The Masters moved as one, trying to trap the Exile in a stasis field.
"No- I won't let you take the Force away from me!" she cried. They ignored her, confident that their combined power would be enough to hold her.
As with much else, they were wrong.
My Padawan is more powerful now, here in this place of her exile, here where the first steps on her path towards 'redemption' were taken than any of those three fools could possibly imagine. For a moment, I feel a distant longing for my physical sight; the expressions upon their faces must be most gratifying.
"'What..? How-" came Kavar's voice, surprise laced with a fear so quintessentially human not even the Jedi Code could remove it- the fear of the unknown.
"It is simple, Kavar. I am stronger than you," she explains with a hint of amusement. Most gratifying, indeed. "Stronger, even, than the three of you combined."
"Such power comes from the Dark side!"
Ah, Vrook, so quick to cast judgement upon your betters. For a moment I toy with the idea of intervention, but the Exile's reply stops me.
"You confuse strength with power."
It is, perhaps, better to let this particular confrontation play itself out. It is certainly more interesting.
"You claim I grow more powerful through conflict, that I feed upon it? I say your definition of conflict is flawed. Fatally so."
The four of them have their lightsabers activated, each waiting for the other to make the first move. The hum of their weapons hang heavy in the air.
"Does that mean you wish to kill us?" Vrook demands.
"No. Not unless you attack first. Not unless you refuse to listen to the truth."
"And what truth is what? That action must be taken? That we should pit ourselves, the last of the Jedi, against a foe who would crush us and all our teachings?"
"And what do you think would happen if you managed to draw the 'true threat' into the open? If you fear the power of the pawns, how could you hope to deal with the master? Would you even recognize the threat, I wonder? Or would you remain in your hiding places while the galaxy burned around you?"
The fools have no answer for her. Like all Jedi, they are not accustomed to questioning the Council's wisdom. Even if- especially if- they themselves are the Council.
"You say you are the last of the Jedi. I say you have doomed yourselves to be exactly that. You haven't passed on your wisdom to any Padawan learners; it will die with you. You haven't acted as the guardians of peace, and have won few allies. You don't know how your enemy fights, so you don't know they can be defeated. And thus, you have lost before you have even begun."
Her voice had lost all traces of humor; contempt coated every word like poison, and worked its way into their consciousness. I feel a stab of envy- this ability to make other doubt there beliefs and force them to face their flaws is why she attracts followers and friends as well as allies and students. It is ability that I do not posses, and cannot learn.
"And I suppose you can?" Kavar's voice asks heavily.
"Yes. And if you will not act, then my Padawans and I will."
"Simply because you have taught them a few tricks with a lightsaber and the Force does not make them Jedi," Vrook snarls.
"Do you think that's all I do? Do you think we don't ponder over how so many Jedi could fall to the dark side, and how we could avoid such a trap? Do you think we haven't debated, deep into the night, what could have created such a monstrous echo?"
"And yet you are still so misguided that you think-" Vrook begins, but the Exile is done listening.
"I am done thinking, because I know survival is not enough. The Jedi's absence from the galaxy has done but one thing- diminish our chances of success. No, we cannot gather in but small, mobile groups. No, we cannot save everything. But lack of trying only gives our enemies time to gather their strength, and only disheartens our allies, and turns them into still more enemies."
Frustration leaks into my Padawans voice, a weakness, albeit an understandable one. If the Jedi won't fight Sith, then what will they fight?
"Action is why there are so few of us left."
"Inaction is what will finish the job."
They are at an impasse; the time for intervention seems to be at hand. I rise, only to sit down again as Master Zez Kai-Ell speaks for the first time.
"And what do you know of our enemies. What do you know, for that matter, of the source of the echo?"
"Everything that you know. That they are of Malachor, that they seek the death of all life. And more than that, I know there are but three Sith Lords who need to be defeated. I know that in the end Sion will defeat himself; I know that Nihilus will starve if he is unable to feed on a Force rich world, if he is too distracted to try; and I know that Traya will be willingly betrayed, after her revenge on her former students is complete."
The revelation hit me like a tsunami: she knows, the Exile knows, of my identity, of my plan, of everything. It is everything I imagined the inevitable conflict between the Master and the Apprentice to be, yet it needn't to have been shoved down the Exile's throat as I had feared. She knows and understands what must be done and I have never been so proud.
"And you will bring all this about, I suppose," Vrook said.
"The machinations are already in place."
"And then what will you do?" Kavar asked.
"I will stay, for a time, with my Padawans, to finish their training as best I can, and for my own selfish reasons. Then I will follow Revan into the Unknown Regions, to find what happened to him, and the source of the echo, if I can,"
"It will consume you, as it did Revan." Vrook scoffs, his doubt palpable.
"Have you considered the possibility that it did not consume him, but merely delay him?" the Exile asks.
They are at another impasse, this one not so easily scaled. I sigh. Were time not so short, I would sit here and listen to her convince them of the truth all night, but time is short and they are too set in their ways to ever embrace it fully. The Handmaidens have already arrived on Dantooine and are dealing with the Exile's friends; should they arrive before I have dealt with the three fools, it will be next to impossible to deal with Atris, to complete her transition to the next Darth Traya. I enter the chamber and throw the fools and my Padawan. She crashes into the wall, stunned, but only momentarily. She is resilient, and will quickly recover. I must act quicker.
"You!" Vrook calls, sneering. I give him an extra shove.
They go through all the predictable emotions, disbelief, fear, determination; pastel compared to the rage I feel now, at their inability to see the truth when it comes before them. I use it to destroy them, by destroying the way in which the viewed the Force, as a thing to study and observe rather than change. The Exile struggles to her feet, watching with narrowed eyes.
"You shouldn't have done that," she spat, activating her lightsaber. "It was wasteful. I was getting through to them."
I don't bother explaining; another bolt of orange energy shots from my hand as my reply. It hits her chest and she convulses before falling face-first into the dirt. I move to stand over her, but I needn't have bothered; she was strong enough to stand the pain at Malachor, and what I have given her is nothing compared to that.
"You were strong," I murmured over her body. "And are even stronger now."
Then I turn around to face the Handmaidens; there are only two, the rest still engaged with the Ebon Hawk's crew.
"Take me to Atris," I order. "She will have the strength to do what the Council cannot."
Later, she and her allies will travel to Telos, and defeat Atris and Nihilus. And then she will go to Malachor, and defeat Sion and Traya. And through all this she will become stronger still, strong enough to complete the job Revan has started. My two best Padawans, fighting together against a foe too terrible for mere Jedi to conceive of; it is something I long to be able to see. If only my death was not a necessary step in forging the Exile into the person she needs to be to stop the darkness...
But it is necessary. She needs to be able to endure the pain of killing a teacher who would kill her, who would use her death to kill the Force and all it touches. There are much more terrible choices she will need to make, in the Unknown Regions.
Every heroine needs a villainess to keep them on their toes, keep them from growing complacent and weak. It is simply my role to fill.
It is not so terrible a thing. After all, there is no death; the Force shall free me.
Author's Notes: This is my way of compensating for the utter lack of closure at the end of KoTOR II, and the utter lack of yelling at the three Jedi Masters, which I really wanted to do at the end. I also wanted to give Kreia a better motivation for her actions than we get in the game, so I decided that was just a sham, and Kreia was acting under Revan's orders to send him an ally if he didn't return within five years. After all, he did go to Malachor before he left know space...