Chapter 10: Epilogue
Episode 2 Chapter 10
Buffy sat outside the Council chambers, waiting for the senior members to decide her fate.
“Penny for your thoughts?”
Buffy looked up and smiled. “Master Halcyon.”
Nejaa Halcyon rolled his yes, but the smile never left his lips. “How many times do I have to tell you not to call me ‘Master’?”
“At least once more.”
Halcyon gestured towards the closed doors of the Council room. “Still waiting?”
Buffy nodded. “Yup. Waiting to see what my punishment is going to be.”
“Don’t see why you’d be punished,” Halcyon stated. “After all, you were only following what Master Windu told you to do.”
“He told me to handle things diplomatically. He told me to stay put…”
“He told you to guard the Senator,” Halcyon pointed out.
“I turned to the Dark Side,” Buffy retorted, her voice echoing in the dim corridor. Dropping her voice, she added, “When I was fighting Wi- Darth Traya,” she amended, “I used the Dark Side. For a few moments-”
“Exactly!” Halcyon exclaimed, startling the Slayer. “For a few moments, then you came to your senses. You know, you might find this hard to believe, but there is not one single person in that room who hasn’t touched the Dark Side, myself included.” Of her look, Halcyon rolled his eyes. “Oh, don’t look so shocked. Master Windu’s fighting style borders on the Dark Side. Master Yoda knows so much about it because, when he was young, he made the mistake of learning some of the Darker arts. He now uses that knowledge to make sure his Padawan’s don’t repeat his mistakes. As for myself- I always had a problem controlling my emotions. Let them get the best of me on more than one occasion. Took a while for me to sort it all out.”
“Did nothing that everyone else hadn’t done before you. It’s a part of the trials, Elizabeth. The fact that you faced it, and let it go- that tells a lot about your character.”
Buffy sighed. “Maybe you’re right. Then again, you could just be blowing smoke out of your-”
At that moment, the door opened. “You may now enter, Padawan.” A voice intoned from inside. Buffy rolled her eyes.
“Do they have to be so melodramatic?” she muttered as she rose gracefully to her feet. As she started for the doors, Halcyon called out to her.
“So Elizabeth… did you find something to believe in?”
Buffy stopped for a moment, then looked over her shoulder and smiled at the Jedi Master.
And with that, she walked into the chamber, and the doors closed behind her.
Buffy blinked as the doors closed. The blinds had been closed, the lights dimmed; as a result, the room was pitch black. She took a moment for her eyes to adjust and then proceeded to walked to the center of the room.
“You know, you really should pay the electric bill on time…”
She paused in mid sentence as one by one, twelve lightsabers flared to life.
“This is new.”
“Do you know why you’ve been called here, Padawan?” Mace asked, his face lit by the purple glow of his lightsaber.
“I assumed it was to be punished for my blatant disregard of your orders,” Buffy replied. “But, seeing as I’ve already lost an arm, I’d humbly request that I be allowed to keep my remaining limbs, thank you very much.”
“You are here to be judged. But not for the reasons you think,” Mace paused. “You were aware that this assignment constituted your trials, were you not?”
“I was,” Buffy replied. “I would assume I failed.”
“A test, the Jedi Trials are, and are not,” Yoda spoke. “Of moral fiber and strength of character this test was. Not one in which you are graded. Agree with all of your decisions on how you handled this crisis, we do not. Agree that you have earned the title of Jedi Knight, we do.”
Buffy blinked. This was something she honestly hadn’t been expecting. “But I gave in to the Dark Side.” She pointed out, lifting her mechanical arm. “See this? This is what I got for it.”
“No, you got that because you risked you life to save your fellow Jedi,” Mace responded. “As for your brush with the Dark Side - you showed the moral fiber to reject it utterly. You could have killed Darth Traya, yet you stayed your hand in the hopes of saving her from herself.” Mace stepped forward. “You have earned this, Buffy.” He placed the blade of his saber next to her Padawan braid and, with a flick of his wrist, severed it. The braid fell to the floor. “The Jedi Council hereby bestows upon you the rank of Jedi Knight. Well done, Jedi Skywalker.”
The Council members deactivated their lightsabers, and the lights rose back to normal levels. Buffy turned to each member and bowed in respect, ending at Master Windu, who then put a comforting hand on her shoulder. “Events have been put into motion now that the Jedi will have to respond to. But I want you to take the next few days off to recover. Your brother will be accompanying Senator Amidala back to Naboo, both so she can spend some time with her family, and so he can recover as well. Take this time to heal your physical and mental wounds, Buffy.”
Buffy nodded, then turned and walked towards the now-open door. Before she reached them, she paused, and then glanced over her shoulder at Mace.
“Master, do you remember what I told you ten years ago? That if you didn’t train Willow, someone else would? And that your decision would come back to bite you in the ass? Do you remember what I said I would tell you?” Buffy turned to face her now former master fully. “And now the Sith have an untrained, emotionally unbalanced and excessively powerful witch on their side, willing to do anything and hurt anyone in the pursuit of a pipe dream.” She reached out her hand and summoned her severed braid to herself. Placing it in her pocket she turned and, as she walked out of the doors, looked once more over her shoulder at Mace.
“I told you so.”
Mace had no reply as his former Padawan walked out of the Council chamber.
The industrial sector of Coruscant was a mixture of newer, bustling industrial complexes that churned out product that were known and craved for galaxy wide, and older, unused factories that hadn’t been used in decades. Into one of these abandoned buildings, a small Geonosian solar sailor flew into through its one, properly maintained docking bay. As the ship set down, the cloaked form of Darth Sidious came out to greet the two emerging figures.
“Welcome back Darth Tyranus, Darth Traya. I trust your missions were successful?”
“Yes, my Master. We bring good news… the war has begun.”
“But putting a hit on my sister was not a part of the bargain, old man,” Traya growled out, a few blue spikes of light from her hands betraying her true anger.
Sidious looked coldly at the raven-haired girl. “I am offering you power beyond your wildest dreams, little girl. For that power, everyone is expendable.”
“Correction: the SLAYER is expendable,” Traya shot back, the ice evident in her voice and bolstered by her chilling smile. “And if you ever try to pull something like this over me again, than this ‘little girl’ will make you beg for death.” With that, Darth Traya shimmered out of the room, and Darth Sidious turned to his student.
“She is proving to be troublesome. Do you think you can handle her?”
Dooku nodded. “Of course. It is only a matter of providing her with enough power to keep her compliant, while making sure she will always want more. Give me some more time and she will do your bidding like a loyal Sith.”There is no such thing as a loyal Sith.
Sidious thought. Like I don’t know that you are grooming her to assassinate me so that you may take my place? Just as you know that I am subtly grooming Skywalker to take yours.
Out loud, he merely said “Very well. How is our other project on Kamino coming?”
“The clone will be ready by the end of the month. Then we can attempt to call his spirit back from the netherworld of the Force. If this works, we shall have found a way to true immortality.”
Sidious smiled hideously under his cloak. “Excellent. Everything is proceeding as I have foreseen.” He cackled evilly as the two made their way out of the room.
It was only a few days after the events on Geonosis that Padmé found herself back at their parents’ house on Naboo. Anakin had journeyed back with her, under the guise of rest and recuperation after losing his hand. In reality, while that had been part of the reason, the real reason he had come back with her was because they had decided to get married, Council laws be damned. They were set to head back to the lake country, where a waiting minister would lead them in taking their vows. The only witnesses would be See-Threepio and Artoo. Knowing that a war was about to start, they had decided to keep it secret during he duration of the conflict so that Anakin may continue to serve the Republic and Jedi in protecting the galaxy, and come clean when the war was over and accept any punishment they deemed necessary.
They were to leave for the lake country in a few hours, so in the meantime Padmé spent her time tidying up her room. Finding everything in order, she reluctantly moved on to Willow’s room. Even days later, the shock and pain of her betrayal was still fresh. She had loved Willow like a sister - and still did, she admitted to herself. Despite what Buffy had told her, she simply couldn’t understand -
All thoughts stopped as she entered her sister’s room. With its brightness and warm atmosphere, it didn’t fit the chilling tale Buffy had given her of a young woman and her undeniable rage. She felt her breath catch in her throat as she stood in the center, watching as the lights played off of the walls. Memories flowed through her head and she smiled sadly, remembering the warmth and kindness she had found. Willow had been more than just her sister… she had been her closest friend. Losing her was like losing a limb and after watching both Anakin and Buffy suffer such a loss she knew what it was like. Sighing, she turned to leave when she spied a letter lying on the bed. Hesitantly she picked it up, and saw that it was addressed to her. After a moment’s deliberation, she carefully opened the envelope and took out the letter.Dearest Sister;
If you are reading this then my allegiances have been made known. I can only guess that, in some way my so-called best friend was the cause of this. And if that is the case, then I am sorry. I wanted to tell you this in person, face to face, so that there would be no misunderstanding on your part.
The reasons I have chosen to follow Dooku are varied, but I want, no, NEED you to know that neither you, Sola, or your parents were the cause. You took me in and loved me at a time when I was most vulnerable, and for that I thank you. I always have, and always will, consider you a sister.
No, my reason for joining Dooku is two-fold. I don’t believe the Republic is dying - I believe it is dead, and nobody has notified the relatives yet. There needs to be a change, a revolution, if you will. After all, nothing brings about change like violence and bloodshed. Just ask the communists.
But most importantly, Dooku has offered me an opportunity to find the power I need to get home. I love you all dearly, but I’m tired of this place. I want to see my Xander again, to research with Giles, to hold Tara in my arms once more…
I am sorry if my departure has caused you pain, Padmé. I am sorry I couldn’t be happy here. I’m sorry…
Padmé crumpled the letter to her chest and felt her knees weaken. Steadying herself by gripping her sister’s bed, she bent and cried over the loss of her sister.
Meanwhile, on a planet far away, Masters Yoda and Windu stood in the Council chamber with Obi-Wan, contemplating recent events.
“Do you believe what Count Dooku said about Sidious controlling the Senate?” Obi-Wan asked of the masters. “It doesn’t feel right.”
“Become unreliable, Dooku has,” Yoda pointed out. “”Joined the Dark Side. Lies, deceit, creating mistrust are his ways now.”
“Nevertheless, I feel we should keep a closer eye on the Senate,” Mace added, and Yoda nodded in agreement.
There was a lull in the conversation while the three Jedi took that in. After a few moments, Obi-Wan spoke.
“I have to admit, without the clones, it would not have been a victory.”
“Victory?” Yoda said skeptically. “Victory you say? Master Obi-Wan, not victory. The shroud of the Dark Side has fallen. Begum this Clone War has.”
Once again, the three Jedi fell into silence as they all contemplated on what the coming months would bring.
Senator Bail Organa stood next to Chancellor Palpatine and Mas Amedda as they sod on the balcony that overlooked the deployment area. Below, massive Victory-class star destroyers sat on the ground, their hatches open as tens of thousands of clone troopers marched into the holds in tight military formation. A look of supreme sadness passed over the face of Senator Organa as he watched the ships prepare to lift off to war. But as he looked to the face of the Supreme Chancellor, all he saw was a look of grim determination.
In the Junior Senator’s offices in the Senate building, Buffy quietly and efficiently packed up Willow’s possessions into a small crate. She worked in silence, not really taking the time to look at what she was placing into the crates to avoid becoming emotional. She was perfectly fine with being coldly numb. And it worked - until she got to her desk.
Sitting on the desk was the framed sketch of Tara.
Buffy slowly put down the crate, and reverently picked up the sketch. She looked at the face of her friend’s soul mate - of her
friend. Pressing a hand to her mouth, she felt the chill settle in. She fell slowly into Willow’s chair, her hand moving from her mouth to touch the sketch of the beautiful face of a friend she realized she had forgotten.
Something damp fell into her lap and she lifted her metallic hand to brush the tears off of her cheeks, the mineral cold against her damp skin. A moment later, her chest seized and she lifted her hand again to stifle a sob. Everything came rushing back in one fell swoop – the loss of her friends, her sister and, most of all, the life she had left behind. Soon she could no longer see as the tears that had been threatening ran and for once she made no attempt to stop them.
And on Naboo, on a balcony overlooking the lake Padmé and Anakin stood, hand in metal hand as they said their vows in front of the holy man and the two droids. They soon finished, and they leaned into one another and sealed their marriage with a kiss.FiniteTo be continued in Star Wars- Episode 3: Revenge of the WitchA/N:
Well, I have been informed by my faithful reviewer Devine-Desire that FanFiction has recently changed the reviews around- now I can respond to each one personally. Actually, I’d have to, since responding in the stories is now banned, along with music lyrics and, soon, free speech.
Yeah, I’m a bit bitter. Sue me.
Actually, I have no problem with the new rule. And I can see their reasoning- it’s hard to get an accurate word count on a story when half of the chapter is review responses. And there are people, like myself, who usually only read a story with a hefty word count per chapter. Add to that the fact that now it will only take me a few moments to upload the chapters now, instead of spending an hour typing out review responses, and I’m okay with the ruling.
However, I will not be able to respond to each review. I have very little free time anymore, between work and writing two stories (and planning a third- a Harry Potter/Firefly crossover). If I don’t respond to your review, please don’t take it personally.
As a final note- a lot (and I mean A LOT) of people complained about two things- Buffy loosing an arm, and Willow going dark. Let me respond-
Robo-Buffy: Shadow Master, one of my three wonderful beta’s, pointed something out to me- Buffy hardly ever gets seriously injured in these types of stories. And she never looses a limb, or an eye, or anything. Now, I always intended for her to get the scar over the eye (and yes, it is supposed to mirror Anakin’s), but late in the game I decided to have her loose the arm. Then Shadow Master suggested that she loose the whole arm. After a lot of deliberation, I went through with it. I felt that it added some gravity to the situation with Darth Traya, and it showed that Buffy isn’t invincible. Not a popular decision, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time…
Darth Willow: Man, and I thought I telegraphed this one. Everybody was surprised how suddenly and effortlessly Willow went dark. That it went against her character. That the only reason she snapped on Buffy was because of Tara. Never mind the fact that she explained that she turned to the Sith to gain power to get her back home to Tara. Never mind the fact that she was a Dark Magic junkie on the show, and the Dark Side of the Force would probably give her the same results as dark magic. Never mind the fact that she was pused to murder when the person who once owned her as a slave managed to capture her again and quite nearly whored her out to himself and his friends.
Willow has been going dark for two years. You never saw this because it was a part of those 10 years that I didn’t really cover. For seven years she looked for a way to get back to Tara, and failed. For two years, she listened to Dooku as he taught her how to tap into the Dark Side, and she listened as Dooku wove a tale of lies about her best friend. Her mind and soul have been poisoned by Dooku, and she finally let that show through.
Sorry if I seem a little harsh here. It was just that a couple of reviews bordered on flames almost, so I am responding in kind.
Well, that’s all for this story. Not sure when I’ll start posting ‘Revenge’, but once I start, I hope to continue to keep it as a weekly story. And don’t fret- I won’t keep you in suspense for long.