Well the long wait is over and I have another chapter up. This chapter I decided to heat things up a bit and show why my main characters have left. There are also some familiar characters from Heart of the Guardian near the end of Book 2 and into Book 3 and a certain Jedi who looked after a certain little one. I did use a line that a certain Goldenrod uses to describe Master Luke. I hope this chapter sparks some interest besides Pottsie's lazy comments that I appreciate no matter what.
“The Avalonians have deceived us and have conspired to usurp the justice system that has served our Republic for 15,000 years especially the Jedi Kirabaros.” Admiral Keegan said the name with a hint of distaste but it was not evident over the roars of the senators who shouted against him. He continued, “Even the Jedi have deceived us by keeping the whereabouts of Revan a secret. The biggest deception is that they told us that Revan had died in the Jedi Civil War.”
Senator Amstar felt as if a dead weight fell into her heart as she listened to the accusations against Revan, the Jedi, Kirabaros, her people, everything in connection to Avalon. It didn’t help that twice there was an assassination attempt on her life. The latest one seemed to have targeted the Jedi that was with her as well. She felt as if she were being slowly suffocated by the lies and accusations being hurled at her. It was deafening as she stood at her section listening to the cheers that the two Jedi be found and brought to trial. It was madness speaking. The perk of it was that the governor had arrived that day and was sitting in on the proceedings.
Keegan was pleased at the havoc he was creating. He was also surprised at how many systems distrusted the Avalonians in the first place. To him they were no better than the Jedi with their double talk, the play on words and all the verbal games. He was surprised when Draconis told him that it was said that the idea of the Jedi originated from that system. It explained why few persons could ever find it accurately. That was a nice piece of information that Draconis had used to fuel Keegan’s hate for the Jedi and especially Revan in particular since they did shelter her. It didn’t matter that they fought against a great evil that was ages old and defeated it so that it was weakened. They were liars, every last one of them. This was evident when he continued, “We have welcomed the Avalonians into the Republic with nothing but kindness and hospitality. How do they repay us? By harboring a fugitive and then lying to us about it.”
“This is outrage!” The voice came through the noise. It had been loud and clear and spoke of power behind it.
The poor chancellor, who refused to believe such lies spoke up, “Who may I ask is that speaking?”
Senator Amstar pressed the button to allow her section to move into the light. Before it reached there, she stepped back to let the person who said those words come forward. Lady Governor Mara Lightrunner stood tall and proud, not intimidated by the numerous senators nor the wretched Admiral that was addressing the Senate. She had only just arrived out of concern for her friend Kirabaros and because she wanted to see the situation for herself. She was saddened that Kirabaros’ idea to untie the Republic with Avalon was being ripped to shreds, worse than a boma devouring a cannock. She didn’t let that but her anger show as she spoke clearly, “I did and I am outraged that you dare imply that my people’s intentions are less than honorable.”
Keegan was rather taken aback by her sheer force of will but he didn’t back down. He replied, “Your people’s intentions have done nothing but deceive us.”
“We have done nothing of that sort. We have obeyed the laws of our sovereignty as they have been in place for over 20,000 years,” Lady Mara retorted, her voice in a calm steady tone.
“We respect that Lady Mara,” the Chancellor interceded diplomatically. “It is a general rule that the Republic respects all sovereignties, especially one that is a member of the Republic.” He gave a stern look at Keegan. He felt that it had been a mistake to let Admiral Keegan speak but he was supported by a senator. He wanted nothing more than to chuck him out but as a duty to his office, he had to let him have his say.
“Perhaps your laws are outdated.” Keegan faced off with Lady Mara. He had gotten the impression that Avalonians in general were not ones to back down so easily. He had a taste when Kirabaros stood up and spoke in session and Senator Amstar was impressive. This woman was different however. He wanted to see how far he could push her. He continued, “I can’t believe that a sovereign system that is held in such esteem as yours has a system of government where one can lie and get away with it.”
A senator’s voice rang out, “That is unacceptable!”
Keegan continued, “And here we are because of rumors that your Kirabaros made illicit deals and lied to this very body government about it.”
“Bring him to justice!”
“He knows where Revan is. She must pay!”
“Our laws do not encourage such a thing. We believe in giving refuge to any who are not of our world. Our word is our bond and we keep it,” Lady Mara countered. This admiral was getting under her skin. He was not at all like the one who was married to the sister of Kirabaros. This one was full of anger and hate.
“So it means keeping false pretenses that you are willing to cooperate?” Keegan questioned.
“Enough!” the Chancellor stated but not quick enough. He didn’t want to see Avalon sent off especially after all they had done for the Republic.
“For the last time, we did nothing of the sort,” Lady Mara replied. There was a dangerous icy tone to her voice. Anyone who knew her knew that she was close to an outright explosion or drop a bombshell and those were not pleasant. “From what I have seen, the Republic has deceived us. They have approached us in friendship and claim that they welcome us. Yet when we dare exercise that which is our law, we are called liars. It seems to me that it is the Republic who hath deceived us,” Lady Mara finished.
“Lady Mara, surely you realize that not all of us feel this way?” the Chancellor asked. He hoped that Lady Mara would see that there were some systems that believed the Avalonians. He knew that the senator from Ryloth was and avid supporter, especially after Jedi Kirabaros rescued him. He had never stopped hearing that story after that.
“I understand that and on behalf of the Avalonian system I thank you. It shows that there is still some chivalry within the Republic. Still, if this is how the majority of the Republic feels about us, we will have no choice but to stop all official commercial trade and support and cease to be a member of this Republic,” Lady Mara paused as the senators that supported them protested. She continued, “However we will not stop trade with those that supported us. We cannot be part of something that dares to accuse us of something that we have not been guilty of.”
“So you will break your word of a prosperous trade with the Republic all because you can’t stomach a few accusations?” Keegan scoffed at Lady Mara. He didn’t expect that Avalonians could concede like that. He was in for surprise when a few of those that supported him protested. They had prosperous trade with Avalon and if they pulled out, they would lose a huge chunk of their business.
“It wouldn’t matter when the one who offered friendship broke their word,” Lady Mara replied looking intently at Keegan. “If this is what our long negotiations have come to, then we have no business with the likes of you.”
“So you insult us?” a senator shouted.
“It is you who have insulted us!” Senator Amstar shouted. After Lady Mara’s declaration, she found her voice again. Deep down she knew that this was a disaster for Avalon. She could only hope that Kirabaros could find the one behind this and bring him to justice in front of the Senate.
“Senators, calm down please,” the Chancellor tried to calm everyone.
“Outrage! We will not stand this. Avalon will pay!” another senator shouted.
Keegan was inwardly pleased at the chaos. True that Lady Mara had stood up to him and the others, Avalon will suffer just as Draconis had planned and he will have his revenge on Revan.
Bastila had been watching the whole proceeding and sighed when Lady Mara declared her intentions. It was a terrible thing that it had come to this. Kirabaros had mentioned before he left that if it came to this, it would surely bring about another conflict, one that could cripple the Republic for generations. She knew that he never minced words and he never did his cryptic speak on important matters like that so she believed him. Now standing there, she was seeing what Kirabaros had hoped that Senator Amstar could prevent.
After that last exchange and demand for blood, though it wasn’t spoken, Bastila turned to return to the Jedi temple. She was met by one of the many Jedi and Bushida warriors that had arrived to Coruscant and the Republic in general. Jedi Karas was strong but had gentle eyes and gave the impression that he was more content sitting in a garden than sitting through proceedings. He had arrived just before Kirabaros left with the others to hide in the Outer Rim. She smiled at him and said, “Master Karas, it is good to see you.”
“It is good to see you Master Shan,” Karas gave Bastila the respect of her rank. It was propriety to address one of such rank as such. He continued, “I take it that what he said could happen has happened?”
Bastila knew that Avalonians did not speak of those that were in the business of protecting others. It was better to not mention names, almost a sort of protection. There was nothing she could said except, “Yes. I had hoped that it wouldn’t happen but…”
“You know as well as I that he is very accurate,” Karas interjected thoughtfully. His thoughts were on his friend. Kirabaros knew many things and he acted with deliberation, especially when it came to them. He had prepared Mamesa and now she had left Amshrey. He could only hope that Kirabaros truly knew what he was doing. For now he was content with a sort of blind obedience. He then said, “I am sure they are all right.”
“Well he is quite clever…for an Avalonian,” Bastila smiled as they walked out of the Senate rotunda.
“Cleverness is something that we…” Karas began.
“I know, not a trait you exemplify on Avalon. After spending two years with your people, I have picked up on some of the basics,” Bastila finished with a smile. Avalonians could joke but some things they took quite seriously. She asked, “What of Jedi Rand and his party?”
“Last seen near Ryloth. After that, no idea. I do know that the scoundrel will go after any lead to see Morgan,” Karas replied.
Bastila made no reply but hummed to herself. She then said, “Jolee has gone.”
“Huh. That’s odd. Any reason?” Karas asked as they stopped at the transport that would take them back to the Temple. There was no need to worry about the Governor and the senator. There were Jedi and Bushida warriors all over the place watching out for them. They were doing what they do best, stealth watch.
Bastila opened the door and got in. She waited until Karas got in and started the speeder to head back. She replied, “He gave me the usual, that he was an old man and that he could go wherever the hell he felt like going.’
Karas chuckled as he navigated the speeder, “That’s Jolee for you.”
“It’s not just Jolee. Juhani is missing as well and Mission was last seen near the hangar bay where transports for the Jedi are kept,” Bastila expressed a concern. She asked, “Is it something I don’t know about?”
“I know as much as you do Master Shan. He only told me so much and I gather he did the same with everyone,” Karas replied, hoping to placate her. “This is something where he has all the answers but he is not here to tell them. It’s how he plays dejarik.” That last bit was a feeble attempt at humor.
Bastila replied, “So this is another one of his ‘need to know’ policies? If that is the case then it is probably a good thing that everyone doesn’t know. Perhaps we should just do what he asked us to do.”
Karas looked at her with a slight suspicion. He knew that Bastila wasn’t one to let go if she had a tidbit of information. He said nothing as they headed to the landing zone near the Temple. He thought about the request that Kirabaros made to talk to Mamesa which he did willingly. He thought about the switch on board the transports that enabled the boys to be hidden for a week before the mess. He saw that it was a very elaborate plan. He surmised that some things hadn’t gone as planned yet Kirabaros had acted as if he knew it would happen all along. What goes on in your mind my friend?