[Shortie] - In Misery And Hope
I was going to post this for Javyer's, but would be too impatient and most likely not see the results for weeks/months afterwards, haha.
So I decided to do this.
Hope you all enjoy....
In Misery And Hope
It was the middle of the day, although, with all the smoke in the sky, it was hard not to mistake it for midnight. How such a quiet and peaceful planet such as Dantooine could turn into a fiery canvas that depicted images of hell and agony was anybody's guess. Anybody that wasn't on the planet at the time that is. For many years after the tragedy of what took place, the natives had only one word to describe the anguish and hate that was unleashed upon their land....
For they, in the opinion of many, were the heralds of destruction that brought Malak and his Sith army down upon them and destroyed what life they had learnt to cherish. And for that, Jedi was forever a cursed word upon any of the lips who dared to speak it....
Fin tore down the hallway as fast as her legs would carry her. Explosions, alarms, screams – all filled her ears and mind as she ran. She looked into doorways as she passed them, hoping to see any survivors but all she seen was more death. Tears streamed down her face at a steady rate, and all she could think of was where she had to be.
She had to see if he was all right. For when the Jedi took her and her brother in, she swore to herself and to him that she would keep him safe; nothing bad would happen to him as long as she drew breath. And now had come the time where she would have to make good on that oath.
“I'm coming, Saze,” she whispered to herself.
She thought back to the days before the Jedi. Where her and Saze would play with their 'gift' and levitate things to each other. Where other kids were throwing the balls to each other, Fin and Saze would slowly move them through the air with their mind. And on a backwater planet in the Expansion Region, there was evil in such acts.
Evil!, she scoffed to herself. More like misunderstood fear of a wondrous ability.
They were outcasts in their settlement, treated like vermin that deserved to be all but killed. Ignored, teased, and loathed, Fin and Saze were the Rats of the streets.
Street Rats, mused Fin. That's what they called us. No folk to look after us, we had to look after ourselves. And with the Force by our side, surviving the underworld of Gyndine was ironically relatively easy. Considering how young we were.
That was until the Jedi discovered them and brought them both to Dantooine. It was scary at first, but finally being told that their gift was not a curse, and that their abilities were not abnormal and in fact, perfectly natural, they began to fall into the serene landscape of the Jedi Enclave with ease.
But now, that seemed forever lost. Instead of lush surroundings and calm thoughts, a sea of fire and desperation clouded her mind. She was getting closer to Saze, she could feel his presence but it was slowly ebbing away. Panicking, she threw rational thought out the window and let the scared fifteen year old girl inside of her take over. She ran and ran throughout the hallways and proceeded down the now unfamiliar corridor that led to her brothers room. Forgetting about the other doorways she sped into the one where she knew her brother was and stopped dead in her tracks.
Saze, along with the other two boys that shared the room, were covered by debris and dust. None were moving.
She ran over to Saze and dropped by his side. “Saze!” she said frantically. “Brother! Wake up! I'm here!”
There was a soft moment underneath his eyelids and very slowly, they began to rise. “Fin?” whispered Saze.
“It's me,” promised Fin. “Come on, little brother. I have to get you out of here.”
“Too late,” said Saze weakly. “My body-” he coughed and spluttered a little. A thin trail of blood led from the edge of his mouth down to his chin. “My body is broken, Sis.”
“Don't you say that!” she said. “You don't know what you are talking about! We'll go see Master Zhar. He will be able to help us. The masters have to be around here somewhere!”
“No,” said Saze. “The Sith have won today, Fin, can't you see? If you leave now, just run, maybe you can get away. But with me, I'll just slow you down.”
“I can't!” answered Fin. She placed her hands slowly, but firmly underneath Saze and proceeded to lift him up. But just as she got to her feet, there was a loud explosion that sounded just above them and the doorway that lead to the corridor outside collapsed. All what was left was an impenetrable wall of rock and melted duracrete.
Suddenly, Fin felt a sharp pain in her left calf and dropped to the ground. Saze rolled out of her arms and stopped deathly still just a foot away from her. She looked down and noticed a sharp piece of metal sticking into her leg. She tried to pull it out by hand but the pain was unbearable. Instead, she gritted her teeth, and used the Force to yank it out. She screamed and fell onto her hands, breathing heavily. Tears began to well up inside of her again and she crawled over to Saze's motionless body.
“Saze, I'm sorry,” she cried. “I should have been here with you when the attack started! I'm sorry!”
More explosions sounded overhead, but Fin did not look up from her little brother's corpse. She held him close to her and began to rock backwards and forwards. If only to make herself feel better by keeping her muscles moving. Her leg throbbed in agony, but her sadness shut it out of her mind completely. She could feel the heat from the fire outside start to envelope her. And the last thing she would remember, if she was to ever wake up from this was the feeling of intense anger. Pure hate of the Jedi; of the Sith; and of the Force. If the Force just left her and her brother alone, they would still be alive. She didn't care if they had to live on the streets for the rest of their lives, because if she had her brother with her and he was safe, then it was all worth it.
She looked up to the ceiling as she heard the foundations begin to give way.
And as they fell, she screamed out her anguish and fear and let the Force take her and her brother into its grasp and she fell deep into the blackness...
* * *
“No!” came a yell from the dormitory.
Jonas sprung up in his mattress and looked around in the darkness. It took him a moment to realize that the scream actually came from him.
Shivering from the sweat that covered his body, Jonas swung his legs over the edge of the bed and got to his feet. Still shaking a little, he tried to remember the dream he just had.
“Nightmare, more like it,” he muttered to himself.
He walked silently throughout the walkways of the Ebon Hawk. Everyone seemed to be asleep. Even the air was ghostly still.
His mind was succumbed to thoughts of naïve jealousy it seemed. A part of him actually wished he had been on the planet at the time of the Sith bombardment. He knew he most likely would have died there, but he didn’t wish to die. At least, he thought he didn’t; but where were the hints of jealousness coming from then?
He sighed. Walking in the medbay, he stood in front of a sink and mirror and proceeded to wash his face with water. It was then he remembered…
“Fin,” he said. “Saze…”
Neither of these kids were known to him at the time of the desecration of Dantooine, so why was he dreaming of them now?
‘Just another two faces that you can’t save,’ said a voice in the back of his mind.
Lately, thoughts of fear and self-doubt had started to linger in the back of Jonas’s mind, as he thought about the mission that he and his fellow companions were on. About the trials, and sorrows he had suffered. It seemed even though they were progressing in their objectives, the only reward was more loss… He tried to ignore them, but with each passing day, the thoughts began to grow louder and louder; ringing in his ears endlessly.
‘Look at you,’ it said.
Jonas looked up into the mirror and for a second he was shocked. For his face was still there, but it was not his face at all it seemed.
It was sickening, scarred, like a rotting corpse dug up after too long under the earth, but not long enough for the flesh to be completely eaten away. The mirrors mouth was sneering, but that was not what caught Jonas attention. It was its eyes.
Yellow, bloodshot, black pupils… They were the eyes of a devil; a demon too fraught with hate and power to be perturbed by anything else.
‘Look at you,’ it repeated, its sneer lingering. ‘Pathetic. Desperate. Foolish. Coward. No wonder you can’t look yourself in the eye even in the faintest reflections.’
“How do you know what I think?” Jonas replied defensively. “You’re not even real!”
‘I’m not as much me,’ said the mirror, ‘as I am you. You cannot lie to yourself, Exile. I know what lurks in the cold, black depths of your heart.’
“You are mistaken if you truly think I have given up,’ replied Jonas.
‘Did I say you had given up?’ asked the mirror. ‘You are putting words into your own mouth, Jonas. Trying to persuade yourself that you have not succumbed to the hopelessness and revulsion that the others you travel with have? Look at Kreia. She may be old, but she is wise. You must listen to her if you are to succeed in the coming trials.’ It scoffed. ‘Not that you need worry about them anyway.’
“What’s that supposed to mean?” said Jonas.
‘Look at this way,’ it replied, ‘what can one broken Jedi do against a horde of darkness, if it itself is only but a tool of the darkness inside its own soul? You are one with hate, anger, rage and agony. It has groomed you into the …. Man… you have become. You couldn’t save Fin, you couldn’t save Saze. And,’ it sneered once again, ‘you couldn’t save her!’
“Don’t you dare mention her!” snapped Jonas. “You kno- … I know I did everything that I could to save her!”
‘Oh, really?’ it asked with mock interest. ‘Do not kid yourself, Jonas. Because if that was the case, she would still be alive…’
With that, the image in the mirror dissolved. But almost instantly it was replaced with the one image Jonas did not want to see.
A woman, in red robes, with the top of her hood covering her eyes. She had milky white skin that contrasted with her red lips beautifully. ‘Hello Exile,’ she said.
His heart dropped into his stomach. “Visas?” he whispered.
Visas nodded. ‘Yes,’ she said. ‘It is me.’
“How?” asked Jonas. “How is this possible?”
‘How is it not?” replied Visas. “But that’s not the question of ‘how’. The real question of ‘how’ is how could you let this happen?’
“I’m sorry!” said Jonas. “I didn’t mean for it to happen. I loved you!”
‘If you truly loved me, how could you let me sacrifice myself to save you? How selfish can one person be! You killed me Jonas! You led me to that bridge, against my old master, after I specifically told you not to, and you let me kill myself because I knew you would die if I had not! I did not want you to die! I would have continued to fight alongside you, and that Mandalorian, but you took that chance away from me!’ Visas’s voice began to rise, and it wasn’t before long she was screaming. ‘Why didn’t you stop me? There was a chance there. You saw it; when I hesitated and looked at you. That smile was not one of love, Exile! That smile was one of realizing just how weak you have become!’
She hung her head. ‘You disappointed me so much that day,’ she whispered.
Jonas inwardly cringed. He would have preferred if she screamed that as well, not utter it so hopelessly lost in sadness.
“I am sorry,” he repeated. “If I could go back in time, I would, but I can’t. I promise you that I will always remember the time we shared together in not a memory of hurt, or danger. But one of peace and happiness.”
‘The one before me was right,’ she said, pointing at Jonas. He assumed she was talking about the horrific demon version of himself that came first. ‘You are pathetic. Disloyal and pathetic. I will forever hate you, Jonas The Exile. You had my heart, but you spat on it, stepped on it, and you tore it apart the day I died. Forgive the pun, but that is bitter poetic don’t you think. And the only satisfaction I will have for eternity is knowing that you will live the rest of your days in regret for letting me do what I did. You played me like a fool, but in the end, it turns out that I will be the one for the role of puppeteer. Bitter poetic justice, indeed!’
Visas disappeared and all Jonas could see was his reflection. Sweating, shaking, and sad.
He didn’t used to feel like this. Before Visas he was confident;
reclusive, and powerful. How cliché that the thing to drive Jonas down into the endless hole he was in now was to be a woman. After everything he had accomplished, a woman tore down the walls of his façade and made him want to spill everything out into the open. Let someone else into the room where he kept his feelings, his fears and his hopes and dreams…
‘Knowing someone’s hopes and dreams only makes it easier for them to be crushed.’
Jonas looked back up to the mirror and seen a young girl standing there. She couldn’t have been more than sixteen.
“Fin,” stated Jonas.
Fin nodded. ‘Yes, it’s me.’ She said. ‘A long time I have been wanting to meet you, Exile.’
“How could you know me?” he asked.
‘I read about you,’ she said simply. ‘About how you were with Revan at the start of the wars, trying to rally your fellow Jedi to rise against the Mandalorian’s, and how you continued to follow him until the end. Where you fell to your fears, and went back to the council.’
“It wasn’t about my fear,” said Jonas. “It was about facing up to the consequences of my decisions. Every action has a reaction, and the reaction in this instance, was too big to just forget about!”
‘Rationalize it how you want,’ said Fin. ‘But you will always know that it was fear that drove you there. Fear for how powerful you were becoming. Fear for the lives that had died by your hand, and fear for your own self. And it is that fear today that still drives you selfishly forward! My brother and I, we looked up to you; even when you disappeared amongst the stars after your exile. We thought that you were the kind of Jedi we wanted to be! Not afraid to stand up for what’s right, despite others’ objections. To have the power of others to follow you willingly even if it means to their deaths! The loyalty you falsely procured for yourself amongst the ones that follow you on your current mission… The mission that you are too scared to complete!’
“It’s not that I am scared,” reasoned Jonas. “It’s that I am just confused on whether it is right or wrong to be doing it.”
‘Jedi are dying!’ spat Fin. ‘Your teachers, your friends, are dying! How is there confusion in your heart when the evidence is right in front of your eyes? Look up and see the stars Jonas. The galaxy is crumbling and here you are feeling sorry for yourself, and trying to rationalize your every fault… with yourself! Pathetic is the right word for you as the others have said.’
Jonas had had enough. “I am not pathetic!” he yelled. “I am doing this for the galaxy and the Republic. And for the Jedi and yes, even for me! You want to know why? Because that’s what it means to be a Jedi! That’s what it means to be human! I may have my faults, and I may have my doubts, but I am still driving towards that final confrontation where I will meet my enemy and succeed! You will all see. I will show you. And believe me when I say this because it’s the truth: I don’t need any of you. I can, and will, do this myself! That is an oath!”
Jonas stopped and took a breath. It was just his reflection now, and for once, The Exile smiled. “Better,” he said.
He turned but just as he took a step forward…
Jonas spun back around and was facing a full body of evil. The demon he saw before in the mirror, was standing right in front of him as if it were a physical being.
A scabbed, greyed hand shot out and took him by the throat.
‘I will always be here, Exile!’ it screamed. ‘You will never be rid of me! You cannot destroy part of that which is yourself! Fool! Coward! Insignificant pest! You shall see now just how dark the blackest part of your soul is! For now, and all of eternity you shall be the herald of woe! The horseman of death and decay! You will never be rid of me! Never!’
Jonas fell onto his back as the hand let go and he was finally able to breathe once again.
But it wasn’t over yet. The demon stood in front of him, and Visas and Fin, with her brother Saze stood to the sides.
‘You are dead to the galaxy, Exile.’ They said in unison. ‘Dead to your own heart, and to your companions. If there is one sure thing it is this: you will fail. You will fail, and then you will die. Pass into not the Force, but something far more terrible. And in this void you will suffer eternally for all the things you have done-‘
‘-You will suffer hope-‘
‘-You will suffer determination-‘
‘-You will suffer realization-‘
‘And then Jonas,’ said Visas, leaning in and whispering into his ear. ‘You shall suffer me!’
And as quick as she said those words, all demons vanished. And silence once again overtook the air of the medbay. Leaving Jonas on the floor, with his chest rising rapidly, and one single tear forming in his eye and slowly tracing down the side of his face…..
I really enjoyed it BFA! The story about the brother and sister at the beginning was very well written in my opinion and the way Visas came back to haunt the Exile was authentic.
Cheers, Kado :)
Glad you liked it.
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