War

Almost the entire galaxy can remember where they were when the Clone Wars began. Hexer Brune was several weeks short of celebrating his first full year as a fully fledged Jedi Knight. Hexer was in his personal chambers of the Jedi temple on Coruscant in deep meditation, feeling the force flow internally within him, feeling it glide through from the core organs of his body, through his blood vessels and into the tips of his extremities. He had been meditating for 6 hours now and felt that he was making progress in understanding how the force worked on an internal level. Hexer's room communicator began to bleep with an incoming call. It took a few moments for Hexer to leave his force meditation and allow his vision to be returned to normal. The automatic lights in his room activated when his meditation was over and allowed him to clearly make his way to the communicator. It was Master Aamaw, the Jedi who had taught him everything he knew, asking that Hexer visit him as soon as possible. The sense of urgency was much unlike his old master and so Hexer prepared himself with a purpose, donning his robes and drank a clear glass of purified water, metallic in taste due to the many days it had spend on a supply ship. It had been a long time since Hexer had drunk water that hadn't been imported from a distant planet and he could always taste the difference when compared to fresh water. This was strongly enhanced by Hexer's natural gift for the passive powers of the force, internally and persuasively Hexer was considered to be far more advanced than many Jedi Knights his age.

Taking long strides Hexer left his room and walked through the accommodation areas of the temple. The temple was such an idyllic place of calm for Hexer, the force was strong there and the congregation of force sensitive life forms meant that there was a great clarity of thinking. Stalking the temple's halls Hexer felt more awake to the galaxy than he ever could elsewhere. Although Hexer could have easily located his old master through the force, he did not need to. Master Aamaw was an Ithorian and so Hexer knew that during the day he would be strolling around the gardens of the temple and admiring the exotic fauna that was growing there. The gardens were a long walk from the accommodation in the temple but Hexer did not mind, the architecture and history of the temple always filled Hexer with a sense of place, and there was no better way to do this than to walk and admire all that happened around him. When Hexer had been walking for only a few moments he could feel that all was not the same around the temple. There was a great disturbance in the force and this reverberated through the high ceilinged halls of the temple. Shortly before passing the communal areas of the temple he gave pause and centred himself there. He could feel foreboding and suddenly the future of the galaxy did not seem so clear. Hexer's first thoughts were to report immediately to a council member, however, he knew that they would all have felt this disturbance long before he did.

When Hexer stepped out into the great hall he could see that the council chambers were empty, and when he searched for the powerful imprints the council members left on the force he could feel that only a few of the council members were present in the temple. This only increased the feeling of anxiety in Hexer's stomach and he knew that something serious was happening. Striding towards the gardens Hexer's brown hair began to dangle down into his eyes, he had not cut his hair since passing the trials and his hair had grown quite long and was becoming a nuisance down at his shoulders and almost covering his eyes. Flicking his fringe back provided him a temporary solution he knew that in order to remain efficient he would need to cut his hair to a more suitable length.

In the training halls of the Jedi temple Hexer was stopped by two young Jedi who passed the trials in the same few days that Hexer had, both were sparring vigorously when he arrived their blue lightsabers swinging in extravagant an aesthetically pleasing ways. Hexer disproved of their fighting styles, far to offensive and lacking in knowledge of the different lightsaber disciplines and instead focused on acrobatics and spinning their lightsabers and unnecessary number of times. When they took a break to drink the Jedi Knight known as Kallar Durn; a Jedi that Hexer knew well, began to grin widely and nudged his Twi'lek training partner Bilt Ondoroy. Bilt's reputation had preceded him, as though Hexer had never had a dialogue with him; Hexer knew that he was a highly competent Jedi. Bilt also began to grin much as Kallar was and it did not take an ounce of Jedi training to realise that these grins were not sincere.
"First time you've left your cave today Hexer?" mocked Kallar, wiping sweat from his forehead. Both individuals had taken off their robes and stood in under-vests and tight fitting undershorts so that they could spar with increased freedom. Hexer, unlike them would not remove his full set of Jedi robes unless alone or if it was totally necessary.
"Your mockery of me and my meditation is inappropriate behaviour for a Jedi knight Kallar." Said Hexer unfaltering and looking blankly at the two Knights.
"You've always had no sense of humour Hexer." Kallar and Hexer had been together as younglings and had never seen eye to eye. Kallar was very isolated as a child and didn't make friends, when training with his lightsaber he was useless. Kallar had always been very popular and talented. There was truth in Kallar's words and it was probably Hexer's love of isolation and lack of humour that meant Jedi like Kallar teased him.
"Humour is not a quality required of a Jedi, if the force had a sense of humour than maybe you point would have potency." Hexer failed to appreciate the jokes that Kallar was always making, he was a fool and he could not understand why people liked him.
"Relax Hexer, I meant it only in jest. Your meditation, however will not serve the order now we are at war." Hexer held back a laugh but it only took a moment after to realise that it was no joke.
"It is true Hexer" Bilt had clearly understood Hexer's thought process. "I thought that word would have spread around the whole of Coruscant by now, possibly beyond."
"That's Hexer for you; he hides himself away and is deaf to the goings-on in the galaxy" Kallar informed Bilt with insult in his voice.
"This is deeply troubling news. Excuse me fellow Jedi." Hexer left at a much faster pace than before and suddenly his vision was cleared as to what was happening. Knowledge had provided increased clarity in his vision; however, this did not make him feel better but much worse. The disturbance was much worse than he had anticipated. If the war was of the scale to create such a disturbance in the force the war will most likely lead to great casualties. Troubles he presumed the council would stay out of, the Jedi after all are peace keepers and not soldiers.

He reached the temple gardens feeling very uneasy, the reason for Master Aamaw's hasty call were clear to him now, Aamaw had always been a sensitive being and this news will have been greatly disturbing to him. The large variety of exotic plants meant that the gardens were by far the most colourful area of the temple, purples reds and greens from the planet Felucia and the deep greens and browns of the rain forests of Ithor, Aamaw's home planet. As Hexer had predicted Aamaw was admiring a larger red plant with yellow anthers sticking out from inside its deep chalice shaped flower. Raising his long fingers to the plant he gave it a caring stroke, so gentle that the plant did not even move under his touch. Hexer greatly admired his old master and his ability to live in harmony with the plants in the botanical garden their force presences mingling almost as one.

"It is good to see you my old friend, aren't the gardens here beautiful." said Master Aamaw in the Ithorian tongue, which Hexer could not speak (due to his lack of a second voice box) but could understand. Aamaw always used the same greeting when they met, as since his training it seemed the only place they ever met at was the gardens of the temple. Aamaw was unable to speak Basic but could understand it so during Hexer's training the two of them spoke to each other in their own languages, being force sensitive it only took Hexer half a year to fully understand the Ithorian language.
"It is good to see you too Master Aamaw, I presume it is the war that has brought us together though and not a simple exchange of pleasantries."
"Always in a rush to get to the point of the conversation as usual, you must remember that pleasantries and idle chat are important to both diplomacy and being a comrade." Replied Aamaw, still continuing to give Hexer advice despite him no longer being Hexer's master.
"You are right master and most wise. Do you know what the council plans to do at this most troubling time?" inquired Hexer moving to stand beside his old master, who had not turned his attention away from the foliage.
"The vast majority of the senior Jedi have left for Geonosis, where they will start this war." Moaned Aamaw in the closest thing an Ithorian came to a sigh. "I find their choice of action disturbing. I feel that the Jedi will play a large role in the war to come and many deaths will come of it. I for one believe that the Jedi should not be involved and so shall take the role as a conscientious objector to the war. I presume your position will be the same as mine on this. The Jedi must negotiate peacefully; it is not the Jedi way to wage war." His master statement hit home and Hexer realised that his opinions on the matter were very unclear to him.
"I'm afraid I find I have mixed views on the subject. The force has yet to show me the path I wish to take. I shall meditate and reflect on this." Hexer left abruptly, confusion was not something he usually experienced, the Jedi code and the force often meant that his opinions on matters were clear.

Passing the training area he saw that Kallar and Bilt were now practicing their blasted deflection against the training wall that was equipped with numerous turrets. Their behaviour would hopefully assist him as to whether he would help in the war or not. Both Jedi worked together in order to safely deflect all of the stun bolts that were fired at them. In a fine flurry of movement Bilt vaulted over the crouched Kallar swinging his lightsaber only inches from his face in order to send the bolt back to stun the turret that had fired it for a few seconds. Kallar spun his blade at a rapid speed sending stun bolts flying in all directions, very inaccurate but bought them enough time to make a calculated decision.
The way that these two are moving and using their lightsabers shows that they do not seek to stun the turrets but to protect one another. Hexer thought to himself, positioned out of the pair's line of sight and leaning upon a support pillar in one of the temples many training rooms. Hexer stood and watched them for 15 minutes before making the way back to his chambers. The return journey was much longer than his trip to the gardens. Hexer walked much slower and spent the time in a trance like state, stopping on many of the balconies he passed to look out over the vast entrance hall of the Jedi temple. To one who was not in touch with the force it would take almost a decade to fully learn the many nooks and crannies of the temple and even to avoid getting lost. Hexer was filled with pride when thinking of the temple as his home, however, he sensed that the temple would not be his home forever. Though a creature of habit, Hexer had always wanted to take on a Padawan who he could teach all that he knew, for now, he believed himself not yet ready for that responsibility. Versatility was still a trait that eluded him and one he deemed essential to teach another the ways of the force.

Once arriving in his chambers Hexer immediately removed his large dark brown travelling cloak and sat down to meditate in the centre of his room, facing outward through his large window, overlooking the busy planet that was Coruscant. He closed his eyes and focused deeply on which course he would take. I can listen to my old master, turn away from the violence and conflict of war. That path will lead me to a clear conscience and allow me to use my time to listen to the force and help the conflict reach a swift non-violent and diplomatic outcome. The Senate surely would be able to reach a decision that kept the Republic alive but also protected the interests of the Trade Federation and its allies. Despite not knowing it a fact, Hexer thought it was quite clear that it was the droid armies that now threatened the republic. Despite the enemies of the republic being predominantly droids, the number of innocents who would be killed and the number of planets decimated would not hang on his conscience easily if he were to get involved. The death and pain could wound my connection to the force, is it a risk worth taking in order to possibly prevent some of those casualties by fighting in the war? Suddenly a sharp sound rang out in his head, brought to his attention by the force. It was the words of his associate Kallar Durn.
"That's Hexer for you; he hides himself away and is deaf to the goings-on in the galaxy."

It was clear to Hexer now. In order to reach a conclusion on this decision he would need to walk the street of Coruscant himself and listen to the galaxy's answer. If he remained cooped up in his chambers the answer may never reach him.