Reflections In Darkness (A Star Wars Fan Fiction)

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: 'The Odd Ones'
*A sequel to 'The Hunt on Cooraan IV*

Nearly one year has passed since the events that transpired on Cooraan IV. Padawan Jullet has been, in essence, exiled to a distant planet on the fringe of the galaxy along with her master. She struggles to reclaim the good she once had, but the voice of Sith Lord Baarts has returned, tempting her to seek him out and become his apprentice. What will she do?

Submitted: April 01, 2016

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Submitted: April 01, 2016

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I sit in my untended chamber, alone.  I quiet my presence in the Force as completely as I can.  I don’t wish to alert anyone to the battle raging in my head.  My mind is a cluttered mess of mixed feelings, confused logic and conflicting personalities.  I can still feel him calling to me, beckoning to find him.  He says I’m his worthy successor.  Am I?  Am I walking the wrong path?

Since the incident, the Order has kept me at a distance, away from the galactic core, ostracized to a backwater planet.  Here I languish in a crummy temple near the outskirts of the main city where no more than twenty fellow Jedi take residency.  Many are old, tired of the action that comes with being an active Jedi Knight.  No longer driven to brandish their sacred weapon and aid in bringing peace to their piece of the galaxy, they are more interested in preserving ancient knowledge and in maintaining the shining image of our Order to these scruffy, primitive beings so they do not forget we are here to protect them from any threat.

The ancient knowledge preserved is useless.  Nostalgia of more peaceful times.  I have the opportunity to tap into knowledge worth delving out of history.  Knowledge that wields power.  Power that has been dormant for centuries.  And I am worthy of that knowledge.  But it would require betraying the Jedi Order, the only family I have known.  It would mean betraying my master.

My master is the reason we are here.  She volunteered us to this forsaken planet.  It’s her fault I’m here.  I don’t know if she’s punishing us, punishing me, or if she has lost her confidence.  But lost her confidence in who?  I know she can sense the turmoil inside me, the struggle to embrace the light side again.  I have tasted too much of the dark side.  Its sweet taste is alluring.

My master knows I resent being here.  We have grown distant since the events of Cooraan IV.  She spends her time meditating, reading and archiving tomes, sharing her knowledge and deliberating with fellow Jedi, as well as aiding the local farmers improve the yield of their crops.  She has become a farmer and a philosopher.  I have not seen her practice saber techniques after the first month we arrived.  I think her saber practice had chiefly been a distraction; a way to sort through her feelings, deal with her guilt of having failed Master Karthiss and having left me to fight my friend and the Sith spirit possessing him on my own.  I know she still struggles with the memories of that day.  I believe she is desperate to piece together the chain of events that led to the personal disaster, but she will never know of everything that happened.

How long did I have to wait, staring at the cauterized stumps where my hands used to be before she woke?  How long did I whimper in pain before her eyes fluttered open?  I could not believe I had lost two of the most important tools to any Jedi.  And when she awoke, we could not return to the ship without Master Karthiss’ body and Padawan Ri’shan.  Her dead friend, who she could not help, was her priority.  I suffered plenty for their weakness and for my own.  Did I deserve to suffer so?  I knew I would never be the same again.

When we left the planet, we did not travel to Coruscant.  We traveled to a more distant temple.  No doubt to limit the corruption I may spread amongst fellow padawans and younglings with the lingering dark side presence still surrounding me.  It was a frustrating trip.  Master Karthiss’ corpse occupied the only bed on the ship.  Padawan Ri’shan paced the small craft, angry with himself, angry with me, saddened by his master’s death, frustrated we had failed our mission, frustrated by how the council had handled the matter.  Master Soe was quiet, reflective.  She remained in the cockpit, away from us, her presence invisible in the Force like always.

I remained in the galley, silently suffering the constant ache of my injuries.  There were no sedatives aboard the ship; I had to endure the pain.  Tears brimmed my eyes as I’d held the stumps, wrapped in bacta-drenched bandages, against my chest.  I could not feed myself.  I was not going to ask Ri’shan for assistance.  My thoughts lingered on Lord Baarts and Arden; of the Sith’s influence over us.  He had played me against my closest friend with such cunning.  What a fool I had been.  Hadn’t I?

It took some getting used to when my new hands were installed.  They are mechanical atrocities made of the most durable materials.  They look like they had belonged to a droid and upgraded.  The durasteel is dinged and scratched, and the hydraulics whine when poorly lubricated.  I have never been offered synthflesh to hide the crude mechanisms.  My failure breathes in the open, constantly taunting me, constantly haunting me.  All can see the result of my recklessness, of my weakness.  All can see the result of a Jedi who gave into their hatred.  I hate the sight of my hands!

Since my recovery, I have focused on my saber skills, levitation and other force tricks.  When I am assigned my next mission, I will be ready.  I will not be stopped next time.  I will not fail next time.  I thought practicing my exercises, adjusting to my prosthetic hands, meditating to strengthen my connection in the Force would bring me peace and calm the fire in my head, but it has only strengthened the fire.

Lord Baarts’ voice had left me when Arden had disappeared into the forested landscape, walking away with the holocron.  But as I returned to training, his presence took root in my mind once again.  At first, it was nothing more than a lingering pressure at the back of my head.  The pressure grew, eventually encompassing my cranium in its grip.  Once my frustration took rise to anger, his voice returned - a soothing whisper that has grown into a domineering presence.

My anguish is apparent to the other Jedi.  I do my best to conceal my pain in the Force.  Most believe the approaching anniversary is stirring these emotions.  My master can tell it is something deeper, but she has not the heart to confront me.  She sends the other Jedi to speak to me and voice their collected concern.  They have no idea it is a Sith who haunts my thoughts; he conceals himself in the Force.  He has grown strong since we awoke him.  He craves more power.  All Sith do.  What am I to do?

“Find me.  I am your only salvation from the anger and pain you feel.  It will never stop until you embrace me.  Find me.”

The cold, hard digits of my mechanical hands press against my head, squeezing my cranium.  Perhaps I could squeeze his voice out of my mind.

“There is no being rid of me,” the voice taunts.

I squeeze my head harder.  A headache quickly stirs, pounding at my skull.

“Find me, Jullet.  I will lead you to me, to the holocron and all the glorious knowledge contained within.  Become my apprentice.”

My hands wrap tighter around my head.  The pain throbs intensely.  “I . . . “

A hand gently presses on my shoulder.  Another hand carefully takes my other shoulder.  They ease me back into a loving embrace.  The soft, yellow-green-skinned hands of my master wrap around me.

Her soft comforting voice quietly whispers in my ear, “It’s okay, Jullet.  I’m here for you.  You do not have to suffer this pain much longer.”

Those words fill me with overwhelming ease.  It is quickly swallowed by despair.

My master holds me closer.  “We will end the pain together; we will find Padawan Galienphas and the holocron, we will destroy the holocron thus setting you and Arden free.”

Tears slip down my cheeks; that sounds so lovely.  I long to be free of this pain.

“It will not be so easy,” the voice scoffs.

“How will we find him,” I sob.  “How will we know where to find the holocron and how will we defeat the Sith spirit?  We could not defeat it last time.  How will we defeat it now?”

My master pauses before answering, “Arden must not stand in our way.  If he impedes our mission, we must treat him as our enemy.  He has been subject to Lord Baarts’ teachings for nearly a year now.  He is no longer a Jedi, Jullet.  I am sorry to say, he is now a Sith.”

“He is mine,” the voice utters with pride.

I know.  I have never wanted to accept it.  I try to remember my friend as I had always known him, but the images flash through my mind; a dark cloak, dark tunic, the red and yellow eyes like burning suns, filled with malice, a searing hatred for the Order who had stolen him from his family as a child.  The image of a Sith.

There wasn’t a single member of the Order who had been given a choice in joining the Jedi; we were each taken from our homes and turned into a guardian of peace for the galaxy.  I could not begrudge Arden for being angry with the Jedi for having forced him into this life, but if he had not been taken by the Jedi, the Sith may have claimed him much sooner . . . if the Sith were yet alive.

“We live in spirit always.  And with your friend, we can rebuild our Empire.”

My heart breaks to think that if I should meet Arden again, one of us will die.

“You would stand triumphant,” the voice promises.  “You are stronger than him.  You belong at my side, young one.”

“I don’t want to kill him,” I mournfully whisper.

Master Soe squeezes my shoulder.  “Should Padawan Galienphas be able to resist the dark side when we confront him, we will take him home with us.  The council will do all they can to return him to the light side and to the Jedi Order.  If he continues to side with the Sith . . .  I will end his pain.  I will set him free from Lord Baarts’ clutches.”

I swallow the apprehension building in my throat.  “And what if I succumb to the dark side?”

Her soothing voice answers, “We shall both serve the Jedi Order to our fullest capabilities.”

A flood of tears stream down my face.  Her words bring no comfort.  I know what they mean should I fall to the dark side.

“Lord Baarts’ power is limited, that is why he calls to you,” my master assures me.  “I have managed to establish a link to his force presence.  I have an idea of where he may be hiding.”

The news astonishes me.  I sit up to look back at Master Carroa Soe.  “How did you do that?  How did he not sense you?”

“He is not as powerful as he would have you believe, padawan.  He overestimates himself as all Sith do.  Remember, I am most adept at hiding my presence in the Force.  Not even an ancient Sith Lord can sense me.”

“She overestimates herself,” the voice slyly states.

My master grins a playful grin.  It takes me back to the days when I was a fresh-faced padawan, when my bond with Master Carroa Soe was new, when we were learning about each other and adapting to one another.  It takes me back to the days when I had been eager to learn and see the galaxy, anxious to help the innocent and save the galaxy from any threat.

Master Soe caresses my face, stroking my hair with an affection I’ve been told mothers show their children.  “Trust me,” she says.

“Trust in me,” the voice whispers.

My heart flutters.  What am I to do?


© Copyright 2017 Jeff Bezaire. All rights reserved.

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