Chapter 10: No Padawan
The grandmaster was in his office, standing at a gigantic window. He gazed at the fantastic view, featuring the cloudy sky of the planet's surface. This room was always dim, lit only by the natural light coming from the window. The sill itself had built-in lights to illuminate this room at night. His back was turned, facing the entrance Dya came through. He sensed her presence.
That was when he turned to face her and said, "You wish to speak with me?"
"Yes. There is something I want to show you."
"What is it?"
They both walk towards each other, meeting each other halfway.
Dya readied her long-handle lightsaber and ignited the blade. The grandmaster remained calm and unfazed, but he was concerned as to why she stood before him like this with her blade activated.
"You see the blade?"
He was already observing it, witnessing the undulating effect of rippling flames upon the blade. "How did you accomplish that effect?"
"I didn't. I found a unique crystal when I visited the surface of Sarapin. After I installed it into this lightsaber, this was the result."
"A flaming lightsaber blade."
"I call it the Sarapin Inferno Crystal."
"One problem is that the crystal is constantly hot, too hot for the touch, just like magma found on the planet's surface. Also it caused the blade to generate a tremendous amount of heat. This lightsaber is made of material normally used on the hulls of certain starships. Since starships regularly enter through planet atmospheres, the material can withstand the heat."
"Thus making your lightsaber's casing highly heat resistant."
"Also, my lightsaber has vents, so the heat generated has a means of escape."
"That's impressive. It's a coincidence that you happened to have vents in the first place," said Korvon. "I personally thought there was no valid point in having the vents, even after you explained to me your plan for deception during combat, but now those vents have a better use."
"I don't think it was coincidence master. Not anymore."
"I learned a lot when I visited Sarapin. The Force was truly with me. I survived the vaapads and established clarity in both Juyo and Vaapad of Form Seven."
"I knew you had mastered Juyo, with the help of Jorn Lorith and my assistance, but... Vaapad?"
"That's not possible. The only people known to master it were Sora Bulq, Depa Billaba, and then Mace Windu. Those three are all long dead and there was no other that could have learned it."
Dya said nothing more, now feeling as though she should have said anything in the first place.
"Are you saying you learned it on your own?"
She thought about how to answer this. "Yes," she said, hoping Mace Windu's spirit would forgive her. It was not exactly true.
"Care to show me?"
She shook her head. "No."
Korvon seemed taken aback by that answer, even though he remained calm and unmoving.
"I'm afraid not master. I made a vow never to teach it or reveal it, and I was foolish enough to even mention it to you."
"I understand," he nodded. "It is something that can endanger even the most skillful and strong-minded Jedi Master."
She smiled jokingly, "Does that mean that I am at the level of a master now?"
"Not at all, Shadowflower. Though you have the potential to becoming a Jedi Master, you still have much to learn. Most of that involves actually teaching a youngling how to become a proper Jedi. Only then will you possibly qualify to become a master."
"Are you saying that I will soon have a padawan to take under my wing?"
"I have pondered this for years and taken it into consideration. In fact I came close to granting you a padawan quite a few times, but..."
He stopped talking, and that bothered her. It meant that something was wrong. "What is it, master? I'm listening."
He sighed and tried to break it to her gently. "Your current condition, it requires that you remain hidden, alone, and unknown."
"So? Just have the padawan swear to secrecy, like I have. Make him or her a secret operations agents, just as you have done with me."
He shook his head slowly, saying not a word.
Dya felt dejected. "I don't understand."
"That's exactly why I won't grant you a padawan to train. I can't risk it. To lose another Jedi because..."
Dya felt hurt, like he could not trust her. He could not even finish his sentences. "Am I really that bad?"
"Spiritually questionable," he clarified. "Though for someone with your talents and experiences, that doesn't mean much. However, consider the young and undeveloped mind of a padawan. Now, think about your spiritual uniqueness and how you are adept at straddling the fence between lightside and darkside."
"Yes," she said, listening.
"A padawan could not handle it. He or she would surely fall off the fence, being either one side or the other. Of course with how influential the darkside is, I need not say which side the confused padawan will most likely fall over to."
"I get your point."
"I'm sorry Shadowflower. I really am. I have always intended to grant you a padawan, but it is just far too risky. Just like the use of Juyo and Vaapad. I won't allow it. Only you out of all the Jedi in the Order is allow that privilege and burden."
Dya dropped to her knees in dejection, now focusing on the Force to grant her emotional and philosophical clarity. She understood what the grandmaster was saying. She was stuck with the burden of keeping herself balance between light and dark at all times, and that required high maintenance of the soul. A young person, such as a padawan could not handle the difficulties of such high maintenance. It was far too advanced for children.
She stopped her brief meditation with the Force and stood up again.
"Are you alright?"
She nodded. "I'll be fine."
"Are you ready now," he asked. "Are you prepared for the fight?"
"I had a few more plans for gaining strength and more formidable weaponry, but since such things are not easily obtained, I figured I would skip those and begin my mission to hunt down those Sith."
"May I ask what your postponed plans are?"
"For one, I needed a weapon that could withstand lightsaber blades. Total invulnerability would be best, but something that is strongly lightsaber resistant is fair enough."
"Like Mandalorian Iron? I have already arranged to get that material through a few contacts. There are plenty of people, even entire societies, that owe me favors."
"So you can get the material?"
"Yes. If you are willing to wait a bit longer for them to arrive."
"Oh. Well that's good news, master."
"However, the iron is not fully invulnerable."
"I'm aware of that, master."
"What else did you have in mind?"
"During my recent studies on Jedi history, I ran into some documents describing the existence of a creature called Zillo Beast."
Korvon said nothing, listening with a smile.
"If I could get my hands on at least one of its scales, then..."
"I see what you mean," he nodded. "The creature died long ago. No one knows what actually happened to it."
"Why? It could not have disappeared. It's remains must he somewhere."
"It is. I'm sure of it. The creature was hauled off somewhere to be cloned, but no one knows where that is."
"I'm sure with enough clues, we can find it."
He nodded. "I think it's still locked away somewhere on Coruscant. It's just a matter of finding the right facility. However, I would not bother to waste time doing that. Also, if the Sith ever discover its location, it would not be a good thing."
"However, if you did get possession of the Zillo Beast's remains, how would you be able to make use of it?"
"The Sith of ancient times have sorcery, the kind that allows them to transmute organic matter into whatever they wished. Jorn and his holocron are from that period of time. With that knowledge, I am certain that I could possibly smelt the Zillo remains into a melee weapon."
"Considering that the remains are even malleable."
"With Sith sorcery, it won't matter. I could still make a nice melee weapon with it, possibly even adapt lightsaber technology to it."
"Sounds like a plan. I'll look into that and see if I can locate the Zillo Beast remains."
Dya nodded agreeably. "So to answer your question, master. With all that I have at my disposal currently, I am ready to begin. There is never enough for my arsenal, but I can still manage if you wish for me to proceed with the hunt."
"I'm still going to do what I can to help improve your arsenal, but yes, you do have my permission to begin. Should your efforts fail, you can always return here to me. Then we can work on utilizing more formidable additions to your arsenal."
Dya smiled, "Thank you, master." She bowed and then walked away.
He watched her walk away, thinking about things deeply. Then something came to mind. "One more thing, Shadowflower."
Nearly to the entrance to this secret office, she stopped and turned around.
"To better discover the whereabouts of the Sith you are hunting, please visit the Radiant Woman. She can assist you with that and guide you through the process."
"Thank you, master." Dya walked through the entranceway and was gone.
She awaited the arrival of the unique Jedi. The cavernous chamber where she dwelt was vast and spacious, and mostly appeared pure white due to the high amount of light emanating from her being. When Dya arrived through the only doorway into this place, she discovered this brilliant white realm and was amazed.
There she was. The Radiant Woman. She was in the center of the chamber. This was not her real name, but it was what the grandmaster often called her. Gazing at the woman, Dya saw how beautiful she appeared. Her eyes were long, narrow, and pointed, making the woman look elf-like. Her skin appeared pure white and glowed, making Dya wonder what she actually looked like without all the illumination. The eyes glowed with white light making it hard to tell if she had irises or not. Her hair flowed like billowing drapes in the air, extremely long and glowing like strands of white silk. Her clothing was also white. That included her belt, which in fact had a lightsaber attached to it, but its casing was purely white. Dya could only guess what color the lightsaber's blade was.
"You're the Radiant Woman," said Dya, realizing that this alien being that looked Human stood not on the solid floor but pure air. She was floating above ground as if the air was a solid thing to stand on.
"Yes I am," she said with a pretty smile. "Very rarely does any Jedi have the privilege of meeting me. My dealings are almost always with Grandmaster Hikarikasai."
Dya was already having a look around the place, now pacing around the floating lady to see her from the front and back. She was amazed that this alien woman could float above ground effortlessly like this.
"What are you exactly?"
"What do you mean?"
Dya walked around to face the woman's front and said, "Are you some kind of Jedi Master."
"The kind no one in this galaxy will ever know about without good reason."
"Let me guess," said Dya, noticing a familiar pattern with the grandmaster and how he handled things. "Your existence is a secret, right?"
"Okay. Next question."
"Ask whatever you wish, and I shall answer to the best of my ability."
"Alright. Can I see your lightsaber?"
"Do you not already see it?"
"Yes, but I would like to see its blade."
She took it from her belt and held it out vertically. Her hand never moved though. Her thumb remained sitting against her fist. There was no thumb switch. With just a simple thought, the lightsaber activated. A prismatic white blade appeared with a pure-white color. The blade was so bright that it was difficult to look at. Dya had to squint and even shield her eyes to get an accurate view.
The Radiant Woman retracted the blade and attached the saber to her belt again. "I feel that I should inform you this. Not once have I ever used this lightsaber."
"That's not possible."
"Are you trained in lightsaber combat?"
"Did you build that lightsaber?"
"Are you a master of all Forms?"
"No. I refuse to be trained Form Seven. It risks my being tainted by debased emotions and even the darkside of the Force. Should I ever fall into darkness, even just by a small and brief moment, I shall lose my radiance and become... nothing."
"Wait a minute," said Dya. "Are you telling me that you are purely lightside?"
"And if you kill something with your lightsaber?"
"I will lose my radiance and my connection with the lightside of the Force will not be as strong and deep as it is now."
"Your deep connection is why you glow like this?"
"What is it like to be this deeply connected with the lightside of the Force?"
"I cannot describe the experience well enough for you to understand in your language, but... for lack of better words, it is... paradise."
Dya was amazed, even mind-blown. "I received a white jewel from the Grandmaster. He gave it to me for use in my lightsaber. Is that jewel come from you?"
"Yes. I constructed it solely for you. I can even sense it now as it rests within your lightsaber."
"Why? What is it for?"
"It is a guardian stone, one that will shield you from darkside influences. However, it does not prevent you from making your own decisions."
Dya nodded. "That's good to know."
"Now I have a question for you, Shadowflower."
"Why did you come to see me?"
"Grandmaster sent me."
"I'm sure he had his reason, but what reason do you have?"
"Following orders. He said that if I wished to determine the whereabouts of that Sith transport we attacked last year, then I should come here and speak with you. He said you would help me out with that."
"Correct. I will help you. However, you still did not answer my question."
"I don't know," she answered. "I guess I don't really have one, but now that I am here, I wish to satisfy my curiosity."
"Very well. Please, come to me and I will show you what it is you wish to know."
Dya approached the alien, now standing right before her.
Dya knelt down before her.
"Now close your eyes."
Dya did what she said, feeling as if she was in meditation. Suddenly she felt two fingertips at either side of her head, and thumbs planted on her forehead. The Radiant Woman was holding Dya's head now, intending to perform contact telepathy.
"The Force," she began. "It is far more than what you know or understand about it. It not only pervades all things and envelops you in its power. It not only grants you power and augments your existence. It can also transcend space and time."
Dya felt the Force flowing through her from the Radiant Woman, but it felt different than what she was used to. Stronger. Pure. To her it was like diving into a vast ocean of light, and that ocean felt like one gigantic blanket that wrapped around her soul. Warm. Gentle. Tranquil. In her mind she could not help but to wonder if this was what the lightside felt like after death. Was this what the spirit of Mace Windu experienced?
There was nothing hostile about it. No sense of offensive or defensive intention. It was serenity. It was peace. It made her feel awful inside. Guilty. Filthy. Dya felt nothing but disgust with herself. Hatred. Anger. She felt inadequate and inappropriate. Impure.
It felt quite painful, like she was being tortured. Her soul wanted to find its place but could not. The lightside and the darkside called out for it, and both sides began to rip her soul in two. The pain became so unbearable that she screamed with all her horrible might, "Stop! Make it stop!"
Dya opened her eyes, but only to see her own self standing right here before her. The pain was gone, but not her confusion. She blinked several times, not believing her eyes. The girl she saw before her was herself, but back when she was only a child. Dya wondered if this was what the Jedi Order would call 'flow-walking'.
"As I told you," said the Radiant Woman, appearing from nowhere. "The Force can pervade all things, even transcending space and time."
Dya looked at the glowing white alien and said, "Are we flow-walking?"
"Then why did you bring me here? To help me change my life and make things happen differently?"
"No. That would be disruptive to the Force. It's unacceptable, inappropriate, and it will ruin everything that has ever happened throughout time by removing purpose."
"Then what is the point of all this?"
"You were curious, so I am satisfying it."
It was not possible for the alien woman to read her mind because Dya was a Panathan, born with a natural immunity any Force power that would trick, dominate, influence, or read the mind. So she figured that this was not what was happening right now, and still felt confused about this strange experience. This was all made possible by the Force through the Radiant Woman, and not telepathy.
Young Dya. She sat on the floor of her cage, hugging her knees and being a human ball to keep warm. She knew no fear, but nervousness bothered her after hearing the loud and noisy sounds of blaster fire. Then there were screams as people died. It sounded like the slavers and their mindless thug-like guards were in trouble.
A body flew by her cage, crashing clumsily to the floor. The man was dead. A strange vibrating hum sounded as a streaking green beam cut through the air and struck metal. Sparks ignited. Cages were opened. Slaves climbed out and cheered for their newfound freedom and they hurried out of this chamber. The Jedi that freed these children, a bald man wearing all-black attire, rushed them out and told them to be careful so as not to trample each other.
Dya watched him, studied his face carefully, and saw no eyes. There were only a pair of strange eyewear that covered the sockets where his eyes should have been. Was he blind or just a cyborg? Her contemplation of this was interrupted by a noisy lightsaber that retracted its blade upon deactivation. The bald man had a friendly smile on his face as he stood before Dya's cage and stooped down to a crouch. Now he and the child were face to face.
"Hello," he said. That was all he said for the moment.
Dya did not know what to say, so she did not respond.
"My name is Korvon. I'm here to help you."
"Why didn't you free me like the others?"
He took a deep breath and sighed. "I'm not sure if I should."
"I'm not sure about you," he said, still with a friendly voice. "Are you going to try and kill me if i open your cage?"
She frowned. "Why would I do that?"
"I saw your last fight. It was quite brutal for someone your age."
"I'm a champion gladiator. It's what I do."
"Well you see. I have a problem with that. You couldn't be anymore than what? Fifteen years of age?"
"Right," he nodded. "Well. I don't enjoy watching children fight each other to the death. It's not right. These slavers are only doing this to make money off of your efforts. What do you get for doing this? Terrible meals, barely any clothing, and a life time of captivity?"
"It was better than becoming a sex slave."
"You have a point there," he nodded. "But... what if I were to tell you that I have a better option for you?"
"Well... do you know what I am, young one?"
"You're a Jedi."
He reached out his gloved hand to shake hers. "What is your name?"
"Nice name," he said, standing up to activate his lightsaber and cut the cage open. "Come with me and I'll introduce you to a better way of life."
"The girl is a mess," said the Jedi Knight. "She is feisty, unpredictable, vicious, and unstable."
"She's your padawan. I assigned her to you. Teach so that she may learn, and by teaching the young, you learn things too."
"There is nothing I can learn from that little animal. She's dangerously close to the darkside too. All she will ever do is get us both killed!"
"Learn to take control by teaching her self-control."
"I tried. I guess you could say I failed. Call it what you want. I can't do this anymore. If I have to continue with this creature as my padawan, then I quit!"
"Fine. I'll deal with the girl myself and assign you a new one. Just keep in mind that if you can't handle the next one, you will be expelled from the Jedi Order."
"Expelled? What did I do wrong?"
"The very same things you claim she's doing. You just don't see it yet, or have you forgotten that I am the Grandmaster of this organization."
"No, I haven't forgotten."
"Then by all means, show me proper respect by at least referring to me as 'master'."
He bowed and said, "Forgive me, master. I forgot my place."
The Jedi Knight walked away.
Dya continued hiding behind a wall near that doorway, feeling very nervous.
"You can come out now. He's gone."
She stepped out, revealing herself to him.
He smiled at her, reaching out with one gloved hand. "Come, young one. I wish to speak to you."
She nervously approached him from out of the shadowy room into the well-lit hallway.
"I'm sorry you had to hear that," he said, taking her hand into his. "Are you okay?"
She nodded. "I didn't mean to cause any trouble."
"You didn't. Being and becoming a Jedi is not an easy thing. It's a spiritual journey that often requires scrutiny, supervision, and great caution. Sometimes when a padawan is promoted to knighthood, he or she forgets that they were once a padawan."
"What will happen to me now? Will my training be unfinished?"
"Of course not," he assured her. "You will now become my padawan."
Dya smiled, feeling better. "Thank you."
She stood beside her master here on the bridge of a Republic Armada flagship. On this ship there were no Jedi, none except herself and her master. Korvon Hikiarikasai stood calmly with his hands folded behind his lower back and his legs parted; his usual stance. She had her double-bladed lightsaber in hand, watching the massive windshield that he was. Even from here they could see Republic ships that amassed in preparation for a pre-emptive strike. This strike was to be against some mysterious and recently scouted Sith heavy-armed transport.
The captain of this ship turned to Korvon and said, "The armada is ready to begin. We are all prepped for hyperspace jump."
Korvon nodded. "Standby."
The black-clad Jedi master turned his head to look at his padawan. "Vexx?"
She nodded and walked away from him, heading several meters to a spot on the floor where she turned to face the windshield and sit down. On the floor, she folded her legs, getting into a meditative position. Then she closed her eyes and began to concentrate on the Force.
Korvon, seeing that she was ready and in position to begin Battle Meditation, he turned his head and faced the windshield. Suddenly he felt it, the presence of the Force and Jedi Vexx's mystical influence upon him. It was this same mystical influence that affected everyone onboard this ship. It even extended to every ship and crew within this armada.
Now that the entire armada was under Vexx's aural power, Korvon informed the captain that he was ready to being the assault. By the captain's orders, the entire armada initiated hyperspace jump and vanished one by one until all ships were gone.
When the hyperspace jump ended, ships appeared seemingly from nowhere. There was no hesitation. Every ship spotted the Sith transport, targeted it, and fired. It was a full aggressive strike. The transport had tough armor, seemingly invincible as it took dozens of hits with very little damage. With Vexx's Battle Meditation at play, the armada pressed on and fought harder, smarter, and tougher against the enemy. Soon the damage to that ship's armor increased, finally taking considerable damage.
Korvon watched the battle from this bridge, overseeing his padawan. The battle looked quite successful and victory appeared to be certain. However, that all changed when the Sith transport suddenly jumped into hyperspace without warning.
His head sunk. All that effort, all that planning, it was all for nothing. Wasted. The enemy had fled. He turned to the captain. "Can you get a calculation on that ship's trajectory?"
"No sir. We can try again if you like."
Korvon nodded his approval.
Dya stood here with the glowing alien woman, watching all this. It was strange to see herself in the moment of that battle, reliving what happened, here in this moment in time. "What is the point of all this?"
"Please be patient," said the Radiant Woman. "I almost have the whereabouts of that Sith transport.
Impossible. That was the exact word that popped up in his mind. No ship in this galaxy had the ability to make such a quick jump into hyperspace. Astronautical calculations took time, much time in some cases, even before making emergency jumps. Standard jumps took longer. That armed transport took only slightly more than a second. The armada here pursued and attacked with great speed and precision, just after arriving here from hyperspace. In his mind, there was no way that a ship like that could have been so ready for escape.
"Did they know we were coming?" he thought.
The enemy transport had taken several solid hits, but was still functional. No ship could have survived such a hyperspace aided sneak attack, and yet it had escaped with little effort.
"Blind," he thought. "It was a wild and blind jump into hyperspace. That ship could be anywhere right now. There is no way to track it, no way to determine its trajectory."
"Of course there is," said Vexx, linked to her master's mind. "This sort of thing is done all the time."
"You don't understand, my student," he responded. "Had it just been a wildjump into hyperspace, we could have easily calculated that ship's trajectory and followed it to where it would have exited hyperspace, and then began a search for it if it fled from the exit point or reentered hyperspace."
"However... The Force intervened."
"Intervened? How so?"
"Someone onboard that ship is so strong in the Force that he or she can manipulate hyperspace."
"I have found it," said the alien woman. "I can see it clearly now."
The planet Dauthrin. It appeared as a massive yellowish ball with small bodies of water and land masses so large that they covered the entire planet. Parts of those landmasses were green, indicating high levels of vegetation such as jungles. Other parts of those land masses appeared brownish orange, indicating a lack of flora in those areas because they were dominated by deserts or beaches. There were mountain ranges; some of them were active volcanoes. The skies appeared mostly clear with a few white cloud masses.
"So that's where they are."
"Yes," said the Radiant Woman. "Apparently, that armed transport did not survive the hyperspace jump without being heavily damaged. In result, it crashed."
"Can you pinpoint the location of where that ship crashed?"
"Yes. I can. It may not be accurate, but I can definitely send you to any place on that planet's surface, even exactly where the crash site is located."
"Wait. What do you mean you can send me there?"
"Teleportation by means of the Force."
"You're that strong?"
"I am that deeply connected with the Force, yes. I am in near oneness with it."
Dya knew about that "oneness," but it was a rare thing. Most Jedi throughout history were never that close to the Force. Anyone that ever did reach oneness would have experienced it temporarily and would have to eventually return to being mortal again. Dya doubted that she would ever reach such a level with the Force, but currently that was not her concern anyway.
"Shall I teleport you there now?"
"Yes. I want to get this over with as quickly as possible," she said, putting back on her mask. "I'm as ready as I'll ever be."
"Very well, Shadowflower. May the Force be with you."