Thunder boomed in the distance.
A sleepy Rathe Warslide opened his young, light gray eyes. A storm really had to rage for him to hear it through the thick steel walls of the satellite Jedi Temple of Coruscant. It was especially odd for the thunder to be powerful enough to make the furniture rattle.
Suddenly, a sorrowful feeling washed over him. The small hairs on the back of his neck stood up and his breath deserted him. His heart felt as if it was suddenly crushed and inflated, and deep inside, Rathe knew… thousands of lives were suddenly lost.
By the third bellow of thunder, Rathe was on his feet. He had fallen asleep in a meditation chamber, and usually he would worry about a scolding from Master J’on, but he knew that there were more important matters at hand. He moved to the door and punched the OPEN sequence on the small computer to his right. The thick steel doors slid open and allowed a cacophony of sounds to rush into the chamber.
“Evacuate the second-year younglings on the 187th floor! Pull back from the roof, that fight is lost!”
Rathe couldn’t tell who was yelling, but he saw a least two dozen jedi running about. Fires marred the formerly pristine blue-gray floors.
“It’s not thunder”, Rathe whispered, his eyes wide. His heart fell to his stomach as he realized that his sector of Coruscant was being shelled by artillery. The walls shook as alarms blared. He watched a large slab of metal, shorn free from the ceiling with immense force, crush three jedi.
“Rathe!”, he heard a voice calling in the distance. He couldn’t tell where it was coming from, but he recognized the voice of his master. The young padawan wheeled around to see his master round the corner of a corridor. Rathe saw the look of relief wash over his J’on Drakfist’s face.
“Rathe! Thank the Force you’re all right. We have to get to the ground level! Follow me, young one.” J’on’s eyes were warm and he was cool-headed, despite the chaos all around. When Rathe was around his master, he felt peace wash over him. The world could be colliding with another and Master Drakfist would keep him with a level head.
The two jedi sprinted down a hallway and Rathe realized that they were passing by the lifts. “Master?”
“The lifts are too dangerous! To that window!”
The jedi rushed to the transparisteel window and J’on plunged his saber into the transparent metal. Rathe followed suit and soon the two of them were each cutting half of a slab out of it. As their lightsabers neared each other, J’on panted, “Okay, Rathe. Clear the way!”
The padawan glanced over to his master. J’on often gave him challenges, even in dire situations. Any chance to blast objects with the Force was a welcome one for the padawan. He took in a deep breath and focused himself. Then he collected the energy of the world around and coalesced it in his hand. He knew as he felt the tug in the pit of his stomach how easy it would be to let his emotion empower his action. If he gave in to the frantic panic around him, he could easily push away the severed transparisteel. But such emotion-guided actions were not the jedi way. Emotion guided use of the force paves the away for seduction to the Dark Side. He exhaled and pushed, reaching out with the force. He heard the screech of the metal as the cut section was thrown out into the lower city below.
After a moment of satisfaction, Rathe hoped that the section of transparent metal would not hurt anybody below. But as he looked out upon Coruscant, finally looking beyond the window, he saw that millions would be hurt this day. War had come to them and their enemy, the Sith, had brought the fight to their home.
“Come, padawan”, J’on nodded toward the opening. “Master, I’m… I’m scared.” “Rathe, you must not let these emotions guide you. There is no emotion. There is only peace.”
Rathe looked down and saw the ledges that he assumed his master meant for them to leap down to, one by one. “But what if I fall?”, the padawan asked, looking to his J’on’s eyes.
The jedi master smiled reassuringly and clapped a hand on his student’s shoulder. “Then I will catch you.” Master Drakfist leaped out the window, leaving an astonished Rathe behind.
Rathe sat up in the rack of the Lightbringer, his chest heaving, sweat covering his body. It had been five years since that day on Coruscant and yet the dreams were still so vivid. He swung his legs over the edge of the gunship’s cot and his head throbbed. He didn’t know how long he had been out, but he felt malice just before his ship exploded. He barely had time to eject.
He took a deep breath, trying to calm himself and collect his thoughts. Was Master Drakfist the one firing the turret? Why had he felt the Dark Side so near? “Master”, he whispered and frowned. “Master.”