Faith III - What Needs Doing
“So, let me get this straight,” Faith said to Master Ralto. “After all the pilgrims have been through, you’re gonna tell them who can and can’t have weapons? These people need to defend themselves.”
“Tython is strong in the Force,” Ralto explained patiently. “The Force can influence the weak-minded in subtle ways. The Jedi only want to ensure that the Twi’leks are properly equipped to deal with the dangers of this world. If the wrong people are given the wrong tools… Well, you saw what happened with that relic.”
“I was pretty close to it, and I didn’t feel anything strange,” Faith said. “And you’re dodging the point, which is that almost all of the pilgrims are ‘weak-minded’ to you. You Jedi think you’re so much better than everyone else, don’t you? You have the Force, so that gives you the right to decide who lives and who dies. Is that it?!”
“Calm yourself, Padawan,” Ralto said with a touch of impatience. “There is no passion, there is serenity.”
“Tell that to the Twi’leks who can’t defend themselves against the Flesh Raiders. Tell them that there is no death. They. Aren’t. Jedi! You can’t expect everyone on Tython to play by your rules just because you got here first!”
“That’s enough, Padawan Lehane!” Ralto said firmly. “I think your time could be better spent on other matters. Return to your quarters and meditate in silence for the next two hours.”
Faith squashed down the urge to yank Ralto around by his head tresses and simply left the room without another word.
She did not go to her quarters, though. She needed to work out, and the grounds in front of the Jedi Temple had combat droids to train against.
Walking up to the programming podium, Faith set the droids to level three: midway between weakest and strongest.
Four bipedal droids unfolded. Two had blasters, and another two had vibroswords.
Faith charged the left blaster-wielding droid, deflecting its blasts and cut it in half. With a push of the Force, she slammed one sword-wielding droid into the other, knocking them both to the ground, no longer functional.
Faith took hold of her practice sword like a spear and threw it straight at the final droid, penetrating its metal head and sending it tumbling to the ground in a shower of sparks.
Retrieving her blade, Faith decided to make her way back to Kalikori Village. It had been weeks since she’d first promised aid, and the Jedi hadn’t delivered. She’d been doing the best she could to train the civilians in swordplay, but it wasn’t much. The pilgrims were still grateful, and Faith would be damned if she let that gratitude be for nothing.
Faith’s holo-communicator beeped, and she activated it to see a young Twi’lek woman talking to her. It was the new matriarch, Ranna Tao’Ven. Her mother, the old matriarch, had recently died.
“Matriarch, I was just on my way to the village. What’s up?”
“One of our warriors just returned, gravely injured. He was in a band of seven, and only he survived. He said a Flesh Raider killed his companions and gravely injured him.”
“One Flesh Raider did that?” Faith asked. “I didn’t think they were smart enough to take on so many at once.”
“This Flesh Raider had a lightsaber.”
“What?! Matriarch, please tell me you’re kidding.”
“I wish I was. Faith, you have to help us. The Jedi have turned their backs on us, all save for you. Please, help us, Faith Lehane. You’re our only hope.”
Faith wriggled a bit at the pressure being put on her, but she wasn’t going to let anything else happen to this village. “All right. I’ll be right there. Faith out.”
Calling on the Force to invigorate her, Faith rushed with great speed through the mountain pass toward Kalikori Village.
Faith arrived at the medical hut, where a concerned-looking female Twi’lek let her inside.
Walking over to the bloody bedside, Faith crouched next to the blue-skinned male Twi’lek and had to suppress a gasp. His left lekku – his head tendril – had been sliced off completely. Faith knew just enough about Twi’lek biology to know that lekku were both erogenous zones and part of the nervous system. This warrior had to be in unimaginable pain.
“Hey there,” Faith said in what she hoped sounded soothing and friendly. “What’s your name?”
“Raln,” the warrior groaned. “I know you, Faith. You can stop this monster?”
“If I don’t, I’ll die trying.”
“Thank you,” Raln said, his breath clenching.
“Easy there. Come on, work with me, here,” Faith said. She knew the Force could heal someone, and she had meditated to heal herself, but could she heal another person?
“Take my hand. It’s okay, trust me.” Faith concentrated and tried to clear her mind. She tried to see herself and Raln in the Force. She tried to transfer a bit of her own energy to him, and she gestured with the Force to ease his pain.”
“Ah,” he sighed. “I don’t know what you did, but thank you. The pain is less.”
“I don’t really know what I did,” Faith admitted. “I just did it.”
“Regardless, thank you. I will help you if I can.”
“Just rest,” Faith said. “Tell me what you know about this Flesh Raider. Don’t rush it, take your time.”
“It was larger than the others. And it spoke. Not with a growl or anything feral. It sounded intelligent, and it had a small army of Flesh Raiders behind it. It took us on because it wanted to, not because it had to.”
“All right. You’re doing great, Raln. Can you tell me where this Flesh Raider army was headed?”
“They took a path leading away from the village. They’re not coming here. That path only leads to the Jedi Temple.”
“Damn! You gotta be kidding me!” Faith exclaimed.
“I wish I was not. But he did not call it the Jedi Temple. He called it the ‘Sanctuary of the Ashla.’ I don’t know what he means, other than that Ashla is one of Tython’s moons.”
“I remember that lesson,” Faith said. “Before there were Jedi or Sith, the people here on Tython only knew about the Force. They called the light side ‘Ashla’ and the dark side ‘Bogan’ after the moons.”
Faith stood up. “This is so above my pay grade. I gotta go warn the Jedi.”
“Will they listen to you, Faith?” Raln gasped. “They who trivialize the suffering of our people? They who marginalize your efforts to help us? They will see you as a raving lunatic, trying to rally support for a lost cause.”
Faith shook her head. “No, this is too big. Trust me, they won’t ignore this.”
“So, you’re just going to ignore this?!”
“Faith,” Master Ralto said in that increasingly annoying patient voice of his, “nothing we have seen indicates that the Flesh Raiders are in any way intelligent. None of them have the skill to build a lightsaber, and if they did, they could not use one.”
“Fine. What about the army coming to destroy the ‘Sanctuary of the Ashla?’”
“The pilgrims have studied Tython’s history just as we have, some alongside us. This was probably nothing more than a nightmare after a traumatic battle. If his lekku was indeed severed, then he cannot possibly be coherent.”
“This is just…” Faith threw up her hands in disgust. “You Jedi are useless. If you won’t do something about this, then I will.”
“Do not act out in anger, Padawan!” Ralto warned.
“Anger? This isn’t me angry, Master Ralto. This is me trying to save your sorry ass! Get out of my way.”
Shoving herself past Ralto, Faith stormed off, making ready to head off the Flesh Raiders.
Faith turned to see Satele Shan heading towards her. “Master, now is really not a good time.”
“I’m sorry, but this is an urgent matter. Please, come with me.”
Faith shook her head and followed Satele quietly, keeping her angry thoughts to herself.
The Grand Master led her to a small enclave where the glowing green relic from the village sat on a table.
“We’ve been working to try and figure out this device, but it won’t respond to any of us, and I think I know why.”
“What’s your theory, professor?” Faith quipped.
Satele ignored Faith’s insubordination. “This relic bears markings that the Republic has only seen in one other place: the Star Forge, which was an ancient factory from an alien empire that predates the Republic. That empire was a thing of the Dark Side. As Jedi, we are simply incompatible with it.”
Faith got the idea. “But you thought, ‘Hey, maybe the crazy chick who’ll never be a true Jedi might just be dark enough to figure the thing out.’ That about right?”
“Inelegantly put, but essentially yes,” Satele said.
Faith was taken aback by the Grand Master’s honesty. “So, how does it work?”
“We don’t know,” Satele said. “We’ve tried reaching out with the Force to touch every inch of the cube, inside and out. Nothing.”
“Fine, let me take a look,” Faith said impatiently.
Before anyone could stop her, she’d picked up the cube and was looking it over. There were three buttons that she could see on three different sides. One had a horizontal line on it, another had a T shape adorning it, and the third had an H-like shape on it.
“One line,” Faith said, pushing the dashed button, which received an audible beep. “Two lines,” she said a she pushed the T-button. “Three lines,” she finished, pushing the H-button.
As surge of visible energy shot out of the cube and into Faith’s head, which swam with visions.
Faith saw Tython as it had been millennia ago, when the first Force-users came to study there. They divided into followers of Ashla and Bogan – light and dark – and thus began the Force Wars. The followers of Ashla triumphed, and the followers of Bogan retreated into the ruins of Kaleth, where the spirits of fallen warriors still lingered.
A web of the Force spread across the galaxy, and Faith saw that this cube – datacron, it was called – was linked to several others on so many different worlds all across the galaxy. Through this web of the Force, she saw another datacron on Tython. Not far away, across a river, was a Flesh Raider with a lightsaber leading an army. In the Force, Faith saw not a Flesh Raider, but a fallen warrior of Bogan, still vengeful after so many years.
The visions receded, and Faith was once again in the Jedi Temple, holding the datacron in her hands.
“Faith? What just happened?” Satele asked.
“A vision,” Faith said. “It showed me the Force Wars. It’s called a datacron, and it’s a little block of information. There’s tons like it all over the galaxy. And it showed me a Flesh Raider with a lightsaber, leading an army of other Flesh Raiders. The one in the lead is possessed by the spirit of a dead warrior from the ruins of Kaleth. They’re heading here, and they’ve already killed a bunch of Twi’lek pilgrims.”
“How did we miss this?” Satele wondered aloud.
“You blinded yourself to the obvious!” Faith shouted. “Jedi are supposed to protect people, but you ration that care to the ‘worthy’ and leave the Twi’leks to fend for themselves. So they seek out their own power, leading them to this datacron. They’re unprepared, because you didn’t prepare them, but they’re okay now. They’re still getting slaughtered, but that’s not your problem. And because you couldn’t figure out how to push a fucking button, you had to bring in the dumb, backwater hick from Earth to bail you out!”
Satele did not recoil from Faith’s verbal onslaught, but she steeled herself, clearly preparing mentally for what was to come.
“If you’ll excuse me, Master,” Faith said sarcastically, “I have a Temple to defend.”
Faith stood in the middle of a creek that the Flesh Raider army would have to wade through in order to reach the Jedi Temple. She’d learned enough meditation techniques – both on Earth and in the Temple – to know that it would be a good idea to prepare for the coming battle.
She sat cross-legged, hovering in midair, clearing her mind of distractions. And she felt them coming.
Opening her eyes, Faith unfolded her legs and tried to tune out the water seeping into her boots. A large Flesh Raider was at the front of an army of about seventy other Flesh Raiders, and it bore a blue lightsaber in its hand.
“You!” it said in an angry male voice. “Are you Bogan or Ashla?”
“What? You can’t tell just be sensing me?”
“I sense both in you, young one, but where your true allegiance lies, I cannot tell. Join me, and through Bogan, we will rule this world, and every other after it.”
“Nah, I don’t think that’s gonna work out. I think I’m gonna kill you, and then your army’s gonna disband when they see how thoroughly I trash you, and then the day will be saved, cut to commercial, roll credits.”
“Bah! You speak nonsense. Are you challenging me?”
“Yup. Come and get some, big boy.”
With a roar of rage, the possessed Flesh Raider leaped at Faith, who was not expecting a hulking, hammer-headed beast with sharp teeth to come hurtling towards her.
Faith leaped to the side, letting the Bogan warrior land heavily in the ground.
Knowing her strengths – size, speed, agility – Faith slashed at the beast with her practice sword, not doing a lot of damage to its tough hide, even for a Flesh Raider.
“You are pitiful, warrior of Ashla!” it mocked her. “You think you can best me?”
A glint of something in the sunlight caught Faith’s eye, and she moved to the side, trying to get the possessed Flesh Raider into just the right position.
“Maybe, maybe not. You’re a tough one, I’ll give you that. I’m betting you’re compensating for something. You probably had a tiny dick centuries ago, and I bet its even smaller now, eh, tough guy?”
“Yeah, I dare.” She sidestepped again, and the Flesh Raider followed suit. “What’re you gonna do about it. I’m just a poor, weak, human girl, and you’re a big strong, Flesh Raider manly man.”
Another sidestep. “Just try me,” Faith said with a smirk.
The possessed warrior roared with rage, just long enough for an arrow to pierce its head.
Faith looked to the hilltop where she saw a blue-skinned Twi’lek archer, and she gave him a quick salute with two fingers.
The Bogan warrior wasn’t giving up, but he wasn’t getting up, either. “You… cannot… win! I… am…”
With a burst of blue energy, the warrior exploded, sending shockwaves of Force energy through the river valley before receding into an empty loincloth, next to which lay a lightsaber hilt.
Faith strode over confidently to the lightsaber, picked it up, and turned it on. It wasn’t anything like a metal blade. It had no physical substance, no actual weight, but she could feel it in the Force.
Looking at the Flesh Raider army, she pointed the blue blade straight at them and smirked.
And they did just that, breaking formation and fleeing back into the mountains.
Faith heard a speeder rounding the bend from the direction of the Jedi Temple, and Masters Shan, Ralto, and half a dozen others leaped out of the vehicle and headed for Faith.
“Took ya long enough,” Faith taunted. “Believe me now?”
“Definitely,” Master Shan said. “It seems that we were too caught up in our preconceptions that we forgot a crucial part of the Jedi Code. We assumed we were knowledgeable, and we forgot the possibility that we could be ignorant. We all felt the shockwave. I have no idea how you took down a trained soldier from the Force Wars, but we are in your debt.”
“Hey, I had plenty of help.” Faith waved at the hillside, and the Twi’lek archer came down the hill.
“Hey, Gaspal! You feeling better now? Delusions from the datacron all gone?”
“Yes, Faith. Thanks to you, we can all rest a bit easier now.”
“You remember Gaspal, right?” Faith said to the Jedi. “The ‘weak-minded’ Twi’lek who stumbled upon that datacron? Turns out he’s got some wicked skills with a bow. He took down the bad guy while I had him distracted. Teamwork for the win, right?”
Gaspal smiled weakly. “Something like that, yes.”
“Let me see that lightsaber,” Master Ralto said. “Please.”
“Since you asked so nicely,” Faith said with a smile, handing the Nautolan the weapon.
“This,” Ralto said with disbelief. “This is ancient. The design is simple, definitely a precursor to the modern lightsaber. It must have been lying in the ruins of Kaleth for ages.”
“And now, it is yours,” Satele said, taking it from Ralto and handing it back to Faith. “You’ve more than earned this. Your skill in combat, your wisdom, and your compassion all do you great credit. I see no reason why you should remain a Padawan learner.”
“I agree,” Ralto said. “I am not proud to admit my mistakes, but I will gladly acknowledge an exceptional student when I see her. Well done, Jedi Faith.”
Faith stood with her mouth hanging open, taken aback. “Thanks, I guess, but I didn’t really do anything all that great. I just did what had to be done, y’know?”
“And yet, you were the only one among us who was willing to do what had to be done,” Satele said gently. “The Jedi Order needs more like you, Faith, who will do the right thing even when it isn’t easy, or even apparent.”
“Thank you, Master,” Faith said, meaning the respectful title she gave Satele Shan. “Really, thank you.”
“You’re very welcome. I would like you to remain with Master Ralto for a time, traveling with him and helping him throughout the galaxy, if you have no objections.”
“No, that’s cool.”
“Excellent,” Ralto said. “I have to talk to the Galactic Senate about recent developments, including Denova, which you can give answers about. We leave for Coruscant on the morning shuttle. Go pack your things, Jedi Faith.”
“Roger that, Master Ralto.”
Faith sat in the back of the small shuttle, wondering what Coruscant would be like. She’d heard it called a planet-wide city, but such a thing didn’t compute with her. She simply wondered idly in the otherwise empty shuttle.
She felt the shift from artificial gravity back to normal, planetary G-forces, and Faith stood up and stretched. It was about time.
The ramp lowered, and Faith walked out of the shuttle…
…and into a familiar apartment that all rational logic told her had been buried in a giant crater.
She turned around with a start. “Buffy?”
“We need to talk.”
I own nothing. More specifically...
Tython: not mine
Coruscant: not mine
Satele Shan: not mine
Flesh Raiders: not mine
Ashla/Bogan: not mine
Force Wars: not mine
Ruins of Kaleth: not mine
Kalikori Village: not mine
Kolovish: not mine
Ranna Tao'Ven: not mine
Datacrons: not mine
Star Forge: not mine
If you like this story, or if you have suggestions, please leave a review. They really help fuel the progress of the story.
I hope you like this chapter, and I thank you for taking the time to read. ^_^