Jade's Scion: Chapter 37 — Valin Rating: PG

Valin sits on the couch, his feet up on the table in front of him. He frowns slightly as his sister walks from her cabin to the cockpit, and shuts the door. When he starts to get up, Cal appears before him.

"Hello young Jedi."

Valin frowns at her. "Cal, right?"

"That's right."

Valin gives a quick glance to the cockpit door, before settling back into his seat. "What can I do for you Cal?"

A smile flickers on the old woman's face. "I just wonder if you are prepared for what the Force holds in store for us."

"I am a Jedi. The Force is my ally, and as such I am prepared for anything."

Cal lifts an eyebrow slightly. "How could you hope to know what we are about to face? How could you hope; when you have never walked in the dark places of the galaxy? I have traveled from one side of this galaxy to the other, visited the darkest parts of the galaxy." She pauses and a faraway look flickers into her eyes. After a moment she focuses once more onto Valin. "I've been to the shadows, to the places where the Dark Side is so strong one can feel it crawling on the skin, and I don't feel that I'm ready."

Valin straightens, interested in what the old woman is saying. "And what do you think is coming?"

She spreads her hands. "What is always coming? Pain, suffering, death, misery. The children of war these things are, and though we may not meet those we go to face on a field of battle with thousands of soldiers, have no doubt that we are marching steadfastly to war."

Valin can feel a frown cross his features. "Do you have a point?"

"Just this; beware the Dark Side. Anger, hate, fear, rage; they are powerful and seductive emotions, and can give you power while you fight and while you meditate. Yet that power is tainted and corrupting. The more you draw on it, the more you want to. The more you draw on it, the less you care about what you do with it."

Valin frowns, shoving the memory of his vision from his mind. "You're talking as if the Dark Side has a will of its own."

"All of you silly younglings, you all assume that the Dark Side is something that is entirely internal to yourself. That it is impossible for it to have an external component that actively tries to taint you, to draw you down that dark path. Have you never heard it whisper to you to use that power?"

Valin frowns, confusion etched onto his face. What Cal says makes sense to him, a lot of it, as he can remember hearing the Dark Side whisper temptations to use it. Yet it flies in the face of the past thirty years of Jedi training.

Valin heaves a sigh, and closes his eyes. "I must meditate on this."

"Do you mind if I joined you?"

Valin pauses, and then shakes his head. "Not at all."

Valin focuses on his meditation. It begins as a simple breathing exercise, one designed to clear the mind of distractions, to still it so the Force can be heard.

Breathe in. Breathe out.

Breathe in.

Valin sees the Jedi Temple on fire, turbolasers flashing from the sky. The impact of which, create huge gaping holes in the earth, vaporizing homes and people.

Breathe out. Breathe in.

A lightsaber duel. The two opponents, standing near one another, their sabers locked between them as the turbolasers rain down around them.

Breathe out. Breathe in.

Jysella being dragged into the green room. Her struggles futile, as the two men on either side of her have solid holds on her arms.

Breathe out. Breathe in.

Sannah writhing on the floor, she throws out a hand, and Valin notices the web that has started to stretch between the fingers.

Breathe out. Breathe in.

Valin standing in the midst of the Jedi Council, his head held low in defeat and shame. An overwhelming sense of finality slams into him, as the vision Valin turns and leaves the Council chambers.

Breathe out. Breathe in.

Valin opens his eyes, and can feel a frown start to creep onto his face. He is not on the smuggler's ship, but in the green room. Standing, he walks to one of the cylinders on the wall, and rubs away at the dust that coats it. He presses his hand against it, and can feel the Force, twisted and corrupted. Not the way the Dark Side corrupts, but different, as if something is manipulating the Force unnaturally, artificially.

He walks from one to the next, wondering just who is in each of them. Why they were chosen, what made them special.

He stops in front of the last container. It is empty and open. Valin frowns at it, as his thoughts drift back to what he was thinking about. And then he remembers the flashes he had received, and a new thought comes to him.

What makes his sister so special that she too will be placed in one of these things?

A sound from behind him attracts his attention, and he spins, seeing a man standing there, wearing dark red robes with a mask and cowl of the same color. He is holding a lighted saber, with a cyan blade and an oddly absent hum.

Valin pulls his saber, and ignites it. He savors the simple weight and feel; and the comforting thrumming sound that a lightsaber always makes.

The man in red lifts his blade in a salute, and anger erupts in Valin as he quickly closes the distance, and strikes at the man.

To Valin's amazement, the man does not react, and just allows the blade to cleave through him. The man crumples into two piles, and Valin reaches down and pulls away the mask.

Then just as quickly as the anger came if flees, leaving a cold horror in Valin's stomach as he stares into his own eyes.

Then with a gasp, Valin awakens from his meditations.

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