The Grandmaster had requested the members of the Jedi Council be present for a meeting regarding some of what the Jedi would need to have done or would like to establish be done. It was still so surreal to Fynn he was in such a leadership role now. There was so much weight to it and he knew there would be pressure to do as well as he can. To turn the Jedi's downward spiral into a growth once more.
Arriving to the Council Chambers, he would dawn a set of fine clothes fit for a meeting of this stature. Delving into a bit of his Sephi heritage with the way the clothes looked and appealed. A meeting with the Grandmaster was important, and if you looked like some shmuck then you may not be taken as serious as you would hope. He could have worn the common Jedi robes, but this felt a little more formal as far as meetings went. Plus, it doesn't hurt to try to impress.
"Good Afternoon everyone."
He would greet the other Councilors present and then take a seat and wait for the arrival of the Grandmaster herself. Fynn had a few things he had wanted to bring up in this meeting, and he was sure Zak had just as many, if not the same ideas. The two seemed to click when speaking, so hopefully this could bring some good changes to the Jedi. For the better of course.
Control spun away from Alex. The Order grew larger and more diverse despite some setbacks. She used pride herself on knowing Knights and Padawans by name. Those days were long since passed. There were Jedi she had never even met. The ever-growing Resistance and evolving allies of Order were another matter entirely. She juggled a dozen responsibilities on the cliffs edge…slowly slipping ever closer. Alex was always in control. Control of her body, mind, and emotions. The Force sung sweetly in her ears. In a way few in the galaxy ever understand. She called and it answered. Once…the Order had moved in much the same way. That was no longer the case.
She had known for some time the burdens of office were becoming too great. Alex had resisted admitting that truth. Eventually, Lena and Tedimor had worn her down. They needed help. For too long the Council had operated at a fraction of full strength. After Oota, Sada, Max, and Hans, Alex had been the only one risen. One to replace four. It was a balance that could never last. They all knew it, but the time had never seemed right to find others. Nor had the Force shown them who was ready.
Eventually, two fitting candidates shone through the masses. They were young but the Order need fresh voices. Voice that would push against her baser instincts. Alex was had pushed for Fynn and Zak because they would push against her. The Grandmaster had wielded unquestioned authority for too long. Lena and Tedimor were good friends and better Jedi. They let Alex govern without complaint. She had grown too used to that feeling. The newest members of the Council might be young but that was what she needed. Youth to make her think.
The Morellian Jedi arrived at the Council Chamber high above Yavin. The rest were all ready there. She swept in wearing her usual Jedi robes, Oota’s purified saber swinging on her hip. Alex took her seat at the head of the circle. Looking at the filled chairs. The room did not feel so empty. With a flick of her hand the doors closed, and the meeting could begin. “Well…where should we start…” She shrugged. “The impromptu gathering that went so well?” She leaned back and quirked and eye brow.
Zak sat in a chair within the council chambers on Yavin, he was leaned forward as in the oval. The meeting with a sizable number of the Order had concluded. It had gone horribly. The depths of philosophical division within the Order was higher than he had anticipated and the tension was all the higher because of it. As he gently massaged his temples Zak was reflecting upon the information the meeting had gathered and how best to utilize it to create a stronger Order from it.
He silently reached into a pouch on his utility belt and pulled out a tiny red pill, headache medicine to quell his growing migraine. He popped it into his mouth and took a swig a canteen filled with cool water that had hung on his hip. He only opened his eyes to glance up and at the Grandmaster once she had walked in. He smiled faintly at her words and then let out a small exhausted sigh before leaning back into the chair and continuing to knead at his temples.
“Despite the disagreements, I think it was quite insightful.” Zak quipped in response. “We now know the leanings of the Order and the depths of division.” He continued. “Many Jedi are quite invested and passionate about this war with the Sith. While that is dangerous, it’s not entirely a bad thing.” He sighed once more before adjusting himself into a more upright position. “It means they care about the Galaxy and aren’t disconnected from it.” He stated calmly. “We just have to show them the importance of being more than just warriors.” Zak continued. “What are your views on the outcome Master Tarrell?” He asked, concluding his opinion on the results of the meeting.
The once happy feeling to help with the Council had immediately been a bit faded after Grandmaster Voran had brought up the gathering with the main body of Jedi. Fynn was pretty ashamed he hadn't been able to handle the onslaught of the Jedi's doubt toward what he was trying to explain to them, he should've been able to handle it better but he didn't. Zak tried just as hard and it turned into the Jedi versus the Councilors and they continued to revolt even when told they were still allowed to work with the Resistance and that nothing was being set in stone.
"Uhh, yea about that. I am sorry I had hoped that they would have patience and hear us but they just lack in that department.. it's scary when Sith have more patience.."
The Sephi then looked around for a moment before tapping the table with his fingertips and then speaking again,
"I think that the Jedi have a long way to go before I feel they're ready to be what they've always meant to be. They're spiteful, filled with rage and longing for revenge. All signs of corruption, and paths to the dark side. I feel we should be spending more time around them. Try and save them from these dark ambitions."
Fynn hadn't thought of much else to speak of when it came to the Jedi. He wanted to believe they all had their heads striaght and wanted the best for the Jedi, but Knight Tazlen Axil and Master Sylphrena had only proven to Fynn that the Jedi have all the wrong ideas of how they should move forward and that a lot of the Jedi need some retraining.
"But, some light came out of that darkness. We now know what they all think. And apparently as terroristoc and dangerous as the Resistance is, it's what the Jedi want."
Alex listened. She had asked them here and wanted to understand their thoughts. Did she really think they would immediately see eye to eye? They did not know each other…not yet…and it was clear that bond would take time. The Morellian Jedi took a deep breath. “We should not judge our fellow Jedi so harshly.” She hummed in the back of her throat. “Who among us is without flaws?” Her eyes shifted around the room. “I said it on those Temples step. I’ve killed to protect this place…and I would do it again. It is a heavy burden to bear, and one we should discourage, but wars are not won with prisoners.” A harsh truth she learned the hardest of ways.
“I have shattered minds, I have wanted Sith dead when they killed the man I loved.” She let the words hang dead in the air. Her mental walls crumbling down as she dove into the Force. The Light in her heart, untouched by the Darkside, clear. “Is my soul black? Am I unworthy to sit among you?” The Grandmaster was not meant to be perfect. She was meant to be an example with warts and all. “We must not see the entire Order as a lost cause. We are at war.” Alex had sat in this very room and promised the Jedi would not become an army. Her feelings had changed.
“I agree the Resistance has become unwieldy…the more extreme elements have taken hold, but our renewed influence may change that.” She rubbed her eyes and pushed a hand through her hair. “I hear your concerns. Truly I do, but it does not have to be one or the other. We can hold true to our ideals while winning this war.” They could not stop fighting. The Killik threat was going nowhere and the war would resume once they were gone.
Zak listened to both Fynn’s thoughts on the impromptu meeting and Alex’s response. Aspects of both unnerved him. Zak didn’t understand how Fynn could see some of the Order’s disagreement with elements of their initial direction as insidious. This was how their order had conducted itself for generations, it ensured unity of purpose and brought the Jedi together as a whole. The process could take time but it was paramount to their success and to demean that struck something deep within Zak.
Zak did not speak his mind quite yet, instead he had allowed Alexandria to speak on the matter. “…but wars are not won with prisoners…” The implication behind her words caused his blood to run cold. He remembered when the policy of imprisoning Sith was made, it was considered extreme then, was it so quickly normalized and cast aside as ineffective? The thought of what the next natural step would be cause Zak to sit a little straighter in his seat. His headache filled slightly as he focused on what he wanted to say and how to say it.
“Few in the Order knew me before this appointment. And that was by design.” Zak stated quietly at first. “My Master, Varrow, she guided me down a different path than most Jedi. She helped me feel the currents of the Living Force, to hear her song, and to see the tapestry of life that she wove.” He explained, a small smile appeared on his lips as he remembered the old Ithorian Jedi that had trained him. “But most importantly, Master Varrow taught me the importance of obeying the call of the Force, to trust and listen to her when she pressed something upon me.” He continued. “This led me to a life far away from the Order and allowed me to see many things most Jedi might never experience.” He said with a half chuckle. “In my travels I learned one of the most important lessons the Force can teach us, the importance of unity and understanding.” He continued, his gaze gently falling to Fynn. “Our differences are what makes us strong as an Order, the Force calls each Jedi down a different path and it’s important to recognize that.” He explained. “She needs warriors that will stand for everything that she represents. In the same breath, she needs healers to tend to sick or wounded, farmers to feed the hungry, and scholars to better understand her deeper mysteries.” He continued. “We must remember that each one of these callings are just one prospective of the whole. We have to put aside our own pride and ambitions to ensure that unity isn’t shattered.” He concluded with a faint smile.
His gaze then turned to Alexandria, his Grandmaster and the embodiment of what each Jedi should strive to be. His smile didn’t fade or flicker before he spoke.
“I don’t think your soul is darkened Grandmaster.” His reply was brief, simple, and honest. “You strive to do the best you can not only for the Order but for the Galaxy as a whole.” He continued. “It was a burden you bore alone until now.” He stated calmly. “I am concerned about your choice of words though.” He continued after a short pause. “What did you mean by wars are not won with prisoners?” He asked.
He wouldn’t assume the Grandmaster’s views, that mindset had caused enough friction for one day. Instead he turned his attention to the last this she had mentioned, the Resistance. The group needed leadership and oversight, they needed more direct Jedi handling without an iron hand upon them. His mind would return to Master Syl and Knight Tazlen and their passionate cases. They cared for those men and women, they saw the true value they could bring to the Galaxy, and while their presentation had grated on his nerves, they weren’t wrong.
“Perhaps we should utilize Jedi as oversight to the cells connected to us in order to help stabilize the Resistance?” He asked. “Knight Tazlen volunteered and Master Syl was quite passionate herself.” He pointed out. “Perhaps they could help us shape the Resistance into something…palatable to the rest of the Galaxy?” He asked his colleagues.
After hearing the other sides of the Council, perhaps there was a bit of haste to his judgement. He hasn't known these Jedi long and was expecting so much opposition to the things he wanted to push out. Even after he agreed to what they were asking for. Fynn just needed more time around the Jedi. Needed to not only get a feel for them, but mold them into more than just Warriors, as they can mold him into a better Jedi. Though he wasn't going to harp on the matter any longer.
"I suppose you're right. Perhaps I was hasty."
Listening to what Zak and Alex had to say, Fynn sat back kept quiet hearing their words and understanding what they were saying. It was a good to have allies in these times, and the Resistance could be a great one, but in order for Fynn to trust them more they would have to become more lawful. But of course as literally every Jedi during their gathering had stated, 'we can't change them' even though influences change everyone. The Jedi just have to act as Jedi and be the standard and then the fighters in the Resistance will follow suit.
"I have only grown annoyed by the Resistance, but it is important. So, Grandmaster. Give us the final word and we shall see it done. I know there are a lot of topics we need discussed this day."
He wasn't wrong aside from the Resistance, there was Agricorps, the Shadows, the Sith, the Killiks, and the training of the Padawans. Not to mention everything in between. Fynn was new to the council and had already felt gray hairs growing from the stress of it all.
Her fingers drummed the chair. Lena and Tedimor were characteristically quiet. Their duties maintained the daily function of the Order but they long ago ceded direction to others. Alex itched to stand. The constant sitting making her restless. “This is new ground for all of us.” There was no denying they needed to know each other before they could trust one another. “Lena, Tedimor, and I alone have sat on this Council for many years…and I am old.” Her lips twitching into a smile. “I have changed many times over my century of life because living changes us.” Alex turned her gaze to Fynn. “The Order looks to us for guidance. We must respect that burden.” She waved her hand around the chamber. “Here we speak freely.” There were days she felt a fraud. The Order never saw it. They saw only Grandmaster Voran. She needed the same from her Council.
“And this is not a monarchy. In this room, we are all equals. I do not give orders. I do not demand obedience…if you think I am wrong…I expect to be told. It’s not about what I want for the Resistance but rather what we all think is best.” They would learn. They would learn who she was and what she expected of them. She hoped in time, the bonds that had once existed on the Council would again.
“But I meant what I said, Zak.” Her voice was calm and even. “For eighty odd years I followed a simple code. I would not take a life. No matter the circumstances, no matter the being.” Her Master followed that path, and she taught her students the same. “I still require that tenant of my students. I know longer feel the same.” Alex Voran had watched too much death come for those she loved. “For years, we captured Sith and watched as each time they escaped to sow destruction again. We’ve had Sith Lords…the Eternal…in our grasp and they have each slipped away.” Those memories tasted bitter in her mouth. “No Padawan should take a life, but I will not forbid Knights or Masters from doing so. Not all Sith can be saved.” She believed this in her soul. The Darkside corrupted without prejudice. Few could find their way back from it…even fewer deserved the chance.
Zak listened to both Fynn and Alexandria speak their peace. While he had always suspected the Jedi Council had been liberal in nature, he hadn’t imagined it had been this decentralized. With that knowledge, Zak settled back a little more into his seat, his posture becoming more relaxed as he did.
He nodded quietly as Alex finished speaking. While he didn’t agree with everything she had said, the Grandmaster wasn’t wrong, there were threats in the galaxy that were too great to let live. However, there was a distinction that Zak felt needed to be made, the bulk of the Sith seemed…different from what the histories spoke of and it should be addressed.
“In the spirit of your request, I’d ask the same of all of you.” Zak stated calmly. “Transparency should be held between us in order lay a foundation of trust.” He explained. “With that in mind, I have two things to speak upon.” He continued. “First of which, Grandmaster you spoke that some threats were too great to risk escape and I agree.” He explained. “But… I do not believe this is true for the entirety of the Sith.” He continued with some initial hesitation. “These Sith are all too willing to engage with Jedi in discussions and if some rumors are to believed…relational activities as well.” He explained. “Perhaps this is a sign that the barbs of the dark side have not buried themselves too deeply yet into these young Sith. Perhaps there is some hope that some can be swayed to the Light.” He continued.
Zak would pause then to allow for his colleagues to reply before he continued with his opinion on the Resistance.
“The Resistance is a delicate topic, we have lost control over much of their activities. As I said, it seems to me there are Jedi among us who feel more connected to those men and women than they do the Order itself.” Zak stated as he thoughtfully rubbed his chin. “I believe we should begin to establish a communication network with known existing cells, a channel by which we can communicate and monitor activities.” He continued. “I also believe that we should consider holding discussions with Knight Tazlen and Master Syl. Utilizing the bonds they have built to oversee these different cells might be a good use of resources.” He explained.
Zak would once again pause before speaking on his final topic. This time his head would turn to address Fynn directly.
“Since we are being transparent I feel it is right to address my Padawan, Lucifrey Sol, and her outburst with the pair of you.” Zak said in a sigh, tension returned rapidly to his voice. “Grandmaster, as you know, I fought a Sith with my Padawan on Shili. I believe at some point between then and when he was taken from my custody they must have…spoken.” He admitted. “It will be something I handle with her directly.” He explained. “But once her training is complete, I would request the former Sith be released into my custody.” He continued. “While he must answer for his crimes, he should be allowed to do so free of the Dark Side clouding his mind.” He explained. “I would like to try and help him along the path to recovery.”
Being welcome to speak freely in this environment was refreshing. Though he hadn't known what else to say on the matter. It has been said the same way in different fashions multiple times now. The Resistance remains an ally, and the Jedi will encourage them to not do rash things without reason, even if they weren't in charge. There's no changing them. Fynna couldn't tell you how many times he heard the exact thing, but it seemed it was still something to talk about. "If I may, the Resistance has been spoken about. We said our peace, and have agreed not just here but with the other Jedi they'll do as they please regardless of what we say, so might as well just take advantage of willing allies. Even if they get rowdy."
Then when Zak began to speak of some Sith in custody that had been left with an unattended Padawan. Why are these Padawans slipping out from sight of their Masters? "Tends to be a problem I see recurring in Padawans. Slipping away and either putting themselves in danger on a battlefield or becoming far too acquainted with the Sith. This just goes to show our Padawans should be put under watch heavily. Where they go a Knight or above must be present to watch over them." Then after a sigh he looked around again and began once more,
"The Sith should remain in a fully secure facility guarded by a multitude of Jedi as we always have done. It is far more secure with far more eyes on them." This was just what Fynn thought on the matter. He wouldn't harp on Zak to keep his Padawan on a close leash but he would rather it be the case. If Fynn had a Padawan he would do much of the same. Now the Sephi leaned back in his chair to let the rest of the council speak as he said his peace for now.
“The Padawans have always posed a challenge.” Her own student a particularly difficult one. “They are most often children…and we are not a prison.” What had they accomplished by gathering. The same old issues reared their ugly heads. “Master Tionson sat in this very room after several ill-fated decisions by Padawans and tried to ensure it never happened again.” The memories of Max still stung…even after all these years. “We have been lax in apply those rules.” There was a careful balance that needed to be struck. A balance that was increasingly difficult to find.
“They are young. They must be permitted to make mistakes…have fun…and we can’t keep them locked in the Temple…but I agree we have perhaps allowed too much leeway.” Friendships and relationships with the Sith were troubling. “They must be reminded the Sith are our enemy. Friends and other entanglements will not be tolerated.” Alex ran a hand through her hair again. “Mistakes happen. We must understand that. We can’t let them slide by. Not when it is this important.” The matter of the captured with was something else entirely.
“If you want him, you can have him. One slip and he belongs to the Shadows.” They could not afford to take such chances.
Zak’s head turned as he listened to Fynn speak. Had they already resigned themselves to never being able to change the Resistance? Just being bound to the organization as each off-shoot engaged the empire utilizing whatever tactic they pleased? Zak shook his head at Fynn’s replies.
“We cannot afford to sit idly by and do nothing to influence the Resistance. As Grandmaster Voran stated, they are a beast of our own creation. While I agree that we cannot make them submit like a broken Akk Hound, we can erect guidelines to act as fences around them.” Zak explained. “We are Jedi, we must try and influence the Galaxy for the better otherwise we damn it to the influence of the Sith. This includes our allies.” He concluded.
Zak largely remained silent as his contemporaries discussed Padawans and the regulations surrounding them. He saw no point in constantly interrupting and instead would wait for a pause in their discussion before interjecting his thoughts on the matter.
“Padawans must see the Galaxy to truly develop as a Jedi, sometimes they must do so without supervision. While I agree some of our youngest members shouldn’t be left unsupervised, there comes a time when a Padawan should be given the opportunity to prove themselves ready for their Trials.” Zak explained. “We cannot be too inwardly focused, if we are than we risk developing Jedi who have no real experience in the Galaxy or on their own. They must be self-sufficient and prepared for what they will need to face in every aspect.” He concluded.
However, when the discussion of the Sith arose, Zak would visibly seem disappointed in his contemporaries. Talks of keeping Sith under lock and key combined with comments about few being worthy of redemption. For the second time in a matter of minutes Zak shook his head.
“We cannot simply imprison these people indefinitely. That is not our role, it never has been.” Zak started, his voice laced with disappointment. “Even before Rey our Order sought to defeat the Sith yes, but we also sought to rehabilitate those that had been brought under their sway.” He continued. “Once refounded by Rey, redemption was etched into our doctrine and founding principles. Are we so willing to abandon those now that they are being tested?” He asked. “No one is undeserving of redemption. Few might be willing to seek it out, but no one is undeserving of it.” He continued. “Need I remind everyone here of the Jedi Kalak? Or Battlemaster Vis and who he was before he joined our ancestral Order?” He asked, more pointedly. “These are but a few of the more extreme examples but my point remains, no one is beyond hope and everyone should be afforded that opportunity.” He continued. “For if we have no hope for those that have fallen, who will?”
Zak would fallen silent after his interjection. It was a passionate response but not harsh, designed not to berate but cause introspection. This council clearly had different beliefs and perspectives but this is what was needed to guide the Jedi down the correct path. When the Grandmaster released the Sith into his care, Zak simply nodded in reply.
“He will remain under my care and supervision.” Zak replied calmly.
"Of course Grandmaster. I shall show a bit more leniency when dealing with the Padawans here forth." Fynn would nod his head before turning to Zakrym who had said the same thing, just far more detailed with some good points. The Sephi thought to himself wondering if he had been too hasty to make these suggestions. This new position had been drawing stress and perhaps clouding his judgement. "You make good points Zak. I will have them in consideration."
The Sephi sat back when the Togruta had continued on with the topic of his pet Sith. Listening to the long speech over some Sith who found their way back to the light. Like it was going to be common suddenly. Fynn knew one thing. Sith. They were dangerous, even the more calm and weak minded ones. Attempting to put trust in them is like handing them a gun and aiming it at your head. Zak had a good heart but deep down, Fynn had not wanted to trust a single one. Until he could see for himself first hand they find their way to the light willingly, he would rather them sit in a cell for their crimes.
Fynn didn't speak up. The Grandmaster had spoken on the matter. He agreed with what she said and she granted Zak his pet Sith. The issue was finalized there. The Resistance though, it had some questioning to go through still. Though Fynn was growing annoyed by it more and more. The thought of trying to place rules on a faction that choose to ignore the rules of the Galactic Senate feels redundant. Giving thought to it he would rub his eyebrows while leaned back, "The Resistance.. they don't conform to the rules placed per the Galactic Senate. Why would they listen to us trying to tell them what they can and can't do now? Perhaps I am being a little rash but the way I see it, they will do what it takes no matter what rules they have to break that we give them. Surely you know this?"
His facial expression that of concern and curiosity. Looking back and forth between both Grandmaster Voran, and Zak. He would see how they felt of the matter, but for him. He'd rather see how well Jedi perform with them first before trying to regulate what isn't theirs. Master Sylphrena and Knight Axil made sure to make it clear that the Resistance operates on its own accord.
Her legs ached. She was tired of sitting. Always sitting, always listening. Alex stood slowly to make her way to the large windows overlooking the jungle. “Zak…you are kind…and I wish I felt the same.” Her gaze wondered out over the expanse before them. “But I remain unconvinced.” She shook her head again. “They can’t be saved. I simply no longer believe it. Perhaps that is a failing of mine, but the war has changed the woman I was.” Alex turned back to face them again. “I hope you change my mind. I truly mean that.” The conviction in her voice vibrated in the chamber. “And I will not interfere in your efforts but any Sith I face will reunite with Oota’s saber.” Her resolve was iron clad. Maybe she wrong. Maybe in a different time she would have done things differently. She could not change the past, could not change the woman her path had created.
“The Resistance remains another matter entirely.” A growing thorn in her side she had once considered a glowing jewel. “We need them. The fleets, the safe havens, the manpower. We cannot wage war without them.” She moved to stand behind her chair. Her fingers gripping the top. “One of you take control…quietly…so that the galaxy does not howl we are an empire. We can mold them to be something better. Something they were intended to be.” A difficult task but one that needed doing. “And Zak is right. While the ceasefire remains in place, we should pour ourselves into rebuilding and healing the galaxy. We have talents no other beings possess. Healing that Sith cannot perform. Those worlds touched by the Killik should just as swiftly see the Order at their side.” Alex stood tall and stretched her back.
“Whatever path we are on, we must remain united on that course.” Finally, this of all things she was certain.
Zak felt his heart sink as the Grandmaster openly confessed she no longer believed in redemption. How she intended to end any Sith she encountered. Alex was the Grandmaster. She was the embodiment of what all Jedi should strive to be and if she had given up on believing in redemption how long would it be until that same sentiment hit the bulk of the Order?
He felt the inklings of a deep sadness forming in the pit of his stomach. That was until she spoke again, she hoped he could change her perspective on this. That was all he needed, hope. His posture loosened at those words as he listened to his contemporaries discussing the Resistance and how to handle what they had become.
“Perhaps you should oversee these changes within the Resistance Fynn.” Zak suggested as he leaned forward in his seat. “With of Master Sylphrena and Knight Tazlen acting as liaisons, I am sure we can ensure a secure communication network between Resistance cells is established and that a code of conduct is devised and maintained.” He continued.
With his suggestion given Zak would return to his relaxed posture.
“What do we know of the Killiks so far Grandmaster?” Zak asked as he turned his focus back to Alex herself.
Fynn would sit back and nod as he listened to what both the Grandmaster and Zak had to speak up about. They both had far more opinions on the situation it seemed than Fynn did but nonetheless he knew it was important so he would just note was being said. "If that is what is asked of me, then I will do my best to see it done." Fynn nodded as he would answer to them presenting the task of working with the Resistance.
As for the next topic, the Killiks. They definitely seemed a bit more difficult to deal with as they were chaotic and had no true goal other than joining the rest of the galaxy. The Sephi had continued to lean back and listen to what the others were about to come up with. He would speak up if necessary.