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Old 08-28-2006, 10:16 PM   #19
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Chapter 18: Confrontations
The battle was intense as the droid army mercilessly fired upon the Republic forces or rather the Avalonian forces. She could hear the battle cries and the cries of death from the transport that brought her to the surface. She briefly wondered if anything would be different but she knew it wouldn’t. All she could do was try. She smiled in a grimace at the thought of her telling that her reason for her disobedience was because of three people, one whom she was trying to save.

The transport dropped to the ground and she jumped out drawing her special lightsaber. She was greeted by one of her generals who gave her a brief rundown of the situation. She nodded and called for the charge forward. The troops rallied behind her and followed as directed fire. It was going to be a long battle.

The memories accosted Ashira as she followed Dragus on the stallion. As much as she tried to remain objective over everything, Siri’s death prevented it. She still blamed herself and still couldn’t face anyone connected. She forced herself to speak to the twins but she wanted to hide from the Jedi. It didn’t help that her nightmares made it worse. Still she brushed it aside and swallowed the pain as she had been taught when she followed Dragus to one of the old transport bays.

Dragus was making his way to one of the shuttlecraft that would head possibly to Coruscant or another planet for him to hide. He didn’t care just as long as he got off. Things didn’t go as they were planned but the pendulum had started to swing. It would only be a matter of time before she would break and the Avalonian forces disintegrated. He was in the middle of clearing out the last of the obstacles when a voice sounded behind him, “Sangtahut. Betrayer. Murderer.”

Dragus turned to find his bitter enemy. He smiled at her with a sadistic grin and replied in false despair, “Oh no please. Have mercy I beg you. It is the way of the Jedi to value all life.”

“Traitor. You would betray your own people just to kill me,” Ashira replied. Her voice was oddly hollow.

“I would do worse, even be behind the attack that killed your Jedi friend, which I did by the way, if it meant killing you. You, the prodigy of the Onasi family, though you do have a bit of his traits as well. Tell me, before you decide to do away with me, did old Petronius ever tell you about me?” Dragus had moved towards some canisters. He knew what was in them and hoped to be able to use them as a distraction.

Ashira gazed at Dragus with her amber eyes, almost as if boring right through him. She knew everything about the Jedi Revan and her descendants; she was one of them. Petronius had told her everything as she grew up in the Jedi Temple, swearing her to keep it a secret. When Dragus mentioned the ‘his’ she was confused but brushed it aside. She was more interested in this person who admitted to killing a Jedi just to get to her. Forming her words carefully, she responded, “I know that you are a traitor to your rank and your people and such are banished to the farthest reaches of space.”

Dragus chuckled at her. It was apparent that she had no clue so he decided to indulge slightly. He replied, “I am the last of a long line of honored warrior aristocrats. For many years my family served our people with honor. It was our duty to honor that had us stripped of rank and all the honor we ever had. All because of the ‘great’ Kirabaros.” He saw the look of confusion on Ashira’s face and smirked at her. He continued, “Kirabaros discovered a plot to murder the Jedi Revan and her Hutt spawn children. Claimed that we were behind the plot.

“Kirabaros never knew what was good for him, always butting in on business that wasn’t his. Funny thing was that we were to kill the one who brought misfortune to our people and in the end we were the ones banished. From that point on a blood oath was sworn to rid our people of the taint to our heritage.”

“Taint? Surely you must realize you are the taint.” Ashira was confused and she tried to hide it. She sensed that this conversation was heading somewhere and it was not going to be pleasant.

“The ‘taint’ is the fact that Kirabaros’ own son bonded to the daughter of Revan,” Dragus retorted. “You are the taint. Your mother was easy to get rid of because she was careless. Either that or she loved you too much. You have proved very elusive, hiding in the Senate and in plain sight. You can’t imagine how long I have dreamed of this moment. Now I can be rid of you and our honor restored.”

Ashira just stood there calmly absorbing the information like a sponge. She knew the stories of Kirabaros and how he helped restore the good relations with the Republic. She knew what it was like to be disliked so much that assassination attempts have been made. That bit was not new to her. As to finding out that she was in some way related to Kirabaros himself, that was new. It was something that she was going to have to drag out of Petronius since he was from that time and knew the reasons for the secrets. What disturbed her was that the man before her was so driven by hate. She just stared at him with an inquiring look before replying, “What kind of honor is that you speak of by murdering those that had no part in those events?”

“You know full well the roots of honor. They run deep.”

“You disgrace honor. You even disgrace the value of honor set by the Mandalorians,” Ashira retorted.

“Mandalorians?! They have no sense in etiquette in the rules of war. How dare you compare us to them!” Dragus was clearly getting angry and he nearly forgot about what was in the plasteel cylinders.

Calmly Ashira replied, “At least they know the meaning of the word loyalty.”

In flash, Dragus flung what was in the containers at her. Ashira ducked out of the way to avoid what appeared to be an acid like substance. She watched as it burned the durasteel floor and almost had her head chopped off with the sudden rush that Dragus gave. By some miracle of the Force she twirled out of the way and brought up her katana to meet the blazing red blade of Dragus’ lightsaber.

Obi-wan managed to catch a ride on a stray Saluki stallion and head in the general direction that Ashira had taken. He was still reeling from the surprise that the Haida woman was Ashira. He had suspected because she couldn’t hide all her tendencies, especially her kindness and compassion to all life forms. Even though he didn’t understand completely Avalonian reasoning, he knew he had to make amends. When she spouted her last words, he knew what Andros had meant about healing the rift.

Daranka was at his heels as they followed in the direction Ashira took. They were running at a neck breaking pace when they were cut off by a woman with golden brown hair and grey eyes. She looked at them both and asked, “Where are you going Jedi when there is battle ahead?”

Obi-wan looked at her for a moment before saying, “I am not heading towards Sheng Xin. I’m going to help another Jedi.” He maneuvered the stallion to go around but again she cut him off.

Selene was curious about the Jedi who was going after the other. For all she knew, he was going to harm her. She was itching for a fight but her rationality kept it in check. She replied, “There is no Jedi that headed that way. If you do not state why you are heading this way, I will have no choice but to fight you here.”

Obi-wan swallowed the frustration that was rising. He vaguely remembered the last time he came to Belos but with Master Qui-gon. That time, they claimed to not know who Ashira was until he spoke the name Zhor had given her. He tried again, “I am trying to reach Nekang. I sense that she might be in trouble.”

Selene relented slightly but didn’t move. She asked, “Why is it that you fear her life may be in danger?”

“I may have caused her anger because I blamed her.” It was an honest answer and it shamed Obi-wan to say that.

“Why do you want to follow her?” Selene asked again. The Jedi was honest but some things had to be put out in the open.

“To help her. To save her from herself.” It was a strange answer and Obi-wan wondered why he said it. If Ashira were there she would have teased him about growing up with an Avalonian and still not being able to interpret the hidden meanings. Obi-wan wanted to chuckle because at one point, she had called him and Siri hopeless cases in understanding the finer subtleties of the Avalonian language, not counting the various dialects. He kept the memories of those pleasant times within as he watched the young woman in front of him.

She possessed the same deadly beauty that Ashira had gained. Judging from her muscle structure, she had been in combat quite a bit and looked as if she enjoyed it. She bore a tattoo on her left upper arm in a intricate design and stared at him with iron gray eyes. Selene regarded his answer. It wasn’t the one that she hoped for but it was a start. She replied, “I see. You are aware that Nekang has to face that which has hounded her since her coming of age, are you not?” She didn’t wait for an answer as she continued. She frankly didn’t care at that point. “Follow me and I will show you the way. One question I want you to answer: how far are you willing to go into this battle?”

Obi-wan looked at her in surprise. He decided against spouting out a Jedi-like response. He decided to say the truth. He replied, “To stay by the side of a comrade and a friend.”

“Good enough,” Selene replied and took off.

Obi-wan followed behind her until he caught up with her. He asked, “What do mean?” Seeing that he wasn’t going to get an answer he tried a different way, “Can you at least tell me your name?”


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