One of Thousands
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Kirkwall/The Free Marches
Current Game: Dragon Age II
Put' Otstupnika ("The Way of the Renegade")
(Author's Note: This is the 15th part of my "Vremya" series, which will have a total of 20 parts altogether. Needless to say, it is fast approaching its dark and thrilling conclusion, so hang on to your hats and enjoy the ride!)
I couldn't believe it. None of us could. Revan was here in our midst, the present Jedi Shadow Operative and former Dark Lord of the Sith, and we'd all been too blind to realize it. Why couldn't we have sensed him through the Force, except Mandalore and Rodion? Why couldn't we have taken one good look at the face behind the mask the Shadow wore? No matter now. Our mission was over, and Revan would either join us or tell us to vanish again.
Basta spoke first: "Revan? Is it really you, after all these years?"
"Yes, Bastila. I thought you'd recognize me, but you didn't. Not until now."
The Jedi Sentinel-cum-Sith-cum-drunkard-cum galactic terrorist rose from her seat in the main hold of the Ebon Hawk and stepped toward him. "Yes...", she said softly. "Now I see you clearly. Your eyes give you away--they always have. Revan, why did you abandon me so long ago? Why wouldn't you take me with you into the Unknown Regions, or wherever you went? I would have stood by you, fought with you, and the True Sith would have fallen!" Her hands and eyes were utterly locked upon Revan's face. It was a pose that I knew well, when Rodion took my face into his hands, but something told me that if Revan didn't kiss her or at least reciprocate her feelings somehow, heads would roll. Our heads, given what we'd done.
"Bastila, I couldn't. Not when both you and the galaxy were at stake. I knew that wherever I went, doom would follow, and I couldn't let you die at my unwitting hand. If someone truly loves a person, they will let them go and not expose them to any more danger than absolutely necessary. You've done more than your part, going above and beyond the call of duty by searching for me. Now I ask you to return, with these souls you've gathered, and put this mission to rest. What I must do, I must do alone. You know this. The True Sith will fall, but not if the lives of those I care about are held hostage."
"We're not hostages!" Bastila's voice was an almost feral hiss. "Our captain, Tysyacha Dvyx, has been searching for you, and along the way she gathered me, Jolee, Mandalore, and all the rest. If you want to blame someone for finding you, then blame the Exile, not me! If it were not for her and her low-bred Mandalorian partner, I would still be wasting away at the cantina in Anchorhead, drowning my sorrows in drink! We all followed her voluntarily, and we followed her to you. Now, what will it be, Revan? Will you come with us and help us find the True Sith, or send us all packing?"
"You have no right to force such decisions upon me," said the Jedi Shadow with the most sorrowful voice I'd ever heard. "I am sorry that my absence has caused so much distress for all of you, but I still believe the conquest of the True Sith will destroy you all. It is too great a price for you to pay, and I will not have your blood spilled on what is most likely a suicide mission." He turned to me. "Go home, Exile. Go home, Jolee and Mandalore, and you, young Mando soldier. Go home as well, Bastila. Teach the fragile Younglings at the rebuilt Enclave on Dantooine what it means to be a Jedi."
Bastila would not let go of Revan's face. Her hands were turning bright red. "I believe it was you, Revan, who once taught me the Way of the Renegade," she replied, "when we were once aboard this very ship. You did not know who you were then, at least not in name, but you knew who you were in your heart. You taught me that certain things must be done, no matter what the cost, for the greater good. At first, I didn't believe you, mainly because I didn't want to. I didn't believe there would be decisions I had to make, or that you would have to make, that would cost thousands their lives but save millions due to their sacrifice. I did not believe that I, or anyone, would have to make a choice to leave one behind to die to save another. I especially did not believe that blood spilled could mean souls washed clean.
"Now I do, and it's all because of you. I used to scorn the Exile, and those like her who went to the Mandalorian Wars under your banner. Now I know I was only wearing a mask of hypocrisy then. When you tell me to go home, I know you don't really mean it. You know I can make the decisions that you yourself had to make. You know I have both the will and the way. I am the Renegade you sought and loved, and we will all follow you to the bitter end. We will all sacrifice our lives to fight the True Sith, and if need be, we will all sacrifice the lives of others as well. What matter a thousand if a million live?"
Revan, the Jedi Shadow Operative, stood still and then nodded his head.
In a cold flash of insight, I realized what had just happened. Basta, once a harmless barfly but now Bastila, the destroyer of the Force and the galaxy, had just hypnotized Revan with the Rakatan artifact she now carried. Not even a mind as strong and powerful as his could compete with the full machinations of an object created by the Builders of the Star Forge!
My mouth agape, I stood there for ten full seconds and then ran to my bunk. Rodion followed, slinking away, and I sobbed in his arms, telling him what I suspected. Rodion did not comfort me--instead, just as coldly, he agreed.
Oh, Force, she's done it. She's done it, schyas', now. No--no...!
What can we do? What can any of us do when our last hope is gone?