This is a private RO between apprentice Crawramek Turazza and his mentor, Syntari Bastiayn, as he discovers his abilities and she discovers what it’s like to do her duty to the Clan who saved her life. This RO is intended to introduce Crawramek to the basics of participating in a run on, as well as improve the writing skills of both parties.
Aboard a CNS ship
Aboard a ship adrift in the middle of the blackness of space an Umbaran whose moonstone eyes gazed out of a viewport stood watching space crawl by. Absently she reached with one spiderlike hand to rub the surgical scars marring her bald head. She hated Clan ships more than she hated people.
“What are you doing here, Syntari?” she whispered to herself. She closed her eyes. Reached out to the Force, and slowly began to ground herself to the ship the way she’d been taught. The thought frustrated her, as all such thoughts did; the memory loss inflicted upon her by another member of her Clan had led her to setbacks she could not overcome on her own. Unbidden, her thoughts spiraled to the conversation she’d had with Tasha’Vel, the Twi’lek who called herself the Rollmaster of Naga Sadow just days prior.
“Taking an apprentice is an honor most in the Clan rarely ever get to dream of,” Tasha’Vel said.
“And yet, you come to me with this…honor.”
“It is an honor, Syntari. I ask you to do your duty to the Clan that saved your life.”
Syntari’s lip twitched as, not for the first time, she considered the consequences of running, of fleeing to the void of space the way so many of her fellow Clanmates had. In a moment she’d dismissed it; present company did not allow for such thoughts. Once again she wondered how she, an Umbaran with a distaste for both authority and others, was supposed to train the latest newcomer when she herself was as much a stranger here as the Twi’lek who would be her apprentice.
Perhaps that’s why Tasha’Vel placed us together, she mused. Similarities bond better than differences, after all.
“You can come out now,” she said aloud. She didn’t bother to turn her head to the shadows on her left, where she could sense the Twi’lek’s presence. Being invisible to the naked eye could shield him from others, it was true, but the darkness in this room was not unwelcome to Syntari, Umbaran as she was; she, unlike the rest, could see in the dark in a way unaided by the Force. This youngling–"He is older than you, Syntari! she scolded herself–was not strong enough to keep himself invisible for long. “I know you’re there, Turazza,” she said. “You cannot hide yourself from my eyes.”
The small room upon the ship wasn’t the best place that Crawramek had rested his bright orange eyes at. Although, it wasn’t exactly the worst either but that was perhaps a story for another time.
The Purple Twi’lek was lacing up his boots right before he stood up and walked towards the door. It slid open with a loud clang but he noted that he never heard it shut. His long black duster flowed around the corners every time he turned before he abruptly came to a stop.
There she was. His newly appointed master that was suppose to teach him how to control the force that flowed within. He stuck to the shadows of the room as the shadows were his friend and never betrayed him before. That was until today or at least so he thought…
Crawramek stepped out of the shadows, feeling a wave of embarrassment before quickly pushing that down. It was good that his master could pick him out of a shadow but that also meant that he had to be on his guard for at least the time being.
“Crawramek Turazza.” The Twi’lek introduced himself with a slight bow. “Although, I suppose you already know who I am.” Crawramek was quick with his tongue, having talked himself out of many sticky situations before but this felt different. He felt as if simple words weren’t going to get him anywhere this time. “A pleasure to meet you Master Bastiayn.” He says as he stands up straight, waiting for her to turn towards him or say something else.
Aboard a CNS ship
At the would-be apprentice’s words Syntari felt the futility of containing an eye roll break over her. Master Bastiayn, as if she had control over the Twi’lek’s life, as if he were some kind of servant sent to grovel. Decorum, of course, dictated the title, she knew this, and yet a lingering and unfamiliar dislike of the word sent her spine to crawling in her skin. One little word and Syntari’s mood soured like rancor meat beneath the Tatooine sun.
“Don’t,” she said sharply, the words harsher than she had intended, “Call me ‘master’. Pick any word, except that one.” She saw a flash of surprise on the Twi’lek’s face before Crawramek cleared his throat and tried to speak.
“I–” he began.
A sudden desire to pace betrayed her. Breaking her serene demeanor the Umbaran turned from the viewport in a whirl of black cloak as she circled the perimeter of the small room. Although doing so placed her in uncomfortable proximity to the garishly-colored Crawramek thanks to the limited space it was better than standing there, doing nothing but looking at the rest of the Clan ships. Synari’s sudden discomfort rattled her more than the discovery of the brain surgery she still hated Calenhad for.
“I can’t imagine why you would have agreed to this,” she interrupted. The Umbaran ceased her pacing for a moment, struggling with the words before beginning again. This was the most she’d spoken since she’d woken up from brain surgery all those weeks ago. “I don’t know what you’re expecting,” she said softly, gazing off into the distance, “but I suppose I can teach you what you need to know.”
For better or for worse…
“Miss Bastiayn, I–”
“Don’t call me that, either,” she interrupted. Syntari waved her hand in a gesture that was supposed to convey good will but looked more like she was telling him to leave. “Now, you were saying?”
Was the last thing Crawramek said before she had cut him off again. This was troubling. He knew it would be difficult working with another person but not to this degree. Well, there was two names down that she didn’t like to be called, he couldn’t imagine going for strike three so quickly.
He let his natural charm take over and stopped thinking about the consequences for a moment. Something he was good at even if it led to more trouble than it was originally worth.
“Alright Syntari. You don’t like Master and you don’t like Miss Bastiayn then im stumped. If Syntari is another one of those names that you don’t like then you’re going to have to be a little more helpful then not to call you something.”
The words flowed from his mouth before he had a even thought of them. Telling this…well, even if she didn’t like being called master she was still one. Telling this master in front of him to be more helpful couldn’t end well for him.
“As for expectations.” He walked up to the window and looked out into space. He hated being on the ship with nowhere to run if trouble came. He would much rather be down on any planet at this point. “I don’t really have any.” He continued. “I’m not sure what to expect at this point. Hell, you could end up stabbing me in the back like so many before but Crawramek always survives.”
“Crawramek always survives.” The words stunned her, though they shouldn’t have. Perhaps it was more of the implication that she was a backstabbing Umbaran as opposed to exactly what she appeared to be—powerful in the Force, imposing, a mystic for crying out loud—made her skin crawl. She was nothing like the ones of her kind made famous by treachery and deceit…or was she?
Make up your mind. You’re either angry about that or you’re angry about wanting you to be helpful.
Having an apprentice tell her to be more helpful was both startling and…she searched for the word to explain the feeling of pride and fury swirling in her only to fail miserably. At least he had some backbone and wouldn’t be cowed by her holier-than-thou air of mystery.
“Syntari will do fine,” she snapped. Never mind that the last person to call her by her full name was that karking bother of a Rollmaster. Never mind that mostly everyone else called her Syn as if they knew her. No matter; letting her apprentice call her by a nickname was as silly as her shortening his name to Ramek or something equally ridiculous.
She bit back the urge to call him “boy” and start lecturing. When did she start lecturing? Perhaps working with another person was going to be more intolerable than she had imagined. “At least your expectations are reasonably low,” she grumbled. “I’m going to assume you know something, at least?”
Please don’t have sent me an untrained lekku-headed twit for an apprentice…even if he is so brightly colored let him be more than he appears…
“Koa.” Crawramek began saying lightly before he turned around and facing his master. “I don’t know what I know. I was told that you would be able to help me…find a place in the clan.”
He muttered a few words to himself as his lekku swayed with agitation. He knew he was going to come across hurdles to jump over and bridges to cross but he didn’t expect them to be giant walls and caverns to cross. He looked away from her again before scowling, although it wasn’t apparent in his voice. “So I guess I don’t really know anything. The force flows through me more than normal Twi’leks and I have used that to my advantage…I think. Or maybe I’m just really good at talking my way out of a situation.” He turned around and gave a dashing smile to Syntari. A smile that he has used so many times to escape numerous amount of situations.
“So ma-” He caught himself calling her master again. He decided that he would only bring out that title when he was attempting to get a rise out of her. He figured she would eventually become aware of it at some point. “Syntari, where do we start then? Raiding villages? Exploring ancient tombs? I know you guys have to do something fun around here, right?”
Syntari’s moonstone eyes caught the twitch in the Tw’lek’s lekku and the hidden distaste of others instilled in her by her species arose to the forefront. She eyed his lekku as she opened her mouth to respond, only to hear that dreaded word nearly come out of his mouth. Silver tongued bastard.
“Raiding villages?” She raised an eyebrow at Crawramek, turning once more in another grandiose swirl of cloak to set her gaze on him. “What do you think we are, pirates? No, we do not raid villages or explore tombs. Unfortunately,” she muttered the last word under her breath.
“I do not know if you would call testing your abilities ‘fun’,” she continued, holding up a hand for silence, “however that is the only next step we can take. Come. My quarters are the only safe place on this karking vessel.”
Syntari didn’t wait for him to follow her, merely strode from the room in the direction of her quarters. Modest, not much bigger than the empty storage room the two had met in, her quarters were bare of decoration or the usual hints of personality that typically adorned the rooms in which someone lived. In a way they represented her more than any words she could speak; Syntari herself was a blank slate, as surely as the four walls of her quarters. When she arrived she left the door open, and when her apprentice managed to find his way there through the twists and turns of the corridors it was to find her sitting in the middle of the room. Wordlessly she inclined her head towards a spot directly in front of her and removed her lightsaber from her belt.
Crawramek saw Syntari walking away and decided that it would be best to follow. After all, she was supposed to teach him everything she knew. Upon entering her bed chambers, he looked around and smacked his lips before talking. “Quite bland in here.” He stated. “Are you only visiting or just not keeping any personable things with you?”
As she beckoned for him to sit, a slight terror washed over him. He eyed the lightsaber and thought to himself that he had finally said the wrong thing to the wrong person and this would be where his story ended. Should he apologize? Yeah, probably but that wasn’t in his nature.
Taking a seat where she gestured to, he muttered “Kunta” under his breath before looking up at Syntari. “If you’re going to kill me, I would at least prefer it to not be like some sort of cattle.” He said rather non-nonchalantly for somebody that believed was going to die.
Aboard a CNS ship
Sitting cross legged in the room Syntari Bastiayn beheld her apprentice with the look of a nexu about to pounce on its prey. The insinuation that she would, or even wanted to, kill him would have made her laugh if what she was about to attempt wasn’t serious enough as it was. With her right hand raised she reached out and plucked the lightsaber from the ground and summoned it to her, teeth gritting invisibly behind her pale lips. She chose to ignore the comments on her quarters, as they hit too close to the thoughts she herself had been having as of late.
“If I wanted to kill you,” she said, hoping that what she was doing with the Force seemed boringly effortless, “Don’t you think I would have done it already?” She set her lightsaber down and looked at him. “Using the Force is more than just picking weapons up, or even reading minds. Do you have any idea the power you wield?”
A headache bloomed over her eyes. Without thinking she reached out towards the room’s light controls and pushed with the Force; instantly the lights dimmed, making it agreeable to her Umbaran eyes. She had no designs to cater to an alien’s need for light. “Using the Force is about control. Somehow I think you’re lacking that,” she said, dizzy from the pain. “You saw the Force runs stronger in you than in others?”
The Twi’lek nodded. She knew it was disconcerting to be in her quarters in the dark, especially with the door shut to outsiders. Not that many would bother her here; there were only three, and of those the Consul was her duty as much as he was an annoyance.
“Show me what you can do. And do not forget, I can see better than you can.”
Crawramek decided that he would let go the topic of Syntari wanting to kill him. After all, he learned the hard way that it was easier to kill somebody while they had their backs turned than it was to do it face to face. He shook his head from the thoughts that swirled about and watched as lightsaber flew towards his master.
When the lights darkened, 'Ramek felt more at ease. He took in a deep breath and made note how stale the air was compared to being on an actual planet. As he reached out, his hand opened up with his palm down. The purple Twi’lek was urging the lightsaber to come to him as if it was the right thing to do.
Much to his surprise, it started to rattle in place as if moving towards his hand was the best course of action but it just couldn’t bring itself to do it. “Stubborn thing.” Crawramek muttered through clenched teeth as he tried to pull it with all his might. Unfortunately he still didn’t know how the force fully worked and wouldn’t get it to budge more than the rattle.
“Ixta” He dropped his hand down to his leg as he let out an angry breath through his nose. He didn’t particularly like failing at anything but not especially at somebody who he had to impress.
Syntari found herself unsurprised as her lightsaber failed to move. A bead of sweat trickled down her back as she straightened her spine, weary already. According to others there was a time when she was capable of so much more, and yet, looking at herself now she felt as inferior as—
She shook her head. Cleared such thoughts from her mind and refocused on the apprentice swearing furiously before her.
“Focus,” she chided. “Really feel what you’re trying to move.”
She watched as the Twi’lek reached out again towards the lightsaber, brow furrowed with the effort. For a wild moment she thought he was going to activate the karking thing and she tensed; ready to end it if need be, but tge need never came. After a momrnt the weapon stopped trembling, the rxercise ended with another curse.
“Really feel what you’re looking at,” she said. “Concentrate and feel the Force as an extension of your hand. Like this.”
Carelessly she flung out a hand, channeling the Force with a barely articulated above through her right hand. Pain crackled down her arm and stars exploded across her vision. Amazingly, beautifully, the lightsaber moved, though not far; nonetheless it was a victory, and one that served to bolster what confidence she had.
“There,” she said, head spinning, “Feel what you’re looking at. Don’t just go using the Force without thinking first.”
Crawramek took another deep breath, centering himself and letting go the feeling of need to impress the master in front of him. His eyes had adjusted to the dark by this time. Even though he couldn’t see as well as Syntari, it wasn’t to the point where it was pitch black and he couldn’t see anything.
“Reach out as if it was an extension of my hand.” He muttered and looked down at his palm. “Just another part of me…reaching out.” He repeated to himself again, trying to find his inner self to even achieve such goal.
After a few moments, he reached out to the saber again. Like before, it shook.“Come to me.” He said as he could see himself taking grasp of the lightsaber and it shook more violently. The way it rattled made it seem like the object was possessed by some sort of demon. “To me!” He said louder and to his surprise the saber inched towards him slightly closer. Shocked, he dropped his hand for a brief moment. He laughed softly as he started to understand what young Umbaran was trying to explain to him.
This went out for a minute of the saber rattling and inching its way closer to Crawramek before he dropped his hand in exhaustion. “I think…” He pants as he tries to catch his breath. “I think I understand.”
Syntari cocked her head as she watched her apprentice struggle through the darkness. His progress would have been impressive if she had higher standards; as it was, she ensured her face was unreadable except for a slight, ever-present quirk to her lips. “If you could channel that frustration it would be in your hand by now,” she said dryly. “Tell me, what emotions come to the forefront when you do such things?”
She already had her suspicions, however it would do the Twi’lek good to answer for himself. It was fascinating to see his Force aura glow with delight at his accomplishment. Could this be pride? She wondered. Or perhaps the dreaded “b” word, bonding? No. No, not possible. She, Syntari, bonded to no one. Certainly not a garishly painted Twi’lek.
“Think about your emotions, and report to me tomorrow,” she said abruptly. The pain seemed unbearable. Miserable. “Go,” she said, waving a hand in dismissal, “go practice or something.”
Hopefully by then I can find somewhere to train him…
Just as Crawramek was about to answer, the young Umbaran had dismissed him from her room. He was shocked at first but then the idea of training on his own sort of made him smile. He nodded to her as he stood up and walked towards the door, careful not to bump into anything in the path. Not that there was much to bump into anyway.
“Emotions.” He stated blankly as he exited the room and walked down the hallway towards his own sleeping chambers. The door slip open with a clang and again closed with out so much as a noise. He flipped the light off, having it on from before and sat down in a meditative state on his bed.
“What emotions did I have?” He asked himself as he thought back to about five minutes prior. “Well…Frustration when it wouldn’t move. Joy when it started to rattle. Anger when it wouldn’t move further…”
He sighed and shook his head. “Fuck the emotions. I’m just going to…” He reached out to the light, attempting to turn it back on with a simple flick. After a while of not getting anywhere, he screamed in frustration and anger and the light switch moved slightly enough to turn on. The bright light attacked his eyes and he had to shield them with his forearm to give him time to adjust.
“Is…that what she meant by emotions?” He removed his arm from his face and looked down at both palms. “Do I have to get angry each time I want to use the force?”
Aboard a CNS ship
The summons came swiftly, yet not unexpectedly as the Twi’lek sat in state in his quarters. Crawramek slowly opened his eyes as his commlink issued a faint beep from where it sat under a bundle of robes. For a moment he did nothing but consider the device from his cross-legged place on the bed. Two days had passed since Syntari Bastiayn, his mentor in all things dark Jedi, had dismissed him from her quarters with the admonition to feel what he was looking at or some such lesson. Two days, forty-eight hours and seventeen minutes. Not that he was keeping track, of course.
With the assurance of all new apprentices Crawramek reached out a hand and felt in the Force for the tangle of particles that comprised the comm device. Declaring, “Come to my hand”, he attempted to summon the comm only to have it scoot part way out from underneath the clothing and rest there I’m spiteful defiance to his effort. He sighed. Better an effort than he had done yet, but would it be enough? The comm beeped again while he was deliberating. With a sign he bent down and picked up the thing; almost immediately an image of his mentor appeared in the usual flickering blue of a hologram.
“Turazza, it is time,” she said, rather grandly as she flickered into view. _“Meet me in the location given. And bring your lightsaber.” The hologram ended with those ominous words. Despite his silver-tongued confidence the Twi’lek found himself eyeing his lightsaber as if it were about to bite him. What could she possibly have in mind? He wondered.
It took the purple Twi’lek a few minutes before he reached out and grabbed his lightsaber. His fingers wrapped around the hilt tightly as he the color started to drain out of them. He couldn’t help but feel sheepish at the fact that his mind instantly jumped to him having to duel against somebody, let alone his own master who has probably been doing this since she was a little…well…a little smaller.
A small smile formed on his face a soft breath escaped his lips. He couldn’t help but chuckle internally at the thought of his master being a youngling at one point. Even then he could imagine her being a quiet but brute little girl.
The images quickly fade as he arrived at the point of meeting. His eyes fell upon the back of the shorter Umbaran and she began. “You’re late.”
“I don’t remember being giv-” He starts to quip back before being interrupted.
“SIlence!” Syntari hissed as she spun around to face him. His mouth was left ajar as if the words were still waiting to come out and he couldn’t force himself to say them.
Aboard a CNS ship
The look on Crawramek’s face was well worth the raised voices and the annoyance flashing through her body. Syntari hopes he could sense it as she smirked, turning from her apprentice to pace the center of the large, mostly empty storage room. Surrounding them were crates of a random sort, many covered in dust and untouched for who knew how long. After a moment she stopped her pacing and rested one hand on her lightsaber.
“You and I are not ready for sparring, so count yourself lucky,” she said at last. “I asked you to bring your lightsaber because I believe in a bit of a challenge to all things and Force training is no exception.”
Syntari held out a hand expectantly and watched as the Twi’lek fumbled for his lightsaber, reluctantly handing it over. “Always know where your weapon is,” she said. “Don’t keep it in your pocket or in some secret pocket on your robes. Keep it in sight. Why do you think that is?”
Her apprentice eyed her, wary and weary all at once. “So I can get to it,” he said cautiously. The trademark snark seemed to be gone at last from his countenance; he seemed genuinely interested in what she was attempting to teach him.
“Yes,” she agreed. She tossed his lightsaber from hand to hand before putting it on her belt. “More importantly it won’t activate in your pocket and seriously maim you. Now…”
She smiled, an expression that cast a feral look to her gaunt face. “Your goal is to take your lightsaber from me. Use everything you have, every skill you possess. If it comes off the belt, it’s yours. If not…” she shrugged. “Then I guess you don’t get a lightsaber.”
“Every skill I possess?” He asked his master, more of a rhetorical question than anything. Of course he wanted to keep his lightsaber. He built it after all and was the only one from Clan Turazza that was even a little bit force sensitive. It wasn’t just a tool to him. It was a symbol of what he was and what he had become. He was no longer that tiny dancer back on Ryl. He was a sly bandit that conned people out of things they had.
His normal playful demeanor changed quickly to a serious one. It was go time and he had to give it everything he had for his own sake, not hers. At first he thought about pulling it off her belt loop but that would probably take to long and she would hold on to it any way…Or worse…attack while he was concentrating. He knew he couldn’t count her out of the equation. Just the sith way, attack while somebody’s guard is down.
“I’ll tell you what.” He goes on stating, keeping a stone cold look on his face as multiple plans develop in his head. “How about you just give me back my saber and nobody will ever have to know that I beat the great Syntari Bastiayn in her own game.” Manipulation, one of the few skills he prided himself in. She did say bring all his skills and he was going to exactly that.
Aboard a CNS ship
The Umbaran eyed her apprentice with the hint of a smile curving her pale lips. At least now she had him on edge, had broken the sly ease in which he regarded her and their training so far; it was a victory, to be sure. Perhaps too easy of one, but who was the master here?
“You think I’m going to hand it over simply because you asked?” She scolded. “Try again. Your words don’t count as a skill.”
For a moment silence reigned. The Twi’lek seemed to be weighing his words carefully; if he couldn’t ask for it back, what would he do? This was a challenge, after all.
“Well,” he said, flashing a disarming smile, “If I can’t ask, perhaps I’ll simply have to take it back.” He flung out a hand as he spoke and she felt him drawing on the Force. She merely raised an eye brow and waited for the spectacular show of strength that surely would bring his lightsaber blazing through the air in a trail of Force energy.
And waited some more. No grand bouts of flying from his lightsaber but it did give a rather impressive shake on her belt, for all the good that did Crawramek. She would have laughed at his expression if she’d had the energy to be cruel.
“You need to show me you deserve this lightsaber,” she told him softly. Her eyes watched him straighten, following the subtle shift in his movement with interest. His stance told her his confidence had grown but what had he to show for it? Empty hands, and an emptier belt.
“I’m not one to be swayed with words,” she added as he opened his mouth to speak. “Only effort matters here. Once again: take your lightsaber from me.”