Well, here's the next chapter. Well . . . enjoy!
"Well, now that we're off that dejarik board of a planet, I say we burn sky until we see lines," said Atton once they had all settled. They had just left the polar academy, and were sitting in the Ebon Hawk's main room, contemplating their next move.
Rahn sighed. "Burn sky? You've got to be kidding me," he said exasperatedly. He threw a sideways glance at the Kreia. "Well, we've still got to deal with this Sith problem."
Suddenly, T3 started beeping. Rahn groaned. "Somebody shut that damn thing down," he said irritably. T3 started beeping again. This time, however, it caught Rahn's attention.
"What is it?" asked Kreia.
Rahn remained silent. After a pause, he replied, "He - he said that he has a holo-record of the day the Council exiled me." His voice was soft, and trailed away as if he was deep in thought. It was so long ago . . . did he want to see it. After ten years . . . I had never thought of facing my past like that throughout my Exile. I don't think I want to relive it.
Before he could reply however, T3 had already activated it, and the entire crew were not staring at the main screen as they watched the record . . .
A man walked down the hallway. He wore the robes of a Jedi Knight, and carried a lightsaber, but if anyone else was in that hallway they could tell that he was no Jedi. As he walked, he bore the weight of death, destruction, and genocide. He walked as a veteran of the Mandalorian wars.
But there was no fear in his eyes as he walked to his judgement. No, there was little room left in his heart for fear. There was little room left for anything, for that matter. Physically, the man looked in his early twenties, but his eyes reflected more than that. His eyes reflected a hundred years - a hundred of the worst years in history.
The bustle and noise of Coruscant hummed in the distance as the man walked through the doors, into the Jedi Council room. It was a circular room with a ceremonial stone in the centre. Different Masters of different races were seated in a ring.
One of the masters - young, compared to the others - started. "So, you have arrived. Do you know why we have called you here today?" he said with authority.
The man nodded simply. "Yes, Kavar. You called me here to punish me for helping save the Republic," he said bitterly. The Masters glanced at one another.
Another master, this time a woman, spoke. "Through your rashness, you have defied the Jedi Code," she said calmly.
The man turned his eyes to her. "Vash - you're a master now?" he said with a chuckle. He looked her in the eyes. "Well I have one thing to say to you; F*ck the code," he said with a sudden bitterness. The woman was slightly taken back. The man continued, "Where was the code when the Republic was failing? Where was the code on Dxun, on Eres III? Where was the code on Malachor? And where was the code when we defeated the Mandalorians and saved the galaxy," he demanded. "That's right," he said, "It was here and on Dantooine, evaluating the situation
There was a silence in the room. Another master spoke. It was another woman, but she spoke with contempt and bitterness as she said, "You have truly fallen far to the dark side. You have betrayed the Jedi Order, and must pay the price!"
The man once again turned his gaze. This time, he gave a small, slightly sarcastic, smile. "Ah, Atris. Honestly, I was surprised when I heard you became a master. You, Kavar, and Vash. Heh, most Jedi are about to be knighted at your age," he said simply.
Another Master spoke. This time, it was an older man who looked in his mid forties. "You refuse to hear us. You have shut us out; and so you have shut yourself out from the galaxy."
The man turned and gaze at the Master. "Master Zez Kai-El," he said simply. "You know, you and Kavar are probably the only people in this damned room I respect," he said with a cuckle. "You know why? Because deep down, you knew that the Jedi were wrong, and Revan was right. You knew that the Jedi were sabotaging the Republic. But you, unlike me, were afraid," he said softly.
"Enough!" demanded another master. The man turned.
"Vrook," he said simply. "It's always good to see you," he said bitterly.
Vrook ignored him. "Because of your actions in the Mandalorian wars and your defiance of the council, we hereby Exile you from the Jedi Order," he said with authority and conviction.
The man stared out the window, gazing out at the metropolises of Galactic City. For the first time, a genuine smile appeared on his face, contrasting with a deep sadness in his eyes as he said, "It's good be home. Here, on Coruscant. Here, on this planet surrounded by a colossal fleet. Here, where the Republic will always stand strong, if not anywhere else."
His gaze shifted to the Masters. He sighed. "I was expecting as much. Oh well, I don't need the Jedi. I'm a war hero; A general," he said softly.
He swiftly strode out the room. A voice called out to him. "There is one more thing; your lightsaber; surrender it to us," said one of the masters.
The man turned around slowly, an intense fire in his eyes as he said bitterly, “Very well, master
.” He strode to the stone, and drew his silver lightsaber, stabbing it into the stone with an intense fury.
He walked out of the room.
There was a silence in the room as the man walked out. The only sound was the low hum of the silver lightsaber stuck in the stone. Finally, Kavar spoke.
“There is much defiance in that one,” he said wearily.
“You are right, Kavar,” said Zez Kai-El. “When he was here, I felt it; it was as if he was not there.”
“He was dead,” said Atris with contempt. “I could feel it. He died at Malachor V; he is nothing but a corpse, and his body should have died with him. He is a threat. We should not have let him go!”
“Be mindful of your feelings, Atris,” said Vash. “Remember, this is not Revan who stood before us. No. This one walks a different path; and I feel that even now, he has much future ahead of him. “
Once more, there was a silence. This time, it was broken by another, Twi-lek master. “Should we have told him what had happened to him?”
Zez Kai-El shook his head. “Some things are best remained unsaid.”
The holorecord ended.
There was a shocked silence inside the Ebon Hawk. Everybody was staring at the main screen. Rahn especially had a distant look about him.
“Those Jedi sure like their secrets don’t they,” said Atton softly. It didn’t help the awkwardness in the room. Rahn was still deep in thought. They weren’t telling the truth. It was a lie. Just another goddamned Jedi lie. I need to know why I was exiled . . . I have to know.
T3 started beeping again. “You have a list of Jedi Masters who survived?” asked Rahn incredulously. He shot a sideways glance as his crew. “Bring it up,” he gave the order. The order that would shape the galaxy.
Five Images popped onto the screen. They read: Master Atris – Telos; Master Kavar – Onderon; Master Vash – Korriban; Master Vrook – Dantooine; Master Zez Kai-El – Nar Shaddah.
“All of those masters were there the day that I was sentenced,” observed Rahn.
“A curious coincidence,” said Bao-Dur.
“It is no coincidence,” said Kreia. “All things happen for a reason.”
Rahn nodded his head. “Well, I don’t know about that, but I know that I have to find them.” He paused, then said with emphasis, “They know what happened to me. If I have to travel across the Galaxy to find the answer, then I will. Plus, they could help me with the Sith.”
He sighed as he looked around the room. At Atton, Kreia, then and Bao-Dur. He hesitated before continuing. “This is my fight,” he said simply. “None of you have to join me. You can go back to your lives if you want.”
Bao-Dur was the first to respond. “No, General. I followed you at Malachor, and I will follow you now,” he said with a stern voice.
Rahn nodded, and then turned to Atton, who shrugged. “I’ve got nothing better to do,” he said nonchalantly. “And besides, if I’m going to do anything, it might as well be ‘saving the galaxy’ or some crap like that.”
“And you, Kreia?” asked Rahn, turning to the only person that he didn’t want with him.
The old woman chuckled. “You need me here,” she said simply. “There is no question of my presence here.”
Before anyone could say anything, a woman’s voice came from the hallway. “Those are Atris’ files you have stolen!” she said indignantly as she walked into the room. Rahn noticed that it was one of the Handmaidens.
“What the hell are you doing on our ship?” demanded Atton.
“I have come to join you,” she said.
Rahn shook his head. “No way. There’s no way I’m letting one of Atris’ spies on my ship.”
“I have come on my own accord,” persisted the Handmaiden. “I have chosen to join you, despite Atris’ wishes. I want to help you in your quest.”
“General?” said Bao-Dur as he looked at the Handmaiden with a sense of disapproval.
Rahn thought for a while, then replied, “Alright, then. You may help us if you want.”
“Thank you,” said the Handmaiden softly.
Atton turned to Rahn. “You sure about this?” he said with a sideways glance at the Handmaiden.
“Atton, we’re gonna be going all over the galaxy searching for four people who are probably masters of hiding themselves. Plus, we’ve got an invisible army of trained Sith Assassins chasing after us, whose only goal in life is to kill me.” He let his verdict hang in the air for a second before continuing, “We need all the help we can get.”
Atton reluctantly nodded his head. “Ok, but she gets the Cargo hold.”
Rahn sighed as he looked at the Handmaiden. “Look,” he said, “take one the room near the garage. Don’t blame them; we’ve all been through a lot here, and everybody’s a little on edge.”
“It is no matter,” said the Handmaiden, “I am used to worse conditions. The Cargo hold will be fine.”
And so, everybody scattered across the ship. Kreia went to the Right crew quarters, Bao-Dur to the garage, the Handmaiden to the Cargo hold, and T3 wandering across the ship. Rahn followed Atton to the cockpit.
He gazed out the window, staring into empty space.
“So, where to?” said Atton. He had brought up the coordinate charts.
Rahn thought for a while.
“Set course for Onderon.”