things as you did before. Why would you even bother? Remember your mother? And Ashara?

That was different, Malavar assured himself. He couldn’t have done anything then — he could now. He still had his ship, and he still had his saber. If he could find Zamarra, he could help her — somehow.

 

[Story] SWTOR – Xarlo’s Meditations

Things have been peaceful around the homestead, that’s a relief. I know some were worried about another attack from the coalition, or even from the geonosians, but nothing has happened. Whether that’s a good sign, or just the calm before the storm, I can’t say for sure. The Major has been conducting her daily patrols, and she says she hasn’t seen anything out of the ordinary. The twi’lek has been fixing up the sandcrawler and I think it’s nearly ready to go — I haven’t been inside, but from what I can see, it looks operable. Of course I don’t know how different it is from a droid. Probably a lot.

I found a little one in the junk pile and I’ve been working on it in my spare time. My mother never really approved of it, she said messing with droids was for junkers and smugglers, not jedi. But I just find it so interesting that you can make something alive out of parts that someone has thrown away. I mean, maybe not alive in the usual sense, but it has thoughts and feelings and awareness. Mine’s not there yet, but hopefully soon. It will be nice to have a little pet around. It’s going to need some kind of casing to protect the inside parts from the sand, that’s the part I haven’t figured out yet.

There was another jedi lecture, from the same Master as before. He recognizes me now and asks how I am, it’s nice. I told him a little about the mission, but not too much. Partly because I’m not supposed to, and partly because I don’t know it myself. But I did tell him about Teosta and Master Serroz, and how we’ve been practicing. The lecture was about the different styles, which I already knew about but it’s always exciting to learn about lightsaber stuff. And it’s good to hear different perspectives, from Master Bron and from others there. There was a girl there who I am pretty sure was a pureblood sith, but she seemed shy and nervous, so maybe she wasn’t? Or maybe she’d given up on that path and decided to follow the light, I’ve heard of that happening, though it would make her hunted by other sith. So maybe that’s why she was nervous. Either way, she seemed nice and I would have liked to talk to her more, but she said she was needed in the village to tend to someone who was sick. She also said her skin was red because she used to live on Tatooine, and it got burned. But I think she was just joking about that.

I was excited to hear more about soresu, that’s the style I am in the process of learning. It’s a protective stance that repels attacks and relies on your enemy weakening, so it requires a great deal of patience and meditation. I don’t know if I’m there yet. Master Bron said it’s important to know more than one style, to adapt to different situations. I agree with him on that, I’m just trying to get the hang of one first. As we talked about last time, a jedi can be a lot of different things — a teacher, a defender, someone who maintains traditions. What we are and what we do can change throughout our lives. I’d like to help protect people from danger, but I think eventually I’d like to have my own students. I’ll just have to see what comes, and adapt to it.

[Story] Character of the Week – Omarran

[[ Omarran is my Sith Juggernaut, I made him a Cathar because I thought it would be funny, without any regard to lore. I ended up liking him a lot so I had to come up with some sort of background for him! ]]

Omarran could see the change in their strange hairless faces, the moment when they realized what he was. If they could not respect him, at least they could fear him. When they took him away for training, the others of his clan gathered around him hopefully. Don’t forget us, they said. Make them understand. Omarran vowed that he would, and he had never forgotten his promise.

He had clawed his way past his rivals and was now afford some regard among the Empire. It wasn’t so different from the jungles in a lot of ways. He had been sought out by name by a particular Darth, and had been granted use of a vessel for the time being. Omarran had also been given a gift, of sorts — a twi’lek slave. The sight of the device around her neck turned his stomach; he’d seen the same bring the fearsome warriors of his clan to heel. As soon as they were away from the monitors of  Dromund Kaas, he removed the wretched thing, hardly wanting to even touch it. The twi’lek rubbed her neck and looked at him warily. “Thanks,” she said, but she did not ask his reasons, and he didn’t feel like explaining them anyway.

The vessel was imposing, even on the inside. It felt far too large and empty with only them aboard, plus the steward droid. Everything was sleek and shiny, impersonal and sterile. Vette asked if she could move things around, and Omarran readily agreed. He couldn’t very well just leave her somewhere. It would be far more dangerous for her to travel alone in Imperial space, she would no doubt be seized the moment she stepped onto a planet. She must have realized that too, unpleasant though the situation might be, she never tried to escape or asked to be taken somewhere else. Partners, he’d told her. Not a master. He wasn’t like them, and he’d prove it.

Though she could have taken any of the empty chambers, Vette claimed the one nearest the engine room. It must have been impossibly loud for sleeping, but perhaps she found the sound familiar. Or maybe it was to drown out the holos she played late at night. Either way, he tried to avoid that section of the ship — it was hers and he did not wish to intrude. Even so, she had been aboard for some time, and maybe they could talk. She was so much more genuine and immediate than most he’d encountered in the Empire, probably because — like him — she didn’t really belong there. Members of his own species were exceedingly rare, and some days the loneliness was almost too much to bear. He hadn’t been willing to admit that to himself before, but he found it easier now.

He peered around the corner into the engine room. Vette sat cross-legged on her bunk, an assortment of holos scattered around her. Omarran couldn’t tell from afar what they were, but the one currently playing was a band playing upbeat music at a rather loud volume. Her ear cones were covered, so he waved to try to get her attention.

Vette removed the ear covers, looking sheepish. “Oh, hey. I was just–” she gestured toward the monitor system. “Uh, waiting for the scan to complete.”

Omarran looked at the monitor. There was, in fact, a scan in progress. “It’s fine. You’re allowed to take a break.”

Her face scrunched up as she regarded him. “You’re the strangest Sith I’ve ever met.”

“I’m not a Sith.” And just how many had she met, anyway? She didn’t cower in fear of him, or anyone. It was unusual, but also refreshing.

“No? Could’ve fooled me.” Vette clapped the headphones back over her ear cones. “Got the lightsaber and everything.”

Omarran frowned faintly. She had a point. As much as he told himself he was just going along for his own goals, did it really matter if the perception was the same? Didn’t people cower before him, regardless? He didn’t like it, in fact he hated it. It had been something of a novelty at first, but now he could only imagine it was himself at the Sith’s mercy — or someone like Vette. It wasn’t right.

“I’m not–” he paused. “Like them.”

Vette bobbed her head along with the band playing on the holo. Even with her headphones on, he could hear it, the lower tones rumbling the metal grate beneath their feet. Had she even heard him? She gave a little shrug, and a half smile, but didn’t say anything else.

 

He would prove it, he vowed. Not just to her, but to the whole of the Empire.

[Story] SWTOR – Xarlo’s Meditations

I have been thinking a lot about something Master Rusaa used to say. He said that a planet is not just rock and earth, that you can feel its energy and life if you are patient enough. I’d tried often, but never was really able to for certain. I mean, sometimes I thought I had, but once I sensed it here I know those other times weren’t right. I think it’s because there isn’t much to distract me here — it’s just the wide open desert, and me. The sand underneath my feet is warm and shifts when I step on it, like a living thing. It flows and moves, covering the heart of the planet below it. I can’t really explain it to anyone, so I don’t. I still haven’t really talked to anyone else here. There are so many humans! At the academy it seemed like there was a variety of different kinds of people, there were even some other cathar. Now that I’m out in the galaxy though, I feel kind of like a novelty. I mean, Teosta isn’t a human, neither is the Major. And there are some twi’leks, but I kind of feel that most of their own uniqueness has been taken away from them by other people. I don’t know if they feel that themselves though.

I took a shuttle out to the Jedi lecture again. I went by myself, which was kind of weird. There were so many humans! They never want to sit near me. I don’t know if they are afraid or they think I’m going to get fur on them or what. I try not to let it bother me, but it’s hard not to feel left out when I’m the only one who is different. Though I guess if there were other cathar, I’d probably want to stay near them too. We cling to what we know, unless we’re forced to do otherwise. There were a couple of other padawans, but I didn’t get the chance to speak to them. Some of the humans were talking and making jokes during the lesson. I didn’t think that was a good thing. It’s not often I get the chance to listen to a Jedi master so I’m not going to waste it by making jokes! One was taking a call too. Who does that? He didn’t say anything, but I would think he probably didn’t like that.

Master Serroz hasn’t told me about what the council has said yet. I hope I’m not in trouble for not reporting in to them, he said that we should have. I know he’s right, but we were worried that the Empire might still be looking for us, and everything was kind of confusing for a while there. Jedi aren’t supposed to be afraid, but it’s hard not to when you see bad things happen right in front of your eyes. A lot of people died. I’d never seen anyone die before that, only heard about it in lectures from the academy. It didn’t seem peaceful or calm, but maybe they felt it. I have to hope that they did. A little while after Teosta and I arrived, some shuttles full of armored people attacked the homestead. Some were Imperial I think, but others looked different. Master Serroz told us to stay inside and make sure the workers and slaves were safe. I wanted to be up top to help, but I knew that our job was important too. The next day, I could still see the spots of dark sand where some of the Imperials had died. Master Serroz was injured, too. I didn’t expect to see fighting so soon again, and I don’t know if I was ready for it. Next time, I want to be. I’ve been training every day with Teosta. I hope Master Serroz will let me practice with him soon.

[Screenshots] SWTOR – The Nathema Conspiracy

Today we got a new story flashpoint, as well as three returning companions. Unfortunately none are really ones that I cared about, but I did the quests on my Consular and Bounty Hunter.

Screenshots ahoy ~

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[Story] Grophet’s Gambit – Morning Meditation

This early, only the larger of Tatooine’s suns had yet risen. Its strange red light lent the dunes and long shadows an eerie air, as if the world itself was bathed in blood. Kazta tried, without much success, to clear her mind as the jedi had showed her to do. It had been some time since she’d come up here, and maybe she’d forgotten how. Or more likely, she was never really very good at in the first place. The sounds of the lonely desert morning kept bringing her back to the moment; the steady whoosh of wind over the sand, the far-off call of an animal, the whisper of leather bootsteps on sand. Kazta opened her eyes to see the cathar, the one she’d until recently been sheltering, looking on in surprise.

“I-I’m sorry to disturb you, Major. I didn’t know anyone would be up here.”

“Wait.” He paused mid-step as he was turning to leave. “I don’t mind. I might need a refresher on how to do this,” Kazta admitted.

He settled down eagerly not far away, his legs folded in that impossible way. “Good, first of all — oh.” The young jedi blinked, staring at her intently. “You’re all–” he gestured vaguely around Kazta. “Jumbled.”

Kazta scowled, pulling her cloak more tightly around her shoulders. “Stop doing that.”

“Doing what?”

“That thing where you look inside my head,” she grumbled. “It’s rude.”

Xarlo shook his head. “I didn’t! It’s all over. You can’t tell?”

Jumbled. Kazta frowned. That was a good word for it, she had to admit.

“D’you… want to talk?” he asked warily.

Kazta grunted. “Not really.”

But jedi were supposed to be impartial, weren’t they? And she knew his past — what little of it there was — she’d read the records. He had no hidden entanglements or dark secrets, in fact she’d not even seen him talk to anyone other than the other padawan who’d arrived with him. Maybe it would help to talk to someone.

“People are confusing,” said Kazta finally.

“Well, that’s for sure.”

Where to begin? First there were a lot of new faces around, ones that she’d assumed were more contacts of Shani’s. Now that she’d admitted to working with the SIS, a lot of things made more sense — such as all those contacts of hers. It probably also explained how she’d learned Imperial close combat technique. But a lot of them seemed to be exactly the sort of people Kazta had wanted to avoid — brash, reckless, ruthless, and disrespectful. They were unreliable and a liability, though she had to admit they’d gotten the data from the Geonosians without any blasters being fired. It had been pretty tense for a while there, though, and Kazta worried they’d now have to anticipate a counter-attack from the compound. After all, they had broken in and stolen data, against Kazta’s suggestion, and had to leave in a rather undiplomatic hurry once they’d been discovered. At best, they’d not trust the crew again, which was also discouraging. They needed allies badly at this point.

Em had somehow found the time to bring a new man around, and Kazta wondered just where one went to find one like that. He was a zabrak, which was surprising of itself, but it also gave her a little jab of homesickness. It had been so long since she’d thought about them: Xerok, Kovo, Maxa, Reso. Sometimes she thought about what they might be doing now, trying to contact them. Would they even remember her? Xerok surely would, they’d been close friends then, but it seemed like ages ago now. This one said he wasn’t raised with zabrak, which was plainly obvious — he seemed more like a human in his ways. And Kazta had thought she had reunited with the captain, but it really wasn’t any of her business. She had more important things to think about — but that didn’t mean she didn’t notice things. Things like how strange Shani and the captain were acting together.

The cathar was watching her expectantly for her to say something else.

“They say one thing, then they do something completely different. Then they’re surprised that you don’t believe them anymore.”

“That’s it?” Xarlo asked.

Was it? That was the essence of it. She couldn’t understand why Shani and others kept asking for her opinion when they didn’t actually want to hear it. Or when the zabrak said that Em had spoken highly of her — that was puzzling. She didn’t think Em liked her very much at all, certainly after Kazta had expressed doubts about her past. The captain had also asked what she thought — after the mission was already underway, when it didn’t matter. It was unusual to say the least.

Most of all, she missed knowing what to expect — the routine, the protocol, the time when “Major” actually meant something other than part of her name. In some cases, it replaced her name here. They weren’t bad people — most of them, anyway — but they were far from what she was used to. And while they’d made progress, they’d had to claw their way there. Last night, the captain had asked what she would do after their mission was over, which she found odd. She’d be given another assignment, why would she do anything else? She hoped it would be boring and ordinary after this one.

“More or less.”

The cathar sighed. “I know that’s not everything, I can see it, you know.”

“What?” Kazta blinked.

“That’s a joke. I can’t.”

Still, she glared at him.

“Come on, don’t you feel a little better?” he asked.

She didn’t feel any less confused, but Kazta supposed she felt a little better, even if she hadn’t actually told him most of it. “I guess,” she shrugged.

He smiled brightly. “Good! Now, let’s try again. Sit like this…”