Chapter 8: Prodigal Jedi
It was a stormy day on the surface of planet Osscillon. Thunder bellowed each time lightning stuck, and on this planet lightning struck frequently during storms like this. In consequence, it was never a good idea for ship to fly to or from this planet.
Grandmaster Hikarikasai stood before a gigantic window of transparisteel, gazing out at the vast view of the valley below. The dark storm clouds were everywhere now, possibly covering the entire planet. This was why every civilization here was on high-static alert. Power either had to be brought to minimal levels to prevent risks of outages, or be shut off completely until the planet-wide storm was over. However, with the Jedi Stronghold needing to stay functional practically at all times, power remained on. This was because this place was designed to capture natural lightning and use it as a stored power source.
He contemplated many things, and one of them involved having this place go on a full power-grid shutdown for the duration of the storm. It was not the storm that concerned him so much as the ancient Sith did. He found himself wondering, "What if they find out we are stationed here and not on Coruscant? What then?"
It was known among the Jedi that Coruscant was not the main headquarters of the Order. Not since at least one-hundred years. The Jedi Temple there, also known as the Palace of the Jedi, still existed, but more as a monument or a historical museum. It served an aesthetic purpose more than anything, even though there were a number of Jedi still occupying the place. The real top headquarters was here on this dark and unforgiving planet, a place where the Jedi were hidden from the rest of the galaxy and with good reason. The number of times the Jedi Temple on Coruscant was taken, plundered, destroyed, and the site of many other awful occurrences were all good clues as to why the main base of operations had migrated to this planet.
With all this to protect the Jedi from discovery, the grandmaster still felt worried. Perhaps because he knew--as warned by former Sithlord, Jorn Lorith--the pureblooded Sith he arrived with were unmatched in skill, power, technology, and knowledge of things long forgotten in this day and age. Jorn, once Sith, acting as a double-agent and serving the Jedi Order after turning a new leaf, gave his example of how formidable these Sith really were. Hikarikasai recalled how the man described knowledge of the near-forgotten martial art of Form VII Juyo. To confirm this example, Jorn and Korvon Hikarikasai had sparred against each other with training lightsabers. Sadly, Jorn defeated Korvon, almost with ease.
"We are Jedi," Korvon argued defensively. "We are not warriors. We are protectors. We do not condone full aggression, for it may plunge us into the darkside. This is exactly why the practice of Juyo is prohibited and only allowed by a selected few masters. Even then, those masters must use great caution and much restraint."
"That's why I defeated you." Jorn's response was simple, factual, and also hurtful. It actually struck a nerve with the grandmaster, but the man kept his calm. "Restraint is why these Sith will eventually come to find you, destroy you and the rest of your students, if not the entire Order. Just one Sith alone from that ship is capable of such atrocity. Can you imagine what three or more can do, or even an entire ship full of them?"
Korvon, with his hands folded calmly behind his lower back, turned away from Jorn in response. As Jorn suspected, the man knew he was right about all this, but he did not wish to face it. At least not yet.
"Please. I'm only trying to help. That's why I came and joined the Jedi Order. To turn things around and make them right."
Korvon agreed, looking back over his right shoulder at the Sith-Human. Because the grandmaster was half-Miraluka, he could see the Force emanating off Jorn, and he knew that Jorn was not trying to deceive. He was speaking truth. "I would hate for the Jedi Order to have to die suffering for the ancient mistakes caused by our spiritual ancestors."
"Then you agree that something must be done."
"Yes. Of course." He sighed, feeling weighed down by a heavy decision he knew he had to make. "The question is... how do we proceed and do so without losing sight of what we are and what we represent?"
Jorn smiled. "I have an idea."
Dya'Mondria Vexx, a young Jedi that strangely walked the path of both Sentinel and Counselor, sat at a table of young Jedi, enjoying a friendly conversation with them. However, that conversation came to a halt when she received a call from her former master. All the Jedi at her table were all padawans except her, and they were curious about this call. They watched as Dya-Mondria answered her personal holoprojector, seeing the miniature figure of the Miraluka/Human Jedi master manifest as a hologram.
"Yes, master. What is it?"
"I understand that you just received your promotion only yesterday, but I need to speak you immediately about a situation."
"What is it, master? I'm here to serve."
"It cannot be said in public. Please meet me at my office."
"Will do. See you there."
The call ended.
The padawans were curious and excited for her, vocalizing their thoughts.
"Please, friends and fellow students, calm yourselves. I'm sure it's nothing serious."
"Nothing serious? You were personally called by the grandmaster. Of course it's serious."
"I must not keep him waiting. See you are later, okay?"
Korvon and Jorn waited. The entranceway way opened. Bright light shined through, creating the leggy silhouette of a near-human female. When she was completely through and the entranceway was clear, the door closed behind her. Without all the light from outside the doorway, Jorn gazed at her and finally took in her appearance. She was young with light brown skin, short black hair, and dark brown eyes. Her exotic eyes were almond shaped and chinky. Full-figured and well proportioned, athletic, and muscular in a feminine way, she looked like a formidable warrior already even though Jorn had not yet witnessed her combat skills. In her possession was a double-bladed lightsaber, a very elegant one. Two other weapons were attached to her belt, but one was a shoto and the other was a standard lightsaber.
Overall this female was what most people in the galaxy called an Epicanthix, but she often said that that name was actually a derogatory one and not the true name of her people. Her people learned to deal with being called that because they understood that most galaxy inhabitants were ignorant of things they did not understand.
"Jorn. This is my personal student, Dya'Mondria Vexx from the planet Panatha. Her people, the Panathans are skilled in unarmed combat."
Jorn nodded and said, "Hmm. I can see how that might be useful."
"I'm here master. What's this about?"
"Jedi Dya'Mondria Vexx, this Jorn Lorith."
She bowed. "Nice to meet you."
"I summoned you here to inform you that Jorn here will be over seeing your training. I will also train you and be your main instructor. He will take over when I am too busy to maintain your training and vice-versa."
"Training? I just graduated from being a padawan."
"What the man means is, you will begin training to advance into a specialized class of Jedi."
"What special class," she said, shifting her eyes from Jorn to Korvon.
"It is what I would like to call Jedi Requiter," said Jorn.
"Requiter? You mean an avenger? Even the name its self doesn't fall in line with the tenets of the Jedi Order. Is this some kind of joke?"
"No it's not," said Korvon. "For the sake of understanding and the advantages of being undercover, your class will be known as Jedi Shadow. It's a more acceptable class and known to exist in Jedi history, but your actual class is something far more complex than that."
"The Jedi Requiter is something like a Jedi Shadow, but one that seeks to venture out and hunt down Sith in order to vanquish them... for good. This class is a requirement, necessary for ceasing the periodic rise of Sith permanently."
"At least that is what we are hoping for," said Korvon. "Your training will begin in one week. In one week, you are to meet here and prepare to begin anew. You will have that time to say goodbye to everyone you know, because from that day forth, you will cease to exist to anyone that knows you. Even your records will be erased."
"Because," said Jorn. "No one, and I mean no one, is to know about this. It has to look as if you died in action. This is the easiest way for everyone to accept your disappearance."
"Your death will be staged. I will send you out on a mission. You will not return. At least that is how it will appear. In reality, you will come and go as you please using the utmost stealth procedures involved in your advanced training."
"Any questions," said Jorn. "Comments?"
"Yes," said Vexx, feeling offended. "I'm not doing it. I decline."
"You can't," said Jorn. "There is much at stake and the galaxy needs a person like you, more than ever before."
She glared at him. Then she turned to Korvon and said, "Is this guy even a Jedi Master?"
"No," Korvon answered. "But he does have the skills, knowledge, and mastery of one. He's a special case, an identity you will not expose. Understood?"
"Yes, master. But... I don't want to do this. It's wrong."
"It's necessary,"said Jorn.
Korvon interjected and said, "Jedi Vexx. You do not have a choice in this matter. You must submit and comply."
"I won't," she snapped. "Accept this as my resignation, master. I'm leaving the Jedi Order!" With her double-bladed lightsaber in hand, she tossed it up into the air. With a smooth and quick draw, she activating her standard lightsaber and performed and upward strike vertically, halving the double-bladed lightsaber before it even touched the ground. By the time it stopped clanging against the sleek black floor, Dya'Mondria already had her back facing them and was walking through the doorway.
Just like that, she was gone.
Korvon looked to Jorn just as he looked to the grandmaster.
"She'll be back," said Jorn, smiling. "Just give her some time."
Korvon calmly nodded. "Agreed."
Several months passed since the day that Jedi Vexx left the Jedi Order. Of course she did not keep track. Instead she forgot all about the Jedi Order and lived her life like a normal person. On the surface of Nar Shaddaa of all places.
Music filled the air along with dozens of conversations involving chatter and laughter. The air reeked of drug vapor from people that liked to smoke questionable if not illegal substances. That mixed with other odors emitted from everything else that organic people like to do, natural or unnatural, including the musk of sex. In a strange paradox, this place seemed like a hellish and hedonistic paradise.
Dya'Mondria, now known as Basilisk Shade or Shade for short, sat at the bartable on a stool while hunched over with her left elbow on the table to prop up herself. Her right hand was held a short glass that the bartender kept full so she could toss those drinks down her throat as quickly as possible. She finished this round, and now it was time for another. She tapped the table with this short glass, and here came the bartender.
"Lady, I know you need your fill but..."
She looked at him like he was crazy. From his perspective the woman was seriously drunk, not able to hold her head up right. He noticed that she now gazed at him with one eye open and the other one narrowed as if glaring through a fence of eyelashes. Through the lashes that veiled it, that eye shined with a golden light. That was why people called her Basilisk, because when she looked at you a certain way, you knew you were going to die.
"Fine," he said, recognizing that evil eye. "Kill me. But you won't be able get your drinks anymore."
"I'll just find some other armpit haven to get drunk in."
"Tough luck. I'm the only place around here that accepts pathetic, deadbeat, ex-Jedi ladies with bad social skills."
She chuckled, pointing at him with her glass in that hand, and she said drunkenly, "You have a very excellent point there."
Seeing in what terrible shape she was in, which was the worst he had ever seen her, he decided to pay her some kindness and said, "Here. Don't say I never did nuthin' for you." he put down seven glasses in a row. They all sat side-to-side as he took a bottle and poured in liquor as a straight line until they were all filled.
Shade grinned widely, "Thanks, buddy."
"Yeah, whatever," he grumbled. "Don't mention it."
"Okay. I won't," she said, drinking more.
He pointed to the short glass at the end and said, "And when you get to this last one, that's the end of it with you. You finish that first and then get the hell out my place and take a shower, you understand?"
She nodded and continued drinking those glasses down.
At this moment, she did not realize that there was a man that entered through the main entrance just to see her. In the distance, he walked in slowly, wearing a hood and a mask, dressed in nothing but black. The moment he spotted her was the moment he began walking towards her, slowly, like he was lost in deep thought or rather lost in the darkside.
The moment he reached over his belt to grab his lightsaber, everyone became startled and ran to leave this place just as soon as that red blade emerged. He held the lightsaber with both hands, getting into a battle stance and waited there for a reaction.
Shade ignored him and continued drinking.
"Hey," he called. "You there."
She was still drinking, paying him no mind.
"You're the one they call Basilisk Shade?"
"Where are your manners Jedi? You look at me when I speak to you."
"No," she said, staring at the next glass in her hand that she was about to drink. "If I do that, then you will die."
"I don't believe in that myth. I find it childish."
"Oh really. Tell that to all the other wanna-be Sith that are in darksider's heaven right now."
He raised his left hand while his right hand held the lightsaber, and he summoned the Force to hurl lightning from his fingertips. In one swift movement, Shade grabbed and activated her gold-bladed lightsaber and stopped the lightning bolts with it one-handed. With her other hand, she still gulped down the liquor. She had one more glass to go.
"Sorry," she said. "Be right with you in a second. This is my last glass."
By now the place was vacant. Everyone had fled down the street. The Sith stopped the Force lightning attack, and by then Shade was finished with her last drink. From the sitting position at the bar counter, she leaped and came down out of the air with a strike down to his head, but he blocked it. Now they were blade-locked and straining to dominate each other with raw strength.
"You picked a bad time to mess with me."
"Oh really? Too bad." He pushed her off of him and his blade. Upon her landing, he charged at her moving his lightsaber in quick short arcs to try and strike her down. She blocked his attacks and countered, even performing a few parries. Shade felt like she was sober, although she was incredibly drunk. Her techniques were still a bit sloppy, almost to the point that this Sith could not take this battle too seriously.
With a deceptive thrust, Shade gasped with wide eyes and saw that she had been stabbed. His blade was still stuck in her abdomen. She looked down at it, shocked that she was even hit.
"What's the matter? You've never lost a battle before?"
Rage filled her, causing her to grab the mask on his face with her left hand and tear it off. With the right hand, she swung with two fingers out to thrust the person's eyes and blind him permanently, but she stopped quickly just as her fingertips neared his eyes. However, this Sith person was not a he but a she. In fact, she had the same face as Shade's. She was shocked. It felt like she was staring into a mirror, except what she saw was a member of the darkside.
The Dark Shade smiled with vileness and said, "Surprise!"
Shade was thrown off the red blade and crashed into a field of tables and chairs. she rolled and stumbled to the ground as chairs fell all around her.
Dark Shade laughed at her. "Look at you. You're pathetic. Just admit it. You have been defeated!"
Shade cried out, "No!"
Dark Shade laughed, and with a wave of her hand over her face, her entire existence vanished. Shade, climbed up to one knee, feeling too weak to stand up completely. Her left hand covered that charred hole made in her abdomen. Her right hand held her golden lightsaber. Looking around frantically, she cried out in desperation and horror.
"Where are you? Where are you hiding? Show yourself!"
"Here I am," Dark Shade answered, appearing behind the wounded woman. Her blade was at Shade's throat from behind, held with one hand. The other hand grabbed Shade by the hair and pulled her head back with a tight grip. "Say it," she growled with demand. "Say it and I will spare your life!"
"What?" Shade was crying now, hysterically. "What do you want me to say?"
"Say that you will submit. Swear your loyalty to me. Then I shall let you go free."
"Why? You're just going to kill me anyway!"
"No, I won't need to. You are already dead."
"Yes," Dark Shade laughed. "Now... say it! Embrace the darkside and you shall be set free!"
"Okay, I'll do it. I'll submit. Just let me go!"
Dark Shade smiled. "Very well then." She vanished and was gone for good.
Shade dropped to the floor, bleeding and crying her eyes out. "No. What have I done?"
She opened her eyes after waking up, screaming hysterically.
"Hey, hey, hey," said a feminine voice. "What's wrong?"
Dya looked up to see a pretty Twi'lek woman enter her bedroom. Dya panted with panic, but now she realized, "It was all a dream... A nightmare. I was dreaming?"
The Twi'lek saw that Dya was calm now. "Hey, it's okay. We all have those sometimes."
"No," said Dya, crying. "You don't understand. Jedi don't dream unless the Force is trying to tell them something. This was such a dream. I just know it."
"Okay, okay," she said, being understanding. She stooped down to her knees to look at Dya at near eye level. "Let's say it is that kind of dream. What will you do?"
Dya shook her head, still sobbing with a drenched face. "I must go."
"Go where?" She took Dya by the hand and held it gently, lovingly. "You're life is here with me."
"No. I need to go back. I must rejoin the Jedi Order."
The woman sighed, looking sad now. "Are you serious?"
Dya nodded. "I should never have left."
The Twi'lek shook her head with disappointment. "Well... looks like our bounty hunting days together are over."
"I'm sorry," said Dya. "I didn't mean to hurt you."
"It's okay. I understand. The galaxy is probably in grave danger and all that stuff," she said standing up and heading for the door. She stood to look back at Dya. "You do what you have to do. I'll go get the ship ready while you pack your things."
The ship traveled through hyperspace at the moment. She sat down in the central control room, in a seat beside the large ring-like console board and its giant holoprojector. Mace Windu's spirit sat in another seat near her, facing her in a relaxed position while he listened to her story.
"So that Twi'lek woman," he began to ask. "Was she your lover or friend?"
"I know, I know. It was wrong."
He lowered his hand from his face, saying, "You are one eccentric Jedi."
"I know," she said, filled with embarrassment and shame, burying her face with both her hands. "Jedi are not supposed to love."
"Love is not really the problem. It's the attachment involved in loving someone. I mean... normally romantic situations lead to attachments. Strong ones. Then when something happens, you forget why you even became a Jedi. You'll put that significant other first before all other important priorities."
"Like my duties as a Jedi."
"But I was not a Jedi at the time."
"Yes, you were. It just took you a while to realize it. Hence why you responded to that dream like so, and then tore yourself away from your lover to rejoin the Jedi Order. You realized then what your priorities were. Sure, the Force helped you to see that, but you did acknowledge the truth and do something about it. Without delay."
She smiled at him, finding it refreshing to actually sit here in private with the legendary Jedi Master that she admired, cherished, and adored since she was a child.
"And about you leaving the Jedi Order like that. Sounds to me like you just needed a break."
"I did," she nodded, agreeing with his words of wisdom.
"The Grandmaster has put a lot of weight and pressure on you, so it's understandable that you need to go and let out some steam. Better that than to fall to the darkside."
"True," she nodded. "But I did not expect to meet someone like her. She was the most beautiful person I had ever encountered, and the way she would dance for me was like... like magic. It was lovely."
Windu just watched her lips move, listening to her.
"I'm sorry, master. Was I wrong to think like that?"
"I don't know," he shrugged. "I'm not your judge."
She nodded, not knowing what else to say.
"I mean, look at me. I'm dead. All because I failed to listen to my Jedi instincts. Even Shatterpoint didn't help me. I was too caught up in the moment when I confronted Palpatine, after discovering he was the Sithlord we were looking for during the entirety of the Clone Wars."
She shook her head at that, listening and agreeing. It certainly was a messed up situation this man was in.
"Look. The Sithlord was hiding under our noses the entire time. That's not something easily dealt with."
"What's worse is the fact that I let Skywalker play me like a fool. I never liked that guy from the start, and I was right not to. I mean, he did a lot of questionable things and at the same time he could be very reliable when the time called for it. Still, I did not like or trust that young man. Something about him was off. Then it turns out that in the end, he helped the Sithlord murder me, and all because of that awful thing I told you about. That thing called attachment. Palatine had been buddies with Anakin for a long time, and I knew that, and still I was outwitted."
Dya felt sympathetic about that.
"Don't feel any pity for me, young one. I was foolish and made a mistake. It happens to the best of us. The same thing could happen to you, if you are not careful."
"But that mistake cost the life of so many others afterwards," she said, referring to that moment when Windu could and probably should have killed the emperor. "Had you slain him when you had the chance--"
"Instead of listening to Skywalker lecture me about justice, when I happened to be a Jedi Master and member of the Jedi Counsel?"
"I see your point, and that's exactly what I'm talking about." He sat back in his seat and said, "So you see why it's important to keep your self in check at all times?"
"So," he said, changing the subject. "How about those vaapads, huh?" He chuckled.
Dya smiled at him.
"You're one crazy woman, you know that? You had me going there for a minute. I had no idea you knew something about Force Spirit Possession. If I remember right, something like that is normally a darkside power."
"Unfortunately yes. I learned it from a Sith holocron, along with some other tricks by a reformed Lord of the Sith that happened to be a child to two of the Jedi Exiles."
"Honest," she said putting her hand up. "He's been training me along side the Grandmaster. That idea was what made me walk away from the Jedi Order in the first place."
"Right. I got that part. But... the spirit possession. I assume there are a number of other tricks you have up your sleeve, things you learned from Sith history."
"I suppose that's how you learned Juyo to the point of completion, unlike the rest of us Jedi. Jorn must have shown you the Sith's completed version of Juyo. It was a forgotten martial art form, barely surviving the passing millennia since its creation."
"It's true. Jorn helped me master it and comprehend the form completely. No stone was left unturned with it."
"That explains why you were able to stand up against the vaapads with little problem. I mean, you were definitely in some tight spots and could have died many times, but you survived them, even managing to defend yourself while shifting between both Vaapad and full Juyo. And while unarmed nonetheless. That's impressive."
"Thank you master."
"Form Seven, specifically the Juyo variation, is a form that requires pure and unbridled emotion that is unrestrained within the user, and that emotion serves as fuel for the attacks. It is fully kinetic, in the fact that it involves constant but disconnected movement, along with unpredictable and abrupt attacks that are the opposite of fluidic or graceful."
Dya nodded, already understanding that.
"However, Vaapad is a variation of Form Seven that acts as a channeler for such fuel, becoming the emotional fire for its attacks. Only with proper focus and self-control can that fire be delivered without becoming a victim of that same emotional fire. Just like Juyo, Vaapad involves battlefield gratification, the thrill of combat, and the joy of victory, but since it is a focus on full and forceful attacks, it also allows for no defense, not even against Force powers."
Dya listened, recalling this when she began to use Vaapad against those tentacled creatures. In order to keep from being struck down, she resorted to using Ataru and performed an aerial cartwheel for the sake of defensive evasion.
"In result, Vaapad will bring the user into the shadow of the darkside and its influences, tapping into more intense and deep personal feelings. That also includes things deeper within that you may not even be aware of. Embracing the fury of the attacking opponent, even welcoming the inherent darkness of said opponent, is also a part of generating fuel to feed the emotional fire behind your attacks. In order to execute Vaapad properly, you will need a constant use of Force energy to maintain your fight, which results in you appearing to wield multiple weapons simultaneously. You'll move faster than the naked eye can follow, resembling the blurred way vaapad creatures appear when they attack with their tentacles."
As he said that, Dya remembered how it looked, which scared the mess out of her upon her confrontation with the first creature. It was also why she lost her shoto in the fight, because it happened so quick that she did not realize the creature had disarmed her.
"In Vaapad, your movements should be smooth and fluidic with swift precision, generating a constant interwoven barrier of energy. That barrier forms a spherical flow of rapid movement, caused by your weapon of choice as it attacks from every angle."
"Even with unarmed combat."
"Yes. Even with that."
"So your inspiration for this Form variation really did come from these creatures."
He smirked his response. "However... I see now, through you, that Juyo is the near opposite of Vaapad when learned in completion. Unlike Vaapad, it grants you a full and impenetrable barrier of energy, but it is strongly and fully focused on defense and leaves you without any means of attacking you opponent."
"Except when there is an opening for attack."
"Right," he nodded. "At that point, you shift into Vaapad and attack those openings. You did that with the last vaapad, back when you were standing on the cliff edge of the crater. That vaapad attacked you from behind and you successfully blocked its tentacles no matter how fast it attacked."
"Then when I saw the opening," she added. "I shifted to Vaapad and struck it down."
"That was a smooth move."
"So true Juyo is an aggressive defense form, but not independent of Vaapad."
Windu agreed. "That's what it looks like."
"But... with full Juyo, I can injure opponents passively with that impenetrable defense barrier. I noticed that with each time I blocked tentacles, I actually injured the creature. It was as if I attacked the weapon of the enemy and not the enemy's body."
"In effect, disabling or crippling the opponent. Badly."
"Thus creating weak points and openings at which to attack with the same energy, force, speed, and emotion fire when transitioning from Juyo to Vaapad."
Windu smiled, nodding at the fact that she and he had this all figured out. In summary, Juyo and Vaapad worked as polar opposites to achieve the same goal different, and they were Form variants that proved not to be independent of each other. Just like Shien and Djem So of Form V.
"Perhaps now that you and I can become joined, existing together as a single force with two minds, maybe you will begin to learn how to use Shatterpoint. It could be useful when applied with Form Seven. The form as we now know it."
Dya liked that idea and felt positive about it, but, "I still don't know how to perform Vaapad. Not without your spirit within me."
"That's fine with me. You should not have to use it anyway, except maybe for emergencies. I just can't live with the idea of teaching it to anyone else. Even you. There's too much risk of falling to the darkside, especially with excessive use."
She nodded, agreeing. "Have you ever fallen to the darkside from using Vaapad?"
"Never," he answered. "I have skirted the darkside with it, but never actually plunged in, if you get my meaning."
"I'm a master of Vaapad, just as you are a master of full Juyo. Perhaps it is safer to exists as two separate pieces of the whole circle."
"That makes sense, but as long as this Force Spirit Possession is in action, those two pieces of the circle will dangerously form the whole circle."
"Right," he agreed. "In the meantime, you and I will just have to be mindful of our spiritual alignment with the Force."
"That reminds me. Is this Force possession thing permanent?"
"No. I can release you at any time."
"I suppose you can conjure me back to rejoin you anytime if you wanted to, right?"
"Yes, but I still will need your permission in order to complete the process and borrow your skills, knowledge, and your power."
"Good to know," he nodded, stroking his chin thoughtfully. "You know... this is a very dangerous thing you are doing. I mean... disastrously dangerous."
"I know," she said, looking at him with worried eyes.
"Keep that in mind. I only hope that my knowledge and wisdom, while we are joined, will guide you down the right path. You could use all the help you can get."
"Of course, but I'm not allowed to get such help."
He frowned. "Why not?"
"Because my existence is a secret, even to the entire Jedi Order. No one knows about me except Jorn Lorith and the Grandmaster."
"Lorith huh? I'm familiar with that tribe. Had no idea they would still be around."
Dya had nothing to say about that.
"Tell me something. How did you find your way back into the Jedi Order?"
"When my girlfriend, the bountyhunter and I arrived at Osscillon, she was the one to contact the Jedi by holoprojection. She spoke for me, since no one was supposed to know I existed. I remembered the grandmaster telling me about that before I left. Anyway, I was stashed away from the rest of the Jedi Order so no one would see me. I was brought in by means of a hovering containment bed from outside the Stronghold where my girlfriend landed her ship."
"Wait. You were carbonized?"
"Yeah," she chuckled. "Bounty hunter stuff. It was her idea."
He nodded and stroke his chin thoughtfully. Perhaps carbon freezing improved over the centuries. "It's not easy to recognize a person that's frozen in carbonite.
"That was the plan," she smiled.
"Anyway, the grandmaster accepted me with open arms, even though the rest of the Order on that planet thought I was long dead. Supposedly I died from a failed mission. Because of the things I did while bounty hunting, I ended up spending an entire year seeking atonement from the Force. After that, I was back in the Order, and my specialized training began."
"Sounds like the grandmaster is quite a forgiving person. Sort of reminds me of Yoda."
"Or Luke," she added.
"I'm not familiar with him."
A nearby astromech droid whistles and beeped, informing her that hyperspace would end in a few minutes.
"Thank you," she said to the droid. Then she looked at Master Windu and said, "Look's like time is up."
"Right." As a Force spirit, he suddenly converged with Dya's soul once again.