One of Thousands
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Kirkwall/The Free Marches
Current Game: Dragon Age II
Muchenie Revanino ("Revan's Anguish")
(Author's Note: This is Part 18 of my "Vremya" series. Food for thought...)
"What was the point of that bantha-dung speech?!" grumbled Jolee Bindo after Bastila Shan had finished speaking (and after she was out of earshot). "I've heard better orations from the most boring members of the Galactic Senate! I mean, I know these people need help and all, but the ways of the Jedi? That's not what I learned back in Padawan training, you know. Also, what was with all that jabber about duty and sacrifice? At least my Masters taught me that those weren't the only parts of being a Jedi. Deny your passions, yes, but--deny your deepest feelings, too? Those are what connect you to the Force, not simply your mental capacity. It sounds like Bastila's finally flipped her lid, and we should give her a talking-to." I totally agreed, but if I told Jolee the real reasons behind why Bastila had said what she did, I'd have to tell him something else, too.
Not that I'd do either one, or at least not yet. There was still Rodion to think about, and Revan too. If I exposed Bastila as a traitor and her motives for becoming one, then that meant exposing myself as a murderer. I wouldn't--not when the galaxy was at stake. I'd find some way to defeat Bastila, with the help of Rodion, Canderous, and Revan--all but the offending Dark Lady and the amateur Jedi detective. Those two could become one with the Force, for all I cared! If they knew what Rodion and I had done--and Bastila did--then the only alternative they would choose for us would be punishment.
I didn't want punishment, and neither did my dearest love. All we wanted was redemption and release from the guilt that we felt day and night. It disturbed our sleep, plagued our thoughts, made our concentration fail, and cast a dark shadow over us as we lay together in the starboard bunk at night. We were both losing weight, and the hollow places in our cheeks looked more gaunt every day. Not that anybody noticed, or if so, they preferred not to say.
I heard Canderous snort right beside me, jolting me out of my reverie. "You Jedi never were that trustworthy to begin with," he said sharply. "Remember Revan--er, sorry, my friend," he said, turning to the Jedi Shadow Operative who had once been a Sith Lord--"and Malak? Remember Exar Kun? Remember Kreia? All of them were once Jedi, and they all turned Sith. As for Bastila, something does tell me she's not right in the head, but her speech could be summed up in one word: propaganda. Propaganda says, 'Look, you people don't know what's good for you, and I do, so I'm going to tell you.' We Mandalorians used it to gain recruits, sure, but the Jedi and Sith used it more. It's a technique to get people to do what you want, and in all honesty, I wish Bastila and the rest of us would have left these poor wretches alone. I mean, their lives are wasted and they're not free people, but will they be any more free under these 'teachings of the Jedi?'" I shivered. No.
"Well, so far we seem to be coming to a consensus," said Jolee, "not only that the speech reeked, but that we need to talk to Bastila. Captain? What say you?" I said nothing, only nodding somberly. Words somehow failed me.
"Revan?" continued the former Jedi, archivist, and detective. "Any thoughts?"
The Jedi Shadow Operative cradled his head in his hands for a moment, hissing in barely-concealed pain. Either he was having one monster of a migraine, or something else was going on. Of course, I knew which it was. "She's right, you know," he said. "Bastila only wants what's best for the commoners here in Tirda's Blight, and if following the teachings of the Jedi are the best way that they can climb out of the hole they're in, so be it."
Canderous rolled his eyes. "I can't believe you actually believe that," he groaned. "Does that sound like the Revan I know? True, you were once a Jedi yourself, but not once did you ever suggest that people should give up their freedom, even the freedom to ruin their lives and be enslaved to a crime lord, in order to make their lives better. You would have fought for them. Now you won't?" The Mandalore shook his head. "What's wrong with you, my lad?"
"It's my head," Revan said, not daring to elaborate more. "It hurts. Badly."
"We need to get you back to the ship," suggested Jolee. "All of us. As for Master Bastila, she's still over there tending to her adoring apprentices." Slaves would be more like it, but I decided not to press the point as we made our way to the rickety landing pad upon which we'd balanced the Hawk. Once we were aboard, I helped Jolee escort Revan to medbay where a helpful medical droid began to diagnose him and check his vital signs.
"Headaches," said the droid. "Bad ones. Possible migraines, stress fatigue."
Stress fatigue? That didn't cover the half of it. I asked Revan to try and explain what was going on in his own words, through his eyes instead of the unseeing ones of the droid. He took my hand in his and closed his eyes.
"It's like there's this thing inside my head, this Force presence, telling me what to do and what to think. I try to ignore it, but I can't. The worst part is that the harder I try to ignore it, the worse my headaches get. It's not just my head, either. My whole body screams when I try to fight the presence, and I don't even know what it is. I'm sensitive to the Force, as I always have been, but even the Force can't help me to fight something that seems to be a part of it. I've tried everything--meditation, combat training, studying datapads and holocrons to take my mind off things, physical labor aboard the ship, alcohol--even the fabled Jedi detachment! Nothing works."
"Revan," I said sadly, "there's something I need to tell you." Leaning close to his ear and whispering as softly as I dared, I told him everything--about my own search for him, my journey to Eriadu and meeting Rodion, the murders we had both committed, finding the rest of the Ebon Hawk's crew, and everything else I somehow found the strength to reveal. I especially told him about a certain Rakatan artifact, its purpose and intent, and where it was now lodged--right next to the heart of the woman he loved, beneath skin, bone and muscle. He, or someone else, would have to kill her to stop her.
Once I was done, Revan shook his head, weeping silently. "Well. What now?"
"Try one more time," I said softly, "to exorcise the presence from your head. You are Revan, the former Dark Lord of the Sith! Your power exceeds mine, exceeds that of all the Jedi I've ever known. If you can't do it, who can? I'll help you." I slid off a part of my tunic sleeve and rolled it up into a tube-like shape. "Bite down on this," I said. "From what you've said, it's going to hurt, but I'll be here every step of the way." Revan did so. "Raz--dva--tri!"
On the count of three, which I had just ticked off, anguish consumed us. Red, hot, all-encompassing pain. Fighting the impulse to soil myself or pass out from the agony, I ripped off a part of my other sleeve and bit down on it. We strove together, fighting against the blinding hell of what we knew was a malevolent Force presence, a controlling voice of Darkness that walked in the guise of Light. We held on to each other tightly. I even let Revan squeeze my neck and try to strangle me, for that was what he needed to do in order to fight the agent in his mind--until I actually did almost faint. In the end, however, neither of us could break the hold that the Rakatan artifact inside of Bastila held on us. Or, rather, Revan had the hold--I had the guilt.
"No," said Revan, reeking of sweat and fluid. He'd wet himself, and so had I.
Our last chance had evaporated, and we could no longer help ourselves.
The last thing we felt before the sweet black depths of unconsciousness came to give us rest was the medical droid scrubbing us with eight heavily-lathered cleansing cloths apiece. We must have smelled worse than Hutts, but did our stench equal that of Bastila and the anguish she controlled at will?
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