Thursday, April 19, 2012
From the holo-diary of Aran Liander: Jedi Apprentice
This facility has found me a home; Linna Tribur's sister Natalia and her family have accepted me into their homes. I leave tomorrow morning. I am surprised at how fast they found me a home; I've only been here a month. Most of the kids are younger than I am; the oldest besides me is roughly ten years old but most of them are gone now. But then there weren't that many to begin with.
Before I go to live with Natalia and her husband Ben I decided I need to visit the burned shell of my home one more time. I needed to walk those halls once again, and give a proper thank you to all those that perished. I want them to know that the teachings of the Order are not lost and that I, unlike everyone else, does not hate them.
And that is what I did last night.
I had waited in bed for many hours to make sure that everyone had fallen asleep before sneaking out into the chilly Coruscant night. The lights shimmered and spun; glinting off the speeding silver slashes that zoom all around. Wind slices through the hair on my scalp that has grown longer and thicker since Flame Night; I'll definitely cut it once I leave.
I ran as fast I could without drawing attention to myself along the high-riding ramps that surround the mega-sky-scraper where the 'orphanage' is located. I hail an air taxi and use some of the credits I had found on the road a few days ago during the our break period at the 'orphanage' to pay for my trip. I looked over the side at the seemingly-bottomless drop into the dregs or the Coruscanti underworld. I'd been there a few times with my Master and with the cannibalistic human mutants, thug-filled gangs, and seedy bars clogged with criminals, I definitely have no urge to return. I wonder what will happen to the few Jedi who might have survived; will they turn into criminals? Will our Code hold out through all these trials and tribulations that have been thrown our way. I sighed and rested my cheek against the cold metal of the speeder's wall, watching the space traffic as it speeds by, the pinpricks of lights blurring into one long stream of luminescence. A river of light.
The air taxi dropped me off at a local theater that I knew was near the Jedi Temple. I waited until the man had drove off before slipping as fast as a wraith through the crowds entering and exiting the building, all chatting about the show they had just witnessed. I didn't envy them though; I was glad that at least someone was happy with their life. As I ran among the shadows, I kept my eyes out for Imperial troopers. I don't know for sure if they have me on record or not but I couldn't risk a confrontation with those stiff-necked, stuck-up monkey lizards.
The burned out shell of the Jedi Temple stands before me; the headlights of the oncoming space traffic showing off the glaring blackened walls of the spires. I leap onto an oncoming ship and hand on; grasping the metal tightly and not daring to look down; icy strains of wind slap at me and I shut my eyes, waiting until we are above the roof. Then I left go and plummet to the ground, using the Force to slow my descent of the last few meters. I landed hand anyway on the stone roof of the Temple and for a moment I had laid there gasping, the stars and headlights of space traffic mingling into one above me. Then I stood and looked around. A few dead bodies were still there, crumpled and seemingly-caven-in. I look up at the Tranquility Spire and see that it is listing as if it was about to fall. It's sides are ravaged; the worst of the fire at been exacted on this place. My stomach constricted at the thought of the dead in those halls, struck down while they were in that sacred space, their murders a violation.
I ducked inside through a hole in the roof and quickly found some old wax which I molded into seven slim candles. I sat on the roof, holding the lighter in my left hand over one of the newly made candle, the warmth of the flame sending flickers of heat over my face. Once I light it, I set it down and continue on with the next. I set the seven candles in a circle around the entire roof; guarding the dead and our dying home from the night. I at the base of the Tranquility Spire, the last candle a comforting presence in my hand. The flame from the candle washing the smooth stone of the tower seems to hide the ugly mars which pockmark the beautiful surface instead of heightening it like all the rest of the light I see in this dark, cold night.
I bend down and place the candle at the base, it's lonely flame reaching towards the dying ancient with small, but open, arms. I stood and placed my hand to the stone, the light from the flame bathing my hand in golden shimmers.
“I'm sorry I couldn't save you,” I whispered to the stone and to the dead held in the Temple's tender arms. Suddenly I heard footsteps cracking loudly on the stone. I froze and before I could turn and run, I heard a creaky, whiny voice speak.
“Stupid child. What are you doing here on this Devil's mound? Especially at night; do you want the dead Jedi spirits to drag you away to slave away in their prison?”
“The Jedi Temple is NOT a prison!” I snapped before I can stop myself, fury rising into my throat and choking me just as painfully as a Force-Choke. The speaker, who I see is a cruel-faced woman, doesn't appear to hear me as she glances around at the dead still on the roof and I see that her eyes rest on the burned corpse of a young human Padawan.
“You don't know how kriffing thankful I was to see them go. Never trusted them; always knew there was something funny about them with all of their 'No Attachment' crap and their kidnapping of children for their brainwashing teachings about some mystical poodoo. But thanks to our good soldiers, they are all dead. Good boys, those clones are. Maybe not the brightest, but they're brave and at least have a good head on their shoulders.” My blood boiled, thrumming so loudly in my ears that is hurt. I tried to calm myself down but the fury just kept building, the darkside pressing down on me like a nightmare. It wasn't any of her business what we personally did and we most certainly did not kidnap children. Nor did we brainwash them; the Temple was a place of quiet and learning, and if you didn't like the rules, then you were free to leave. And how dare she say-
“Those 'brave soldiers' massacred over a million people! Including children! How the hell do you see that as right!” I screamed, advancing towards the giant who just smirked at me.
“They weren't children. They were nothing but beasts and they deserved to die.” She pulled a blaster from behind her bulk and leveled it at me.
“And YOU deserve to die, you piece of Jedi filth.” I nearly jumped out of my skin in terror.
How had she known? I wanted to kick myself for being such an IDIOT. How could I have let her sneak up on me like that? How could I have let my anger get out of hand?
Her mouth curved into a cruel smile.
“Yes, you little whelp, I know what you are. I saw the little lights you were putting up and knew that a Jedi must have come back to their rotting tomb. You and your lot are what caused this galaxy to come to ruin. I can see passed all of your 'We fight for justice and peace' shit.” the gun's nozzle comes closer to my face. Her face looms down at me, her lank black hair striking my face.
“So tell me, thing. How many mothers have you slaughtered?”
My hand shot up and knocked the blaster from the woman's wet hands. She started to move towards it but with a quick slam of my hand into a pressure point, I rendered her legs unmovable. She began to sway and I roughly lowered her to the ground.
“You damn Jedi! You think your so wonderful don't you?! You-”
“The only slaughter I can see is this one!” I shouted, shutting her up mid-sentence.
“I wish you had never been born. I wish I could have slowly watched all of you die...one by one.” I crouched before her, fighting back the monstrous head of rage with all of my training.
“You are just as bad as the Sith,” I growled.
“You hate us for no reason. I can see inside you and you have no heart, no soul. You are a wicked, wicked person and you don't deserve to walk this galaxy.” Her eyes grew large as I stood.
“But I am a Jedi and I will not kill a civilian.” I reached out my hand and touched her head and she collapsed at my feet, having fallen into a dead sleep. I hoped that maybe my words would give her a change of heart but now, in this new evil galaxy, I doubted I would. She hated me and hated what I represented and there was nothing I could do to remove the lies in her mind.
I moved her as quickly as I was able from the Tranquility spire before returning. I lay down on the ice-cold stone, feeling the fluttery warmth of a single candle against my face. I stared at the flames and imagined the others that encircled the Temple's roof. I ran my hand over the stone beneath me.
“You will rest in peace soon. I promise you.” I turned onto my side and looked out at the
stretch of stone. And I saw the other six candles winking back at me, my only friends left in the world.
I shut my eyes and fell asleep in the cradle in which I had been raised; me and my weary watchmen each giving our own silent goodbyes.