Log:A River Runs Through It

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A River Runs Through It

OOC Date: November 13, 2019
Location: D'Qar, Ileenium System
Participants: Leia Organa, Aryn Cole

This was New Alderaan, and those who had the fortune of living in Alderaan, of seeing the blue ridged and snow capped mountains and taste its crisp air, often found this world reminiscent. Grey mountain ranges loomed in the distance with snow capped tops and a crisp valley wind. Storm clouds threatened of winter snow, yet none fell.

Aryn Cole could be found at the foot of the great vineyards, just past the wall and into the shade of the Yavon Forest. Even overcast like it was this day, the land looked peaceful and felt full of life. Alderaanian guards patrolled their sectors along the wall and ramparts distinguished by their royal blue cloaks and ornate armor.

For Princess Leia, finding Aryn was as simple as following her attuned senses through the Force. Aryn's presence was a familiar one. Often sheepish and hidden, the young noble Jedi found her strength and confidence on New Alderaan, among the trees and forest. Aryn was found near a clearing standing by a crackling fire. In her hand, an ornate sword, which she guided through a kata for balance. Every motion was slow, deliberate, and graceful-- All of these traits which Leia had imparted through observant and thorough instruction.

Sometimes memories were so much more beautiful. Moving like a silvery white spectre through the cusps of Yavon Forest beyond the vineyard and past Alderaanian guards with her hood raised over her chestnut brown hair, Leia was wisked back to ages long gone now. Of memories from when she was a little girl, staring from her balcony out across the snow capped mountains far to the South of Aldera, Winter braiding her hair..

It also brought back darker memories that she dare not dwell on. It's the memory and the phantom walking hand in hand.

She follows along that familiar connection through the force and does very little to mask her approach as she picks through the forest towards the flickering fire where Aryn goes through the intricate, but purposeful, movements of the balancing Kata. Leia doesn't attempt to interrupt, but stands quietly just out of the lights full touch with her arms across her white robed chest watching.

A slow spin, a purposeful twirl, and a final balancing act has the youth displaying some physical prowess through her stance. The ordeal created from these movements have left Aryn looking tired. What blonde hair has not been tied back has plastered itself to her cheeks. A wisened grace is what's missing with Aryn.

When she pivoted, and saw Leia watching subsequently, Aryn lost her focus and hit the ground, dropping her weapon in a clatter. "Ooof. Y-your highness!" She dips her head respectfully before rising back to her feet. A few steps to her left and Aryn bends over to collect her weapon again. "I was not made aware of your arrival. Forgive me."

Leia smiles dispite her surprising Aryn, but it may be just as well that she smiles because of it. It's a soft expression on a face grown tired over the years and made more so by being around so much that reminds her of exactly how long it's been since she was as young as her apprentice. "Stop that." She says quietly at the honorific, shaking her head as she comes forward into the orange glow of the flickering fire.

"I didn't mean to startle you..." Reaching up then to pull back her white hood and free the braid of dark hair to lay across her white robes along her left shoulder. "But your form has improved dramatically since last I saw you, Aryn." Another step brings her up near the fire, ceremonially reaching out bare hands towards it as if to draw warmth.

"Yes ma'am," Aryn responds, dipping her head and turning once Leia has reached her side. The younger of the two ladies takes hold of the scabbard laced baldric by its mouth, and slides the ornate sword back home in a soft fluid motion.

"You humble me. Though I fear my understanding the sword forms has only manifested because of a need to defend myself. I'm ashamed that my lightsaber has seen so much use." Aryn watches the fire, her mood reflective yet thankful to be near Leia once more. If Leia looked to Aryn, she may have seen the newest scar that marred her fair featured apprentice. It was a crooked thing, carved over the youth's left eye and down her respective cheek. It was not fresh, but it was probably new to Leia.

"I've missed you." Aryn admits gently before glancing over and looking down. "Terribly."

Leia does glance up, seeing Aryn closer now and in better lighting reveals the scar along her young apprentices left eye. What had been a warm smile fades a little into a knowing sad version of the same expression that somehow still holds warmth for it. Long lashes blink across brown eyes as she returns her steel gaze to the dancing flames above her extended hands. "I wish there were a solution to our problems that required no use of our lightsaber." She begins in her usual quiet consideration.

"Ours is not an easy road, by any measure, and I worry now that it is going to grow more difficult in the coming months. I've felt a terrible tremor like nothing I've sensed in.. decades, now, I think." The words are said from some other place, accompanied by a quieted sigh and closed eyes meant to collect her thoughts and feelings on the matter. "Suffice to say that you've nothing to be ashamed of, Aryn. I have the utmost faith that every attempt was made to prevent the use of your blade... if I thought that you were capable of unnecessary violence, I would not so willfully let you travel without me."

The smile returns and she looks sideways towards her young apprentice, "I've missed you too. I'm sorry for how long I've been away... But I'm here now."

"You are not alone in this feeling. We have felt it as well. Like a looming fog it persists where none may gain insight. I'm afraid of the uncertainty, but your training gives me confidence. Every day I try to face at least one fear." Aryn says reverently.

Glancing back to Leia, Aryn's restraint falls when Leia smiles, and she steps closer toward her Master and hugs her. The pair are of equal height, so this is not an awkward thing. When they part, Aryn wipes one eye. "You've no reason to apologize. I have grown selfish over time, wanting to be in your presence and learning, but I understand that there are a thousand others at any given moment who would benefit from your wisdom as well. I speak only from my heart. If you wish me back at your side, please just speak the words and I will make it so."

The revelation doesn't surprise Leia at all and she nods as much to her young student, "I've tried to pierce through the fog, but I fear that..." Her brow furrows and, for just the hint of a few moments it's as if the entire galaxies weight has finally become too great a burden for her. Her eyes glisten as if she might shed a tear, but doesn't, and her shoulders slack slightly with a heavy sigh. It lasts no longer than the expel of air and she's again smiling at the fire.. the thought left hanging, empty and unfinished in the air.

When the young woman comes forward in a rush to hug her, Leia returns the gesture. Wrapping her thin arms around the younger woman, craddling the back of her neck motherly and offering her shoulder. Her own head turns so that her cheek rests against the side of her students and when the part, it's with a nod. "I would like that, Aryn. I have a lot I have to teach you in a very short time."

This weight Leia bears is not alone. It's something the youth sees written on Leia's face, she witnesses it through the depths of her eyes. She makes no comment of the momentary weakness, the shifting stress of a galaxy cast into a spiral of chaos. At the conclusion of their hug, Aryn nods.

"I will make ready my preparations then. You've regained your shadow." Aryn says at an attempt of humor, which indicative of this is Aryn's pretty smile. "I've other news for you. Matters of New Alderaan, if the matters of court and politics still move you that is?" Aryn brushes her cape back and turns from Leia. She walks to a bucket by the stream and collects it after dropping down into the calf deep water.

Leia is pleased that someone shares in the weight, but wouldn't wish the burden of it on anyone, least of all Aryn. Her hand draws out along the younger womans cheek affectionately, then settles back out infront of her to steal more warmth from the fire. There's a silence regarding her break in demeanor, the truth depth of which she's uncomfortable to explore only because of how final the ends seem to be.

Something terrible is coming and Leia knows it.

"You're hardly a shadow, dear. More like a... mini-me." Said with as much good nature as she can muster, a smile fixed in place for the sake of furthering the expressions warm intent. All the while nodding, "I'm ever the diplomat, Aryn, you know that. What news from New Alderaan? Hopefully something we might distract ourselves from darker tasks with?"

The youth moves up the current a bit, seemingly uncaring that her boots, trousers, and cape have all soaked in the chilling stream's water. She dips the bucket beneath the surface a moment, then raises it with a girlish grunt that's laughable. "Grrr.." The bucket is set on the bank, yet Aryn turns back to the water and releases her blonde hair. A few splashes later, and her face has been clean of the sweat, and Aryn looks more awake.

"New Alderaan draws more support from the remaining Great Houses. Delaya is overpopulated, and too small. My father has begun the process of reassembling the elder council. With it, he hopes to encourage other houses to make the move. D'Qar has had new tenants of recent. House Iskender has joined us following the Battle of the Ash Worlds. A number of smaller houses have joined too."

Aryn climbs the bank and sits on the edge, taking a moment to pull her boots off and stretch her bare feet whilst draining the excess water out. "And a remarkable discovery has led to the unearthing of the ancient House Panteer. Her highness, Princess Lana Panteer was found in stasis deep beneath the surface of an ancient, and some how, highly advanced city of ruins here on D'Qar. She walks among us now."

Leia follows, listening in the quiet way she does when she's taking in the details of a thing both spoken and not. Her hands fix together at her waist, just above her white belt with only the soft chinging of her sabers metal cord against the lace tying her blaster to her hip. She doesn't actually step down into the soft waves running along the beach, but comes close enough to settle into a seat beside and slightly behind Aryn facing them, completely unconcerned with the white robes natural inclination to collect dirt as she does so.

"That's fortuitous." Said with a small grin at the mention of finding Princess Lana Panteer in a labrynthian city long hidden. "Is there anything I can do to assist in making this transition into a council easier? I'm uncertain what stance they'll want to take with regards to the First Order and I'd hate to besmirch their reputation by aliegning with me in their fledgling status..."

"At this time, there's not really a council yet. I've committed to helping my father encourage other great houses to align, but the task is rather daunting. Like any court affair, there's a matter of... 'what can you do for me' going back and forth. So, at present, Lord Ban Iskender and I have been trying to find ways to make the move more enticing. A commonality I'm finding is the forceful presence of House Rist. They stand in rivals of my father and have a number of houses supporting them, though I suspect it's against their will. I am hardly certain though. Politics escape me, usually, so pardon my inexperience."

"At this time, there's not really a council yet. I've committed to helping my father encourage other great houses to align, but the task is rather daunting. Like any court affair, there's a matter of... 'what can you do for me' going back and forth. So, at present, Lord Ban Iskender and I have been trying to find ways to make the move more enticing. A commonality I'm finding is the forceful presence of House Rist. They stand in rivals of my father and have a number of houses supporting them, though I suspect it's against their will. I am hardly certain though. Politics escape me, usually, so pardon my inexperience."

Aryn has set one boot aside and now pulls free the other, shaking the water from it with a soft laugh. "All of this is tossed off center by the presence of Princess Lana. An ancient blood line, you could imagine the scandal." Another snicker.

Leia stares out along the waters edge with an easy enough smile while listening to Aryn recant the depth of politics rather simply and rather than rise to challenge the young womans experiences with it, shakes her head amusedly, "No, dear, I think you've the full understanding of politics.. In all of my years on the Senate I came to one unquestionable truth about court affairs..." She doesn't look away from the water, resting her arms loosely around the front of her knees sitting light together with her booted feet pushing heel deep in the wet soil.

"They are as complicated as you make them." She chuckles at this statement and finally looks to Aryn, "The houses want something, but they don't want to tell you what that is. Either you find out and offer it or force them into a position where they play their hand.. especially in the case of House Rist forcing others support.." She turns her hand, bringing it down upon the top of her bent knee. "They maneuver for greater position and flex their weight in numbers as leverage to achieve it..." She shakes her head then, "Trust your instincts. It's a house of cards.. if you think they're using scrupulous means to gain support, it's worth investigating.. If they'll leverage against your father, they'll leverage against other houses. A Rancor will always be a rancor, it's in their nature."

"The end goal, my father's vision, is a reunited Alderaan. Self governing, much like it was before, and undivided. Delaya will remain the forlorn sister of Alderaan, but the new beating heart should be on D'Qar." Aryn scoots back to sit beside Leia, following her gaze toward the water and leaning into her. "My dear friend, Lord Ban enjoys reminding me.. Alderaan endures." Aryn looks to Leia then and smiles.

"Should I keep you appraised of our progress? The maneuvers of other houses? Is House Organa only survived by you?"

Leia smiles at that, both Lord Ban's words and Aryn scooting back to lean against her. She's a solid thing for such a small woman, a rock in presence, if not in stature, and one arm loops out and around to lightly embrace the other as they gaze out over what could just as easily be an Alderaanian river as D'Qar. It's enough to take the older woman there, sitting as she is now with Aryn, on the bank with her fathers arm around her own shoulders as het old her of the court happenings.

"I would like that." She says with a nod, "I would like to be involved, but I know that my presence would only complicate matters further.. and I wouldn't want that." In years past she'd have thrown that caution to the wayside for the sake of delving into court affairs. For all her bluster that she had done it for the sole purpose of necessity, Leia had always found it relaxing in some strange way. Chaos with a purpose.

"There are a few remaining of House Organa, but mostly children of uncles or distant cousins. I had kept track of them for a few years after the Rebellions end, but with things transpiring the way they did... it's easy for four to become twenty.." A tight smile, "Perhaps we might find one, though. It would do me proud to see House Organa represented."

"A complicated matter, finding Great Houses, but a name like Organa does not go quietly into the night." Aryn confides with a sense of pride. "I will find your kin, then perhaps, we can bring them home. All of them." Aryn had a mother, but the relationship was one of propriety. Then Aryn had a /mother/, and she was sitting next to her presently. Leia's presence completed Aryn in a way she did not realize, yet she felt every moment Leia was absent.

"I can be your envoy to spare them any complications. It meets my father's vision, yet serves the Organas as well. I wonder where I should begin my search..." Aryn makes a goofy face as she looks out over the water again. Her thoughts were churning like the water in a way only an envisioned youth's might. Grand dreams. Grand designs. Always on the move.

Grand dreams are the perview of Leia Organa... she may not have founded the Rebellion, but she always stood at the forefront holding the torch for others to follow. Grand designs saw a fledgling group of discontents, topple the war machine helmed by Darth Vader. Seeing that same look in Aryn's eyes? It brings pride to Leia's. She'd never had any daughters of her own... only one child.. and it was hard for her to think of him without feeling a sense of regret and pain.

In Aryn and Rey she sees something altogether like daughters, but more than that, a chance to right mistakes she made with her flesh and blood.

The Princess turns to kiss the top of her students head like a mother might. "There was a small bastian of cousins I know remained behind on Coruscant after I left to form the Resistance. There's an Alderaan section, which as of my last visit some months ago, was still present.." She muses against the younger woman's blonde hair, "While I doubt they remain there, it would be a good place to start. At least for any records of who may still be alive or where they may have gone.. They've holdings they'd wish to keep track of, I'm sure."

Aryn rests against her master quietly, enjoying the doting mother that Leia seems to be. Thoughts linger, for the moment, if Leia might have treated her blood this way if Ben had come into this galaxy a girl, or if Leia had simply had daughters. The thought is forgotten when Leia speaks, and Aryn closes her eyes imagining what Coruscant must look like (having never been before.)

A subsequent thought surfaces then too. "There is also Birren. You still hold the right to the throne there as supreme governor, since the world was founded by Arkanisians and Alderaanians alike; though with the fall of the Elder Council, the claim might be lost-- unless another Organa assumed it?"

It's a thought that Leia has wondered as well, though she tried with Ben. He was powerful in the force, far more so than either Luke or she had ever been.. In her mind she thought that Luke should be the one to train him, to raise him.. She sits up silently to stare off against the growing lines of shadows spreading further as the fire slowly burns through the wood set to fuel it. If she'd embraced her Force sensitivity earlier, perhaps things would have been different, but...

There's no going back now.

Sitting with Aryn, "Huh.. I'd completely forgotten about the Birren throne.." Said thoughtfully quiet, "It is certainly another lead to follow up on.. I'm certain any of my cousins or their children would have lept at the oppertunity to assume the throne in my absence.. though it would be hard to pry them away if they had.."

"You've had more pressing matters than those of Birren, and had Birren concerns worthy of your attention I'm certain they would have found you. Regardless, I believe your assessment would be correct. Birren would best serve Alderaan as it is, though if an Organa held the title, surely there are other Organas willing to make a name for themselves here." Aryn speculates, her thoughts tangled in the webs of uncertainties. She swallows quietly when silence fills between them.

"Had you plans to reunite Alderaan before the Resistance? Or was the galactic senate always the endgame for you?"

leia cannot dispute the logic there and nods agreement in it, smiling sidelong at her student, "True enough, that." Musing thoughtful of the situation, she lets her eyes drift closed, "With their resources, they'd certainly have kept better tabs on their own family, at any rate.. So there are a multitude of options to tracking down any surviving members of House Organa." Something she'd long meant to do, but couldn't find the time.

"Mm.. For a time, I did yes." She opens her eyes to the slosh of water against the bank near her white boots, "I tried with the Alderaan sector of Coruscant, but we were so few and so scattered.. by the time I could direct my attentions to it, with everything going on with the Republic, too much time had passed.." Nevermind many groups that blamed her whole sale for the destruction of the world in the first place. Force knows she often blamed herself.

"Perhaps times have changed then. Power is in short supply, and Alderaan once influenced the galactic elder council before it became a dinner party group and concerned with who it's next catering company would be." Aryn laughs at her own joke, but there was some truth to it. A glance at her chrono, and Aryn sighs.

"I believe we should head back before the storms are expected to roll in. It's our first snows since the harvest, and scientists say it's to be a brutal one." Aryn slides her feet back into her boots, tugging them into place with small, comical grunts. It's clearly uncomfortable, but they only had to walk back to the estate. "When I've changed. I will be ready to follow you back to Rori, if that's your wish."

"That's ninty percent of all Court affairs, didn't you know?" Leia joins the joke with a whimsical laugh of her own, but nods all the same when Aryn glances at her chrono. She could attempt to dodge responsibility only so long before it always caught up to her. There was no enemy in the galaxy like time... no matter how hard she fought, it always kept creeping up on her again.. but with each day she felt the twitch of pain in her gut a little stronger.

"We should." Said agreeably, but with an amused smile watching the young woman tug at her boots in comical fashion. Leia twists her hips and pushes up easily from her seat on the bank, far more agile than most would attribute to someone of her age, "We've a few stops along the way, but our ultimately destination is Rori, yes. I need to meet with the General soon." Apprehension creeping into her expression, if not into her confident voice, "It's almost time."

"I follow your lead, then." Aryn says after finally rising to her feet to stomp around a bit more, just ensuring her feet are as far in as they'll go. She turns then to take hold of the bucket and lugs it over the fire, washing the logs and embers into the stream and leaving only warm, ashen ground in its wake. White smoke billows for a moment, then tapers out. Aryn leaves the bucket, and rushes to join Leia's side, content to walk with her no matter where the Princess led her.