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Mickey

Short Story: "veiled Fate"

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Mickey

here's the cast, the prologue should be up when I finish it tomorrow.

Dramatis Personae

Sol-Lum Spirous; Human male, Coruscant; Jedi Padawan under Nilour

Toran Leyaro; Human male, Onderon; Jedi Padawan under Nilour

Nilour Samasca; Human male, Alderaan; Jedi Master and Republic General

Vlasin Sohmz; Human male, unknown; Jedi Master and Republic General, former master to Nilour

Vigoross Dyle; Human male, Mandalore; Jedi Padawan under Vlasin

Setting: The Sith War

it's first person, cause well, that's just what I do

The Prologue is now finished, so please make any comments or constructive criticism, so I can make changes before I start the Chapter One.

Thank You

Edited by Jaerstein Cysse

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Mickey

Completed Chapter

Prologue

The tremble of the old ship sent a jolt through my body and stirred me from my rest. I arose from my bed and donned my robes. My fellow Padawan, Toran, awoke as well, as I could feel his consciousness through the Force.

?Toran, I sense we are making planetfall.? I moved over towards his bunk and helped him gather his things, ?Master wants us to report to the cockpit for our briefing.? My master?s calling was received in my mind moments before.

?Then we mustn?t keep him waiting.? Toran looked down at his utility belt, dejectedly, as he picked it up.

?I feel an odd emotion in you, Toran. Do you care to discuss something??

?I don?t know. I feel you may think differently of me if you were to hear the true nature of my emotions,? he stammered slightly, letting onto the seriousness of his problem.

?Toran, there is no emotion, there is peace. Perhaps if you could tell me, we could discover the root of your problem and eliminate it.? I tried to coax him. I knew I would be able to help him with any problem he had, we had been training at the academy together since the beginning and trust was not a mutual feeling we lacked.

?Sol-Lum, you have excelled in your training, progressed much faster than I ever could. And I have not.? He looked at me with a gaze that warranted sympathy. ?And don?t try to blame it on my shorter training time ? there is something I heard about you, something I wasn?t meant to hear and should never repeat, but I feel you deserve to know.?

An ill feeling crept through my body; I knew I didn?t want to hear anymore. ?Look can?t this be saved for another time? Our mission is quite pressing and neither of us needs something distracting our minds.? He began to refute my words, ?regardless of what had been said about me, it should not be any grounds for you feeling inferior. We are equals and I will stand on that plane with you until the end of the universe.?

?Yes, I suppose your words are true. You have been a great friend to me, even a mentor at times, and I will always fight at your side.?

?We shouldn?t keep Master waiting,? I picked up my lightsaber. I had named it Scintilla when I first built it, it was a word from old Couscanti meaning: the shiner of light. I named it because of my strong connection with the light side, and firm devotion to the following of its morals. The blade was a deep violet and it protruded from the center of three large golden blade guards that swept back down the black hilt to function as small hand guards. I clipped it to my belt and we left the bunkroom.

We strode through the steel halls of the old freighter, bare, cold and colorless. We reached the cockpit and the captain informed us to strap in the acceleration seats. We obliged, no more words were exchanged.

The planet before us was one I didn?t recognize. It appeared to be green and lush, with vast blue-green oceans. We burst through the wispy clouds of the atmosphere, and the shipped shuddered on its way down.

?There, there is where we will put down,? Master Samasca pointed to coastline of continent lying before us.

?Yes, master Jedi.? The pilot?s hands flew smoothly over the controls as he brought the ship into the final stage of descent. ?I will move the Mestine Cruiser to a secure location after you disembark. Just use the comlink when you need pick-up.?

I stretched my senses out towards the small location on the vast planet surface Master Samasca indicated. A wave of cold, of darkness, shot through my body, etching its hold on my very being. I held it in, unsure of what it may be, and apprehensive to ask.

?That sounds fine Captain, we thank you for your service. Come my students, let us move to our briefing, in my chambers.? He unbuckled from his seat and moved out of the cockpit, we duplicated his actions and followed him to his quarters. We walked in silence and stood at attention when we reached the room.

Master heaved a heavy sigh, and turned to face us. ?As you know my former master Vlasin Sohmz and his pupil Vigoross disappeared not to long ago.?

My gaze fell to the floor; solemnly I recalled when I?d heard the news that my friend Vigoross had disappeared. ?Master there is something you should know about Vigoross? disappearance.?

?What is it Sol-Lum?? Concern furrowed his brow as I raised my eyes to meet his.

?I had a strong connection in the force with him, as I do with most of my fellow pupils. And a few days before we received the news ? I lost the connection.? A pang of hurt tinged my body. ?Master, I fear he is dead.?

?I understand your concern, I too lost the connection I had with Master Sohmz. But we must attempt to find them anyways,? Master continued. ?You may have guessed by now, but that is our mission at hand. This world is the one they left for a few weeks back. They were investigating reports of Dark Force users.?

Toran responded, ?So is this a rescue mission, or will we continue their probe?? A wave of distress emanated from him, ?You don?t think the Dark Ones were here and murdered them??

?There is much we don?t know, we must solve this mystery as we search for our fellow Jedi.? The ship rumbled briefly. ?I suppose that means we have set down. Gather all that you need, we are to journey out shortly.?

?Yes, Master,? Toran and I assented and returned to our quarters.

We eased our way down the extended boarding ramp and were embraced by the warm humid air. The trees shot into the sky, not extremely high, but of adequate size to block most of our sight. The forested area was teeming with the sounds of living beings.

?Do you recognize this planet at all, Sol-Lum?? Toran scanned the land before us.

?I believe I overheard master saying that this was a backwater Outer Rim planet, uncharted, unnamed.? I shifted my eyes to him, ?This is reported to be one of the havens of Mandalorians, some of the worst.? My thoughts dwelled on my peer, Vigoross Dyle, a strong Jedi but one with an ancestry of violence and aggression. Perhaps he succumbed to his heritage on this very planet; perhaps the Mandalorians lured his dark potential from his being ? but would that explain the loss of connection I felt? I knew so little of the Dark Side.

?Sol-Lum?? Toran?s voice removed from my deep thoughts. ?Master is coming, let?s focus. I don?t want to be reprimanded for gazing our thoughts to the horizons, again.?

?Agreed,? I cracked a half smile as I recalled one of our early training experiences.

?My apprentices, do you sense any presences?? Master Samasca?s voice came from behind us, already knowing the answer.

?Yes, master.? The words were from my mouth, almost entranced: I spoke. ?I felt the Dark Side, in the cockpit when you pointed out the landing area. It seemed too large to be centered around a single being, even two. I fear the worst, may have befallen our comrades.?

?Yes I felt the strong pull of the darkness, that is why I chose to land here and begin our search. The ship?s sensors pickup some buildings in that area, they most likely are a Mandalorian enclave that has been reported in this area, or as would be the most unpleasant of circumstances, Sith ruins.? His expression grew grim, ?My students, you must remain true to what you have learned, true to the light. Remember your training, do not be tempted by the Dark Side, its corruption is not easily undone, if mend at all.?

?Yes Master,? our heads bowed, we assented.

?Very well then.? He unclipped his comlink from his belt, ?Master Samasca to Captain Lohden, we have disembarked, you may proceed to the landing position.?

?Copy that, Master Jedi.? The crackle came over the comlink.

We trekked through the thick foliage of the forest, our robes and attire clinging damply to our bodies in the humid air. It was dark in the lower levels of the forest, dark enough that we used our lightsabers to guide our path during the middle of the day. Native creatures would periodically scuttle across our path, but nothing of a size to threaten our party. After what seemed to have been a few hours, the forest began to thin out and eventually recede into a clearing. What was in the clearing stopped us in our tracks. Jutting up into the sky was a metal and stone monstrosity that looked to be more animal than building. It appeared to be rearing its angry head at the wispy clouds above it.

?I guess both your predictions were correct Master,? I observed, noticing that the durasteel seemed to be newly erected to repair the decrepit stone temple beneath it.

?Master I believe it would be wise if we exercise extreme caution and stealth, from this point forward,? Toran spoke low. ?I have been meditating and I feel that I would be able to get optimal use from my Force Cloak.?

?I believe you have a grand point my Padawan.? Master Samasca confirmed, as if expecting the suggestion. ?It is unlikely that there are any Force Sensitive enemies within that compound, but I am not one to take unnecessary risks. You may proceed.?

I watched in awe as Toran closed his eyes and drew the Force around him. The Force swirled about him in a cloud that I could feel, and then just as suddenly as it had appeared, the Force was gone. It was as if we had stumbled upon a void in the universe, a tear in the continual fabric of life.

Toran stated calmly, ?I feel I can hold this for an ample amount of time. But we shouldn?t waste it, let?s move.?

The grandeur of Toran?s power was one that was unequalled among our fellow Padawans. Only few of the great masters were currently able to exude a Force Cloak of this great utility. Not only did it conceal us from detection through the Force, but through detection of the visual nature. We moved across the opening effectively invisible. I glanced over to Toran from time to time, our earlier conversation still dwelling in my mind, a look of satisfied concentration seemingly permanently affixed to his features.

The temple formed a cylindrical base with massive reinforced stone doors on opposing sides. We neared the nearest of the two doors and slipped over to the side of the door behind a small outcropping in the base walls.

?How do we enter the fortress? These doors are well sealed and they will surely notice our presence if we were to just open them.? My master again posed a question for which he had answers, but felt it more productive to allow us to give the answer.

?We draw upon the Force and leap to the next level, over the base walls.? The notion had been in my mind since I?d first seen the temple.

Despite the natural way my Master carried on with his training techniques, his evaluating our field skills and decision making, I sensed that the danger secured behind these temple walls was of dire consequence. And I pondered whether my Master Samasca thought the same.

?I will let down the Cloak, but we must immediately jump to the top of the wall and regroup under the guise of the Cloak,? Toran interjected his words into my thoughts.

The action was performed flawlessly, and we began to scour the exterior of this level for some sort of venting outlet. A metal grate, that appeared to be recently installed, caught my eye. ?There, is our entrance.? I pointed to the vent, and we moved over. My lightsaber?s blade made quick work of it.

It was a tight fit. We were forced to lie almost completely flat on our stomachs and shimmy our way along the ancient stone duct. Toran was in the middle, with Master Samasca leading the way. A few times I was able to catch a glance of Toran allowing the strain of his efforts break through the thick fa?ade he often used. He had too much pride in himself to allow me the knowledge that his power wasn?t infinite.

That worried me.

I began to hear voices from up ahead, and I believed that I recognized them. That could mean only one thing. We must be nearing the detention area. As we drew closer I began to make out the words more clearly. They didn?t sound distressed or in any form of discomfort, that was unusual.

Master Samasca came to a halt, and I saw him shift his body around to get a better look down in the metal grating that covered the opening. The voices were clear now, and they were definitely those of Vigoross and Master Sohmz. I listened closely and studied the reactions on the face of my master.

?? and I want you, General Jehm, leading the first infantry unit onto the battle field. This is as per orders of Lord Mandalore himself, and he has put my apprentice and myself in position to command all the fleets stationed on this outpost. But before we disembark for the rendezvous point, I want General Srit to take a small force out to the site of that off-world ship landing, and eliminate those wayward smugglers.? The expression on Nilour Samasca?s face shifted from pleased to surprised to one of fear and anger.

I tried to stop him, but he lost the command of his will. In one dark moment he powered on his lightsaber and forced it through the durasteel grate. He flung his body through the opening and hit the floor rolling like a raging fireball of fury. Toran?s Force Cloak had slipped during this shocking turn of events and I felt Nilour draw on the Force. A shockwave shook the stones around me and I scrambled up to the opening in time to see that he flung all the occupants of the room to the floor.

?Toran,? I looked my friend in the eyes, ?you need to get to the communications center in this facility and send word to the Fleet.?

He opened his mouth to dispute my words, and I closed them. ?The Republic is in grave danger,? I decided to be more tactful towards his weakness. ?We need a hero, you getting this information the Fleet is the most imperative objective at this point.?

?What are you going to do? Pull out your saber and save the day like a true Jedi hero?? He questioned, unconvinced.

?No, I?m going to do my best to impede them so that you can save the day. You are better equipped for handling the comm unit, I suppose I?m better suited to die fighting these evil beings.?

He started to continue the argument, but I threw him a single look, one that showed the seriousness of my words and made no attempt to show my fear of my impending fate. He scrambled away, and I leapt into the fray. Toran?s cloak had fallen completely away from me, and the Force flooded through me. I staggered backward as the brunt of all the life hit me. This temple was teeming with beings.

I powered up Scintilla and took my ready stance. The Mandalorian warriors were still incapacitated and Nilour was engaged with the two lost Jedi. Vigoross spotted me, and flew at me, his red blade flashing toward mine with fury. He made an aggressive yet predictable attack with an overhead slash to my head. I rolled to the side and swung a slash at his legs. He had been training, that much was clear. He deflected my blade to the side and stared angrily at me.

?My old friend Sol-Lum, ? he started. ?You of all those I knew should realize the Sith way is too powerful to be stopped. Especially by one using the limited powers of the Lightside.?

?There is one Force, that we both draw on, you have just chosen the side of it that stands for all that is evil.? I stood my ground, hoping my words would make sense to him. He was too far lost, though, for such a brief statement to take affect. He let out a Mandalorian war cry and charged again.

He came again with his overhead power attack, but I sensed it as a feint. He pulled back his saber and stabbed toward my midsection, I spun to the side, my saber sweeping out to knock his away and then I pulled my weapon toward me to strike a blow. A quick recovery allowed Vigoross to move his weapon back to parry mine, and he pressed my with a quick set of slashes and hacks. The wall was near my back; I could sense it, The Force coursed through me and into my legs. It powered me into a twisting flip over my opponent?s head. I swung the saber at home as I passed, and he deflected as he turned. But he was unable to predict the hard kick I threw at his face when I landed. The force behind it flung him into the wall and dropped him to his backside.

Momentarily stunned, I saw that as my opening on him. His grip was loosened on his saber?s hilt, I focused my mind on it, and it flew to my hand.

He sat there, anger boiling in his eyes, ?Go ahead, you have me now. You may strike me down now, but you cannot stop the wave of the Sith that will sweep through this galaxy and destroy all that you believe to be righteous.? He spat the words at me, his darkness blazing through the Force.

?You were once my friend Vigoross, you were once a promising Jedi, search within you to find what was once your true self.? I tried desperately to coax him, even drawing on the persuasive nature of the Force. The clashing of Nilour and Vlasin?s lightsabers attempted to disrupt my concentration. I could sense the heated battle raging behind me, and a shifting essence of my Master?s aura. I pushed the perception from my mind and looked back on Vigoross.

?I?m a Mandalorian, Sol-Lum, we are warriors. I found my identity, and it doesn?t involve your weak order of cowards.?

?Your continue to surprise me with your lack of realization, Vigoross. We Jedi are warriors too. But we fight for more than raw bloodlust and savage pride. The Mandalorians may be fierce, but they lack the honor we Jedi do.? I moved in closer to emphasize my point, ?I fight for the light, I fight against the evils in this galaxy. Stand with me Vigoross, for there is great honor in this fight.?

?Perhaps I have become that evil for which you stand so valiantly against,? his expressions softened and my perception of him in the Force shifted, shifted away from the hate-filled being he was only moments ago.

?Yes, you can feel your true personality ebbing through, coax it; allow it to retake you.? A sudden tremor of darkness swept through me, I staggered and turned to face the source.

My master Nilour was kneeled before his former master, Vlasin. There was no lightsaber in Master Samasca?s hand, but there were two in Vlasin?s. The former apprentice had his head bowed to his old master, in a submissive pose that sent chills down my spine.

?You beg for my acceptance, now, but I still doubt your loyalty.? The fallen Jedi Master shifted his eyes to meet mine, ?Perhaps I have a way to prove your conversion.?

?Anything my master,? the disturbing utterance came from Nilour.

?Kill your apprentice. Strike him down with the power of the Dark Side. That will validate you allegiance to our ways.?

?Master?? he questioned warily.

?Sith don?t question! They destroy!? Crossing his arms, he stepped back. ?Without your lightsaber.? He added as Nilour glanced at him.

?Master Samasca what are you doing?!? My eyes shot from Nilour to Vlasin and back behind me to Vigoross. Vigoross rose to his feet and brushed past me, roughly, taking his side by Vlasin. ?You don?t want this Master,? I pleaded and backed up slowly.

His eyes grew dark as they tore into me. Deliberately, he drew his hands up in front of his body. Before I could scream, jolts ripped through my body and sent me to the ground. Agony engulfed my nerves and silenced my voice. I writhed in pain, unable to do any more. The electricity from Nilour?s hands, from the maliciousness of his very soul, pulsed through every fiber of my being.

Then there was a pause, I let out a scream and looked in the hideously deranged visage of my master. I struggled to breath; pain and oxygen filled my lungs with each gasp. A single word escaped my panting lips, ?Why??

?I have touched the power my apprentice. Before I thought I was a servant to the Force, now I am above it. It is my tool and my servant, if only you could have realized that.? His eyes narrowed on me, and the ghostly shadows of the other two now cloaked Sith folded around me. His words came slowly and methodically, ?Maybe it isn?t to late. Maybe you can still realize you full potential.? He ebbed persuasion in his words.

?What have you become?? I rasped.

The ground shook hard, the whole temple rocked and stones crumbled a bit. The three fallen Jedi looked around in confusion. Bewilderment was betrayed in there eyes.

?They?re here already!? Vlasin spat. ?Raise the unconscious warriors, we must move out immediately.? He turned to Nilour and lowered his voice to the most malevolent tone he could conjure, ?Finish this one.?

Energy surged through my body again. As my vision faded to black and my mind slipped into unconsciousness, Nilour?s cackled echoed through my mind.

Edited by Jaerstein Cysse

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Andy

Sounds good so far. :)

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Mickey

is the style of dialog effective? I tried to make it to really emphasize that this is a period where the jedi are well educated mediators and prominent figures in the Republic.

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Mickey

is this interesting at all so far? Because I fear the story may not have enough action to carry it through all the dialogue and philosophizing done by the main character

and if any one has some plot suggestions, I'm making final revisions to the outline right now. That's why its taking so long, although I have the prologue throught first half of ch. 1 laid out

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chozen

hahahaha.. You've got a Dramatis Personae. haha. nice one

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Andy

Easily pleased, I see.

*makes note: To get good reviews from Chozen, just add a Dramatis Personae*

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Mickey

so I finished the prologue ... any thoughts would help me out alot. *cough* bump *cough*

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Mickey

here is ...

Chapter 1

I was slightly dazed when I awoke. Only scattered images and sounds remained in my mind of what had occurred before. How long ago was that? Hours? Days? The most terrible vision ran through my mind?s eye on a continuous loop, and no matter how I tried I could not drive it from my consciousness.

There stood my master, hovering above me, a terrible rage burning in his eyes. He laughed, and rained down upon me a terrible pain, Force lightning filled the space between us. The vision was so vivid I could still feel the anguish.

I heard the hiss of a door opening and allowed myself to fully open my eyes and take in the room I was in. The sanitary white of the medical facility, I was in, temporarily blinded me, but my eyes quickly adjusted enough to where I could see a medical droid and a cloaked figure making their way slowly across the large room.

The presence of the cloaked figure was one I quickly recognized, and eagerly anticipated since I had awoken. Toran lowered his hood as my eyes focused on his face.

?I see you have recovered well enough my friend, welcome back to Dantooine.? his face hinted at something, something troubling.

?Yes, I think so. It?s great to see you made it out of that place, but I?m not so sure how I made it out myself.?

?When you sent me to contact the fleet, I found they?d already arrived. The Council uncovered new intelligence shortly after they sent us on our mission. A back-up fleet was only hours behind us. They had to raze the Mandalorian?s hangar bay, which must have caused some of the temple to collapse. We managed to locate you lying unconscious under a pile of rubble.? He paused for a moment, sorrow coming over him. ?I?m afraid we were unable to find master Sohmz, however.?

I lowered my eyes, unable to bring them to bear on my fellow Padawan, ?He fell, Toran.?

?You?you mean he was killed?? In his mind he immediately knew what I meant. An overcast look came over my face as I drew the strength to hold his gaze. ?No!? Spring from his kneeling position he threw his hands to his head and began shaking, until he dropped to his knees in a sob.

The bond between a Master and his students was one of the only bonds a Jedi knew. His reaction was not unexpected; his whole world had just collapsed around him. ?Toran, perhaps we should retire to our quarters and have some time to let this enter our grasps, and for some much needed meditation.? I slid of the recovery bay bed and help Toran to his feet.

?Yes, yes that would be the best right now.?

I was back in the Mandalorian temple; everything was as it had felt. In this meditative state I was able to access the situation as one would access data from a datacard. The scene played out in the state I was in, as if it was a holo. I sought the moment when I was battling Vigoross, and first felt the change in my master.

I was at that moment. My sense attuned to the aura my master projected, his presence was easily found, yet wasn?t how I?d anticipated. I expected the Force to be a cloud of darkness around him, a ?different Force than I knew to recognize. But it wasn?t

This is odd, I thought, wait a minute, I wonder ?

Redirecting my exploration, I delved into the essence of Vlasin himself. There, I found the darkness.

So the darkness comes from the master himself, and is not tied directly to the Force itself, my contemplation continued. Could it be that the darkness we feel in the Force is not the Force itself, but the shadow a dark One casts upon the Force. Does this mean there is no ?darkside,? only ?dark ones??

My mind raced trying to find any exceptions to this new notion. Darkside specific powers? If those can truly be used only with the darkside, then that would eliminate any reality that these heretical thoughts may hold. After all, could the Jedi philosophy, one that has held true for thousands of years, be so disastrously wrong? There was no way I could have stumbled upon something of that magnitude, but nonetheless I needed to do more research.

?Sol-Lum,? the words and presence of Toran stirred me from my meditative state. ?I think there is something I must explain to you.?

?What is Toran,? I prodded his mind. ?This is about the conversation we had on the ship before landing.?

?Yes, I must share some information with you. I felt that I needed to hold it from you longer, but with this new change in events I find it to be most imperative that you know the truth.?

?Very well,? taking his unspoken command I closed my eyes and reentered my trance. Toran shortly joined me and a link was formed. We hung momentarily in a position of nothingness, and then a vision slowly faded into view. Immediately, I recognized the Jedi Council chamber here on Dantooine. Several of the masters were gathered around sitting in their ceremonial chairs. I could tell a discussion was taking place but I was unable to make out the words. The vision reshaped, as the vantage point moved closer to the gathering, words were now coherent.

?We were wrong about the last one, that much is true.? The figure resembling Master Jin?Am Bascou stated, dejectedly. ?The fall of Exar Kun was unexpected and has left us in confusion.?

?I still believe the information to be accurate, or more accurately, our interpretations.? The great master, Vodo Siosk-Baas, began. ?I still believe that the prophecy of the Chosen One is, as indicated by our translations, would place the time of his birth to be near the same time my apprentice was born. It could even be that Exar is still the Chosen One, and in his inevitable redemption he will fulfill his destiny.?

?You are far too optimistic, Vodo. There is one thing I must note on this issue: my apprentice was born at approximately the same time as Exar, and as we all have observed he is extremely devoted to the preservation and defense of the light.? The face of the speaker was a blur, at first, but it slowly focused into a face that sent chills down my spine. My master. His words began to take meaning in my consciousness, the chills spread. I panic and broke from the trance.

?Where did this?what are you trying to do here?? I shouted at Toran, anger slipped into my words.

He spoke calmly, ?I suppose I should have explained the situation before I showed you this. I was testing my Force Cloak here, in the academy, when I ran across the council members having this conversation with our master. I knew it was wrong to eavesdrop in this way, but I couldn?t help when I overheard what had happened to Exar.?

?What did happen to Exar, Toran??

?They said he left. He left the Order.? His voice trembled as he struggled forth with the answer. ?He is a Sith Lord, the most powerful in ages. The Council fears that he may bring an end to all we know. We are at war, at war with the Sith.?

?Let me see the rest,? closing my eyes and relaxing, I slipped back into the semi-conscious.

Vlasin?s figure resolved into my mind once again. He continued where he left off.

?Sol-Lum Spirous has proved to be very adept in all the aspects of Force usage. And like Exar, we have been unable to locate what could?ve been his father. I spoke with Sol-Lum?s mother shortly after she birthed him, back on Coruscant. She spoke in confusion on the matter of how she became pregnant, but unfortunately she died unexpectedly during our brief conversation. Doctor?s were never able to determine the cause, which only adds to the mystery surrounding this young man.?

?Why did you never share this information with us before?? Vodo leveled his eyes at him suspiciously.

?The prophecy was never brought to my attention until only a few years ago, when Exar began to show his power.? Vlasin hesitated for a moment. ?Will Sol-Lum remain under my tutelage? I feel I have much more that I can teach, and he has shown no inclination for darkness.?

?That he will, Master Samasca. You are getting a bit ahead of yourself, I fear. But nonetheless we will examine this pupil of yours extensively. Until then, we want you to make sure he doesn?t explore or engage in anything pertain to the darkside.?

?You have my word, Master?s of the Council.? Vlasin bowed and turned slowly, leaving the room and the council. As his silhouette faded down the adjoining hallway, the vision itself turned back into the black of meditation.

?You see, my friend, this has changed everything.? Toran spoke as I opened eyes.

?No, it changes nothing. I?m still a Jedi; they said there was no certainty behind the claims that I am The Chosen One. If I was to bring balance to Force ? would my own master have fallen to the darkside?? I leveled my eyes at him, and he held the look, but his eyes gazed deeper than my face.

?You know something.? Toran probed, ?Something you discovered only shortly ago in meditation.?

My eyes shifted as I tried to drive my thoughts deep enough to avoid his peering.

?It concerns the nature of the Force itself.? His light-hearted expression quickly faded into an almost fearful look.

?I have,? conceding the knowledge was something I knew to be right; Toran was my most trustworthy ally. ?I returned to the duel I had with Vigoross and Vlasin. I focused my senses on the living Force within them. As we would expect to find a darker form of the force, an aggressive anger filled emanation of the energy field to which we are familiar. I was shocked. I found the same aura around them as around any other Jedi. The difference came in my reading of the fallen themselves. The anger was only in them, the darkside wasn?t fueling it, it wasn?t producing it, and it wasn?t even encouraging it in the slightest. It didn?t exist.?

As my analysis was turned over in his mind, Toran started to show his disbelief. ?Are you saying that the Order is wrong? That their teachings that have been held for thousands of years, are erroneous??

?I dwell upon the notion that very few of them have actually touched the evil, as I have.?

?And if the council is correct ? this makes sense Sol-Lum, these developments make complete sense. Your findings could be the factor that allow you to fulfill your destiny, this could bring balance to the Force.?

?We should not discuss those simple deliberations of our master, perhaps he has been planning this all along. Perhaps this whole thing was a rouse just to turn two powerful students as ourselves to the Sith ways!? As the train of thought ran through my mind, anger began to boil up in my voice. Could it be true? Have we been setup? ?Toran, it is time we began our journey do discover the truth. We must track Vlasin down, and then do what will be necessary.?

?Have you become delusional? Do you really think the council will allow us to chase around the galaxy, two untrained Padawans? No, Sol-Lum, I fear this vendetta your are planning in you mind will not happen.?

I could feel his slight probe into my thoughts, and I projected another notion, letting him know the rest of my plan without saying a word.

?We have been friends since the start, but I don?t know if I can join you on that venture.? His mixed emotions were a cold wave that flowed through my senses.

?They don?t need to know everything, we can sign on for a small mission. And the training we need to do can take place in some wild area outside of the Jedi compound. Secrecy is attainable with your skills.?

?We need a lot of preparation,? acceptance of the plan showed through in his now smiling face. ?I will go to the council and find out what missions they have planned for, perhaps, a month from now.?

It had been a few days since my revelation. I had spent the days in recovery, meditating myself and mind back to good health. The time had come for Toran and I to began to prepare. Apprehension and confusion still drifted in my mind, as I ponder whether or not to reveal my discovery to the council. But upon discussing it with Toran, we agreed that it was something better confessed at a later time.

It was early morning, and the sun was just rising over the distant horizon, stretching the width of the hilly plains of Dantooine. Taking my daily constitution was a way to escape from the confines of the enclave, and also to scout a bit. Scout for an alternate training place, for Toran and my mission. The road ahead was filled with the looming dangers of fierce battle, and we were in desperate need of a place to practice combative and aggressive training away from the disapproving eyes of the council.

The light breeze cooled my skin and rustled the wavy grass and shrubbery, as I crested a small hill. I noticed an outcropping in a rocky wall running along the small butte in front of me. I quickened my running pace, hoping it would be a suitable location. Darkness filled the inside of the deep cave, but I continued in.

It was moist inside, the floors and walls a bit slippery. Drops of water fell onto the craggy stone as the dark path led down deeper into the ground. I reached out with my senses to find any life that may be in the cave, and found nothing. The narrow path soon broke into a large anteroom, dimly lit with some sort of glowing lichen and with a few coves formed into the walls. It was perfect.

I pulled my comlink from my belt pouch and tuned it to Toran?s code. ?I?ve found what we were looking for. Perhaps you should bring a pack and take a run out to meet me.?

?I was just in the process of preparing some things.? Toran?s voice rarely showed any surprise any more. It seemed the longer we spent training together, the more fused our minds grew. ?You will lead me? Or do I need directions??

?Just take the Northeast exit from the temple, and follow my presence. Of course,? I added with a wry grin he couldn?t see, but I knew he sensed.

Breathing in the fresh air, I took another look around. We needed better lighting, but this was definitely the quarters we sought, to begin our journey.

It took a few hours, and a couple of trips back to temple, with bulging packs, but we had gotten the training room set up. A modest dwelling understated it. But the prefab chairs and tables, and a little more light, provided all we needed. Hopefully no one at the academy would notice these things gone missing.

It was nearing dusk outside. But as the day came to an end, our training met its beginning. I retrieved my lightsaber, Scintilla. The last time I?d even held its bare hilt in my hand, was when we confronted our fallen friends. The cold of the metal portrayed the cold I felt in my gut, as images flooded back to me. Nearly stumbling back, I caught myself and forced those painful memories from my mind.

?Advancing our combat techniques could be considered of the darkside.? Toran?s voice sounded like a soft whisper in my focused mind, yet it jarred me from my thoughts.

?Which is exactly why we must advance our skills. If they have intensive focus on combat, then they are better prepared for any confrontations.? There could be a few, but in my mind there was only one confrontation in the future. ?And why this secure location was important to us. I must warn you on one thing, however, dueling and training can and will become very intense and emotional at times. So we must be conscious of our proximity to the temple. The masters will surely sense any amount of pain we emanate.?

?You?re right, I will control myself.?

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