Here's the end. I broke it up into four chapters for my own ease of writing. BIG THANKS to BaM again, who draws my attention to gaps and better ways to say things. This was a fun write and my trip was mercifully short.
Chambers of the Supreme Chancellor – Three Months Later
As expected, the old Supreme Chancellor, Prolomeus grew ill. He lay upon a simple bed, seemingly at peace in spite of the destruction going on in his body and his warm robes enveloped his emaciated form like a tent.
Revan and Malak remained at his side during his last moments. As he wheezed his final breaths, he motioned Revan closer with a slow curl of his finger.
"For all my power and titles, I cannot hold off death any longer. I have lived a full life with much to be thankful for. My rule was far from perfect, but the one decision I stand by was to give you a fleet," he said. The Supreme Chancellor then inhaled deeply, his chest shuddering with the strain of drawing breath. He put his withered hand behind Revan's head and pulled her ear to his mouth so that none could hear. "Beware Revan, for all its magnificence, the Republic can be a dangerous place, where dangerous games are played out for the profit or pleasure of a few. You have already seen some of this," he whispered as he grasped her delicate fingers.
He blinked his rheumy eyes before continuing. "Revan, always uphold the ideals of the Republic. Do not let politics cloud your vision as I did."
Revan nodded as tears streamed down her cheeks. "The greater good…. I shall not forget."
With that, the leader of the Galactic Republic faded into oblivion with a look of serenity.
500 Republica Avenue
In the vacuum left by the Supreme Chancellor's death, the scramble for power was on. Ministers and Senators vied and struggled with one another, while interim leaders were placed and sacked. Back room deals and greased palms shaped the future of the Republic and shadow organizations reaped the profits of intrigue.
In a sudden political move, the Minister of the Navy, Locarno, made his bid for supremacy, launching a platform based on his 'heroic' leadership during the Mandalorian War. Observers noted Admirals Vrex, Deritz, and Burnslider standing next to Locarno with their perfect hair and braided epaulettes. The incompetent bureaucrats responsible for the early debacles of the conflict were now portrayed by the media as the 'true' victors of the War. Revan had been excised from much of the history that was being written.
As Locarno's influence grew in the wake of the revelations of his own glory, Saul and Mai-Lyn kept Revan abreast of new developments. On one fateful day, they came before Revan and Malak, their faces grim.
Attired in a black dress uniform with his fur lined cap tucked in the crook of his arm, Saul clicked his heels and came to attention. "Admiral, we bring you grave news," he said. "Minister Locarno will succeed Ptolomeus as the Supreme Chancellor. He will have you removed from your position and stripped of your rank. You will be asked to 'retire' quietly. He has also made a move to place his appointees into all of the key positions that you created and will abandon the listening posts along the Sith Border due to 'budget diversions'."
Dressed in simple Jedi robes, cream and brown in color, Revan sat in shock and horror as they continued describing the details of what would happen and her dreams of a new Republic and of returning to a life of quiet contemplation evaporated in a haze of white-hot anger.
"He seeks to make a fool of me! I swore that no one would ever do that again," she screamed as her hand sought her lightsaber. "All of the blood that we shed was for naught. All of the sacrifices that we made will be swept under the rug of blindness. We did what we did for the ideals of the Republic…for the greater good and not for the aggrandizement of Locarno." Her omission of his title spoke of her lack of respect for the man.
Unable to stand still, she paced like a trapped tigress. "I will show them," she said after a while. "I will not be made a fool of!"
Suddenly, she stopped and a slow smile spread over her face. Malak saw this and furrowed his brows.
"Out with your idea, Revan."
She nodded mischievously. "Indeed I have. Mai-Lyn, send this message to Admiral Sunfire of the Third Fleet. He is loyal to me. Tell him to come to Alert-Level One."
Mai-Lyn nodded, keeping her face impassive. Without a word, she about-faced, swirling her Jedi robes about her body and strode from the room.
Office of the Supreme Chancellor
Revan was summoned to the Grand Chamber of the Supreme Chancellor. Locarno had already been installed as the interim Chancellor, pending his inauguration. He sat upon the highest seat in the Republic, adorned with bright decorations over bold black and crimson robes woven from the finest Corellian silk. Locarno was the image of power.
The young Jedi entered, now wearing her finest uniform, gray and blue with golden braids and epaulettes that denoted her rank as a Vice Admiral. As she approached, she could see Supreme Chancellor's coterie of friends staring down at her from the raised platform beside him.
Despite her disdain for the man, Revan bowed respectfully as was the protocol. "Minister Locarno, you have requested my presence?"
He curled his lip above a slick, black goatee. "You should now refer to me as Supreme Chancellor, Revan"
Revan shrugged, but she locked the man in a cold stare. "Very well, Supreme Chancellor."
The look in Revan's eyes took the wind from his sails. Chancellor Locarno glanced back and forth with some trepidation at his sycophants; Revan was known to possess awesome prowess with the Force and her physical skills with a blade were legendary. With a nod from Admiral Vrex to bolster his confidence, Locarno continued, his voice cracking, "Revan, it has come to my attention that you have repeatedly and willfully disobeyed commands from higher authority. You failed to give hourly reports of your progress…you instituted changes to regulations without approval…you appointed personnel to positions within the fleet based on merit and you defeated the Mandalorians at Ando without our approval!"
Despite her preparedness for this event, Revan's head spun with the sheer insanity of Locarno's words and she found her anger rising at the insult to her immense pride. Taking a breath, the Chancellor continued, "We find you in dereliction of duty and you are relieved of command and placed in a retirement status pending a formal Court Martial. You are dismissed."
Revan raised an eyebrow and she too, took a deep breath to calm herself. "I understand, Supreme Chancellor. I shall brief my successor on the new Mandalorian threat that is gathering beyond the Outer Rim. Please, check the intelligence reports." She bowed and then began to withdraw amid murmurs from the gallery. As she turned, Admiral Burnslider spoke.
With a half smile, Revan turned back to the men. "I thought I was dismissed…."
Chancellor Locarno grunted as Admiral Vrex handed him a data pad with new intelligence. "Admiral Sunfire of the Third Fleet has come to Alert-Level One in response to communications intercepts of renegade Mandalorian forces. Why was I not told this earlier?" he asked, looking sternly at Revan. He glanced back at his admirals who had turned as white as sheets. They were not up to the job. Locarno sighed in frustration, his face turning beet red. "Revan, it sounds like you failed to complete the task. Take your fleet to the Outer Rim and destroy the Mandalorians. When you are finished, return for my judgment."
Revan bowed again. "By your command, Supreme Chancellor. I shall depart immediately."
The young woman made a mock flourish with her hand, indicating her disdain, and walked backward for a few steps before turning. As she strode through the massive doors to the chamber, elite guards came to attention, holding lethal Force Pikes. Revan slipped past them with a girlish giggle.
As Revan disappeared from view, Admiral Deritz slammed his fist on a table. "That girl is insufferable! What are we going to do about her?"
Locarno curled his lip, which quivered in anger. "Our appointees are already positioned within her fleet. She will not be able to stray far from our leash now."
Revan's Quarters on Coruscant
The young Jedi returned to her quarters to find them filled with anxious faces. Malak sat among the other Jedi and Revan's senior officers, awaiting her entry.
"What happened?" Malak asked her urgently, his face worried.
Revan saw Bandon stand, his fists clenched. Unlike the shy boy she knew on Dantooine, this Bandon radiated anger. "They wouldn't dare carry out their threats. I would tear their throats out!"
Revan held up her hand and the room fell silent. "All is not lost, brothers and sisters. We depart tomorrow for the Outer Rim. It is time to put these fools in their place. Arise, and prepare for war. Once more unto the breach, dear friends…."
Revan looked upon the faces of her comrades and a broad smile filled Malak's face followed by the others. A cheer rose in the room as all of them cursed Locarno's name. All of them cheered but one.
In the corner of the room, out of Revan's sight sat Mai-Lyn, shrouded in darkness. She blinked her crystal blue eyes, which were unfocused and unseeing and her hands shook. She tried to close her eyes, but a spectral face flashed in her mind and she forced her eyes back open. A horrible, cold knot grew in her belly and she gulped down the rest of the ridiculously expensive brandy that she held in her hand. The fluid slid down her gullet, giving her a warmth that no longer came from inside her.
Mai-Lyn was about to take another drink when a hand on her shoulder startled her and she spilled her glass. It was Revan.
The dark-haired admiral looked down at her, concern written on her face. "General, are you ready? You should get some rest."
Mai-Lyn tried to focus her eyes on her friend, but at first, she saw a corpse – a rotting, skeletal head, grinning with fleshless teeth and empty eye sockets. Mai-Lyn gasped, but steadied herself. "R…ready? Why yes, Admiral. I await your command."
The Quarters of General T'Sing
In the early morning, Admiral Revan walked down a long corridor to the door of her comrade in arms and friend. The sharp footfalls of her boots could be heard echoing through the hallway under harsh lighting.
She approached the door, her face glowing with renewed vigor and confidence. Only a hint of irritation showed through her angelic features as she pressed the buzzer.
The door slid open, revealing only darkness beyond.
"Mai-Lyn, my friend, you are late for the muster. Your men await your guidance. We depart soon."
When Mai-Lyn didn't respond, Revan's eyes searched the darkness, finding a female figure slumped on a couch with an empty bottle in her hand. The stench of alcohol was overpowering…as was the reek of vomit.
The raven-haired admiral flipped on the lights and rushed to her friend. Mai-Lyn sat, staring into the darkness, her eyes bloodshot and her clothes soaked in the regurgitation of her binge.
"Revan…I see them…in my head. Their eyes are pleading with me," she whispered.
"Who…who do you see, Mai-Lyn?"
The general's thousand-meter stare penetrated the admiral's soul. "I see their torn bodies, blood is everywhere. Dxun, Onderon, Serocco, Vortex, and a dozen other systems, a hundred other hills, a million wasted lives. They haunt me, Revan…they won't let me sleep. Their rotting hands claw at me…tearing at my clothes and my flesh."
Revan's hubris gripped her and she slapped Mai-Lyn across the cheek. "Pull yourself together, general. How can you let a few bad dreams shake you thus? The Republic needs you. What of your oath?"
Mai-Lyn shook for a moment and then, suddenly, she shattered the bottle on the table and leapt up, her voice hissing and her eyes feral. "You don't know what horrors infest my head!" she screamed, nearly incoherent. "All the men I sent to the charnel house…Cold, dispassionate, General T'Sing…unconcerned by casualties…always meeting objectives. The Republic needs me? No, Revan, you need me – for your vanity, your glory, and your next slaughter. My oath was to fight the Mandalorians. That is done! My oath is done! I want none of this, Revan, none of it!"
A look of utter disdain grew on Revan's face and her skin grew taut as she bared her teeth and flared her nostrils. "You pathetic creature. Why don't you crawl back to your beloved Council…your beloved Master Kavar. You can huddle with Bastila in the deepest cave, never to see the light of day again, quailing against every threat because of the Code. To think that you were my friend…."
Mai-Lyn shrieked and her lightsaber flew to her hand. She held it, her fingers straining around the silver cylinder, but she did not ignite it.
Revan's hand immediately went to her belt and she too, grasped her weapon.
They stared are each other, Mai-Lyn instinctively taking an aggressive stance and Revan, balanced and even, awaiting her general's next move.
After a heart rending minute, Mai-Lyn fell to her knees, shaking, trembling with drunkenness and despair, and sobbed in a pool of her own vomit.
Revan softened, her own eyes welling with mist, wanting beyond hope for her loyal follower to relent. The desire to be loved and followed would always be Revan's downfall. "Mai-Lyn," she whispered, extending her hand.
The general shook her head, her eyes filled with bitter, regretful tears. "No, Revan, I cannot follow you this time. I beg your forgiveness."
The darkness stormed across Revan's face again and she spat on Mai-Lyn. "Wallow in your own filth then. I have no further use for you. May you be lost and forgotten by history I will make."
Revan turned sharply and marched out, her pride and military bearing intact. The door hissed open, revealing the harsh corridor lighting and Revan stopped for a second to listen to Mai-Lyn's sobs.
She started to look back, still hoping beyond hope, but the will of the Void led her forward.
Coruscant - The Jedi Temple
The graceful structure of the massive Jedi Temple towered over General Mai-Lyn T'Sing as she walked slowly down the broad avenue toward the entrance. On this day, her appearance was impeccable, her platinum blonde hair pulled back in a tight bun, wearing finely pressed Jedi robes of cream and brown.
Her somber march through the magnificent entryway drew stares from the young Padawans and Knights gathered to take a look at one of the Jedi who had defied the Order and followed Revan to war.
Never did she make eye contact with the onlookers, continuing on through sheer force of will until her way was blocked by a gathering of Jedi Masters.
"Approach no further," spoke the recently elevated Master Atris. The Echani woman's hair was snowy white, almost silver, and tied up in a top knot that accentuated her severe expression.
Mai-Lyn focused her eyes upon the source of her old friend's voice, but saw no compassion there. She reached out her hand, but Atris recoiled as if Mai-Lyn were a thing of filth and rot.
Master Vrook stood beside Atris, his twisted and scowling face beneath his dark, receding mane, revealing the bitterness in his heart from Revan's final betrayal of his teachings. As Revan's former master, much of the blame for the crusade against the Mandalorians had been laid upon his shoulders and it scourged him to the core. His once gentle and fatherly outlook had warped and he was now known for his stern and disapproving ways.
Beside them stood Masters Zez-Kai El, Vash, and Kavar, their faces impassive, but not hostile.
Atris pointed her finger at Mai-Lyn like a stabbing dagger. "So, you have come to answer for your crimes? Very well, we five shall judge you. Come now to the chamber of justice."
The general said nothing, but looked up at the lofty statues of those, who had left the Order. For reasons Mai-Lyn could not understand, the Jedi memorialized the individuals who had turned their backs on their own.
Perhaps I should be there.
The Chamber of Justice
Together, they entered a circular chamber with twelve seats arrayed around a lowered pit. At the center of the circle stood a squat obelisk, the symbol of Jedi justice and authority for millennia. At one point of the circle was the 'path', the entryway for the accused.
In this hallowed chamber, only the most severe crimes were heard. The last Jedi to walk the path was Ulic Qel-Droma, the fallen one.
The Masters took their seats as Mai-Lyn strode into the circle. As the five sat, it was obvious to Mai-Lyn how many seats were now empty. The Order had diminished since she was last in the Temple. One by one, the seats took on a blue light, imbued with the power of the Force. The general now felt the creeping pangs of fear and regret coil up from her stomach into her heart and a trickle of sweat dripped down her back.
She glanced over to Atris, who avoided her gaze. What happened to my friend? I was always there to protect you, Atris. Why do you treat me like this now?
Sensing Mai-Lyn's thoughts, Master Atris avoided her gaze and launched into an accusatory diatribe. "The criminal's actions are obvious. There should be no debate. Why are we even gathered here?"
"Because these are the hallowed rules of the Order, set down by our founders eons ago," retorted Vash. "And it would be arrogance and folly to turn from them for our personal feelings," she added with an edge toward Atris.
Kavar looked upon Mai-Lyn with sadness and regret. He had been her master on Dantooine once, where she had been his most promising student. "Yes, we must follow tradition here. We must lay out the charges and allow the accused to speak."
Mai-Lyn's heart pounded in her chest and a storm of conflicting emotions ripped her apart. Her soul was torn between remorse for her actions, pride in their victory over the Mandalorians and disdain for the Order in their pathetic moralizing.
It was now Vrook's turn to deliver the charges and he savored the moment – it was his chance to punish those who had humiliated him. "We are now convened to hear the charges against Jedi Mai-Lyn T'Sing for willful disobedience to the mandates of the Order and for defiance of the sacred Code," he announced and then turned to Mai-Lyn. "How do you plead?"
"I…I did what I did for the greater good."
"The greater good?" Vrook snorted. "The greater good? You speak as a puppet of Revan. In her arrogance, she warped those words to fit her own agenda and molded the idea around her hubris. You know not of which you speak…."
"Let her speak," interrupted Kavar.
Atris shot up. "And you, Kavar, have you no remorse for what your pupil did? If not, than you are no better!"
The handsome, blond Kavar turned his gaze back at the screaming Atris, but the remorse in his soul was obvious. "Master Atris, please calm yourself. What Mai-Lyn did is separate from my teachings. She must own her actions…as must we all. Now, let her speak."
Mai-Lyn inhaled deeply and pled her case that the Mandalorians would have overrun the Republic. "There was no other choice. How could I have let millions be conquered by them? The Republic…the Order would be no more."
Atris stood again, her venom unabated. "And billions slaughtered was better? You must answer for those crimes, puppet of Revan! You stand in judgment here and I will see you humbled. I will see you grovel here at my feet."
Mai-Lyn's pride won out.
"Humbled? By you, Atris?" Mai-Lyn retorted. "You, who could barely hold a lightsaber? It was better that you remained behind to cower at the feet of the Masters. If you had come, you would have merely slowed me down. A Mandalorian youngling could have crushed you with a vibrodagger."
Atris didn't bat an eyelash. "Your crimes are clear! I vote for exile."
Vrook followed suit, but Vash and Kavar sighed, unwilling to make a choice immediately. Atris turned on Zez-Kai El. "It is your turn. Do not fail the Order."
The balding master sighed and nodded. "Exile." Reluctantly, Vash and Kavar agreed. "Exile."
With a look of satisfaction, Atris held out her hand. "Jedi T'Sing…you are hereby cast from the Order. I shall begin expunging your records from the system and may the Force have mercy upon you."
Mai-Lyn faced Atris, pride and anger in her eyes. "Mercy? From this kangaroo court?" She drew her lightsaber from her belt and pointed the emitter at Atris and Vrook. "You hypocrites! You soil the very traditions you seek to uphold."
Vrook held out his hand, a stern look upon his face. "Leave here now and leave your lightsaber with the Order you turned your back on."
A silver blade of energy hissed forth from the weapon and the gathered masters gasped as one. Atris stumbled backward as Mai-Lyn advanced, holding her blade over her shoulder aggressively, point forward in a stance from Juyo.
Atris fumbled for her own weapon, but Mai-Lyn passed her by to approach the sacred obelisk. Kavar lowered his head as the general thrust the point of the weapon into the ancient stone, its energy sizzling and crackling before the silent assembly.
With that, the Exile marched out of the Temple and never looked back.