"We're going to see a friend of mine," Jiren answered cryptically, as they emerged from the library onto the street outside. Trees and all manner of plantlife gently swaying under a chill breeze, bathed in sunlight, the place was not unlike a primitive vision of Eden, aside of course from the monstrously tall buildings that filled the huge city.
A speeder appeared almost on command as the pair reached the end of the walkway. It was a compact, blue late-model airspeeder, one piloted by the trademark blue-armored guards of Asthentia.
"Hop in," Gash said sardonically.
* * * * *
Their destination turned out not to be too distant from the library, though it was well over thirty stories higher. The speeder touched down softly on a landing pad at this altitude, the cabin depressurizing. Both Jedi exited, the elder Jedi Master pulling his cloak tighter about him against the now-battering winds. The entrance, at the end of a long catwalk, could not come quickly enough.
As they ducked inside, Gash spoke. "On Ossus, we would like to think that our attunement to the Force and our ancient setting have allowed us a certain amount of enlightenment. Enough to have risen above the trivial brutalities of less civilized societies."
The interior of this level of the towering structure was a placid, whitewashed corridor, seemingly constructed of polished stone. As they reached a door at the end of the hallway, it slid open before them, revealing a pair of Cobra Omega Battledroids. "Welcome," they greeted in unison.
"Prisoner 8667, please," Gash said, smiling back at a somewhat uncertain Tobal. "This is a prison, Tobal," he said, as the droids marched away, and the two Jedi followed them. Down several more gleaming white hallways, they stopped in front of a durasteel door, with only a single, reinforced piece of transparisteel at face-height marking it.
Gash looked into the transparisteel, smiling slowly. "Take a look," he invited Tobal.
Inside was a single man, in a set of what seemed to be Jedi robes, sitting crosslegged on the floor. His eyes were closed, his expression blissful and serene. "Alert the prisoner, if you would," Gash commanded the droids. One of them -- using the strange impliment attached to his arm (or perhaps having grown out of it, given the nature of these droids) -- interfaced with a small panel on the wall. Dimly audible through the door were the words, "There is a visitor for you, Valarius. Master Jiren and another Jedi."
The man inside -- Valarius, apparently -- looked about curiously, blinking. He stood, marching over to the door, and peering through the transparisteel. A genuine smile blossomed on his face as he saw Gash Jiren peering back at him. In fact, even through the glass, the honesty of that smile was striking; it was one that only a truly contented man could display.
"Hello, Master Jiren. I'm glad you came. I've been waiting for you to visit."
"I'm glad as well, Valarius. I'm sorry it's been two weeks since my last visit. I've been quite busy with my duties as Sovereign."
"Yes, I read about it," the man said, nodding seriously. "Terrible, the incident in the Gemswald system... I hope you sent a letter to the families of the victims?"
"Of course. Valarius, I have someone that I would like you to meet. His name is Tobal Hadul. Like you, he's quite lost."
Valarius nodded to Tobal through the transparisteel, still only his head visible. "Hello, Tobal."
The confused lines on Tobal's face had only deepened. "Would you like to know what Valarius' crime was, Tobal?"