Log:Jedi Order: Ben Solo Returns
Rey had sent out a message to everyone with the fleet to meet her in the Jedi Promenade. Those within the Order. She'd already had this talk with the Republic HIgh Command, some of it at least... more had arisen since then though. They were keeping it under wraps, for now, but she was willing to accept the consequences of it becoming known wide and far. She's not about to hide from her past, even if she's choosing to accept an offer from Leia made long ago, to have a new family to call hers.
So here she is, within the Jedi section of the cruiser. Built similarly to the one on the old station they'd lived in with the Resistance for a short time. With her hood up, Rey stands beside the garden section in it's center and her eyes are down upon the plants, waiting for the others to arrive.
Elrych is seated in a comfortable lounging chair not far from a viewport. The Holo-viewer is on showing some sort of Vintage Speeder Auction that's going on. The volume on that is incredibly low or muted. The Jedi with the shades isn't paying too much attention to it as his gaze is focused more on the game he's playing on his Datapad. There's a look of concentration across his face. One earbud blaring music in one of his ears, the other free to listen. So much stimulation all at once... it was a miricle he could stand the quiet of meditation. He did though... maybe with the help of some music.
Yuun walks out of the training room, having showered and is now in some casual clothing. His datapad is in his hands as he finds a seat in one of the lounge chairs. He sits down and he looks to Rey, as she has her hood up. Yuun glances around to see who else is coming, they dont' have a lot of Jedi so everyone should make it. He leans back in his seat and waits.
Ever since the revelation with Rey, Finn had spent most of his time in the library. He'd realised he knew next to nothing about the Force save for what Rey had shared with him, and if he was going to learn to use it he'd have to learn what it was. He was still in there when he got the message to meet on the Promenade, and when the time comes, he steps out to take a look around. There's a datapad clutched under his arm as he steps out and catches Rey's eye, lifting his hand to wave at her silently.
Aryn is near Rey, quiet and attentively observing her. Aryn's gloved hands are clasped and stationed just over her flat stomach, giving the appearance of patience with a peaceful look upon her face. Unlike Rey, Aryn's hood is not present, she wears a cape with a folded collar that is white and trimmed in green. It hangs off her shoulders and gently sways when Aryn widens her booted stance to shift her weight. Reverence would be the right descriptor here.
When the others all arrive, Rey smiles to them, its a soft smile, but one with warmth and happiness to see them. She reaches a hand up to remove her hood, and push it back down off of her head. Her hair, is /not/ tied up in little buns or braids today, its loose and down around her shoulders. Something no one has seen her do before because, well, this is the first time in two years she's never tied it back in the morning. Take that as you will!
"Its good to see all of you." Rey says to them, she settles down onto the edge of that garden area, it having a bench around it she's able to seat comfortably upon and place her hands together over her knees.
"I've got a lot to say and I needed you here to hear it. Because I need all of you to know the truth about me, as I've only just learned it myself." That sentence alone will effectively set the stage for what likely will be interpreted as 'incoming drama'.
"For two years, since shortly after the Battle of Crait, I've been suffering from nightmares. On an almost daily basis, they've been plaguing me. Dark dreams, visions of a future I was terrified of. Its lead me to keep y distance from all of you, even with all that we've been striving to do here. Moments where you've all asked me to spend time together, casually, for fun and relaxation, recreation... I've turned them down because I feared my presence around you. I've been tip toeing forward with this Jedi Order, doing my best with what resources we've recovered, not to... mess all of this up."
She smiles at them again, and glances down, her loose hair falling around the sides of her face to frame it, but its quickly pushed back by both of her hands, to be tucked back behind her ears. She looks up at them again.
"There's a reason that I had to flee from Leia's mission, to leave Finn and Poe behind." She glances straight to Finn. "Its because I discovered why the Emperor, why he was interested in me, personally. Kylo Ren told me the truth at Kijimi. I verified it... shortly there-after."
"The Emperor was after me, because I'm his grandchild." She throws it out there, as Kylo had thrown it out to her. Bluntly.
Elrych notices the other's gathering and sits up, pulling the earbud from his ear and putting his game on pause. The Ace stands then, moving over towards the Holo-viewer and turning it off. A nod of greeting is given to each who enter before he closes the distance between Rey, Aryn, and himself. Quietly he listens, head turning to the side, and brow raising ever so slightly. The reactor from the Jedi is... well it's probably expected. That sly corellian smirk forms on his lips and he gives a huff of a laugh. "Rey-rey, don't tell me you were worried telling me, us about this?" With the type of Family Elrych came from, he was probably having a better time with the news than maybe the others were.
"Were," Finn says loudly, clearing his throat and looking almost stunned at his own raised voice. He turns his head to look at the others for a moment, as though checking if it's okay to speak before pressing on, "You were his grandchild. But that's not who you chose to be. This is who you choose to be. Not evil. Not vile."
There's no shock or moment of deep thought for Finn. It all spills out straight away, completely off the top of his head. He's heard the story, and he's reacting from the gut. He doesn't know his own family, but if he found out they were a family reviled and hated the Galaxy over? Well, that's not who he is, right? So that isn't who Rey is, either.
Aryn remains quiet for now, leaving the moment for Rey to speak. Aryn suspected that she did not mean to seek them out for validation. Aryn shifts quietly, appearing thoughtful and focused, thinking about what the others have said to Rey in response of this new information. Aryn wrestles with it in her own, quiet way.
Yuun leans forward as Rey begins to speak and as she speaks, he had wondered why she did those things when they were trying to just hang out. Still Yuun is quiet as Rey continues and when she tells them who she is the grand daughter to, he quirks a brow at her. As Elrych stands up and speaks and Finn also speaks. Yuun also stands up and as he does he looks to the other Jedi and than to Rey looking to her. "First off, I like you with your hair down." he smiles to her.
He than smiles and shakes his head. "Rey." he says after a long moment. "You're not your grandfather." he says flatly. "You've not committed any vile acts or atrocities." Yuun's eyes soften, "I can see why you did what you did, but we've all seen you do nothing but your best to help the Resistance and bring us all together." he tells her. "If anyone has an issue with it, they should think before they speak. Your family isn't who you're going to be." he states. "We respect you Rey and will, but I hope you know that you have friends and have garnered a new family with all of us."
Rey first looks to Elrych and she offers him a faint smile and a little nod before she glances to Fin, and then to Yuun. Between them all, she nods lightly and draws another breath to speak. "There's more, and I would be remiss if not to lay it all out here and now, while I have this moment with you all. I wish the others were here too, but... they're preoccupied with important things in their own right, I am sure, and well, if you can share with them what we say here tonight, it would help. I don't wish to hide any of this from anyone."
Rey looks up and over to Aryn, but then she looks beside where Aryn is as if she's staring at something else specifically. "I..." She glances down and to her hands where she places her right hand around her left. "I jumped on a moment of opportunity on Kef Bir during a confrontation with Kylo Ren upon the ruins of the Death Star. Kylo dropped his lightsaber and I grabbed it, and plunged it into his stomach, completely through him. It was done in rage and anger, at all of this. The lies, the deceit... the revelation that my parents were murdered by an agent of Palpatine's. Its that anger in me that I fear, that rage that lurks in the back of mind mind before all of this. Rooted in those nightmares, rooted in my fears of not knowing where I came from or who I truly was. But... even through all of that"
She shakes her head again and the hair she'd tucked behind her left ear comes loose and falls forward again, only to be ignored this time. "I healed him. I used the healing techniques that we've been perfecting in our new Order and I brought life back to Kylo." Another glance to Aryn, to the area beside her and then back to the others.
"Kylo Ren did not come back though, Ben Solo came back and he then, in-turn, went on to save my life on Exegol. I died to the Emperor's power, confronting him and trying to help end the madness happening on that planet and above it. He weakened me though, to a point that I lost consciousness and my heart stopped. Ben fought alongside me in the fight, and he brought me back. Only to there-in fade into the Force, as I did on Bothawui, which I assume you all remember."
After another short pause, Rey levels her stare and nods just a little single time. "Ben Solo has returned. The Emperor manipulated him, controlled him, lied to him. He lead Ben to the dark, but we've... we've brought him back."
Ben Solo steps into being as if rising from a chair, materializing into the room from the space behind Rey. He's dressed in simple black clothes, a shirt and pants, and his feet are bare when he moves to stand beside her. He remains silent for a moment before the assembly, dark eyes staring at each of them, his long arms held still at his sides. Next to the woman in her white, he looms large, and his lips purse with brief worry before he simply says, "Hello."
"I can understand that, I really can." Elrych says with a nod. He's had his own frustrations reguarding his parents. Rey and the others knew most of that story already. He puts his hands on his hips, nodding slowly. "He flew there, I saw him rip through a squadron of TIe Fi-" Then the man appears out of thin air, "WHOA there he is, Rey he's totally right behind you..." The Corellian takes off his glasses and squints, cleaning the lenses with his shirt before putting them back on. "Nope... not on spice... not a blob on my glasses."
Finn's reaction is reflexive. His hand goes to his side where the blaster would be, were he wearing it. It's probably for the best that he isn't, and it grips only air. His eyes narrow for a moment, gaze shifting from Rey to Ben and then back. There's a prickling pain up and down his back, feeling a wound that had long since healed but now reawakens as though it were fresh. He rolls his shoulders uncomfortably, looking away from the pair and off to the side.
He doesn't say anything. No jumping up to support Rey or tell her she made the right decision this time. His fingers flex and curl into a fist over and over before he tucks both hands under his arms, folding them across his chest. His head tilts forward, the expression on his face serious and pensive.
"Welcome home, Ben." Aryn says softly, lifting her chin to appear more resolute in her expression. Aryn lacked the poise of her former Master, but she sought to be like Leia when she could. A silent swallow follows as she takes a moment to find her calm again, her heart racing. Mother save her.
As Rey tells them there is more and that she didn't want to hide anything from them. Yuun nods his head to her waiting for her to continue. Though as she does, Yuun takes in everything and as she tells them what she did to Kylo and everything about Ben and even what happened on Exegol. Yuun is quiet, he closes his eyes for a moment and he opens them and gives a bow of his head. He heard Elrych as he spoke, "I too saw his TIE." but that's all he says as he looks back to Rey.
Then Ben appears, he didn't feel anything in the Force, his hand reflexively moves down to his lightsaber. He's faced Kylo and his Knights of Ren when they went to rescue Angori, he was taken out of the fight fairly quickly Yuun remembers. He than sees Finn's reaction as Ben steps up beside Rey. The dark-skinned Jedi Initiate watches Ben for a long moment. "Hello Ben." he says. It's not a nice greeting, just one with no emotion. "Why is he here Rey?" he asks as he looks to her. "Is he redeemed, or is this a first start?" he asks her. Looking to both Rey and Ben. "Because I'm sorry for all that he's done, I hope you don't expect us to just forget everything and be all happy that he's here." he says to her.
Rey looks to Finn and tries to make sure he knows that she's calm and not afraid of Ben's sudden arrival. She knew he was there behind her and she was clearly not distressed by it. Her eyes go to Elrych then and she shows him a faint smirk, an amused one at his reaction. To Aryn and Yuun she looks, but Yuun's questions draw her stare over Aryn's welcoming greeting.
"I wouldn't ask anyone here to do, or react to this... in any way that they dod not personally feel fit." She looks back and over to Ben. "He was manipulated." She looks back to all of them. "Just as the Emperor tried to do to me. He wanted me to strike him down to take the power of the Sith in and to rele the galaxy as his successor. With Ben's help, and only with his help, the Emperor is dead today. Truly dead. You see, when I disappeared on Bothawui, I faded into a Vergence in the Force that lies beneath those lakes that the Renegade nearly crashed in to. My use of the Force to hold the Renegade afloat long enough, connected me to that Vergence and I passed in to it, like a gate way into the Nexus of the Force." She motions toward Ben with a hand. "He did the same when he saved me." Her hand goes back to her lap then.
"Palpatine, did the same... to save himself, at the Battle of Endor, decades ago. Only this time? This time he truly faced his demise, and he won't return."
"My actions were my own," Ben quietly states to the group when Rey tries to come to his defense, and his tone isn't proud but it is certain. "I chose what I did and I knew what I was doing." He looks around the ring of them facing him, glancing towards Rey for a moment before he continues. "I don't expect you to be glad to see me. I wouldn't be." His hands remain at his sides, fingers curling into fists where his thumbs rub against them in a slow fidget. "I didn't come back because I deserved to. I was sent back with a message."
"Rey defeated Palpatine, that's true. But you didn't win." He shakes his head quickly, jaw clamping firmly shut, lips curving down in a grimace. "The Sith are still alive. All of the darkness Palpatine carried, it didn't vanish. It's just... dissipated. It's there, their spirits, waiting. Looking for an opening. For someone else to fill." It's as contradictory a message as his black clothes to her white.
Finn takes a moment, remaining silent as the others talk. He listens to what they have to say - the acceptance and the less-than-acceptance - absorbing it but keeping quiet. When Rey explains the manipulation and treachery behind the scenes, he nods his head but for once doesn't seem to be locking eyes with her. For once in the long time they've known each other, he doesn't seem to be hanging off every word they've said. The pain in his spine continues, burning like a bolt of lightning up and down his back.
Without any warning - or perhaps with a great deal given the look on his face - Finn steps forward and swings his fist at the black-clad former Dark Jedi. He doesn't throw all his weight into it, but nor is it a gentle tap. He's angry, and the anger comes out in the way he sends his knuckles ratcheting towards the other man's jaw. It's a singular thing, and he doesn't take another swing regardless of whether it lands or not.
Elrych purces his lips, listening instead of really reacting. The Jedi scratches the back of his head. "Of course they are... that's how it always goes. Can't get rid of all of it. It's just not possible." He looks towards Ben, then to Rey, then back again to Ben. "So we need to keep our wits about us. Train and prepare." He grives a shrug, "Used enough to that." HE glances to Aryn a moment, checking on her. "Wait Finn, don't he's..."
Yuun doesn't speak while Rey speaks, he understands what she is saying but he still remembers everything that's happened, and he looks to Ben. "I don't think any of us thought the Dark Side or the Sith faded when the Emporer was defeated by Rey." he says to Ben. He looks to both Rey and Ben now, Yuun is still calm, he doesn't allow for his emotions to cloud him, maybe if he had just joined, he probably would've attacked.
Yuun takes a calming breath, "Elrych is right, that means we need to train and truly focus on being a team." he says looking to Rey, Aryn, and Elrych. He than looks to Ben for a long hard moment, "Rey will Ben be staying with us?" he asks looking directly at Rey. Though when Finn punches Ben in the face, Yuun is quickly at Finn's side pulling him back. "Relax my friend." he says to Finn and once he has Finn back and away from Ben he will slacken his arms and begin to let him go.
The recipient of more than a few stares, and perhaps the ire of some, Aryn remain dignified in her choice and words despite the bit of color in her cheeks. He /saved/ Rey, and together they cast down Palpatine. Manipulation or not, he is Leia's blood and her son, and it had always been her wish to see him back to the light. Aryn never thought she'd see this in her lifetime, but this galaxy continued to surprise her.
Aryn made no effort to stop Finn. His anger and willingness to violence seemed to fit the bill for a lifetime soldier. She expected the others to consider similar actions, and it was this gauntlet that the Dark Prince had to face if there was ever to be a road to redemption.
Aryn remains quiet, turning to look at Rey when their eyes met, and silently nod.
Rey is looking the other direction toward Elrych when Finn sweeps past her and she feels it before it happens, but it happens before she can do anything... even if she wanted to do anything at all. She was... sympathetic with Finn's feelings, after what they went through on Starkiller Base that night, with Kylo Ren. But that wasn't this man who's here now. So Rey stands and turns to take a step back and put them both into her vision. She watches Yuun move to assist and de-escalate.
"Finn." Rey says softly. "I promise you, he's not that man anymore." She knows she can't convince her friend of this easily though, it'll take time and healing to occur, a kind of healing there's no real Force power to enhance the speed of.
To Yuun, Rey looks then. "Its Ben's choice, what he does next." She says then before finally she looks to Ben himself now in the room. "We have a connection through the Force now. We can speak to each other from seemingly anywhere, we can pass items to one another and we can... obviously, step through to where the other is." She takes a second to look away toward Aryn, then the others again. "Its something I don't think either of us truly understand how or why its happening. Its called a Dyad in the Force though. We can hopefully find more information on it in the future..."
Her eyes go back to Ben then, she nods one soft time to him. "The entire Resistance and renewed Republic lie just beyond the doors behind us though and they may not be so lenient on your fate." She speaks directly to Ben then. "Luke's X-wing rests beneath us in the Jedi hangar, should you need... or desire, not to stay though." What Rey wants him to do? She doesn't express that.
Finn's fist strikes him on the side of his jaw, and Ben's head snaps to the side, his longish hair thrown into his face. There's tension in his posture and the fists at his sides grip more tightly than before, fingernails digging into his palms, but he doesn't strike back, and after a moment of willful stillness, he brings his face back around to stare ahead. "They're not /gone./ I don't mean in some figurative sense." He looks to Rey for assistance here, touching his face where the red outline of Finn's fist has begun to appear.
"You saw the ghosts of the Jedi. Alive and real. The Sith want to do this too, but with real bodies. Take them over the way Palpatine would have to you." His brow furrows and his mouth draws into a thin line when all of the talk continues to revolve around him instead of the warning, though, and the big man looks down at his bare feet for a long moment. "...I know what I've done. I won't run from that now."
Finn doesn't seek to strike Ben again. Even before Yuun is drawing him back, he seems finished with the display of anger. He lifts his hands, opening them to splay his fingers in the air, and steps away. He steps away from the pair of them, heading turning for a moment to give Rey a look. His lips are pursed shut, and his brow hangs heavy over his eyes. He doesn't say anything, instead he just moves to the back of the room and remains silent. He posts up against the wall, arms still crossed, and listens to the other speak.
Out of everyone else, and maybe more like Aryn, Elrych is taking this better than say Finn. Of course Finn had way more reason to be upset at the man than he did. There was something about peace and moving past revenge and anger to be considered when being a Jedi. It was something he worked hard on for a very long time since Leia herself brough him to Arisnar. The reality hits when Finn's fist actually connects. "Wait... wait he isn't a Kriffin' ghost?" He had assumed and assumed wrong in this moment. Rey explains it, the reality that Ben is physically here backs up her words. "Huh... well kriff me sideways and call me Wanda..." Hands go to his hips, "Well man, you do you. Sounds like we've got some work ahead of us but... there's a lot going on and a lot of focus on. You want some Ice for your jaw?" He seems to be welcoming, treating the man as if he would anyone else. "I'mma get a drink." He walks over towards the refreshments. "Just when you think you're /starting/ to grasp it... oh man, wild..."
"The matter of the Sith can be dealt with in time. We still do not know much about their power, or their place in this galaxy beyond what we saw on Exegol. We can begin our research with that once everyone is .." A glance around and Aryn clears her throat, rocking nervously on her feet. ".. ready."
Turning to Rey and Ben, Aryn steps out. "One thing /is/ for certain. It is not safe for Ben to be here." She points at the ground. "If his purpose is shared with the Jedi Order's mission, we should move to the temple and away from a ship full of grieving soldiers. Perhaps some air that is not recycled can do us all some good."
Yuun watches Finn, waiting ot see what he does and when he walks off to post up near the door. He turns around and than he looks to Elrych as both Rey and Ben speak up. He shakes his head a little and rubs his face, he looks around this whole area for a long moment, not speaking as he feel that he's spoke enough. THough as Aryn speaks up, he does nod in agreement. "Yeah. I agree. I feel the Resistance know how to reach us. We need to get ourselves ready for even the newer threats." he states.
Rey's eyes sweep to Aryn and she nods toward her friend's response. "I agree." She replies to the new Princess of the Alderaan people. She looks to Ben then. "I'm not sure that bringing you right out to them, would be a wise idea. It would be very challenging to convince them of how you were being manipulated. The Jedi here can understand it, they've been brought up to enough levels of knowing the ways of the Force to know that deceptive tactics can be used to mislead people in many ways."
She glances to Finn. "Ways that we'll tell you all about, I promise." She says to her friend and one of the soldiers who very much has a poor history within all of this.
Rey looks to everyone then. "The Emperor wanted me to strike him down, he wanted to there-in use his power to transfer his connection to all of the Sith beyond our living world, in to me. That was the root of my nightmares. It was the vision of that goal being accomplished. It was a vision of me, as Empress, sitting on a throne beside..." She motions to Ben. "Kylo Ren. But we changed that, we denied the Emperor his desire. We showed him that we are not to be manipulated, controlled, any longer."
She turns her stare back to the others then once more. "The Jedi have discovered a way to exist in this world as a manifested image in the Force. A 'Ghost'. The Sith seem to be striving to discover a way to surpass that, and instead... inhabit an already living being. If they accomplish such a thing. All Sith could return. Every Sith who ever lived and ever died... The galaxy would be over-run with them."
Again she motions to Ben with a gentle and subtle hand motion. "He can help us ensure that won't happen. We need his help. But... yes, I'm not sure the... others will see it that way."
"Every decision I made was mine to make," Ben interjects, contradicting Rey's narrative about manipulation again and undermining her defense of his actions. "I was wrong. I know that. I don't expect forgiveness. I had my chance at that already." His expression is sour, remorseful, eyes focused intently at a spot on the floor. "But if I can help you, I will."
"Alright, if there's one thing that fella needs right there..." Says Elrych from the refreshment counter, "Is a hit of Corellian Whiskey." He offers Ben a glass of the stuff after walking back over with two in hand. He gives him a wink, "And a nice long vacation on a beach... You know... where the temple happens to be by." He looks to Rey, taking a chug of his own glass of whiskey. It's a modest ammount, nothing one would get drunk off of, but certainly something ot take off the edge. "Wouldn't you agree?" Hint hint, nudge nudge. Sip sip, slurp.
Yuun was about to say something to Rey, he understands she is trying to defend Ben, but enough already. "So what is our next move than?" he asks as he looks to Rey. "Do we stay here, or should we head back to the temple?" he asks. "Honestly with all this about the Sith trying to have something the Jedi have worries me. So we need to double down on our training and our understandin of the force. Not all of us are Dyads like the two of you. So we need to train and get ourselves ready. Help where we are needed but time for us to strengthen our ties to one another." he says. He's not sure about Ben, but from what he's ready those who've fallen have been redeemed. "If you want to help us, than you will walk the path of Redemption Ben Solo?" he asks.
Aryn steps back and nods silently, glancing to Ben when he talks. A frown forms as a result and a glance back to Rey follows before Aryn turns to walk away. She passes Elrych by quietly, smiling slightly at the Corellian's effort to bring some levity to all the darkness. Aryn pauses when Yuun speaks and she turns back slightly. "It's unlikely we'll get an answer now, Mr. Yuun. Ben, it seems, has only just returned to us. He has not even shoes to walk in. We will have answers in time, but for now, we should return to our temple to train and think. I am prepping my ship now. I'll see you all there." A slight bow, and the short Princess strides down the corridor toward the hangar and airlocks.
Rey draws in a light breath then and her hands come together in front of her lap. She looks to the quiet Finn before she looks to the others and finally to Ben. "No manipulation then." She replies to him. "But thats what I feel was being attempted to me."
She watches Elrych offer the drink, not sure if that will fly well or not, but her gaze soon goes to Yuun and then finally to Aryn. "I'll leave it to Ben what he wants to do. Stay here or go. But you're all right. We do need to buckle down and continue our training. We need to find others to join us who'll do the same as well, who'll wish to fight for the same ultimate goal. To restore the Jedi Order, with a renewed vision on the purpose /of/ a Jedi Order. We're doing this for the peacekeeping, and we always need to be our own harshest critics. And again, if you see the others, we need to make sure we're all in the know on all of this."
"No thank you," Ben replies to Elrych in a dim echo of D-O, though the droid is not present to hear his line stolen. He doesn't wave the drink away and neither does he move to accept it, his arms remaining awkwardly at his sides. He stares at Yuun for a long moment as if trying to decipher some code or puzzle before he responds. "I can't change what I did. But I can try to stop anyone from doing that again. That's what I'm going to do."
When Rey replies to him, he gives her a quiet look, one they've exchanged before, and a nod. "I'll go with you."
Elrych raises his brows and then gives that sly smile of his, "Good you passed the first test. Must resist temptation." His brows then waggle as he downs the second glass. Turning, he moves back to the counter to place them there so they can be taken care of later. "I'll join you all there later. There are some operations coming up but I do intend to hold a class on Devaron for all those wishing to attened."