A pair of liquid silver eyes blinked slowly, taking in the scene before them with interest and otherworldly detachment.
The voice was soft, as it always was, despite the gruff sound it had. She felt her heart beat faster, her eyes unable to focus on a single thing, everything was moving so fast. There were so many lives counting on her, so many people who looked to her for guidance, and once more, she took the place as leader on the field of battle. She looked around at the faces looking up at her, Carth Onasi, Bastila Shan, Canderous Ordo, Mission Vao, Zaalbar, Juhani, Jolee Bindo, the faithful droids HK-47 and T3-M4.
And now, two new faces joined their circle. One belonging to a woman she had never expected to see again in her entire life. It was Breena, standing there, in the flesh, those silvery blue eyes gazing up at her with same loyalty they had held when she had decided to march them off to war. They were both different people entirely now, but she suspected Breena's admiration would not change if a thousand years should pass. Now, her exiled friend stood proudly, gently fingering the green double-bladed lightsaber that hunger around her belt, the fingers her other hand gently intertwined with those of her companion's. Kilara hadn't known Atton for very long, but in the time that she had, she had come to enjoy his company, if not respect the new Jedi's dedication. Breena had taught him well, and they both lived by the same philosophy that she herself followed. It was one Jolee had told her many years ago, and it was one she wished was an accepted truth.
"Love doesn't lead to the dark side. Passion can lead to rage and fear, and can be controlled... but passion is not the same thing as love. Controlling your passions while being in love... that's what they should teach you to beware. But love itself will save you... not condemn you."
It was something she meditated on, every day. Something she pondered. Even now it clung the back of her thoughts, as what she might loose hung before her like a poisoned carrot, dragging her forward to some bitter end. She looked around at these faces, these people who she had come to trust as if they were blood. They were her family, her friends, they had become her life.
The few Jedi in the group were fingering their lightsabers nervously, none of them knew if they would come out of this next battle alive. It was what they had been fighting towards since Kilara and Carth had crash landed on Taris all those years ago...
This was it.
"Statement: Master Revan, you have failed to reply to your meat bag partner's insistent inquiries. Question: Are you purposely ignoring him?"
HK's metallic voice drew Kilara's thoughts from the past, her eyes focusing for the first time in several minutes. She straightened up, blinking her silver eyes rapidly as if to clear a film from them. Carth had been saying her name for several minutes, and most of the others were looking at her now for the all clear. She looked around at them, her friends, her family.
"You all know what we came her for." she started slowly, she whisked a small fragment of her reddish-brown hair that had fallen out of its braid off of her forehead as she continued.
"We've been fighting for this since the day the Endar Spire crashed on Taris. Since the day I met each and everyone of you and together, we turned each other into the strong and dedicated people we are today."
As she looked around, she realized she hadn't realized how young Mission was. She had always been young, at least compared to Kilara herself and their other companions, but Mission, unlike some members of the group, had no silver in her hair, and no lines etched into her face by stress and time itself. Though now, she had acquired an interesting number of scars that cut across her features and the once smooth planes of her face.
"We have our job cut out for us, and I don't know how many of us will make it out alive. This is it. This is where we will decide the fate of the galaxy."
She found her mind wandering to each of her companions, thinking and comparing them to when they had first met.
"This threat must be stopped, or a millennium from now, people will still suffer for our failures."
When did HK get that dent?
"For ours, For the Republic's, for the Jedi's..."
I don't remember Canderous looking that scarred and battered before...
She closed her eyes, her voice lowering as she murmured the next few words. "For my own."
Breena looked different as well, she was much older, much wiser. She no longer had the casual, flippant innocence of a young girl. She had power. It was visible even in the way she held herself. She had been through much these past few years, and her stance alone showed it. She and Atton were not as foolish nor as casual about their love for one another as a Breena from years past would have been. Sure, Atton joked and made sometimes idiotic comments to see her smile, but she was much more careful with the force now, with herself. She was comfortable, but always when Kilara looked upon her, would something seem off...
"I'm not sure what exactly we will face. I only know one thing. I have come here to set things right, and even if this is the end of my journey, I will hold my head high and face my destiny proudly. I am not asking you to follow me to you death, for I can no longer ask so much of you. But I ask that you fight with me once more, one more for our sakes. For the galaxy. For the Republic!"
"FOR THE REPUBLIC!" cried her companions, and once more, the changes that had been wrought on them by the horrors of this war were gone. They were ready to fight, they were once more young, and filled with hope at the idea of how close they were to making their galaxy safe once more.
"May the Force be with us all," she nodded, giving an elaborate bow to her companions, praying with every aspect of her being that the force would guide them in their battle.
She broke away from the rest of them as they checked blasters, readied grenades and meditated on the force.
Juhani was murmuring the Jedi Code to herself quietly, her thick accent adding a strange lilt to the familiar words.
"There is no emotion, there is peace. There is no emotion, there is peace." She repeated the verse over and over again, her voice breaking gently each time on 'emotion'. Kilara laid a gentle, reassuring hand on the Cathar's shoulder, and Juhani nodded up at her, great respect in her eyes.
"There is no death," she said with firm determination. "There is the force."
Bastila was meditating quietly, a soft yellow glow emanating around her, as she used her battle meditation. Kilara could feel the effects of it bringing strength to her as she passed by. In her mind, she let her emotions convey themselves to Bastila, and the two bonded women had already shared their goodbyes within the confines of their own minds.
Canderous gave her a Mandalorian battle salute as he hefted his large, canon of a gun into the air, a bloodthirsty grin crossing his face. He replaced the gun on the ground and lifted Mandalore's helmet into the air, nodding his head once more and he fastened it into place.
Mission was grinning with the devilish smirk of hers and timing grenades and mines and jabbed herself with yet another stimulant as Zaalbar hefted his crossbow and gave a fierce roar. Kilara bowed low before her wookie partner, he had sworn a life debt to her, and he had always been by her side, even after she had released him from it when she had left everyone behind all those years ago.
T3 whirled happily as she approached, giving him a affectionate tap on the head. He chirped to himself and beeped excitedly. HK however spoke his thoughts.
"Statement: I am pleased to be returning to battle with you once more, Master. I look forward to facing the all-powerful meat bag at your side." She looked at him silently for a moment, and then couldn't help but chuckle at the droid's statement.
"I look forward to fighting again with you too, HK. You're incredibly loyal."
"Proclamation: I live only to serve, Master."
She left the droids where the were and finally came at last to Breena and Atton. Breena's eyes were marred by a film of memories, and she embraced her friend fondly, at last, nothing separating them.
"You have been a true friend to me, Breena," Kilara noted, holding the other Jedi at arms length. "Without you...if you hadn't turned away my offer that day..."
"You would have come back to us eventually my friend," replied the other woman. She always spoke slowly and quietly, and it gave her a feeling of being far older than she truly was.
"The two Generals together once more," Breena whispered into the air. "This time though, we fight not for glory, but for peace."
Nodding her agreement, Kilara dropped into a low bow, her respect for her oldest friend still as great as the heavens themselves.
"The force be with us all." she murmured, turning slowly from the two to allow them to have their own goodbyes.
She went to retrieve something she at first had wanted nothing to do with. It was lying over next to her lightsabers and belt, the two blades having been with her since before her fateful confrontation at the Star Forge with her old friend and apprentice Malak. She bent a hand down to reach for the object, when ever so gently, another hand covered her own. One encircled her waist and pulled her up to meet face to face the man who held her close.
"Carth..." she whispered, shaking her head slightly, reaching once more for the object.
"You said it yourself, Kilara." he whispered gently to her, holding her gently back from what she desired. "We don't know who's coming out of this. I can't walk through those doors with you so close and not knowing I didn't at least say goodbye."
She was silent, her eyes downcast, he face expressionless as she avoided his gaze. Jolee's words flashed through her mind once more, and she vaguely thought of the old man, and where he sat over by Juhani humming some forgotten tune.
Love itself will save you...not condemn you.
"You know I wouldn't let anything happen to you..." she whispered gently, finally returning the hug and tugging him close. "I couldn't live with myself if I did..." She forgot entirely about the object she had been reaching for, twining her fingers into his own as he gently bent down and kissed her. His other hand reached up and gently pushed back that same strand of hair he always did, the one that never quite fit into her orderly braids.
"Nor I you, Kilara. I love you." She smiled at him, the first true smile he had seen cross her lips in ages, and it made him want to leap for joy. Suddenly, that mischievous grin of hers crept over her face and she raised an eyebrow.
"I love you too," she said, looking at her husband with eyes that showed her true feelings and a face that hid them well. "Now,"she said in her teasing tone, "hand me my mask, my scruffy looking nerfherder."
A grin slipped over his face as he bent down and grabbed the object she had been reaching for. It was cool metal, and he could see the indents of it upon her face still. She bore lines from wearing it so often, and it was traced into the patterns of her skin.
"As you wish, Master Jedi." He let her go and passed the thin Mandalorian mask over to her. Once more she cradled it gently in her hands, the visor staring up at her with its expressionless eye slits.
It had been ages before she had been able to wear the mask without feeling truly ill, and now, as she looked back at the scratched metal and the nicked paint, she wondered why she had felt so bothered by it. The mask itself had been one of Revan's symbols, yes, but she was no longer Darth Revan. She was a prodigal knight, she was a Jedi, a protector of the Republic. The other woman was gone. Dead for many years.
She brought her hands up slowly, keeping her eyes downward as she brought the mask up to her face. She felt the cool metal slide over her skin, once more locking itself into place where it belonged. Once it was secured, she raised her gloved hands behind her head and pulled up the hood of her robes, covering the red-brown braid and the flyaway hair strands.
She reached for her lightsabers, one in each hand as she strode for the doorway that would lead them all to their fates, one way or another. Her eyes remained on the floor, invisible behind the black glass of the mask. The doors to the Emperor's chambers opened slowly, and she took one step into the room, her companions instantly flooding the doorway beside her.
Slowly, she raised her gaze to the narrowed, evil pair of eyes starring her down from the top of a large stairwell. Her face contorted with first sadness, and then anger, but finally, she won control of her emotions and pure determination encompassed her.
Her gaze locked with those menacing ones, silver and gold, a mental battle ensuing with Kilara barely one step into the room. She could feel the power, it flooded her mind and her body, and she could feel its tendrils, tempting and leeching away at her mind. She was never going to give up though, and as the force rippled around her in great, surging waves, her lightsabers slid out with a whispering hiss and her voice boomed from beneath the mask and from the depths of her hood.
"I am the master of darkness and light, I AM REVAN!"