Face Your Fears

Discussion in 'Chronicles' started by Nikka Toren, Feb 28, 2019.

  1. Nikka Toren

    Nikka Toren Character

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    OOC: This is a thread that lists all of Nikka's Force experiences that isn't mentioned in the threads. Each and every post is intended solely as flashbacks, and will be added to as time goes on.

    First Event
    Alpheridies, Co'brontu Sector
    Toren Family Household
    I was only ten. My father still lived with us; I was the oldest of a family of three. If I close out all else, I can recall the smells of our farmstead, the sounds of running water. Taste the food my mother made from our humble small farm, one of many that fueled our planet's only outsource. It was after this night my father disappeared.

    I had gone to bed the last of all, after helping Father tend to our crop, and helping Mother tuck my two brothers in bed. Borro and Varen, both too young to realize that our world was about to end.

    I woke up to flames. Their heat roared at my feet, the smoke choked at my throat. I heard the screams of my brothers, and of my mother. But when I got up from the bed, prepared to run to help, the floor suddenly vanished.

    I fell, and fell, screaming until my throat was raw. Suddenly, I landed into something dense, with some softness. The air reeked with a stench I couldn't identify at the time, but can now; the smell of rotting corpses. But I could See them.

    A planet of death. All of my friends, my family. And standing at the center of it all stood a woman, something sword-like glowing in her hands. Even though my Sight was not tinted with color, the feelings she dragged out were like fists in my chest. I didn't know her kind; we were an isolated planet. But now, I know her kind.

    The Dark Side. The Sith.

    She turned to me, cloaked in Darkness. She was a Void of life. She stepped on and over bodies, and her voice cut through her Veil as she laughed.

    "It's all your fault. Run away, little girl, run away so they will live. Or stay, and watch them burn."

    I woke up screaming. This was my first nightmare.

    The first of many that followed me into adulthood... and into the arms of something greater than myself.

     
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  2. Nikka Toren

    Nikka Toren Character

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    Force Sensitive.

    Such a word felt like a brand. A marker labeling me to be different from everybody else. Something I wasn't really able to address. I knew something was different about me. I could See, like my mother, father and brothers, but it was more than that. It was a good or bad feeling, nightmares, dreams of something that would come to me years later. In my months at Ord Mantell hired to be a mechanic for a droid named T1-P7, it saved my skin from something that meant sure death for others.

    And then Scarif. I stayed a few days out of curiosity. Who wouldn't? My home was the stars, and I was a lonely traveller. But my appearance always stood out. How could a blind woman build a droid from scratch and do it so fluidly? How could a blind woman walk a crowd in a new city and not get lost? All these questions and more, that filtered through my head.

    I was young and afraid. An officer tried to grab me, began even dragging me. He felt like the woman of my dreams had, that same darkness. He was just asking a question, but I didn't want to answer it. I didn't want to become like them, so full of hate and fire until it ate you up. I was afraid of being consumed. I didn't quite understand what they were at the time, even though they were everywhere.

    I don't know how I escaped. He was young, maybe, like me. But when I ran away, I couldn't stay. I had to do something to be unrecognizable.

    The first was difficult. I had braided my hair like my mother had; one last touch of home. By the time I left, my head was barren of all, even traces of home.

    The tattoos were next. Embedded into my skin in sharp lines and angles that I couldn't see. Wrists, up to elbows and shoulders. Down my back. Up my neck... curving over my skull. Feeling the rattling of the needle over skin and bone. A design I had seen in a dream; the lines following the Flow of what I saw in every living being, even those of the Dark. And at the crown of my skull, a symbol. One that the artist didn't question, but it was my nexus. My core. When my hair would grow back, it would be my secret. And every line that surrounded it would be the dreamed companions; none would ever touch me from within my darkest depths, even I didn't will anything of that ilk to enter my mind.

    When I left, the artist wiped the blood from my head and shoulders. I left with a hood over my head and felt the cool air needle over every abused cell.

    The last is the most painful to recall. Perhaps I can talk about it later... but.. every time I feel the subtly raised skin where my tattoos have been inked in, I remember what I had to do to survive, and not be found.

    No one questions a blind girl. But everyone questions one that can See without sight. I know it was extreme, but when you live in constant fear, you do the most extreme things on the slightest provocation without any thought of anything else. And in those days, I was always in fear.

    @Nefieslab
     
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  3. Nikka Toren

    Nikka Toren Character

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    13:47
    MedBay
    Night After Nar Shadda Drinking

    She hoped to the Gods that she never again had to take on two Mando women and follow it up by drinking. She could barely recall the events of last night... only that this morning, she woke up with the fiercest hangover she had ever experienced, coupled with a bruise-like pain that radiated from the base of her skull down, making her grunt every time she so much as shifted. Kark, what had happened? She could recall grabbing her drink... tripping one woman.. the rest was a blur.

    If she had known that her inadvertent leaping into the fight had paired her two opponents, she would have felt a dubious burst of pride in having the ability to pair people. But at the moment, that knowledge was beyond her, only aware of the sickening drum beat of her heart echoing in the already sensitive parts of her skull. She curled up tightly, pressing her forehead into her knees. She knew she had headbutted the woman... was that some Mando'a sign of respect and candidness? She barely knew... all she was aware of was that they had taken care to strip her of her ale-sodden clothes, even cleaning her hair and...

    She groaned again, flipping over. Did they have to bathe her, really? She was fine... sort of. Apart from willing to put her skull in a vice and crank down, she was really no worse for wear. Tentatively, she allowed her fingers to trace over her face, feeling two cuts to the temple, a bruise shadowing her jaw. It could have been...

    Then, she recalled the shock gloves. Oh. It really had been worse.

    She felt for the call button, and was relieved when one nurse hurried in. But that feeling...

    Oh Kriff. It was Nurse Joy the Zabrak. The last time she had seen her, it had been helping her fellow Padawan escape for more troublemaking jaunts... the woman gave a fierce frown, not that Nikka could perceive it with her Sight. But she could perceive the disdain and the crossed arms as her light shifted.

    She cleared her throat, feeling her cheeks pink. "I... um. I don't suppose you'll help direct me to the nearest showers?"

    To be continued...
     
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  4. Nikka Toren

    Nikka Toren Character

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    [​IMG]

    Theme
    After the events of Ilum, she had been woken by a very terrified and worried Zeltron. Her companion, Nahlina Tarkes, whom she had gone in stead at Tython first for the blade. The pain in her left shoulder was unbearable; even moving her fingers was an agony that made her head swim sickeningly. But... the pain felt bitterly justified. She had failed everyone. She had failed her Order, her Master, her fellow clanmates... even her adopted brother. He let her live; she bitterly wished he hadn't. Somehow, it was a more damning thing he had let her live. Was he not Sith? Were they not meant to kill all Jedi scum?

    Even with her capabilities to heal, the wound he had dealt to her shoulder would be a mass of scars, and would ache fiercely in winter. Though it was repaired, it took all of her strength just to hold together. Her leg still felt like a mass of nerve endings, flaring in tandem with the damaged shoulder. Her head was sticky with blood. Until she was admitted to medbay, she had endured the pain with gritted teeth and clenched right hand, her left dead by her side.

    She had reported in a Sith encounter. She reported that he had died from a fallout of rock. But the Blade...? She had been attacked by his brethren. Vix Torra. An alias granted by a dead man's sacrifice. But the real name burned in her heart, like a tattoo that beat on the tip of her tongue. Zeven. Unbidden his memory-touched face rose to the surface. Her fist clenched tighter... then released. She was admitted, questioned, then left alone after a few terse sentences.

    So she sat in the medical ship, alone. She wanted to see nobody. Not even her Master; she couldn't think she could bear the sense of loss. Of failure. She wanted him to be proud of her.

    But what if she left...?

    No. Too many of them had left. Vu'thari's Jedi. Four Masters. The loss of her kin needed to be minimalized. One day, perhaps, she would face Zeven Visz again. She would face him once again without fear, know why he decided to spare her when he could have easily ended her life.

    She had been in the kolto immersion tank for three days. Mobility had returned to her left shoulder, and the superficial cuts and bruises she had endured in the caves were healed. But in that time she spent, her mind was assaulted by pictures. Images of his pain, his anger; he had killed his family, the ghosts in the Caves told the truth. Somehow, that only made the ache in her heart sharpen.

    She didn't want to heal. She wanted to let the liquid fill her lungs, drown out all the nightmares that thrashed her in sleep, in waking.

    It was on the third day, she finally faced the truth.

    She... had not failed.

    He spared her. Surely there was something within him. Something of a sliver of light. She had failed in obtaining the First Blade; such a blow was hers to endure, until her death. But what died in those caves was not her conviction. She would not let the Dark Side win. She would fight against it. She would rail against it until there was nothing left in her but the air in her lungs and the fire in her heart. She was not Nikka Toren, mechanic and Padawan.

    She was Nikka Toren. Jedi. And if she and Zeven ever crossed paths again... she would not hesitate to fight back.

    By any means necessary.
     
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  5. Nikka Toren

    Nikka Toren Character

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    Rishi
    Outer Rim Territory
    05:03
    She had returned to the site of their former Initiation camp, waiting for her former Master. Not too far away, the ocean still rumbled, and the lush jungle air was still tinged with a hint of brine. Though the structures themselves were still there, the jungle had already begun to claim it back. Her fingers drifted over the walls of one canvas structure. There were memories, here... Memories that would come back to life, if she just let herself dwell on them. Some good, some bad. But the time spent here was a testament to her will now. Though she was calm walking before a storm, the storm inside was still herself. Barely contained.

    Especially after Ord Cantrell... her fingers hovered over her mouth a moment, then banished the thought. It would never happen, she would never let it. He was of the Dark. Though there was the smallest sliver of a hope to turn him from the Dark Side, she knew following down that path would only be a testament to pain. Either she would lose him for good.. or he would kill her. Or even she him.

    No. He would have to come willingly himself. And with all the complications between them from such a situation, it did not bode well. So... she paused.

    She stepped within one structure, nestled with three others. Jake. Sugai. Horus. Herself. Four small, spartan rooms, outfitted with only a floor cot, and a canteen of water. The central bonfire that was lit only for the sake of utility. And... the small sparring ring. She remembered helping construct it; nothing more than smoothed wooden stakes, with smaller, limber branches woven in and out to create a rather solid barrier.

    She stepped through the opening, letting the memories wash over her. Trading quips and bruises. Laughing afterwards. Horus helping her with her form; Jake. And then... the vanishing of Sugai. Her master had said nothing, but she feared the worst. Had they been attacked? Was he imprisoned? Were they in danger?

    That night, the nightmares returned, more vivid than ever. For the first time, the camp was woken by her screams of terror.

    Then Horus went with their Master. She had gone off to meditate on her own, but her troubles kept rising to the surface, her heart aching with the thought that perhaps, one of her brethren had done the unthinkable and attacked Luy. What would happen to her other companions?

    When it was her turn... she didn't know what to expect.

    "The Force is your friend if you are willing to find it."

    Her head suddenly snapped up. She was back on the mountain cliff, the air whipping past her hair and robes. He sat before her, cross-legged, the picture of calm and strength. Her Sight took it all in, her throat closing with such an overwhelming sense of sorrow.

    She slowly sat before him, legs crossed. The memory-dream remained; but unlike that day, her turmoil was not for herself... but for the Order she had thrown her entire being into. The one that she had failed... and found something that left her uncertain.

    "Master... I have failed you." Her voice was heavy, head bowed. The memory did not move, only watched her patiently. She could barely get any words out, but her hand clenched the fabric over her heart, the emotion of grief tremoring in the Force. "I came to Tython. I found the holocron that led to the First Blade... and I met a Sith there." The words were soft, as if expecting retribution. But all she found was calm. She took a deep breath, then continued.

    "I sensed some Light in him. We fought, but he... he didn't kill me. I wish I knew why he really didn't," she winced, then exhaled forcefully. "I want to help the silent cry of pain in him, but... I was afraid, Master. I was afraid of failure." Her shoulders hunched into herself, and though she could not cry, she could vent out this inner pain.

    "And I did. I failed to obtain the Blade. But he... he saved me." Those last two words trembled. "I don't even know why. Why save me? Would it have been anyone else? I am afraid of what he'd do the next we meet. Give me more mercy? Attempt to lure me? I need answers, I--!"

    Her words were cut short by a large hand on her shoulder.

    They were no longer on Rishi, but Anoat. He was beaming down at her, his presence comforting and full of joy. "You have much to learn, young Padawan," he rumbled, then gave out another uproarious laugh. "Haven't you ever listened? You, who can see without eyes, Nikka?" He was teasing her. And somehow... that teasing eased the pain. Her shoulders slowly lowered from their hunched position.

    The bitter cold still bit outside, but here she was surrounded by Light. "Feel it for yourself, my young student. The Light is your guide. And you have won with it. Do you still doubt yourself?"

    And then... Ilum.

    She had given him a hug, too excited for words. Then... her lips lifted into a sunny smile, bowing low. "Forgive a fool, Master. You're right... I do not doubt now. Though... there is much I have to face. But I shall try. He is not lost forever. Perhaps.."

    And then another cave. The Caves of Illusion, at Ilum. She was laid on the floor. Her body lit by the icy blue of the first blade, and He stood over her. She could almost feel him contemplating, even as he bled onto the Cave floor. And he extinguished the blade, lifted her... she paced along side him, contemplating. "You couldn't kill me because you know, don't you. You know what's going to happen, what always happens. And yet... we can't stop, can we?" He was silent as they walked along the caves. "Nor can I kill you. We can't ever stop, can we?"

    He suddenly stopped, turned to her. She could not See his face, but she already knew the answer.

    "No."

    "All we can do is move forward, then."

    She felt him pause, then give a small smirk. They continued on into the storm, which she did not feel. The ramp opened and Nahlina took her body, glaring at the man and holding her close as if she already expected her dead. As the ramp lifted, she heard him exhale. "...Yes. Move away, Nikka," before striding off. Back to the Empire. Then there was Ord Cantrell...

    She opened her mind back to the present, of Rishi. She had been sitting for over an hour in meditation, palms open before her lap. She was no longer a storm; it was calmed. She was at peace. A small smile touched her lips, as she bowed her head before rising.

    "No. I will never stop. Even if it kills me."

    And so saying, she strode towards the beach, prepared to wait for her Master, and see what would happen next. It seemed she still had much to learn... and her former Master was the last remaining piece. And afterwards? Well... they would just have to wait and see.
     
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