KOTOR III: TRET'YE SRAZHENIE (THIRD BATTLE)
Chapter IV: Aftermath
Many people on Dantooine believed that the Jedi lived sheltered lives, meditating away their days and years behind the cloistered walls of the ivy-covered Enclave. They didn't have to deal with such things as drought, hunger, dwindling profits from the diminishing export trade, the breakup of families through divorce and the death of loved ones. Or so they thought...
The Enclave was still reeling from the death of Visas Marr--not only a Master, but one of the most respected and well-loved Jedi there. The Padawans commonly compared their teachers to various parts of the body: Brianna and Mical, formerly known as the Handmaiden and the Disciple, were the muscles, since they were Jedi Guardians. Mira and Atton Rand were the brains, seeing as they were Sentinels. As for Visas--the young ones' wisdom had it that she was the heart, since she was the one who laid her finger on the pulse of the galaxy through her visions and meditations in the Force. Now Visas was gone, and the Enclave seemed to have lost the pulse that kept it beating. Younglings wandered around listlessly, the very youngest holding their thumbs in their mouths. The Padawans fell into two main camps: one had taken to bickering and fighting amongst themselves because of all the pent-up emotions they had not been allowed to express over Visas' death. The other camp succumbed to boredom and apathy about their training. Which camp was better than the other? It was hard to say.
Atton Rand, for one, had had enough. It wasn't his
Enclave to run, to be sure, but what was he supposed to do--let everything go by the wayside and be swallowed up by everyone's grief? That wouldn't do at all, and he knew it. Thus, he called an emergency meeting in the Courtyard that absolutely everyone had to attend, from the youngest to the eldest. This was not something that the Jedi could afford to ignore or sweep under the rug. He stood in front of everyone, lightsaber in hand, glowing golden.
"This is ridiculous," Atton grumbled, bowing and shaking his ebony-haired head. "What are we all doing? Self-destructing because of--what? Because Visas died? We're all supposed to remember--there is no death; there is the Force!
Why do we seem to have forgotten that? We're supposed to let go and move on. Why aren't we doing that? We're supposed to be training, learning, helping, living life!
Instead, what are we all about? We're moping around, sinking into lethargy and sucking our thumbs!" The littlest Younglings cringed, trying to hide behind the taller Jedi in their secret shame. Some of the older ones started to snicker, but that was their unfortunate mistake. Atton noticed this, and it only served to increase his anger. "You Padawans are no better!" he shouted. "Half of you are sullen, and half of you are so bored that you barely get yourselves out of bed every day! I'm sick of it!" He deactivated his lightsaber. "From now on, I'm going to institute a regimen of training that would make even Mandalorians blush."
"Is that really necessary, Master?" A soft voice had spoken: Zakal's.
"You bet it is, Padawan. Even for those of you who aren't giving in to either grief or rage, and keeping your minds on your studies, you'll still have to do this. This means getting up at 0600 hours on the dot, breakfast at 0700, and training from morning till night, along with attending classes." Muffled groans erupted. "I don't want to hear it. You all have done enough complaining in the past, and if this continues, we're not going to be Jedi Knights. We're just going to be a bunch of selfish whiners who are no different from the rest of the people in this galaxy. You want that to happen? Do you? Huh?"
"Excuse me," said another Padawan female, raising her hand, "but I do not believe this is the proper way to deal with our feelings. We need to speak of Visas Marr--what she meant to us, how she helped us, and how she changed our lives. We don't need this new training regimen, at least not until we debrief. We're all paralyzed with sorrow and unnamed fears, and I suggest that talking is a better way to handle what we're all facing right now."
Atton's eyes blazed. "Who spoke?" The Padawan stepped forward. "Who do you think you are, Becca Solis? Are you one of the Masters here, that you can dictate what we'll do here at the Enclave? The last time I checked, you weren't." He put his right hand on his hip. "Sit down, Padawan. I don't want to have to put you on the roster for disciplinary action right now."
"Very well, Master," Becca replied, "but I humbly suggest that the best way for me to help in this situation is to locate the Force presence of which I heard Visas Marr speak in her dying words. I'll try to find out what killed her, along with Padawans Zakal and Galon Klivian. Visas herself is sending us on this mission, and she told us about it even before her death. Just ask Master Bao-Dur. He was with us when Visas revealed it, and when she died."
"Is this true?" sneered Atton, glaring at Bao-Dur, and the Iridonian nodded.
"Fine, then. Go. Go on your stupid mission. The rest of you--you're with me, and I won't tolerate any insubordination anymore. You always thought that Master Atton was 'the fun one', the 'nice guy' as opposed to Bao-Dur and Mical? No more. You're going to wish you never had me as a Master, and when I'm through with you, you're going to thank me for being the best Jedi Sentinels in the entire galaxy!" His face felt like the surface of Mustafar. "Fall out! This regimen starts tomorrow, so get some shut-eye and be prepared!"
Atton clenched his hands into fists as he tried to block out the murmurs of "That's not fair!" and "Who made Becca Solis queen of the galaxy, that she gets to go sprinting off somewhere and we're stuck here?" The straw that broke the bantha's back, however, was one Brun Carral and his advice:
"You would do well to spend some time alone, meditating upon what makes us Jedi different from the Sith." Brun's tone was humble, his insight wise.
Atton stormed off, never having been more disgusted with the young Jedi under his tutelage--or with himself, for that matter, having been a Sith...