They had responded, and sooner than he or Ky had expected them too. Perhaps spreading word had finally reached the Council's ears in number enough to make them listen to someone. And they had no intention of delaying their meeting, not to sit and wait for another chance to speak up when they could take it now. And moving out to act was why they were here. Even if so many of the rumours were false, enough had been happening that should be making the Jedi curious, and get them out of their Temple to at least confirm the goings on.
It was this that brought himself and Ky Maryk to the Council on Ajan Kloss today,
Skkkk-bhrk wretched Saul's rebreather
"Didn't expect to be seeing you so soon, but no sense in delaying this" Saul spoke to his ally as he met him before the Council chamber. The darkness had remained in the galaxy since Exogol, it was a lie to say otherwise. The Force had trembled, felt off for a long time, only certain things could cause such shifts. Surely too the Council had felt what they had, that they could feel the truth of what they were about to share,
"Hopefully the Masters are ready for us" Saul finished as the doors to the chamber opened before them.
Ky had just finished his research in the library when Saul contacted him that the Jedi Council had convened to hear them out. Already, the Jedi Knight was skeptical about how the Council would receive the news. But he had decided to be as diplomatic and open-minded as possible when addressing them. Ultimately, two Jedi Knights were not enough to deal with this threat alone. If the growing threat of the dark side was to be contained, they would need the support of the Jedi Council.
Saul's voice disturbed his thoughts and Ky kept his eyes on the parting mechanical doors when he replied, "I hope we are ready for them."
Ky took a deep breath and drew upon the calming energies of the Force to clear his troubled mind. He could not afford distractions in the Council chamber. Only when his thoughts were sharp and focused did he nod in affirmation towards his companion and step ahead into the chamber. His research had altered his perception of all that he and Saul had spoken about on Nevarro. This meeting would determine whether or not that would cause him further concern or not. @Painus@Nightfall
Rare was it that the Jedi Council answered the call of a Knight, but the circumstances of his request to see them necessitated that they at least entertain his presence. There had been murmurs, both among the ranks of the Jedi, and from the Force, of a growing darkness in the galaxy. Thus, by order of the Grandmaster, it had been decided that the Jedi Council would convene today to hear the message of Knights Saul Devan and Ky Maryk.
The doors to the council chambers opened and the two Knights were ushered in. Arrayed in a semicircle were the councilors: Master Sada-Nau Tin sat on the far left, while Master Tedimor Har sat on the far right. Between them was Master Lena Goordayr and Grandmaster Oota Boan, all present and in the flesh, surprisingly. The councilors were clad in little else but their robes, and their lightsabers hung loosely on their belts. They appeared to have been in deliberation, but once the two Knights entered, a calm silence swept over them. Each of them turned their heads towards the doors, regarding the newcomers with interest.
”Knights Devan and Maryk,” Master Tin remarked, ”Welcome. We are greatly interested in what it is you have for us.” Master Har nodded their head several times, steepling their fingers across their lap. ”Indeed. We’ve heard rumors, felt the shifting tides of the Force. There is much work to be done in the galaxy. What is it that demands our rapt attention?” Master Har stared at Saul intensely after their challenging remark, then shifted their gaze to Ky for a moment, gauging the two Knights. Master Goordayr, on the other hand, watched the two Knights enter, her lips curving upwards in a warm smile, while Grandmaster Boan simply panned his gaze between the two, sensing their apprehension. Today would be a most interesting meeting, indeed.
Saul bowed his head as he entered the Council chambers, a show of respect to those he meant to now seek action from. Glancing around the room, he gave each of the Masters a nod of greeting in turn, before looking to Masters Tin and Har as they spoke. That the Grandmaster said not a word did not put him at ease, and judging from the faces in the room, it seemed that those gathered already had differing thoughts on the matter at hand. And Saul had no doubt they already knew what the matter was,
Skkkk-bhrk rattled Sauls rebreather as he stepped forward to speak, his eyes moving between the assembled council members,
“Masters, your presence is appreciated today. If you’ve accepted us here then I’ve no doubt you have sensed the same things as we have” Saul has been rehearsing these words in his head, or something like them. It had felt as if this day would never come, and now he was living it. He felt almost unprepared,
“Myself and Knight Maryk submit then to this council that this is because the Dark Side of the Force is ascendant once more. Perhaps only in early stages, but as any of us know too often in history has only a little been needed for it to secure a foothold. And I worry I may have seen part of those stages in person” That was what he’d seen on Mimban. He tried to remain dignified and clear in his words. These were delicate matters, especially with the Council, even if he and Maryk would as soon be off into the Outer Rim in search of it.
Whether the Council would agree was another question. Still though, they had more cards to play if they did not.
Ky bowed respectfully to the Masters of the Council. He often had his disagreements with them, but he respected each of them for the station they held and the wisdom they collectively contained. Then, he waited untl Saul had said his piece before inching forward to submit his own.
"Masters," he said. "My travels have recently taken me into the Outer Rim where I stumbled upon HoloNet reports of the aftermath of an attack on Ukio. I don't need to remind the Council that Ukio is an important agri-world in the Abrion sector. The reports suggested masked marauders with strange powers, though the attack was ultimately unsuccessful." He paused for a breath. "I was concerned by the nature of the attack. But, before I could report it to you all, I heard of a similar act of senseless violence out of Mimban in the Expansion Region."
"I will let Saul relate to you the details of this attack. He was an eye-witness far more useful to you than me. However, I am in agreement with my fellow Jedi Knight that dark forces are again at work in our galaxy. Saul's attacker identified himself as one of the Knights of Ren." He took a moment to glance around the room and gauge the Master's reactions. "It is my belief that these two incidents are connected and, with your blessing, seek to investigate them further so that we may bring the perpetrators to justice and shed more light on their cause."
All things considered, his request sounded more reasonable than it had in his head. But it was ultimately up to the Council to decide how reasonable. @Painus@Nightfall
The Jedi Council all stared at Knight Devan as he spoke the moment he mentioned the Dark Side. They knew it was ascendant once again; they would be fools to ignore the gnawing hunger growing at the edge of the galaxy, deep in the places where the light deigns not to tread. The Order heeded the call of the Force and set up initiatives to begin searching the Unknown Regions for the source of this rising darkness, but their efforts had thus far been in vain. Rather, it seemed most of the Order was more determined to help with the poor denizens of the galaxy or spend time with each other than to search for that which lurked beyond.
The members of the Council were divided on what mattered more. There were those who felt that the Dark Side was, and always would be, the greatest threat to the galaxy, and thus the Order ought to relentlessly search for and snuff it out before it could grow too powerful. Others still believed it was defeated on Exegol and that the most pressing concerns were the myriad injustices in the galaxy. The Order was not vast, and so its members could only do so much to combat evil, but they needed more information.
Knight Devan’s words resonated with them, but their focus shifted when Knight Maryk began to speak. Ukio was a critical world in its sector – it provided much of the food for the other denizens, and thus was highly important to stability and growth in the region. The Councilors were silent, allowing the two to speak their pieces. When Ky had mentioned the Knights of Ren, however, there was a noticeable shift in the mood of the room. Master Har furrowed their brow ridges in contemplation while Masters Tin and Goordayr shared a quiet glance before looking at the Grandmaster, who remained silent and unreadable still.
When Ky had finished his piece and presented his request, the Masters went silent for a moment. ”These are bold accusations you bring up,” Master Har said, looking between the two, ”We have not yet heard of the return of the Ren.” The other Masters nodded in agreement, seemingly sharing some telepathic discourse amongst themselves.
”Before we grant you permission to investigate further,” the Grandmaster intoned, finally breaking his silence and inclining his head almost imperceptibly to regard the two Jedi, ”We need proof. Master Har is right; the Knights of Ren have been gone for some time now. Are you certain this individual was one and not a pretender? The Dark Side is known to deceive.”
With the council‘s challenge made to them for proof, Saul followed their prompt and stepped forward once more, bringing to mind the memories of his encounter on Mimban,
Skkk-bhrk his rebreather his in a shallow tone,
“I had arrived on Mimban to assist in combatting a virus, it had taken hold of a village within the swamps. Some healing and comfort was what I meant to offer” Saul began relating the scene as his mind travelled back there,
“But when I arrived there more dead in the village, and not to the plague. It was as if their souls had been drawn from them, the living force itself sniffed out of them. A use of the Dark Side of the Force, I was certain. Some though were still new, and following their trail I found a man hiding himself in the woods, stalking another woman” this was where he hoped to convince them now, his voice had an urgency as he shared the story,
“He wore all black, his face covered by a dark mask. And when we engaged he used no lightsaber, but a blade he had wreathed in dark side energies. He announced himself as one of the Knights of Ren, and announced their return to the galaxy” if the council knew their history, and he was certain they did, they would know the features listed of the man were the tell tale signs of the Knights. He was it, and if he truly wasn’t then he was as good an imposter as could be asked, and just as dangerous as the real thing that could be,
“They wouldn’t announce themselves now on Mimban or Ukio unless there was a purpose in it” Saul concluded before the council, his voice shook a little, not in anger, but in fear. Fear there was something behind their choices to attack now.
Ky waited until Saul was done detailing his account to step forward again. He inclined his head respectfully, but he would made his thoughts known, regardless of the Council's hesitance.
"With all due respect, Masters," he said. "All signs point to the fact that the Knights of Ren that appeared a century ago were pretenders baring the names of a long-dead, dark tradition. Yet they terrorized the Outer Rim and ultimately sided with a brutal dictatorship that nearly brought about the return of the Sith." He paused to let his words sink in, and was suddenly glad he had gone to the library to do his homework prior to this assembly. "Whether or not these mask-clad warriors using the dark side of the Force are pretenders or the real deal is irrelevant. They have already attacked two settlements, and I am concerned that they are symptomatic of the sickness we all feel growing in the Force."
"That is why I recommend an investigation. At best, they are pretenders and we do our parts as keepers of the peace to prevent more needless slaughter. At worst... We uncover evidence that the Knights we are dealing with are the real deal. It is not the outcome we want, but if these marauders prove to be genuine, the last thing we want is for the Order to be caught off-guard." He resisted the urge to add again to the end of his sentence. @Nightfall@Painus
Ky speaks true. With a pause, the Ithorian Grandmaster would look towards his council members. After exchanges in nodding, he would look towards the two Knights. "You are right, Knight Maryk. This does need to be investigated. We will not be caught offguard again" the Grandmaster spoke. Pretenders or not, these dark side users need to be addressed. If these really are the Knights of Ren, or not, they then they will be treated as a proper threat to not just the Order, but the Light and the well being of other "We must find out more about these so-called 'Knights of Ren'. How many there are, where they are based at, what their true goals and motivations, who their leader is. Anything else that helps us paint a full picture of this apparent resurgent threat." he nodded his head. The direction is clear. The better they understand this dark side group, whatever it's called the better chances they have of tackling it head on. The other council members nodded in agreement as well.
With a longer pause, one of the other council members had some questions about the meeting with the Jedi Knights and the 'Knight of Ren'. Master Sada-Nau Tin would then ask "Knight Devan, may I ask for details in what happened in this encounter with the 'Knight of Ren'?" the Cerean raised an eyebrow in curiosity "You've fought, defeated him?" If the Knight of Ren was defeated, then that's good. Maybe they have the perpetrator in stun-cuffs in the temple and word hasn't reach them yet. Although if the Knight of Ren got away, then he will be more than likely showing up again all too soon to pillage again.
That the council agreed to their investigation filled him with hope. There had not discussion, endless needless debate or anxiety. The threat was clear, so many remembered it well. Now was the time to act. But when they asked him to speak once more of Mimban, Saul couldn’t help but feel a sense of shame,
“I am afraid they escaped” Saul’s head dropped with a sigh,
“When I caught them it was in the forest on the edge of the village. They had a captive, an injured woman. They were draining the life from her. I tried to save her, and to subdue the Knight. We engaged, but...” he breathed deep, if one looked they could surely see the sadness he kept from the incident,
“I failed. The Knight has already succeeded in their task. They had no reason to remain, and made off. What remained of the village still needed assistance at that time, though so many had been left dead by the Knights actions” Saul finished. He hoped the council understood his meaning. There was little more information to be gleaned going any further into detail,
“Which is why I hope you understand why I wish to conduct this investigation alongside Knight Maryk” he looked over it his ally, and offered a short smile. It seemed all were on the same page, but Ky had helped him get here,
The Council remained silent as Saul recounted his duel with the Knight of Ren. As he spoke, the four shared curious glances amongst each other before panning back to Saul. The Knights of Ren – impostors or not – returning is one thing, but one draining the life from a village, engaging with a Jedi, and escaping? That was a most grievous encounter, indeed, and there was much deliberation to be made. But first, a few of them had questions.
”You fought this Knight of Ren,” Master Har said, curling their fingers beneath their chin and resting their elbow on a knee as they gazed at Saul, ”But you allowed their escape? Even when they had, by your account, left so many dead? Did they incapacitate you? Defeat you in battle?” Saul would feel the piercing gaze of the Jedi Master as they questioned his tale. The other masters sat in respectful silence for the time being as Master Har spoke, but they looked like they, too, had words. ”Or did you allow them to escape?” It was a bold accusation, but Master Har was a being dedicated to fighting evil where needed, and if a practitioner of the Dark Side managed to drain a village of innocents before running away, this Jedi needed to be held accountable.
Master Tin raised a hand to cut Master Har off, a reassuring smile on her face. ”I’m sure this Knight fought bravely and was bested,” she said, nodding, ”What matters is that we now have evidence of the darkness rising in the galaxy.” Master Har frowned at this, but did not retort. Now was not the time for the Council to argue. The Grandmaster looked between Saul and Ky before nodding his head a few times to himself.
”It is a grave shame the Knight of Ren was allowed to escape,” he warbled, ”But Master Tin is right. We must investigate these dark occurrences before more happen, or, as Knight Maryk said, the Order is caught off-guard.” He folded his hands in his lap and looked at the other Councilors before turning his head back to the two Jedi Knights. ”Very well. We will approve these investigations,” he said, ”But we cannot allow the darkness to escape unscathed. The galaxy is replete with issues, but none are more insidious than the taint of the dark side. You will have the backing of the Council to look into these dark dealings.” He stared hard at Saul alongside Master Har, though the two did so for different reasons. One wanted answers as to why the dark sider was allowed to escape, while the other expected tangible successes from this investigation into the Knights of Ren.
"Knight Maryk, you have our permission to take leave and begin your investigation. Knight Devan... remain behind. The Council would like to continue this discussion." Master Har said, their voice stern.
Ky bowed to the rest of the Council. He was relieved and there was work to be done.
"Thank you, Masters," he said reverently. "I will begin right away."
He turned to leave the Council chamber, but, before he went, clapped Saul on the shoulder and gave him a nod. A small show of support. It wasn't hard to tell the Council wasn't pleased Saul let the Knight of Ren escape. But, had Saul been killed or captured himself, none of them would have learned about the darkness on Mimban. He hoped that they were all wise enough to see that. Either way, it was out of his hands.
He left Saul there with the Council and exited the chamber. There was an investigation to plan and he had an idea of where to start. @Painus@Nightfall
Saul sighed as Ky exited the room, the support was appreciated but the weight of what as about to come sat heavy on him already. A personal audience with the Council was what he had wished for, but he probably should have been more careful in his wording on that wish,
"Masters" was all he could add with a nod as he raised his eyes back to the gathered Council members before him. They had much on their mind to say, clearly. And Saul himself was unsure of whether to begin with Master Har's questions, or to let the Council call upon him too. Part of him wished to lay out his piece and move from there though, the silence in the room and the rippling Force connections he sensed between them making him feel the need to fill the space,
"I will speak plainly. I let the Knight go after we engaged in combat" he expected a reaction there, at least from some of them, but he would continue speaking, keeping his calm as best he could,
"He had held a hostage at the time. It seemed he had completed the same life draining ritual on her as he had on others in the village. It was at that moment I knew I had failed. Perhaps, I thought, I could save her yet, maintain safety for those left in the village if he was at least gone. That it seems has panned out, there are survivors there still" he offered hopefully at the end, a little glimmer of success amongst it all,
"I wished to avoid killing the man, that there would be a chance if not necessarily to save him, though the thought crossed my mind, to hold him so that we could learn. But, when I sensed the loss of the woman I knew the emotion it stirred in me. I did not want to give the Knight the opportunity to attempt to exploit it within me" he admitted too. Perhaps his speech was overlong, but at least by its end he would have said everything, nothing to hide anymore,
"It was the first time such a figure had been encountered in a long, long time. I knew that. I feared what they might do, I did not know what the best course would be" he took a final breath before finishing,
His piece was said, damn near every detail confessed. Now he awaited their judgement.
It was very nice to see Knight Maryk starting right away with his new-found task. "May the Force be with you" the Grandmaster replied back as he exited, wishing him well.
When the other Knight left it was just the Council and Knight Devan. The Council was silent as he explained himself further. ' I let the Knight go after we engaged in combat ' they heard. Well, they have to commend him for his honesty for outright admitting it. They listened to the rest of his explanation as well. There was a pause when the Knight finished, the council members digesting what was said.
Then they would respond, the Grandmaster speaking. "I see." the Ithorian simply said. With the council glancing at each other, on the same page, the council would respond to the Knight. Tedimor Harr would the first to respond. "You shouldn't have let him go" they responded "I understand that if he was too much for you, but with your hesitation we could be seeing that same person doing the same thing again with another village all too soon. Remember you are a Knight and he drained a village. You can't just..."
"I think he gets it" the Grandmaster would look over towards Harr and give Devan some reprieve from his close friend Master Harr. Looking back at the Knight he would make his voice heard as well. "As unfortunate the situation is with the murderer at large and the senseless loss of life, we can't change the past but what we can do is change the future. Although we do know of this group of dark siders, what ever it is and we thank you for that. Knight Devan, do know that there will be times in the future where similar situations will arise again. Next time, will fear make you pause again?" he posed the question to the Knight. "Darksiders in the past knew how to use fear as a weapon and to use your own emotions against you These darksiders have no need to defeat you if you can't act." he nodded his head. "Meditate on this: What could you have done differently? If this conundrum presents itself to you, will you be ready next time and be stronger for it?" he would say to the Knight. "Remember our code as well: Emotion, yet peace. Ignorance, yet knowledge. Passion, yet serenity. Chaos, yet harmony. Death, yet the Force."
With that is not much else to say. The knight should meditate on this. And with nothing further, the council has quite a bit to discuss in the privacy. "Now go Knight, reflect on what was said. May the Force be with you." he nodded his head.