Chapter 20

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The battle outside had ended quickly, a quick but fierce confrontation. The crew of the Ebon Hawk remained mostly intact. Only Carth had sustained a minor injury, a slice to his arm from a vibroblade. The bodies of the thugs lay strewn about, already being reclaimed by the sands of Tatooine.

Bastila now stood behind the fallen Calo Nord, having come to render aid as soon as she had dispatched her opponent. She had just rounded the corner as her Padawan had delivered the killing blow. She had felt his anger surge, felt the pain he held within.

He looked up to see her standing there, mouth slightly ajar, her face a mixture of surprise and scorn. Silence fell between them as he deactivated his lightsaber.

"What have you done?" Bastila asked accusingly.

"What do you mean?" he responded defensively.

"He was beaten, he was unarmed!" Her voice began to rise in pitch.

"He threatened our crew! He had the resources to build a suit of armor that was invulnerable against lightsabers! He killed dozens of Jedi. I thought you would be happy he's gone," Venar countered.

"We do NOT kill the defenseless! It's not the Jedi way!" she shouted.

"Not the Jedi way?! And what about on Taris? In the Sith base? You struck down him down even though he was beaten!"

The words stung her. Yet as soon as she heard them she knew he was right. She had made the same error he had. Pangs of guilt flooded through her. She realized he could sense her feelings as she saw his face soften and his tone lower.

"Look I'm not saying you were wrong," he began.

"No," she interrupted. Her voice was still raised but it was directed more towards herself now. "No I was wrong to do that. I let my anger get the better of me. Even if we had good reasons for doing so, if we let ourselves lash out when we are angry then we are already on the path to the Dark Side. We have a great power bestowed to us, and it falls to us to use that power responsibly. We don't get to decide who lives and who dies. We are defenders, not warriors."

"You say that," Venar said evenly, "Yet here we are, Jedi, involved in a galactic scale war."

"We fight for freedom and peace, not for the glory of war," she corrected.

"We are still fighters nonetheless," Venar said, "Perhaps you and the rest of the Jedi prefer to lie to yourselves but I have no delusions about what we are."

"And what is that?"

"Warriors."

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Dacytus Rham found himself deep behind enemy lines on Dxun, one of Onderon's moons. He was only a Padawan, but after his master was killed he had no choice to take command of the elite commando platoon that followed his lead. A light rain descended upon them and walking through dense mud through the thick brush was slow going.

His brown tunic was matted and dirty though they had seen minimal fighting. This was mainly a reconnaissance mission. Reports suggested that this world was the location of the Mandalorian's main base of operations and staging ground. Their orbital scans had picked up a large series of structures deep in the jungle. It had been assigned to him and his master to lead a scouting party. Their goal was to make visual confirmation of a Mandalorian base of operations here on the moon and report on the defensive capabilities of the base. They had done just that. It had not been without cost though. His master, Jedi Knight Wenden Llydos had been spotted by a patrol and cut down. With the mission complete, it was up to him to lead the men back to the pickup point.

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