Ashi Tevarl - Follow the Wind

Ashi Tevarl

Age: 24
Sex: F
Height: 5’8"

Traits: Food-enthusiastic, funny, reasonable, unflirty.

Aligned with the Jedi Order.


Ashi Tevarl was born on Ryl, the homeworld of the Twi’lek, into a freight-running family. Her father, a pilot, owned his own freighter, the Furthest Sky, and traded regularly inter, and intra-world, while her mother handled finances and the actual mercantile endeavors. Ashi grew up, rather idyllically, underfoot of her parents and was largely homeschooled. While the war was on, the job was very dangerous but paid a high dividend; when it ended, some of the military-industrial freight dried up, and her parents set to running salvage.

Around the time she turned eleven, the ship was damaged expensively during one of its salvage runs and her parents were forced to borrow money at a steep interest to refit it. The next couple of years saw her family slip further and further into poverty under the burden, until the loan-sharks finally came to collect.

The Hutt Cartel seized the Furthest Sky, took Ashi and her mother as collateral against the debt, and marooned her father back on Ryl, broken and bereaved.

Ashi spent nine years as a slave of the Hutt, passed from ship to ship and master to master, losing track of both her mother and her father, until all that remained of her teenage years was The Debt. Somehow, no matter how much they collected out of her, it never quite seemed to discharge; such was the nature of the thing. She came to know that the debt would never, in fact, be gone - and in the light of that, Ashi Tevarl resigned herself to a life of slavery, until such a time as old age or pure spite took her beauty and her life.

If the world were more heroic, she might have attempted a daring self-rescue; but she didn’t. She might have been saved by an enterprising jedi, but she wasn’t. No earnest lover came around to buy her out, no kind-hearted captor chose to let her escape. She danced, sang, scrubbed - anything they demanded.

It was the Debt, actually, that got her out in the end, though not in the typical way.

One day, just this last year, the pleasure barge she had been working on was seized during a routine inspection for contraband. While the slaves themselves weren’t illegal, the pilot had been attempting to transport several types of illegal narcotics, and rather than paying the fine - horrendously steep - he allowed his ship to be impounded along with its cargo.

Ashi Tevarl and about a dozen other Twi’lek counted as cargo - the asset side of the mathematical equation. Their forfeiture satisfied some of the hypothetical fine and they were released. Just like that.

She found herself standing in a Czerka starport, oddly out of place, but suddenly free to do whatever it was she felt like doing.


The Order

Approximately one day later, Ashi looked up from the basic store in the orbiting starport to find that a Chiss had been staring at her for the previous few minutes. They greeted each other. And the Chiss explained that one of her friends had a crippling, horrible disease, and that the starport Veles was infected with it.

This caused some confusion, but Ashi asked if she could help somehow.

The Chiss took her into a cave filled with Kyber crystals, and Ashi sat on one particularly large one playing with a new, dime-store blaster as she waited for the Chiss, who wandered around picking and choosing. Because, as it happened, the Disease was the Force, and now, she’d agreed to help someone cantankerous become a Jedi. And, as she sat in the cave and waited, feeling the quiet pulsing all around her, it seemed like the right thing to do.

“I’m trying to find my place in the galaxy, I’m just going where the wind takes me,” was how she answered, when Jedi Knight Sandra Mana asked her why she wished to join the Jedi Order. And it was true entirely. Luck, circumstance - pure good nature - gave her another place in the world.

It just hadn’t given that same place to her friend, who had failed the question as surely as Ashi had succeeded with it.

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Force Sensitive

But the Force didn’t come as easily to Ashi as it had her Chiss friend. She was maybe a little sensitive, but had never known it before. Perhaps it was that there hadn’t been an occasion to notice it, and perhaps it was something about the cave that woke it up in her, but Ashi was only a little thread in a vast network of tapestry, and what seemed to come easily to her Chiss friend - who had in fact taken the trial without any instruction whatsoever - came hard for Ashi.

Meditating for hours hurt her legs. Running up and down the mountain for hours hurt them more. And for what felt like the longest time, it seemed like dancing the Shii-cho form might just be all she were good at. Knight Sandra watched, and Ashi practiced. She had insight, it was true. Althea prodded at it, and Sandra poked it.

Days passed, a week. Ashi grew, and her Chiss friend grew apart; their interactions were no longer as nice. Sometimes, they were outright hostile. The path that the two of them had meant to walk together, Ashi now found herself walking alone despite instruction. And she had just about resigned herself with this when a Padawan, Althea, sat her down to teach her a type of Force-projection.

“Imagine you’re a leaf,” she’d said. “You said the force was like the wind, so go ahead and follow it, and see where it goes.”

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Riding the Wind

So, she went.

For being a sorcerous, arcane well of unlimited power and potential, the Force can be pretty mundane sometimes. Ashi sat there on the side of the lake with Althea candidly sitting next to her, trying to imagine where that leaf, which was herself, might go. Where it went, in the end, followed her worries. To Zao, at first. When she told Althea, Ashi learned it meant they were connected somehow through the force; and Ashi followed it out.

More and more she got the sense that she needed to take some sort of action. The Force didn’t show up with a bat and smack her over the head with it, but she knew, deep down in her, that she would have to take the trial, just to see what her friend had seen, if for no other reason. It was the anxiety that had nestled in her gut ever since she had started watching Zao falling off and away.

Oddly, when she continued to drift, she found her parents. Althea told her, when her eyes were dry enough, that in Corsucant - in normal Jedi training - younglings were taken from their families at an early age, to prevent those sorts of compromising bonds.

“Can you tell how far away they are?”

She had said no, at the time, but the answer had been yes. Yes, she knew. And what’s more, she knew with surprising certainty.

What she didn’t know was what the kark to do about it.


The Trial

When the day did come, Sandra escorted Ashi to the center of the kyber cave outside of Veles. As Sandra dismembered the crystal spiders, that somehow wove the crystals together like other spiders might weave webs, Ashi felt the pit in her stomach grow and yawn. She was a little lightheaded.

She picked up that Sandra was worried, though Ashi knew for a fact that Sandra wasn’t worried about her. Sandra, she knew, had the utmost confidence in her. After all, they’d been training for this, and Sandra had been very reassuring. No, it had been something else that worried Sandra, and she was taking the time away from her own conflicted emotions to deal with Ashi’s. For which, of course, Ashi was exceedingly grateful. Sandra impressed her a lot on a normal day.

But now, aside from worrying about herself, Ashi had begun to quietly worry about Sandra, too.

“Pick the one that calls to you,” she had said.

“Does the color matter?”

It didn’t.

So Ashi entered the spiders’ nest in search of her crystal, her rite of passage into the Order proper. Eventually she found one that she thought might serve, in the very mundane way of someone looking for something pretty as opposed to something awe-inspiring and powerful, but when she wandered towards it her feet met other ground. She became a speck in the vastness.

And Sandra told her, “You have to choose.”

Protect, or destroy. Punish, or restore. In that dark place on the edge of consciousness surrounded by the sense of the entire universe’s order, Ashi watched visions of herself - of what she might become - and she knew it had to be different from Zao. Zao wouldn’t have any reason to murder the Hutt, or defend other Twi’lek. She wouldn’t have any reason to twist the force inside some naked rapist. Not unless she’d lived such a life. Not unless she’d ever felt that helpless, and then been handed a blank check for retribution.

It took time. It took a lot of time. Ashi wasn’t sure how long she watched her world twisting in front of her, coalesced into strange visions of madness and cruelty, juxtaposed over the noble kindness that she knew, somewhere, must also be within her.

She made her choices. The ones she felt were best. And strangely as she made them she relaxed. Given the choice, she wanted to be a good person. Doubtless Sandra watched her heart twist over some of them, as she turned her face away from what she knew, deep down, she wanted to do to all those slavers. To the Hutt, to the Cartel. To the faceless masses of men and women who had destroyed a teenager’s dreams, being destroyed in kind by her.

Zao had said it was like a kind of mirror. That you could see your reflection in it. And Ashi wondered which path she had chosen, what sort of person that Zao wanted to be, when given the choice. Ashi hadn’t enjoyed the look on her darkness’s face. She set herself to reject it. Letting it go. Giving it up, no matter that it hurt to give up on those fantasies she’d always held of evening the scales. Avenging her parents. Ruining those men. It wasn’t real, after all.

But it came on, cloaked and black and hooded, in the end, as alive as any living woman, and killing it was the hardest thing she’d ever done.

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When it was over and Ashi found herself back in the real world, in the cave where her feet had led her absent of her mind’s engagement, she saw several clusters of crystals. Drained from the ordeal, she sat on her heels to look at them, uncertain of the meaning and still unpacking what she’d seen and, hypothetically in a pair of divergent futures, done.

Something had changed about her search. It wasn’t like she was looking for some pretty bauble anymore. Despite what Sandra told her before, she sensed that the crystals were all different, somehow, in character. Red, and blue, yellow and green, and a dozen variant hues subsequently. The spiders had nested them separately, like animals sorting by some universal rule, and she didn’t find any mixed together at all.

But she felt the pulsing, like a heartbeat. Except, she felt it from more than one cluster.

The strongest was an azure hue, off to her left. Blue crystals, like the sky, like water. A steady, even pulse that followed her own heartbeat. Doubtless, that’s what Sandra had meant earlier - just find the one that calls to you. And she had almost gone to break a chunk off when she heard something fainter, and looked nearby to see a little red shard all alone, a much smaller cluster. If she listened, she could hear its pulse too.

Slower. Lethargic. And instead of her heart, the crystal seemed to resonate somewhere closer to her core, moving something within her gut. It wasn’t unpleasant, but it perplexed her. She’d matched the woman who wielded that crystal, and knew her intimately. If she hadn’t before, she did now. All the pain, all the hatred, all the longing. All the sadness. Could she feel sorry for someone? A different her? Or was that just self-pity?

Maybe it would have been different, if she hadn’t seen Zao walk out with the blue crystal, tucked and hidden, trying to promise her to secrecy. Did she owe her anything? Would it hurt Zao, if Ashi walked out with another blue crystal, just like the Chiss’s, but better, and with proper training? They were so similar but so different. Ashi had done the right things, but would the similarity harm her somehow?

She didn’t know. She couldn’t guess. But now that she thought about it, despite the strength, she couldn’t bring herself to touch the blue cluster. Not just then, anyway. So instead, she stood up and went to the one that pulsed quiet scarlet in the dim light cave.

She picked it up.

Sandra had looked troubled, and Ashi tried to explain, thinking all the time that she’d done something wrong after all.

“It can mean a lot of things,” Sandra had told her. “Passion, or ardency… a lot of things. Dark side force users are drawn to it, for some reason, but you choose the meaning. What you want now, might not be what you need in the future.”

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Approved, Xp Bonus Granted.