Epilogue

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Aviri

Aviri was lost in thought of the day's events, spinning a holocron in the air with the force, when Krul's final message hit the feeds. She performed a double take at first, and then quickly realized it must be a posthumous message. Curiosity got the better of her, and with a twist of her fingers she gestured the message to play.

Citizens, if you see this message, it is because I have rejoined our ancestors in the stars.

My passing will leave many of you with questions.

To my followers, you will wonder if the Righteous Flame will continue.

To the Rodian people, you will question if rebellion truly is futile.

To the cajala chupa, you may believe you can oppress with impunity.

Yet the spark of freedom that you all saw in our hearts today will not be extinguished. That you question these long held assumptions shows that for once you see your lives for what they are--clay for you to mold--

--And you will mold the stars! Today you saw what Rooti can do when they put aside the doubt, greed, lies and myths sown by the cajala chupa, and perpetuated by our own cynicism.

Rooti, a soul with dignity is capable of anything. Sear corruption from your soul and Rodia will follow.

Remember this, and I will never say farewell.

She sat for a long while, with a beatific half-smile on her face. Krul, still reaching from the grave to shape history. He was wise enough to know that his martyrdom could serve as a symbol, but shaping that symbol would fall onto her.

And she supposed, to slime like Municipate Adjooto, or savage warlords like Rioka. Her smile turned to a frown. They would need equal measures of patience and prodding, and she would need the wisdom to tell the difference.

With a slight turn of her head, she refocused her attention on data inside the spinning on holocron. This was a more immediate decision, something she could resolve in the here and now. What to do with the intelligence she had gathered on General Trajan's involvement?

At first, Aviri had fully intended to release the data through back channels so as to obscure her involvement. Yet Master K'nok had launched a full investigation into General Trajan the moment the assault began. K'nok had friends in the Senate, and the investigation could take years to complete.

Without this proof or the help of the military the investigation might not prove conclusive. Which was perfect. Distraction served her purpose for now, as she consolidated her power and prepared for the war to come.

With a quick snap, the holocron returned to her hand. For now she would see if the investigation bore fruit. If General Trajan still posed a threat, she would dispose of him, one way or the other.

Which left one final matter on her mind, Obi-Wan Kenobi. Aviri allowed his mission to go forward because succeed or fail, his mission served her purposes. Part of her, that part that missed their long talks in the gardens of the Jedi Temple on Shiba, had even hoped that the Commander would succeed. Her heart sank when she learned of the Halcyon's capture by the Kur'zo, and cheered when she learned of the Halcyon's escape.

Yet another part of her, the darker part, wished he had perished instead. It would be best if he had died in the escape, seared in the chest by a stray blaster bolt, or cleanly knifed by a Mandalorian blade. For if Obi-Wan's path crossed hers again it would lead to battle, and though Aviri respected his life, she would sacrifice him for her cause.

Am I a monster or a hero for being willing to sacrifice my friends? Whatever she was, she was determined to make things change.
The humiliations of thousands of non-human sensationaries played back in her mind, demanding she address their pains.

No longer would they be forced to think of themselves as alien, "non-human," catered to with false charity. Their failings and their successes would be their own, and the awesome responsibility of freedom would embolden their every step. Aviri foresaw herself many years hence on a smoldering battlefield, breathing deep the ashen smell of victory.

THE END

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