Star Wars: The Old Republic: Masks
Chapter 4: Before the Dawn

When Revan entered, the cantina he stopped and scowled at how crowded it'd become. He'd long since preferred small groups and as neither a Jedi or Sith it would be harder to navigate this crowd. Sighing, Revan started forward. He weaved his way through the people, careful not to step on anyone's toes or draw attention to the fact he was looking for someone.

Revan paused and caught sight of Darious, sitting in a darkened corner of the cantina. He moved to where his childhood friend sat and took a seat at the table. "Anything?" Revan asked, casting a glance at the crowded cantina.

"I discovered where Jasper is," Darious spoke only loud enough for Revan to hear him. "I also got this." He pushed a data-pad across the table to Revan. "It contains a list of those soldiers and Jedi who are dead and those unaccounted for."

Taking the data-pad, Revan nodded his thanks before he started to skim of the information. There were more unaccounted for than there were on who had been captured or killed. Though, Revan could knock off about half the list, if not more, of the unaccounted as those who had died on the Endar Spire.

"Also, I uncovered a bit of news the Sith seemed to have looked over." Darious leaned forward. "Both exchange and the swoop gangs have been looting the downed pods. There is a chance your padawan is with one of those groups now."

Revan nodded again. "Makes sense, thank you for all your help Darious."

"I'll head for the Sith base and take a ship." Darious made to stand. He paused and added, "The code to get passed Malak's fleet is included in the data-pad."

"Forever thinking ahead. Good work, old friend."

Darious put down some credits to pay for his half finished drink before he gave a fake little salute. "Watch your step… Von." With those words he vanished into the crowd.

When Darious was out of sight, Revan ordered a drink and sipped. This was more to throw anyone off of the fact he'd only been there for a meeting rather than to relax. He slipped the data-pad into pouch around his belt and stared into the crowded room which held the dancers and band.

"She never returned," a voice drew Revan from the crowd. He eyed the two people who took the table beside his. Both wore dark robes – Revan's eyes narrowed – Sith. "I've tried her comm. several times now and she's not even answered."

"Shut up," snarled the larger of the two sith. "If she's been killed than she was too weak for even this backwater world."

"She wasn't weak," snapped the first. "She could out duel you any day! It just means there's someone far more powerful than her wandering Taris."

The large one snorted. "I sense no other Jedi here besides those who crashed and not even Bastila would've been strong enough to stop her."

"But Bastila killed Revan!"

"Revan was on the verge of death after Malak attacked his ship. She had an easy time of it with the wounds he'd have had."

It was time to leave. Revan finished his drink and placed the required amount of credit chips on the table. Standing, he looked around before heading for the exit. The cool night air was refreshing after the stuffy air of the crowded cantina. Revan stopped just outside a stretched. The day had been a long one though not a waste of time.

Sighing, Revan started back to the apartment. It was late enough as it was without delaying longer in reporting to the captain.

When Revan entered the apartment, he was greeted by a blasted pointed at the heart. "It's only me, captain," Revan held up both his hands to show he didn't mean the man any harm. "Sorry I'm late, sir, but I was following a lead."

Carth lowered his guns and sighed. "Did you find anything?"

There was a pause in which Revan debated how much to give away. Right then just the papers would have to do. Giving away too much of what was known would draw suspicion to both Revan and how he'd gotten the information.

Revan pulled out the papers he'd taken from the Sith. "The way into the lower city…" he hesitated, perhaps the wrong move here but he had to think fast on his next words, "but I don't know how that will help us find Bastila," he lied.

"How'd you get these?" Carth demanded. Several emotions flickered through the man: suspicion, relief, gratitude, to name a few. This alone made Revan grateful he'd withheld the rest of his information. Right then having the captain questioning every move Revan made would make it impossible to get the padawan back to the Republic. Carth took the papers from Revan and looked through them. He was nodding, a small smile on his face.

Revan took seat and watched the captain as the man paced the room. After a time, he broke the silence. "Do you believe Bastila's pod crashed in the lower or undercity?" it was a valid enough question. Though Revan had already figured out that Bastila's pod had crashed in the undercity. By now she was more than likely a slave in the exchange, with one of the gangs, or dead.

"Why else wouldn't we've heard of the Sith getting her?" Carth stopped his pacing and looked at Revan out of the corner of his eye. He sighed and rubbed his chin. "Get some sleep lieutenant. We'll head down in the morning."

Revan stood and followed the captain over to the beds. In all honesty, he didn't want to sleep. But argue with a higher ranked officer would get him nowhere and help no one. So Revan laid back on the bed he'd woken on and stared up at the dark ceiling. He lifted his hand a stretched out the fingers, smiling to himself. After so long under the emperor's control this felt like a dream come true. For years now, Revan had dreamed of just being able to lift his hand flex the fingers without the pain as he fought to stay in control.

But the price of this freedom had been a steep one. Malak was still under the control of the emperor and would be until the emperor saw fit to move on the Republic himself. There wasn't much time remaining until that happened. The position Revan was in now, however, made it so the moves he could make were next to none. He had to tread carefully, lets the emperor discover too soon Revan was still alive.

Then there was the fact, Revan knew he could never kill Malak. Malak had been like brother to him. He, Malak, and Darious had been together since the early years of their Jedi training. It had been hard enough to admit Darious might be dead back during the Mandalorian Wars. To believe Malak was beyond all help didn't settle too well with Revan.

He rolled over, his eyes locked on the wall. "I'm coming, my friend, I'm coming," he whispered to himself, vowing that he would release Malak from the emperor's control and stop the coming darkness from consuming all light and life in the galaxy.

With this thought playing over and over in his mind, Revan closed his eyes. He drifted into an uneasy sleep. Every hour or so, he woke with a jolt, gasping and skin crawling with fear and unease. His dreams twisted his mind, tricking him into feeling the emperor's hold on him again, even though he knew he was out of the emperor's reach.

By the time midnight rolled around, Revan had given up on sleeping. He sat up in the bed and leaned against the wall. His hand over his eyes, he took a deep, calming breath. There was no code to seek comfort in, for the Jedi code had long since lost meaning to him. There was no one he could speak openly with either. He was utterly alone here. Alone, trapped, and almost fearful the emperor would know, that this freedom was only temporary.

Revan shook his head. He was being a foolish. In the here and now, what was to come months, if not a year, down the road wasn't what he should be focusing on. Straightening, Revan closed his eyes and took a deep, calming breath. The force followed through him and his breathing slowed as his mind cleared. Spreading out his awareness, Revan drove his mind downward into the lower city of Taris.

What he sought was a trace of the Jedi. He pushed aside and disregarded all those who were tainted by the dark side. They weren't who he was looking for. Nor did he wish to alert them to the fact Revan was on this planet. It was a sure way of the emperor learning Revan still lived.

Before too long Revan found the trail which led to Bastila's life force. He followed it deeper and deeper into the lower city. Pausing to make certain he followed it towards the actual person and backwards down the path she'd traveled earlier on. Soon Revan's mind's eye entered a well guarded Vulkar base. He picked up the pace. Bastila was in sight.

Revan snapped back to himself, eyes flying open to the dark apartment. Leaning forward, he took a deep breath. What he'd seen told him only that Bastila still lived, but it also told him the Vulkars planned on selling her. To them she wasn't anyone. To them the galaxy and all hope to save didn't rest with her.

This was both good and bad. On one hand, she was alive. On the other, Revan didn't know what the Vulkars had in mind for the poor girl. Standing, Revan stretched before he crossed over to the window on light. He was careful not to wake the captain.

The upper city was light by the artificial light pouring out from windows as far as the eye could see. The people here didn't know what future awaited them in year's time. No one apart from Revan and Malak would know what awaited the Republic deep in the outer regions of the galaxy.

A shiver raced through Revan. He could fell as Malak approached the planet. No, not Malak, but the puppet that had become of his friend. The emperor would be looking for Bastila "personally" through Malak. But what could the emperor possibly want with the girl? Battle meditation could only get one so far in war. Though, he had to admit that it would give the emperor more of an upper hand than if he just let Bastila go free or killed the girl.

The only good thing was that the emperor didn't know where Bastila was at this moment. Revan closed his eyes and returned to where Bastila was. Careful not to alert the girl that Revan was there, he used the force to construct barriers around her. There was no way he'd let the emperor find the girl the same way Revan had found her. He could hide himself and her from the emperor. The only draw back was the distance between him and Bastila. He could fell the drain and the pull on his mind as he opened his eyes to the window.

In the distance the sky was stained gold and red with the first light of dawn. Soon now, very soon, he and the captain would be in the lower city and the search for the padawan would start to come to a close. The only problem was, now they were racing against time.