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  1. #11
    Tython
    Five Years Ago


    Siralai stood before the Jedi masters with her head held high. She spoke with calm confidence as she told the story, from the fateful chance encounter on Hoth to her rescue mission on the Imperial dreadnought.

    "And what are your intentions now?"

    "Trystan and I are engaged. We are keeping the baby. We will marry, and raise our child."

    "That is against the rules!"

    "I know."

    "It is impossible."

    "No, Master. Not impossible. And with utmost respect - for all of you personally, and for the Order - it is what will be."

    She felt all of their minds reaching out to hers, probing her for the taint of darkness. She allowed them to do so, invited them into her thoughts, bared her soul to their scrutiny. She was not afraid.

    Siralai knew that after today, she would not be a Jedi. But she had not Fallen. She would not Fall.

    "There is no darkness in her," one of the Masters finally announced - merely voicing what they all had already determined. "If you are sure this is the path you wish to take, we bid you goodbye. You do not have our approval. But you have our blessing."

    Siralai held out her lightsaber, surrendering it to them. They all pretended they didn't see the gesture.

    "You may need that, dear," Mona whispered in her ear. Siralai slipped the saber back into its place on her belt.

    "Farewell, Siralai. May the Force be with you."
    Last edited by Monkey Kitty; 01-05-2020 at 03:24 PM.
    "Sleep to dream, and we dream to live..." -Great Big Sea
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  2. #12
    Tython
    Five Years Ago


    "You... you idiot!"

    "It's nice to see you, dear sister," Siralai replied, a small smile turning up the corner of her lips. "I suppose I don't need to ask what brought you to Tython? Not official business, surely?"

    "No," Senator Keela Mahr was so angry she was practically steaming. "This isn't Senate business. In fact I've had to take a break from my official duties to come here..."

    "Why?"

    "There's no need to be sarcastic, Siralai."

    "No, it's a serious question. Why? I don't see how any of this affects you. It really bothers you this much that my path is taking me away from the Order? You've never expressed much interest in the ways of the Jedi before."

    Keela slammed her hand down on the table. "I don't care in the slightest about the Jedi religion, Siralai. Mother and Father revere the Temple; I do not. I don't care about their ridiculous, antiquated rules."

    "I thought that was the case," Siralai confirmed, her voice remaining calm and even. "Thus my question - why exactly are you here to shout at me over something you claim to care nothing about?"

    "I'm not angry at you for leaving the Order," Keela replied, making a conscious effort to rein her own tone in a bit. "Mother and Father are livid over it, but not me. I'm angry that you left it for him. You could have chosen anybody. You could have had the greatest, the best, the most powerful... you could have given up the Order for someone worth it. But you chose him. Some unimportant Imperial pilot! Even a Sith would be better than that; at least your children would be powerful. But this man... Siralai, he's a nobody!"

    "He is important," Siralai insisted gently. "Everyone is important. He isn't a nobody. And I love him."

    "Think of your children, then! The potential you're wasting..."

    "I am thinking of my children. They'll have a father who loves them, and loves their mother. They'll be cared for and raised well. What more could a child ask for? They aren't going to pine away wishing for more powerful genetics, when they have a happy family instead."

    "I won't allow this! I won't let it stand!"

    "Keela. It's already done. You can't stop it. It's my decision to make, not yours. Please accept it and be happy for me."

    The Senator stared at her former Jedi sister for a moment. "You're letting down the Republic. You owe them more. The power you could be giving us..."

    Siralai was starting to become irritated, but she forced it down. This wasn't worth getting upset over. "It's not my job to produce babies to your liking. Or for the Republic. I will give the Republic my service, as I always have. But my personal life is mine."

    "We'll see," Keela muttered under her breath - but Siralai dismissed the words as sour grapes for losing the argument. After all, there was nothing her sister could actually do about it.
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  3. #13
    Siralai and Trystan married in a small ceremony in the Twi'lek village. No one from her family attended, or from his - nor did any of the Jedi show up. These absences were felt, but not strongly, because they were surrounded by friends. Jasper was Trystan's best man, and all villagers attended and celebrated with them.

    Their time on Tython was coming to an end. With Siralai no longer in the Order, it was becoming increasingly awkward for her to live there - especially with Imperials in the family. They purchased an apartment on Coruscant and relocated there, with promises to visit. Trystan and Jasper both officially defected and became Republic citizens, and went into business together running a repair shop.

    Siralai gave birth to a daughter, and they named her Maialin. The dire warnings Siralai had been given about having a relationship with an Imperial proved entirely unfounded. Trystan was a loving husband. He was attentive throughout the pregnancy and remained by Siralai's side for the birth of his daughter.

    The happy couple and their new baby settled into the home they had made. For a few months, life was uneventful.

    That changed with what appeared to be something entirely minor. They were visiting Tython, and the day they were due to return home, a vent cover was stuck open on Siralai's ship. Not a large problem, but Siralai wanted to fix the malfunction before they took off, just to be on the safe side.

    She peered into the vent with a flashlight, trying to see what had dislodged the cover... and saw something moving. It was something alive! She took a sweep with the light - and gasped in shock.

    It was a child. A boy of about five. Finding a child stowing away in her ship would have been startling enough - but this wasn't just any child. She could see that... and she could sense it. The boy was a Pureblood Sith.

    Clearly the boy could sense the Jedi, too. He cowered away from her, ducking behind a pipe where she couldn't reach him.

    "It's alright," she said. "I'm not going to hurt you. You can come out. I just want to help you."

    The child was having none of it. She saw his face briefly when she mentioned food, but he wouldn't come out from behind the pipe even when she offered him some. That didn't surprise Siralai, after what the Jedi Order had done to his people. That was long before either of them were born - but a Sith child would surely be taught that Jedi were to be feared.

    Eventually it occurred to her to go get Trystan. An Imperial accent and more familiar features finally set the boy at ease, and he came out for a meal and a blanket.

    The boy was not talkative, but finally he told Trystan that his name was Shalmus. His parents were dead, and he had been traveling with his older sister when their convoy was attacked by Republic troops. The sister had hidden Shalmus just before the soldiers had dragged her away. Shalmus had stayed hidden, but eventually another squad found him when they came to secure the area. The soldiers had been unclear about what to do with Shalmus. As a Sith, he was automatically a threat - but one no one was anxious to deal with, since he was just a child. After some debate, they decided to drop him off at the Jedi Temple and let them sort out what should be done.

    Shalmus had decided it was best not to go along with that plan. He had slipped away from their ship to look for somewhere to hide - and Siralai's ship was most likely looking prospect.

    "Well," Trystan said. "This is going to be interesting."
    Last edited by Monkey Kitty; 01-06-2020 at 01:04 PM.
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  4. #14
    Tython
    A Short Time Later


    By the time the Jedi arrived to investigate, the child was safely on Siralai's ship, napping on the bunk beside Maialin.

    There were three of them - all Jedi Siralai had known during her Temple days - trailed by a padawan who was unfamiliar to her.

    "You?" Vivekka stared at Siralai with narrowed eyes. "Why is it you again? Haven't you caused enough trouble?"

    "We aren't here for her." Absalom cut Vivekka off. "We sensed the disturbance in the Force. There is a Sith here. Ending that threat is our only objective."

    "The Sith is only a child," Siralai said calmly. She was seated in a relaxed position - but she was blocking the door to the ship, and her lightsaber was on her lap, ready to ignite. "I have already assessed the threat, and there is none. Just a frightened little boy."

    "His age doesn't matter," Absalom replied. "He may not be a threat today, but he will be someday. We can prevent that evil by not permitting it to grow up."

    "I will not allow the murder of a child." Siralai leveled a piercing gaze at him.

    "You would die to protect Sith spawn?" Vivekka looked incredulous.

    "Yes, if that's what it takes. But no deaths are necessary today."

    The oldest of the Jedi - Cadvian - seemed the calmest. "None of us desire to spill blood. But Sith are naturally drawn to the dark side..."

    "Many are naturally drawn to the dark side," Siralai replied. "Even Jedi must fight that temptation. Are you proposing we slaughter them all? Where does it end? Anyone who has so much as a dark thought perishes at the end of a lightsaber blade?"

    "No, of course not. We aren't tyrants."

    "Then why him? The place of his birth? The color of his skin?"

    There was silence for a long moment.

    Finally, Siralai said, "He's only a boy. A scared orphan child... who can be led down the right path. The dark side need not claim him."

    "And who will see to that?" Vivekka demanded. "We're far too busy at the Temple to worry about the upbringing of some little Sith menace..."

    Siralai shook her head. "No. It's clear that the Temple is the last place he belongs. I will take responsibility for the child."

    "Are you sure about that?" Cadvian asked. "That is a heavy weight to take upon yourself. You have no idea what this creature will grow into."

    "I'm sure," Siralai replied. "I vow that I will guide and care for the child, and teach him the right path."

    The three Jedi exchanged a look. "Very well," Cadvian said. "It is on your head, then. We have an accord."

    As the Jedi left, Siralai looked up at the ship and saw a small red face pressed against the window. When their eyes met, Shalmus smiled at her. From then on, the Sith boy never feared Siralai.
    Last edited by Monkey Kitty; 01-06-2020 at 05:59 PM.
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  5. #15
    Siralai waited until the Jedi were gone before she returned to the ship. She didn't really think they would lie or double-cross. But she had to be sure.

    Back inside the ship, Siralai decided it was best to just cut to the chase. "I took responsibility for the child," she told Trystan bluntly.

    "I assumed we would," he replied without surprise. "There isn't any other viable option that I can see."

    Siralai noticed the subtle shift from 'I' to 'we' - and loved him all the more for it.

    "It was the only way to protect him," Siralai agreed. "Life at the Temple would be a nightmare for one like him. They would never have fully accepted him, and that's a miserable way to have to live, especially for a child. But... frankly I'm not quite sure where we go from here. I don't know anything about raising a Sith child."

    "Nor do I," Trystan said with a shrug. "But I assume it's not much different than raising any other child. We just need to show him how to be a decent human being - the same as we will with Maialin. With time, we'll just be a regular family. We'll figure it out."

    "Yes," Siralai agreed. "Yes, I think we will."

    And indeed, that turned out to be the case. Shalmus adjusted to their home and began to thrive. Nurturing him proved no less intuitive than nurturing their daughter. In time, Siralai became pregnant again, and another son, Ebben, followed.

    In most ways, life was idyllic. There was only one blot on their happiness - the older sister Shalmus had told them about, the one who had hidden him from the Republic soldiers, had not been found. They had tried, using both the Force and more conventional methods. And they didn't intend to give up until she had been located. Siralai sensed that the girl was not dead. She was somewhere deep in Empire territory, shielded from the Jedi's mental reach by a curtain of many Sith minds working with common purpose.

    Someday, they would find her. Until then, as wonderful as life was otherwise, there was a sense that someone was missing from their family.
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  6. #16
    One Year Ago

    Siralai was meditating, her thoughts stilled, her mind becoming one with the Force... and all of a sudden, she felt the mind she had been seeking for years. The mind of a Sith girl who had hidden her brother to protect him, before being dragged away by soldiers.

    Unexpectedly, in that seemingly ordinary moment of calm, Siralai broke through the veil that separated them. She felt the girl's pain and fear. She felt years of trauma imprinted far too young on a mind and body. And she felt a fierce hope for a brother whose fate was unknown to the girl.

    Siralai reached out, searching for a location. Where?

    The reply seemed to come back as a reflex. Korriban.

    Startled, Siralai lost the connection. This was the worst possible news. Korriban - the ancestral home of the Sith. The location of their dark tombs... and their brutal training academy. The planet was the heart of the Dark side - and the girl was right in the middle of it.

    ***

    "We can't go to Korriban," Siralai mused. She silently willed Trystan to contradict her. To offer hope.

    To her dismay, he nodded agreement. "There's no way," Trystan agreed. "We'd be shot down as soon as we hit the atmosphere. If we somehow made it to the surface, the place is crawling with Sith - and I'm talking about serious users of the Dark side of the Force, not little red kids who just need a kind guiding hand. It's suicide, and we wouldn't be of any help to her in the process."

    "We can't give up. There has to be a way..."

    "I think there is," Trystan suggested after a moment. "Not to get to Korriban - that would be madness. But if we could get her somewhere else. Literally anywhere else. You said she's scared and unhappy, right? Get her to leave the planet. Tell her we'll pick her up."

    Siralai did so. Again, she meditated. Making contact was easier this time; she knew where to focus.

    Leave Korriban. We can help you. Leave Korriban any way you can, to anywhere you can, and we'll help you.

    Siralai felt the hesitation. The heavy pause of a decision being made. Then the other conscious was moving. Siralai held the connection - sweat stood out on her brow from the effort - until she felt the other mind move past the shroud of Dark energy. Their son's sister had left Korriban.
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  7. #17
    Balmorra
    One Year Ago


    The girl stood by herself in the crater of a poisoned lake. She was battered and bruised, though none of it was fresh; she showed signs of a few days' healing. Her body was shockingly thin - that was plain even with the oversized robes flapping lightly around her, stirred by the wind. A red lightsaber was clutched in a shaking hand, vibrating lightly in her terrified grip.

    "Get away from me, Jedi!" the girl shrieked. "You may have tricked me into coming here, but I won't let you kill me."

    The Jedi raised both hands. "I'm not going to hurt you, Rossi. This wasn't a trick. I'm here to help you."

    Rossi advanced on the Jedi, wobbly lightsaber in hand. This wasn't a battle she could win. But she could die fighting. With a smooth motion of the Jedi's hand, the lightsaber was pried from Rossi's grip and into her own.

    The girl knew she was about to die. She tried to be brave, like a Sith. But she was only fourteen. And she started to cry.

    The Jedi extinguished Rossi's lightsaber, and it disappeared somewhere into the robe sleeve. Rossi looked at the Jedi with confusion.

    "I told you, Rossi," the Jedi said. "I'm here to help you."

    "How do you know my name?"

    "Your brother sent me. Shalmus misses you."

    "Shalmus... he's alive? Is he... is he your prisoner?"

    "He's alive," the Jedi confirmed. "But he's not a prisoner. My husband and I adopted him. Would you like to go see him?"

    Dumbfounded, Rossi nodded. She was crying harder now, her shoulders shaking. So it had all been worth it. She had protected her brother after all.

    Rossi wasn't sure how it happened, but suddenly, she wasn't crying by herself anymore. She was crying into the Jedi's shoulder, with gentle arms encircling her.
    Last edited by Monkey Kitty; 01-17-2020 at 08:22 PM.
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  8. #18
    Coruscant
    Six Months Ago


    It wasn't easy for Rossi, even after that day by the lake. Seeing her brother again was wonderful. Seeing how much he had grown without her - how much of his childhood she had missed - was hard.

    Living with the Mahrs was pleasant. Siralai and Trystan were kind to her. It was a nice house. There was plenty of food, and no one she had to fight with. No one hit or hurt her. When she closed her bedroom door at night, she slept undisturbed.

    But there were nightmares. Always nightmares. There were memories buried too deep to push away.

    They enrolled her in school - not like the Sith Academy, just a regular school where they studied normal subjects. It was the same school Shalmus and Maialin went to, selected for its open-mindedness and the diversity of its student base. Rossi and Shalmus were the only Sith Purebloods, but there were plenty of other "aliens" of all sorts.

    She made friends. Nice kids - girls, mostly - who sat with her at lunch and talked to her between classes. She wasn't bullied or left out. And yet, she always felt like an outsider. Like she was only pretending to be one of them. They had no idea what it was like to be taken prisoner by soldiers, or made to fight for survival at the Sith Academy. Her peers seemed to realize her otherness instinctively, too. Rossi never talked about the burdens of the past... but her friends seemed to sense them. They didn't volunteer to spend time with her outside of school.

    At home, Rossi felt like a fraud most of the time. Like she was acting a role. The role of normal teen. The role of family member. Sometimes she got it humiliatingly wrong. Even then, Siralai and Trystan were unfailingly kind. She wasn't officially part of the family - but they treated her like she was.

    One afternoon - it was no different than any other afternoon, except that she was finally ready - Rossi plopped down on the couch beside Siralai, drawing her long legs up underneath her.

    "Hey, um," Rossi said casually. "I have to stay after school tomorrow for math. And they said to bring a lunch for the field trip on Thursday. We're going to some kind of animal museum. Also can you and Trystan adopt me like you adopted Shalmus?"

    Siralai knew Rossi well enough by now to understand that a dramatic reaction was undesirable. She just smiled, and put her arm around the girl's shoulder. "Yes," she said. "Of course we will."
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