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Old 08-20-2012, 11:04 PM   #3
machievelli
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The Mission

As he waited, Kavar ran over the list of his charges. Marai Devos was fourteen and came from the Cornet temple. She had been held back a year from her first Padawan assignment. Not due to any failure, rather because she had mastered Te-rehal-Vor, The Echani martial art taught by the Jedi, from an early age and the Master that taught it at that temple had given her the responsibility to train the younger students. She had excelled, but had to begin her further training.

Atris Lutrai Ban Echani was thirteen. She had first been at the Temple on Alderaan, but her last two years had been spent at the Cornet Temple. She had proven excellent at working out problems between others, and everyone assumed she would be trained as a Consular.

Malak (His own name for himself, his actual name was Alek with some unpronounceable surname of high regard) was from Cathcart. At thirteen he had spent the years in training at the Dantooine Temple and everyone just knew he'd make a wizard of a Sentinel.

At eleven Revan Chadar Bai Echani had a precocious talent for both hand to hand martial arts, and the lightsaber. She had bested every apprentice and Padawan there already, and was on the fast track to become a Guardian.

Then there was the new youngling who had yet to be assigned to a temple, Bastila Shan of Talravin at five. She would probably be the least problem for him this evening. That was a good thing; Kavar felt like he was dealing with a nest of young Gundark as it was.

Marai came storming out of the fresher still followed by her half liter sized associate, all ready to resume her diatribe. “Marai.”

“I'm not done with this... Nerf herder yet.”

“Yes, you are. I need you to get the others, please.” He said softly.

Marai glared at him, then lifted her fist with the index finger extended. “It's not over Sqiguminadous.”

“Just call me Malak, since you can't even pronounce it.” The young boy suggested.

“I'll call you road kill if it happens again.” Marai warned, then turned on her heel, storming out.

Kavar sighed, looking at the other girl. She had the bright red hair of the Chadar district of Echana, which included the capital city of Echana-Dubh, literally 'The hand of the Goddess' in their language. “You must be Revan.”

“What was your first clue?” She asked sarcastically. “And Marai told me about you. Kavar Dangil of Meridia.”

“Yes, I am.”

“Why are you here, Padawan?” She said it like it were a rare animal. “Are we disturbing your sleep 100 meters and fifty doors away?”

“No. I was assigned to watch all of you tonight.”

“What did you do wrong?”

“Nothing.” For some reason he felt defensive. “Master Vrook-”

“Ah.” She said as if it explained it all. She picked up a pad from the table, stalked over, and handed it to him. “Write down what I say; 'I Kavar Dangil of Meridia, being of sound mind and body do bequeath the following'. From there, give away all of your worldly possessions.”

“That sounds like a last will and testament!”

“Vrook must have wanted you dead in the worst way. Why else did he assign you to this Kath Hound den?”

“You're noisy.” They turned as a young girl with her brown hair in pigtails tottered in. She was in a nightgown that reached the floor, yawning as she clutched the stuffed animal in her arms. When her arms tightened, it growled. Kavar recognized it as one of the plushy toys you might win at a carnival, a Dxun Brantarii from the look of it. He had never understood why people would take terrifying predators, and convert them into hug-able toys for kids.

“Who's the brat?” Revan asked.

“Not a brat.” The girl replied. “ 'M Bastila.” She yawned widely again. “And you're noisy.”

“Sorry, squirt.”

“Not a squirt. My name is Bastila.” She replied in that reasonable 'you're going to use my name, you stinking barve' tone.

Kavar came over, bending down. “Hello, Bastila, I'm Kavar.”

She looked him up and down, lifting the stuffed toy so it was protecting her face. “You're noisy too.”

“I am sorry we woke you, Bastila. But it's quiet now, right?” He didn't have a clue how to talk to children. “Who is this?” He started to reach out to the toy, but her arms tightened and he honestly believed the growl from the toy was angry.

“Mugi. My only friend.”

“Well I'd like to be your friend.”

“No.” She took a step back. “Friends stay with you. Friends watch out for you. Friends don't give you away because you're different.” She sniffled. “My daddy gave me away because I did things. Cause I could pick up things without using my hands.” The sound the toy made was almost commiserating. “Daddy loved his new wife more than he loved me.” She looked at the toy. “Only Mugi loves me, an I love him.” The sound was almost a purr.

“Where are they?” Kavar asked, giving up on the conversation.

“I haven't a clue.” Revan offered. As she said it, Marai came in staring at a pad in her hand.

“I sent you to get Atris. Where is she?”

“Gone.” Marai replied. “She's run away.”

“She's what?” Kavar asked in astonishment.

“Run away. Says she's going home.” She held the pad out. Kavar took it.

'Since no one cares if I stay as a Jedi, I am going home. Don't try to find me'
Atris.


“Oh this is just great.” Kavar wanted to shout, but he looked down at Bastila, who appeared to be ready to admonish him for being noisy again. “When did you last see her?”

Marai considered. “About an hour ago. She was sulking in the dorm and wouldn't come to shower with us.”

“Any idea what she was sulking about?”

“She's been like that ever since the Corellian Grandmaster from the Te-rehal-Vor Academy in Cornet Walked the School.” At his blank look she sighed. “It's tradition. When a teacher from another school of Te-rehal-Vor visits, he has to challenge all comers before he can talk to the Master of the school he visits. It's an honor to face another master, so everyone who can attend gets in line.

“He's supposed to defeat all of them before bowing to our own master as if he is better.” She snorted. “The guy was as full of himself as a stuffed bird for dinner. He hurt a lot of our people unnecessarily, and I got mad. When he faced me he took me down, but I didn't stay down.”

She sighed, then continued as if she were admitting to a horrible flaw in her personality. “I went Kashin-Dra on him.”

“Shadow warrior?” Revan asked astonished. At Kavar continued blank look she explained. “An old Echani bedtime story. A horrible monster that turns out to be a battle maddened warrior.”

Marai nodded. “I kicked his Choobies up into his throat before they stopped me. Atris brought me out of it.”

Revan's eyes widened, then she grinned. “So she thinks...”

“Yes.” Marai looked at Kavar again. “In the story, the only one who can bring the Warrior back to human is his true love.”

“Wicked.” Malak said. “So you and her-”

“Did nothing.” Marai's tone could have kept meat frozen for a month.

“You know Twi-Lek dancers will-”

“Zip it, big mouth.” Revan snapped.

“And the Bith sometimes-”

“One more word, and you really are roadkill.” Marai warned. She looked to Kavar. “She's been a pest since then, and when I found out why she was, I did everything I could to stay away from her, until this trip. I think she's upset with me.”

“Well I'll have to go get her. Any idea where-” He stopped as Marai pointed.

“That way, about thirty klicks, and still going away from us.” She saw his look, shrugging. “I'm good with Force bonds.”

“Probably headed for the transit center. That's fifty klicks away in that direction.” He paused. “About ten klicks past the Senate Building.” He turned, ready to tell them to stay, then pictured his return; the Temple burned to the ground, all of them sitting there with innocent expressions as the Masters arrived. Not a promotional bell ringer.

“We'll all have to go. Get dressed in normal street clothes. No Jedi robes, and no lightsabers.”

“What?” Marai looked as if he had told her she was going naked.

He sighed. “Marai, let's say we get in trouble, and have to cut our way out. You have dismembered bodies laying everywhere when the Constables arrive. They see it, and who do they tell?”

She started to answer, but the light dawned. “Oh, yeah.”

“If we hurry we'll be there and back before the Masters and Knights get home, and no one will know. So hurry up. You have ten minutes.”

He was back in seven dressed in a gray ship suit. Bastila was already dressed. Of course, she hadn't been issued any robes yet. She sat there like any five year old, still clutching her toy. Malak came in. His underclothes looked enough like a street kid that he wouldn't be noticed. At almost exactly ten minutes the girls came running in. Marai was wearing slacks with a poncho, and Revan was wearing a red ship suit with black trim.

“All right, let's go.”

“Are we going by tram?” Revan asked.

“No, if Atris has any luck she can get a ship that will take her part of the way toward Echana, so we have to hurry.” He gritted his teeth. “We'll have to borrow an aircar.”

They left the room packing the lift to the garage level. Kavar searched frantically, but most Jedi operated in teams, so most of the vehicles were two person craft, and he wasn't even going to try to stuff all of these kids in one! He paused, considered, rejected, then considered again. He'd catch hell if anything happened to it, but it did have the advantage that he already had the key...

He walked to the full sized vehicle, and the doors hissed open. “Get in.”

“A Fantom 17!” Malak gasped. “These are classics! I call side gunner!”

“No.” Kavar growled. “Marai can find Atris using her Force bond, and I need her there.” He caught the boy as he dived toward the front seat. “And I am not going to put up with you bouncing off the dashboard while I'm driving. Bastila, you can ride up front.”

“Why” The girl asked defensively.

“Well the others have been here on Coruscant before, but this is your first time. So you get to play sightseer while Marai is our navigator, and I am the pilot.”

“Kay.” The girl slid across the seat as Kavar and the others dived into the car. Kavar sighed, shaking his head as he walked around the car to the driver's seat. He belted in, assured the others were strapped in, then powered the antique car up. Master Sunrider would tear a strip a meter wide off him if anything happened to her favorite ride. He backed out, then turned it carefully to aim at the entryway. He powered forward smoothly, setting the collision avoidance systems as he climbed toward the outbound lane 500 meters above him. “So, is there anything...” He looked down toward Bastila, who was crying silently. “Bastila, what's wrong?”

“I wanna go home!” She wailed, clutching his arm.

“But you are home!”

She shook her head angrily. “I wanna go back to Talravin, to my daddy and his new wife. I don't wanna be a Jedi. I just wanna be a little girl!”

He sighed, extricating his arm, and patted her back in what he knew was supposed to be a comforting gesture. “We all went through this at first, Bastila.”

“Did not.” She had buried her face against his side.

“Yes we did.” Kavar merged with traffic and increased speed to conform. “My mother died when I was born, and my father couldn't handle me alone.”

Bastila looked up. “Really?”

“Really.” Kavar tried to think of something else to say, but came up blank. “Uh, Marai, what about you?”

Marai sighed. “My mother was so happy she had me that she dumped me at the hospital where I was born, and didn't even look back, so I never knew my mother or father.” She looked down. “You had a father and mother, even if she was his second wife, kid.”

“Not a kid. I'm Bastila.” The girl replied.

“Malak?” Kavar asked desperate to break the girl out of her funk.

“My parents died when I was three.” Malak replied. “All I remember are faces that I couldn't even see yet.”

Not a whole lot of help so far. “Revan?” He called desperately.

“Both of my parents are alive. My mother was amazed and delighted when I began showing signs of using the Force.” She sighed. “When I was five my father talked to me. He told me that I could become a Jedi, but it would be my choice. When I decided, he took me to Deralia for the hunts he enjoyed with my brother. I met a girl there who made me wish I didn't have to make the choice. But I did make the choice. I decided that the Galaxy needed guardians, and if I was good enough to do that job, I would accept the challenge.” Revan looked out of the window to her right. “Someone must make sure the Galaxy is protected. I was proud to join them.”

Kavar sighed. “Is there anything else you want to know?”

Bastila nodded. “What are Choobies?”

Damn.


'To argue with those who have renounced the use and authority of reason is as futile as to administer medicine to the dead.' Now who said that?

From the one who brought you;
What we die for...
Acceptance
KOTOR excerpts
Star Wars: The Beginning
Star Wars: Republic Dawn
Return From Exile

Last edited by machievelli; 08-22-2012 at 03:16 PM.
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