I’m a little Jedi girl
I am going to change my world
With Light and Hope I will protect
The Galactic Republic.
Revan wakes in the gutter he slept in on Taris to Bastila’s singsong voice in his head. Her faint, halting words tell him she’s still alive. Relief floods him instantly.
I’m a little Jedi boy
It is my mission to destroy
The evil that the Darkness brings
I trust the Force for everything.
She’s reciting a youngling’s rhyme he once chanted himself at his home Temple. All Jedi know this silly poem, Revan thinks as he fully rouses from sleep and wipes at his eyes. With little enthusiasm, he casts his eyes about at his dingy surroundings.
It took him two days in the slow-moving escape pod to get to Taris. Luckily, he half-crashed, half-landed the pod near an urban area. But the gritty, war ravaged Sith Empire world is not an easy place to navigate as a stranger in a Republic uniform. Revan tells people he is a deserter when they comment on his attire. No one has taken issue with his story yet, but that might be due to Bastila’s blaster conspicuously strapped to his thigh. With no other possessions to his name, he has been mind-tricking people for food and necessities for the past several days.
My Master and the Council teach
All I need to know to be
The loyal Knight that I can be
My Temple is my family.
Why is Basty doing this? It doesn’t matter. It means she’s alive. Revan takes heart at this news. For as frustrated as he is with his current situation, he realizes now that Bastila Shan is the wrong person to blame.
He himself is to blame.
But especially the Jedi Council.
Revan spent the two-day flight to Taris sorting through the rush of memories that have flooded back to him. Once he got it all straight, he began to assess what his past means. A week later, he still has one Hell of a headache. But at long last, he knows who he is and why he is in this predicament.
With his memory back, he realizes why Bastila was so afraid of him. He is the renegade leader of a breakaway splinter group who saved the Republic before declaring war on it. Bastila probably saw him as her enemy. No doubt she knew of his exploits at war and feared she would be next on his kill count. Yet even so, she saved him. Twice now, she has saved him. Because Bastila Shan lives her faith. She is not the Jedi Council with its meddlesome politics and blatant hypocrisy. She is just a too-old Padawan Learner who got the assignment of a lifetime when she first was sent to raid his ship and then got stuck playing nursemaid to his amnesiac self. In her position, Force bonded to an enemy of the state, he too would be terrified.
It’s been a long, strange road from the bright morning when he and Alek set off to war with a few followers and the humanitarian peacekeepers of the Jedi Mercy Corps. They spent years attempting to keep the Mandalorians at bay. But the enemy was relentless and ruthless. There were many days when he and Alek despaired of ever winning. On several occasions, they informed the Senate that containment was the best they could hope for with the Mandalorians. And so, when Revan saw the opportunity to end the war, he leapt at it.
He enthusiastically agreed to build a super weapon that would give the Republic the strategic advantage it desperately needed. All along, Revan intended to use the Mass Shadow Generator. It was never a showy pet project to provide a deterrent effect. The Mandalorians do not understand deterrence. All they understand is war. And he would give them war. Total war. Because you don’t bring a knife to a gunfight, and you don’t preach peace to an enemy with a genocidal cultural objective.
It worked . . . and it didn’t. Because while the Mandalorians were defeated at Malachor V and their leader fell to his own sword, the war wasn’t over. In fact, it was just beginning. To his great chagrin, Revan learned that he had been shadowboxing with the Mandalorians. They were just the warm up act to the real thing. Only once he and Alek encountered Darth Vitiate deep in his hidden Empire had they understood the real threat.
There’s always a bigger fish. And this time, that bigger fish is a whale of an opponent. Vitiate had overpowered him and Alek immediately. And then, the Emperor surprised them by granting clemency. Mercy from a Sith?? It all makes sense now in hindsight. First, Vitiate had used the Mandalorians. And then, Vitiate had used him and Alek. Sending them forth with new knowledge in the Force and a new creed of Darkness, Vitiate had tasked them with finding the Star Forge and making war on the Republic.
The year-long quest for the abandoned Rakatan weapons factory was the hard part. Turning on the Republic was surprisingly easy. Because the Jedi Order that raised him had by then twice issued arrest warrants for him and his followers. The Jedi went so far as to have the Senate declare the Revanchists enemies of the state. It was the ultimate in ingratitude for the heroes who had saved the Republic. Their great victory at Malachor V had become their public shame, with the enormous friendly fire death toll sealing their fate. Now that the risk of the Mandalorians was gone, the politicians in cahoots with the Jedi Order came down hard on the Revanchist cause. Condemning them as dangerous vigilantes and war criminals. And so, in Revan’s mind, the Republic turned on him first.
His beloved Republic no longer stood for the values he and others had fought and died for. The dysfunction that had so long characterized the Jedi Order had bled into the Republic itself, like a cancer that destroys its host. In response, he and Alek decided to reform things themselves. Armed with the knowledge from Vitiate and planning to use the armaments the Star Forge would produce, Darth Revan and his Apprentice Darth Malak set out to conquer the Republic so they could return it to its original ideals. Once again, he and Alek took matters into their own hands.
Fueled by Darkness and rejection, he and his brother set out to settle the score. It was the wrong posture to assume, but Revan couldn’t see that at the time. Darkness had clouded his perception. Only Alek’s second attempt on his life and the Jedi Council’s mind wipe had pulled him out of that mindset. As nefarious as the Council’s actions have been, they have the benefit of giving him back a clear-eyed perspective. Over the past few days as he has sorted through his newfound memories, Revan can’t help but squirm. He does not regret Malachor V, but he does have regrets. Lots of them. He and Alek broke free of Vitiate’s direct influence when they got far enough away from his Empire. But the Emperor’s insidious Dark Side teachings had left their mark. And that’s when Revan’s regrets begin. There is some wisdom in the Jedi warning that once you start down the Dark path it will forever dominate your destiny. Because it is hard to unlearn what you have learned, and power is hard to relinquish. Power wants to be used. Moreover, Darkness feeds on itself. It hungers for more. Therein lies the reason for the Dark Side’s grand ambitions and zeal for glory. But also, its self-destruction and bleak nihilism. The Jedi were right to fear Darkness. Darkness is dangerous.
His plan was always to resort to the Dark Side in small measured doses, as and when necessary. But that required more discipline than either he or Alek had. The Dark Side is addicting, he now recognizes. The rush of sensation has a euphoria to it. It is easy to get caught up in its paradoxical agony and ecstasy because Darkness hurts so good. You both endure it and enjoy it. The Shadow Force intoxicates like no drug or drink ever can. It enthralls with an insatiable lust no mortal woman can inspire. It brings a sense of invincibility combined with inevitability that makes all things feel achievable. It is pleasure and power and possibility combined. It creates a boiling, aggressive, impulsive will to act.
The fact that the Dark Side is forbidden made its lure even stronger. For these are secrets no Jedi has dared to uncover. That knowledge fueled his maverick ego.
At first, it was something of an intellectual pursuit. A sort of study in contrasts. For while the Light is patient and kind, Darkness seethes and punishes. The Light forgives and forgets, whereas Darkness plots for vengeance. The Light is selfless and sacrificial, but Darkness triumphs the individual. The Light seeks peace and harmony, yet Darkness creates conflicts to exploit. The two opposing sides of the Force each have their merits and uses. To wield them both was the goal. That hubris, Revan now knows, has come back to haunt him and the galaxy. Because somewhere along the way, he and Alek both ended up too Dark.
Alek. His biggest regret is Alek. Just remembering that half mask which covers Squint’s face makes Revan squirm with guilt. He hadn’t intended to injure his brother. But what had started as a good-natured sparring match took on a deeper meaning as a struggle for dominance. Revan hadn’t seen it coming. Originally, Squint had volunteered for the role of Apprentice. He hadn’t insisted on it. But in the tiered hierarchical tradition of the Sith everyone must have their place and Squint wanted to secure his role as second-in-command. Revan had been fine with it.
He and his brother are no strangers to conflict. But only rarely has that conflict been between them. He and Squint have been fast friends since they met as younglings long ago. Together they have weathered political turmoil, death threats, arrest warrants, personal losses, and years of brutal war. They were trusted confidantes, comrades in arms, and beloved brothers before the Dark Side changed everything.
Friendship is different on the Dark Side. You are allies first and foremost as Sith. Loyalty is strategic and therefore transactional at best. Among the Jedi, Master is an honorific of respect and Padawan status indicates a learner. But on the Dark Side, Master makes you a sadistic tyrant and the Apprentice role makes you something of a voluntary whipping boy. You bide your time until your chance to supplant your Master arrives.
So immersed was he in Darkness, that Revan hadn’t perceived the true depth of Squint’s fall to the Dark Side. It was a shock when in the sparring match his own brother tried to kill him. Had any other person tried that, they would be dead. But this was Squint. Revan didn’t believe it even after it was all over and Squint was lying on his back with his jaw missing. He had been wracked with guilt afterwards. Begging and pleading for forgiveness. And all the while, his brother had been lusting for vengeance. Alek got his chance when he fired on his flagship. It would have worked had it not been for Bastila Shan. His pious Jedi angel of mercy had intervened to save him. The Light had stood up to Darkness that day and prevailed, with him as the unlikely beneficiary.
Alek is a grown man making his own decisions. But still . . . Revan blames himself. He was the one to lead them down this path. Darkness was supposed to be their means and not their goal. But Darkness is hard to control because it wants to control you. If you are not careful, it can consume you and ruin you. Like it did with poor Alek. Only the strongest of men can truly master the Dark Side as a tool. And those who try but fail pay a horrible price. What’s worse, they take others down with them. Revan worries that Bastila will be one of those casualties.
He thinks now of Bastila Shan, so earnest in her own desire to protect the Republic. She’s just as patriotic as he is, even if she comes at the issues from a different perspective. Where is Basty now? Revan fears for her safety. He recalls Alek’s wild ideas about how to fuel the Star Forge’s hunger for Darkness. Would Squint actually do those things? He fears the answer is yes. Sensitive, impressionable Squint had been enthralled by the unlimited power that Darkness promised. And without him around to temper those excesses, Revan worries for what his little brother has become.
I am the Force and the Force is with me. I fear nothing.
Revan hears Bastila’s choking voice flit through his mind again. Where is she? Why is she reciting more Jedi prayers? Is this what his reverent Padawan friend does on and off during the day? Revan doesn’t think so, because he’s never noticed this before using the bond. Mostly, the Force bond has been a sense of awareness rather than actual communication. But who knows how it is developing now. Was it the bond that gave him back his memory? Was it that kiss? Or was it the run in with Alek? Revan isn’t sure. But the Force keeps connecting him with Bastila. It keeps wanting him to know her prayers.
That thought weighs heavily on his mind as Revan plots his next steps. Because what now? Taking stock of his past, Revan sees all the shortcomings of the Republic and the failings of the Jedi Council. He sees the evil that he and Alek have done in the cause of reform. He sees the wrong and the right on both sides. And, he sees the wrong and the right in himself. He knows how he came to be the hero of the Republic and then its enemy seeking its violent overthrow. But what now?
Alek was right.
Bastila was right.
He must choose.
Should he side with his lost brother who flails away in rage and Dark hubris with the Star Forge at his command? Seeking vengeance and respect as much as he ostensibly seeks reform? Or should he side with the flawed, failed experiment that is the Republic? A grand democracy that is crumbling as its institutions languish from lack of leadership.
It is a terrible choice. For Revan feels responsible for them both.
Valiant are the warriors of the Light. The Force will be with them always.
It’s Bastila again, choking out encouragement for herself with phantom words that flit through his consciousness. These fleeting connections with her mind yield little actual information. But their repeated recurrence has begun to fill him with dread. Whatever these prayers mean, it can’t be good.
As the days of deliberation on Taris tick by, Revan can’t stop thinking of Bastila Shan. Of the girl sent to aid his enemies who ended up rescuing him. Of the girl who was a terrible liar because deceit is an anathema to her values. Of the Jedi who was willing to sacrifice her own life to save his life a second time. Bastila didn’t do it for any particular fondness for him. They barely know each other. She did it for the good of the Republic. Because Bastila wanted him to live to have a chance to do the right thing.
The Jedi Order might be a mess of contradictions, hypocrisy, and meaningless dogma. But there must be something good in it still to produce Bastila Shan. She doesn’t agree with his Revanchist views, but she shares his same reverence for the values the Republic was founded on. It gives him pause. Yes, the Republic has collapsed into partisan infighting and corruption. But still . . . was he wrong to declare the Republic no longer worth saving? Is the real problem the Jedi Council and not the Jedi Order? Is the issue the corrupt Senators themselves and not the Senate?
It’s very hard for him to fault Bastila in all of this. She didn’t seem any happier about his mind wipe than he is. But she went along with it like an obedient Padawan, raised from toddlerhood to respect and revere the elders on the Council. It makes Revan feel especially bad about deserting Bastila to fend for herself with Alek. But in the moment, with the rush of his regained memory flooding his mind, Revan had felt ill equipped to make any choice other than self-preservation.
His escape was a punt until he could figure things out for himself. With everyone around him telling him lies, he trusts no one’s judgement but his own. That’s why he spends days wandering the streets of Taris sorting through the situation. Weighing his options and considering his values. He has been the Jedi Revan, the Sith Darth Revan, the hapless dupe Private Evan Chist. So . . . who is he now? After days of reflection, he still doesn’t know. He doesn’t fit any particular creed. And that sort of makes him no one, he worries.
It is humiliating to realize that Mandalore the Ultimate’s dying words had been correct: he and Alek have become the enemies of the Republic they saved. But another enemy is still out there, and he is a common enemy to both the Republic and the Revanchists: Darth Vitiate. And there is no way that Revan can fight Vitiate without the help of Alek. That knowledge is what makes his decision. He decides that he’s asking the wrong question. Because it matters less who he is, than what he does.
And now, finally, Revan now knows what he has to do. He will save them all. He will rescue Bastila from Alek. He will save her life like she has twice saved his. He will destroy the Star Forge. It’s the only way he can save his brother from his spiral down into Darkness and it will keep the Forge from falling into Vitiate’s hands. He will reconcile with Alek and reclaim his brother’s love, showing Squint the compassion that Bastila had once showed to him. He will forgive Alek, if Alek will forgive him. Bygones will be bygones. Then, perhaps they can salvage the best of the Republic and reach accord with the Jedi Council. At the very least, they can prepare for the onslaught of Vitiate. Because for a second time, he and Alek need to save the Republic.
Yes . . . he was wrong to see his choice as Alek versus the Republic. The choice is Light versus Darkness. This time, Revan chooses Light. He chooses Bastila’s faith and compassion, he chooses the ideals of the Republic, and his chooses his prodigal little brother who he still loves. If he can beat the Mandalorians, Revan reasons, then he can do this.
Quickly, he formulates a plan to get off Taris. It takes him a week, but he manages to steal a decent ship to bypass the Sith blockade at the neutral zone and head for Coruscant. Lying, cheating, and stealing aren’t the Jedi way, but Revan doesn’t care. He does them all along the way. As always, Revan will do what he must. His ends have long justified his means.
Once he arrives at the giant Coruscant spaceport, Revan ditches his stolen ship, steals a speeder, and heads for the Upper Level Senate District. There, in perhaps his boldest, most daring move yet, the enemy of the state Darth Revan marches unarmed and alone into the Coruscant Jedi Temple.
As he walks up the grand steps of the massive edifice, he hears Bastila’s voice again echoing softly in his mind.
There is no death, there is only the Force. All is as the Force wills it.
Does she somehow, somewhere know what he is about to risk? Is she encouraging herself or is she encouraging him this time? Because Revan could use the encouragement. What he’s about to try has a remote chance of success. But he’s doing it all the same. He’s always been bold.
Bastila’s words repeat again: There is no death, there is only the Force. All is as the Force wills it.
Revan answers with a prayer of his own. It’s the ancient Jedi blessing even laymen use: May the Force be with you. If all goes well, he’ll be coming for Bastila soon with an army at his back. And he’ll be doing what she wants when he confronts Alek. He’ll be saving what he loves, not fighting what he hates.