Revan stood on the surface of another nameless world in the Unknown Regions, staring at the last of the True Sith Lords resting at her feet. Atris, Mistress of the Archives. Little had the Jedi known what archives she'd kept…
Atris had been with the Jedi all of her life, just as she'd been with the Sith. Atris, daughter of Kreia, Darth Traya, Lady of Betrayal. Perhaps Atris herself should have been known as the betrayer, because her deceptions went so much deeper than her mother's.
Revan nudged at the lifeless body with the toe of her boot. She had been powerful, far more powerful than Revan had ever dreamed she could be. She had known Atris since she was a very small girl, living at the enclave on Coruscant. Atris had been her mentor and her friend, more like a mother than any other master that Revan had known.
Atris had been her first master, before Kreia or Kae or any of the others who'd shaped young Revan's life. And as Atris had been her first master, she had been Atris's first apprentice. None of the Jedi had known of Atris's darkness, just like her mother before her. They couldn't know what her teachings would do to her padawan's mind. Revan still fought them, even now.
Revan remembered Atris trying to cast her from the Order for leaving for the Mandalorian Wars. It had hurt that her own master had believed that what she was doing was wrong. Revan couldn't have known that Atris was anticipating her fall to the dark side, even desiring it. Revan knew that the same thing had happened to the exile, except Atris's wishes had come true. Atris had cast the exile out to join Revan.
Revan glanced up as the sounds of a landing ship echoed across the dry, cracked ground of the world upon which she stood. They were here. The Exile and her lover had finally arrived.
Revan had known they were coming. She'd felt the exile's approach in her very soul. If Atris had been her mother, the exile had been her sister and partner in crime. They had been inseparable from the moment that they met. They had only been parted by the Mandalorian Wars.
Revan remembered quite vividly when the exile, Emrys Vale, had lost her connection to the Force. Revan had been battling on Malachor V, only a few scant miles from her closest friend, when suddenly her presence had been ripped from Revan's mind. Revan had been certain that she had died. After the battle, Revan had searched for her body, but there were no remains to be found.
It had been part of her fall. The death of her best friend, the fall of her lover, Malak, the murder of her father, Mandalore, at her own hands…
Mandalore. Revan hadn't known that he was her father until he lay spent at her feet. He had beckoned her towards him and she had knelt beside him, expecting words of praise from a man who knew no greater honor than death in battle. Instead, he had removed his helmet, slowly and cautiously, trying not to jar the injuries that were slowly bleeding away his life force.
"Congratulations," he'd said to her, smiling weakly. Revan had nodded slowly, gripping his hand, feeling that no one should die alone, even her mortal enemy. "With my death, you have won the war. It is ironic that I, leader of all of the Mandalorians, would be slain by the child that I abandoned twenty years ago," Mandalore said.
Revan had been unable to reply. What could she say? She was quite certain that either one or both of them was losing their tenuous grip on reality. "You are a true warrior, daughter of mine, better than any Mandalorian before you. I'm proud to claim that your blood is of my own…" And he had trailed away, his eyes misting with pain. He'd gasped, then shuddered, and Revan had held her father's hand while he suffered through his death throes and finally passed on.
She knew that what he had told her had been true. She had been discovered on Deralia, which was, while not a Mandalorian world, a world that was inhabited by a large population of Mandalorian men training for war. She knew why she had been abandoned as well. Mandalorians saw the Force as a weakness, not a strength. Her father had given her to the Jedi in disgust. Force-sensitive children had no place in his world. And she had been as good as useless to him in a society where only sons could carry on their father's glory.
In an odd sense, Revan understood, and was thankful. She could not imagine what her world would have been like if her father had kept her. Raised not as a warrior, but as someone's wife, Revan would never have reached her full potential. She would have been a shell of the woman that she was now.
Revan watched as Emrys and a male Zabrak made their way towards her, their lightsabers blazing in the failing light. This planet's sun was sinking below the horizon. Revan lowered her head in greeting as the exile arrived at her side.
"Revan," the young ex-Jedi said, offering the slightly older woman her hand. Revan took it, looking into her friend's eyes.
"Emrys. It has been far too long."
"We've been looking for you," Emrys began, motioning towards the Zabrak at her side. He nodded his greeting but did not speak.
"And your reason?" Revan asked. She hoped that Emrys was not still a pawn of the Republic. The Republic was a dying beast to which a vital young warrior like Emrys should not owe her allegiance.
"To take you home," Emrys replied, motioning towards the Ebon Hawk. Revan smiled at the ship; so many memories aboard so small a vessel.
"I see. And what awaits me once I have returned?"
"There is nothing left for you out here, Revan. The Sith are dead. The evidence is here, with the body of Atris at your feet," Emrys said.
The exile and her companion made a strange couple indeed. They were both tall, the exile lean and willowy and the Zabrak stout and muscular. She was pale and he was dark, and she had thick reddish-brown hair where he had the strange horns characteristic of his race. Though they had deactivated their lightsabers, Revan remembered the colors. Emrys still carried a dual-bladed lightsaber of pale viridian green, and the Zabrak carried a blue single-blade.
Revan glanced down at her own lightsaber. It was silver, a color as ambiguous as the woman who wielded it. "Are you so certain that you want me back?"
"He's waiting for you," Emrys replied, reaching out and taking her lover's hand. The young man smiled fondly at her and Revan smiled as well. There was one who she loved as much, and he was still awaiting her return.
Revan took her friend's other hand. "Take me to him, then, for you are right. There is nothing else for me to do here."
Aboard the Ebon Hawk, memories assailed her. Taris. Dantoonie. Tatooine. Korriban. Manaan. Kashyyyk. Mostly, Revan remembered Bastila, dead on the Star Forge.
Bastila had been the closest thing to a friend Revan had had after she had thought that Emrys had died. Bastila had been as passionate and fiery as the exile was calm and collected. Revan's connection to Bastila had been a strange one, as she could not recall its forging. She could only assume that it had occurred when Bastila had saved her life.
Revan remembered Bastila fondly. For one so certain of her convictions, she had been uncertain of where she stood. Wavering between absolute devotion to the light and a devout fear that she was falling to the dark side, Bastila had been a study in contradictions. Revan missed her. She regretted that she had been unable to turn the girl away from the Sith.
The problem had been, of course, that Revan could not assure the girl that her life as a Jedi had not been a lie. Revan couldn't tell her that helping the Republic to defeat the Sith was the right thing to do. Was one tyrant really worse than another? Bastila had wanted to hear that redemption was easy, that Revan herself had been redeemed. Revan knew that she had not. Though she was no longer a Sith, she was no Jedi, no servant of the light.
Revan sighed. She hadn't even been able to lie to her. Revan was herself. She was not to be defined by light or dark, good or bad. She was neither, and she was both. She helped those in need and hurt just as many in the process. In Revan's opinion, there was no light and dark, only two sides to the same coin.
Revan shook off her dark thoughts. Brooding about the past would do her no good. Bastila could not return to her, and there was nothing that Revan could do for her now.
Revan made her way to the cockpit where Emrys sat in the pilot's seat, staring into hyperspace with a blank expression on her lovely face. Looking at the girl, Revan remembered their youth at the Jedi Academy, and thought of how others had always said that they not only acted like sisters, but they looked the part…
Revan was just as tall as the exile was with the same honey-brown eyes and fair skin. They were both thin and muscular with much the same Force talents. When they were young, they'd even carried the same color lightsaber and dressed in identical robes. The only difference was Revan's longer red hair. Even then, their hair colors complimented one another and spoke of relation, as one looked like a darker hue of the other.
Revan gently laid her hand upon her friend's shoulder. Emrys turned and looked at her. "We aren't far, now."
"I've met Bao-Dur," Revan said obliquely, ignoring how close they were to their destination. There was still time to worry about that later, to worry about him.
"What do you think?" Emrys asked earnestly, a shy smile playing across her lips.
"He seems to be very attached to you. His love runs very deep," Revan replied. In truth, she had never seen devotion like that Bao-Dur had to the exile.
"I meant about him personally," Emrys replied.
"Anyone who loves you like that is a very good man," Revan replied honestly. Anyone who loved her soul sister as much as she did was certainly worthy of her.
"Thank you, Revan. You'll never know how much your approval means to me," Emrys replied. She stood and hugged Revan to her.
Revan smiled and gently patted the girl on the back. Emrys had always looked to her for love and acceptance where the Jedi would give her none. Though things had changed around them, what was between them had not. They were as close as to people could be. "I think I do," Revan replied.
Emrys smiled and wiped at her eyes. Revan was surprised to find tears hovering there. "What's the matter?" Revan asked quickly, worried that something was wrong.
Emrys chuckled softly. "It's nothing. I'm just glad to have finally found you. It's all over, isn't it?"
Revan looked forward into hyperspace and shook her head. "No, Emrys, I think that this is only the beginning."
Their arrival was met with very little fanfare. Only one man waited for the landing of their ship. When they arrived within the city, Revan took careful note of their surroundings. There were many warriors here, young and old alike, and all of them strong.
In the center of everything, there was a circle of men, shouting and jeering around something that seemed to be happening in their midst. Revan flipped up her hood and donned her mask as she made her way towards the spectacle. She knew what she would find.
There, battling in true Mandalorian style, was a pair of finely honed warriors. One, dressed in full white armor, was Mandalore. His opponent was young and dressed in a suit much like the older man's, but gray in color. The younger man went down without putting up much of a fight.
Revan stepped into the circle as soon as the battle ended and switched on her lightsaber. Mandalore turned and stared at her, his expression unreadable behind his mask. He pulled a vibroblade from a scabbard at his side and lunged at her immediately.
Revan parried his blows and danced around him, her lighter body and flowing Jedi robes allowed her to move easily but keeping her from taking any hits, so she had to move carefully to avoid being struck. His blows were harder, but hers were faster, and soon they were both sweating with exertion.
The crowd around them was shouting again, but Revan paid them no heed. She could hear Emrys's voice amongst them, urging her on. She leapt at him one last time and finally threw him to the ground. He lay on his back, unmoving, and Revan stood triumphantly over him. She threw her mask down beside him and removed her cloak. He could now see her face.
She knelt beside him and with quick, gentle fingers, removed his mask. Canderous Ordo stared up at her, smiling despite his recent defeat. "Revan," he greeted, raising an eyebrow and waiting for her to respond.
Without a word, Revan lowered her head and captured his lips with hers. Five years was far too long to be apart. He sat up slowly, not breaking the contact, and pressed her against him. The unyielding pressure of his armor against her soft body was surprisingly erotic and Revan completely forgot about the people around them. His arms tightened around her and her fingers twined in his hair.
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, Revan pulled back, gasping for air. "I am still your better, old man," she whispered, rubbing at the stubble of a beard that darkened his cheek.
"I think that we'll have to wait until later, in a more private location, to know that for certain," Candeorus replied.
Revan kissed him on his cheek and helped him to his feet. He was still in his prime, despite his advancing age. He held her close to his side for a moment, his expression unreadable. Revan, unable to contain herself any longer, looked up into his eyes. "I love you," she whispered.
Canderous nodded. "I know you do."
A few hours later, Revan and Emrys sat alone in Canderous's quarters, staring at a map of the galaxy. "I knew he'd be glad to see you," Emrys said, glancing over at Revan with a slightly wicked smile.
Revan laughed. "You have no idea."
Emrys looked at the map again. "Revan, I've been meaning to ask you something. A friend brought it up and I thought that it was a very good question."
"Go ahead," Revan said, feeling amused. She had a feeling that she knew what Emrys was going to ask.
"Why did you preserve certain worlds during the Jedi Civil War? What were you saving them for?"
Revan smiled. Of course she had been protecting worlds that were vital to keeping the galaxy, if not the Republic, stable. She was preparing for the second coming of the Mandalorians. And this time, they would not fail.