W/N - Here's the LS ending. It contains a lot of the material from Dark Paradise, but has subtle differences. I like the idea that your decisions or small events create alternate realities and this reflects that. We pick up from the moment the team secures the computer control center after Zaalbar was shot helping them break out of the trap.

Other Malarkey - Miss Domestic Day of gardening and cooking. I baked King Salmon on the grill with a bed of spinach and red bell peppers and Mirin along with vege stuffed mushrooms baked on stoneware. Then, we did some tameshigiri practice in which my three consecutive cut routine is getting better. My right to left kesa giri (diagonal cut) is doing well, but I need to improve my left to right cut and gyakugesa (upward diagonal cut). I've been able to cut one forearm-sized target now. I hope to match Ken-san's five target cut one day.

Paradise Regained – Part I

Avenge, O Lord, thy slaughtered saints, whose bones
Lie scattered on the Alpine mountains cold;
Ev'n them who kept thy truth so pure of old,
When all our fathers worshipped stocks and stones,
Forget not.
John Milton

The Star Forge – Computer Control Center – 0248 Z

"Control center secured!" bellowed Canderous.

As the team entered the corridor, Carth walked backward, firing bolts with both pistols and then slapped a mine at the door as he disappeared down the corridor. They would be safe for a few minutes.

In the chamber that was filled with banks of mainframe computers, Revan set Mission down and the Twi'lek shrieked in sorrow and rage. Revan pursed her lips, trying to keep her characteristic command presence, but Aerin's compassion infected her soul and her she could not swallow past the lump in her dry throat. Now that they had a chance to breathe, all she wanted to do was collapse and start sobbing, but duty drove her on.

"Mission, I'm so sorry. We will get through this. I need you to focus for just a little while more," Revan said with genuine concern and Mission clung to her like a wet shirt. The Jedi wrapped her arm around her friend rocked her gently like a child. After a long minute, the Twi'lek took deep, raspy breaths and wiped her eyes.

"I…I understand, Aerin…we must keep going," she said between sobs. Then, her face pinched up with malice. "I'm going to make those Sith bastards pay. I swear."

With a look of fierce determination, Mission leapt into one of the seats at the numerous terminals. She shoved the computer spike that they had acquired on the Leviathan into a port and began typing.

On a monitor, the raging battle on the platform appeared with Sith forces methodically wearing down the Republic troops. Master Kavar was down, being dragged behind cover by other Jedi and Master Zez-Kai spun and cut, defending against four Sith. Meanwhile, enemy troops maneuvered to the flanks, ready to cut them to ribbons.

"Oh yah, you punks think you're so bad?" Mission said through clenched teeth. "I got your number." She overrode the access codes to the Sith laser turrets and inserted new targeting parameters.

The monitor showed defense turrets cease fire for a moment before swinging around to pour fire into the Sith. Twin laser bolts rocketed from each turret to explode in a brilliant flash amid the enemy. Armored troops flew in all directions and the Sith turned in horror. Revan was pleased – this was poetic justice.

Carth put a reassuring hand on Mission's shoulder and she gave him a forced smile. "I'm okay, gramps," she said. "I just gotta get some payback…you know, for Big Z."

The Twi'lek then switched screens and accessed a new menu. "Aerin, check this out," she said as she scanned the options. She then pointed to an alien platform in the corner and light enveloped it as Mission pressed a button.

A suit of light armor appeared and Revan brought it over. It was arrayed with energy shields and a duralloy breastplate of negligible weight. Revan held it up and noticed that it would fit Mission perfectly.

The Twi'lek vacated the seat and took the armor. She pointed to the controls and said, "You try it, Aerin."

Revan sat and scrolled through the menu. She typed a few words and then pressed the button and a white garment appeared on the platform. She rose and took the item, unfolding it to reveal form-fitting, white robes with sharp pectorals and three gold symbols, one on the forward face of each shoulder and one in the center of the back. Revan examined the symbol; it was a golden phoenix, the Royal Seal of Freesia. This would suit her. This would be perfect for her confrontation with the Dark Lord. Revan quickly discarded her shredded blue robes and donned the new ones.

"It's you," quipped Carth.

"Fashion: Master, your taste in meatbag garments is oh, so fabulous. We must be sure to accessorize your battle accoutrements."

Revan was about to grin when Mission called, "We have enemy units enroute. We best prepare." The young Twi'lek wiped the soot from her face, revealing a grim expression.

Carth and Canderous rushed Republic troops to where the room joined the corridor and they set up, taking advantage of cover. A Sith elite trooper in scarlet armor rounded the far end of the corridor and detonated a mine. Blast and shrapnel tore into the hall, shredding several Sith. As they fell, shrieking, more troopers charged in, oblivious to the danger. Malak cared not about casualties – he just wanted Revan dead.

The Republic forces opened up, hurling bolts into the mass of Sith. The front ranks tumbled over with an awful groan, but the red clad enemy continued on. Canderous flipped his selector to a wide angle burst and a shotgun blast filled the hall with energy. Four Sith blew apart with his shot, but more rushed forward and a grenade bounced into the computer room. Revan could see it in slow motion, but was helpless to intercept it as the enemy rushed her.

"Grenade!" a Republic soldier yelled and leapt on the deadly sphere. It exploded in a dull thud, ripping the man's innards apart, but caused no further damage. The soldier's bravery had saved the team.

Then, the Sith were upon them.

Dark Jedi burst through, hurling soldiers back. Carth drew down on one, but a red lightsaber sliced through one of his blasters, sending red hot sparks into the air. The captain threw the broken weapon down and immediately fired with his second pistol, a bolt slamming into the Dark Jedi's face, bursting like a fireworks display.

A Sith soldier leapt over the falling body onto Carth and they both toppled to the ground amid the chaos. Juhani stepped over and separated the Sith's head from his shoulders with a powerful stroke, but she too was driven back by a Dark Jedi.

Juhani spun her body and parried with her blade over her shoulder. She then thrust the point of her weapon into the Sith's belly, letting his guts sizzle. In spite, the enemy head butted her, knocking her to the floor. He staggered a step forward, red lightsaber raised until two bolts ripped through his body, taking out two troopers behind him.

Canderous quickly pulled her up, laying down covering fire. He turned toward a dark shape appearing at the command center's entrance and took aim, but lightning arced into him and he fell to one knee, smoking, gritting his teeth against the pain.

Into the light stepped a red-haired woman, dressed in ebon robes with one, mechanical eye. Gears and servos whirred as she moved her left arm about in a combat style in concert with the lightsaber in her right hand. She settled into a wide, but flexible stance from Ataru, the tip of her weapon dancing before her. Revan watched her, thinking her familiar. Yes, the woman had followed her from Dantooine. She was a master of spies and intelligence and she worked with that man…what was his name? Yes, that Jaq Rand fellow. It was coming back to her now. Wasn't the woman human once instead of this grotesque machine?

The droidlike woman made a slight bow. "Darth Revan, the Dark Lord wishes to welcome you back to the Star Forge." Despite her misgivings and knowledge of Revan's power, Moritz could not fail in the eyes of her master.

Revan nodded in response. The mock politeness was almost comical, but necessary. "Darth Moritz, he should have come himself. It is rude not to greet guests personally."

Moritz smirked, crinkling the flesh around her robotic eye. With a toss of her head, Sith troopers opened fire on Revan.

The raven-haired Jedi smacked away several bolts, but one burst upon her leg in a shower of sparks. Revan grunted, but her elegant new robes deflected most of the damage. From the flank, Jolee darted forward and cut down a Sith trooper. He followed up with a wave that slammed several others hard against the walls. The way to that half-human monstrosity was open and Revan was ready to take it.

Jolee's green blade cut downward at Moritz and she sidestepped to avoid the blow, letting him cut through the floor. The red-haired Sith smote him in the jaw with her mechanical fist and old Bindo staggered, holding his face with one hand. Revan moved up and delivered a double cut with both of her weapons, but Moritz backed away, letting the blue blades slice air.

Revan locked her gray eyes with her former follower and Moritz' sinister blue eye whirred, focusing back. While Moritz circled warily, Revan took Jolee's hand. The Force flowed into her and guided her actions.

"Now old man, focus our power," the former admiral cried and translucent swirls of power wrapped around the two Jedi. Revan thrust her empty palm out and the tiny points of light flashed into the Dark Jedi.

"Surrender, Moritz!" Revan commanded, her raven hair billowing about her face.

The Sith screamed as if her skin was afire and she howled at her tormentors. She grit her teeth and curled what was left of her human lips, fighting their Force attack. Revan grunted as Moritz shattered their grip on her and she knew that the woman was far from beaten. The Sith leapt forward, launching an arcing strike from Ataru to which Revan deflected the cut with a flick of her weapon and riposted downward with a flank cut. Moritz cartwheeled over the blade and struck downward, but Revan batted the attack away.

Revan swung her right leg back and crossed her lightsabers in front of her taking a Juyo stance as her enemy landed and turned to face them. Moritz snarled and launched herself at Revan, cutting straight down at her head. The admiral saw the mistake…noticed the flaw in the Sith's technique. She extended her power, blending it with Jolee's.

Seemingly acting as one now, Jolee met the red blade with his green and pushed downward, keeping contact – creating an opening. Moritz' weapon was trapped and her human eye opened wide in terror. In a blinding flash, Revan's lightsaber hissed through the air, leaving a cerulean afterglow. She took a step and turned her back toward her enemy. Only the hum of Jedi weapons could be heard.

Darth Moritz backed away, dropping her lightsaber and grasping her neck. Her human fingers dug into the seared flesh as her human eye rolled back. She made a horrible wheezing noise and clawed at her own skin. With a thud, she crashed onto the deck and all was quiet.

Old Bindo let out a long breath and looked at Revan. "Damn kiddo, that was close." She nodded, knowing that it could have gone either way and that it was merely the will of the Force…and their skill that left them both standing.

The Star Forge – Day Three – 0349 Z

The Dark Lord of the Sith struck his open palm with a closed fist. She had slipped through every trap that he had laid…fought through every force that he threw at her. Against his will, a seed of doubt took hold in his heart. In retrospect, was it so wise to have betrayed her? Indeed, he once loved her more than life itself. He had followed her to the ends of the galaxy and back in her quest to bring order. How did things get so complicated, he wondered? Once, everything was so simple. Revan spoke and he listened. Then, he found his own will…and his own power. So yes, it was wise, after all. But, in the long run, it mattered not as that was the way of the Sith. The weak had to be sacrificed on the altar of the strong.

With the metal shroud now about his face he cursed. "Revan, I continue to underestimate you. You withstood the assault of my personal guard…my most elite of soldiers and slew Darth Moritz," he said coldly. Then, a feeling of resignation came over him. It was meant to be. He knew what eventually would come to pass. "It must be the will of the Force…indeed our destiny that we confront each other in one final duel."

Malak turned, spinning his black cape and walked to Bastila, who was guarded by the three red-clad Sith.

"Rise, Bastila."

The auburn-haired woman got slowly to her feet, her face and robes stained with perspiration. She seemed confused, having just come out of her trance. "What is it, M'Lord? Do you not wish me to continue my Battle Meditation?"

Malak shook his head. Things had changed. The weapon that he created needed to be used. There were sacrifices that needed to be made. "The time for that is over. Revan has come to attempt to supplant me as Dark Lord. I will give you the honor of ending her rampage."

Bastila bowed with a broad smile. "My time has come, M'Lord. I shall not fail you."

As the Dark Lord strode away, Bastila pointed to the three Dark Jedi standing nearby. These were the greatest of Malak's assassins – master swordsmen, all. They had been with him for a long time and were disciples of Revan before that. She had taught them much from the Force and many techniques from Juyo, the most advanced of styles. Few could stand before even one of them, much less all three at once.

"Nisotsa, Carriaga Sin, Mohitos, this will be our final stand," said Bastila. "This is where we will destroy Revan and launch a new era of Sith domination," she declared.

At the far end of the center, Malak met his last bodyguard, who would remain by his side. The muscular Dark Jedi watched Jedi Shan focus herself for battle.

"M'Lord, do you think Bastila can defeat Revan?"

Such a silly question. "Of course not…but Bastila's sacrifice will slow her down enough for me to complete the final preparations to unleash the full power of the Star Forge. Come, we must hasten." Malak still had a few tricks up his sleeve, including his final, ultimate weapon.

With that, the two departed through the far blast door to Malak's inner sanctum. There, they would work unspeakable evils to ensure their victory over Revan.

The Star Forge – Day Three – 0408 Z

The corpses of the slain lay scattered about the computer control center like strewn ashes from a bonfire. Twisted and mangled they were as a testament to the ferocity and desperation of the melee. Acrid smoke danced up from burned out consoles as wires sparked overhead.

Carth took in the carnage, but knew they were running out of time. He looked over to Revan, but she was obviously spent from the battle. His heart went out to her and he knew that he would have to shoulder the burden for a bit. He thought back to Tatooine, where she took command upon Jedi Belaya's murder. She was so unsure of herself. Now, here she was, Revan returned and powerful in her command of the forces of light in this suicidal quest. Yes, he knew it was unlikely that they'd survive…he had to admit that to himself. He just couldn't bring himself to say it yet as a tiny part of him still had a shred of hope. Yes, she looked so tired. He wanted nothing more than to embrace her and watch her sleep peacefully. He would shoulder the burden, if only for a little while. He pointed to Mission and Jolee. He knew the old man was spent too and wouldn't last much longer. He would be of more use helping Mission to mess with the enemy. "I need you two to remain here. When we've left, seal the blast door and keep the Sith off balance. It looks like Master Zez-Kai Ell has defeated the enemy attack; he should be coming for you soon."

The Twi'lek nodded grimly. "You got it…I'll keep them off balance, all right."

The old man tried to hide a thankful look, but Carth picked it up. Wiping the sweat from his brow, Jolee took a seat painfully beside Mission and the two worked the security systems to make the Sith miserable.

Juhani mechanically stood besides them and once again, duty assumed control and they lined up to continue the assault into Malak's domain. They moved back into the hall and proceeded toward the Command Center, where Malak would be waiting for them. Her commlink chimed.

"This is Mission…I just sent a company of Sith troops down the wrong corridor and deactivated the blast turrets in your way."

Revan cleared her throat. "You're a gem, you know that, don't you?"

"I know. Just get that bastard. That's all I care about." The young Twi'lek sounded just as tapped out. They were all running on only willpower and the desire to end this, once and for all.

As the team approached a set of monstrous blast door, Carth looked over to his love and saw that she looked stronger. The Force was such an amazing thing in how it healed and energized those fortunate enough to be able to wield it. He wondered how Dustil had inherited it…Dustil, how was he doing? He would be out there now, with Mika Dorin, fighting the Sith fleet. Gods, he had so much to make up for…so much that he had missed. If the will of the Force dictated that they should survive, he'd never leave their side again. He half imagined teaching Aerin to fish. He blinked hard, letting go of the image. He was as tired as a whooped dog, but he wouldn't show it in front of her. She needed all of the moral support that she could get.

Carth put a steadying hand on her. "How are you doing?"

The strain of the quest was showing on Revan's face. "I'm good to go…." she commented dryly, her voice trailing off at the end. She then looked up into Carth's dark eyes for a moment and added, "The part of me…that is Aerin…."

"I know," the Captain interjected, "holds much compassion…and love."

Revan shrugged. "I was going to say, 'is exhausted,' but your words are true."

She was about to add something else, when her commlink chimed.

"This is Mission, I've opened the blast doors for you. Niki's here with me now and she says from the map that it will lead you into the Command Center. Be careful, Aerin." The girl's voice was tinged with worry.

Revan quickly brought herself back under control and pointed at Canderous and HK-47. "Flank the door. Mekel, Lashowe, prepare to repel any who come through."

Revan's senses began tingling and the Force awakened her to the dangers beyond. She knew what awaited her…that her destiny was coming full circle.

"Bastila…," she whispered. Yes, there was a faint ripple in the bond like a smoldering fire.

The giant blast doors slid open with a grinding metal groan, revealing a long bridge to a raised platform, whereupon sat a dominating hologram of the battle. A kneeling figure stood, flanked by three Dark Jedi, clad in scarlet.

Canderous and HK advanced across the bridge that spanned a chasm that led down to the bowels of the Star Forge kilometers below. Mekel and Lashowe followed, looking down into the metallic depths and they were momentarily gripped by vertigo.

"Keep moving," urged Carth as he cautiously watched the waiting Sith. He saw Revan move. He knew her energy had returned – she was back in command and he had hopefully given her just a bit of rest that she needed.

At the Bridge

She felt her power growing as she advanced. Her lungs filled with air and her limbs tingled with power. She was ever so thankful for the momentary respite from responsibility. But now, it was time to retake control and drive the attack home to Malak. At the halfway mark of the bridge, the Sith ignited their crimson lightsabers and moved forward to meet the team. They arrayed themselves in a wedge, designed for aggressive tactics and Revan quickly noted it. Their movement looked familiar. Yes, she knew these people…knew the strategy.

"Defense in depth…focus on the leader," she called and the team began to space themselves out to provide a resilient formation. They would absorb the brunt of the attack and then destroy it.

Canderous and HK then opened fire and red blades swatted away orange bolts amid the whine of energy weapons. The Sith picked up speed, accelerating to a sprint over the wide bridge, knocking blaster shots in all directions. Revan thought she saw them switch into Juyo, a crazed fury powering their limbs. This would not be an easy fight. As the enemy approached, the Mandalorian changed his selector to full auto and bolts streaked from the silver muzzle of his blaster to be met by the lightsaber of Darth Mohitos.

On One Part of the Bridge

Canderous had fought many Jedi and knew most of their techniques. He could even tell the style that his enemy was using and that regardless, it would come down to brutal force to decide this contest. The mercenary's bolts poured out in rapid succession, but the slender Sith spun his lightsaber in front of him like a pinwheel, deflecting the energy off into space. One stray bolt snuck by and sliced through the Sith's thin, angular body, but he kept coming like a slashing razor. So much the better. This would bring greater glory when victory was his.

In the blink of an eye, the Dark Jedi was there in front of him. It would be a knife fight to the finish. Mohitos raised his weapon and Canderous brought his blaster up to block. Then, the red blade clove through the Mandalorian's blaster, throwing sparks into the air, finally settling in Canderous' breastplate.

Smoke sizzled from the mercenary's scarlet armor and he grit his teeth in pain. His chest was on fire, but he wouldn't give his enemy the satisfaction of crying out. To counter, Canderous angled his body and smashed his gauntleted fist into Mohitos' nose, a gruesome crunching sound echoing over the chasm. The powerful force of the blow snapped the man's face away, spattering blood and snot and sweat into the air.

The Dark Jedi grunted, but raked his weapon down the Mandalorian's thigh, flaying it open through the battered armor, filling the air with the smell of burnt flesh. Canderous dropped to one knee, his face twisted in agony as his leg smoldered. His blaster was destroyed, lying in two pieces nearby. Strangely, he thought for a split second as to how many wars that blaster had been with him. Yes, it was a war gift from the leader of Clan Ordo when he became a man. Other than his helmet, it was his most precious possession. That was something that had to be answered for. He looked up into the Dark Jedi's eyes…cold eyes that stood over him in a position of strength. Canderous could see his enemy's muscles twitch in anticipation of the kill. Ordo had been a warrior long enough to see these things. Mohitos moved immediately to finish him, but Canderous ducked under the snarling red blade and thrust his vibrodagger into the Sith's groin.

The Dark Jedi shrieked, frozen in place, his lightsaber falling from his hand. Canderous gave him a grimacing smile and then twisted the dagger, bringing out another shriek. Indeed, it was glorious. He had killed many Jedi back in the wars, but this one was his favorite. Now, it was time to move on to more glory. The mercenary drew his blaster pistol and shot a bolt through Mohitos' chin.

Elsewhere on the Causeway

Carriaga Sin, a taut female Sith, extended her hand and Mekel howled as dark tendrils of the Force infected his mind. Unspeakable images, vile and grotesque, flooded into his brain, overloading his sanity. He collapsed, gibbering like an idiot. Lashowe advanced, delivering an oblique strike, but the Dark Jedi met the blow, weapon to weapon, and then smote the white-haired woman with the flat of her hand. Grabbing her injured cheek, Lashowe tumbled over the railing to the bridge and fell backward toward the abyss. A friendly Jedi reached out and caught her leg, but he was cloven by Carriaga. As the Jedi screamed, Lashowe desperately grabbed the railing and dangled from the bridge, wailing.

Juhani saw this and rushed to help her allies. She surged forward, thrusting her blue weapon at the Sith, who twirled about, knocking the attack away. Carriaga quickly riposted with a circular overhead cut, which the Cathar sidestepped, letting the ruby blade slice through metal railings. Sparks flew, causing the hanging Lashowe to yelp. Juhani took a step back, knowing that she was facing Juyo. She told Aerin once that this was the style that was beyond her. She was now facing an opponent several orders of magnitude better in swordsmanship. It didn't matter though. This was for Jolee. She would fight to the death. She dug her claws into her lightsaber and crouched low, taking her best Ataru stance.

Juhani moved laterally and cut diagonally at the Dark Jedi's neck, but the Sith swept the attack upward and focused her dark powers. An invisible blow struck Juhani in the gut like a runaway train, rupturing organs and breaking bones. Juhani gasped through bloody teeth, grabbing at her belly with her left hand, while trying to hold Carriaga at bay. Her weakness would be her enemy's opportunity.

The Sith launched herself at the Cathar, who rotated sideways and arched her back to avoid the thrust. She was fully on the defensive now and switched to Shien to buy time, just hoping for a mistake. As the ruby lightsaber sizzled by, Juhani saw her chance – her enemy was too close. She grasped Carriaga's neck with both hands and rammed her forehead into the Sith's face. The Dark Jedi howled and Juhani pulled her in close where she sank her fangs into the Sith's neck. This woman would regret getting too close and would learn of the legendary Cathar hand to hand skills.

Juhani tried to hang on, but Carriaga shoved her back with a wave of the Force and lashed her weapon across the Cathar's forearm right down through the bone. It was Juhani's turn to howl as she dropped her lightsaber to the ground. Her arm flopped about, attached only by a flap of burnt skin. The Cathar was defeated…she would soon join Jolee. She wished she could apologize to Aerin for failing her. Aerin would understand…she always did. She began to close her eyes until a yellow blade of energy severed Carriaga's legs from below. What? What happened? Juhani grasped her own neck which was still firmly in place.

"You forgot about me, bitch!" yelled Lashowe, still dangling by one hand from the railing, her lightsaber brandished in the other. Juhani let out a choking sigh, unable to believe that she was still alive. Then, withstanding the horrendous agony of her wound, she hauled Lashowe back up.

On a Third Part of the Bridge

Darth Nisotsa uttered an eerie, inhuman cry as he charged at HK-47. Unfortunately, the scream's intimidation factor was lost on the droid.

"Advertisement: Anyone up for cooked Sith?" HK uttered as a stream of flame sprayed at the running Dark Jedi.

Nisotsa somersaulted over the torrent of jellified petroleum and landed behind the droid. HK turned and slammed a spiked elbow into the back of the Sith, who winced before reversing his lightsaber and jabbing backward. The scarlet blade struck HK's chest, blackening the rust-colored metal, but glided off.

"Amused: As the assassin of Darth Revan, you'd think I could take a little heat?"

HK's armored fist shot out and grasped Nisotsa's neck, ready to crush the meatbag with metal fingers, but the Dark Jedi inhaled and touched the droid's face with a wave of ions. The particles played havoc with HK's electronics and he dropped the Sith, staggering around.

"Protest: Not fair…not sportsmanlike. Glerpzx…."

As the droid wandered, confused, Nisotsa hewed two Jedi and a Republic soldier before confronting Carth. The captain set himself in a low stance, both hands on Bendak's pistol and unloaded bolts, muzzle flashes lighting up the bridge. One of them wouldn't be walking away from this.

Nisotsa batted the bolts away and rushed at Carth with a growl. He wound up his lightsaber and swung down at Carth's head with a grunt, but the captain rolled away and fired a bolt into the Sith's side. The concentrated energy splattered, burning robes and flesh and Nisotsa spun, cutting away part of the railing.

Revan saw her love backing away from the fury of Nisotsa's attack. She knew he wouldn't retreat. He was always so stubborn. With a cry, Revan came at the Sith and Nisotsa turned to parry a flurry of sweeping blows. She had met Juyo with Juyo and the battle madness flowed through her veins. With powerful cuts, she backed him into a railing, watching his eyes fill with concern. As he touched the metal, he bent part of the railing with his mind and swung it at Revan, but she dodged under the metal beam and continued to advance, taking short, shuffling steps to keep her balance. "Rally the team," she shouted back to Carth. "I have this one."

Nisotsa backed up again until his foot touched a railing and then he pushed off, launching a counterattack. He feinted low and then switched to the high line, angling a cut at her head. Taking the defensive, Revan smoothly switched to Djem So and swung her foot back while meeting the red blade with a parry. Closing the distance, she moved the hilt of her weapon up to gain the mechanical advantage and eased his blade out to create an opening. She stabbed at his throat with a cry, but he reversed the move, angling her tip past his neck. Damn, he was good. His form was fluid…subtle. She almost had to admire it if she weren't fighting for her life.

Now, he was on the offense, fixing Revan's weapon with his own and charging forward. She shuffled her feet backward until she knew that she were centimeters from the railing. There, she stopped, right in front of him, ready for a knife fight. Infighting was never her strength, but she had no choice now. She jabbed the pommel of her weapon at his face, but he angled his body away and grabbed her arm. She felt pressure on her elbow and then pain as he twisted her arm. In an impossibly athletic move, Revan cartwheeled over her arm, yanking it away from his grasp and slammed her heel down on his head. He grunted hard from the blow, but spun and swept her legs from beneath her.

She turtled her neck and slapped the ground with her hand, but her head hit the floor. White hot pain ran through her vision, but she was glad training had saved her from greater injury. Through the haze, she saw a red blade coming down on her and her hand shot up, reigniting her weapon in time to deflect it away. That was close…too close. Revan waved her hand, releasing the Force, knocking Nisotsa back a step. He had grown powerful under Malak's tutelage.

"Malak will prevail, foolish woman," Nisotsa uttered with a sneer and he unleashed the ancient sorcery of the Sith. Orange lightning shot forth from his fingertips and caressed Revan's flesh, smoke roiling up from her white robes.

Orange lights danced in her vision, but there was no pain. Her power in the Force had seen to that. It was like rain off of an umbrella and the raven-haired Jedi stood unfazed. She narrowed her eyes…the technique looked familiar. "Hey, I taught you that," she reminded him as her cobalt blade shot through his heart, passing out his back. The pupil would not be the master today.

On the Bridge

Revan and Carth looked around at the slaughter on the bridge. They had survived another vicious melee, but their numbers continued to dwindle. Canderous and Juhani lay on the ground, seriously injured while Mekel rolled on the floor, alternately sobbing and laughing, his mind rended by the Force attack.

Revan rushed over to them and put her hands on Canderous. She began to summon the Force.

"No," he said, grasping her hand and pushing it away. "I'll live…save your strength." She thought it might just be Mandalorian pride, but she knew he was right. He pointed at Bastila, who waited at the end of the bridge. Then, he pointed to his leg, which was a burned, bloody mess. "I can't go on…can't join you in this final quest for glory. I…I am sorry." She knew how much it must have hurt the Mandalorian to miss the final battle. It was something that would haunt him and crush his pride.

She nodded. "You are no less of a warrior, Canderous of the Ordo. Stay here and help Juhani, Mekel, and the other wounded. There will be other glories for you."

He grunted, wincing in pain as he moved to the Cathar, who was robotically trying to reattach her arm. She was too stunned to know that she would need medical attention. It was obvious that she had lost a lot of blood and was in shock. Revan lay down a bunch of medpacks and gave Juhani a gentle squeeze on her shoulder. "Stay safe, Juhani. I'll be back soon." There was nothing more she could do.

With HK twitching and mumbling to himself, only Revan, Carth, and Lashowe remained standing. The dark-haired Jedi motioned for Lashowe to remain behind.

"You wouldn't survive this. Stay and help heal the others," Revan ordered, wishing she could bring the white-haired woman as fodder, but something held her back.

See, compassion isn't so terrible. Come, we must try and save Bastila, Aerin said in her carefree voice. It was like they were merely strolling the Tarisian shops on the Upper Level, looking for shoes.

Revan grunted. Pah, I use to sacrifice entire worlds to ensure victory. What is the life of one failed Sith?

That life may have unforeseen effects on the entire galaxy.

Revan had to concede that argument. Fine, whatever…if you make me carry a stuffed animal, I will purge you.

Revan moved ahead with Carth beside her. As they approached Bastila, a dark smile appeared on the lips of the auburn-haired Jedi. Revan knew that the smile wasn't for their benefit. She quickly squeezed Carth's hand for strength and grit her teeth against the coming storm.