Disclaimer: I don’t own the characters from the Knights of the Old Republic used in this chapter and onwards, they belong to whoever wrote that particular comic, Dark Horse, Lucasfilm and I guess now Disney as well.
(Venator Class Star Destroyer Black Star)
Revan sat crossed legged in his and Bastila’s quarters while Bastila herself slept on their bed. He was using the trip back to Coruscant to meditate and think of how to explain to Skywalker the possible future he faced. They were not moving as fast as they could have due to his order to keep the speed of their slowest ship. The Sunrider had taken a real beating during the space battle above the planet and was as fast as a turtle at the moment. He had refused to allow it to travel back to Coruscant without support as Obi-Wan had suggested. If it was one thing he intended to do it was to ensure the clones understood he didn’t see them as expendable. It was not only Skywalker that presented a danger in the future, but the clones themselves. He had, since taking command, done everything he could to make them see themselves as individuals and that not every order had to be obeyed especially if they believed it to be wrong.
Getting them to believe that was for now the only hope he had, that they would ignore the order to turn on the Jedi as they had seen in his vision. Even if he succeeded in turning Skywalker away from the dark side, if he couldn’t find a way to make the clones ignore that order then it wouldn’t matter. They would all die, not even he and his friends could defeat all the clones. There had to be a way to either stop that order from being given, or he had to find a way to get them to ignore it somehow.
Bastila sensing his troubled thoughts slowly woke up from a restful sleep, she quietly got of the bed and sat behind her lover and drew him into a comforting hug. “You need to rest Revan,” she told him gently. “You’ve been pushing yourself too much, now come to bed,” she added and slowly pulled him up with her and guided him to the bed.
Revan decided not to argue as Bastila was correct, he was pushing himself and had not slept since just before they had reached Praesitlyn. If he was to work out the answers to the questions that bothered him then he needed a clear head. He quickly got comfortable as Bastila pushed up against him. His arms instinctively encircled her and brought her a little closer to him, closing his eyes he quickly fell asleep. Bastila enjoyed been back in Revan’s arms for a few minutes, then she too let sleep reclaim her.
Elsewhere on the ship Obi-Wan Kenobi paced in his own quarters as he tried to work out the puzzle that was his rescuer. Something about Revan and his friends kept him on edge. Yes they had saved him, Anakin, Ahsoka and the rest of their troops and they had indeed led clones into battle with the approval of the council. Yet clearly not all of the council seemed to trust these people, so why then had they been granted command of a clone army in the first place? Revan’s refusal to tell them anything until they were back at the temple grated at him, he didn’t like mysteries when so much was already at stake. The assassin droid with them was disturbing in its needless obsession to kill as well. What kind of Jedi had that kind of droid with them? No there were too many questions and not enough answers, hopefully when they reached the temple he would get all the answers he wanted.
‘But will I like the answers to these questions?’ he asked himself unable to control a slight shiver than ran down his spine at the thought.
On the bridge Anakin listened as Captain Hunt gave the full report from both battles. In total they had lost close to three hundred clones over the course of the battle. The ships had all incurred some damage with the Sunrider been the worst hit, each of the ships had lost men as well as pilots from their fighter squadrons. Basically it added another hundred to the list of total dead. When this war had started such numbers had horrified him, but now he was almost numb to it all. He guessed it was the same with his fellow Jedi. They were all weary of the war and the casualties that continued to pile on. As the ones leading the armies they all took the guilt of those who died onto their own shoulders, but they could not let it cripple them as the war was still to be won.
“Thank you Captain. I suggest you get some rest now,” Anakin finally said. “The men know they did a good job, they know we took another step towards total victory,” he added. “Now they can enjoy a well earned rest, we all can,” he finished before he turned and finally headed to his quarters to hopefully get some sleep.
Captain Hunt watched the Jedi go and wondered just how tired he and the rest of the Jedi were of this war. The clones were bred for it, but the Jedi were not. Shrugging his shoulders he called for a relief officer to take over so he could do as the General had ordered, get some well-deserved rest.
Yoda sat in his quarters meditating on recent events when he heard the door open and someone enter. He knew in an instant it was Mace Windu and that his friend was still troubled by Revan and his friends’ appearance and their actions up to now.
“Troubled I sense you still are,” Yoda spoke as Mace sat in front of him. “Fixated you are on Revan,” he added as he opened his eyes and looked at Mace.
“I can’t help it,” Mace responded and even as he spoke he knew it was a weak argument. “Revan’s history is one of blood and war. He is, as stated by his friends, forged in battle and I worry that we have given him power in one of the greatest armies the republic has ever raised to defend itself,” he continued. “He has the ability to encourage loyalty in those he leads. He once lead half the Republic fleet into deep space where it was corrupted into a new Sith army that almost destroyed the Republic,” he argued.
“And worry that he will repeat that feat with the Clones you do?” Yoda inquired.
“Yes I do, the Clones are bred to obey from the moment they are born,” Mace pointed out. “Getting them to follow would be simple, and we’ve seen the vision that brought them here,” he reminded his friend. “We know just how dangerous the Clones can be to us and to the Republic,” he stated.
Yoda nodded at that point, even now he could see in his mind the slaughter of the Jedi at the hands of their Clone soldiers. The vision Revan had shared with the council had made him sick with worry that they could not avoid that fate. But he had more faith that the force would not have sent Revan and his friends, if that fate could not be avoided.
“Understand your concern I do, but faith in the force we must have,” Yoda told him finally. “Here at the force’s calling is he and his friends, trust them we must as the force ghosts told us to,” he added.
Mace frowned but finally let out a sigh and nodded his head. How could you argue with what the force had brought into being? Maybe he was letting his fear get the better of him. That didn’t mean he wouldn’t keep an eye on Revan and his friends, but he would try and not be as judgmental as he had been. Yoda smiled as he sensed his friend come to an important decision. Now they had to get ready for Anakin to be told of the possible future that may yet still befall them.
Dooku sat in his chambers in silence as he tried to plan how to turn this back to his advantage, he knew his Master was already seeking out this new potential Dark Jedi. He had to find him first or he may find himself the one being replaced. He needed someone on the inside to find out who this new person was and if he was close to losing himself to the dark side. He then recalled he had one other supposed Dark Jedi in his service. His name was Quinlan Vos and had been a supposed double agent for the Separatist movement although he still had his doubts he was truly a fallen Jedi. Still he needed to take the risk. He summoned one of his droids and issued orders for Vos to be brought to the castle at once. Once the droid had gone Dooku got up and began to pace. He knew if his Master caught wind of him disobeying him in this he may face far more than his usual temper. But if he was to be the Dark Lord of the Sith and not just the apprentice, he had to take the risk.
(Venator Class Star Destroyer Black Star)
Revan’s eyes snapped open as he suddenly sensed he and Bastila were not alone in the cabin. His eyes searched for whatever it was he had sensed, but he could see nothing. Getting out of the bed and standing up he ignited his lightsaber which woke Bastila who quickly moved to do the same. They both froze as a force ghost appeared. This however was not one of the ones who had visited to help them before. No, this ghost looked like a young teenager, but Revan’s senses told him that was just how this ghost wanted to look.
“I know you,” Revan stated as a memory tugged at his mind.
“Yes you do, I was once quite infamous to the Republic and the Jedi for something I didn’t do,” the ghost replied with a smile.
“Zayne Carrick,” Bastila said as she quickly recognized the face of the ghost before her. “The supposed killer of the Jedi Padawans on Taris. Later being cleared after he managed to find enough evidence as well as get one of the Masters who did do the killings to confess to the crimes.”
“Ah yes, I remember Malak ranting about you taking a girl from him,” Revan said with a smile as if the thought of Malak ranting about anything amused him which Bastila supposed it did. “Jarael wasn’t it?” he inquired.
“Yes it was, we became lovers and eventually man and wife,” Zayne clarified with a nod of his head. “Malak was a good person when we knew him, but he turned like you did Revan. Only he went further into the darkness and he paid the price for it,” he continued. “I dread to even imagine what would have happened if Jarael had gone with him. History is made by choices and his led him to madness,” he stated. “Even had you not found the Sith emperor and been corrupted I feel he would have fallen given enough time. He grew more and more dark as time went on,” he finished.
Revan didn’t answer even though he knew the ghost was probably more right than he knew. Malak changed during the war with the Mandalorians and grew darker and darker as things got worse. Losing Jarael to Zayne probably added to the bitterness he saw overtake him. Maybe if she had gone with Malak things might have not got so bad. He quickly shook his head as he knew that was a stupid idea. Nothing could have saved Malak from what happened. Nothing could have saved him once he decided to go into deep space and ensure the Mandalorians never return. Instead he led them straight into the arms of the true Sith. Breaking away from thoughts of the past, he turned his attention back to the ghost and asked the question most prominent on his mind.
“Why have you come to us?” he asked.
“I have a request to ask of you,” Zayne responded. “A request that might help you in your task,” he added.
Revan exchanged looks with Bastila who just shrugged her shoulders in return. She had no clue what a force ghost could ask of them that would affect the here and now.
“What is your request?” Revan inquired as he sat down on the bed with Bastila right next to him and leaning into him.
“Before I cleared my name I returned to Taris to help a friend, in fact the same friend who’d been accused as a helper in the murders,” Zayne began. “It was there we met Celeste Morne, a Jedi working for the organization that had executed the murders of my fellow Padawans,” he explained.
“But unlike my former master and his allies Celeste worked for them to ensure others didn’t suffer her families fate at the hands of the Sith. Although she was ordered to kill me by my former master. She refused time and again as she got to know me and realized there was no way I could have killed anyone, in time we sneaked aboard a Mandaloorian ship and ended up at their base on Jebble where they had taken a dangerous Sith artifact that Celeste had been sent to find,” he went on. “The artifact was the Murr Talisman, within it was the spirit of the Sith Lord Karness Murr and it had the power to turn people into Rakghouls and then to control them,” Zayne paused for a moment before he continued. “The Rakghoul plague transformed the entire Mandaloorian army into Rakghouls. Only these were not mindless beasts, but thanks to the Talisman able to use weapons and even think to some extent,” he paused again to ensure both listeners understood the danger this posed to the galaxy.
“I heard of the Talisman when I was a Dark Lord of the Sith,” Revan admitted with a nod of his head. “I even sent some of my people to try and look for it, but they could never locate it,” he added.
“Be thankful Revan that they didn’t. The spirit of Murr overwhelmed whoever possessed his talisman and used them to carry out his will,” Zayne told him. “I doubt even you at that time could have held out forever against him. The talisman is death to any who find it and if the Sith ever find it first then there may be no winner in this war, only death and destruction as not even they can control Murr’s appetite for destruction,” he warned them with a frown.
“Then you know where this Murr Talisman is?” Bastila asked as she fully grasped the danger of this artifact.
“Yes I do, it is around Celeste Morne’s neck where it has been since I last saw her on Jebble,” Zayne answered with a look that Revan could tell was full of guilt and sadness.
“You talk as if this friend of yours is still alive,” Revan pointed out.
“She is. Celeste survived to this time as you and your friend did,” Zayne said surprising them. “I refused to kill her when she begged me to, she knew now that she was bonded to the talisman, which she did to save me from it, that she was a danger to entire galaxy,” he informed them. “I instead placed her inside a unique stasis device that would keep her frozen in time until I could find help for her. Unfortunately the Mandalorians wiped the planet clean to remove the threat after I warned them away from the planet,” he added. “I made the mistake of thinking her dead and it wasn’t until I became one with the force that I came to learn she had survived in the stasis tube, now at the bottom of the sea on Jebble,” he growled as some of his guilt over took him before he forced it back. “If you look at your visions again Revan, you will see Celeste will play a role in the future of this galaxy up to the point she meets a descendant of Skywalker who will free her finally from her fate,” he told them.
“What is it you ask of me?” Revan asked deciding to get to the point of this whole discussion.
“Go to Jebble, find Celeste’s stasis tube and free her from the Murr Talisman,” Zayne stated seriously.
“But you said not even Revan could fight the Sith spirits influence,” Bastila argued.
“I said at the time he was a Dark Lord, but now he is more than just a Dark Lord or even a Jedi,” Zayne responded with a reassuring smile. “Revan is unique, he is what Anakin Skywalker was meant to be when he was born,” he informed them. “Skywalker is the chosen one and he has to be the one to end the Sith threat as you already know. He must learn what Revan now knows and time is against you, but I need you to do this for me,” he stated, his emotions coming through as he spoke.
“How do I destroy the Murr Talisman?” Revan inquired as he decided to grant the ghost his request. He already had replayed the vision the force had sent him. He had seen just how much the talisman would affect the future of the galaxy. It had to be removed from contention, his very presence here had changed everything which meant that the talisman could be found earlier than he had foreseen in his vision.
“I will teach you the method needed to destroy the talisman, but until you can destroy it, it will be up to your will to resist when it tries to possess you,” Zayne told him.
Revan nodded and then after a quick look in Bastila’s direction he made his choice. “I will do as you request Zayne. I will find and free you friend,” he promised.
“Thank you Revan,” Zayne said with a relieved sigh. “Tell Celeste I’m sorry I left her behind and thought her dead and that I was so late in keeping my promise to her, will you?” he added and when Revan nodded he moved forward and placed his hand against Revan’s head transferring the knowledge of how to destroy the talisman to him before he faded from sight.
“Revan, I don’t like this,” Bastila admitted. “If you are overcome before you can destroy the talisman,” she started to argue, but Revan cut her off by taking her into his arms.
“Easy Bastila, you heard Zayne say I can do this,” Revan reminded her with a smile as he pulled her back onto the bed, where she instantly curled up against him. “The Murr Talisman has to be destroyed before any Sith can find it, and I sense through the force this is important to our plans although I do not know how,” he told her.
Bastila locked eyes with him before she let out a sigh and nodded. She had great faith in Revan and his abilities, but the Talisman Zayne had told them about sounded far more dangerous because of the ancient Sith spirit trapped within it. But Revan had made his choice and she would do all she could to support him, and if he sensed this was important then they had to succeed.
(Droid Battle Ship)
Grievous and Ventress entered the com room at the same time and both glared at the other. They quickly stopped when the holocommunicator activated to show Lord Sidious, the true leader of the Separatists.
“My Lord, it is an honor,” Ventress said quickly with a quick bow. “How may I serve you?” she inquired.
“I want you both to tell me everything about your encounter with this new Jedi who stopped you taking Praesitlyn as you were ordered too,” the Sith lord commanded and his voice dripped in annoyance at their failure.
“Of course Lord Sidious, as you command,” Grievous said before he and Ventress told the Dark Lord everything they remembered from their confrontation with the still unknown Jedi. This included everything he said or did during the battle, Sidious listened with growing interest.
When they both finished the Dark Lord just nodded and signed off, leaving the two to start glaring at one another again. Ventress quickly gave up and left having had enough of the cyborg already. Grievous watched her go with another glare before he headed back to his quarters. He would find this unknown Jedi and he would make him pay he swore once again.