Japor — Chapter 3 Rating: PG-13

My dad brought in the best crime techs the GFFA had to offer. They picked that Grotto clean. The only traces of anyone they found were me, Tahiri, Jacen and Valin. It was interesting work, and I would have loved watching them do it, unfortunately I was needed for something else.

While the crime unit was playing in the Grotto, I received the joy of a good old fashioned, CorSec grilling. My Dad and Corran both wanted to know exactly where I had seen that symbol before. Corran looked about ready to yank the knowledge from my head by force, so I decided it would probably be best to tell them everything.

So I told them about the Japor icon. How I purchased it on Naboo, and gave it to Tahiri the day before. I told them about what I said while trying to be like Uncle Han, and then I told them about following her to that Grotto, and leaving after she asked me to.

As I was telling what happened, Corran sat down, and put his head into his hands. When I finished, he asked "Do you think Tahiri did it?" Whether he was asking my Dad or me, I was not sure.

Of course I answered no.

My dad answered "Riina could have."

With that, Corran got up and left, kicking a chair on his way out. His emotions were bubbling over like the magma found on Mt. Ossi, all reds, yellows, oranges and black. I looked at my Dad, but he did not look like he was willing to tell me anything, so I turned to Jacen and asked "Who is Riina?"

I knew that Tahiri had been tortured during the Vong war, in the same way that I knew that Jacen had been. Of course knowing something, never truly prepares you for when you learn the full impact of an event. I knew from a young age that I could not breathe water, but that did not prepare me to be held under the water until my lungs were screaming for oxygen. I was transfixed as Jacen laid out Tahiri's story. Of her capture on Yavin IV, Anakin's visions, Master Irkit's death, Anakin's death, Tahiri's slow descent into madness, the mind battles with Riina and ultimately how Jaina helped Tahiri and Riina to merge into one being.

Thinking hard, I looked towards the ceiling, and that was when it hit me. I realized exactly what went unsaid throughout the entire story. I looked at my Master, the one that was entrusted to teach me the ways of the Jedi and asked "So, Jaina helped Tahiri merge with Riina, and everyone assumed that that solved all her problems? I mean she was tortured and shaped, then Anakin was killed, plus there has to be some type of withdrawal symptoms or, or something from the joining with the Killiks. We just ignored it all?"

To say I was outraged would be an understatement. The Jedi were supposed to care for their own. We're supposed to be a family. Yet our family left Tahiri to suffer through her demons alone. The Force only knows what emotional scars lay under that beautiful pert nose.

"Yes son that is exactly what we all assumed."

I jumped with that. Not because of any profound truth, but just because I had shut myself down so far into the Force that I had forgotten my Dad was there. I turned to face him as he continued, "it was wartime, but of course that does not excuse the fact that we more or less left Tahiri to fend for her self after everything we knew she had been through. We took it upon ourselves to believe that we could help her by just being there for her, so off she went flitting about the galaxy with Han and Leia. After what happened with Jaina, she seemed so calm and collected, she fought the Vong with us, she laughed and cried with us, and then she stayed with Sekot."

"But Uncle Luke, how would we have known? How could we have known that Riina was still active?"

My head shot around and I glared at my Master as I opened my mouth to say that we did not know that Riina was active, that we did not even know if Tahiri was the one that did this, but I was interrupted by my dad as he said "We could not, and now Valin has paid the price. We must find Tahiri and see if we can help her, by force if need be."

I looked at my dad as he absently stared at the table top, and then turned my head to look at Jacen as he turned his expressionless gaze towards me. Shivering slightly, I got up and left, kicking a chair on my way out.

That night I dreamed. My dad once told me that Jedi do not often dream; I have found that to not be the case. As a Jedi, I seem to always be dreaming. I dream of everything from odd visions of the future and the past to what might have been and what may be.

That night, I dreamed of Tahiri.

In my dream she was being held in a cage, barely wide enough for her body, bracelets holding her arms and ankles down so she could not move. I could see the rage in her eyes and my dream self reveled in it. A cold, reptilian lust for blood and death and for Tahiri herself welled up within me as I looked at her and felt the skin around my mouth stretch into a twisted smile. My dream self, reached through the bars and grabbed Tahiri's hair, pulling her face close to the bars, then kissed her harshly, possessively.

It was at that point in my dream that I was awakened by a pounding on the door of the house that I shared with my parents. I looked over at the chrono on my desk and noticed that the sun had been up for barely five minutes. Shivering despite the warmth and humidity already present, I stretched out with the Force to determine who was pounding on our door, and could barely recognize Tish due to the fear and horror that rolled off her.

I slipped a cloak on and followed Tish and my parents as they quickly made their way to the Meeting Hall. As we mounted the steps, I noticed the stripe of blood that lead into the door way which still hung open. As I entered the foyer of the Meeting Hall, I looked down and gasped. On the floor laid out in intricate mosaic tiles was the symbol of the Jedi. It was a beautiful symbol, composed of the New Republic hawk in a light red, with an ignited lightsaber with a light blue blade on top of that, on either side of the saber were upswept wings colored a creamy white, and surrounding it all was a symbolic yellow sun. I've always loved the symbol, all those curves with the only straight lines being the saber. That day it was covered with an image of odd alien curves and harsh lines, an image of Yun Yammka drawn in the black of dried blood.

Disturbed, I walked the rest of the way inside and saw what had caused Tish so much fear and horror. Sitting in the seat that Tahiri had sat in just days before was Zekk. Zekk, who had been through so much, sat and stared sightlessly at the podium, with a blackened hole where his heart should have been.

I turned and looked at the podium, noticing that the blank stone wall behind it had been adorned with a new symbol. All curves and swooshes, just like a child's conception of a river.

To Part Two | To Part Four

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