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Shattered Love, Shattered Faith
Love is one of the most difficult human emotions to understand. There is no real trigger for it the same way there is for other emotions such as joy. When one falls in love, they are often unable to take their mind off the object of their affection, and it is difficult to change an individual’s feelings when they are experiencing real love. Other emotions, such as happiness, for example, can be countered with an act of cruelty or abuse, resulting in a rapid reversal of emotion. Love and Faith are closely related. If one has Faith in something or someone, it is very difficult to destroy that faith - much to the chagrin of those who do not share it.
It is difficult to destroy someone’s faith. Not impossible. When one’s faith is shattered, they often suffer prolonged periods of suffering, and there is rarely anything anyone can do to help, much less restore the faith that was lost. When that love is used against us in order to shatter faith, it is even worse. But one never stops loving. Love is the only thing in this universe that is permanent. Even if faith in our family or friends is destroyed, we still love them - or they are not truly ‘loved ones’.
This is the story not told in
Knights of the Old Republic about a loss of faith. There is no real lesson to be learned here. The individual in question did nothing wrong. He refused to allow his faith in the one he loved be shaken. The faith he had in himself, however, is forever lost - along with the woman he loved. To be rewarded for losing something he held dear to his heart was something he could not live with. He not only lost faith in himself, but in his peers. The story must be told.
“I trust you know why we have summoned you here, Jolee?”
Jolee looked defiantly at Master Keltar, who was looking at him over steepled fingers, frowning. “I do,” he said softly.
Veln raised his head slightly as he spoke. “Explain to us what happened,” he said. “Explain to us how it is that Nayama came to be trained in the ways of the Force, and was hence able to kill many Jedi before she was finally stopped.”
Jolee took a deep breath. It was time to come clean. “I... trained her in the ways of the Force, Master. She was my student.”
The Council was silent. “Indeed,” muttered Keltar.
“Nayama was more than simply my friend and guest here, Master,” continued Jolee. If he was telling the truth, he may as well tell them the whole of it. “She was... my wife.”
The Masters straightened in their chairs at these words. Master Horuck glared at him with his cold green eyes, and Mistress Delar simply shook her head sadly.
“Marriage is forbidden to the Jedi,” she said darkly. “Love is a dangerous emotion, padawan.”
“Not as dangerous as you might think,” retorted Jolee sharply. “Love is empowering. Love-”
“This meeting was not called to debate the validity of the Jedi Code,” said Master Vandar. “It was called so that you might explain yourself, padawan Bindo. Perhaps explain to us why you disobeyed our instructions, and took her as your student regardless of our decision.”
“I trained her because it had to be done!” spat Jolee. “You were wrong to deny her training!”
“She is far too old,” hissed Delar, her grey eyes flashing dangerously.
“She is far too rash,” added Horuck. “As you have seen with your own eyes.”
“Tell us what transpired tonight, Jolee,” said Master Raln, Jolee’s own Master, speaking for the first time. “Tell us how it is that she fell to the Dark Side and fled the Enclave.”
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Jolee sat facing Nayama, both of them in a deep meditative state. He could sense her thoughts as easily as if they were his own - she trusted him enough to allow him entrance to her mind while they meditated. He could also sense that it was getting late - it was nearly dawn. The Enclave was completely silent, the other students still sleeping soundly, their minds closed to their surroundings, unaware of the lessons Jolee was conducting with his secret wife.
He reached out to her mind and gently lifted her from the meditation. They opened their eyes, and she smiled at him. “Thank you,” she said. “I feel much... calmer, now.”
“Good,” said Jolee, standing. “You should meditate like that at least once a day, preferably when you have some time where you can explore your mind. Late night is the best time, since you’re not supposed to know how to do these things.”
She smiled, taking his hand as he helped her to her feet. “You’ll stay up with me, then?”
“Of course,” he responded, smiling as well. “I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”
She turned away from him, facing the door of the dormitory they shared. “Jolee... I’ve been thinking...”
“About?” he prompted, when she was silent for a moment.
“Us. The Jedi. The War. Everything. I don’t know...” She sighed impatiently. “Don’t you feel like... like we’re being held here? Like we’re prisoners in the Enclave?”
Jolee gazed at her curiously. “What do you mean?” he asked.
“I don’t know,” she said again, turning to face him again. “I... I love you, Jolee, and... I feel as if... staying here...” She trailed off, frowning. “I don’t want to hide this from anyone anymore. It’s not enough that you know I love you. I want the galaxy to know it. I want to prove to the Order that love is just as much a right for a Jedi as it is for soldier, or... a smuggler, or... or anyone else!”
“Nayama,” he said, grabbing her by the shoulders. “You don’t know what you’re saying! I can’t leave the Order!”
“Why not?” she asked pleadingly. “They won’t let us be together! They’d rather tear us apart!”
“Jolee, listen to me. I’ve... I’ve been thinking. The Jedi who have joined Exar Kun have become far more powerful than any of the Masters. If we join them, they can complete my training - and yours - and we can be together. We wouldn’t have to hide it anymore!”
“Nayama, are you actually saying this? Please tell me this is just a sick joke you-”
“Do I look like I’m joking, Jolee?” she asked, looking his straight in the eye. “I’m dead serious. I want us to be together, Jolee, but... we can’t be together here. Not with the Jedi.”
This wasn’t happening. This was just a sick dream he was having. Nayama would never... She would never suggest such an idea! The very thought of her asking him to betray the Order and join Exar Kun’s Sith was preposterous!
It wasn’t a dream. As he gazed into her eyes, he knew she was dead serious. “Jolee... please. I can’t stay here. And neither can you. We don’t belong here! The Jedi won’t train me, and you can only teach me so much - your training isn’t even complete!”
“No. I won’t abandon the Order. I’ll never join the Sith. Not as long as there’s air in my lungs, and blood in my veins. I refuse to believe that you really want to run away and join Exar Kun and his Sith! You’re not like that!”
“How would you know?” she spat. “You’re not letting yourself see the truth! You’re letting the Jedi get inside your head! You’re letting them interfere! There are so many restrictions placed on you that you can’t even sneeze without them making you feel guilty about spreading germs to others by being unable to control your bodily functions or something!”
“And you’re letting the false promises of power and glory being spouted from Kun get to you! The Dark Side is the easy way, Nayama.”
“It’s the way to freedom!” she yelled, pulling out of his grip. “We need to break the chains the Jedi have placed on us and embrace freedom!”
“You’re starting to sound an awful lot like Exar Kun himself!”
“And you’re starting to sound like Lamar! He’s not even a Knight yet, and he’s already starting to sound like a Master!”
“Vrook may be arrogant, but he’s the perfect example of what a Jedi should be - calm, serene, and logical.”
“He’s the perfect example of how the Jedi Code can take a powerful Force User and turn him into an obedient slave to the Council!”
“I will not let you fall victim to the poison Exar Kun is spreading across the galaxy! I love you too much for that!”
“If you truly loved me, you would come with me! You would trust me to show you how the Jedi have been lying to you since the day you were taken for training!”
She turned to leave, but he grabbed her by the arm and threw her in the opposite direction of the door. He pulled his lightsaber from his belt, and ignited it, pointing the green blade at her. “I won’t let you do this!”
“Then you will die!”
She pumped her legs into the air, bringing herself into a crouching position. She pulled her own lightsaber from her belt, and the next thing he knew, their blades were locked, the twin green beams of light filling the small room.
With a flick of his lightsaber, he forced her lightsaber back over her head, and kicked out at her chest, being sure to use as little of his strength as possible. He couldn’t hurt her. He couldn’t.
She rolled backwards, her back hitting the corner of one of the two beds in the room. She rolled to the right, pulling her lightsaber up to strike at his face. He blocked easily, and again pushed her lightsaber away. This time, though, she was ready for his next attack. He lunged at her arm with his lightsaber. She brought her blade down on the hilt of his. Sparks cascaded to the ground as she brought her arm around his elbow, forcing him to drop what remained of his weapon. She kicked backwards, and her foot met his stomach. He fell to his knees, winded. She came in for another attack, but he was too quick for her. He threw out his hand, and she was thrown backwards into the air, striking the far wall, her weapon flying across the room and into his hand.
“Go ahead Jolee,” she taunted. “Kill me.”
He remained motionless, staring into her eyes. This wasn’t the woman he had fell in love with. She had changed. Her mind had been poisoned by the Sith teachings. But he could help her. He had to help her. He loved her.
“Do it!” she yelled angrily. “Kill me now, or you’ll regret it, Jolee.”
He still didn’t move. His eyes burned as he fought back tears. “This isn’t you. This isn’t the woman I fell in love with.”
“The woman you fell in love with was weak,” she spat. “Of course...” her face contorted into a look of disgust. “Look at her teacher.”
He fell to his knees, the lightsaber falling from his loose grip. He couldn’t do it. He couldn’t kill Nayama.
She smiled darkly. “You’ve failed, Jolee. You’ve lost.”
She stood, walking past him towards the door. He didn’t move. He stared at where she had been, tears running down his face. As the door sealed shut behind her, he slumped against the bedpost, the tears now flowing freely. She was right. He had failed. He had failed to save the woman he loved from becoming a monster - an insult to everything he loved about her.
He screamed in agony as the sorrow erupted from his chest. He could not fail her. He would not fail her. He had to save her. He knew that she was not truly a disciple of the Dark Side. The Sith teachings could never tear apart all that he had loved about her. He sat there, in his room, until the sun had risen fully, and the sounds of life began to fill the academy.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
“I am willing to accept the consequences of my actions, Masters,” he said, after recounting what had happened that terrible night.
“What do you feel would be an adequate punishment for your crimes, padawan?”
He thought for a moment. “The Council has but one choice, that I can see,” he said. “I must be exiled.”
The Council was silent for a moment.
“A fairly harsh sentence, is it not?”
“No,” he said firmly. “Not only have I disobeyed an order from the Council, but I failed to foresee the potential consequences of my actions. I allowed my emotions to cloud my objectivity. I had not thought it possible that she could be tricked by the Sith promises of power and wealth. Perhaps I didn’t want to think it was possible. Because of my foolishness, she went on to kill dozens of Jedi.”
“You failed to heed the Code,” said Vandar simply. “That is your failing. Had you detached yourself from your emotions, you would have been able to foresee Nayama’s fall.”
The Masters were silent for a long moment. Jolee couldn’t meet their gaze. He let his head fall, his eyes closed.
“Jolee Bindo. Your actions have had grave consequences. It is good that you know how you have failed the commitments of a Jedi. It will make it easier to come to terms with our decision. The Council has agreed that you are to be granted the rank of Jedi Knight.”
His eyes snapped open, and he looked up to Master Vandar. “But...”
“You have learned the hardest lesson you will have to learn in your career, Jolee,” said Raln. “You have always been an emotional student, and you have finally learned the dangers of emotion.”
“I... I don’t know what to say, Master.”
“You are dismissed, young Bindo,” said Vandar.
“Yes Master. Thank you Master.”
He bowed, and showed himself out of the Council chamber. As he turned the corner, he leaned against the wall, staring at the ground.
They had made him a Knight. He was responsible for the deaths of dozens of Jedi across the galaxy, and they had rewarded him. That was not the idea of the Jedi he had grown up with. The Jedi shouldn’t praise and reward the stupid. He looked up to the sky. Nayama had been right about one thing. He didn’t belong here with the Jedi. They had failed him, just as he had failed Nayama. He had to get away for a while. Think things over.
He turned to look towards the Council chamber again. The Masters were wrong. He knew they were.