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The Revolution Will Be Illustrated

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When she was eleven, she entered the Imperial Academy. That first year, she was unremarkable, like her family told her to be.

In her second year, she was twelve and she forgot. She was second in Piloting, first in Close Combat and caught drawing in Imperial History. Her teacher was a kind man; he was not the one who caught her and he did not punish her.

Instead, he sat her down after hours and explained to her how even the Empire needed artists, to fight the battles no one else could, the battles of hearts and minds. That was how she learned what the word "propaganda" meant, when she was told she could make some, for Mandalore and the glory of the Empire. He enrolled her in the contest. She returned to her bed in the dorm head blazing with ideas.

For weeks she thought of nothing else and did not notice that she no longer had Imperial History in her schedule. She drew endless iterations of her masterpiece under the covers after lightsout. She was moved up an agegroup in Close Combat. Her art consumed her. She would make her family proud. She would make Mandalore proud. She would make the Empire proud.

When she placed in the contest, she had never felt prouder.

She could not understand why her family were sad. They were the only one who would know the Mandalorian in her art was supposed to be her, armour patterned after her mother's, in the dull grey of Imperial carriers or Death Watch.

It was when she wanted to tell her teacher that she realised she had not seen him since then. No one could tell her where he was. Most adults seemed to not even know who he was anymore.

She'd been lucky, she realised.

She never saw her teacher again. Neither did anyone else.

She saw an awful lot of her masterpiece though, even after she left the Academy, guns blazing and not having touched a paintbrush in months.

Fight for Mandalore fight for THE EMPIRE, Unnamed artist, 25:5:15