KOTOR III: TRET'YE SRAZHENIE (THIRD BATTLE)
Chapter V: Admonitions
Jedi Master Atton Rand, true to form, did take the advice of Padawan Brun Carral and meditate upon the differences between the Jedi and the Sith. Also true to form, he instituted his regimen of intense training from dawn to dusk, much to the consternation and frustration of the students. Even the Younglings were not spared, though Masters Brianna and Mical did remind Atton that they "needed their rest". Atton was determined to make sure that no one "moped around", as he'd said before, and spent too much time brooding about the death of Visas Marr. If there were no Sith to be found, either upon Dantooine or anywhere else in the galaxy, the Jedi at the Enclave would spend every waking moment training to become prepared for them. If what Visas said was true, they might attack sooner than anyone thought...
As for the three Padawans that Visas had sent to determine the very cause of her death, they still had not yet begun their fateful mission. Padawan Galon Klivian had meekly suggested that they spend at least three more days at the Jedi Enclave, preparing to venture out to the furthest reaches of the galaxy (and showing solidarity with their fellow students by diligently putting themselves through Atton's paces). Zakal and Becca Solis had agreed, albeit reluctantly, and thus they slaved and sweated through 72 hours of hell. Their Padawan compatriots noted their efforts, but were still jealous. Becca herself heard whispers of "Queen of the Galaxy" behind her back.
Even though the hairs on the back of her neck bristled when she caught wind of them, she knew that her "privileged" status as one of Visas' chosen might soon come to an end. Didn't the others know that she, Galon and Zakal might be killed trying to find whatever had killed the Jedi Master? Such was the price of this "fame" that Becca and her friends had so recently acquired. It was not one she wanted to pay, but she knew that she might have to in the end. Knowing this, she went through her exercises with a somber humility.
"Becca?" gasped Galon, sweat pouring down his entire body after four straight hours of rigorous calisthenics. "I can't stand this. Can't we stop?"
"I'm sure Master Atton has our best interests in mind," answered Becca, gasping for breath herself. Her entire body was trembling with exhaustion.
"I'm...not so sure," rasped a cold voice: Zakal's. She showed no outer signs of the fatigue and drenching perspiration that the others did, except for the fact that her hair was a silky black waterfall just as wet as its counterpart in the natural world.
"What was that, Padawan Zakal?" snarled Atton. "Straighten up. In my view, you three have stayed here long enough. Isn't there a mission you're supposed to be going on?" His eyes were filled with the disgusted embarrassment of a well-educated father who has just seen his children show him failing grades in their studies. "Isn't there a mission you're supposed to be going on? You're the 'special three'. Master Visas sent you, so go. Clean up--and go!"
Becca's heart broke. She couldn't understand why Atton was being so harsh, and in her view, hateful. Couldn't he at least give them credit for trying to participate in his new regimen? She opened her mouth to respond, but instead of brave words, all that emerged was a mewl, like from a maalras kitten in the jungles of Dxun. Humiliated and defeated, she signaled to Galon and Zakal to follow her to the refreshers. They did so, their faces stonelike. They'd had enough of showing their weakness and vulnerability in front of a Jedi Master, or so he liked to be called, that empathized with none of it.
Once the three emerged clean and shivering from the operating cycles of the cleansing droids, they were surprised to find Master Mira approaching them.
"Padawans," she said sternly, although not unkindly, "I have news for you. Bao-Dur feels that another Jedi Master should accompany you on Visas' mission. He knows that his guilt and blame in the matter of her death have served to--well, complicate things--and he has chosen me to act as a mentor and guide throughout your journey." Mira's green eyes, once fiery with stealth and playfulness (and rage), now glowed with a motherly serenity, though she was nearer to Becca's age than, for example, Mical's.
"But, why?" asked Zakal, her jaw dropping. "Master Bao-Dur is the perfect one to go on this mission! He's my Master, yes, but he saw Visas when she died! Why shouldn't he be with us? This is unfair, and in my mind, strange."
"I agree," concurred Galon, "though I don't see the situation to be quite as alarming as you do, Zakal. I welcome you, Master Mira, but could you please tell us why Bao-Dur chose you to go with us? Why not Masters Brianna or Mical, or even Master Atton?"
"Bao-Dur knows that I am skilled in the ways of stealth," Mira replied, "due to all my years as a bounty hunter untrained in the ways of the Force. It is his contention, and his hope, that we will be able to sneak up on this Force presence without it noticing we're coming. I am a huntress, and you three will help me sniff it out." Master Mira winked, her natural banter returning.
Becca saw beyond the surface. "Come clean with us, Master Mira," she said boldly. "What is Master Bao-Dur really afraid of? Is his guilt that heavy?"
"He has been seen by the presence," replied Mira, "or at least he fears so. During the time when Visas was being attacked, he sensed that this Force abomination reached out and began to engulf him as well. How is it that he did not tell you this?" The three Padawans shrugged and sadly shook their heads. "No matter. Master Bao-Dur probably did not want to worry you any more than you have been due to Visas' untimely death. Yes, I will say those words," she said coldly, "no matter if Master Atton wishes us not to."
"Thank you," said Zakal, bowing her head before Mira in gentle gratitude.
As for the Sentinel herself, she closed her eyes. "There is one other," she mused, "or rather two others, who could have helped us in this dire regard. However, one of them has been--enslaved by this Force presence, I suspect, and the second is a traitor and a murderess, the lowest of the low in the entire galaxy! She could have returned with us to the Enclave after defeating this presence before it even had a chance to spread, but instead she fled! She abandoned us! It's been eight years since she chose to forgo and forget her true duty!"
"Who is she?" asked Becca. "Who is the slave?" Her heart began to race.
"The slave is Revan," hissed Mira through clenched teeth, "and the traitor? The one who slew two Jedi operatives with the help of Mandalorian scum? She was once my mentor, my Master, and she's known by one name: Dvyx!"
Becca Solis shivered. She'd heard that name before...from Visas Marr.
Luckily for Padawan Galon Klivian, he had no knowledge of either vanished personage, and so he replied, "They can't help us. We have to find the Force presence ourselves." Zakal agreed, nodding her head and yet raising an eyebrow.
"Come," said Master Mira. "I'll take you to our ship...the Ebon Hawk."