Author Topic: Fire in Water: Hwin Breeze's Crystal Gathering (8 ABA)  (Read 2142 times)

Offline Hwin Breeze

Fire in Water: Hwin Breeze's Crystal Gathering (8 ABA)
« on: October 16, 2017, 11:07:01 PM »
Fire in Water
Year: 8 ABA
(Hwin Breeze's Crystal Gathering)

Hwin stared into the abyssal void all around her, undisturbed by the empty space as she hung afloat, listlessly. Suspended by a fluid motion that gave her arms buoyancy at her side, levitating her pale figure upright. What mostly lay shrouded in darkness, a soft light encircled Hwin like a captured beacon, shedding a greenish-blue glow into her bleary, aquatic surroundings. Everything seemed to shine brighter overhead … But when Hwin looked up, there was no surface. No rippling reflection of light to tell her how far down she was.

Nothing about the lack of air seemed strange to her, as she drifted aimlessly without awareness, her fanned-out hair and eyes reflecting the blue of her underwater environment. For a moment, it felt almost tranquil. Deep in her subconscious, Hwin knew that she had been here before, but as a brew of troubling thoughts began to rouse, building a sense of dread that tugged at her chest – Hwin startled. Something was about to happen …

As soon as her fears arose, the peaceful tranquility of the water shifted. Darkness encroached. The light grew colder. Dimmer. Shadows in the darkness began to move and encircle around her. She could feel the eyes narrowing in. Hwin huddled next to herself and waited. There was something alive, lurking beneath. Something much bigger … larger … And coming closer …

Her legs felt bogged down, preventing her from jerking away as a slick sensation touched her bare foot, sliding under the tips of her toes. Hwin looked down at the snake-like shadow, seeing a mammoth serpentile body gliding below, only its crest portion visible in the eerie glow of light as it tunneled on without end, amounting suspense. Hwin could sense its face and length coiling up before her in the distance. She stared ahead, mesmerized by pinpoints of light, as the eyes of the beast pierced the vast gloom.

Hwin tensed and seized up, overcome by a glimpse of foresight: A colossal pitch-black eel creature, facing her, opening its mouth to swallow her ...

Realizing that she had arms and legs, Hwin whipped around, not looking back as she tried to swim away. She couldn’t flee from the light around her that drew the beast closer, its vacuum of jaws reaching out for her, as she paddled frantically, achieving nowhere.

It was only then that Hwin felt the urge to breathe. A flash of reality collided with her dreams, knowing that escape was impossible. The shadows blurred around her. There was no surface, no air. No way out or up. She was trapped. How long could she last down here?

Panicking as her chest started to cave in, Hwin could feel her reflex kicking – what she knew was going to fill her lungs with water and leave her as lifeless bait for the suctioning monster, while somehow watching the scene outside her own body – as she took in the fatal gulp—

… … …

With a start, 15-year old Hwin snapped her eyes open, a soundless gasp caught in her throat as she woke up on her right side, her breathing shallow and her chesty heavy. The haze of slumber had vanished abruptly, leaving Hwin stumped for a moment as to what had spooked her in the first place. She blinked, adjusting her eyes and senses to the darkness that lingered inside the den of the small domed tent, which leaked a wash of moonlight from above. It was still nighttime.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2019, 05:35:53 PM by Hwin Breeze »

Offline Hwin Breeze

Re: Fire in Water: Hwin Breeze's Crystal Gathering (8 ABA)
« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2017, 11:12:09 PM »
Lying awake on the bare floor, with only a rucksack as her pillow, Hwin half-listened to the jungle noises outside the tent. What most would find unsettling or an annoyance – to Hwin, it was her lullaby. She had been adjusted to the ambience for many days now, and could tell whether or not something was out of place or amiss – if there were predators roaming in the undergrowth or lurking about in the trees – based upon an absence or ruckus of certain animals calls. For now, all was well. A harmonious blend of nocturnal creatures, chiming and jabbering away. There were no such warnings to indicate trouble of a “larger”, more ferocious kind.

The portable shelter had slightly enough room to fit two persons. With a glance at the empty spot beside her, and a second rucksack in the corner, it didn’t take long for Hwin to tune her senses nearby, where the familiar presence of another woman – her master, Samara Raben – sat outside a few yards away from the tent in a meditative trance, keeping vigil while her young padawan slept. Or supposedly slept.

Confusion crossed over Hwin’s face as she stared blankly at the fabric wall of the tent, trying to sort through traces of her clouded memory. Why was she awake again?

Sitting upright, her tussled blue hair draping limply over her shoulders, Hwin clutched a hand to her chest, feeling a sharp ache from within, and froze, leaning forward against her compressive palm. Alarmed by the pain, her first instinct flashed towards injury, but as the pressure in her chest pounded, figments of the aquatic abyss came flooding back to her: The depths, the shadows, the monsters. Herself, swimming helplessly. Suffocating on water …

A distant look in Hwin’s eyes filled with despair, realizing that it had been nightmares. Again.

She shook the underwater images from her head, releasing a few shaky breaths as she waited for the ache in her chest to subside. Deep down, Hwin was troubled. Truly, there was no escape from the ravenous monsters and the deep, dark, strangling abyss. Not while she slept. To her great source of frustration and distress, Hwin didn’t know why these nightmares even chose to haunt her in the first place. Couldn’t they just leave her alone?

No longer feeling the tapped ache in her chest, Hwin let her nursing hand fall into her lap, overcome by drowsiness, still yearning for sleep. Nothing about this latest nightmare stood out from the ordinary. No different from the countless number of other similar nightmares she had experienced since childhood. Too tired to care anymore, Hwin repositioned herself on the hard, uncomfortable ground. Lying flat on her backside, she rested her head on the cushioned rucksack, allowing darkness to envelope her as she closed her eyes with a soft dismissive sigh.

… … …

“You woke up last night,” Samara commented, shortly after Hwin had risen the next morning. The young padawan was refreshed and energized, eager to start the day as she helped the older woman dismantle the shelter and gather up light provisions. At the mention of ‘last night’, Hwin blinked and flashed a muddled look at Samara, before remembering that she hadn’t been alone while she slept. Of course her master could sense every movement inside the tent.

“Dream,” Hwin shrugged with one word, chipperly. She brushed the topic away. “You know – the usual.” The recent night had faded into a blur. There were no outstanding details of what her latest nightmare was about. Compared to countless others, they all looked and felt the same. No point in bringing up more of the same old, same old to Samara. Hwin would rather forget than to dwell on her sleep troubles, and instead focus on the present journey at hand.

Offline Hwin Breeze

Re: Fire in Water: Hwin Breeze's Crystal Gathering (8 ABA)
« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2017, 12:37:34 AM »

With rucksacks slung over their shoulders, the two Jedi traipsed through the misty green jungle, carving their way beneath the canopy of skyscraping trees. Hwin tagged after Samara, keeping up her shorter legs with the older woman’s longer stride, occasionally skirting around to hop over a sideward boulder or balance along the beam of a fallen log. Cheerily, Hwin looked forward to the challenge and discovery of what lay ahead on these exploration assignments, not knowing what they would find. On this particular planet, trekking on foot was the best way to inspect what lay hidden on the forest floor, since the remote regions of this jungle were too dense to land a ship. It would be impossible to fly to the hidden location where Hwin and Samara were headed – which was to investigate the ruins of an ancient temple, about a three days’ walk from the nearest city.

Taking the lead, Samara sliced though curtains of vines and thick foliage with her green-bladed lightsaber. Hwin pruned the trail behind her, clipping loose ends with her ice-blue training saber, all the while scanning her eyes through the trees, monitoring for dangers in the rear. As much as Hwin enjoyed strolling through nature, she was careful not to drop her guard when it came to wild animals, and kept her senses on alert.

After hacking through the damp, tropical overgrowth, the pair approached a cliff ledge overlooking a sunny view of the vast, jungle-coated slopes and mountains, and continued their path along the narrow cliffside of a rocky wall. Hwin relished in the cool draft that blew against her skin, providing welcome relief from the light sweat that clung to her clothes, after having hiked through the steamy, humid jungle. Both Jedi wore thin, lightweight garments, better suited for mobility and comfort in the heat of their jungle environment, rather than for protection. Hwin had tied back her wavy blue hair in a ponytail, preferring to keep strands out of her face while she worked. In front of her, Samara’s copper-brown skin and russet hair glowed warmly in the sunlight; acting as the navigator, she held a holodevice in one hand, keeping track of the map coordinates that marked the location of the ancient temple.

Hwin overheard the whisper of rushing water long before they came around the jutting corner of the precipice. Below, a broad crescent-shaped drop of waterfalls cascaded into a canyon. Gazing down at the white veils of toppling rapids – gradually, the elation on Hwin’s face disappeared as the pair ventured down the cliffside and descended once again into the soggy jungle. A few miles up the run, they came across a wide stream – one of the branches that fed into the falls – its shallow currents gliding past like a mirror.

Halting on the rise of the embankment, Hwin’s eyes trailed with unease as she watched Samara sidetrack down to the foot of the stream and survey the depth of the water. Anxiety quickly arose, gripping Hwin with intense fear, the longer she stared at the swirling motion of the stream. It nearly paralyzed her for a moment – in that instant – reliving the terror of sinking and drowning underwater in her dreams. Just the thought of falling into the stream, being swept over the side of the waterfall and plunging into the canyon below, sent shivers down her spine and made Hwin shudder with fright. A cringing suspicion began to form in the pit of her stomach, dreading what her master had in mind …

The clarity of the stream bed, as well as her own keen perception, assured Samara that there were no dangerous lifeforms or imminent threats sneaking about in the water. “Not that deep,” Samara called back to Hwin. A sly hint of amusement crossed her smile. “C’mon. We’re going through it.”

Hwin’s face paled, dawned by look of terror. “What?! No!” She cried out, balking at the top of the embankment.

Although Hwin’s nightmares were her biggest secret, they had manifested themselves in a crippling fear of water that had plagued Hwin since her youth. Among the few others Hwin had confided in, Samara was fully aware of the source of the problem, and seemed determined to push her padawan into exposure to water, to get Hwin to overcome her fear.

“You must learn to face the enemy,” Samara reminded.

 “I already did the ones before!” Hwin wailed, referring to the half-dozen water obstacles Samara had tested her with since yesterday, at the start of their journey. “The lake, the caves, the fall climb!”

And you made it through,” Samara encouraged, tipping off that Hwin wasn’t going to back out of this one.

“But―” Hwin’s heart pounded as she searched wildly for alternatives. Even before Samara had veered down to the stream, the two of them had spied a fallen tree trunk bridging the water further up ahead, in their direction. She pointed out, “There’s a tree right over there!”

“I know,” Samara said nonchalantly, as she slipped off her boots. Her words were adamant. “We are going this way.”

“Masterrr―!” Hwin paced in circles frustratedly, more of a whining fit to herself than anyone else. “No!” She screamed silently to herself with disbelief. Putting her through another test wasn’t going to work! Every obstacle before this, intending to ‘fix’ her, had been without success. Why couldn’t her master just leave her alone?

“It’s all good for you, Hwin.” Samara waded into the crawling stream; the level of the water came up to her mid-thighs. “See? Nothing here. Come on.”

Hesitating, Hwin bit back the urge to protest. Desperation then filled her plea. “Can’t I just go around? Pleeease?”

“Padawan ...” Samara’s cheery tune lowered into a tiny warning as she continued forward, intending to cross the stream with or without her apprentice.

Hwin deflated. She knew better than to try the consequences of disobedience. Samara wasn’t all tenderness and graciosity when it came to punishment. With a loud defeated sigh, Hwin craned her neck back and groaned exasperatedly at the heavens. “Ugh! Masterrrr …!”
« Last Edit: October 29, 2017, 10:00:41 AM by Hwin Breeze »

Offline Hwin Breeze

Re: Fire in Water: Hwin Breeze's Crystal Gathering (8 ABA)
« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2017, 09:44:09 AM »
Reluctantly, Hwin followed suit, gripping her boots in one hand and grimacing as she planted her feet at the edge of the stream, letting the water swirl around her ankles.

The quicker you move, the sooner it’ll be over with, she repeated to herself, squeezing her eyes shut to regain focus and calm her racing heartbeat. “Okay, okay, okay, okay …” Hwin released under her breath. She lifted her head and narrowed her eyes on the opposite shore.

Gradually, the water level rose to her knees, then her hips, as Hwin waded briskly through the stream, gritting her teeth uncomfortably. Her feet padded along the smooth, polished stones of the stream bed. Every step resurfaced images of shadowy eels, sharp jaws and teeth, making her skin crawl as Hwin began to fathom unseen things weaving towards her in the stream, wriggling between her feet or hooking around her legs – the thought that she would lose her footing and be dragged underwater by the swelling current. Resisting the urge to look down at her feet, Hwin kept her eyes pinned on the shoreline, struggling to erase the nightmares and block the fluid sensation of water from her mind.

C’mon, you’re a Jedi! Hwin scolded, screaming at herself internally. You’re not supposed to be scared of this!

Reclining on the opposite bank, Samara smothered a chuckle. Any curious onlooker would think that Hwin was hopping painfully on hot rocks, as the young padawan bolted frantically towards shore and leaped out of the water with a yelp.
“Well, that went a lot better than last time,” Samara remarked, as the two Jedi paused to rest shortly and slipped their feet back into their boots.

Hwin glanced sideways at her master with a deadened glare, feeling less pride in her accomplishment as she recovered from a state of dissolving shock. “Last time” had taken place at a lake, when Samara’s impatient Force-shove into the deep water had left Hwin feeling so nauseous afterward that she vomited – much to Hwin’s displeasure. At the end of every obstacle, she was physically and mentally drained. Despite Samara meaning well for the better, none of these “tests” had cured the problem, as much as Hwin wished them to.

Bitterly, Hwin fell silent behind Samara as the two Jedi continued onward, vanishing into the thick of the jungle – her step a little less sprightly than before.

Nothing had changed. Her fear was still the same. And her nightmares only became worse after that.

… … …

The second night, floating in the same aquatic abyss … Hwin couldn’t swim away. Instead, frozen to the spot, she came face to face with the gaping jaws of the monstrous eel. Staring into the black mouth that caved around her, a tiny glint of orange caught Hwin’s eye – building up within the throat of the beast – glowing brighter, hotter, bigger―about to erupt, blast her with fire―

She jerked awake, feeling clammy. Striken with both heat and cold. Breaking out in a flash sweat – Hwin sat upright in the darkened tent, furrowing her brow, mystified.

Orange. Fire? That was new.

That dream stuck out to her, as Hwin mulled it over, the following morning – the third day of their journey, when she and Samara were supposed to reach the temple ruins. As far back as Hwin could recall, all of her nightmares had been the same blueish-greenish-black scheme. All about water, she mused. Not fire …

An unexpected complication involving a detour around some tribal warfare led to a third night being spent within close approximation of the temple, where the two Jedi set up camp beside a freshwater spring.

This time, the mouth of the monsterous eel closed around Hwin, engulfing her in a pitch-black tunnel that resembled an underwater cavern. Up ahead, the bright orange glow pullled her closer … Where bundles of fiery light dotted the cavern walls, dazzling her eyes … Until she realized it wasn’t fire – the moment she recognized them, startling in awe and surprise – They were crystals!

With a twinkling, the crystals vanished and tunnel collapsed into darkness―jarring Hwin wide awake with a pounding migrane. As she she sat up, her vision blurred, overcome by dizziness. She held her head in her hands.

Stop it! Hwin chided her nightmares, her throat dry as she gulped with unease. Something in her gut wanted to heave …

Lying down beside her, facing the other direction, Samara looked over her shoulder, disturbed by her padawan’s arousal. “Hwin?”

Feeling sick to her stomach, Hwin scrambled out of the tent into the moonlit clearing, falling to her knees as she plunged her face into the nearby brook. Holding it there. Letting her breath escape. As if forcing her head to merely accept water was the cleansing solution to everything. All those years of sleepless nights. Hwin clenched her eyes shut, buring her face underwater. Just go away, she commanded. Go away! – Not knowing if she was speaking to her nightmares or her nausea.

Samara poked her head outside the tent. “Hwin?”

Sensing the waning breath of her padawan’s head being dunked underwater for a moment too long, Samara raised her voice in alarm ―“Hwin!”― and skidded over to the brook. Crouching down and placing her hands on Hwin’s shoulders, she attempted to pry the girl’s head out of the water. “Hwin, get up!” She called out, urgently.

Upon releasing her head and pulling back free, Hwin plopped down, water dripping down her face as she looked up at the treeptops, mingled with tears.

Samara scooted up close, her face wrung with concern. “Hwin, are you all right?”

Hwin shook her head, unable to draw words. What sounded like a whimpered  “No …” escaped her lips, as she drooped her head against Samara’s shoulder, who wrapped a comforting arm around her padawan.

“Nightmares,” Hwin whispered, when her voice returned, hoarsely. “I just want them to go.”

Samara mustered a faint smile. “They will,” she said.

… … …
« Last Edit: October 29, 2017, 09:45:03 AM by Hwin Breeze »

Offline Hwin Breeze

Re: Fire in Water: Hwin Breeze's Crystal Gathering (8 ABA)
« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2017, 05:12:34 AM »
The ruins of the ancient temple were hidden at the bottom of a steep canyon, hanging above a river, suspended between two tunnels that dug into the mountains on either side … 

“Watch yourself,” Samara cautioned her padawan, as they arrived at the temple courtyard. “This place could be loaded with traps.”

Their task was to retrieve as much data as possible, to add to research about the temple and its deserted civilization. An initial inspection of the tunnels revealed a labyrinth of catacombs on one side, and an abandoned city on the other – as Samara and Hwin retraced their steps to thoroughly search the courtyard and the temple structure, first, before Samara had suggested that the pair split ways.

“You take the city, I’ll take the graveyard,” Samara instructed. “Stay sharp, all right?”

“Look out for dead people,” Hwin bid with a chuckle in parting.

Flicking on her glowrod, Hwin held out the pale yellow light in front of her path as she entered into the dark, dank tunnel. Within a short stretch, the shadows disbanded into hazy sunlight, and the hollowed mountain city opened up before her, bathed in an emerald mist of mossy overgrowth.

Everything had gone along smoothly, when she started combing through the city square – datapad and holocam in hand – and then made her way into the buildings, occasionally relaying through her comlink about an interesting find or a description of her whereabouts, to her master. To Hwin, it felt satisfying to believe that her discoveries would mostly be concerning architecture, this time around. An easy project, a relaxing stroll …

Halting mid-stride at the corner of a hallway, next to an adjacent room, Hwin thought her eyes had betrayed her when she froze with a double take – and saw a small glow of orange light, lying on the floor, shining in a corner of the four-walled chamber. What remained of three crumbling walls and a caved-in roof – the gaping hole of the chamber faced the outside of the city, allowing light to stream down from the hollowed crater of the mountain, illuminating the orange cluster – as Hwin approached, mesmerized – of crystals, she realized. Like fire, her eyes said – bending down above it ...

She reached out her hand, aiming to touch the crystals, when a blink later – glinting at her fingertips – they vanished.

Hwin stared at the empty corner of the room in disbelief, her hand outstretched towards nothing. What? She rose up swiftly, backing away from the empty corner in shock.

This was not normal, Hwin concluded. Her head spun with bewilderment, a bit scared. What in the stars was happening to her? Was she crazy?

Her nightmares came reeling back to her. Fiery crystals, she remembered. This time, they were real. A real illusion, no doubt – but in her mind, there was no mistaking it. Something was reaching out to her. Calling her, somewhere. And she was going to need help to find out …

Hwin pressed her comlink. “Master?” Her voice wavered.

“Yes? What is it?” Samara replied, unsuspecting. Within the pitch-dark catacombs, the older Jedi held up a glowrod to illuminate the wall in front of her, studying the code of cryptic symbols. Her focus completely changed when her padawan spoke up next.

“I—think I had a vision.”

… … …

She had spilled out everything about the crystals in her dreams. Most importantly, about the illusion she encountered in the city ruins – the same fiery orange crystals – which Hwin strongly suspected, by now, was a vision to her of sorts. Even if the whole thing did sound pretty foolish and far-fetched, to her – as Hwin put it – who had tried to put up a small fight of denial the whole way back to the city, once their data at the temple had been rapidly collected.

Samara, on the other hand, had taken the matter a bit more seriously, with a bit more wisdom. And she seemed to know the reason behind the crystal anomaly. After listening to her padawan's account with intrigue, she had sped up the rest of their mission in a hurry, to leave the jungle planet as soon as possible ...
« Last Edit: October 29, 2017, 09:53:13 AM by Hwin Breeze »

Offline Hwin Breeze

Re: Fire in Water: Hwin Breeze's Crystal Gathering (8 ABA)
« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2017, 09:47:26 PM »
“I’ve been meaning to take you to one of those ‘crystal gatherings’,” Samara addressed to Hwin, on their way back through the jungle, “But with the missions, as of late, timing hasn’t exactly been on our side for me to send you off to the Temple and pair you up with one of those groups. I suppose that’s my fault,” she admitted, “But it seems that the Force is … has other things in mind ...” She trailed off, before returning to the point. “It’s about time you make your own lightsaber,” she told Hwin. “And, I believe the Force is calling you to do the same.”

“So, put me in a Gathering, then,” Hwin shrugged. “Just get it over with.”

“These Gatherings are supposed to teach Jedi students to overcome their fears,” Samara pointed out, registering to the both of them what Hwin’s greatest fear was. “Once you pass, the crystal will present itself to you. The Force guides you to your crystal.” She mused as they weaved throughout the trees, “I think the Force has a specific ‘kind’ of crystal in mind for you. Sending you away to some random moon or whatever planet the guides choose for you, won't be the wisest approach, at this point. If the Force has truly chosen your crystal for you, then it’s up to you to seek out this crystal, wherever it may be.”

“But … But what if it’s all symbolic?” Hwin hesitated, fetching for what she knew was just a bunch of drummed up excuses. “What if it isn’t what you think it is? What if it’s just—” She drooped her shoulders with a sigh. “Just crazy?”

“You said what you saw in there was a vision. Not just an illusion. What made you so certain about that?”

“I just …” Hwin struggled, not knowing how to put it into words. “I just know. It felt … really real. Like it was … It was more than what it was – it was … out there.”

“Can you feel the Force guiding you somewhere? Are those crystals here? On this planet?”

“I don’t—“ Hwin bit down on her tongue with a sigh. Regaining her Jedi composure with a short exhale, she closed her eyes, gathered her focus, and concentrated. She could feel a slight presence – a short wisp – in the Force, reaching out to her like a thread, tethering her towards a direction, a location somewhere out in space. It stretched very far, too faint and too distant for her to trace … But it was there, Hwin assured herself. She wasn’t crazy. As soon as she had laid eyes on the orange crystals, while experiencing her vision at the temple-city, it felt as if a burst in the Force had broken through the barrier of her dreams. She could feel the presence of the Force tugging at her, more clearly now than before, but where to exactly…? That was the mystery.

“No.” Releasing her grasp on the Force-string, Hwin opened her eyes. “They’re not here,” she said, in a calm and settled tone, yet uncertain, still searching for a solid answer. “They’re … far away. I don’t know where they are.”

Samara solemnly understood. The presence of the Force did lack exceptionally on this remote jungle planet. It was a wonder her padawan could sense anything at all. This crystal-message must be urgent. If Hwin was going to search for these crystals as soon as possible, her connection to the Force would have to be strengthened, amplified from a source. And fostered in the right environment.

Within several minutes, over Samara's comlink channel, the plans of departure were arranged. The two Jedi proceeded towards the city, where their transport would await them.

To Coruscant, they would go.

... ... ...
« Last Edit: October 24, 2017, 08:58:35 PM by Hwin Breeze »

Offline Hwin Breeze

Re: Fire in Water: Hwin Breeze's Crystal Gathering (8 ABA)
« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2017, 09:45:23 AM »

It was mid-day by the time the two Jedi emerged out of the towering jungle and into an expanse of airy sunlight, blue skies above, where the gradient steeps of the coastland ended and the shimmering turquoise waters of the gulf began, stretching out like a mirror into a calm, unturmoiled sea. Nestled between the cliffs and the lapping shore of the verdant rise was a lustrous white-marbled city – so neatly groomed and pristine, compared to the untamed and forboding jungle that surrounded it. For Hwin, gazing upon that pearly city was like an angelic choir that welcomed her home into a safe haven, for all weary travelers. It was a relief to be back.

Overlooking the mouth of the bay, the two Jedi sat on a square-cut bench that bracketed a large circular platform, waiting for their shuttle to arrive. Hwin had spent most of the waiting hour in contemplative silence, her thoughts gnawing with anxiety and misgivings.

What if she was wrong? What if she was mistaken? What if this whole “end” led to nowhere? Would she get in trouble? Because of her dreams and her vision, and voicing them out loud, she had started all of this mess. Samara had persuaded their group administrator to let them quit their mission early. Fortunately, they were at a convenient halfway point where it would be easy-ish to send a replacement Seeker in their stead, and continue the expedition where they had left off.

Hwin’s leg fidgeted nervously. She feared for the worst. For shame and embarrassment. She didn’t want to face the overseers and explain her vision to them. Or her crystal dreams. Would the other Jedi members believe her? Would they belittle her? Would she and Samara be punished for leaving their mission abruptly like this?

Beside her, Samara sought to ease some of her padawan’s concern with lighthearted words of encouragement.

“There is nothing to be ashamed or afraid of, with following what you believe is the will of the Force. It’s what we as Jedi strive for to achieve and to encourage among our young ones. Even it does interefere with duties and missions such as these – the Council will understand.”

Besides,” Samara pointed out, “One thing’s for certain. You need that lightsaber. Considering how ‘dangerous’ our line of work is,” she hinted with a smirk, “I’m sure the Council won’t deny us that request. Nothing more you can learn with that old thing,” she teased, poking fun at Hwin’s training saber. “I’m surprised you’ve managed to survive with it as long as you have.” After a round of chuckles with Hwin jumping to her trusty saber’s defense, Samara returned to a more serious expression. “You’re quite capable of fending out there by yourself, now. Sooner or later, you’ll be working solo. When that day comes, you’ll need a real blade at your side.”

She softened. “Even if the Council doesn’t ‘trust’ these dreams you have, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t send you back to the Temple for you to join the next Gathering. Whilst you wait, you’ll have plenty of time over there to clear your head. You’ll have all the resources you need at the Temple, to determine where the Force is guiding you.”

Samara relaxed as she drank in the view of the waterfront. “When was the last time we went to Coruscant?” She pondered aloud.

A smile parted on Hwin’s face as she recalled the events from two years’ past. So long ago. “Last time … You picked me up, at the Temple. That was when I left to join the Corps. You came to get me, and … here we are.”

They rose to their feet when the shuttle descended and docked at the platform. An adult male Zabrak, brown-skinned and bald-headed – Hwin recognized him to be Shamal, another Jedi Seeker – stepped down the ramp from the ship.

“Master Raben, Hwin, good to see you both alive,” Shamal acknowledged the two in playful greeting, as he approached them. “I’ll be heading out to the west fortress, from here." He crossed his arms. "Any ‘surprises’ I should know about, on the way over?”

Samara gave an summary of what she and Hwin had encountered on their journey to and from the ancient temple. “We ran into a few hostile tribes, over in this area …” She displayed a section of mapped territory on her datapad screen. “Last time we were there, it was a warzone.” At the end of her report, after imparting some last-minute advise about other routes in the jungle to avoid certain threats and confrontations, Samara nodded at Shamal. “Take care of yourself.”

Having already been briefed on the reason-why situation with Hwin and her crystal dreams, Shamal smiled politely at the younger padawan. “May the Force be with you, Hwin. I do hope you find what you’re looking for.” The older Jedi wished her well, but Hwin couldn’t help but feel guilty and responsible that Shamal might be annoyed or inconvienced for being summoned to complete the mission that she and Samara had dropped. Hwin’s timid thoughts whispered to her that there was skepticism in the Zabrak's glance, although there was none to be read in his expression.

After bidding farewell to their colleague, Samara and Hwin boarded the shuttle, which sped away into outerspace, leaving the jungle planet behind.

… … …

Hwin sat quietly in the co-pilot seat beside Samara, watching the blue-and-white tunnel of hyperspace swirl around the cockpit window of the small courier ship. The senior heads of the ExplorCorps had permitted Samara to accompany her padawan to Corusant. To Hwin’s surprise, the meeting went a lot smoother – and gentler – than she expected. The overseers had given heed and thought to Hwin’s crystal dreams and vision, and agreed it would be a wise course of action to send her straight away to the Temple. If Hwin could not locate the source of her ‘dream crystal’, within the allotted amount of time before the next Gathering was made available, then at least Hwin would have the opportunity to partake in the next Gathering, as a fall-back.

A win-win solution, they believed was fair.

But despite the paved road to an easy homecoming, back to Coruscant … Along the way, something inside Hwin had turned sour and glum. Enough to make her sulk, which she rarely ever did. Deep down, she was frustrated with the Force. Yes, angry at it. And beneath that, scared.

Why couldn’t she just go on a normal Gathering? Like a normal padawan? Why did the Force have to make things so complicated? What was the point in “cursing” her with these dreams?

Samara attempted to consolidate her padawan’s brooding frame of mind.

“I know these nightmares of yours, lately, have been … difficult,” she sympathized at first, which then toughened up into a lecture. “But blaming a higher power for that won’t fix what’s happening to you, right now. The truth is, you have a choice. The Force won’t … force you to accept this crystal. You can pick any kyber crystal on any planet anywhere and you’d have a real lightsaber all the same …”

She trailed off. “Can’t say ‘if I were you’, but from a master’s perspective … you should embrace these dreams more often.”

“Focus now on what needs to be done,” she softened with a cheery tone. “You’re about to enter a new stage in your life as a Jedi. Whichever path you choose, whether it be this ‘dream crystal’ or the Gathering, you will create your lightsaber. So, no need to be discouraged.”

“The Force will show you the way,” Samara emphasized, hoping to ingrain the words in her padawan’s mind, “But you must learn to have faith in yourself.”

Hwin curled her knees up to her chest, resting the heels of her boots on the seat, and wrapped her legs tightly with her arms.

Silence hung in the air.

“But why me?” Hwin lowered her voice to a murmur, staring blankly at the cockpit dashboard in front of her.

Samara glanced sideways. “Why not you?”

… … …

Jumping out of hyperspace, the courier ship arrived at Coruscant in early morning, where it descended into the city-planet, and docked at the Temple hangar.

Waiting for them at the platform, a blue-skinned Twi’lek woman wearing Consular robes approached them with a cordial smile. “Master Raben, so good to see you,” she said, dipping her head respectfully while Samara and Hwin bowed the same. “I am Master Cerento Sing. Welcome back. I heard it’s been quite a while since the last time you two visited the Temple.”

After pleasantries and light conversation between the two women, leading the way into the Jedi Temple, Master Sing addressed the important matter at hand.

“I was informed of your padawan’s … special case,” Master Sing told Samara, while exchanging kindly glances with Hwin. “We are currently assessing several candidate younglings and padawans for the next appointed Gathering. It may take a few days, perhaps a week, to complete the evaluation and schedule our preparations for the upcoming trip, but we’re glad to know that Padawan Breeze will be accompanying us, as per your request. And, of course,” she added, “Force willing, we will do our best to accommodate Hwin’s retrieval of this ‘dream crystal’, provided the location itself is … reasonable.”

Samara beamed down at Hwin. “I believe my padawan will succeed in finding whatever the Force has destined for her future.”

Master Sing gave a courteous nod. “Indeed. We will do what we can, not to prolong your stay. The Corps wants both of you to return to the field as soon as possible. For now,” – She shifted her attention towards Hwin – “While on standby … I suppose you best get to work, finding out where that ‘dream crystal’ of yours is, hmm?”

“I … don’t really know where to look …” Hwin started, slowly.

Master Sing replied with thoughtful reflection, “Well, we have our meditation chambers … the gardens … the Library …” Listing off directions to points of interest as if she were a tour guide, Master Sing then dismissed Hwin to have a look around and re-familiarize herself with the layout of the Temple.

“In the meantime …” Master Sing turned to Samara with a smile. “Perhaps, you might be of assistance with some of our latest younglings.” Hwin caught the tail end of worry in Master Sing’s voice, as the two women turned their backs and walked further down the hall. “We are short of instructors, as of late …”

The two Jedi sauntered away, leaving Hwin standing by herself in the middle of a ginormous hall, feeling more small and vulnerable than when she had been in the midst of the jungle trees on a remote planet. Here, this was it. This was her first “solo” mission. One that she would have to accomplish alone, without her master to lead the way.

Okay. Hwin drew a breath, as she wandered through the pillared halls of the Temple. Guide me, Force, she said silently, tuning her mind and focus onto the location of the orange crystals. Where are you hiding?

… … …
« Last Edit: June 22, 2019, 09:01:55 PM by Hwin Breeze »

Offline Hwin Breeze

Re: Fire in Water: Hwin Breeze's Crystal Gathering (8 ABA)
« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2017, 09:45:20 AM »
The remainer of Hwin’s first day at the Temple was spent pouring over holomaps and meditating in quiet corners, exhaustively calling upon the Force to point her in the right direction. Many times within those hours, she thought about giving up – wait for the next Gathering, so she wouldn’t have to think about it any longer. But her conscience wouldn’t let her. Curiosity goaded her on. She couldn’t just give up on … *sigh* her “destiny” … Now that she was getting closer

Since the Jedi Temple itself was built on the sacred spire, a Force nexus, Hwin strongly felt closer to her connection in the Force. While scanning over the various holograms and mapreaders, hunting through the myriad of star systems and planets, an impression through the Force gave Hwin a general drift that the the location of these crystals shouldn’t be farther out beyond the Inner Rim. She had an overwhelming hunch that they were somewhere nearby …

One the Colonies, perhaps. Or one of the Core Worlds.

But which one? Hwin wondered.

… … …

Sleeping that night at the Temple, her dream was … different. Not underwater this time, but above it. Her vision panned across the surface of a lake, sweeping along the shoreline. Against the gray and gloomy backdrop of shadows that encircled her, she recognized the boggy terrain, the long grasses and swaying reeds … What resembled marshes or a swamp … Some kind of wetland …

She stood facing the dark water’s edge, a foggy clearing outstretched behind her, with thickets of trees framing the lake on either side. Her vision lifted and aimed to the side, towards a telltale landmark – a small island-mound near the foot of the lake, with a single willow-like tree on top.

The fiery crystals didn’t appear in her dream that night, nor did any abyssal monsters emerge out of the deep to consume her. But standing there at the lakeshore … somewhat peacefully … Hwin could feel, pulsing like a faint heartbeat beneath the water, that those crystals were down there, below the lake. Waiting.

… … …

The following morning, Hwin woke up early to meditate in one of the garden balconies outside, watching the sunrise cover the skyscrapers of the city-planet. She sat cross-legged with closed eyes, drinking in the open air, and mentally compiled everything in her dreams. The crystals, the lake, the swamps. Piecing them all together to form meaning … matching them to the planets she had reviewed and examined … hoping these jumbled parts might in someway “jog” the Force into conjuring a location …

Unexpectedly, what happened in a split second aeriel rewind – the crystals, the lake, the swamps, the planet – in the blink of an eye, a flash-connection through space hit Hwin with a jolt. Her eyelids flew open wide, stunned.

Whoa. She sat in astonished silence. Was that—?

Hwin rushed back into the Temple. Entering a holoprojector room, she dimmed the lights inside, and switched on a map of charted star systems. Zooming in on the systems within the Core Worlds, she singled out one planet among them in partcular.


With a tap, she brought up an spherical image of the planet’s surface, attempting to narrow the location of the crystals further – concentrating harder – boiling it down to one of the three continents spread on Corellia …

… … …

Sprinting down a hallway of the Temple, Hwin sensed Samara inside one of the training rooms and burst through the doorway, startling a class of younglings as she blurted out, “Master, Corellia!”

A dozen training sabers froze. Facing the class of younglings with her green lightsaber blade ignited, Samara loosened her demonstrative stance as Hwin recovered her winded breath between pants.

“The crystals!” Hwin announced, eagerly. “They’re at Corellia.”

Distracted by her padawan’s discovery, Samara stood up straight and deactivated her lightsaber, keenly interested. “Corellia? Are you sure?”

“Yes,” Hwin confirmed, suddenly feeling self-conscious about how many eyes of younglings were watching her with puzzled looks on their faces. She turned to her master. “They’re there. Somewhere. I – I feel it. I have an estimate where they are. I think.”

“Tell Master Sing that we’re leaving for Corellia, as soon as I’m finished up with this class,” Samara instructed. “Pack up some diving gear; I get the feeling you’re going to need it. Now go! Shoo – We’re in the middle of a lesson, here,” she hissed playfully, resuming her former demonstrative stance.

Hwin rolled her eyes lightly. “Yes, Mom,” she said in friendly jest, spinning about-face on her heels, out the door.

… … …

Within a few hours, the pair sped off to Corellia on a public transport. 

Hwin’s excitement had bubbled at first, when she was at the Temple, after revealing her latest findings to Master Sing. The padawan had been elated to get started on the new lead, but now that the transport was en route to the Corellian system and Hwin had time to wait along the way, most of the thrill inside her had simmered down. Even as she was taking one step closer ... even after the Force had guided her all this way ... foremost in Hwin’s mind was the lingering doubt and suspicion … 

What if nothing happened? What if the Force “stopped” working once she reached Corellia?

She only hoped that she wasn’t leading her master with her on a wild Guba chase.

… … …

One hyperspace trip later, the transport arrived at Corellia.

Disembarking the ship, the two Jedi stood in the midst of a congested platform full of bustling people, apparently stumped for direction.

“All right. Where to now?” Samara inquired her padawan.

Standing beside the older Jedi Knight, already in a meditative stance with eyes closed, Hwin tried to recollect every scattered detail of her dreams … The miry environment, the trees … Swamps that led to a lakeshore. She could feel the familiar presence of the Force permeate her mind and distill her memory, unclouding her vision and enhancing the land around her, and she whispered a silent call for the Force to lead her there, show her where … Allowing herself to be moved

After a tense moment of silence, Hwin flicked her eyes open and swept her gaze around the Corellian city, as if she were intaking her surroundings for the first time with a fresh, clearer perspective. Before she could speak a word, a sudden impulse nearly swept Hwin off her feet, as she began taking steps in a direction away from the platform, with an odd sensation like she was being both tugged on a leash and prodded with a stick at the same time.

“This way – er – that way.” Hwin gestured to her master, nearly toppling herself over by the strong wave of the Force that seemed to only be guiding the next step in front of her. Towing Samara behind, the two Jedi weaved their way through the crowded streets.

… … …
« Last Edit: October 26, 2017, 06:35:49 PM by Hwin Breeze »

Offline Hwin Breeze

Re: Fire in Water: Hwin Breeze's Crystal Gathering (8 ABA)
« Reply #8 on: October 27, 2017, 03:43:44 AM »
After a series of transports through the cities, which then led through rural communities and farms, Hwin and Samara trudged along a swamp and into a marshland clearing. In the daylight, the rushes and reeds were golden, and the trees and shrubbery in dull shades of green. Not as dark or shadowy as it had been depicted her dreams ... But Hwin knew they were heading in the right direction.

Passing by a familiar thicket of trees, Hwin's mouth fell agape as she pointed the lake out to Samara. “There ...”

Tilted off to the side, she saw the little island-mound with the lone tree swaying on top.

“That’s it!” Hwin turned to her master, excitedly. “This is where they are!”

She took off sprinting across the clearing, relieved that the lake existed. None of it had been a hoax inside her head, after all ...

Her boots sucked up mud as the ground beneath her feet became soggy, and she stopped short of the lake, nearly five yards from the shore.

Samara set her bag of equipment down on a dry patch of grass. “Ready to get started?”

“I … guess so.” Hwin wavered, glancing nervously at the water's edge.

Both Jedi had switched into their wetsuits before venturing out into the swamps, wearing a covered layer of outer clothes, and had brought along two sets of diving gear. Before leaving the Temple on Coruscant, Samara had assured Hwin that she would be accompanying her search into the lake, which had comforted Hwin during the ride over to Corellia, but now – after gearing up Hwin first with the face mask and rebreather, Samara clasped a firm hand on her padawan’s shoulder, and said –

“I’m not going with you.”

Hwin’s eyes stretched wide open in shock. Her voice cracked over the comm speaker inside the mask. “Wait – what?! But you—!”

“I can’t go with you,” Samara stressed, raising her voice over Hwin’s panicstricken outbursts. “Every student that enters these Gatherings cannot be accompanied by their masters. Yours is not an exception.”

“But you said—!”

“I know,” Samara interrupted, biting back her exasperation with a low note of regret. “I was afraid you’d back out of coming here if I told you I wasn’t going with you. But now you’re here. And you must go alone.”

Hwin’s face crumbled as Samara’s desertion bombshell nearly reduced her terror into tears. This was different! This wasn’t a dry cave! This wasn’t a group Gathering! How many students had to dive alone into a swampy lake to find their crystals?

“But what if there’s something down there?” Hwin trembled, her wide eyes pasted onto the clouded surface of the water, dreading what evil creatures lurked below.

“You must rely on the Force to guide you through” was all Samara answered. With a little added coaxing, she managed to scoot Hwin into the rippling edge of the water.

“Remember,” Samara warned, “You have three hours before the oxygen in that tank runs out. That’s more time than most students have to complete their Gathering.” She looked her padawan seriously in the eye. “You have only one dive, Hwin. Don’t lose yourself down there. May the Force be with you.”

In Hwin’s mind, it was the final sendoff before descending into her watery grave.

Squeamishly, she waded out into the lake, shuddering with every step as the water rose up to her thighs. Hwin stopped abruptly, paralyzed by the thought of what she was about to submerge herself into. She couldn’t just walk straight in! She had to make sure there wasn’t any—

Clenching her eyes shut, Hwin bent over and planted her face in the water – dipping her head into the lake like a bottom-up duck. She opened her eyes, scanning the murky bed that was barely visible at her feet … when something wriggled out from under the mud and popped right in front of her face, brushing against her mask!

Hwin gasped and yanked her head back out of the water, flailing her arms with a splash as she yelped. Whipping her head around towards her master with a petrified look on her face, rooted to the spot – from the shoreline, Samara raised her brow curiously at her padawan’s awkward disruption.

“There’s something in here!” Hwin cried defensively, pointing blindly at the water.

Samara narrowed her eyes with slight annoyance, crossed her arms, and sighed. “There’s nothing to worry about,” she called back.

“There is!” Hwin protested. “It was a – fish-like, thing!” She sputtered.

Samara wanted to rub her temples in frustration. Her padawan was letting irrational fear get the best of her. But, being the calm and collected Jedi master she was, Samara maintained her mentor’s composure, and said, rather firmly, “Hwin. Don’t panic. Focus. Trust in the Force. All right?”

With a shaky breath, Hwin turned around and faced her back towards the shore, staring down at her muddied reflection on the surface of the water.

The quicker you move, the sooner it’ll be over with, she echoed to herself.

Summoning her courage, Hwin dunked her head underwater, and disappeared beneath the lake.

… … …
« Last Edit: October 28, 2017, 08:26:47 AM by Hwin Breeze »

Offline Hwin Breeze

Re: Fire in Water: Hwin Breeze's Crystal Gathering (8 ABA)
« Reply #9 on: October 29, 2017, 07:51:01 AM »

The depths of the water grew more dismal and eerie as Hwin swam further below the lake, fighting her way down to escape the snaking, eel-like shadows that chased after her, intent on hindering her advances. Even though every part of Hwin knew that she was only facing an illusion – Panic gripped her with the fact, knowing that it was a real illusion. Her Force-driven intuition blared warnings that if she strayed or lingered too long, these illusions would consume her and snuff her life out in the darkness, and she would perish in the same way she saw herself drown in the abyssal ocean of her nightmares. This time, there would be no dream to wake herself up from, no resuscitating breath in the middle of the night to revive her, once she used up that last drop of air. If she did not find her crystal soon, the shadows would likely suffocate her before the oxygen in her tank ran out.

Tracing her Force-directed path into the mouth of a cavern, where an aura of orange light guided her through the opening tunnel, the shadows grew immensely thicker. Hwin could barely make out her surroundings as she swam through the wriggling black nest, as painfully slow as if she were struggling through quicksand. Without concentrating on the shadows that grappled at her arms and legs, she kept her eyes fixed on the faint pinpoint of orange light at the other end of the distant tunnel, steadily paddling towards it. Hwin knew that if the shadows quenched the light out before she reached it, there would be no chance of her going forward and no way for her to escape out. She would be doomed to die down here, if she didn’t reach for it …

Gradually, the fiery point of light grew smaller and dimmer, the closer Hwin came within its grasp. With a final stroke of willpower against her depleting strength, Hwin outstretched her arm and strained her hand forward, wrestling against the vortex pull of shadows that anchored her back and sucked her in, blotting her vision as darkness streaked across her mask — when her fingers wrapped around the tiny stub of crystal, and yanked it free —

At once, a brilliant white light shot forth from the crystal breach — flooding Hwin’s senses and reeling her backwards. She snapped her eyes shut, bracing her arms over her mask to shield herself from the wall of intense brightness that engulfed her …

A few heartbeat seconds later, when the blinding screen dimmed, Hwin opened her eyes, amazed to find herself floating in the middle of a gleaming crystal cavern, pulsing with a fiery glow. Upon prying her crystal out of its cluster, she had released the light at the finish line that had severed her illusions and wiped the foul darkness clean. The living shadows had disappeared. The only natural darkness that remained was kindled softly by the orange warmth of the crystals, scattered in clusters throughout the passages, illuminating every den and tunnel inside the underwater labyrinth.

For a bedazzled moment, Hwin nearly forgot about the tiny shard, clutched tightly in her hand. Using the other hand, she carefully lifted up the flaming orange crystal and drew it close, in front of her mask, holding it delicately between her fingertips. She stared at it a few moments more, entranced by its fiery core, which seemed to pulse brighter in the touch of her hand.

Hwin couldn’t help but smile lovingly, in satisfaction and relief, overcome by waves of emotion. Hey, you. She directed her greeting towards the crystal propped in front of her, as if she were gazing upon a long-lost friend for the first time. Remember me?

Slowly, she clasped her fingers around the crystal and dropped her hand to one side, spellbound by the tranquil beauty of the cave. Remembering that she had a tank of air supply, and that this wasn’t one of her underwater dreams, Hwin prepared to leave the cavern, but before she could turn away … she felt an urge to express gratitude. After all, how many others had been called upon the Force to harvest their crystals here? How many of them were fated to succeed before she did? Despite the divine obvious … It seemed rather rude and impolite to take a crystal from its trove without acknowledging the entity that allowed her to take it in the first place.

Thank you. Hwin nodded her head in the midst of the fiery cavern.

The Gathering was finished. Her crystal vision had been fufilled. The weight of her recent nightmares had been lifted from her mind. And her master was waiting above. With renewed vigor that fanned her buoyant spirits, Hwin sped her way out of the cavern, emerging from the darkened tunnel, and returned to the open water, soaring up towards the shining lake’s surface.

… … …

Standing at the lakeshore in a meditative trance, Samara sensed her padawan’s return, opening her eyes shortly before Hwin resurfaced.

“Hwin!” Samara shouted in a partial cheer, once her padawan bobbed her head out of the water.

“I’ve got it!” Hwin exclaimed, holding out a clenched fist victoriously in the air. She paddled up to the shore.

“Really? Show me!” A big grin spread on Samara’s face, equally ecstatic, sharing in her padawan’s joy as she crouched down at the edge of the bank. “Let’s see it.”

Hwin loosened her fingers around the dripping palm of her hand, presenting the tiny orange crystal. Samara held a gasp, captivated by its fiery glow as she stared in awed disbelief.

“Wow. It’s …” She shook her head slightly, eyes unmoving, nearly at a loss for words. “Like a little flame.”

When the crystal showed no intent of vanishing into thin air anytime soon, both Jedi peeled their eyes away and returned to the view of the present swamp around them.

“C’mon … Let’s get you out of there.” Samara reached her arms to help Hwin out of the water.

There was little discussion between them about what had happened beneath the lake. After Hwin changed into a set of clothes, the two Jedi swept their bags together, and prepared to head out.

Checking to make sure her belongings were in place, Hwin peeked into one of the pockets of her utility belt, where the orange crystal was safely tucked inside – shining as brilliant as ever. The flickering shard of evidence that her trial was over. All that remained was the lightsaber construction process. Compared to everything else … How hard could that be?

“Ready to make that lightsaber?” Samara asked, slinging her bag over her shoulder.

With a confident smirk, Hwin turned to her master and answered, “You bet.”

… … …
« Last Edit: July 04, 2019, 08:15:47 AM by Hwin Breeze »

Offline Hwin Breeze

Re: Fire in Water: Hwin Breeze's Crystal Gathering (8 ABA)
« Reply #10 on: October 29, 2017, 07:13:35 PM »
With a groan, Hwin stirred from her nap as Samara woke her up, on board their small ship. The padawan still hadn’t recovered fully from her exhausting cave trial. All the vigorous swimming and mental stress had made every inch of her body sore and fatigued. Constructing her lightsaber was the last thing on Hwin’s mind, at the moment. All she wanted to do was go to sleep and hibernate — She yawned as she rolled over onto her stomach, flattening herself on the bed. Wait a few more days …

But Samara wouldn’t let her padawan get another wink of shuteye, now that they had exited hyperspace and were approaching the Architect’s ship. During their trip over, Samara had already informed Hwin about the name of the architect, Professor Huyang, and his history with the Jedi about helping other students craft their lightsabers. A reminder about her crystal was enough to get the groggy Hwin up and moving again, eager to finally get her lightsaber construction underway.

Completing the docking procedure, Samara and Hwin stepped over the threshold and entered the Architect’s ship. The two Jedi would likely be the only ones attending this crafting session, as Hwin had completed her Gathering alone, and did not accompany a scheduled group. If so, then Hwin would have the full, undivided attention of both the Architect and her master, which would add some nervous pressure on the blue-haired padawan, not to make any mistakes or slip-ups during her lightsaber construction.

Professor Huyang would have already been notified, prior to their arrival. Entering beside the older Jedi Knight, Hwin clutched the flaming orange crystal in one hand, ready to present her unique crystal in front of the Architect.
« Last Edit: October 30, 2017, 04:45:07 AM by Hwin Breeze »

Re: Fire in Water: Hwin Breeze's Crystal Gathering (8 ABA)
« Reply #11 on: November 03, 2017, 03:27:33 PM »
And the Architect was ready for her. "Hello young one and welcome to my home. My name is Huyang." The synthesized droid voice came from the other end of the entry foyer as the Architect droid entered and waved his arms excitedly. "I'm told that your name is Hwin Breeze and that you've brought a very special crystal today? Hmm?" Walking towards the pair and clasping his hands behind his back, you could almost hear the smile in Huyang's voice - a rare feat indeed for a droid.

Offline Hwin Breeze

Re: Fire in Water: Hwin Breeze's Crystal Gathering (8 ABA)
« Reply #12 on: November 05, 2017, 06:29:06 AM »
Slightly startled by the droid’s appearance and introduction, Hwin shifted a confused glance at Samara, pointing the question at her master with a clear, puzzled expression – before turning her eyes away to face the Architect, briefly glancing him over with a mixture of surprise and curiosity.

Professor Huyang was … a droid?

After a fleeting moment, realizing that Samara wasn’t going to respond, and that the droid had actually referred to her in his question, Hwin blinked in surprise, and responded, “Uh ― Yes! I did.”

The padawan held out her right hand, displaying the brilliant orange crystal in her open palm, for the Architect to see. All the while, Hwin held an awkward stare upon Huyang, failing hard to try and ignore the fact that the esteemed lightsaber construction guide of the Jedi was actually a droid. Realizing this didn’t disturb her uncomfortably, but it certainly was … unexpected. Hwin ducked her gaze, hoping her stare wouldn’t offend the Architect (that is, if droids had feelings), pretending that the whole situation here, was indeed perfectly normal.

Seeing that Hwin was somewhat at a loss for words, Samara spoke up, explaining the recent events to Huyang. “This crystal came to my padawan in a dream. The Force called her to Corellia. Hopefully, the results will be worth it, after all this.” She peered down at the orange crystal, raising an eyebrow at it with her last comment.

Once the discussion closed with Huyang, Samara would turn to Hwin and announce, “I’m sure my padawan is eager to get started." Waiting to begin, Samara would nod in respect to the Architect, and gesture Hwin to move forward.
« Last Edit: November 05, 2017, 07:18:09 AM by Hwin Breeze »

Offline Hwin Breeze

Re: Fire in Water: Hwin Breeze's Crystal Gathering (8 ABA)
« Reply #13 on: November 15, 2017, 06:37:11 PM »
Hwin followed behind the Architect as he directed the two Jedi towards a large chamber inside the vessel, which was a crafting room – empty, silent; just her and Samara – with tables and workbenches positioned around. Most of the wall space and shelving units were lined top to bottom with drawers and bins that nearly encircled the room, the vastness of which each individual compartment contained made Hwin feel uncertainly small and lost, as if she were surrounded by a library. A library full of lightsaber parts …

Professor Huyang went straight to work at his programmed task, setting out to inquire Hwin about any Force-guided impressions she might have that would aid to identify the hilt component of her lightsaber, which was an important step in the creation process, molding the lightsaber to fit the weilder, by allowing the Force to influence the user in their final selection. Right away, it was determined that Hwin’s small hands would benefit from a shorter hilt for a more snug and lighter fit. The Architect guided the padawan over to a section of drawers lined along a shelf rack, full of lightsaber hilts designated, neatly arranged according to size and length. Leaving Hwin to her contemplative decision, the droid stepped quietly out of sight, giving the padawan freedom to comb over her options and ponder without being disturbed.

As Hwin began sliding out drawers, one after the next, examining various hilt collections with a meticulous eye … After a while, finding nothing special of intrigue to strike her fancy, much less a voice to inspire her … Hwin grew a little discouraged, and her mind drew a blank slate. She didn’t want to overthink her choice and make the selection complicated. Or keep the Architect and her master waiting any longer, she thought anxiously. A lightsaber was a lightsaber, right? Did the material and details of the hilt really matter?

Overwhelmed by feeling rushed, after several slow minutes had ticked past, Hwin took a breather and a step backwards from the shelves. Calming her flustered nerves, she closed her eyes for a brief moment … formulating a vague concept in her mind, what she felt her lightsaber would look like. Metal was the first thing she envisioned. A pretty standard material. Not far from the ordinary. Tracing the lead, Hwin resumed her search, focusing on the refined aspects of her hilt. Something … simple, she reckoned. Nothing too plain or drab-looking, but nothing too ornate or exotic, either …

Crouching down beside one of the lower shelves, Hwin tugged another drawer open, glancing over the array of lightsaber hilts, when her eyes fell on a sheen of metal that caught her immediate interest. At first sight, she felt a hunch, prompting her to reach out for it, but resisted, not wanting to jump to conclusions right away. She couldn’t finalize her choice, yet. Not when there were still so many drawers and other hilts left to browse over. What if there was something else? Something … better? Something more?

Leaving the drawer open as a marker, Hwin moved on to the rest of the specified area, but after peering into several more drawers, scanning over the countless possibilities, her mind kept drifting back to the particular hilt that had fetched her eye … With an urge and desire to pull back, Hwin halted in her steps, and looked over her shoulder at the open drawer, staring at it for a few moments while ruminating over her options. Maybe this was it, she surrendered. If the Force was calling her … Maybe there wasn’t any need to look further …

Returning to the open drawer, Hwin bent down and picked up the hilt from its compartment, careful not to disturb the set arrangement of the others as she lifted it from the bin. She rotated it in her hands, viewing the metallic sheen from all angles, and slid her fingers over the curlicue-etched patterns along its shaft, admiring the subtle elegant flair, yet antique charm of its craftsmanship.

Then she took the fiery crystal out of her pocket, and held it up next to the hilt, comparing the two elements side by side. Strangely … No longer were her eyes judging every aspect and appearance of this hilt for herself, for her own preferences … but for her crystal. It was the crystal, the occupant, in need of a residence. The more Hwin dwelled upon it, detaching her own self and desires from the equation, the more she felt confident and at peace with her current selection. This was the perfect home for her crystal to live in.

“This one.” Hwin held the chosen hilt in her hands, bringing it up to the Architect’s attention once she emerged from the aisle, satisfied. “I like this one.”

Offline Hwin Breeze

Re: Fire in Water: Hwin Breeze's Crystal Gathering (8 ABA)
« Reply #14 on: November 15, 2017, 06:42:12 PM »
Seating herself down at a workbench, Hwin spread out the inner components of her lightsaber, and placed the hilt and the crystal on the table’s surface, laying all the necessary parts in front of her. After a brief overview from Professor Huyang, outlining the basis of lightsaber construction, in addition to a few holographic diagrams to be used in reference during the process … Hwin was ready to begin. Turning to her work station, the padawan closed her eyes, falling into a relaxed state of meditation … as the jumbled parts of her lightsaber began to levitate above the table, hovering at arm’s length, in front of her face.

With both the Architect and Samara standing over the padawan, monitoring her closely … Hwin could feel the pressure of their stares surrounding her, causing her to tense up uncomfortably for a few strained moments. Nevertheless, she continued to focus, and concentrated on bringing the parts of her lightsaber together …

She didn’t have to wait long, although in Hwin’s mind, it felt like an eternity. While the parts floated in the air, lingering for a while … The orange crystal soon centered, and the rest of the hilt and compenents swiftly aligned. To Hwin’s surprise, beyond her capability and control, it was as if the crystal itself were pulling the lightsaber pieces together, and not so much her own effort …

Once all the parts had clicked into place with the hilt, and Hwin opened her eyes, reaching out to pluck the assembled lightsaber from mid-air … Everything was a perfect fit. With the Architect’s consent of approval, Hwin stood up from the workbench, creating a space in the middle of the room, between her two overseers, who stood back a little ways to view the spectacle.

Nothing could prepare Hwin for seeing the blade of her special crystal spring to life, igniting a bright, fiery-orange rod in her hands. All the intensity of a blazing effect – given the appearance of tiny licks of “flame” rising along the length of the blade – without the burning heat to scorch her face as Hwin stared at her activated lightsaber in amazement. The product of her labor. The gift from her dreams. The prize for her determination. It was a reward that Hwin felt both worthy to receive, yet utterly inferior to amount herself up to, compared to the lofty rare beauty of the crystal and its blade. Thinking back on her years past … What had she really done to deserve this?

The absurdity of so many mingled feelings in what was supposed to be a moment of solace – Hwin wanted to laugh and cry at the same time – chuckling as her eyes grew misty …

As the padawan deactivated her lightsaber, turning aside to conceal her flushed face, the older Jedi Knight simply smiled in tender sympathy.

“Sorry…!” Hwin choked up with a sheepish grin, wiping an arm over her wet eyes. With a drying sniffle, she regained her composure, and looked up at her master, beaming at Samara with overwhelming joy, and gazing down with pride at the new lightsaber in her hands. She cracked slightly, “It’s just so perfect.”

… … …

« Last Edit: November 15, 2017, 07:17:57 PM by Hwin Breeze »


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