Atton Rand, Master Jedi of the Dantooine Jedi Enclave surveyed his surroundings. Five years, he reflected, five years it had been since The Exile left on his mission and left the responsibility of restoring the Jedi Order to his companions. At first, Atton didn’t think it could be done, the rebuilding of the Enclave alone felt a monstrous task by itself let alone trying to find the people the occupy it.
That was before Visas travelled back to Onderon however. Whilst Atton, Brianna and Hanharr were at the Tomb of Freedon Nadd on Dxun, Visas, Kreia and Jonas were on Onderon quelling the War by fighting alongside of General Vaklu. They succeeded in overthrowing Queen Talia and taking out the Master Jedi that was with her. Atton knew that it had been that Jedi that felt closest to Jonas, and it was the hardest thing The Exile had to do during their Quest. Jonas was quieter after that.
And when Visas returned she informed Atton that the first batch of Force Sensitive’s would arrive within the month. That took Atton aback, because he didn’t know the deal Jonas had made with Vaklu. He admitted to himself it was a good idea; Atton was just thankful that Jonas didn’t demand a statue to be built in his image or something else from the sufferings of the delusions of grandeur.
The group arrived, but they weren’t what Atton expected to see. They were afraid. Because of the War of Onderon and the power Jonas unleashed against Queen Talia’s soldiers, these people thought the Force User’s they were being sent to were of the ones who bought Vaklu’s allegiance before the End of the war. It took a considerable amount of time to prove their thoughts otherwise. Atton and the others taught them about the Light and Dark Sides of the Force. How there would always be the Shadow; ready to strike out at any possible moment and that they, the Jedi, needed to be ready. They told them how difficult a path of the Jedi could be, but unlike the Sith, if any of them chose to leave, it would be granted and met without hesitation without any thought for rebuke. Only a few of them decided to leave, which Atton was very thankful…
The first year was focused solely on the rebuilding of the Enclave. They worked day and night, split shifts, hours and hours of backbreaking work. By the end of the year, the work was almost completed. Much to the relief of students and teachers alike. The second year was more knowledge based. The Companions took a class of students to themselves and went on missions to various planets to retrieve artefacts, datapads, anything that told them about the Force and the Jedi of old. Ossus, Coruscant, they scoured everywhere they could get to; there were no shortage of rumours of Holocron’s either. When word got out that Jedi had once again occupied the ruins of Dantooine, messages flooded in from all over the galaxy. Some legit and some were just a plain waste of time. But they struggled on, and after a while everything started to fall into place.
The next few years, the teachers learnt more and the students progressed further in their own knowledge, and soon even Atton had to admit it started to look more and more like a proper enclave. It was an amazing achievement, and everything was going to plan… that was until a few months ago anyway. There had been no news of Jonas, no reports of his whereabouts, no sightings of the Ebon Hawk; nothing. And Visas was getting irritated. She missed him, Atton knew – Force, they all did, but there was nothing they could do except what he asked of them and they knew it. But Visas determinedly ignored Atton’s warnings and took a shuttle from Khoonda Spaceport. She said she would first go to Telos, to see Carth Onasi, of all people! Why that would help, Atton didn’t know and didn’t ask. If she wanted
to go chase ghosts, go for it, he had bigger problems to attend to.
“Master Rand?” piped up a voice, bringing Atton out of his reverie.
“Yes, Hasim?” he replied, looking down at the short, mousy haired human teenager in front of him.
“Master, a message has come through in the Comm Room and it is requested for your eyes alone.”
“Thank you, Hasim,” said Atton. He watched the lad go and frowned. A few years back, he would never have had thought of himself as a Jedi Master. He still didn’t if he was to be honest with himself. But the responsibility and pressure of having the hopes of hundreds of young Padawan’s and Apprentices on his shoulders seemed so heavy sometimes. But the joy of seeing their eyes light up when they manage to first levitate their first rock, or Force Push their first stone block into the correct space on the board out in the Training Courtyard pushed those doubts out of his mind. This wasn’t the Atton he remembered; the wise-cracking, blaster whipping, ready for the quick score Atton Rand that managed to land himself in nearly every single Force Cage in the blasted galaxy, but even though most of that side of his persona was gone, he liked to think it evolved into what he was today.
He made his way to the Communication Room and stood in front of the holoprojector. The room emptied and he activated the message.
“Master Jedi,” said the holo of a man in a military uniform. “My name is General Hakaz Iramund; I am in charge of the Section 1A Security Force on Telos IV. Carth Onasi requested I contact you immediately in regards to another Jedi who visited our Orbital Station not too long ago. However, he also requested that instead of discussing this information over holo, could your make your way to Telos and we will confer in person?”
“Good day to you,” said Atton, raising his eyebrow. “I’m well, General; how is the weather there?” He shook his head slightly. “I’m sorry, General. I’m just a little on edge at the moment. The Jedi you mentioned, she has not been heard from for some time and I’m worried about her. But please, tell me what the information Carth Onasi wants me to hear. This is a secure channel, I assure you.”
“I am sorry, Master,” replied General Iramund. “But Carth said you must travel here in person; no channel is secure enough for this information.”
Onasi is a persistent one,
Atton thought. “Very well, General,” he sighed. “Tell Carth I will be on the next available shuttle and I will see him as soon as I can.”
The Generals shoulders seemed to slump a little as he smiled and saluted Atton. “Good news, sir! We look forward to your arrival!” The holo shuttered and dimmed, then switched off completely.
Considering the last time I was on Telos and you had me locked in a Force Cage, I daresay you
will be looking forward to my visit
. He sighed and turned around. “I have a bad feeling about this,” he said.
“Atton, are you sure about this?” asked Brianna.
“I am,” he replied. “I will go to Telos and see what this information Carth Onasi has about Visas. And of The Exile. Visas must have known something we didn’t if she went straight to Carth, and now that he has requested to see me…. It’s just a riddle that I need solved.”
They were in the Council Chambers and seated there were Atton Rand, Brianna the Handmaiden, Mira, Bao-Dur, and a Duros called Shamiz Ferlande.
Shamiz was on Dxun in hiding when the Sith struck there looking for the Tomb of Freedon Nadd. After Atton and the others journeyed there, Shamiz heard the echo of battle and felt the cleansing of the Temple. He went in search of the people who did this, but by the time he reached Onderon, Jonas and his companions had left. It wasn’t until three years ago the he heard about the Rebuilding of Dantooine and he applied for a position there. Before the Fall, he was a Jedi Knight and was on a mission for Master Zhar when news of Malak’s treachery reached Shamiz. He felt the Death of the Force and stumbled into Exile. He learnt when he made it back to his Home on Dantooine, that he was not the only one. But Shamiz felt that he was not able to reconnect himself to the Force as well as Jonas had. He pledged himself to the Teachings of the New Order and became the first one to reach the rank of Master after helping resolve a Government Coup on Gyndine. He wanted to meet this Jonas if he was ever able to and try and learn from him the secrets of the Force. Why he had managed to pull himself back so easily. It was a promise Shamiz only kept to himself, but he hoped that one day, he would be able to fulfil that promise.
“I agree with Atton,” he said. “Visas knew something, but did not tell anyone else her fears. As always, she took them on herself and went without help. It was a silly thing to do, granted, but she is a Jedi Master of this Enclave and her whereabouts are top priority.”
“Indeed they are, Master Ferlande,” replied Brianna. “But I am only taking a stand on this because I feel that Atton should not be going alone. No matter how safe Carth Onasi believes Telos is. I lived there for a time, and it is anything but safe.”
“You lived in the Polar Region,” Atton reminded her. “I know the Station isn’t all that safe, but I am a Jedi and I have the Force at my side.”
“At least take your Apprentice with you,” said Mira. “She is dying for a mission and you promised to take her on a trip when the opportunity arose.”
“A trip and a mission are two completely different things,” said Atton. “But I feel you may be right on this; Sheliah needs to be tested, and I suppose a simple Recon Mission should be a stepping stone in helping her achieve her Trials. I will bring her with me. If that is everything…” he glanced around at the Council and all nodded their heads. “Council adjourned. I will leave within the hour and I hope an answer to these riddles will be found. May the Force be with us all.”
* * *
She was in a dark cell. Dark, cold, damp…. Her skin tingled and prickled with Fear, but her eyes; the Force, shown her no proof that any living thing was close at hand. She sat in the corner and pulled her knees up to her chin and started to meditate. Hoping beyond all possible hope that someone would hear her call, someone would come and help her, someone… Anyone…
If only she had Him with her…
“My life, for yours,” she whispered into the Darkness.