Battered and beaten, her robes torn throughout, Vi could barely keep her head up, and seemed dazed. Her graceful presence, as Jhim Karn could remember from just earlier that day, had faded almost completely. She was surrounded by the Grey Jedi that had retrieved her, and stood motionless in the middle of the room, just a small distance from Jhim and Zahara.
In the large, round room with an open roof, surrounded by dozens of Grey robed Jedi, Master Karn was down on his knees, his throat still sore from the grip of his Padawan’s Force ability. He was confused, hurt, but knew well how to keep his inner calm during such moments.
“Why would you do this, Zahara?” he asked, making sure his tone was an even balance between overbearing and helpless.
Zahara smiled an unfamiliar smile, then lent down to speak to her old Master, “I want to show you what it is we wish for. I want to show you our power. Even though you betrayed us, it is only through your ignorance that you have done so. I hope that this will show you, that we have an actual goal; a genuine reason to think outside the boundaries that the Jedi have placed for us.”
Behind Zahara, the six Grey Jedi, who had gone to retrieve Vi from the back room, returned to the crowd. They seemed camouflaged, disappearing among the dozens of other grey robes. They left Jhim, Zahara, and a withered, staggering Vi in the center of the crowded room for all to see.
Out of concern for his own well-being, as well as that of Master Vi, Jhim reached into his robes, ever so gently, and subtly activated the communications device that he always kept with him. The message that he broadcast was sent straight to the Jedi Order; a distress signal, requesting that the others of his Order come to rescue them. Zahara seemed not to notice, and continued her explanation.
“Master, I know that you think that we are cruel, that we are tainted by the Dark Side of the Force, but that is simply not true. Master Gorean only wished for us to continue his work, for to understand the full mystery is the work of miracles. Let me show you.”
Zahara stood up straight, pushing her red and black tentacles back with a swift movement of her head. She looked straight at Vi, and made her approach to the beaten Jedi Master.
Standing next to her subjected superior, Zahara closed her eyes and began to concentrate intensely. Within a moment, before any of them realized, she opened her eyes and laid her hands on Vi, prepared to use an unknown ability.
“Stop!” Jhim commanded, but still choked from beforehand, he was powerless over her actions.
Zahara’s hands began to glow a bright blue, as Force energy could be seen flowing from her, straight through Master Vi’s skin. The bruises started to lose their purple color, eventually fading away into oblivion.
Proficient in the Jedi arts, Karn was taken aback by the scene. He knew that Force Healing was a rare ability, hardly ever seen or used by the Order. Self healing was difficult, and would usually require hours of meditation. Healing someone else was even more difficult, and had only been recorded on occasion. If Zahara had learned this art through her free studies of the Force, it had been an amazing feat, to say the least.
“Vi? Are you alright?” Jhim asked his old friend.
Vi had seemed to be healed, but swayed back and forth for a moment. Foreseeing that she would fall to the ground, Zahara pulled the Master’s arm over her shoulders and set her down safely. The Twi’lek pulled off her robe and laid it over Vi’s body, making sure she was warm and protected.
It seemed that the healing ability had some side effects, which had even surprised Zahara when she blurted out, “Wow, that’s never happened before, maybe we did go a bit rough on her.”
Not fully understanding the situation, Jhim could only pose another question, “Zahara, where did you learn how to do that?”
“The Force can do horrible things, like how we convinced her to come along, but you know that the Force can accelerate regeneration,” she replied in earnest.
Seeing Zahara smile, Jhim quickly recognized the demeanor of the Padawan that he had trained so long ago. He thought to himself, that her mind had not been as vicious and chaotic as he had assumed in the days before. She had just been hiding a secret from him, and from the rest of the council. His fellow Masters would not stand for knowledge of the Dark Side of the Force however, which quickly reminded Jhim about the distress signal that he had broadcast, just moments before.
“Zahara, listen,” he began, his voice tainted with regret, “we have to get out of here. They are already on their way.”
“Who is on their way?” Zahara replied, “Not-”
An immense explosion erupted from the doorway from which Karn had been forced to enter. The few Grey Jedi who stood next to the door were thrown to the ground. The rescue team had arrived, quite a bit sooner than Master Karn had thought or wanted. Before, his distress was pure and real, but now he only wanted to get them all to safety once more.
A cloud of grey dust from the blast filled the room, as lightsabers were activated all around. Blades of blue, green, yellow and purple could be seen all around them, as the hall was invaded by Jedi from the Order. The Grey Jedi’s robes could hardly be seen, but that was no advantage against those who were strong in the ways of the Force.
“Take care of the intruders!” Zahara commanded, then looked towards Master Karn, who was still knelt next to her after the blast, adding, “They must have followed you! You have to leave, I don’t want them to catch you down here. That could be the end of you!”
“No, I’m going to stay right here. My place is with the both of you-”
The Master’s reply was cut short and he was instantly silent, as he saw multiple lightsabers through the dust, in combat or coming closer. A purple blade was closest, surrounded by dozens of battles around them. The clashing of a hundred Jedi weapons permeated what had just before been silent; the buzzing and zooming of clashing blades’ flashing, refracted throughout the dust created by the Order’s entrance.
The Grey Order were not the best trained, nor the oldest or most experienced of Jedi. Before long, the amount of battles had been cut in half, but Karn still remained focused on the purple blade of unknown origin. He sensed a great power wielding it, a power that he had come to know so well.
“Why did they send her? Anyone but her,” he said out loud.
Before Zahara could respond, the buzz of another lightsaber could be heard from behind them. When Zahara and Jhim turned around, they both were shocked to witness that one Grey Jedi, an unknown figure, had stabbed Master Vi’s lifeless body straight through, even through the floor beneath her. She had just been healed, but now, the damage was irreparable. Her life came to an abrupt end, murdered by one of the children that she had so thought to save.
“The Order must die! Our Order will rise!” the young Grey Jedi yelled proudly, contented with his easy kill.
“Vi! NO!” Karn yelled, no longer concerned with his surroundings.
He stretched out his hand and pushed the Grey Jedi to the far wall with such powerful Force, that they could all hear the wall crumble on that side of the room. If he was not dead on impact, he would have surely met his end at the hands of the Order’s onslaught.
For that moment, Jhim had lost his calm, but as a Master of the Jedi Arts, he quickly regained his composure. He turned to the real danger facing them; the holder of the purple lightsaber. Once he had turned around once more, he was terrified that his assumptions were true. A slender, female figure walked towards them, battle ready; a human clothed in the familiar brown, Jedi robe. Her name was An’ya Kuro.
The Order had sent a powerful Jedi known as the Dark Woman; a Jedi Master who was completely dedicated to the Light Side of the Force. She was so committed to the Light, that she had given up her real name in exchange for that very title. This was her way of showing humility, out of respect for the Force itself.
If it had been anyone else; Mace Windu, Master Yoda, Ki-Adi-Mundi, or any of the other Masters of the High Council, the Grey Order might have been spared, or at least captured. The Dark Woman, on the other hand, was only and impartially true to the Light. With her at the helm, anyone with affiliation to the Dark Side, no matter how innocent, would meet their “just” demise.
On her approach, she had the air of brutality and an imposing demeanor.
“Get away from him!” the Dark Woman commanded to Zahara, not privy to the situation at all.
Jhim tried his best to convince her, “It’s not what you think, she’s my old Pada-”
Before Jhim could even utter the words to stop her, the Dark Woman attacked Zahara with immeasurable force. Her purple lightsaber was blocked instantly, and pushed to the side by the younger Twi’lek, wielding her familiar blue-bladed weapon. As they fought, the dust began to settle, and the ground all around them was littered with the bodies of countless Grey Jedi, along with a few from the Order.
Zahara herself had a difficult time keeping the Master Jedi at bay. She lacked the training to defend herself completely, but dodged and ducked away from the Dark Woman’s onslaught. After just a few strikes, the battle was decided.
One opening in Zahara’s defense was all it took, for the Dark Woman to put her to rest. The purple lightsaber went straight through her, cauterizing the wound instantly. The Twi’lek, able to stand for only a moment after being stabbed, fell towards the ground. Master Karn rushed to catch her, before she hit the ground. Silence fell all around them. The battle was over.
“You… see?” Zahara spoke, her last words to her Master, “They can never understand… us. They…*cough*… too… ignorant.”
Zahara’s head fell, as the last bit of life Force left her body. Her corpse went limp, and Jhim sat there, with his lifeless pupil in his arms. Another cold chill ran down his spine; doubling that feeling of loss that he had never felt before. The Dark Woman stood over them, glad to have beaten the leader of, what she thought was, the Fallen Jedi uprising.
“The Sith must never be allowed to return,” the Dark Woman stated, reaching her hand out to Jhim, “This was for the best, now come on. We must inform the rest of the council, just in case any of these monsters managed to escape.”
Holding Zahara’s lifeless body, Jhim felt the lure of the Dark Side more than he ever had. The pull of desolation and failure were continually stronger and more potent, bringing along grief and despair. He only blamed himself for what had happened; for the distress signal, for the treatment that the children had received from the Council, and for the awful turn of events that he had witnessed.
“You don’t know what you’ve done,” he answered Master Kuro, “they were not Sith, they only wanted to learn. They saw the faults in all of us… in the Jedi way of life.”
“There are no faults in the Jedi way of life,” An’ya retorted, extending her lightsaber alongside Jhim’s neck, “or have you also been tainted?”
With thoughts of beauty; memories of past days of peace and tranquility, Jhim muttered the words he had known and repeated so often:
“There is no death, only the Force.”
He grinned, laughed a bit to himself, then let out a, “Hmm…”
The Jedi Master had finally started to understand more of Zahara and the Grey Jedi’s view of the High Council. Those who stood beside Jhim’s old pupil understood that the order and tranquility of the Jedi was founded on principals that were not unlike the Sith in their bipartisan beliefs in the Force. The Jedi were killers to them, just as the Sith; their respective ideals separated only by their perspective.
He began to realize that the first Grey Jedi; the Zabrak whom he had once met on the planet of Ilum, was not wrong. He had sought to learn the entire mystery, while the Jedi kept themselves secluded and ignorant; partial to only a portion of the knowledge that could save so many lives. He looked down at Zahara’s body that he was holding, then over to his fallen friend, Vi. Master Karn felt, for the first time in his life, pure and utter hopelessness.
-Perhaps Gorean was right- he thought to himself, -Zahara’s curiosity, the will of these Padawans… perhaps it is only natural that those who are sensitive to the Force would wish to understand everything about the power that they possess…-
His thoughts were quickly disturbed by Master Kuro; the Dark Woman. With the purple blade of her lightsaber still glowing; leering over him, she insisted on his answer to her question.
“I am not here to play games. Are you with us, Master Karn?”
Jhim could say little, still holding the motionless body of his defeated Padawan in his arms. He was beyond distressed. No amount of meditation would take away the regret… nor the anger.
“The question is,” Jhim began, looking up, “are you against me?”
Quickly and suddenly, he reached out his hand towards the Dark Woman, using the Force to attract Zahara’s lightsaber, left on the ground behind her. While it flew through the air, Jhim pressed the button on the side of the lightsaber with a touch of Force power, revealing the blue blade. The active, glowing weapon streaked through the air, directly towards the Dark Woman.
Anticipating this attack, the sufficiently trained and level headed Dark Woman jumped, somersaulting and making a corkscrew in the air. In one swift motion, the fight was over before it had even began. The blue lightsaber fell to the ground with a clatter, rolling next to the head of Jhim Karn; defender of the Republic, and loyal Jedi Master.
The Dark Woman retracted her lightsaber instantly, as her feet touched down gracefully. The other Jedi that had accompanied her tried to intervene too late, so she held her hand up to stop them from interfering.
She looked down at her friend, her fellow Jedi Master, beheaded by her hand.
It was to be one of the two warriors who would fall that day, and she knew that well. Karn had been eradicated swiftly, along with the Younglings that he had saved, so long ago. Now that the destruction of this “Dark Order” was complete, she felt a pinch of disappointment. There would be no chance for her to discover the reason behind all of the madness.
What she could never know; what made it all the more unsettling, was that she had no idea how or why the students had arrived at that forsaken temple that day. She would never know exactly why the Padawans had assembled; clad in their grey robes in the Underworld of Coruscant. She would later write in her report that they had all fallen to the Dark Side of the Force, including Master Jhim Karn. Even though this was only conjecture, based on the rumors surrounding the once-lost Younglings, she knew of no other reason why they would have been there.
Master Vi, on the other hand, was mentioned to clearly be a victim of their downfall.
“Master Vi had fallen victim to their profanities,” she concluded after further research; once learning that Vi and Karn had been seen together, in the hall of the Galactic Senate just hours before.
Because of her own lack of evidence and information, the Dark Woman, as well as the rest of the Jedi High Council, would never know what turn of events had caused this tragedy. The report, like so many others, would be buried in the Jedi Library’s datacrons, gathering dust alongside Karn’s old Master, Jocasta Nu.
The mystery of Master Karn’s “fall” to the Dark Side would never be solved, but the Jedi who were a part of the pandemonium that day, would never forget the slaughter of far too young, “fallen” Jedi.