Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: The Tablecloth
Ok . . . so here’s the next chapter. Well . . . enjoy!
Slowly walking into the garage, Rahn was greeted by the sight of Bao-Dur working on patching the ship up, as always. He didn’t notice the Exile. Rahn softly sat on top of the workbench, gazing at the -Zabrak. He sighed as he got off the workbench, finally causing Bao-Dur to turn around and acknowledge his presence.
“General,” said the Iridonian simply.
“You don’t have to call be that, you know,” said Rahn as he sat in the stationary swoop bike which lay in the garage.
Bao-Dur shrugged. “Old habits die hard. To me, you’ll always be the general; I can’t change that.”
Rahn nodded as an awkward silence greeted them. Bao-Dur went back to working on the ship. “We just made the hyperspace jump to Onderon. We should be at the blockade in a few hours,” said Rahn.
Bao-Dur didn’t acknowledge the statement, but they both knew that he had heard it. “What happened to your lightsaber?” he asked out of the blue.
Rahn blinked as he put his feet up onto the wheel of the swoop bike. “The council took it away from me when they exiled me.”
Bao-Dur walked over to the workbench. “You know, I could help you build one,” he said softly.
Rahn suddenly got up. He hadn’t really thought of a lightsaber this whole time. He closed his eyes, giving a small smile. That would be nice. He opened his eyes, suddenly showing an ambitious hunger within them.
Bao-Dur must have sensed, as he replied, “I guess you do want a lightsaber, then?”
Rahn laughed as he walked to the Zabrak’s side. “I remember the last time I used a lightsaber; it was on Malachor V – I used it to behead Mandalore’s second-in-command,” he started as he rested against the wall, staring idly into the hallway. “It was the toughest duel in my life – I remember I was on the brink of death after I killed him. I had to be carried off into the ship, and it took me off the planet and got me patched up.” He scoffed. “After I killed him, the Mandalorians started to break rank. For a while, at least. Long enough for the Republic to turn the tide.”
Bao-Dur nodded. “It must have been something.”
Rahn shrugged. “The school history books will rave on about the famous duel where Revan killed Mandalore, throwing the enemy ranks into chaos and disarray. No one’s going to remember General Drendellian killing his second-in-command. But I’ll tell you one thing; it was still pretty damn epic.” He laughed again. “I would say ‘those were the days,’ or ‘good times,’ except for the fact that those were the worst times in my life.”
“General, the lightsaber?”
Rahn snapped out of his flashback, looking at the Technician. “Huh? Oh, yeah. Right, the lightsaber. Well, to start off, there are going to be some parts I’ll need . . .”
Bao-Dur nodded. “I’ve gone through your supplies, and you have everything except for a crystal. With that, I can construct it.”
“Well,” said Rahn hesitantly, “that might take a while. You see, it’s a Jedi tradition for the wielder to create the crystal . . .”
Bao-Dur couldn’t help but chuckle. “General, I just heard you say, ‘F*ck the code,’ in front of the Jedi Council.”
Rahn shook his head. “I’m not a Jedi, but this is one of the things that the Jedi actually do right. I don’t expect you to understand, but the lightsaber is like an extension of the wielder. It reflects the personality and . . . presence of the wielder.”
Bao-Dur shrugged. “Whatever you want, General. I’m just saying; if it were me, I wouldn’t give a damn about whatever you just talked about. If I could have something that could cut my enemies in half with a stroke, I’d take it.”
Rahn lay down in his bed, staring at the ceiling, sighing. There were still about three hours left until they arrived. He tried to get rest, but couldn’t.
Everyone had sort of marked their territories on the ship. Atton was practically married to his pilot seat, Kreia stayed in the Crew quarters, the Handmaiden in the cargo hold, and Bao-Dur in the garage (Bao-Dur and the Handmaiden slept in the crew quarters that Kreia wasn’t in). Meanwhile, Rahn had decided to set up at the Med Bay. It was not as big as Kreia’s “chambers,” but it suit the “commander of the ship” well. It was like his own room. It had a bed, a table with a computer, and was conveniently near the bathroom.
Might as well get some sleep. Rahn sighed as he closed his eyes as he lay on the bed, slowly letting the fatigue of the past twenty four hours since they had left Citadel Station to consume him. He quickly drifted into sleep . . .
Thick, suffocating air. Stale winds, soaking up the death and despair, savouring the suffering. He looked up and saw a city. It was a beautiful city, but something was wrong. It was burning. Yes, the city was in flames. He saw legions of warriors charging through the city gates, into the fray.
Ruptured skies. Skies that were once beautiful, but ravaged by the echoes of conflict. It brought tears to his eyes, as he stared from that tower in the centre of the city-turned-battlefield, observing the death of the metropolis.
No, he couldn’t cry. He had to be strong, strong for his men, give them hope. He took a step forward, then realised that he had stepped on something. He looked down, and saw the mutilated body of a child. Around it were two adults and one older boy, probably his parents and brother, trying in vain to save the boy.
He looked up and saw that the bodies of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians were littered across the city, now just terrain for the invaders. No! He must not cry. But how could he not, after seeing this? Would he have to turn his heart to stone? Yes, that was it.
If he had to sacrifice his soul to make sure that more civilians need not be killed, so be it.
His vision blurs . . .
Suddenly, he finds himself in one of the city streets, but the battle is over. He looks up and sees the Republic flag mounted on top of the main building. The battle had been won.
But is this victory? he thinks as he scans the city . . . no, not city, he thinks. Graveyard. He sees the survivors trudging through the ashes as the Republic Soldiers give them food and water. Medic teams scamper around and tend to the injured. But even with their efforts, thousands of the dying civilians are left unattended. They moan in agony as the birds come down. They wait for them to die, waiting to eat their bodies.
Already, there are crows that are feasting on the dead. It is too much for him. Too much death. Too much destruction. He wants to kill himself. No! He is needed, he cannot. But it is so much pain to bear. He wishes he can help the dying, but there is nothing he can do. Then, he sees an old man crying as he holds his child’s lifeless body in his arms. Now it is too much. He suddenly breaks out in tears and starts to sob beside the old man. He does not care that his brethren are watching. He needs to let it out.
After a while, he calms down. He looks around and sees that many other Republic soldiers are in a similar state as they stare at the carnage.
It is too much. He must escape! He cannot stand this! There must be a way out! An end to the pain!
Rahn’s head jolted up from the bed. It took about a second to realize he was still screaming. He abruptly stopped, looking around the room. He felt cold water on him.
After a few seconds, he could make out that the Handmaiden was in the room. She was holding a glass of water and had a worried look on her face. She looked down at Rahn’s bare chest and noticed that it was filled with sweat.
Still panting, Rahn took some more water and drank it. “Thank you,” he said softly, “for waking me up.”
“Are you alright? I heard screaming as I was walking outside,” she said as she took a seat next to the bed.
Rahn laughed as he reached over to the bedside and slipped on a soft white undershirt. “This is why I hate sleeping,” he said as he rubbed his head. “Every night, the dreams come back. This one was just worse than normal.” He swept the dark brown hair out of his eyes and scratched his stubble.
The Handmaiden still looked worried. “Why do you get these nightmares?”
Rahn shrugged nonchalantly. “It’s just a side-effect of war. Ask any veteran soldier, they’ll have it too.” He paused for a second as he stared at the wall. Then, he continued in a soft voice, “And some wars are worse than others. And the Mandalorian Wars were bad . . . really bad.” He subconsciously shivered. Sitting up, he rested his head against the wall, resting his eyes.
The Handmaiden paused for a moment before asking, “I’m . . . I’m sorry if this is a touchy subject, but . . . what did you dream about?”
Rahn remained silent. Suddenly, he started, “It was about Endethron IV. It was a few months after I had joined the war. I had already fought several battles, but this was the first time I fought on a civilian location.” As he took calm breaths, his chest rose slowly up and down. He swallowed before continuing. “I had gotten used to my friends and fellow soldiers getting killed by my side. Well, as much as a decent human being possibly can. But I could never – never, get used to seeing civilians die. The horrors that the Mandalorians wrought there . . .” He shivered again as he opened his eyes, his gaze reflecting a tortured expression.
“After that battle, I wondered how anyone could be so heartless. To kill so easily was a special kind of evil, and it was there that I really understood the Mandalorians for what they were; bloodthirsty butchers without humanity. And there was one more thing about that battle,” he said as he looked the Handmaiden straight in the eye, causing her to shift slightly.
“After that day, I lost the ability to sleep peacefully,” he whispered. The words came out of his mouth, but he spoke to her with his eyes. The ravaged, tired, ruptured, melancholy in his eyes was what truly talked to the Handmaiden.
There was a pause. After a while, Rahn looked away, slightly embarrassed. “I’m . . . I’m sorry I asked you to relive that,” she said softly.
Rahn shook his head. “It doesn’t matter. I can’t run from it, so I might as well face it. That’s what I’ve learned in the recent past. I’ve learned that instead of running from my demons, like I have been since Malachor, maybe I should face them. That way, I could look back at the war and learn from it.” He sighed. “And the next time I’m facing a Mandalorian army, I can make sure that not a single innocent person is hurt by those motherf*cking c*nts,” he said with an intense anger and hate as a fire burned in his eyes. The Handmaiden was slightly taken back by his profane language.
Rahn sighed. “I’m sorry. I’ve probably made you uncomfortable.”
The Handmaiden shook her head. “No. In fact, I want to thank you. I have always wondered the person who you really are, and the reasons behind your decisions,” she said softly. “I’ve come to realize that you are definitely not the monster that Atris made you out to be; you are human. Only you are more strong-willed than most.”
Rahn gave a small smile. “And it proves that I didn’t follow Revan after Malachor not because I had fallen so far, but because I didn’t want to see any more violence.”
They were interrupted when Atton walked into the room. “It’s done,” he said. “We’ve reached the blockade.”
Let there be rock!
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Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: Embers of Destruction
Last edited by Lord Spitfire; 04-29-2009 at 10:47 AM.