Hello and welcome to the first part of a Star Wars Fan Fiction that I’ve been working on for the past two weeks!
With the excessive amounts of information that the world of the Force contains, the entry has grown to about three times what I wanted it to be, and it merits an extension, which will come in the following months!
But for now, I present to you the first part of a story of temptation and realization, the story of “Pandemonium: Part I”:
“Zahara, where are you going?”
“I just have a feeling that it’s this way, trust me on this!”
Racing across an icy landscape, with a white haze concealing the black, starry skies, a young Twi’lek; a Jedi Padawan fresh out of training, grasped tightly to her brown robe from the inside, trying to keep warm from the piercing wind.
Her shouted assurance was in response to her Master; a Jedi Knight named Jhim Karn, who had decided to trust his pupil’s intuition to find the way back to the Republic base. Following closely, he knew full well that she was taking a roundabout way to get back to their encampment.
Even though Zahara had grown quite skilled in her Force abilities, and could sense her surroundings using her understanding of the Unifying Force, she had a long way to go before being able to defend herself with her lightsaber. Zahara had already visited Ilum some years ago to construct her own, blue bladed weapon. Now, she was to accompany a more experienced Jedi, so that she may become a full-fledged guardian of peace and justice in the Republic. On the other side of the galaxy, far from the Jedi High Temple on Coruscant, the pair had been sent on their first mission.
The icy planet, located in the unknown regions of the galaxy, was well known for its supply of natural blue and green crystals; used in the fabrication of lightsabers. Younglings, the entrance rank of a Jedi (and mostly children), would come to this planet in search of these rare components. Zahara and Jhim had both passed these trials; Jhim long ago and Zahara only recently.
Their duty, a direct order from the council, was to investigate the disappearances of three Younglings on the snowy, desolate planet. Each had disappeared one at a time, consecutively, for the last three times that groups of youngsters had come to find their crystal.
Because there had always been a Jedi Master present to guard the children, a disappearance had not been heard of for several decades. For these disappearances to happen so frequently was unheard of, and when the council had learned of the fact, an entire rescue squad had been dispatched. Soldiers of the Republic were sent in, along with several pairs like Jhim and Zahara; Knights, Masters, and Padawans alike. This was a problem that the whole Jedi Order could not, would not ignore.
As they were, caught out in a ruthless snowstorm, he and his Padawan were chilled to the bone. The storm would make it all the more difficult for the duo to find any sign of the children. Jhim had found it more profitable to their search, and their survival, to head back towards the base, but their retreat from the icy storm had been much too late to avoid it.
Making their return through the wind and snow, the diligent duo was stopped short by a mysterious form, as they saw an ominous silhouette walking towards them.
“What’s that? In the distance,” Zahara asked, trying the keep her voice down but still be heard by Karn.
A mysterious shadow, on its slow approach through the snow, was clearly outfitted with the familiar robe of a Jedi Knight. The outline of the figure was recognizable, but no other features were discernible through the cloud of snow and ice caused by the storm.
“Stay close,” Jhim warned his pupil, cautious to make sure of her safety.
Trusting his intuition, he knew full well that it was no ordinary Jedi. The taint of the Dark side of the Force was clearly apparent, electrifying the air and generating fear and anxiety in the Knight’s intuition. However, as his masters before him, he would protect his charge as best he could under the circumstances. He knew that the Sith had met their demise a thousand years before, so he surmised that it was not a Sith but worse: a fallen, Dark Jedi.
However formidable those feelings of concern were, Jhim could not reach for his lightsaber in time. Before he was able to stand between Zahara and the stranger, his vision began to fail him, as well as the control over his own body. His eyes began to close, and he lost all muscle control, fell to the ground, and lost consciousness…
Unable to realize how much time had passed, Jhim suddenly awoke in a daze; uncertain as to his location, or that of his apprentice, Zahara. He was unable to immediately piece together what had happened, but when the memory of the Dark stranger resurfaced, his eyes opened quickly and he remembered his duty.
“Ugh, where am I?” he asked his captor, hearing the heavy footsteps of boots to stone.
Looking around, Jhim could deduct that he was in a cave, decorated with the natural ice formations that reflected the light of one lamp quite efficiently. He saw the Dark Jedi, so he assumed, sitting across from him, turning Zahara’s grey and gold-colored lightsaber around in his hands.
“Ah, I see you’re finally awake,” the grey clad Force user replied, smiling to his captive from beneath his grey hood, “I’m glad that I have the chance to speak with you Jedi.”
The Knight tried to struggle, to escape, but his body would not follow his commands. Every muscle seemed to remain still on its own accord, except for his facial expressions and his voice. The stranger seemed to have coerced his body to remain static, using a strange, unheard of Force ability. There was no way out for the Knight, which is something he knew full well, and assumed that his captor had used the same ability to thwart their journey out in the snow.
“What are you going to do to me?” Jhim asked, struggling to escape, but unable to move.
“That all depends on you, Jedi.”
“My next course of action will depend on your reaction to my words. You will sit here and listen to my story, held fast by my ability to control those who are Force sensitive.
Please understand that this is no personal attack. These countermeasures are the result of experience, for who is to say when any Jedi may assault one out of protection of his own beliefs.”
The captive accepted that there was no way out and remained calm, knowing that his mettle was to be tested. Respectful and silent, he listened as a Jedi would. He knew his chance to escape would come, that he could find Zahara and the Younglings, if a peaceful solution could be found.
Across the room, a frown could be seen beneath the grey hood, as the captor stood up and paced throughout the room, sighing as he commenced with his tale. Looking down with a sad complexion, at the Padawan’s lightsaber, he briskly tossed it to the side. It hit the floor and rolled into a corner.
“So long since I have needed one of those. I know how you feel, not only by intuition, but also by experience.
Oh yes, I was a Jedi, and once, I believed as you did. I know you better than you think I do, but in my eyes, you are still young, merely a child.
You believe that the Council knows all, and that knowledge of the Force can be achieved through incessant meditation and a persistent vigilance of the mind. Your peace is your safe haven, a place to retreat to when the workings of the Force become too complex and out of your control.”
Jhim replied, intrigued, “This is the way of our Order, yes, but to reach outside of the boundaries of the Light leads only to the darkness. The easy path to power is what corrupts those who wish to use the Force. Every Jedi knows such temptation, and I will not be one of those to succumb to the ideals of passion and greed.”
The grey clad Jedi laughed at Jhim’s verbal defense, then added, “How typical of a Jedi Knight. You believe that the power of passion and the Dark Side corrupts absolutely. Yet, here I stand, and you are neither dead nor dying. It is not always the case, that the Dark Side consumes those who know it well. I have strived my life only to understand the whole mystery, starting my training as a Youngling on Coruscant and quickly becoming a Knight like yourself. Once I knew that the council would not be able to satisfy my curiosity, around the time that I passed my trials, I left.”
Jhim was unhappy hearing that one of his order had gone rogue, but his curiosity grew, as he asked, “So, you know what we learn as Jedi, and yet you still wished to push the boundaries of your knowledge beyond that of the Light. How could you be so eager to betray those who had only sought to share their knowledge with you?”
“It was no betrayal from my perspective. I had never been faithful to the Order. I was only eager to learn. You don’t know the power of the true Force.
Far beyond the understanding that you Jedi strive for, more complex than the chaos which the Sith adore, I have found something extraordinary. I see beauty in the clarity that the light brings, but have come to appreciate that architecture not as a servant to pacifism. Life and freedom, passion and intelligence; they are all linked by the oneness of the Force. To choose merely one side of the great mystery is still an absurdity to me.”
Standing proud before his one man audience, the Grey Jedi removed his hood. He was bald, with a crown of horns protruding from his head. He was a Zabrak, clear as day, but his skin had not gone pale because of the Dark Side’s affliction.
Karn did not recognize him, but with a face to speak to, he felt a bit more at ease. As a Jedi knight raised and trained by the order, utterly respected by the council for his belief in the Light side of the force, Jhim was no stranger to temptations of emotion and passion. He took a moment, a deep breath, and remembered all the students, that had successfully resisted the passionate ways of the Dark Side.
Now curious about the balance which the Grey Jedi had achieved, Jhim inquired, “Even so, did you not feel compelled by the darkness, to submit to its power?”
“The Dark Side of the Force did almost take my mind and corrupt what I had learned from the Jedi Order, but my curiosity was ever stronger than the emotions which lead me during that time. In my travels, I avoided the Jedi by keeping myself hidden from those who can sense all, who use the Unifying Force; the aspect of our craft that which is neither Light or Dark. In my concealment, in my banishment from those who would keep me caged and ignorant, I found peace and freedom intertwined.
I remain constantly in awe of how the Force forms our lives, our galaxy, our existence. That we may wield this awesome power is sublime, and we have even been given perspective, so that we may choose what to make of its mysteries.
We are as brothers; chosen to be sensitive to its power and grace. Is it not that search for knowledge that had led you this far?”
Jhim tried to convince the grey Jedi otherwise, with words he thought never to say again, “Knowledge is what we strive for, but power is far from our goal. Delving into the Dark Side of the Force leads to madness and corruption that are beyond anyone’s control. If it has not driven you mad now, it will.”
“You are quite the difficult one to convince. Such dedication, but in all your assumptions, you are mistaken, Jedi. Once coming to Ilum, I had found the Light again in the beauty and peace of the ice.
Now, I have come to achieve a balance, capable of understanding both aspects of the force, making them one in my mind, and feeling more at ease. I must do what I can to ensure that balance. By any means necessary, and I must make sure that you Jedi do not become powerless against the oncoming storm that is the Sith. The constant struggle between light and dark must continue, for all the wars that have been, and all the wars that will be.”
As mentioned before, the Sith had not been seen in a millennium, so Jhim did not know what to make of this warning. Yet, he agreed partly with his captor’s words. There was much more to the Force than the Jedi’s teachings would reveal. He sought to gain in knowledge and understanding of the Force, much like those who had trained him until that point in his life.
“Jocasta Nu would be curious to hear about you,” Jhim responded, thinking back to his former teacher.
The curiosity that had led him to finish the trials, the constant meditation and understanding he had gained; Karn thought about the years he had spent in training, learning about the Light side of the Force. He thought for a moment about what he could learn from the Grey Jedi, then dismissed it, then thought of it again. Back and forth in his mind, the temptation was thrilling; to know that one could know the whole mystery without becoming insane with power and emotion. Finally, remembering his training, remembering the warnings that he had been given about the Dark Side, he tried to shake his immobile head.
Unable to do so, he could only correct his former statement, retracting his words, “Master Nu also told me that knowledge is not without a price! You cannot control the Dark side, it will consume everything that is good in you! Let me take you back to the High Council on Coruscant, I’m sure they can help you there!”
Jhim was insistent on saving such an intelligent Force user, having gained respect for the courage he had; the ever persistent will to know and understand the full mystery of the Force.
“You still don’t understand, do you?” the Zabrak stated plainly, “And I wanted you to help me with my project. Quite disappointing.”
“What is your project?” Jhim asked, trying again to break free of the Grey Jedi’s control.
“Those Padawan that I have taken from their trials here on Ilum, they followed me willingly. Once I had told them that they would be able to understand the full mystery, they abandoned their trials and joined me, and we are to create a new school here, on Ilum; a new Order, that is free from the boundaries you have laid down for yourselves in the ways of the Light.”
“And what about Zahara? Has she agreed to that yet?”
“Well, no, but she-“
The complexion in the Grey Jedi’s expression changed, as his words were cut short. An electric buzz, the sound of a lightsaber, replaced the words of the Grey Jedi.
Surprised, he looked down and saw the blue light of Zahara’s lightsaber protruding from his chest. Almost immediately, the glowing blade was retracted, leaving a gaping, charred black wound where his heart had been.
An astonished look on his face, the Force user fell to his knees, then face first to the ground, lifeless and murdered. Behind him, stood the young Twi’lek: Zahara.
Jhim noticed right away that his body was once again under his own control, yelling at his pupil “Zahara! What have you done?”
“I saved you, Master! Now we can leave. I’ve found the others…“
Instantly, Jhim Karn stood up and dusted off his robes. He felt shocked, appalled by his student’s sudden urge to kill, and disappointed that the conversation had to end so soon.
(To be continued…)