She shook her head. Even thinking about that battle seemed anathema to her brain, which was currently threatening to melt and ooze out her ears.
Blinking, she reassessed her surroundings. Dxun. She'd landed on Dxun. It was raining.
Dammit, it always rained on Dxun. Should've remembered that from the war. Of course, she'd been preoccupied. There was an odd familiarity to the forest, even though she had no way of knowing whether or not she'd actually landed there. Those records were on another ship, one that hadn't been donated by the Jedi as they'd told her not to let the door hit her on her way out.
She squeezed her eyes shut, all she could feel was the water pelting her. No life, nothing. It was all wrong. She knew she should be able to feel something- anything. The grass beneath her feet. The trees surrounding her. She couldn't even feel herself in the Force. It was like staring into a black hole.
Her memories, however, were another story entirely. They were so vivid she would swear she could almost hear the voices of her fellow Jedi around her. The camaraderie, the trust they'd had was nothing short of incredible. Especially knowing what they were getting into. Malachor V was bad, but Dxun was arguably worse. It was certainly longer. But they had to win. Dxun was the Mandalorian fortress, their primary territory. If the Mandalorians could be forced off the moon, and off Onderon, then the Republic would finally have the upper hand.
Their leader, the Revanchist. He'd been so sure of his plan, and she'd followed his orders. Even with her command depleted and scattered. Even more of them died in that attempt.
They'd been there for months. Five bloody, violent months of every tactic they could come up with, from all-out space assaults to guerrilla warfare. The only upside was that they knew they weren't harming any civilians, because there weren't any to be found. Just Mandalorians. Scores and scores of Mandalorians. And cannoks. Damn those cannoks, they ate everything, including a couple of lightsabers.
She instinctively reached down to make sure hers was still there, before she remembered that she no longer had one.
"You are exiled; you are a Jedi no longer."
Master Vash's words echoed in her head. Exile was extreme. It just wasn't done, and was generally self-imposed. That's what they'd always said, all those years. Until she and the others left to defend what was left of the Republic.
"You should never have gone!"
Ielyn shook her head. She was falling apart. No wonder the Jedi had cast her out.
Though, they had no idea she was tearing at the seams. No, they'd found other reasons to send her on her way. Her 'bloodlust' and 'thirst for war' seemed to come up often enough. Actually, she found such accusations laughable. Anybody who wanted to go to war was certifiably insane. But there's a long way between wanting to go to war and recognizing that sometimes it's not avoidable.
It is not the Jedi way.
Ielyn snorted. That was an easy enough platitude to hide behind. But she sure as hell knew that sitting around and meditating while people died also wasn't the 'Jedi way.' It couldn't be. That was the part she never understood. The Jedi Council would rant about the Dark Side, and the dangers of violence, and how aggression wasn't the way of the Jedi. Easy enough for them to say. So long as all they heard were the newscasts, they didn't have to recognize the reality of the war.
Ielyn, on the other hand, felt everything.
Everywhere she'd ever been. Every planet where she'd made a friend. She shared a bond with each of them, and every time one of them died, or was hurt,she felt it. Sure, it was just as bad going into battle with her fellow Jedi, but at least she was doing something about it. Feeling became her motivation to succeed.
Until Malachor V.
This time, she was unable to suppress the memories, and she fell to her knees in the mud. So many people died there, all at once. A simple nod, an execution of an order... and then everything went black.
Apparently she was out for a couple of days. She didn't know, and wasn't sure she cared. All she knew was that when she woke up, she couldn't feel anything.
It was the most terrifying thing she'd ever felt.
She'd hoped that somehow, it would wear off. When the Council summoned her, she hoped that perhaps they would be able to pinpoint the problem. But no, they were simply interested in telling her how very wrong she had been, and that she could feel free to leave the Jedi Order as soon as possible.
And that's how she ended up on Dxun. The place she swore she'd never return. But if any place in the galaxy was filled with echoes in the Force, it was here.
Well, maybe Malachor V. But there was no way in all nine Corellian hells she was going back there.
But it didn't matter. Kneeling thoroughly drenched in the thick Dxun forest, she felt nothing.
Maybe she should have died, like everyone else.
Maybe it would have been easier.
Now what was she? An outcast, a wanderer, a nothing. Her entire life was built around being a Jedi, and if she couldn't feel the Force any longer, she could hardly be a Jedi, could she?
The Council didn't think so. The Council didn't care. She wondered if they even noticed what had happened to her.
There were ghosts here. She had killed a lot of them. Even more of them had been under her command. She should have been able to hear them whispering.
But all she heard was a deafening silence.
Back in the war, the soldiers joked that the typical Dxun rain was helpful because it would cover the sound of your movement.
Now she was just glad that it was covering her tears.
"Go, Exile, to the far reaches of the galaxy. You will not taint the name of the Jedi again."
Friendless and alone, with only a ship to call her own. In the end, the Council had even denied her the dignity of a name.
She couldn't stay here, there were too many bad memories. The fresh smell of the rain on the trees belied the blood that soaked the soil. Where would she go? She wasn't sure. Wherever it was, it would be out of the reach of the Republic. Though she'd saved it, by all accounts, it didn't want her.
She could live with that. She wasn't sure she wanted it anymore, either.