Description: Attn: Shae'andri'lar
Nathaniel Stone - December 8, 2009 02:36 AM (GMT)
It had only been a handful of days since Nathaniel’s unfortunate conversation with his wayward Padawan. Well, as much as he could call her his Padawan anymore. Stars knew he didn’t intend on having much more to do with her if he could help it--she refused to learn from him and in her state, there was no point in forcing the issue. He wished her the best, but he knew she would be far better off in someone elses hands. He didn’t have the patience for her anymore, nor did he see any way of making her see the light. She had to do that herself.
He had made his report on the matter to the other member’s of the Council. As they hadn’t had time for a formal meeting on the matter, he had sent it out as a data burst. He preferred the detachment from the situation as he felt it now, liked that he hadn’t had to talk to anyone about it. They knew the details. Seras didn’t feel like she belonged with the Order anymore. He had told her to talk to the Council about her feelings--whatever that may come to. He had ordered her on a lockdown and only another member of the Council could lift it. Cut and dry as that.
No one had bothered to approach him about it yet. He imagined Veyron might eventually, but he wasn’t currently around and was far enough out of the way that he couldn’t even respond via the holonet. He’d be back soon enough, though and Nathaniel was counting on it. If anyone in the Council would understand where Nathaniel was coming from in locking Seras down on base, it was Master Rumare.
He was currently in one of the meditation chambers, but had the door open. This was a clear indication that he was open for “visitors” even as he went over some information in his datapad concerning the shifting of Jedi resources to some of the Alliance interests, as well as getting another shipment of supplies for the Jedi brought in from outside the Transient Mists. Getting supplies in and out was harder these days, what with the need for secrecy. Plenty of crossroads to consider.
Shay Marin - December 15, 2009 07:31 AM (GMT)
Fall was fast approaching on their little corner of Shedu Maad. Grey clouds hung thick and flat in the air overhead, absorbing the yellow light of the system primary until only a pale wash of illumination reached the ground. Thunder rumbled with discontent in the distant mountains beyond the plateau containing the Redoubt. A spare splattering of raindrops impacted against the transparisteel canopy of the Lucidity's cockpit while Shay brought the courier in for a landing. The gloomy weather matched the solemnity of the charge which had brought her back to the sanctuary well ahead of schedule.
Were she a far lesser Jedi, Shay would be furious right about now. As it was, Nathaniel's report regarding his wayward Padawan bothered the Sentinel something fierce. How could anyone reduce the potential loss of a promising young woman to a few spare lines of text? She'd seen wording less cold and clinical in the autopsies of serial killer victims. Not that the Sentinel expected 'Buttons' to explode in an emotional outpouring of epic proportions or anything equally ridiculous, but still. Jedi were supposed to control their feelings, sure, but they were also taught compassion.
No, the Council could not in good conscience force Padawan Amadis to stay in the Order if she was bound and determined to leave it. That said, there's a big difference between giving a bird the chance to fly free and throwing it out the airlock at cruising altitude in order to 'encourage' it towards making a decision. In the Sentinel's eyes, the stolid Master Stone was very much guilty of the latter. Regardless of whether his behavior had been brought about by careful calculation or mere indifference, Nathaniel had done just about everything in his power to drive the young Miraluka away. Shay couldn't stand it. How could any Jedi be so heartless?
Frack, from what she'd gathered by reading between the lines of Nathaniel's report, he'd made not the slightest effort to try to change Seras' mind! That perhaps rankled her worst of all. You see, there'd been a time not so long ago where a young Padawan Marin had been bound and determined to quit the Order. Not for the reasons the Miraluka wanted to leave, but reasons at least as well-founded. Were it not for the stubborn nature of the late Gandon Vir, she might well have run off as Seras desired to do.
And in doing so, planted the seeds of my own destruction. This wasn't speculation, but Force revealed truth. She'd seen what she would've become in one of her rare visions. It was the closest she'd come to experiencing a nightmare in her adult life.
Until events of the recent past, Master Marin would have left this task to another. In life, Gandon had been the true gadfly of the Council, the one to always ask the difficult questions and press for the uncomfortable personal details. As the most senior Jedi standing in the circle of leadership, he'd had more than the right to take his fellow Councilors to task whenever he saw fit. His passing had left Shay as the most experienced Investigator in the Order. Force help me. The man was gone, but the role he'd played still needed to be filled. Who better to step in for the old man than one of his former apprentices?
More than anything else, Shay wanted to save Nereus' friend from the fate of exile, regardless of whether or not the state was self-inflicted. It was a lonely path to walk, one that far more often than not led to the Dark. The kid deserved better for herself.
The Dolomarian Jedi pondered her 'plan of attack', as it were, while she walked through the corridors cut into the living rock of the plateau. Greetings were handled on autopilot, for all they stayed polite. Shay's internal focus remained on the task she'd set for herself, a fact that was easy enough for a society of telepaths to pick up on. Wonder of wonders, her fellow Jedi chose to respect her 'on a mission' aura and restrained themselves to hellos and goodbyes. This might turn out to be one visit to Shedu Maad where I'm not set upon by a ravening cloud of advice seekers the whole time. Thank the Force for small favors.
While she didn't actively seek to hide her closing presence from the senior Consular, the Investigator made no attempt to clue him about her arrival. Ambush wasn't the name of today's game. At the same time though, she didn't want to forewarn Nathaniel by broadcasting 'I'm an Investigator on the prowl, dun dun dun!' vibes--as Gandon had once jokingly described the sensation--in his direction.
Whether he knew her to be around or not, soon there was no need for extrasensory perceptions in knowing she was there. Shay took the open archway of Nathaniel's meditation chamber as the unspoken invitation he'd intended, striding in without hesitation or play of propriety. A quick 'flick' of her mind back towards the door controls was all it took to seal the two of them together in the small room. "You told her maybe she should talk to the Council about quitting?" No reason to dance around the issue. "I didn't expect to see you take such an obvious cop-out, Nathaniel."
Nathaniel Stone - December 16, 2009 08:25 AM (GMT)
Nathaniel wasn’t an idle man, not ever. He hadn’t taken an official break from his duties in literal decades. Some might have argued that perhaps that was a part of his problem, but he wouldn’t have paid those sorts any mind. He didn’t need a break--he didn’t feel the stress because he didn’t let it get to him. If denying one’s self emotion was an art form, this Consular was elite among pinnacle artists. He took it to an extreme that almost wasn’t explainable. It might have been said he took pleasure in it, but that would have been an emotional response, and thusly defeated the explanation.
The best way, perhaps, to keep one’s self from feeling emotion was to keep busy, and so it came to that. He was always a work, no matter where he was or what it seemed he was doing. His one goal in life was a mixture of self-improvement and the betterment of the Order as a whole. If it wasn’t beneficial in the grand scheme of things, he wouldn’t be found involved.
Perhaps that was part of his problem with Seras. She’d presented herself as a lost cause, and to put so much time and effort into someone who seemed to not want to work with him towards a goal over overall achievement, it just didn’t fit with his agenda. Cold and unfeeling it was, but he no room for regret on that matter. It would only stall him in moving forward, and he would not linger on the little chances.
So he was busy as Shae’andri’lar approached. Not so busy that he couldn’t afford to be interrupted--that was the point of his open door policy--but busy enough that he could by no means be accused of ‘relaxing’ or some such ridiculous notion. He wasn’t so involved that he missed Shay’s approach. She was something of a beacon when she wasn’t attempting to mask herself as she so often did. She was a particularly bright spot among stars, and she now approached. He didn’t sense her very far off--in fact, it was only a matter of seconds before she was through the door after he’d noticed her approach. No time to prepare for what he could now assume was coming.
Oh well, advance warning or no, it didn’t change anything. He was just as prepared for her presence and pending interrogation now as he would have been should she have given him a week’s warning. Other’s might have been intimidated by an Interrogator’s interest--for good reason--, but he was not. If anything, he was content to finally have someone to say something to his face about it--get the waiting out of the way. It was inevitable for it to happen, so better now than later.
She came through the arch and shut the doorway, no preamble and no fussy business. His respect for the Councilwoman remained ever intact.
"You told her maybe she should talk to the Council about quitting?"
He stood as she spoke to him, not one to take this sitting down. If she sat, maybe he’d consider retaking his seat, but as it was, he wasn’t going to let her hover over him. One silver brow raised in a quiet show of skeptical interest. She certainly did go straight to the heart of the matter.
"I didn't expect to see you take such an obvious cop-out, Nathaniel."
"It's not so much about her quitting as her figuring herself out.” If Seras were to take his suggestion she talk to the Council as one of quitting, that was her prerogative. It seemed, however, that his request had been taken as such by the Council as well. This was as good a time as any to set the record straight.
“I don't want to see her go any more than anyone, but she isn't exactly listening to me anymore, Shae'andri'lar." He had some amount of hope that maybe she’d listen to someone else--not a lot of hope, but enough that he hadn’t dragged her in front of the Council for dismissal forthright. Really, he could have done much worse than he had. Despite the accusation of the Sentinel, his impossible calm remained.
Shay Marin - January 3, 2010 08:13 AM (GMT)
"It's not so much about her quitting as her figuring herself out.”
One blonde brow twitched upward in a blatant 'Oh please, how stupid do you think I am?' expression. Not that she really thought Nathaniel held a negative view of her intelligence level, but really, who was he trying to fool? The Jedi Order wasn't something you just went on sabbatical from. Where exile--self-inflicted or otherwise--was concerned, such leaves of absence often ended up permanent. One way or another. Death is exceedingly permanent, after all.
Padawans didn't leave the Order to 'figure out' anything. They left because they couldn't take the pressure of training, or because they held fundamental objections to the Order's way of life. Or because they're in the process of falling to the Dark Side. None of these reasons were the sort to fade with the passing of time. If Seras made the choice to leave the Jedi now, more than likely she'd never come back. For that reason, Shay was determined to do everything within her power to convince the young woman to stay. Padawan Amadis possessed too much potential to let her squander it.
“I don't want to see her go any more than anyone, but she isn't exactly listening to me anymore, Shae'andri'lar."
Master Marin repressed the small spurt of irritation at Stone's form of address with the ease of long practice. Force, but did she detest being called by her full name. Her colleague knew this full well, yet he persisted in addressing her by the pretentious moniker she'd been stuck with by her parents. Everyone else in the galaxy who knew her true identity to begin with used her preferred nickname, but oh no, not Old Stoneface. He had to be stubborn on the matter, and not the annoying and yet endearing kind of stubborn she loved about Mac.
Outwardly, the only sign Shay gave of her displeasure was a faint sigh. She'd grown up knowing 'Buttons', as he'd been most recently dubbed by Titch. It would be pointless to expect the man to make fundamental changes in his nature at this late a date. Sure, a certain level of common courtesy would be appreciated, but Nathaniel didn't deal in courtesy. In some ways, his dedication to plain and simple reality was admirable, but in others it was damned frustrating.
"You know what I've gathered from my perspective?" The Investigator closed the distance between the two of them by several yards, hands coming to rest on her hips. "I think you haven't been saying anything for her to listen to in the first place." Her head cocked to one side as she considered the older man, amber eyes hard and accusing. "You know how many times I've seen you two together? Once. Know how many times I've seen her with you nowhere in sight? Dozens, if not hundreds."
Nathaniel Stone - January 3, 2010 09:00 PM (GMT)
Shae’andri’lar wasn’t buying his reasoning, and it was somewhat frustrating to him to realize that. He hadn’t expected her to, of course--they were both entirely different people who operated in different ways--but Nathaniel had had enough of Seras’ stubborn pacifism and Master Marin wasn’t likely to have felt the brunt of it like he had. This wasn’t something one could simply fix for Seras. Seras had to figure it out herself, and if she chose not to come back to the Order for it... so be it. She had made her decision, it was her punishment to live with it.
That said, Nathaniel was being honest when he said he didn’t want it to come to that, he just wasn’t seeing any other way. He was pretty damn certain that no matter who talked to her or what they said--however convincing--Padawan Amadis would still stick to her (incredibly proverbial) guns and condemn the Order for what it was, thusly separating herself from them completely.
Jedi existed in all forms and in many personal philosophies. However, there were certain things that defined the Jedi even as they were different from one another, and Seras wasn’t willing to see that light without running from it. In some sense of irony, it was her own anger and likely violent feeling towards her fellows that drove her from them even as she clung desperately to her ideals of perfect peace.
"I think you haven't been saying anything for her to listen to in the first place. You know how many times I've seen you two together? Once. Know how many times I've seen her with you nowhere in sight? Dozens, if not hundreds."
He couldn’t deny the validity of that, even when he really wanted to. He’d been with Seras on occasion, made contact when he wasn’t and it was needed. But the fact that Master Marin was able to count on one finger the times she’d seen the fragmented duo together was... disconcerting.
He didn’t flinch under that unrelenting amber gaze and met it with his own hard stare, but he wasn’t fool enough to remain tenaciously in the wrong. Unlike some, he would concede defeat when and if it was necessary. Under the scrutiny of this Investigator, it most certainly was a wise option.
A pause of consideration and then he stated coldly, “Fine.” Blue eyes narrowed and his jaw set in a faint show of displeasure. Not many could make him back off like this, and he didn’t like it when it was something he had to do. Weakness in any form was not his preferred method.
“I made some errors in dividing out my time over the last year or so.” In truth, it was coming up on two years, but the exact time was ultimately irrelevant. “I'll admit that, but what's done is done. What would have you me do? I'm not going to concede to her ridiculous ideals."
It was as simple as that, and it seemed the only way anyone was going to get Seras to stay was to do just that. He wouldn’t, and he doubted even Shae’andri’lar would, but what then did she expect anyone to do instead? He felt justified in his current course of action.
Shay Marin - January 7, 2010 03:04 AM (GMT)
“Fine. I made some errors in dividing out my time over the last year or so.”
This was a truth so simply put as to gloss over its full impact. Still, at least Nathaniel had admitted to his fault in the matter. Shay had been fully prepared for a knock down, drag out fight--in a very figurative sense--over the issue. The Consular was well known for a nigh obstinate level of conviction when it came to the choices he made. Not that this was a bad trait for a Jedi Master to have in general. When you wielded such power as they did, you should take care to be certain in your decisions. Leaving questions to linger in your mind would breed doubt, and doubt often led one to tred down dark paths.
That said, on this matter her colleague had been in the wrong. While she knew now he had not been intentional in his neglect, there was no other word to properly describe what he'd done. His intentions had been good, of course; he'd hoped to foster self-reliance in the young woman. A Jedi Knight needed to be strong enough to stand on their own, and Seras hadn't been capable of doing this when Stone had 'inherited' her from her previous mentor. However, he'd failed to adapt his methods to a new student, instead relying on those which had worked on his past apprentices.
“I'll admit that, but what's done is done. What would have you me do? I'm not going to concede to her ridiculous ideals."
"Of course not." Now that they stood once again in agreement, Master Marin allowed her hands to fall from her hips, reducing the level of confrontation in her stance. "I'm the last one who'll stand on the side of pure pacifism, you know that." Indeed, Shay had killed more sentient beings in her time than most in the Order. The nature of her work required it. She'd accepted the burden of bringing death to others when she'd chosen to follow in Gandon's footsteps after completing her Trials.
Shay shrugged out of her nerfhide jacket as she continued, finding the meditation chamber warm after the outdoor chill. "But you're the one who should've shown her why her viewpoint was skewed in the first place. You're her Master, that's your job." Folding the garment over an arm, the Dolomarian gazed down at the dark brown leather for a few seconds, lost in thought. "If she decides to leave the Jedi now, with those opinions unchallenged by truth... I shudder to think what'll become of her, Nathaniel."
The skin between her brows furrowed in concern as certain memories sprang to mind. The Sentinel lifted her amber gaze back at her staid companion. "What she'll do." Sighing, the blonde woman paced a few strides towards the corner of the room, restless with the knowledge she bore. "I've seen things in her that concern me as an Investigator." Another beat passed in silence, for deliberate emphasis. "As a Shadow."
'Buttons' could not fail to understand what Shay meant by that. Before her elevation to the Council, she'd reported to him for years. The Order rarely called on her talents as a Shadow, and when it did her duties were never pleasant.
Nathaniel Stone - January 7, 2010 04:17 AM (GMT)
"But you're the one who should've shown her why her viewpoint was skewed in the first place. You're her Master, that's your job."
As Shae’andri’lar’s level of confrontation fell, Nathaniel relaxed as much as he ever really did. He knew he was still in a bad place, but she wasn’t immediately seeking to undo him now that they more or less agreed on the matter. He didn’t like conceding much, but he knew he was wrong and giving up that fight had been easier on everyone. He let his eyes leave her for a moment as she talked, thinking through her words himself, his arms uncrossing and one thumb tucking into his belt in his usual idle stance.
Yes, it was his job. He’d tried on those rare occasions they’d been together. Like the ice hounds on Ilum--that had been his first encounter with Seras’ distaste of violence. He had never intended to hurt them but Seras had been sure he’d slaughter them like he’d had to with the gorgodons. He’d thought she’d understood then. Apparently, such was not the case. She’d continued to refuse to build the blade as she was meant to and seemed intent to be blind to Nathaniel’s own true nature.
He was pretty sure that no matter what he’d tried to teach her or tell her, she would have stubbornly ignored him. Still, he should have tried, and he couldn’t deny Master Marin that fact.
”If she decides to leave the Jedi now, with those opinions unchallenged by truth... I shudder to think what'll become of her, Nathaniel."
So did he, which is why he’d really grounded her here at the Redoubt until further notice. He knew she wanted to leave, but he knew she was too soft for the galaxy at large. She didn’t realize it, but the Jedi were the least of her problems. Whether or not she agreed with them, she was safe with them. She was in for a world of trouble walking out on her own unprepared as she was.
Still, what was he going to do? He couldn’t keep her here against her will forever, and he didn’t know how to change her mind. Simple as that.
"What she'll do. I've seen things in her that concern me as an Investigator. As a Shadow."
He understood her emphasis too well. Her work as a Shadow and otherwise was one of the reasons he respected the woman so genuinely. She did things he wasn’t sure he could do so well and still keep himself as who he was. That’s why he allowed her eccentricities and her less traditional behaviours.
"So then you've seen the problem, as I feel I have as well--though perhaps too late.” They were still in agreement, and that was reassuring in its own way. How long they would agree, however, remained to be seen. Their thoughts on how to proceed may have been completely different. Clearly she didn’t approve of his actions on the matter thus far. “Perhaps you have some idea as to where we go from here? I see no kind solutions, myself, and I’ve run through far too many ideas."
Shay Marin - January 9, 2010 09:31 PM (GMT)
"So then you've seen the problem, as I feel I have as well--though perhaps too late.”
A lock of blonde hair fell across her forehead into her face as she nodded in confirmation. "Yes." One hand reached up to comb the wayward strands back in a habitual motion. The absent crossed Shay's mind that it had been far longer than normal since she'd had a proper haircut. The length was starting to become a mite inconvenient for her tastes. She really ought to get it taken care of soon.
Then again, the Sentinel had been thinking about trying a different style for a change. Ever since her Trials, Shay hadn't permitted her hair to pass the tops of her shoulders. Surely it would not be so terrible indulgence to grow her hair out. Since she'd become the official liaison to the Alliance, her life had become more settled than before. The need for the simplicity of a wash-and-shake-out haircut wasn't so pressing anymore. Maybe I should ask Mac what he thinks. Not that men ever seem to have anything useful to say about women's hairstyles, according to popular culture.
“Perhaps you have some idea as to where we go from here? I see no kind solutions, myself, and I’ve run through far too many ideas."
This was fair question to ask, and one not easy to answer. A faint grimace drew lines at the corners of Master Marin's mouth. "I suppose that depends on your definition of 'kind'." Once again the old Order adage proved correct; seeing truth in the universe mattered as much on your point of view as about hard cold facts. What one Jedi saw as kind, others even among her own kind would no doubt find cruel.
"She feels abandoned by the Order, Nathaniel." As much fault as rested on the Consular's stoic head for this problem, Shay knew this situation did not stem from a teacher's unintentional neglect of his student alone. Seras' disillusionment was with all the Jedi now. To be honest, the Investigator accepted she may need to shoulder a share of the reponsibility in this case. She'd sensed something was wrong with the young woman months ago, yet she'd done nothing.
Her reasoning had been sound, of course; it wasn't her place to dictate how another, more senior Jedi Master trained his chosen Padawan. What she'd sensed from the Miraluka had been troubling, but not worrisome enough to take immediate action. Yes, in hindsight it may have been better if she'd breached protocol even more seriously than she normally did and confronted Buttons about his behavior back then. Of course, many things were obvious in hindsight that no reasonable sentient being could be expected to see in the present. There was no point in dwelling on 'might have beens' or 'should have dones'. The past existed to learn from, not to weigh you down beneath burdens of regret.
"If we let her walk out without putting up any resistance, she'll have every reason to keep on believing that. And we both know what Titch will want to do, should I inform him of what I've sensed in her." Namely, the one act Master Veyron was capable of that marred his otherwise mild and jovial reputation among the younger generations. Robbing someone of their ability to use the Force--whether the sanction was temporary or permanent--was perceived by some Jedi as a fate worse than death. Even to someone like Shay, who'd grown accustomed to living as much by her wits as by her powers, that sort of loss was uncomfortable to contemplate.
Nathaniel Stone - January 13, 2010 11:27 PM (GMT)
”If we let her walk out without putting up any resistance, she'll have every reason to keep on believing that. And we both know what Titch will want to do, should I inform him of what I've sensed in her."
Shae’andri’lar didn’t have to explain what she meant, Nathaniel knew of Veyron’s opinion on these things as well as anyone, possibly better than anyone at this point in their lives. It was an extreme measure, but... "There's a part of me that thinks Veyron might be right in what he would want.” It would solve a lot of problems concerning letting her go. It would free her of her burden as a Jedi completely.
However, they weren’t quite to that point yet. There was a reason he’d grounded her here. Until she left, she wasn’t a threat, and there was time to avoid that measure. “But... no, she doesn't deserve that,” he admitted, not willing to give into that impulse immediatly. Seras might have percieved him as cruel, but he was really doing his personal best to not be.
“However, she won't care to hear my words on the matter,” he concluded pointedly, giving the other a slightly darkened look. He was frustrated in his own way by the fact that he officially had no sway over the girl except to drive her away. “If I asked her to stay, she'd only take it as a demand or an order.”
He felt a bit like he was stating the obvious, especially to the one he now spoke to. This woman was nothing if not perceptive, and she was no doubt come to these conclusions before he could even put it to words. “You know that. I have little patience for coddling feelings in even the hardest of times, and this is no different."
Shay Marin - January 20, 2010 07:19 AM (GMT)
"There's a part of me that thinks Veyron might be right in what he would want.”
Shay again restrained the impulse to sigh. Of course he would; having Seras' connection to the Force sealed off would be the simplest solution to their problem, and Stone was a big fan of simplicity. After all, the major issue with letting disaffected Jedi Padawans run off was that there was a major risk of their falling to the Dark Side while outside the supervision of their elders. One of the many reasons exile was only rarely used as a form of censure or punishment in the Order. No Force, no falling.
That said, while letting Titch do his thing would be the safe, pragmatic course of action... the Sentinel found it a bit heartless. Not that she wouldn't support the decision of the Council if that's how things hammered out, but she'd prefer to find another solution. Problem was, she wasn't seeing many other 'outs' at this point, for any of them.
“But... no, she doesn't deserve that.”
Well, that was good to hear. For all his callous nature, it seemed even Nathaniel quailed at the thought of stripping such an essential part of a person away from them. Might be some hope for his humanity yet, Shay's inner peanut gallery commented with wry wit.
“However, she won't care to hear my words on the matter. If I asked her to stay, she'd only take it as a demand or an order.”
A small nod indicated Master Marin conceded this point to her Consular counterpart. He was likely correct, given what she'd gathered about the dysfunctions inherent in his relationship with the wayward Padawan. Ignoring the question as to who was to blame for said dysfunctions, as matters stood the Miraluka would have a hard time believing her mentor truly wanted her to stay on her own merits. Or, Force forbid, because the man actually cared about her.
“You know that. I have little patience for coddling feelings in even the hardest of times, and this is no different."
Dammit, Nathaniel. And you were doing so well... why'd you have ruin it by turning back into a stuffed shirt? "I'm going to be blunt here, because you deserve that much." Tossing her jacket into a nearby chair, Shay clasped her hands behind the small of her back. Shoulders set, her body braced in anticipation of what she must do to her fellow Jedi, for his own good. "You have little patience for a lot of things, including anyone behaving like a living being. I've thought so ever since I was a Padawan myself, and it's the only part of you I don't respect."
The blonde woman's fair countenance, while remaining calm, drew into hard lines. "I don't think Seras is the only one who holds the wrong ideas about what being a Jedi means." This kind of confrontation wasn't something she enjoyed, but it was necessary. If she were to honor the memory of the man she'd loved like a father, she needed to follow the wisdom of his teachings.
A few strides narrowed the distance between the two Jedi Masters down to roughly a meter. "You want to know what I think we should do? I think I should talk to her, or at least someone else on the Council should. And I'm going to request that she get another Master if she stays." Shay wondered if the target of her precise verbal volleys would understand she was doing her job, or if he'd choose to take what she said as a personal insult. "You've done her wrong, Nathaniel. You can't treat her just like all your other students. Padawans are people, not droids!"
Nathaniel Stone - January 31, 2010 10:32 AM (GMT)
"I'm going to be blunt here, because you deserve that much."
As Shae’andri’lar geared up for an obvious verbal confrontation, Nathaniel did too. He watched her as she straightened up, clearly all business, and he met that steel with ever-steady reserve. Whatever was coming wasn’t going to be pleasant, he had no disillusions about that. But he never backed down from a challenge when felt he could still win it. Even when loss stared him in the face, sometimes. A bit of a stubborn streak, perhaps, but one that had served him well for many decades.
"You have little patience for a lot of things, including anyone behaving like a living being. I've thought so ever since I was a Padawan myself, and it's the only part of you I don't respect."
Sometimes he forgot how young the woman before him really was--she had a graceful wisdom about her that defied her shorter years. Her Padawan days had begun after his own Knighthood, giving her a different perspective on everything--other members of the Council included--than those of say, Veyron or the late Gandon Vir.
He knew most people didn’t much like his impersonal nature, but it wasn’t often--ever?--that anyone dared to say that to his face. He wasn’t about to apologize for it, though, even when openly confronted with that truth.
"I don't think Seras is the only one who holds the wrong ideas about what being a Jedi means."
For an instant, he was genuinely, personally offended by that statement. Master Marin had meant it with bite, and it had succeeded in its course. He was completely silent, not going to give fuel to that train of argument with words of his own. Was she really implying what he thought she was implying? For a man who did very well at never reflecting any emotion whatsoever in any form, his eyes did light with that personal irritation for a long second as the silence held out.
He managed to put a damper on it, though, realizing that at the very least, she thought she was right. She wasn’t trying to attack him without a base for her reasoning, and while he thought some of her own methods were suspect, it stood to reason that she would then think the same of his. So be it, but he was afraid they’d have to agree to disagree on that one. They were just too different and neither would compromise their hard-wrought decisions on the matters of compassion.
Eventually, the Sentinel was the one to break the drawn silence between them.
"You want to know what I think we should do? I think I should talk to her, or at least someone else on the Council should. And I'm going to request that she get another Master if she stays."
Nathaniel agreed with that. He wanted nothing to do with trying to teach the girl anymore. He was certain he would only run into barrier after barrier with her. They had come to a head of personal conflict, and Seras wouldn’t listen to him even if he desired to make amends. It would have been wasted effort. He could only hope for the sake of whoever was unfortunate enough to take the girl next could get through those thick and foolish ideals better than he.
"You've done her wrong, Nathaniel. You can't treat her just like all your other students. Padawans are people, not droids!"
Blue eyes narrowed, a strong show of emotion for one who had earned the nickname ‘Brickwall’ from the latest generation of Padawans. He knew people weren’t droids. Force, if they were programmable like droids, this Seras problem wouldn’t have been nearly as much of an issue! Okay, maybe that wasn’t Marin’s point, but it was how Nathaniel felt, and for him to admit he felt anything was certainly something.
"Fine,” the Consular was saying that too much this conversation. Conceding with frustration, that’s all he could truly manage. “Talk to her. And if she won't listen to you, you might as well tell Veyron about our conversation and let him do whatever he thinks ought to be done."
He didn’t think Veyron would jump right to the worst case scenario solution, but right now he had a hard time caring if Veyron did.
Shay Marin - February 2, 2010 05:57 AM (GMT)
Yep, he's offended. So be it. In a way, it was something of a major triumph for anyone to get under Master Stone's skin. In all the decades she'd known him, been reporting to him, the emotional displays Shay had witnessed from the stolid man could be counted on her hands with several fingers to spare. Under different circumstances, it might've brought the Sentinel a sense of satisfaction to provoke such a response from him.
This little scene wasn't about her about her personal entertainment though. This was about her job. A disturbing situation had caught her attention, and she'd be remiss in her duties if she didn't do her best to make all involved take a hard look at themselves over it. Sometimes the only way to do that was to dig until she hit a nerve. One of the failings Jedi often fell into was growing too complacent, too convinced of the rightness of their actions. Even if they were on the side of the angels, Shay felt you needed to always be ready and willing to question yourself. Faith untested was faith untried.
For those worried about any 'unfair' focus on her part, rest assured balance would be served here. Padawan Amadis would receive similar attention from the Investigator soon enough, though Master Marin's tactics towards the girl would be far different than the ones she used now. Nathaniel's a big boy, he can take a little harsh language.
“Talk to her. And if she won't listen to you, you might as well tell Veyron about our conversation and let him do whatever he thinks ought to be done."
Oh yes, she'd definitely be taking to Titch about their talk. Not for the reasons Buttons hinted at though. Out of everyone on the Council, Master Rumare seemed to be the closest thing to a friend Nathaniel allowed himself to have. If Shay couldn't get through to the stubborn Consular her way, maybe Titch would have better luck. This wasn't something the Dolomarian Jedi was about to let get swept under the rug, even if Seras chose to stay.
Time to try a different angle of attack. "She's a Miraluka, Nathaniel. Do we even know what would happen to one of them if the Force was taken away?" Try as she might, Shay hadn't been able to recall any examples of such a case in the Order's long history. After all, a Jedi stripping someone of the ability to use the Force was a rare event, and Miraluka hadn't exactly ever been the most common race in the galaxy. "Bad enough for one of us, who wasn't born seeing it."
Nathaniel Stone - February 2, 2010 07:58 AM (GMT)
Nathaniel was under no illusions about how well Shae’andri’lar noted his offense. That was one of her great strengths, reading others. The fact that he knew she was aware of his irritation actually probably made it a little worse--he did not like his feathers being ruffled in any obvious way, not at all. It wasn’t who he was, or at least it wasn’t in his self-definition of who he was, and that was a well kept definition indeed.
Still, there was no fighting it, so he let it go with all the grace he could manage, resorting instead to trying to get this conversation over with as quickly as possible.
"She's a Miraluka, Nathaniel. Do we even know what would happen to one of them if the Force was taken away?"
The simple answer? No. There were a lot of variables and a lot of levels of Force restriction to consider here, though. How bad it would really be in the end, no one would be able to determine. Likely, if it came down to it, they’d have to merely wait and see the result. That said, it wasn’t decided yet, not by any means. But Nathaniel was having a very hard time caring. Despite himself, his frustration grew incrementally with every passing moment that this discussion continued.
"Bad enough for one of us, who wasn't born seeing it."
"Then mention that to Veyron if it comes to it.” His tone was clipped and quick, exasperation beginning to more outwardly effect him. “But really, I feel I've done my part. I don't think I have any reason to have any say in her future anymore. She's out of my hands and I think I want it that way."
Wash his hands of her... yes, that seemed like the right route in the heat of this moment.
Shay Marin - February 7, 2010 10:21 AM (GMT)
"Then mention that to Veyron if it comes to it.”
That this hadn't been the sort of reaction she'd expected--and hoped for--from her stolid counterpart would be something of an understatement. A Lysander-sized understatement, in fact. Shay allowed clear hints of her surprise to rise to the surface of her expression: the incredulous lift of fine brows, the pursing of lips in consideration. Either Nathaniel didn't notice the signals or he didn't give a damn about them, as he continued on in the same vein.
“But really, I feel I've done my part. I don't think I have any reason to have any say in her future anymore. She's out of my hands and I think I want it that way."
Where the frack had such coldness come from? Sure, Old Stoneface had always been the withdrawn sort, but even he understood the meaning of compassion. For all he kept closed off from his fellow sentient beings on a personal level, Master Marin had seen the man work himself past the point of exhaustion in healing the wounds of others. Some of that could be explained by the demands of duty, but not all. She knew he truly cared about the welfare of people, if in his own careful and often rationalized fashion.
Yet for some reason all sympathies had now fled on the subject of the Sage Master's wayward Padawan. Worse, all it had taken for Nathaniel to arrive at such a state was a few pointed verbal prods on Shay's part to bring him there. This discovery disturbed the Investigator on a number of levels. Far more was going on here than the breakdown of one mentor-student bond. Without deliberate intent on her part, it seemed the Dolomarian had stumbled upon one of Stone's well-hidden scars. Now the problem she faced was what to do with that knowledge.
"...damn you, Nathaniel." There was no true anger in the soft exclamation, but she couldn't deny a significant amount of frustration. Her overriding sentiment was one of disbelief, however. "Do you even feel anything anymore? Have you ever felt anything for anyone?" Another careful application of interrogation tactics, designed to elicit a meaningful response. The accusations weren't so sharp as they might have been, given the concern darkening the woman's amber eyes. "The rumors say you haven't, but I don't want to believe that's true. Please, prove to me it isn't."
Nathaniel Stone - February 8, 2010 12:25 AM (GMT)
"...damn you, Nathaniel. Do you even feel anything anymore? Have you ever felt anything for anyone?"
Nathaniel didn’t care that his reaction bothered her, chose to ignore her disbelief and her frustration. They could all think he was cold and calloused for all he cared right about now, and if Marin chose to spread the fact of his response, so be it. It would change nothing, his reputation as it was.
As for who or what he’d been in the past, he didn’t even take a moment to dwell on it. Those were times and stories of the past, people and names he never so much as thought about anymore, let alone uttered. Her questions would get nothing from him, either to confirm or deny. She had to see that, or she’d fight him on the matter until she hurt herself. His one fast rule was to never bring up the answers to the questions she now asked, and he wouldn’t be himself to break number one in his own book.
"The rumors say you haven't, but I don't want to believe that's true. Please, prove to me it isn't."
Bah, the rumors. Spread by students too young to have really known him, ever. Even his own generation was typically ill-informed, having not known him overly well in his prime or having forgotten with time and neglect. He didn’t care what the rumors said, he never listened to them and took any true weight from them. The fact that Master Marin didn’t want to believe them was one of the reasons he so respected her, but right now, that respect was set aside for indifference.
"Believe what you will,” he stated. “What once was or was not is of no consequence now. I don’t have anything to prove to anyone." His tone made it clear this was not up for discussion, and no amount of pressure was likely to make him yield. He was putting his foot down and he would not be interrogated like some wayward fool.
Shay Marin - February 16, 2010 03:06 PM (GMT)
“What once was or was not is of no consequence now. I don’t have anything to prove to anyone."
Skin tightened against her jawline as Shay swallowed down her threatening irritation. Force, but she hated it when Buttons shut down like this. He'd settled in for an emotional siege--shields up, hatches battened, aura wiped clean of all color and warmth. Not that he ever had an abundance the latter. The Sentinel wasn't going to have much--if any--luck getting more out of him now. Which didn't mean she wasn't going to try, of course. She could be stubborn too.
"The nine hells you don't!" Master Marin shot back, amber eyes narrowing in warning. He had to know she wasn't going to just let this go. The Dolomarian never willingly left a task unfinished, professional or otherwise. Once she'd caught a glimpse of Nathaniel's old injury beneath his shell of icy reserve, it became her business--even her duty--to find out what weapon had inflicted the damage in the first place.
Or so she believed. Admittedly, she had been trained by perhaps the Order's biggest busybody. That said, Gandon's teachings had never led her astray before. Jedi who didn't deal with their personal issues endangered not only themselves, but everyone around them. If her mentor were still among the living, he'd no doubt be having this same conversation. And probably pulling far fewer punches while doing so.
"Whatever turned your heart to stone--pun very much not intended--yesterday made you the man who failed a promising young woman today." Shay was certain of this now. Nathaniel had given up on the Miraluka too quickly and too completely for the choice to have been made through unclouded reason. Something inclined the stubborn man towards cutting off any potential source of distress rather than work through it with grace.
A single step forward had Shay infringing on the outer boundaries of Stone's personal space. The movement didn't seek intimidation, but mere emphasis. "Don't make me put on my Investigator hat and find out what it is for myself." As the cliche went, her words weren't so much a threat as they were a promise.
Nathaniel Stone - February 17, 2010 08:44 PM (GMT)
"The nine hells you don't!"
Nathaniel wasn’t stupid, he’d known that Marin wasn’t going to give up. It wasn’t in her nature, as her nature had been shaped and molded by Gandon, who had been even more impossible to deter. This was the first moment where Nathaniel found himself glad that Gandon wasn’t here anymore... and even thinking it in this context felt wrong. Not that he was here to dwell on friends lost, there was too much else going on.
Still, much as he’d known she wouldn’t, he’d certainly hoped she would just go away. This wasn’t something he wanted anyone looking into, for any reason. Anyone who knew anything about this subject didn’t talk about it for a reason, and ‘Buttons’ sure had hoped that his stubborn silence would be able to deter the willful force that was an Investigator on the prowl.
"Whatever turned your heart to stone--pun very much not intended--yesterday made you the man who failed a promising young woman today."
She had a point, but he wasn’t about to admit that. That would have opened a weak spot in his shield and she would have drove through it with all the force of a proton torpedo. And frankly, he didn’t care that one thing affected another. He could work through the issue himself, not repeat it. Not that he was planning on taking another Padawan at this rate. Maybe retiring from the apprentice business was a good idea, focus on being a Healer and a teacher to students in general. Not that he was the most popular of instructors.
"Don't make me put on my Investigator hat and find out what it is for myself."
He didn’t flinch or even react as she pushed her point home. So completely withdrawn, he didn’t aim to give her any indication of how he felt about her determination. He didn’t like it, but she didn’t need a scowl from him to gather as much. She knew him well enough to not need such obvious clues.
"Do whatever you want. I have nothing to say on the matter.” He gave her “permission” only because he knew she would do so no matter what he said. He was stubborn enough to fight a losing battle, but he’d already done that enough in this conversation.
And with that, he was done with this conversation, and made that clear by heading for the door. A tactical retreat, a clear indication that he was no longer willing to be badgered for information. The door opened and he was through within the space of a few breaths. If she chose to chase him down again, Force help him, he didn’t know what he’d do, but he doubted Marin was dumb enough to think it would do her anything but ill.
Xion Odanau - February 17, 2010 10:55 PM (GMT)
The rumors were not good. They were made worse by the basis in fact Xi knew them to have. He'd heard from Seras how she'd been “let go” as such by Master Stone, and she herself had said that she wanted him to hear it from her before the rumors made it out to be worse than it was. Well they certainly had done that. From some of the younger mouths he'd even heard suggestions that the old master may have physically abused the petite Miraluka to one extent or another. The protective padawan was quick to quash any such nonsense where he heard it but he still imagined it would spread unhindered by his efforts.
Of course that was the extreme case. Most seemed to merely believe that the two had clashed too many times and the councilman had lost patience, no longer wishing to spend his time trying to bring Seras around to his way of thinking. While this seemed close enough to what he'd heard from the girl, Xi still believed it was taking too harsh a view. After the third time his attempted musical meditation was interrupted by the sound of chattering preteens and he distinctly heard “Seras,” “Buttons,” and “abandoned,” he decided he had to say something. Not to them. They were incorrigible. No, he had some words for Nathaniel Stone.
Flute in hand, the long-limbed Epicanthix strode quickly through the tunnels, seeking the suite of meditation chambers nearest the council chambers. These were most often used by the councilors and seemed a reasonable place to begin his search for the elderly Consular. As he entered one hall with several rooms branching off it, he heard muffled voices, one sounding rather annoyed and the other cold as ever. Both were familiar and he paused to focus on listening, just able to make out the words.
“"The nine hells you don't! Whatever turned your heart to stone—pun very much not intended—yesterday made you the man who failed a promising young woman today. Don't make me put on my Investigator hat and find out what it is for myself.”
“Do whatever you want. I have nothing to say on the matter.”
Master Marin—Shay, as she had all but demanded he call her—and Master Stone (whom he dared not call anything else). It wasn't difficult for Xi to infer that they had been discussing Seras and despite himself he felt a little flutter in his chest at what sounded like the Sentinel defending the young Miraluka, or at the least expressing disapproval of his supposed abandonment of her. Perhaps she would be a valuable ally in getting Seras to remain. Such thoughts would have to wait however. He was here for Stone.
The regal figure strode determinedly from the room out into the hall and Xi wasted no time. Calling out as he moved forward, he walked swiftly to catch the man before he disappeared somewhere Xi wasn't allowed to go. “Master Stone? I'm sorry if I'm interrupting something, master. I had something I wanted to say to you, in light of all the rumors. And, I mean, I've spoken with Seras herself too.” Given the words he'd overheard and the manner in which the councilman had exited the chamber it seemed clear he was not in the greatest of moods. Not wanting to get shot down before he'd had a chance to speak his piece, Xi forged on immediately rather than awaiting permission. “I know there's been something of a falling out between you and Seras and that she is no longer your padawan, but as her friend I wanted to thank you for being there for her at all when her first master died. I know she's been in a rough place since then and I think she'd have been much worse off if no one had tried to see to her. So while I'm sure we don't agree on all points of what that is, thank you for doing what you believed was best for her. That's all, master.”
Though his first instinct was to flee before he got too dragged into whatever had been going on before he arrived, the boy didn't wish to seem rude to two masters, at least not any more so than the bit of irreverence he'd already shown. Rather the turn and head back the way he came, he just stood there with his flute in his hand, ready to back away if he were dismissed.
Nathaniel Stone - February 18, 2010 07:09 AM (GMT)
Nathaniel’s escape was cut short by one of the Padawans--Odanau, that was it--flagged him down. Oh, give the man a break...
“Master Stone? I'm sorry if I'm interrupting something, master. I had something I wanted to say to you, in light of all the rumors. And, I mean, I've spoken with Seras herself too.”
Did the epicanthix really think this was a good idea? Really? Not breaking his stride and forcing the other to walk with him, he gave the boy a very stale look. He wasn’t impressed, he didn’t want to hear this. If he’d spoken to Seras and gotten only her side of things, surely no good could come of this.
“I know there's been something of a falling out between you and Seras and that she is no longer your padawan, [...] thank you for doing what you believed was best for her. That's all, master.”
In the process of the other telling him what he had to say, Nathaniel had slowed to an eventual stop, so they weren’t far from where they had started. The steady gaze of the Master remained on Padawan Odanau as the boy finished. As much as he should have appreciated the boy’s gesture, it fell on an unyielding aura. The older man blinked once, the only indication that he had even heard the boy clearly.
And with that, he continued down the hall, not giving him a second glance, assuming the Padawan wouldn’t be foolish enough to follow him. He’d said his bit, and that would have to be satisfactory enough, without a reaction.
Shay Marin - February 22, 2010 06:52 AM (GMT)
"Do whatever you want. I have nothing to say on the matter.”
Shay stood her ground while Nathaniel withdrew. His departure was nothing less than a hasty retreat, and both of them knew it. There'd be no point in following after him, the Investigator knew; he'd said and done all he would allow of himself. Any further attempts to draw blood from this particular stone--pun intended this time--could only prove unfruitful. She'd won this round, for how little she cared about 'winning' in the first place.
Once Buttons left eyeshot, the Dolomarian Jedi allowed herself the luxury of a deep sigh. "For the love of the Force," she muttered under her breath, dragging a long-fingered hand through her blonde tresses. Give her a slaver base to infiltrate and take down single-handed, and her calm never faltered while she got the job done. Make her confront Old Stoneface on thorny personal issues, though, and watch her tense right up. All a matter of perspective, really, as to which task qualified as the more difficult of the two. The latter definitely rated as less enjoyable.
The sound of another's voice out in the hallway pulled Master Marin out of her momentary musings. A quick 'flick' of her empathic perceptions outward identified the source as Lysander's young sidekick. From what she felt in the brief moment of contact, Xion's emotions were turbulent beneath a fragile outer layer of composure. Curious, she tossed her flight jacket over a shoulder and glided towards the exit from the room on quiet feet.
"...So while I'm sure we don't agree on all points of what that is, thank you for doing what you believed was best for her. That's all, master.”
Hard to tell how serious the kid's being about that, as opposed to sardonic. She'd heard rumor since she'd arrived at the Redoubt that Xion had been seen a great deal in the presence of Stone's wayward Padawan as of late. His concern for his fellow apprentice's well-being shone bright in his aura. A laudable sentiment, really, but not one Nathaniel would wish to tolerate at the moment. Shay didn't need to attempt penetrating the Consular's neutronium-strength mental shielding to know that.
Taking her turn to step out into the corridor, the Sentinel viewed evidence proving her conclusion solid. The gray-haired man strode down the hall, spine stiff, shoulders unyielding, without so much as a backward glance at the Padawan who'd tried to open a dialogue with him. The temptation to sigh again was suppressed with a minor act of will. What had the kid been thinking, to be fair? Buttons had never been one to discuss his reasonings with those he did not consider peers.
Walking up behind the young Epicanthix, Shay rested a reassuring hand on his closest shoulder. "Don't take it personally, Xion," she advised him in a subdued tone, not wanting their voices to carry more than was necessary. "I'm the one who got him riled up."
Xion Odanau - April 9, 2010 06:45 AM (GMT)
Xi's long strides and inexhaustible energy were more than up for the challenge of pursuing Master Stone as he expressed what gratitude he sincerely felt and tried to remain a neutral party in whatever conflict had occurred. Still he was glad the councilman was slowing and eventually stopped, figuring this a good sign that the man was heeding him. It was almost the only sign he got really. Without so much as a nod of acknowledgment, the Master walked on, leaving the much younger Jedi unsure what effect he'd actually had.
Of course the boy hadn't actually intended to open up an extended discussion over the Miraluka, nor had he expected to coax one out of the notoriously terse, even curt old consular. He had dared to hope for maybe a little more than he'd received, but it seemed his timing had not been ideal. The second Master he'd nearly interrupted reinforced as much as she came up behind him.
"Don't take it personally, Xion; I'm the one who got him riled up.”
Glancing back over his shoulder at the woman, Xi offered a nod and tiny shrug before turning to face her completely. Given that his expectations hadn't really been that high to begin with, he didn't feel any crushing disappointment, able to smile sincerely at her, easily his second favorite Master right behind Hedan. Hmm, third favorite actually, now that Lys has been promoted. I'll hafta remember to give him crap about that. The thought widened his grin a bit, but he dismissed the thought as he replied. “Don't think I'd have lasted long if I took getting ignored by Master Stone personally, Shay.”
His tone matched hers, not having any great desire to keep his words secreted away from the councilman he spoke of, but figuring Master Marin had her reasons for doing so and taking the cue from her. The mirth faded from his eyes and voice some as he continued, betraying the depth of his concern over Seras and the situation in general. There wasn't a lot that'd steal a smile from that boy's face. “I think you're right though. I kinda overheard the last bit before he stormed out. Looks like Seras is inadvertently sending tremors throughout all echelons of the order.”
Whatever pleasantness remained on his face drained away with those words. How true they were. Sure, it didn't take much to cause the young and impetuous Padawans to start voicing their conflicting opinions, but it seemed even the Council itself was uncertain what should be done about the young Amadis. Indeed the occasions on which Xi and his beloved master vehemently disagreed were uncommon, but the controversy Seras had raised was causing tension even in that most cherished relationship. The youthful features crinkled into worried lines that were very foreign to them as Xi mulled over it all.
Focusing his deep azure eyes on the fair features of the sentinel, he sought clarification on what he'd overheard. “So you think this is Master Stone's fault? Er...” He hesitated and backtracked. “I mean, I guess that's not really any of my business. Sorry. I'm just... worried.” Xi's eyes lifted from Shay's face to the hall behind her. After a moment he realized that he hadn't a clue where Seras was at that moment, yet he'd instinctively looked in the opposite direction Master Stone had gone as he thought about her. He didn't like that.
Shay Marin - April 27, 2010 09:03 AM (GMT)
“Don't think I'd have lasted long if I took getting ignored by Master Stone personally, Shay.”
Amusement glimmered golden in the Jedi Master's eyes as she returned Xion's smile in kind. "You do have a point." She'd never known Nathaniel to put on on kid gloves when dealing with anyone. All comers tended to receive the same sort of remote, almost clinical treatment from the stubborn man. Even those few beings considered friends by the Consular weren't granted much in the way of wiggle room, to say nothing of personal warmth. Sure, he tolerated their 'eccentricities' better and held back some on the reprimands, but the man dubbed 'Buttons' refused to change his core behaviors for anyone.
“I think you're right though. I kinda overheard the last bit before he stormed out. Looks like Seras is inadvertently sending tremors throughout all echelons of the order.”
Shay canted her head to one side a few degrees at Xion's admission. "Well, that answers my first question," she noted wryly. She didn't find it much of a surprise that he'd done so, really. Truth be told, she couldn't blame the kid for wanting to find out what the Masters were saying about one of his close friends behind her back. Were she in his shoes, she might have done some lurking around the doorway herself. Besides, if I were to start condemning people for indulging in curiosity, I'd be the worst sort of hypocrite.
“So you think this is Master Stone's fault? Er...”
The skin between her brows furrowed as Shay fixed the young man with a considering expression. "My investigation is about taking responsibility, Xion, rather than assigning blame." Quite the bold inquiry he'd made there. A Padawan outright asking a member of the Jedi Council if they believed another Councilor to be in the wrong--in public, no less!--would no doubt be taken as an affront by one of her more conservative peers. Fortunately for Xion, none of those types were present.
Instead, Master Marin found his action cause for concern rather than insult. The situation regarding Padawan Amadis threatened to prove complicated enough to resolve as it was. If the Miraluka's public displays of discontent then inspired widespread insubordination within the ranks--to borrow a military term--the Order would soon be facing an even more serious problem. Rebellions by a younger generation of Jedi against their seniors had happened before. In all cases the results had turned out disastrous for the galaxy as a whole.
Alright now, don't go borrowing trouble. That's very much a worse case scenario you're pondering. Shay knew the truth when she 'heard' it, too pragmatic a woman at heart to allow her mind to go running off on a panicked tangent. She switched her train of thought onto a more productive track. There'd be plenty of time to meditate on these passing theories later.
“I mean, I guess that's not really any of my business. Sorry. I'm just... worried.”
Xion ventured into Lysander-scale understatement territory with those words. Even from just a mere surface 'scan', the Sentinel could sense how powerful the young man's feelings of anxiety on the subject ran. "So am I, kid," she assured him, her amber gaze gentle now as she examined his features. While she wasn't about to start 'telling tales out of school', as it were, Shay decided telling him something to clarify what he'd already heard would be for the best. "Walk with me." With that quiet command, Shay turned and began to stroll down the hallway at a sedate pace, in the exact opposite direction from where Nathaniel had gone.
She allowed a few minutes to pass in silence this way, hands tucked into the outer pockets of her nerfhide flight jacket in a relaxed posture. All the while they walked, she lead them at a meandering pace towards the nearest exit to the surface of Shedu Maad. This was one of those days where Shay needed to watch the rain for a while. "I don't agree with some of the choices Nathaniel has made in regards to his training methods," she stated at last, certain this time no other beings were in earshot. "I can't deny that. But I know none of those choices were made out of malice on the man's part. He's always meant well for Seras."
Xion Odanau - July 10, 2010 05:15 AM (GMT)
"My investigation is about taking responsibility, Xion, rather than assigning blame."
“No... I mean yeah. I wasn't trying to. Sorry, I was just trying to clarify what I'd overheard,” came the less than eloquent rapid retraction. He hadn't meant to try and rally support against Master Stone, but from the part he'd heard it sounded like she did blame her fellow councilor. Xi really didn't like the thought of dissension among the council. They held the Jedi together and as much as he vehemently opposed Seras running off on her own, the entire Order disbanding was... There were no words for such an unthinkable catastrophe.
“So am I, kid. Walk with me.”
Glancing once back the way Master Stone had departed, the Epicanthix padawan shrugged and walked after Shay, quickening his pace a bit at first to catch up, walking just slightly behind her off to the side. He didn't break the silence, though he did glance to the woman leading him more than once, unsure if he was in trouble. He didn't think so, but it did cross his mind that maybe he should have stayed out of it. Eh, that wouldn't have lasted anyway. He did note that they were definitely climbing, the master before him choosing paths that would lead to the surface.
"I don't agree with some of the choices Nathaniel has made […] He's always meant well for Seras."
Before she had even finished, Xi was nodding. He'd really given her the wrong impression, it seemed. He was quick to assure her he had no such notions. “I know, Shay. I don't pretend to understand Master Stone, but he's been a Jedi for... I dunno, forever, and he's on the council. I don't mean that you guys are infallible, but I do like to think you aren't all a pack of sadistic bullies, snickering about the horrible trials you have planned for us. I don't believe he did anything with the intent of hurting her.” he paused there, the next thought seeming to flow right off of that one, but he wasn't sure he should say it. He didn't want to make trouble, but... Someone really ought to know. Shay was nothing if not discrete. “But... Seras does.”
Shay Marin - July 22, 2010 01:20 AM (GMT)
“I know, Shay. I don't pretend to understand Master Stone, but he's been a Jedi for... I dunno, forever, and he's on the council."
Shay felt the impulse to smile at that, and found no reason to suppress the expression. "Feels like he's been there forever at least." She still remembered how... well, intimidated she'd been by him when she'd been a newly minted Padawan and he'd been a senior Knight. To her rather deluded childhood self, he'd seemed very much the stereotypical image of a 'perfect' Jedi: unemotional, dutiful, knowledgeable, and downright disapproving of anything lighthearted or fun. Oh, how times have changed. And how I've changed.
“I don't believe he did anything with the intent of hurting her. But... Seras does.”
Now the corners of her lips turned the opposite direction from before, if only slightly. Master Marin wasn't one for scowling. "Is that so?" Not a good sign, that. For all Nathaniel's faults, he didn't lean towards vindictive sorts of actions. He could be blunt, perhaps even harsh, but only if he felt it would be the best for someone--by his own standards, at least. Above all, he sought to be fair. When he advocated for disciplining another member of the Order, he wanted a punishment that fit the 'crime'.
"I take it you've talked to her lately then." More than Shay could say at this point; she'd been away from the Redoubt for quite some time. Her own Padawan had a close friendship--among other unspoken feelings--with the Miraluka, but he hadn't disclosed much in the way of useful information either. Sometimes Nereus could be too empathetic for his own good; he had a difficult time separating his own feelings from others', even those left beyond on mere objects.
Amber eyes gazed off into the middle distance for several beats, mulling over this minor revelation. "Do you mind telling me the sorts of things she's been saying about what's going on? I wouldn't ask you to violate her trust or her privacy," Shay hastened to reassure Xion, "but I admit to being rather worried about Seras right now. I can't help if I don't understand her situation better."
Xion Odanau - November 7, 2010 06:25 AM (GMT)
Already conflicted about revealing the worrisome things Seras had told him, Xi shifted uncomfortably as he admitted that the girl felt rather severely wronged by her Master. Former Master. Unintentionally he let his slight meandering slow his pace, having to take two steps at a jog to catch back up a moment later, in time to catch her brief concerned reply.
“Is that so?”
Swallowing uncomfortably, he nodded and intoned a hesitant, “Yeah, she... yeah.” The idealistic boy wanted so badly to believe he could just unload all the stress his conversation with Seras had caused him onto the Councilor, that she would understand perfectly and use her power—which was substantially greater than his—to make things better, to fix everything. He did believe Shay would do her best to be fair and do what she believed was right, but what if somehow in communicating what he'd learned he got something wrong? What if somewhere between Seras trying to explain herself to him and then him trying to explain it to Shay, things got twisted, warped to where they looked worse than they really were? He didn't want to cause problems for Seras, and it seemed all too easy to accidentally do exactly that by talking to a member of the Council about her. Particularly when that member's primary duties—as he understood them—involved rooting out and eliminating potential threats to the Jedi.
“I take it you've talked to her lately then.”
It didn't really sound like a question, but he nodded again anyway, wanting to be helpful and not seeing how this admission could backfire. “Yeah. I heard about things being kinda rocky for her and, well, anyone paying much attention would notice how withdrawn she's been. But I didn't wanna just rely on rumors and thought maybe I could help, or at least that she could use a friend. I dunno how much good I did though. Nothing really seemed to get resolved.” A loose flake of dry skin peeling slightly from his lower lip felt the brunt of his anxiety then, his teeth working to remove it and seek out any other choice portions of his lip to chew on.
“Do you mind telling me the sorts of things she'd been saying about what's been going on? I wouldn't ask you to violate her trust or her privacy, but I admit to being rather worried about Seras right now. I can't help if I don't understand her situation better.”
Conspicuously halting, Xi frowned at his feet. Saying no to people wasn't his strong suit, and he certainly didn't want to give the impression that he was hiding things. Knowing the longer he let the silence stretch, the more worrisome it would seem to the Sentinel, he let one shoulder twitch upward in a noncommittal shrug as he answered. “I kinda do. I mean, I don't think it was like, dark secrets she was telling me, and I can say that she definitely didn't respond well when I expressed disbelief that Master Stone would spitefully abandon her, but that might've just been her thinking I was calling her a liar. Still, I don't wanna give a faulty report and have you draw bad conclusions from it, and while she didn't really tell me to keep anything to myself... I mean, I never asked and its possible some things were said in confidence.”
Letting a single index finger trace along the contours of the rocky tunnel wall, he shrugged once more. “I didn't wanna rely on what other people were saying about Seras, and went to talk to her myself. Maybe you could do that? Sorry I'm not being very helpful.”
Shay Marin - November 9, 2010 07:40 AM (GMT)
“ [...] I dunno how much good I did though. Nothing really seemed to get resolved.”
Shay couldn't help but feel sympathetic for the young man. She understood from first hand experience how it felt to see someone you cared for hurting and not having the power to make the pain go away. That the Padawan cared a great for Seras could never be in doubt, given how strongly he expressed the emotion in thought and behavior. Some Jedi Masters would criticize Xion for possessing such feelings; however, Shay found it a credit to his character.
"Being someone's friend isn't about fixing their problems, Xi." Her tone nudged gently, trying to point out a truth without being condescending about it. "Just by doing your best to support her, drawing her out and getting her to talk, you're helping her. With those actions, you prove to her she's not alone in the galaxy, and that is the most important truth for her to remember right now." Emotional isolation never proved healthy for any sentient being, in Shay's experience.
The Sentinel stopped walking when Xion did, turning to face the young man while he faced his feet. She wondered what sorts of thoughts had him holding still. The turbulent surface of his mind radiated clear discomfort at the subject, but her empathy could tell her nothing further. To know more would require probing deeper, and that she would not do merely to satisfy her own curiosity. Shay sought no more than Xion was willing to give her at this moment. This wasn't an interrogation, just a conversation, and she'd hate to make the Padawan feel obligated to tell her more than he felt to be right.
“I kinda do. [...] I didn't wanna rely on what other people were saying about Seras, and went to talk to her myself. Maybe you could do that? Sorry I'm not being very helpful.”
When Xi's bright blue eyes would finally dare to rise back to the Master's face, he'd find a gentle smile awaiting him there. "You are being helpful, actually. After all, you know Seras far better than I do. Therefore, your being so worried about her adds another dimension to my understanding of the situation. Even if you're not comfortable discussing what she's talked to you about, knowing how you feel helps me see what's going on from your own point of view."
Shay reached out a hand again to rest on the young man's shoulder. "As for talking to her, I intend to do so in the near future. All stories have at least two sides; most have more. We won't draw any conclusions without hearing her out first." By 'we' she meant the rest of the Council, of course. While she avoided trying to speak for the other members of that group on general principle, Master Marin was confident they would all agree with her on this point. None of them would ever try to be less than fair on any subject.
Following a quick squeeze, the Investigator let her fingers fall back down to her side. "On another subject, how are you doing? It's been a while since we've had the chance to talk. Ly-Ly gives me updates from home every now and again, but I know I still miss a lot not being on-planet much."
Xion Odanau - November 10, 2010 10:19 AM (GMT)
“Being someone's friend isn't about fixing their problems, Xi. Just by doing your best to support her, drawing her out and getting her to talk, you're helping her. With those actions, you prove to her she's not alone in the galaxy, and that is the most important truth for her to remember right now.”
Unable to repress it, Xi's anxious lip-chewing morphed into a bright smile. He'd thought some of those things before, had in fact held them as loose goals while talking to Seras. Still it was easy to lose sight of small victories in the grim shadow that still hung over the girl. It was good to be reminded. “Thanks, that's encouraging. I hope she got that though. She's kinda been isolating herself for awhile and grew comfortable with it or something. She sorta resists companionship. She's very stubborn.” The boy chuckled at this, despite the seriousness of her situation. Shay's encouragements had improved his mood. “Thing is, I would really like to fix her problems too.”
Despite his improved outlook, the prospect of revealing specifics still daunted him and made him a little nervous. While the hierarchy of the Jedi Order was not strictly militaristic, and she had phrased her request in such a way to make it seem he had every right to deny her, saying no to a Master, and one on the Council at that, just seemed very wrong to him. It took a second after he'd finished explaining and apologizing before he peeked back up at her, but finding her smiling warmly at him, the left side of his mouth curled upward as well. Looked like he wouldn't be getting flogged after all. That was good; lightsaber floggings were brutal.
“You are being helpful, actually. After all, you know Seras […] All stories have two sides; most have more. We won't draw any conclusions without hearing her out first.”
Nodding and grinning more fully at the little squeeze she gave his shoulder, Xi felt further relief at knowing that he was at least doing something right, and that the Council was as he believed, rational and benevolent in their leadership. “Thanks again, Shay. And I'm glad the Council's looking into this. I'm worried about her, but Seras does mean so much well. She's an amazing girl.”
“On another subject, how are you doing? It's been awhile since we've had a chance to talk. Ly-Ly gives me updates from home every now and again, but I know I still miss a lot not being on-planet much.”
If possible, the Epicanthix's grin widened further. He never failed to be amused by the—in his view fairly emasculating—nickname she'd saddled Lysander with. He knew she meant nothing but affection with it and the old man could take it anyway, leaving Xi content to laugh in the corner. Of course thoughts of the recently minted Jedi Master brought Xi's thoughts to the event, besides the whole Seras encounter, that was most predominant in his recent past. “I'm good. I'm learning. Lys and Hedan took me on a serious mission not long ago. We went to Coruscant. It was... kinda really terrible actually. I think it was the worst experience of my life. That I can remember anyway. Hedan and I have discussed it quite a bit since though, and I'm coping. I think it was good for me.”
He smirked, the expression replaced in an instant by a mock bewildered look as he added, “Apparently being a Jedi is actually really hard.” Shrugging as if this were some momentous revelation he'd previously lacked, Xi though about how it was, in at least the degree to which is was true. “How are things in the criminal underworld, or whatever it is you've been doing lately that I'm probably not allowed to know about?” The grin was back.
Shay Marin - November 27, 2010 09:24 AM (GMT)
Xion's amusement pattered against Shay's empathic senses like a warm and gentle rain. He'd never failed to react otherwise to the Sentinel addressing Lysander that way. She understood why, of course; nicknames given to toddlers rarely held up well to adult standards of maturity. Shay supposed this fact might play a considerable part in why she kept calling her little brother Ly-Ly in the first place. Master Marin liked the reminder of who they'd once been, all the better to compare it against who they were now.
“I'm good. I'm learning. [...] I think it was good for me.”
Then the young man's mood shaded more towards the solemn, and the Investigator began to pay more careful attention to the exact shadings of the conversation. While teenagers in the galaxy often tended to claim their latest problem to be the 'worst thing in their life ever', Jedi teenagers knew better. More specifically, Padawan Odanau knew better. Lysander's sidekick had never been one for sulking or dwelling on the negative. For him to say such about a mission held great significance.
“Apparently being a Jedi is actually really hard.”
Shay played off Xion's behavior, fixing an almost exaggeratedly innocent mask upon her face for a moment. "Are you serious? I had no idea!" While he shrugged, she chuckled, returning to more honest behavior. Whatever the Epicanthix might have gone through in recent days, she was pleased to see it hadn't damaged his sense of humor. Master Marin believed so long as you kept that safe, you could endure most anything the universe might throw your way.
"Anything you want to talk about regarding that?" Her tone carried not the slightest hint of pressure or even authority on the subject. She offered to serve as a sounding board for the young man's troubles out of friendship, not out of duty. Xion was under no obligation to tell her anything, but she wanted him to know she would be there for him if he wished. "I know I'm not your Master or your favorite role model, but I like to think I'm a pretty good listener all the same."
“How are things in the criminal underworld, or whatever it is you've been doing lately that I'm probably not allowed to know about?”
"But which you'll ask about anyway," Shay commented wryly. Not that she minded him doing so, as long as he accepted the Investigator wouldn't give him much in the way of answers. On those topics her tongue could not be made to speak by any means known to sentient life. That said, curiosity was a 'failing' she believed in encouraging in the young, not dismissing. Shay saw curiosity as the beginning of wisdom, the willingness to ask 'Why?' about whatever one encountered instead of taking it for granted.
"Nothing so sordid as all that," she continued, amusement fading into a controlled serenity out of respect for the subject matter. "I've been tracking down a Cultist, actually. One who escaped the assault on Korriban." The one who killed my former Master. Words thought but left unspoken, concealed behind firm mental barriers. Bringing them up so bluntly would paint a far too personal light on her duties. She'd been hunting the insane Zabrak well before Gandon's death.