[CoU] Dear My Closest Friend

CRISIS ON UMBARA SPOILERS
JEDI KNIGHT STORY SPOILERS

Dear My Closest Friend

Auryyn collapsed in the forest clearing as dark clouds gathered in Odessen’s sky, the sound of thunder ricocheting through the trees. She rolled onto her back, panting, her arms and legs stretched out. It had been daylight when she had told Lana she was “going for a walk” after they had returned from Umbara. In actuality, she had no idea how long she had been running for, and she didn’t recognise this part of the forest. Maybe that was for the best. The feeling of sweat running down her back mingled with the coldness of the grass against her exposed skin made her shiver, but she didn’t move. As she stared at the sky, she did not feel anger, nor disappointment, nor sadness, but rather a profound emptiness that threatened to consume her. It had started by devouring her core, and had now reached her extremities, causing her to go numb.

Theron had been the brother to her that August should have been, but never had been. Finding out her brother was alive, only to discover he was the Emperor’s Wrath and had succumbed to the Dark Side, had almost torn her apart. It had been like losing him for a second time. Theron had been there to help her pick up the pieces. He was family. There were no secrets between them; or at least, so she had thought. He was one of the few people who knew she’d gone against the Jedi code on attachment, one of the only people she’d spoken with about those lost days she had spent under the Emperor’s control. She should have seen this coming. Not Lana. Not anybody else. Her.

Auryyn could feel the cold seeping into her skin and her body felt like lead, her eyes falling shut – but the events of Umbara were waiting for her there. She felt her heart crumble anew upon turning to see Theron behind that barrier, blaster in hand, Lana diving in front of her. She recalled his expression, twisted by anger, and disillusionment and the pain in his eyes. He looked at her as though she were a monster, unrecognisable. His words lingered, and reverberated in her mind, growing louder and louder until they drowned out everything else.

You’ve become a symbol of oppression.

So much for your dreams of peace.

Her eyes flew open as thunder rumbled overhead. She wriggled her fingertips upon feeling the first few drops of rain. She was still fighting for peace – she had fought for peace her entire life, first with the Jedi, now with the Alliance. She and Theron had fought side by side and never let one another lose sight of their cause. But as Theron’s words repeated over and over, all she could think about was all of the blood on her hands. All the sacrifices, all the losses and the struggles – had they really been for nothing? Had she simply fuelled the cycle of power, war and death? Maybe this had been Valkorion’s intention all along, to twist her into whatever it was that Theron now saw in her. An oppressor. A tyrant.

Every day, I face pain. I inflict suffering—out of necessity, on those we call “the enemy”…it eats at you…

The words she had spoken to Master Orgus on Rishi rang through her mind, clear as a bell, and never had they held so true. Every positive the Alliance produced inevitably inflicted a negative and everyone told themselves it was all for The Greater Good, or some other justification to help them sleep at night. She was not exempt from that. That day, her Master had reminded her of the importance of simple acts of kindness and helpfulness, and she longed for those days again. With Master Orgus’ help, she had restored the part of her she had lost to the Emperor’s darkness and her hope  with it. Now, as she lay in the darkness of Odessen, she feared that Theron’s betrayal and her failure now threatened to re-open that old wound, allowing the guilt to fester there and contaminate anything she touched.

It was so cold that Auryyn could see her breath as puffs of smoke. She shivered again and wrapped her arms around herself in a bid for some warmth. The lights of the Alliance base twinkled in the distance, and she wondered if Lana had sent out a search party yet. It was as though time had stopped, leaving her alone with her thoughts.

Why didn’t he say something?

I knew you’d try to talk me down.

She knew if he’d told her what he was planning, she wouldn’t have let him face it alone. He knew that, too. It had all happened so fast. She had seen and heard this all with her own eyes and ears, yet doubt was creeping in. Why would he destroy everything they had worked so hard to build? And for what? Peace? But at what cost?

Millions will die!

If that’s what it takes…

Auryyn forced herself to sit up and she scoffed. If Theron truly believed that, he was no better than Valkorion, she thought bitterly, despising the comparison. She stared at the stars, but they were silent, shining away in the darkness. She’d asked Theron to come home. He’d asked her to trust him, and in what he was doing. With every fibre of her being, she wanted to.

“I hope you know what you’re doing,” she muttered to herself, shaking her head.

She got to her feet and stretched, the numbness ebbing away from her. She wouldn’t let this break her, whatever the end result. All she could do was hold onto the hope that Theron would come to his senses, and come home to her, to the Alliance; though she feared that as with a broken mirror, she would still be able to see the cracks.

***

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