Log:Jedi Order: What the Music Means
IT's late afternoon in the Jedi archives. The western facing windows are letting long beams of yellow gold light in through them that shine down upon the contents of the library. The rows of shelves are mostly empty still, but are filling up more every passing month. The research areas are currently empty, save for one table.
Rey is seated there, a book open in front of her, the sun shining down upon her as she rests there reading. She's dressed in her white clothing, her left hand upon the table with her palm flat, and her other holding the book pages open as her eyes scan the text and imagery scrawled on the old parchment.
There are other chairs at the table she's at, with books in their places too, but whomever was sitting at the table with her seems to have already gone as the rest of the Archives is empty, with a few Temple residents and workers moving around in the main foyer / lobby of the building beyond.
It is serene, it is quiet, peaceful even.
Rey turns a page, the quiet rustling of paper echoing gently around her as she does so.
The sound of the lift arriving at the bottom floor heralds the approach of two Ladies. One, a familiar face to these stone corridors and many of the youngling, staff, and training Jedi who inhabit them; the other is a newer face yet no less poised and proper! The sound of their footsteps betray their approach, with Aryn leading the way in a traditional tunic, tall stylish boots, and a cape for which she was well known for wearing.
The soft shift of comfortable fabric announces a slow halt, and Aryn offers a subtle dip of her head to address the Jedi Order's Paragon, Rey Skywalker. "Fair day, Rey. I admit it is good to see you; I hesitate to interrupt such a peaceful set up, but I do bring news."
A subtle shift, and gesture to Nora, and Aryn says, "You have the pleasure of meeting a childhood friend of mine, Lady Nora of the Great Alderaanian House Frayus. Nora, may I present the Paragon of the Jedi Order, my mentor and close friend, Rey Skywalker."
Lady Nora, on the other hand, is hardly dressed for the occasion. When Aryn told her 'dress a bit more rugged', Nora opted for a romper instead of a dress, but kept the high heels and clutch. By the time she made it to meet Aryn at the Starport, it was entirely too late for her to return to her wardrobe and change. She might not have anything sportier than rompers in that wardrobe, but at least she has flats. In either case, the Lady's heels are actually off, at this point, carried unceremoniously in her fingertips as she walks, barefoot, through the temple and towards their destination.
Though she stands taller than Aryn, she feels distinctly smaller within these strange walls. Her large, frosty blue eyes peer in all directions during her travels through the temple. Unfamiliar and uncertain gazes by younglings and initiates are entirely avoided by the noblewoman. She is, perhaps, not entirely used to a lack of recognition.
When the two approach Rey, Nora does so curteously and calmly. She offers a smile in Rey's direction, and holds her arms across her torso, high heels dangling at her hip.
"The pleasure is all mine, I am certain of it," Nora says with a soft nod of her own.
"I have heard your name spoken on New Alderaan. It is a name that carries with it a tremendous weight and I am well and truly humbled to be meeting you," she says.
The young Paragon looks up at the arrival of Aryn, and her friend. She sits up straight in her chair then, the sun shining on the right side of her face fromt he windows to the west. She shows a smile to Aryn's presence, then a look of her brown eyed stare to that of Nora.
"It's an honor to meet a friend of Aryn's. She's.... been an absolute boon to the success of the Jedi's rebirth, so to meet someone that she's been close to for so long... Well. Yes." Rey smiles at them both now.
She quickly then motions to the table. "Would you like to sit?" She asks. Her book is closed shut as she reaches across the table to gather up the others. "I had a few students here earlier, but they've gone to the town nearby now." She says as she starts to make a stack of books beside her place at the table.
Post introductions, Aryn stands to one side, preening a bit at having witnessed two friends of hers meeting for the first time. It was like a bridge between two lives being constructed before her eyes. "Rey is very kind to say so, though without her, the Order would still be myth." She assures, taking a more humble tone to lift Rey up a bit higher.
"Sure, I suppose it a topic worth sitting down for.. would you like some help?" Aryn verbally offers but has already set to the task of collecting a few other books to bring back to the shelves of the archives. With ample seating, it becomes a matter of selecting a chair.
"I suppose I can start us off: I encountered Lady Nora upon the boardwalks of New Alderaan. She was experiencing a phenomenon, one which only she could hear. For the sake of telling the story poorly, I segue to the Lady to explain further." Aryn gestures to Nora politely, yielding to her.
It may be a bit entertaining to see Nora Frayus out of her element like this. To be fair to the young woman, she's already starting the meeting out barefoot. Still, Aryn's preening and encouragement is enough to ease the tension in Nora's shoulders. It doesn't occur to her to help Rey with her books until the Princess herself offers. That draws Nora's attention away from the books and towards Aryn herself.
Her jaw opens, and then closes. She follows the other woman's lead. "If I may," she attempts, stepping towards the books. They've been gathered, however, and all that remains is for her to take a seat. Her eyes are on Rey when Aryn speaks the beginning of her story, searching this stranger's face for any information that it might betray to her.
It isn't until Aryn yields the floor, as it were, to Lady Frayus that her concentration wanes.
"Thank you, Your Highness. A most... gracious telling of the story, I must say. She is entirely to kind in her telling of it, Ms. Skywalker," Nora says. She's silent a moment, and her lips purse in a way that betrays her desire to mask her discomfort. She shakes her head and exhales sharply through her lungs.
"I could hear a sound. I could tell you that the sound was music, but to hear it yourself, you might think me a liar. But it was that. Music, I mean, Ms. Skywalker. Dischordant and... out of tune. It was incessant and oppressive. It had been," she begins, and turns her eyes to Aryn. She hasn't divulged this information to her friend. Not yet.
"Days since I had last slept. The sound would cause me to lie awake. The sound of thousands of instruments playing out of step and out of tune in the dark," she says.
"I must confess it caused me no shortage of dread. I was terrified. I was fortuante, then, that she found me in such a state. Her council broke the spell," Nora says.
"She rescued me."
One major difference between Rey and these two women, is that Rey ... is not a noble. She's not from some sort of refined cultue, with a upbringing of etiquette and expectations of social mannerisms being a specific way. Rey certainly isn't a heathen, but there's small indications in how she is that shows she's a woman of simple means.
She leans back in her chair and raises one foot up to rest on its edge, for instance. She eyes Aryn, and then Nora, as the story unfolds.
"I see." Rey says softly before her eyes settle on Aryn once more. "I take it you've... delved a bit in to some assistance for her? Or given her some insight in to possible reasons why this may have been happening to her?" The Paragon asks of the blonde Jedi.
"Yes," Aryn replies in proper tone, having not taken a seat herself, she paces along the table, her hands tucking at her lower back. "I recall a lesson with Master Yoda concerning perception, and how the mind becomes aware of a sense, such as the Force, in its maturity. Often times it manifests into something the mind knows; the Lady knows music." Aryn gestures politely toward Nora.
"Then it was about actual perception. What did the music sound like and how was it perceived. Pardon me for speaking for the Lady, but I recall her saying it sounded distant /and/ close; that it was obscured in some fashion as if a wall muffled its resonance and made it unclear."
"Of the Lady herself, I observed her reactions. At the time I had been passively using a technique idly to stay warm and saw that each time I came within proximity of Lady Nora, the noise grew louder." Aryn raised a pointed finger as if arriving at the conclusion of it, saying, "Ahh. There in lie the verdict. We explored basic meditation. I instructed her on centering herself, and learning to focus on the 'beat' itself. To open her mind to it, and imagine being there to listen up close. It parallels well with the same notion of perceiving the Force and slowly opening your mind to its current. One cannot look at an ocean and fathom its magnitude with a single look. The Force is similar. The mind must wade out into it."
Aryn pauses now, turning back to face both, hands locked at her back again. "Then, she reached out. I sensed her.. /felt/ her."
Lady Nora remains quiet when Aryn elaborates on their situation. All she could provide was how it felt -- Nora lacked the context and the knowledge to elaborate on specificities as Aryn does. Her eyes track Aryn as she paces for some time, though they do inevitably return to Rey as the story unfolds. If there's any judgement on Nora's part towards the way Rey conducts herself (and, to be fair, there likely is), lady Nora does very little to indicate it. Perhaps a slight lingering of her gaze on that foot that props itself up, but that gaze flicks away a few moments later.
"I... can do my best to explain it, Ms. Skywalker. That music, dischordant as it was, did indeed feel as if it was both near and far to me. Muted, too. As if I was listening to it through a wall. And, though it was like no music I'd ever heard, I understood it to be as such," she explains, as best she can.
"In the moment I followed Her Highness' instructions, those instruments all... rang out at once. A single, harmonic chord. And it felt as if though the music itself guided my bow across its strings," she says.
"Her Highness offered me a choice: live my life as I always have, or take control over it. To come here, and meet you, and learn," she says, and then gestures towards herself. 'Here I am', the gesture says.
While Aryn starts her story, Rey crosses her left arm over her stomach and her right hand comes up to press thumb to her chin. She's often chewing on her thumbnails while lost in-thought, but has been trying to break herself of that habbit, held over from her younger years, of being scared, nervous and alone.
Her brown eyes flicker from one of them to the other before they finally rest on Nora solely.
Rey's hand drops down again and she sits up straighter in her chair. Both of her hands go to the edge of the table now as she stares to Nora.
"What do you know of 'The Force'?" Rey asks, her voice quiet and calm, her eyes locked on NOra's now. "Everything Aryn has instructed you of, and what you knew before Aryn helped you with this... music?"
At Rey's question, Aryn turns slightly to regard Nora, for who it was intended. She remains reverently respectful of Rey's time knowing that the Jedi has devoted her time and life to the subject and mysteries of the Force. It would be Rey that determined Nora's place in this Order, and ultimately, Rey who sense and confirm what Aryn felt in Droalder bay on that rainy evening.
"I know it from stories, Ms. Skywalker. My sister and I would read stories about Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker when our parents thought us sleeping, but you will pardon me for believing, at the time, that it was merely fiction," Nora says. "Were it not for Her Highness' astute observation that the sound became louder when she drew nearer, I may not have even followed her hear at all," she adds.
"I had heard this music before. Felt it, too. When I sang, or played an instrument. I apologize, but it is difficult for me to put words to. It is not something that I feel as a touch, but rather," she gestures to her chest, "In here."
"And here," she says, and taps on the back of her head.
Rey's fingertips rest on the edge of the table as she listens to the response. She flickers her eyes to Aryn, then returns them to Nora. A bit of a nod is given to what is returned to her. "You can call me Rey..." She says softly, in a soothing tone of her voice.
"Nora. Would you do me a favor in the moment?" Rey then asks in the same voice. "Would you consider clothing your eyes and simply relaxing. Setting aside your current questions, or the thoughts you may be having. And instead... just... feel. Breathe in, slowly, release it slowly, and just tell me what you sense around you as you do this?" Rey asks of the young woman across from her.
Aryn is still quiet, observing Rey's interaction and listening to her instructions as a student would their teacher. Ever attentive, and dutiful, Aryn turns her gaze to Nora. She passively extends her own perception of the world around her, interfacing through her connection with the Force to inherit a feeling of space and what occupied it. When something moved within that bubble of perception, Aryn was acutely aware of it. This was no longer a conscious effort to maintain, but one Aryn had come to practice in times of idle occupation until it transformed into muscle memory. To commune with the Force was to feel enhanced, energized, and at peace.
Nora glances in Aryn's direction when Rey leans forward to ask her a favor. It is a look of a woman seeking encouragement from a friend and, should Rey be able to sense it herself, there is a very real tension in Lady Nora now. A very tangible, palpable fear. Her gaze eventually returns to the woman leaning in towards her.
"Yes... Rey," she says. The words don't come naturally to her. She's fighting instinct to insert some title or address in front of the name. She does as she is instructed, however, and closes her eyes. Inhales through her nose, and then... out through her lips.
Distant at first, but growing nearer and nearer the more she focuses on it. It is stifling. Oppressive. For a moment, Nora looks visibly uncomfortable with whatever she is perceiving. She hears Rey's words, however, and when she exhales a third time, those notes begin to align. In through her nose, out through her lips.
Nora's eyes drift open with her last exhale. She isn't entirely there. Like her eyes on the boardwalk, Nora seems distant. Far away. Her chin tips subtly and she feels what she perceives as a drawing of a bow across an instruments strings. Tension turned to vibration turned to sound. Harmony.
"I feel... I feel a stream. A jungle. Water flowing over stones from freshly-melted snow," she says. Her voice is breathy. It's as if she can't believe it. "I feel the creatures that live within it, I can feel a--," she begins, and her words stop short. In that moment, she feels a small creature become snatched from its nest by a predator. No words spill from her lips. Just her breath. Rey slowly blends into focus as Nora's connection to the force fades away. As brief as it was, the connection was undeniable.
The results of the little meditative out reach has Rey glancing to Aryn once more before her eyes dart back to Nora's.
Rey deps her chin a little then, her dark eyebrows raise up as she waits just a moment longer before she speaks.
"You're strong in the Force...." Rey tells the young woman before her. "This is something that I believe has been ... there for you for a long time. You clearly have a wealth of experience, and history, with music. I believe this is why you're hearing what you're hearing. It's become like ... how you've associated your connection to the Force, with something that is a passionate interest in you."
Rey then considers something for a second, her fingertips waving in sequence as she taps them against the edge of the table's surface. She looks to Aryn again.
"Is this... something you are both wishing to explore?" Rey asks as her eyes go back to Nora.
She slowly shakes her head. "What we're doing here... it isn't an easy road. It's frought with... challenge, with mental, and physical pain. You'll face things, that you likely cannot easily ascertain how they could be real, but they very much will be, and are. What we're doing here... it is not an easy life. Much as this ... beautiful Temple might try and persuade one to believe otherwise..."
Aryn seems relieved in the confirmation of what SHE felt when Rey validated Nora pretty succinctly. Both times Aryn is looked at, both by Nora then Rey, Aryn offers a silent nod in return though each conveys something different through some unspoken means of understanding.
Leaving Rey to speak mostly, it isn't until she's included in the address and given some measure of opportunity to weigh in. Aryn's perception kicks in slightly as she regards Rey with a questioning look. "What arrangement do you have in mind?" She asks Rey, though it seems obvious Aryn is on board with helping Lady Nora discover what this means for her.
Nora remains quiet about what had snapped her from her vision. The sudden violence of it is a natural one. Predator and prey exist in harmony, after all. They are both life. And still, she settles back into her chair while fingering at the lavish necklace dangling around her slender throat. There is a brief flicker of uncertainty on her face, but one that's swiftly swallowed up with steeled resolve. She lifts her back from the chair once more. Her legs uncross, only so long as it takes for the one that was previously on the bottom swing onto the top.
"I am certain of it," Nora confirms.
Rey just gently nods her head a single time. "Well then. If this is something that interests you in pursuing..." She starts to say as she gives Aryn another look. "I would ask Aryn here to help show you aorund the temple. I think it would be wise for you to do more delving in to meditation to start with. It should help you manage the musical influences that your connection to the Force has taken on."
Her eyes return to the other New Alderaanian then. "Once you've started to explore this element of the Force, I am sure we can see if you feel comfortable going further than that. Aryn has an assigned Padawan Learner already, but you are welcome to observe her, and meet with other members of our Order to interact with them too. They can provide other insights in to these topics. I think... this should help you ease in to all of this."
A quick and soft smile is shown on Rey's lips then as she nods just once more.
"I would be delighted to assist Nora, for as long as she will have me." Aryn intones to the pair, bowing slightly and modestly, and yielding to Rey's instructions. "I will see to her armament."
To Nora, Aryn offers words of encouragement, "You have taken your first steps into a wider galaxy. There may not be answers initially, but given time, patience, and diligence you will come to understand and see the Force as we do. Mark me." Aryn smiles slightly, and glances toward Rey. "If you have no other assignments for us, I will help her begin this journey." Waiting for Rey to give them leave.
Nora looks back and forth between the two for a few moments as arrangements are made. She rises to her bare feet, still clutching her high heels in her hand as she does. Even without her heels, she stands nearly a full head above Aryn, but she still manages to somehow look small and meek beside the woman. She is completely and utterly outside of her element, and as the bricks begin to fall, she cannot help but feel a little lost in the rapidity of it all.
It doesn't last, however. Poise returns and her spine straightens. Her chin lifts and that smile returns to her face.
It's the mention of music that sees the young woman's smile widen further, though she doesn't elaborate on why. It must truly be a passion for her, however, given how intimately woven it is with her perception of this strange, new sense.
"I thank you for the opportunity, Ms--," she starts, and shakes her head. "Excuse me, Rey. A force of habit I am sure to rid myself of shortly," she says, and yields to the Princess when she speaks. The 'mark me' earns a knowing smile from Nora. A special phrase between them, perhaps. That smile is followed by a nod.
"Marked," she says.
Back to Rey, Nora's big blue eyes turn. Following Aryn's lead, she remains silent as she waits for Rey to dismiss them.
Between the two of them, Rey nods her head softly before she lifts a hand up. "Remember..." She says, to both of them. "I'd like Nora to interact with as many of the other Jedi as possible. I feel that ... you, Nora, could use a bit of a wide scope on what we are doing here, and the struggles that our existing members have gone through to get to where they are now. I would really like to hear that you've gotten to know each of our knights, for instance, even if just a little."
Rey then shows a quick and soft smile to them both. "And it's been a pleasure to meet another person in Aryn's life."
She starts to stand up then, reaching for the stack of books. "Enjoy the temple, and come to me should you need anything."