Chapter 15: Uncertainties
Yoda, Mace Windu, Shaak Ti, and Obi-Wan Kenobi observed the young Jedi as he was in a deep meditative state. His movements were microscopic. He was silent, and not even his breathing could be heard. His eyes were closed, and his faced retained a calm and composed look. However, this was not the only thing that was going on. His lightsaber floated in front of him, about the height of his head. As the masters watched with great and mute interest, they noticed that the lightsaber was being telekinetically disassembled and the pieces separated in front of the Jedi. Slowly, the pieces were "laid" out in front of the Jedi, still held by telekinesis, but now organized and easy to find. Slowly, but surely, the pieces began to regroup, each piece coming together perfectly, reforming the lightsaber. As the last pieces were secured, the lightsaber was held vertically. The blade activated, giving off its aqua-blue glow. The Jedi opened up his eyes, looking into the blue blade. The Jedi Masters could see that the blade offered him something to meditate on, judging by how intensely he stared into the blade. After a few minutes, the blade deactivated, returning to the Jedi. He rose and gazed at each of the masters, waiting for a response.
In all of their years of experience, the Jedi Masters had never really observed what Sith training did to a person. This, however, did not seem Sith in nature at all. Starkiller meditated like a Jedi did. He was calm, tranquil, and focused entirely on meditation. Not once did they sense any distracting thoughts. It was even more fascinating that his meditation had gotten to the point where virtually any object that was loose or not secured to the wall, floor, or ceiling would begin to hover around. What was more interesting was that it seemed by instinct, the young Jedi had disassembled his lightsaber with the Force, and did not give it any thought towards the action. His Force sensitivity was nothing short of incredible. Such a raw and primal connection to the Force was rarely seen, and one that rivaled that of the Chosen One. Already, based on the Force ability that he had demonstrated, he was a prodigy of the Force. The Council unanimously agreed that Starkiller was more adept in using the Force than Anakin Skywalker, though the "Chosen One" was still a force to be reckoned with.
"Progressing, you are young one," Yoda said with a nod of approval.
"It may not be enough," he said flatly.
"What brings you to this conclusion," Shaak Ti inquired.
"I was trained to be Sith for virtually all my life. It will likely take just as long to learn the ways of the Jedi and the Light side. Time is a luxury that, at this time, we cannot afford."
"Everything takes time and patience," Windu continued. "However, despite the corruptive influence of the Dark Side, I believe there may yet be a way to utilize your prior training."
His faced showed uncertainty and hesitancy, but also curiosity. What did the Jedi know about the Dark Side?
"You knowledge and connection with the Dark side may prove useful in helping others to avoid this path," Kenobi answered.
He was silent. The Masters could sense hesitancy at the idea.
"A noble goal," he replied. "But it may not be that simple."
The Masters said nothing.
"I mean no offense," Galen continued. "But there are many in the Jedi Temple who do not trust me. I cannot offer any knowledge and understanding to those who are wary of me. Besides, I believe that the Jedi Order has much to learn in regards the Dark Side of the Force."
"That may be true," Obi-Wan Kenobi answered. "However, the Jedi Council sees the progress that you are making. We believe that you can change for the better. Already, you demonstrate your progress towards redemption."
"Surely, the strides you have taken to make must carry some merit," Shaak Ti continued.
Galen looked at Shaak Ti with an uncertain look. For a moment, he pitied the Jedi Master. Shaak Ti had no idea that in another time, he would be battling her.
At the time of their confrontation, he was Starkiller, the Sith assassin. The prospect of killing a member of the Jedi High Council was exciting. It was also one of his only chances at a truly worthy opponent. He remembered the intense battle as clearly as ever. The first blows exchanged, simple, and meant to test each other for strengths. Starkiller had readied his blood-red lightsaber, issuing the challeng. She struck first, catching him off balance. The Jedi took advantage of his momentary to try and strike him, but he was ready and began to use Soresu. She then began to attack with Ataru. As he defended himself, Starkiller found her assault very powerful, rapid, graceful, and relentless. If he didn't find a way to seize the offensive, he would eventually lose the energy to mount any offense and would likely lose his life to either the Jedi or Darth Vader.
With this in mind, he parried, then leaped two levels into the Sarlacc's gums, then leaped back up, hoping that he could gain some sort of chance to attack. Shaak Ti pursued him, with lightning-fast strikes. Angered that it didn't work, he tried another tactic. He fired a burst of Force lightning at the flesh of the Sarlacc. The massive creature writhed in pain, which caused the ground to shake. Shaak Ti was force to move back, losing her offensive. Wasting no time, Starkiller began to call upon his anger and hatred to fuel his Juyo. The Jedi undoubtedly would attempt to retake the offensive. Starkiller needed her to stay on the defensive as long as possible, so he began to use the environment, hurling objects with telekinesis. This caused their duel to farther into the Sarlacc. Shaak Ti began to use his own tactics, calling upon the Sarlaac. He saw the Jedi leap out of reach, then massive tentacles threatening to crush him under their weight. Using Force speed, he dodged the tentacles, then immediately was forced on the defensive as the Jedi struck. He found himself tiring. He was barely countering her moves. This was the most difficult battle he had ever fought. He needed to end the battle soon. Their battle took them farther down the Sarlacc.
Even as their battle raged on, she managed to slip in Jedi philosophy and teachings. Starkiller found himself annoyed and angered by her nonsense. She was trying to corrupt him with the Light side. He did know if this was the reason that he found renewed strength, but he found himself with more energy. Even with the difficulty of breathing this far down, he endured. He once again seized the advantage, seeing that the Jedi Master was showing fatigue. Not wanting to give her a chance to recover, he struck with Sith Shien. Their lightsabers caught in a lock, they looked into each other's eyes for as long as the lock lasted. Then Starkiller disengaged and struck again. Even though their movements were not as fast as when they began the battle, he was fast enough to keep her moving back. He caught her in another lock. He then forced her back and pushed her with the Force into the Sarlacc. The battle was over. H flipped his lightsaber back into a reverse grip, sheathed it, and began to leave. Starkiller then sensed something. She wasn't dead yet. He turned to see that she had landed on one of the Sarlacc tentacles. She began to command them to attack again. Activating his lightsaber again, he doved to the left, then to the right. He grabbed onto one of the tentacles. He felt himself being left off the ground. He felt himself losing his grip. Starkiller found himself caught between four tentacles. Thinkin quickly, he called on a Force Repulse, which gave him the room to use Force Speed to escape. He had only a few moments before he sense the Jedi Master approaching him, with the intent to strike him down, but he quickly brought his blade up to block and then he unleashed Force Lightning. She screamed in pain. Starkiller Force Pushed her again into the Sarlacc. She hit a tentacle and lay atop another, hardly moving.
Starkiller began to reach into the depths of the Dark Side of the Force, summoning every ounce of power that he could. He began to summon a Force Storm. The lighting caused the Sarlacc to writh in pain, its tentacles flailing everywhere. His eyes watched the movement as he continued to pour mower power into the lightning. Starkiller finished the attack, adding an extra surge. The lightning still lingered around. The Jedi Master could be seen falling. She hit the ground with a thud. For a few seconds, she laid prone. Walking towards her with the intent of ending her life, she struggled to her feet. Holing her lightsaber in one hand, and holding an injury with the other hand, she turned her eyes to him.
"You are Vader's slave…but your power is wasted with him. You could be so much more…"
"You will NEVER convince me to betray my master."
"Poor boy. This Sith always betray one another…but I'm sure you'll learn that soon enough."
The Jedi closed her eyes and let herself fall backwards. In that moment, he felt something in her words. Starkiller did not know if this was why he felt the urge to help her, but he did. He could not reach her in time. She fell into the pit, and he stood over the edge, his hand out. He looked somewhat shocked. He then saw a blinding flash of light. He jumped back, covering his eyes. In that instant, he could feel her Force signature extinguish instantly. Then his pity was gone as quickly as it came. He brushed himself off. He then heard a growl. The Felucians gathered around him, weapons out and at ready. He activated his blade. They looked amongst themselves. He too kept his eyes on them. They seemed to just see that he was not worth the bother, she they simply stood down and began going their own ways. Starkiller sheathed the blade and went to signal Juno…
He had shifted through that battle in a mere second. That was one nit history he was not sure he cared to think about anymore, for Shaak Ti stood in front of him, completely unaware of this. The Jedi knew only half truths about his past.
Like the other masters, she knew about whom his Sith Master was, how he was trained, but that was all they knew. When asked if his master was still alive, he simply said that his master was not a threat and should be of no concern. No one knew about his birth name, the actions that he carried out in the names of the Galactic Empire, or even knew about a Galactic Empire. No one knew what the future would bring. Even with his knowledge, Galen doubted that he could make changes. Often, the future could not be changed, regardless of prior knowledge or any attempts made to change it. Hope, in his eyes, was the biggest disappointment. Hope was something that these Jedi were trying to fill his head with. He would not have any of it.
"I do not know. Will the Jedi Council's word be enough to shake any doubt about me?"
"With you progress and our backing, the Jedi Order will soon come to accept you as one of us in spirit if not in name," Windu said.
"See great things for you we do," Yoda finished. "But now, we have another assignment for you.
Ahsoka had always considered herself to be impatient and often found herself itching to go to battle. She was a warrior by nature. She had always had a talent with the lightsaber, but even so, she always tried to focus on patience and control. She had to admit, Anakin's teachings had rubbed onto her more than she realized. She was rather eager to take the enemy head-on. She would rather take risks in order to guarantee success in battle. She would rather risk herself than the lives of the clone troopers under her command. She would often charge in and let her confidence guide her, like her master. Also, at some level, she did find some thrill in the heat of battle, more so that she wanted to let on, but she sort of wished that she did not. War was not something to take joy it. It was a serious thing. More than once, she was scolded by mirroring her master's example, but she was also commended. She was willing to go to any lengths to win and keep others safe.
Ahsoka quickly pushed those thoughts aside. She did not want to dwell on the past. She had to move on. Her trust in the Jedi Order still waivered and thinking about the past was not helping matters. She wished that she could go back, but she did not desire it. What if something like this happened again? The Jedi Council had already doubted her once. Maybe one day. She turned to another thought. She saw Starkiller attempting to take down two Manga Guards with his two lightsabers. Even while occupied with fighting, Ahsoka could tell that Starkiller was out of his element with Jar'Kai. He was mainly a single-blade user and a very lethal one to be sure. She had never beaten him in any of their mock battles. She had come closer, but she was still no match for him, but now that he seemed to want to become proficient, she suddenly felt that she had a new trick to use, or at least she could provide him with some variety. Plus, she had missed her shoto too much. Ahsoka was fully aware that she had become so reliant on her shoto. Her battle with Barriss had proved that. She had to remember to also practice with a single saber. Maybe she could teach Starkiller a few things about Jar'Kai combat and he could teach her a few thigns about single-blade combat.
Needing something to do, she got up, then began to work the control to the attack simulations within the meditation chamber. She found herself against a few tanks and a few droids…
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