Japor — Chapter 11 Rating: PG-13

I saw myself at the decision point. I was turning my back to Jysella as I started towards the dark one, and I felt it as the plinth crashed down, crushing her. I felt despair bloom within me. I charged the dark one and felt my anger and hatred blossom out of control. I felt myself give myself over to the hate as Jaina was struck down. I threw black lightening at the dark form, reveling as the burned and crisped body fell to the ground lifelessly. I felt my manic glee as I stood over the dead around me. I saw the other Jedi come running into the Grotto, and I ignited my saber and attacked. Cutting down first my parents and then every Jedi that came against me.

I saw blackness.

I saw myself at the decision point. I was either unable to decide, or just took too long to decide. The plinth still crushed Jysella, but I arrived at Jaina's side just as the dark one's saber sliced through her eyes. I could feel my rage and anger erupt, as I watched myself battle the dark one. I heeded Jaina's words when she warned me of the dark side, and felt my anger erupt even greater than before as she was thrown. I watched as the dark one threw me against the plinth and then ran off. I saw myself sitting beside the plinth which covered Jysella's body, as I became the maelstrom with my eyes closed. I saw my eyes shoot open as the other Jedi arrived, their sickly yellowish orange tint glowing in the dark, and a cold, evil grin spread across my face.

I saw blackness.

I saw myself at the decision point. I saw myself use the Force to pull Jysella out of the way, and launched myself to intercept the lightening that was striking Jaina. As I fought with the dark one, I could feel my anger and hate grow. Then Jaina was there beside me, fighting as well. Yet with a simple flick of the wrist, the dark one sent one of Jaina's arms flying, and I heard Jaina's scream, which quickly faded as she went into shock. Enraged even more, I attacked harder and more ferociously than before. I felt a dark satisfaction as I took the dark one's hands. As the dark one kneeled before me, with pain coming from it in waves, I could feel that cold alien satisfaction increase, as I took the dark one's head. Turning from Jaina, I walked over to where I had left Jysella, and noticed that her head was bent at an odd angle. In my haste to save her I had accidentally killed her. I could feel the despair and anguish which over took me. I felt the dark side offering its cold offer. I felt myself accept.

Then the visions within my dream were over. They had left me kneeling on all fours, panting, and I could feel a cold sweat covering my body. If this had not been a dream, I would have thrown up at this point.

Anakin looked at me sadly, and said "The Force is not kind to the Skywalker bloodline. Our destinies are manifold, and often filled with hardship and pain."

Sitting up, I looked at Anakin and could feel my anger as it began to spike as I spate out "Well, I didn't ask to be a Skywalker."

Anakin just gave me a knowing smile as he calmly replied "None of us asked for our destinies. Do you think death was a choice I made happily?"

Sighing, I asked, "But why is this happening? Who is doing this? What does it have to do with Tahiri and what is the deal with that Japor icon?"

Anakin looked down at his hands as he replied, "I am sorry Ben, but I am not allowed to answer those questions. There is just too much at stake for you to get a wrong answer from beyond the grave."

I glared at him and said, "Then what good are you to me."

"Good for you? Little Jedi, I am here to give you information about your decision. The Force has a Skywalker destiny for you regardless of whether or not you want to be a Jedi or a Skywalker. Part of that destiny is that you must trust the Force. That is why I am good for you. I'm here to show you that, to show you those visions that left you weak in the knees and kneeling there in the dirt."

His face softened slightly he sat down beside me and continued talking in a softer, milder voice.

"Before he died, Tahiri's master, Master Irkrit, told me of a prophecy involving myself and Tahiri. He told us that together, we were stronger than the sum of our parts. We were also told that we had a special destiny, that something new belonged in the future to us. I died before that could come to pass, yet the Force demands that it still occur, and since it can no longer use us, it has chosen you to hold part of that destiny. No, no questions. I have said enough, too much. Remember, beware the dark side, when you are at peace you will always know what to do. You must not fall."

As he began to dissipate, he added one more thing, his icy eyes staring into mine, "Oh yeah, and tell Jacen, he never kissed Tahiri for me."

With those parting words, Anakin disappeared and I awoke. I opened my eyes to see Jysella staring at me, her sea green eyes bright and shining, a small half-smile on her face, as she reached out with her hand and touched the side of my face.

Her voice was small, weak and filled with emotion as she said "You've stayed."

I smiled in return, and placed my hand on top of hers and said "Of course."

The next day Jysella and I were released from the medical center. The healers had wanted to keep Jysella another day but Jysella fought it, as the memorial for her family was to be held on the day we were released.

As was done with all Jedi and their spouses, there was to be a memorial plinth to each in the Grotto. Each of the Horns received an Onyx plinth, and embedded in the front of each was the diamond.

Let me explain about that diamond, as I had to have Uncle Han explain it to me. It's like this, most Corellians do not bury their dead; Corellians tend to burn the dead. If they are on their home world, the ashes are launched into orbit and that orbit is allowed to decay. If they are to be interred off world, then their ashes are compressed into diamond for whatever memorial.

This is what we did with Corran, Mirax and Valin. That diamond that adorned each of their plinths was their mortal remains.

I stood there, my arm wrapped around Jysella, as my dad drove the plinths for each of them deep into the ground. They made tremendous booms, shaking the ground. It was a sad, solemn noise; it was a sound that says a Jedi has fallen.

Looking around, I noticed all the Jedi that had gathered, and oddly enough, all the smugglers that had gathered as well. It has been said that war makes for strange bedfellows, but I have to wonder if that applies to all death. It appeared to be the case here, as some of these smugglers were being hunted by Jedi not two weeks ago. Yet here they stand side by side, mourning for the loss of the Horns.

As clouds covered the sky, and it began to lightly rain, I thought it was fitting. Even Ossus mourned.

As everyone began to drift off, back to their meditations or their ships, back to their lives, I stood there with Jysella holding her, as the rain washed over us, hiding her tears.

Nothing of any great interest happened for the next two weeks. We did not find Tahiri, and we also realized that Lowbacca and Tesar had also been missing the entire time, or at least from the night that Corran and Mirax were killed. Another tidbit of information I overheard was that Corran's lightsaber was gone.

On a more personal note, Jysella spent most of her time in her room, with me there beside her. My parents were not that happy that I seemed so attached to her, especially when I started skipping lessons to stay near her.

I have to say that was a fun argument. It almost came to blows between mom and me. When dad stepped in between us, he told me that I was behaving in a manner unbecoming of a Jedi Knight. So I offered him my saber. I told him, if I was that much of a disappointment to the Order by looking after one of our own, I was not sure I wanted to be a part of it.

I don't think I had ever seen him or my mom look so surprised before or since.

Personally, I don't know which thought disturbed me more, that they were surprised I'd back talk them, or that they were surprised I would look out for my best friend.

To Part Ten | To Part Twelve

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