OOC Note: This piece starts the process of catching Culurien up with the Legion storyline, in preparation for re-integration into RP with Legion and TSV. Also, preparing to tie together the stories of the characters in my legacy. Here's is a link to Connor's death scene, referenced in this post
“No!” Elen said reflexively over her shoulder, “If you were here, you couldn’t have – ”
“Connor is dead,” Culurien repeated. She said it more to herself, to convince herself that it was true. Connor dead? It couldn’t be. He had always seemed invincible. Images of him flashed in her mind’s eye – the hardened Commander, always confident, always fair to his men. She saw him leading the troops, blasting Imps with a vengeance. He had seemed to have a chip on his shoulder, but she’d never asked about his past. That didn’t matter to her. Now she would never be able to.
She had not realized until that moment, how much she loved Connor – she had looked up to him, even with his faults and personal demons – as a mentor of sorts, almost as much as other Masters in the Order. A mentor in the ways of men and war.
Her eyes took on a faraway look. Elen was speaking – was she? But she didn’t hear. Her father had always told her that those without a connection to the Force should be respected like equals – perhaps even more than other Jedi – because they could not use the Force to help them. They had skills some Jedi would never know. Never overlook that, he had said. Never underestimate that. Remember you are there to serve, love and respect them, even as you do the Jedi.
And she had. Connor to her had been a Master of men, if not of the Order.
“Tell me again,” she whispered, “How it happened.” She lifted her head from her hands and looked up expectantly into Elen’s worried face. Suddenly, her look jerked her from her misery and she smiled wanly.
“Don’t worry,” she said. “I’m ok.” How she must look to Elen! Yet, she was stronger than she looked and she knew it.
“I … I don’t know much,” Elen said, troubled. “He died planting explosives to destroy some artifacts, I think. Dangerous artifacts. And the Sith Suichi was involved.”
“But,” she continued quickly. “He wasn’t what killed him. The bombs did.”
Culurien sat in silence, examining the peeling floor contemplatively. She looked up again.
“And what have you been up to ELen? Notice anything out of the ordinary, while I was away?”
An incredulous look sprung up on her face.
“By the FORCE, nothing has been right since you were gone,” she said, slapping her knee. “I, well – when I heard the news, I just buried myself in work here on Nar Shaddaa,” she said glumly. “I’m not sure it’s made any difference.” She looked uncertain, as if waiting for the reproach she felt was sure to come.
But Culurien merely flickered a smile. “Never underestimate the Force’s ability to amplify one small kind act.” Elen relaxed visibly.
“You’re not angry?” she asked.
“I abandoned … the Master’s wishes.”
Culurien looked thoughtful, then smiled wryly.
“You have never followed the Masters wishes, Elen.”
Elen grinned ruefully back. “That’s not what I – “
Culurien waved a hand to forestall the protest. “You must follow what you feel the Force shows you – its movements – different Jedi notice different eddies and currents. I do not think the Masters could be displeased.”
Elen snorted and flipped her lekku. “You underestimate them.”
“Perhaps.” Culurien stood, trembling for a second, and reached out to the Force to strengthen herself. Its life giving flow coursed through her body at once, and with it, peace, life, strength, like a douse of cold water. She sighed. Connor was one with the Force now. And while she had the Force, she still had a piece of him with her. That was comforting. She hoped that he had found peace in death that he had seemed to lack in life. But she knew it would be a long time before she could come to terms with the pain. Some pain was for life.
She opened her eyes, realizing that she had unconsciously struck a meditative pose and looked into Elen’s worried eyes. She tried to mask it – but Elen had never been very good at deceiving her.
“I was wrong,” she said.
“About what?” Elen squeezed her shoulder unconsciously.
“About trying to leave.” She turned to look out into the dark alley, eyes searching for something … she knew not what. “It’s time to gather our allies.”
Something occurred to her. She looked back at Elen quickly. "Is Master Zato'tsu still alive?"
She wrinkled her nose, her eyes uncertain. "I think so. He has an academy on Coruscant."
"Really?" Culurien, turned away, letting out of sigh of relief without meaning to. That at least, was something. Not all of her beloved friends were dead.