A story of the Exile's . . . .well, exile.
The Tarisian passenger docks were never particularly clean or efficient; in fact, they were known for their dirty, crowded, and unorganized state, especially considering how developed of a planet that Taris was; in fact, with Izis being completely destroyed during the war, the city was the most advanced and populated in the outer rim.
Bad news for Terrel Cora. He sat huddled in the corner of the large immigration/ticket registration hall, the thick smell of sweat mixed with the humidity suffocating him as he waited patiently for his name to be called. While waiting, he stared at the faces of the men and women he saw getting transport tickets. Their dead and tired eyes masked the pain, anger, and hopelessness he knew they felt inside; they had lost everything. It was in the way they walked, in the way they carried themselves, and it should have chilled Terrel to his bone.
He was like them. About a month ago, the war ended. It would be known as the most devastating and catastrophic conflict since the Great Hyperspace War; eight times the amount of lives lost as the War of Exar Kunn, and triple the amount of lives lost as the Jedi Civil War yet to come. And it left hundreds of millions of young men and women who had lost their families and homes wandering aimlessly, without purpose.
Most were Republic Soldiers giving up their military jobs to search for their families in the hope they may still be alive. Not Terrel; he had no one to search for and nothing to hope for. All he had were things to cry over, to brood over.
The best that could be done for him was to convince himself that this was an opportunity to start over, and he had been trying to do just that. All the same, it was hard. Twenty six years, however, does not simply vanish. Twenty six years, from his birth on Telos to his induction into the Jedi order, to his growth into a noble yet dangerously-liberal Knight, his outright defiance of the Order, his heroism in the war, and his Exile to reward it all.
A dry laugh escaped his lips. This was what he got for standing up for himself. He went against the order to protect others, and they screwed him over for it; bad.
"Terrel Cora, Terrel Cora! Passage to Onderon, Terrel Cora, come up to the counter, please!" yelled a grotesque voice. Terrel quickly jumped up and hastily pushed through the thick crowd to find himself in front of a very wrinkly Quarren. It was then that the true nastiness of the place hit him. A low, dark ceiling trapping in all the dirty air, the cramped area, the horrid smell. He coughed a few times.
"Yes, thank you, that's me" he rasped with his face still in a grimace. "when's the next shuttle to Izis?"
The Quarren grumbled. "Four hours," he snapped in Basic, which was strange, considering how bad his accent was. Terrel thought of mentioning he understood Quarren, but thought better of it.
"Ok, I can deal with that, thanks so much. I'll take one ticket. How much will it cost me?" inquired Terrel with all the courtesy he could muster, which wasn't much. Enough to make the alien receptionist's eyes twinkle a little, however.
"695 credits," proclaimed the alien.
Terrel's stomach jerked as if he had been punched in the gut. Anger and frustration flared in him, taking over the shallow kindness. "What in the name of the Force? Seven hundred credits? Onderon and Taris are in the same sector! This is robbery, it's damned preposterous!" he snapped.
The Quarren grumbled irritably. "You have no idea how many Onderonian soldiers joined went off to help the Republic war effort after Izis was liberated. They went and had their revenge on the Mandalorians, and they want to go back home, so they stop by here, which we know. So, seven hundred credits; they have just enough to afford it, and we are richer. Everyone's happy."
Sighing, Terrel emptied out all the credits he had onto the table. The alien spent a minute counting it. While he did, Terrel glanced up to the screen above the counter, which was displaying Galactic News. It was mostly just pointless coverage on the victory parade on Coruscant. Interest fading, he was about to look away when he saw a shocking thing on the screen.
A picture of himself.
So it was in the Galactic News. The war hero General Cora has been exiled. A small smile escaped him as he saw people protesting outside the Jedi Temple. Some of it was for him being exiled, but most was because the people wanted the Order to be tried or something like that. Galactic news meant nothing to him anymore. In fact, nothing really did.
The Quarren pushed eight credits back to Terrel. "Your change," he said simply. "Have a fun trip. I heard that some people kill themselves because they can't handle the shuttle's filth."
Terrel grabbed the credits and shook his head. Damn aliens.
Sighing, he made his way outside, where he gulped in the sweet fresh air and the Tarisian sunlight. The Upper City remained quite a beautiful place, but the war had had it's obvious toll on the city. Terrel stood on a floating platform between the Republic base, to his right, and the main street, to his left, and the elevator to the room he was just in straight ahead. Past the elevator, he could make out that various buildings were destroyed and in ruins from the Mandalorians' initial bombing of the planet. Unlike Onderon, Taris automatically surrendered, thus sparing itself a lot of pain. And while there were now beggars on the streets, millions of vagrants wandering the Upper and Lower Cities, more crime in general, the city itself remained intact. Onderon had chosen to fight, and there wasn't a building over two stories in Izis left standing, with the area around the sky ramp the exception.
Which was why Terrel was going there. Starvation, riots, and hopelessness plagued Izis, and with the King and his sister Talia preoccupied with rebuilding the infrastructure, and the military returning from helping the Republic on Malachor, there was no one to help the people. Terrel planned to do exactly that. Simple, small tasks he could do to help people in dire need was all that was needed. What he would do after Onderon rebuilt, he didn't know. Maybe he could go to Serreco or Eres III, help out there. There was always Irodonia. He remembered the valor that the Zabrak had shown in the war, and the fate of their planet was not what they deserved.
Sitting on the street/floating platform, he looked at his bag, which held everything he possessed. A few changes of clothes, his father's old pistol, a holocron given to him by his best friend, a picture of his secret lover, a datapad of his entries during the war, and his old Jedi badge. He also found a mirror, which he brought to his face.
He still had the same long but messy brown hair, the same tanned skin, and the same prominent features. But his once-fiery eyes were now dead, and his face was covered in stubble. Filth also covered his black windbreaker jacket. He laughed coldly. Perhaps he needed to help himself before he could help others.
Either way, he had time. All the time in the world.